Beloved Astronaut Passes Away at 85: Community Mourns the Loss

By | August 22, 2023



death – Obituary News : Retired NASA astronaut Karol “Bo” Bobko, a resident of Half Moon Bay, California, and a highly distinguished individual in the field of space exploration, passed away on Thursday, August 17. Bobko, who had the unique distinction of being the only astronaut to have flown on the maiden flights of two space shuttles, played a significant role in shaping the history of space travel.

Born in New York City on December 23, 1937, Bobko was a member of the inaugural class of the U.S. Air Force Academy and became the first graduate to become an astronaut. He completed his flight training and earned his wings in 1960, accumulating over 6,600 hours of flight time in fighter jets and various other aircraft. In 1966, he was assigned to the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory space station program as an astronaut. However, after the cancellation of the program, Bobko joined NASA as an astronaut in 1969, marking the beginning of his illustrious career in space exploration.

Throughout his career, Bobko received numerous accolades and awards. He was honored with 11 Air Force and NASA medals, including three NASA Space Flight Medals, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, and six JSC Group Achievement Awards. His exceptional contributions to the military and space programs made him a highly respected figure in both arenas.

In 1983, Bobko served as the pilot on the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger, a milestone in the history of space exploration. He went on to command two more shuttle missions in 1985, further cementing his legacy as a pioneering astronaut. In total, he spent an impressive 386 hours in space, demonstrating his unwavering dedication to advancing human knowledge and pushing the boundaries of space travel.

After retiring from NASA, Bobko embarked on a new chapter in his career, joining Science Applications International Corp. in 2005. He assumed the role of program manager of the Center Simulation Labs contract at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. In 2008, Bobko and his wife, Dianne, made Half Moon Bay their home, relishing the coastal beauty and community they found there.

Describing her late husband, Dianne Bobko said, “My husband, Bo, was an amazing man who accomplished so much. We met 67 years ago when I was a senior in high school and he was in his second year at the Air Force Academy. We had a beautiful life together with so many adventures I could never have dreamed of growing up. He was a wonderful father to our daughter, Michelle, and son, Paul.”


She continued, emphasizing his enduring passion for space exploration, stating, “He was passionate about his role in our nation’s space program to the very end of his life. We have loved living in Half Moon Bay and treasure all the friends we made here.”

Bobko is survived by his loving wife, Dianne, as well as his daughter, Michelle, and son, Paul. His extraordinary achievements and unwavering dedication to space exploration have left an indelible mark on the field, inspiring future generations of astronauts and scientists to reach for the stars..