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  Don Williams, NASA astronaut (1942-2016) (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Don Williams, NASA astronaut (1942-2016)
Spoon
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Grounded!
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india-mike
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Greggy_D
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Henk Boshuijer
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Kirsten
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Ronpur
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Mike Isbell
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astrobar1
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posted 02-29-2016 06:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astrobar1   Click Here to Email astrobar1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You made the Boilers proud. You made us all proud.

Gilbert
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eurospace
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James913
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Just received the news about Don this morning. This is particularly sad for all of us who had the opportunity to work with him post-NASA at SAIC. When I think of the best managers I have known throughout my career, Don Williams is at the very top of a short list.

Just some thoughts on a personal note -- our paths first crossed back at KSC in 1985, at the apex of NASA space shuttle and spaceport operations (9 shuttle launches that year; almost 10 -- it’s almost impossible to remember what a launch schedule like that was like) and I was in charge of getting the Challenger, and then the Discovery, ready for the STS-51D payloads. Meeting the flight crew back then was a Really Big Deal (I still have my official Garn Ground Crew cap), and I’ll always remember my first impressions of Don as friendly, soft-spoken, smart and focused – exactly the kind of guy you want to work with under pressure. Little did I know that nine years later (across companies and country) he would be my boss at SAIC Houston, and just as good to work with under more normal circumstances.

One day back then, over at my house Don saw that I have an old 1960’s Martin Bullpup missile (it’s kinda hard to miss), which I’ve lugged around across the country since wind-tunnel tests in college. He was happy to explain how these used to work back during his pilot days in Vietnam – surely one of the strangest air-to-ground pre-computer Rube Goldberg strategies you can imagine: the pilot had to fire the missile at the target (usually a bridge) while in a steep dive, then visually keep track of it (through the missile exhaust) by following two red flares
located near the solid rocket nozzle and radio-guide it onto the target with a hand-controller, all while still flying the plane, dodging approaching ground fire and pulling out of the dive in time. No wonder he was so calm during NASA ops.

Don always used to end his letters and e-mails with “Fly safe!” Right back at you, pal: Fly safe Don.

saturn1b
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J Blackburn
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kyra
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Lunar Module 5
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astro-nut
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Thoughts and prayers to his family.

alcyone
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