Encyclopedia Astronautica
Hilmers



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Hilmers
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
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STS-36
STS-36 Mission Specialist Hilmers with AEROLINHOF camera on aft flight deck
Credit: NASA
Hilmers, David Carl 'Dave' (1950-) American USMC engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-J, STS-26, STS-36, STS-42. Known as a religiously conservative astronaut; summed up many astronaut's fears of the shuttle, saying before a flight "I have no plans past MECO".

Grew up in DeWitt, Iowa. Educated Cornell; USNPGC.


Official NASA Biography

NAME: David C. Hilmers (Colonel, USMC)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born January 28, 1950, in Clinton, Iowa, but considers DeWitt, Iowa, in 1968; to be his hometown. His father, Paul C. Hilmers, lives in Clinton, Iowa, and his mother, Matilda Hilmers, lives in DeWitt, Iowa.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Brown hair; brown eyes; 5 feet 11-1/2 inches; 165 pounds.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Central Community High School in DeWitt, Iowa, in 1968; received a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics (Summa Cum Laude) from Cornell College in 1972, a master of science degree in electrical engineering (with distinction) in 1977, and the degree of electrical engineer from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1978.

MARITAL STATUS: Married to the former Lynn Beneke of Vinton, Iowa. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Leland Beneke, reside in Vinton, Iowa.

CHILDREN: Matthew D., September 28, 1976; and Daniel J., August 10, 1979.

RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: He enjoys playing the piano, gardening, electronics, spending time with his family, and all types of sports.

ORGANIZATIONS: Phi Beta Kappa, and Eta Kappa Nu.

SPECIAL HONORS: Named Outstanding Scholar-Athlete, Midwest Conference (1971); graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cornell College (1972); awarded an NCAA Post-Graduate Fellowship (1972); named to Phi Beta Kappa and named Outstanding Athlete, Cornell College (1972). Recipient of three NASA Exceptional Service Medals, and three NASA Space Flight Medals, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Haley Space Flight Award for 1988, and the American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award for 1988. Awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Defense Superior Service Medal.

EXPERIENCE: Hilmers entered active duty with the United States Marine Corps in July 1972. On completing Marine Corps Basic School and Naval Flight Officer School, he was assigned to VMA(AW)-121 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, flying the A-6 Intruder as a bombadier-navigator. In 1975, he became an air liaison officer with the 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, stationed with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1978 and was later assigned to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Iwakuni, Japan. He was stationed with the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing in El Toro, California, at the time of his selection by NASA.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Hilmers was selected a NASA astronaut in July 1980 and completed the initial training period in August 1981. In 1983 he was selected as a member of the "launch ready standby crew." His early NASA assignments have included work on upper stages such as PAM, IUS, and Centaur, as well as Shuttle software verification at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). In addition, he was the Astronaut Office training coordinator, worked on various Department of Defense payloads, served as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) at Mission Control for STS 41-D, 41-G, 51-A, 51-C, and 51-D, worked Space Station issues for the Astronaut Office, and served as head of the Mission Development Branch within the Astronaut Office. A veteran of four space flights, Hilmers was mission specialist on STS 51-J in 1985, STS-26 in 1988, STS-36 in 1990, and STS-42 in 1992.

In February 1985 he was named to STS 51-J, a classified Department of Defense mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 3, 1985. This was the maiden voyage of the Atlantis. As a mission specialist on this flight, he had prime responsibility for a number of on-orbit activities during the mission. After 98 hours of orbital operations, Atlantis landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on October 7, 1985.

In May 1985 he was named to the crew of STS 61-F which was to deploy the Ulysses spacecraft on an interplanetary trajectory using a Centaur upper stage. This mission was to have flown in May 1986, but the Shuttle Centaur project was terminated in July 1986, and Hilmers then worked in the areas of ascent abort development, payload safety, and shuttle on-board software. During 1987 he was involved in training for STS-26 and in flight software development.

Hilmers next served on the crew of STS-26, the first flight to be flown after the Challenger accident. The Orbiter Discovery was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on September 29, 1988. During the four day mission, the crew successfully deployed the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-C), which was subsequently carried to orbit by the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) rocket. They also operated eleven mid-deck experiments. Discovery completed 64 orbits of the earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on October 3, 1988.

He then served on the crew of STS-36 which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on February 28, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. This mission carried Department of Defense payloads and a number of secondary payloads. After 72 orbits of the Earth, the STS-36 mission concluded with a lakebed landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on March 4, 1990, after traveling 1.87 million miles.

More recently, Hilmers served on the crew of STS-42, aboard the Shuttle Discovery, which lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 22, 1992. Fifty five major experiments conducted in the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 module were provided by investigators from eleven countries, and represented a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. During 128 orbits of the Earth, the STS-42 crew accomplished the mission's primary objective of investigating the effects on the growth of protein and semiconductor crystals. Biological experiments on the effects of zero gravity on plants, tissues, bacteria, insects and human vestibular response were also conducted. This eight-day mission culminated in a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on January 30, 1992.

With the completion of his fourth space flight, Hilmers has over 493 hours in space.

FEBRUARY 1992

Birth Place: Clinton, Iowa.
Status: Inactive.


