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David Scott

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Subject: Apollo 15, List of spacewalks and moonwalks 1965–1999, From the Earth to the Moon (miniseries), Apollo program, Apollo 9
Collection: 1932 Births, 1966 in Spaceflight, 1969 in Spaceflight, 1971 in Spaceflight, 20Th-Century American Businesspeople, American Astronauts, American Aviators, American Businesspeople, American Engineers, American People of Scottish Descent, Apollo 15, Apollo Program Astronauts, Articles Containing Video Clips, Aviators from Texas, Collier Trophy Recipients, Living People, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alumni, NASA People, People from San Antonio, Texas, People Who Have Walked on the Moon, Recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross (United States), Recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal (United States), Recipients of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Recipients of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, San Antonio Academy Alumni, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School Alumni, United States Air Force Astronauts, United States Air Force Officers, United States Astronaut Hall of Fame Inductees, United States Military Academy Alumni, University of Michigan Alumni
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David Scott

David Randolph Scott
NASA astronaut
Nationality American
Status Retired
Born David Randolph Scott
(1932-06-06) June 6, 1932
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Other occupation
Test pilot
University of Michigan
USMA, B.S. 1954
MIT, M.S. and E.A.A. 1962
Rank Colonel, USAF
Time in space
22d 18h 53m
Selection 1963 NASA Group 3
Total EVAs
4 (his 1st EVA was a stand-up, while 3 EVAs were on the moon)
Total EVA time
18 hours 35 minutes[1]
Missions Gemini 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 15
Mission insignia
Retirement October 30, 1977

David Randolph "Dave" Scott (born June 6, 1932), (Col, USAF, Ret.), is an American engineer, retired U.S. Air Force officer, former test pilot, and former NASA astronaut. He belonged to the third group of NASA astronauts, selected in October 1963. As an astronaut, Scott became the seventh person to walk on the Moon.

Before becoming an astronaut, Scott graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and joined the United States Air Force. He graduated from the Air Force Experimental Test Pilot School (Class of 1963) and Aerospace Research Pilot School (Class of 1964).[2] Scott retired from the Air Force in 1975 with the rank of colonel, and more than 5,600 hours of logged flying time.

As an astronaut, Scott made his first flight into space as pilot of the Gemini 8 mission, along with Neil Armstrong, in March 1966, spending just under eleven hours in low Earth orbit. Scott then spent ten days in orbit as Command Module Pilot aboard Apollo 9, his second spaceflight, along with Commander James McDivitt and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart. During this mission, Scott became the last American to fly solo in Earth orbit (not counting subsequent untethered EVAs). Scott made his third and final flight into space as commander of the Apollo 15 mission, the fourth human lunar landing, becoming the seventh person to walk on the Moon and the first person to drive on the Moon.


  • Early life and education 1
  • NASA career 2
    • Gemini 8 2.1
    • Apollo 9 2.2
    • Apollo 15 2.3
  • Organizations 3
  • Awards and honors 4
  • Apollo 15 controversies 5
    • Stamp incident 5.1
    • Fallen Astronaut 5.2
  • Post-NASA career 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Books 9
  • External links 10

Early life and education

He was born June 6, 1932, on Randolph Field (for which he received his middle name) near San Antonio, Texas and was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout.[3] He was educated at Texas Military Institute, Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California, where Scott joined the swim team and set several state and local swim records. Scott attended The Western High School in Washington, D.C. graduating in June 1949. In D.C. he was an honor student, on the school swim team and the Ambassador hotel AAU champion team as a record setter. He attended the University of Michigan for one year where he was an honor student in the Engineering school, a member of the swimming team and pledged Sigma Chi Fraternity before finally receiving an invitation to attend West Point, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, finishing 5th in his class out of 633, in 1954. Because of his high standing in the class, he was able to choose which branch of the military he would serve. Scott chose the Air Force because he wanted to fly jets. He was assigned to the 32d Tactical Fighter Squadron at Soesterberg Air Base (RNAF), Netherlands, from April 1956 to July 1960. Upon completing this tour of duty, he returned to the United States for study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[4] He received both an Master of Science degree in Aeronautics/Astronautics and the degree of Engineer in Aeronautics/Astronautics (the E.A.A. degree) from MIT in 1962.[5] He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Astronautical Science from the University of Michigan in 1971. In 1959 he married his first wife, Ann. He also has two children with her: Tracy (born 1961) and Douglas (born 1963).[6] He is of Scottish descent, and his recreational interests include swimming, handball, skiing, and photography.

