Paul J. Weitz

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Astronaut Paul J. Weitz
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Astronaut Paul J. Weitz

Paul J. Weitz (pronounced WHITES) (born July 25, 1932) was an American astronaut who flew in space twice.

Contents

Personal data

Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on July 25, 1932. Married to the former Suzanne M. Berry of Harborcreek, Pennsylvania. Two children: Matthew and Cynthia. Hunting and fishing are among his hobbies. His mother, Mrs. Violet Futrell, now resides in Norfolk, Virginia.

Education

Organizations

  • Fellow, American Astronautical Association.

Special honors

Awarded the:

  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal
  • Navy Distinguished Service Medal
  • Astronaut Wings
  • Air Medal (5)
  • Commendation Medal (for combat flights in Vietnam)
  • Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Kitty Hawk Award (1973)
  • Robert J. Collier Trophy for 1973 (1974)
  • Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Named a Pennsylvania State University Alumni Fellow (1974)
  • AIAA Haley Astronautics Award for 1974
  • Federation Aeronautique Internationale's V. M. Komarov Diploma for 1973 (1974)
  • Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy for 1975
  • 1974 Harmon International Aviation Trophy for Astronaut (1975)
  • NASA Space Flight Medal (1983)
  • 1984 Harmon International Award (1989)

Experience

Weitz received his commission as an ensign through the NROTC program at Pennsylvania State University. He served for one year at sea aboard a destroyer before going to flight training and was awarded his wings in September 1956. He served in various naval squadrons until he was selected as an astronaut in 1966. He has logged more than 7,700 hours flying time—6,400 hours in jet aircraft.

NASA experience

Mr. Weitz is one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as pilot on the crew of Skylab-2 (SL-2), which launched on May 25 and ended on June 22, 1973. SL-2 was the first manned Skylab mission, and activated a 28-day flight. In logging 672 hours and 49 minutes aboard the orbital workshop, the crew established what was then a new world record for a single mission. Mr. Weitz also logged 2 hours and 11 minutes in extravehicular activities. He may have also been one of the crew selected for the Apollo 20 mission, which was canceled.

Mr. Weitz was spacecraft commander on the crew of STS-6, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 4, 1983. This was the maiden voyage of the Orbiter Challenger. During the mission, the crew conducted numerous experiments in materials processing, recorded lightning activities, deployed IUS/TDRS-A, conducted spectacular extravehicular activity while testing a variety of support systems and equipment in preparation for future space walks, and also carried three "Getaway Specials." Mission duration was 120 hours before landing Challenger on a concrete runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 9, 1983. With the completion of this flight, Paul Weitz logged a total of 793 hours in space.

Mr. Weitz was Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center when he retired from NASA service in May 1994.

Misc.

  • The football field at Harbor Creek High School is named after him.

References

NASA biography, July 1994 (http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/weitz-pj.html)

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