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Hugh Latimer Dryden

Hugh Latimer Dryden (July 2, 1898 – December 2, 1965) was an American aeronautical scientist and civil servant. He served as NASA Deputy Administrator from August 19, 1958 until his death.
As a student, Dryden excelled in mathematics. He graduated from Baltimore City College, a high school, at the age of 14, and was the youngest student ever to graduate from that school. He was awarded the Peabody Prize for excellence in mathematics. With a scholarship, he was admitted to Johns Hopkins University and graduated with honors after only three years. He earned a M.S. in physics in 1916. His thesis was titled, "Airplanes: An Introduction to the Physical Principles Embodied in their Use."
After the war, Dryden became the Director of Aeronautical Research for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1946. While at the NACA he supervised the development of the North American X-15, a rocket plane used for research and testing. He also established programs for V/STOL aircraft, and studied the problem of atmospheric reentry.
Michael Gorn, chief historian at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, described Dryden as a quiet, reserved man who was self-effacing and diligent. He was patient, a good teacher, and effective when collaborating with others. He was also a devout Methodist, who, as a result, had a dislike of self-promotion. He served as a lay minister for his entire adult life. He was married to Mary Libbie Travers, and the couple had four children.
Tom Wolfe, writing in 2009 at the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, credited Dryden with having been the individual who spoke up, with President John F. Kennedy in April, 1961, and suggested that manned flight to the moon was the way to "catch up" with the Soviets in the space race. Wolfe describes President Kennedy as having been in "a terrible funk" at the time of the meeting with James E. Webb, the NASA administrator, and Dryden, his deputy, as the president wrestled with the string of Soviet "firsts" in space flight which had started with Sputnik 1 in 1957 and, that month in 1961, had extended to include human earth-orbital flight. Within a month of the meeting with Webb and Dryden, President Kennedy announced the Apollo Project-scale goal of putting a man on the moon within 10 years, the goal that Apollo 11 was ultimately to meet. In setting the goal, the president did not credit Dryden's input, according to Wolfe.
Dryden is also a founding member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Dryden was portrayed by George Bartenieff in the 1998 TV miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.