Apollo astronaut Richard F. Gordon, Jr., one of only two dozen people ever to have flown to the Moon, died yesterday at the age of 88 at his home in California.
Gordon joined NASA in 1963 after a career in the U.S. Navy. He was a veteran of two NASA missions: in 1966, he served as pilot of Gemini 11, during which he performed some of NASA’s earliest spacewalks. He also served as the command module pilot of Apollo 12, which was the second mission to visit the Moon.
The following is a statement from acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot on the passing of former NASA astronaut Richard Gordon:
“NASA and the nation have lost one of our early space pioneers. We send our condolences to the family and loved ones of Gemini and Apollo astronaut Richard Gordon, a hero from NASA’s third class of astronauts.”
“Naval officer, aviator, chemist, test pilot, and astronaut were among the many hats of this talented and daring explorer. Dick was pilot of Gemini XI in 1966, on which he performed a spacewalk where he tethered the Gemini and Agena together for the very first attempt at creating artificial gravity by rotating spacecraft. He also was command module pilot of Apollo 12, the second manned mission to land on the Moon. While his crewmates Pete Conrad and Alan Bean landed in the Ocean of Storms, he remained in lunar orbit aboard the Yankee Clipper, taking photos for potential future landing sites and later performing final re-docking maneuvers.”
“An accomplished naval aviator, Dick tested many new aircraft that later entered service and also won the Bendix Trophy Race from New York to Los Angeles in 1961, setting a new speed record for the time.”
“Dick will be fondly remembered as one of our nation’s boldest flyers, a man who added to our own nation’s capabilities by challenging his own. He will be missed.”
For more information about Gordon’s NASA career, visit:
Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff