NASA Johnson Space Center
Oral History Project
Edited Oral History Transcript
Interviewed by Rebecca Wright
Houston, Texas – 16 March 2006
Today is March 16th, 2006. This oral history is being conducted with
Richard Nygren in Houston, Texas, for the NASA Johnson Space Center
Oral History Project. Interviewer is Rebecca Wright, assisted by Sandra
Johnson. This interview will conclude the oral history session for
Mr. Nygren, which includes two sessions earlier this year, one on
January 12th and the other on March the 9th.
We ended the last session briefly talking with you about your involvement
with Shuttle-Mir. Many of the aspects of your involvement with this
program were addressed in the interview for the Shuttle-Mir Oral History
Project on July 23rd, 1998. But before we move on, there were a couple
of other areas we’d like for you to talk about with the Shuttle-Mir,
if you would.
One of them is, when you began with the Shuttle-Mir, it really wasn’t
Shuttle-Mir, you were just working on the original mission with Norm
[Norman E.] Thagard to fly to the Mir, which was going to be a one-time
venture between NASA and Russia. But in the meantime, talks turned
to negotiations, and a $400-million contract was established, and
now you were going to be working on increments and we were going to
be in long-duration flight with the Russians.
Share with us how you were able to adapt what you started on for the
first mission and how it evolved, and how those preparations for the
long-duration missions began.
Okay. I did the NASA-Mir Oral History and, interestingly enough, had
lunch with three of my cohorts today from that program, so we had
a chance to talk about it even more over lunch.
When we first started off working at the NASA-Mir Program, it was
Norm Thagard’s flight up to the Mir Space Station, and it was
essentially a long-duration flight and then a return back to Earth.
Because of the limited progress and Soyuz launch capability, we had
very little science that we felt we could get accomplished, but we
wanted to get as much as possible. So the Life Science folks went
with medical kits and medical draw for blood and the saliva. There
were a number of experiments from Shuttle flights we felt we could
expand to support for Mir and Norm would have some meaningful science
and we could get some good data from long-duration experience.
We started off with that, and then, as you say, shortly after that,
we extended it into a number of flights with U.S. astronauts planning
to go to Mir, and two things were key to that. One was that the Russians,
as part of the expanded scope of the program, were going to launch
their Spektr Module and later their Priroda Module. Then just as important,
if not more so, the fact that we were going to start docking the Shuttle
to the Mir gave us a tremendous upload and download capability for
our research. So we had a tremendous amount of opportunity to get
some real meaningful science and get some science hardware up into
The downside to it—we didn’t have a whole lot of money
and we didn’t have a whole lot of time, and we had even fewer
people to get it done, so it was a challenge in that context. But
as is fairly common with a lot of the NASA programs, if you’re
small enough, you don’t get a lot of visibility, and by not
having a lot of visibility, you don’t get constrained by a lot
of the management and political overhead that is associated with a
big program. So we were pretty much given a license that said, put
as much scientific equipment on the Priroda and on the Spektr as you
possibly can. We were given a fairly good allocation on the Shuttles
up and down for hardware that we could fly up and utilize on the Mir
So we started off to do that. We built essentially from scratch thermo-electric
freezers, thermo-electric refrigerators, centrifuges, and those kinds
of items that would allow us to do the research on orbit. We flew
microscopes and stuff for animal experiments. The Russians had a number
of their own experiment facilities in the way of furnaces that they
allowed us to use, and it really opened up a fairly good opportunity
for us to get some good science done.
We had a science working group that originally was chaired—I
think the chain actually went from John [A.] Rummel to Peggy [A.]
Whitson and then to John [J.] Uri with Carolyn [L.] Huntoon pretty
much leading the Life Sciences research activity at the beginning.
That working group, coordinated with the Life Sciences guys and the
Biological Sciences folks, the fluids and combustions community, the
micro-gravity community, and put together a very good science plan.
To make sure we were working well with the Russians, we took the entire
science plan and translated it into Russian. It was a two-inch thick
document, but it really helped our negotiations with the Russians
because it was in Russian, but it also allowed them, I think, to share
that document with some of their researchers. We got into an environment
where we could actually start collaborating on some of the science,
and where we wanted to use some of their facilities, particularly
the furnace equipment.
The Russians got really interested in what we were doing, and as long
as we were willing to share the data with them, they were willing
to let us use the hardware. And then when they realized that the Shuttle
was going to be there and that they could get some of their stuff
down, they got more interested in getting some of their own scientific
hardware up on Progress flights because they could get some samples
down via the Shuttle that they couldn’t by the Soyuz.
Tommy [W.] Holloway was heading up the program, and he decided he
would prefer a working group structure, realizing that this was a
program but it did have a short life. He preferred this rather than
establishing what I would call a typical NASA program with a formal
program office and a program control organization and SE&I [Systems
Engineering and Integration] functions, and the different elements.
Rather than paying a price for establishing the overhead of a program
office and trying to establish all of the boards and the charters
for the boards, etc., he went into a working group structure and pretty
much allowed the working groups to interface with their Russian counterparts
and negotiate what needed to be done to get their scope of work completed.
I had two that I was overseeing, and a third one, which I was actually
managing. The two I was overseeing was the Science Working Group and
then the Medical Operations Working Group. And the one I was actually
managing was the Mir Operations and Integration Working Group, which
is the one where we were responsible for getting all of the hardware
we were building certified to launch and be installed on the Mir.
And that presented a lot of issues for us, some of which I’m
sure I covered in my other oral interview. But the Russian launch
environment on a Progress is significantly differently than a Shuttle,
so all of our certification had to be reassessed. And where we didn’t
meet their Russian requirements or their environment, we had to go
back and certify the hardware to that environment, which was an additional
task that we hadn’t really envisioned.
The Russians had a set of documents called a Series 100 documents
that when we first started working with them were somewhat of a baffle
to us, because it seemed like each one of them asked for exactly the
same thing, but we couldn’t figure out why they needed it so
many times. In our world, you’d give it to them on a disk and
say, “Here it is. Share it.” But over a period of time,
we began to understanding how their departments worked and what each
department needed, you could see where it was at and how it was being
used, and it made sense. But we still continued to try and convince
them to let us automate it for them so that we could fill it in one
time and use the computers to spread it into the different documents.
We never got there. Eventually, we may have convinced them, but we
didn’t while we were there.
It went fairly well in that arena. We had a number of issues in trying
to get our hardware to Russia. They did an Acceptance Test I and Acceptance
Test II on the hardware. Acceptance Test I was essentially what we
would consider a pre-ship test in the U.S., if we were sending hardware
from JSC [NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas] down to KSC [NASA
Kennedy Space Center, Florida], but it’s an acceptance test.
The Russians came over and witnessed all of this, and they would buy
off on the fact that we run the tests according to their documentation
and it was ready to fly.
Then they did an Acceptance Test II in Russia, which was generally
done in Moscow at their facilities. Actually in Korolev in Moscow;
Korolev is a suburb. That was a post-ship get-ready-to-go, and then
they would ship the hardware to Baikonur [Republic of Kazakhstan]
and install it.
Some of the interesting things that we ran into was that although
we understood, or thought we understood, how the Russian electrical
system was supposed to work. Their facility power which we thought
was like the European one, ended up having what was equivalent to
a floating ground. We burned up an awful lot of our Ground Support
Equipment, and our computers trying to figure out how to get power
supplies that would actually work with their ground. So that was a
challenge to us.
And the fact that most of their buildings aren’t very well conditioned
over there, we froze our hardware on occasions, and on one occasion
they actually froze one of their own pipes and it ruptured. Then when
it thawed, it sprayed water all over our hardware, so we had to clean
it all up and go retest it. Some of it we had to take apart and clean.
But overall, it was a very cooperative environment. The Russians wanted
us to get as much of the hardware up there as possible, so they really
didn’t put any impediments in our way. It was a learning curve.
The way we do business and the way they do is business is significantly
different, but I can’t say that one’s better than the
other, just different. So we had to come to common ground.
The Spektr Module, we got the refrigerators and freezers and other
hardware installed and got it launched. One of the interesting stories
on that was that when we were trying to mount our freezer in the Spektr,
we were looking for what’s called an Interface Control Drawing
[ICD] that shows , “Here’s our bolt pattern, here’s
the Russian’s bolt pattern,” so that they do, in fact,
line up. The Russians didn’t have ICDs, and we couldn’t
figure out for the life of us how we were going to actually get the
hardware mounted. We finally shipped it to Baikonur along with our
engineer. They got down there and the Russians actually just took
it in and put it where they wanted to mount it and marked where they
were going to drill the holes and drilled to match our bolt pattern
in the secondary structure. We couldn’t believe it. We thought
that was pretty phenomenal that in a spacecraft they had enough margin
that they could just drill their structure out and put our stuff in
it and it would not weaken their structure and the vehicle would take
the loads that we were putting into it. Then on the Priroda, one of
the interesting stories was because we were actually connecting up
to their electrical system, we needed the mating half of an electrical
connector to wire up to our cables. We kept asking them to send us
the connector so we could wire it up. We knew they had them. We just
couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t send them to us,
but they would never send them to us. Finally, it got down to the
point that if we were going to make the launch, we had to send our
cables over there and put the wires together over there with the connectors
on them, which we did. Then we needed to send the cable back over
here so we could test it. We kept asking them why they couldn’t
have sent us the connectors, “Why was that?”
