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Michigan Aerospace Remembers the late Richard Passman

Mr. Richard Passman (BSAE ‘44, MSAE ‘47) had a prolific, wide-spanning career in the field of aerospace engineering, working with companies such as Bell Aircraft and General Electric, and making significant contributions to United States aircraft, spy satellites, and missiles. He passed away on April 1st, in Silver Spring, MD at the age of 94.

Michigan Aerospace Alumnus Mr. Richard Passman (BSAE ‘44, MSAE ‘47)

Passman played a key role in several government projects, some of which were classified for decades. “Corona,” the first spy satellite, took high resolution photographs at high altitudes and ejected the film in a bucket going back down to earth. Passman and his team worked on the intricacies of keeping the bucket at a low enough temperature so that the film would survive the fall. As the general manager of space activities at G.E. for years, he specialized in these types of efforts to create heat shielding technologies for intercontinental ballistic missiles and multiple war-head missiles. 

In retirement, Mr. Passman volunteered to work at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum alongside his colleague and the curator of the museum, John D. Anderson.

Mr. Passman is survived by his three children, William, Henry and Don, his wife Minna Passman, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be missed.


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