Headshot of George Abbey

George W.S. Abbey

Senior Fellow in Space Policy


George W.S. Abbey is the senior fellow in space policy at the Baker Institute. From 1996 to 2001, he served as the director of NASA Johnson Space Center. Prior to being assigned as an Air Force captain to NASA’s Apollo Program at the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1964, he served in the Air Force Research and Development Command and was involved in the early Air Force manned space activities, including the Dyna-Soar Program. In 1976, he was named director of flight operations, where he was responsible for operational planning and management of flight crew and flight control activities for all manned spaceflight missions. In 1983, he became director of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate. In 1990, Abbey was selected as deputy for operations and senior NASA representative to the Synthesis Group and was charged with defining strategies for returning to the moon and landing on Mars. In 1991, Abbey was appointed senior director for civil space policy for the National Space Council in the Executive Office of the President. Abbey has received numerous awards, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and three NASA Distinguished Service Medals. He was a member of the operations team presented with the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 1970 by President Richard Nixon for its role in support of the Apollo 13 Mission. Abbey graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1954 and received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology in 1959.

Contact him at gabbey@rice.edu or (713) 348-3828.