At the age of 86, Philip Chapman, the first Australian-born NASA space explorer, died


Philip Chapman, who is an Apollo-era NASA astronaut and the very first Australia-born to qualify for spaceflight, passed away at the age of 86, never making it into the orbit. Chapman passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona, on April 5, nearly 50 years after resigning from NASA owing to a shortage of resources for researchers in the astronaut corps. “We are devastated to hear about the death of Dr. Philip Chapman, who is an Australian-born space explorer,” the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, a component of NASA’s Deep Space Network in Australia, posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

Chapman was a part of NASA’s sixth batch of astronaut trainees, chosen in 1967 after becoming a US resident. The party, which included ten other scientists, was dubbed “The Excess Eleven” (the “XS-11”) because they were warned from the outset that their odds of launching into space were small.

“I was drawn to the curriculum because I had a strong interest in space exploration. I came to work on space technologies in this region. NASA is accepting proposals for scientist-astronauts, which is as similar to space technology as you can get. “Chapman stated this in a 1969 chat with ABC News’ Weekend Magazine in Australia. Chapman was allocated to support positions for the then-ongoing Apollo moon landings after completing basic astronaut preparation, which included spending over a year studying how to operate NASA’s T-38 supersonic learning jets at the Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. In 1971, he was the flight scientist for Apollo 14, the mission that landed Alan Shepard as well as Edgar Mitchell on the moon while Stu Roosa stayed in space.

In a media interview at the period, Chapman stated discussed the Apollo 14 research experiments and his position as a project scientist, “I’m not in control of them, I’m organizing them.” “I’m the connection between the experimenters as well as the crew.” When Chapman tried to propose Roosa’s additional trials to conduct while orbiting the earth, he bumped into objections. According to those in the program, the project would be more easily proclaimed a victory in the press if the number of targets was held to a low.

“I was perplexed by the concept that the only way to improve interest in space travel was to reduce the useful results,” Chapman stated in an interview for Colin Burgess’ 2019 book “Shattered Dreams: The Lost and Canceled Space Missions” (University of Nebraska Press). On the other hand, Chapman proposed one of the most unforgettable scientific demonstrations ever tried out on the moon.

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