Indiana-born space pioneer gets posthumous honor

NASA head of flight development Dr. Abe Silverstein posing with model of the Mercury capsule. (Photo by Hank Walker/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana-born space pioneer who played key roles in the Mercury and Apollo programs has been posthumously inducted into National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Terre Haute native Abe Silverstein was inducted Friday into the Dayton, Ohio-based hall of fame.

Silverstein, who died in 2001 at age 92, served as NASA’s first director of space flight programs from 1958 to 1969.

The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology graduate directed efforts which led to America’s Mercury space flights. He also chose the name Apollo for NASA’s missions that first put men on the moon in 1969.

Silverstein noticed an illustration in a book on mythology of the Greek god Apollo riding his chariot across the sun and deemed that a good name for the ambitious moon missions.

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