Space Cover #453: Farewell to Four Historic Astronauts
During only a two-month period, in late 2017 and early 2018, we sadly lost four famous and historic astronauts: Paul Weitz, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless and John Young.
Among them, these four astronauts accomplished: 28 days on Skylab and helped repair and save the space station (Weitz); the highest orbital altitude up to that time of 851 miles (Gordon); first untethered spacewalk (McCandless); ninth man to walk on the moon; and commander of STS-1, the first space shuttle flight.
Paul Weitz, 85, spent 28 days aboard Skylab on SL-2 and served as commander of STS-6, the first flight of Challenger.
Richard Gordon, 88, flew as Pilot on Gemini-Titan 11 and then as Command Module Pilot on Apollo 12, was one of only 24 astronauts to fly on a lunar mission.
Bruce McCandless, 80, accomplished the first untethered EVA using the Manned Maneuvering Unit, and as a crewman on Challenger on STS-41B, accomplished the first landing at KSC.
John Young, 87. His was the longest career of any NASA Astronaut, spanning 42 years. His long career included six spaceflights, two on Gemini, two on Apollo and two on the Space Shuttle. He was one of only three astronauts to fly to the moon twice, walking on it on Apollo 16, and two Space Shuttle flights, including being the commander of STS-1, the first shuttle flight.
The top cover above marks Paul Weitz's SL-2 flight on a NASA Exchange cacheted cover and is autographed by him. Below it is a GT-11 USS Guam Prime Recovery Ship cover (on board at the time of the recovery) and nicely autographed by him.
The top cover above is an STS-41B emblem cover autographed by McCandless, and below that is an Apollo 16 Manned Spacecraft Stamp Club emblem cover and autographed by Young.
These four historic astronauts contributed much to the success of US manned spaceflight and they and their accomplishments will never be forgotten.