Astronaut & Flight Director Bios

WALT CUNNINGHAM (APOLLO 7)

Ronnie Walter Cunningham (born March 16, 1932), (Col, USMCR, Ret.), better known as Walter Cunningham, is a retired American astronaut. In 1968, he was a Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 7 mission. He was NASA’s third civilian astronaut (after Neil Armstrong and Elliot See), and has also been a fighter pilot, physicist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and author of The All-American Boys. Walter Cunningham attended UCLA.

Apollo 7: October 11 – October 22, 1968. Apollo 7 was the first mission in the Apollo Program to carry a crew into space. Apollo 7 fulfilled Apollo 1’s mission of testing the Apollo Command and Service Modules in Earth orbit. The crew consisted of Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham. This was the first time a Saturn rocket put a crew in space as well as being the first three-person American space mission. The flight was considered a complete success, validating all spacecraft systems, thus giving NASA the confidence to send Apollo 8 around the Moon but three months later.

Rusty Schweickart (APOLLO 9)

Rusty Schweickart (born October 25, 1935) was the first person to pilot the Lunar Module on the Apollo 9 Mission in 1969, a test of the craft that would later put men on the moon. Schweickart was one of the first astronauts to space-walk without a tether, and one the first to transmit live TV pictures from space (along with crew members James McDivitt and David Scott. Schweickart is also credited with development of the hardware and procedures which prolonged the life of the Skylab space station. He has logged 241 hours in space.  He was also a former aeronautical engineer, research scientist US Air fighter pilot, and former business and government executive.

Apollo 9: March 3 – March 13, 1969. Apollo 9 was the first flight of the Apollo Command and Service Modules with the Grumman lunar Module. The crew of James McDivitt, David Scott and Rusty Schweikart spent 10 days in low Earth orbit testing several aspects critical to Landing on the Moon. These included testing the Lunar Module’s engines, life support and navigation systems and performing docking maneuvers. The first manned flight of the LM proved it was spaceworthy and prepared for its ultimate goal of landing on the Moon.

FRED HAISE (Apollo 13)

Fred Wallace Haise Jr. (born November 14, 1933) is an American former NASA astronaut, fighter pilot with the US Marine Corps and Air Force test pilot. He was the Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 13 mission. After the Apollo program ended in 1977, Haise worked on the Shuttle program, retired from NASA and worked as an executive for Northrop Grumman Corporation.  

Apollo 13:  April 11 – April 17, 1970. With the crew of James Lovell, Fred Haise and ‘Jack’ Swigert, Apollo 13 was intended to be the third manned Lunar landing. However on April 13, fortunately on the way to the Moon, an oxygen tank exploded crippling the Service Module upon which the Command Module depended for power and life support. This led to an immediate abort of the Lunar landing. Thus the Lunar Module was pressed into  service as a lifeboat and a tugboat, a role never anticipated for it. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of cooling water and the critical need to make makeshift repairs to the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth six days after launch.

CHARLIE DUKE (APOLLO 16)

Charles Moss “Charlie” Duke Jr. (born October 3, 1935) is a former American astronaut, retired US Air Force officer, and test pilot.  As Lunar Module Pilot on the  Apollo 16 mission he became the tenth and youngest person (36) to walk on the moon. He was also backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 17. 

Apollo 16: April 16 – April 27, 1972. The fifth mission to land on the Moon was crewed by John Young, Charles Duke and Ken Mattingly. It was the first mission to land in the Lunar Highlands, the mountainous Descartes Formation. Young and Duke spent almost three days on the Moon including over 20 hours on Moonwalks. In the process they covered over 16 miles in the Lunar roving Vehicle and collected over 211 pounds of Lunar samples for return to Earth.

HARRISON "JACK" SCHMITT (APOLLO 17)

Harrision Hagan “Jack” Schmitt (born July 3, 1935) is a former geologist, NASA Astronaut, professor, US Senator from New Mexico and the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 17,  the final manned lunar landing mission. He was the first scientist and one of the last astronauts to walk on the moon. He was the twelfth and second-youngest person to set foot on the moon. 

Apollo 17: December 7 – December 19, 1972. Apollo 17 was the last mission in which humans traveled to and walked on the Moon. With a crew of Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt, it was also the last use of Apollo hardware for its original purpose. This mission was also the first manned night launch and final manned launch of a Saturn V rocket. Three days were spent on the Lunar surface and the mission had extended scientific capability and saw the third use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Apollo

GERRY GRIFFIN

Gerald D. “Gerry” Griffin is an American aeronautical engineer and former NASA official, who served as flight director during Apollo program and director of Johnson Space Center, succeeding Chris Kraft in 1982. When Gerry was nine years old his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas. Upon graduation from Texas A&M he was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. He served four years on active duty, first in flight training, then flying as a weapon systems officer in jet fighter-interceptors. In 1960 Gerry left active duty and began his space career as a systems engineer/flight controller at the USAF Satellite Test Center in Sunnyvale, California.
In 1964 Gerry joined NASA in Houston as a flight controller in Mission Control, specializing in guidance, navigation and control systems during Project Gemini. In 1968 he was named a Mission Control flight director and served in that role for all of the Apollo Program manned missions, including all nine manned missions out to the Moon, six of which included lunar landings. Gerry’s “Gold” team conducted half of the lunar landings made during Apollo: Apollo’s 14, 16, and 17. His team was scheduled to conduct the landing of Apollo 13, but when the landing was canceled as a result of the oxygen tank explosion, his team played a key role in the safe return of the astronauts. After the Apollo Program was completed Gerry served in other roles at NASA, first in multiple positions at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., then as the deputy director of the Dryden (now Armstrong) Flight Research Center in California, then as deputy director of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In 1982 he returned to Houston as director of the Johnson Space Center.
After taking early retirement from NASA in 1986 Gerry became a senior executive with several non-space, as well as space-related, companies and organizations in the private sector.  (Wikipedia)

MILT WINDER

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Milt Windler (white shirt, at left) and other NASA leaders observe Deke Slayton holding the adapter improvised to scrub carbon dioxide from Apollo 13.

Milton MiltWindler is a retired NASA Flight Director. He is best known for his work as one of the four flight directors of Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team, all of whom were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard M. Nixon for their work in guiding the crippled spacecraft safely back to Earth. Previously a jet fighter pilot,[1] he began working at NASA in 1959 during Project Mercury. Originally working in the recovery division, he was promoted to flight director by Chris Kraft to support Eugene Kranz, who had acquired additional responsibilities in the months following the Apollo 1 fire.[2] Windler also served as flight director for Apollo 8, Apollo 10, Apollo 11, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, and all three Skylab missions.[3] Following the conclusion of the Apollo Program, Windler worked in the Space Shuttle Project Office on Remote Manipulator Systems Operations until 1978. He is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.[4] (Wikipedia)