Leo White: Mountain Rocket Manby Ralph Roberts
Once there lived a great wizard from Madison County, North Carolina who could make the desert thunder with just two words, and send tons of metal flashing into the sky on a white-hot pillar of searing fire and billowing smoke. His name was Leo D. "Pappy" White and, in the decade following World War II, he launched more surface-to-surface rockets than any other man in America and, almost certainly, in the world as well.
Among other notable accomplishments in the fields of engineering and aerospace for his longtime employer, General Electric, Leo White was in charge of firing all the captured German V-2 rockets at the end of World War II.
At White Sands, in the state of New Mexico and far from his native Blue Ridge Mountains, Leo White was put in charge of firing these fourteen-ton monsters so that we could learn their secrets. He did so for years, getting better performance out of them then even the Germans had dreamed possible. He turned these instruments of reprisal into scientific instruments that furthered our successful drive into space.
When Pappy White drawled those two magic words in his Carolina mountain accents, the V-2s would streak skywards, riding their brilliant comet-tails of flame and smoke. "Main stage" was the magic spell, the fire order that launched these mighty rockets, and he said those words hundreds of times in the next decade and a half, almost always with dramatic results as half a million horsepower or so of rocket would cut loose.
- Alexander Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)
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