Dr. Ronald E. McNair was an outstanding and courageous American.
Ronald is remembered as an important member of NASA's space shuttle Challenger flight STS-41B where he was involved in a number of new scientific experiments including the documentation of the mission with the new Cinema 360 Camera.
He graduated with the highest honors from Carver High School, Lake City, in 1967. While at Carver, he was outstanding in sports, music and was a member of the Honor Society and The Science Club.
McNair earned a PhD degree in Laser Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and launched a career as a research scientist with the Hughes Laboratory in California. He learned that NASA was seeking scientist/astronaut candidate applicants for the US Space Program. He submitted an application and became one of three African-Americans selected, (of 35 new astronauts) from among 11,000 applicants.
As a noted leader in laser physics technology, Ronald acquired an international reputation for significant experiments. Those experiments have provided new understanding and application in laser-excited polyatomic molecules. He published several papers in the area of laser and molecular spectroscopy and gave several presentations in the United States and Europe.
Ronald received a number of special honors, including the Distinguished National Scientist Award, Outstanding Young Man of America, Who's Who Among Black Americans, Five Regional Black Belt Karate Championships, Sumter Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina, and The Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest honor.
His family includes his wife Cheryl, and two children, Reginald and Joy, of Seabrook, Texas; two brothers: Carl of Atlanta, GA., and Eric of Lake City, SC.
Dr. Ronald E. McNair was among the seven selected for the shuttle mission 51L for orbital flight aboard the "Challenger." On January 28th, 1986, the "Challenger" exploded only seconds after the launch from Cape Kennedy, Florida. All seven aboard perished.
|Dr. Ronald E. McNair Memorial located on East Main Street, Lake City|