Military Wiki

Hans Mark
Seventh Director of the National Reconnaissance Office

In office
3 Aug 1977[1] – 8 Oct 1979
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Thomas C. Reed
Succeeded by Robert J. Hermann
Thirteenth Secretary of the Air Force
Personal details
Born June 17, 1929(1929-06-17) (age 93)
Mannheim, Germany

Hans Michael Mark (born June 17, 1929) is a former Secretary of the Air Force and a former Deputy Administrator of NASA. He is an expert and consultant in aerospace design and national defense policy. Mark is currently working in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Early life and career

Mark was born in Mannheim, Germany. He lived in Vienna for a time before escaping the Nazi anschluss via Switzerland. Before the collapse of France the Mark family moved to London. Mark's father, Herman Francis Mark, a prominent polymer chemist, secured a position with a Canadian paper company and left before the family could accompany him. Finally, in late 1939, his family joined him in Hawkesbury. About a year later the family moved to the United States. After becoming an American citizen in 1945, he graduated from New York's Stuyvesant High School in 1947[2] and went on to receive a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1951 and a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1954.

After completion of his doctorate, Mark stayed on at MIT as a research associate and acting head of the Neutron Physics Group Laboratory for Nuclear Science. He returned to UC Berkeley in 1955 and remained there until 1958 as a research physicist at the University's Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore. Dr. Mark then returned to MIT as an assistant professor of physics. In 1960, he again returned to the University of California's Livermore Radiation Laboratory's Experimental Physics Division. He remained there until 1964, when he became chairman of the university's Department of Nuclear Engineering and administrator of the Berkeley Research Reactor.

Mark has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses in physics and engineering at Boston University and the University of California, Davis.

U.S. Government

In February 1969, he became director of NASA's Ames Research Center, located in Mountain View, California. In this role, he managed the center's research and applications efforts in aeronautics, space science, life science and space technology.

He subsequently served as Under Secretary of the Air Force from 1977 until July 1979, when he was promoted to Secretary of the Air Force. Concurrently, he served as Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, from August 1977 to October 1979.[3] He remained as this position until 1981, when he was appointed Deputy Administrator of NASA by President Reagan, a position he served in from July 10, 1981 to September 1, 1984.

University of Texas

Upon leaving NASA in 1984, Mark served as Chancellor of The University of Texas system until 1992. He moved on to become a senior professor of aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. In July 1998, he began work at The Pentagon upon President Clinton's nomination of him as Director of Defense Research and Engineering. In 2001, he returned to The University of Texas at Austin, where he currently holds the John J. McKetta Centennial Energy Chair in Engineering as a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. He currently teaches a one-hour introductory course to incoming freshman on Aerospace Engineering. All undergraduates since 2001 have taken his course. He also teaches a history of space flight course and as well as a course focusing on the role of technology in the Cold War. Mark also holds a research position at the University of Texas' Institute for Advanced Technology.


Hans Mark is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the nation's highest honor for engineering professionals. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has received the 1999 Joe J. King Engineering Achievement Award and the 1999 George E. Haddaway Medal for Achievement in Aviation. Dr. Mark was recently honored for his contributions to the US military space program at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Astronautical Society. He received the 2006 Military Astronautics Award on November 14, 2006 at the society’s annual meeting in Pasadena, Calif.

In 2008, the Space Foundation awarded Mark its highest honor, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award.[4] It is presented annually to recognize outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves through lifetime contributions to the welfare or betterment of humankind through the exploration, development and use of space, or the use of space technology, information, themes or resources in academic, cultural, industrial or other pursuits of broad benefit to humanity.


Dr. Mark has written or edited eight books and published more than 180 technical reports. His works include:

  • (co-authored) Adventures in Celestial Mechanics
  • (co-authored) Encyclopedia of Sapce and Technology
  • The Space Station: A Personal Journey (Duke University Press, 1987)
  • The Management of Research Institutions (NASA SP-481, 1984)
  • (co-authored) Experiments in Modern Physics and Power and Security
  • (co-authored) The Properties of Matter Under Unusual Conditions


  1. Laurie, Clayton. Leaders of the National Reconnaissance Office 1961-2001. Office of the Historian, National Reconnaissance Office. 1 May 2002.
  2. Mark, Hans (December 1987). The Space Station: A Personal Journey. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-0727-3. 
Government offices
Preceded by
James W. Plummer
United States Under Secretary of the Air Force
1977 – 1979
Succeeded by
Antonia Handler Chayes
Preceded by
John C. Stetson
United States Secretary of the Air Force
Succeeded by
Verne Orr
Preceded by
Alan M. Lovelace
Deputy Administrator of NASA
July 10, 1981 - September 1, 1984
Succeeded by
William Robert Graham
Preceded by
Anita K. Jones
Director of Defense Research and Engineering
Succeeded by
Ronald M. Sega

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).