Image of Astronaut Gregory Jarvis
NASA Image
Gregory B. Jarvis

Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, August 24, 1944

Challenger Position: Payload Specialist

Education: Graduated from Mohawk Central High School, Mohawk, New York, 1962; received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1967; a master’s degree in electrical engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, 1969; and has also completed all the course work for a master’s degree in management science, West Coast University, Los Angeles, California

Gregory Jarvis was a payload specialist on Challenger mission STS 51-L. He was born on August 24, 1944 in Detroit, Michigan. He was an avid squash player and bicycle rider. He also enjoyed cross country skiing, backpacking, racquet ball, and white water river rafting. For relaxation, he played the classical guitar. He graduated from Mohawk Central High School in Mohawk, New York in 1962. He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 1969 he received a Master's degree in the same field from Northeastern University . He worked for Raytheon in Bedford, Massachusetts while he was pursuing his Master's degree, designing circuits for the SAM-D missile. He joined the United States Air Force in 1969 and was assigned to the Space Division in El Segundo, California. He worked on tactical communication satellites as a Communications Payload Engineer in the Satellite Communications Program Office. In 1973 he was honorably discharged from the Air Force with the rank of Captain. He then worked for Hughes Aircraft as a Communications Subsystem Engineer on the MIRSAT program. During his time at Hughes, we worked on a number of satellite programs, serving as project manager on many of the programs.

Jarvis was selected as a payload specialist candidate in 1984 while working on advanced satellite designs for the Systems Application Laboratory. He was accepted into the program under Hughes sponsorship after competing against 600 other Hughes employees for the opportunity. He was one of only two members of the Challenger crew who were not federal employees. The other was school teacher Christa McAuliffe.

Greg Jarvis was selected to be a payload specialist on Challenger mission STS 51-L. This was to be his first flight into space. His duties on the flight were to involve the gathering of new information on the design of liquid-fueled rockets. After the accident, his remains were cremated and scattered at sea in the Pacific Ocean. He was survived by his wife. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. In his memory, the East Engineering building on University at Buffalo north campus was renamed Jarvis Hall. Jarvis Hall is devoted largely to Aerospace Engineering and engineering support services. Mohawk Central High School in Mohawk, New York was renamed to Gregory B. Jarvis Jr/Sr High School in honor of the fallen astronaut.