"For the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 missions, John Stonesifer oversaw required government quarantine procedures designed to protect the earth’s environment from the introduction of possible harmful pathogens from the lunar surface."
John Stonesifer, a native of Hanover, PA, graduated from the University of Miami in Florida. In the early 50s, he served four years in the U.S. Navy at the Fleet Weather Centers in Morocco and Miami, FL.
Following graduation from college, John entered service with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) at the Langley Research Center. When the NACA became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), he joined the Space Task Group whose goal was to place man into space and return him safely to earth. Stonesifer specialized in the development of equipment and procedures to ensure the safe recovery of astronauts following water landings for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab missions.
One of his primary responsibilities was training the worldwide Department of Defense recovery forces, including the Air Force units and the Navy ships assigned to support the space flights. Principle duties during a mission included the assessment of mission progress at the NASA Mission Control Center to assist DOD support forces in their recovery preparations or serving as the NASA representative aboard a recovery ship.
During his career in the Johnson Space Center recovery organization, he was the NASA Team Leader aboard more than 20 of the Primary Recovery ships for the space flights. For the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 missions, he oversaw required government quarantine procedures designed to protect the earth’s environment from the introduction of possible harmful pathogens from the lunar surface.
Following the above assignments, Stonesifer transferred to a bioengineering organization and led the activity in the design and development of the equipment for the conduct of the life sciences experiments and research aboard the Skylab spacecraft. This work led to similar life sciences research projects aboard Shuttle, Spacelab and the International Space Station.
During Stonesifer’s NASA career, his organizations received numerous awards and he received one of NASA’s highest awards, the Exceptional Service Medal, for his outstanding technical contributions to the Skylab program.