How to Become an Astronaut and Local Hero: Ron McNair
Well step 1 is to be naturally hard working. Step 2 is to complete your education (all the way, despite any perceived and / or real slights by society). Step 3 is to work hard. Step 4 is die on the job doing what you love. A PhD from MIT helps – a lot!
Dr. McNair was assigned as a mission specialist on STS 51-L. Dr. McNair died on January 28, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launch from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, also taking the lives of the spacecraft commander, Mr. F.R. Scobee, the pilot, Commander M.J. Smith (USN), mission specialists, Lieutenant Colonel E.S. Onizuka (USAF), and Dr. J.A. Resnik, and two civilian payload specialists, Mr. G.B. Jarvis and Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe.