Conrad, Charles, Jr.

Conrad, Charles, Jr.
▪ 2000
      American astronaut who, as commander of the Apollo 12 lunar mission in 1969, became the third man to walk on the Moon; after graduating (1953) from Princeton University and serving as a Navy test pilot, he joined NASA's space program in 1962 and served as commander in 1966 of the Gemini 11 mission, which set a record for distance traveled in space. His reputation as a colorful character with a sense of humour was sealed when he stepped onto the surface of the Moon on Nov. 19, 1969, and yelled, “Whoopee! That may have been a small [step] for Neil [Armstrong], but that's a long one for me!”; he was killed in a motorcycle accident (b. June 2, 1930, Philadelphia, Pa.—d. July 8, 1999, Ojai, Calif.).

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▪ American astronaut
in full  Charles P. Conrad, Jr. , byname  Pete Conrad 
born June 2, 1930, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.
died July 8, 1999, near Ojai, Calif.
 American astronaut, copilot on the Gemini 5 spaceflight (1965), command pilot of Gemini 11, spacecraft commander of the Apollo (Apollo program) 12 flight to the Moon, and commander of the Skylab 2 mission.

      Conrad enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1953 and became a test pilot and flight instructor. In 1962 he was chosen as a member of the second group of astronauts. With command pilot L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., he took part in several new experiments during the Gemini 5 flight, which established a new manned-spaceflight record of 190 hours 56 minutes.

      Manned by Conrad and Richard F. Gordon, Jr., Gemini 11 was launched on Sept. 12, 1966, and docked with an Agena target vehicle on the first orbit. The craft then attained a record manned orbit of 850 miles (1,370 km) altitude.

 On Nov. 14, 1969, Conrad joined Gordon and Alan L. Bean on the Apollo 12 flight to the Moon. The success of the flight was characterized by the pinpoint landing (November 19) of the Lunar Module only 600 feet (183 m) from the unmanned Surveyor 3 craft, which had landed in April 1967. The total time spent on the lunar surface was 31 hours 31 minutes; Apollo 12 completed its return trip to Earth on November 24.

      On the Skylab 2 mission (May 25–June 22, 1973) Conrad, Joseph P. Kerwin, and Paul J. Weitz docked their Apollo spacecraft with the orbiting Skylab, which had sustained damage during its launch on May 14. They made repairs to keep Skylab from overheating and to ensure a power supply sufficient to allow them to complete most of their assigned experimental work.

      Conrad resigned from the Navy and the space program in 1974, taking executive positions, first with the American Television and Communications Corporation of Denver, Colo., and in 1978 with the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation in Long Beach, Calif.

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Universalium. 2010.

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