Bruce McCandless, first astronaut to float untethered, dies

Posted at 3:39 PM, Dec 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-23 11:30:03-05

(CNN) - Former astronaut Bruce McCandless, who was the first astronaut to float untethered in space, passed away Thursday at the age of 80.

McCandless was born in Boston in 1937 and was already a U.S. Navy captain when he was among 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966.

He logged hundreds of hours in space, but was best known for that untethered space flight, which was famously captured in a 1984 photo, flying alongside the space shuttle Challenger in a jetpack-style craft called a manned maneuvering unit.

Crew members used a 70mm camera to shoot the photo through windows on the shuttle's flight deck.

McCandless held several advanced degrees and received many honors during his lifetime.

He is survived by his wife, two children and two grandchildren.

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