Military Wiki
David Scott
Born June 6, 1932(1932-06-06) (age 90)
Place of birth San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Rank Colonel, USAF

David "Dave" Randolph Scott (born June 6, 1932) is an American engineer, retired U.S. Air Force officer, former test pilot, and former NASA astronaut. He belonged to the third group of NASA astronauts, selected in October 1963. As an astronaut, Scott became the seventh person to walk on the Moon.

Before becoming an astronaut, Scott graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and joined the United States Air Force. Scott retired from the Air Force in 1975 with the rank of Colonel, and more than 5600 hours of logged flying time.

As an astronaut, Scott made his first flight into space as pilot of the Gemini 8 mission, along with Neil Armstrong, in March 1966, spending just under eleven hours in Low Earth orbit. Scott then spent ten days in orbit as Command Module Pilot aboard Apollo 9, his second spaceflight, along with Commander James McDivitt and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart. During this mission, Scott became the last American to fly solo in Earth orbit (not counting subsequent untethered EVAs). Scott made his third and final flight into space as commander of the Apollo 15 mission, the fourth human lunar landing, becoming the seventh person to walk on the Moon and the first person to drive on the Moon.

Early life and education

He was born on Randolph Field (for which he received his middle name) near San Antonio, Texas and was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout.[1] He was educated at Texas Military Institute, Riverside Polytech High School in Riverside, California, where Scott joined the swim team and set several state and local swim records. Scott attended The Western High School in Washington, D.C. graduating in June 1949. In DC he was an honor student, on the school swim team and the Ambassador hotel AAU champion team as a record setter. He attended the University of Michigan for one year where he was an honor student in the Engineering school, a member of the swimming team and pledged Sigma Chi Fraternity before finally receiving an invitation to attend West Point where he finished 5th in his class out of 633 in 1954. Because of his high standing in the class, he was able to choose which branch of the military he would serve. Scott chose the Air Force because he wanted to fly jets.[2] In 1959 he married his first wife, Ann.[3] He received both an master's degree in Aeronautics/Astronautics and the degree of Engineer in Aeronautics/Astronautics (the E.A.A. degree) from MIT in 1962.[4] He also received an honorary doctorate of Astronautical Science from the University of Michigan in 1971. He is of Scottish descent.

Photo of Armstrong and Scott in the Gemini capsule, in the water. They are being assisted by some recovery crew

Recovery of the Gemini 8 spacecraft from the western Pacific Ocean

NASA career

Scott was the first of the Group Three astronauts to be selected to fly and was also the first to command a mission of his own.

Gemini 8

On March 16, 1966, Scott and command pilot Neil Armstrong were launched into space on the Gemini 8 mission, a flight originally scheduled to last three days, in which Scott was to perform an EVA, but terminated early due to a malfunctioning thruster. The crew performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space and demonstrated great piloting skill in overcoming the thruster problem and bringing the spacecraft to a safe landing. Scott would later perform EVA's on his two subsequent flights.

Apollo 9

Scott stands in the open hatch of the Apollo 9 command module Gumdrop.

Scott served as command module pilot for Apollo 9 (March 3–March 13, 1969). This was the third manned flight in the Apollo series, the second to be launched by a Saturn V, and the first to complete a comprehensive earth-orbital qualification and verification test of a "fully configured Apollo spacecraft." The ten-day flight provided vital information previously not available on the operational performance, stability, and reliability of lunar module propulsion and life support systems. Highlight of this evaluation was completion of a critical lunar-orbit rendezvous simulation and subsequent docking, initiated by James McDivitt and Rusty Schweickart from within the lunar module at a separation distance which exceeded 100 miles (160 km) from the command/service module piloted by Scott. The crew also demonstrated and confirmed the operational feasibility of crew transfer and extravehicular activity techniques and equipment, with Schweickart completing a 46-minute EVA outside the lunar module. During this period, Dave Scott completed a 1-hour stand-up EVA in the open command module hatch photographing Schweickart's activities and also retrieving thermal samples from the command module exterior. Apollo 9 splashed down less than four nautical miles (7 km) from the helicopter carrier USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7).

In his next assignment, Scott was designated backup spacecraft commander for Apollo 12.

Scott conducting an experiment during the Apollo 15 moon landing.

