17.09.

1930: Thomas P. Stafford: The First General in Space

1930: Thomas P. Stafford: The First General in Space
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 17 September 1930
  • General Thomas P. Stafford became the first person who held the rank of a general and was launched into space. Interestingly, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (due to his activities on the Apollo-Soyuz mission, where he worked with the Soviet commander Alexei Leonov).

On this day in 1930, Thomas P. Stafford was born.

He became the first person who held the rank of general and was launched into space (the Apollo-Soyuz mission, 1975). At the time, he served as Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Air Force.

Thomas P. Stafford was born in the small town of Weatherford, Oklahoma, about a hundred kilometers from the border with Texas.

Today, General Stafford is very famous in his place of birth. In fact, the local airport was named after Thomas (Thomas P. Stafford Airport), as well as the museum known as Stafford Air & Space Museum.

He joined NASA in 1962. Before that, he had been a test pilot of the U.S. Air Force (USAF). He was four times in space (Gemini 6A, Gemini 9A, Apollo 10, and Apollo-Soyuz missions).

It is interesting to note that Stafford is one of the three people who were cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest speed ever attained – his spacecraft attained 28,547 statute miles per hour.

Stafford also held the rank of three-star general. Interestingly, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (due to his activities on the Apollo-Soyuz mission, where he worked with the Soviet commander Alexei Leonov).

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