NASA Mourns Loss of Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, Commanded First Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger

By  //  October 24, 2017

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retired from NASA in 1994

ABOVE VIDEO: Paul Weitz, one of the astronauts from the Skylab mission describes the effects of extended space travel. (30 Jun 1973)

(NASA) – In this June 1973 photograph, Skylab 2 pilot Paul J. Weitz operates the control and display console of the Apollo Telescope Mount solar observatory.

Weitz, along with Commander Pete Conrad and science-pilot Joe Kerwin successfully completed a 28-day mission aboard Skylab, which was the first crewed mission to the first U.S. space station.

Launched aboard a modified Saturn V rocket on May 14, 1973, Skylab marked a new phase for American’s human spaceflight program, with the goal of staying in space for longer periods and conducting complex scientific experiments in the unique environment.

The Skylab 2 mission lasted from May 25 to June 22, 1973.

Weitz, who served in the United States Navy and retired as a captain in 1976, was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He logged 672 hours and 49 minutes in space aboard Skylab, including 2 hours and 11 minutes of spacewalk time. Mr. Weitz commanded STS-6, the first flight of Space Shuttle Challenger, which launched on April 4, 1983, and landed on April 9.

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The mission’s primary payload was the first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, a new NASA satellite that would revolutionize low-Earth orbit communications forever. Mr. Weitz also served as Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center. He retired from NASA in 1994.

Paul Weitz passed away in October 2017. He was 85.

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