A Terre Haute native and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology graduate will be posthumously inducted this week into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Abe Silverstein was NASA’s first director of space flight programs and helped start the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs.
Rose-Hulman says President John F. Kennedy called on Silverstein for insight on how space exploration could capture the imagination of the American public. In response, he said U.S. astronauts could travel to the moon "by the end of the decade."
Silverstein led NASA’s space flight programs from 1958-1969. He is also known for promoting the use of liquid hydrogen as a rocket fuel through a study team known as "The Silverstein Committee."
He graduated from Rose-Hulman, then called Rose Polytechnic Institute, in 1929 and earned his master’s degree in 1934. He served on the school’s board of trustees from 1973-1991.
Silverstein will be honored Friday at the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio.