Died: September 25, 1985
Born in Manitowoc in 1922, Herbert Hardrath enlisted in the Navy and served during World War II. After the war he would use his GI Bill benefits to obtain the education that he used to become one of America's foremost experts in the field of aircraft materials and structures fatigue.
Hardrath began working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1947. He would remain with NACA/NASA for 33 years, retiring in 1980. During his tenure with NASA Herbert would author more than sixty research papers on metal fatigue and fracture mechanics. He also served as a consultant on accident investigations for the National Transportation Safety Board.
Hardrath was in great demand as a consultant. He served on the US Air Force's Scientific Advisory Board. While on the USAF Ad Hoc Committee for Structures he provided valuable input to the design of the B-47, B-52, KC-135, B-70, and the C-130 aircraft.
His contributions extended past the atmosphere with work in the manned space program. His efforts in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs earned him NASA's Apollo Achievement Award. The citation reads, "In appreciation of dedicated service to the nation as a member of the team which has advanced the nation's capabilities in aeronautics and space ... culminating in Apollo 11's successful achievement of man's first landing on the moon."
NASA awarded Hardrath the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 1973. The award is given for unusually significant scientific accomplishments which contribute to the programs of NASA, the Department of Defense, and other government agencies. Hardrath was also named a Fellow for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
After retiring from NASA, Hardrath continued his work as a research consultant on material fatigue and structure until his death in 1985.