From the June 2015 issue

Rusty Schweickart: From the Apollo program to the asteroid threat

The famous astronaut turned planetary defense advocate looks back at some of his greatest adventures in space and ahead to his quest to protect the planet from a future catastrophic impact.
By | Published: June 9, 2015 | Last updated on May 18, 2023

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Superstars of Astronomy: Rusty SchweickartDownload
Rusty Schweickart
B612 Foundation; music provided by Getty Images
Rusty Schweickart, the Apollo 9 lunar module pilot, was the first astronaut to fly the lunar module. After additional work with NASA and subsequent assignments with both federal and state government, Schweickart turned to commercial space ventures. With fellow astronaut Ed Lu, he co-founded the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to planetary defense against asteroids and other near-Earth object impacts. He is also the founder of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) and served as president of ASE-USA.

In this hourlong interview with Editor David J. Eicher, Schweickart talks about growing up on a farm near Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst and how his upbringing inspired him to become a fighter pilot and eventually an astronaut. He relives his Apollo 9 days and the incredible experience he had with the mission’s spacewalk as he tested the new Apollo spacesuit [15:50] before turning his focus to his subsequent Skylab space station mission [32:00]. Schweickart then discusses his post-astronaut days [36:20] and what led him to become an advocate for planetary defense against the threat of asteroid impacts [44:25], concluding with his hope for the upcoming Asteroid Day on June 30 [1:00:00].

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