Charles Brady was an American physician and a NASA astronaut. He was born Charles Eldon Brady, Jr. on August 12, 1951 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. He grew up in Robbins, North Carolina and graduated from North Moore High School in 1969. From there he went on to study pre-med at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his medical degree from Duke University in 1975. He then went to the University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville for his internship.
In 1978, Brady worked as the team physician in sports medicine for Iowa State University. He continued in sports medicine and family practice for several years, working as a team physician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University. He joined the Navy in 1986 receiving training as a flight surgeon at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. In June 1986, he reported to Carrier Air Wing Two on board the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. Brady was selected for the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, in 1988 and served with them for two consecutive years. He was serving in Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 129 when selected for the astronaut program.
In March 1992, Brady was selected by NASA and reported to the Johnson Space Center the following August. He was qualified for selection as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flight crews. Some of his assignments included working technical issues for the Astronaut Office Mission Development Branch, flight software testing in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory, astronaut representative to the Human Research Policy and Procedures Committee, deputy chief for Space Shuttle astronaut training and chief for Space Station astronaut training in the Mission Operations Division.
Brady’s first flight was on STS-78, which launched on June 20, 1996. It was the longest Space Shuttle mission to date, as they spent 16 days in space. The Life and Microgravity Spacelab mission served as a model for future studies onboard the International Space Station.
Brady lived in San Juan’s Islands in Washington State. He enjoyed canoeing, kayaking, tennis, biking and amateur radio operating. On July 23, 2006, Brady passed away. Initially, it was reported that he died after a lengthy illness and paralysis, but after NASA released emails related to Brady under the Freedom of Information Act, other sources indicated his death may have been the result of suicide, brought on by his chronic pain and weakened mobility. He is survived by his son, Charles Brady, III.