Aug. 7, 1997
Astronaut Jan Davis boarded her last flight into space on the Discovery, completing 189 orbits and traveling 4.7 million miles. She joined NASA in 1979 as an aerospace engineer after receiving her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University, and earned a master’s (1983) and Ph.D (1985) in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Before retiring, Davis logged a total of 11 million miles in space, circling the earth 445 times for 673 hours.
Read more at the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Portrait of astronaut Jan Davis, Oct. 9, 1987. (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 NASA)
Alabama-born astronauts Jan Davis (left) and Mae Jemison served as mission specialists on the space shuttle Endeavour in September 1992. Davis would go on to serve on two more shuttle missions and then become an administrator at NASA. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of NASA)
Astronaut 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)
This week in 1997, space shuttle Discovery launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. (NASA)
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)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.