Well, it turned out that it was an interesting story that the pins
in the connector were gold-coated and gold being a precious metal
can’t be sent out of the country. The gold by part number was
traceable to that connector, so therefore it couldn’t be shipped
out of the country. Once we put the connector on our cable and we
shipped under the part number of the cable, the Russian guys didn’t
have any idea that the gold was on there, so it went out without any
kind of a problem.
But you get into those kinds of issues and you multiply it times two
or three hundred pieces of equipment. It keeps you busy for a long
time trying to figure out how to make it work. But, we all got together,
we got it done. It was a great time. We ended up pretty much all staying
in a hotel over there called the [Olympic] Penta Hotel [now named
the Renaissance Moscow Hotel], which is a German-built hotel right
next to the Moscow Olympic Complex, very nice hotel, enjoyed staying
I know when our guys would come over, some of them would like to just
get on the subways and ride around on the subways because every subway
stop was a different architectural design, and they were very, very
intricate. They’d have mosaic tiles, bronze statues, models.
Just riding on the subway was an interesting thing. When you stopped
someplace you’d never been before, you always had to dillydally
around long enough to look and see what it is that was unique about
this particular subway stop.
I haven’t ridden a lot of subways in my lifetime, but of the
ones I’ve ridden, theirs was the best one I’ve ever seen
for punctuality. Their trains came on time and they came frequently,
where sometimes I go to [Washington] DC and after about ten o’clock,
trying to find a subway in DC gets difficult. You knew where theirs
were. They have little clocks that tell you when it’s going
to come, and it comes exactly when it says it is.
But overall, that program was a lot of fun, and the oral history I
gave on the Shuttle-Mir has a lot more detail than what I covered
I know you put an article together with John Uri and Jeff [Jeffrey
A.] Cardenas about the lessons learned from Mir. After a five-year
presence with the International Space Station [ISS], do you feel like
some of those lessons learned have been applied to what we’re
doing now? How have the lessons been learned and have they been applied
to what we’re currently doing in space travel?
Well, my observation of how NASA does its lessons learned is that
they don’t do a very good job at it. There are several reasons
for it, some of which are valid, and some of which I don’t think
are valid. But we, as our part of the NASA-Mir Program, went to extensive
lengths to record our lessons and what we had learned in that activity,
we worked with the Russians to make sure we had it right, worked internally
with all of the players to make sure that we captured everything we
could possibly capture. Then we worked with the [International Space]
Station Program to try and transfer those lessons learned and that
experience base to the Space Station Program.
Some of the lessons that we had learned, they had already learned
or were far enough along in their program that they weren’t
applicable any more. Some of them were more operational and the Station
wasn’t that far along yet and they weren’t ready to deal
with them at that point in time. Some of them, the people, in my opinion,
wrote off as, “Well, Phase I is not like Phase II, so they’re
really not applicable to what we’re doing.” So from a
process prospective of writing up lessons learned and providing them
to a follow-on program and having the program give them due diligence
and incorporate them, I don’t think we did a good a job as we
possibly could have in that environment.
On the other hand, I think that a large number of the people that
worked the NASA-Mir Program migrated over into ISS and were, in a
lot of cases, put in positions where they could influence how things
were done. They used their own experiences, which was where we developed
the lessons learned, so I think a lot of it was captured in that context.
But from a formal process and writing the lessons down and passing
them on and incorporating them through a formal process, I don’t
think we did as good a job as we could have. Taking and putting the
people in key positions so you could gain from their experience, I
think they did a pretty good job of that so, overall, it probably
worked out okay.
You were phasing out of Phase I while Phase I was closing down, and
you became Acting Deputy Director of Space and Life Sciences. Tell
us how you moved into that and what you were doing there before you
moved into the International Space Station.
Well, that was a fill-in position to some degree, because the Director
of Space and Life Sciences had left, and John Rummel, who was the
Deputy Director for Space and Life Sciences, became the Acting Director.
He needed a Deputy, so they reached out and they grabbed a hold of
me and said, “You’re going to be the guy that’s
going to be the Acting Deputy.” So I was for about six to nine
months in that position. But they didn’t backfill what I was
doing in the Flight Activities area for Flight Operations for Space
and Life Sciences, so most of my involvement continued to be the stuff
I had been doing in the past, which was working on the Shuttle experiments
that we were flying for Life Sciences.
We were, in fact, working on the development of the Human Research
Facility, the two-rack complement that we were going to put in the
International Space Station. Those racks, well HRF-1 [Human Research
Facility Flight Rack 1] anyways, was scheduled to be the first payload
rack to go to the International Space Station, so it was the frontrunner.
I ended up interfacing in that role to a fair degree with the Space
Station Program and, to some degree, with the Shuttle Program.
As far as the Deputy job was concerned, I took on more a role of interfacing
with [NASA] Headquarters [Washington, DC] and working the budget,
working some of the policy areas that were going on at that point
in time with doing international flights and medical standards for
international environment, joint selection standards. I’ll have
to admit in six to nine months, I can’t say that I was—I’ve
got this list of things that I started in with I was going to get
done and I check off and I was 80 percent successful or not. I would
say that I went in and I managed to continue to do what I had done
before, and they didn’t fire me for what I was trying to do
as the Deputy, so it probably worked out okay.
But it was strictly a case of when Rummel moved up to be Acting Director,
he needed some help and he asked me to do it. It was a nice event
for me because I had some additional responsibilities and met some
new people and got to do a couple of new things that I hadn’t
been doing before.
Then you transitioned to the ISS payloads area?
Yes. That was an interesting thing because I worked NASA-Mir when
Tommy Holloway was the Program Manager, and then Tommy went on to
be the Program Manager for the International Space Station, and I
got to interface with him again as the Space and Life Sciences flight
hardware interface person. So Tommy ended up with a vacancy in the
Payloads Office, and because of my experience and rapport with him,
he asked me if I would come over and take on running the International
Space Station Payloads Office.
So I went back to Space and Life Sciences and said, “I’d
like to go do this,” and did they have any problems with it?
They didn’t, so I moved over and started working in the Space
Tell us how you developed the protocols and agreements and everything
else to do your job with the payloads; you’re now working with
international partners as well.
Most of the policies and the agreements, at least at the MOU [Memorandum
of Understanding] and the program level, had already been established
at the beginning of the program, at the very onset. So at that point
in time, it was more of a case of implementing the agreements than
it was establishing them. And we had generally biannual reviews with
our international partners. One was in the U.S., and then they’d
invite us to Europe, and one in the United States, and we’d
go Japan. We would sit down and look at the schedules and what we
were doing and at the hardware that was being developed and how the
agreements were actually evolving.
There’s an intricate amount of detail that was negotiated in
the original agreements where they were talking about common ops [operations]
costs and what was going to be provided and what was negotiated hardware.
What I mean by that is, as an example, the U.S. got 50 percent of
the resources in Columbus [Laboratory, European Space Agency (ESA),
ISS module]. So where they had eight payload racks, the U.S. had four
of those that they could use for their use. We had to identify which
of our four racks, we wanted to put in their module, and then we had
to negotiate with them how those particular payload racks would eventually
get installed, checked out, how to make sure that our certification
and verification, documentation met Columbus’ needs along those
We had to make sure that our ops concept for those racks was compatible
with the Columbus’ concept of operations also because if we
had our big power users and they had their own racks that were big
power users, they could put constraints on how much we could actually
do in their module. We needed to make sure that the racks that we
were putting in there and the racks that they were building themselves
were somewhat compatible. As it turned out, we planned on putting
our racks in there and then the ones we picked were complimentary
to the ones that they were actually building themselves so that we
intended to do all of the Life Sciences in the Columbus. We were going
to move our two Human Research Facility racks in there. They had a
bioastronautics rack of their own that they were putting in there,
and there was another rack called a MARES [Muscle Atrophy Research
and Exercise System] that was also related to Life Sciences and that
suite was going to be in Columbus.
It got to a point where it was a complimentary environment that we
were working on. I mentioned the MARES rack. The MARES rack is one
that was part of a bartered deal where it was a European-built rack,
but it was eventually built to meet our science requirements as a
piece of bartered hardware. It was being built for us, and when it
was done, it becomes a piece of U.S. hardware.
And a similar involvement in dealing with the Japanese. However, in
the case of the Japanese, they had a larger share in the common ops
cost, and therefore we had more bartered hardware with Japan than
we actually did with the Europeans. That included the centrifuge in
the centrifuge accommodation module. Essentially, they were building
a complete module for us, and we worked with them on the implementation
of that, and the centrifuge was essentially built for plant and animal
centrifugal experiments. It required them to build a number of racks
to go in the centrifuge accommodation module, but also to build the
In the tenure that I was there, we got into the real CDR [Critical
Design Review] portion of the centrifuge design, and it became obvious
that there were some real technology challenges that it was going
to be very difficult for the Japanese to overcome. Even if they could
overcome them, it was going to be very expensive for them to pay for
that. The estimated costs when they were trying to do the balance
of trade, so to speak—it was pretty obvious that they were going
to put a lot more money and effort into building the centrifuge in
the centrifuge accommodation module than anybody really envisioned
in the original concept that wasn’t accounted for in the original
They were concerned that they were continuing to work on this and
that it was going to cost them an awful lot of money. So they came
back, as any program office would, and said, “Can you release
some of your requirements, give us a little bit more flexibility so
we have an easier way to meet your overall requirements?” Then
we got into discussions with them about which requirements we could
relieve on them, and we’d have to go back to our science community
and find out whether, in fact, we could really do that or not, and
they could still meet the science objectives that they wanted.
