Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How the Rocket Boys of Buffalo were funded by NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) isn't known for its rocket work, but it appears they did have a pivotal role in one amateur space program.  In February, 1957, Terrence Boylan sent a funding request to the NIH.  His father was a medical researcher funded by NIH, so the clever 9 year old asked for $10 so he and his friend could build a rocket ship.  As unlikely as it sounds, the proposal was presented to the National Health Advisory Council by the Chief of the Division of Research Grants, Ernest M. Allen, ScD.  The proposal obviously didn't meet the agency's research crititeria but Allen and his Council were so impressed that they fulfilled Terrence's request personally.  The whole interesting story can be found here: Shining Lady in the Sky. (hat tip to Royatl)