CDR Bruce Melnick

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Revised: 01/22/2022
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1990 – CDR Bruce Melnick – First Coast Guard Astronaut


CDR Bruce Melnick - Selected by NASA
in June 1987, Commander Melnick became
an astronaut in August 1988 and qualified for
assignment as a mission specialist on Space
Shuttle flight crews. Melnick flew on STS-41
in 1990, and STS-49 in 1992. He logged
over 300 hours of space flight.

Melnick graduated from the Coast Guard Academy His
initial assignment was as a deck watch officer aboard the
USCG Cutter Steadfast, homeported in St. Petersburg,
Florida. After 16 months sea duty, he was sent to Navy
flight training in Pensacola and participated in the CNTRA’s
Masters Program. After earning his wings in 1974, and his
degree in 1975, he served two 3-1/2 year tours as a Coast
Guard Rescue Pilot at CGAS Cape Cod, Massachusetts,
and at Sitka, Alaska where he helped save 115 people from
the sinking cruise ship Prinsendam. He was then assigned to
the Aircraft Program Office in Grand Prairie, Texas, where he
conducted many of the developmental and acceptance tests on
the Coast Guard’s HH-65A “Dolphin” helicopter. In 1986 he
was transferred to CGAS Traverse City, Michigan, where he
served as the Operations Officer until his selection to the
astronaut program.

Melnick first flew on STS-41. The five man crew launched
aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on October 66 from the
Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and landed at Edwards Air
Force Base, California, on October 10, 1990. During 66 orbits
of the earth the STS-41 crew successfully deployed the
ULYSSES spacecraft, starting this interplanetary probe on its
four year journey, via Jupiter, to investigate the polar regions
of the Sun; operated the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet
instrument (SSBUV) to map atmospheric ozone levels;
activated a controlled “fire in space” experiment (the Solid
Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE); and conducted
numerous other mid-deck experiments involving radiation
measurements, polymer membranee production and
microgravity effects on plants. Mission duration was
98 hours 10 minutes 04 seconds..

On his second mission, Melnick served as a crewmember on
STS-49, May 7-16, 1992, aboard the maiden flight of the new
Space Shuttle Endeavour. During 141 orbits of the Earth, the
STS-49 crew rendezvoused with, captured, attached a new
rocket motor to, and deployed the Intelsat VI communications
satellite, and conducted the Assembly of Station by EVA methods
(ASEM) evaluation. The mission included the most EVAs (4)
during a Shuttle flight, the first ever 3 person EVA, and the two
longest EVAs in Shuttle history. Melnick performed the duties
of flight Engineer (MS-2) and was the principal Remote
Manipulator System (RMS) operator throughout the mission.

Commander Melnick retired from the U.S. Coast Guard and
left NASA in July 1992. He received numerous awards including
two Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medals, Two
Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Secretary of Transportation
Heroism Award. In August 2000 he was inducted into the
United States Coast Guard Aviation Hall of Honor.