Son Of Former NASA Director Was 52
The desire for humans to travel into space was instilled in G.
David Low from an early age. The son of former NASA director George
Low -- who first suggested to President Kennedy in 1960 it was
possible for an astronaut to walk on the moon by decade's end -- G.
David Low would go on to spend 12 years as an astronaut, flying
onboard three shuttle missions.
The younger Low did a lot of living in the short 52 years he
spent on Earth, and orbiting above it... but in the end, Low
succumbed to that all-too earthbound of ills. Low passed away March
15, following a bout with colon cancer.
In 1984, at age 28, G.
David Low was the youngest in his class of newly-hired NASA
astronauts. He came to the space agency from the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in California, where he worked from 1980 through '84 on
systems integration for several space probes, including
Low first flew into space onboard Columbia for STS-32 in 1990...
once again, the youngest member of that crew. He was also the
skinniest... which made him the prime candidate to participate in a
vacuum-chamber experiment, designed to reduce the dizziness
astronauts often experience upon returning to Earth after spending
extended time in zero-g.
"I guess I'll be very, very happy if we can get the wheels
stopped and I haven't screwed anything up," Low told reporters
prior to his first mission. "That would be a tremendous relief, to
go through 10 days and know that I did it right."
He did it right... in fact, Low would go on to accumulate over
714 hours in space, circling Earth more than 540 times, reports The
Washington Post. Low served as payload commander on his last trip
into orbit, onboard Endeavour for STS-57. The flight included a
nearly six-hour spacewalk, performed by Low and fellow astronaut
Peter "Jeff" Wisoff.
When he wasn't working
in space, Low was never very far from those who were. He served as
the CAPCOM for three shuttle missions, including the first flight
after the January 1986 loss of the space shuttle Challenger.
Low continued his work at NASA for three years after his last
shuttle mission, including time spent converting NASA's Freedom
space station project into the global effort that would become the
International Space Station.
In 1996, Low left the space agency for a new job in the private
sector, with fledgling commercial space provider Orbital Sciences
Corp. He was named senior vice president, and program manager for
Orbital's COTS program, in 2006.