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Born on August 26, 1942, in San Antonio, Texas, Col. John E. Blaha graduated from Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia. He went on to recieve a B. S. in engineering science from the United States Air Force Academy in 1965 and an M. Sc. in astronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1966.

Selected as an astronaut in May 1980, Blaha has logged 161 days in space on 5 space missions. He spent some time on Mir in 1996 and 1997, after going through Russian language training.
Col. Blaha has three grown children and two grandchildren.

A voice sample of an astronaut talking about alien spacecraft has been attributed by some to Col. Blaha. This sample is featured on Mix Master Mike's record "Anti Theft Device", followed by a reporter saying "Nasa maintains that this is not Col. Blaha's voice".

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