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JOSEPH G. GAVIN, JR.

1920–2010

Elected in 1974

“For leadership in the design and production of the Apollo Lunar Module.”

BY NEIL ARMSTRONG

JOSEPH G. GAVIN, JR., a highly regarded aerospace engineer and former president, chief operating officer, and director of the Grumman Corporation died on October 30, 2010, at age 90.

Joe was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, on September 18, 1920. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1941 and 1942. After graduation he joined the U.S. Navy and was assigned as a jet fighter project officer in the Bureau of Aeronautics.

In 1946 he joined the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation as a design engineer on Grumman’s first jet fighter, the XF9F “Panther.” Joe was subsequently the project engineer on Grumman’s first swept wing fighter, the F9F-6 “Cougar,” co-project engineer on the supersonic F11F-1 “Tiger,” and chief experimental project engineer.

He was named chief missile and space engineer in 1957 and oversaw development of the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory, Grumman’s first spacecraft, whose success influenced the building of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Grumman Space Group was deeply involved in the bidding for the Apollo Command Module at the time when the mission mode was still undecided. Grumman was not on the winning team for the Command Module (North American was the winner) but, as it happened, the Space Group had been



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