Loren Acton is a physicist and an American astronaut. He was born Loren Wilber Acton on March 7, 1936 in Lewistown, Montana. He grew up on a ranch in Montana, and after high school he attended Montana State University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1959. While attending the university, he met Evelyn Oldenburger. Soon after, the two were married at Grace Bible Church. He then continued his education and received a Doctor of Philosophy in Solar Physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1965.
Acton was the Senior Staff Scientist at the Space Sciences Laboratory, within the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory in California. His main responsibilities included conducting scientific studies of the Sun and other celestial objects using advanced space technology, as well as serving as a co-investigator on the Solar Optical Universal Polarimeter. On July 29, 1985, after seven years of training, Acton flew on the space shuttle Challenger on STS-51-F/ Spacelab-2 as a scientist. During the mission, Acton had traveled over 2.8 million miles in 126 Earth orbits and logged over 190 hours in space.
Acton is currently a Research Professor of Physics in the Solar Physics Group at Montana State University. He manages the solar physics group, which carries on an active research program under NASA support and is actively involved in daily operation and scientific utilization of space programs and studies of high-energy solar physics. He and Evelyn are still married and have two children together, Cheryl and Stanley, and one grandchild, Rosa.