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Spring Gathering  2005!

The schedule has “flip-flopped”! The Pioneers will have a Spring Gathering on Friday, 22 April, 7:00 P.M., Comfort Inn, Cocoa Beach (just south of Ron Jon’s). The cost to attend is still just $10 for good food and great conversation. The really BIG NEWS is that we will be honoring one of our own as we shine the spotlight on the exploits of  William C. McTaggart, popularly known as “Mac”! Anticipate some good natured roasting and fantastic stories embellished to demonstrate the contributions of this Pioneer to MSRP and America. You are encouraged to invite a friend.

There is no way to make this long story short except to say that Space Congress has gone away in favor of a new event called Florida Space 2005 which convenes at Kennedy Space Center the week of 14 November and the Pioneers Banquet will be held Friday, 18 November. An explanation is on page three.

As always, the formula for our Gathering is to enjoy the fellowship and war stories from fellow Pioneers. We especially want to encourage attendance by  today’s missile, range and space workers who are destined to be the Pioneers of tomorrow.

 Mac Stories

Do you have a “Mac” story to tell?  If you do, please send to Don Beck at It does not have to be racy  – – but, hey, we are Pioneers!

Spring Elections

Another tradition that is not altered is the election of directors and officers to oversee and govern your organization. A ballot is included in this issue and we request that you take the time to complete and mail or fax back. We have a great line up of new officials to come in and lead as we go forward into the future by heralding the past!

If you would like to do a “write-in”, you may!  A great lineup is identified by your hard working and hard charging Board; However, we readily recognize that there are many, many Pioneers out there who are ready and more than willing to contribute.

Please sign your ballot!

Jerry Johnson, Lt. Col. (USAF-Retired)

Nominee for Pioneer President

Jerry Johnson has been actively engaged with the Space program for more than 35 years.  Jerry was elected secretary of the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers in 1996 and has been a prime mover within the Pioneers culminating in election as vice president in 2003. He has the wholehearted endorsement of the Board and the Trustees to be elected as your next president.

Jerry’s first involvement with space systems was a USAF assignment with the 6595th Aerospace Test Group at Vandenberg AFB in 1967. He was the telemetry and command destruct subsystems engineer for the Titan III expendable launch vehicle division. Titan III was man rated and used as the launch vehicle for the Gemini Space program.  Jerry also had engineering responsibilities for the Agena upper stage that boosted Titan III classified payloads to their final orbits.

His continued work with space boosters, upper stages, and payloads ultimately landed him at Cape Canaveral AFS in August 1982 as Deputy Division Chief for the Titan 34D launch system.  That was the beginning of a long and exciting career in space launch activities at CCAFS including responsibility for the launch base processing of the Titan 34D, the Inertial Upper Stage (flown on the Titan 34D and the Shuttle), and the Transtage that was flown solely on the Titan 34D.

Jerry also had a major role in the Air Force initiative to encourage commercialization of expendable launch vehicles at the Cape.  As vice commander of the 6555th Aerospace Test Group he was responsible for ensuring that the launch base processing of the Commercial Titan, Delta, and Atlas proceeded without interruptions following return to flight of the Space Shuttle after Challenger.  The push to get commercial spacecraft off the Shuttle and onto expendable launch vehicles was the impetus that began the transition of launch responsibilities from NASA and USAF to commercial operations. Companies now procure and launch expendable launch vehicles for commercial customers as well as government agencies.

Since retiring from active duty in 1992, Jerry has been a strong supporter of the Space Program working with GRC International, an AT&T technical services company. Jerry has worked on special studies on Commercialization of Expendable Launch vehicles, supported Allied Signal’s proposal preparation for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle design down select effort, as well as supported the first Space Shuttle Servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA.

As Commander of CCAFS in 1992, became very much involved with the Air Force Space Museum and it’s Volunteers Association. Since retirement, he has actively supported the museum located on Complexes 26 and 5/6 . He continues as a docent with the Museum Volunteers Association helping to man the museum and conduct museum tours for visitors.  Jerry has been active with that organization for the past thirteen years, serving as its president and on several committees.  He has been conducting tours of the museum at least once a month during that same period. He and wife BJ live in Satellite Beach.

