Rick D. Husband

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Rick D. Husband (larger image)

Rick D. Husband (July 12, 1957 - February 1, 2003) was an astronaut and the space shuttle commander of STS-107 (Columbia) who was killed when the craft disintegrated after reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. Husband was also a baritone singer.

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Early life

He was born in Amarillo, Texas. He had gone to Crockett Jr. High and graduated from Amarillo High School in 1975. Husband received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University in 1980, and a master of science degree also in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno in 1990.

U.S. Air Force career

After graduating from Texas Tech University, Husband was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force and attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base (AFB) in Oklahoma. He finished his training there in October 1981, and was assigned to F-4 Phantom II training at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. After completion of F-4 training in September 1982, Husband was assigned to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia flying the F-4E. From September to November 1985, he attended F-4 Instructor School at Homestead AFB and was assigned as an F-4E instructor pilot and academic instructor at George AFB, California in December 1985.

In December 1987, Husband was assigned to Edwards Air Force Base in California, where he attended the USAF Test Pilot School. Upon completion of test pilot school, Husband served as a test pilot flying the F-4 and all five models of the F-15 Eagle. In the F-15 Combined Test Force, Husband was the program manager for the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 increased performance engine, and also served as the F-15 Aerial Demonstration Pilot.

In June 1992, Husband was assigned to the Aircraft and Armament Evaluation Establishment at Boscombe Down, England, as an exchange test pilot with the Royal Air Force. At Boscombe Down, Husband was the Tornado GR1 and GR4 Project Pilot and served as a test pilot in the Hawk, Hunter, Buccaneer, Jet Provost, Tucano, and Harvard. He has logged over 3800 hours of flight time in more than 40 different types of aircraft.

NASA career

Husband was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994. He reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995 to begin a year of training and evaluation. Upon completion of training, Husband was named the Astronaut Office representative for Advanced Projects at Johnson Space Center, working on Space Shuttle Upgrades, the Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) and studies to return to the Moon and travel to Mars. Most recently, he served as Chief of Safety for the Astronaut Office. He flew as pilot on STS-96 in 1999, and logged 235 hours and 13 minutes in space. Husband was later assigned to command the crew of STS-107 which was launched early in 2003.

After his death, Asteroid 51823 Rickhusband was named for him, as well as Husband Hill in the Columbia Hills on Mars, and Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in his hometown of Amarillo, Texas.

Shuttle missions

  • STS-96 (May 27 to June 6, 1999) aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery was a 10-day mission during which the crew performed the first docking with the International Space Station and delivered 4 tons of logistics and supplies in preparation for the arrival of the first crew to live on the station early next year. The mission was accomplished in 153 Earth orbits, traveling 4 million miles in 9 days, 19 hours and 13 minutes.
  • STS-107 (January 16 to February 1, 2003) aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia was a 16 day mission during which the crew performed over 80 experiments testing applications of microgravity to gain insight into the environment of space and improve life on Earth as well as enable future space exploration. The mission ended in tragedy on the morning of February 1 when the shuttle disintegrated upon reentry killing all crew members (see Space Shuttle Columbia disaster).

Quotes

Husband describes how he became a shuttle commander having flown in only one other space flight:

  • "I think a lot of it has to do with being in the right place at the right time."

Related topics

Reference

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