NAME: Bonnie J. Dunbar (Ph.D.)
BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born March 3, 1949, in Sunnyside, Washington. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dunbar, reside in Outlook, Washington.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Brown hair; hazel eyes; 5 feet 5-1/2 inches; 117 pounds.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Sunnyside High School, Sunnyside, Washington, in 1967; received bachelor of science and master of science degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Washington in 1971 and 1975, respectively; and a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Houston, 1983.
MARITAL STATUS: Married to Dr. Ronald M. Sega of Monument, Colorado. His parents, Mr. & Mrs. John Sega, reside in Arvada, Colorado.
RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: She enjoys flying, running, softball, squash, and sailing.
ORGANIZATIONS: Member of the American Ceramic Society (ACS), the National Institute of Ceramic Engineers (NICE), Keramos Honorary, the Society of Biomedical Engineering, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Tau Beta Pi, Materials Research Society (MRS); Board of Directors, Arnold Air Society and Angel Flight.
SPECIAL HONORS: Graduated Cum Laude from the University of Washington in 1975; awarded a NASA graduate research grant in 1973 and 1974; Rockwell International Engineer of the Year in 1978; Group Achievement Award, Skylab Reentry, 1979. Recipient of NASA Space Flight Medals, 1985, 1990, 1992; American Ceramic Society (ACS) Greaves-Walker Award, 1985; Evergreen Safety Council Public Service in Space Award, 1986; General Jimmy Doolittle Fellow of the Aerospace Education Foundation, 1986; ACS Life Membership, 1986; NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 1988; Georgia Tech Peter B. Sherry Memorial Lecture in Chemistry, 1988; ACS Schwalt Zwalder P.A.C.E. Award, 1990; NASA Exceptional Service Award, 1991; University of Houston Distinguished Engineering Alumna, 1991; AAES National Engineering Award, 1992.
EXPERIENCE: Following graduation in 1971, Dr. Dunbar worked for Boeing Computer Services for two years as a systems analyst. In 1973, she started research for her master's thesis in the field of mechanisms and kinetics of ionic diffusion in sodium beta-alumina. In 1975, she was invited to participate in research at Harwell Laboratories in Oxford, England, as a visiting scientist. Her work there involved the wetting behavior of liquids on solid substrates. Following her work in England, she accepted a senior research engineer position with Rockwell International Space Division in Downey, California. Her responsibilities there included developing equipment and processes for the manufacture of the Space Shuttle thermal protection system in Palmdale, California. She also represented Rockwell International as a member of the Dr. Kraft Ehricke evaluation committee on prospective space industrialization concepts. Dr. Dunbar completed her doctorate at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. Her multi- disciplinary dissertation (materials science and physiology) involved evaluating the effects of simulated space flight (antiorthostatic hypokinesia) on bone strength and fracture toughness using an animal model. These results were correlated to alterations in hormonal and metabolic activity. She is currently an adjunct assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston and serves on the Bioengineering Advisory Group. She is a private pilot with over 200 hours in single engine land aircraft, and has logged more than 700 hours flying time in T-38 jets as co-pilot.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Dr. Dunbar accepted a position as a payload officer/flight controller at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1978. She served as a guidance and navigation officer/flight controller for the Skylab reentry mission in 1979 and was subsequently designated project officer/payload officer for the integration of several Space Shuttle payloads. Dr. Dunbar became a NASA astronaut in August 1981. Her technical assignments have included assisting in the verification of Shuttle flight software at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), serving as a member of the Flight Crew Equipment Control Board, participation as a member of the Astronaut Office Science Support Group, supporting operational development of the remote manipulator system (RMS). She has served as chief of the Mission Development Branch, as the Astronaut Office interface for "secondary" payloads, and as lead for the Science Support Group.
In 1993 Dr. Dunbar served as Deputy Associate Administrator, Microgravity Research, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. Dr. Dunbar is a veteran of three space flights which logged her more than 761 hours in space. She was a mission specialist on STS 61-A in 1985, STS-32 in 1990, and was the payload commander on STS-50 in 1992. STS 61-A, the West German D-1 Spacelab mission, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 30, 1985. The 61-A mission was the first to carry eight crew members, the largest to fly in space, and was also the first in which payload activities were controlled from outside the United States. More than 75 scientific experiments were completed in the areas of physiological sciences, materials science, biology, and navigation. During the seven-day mission, Dr. Dunbar was responsible for operating Spacelab and its subsystems and performing a variety of experiments. Her mission training included six months of experiment training in Germany, France, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. After completing 111 orbits of the Earth in 168 hours 44 minutes 51 seconds, Challenger and her crew landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on November 6, 1985.
STS-32 launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 9, 1990. During the ten-day mission, crew members aboard Columbia successfully deployed the Syncom IV-F5 satellite, and retrieved the 21,400-pound Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) using the RMS. They also operated a variety of middeck experiments including the Microgravity Disturbance Experiment (MDE) using the Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA), Protein Crystal Growth (PCG), American Flight Echocardiograph (AFE), Latitude/Longitude Locator (L3), Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE), Characterization of Neurospora Circadian Rhythms (CNCR),and the IMAX Camera. Dr. Dunbar was principal investigator for the MDE/FEA Experiment. Additionally, numerous medical test objectives, including in-flight lower body negative pressure (LBNP), in-flight aerobic exercise and muscle performance were conducted to evaluate human adaptation to extended duration missions. Following 173 orbits of the Earth in 261 hours 1 minute 38 seconds, Columbia returned with a night landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on January 20, 1990.
Dr. Dunbar flew as payload commander on STS-50, the United States Microgravity Lab-1 mission dedicated to microgravity fluid physics and materials science. Over 30 experiments sponsored by over 100 investigators were housed in the -Spacelab" in the Shuttle's Payload Bay. A payload crew of 4 operated around-the-clock for 13 days performing experiments in scientific disciplines such as protein crystal growth, electronic and infrared detector crystal growth, surface tension physics, zeolite crystal growth, and human physiology. STS-50 launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 25, 1992, and concluded with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center on July 9, 1992, following 221 orbits of the Earth in 331 hours 30 minutes 4 seconds.
CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: Dr. Dunbar has been selected as the backup crew member for a 3-month flight on the Russian space station Mir in 1995. She began training in Star City, Russia, in February 1994. Dr. Dunbar has also been assigned as a mission specialist on a seven-member crew on Space Shuttle mission STS-71 to perform the first docking with the Russian Space Station Mir to exchange crews. The orbiter Atlantis has been modified to carry a docking system compatible with the Russian Mir Space Station. It will also carry a Spacelab module in the payload bay in which various life sciences experiments and data collection will take place throughout the 10-day mission. STS-71 is currently scheduled for launch in mid-1995.