Ed Gibson

Astronaut that held the American record of 84 days in space

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American Astronaut Who Once Held
Record for Days in Space

For 21 years, Ed held the American record of 84 days in space. During his mission on Skylab, America’s first space station, he also worked outside for over 15 hours during three different space walks.

In his 14-year NASA career, Ed supported the Apollo 12 crew and was their communicator while they explored the moon. He earned Air Force wings and logged over 2,200 hours in high-performance aircraft, 100 hours in helicopters, and 2017 hours in space.


Ed earned a BS in engineering from the University of Rochester and a MS and PhD in Engineering and Physics from the California Institute of Technology. After a year in industry, he was selected as one of six of the first Scientist-Astronauts, edging out 2,000 applicants. He became a research assistant in jet propulsion while completing his studies and eventually became a research scientist for Philco Corporation until joining NASA.

Life After Space

Ed excelled in program management with Booz, Allen & Hamilton and TRW and as President of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Gibson International. Recently retired as a Sr. VP at SAIC, he is now one of two Managers at Aerospace Partners, LLC. and Chairman of a NASA Review Board for America’s return to the moon.

In addition, Gibson has performed a significant amount of public speaking and writing, having published a text book in solar physics, two novels (Reach and In the Wrong Hands), and edited The Greatest Adventure, a compilation of stories and pictures on space missions from many astronauts and cosmonauts around the world.

Awards and Recognition

Gibson was elected a fellow of the American Astronautical Society and is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honorary organization. Gibson  later became a member of the Seniors Track Club. Gibson was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship and the R.C. Baker Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. He received the Johnson Space Center Certificate of Commendation in 1970.  In 1974-1978, Gibson was awarded several distinctions including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, presented by President Richard M. Nixon, the NASA Space Flight Medal, the City of New York Gold Medal, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, and the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale’s De La Vaulx Medal and V. M. Komarov Diploma, the American Astronautical Society’s Flight Achievement Award , the AIAA Haley Astronautics Award for 1975, a Senior U.S. Scientist Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and a JSC Special Achievement Award. Gibson was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997.

The Heart of Leadership

When John F. Kennedy declared, "I believe we should go to the moon before this decade is out," thousands of American workers attacked this seemingly insurmountable task. As was true when President Kennedy issued this challenge, current managers have acceptable levels of administrative ability but the qualities that distinguish true leaders are much less common. Ed weaves absorbing accounts of space flight with identification of leadership qualities of early pioneers who set the stage and spearhead rocketry development, JFK who inspired a nation, an astronaut manager who demanded an altruistic mission focus and dynamic heroes who impelled success from mission control. He shows how these leaders, driven by vision and courage, earned respect and trust yet tempered their drives with an empathy, that added a human touch to their greatness.

The Adventure of Spaceflight

Just as explorers, and later settlers, sailed the seas and spread across our continent, humans now leave our planet and venture into space. From liftoff and space walks to re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, Ed's audiences become entranced by a world that only a handful of humans have experienced. Gliding over Earth at a serene five miles per second, living months without gravity, and watching Earth's features become as familiar as the face of an old friend were commonplace experiences during Ed's record-breaking, 35-million-mile space flight. With touches of humor, he puts the audience into the astronaut's mind and body to experience their sensations and emotions. Now, as 14 nations complete another space station and the US strives to return to the moon, the recounting of his life in space and its medical challenges are not just fascinating but are highly relevant.

Space Flight and Management

Humankind's most ambitious and exciting venture - human flight to the moon - succeeded beyond all expectations. Adherence to the basic principles of good management guided by great leaders and common sense led the way. As Ed describes the triumphs of America's lunar program, he identifies seven basic principles of good management that led to success - principles that apply to any endeavor, public, private, or non-profit. Drawing on his spaceflight experiences, Ed illustrates the ability to initiate action, focus on the mission, organize lean, competent teams, motivate and properly support staff, and, lastly, step aside. The presentation is enriched by Ed's ability to put the listener into the spacecraft and experience flight. Through humor and insight into America's opportunities in space, he demonstrates how sound management can return the US to the moon and the average manager can become a great manager and leader.

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In the Wrong Hands
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In the Wrong Hands
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