Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
For flight testing of the Space Shuttle Enterprise during the Approach and Landing Test program in 1977, he received the: USAF Distinguished Flying Cross (1978), SETP Iven C. Kincheloe Award for Flight Test (1977) NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Special Achievement Award, AFA David C. Schilling Award for Flight, AIAA Haley Space Flight Award for 1980, AAS Flight Achievement Award, and Soaring Society of America - Certificate of Achievement.
For the orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia during STS-2 in November 1981, he received the: Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal; NASA Distinguished Service Medal; Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy; Thomas D. White Space Trophy; Robert J. Collier Trophy; Clifford B. Harmon International Trophy; Kansan of the Year, 1981; Distinguished Service Award, University of Kansas, 1982; Distinguished Engineering Service Award, University of Kansas, 1982; and DAR Medal of Honor, 1981.
He received his commission in the Air Force through the AFROTC Program at the University of Kansas and entered flying school in 1957. He served with the 474th Fighter Day Squadron and the 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron at George Air Force Base, California. He is a graduate of the USAF Experimental Test Pilot School and the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School.
He has flown over 140 different types of aircraft during his career (25 different fighters), logging more than 11,600 hours flight time -- 8,060 in jet aircraft.
He was commander of one of the two crews that flew the Space Shuttle approach and landing test flights from June through October 1977. The Space Shuttle "Enterprise" was carried to 25,000 feet on top of the Boeing 747 carrier aircraft, and then released for its two minute glide flight to landing. In this series of flight tests, he evaluated the Orbiter handling qualities and landing characteristics, and obtained the stability and control, and performance data in the subsonic flight envelope for the Space Shuttle. Engle and Richard Truly flew the first flight of the Space Shuttle in the orbital configuration.
Engle was the back-up commander for STS-1, the first Shuttle orbital test flight of the Shuttle Columbia.
Engle was commander of the second orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November, 12, 1981. His pilot for this flight, STS-2, was Richard H. Truly. Despite a mission shortened from 5 days to 2 days because of a failed fuel cell, the crew accomplished more than 90% of the objectives set for STS-2 before returning to a landing on the dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, November 14, 1981. Major test objectives included the first tests in space of the 50-foot remote manipulator arm. Also, twenty-nine flight test maneuvers were performed during the entry profile at speeds from Mach 24 (18,500 mph) to subsonic. These maneuvers were designed to extract aerodynamic and aerothermodynamic data during hypersonic entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Engle served as Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters from March 1982 to December 1982. He retained his flight astronaut status and returned to the Johnson Space Center in January 1983.
On his next mission, Engle was commander of STS 51-I which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 27, 1985. His crew was Richard O. Covey (pilot), and three mission specialists, William F. Fisher, John M. Lounge, and James D. van Hoften. The mission was acknowledged as the most successful Space Shuttle mission yet flown. The crew deployed three communications satellites, the Navy SYNCOM IV-4, the Australian AUSSAT, and American Satellite Company's ASC-1. The crew also performed the successful on-orbit rendezvous and repair of the ailing 15,000 lb SYNCOM IV-3 satellite. This repair activity saw the first manual grapple and manual deployment of a satellite by a crew member. STS 51-I completed 112 orbits of the Earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on September 3, 1985. With the completion of this flight Engle has logged over 224 hours in space.
Currently Air National Guard Assistant to CINC, U.S. Space Command; maintains Currency in F-16 ANG aircraft; also aerospace and sporting goods consultant.
ARCHIVAL BIOGRAPHY LAST UPDATED NOVEMBER 1989