Joseph Shea with Dave Hoag and Ralph Ragan Looking At Apollo Guidance Navigation & Control Hardware

Joseph Francis Shea

Deputy Director of NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight

Joseph Francis Shea received a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics in 1955 at the University of Michigan. He worked for Bell Labs in mechanical engineering on the radio inertial guidance system of the Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile and was then hired by NASA in 1961 as Deputy Director of NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight.

Shea played a key role in shaping the course of the Apollo program. He was critical in pushing NASA to decide in favor of lunar orbit rendezvous and supporting all-up testing of the Saturn V rocket. Shea found himself the manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, where he would oversee the design and building of the modules. When the Apollo 1 spacecraft caught fire in 1967, Shea supervised the investigation and felt responsible for the accident. He was eventually moved to work with George Mueller at the NASA headquarters. Shea left NASA soon after.