Look Back: Astronauts crash
Date: 2/25/2010 Album ID: 951676
Photos by Post-Dispatch staff photographers
Elliott See and Charles Bassett were the lead crew for Gemini IX, a mission scheduled for May 1966, all part of the learning curve in the race to the moon. On Feb. 28, 1966, with fog and rain covering Lambert, their military training jet approached too high and began a tight swing around the airport, eventually crashing into Building 101 of the McDonnell complex. Both astronauts died in the crash.
Astronaut Elliott M. See Jr., pilot of the T-38 jet when it crashed near Lambert St. Louis International Airport on Feb. 28, 1966, killing him and former astronaut Charles A. Bassett II. See and Bassett were the lead crew for Gemini IX, scheduled for May 1966. They had flown to St. Louis that morning for simulator training and other work with the Gemini program. Their T-38 struck the very building that housed their Gemini IX. The T-38, one of a fleet owned by NASA, was a twin-engine training jet.
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Astronaut Charles A. Bassett II
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The wreckage of their T-38 training jet, covered with firefighting foam. The jet clipped the roof of Building 101 with its right wing, then skipped twice along the roof before plunging into a construction yard nearby and exploding. Both astronauts were killed in the wreck. (Post-Dispatch)
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Firefighters and McDonnell Aircraft Corp. employees at the scene. (Post-Dispatch)
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Another view of the charred remains of the fuselage of the T-38. (Scott Dine/Post-Dispatch)
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A truck slowly pulls the Gemini IX capsule past flags at half staff at a McDonnell parking lot on March 2, 1966, in memory of the two astronauts who were to have flown it into space. (James A. Rackwitz/Post-Dispatch)
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A truck hauls the covered remains of the T-38 east on the Mark Twain Expressway (Interstate 70) on March 7, 1966, en route to Scott Air Force Base near O'Fallon, Ill. (Lloyd Spainhower/Post-Dispatch)
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