AIAA Associate Fellow Steven Nagel Died in August Written 15 September 2014

In Memoriam: Steven Nagel, AIAA Associate Fellow

By Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications (2008-2017)

Former astronaut and professor of mechanical engineering Steven Nagel passed away on 21 August. He was 67.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Nagel received a commission in the United States Air Force through the universities Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. Completing his pilot training in 1970, Nagel flew the F-100 “Super Sabre.” Nagel went on to become an U.S. Air Force test pilot in 1975. While serving as a test pilot, Nagel worked on the F-4 “Phantom” and A-7D “Corsair” programs.

Nagel joined NASA Astronaut Corps in 1979. As an astronaut, he completed four Space Shuttle flights: serving as a Mission Specialist on STS-51G in 1985; as a pilot on STS-61A in 1985; and as the Mission Commander on STS-37 in 1991, and again on STS-55 in 1993. Altogether, Nagel spent 723 hours in space.

Nagel retired from the Astronaut Corps in 1995, becoming Deputy Director for Operations Development and Reliability in the Quality Assurance Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. In 1996, he joined NASA’s Aircraft Operations Division. While in the Aircraft Operations Division, he served as a research pilot, Chief of Aviation Safety, and as a Deputy Division Chief.

Nagle retired from NASA in 2011, and joined the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, “as an instructor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. Nagel taught a course on the history of NASA and co-taught a course on aerospace propulsion. He also advised the student branch of AIAA at the university, and helped students design and build rockets for annual rocketry competitions.

Nagel earned several awards from the U.S. Air Force during his flying career, including: The Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal, with seven Oak Leaf Clusters; and the Meritorious Service Medal. He also earned several awards at NASA, including “four Space Flight Medals, two Exceptional Service Medals, and an Outstanding Leadership Medal. Among his other awards are the Orville Wright Achievement Award from the Order of Daedalians, and the American Astronomical Society’s Flight Achievement Award. The Lincoln Academy of Illinois named Nagel a “Lincoln Laureate of the State of Illinois” in 1994, in honor of his many achievements.

Nagle’s wife Linda and daughters Laura and Whitney survive him.