Apollo 10 Commander Thomas Stafford Dies at 93

(ReliableNews.org) – Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford has gone down in history books as one of just 24 people who have traveled to the moon. He also commanded a dress rehearsal for the 1969 moon landing. Stafford recently died in Florida.

On March 18, Max Ary, the director of Oklahoma’s Stafford Air and Space Museum, told collectSPACE that Stafford passed away at the age of 93. He’d been sick for a long time before his death, but Ary still said he was “shocked and saddened.” According to reports, the astronaut was suffering from liver cancer and died at a care facility in Satellite Beach.

Ary said, “This nation has lost one of its great heroes.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson wrote a post on X, formerly Twitter, expressing his condolences. He said Stafford is in the “eternal heavens” that he “courageously explored as a Gemini and Apollo astronaut as well as a peacemaker in Apollo Soyuz.”


In a follow-up post, Nelson shared a video dedicated to Stafford’s long career, including the Apollo 10 mission orbiting the moon.


Stafford served his country in the US Air Force, before becoming an astronaut. In 1958, he attended the Air Force Test Pilot School. After graduation, he became a flight instructor. In 1962, he was accepted into NASA Group Two after applying to become an astronaut.

During his career at NASA, Stafford flew in the Gemini 6A, Gemini 9A, Apollo 10, and Apollo Soyuz missions. Although the astronaut went to the moon, he didn’t land on it. After he retired, he was still heavily involved in activities at NASA, including how to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, Mars missions, and safety issues after the 2003 Columbia disaster.

In an email to The Associated Press, Ary said Stafford was involved in many things people didn’t even know about; he was called the “Father of Stealth.” At one point, he was in charge of Area 51.

In 1997, Stafford discussed the most impressive sight he’d seen, saying it was seeing the Earth from the moon. He said it “really changed [his] view of things.” Then, he saw the far side of the moon and noted that “Earth disappears. There’s this big black void.”

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