Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair was born in Lake City, South Carolina. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was selected as one of the first black astronauts in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space program in 1978. In 1984, he served as a mission specialist on Space Shuttle Mission 41-B of the Challenger on an eight-day maneuver to deploy two communication satellites. McNair established an identity as an exemplary family man and an active participant in community and church affairs. Dr. McNair perished along with his crew members in the Challenger, just after liftoff on January 28, 1986.