Simon Ramo: Pioneer for the Modern Aerospace Era

Monday June 27th, the aerospace community said goodbye to not only one of the greatest in aerospace, but also a good man. Simon Ramo passed away, in his sleep, after a long, fulfilling 103 years of life. To say that he left an impact on the industry is an understatement as his vast career helped make aerospace what it is known for today. What was initially an industry of manufacturing aircrafts, Ramo helped shift it into the weapons and technology based industry that aerospace is known for today. If it were not for his new-wave approach to aerospace much of the work done at California based aerospace companies would be vastly different. The company he co-founded with his Cal Tech classmate Dean Woolridge, Ramo-Woolridge Corporation, was one of the biggest contractors for the Air Force and as it gained ground merged with Thompson Products to what is it more commonly known as today, TRW, Inc (now a part of Northrop since 2002). After a long career Simon Ramo formally retired from TRW, but continued to consult and work with members of Congress, the President and various aerospace corporations well into his nineties.


Dean Woolridge (right) and Simon Ramo (left) comparing their 1957 TIME magazine cover.

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Why is Ramo important to Exo?

Companies like TRW Inc. and more importantly scientists like Simon Ramo paved the way for systems engineering and making weapons development a plausible career option for persons with degrees in engineering and science. Not to mention expanding the aerospace industry in Southern California is paramount to the existence of a company like Exo (which was founded in SoCal as well). The efforts made in areas of tracking and control systems inspired the actions of companies, like this one, to explore new avenues within the industry that might have never come along had it not been for Ramo. With the technologies he created we are able to watch, track and contribute to the operation of efforts made in space.

Not only was he a man of great merit, but Ramo was proof that with hard work and application there is always a new door to be opened. He took risks and pushed boundaries when others were skeptical of what he had to say. He created and innovated until he received his last patent at age 100 in 2013. If that is not proof that we can always create and innovate, I am not sure what is. He is not only revered as a great man in the aerospace industry, but for those who dream the impossible and make it a reality.

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