Monday, June 1, 2009

Paul Haney, the Voice of NASA

Alamogordo — Paul Haney, known as the "voice of Mission Control" for live televised reports during the early years of the space program, has died. He was 80.

Haney died Thursday at a nursing home in New Mexico.

Haney became NASA's information officer in 1958 three months after NASA was chartered, and he pioneered a real-time system of reporting events as they happened during Project Mercury. He Continued to manage information from Gemini and through Apollo 9.

George House, curator of the New Mexico Museum of Space History, said Haney helped work on the museum's oral history program. He also conducted tours of the museum and worked with the museum foundation.

Haney became the public affairs officer for the Office of Manned Space Flight in 1962 and moved to Houston to work in what became the Johnson Space Center. During his time there, he worked in the Mission Control Center, where he broadcast live to television viewers nationwide and media covering the launches, and became known as the "voice of NASA's Mission Control."

After Haney retired from NASA in 1969 he worked in London for ITN and The Economist.

The New Mexico Museum of Space History's Web site said Haney "set the standard for all subsequent NASA information efforts."

Haney was born in 1928 in Akron, Ohio, and earned a journalism degree from Kent State University in 1945. While in college, Haney worked nights for The Associated Press.

Haney served in the Navy for two years during the Korean War.

He also worked at newspapers in Erie, Pa.; Memphis, Tenn.; Charleston, S.C.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Houston and El Paso, Texas, and at the Evening Star in Washington, D.C. He is survived by his wife, Jan; two daughters from a previous marriage; a stepson; a sister, and seven grandchildren.

Information from: Alamogordo Daily News,