Sandlapper Society

Notable SC Astronauts


Charles Bolden

This Columbia native graduated from the US Naval Academy and joined the Marine Corps. He flew over 100 combat missions during the Vietnam conflict. Chosen by NASA for astronaut training in 1980, General Bolden flew four missions on space shuttles, commanding a mission on Atlantis in 1992. President Obama chose Bolden to head NASA in 2009.

Ronald McNair

Dr. Ronald McNair was the second African American to fly in space. Born in Lake City in 1950, McNair was a physicist. He perished with the rest of the crew in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster.

Frank L. Culbertson, Jr.

This Holly Hill native was born in 1949. After graduating from the US Naval Academy, he became a fighter pilot and logged over 6000 flying hours in more than 40 different aircraft and made over 350 carrier landings. He was selected for astronaut training by NASA in 1984. He flew on the Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavor and spent 129 days on the International Space Station in 2001. The only American not on Earth on September 11, 2001, NASA astronaut Frank Culbertson, had a unique vantage point on the attacks on the World Trade Center. Culbertson, a retired U.S. Navy captain, was commanding the orbiting laboratory's Expedition 3 mission and was living on the outpost with Russian cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Turin at the time.