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SpaceX Rocket's Historic Launch Engineered By Leonia HS Grad

The reusable first stage booster of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket being returned to Cape Canaveral, Fla. on June 2.
The reusable first stage booster of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket being returned to Cape Canaveral, Fla. on June 2. Photo Credit: Contributed/SpaceX

A New Jersey native played an integral role in the recent launch of the NASA/SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Sam DiMaggio, a 1985 graduate of Leonia High School, is principal dynamics engineer on the SpaceX project.

The sophisticated rocket's May 30 flight from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., carried its first-ever crew to the International Space Station aboard a Crew Dragon capsule.

DiMaggio joined SpaceX in 2000 and was a designer on the initial Falcon 1 launch vehicle, the world's first privately-developed liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit in 2008.

He received his bachelor's of science degree in civil engineering from Columbia University in 1989. He received his master's and Ph.D. degrees in engineering mechanics, also from Columbia.

The Falcon 1 has been the pathfinder for all subsequent SpaceX launch vehicles, including the higher performing and larger Falcon 9, DiMaggio said in a press statement.

SpaceX has completed more than 50 successful launches in five years, drastically reducing the cost of space travel by reusing its booster rockets.

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