Born: 1905-09-08. Died: 1995-04-11. Birth Place: Enderlin, North Dakota.
Official NASA Biography
Thomas Keith Glennan was the first Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, formally established on October 1, 1958, under the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958.
While at NASA, Glennan was president-on-leave of the Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, Ohio, which he had headed since 1947 and returned to following his NASA experience.
Born in Enderlin, North Dakota, on September 8, 1905, Dr. Glennan earned a degree in electrical engineering from the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University in 1927. Following graduation, he became associated with the newly developed sound motion picture industry, and later became assistant general service superintendent for Electrical Research Products Company, a subsidiary of Western Electric Company. During his career he was studio manager of Paramount Pictures, Inc., and Samuel Goldwyn Studios, and was briefly on the staff of Vega Airplane Corporation.
Glennan joined the Columbia University Division of War Research in 1942, serving throughout World War II, first as Administrator and then as Director of the U.S. Navy's Underwater Sound Laboratories at New London, Connecticut.
At the end of the war, Dr. Glennan became an executive of the Ansco Corp., Binghamton, New York. From this position he was called to the presidency of Case. During his administration, Case rose from a primarily local institution to rank with the top engineering schools in the nation. From October 1950 to November 1952, concurrent with his Case presidency, he served as a member of the Atomic Energy Commission.
Dr. Glennan was also very active in national and civic affairs. He was chair of the board of the Institute for Defense Analysis, and served on the board of the National Science Foundation and the Council on Financial Aid to Education. In Cleveland he took an important part in many civic activities.
Glennan also became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and member of Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Phi, and Chi Phi. He was also awarded several honorary degrees of Doctor of Science.
As NASA Administrator, Glennan presided over an organization that had absorbed the earlier National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics intact; its 8,000 employees, an annual budget of $100 million, and three major research laboratories--Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, and Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory--and two small test facilities made up the core of the new NASA.
Within a short time after NASA's formal organization, Glennan incorporated several organizations involved in space exploration projects from other federal agencies into NASA to ensure that a viable scientific program of space exploration could be reasonably conducted over the long-term. He brought in part of the Naval Research Laboratory in NASA and created for its use the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. He also incorporated several disparate satellite programs, two lunar probes, and the important research effort to develop a million-pound-thrust, single-chamber rocket engine from the Air Force and the Department of Defense's (DOD) Advanced Research Projects Agency. In December 1958 Glennan also acquired control of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a contractor facility operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. In 1960 Dr. Glennan obtained the transfer to NASA of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), located at Huntsville, Alabama, and renamed it the Marshall Space Flight Center.
By mid-1960 Glennan had secured for NASA primacy in the Federal Government for the execution of all space activities except reconnaissance satellites, ballistic missiles, and a few other space-related projects, most of which were still in the study stage, that the DOD controlled.
Upon leaving NASA in January 1961, Dr. Glennan returned to the Case Institute of Technology, where he was continued to serve as president until 1966. During this period he helped to negotiate the merger of Case with Western Reserve University, creating Case Western Reserve University. After his retirement in 1966, Dr. Glennan spent two years as president of Associated Universities, Inc., a Washington-based advocate for institutions of higher learning.
A resident of Reston, Virginia, for twenty years after his retirement, he moved to Mitchellville, Maryland, in the late 1980s. He died at Collington Life Care Community in Mitchellville on April 11, 1995, after a stroke.
T. Keith Glennan, President of Case Institute of Technology, and Hugh L. Dryden, Director of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, were nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be Administrator and Deputy Administrator of NASA. The Senate confirmed their nominations one week later.
Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace II was appointed by NASA Headquarters as Chairman of a Special Committee on Life Sciences by T. Keith Glennan, the NASA Administrator. After prospective astronaut candidates were interviewed in Washington, D. C., those chosen for further consideration received medical examinations at the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Studies and plans of the manned satellite project were presented to Advanced Research Projects Agency on October 3 and to Dr. T. Keith Glennan, NASA Administrator, on October 7. On October 7, 1958, Dr. Glennan approved the project by saying, in effect, 'Let's get on with it.'
