Apollo 10 Astronaut Tom Stafford Draper Visit

Thomas P. Stafford


Astronaut Thomas Stafford was born September 17th, 1930, in Weatherford, Oklahoma. He received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the United States Naval Academy in 1952.

In 1965, Stafford piloted Gemini 6—the first rendezvous in space—and helped develop techniques to prove the basic theory and practicality of space rendezvous. In 1966, he commanded Gemini 9 and performed a demonstration of an early rendezvous that would be used in the Apollo missions, the first optical rendezvous, and a lunar orbit abort rendezvous.

Stafford was commander of Apollo 10 in 1969—first flight of the lunar module to the moon—with John Young and Eugene Cernan. Stafford descended to nine miles above the moon performing the entire moon landing mission except the actual landing. He also completed the first rendezvous around the Moon and designated the first lunar landing site.

In 1975, Stafford became the commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project flight—the first joint U.S.-Soviet space exploration mission. Stafford was a brigadier general at the time of the mission, becoming the first general officer to fly in space.