August 19, 1997
Nancy Jan Davis and the crew of the Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center after a 12-day mission that included 189 orbits and 4.7 million miles around the Earth. It was her third space shuttle mission. Her first, aboard the Endeavor, was in 1992. Her second, also on Discovery, was in 1994. Davis was born in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and moved with her family to Huntsville when she was in elementary school. She joined NASA in 1979 and qualified as an astronaut in 1987. Among the highlights of her long career with the space agency was her role after the 1986 Challenger explosion as lead engineer for the redesign of the O-rings that sealed the two solid rocket boosters to the external tank of the remaining space shuttles. Davis retired from NASA in 2005 and continues to work with a NASA contractor at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
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Portrait of astronaut N. Jan Davis, Oct. 9, 1987. (NASA)
Astronaut N. Jan Davis, mission specialist, talks to ground controllers as she works with the Free Flow Electrophoresis Unit (FFEU) in the Science Module of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Endeavour, Sept. 12-20, 1992. (NASA)
Astronaut Jan Davis, who grew up in Huntsville, on the flight deck of the space shuttle Discovery, her third and final mission for NASA. While in space, Davis used the shuttle’s robotic arm to deploy and retrieve a satellite developed jointly by Germany and the United States to study Earth’s middle atmosphere. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
Astronaut Nancy Jan Davis was raised in Huntsville surrounded by its rocketry and aerospace facilities. She would go on to work as an aerospace engineer at Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center, serve on three space shuttle missions, and work as an administrator at NASA in her long career. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville)
Five NASA astronauts and a Canadian payload specialist pause from their training schedule to pose for the traditional crew portrait for their mission. In front are astronauts Curtis L. Brown Jr. (right), mission commander, and Kent V. Rominger, pilot. On the back row, from left, are astronauts Robert L. Curbeam Jr., Stephen K. Robinson and N. Jan Davis, all mission specialists, along with the Canadian Space Agency payload specialist Bjarni Tryggvason, May 1997. (NASA)
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