Jack Lousma can be appropriately called the Flying Dutchman for the time he has spent in the air or above the atmosphere in space during his career as an aeronaut and an astronaut. In terms of numbers he has spent 1619 hours in space and before that over 5400 hours in the air including 700 hours in general aviation aircraft, 4500 hours in jet aircraft and 240 hours in helicopters. I doubt if any other Dutch American can match those figures.
Lousma was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and spent his high school years in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He enrolled in the University of Michigan from where he earned his B. S. Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1959. He then joined the U. S. Marine Corps and was commissioned as an officer in that same year, 1959. He received his wings after completing his training at the U. S. Naval Air Training Command in 1960. He then served as an attack pilot in two different Marine Corps Air Wings, including a stint in Iwakuni, Japan. In the mid sixties he was selected to enter the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School, and graduated from there with a M. S. Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1965.
While serving as a reconnaissance pilot with the Second Marine Air Wing at Cherry Point, North Carolina, Lousma was selected to be one of 19 astronauts in April 1966. He was then assigned to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. His first space travel assignment was as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 9, 10 and 13 missions.
His first trip into space was as the pilot of Skylab-3 from July 28 to September 25, 1973. During this trip Lousma made two space walks outside the Skylab space station for a total of 11 hours making repairs and installing new equipment. The mission was quite successful as it completed 150 percent of its goals. The other two crew members consisted of Alan L. Bean, spacecraft commander, and Owen K. Garriott, science pilot. The mission ended with a spacecraft splashdown in the Pacific Ocean and recovery by the USS New Orleans.
His next trip into space was as spacecraft commander on STS-3, the third orbital test flight of space shuttle Columbia, from March 22 to March 30, 1982. Lousma was the spacecraft commander and C. Gordon Fullerton was the pilot on the eight day mission. The test flight exposed the spacecraft Columbia to extremes in thermal stress and the flight was successful. The flight departed from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida but was forced to land on the lakebed at White Sands, New Mexico due to bad weather in Florida.
Lousma’s other major assignment occurred between the two space flights described above. He served as backup docking module pilot of the United States flight crew for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission which was completed in July 1975. During Lousma’s two space flights he logged a total of 1619 hours in space. At some point during his astronaut career he was promoted to Colonel in the U. S. Marine Corps, a significant honor.
Lousma has received a number of special honors for his performance during his aeronautical career and especially during his career as an astronaut. Among others he was awarded the following honors, the Johnson Space Center Certificate of Commendation in 1970, the Navy Astronaut Wings in 1974, the City of Chicago Gold Medal also in 1974, the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy in 1975, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1980, inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1982, the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal also in 1982, the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 1983, and inducted into the Michigan Hall of Fame in 1988.
Other organizations honored Lousma by academic awards including, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale’s V. M. Komarov Diploma in 1973, the University of Michigan awarded him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Aeronautical Science in 1973, Hope College, Holland, Michigan awarded him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 1982, and Cleary College, Ann Arbor, Michigan awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Business Sciences in 1986.
Jack Lousma was born on February 1936. He married Gratia Kay in 1956 and the couple has four children, Timothy J., Matthew O., Mary T., and Joseph L. and six grandchildren. Lousma left NASA in 1983.
Astronaut Bio: Jack Robert Lousma, www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/lousma-jr.html
Jack Lousma Biography, www.autographedtoyou.com/Jack%20-Lousma-Biography.htm
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