Apollo 1 Astronaut Edward White II

Edward H. White

Senior Pilot

Astronaut Edward H. White, II was born in San Antonio, Texas, on November 14th, 1930. He earned a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan.

White, an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, received flight training in Florida and Texas and then spent 3 years in Germany with a fighter squadron where he flew F-86’s and F-100’s. He was later assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio as an experimental test pilot with the Aeronautical Systems Division. While there, he made flight tests for research and weapons systems development, wrote technical aerospace engineering reports, and made recommendations for improvement in aircraft design and construction.

White was named as a member of the astronaut team selected by NASA in September 1962. He was a pilot for Gemini 4—a 66-revolution, 4 day mission in 1965. During the third revolution, he carried out the first extravehicular activity in the United States' manned space flight program; a space exploration milestone. He was also outside the Gemini 4 spacecraft for 21 minutes and became the first man to control himself in space during an extravehicular activity (EVA) with a maneuvering unit.

Lieutenant Colonel White tragically died on January 27th, 1967, in a cockpit flash fire during a launch pad test at Kennedy Space Center for the Apollo 1 mission. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.