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January 27, 1993 (Phone: 202/453-8613) RELEASE: 93-16
CROSSFIELD AWARDED NASA DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE MEDAL NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin awarded famed test pilot A. Scott Crossfield the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his contributions to aeronautics and aviation during a 50 year career. The award was presented in a Capitol Hill ceremony honoring Crossfield's retirement from federal service yesterday. Crossfield played a pivotal role in NASA's highly successful X-15 research aircraft program in the late 50s and early 60s. He also flew most of the early experimental X-series research planes for NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). More recently, he has been a key advocate of the National Aero-Space Plane (NASP) program as technical consultant to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology. "Scott's pioneering efforts with the X-series of airplanes and his contributions to the X-15 program were vital to the historic flight research accomplishments by NASA and the NACA," Goldin said. "He has continued to apply his skills and talents to aeronautics with his visionary advice and counsel on the NASP program and the potential it offers to the nation." Crossfield joined NACA as a research pilot in 1950. During his 5-year stint at the NACA High-Speed Flight Station, Edwards, Calif., he flew the X-1 and D558-II rocket planes and many experimental jets. On Nov. 20, 1953, Crossfield became the first person to fly twice the speed of sound at the controls of the D558-II "Skyrocket". As chief engineering test pilot for North American Aviation, Inc., Crossfield was the driving force behind development of the record-setting X-15 rocket research aircraft that paved the way for NASA's Space Shuttle. He guided the X-15 on its first free flight in 1959 and later qualified the first two X-15s for flight before they were turned over to NASA and the U.S. Air Force. - more - 2 "I have a lot of respect for Scott. He was an excellent test
pilot," said former X-15 pilot Milt Thompson, now Chief Engineer at NASA's Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, Calif. "As pilot-consultant to the X-15, he contributed significantly to the safety and reliability of its design." Crossfield served as an executive for Eastern Airlines from 1967 to 1973, where he helped shape the company's technology applications, new aircraft specifications and flight research development. From 1974 to 1975, he was Senior Vice President with Hawker Siddley Aviation and established its U.S. subsidiary for design, support and marketing of the HS-146 transport in North America. From 1977 until his retirement, Crossfield was technical consultant to the House Committee on Science and Technology, where he advised committee members on all aspects of civil aviation. He has been a strong supporter of the NASP program to develop a flight research vehicle that will take off horizontally, fly into Earth orbit and return through the atmosphere to land on a runway. -end-