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Kansas has three spacecraft astronauts among its natives, and at least one other who became a Kansan after his spaceflight career -- as well as others who are "sort of" astronauts:

THE SHORT ANSWER:

KANSAS NATIVES:

  • Ron Evans
  • Joe Engle
  • Steve Hawley

KANSAS IMMIGRANT:

  • C. D. Gemar

ALMOST-ASTRONAUTS:

(original candidates for Mercury 7 team):

  • Capt. Edward Joseph Dwight, Jr., USAF - African American
  • Sarah Lee Gorelick (Ratley) - Woman

(Despite high qualifications of many of them, and successful completion of astronaut candidate testing and preliminary training, no African-Americans nor women were selected as astronauts for any Mercury, Gemini or Apollo flight)

THE LONG ANSWERS:

NATIVE KANSANS:

--------------------

Ronald E. Evans

~ Born November 10, 1933, in St. Francis, Kansas.

~ High School: Topeka, Highland Park H.S.

~ College: Univ. of Kansas, BS in Electrical Engineering, 1956

~ Died: April 6, 1990, in Scottsdale, Arizona

- Total flight time accrued during his career is 5,100 hours, including 4,600 hours in jet aircraft, and 301 hours in space:

  • "Apollo 17" Command Module Pilot, December 6-19, 1972, the last manned flight to the moon.

    - (Evans holds the record of more time in lunar orbit than anyone else in the world -- 147 hours, 48 minutes -- on the longest manned lunar-landing flight: 301 hours, 51 minutes.)

--------------------

Joe Henry Engle

~Born: 26 Aug 1932, in Dickinson County, Kansas,

~College: Univ. of Kansas, B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering, 1956.

- General Engle has flown over 185 different types of aircraft including 38 different fighter and attack aircraft. He has logged more than 14,700 flight hours - 9,900 in jets and over 224 hours in space:

  • Space Shuttle prototype "Enterprise" Commander (multiple atmospheric test flights; air-launched from Boeing 747)
  • Space Shuttle "Columbia" Commander, STS-2 (2nd Shuttle flight), 12 Nov 1981

    (becoming the first and only pilot to manually fly an aerospace vehicle from Mach 25 to landing.)

  • Space Shuttle "Discovery" Commander, STS-51I, 27 Aug 1985

--------------------

Steve Hawley

~ Born: December 12, 1951, in Ottawa, Kansas

~ Hometown: Salina, Kansas

~ High School: Salina (Central) High School, Salina, Kansas, graduated 1969;

~ College: Univ. of Kansas, B.A. degrees in physics & Astronomy (graduating with highest distinction), 1973; Univ. of California, Ph.D. in astronomy & astrophysics, 1977.

- Dr. Hawley has logged a total of 770 hours and 27 minutes in five space flights. He served as a mission specialist on:

  • - Space Shuttle "Discovery":

    - - STS-41D in 1984,

    - - STS-31 in 1990,

    - - STS-82 in 1997,

  • - Space Shuttle "Columbia":

    - - STS-61C in 1986,

    - - STS-93 in 1999.

Dr. Hawley is (as of 2011) a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas.

KANSAS IMMIGRANTS,

"TRANSPLANTED" TO KANSAS:

--------------------

C. D. Gemar

- Gemar has flown three times and has logged over 580 hours in space in three space flights. He served as a mission specialist on:

  • Space Shuttle "Atlantis":

    - - STS-38 (November 15-20, 1990)

  • Space Shuttle "Discovery":

    - - STS-48 (September 12-18, 1991)

  • - Space Shuttle "Columbia":

    - - STS-62 (March 4-18, 1994).

(Gemar later became a test pilot for a jet aircraft manufacturer in Wichita)

"ALMOST-ASTRONAUTS"

--------------------

A WOMAN and an AFRICAN-AMERICAN -- both natives of the Kansas City, Kansas area -- were among the few dozen "eligible" astronaut candidates screened for the initial Mercuryastronaut program:

--------------------

Capt. Edward Joseph Dwight, Jr., USAF

(Air Force jet flight instructor pilot; one of the 8 graduates from his USAF test pilot school class specifically recommended without reservation by the astronaut selection board for astronaut training -- of whom only 2 were selected.)

--------------------

Sarah Lee Gorelick (Ratley)

(One of the "tested-and-qualified" "Mercury 13" women; At 28, she held a commercial pilot's license, with airplane single and multi-engine land ratings, single engine sea, instrument, rotor and glider ratings, with aircraft racing experience. Electrical engineer with mathematics degree, plus minors in physics & chemistry.)

--------------------

NOTE: During that time (1960s), before the general acceptance of America's civil rights and womens' movements, strong opposition to including women and African-Americans was widespread in America's political, military and spaceflight establishments. No black or female candidates were selected as astronauts for any of the Mercury, Gemini or Apollo missions.

~ R.Harris / Kansas Avaition Centennial Cmte.

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Apollo Moon Missions

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Who was the first person to set foot on the Moon

First American to orbit the Earth

Approximately how long is the period of time from the new moon to the full moon phase

One of its goals was scientific exploration of the moon

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