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Hartsfield Named 2007 COSAM Distinguished Alum


The College of Sciences and Mathematics recently named Hank Hartsfield (Physics '54) its 2007 Distinguished Alumnus. After graduating from Auburn, Hartsfield began graduate school at Duke University, but was called into active duty a year later by the Air Force.

Following a tour in Bitburg, Germany, Hartsfield was selected for the USAF Test Pilot School. He graduated in 1965 and remained as an instructor until October 1966 when he was selected as a military astronaut on the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Program. The program was canceled in 1969 and he was assigned to NASA as an astronaut. Prior to joining NASA he earned an M.S. in Engineering Science from the University of Tennessee.

Hartsfield held various positions with the Astronaut Office, most significantly providing the pilots input on the development of the space shuttle entry flight control system. Also while at NASA, he piloted Columbia's fourth and final orbital flight test in June 1982, commanded the first flight of the Discovery in August 1984 and commanded Challenger on the German D-1 Spacelab mission in October 1985. Hartsfield also held management positions at the Johnson Space Center, NASA Headquarters and Marshall Space Flight Center. Hartsfield retired from NASA in 1997 and joined Raytheon, serving as Vice President for Aerospace Engineering Services in Houston. He retired from Raytheon in April 2005.

Hartsfield has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career including the General Thomas D. White Space Trophy (1974), NASA DOD Distinguished Civilian Service Award (1982), a Honorary Doctor of Science from Auburn University (1986), Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame (1983) and Astronaut Hall of Fame (2006). Most recently Hartsfield was elevated to Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (2006).

Hartsfield is the fourth recipient of this honor, joining David Hagan '65, Don Logan '66 and Harry Knowles '51. The award is given to a candidate who has achieved significant stature in their chosen field, whether business, academic, military or government and who demonstrates a history of commitment to Auburn University and COSAM.

View photos from Distinguished Alum Presentation