School 15

Stanley Irwin Weiss

October 27, 1925 ~ March 6, 2020 (age 94)


Stanley I. Weiss, who spent 50 years in industry, government, and academia exploring the possibilities of engineering died on March 6 in Tacoma, Washington. He was 94. Whether he was working on satellite programs at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company or analyzing systems at NASA in preparation for the first Space Shuttle launch, Stanley’s curiosity led him in search of innovative solutions to complex problems. Motivated by public service, he was committed to the development of people wherever he worked.

Stanley spent his early career in the Midwest where he developed and analyzed aircraft design at Goodyear Aircraft Corporation and the Aircraft Products Division at Kawneer Company. 

He moved to California in 1957 and began his long association with Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, where he started as product manager for the Polaris Missile project.

He held various positions over the years including assistant program manager and then development program manager for satellite reconnaissance programs; assistant general manager for special programs; and vice president, engineering and development.

Stanley interrupted his work at Lockheed to serve in the government from 1978 to1983, first as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Utility and Industrial Applications in the Department of Energy. He later worked at NASA as Associate Administrator for Space Transportation Operations and later as Chief Engineer, where he oversaw Spacelab development and Space Shuttle operational preparation. He received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1983.


He returned to Lockheed in 1987 as vice president of engineering and general manager of research and development, positions he held until his retirement in 1990.


After retiring from Lockheed, Stanley began a 20-year academic career dedicated to helping develop the next generation of engineers and forging connections between universities and industry. At MIT, he was Jerome C. Hunsaker Visiting Professor in Aeronautical Engineering and co-principal investigator for the Lean Aerospace program. Upon returning to the west coast he became a consulting professor at Stanford University in the Aeronautics and Astronautics department. During this time, he wrote Product and Systems Development: A Value Approach.  


Stanley Weiss was born in New York City on October 27, 1925. He was the son of Maurice Weiss, a lawyer, and Malvina (Toffler) Weiss. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, New York with B.S (1945) and M.S. (1947) degrees in aeronautical engineering. He received a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana (1949) and is a graduate of Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program (1969). His military service was with the Navy.

While traveling in Europe, he met his wife, Catherine Jordan to whom he was married for 68 years. Along with his wife, he is survived by his four daughters (Ann, Audrey, Janet, Marion), four grandchildren (David, Andrew, Laura, Lindsey), and one great-grandchild (Dalton).

Stanley participated in a variety of government panels and advisory committees. He was a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Institute of Aeronautics, and Astronautics (AIAA), and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). 

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Graveside Service
March 14, 2020

11:00 AM
Haven of Rest Memorial Park
8503 Hwy 16 NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

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