October 23, 2007 – 7th Edition

Former JPL Cassini Program Manager to Keynote Pioneers Fall Banquet

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We are honored to have Mr. Richard Spehal ski as guest speaker at our 2007 Fall Banquet. Banquet details are on page 2 and the reservation form is on page 3. Please plan to join us and invite friends who may be in terested in the Pioneers organization or an interesting and informative evening on the Cassini Program and it’s many discoveries during its tour of the Saturn system. Seating is limited so please reply early.

Mr. Richard J. Spehalski JPL Cassini Project/Program Manager

Mr. Richard J. Spehalski

Mr. Richard J. Spehalski

Mr. Richard Spehalski worked at the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 39 years primarily on NASA unmanned planetary missions. His assignments ranged from mechanical engineering work in the technical disciplines of spacecraft configuration and structural design; temperature control: and assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO) through mid-level supervision and management to flight and program management.

From 1960 to 1971 he had various engineering and management assignments on the Mariner Program including the first mission to Venus (1962), the first spacecraft mission to Mars (1964), two Mars flyby spacecraft missions (1969), and the first Mars orbiter mission (1971). During the 1970s and 80s he worked on the Voyager and Galileo Projects. In 1987 he was promoted to the Galileo Project Manager and directed the completion of its development, launch and early mission operations. In 1990 he became the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) Phase B Project Manager. This program is now named the Spitzer Space Telescope.

In 1992 Mr. Spehalski was appointed Cassini Project Manager and midway through the development phase he was named the Program Manager. In these key positions he direct ed the restructuring the project, subsequent development, launch and flight operations and served as the Cassini Mission Director for its launch in Oct 1997. Since his retirement from JPL in 1988 he has provided consulting to NASA and private industry. He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Cornell University and pursued a year of graduate studies in nuclear and thermal engineering studies there.

He is the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Medal for Outstanding Leadership the Exceptional Service Medal two Aviation Week Laurel Awards, the American Astronautical Society’s W. Randolph II Award and the International Academy of Astronautics “Laurels for Team Achievement Cassini-Huygens”. Richard Spehalski is a true “Space Exploration Pioneer” in every sense of this phrase.


Lt. Col. Tom Eye (USAF-retired) and Past Pioneers President Don Beck greet Brigadier General Everett Thomas

Lt. Col. Tom Eye (USAF-retired) and Past Pioneers President Don Beck greet Brigadier General Everett Thomas

Former Cape Commander Lt. Col. Tom Eye (USAF-retired) and Past Pioneers President Don Beck greet Brigadier General Everett Thomas, Vice Commander, USAF Air Warfare Center, Nellis AFB on the Langley AFB flight line recently during a demonstration of USAF’s F-22 Raptor. Brig. Gen. Thomas was commander of the 5th Space Launch Squadron during the Cassini launch. At press time, General Thomas was attempting to adjust his schedule to attend the Pioneers Banquet at Manatee Cove Golf Course on Friday, 16 November.


In Memory: Wayne K. Penley Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.) Past Secretary-Treasurer

It is with sadness that we note the passing of one of our most effective volunteers. Wayne served as the Pioneers Secretary for several years as well as Treasurer, and made numerous significant contributions to the organization. His conscientious and very effective efforts reached far beyond his elected responsibilities, ensuring the perpetuation of a well organized Missile, Space and Range Pioneers. Our condolences go out to his wife Dianne, daughter Angie and son Tim (Lt. Col. USAF). Wayne passed away 28 July 2007 and will be remembered with love and great respect.


Spehalski to Speak at Banquet

From 1960 to 1971 he had various engineering and management assignments on the Mariner Program including the first mission to Venus (1962), the first spacecraft mission to Mars (1964), two Mars flyby spacecraft missions (1969), and the first Mars orbiter mission (1971). During the 1970s and 80s he worked on the Voyager and Galileo Projects.In 1987 he was promoted to the Galileo Project Manager and directed the completion of its development, launch and early mission operations. In 1990 he became the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) Phase B Project Manager. This program is now named the Spitzer Space Telescope.

