Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NASA Astronaut William "Bill" Pogue, aged 84, died on March 3, 2014

Astronaut William "Bill" Pogue, as seen prior to his launch to the Skylab orbital workshop in 1973. Pogue, 84, died on March 3, 2014. Credit: NASA

William "Bill" Pogue, a United States Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and NASA astronaut who served on the nation's first space station, died Monday (March 3). He was 84.

Pogue's death was confirmed by the Association of Space Explorers and Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, to which he belonged.

Selected by NASA in 1966 with the agency's fifth group of astronauts, Pogue made his first and only spaceflight as a member of the final crew to man the Skylab space station.

Serving 84 days as the command module pilot of Skylab 3 (SL-4) from November 1973 to February 1974, Pogue and his two crewmates set numerous records for the distance they traveled and duration they spent in orbit. At the time, it was the longest human spaceflight in history.

Born Jan. 23, 1930, in Okemah, Oklahoma, William Reid Pogue earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1951 and a Master of Science in mathematics from Oklahoma State University in 1960.

He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and received his commission a year later. In 1954, Pogue completed a two-year combat tour in fighter bombers while serving with the Fifth Air Force during the Korean War. He then served two years as a member of the U.S. Air Force's precision flying team, the Thunderbirds.

"I flew as solo pilot in the F-84F and F-100C, and, for over a year also in the F-100C, I was slot pilot in the diamond formation," Pogue wrote in his 1985 children's book, "How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space? 84 Days in Space: American Record."

He later was an assistant professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and in 1965 completed a two-year tour as a test pilot with the British Ministry of Aviation under a Royal Air Force exchange program.

Pogue was serving as the chief of advanced projects at the Air Force Test Pilot School in Edwards, California, when NASA selected him as one of 19 new astronauts in April 1966.

No comments:

Post a Comment