Physicist, X-15 Pilot To Be Honored In August Ceremony
Air Force Space Command officials
have announced the 2007 Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers are
retired Gen. Lew Allen Jr. and retired Maj. Gen. Joe H. Engle. They
will be honored at an award ceremony and a hall of fame induction
luncheon at Colorado's Peterson Air Force Base on August 8.
General Allen, a former Air Force chief of staff, is a West
Point graduate who later served as a physicist in the test division
of the US Atomic Energy Commission's Los Alamos Scientific
Laboratory. Among his noteworthy projects was the determination of
radiation effects on the photographic film used in orbiting Corona
During the 1960s, he performed high-level staff work involving
some of the nation's most sensitive classified space projects, and
later became director of the National Security Agency.
In July 1978, General Allen was named the 10th chief of staff of
the Air Force. Before retiring from active duty in 1982, he oversaw
the approval process for establishment of Space Command, which
later became Air Force Space Command.
Following his retirement from the Air Force, General Allen
became the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory National
Aeronautics and Space Administration center in Pasadena, CA and
remained in that position until 1990.
General Engle was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC
program at the University of Kansas and entered flight school in
1957. He entered the history books June 29, 1965 when he flew the
X-15 experimental aircraft to an altitude of 280,600 feet, becoming
the youngest person -- at age 32 -- ever to qualify officially as
an astronaut, and one of only eight men to qualify for astronaut
wings by flying an "airplane" into space.
By the time he retired from Air Force active duty and as an
astronaut in November 1986, then Colonel Engle had accumulated 224
hours in space and held the unique distinction of being the only
person to have flown two entirely different winged space vehicles:
the X-15 and the space shuttle.
Before retiring from the Air National Guard, Engle achieved the
rank of major general. From the 1990s onward, he served as an
aerospace-engineering consultant and simulation-evaluation pilot
for space shuttle modifications and other advanced, piloted reentry
(Aero-News salutes Tech. Sgt. Kate Rust, Air Force Space
Command Public Affairs)