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Space pioneer receives honor for role in space technology
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - Technical Sgt. Jill Rodriguez, 24th Air Force non-commissioned officer in charge of deployment operations, held the portrait after it was unveiled for Col. (Dr.) Francis X. Kane, president of San Antonio's Schriever Institute, to see the permanent representation of himself to be hung in the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame located at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., in a ceremony March 2 here. The ceremony was conducted by 24th Air Force on behalf of Air Force Space Command in Colonel Kane's hometown of San Antonio. The colonel is the fiftieth inductee to the Hall of Fame for his lifetime contributions to the Air Force Space Program, including leadership of the program to develop a navigation satellite system that would eventually become GPS. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Theodore Koniares)
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Col. (Dr.) Francis X. Kane is 50th inductee into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame

Posted 3/5/2010   Updated 3/10/2010 Email story   Print story


24th Air Force Public Affairs

3/5/2010 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A leader in the development of GPS was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame March 2, 2010. Col. (Dr.) Francis X. Kane, a San Antonio resident since 1984, became the fiftieth inductee into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame for his lifetime contributions to the Air Force Space Program.

In a ceremony at the Kelly Club on the Lackland AFB Kelly Annex, San Antonio, Texas,
Colonel Kane, accompanied by his wife Virginia, accepted the honor from Maj. Gen. Richard Webber, 24th Air Force commander who officiated the ceremony.

More than 150 family and guests watched as the general unveiled a portrait of Colonel Kane that will hang in the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame at Peterson AFB, Colo.

"When I was the commander of the 50th Space Wing responsible for satellite operations, no one could answer my questions about why our satellites are in the orbital patterns they are in, what the significance of the numbers are, or why they are at the altitude they fly," said General Webber, who conducted the ceremony on behalf of Gen. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander. "Doctor Kane answered all those questions for me, and more. Doctor Kane is the real deal, and has influenced life as we know it, not only in military operations but in all areas of life."

Colonel Kane was a pioneer in the development of a wide range of space programs and systems. As the Air Force Systems Command chief for space and ballistic missile planning under Gen. Bernard Schriever, Colonel Kane was a principal leader in Project Forecast, the highly classified study during 1963-64 that contemplated USAF air, missile and space requirements for the strategic environment of 1975. Hypersonic flight was one of the many future-changing concepts that came from that effort. As program manager for the nascent Air Force navigation satellite program during the late 1960s, his leadership contributed significantly to the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System that emerged after his retirement.

"The word is creativity," said Colonel Kane in his acceptance speech, "The Air Force has always been a leader in creativity. That creativity is how the service has maintained its superiority and security."

Colonel Kane completed his acceptance speech with thanks to his wife of 63 years, Virginia, a native of San Antonio. His daughter, Dr. Kathleen Dove, rounded out the ceremony with a speech about the inspiration that her father has been to so many.

Colonel Kane graduated from West Point in January 1943, having completed pilot training on the West Coast and received his wings the previous month. After being trained at Randolph Field as an Instructor Pilot, he taught French, Dutch, English, Brazilians, and American pilots in World War II, flying P-40s and P-47s. He served as assistant air attaché in the U.S. Embassy, Paris, and then earned both his master's degree and doctorate from Georgetown University while assigned to the Pentagon. He has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Catholic University of America, and Pepperdine College.

Colonel Kane retired from active duty in 1970 and continued to influence national strategy, policy and technology programs from the 1970s to today. Colonel Kane is the president of the Schriever Institute in San Antonio, a non-profit educational foundation dedicated to expanding the leading role of the US among space faring nations.

The Air Force Space Pioneers Award was first given under the sponsorship of the National Space Club in Washington D.C., which in 1989 honored 10 key military and civilian leaders in the Air Force space program. In 1997, the program was revitalized and established as an official Air Force award under Air Force Space Command. It was renamed the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Award and was first presented in 1997 during the Air Force's 50th anniversary celebrations.

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