Jack King (NASA)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jack King
Jack King (Apollo 12).jpg
King at his post for the launch of Apollo 12, November 14, 1969
Born(1931-02-12)February 12, 1931[1]
DiedJune 11, 2015(2015-06-11) (aged 84)
OccupationSpokesman, corporate executive
EmployerAssociated Press
Energy Research and Development Administration
Occidental Petroleum
Fuqua School of Business
United Space Alliance
Known forChief of Public Information and Public Affairs Officer, NASA
Evelyn (m. 1965–2005)

John William "Jack" King[1] (February 12, 1931 – June 11, 2015) was a Chief of Public Information and Public Affairs Officer for NASA. He is best known for his work as Kennedy Space Center Chief of Public Information during projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. As part of this role, he provided public announcements and commentary for several of the mission launches. He is best known for his announcement of the Apollo 11 launch, which earned him the nickname "Voice of Apollo".[2] The well known commentary from that launch has been reused in songs and advertisements, and was included in a 2011 collection of NASA sounds from historic spaceflights that can be used as ringtones.[3]


King grew up in Boston, the son of a local sportswriter, and attended Boston College.[4][5] Prior to joining NASA, King worked for the Associated Press. He opened the AP's Cape Canaveral bureau in 1958, when he was 27 years old.[6] King joined NASA in 1960, and served as the Kennedy Space Center's Chief of Public Information from 1960 to 1971, and as NASA's Public Affairs Officer from 1971 to 1975.[4]

After NASA, he spent two years as Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration (later part of the United States Department of Energy),[7][8] and another 15 years as executive vice president of Occidental Petroleum.[7][8] He was appointed director of communications at the Fuqua School of Business in 1993.[5] In 1997, King returned to Cape Canaveral and the U.S. manned space program, joining the United Space Alliance,[7] where he served as spokesman.[9]

King officially retired in October 2010, but continued to serve as a volunteer public affairs officer for NASA.[10]

Personal life[edit]

King in 2008

King was a widower, his wife Evelyn having died in 2005. They were married 39 years.[8] He had three children (sons Harold ("Chip") and Billy, and daughter Beth) and five grandchildren.[8][11][12] He was a Catholic.[13]

King's oldest son, Chip King, flew the longest F-14 Tomcat combat mission in history, the 1,800-mile attack on Afghanistan in October 2001, following the September 11 attacks.[8] Chip also was one of the pilots who took part in the flyover at astronaut Pete Conrad's 1999 funeral.[8]

King died on June 11, 2015, at the age of 84 of congestive heart failure.[11]


  1. ^ a b Fountain, Nigel (June 17, 2015). "Jack King obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  2. ^ Grinter, Kay (November 24, 2006). "43 years ago: Thanksgiving Day brings new name for Launch Operations Center" (PDF). Spaceport News. 45 (23). Kennedy Space Center. p. 7.
  3. ^ "NASA sounds". NASA. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "King to Leave NASA Soon" (PDF). Roundup. 14 (3). Johnson Space Center. January 31, 1975. p. 1.
  5. ^ a b Staff (April 7, 1993). "Fuqua Chooses King". The Chronicle Online. Duke University. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009.
  6. ^ Watkins 2006, p. 119.
  7. ^ a b c "USA's King Receives Prestigious National Space Club Award" (PDF). USA Update (30). United Space Alliance. January–February 2001. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Watkins 2006, p. 127.
  9. ^ Halvorson, Todd (November 14, 2006). "Photographer, PR rep win Kolcum awards". The Flame Trench.
  10. ^ DeCotis, Mark (July 7, 2011). "Jack King, voice of Apollo, still a space fan". Florida Today. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Granath, Bob (June 11, 2015). "NASA Mourns Loss of Former Launch Commentator, Jack King". NASA. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  12. ^ Dean, James (June 12, 2015). "Jack King, NASA's 'Voice of Apollo,' dies at 84". Florida Today. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  13. ^ Watkins 2006, p. 122.


External links[edit]