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Richard Francis Gordon, Jr.

Gemini and Apollo astronaut

Richard F. Gordon

Biographical Data

Born October 5, 1929, in Seattle, Washington

Married to Barbara J. Field
Children 4 sons, 2 daughters
Divorced 1982

Married Linda Schultz Sanders

Died November 6, 2017, in San Marcos, California


High School North Kitsap High School, Poulsbo, Washington
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry University of Washington (1951)

Pre-NASA Career

Received his wings as a naval aviator in 1953.

Attended All-Weather Flight School and Jet Transitional Training and was subsequently assigned to an all-weather fighter squadron at the Naval Air Station at Jacksonville, Florida.

Attended the Navy's Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, in 1957.

Served as a flight test pilot until 1960, on the F8U Crusader, F11F Tigercat, FJ Fury, and A4D Skyhawk. Was the first project test pilot for the F4H Phantom II.

In 1961, he won the Bendix Trophy Race, flying from Los Angeles, California, to New York, New York, in a record time of 2 hours 47 minutes, and with a new speed record of 869.74 miles per hour.

He was also a student at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California.

Logged more that 4,500 hours flying time, 3,500 hours of them in jet aircraft.

NASA Career

Selected as an astronaut in 1963.

Backup pilot for Gemini 8.

Served as pilot of Gemini 11 (September 12-15, 1966), with Charles Conrad. During the mission he performed two periods of extravehicular activity, for a total of 2 hours 44 minutes.

Backup command pilot for Apollo 9.

Command Module Pilot on Apollo 12 (November 14-24, 1969), with Charles Conrad and Alan Bean.

Backup spacecraft commander for Apollo 15.

Retired from NASA and the Navy in January 1972.

Spent a total of 315 hours 53 minutes in space.

Post-NASA Career

Executive Vice President of the New Orleans Saints (1972)

General Manager of Energy Developers, Limited (1977)

President of Resolution Engineering and Development Company (1978); Vice President for Operations, Texas Division (1980); Director, Scott Science and Technology, Inc., Los Angeles Division (1981-1983)

President of Astro Sciences Corporation (1982)

Technical Advisor for, and played the part of Capcom in, the CBS mini-series "Space" (1984)


fellow, American Astronautical Society
associate fellow, Society of Experimental Test Pilots
Navy League

Awards and Honors

Phi Sigma Kappa Merit Award (1966)
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
NASA Exceptional Service Medal
two Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses
Navy Astronaut Wings
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Institute of Navigation Award for 1969
Godfrey L. Cabot Award (1970)
Rear Admiral William S. Parsons Award for Scientific and Technical Progress (1970)

NASA MSC Superior Achievement Award
NASA Group Achievement Award

Astronaut Biographies
Washington Post

A4D Skyhawk
Gemini 11
Charles Conrad
Apollo 12
Alan Bean

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This page was last updated on 04/08/2018.