Throwback Thursday – NASA’s tie to SoKY: Terry Wilcutt

With the recent launch of the Space-X flight making headlines, Throwback Thursday is giving a nod to a local astronaut, Terry Wilcutt. One of the unique planes in Bowling Green’s Aviation Heritage Park tells that story.

Terry Wilcutt, a Russellville native, graduated from WKU in 1974 and spent the next couple decades flying. He joined the Marine Corps, attended the Naval Weapons Fighting School, and was deployed on missions in Japan, Korea and the Philippines. He became a project officer and test pilot, logging more than six thousand flight hours in 30 types of aircraft.

In 1990, Wilcutt was selected by NASA for astronaut training. He’s logged more than one thousand hours in space and has experience with shuttle launches and operations at Kennedy Space Center, directing operations at the Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and is currently the Deputy Director of Safety and Mission Assurance at Johnson Space Center.

The NASA T-38 Talon on display here is the first supersonic training aircraft, introduced in 1959. This plane was part of the astronaut training and pilot program during the history of American space flight. These planes would be used in training astronauts on the famous Mercury, Gemini and Apollo NASA missions.

There’s more local aviator history found in the aircraft here at Aviation Heritage Park.