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Weitz, Paul J., 1932-2017

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: July 25, 1932 - October 24, 2017

Biographical Information

Paul J. Weitz was born July 25, 1932 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Weitz graduated from Harborcreek High School in Harborcreek, Pennsylvania. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree on a Navy ROTC scholarship in Aeronautical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1954. Weitz earned his Master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, in 1964.

Weitz was called to duty during the Vietnam War in 1965. He was deployed to the western Pacific and flew A-3s on combat missions. In May of 1966 Weitz was chosen as part of NASA's fifth group of astronauts. One of Weitz first assignments was the support crew for Apollo 12.

From 1966 to 1973 Weitz did not have a flight assignment. His first flight assignment was for Sky Lab 2. This was the first manned mission to Sky Lab after its initial launch on 14 May 1973. Sky Lab 2 launched on May 25, 1973 with astronauts Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz, and Joseph Kerwin. Their main task was to fix problems with a failed heat shield that did not deploy properly making the inside of the space station too warm.

After Skylab 2, Weitz was selected by NASA to be space craft commander on the Space Shuttle Program's sixth flight, "Space Transportation System - 6" (STS-6). Launched on April 4, 1983, STS-6 was the shuttle Challenger"s maiden flight. STS-6 spent 120 hours in Space conducting various experiences including, EVAs, recording lighting activities, and carried three experiments designed by university students called "Getaway Specials." These experiments were small, compact canisters that allowed for groups or individuals to conduct experiments in micro-gravity on board the Shuttles.

Weitz held the position of Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office from 1981 to 1987, he was the Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center from 1987 until 1993, the Acting Center Director of the Johnson Space Center from 1993 until 1994, and Weitz held the position of Acting Associate Center Director of the Johnson Space Center when he retired from NASA in 1994.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Paul J. Weitz papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 172
Scope and Contents The Paul J. Weitz papers document the time Weitz spent as an United States astronaut and as Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The papers contains eleven notebooks that were used by Weitz to record day-to-day meeting notes and tasks. The first entry is April of 1976 and the last entry is January of 1994. The notebooks contain information about The Challenger accident and Weitz's response to the incident from the day it happened and document what the administration...