Fullerton, Gordon


Air Force & NASA astronaut, research pilot, test flew Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise, piloted STS-3 & Spacelab 2



Autograph ID: 5383
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1936-2013) USAF and NASA astronaut 1969-86, research pilot at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, California. His assignments included a variety of flight research and support activities piloting NASA’s B-52 launch aircraft, the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), and other multi-engine and high performance aircraft. Fullerton logged over 380 hours in space flight as a NASA astronaut when he joined the research pilot office at Dryden. In July 1988, he retired as a USAF colonel, continuing in his position of NASA research pilot as a civilian. He received BS & MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, in 1957 and 1958, respectively, and entered the Air Force in July 1958 after working as a mechanical design engineer for Hughes Aircraft Company. He was trained as an F-86 interceptor pilot, and later became a B-47 bomber pilot. In 1964 he was chosen to attend the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School (now the Air Force Test Pilot School), Edwards Air Force Base, California. In 1966, Fullerton was selected for and served as a flight crew member for the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program until its termination in 1969. He joined NASA in September 1969 after the cancellation of the MOL program and served on the support crews for the Apollo 14, 15, 16, and 17 lunar missions. In 1977, Fullerton was assigned to one of the two two-man flight crews which piloted the Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise during the Approach and Landing Tests Program at Dryden that same year. Fullerton was the pilot on the eight-day STS-3 Space Shuttle orbital flight test mission March 22–30, 1982. Fullerton was commander of the 1985 STS-51-F “Spacelab 2″ mission. This mission, with the orbiter Challenger, was the first pallet-only Spacelab mission and the first to operate the Spacelab Instrument Pointing System (IPS). It carried 13 major experiments in the fields of astronomy, solar physics, ionospheric science, life science, and a super fluid helium experiment. Fullerton served as project pilot on the NASA/Convair 990 aircraft, modified as a Landing Systems Research Aircraft to test space shuttle landing gear components. He was also the project pilot on the Propulsion Controlled Aircraft program, and a project pilot on a number of other research programs at Dryden. Fullerton was one of two NASA pilots who flew the Russian-built Tu-144LL supersonic aircraft used in a joint high-speed research program. With over 16,000 hours of flying time, Fullerton piloted 135 different types of aircraft. After joining Dryden as a research pilot, Fullerton piloted nearly all the research and support aircraft flown at the facility. He received, amongst other honors, the Distinguished Flying Cross, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and NASA Space Flight Medal (1983 and 1985). He was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1982 and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2005.

8 x 10 SP, NASA artist’s color lithograph (numbered NASA-S-74-5334 at top left) rendering of the Space Shuttle Orbiter’s planned landing approach to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, signed by Fullerton to the right of the Shuttle image. Captioned on bottom border, b&w NASA logo and printed description on verso. 1975 Government printing Office credit.”
Type: Photograph

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