Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force design), Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (twice).
He has logged 507 hours and 43 minutes in space flight and wears the Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings. He has flown over 110 different types of aircraft and has over 7,100 flying hours.
General Stafford assumed command of the Air Force Flight Test Center November 4, 1975. He was promoted to the grade of Major General August 9, 1975, with date of rank of June 1, 1973.
Promoted to grade of Lieutenant General on March 15, 1978 and on May 1, 1978, assumed duties as Deputy Chief of Staff, Research Development and Acquisition, Headquarters USAF, Washington, D.C.; retired from the Air Force November 1, 1979.
Upon returning to the United States in August 1958 he attended the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, graduated in April 1959, and received the A. B. Honts award as the outstanding graduate. He remained with the school as an instructor and later was chief of the Performance Branch.
In this capacity, he was instructor in flight test training and specialized academic subjects, establishing basic textbooks and directing the writing of flight test manuals for use by the staff and students. He is coauthor of the Pilot's Handbook for Performance Flight Testing and the Aerodynamics Handbook for Performance Flight Testing.
In December 1965, he was the pilot of Gemini VI, which was the first rendezvous in space, and helped in the development of techniques to prove the basic theory and practicality of space rendezvous.
In June 1966, he was commander of Gemini IX and performed three different types of rendezvous, including a demonstration of an early rendezvous that would be used in Apollo; the first optical rendezvous; and a lunar or abort rendezvous.
From August 1966 to October 1968, he headed the mission planning analysis and software development responsibilities for the astronaut group for Project Apollo.
General Stafford was the lead member of the group which helped formulate the sequence of missions leading to the first lunar landing mission.
He demonstrated and implemented the theory of a pilot manually flying the Saturn booster into orbit and the translunar injection maneuver.
In May 1969, General Stafford was commander of Apollo 10, the first flight of the lunar module to the moon, He performed the first rendezvous around the Moon and the entire lunar landing mission except the actual landing.
He also made reconnaissance and tracking on future Apollo landing sites. Stafford was cited in the Guiness Book of World Records for highest speed ever attained by man; these occurred during Apollo 10 reentry when the spacecraft attained 28,547 statute miles per hour. This set the world's all-time speed record.
He was assigned as head of the astronaut group in June 1969 and, as such, was responsible for the selection of flight crews for Projects Apollo and Skylab.
He reviewed and monitored flight crew training status reports, and was responsible for coordination, scheduling, and control of all activities involving NASA astronauts.
In June 1971, General Stafford was assigned as Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center. In this role he was responsible for assisting the director in planning and implementation of programs for the astronaut group, the Aircraft Operations, Flight Crew Integration, Flight Crew Procedures, and Crew Simulation and Training Divisions.
He logged his fourth space flight as Apollo commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission, July 15-24, 1975, a joint space flight culminating in the historic first meeting in space between American Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts.
The event signaled a major advance in efforts for the conduct of joint experiments and the exchange of mutual assistance in future international space explorations.
ARCHIVAL BIOGRAPHY LAST UPDATED JULY 1979