Topic: Aviation/aerospace biography project

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Alberto Santos-Dumont

Biography Aviation France Biography/science and academia Brazil Aviation/aerospace biography project Brazil/Education and Science in Brazil

Alberto Santos-Dumont (Brazilian Portuguese: [awˈbɛɾtu ˈsɐ̃tus duˈmõ]; 20 July 1873 – 23 July 1932) was a Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer, one of the very few people to have contributed significantly to the development of both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air aircraft.

The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos-Dumont dedicated himself to aeronautical study and experimentation in Paris, where he spent most of his adult life. In his early career he designed, built, and flew hot air balloons and early dirigibles, culminating in his winning the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on 19 October 1901 for a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower. He then turned to heavier-than-air machines, and on 23 October 1906 his 14-bis made the first powered heavier-than-air flight in Europe to be certified by the Aéro-Club de France and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. His conviction that aviation would usher in an era of worldwide peace and prosperity led him to freely publish his designs and forego patenting his various innovations.

Santos-Dumont is a national hero in Brazil, where it is popularly held that he preceded the Wright brothers in demonstrating a practical airplane. Countless roads, plazas, schools, monuments, and airports there are dedicated to him, and his name is inscribed on the Tancredo Neves Pantheon of the Fatherland and Freedom. He was a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters from 1931 until his suicide in 1932.

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The inventor of the SR-71's rules for project management

Biography Espionage Aviation Physics Systems Biography/science and academia Aviation/aerospace biography project Physics/Biographies Physics/Fluid Dynamics Systems/Systems engineering Pritzker Military Library

Clarence Leonard "Kelly" Johnson (February 27, 1910 – December 21, 1990) was an American aeronautical and systems engineer. He is recognized for his contributions to a series of important aircraft designs, most notably the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird. Besides the first production aircraft to exceed Mach 3, he also produced the first fighter capable of Mach 2, the United States' first operational jet fighter, as well as the first fighter to exceed 400 mph, and many other contributions to various aircraft. As a member and first team leader of the Lockheed Skunk Works, Johnson worked for more than four decades and is said to have been an "organizing genius". He played a leading role in the design of over forty aircraft, including several honored with the prestigious Collier Trophy, acquiring a reputation as one of the most talented and prolific aircraft design engineers in the history of aviation. In 2003, as part of its commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flight, Aviation Week & Space Technology ranked Johnson eighth on its list of the top 100 "most important, most interesting, and most influential people" in the first century of aerospace. Hall Hibbard, Johnson's Lockheed boss, referring to Johnson's Swedish ancestry, once remarked to Ben Rich: "That damned Swede can actually see air."

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Happy Petrov day

Biography Aviation Soviet Union Military history Military history/Military biography Aviation/aerospace biography project Cold War Military history/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history Aviation/Soviet aviation

Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (Russian: Станисла́в Евгра́фович Петро́в; 7 September 1939 – 19 May 2017) was a lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces who played a key role in the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident. On 26 September 1983, three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile had been launched from the United States, followed by up to five more. Petrov judged the reports to be a false alarm, and his decision to disobey orders, against Soviet military protocol, is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in large-scale nuclear war. Investigation later confirmed that the Soviet satellite warning system had indeed malfunctioned.

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April 12, 1961: First man in space

Biography Aviation Soviet Union Russia Russia/technology and engineering in Russia Spaceflight Military history Military history/Military aviation Biography/science and academia Military history/Military biography Biography/military biography Aviation/aerospace biography project Military history/Cold War Biography/sports and games Russia/Russian, Soviet, and CIS military history Military history/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history Russia/history of Russia

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin  (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet Air Forces pilot and cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space, achieving a major milestone in the Space Race; his capsule Vostok 1 completed one orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation's highest honour.

