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News Brief: Retired astronaut Bruce McCandless II, the first astronaut to fly untethered from his spacecraft, has died at the age of 80. NASA said McCandless passed away on Thursday in California, but gave no cause of death. The former naval aviator flew in space twice. During a spacewalk in 1984, McCandless tested a hand-controlled maneuvering unit that took him more than 300 feet away from the shuttle Challenger. He jokingly referred to Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk: “That may have been one small step for Neil, but it’s a heck of a big leap for me.” In 1990, McCandless helped deploy the Hubble Space Telescope from the shuttle Discovery.

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