Rocketdyne: Powering Humans Into Space

Front Cover
AIAA, 2006 - Science - 274 pages
No one had written an overall history of Rocketdyne - the professional historians said there was not enough preserved documentation for them to write a proper history book - so I determined to visit key survivors of the glory days of Rocketdyne to record their memories, add my own insight as a member of the team, and preserve the history of how large liquid propellant rocket engines evolved at Rocketdyne and why the team was so successful. Robert S. Kraemer From the first American orbiting satellite, to Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin's historical walk on the Moon; virtually every major achievement in American Space history was made possible by a Rocketdyne engine. And, that record has stood true for over forty years, as today the Space Shuttle program continues to rely on engines designed and built by Rocketdyne, This book is the story behind that unprecedented accomplishment. It is the chronicle of success of one team of rocket pioneers who propelled the American space program from trailing the Soviet Union in the 1950s and early 1960s into today's position of leadership in space. It is a story of heroes and even a few villains, but mostly it is a story of triumphant success in the human venture into space. For the early history of rocketry up through the work of Dr Robert Goddard in the early 1940s, Kraemer referenced the history books of T.A. Heppenheimer and Frank Winter. The rest of the book is a chronicle of both the author's own memories and experiences as a member of the Rocketdyne team, as well as those of other key members of this elite group, including: Bill Brennan, George Sutton, Bill Cecka, Doug Hege, Bill Ezell, Tom Myers, John Tormey, Paul Castenholz, Sam Iacobellis, EdMonteath, Steve Domokos, Stan Gunn, Willy Wilhelm, Bob Biggs, Ted Benham, and Vince Wheelcok. This book is a true testament to the human spirit - and to a dedicated and determined team of aerospace engineers who launched a nation into Space.

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About the author (2006)

Kraemer began his engineering career in 1951, working for the renowned Rocketdyne division of North American Aviation. For his work during the 1970s as NASA's director of planetary programs, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the agency's highest award.

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