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Former NASA astronaut and UT graduate Henry W. (Hank) Hartsfield, Jr. died on July 17 after an illness. He was eighty years old.

hartsfieldHartsfield earned a master’s degree in engineering science from the UT Space Institute in 1971. He served as commander of space shuttle Discovery’s maiden mission and flew on three shuttle flights. After his final shuttle flight, Hartsfield served in a number of NASA administrative posts, including deputy chief of the astronaut office, deputy director for flight crew operations, and director of the Technical Integration and Analysis Division at NASA Headquarters.

Next he became deputy manager for operations in the Space Station Operations Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Back at the Johnson Space Center in Houston he worked in the Space Station Freedom Program and later as manager of the International Space Station Independence Assessment Team.

He later became NASA’s director of independent assurance for Human Exploration and Development of Space.

Hartsfield was one of ten current or former astronauts who received a degree from the UT Space Science Institute. One of them, Barry “Butch” Wilmore, a 1994 UTSI graduate, will take command of the International Space Station in November. Another astronaut , Margaret Rhea Seddon, earned her medical degree from UT.