Frank H. Winter is the retired Curator of Rocketry at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Winter was born in London, England, in 1942 and emigrated to the U.S. at age nine. He became a U.S. citizen in 1960. He attended public schools in New York City and Los Angeles and from 1964-1968 served in the U.S. Air Force, primarily as a military journalist. Winter was assigned to Torrejon Air Force Base and at another installation in Spain from 1966-1968 as the feature editor for base newspapers.
In 1966, while still in the military, Winter won the Robert H. Goddard Essay Award sponsored by the National Space Club. He continued his avocation of researches and writing on the history of space flight and rocketry.
Upon discharge from the Air Force, Winter completed college attending night school and earning a B.A. Cum Laude in History from the University of Maryland.
Winter joined the National Air and Space Museum in 1970, initially as an Historical Research Clerk, and in 1980 became an Historian. (However, he had already worked in the Museum as a temporary employee from 1968, soon after discharge from the Air Force.) In 1984, he was named the Curator of Rocketry.
Winter won a second Goddard Essay Award and was presented the first American Astronautical Society’s Goddard Memorial Lecture Medal for which he was bestowed with a medal. From 1971 he began regularly presenting scholarly historical papers on the history of rocketry at International Astronautical Federation (IAF) congresses, International Congresses of the History of Science, and other forums.
In addition to numerous articles and papers, Winter is the author of several books, including: Prelude to the Space Age: The Rocket Societies 1 924-1940 (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983); Comet Watch: The Return of Halley’s Comet (Lerner Publications, 1986); The First Golden Age of Rocketry: Congreve and Hale Rockets of the Nineteenth Century (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991); and Rockets into Space (Harvard University Press, 1991). He also co-authored, with Frank R. van der Linden, 100 Years of Flight: A Chronicle ofAerospace History 1903-2003 (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2003), and, with van der Linden and Dominick Pisano, Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 — Breaking the Sound Barrier (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2006). The 100 Years of Flight book was based upon their monthly “Out of the Past” column in Aerospace America, started in 1972.
He has also been co-editor of the monthly “Out of the Past” column in Aerospace America since 1972. He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, the History Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society.
In 2002, Winter, along with Kerrie Dougherty, Curator, Space Technology, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia, won an International Partnership Among Museums (IPAM) scholarship of the American Association of Museums. In this capacity, in January-February 2003, he stayed in Australia, with additional related trips to Laos and Thailand, to work towards the Powerhouse exhibit, “Fire Dragons: 1,000 Years of Rocketry in Asia.”
Winter, who retired in August 2007, resides in Burke, Virginia, with his wife, the former Fe Dulce Kuizon Rosal. The couple have two children, Ronald and Elaine. Winter continues to undertake research and writing on the history of astronautics as a freelancer.