Press Release for Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Space historian to discuss shuttle problems

One of the country’s most respected space historians will be on the University of North Florida campus this month to discuss the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and the recent federal task force report on the accident.


Roger Launius, who is a member of the space history division at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, will discuss, “After the Shuttle: How We Got in This Fix and How We Can Get Out of It.”

The lecture is Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the UNF University Center. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Launius, who previously was the chief historian for NASA, was born in Galesburg, Ill. and grew up in Greenville, S.C. He graduated from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, and earned his master’s and doctorate from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.

He then became a civilian staff historian with the Air Force and served in a variety of historian positions until becoming the chief historian for the Military Airlift Command outside St. Louis in 1987. He joined NASA in 1990.

His most recent book, “Space Stations, Base Camps to the Stars,” was published in June.

In addition to his numerous books and articles, Launius is a member of the governing councils of several historical associations. He is a member of the American Astronautical Society, where he is the vice president for publications and the editor of Space Times, the society’s magazine.

His lecture is part of the UNF Distinguished Voices Lecture Series.