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James Turner Rose

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James Turner Rose Obituary
James Turner Rose

James Turner Rose, 1935-2015, known throughout the space community to have been an early pioneer of space as a place for commercial pursuits, Jim Rose was among the first to develop a business proposition that involved capturing the advantages of microgravity.

James T. Rose, long-time member of Florida's space community, passed away on Sunday, May 24, with his beloved wife, Daniele, at his side. Jim lost his battle with cancer and passed from this life surrounded by his wife and dear friends, Nancy, Curtis, Ian, Kathryn, and Sabrina Bree.

Jim devoted his life to the advancement of space. His first position was as an aeronautical research engineer at Langley Research Center developing satellites for the Vanguard program. Next, as one of the first Space Task Group members he became a NASA project engineer on Project Mercury and in 1961, joined NASA's advanced manned space project later named Gemini. In 1964, Jim joined McDonnell Aircraft, Gemini's contractor, as systems control manager for guidance and control.

Throughout his career, Jim moved between government and industry, always opening new frontiers: in the space realm and in boardrooms.

Jim continued with McDonnell Douglas Corporation in positions of increasing responsibility until 1974 when he returned to government service under his mentor, John F. Yardley. From NASA headquarters in Washington DC, he directed vehicle development and engineering on the space shuttle program.

Jim Rose returned to McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company in St. Louis in 1976 as manager of space shuttle payload development for research and commercial applications of space. In that capacity, Jim applied his talent and skill toward utilizing the nation's space transportation system for commercial advancement. He created Electrophoresis Operations In Space (EOS), the first joint endeavor agreement between industry and NASA to bring space commercialization into reality. This program exploited the unique aspects of space microgravity to separate pharmaceuticals in space. McDonnell Douglas partnered with Ortho Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, on this far-reaching effort. EOS developed many firsts throughout its decadal longevity, including launching the first non-NASA shuttle passenger, McDonnell Douglas engineer Charles Walker, as a payload specialist. The program was dealt a significant setback by the loss of Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. During the flight hiatus, other scientific advances eclipsed the advances of space-based manufacturing, bringing EOS to an end.

Undaunted, in 1987 after 20 years with industry, Jim accepted a government position as NASA assistant administrator for commercial programs. In that capacity he continued to promote many possibilities for the use of space to a wide variety of business interests. At its zenith, more than 200 U.S. corporations attracted to space and other commercial applications were affiliated with the 17 NASA Centers for the Commercial Development of Space (CCDS). These non-profit consortia of industry, academia and government entities offered incubators for future space-based products and services.

Jim retired from NASA in December 1991. He continued to consult internationally for several years early in his retirement. An avid reader and international traveler, Jim maintained an active life on Merritt Island, Florida.

Jim received many honors throughout his career, including NASA's Distinguished Presidential Rank Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a government employee, and NASA's Exceptional Service Medal; Aerospace Laurel Award; and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Lindbergh Award. He was a fellow of the AIAA.

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Daniele Rose.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of James T. Rose to National MS Society, PO Box 4527, New York, NY 10163

Published in FLORIDA TODAY on May 27, 2015
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