Apollo 15

Scott made his third space flight as spacecraft commander of Apollo 15 (July 26–August 7, 1971). His companions on the flight were Alfred M. Worden (command module pilot) and James B. Irwin (lunar module pilot). Apollo 15 was the fourth successful manned lunar landing mission and the first to land near mountains instead of the relatively flat mare region where the previous 3 missions had landed. The landing site was between 2 mountains just north of Hadley Rille and Apennine Mountains which are located on the southeast edge of the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). After landing, Scott and Irwin donned their pressure suits and Scott performed the first and only stand up EVA on the lunar surface. He stood on the engine cover and poked his head out the docking port on top of the lunar module and took panoramic photographs of the surrounding terrain from an elevated position and scouted the terrain they would be driving across the next day. The lunar module, "Falcon," remained on the lunar surface for 66 hours and 54 minutes (setting a new record for lunar surface stay time) and Scott and Irwin logged 18 hours and 35 minutes each in extravehicular activities conducted during three separate excursions onto the lunar surface. Using "Rover-1" to transport themselves and their equipment along portions of Hadley Rille and the Apennine Mountains, Scott and Irwin performed a selenological inspection and survey of the area and collected 180 pounds (82 kg) of lunar surface materials. They deployed an ALSEP package which involved the emplacement and activation of surface experiments, and their lunar surface activities were televised using a TV camera which was operated remotely by ground controllers stationed in the mission control center located at Houston, Texas. Other Apollo 15 achievements include: largest payloads ever placed into earth and lunar orbits; first scientific instrument module bay flown and operated on an Apollo spacecraft; longest distance traversed on lunar surface; first use of a lunar surface navigation device (mounted on Rover-1); first subsatellite launched in lunar orbit; and first extravehicular (EVA) from a command module during transearth coast. The latter feat performed by Worden during three excursions to "Endeavour's" SIM-bay where he retrieved film cassettes from the panoramic and mapping cameras and reported his personal observations of the general condition of equipment housed there. Apollo 15 concluded with a Pacific Ocean splashdown and subsequent recovery by the USS Okinawa.

Awards and honors

Scott has been awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, a NASA Exceptional Service Medal, two Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Association's David C. Schilling Trophy and the Robert J. Collier Trophy.

In the 1998 television series From the Earth to the Moon Scott was portrayed by Brett Cullen.

Stamp incident

David Scott's Apollo 15 space suit on display in the Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC.[5]

After the return of Apollo 15 to Earth, it was discovered that, without authority, Scott, with the knowledge of his crew, had taken 398 commemorative postal covers to the moon of which a hundred were then sold to a German stamp dealer. The profits of the sale would have been used to establish trust funds for the Apollo 15 crew's children. Although NASA had itself contracted to carry stamp covers on the mission, the actions of the astronauts were not illegal, and NASA had turned a blind eye to similar activities on earlier flights, the administration decided to make an example of Scott and his crew and none of them flew in space again.[citation needed]

According to his autobiography (Deke! [ISBN 978-0-312-85918-3]), Deke Slayton, Chief of the Astronaut Corps, felt Scott, Worden and Irwin had embarrassed NASA and the Apollo program by trying to profit in such way from the hard work that had gone into the Apollo 15 mission, and violated NASA rules. He confronted them and they told him what they'd done and why, and it was then that Slayton took them off the back-up crew of Apollo 17 and effectively ended their careers as astronauts. Worden went on to work at Ames Research Center and Scott was placed in the Manned Spacecraft Center. Irwin left NASA to become a full-time preacher.

Post-NASA career

Dave Scott, February 2009

  • On April 18, 1975, at age 42, Scott became the Center Director of NASA's Flight Research Center, a position he held until October 30, 1977.
  • He commentated for British TV on the first Space Shuttle flight (STS-1) in April 1981.
  • He also consulted on the movies Apollo 13 for Ron Howard and was on the set for much of the filming of the HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, where he advised both Tom Hanks and the various directors, as well as answered questions from the actors on set.
  • In 2000 he was briefly engaged to British television newscaster Anna Ford.[6]
  • In 2003-2004 he consulted on the BBC TV series Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets
  • In 2004, he and former Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov began work on a dual biography / history of the "Space Race" between the United States and the Soviet Union. The book, "Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race" was published in 2006. Neil Armstrong and Tom Hanks both wrote introductions to the book.
  • He currently resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Margaret.
  • Scott is one of the astronauts featured in the book and documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, and was instrumental in helping to get the film off the ground.


  1. "Astronauts and the BSA". Fact sheet. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 2006-03-20. 
  2. Two Sides of the Moon, PP18-28
  3. Davies, Hugh; Rozenberg, Joshua (July 21, 2001). "Anna Ford's affair with ex-astronaut burns out". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  4. "To the moon, by way of MIT". 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  5. "Pressure Suit, A7-LB, Scott, Apollo 15". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  6. Smith, Andrew (2005). Moondust: in search of the men who fell to Earth. New York: Fourth Estate. pp. 324–325. ISBN 978-0-00-715541-5. OCLC 58720734. 


  • Scott, David; Alexei Leonov (2006). Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race. with Christine Toomey. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-30866-3. 
Some years after his career at NASA concluded, Scott wrote this book with Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space, about being on opposite sides of the space race during the Cold War.
  • In the Shadow of the Moon, Francis French and Colin Burgess, UNP, 2007.

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).