That was always a trade, and in this particular case, the office became
more of a referee than anything else. The science guys didn’t
want to give up any of their requirements, and the Japanese were saying,
“I can’t meet these requirements. They’re just too
stringent, and we don’t have a way to do that.” We continued
to work with them, and eventually we got to a set of requirements
that everybody was relatively happy with, and we’d go to the
next design stage. It was an iterative process as all the technology
is; you end up making trades as you go along to get the best product
you can. In certain cases, you can’t meet all of the requirements
that you started out to, so we kept making those kinds of trades.
The Europeans, I think, because of what they had done in the Spacelab
[microgravity laboratory flown on the Shuttle] arena, were more attuned,
I would say, to NASA’s way of doing business, so their processes
from Spacelab rolled over into what was going on in the Station. It
was pretty easy to work with the Europeans with what they were doing
and negotiated agreements. The Japanese, again, I would say this is
more cultural than anything—I say more difficult, but difficult
sounds negative, and it wasn’t done in a negative context. But
in just dealing with them, it was more difficult because they were
reluctant to make real-time decisions. If you get in a meeting with
them, they would sort of nod their head, and nodding their head meant,
yes, they understood what you were saying, but not necessarily agreement.
When I first started working with them, I didn’t pick up on
that, and I thought I had some agreements, and a few weeks after I
got back, I got all of these questions about things that I thought
we already had agreements on. So it took a while for me to get accustomed
to dealing with the Japanese, which I think any organization would.
They probably are sitting over there saying, “We don’t
understand how these Americans do business.” So, it’s
not pointing the finger at them, it’s just a different way of
Again, everybody had a common goal and they wanted to try and make
things work as much as they could, and we established a really nice
rapport with the Japanese. They recognized some of the shortcomings,
I think, that they had in how they would deal with the NASA community.
I think they created an organization called JAMS America, which has
some Japanese JAXA [Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency] people involved.
It also has some retired NASA people that they have brought into their
company to try and foster a better understanding of how NASA people
do business and to help make sure that when things are said they are
interpreted properly. I think that’s worked out fairly well
for them to help them get a better grip on what’s going on and
how to deal with the Americans. I’ve talked with them in the
past, because I knew the ones that went over there, and said, “Help
me understand what’s going on here.”
Where, on the other hand, the Europeans didn’t have to do that,
but on-site there was a European Space Agency Resident Office and
there’s a JAXA Resident Office. Where the European Resident
Office dealt directly with the guys in ESTEC [European Space Research
and Technology Centre] and different places in Europe, the JAXA Resident
Office, I think, relied heavily on the JAMS American people to go
to meetings and help them understand what was being said and why it
was being done the way it was and how they could make their documentation
compatible with it.
So I would say that dealing with the Russians and the Japanese was
similar in that it was culturally different and processes were different.
Dealing with the Europeans was easier in that they had worked with
us on Spacelab in the past and they knew our processes pretty well,
so they made it pretty easy.
Now going back a little bit along that line, some of the Europeans
had also worked with Russia for a long period of time. When they found
out about us flying U.S. crewmen onboard, they offered to share with
us a lot of their experiences. We sent some folks over there that
they briefed on how they did business and why they did business the
way they did. When they flew EUROMIR 95 [second ESA mission on board
the Mir], they invited us to their debriefings to hear what was going
on. We actually, as part of when they weren’t flying their crewmen
over there, we set up a training session for their crewmen on the
hardware and experiments that we were going to be running while their
crewmen were on Mir. They did a reciprocal so that our crewmen could
go to Europe and take a look at the hardware that they were actually
planning to use and be familiar with it just so that when the hardware
gets on orbit, and people start setting it up, you’re not surprised.
It’s just a familiarization, a courtesy to do that.
So we established a really good rapport with the Europeans along that
line. We had the opportunity to help them actually bring down some
of their samples from when they flew the European crewmen. I think
that helped us and it certainly helped me when I went from Space and
Life Sciences over to the Payloads Office in ISS. I had been working
with most of the European payload guys through NASA-Mir, at least
at the management level. Not at the principle investigator level,
but at the management level, they were the same people that I had
worked with previously, so that worked out pretty well for me.
Did you find some familiarity that you’re working on a program
that yet was to be launched? You were working in the Payloads Office
before we actually had Space Station up and going, as it took us a
while to get there.
Well, yes, it did take us a while to get there, and we had a lot of
changes along the way. It wasn’t so much being in front of it.
In fact, that’s where you want to be, because then you can get
your requirements in early, as opposed to when you come late, people
don’t want to deal with you.
But it was an ever-evolving exercise in that originally we envisioned
that we were going to get twenty-seven payload racks on orbit that
we could do a lot of science with, and we were going to have six-
and seven-man crews and ninety-day increments. It’s a different
Space Station than the one we currently have today, and certainly
different than the one that’s even envisioned in the future,
because when we finally get back to a six-man crew in the 2009 timeframe,
we’re going to be retiring the Shuttle, and the Shuttle is our
up and down mass for the U.S. side. I know that they’re working
diligently to try and get up-mass capability and, with the HTVs [H-II
Transfer Vehicle] and the ATVs [Automated Transfer Vehicle] that Japan
and Europe are providing and with the Progresses that the Russians
are using, there’s, I believe, certainly adequate up-mass capability.
But down mass is a premium, and without the Shuttle, there’s
certainly limited down-mass capabilities.
It’s going to impact the research that we’re going to
be able to do on the Space Station. In fact, it’s what we envisioned
as a world-class laboratory is not there, and we’re essentially
down to studying the human and the human’s adaptation to space,
which is extremely important if you’re planning on going to
the Moon and staying there for any time or taking trips to Mars. You’ve
got to make sure you understand how the human body adapts to fractional
gravity of 1/6 to 1/3 G and you have to know how the body and the
supporting elements adapt for long periods of space flight going to
Mars and coming back. Those are long trips and short trips, and the
body reacts differently. We need to make sure we understand how it
reacts and why it reacts that way, and if we need to mitigate it,
how to mitigate it.
Some things, you’d say, “Well, okay, it does that and
it’s okay.” But other things, you’ve got to find
a way to mitigate it, things like bone loss which can cause you to
increase your probability of having fracture, if you’re going
to be able on the lunar surface for a long period of time or en route
to Mars. And then working on the Martian surface, you don’t
want to be in a situation where you have a high probability of breaking
If you look at the videos from when we were on the Moon before, there
were a number of times when the crew guys actually lost their balance
and fell down. They had their backpacks on and their CGs [center of
gravity] way up high. Well, when you go up there for three or four
days and you’re on the lunar surface, your bone structure’s
pretty much the same. But if you’ve been in space for a year
and you’ve lost a lot of your bone mass, falling down like that
could be bad.
So you want to try to mitigate that as much as you can. That’s
the focus of the research that’s left on the International Space
Station at this point in time, and it’s important. But it’s
unfortunate the other disciplines in microgravity and fluids and combustion
and biology and animal research aren’t going to get a real opportunity
to use the Space Station the way that it was intended.
In 2002, you opted to retire from NASA. Can you tell us what led to
The long answer or the short answer?
It’s your answer.
The short answer is money. [laughs] And that’s really what it
boils down to, in my perspective. But the Payloads Office was an outstanding
job, and I certainly didn’t leave it because I didn’t
like the job or I didn’t like the people. I was having a great
time and really enjoying it. In my personal life, it was a case of
just having had three kids in college and there was no money left
in the bank account and the savings account. And when you’ve
worked for the government since when I did, [and] in the CSRS [Civil
Service Retirement System] retirement system, I had thirty-five years
plus of service, so it meant I was working for 30 percent of my salary.
That meant if I could go out and find a job that paid me exactly what
I was making, I made a 70-percent raise. So I essentially left for
the money, and that was really the only reason I left.
What type of work were you doing after you left?
Well, it’s interesting, because I looked around at a bunch of
different things. It took me seven months to figure out—well,
it probably didn’t take me seven months, it probably took me
about four months to figure out what I wanted to do, and it took me
three or four months to figure out how to get it done.
But when I left, I interviewed with a number of the aerospace companies
in the area, but in that same timeframe it turned out that the European
Space Agency, one of the managers that I had worked with from the
ESA side of the house, asked if I would come onboard as a consultant
to support them. He described the job, which was pretty much helping
them with the negotiations for the hardware that they had already
bartered. They had some additional hardware that they wanted to barter
on, which in the bigger piece of that is what’s called the Columbus
external payload adaptor. This is what allows the Europeans to mount
their payloads onto the external platforms on the backend of the Columbus.
And the standard adaptors, which fit the NASA platforms, were designed
to go up on the Shuttle and then fit on the U.S. side, and they needed
some of those same adaptors so they could fit onto the Columbus module.
And the question was, how were they going to go about getting those?
Were they going to barter for them? Were they going to buy them directly
from the manufacturer? Were they going to have one of their contractors
buy them? So I got into some discussions with the Europeans and the
Americans on those kinds of endeavors.
One of the things that came back that was interesting was that when
the ESA guys actually came forward with how they wanted to do the
contract, they said they wanted me to be a consultant. But they wanted
me to work as a consultant for a company called Astrium North America,
which was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astrium in Europe, which was
a consortium of a number of the European companies that had combined
over the years, similar to how Boeing [Company] and McDonnell Douglas
[Corporation] came together, and Lockheed Martin [Corporation] came
Well, most of the aerospace companies in Europe had done the same
thing. Astrium in Europe was subsequently then called and renamed
EADS, European Aerospace and Defense Systems Company, but Astrium
North America kept the Astrium name. They came forward with this proposal
and said, “We’d like you to do this consulting work for
us.” And they had this consulting group ESA, and they listed
what that they wanted me to do for ESA, which was negotiate contracts
and do specifications on hardware, write statements of work for contracts.
