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Michael Coats

Michael Coats was an American astronaut who was born on January 16, 1946 in California. Before he became an astronaut, Coats served in the Vietnam War as a Naval fighter pilot. He has logged over 5000 hours of flight time on 28 types of aircraft.

Coats became an astronaut in 1978. He has spent over 463 hours in space on 3 spaceflights.

In 1984, Coats piloted Space Shuttle Discovery. This was the first flight of the shuttle. During this mission, the crew deployed three satellites. Coats commanded STS-29 in 1989. The Tracking and Data Relay satellite was deployed in this mission.

In 1991, Coats commanded STS-39. This was the first unclassified Department of Defense mission, and a very complex one at that! During this mission, the crew deployed three satellites and made some very difficult flying manuevers while in tandem with a free-flying pallet carrying Defense experiments.

Coats left NASA in 1991. He currently works for the Loral Corporation.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA