Gary Payton (astronaut) bigraphy, stories - Astronauts

Gary Payton (astronaut) : biography

20 June 1948 -

Colonel Gary Eugene Payton, USAF, (born 20 June 1948) is a former American astronaut.


Payton graduated from high school in Rock Island, Illinois, in 1966. He went on to attended Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois. After one year at Bradley, he entered the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in astronautical engineering in 1971. He continued with his graduate education at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana, earning a Master of Science degree in astronautical and aeronautical engineering in 1972. He graduated from pilot training at Craig AFB, in Alabama in 1973.


Payton served as a Spacecraft Test Controller from 1976 to 1980, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida. He was selected for the USAF Manned Spaceflight Engineer Program in February 1980.

Payton flew on the STS-51-C mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in January 1985 which launched from and returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. STS-51C was the first dedicated Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission. Payton traveled over 1.2 million miles in 48 Earth orbits, and logged more than 73 hours in space.

Payton is now the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space Programs.

He has accumulated at least 1,080 hours in T-37, T-38 and T-39 aircraft.

Payton is currently a professor at the United States Air Force Academy, teaching Astronautical Engineering.

External links and references

Category:1948 births Category:Living people Category:American astronauts Category:United States Air Force Academy alumni Category:United States Air Force officers Category:Purdue University alumni Category:People from Rock Island, Illinois Category:United States Air Force astronauts

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