Then I read the stuff for the B part, which was what Astrium wanted
me to do on their behalf and for Astrium in Europe, and it was to
work with the ESA on contracts, and I said, “I can’t do
that. That’s a complete conflict of interest. You could go to
jail for doing that kind of stuff.”
So they said, “No, no, no, no, not to worry, that would be okay.”
And I’m going, “This, no, no, no. This is stuff you go
to jail for.”
“Oh, no, we don’t prosecute people like that.”
So I’m sitting there going, “Holy smokes, this is not
going to work.”
Finally I ended up getting a lawyer and asked a friend of mine, who
has a lawyer for a wife, and she recommended a lawyer that I should
contact. And interestingly enough, the guy specialized in German contracts,
and I don’t know what I would have done without him. He managed
to manipulate the language and he finally said, “Well, you can
sign this thing and you probably won’t have to go to jail. You
might have to do a lot of talking, but you probably won’t go
So I signed it, and it turned out that it did work out really well,
and they used me in ways that in the U.S—the way the U.S. companies
do business with the federal government wouldn’t have been allowed
over here, conflict of interest and stuff. With them, it worked pretty
well. For ESA, I negotiated with NASA and with the Boeing guys on
how to best work out certain barter agreements, and how to make trades
without having to go back and fix MOUs.
For the Astrium guys, they wanted to bid on things like the mission
contract and the cargo mission contract, which are ISS contracts,
that they wanted to get work on. So I helped write the statements
of work on like the Columbus external payload adapter, how we were
going to potentially get that, and whether Astrium might be a venue
for actually buying it from Boeing. I worked those kinds of negotiations,
so it turned out to be a very interesting job in that you get involved
in a lot of different activities.
They do things differently than we do in the U.S. There’s no
doubt about that. I had a difficult time adapting to the environment,
and still do, I’m afraid, of being a consultant after having
been a manager for so long. Being a consultant, you look at what they’re
doing and you tell them what you think works for them, and then you’re
supposed to be able to forget about it and walk off and go have a
beer. I’ve got too much manager in me that I want to make it
happen; I want to go do it. [laughs] So I continue to struggle with
that. I give people my ideas, and then they go off and go do something
different. And I keep going, “I could do this, why don’t
they let me do this?” But I gave that opportunity up when I
quit, so I have to get over it.
I guess the other highlight, from a personal perspective, is that
as part of that I got to go over to Europe for three or four trips
a year and got to take my wife over there. We were over there for
two months one time on business trips, got to go down to Spain for
a week and over to Germany to Bremen for a week, and we spent the
rest of the time touring on our own. I was working at ESTEC [European
Space Research and Technology Centre] in the Netherlands, so from
a personal perspective with the kids gone and the wife can travel,
working for a company that’s international is not bad.
How long did you stay with them?
Two years. Two years.
And then what did you do?
Well, depending on how much I want to kick myself, the first thing
I did was I told them, no, I wouldn’t take a two-year extension
and continue to work for them. I had been talking to some of the guys
at Space and Life Sciences that I had worked with when I came over
originally and started working NASA-Mir. They were working what was
called the Bioastronautics Exploration Research and Technology activities
here at JSC, which was a subset of a Headquarters’ activity
called Humans Systems Research and Technology, which was the remnants
of the old Code U, Office of Biological and Physical Research. They
had a major effort under the Bioastronautics Exploration Research
and Technology going on here at JSC, but they didn’t have the
project management and program control expertise in the directorate
to do that kind of work. They had more of the science background.
They had a lot of scientists, and good scientists, and people that
had been doing it before, but they didn’t have people that had
actually been program managers, program control managers, and actually
gone through and followed all of the processes that are associated
with it and made sure you had integrated linked schedules and program
control configuration management, budgets and ways to track your budget.
So I came in as a consultant to try and help them get some of those
processes and activities established within their Bioastronautics
Exploration Research and Technology efforts. Originally, I was going
to try and come back as an IPA, an intergovernmental personnel assignment,
but that didn’t work out. I actually came in through the National
Space Biomedical Research Institute as a contractor.
And the last year and a half, it’s been a year and a half since
I did that, has been a whirlwind of change. I’m not sure I’ve
ever been associated with anything that changed quite as much or quite
as fast as this did. But they had abolished Code U, the Office of
Biological and Physical Research, and created the Human Systems Research
and Technology [HSRT] Office within the Explorations Systems Mission
Directorate at Headquarters. I was coming onboard when they actually
cancelled the Human Systems Research and Technology effort and through
the ESAS [Exploration Systems Architecture Study] activities, basically,
eliminated all except the Human Life Science initiative. They moved
the Human Life Science activities to JSC and put it under a program
called the Human Research Program.
So I was trying to get in front of the train when they were eliminating
the HSRT and standing up the Human Research Program and helping Space
and Life Sciences as much as I could in that environment. In September,
they finalized that the program was going to be at JSC, and Space
Life Sciences started standing up the program. Then I started doing
for the Human Research Program what I had initially been onboard to
do for the Bioastronautics Exploration and Research and Technology
I started working with them at Program Control, and I’ve been
working out of the Program Integration Office portion of the Human
Research Program on program plans, integrated schedules, project plans,
budgets, monthly reports, quarterly reviews, all of the kinds of things
that you do when you’re trying to set up a program and do program
So back home again.
Yes, and back in Space and Life Sciences, too. And unfortunately,
or fortunately, always depends on how things play out, but the two
guys that came to me and said, “We really could use your help
in this,” in the midst of all of these changes, both of them
have gone on, and I have new people that I’m working with. To
some degree that’s good, and in other cases it’s not as
good. I don’t have the same rapport with them that I had with
the other folks, but these guys are willing to listen and trying to
get the program going in the right direction, so I don’t think
that my efforts are wasted either, so it’s working out fairly
You’ve worked with so many different types of programs within
NASA, and then, of course, you were just talking about the ones of
working as a consultant. Can you share with us what the differences
were or the similarities as you moved from program to program? For
instance, when you started out at Apollo, and how was that different,
maybe even the environment that you were working in or budgets, compared
to when you were working from Shuttle, and then Shuttle to Station,
and especially with Shuttle and Station how those two programs that
were dependent on each other, how they worked well together but maybe
sometimes not as well together. Share with us how programs work and
what they were like as you moved through the system and how they changed
In a lot of cases, it’s difficult to try and relate one program
to another because they are, in fact, different by intent in what
their mission really is. So in certain cases, it’s difficult.
And also, added to that is as the Agency matured, it got to be more
bureaucratic, and it also got more involved, got more oversight, I
guess I would say, by other government entities, which make things,
most people would say, more difficult, but not necessarily, not for
a good reason.
But examples would be in the beginning in the Apollo days, money wasn’t
a problem, and we would hire two or three contractors to go build
something and down select from what they were building and their prototypes.
Therefore, we were pretty well assured of getting the best product
for what we wanted to do, because we could afford to down select very
late in the program, because we had the money to fund different concepts
to a very mature state.
From Apollo, we went into the Skylab. Skylab was a Space Station as
opposed to a spacecraft that gets you someplace. From my perspective,
a large difference is the fact that the [NASA] Marshall Space Flight
Center [Huntsville, Alabama] was actually the lead Center for the
program, and Marshall had never built a manned spacecraft before.
So there was a lot of discussion, and to some degree I would say political
infighting, to whose standards were going to be used. Marshall had
their standards, which were basically driven from building boosters
and rockets. They had their own material standards and their materials
acceptability processes and their safety processes. JSC had their
own associated on manned space flight for how they would do it, so
there was a lot of discussion back and forth of whose standard was
going to be used in which particular application.
Their board structure and their program structure was different than
what JSC was accustomed to, so there was a learning process that wasn’t
there before of how to work together at the manned spacecraft interface.
Where in the past, in the Apollo, Mercury, Gemini, environment, the
interface was at the heat shield, so to speak, and the Marshall guys
built the stuff that had all the liquids and power, and JSC built
the front end of it. Where the role was somewhat reversed in the manned
spacecraft part of this, so there was a lot of involvement in that.
Then ASTP [Apollo Soyuz Test Project], there was another Apollo for
all practical purposes, the same processes were pretty much in place.
Nothing more than trying to deal with the Russians building the docking
module so we’d have a common docking system and we could get
a common system, but a tube that we could then each dock to it and
meet in the middle. So it was nothing unique there.
The Shuttle, I think that the Shuttle was probably certainly the most
challenging endeavor that NASA had taken on for a long period of time.
It was also coming on at the point in time that money was tight and
therefore you couldn’t use the same approaches we had used previously.
We had to come up with different ways of getting to the same solution
and getting the ones that we wanted, and that basically meant we had
to spend more time analyzing our requirements and making sure our
requirements were good requirements.
We had to down select the vendors much earlier, so we had to do a
lot more analytical modeling than what we would actually do when previously
we’d say, “Go build us three prototypes and breadboard
this thing.” Now you had to do the engineering work upfront
and down select and hope that you could actually make it work, as
opposed to having two or three that were tested and pick the best
of the two or three that were out there.
The budget problems got us into schedule problems, the technology
got us into schedule problems, which got us into more budget problems.
