Science and Technology News

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

AFSPC Space and Missile Pioneers - Major General Osmond J. Ritland & Col Edward N. Hall

3/6/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- 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.....

This week we recognize Major General Osmond J. Ritland and Colonel Edward N. Hall

Major General Osmond J. Ritland 
organized the 4925th Test Group (Atomic), in 1950, which was responsible for development testing of all equipment needed to attain the Air Force's nuclear weapons capability. In 1954, he served as Chief, Atomic Energy Division, HQ USAF, where he supervised and coordinated all atomic energy matters involving Air Force nuclear programs.

Major General Bernard A. Schriever, had General Ritland handle the beginnings of the space effort. In 1956 he was responsible for the day to- day management of the organization and its ambitious Weapon System 117L satellite program, the forerunner of the entire Air Force space program. Following the launch of Sputnik in 1957, General Ritland helped the U.S. start a program to realize an operational photographic reconnaissance satellite employing a recoverable capsule in the spring of 1959.

Upon his retirement from the Air Force, NASA awarded him its Exceptional Service Medal for his contributions to the Mercury and Gemini Manned Space Flight Programs and the Air Force awarded General Ritland its first Distinguished Service Medal.

Read More About Maj Gen Ritland:

Colonel Edward N. Hall's introduction to missiles came near the end of WWII when he was assigned to acquire intelligence on Germany's wartime propulsion work. After the war, Hall participated in the development of solid and liquid rocket power plants at Wright-Patterson AFB.

In 1951, he was one of four people at Wright Air Development Center (WADC) who were instrumental in the initiation of Project MX-1593, the Atlas program. Later, Hall joined Western Development Division, where he was responsible for the programs leading to development of engines for the Atlas, Titan, and Thor missiles.

He next took advantage of a Navy request for DoD approval of a solid-propellant ballistic missile and obtained permission for the Air Force to undertake general work on such a capability. Hall directed the Weapon System 133A (Minuteman) program until the eve of the missile's first complete flight test.

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