The Bionic Wiki
The Bionic Wiki

Bruce A. Peterson (May 23, 1933 – May 1, 2006) was a NASA test pilot who was seriously injured when his research aircraft - the wingless M2-F2 lifting body - crashed on May 10, 1967. Hitting the ground at 250 mph, seconds before the landing gear was fully lowered, the craft tumbled and rolled before coming to a rest on the dry lakebed of the California desert. Peterson survived bust sustained a fractured skull and broken hand. He spent the next 18 months undergoing reconstructive plastic surgery for facial injuries. While being hospitalized, an infection left him blind in his right eye.

After the Crash[]

After a long recovery, Peterson was determined to return to the skies as a pilot. He received a waiver to fly with a co-pilot and continued in various NASA missions logging more than 6,000 flight hours in nearly 70 types of aircraft until 1971. Over the next 10 years he continued as a NASA research project engineer and then worked as Manager of System Safety and Human Factors for the Northrop Corporation until his retirement in 1994. He died on May 1st, 2006. He was 72.


Peterson's crash inspired futurist author Martin Caidin to write the 1972 novel Cyborg - a story that mirrors Peterson's ill-fated flight but replaces him with fictional NASA test pilot Steve Austin who is brought to the brink of death after losing his legs, left arm, and left eye in a devastating crash. Under the direction of the OSO - a secret government agency - Austin is surgically equipped with new limbs through a technology called Bionics, endowing him with superhuman strength and speed. In return, he agrees to use his new abilities on secret missions for the agency.

The Six Million Dollar Man[]

In 1973, Universal and ABC-TV premiered The Six Million Dollar Man