Bonnie Jeanne Dunbar

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Bonnie Dunbar
Bonnie Dunbar
Country: United States
Organization: NASA
selected on May 19, 1980
(9th NASA Group)
Calls: 5 space flights
Start of the
first space flight:
October 30, 1985
Landing of the
last space flight:
January 31, 1998
Time in space: 50d 8h 29min
retired on September 30, 2005
Space flights

Bonnie Jeanne Dunbar (born March 3, 1949 in Sunnyside , Washington , USA ) is a former American astronaut .


Dunbar graduated from Sunnyside High School in Sunnyside, Washington in 1967 . At the University of Washington she did her bachelor's degree in 1971 and a master’s degree four years later , both at the University of Washington in materials engineering with a focus on ceramic applications. In between, she worked as a systems analyst at Boeing Computer Services from 1971 to 1973 and completed a stay abroad in Oxford in 1975 . From 1976 she worked at Rockwell International in Downey .

Dunbar applied to NASA as an astronaut in 1977. Although she was not selected, she received an offer to work at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston from July 1978 . She was employed there in the payload department, but was also involved in Skylab's re-entry in the summer of 1979. For the next group of NASA astronauts, Dunbar was selected as a mission specialist in May 1980.

She received her PhD in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering from the University of Houston in 1983 .

Astronaut activity


On October 30, 1985, Dunbar started the first Spacelab mission under German responsibility (D1 mission) with the space shuttle Challenger ( STS-61-A ). Under the direction of what was then the German Aerospace Research and Research Institute (DFVLR), the crew, including the two German astronauts Reinhard Furrer and Ernst Messerschmid , carried out experiments in medicine, biology and fluid physics. It was the first and so far only flight with a crew of eight space travelers.


STS-61-I was a Challenger mission that was canceled after the Challenger disaster. This shuttle mission was scheduled for September 27, 1986. As crew were Donald Williams , Michael Smith (kam-disaster Challenger lost their lives in), James Bagian , Bonnie Dunbar, Sonny Carter and the payload specialist Nagapathi Bhat (India) and a US journalist scheduled.


On January 9, 1990, Dunbar flew the STS-32 mission on the Columbia space shuttle . The main tasks of the flight included the successful launch of the Syncom IV-F5 communications satellite and the recovery of the LDEF research platform with the Canadarm .


During the STS-50 mission , Dunbar was the payload commander on the Columbia space shuttle. The mission started on June 25, 1992. The primary payload was the USML-1 microgravity laboratory , a manned Spacelab module. Numerous experiments have been conducted to study the crystal growth of zeolite , surface tension physics, and human physiology.


On June 27, 1995, the 100th mission ( STS-71 ) of a manned spacecraft of the USA started. Dunbar was a mission specialist on the space shuttle Atlantis . The main task was the first coupling between the space shuttle and the Mir space station during the third flight within the Shuttle Mir program . In addition, various medical experiments were carried out in the Spacelab module to research the effects of weightlessness on the vascular system, bones and lungs of humans.


Dunbar started as a payload specialist on January 23, 1998 ( STS-89 ). It was the tenth flight as part of the Shuttle Mir program and the eighth link between an American space shuttle and the Mir space station. With the flight, Andrew Thomas was brought back to Mir and David Wolf to Earth. In addition, weightlessness experiments were carried out in the SpaceHab .

According to NASA

Dunbar retired from NASA in September 2005 and became General Manager of the Museum of Flight in Seattle , Washington on October 3, 2005 . She held this position until July 2010, after which she took over the management of the subsidiary "Wings over Washington".

In 2013, Dunbar was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame along with Eileen Collins and Curtis Brown .


Dunbar was married to NASA astronaut Ronald Sega .

See also

Web links

Commons : Bonnie Jeanne Dunbar  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Veteran NASA astronaut Bonnie Dunbar Retires. In: Press Release: # J05-038. NASA, September 30, 2005, accessed September 5, 2012 .
  2. Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar Appointed Executive Director of Wings Over Washington. Museum of Flight, August 6, 2010, accessed September 5, 2012 .
  3. Todd Halvorson: 3 to join Astronaut Hall of Fame ranks . In: USA Today , April 18, 2013.