Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
Thomas K. Mattingly II orbited the moon as Command Module pilot on Apollo 16 in 1972 and commanded two Space Shuttle missions.
Mattingly was born March 17, 1936, in Chicago. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Auburn University in 1958.
Following graduation from Auburn, Mattingly entered the U.S. Navy as an ensign and received his wings in 1960. He flew VA-35 and A1H aircraft from the USS Saratoga from 1960 to 1963 and VAH-11 and A3B craft from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1964 to 1966.
He was a student at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School when NASA selected him as one of 19 new astronauts in April 1966. His first flight assignment was Command Module pilot on the Apollo 13 mission, but he was removed from the mission three days before the scheduled launch because he was exposed to German measles. He later received the same assignment on Apollo 16, and on April 16, 1972, he, Commander John Young and Lunar Module pilot Charles Duke blasted off for the moon. While Young and Duke explored the moon’s Cayley Plain for three days, Mattingly used sophisticated cameras from an altitude of 60 miles to photographically and geochemically map a belt around the lunar equator.
Following his moon mission, Mattingly served in astronaut managerial positions in the Space Shuttle development program. He was named to command the fourth and final test flight of the shuttle Columbia, and on June 27, 1982, he and pilot Henry Hartsfield were launched on a seven-day mission during which they thoroughly exercised the shuttle systems and operated the space plane’s first military payload. Mattingly returned to space January 24, 1985, as commander of Discovery on the 15th shuttle flight. During three days in orbit, he and a crew of four deployed a military satellite from the cargo bay.
He retired from NASA and from the Navy, as a captain, and entered the aerospace business world. He worked as a director in Grumman’s Space Station Support Division before joining Lockheed Martin, where he currently is a vice president in charge of the company’s X-33 development program.
Thomas Mattingly was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on October 4, 1997.