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Astronauts: Chronology of Space Missions Involving U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Crew Members, 1961- April 1981

5 May 1961. America's first man in space. Launch of Freedom 7 (Mercury 3) piloted by CDR Alan B. Shepard, Jr., USN. Flight of 15 min. & 28 sec. at altitude of 116.5 statute miles with a velocity of 5,134 mph. Recovery was by HUS1 helicopter of HMR(L)-262 from USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39).

20 Feb. 1962. First American to make an orbital flight. Launch of Friendship 7 (Mercury 6) piloted by LTC John H. Glenn, Jr., USMC. His flight consisted of 3 orbits in 88 minutes at a velocity of 17,544 mph with the highest altitude of 162.2 statute miles. Recovery was by USS Noa (DD-841).

24 May 1962. Launch of Aurora 7 (Mercury 7), piloted by LCDR Malcolm Scott Carpenter, USN. He completed 3 orbits in 4 hrs., 56 min. at an altitude up to 166.8 statute miles at 17,549 mph., and was picked up by HSS-2 helicopters from USS Intrepid (CVS-11). The capsule was recovered by USS John R. Pierce (DD-753).

3 Oct. 1962. Launch of Sigma 7 (Mercury 8) piloted by CDR Walter M. Schirra, Jr., USN. In a mission lasting 9 hours and 13 minutes he made 6 orbits at an altitude up to 175.8 statute miles at 17,558 mph. Recovery was by USS Kearsarge (CVS-33).

23 Mar. 1965. LCDR John W. Young, USN, Pilot of Gemini 3 completed 3 orbits in 4 hrs., 53 min. at an altitude of 224 km. Recovery was by helicopters from USS Intrepid (CVS-11).

21 Aug. 1965. Launch of Gemini 5, piloted by LCDR Charles Conrad Jr., USN. He completed 120 orbits in almost 8 days at an altitude of 349.8 km. Recovery was by helicopter from USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39).

4 Dec. 1965. Launch of Gemini 7 piloted by CDR James A. Lovell, Jr., USN. His flight consisted of 206 orbits at an altitude of 327 km and lasted 13 days & 18 hours. Recovery by HS-11 helicopters from USS Wasp (CVS-18).

15 Dec. 1965 Launch of Gemini 6. CAPT Walter M. Schirra, Jr., USN, served as Command Pilot. The mission included 16 orbits in 25 hours and 51 minutes. Recovery was by HS-11 helicopters from USS Wasp (CVS-18).

16 Mar. 1966. Launch of Gemini 8. Former naval aviator Neil A. Armstrong flew on this mission which completed 7 orbits in 10 hours and 41 minutes at an altitude of 161.3 nautical miles. Recovery was by USS Leonard F. Mason (DD-852).

3 Jun. 1966. Launch of Gemini 9, piloted by LCDR Eugene A. Cernan, USN. The mission included 45 orbits over 3 days. Recovery was by USS Wasp (CVS-18).

18 Jul. 1966. Launch of Gemini 10, LCDR John W. Young, USN, was the Command Pilot. Mission involved 43 orbits at an altitude of 412.2 nautical miles and lasted 2 days, 22 hours, and 46 minutes. Recovery was by HS-3 helicopter from USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7).

12 Sep. 1966 Launch of Gemini 11, piloted by CDR Charles Conrad Jr., USN, and LCDR Richard F. Gordon, Jr., USN. The mission lasted 2 days and 23 hours and included 44 orbits at an altitude of 1368.9 km. Recovery was by HS-3 helicopter from USS Guam (LPH-9).

11 Nov. 1966. Launch of Gemini 12, CDR James A. Lovell, Jr., USN, was the Command Pilot. The mission lasted 3 days, 22 hours and 34 minutes and included 59 orbits at an altitude of 162.7 nautical miles. Recovery was by HS-11 helicopter from USS Wasp (CVS-18).

27 Jan. 1967. Fire in Command Module at Cape Kennedy during simulation countdown. Lunar Module Pilot LCDR Roger B. Chaffee and two other crew members died.

11 Oct. 1968. Launch of Apollo 7, the first US 3-man space mission, commanded by CAPT Walter M. Schirra, Jr., USN. MAJ Ronnie Walter Cunningham (USMCR), served as Lunar Module Pilot. The mission lasted 10 days and 20 hours. Recovery was by HS-5 helicopters from USS Essex (CVS-9).

21 Dec. 1968. Launch of Apollo 8. CAPT James A. Lovell, Jr., USN, was Command Module Pilot. During the mission, Lovell was one of the first 2 humans to see the far side of the moon. The mission lasted 6 days and 3 hours and included 10 moon orbits. Recovery was by HS-4 helicopters from USS Yorktown (CVS-10).

