Pinky Nelson was born July 13, 1950, in Charles City, Iowa, but considers Willmar, Minnesota, to be his hometown. Graduated from Willmar Senior High School, Willmar, Minnesota, in 1968 received a bachelor of science degree in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1972 and a master of science and a doctorate in Astronomy from the University of Washington in 1974 and 1978, respectively.
Dr. Nelson was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978. He flew as a scientific equipment operator in the WB 57-F earth resources aircraft; served as the Astronaut Office representative in the Space Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit space suit development effort. A veteran of three space flights, Dr. Nelson served aboard STS-41C Challenger in 1984, STS-61C Columbia in 1986 and STS-26 Discovery in 1988.
STS-26 Discovery September 29 to October 3, 1988 was the first mission flown after the Challenger accident. During the four-day flight, the crew successfully deployed the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite TDRS-C, and operated eleven mid-deck science experiments.
~Thomas James Rosengren, Belgrade, MN