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AEDC’s Support to the Apollo Program in the 1960’s Presented by UTSI Alumni, Sam Dougherty

On Friday, July 12, Sam Dougherty of NASA’s Space Launch System in Huntsville, AL gave an insider’s view of the research and testing performed at AEDC in the 1960’s during the time of the Apollo programs.  There were approximately 80 in attendance at the UTSI View, mostly consisting of eager and bright interns from UTSI and AEDC. His presentation was filled with beautiful photos of the Apollo 11 Launch, views of Earth from the Moon, and hand drawn plans for testing. His biggest mission was when AEDC supported Apollo 8 in December 1968.  This was the first-round trip for humans from Planet Earth. Every Apollo flight before 11 was a precursor to the actual Lunar Landing, fulfilling the task given by President John Kennedy.  Testing in the USAF Ground Test Altitude Space Chambers and Wind Tunnels at AEDC for NASA were part of working critical issues and developing solutions before flights. 

Having spent most of his working career in human space flight, Sam graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1962 and then from the University of Tennessee Space Institute with an MS Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1970.

Sam is presently employed for NASA by ERC, Inc., through the Jacobs Space Exploration Group in Huntsville, AL.  He is listed as a national expert in the field of rocket propulsion testing. He also serves as the Propulsion Member of the Avionics and Software Control Board for the rocket which will take Astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars under the Artemis Program.