Charles A. Bassett

From Ohio History Central

Charles Arthur Bassett was an astronaut from Dayton, Ohio.

Bassett was born on December 30, 1931, in Dayton. He attended The Ohio State University from 1950 to 1952, when he enlisted in the United States Air Force. While serving in the armed forces, Bassett earned a Bachelors of Science degree from Texas Tech University in 1960. He also completed some graduate work at the University of Southern California. He served at numerous locations while in the Air Force, including at military bases in North Carolina, Texas, Nevada, New York, California, Ohio, and Alabama. Bassett also briefly served overseas in the Pacific Ocean.

On January 7, 1964, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selected Bassett to become an astronaut in the Apollo and Gemini programs. Bassett's first trip into outer space was to occur on the Gemini 9 mission. Unfortunately, Bassett and fellow astronaut Elliott M. See, Jr., died in a plane crash before the Gemini 9 flight. The crash occurred on February 28, 1966, as the astronauts were flying a T-38 jet to St. Louis, Missouri. As the plane approached St. Louis, it crashed. An investigatory commission concluded that weather conditions and pilot error caused the crash. Bassett was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Bassett illustrates the important role that Ohioans have played in aviation. With such important names as the Wright Brothers, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and numerous others, Ohioans have been at the forefront of aviation history.

See Also


  1. Crouch, Tom D. The Giant Leap: A Chronology of Ohio Aerospace Events and Personalities, 1815-1969. Columbus: The Ohio History Connection, 1971.