Former NASA Astronaut & Armstrong Research Pilot Rick Searfoss Passes Away

Rick Searfoss

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Former NASA research pilot and astronaut Richard “Rick” Searfoss died Sept. 29 at his home in Bear Valley Springs, California. He was 62.

Searfoss, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, served as a research pilot in the flight crew branch at NASA Dryden (now Armstrong) Flight Research Center in California from July 2001 to February 2003, having brought with him over 5,000 hours of military flying and 939 hours in space.

He flew on three space flights, onboard space shuttles Columbia and Atlantis, logging 39 days in space. Searfoss was the pilot for his first two space missions, STS-58 and STS-76, landing both times at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Once at Dryden, medical staff was standing by for the astronauts as well as personnel who supported the NASA convoy team in preparing the shuttle for its return ferry flight to Florida.


XCOR, John Corbett Raise Nearly Quarter Million at Celebrity Fight Night

Actor and musician John Corbett and XCOR Chief Test Pilot Richard Searfoss climb aboard the Lynx replica at Celebrity Fight Night XX on Saturday, April 12th in Phoenix, Ariz. (Credit: XCOR)
Actor and musician John Corbett and XCOR Chief Test Pilot Richard Searfoss climb aboard the Lynx replica at Celebrity Fight Night XX on Saturday, April 12th in Phoenix, Ariz. (Credit: XCOR)

MOJAVE, Calif. and PHOENIX, Ariz. (XCOR PR)  — Actor John Corbett is better known for his roles in movies and popular TV shows such as Northern Exposure, Sex in The City and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but last Saturday, he was shooting for the stars to help knock out Parkinson’s disease by auctioning off a space flight with XCOR Aerospace to benefit Mohammed Ali’s Parkinson’s Research Center.

At the 20th Anniversary of Celebrity Fight Night’s gala fundraiser, Mr. Corbett joined other entertainment industry luminaries such as Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Michael Bublé, Reba McEntire and Kenny Rogers to raise $8+ Million for Mohammed Ali’s Parkinson’s Research Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute, Saint Joseph’s Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona and other deserving charities.


Celebrity Fight Night to Auction Lynx Flight

Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)
Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)

The Celebrity Fight Night charity will auction off a flight aboard XCOR’s Lynx suborbital space plane during its annual fund-raising event on April 12. From the charity’s website:

John Corbett and Space Shuttle Commander Rick Searfoss invite you to the ultimate “Right Stuff” experience—at the edge of space! Join them for space flight training, a space suit fitting and an actual flight to the edge of space onboard the XCOR Lynx. Developed by XCOR Aerospace, Lynx is a two-seat spacecraft that departs right from the runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port north of Los Angeles, rocketing up to 200,000 feet in five minutes, and gently gliding back home to the Space Port thirty minutes later.

Well before the actual space flight, you will participate in Air Combat School in Fullerton, CA, where you will be fitted for your space suit; conduct a basic, pre-flight physical exam; and flight training, including a video of your training day, all accompanied by John Corbett and Commander Searfoss.

On the day before the space flight, you will visit the XCOR hangar and watch a Lynx flight for yourself, along with some Lynx training, a final health check, and a walk-through of the flight profile and final brief on details with John Corbett and Commander Searfoss. Then, you’re fully prepared for your flight to the edge of space the next day! This package includes two first class tickets to Los Angeles and deluxe hotel accommodations.

Celebrity Fight Night is a star-studded evening presented in honor of our featured guest, Muhammad Ali. Celebrities and professional athletes from all over the country participate in a night filled with incredible live auction items and live musical performances by many of today’s brightest stars. This power-packed night of excitement not only leaves our audience with unforgettable memories each year but, more importantly, provides significant dollars for charities. Throughout Celebrity Fight Night’s 19-year history $87 million has been raised with the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute as a significant beneficiary. Numerous other charities have benefited and countless lives have been changed thanks to the tremendous generosity of our supporters.

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Brian Binnie Joins XCOR as Senior Test Pilot

Brian Binnie

Mojave, CA, April 3, 2014 (XCOR PR) – XCOR Aerospace announced today that celebrated aviator, test pilot, engineer and commercial astronaut Brian Binnie has joined the company as Senior Test Pilot.

As Senior Test Pilot, Binnie will be working with another celebrated pilot and astronaut, XCOR Chief Test Pilot and former Space Shuttle Pilot and Commander, US Air Force Colonel (Ret.) Richard (Rick) Searfoss.

“Brian and I have been friends and colleagues for many years and I have always wanted to work together in a flying environment,” noted Searfoss. “Combining our backgrounds as government and commercial astronauts and our broad experience across a number of rocket powered craft, I feel this builds on XCOR’s strong culture that emphasizes safety and professionalism.”


Lucky Big Bang Theory Fan Wins Trip into Space Aboard XCOR’s Lynx

Spaceflight winner Mercedes Becerra and XCOR Chief Test Pilot Rick Searfoss. (Credit: Warner Brothers)

SAN DIEGO and BURBANK, Calif., July 13, 2012 (WB PR) — In what will certainly go down as the ultimate Comic-Con giveaway, Warner Bros. Television awarded one lucky fan of The Big Bang Theory a truly out-of-this-world trip … INTO SPACE aboard XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx RLV (Reusable Launch Vehicle) at the show’s panel session in Hall H at Comic-Con: International San Diego today, Friday, July 13, 2012.

Mercedes Becerra of Paso Robles, Calif. was the lucky winner. The winning golden ticket was contained in a silver envelope that Becerra was given when she entered the conference room for a panel discussion about The Big Bang Theory.