Hoover, George W. (1915–1998)

George Hoover was an early advocate of American satellite launches and instigator of Project Orbiter. Hoover entered the Navy in 1944 and became a pilot before moving to the Office of Naval Research to conduct a program in all-weather flight instrumentation. Later he helped develop the idea of high-altitude balloons for use in a variety of projects. These included Skyhook which supported cosmic-ray research and served as a research vehicle for obtaining environmental data relevant to supersonic flight. In 1954 Hoover was project officer in the field of high-speed, high-altitude flight, with involvement in the Douglas D558 project leading to the X-15. He was also instrumental in establishing Project Orbiter with von Braun and others, resulting in the launch of Explorer 1, the first American satellite.