David Scott

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David Scott
Dave Scott Apollo 15 CDR.jpg
NASA astronaut
Nationality American
Status Retired
Born David Randolph Scott
(1932-06-06) June 6, 1932 (age 81)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Other occupation Test Pilot
Alma mater University of Michigan
USMA, B.S. 1954
MIT, M.S. and E.A.A. 1962
Rank Colonel, USAF
Time in space 22d 18h 53m
Selection 1963 NASA Group
Missions Gemini 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 15
Mission insignia
Ge08Patch orig.png Apollo-9-patch.png Apollo 15-insignia.png
Retirement October 30, 1977

David Randolph "Dave" Scott (born June 6, 1932) is an American engineer, retired U.S. Air Force officer, former test pilot, and former NASA astronaut. He belonged to the third group of NASA astronauts, selected in October 1963. As an astronaut, Scott became the seventh person to walk on the Moon.

Before becoming an astronaut, Scott graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and joined the United States Air Force. Scott retired from the Air Force in 1975 with the rank of colonel, and more than 5,600 hours of logged flying time.

As an astronaut, Scott made his first flight into space as pilot of the Gemini 8 mission, along with Neil Armstrong, in March 1966, spending just under eleven hours in Low Earth orbit. Scott then spent ten days in orbit as Command Module Pilot aboard Apollo 9, his second spaceflight, along with Commander James McDivitt and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart. During this mission, Scott became the last American to fly solo in Earth orbit (not counting subsequent untethered EVAs). Scott made his third and final flight into space as commander of the Apollo 15 mission, the fourth human lunar landing, becoming the seventh person to walk on the Moon and the first person to drive on the Moon.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born on Randolph Field (for which he received his middle name) near San Antonio, Texas and was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout.[1] He was educated at Texas Military Institute, Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California, where Scott joined the swim team and set several state and local swim records. Scott attended The Western High School in Washington, D.C. graduating in June 1949. In D.C. he was an honor student, on the school swim team and the Ambassador hotel AAU champion team as a record setter. He attended the University of Michigan for one year where he was an honor student in the Engineering school, a member of the swimming team and pledged Sigma Chi Fraternity before finally receiving an invitation to attend West Point where he finished 5th in his class out of 633 in 1954. Because of his high standing in the class, he was able to choose which branch of the military he would serve. Scott chose the Air Force because he wanted to fly jets.[2] In 1959 he married his first wife, Ann.[3] He received both an S.M. degree in Aeronautics/Astronautics and the degree of Engineer in Aeronautics/Astronautics (the E.A.A. degree) from MIT in 1962.[4] He also received an honorary doctorate of Astronautical Science from the University of Michigan in 1971. He is of Scottish descent.

Photo of Armstrong and Scott in the Gemini capsule, in the water. They are being assisted by some recovery crew
Recovery of the Gemini 8 spacecraft from the western Pacific Ocean

NASA career[edit]

Scott was the first of the Group Three astronauts to be selected to fly and was also the first to command a mission of his own.

Gemini 8[edit]

On March 16, 1966, Scott and command pilot Neil Armstrong were launched into space on the Gemini 8 mission, a flight originally scheduled to last three days, in which Scott was to perform an EVA, but terminated early due to a malfunctioning thruster. The crew performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space and demonstrated great piloting skill in overcoming the thruster problem and bringing the spacecraft to a safe landing. Scott would later perform EVA's on his two subsequent flights.

Apollo 9[edit]

Scott stands in the open hatch of the Apollo 9 command module Gumdrop.

Scott served as command module pilot for Apollo 9 (March 3–March 13, 1969). This was the third manned flight in the Apollo series, the second to be launched by a Saturn V, and the first to complete a comprehensive earth-orbital qualification and verification test of a "fully configured Apollo spacecraft." The ten-day flight provided vital information previously not available on the operational performance, stability, and reliability of lunar module propulsion and life support systems. Highlight of this evaluation was completion of a critical lunar-orbit rendezvous simulation and subsequent docking, initiated by James McDivitt and Rusty Schweickart from within the lunar module at a separation distance which exceeded 100 miles (160 km) from the command/service module piloted by Scott. The crew also demonstrated and confirmed the operational feasibility of crew transfer and extravehicular activity techniques and equipment, with Schweickart completing a 46-minute EVA outside the lunar module. During this period, Dave Scott completed a 1-hour stand-up EVA in the open command module hatch photographing Schweickart's activities and also retrieving thermal samples from the command module exterior. Apollo 9 splashed down less than four nautical miles (7 km) from the helicopter carrier USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7).

