NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has praised the late astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly II for his contributions to the Apollo Program and Space Shuttle Program, including his role in helping to save the crew of Apollo 13.

Mattingly died on Oct. 31 at the age of 87. He was scheduled to fly on Apollo 13 as command module pilot, but was removed from the crew just days before launch after exposure to German measles. He was replaced by Jack Swigert, who played a key role in helping the crew survive and return to Earth after an explosion crippled the spacecraft.

Mattingly also flew on Apollo 16 and three Space Shuttle missions. He was a highly skilled pilot and engineer, and was known for his calm demeanor and quick thinking under pressure.

In a statement, Nelson said that Mattingly was "one of our country's heroes" and that his "shining personality will ensure he is remembered throughout history."

"TK's contributions have allowed for advancements in our learning beyond that of space," Nelson said. "He viewed the universe's vastness as an unending forum of possibilities. As a leader in exploratory missions, TK will be remembered for braving the unknown for the sake of our country's future."

Mattingly's legacy is one of courage, innovation, and resilience. He was a true pioneer of space exploration, and his contributions will continue to inspire generations to come.