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This video highlights the story of Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford's career through 2011, as presented at the annual Wright Brother's Memorial Trophy Ceremony, where he was awarded the Wright Brother's Memorial Trophy.

We Have Capture Book Cover

Tom Stafford is a renowned test pilot and astronaut, but he wasn't always famous. Tom started life as a small-town Oklahoma kid. His mother came to Oklahoma in a covered wagon and lived to see her only child fly to the moon. His father was a dentist who taught his son to appreciate what he had by working hard for it. Tom found a love for heights at age 4, when he climbed his first windmill and was certain he was on top of the world. This is where his desire to go ‘higher and faster’ began.


Through a lot of hard work and some natural abilities, Tom would make his way to the top 10% at the U.S. Naval Academy, become a 3-star General in the U.S. Air Force, and be known as the first astronaut to become a General and the first General to fly in space. Over the course of his career, General Stafford flew 4 cutting-edge space missions, became Chief of Astronauts at NASA, was appointed Head of Research and Development at the Pentagon, chaired the team that developed the Hubble instrument COSTAR (Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement), worked at Area 51, and is responsible for Stealth Technology as we know it today. He and his best friend, Alexei Leonov (Russian Cosmonaut), were the beginning of the end of the Cold War when they teamed up on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. General Stafford also chaired a team to carry out President Bush's vision of returning to the Moon and then on to explore Mars. Today, he serves as Chairman of the NASA Advisory Council Task Force for ISS Safety and Operational Readiness, advises members of Congress on aerospace related subjects, serves on advisory boards for NASA, and works as an aerospace consultant. General Stafford has the most complete and comprehensive career of all surviving astronauts.

To read more inside stories about the life of Tom Stafford, you can purchase his book, "We Have Capture," in our gift shop. Click here to order! We will process your order over the phone and mail it to you right from the museum. 


Fantastic Museum of Human Accomplishment!

"As a space buff from the time I was a kid, this place is second only to visiting Canaveral in Florida. We only had about 1/2-hour to breeze through before closing. I could have used half-a-day. Excellent exhibits, model work, stories preserved in placards, actual hardware and info about Gen. Stafford himself kept me captivated. If the subject interests you, make sure you allow the TIME to see everything!"

June 2021 TripAdvisor Member Review
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