AKA Edward Higgins White II
Birthplace: San Antonio, TX
Location of death: Cape Kennedy, FL
Cause of death: Accident - Misc
Remains: Buried, US Military Academy, West Point, NY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: First American to walk in space
Military service: US Air Force (1952-67)
Astronaut Ed White was the first American to walk in space, and the first person to use jet propulsion to maneuver himself during Extra Vehicular Activity. The 21 minute EVA took place during the 4-day Gemini 4 mission (3-7 June 1965) in which White and fellow crew member Jim McDivitt orbited the Earth 66 times. The mission set a new record as the longest manned mission in space.
White was later named senior pilot on the Apollo 1 mission, but he never made it back into space. On 26 January 1967, while White and fellow crew members Virgil Grissom and Roger Chaffee practiced emergency exit procedures in the Apollo 1 craft, a crisis developed on the launch pad. As White struggled to open the poorly designed hatch to permit escape from Apollo 1, a sudden flash fire consumed the craft and killed all aboard. Ed White was 36 years of age.
White is credited with pushing NASA to adopt a single standard for the controller stick used to pilot various types of space craft, an improvement which greatly increased pilot efficiency.
Wife: Patricia E. Finegan
Son: Edward Higgins White III (b. 15-Sep-1953)
Daughter: Bonnie (b. 15-May-1956)
University: US Military Academy, West Point (1952)
University: MS Aeronautical Engineering, University of Michigan (1959)
University: Air Force Test Pilot School
Congressional Space Medal of Honor 1997 (posthumous)
Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
Appears on the cover of:
Life, 18-Jun-1965, DETAILS: The Space Walk (photo by astronaut James A. McDivitt for NASA)
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