Bonnie Dunbar, ’71, ’75, leads mission to space

UW alum Bonnie Dunbar, ’71, ’75, was the astronaut-in-charge Jan. 12 when the crew of the space shuttle Columbia successfully retrieved a bus-sized, experiment-packed satellite.

Dunbar controlled the robot arm that seized the 10-ton Long Duration Exposure Facility, which was slowly falling out of orbit after six years aloft. Its safe return, delayed five years by NASA’s post-Challenger hiatus, allows engineers to inspect the condition of various materials after long exposure in space.

“Bow Down to Washington” served as the wake-up call for one morning of the 11-day mission. It was the second shuttle flight for Dunbar, who flew in the Challenger in 1985.