Dr. Maxime A. Faget was the Director of Engineering and Development at the Manned Spacecraft Center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Houston, Texas since February 1962. He was responsible for technical support of the Gemini and Apollo manned space flight programs and advanced studies into space systems. As a NASA member of the Polaris Missile Steering Task Group, he contributed to the design of that Navy missile. Dr. Faget served on the Steering Committee which helped the NASA Administrator make Project Mercury policy decisions.
Dr. Faget was born at Stam Creek, British Honduras, August 26, 1921. He attended San Francisco, California, Junior College and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University. He served three years as a naval officer during World War II.
Dr. Faget joined the staff of Langley Research Center, NASA, in 1946 as a research scientist. He worked in the Pilotless Aircraft Research Division; later was named head of the Performance Aerodynamics Branch. He conceived and proposed the development of a one-man spacecraft, later used in Project Mercury. Dr. Faget was one of the original group of 35, assigned as a nucleus of the Space Task Group to carry out the Mercury project.
Dr. Faget authored and co-authored numerous technical papers on aerodynamics, rocketry, high-speed bomb ejection, reentry theory, heat transfer, and aircraft performance. He was co-author of a textbook, Engineering Design and Operations of Spacecraft, and author of a book entitled, Manned Space Flight. Dr. Faget held joint patents on the "Aerial Capsule Emergency Separation Device" (escape tower) , the "Survival Couch," the "Mercury Capsule," and a "Mach Number Indicator."
Dr. Faget was a member of the following organizations: Tau Beta Pi, National Engineering Honor Society; Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honor Society; International Academy of Astronautics of the International Astronautical Federation. He was also an Associate Fellow at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Dr. Faget received the Arthur S. Fleming Award in 1960. He was presented the Golden Plate Award in 1961 by the Academy of Achievement. In 1963, he was awarded the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership and in 1965 given the Award of Loyola. Dr. Faget was honored by the University of Pittsburgh in March 1966 with an honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering. As a visiting professor, Dr. Faget taught graduate level courses at the Louisiana State University, Rice University, and the University of Houston.
Dr. Faget was married to the former Nancy Carastro of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They lived in Dickinson, Texas with their four children, Ann Lee, Carol Lee, Nanette, and Guy. He died on October 10, 2004.
Updated October 15, 2004
Steve Garber, NASA History Web Curator
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