Kennedy Biographies

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James F. Harrington, III
Shuttle Launch Director


James F. Harrington, III, became Shuttle Launch Director, Kennedy Space Center, effective January 22, 1995.

Harrington served as Director, Safety and Reliability for KSC, since February 1994. He was responsible for the management and direction of the safety and reliability program at KSC.

Harrington joined the NASA team in 1966 as Senior Test Supervisor on Apollo 6, 9, 12, and 15. He served as operations chief for the Atlas Centaur expendable launch vehicle from 1972-1976. Harrington has served in a variety of positions involved with testing and preparing Space Shuttles for launch including: Senior Test Conductor for the Orbiter Processing Branch; Vehicle Manager, STS-1; Branch Chief, Orbiter/ET Processing; and Ground Operations Manager, STS-1 through 6. He also served as Panel Chairman for Operations on the Shuttle Processing Contract Source Evaluation Board. Following the SEB assignment, Harrington served as Flow Director for STS-9 (Columbia), STS-8 through 51L (Challenger), and STS-51C (Discovery). In this capacity, he was responsible for management of all activities, both government and contractor, associated with processing and launch of the assigned missions.

Harrington was appointed Deputy Director, Shuttle Operations, in 1986 and Director in July 1988. He moved from the Shuttle Operations Directorate in February 1994, where as director he was responsible for the operational management and technical direction of all prelaunch, launch, landing, and recovery operations for KSC Space Shuttle vehicles.

Prior to joining NASA, Harrington spent 8 years as Senior Flight Test Engineer for General Dynamics Astronautics at Cape Canaveral on the Mercury-Atlas launch team, as well as a stint with Grumman as test conductor for the Lunar Module.

Harrington received Certificates of Commendation in 1970 as lead test supervisor, Apollo, and again in 1982 on the STS-3 White Sands, New Mexico, landing turnaround. He Is the recipient of three Exceptional Service Awards: in 1971, for his notable contributions to the success of the Apollo 15 mission; in 1981, for STS-1; and again, in 1989, for his contributions to the successful return to flight with the launch of STS-26. As Director, Shuttle Operations, he was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Medal in June 1990. Harrington received a Silver Snoopy award in March 1994.

Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, Harrington graduated from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, in 1957, where he earned a bachelors degree in electrical engineering.

Harrington and his wife, Jean, reside in Melbourne, Florida, and have two grown children, Kristin and James.

January 1997

Biograhies - Current Employees