Eureka! NASA Finds its Fourth Group of Astronauts!

The Scientist Astronauts

Owen K. Garriott, Edward G. Gibson, Duane E. Graveline,
Joseph P. Kerwin, F. Curtis Michel, Harrison H. Schmitt



By 1965, it was clear that man could live and work in space. It was time to discover more so NASA chose six men, the first Scientist Astronauts, to join in the exploration of space.

These men participated in the Apollo Program, the Skylab Missions, and flew on the Space Shuttle.

Graveline not in group photo

Project Apollo

With the splashdown of Apollo 17 on December 19, 1972. Project Apollo came to an end. Its goals were met and went beyond landing Americans on the Moon and returning them safely to Earth. During the Apollo Program, NASA and the US astronauts realized the following goals:

1-Established technology to match other national interests in space
2-Achieved America's preeminence in space
3-Carried out a scientific exploration of the Moon program
4-Developed man's capability to work in the lunar environment.


The Skylab Space Station was America's first experimental space station. The station was launched into orbit by a Saturn V booster, on May 14, 1973.

The purpose of the Skylab Project was to prove that humans could live and work in space for extended periods. Nearly 300 scientific and technical experiments were conducted aboard the Sklyab. Medical experiments on humans' adaptability to zero gravity were performed as well.

Many solar observations, and detailed Earth resources experiments were conducted before the Skylab Station fell to Earth on July 11, 1979.

The Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle was the first vehicle designed to carry both crew and large unmanned applications and scientific spacecraft into orbit.

The Space Shuttle combines the weightlifting capacity of the largest unmanned launchers with the unmatched ability of an on-the-spot human being to make decisions and take actions.

The Space Shuttle has flown with one crew of eight men and women, and seven crew members has been a common number. It has combined thrust at liftoff of about 28.6 million newtons (6.5 million pounds) from its two solid rocket boosters and the three liquid-propellant main engines on the orbiter

The Space Shuttle is the only American vehicle designed for both manned spaceflight and delivering heavy payloads into Earth orbit

Click on the astronaut photos for individual bios and information on their spaceflights.


read more about the US astronauts at the examiner by clicking on the view/sign graphic