On this day in Alabama history: NASA successfully launched Discovery space shuttle

On this day in Alabama history: NASA successfully launched Discovery space shuttle
Astronaut Henry W. Hartsfield Jr. (second from right, front row) is commander, and Michael L. Coats, right, is pilot. Astronauts Richard M. (Mike) Mullane, left, Steven A. Hawley (second from left) and Judith A. Resnik are mission specialists. Charles D. Walker (back row) is payload specialist. (Photo credit: NASA)

August 30, 1984

NASA successfully launched the Discovery space shuttle for the first time with Birmingham native Henry Hartsfield serving as commander. A U.S. Air Force pilot with more than 7,300 hours of flight time, Hartsfield joined NASA’s astronaut program in 1969 and eventually logged 483 hours in space aboard three different shuttles. He later served as an upper-level administrator for NASA, holding positions at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, the Johnson Space Center in Houston and NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hartsfield received many awards in his lifetime and was inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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