In 1992 Mr. Spehalski was appointed Cassini Project Manager and midway through the development phase he was named the Program Manager. In these key positions he direct ed the restructuring the project, subsequent development, launch and flight operations and served as the Cassini Mission Director for its launch in Oct 1997. Since his retirement from JPL in 1988 he has provided consulting services to NASA and private industry.

He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Cornell University and pursued a year of graduate studies in nuclear and thermal engineering studies there.

He is the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Medal for Outstanding Leadership the Exceptional Service Medal two Aviation Week Laurel Awards, the American Astronautical Society’s W. Randolph II Award and the International Academy of Astronautics “Laurels for Team Achievement Cassini-Huygens”. Richard Spehalski is a true “Space Exploration Pioneer” in every sense of this phrase.


 Cassini Mission to Saturn System – 10th Anniversary

Cassini-Huygens spacecraft

Cassini-Huygens spacecraft

On the tenth anniversary of the Cassini launch to the Saturn System, the long voyage and exciting discoveries of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft have been truly remarkable!

Join the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers at our 2007 Fall Banquet Friday, 16 Nov 2007, at the Patrick AFB Manatee Gove Golf Course’s Club House. Meet old friends, socialize, dine, and hear about the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft from Richard Spehalski, the key JPL Cassini Program Manager who directed its development and spacecraft Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO). He will give a brief talk on the spacecraft, its mission and its key discoveries to date as it explores the Saturn System.

The Cassini- Huygens spacecraft was launched aboard an improved Titan IVB launch vehicle with a Centaur upper stage in mid-Oct 97. This heavy lift rocket provided just a portion of the total energy required to get the “bus-sized” spacecraft to Saturn. The spacecraft flew a trajectory which involved four gravity assist “flyby” maneuvers of three planets (two flybys of Venus and one flyby each of the Earth and Jupiter) to gain sufficient energy to get to Saturn. This “indirect” 2.2 billion mile route took Cassini some seven years to complete, and the spacecraft arrived at the Saturn in Jun 2004.

The spacecraft then started its four-year tour of the Saturn System, and in Dec 2004 Cassini ejected the Huygens probe on its flight and “soft landing” on Saturn’s moon, Titan. With this successful maneuver, the Huygens probe became the furthest human-made object ever to land on a celestial body. Cassini has continued on its 70 plus orbits around the ringed planet and its moons gathering scientific data and making many new discoveries including identifying several new Saturn moons.


President’s Message

Fall Banquet Continues Pioneers Tradition I look back at my tenure as MSRP president with much pride and humility. Your Pioneers’ officers, directors and trustees have kept the tradition alive. Our loss of many long time supporters has also made the time emotional and difficult. Financially, we remain solvent. With careful planning and execution of our Fall Banquets and Spring Gatherings, while increasing membership, the Pioneers will remain a grand tradition far into the future.

Recently, we have seen the rise of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELVs) Delta IV and the Atlas V. The old standby the Titan ELV has been retired and the facilities that supported all the launches from LC 40 and 41 have been converted to support other systems. Facilities no longer needed are being dismantled as this is being written. When I came to the Cape in 1982, I did not feel like a Pioneer; However, I was fast becoming a Pioneer as were all those who worked with me in the Titan Integrate, Transfer and Launch (ITL) facility. We were pioneering the first Titan 34D, first Internal Upper Stage, and the first three sector payload fairing for the Titan 34D. All of which are no longer in existence.

I saw plans evolve to transfer all DoD payloads to the Space Shuttle and to end the Titan Program. Those plans changed abruptly after the Challenger accident. That very tragic event galvanized National space policy into long known but often ignored admonish of “not putting all of your eggs in one basket”.

My point is that each of us involved with space programs at KSC and CCAFS, on the Eastern Range and with the Fleet Ballistic Missile programs are all pioneers. Today’s missile, space, and range leaders and workers should be encouraged and recruited to join MSRP to sustain the fellowship and camaraderie for the continuation of our traditions especially as the number of original founding members continues to dwindle. Pioneers, go forth and multiply!

This year’s Banquet is going to be another winner extolling the accomplishments of the many
Cassini pioneers. I was honored to serve as Pioneers’ President the past two and half years and extend my thanks and appreciation to each and every Pioneer.