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William Pogue

A pilot on Skylab 4, the last of the three Skylab missions, William Reid Pogue logged 2,017 hours in space on the United States' first space station. His accomplishments were many before he became an astronaut. He logged 7,200 hours of flight time as a pilot. Included in that experience was a combat tour of duty from 1953 to 1954 during the Korean Conflict with the Fifth Air Force in F-84G fighter bombers.

Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, on January 23, 1930, Pogue received his education in his native state, earning a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1951 and a master's degree from Oklahoma State University in 1960. In 1951 he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving in Korea after being commissioned in 1952. From 1955 to 1957 he flew a member of the famed Thunderbirds demonstration team. After teaching math at the United States Air Force Academy from 1960 to 1963, Pogue later became an instructor at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School in October 1965.

In April 1966 Pogue was selected as an astronaut in the fifth group chosen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He was a member of the astronaut support crews for Apollo 7, 11, and 14. He flew on Skylab 4 from November 16, 1973, to February 8, 1974. The crew, Gerald P. Carr (commander), Dr. Edward G. Gibson (science-pilot) and Pogue, successfully completed 56 experiments, 26 science demonstrations, 13.5 hours of space walks, and 1,214 revolutions of the Earth. Of his time on Skylab, Pogue said, "The greatest immediate contribution was the demonstration of man's ability to live and work in weightlessness for long periods." Before Skylab, the longest missions had been two weeks' duration.

Pogue retired from the Air Force in 1975 and from NASA in 1977. He has received various honors including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, and the Clarence E. Page Memorial Trophy. He is honored in the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: William R. Pogue, How Do You Go To the Bathroom in Space? (New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1985.)

Bill Moore

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