Forrest S. McCartney, a Top NASA Official, Dies at 81

Forrest S. McCartney, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who played a central role in developing military spy satellites and the MX intercontinental missile system before being appointed head of NASA’s civilian-run Kennedy Space Center not long after the space shuttle Challenger exploded, died Tuesday in a hospice near Cape Canaveral, Fla. He was 81.

The cause was cancer, his daughter Worthy McCartney said.

General McCartney was given command of the space center 18 months after the Challenger exploded on Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members aboard and leading to the suspension of the shuttle orbiter program. His deployment from the ranks of a largely secret military space program made him the focus of initial apprehension in the parallel civilian space-exploration universe....

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