Space pioneer & author Fred Ordway dies at 87

Fred Ordway (R) with Adam Johnson (L), author of “2001: The Lost Science.” (Photo: U.S. Space & Rocket Center)

Fred Ordway (R) with Adam Johnson (L), author of “2001: The Lost Science.” (Photo: U.S. Space & Rocket Center)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Frederick Ordway III, a world-renowned space scientist and author, passed away Tuesday at the age of 87.

Ordway is best known for his work as a technical adviser on the film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” He is also noted for his work with Dr. Wernher von Braun on the Apollo program at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

Ordway was the author of more than 30 books and contributed to more than 300 scientific articles. His most recent venture involved working with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, on an exhibit based on “2001: A Space Odyssey” that is scheduled to open in 2015.

“It was a project Fred was really excited about,” said Jennifer Crozier, Director of Exhibits at the Center. Ordway continued to speak about his role in the film, most recently in Nashville, Tenn., in February 2014, and at the Space & Rocket Center in April.

Aliette Marisol Lambert, Ordway’s daughter, said her father never lost his love for space. “That was his goal in life. It was to help people keep the love of space alive; getting to the moon was his stepping stone to getting to Mars. He wants to go to Mars and beyond,” Lambert said.

“His No. 1 goal was for the world to keeps its eyes on the universe,” Lambert said. “If everyone could live by his rules of life, we would have no wars, no hatred. He was the most positive, happy, caring and loving man in the universe.”

Ordway’s interest in space was life-long. He was the longest-serving member of the American Rocket Society, joining in 1939 as its youngest member ever.

“Fred was a bon-vivant in the best sense; he brought everyone along into his world,” Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO & Executive Director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, said of Ordway. “He was a friend of many magical friends, scientists, writers, producers, global thinkers and all space enthusiasts. He was one of the Rocket Center’s best friends, and we will always cherish his life and work. He devoted a lifetime to encouraging forward thinking and the advancement of civilization and knowledge. There is no greater gift.”

At the request of the Ordway family, donations in Fred Ordway’s memory may be made to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation to support the 2001 Space Odyssey Exhibit.

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