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ROBERT C. DUNCAN

1923–2003

Elected in 1981

“For guiding two major technologically significant programs to successful application—Apollo’s guidance and control and the SX-70 camera systems.”


BY ROBERT C. SEAMANS JR.


ROBERT C. DUNCAN, nicknamed Cliff, naval officer, engineer, government official, and corporate officer, died in 2003 at the age of 79. Cliff was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1981. Born November 21, 1923, in Jonesville, Virginia, Cliff married Rosemary Flemming on March 18, 1949. They had four children: two girls, Babette (Wilson) and Melissa, and two boys, Robert and Scott.

Cliff received his B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1945 and was immediately assigned duty aboard the USS Bremerton. A year later, he was sent to Pensacola for flight training. While on flight status, he served in three squadrons, flying both fighters and heavy attack bombers. When he completed his flight duties in 1960, he was a Lt. Commander.

In 1952, Cliff commenced an intense educational program, first at the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California, where he earned a second B.S. in 1953. He was then transferred directly to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for graduate studies. His academic work was conducted primarily in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, now the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, from which he received degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels. His masters and doctoral theses had a direct influence on his future activities.



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