From 1775 to the Present

Red Springs Historical Commission places values on the Town's history and historical events.

For example the picture to the right is of retired NASA Astronaut Lt. Col. William McArthur who served with distinction on four ISS Shuttle Missions. He is a Robeson County native son, a graduate of Red Springs High School with family ties still in our region.

Army Career

Born and raised in North Carolina, McArthur was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout. He attended the United States Military Academy and earned his commission in the United States Army. After serving with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, McArthur attended the U.S. Army Aviation School and served tours of duty in Korea and Georgia (where he earned a degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology).

NASA Career

In 1987, McArthur attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and was trained as an experimental test pilot. He was assigned to a post as a test engineer at NASA and was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1990. McArthur's first spaceflight was in 1993 aboard STS-58. Subsequent missions included STS-74 in 1995 and STS-92 in 2000.

A Master Army Aviator, McArthur has logged over 9000 flight hours in 41 different aircraft and spacecraft. McArthur is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards and honors including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster), the NASA Space Flight Medal, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He retired from the US Army in 2001.

McArthur was on board the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 12, having been launched on Soyuz TMA-7. He lived aboard the station from October 3, 2005 until April 8, 2006.

McArthur currently serves as Manager, Safety and Mission Assurance, Space Shuttle Program, Johnson Space Center.

Expedition 12

In April 2006, McArthur and Expedition 13 flight officer Jeffrey Williams tested a new method of preparing for spacewalks by "camping out" or spending the night in the Quest airlock, the decompression capsule through which astronauts enter and exit space. In the chamber the pressure was reduced from the normal 14.7 pounds per square inch (psi) to 10.2 psi. The more commonly used method of preparing for spacewalks involves breathing pure oxygen for several hours to purge the body of nitrogen and avoid the bends. The "campout" method was intended to shorten that lengthy preparation time. Four hours into their sleep, an error tone prompted mission controllers to cut short the activity, though it was still deemed a success.

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