the help of his colleagues brought the first Space Shuttle to the launch pad. After the first successful flight in 1981, John returned to St. Louis as president of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, with responsibility for space, missile, and electronics programs. He retired in 1989.
The success of the Space Shuttle program cannot be overpraised. Its accomplishments were truly outstanding. Such equipment as the Hubble Space Telescope, numerous U.S. Department of Defense payloads that support intelligence efforts, numerous commercial satellites, other complex scientific satellites, and eventually the delivery and assembly of the International Space Station are testimony to the significance of the Space Shuttle program.
John received many honors and awards during his distinguished career. In addition to his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1977, he was elected a fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society. He received NASA Public Service awards for contributions to the Mercury and Gemini programs in 1963 and 1966, respectively. In 1973 he was awarded the Spirit of St. Louis Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He also received alumni citations from his alma maters—Iowa State (1970 and 1976) and Washington University (1975). NASA awarded him a Special Achievement Award and its Distinguished Service Medal in 1981, and in 1983 the National Space Club awarded him the Goddard Trophy.
John Yardley was a first-class engineer, a great manager of complex engineering programs, a highly respected leader, and a fine supporter of the fundamental fabric required to keep our country great. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife Phyllis, four daughters, a son, nine grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.