John Stapp, the "Fastest Man on Earth"

Earl Needham (KD5XB@AMSAT.ORG)
Fri, 19 Nov 1999 13:26:31 -0700

	Although this isn't about satellites, it IS about a related field.
	One of my personal heroes, Colonel John Stapp, passed away Saturday.  I
feel fortunate that I was brave/bold enough to call him and speak to him on
the telephone a few years ago.  I wish I had followed through and gone to
Alamogordo to visit him in person.


Dr. John Paul Stapp, a retired Air Force colonel and space research
pioneer known for his high-G rocket-sled rides, died Saturday at his New
Mexico home.  You've probably seen him -- every grade-B sci-fi movie and
TV show from the '50s incorporated a clip of his riding his rocket sled
down the rails at 632 mph during his famous acceleration experiment in
1954.  Strapped into his instrumented sled, he was brought to a stop in
less than two seconds, sustaining a peak force estimated at over 40 G's.
The information he collected in 29 increasingly harsh rocket-sled rides
during the 1950s proved invaluable in the design of spacecraft, ejection
seats, automobile safety systems and aircraft cabins.

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