Born in the village of Klushino near Gzhatsk (a town later renamed after him), in his youth Gagarin was a foundryman at a steel plant in Lyubertsy. He later joined the Soviet Air Forces as a pilot and was stationed at the Luostari Air Base, near the Norwegian border, before his selection for the Soviet space programme with five other cosmonauts. Following his spaceflight, Gagarin became deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre, which was later named after him. He was also elected as a deputy of the Soviet of the Union in 1962 and then to the Soviet of Nationalities, respectively the lower and upper chambers of the Supreme Soviet.

Vostok 1 was Gagarin's only spaceflight but he served as the backup crew to the Soyuz 1 mission, which ended in a fatal crash, killing his friend and fellow cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. Fearing for his life, Soviet officials permanently banned Gagarin from further spaceflights. After completing training at the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy on 17 February 1968, he was allowed to fly regular aircraft. Gagarin died five weeks later when the MiG-15 training jet he was piloting with his flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin crashed near the town of Kirzhach.

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50th anniversary of the first human space flight

Biography Aviation Soviet Union Russia Russia/technology and engineering in Russia Spaceflight Military history Military history/Military aviation Biography/science and academia Military history/Military biography Biography/military biography Aviation/aerospace biography project Military history/Cold War Biography/sports and games Russia/Russian, Soviet, and CIS military history Military history/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history Russia/history of Russia

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin  (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet Air Forces pilot and cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space, achieving a major milestone in the Space Race; his capsule Vostok 1 completed one orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation's highest honour.

Born in the village of Klushino near Gzhatsk (a town later renamed after him), in his youth Gagarin was a foundryman at a steel plant in Lyubertsy. He later joined the Soviet Air Forces as a pilot and was stationed at the Luostari Air Base, near the Norwegian border, before his selection for the Soviet space programme with five other cosmonauts. Following his spaceflight, Gagarin became deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre, which was later named after him. He was also elected as a deputy of the Soviet of the Union in 1962 and then to the Soviet of Nationalities, respectively the lower and upper chambers of the Supreme Soviet.

Vostok 1 was Gagarin's only spaceflight but he served as the backup crew to the Soyuz 1 mission, which ended in a fatal crash, killing his friend and fellow cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. Fearing for his life, Soviet officials permanently banned Gagarin from further spaceflights. After completing training at the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy on 17 February 1968, he was allowed to fly regular aircraft. Gagarin died five weeks later when the MiG-15 training jet he was piloting with his flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin crashed near the town of Kirzhach.

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Soviet Pilot Escapes from POW Camp by Stealing a German Bomber and Flying Home

Biography Aviation Russia Military history Military history/Military aviation Military history/Military biography Aviation/aerospace biography project Military history/World War II Russia/Russian, Soviet, and CIS military history Military history/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history Russia/history of Russia Aviation/Soviet aviation

Mikhail Petrovich Devyatayev (Russian: Михаил Петрович Девятаев; Moksha/Erzya: Михаил Петрович Девятаев; 8 July 1917 – 24 November 2002) was a Soviet fighter pilot known for his incredible escape from a Nazi concentration camp on the island of Usedom, in the Baltic Sea.

“Jack” Parsons was an American rocket engineer, chemist, & Thelemite occultist

United States Biography California Aviation Spaceflight Military history Military history/North American military history Military history/United States military history Biography/science and academia Military history/Military biography Biography/military biography LGBT studies Aviation/aerospace biography project Chemistry Military history/World War II Military history/Cold War Libertarianism California/Southern California California/Los Angeles area Thelema Occult

John Whiteside Parsons (born Marvel Whiteside Parsons; October 2, 1914 – June 17, 1952) was an American rocket engineer, chemist, and Thelemite occultist. Associated with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Parsons was one of the principal founders of both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Aerojet Engineering Corporation. He invented the first rocket engine to use a castable, composite rocket propellant, and pioneered the advancement of both liquid-fuel and solid-fuel rockets.

