Lt. General James A. Abrahamson was considered one of the most broadly experienced and successful military program managers during his military career. Abrahamson began his military career as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War and was selected to be an astronaut on the U.S. Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory (a program that was ultimately cancelled). He then ascended to multiple key Air Force staff positions and served within the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
In 1981, NASA requested that Lt. General Abrahamson be assigned Associate Administrator for Space Fight, making him responsible for the continued development of programs such as the Space Shuttle and other conventional rockets. Then in 1984, President Reagan asked Abrahamson to be his first Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars Program”), which he did until his retirement from the Air Force in 1989.
Since retiring from the Air Force, Lt. General Abrahamson has held several leadership positions within the aviation industry, and formerly served as the Chairman of the Board for Oracle Corporation, GeoEye Corporation, and Global Relief Technologies. He has received multiple civil and professional awards during his career, including the Goddard Space Flight Award, Engineering Society’s Man of the Year, and Aviation Week’s Legends Award.
Lt. General Abrahamson is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a B.S. in aeronautical engineering, and he obtained his M.S. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Oklahoma.