Encyclopedia Astronautica
Williams, Clifton



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Williams Clifton
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Williams, Clifton Curtis 'CC' (1932-1967) American test pilot astronaut, 1963-1967. US Marine Corps aviator. Died in crash of his T-38 trainer aircraft.

Educated Auburn; Patuxent.

Official NASA Biography

NAME: Clifton C. Williams, Jr. (Major, USMC)
NASA Astronaut (Deceased)

PERSONAL DATA: Born September 26, 1932, in Mobile, Alabama. Died on October 5, 1967, near Tallahassee, Florida, in the crash of a T-38 jet. He is survived by his wife Jane and a daughter.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Murphy High School, Mobile, Alabama; received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

ORGANIZATIONS: Associate member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and member of Pi Tau Sigma (national mechanical honorary, and Tau Beta Pi (national engineering society).

EXPERIENCE: Williams, a Marine Corps Major, graduated from the Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland.

He was test pilot for three years in the Carrier Suitability Branch of the Flight Test Division at Patuxent River. His work there included land based and shipboard tests of the F8E, TF8A, F8E (attack), and A4E and automatic carrier landing system.

Of the 2,500 hours flying time accumulated, he has more than 2,100 hours in jet aircraft.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Williams was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963. He served as backup pilot for the Gemini 10 mission and worked in the areas of launch operations and crew safety.

Major Williams died on October 5, 1967, near Tallahassee, Florida, in the crash of a T-38 jet.

OCTOBER 1967


A Memoir of C.C. Williams:

I was young, but C.C., as everyone called him, was just the neatest guy to me. He lived at the end of the block from us on Country Club Drive in Dickinson, Texas. My father was an engineer at NASA and he and C.C. were good friends. I remember as a kid that he used to buzz the neighborhood to let his wife know that he'd be home soon. Obviously not legal now-a-days. Just more of a reflection on the test pilot/astronaut side of his personality. Everyone loved it and I know of no complaints.

He'd throw neighborhood parties and you'd never know who'd show up. The famous Red Adair of oil well fire-fighting fame had a speed boat that he'd pull up to C.C.'s waterfront property on the Dickinson Bayou. That boat was so loud and threw up such a rooster tail that its still memorable to this day. Dr. Gilruth even would take his graceful trimaran up to visit on occasion. Interesting comparison of personalities, eh?

My dad went on from the Apollo program to become Section Head of the Guidance & Control Design Section for the Space Shuttle. That roll-over manuever that the shuttle makes after launch is his claim to fame. He often mentioned how he missed C.C.. Obviously he was thinking of the continued contributions that C.C. could have made in addition to their friendship.

Birth Place: Mobile, Alabama.
Status: Deceased.


Born: 1932.09.26.
Died: 1967.10.05.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...
  • NASA Group 3 - 1963 Requirement: crew members for planned Apollo missions (then planned as 4 Saturn I missions in 1965, 2-4 Saturn IB missions in 1966, 6 Saturn V missions from 1967). Nickname: The Fourteen. More...

Associated Flights
  • Gemini 10 Crew: Collins, Young. First free space walk from one spacecraft to another. First rendezvous with two different spacecraft in one flight. Altitude (763 km) record. Exciting mission with successful docking with Agena, flight up to parking orbit where Gemini 8 Agena wa stored. Backup crew: Bean, Williams Clifton. More...
  • Apollo 503 Crew: Borman, Collins, Anders. Cancelled Apollo E mission - test of the Apollo lunar module in high earth orbit. Lunar module was not ready. Instead mission flown only with CSM into lunar orbit only as Apollo 8. Backup crew: Conrad, Williams Clifton, Gordon. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
Associated Programs
  • Gemini Gemini was conceived as an 'upgraded Mercury' to test essential orbital manoeuvring, rendezvous, docking, lifting re-entry, and space walking techniques in the four years between the last Mercury flight and the first scheduled Apollo flight. If fulfilled this mission, and numerous variants that never reached production would have serviced manned space stations and taken Americans around and to the moon - at lower cost and earlier than Apollo. More...

Bibliography
  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Williams, Clifton Chronology


1963 June 5 - .
1963 October 17 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 3 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Aldrin; Anders; Bassett; Bean; Cernan; Chaffee; Collins; Cunningham; Eisele; Freeman; Gordon; Schweickart; Scott; Williams, Clifton. The group was selected to provide crew members for planned Apollo missions (then planned as 4 Saturn I missions in 1965, 2-4 Saturn IB missions in 1966, 6 Saturn V missions from 1967).. Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,000 flight-hours, bachleor's degree in engineering or physical or biological sciences, under 35 years old, under 183 cm height, excellent health. US citizen.. There were 271 applications, 200 from civilians (including two women) and 71 from military pilots (including two African-Americans). President Kennedy pushed for NASA to appoint a black astronaut, but neither of the applicants met the test pilot requirements. Bobby Kennedy arranged for one of these, USAF Captain Edward Dwight, to be enrolled in the USAF Test Pilot school. He graduated, and then had the necessary qualifications. He was 28 years old, an engineering school graduate, and a B-57 bomber command pilot with 2,000 hours flying time. However NASA did not find him as well qualified as other candidates, and he was not among the 32 chosen for final physical and mental tests.

