Ken Mattingly

From Academic Kids

Thomas Kenneth (Ken) Mattingly II (born March 17, 1936) is an American astronaut who flew on the Apollo 16, STS-4, and STS-51-C missions.

He was a student at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School when NASA selected him as an astronaut 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 thereby missed the dramatic in-flight explosion and ultimately safe return of the crew. However, he was involved in helping the crew figure out how to conserve as much power as possible for re-entry. He finally flew as Command Module pilot on Apollo 16. Commander John Young, Lunar Module pilot Charles Duke, and Mattingly were launched on April 16, 1972. While Young and Duke explored the lunar surface for three days, Mattingly used instruments mounted in the service module from an altitude of 100 km to photographically and geochemically map a band of the lunar surface around the equator.

Following his return to earth, 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. On June 27, 1982, he and pilot Henry Hartsfield were launched on a seven-day mission during which they thoroughly tested the shuttle systems and operated the spaceplane's first military payload. Mattingly's final entry into space came on 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.

Thereafter he retired from NASA and the Navy, and entered the aerospace business. He worked as a Director in Grumman's Space Station Support Division. He then headed the Atlas booster program for General Dynamics in San Diego, California. At Lockheed Martin he was Vice President in charge of the X-33 development program.

In the movie Apollo 13, which is about the actual failed lunar mission which Ken Mattingly was supposed to have been on, he is played by Gary Sinise. There is little physical resemblance between Mattingly and Sinise, but interestingly, they have the same birthday.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Mattingly graduated with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1958 from Auburn University where he also served as Student Government Association president.

Space flight experience

Apollo 16 (April 16-27, 1972) was the fifth manned lunar landing mission. The crew included John W. Young (spacecraft commander), Ken Mattingly (command module pilot), and Charles M. Duke, Jr. (lunar module pilot). The mission assigned to Apollo 16 was to collect samples from the lunar highlands at a location near the crater Descartes. While in lunar orbit the scientific instruments aboard the command and service module "Casper" extended the photographic and geochemical mapping of a belt around the lunar equator. Twenty-six separate scientific experiments were conducted both in lunar orbit and during cislunar coast. Major emphasis was placed on using man as an orbital observer capitalizing on the human eye's unique capabilities and man's inherent curiosity. Although the mission of Apollo 16 was terminated one day early, due to concern over several spacecraft malfunctions, all major objectives were accomplished through the ceaseless efforts of the mission support team and were made possible by the most rigorous preflight planning yet associated with an Apollo mission.

STS-4, the fourth and final orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 27,1982. Mattingly was the spacecraft commander and Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., was the pilot. This 7-day mission was designed to: further verify ascent and entry phases of shuttle missions; perform continued studies of the effects of long-term thermal extremes on the Orbiter subsystems; and conduct a survey of Orbiter-induced contamination on the Orbiter payload bay. Additionally, the crew operated several scientific experiments located in the Orbiter's cabin and in the payload bay. These experiments included the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System experiment designed to investigate the separation of biological materials in a fluid according to their surface electrical charge. This experiment was a pathfinder for the first commercial venture to capitalize on the unique characteristics of space. The crew is also credited with effecting an in-flight repair which enabled them to activate the first operational "Getaway Special" (composed of nine experiments that ranged from algae and duckweed growth in space to fruit fly and brine shrimp genetic studies). STS-4 completed 112 orbits of the Earth before landing on a concrete runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on July 4, 1982.

STS-51-C, the first Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on January 24, 1985. The crew included Ken Mattingly (spacecraft commander), Loren Shriver (pilot), Jim Buchli and Ellison Onizuka (mission specialists), and Gary Payton (DOD payload specialist). STS-51C performed its DOD mission which included deployment of a modified Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) vehicle from the Space Shuttle Discovery. Landing occurred on January 27, 1985.

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