Rowe Gilruth was born on Oct. 8, 1913, in Nashwauk, Minn.
Gilruth attended the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.,
receiving a bachelor's of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering
in 1935, and a master's of Science in Aeronautical Engineering
Gilruth's outside interests are primarily concerned with boating.
He designed and built the first successful sailing hydrofoil
system and has participated in various hydrofoil projects. He
completed a 52-foot multihull sailboat, which he designed and
built in his spare time. The boat was started in December 1963,
and it was estimated would take at least 10 years. The "Outrigger"
was launched in November 1973.
Gilruth's entire professional career has been in Government
service. He joined the Langley Memorial Aeronautical 'Laboratory
of the NACA after graduation from the University of Minnesota,
and began his career in flight research, his principal work
being in the field of stability, control and handling qualities
Dr. Gilruth was assigned the job of organizing a research group
and constructing a facility for conducting free-flight experiments
with rocket-powered models for investigating flight of transonic-
and supersonic-speed range. This activity resulted in the development
of the NACA Pilotless Aircraft Research Division, which later
grew into the NASA-Wallops Island launching site.
Dr. Gilruth was appointed assistant director of the Langley
Laboratory with the responsibility for directing research efforts
in hypersonic aerodynamics at the Wallops Island Station and
research in high-temperature structures and dynamic loads at
the Langley Laboratory.
1958, Dr. Gilruth became the director of the Space Task Group
at Langley Field, Va., the organization responsible for the
design, development and flight operations of Project Mercury,
this country's first manned space flight program.
Dr. Gilruth became the director of the Manned Spacecraft Center,
and served in this capacity until January 1972. This organization
was responsible for development of spacecraft for manned flight,
for flight crew selection and training, and for the conduct
of space flight missions.
1972, Dr. Gilruth took on a new position with the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration as director of Key Personnel Development,
reporting to the deputy administrator in Washington, D.C. In
this capacity, he had responsibility for identifying near and
longer range potential candidates for key jobs in the Agency
and for creating plans and procedures which would aid in the
development of these candidates.
1973, Dr. Gilruth retired from NASA and, in January 1974, was
appointed a Consultant to the Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration.
1974, Dr. Gilruth was appointed to the Board of Directors of
Bunker Ramo Corporation, Oak Brook, Ill. He was also appointed
a member of the National Academy of Engineering Aeronautics
and Space Engineering Board, and asked to serve as a member
of the Houston Chamber of Commerce Energy Task Force.
Gilruth is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
He is also an Honorary Fellow in the American institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics; a Fellow in the American Astronautical Society;
an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society; and a
member of the International Academy of Astronautics.
1974, Dr. Gilruth was elected a member of the National Academy
ACTIVITIES, HONORS AND AWARDS
his career, Dr. Gilruth has received many honors from aeronautical
and rocket research societies and from universities. Among these
Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Science from the University of
Minnesota, the Indiana Institute of Technology and the George
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering from the Michigan Technological
Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the New Mexico State University
J. Collier Trophy of the National Aeronautical Association and
National Aviation Club, for the greatest achievement in aeronautics
or astronautics, May 1972.
has received the following special honors:
Albert Reed Award from the Institute of Aerospace Sciences,
Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota, October
of the National Rocket Club, 1960
of the American Astronautical Society, December 1961
W. Hill Space Transportation Award for 1962
Distinguished Service Medal in February 1962, following John
Glenn's orbital flight in Project Mercury
of Honor of the City of New York, March 1962
Memorial Trophy of the National Rocket Club, March 1962
Chamber of Commerce Great Living American Award, April 1962
Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service , August 1962
Fellow of the Institute of Aerosoace Sciences, January 1963
of St. Louis Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers,
Award by the China Burma-India Veterans Association, August
Member of the Aerospace Medical Association, April 1966
of the Houston Philosophical Society, April 1966
and Florence Guggenheim International Astronautics Award of
the International Academy of Astronautics, October 1966
Group Achievement Award to the Gemini Support Team, MSC, November
Space Flight Award by the American Astronautical Society, May
Distinguished Service Medal in January 1969, and also in October
1969, following the first flight to orbit the Moon and following
the first lunar landing -- after Apollo 8 and Apollo 11.
of first 10 selected and installed in the National Space Hall
of Fame, September 1969
Public Service "At Large" Award, December 1969
Society of Mechanical Engineers Medal, December 1970
Watt International Medal, Institution of Mechanical Engineers,
Aviation Club Award for Achievement, 1971
Gilruth has participated on many scientific advisory committees
for the military services and NASA during his career. Among
Planning Consultants to Committee on Guided Missiles,
Research and Development Board, later called Technical Evaluation
Survey Board, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Department
of the Navy
Force Scientific Advisory Board to the Chief of Staff, 1952-1957
on Aircraft Construction for the NACA, 1952-1957
Technical Capability Panel of the President's Scientific Advisory
Missile Defense Committee of the Chief of Staff, United States
Air Force, 1955
of Study Group for Department of Transportation of the San Francisco
Bay Area Rapid Transit automatic train control system, 1973-1974
Space Systems Committee of the NASA Space Advisory Council,
1972 - Present
Management Development Education Panel, NASA, 1972-1973
ad hoc Committee on Fire Safety Aspects of Polymeric Materials
of the National Materials Advisory Board (National Research
Council, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of
ASEB ad hoc Committee on Venus-Pioneer Program Costs, 1973-Present
5, 1976, Dr. Gilruth was one of 35 space pioneers inducted into
the International Hall of Fame during the dedication of the
new facility at Alamogordo, N.M.
Gilruth retired from NASA on Jan. 26, 1983.