David Lukens Reasoner (1941–1992)



David Lukens Reasoner, former head of NASA's Ionospheric Physics branch, died on April 21, 1992. Reasoner was born July 1, 1941. He worked tirelessly to expand NASA's Space Physics Division, bringing his deep experience and personal expertise to bear on the challenges of growth.

During the magical period of the late 1950s and early 1960s when America turned its eyes toward space and the Moon, David Lukens Reasoner journeyed north from the nearby Texas town of Dickinson to Rice University with an idea of getting involved in exploring the frontiers of space. He pursued a course of study in electrical engineering and received a bachelor's degree in 1963 and a master's degree in 1964. In the early 1960s, the Space Science Department at Rice was formed, and President John Kennedy visited to say that America chose to go to space not because it is easy but because it is hard and because it would require the very best talents of our nation to succeed. Dave Reasoner was one of those talented people. His excellence in electrical engineering and physics, combined with his natural abilities in the laboratory, suited him ideally for building the machines of space. As a student, he built sounding rocket payloads and multiple instruments for satellites and experiment packages that were placed on the Moon by the Apollo astronauts. He completed his doctoral degree in space science in 1968. It was in these early thrilling days of space exploration that I first met Dave, beginning a friendship and collegial relationship that was to last 27 years.