Arnold Deane Aldrich
July 7, 1936 – May 28, 2020
Arnold Deane Aldrich, 83, of Vienna, VA, passed away on May 28, 2020 after a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Arlington, Massachusetts on July 7, 1936.
Arnold enjoyed a 35-year career at NASA spanning all manned-mission programs including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle. He served as Skylab deputy program manager; Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Deputy Manager during the Apollo Soyuz Test Project; and Orbiter Project Manager during development of Space Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis. Following the Challenger accident, Arnold was appointed director of the Space Shuttle Program where he led recovery and return-to-flight efforts. He then served as NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics and Space Technology and, later for Space Systems Development. Arnold also led initiatives with Russia leading to the incorporation of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the on-orbit emergency rescue vehicle for the International Space Station. Arnold joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in 1994 as Vice President. He retired in 2007.
Arnold’s honors include Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive, Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive (twice), NASA Distinguished Service Medal (three times), Northeastern University Outstanding Alumni Award, Arthur S. Fleming Award, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, VFW Aviation and Space Award, AIAA Space Systems Award, and NASA Exceptional Service Award. He was a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the National Academy Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. Arnold began his career after earning a BS in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1959.
Following his retirement Arnold continued to support space initiatives including mentoring young aerospace program managers, serving as an AIAA Honorary Fellow, and helping select award winners for annual NASA Rotary Awards. Arnold enjoyed baseball, boating, fishing, gardening, and camping with friends. Arnold also researched and published a genealogy book of the Aldrich family from 1605 until present day. In recent years he was an ardent supporter of the American Battlefield Trust.
Arnold is survived by his wife of 61 years, Eleanor Harris Aldrich; his son Russell Aldrich and wife Resa of Ashburn, VA; his daughter Susan Zoch and husband David of Columbia, MD; and four grandchildren, Chad Aldrich, Natalie Aldrich, Olivia Aldrich, and Lisa Zoch.
A graveside service and burial is planned for family and friends at Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, Maine. Given the COVID-19 travel challenges and restrictions for Maine, an additional celebration of life will be held in Texas later this year.