Kennedy Space Center
Engineering Technician, Bendix Life Support Services
Dad worked at “The Cape” from mid 1965 to Fall 1967. He was first employed by Trans World Airlines (TWA) for about a month driving a mosquito fogger truck out in the boondocks (as he called the marshlands) spraying for pests, often on the Hoot Owl shift. Some of his fondest memories were of eating rattlesnakes, armadillos and other swamp critters his group came across (or ran over).
Later he was hired by the Bendix Corporation in their Life Support Division working in the “Clean Room”, a sterile environment completely void of contaminants and airborne particulates, handling astronaut and fuel handlers portable life support systems. I remember stories of Dad seeing it rain INSIDE the Vehicle Assembly Building and taking his lunchbox onto launch complexes 39A and 39B while they were under construction for his midday meal. Once he was close enough to a Titan IIIC launch he actually felt the heat (so much for blast zones back then). Titan IIIC put out enough thrust that it actually rattled our windows 12 miles away. He was on site the day a fire raged through the Apollo 1 command module during a “plugs out” test. The lives of astronauts Grissom, Chaffee and White were lost. I remember vividly he called Mom to share the news way before the news services covered the event.
Those were magical days living in Titusville. We were Ground Zero in the Space Race with the Rooskies and the focal point of this country’s push for the Moon. It was a different country back then and nothing seemed impossible. It was a time like which we’ll never see again. I feel so grateful and blessed to have been witness to that era of American history. Thanks, Dad, you did good.
Patricia, Nancy, Rob