Moving On

The recession of the early 1990s hurt aerospace hard and the fall of the Soviet Union hit defense budgets. McDonnell was laying people off and there was no future there for someone interested in the space business. Fortunately an understanding manager identified a need for a power systems engineer at a McDonnell Douglas office in Maryland. While we had a lot of friends after 15 years in St. Louis, some of them were similarly affected so in 1992 we decided to head east and I was soon working as a contractor on NASA Goddard programs.

That was a very smart move professionally. In St. Louis I was lost in a company focussed on tactical missiles and weapons systems.

In St. Louis I also had over extended myself with volunteer activities, becoming involved in too many groups. After moving to Maryland, it made sense to take a break. With two NASA centers (Goddard and HQ) right there and being the nation’s capital, there was little call for local citizen space advocates. So I took a hiatus from explicit advocacy and spent more time with my young family.

I met good people at NASA and learned some very useful satellite design skills. After a couple of year the McDonnell Douglas office in Maryland became involved in an interesting new opportunity. Because the NASA contracts came and went every few years, this office was looking for other types of work. We wound up involved with supporting Motorola and their ambitious Iridium program.

This enabled me and my family to move to Arizona in 1996 where both our parents lived. And I got to work on one of the more interesting and fast paced efforts in my entire career.