John Kiker, BSME 1951
After serving as a general aviation and Army Air Force instructor pilot. Mr. John Kiker enrolled at NCSU and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering (Aeronautical Option) in 1951. After receiving his degree, he worked for the Air Force with responsibility for research on aircraft parachutes and ejection seats. When NASA was formed he moved to Houston, Texas as Section Chief, responsible for Mercury, Gemini and Apollo parachute landing systems. He was also involved with design of the landing / docking systems and mechanisms for the lunar and Apollo command modules. Later, as Chief Mechanisms Branch, Spacecraft Design Division, Mr. Kiker was responsible for technical direction and support in all areas relating to mechanisms. These included shuttle landing gear, tires and parachute deceleration; crew escape, docking / separation devices; teleoperators; and aerodynamic seals, hatches, latches and actuators. John’s most notable achievement was the concept, design and flight testing of the shuttle on top of the 747 carrier; including the aerodynamics and support / substructure systems. He saved the taxpayers millions of dollars and the program endless delay through his work. Mr. John Kiker retired after 31 years of public service.