Former NASA astronaut Paul Weitz has died at 85


Weitz served later as deputy director of the Johnson Space Center. He lived in Flagstaff after retiring. Weitz was chosen in NASA’s fifth round of astronaut selection in 1966, as the agency was ramping up for the Apollo moon program. The mission to fix Skylab, which had suffered significant damage during the space station’s launch, is still considered one of the most difficult and dangerous in the annals of spaceflight.


Weitz logged two hours and 11 minutes in space walks and the crew of the mission established a new world record for time in space – 672 hours, 49 minutes. “Before it became commonplace to come out of retirement, Paul was a pioneer,” said Curtis Brown, chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. During his activuty, Paul Weotz received NASA Distinguished Service Medal, AIAA Haley Astronautics Award for 1974, Harmon International Aviation Trophy for Astronaut (1975) and other important distinctions. Hunting and fishing were among his hobbies. “Paul Weitz’s name will always be synonymous with the space shuttle Challenger. But he also will be remembered for defying the laws of gravity – and age,” said Curtis Brown, board chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.


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