In his next assignment, Scott was designated backup spacecraft commander for Apollo 12.

Scott conducting an experiment during the Apollo 15 moon landing.

Apollo 15[edit]

Scott made his third space flight as spacecraft commander of Apollo 15 (July 26–August 7, 1971). His companions on the flight were Alfred M. Worden (command module pilot) and James B. Irwin (lunar module pilot). Apollo 15 was the fourth successful manned lunar landing mission and the first to land near mountains instead of the relatively flat mare region where the previous 3 missions had landed. The landing site was between 2 mountains just north of Hadley Rille and Apennine Mountains which are located on the southeast edge of the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). After landing, Scott and Irwin donned their pressure suits and Scott performed the first and only stand up EVA on the lunar surface. He stood on the engine cover and poked his head out the docking port on top of the lunar module and took panoramic photographs of the surrounding terrain from an elevated position and scouted the terrain they would be driving across the next day. The lunar module, "Falcon," remained on the lunar surface for 66 hours and 54 minutes (setting a new record for lunar surface stay time) and Scott and Irwin logged 18 hours and 35 minutes each in extravehicular activities conducted during three separate excursions onto the lunar surface. Using "Rover-1" to transport themselves and their equipment along portions of Hadley Rille and the Apennine Mountains, Scott and Irwin performed a selenological inspection and survey of the area and collected 180 pounds (82 kg) of lunar surface materials. They deployed an ALSEP package which involved the emplacement and activation of surface experiments, and their lunar surface activities were televised using a TV camera which was operated remotely by ground controllers stationed in the mission control center located at Houston, Texas. Other Apollo 15 achievements include: largest payloads ever placed into earth and lunar orbits; first scientific instrument module bay flown and operated on an Apollo spacecraft; longest distance traversed on lunar surface; first use of a lunar surface navigation device (mounted on Rover-1); first subsatellite launched in lunar orbit; and first extravehicular (EVA) from a command module during transearth coast. The latter feat performed by Worden during three excursions to "Endeavour's" SIM-bay where he retrieved film cassettes from the panoramic and mapping cameras and reported his personal observations of the general condition of equipment housed there. Apollo 15 concluded with a Pacific Ocean splashdown and subsequent recovery by the USS Okinawa.

Awards and honors[edit]

Scott has been awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, a NASA Exceptional Service Medal, two Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Association's David C. Schilling Trophy and the Robert J. Collier Trophy.

In the 1998 television series From the Earth to the Moon Scott was portrayed by Brett Cullen.

Apollo 15 controversies[edit]

Two non-essential items brought along on Apollo 15 were the subject of later controversy.

Stamp incident[edit]

A rectangle with the headline "An Apollo 15 Flown Lunar Postal Cover" with a logo in the middle. Below it are two smaller frames. One has some text certifying that what was below was flown to the moon and back, signed by flight commander David Scott. Below it is an envelope with stamps, logos and postmarks
One of the first day covers

Before the mission, the crew had made an agreement with a stamp dealer, similar to those made by other Apollo crews, to carry some signed first day covers along to the moon that could be sold later to collectors. Their goal was to provide for their families, and they established that the proceeds would go into a trust fund for their children's education, on the belief that the covers would not be sold for some time.[5]

The crew took 398 covers to the moon with them. Later it was alleged that these had been smuggled on board. In his 2013 book Two Sides of the Moon, Scott says that was impossible as the astronauts had to account for everything they took on board, including personal items. Instead of personally certifying the Apollo 15 crews as he usually did, Slayton deferred to the flight-support crew, according to Scott. The support team's manifest did not include the covers.[5]

