RICK DOUGLAS HUSBAND, COLONEL, USAF, NASA ASTRONAUT (DECEASED)

Rick-HusbandA native of Amarillo, Texas, Col Husband earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University (TTU) in 1980 and was awarded the Outstanding Engineering Student Award. He was named a 1997 Distinguished Engineer of the TTU College of Engineering and Distinguished Alumnus in 2003, posthumously. He earned a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno, in 1990 and in 2002 was selected as the College of Engineering and Computer Science Distinguished Alumnus “Top Dog.”

            After graduation from TTU, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Husband attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma graduating with distinction in October, 1981and was assigned to F-4 training at Homestead AFB, Florida and then assigned to Moody AFB, Georgia flying the F-4E.  In November 1985, Husband became an F-4E instructor pilot and academic instructor at George AFB, California, and was awarded the F-4 Tactical Air Command Instructor Pilot of the Year. In 1988, Col Husband attended the USAF Test Pilot School (TPS) at Edwards AFB, California.  Graduating with distinction from TPS, he served as a test pilot flying the F-4 and the F-15. Husband became  an exchange test pilot for the Royal Air Force in Boscombe Down, England in June, 1992. During his test pilot career, he logged over 3800 hours of flight time in more than 40 different types of aircraft.

            NASA selected Col Husband as an astronaut candidate in December, 1994. After training completion, he was named the Astronaut Office representative for Advanced Projects working on Space Shuttle Upgrades, the Crew Return Vehicle, and studies to return to the Moon and travel to Mars.  Col Husband was pilot on STS-96 (1999) and crew commander on STS-107 (2003), logging 24 days, 51 hours, and 33 minutes in space. 

            STS-96 (Discovery) was a 10 day mission during which the crew performed the first docking with the International Space Station and delivered 4 tons of logistics and supplies in preparation for the arrival of the first crew to live on the station early the following year.  The mission was accomplished in 153 earth orbits, traveling 4 million miles in 9 days, 19 hours, and 13 minutes.  

            STS-107 (Columbia) was a 16 day flight dedicated to science and research.  Working 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, the crew successfully conducted approximately 80 experiments.  The STS-107 mission ended abruptly on February1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia and the crew perished during re-entry, 16 minutes before the scheduled landing.

            Col Husband was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.  During his career, his military decorations included

the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and two NASA Group Achievement Awards for work on the X-38 Development Team and the Orbiter Upgrade.

      Official NASA biography can be found at: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/husband.html

      A statue of Rick can be found in the terminal of the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in Amarillo, TX.

The Columbia shuttle mission that Rick and Willie were killed on was mission STS-107.  A gallery of photos from that mission (official NASA site) can be found at:  http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-107/ndxpage1.html

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