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AARON COHEN

1931–2010

Elected in 1989

“For technical leadership and engineering achievements in manned spaceflight systems.”

BY JOHN L. JUNKINS

AARON COHEN, former director of the Johnson Space Center and pioneer of the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, died February 25, 2010. Aaron was born to Russian immigrant parents, Charles and Ida Cohen, on January 5, 1931, in Corsicana, Texas. His family moved to San Antonio when he was 5. At 16 he met his future wife, Ruth, then 14. They married in 1953 and shared a 57-year marriage that was richly fulfilling. Aaron and Ruth lived the American Dream.

In 1949, Aaron enrolled at Texas A&M University, where he earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1952; upon graduating and following completion of his ROTC military obligation, including a tour of duty in Korea, Aaron began his engineering career at the Radio Corporation of America in 1954. There he contributed to the development of a magnetron tube, which would be the heart of a revolutionary new kitchen appliance, which we all know and own today as the microwave oven. Along with two colleagues at RCA, Aaron was also awarded a U.S. patent for innovations in a cathode ray tube design for color television.



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