When you go around the Earth in an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing.

Russell Schweickart

Born: October 25, 1935

Russell Louis "Rusty" Schweickart is an American aeronautical engineer, and a former NASA astronaut, research scientist, U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, as well as a former business executive and government executive.

Schweickart was selected in 1963 for NASA's third astronaut group. He was the Lunar Module Pilot on the 1969 Apollo 9 mission, the first manned flight test of the lunar module, on which he performed the first in-space test of the portable life support system used by the Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon. As backup Commander of the first manned Skylab mission in 1973, he was responsible for developing the hardware and procedures used by the first crew to perform critical in-flight repairs of the Skylab station. After Skylab, he served for a time as Director of User Affairs in NASA's Office of Applications.

Schweickart left NASA in 1977 to serve for two years as California Governor Jerry Brown's assistant for science and technology, then was appointed by Brown to California's Energy Commission for five and a half years, serving as chairman for three.

In 1984–85 he co-founded the Association of Space Explorers and later in 2002 co-founded the B612 Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending Earth from asteroid impacts, along with fellow former astronaut Ed Lu and two planetary scientists. He served for a period as its chair before becoming its chair emeritus.




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