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Portrait of Dr. Harry J. Goett

Harry J. Goett

Goddard Space Flight Center Director (1959–1965)

Dr. Harry J. Goett, was the Goddard Center’s first director, 1959–1965. When Goett was named as Director of the new facility, it was still under construction. During his tenure as Director, some 35 Goddard satellite projects, carrying over 100 scientific experiments, were successfully placed into orbit.

Dr. Goett was born in 1910 and passed away in January 2000. Goett earned a degree in physics from Holy Cross College in 1931 and another in aeronautical engineering from NYU in 1933. After holding a number of engineering posts with private firms, he became a project engineer at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in 1936. He later moved to Ames Aeronautical Laboratory and was chief of the Full-scale and Flight Research Division from 1948 to 1959. Following his directorship at Goddard he became a special assistant to NASA Administrator James E. Webb. Later he was director for plans and programs at Philco’s Western Development Labs in California. A position with Ford Aerospace and Communications ended with his retirement.