Vance DeVoe Brand (born May 9, 1931) is an American former naval officer and aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut. He served as Command Module Pilot during the first U.S.-Soviet joint spaceflightin 1975, and as Commander of three Space Shuttle missions.
His flight experience includes 9,669 flying hours, which includes 8,089 hours in jets, 391 hours in helicopters, 746 hours in spacecraft, and checkout in more than 30 types of military aircraft. Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, Colorado, is named in his honor.
Brand was Commander of Space Shuttle Columbia for STS-5, the first fully operational flight of the Space Shuttle program, which launched on November 11, 1982. His crew comprised Colonel Robert Overmyer, pilot, and two mission specialists, Dr. Joseph P. Allen and Dr. William B. Lenoir. STS-5, the first mission with a four-man crew, demonstrated the Shuttle as operational by the successful first deployment of two commercial communications satellites from the Shuttle's payload bay. The mission marked the Shuttle's first use of an upper-stage rocket for payloads, the Payload Assist Module (PAM-D). The satellites were deployed for Satellite Business Systems Corporation of McLean, Virginia, and TELESAT of Ottawa, Canada. Two FAI records for mass to altitude were set on the mission. Numerous flight tests were performed to ascertain Shuttle performance. STS-5 was the last flight to carry the Development Flight Instrumentation package to support extensive flight testing. The STS-5 crew concluded the 5-day orbital flight of Columbia with the landing approach through a cloud deck to Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, California on November 16, 1982. Mission duration was 122 hours.
Brand commanded Challenger with a crew of five on the tenth flight of the Space Shuttle program, STS-41-B. The launch was on February 3, 1984. His crew included Commander Robert L. Gibson, pilot, and 3 Mission Specialists, Captain Bruce McCandless II, Dr.Ronald McNair, and Lt. Col. Robert L. Stewart. The flight accomplished the deployment of two Hughes HS-376 communications satellites which failed to reach desired geosynchronous orbits due to upper-stage rocket failures. This mission marked the first flight checkout of the Manned Maneuvering Unit and the Manipulator Foot Restraint with McCandless and Stewart performing two untethered extravehicular activities. Shuttle rendezvous sensors and computer programs were flight-tested for the first time. The 8-day flight of Challenger ended with the first landing to the runway at the Kennedy Space Center on February 11, 1984.
Brand was training initially for STS-51-H on Atlantis in November 1985. That mission was canceled and re-manifested as STS-61-K, a Spacelab mission which would've launched on Columbia in October 1986. That mission was canceled by the Challenger disaster.
Brand again commanded Columbia on the 38th flight of the shuttle, this time with a crew of seven, on STS-35. The spectacular night launch on December 2, 1990 started a nine-day mission devoted to round-the-clock astronomical observations. Crewmen included the pilot, Col. Guy Gardner; three Mission Specialists, John M. Lounge, Dr. Robert A. Parker and Dr. Jeffrey A. Hoffman; and two Payload Specialists, Dr. Samuel T. Durrance and Dr. Ronald A. Parise. The 13-ton payload consisted of the three ASTRO-1 ultraviolet (UV) telescopes and the Broadband X-ray Telescope. More than 200 Orbiter maneuvers were required to point the telescopes. This Shuttle flight, one of the first dedicated to astronomy, provided a rich return of science data with emphasis on observations of very active celestial objects. A night landing was made on December 10, to Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base. Mission duration was 215 hours.