Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
He first flew as a mission specialist on STS 51-C, the first Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 24, 1985. He was accompanied by Captain Thomas K. Mattingly (spacecraft commander), Colonel Loren J. Shriver (pilot), fellow mission specialist, Colonel James F. Buchli, and Lieutenant Colonel Gary E. Payton (DOD payload specialist). During the mission, Onizuka was responsible for the primary payload activities, which included the deployment of a modified Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). STS 51-C Discovery completed 48 orbits of the Earth before landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 27, 1985. With the completion of this flight he logged a total of 74 hours in space.
Lieutenant Colonel Onizuka was a mission specialist on STS 51-L which was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 11:38:00 EST on January 28, 1986. The crew on board the Orbiter Challenger included spacecraft commander Mr. F. R. Scobee, the pilot, Commander M. J. Smith (USN), fellow mission specialist, Dr. R. E. McNair and Dr. J. A. Resnik, as well as two civilian payload specialist, Mr. G. B. Jarvis and Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe. The STS 51-L crew died on January 28, 1986, after Challenger exploded 1 minute 13 seconds after launch.
ARCHIVAL BIOGRAPHY LAST UPDATED JANUARY 1986