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  Deputy Admin. Robert Seamans (1918-2008)

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Author Topic:   Deputy Admin. Robert Seamans (1918-2008)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-30-2008 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dr. Robert Seamans, NASA deputy administrator from 1965 to 1968, died Saturday of heart failure in his home in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin issued a brief statement:

Robert Seamans was one of the early leaders in launching NASA's efforts to explore the new frontier of space. As NASA's associate administrator and then deputy administrator, Bob, as a top manager and consummate engineer, was instrumental in the decision making, planning and program execution that enabled the United States to meet President Kennedy's goal of landing men on the moon. He will be remembered as one of the great pioneers and leaders of America's space program.
The following was prepared by NASA's History Office prior to his passing:
Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., was born on October 30, 1918, in Salem, Massachusetts. He attended Lenox School, Lenox, Massachusetts; earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering at Harvard University in 1939; a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1942; and a Doctor of Science degree in Instrumentation from MIT in 1951. Dr. Seamans also received the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Science from Rollins College (1962) and from New York University (1967); Doctor of Engineering from Norwich Academy (1971), from Notre Dame (1974), and from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1974.

From 1941 to 1955 he held teaching and project positions at MIT during which time he worked on aeronautical problems, including instrumentation and control of airplanes and missiles. Positions that he held at MIT included: Instructor (1941-1945), Assistant Professor (1945-1950), and Associate Professor (1950-1955), Department of Aeronautical Engineering; Project Engineer, Instrumentation Laboratory; Chief Engineer, Project Meteor; and Director, Flight Control Laboratory.

Dr. Seamans joined the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1955 as Manager of the Airborne Systems Laboratory and Chief Systems Engineer of the Airborne Systems Department. In 1958, he became Chief Engineer of the Missile Electronics and Controls Division at RCA in Burlington, Massachusetts.

From 1948 to 1958, Dr. Seamans also served on technical committees of NASA's predecessor organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. He served as a consultant to the Scientific Advisory Board of the United States Air Force from 1957 to 1959, as a Member of the Board from 1959 to 1962, and as an Associate Advisor from 1962 to 1967. He was a National Delegate, Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (NATO) from 1966 to 1969.

In 1960, Dr. Seamans joined NASA as Associate Administrator. In 1965, he became Deputy Administrator, retaining many of the general management-type responsibilities of the Associate Administrator and also serving as Acting Administrator. During his years at NASA he worked closely with the Department of Defense in research and engineering programs and served as Co-chairman of the Astronautics Coordinating Board. Through these associations, NASA was kept aware of military developments and technical needs of the Department of Defense and Dr. Seamans was able to advise that agency of NASA activities which had application to national security.

In January 1968 he resigned from NASA to become a visiting professor at MIT and in July 1968 was appointed to the Jerome Clarke Hunsaker professorship, an MIT-endowed visiting professorship in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, named in honor of the founder of the Aeronautical Engineering Department. During this period with MIT, he was also a consultant to the Administrator of NASA.

In 1969 he became secretary of the United States Air Force, serving until 1973. Dr. Seamans was also president of the National Academy of Engineering from May 1973 to December 1974, when he became the first administrator of the new Energy Research and Development Administration. He returned to MIT in 1977, becoming dean of its School of Engineering in 1978. In 1981 he was elected chair of the board of trustees of Aerospace Corp.

Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., was born on October 30, 1918, in Salem, Massachusetts. He attended Lenox School, Lenox, Massachusetts; earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering at Harvard University in 1939; a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1942; and a Doctor of Science degree in Instrumentation from MIT in 1951. Dr. Seamans also received the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Science from Rollins College (1962) and from New York University (1967); Doctor of Engineering from Norwich Academy (1971), from Notre Dame (1974), and from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1974.

From 1941 to 1955 he held teaching and project positions at MIT during which time he worked on aeronautical problems, including instrumentation and control of airplanes and missiles. Positions that he held at MIT included: Instructor (1941-1945), Assistant Professor (1945-1950), and Associate Professor (1950-1955), Department of Aeronautical Engineering; Project Engineer, Instrumentation Laboratory; Chief Engineer, Project Meteor; and Director, Flight Control Laboratory.

Dr. Seamans joined the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1955 as Manager of the Airborne Systems Laboratory and Chief Systems Engineer of the Airborne Systems Department. In 1958, he became Chief Engineer of the Missile Electronics and Controls Division at RCA in Burlington, Massachusetts.

From 1948 to 1958, Dr. Seamans also served on technical committees of NASA's predecessor organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. He served as a consultant to the Scientific Advisory Board of the United States Air Force from 1957 to 1959, as a Member of the Board from 1959 to 1962, and as an Associate Advisor from 1962 to 1967. He was a National Delegate, Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (NATO) from 1966 to 1969.

In 1960, Dr. Seamans joined NASA as Associate Administrator. In 1965, he became Deputy Administrator, retaining many of the general management-type responsibilities of the Associate Administrator and also serving as Acting Administrator. During his years at NASA he worked closely with the Department of Defense in research and engineering programs and served as Co-chairman of the Astronautics Coordinating Board. Through these associations, NASA was kept aware of military developments and technical needs of the Department of Defense and Dr. Seamans was able to advise that agency of NASA activities which had application to national security.

