First Mormon Commander in Space
Picture retrieved from nasa.gov
Prior to his expedition into space, Richard Searfoss devoted his life to flight. The decade following his graduation from Williams Air Force Base in 1980, Searfoss spent thousands of hours flying missions throughout England and Idaho before serving as a flight instructor for the U.S. Air Force.
After Searfoss’ flight expertise caught the attention of NASA officials in 1990, he transitioned from a life as an air force colonel to one as an astronaut. In the early 1990s, Searfoss piloted two NASA missions where he performed medical tests on himself and other test subjects, transported nearly two tons of supplies and scientific equipment onto a Russian space station, and participated in the first spacewalk on a space shuttle-space station complex.
In 1998, Searfoss became the commander of a 16-day Neurolab mission that tested the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system. In his career as a pilot of both air and space, Searfoss logged over 6000 hours of flight time, flew 77 different types of aircrafts, spent over 939 hours in space, and completed 626 orbits.