Stafford, Thomas P

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stafford, Thomas P


Born Sept. 17, 1930, in Weatherford, Okla. American pilot and astronaut. Brigadier general of the Air Force.

Stafford graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1952 with the degree of bachelor of science and served in the Air Force as a fighter pilot. Upon graduation in 1959 from the Air Force Experimental Flight Test School at Edwards Air Force Base in California, he became one of the directors of the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards. He was coauthor of Pilot’s Handbook for Performance Flight Testing and of Aerodynamics Handbook for Performance Flight Testing.

In 1962, Stafford joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as an astronaut. As copilot, he completed a space flight aboard the Gemini 6 spacecraft on Dec. 15 and 16, 1965, with W. Schirra. The craft completed 17 orbits around the earth in 25 hr 51 min. From June 3 to 6,1966, together with E. Cernan, Stafford completed a space flight as command pilot of the Gemini 9 spacecraft. The spacecraft completed 45 orbits around the earth in 72 hr 21 min, covering more than 1.8 million km. During the flight, Gemini 9 performed a rendezvous with a target vehicle.

Together with Cernan and J. Young, Stafford completed a lunar flight from May 18 to 26, 1969, as commander of the Apollo 10 spacecraft, which entered lunar orbit on May 21. Aboard the lunar module, Stafford and Cernan separated from the command and service modules, approached to within 15 km of the lunar surface, and then altered their orbit. After 8 hr of flight, the lunar module docked with the Apollo 10 spacecraft in lunar orbit and began the return journey to earth. The total time in lunar orbit was 61 hr 40 min, and the flight lasted a total of 192 hr 3 min.

From July 15 to 25, 1975, together with D. Slayton and V. Brand, Stafford completed a space flight in the Soyuz-Apollo program as commander of the Apollo spacecraft. During the flight, which lasted 217 hr 28 min, two dockings were accomplished with the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 19 and several scientific and technical experiments were performed.

In his four flights in space, Stafford logged 517 hr 43 min. Since 1975 he has been commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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