Richard Schwartz, ME 1957

Richard Schwartz, ME 1957, is an aerospace engineer and executive who played a pioneering role in the development of Navstar GPS, the satellite-based navigation system.

After graduating from Cooper Union and earning an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1972, Schwartz began a 32-year career with Rockwell International.  He went on to lead development of rocket propulsion systems, the space shuttle Orbiter program, and the Saturn V program. From 1964 to 1973, Schwartz worked on development of the Saturn launch vehicle. 

He was named president of Rockwell International’s Rocketdyne in 1983 and remained in that position for six years, responsible for the company’s work as prime contractor on the space shuttle main engine.  In 1989 he became president of Hercules Aerospace Company, and from 1995 to 1999 was president and CEO of Alliant Techsystems.


Richard Schwartz received a NASA Public Service Award in 1972 and a NASA Certificate of Appreciation in 1973.  In 1998 he was named to the United States Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame for his innovations in GPS technology. Richard Schwartz served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Cooper Union and received the 2001 CUAA Alumnus of the Year Award.

Richard Schwartz received the 1990 CUAA Gano Dunn Award and was inducted into The Cooper Union Hall of Fame in 2009. Richard also received the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

Additional Links

The Creators of GPS just won the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Time Magazine, February 12, 2019. Link