Famous Aerospace Engineers from the United States

List of notable or famous aerospace engineers from the United States, with bios and photos, including the top aerospace engineers born in the United States and even some popular aerospace engineers who immigrated to the United States. If you're trying to find out the names of famous American aerospace engineers then this list is the perfect resource for you. These aerospace engineers are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known aerospace engineer from the United States is included when available.

The list you're viewing has a variety of people, like Samuel Pierpont Langley and Glenn Curtiss, in it.

This historic aerospace engineers from the United States list can help answer the questions "Who are some American aerospace engineers of note?" and "Who are the most famous aerospace engineers from the United States?" These prominent aerospace engineers of the United States may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected American aerospace engineers.

Use this list of renowned American aerospace engineers to discover some new aerospace engineers that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
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  • Abe Silverstein
    Dec. at 92 (1908-2001)
    • Birthplace: Terre Haute, Indiana
    Abraham "Abe" Silverstein (September 15, 1908 – June 1, 2001) was an American engineer who played an important part in the United States space program. He was a longtime manager at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). He was instrumental in the planning of the Apollo, Ranger, Mariner, Surveyor, and Voyager missions, and named the Apollo program after the Greek and Roman God.
  • Adolf Busemann
    Dec. at 85 (1901-1986)
    • Birthplace: Lübeck, Germany
    Adolf Busemann (20 April 1901 – 3 November 1986) was a German aerospace engineer and influential Nazi-era pioneer in aerodynamics, specialising in supersonic airflows. He introduced the concept of swept wings, and after immigrating in 1947 to the United States (see Operation Paperclip) invented the shockwave free Busemann's Biplane. Born in Lübeck, Germany, Busemann attended the Technical University of Braunschweig, receiving his Ph.D. in engineering in 1924. The next year he was given the position of aeronautical research scientist at the Max-Planck Institute where he joined the famed team led by Ludwig Prandtl, including Theodore von Kármán, Max Munk and Jakob Ackeret. In 1930 he was promoted to professor at Georg-August University of Göttingen. He held various positions within the German scientific community during this period, and during the war he was the director of the Braunschweig Laboratory, a famous research establishment.Busemann discovered the benefits of the swept wing for aircraft at high speeds, presenting a paper on the topic at the Volta Conference in Rome in 1935. The paper concerned supersonic flow only. At the time of his proposal, flight much beyond 300 miles per hour had not been achieved and it was considered an academic curiosity. Nevertheless, he continued working with the concept, and by the end of the year had demonstrated similar benefits in the transonic region as well. As director of the Braunschweig labs, he started an experimental wind tunnel test series of the concept, and by 1942 had amassed a considerable amount of useful technical data. As the need for higher speed aircraft became pressing in Germany, the Messerschmitt Me P.1101 was developed to flight test these designs. When World War II ended, a team of American aerodynamists travelled to Germany as part of Operation Lusty. The team included von Kármán, Tsien Hsue-shen, Hugh Dryden and George S. Schairer from Boeing. They reached the Braunschweig labs on 7 May, where they found a mass of data on the swept wing concept. When they asked Busemann about it, "his face lit up" and he said, "Oh, you remember, I read a paper on it at the Volta Conference in 1935". Several members of the team did remember the presentation, but had completely forgotten the details in terms of what the presentation was actually about. Realizing its importance, Schairer immediately wrote to Boeing and told them to investigate the concept, leading to a re-modeling of the B-47 Stratojet with a swept wing. Busemann's work, along with similar work by Robert T. Jones in the US, led to a revolution in aircraft design. Near the end of the war, Busemann started studies of airflow around delta wings, leading to the development of his supersonic conical flow theory. This reduced the complexity of the airflow to a conformal mapping in the complex plane, and was used for some time in the industry.Busemann moved to the United States in 1947 and started work at NACA's Langley Research Center. In 1951 he gave a talk where he described the fact that air at near supersonic speeds no longer varied in diameter with speed according to Bernoulli's theorem but remained largely incompressible and acting as fixed diameter pipes, or as he put it, 'streampipes'. He jokingly referred to aerodynamicists as needing to become 'pipe fitters'. This talk lead an attendee, Richard Whitcomb, to try and work out what these pipes were doing in a transonic test he was performing, inventing the Whitcomb area rule a few days later.At Langley, he worked primarily on the problems of sonic booms, and spent a considerable amount of effort looking at ways to characterize them, and potentially eliminate them. He later invented Busemann's Biplane, a supersonic design he originally proposed in 1936 that emits no shock waves and has no wave drag, at the cost of having no lift. Busemann also did early work on magneto-hydrodynamics in the 1920s, as well as on cylindrical focusing of shock waves and non-steady gas dynamics. Busemann held a professorship at the University of Colorado from 1963 and suggested the use of ceramic tiles on the space shuttle, which were adopted by NASA. He was awarded the Ludwig-Prandtl-Ring from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics) for "outstanding contribution in the field of aerospace engineering" in 1966. He died at age 85 in Boulder, Colorado.
