Griffin Corpening was the chief engineer for the unpiloted X-43A jet at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California. The first test flight of the jet ended in an explosion; the second, on March 27, 2004, traveled at a record speed of 5,000 miles per hour, more than seven times the speed of sound.
Before playing an integral role in NASA's $250 million program to develop a "supersonic-combustion ramjet," Corpening earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering at the University of Wyoming in 1977 and 1984, respectively. He went on to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland and worked for four years at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Columbia, Maryland, before coming to Dryden.
Photos courtesy of UWyo magazine