Before we get to today’s video interview, Lofty Ambitions extends condolences to the family and friends of Roger Boisjoly, who died last Friday. Boisjoly was a whistleblower in the Challenger accident investigation and an advocate for ethics in the workplace. You can read his guest post for Lofty Ambitions HERE.
Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., became a NASA astronaut in 1969. But even before that, he was part of the U.S. Air Force’s MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory) program. Once part of NASA, he served in support roles for Apollo 16 and Skylab, as well as back-up pilot for STS-2 and STS-3 on the space shuttle.
Eventually, Hank Hartsfield got to space, first as pilot on STS-4 in 1982. He flew on two other space shuttle missions, STS-41D as commander and STS-61A. His crew for STS-41D on Discovery‘s maiden voyage included Mike Coats (see our interview with him HERE), Charles Walker (the first-ever payload specialist whom we mention HERE), and Judy Resnick (who later perished in the Challenger accident) as well as Steve Hawley and Mike Mullane. They launched three satellites and conducted science experiments. His last shuttle mission was the first with eight crew and was dedicated to the German contribution to Spacelab.
We interviewed the soft-spoken and earnest Hartsfield at Kennedy Space Center in 2010. Watch part of our fascinating conversation here.