Encyclopedia Astronautica

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Payton, Gary Eugene (1948-) American engineer military spaceflight engineer astronaut. Flew on STS-51-C.

EDUCATION: Payton earned an undergraduate degree in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Academy and a Masters degree in astronautical/aeronautical engineering from Purdue University.

EXPERIENCE: Payton served over 23 years in the Air Force. During his Air Force career, Colonel Payton served in a variety of operational and managerial positions. These included pilot, instructor pilot, launch controller, spacecraft design manager, and technology developer. In 1985, he flew aboard Discovery as a payload specialist on the first military mission of the Space Shuttle program. Immediately prior to joining NASA, he was the Deputy for Technology in the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization responsible for the development and flight demonstration of advanced technologies such as DC-X, Clementine, and multiple lightweight interceptors.

Payton joined NASA in the spring of 1985 and managed the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) program containing the DC-XA, X-33, X-34, and future space transportation technologies. Payton was named Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology (Space Transportation Technology) at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, in October 1996.

Birth Place: Rock Island, Illinois.
Status: Inactive.

Born: 1948.06.20.
Spaceflights: 1 .
Total time in space: 3.06 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
Associated Flights
  • STS-10 Crew: Mattingly, Shriver, Onizuka, Buchli, Payton. Planned Department of Defense shuttle mission. Cancelled due to payload delays. Backup crew: Wright. More...
  • STS-41-H Crew: Hauck, Walker Dave, Allen, Fisher, Gardner, Casserino, Payton. Planned Department of Defense or TDRS deployment shuttle mission. Cancelled due to IUS failure. Backup crew: Joseph. More...
  • STS-51-C Crew: Buchli, Mattingly, Onizuka, Payton, Shriver. First shuttle military mission. Manned five crew. Deployed USA 8 (Aquacade ELINT spacecraft). Experienced blow-by in both nozzle joints and erosion and blow-by in two case joints. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Payton Chronology

1979 August 1 - .
  • DoD Astronaut Training Group 1 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Casserino; Detroye; Hamel; Higbee; Joseph; Lydon; Payton; Rij; Sefchek; Sundberg; Vidrine; Watterson; Wright. The group was selected to provide shuttle manned spaceflight engineers to operate military payloads.. Qualifications: USAF, Navy, or Army officers with bachelor's degree in science or engineering; four years experience in flying or space-related activities. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm.. 13 were selected from 222 candidates. The existence of the group was secret until 1985.

1983 November - .
1984 September - .
1985 January 24 - . 19:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-20/51-C.
  • STS-51-C - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Buchli; Mattingly; Onizuka; Payton; Shriver. Payload: Discovery F03 / Magnum 1 [IUS]. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Buchli; Mattingly; Onizuka; Payton; Shriver. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-51-C. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 3.06 days. Decay Date: 1985-01-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 15496 . COSPAR: 1985-010A. Apogee: 341 km (211 mi). Perigee: 332 km (206 mi). Inclination: 28.4000 deg. Period: 91.30 min. Manned five crew. Deployed USA 8 (Aquacade ELINT spacecraft). Orbits of Earth: 48. Landed at: Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Landing Speed: 342 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 839.00 m. Landing Rollout: 2,240.00 m. Payloads: Department of Defence classified payloads.

1985 January 27 - .
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