So it was a chain of events trying to get the Shuttle ready to go
fly. The practices and how we set the program up and how we tried
to run the program was very similar to what we used in the Apollo
days. Then when we started into the International Space Station and
Space Station Freedom—I think that we—right in that timeframe,
and I can’t tell you which came first, but we ended up with
the four work packages for the Space Station Freedom and an integration
In trying to integrate all of those guys into a common way of doing
business was extremely difficult, because each one of the work package
Centers had their own way of doing business. They had their own processes.
They had their own tools. They may have a different CAD [Computer
Aided Design] drawing system than somebody else. They may have a different
way of tracking their action items, and if they issued alerts or something,
they’d issue them one way, and another Center may not have the
same tools and capabilities. So it became obvious pretty quick that
this was going to be a real integration nightmare. And to a large
degree, the integration part of it is why they finally ended up giving
it up. They just couldn’t get everybody on the same page at
the same time.
At the Headquarters and the Agency level, I think it was a little
bit of an awakening that says, “If we’re going to have
these big programs that involve all of these different people, we’re
going to have to create standard ways of doing business, and we’re
going to have to develop policies that push down from the Headquarters
level to the different Centers for implementation.” And that’s
the genesis of a lot of our standards, how we do it, what’s
required, how you’re going to do things, trying to do standardization
of software tools, whether you’re going to use Microsoft Project
for your scheduling tools, for your databases, whether you use something
like an Oracle or Windchill.
The Agency evolved to the point that they realized that the programs
we were getting were so big that they were going to have to be done
by multiple Centers and that we needed common tools that the Centers
could use in implementing those programs. But at the same time, there’s
a huge culture and history and, in certain cases, a lot of investment
in the tools that those organizations had.
It’s been an evolutionary process of Headquarters developing
the documentation and then pushing it down and seeing which programs
in which Centers pushed back in which areas and trying to adapt to
that. That’s where we’re at now, and now as we’re
trying to get into the exploration environment, hopefully some of
that effort will pay off in that Constellation [Systems] is going
have the launch vehicles out of Marshall and the Crew Exploration
Vehicle [CEV] and the cargo and crew program offices here at JSC.
The lunar surface access module is probably going to be out of [NASA]
Glenn [Research Center at Lewis Field, Cleveland, Ohio]. It may have
already been decided where it’s going to be. The lunar habitat’s
probably going to be a different Center.
And you have to make sure that all of these people are working to
the same set of standards, the same requirements, using the same tools,
so that we can be as efficient as we possibly can.
In fact, one of the things that, as an example, we’re trying
to deal with is radiation. Radiation in deep space is a significant
problem. Then you have to say, “Well, we’re building a
Crew Exploration Vehicle that is going to go to the Moon and back,
and we’ve done that so you don’t need much radiation protection.”
Well, that’s the same thing that you’re going to use to
supposedly carry the crew to Mars, and you’ve got to figure
out how much radiation protection you can build in now or what shielding
you can put on later to protect from those kinds of things.
You look at the lunar habitat and say, “Okay, I’ve got
to have some shielding for radiation up there,” and it’s
got to be consistent so that when you look overall at the dose when
they’re in habitat, when they’re in the lunar access module,
and when they’re in the CEV that their total compliment of radiation
doesn’t exceed their allowable. Well, you have to talk to each
one of those programs and do an allocation. For your piece you’ve
got to protect for this and for this and for this, so there’s
a large integration effort involved in that in trying to look far
enough downstream at a lunar habitat and figure out what the requirements
are actually going to be then and apply it to a CEV that’s going
through SRR, Systems Requirements Review, now. It’s a challenge.
It’s going to be a challenge to those guys.
Another one is lunar dust. How do you deal with the dust? How much
dust can you actually handle and how much can you get rid of? Because
dust is, to a certain level, a toxic material. Lunar dust, we know
that it’s not good for you and then you’ve got to figure
out, well, how much can you have on your suit when you bring your
suit into the airlock. You have to have some way to clean it off outside,
clean it in the airlock, scrub it in the airlock, scrub it in the
habitat module. You don’t want to get it into the CEV, so you
got to figure out ways to filter it out.
There’s a lot of technology kinds of things that we’re
trying to look at now and make sure we consider them in the early
parts of the exploration program so that we don’t have to redo
them or reinvent them ten, fifteen years from now when we actually
get ready to put a habitat on the lunar surface.
Well, it sounds like you’ll be busy for a while if you continue
your consulting work.
There’s plenty of work out there. Now, whether they like the
way I consult and what I can bring to the table, we’ll have
to see whether there’s any takers out there.
But I’ve also thought about actually going to work for a company
just because, as I said, being a consultant and being a director where
you can actually be a program manager or make the decisions and see
whether you can get them implemented or not hasn’t appealed
to me. The consulting has never actually been satisfying.
It’s interesting that you’re bring up about the different
cultures and the common tools. When you were working with Shuttle
and Shuttle-Mir and Station, did you find that that culture had to
be nurtured some to make sure that all three of those programs were
working with common tools and common language and a common platform?
Here within the Center?
Shuttle and Station, I don’t think, put in what I would consider
much in the way of tools. They put in some processes where they had
joint meetings and joint responsibility. They talked about shared
responsibility, who’s going to lead. Through more mechanical
processes, they have managed to run each of their programs separately
where necessary but through what I would consider a more manual process.
Where they’ve needed to work together, they’ve been able
to do that.
There are certain cases where there’s been some friction in
the onset and then they’ve come to some kind of a resolution
about who was driving the ship. In the earlier stages of Space Station
and Shuttle, and you look at the Space Station and said, “This
is going to take all these Shuttle flights to get us up there,”
so obviously, the reason we got Shuttle is to build a Space Station.
So Station took the upper hand and said, “Well, we’re
in charge of this thing,” and Shuttle on the other hand said,
“Well, we’re your truck, and the only way you’re
going to get in space is by us, so we’re the upper hand,”
and this kind of thing. It was interesting to watch the meetings with
the two program managers together as to who was actually in charge
I think that over time they have gotten to where they know where they
need to shake hands and where they don’t need to shake hands,
and where they do, they have joint meetings and they have the right
people under them that have been working collaboratively to get to
the right answers. I would also say that’s how it was when we
first started out. Station would say, “Well, this is what we
need to fly,” and Shuttle said, “Well, we’re going
to pull in this stuff of our own, so you can only have this much,”
and it went back and forth in that arena.
The fact that the Exploration Program Office is now at JSC and the
IT [Information Technology] environment has changed so much from when
Shuttle and Station first came onboard that the exploration guys are
bringing a lot of electronic tools and capabilities with them that
they are baselining within their program. It will be interesting to
see how the other programs evolve to actually pick up and use some
of those tools. There’s all kinds of dynamics in what exploration
is doing but it has relatively little impact on the International
Space Station. CEV is supposed to fly to ISS and help carry crews,
so you’ve got to dock to it. Other than that, not a lot of impact.
Constellation is standing up now and trying to get its arms around
its program and all of its tools in place. Shuttle is going to be
gone in 2010, so how much effort do you want to put into common tools
if you’ve got such a short term to put them to use. You’ve
got to do a cost-benefit trade that says, “Yeah, I see what
you’re doing and if we were going to be here for fifteen years,
yeah, that’s the right way to do it. But since we’re not,
we’re going to do it manually.” That means that the exploration
guys won’t be able to use some of their tools, so they won’t
be quite as efficient as they thought they were going to be able to
be when they were dealing with the Shuttle.
There are some growing pains that are going to have to come out of
that, but I sat in on a telecomm today that the Exploration guys were
talking about some of the efforts that they were trying to work with
the Shuttle guys, and some of it was working really good and some
of it was we seemed to have been left out here. We haven’t gotten
on the train yet. They haven’t given us a ticket, so there’s
going to be some growing pains to get those organizations working
together, but they’re trying to do that.
And it’s particularly important with the Exploration guys and
the Shuttle guys, because of the amount of Shuttle derived capability
Exploration wants to use where they want to use the solid rocket boosters
and they want to use a lot of KSC facilities. They’re going
to have to figure out how they’re going to work together. They’ll
have to figure out what they’re going to do, like draw out a
plan, what they’re going to sit down and write down on a piece
of paper, and file it.
Well, before we go too much into the future, I want to ask you to
go back and answer a couple other questions that we had [about] earlier
in your career, and I’ll stay on the Shuttle era right now.
How challenging was it for you with the different payloads for the
different missions? For instance, you had a culture with DoD [Department
of Defense], and you had one with Spacelab, you had one with satellites
working with commercial people. Tell us how you were able to do the
protocols, do the implementation. How were you able to work with all
those different, different groups and with the Shuttle schedule the
way that it was?
One of the neat things was—the Shuttle was going to launch,
you had to be onboard, so having the Shuttle schedule forced you to
get your act together to some degree. But you bring up a good point,
because particularly in the early part of the program, just about
every flight brought a new environment to you even early on with [STS-4],
with [Thomas K. “T.K.”] Mattingly [II] and [Henry W.]
Hartsfield [Jr.] flew a DoD flight. NASA was not at all accustomed
to dealing with classified documents, material, information, different
concepts, and there was a lot of stuff, a lot of it that I didn’t
have to deal with, but a lot of it I was on the periphery of in that
the vehicle integration team was responsible for interfacing with
When we started talking about the payload, they’d say, “Well,
you don’t have a need to know, so we can’t tell you about
what this military payload is.”
