Apollo 12 Astronaut Dick Gordon Dies At Age 88


Former NASA astronaut Richard Francis "Dick" Gordon was laid to rest on Tuesday at the age of 88. He was one of only 24 astronauts that flew to the moon.

Dick Gordon Passes Away At Age 88

On Nov. 7, NASA announced the passing away of Richard Francis "Dick" Gordon, a retired U.S. Navy captain who became an astronaut back in 1963.

"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," said Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot in a statement.

"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."

Dick Gordon was born on Oct. 5, 1929 in Seattle, Washington. He graduated from the North Kitsap High School in 1947 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Washington in 1951. He was a naval aviator, test pilot, and chemist.

An Astronaut's Journey To The Moon

Gordon spent around 316 hours in space on two separate missions. He was the command module pilot for the Apollo 12 mission and was the backup pilot for the Gemini 11 mission.

First Spaceflight: The Gemini 11 Mission

Gordon made his first spaceflight alongside Charles "Pete" Conrad on the three-day Gemini 11 mission, the ninth manned spaceflight of NASA's Project Gemini which took flight in 1966.

During this flight, he performed two spacewalks where he attached a tether to a rocket upper stage and satellite support bus and retrieved a nuclear emulsion experiment package.

Second Space Flight: The Apollo 12 Mission

The Apollo 12, which was the sixth flight in the U.S. Apollo program and the second to land on the moon, was launched 48 years ago on Nov. 14 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Gordon made the flight alongside spacecraft commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and lunar module pilot, Alan LaVern Bean. While his crewmates landed on the moon, he remained in lunar orbit taking photographs of future landing sites.

Gordon was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1982 and into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2005, NASA honored him with an Ambassador of Exploration award. In 1972, Gordon officially retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy.

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