In the news...

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 December 22, 2014

U.K., Canadian military leaves to join Ebola fight Reservists and troops from Britain and Canada have left for Sierra Leone to help in the battle to contain the Ebola virus outbreak. British officials said Dec. 20 that 16 reservists and 100 regular military personnel left on a morning flight from the Brize Norton military airbase....
 
 

Navy helicopter crashes in Kuwait; all crewmembers ok

A U.S. Navy MH-60S helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 (HSC 26) crashed at 11:22 a.m., EST, Dec.21, while on an overland training flight at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. All six personnel aboard the helicopter survived the crash and were transported to nearby medical facilities for evaluation. Three of the six crewmembers sustained minor...
 
 

Headlines December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 

 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 

Lockheed to settle suit over retirement accounts

Lockheed Martin agreed Dec. 16 to settle a federal class-action lawsuit accusing the aerospace and defense behemoth of mismanaging the investment accounts of its employees and retirees, charging the investors high fees along the way. The tentative deal announced in federal court in Illinois’ East St. Louis averted an anticipated four-week trial in the 8-year-old...
 
 

Headlines December 17, 2014

News: U.S. Air Force tanker platform slated for year-end debut - Boeing is planning for first flight of its 767-2C – upon which the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker will be based – by year’s end, six months late. Northrop Grumman wins $657.4 million deal to supply drones to South Korea - Northrop Grumman has won...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>