And we’d tell them, “Well, here are the things in our
documents that say that this is what we need to do to each one of
the payloads to make sure that the crews are safe. We have to do an
EVA [Extravehicular Activity]. We’re going to go do all these
things, and so we have a need to know.” And then you get into
what’s the military’s definition of “need to know,”
and what our definition of “need to know” was, and they
weren’t always exactly the same. So there was a lot of stuff
where we ended up, I guess I would say, training and briefing the
military guys on what it is that we were doing and got comfortable
with where they could go off and do a particular inspection or a particular
verification that we would normally do, and they’d come back
and say, “Yeah, we’ve done that, and it’s okay.”
Or in certain cases, they would come back, and they’d show us
some pictures of what it was that we were talking about that the picture
was of exactly what you wanted. You could see that bolt head, but
you couldn’t see anything else. [laughs] “That’s
a smooth bolt head. We can show you. It’s right here in this
Yes, it was all blacked out. I really didn’t see any of those.
But it was that difficult of an environment, and then there were certain
things where we needed to know how that particular payload interfaced
with our software and avionic system. They recognized upfront that
there wasn’t any way they could get smart enough about our avionic
system and simulate it.
They’d give us enough information about the payload and the
data stream and the bit rates and the data we would see for error
checking that you could make sure that, it was working in those arenas.
The flight data file, a lot of the documentation became classified,
so you had to protect it, and somebody would bring me a document and
say, “Here’s the flight data file, here’s the ascent
checklist, and it’s classified. You’ve got to lock it
up when you go.” I don’t have a place to lock it up. So
all of a sudden, we had to start getting all kinds of safes that were
classified to hold confidential or secrets documents and I had to
start remembering combinations.
We had to protect a lot of data that we had never protected before.
We weren’t familiar with that. The military came forward with
this idea that they were going to command to their payload in the
Shuttle, and instead we were going to send the commands through the
Control Center like we have always done forever and ever. That’s
different. That’s our spacecraft, our Shuttle up there. We should
be commanding to it.
And the military guys are saying, “We’ve got hundreds
of satellites flying around up there. We command to them all the time.”
So there was a period of trying to get comfortable with how that was
going to evolve. The military sent guys to sit in our Control Center
to see how we operated, and we sent people out to what is called the
Blue Cube [Onizuka Air Force Station] out in California to sit in
their environment to understand how they did their stuff, to get a
comfort level of which Center was going to be able to do what commanding
and see what data.
The DoD guys brought a new perspective, new environment, even from
a facilities perspective. They ended up making vaults in rooms where
people could work, and then we had to have encrypted telephones in
certain areas so we could do telephone conversations. They brought
in a different environment than we hadn’t dealt with in the
Spacelab came along. Spacelab, again, that program was managed out
of Marshall, so even though it was a manned spacecraft environment,
Marshall was the lead Center for managing the contract. The European
Space Agency was actually the builder of it, and again, it was one
of these kinds of barter deals that they built it and for a certain
amount of the use of it and the fact that we launched it and brought
it back, they got a certain percentage of the utilization rights of
It was, again, interesting in trying to get from our perspective,
the flight crew involved in participating in the development of the
Spacelab module. We had to work with the Marshall guys, and it was
a different set of guys than it was at Skylab, so we had to do some
reeducation in this particular area about why the crew guys participated,
what we were trying to get out of it. Then they had to negotiate that
with the Europeans, because the crew guys actually went to Europe
to see the module a few times when it was over there.
That’s really when we first started getting into dealing with
the Europeans and the European culture, and because they were actually
launching the Spacelab as a payload in the Shuttle they had to become
accustomed to the Shuttle requirements, which are relevant because
the Columbus module was going to launch in the Shuttle. That’s
where the linkage comes. Spacelab, they learned how to work as a payload
in the Shuttle cargo bay, and they learned the Shuttle processes in
When they went to their contractor to build the Columbus module, they
had all of this experience, and they could pass it along through the
contractual mechanisms to say this is how you’re going to have
to build it, how you’re going to verify what you have to build
it to. Some of the documentation was taken verbatim. Some of it they
created themselves, and we just had to do a traceability matrix to
make sure it was the same. The intent was there, and in most of the
cases it was very easy. They didn’t use it exactly to do a traceability
matrix, because they used it as a model. They just didn’t take
it verbatim. That was an interesting exercise.
Then, as you say, we started launching commercial satellites. Hughes
[Network Systems] and TRW [Incorporated] were both big in launching
their satellites, and they had what we would consider corporate sensitive,
their equivalent of classified information. They again wanted to make
sure that the people that they were giving access to that information
weren’t going to share it with other folks.
In that timeframe, you had to do a lot of protection through nondisclosure
agreements, because you go to the Cape [Canaveral, Florida] and the
Shuttle processor was Boeing to begin with and Lockheed later, and
in the payload process, it was Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas, all
of which are to some degree competitors with Hughes and TRW. So you
got into the arena of what information your contractors could see
and nondisclosure agreements.
In our area where we had McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed people working
with us that we sent out to other contractors, we had to work those
agreements upfront. That also presented some interesting challenges
for how do you deal with the industrial world. We flew some commercial
payload specialists with their commercial payloads in the crew module,
and they also had corporate sensitive information that we needed to
deal with. Then we had to deal with how do you integrate them into
the crew and what pieces of the Shuttle hardware can you actually
allow them to use. Obviously, they’ve got to eat, they’ve
got to go to the bathroom, but do you want them using the [remote]
manipulator arm? There were some early negotiations on what payload
specialists would be allowed to do, what they would be trained on,
what they wouldn’t be trained on, emergency egress, the suit
that they’re wearing.
It was evolving, and at the beginning of the program, it seemed like
every flight brought you some kind of a new challenge. I will have
to admit that fifteen flights into it, it started becoming a little
bit routine. You hoped you’d covered enough of the little different
idiosyncrasies that nobody could spring something new on you, but
they always seemed to be able to find one or two things. It was pretty
routine probably fifteen flights into it, from our perspective. We
had dealt with the commercial side, we’d dealt with the military
side, the NASA payloads, Marshall was coming onboard, we’d flown
Spacelab enough times that we had a pretty good rapport with those
One of the neat things that was always good was that the Kennedy guys
were always supportive of getting the crew guys involved and making
sure they knew how the hardware was working and got their hands on
the flight hardware. It was always a pleasure to work with the Cape,
KSC guys. They really tried to work with us.
In the early days of STS 3, you had a Shuttle that landed at White
Sands Test Facility [New Mexico]. How did that impact your group?
It was quite an impact. Early on, part of the team, the way the team
was broken up with the lead and then we had the guys working the payloads,
the guys working the orbiter and guys working the landing well, for
the early flights, we staffed up both at the primary and secondary
landing sites. So we had somebody at Edwards [Air Force Base; NASA
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California] and we had somebody
at White Sands for the flight. We actually had a presence there upfront,
but I’m not sure that anybody thought we’d ever go there.
When they decided that Edwards was wet and when KSC wasn’t an
option, and we were going to go to White Sands, we all packed our
bags and headed out there. It was interesting because I know George
[W. S.] Abbey was directing all of the operational aspects for what
we were doing with the flight crew guys, and he wanted to make sure
that he had a senior person out there managing all of the activities.
So he sent Rick [Frederick H.] Hauck out there and called him the
I was out there doing all the landing recovery stuff for the flight
crew and working with the convoys and the logistics and the families
and all of the other stuff we were supposed to be trying to deal with.
Rick [Richard J.] Hieb also came out there, and I can’t remember
exactly what Rick’s role was. But, it was interesting because
we had the small center of operations that we were working out of
and with Rick Hauck and Rick Hieb and Rick Nygren all in that office.
And the telephone would ring and the secretary would holler, “Hey,
Rick, it’s for you,” and we’d all drop what we were
doing and go get the phone. And then they go, “No, it’s
for Nygren,” or “No, it’s for Hauck,” so we
needed to come up with some abbreviation for all the Ricks.
But the White Sands Test Facility guys did a great job of pulling
their entire facility together to provide us with the equipment that
we needed. We had staged a partial convoy out there, but there was
equipment that was at Edwards that we needed transported and had to
get it trucked over there so we’d have it available.
I remember a couple of times when we were attempting to land the weather
wasn’t compatible and you’d be standing in the Ops Center
there looking out the window, and the dust was just—it was just
a whiteout in the dust. When we were sending the convoy out to the
runway, you could see the very tops of the snorkel truck and the purge
truck. They looked like tall dinosaurs creeping across the lakebed,
because that’s all you could see was the very tops of them.
You couldn’t see the trucks at all, and the convoy was probably
twenty vehicles. You could see these two little snakeheads going across
at the top of the dust.
You’d get out there, and after your day you’d get in your
car to leave, and your car would have a sixteenth of an inch of dust
on the inside of it. It wasn’t like grains of sand, it was just
a powder, and it got into everything, into everything.
The White Sands guys did an outstanding job, and we got the Orbiter
down. We mated it to the SCA and got out of there just as fast as
we could. At KSC when they started doing the inspections, they found
a lot of alkali in the throats of the RCS [Reaction Control System]
jets, so there was a lot of cleanup. I think it was somewhat of an
awakening that says we really don’t want to ever go back there
again. If you really had to, you probably would, but it’s not
someplace you want the Orbiter to be.
But it was fun to go do it. It was a challenge when we got out there,
because it was something different, and any time you do something
different, you can look back at it afterwards and say, “We pulled
that off. It was tough. We had to work hard, but it was something
we really got accomplished.” It was nice to get the Orbiter
down and the crew safe and get the Orbiter back to Kennedy.
Speaking of something different, on STS-7 we launched a female for
the first time. Tell us about that flight and how it impacted your
team. What was different about it other than it was Sally [K.] Ride?
