Space shuttle astronauts Franklin Chang Díaz, retired Gen. Kevin Chillton and Charlie Precourt celebrate their induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., May 5, 2012. More than 30 Hall of Fame astronauts and hundreds of guests gathered to witness the annual induction ceremony. Chilton is a 1976 graduate of the Air Force Academy. His wife, Brig. Gen. Cathy Chilton, is the mobilization assistant to the Academy superintendent. (NASA photo)
5/9/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Retired Gen. Kevin Chilton was inducted into NASA's Astronaut Hall of Fame during a ceremony Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Chilton is the former commander of U.S. Strategic Command, a 1976 graduate of the Air Force Academy, the husband of Academy Mobilization Assistant Brig. Gen. Cathy Chilton and the father of Cadet 1st Class Madison Chilton.
Chilton piloted the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its maiden voyage during the Space Transportation System-49 mission, his first as an astronaut. Highlights of that mission included NASA's first three-person extravehicular activity during an operation to capture and repair a non-functional Intelsat VI satellite. He also piloted the 11-day STS-59 mission aboard Endeavour, which used radar imaging to map parts of the U.S., Europe and Asia for climate research.
Chilton commanded STS-76 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on his third mission. STS-76 highlights included docking with the Mir space station and a six-hour EVA by astronauts Michael Clifford and Linda Godwin.
His career also includes a joint assignment as the Joint Staff's director of politico-military affairs for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East regions. He held commands at Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., the Joint Functional Component Command for Space and Global Strike at Offutt AFB, Neb., 8th Air Force at Barksdale AFB, La., and the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif.
Chilton was a rated pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours in several airframes, including the F-4 Phantom, F-15 Eagle, B-52 Stratofortress and U-2 Dragon Lady. He holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University in New York. He retired Feb. 1, 2011.
Also honored during Saturday's ceremony were Franklin Chang Díaz and Charles Precourt. Díaz, NASA's first Latino astronaut, flew on seven space shuttle flights and logged more than 1,600 hours in space, according to NASA's website. Precourt flew on four space shuttle missions: STS-55 (Columbia), STS-71 (Atlantis), STS-84 (Atlantis) and STS-91 (Discovery).
Saturday's ceremony brings the total number of astronauts named to the Astronaut Hall of Fame to 82. Previous inductees include astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs, according to NASA.
(Information compiled from NASA and Air Force releases and staff reports.)
2012 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction
5/18/2012 6:53:33 PM ET Oh BTW Charlie Precourt is an AFA grad too