October 03 – Charles Duke

Brigadier General Charles Moss “Charlie” Duke Jr was born today in 1935 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1957, and served as a fighter pilot in West Germany and an instructor back home.

Brigadier General Charles Duke (image: NASA)

Brigadier General Charles Duke (image: NASA)

Duke was snapped up by NASA in 1966 as part of their fifth group of astronauts.  He was originally intended to be part of the Apollo 13 crew but wasn’t able to go due to illness.  So it was as Lunar Module pilot onboard Apollo 16 where he made his name in April 1972, taking himself and John W Young for a three day (almost) adventure in the Descartes Highlands, to the west of the Mare Nectaris.  Apollo 16 was Duke’s only spaceflight, but he made the most of the opportunity by leaving a family photograph on the surface.

The Family Duke, 1972. (image: NASA)

The Family Duke, 1972. (image: NASA)


1886  –  Discovery of asteroid 260 Huberta by Johann Palisa.


1890  –  Discovery of asteroid 300 Geraldina by Auguste Charlois.


1962  –  Launch of Mercury-Atlas 8 carrying astronaut Walter M Schirra.


1985  –  Launch of shuttle mission STS-51-J, the first of Atlantis.


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