Sunday, February 8, 2009

Remembering Stu Roosa

Apollo 14 returned to Earth on February 9, 1971, steered by Command Module Pilot Stu Roosa.

I hesitated to call this post what I did, because I actually remember very little about Stu Roosa. He was completely overshadowed by the mission commander, Alan Shepard, and also by his crewmate Ed Mitchell, who quickly gained notoriety after the flight by announcing that he had performed ESP experiments during the mission. Roosa did his job competently, with little or no fanfare. He never flew another mission after Apollo 14, although he was backup CMP for Apollo 16 and 17. He was assigned to the Space Shuttle Program after Apollo, but he retired from NASA and the Air Force 5 years before the Shuttle's first flight.

Roosa died of complications from pancreatitis in 1994. He was the fifth of the Apollo astronauts (counting Deke Slayton) to die of natural causes.

His son is a Colonel in the Marine Corps and is currently deployed to Iraq. He wrote a touching remembrance of his father recently, which can be read here.