18 May 1969. Launch of Apollo 10, dress rehearsal for first lunar landing mission. CDR John W. Young, USN, was the Command Module Pilot and CDR Eugene A. Cernan, USN, was the Lunar Module Pilot. During the 8 day mission, the craft made 31 lunar orbits in 61.6 hours. Recovery was by HS-4 helicopter from USS Princeton (LPH-5).

20 Jul. 1969. Former naval aviator Neil A. Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon saying: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong was Commander of Apollo 11 which during its 8 day mission landed on the moon's Sea of Tranquility. Recovery was by HS-4 helicopters from USS Hornet (CVS-12).

19 Nov. 1969. CDR Charles Conrad Jr. and CDR Alan L. Bean, USN, walked on the moon in the Ocean of Storms during the Apollo 12 mission. CDR Richard F. Gordon, Jr., USN, Command Module Pilot, remained in lunar orbit. During the mission lasting 10 days, 4 hours, and 36 minutes, the astronauts recovered 243 lbs. of lunar material. Recovery by HS-4 helicopters from USS Hornet (CVS-12).

11 Apr. 1970. Launch of Apollo 13, commanded by CAPT James A. Lovell, Jr., USN. Former naval aviator Fred W. Haise, Jr. was the Lunar Module Pilot. While 200,000 miles from Earth there was an explosion on board which forced Apollo 13 to circle the moon without landing. Mission duration was 5 days, 22 hours, and 54 minutes. Recovery was by HS-4 helicopters from USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2).

5 Feb. 1971. Moonwalk by CAPT Alan B. Shepard, Jr., USN, Commander of Apollo 14 and CDR Edgar D. Mitchell, USN, Lunar Module Pilot. During the 9 day mission, 94 lbs. of lunar material was collected, and Shepard became the first person to hit a golf ball on the moon. Recovery was by helicopter from USS New Orleans (LPH-11).

21 Apr. 1972. Moonwalk in the Descartes Highlands by CAPT John W. Young, USN, Commander of Apollo 16. He was the ninth man to walk on moon. LCDR Thomas K. Mattingly II, USN, was Command Module Pilot. During the 11 day, 1 hour and 51 minute mission, 213 lbs. of lunar material was collected. Recovery was by HC-1 helicopters from USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14).

12 Dec. 1972. Moonwalk by CAPT. Eugene A. Cernan, USN, Commander of Apollo 17. CDR Ronald E. Evans, USN, was Command Module Pilot. The mission lasted 12 days, 13 hours and 52 minutes. Recovery was by HC-1 helicopters from USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14).

25 May 1973. Launch of Skylab 2 mission commanded by CAPT Charles Conrad Jr., USN,. CDR Joseph P. Kerwin, USN, and CDR Paul J. Weitz, USN, made up the remainder of the all-Navy crew. During the 28 day mission of 404 orbits, the craft rendezvoused with Skylab to make repairs and conduct science experiments. This was the first U.S. manned orbiting space station. Recovery by USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14)..

28 Jul. 1973. Launch of Skylab 3, the second manned mission to the first US-manned space station, piloted by MAJ Jack R. Lousma, with CAPT Alan L. Bean, USN, as Commander of the mission, and former Navy electronics officer Owen K. Garriott as Science Pilot. The mission lasted 59 days and 11 hours and included 858 Earth orbits. Recovery by USS New Orleans (LPH-11).

16 Nov. 1973. Launch of Skylab 4 commanded by LTC Gerald P. Carr, USMC. The mission lasted 84 days and included 1,214 Earth orbits. Recovery by USS New Orleans (LPH-11).

17 Jul. 1975. Docking in space of the U.S. Apollo and Soviet Soyuz space craft. This was the first manned space flight conducted jointly by two nations. Former Marine Corps aviator Vance D. Brand was the Apollo Command Module Pilot. The Apollo craft was in space for 9 days and 7.5 hours. Recovery was by USS New Orleans (LPH-11).

1 Oct. 1979. President Jimmy Carter awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor to the following astronauts: former naval aviator Neil Armstrong, CAPT Charles Conrad, Jr., USN (RET), COL. John Glenn, USMC (RET), and RADM Alan Shepard Jr., USN (RET).

12 Apr. 1981. Launch of Columbia (STS-1), the first space shuttle flight, commanded by CAPT John W. Young, USN (RET) and piloted by LCDR Robert L. Crippen, USN. Mission duration was 2 days, 6 hours, and 20 minutes. Sixteen of the shuttle's heat-shielding silicon tiles were lost and 148 damaged during reentry.

Notes:

1. Numerous Space Shuttle missions after STS-1 have included U.S Navy and Marine Corps crew members. A list of these missions, including the names of crew members, through November 1995, is available from the Naval Historical Center's Aviation History Branch publication, United States Naval Aviation 1910-1995.

2. Operational details of all manned U.S. space flights are available from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

3. COL John Glenn, USMC (RET) returned to space on shuttle mission STS-95.


25 July 2003

 

Published:Tue Dec 05 10:10:16 EST 2017