Clarence “SySyvertson, an aeronautical engineer who led NASA Ames Research Center from 1977 to 1984, died Sept. 13 at the age of 84.

When Syvertson joined Ames in 1948, the Mountain View, Calif.-based research center was part of NASA’s predecessor organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and was known as the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory.

As a young engineer, Syvertson “matched his theoretical insights on hypersonic airflows with brilliant experimental work,” Ames’ current director, Pete Worden, wrote in a Sept. 15 statement noting Syvertson’s death.

Syvertson is remembered for his work on the XB-70 Valkyrie, an experimental Mach 3 bomber, and the M2-F1, the first lifting body entry vehicle and a research precursor to the space shuttle.