NASA career

Photo of Armstrong and Scott in the Gemini capsule, in the water. They are being assisted by some recovery crew
Recovery of the Gemini 8 spacecraft from the western Pacific Ocean

Scott was the first of the Group Three astronauts to be selected to fly and was also the first to command a mission of his own.

Gemini 8

On March 16, 1966, Scott and Command Pilot Neil Armstrong were launched into space on the Gemini 8 mission, a flight originally scheduled to last three days, in which Scott was to perform an EVA, but terminated early due to a malfunctioning thruster. The crew performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space and demonstrated great piloting skill in overcoming the thruster problem and bringing the spacecraft to a safe landing. Scott would later perform EVA's on his two subsequent flights.

Apollo 9

Scott stands in the open hatch of the Apollo 9 Command Module Gumdrop

Scott served as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 9 (March 3–March 13, 1969). This was the third manned flight in the Apollo series, the second to be launched by a Saturn V, and the first to complete a comprehensive earth-orbital qualification and verification test of a "fully configured Apollo spacecraft." The ten-day flight provided vital information previously not available on the operational performance, stability, and reliability of lunar module propulsion and life support systems. Highlight of this evaluation was completion of a critical lunar-orbit rendezvous simulation and subsequent docking, initiated by James McDivitt and Rusty Schweickart from within the Lunar Module at a separation distance which exceeded 100 miles (160 km) from the command/service module piloted by Scott. The crew also demonstrated and confirmed the operational feasibility of crew transfer and extravehicular activity techniques and equipment, with Schweickart completing a 46-minute EVA outside the Lunar Module. During this period, Dave Scott completed a 1-hour stand-up EVA in the open Command Module hatch photographing Schweickart's activities and also retrieving thermal samples from the Command Module exterior. Apollo 9 splashed down less than four nautical miles (7 km) from the helicopter carrier USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7).

In his next assignment, Scott was designated backup spacecraft commander for Apollo 12.

Apollo 15

Man must explore. And this is exploration at its greatest.

David Scott[7]
Scott conducting an experiment during the Apollo 15 moon landing

Scott made his third space flight as spacecraft commander of Apollo 15 (July 26–August 7, 1971). His companions on the flight were Alfred M. Worden (Command Module Pilot) and James B. Irwin (Lunar Module Pilot). Apollo 15 was the fourth successful manned lunar landing mission and the first to land near mountains instead of the relatively flat mare region where the previous 3 missions had landed. The landing site was between 2 mountains just north of Hadley Rille and Apennine Mountains which are located on the southeast edge of the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). After landing, Scott and Irwin donned their pressure suits and Scott performed the first and only stand up EVA on the lunar surface. He stood on the engine cover and poked his head out the docking port on top of the Lunar Module and took panoramic photographs of the surrounding terrain from an elevated position and scouted the terrain they would be driving across the next day. The Lunar Module, Falcon, remained on the lunar surface for 66 hours and 54 minutes (setting a new record for lunar surface stay time) and Scott and Irwin logged 18 hours and 35 minutes each in extravehicular activities conducted during three separate excursions onto the lunar surface. Using "Rover-1" to transport themselves and their equipment along portions of Hadley Rille and the Apennine Mountains, Scott and Irwin performed a selenological inspection and survey of the area and collected 180 pounds (82 kg) of lunar surface materials. They deployed an ALSEP package which involved the emplacement and activation of surface experiments, and their lunar surface activities were televised using a TV camera which was operated remotely by ground controllers stationed in the Mission Control Center located at Houston, Texas. Other Apollo 15 achievements include: largest payloads ever placed into earth and lunar orbits; first scientific instrument module bay flown and operated on an Apollo spacecraft; longest distance traversed on lunar surface; first use of a lunar surface navigation device (mounted on Rover-1); first subsatellite launched in lunar orbit; and first extravehicular (EVA) from a Command Module during transearth coast. The latter feat performed by Worden during three excursions to Endeavour's SIM-bay where he retrieved film cassettes from the panoramic and mapping cameras and reported his personal observations of the general condition of equipment housed there. Apollo 15 concluded with a Pacific Ocean splashdown and subsequent recovery by the USS Okinawa.


Scott is a fellow of the American Astronautical Society, associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi and Sigma Gamma Tau.

Awards and honors

Scott has been awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, a NASA Exceptional Service Medal, two Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Association's David C. Schilling Trophy, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Gold Medal, the United Nations Peace Medal, and the Robert J. Collier Trophy.

In the 1998 television series From the Earth to the Moon Scott was portrayed by Brett Cullen.

Apollo 15 controversies

Two non-essential items brought along on Apollo 15 were the subject of later controversy.

