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Col. Donald R. McMonagle, USAF, Retired

Donald R. McMonagle


Col. Donald R. McMonagle was born in Flint, Michigan on May 14, 1952. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1970 and completed his pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi shortly thereafter. He then flew F-4s out of Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, and served at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico before becoming an F-15 instructor at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

Before being selected as an astronaut in 1987, McMonagle was instrumental in developing technology for the F-16 as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California. In 1981, he was the outstanding graduate in his class at the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards.

From 1982 to 1985, he served as operations officer and a project test pilot for F-16 advanced fighter technology integration. From 1985-1986, after attending the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, he was the operations officer of the 6513th Test Squadron at Edwards.

A veteran of three space shuttle flights totaling 605 hours, Donald R. McMonagle is among Michigan's most experienced astronauts. He was a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery for the eight day STS-39 mission in April of 1991. He piloted the Space Shuttle Endeavor during its six day STS-54 mission in January of 1993. He also commanded the 11 day STS-66 flight of Atlantis in November, 1994.

In addition to participating in these historic shuttle missions, McMonagle has logged more than 6,000 hours flying a variety of aircraft. His primary aircraft were the T-38, F-4, F-15, and F-16.

In 1996, McMonagle was selected to establish a new extra-vehicular activity (EVA) project office. A year later he became manager of launch integration for the Space Shuttle program.

After retiring as a Colonel from the Air Force in June of 1998, he completed his government service with NASA in January of 2000 and went on to work for Pratt & Whitney's Space Propulsion business unit. In 2004 he was its Director of Strategy and Business Development.

Donald R. McMonagle was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 2, 2004.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program