NASA put out a want ad for astronauts in an aviation magazine called Aviation Week. As an aerospace engineer and a former military fighter pilot, test pilot, and flight test engineer, Vance Brand felt qualified and applied. The rest is history.
Brand received a bachelor of science degree in business from the University of Colorado in 1953, a bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Colorado in 1960, and a master's degree in Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1964.
Brand was one of the nineteen pilot astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. During his tenure as an astronaut, Brand was a support crewman for the Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 missions. He was the backup command module pilot for Apollo 15, and backup commander for Skylab 3 and 4. On the Apollo-Soyuz Mission, he acted as command module pilot. The mission was the first historic meeting in space between American Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts. Brand commanded the STS-5 Mission aboard Columbia, the first fully-operational flight of the Space Shuttle Transportation System. Brand also commanded the STS-41-B Mission on the Space Shuttle Challenger's tenth Space Shuttle flight, where they attempted to deploy two communications satellites. Brand was back aboard Columbia for his third shuttle command. During the nine-day flight, the first dedicated to astronomy, the seven-man crew worked around the clock observing stars and celestial objects.
After twenty-five years as an astronaut, Brand made the move into management at NASA as the Director of Aerospace Projects, conducting tests and research for NASA.
Brand has been the recipient of many special honors, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Wright Brothers International Manned Space Flight Award, the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Space Award, the University of Colorado Alumnus of the Century (one of twelve), and two NASA Space Flight Medals. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame on October 4, 1997.Brand and his wife, Bev, have six children: Susan, Stephanie, Patrick, Kevin, Erik, and Dane.
Brand was initiated into Longmont Chapter DeMolay in Longmont, Colorado, in 1945. He was an active DeMolay for three years. In high school, he served as Master Councilor of Longmont Chapter. Brand was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on April 14, 1989.
"DeMolay's positive values and high standards improved my moral and patriotic awareness and that has served me as a fountain for later life. I will always remember the friendship and good times, too."