Gibson has been described by the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine as the Man Who’s Flown Everything.
Among his Astronaut peers, he was known as the best of the best and the Chuck Yeager of the Astronaut Corps – able to fly anything with a stick and throttle. From light piston Aircraft to thundering fighters; from supersonic jets to the Space Shuttle…Hoot has flown it.
He was born in New York, grew up in California and now resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with his wife, Dr. Rhea Seddon, a three time Shuttle astronaut.
After earning a degree in Aeronautical Engineering (CalPolytech), Captain Gibson entered into active duty with the Navy.
He saw duty aboard the USS Coral Sea and the USS Enterprise flying combat missions in Southeast Asia. During which time he earned the Air Medal, award for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.
Since graduating first in his class at Navy Test Pilot School and graduating the Navy Fighter Weapons School – better known as “TopGun”, Hoot has flown 14,000 hours in more than 140 types of civilian and military aircraft, a number that includes over 300 carrier landings.
Captain Gibson was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1978 and is a veteran of five shuttle missions. He was selected for extraordinary missions – serving as Mission Pilot on his first mission and Commander on the remaining 4, which included flights aboard:
• STS 41-B in 1984 on Challenger
• STS 61-C in 1986 on Columbia
• STS-27 in 1988 on Atlantis
• STS-47 in 1992 on Endeavour – Spacelab mission
• STS-71 in 1995 on Atlantis – first docking with the Russian Space Station MIR
Hoot has spent a total of 36.5 days in space. Captain Gibson was also Chief Astronaut and Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations.
In 2013, Hoot was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio.
In September of 2015, Hoot Gibson became the first Astronaut to win the Unlimited Gold Race at the Reno Air Races in “Strega” the P-51 Mustang.