Who was Eilene Galloway?

Doctor Eilene Galloway (May 4, 1906 – May 2, 2009), nicknamed “the Great lady of space”, is a founding member of NASA and has worked for the creation of space law. She has made international space cooperation her spearhead. She has been recognized by her peers as one of the greatest experts in this field.

Dr. Eilene Galloway was born on May 4, 1906 in Kansas City, Missouri. Her father joined the Marines in 1915, and her mother raised her alone. In 1923, Eilene graduated from Westport High School in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was twice captain of the “discussion team”. She later attended Washington University in St. Louis, and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and moved to the District of Columbia with her husband, George Barnes Galloway, in 1931.

During the Great Depression, Eilene worked for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. She wrote an adult education guide first distributed in almost two thousand copies. After pressuring the publisher (The Washington Post), the guide was printed in greater numbers, allowing a better distribution which allowed the sale of nearly two hundred thousand copies.

Eilene Galloway began her career with the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress in 1941. From there, she thought, researched, and wrote on many topics for the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, such as an essay on “Guided Missiles in Foreign Countries” in 1957. Her career then took a different turn when the United States Senate asked her to write a report on the launch of Sputnik 1 (Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957), and its impact on the United States of America.

Eilene Galloway was sole responsible for the section on international cooperation of the National Aeronautics and Space Act; signed by U.S.A. President Dwight Eisenhower on July 29, 1958. The section was written as follows: “The Administration, under the foreign policy guidance of the President, may engage in a program of international cooperation in work done pursuant to this Act, and in the peaceful application of the results thereof, pursuant to agreements made by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate”. This text gave birth to the American space agency; she was also responsible for the change of meaning of NASA, which became “National Aeronautics and Space Administration”.

In the 1960s, Eilene Galloway represented the United States of America in the drafting of treaties governing the exploration and use of outer space, thus contributing to the launch of the field of International Space Law. “The Great lady of space” has worked for several decades in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and has also been invested in the establishment of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), an independent non-governmental organisation dedicated to fostering the development of space law. She was vice-president of the Institute between 1967 and 1979, later becoming the honorary director of the Institute. She received the Andrew Haley Gold Medal in 1968, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from IISL in 1990.

Eilene Galloway received a NASA Public Service Award in 1984 “for outstanding achievements as a Congressional Adviser on the Legal and Technical Aspects of Outer Space and for Services Provided to the United Nations and to other international organizations with a view to contributing to the creation of a rational basis for the international space”. In 1987, she was the first recipient of the Women in Aerospace Award of Excellence for all of her accomplishments.

In 1999, Eilene Galloway received the flag and crew emblems of the International Space Station, “in appreciation for serving the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the nation as a member of the Advisory Committee on the International Space Station, and for the invaluable contribution in making the dream a reality”. On its behalf, the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) has created the Eilene Galloway Award for Best Written Submission to the Manfred Lachs Space Law Advocacy Competition from 2000 and, since 2006, to the Eilene Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues of space law.

In March 2009, Eilene Galloway wrote an article entitled Space Law for a Moon-Mars Program, published in Space News. Her vision of the law of space is strong and interesting, because it shows that space ambitions do not diminish over time and far from it, increase. It shows that international cooperation on the law of space is one of the most important things to get back to the Moon or go to Mars. Eilene Galloway worked at IISL until her death; the President Emeritus of the Society, Isabella Diederiks-Verschoor paid her last tribute: “She has lived a life of distinguished service in the United States of America and the world of space, and has been a source of inspiration for all of us and above all, a reliable friend”.

I first met Eilene Galloway when I was just beginning my work on space law. She graciously welcomed me into her home and we talked for a very long time. I was impressed by how genuine she was and that she, who had accomplished so much, was willing to spend time with a novice in the field. My condolences to Jonathan and to the rest of your family” – Colleen M. Driscoll, The Kurtz Institute of Peacemaking.

Dr. Galloway’s contribution to international law, and international space law in particular, has been a remarkable achievement. Her fruitful and dedicated work in this area, as well as training and encouraging of young professionals, earned her world-wide recognition and respect from specialists all over the world. Her presence will be sorely missed” – Mazlan Othman, The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

I offer my warmest condolences to all of Eilene Galloway’s family. She has been and will always remain a doctrinal beacon for me as for many jurists. Reading her thoughts and her efforts to develop space law was for me a remarkable example. Because her ideas will continue to live and grow, Eilene Galloway does not really leave us” – Mireille Couston.