Senator Harrison Schmitt was born in New Mexico and grew up in the American West. He received a Bachelors of Science from Caltech and a PhD in geology from Harvard based on work in Norway as a Fulbright Scholar and National Science Foundation Post-Doctorate Fellow. Between 1964 and 1965, Schmitt re-joined the United States Geological Survey as part of the Astrogeology Branch in Flagstaff, Arizona, leading the development of early lunar field geological methods under contract to NASA. Selected by NASA as a Scientist-Astronaut in 1965, he earned Air Force T-38 jet pilot wings in 1966 and Navy H-13 helicopter wings in 1967. Schmitt flew in space as Apollo 17’s Lunar Module Pilot, landing in the Moon’s Valley of Taurus-Littrow, December 11, 1972. He is the only scientist and last of 12 men to step on the Moon.
Elected to the United States Senate from New Mexico in 1976, Schmitt worked on legislation and New Mexico affairs related to technology, immigration, education, healthcare, commerce, and national security. As part of his consulting business in aerospace and earth science, he served on the President Reagan’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Army Science Board, and the President H. W. Bush’s Ethics Commission and, from 2005 to 2008, chaired the NASA Advisory Council. Schmitt has received numerous honorary degrees from United States and Canadian universities. In 1983, Schmitt was a Director of Orbital Sciences Corporation/Orbital ATK, serving until 2018 when Northrop Grumman acquired the company. He also has served as a director of several corporations in the banking, technology, mining, and medical fields that included the Draper Corporation.
Beginning in 1996, he taught “Resources from Space” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is an Associate Fellow in the University’s Department of Engineering. Schmitt authored “Return to the Moon; Exploration, Enterprise and Energy in the Human Exploration of Space” and has published numerous scientific and public policy papers from 1964 to the present. Most recently, Schmitt and his co-authors published “Revisiting the field geology of Taurus-Littrow” in Icarus (2016). He travels extensively internationally as well as domestically. His account of the Apollo 17 Mission to the Moon is currently being published at americasuncommonsense.com as “Apollo 17: Diary of the 12th Man.” Schmitt lives in the intermountain West with his wife of over 30 years, Teresa Fitzgibbon, and a number of four-legged canine family members.
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