Richard W. Schock, a space engineer, of Hoover, AL, was inducted into the Falls City Public Schools Wall of Fame at the Sunday dinner meeting of the Falls City High School Alumni Association at Prichard Auditorium. He is the 22nd member of the Wall of Fame at the High School.
Schock graduated from Falls City High School, where he played football and basketball and ran track, in l952 and four years later graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
He accepted a position with the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL, a few months before the Soviet Union launched the first orbiting satellite called SPUTNIK.
In his own words, “At this moment I decided I had made a terrific choice of careers.” He became one of the pioneers in the U.S. space program.
Dick was a lead test engineer, conducting thermal, vibration and became a charter member of the George C. Marshall Spaceflight Center. After President dynamics tests on the next generation intermediate range tactical nuclear missile system called Jupiter. When the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established he John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address that it would be the nation’s goal to put a man on the moon in a decade, Schock was assigned to supervise a technical unit responsible for the definition of the acoustic, vibration and shock specifications for components of the Saturn lB and later the Saturn V (moon rocket) systems. For his work he was awarded a sustained superior performance award from Dr. Wernher von Braun, the father of the U.S. space program. With the termination of the Apollo program, he was assigned as the lead engineer for the Systems Dynamic Lab in the development of the Space Lab within the Space Shuttle payload bay.
He represented the Laboratory at major reviews in the United States and Europe.
Subsequent to the development of the Space Lab Dick served as the co-investigator of the Solar Array Flight Dynamics Experiment, which flew on the Space Shuttle in l984. The solar array concept is the concept that was chosen for the International Space Station in orbit today.
After working 32 years in the space program he retired in l989. Dick is the brother of Connie (Marshal) Nelson of Falls City.