On Tuesday, NASA made a sad announcement regarding the death of another one of their former astronauts. Richard ‘Dick’ Gordon was one of the many who flew close to the moon, but never set foot on it. He was best known for being a member of the Apollo 12, and died at the age of 88.
Dick Gordon died on Monday in his home
Dick Gordon started as a test pilot for NASA, and belonged to the third group which got selected in 1963. Then, in 1966, he went on the Gemini 11 mission, and in 1969 was among the astronauts on the popular Apollo 12 mission.
He was the one who remained in the spacecraft called the Yankee Clipper, while his colleagues Charles Conrad and Alan Bean went walking on the moon after landing the Intrepid on it. Therefore, he never got the chance to set foot on its surface, but made a few circles around it.
On Monday, Gordon died peacefully at the age of 88, in his home in California. The tragic news was first made public by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. NASA quickly released a statement on the event, and expressed their deepest condolences for Gordon’s family and friends.
Everybody appreciated Gordon for his great sense of humor
Gordon was born on October 5th, 1929, in Seattle. Before being selected by NASA, he was a chemist and a Navy captain. He performed two spacewalks and, after the first difficult experience, he is well-known for falling asleep during the second. Everybody loved the man for his great sense of humor, and for his popular response when asked if he felt alone when his colleagues walked on the moon.
“I said, ‘Hell no, if you knew those guys, you’d be happy to be alone.'”
He described the Apollo 12 landing as quite a smoky situation. While sitting in the main spacecraft, he watched the lander getting close to the moon and eventually reaching its surface, but everything was surrounded by a cloud of smoke and dust. He should have gotten the chance to land on the moon himself, but the Apollo 18 mission was cancelled due to a budget shortening.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons