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DeFrance



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DeFrance
Credit: NASA
DeFrance, Smith J (1896-1985) American engineer. Designer and director of research for wind tunnels at Langley, 1922-1940, and Ames, 1940-1965. His work in the 1950's established blunt-body shapes for re-entry vehicles.

Smith J. DeFrance was a military aviator with the Army's 139th Aero Squadron during World War I, then earned a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1922 before beginning a career with the NACA and NASA. He worked in the flight research section at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory and designed its 30-by-60-foot wind tunnel, the largest ever built until that time (1929-1931). He directed the research in that tunnel and designed others as well before becoming director of the new Ames Aeronautical Laboratory in 1940. He remained its director until his retirement in 1965. During that time, the centre built 19 major wind tunnels and conducted extensive flight research, including the blunt-body research necessary for returning spacecraft from orbit to the earth's atmosphere without burning up.

Born: 1896.01.19.
Died: 1985.05.06.

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Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • Launius, Roger D, NASA Chief Historian, NASA History Office Home Page, Web Address when accessed: here.

DeFrance Chronology


1985 May 6 - .
  • Death of Smith J DeFrance at Virginia. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: DeFrance. Summary: American engineer. Designer and director of research for wind tunnels at Langley, 1922-1940, and Ames, 1940-1965. His work in the 1950's established blunt-body shapes for re-entry vehicles..

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