Let me start off with that Sally was really great to work with. You
talk about a really nice lady, cool. She didn’t require anything
different just because it was Sally. She melded right into the crew
and did a super job.
As for the team overall, I would say there was very little impact
associated with Sally. From my perspective as the lead, Sally brought
media attention that wasn’t there with just launching the “guys.”
She was the first female. She drew a lot of media attention, and the
public affairs organizations tried to accommodate as much of that
as they could, and Sally, she tried to balance that as much as possible.
I know she wasn’t interested in the publicity, publicizing Sally
Ride, but she also recognized, I think, that she was the first female
and it was something that NASA was doing and NASA needed to be recognized
that they were doing this.
My involvement was more with the Public Affairs and the media in that
there were more photographers that wanted to take pictures and be
at different particular locations where the crew was going to be training,
or when they went out and flew their T-38s, they wanted to be on the
flight line to take pictures. There were more artists that wanted
to be in particular areas, and I had to try and balance it out so
somebody didn’t get shown what would be perceived as preferential
treatment by being able to go someplace that somebody else didn’t
It presented some media public relations activities that were different
and certainly more time-consuming than what I’d had to deal
with previously, but I think overall it came out really well, I think
more to Sally’s benefit and from her efforts than necessarily
from mine. She had a way to make that stuff balance out really well,
and she gave me some guidelines of what she wanted to do, and it worked
out pretty well in that respect.
But it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the same number of people
standing around with cameras or artists that wanted to come in and
do things. It was they knew Sally was flying, and they wanted to be
part of it and document it, too, so they were there in force.
Share with us your experiences of launching the crew with Admiral
Truly on STS-8, in a lightning storm and with a night landing.
The launch, it was one of the ones where we got to go out to the pad
and come back a number of times. We were having a hard time getting
it launched, and Dick and his crew—well, just to set the stage
a little bit, the way that the system worked is that the crew guys
got suited up. The crew quarters are in the O&C [Operations and
Checkout] Building at KSC, and the crew guys get suited there. Then
there’s an astronaut transport van that takes the crew from
the O&C out to the launch pad, and the route out to the launch
pad goes by the Launch Control Center. And while the crew guys are
in transport, the Kennedy guys shut down all of the movement of vehicles
around there so that there are no accidents and no incidents t.
Well, in the job that I have, I needed to be able to get from the
O&C building out to the Launch Control Center where all of my
team actually worked, and we had our operations center set up out
there. So I always rode in the astronaut transport van out to the
Launch Control Center, and then they’d stop and I’d get
out and walk into the LCC and then they’d take off and continue
on out to the pad.
We’d made a few trips out to the launch pad and back, and on
this particular night, as we were driving up Kennedy Parkway, the
lightning is just all over, just bang, bang, thunder and lightning.
The lightning is hitting fairly close to the van as we are driving,
nothing that actually hit the van, but it was quite a lightning show.
I remember Dick making comments about the fact that, “I don’t
know why we’re going through all of this. We know we’re
going to be coming back in a couple hours,” because the rain
is coming down, the thunder and lightning all over the place.
We keep counting down and there’s thunder and lightning and
we keep counting down, and we go, “Well, we’re actually
going to go launch this son-of-a-gun.” And right smack in the
middle of what appeared to be a really severe lightning storm, we
actually launched him. I just keep thinking back about how he was
talking and we were all joking about the weather, “This is just
another drive out to the launch pad and back, we’ll be back
in a little while. I don’t know why we’re going through
the exercise. We could have just stayed at the crew quarters and watched
TV or had a few more cookies.”
I It was another one of those incidental things on each one of the
flights that you think about and you appreciate it, working with the
crew guys and what they were thinking about just before going out
to the launch pad. You’re trying to make it as comfortable and
casual and upbeat as you can, talking to them, because, in the early
days when we were doing it, there was a fair amount of stress and
uncertainty in how things were going to go. But you tried to just
make it a real positive environment and help them. And these guys
are just going out to the launch pad and they are all joking about,
“Why? Why are we doing this? This doesn’t seem like the
right night to be going out to the launch pad.”
No, it was good. I had a really good rapport with Dick and his guys
and I worked with Dick all the way back into the Skylab days. I really
enjoyed working with Dick, too, and now he’s retired too. He
left NASA and went to a number of different positions, but he worked
at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado for a number
of years, and I was always envious of being able to live in that country.
Any other thoughts or memories of the Shuttle era that you want to
share with us?
No. I think we’ve been talking for six or seven hours, I’ve
hit on most of the high points, I think. If I sat down and wrote some
notes, there are probably lots of little nuances and little stories
to tell, some of which people probably wouldn’t want me to talk
about. But from a highlights perspective, I think we’ve hit
most of it. I think it was all pretty good, it’s been a great
time for me.
I’ve got just a couple more if you would provide a few more
details for us on the Health Stabilization Process. You brought that
up in one of the sessions, but if you could share some details about
what that is and what is its importance.
The Health Stabilization Program was a fallout of the Apollo days.
Basically, it’s a program that they’ve instituted that
isolates the crew guys to a certain degree from the general public
and the general populace, the employees, and staff, within seven days
of launch to try and keep them from getting a cold or the flu or contracting
some kind of an illness before the launch. Essentially, what they
do under the Health Stabilization Program is, there are certain people
that they know are going to have to deal with the crew, other astronauts,
flight directors, flight surgeons, other people that work on airplanes
and T-38s out at Ellington Field [Houston, Texas] where they do their
They get a list of all of the people that the crew is going to have
to interface with, and then they essentially screen those people with
medicals, give them a medical exam and make sure they’re healthy.
And then they have established a set of—nothing really intricate,
but just common sense rules that people who are working under the
Health Stabilization Program are supposed to abide by. Essentially,
if you’re not feeling well, don’t go to work because you’re
going to be working around the crew. We don’t want you there.
If you’ve got a sick family member, then you shouldn’t
be around the crew, or make sure that you get the doctor to diagnose
what the family member has so you know what you’re dealing with.
It’s that kind of thing, kind of a common sense.
There are a number of people and you get a special little badge that
has Health Stabilization Program on it. And generally, where the crew
guys are working in the simulator buildings, there are security guards
at the simulator buildings. When they fly down to Kennedy three days
before the launch where they’re in the crew quarters, there
are security people around there. The security people will only allow
people with a Health Stabilization badge inside the cordoned off areas
where the crew guys are actually going to be. It’s a program
that’s put in place to help maintain and ensure the crew’s
health prior to a mission in hopes that you won’t have to delay
a mission if somebody contracts something in the last week before
a particular launch.
It’s one of those things that’s important to do. It’s
difficult to enforce. It takes a lot of due diligence by the people
who are doing the program to be honest about it. If you really aren’t
feeling well, don’t come to work. If you don’t have a
badge, don’t try and get access to the crew. As an example,
for a launch, the crew is at the Cape and they’ve got a close
family member, a brother, a sister, mother or dad or someone who lives
someplace else and they flew down to the launch and they want to see
them. For this you have to schedule those people for physicals and
blood draws and check them out to see that they are, in fact, healthy
before you let them go in and see the crew.
You have to try and work ahead of time to get a list and an idea from
the crew of who’s going to be coming, who they want to see,
so you can schedule the physicals with the docs [doctors]. And it
is a program that’s designed to maintain the health of the crew
and help ensure that the vehicle will be launched on time and it won’t
be delayed because somebody is sick.
One last question I had, you very early on in the oral history session,
you talked about procedures and manuals that you helped compile to
be used by the astronauts when they were on missions, especially we
were talking about, I think, Apollo 9 about the photography. Tell
us about that process. How were those manuals compiled?
There was a flight data file manager that was identified who was responsible
for the flight data file in total, and that was all of the books,
the library of books, the ascent checklist, the entry checklist, the
on-orbit checklist, specific experiment procedures. He was responsible
for all of the books, and he would have an inventory. It’s got
a table of contents of all of the books that were part of the compilation
of the flight data file.
Then they would have a book manager that was responsible for each
one of those books and all of the contents that would be in a particular
flight data file for a particular event. The book manager was responsible
for going out to all of the technical experts to identify what it
is that he needed to put in his particular book. Let me build a scenario
for you but the concept is the same. I’m going to pick on one
that says during Apollo 9. Dave [David R.] Scott was going to open
the hatch and he was going to stick his head out and he was going
to take some pictures back along the Service Module. The checklist
manager was responsible for the book that dealt with the procedure
for opening the hatch and getting ready for it. Part of that was setting
up the 16-millimeter camera that would be operated during the hatch
activities and when Dave Scott was out there.
The book manager would go to the 16-millimeter camera guys and say,
“Okay, I got to have this photography being done. I need for
you to tell me which lens I need, which camera I need, what shutter
speeds I need, what F-stops I need, so that I can write that into
the checklist so that I can write all of that, write the checklist
and get it all in there.” He’d go to the camera guy and
the camera guy would give him all of the information as best he knew
it, and then the guy would come to somebody. In this particular case,
I was the crew station engineer, and he’d come to me and he
says, “Okay, we’re going to want to take a picture of
the crew guy, Dave Scott, when he’s out of the hatch. We’re
going to use this particular camera. Where do I need to set the camera
up in the spacecraft?”
I would sit there and I’d say, “Okay, well, if this is
the shot that you’re looking for, here’s a handrail that
you can put this particular camera mount on. Then knowing what he
wanted, I’d go over to a mockup where I could get the camera,
lens and bracket, I could mount them on the handrail.
