Alamagordo Mourns Loss Of NASA Test Pilot Gordon Fullerton
(Alamogordo, New Mexico) - Astronaut C. Gordon Fullerton died Wednesday, August 21, in Lancaster, California. He was 76 years old. His career as a U.S. astronaut and Air Force and NASA test pilot lasted almost 50 years.
As a member of NASA’s astronaut corps, Fullerton served as a support crew member for Apollo lunar missions 14, 15, 16, and 17. Fullerton piloted STS-3 Space Shuttle Columbia that landed at Northrup Strip, now White Sands Space Harbor, on White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on March 30, 1982. He also commanded STS-51-F Space Shuttle Challenger in 1985. On those two shuttle missions, Fullerton logged more than 380 hours in space.
In 1982, Fullerton was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame at the New Mexico Museum of Space History. “It saddens us all to lose a man of Fullerton’s caliber,” said Museum Executive Director Chris Orwoll. “In addition to his accomplishments as a NASA astronaut, his contributions to aerospace research as a test pilot are incredibly significant. In fact, he piloted nearly all the research and support aircraft flown at the Dryden Flight Research Facility, and all told has piloted 135 different types of aircraft logging more than 15,000 hours of flight time. He will be sorely missed.”
There will be a funeral mass for Fullerton at 10:00 am Saturday at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lancaster, California. NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center has planned a memorial for 10:00 am Monday.