Now that three days have passed since Donald Peterson died, some people are wondering why many people are still talking about this man. The reason is that he was a great man in the history of space exploration. He had made a name for himself over the years. Who was Donald Peterson? How did he become a household name? How did he live his life before his death? Let us take a look at the story of this fallen soldier.
On Sunday the 27th May 2018, the Association of Space Explorers announced the death of Don. The Association comprises individuals who have had an opportunity to be in space. Donald was one of them hence it was sad. We are about to unveil his journey as far as space is concerned.
In 1967, the U.S. Air Force selected Peterson to be a member of one of their group. It consisted of candidates chosen to be pilots who could crew the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. He was in the third group. However, the project did not see the light of the day. Therefore, he some of the trainees of that program including him joined the Astronaut Corps of NASA.
In September 1969, he joined NASA. He is on record saying how easy it was to join the team. Out of the fourteen crew members, 7 of them qualified. They were the youngest. According to him, the reason was that there was the uncertainty of when they would fly. Taking a long time to become a reality was, therefore, a possibility. To ensure that the training did not go to waste, they went for the young ones.
After 14 long years of waiting, Peterson got an opportunity of going to space. That was when he became the maiden of the Challenger's crew. It was a space shuttle.
The day was in 1983 on 4th April. The takeoff was in the winged orbiter. He had company among them Paul Weitz, the STS-6 commander. The other two were Karol Bo Bobko and Story Musgrave who were the pilot and mission specialist, respectively. The flight lasted for five days. Its mission was to set up the debut Tracking and Data Relay Satellite.
That is the time the man made history. On the third day of the flight, he and Story became the first astronauts to spacewalk. After the stay was over, they returned to earth. Their arrival was in 1983 on 9th April. The landing place was the Edwards Air Force Base, Southern California.
He left NASA the following year in November. As a result, he only had one spacecraft his entire life. Nevertheless, it is hard to forget a pioneer of something. That is not, especially when it is both daring and historical. The world has lost a great man no doubt.