Born February 11, 1953, in Frankfurt-on-Main, West Germany. He received a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975. He accumulated over 2,500 hours and 200 carrier landings in approximately 30 different types of aircraft. Thorne was selected as an astronaut by NASA in June 1985 and, in August, commenced a one-year training and evaluation program to qualify him for subsequent assignment as a pilot on future Space Shuttle flight crews. Lieutenant Commander Thorne was killed in an aircraft accident, in which he was a passenger, on May 24, 1986.