Boeing: History - Jets and Rockets Take Off, 1957-1970
We have brought back rocks, and I think it’s a fair trade ... these rocks may unlock the mystery of the origin of the Moon, and indeed even of our Earth and Solar System.
Michael Collins, Command Module pilot, Apollo 11
By the late 1950s, the technologies forged in the fires of World War II had impacted every aspect of business and manufacturing, and in less than a dozen years, brought the civilized world into the modern era. Boeing President Allen knew that the company had the scientists, the experience and the facilities to lead the country into uncharted territories — across barriers of sound, time and space.
Analog computers used to guide the flight of guided missiles in the 1940s, including the Boeing Ground-to-Air Pilotless Aircraft (GAPA), had evolved into much more recognizable predecessors of today’s computers. GAPA, a 16-foot needle-nose, solid-fuel supersonic rocket developed in response to German buzz bombs, laid the groundwork for mass production of the 45-foot Bomarc missiles in 1957, intended to intercept invading enemy aircraft.
As the Cold War continued, Boeing used its missile experience to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile system including bases, installation and maintenance and win the Minuteman missile program.
Dyna-Soar mock-upBoeing engineers used this rocket-based technology to design the Dyna-Soar, a manned, reusable space vehicle that would glide through the Earth's upper atmosphere after being lifted into orbit by a rocket. Dyna-Soar reached the mock-up stage before the project was canceled in 1963.
The concept reappeared 20 years later in the form of the Space Shuttle. By then, Boeing had already been in space with the Apollo program that landed humans on the moon in 1969.
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