A lifetime of achievement

Auburn Engineering alums T.K. Mattingly, ’58 aerospace engineering, and Forrest S. McCartney, ’52 electrical engineering, have been recognized by the Auburn Alumni Association as recipients of its 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization’s highest honor.

As a NASA astronaut, Mattingly was designated command module pilot for the Apollo 13 mission, but was removed from flight status 72 hours prior to launch because of exposure to the German measles. When the flight suffered critical component failures, he participated in the ground crew’s efforts to save his fellow astronauts. This near-fatal mission was depicted in the film “Apollo 13.” He later served as command module pilot for Apollo 16. Mattingly is one of few Apollo astronauts who also flew aboard the space shuttle. He is known for his contributions to America’s first treks into space, including his role in the development of the first lunar space suit and backpack.

McCartney’s 35-year Air Force career culminated in 1986 as NASA’s director of Kennedy Space Center. Brought there by the loss of space shuttle Challenger, McCartney assumed responsibility for return-to-flight procedures. His work restoring manned space flight created such strong approval that the aerospace community insisted on his continued involvement. He presided over nearly 20 shuttle launches and landings — choreographing 20,000 workers and a $1.3 billion annual budget — before retiring in 1991. In 1994, McCartney became the vice president for launch operations at Lockheed Martin Astronautics. He retired from Lockheed Martin in 2001 and was again summoned by NASA to serve on the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), providing safety oversight for NASA. He served as ASAP’s vice chairman until 2003, as well as a member of the Stafford-Covey Task Group overseeing NASA’s efforts to return to flight after the space shuttle Columbia accident.