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Reagan Picks Ex-NASA Chief to Head Commission : Aggressive Civilian Space Effort Planned

March 30, 1985|RUDY ABRAMSON | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — President Reagan on Friday named Thomas O. Paine, a former administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and longtime aerospace executive, to head a new National Commission on Space that "will devise an aggressive civilian space agenda to carry America into the 21st Century."

The 13-member commission, created last year by an act of Congress, will include also the first man to set foot on the moon, the first pilot to fly through the sound barrier and the first American woman to walk in space.

Reagan announced his appointments at a lunch meeting of the National Space Club, which awarded him the Robert Goddard Memorial Trophy for his "leadership and vision" in establishing goals for the U.S. program and for advancing the cause of space travel and astronautics.

'The Brightest Minds'

The meeting was attended by hundreds of aerospace executives who have long advocated a far-ranging assessment of U.S. space goals now that the space shuttle system has been made operational as the key element of the country's space transportation system.

Announcing the commission membership, Reagan told them that the new panel will call upon "the brightest minds in and out of the space community" and will "develop a set of civilian space goals to ensure America is ready for tomorrow."

For his own part, Reagan predicted that the space station development launched by his Administration will become "an outstanding area of cooperation between the free peoples of this planet" and a boon to commercial enterprise.

First Moon Landings

Paine, who will head the new commission on the civilian space program, was NASA administrator from 1968 to 1970, the period that saw the first U.S. landings on the moon. He was later president and chief operating officer of the Northrop Corp. and is now a private consultant in Los Angeles.

Among those named to the commission along with Paine were Luis W. Alvarez, a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley; Neil A. Armstrong, who commanded the historic Apollo 11 flight to the moon in 1969; Paul J. Coleman, a professor of geophysics and space at UCLA and assistant director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Kathryn D. Sullivan, a NASA astronaut who was the first American woman to walk in space, and Charles Yeager, the first pilot to fly through the sound barrier.

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