Maxwell W. Hunter Receives the Second Presentation of The National Space Society's Von Braun Award
(from 1995 National Space Society press release)

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The National Space Society (NSS) today announced that Maxwell W. Hunter of San Carlos, California, is the second recipient of the Wernher von Braun Memorial Award.  It is to be presented in Cleveland on 20 May 1995.  The occasion will be the Society's 14th annual International Space Development Conference sponsored on its behalf by the Cuyahoga Valley SPACE society, EXITUS, Inc., the Midwest Space Development Corporation, and the NASA Lewis Research Center.

Von Braun Memorial Award Committee chairman, Frederick I. Ordway III, explanted that "The award is being presented to Mr. Hunter on the basis of a set of characteristics attributable to Von Braun himself.  These, Ordway added, "include a visionary outlook toward space flight, the ability to promote the vision he extolled, and the capability to manage and/or work with large teams while instilling among their loyal members a remarkable sentiment of cohesion and loyalty."

Mr. was selected in recognition of lifetime contributions to the fields of rockets, missiles and space flight.  He was in charge of missile aerodynamics at Douglas Aircraft during the early development of the Nike surface-to-air missile, the Sparrow air-to-air missile, the Honest John artillery rocket, the Genie air-to-air rocket and other systems.

He was the principal designer of the Air Force Thor intermediate range ballistic missile in the last 1950s, which quickly became the workhorse civilian Thor-Delta and later Delta launch vehicle.  As of May 1995, 227 Deltas have been launched;  the last failure occurred in May 1986.  Counting from September 1977, there have been two failures in 93 flights, for a 98 percent success achievement.  During his Thor years, he became acquainted with Von Braun whose team was then developing the competitive Jupiter IRBM.  During the Apollo/Saturn years, Hunter worked on the Saturn S-IV and S-IVB for Von Braun with whom he became friend and colleague.

Max Hunter exhibited managerial and planning skills in a different arena during the 106-'s when he served in the newly activated National Aeronautics and Space Council.  There, he helped guide national decision makers through the heady Apollo years.  While on the Council, he redefined the deep-space exploration program through an understanding of planetary flight mechanics, especially in recognition of the role of planetary gravity fields in reducing the rocket impulse required.  He was the first to recognize the tremendous impact of gravity boost given by the giant planets, especially Jupiter, to spacecraft following escape trajectories out of the Solar System, on out of the ecliptic missions, and approaching closely to the Sun.

Back in 1962, President Kennedy asked the Council to make suggestions for a speech he was going to give at Rice University in Houston that September.  It was Max Hunter who proposed the term "spacefaring nation."  The proposal filtered its way up to the President, who liked it, and inserted into the ringing speech "We choose to go the Moon in this decade..."

Late in the decade, Hunter expanded on earlier achievements as designer and advocate of advanced space systems, gas-core nuclear engines, the liquid fluorine high-performance Starlet vehicle, the Starclipper (precursor of the shuttle), and what eventually became the Hubble Space Telescope.

Despite his outstanding accomplishments, Hunter's most important achievement may lie in the future.  It is as originator and dogged proponent of the single-stage-to-orbit launch system that may gain his greatest fame.  His 1988 paper, the SSX, SpaceShipExperimental led directly to the development of the DC-X and its potential to reduce launch cost by two orders of magnitude.

The National Space Societ5y is a nationwide grassroots organization of some 25,000 and publishes Ad Astra magazine.  Mr. Hunter has long been an active member of the Society and served for several years on the board of directors of its predecessor, the National Space Institute.
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