Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Abe Silverstein

  • Became Chief of the Engine Installation Division and the wind tunnel’s research program at the NACA Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in 1943.
  • Directed research in the propulsion aerodynamics of both reciprocating and early turbojet aircraft engines, resulting in major improvements to the performance of military aircraft.
  • Joined the NACA High-Speed Panel in 1944 and advocated building a supersonic wind tunnel in Cleveland. He was responsible for the conception, design, and construction of the nation’s first supersonic propulsion wind tunnel
  • Appointed Associate Director of the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in 1952.
  • Helped plan the organization and programs of NASA, then named the organization’s Director of Space Flight Programs.
  • Was integral to planning and directing the nation’s satellite programs and its first manned space flight missions. He named both Project Mercury and the Apollo program.
  • Served as acting director of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
  • Chaired the seven-man “Saturn Vehicle Evaluation Committee,” known unofficially as the Silverstein Committee, in 1959. This would be the first practical application of the liquid hydrogen engine, named Centaur.
  • Aided in the Centaur program which would send the Surveyor to the Moon, the Viking to Mars, the Pioneer to Jupiter and Saturn, and Voyager to Uranus and Neptune.
  • Recognized by his peers and astronauts as “the architect of America’s space program.”

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