Stuart Roosa (Stuart Allen Roosa)

Stuart Roosa

Stuart Roosa began his career as a smokejumper with the U.S. Forest Service, dropping into at least four active fires in Oregon and California during the 1953 fire season. He was a graduate of the Aviation Cadet Program at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, where he received his flight training commission in the U.S. Air Force. He also attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School and was an experimental test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California before being selected for the astronaut class of 1966. From July 1962 to August 1964, Roosa was a maintenance flight test pilot at Olmstead Air Force Base, PA, flying F-101 aircraft. He was a fighter pilot at Langley Air Force Base, VA, where he flew the F-84F and F-100 aircraft. Following graduation from the University of Colorado, under the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology Program, he served as Chief of Service Engineering (AFLC) at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan, for two years. Stuart Roosa was one of 19 people selected as part of the astronaut class of 1966 and served as a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 9 mission. On Apollo 14 he spent 33 hours in solo orbit around the Moon, conducting an extensive series of experiments. On the Apollo 14 mission Roosa carried seeds from loblolly pine, sycamore, sweet gum, redwood, and Douglas fir trees as part of a joint U.S. Forest Service/NASA project. The seeds were germinated on his return and planted throughout the United States, becoming known as the “Moon Trees”.

Following Apollo 14, Stuart Roosa served as backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 16 and Apollo 17, and based on crew rotations, would probably have commanded one of the last Apollo missions had it not been cancelled. He was assigned to the Space Shuttle program until his retirement as a Colonel from the Air Force in 1976. He logged 5,500 hours of flying time; 5,000 hours in jet aircraft. He also logged 217 hours in space. After leaving NASA and the Air Force, he held a number of positions in international and U.S. businesses, and became owner and president of Gulf Coast Coors in 1981. His daughter Rosemary was named CEO of Gulf Coast Coors several years later. He completed the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program in 1973. On December 12, 1994, Stuart Roosa died at age 61 in Washington D.C. from complications of pancreatitis. He was survived by his wife Joan, three sons and a daughter, and seven grandchildren. Son Jack Roosa attended the USAF Academy and became an F-16 squadron commander. Roosa is buried in section 7A of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife Joan died on October 30, 2007 in Gulfport, Mississippi. She was interred at Arlington Cemetery with her husband.

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  • August, 16, 1933
  • USA
  • Durango, Colorado


  • December, 12, 1994
  • USA
  • Falls Church, Virginia

Cause of Death

  • pancreatitis


  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Arlington, Virginia
  • USA

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