Article Title: NASA Mourns the Loss of Trailblazing Astronaut Mary L. Cleave at 76
Renowned NASA astronaut Mary L. Cleave, a pioneer in the field of space exploration and the first woman to serve as an associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, passed away at the age of 76. Cleave’s contributions to NASA and her dedication to scientific research and exploration will be remembered and cherished by the NASA community and beyond.
Born in Southampton, New York, Cleave earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences from Colorado State University in 1969. She then pursued higher studies, obtaining a Master of Science in microbial ecology and a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from Utah State University in 1975 and 1979, respectively.
Cleave’s NASA career began in May 1980 when she was selected as an astronaut. Throughout her career, she held various technical assignments and was involved in flight software verification, spacecraft communication, and crew equipment design. Cleave embarked on her first mission, STS-61B, aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on Nov. 26, 1985. She also participated in the STS-30 mission in May 1989, where the crew successfully deployed the Magellan Venus exploration spacecraft. In May 1991, Cleave transferred to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, where she managed the SeaWiFS project. From August 2005 to February 2007, she served as the associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
Cleave’s career was marked by numerous accomplishments, including deploying communication satellites, conducting spacewalks, and testing various experiments. She played a significant role in the successful deployment of the Magellan Venus exploration spacecraft, which mapped more than 95% of the planet’s surface. Her project management of the SeaWiFS ocean color sensor contributed to significant advancements in global vegetation monitoring.
Throughout her career, Cleave received several accolades, including two NASA Space Flight medals, two NASA Exceptional Service medals, and an American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award. She was also recognized with a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and the title of NASA Engineer of the Year.
Cleave retired from NASA in February 2007, leaving behind a legacy as a trailblazer in space exploration. Her dedication and passion for scientific research and exploration have left an indelible mark on NASA and the broader scientific community.
For media inquiries, please contact:
– Cheryl Warner, NASA Headquarters, Washington – 202-358-1600, [email protected]
– Courtney Beasley, Johnson Space Center, Houston – 281-483-5111, [email protected]
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