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25 Dec 2017

Bruce McCandless, first astronaut to fly untethered in space, dies

First astronaut to fly untethered in space dies

Bruce McCandless, the NASA astronaut who became the first person to float untethered in outer-space died at 80.

In man's maiden attempt to float free in space, he traveled around 300 feet from the Challenger space-shuttle during a spacewalk in 1984.

He was famously photographed flying with a spacewalker's jetpack into the cosmic blueness of outer-space.

Read on to know more about him.

In context

First astronaut to fly untethered in space dies
Bruce McCandless: Life and career


Bruce McCandless: Life and career

A Boston-native, McCandless completed his school education at the Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, California.

He later graduated from the naval academy and earned his Master's degree in electrical-engineering and business-administration.

He has participated in the 1962 US blockade of Cuba and served as a backup pilot for NASA's first manned Skylab mission in 1973.

Post-NASA he worked at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Colorado.

Personal account

McCandless and his historic spaceflight

During the historic untethered space-walk that McCandless is perhaps best known for, he along with fellow-astronaut Robert L Stewart pioneered the use of NASA's jetpack, which astronauts use to propel themselves off the space-shuttle.

On his experience, he stated, "It was a wonderful feeling, a mix of personal elation and professional pride: it had taken many years to get to that point."

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When McCandless took a dig at Neil Armstrong

McCandless was the Mission Control capsule communicator during the mission when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. During his own spacewalk he said, "It may have been a small step for Neil, but it's a heck of a big leap for me."


John McCain: Bruce's photo has inspired generations of Americans

Arizona Senator John McCain, who attended the naval academy with McCandless said, "Bruce served his country with humility and dignity, and encouraged all of us to reach new heights."

"The iconic photo of Bruce soaring effortlessly in space has inspired generations of Americans to believe that there is no limit to the human potential," he added.

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