Lloyd Hammond is a former United States Air Force officer, and a former NASA astronaut. He was born Lloyd Blaine Hammond, Jr. on January 16, 1952 in Savannah, Georgia. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from Kirkwood High School in 1969. He then attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, science, and mechanics in 1973. In pursuit of a higher education, he went to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned a Master of Science degree in engineering science and mechanics in 1974. The following year, Hammond received his pilot wings at Reese Air Force Base, Texas. He was subsequently assigned to the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing 496th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hahn Air Base in Germany. There he flew the F4E from 1976 to 1979. Upon his return to the United States, he served as an Instructor Pilot in the F-5B/E/F at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona. In 1981 he left the US again, this time to attend the Empire Test Pilots’ School at Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment in the United Kingdom. Hammond returned to Edwards Air Force Base in California the following year and managed many different projects in the 6512 Test Squadron until his assignment as an instructor at the USAF Test Pilot School.
In May 1984, Hammond was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate, and after a year of training and evaluation, he became an astronaut in June 1985 and qualified for assignment as a pilot/commander on Space Shuttle flight crews. His initial assignments were as an ascent/entry spacecraft communicator in Mission Control and as the lead astronaut supporting the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory. He was also responsible for monitoring Orbiter status as it went through testing and maintenance at John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Hammond’s first flight to space was as the pilot of a seven man crew aboard Discovery on STS-39, a Department of Defense mission. The crew launched from the Kennedy Space Center on April 28, 1991 and worked in two-shift operations to deploy, operate, and retrieve the SPAS-II spacecraft. They also finished many science experiments, and after 134 orbits of the Earth, the mission landed back at the Kennedy Space Center on May 6, 1991. Three years later, Hammond was launched back into space piloting Discovery, this time on STS-64. During the mission, the crew sent out and retrieved a solar science satellite, used RMS boom for jet thruster research, used lasers for environmental research for the first time, and carried out the first un-tethered spacewalk in ten years to test a self-rescue jetpack. The mission landed back at Edwards Air Force Base on September 20, 1994. Upon his return, Hammond had logged over 462 hours in space. He then underwent 5 months of intensive training to learn the Russian language in preparation for assignment as the Deputy for Operations, Russia. However, the assignment was subsequently changed, so Hammond worked as a liaison at USAF Headquarters in Colorado Springs in an attempt to strengthen ties between NASA, AFSPC, and USAF Astronauts. He was also assigned to be the lead CAPCOM for STS-73 through STS-78, while simultaneously serving as the Branch Chief of the Flight Support Branch.
Hammond currently resides in Tustin, California and works as a test pilot for Gulfstream Aerospace. He is a member of the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, the Air Force Association, and the Order of Daedalians. He is married to his wife Kathy, and they have a son, Michael Blaine.
Image Caption: Astronaut L. Blaine Hammond. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia