Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents

related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Space Explorers & Workers
  Milt Heflin, JSC associate director, retires

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Milt Heflin, JSC associate director, retires
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 34743
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-11-2013 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Veteran Apollo recovery team member, flight director and Johnson Space Center Associate Director (Technical) Milt Heflin has announced he is retiring from NASA after 46 years with the space agency. His letter to the senior staff at JSC follows...
After showing up at the Manned Spacecraft Center nearly half a century ago, I will be retiring on March 1, 2013.

I first reported to the Landing and Recovery Division on June 6, 1966, and over the next decade, rode recovery ships for the splashdowns of Apollo, Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP). I learned a lot about discipline and commitment working alongside the men and women in uniform who supported recovery operations.

Years later, standing off the side of the runway for the landing of STS-135, I laid claim to being the only person on the planet to have been on the scene for the landings of the last Apollo Command Module (ASTP while aboard the USS New Orleans west of the Hawaiian Islands, July 1975) and the last Space Shuttle Orbiter, Atlantis. What an honor it was to share that moment with the KSC ground ops team.

I have spent quality time with the greatest teams in the world in the Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. Mission Control Center during the Orbiter Approach and Landing Tests and several Space Shuttle missions. What a thrill it was being a member of the team that restored the vision of Hubble Space Telescope during the First Servicing Mission in 1993.

After 46 years, I have come full circle. My career at NASA began in landing and recovery, and I have recently been involved with the Orion and Ground Ops folks in the early concept development of water recovery hardware and procedures to be used after the splashdown of the Orion Crew Module. What's really cool about this is that today's team has the same fire in its belly as I experienced 46 years ago.

I have experienced a variety of management roles along the way. At each stop, I was fortunate to work with - and learn from - incredibly talented people with far more skills than I. Without fail, I always walked away with a greater respect for the challenges we face while serving in this noble enterprise of space exploration. I had a ringside seat for one of these great challenges — building the International Space Station — a zero gravity United Nations that works a heck of a lot better than the one on the ground.

A hope of mine for the future is that as a country we find the willpower to sustain our commitments in space exploration. In the meantime, we must be vigilant, always attentive to the dangers of spaceflight and never accepting success as a substitute for rigor in everything we do.

For me, it can't get much better than this. A few weeks after I've retired and figured out what the heck I've done, I'll pick a time to host an old fashion "splashdown party." However, I doubt if they'll let us close down NASA Rd. 1...

I've come full circle indeed. As a very dear friend and former colleague of mine would say, "Holy Cow"! Thanks to you all for making this the best job anyone anywhere has ever had.

irish guy

Posts: 287
From: Kerry Ireland
Registered: Dec 2001

posted 02-17-2013 01:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for irish guy   Click Here to Email irish guy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of my favourite memories from my years following the space program was travelling to Houston in Jan 2006. The Outpost was still there, every evening you would find me at the bar.

On one unforgettable night Milt and I spent hours drinking and talking about the shuttle program. One of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet.

I wish him many many years of enjoyment in his retirement.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2016 All rights reserved.

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a