Alabama native and former astronaut Hank Hartsfield dies at 80

Courtesy: www.jsc.nasa.gov
Courtesy: www.jsc.nasa.gov

HOUSTON (AP) – Former astronaut Henry “Hank” Hartsfield, who logged 483 hours during three trips into space and commanded two shuttle missions, has died.

He was 80.

Hartsfield’s daughter, Judy Gedies, said Friday her father died July 17 of complications following back surgery. Funeral services were set for Saturday in suburban Houston.

Hartsfield, from Birmingham, Alabama, had a physics degree from Auburn University, graduated from Air Force test pilot school and was selected for astronaut training in 1969. He earned an engineering science master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in 1971.

He served on a 1972 lunar landing support crew, was pilot 10 years later for the shuttle Columbia’s last test mission and commander for a Discovery flight in 1984 and Challenger in 1985. Hartsfield later worked in several NASA administrative positions.

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