  • Alexander P. de Seversky
    Dec. at 80 (1894-1974)
    • Birthplace: Tbilisi, Georgia
    Alexander Nikolaievich Prokofiev de Seversky was a Russian-American aviation pioneer, inventor, and influential advocate of strategic air power.
  • Alfred M. Pride
    Dec. at 91 (1897-1988)
    • Birthplace: Somerville, Massachusetts
    Alfred Melville Pride (September 10, 1897 – December 24, 1988) was a United States Navy admiral and pioneer naval aviator, who distinguished himself during World War II as an aircraft carrier commander. He served during the late 1940s as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics and during the Korean War as Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. Pride's career was remarkable for its time, in that he achieved flag rank without having attended the United States Naval Academy or even completing college. (He did, however, later complete advanced studies in aeronautical engineering.) A native of Somerville, Massachusetts, he studied engineering at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, for several years before dropping out to enlist in the Navy during World War I. He served first as a machinist's mate in the Naval Reserve, but was soon given the chance to receive flight training and gain a commission as an ensign. Pride was sent to France, where he served briefly during the latter part of the war. In the early 1920s, having joined the Regular Navy, Pride became involved in the experiments to develop U.S. aircraft carriers. He served aboard the USS Langley, the converted coaling ship that became the Navy's first aircraft carrier, and also took part in the development of the carriers USS Saratoga and USS Lexington, as a member of the original crews. Pride continued his work in Naval Aviation testing for the rest of the interwar period. He went on to study aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1931, he became the first person to land a helicopter on an aircraft carrier. From 1934–1936 he headed the Flight Test Section at Naval Air Station Anacostia, Washington, D.C., at that time the Navy's center for aircraft testing. During World War II, Pride served as first commanding officer of the carrier USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24). He received promotion to Rear Admiral and became Commandant, 14th Naval District, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He then was moved out to Fleet jobs, including command of Carrier Division Six and Carrier Division Four. After the war, Rear Admiral Pride held important positions relating to Naval Aviation's technical development. From 1947–1951 he served as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, the Navy's material organization for aviation. From 1952–1953, he commanded the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland. He returned to the Pacific in 1953, when he received promotion to Vice Admiral, command of the U.S. Seventh Fleet (December 1, 1953 – December 19, 1955) and the first commander of the United States Taiwan Defense Command (USTDC). During this time, he was featured on the cover of the Time magazine (February 7, 1955, issue). Pride served as head of the Seventh Fleet until 1956, when he became Commander, Air Forces, Pacific Fleet. Pride retired in 1959 as a full Admiral and settled in Arlington, Virginia, where he died in 1988, aged 91. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Many of his papers are stored at the Archives Division of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
  • Allen Paulson
    Dec. at 78 (1922-2000)
    • Birthplace: Clinton, Iowa
    Allen Eugene Paulson (April 22, 1922 – July 19, 2000) was an American businessman.
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
    Andrew Mishkin (born c. 1958 in Los Angeles) is a senior systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he coordinated the development of various robotic vehicles and their subsystems for more than 15 years. He was on the Sojourner rover team at its formation, eventually leading the team and commanding the rover during its exploration of Mars. In 1997 he received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and was also selected as one of "The 35 People Who Made the Year" in the December issue of Vanity Fair magazine. He grew up in West Los Angeles, graduated from University High School (Los Angeles, California), and then obtained a BS degree in Systems Engineering (man/machine systems) and an MS in Engineering (problem solving and decision making) from UCLA. He is a member of Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa. His wife, Sharon, is also an MER Systems Engineer. In 2003 he wrote the book Sojourner: An Insider's View of the Mars Pathfinder Mission.