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Astronauts | Administration | Directors and Project Managers | Further Biographical Information
Vance D. Brand commanded the first fully operational Space Shuttle mission, STS-5, which launched on November 11, 1982. This flight was the last to carry the Development Flight Instrumentation package, and also carried various scientific and student experiments.
Robert L. Crippen piloted the STS-1 mission. After piloting the maiden voyage of Columbia, he later commanded several other Shuttle missions. He became Director of the Kennedy Space Center in 1992. From 1996 to 2001, Crippen served as president of the Thiokol Propulsion Group, which produces reusable solid rocket motors for the Shuttle.
Joe H. Engle served as the backup commander for STS-1 and then as the commander of Columbia for STS-2. He also participated in the Approach and Landing Test program for the Shuttle in the years before STS-1.
Richard H. Truly was the backup pilot for STS-1. Truly‚s first space flight aboard Columbia was with Engle during STS-2. Before the Shuttle program, he served as capsule communicator for all three Skylab missions and for the Apollo-Soyuz mission. He later became NASA‚s Administrator from 1989 to 1992.
John W. Young was the commander for STS-1. His experience operating Columbia marked the fourth type of spacecraft he piloted, and he has twice visited the Moon. He was the first person to fly in space six times from Earth. Young‚s first flight was also the first piloted Gemini mission, Gemini 3, in 1965.
Astronauts | Administration | Directors and Project Managers | Further Biographical Information
James C. Fletcher served as Administrator from 1971 to 1977, and during his time at NASA, President Nixon decided that the agency would build the Space Shuttle. He filled this position again from 1986 to 1989, after the Challenger accident. A key proponent of the increase in Shuttle safety mechanisms and methods, Fletcher headed NASA when the agency returned to flight on September 29, 1988.
As the Administrator of NASA from 1977 to January 1981, Robert Frosch oversaw the initial testing of the first orbiter, Enterprise, in 1977.
George M. Low served as Deputy Administrator of NASA from 1969 until 1976. Serving under Thomas O. Paine and James C. Fletcher, he contributed to the development of the Space Shuttle program. Low previously served as Chief of Manned Space Flight, where he was instrumental in the early Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo human spaceflight programs.
Hans Mark served as Deputy Administrator from 1981 to 1984, during the early Shuttle missions. Until the Challenger accident, he was instrumental in making sure that Pentagon payloads flew on the Shuttle. Previously, Mark was the director of the NASA Ames Research Center from 1969 to 1977. From 1977 to 1979, he served as the Undersecretary of the Air Force and the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office. In 1979, he became Secretary of the Air Force and served in this post until 1981.
Dale D. Myers served as Vice President and Program Manager for the Space Shuttle Program at Rockwell International Corporation from 1969 to 1970. Myers also served as NASA‚s Deputy Administrator from 1986 to 1989.
During an exciting part of NASA‚s human space exploration history, Thomas O. Paine was Administrator. From 1969 to 1970, he led NASA through the first seven Apollo missions. Under Paine, 20 astronauts orbited the Earth, 14 landed on the Moon, and 4 walked on the Moon‚s surface.
Milton A. Silveira worked as the assistant to the Deputy Administrator from 1981 to 1983. He went on to become Chief Engineer of NASA from 1983 to 1986.
James R. Thompson was Deputy Administrator from 1989 to 1991. In 1974, he was named manager of the Main Engine Projects Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center, a position he held from the beginning of early development testing on the Shuttle main engine through the initial Shuttle flights. Thompson was responsible for the development and operation of the most advanced liquid propulsion rocket engine ever developed. Previously, Thompson worked as an engineer on the Saturn launch vehicle at NASA‚s Marshall Space Flight Center in the 1960s. He later served as the project manager for the Space Shuttle Main Engine. Then, in 1986, he became the director of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
As NASA‚s Associate Administrator for Space Flight from 1974 to 1981, John F. Yardley was responsible for the development of the Space Shuttle program. He also oversaw the progress of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and Spacelab. Upon Yardley‚s death in 2001, Young said, "A leader in the design and development of the early Mercury and Gemini spacecraft as well as today's Space Shuttle system, John Yardley made significant contributions to the program every step of the way. His vision, talent, and dedication helped ensure that our spacecraft would be safe and that our missions would be successful."
Astronauts | Administration | Directors and Project Managers | Further Biographical Information
Directors and Project Managers:
LeRoy E. Day was named head of the Space Shuttle Task Group in April 1969. In December 1970, he became the Deputy Director of the Shuttle Program, and he later became the Director for Space Transportation System Engineering and Integration. Day began his NASA career as the Acting Deputy Director of the Gemini Program in 1962.
Charles J. Donlan became the Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight (Technical) in 1968. In November 1970, he also took on the role of Acting Director of the Space Shuttle Program, a position which he held until 1973. He retired from NASA in 1976 to study military uses for the shuttle as a consultant for the Institute for Defense Analyses.
Maxime A. Faget played a major role in designing virtually every U.S.-crewed spacecraft since Project Mercury, including the Space Shuttle. An early employee of NASA, Faget became a member of the Space Task Group in 1958. He became the Assistant Director for Engineering and Development in 1962, and he later served as the director of that office.
Chester M. Lee was the Director of Space Transportation System Operations from 1975 to 1980. Among other tasks, he was responsible for calculating the estimated cost of the Shuttle launch and updating the Shuttle manifest. Lee successively held positions as Director of Space Transportation Systems Utilization, head of the Shuttle‚s Customer Service Division, and Assistant Associate Administrator of the Office of Space Flight before retiring from NASA in 1987.
As the first Director for the Shuttle Program, Myron Malkin guided the production of the Space Shuttle from 1973 to 1980.
As the Associate Administrator for the Office of Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters from 1963 to 1969, George E. Mueller was responsible for overseeing the completion of Project Apollo and for beginning the development of the Space Shuttle. He left NASA to become the vice president of General Dynamics Corporation in 1969 and remained there until 1971. He then served as president of the Systems Development Corporation from 1971 to 1980 and as chairman and CEO from 1981 to 1983.
Robert F. Thompson opened the Shuttle Program Office in 1970, an office he worked in until June 1981. While serving as Shuttle Project Manager at the Johnson Space Center, Thompson oversaw the development and launch of Columbia. He started his career with NACA in 1947, and was an early member of the Space Task Group in 1959.
By Julia Sawyer
Further Biographical Information:
This Johnson Space Center page contains extensive biographical information on all NASA astronauts and astronaut candidates.
This NASA History Division website includes biographies for NASA administrators, deputy administrators, key personnel, and other men and women important to the space program.
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