David M. Brown

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David McDowell Brown
David M. Brown, NASA photo portrait in orange suit.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Nationality American
Born (1956-04-16)April 16, 1956
Arlington County, Virginia
Died February 1, 2003(2003-02-01) (aged 46)
Airspace over Texas
Previous occupation
Test pilot
Rank Captain, USN
Time in space
15d 22h 20m
Selection NASA Astronaut Group 16 (1996)
Missions STS-107
Mission insignia
STS-107 Flight Insignia.svg
Awards Congressional Space Medal of Honor

David McDowell Brown (April 16, 1956 – February 1, 2003) was a United States Navy captain and a NASA astronaut. He died on his first spaceflight, when the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) disintegrated during orbital reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. Brown became an astronaut in 1996, but had not served on a space mission prior to the Columbia disaster. Brown was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.



Awards and honors

Brown, the 1986 recipient of the Navy Operational Flight Surgeon of the Year award, received numerous decorations including:

Qualification insignia

Personal decorations

The symbol indicates a posthumous award.

Military career

Brown joined the U.S. Navy after his internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Upon completion of flight surgeon training in 1984, he reported to the Navy Branch Hospital in Adak, Alaska, as Director of Medical Services. He was then assigned to Carrier Air Wing Fifteen which deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Western Pacific. In 1988, he became the only flight surgeon in a ten-year period to be chosen for pilot training. He was ultimately designated a Naval Aviator in 1990 at NAS Chase Field in Beeville, Texas, ranking number one in his class. Brown was then sent for training and carrier qualification in the A-6E Intruder. In 1991, he reported to the Naval Strike Warfare Center at NAS Fallon, Nevada, where he served as a Strike Leader Attack Training Syllabus Instructor and a Contingency Cell Planning Officer. Additionally, he was qualified in the F/A-18 Hornet and deployed from Japan in 1992 aboard USS Independence flying the A-6E with VA-115. In 1995, he reported to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland as their flight surgeon where he also flew the T-38 Talon.

Brown logged over 2,700 flight hours with 1,700 in high performance military aircraft. He was qualified as first pilot in NASA T-38 aircraft.

He held a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued Technician Class amateur radio license with the call sign KC5ZTC.

NASA career

Funeral of David M. Brown at Arlington National Cemetery (March 12, 2003)

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Brown reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. He completed two years of training and evaluation, and was qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. He was initially assigned to support payload development for the International Space Station, followed by the astronaut support team responsible for orbiter cockpit setup, crew strap-in, and landing recovery.

On April 21, 2001, Brown appeared on ESPN as an expert on g-force loading on the human body that led to the cancellation of the Firestone Firehawk 600 CART race.[1]

Brown flew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-107, logging 15 days, 22 hours, and 20 minutes in space from January 16 to February 1, 2003. The flight was a dedicated science and research mission. Working 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, the crew successfully conducted approximately 80 experiments. The mission ended abruptly on February 1, 2003, when Columbia's crew perished during entry, 16 minutes before the scheduled landing.

Personal life

As the lone unmarried member of the STS-107 crew, brown had previously been romantically involved with NASA engineer Ann Micklos. The two ended their relationship shortly before the mission, but remained close friends until his death. [2] The crew of STS-107 had also formed a very close friendship in their training, that Brown had been preparing a videotape to commemorate once they returned from their mission.


The David M. Brown Planetarium
  • Asteroid 51825 Davidbrown was named in honor of Brown.
  • Brown Hall, in the Columbia Village apartments, at the Florida Institute of Technology is named after him.
  • He is the first person ever to be posthumously awarded the William & Mary Alumni Association's Alumni Medal.
  • The Laurel B. Clark and David M. Brown Aerospace Medicine Academic Center, located at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, is named after him.
  • The Captain David Brown Aerospace and Medical Research Endowment was established in his memory to help deserving students attending Eastern Virginia Medical School.
  • The planetarium of Arlington Public Schools was renamed as the David M. Brown Planetarium.[3]
  • The Dave Brown Memorial Park in Friendswood, Texas, is named after him.
  • The annual Astronaut Dave Brown Memorial gymnastics meet is held at the College of William & Mary in his honor, where Dave Brown was a gymnast.
  • Yorktown High School Crew Team Men's Varsity 8 boat name Captain David M. Brown - c. 2003

See also


  1. ^ "2001 CART Firestone Firehawk 600k".
  2. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/16/us/loss-shuttle-mood-shuttle-disaster-families-lost-more-than-mere-heroes.html
  3. ^ "David M. Brown Planetarium". Arlington Public Schools. Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2010.

External links

  • David M. Brown at Find a Grave
  • Official biography
  • David Brown STS-107 Crew Memorial
  • Captain David Brown Aerospace and Medical Research Endowment
  • Florida Today — Florida Tech dedicates dorms to Columbia 7 — October 29, 2003

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