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President Kennedy Awards Collier Trophy

July 18, 1962 - Four men who piloted the rocket-powered X-15 research plane to the fringes of space received the Robert J. Collier Trophy today from President Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy praised the four for their contributions to the conquest of space in the ceremony on the White House south lawn. Maj. Robert M. White of the Air Force received the award, given annually for outstanding achievement in aviation, on behalf of the group and their activities in 1961. The other pilots are Joseph Walker of NASA, Scott Crossfield of North American Aviation company, and Comdr. Forrest Peterson of the Navy. The President took note of Major White’s voyage 58.7 miles into space in an X-15 yesterday — the highest altitude ever reached by a manned aircraft. The flight qualified the 38-year-old engineer and test pilot for astronaut wings, which will be presented later.

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