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Dan Brandenstein

Dan Brandenstein is an American astronaut who was born on January 17, 1943 in Wisconsin. Before he became an astronaut, Brandenstein served as a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War. He has flown over 5600 hours in 24 different types of aircraft.

Brandenstein became an astronaut in 1979. He has made four spaceflights spending over 576 hours in space.

In 1983, Brandenstein piloted the first nighttime launch and landing of a space shuttle. In 1985, he commanded an international mission. The crew included Saudi Prince Sultan al-Saud and French Patrick Baudry.

In 1990, Brandenstein commanded shuttle Columbia in a mission that set a shuttle endurance record. The crew spent 10 days in space and retrieved the Long Duration Exposure Facility.

During his last mission in 1992, Brandenstein and his crew performed one of the most difficult space shuttle missions to date. Brandenstein and pilot Kevin Chilton performed some risky flying aboard the new Endeavour shuttle in an attempt to retrieve a satellite. They flew within a few feet of the rotating satellite, allowing the rest of the crew to literally grab it and pull it into the shuttle.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF