Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thomas J. O'Malley

Patrick Peterson
Florida Today

Cocoa Beach — Legendary space industry engineer Thomas J. O’Malley, 94, died Friday evening shortly after a phone call from Mercury astronaut and former U.S. Sen. John Glenn, who O’Malley launched into space by pushing a button.

O’Malley displayed the button in the den of his Cocoa Beach home.

Daughter Kathleen O’Malley said the conversation between Glenn and her dad on Friday was brief, but she related hearing O’Malley say “Hello, John Glenn” to the space pioneer.

O’Malley was called to the human spaceflight program in 1961, while working for the Convair division of General Dynamics, where he was a test engineer for the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile, according to family historian Cornelia Dean, O’Malley’s niece. The Atlas had experienced a series of launch pad explosions.

He was “Convair’s toughest test conductor,” Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton wrote in “Moon Shot” in 1994.

Read the story, HERE.

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