Mark Brown is an engineer and former NASA Astronaut. He was born Mark Neil Brown on November 18, 1951 in Valparaiso, Indiana. In 1969, he graduated from Valparaiso High School, and he then went to on earn a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University. Brown received his pilot wings at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, in 1974. His first assignment was to the 87th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in Michigan. There he flew both T-33 and F-106 aircraft. In 1979 Brown was transferred to the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio where he earned his Master of Science degree in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1980.
Since earning his Master’s, Brown has been employed at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center as an engineer in the Flight Activities Section. In May 1984, Brown was selected to become a NASA astronaut. In 1985, he qualified for assignment as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flights. He also served as a member of the solid rocket booster redesign team. In February 1988 Brown was assigned to STS-28. On his first space flight, Brown served as a mission specialist on the crew of STS-28 aboard Shuttle Columbia. They launched On August 8, 1989 from Kennedy Space Center. The mission carried Department of Defense and other payloads. After 80 orbits of the Earth, the mission ended successfully on August 13, 1989.
Brown’s next flight was on STS-48 aboard Shuttle Discovery. They launched from Kennedy Space Center on September 12, 1991, and the crew deployed the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite. The crew also performed many experiments, such as growing protein crystals and studying how fluids and structures react without gravity. After 81 orbits of the Earth, the mission landed at Edwards Air Force Base on September 18, 1991.
Brown retired from both NASA and the Air Force in July 1993. He went to work at the Space Division office of General Research Corporation in Dayton, Ohio. He is married to the former Lynne Anderson and has two daughters.
Brown has received many honors throughout his career, including a NASA Space Flight Medal, the Aerospace Defense Command Award, a Senior Space Badge, a Defense Superior Service Medal, two Air Force Commendation Medals, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, a Combat Readiness Medal, a National Defense Medal, and a Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.