USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum Mourns the Passing of Former Naval Aviator Dick Gordon
Nov 10, 2017
The staff and volunteers of the USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum were saddened to hear of the passing of former Gemini 11 and Apollo 12 astronaut Dick Gordon. A retired Navy captain, Gordon was pilot of Apollo 12's Command Module the "Yankee Clipper." The USS Hornet recovered the "Yankee Clipper" and its crew of Gordon, and fellow astronauts Charles "Pete" Conrad and Alan Bean, on November 24, 1969 in the South Pacific.
A native of Seattle, Washington, Dick Gordon received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Washington. He received his "Wings of Gold" as a Naval Aviator in 1953 and attended the Navy Test Pilot School in 1957. He became an astronaut in 1963 and spent more than 316 hours in space between his two missions. He was the pilot for the three-day Gemini 11 mission in 1966 and performed two spacewalks. At the time of theflight, Gemini 11 set the world altitude record of 850 miles.
Gordon made a second flight in 1969 as command pilot on Apollo 12 with spacecraft commander Charles Conrad and lunar module pilot Alan Bean. Throughout the 31-hour lunar surface stay by Conrad and Bean, Gordon remained in orbit around the moon in the command module, "Yankee Clipper."
Since retiring from NASA, Gordon served as Executive Vice President of the New Orleans Saints Professional Football Club in the National Football League and held executive positions at several companies in the oil and gas engineering and technology industries.
In November 2005, NASA honored Gordon with an Ambassador of Exploration award. NASA presented these prestigious awards to the astronauts who toook part in the nation's Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs from 1961 to 1972. Ambassadors of Exploration help NASA communicate the benefits and excitement of space exploration.
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Photo caption: Astronaut Dick Gordon gets suited up for Gemini XI mission.