Retired astronaut keynote speaker at Roger B. Chaffee 50th Scholarship event

Jack Lousma during a spacewalk in 1973.

The Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship Fund announced that retired Skylab and Space Shuttle Astronaut Jack Lousma (Colonel, USMC, Ret.) will be the key note speaker at the Scholarship’s annual award dinner to be held Thursday, May 4, at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, main floor, 6 p.m.


Roger B. Chaffee, a Grand Rapids native, perished with his crew mates Ed White and Gus Grissom in the tragic Apollo 1 fire on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy, January 27, 1967. The Scholarship Fund was established in 1967 by family and friends of Roger who graduated with him from Central High School. It is one of the oldest space memorial foundations in the country. The Planetarium at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is named in Roger’s honor.


Astronaut Jack Lousma  (Colonel, USMC, Ret.)  (Photo by Phil Konstantin)

Col. Jack lusma (Ret.), who also was born in Grand Rapids, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps and joined NASA in 1966. He was on of the nation’s first space residents, flying an Apollo capsule to Skylab in 1973. He spent 59 days aboard the first space station, including 11 hours on two space walks. Jack was also the commander on the third Space Shuttle Columbia STS-3 in 1982. Jack has amassed more than 7,000 hours of flight time including 1,600 hours in space. Jack retired from NASA in 1983 and has been active in space-related activities and high tech businesses.


The 50th Roger B. Chafee Scholarship award, presented each year to an outstanding Kent County High School senior, will this year go to Eric J. Pearson, from Northview High School. Col. Lousma will be doing a presentation in the newly renovated Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium following dinner.


The public is invited. Dinner tickets are $55 and space is limited. For reservations or information call Scholarship Director David Pequet at 800-237-0939 or visit the Scholarship website, The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl St. NW.