Steven R. Nagel, a former astronaut who flew on four space shuttle flights, has died after a long illness. He was 67.

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Steven R. Nagel, a former astronaut who flew on four space shuttle flights, has died after a long illness. He was 67.

NASA said in a news release that Nagel died Thursday. Longtime friend Ed Reinholtz said Nagel died of cancer in Columbia, Missouri.

Nagel was a test pilot for the Air Force before becoming an astronaut in 1979.

NASA said he was a mission specialist during a June 1985 Discovery flight and the pilot aboard the Challenger in October 1985. He was commander on his last two missions — an Atlantis flight in April 1991 and a 10-day trip on Columbia in April 1993.

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Nagel later worked as deputy director and deputy chief in two separate offices at Houston’s Johnson Space Center.

Nagel retired from NASA in 2011.

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