Eilene M. Galloway

Eilene M. Galloway

Eilene M. Galloway

Dr. Eilene M. Galloway was a legend in the fields of space policy and space law, having been instrumental in the formation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the formation of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL).  She was affectionately known as the Grand Dame of space law.

From 1941-1975, she worked for the U.S. Congress as a staff member of the Legislative Reference Service (later the Congressional Research Service) and was called upon by then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson to advise him on how to respond to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. She assisted Senator Johnson as well as then-Speaker of the House John McCormack in crafting the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created NASA. She was particularly influential in drafting Section 205 of the act, which encourages NASA to conduct international space activities.  She often said that during the post-Sputnik hearings, as scientists involved in the International Geophysical Year testified about the value of satellites to their research, “the fear of war changed to hope for peace.”

An article she wrote in 2008 to celebrate NASA’s 50th birthday recalls the early days of the Space Age.

She remained very active in the space policy and space law communities after her retirement until her death in 2009, two days short of her 103rd birthday. Throughout her space career, Dr. Galloway devoted herself to the principles that space should be used only for peaceful purposes and that international cooperation in space is essential.

She attended Washington University in St. Louis from 1923-1925, and graduated from Swarthmore College with an A.B. in Political Science in 1928.  She was awarded Honorary Doctorates in 1990 from Lake Forest College and in 1992 from Swarthmore. She helped found the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) and was Vice President from 1967-1979, after which she was an Honorary Director.  She also was instrumental in the creation of Section 4 of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and was an IAA Trustee and chair of Section 4 from 1982-1993.  Among her many honors and awards, she became the first women elected as an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in 2005 at the age of 99.

Dr. Galloway was a prolific author. In addition to the reports she wrote for Congress, she published many papers written for symposia or as op-eds in various publications. A list of her known non-congressional publications is available here.  Anyone knowing of additional publications by her is encouraged to contact Marcia Smith at marcia.s.smith@gmail.com with the citation information and, if possible, a copy of the article or report.

Recordings from the Memorial Service, June 6, 2009

Dr. Galloway passed away on May 2, 2009, two days short of her 103rd birthday. Many of her friends and family members spoke at her memorial service on June 6, 2009, some traveling from great distances. The audio (MP3) files from the service are available below. The larger files may take a moment or two to load; please be patient.