The veteran NBC space journalist Jay Barbree died on Friday at the age of 87 in Florida. The news was announced by his former employer NBC News. No cause of death has been mentioned.
The pioneering space journalist Jay Barbree began working with NBC in 1958 as space journalist, a year after covering NASA during the series of rocket failures. At NBC, Barbree covered and reported every non-commercial manned spaceflight in the US. He worked at the NBC for 61 years.
During his time at NBC, Jay covered every space mission from the US. He covered every event, from Freedom 9 till the last space shuttle mission in 2011. According to NBC, Barbree reported on 166 human spaceflight missions.
Even after suffering from a massive heart attack in 1987, which left him without a pulse for several minutes, Barbree still managed to report every space mission after the Challanger disaster. However, due to the postponement of the shuttle launches due to the said disaster, it gave time to Barbree to recover and take rest for seven months.
Barbree retired from NBC News in 2017. He has also written several books about NASA and on the subject of space. His works include “Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon” and “Live from Cape Canaveral: Covering the Space Race from Sputnik to Today.”
Above all, Barbree was here even before NASA, and saw the launch of Sputnik 1 satellite by the Soviet Union. Back then, He used to work for a small TV station in Albany, Georgia in 1957. Apparently, he was impressed and fascinated. He covered the launch of the first satellite and wrote for radio and TV reports. That is where his interest in space program developed, which went on to turn him into the prominent space journalist. Besides, he also contributed for non-fiction works around the subject of space such as “Destination Mars: In Art, Myth and Science” and “A Journey Through Time: Exploring the Universe with the Hubble Space Telescope”
Other than that, Barbree also worked for the TV show “Six Billion Dollar Man”. He wrote the novelization of an episode titled “Pilot Error”, based on Caidin’s novel “Cyborg”.
The space journalist and enthusiast is survived by his wife, Jo, who he married in 1960, two daughters and several grandchildren.