Robert A. Rushworth

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Robert A. Rushworth
Robert A. Rushworth.jpg
USAF astronaut
Nationality American
Status Deceased
Born Robert Aitken Rushworth
(1924-10-09)October 9, 1924
Madison, Maine, U.S.
Died March 17, 1993(1993-03-17) (aged 68)
Camarillo, California, U.S.
Other occupation
Test pilot
UMaine, B.Eng 1951
AFIT, B.S. 1958
Rank Major General, USAF
Selection 1958 MISS Group
Missions X-15 Flight 87
Mission insignia
X-15 insignia.png
Retirement June 1, 1981
Awards Dfc-usa.jpg

Robert Aitken Rushworth (October 9, 1924 – March 17, 1993) was a United States Air Force test pilot for the North American X-15 program.

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Rushworth was born in Madison, Maine on October 9, 1924. He graduated from Madison Memorial High School in 1942. After attending Hebron Academy from which he graduated in June 1943, and joining the United States Army Air Forces, he studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maine, receiving a Bachelor of Engineering in 1951. He also received a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1958. In 1967 he graduated from the National War College in Washington D.C.[1]

Flight experience[edit]

In 1944 Rushworth earned his pilot wings. He was selected for the X-15 program in 1958, and made his first flight on November 4, 1960. Over the next six years, he made 34 flights in the X-15, the most of any pilot. This included a flight to an altitude of 285,000 feet, made on June 27, 1963. This flight above 50 miles qualified Rushworth for Astronaut Wings, though he would have attained that honor sooner had the Man In Space Soonest project proceeded according to plan.

On a later X-15 flight, he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for successfully landing an North American X-15 after its nose wheel extended while flying at nearly Mach 5. He made his final X-15 flight on July 1, 1966, then returned to regular Air Force duties. These included a tour in Vietnam as an F-4 Phantom II pilot, flying 189 combat missions. He also served as the Commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and as the Commander of the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. At the time of his retirement as a Major General, he was Vice Commander, Aeronautical Systems Division, Air Force Systems Command, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Rushworth flew C-47 Skytrains and C-46s as a transport pilot in World War II, as well as F-80Cs, F-101 Voodoos, TF-102s, F-104 Starfighters, F-105 Thunderchiefs, F-106 Delta Darts, and F-4 Phantom IIs. Rushworth also served as a pilot in the Korean War.

Rushworth was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and in 1975 received the SETP's James H. Doolittle Award for "outstanding accomplishment in technical management or engineering achievement in aerospace technology". Rushworth retired on June 1, 1981.

Death[edit]

He died of heart attack in Camarillo, California on March 17, 1993, at the age of 68. In 1994, he was posthumously inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor.

References[edit]

  • Thompson, Milton O. (1992) At The Edge Of Space: The X-15 Flight Program, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London. ISBN 1-56098-107-5

External links[edit]