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Oran W Nicks

Oran W. Nicks spent two years in the Army Air Corps, 12 years as an engineer for North American Aviation and Chance Vought companies, 20 years as program-center director for NASA and 16 years as research engineer-center director at Texas A&M University. His publications include two books on space flight and over 100 papers and reports on aerodynamics, aircraft and spacecraft design and applications. While at Chance Vought, he led the team that designed the Scout launch vehicle, which performed over 100 space missions for NASA and DOD. At NASA, Mr. Nicks was Director of Lunar and Planetary Programs from 1961-67, where he was responsible for thirty Ranger, Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter and Mariner missions to the Moon, Mars, and Venus. During 1967-70, he served as Deputy Associate Administrator of Space Science and Applications and as Associate Administrator for Advanced Research and Technology. From 1970 to 1980 he was Deputy Director of the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia which was responsible for the Viking Mars Program and other aerospace activities.

He came to Texas A&M in 1980 as a Research Engineer directing a wind tunnel facility and space research activities. He organized and directed a Space Research Center involving over 100 faculty and students from 1985 to l991, developed and led inter-disciplinary teams doing research on regenerative life support systems, on space power, and on space transportation systems. He led the organization of a Space Giant Consortium of 21 universities, 18 industry partners and two state agencies, which resulted in Texas becoming the first state to receive such status. He served as Chairman of its Board of Directors from its inception in 1989 until 1993. He was appointed to the Texas Space Commission by Governor Clements in 1987 and served as Chairman of the commission in 1991 -92.