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Portrait of Thomas Jack Lee

Thomas Jack Lee

Former Director, Marshall Space Flight Center (1989–1994)

Prior to his appointment as Director of the Marshall Center, Jack Lee had been Marshall’s deputy director since December 1980, after seven years as manager of the Spacelab program at the Center. From July to September 1986, he also served as acting director of the Center.

In addition to his responsibilities as deputy director, Lee served as manager of the Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Definition Office, which was NASA’s effort to define and develop a heavy lift launch vehicle capable of meeting national requirements.

Portrait of Thomas J. Lee
Marshall’s sixth Center Director Thomas J. Lee touring the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC). The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) saw its launch into orbit under the leadership of Dr. Lee’s administration.

Lee began his professional career in 1958 as an aeronautical research engineer with the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency at the Redstone Arsenal. He transferred to the Marshall Center when it was formed in 1960 as a systems engineer with the Center’s Centaur Resident Manager Office located in San Diego. From 1963 to 1965, he was Resident Project Manager for the Pegasus Meteoroid Detection Satellite Project in Bladensburg, Md., and, from 1965 to 1969, was chief of the Center’s Saturn Program Resident Office at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

In 1969, he became assistant to the technical deputy director of the Marshall Center and served in that position until 1973. He then served as deputy manager and manager of the Sortie Lab Task Team, and continued as manager when that team became the Spacelab Program Office in 1974.

Thomas J. Lee talks with President George H. W. Bush
President George H.W. Bush is taken for a tour of Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC) by Marshall’s sixth Center Director Thomas J. Lee (1989-1994).

As manager of the Spacelab Program Office, he was responsible for NASA’s work with the European Space Agency in the development of Spacelab, a multipurpose reusable laboratory for Earth orbital science activities.