Thomas O. Paine

Thomas Otten Paine ( born November 9, 1921 in Berkeley, California; † 4 May 1992, Los Angeles ) was an American scientist and 21 March 1969 to 15 September 1970, the third Administrator of NASA.


Paine was born in Berkeley, California and attended public schools in different cities. In 1942, he graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. From 1946 to 1949 he attended Stanford University and earned a Master of Science in 1947 and a Ph.D. in physical metallurgy.

He received an honorary doctorate from Brown University, Clarkson College of Technology, Nebraska Wesleyan University, the University of New Brunswick, the Oklahoma City University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Paine was married to Barbara Helen Taunton Pearse from Perth. They had four children.

Scientific career

Paine began his career as a research associate at Stanford University from 1947 to 1949, where he carried out studies on high-temperature alloys and liquid metals for nuclear reactors the Navy. From 1949 he worked at General Electric, where he began as a research assistant in the Research Laboratory in Schenectady.

In 1951 he moved to the Meter and Instrument Department in Lynn (Massachusetts ) as a manager of materials development, and later as a laboratory manager. Under Paine's leadership, the laboratory received the 1956 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Industrial Science of the AAAS. From 1958 to 1962, Paine was a researcher and director of the Engineering Applications at General Electric 's Research and Development Center in Schenectady. From 1963, he was manager of TEMPO, General Electric's Center for Advanced Studies, Santa Barbara.

Head of NASA

Dr. Thomas O. Paine was deputy since January 31, 1968 Administrator of NASA. When James Edwin Webb on October 8 In 1968, NASA, he became the executive administrator. He was nominated as the third NASA Administrator on March 5, 1969, confirmed by the Senate on March 20, 1969.

During his tenure at NASA, the first seven manned Apollo missions were flown. (Apollo 7 to Apollo 13)

Paine was very active in preparing for the post- Apollo era. Together with George Edwin Mueller and other developed Paine an ambitious plan for the establishment of a lunar base and a massive space station in Earth orbit before the end of the 1970s, with its peak in a manned mission to Mars in 1981. These plans, however, were of President Richard Nixon rejected.

Later life

Paine submitted on September 15, 1970 resigned his office and returned to General Electric, where he was vice president and later senior vice president for science and technology.

Paine left General Electric in 1976 and was president until 1982 and Chief Operating Officer of Northrop Corporation.

On 4 May 1992, he died of cancer.

The asteroid ( 5188 ) Paine has been named after him.