Press Release

Legendary Physicist and Aerospace Pioneer Simon Ramo Receives Goddard Memorial Trophy, National Space Club’s Highest Honor

By SpaceRef Editor
March 4, 2011
Filed under ,

Simon Ramo, an engineering pioneer who enabled the United States to become a world leader in space technology and its applications, has been chosen to receive the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, the National Space Club’s preeminent award. Ramo co-founded TRW, one of the country’s premier defense electronics corporations which was acquired by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) in 2002 and is now part of Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector.

The Goddard Memorial Trophy recognizes significant contribution to United States leadership in the field of rocketry and astronautics. According to the National Space Club, Ramo was chosen for his “lifetime of engineering and scientific leadership and achievement that has made an unparalleled impact on our nation’s space programs. Among his many accomplishments are many critical early space programs including intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Thor, Atlas and Titan rockets, Project Mercury, Pioneer 1, VIKING 1 and 2, and the Lunar Excursion Model Descent Engine.”

Born in Utah in 1913, Simon Ramo earned a doctorate degree, magna cum laude, from the California Institute of Technology at 23 years of age. He started his career in General Electric’s Research Laboratories where he was the first in the U.S. to produce electromagnetic pulses at microwave frequencies at the kilowatt level, which are basic to radar. When World War II ended, Ramo accepted an offer from Howard Hughes to create a new entity for military electronics and guided missiles. All U.S. military combat aircraft depended on fire control, radar and guided missiles built by Hughes Aircraft where Ramo was responsible for research and development, engineering and manufacturing.

In 1953, Ramo left Hughes to co-found the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation and was asked to provide the technical staff for President Eisenhower’s unprecedented crash effort to develop a U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). With Ramo leading the project, the U.S. successfully attained an operational ICBM capability ahead of the Soviet Union.

Ramo’s books on science, engineering and management are used in universities throughout the world and have been translated into eight languages. His book on electromagnetic fields and waves has been the leading text for physicists and electrical engineers for over 50 years.

A year before the USSR’s “Sputnik” launch, Ramo created Space Technology Laboratories (STL) as a subsidiary of Ramo-Wooldridge Corp. STL was the first to receive a contract from NASA for a spacecraft, the Pioneer series. Pioneer 1 was the first spacecraft to reach the outer planets and the first to go beyond the solar system into deep space.

Ramo was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Jimmy Carter and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian award, from President Ronald Reagan. The recipient of numerous other awards and honorary university doctorates, he was the youngest founding member of the National Academy of Engineering, and is now its only living founder.

The awards will be presented at the 54th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner in the Washington Hilton Hotel on April 1, 2011. Gary Ervin, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, will accept the award on Ramo’s behalf.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit for more information.

SpaceRef staff editor.