Sunday, 3 July 2016

Apollo 13 - the Ken Mattingly story

Ken Mattingly did not fly with Apollo 13.  Write about his NASA career after this mission.

After the mission, Ken Mattingly flew on the Apollo 16 as Command Module Pilot from April 16 to 27, 1972.  Apollo 16 was assigned to collect samples from the lunar highlands near the crater Descartes.  Ken carried out an extravehicular activity to retrieve film and data packages from the science bay on the side of the service module.  Apollo 16 accomplished all major objectives although the mission was terminated one day early due to concern over several spacecraft malfunctions.

After the turn to Earth, Ken worked as head of astronaut office support to the STS (Shuttle Transportations System) program and technical assistant for flight test to the Manager of the Orbital Flight Test Program.  He flew on the STS-4 (the fourth and final orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia) as the pilot from June 27 to July 4, 1982 and completed 112 orbits of the Earth.  He saluted President Ronald Reagan after the landing.  Then he also flew on the STS-51-C (the first Space Shuttle Department of Defense) to deploy a modified Inertial Upper Stage vehicle from the Space Shuttle Discovery from January 24 to 27, 1985.

After those missions, he retired from NASA in 1985.  He logged 7,200 hours of flight time.  In his career at NASA, he received twelve awards like the NASA Distinguished Service Medal which was the highest award.