HOUSTON — NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless, the first person to fly freely and untethered in space, has died. He was 80.

He was famously photographed in 1984 flying with a hefty spacewalker's jetpack, alone in the cosmic blackness above a blue Earth. He traveled more than 300 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger during the spacewalk.

NASA's Johnson Space Center said Friday that McCandless died Thursday in California. No cause of death was given.

McCandless was later part of the 1990 shuttle crew that delivered the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit. He also served as the Mission Control capsule communicator in Houston as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969.

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