A Special Message from Ad Astra’s Editor

The NSS membership notes the passing of Former astronaut David M. Walker following a brief illness. Dave flew aboard Space Shuttles Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour on four missions in 1984, 1989, 1992, and 1995. Those of us who were part of the original National Space Institute Dial-A-Shuttle programs recall our coverage of mission 51-A, in which Dave was pilot. That flight saw the retrieval of two commercial satellites, the Canadian Anik-D-2 and the Hughes’ Leasat-1. That flight was in essence the world’s first space salvage mission. It was the Space Shuttle program at its best.

Dave joined the astronaut corps in January 1978 and became an astronaut in August 1979. He flew chase during STS-1, was mission support group leader for STS-5 and STS-6, and was assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center. Following 51-A, he commanded STS-30 in 1989 which deployed the Magellan Venus spacecraft, commanded STS-53 in 1992 which performed a classified mission for DoD, and his final command was STS-69 in 1995 on which the Wake Shield Facility and Spartan platform were deployed.

Dave left the shuttle program in 1996 to become Vice-President, Sales and Marketing for NDC Voice Corp. Before his NASA service, Dave Walker was a Navy pilot and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

A few days ago we commemorated the historic 20th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle mission. In more than 100 flights, U.S. astronauts have risked their lives to achieve a record of space flight maturity and flexibility that remains unmatched anywhere in the world and will likely remain so for many decades to come. The hard work and dedication of folks like Dave Walker have given that record of achievement as a gift to all future generations of young Americans, to inspire and hopefully to follow.

The National Space Society sends it deepest regrets to David Walker’s family, friends, and co-workers

Woof! Woof! Dave, to you and the Dog Crew!

Ad Astra. -Frank Sietzen