Donald R. McMonagle

Last updated
Donald R. McMonagle
Donald McMonagle.jpg
Born (1952-05-14) May 14, 1952 (age 67)
Other namesDonald Ray McMonagle
Alma mater USAFA, B.S. 1974
Fresno State, M.S. 1985
University of Michigan, MBA 2003
Occupation Test pilot
Awards Dfc-usa.jpg
Space career
NASA astronaut
Rank Colonel, USAF
Time in space
25d 05h 34m
Selection 1987 NASA Group 12
Missions STS-39, STS-54, STS-66
Mission insignia
Sts-39-patch.png Sts-54-patch.png Sts-66-patch.png

Donald Ray McMonagle (born May 14, 1952) (Col, USAF, Ret.) is a former astronaut and a veteran of three shuttle flights. He became the Manager, Launch Integration, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 15, 1997. In this capacity he was responsible for final shuttle preparation, launch execution, and return of the orbiter to KSC following landings at any other location. He was chair of the Mission Management Team, and was the final authority for launch decision.

Colonel (United States) Military rank of the United States

In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, colonel is the most senior field grade military officer rank, immediately above the rank of lieutenant colonel and immediately below the rank of brigadier general. It is equivalent to the naval rank of captain in the other uniformed services. The pay grade for colonel is O-6.

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

Kennedy Space Center United States space launch site

The John F Kennedy Space Center is one of ten National Aeronautics and Space Administration field centers. Since December 1968, Kennedy Space Center has been NASA's primary launch center of human spaceflight. Launch operations for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs were carried out from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 and managed by KSC. Located on the east coast of Florida, KSC is adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). The management of the two entities work very closely together, share resources, and even own facilities on each other's property.


Early years

McMonagle was born on May 14, 1952, in Flint, Michigan, and graduated from Hamady High School in 1970. he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy in 1974, a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Fresno in 1985, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 2003.

Flint, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

Flint is the largest city and seat of Genesee County, Michigan, United States. Located along the Flint River, 66 miles (106 km) northwest of Detroit, it is a principal city within the region known as Mid Michigan. According to the 2010 census, Flint has a population of 102,434, making it the seventh largest city in Michigan. The Flint metropolitan area is located entirely within Genesee County. It is the fourth largest metropolitan area in Michigan with a population of 425,790 in 2010. The city was incorporated in 1855.

A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years, or a person holding such a degree.

Aerospace engineering branch of engineering

Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering concerned with the development of aircraft and spacecraft. It has two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Avionics engineering is similar, but deals with the electronics side of aerospace engineering.

Military career

McMonagle completed pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base (AFB), Mississippi, in 1975. After F-4 training at Homestead AFB, Florida, he went on a one-year tour of duty as an F-4 pilot at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. He returned from overseas to Holloman AFB, New Mexico, in 1977. In 1979, McMonagle was assigned to Luke AFB, Arizona, as an F-15 instructor pilot. In 1981, he entered the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, and was the outstanding graduate in his class. [1] From 1982 to 1985, McMonagle was the operations officer and a project test pilot for the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration F-16 aircraft. After attending the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from 1985 to 1986, he was assigned as the operations officer of the 6513th Test Squadron at Edwards AFB.

Columbus Air Force Base US Air Force base in Columbus, MS

Columbus Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located in Columbus, Mississippi. The host unit at Columbus AFB is the 14th Flying Training Wing , which is a part of Air Education and Training Command (AETC).

Mississippi State of the United States of America

Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd largest and 34th-most populous of the 50 United States. Mississippi is bordered to north by Tennessee, to the east by Alabama, to the south by the Gulf of Mexico, to the southwest by Louisiana, and to the northwest by Arkansas. Mississippi's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson is both the state's capital and largest city. Greater Jackson, with an estimated population of 580,166 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in Mississippi and the 95th-most populous in the United States.

Florida State of the United States of America

Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.

McMonagle has over 5,000 hours of flying experience in a variety of aircraft, primarily the T-38, F-4, F-15, and F-16.[ citation needed ]

Northrop T-38 Talon Military advanced trainer aircraft by Northrop

The Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twinjet supersonic jet trainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2019 in several air forces.


McMonagle was selected as an astronaut by NASA in June 1987. A veteran of three space flights, he has logged over 605 hours in space.[ citation needed ]

Astronaut Person who commands, pilots, or serves as a crew member of a spacecraft

An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. Although generally reserved for professional space travelers, the terms are sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists.

NASA space-related agency of the United States government

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

McMonagle flew as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on Department of Defense mission STS-39 in April 1991. During this highly successful eight-day mission, the seven-man crew deployed, operated, and retrieved a remotely controlled spacecraft and conducted several science experiments to include research of both natural and induced phenomena in the Earth's atmosphere.

Space Shuttle <i>Discovery</i> Space shuttle orbiter

Space Shuttle Discovery is one of the orbiters from NASA's Space Shuttle program and the third of five fully operational orbiters to be built. Its first mission, STS-41-D, flew from August 30 to September 5, 1984. Over 27 years of service it launched and landed 39 times, gathering more spaceflights than any other spacecraft to date. The shuttle has three main components: the orbiter, a central fuel tank, and two rocket boosters. Nearly 25,000 heat resistant tiles cover the orbiter to protect it from high temperatures on re-entry.

United States Department of Defense United States federal executive department

The United States Department of Defense is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government concerned directly with national security and the United States Armed Forces. The department is the largest employer in the world, with nearly 1.3 million active-duty service members as of 2016. Additional employees include over 826,000 National Guard and Reservists from the armed forces and over 732,000 civilians bringing the total to over 2.8 million employees. Headquartered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., the DoD's stated mission is to provide "the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security".

In January 1993, McMonagle served as pilot on STS-54 aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The six-day mission featured the deployment of a tracking and data relay satellite (TDRS), and the collection of information about celestial x-rays using a diffuse X-ray spectrometer.

McMonagle commanded a crew of six aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-66 Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 (ATLAS-3) 11-day mission in November 1994.

In January 1996 McMonagle was assigned the task to establish a new Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) Project Office responsible for managing all NASA resources associated with space suits and tools used to conduct space walks in support of space shuttles and the International Space Station. This role included responsibility for developing and implementing a plan for research and development of next-generation space suits to support future human space exploration.


McMonagle is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots; Association of Graduates, U.S. Air Force Academy; and Association of Space Explorers.

Special honors

McMonagle's accomplishments have earned him many notable awards, including:

Personal life

McMonagle is married to the former Janyce Morton of Phoenix, Arizona. They have two children and reside in Tucson, Arizona. [2]

As of 19 June 2006, he was named as the Vice-President of Quality and Mission Effectiveness of the Missile Systems business unit of Raytheon in Tucson.

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  1. USAF Test Pilot School 50 Years and Beyond. Privately Published. 1994. p. 217.