News 9 - March 18, 2024 6:31 pm

Thomas Stafford(Image Provided By: Oklahoma Historical Society)

Oklahoma-born NASA astronaut General Thomas Stafford passed away on Monday, according to a press release from the Stafford Air and Space Museum.

Stafford was 93 years old.

Stafford was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma, in 1930. He graduated from Weatherford High School in 1948, according to the Air Force.

Stafford graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1952 with honors and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, according to the Air Force.

Stafford became a pilot, flight leader and flight test maintenance officer, the Air Force says.

According to the Air Force, Stafford was selected for the second group of astronauts for the Gemini and Apollo missions in 1962. In 1965, Stafford conducted the first space rendezvous and helped NASA improve the practice of space rendezvous.

According to the Air Force, Stafford was a commander in the 1969 Apollo X mission, which was the first time humans went to the moon. Stafford did not actually land on the moon, but he performed the whole moon-landing mission except the moon landing.

General Stafford

Image Provided By: Oklahoma Historical Society

The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Stafford for the highest reentry speed of any manned spacecraft during the Apollo missions.

From there, Stafford became the deputy director of flight crew operations for NASA.

In his fourth space flight, Stafford met Soviet cosmonauts during the Soyuz Test Project mission in space. This marked a change in space exploration, joining US and Russian interest in mutual future space explorations, according to the Air Force.

The press release said Stafford is survived by his wife Linda, his two sons, two daughters, and many grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held in his hometown of Weatherford.

General Stafford

Image Provided By: Oklahoma Historical Society


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