Local

August 23, 2013

Retired NASA astronaut, research test pilot Gordon Fullerton dies

Gordon Fullerton – Retired NASA astronaut and research test pilot dies at 76.

 

C. Gordon Fullerton, who compiled a distinguished career as a NASA astronaut, research pilot and Air Force test pilot spanning almost 50 years, died Aug. 21. He was 76.

Fullerton had sustained a severe stroke in late 2009, and had been confined to a long-term care facility in Lancaster, Calif., for most of the past 3 1/2 years.

Fullerton logged 382 hours in space flight on two space shuttle missions while in the NASA astronaut corps from 1969 to 1986. He then transferred to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, where he served for 22 years as a research test pilot on a variety of high-profile projects. During the latter years of his career at NASA Dryden, he served as Associate Director of Flight Operations and as chief of the directorate’s flight crew branch prior to his retirement at the end of 2007.

A native of Portland, Ore., Fullerton earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and then joined the U. S. Air Force in 1958.

After assignments flying both fighters and bombers, Fullerton attended the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards in 1964. After two years as a test pilot at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, he was selected for the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory program in 1966. Following cancellation of that program in 1969, Fullerton was assigned by the Air Force to NASA’s astronaut corps at the Johnson Space Center.
 
obit2
 
Fullerton served on the support crews for the last four Apollo lunar missions, and was part of one of two crews who flew the space shuttle prototype Enterprise during the Approach and Landing Test program at NASA Dryden in 1977.

Fullerton flew into space on the space shuttle Columbia during the eight-day STS-3 orbital flight test mission in March 1982. That mission became the only shuttle mission to land at White Sands, N.M., because Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards was flooded by heavy seasonal rains.

He then commanded the shuttle Challenger on the STS-51F Spacelab 2 mission in 1985. That flight carried 13 major experiments in the fields of astronomy, solar physics and life and materiel science.

At NASA Dryden, Fullerton was the project pilot on the NB-52B launch aircraft, flying initial launches of the Pegasus rocket, the X-38 Crew Recovery Vehicle and the hypersonic X-43A. He was pilot-in-command of NASA’s modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on numerous ferry flights of space shuttles from Edwards to the Kennedy Space Center.

Fullerton flew numerous other research programs at Dryden, including the F-15 and MD-11 Propulsion Controlled Aircraft project, and was project pilot for high-speed landing tests of space shuttle landing gear components installed on a modified Convair 990 jetliner. He flew NASA’s DC-8 Airborne Science laboratory worldwide on a variety of environmental research studies, and flew the first test flights of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. He was also one of only two non-Russian pilots to fly the Tu-144 supersonic transport.
 
obit3
 
Fullerton retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel after 30 years of active duty in 1988. He piloted more than 135 different types of aircraft during his Air Force and NASA career, amassing more than 16,000 flight hours.

Fullerton was honored with numerous civil and military awards during his career. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2005, the International Space Hall of Fame in 1982 and was a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Halley-Olsen-Murphy Memorial Chapel in Lancaster. A funeral mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Aug. 24, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lancaster, followed by a celebration of Fullerton’s life at NASA Dryden Aug. 26, also beginning at 10 a.m.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs July 24, 2014

Webster fall classes Webster University will be running the following classes this upcoming fall terms: FINC 5000 Finance, Aug. 17-Oct. 16, Wednesdays 5:30-9 p.m.; and FINC 5880 Advanced Corporate Finance; Oct. 19-Dec. 19, Wednesdays from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Each term/class will have the same 10 students for both classes. Call 661-258-8501 or visit Webster University at...
 
 
edwards-F35a

Joint Strike Fighter ITF ground testing F-35 gun

Lockheed Martin photograph by Darin Russell An F-35A, tail number AF-2, fires a burst of rounds down range at the Gun Harmonizing Range July 17. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force at Edwards AFB is in the proce...
 
 

NASA’S American Eatery (Bldg. 4825)

July 27-30 Lunch Specials 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday Three pieces fried chicken Mashed potatoes and gravy Vegetables Tuesday Pork carnitas Refried beans and Spanish rice Wednesday Pepper steak over white rice Thursday Teriyaki chicken Fried rice and egg roll Friday Bake cod Macaroni and cheese Broccoli All Blue Plate Specials — $7.89 Drink...
 

 

Volunteers needed

There will be a luncheon at the Barstow Veterans Home of California Aug. 15 and the home needs 20-30 volunteers to help serve food items and spend time with the residents. The home is offering free lunch to all those who come and support this event.†Those who would like to help out would need to...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Airmen’s Little Angels, FCC Provider of the Year

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Lt. Col. Michael Rakoczy (far left), 412th Mission Support Group deputy commander, and Latausha Bushrod (far right), Edwards Family Child Care coordinator, presented Christina Huff with the...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara

Exchange doubles gas savings July 24-26

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara The Edwards AFB Exchange Express Gas Station. In honor of its 120th anniversary, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is pumping up gas savings by doubling the discount for MILITARY STAR ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>