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On the Cutting Edge [Robert Brodsky, 2006] (softcover)
Tales of a cold war engineer at the dawn of the nuclear, guided missile, computer and space ages
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ROBERT F. BRODSKY
Dr. Robert F. Brodsky, retired from TRW Space and Technology
(1980–1988) and the University of Southern California (1981–
1996), is a Fellow of AIAA and a national Outstanding
Aerospace Educator Award winner. His 46-year career in
aerospace started in 1949 at Sandia Corporation, where he was
responsible for the aerodynamic design of most of our early
atomic bombs and the first H-bomb. He was Chief of Aerodynamics at Convair/Pomona
and was Chief Engineer of Space-General and Paris-based Manager of European
Operations for Aerojet–General. Before TRW, where he was a Senior Systems
Engineer/Program Manager and Director, Technology Planning, he was Professor and
Head of the Aerospace Engineering Department at Iowa State University (1971–1980),
where he introduced pioneering courses in Space Systems Design and Principles and
Techniques of Remote Sensing and set down the bases for degreed programs in the new
field of astronautics. He was Adjunct Professor of Aerospace Engineering at USC from
1981–1996, and continues as Prof. (ret.) of Astronautics and Space Technology.
He holds a B.M.E. from Cornell University (1946), an M.S. in Math from the University
of New Mexico, a masterâ€™s degree in aeronautical engineering from NYU, and a doctor
of science in engineering degree from NYU (1950). He served in the U.S. Navy in
WWII. He is listed in Whoâ€™s Who in America, Whoâ€™s Who in Engineering and Science,
and Whoâ€™s Who in American Education, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the
states of California (Mechanical Engineering) and Iowa (Aerospace Engineering). He is
presently engaged as an author, a consultant, and a lecturer. His first book, On the
Cutting Edge, appeared in October 2006 (Univ. of Nebraska Press / Amazon.com).
He continues to be active in AIAA. He was Chair of the L.A. Section in the 1980s and
served on three Technical Committees: Space Systems, Space Transportation, and
Deceleration. He is author of numerous technical papers and has lectured extensively on
remote sensing systems.
Abstract: On the Cutting Edge; Space Engineering Adventures in the 1960s
The advent of exploitation of our new prowess in space flight opened up both the
imaginative minds of the pioneers as well as the coffers of a government embarking on
cold war one-upmanship with the USSR. No company took better advantage of this
environment than Aerojet–General and its newly founded subsidiary, Space–General.
The author, first in his capacity of Head of the Technical Staff of the AGC Space
Division in Azusa and then as Chief Engineer of SGC in El Monte (1959–1971), got a
first-hand immersion in the beginnings of space. He has just written a book, On the
Cutting Edge, which covers highlights of his career from the late 1940s to the present.
The proposed talk will discuss some unusual projects undertaken in the 1960s that are
covered in the book. They will include: bidding on the Saturn S-2 Stage; building the
OV-3, an early Air Force satellite; the reentry paragliders, IMP, and FIRST; the Surveyor
moon walker; an early experiment in sea launch of the Aerobee sounding rocket; and
delivery problems of the first DSP sensor systems.