Frederick Hauck is a retired Captain and pilot in the United States Navy, and a NASA astronaut. He was born Frederick Hamilton “Rick” Hauck on April 11, 1941 in Long Beach, California. He was raised in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., and he graduated from St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. in 1958. He then went on to attend Tufts University as a Navy ROTC student, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from in 1962. He was commissioned upon graduation and reported to USS Warrington (DD-843) to work as an officer of communications and the Combat Information Center.
In 1964, Hauck attended the Naval Postgraduate School in California and studied mathematics, physics, and the Russian language. He was then chosen to be a member of the Navy’s Advanced Science Program, and in 1965 he received a Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The following year he began flight training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida and received his aviator wings in 1968. Subsequently, he was deployed to the Western Pacific as a pilot with Attack Squadron 35 aboard USS Coral Sea. In August 1970, Hauck joined Attack Squadron 42 and served as a visual weapons delivery instructor until he was selected for test pilot training. He reported to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland in 1971 and followed it with and three year stay in the Naval Air Test Center’s Carrier Suitability Branch of the Flight Test Division. In 1974, he reported as an operations officer to aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), on which he flew the A-6, A-7, and F-14. Three years later, in February 1977, he was assigned to Attack Squadron 145 as Executive Officer.
In January 1978, Hauck was chosen to be an astronaut candidate. After completing training, he was eligible for future spaceflights. His first flight to space was as a pilot aboard Space Shuttle Challenger on STS-7. The mission launched from the Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983 as the first mission with a five man crew. After deploying two satellites, ANIK-C2 and Palapa B-1, and 97 orbits of the Earth, they returned with a safe landing at Edwards Air Force Base on June 24. Hauck’s second flight to space was as spacecraft commander of STS-51A aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, which launched took place on November 8, 1984. The crew successfully deployed two satellites: Canada’s ANIK D-2 and the Hughes’ LEASAT-1. Most importantly, the crew made the first space salvage attempt in history and successfully retrieved the Palapa B-2 and Westar VI communications satellites, which had been improperly launched into orbit. After 127 orbits of the Earth, STS-51A ended with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center on November 16, 1984.
In March 1985, Hauck began working as the astronaut office project officer for the integration of the liquid-fueled Centaur upper stage rocket into the shuttle. Two months later he was named Commander of the Centaur-boosted Ulysses solar probe mission, STS 61F, but the mission was cancelled after the Challenger accident.
In August 1986, Hauck put his astronaut work on hold and became the policy advisor to the NASA Administrator for congressional, public, international, inter-governmental, and educational affairs. He resumed his astronaut duties at the Johnson Space Center in February 1987. His next flight to space was as spacecraft commander of STS-26 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. After launching from the Kennedy Space Center on September 29, 1988 as the first flight after the Challenger accident, the crew successfully deployed the TDRS-C satellite and managed eleven secondary payloads.
After 64 orbits of the Earth, the mission safely landed at Edwards Air Force Base on October 3, 1988. Six months after his last spaceflight, he assumed the position of Director of the Navy Space Systems Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. On June 1, 1990 Hauck left military active duty and joined AXA Space that October. In January 1993, he became the Chief Executive Officer of AXA, and he retired in April 2005.
Hauck’s work has earned him many special honors, including two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, nine Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star and Combat V, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership, three NASA Space Flight Medals, the Navy’s Outstanding Test Pilot Award, the Presidential Cost Saving Commendation, the AIAA Haley Space Flight Award, Lloyd’s of London Silver Medal for Meritorious Service, two AAS Flight Achievement Awards, Tufts University Presidential Medal, the Tufts University Light on the Hill Award, and the Delta Upsilon Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has also been inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Image Caption: Official portrait of Astronaut Frederick H. “Rick” Hauck, taken after he was assigned as mission commander of the first flight after Challenger. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia