January 1999 portrait
Rick Douglas Husband
July 12, 1957
Amarillo, Texas, U.S.
|Died||February 1, 2003 (aged 45)|
|Alma mater||Texas Tech, B.S. 1980|
Fresno State University, M.S. 1990
|Rank||Colonel, United States Air Force|
Time in space
|25d 17h 33m|
|Selection||1994 NASA Group 15|
Rick Douglas Husband (July 12, 1957 – February 1, 2003) (Colonel, USAF) was an American astronaut and fighter pilot. He traveled into space twice: as Pilot of STS-96 and Commander of STS-107. He and the rest of the crew of STS-107 were killed when Columbia disintegrated during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. Husband is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Husband was born on July 12, 1957, in Amarillo, Texas. At the age of 17, he earned his pilot's license while flying out of Tradewind Airport. He graduated with honors from Amarillo High School in 1975. Husband earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University in 1980, after 5 years of study. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a pilot in the US Air Force, having been enrolled in ROTC his last two years of college. Husband underwent pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, in Enid, Oklahoma. This was followed by Land Survival School in at Fairchild Air Force Base, in Spokane, Washington, and Fighter Lead-in School in New Mexico. Evelyn and Rick were married on 27 Feb. 1982. Rick trained in the F-4 at Homestead Air Force Base next.
Husband was assigned to a squadron at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia flying the F-4E. Rick then transferred to George AFB, in Victorville, California in Dec. 1985, where he became an F-4 instructor. By then he had accumulated 1000 hours of flying time.:30,32
In December 1987, Husband was assigned to Edwards Air Force Base in California, where he attended the USAF Test Pilot School. Upon completion of test pilot school, Husband served as a test pilot flying the F-4 and all five models of the F-15 Eagle. In the F-15 Combined Test Force, Husband was the program manager for the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 increased performance engine, and also served as the F-15 Aerial Demonstration Pilot.
In June 1992, Husband was assigned to the Aircraft and Armament Evaluation Establishment at Boscombe Down, England, as an exchange test pilot with the Royal Air Force. At Boscombe Down, Husband was the Tornado GR1 and GR4 Project Pilot and served as a test pilot in the Hawk, Hunter, Buccaneer, Jet Provost, Tucano, and Harvard.
Husband logged over 3,800 hours of flight time in more than 40 different types of aircraft.
Husband was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994, the same week he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.:67 He reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995 to begin a year of training and evaluation. Upon completion of training, Husband was named the Astronaut Office representative for Advanced Projects at Johnson Space Center, working on Space Shuttle Upgrades, the Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) and studies to return to the Moon and travel to Mars. He eventually served as Chief of Safety for the Astronaut Office. He flew as Pilot on STS-96 in 1999, and logged 235 hours and 13 minutes in space. Husband was later assigned to command the crew of STS-107 which was launched early in 2003.
|US Air Force Command Astronaut Badge|
|Defense Distinguished Service Medal (posthumous)|
|Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Aerial Achievement Medal|
|Air Force Commendation Medal|
|Congressional Space Medal of Honor (posthumous)|
|NASA Distinguished Service Medal (posthumous)|
|NASA Space Flight Medal (posthumous)|
|National Defense Service Medal|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with two oak leaf clusters|
|Air Force Training Ribbon|
Rick Husband before his first flight:
Husband was also well known for his faith, and in the last-request forms that astronauts fill out before every flight, he left his pastor a personal note:
Husband's wife Evelyn details her Christian life with Rick and his struggles to fulfill his lifelong dream to become an astronaut in the 2004 book High Calling: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband co-written with Donna VanLiere. The Husbands have two children, a daughter Laura and a son Matthew. Evelyn married Bill Thompson in January 2008 and was the keynote speaker for the memorial ceremony at the Astronaut Memorial "Space Mirror" at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, five years after the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy.