Karol 'Bo' Bobko, former NASA astronaut who flew three shuttle missions, dies at 85
Karol 'Bo' Bobko, who was the only NASA astronaut to fly on the first launch of two space shuttle orbiters, has died at the age of 85. In total, Bobko logged 16 days, 2 hours and 3 minutes in space.
Karol "Bo" Bobko, who was the only NASA astronaut to fly on the first launch of two space shuttle orbiters, has died at the age of 85.
Bobko's death on Thursday (Aug. 17) was confirmed by the Association of Space Explorers, a professional organization for the world's astronauts and cosmonauts. A distinguished member, Bobko previously served as president of the U.S. chapter of the association.
Bobko joined NASA in 1969 with the agency's seventh group of astronauts. Unlike the classes that came before and after his selection, though, Bobko and his six fellow Group 7 members were transplants from another astronaut corps: the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program.
When the MOL program was canceled in June 1969, NASA accepted the seven youngest members into its astronaut corps but did not have any immediate need for them.
"Perhaps the first year or so was rather, at times, rather frustrating," said Bobko in a 2002 NASA oral history interview. "During the first year, we were told twice that we were fired."
"And then that was rescinded," Bobko said. "They said, 'The program is not going anyplace. We don't need you folks, and, so you're going to be let go and go back to the Air Force.' But that was rescinded, and we stayed and got involved in the programs that were going on here."