What A Guy!

Pioneers Honor Mac McTaggart at April Spring Gathering
Mac McTaggart is being honored at the Pioneers Spring fling, otherwise known as our annual Gathering!
Mac has paid his dues – – Big Time! A POW during the Korean War, Mac arrived on the Space Coast in 1953 assigned to logistics in the Base Support Group. Mac was given the assignment to travel the vast distances over what became the Eastern Test Range, surveying various sites to establish the “down range” stations at Ascension, Grand Bahamas, and Antigua.
Following that, he ventured to a variety of places supporting the fledgling space program and retired as a Lt. Col. at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1972. He and Ruth headed back south to Brevard and became involved with the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers as well as being an advisor on the Officers Club board. Most people around cannot remember a time when Mac was not at the forefront of scheduling, setting up and assuring successful Pioneer sponsored events.
Mac has accrued many friends and the respect of all. Senator/astronaut John Glenn was “sand bagged” by Mac when Glenn was here for the dedication of the monument which was placed at the base of Complex 39 in 1980. Hear that and other stories on 22 April!


Pioneers Contribute Trophy

Students Compete for the Florida Space Pioneer Cup
Florida Space Pioneer Cup

The winning team gets the Florida Space Pioneer Cup

America’s next generation of rocket scientists from Florida’s two leading aerospace engineering colleges, Florida institute of Technology and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, are scheduled to square off in a launch competition on April22nd. Sponsored by the Florida Space Authority and the 45th Space Wing. the event will mark the first ever student-designed and built rocket to be launched beyond the threshold of space. The Missile, Space and Range Pioneers are providing the trophy for the competition. The student rocket designers could use Pioneer help in the design of their launchers. Using Navel Warfare Center software to predict the flight paths of small rockets, it has been shown that with very small variations in tluust and balance, a rocket of this size could go as much as 50 miles off course. The problem is in the first two seconds of flight before the fins can build up enough spin to stabilize the rockets. A run of the launch simulation program with the rockets spinning off the launcher with the maximum allowable thrust and balance misalignment shows the rockets would only be a maximum of five miles off course. which is acceptable. The students have begun designing and building a launcher that will impart the necessary spin.

Florida Space 2005 Replaces Space Congress

Florida’s space community will gather next November to celebrate successes and face challenges still to come at Florida Space 2005, a new conference announced by leaders of prominent space organizations.  Florida Space 2005 will honor the heritage and build on the best features of Space Congress and the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Symposium, both retired now in favor of this new event to be held each year and operated by the Space Foundation.

In a show of unity, Elliot G. Pulham, president and chief executive officer of the Space Foundation, was joined by Dr. Woodrow Whitlow, Jr., deputy director of the Kennedy Space Center; Col. Mark H. Owen, commander of the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base; Dr. James W. Johnson, chairman of the Canaveral Council of Technical Societies; and retired Navy Capt. Winston E. Scott, executive director of the Florida Space Authority, in signing a memorandum of agreement to launch the first Florida Space conference in November 2005. The signing occurred at the Florida Space Authority campus.

The updated conference will continue the legacy of Space Congress, which for the past 41 years has been a staple of the Space Coast calendar each spring. Coordinated each year by a government-industry team of volunteers, the event benefited the educational programs of the Canaveral Council of Technical Societies.  Florida Space 2005 also will feature elements of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Symposium, which convened for the eighth time this past summer and provided a means to improve partnerships with and between NASA, the 45th Space Wing and the Florida Space Authority.

Florida Space 2005 is expected to become the leading event serving the Florida space community and economy. “The Florida Space 2005 partnership of the Kennedy Space Center, the 45th Space Wing, the Canaveral Council of Technical Societies, the Space Foundation and the Florida Space Authority illustrates state, industry and government commitment to technical and economic growth,” said Scott. “The conference, which will focus on space exploration opportunities, issues and challenges, will assist space professionals located throughout the state. With space exploration providing over $4.5 billion in revenue to more than 45 counties, the impact of dollars and high-tech jobs to Florida is substantial.”