Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Number of Firsts

I am thankful for these amazing opportunities
by D.W. G.

I was at the right place, at the right time. During my Martin Marietta career, I was fortunate to achieve many firsts. While working on the Matador missile program, I was the first (and only) engineer to perform dynamic analysis on flight control systems in the field, including aerodynamic transfer functions. The factory was not able to perform this function at the time of manufacture.

Shortly thereafter, I was the first engineer to propose and design semi-automatic test equipment for Mace missile and missile components. I was also the Martin Marietta engineer to propose and lead the design of fully automated hardwired launch checkout and launch sequencer for the Lacrosse missile. I was also the first company engineer to engineer to propose and lead the system design of practical, simplified launch test and sequencing equipment for operational ICBM. Simplified equipment from approximately 35 racks to six racks of ground equipment. The program was the Titan II.

Lacrosse Missile
I was the first Martin engineer to use integrated circuits, in any manner and first in the United States to use integrated circuits for system logic design. I conceived and designed a general purpose control processor (tape driven, since minicomputers not yet available), which could be used to check out and control any missile or to control any process).

I started group courses on logic and computer architecture design, wherein each student would select a topic and become the instructor to the other students until the group understood the topic. Many of these courses became company sponsored and are still taught today. This work started us into the digital field. This was during the 1964 to 1967.

I also lead the design of a digital computer controlled check-out and launch processing system, including detail design of the Input/output equipment as well as the software (operating system and applications programs). I was also the first Martin engineer to recognize the variation of software on a project. On the Viking program we analyzed the linkages between software and the lack of a project plan for requirement determination, documentation, development, test and sell-off of that software. On Viking, I was assigned as a software lead to define such a plan.

I am proud to have recognized the need for and to establish a "make-play" committee to process all changes and to assure absolute necessity of changes on the Ground Support Systems program. I also devised and implemented the “team design” concept. The mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, operations engineer, safety engineer, test requirements engineer, logistics engineer and other disciplines were collocated with a team leader. Up to 13 teams were formed to design over 100 fluid, electrical and mechanical systems.