James McDivitt

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James McDivitt
James McDivitt
Country: United States
Organization: NASA
selected on September 17, 1962
(2nd NASA Group)
Calls: 2 space flights
Start of the
first space flight:
June 3, 1965
Landing of the
last space flight:
March 13, 1969
Time in space: 14d 2h 56min
retired on June 1972
Space flights

James Alton McDivitt (born June 10, 1929 in Chicago , Illinois ) is a retired American astronaut . In both the Gemini and Apollo programs , he commanded one of the first flights with the new spaceships.

Start of career

James McDivitt attended schools in Kalamazoo ( Michigan ) and Jackson (Michigan). Since his draft was imminent because of the Korean War , McDivitt volunteered for the US Air Force in January 1951 . He was trained as a fighter pilot at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona . In the Korean War he flew 145 combat missions on the types F-80 and F-86. He returned to the United States in September 1953 and served in Florida , Maine, and New Jersey .

From June 1957 he studied at the University of Michigan and graduated two years later as the best of the class in aerospace engineering. He then served as a test pilot at the Edwards Air Force Base in California .

He was a participant in the first year of the Aerospace Research Pilot School of the US Air Force, where he met Frank Borman , who worked there as an instructor. McDivitt turned down an offer to work on the Air Force's Dyna Soar program, as he was not convinced of the success of the space glider.

McDivitt had actually already decided to become a test pilot for the X-15 rocket plane when, after initial concerns, he applied to NASA as an astronaut. His supervisor did not understand that McDivitt wanted to leave the Air Force and banned him from the X-15 project.


James A. McDivitt in a Gemini spacesuit

McDivitt was introduced to the public on September 17, 1962 with the second group of astronauts. From 1963 he specialized in the control and navigation of spaceships.

On July 27, 1964, McDivitt was nominated as commander for Gemini 4 , the second manned Gemini flight, and as a space novice had been given preference over Mercury veterans Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper . McDivitt was the first of five NASA astronauts to be given command of a multi-person spaceship on their first flight. In October 1964, he was the first astronaut to test the new Gemini spacesuit .

The Gemini 4 flight took place from June 3 to June 7, 1965 and was the first multi-day Gemini flight. Here, McDivitt's co-pilot Ed White undertook the first American space exit .

During the flight of Gemini 5 in August 1965, McDivitt was one of the four liaison speakers ( Capcom ) who kept radio contact with the spaceship .


In December 1965, McDivitt was nominated as a replacement commander for the first manned flight of the Apollo spacecraft . In December 1966, before the Apollo 1 disaster , NASA changed plans and instead assigned McDivitt and his crew ( Rusty Schweickart and David Scott ) the second manned flight, the so-called D mission, as the main crew. On November 20, 1967, this was published by NASA. At first this flight was planned as Apollo 8. After the successful flight of Apollo 7 , however, a moon flight was interposed, so that McDivitt's flight now ran as Apollo 9 .

From March 3 to March 13, 1969, McDivitt and his team tested the Apollo spacecraft and the lunar module in orbit. McDivitt and Schweickart were the first people to climb through a tunnel from one spacecraft to another.

After this successful space flight, McDivitt took over management functions within NASA. He became team leader of the lunar exploration program and program leader of Apollo missions 12 through 16 .

According to NASA

McDivitt retired from NASA on January 1, 1972 and from the US Air Force on June 1, 1972. He then became vice president of corporate affairs for Consumers Power Company . In March 1975 he became vice president and director of Pullman Inc. In October 1975 he rose to the position of president of the Pullman Standard Division (Railcar Division) and served as director of the leasing, technology and engineering departments. In January 1981, he became Senior Vice President for Government and International Affairs for Rockwell International Corporation in Washington, DC

McDivitt is married for the second time. He has four children from his first marriage and two stepchildren from his wife's first marriage.

Web links

Commons : James McDivitt  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files