Michael John Smith


Michael John Smith Famous memorial

Beaufort, Carteret County, North Carolina, USA
Death 28 Jan 1986 (aged 40)
Cape Canaveral, Brevard County, Florida, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 7A, Grave 208-1 and Section 46, Grave 1129-8
Memorial ID 1918 View Source

United States Astronaut. He was the pilot of the ill-fated space shuttle "Challenger". From the time he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1967, he had an accomplished Navy career which lasted almost 20 years. He earned a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Naval Postgraduate School in 1968 and completed flight training in 1969. He served as an instructor in the jet training command, and then completed a two year Vietnam cruise with Attack Squadron 52. In 1974, he graduated from the US Navy Test Pilot School. Between 1974 and 1980, he served with the Strike Aircraft Directorate, returned as an instructor at the Test Pilot School, and served two Mediterranean deployments aboard the "USS Saratoga". According to the official NASA biography, he had flown 28 different types of civilian and military aircraft, and logged 4,867.7 hours of flying time. During this time he earned the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, 3 Air Medals, 13 Strike Flight Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal with "V", the Navy Unit Citation, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. He was selected as an astronaut candidate in May 1980, and qualified as a space shuttle pilot in 1981. When the Challenger exploded on takeoff, all those aboard died. He was posthumously awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Bio by: RosalieAnn


United States Navy
Pilot of Space Shuttle Challenger
NASA Astronaut

Family Members



In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees



How famous was Michael John Smith?

Current rating:

235 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 1918
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Michael John Smith (30 Apr 1945–28 Jan 1986), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1918, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .