Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni

James Bates

James Bates - 1993

James R. Bates is currently a senior flight integration manager of the Space Shuttle Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Some of his most recent assignments have been as lead flight integration manager for the Hubble Space Telescope development, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory deployment, and the Japanese Spacelab flights. His present challenge is the Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission in late 1993.

Born and raised in Clinton, Oklahoma, Bates as valedictorian of the 1958 Clinton High School graduating class. He received a Bachelor of Science degree, Magna Cum Laude, in physics and mathematics from SWOSU in 1962. He was a member of the Physics Club for four years and served as president during his senior year.

He is married to the former Rosalie Lewis, also of Clinton, and they have two children, Terri and James II. In 1962, Bates accepted a position at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration manned Spacecraft Center in Houston as a Mercury Flight Controller. He participated in various flight controller assignments during Mercury flights six and seven, all of the Gemini flights and the early Apollo test flights. During the last Gemini flight in 1966, Bates was responsible for establishing the Mission Control Center position of experiments officer that became the current payload officer. During the period of 1962-67, Bates was instrumental in the hiring of 21 Southwestern graduates for the space program at Houston. During the manned Apollo flights, Bates served as co-chairman of the Space Radiation Environment Group that developed the space radiation monitoring network and instrumentation that provided solar flare warnings and radiation measurements for the Apollo crews on the moon. During the last four lunar flights, Bates managed the science operations of the five Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Packages placed on the moon by astronauts. From 1969-76, he was co-investigator for the Lunar Dust Detector experiments left on the moon by Apollo 11, 14, and 15 as part of the ALSEP. Bates was project manager for two experiments flown on the Apollo-Soyuz mission. Assigned to the NASA Shuttle Program office in 1978, Bates has been lead flight integration manager for 11 shuttle flights to date and has directly supported 14 other flights. Flight integration support begins approximately two ears prior to flight, includes definition of flight elements, construction of the flight, and participation during the flight in the Mission Control Center.