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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Stine, G. Harry (George Harry), 1928-1997



  • Existence: 1928-1997

Biographical Note: G. Harry Stine

George Harry Stine (March 26, 1928 – November 2, 1997) was one of the founders of model rocketry and an expert on science and technology. Within the field he worked as a writer, researcher and consultant. In addition, he published as a science fiction author under the penname Lee Correy.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Dr. George H. and Rhea M. Stine, “Harry” Stine grew up in Colorado Springs, which he considered his hometown. He attended both New Mexico Military Institute and Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where graduated with a B.A. in physics in 1952. Upon his graduation he went to work at White Sands Proving Grounds, first as a civilian scientist and then, from 1955–1957, at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Missile Test Facility as head of the Range Operations Division.

While working at White Sands, Stine was involved with high altitude rockets, range flight safety, and rocket motor testing. Additionally, he handled inquiries from young people concerning rockets, which inspired him to write an article in 1957 titled “The World’s Safest Business” for Mechanics Illustrated about rocket safety. Shortly after the publication of the article, Stine received a letter from Orville H. Carlisle (July 5, 1917 – August 1, 1988) reaching out to share his latest invention, the “Rock-A-Chute”. Carlisle appreciated Stine’s writing on the subject and asked if he could send Stine a version of his model rocket prototype. Stine was impressed with the samples that Carlisle sent him and wrote a cover article for the October 1957 issue of Mechanics Illustrated about the designs. From there, the two began a correspondence and collaborated in the development of model rockets. Stine guided Carlisle on propellant material suitable for his designs and on safety measures he should follow. Through this partnership they opened a hobby rocket business, Model Missiles, Inc., the first manufacturer of model rockets and their engines, in 1957. Vern Estes joined Model Missiles, Inc. developing a machine for the company that mass-produced rocket motors to keep up with growing popularity of the hobby.

Within that same year Stine founded the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). As the founder of the NAR and president until the late 1960s, Stine established the organization’s safety code and sporting code, assisted with the design and production of model rockets, developed educational programming, organized NAR competitions, and worked with various sections affiliated with the organization. He served on the board of trustees and various committees affiliated with the NAR, such as the Editorial Board, where he contributed content and edited the Model Rocketeer, the NAR magazine.

Stine continued to work to popularize the hobby, writing the Handbook of Model Rocketry in 1965, which went on through seven editions over the years. This publication is regarded as the seminal work in writing about model rockets and serves as a source for learning about the hobby. As an avid writer, Stine was a constant contributor to publications like American Modeler Magazine and Model Rocketry Magazine with the series “Count Down” and “The Old Rocketeer” where he chronicled the development and highlights of the hobby. Other publications he contributed to on the topic of sports rocketry include Popular Mechanics, American Aircraft Modeler, Craft, Model and Hobby Industry, and Mechanix Illustrated.

NAR established many formal protocols addressing safety and sporting codes for the sport. Stine produced numerous writings, conducted tests, developed the standards, and made them available to the model rocket users making it a safe and educational activity. As an influential figure in model rocketry the National Fire Protection Agency looked to him to serve as chairman of the Pyrotechnics Committee as a representative for the sports rocketry community to discuss safety concerns; he served on this committee for twenty years.

In addition to serving on organizations and committees related to safety, Stine also served for eleven years on the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). Through this connection he assisted on the groundwork for international space model rocketry throughout Europe, beginning in the early 1960s. He worked closely with Otakar Saffek to establish the Space Models Subcommittee of the FAI, assisted with writing the international sporting code for rocketry, and organized large international competitions between various countries, including the United States. In 1985 he was awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma by the FAI for his life-long contribution to the development of space model rocketry.

Stine had a significant professional career in the field of aeronautics as a researcher, consultant, and author. He began working as a technological forecaster and space planner with the Martin Company in 1957. He was science advisor to CBS-TV News during the Apollo missions. He was a consultant to numerous aeronautical institutes such as the Franklin Institute, the Hudson Institute, and the Institute for the Future. Beginning in 1965, he worked as a researcher and consultant for the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) where he prepared accurate drawings and space control models of twelve historic space launch vehicles and spacecraft, as well as 18 historic aerospace vehicles. Many of these drawings remain in the Museum’s collection. He also worked alongside Romanian engineer and inventor Henri Coandă at the Huyck Research Center, where they shared an office from 1961-1965. This led to a lifelong friendship and correspondence between the two. Coandă gifted parts of his personal papers to Stine before his passing in 1972.

From his work in the aerospace industry Stine became very interested in space industrialization and commercialization. Later in life was he worked on managing and financing space programs related to space tourism. He founded space travel committees in Arizona and worked as a lead member for the Arizona Space Commission, the Citizen’s Advisory Council on National Space Policy, and the Space Access Society. In addition, Stine worked as a primary consultant on the definitive NASA study on space industrialization in 1977-1978.

Stine published actively on aeronautical studies as a science-fact columnist for Astounding and its successor Analog Science Fact and Fiction. Other publications he contributed to include, Scientific American and Space Journal. He also wrote as a science-fiction author under the penname Lee Correy. One of his first works was “Galactic Gadgeteers” for Astounding in May 1951. Some of his titles include Shuttle Down, Rocket Man, Starship through Space and a Star Trek novel called The Abode of Life.

Stine and his wife Barbara had three children together, Bill, Connie, and Ellie. He included his whole family in the hobby of model rocketry. They frequently assisted and participated in NAR meets. His daughter Ellie Stine was a contestant in the 1st World Space Modeling Championship held in 1972. Stine passed away in his home in Phoenix, Arizona on November 2, 1997.

Source Note: Biographical information derived from the collection and donor information.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

G. Harry Stine Space History and Model Rocketry Collection

Identifier: 2013-09-17
Overview The G. Harry Stine Space History and Model Rocketry Collection encompasses the professional work of G. Harry Stine, the founder of model rocketry in the United States. The collection includes material related to his work in the National Association of Rocketry, drafts of his writings, rocket designs, materials affiliated with model rocketry corporations, and his aeronautical research files.

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