Rocco A. Petrone

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Rocco A. Petrone, Director of Launch Operations, Kennedy Space Center, was responsible for the management and technical direction of preflight operations and integration, test, checkout and launch of all space vehicles, both manned and unmanned. Born in Amsterdam, N.Y., in 1926, he was a 1946 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and received a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951. His career in rocketry began shortly after graduation from MIT when he was assigned to the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala. He participated in the development of the Redstone missile in the early 1950’s and was detailed to the Army’s General Staff at the Pentagon from 1956 to 1960. He moved to KSC as Saturn Project Officer in 1960. He later became Apollo Program Manager and was appointed to his post as Director of Launch Operations in 1966.