David Randolph Scott

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David Scott
David Scott
Country: USA
Organization: NASA
selected on October 17, 1963
(3rd NASA Group)
Calls: 3 space flights
Start of the
first space flight:
March 16, 1966
Landing of the
last space flight:
7th August 1971
Time in space: 22d 18h ​​53min
EVA inserts: 3
Total EVA duration: 20h 46min
retired on October 1977
Space flights

David Randolph Scott (born June 6, 1932 in San Antonio , Texas ) is a former American astronaut and was the seventh of twelve people who have set foot on the moon.

Start of career

David Scott's father served in the US Army Air Corps . From 1936 to 1939 the family lived in the Philippines , during the Second World War the father served in Europe for several years, so that David and his brother were raised by their mother alone.

After graduating from Western High School in Washington, DC , Scott studied at the University of Michigan and the United States Military Academy at West Point . As the fifth best of 633 graduates, he left it in 1954 with a " Bachelor of Science " degree in military technology. He then trained as a pilot at Webb Air Force Base in Texas . Other stops were Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas and Luke Air Force Base in Arizona .

From April 1956 to July 1960 Scott served as a jet pilot in Soesterberg in the Netherlands , where he flew F-86 and F-100 fighter jets . After returning to the USA, he studied aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , where he received a Master of Science and a Master of Engineering degree.

After graduating, he was called up to teach at the Air Force Academy, but Scott was able to get him transferred to the test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base . After finishing the course top of his class, he went to the newly opened Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) in Edwards. He narrowly got away with his life in an emergency landing with a starfighter .


Scott successfully applied to NASA as an astronaut and was introduced to the public on October 14, 1963 with 13 others as the third group of astronauts. As a specialty, he took over mission planning and navigation from February 1965.

On September 20, 1965, David Scott was assigned to the Gemini 8 space flight as a pilot. Scott would also perform a space exit on this flight . Scott's assignment was astonishing because it was expected that the Gemini 5's replacement pilot , Elliot See , would be nominated, but apparently there were concerns that See would not be up to a space exit. Thus Scott came to a flight without having been on a substitute team beforehand. He was the first of the third group of astronauts to be nominated for a flight.

Together with the commander Neil Armstrong , also a space novice, Scott started his first space flight on March 16, 1966. As planned, Armstrong and Scott rendezvoused in Earth orbit with a previously launched Agena stage. They then succeeded in coupling in orbit for the first time in space history.

However, due to a malfunction of a steering nozzle, the Gemini spacecraft staggered severely, which intensified when the spacecraft was separated from the Agena stage. Armstrong and Scott were in mortal danger but brought the situation back under control. Since this maneuver consumed too much fuel, the space flight had to be aborted and an emergency landing initiated. Scott's space exit was canceled.


Early planning

While preparing for the flight of Gemini 8, Scott was included in the Apollo program . On December 25, 1965, he was designated as a replacement pilot for the first manned Apollo flight, which was officially confirmed on March 21, 1966, shortly after the landing of Gemini 8.

After a rescheduling, Scott found himself on December 22, 1966 as the pilot of the main crew of the second manned flight, during which the lunar module was to be tested for the first time . However, all plans were put on hold after the death of the Apollo 1 astronauts on January 27, 1967.

Apollo 9

On November 20, 1967, NASA announced further plans. Scott was now the pilot of the Apollo spacecraft, Mission D , which was to test the lunar module in Earth orbit. Originally this flight was to be called Apollo 8 , but after a previously unplanned moon flight was inserted, the flight was named Apollo 9 .

Together with Commander James McDivitt and the lunar shuttle pilot Rusty Schweickart , Scott took off on this flight on March 3, 1969, during which the flight maneuvers of a moon landing were carried out for the first time. On March 6, Scott did a space exit after all, although he was still connected to the spaceship's life support systems. He stood in the hatch of the command module for an hour and photographed Schweickart's exit.

On the fifth day of the flight, the lunar module with Schweickart and McDivitt on board was decoupled from the command module, in which only Scott was still located. After testing the lunar module, the two spaceships docked again, and Schweickart and McDivitt climbed back into the command module with Scott. Thus Scott was also involved in the first coupling maneuver of two manned spaceships in space, in which the crew (unlike Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 ) could transfer directly and without having to exit.

Apollo 15 - Scott salutes

Apollo 12 and 15

Shortly after the Apollo 9 landing on April 10, 1969, Scott was assigned to serve as the commanding officer of the Apollo 12 backup crew . If Pete Conrad had failed, Scott would have been the third person to walk on the moon. Scott was not used and served as the liaison spokesman ( Capcom ) during the flight in November 1969 .

As planned, the Apollo 12 backup crew was promoted to the main Apollo 15 crew . Scott was thus the first astronaut of the third selection group to take over a space flight command.

Scott took off for this third flight together with James Irwin and Alfred Worden on July 26, 1971. On July 31, Scott entered the moon as the seventh person. This was the first moon flight in which the scientific side played a major role. Scott and Irwin were also able to use the moon car (LRV) for the first time, which enabled them to cover greater distances than before.

Shortly before Scott and Irwin boarded the Falcon lunar module again, Scott demonstrated with a hawk feather and a hammer that the rate of fall of an object in a vacuum is independent of its mass.

The stamp affair

Shortly after landing, the entire Apollo 15 crew was assigned as a replacement crew for the last Apollo 17 flight to the moon . In the course of the following year, however, her involvement in the Apollo 15 stamp affair became known. Scott, Worden and Irwin had taken envelopes with them on their flight that were not expressly approved and that were later sold by a German dealer. Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against Scott, Worden and Irwin, and on May 23, 1972, they were removed from the Apollo 17 reserve crew. It was clear that there would be no further space flight for Scott and his crew, but they were neither convicted nor expelled from the astronaut corps or even NASA.

After the active time

In contrast to Irwin, Scott initially stayed with NASA and worked at the NASA Flight Research Center, later the Dryden Flight Research Center on the premises of Edwards AFB. He was involved in the preparation of the Apollo Soyuz Test Project and made several trips to the Soviet Union. When he was offered the leadership of the Dryden Research Center in April 1975, he left the Air Force and became a NASA employee.

In October 1977 Scott left NASA and started his own company, Scott Science and Technology . In the following years he worked several times as a technical consultant in the film and television industry: 1994/1995 for the feature film Apollo 13 , 1997 for the series From the Earth to the Moon and 2005 for the film Magnificent Desolation .

David Scott is divorced and has two children. He has been working and living in London for a number of years .


Web links

Commons : David Scott  - Collection of Images