Michael J. Smith, STS-51L Pilot

- Image ID: HRP52M
Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: HRP52M
Astronaut Michael J. Smith, pilot. Michael John Smith (April 30, 1945 - January 28, 1986), (Captain, USN), was an American astronaut-pilot of the Space Shuttle Challenger when it was destroyed during the STS-51-L mission. His voice was the last one heard on the Challenger voice recorder, saying "Uh oh". Smith was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2004, along with all crew members lost in the Challenger and Columbia accidents. He also received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (posthumous), the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, 3 Air Medals, 13 Strike/Flight Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal with "V" Device, the Navy Unit Citation, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.