Lachlan "Mac" Macleay (born June 13, 1931) is a retired colonel in the United States Air Force and a former USAF astronaut. Although he trained for the USAF Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL), the program was cancelled before any of the MOL crews reached space.[1]

Macleay was born in Saint Louis, Missouri and graduated in 1954 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Although a USNA graduate, he chose to begin his career in the United States Air Force. In 1970, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern California.[2]

Macleay was a flight instructor in the F-86D at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.[2] He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School in class 60A, Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) Class IV, and MOL.[3] In 1965, Macleay was selected as one of the first astronauts to the Air Force's classified Manned Orbital Laboratory.[2] The MOL program, canceled in 1969 before sending any astronauts into space, was to man a military space station with Air Force astronauts using a modified Gemini spacecraft.[4]

Macleay continued flying for the Air Force and served a combat tour as commander of the 23d Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS) at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. The 23d TASS, flying the OV-10 Bronco under the callsign Nail, served as forward air controllers directing air strikes against enemy troops.[5]

Macleay retired from the Air Force on May 1, 1978 and joined Hughes Aircraft in Tucson, Arizona where he worked on a series of missile systems. He currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[2]

The history of the MOL program was presented in the Public Television series NOVA episode called Astrospies which aired February 12, 2008.[6] Several of the MOL astronauts, including Lachlan Macleay, were interviewed for this documentary.[7]


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