McDivitt had already joined the US Air Force in 1951 and flew more than 140 combat missions during the Korean War. He later
James Alton McDivitt was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1929. He was educated at Kalamazoo High School, Jackson Junior College and later, the University of Michigan where he received a BSc degree in aeronautical engineering in 1959.
NASA selected McDivitt as an astronaut in 1962 and was the command pilot for Gemini 4. This 4-day mission orbited the Earth 66 time, during which time fellow astronaut Edward White became the first American to carry
McDivitt caused much excitement amongst UFO enthusiasts when he reported (whilst flying over Hawaii) seeing something resembling "a beer can with an arm sticking out". There has never been a satisfactory explanation as to what this object could have been!
carry out a spacewalk. This took place on 3rd June 1965.
After the mission, both men were presented with medallions by President, Lyndon B Johnson.
In 1969, McDivitt was Commander of the Apollo 9 mission (along with fellow astronauts Dave Scott and Rusty Schweickart) which orbited the Earth for 10 days, testing various items of lunar equipment. This included the first flight of the Lunar Module (nicknamed Spider) when McDivitt and Schweickart flew 113 miles away from Scott in the Command Module (nicknamed Gumdrop).
This was to be McDivitt's last flight into space, but he might have had more. He would probably have been the Lunar Module pilot on the Apollo 14 mission but for a 'falling out' with Alan Shepard over seniority. At
After leaving NASA, McDivitt took up various senior executive positions in the business world bef no
James McDivitt was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993.
later graduated as a test pilot, and when he retired from the US Air Force in 1971, he had achieved the rank of Brigadier General.
The Apollo 9 mission was largely overlooked and under-reported because, four months earlier, Apollo 8 had already gone to the moon, although without a Lunar Module, no landing was made.
this time, McDivitt was a manager
of the Apollo programme, but resigned from NASA in 1972 ove
over an incident that concerned Gene Cernan and a crashed helicopter. McDivitt had demanded that Cernan be taken off the Apollo 17 mission because of this, but was overruled, and this prompted his immediate resignation.
McDivitt & White in Gemini 4
Jim McDivitt signed this photograph for me at Autographica
He likes to use a green pen whenever he can!
The Apollo 9 crew - Jim McDivitt, Dave Scott & Rusty Schweickart
Apollo 9 Mission Insignia
Jim McDivitt in US Air Force Uniform
Ed White & Jim McDivitt
Gemini 4 lifts off from Cape Canaveral
Ed White's Gemini 4 Spacewalk
Medallion presented to Jim McDivitt by President Johnson
Jim McDivitt on board Apollo 9
Jim McDivitt on USS Guadalcanal
Apollo 9 splashes down in the
in the Pacific Ocean
before finally retiring in 1997. He now lives with his second wife Judy, in Rapid City, Michigan.
The Lunar Module Spider piloted by McDivitt
as seen from the Command Module Gumdrop
during the Apollo 9 mission
Apollo 9 lifts off
I was very excited to meet top American astronaut Jim McDivitt at the Autographica event held at the Birmingham Hilton in April 2008. Jim retired from the US Air Force with the rank of Brigadier General!
He signed a NASA photo for me - in green, as he usually does!
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