Retired general receives lifetime space achievement award

  • Published
  • By Auburn Davis
  • Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
The Air Force chief of staff presented a former vice chief of staff of the Air Force with the Gen. James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award at the 28th National Space Symposium here April 18.

Gen. Norton Schwartz presented the award to Gen. Thomas S. Moorman Jr., who is known as a "visionary" in the space community.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Space Foundation. It recognizes outstanding individuals who distinguished themselves through lifetime contributions to the welfare or betterment of humankind through exploration, development and use of space, or through use of space technology, information, themes or resources in academic, cultural, industrial or other pursuits of broad benefit to humanity.

Moorman followed in his father's footsteps and became an officer in the Air Force. He was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program as a distinguished military graduate in 1962.

During his first assignments in space, Moorman said he was blown away by the people, the technology and the mission. He knew right away that space would be his passion and would drive his life.

Since then, the general has served in a variety of intelligence and reconnaissance related positions within the United States and worldwide.

While stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., he was deeply involved in planning and organizing the establishment of Air Force Space Command.

"Tom is the guy who helped push space and make it a real part of the Air Force," said retired Gen. Howell M. Estes III, a former commander in chief of U.S. Space Command.

Moorman later went on to become commander and vice commander of Air Force Space Command. As such, he was responsible for operating military space systems, ground-based radars and missile warning satellites. He was also in charge of operating space surveillance radars, the nation's space launch centers at Patrick and Vandenberg AFBs, and maintaining the intercontinental ballistic missile force.

"He was key as we started operations in support of the day-to-day warfighting needs of the United States Air Force as well as the rest of the military," said retired Gen. Lance Lord, a former commander of Air Force Space Command.

While he was director of space and strategic defense initiative programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition at the Pentagon, Moorman provided program management direction for development and procurement of Air Force surveillance, communications, navigation and weather satellites, space launch vehicles, anti-satellite weapons, ground-based and airborne strategic radars, communications and command centers.

Moorman was also director of the Office of Space Systems and vice commander of the 1st Space Wing. He was on the Aerospace Corporation board of trustees and is currently the vice chairman. He also served on the Space Foundation board of directors from 1997 to 2010 and was chairman of the board from 2008 to 2010.

In 2008, he retired as a partner with the international management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, where he had been responsible for the firm's Air Force and NASA businesses.

In all aspects of his career, Moorman was vital to the mission and mission success. One of his most significant marks in history was his modernizing of the national security launch systems of the United States when he endorsed evolving a common launch vehicle from existing systems, found under option 2 of the Department of Defense Space Launch Modernization Plan, better known as the Moorman Report.

"If you look back and look behind the scenes ... it was Moorman," Estes said. "Moorman is a space visionary. He has been absolutely essential in moving the ball forward in national security space, and for that we thank him."