David M. Brown, 46, a mission specialist aboard the shuttle Columbia, was a captain in the U.S. Navy.

He was a flight surgeon chosen for pilot training in 1988 and designated a naval aviator in 1990. He had logged over 2,700 flight hours with 1,700 in high performance military aircraft including the F-18 Hornet and T-38 Talon.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Brown completed two years of training and was eligible for flight assignment as a mission specialist.

Initially assigned to support payload development for the International Space Station, he was assigned to the astronaut support team responsible for orbiter cockpit setup, crew strap-in, and landing recovery.

Prior to the Columbia launch, Brown recounted how earlier astronauts had advised to “not forgot to look out the window.”

“When you look out the window, you’re not looking at the stars or the moon. You’re looking at the Earth,” he said. “When you look at the Earth, invariably people say that they think about people.”

Brown joined the Navy after his internship at the Medical University of South Carolina and completed flight surgeon training in 1984.

In 1982, he earned a doctorate in medicine from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Earlier, he earned a bachelor’s degree of science in biology from the College of William and Mary in 1978.

A collegiate varsity gymnast, Brown performed in the Circus Kingdom as an acrobat, 7-foot unicyclist and stilt walker while in college.

Born in Arlington, Va., Brown graduated from Yorktown High School and his parents, Paul and Dorothy Brown still reside in the area. Brown was single.

Past president of the International Association of Military Flight Surgeon Pilots, Brown was an associate fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association and a member of the Society of U.S. Naval Flight Surgeons.

Brown was awarded the Navy Operational Flight Surgeon of the Year in 1986, the Meritorious Service Medal and Navy Achievement Medal.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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