December 22, 2007

Astronaut Gordon Fullerton's Final Flight

The Antelope Valley Press link above shows Astronaut Gordon Fullerton retired at NASA Dryden on Friday. Long ago I attended reviews for the Pegasus launch vehicle when it was a DARPA project. It was one of those pinch myself "I am lucky to work at Edwards" moments. Here I am in a cool review about a new space launch system with a NASA Astronaut. Mr. Fullerton was the pilot for the B-52 launch aircraft 008 which was air-launching the Pegasus. Now Orbital Sciences has the L-1011 launch aircraft.

Several years ago we watched the same B-52 fly over the house in Rosamond on the way to Point Magu. This time to launch the X-43. Mr. Fullerton was the B-52 pilot for that launch.

Over the last couple of months I have been listening to this MIT open courseware class on the Space Shuttle's Systems Engineering. Session 22 features Mr. Fullerton discussing test flying the Space Shuttle. It is a great talk about cockpit design and the approach and landing tests of the Space Shuttle. Also the abort-to-orbit incident that occurred on one of his shuttle launches was interesting

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