American aerospace and defense has many heroes, but most of them are not famous. While astronauts and fighter pilots grab the headlines, some of our greatest achievements have come in laboratories, conference rooms and computer centers. Take Bob MacCormack—a 20-year-old mathematician who answered President Kennedy's call and spent the 1960s at NASA's Ames Research Center. Bob studied the lunar surface, but supercomputer time was so scarce he could not finish processing the data before ...


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