Mr. Solid is the retired Senior Executive of Rockwell’s Space Operations in Florida after serving over 39 years in the company’s aerospace businesses. In 1996, these businesses became part of the Boeing Company. He was responsible for overseeing all company operations at KSC and CCAS, including Space Shuttle Orbiter launch processing engineering, as well as payloads and flight systems integration. Included was the manufacture, repair and testing of the Shuttle hardware at the company’s Shuttle Logistics Depot in Cape Canaveral.
Mr. Solid’s early Rockwell career was in rocket engine development. He was assigned to Cape Canaveral in 1960 as a field engineer on the Atlas launch vehicle which was being flight tested. He progressed to the company’s site manager position and served through the Apollo program in that role. In 1970, he returned to Rockwell’s Rocketdyne division to direct the company’s field engineering operations at all domestic and foreign locations. With the development of the new Space Shuttle main engine and the upcoming shuttle flights, he returned to Florida in 1980 to manage the company’s activities at the launch site. In 1990, he was selected as Vice-President and General Manager over Rockwell’s Space Shuttle business at the Kennedy Space Center.
Mr Solid identifies his career high points as being a member of the Atlas-Mercury and Apollo-Saturn launch teams that put the first American (John Glenn) into Earth orbit in 1962 and the first man (Neil Armstrong) on the moon in 1969. Launching the first Space Shuttle, with its fully reusable Orbiter and SSMEs in 1981 make a close second.
Mr. Solid’s many years of contribution to the Space Program has been recognized by numerous NASA and Aerospace awards. Included are 3 Public Service medals, one for Apollo and two for the Space Shuttle. He also received the prestigious Debus award for Aerospace Excellence, the ASME’s Engineering Achievement Award, the NMA’s Gold Knight Award for management, the JA’s Spirit of Achievement Award and a number of others. He has been recognized in the community for service in the fields of education technology, economic development, and space advocacy. In retirement, he continues to serve on a number of related advisory committees and boards.
Mr. Solid grew up on a farm in western South Dakota. He attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, graduating in 1959 with a BSME. He and his wife Shirley reside in Merritt Island. They have four children and 16 grandchildren.