August 1, 2021

This day in 1980 marks the death of James S. McDonnell. An American engineer, he was the president of McDonnell Aircraft from 1939 to 1972. His innovative fighter designs, including the F-4 Phantom and F-15 Eagle, became the premier US fighters after 1960. McDonnell Aircraft, later McDonnell-Douglas, was also the prime contractor for the design and production of Mercury, Gemini, and MOL spacecraft.

James McDonnell (center) breaking ground on the construction of the McDonnell Planetarium in 1960. Image Credit: SLSC Archives