Discovering South Carolina; Who Was Ronald McNair?

SCMFG is passionate for all things South Carolina. Because of this passion, we are creating “Discovering South Carolina”. The brief commentary will highlight prominent people, places and things in the Palmetto State from yesterday and today.

Who Was Ronald McNair?

Ronald McNair NASA

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 McNair, Guy Bluford and Fred Gregory 

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.

Space Shuttle Challenger Crew

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. Godspeed, Ronald.

Ronald E. McNair SC Hall Of Fame Video

About the Author:

James Toppe is the President of South Carolina Manufacturing and a graduate of Clemson University.

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