Former Kennedy Space Center director dies
The associated Press | July 20,2012
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Forrest McCartney, a former director of Kennedy Space Center who was crucial in getting NASA’s shuttles flying again after the Challenger tragedy, has died. He was 81
McCartney died Tuesday at a hospice near Cape Canaveral.
McCartney took charge of Kennedy Space Center in the months following the 1986 Challenger launch accident. He served until 1991, three years after the resumption of shuttle flights.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement that McCartney was one of the finest of Kennedy’s 10 directors over the past half-century. McCartney was a nuclear engineer by training and served as commander of the Air Force Space Division in the early to mid-1980s.
“After 35 years of distinguished service in the Unites States Air Force, McCartney was named Kennedy Space Center director in 1987, only months after the fateful Challenger accident had shocked the nation and put the shuttle program on hiatus. McCartney’s visionary leadership resulted in the shuttle’s return-to-flight and a stellar safety record during his five-year tenure,” Bolden said.
In the 50-year history of Kennedy Space Center there have been only 10 directors.
“As an engineer, a patriot and a leader, McCartney leaves an indelible mark on America’s space program,” Bolden said, adding that his service to his country and to Kennedy earned him distinguished service medals from both the Air Force and NASA.