Science and Technology News

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Air Force Space and Missile Pioneer: Dr. Simon Ramo


As we celebrate Air Force Space Command's 30th Anniversary we recognize individuals who played a significant role in the history of the Air Force space and missile programs - our Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers ...

Dr. Simon Ramo, who was inducted in 1989, first attained world recognition as a pioneer in microwave technology when he developed GE's electron microscope. After he left GE, Ramo worked for Howard Hughes where his efforts helped Hughes receive initial contracts from the Air Force for advanced military electronics and for R&D of guided-missiles.

Ramo eventually left Hughes and began working under contract to provide science and engineering analysis to a Defense Department strategic-missile planning effort. While there, became a member of the "Strategic Missile Evaluation Committee" which provided overall guidance for the USAF's ballistic missile effort. His influence resulted in the Air Force's project to develop the ballistic missile; a crash program about twice as big and complex as the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. Because of his influence the US not only beat the Soviets in the race to set up the first operational ICBM force, but also was remarkably free of major cost overruns, schedule slippages, and waste. Simon Ramo's effective leadership forged the essential cooperation between the Air Force and industry necessary to begin the nation's military space program. He helped the United States become the world's leader in space technology and its applications.

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