The 2003 Class of Inductees
George Carruthers, 1939–, Far Electrograph Ultraviolet Camera. The Far Ultraviolet Camera and Spectrograph uses ultraviolet light to study Earth's upper atmosphere, stars, and interstellar space. It went to the Moon on the Apollo 16 lunar mission in 1972, and produced about 200 photos revealing new features of Earth's far-outer atmosphere.
Frank Cepollina, 1936–, Satellite Servicing Techniques. In 1970 Frank Cepollina led the effort to develop NASA's first spacecraft to be repaired in space. In 1993, he led the historic repair of the Hubble Space Telescope, which restored Hubble's vision. He also led three additional repair missions in 1997, 1999, and 2002.
Glenn Curtiss, 1878–1930, Hydroaeroplane. In Jan. 1911, Curtiss successfully flew from water to land and from land to water. He generated over 70 patents during his lifetime, including designs for dirigibles, airplanes, flying boats, and the aileron, which is a device for maintaining the lateral balance of airplanes. He founded the first company created specifically for manufacturing airplanes.
Maxime Faget, 1921–, Space Capsule Design. Max Faget conceptualized and designed the first space capsule, the Mercury Capsule, the Apollo command and service modules, and contributed to the space shuttle. His design allowed for the spacecraft to slow down in the upper part of the atmosphere, causing less friction and G-force.
Leroy Grumman, 1895–1982, Retractable Landing Gear; Folding Wing. In 1929, Grumman designed an aircraft featuring retractable landing gear. He went on to design several of the outstanding warplanes of World War II, including the Wildcat (which featured a unique folding wing), the Avenger, and the Hellcat.
Charles Kaman, 1919–, Rotor Control Mechanism for Rotary Aircraft. In 1947, Kaman revolutionized helicopter safety and stability with his aerodynamic “servo-controlled flaps,” which could automatically adjust to provide stability. He also introduced the first helicopter powered by a gas turbine, the first twin-turbine helicopter, and the first remote controlled helicopter.
Paul Kollsman, 1900–1982, Altimeter. Prior to 1928, there was no reliable or accurate way for airplane pilots to know how far above the ground they were. The barometric altimeter, accurate within 20 feet, measured altitude by assessing barometric pressure and enabled pilots to fly “blind.”
Edwin A. Link, 1904–1981, Link Trainer/Simulator. While working in his father's piano and organ factory, Link was inspired to use organ parts and compressed air to build the first flight simulator. During World War II, the Link Trainer, called “The Blue Box,” was essential in training U.S. and Allied pilots.
Thomas Midgley, Jr., 1889–1944, Ethyl Gasoline. Knock was a destructive phenomenon that occurred in internal combustion engines and only became worse at high engine-compression ratios. In Dec. 1921, Midgley ran an engine test with a small amount of tetraethyl lead added to the fuel, completely eliminating knock.
John Northrop, 1895–1981, Flying Wing Plane; All-Metal High-Wing Monocoque Airplane. Northrup came up with the “Flying Wing” in the 1940's, although the bomber did not reach production until the 1990s in the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. Northrop created more than 48 different aircraft throughout his career including the Vega, a one-engine plane with an all-metal molded monocoque (single-shell fuselage) and internal-braced wing.
John Pierce, 1910–2002, Communications Satellite. In 1936, Pierce joined Bell Telephone Laboratories and helped develop the traveling wave tube, an amplifier that facilitates satellite communication. In 1962 the first commercial communications satellite, Telstar 1, was launched into low-orbit and transmitted the first live television signals across the Atlantic.
Harold Rosen, 1926–, Spin Stabilized Synchronous Communications Satellite. With Don Williams and Tom Hudspeth, Rosen developed the first 24-hour communications satellite, enabling efficient international telephone communication and real-time television transmission.
Theodore von Kármán, 1881–1963, Turbo Jet. Theodore von Kármán observed the presence of eddies (counter-rotating currents) in the wake of a moving object, leading to the Kármán Vortex Trail, a scientific snapshot of the structure of a wake behind a moving body under certain conditions. Von Kármán's work paved the way for the development of supersonic jets, rockets, and guided missiles.
Hans J. P. von Ohain, 1911–1998, Jet Engine 1939. Hans von Ohain was the first to design and build an operational jet engine. In August 1939, near Rostock, Germany, von Ohain's liquid-filled engine, the HeS-3B, was installed in the HE 178 airplane, and the first turbojet-powered aircraft took flight.
Richard Whitcomb, 1921–, Supercritical Wing. Whitcomb designed a new aircraft wing that increased the range, speed, and fuel efficiency of the jet. A uniquely shaped airfoil yielded weaker shock waves and created less drag for more efficiency.
Sir Frank Whittle, 1907–1996, Jet Engine 1941. Whittle developed a propellerless aircraft that made its maiden flight in England in 1941.
Sam Williams, 1921–, Small Fan-Jet Engine. In 1954, Williams and his team began developing small gas turbine engines for a variety of applications. He then moved on to design small turbojet engines for target and reconnaissance drones, patenting the small fan-jet engine in 1968.