William E. Thornton, MD (b. April 14, 1929, Faison, NC) is a former Astronaut and space medicine pioneer. He has a BS in physics (1952) and MD (1963) from the University of North Carolina. He served in active duty in the Air Force as well. While in the Air Force, he became involved in space medicine research and developed and designed the first mass measuring devices for space. Om 1967 je was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA and logged over 313 hours in Space as a mission specilist on Challenger (1983, 1985). He holds over 35 patents for military weapons and medical equiptment.