Elected in 1970
“For contributions to the design and engineering of the Mercury and Apollo spacecraft.”
BY JOE ALLEN
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
MAXIME A. FAGET, inventor of the Mercury spacecraft and chief NASA engineer for every manned spaceship developed and flown by NASA, probably until 2010, died on October 9, 2004, at the age of 83. The director of engineering and development at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, from 1961 until his retirement in the summer of 1981, Faget is widely recognized by his colleagues as the father of the Mercury, Apollo, and Space Shuttle spacecraft.
Max Faget was born in Stann Creek, British Honduras (now Belize), on August 26, 1921. His father, Dr. Guy Faget, was a noted specialist in tropical diseases, and his mother was a health care worker. Both Americans, his parents were employed by the British government to serve in the clinics of this British colony because most British physicians at the time (in the aftermath of World War I) were still serving in England or France.
Max attended San Francisco Junior College in California, but when his parents moved to Louisiana to oversee this country’s leprosarium, he enrolled at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1943. After Max died, LSU established a permanent endowed chair in engineering in his honor.
Upon graduation, Max immediately went into the U.S. Navy, where, as a submarine officer, he was in active combat toward