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To the moon

Dyer Brainerd Holmes ’43, NASA’s director of Manned Space Flight Programs in the early 1960s, died Jan. 11 in Memphis at age 91.

Holmes graduated from Cornell in 1943 in absentia while serving in the U.S. Navy. He designed missiles and radar systems at Bell Labs and RCA before joining NASA in 1961.

That same year President John F. Kennedy set the daunting goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth” before the end of the decade. Holmes’ two years at NASA were in the crucial early days of the manned space flight program. During his tenure, John Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth and the Apollo program and the 1969 moon landing were developed.

Holmes appeared on the cover of Time magazine Aug. 10, 1962, for the cover story “Reaching for the Moon.”


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