Michael Coats was an American astronaut who was born on January 16, 1946
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
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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