Monday, December 29, 2014

Henry Hartsfield Jr. | Former astronaut, 80

Henry "Hank" Hartsfield Jr., 80, an Air Force test pilot who joined NASA in 1969 but had to wait 13 years before going into space himself, died July 17 in League City, Texas. His death was announced by NASA, which described its cause only as an illness.

Mr. Hartsfield was a space rookie at 48. As copilot of the Columbia space shuttle, he spent seven days in space with commander Ken Mattingly on a mission described by the Los Angeles Times as "rekindling America's love affair with manned space flight." When they landed, more than 500,000 people jammed Mojave Desert highways for a glimpse of the Columbia. That shuttle disintegrated on a mission in 2003, killing its seven-member crew. In 1984, Mr. Hartsfield commanded Discovery on its maiden voyage. - L.A. Times

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