Rusty Schweickart became an astronaut in 1963 in the third group selected by NASA. He flew on Apollo 9 as the lunar module pilot and was the first to step outside a spacecraft without a life-support umbilical to the spacecraft. This ten-day mission in Earth orbit in 1969 was the initial checkout of the lunar module.
Schweickart was subsequently commander of the backup crew for the first Skylab mission. He received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for his leading role in saving the mission after its thermal shield/meteor bumper ripped off during launch. Schweickart moved to NASA headquarters after the successful completion of the Skylab Program in 1974.
Schweickart is the founder and past-president of the Association of Space Explorers, a professional organization of astronauts and cosmonauts. As ASE president he oversaw the publication of the association’s first book, The Home Planet.
From 1977 to 1985, Schweickart served in California state government, first as Assistant to Governor Jerry Brown and subsequently as Commissioner of Energy. He chaired the California Energy Commission from 1979 to 1984.
Schweickart is currently chairman of the board of the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to protecting the future of humankind by developing and demonstrating the capability to deflect asteroids from Earth impact. He was the lead author of “The Asteroid Tugboat,” published in Scientific American magazine last year.
Schweickart holds BS and MS degrees from MIT and has been a USAF fighter pilot, astronaut, government executive and corporate CEO. Now retired, he currently lives in Tiburon, California.