Donn Fulton Eisele
(1930 – 1987)
Missions: Apollo 7
Time in Space: 260 hours, 8 minutes
NASA astronaut Donn Fulton Eisele was born on June 23, 1930, in Columbus, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautics from the United States Naval Academy in 1952, choosing to serve in the United States Air Force upon graduation. He subsequently earned a Master of Science degree in astronautics from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Eisele began his career with NASA in October 1963 when he was selected to join the third group of astronauts. On October 11, 1968, he embarked on his first and only space mission: Apollo 7, the first manned flight of the Apollo spacecraft. As Command Module Pilot, Eisele helped to test the performance of all spacecraft systems and flight operations as well as transmit the first live television broadcasts of onboard crew activities. Tensions between the crew and mission control during the mission, however, led NASA to reject Eisele from future spaceflights. In total, he spent 260 hours and eight minutes in space.
Eisele resigned from the Astronaut Corps in 1970 and took a position at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. He retired from NASA and the Air Force two years later to become the Director of the United Space Peace Corps in Thailand. Eisele died on December 2, 1987, while on a business trip in Tokyo, Japan. He was 57 years old.