Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
Before joining NASA, he was with the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Center at Flagstaff, Arizona. He was project chief for lunar field geological methods and participated in photo and telescopic mapping of the moon, and was among USGS astrogeologists instructing NASA astronauts during their geological field trips.
He has logged more than 2,100 hours flying time, including 1,600 hours in jet aircraft.
He was backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 15.
On his first journey into space, Dr. Schmitt occupied the lunar module pilot seat for Apollo 17, the last scheduled manned Apollo mission to the moon for the United States, which commenced at 11:33 p.m. (CST), December 6, 1972, and concluded on December 19, 1972. He was accompanied on the voyage of the command module America and the lunar module Challenger by Eugene Cernan (spacecraft commander) and Ronald Evans (command module pilot).
In maneuvering Challenger to a landing at Taurus-Littrow, which is located on the southeast edge of Mare Serenitatis, Schmitt and Cernan activated a base of operations facilitating their completion of three Mountains. This last Apollo mission to the moon for the United States broke several records set by previous flights and include: longest manned lunar landing flight (301 hours, 51 minutes); longest lunar surface extravehicular activities (22 hours, 4 minutes); largest lunar sample return (an estimated 115 Kg (249 lbs); and longest time in lunar orbit (147 hours, 48 minutes). Apollo 17 ended with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean approximately 0.4 mile from the target point and 4.3 miles from the prime recovery ship, USS TICONDEROGA.
Dr. Schmitt logged 301 hours and 51 minutes in space, of which 22 hours and 4 minutes were spent in extravehicular activity on the lunar surface.
In July of 1973, Dr. Schmitt was appointed as one of the first Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholars at the California Institute of Technology. His appointment was extended to run through July 1975. This appointment ran concurrently with his other activities in NASA.
In February 1974, Schmitt assumed additional duties as Chief of Scientist-Astronauts.
In August of 1975, Dr. Schmitt resigned his post with NASA to run for the United States Senate in his home state of New Mexico. He was elected on November 2, 1976, with 57% of the votes cast.
In January 1977, Schmitt began a six-year term as one of New Mexico's Senators in Washington, D.C. His major committee assignments are on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the Select Committee on Ethics. He is the ranking Republican member of the Ethics Committee; of the Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee of Commerce; and the Consumer Subcommittee of Banking.
ARCHIVAL BIOGRAPHY LAST UPDATED MAY 1978