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"The Voice of NASA" Hugh Harris has died

Hugh Harris
Hugh W. Harris, chief, Public Information Office, Kennedy Space Center, on November 12, 1981.

Hugh Harris, known as "The Voice of NASA" during his time as a public affairs officer with the agency, has died. He was 90 years old.

Harris spent 35 years at NASA, including more than two decades as a public affairs officer at Kennedy Space Center. He was known for his Shuttle launch commentary -- including the broadcast of the first Space Shuttle launch in 1981.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1952-1954. After the military, he worked as a broadcaster, reporter, photographer, and bureau chief for two newspapers.

Hugh Harris on console
Pictured at his console in the firing room of the Launch Control Center, Complex 39, on August 20, 1981, Hugh Harris, head of the Public Information Branch, Office of Public Affairs, provides the mission commentary for space shuttle launches

Harris joined NASA in 1963 as an information specialist. He transfered to Kennedy Space Center in 1975, and was appointed Director, Public Affairs Office at Kennedy Space Center in 1992. He retied from NASA in 1998.

"Although Harris is best known to the public for his calm, professional commentary on the progress of launch preparations and launch of the Space Shuttle, his primary accomplishments were in directing an outreach program to the general public, news media, students and educators, as well as business and government leaders," according to the American Space Museum in Titusville. He appeared monthly on the museum's video podcast.

He lived in Cocoa Beach, Florida. He is survived his wife Cora of 40 plus years, his two sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Harris was 90 years old.

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to Central Florida in 2005 to attend the University of Central Florida. He began working at WMFE as a college intern where he discovered his love for public radio.