McNair, Ronald E.

McNair, Ronald E.

(1950–  ) astronaut, physicist; born in Lake City, S.C. While earning a Ph.D. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1976), he helped develop the chemical HF/DR and high-pressure CO lasers. Later research at the Hughes Research Laboratories, Malibu, Calif., included research on electro-optic laser modulation for satellite-to-satellite space communications. Selected as an astronaut (1978), he served on Space Shuttle Mission 41-B (1984). The mission marked the first flight of the manned maneuvering unit and the first use of the Canadian arm, which he operated. He also supervised numerous experiments as well as the filming of the mission.