Memorial Spaceflights

Douglas Arthur Perrenod

1947 - 2022

Lt. Col Douglas Arthur Perrenod, USAF (Ret)

September 13, 1947 – January 25, 2022

Douglas Arthur Perrenod, of Penn Valley, California, died on January 25, 2022. He was born in Weehawken, N.J., on September 13, 1947, to George E. Perrenod, Sr. and Eunice L. (Nee Cohn) Perrenod, also of Penn Valley.  In addition to his parents, Douglas was preceded in death by his brothers Richard W. and Brian E. He is survived by his brothers George E. Perrenod Jr., Clifford C. Perrenod, Scott W. Perrenod, and his sister Judith (nee Perrenod) Soliz. He is also survived by his loving 13 nephews and nieces, plus many great-nieces and nephews. 

He was a graduate of Northern Valley Regional High School, Old Tappan, NJ, in 1966 and a graduate of the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Engineering. In addition, he attended the California Institute of Technology.

Douglas was passionate about everything he wanted to do and achieved much of it. Among them were his passion for learning to fly from an early age and his participation in the U.S. Space Program. A veteran of NASA and the Apollo Program, Douglas was a launch team member of every U.S. Manned Mission to the Moon and was recognized by NASA during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 mission, which successfully landed the first men on the moon. After the Apollo program, Douglas worked in the US. Shuttle program, where he was a key designer on the small orbit maneuvering engines and planned spacewalk activities for the astronaut crews in orbit. 

In addition to his work on the space program, he was passionate about high-altitude record flying. As a key member of The Perlan Project, he was instrumental in the project, achieving a record altitude for gliders in 2016. Doug was a retired United States Air Force Lt. Colonel living in north central California after more than twenty-six years of both active and reserve duty. Doug started flying when he was in eighth grade. He had a Commercial Pilot's license for airplanes, seaplanes, gliders, hot-air balloons, and ratings for multi- and single-engine airplanes. As a Certified Flight Instructor, he trained pilots in both gliders and hot-air balloons. He was also a member of the Experimental Test Pilots Association. One of his glider students was Gene Roddenberry, creator of the television and movie series Star Trek.  In the 1980s, Doug was a pilot and project engineer of the Flight Level 500 (FL500) High Altitude Soaring Project and, as such, pioneered the use of full-pressure suits for primary life support while flying a glider with an unpressurized cockpit to extreme altitudes. Their mission was to soar to a world altitude record of 50,000 feet. As an FL500 pilot, Doug obtained and still holds the Nevada State Soaring Records in a multi-place glider for an absolute altitude of 37,200 feet and altitude gain of 29,200 feet. To this day, this record has not been broken.

Douglas will be interred at San Joaquin National Valley Cemetery, near his parents, with full military honors at a future date. A small portion of his cremains will be launched into interplanetary space aboard the Celestis Enterprise flight later this year, where he will remain forever.

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