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  Space Cover 257: Tribute to Bill Pogue and Skylab 4

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 257: Tribute to Bill Pogue and Skylab 4
Bob M

Posts: 1397
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 03-15-2014 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 257 (March 16, 2014)

Space Cover #257: A Tribute to Bill Pogue and Skylab 4

Sadly, another of our space heroes has left us. We have seen the news that Skylab astronaut Bill Pogue passed away on March 3 at age 84. This installment of our weekly SCOTW series will pay tribute to him.

Before becoming an astronaut and spending 84 days in space on the Skylab orbiting space station, Pogue already accomplished and experienced much. After earning a BA degree, he enlisted in the US Air Force and in 1953 flew 43 combat missions in Korea. Later he flew as a member of the Air Force's Thunderbirds aerobatic team. He later earned a Master's degree in math at the USAF Academy and then taught math there. Later he graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB. In 1966 he was selected as an astronaut and served as a support crewman for Apollo 7, 11 and 14.

Then on November 16, 1973, he and crew members Jerry Carr and Edward Gibson began a record-setting 84-day stay in space on the final Skylab manned mission. Splashdown on February 8, 1974 ended Skylab-4 and Pogue's time in space, and later, after being selected as a crew member of Apollo 19, he suffered the disappointment of having the flight canceled and ending his hopes of flying in space again.

The cover at the top was nicely autographed for me by Bill Pogue in 1987, where he indicated his role on SL-4 as "SL-4 PLT."

The top cover has a mission emblem/crew patch cachet and is nicely signed by the SL-4 crew. The bottom NASA/KSC official cacheted cover marks the first SL-4 EVA, which Pogue and Gibson accomplished.

The top cover marks the splashdown and recovery of SL-4 and again is autographed by the crew. By the way, Pogue, Carr and Gibson have always been very cooperative signers for us collectors and perhaps SL-4 crew signed covers are the most plentiful of all the 43 pre-Shuttle flights.

The bottom cover marks the unofficial end of SL-4 and the Skylab Program, with the return of the SL-4 crew to Houston at Ellington AFB, TX. Again, the crew was kind to autograph yet another cover for this collector.

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1963
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 03-15-2014 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A nice tribute, Bob, to one of my favorite astronaut friends. Bill Pogue, having flown a record 84 days in space with Skylab crewmates Jerry Carr and Ed Gibson, set sail on a final one-way rocket flight into the heavens at the age of 84 (note the number "84" again).

His last day on Planet Earth was in a Cocoa Beach condo last week, only a few miles nearby, from his Kennedy Space Center Apollo/Skylab launching pad into space.

Skylab 4 not only broke the longest single manned space mission of its kind, but also for the longest periods of work in Earth orbit outside of a spacecraft.

Altogether, the final Skylab spaceflight in 1973-74 set 8 astonishing endurance and distance records for the history books!

On Christmas Day 1973, Pogue and Carr established a new world record of just over a 7 hour spacewalk (EVA-2) outside of a spacecraft.

Almost a month earlier on Nov. 22, with Pogue again--along with science pilot Ed Gibson-- performed the mission's first EVA that lasted 6.5 hours while outside the spacecraft.

A little known fact about Col. Pogue was his post astronaut career highlights. After leaving NASA in 1977, he, along with his "brother in space" Jerry Carr, provided contract technical support to The Boeing Company from 1984-98.

Pogue's long-term support work at Boeing was crucial for NASA's Space Station Freedom program, which later evolved into the now-orbiting International Space Station.

An accomplished teacher, public speaker, and gifted author, Pogue had penned five books during his lifetime, including his own autobiography, "But for the Grace of God," in 2011. His most popular--mainly a children's book--"How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space?"--has been revised twice since its first printing in 1985.

He will long be remembered as a hard-working, great story teller, kind, humble, generous and gracious person that my wife and I had the pleasure to know and for me to work with since the 1990s.

Perhaps it should be pointed out, since this topic is about astronaut signed space covers, that there was no one better than Bill Pogue (and Jim Irwin) when it came to autographing; always a cooperative and gracious signer! During visits to my home, he would sign and include long inscriptions--sometimes not even asked for--about his astronaut career and Skylab mission accomplishments.


Posts: 643
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 03-17-2014 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An excellent tribute to a remarkable career in flight and space exploration.

Several notes and corrections: Pogue received a BS degree, not a BA, from Oklahoma Baptist Univ., and his master's came from Oklahoma State, not the USAF Academy. Also, he is one of the very few to graduate not only from the USAF Test Pilots' School, but from the Empire Test Pilots' School in the UK, completing an exchange tour with the RAF in 1965, just before his selection as an astronaut.

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1963
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 03-17-2014 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps it should also be mentioned, because of the prior posting here, that Pogue did receive a honorary Doctorate of Science degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1974, just for the record so-to-speak.

Another career highlight would be his induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, Titusville, FL, in Oct. 1977 (I was there)!

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