Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
At the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, from May 1971 to July 1973, he was assigned to the weapons systems test division and involved in F-14A developmental test and evaluation as project officer for testing F-14A inertial navigation systems. Gardner's next assignment was with Fighter Squadron 1 (VF-l), where he flew F-14A aircraft and participated in two WESTPAC cruises while deployed aboard the USS ENTERPRISE. From December 1976 until reporting to NASA in July 1978, he was with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 4 (VX-4) involved in the operational test and evaluation of fighter aircraft.
He has logged more than 2,000 hours flying time in over 20 different types of aircraft and spacecraft.
He served as a mission specialist on STS-8, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 30, 1983. He was accompanied by Captain Richard H. Truly (spacecraft commander), Commander Daniel C. Brandenstein (pilot), and fellow mission specialists Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford, Jr., and Dr. William E. Thornton. This was the third flight for the Orbiter Challenger and the first mission with a night launch and night landing. During the mission, the STS-8 crew deployed the Indian National Satellite (INSAT-IB); operated the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) with the Payload Flight Test Article (PFTA); operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) with live cell samples; conducted medical measurements to understand biophysiological effects on space flight; and activated various earth resources and space science experiments along with four Getaway Special canisters. STS-8 completed 98 orbits of the Earth in 145 hours before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on September 5, 1983.
He next served as a mission specialist on STS 51-A, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 8, 1984. He was accompanied by Captain Frederick "Rick" Hauck (space craft commander), Captain David M. Walker (pilot), and fellow mission specialists Dr. Joseph P. Allen, and Dr. Anna L. Fisher. This was the second flight of the orbiter Discovery. During the mission the crew deployed two satellites, Canada's Anik D-2 (Telesat H) and Hughes' LEASAT-l (Syncom IV-l), and retrieved for return-to-earth two spacecraft which were in improper orbits, the Palapa B-2 and Westar Vl communication satellites. They also operated the Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME) device and the 3M Company's Diffusive Mixing of Organic Solutions (DMOS) experiment. STS 51-A completed 127 orbits of the Earth before landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 16, 1984. With the completion of this flight, Commander Gardner has logged a total of 337 hours in space.
ARCHIVAL BIOGRAPHY LAST UPDATED MAY 1986