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Interview with Charlie Walker: The First Industrial Astronaut

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Article

“Interview with Charlie Walker: The First Industrial Astronaut,” Interview by Leonard David
Published in Quest Volume: 31 #1 (2024)

Abstract

Before ventures like SpaceX and Blue Origin began taking private citizens into space and before firms like Space Adventures arranged for private citizens such as Dennis Tito to fly into space onboard Russian rockets and to the International Space Station, there was Charles “Charlie” Walker—the first “private industrial astronaut.” An engineer and employee of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, he flew on three Space Shuttle missions in 1984 and 1985 as a Payload Specialist (STS-41D, STS-51D, and STS-61B) operating the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis (CFES) device that performed microgravity research. The following oral history was conducted by space journalist Leonard David and covers McDonnell Douglas’ interest in funding a commercial space venture, his role, the path on how he got to fly onboard the Shuttle, the results of his microgravity electrophoresis work and its influence on others moving forward.


Citation

Walker, Charles D. “Interview with Charlie Walker: The First Industrial Astronaut.” Interview by Leonard David. Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly 31, no. 1 (2024): 59-71.

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More Information

  • Archive ID # G301337
  • Format: Document (PDF)
  • Author/Creator:
  • Publication Year: 2024
  • Publisher: Quest
  • Copyright Status: Copyrighted
  • Copyright Holder: SPACE 3.0
  • Language: English
  • Number of Pages: 13
  • Type: Oral History/Interview
  • Subject:
  • Collection: Quest
  • Availability: Digital Download

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