Full name: Charles J. Donlan. Born 1916.

Donlan is a litte known, but important figure in early NASA history. He joined NASA's predeccesor, NACA in Langley, Virginia right out of MIT in 1938. In 1958, as Bob Gilruth's deputy, he was one of the founder members of the Space Task Group, which formed the nucleus of America's manned space program.

During the Mercury project, Donlan was largely responsible for the astronaut testing and selection, and so helped to catapult the Mercury Seven to fame.

After US President John F. Kennedy declared a lunar landing a national goal, Donlan pushed for an intermediate program between the Mercury project and the Apollo project, which would allow NASA to prove many important techniques needed for a lunar mission. This intermediate program became the Gemini project

Donlan also contributed to the Apollo project and from 1970 to 1973 he headed up the Space Shuttle project.

Donlan retired from NASA in 1976 and worked as a consultant on military uses of the Space Shuttle.

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