Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: NASA
Shapley, Willis H (1917-2005) American manager, served at NASA 1965-1975 and 1987-1988.

Willis H. Shapley , son of famous Harvard astronomer Harlow Shapley, earned a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1938. From that point until 1942, he did graduate work and performed research in political science and related fields at the latter institution. He joined the Bureau of the Budget in 1942 and became a principal examiner in 1948. From 1956-1961 he was assistant chief (Air Force) in the bureau's military division, becoming progressively deputy chief for programming (1961-1965) and deputy chief (1965) in that division. He also served as special assistant to the director for space program coordination. In 1965 he moved to NASA as associate deputy administrator, with his duties including supervision of the public affairs, congressional affairs, DOD and interagency affairs, and international affairs offices. He retired in 1975 but rejoined NASA in 1987 to help it recover from the Challenger disaster. He served as associate deputy administrator (policy) until 1988, when he again retired but continued to serve as a consultant to the administrator.

Born: 1917.03.02.
Died: 2005.10.24.

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  • Launius, Roger D, NASA Chief Historian, NASA History Office Home Page, Web Address when accessed: here.

Shapley Chronology

1966 December 19 - .
  • Plans for the Apollo Lunar Receiving laboratory - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shapley. Program: Apollo. A meeting at NASA Hq. discussed plans for the Lunar Receiving laboratory, noting that some problems were time-critical and needed immediate attention. Attending were Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Willis B. Shapley, George E. Mueller, Homer E. Newell, and Francis B. Smith, all of NASA Hq.; and Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low, and Wesley L. Hjornevik of MSC.

    The group agreed on the following interim actions:

    1. Continued efforts to develop clearer definition of tasks that should be initiated to ensure the LRL would be ready for operation in time to handle returned lunar samples.
    2. Creation of a task group at MSC to prepare for initial operation of the LRL. The task group would consist of MSC personnel plus a few new hires in critical skill areas.
    3. Extension of the existing MSC support contract to provide minimum LRL technical and engineering support needed during the next few months.
    4. Development of a clearer definition of the role and method of operation of the U.S. Public Health Officer to provide for more effective use of his recommendations for quarantine requirements.
    On December 21, Shapley informed Mueller and Newell that NASA Administrator James E. Webb and Deputy Administrator Seamans had approved the proposed actions.

2005 October 24 - .
  • Death of Willis H Shapley - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shapley. Summary: American manager, served at NASA 1965-1975 and 1987-1988..

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