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(ISBN 0-942683-18-8; 244 pages)


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Dr. Ronald E. McNair Foundation
In the Spirit of Ronald E. McNair - Astronaut is an intensely moving story about one of the world’s first African-American space shuttle astronauts. Born and reared in a small town in rural segregated South Carolina, McNair did not let impoverish beginnings or the color of his skin stand between him and his goal of becoming an astronaut.

After graduating magna cum laude from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (A & T), McNair went on to earn a Ph.D. in laser physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). In 1978, he was one of 35 astronaut candidates selected from a pool of 11,000 applicants to become a member of NASA's elite Space Shuttle program. In February 1984, he first orbited the earth aboard the Challenger. In 1986, Dr. McNair perished along with six fellow crewmembers aboard the ill-fated shuttle, Challenger.

Dr. McNair combined a remarkable life and career as a research scientist, pioneering astronaut, family man, jazz musician, karate expert, and a man of faith. His lifelong commitment was to continue his quest to inspire and encourage students to dream big, work hard and accomplish their goals. As a crusader for education, he spoke before the Massachusetts State Legislature on education, Dr. McNair proclaimed, “I believe that in our urban and rural cities there are great minds and talents with hands that can control a spacecraft with the same dexterity that they control and handle a basketball. These talents must not be wasted."

Ronald McNair is an American hero whose story serves as a model for people from all walks of life. His story is one that must be passed on from generation to generation.

"Before you can make a dream come true, you must first have one."
-- Dr. Ronald E. McNair
© 2005 Dr. Ronald E. McNair Foundation