CHICAGO — Harrison Schmitt, former astronaut and U.S. Senator, joined The Heartland Institute’s board of directors effective January 28, 2010. Schmitt brings a wide range of experience to the board as a geologist, pilot, astronaut, administrator, businessman, writer, and former Republican Senator from New Mexico.
Schmitt received his bachelor’s degree from Caltech and studied as a Fulbright Scholar in Oslo, Norway. He earned his Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University in 1964. As a civilian, Schmitt received Air Force jet pilot wings in 1965 and Navy helicopter wings in 1967.
Selected for the scientist-astronaut program in 1965, Schmitt organized the lunar science training for the Apollo astronauts and served as Mission Scientist in support of the Apollo 11 mission. After training as back-up Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 15, Schmitt flew in space as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 17, the last Apollo mission to the moon. On December 11, 1972, he landed in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow as the only scientist and the last of 12 living men to step on the Moon.
Elected to Congress in 1976, Schmitt served a six-year term.
“The Heartland Institute provides the most coherent and consistent articulation of and source of information on basic American approaches to the resolution of major issues of our times, ” said Schmitt. “The Institute’s common-sense leadership on issues of choice in education and health care, tax reduction for economic growth, and nature’s role in climate change are of particular importance to the future of the Republic.”
Heartland Chairman Herb Walberg welcomed Schmitt. “Heartland Institute board members are honored to have Harrison Schmitt join us. He will bring broad experience, informed perspectives, and constructive connections with other local, state, and national organizations.”
Schmitt’s current board memberships include Orbital Sciences Corporation, Edenspace Systems Corporation, and PhDx Systems, Inc.
The Heartland Institute is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan research organization based in Chicago. Founded in 1984, Heartland specializes in finding market-based solutions to a wide range of social and economic problems, including environmental policies, education issues, and health care reform. Its principal audiences are the nation’s 8,000 elected state officials, journalists, and business and community leaders.
Schmitt’s complete biography is available on The Heartland Institute Web site at www.heartland.org.