Tue. Apr 13th, 2021

Simon Thornton has vivid memories of his father teaching him all about engines. He stated that his father would take time to detail all the parts of the engines they would be working on and called him an excellent mechanic. The retired astronaut is happy about his father’s legacy and what he had accomplished for outer space. The astronaut, who died not long ago at the age of 91, has been a key element in NASA‘s missions. The astronaut first entered space in 1967, staying there for over 300 hours. He contributed a great deal to the evolution of space life sciences and other projects in which he participated.

Thornton retired 27 years ago, having participated in NASA’s biomedical laboratory teams testing for space sickness, muscle atrophy, low body pressure, among others. Simon stated that his father’s survival would be called astronomical because he was an engineer. After his father passing on when he was ten years, Simon Thornton decided to become his own master and eventually opened a radio repair shop while at Faison High School.

The toppings he took from the customers paid his tuition before joining the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he obtained a degree in Physics. After years of exploring the field of physics, he discovered that rockets are traceable using radars. This project developed the Radar Optic Firing Error Indicator, which could analyze the interceptor aircraft’s accuracy. The project earned him the Legion of Merit in 1956 as a Second Lieutenant.

He worked in other different institutions developing numerous devices in pursuit of Physics principles. He held over 60 issued patents ranging from military weapon systems to EKG computer analysis. He also worked with NASA developing the shock and vibration isolation systems before retiring. Simon Thornton became a cardiovascular physicist developing crucial instruments, a legacy that runs down through his children and grandchildren. The renowned astronaut and physicist moved around even in the assisted living facility to keep up with inventions before his family thought it wise to move him to his cottage in Texas. He spent the rest of his days in this place a happy man, having accomplished most of what he wanted.

One of Thornton Simon’s sons says that he always wanted to do something that could solve a problem for the world, something he caught up with from his father, whose heart was always minding the villagers of Faison. Finally, the astronaut will be remembered for being an engineer who was thrilled and excited to encounter new machines and engines.


By Adam