The Space Task Group (STG) was officially organized at Langley Field, Va., to implement the manned satellite project (later Project Mercury), NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan had approved the formation of the Group, which had been working together for some months, on October 7. Its members were designated on November 3 by Robert R. Gilruth, Project Manager, and authorization was given by Floyd L. Thompson, Acting Director of Langley Research Center. STG would report directly to NASA Headquarters.
Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker and NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan signed cooperative agreements concerning NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Army Ordnance Missile Command AOMC, and Department of the Army relationships. The agreement covering NASA utilization of the von Braun team made "the AOMC and its subordinate organizations immediately, directly, and continuously responsive to NASA requirements."
In a staff report of the House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration, Wernher von Braun of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency predicted manned circumlunar flight within the next eight to ten years and a manned lunar landing and return mission a few years thereafter. Administrator T. Keith Glennan, Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden, Abe Silverstein, John P. Hagen, and Homer E. Newell, all of NASA, also foresaw manned circumlunar flight within the decade as well as instrumented probes soft-landed on the moon. Roy K. Knutson, Chairman of the Corporate Space Committee, NAA, projected a manned lunar landing expedition for the early 1970's with extensive unmanned instrumented soft lunar landings during the last half of the 1960's.
The Source Selection Board at NASA Headquarters composed of Abe Silverstein, Ralph Cushman, George Low, Walter Schier, DeMarquis Wyatt, and Charles Zimmerman, completed their findings and reported to Dr. T. Keith Glennan, the Administrator. McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was selected as the prime contractor to develop and produce the Mercury spacecraft.
The ARPA-NASA Booster Evaluation Committee appointed by Herbert F. York, DOD Director of Defense Research and Engineering, April 15, 1959, convened to review plans for advanced launch vehicles. A comparison of the Saturn (C-1) and the Titan-C boosters showed that the Saturn, with its substantially greater payload capacity, would be ready at least one year sooner than the Titan-C. In addition, the cost estimates on the Titan-C proved to be unrealistic. On the basis of the Advanced Research Projects Agency presentation, York agreed to continue the Saturn program but, following the meeting, began negotiations with NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan to transfer the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (and, therefore, Saturn ) to NASA.
The initial plan for transferring the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Saturn to NASA was drafted. It was submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower on December 1 1 and was signed by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker and Secretary of the Air Force James H. Douglas on December 16 and by NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan on December 17.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower directed NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan "to make a study, to be completed at the earliest date practicable, of the possible need for additional funds for the balance of FY 1960 and for FY 1961 to accelerate the super booster program for which your agency recently was given technical and management responsibility."
In testimony before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, Richard E. Horner, Associate Administrator of NASA, presented NASA's ten-year plan for 1960-1970. The essential elements had been recommended by the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight. NASA's Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, headed by Homer J. Stewart, formalized the ten-year plan.
On February 19, NASA officials again presented the ten-year timetable to the House Committee. A lunar soft landing with a mobile vehicle had been added for 1965. On March 28, NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan described the plan to the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. He estimated the cost of the program to be more than $1 billion in Fiscal Year 1962 and at least $1.5 billion annually over the next five years, for a total cost of $12 to $15 billion. Additional Details: here....
NASA Director of Space Flight Programs Abe Silverstein notified Harry J. Goett, Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, that NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan had approved the name "Apollo" for the advanced manned space flight program. The program would be so designated at the forthcoming NASA-Industry Program Plans Conference.
NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan directed that an accelerated joint planning effort be made by persons at NASA Headquarters who were most familiar with the Saturn, Apollo, manned orbital laboratory, and unmanned lunar and planetary programs. They were to determine whether the Saturn and Saturn-use programs were effectively integrated and whether sufficient design study and program development work had been done to support decisions on projected Saturn configurations. Additional Details: here....