ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — Paul Haney, who was known as the "voice of NASA's Mission Control" for his live televised reports during the early years of the space program, has died of cancer. He was 80.
Mr. Haney died Thursday (May 28, 2009) at a nursing home. Kent House, owner of the Alamogordo Funeral Home, confirmed that Mr. Haney died of complications from melanoma cancer, which spread to his brain and was untreatable.
Mr. Haney became NASA's information officer in 1958, three months after the space agency was formed, and went on to manage information from the Gemini and Apollo flight programs. He pioneered a real-time system of reporting events as they happened in the first manned flight program, Project Mercury.
George House, curator of the New Mexico Museum of Space History, said Mr. Haney helped work on the museum's oral history program. He also conducted tours of the museum and worked with the museum foundation.
Mr. Haney became the public affairs officer for the Office of Manned Space Flight in 1962 and moved to Houston to work in what became the Johnson Space Center. During his time there, he worked in the Mission Control Center, where he broadcast live to television viewers nationwide and media covering the launches and became known as the "voice of NASA's Mission Control."
Mr. Haney retired from NASA in 1969 after the Apollo 9 mission, and he worked in London for Independent Television News and The Economist.
The New Mexico Museum of Space History's Web site said Mr. Haney "set the standard for all subsequent NASA information efforts."
Mr. Haney was born in 1928 in Akron, Ohio, and earned a journalism degree from Kent State University in 1945. While in college, Mr. Haney worked nights for the Associated Press.
He also worked at newspapers in Erie, Pa.; Memphis, Tenn.; Charleston, S.C.; St. Petersburg; Houston and El Paso, Texas; and at the Evening Star in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Haney served in the Navy for two years during the Korean War.
He is survived by his wife, Jan; two daughters from a previous marriage; a stepson; a sister and seven grandchildren.