Robert Lee Stewart with

Robert Lee Stewart with

Portrait of Robert Lee Stewart with MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit). Born August 13, 1942, Robert Lee Stewart is a retired brigadier general of the United States Army and a former NASA astronaut. He became a NASA astronaut in August 1979. His technical duties in the Astronaut Office included: testing and evaluation of the entry flight control systems for STS-1 (the first Space Shuttle orbital mission), ascent abort procedures development, and payload coordination. He also served as support crewman for STS-4, and Ascent/Orbit CAPCOM for STS-5. He served as a mission specialist on STS-41-B in 1984 and STS-51-J in 1985, and logged a total of 289 hours in space, including approximately 12 hours of EVA operations.

The Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) is an astronaut propulsion unit that was used by NASA on three Space Shuttle missions in 1984. The MMU allowed the astronauts to perform untethered EVA spacewalks at a distance from the shuttle. The MMU was used in practice to retrieve a pair of faulty communications satellites, Westar VI and Palapa B2. Following the third mission the unit was retired from use. A smaller successor, the Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue (SAFER), was first flown in 1994, and is intended for emergency use only.

Image: NASA

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