Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
Charles (Pete) Conrad Jr. piloted Gemini 5, commanded Gemini 11, walked on the moon on Apollo 12 and commanded the Skylab 2 space station mission.
He was born in Philadelphia on June 2, 1930. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University in 1953. He holds honorary degrees from Princeton, Lincoln-Wesleyan University and Kings College.
Following college, Conrad joined the Navy and became a naval aviator. He attended the Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md., and later served at Patuxent as a test pilot, flight instructor and performance engineer.
Conrad was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1962. On Aug 21, he and commander Gordon Cooper were launched on the Gemini 5 flight that lasted eight days, the longest space flight to that date. As commander of the three-day Gemini 11 flight, which began Sept. 18, 1966, Conrad caught and linked up with an Agena satellite, using the Agena engine to rocket to a then-record altitude of 850 miles. His pilot, Dick Gordon, took a space walk.
During the Apollo 12 voyage, Nov. 14-24, 1969, Conrad and Alan Bean became the second Apollo team to walk on the moon, while Gordon remained in orbit in the Command Module. They executed a pinpoint landing, parking their Lunar Module near an unmanned /Surveyor spacecraft that had scouted their landing site two years earlier. On May 25, 1973, Conrad and Skylab 2 crewmates Paul Weitz and Joseph Kerwin flew to a rendezvous with the Skylab 1 space station. Their launch was delayed 10 days because the unmanned Skylab had been damaged during liftoff, and they then had to practice techniques with new equipment devised to repair the station. With some difficulty, they fixed Skylab, with some of the work done during space walks, and completed a successful 28-day science mission.
In 1973 Conrad retired from the Navy with the rank of captain to enter the business world. He retired from McDonnell Douglas in 1996 after serving in several executive positions with the company and formed Universal Space Lines, a space services company for the commercial space industry.
Conrad died July 8, 1999 in a motorcycle accident in California. His widow, Nancy, lives in Huntington Beach, CA.
Pete Conrad was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on March 19, 1993.