Edward Higgins White

Edward Higgins White

Infobox Astronaut
name =Edward Higgins White, II

type =NASA Astronaut
status =Killed during training
nationality =American
date_birth =November 14, 1930
date_death =January 27, 1967 (age 36)
place_birth =San Antonio, Texas
place_death =Cape Canaveral, Florida
occupation =Test pilot
rank =Lieutenant Colonel, USAF
selection =1962 NASA Group
time =4d 01h 56m
mission =Gemini 4
insignia =|

Edward Higgins White, II (Lt.Col , USAF) (November 14, 1930 – January 27, 1967) was a United States Air Force officer and a NASA astronaut. On June 3 1965, he became the first American to conduct a spacewalk. White was killed during the Apollo 1 training accident and posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and was previously awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal for his Gemini 4 spaceflight.

Early years

He was born in San Antonio, Texas and earned a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy in 1952, [Prior to establishment of the United States Air Force Academy in 1954, officers in the United States Air Force were drawn from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.] and an M.S. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1959. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and was a pilot of F-86 and F-100 fighter jets. White was an experimental test pilot for the Aeronautical Systems Division and logged more than 3,000 flight hours, including 2,200 in jet aircraft. He was married to Patricia Finegan White and had two children, Bonnie Lynn and Edward III.

NASA career

He was chosen as part of second group of astronauts in 1962. Within an already elite group, White was considered a high-flyer by the NASA management. As pilot of Gemini 4, he was the first American to make a spacewalk (on June 3 1965). During his EVA an extra thermal glove floated away from inside the Gemini spacecraft, which is now a piece of Space Debris. He was later a backup command pilot for Gemini 7.

White was also made Astronaut specialist for the flight control systems of the Apollo CSM. By the usual process of crew rotation in the Gemini program, White would have been in line for a second orbital flight as Command Pilot of Gemini 10 — making him the first of his group to be selected to fly twice — but instead was promoted in 1966 to be command module pilot for the first fateful Apollo program flight AS-204.


He died with fellow astronauts "Gus" Grissom and Roger Chaffee in the Apollo 1 fire at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. He was buried with full military honors at West Point Cemetery and in 1997 was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Grissom and Chaffee are both buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery.




Many schools have been named in honor of Colonel White:
* Edward H. White Career Academy [http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/servlet/SchoolDirectory?VIEW=DETAIL&SELECT=C83EACBB40B24B4786256C2C00500987] in Chicago
* Edward H. White Middle School [http://www.neisd.net/white/] in San Antonio, Texas
* Ed White Elementary School [http://www.ccisd.net/schools/schoolwebs/102/] in El Lago, Texas
* Ed White Memorial High School [http://www.bayareacharter.com/edwhitememorialhighschool.htm] in League City, Texas
* Edward H. White Senior High School [http://www.dreamsbeginhere.org/edwhite/] in Jacksonville, Florida
* Ed White Middle School in Huntsville, Alabama, is named after him. [ [http://www.hsv.k12.al.us/schools/middle/ewms/index_new.html Ed White Middle School,
* Kemps Landing Magnet School in Virginia Beach, VAHuntsville (Ala.) City Schools official site
] (Huntsville, also known as "Rocket City" because it is a major center for space technology and rocket development, simultaneously named Roger B. Chaffee Elementary and Virgil I. Grissom High School for Colonel White's Apollo 1 crewmates.)


* Edward White Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida was named in his honor.
* Edward H. White II Park in Fullerton, California is named for him. [ [http://www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/depts/parks_n_recreation/find_a_park/list_of_parks.asp City of Fullerton - List of Parks] ] Fullerton has also named parks in honor of Chaffee and Grissom.
* Island White, an artificial island in Long Beach Harbor off Southern California is named for him.

In Space

* The star Iota Ursae Majoris was named "Dnoces" ("Second", as in "Edward Higgins White the Second", spelled backwards) in his honor.
* White Hill, 11.2 km (7.0 mi) northwest of Columbia Memorial Station on Mars, is named after him as part of the Apollo 1 Hills.


* Eight months after his death, in September, 1967, a postage stamp was issued by the United States Post Office, commemorating White's space walk, the first-ever by an American. [ [http://www.skyimagelab.com/gemspacwal.html Gemini Space Walk ] ] It was the first time in USPO history that the design was actually spread over "two" stamps [http://marshallstar.msfc.nasa.gov/6-6-02.pdf] (one which featured White, the other his Gemini capsule, the two connected by a tether), which was considered befitting the "twins" aspect of the Gemini mission. White's name did not appear on the stamps.

White in the movies

White was played by Steven Ruge in the 1995 film "Apollo 13" and by Chris Isaak in the 1998 miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon".

Physical description

Weight: 176 lb (80 kg)
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Hair: Reddish Brown
Eyes: brown


Edward White II is profiled in the book "Fallen Astronauts" by Colin Burgess and Kate Doolan UNP 2003

External links

* [http://www11.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/white-eh.html NASA biography]
* [http://amfcse.org/honor/white.htm Astronaut Memorial Foundation website]

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