George A. Wood, 83 of Marietta passed away Saturday, April 13, 2013. George started in the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Survey and Mapping Division designing and building bridges in advance of troop movement during the Korean War. You may have seen one of George’s works during the last episode of MASH. George designed the Peace Building where the cease fire of the Korean War was signed.
After his service with the US Army Corps of Engineers, George attended and was the first to complete his Masters Degree from the International Training Center (ITC) for Aerial Survey in Delft, Netherlands. He was then recruited to ITEK Corporation for TOP SECRET development of the first spy satellite named Corona. The camera on Corona was the first to turn photos into maps. Corona was deployed from 1960 - 1973 with 156 successful missions and was a major element in stopping the Cold War and “averting World War III” (Sergei Nikitich Khrushchev). The US was able to locate ICBM locations and create maps from over 600,000 feet. Corona missions were so successful that NASA then deployed a new version of the Corona camera for the Apollo flights to survey the moon prior to Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon.
George was issued two patents both having to do with the development of the first camera to be able to send photographs via radio wave to Earth. After Corona, George was instrumental in the deployment of HEXAGON - another spy satellite that operated until 1985. HEXAGON was so effective George convinced the CIA and the US Air Force to utilize this technology for mapping going forward. HEXAGON was the precursor to the modern day GPS (Global Positioning System). Based on the HEXAGON success, NASA then selected a smaller, non-classified version of this camera technology to be used on the US Space Shuttle mission 41G. George was the Systems Engineer on this large format camera for NASA. George then went onto create smaller versions of the HEXAGON satellite camera for commercial applications. George was considered a visionary and revolutionary contributor to the profession of aerospace mapping and remote sensing.
During his professional life, George visited 15 countries on 7 continents. George received an Inventors Award from the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1976. George and Aileen met on Aileen’s birthday (June 14th / Flag Day) 55 years from the date of his planned interment at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA.
Mr. Wood is survived by his wife, Aileen Toner Wood of Marietta, Son, Jeff Wood of Marietta; Daughter, Lauren Wood Viscardi and son-in-law Dan of Marietta; Grandchildren, Michael, MIDN 3/C Eric and Jason Viscardi; Brother in law, Ronnie Marvin and two nephews. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Wednesday, April 17, 2013 from 5pm until 7pm. West Cobb Funeral Home and Crematory, 2480 Macland Rd. Marietta, GA 770-419-9234 is in charge of arrangements.