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Former Center Director - Isaac T. Gillam IV

Isaac T. Gillam IV

Former Armstrong Center Director

Isaac T. Gillam IV was director of Dryden (now Armstrong) Flight Research Center, NASA’s major field center for the flight testing of high speed aircraft and experimental vehicles in Edwards, California.

Appointed director in June 1978, he served previously as acting director from November 1977. Prior to that he was deputy director of the center.

In 1976, Gillam was appointed director of Shuttle Operations at Dryden and served in that position during the approach and landing tests of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

STS-1 Dryden Staff Gives the Shuttle Columbia a Humorous Sendoff
After completing its first orbital mission with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base on April 14, 1981, Space Shuttle Columbia received a humorous sendoff before its ferry flight atop a modified 747 back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Holding the sign are, left to right: Melvin Burke, DFRC Orbital Flight Test (OFT) Program Manager; Isaac ‘Ike’ Gillam, DFRC Center Director; Fitzhugh ‘Fitz’ L. Fulton Jr., NASA DFRC 747 SCA Pilot; and Donald K. ‘Deke’ Slayton, JSC OFT Project Manager.

He first joined NASA in 1963 as a resources management specialist. In 1966, he was appointed assistant program manager for the Delta Launch Vehicle Program and in 1968, he became Delta program manager. In 1973, he was appointed program manager, Small Launch Vehicles, and International Projects, which included the Delta and Scout Launch Vehicles and numerous international cooperative and reimbursable projects with the European Space Agency, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, etc.

Gillam graduated from Howard University Washington in 1953. He was presented a 1981 Alumni Award from Howard University for his post-graduate achievements in the fields of Space Science and Engineering. Upon graduation from Howard University in 1953, Gillam was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as a pilot. During his 10 years of service in the Air Force, he served as a Missile Launch Crew Commander for the Strategic Air Command and as an Assistant Professor of Air Science in the Air Force ROTC program at the Tennessee State University, where he pursued graduate studies.

Gillam is a fellow of the American Astronautical Society, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a member of the Air Force Association, the National Defense Preparedness Association, and the American Management Association. Among numerous other awards, he has received NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, for his work on the Launch Vehicle Program.