Daniel Brandenstein is a former NASA astronaut who flew four space shuttle missions. He was born Daniel Charles Brandenstein on January 17, 1943 in Watertown, Wisconsin. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1961 and then received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1965. He then married Jane A. Wade, and together they had one daughter. The couple enjoys skiing, sailing, basketball, softball, golf, and woodworking.
Brandenstein entered active duty with the Navy in September 1965 and was assigned to the Naval Air Training Command for flight training. He was named a naval aviator at Naval Air Station in Beeville, Texas. From 1968 to 1970, while assigned to VA-196 flying A-6 Intruders, he participated in two combat deployments on board the USS Constellation and the USS Ranger to Southeast Asia. In his following assignments, assignments, he was assigned to VX-5 for the conduct of operational tests of A-6 weapons systems and tactics. Brandenstein also made a nine month deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean on board the USS Ranger between March 1975 and September 1977. His final assignment with the U.S. Navy was to VA-128 as an A-6 flight instructor.
In January 1978, Brandenstein was selected by NASA to become an astronaut. He was spacecraft communicator and a member of the astronaut support crew for STS-1. He was then assigned to the STS-2 astronaut support crew and was the CAPCOM for the second Space Shuttle flight. Brandenstein was pilot on STS-8, his first flight, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center in the evening of August 30, 1983. This was the third flight for the Orbiter Challenger and the first mission with both a night launch and a night landing. During the mission the crew deployed the Indian National Satellite, managed the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System with the Payload Flight Test Article, operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System with live cell samples, performed medical experiments to understand the effects on space flight, and started various earth resources and space science experiments. STS-8 ended successfully on September 3, 1983 by landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
On his second mission in June 1985, Brandenstein commanded STS-51-G aboard the Shuttle Discovery. During the mission, crew members deployed communication satellites for Mexico, the Arab League, and the United States. They used the Remote Manipulator System to deploy and retrieve the SPARTAN. In addition, the crew activated the Automated Directional Solidification Furnace and conducted a laser tracking experiment as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. The mission was accomplished in 112 Earth orbits in approximately 170 hours. Brandenstein then commanded the crew of STS-32, beginning on January 9, 1990. Crew members aboard shuttle Columbia successfully deployed the Syncom IV-F5 satellite and retrieved the 9,724 kg Long Duration Exposure Facility using the RMS. They also conducted a variety of experiments including the Microgravity Disturbance Experiment, Protein Crystal Growth, American Flight Echocardiograph, Characterization of Neurospora Circadian Rhythms, and the IMAX camera. They also performed experiments to evaluate human adaptation to extended duration missions.
Brandenstein’s final mission was as Commander of STS-49 starting May 7, 1992 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour. The crew conducted the initial test flight of Endeavour and completed four space walks during the mission to retrieve, repair and deploy the International Telecommunications Satellite. In addition, a variety of medical, scientific, and operational tests were conducted throughout the mission. STS-49 logged 213 hours in space before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California. From April 1987 through September 1992, Brandenstein served as Chief of the Astronaut Office. In October 1992 Brandenstein retired from NASA and the United States Navy.