In January 1968 he resigned from NASA to become a visiting professor at MIT and in July 1968 was appointed to the Jerome Clarke Hunsaker professorship, an MIT-endowed visiting professorship in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, named in honor of the founder of the Aeronautical Engineering Department. During this period with MIT, he was also a consultant to the Administrator of NASA.

In 1969 he became secretary of the United States Air Force, serving until 1973. Dr. Seamans was also president of the National Academy of Engineering from May 1973 to December 1974, when he became the first administrator of the new Energy Research and Development Administration. He returned to MIT in 1977, becoming dean of its School of Engineering in 1978. In 1981 he was elected chair of the board of trustees of Aerospace Corp.

Dr. Seamans and his wife, Eugenia A. Merrill, have five children: Katherine Padulo; Robert C. III; Joseph; May Baldwin; and Daniel; and twelve grandchildren.

For further information on Seamans, see his autobiography, Aiming at Targets (NASA SP-4106, 1996) and his monograph Project Apollo: The Tough Decisions (NASA SP-2005-4537).

A moment of silence can be signified by an entry with no words and only a period.

Delta7
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posted 06-30-2008 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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kr4mula
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posted 06-30-2008 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Larry McGlynn
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posted 06-30-2008 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dr. Seamans was a major friend of MIT and the USS Constitution Museum. I had the chance to meet him several times in the course of my work at school and at the museum. He was a wonderful gentleman to talk with about NASA history.

He was the definition of someone who made history. He talked many times of being in the meetings with President Kennedy and James Webb during the formation of the policy that eventually placed an American on the Moon.

Dr. Seamans will be missed.

------------------
Larry McGlynn
A Tribute to Apollo
www.apollotribute.blogspot.com

NavySpaceFan
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posted 06-30-2008 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Moonmichael
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posted 06-30-2008 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonmichael   Click Here to Email Moonmichael     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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ea757grrl
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posted 06-30-2008 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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GoesTo11
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posted 06-30-2008 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sad to hear. Dr. Seamans struck me as that very rare individual who was both a man of vision and imagination, yet also adept at moving bureaucracy. A Dreamer and a Doer at once.

Drives home yet again that we're losing the people who made the whole adventure happen, and losing them at a heartbreaking rate.

Kevin

FFrench
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posted 06-30-2008 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very sad news to hear. Seamans was a vitally important part of NASA's golden age... if you look at many of the major risky-but-correct decisions, Seamans was either the guy behind them or the one who listened to others enough to choose the right position. Like Gilruth, one of those guys behind the scenes, but who really made things work far more than the more famous faces.

Never met him, but have to say he was an extremely generous and accomodating guy. I wrote to him as a teenager asking him all kinds of questions, which he was kind enough to reply to, and in his replies he mentioned that he was working on his autobiography, "Aiming at Targets." Years later, out of the blue, I received a signed and personalized copy from him in the mail as a gift. An extremely kind gesture.


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cddfspace
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posted 06-30-2008 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cddfspace   Click Here to Email cddfspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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sts205cdr
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posted 06-30-2008 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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randy
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posted 06-30-2008 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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gliderpilotuk
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posted 06-30-2008 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Dave Clow
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posted 06-30-2008 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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ColinBurgess
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posted 06-30-2008 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Vale, Dr. Seamans, and thank you for all that you did. A productive life well lived.

dss65
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posted 06-30-2008 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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spaceman1953
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posted 06-30-2008 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed, Dr. Seamans, many thanks for all you did.

Gene

cspg
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posted 06-30-2008 11:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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KSCartist
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posted 07-01-2008 06:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Moonwalker1954
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Rick Mulheirn
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E2M Lem Man
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J.M. Busby

Dave Clow
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posted 07-01-2008 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dr. Seamans happened to live in the same area where I grew up watching the space race on TV. About a year ago I found a copy of Aiming at Targets and asked him to sign it for me. It must be among the last ones he was able to sign, and the inscription is long, personal and inspiring. RIP and thanks.

Jurg Bolli
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posted 07-01-2008 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Same here, he was very generous to me when I asked him to sign his book for me.
My thoughts are with his family.
Jurg

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-01-2008 10:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Washington Post:
Robert Seamans Jr., 89; Scientist Led Push for Manned Space Flights
Dr. Seamans was an early authority on guidance and flight controls for missiles and spacecraft and held top managerial positions in academia, industry and government. He rose to national prominence in the mid-1960s as NASA's deputy administrator -- the No. 2 position -- and championed the call for manned space flight.

In 1965, Dr. Seamans became NASA deputy administrator. During the next three years, he worked to commit physicists and others in the space community to the concept of manned space flight and a lunar landing.

ApolloAlex
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posted 07-02-2008 03:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ApolloAlex   Click Here to Email ApolloAlex     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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FFrench
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posted 07-02-2008 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From a NASA contact, in case anyone wishes to do anything in his memory:

"The notice in the Boston Globe includes an electronic guestbook one may sign. It also mentions a charity, We Care About Homes, in Beverly, MA that is accepting donations in his memory; I think one of his children was very active in this affordable housing group."

Frederic Janik
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APG85
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ejectr
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eurospace
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