NASA Biographical Data


Samuel T. Durrance (Ph.D.) Payload Specialist


Born September 17, 1943, in Tallahassee, Florida, but considers Tampa, Florida his home town. His parents, Rodney and Leone Durrance, are residents of Lakeland, Florida.


Brown hair; green eyes; 5 feet 11 inches; 165 pounds.


Received a bachelor of science degree and a master of science degree in physics (with honors), California State University, Los Angeles, California, 1972 and 1974, respectively; and a doctor of philosophy degree in astro-geophysics, University of Colorado, 1980.


Married to the former Rebecca Tuggle. Her parents, Tommy and Sue Tuggle, reside in Bossier City, Louisiana.


Benjamin, January 5, 1982; Susan, January 13, 1985.


He enjoys going to the beach with his family, scuba diving, flying, running, auto racing, photography, and camping.


Dr. Durrance is a Principal Research Scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. He is a coinvestigator for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, one of the instruments of the Astro Observatory.


He is a member of the Association of Space Explorers, the American Astronomical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the International Astronomical Union, and the Planetary Society.


Dr. Durrance has made International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite observations of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, the Io Torus, Saturn, and Uranus. He helped develop special pointing techniques needed to observe solar system objects with that satellite. He used the Pioneer Venus UV Spectrometer to observe airglow emissions from Venus. He used the OSO-8 UV spectrometer to study the terrestrial thermosphere and has flown three rocket borne telescope/UV spectrometer payloads to observe both planetary and steller objects. He participated in the design, construction, calibration, and integration of the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, and the Astro observatory. He has directed a program to develop adaptive optics instrumentation for ground based astronomy. This effort resulted in the design and construction of hybred coronagraph, called the Adaptive Optics Coronagraph, which is now being used at the Palomar Observatory in California. His main astronomical interests are in the orgin and evolution of planets, both in our own solar system and around other stars. He has written over 60 scientific papers in the areas of plantetary astronomy, adaptive optics, aeronomy, and nuclear physics. He flew on STS-35, the Astro-1 mission, in December 1990 and carried out ultraviolet observations of many astronomical targets. He has participated in the analysis and publication of the results obtained with the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope.


Dr. Durrance is in flight training as a payload specialist on the crew of STS-67. This is the second flight of Astro, a series of Spacelab astronomy missions. The Astro observatory is a group of three ultraviolet telescopes, to be carried in the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Orbiter and operated from its aft flight deck. Payload specialists are normally career scientists selected for their knowledge of a particular payload. Astro payload specialist training is coordinated by the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.

MARCH 1994