Born: 1950.01.28.
Spaceflights: 4 .
Total time in space: 20.59 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 9 - 1980 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: 19+80 - The two European astronauts in the group were not considered by the Americans to be part of the 'official' group. This led to a scene at graduation. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-51-J Crew: Bobko, Grabe, Hilmers, Pailes, Stewart. First flight of shuttle Atlantis. Military mission, manned five crew. Deployed USA-11, USA-12. More...
  • STS-61-F Crew: Hauck, Bridges, Lounge, Hilmers. Planned shuttle mission for deployment of Ulysses spacecraft. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. More...
  • STS-26 Crew: Covey, Hauck, Hilmers, Lounge, Nelson. Manned five crew. First shuttle reflight after Challenger disaster. Deployed TDRS 3. More...
  • STS-36 Crew: Casper, Creighton, Hilmers, Mullane, Thuot. Classified mission in 62 degree orbit, the highest inclination orbit ever flown by an American mission. Launch delayed due to illness of crew members. More...
  • STS-42 Crew: Bondar, Grabe, Hilmers, Merbold, Oswald, Readdy, Thagard. Manned seven crew. Carried International Microgravity Laboratory-1. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Bibliography
  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Mullane, Mike, Riding Rockets, Scribner, New York, 2006.

Hilmers Chronology


1980 May 19 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 9 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bagian; Blaha; Bolden; Bridges; Chang-Diaz; Cleave; Dunbar; Fisher, William; Gardner, Guy; Grabe; Hilmers; Leestma; Lounge; O Connor; Richards; Ross; Smith; Spring; Springer. The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights.. Qualifications: Pilots: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degree desirable. At least 1,000 flight-hours of pilot-in-command time. Flight test experience desirable. Excellent health. Vision minimum 20/50 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 vision; maximum sitting blood pressure 140/90. Height between 163 and 193 cm.

    Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm..


1985 October 3 - . 15:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-28/51-J.
  • STS-51-J - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Bobko; Grabe; Hilmers; Pailes; Stewart. Payload: Atlantis F01 / DSCS-3 2 / DSCS-3 3 [IUS]. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bobko; Grabe; Hilmers; Pailes; Stewart. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-51-J. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 4.07 days. Decay Date: 1985-10-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 16115 . COSPAR: 1985-092A. Apogee: 486 km (301 mi). Perigee: 476 km (295 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 94.20 min. Manned five crew. Atlantis (first flight); deployed USA 11, USA 12. Reusable space transportation system.

    Orbits of Earth: 63. Landed at: Runway 23 dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, . Touchdown miss distance: 754.00 m. Landing Rollout: 2,455.00 m. Payloads: Classified DoD Mission - Record altitude (as of 5/93).


1985 October 7 - .
1986 May - .
1988 September 29 - . 15:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-26R.
  • STS-26 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Covey; Hauck; Hilmers; Lounge; Nelson. Payload: Discovery F07 / PDP. Mass: 21,082 kg (46,477 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Covey; Hauck; Hilmers; Lounge; Nelson. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-26. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 4.04 days. Decay Date: 1988-10-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 19547 . COSPAR: 1988-091A. Apogee: 306 km (190 mi). Perigee: 301 km (187 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Manned five crew. First shuttle reflight after Challenger disaster. Deployed TDRS 3. Payloads: Deploy IUS (lnertial Upper Stage) with Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-C. 3M's Physical Vapor Transport Organics Solids 2 experiment (PVTOS), Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (ADSF), Infrared Communi-cations Flight Experiment (lRCFE), Protein Crystal Growth Il (PCG), Isoelectric Focusing (ISF)-2, Phase Partitioning Experiment (PPE), Aggrega-tion of Red Blood Cells (ARC)-2, Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE)-1, Earth Limb Radiance (ELRAD), Orbiter Experiments (OEX), Autonomous Supporting Instrumentation System (OASlS)-I, two Shuttle Student Involvement Project (SSIP) experiments.

1988 October 3 - .
1990 February 28 - . 07:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-36R.
  • STS-36 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Casper; Creighton; Hilmers; Mullane; Thuot. Payload: Atlantis F06 / KH-12 1. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Casper; Creighton; Hilmers; Mullane; Thuot. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-36. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 4.43 days. Decay Date: 1990-03-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 20512 . COSPAR: 1990-019A. Apogee: 204 km (126 mi). Perigee: 198 km (123 mi). Inclination: 62.0000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Manned five crew. Deployed a classified payload. Landed at: Runway 23 dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, . Landing Speed: 368 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 494.00 m. Landing Rollout: 2,407.00 m. Payloads: DoD Mission - Record altitude (through 5/93).

1990 March 4 - .
1992 January 22 - . 14:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-42.
  • STS-42 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Bondar; Grabe; Hilmers; Merbold; Oswald; Readdy; Thagard. Payload: Discovery F14 / GBA-3. Mass: 13,001 kg (28,662 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bondar; Grabe; Hilmers; Merbold; Oswald; Readdy; Thagard. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-42. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 8.05 days. Decay Date: 1992-01-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 21846 . COSPAR: 1992-002A. Apogee: 307 km (190 mi). Perigee: 291 km (180 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 90.50 min. Manned seven crew. Carried International Microgravity Laboratory-1. Payloads: International Microgravity Laboratory (lML)-1, getaway special (GAS) bridge with 10 getaway specials, IMAX camera, Gelation of Sols: Applied Microgravity Research (GOSAMR)-1, Investigations Into Polymer Mem-brane Processing (IPMP), Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME)-lll, Student Experiment 81-09: Convection in Zero Gravity, Student Experiment 83-02: Capillary Rise of Liquid Through Granular Porous Media.

1992 January 30 - .
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