Robert Freitag had a long history of using his expertise to serve his country. Freitag was a retired Navy Captain and engineer who was a development manager of the Saturn space launch vehicle and worked on other manned flight programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
At NASA, where he worked from 1963 to 1986, Captain Freitag helped negotiate international agreements for space projects, including the Freedom station that is to be assembled in space. He also worked on the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo-Soyuz and Spacelab programs.
Captain Freitag was a native of Jackson, Michigan, and a graduate of Jackson Junior College and the University of Michigan. He received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1978, he received Jackson Community College’s Dr. Ethelene Jones Crockett Distinguished Service Award.
He was assigned to the Navy aeronautics bureau in Washington during World War II and was later chief of ship-launched missile design and production. His work there included the Regulus and Polaris missiles. He directed the Navy Astronautics Office before being assigned to NASA. He worked on the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo-Soyuz, and Spacelab programs.
His honors include a Legion of Merit and awards from the International Academy of Astronautics and American Institute of Aeronautics. He also was recognized as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Michigan and was a member of the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame.