Jim Young

TRANSCRIPTION

Session with:                           Jim Young, Interviewee (“JY”)
By:                                     Diane Sova, Author, Interviewer (“DS”)
Date:                                   March 29, 2008

DS: This is Jim Young speaking on the 29th of March 2008. We have a backup system. Jim when did you start for Santa Barbara Research Center?
JY: I expect it was April 28, 1958.
DS: Who hired you?
JY: A guy by the name of Shipman.   Later on he was the mayor of Santa Barbara.
DS: This was in Santa Barbara already?
JY: Actually, I was hired by I think his name was Dave Shipman. We had two or three telecoms. I was back in Columbus, Ohio. I was interviewed over the phone and hired over the phone. I would expect that they didn’t want to spend the money to bring me out.
DS: Were you already working in the industry then?
JY: I was working for Ohio State University Research Foundation.
DS: How did you find out about it, how did Dave find out about you? Research that you were doing then?
JY: Basically, the contracts that the University had which were principally with Wright Patterson Air Force Base. They would be renewed yearly and there was a tendency for the contracts not to be renewed and then I would move to another part of OSU Research Foundation.   After this happened a couple of times, I decided I would like to have something a little bit more permanent.
DS: Was it optical research that you were doing then?
JY: What I worked on from 1954 to 1956 or maybe early ’57 was measurements of atmospheric and also land spectra. We built a laboratory, basically a mobile laboratory which had two monochrometers in it and there was a periscope, two periscopes looking out at the top of the truck and we could scan around and look a little bit lower than horizontal and actually we would travel. There were principally two places that we went. One was Colorado, Climax, Colorado, I think. It is pretty high up and got rid of a lot of atmosphere.
DS: Was the NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) around then? Or was that later?
JY: I do not know. It may have been around but I wasn’t aware of it.   There was a program in 1956 wherein there were several groups of individuals who ended up in the Colorado Springs area. Each of the groups who were making the same type measurements. There were four places that I recall. We went to the top of Pike’s Peak, we went to Peterson Air Force Base; there was an intermediate location on Pike’s Peak.   I seem to recall something like Elks; I’m not sure what the name was.
DS: There was no road up there then.
JY: Oh yes there was.
DS: There was?
JY: Yes there was a road up there.   We would take measurements Monday to Friday and then we would go down to Colorado Springs during the weekend.   I did not particularly adapt well to high altitudes. Whenever I was up on Pike’s Peak I had one continuous terrible headache. Then I got down to Colorado Springs the headache went away.
DS: Colorado Springs is still pretty high.
JY: Colorado Springs is I think maybe 5,000 feet. Pike’s Peak is more like 12,000 feet.
DS: I was just there this summer.   So this is high science, even back then.
JY: We were making measurements which are referenced in some of the books even now. We can make much better measurements now because we have instruments which are much more sensitive. The instruments which go up into space can make measurements over the whole earth. Whereas we were looking at relatively minor parts of the earth.
DS: That seems a good basis and then Dave calls you. They must have had some interaction but what were they trying to do then when he hired you?
JY: I had sent out a resume to Hughes Aircraft, Culver City, Aerojet, General Electric, Santa Barbara Research Center.
DS: So Santa Barbara Research Center. Was it Dave Evans?
JY: Dave Evans was indeed there at that time.
DS: So they were already formed as a company, but a pretty new company.
JY: The company was formed in about 1951 or ’52. My understanding was that there were three or four engineers at Hughes Aircraft, Culver City who wanted to work on star trackers. Indeed Hughes Company at that time wasn’t particularly interested.   So the story I got whether it was true or not, was that they, I think, asked Hughes Company whether or not they would object if they formed another company working on the stuff that they had started at Hughes. Apparently, there wasn’t any objection so they came up here. They were not immediately Santa Barbara Research Center.   I do not think. I heard that they were owned or funded by Grand Central Aircraft and by Bulova. I presume Bulova Watch.
DS: I think it was Bendix.
JY: I do not know anything about Bendix, I never heard that.
DS: I didn’t bring this, but Dave Evans was the founder and it was called Pacific Mercury. Then that is where it gets all fuzzy. I am still trying to track that down. There is a lady at the Historical Society here in Santa Barbara that is helping me. He died in 1973. It was kind of in that murky period.
JY: Actually, somebody who would probably be able to give you a lot of history. If you talk to a gentleman by the name of Gene Peterson.
DS: Yes, I am seeing him this afternoon at 1:00. He talked to me a little bit before. We’ll get that part. So they call you up. Were you already married? They call you up and interview you and say OK we will hire you. You came directly to Santa Barbara?
JY: One of the guys that I went to school with was working at Wright Patterson Air Force base. He said we can open up a position which would just fit your background, and we will hire you there. I said I sort of wanted to go to California for a couple of years. At that time I had an offer with Santa Barbara Research Center and had an offer from Aerojet. Hadn’t heard back from Hughes or General Electric at that point in time. Conrad Phillip who was the person, a friend at the university, said if you have a choice between Aerojet, which was located in Azusa, versus Santa Barbara Research Center, which was located in Santa Barbara he would strongly recommend Santa Barbara Research Center.   Not because of their buildings, they were old marine barracks.
DS: Was that at the airport property?
JY: So I took his advice and I never regretted it.
DS: Look at how your life turned out. Look at how SBRC turned out. You flew out.
JY: No, I drove out. I had a 1954 Ford and just drove out.
DS: The aerospace industry wasn’t really kicked off then. In fact, aviation was just getting rolling. It must have been a small group.
JY: Since my badge number was about 208, and I think they started at 100, it was a small group.
DS: How was it in the barracks, working there? Were there label instruments or did you build your own?
JY: We did not have very much instrumentation. The first year that I was working at SBRC we were working on missile launch detector systems. I was doing mostly lab work. We had what I will call an optical bench, which was nothing more than a couple of rods that we could set some stuff on. Compared to what we do now it was extremely crude. For the first year, I wasn’t using what I knew or had learned at university. Then about a year and a half, we got our first contract with NASA, Space Flight Center.
DS: Just for back up, who was funding you for the missile launch detectors?
JY: I don’t know for sure.   My guess would be Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
DS: So some kind of research funding first, and then you got a contract with NASA.
JY: This was to do some instruments which we call MRIR. Medium Resolution Infrared Radiometers. Basically, those instruments, we built several of them.   They were initially used by University of Michigan. They had a group, I don’t remember the acronym. But there was a research group there who was helping NASA with trying to develop what would be appropriate for instruments that got launched into space.
DS: So they were thinking about space even then.
JY: Yes.
DS: What a jump in the technology of the world.
JY: This Medium Resolution Infrared Radiometer had five sprectral bands which ranged from visible out to about 30 microns.
DS: This is the precursor for Modus.
JY: It was indeed the precursor for ITOSS, that is Tyros. I don’t remember what the acronym stood for.
DS: We can look that up. It was five bands?
JY: It was five bands.   Normally, one of the bands covered the reflective region. Say .2 to 2 microns. Then we had another band which was a broad band IR that normally covered 6 to 30 microns. Sometimes there was another band which had about 15 microns which would have been CO2.   Another band was a window band that would have been in the 10 to 12 micron range. Then there was a water vapor band that would have been about 6.5 microns. Different instruments, different ones of these instruments had different ensembles of these spectra bands depending upon what I presume NASA or University of Michigan wanted to try out next. Because University of Michigan put these instruments on aircraft, as I understood it.   I never saw them do that. Make measurements and somebody looked at the data.
DS: So, back then at your part of it, in your first contract, the first contract that the company got, you were building the instrument and shipping it over.
JY: I’ll show you. This is the Five-channel.
DS: Five-channel scanning radiometer.
JY: This is the instrument that I am talking about.
DS: So was Santa Barbara Research Center, was this part a section of it that came out later? Right? This is just the product line for Santa Barbara Research Center and how they started.   Maybe I can make a copy of this.   It should be out somewhere.
JY: I think that is likely to be my last copy.
DS: I can go with you to the library. This is over a hundred year’s success in space.
JY: It is because some of them lasted.
DS: Oh they added it all up.
JY: This one is the Five-channel Radiometer. What I call MRIR, that is what we used to call it.
DS: That was the first one you worked on.
JY: This was the first one that I worked on. Let’s not do this one yet. Then there was a dual radiometer. That was done for Langley Research Center. This had two spectral bands one a CO2 band and one a long wave length water vapor twenty to forty microns. What this instrument was to provide was what was the most appropriate region for people who were building horizon sensors, which were used for stabilizing spacecraft. What was the most appropriate of these two regions, right for doing that? This thing got launched and it took data for a few minutes and indeed, that is all.
DS: Was this launched on aircraft?
JY: No, it was spacecraft.   Basically it is a 700 kilometer suborbital ballistic. It shot up took some measurements while it was up there and then fell down into the ocean.
DS: Was it supposed to?
JY: Yes. We built two of them, three of them, I think. Two of them were launched and they got all the information needed. I understand that the third one is in the Smithsonian Institution or museum someplace.
DS: Aerospace or something.   About this time, I think, at Hughes they were coming up with something similar that could tell the pilot altitude, and take measurement. Hughes hadn’t bought Santa Barbara Research then.
JY: We were a subsidiary of Hughes, or something like that. Maybe not when I came in ’58, but it was very shortly after that.
DS: In your recollection of Hughes, you still up here at Santa Barbara Research were doing your own separate work?
JY: Yes.