Once the mission was over a German stamp dealer began selling the first day covers immediately. The astronauts objected and said they did not want the money. When the sales were reported in the press some members of Congress became angry that they heard about them first that way, instead of from NASA itself, especially in the wake of an incident involving silver medallions taken along on Apollo 14. Slayton claimed in his autobiography that he felt Scott, Worden and Irwin had embarrassed NASA and the Apollo program by trying to profit in such way from the hard work that had gone into the Apollo 15 mission, and violated NASA rules.[6]

Scott wrote later that a "witch hunt" mentality took hold. The astronauts were advised to retain independent legal counsel before testifying at a closed Senate hearing on the matter. None of them would go into space again, and Scott wrote later that "NASA had hung us out to dry," to assuage Congressional anger over the apparent commercialization of earlier Apollo flights. In 1978 the Justice Department concluded that while the crew had broken some space-agency rules, they did nothing illegal. The covers were legal, they had not been intended for sale, the crew had not smuggled them on board and NASA would have approved letting them do so had they been asked. "We were reprimanded and took our licks. But it was a very raw deal," recalls Scott.

Fallen Astronaut[edit]

The crew also brought along a 3 1/2-inch (8.9 cm) statue, Fallen Astronaut, which Scott placed on the rim of Hadley Rille along with a plaque listing the names of 14 astronauts and cosmonauts who had died during training. While he had been under the impression that it was intended as a memorial, Belgian sculptor Paul Van Hoeydonck had created it as a tribute to humanity's aspirations to expand into space. Scott believed that the agreement with van Hoeydonck allowed him to make a single copy for sale, and no more.[7]

A silvery human figure, apparently face down, in front of a metallic plaque with a list of names on a dusty gray surface
Fallen Astronaut

Although it was the first (and so far only) sculpture exhibited on the moon, NASA did not discuss it much and did not identify van Hoeydonck as the artist for some time afterwards, which the artist believed was a deliberate slight engineered by Scott, since Van Hoeydonck had been unhappy that his work had been used as a memorial. He was invited to the launch of Apollo 16 and interviewed by Walter Cronkite.[7] Afterwards, he announced plans to sell copies of Fallen Astronaut through a New York art gallery. Scott wrote him letters expressing the crew's disappointment that he had chosen not to honor their agreement. Van Hoeydonck and his dealer went ahead with the plan, but only one copy sold. Relations between the astronaut and the artist remain strained.[7]

Post-NASA career[edit]

  • On April 18, 1975, at age 42, Scott became the Center Director of NASA's Flight Research Center, a position he held until October 30, 1977.
  • He commentated for British TV on the first Space Shuttle flight (STS-1) in April 1981.
  • He also consulted on the movies Apollo 13 for Ron Howard and was on the set for much of the filming of the HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, where he advised both Tom Hanks and the various directors, as well as answered questions from the actors on set.
  • In 2000 he was briefly engaged to British television newscaster Anna Ford.[8]
Dave Scott, February 2009

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Astronauts and the BSA". Fact sheet. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 2006-03-20. 
  2. ^ Two Sides of the Moon, PP18-28
  3. ^ Davies, Hugh; Rozenberg, Joshua (July 21, 2001). "Anna Ford's affair with ex-astronaut burns out". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  4. ^ "To the moon, by way of MIT". Web.mit.edu. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  5. ^ a b Scott, David; Leonov, Alexei (2013). Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race. MacMillan. pp. 385–388. ISBN 9781466859272. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ Deke Slayton. Deke!. ISBN 978-0-312-85918-3. 
  7. ^ a b c Powell, Corey S.; Shapiro, Laurie Gwen (December 16, 2013). "The Sculpture on the Moon". Slate. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ Smith, Andrew (2005). Moondust: in search of the men who fell to Earth. New York: Fourth Estate. pp. 324–325. ISBN 978-0-00-715541-5. OCLC 58720734. 

References[edit]

Some years after his career at NASA concluded, Scott wrote this book with Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space, about being on opposite sides of the space race during the Cold War.

External links[edit]