Mary Cleave, a Former Nasa Astronaut and Veteran of Two Nasa Spaceflights Mary Cleaveat 76

Last Updated on November 30, 2023, 8:14 am

Mary Cleave, the First Woman to Fly after the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, passed away.

Mary Cleave Dead
Mary Cleave (Image via Facebook)

Mary Cleave, retired NASA astronaut and veteran of NASA spaceflights, died on Monday, November 27, 2023. She was 76 years old. She was the first woman to be NASA’s Science Mission Directorate associate administrator.

Who was Mary Cleave?

Mary Louise Cleave was born in Southampton, New York, on February 5, 1947. She was a NASA astronaut with training in civil and environmental engineering, biological sciences, and microbial ecology. She also served as NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate from 2005 to 2007 and was the first woman ever to do so.

She graduated from Great Neck North High School, New York, in 1965. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Colorado State University in 1969 and a Master of Sciences in Microbial Ecology from Utah State University in 1975. She received a Civil and Environmental Engineering doctorate from Utah State University in 1979.

Mary was selected as an astronaut in May 1980. Her technical assignments included flight software verifications in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), (CAPCOM) Spacecraft Communicator on five Space Shuttle flights, Malfunction Procedure book, and Crew Equipment Design.
Mary launched on her first mission on STS-61B space shuttle Atlantis on November 26, 1985(returned December 3, 1985). She ventured into space for the second time for a four-day flight on STS-30, also on Atlantis, on May 4, 1989.

1991, she joined NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. She worked in the Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes as the Project Manager for SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing, Wide-Field-of-view-Sensor), an ocean color sensor that monitored vegetation globally. In 2005, she became the first woman to serve as Associate Administrator, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. She retired in April 2007.

What happened to Mary Cleave?

She passed away on Monday, November 27, 2023, at 76. The details of her tragic demise have not been made public. The exact cause of her death is unknown. She lived a life worth remembering. Her legacy will live on in her contribution to improving the planet and humanity.

“I’m sad we’ve lost trailblazer Dr. Mary Cleave, shuttle astronaut, a veteran of two spaceflights, and the first woman to lead the Science Mission Directorate as associate administrator,” said NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends. May she rest in peace.


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