First-Hand:Elden Recollections of Space Exploration Historical Events

Submitted by Walter L. Elden. P.E. Ret, IEEE and SSIT Life Senior Member

I received Charles Turner’s request to identify anyone involved with early space exploration, so that the IEEE History Center may recognize these achievements. This is what I recall, now at age 87, and urge recognizing my co-Engineer, John Bowers, for his contribution to the Space Program Done back in the 1960’s, early in my engineering career (read below).

In 1958-60, as a new college graduate engineer, I worked as the System Engineer at The Martin Company in Orlando, FL, Responsible for developing a family of airborne Telemetry Signal Conditioning modules for testing the new solid propellant Army Pershing missile for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at the Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama. Later, this ABMA Center became the NASA agency for developing boosters for the NASA Space program in which my modules may have been used in testing their development. (Photos available upon request).

In 1960-62 I worked for one of the Signal Conditioning contractors for Martin Co, Dresser Electronics in Houston, TX, where I designed new Signal Conditioning modules for testing the Titan II missile and other missile applications. (Photos available upon request).

Later, in the 1962-65 period, I worked for a small, but leading, company in Orlando, FL named Dynatronics. I was a Project Engineer Designing Airborne telemetry Data Acquisition equipment for airborne and space applications. A suite of data acquisition telemetry equipment I developed was flown in an Air Force U2 to gather space exploration research data at extremely high altitudes around the world over a 2 year period. (Photos available upon request).

While with Dynatronics, 2 significant Space Exploration contracts were awarded to it, of great significance to the Space Program.

The first was that Dynatronics was awarded and developed all of the Ground Telemetry equipment deployed worldwide for tracking the NASA Space program. And another special event, and this one I wish for my former engineer colleague, John Bowers, to be credited and recognized, for developing a miniature spaceborne Analog to Digital Converter used, deployed and left on the moon to capture, digitize and pass to telemetry transmission equipment for communicating back to earth where Dynatronics developed ground tracking equipment processed its digital data. John Bowers should be recognized for this achievement, a co-Engineer of mine.

Then in July of 1969, while working for Honeywell Communications Division in St Petersburg, FL, I was 1 of 3 engineers sent to Tokyo, Japan to survey the Air Forces’ Communications facilities around Tokyo to assess upgrades and automation of its manual Technical Control facilities.

It just so happened that this occurred when the first NASA moon landing by Neal Armstrong took place, President Nixon flew to the Pacific area to be present when Armstrong and fellow Astronauts returned, and we were shown the special Patch Cords which had been installed to support President Nixon’s Communications while there to greet their return. Of course we were instructed to: DO NOT TOUCH THEM.

These are the Space Exploration historical events I recall and was associated with.


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