The Washington Times-Herald


August 13, 2007

Charles Thomas Force

LOOGOOTEE — Charles Thomas Force, 72, Loogootee and Cocoa Beach, Fla., died at 10 p.m. Thursday at Daviess Community Hospital, Washington.

He was born on Feb. 22, 1935, in Daviess County Hospital in Washington, to the late John and Margaret Force.

He married Marilyn Wininger on June 10, 1956, and she survives.

Mr. Force retired in 1996 as the associate administrator for Space Operations of NASA. He worked for two years in the private sector as president of Vtex International, Inc., a government contractor instrumental in work with Boeing, Globalstar as well as agencies such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In his 29-year career with NASA he was instrumental in the management and development of several programs which made the United States the global leader in Space Exploration Development, including landing a man on the moon and the development of the current Shuttle Program.

He began this illustrious career as director of the NASA Apollo Station on Guam in 1965, which was crucial in the Apollo program as a communication link in the moon missions. In 1972, he became director of NASA’s STDN Station in Quito, Ecuador. In 1974, he and his family returned to the United States where he became the deputy project manager of the Data Relay Satellite Program, a communication system crucial for the current Shuttle Program to maintain continuous communication with our astronauts.

In 1975, he stepped up to Associate Chief of the Network Operations Division at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and in 1978 became the Chief of the Network Operations Division there. After a brief two-year hiatus in private industry as the deputy program manager of a private company, Computer Sciences Corporation, he returned to NASA in 1982 to become the manager of the Deep Space Network Program, working at NASA’s National Headquarters in downtown Washington D.C. In 1984, he was promoted to director, Ground Networks Division, and then in 1986 to deputy associate administrator for Space Operations. Finally, in 1989, and until his retirement from NASA in 1996, he was the Associate Administrator Space Operations, the number six position at NASA. These duties included working with the Vice President of the United States on NASA budgeting, testifying before the U.S. Congress, development of the current Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, as well as representing NASA in international radio regulatory processes.

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