Samuel Durrance Obituary

Samuel Durrance Obituary


Moreover, Dr. Samuel Durrance was an avid astronomer, space lover, astronaut, father and loving husband! 

Furthermore, NASA’s Johnson Space Center wrote of Astronaut Durrance:

“Today we mourn the passing of Samuel Durrance, an astronomer who flew aboard two NASA Space Shuttle missions as a payload specialist and operated a collection of four telescopes as part of the Astro-1 and Astro-2 Spacelabs. Godspeed, Samuel. Your legacy will live on for the generation of space explorers to come.”

“Sam died quietly today surrounded by family after a long struggle with dementia and Parkinson’s disease. He had spent his final days in hospice care at a facility in Viera, Florida,” his family said. “A true scientist to the end and beyond. Sam asked that his body become donated to support the ongoing medical research associated with astronauts who have flown in space.”

Durrance was a payload specialist, in addition, notable that he was a non-career astronaut. 

Durrance spent nearly 9 days in orbit working on astronomical research during his first trip to space. Additionally, he used 4 Astro-1 telescopes. 

5 years later Astronaut Durrance would go to space again!

Astro-1 and Astro-2, two Space Shuttle missions dedicated to astronomy. The Astro-1 mission launched on December 2, 1990. And the Astro-2 mission launched on March 2, 1995. Furthermore, each mission carried a suite of telescopes. Including ultraviolet, X-ray, and gamma-ray telescopes. Used to study a variety of astronomical objects and phenomena.

Dr. Samuel T. Durrance Obituary

His son Ben Durrance posted a beautiful tribute to his father on Facebook:

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my father, Sam Durrance. He was a beloved father, grandfather, husband, brother, astronaut, and professor widely known and respected for his outstanding contributions to science, education, and humanity. Today, he lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia, with which he was diagnosed in 2021.

My father, a man of remarkable character and admired for his intelligence, kindness, gentleness, selflessness, and humility. He dedicated his life to exploring the mysteries of space and sharing his knowledge and passion with his students as a professor. His career spanned several decades, and he earned numerous achievements and accolades.

As an astronaut, he completed two Space Shuttle missions, logging over 375 hours in space and conducting groundbreaking scientific experiments. He was also a vital member of several NASA committees and task forces, where he used his expertise to guide and shape the future of space exploration.

As a professor, he inspired countless students to pursue their dreams and make their mark in the world. His commitment to education and innovation earned him numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the Space Foundation’s highest honor, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award.

In his final days, my father was surrounded by the love and care of his family, and he passed peacefully in hospice care. Although he will be deeply missed, his legacy will continue to inspire and impact generations to come.

My father was an inspiration to me and to so many others. He taught me the importance of living with purpose, giving back to the community, and treating others with kindness and respect. I will always cherish the memories we shared, and his spirit will live on through his remarkable achievements and the countless lives he touched.

Rest in peace, Dad. You will always be remembered and loved.”

Samuel Durrance.jpg

portrait astronaut Samuel Durrance, NASA –

Samuel Durrance Obituary

Remembering Sam Durrance | Physics & Astronomy | Johns Hopkins University (

Samuel Durrance, astronaut who flew with telescope he built, dies at 79 | collectSPACE