Who Was Ronald McNair?
Ronald Erwin McNair was born in Lake City on Oct. 21, 1950.
He attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics.
Later, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he obtained his Ph.D in Physics and received four honorary doctorate degrees and numerous Fellowships.
In 1978, he and 35 other applicants out of a pool of 10,000 were selected to join the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA).
Ronald became only the second African American to ever fly in space. He also worked as a staff physicist at the Hughes Research Lab in Malibu, California.
On an usually cold morning in Florida on Jan. 26, 1986, McNair and six others astronauts lost their lives when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke-up just 73 seconds into their flight.
Ronald was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2004, along with all crew members lost in the Challenger and Columbia disasters. Since the tragedy, numerous public locations, programs, and people have been honored in his name.
SCMFG honors the memory of Ronald McNair and revere his contribution to South Carolina. The Palmetto State has since become a hub for aerospace innovation and technology. Godspeed, Ronald.
Ronald E. McNair SC Hall Of Fame Video
President Reagan’s Challenger Disaster Speech
About the Author:
James Toppe is the President of South Carolina Manufacturing and a graduate of Clemson University.