National Space Society Governor Harrison Schmitt Biography

harrison schmitt biography portrait

Harrison Schmitt

National Space Society Board of Governors

Harrison Schmitt was presented the NSS Gerard K. O’Neill Memorial Award for Space Settlement Advocacy for his book Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space.

Harrison Schmitt has the diverse experience of a geologist, pilot, astronaut, administrator, businessman, writer, and United States Senator. He studied at Caltech, as a Fulbright Scholar at Oslo, and at Harvard, receiving his Ph.D. in geology in 1964 based on earlier field studies in Norway. Schmitt received Air Force jet pilot wings in 1965 and Navy helicopter wings in 1967.

Selected as the Scientist-Astronaut program in 1965, Schmitt organized the lunar science training for the Apollo Astronauts, managed much of the development of hardware and procedures for lunar surface exploration, and oversaw the final preparation of the Apollo Lunar Module Descent Stage. He was designated Mission Scientist in support of the Apollo 11 mission. After training as back-up lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 15, Schmitt served in the same capacity on Apollo 17 — the last Apollo mission to the Moon. In 1972, he landed in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow as the only scientist and the last of 12 men to step on the Moon.

In 1975, after two years managing NASA?s Energy Program Office, Schmitt fulfilled a long-standing personal commitment by entering politics in 1976. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1977 through 1982, representing his home state of New Mexico.

Dr. Schmitt consults, speaks, and writes on business, public, and governmental initiatives, particularly in the fields of space, risk, geology, energy, technology, and policy issues of the future. He also contributes non-fiction articles on space and the American Southwest to numerous books and magazines.

Schmitt served as Chair of NASA Advisory Council, which counsels the NASA administrator, from November 2005 until October 2008.

Schmitt serves as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as a research consultant with the Fusion Technology Institute, and as founder and Chairman of Interlune-Intermars Initiative, Inc.

Harrison Schmitt?s honors include 1973 Arthur S. Fleming Award, 1973 Distinguished Graduate of Caltech, 1973 Caltech Sherman Fairchild Scholar, NASA Distinguished Service Award, Fellow of the AIAA, Honorary Member of the Norwegian Geographical Society and Geological Society of Canada, 1989 Lovelace Award (space Biomedicine), 1989 G.K. Gilbert Award (planetology), 1996 Ohio State University Bownocker Lecturer, and Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America, American Institute of Mining, and Geological Society of London. Dr. Schmitt has also received several honorary degrees.