Born in Los Angeles, Parsons was raised by a wealthy family on Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena. Inspired by science fiction literature, he developed an interest in rocketry in his childhood and in 1928 began amateur rocket experiments with school friend Edward S. Forman. He dropped out of Pasadena Junior College and Stanford University due to financial difficulties during the Great Depression, and in 1934 he united with Forman and graduate Frank Malina to form the Caltech-affiliated Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT) Rocket Research Group, supported by GALCIT chairman Theodore von Kármán. In 1939 the GALCIT Group gained funding from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to work on Jet-Assisted Take Off (JATO) for the U.S. military. After the U.S. entered World War II, they founded Aerojet in 1942 to develop and sell JATO technology; the GALCIT Group became JPL in 1943.

Following some brief involvement with Marxism in 1939, Parsons converted to Thelema, the new religious movement founded by the English occultist Aleister Crowley. Together with his first wife, Helen Northrup, Parsons joined the Agape Lodge, the Californian branch of the Thelemite Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in 1941. At Crowley's bidding, Parsons replaced Wilfred Talbot Smith as its leader in 1942 and ran the Lodge from his mansion on Orange Grove Boulevard. Parsons was expelled from JPL and Aerojet in 1944 owing to the Lodge's infamous reputation and to his hazardous workplace conduct.

In 1945, Parsons separated from Helen, after having an affair with her sister Sara; when Sara left him for L. Ron Hubbard, Parsons conducted the Babalon Working, a series of rituals intended to invoke the Thelemic goddess Babalon on Earth. He and Hubbard continued the working with Marjorie Cameron, whom Parsons married in 1946. After Hubbard and Sara defrauded him of his life savings, Parsons resigned from the O.T.O., then held various jobs while acting as a consultant for Israel's rocket program. Amid McCarthyism, Parsons was accused of espionage and left unable to work in rocketry. In 1952 Parsons died at the age of 37 in a home laboratory explosion that attracted national media attention; the police ruled it an accident, but many associates suspected suicide or murder.

Parsons's libertarian and occult writings were published posthumously. Historians of Western esoteric tradition cite him as one of the more prominent figures in propagating Thelema across North America. Although academic interest in his scientific career was negligible, historians have come to recognize Parsons's contributions to rocket engineering. For these innovations, his advocacy of space exploration and human spaceflight, and his role in founding JPL and Aerojet, Parsons is regarded as among the most important figures in the history of the U.S. space program. He has been the subject of several biographies and fictionalized portrayals.

Dick Smith (Entrepreneur)

Biography Aviation Australia Business Aviation/aerospace biography project Scouting

Richard Harold Smith (born 18 March 1944) is an Australian entrepreneur, aviator and philanthropist. He holds a number of aviation world records and is the founder of Dick Smith Electronics, Australian Geographic and Dick Smith Foods. He was selected as 1986 Australian of the Year. In 2010, he founded the media production company Smith&Nasht with the intention of producing films about global issues. In 2015, he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia. He is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

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D. B. Cooper

United States Biography Aviation Aviation/Aviation accident project Oregon Aviation/aerospace biography project United States/FBI Crime and Criminal Biography

D. B. Cooper is a media epithet used to refer to an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in United States airspace between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on the afternoon of November 24, 1971. He extorted $200,000 in ransom (equivalent to $1,278,000 in 2020) and parachuted to an uncertain fate over southwestern Washington. The man purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper but, because of a news miscommunication, became known in popular lore as D. B. Cooper.

The FBI maintained an active investigation for 45 years after the hijacking. Despite a case file that grew to over 60 volumes over that period, no definitive conclusions were reached regarding Cooper's true identity or fate. The crime remains the only unsolved air piracy in commercial aviation history.

Numerous theories of widely varying plausibility have been proposed over the years by investigators, reporters, and amateur enthusiasts. $5,880 of the ransom was found along the banks of the Columbia River in 1980, which triggered renewed interest but ultimately only deepened the mystery. The great majority of the ransom remains unrecovered.

The FBI officially suspended active investigation of the case in July 2016, but the agency continues to request that any physical evidence that might emerge related to the parachutes or the ransom money be submitted for analysis.

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