N6FJK - October 25, 2003

James J. 'Jack' Meehan
Santa Cruz, CA
Born 1919

Jack Meehan, N6FJK, SK: James J. "Jack" Meehan, N6FJK, of Santa Cruz, California, died October 25. He was 84. A native of Brooklyn, New York, and a self-taught engineer and a World War II pilot.

Meehan was a pioneer in the early days of the US missile and space program. In the late 1940s, he was involved in the design and testing of the navigation and control system for the secret Viking rocket project. The Viking was a precursor to the Vanguard, the rocket used in the initial attempt to launch America's first satellite in 1957. (The first US satellite, Explorer I, was launched in January 1958 using a Jupiter-C vehicle.) He went on to work on satellite testing for Lockheed-Martin.

He also served as a civil servant and elected official in Santa Cruz. "Throughout his life he compiled an extraordinary record of devotion to his family, his community and our nation," said US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who had met Meehan in the mid-1990s. Two sons and a daughter are among his survivors.