    From these 32, the final 14 were selected. Of them, four would die (two in a T-38 crash, one in a car crash, and one in the Apollo 204 ground fire) before flying in space. All of the ten remaining would fly in the Apollo program.


1963 October 18 - .
  • Selection of 14 astronauts for Projects Gemini and Apollo - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Aldrin; Anders; Bassett; Bean; Cernan; Chaffee; Collins; Cunningham; Eisele; Freeman; Gordon; Schweickart; Scott; Williams, Clifton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA announced the selection of 14 astronauts for Projects Gemini and Apollo, bringing to 30 the total number of American spacemen. They were Maj. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., Capt. William A. Anders, Capt. Charles A. Bassett II, Capt. Michael Collins, Capt. Donn F. Eisele, Capt. Theodore C. Freeman, and Capt. David R. Scott of the Air Force; Lt. Cdr. Richard F. Gordon, Jr., Lt. Alan L. Bean, Lt. Eugene A. Cernan, and Lt. Roger B. Chaffee of the Navy; Capt. Clifton C. Williams, Jr., of the Marine Corps; R. Walter Cunningham, research scientist for the Rand Corporation; and Russell L. Schweickart, research scientist for MIT.

1964 February 3 - .
1965 February 16 - .
  • Specialty areas for 13 astronauts not assigned to Gemini - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Aldrin; Anders; Bassett; Bean; Cernan; Chaffee; Collins; Cunningham; Eisele; Freeman; Gordon; Schweickart; Scott; Williams, Clifton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM ECS; LM Communications; LM ECS; LM Guidance. MSC announced a realignment of specialty areas for the 13 astronauts not assigned to forthcoming Gemini missions (GT 3 through 5) or to strictly administrative positions:

    Operations and Training
    Edwin E. Aldrin, branch chief - mission planning

    Charles A. Bassett - operations handbooks, training, and simulators

    Alan L. Bean - recovery systems

    Michael Collins - pressure suits and extravehicular activity

    David R. Scott - mission planning and guidance and navigation

    Clifton C. Williams - range operations, deep space instrumentation, and crew safety.

    Project Apollo
    Richard F. Gordon, branch chief - overall astronaut activities in Apollo area and liaison for CSM development

    Donn F. Eisele - CSM and LEM

    William A. Anders - environmental control system and radiation and thermal systems

    Eugene A. Cernan - boosters, spacecraft propulsion, and the Agena stage

    Roger B. Chaffee - communications, flight controls, and docking

    R. Walter Cunningham - electrical and sequential systems and non-flight experiments

    Russell L. Schweickart - in-flight experiments and future programs.


1966 July 18 - . 22:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV. LV Configuration: Titan II GLV GT-10 / 62-12565.
  • Gemini 10 - . Call Sign: Gemini 10. Crew: Collins; Young. Backup Crew: Bean; Williams, Clifton. Payload: Gemini SC10. Mass: 3,763 kg (8,295 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Collins; Young; Bean; Williams, Clifton. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 10. Spacecraft: Gemini. Duration: 2.95 days. Decay Date: 1966-07-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 2349 . COSPAR: 1966-066A. Apogee: 259 km (160 mi). Perigee: 160 km (90 mi). Inclination: 28.9000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Exciting mission with successful docking with Agena, flight up to parking orbit where Gemini 8 Agena is stored. Collins space walks from Gemini to Agena to retrieve micrometeorite package left in space all those months. Loses grip first time, and tumbles head over heels at end of umbilical around Gemini. Package retrieved on second try.

    The Gemini X mission began with the launch of the Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle from complex 14. The Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) attained a near-circular, 162- by 157-nautical-mile orbit. Spacecraft No. 10 was inserted into a 145- by 86-nautical-mile elliptical orbit. Slant range between the two vehicles was very close to the nominal 1000 miles. Major objective of the mission was achieved during the fourth revolution when the spacecraft rendezvoused with the GATV at 5 hours 23 minutes ground elapsed time and docked with it about 30 minutes later. More spacecraft propellant was used to achieve rendezvous than had been predicted, imposing constraints on the remainder of the mission and requiring the development of an alternate flight plan. As a result, several experiments were not completed, and another secondary objective - docking practice - was not attempted. To conserve fuel and permit remaining objectives to be met, the spacecraft remained docked with the GATV for about 39 hours. During this period, a bending mode test was conducted to determine the dynamics of the docked vehicles, standup extravehicular activties (EVA) were conducted, and several experiments were performed. The GATV primary and secondary propulsion systems were used for six maneuvers to put the docked spacecraft into position for rendezvous with the Gemini VIII GATV as a passive target. The spacecraft undocked at 44 hours 40 minutes ground elapsed time, separated from the GATV, and used its own thrusters to complete the second rendezvous some three hours later. At 48 hours and 42 minutes into the flight, a 39-minute period of umbilical EVA began, which included the retrieval of a micrometorite collection package from the Gemini VIII Agena. The hatch was opened a third time about an hour later to jettison extraneous equipment before reentry. After about three hours of stationkeeping, the spacecraft separated from the GATV. At 51 hours 39 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew performed a true anomaly-adjust maneuver to minimize reentry dispersions resulting from the retrofire maneuver.


1967 October 5 - .
1967 December - .
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