Mr. Stoney was in his early 20s, clean out of MIT pursuing service as an airplane mechanic during Planet War II, when he joined NASA’s predecessor company, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in 1949.
Operating at Langley Analysis Middle in Hampton, Va., he joined a team of engineers renowned for their imaginative operate on pilotless aircraft and rocket technologies.
Mr. Stoney so was in a important placement when the room race started in the 1950s, pitting the two Cold War superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, in a contest to get to what was witnessed as the closing frontier.
A crucial second — and an uncomfortable setback for the United States — came in 1957 with the prosperous Soviet launch of Sputnik 1, the initially synthetic satellite.
“We were being unhappy we weren’t the initial,” Mr. Stoney reflected years later, “but in a further feeling it reassured us that we ended up really on the right keep track of — that, boy, we really could get supported from now on, for the reason that this was important that the U.S. continue to try out to catch up, and we had been part of that game.”
Mr. Stoney became the method supervisor overseeing the progress of the strong-propellant rocket recognized as Scout. NASA these days describes the rocket as “one of the most effective boosters” in the heritage of the space company, with payloads making “critical progress in atmospheric and room science.”
In the 1960s, as ambitions shifted to manned spaceflight, Mr. Stoney was appointed main of superior house car or truck concepts at NASA’s Washington headquarters and led the innovative spacecraft technology division in Houston. He served in major engineering roles through the Apollo program, whose sign accomplishment was the moon landing by astronaut Neil Armstrong in 1969. That year, Mr. Stoney received the NASA Exceptional Company Medal for his get the job done on the Apollo mission.
Just after he had “rubbed the moon dust” out of his eyes, as he place it, Mr. Stoney turned director of NASA’s earth observations packages in 1973, foremost the advancement of satellites for meteorological uses as properly as the checking of atmospheric pollution and earth assets.
William Edmund Stoney Jr. was born on Sept. 13, 1925, in Terre Haute, Ind., and grew up in Charleston, S.C., and in Brooklyn. His father was a civil engineer who labored on the Panama Canal, and his mother was a homemaker. Observing her young son’s interest in flight, she once accompanied Mr. Stoney to an airfield where by he flew aboard an plane piloted by pioneering aviator Clarence D. Chamberlin.
Immediately after Military Air Forces company in the Pacific all through Globe War II, Mr. Stoney acquired a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Engineering in 1949. He acquired two master’s degrees, one in aeronautical engineering from the College of Virginia in 1951 and an additional in industrial administration from MIT in 1962.
Mr. Stoney retired from NASA in 1978 and later on labored in the non-public sector, together with with the RCA Corp. on state-of-the-art robotics and with Noblis, a nonprofit technologies organization.
Mr. Stoney’s 1st marriage, to Roberta Beckner, finished in divorce. His 2nd spouse, Joy Scafard Stoney, died in 2016 just after 51 many years of relationship.
Survivors contain 3 stepchildren from his 2nd marriage whom he adopted, Catherine Stoney of Vienna, Va., Jeanne Stoney-Disston of Weston, Conn., and Robert Stoney of Herndon, Va. a son from his next relationship, John Stoney of Austin seven grandchildren and two terrific-grandchildren.
Mr. Stoney had been a member because his 20s of the American Modern society for Psychical Investigation and experienced amassed a assortment of more than 1,000 guides and other elements on the paranormal and the probability of existence right after demise.