|Real Name:||David Randolph Scott,|
|Birthday:||June 6, 1932|
|Occupation:||American Retired Test Pilot and NASA Astronaut|
Few people can boast of having been to space and back. Very few have walked the moon, even fewer are the number of astronauts who have commandeered a spacecraft. Col. David Randolph Scott is one of the select few. He was the commander of the Apollo 15 and is its only surviving crew member to date. He is one of 7 people on the planet to have walked the moon, and he is the only living person to have commanded an Apollo mission.
In 1975, he retired from the air force. In all, he went to space three times and had 5,600 hours of logged flying time under his belt.
David Randolph Scott was born on June 6, 1932, in Texas. His parents were Tom William Scott and Marian Scott. His father was a fighter pilot in the United States Army.
Scott spent most of his childhood at the Randolph field, where his father was stationed. Growing up, Scott recounts his father as a strict disciplinarian who was not around much. This played a major role in the family’s decision to send him to the Texas Military Institute.
Scott had a strong desire to become a pilot, just like his father. In his youth, he would build model planes from scratch. He also particularly liked war movies that had aircrafts and jet planes in them.
When Scott was old enough, his father would take him flying. From a young age, Scott showed potential. He was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America and achieved the second-highest rank as a Life scout.
Scott married his wife Ann Ott in 1959; they had two children together. The first was Tracy, born in 1961, and Douglas in 1963. In the early 2000s, it was reported that Scott was engaged to Anna Ford, a British TV presenter. They’d been dating since 1999 even though he was still married to his wife. Scott eventually separated from his wife in 2001. After that, he met and married Margaret Black, former Vice-Chairman of Morgan Stanley. They now live together in Los Angeles.
Scott finished the United States Military Academy at West Point and then joined the Air Force. He completed a six-month primary pilot training at Marana Air Base and completed an undergraduate pilot training in Texas. He also took some gunnery training.
Between 1956 to 1960, Scott would finally begin to realize his dreams. He flew for the 32nd tactical fighter Squadron at Soesterberg Airbase in the Netherlands. Scott was said to be calm in the face of adversity and showed excellent bravery. One time, he had to land his plane on a golf course due to bad weather. He flew during the cold war and was lucky he never had to engage in combat.
He wanted to advance his career and become a test pilot, and he was advised to get a graduate degree in Aeronautics. He applied and got accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he bagged not only a degree of Engineer in Aeronautics but also a Master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics.
He then received an order to report to the new Air Force Academy; he did not like this because he wanted to go to the test pilot school. With the help of a Colonel at the Pentagon, he was able to secure a change of order. He graduated top pilot in his class of his under the tutelage of Chuck Yeager, Scott’s idol, and the first person to break the sound barrier.
In 1963 Scott applied to be a part of the third group of astronauts, although he had no plans of remaining there permanently. His plan was to fly to space a few times and return to the air force but fate had other plans.
Scott went to space for the first time as a pilot of the Gemini 8 mission with the famous Neil Armstrong. Scott and Neil showed mutual respect for each other and found some chemistry working together. They launched on March 16, 1996, with the intention to spend three days in space. Together, they accomplished the first-ever docking in space with the Agena rocket. The mission was not without errors, one of their thrusters had fired unexpectedly, causing them to spin. Armstrong had to activate the Reaction Control System Thrusters to cancel out the spin. This inadvertently meant that they would have to return to earth’s surface else they would not have enough thrust for reentry. In the end, the mission lasted only 10 hours.
His bravery, competence, and calmness in the face of danger during the Gemini 8 mission was recognized by NASA. He was subsequently appointed to The Apollo crew and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
On the Apollo mission, he was recruited as the command module pilot alongside James McDivitt and lunar Module pilot Russell Schewickart; their mission launched and it was a success. They tested and achieved a lunar landing.
On July 26, 1971, Scott, James Irwin, and Alfred Warden were launched into space on the Apollo 15 flight. The trip took three and a half days to reach the moon. They landed at the base of the Apennine Mountains near a gorge called Hadley Rille. On their Lunar Rover, they traveled a distance of about 28km; they also spent about 17 hours outside their lunar module, which was an outstanding feat at the time. They traveled safely back to Earth on the 7th of August.
For the rest of his career, he worked on a number of test projects, including the Apollo-Soyuz project, and became director of the Dryden Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. He left the space program for private business in Los Angeles and wrote a book alongside Aleksey Leonov, titled Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race.
While it is quite easy to speculate on his income, it is rather difficult to know how much David Scott has spent over the years. Some sources state that his fortune is around $20 million, however, the more likely estimate seems to be between $100,000 to $1 million.
From an early age, Scott had a drive that would see him achieve most, if not all, of his goals. The foundation had been laid for him by his father, but in the end, it was his commitment and drive to succeed that made way for him to achieve his success.