O. Buckbee (‘58 BS)
Edward O. Buckbee, a native of Romney, W.Va., graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the West Virginia University Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism in 1958.
Buckbee was selected to be the first director of the U. S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala., in 1968 where he continued to bring the space program into people’s lives for 25 years before retiring in 1994.
Among his most noted accomplishments, Buckbee is the founder of the highly successful U.S. Space Camp and Aviation Challenge programs introduced at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in 1982. He conceived the International Space Camp to promote international cooperation in space and successfully opened similar operations in Florida, Japan, Canada and Belgium. These educational programs have grown to a $25 million international educational business, training over 500,000 students and teachers from 70 countries.
Buckbee conceived and developed the “Famous First” exhibit telling the story of the Mercury astronauts at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. With the help of Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard, Wally Schirra and John Glenn, the exhibition was expanded to honor the astronauts from the Gemini and Apollo programs.
His many awards include the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and Department of Army Distinguished Civilian Service Award. In addition, he has authored and edited several publications including, 50 Years of Rockets and Spacecraft, and children’s series on U.S. Space Camp. Buckbee was technical advisor on “Space Camp”, an ABC produced motion video released internationally. He has appeared on CNN, Late Night with David Letterman, Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America and Today, to name a few.
An author, lecturer, space expert and director emeritus, Buckbee has been associated with America’s space program for four decades. He is a spokesman and advocate for NASA and the exploration of space and works as an international consultant. He hosts numerous space anniversaries honoring America’s moonwalkers and other space flyers.