Daniel C. Brandenstein
NASA Astronaut, 1989
Selected by NASA to become an astronaut. Served as ascent
CAPCOM (capsule communicator) and a member of the astronaut
support crew for STS-1 and STS-2 for the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Piloted STS-8 Orbiter Challenger. First night launch
and landing in NASA history.
Spacecraft commander of STS-51G Orbiter Discovery.
Commanded STS-2 Orbiter Columbia.
Commanded STS-49, the maiden voyage of the Space Shuttle
UW-River Falls Distinguished Alumnus & US Astronaut
Brandenstein was born January 17, 1943, in Watertown, Wisconsin. From
1961-65 he attended UW-River Falls, then known as the Wisconsin State
College at River Falls (WSC-RF) majoring in math and physics. "Brandy,"
as he was known around campus, is remembered by friends and classmates
as a shy but popular, all-American student who aspired to be a U.S.
astronaut. Throughout his years at WSC-RF, he engaged in many campus
activities including the Social
Committee (1965 Meletean), the Physics
Colloquium (1965), the Math
Club (1964), and Kappa Theta,
(1965) as well as being a counselor for Prucha
hall and serving on the Student
Senate (1965). After graduation, Brandenstein enlisted in the Navy
and served as a test pilot before flying 192 combat missions in Vietnam.
In 1978 he was one of 35 astronauts chosen to fly NASA's space shuttle
fleet in the 1980's.
Daniel Brandenstein's full bio from LBJ Space Center
Those were the words spoken by Commander
Daniel Brandenstein from inside the Shuttle Endeavor after a three person
crew caught a spinning 4 1/2 ton Intelsat-6 satellite while on a space
walk in May of 1992. From 225 miles above earth, traveling at 17,500
miles per hour, Commander Brandenstein led a team of mission specialists,
NASA's first ever three person spacewalk, in rescuing the errant $157
million satellite. This was Brandenstein's fourth shuttle flight.
After being selected by NASA to train as an astronaut in January of
1978, Brandenstein amassed hundred of hours in the Orbiters Columbia,
Challenger, Discovery, and Endeavor. He was involved in multiple onboard
experiments and filmed Earth with a special IMAX camera for the film
"The Blue Planet." Brandenstein often brought personal mementos
with him to space including his parents' wedding rings, a Watertown
medallion and municipal seal, and even some items from his alma mater
including a Freddy the Falcon, UW-River
Falls t-shirts and a River Falls pennant.
Daniel Brandenstein was once described by UW-River Falls Chancellor
Gary Thibodeau as "an easy person to know and a difficult person
to introduce." Brandenstein has spent over 789 hours in space and
orbited the planet Earth 524 times. Throughout his career he has been
recognized with numerous medals and special honors including the Distinguished
Flying Cross, 17 Air Medals, the Legion of Honor from the government
of France, 2 NASA Distinguished Service Medals, 4 NASA Space Flight
Medals, 2 NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, the American Astronautical
Society Flight Achievement Award, multiple honorary doctorates, and
the status of UW-River Falls Distinguished Alumnus.
Dedicated in 1990, Brandy's eatery, located in the Hagestad Student
Center on the UW-River Falls campus, is named after Daniel "Brandy"
Along with photographs, certificates, and the t-shirt he wore in space,
Daniel Brandenstein donated samples of space
food from NASA to the UW-River Falls Area Research
Center & University Archives. (#1 trail mix; #2 coffee with sugar;
#3: chocolate brownie; #4 teriyaki chicken; #5 shrimp cocktail; #6 broccoli