RUSSELL L. SCHWEICKART
Russell L. (Rusty) Schweickart is a retired business and government
executive and serves today as Chairman of the Board of the B612 Foundation.
organization, a non-profit private foundation, champions the
development and testing of a spaceflight concept to protect the Earth from
future asteroid impacts.
Schweickart retired from ALOHA Networks, Inc. in 1998 where he served as
President and CEO from 1996 through 1998. ALOHA was a data communications
company specializing in high performance, wireless internet access
Schweickart was formerly the Executive Vice President of CTA Commercial
Systems, Inc. and Director of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Systems. Schweickart led
CTAís efforts in developing the GEMnet system, a second generation LEO
communication satellite constellation designed to provide regular commercial
electronic messaging services on a global basis. Prior to his CTA work
Schweickart founded and was president of Courier Satellite Services, Inc., a
global satellite communications company which developed LEO satellites to
provide worldwide affordable data services.
Schweickart's satellite and telecommunications work involved him in the
development of international communications regulations and policies,
including participation in the 1992 and 1995 World Radiocommunications
Conferences (WRC) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). He
served at the 1995 WRC as a U.S. delegate. He also worked extensively in
Russia and the former Soviet Union on scientific and telecommunications
Schweickart is the founder and past president of the
of Space Explorers (ASE), the
international professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts. The
organization promotes the cooperative exploration and development of space
and the use of space technology for human benefit. The ASE has a current
membership of over 300 astronauts and cosmonauts from 29 nations. The
Association's first book, The Home Planet, with a preface by
Schweickart, was published simultaneously in 10 nations in the Fall of 1988
and was an immediate international best seller.
In 1987-88, Schweickart chaired the United States Antarctic Program
Safety Review Panel for the Director of the National Science Foundation
(NSF) in Washington, DC. The resulting report, Safety in Antarctica,
a comprehensive on-site review of all U.S. activities in Antarctica, led to
a restructuring of the program, increasing the safety of operations in that
hazardous environment. At the request of the National Science Foundation,
Schweickart also served on the 1997-1998 United States Antarctic Program
Outside Review Panel, which reported to the Whitehouse (OSTP) and Congress
on the future of US facilities in Antarctica. The USí Amundson-Scott South
Pole station has recently been fully rebuilt as a result of this work.
In 1977 Schweickart joined the staff of Governor Jerry Brown of
California, and served in the Governor's office for two years as his
assistant for science and technology. In 1979 Schweickart was appointed to
the post of Commissioner of Energy for the State of California and served on
the Commission for five and a half years. The Commission, which was chaired
by Schweickart for three and a half years, was responsible for all aspects
of energy regulation in the state other than rate setting, including energy
demand forecasting, alternative energy development, powerplant siting and
energy performance regulation for appliances and buildings.
Schweickart joined NASA as one of 14 astronauts named in October 1963,
the third group of astronauts selected. He served as lunar module pilot for
Apollo 9, March 3-13, 1969, logging 241 hours in space. This was the third
manned flight of the Apollo series and the first manned flight of the lunar
module. During a 46 minute EVA Schweickart tested the portable life support
backpack which was subsequently used on the lunar surface explorations. On
the mission with Schweickart were commander James A. McDivitt and command
module pilot David R. Scott.
Schweickart served as backup commander for the first Skylab mission
which flew in the Spring of 1973. Following the loss of the thermal shield
during the launch of the Skylab vehicle, he assumed responsibility for the
development of hardware and procedures associated with erecting the
emergency solar shade and deployment of the jammed solar array wing,
operations which transformed Skylab from an imminent disaster to a highly
After the Skylab program, Schweickart went to NASA Headquarters in
Washington, DC as Director of User Affairs in the Office of Applications. In
this position he was responsible for transferring NASA technology to the
outside world and working with technology users to bring an understanding of
their needs into NASA.
Prior to joining NASA, Schweickart was a research scientist at the
Experimental Astronomy Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT). His work at MIT involved research in upper atmospheric
physics, star tracking and the stabilization of stellar images. His thesis
for a master's degree at MIT was an experimental validation of theoretical
models of stratospheric radiance.
Schweickart served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force and the
Massachusetts Air National Guard from 1956 to 1963. He has logged over 4000
hours of flight time, including 3500 hours in high performance jet aircraft.
Schweickart was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1969) and
the Federation Aeronautique Internationale De La Vaux Medal (1970) for his
Apollo 9 flight. He also received the National Academy of Television Arts
and Sciences Special Trustees Award (Emmy) in 1969 for transmitting the
first live TV pictures from space. In 1973 Schweickart was awarded the NASA
Exceptional Service Medal for his leadership role in the Skylab rescue
He is a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society and the
International Academy of Astronautics, and an Associate Fellow of the
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Schweickart is an
Honorary Trustee and a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.
Schweickart was born on 25 October 1935 in Neptune, NJ. He is married to
of West Hartford, CT. He has seven children and eleven grandchildren. He
graduated from Manasquan High School, NJ; received his Bachelor of Science
degree in 1956 and his Master of Science degree in 1963, both from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His hobbies include golf, bicycling, and hiking.