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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Apollo 16 astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly II dead at 87

Thomas K. Mattingly II, an astronaut who helped bring Apollo 13 home, dies at 87.  (NASA)
By Garfield Hylton Orlando Sentinel

Thomas K. Mattingly II, a NASA astronaut who helped bring Apollo 13 home, is dead at 87.

Mattingly II died on Tuesday, Oct. 31, according to a press release from NASA.

NASA selected him as an astronaut in 1966.

He served as a support member for astronauts flying Apollo 8 and 11 missions.

Mattingly, a designated command module pilot for Apollo 13, was removed from the flight due to exposure to measles.

Although he couldn’t make the flight, the Chicago-born aviator was vital to “successfully bring[ing] home the wounded spacecraft and the crew of Apollo 13 – NASA astronauts James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise,” according to NASA.

Mattingly said when he was in orbit, he had a “palpable fear that if I saw too much, I couldn’t remember.”

“TK’s contributions have allowed for advancements in our learning beyond that of space,” said a NASA spokesperson. “As a leader in exploratory missions, TK will be remembered for braving the unknown for the sake of our country’s future.”