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The NASA insignia. A blue circle with the word NASA in white across the blue circle. There is also a red vector across the blue circle.

Dotty Ellingson

Public Affairs, U.S. Air Force

Dorothy “Dotty” Ellingson-Gallagher’s career in Air Force public affairs began in 1962 just as the human space flight program was getting underway and continued through Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the early Space Shuttle Program.

A familiar face at the gate to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, she was the person who badged the news media to the final Mercury launches, Gemini and Apollo 7. Despite the fact they were considered NASA launches, they were on Air Force property and it was the Air Force that controlled access.

When launches moved to the NASA property, she provided Air Force and Department of Defense support to those news operations. She was involved with support of the Apollo lunar missions, Skylab program, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project as well as the first 25 space shuttle missions.

Although accreditation and badging brought the media direct contact with Ellingson-Gallagher, most of her work involved her jobs as press site manager for Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and audio/visual representative. She was the one news media called when they wanted to visit the various facilities on the cape, and she was the one who arranged transportation and escorted them to proper location. Writing news releases and primarily historic pieces for the Patrick Air Force Base house organ, The Missileer, occupied spare moments as well.

Making sure the press sites were maintained and ready for frequent launches was a constant chore. But this turned into a four year effort to rebuild Press Site 1 as the years and ocean air ravaged the well used site. Her efforts on preparing requirements and advocacy resulted in a complete re-do after she retired which provided facilities for a whole new generation of news people.

Ellingson-Gallagher actually began her career in aerospace right out of high school as a secretary for the Air Force Materiel Command’s liaison office at NACA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia from 1946 to 1948. She also worked briefly for the Federal Government in Michigan as a fiscal accounting clerk for the Public Housing Administration before moving to Florida.

She retired in March 1988 after more than 29 years of government service. Since retirement, she and her husband, Hubert Gallagher, have continued their interest in travel, visiting 134 countries on seven continents.