Tom Stafford


19 March 2024, AEDT.

NASA has announced the sad news that Gemini and Apollo Astronaut General Thomas Stafford has died.

One of the true pioneers, Tom flew on Gemini 6, Gemini 9, Apollo 10, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

His official NASA Biography may be found here (PDF file).

Hamish Lindsay wrote this about Gen. Stafford:

General Tom Stafford was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma on 17 September 1930 and enjoyed an illustrious space career.

He joined the NASA astronaut team in their second intake with the likes of Armstrong, Borman, Lovell, Conrad, etc. in 1962 and began in space as Wally Schirra’s pilot in Gemini VI. He commanded Gemini IX with Gene Cernan, then commanded the Apollo 10 mission with John Young and Gene Cernan that paved the way for Apollo 11.

He ended his space flights commanding the International Apollo-Soyuz mission with Deke Slayton and Vance Brand. He left NASA in 1975 to return to the US Air Force, retiring on 1 November 1979.

He paid a quick visit to Honeysuckle Creek on 12 January 1969.

Below are a few images of Tom from Apollo days.


Tom Stafford

Tom visited Honeysuckle Creek on 12 January 1969 – before Apollo 10.

L-R: Willson Hunter, NASA Senior Scientific Rep to Australia,
Lt. Gen. Tom Stafford,
Mr Ian Homewood, Assistant Secretary (Projects),
Tom Reid, Station Director.

Photo by Hamish Lindsay. 2019 scan by Glen Nagle.

Tom Stafford

Also before Apollo 10, Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan visited ARIA Control at Patrick Air Force Base, south of The Cape.

L-R: Gene Cernan, Tom Stafford, Bob Mosley and Oakley Baron.

Scan: Colin Mackellar, with thanks to Bob Mosley.

Tom Stafford

ARIA’s Bob Mosley knew Tom Stafford from their time at Edwards Air Force Base. They chat outside the Aircraft Operations Control Center (ARIA Control).

Tom carried some of Bob’s mementos for him around the Moon on Apollo 10.

Scan: Colin Mackellar, with thanks to Bob Mosley.

Tom Stafford

As the Apollo 10 crew walked out to the transport van prior to launch, Tom Stafford (top photo) pats the nose of a large Snoopy doll held by secretary Jamye Flowers. (In the bottom row of photos, Gene Cernan tries to take Jamye with them.).

we'll see it live

After Apollo 10 left lunar orbit, the crew swtiched on their Westinghouse colour television camera to let everyone see the Moon receding.

Click the image for a 2 minute, 7MB MPEG4 clip of part of the TV broadcast. Video courtesy of Mark Gray and Spacecraft Films.

Special request

In this audio clip recorded at Honeysuckle Creek during Apollo 10, Tom Stafford puts in a call to make a special request of Capcom Joe Engle.

1.3MB mp3 file runs for 1 minute 52 seconds.

Tom Stafford

Tom Stafford as seen at Honeysuckle Creek during Apollo 10’s last television transmission before Re-entry.

Tom Stafford

Tom Stafford addresses the crowd at a ceremony in Canberra’s Parliamnt House in 1970. He is there to present a flown flag and lunar samples returned by Apollo 11.

Left to right: NASA Senior Scientific Representative to Australia Willson Hunter; Prime Minister John Gorton; Astronaut Tom Stafford, US Vice President Spiro Agnew; US Ambassador to Australia Walter Rice.

Australian News and Information Service photo courtesy of the National Archives of Australia.

NASA video tribute.