Astronaut Dick Gordon, who helped pilot Apollo 12 to the moon in the second lunar landing in 1969, has died at his California home at age 88, according to NASA.
“NASA and the nation have lost one of our early space pioneers. We send our condolences to the family and loved ones of Gemini and Apollo astronaut Richard Gordon, a hero from NASA’s third class of astronauts,” NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement.
Gordon, one of only 24 people who ever made it to the moon, originally dreamed of becoming a priest or a professional baseball player.
But once he entered Navy flight school, his ambitions changed.
“Once I found out what that airplane could do for me or I could do for it, it was love at first sight,” he once said.
Gordon was all about speed and after he won the Bendix Trophy Race from Los Angeles to New York in 1961 — setting a transcontinental speed record of 2 hours and 47 minutes — NASA asked him to join the exciting space industry.
He was in the third group of astronauts named in 1963 and completed his first mission aboard Gemini 11 in 1966.
SOURCE: New York Post – Linda Massarella