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Thumbnail Sketches of the 7 Astronauts

April 12, 1985

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ Here are brief biographies of the seven crew members aboard Discovery for the 16th space shuttle mission:


Karol J. Bobko, 47, the mission commander, is an Air Force colonel, making his second shuttle flight. He served as pilot on the sixth flight, the maiden voyage of Challenger, in 1983.

He was born in New York City, received a bachelor of science degree from the Air Force Academy in 1959 and a master of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California in 1970. He served with the 523rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., with the 336th Tachtical Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., and attended the Aerospace Research Pilots School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Bobko was assigned as an astronaut to the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory program in 1966, and after that project was cancelled, he transferred to NASA’s astronaut corps in 1969.

He is married to the former F. Dianne Welsh of Denver, and they have two children, Michelle 25, and Paul, 19. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Bobko, live in Gulf Harbors, Fla.


Donald E. Williams, 42, the pilot, is a Navy commander. He was born in Lafayette, Ind., and was graduated from Purdue University in 1964 with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.

Commissioned through the Navy ROTC program at Purdue, he was a fighter pilot, flight instructor and served four different Vietnam tours aboard the carrier U.S.S. Enterprise, flying 330 combat missions. He later graduated from the Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Md., and became head of the Carrier Systems Branch, Strike Aircraft Directorate. He was assigned to Attack Squadron 94 when NASA selected him as an astronaut in 1978.

He is married to the former Linda Jo Grubaugh of Sturgis, Mich., and they have two children, Jonathon, 10, and Barbara, 8. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Williams, live in Houston.


Dr. Margaret Rhea Seddon, 37, mission specialist, was born in Murfreesboro, Tenn., received a bachelor of arts degree in physiology from the University of California in 1970 and a doctorate of medicine from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 1973.

She completed surgical internship and three years of general surgery residency in Memphis, Tenn., with a particular interest in surgical nutrition. Between her internship and residency, she served as an emergency room physician at a number of Mississippi and Tennessee hospitals and does the same thing now in her spare time near her home in Houston.

In 1978, she was in the first group of six women named to NASA’s astronaut corps. Three years later she married a fellow astronaut, Navy Cmdr. Robert L. Gibson. They have a 2-year-old son, Paul. Her father, Edward C. Seddon, lives in Murfreesboro.


S. David Griggs, 45, mission specialist, was born in Portland, Ore., received a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1962 and a master of science in administration from George Wasington University in 1970.

After graduation from the Naval Academy, he was attached to Attack Squadron 72 and completed two Southeast Asia cruises and one Mediterranean cruise aboard the carriers U.S.S. Independence and U.S.S. Roosevelt. He attended the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md. After receiving his masters degree at George Washington, he became a civilian research pilot at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

At Johnson, Griggs became project pilot for the space shuttle training aircraft, a modified Grumman Gulfstream jet, which he helped design, develop and test. He later was named chief of the Shuttle Training Aircraft Operations Office and in 1978 he was assigned to the astronaut corps.

He is married to the former Karen Kreeb of Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., and they have two daughters, Alison, 13, and Carre, 10. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jack L. Griggs Sr., live in Lawrence, Mich.


Jeffrey A. Hoffman, 40, mission specialist, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y. He received a bachelor of arts degree in astronomy, graduating summa cum laude, from Amherst College in 1962 and a doctor of philosophy in astrophysics from Harvard University in 1971.

For three years, starting in 1972, he did postdoctoral work at Leicester University in England. From 1975 to 1978, he worked with the Center for Space Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, designing astronomy instruments for satellites and analyzing their data.

Hoffman was selected for NASA’s astronaut corps in 1979. He has been assigned a second shuttle mission, in March 1986, when he will put his astronomy background to work, observing Halley’s Comet.

He is married to the former Barbara Attridge of Greenwich, England, and they have two sons, Samuel, 9, and Orin, 5. His parents, Dr. and Mrs. Burton P. Hoffman, live in Scarsdale.


Charles D. Walker, 36, is an employee of the Astronautics Division of McDonnell Douglas Corp.. Last August he became the first person to fly in space to conduct research for a commercial company. He operated a machine that successfully separated biological materials in an electrical field to produce an undisclosed hormone which he says will be a ″breakthrough in medical treatment″ that could benefit millions of people.

However, his batch of material became contaminated by bacteria and could not be tested on animals and humans. Modifications have been made to the machine and more refrigeration will be used on the current flight in hopes of correcting the problem.

Walker was born in Bedford, Ind., and received a bachelor of science degree in aeroanuatical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1971 and worked initially for the U.S. Forest Service in Indiana. He later worked for Bendix Aerospace and for the Naval Sea Systems Command as a design engineer for ammunition systems.

He applied to NASA’s astronaut corps as a mission specialist in 1977, but was not selected. The same year McDonnell Douglas hired him for a team it was forming for a project to develop pharmaceuticals in space weightlessness. Four flights of the experiment on early shuttle flights demonstrated the technique works, and when it came time to start production work in space, McDonnell Douglas asked NASA to take Walker along. He is scheduled to fly again in August.

Walker and his wife, Melissa, live in St. Louis.


Sen. E.J. ″Jake″ Garn, 52, payload specialist, is flying as a congressional observer, in his capacity as chairman of a Senate subcommittee that oversees funding for NASA’s programs.

He was born in Richfield, Utah, and attended the University of Utah, where he received a bachelor of science degree in business and finance. A former insurance executive, he served as a pilot in the Navy and has logged more than 10,000 hours pilot time in military and private civilian aircraft.

Garn, a Republican, served on the Salt Lake City Commission for four years and was elected mayor of the city in 1971. He was first vice president of the National League of Cities in 1974, the same year he was first elected to the Senate. He was reelected to a second term in 1980.

He is chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and is a member of the Appropriations Committee and Committee on Intelligence and serves on several subcommittees.

Garn married Hazel Thompson in 1957, and they had four children, Jake Jr., Susan, Ellen and Jeffrey. His wife died in an auto accident in 1976, and the following year he married Kathleen Brewerton, who had a son, Brook. They have two children, Matthew and Jennifer.

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