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AIAA Mourns the Passing of Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford

March 18, 2024 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) issued the following statement by AIAA CEO Dan Dumbacher:

“The AIAA community is saddened to learn of the passing of Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, USAF. As a pilot who pushed the boundaries of air and space, he contributed in profound ways to our body of technical knowledge, as well as through his decades of leadership. He was a giant in the aerospace community and future generations will continue to stand on his shoulders. We were thrilled to name him an AIAA Fellow in 1977. It has been an extreme honor to work with Lt. Gen. Stafford over the years. His knowledge and superlative leadership influenced the future of space exploration and aerospace for decades to come.

Lt. Gen. Stafford’s leadership and participation in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project were celebrated by the Institute with distinguished awards. He personally won the AIAA Chanute Flight Test Award in 1976 “for outstanding contribution as the commander of Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in furthering peaceful cooperation in the use of space in the international arena. ”

He and fellow NASA astronauts, Vance Brand and Deke Slayton, won the AIAA Haley Space Flight Award in 1978 “for outstanding performance as the United States flight crew during the Apollo Soyuz space flight, the first international manned space mission. Through their efforts, it was possible to carry out a significant cooperative venture with the Soviet Union in a space flight that successfully demonstrated joint orbital operations and tested a universal docking system, opening the way for mutual assistance in the exploration of the universe.”

His contributions as the commander of the Apollo 10 mission – piloting the lunar module near the moon’s surface and commanding the fastest vehicle known to humans at nearly 25,000 mph – directly led to placing humans on the moon. His legacy forms the basis for today’s Artemis program and returning humans to the moon.

The AIAA community sends our condolences to Lt. Gen. Stafford’s family and friends. We are immensely grateful for his contributions to shaping the future of aerospace.”

Media contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804-397-5270

About AIAA
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Banner Image: Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, S72-35016 (1971) | Credit: NASA

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