This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Stafford

Thomas Patten (Tom) Stafford Status: Inactive. Trained as: Astronaut. Profession: Pilot. Sex: Male. Marital Status: Divorced. Children: Two. Birth Date: 17 September 1930. Birth City: Weatherford. Birth State: Oklahoma. Birth Country: USA. Nationality: American. Group: 1962 NASA Group. Date Selected: 17 September 1962. Departed: 1975. Number of Flights: 4. Total Time: 21.16 days.

NAME: Thomas P. Stafford

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Stafford was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma, Sept. 17, 1930.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1952, graduating with honours.

EXPERIENCE: Following graduation from the Naval Academy, Stafford was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He completed advanced interceptor training and served tours of duty at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and at Hahn Air Base, Germany, where he flew the F-86D interceptor. He graduated in 1959 from the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and received the A B Honts Award as the outstanding graduate. He remained with the school as an instructor and later was Chief of the Performance Branch.

NASA selected Stafford as an astronaut in 1962. In December 1965, he was pilot of Gemini 6. He and Commander Wally Schirra flew the first space rendezvous mission, closing to within a metre of Gemini 7. He commanded Gemini 9, with Gene Cernan as pilot, in June 1966, rendezvousing with the ATDA docking target after their original Agena target vehicle failed to reach orbit. They were unable to dock with the ATDA because the protective fibreglass shroud had failed to jettison completely, but they flew three different types of rendezvous with it. Cernan conducted an EVA which had to be cut short because his faceplate became completely fogged up. Stafford commanded the Apollo 10 lunar orbit flight in May 1969, with John Young and Gene Cernan. He and Cernan separated the Lunar Module and approached to within 10 miles of the surface, paving the way for the Apollo 11 crew to make the first moon landing two months later. Stafford’s fourth space mission as Commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in July 1975. He, Deke Slayton, and Vance Brand docked in orbit with a Soyuz carrying cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov.

Stafford returned to the Air Force and assumed command of the Air Force Flight Test Center in 1975. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1978 and was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development and Acquisition, Headquarters, USAF, Washington, DC. He retired from the Air Force in 1979.

Thereafter Stafford was a partner in the consulting firm Stafford, Burke and Hecker. In 1990-91, he headed a Synthesis Group chartered by NASA and the White House to recommend a future course in space for the United States

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Last update 3 May 2001.
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