NASA pilot and engineer Bruce Peterson has died at age 72. His 1967 crash in an M2-F2 rocket inspired the Six Million Dollar Man TV series.
His pioneering engineer work led to the reusable space shuttle.
The 1967 crash was in an Edwards Air Force Base lakebed in the Mojave Desert. He regained control of the craft, but it struck ground at 250 mph. The ship flipped over and came to a stop on its back. Peterson was hospitalized and lost vision in one eye due to a secondary infection.
Film footage of the crash was shown every week in in the show's opening theme, during the show's run from 1973 to 1978.
Peterson continued flying until 1972. He made two other M2-F2 flights, and in his career logged over 6,000 hours on over 70 aircraft. He was responsible for safety testing on the B-2 bomber. He was honored in 2002 by NASA for his work leading to the first space shuttle.