John W Kiker

  • Wall of Honor Location:

    Foil: 11 Panel: 2 Column: 1 Line: 112

  • Wall of Honor Level:

    Air and Space Friend

  • Honored by:

    Mr. John W. White

Educational background: BS in Mechanical Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1951

Pre-NASA Career:
- Pilot and commercial flight instructor, Georgia Air Service, Bennettsville, South Carolina (1943-1944)
- Officer, United States Army Air Force (1944-1946)
- Pilot and commercial flight instructor, W & L Airways, Wadesboro, North Carolina (1946-1947) - Engineer, Research Section, Parachute Branch, Aeronautical Accessories Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), Dayton, Ohio (1951-1959)
- Aeronautical Engineer, Aviation Division, US Army Aviation Transportation Research and Engineering Command (TRECOM), Fort Eustis, Virginia (1959-1960)

NASA Career:
NASA Space Task Group, Langley Field, Virginia
-- Aerospace Engineer, Mechanical Systems Section, Systems Engineering Branch, Flight Systems Division (1960-1962)
-- Head, Landing and Impact Section, Mechanical Systems Branch, Systems Evaluation and Development Division (1962-1963)

NASA Manned Spacecraft Center/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
--Assistant Chief, Mechanical and Landing Systems Branch, Structures and Mechanics Division, Engineering and Development Directorate (1963-1964)
--Chief, Landing Technical Branch, Structures and Mechanics Division (1965-1966)
--Chief, Landing and Docking Mechanics Branch, Structures and Mechanics Division (1966-1971)
--Chief, Mechanical Systems Branch, Spacecraft Design Division, Advanced Planning and Design Assistant Directorate, Engineering and Development Directorate (1971-1972,1973-1976)
--Chief, Mechanical Systems Branch, Structures and Mechanics Division, Chemical
and Mechanical Systems Assistant Directorate, Engineering and Development
Directorate (1972)
--Chief, Mechanisms Branch, Spacecraft Design Division, Program Development Assistant Directorate, Engineering and Development Directorate (1976-1979)

Current Occupation: Retired

Professional & Honorary Societies:
--Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AJAA)
--Past Member, AIAA Aerodynamic Deceleration System Committee
--Phi Kappa Phi (honor society)

Awards & Citations:
• Highest Cash Award from Johnson Space Center for orbiter/747 concept
• JSC Contribution Award for Skylab Thermal Shield Emergency (1975)
• JSC Superior Achievement Award (1969)
• Leo Stevens Medal for Johnson Space Center (JSC) for Apollo parachute system (1973)
• Letter of Recognition, Sep 27, 1979, from the President of the United States (Jimmy Carter) for Orbiter/747 concept. The letter from Alan K. Campbell, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, says, "Mr Kiker is richly deserving of this honor for his efforts in development of the Space Shuttle Program which saved the Government over $30 million. He becomes one of seventy-five individuals and groups to receive this high honor since establishment of the program in 1970. . . . award for his idea and development of the Piggyback Shuttle."
• NASA Certificate of Commendation for Apollo work (1972)
• NASA Certificate of Commendation for Shuttle/747 concept.
• NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1978)
• Presidential Management Improvement Award (1980)

Select Publications: John Kiker authored or co-authored several technical papers. A listing, as of 1999, is available in the National Air and Space Society's Wall of Honor files.

Biographical References: A listing, as of 1999, is available in the National Air and Space Society's Wall of Honor files.

Note: The above is extracted from a Johnson Space Center Oral History Project transcription dated 21 April 1999.

A letter from John White, Newport News, VA, 3 March 2010 says, in part:
John and I were roommates our senior year at No Carolina State. He and I built our first radio controlled model airplane in Dayton, OH in 1954.

John conceived the 747 and C-5 concept to transport the shuttle and obtained info from Boeing and Lockheed to make a preliminary evaluation from which he recommended the 747.

He and a friend built a radio controlled model of the 747 and Shuttle and demonstrated the concept.

His experience from his work at the Air Force parachute lab at Wright-Patterson provided an excellent background for the parachute recovery systems for the space program There were no failures for the many flights.

The 747 shuttle model is at the AMA museum at Muncie, IN.

Note: In the National Air and Space Society files is a copy of the 1978 Award for Management Improvement signed by President Jimmy Carter.


Wall of Honor profiles are provided by the honoree or the donor who added their name to the Wall of Honor. The Museum cannot validate all facts contained in the profiles.