VALLEY CENTER, Calif., Sept. 30 (UPI) — Robert C. Truax, considered one of the leading rocket scientists of the 20th century, has died in California, his family said.
Truax’s wife Marisol said he died Sept. 17 in Valley Center of prostate cancer at age 93, The New York Times reported.
Truax was a career naval officer lent to the Air Force for top-secret projects and later became a corporate aerospace executive and an entrepreneur, the Times said.
In early research for the Navy he laid the groundwork for the liquid-fuelled rockets vital to American space efforts and was a leader in developing the Thor, Viking and Polaris missile programs.
As president of the American Rocket Society, Truax was an indefatigable booster of the American space program.
Truax was born Sept. 3, 1917, in Gary, Ind., after which the family moved to Northern California and later settled in Alameda, where Truax completed 12 years of school in nine years and became an Eagle Scout.
He graduated from the Naval Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering, writing scientific articles on rockets.
Truax is survived by his third wife, Marisol Guzman, four children from his first marriage, two sons from his second, seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
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