William Pogue, astronaut who organised the first strike in space, dies aged 84

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Joined: 11-02-07
Mar 13 2014 18:28
William Pogue, astronaut who organised the first strike in space, dies aged 84

William R. Pogue was the pilot of a record-setting American mission in space, and one of the very few astronauts ever to go on strike — while in orbit — to demand more time for contemplating the universe.

Colonel Pogue, who died on March 3 at 84 at his home in Cocoa Beach, Fla., was a member of the three-man crew that flew the longest, and the last, manned mission aboard Skylab, from Nov. 16, 1973, to Feb. 8, 1974…

“We had been overscheduled,” Colonel Pogue wrote. “We were just hustling the whole day. The work could be tiresome and tedious, though the view was spectacular.”…

Colonel Pogue said the tensions between the astronauts and their ground controllers came to a boil about six weeks into the mission. Unable to persuade their supervisors, they decided to stage their job action.

It led to a compromise with controllers, which made the mood during the last six weeks of the flight much more pleasant, he wrote, for “studying the Sun, the Earth below, and ourselves.”...

The request for time off seemed to puzzle ground controllers at Cape Canaveral... In news briefings they described it as a possible sign of depression or medically caused lethargy in the crew…

Colonel Pogue, an Air Force officer, said neither was the case. He and the others just wanted more time to look out the window and think. The flight had made him “much more inclined toward humanistic feeling toward other people, other crewmen,” he told Science News in 1985. “I try to put myself into the human situation, instead of trying to operate like a machine.”…


Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Mar 13 2014 23:30

Hey, sad news. FYI we have a history of that strike here: http://libcom.org/history/1973-skylab-4-mutiny