Henry W. “Hank” Hartsfield Jr.

Hank Hartsfield

Henry Warren “Hank” Hartsfield Jr., a Colonel in the United States Air Force (Retired), was born on November 21, 1933 in Birmingham, Alabama.

He was an astronaut in the U.S. Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program before being reassigned to NASA. He was a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 16 and served as a member of the astronaut support crew for the Skylab 2, 3, and 4 missions.

Following his service as an astronaut he worked in number of management positions at NASA before retiring in 1998. He worked at Raytheon Company as vice president of aerospace engineering services and retired from Raytheon in 2005.

Hartsfield died on July 17, 2014 from complications following back surgery.

NASA Biography

Space Flights:

  • Pilot, STS-4, final test flight of Columbia, June 27-July 4, 1982. First Getaway Special, Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System, first classified United States Department of Defense payload.
  • Commander, STS-41D, maiden flight of Discovery, August 30-September 5, 1984. OAST-1 solar cell wing experiment, deployed three satellites, SBS-D, SYNCOM IV-2, and TELSTAR 3-C, operated the CFES-III experiment, the student crystal growth experiment, and photography experiments using the IMAX motion picture camera. The crew earned the name “Icebusters” when Hartsfield successfully removed a hazardous ice buildup from the orbiter using the Remote Manipulator System.
  • Commander, STS-61A, Challenger, October 30-November 6, 1985. West German D-1 Spacelab mission. First shuttle mission with eight crewmembers. This was the final successful flight of the orbiter Challenger.

Total Hours in Space: 482+

Astronaut Groups: USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program Group 2-June 30, 1966, NASA Group 7-August 4, 1969

Degrees: BS, Physics, Auburn University, 1954; performed graduate work in physics at Duke University and in astronautics at the Air Force Institute of Technology; MS, Engineering Science, University of Tennessee, 1971.

Military Service and Awards: Served in Vietnam. He received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Program at Auburn University. His assignments included a tour with the 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron in Bitburg, Germany. He also graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was an instructor there. Awarded the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal; General Thomas D. White Space Trophy 1973, 1974; Inducted into Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame, 1983; Distinguished Civilian Service Award (DOD), 1982; NASA Distinguished Service Medals, 1982, 1988; NASA Space Flight Medals, 1982, 1984, 1985; NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 1988; Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Auburn University, 1986; Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service, 1996. U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, 2006.

Interred at Arlington National Cemetery: November 5, 2014

Judy Frances “Fran” (Massey) Hartsfield was born on April 4, 1937 in Princeton, North Carolina. Hank and Fran had two daughters, Judy and Keely. Fran died on December 21, 2014 and was interred with her husband on February 13, 2015.

Section: 46

How to locate: Located to the West of the Memorial Amphitheater, near the mast of the U.S.S. Maine. With the Columbia and Challenger Memorials on your right side, walk toward the mast of the U.S.S. Maine. Just before going up ramp, the gravesite is located on your left in the middle of the second row.

Hartsfield headstone front
Hartsfield headstone back