I’d tell him which utility outlet to hook it up to. The power
switch for the outlet is this nomenclature. I give him a set of parameters
that said, “Okay, this is the camera bracket that you want.
These are the settings on the camera bracket that you want. This is
the utility power outlet that you want. This is the switch that powers
the utility outlet.” And I’d give him that information.
Then the book manager would put all of this detail into the checklist.
I want him to get this camera gear out, I want him to attach it to
this camera bracket, and I want him to set this camera bracket angles
on it, and then I want him to set it aside.” Then the next set
of sequence may be: I’m going get into the suit, Then he’d
sit in and he’d go talk to the suit guys about: what do I have
to tell the guy to do, what do I have to tell him to make sure he
verifies that oxygen connectors and the glove seals and the helmet
He’d get the procedures for donning his suit and then say, “Okay,
we’re going to drop the spacecraft to a vacuum because we’re
going to open the hatch. How do you write the venting procedure? What
switches do you throw?” He’d go talk to the ECLSS [environmental
control and life support system] systems guys and get the procedure
for venting the spacecraft. Then they’d say, “When the
guy gets done, he’s going to have to open the hatch. I need
some procedures for what I do to open the hatch.”
The guy would come back to me and say, “What’s the procedure
for opening the hatch? What does he have to do to open the hatch?
What specific steps does he do?” I’d tell him how he was
going to open the hatch, what needs to be done.
He’s gathering all of these subtasks from technical experts
and then he would write up a checklist that covered the time from
when they said, “We’re going to pick up this checklist
and it’s going to be the EVA checklist.” They’d
go through what all has to be done. He has to get in the suit. He
has to set the camera up. And then while he’s opening the hatch,
well, maybe the cameras can’t be in that area because when he’s
opening the hatch, the camera’s in the road.
We end up taking the procedure the book manager, myself in the case
of a crew station, a suit tech [technician] and somebody—either
a support astronaut or somebody that was a suit technician that would
actually get in the suit—and we’d take his procedure and
run it through. And then we’d mark it up, and say, “We
got you hooked up to this utility panel over here, and when he’s
trying to get in his suit and get out here, the cable’s in the
road. So we can’t hook up yet, we have to hook up after he gets
Maybe we’ll have a different crewman connect him up at different
time. So we would dry run the procedure and make sure that it would,
in fact, work the way that we wanted it to work in a mockup or a simulator.
Then as the book manager, he was responsible for maintaining configuration
control of that particular document. They would baseline it and say,
“This is how we’re going to go do it.” It may turn
out that we just throw something in artificially, “Okay, we
went through all of this and we set it all up, but somebody decided
later that along with the 16-millimeter camera that we were going
to set up for TV pictures at the same time, or we wanted to get a
35-millimeter still picture of it.”
So now we’ve got to set a sequence in there that says, “We’re
going to do 35-millimeter, so we’ve got to get out the Nikon;
we’ve got to get out the camera with this lens put this kind
of a filter on it. We want to make sure it has this film in it.”
Here’s a new sequence. Well, we put that sequence into that
checklist also. They have a special procedure and a form called a
482 that they process that says, “Okay, I want to change this
book. It’s baselined. But I want to put these changes into it.”
They fill out this 482 form and then they send it out to a standard
distribution for everybody to look through and buy off on it, and
it’s got a check by everybody that has to review the change.
When everybody buys off that “yes, that’s the right procedure,”
they send it back to the book manager and the book manager would incorporate
it into his procedure. If it was something relatively simple, he would
just write it.
If it was something that was a little more complex or he thought,
“Well I don’t know if this thing really works exactly
the same or there was enough change in here that my timeline might
change. Instead of needing forty minutes to do what I’ve scheduled,
I might need an hour now, so I need to go back to the timeline. So
I better get everybody together, and we’re going to go back
over, we’re going to dry run this procedure in the mockup again.”
And he’d run us through the checklist. We’d all do our
activity and verify, yeah, verily, what he’s inserted does fit
the way it’s supposed to fit, and then add five minutes to this
He’d have his checklist and it would still be baselined with
one rev [revolution] with a 482, but maybe it did change the time.
Then he’d go to the timeline guy and say, “I need five
more minutes from you, so when you build your timeline you’ve
got to extend my time a certain amount.” And then the timeline
guy would start going off to go work that, and depending on how all
of that played out, you could—taking a worst-case scenario here—you
could walk in and say, “Well I redid all of this stuff, and
I really need ten minutes.”
And the guy says, “Well I can’t start you earlier, but
I can let you run ten minutes longer.” But the problem is that
now you’re going to be doing your procedure, you’re going
to be doing this in the dark. You’re in the night side instead
of in the daylight. So then you go, “Well, that means I’ve
got to go change all my F-stop settings and my shutter speeds and
all that other stuff that fits into it.”
It’s one of those “integration things.” The flight
data file guys—you had the data file manager that oversaw all
of this stuff, and then you had guys that did ascent checklist and
entry checklists, on-orbit checklists, and crew procedures, and you
had systems handbooks with system procedures that they had for different
schematics for how things worked. It’s building a book and verifying
the data that you’re putting in the book does work the way it’s
supposed to work, and making sure that other people who are building
other books and timelines aren’t impacted by what you might
be doing to your book.
Very intricate. And that was paper. Now it’s almost all electronic,
and they go through the same process. The process is essentially the
same, but it’s electronic in that where you’d be doing
something and it didn’t work exactly the way you thought it
was supposed to work, a crewman would look at it and say, “That’s
not right. Well, let me look at my systems data.” And he’d
access his systems data on an electronic file, not in a book.
Now you scroll down and get to the next step, and you want the background
data on it, you push on a button, and a system file comes up. Then
you click on it for a schematic and the schematic comes up. World
of difference of how you do flight data files now versus how you did
them before. It gives you a tremendous amount of depth and information
that’s available to you compared to what we could fly on Apollo
when we were putting it on a piece of paper.
It’s certainly a lot of respect for how much every step affects
the next one.
Absolutely, absolutely. In those days, it was choreographed for anything
like an EVA or whether it was what Dave Scott did looking out the
back or if it was on the lunar surface, everything was choreographed
numerous times to make sure you’re not missing anything.
You’ve shared so many different aspects of what you’ve
done with NASA and even afterwards, is there one that you consider
to be the most challenging that you’ve ever had to deal with,
the most challenging aspect you encountered in your career with NASA?
It depends on the interpretation of challenging. Challenging, frustrating.
There are a lot of different ways. But I think the one that was probably
the most challenging to me and certainly the most emotional was dealing
with the [Space Shuttle] Challenger [STS 51-L] accident and being
right there with the family and seeing their grief and feeling so
helpless in how you can actually help them. How can you try and offload
some of the grief that they’re going through at that point in
time? So that was probably the toughest.
Depends on what you mean by challenging, as to how many hours you
have to put in at work to get the job done. As far as just emotionally
involved and stressful and at the same time feeling helpless in a
lot of ways that you can’t do anything to make it better, I
would say the Challenger accident was probably that time.
What about the most rewarding?
I think it would be a toss-up probably between the Shuttle-Mir Program
and the Approach and Landing Test [ALT] Program. I say that both for
the same reason for both of them. That is that they were both small
programs. In my own mind, I felt I had a significant role in both
of them. They both came off very well. You can be proud of what you
got accomplished in those programs. At the end of the day, you can
feel that you had made a difference. In the ALT, I really enjoyed
the people I was working with and establishing the rapport with them,
and the crews guys, Fred [W. Haise] and Gordo [C. Gordon Fullerton],
Joe [Engle] and Dick [Truly] were just fantastic to work with.
And then the Shuttle-Mir, again, it was small. It was a small team.
We talked about trying to get all of the hardware built and then interfacing
with the Russians and then having the opportunity to also get exposed
to the Europeans, all of that was really a lot of fun. You’d
have never gotten me to say that during the programs, either one of
It’s amazing what time will do.
Well, I don’t have anything else left on my list, unless there
are some things that you want to cover, any closing thoughts.
We’ve talked about a lot of stuff. It will be interesting if
there’s a way you could actually make it coherent, but I enjoyed
my thirty-five-plus years with NASA. It was interesting in that I
never went and looked for a job after I went to work for NASA. They
always came to me and said, “Do this.” And I would think
that if you looked back on that, you’d say, “Man, that
probably wasn’t very rewarding,” but in my particular
case every job I ever had was one that was really rewarding, I had
a lot of fun at all of them.
The Agency treated me really well. I have to say that it’s unfortunate
that the bureaucracy settles into an agency as it gets older, compared
to how it was in the beginning. I still think that they’ve got
a lot of good folks doing a lot of good work, and they’ve got
some really big challenges in front of them in trying to get on with
exploration, along with trying to figure out how to do it within the
It will soon become an international endeavor. The Russians are talking
about going to the Moon. The Chinese are talking about going to the
Moon. We’re talking about going back to the Moon. As people
start looking at the billions and billions of dollars that it takes,
hopefully there will be an incentive there for the countries to get
together and collaborate and find more reasons to work together and
will build on tearing down older barriers and things that might cause
us to have wars and terrorist attacks, but did get the world closer
together and have some common goals.
I’ve got no regrets from the thirty-five years I worked for
NASA and the four years afterwards, I’ve learned a lot. It’s
been interesting. I just wished I could be more effective as a consultant
than I am. That’s a personal choice, so I’ll just have
to live with it.
I have no doubt that as all those things happen you’ll be somewhat
more involved. We may have to do another oral history at some point.
Thanks again for all the time you gave to us.
There you go, oral history, yes, that could be, could be. Thanks for
[End of interview]