(L-R) West German Payload Specialist Ernst Messerchmid, October 27, 1985, and his crewmates on the Space Shuttle Challeger STS-61A mission Pilot Steven Nagel (waving), Payload Specialist Wubbo Ockels, ESA from Netherlands, Commander Henry Hartsfield, Payload Specialist Reinhard Furrer from West Germany and Guion S. Bluford, mission specialist, en route for lunch pad on October 27, 1985 before taking off on October 30. STS-61-A was the 22nd Space Shuttle mission. It was a scientific Spacelab mission funded and controlled by West Germany and carried German Spacelab D-1. It was also the last successful mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger. STS-61-A holds the record for the largest crew, eight people, aboard any single spacecraft for the entire period from launch to landing. The Space Shuttle mission carried the NASA/ESA Spacelab module with 76 experiments, and was declared a success. Payload operations were controlled from the German Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany instead of the regular NASA centers. AFP PHOTO JOHATHAN UTZ (Photo credit: JONATHAN UTZ/AFP/Getty Images)
HOUSTON (AP) — Former astronaut Henry “Hank” Hartsfield, who logged 483 hours during three trips into space and commanded two shuttle missions, has died.
He was 80.
Hartsfield’s daughter, Judy Gedies, said Friday her father died July 17 of complications following back surgery. Funeral services were set for Saturday in suburban Houston.
Hartsfield, from Birmingham, Alabama, had a physics degree from Auburn University, graduated from Air Force test pilot school and was selected for astronaut training in 1969. He earned an engineering science master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in 1971.
He served on a 1972 lunar landing support crew, was pilot 10 years later for the shuttle Columbia’s last test mission and commander for a Discovery flight in 1984 and Challenger in 1985. Hartsfield later worked in several NASA administrative positions.
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