Jack Lousma Joins Us

Jack R. Lousma was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 9, 10, and 13 missions. He famously was the CAPCOM recipient of the “Houston, we’ve had a problem” message from Apollo 13. He may have also been selected as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 20, which was canceled. He was the pilot for Skylab 3 from July 28 to September 25, 1973, and was Commander on STS-3, from March 22 until March 30, 1982, logging a total of over 1,619 hours in space.

Lousma also spent 11 hours on two spacewalks outside the Skylab space station. He also served as backup Docking Module Pilot of the United States flight crew for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission which was completed successfully in July 1975. Lousma left NASA on October 1, 1983 and retired from the Marine Corps on November 1, 1983.

The Skylab 3 crew, left to right: Owen K. Garriott, Jack Lousma, and Alan Bean
The crew on this 59½ day flight included Alan L. Bean (spacecraft commander), Lousma (pilot), and Dr. Owen K. Garriott who acted as a science-pilot. The crew installed six replacement rate gyros used for attitude control of the spacecraft and a twin-pole sunshade used for thermal control, and they repaired nine major experiment or operational equipment items. SL-3 accomplished 100% of mission goals while completing 858 revolutions of the Earth, and traveling some 24,400,000 miles in Earth orbit. They devoted 305 man hours to extensive solar observations from above the Earth’s atmosphere, which included viewing two major solar flares and numerous smaller flares and coronal transients. Also acquired and returned to earth were 16,000 photographs and 18 miles of magnetic tape documenting earth resources observations. The crew completed 333 medical experiment performances and obtained valuable data on the effects of extended weightlessness on humans. Skylab 3 ended with a Pacific Ocean splashdown and recovery by the USS New Orleans.

The STS-3 crew, left to right: Jack Lousma and C. Gordon Fullerton
STS-3, the third orbital test flight of Space Shuttle Columbia, launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on March 22, 1982, into a 180-mile circular orbit above the Earth. Lousma was the spacecraft commander and C. Gordon Fullerton was the Pilot on this eight-day mission. Major flight test objectives included exposing the Columbia to extremes in thermal stress and the first use of the 50-foot Remote Manipulator System (RMS) to grapple and maneuver a Payload in space. The crew also operated several scientific experiments in the orbiter’s cabin and on the OSS-1 pallet in the payload bay. Space Shuttle Columbia responded favorably to the thermal tests and was found to be better than expected as a scientific platform. The crew accomplished almost 100 percent of the objectives assigned to STS-3, and after a one-day delay due to bad weather, landed on the lakebed at White Sands, New Mexico, on March 30, 1982, the only shuttle flight to land at White Sands. Columbia traveled 3.4 million miles during 129.9 orbits of the earth and mission duration was 192 hours, 4 minutes, 49 seconds.

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