Maj Gen Joe Engle
As a youngster in Abilene, Kansas, a burning desire for all things airborne seized Joe Engle. When he wasn’t building model airplanes or sketching them, he would daydream about flying. Indeed, some of his best “flights of fancy” took place as he quietly gazed upward in the old Methodist Church he attended with his family. But what looked like youthful piety was actually an imaginary dogfight, taking place with dramatic dives, loops and twists between the crossbeams of the sprawling building.
- In 1963 became one of the test pilots for the X-15 program.
- Earned astronaut wings as X-15 pilot, becoming America’s youngest astronaut at age 32.
- In 1966, formally selected by NASA for the fifth group of astronaut candidates.
- Commanded the second flight of the space shuttle and was the first person to ever manually fly the spacecraft from its re-entry speed of Mach 25 to a landing.
- Commanded the five-man crew of STS-511, which performed the first successful in-orbit rendezvous with, and repair of, a SYSCOM IV-3 satellite