Stamp incident

A rectangle with the headline
One of the first day covers

Before the mission, the crew had made an agreement with a stamp dealer, similar to those made by other Apollo crews, to carry some signed first day covers along to the moon that could be sold later to collectors. Their goal was to provide for their families, and they established that the proceeds would go into a trust fund for their children's education, on the belief that the covers would not be sold for some time.[8]

The crew took 398 covers to the moon with them. Later it was alleged that these had been smuggled on board. In his 2013 book Two Sides of the Moon, Scott says that was impossible as the astronauts had to account for everything they took on board, including personal items. Instead of personally certifying the Apollo 15 crews as he usually did, Deke Slayton deferred to the flight-support crew, according to Scott. The support team's manifest did not include the covers.[8]

Once the mission was over a German stamp dealer began selling the first day covers immediately. The astronauts objected and said they did not want the money. When the sales were reported in the press some members of U.S. Congress became angry that they heard about them first that way, instead of from NASA itself, especially in the wake of an incident involving silver medallions taken along on Apollo 14. Slayton claimed in his autobiography that he felt Scott, Worden and Irwin had embarrassed NASA and the Apollo program by trying to profit in such way from the hard work that had gone into the Apollo 15 mission, and violated NASA rules.[9]

Scott wrote later that a "witch hunt" mentality took hold. The astronauts were advised to retain independent legal counsel before testifying at a closed Senate hearing on the matter. None of them would go into space again, and Scott wrote later that "NASA had hung us out to dry," to assuage Congressional anger over the apparent commercialization of earlier Apollo flights. In 1978 the Justice Department concluded that while the crew had broken some space-agency rules, they did nothing illegal. The covers were legal, they had not been intended for sale, the crew had not smuggled them on board and NASA would have approved letting them do so had they been asked. "We were reprimanded and took our licks. But it was a very raw deal," recalls Scott.

Fallen Astronaut

A silvery human figure, apparently face down, in front of a metallic plaque with a list of names on a dusty gray surface
Fallen Astronaut

The crew also brought along a 3 1/2-inch (8.9 cm) statue, Fallen Astronaut, which Scott placed on the rim of Hadley Rille along with a plaque listing the names of 14 astronauts and cosmonauts who had died during training. While Scott had been under the impression that it was intended as a memorial, Belgian sculptor Paul Van Hoeydonck had created it as a tribute to humanity's aspirations to expand into space. Scott believed that the agreement with van Hoeydonck allowed the sculptor to make a single copy for sale, and no more.[10]

Although it was the first (and so far only) sculpture exhibited on the moon, NASA did not discuss it much and did not identify van Hoeydonck as the artist for some time afterwards, which the artist believed was a deliberate slight engineered by Scott, since Van Hoeydonck had been unhappy that his work had been used as a memorial. He was invited to the launch of Apollo 16 and interviewed by Walter Cronkite.[10] Afterwards, he announced plans to sell copies of Fallen Astronaut through a New York art gallery. Scott wrote him letters expressing the crew's disappointment that he had chosen not to honor their agreement. Van Hoeydonck and his dealer went ahead with the plan, but only one copy sold. Relations between the astronaut and the artist remain strained.[10]

Post-NASA career

Dave Scott (February 2009)

See also


  1. ^ Dave Scott's EVA experience
  2. ^ Dave Scott's test pilot education
  3. ^ "Astronauts and the BSA". Fact sheet. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 2006-03-20. 
  4. ^ Two Sides of the Moon, PP18-28
  5. ^ "To the moon, by way of MIT". 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  6. ^ Davies, Hugh; Rozenberg, Joshua (July 21, 2001). "Anna Ford's affair with ex-astronaut burns out". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  7. ^ David Scott quotation
  8. ^ a b Scott, David; Leonov, Alexei (2013). Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race. MacMillan. pp. 385–388.  
  9. ^ Deke Slayton. Deke!.  
  10. ^ a b c Powell, Corey S.; Shapiro, Laurie Gwen (December 16, 2013). "The Sculpture on the Moon".  
  11. ^  


  • Scott, David;  
Some years after his career at NASA concluded, Scott wrote this book with Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space, about being on opposite sides of the space race during the Cold War.

External links

  • Scott's official NASA biography
  • Astronautix biography of David R. Scott
  • Spacefacts biography of David R. Scott
  • Scott at Spaceacts
  • Scott at Encyclopedia of Science
  • David R. ScottVisit the Sea of Rains With...
  • David Scott at the Internet Movie Database
  • David R. Scott: Challenges facing the human exploration of Mars public lecture at the Royal Society in London
  • Scott at International Space Hall of Fame
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