Between 1959 and 1975, nearly every astronaut who participated in the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs trained at Morehead. While the need for such training ended in 1975 as computer navigation became more reliable, long-time Planetarium Director Tony Jenzano could once claim that, “Carolina is the only university in the country, in fact the world, that can claim all the astronauts as alumni.”A full list of the astronauts who trained at Morehead is also available online. Among the many notables are Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, as well as Dr. William Thorton, who was born in Faison, NC in 1929 and was later a graduate of the UNC School of Medicine. Thorton flew on space shuttle missions and conducted many physiological investigations, as well as holding over 35 patents, including one for the first real-time EKG computer analysis. Details on Thorton's career are available on the NASA web site.
There are a number of other Carolinians who have a NASA connection, including Charles Duke, who was born in Charlotte, NC in 1935 and was the lunar module pilot for Apollo 16, and Dr. Tom Marshburn, a Statesville, NC native and medical graduate of Wake Forest University, who made three spacewalks on July 20, 2009, the 40th anniversary of Armstrong's moon walk.
See also: The Man on the Moon and Doctor Bills.