Not many people know his name or what he did, but he was none the less a very important man. He was a fellow New Zealander who was instrumental in launching the US into the space race.
William Pickering was born in my home city of Wellington in New Zealand and went on to become the Director of the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) for NASA. I went to the same college he attended ... albeit a few years later 🙂
He led a team that launched the first US satellite, Explorer I.
Today marks the 50 year anniversary of the US in space ... and it is nice to know that a kiwi from the corner of the world helped make it all possible.
I wonder how long it will be until I will be able to fly into space due, in part, to this outstanding New Zealander?
(Photo: press release for Explorer I with William Pickering shown)