[Harrison Schmitt] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Harrison H. Schmitt (Ph.D.)
NASA Astronaut

Born July 3, 1935, in Santa Rita, New Mexico. His mother, Mrs. Harrison A. Schmitt, resides Silver City, New Mexico.

Black hair; brown eyes; height: 5 feet 9 inches; weight: 165 pounds.

Graduated from Western High School, Silver City, New Mexico; received a bachelor of science degree in science from the California Institute of Technology in 1957; studied at the University of Oslo in Norway during 1957 and 1958; and received a doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1964.



His hobbies include skiing, fishing, carpentry, hiking, handball, squash, and running.

Member of the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sigma Xi, the Geological Association of Canada, and Navy League.

Winner of a Fulbright Fellowship
(1957-58); a Kennecott Fellowship in Geology
(1958-59); a Harvard Fellowship
(1959-60); a Harvard Traveling Fellowship
(1960); a Parker Traveling Fellowship (1961-62); a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Department of Geological Sciences, Harvard University
(1963-64); awarded the Johnson Space Center Superior Achievement Award
(1970) and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal
(1973); presented the City of New York Gold Medal (1973), the Nassau County New York Distinguished Service Medal
(1973), the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, Petroleum Engineer's Ceremonial Medallion and Certificate of Honorary Membership
(1973); Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America
(1973); the Arthur S. Fleming Award in 1973; an honorary doctorate of engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 1973; Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences' Richard Hopper Day Medal (1973); the Republic of Senegal's National Order of the Lion
(1973); Honorary Life Membership in the New Mexico Geological Society
(1973); Honorary Member of the Norwegian Geographical Society
(1973); and an honorary doctorate of geology from Franklin and Marshall College in 1977.

Schmitt was a teaching fellow at Harvard in 1961 where he assisted in teaching a course in ore deposits. Prior to his teaching assignment, he did geological work for the Norwegian Geological Survey on the west coast of Norway, and for the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico and Montana. He also worked for two summers as a geologist in southeastern Alaska.

Before joining NASA, he was with the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Center at Flagstaff, Arizona. He was project chief for lunar field geological methods and participated in photo and telescopic mapping of the moon, and was among USGS astrogeologists instructing NASA astronauts during their geological field trips.

He has logged more than 2,100 hours flying time, including 1,600 hours in jet aircraft.

Dr. Schmitt was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in June 1965. He later completed a 53-week course in flight training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. In addition to training for future manned space flights, he was instrumental in providing Apollo flight crews with detailed instruction in lunar navigation, geology, and feature recognition. Schmitt also assisted in the integration of scientific activities into the Apollo lunar missions and participated in research activities requiring geologic, petrographic, and stratigraphic analyses of samples returned from the moon by Apollo missions.

He was backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 15.

On his first journey into space, Dr. Schmitt occupied the lunar module pilot seat for Apollo 17, the last scheduled manned Apollo mission to the moon for the United States, which commenced at 11:33 p.m. (CST), December 6, 1972, and concluded on December 19, 1972. He was accompanied on the voyage of the command module America and the lunar module Challenger by Eugene Cernan (spacecraft commander) and Ronald Evans (command module pilot).

In maneuvering Challenger to a landing at Taurus-Littrow, which is located on the southeast edge of Mare Serenitatis, Schmitt and Cernan activated a base of operations facilitating their completion of three Mountains. This last Apollo mission to the moon for the United States broke several records set by previous flights and include: longest manned lunar landing flight (301 hours, 51 minutes); longest lunar surface extravehicular activities (22 hours, 4 minutes); largest lunar sample return (an estimated 115 Kg (249 lbs); and longest time in lunar orbit (147 hours, 48 minutes). Apollo 17 ended with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean approximately 0.4 mile from the target point and 4.3 miles from the prime recovery ship, USS TICONDEROGA.

Dr. Schmitt logged 301 hours and 51 minutes in space, of which 22 hours and 4 minutes were spent in extravehicular activity on the lunar surface.

In July of 1973, Dr. Schmitt was appointed as one of the first Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholars at the California Institute of Technology. His appointment was extended to run through July 1975. This appointment ran concurrently with his other activities in NASA.

In February 1974, Schmitt assumed additional duties as Chief of Scientist-Astronauts.

Dr. Schmitt was appointed NASA Assistant Administrator for Energy Programs in May 1974. This office has the responsibility for coordinating NASA support to other Federal Agencies conducting energy research and development and for managing NASA programs applying aeronautics and space technology to the generation, transmission, storage, conservation, utilization and management of energy for terrestrial applications.

In August of 1975, Dr. Schmitt resigned his post with NASA to run for the United States Senate in his home state of New Mexico. He was elected on November 2, 1976, with 57% of the votes cast.

In January 1977, Schmitt began a six-year term as one of New Mexico's Senators in Washington, D.C. His major committee assignments are on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the Select Committee on Ethics. He is the ranking Republican member of the Ethics Committee; of the Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee of Commerce; and the Consumer Subcommittee of Banking.


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