John Fabian is a former NASA Astronaut and Air Force officer. He was born John McCreary Fabian on January 28, 1939 in Goose Creek, Texas. He was raised in Pullman, Washington and was active in the Boy Scouts of America, where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout. He graduated from Pullman High School in 1957 and then went on to attend Washington State University as an ROTC student. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Tau engineering honor societies and was also WSU Commander of the Arnold Air Society, and in 1962 he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. After his graduation, he was commissioned to the Air Force and assigned to the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. There he received a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 1964, and was subsequently assigned as an aeronautics engineer in the service engineering division at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas. He then attended flight training at Williams Air Force Base before moving on to Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan, where he spent five years as a KC-135 co-pilot, aircraft commander, and instructor pilot. In 1974, he received a Doctorate in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Washington.
In August 1979, Fabian became a NASA astronaut. His initial assignments included work on satellite deployment and retrieval activities, including expansion of the Canadian Remote Manipulator System. His first flight to space was as a mission specialist aboard Space Shuttle Challenger on STS-7. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983 and deployed Canadian and Indonesian satellites, operated the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System, carried and operated the first U.S./German cooperative materials science payload, and operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System. They also activated seven Getaway Specials before landing at Edwards Air Force Base on June 24, 1983. On his second mission, Fabian flew on STS-51-G, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center on June 17, 1985 and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on June 24, 1985. During the mission the crew sent out communications satellites for Mexico, the Arab League, and the United States. They also used the Remote Manipulator System to deploy and retrieve the SPARTAN satellite after it executed 17 hours of x-ray astronomy experiments, as well as activated the Automated Directional Solidification Furnace and conducted a laser tracking experiment as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
In 1986, Fabian left NASA to become Director of Space and Deputy Chief of Staff in the Plans and Operations Headquarters USAF. However, just one year later, he retired from the USAF to join Analytic Services Inc., a non-profit aerospace research institute in Arlington, Virginia. He worked as President and Chief Executive Officer until his retirement in 1998. He currently lives in Port Ludlow, Washington. In 2002, he founded the Hood Canal Coalition, an environmental watch group opposing the industrialization of Hood Canal and the development of a harbor complex. From 2000 to 2011, he participated in the “Lunch with an Astronaut” and “Astronaut Encounter” programs at Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center.
Image Caption: Astronaut John Fabian. Credit: Nasa/Wikipedia