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Thirty-Five New Guys: A Tribute
by Bob McLeod

On January 16, 1978, after a decade hiatus, NASA named its eighth group of astronauts. Self-described as the 'Thirty Five New Guys' (TFNG) -- in the same spirit as the earlier 'Original Seven' and 'Next Nine' -- the new recruits were specifically chosen to fly on the Space Shuttle, and that they did.

Thirty-Five New Guys (NASA Group 8)

(click to enlarge)

Bluford, Guion S., Jr. (USAF)
Brandenstein, Daniel C. (USN)
Buchli, James F. (USMC)
Coats, Michael L. (USN)
Covey, Richard O. (USAF)
Creighton, John O. (USN)
Fabian, John M. (USAF)
Fisher, Anna L. (civilian)
Gardner, Dale A. (USN)
Gibson, Robert L. (USN)
Gregory, Frederick D. (USAF)
Griggs, S. David (civilian)
Hart, Terry J. (civilian)
Hauck, Frederick H. (USN)
Hawley, Steven A. (civilian)
Hoffman, Jeffrey A. (civilian)
Lucid, Shannon W. (civilian)
McBride, Jon A. (USN)
  McNair, Ronald E. (civilian)
Mullane, Richard M. (USAF)
Nagel, Steven R. (USAF)
Nelson, George D. (civilian)
Onizuka, Ellison S. (USAF)
Resnik, Judith A. (civilian)
Ride, Sally K. (civilian)
Scobee, Francis R. (USAF)
Seddon, Margaret Rhea (civilian)
Shaw, Brewster H., Jr. (USAF)
Shriver, Loren J. (USAF)
Stewart, Robert L. (Army)
Sullivan, Kathryn D. (civilian)
Thagard, Norman E. (civilian)
van Hoften, James D.A. (civilian)
Walker, David M. (USN)
Williams, Donald E. (USN)

Between 1983 and 1992, at least one TFNG flew with each mission, STS-7 through STS-49, with only the exception of STS-51F. In fact, during the early years, TFNG comprised the bulk of the shuttle crews. All 35 made at least one flight, with the vast majority making at least two.

From their ranks came the first American woman in space (Sally Ride), the first African-American in space (Guion Bluford), the first American woman to perform an EVA (Kathryn Sullivan), and the women's record holder for the longest continuous time in space (Shannon Lucid).

Sadly, the group also included four crew members of the ill-fated 51-L Challenger flight (Richard Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair and Elison Onizuka). Two other class members, David Griggs and David Walker, have also passed away.

Steve Hawley made what may very well be the final TFNG flight on STS-93 in 1999. He and Anna Lee Fisher do remain on NASA's active astronaut roster, but it is rather questionable whether either will fly again.

As such, it is possible that the Thirty-Five New Guys' chapter in space history has come to a close, but their legacy remains for the many astronauts ready to carry on and take their places as Space Shuttle commanders, pilots and mission specialists.

Below are early examples of the Thirty-Five New Guys' autographs, as they have been most gracious to provide their signatures to their fans and space collectors.

(click to enlarge)

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Bob McLeod is a space enthusiast and long-time collector concentrating on astronaut and cosmonaut autographs, with emphasis on the space voyagers, NASA astronauts and crew autographed covers and crew photos. He especially receives a thrill from meeting space explorers in person and has had the honor to meet over 60. The autographs he receives in-person are a cherished part of his collection.

He can be reached at

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