NASA/Astronaut Stuff.....

I joined IBM on July 6, 1964 at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD.

Soon after I joined, a photo was taken in the Goddard computer center. Some indeterminate time after, I recall that each of us was paid $1 for the rights to the photo.

Much to my surprise, several years later I discovered the photo was on the jacket of a book...'Design of REAL-TIME Computer Systems' by James Martin...(I understand...a former IBMer).

The photo is also on page 26 of Encyclopedia Britannica's 1965 volume...The Great Ideas Today...The chapter...Computers: The Coming of Age.

During this time...1964-1968 I wrote programs that controlled computers tracking the spacecraft of GT-2, GT-3, GT-4.

My son, Rob, was born the morning of the liftoff of GT-3.

In1976 IBM moved me to the Houston area to work on the NASA Space Shuttle program .

When Houston became the CENTER for NASA Control, a landowner in the nearby town of Friendswood, developed a street and catered to the Astronauts.  I bought a lot from Joe Allen and built my dream house.  Joe flew on STS-5.

At one end of the street Dr. William Thornton lived. Dr. Thornton was a Medical Docton/Astronaut who developed the exercise equipment for use in Space. 


Bill flew in the Challenger, STS-8 (the First night launch which I witnessed from the family and friends viewing stands) and STS-51B.

Bill's wife, Jennifer, was English.  When I purchased the 1937 Packard sedan with right hand drive, I took Bill and Jennifer for a ride.

"Does the radio work?" Jennifer asked.

"Of Course..."

I turned it on, and the VERY FIRST WORDS were...

"....and Scotland Yard says.."...and I shut it off.

It was an uncanny timing . It was the time when the Iranians had taken over an Embassy in London and the news was filled with updates from Scotland Yard.

One day Bill repaired the radio in another Packard .

One evening when Bill and Jennifer were over for dinner, we served a bottle of wine, which Bill graciously signed.


At the other end of the street, my neighbors were Jack Lousma and Ed Gibson.

Ed Gibson held the record for a US Astronaut time in space of 83 days when he and Owen Garriott were aloft in SpaceLab in 1984.  Ed's son, and my son, were best friends.  One day when I was going to a Halloween Masquerade Party, Ed painted my body.....


One day I took Jack Lousma flying in my Cessna 150.  He graciously reciprocated by getting me a pass to ride in the 3rd seat of the motion based simulator at JSC. He also invited me to attend his Shuttle flight...STS-3 and to view the liftoff from the close-in family/media viewing stand.

Jack is in the middle of this picture.

When Jack retired from the Astronaut Crew, I managed to get a couple of the Astronauts attending to sign a First Day of Issue envelope for me....

At the same event, I had Fred Haise .... Appollo 13 Lunar Module Pilot  jot a note for me.....


During my years, 1976 to 1993, I had attended many meetings with the Astronauts...John Young, and Bob Crippen and Sally Ride.

I had a Department that created a portion of the software that controlled the arm on the Shuttle.  The arm, built by Canada, which takes the satellites out of the Shuttle Bay, or brings them in.


Another Astronaut incident that I can relate.....

In 2003 I had taken our 1937 Packard LeBaron Town Car to the Keels and Wheels Concours.   The Houston area's preeminent antique/collector car and boat show.

It was benefit event for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  I was fortunate to have had our Packard selected by the three afflicted children as their FAVORITE car.  The icing on the cake, was to have 'Buzz' Aldrin, who walked on the present the trophy with the three children.


One of our other treasured items is a flag that 'reportedly' had been to the moon and back,

Also have an autographed photo of the Astronaut who perished in the Challenger disaster, and a jump suit of Gordon Cooper.

We also have this framed and signed picture of Ellison Onizuka, the Astronaut from Hawaii who died in the Challenger disaster.


It has been an exciting career, ...especially to know American Heros, as the REAL people they are......