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Russell L. (Rusty) Schweickart is a retired business and government executive and serves today as Chairman of the Board of the B612 Foundation. The organization, a non-profit private foundation, champions the development and testing of a spaceflight concept to protect the Earth from future asteroid impacts.

Schweickart retired from ALOHA Networks, Inc. in 1998 where he served as President and CEO from 1996 through 1998. ALOHA was a data communications company specializing in high performance, wireless internet access equipment.

Schweickart was formerly the Executive Vice President of CTA Commercial Systems, Inc. and Director of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Systems. Schweickart led CTA’s efforts in developing the GEMnet system, a second generation LEO communication satellite constellation designed to provide regular commercial electronic messaging services on a global basis. Prior to his CTA work Schweickart founded and was president of Courier Satellite Services, Inc., a global satellite communications company which developed LEO satellites to provide worldwide affordable data services

Schweickart’s satellite and telecommunications work involved him in the development of international communications regulations and policies, including participation in the 1992 and 1995 World Radiocommunications Conferences (WRC) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). He served at the 1995 WRC as a U.S. delegate. He also worked extensively in Russia and the former Soviet Union on scientific and telecommunications matters.

Schweickart is the founder and past president of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), the international professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts. The organization promotes the cooperative exploration and development of space and the use of space technology for human benefit. The ASE has a current membership of over 300 astronauts and cosmonauts from 29 nations. The Association’s first book, The Home Planet, with a preface by Schweickart, was published simultaneously in 10 nations in the Fall of 1988 and was an immediate international best seller.

In 1987-88, Schweickart chaired the United States Antarctic Program Safety Review Panel for the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington, DC. The resulting report, Safety in Antarctica, a comprehensive on-site review of all U.S. activities in Antarctica, led to a restructuring of the program, increasing the safety of operations in that hazardous environment. At the request of the National Science Foundation, Schweickart also served on the 1997-1998 United States Antarctic Program Outside Review Panel, which reported to the Whitehouse (OSTP) and Congress on the future of US facilities in Antarctica. The US’ Amundson-Scott South Pole station has recently been fully rebuilt as a result of this work.

In 1977 Schweickart joined the staff of Governor Jerry Brown of California, and served in the Governor’s office for two years as his assistant for science and technology. In 1979 Schweickart was appointed to the post of Commissioner of Energy for the State of California and served on the Commission for five and a half years. The Commission, which was chaired by Schweickart for three and a half years, was responsible for all aspects of energy regulation in the state other than rate setting, including energy demand forecasting, alternative energy development, powerplant siting and energy performance regulation for appliances and buildings.

Schweickart joined NASA as one of 14 astronauts named in October 1963, the third group of astronauts selected. He served as lunar module pilot for Apollo 9, March 3-13, 1969, logging 241 hours in space. This was the third manned flight of the Apollo series and the first manned flight of the lunar module. During a 46 minute EVA Schweickart tested the portable life support backpack which was subsequently used on the lunar surface explorations. On the mission with Schweickart were commander James A. McDivitt and command module pilot David R. Scott.

Russell Louis „Rusty” Schweickart (also Schweikart, b. October 25, 1935, Neptune Township, New Jersey) is a co-founder of the B612 Foundation and is also a former U.S. astronaut, research scientist, Air Force fighter pilot as well as a former business and government executive.

Schweickart, chosen in NASA’s third astronaut group, is best known as the Lunar Module pilot on the Apollo 9 mission, the first manned flight test of the module, on which he performed the first in-space test of the Portable Life Support System used by the Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon. As backup commander of the first Skylab mission, he was responsible for developing the hardware and procedures used by the first crew to perform critical in-flight repairs of the Skylab station. After Skylab, he served for a time as Director of User Affairs in NASA’s Office of Applications.

Schweickart left NASA in 1977 to serve for two years as California governor Jerry Brown‘s assistant for science and technology, then was appointed by Brown to California’s Energy Commission for five and a half years, serving as chairman for three.[1]

In 1984–85 he co-founded the Association of Space Explorers and later in 2002 co-founded the B612 Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to defending Earth from asteroid impacts, along with fellow former-astronaut Dr. Ed Lu and two planetary scientists. He served for a period as its Chair before becoming its Chair Emeritus.