DS: They were more electronics than aircraft.
JY: I would not have had any interactions. There was another part of the company which ultimately turned into the detector division.   The detector division typically had a lot of interfacing with Hughes because Hughes had instruments that they wanted to have state-of-the art detectors. SBRC was in the forefront of developing infrared detectors.
DS: In our part the electrical and optical. Tell me about who you worked with. When you were working on these kinds of instruments, what other kind of scientists came with you? Was it a small group? How was the working environment? Did you say, oh we need to be able to measure or whatever? How did that all work for you?
JY: We really had very small groups working on programs up until the time that we got involved with the Thematic Mapper. Thematic Mapper came in the late 1970’s. But, prior to that there was, I don’t know how many, maybe ten to fifteen on the program. Nothing like the programs that we have now. Modus, Thematic Mapper, Biers(sp).
DS: Hundreds. You would get a contract. Let us say the first one you were talking about. Did you work together? Did you figure out how you were going to satisfy it? Did you have a lot of freedom? How was it then? Were you able to say, you know, I think we could try this? How did that work? Maybe that is an odd question in your career.
JY: Certainly we did not have the documentation that is currently required. If indeed we wrote up a test procedure it would maybe be several pages long and we would have just the technical aspects of what would be required.   That is not the way we write test procedures now.
DS: Can you remember back working on one of those programs what kind of things happened? Anything exciting happen? Like in the tough lab discoveries that you made that changed the life of aerospace?
JY: To put some perspective.   Whenever we were working on this instrument, here, whenever the head of what turned out to be this electro optical instrumentation, was Robert Hummer.
DS: Is he still alive?
JY: To the best of my knowledge he is still alive. Last that I heard he was in Arizona someplace south of Tucson.
DS: 1985 wasn’t that long ago.
JY: This is Frank Malinowski.
DS: I remember him.
JY: He was in the Santa Barbara, at times the head research engineer. Although we didn’t call it that at the time. He was program manager for some of the programs. He did proposal work so he is alive. He lives in Santa Barbara.
DS: Oh he does. I thought he moved to San Diego. I think he has a junior, a son that is a junior.
JY: I think you might be thinking of Jack Lansing.
DS: Maybe Jack Lansing. I can get this from the archives.
JY: One of the stories which sticks in my mind relates to Roger Thompson. It would be relating to, let’s see, Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer. By the way, I saw Roger down at the Beachside Café within the past six months.   I presume he is around. We built a Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer. It was an instrument which was almost all beryllium. It had beryllium ears, it was a beryllium structure. It got into synchronous orbit. Back in those days. This was in the 1969 to ’73 time frame. We didn’t have launch vehicles which could take care of a lot of weight.   So weight was very important and that was the reason for going to the beryllium.
DS: That was the first time it had been used in this environment.
JY: Hughes had done a lot of work with respect to beryllium. Hughes Aircraft. Also Perk and Elmer back in Norwalk, Connecticut. When we started to work on this instrument we wanted to get as much information as we could for principally the mirrors because this was 16 inch diameter mirrors. They had to be pretty high precision. Certainly the image quality of this instrument is indeed better than any of the current instruments that we are working on. Simply because the current instruments that we are working on cover much, much wider fields of view and indeed didn’t need this kind.
DS: Get that focus?
JY: Yes. But the story I was going to say is that we had a platform which went into this. Which was about so big.
DS: Good dinner platter.
JY: Sixteen inches. There were eight foot of multipliers in the fiber optics which went from the focal plane of this to the photo multipliers, and we were moving, or we wanted to move, a structure that had the photo multipliers to some other place. We wouldn’t do things like that.
DS: Hand carry it?
JY: Yes. Roger picked it up. Normally the structure that he picked up, which wasn’t all that heavy being made out of beryllium, principally, would have been bolted together.   Well, it indeed wasn’t bolted together and Roger tipped it a little bit and the thing slipped off. Hit him on his chin. It didn’t do him much damage, it didn’t help.
DS: So you had to put everything together?
JY: I don’t remember.
DS: At least it wasn’t national headlines, like the unbolted one. Even when I worked Land Set one of the guys took the focal plane in his jeep and drove it back to Santa Barbara because we couldn’t get a truck.   With the mirror in the back, oh my G-d.
JY: That would be frowned upon.   Probably it was frowned upon at that time, at least by some people.
DS: Gary Barnett, remember?
JY: He was assistant engineer for some of these things. I am not sure what his role here was. This was when
DS: It sounds Gary Barnett, reliability.
JY: Yes. Then there was a short time where he was assistant engineer on Modus. The system engineer on Modus started out being Jack Ingle, then indeed was Gary Barnett. Then Gary retired. Jack Ingle retired about that time frame too. Then Tom Pagano was assistant engineer for Modus up through protoflight.   Then he went to JPL, and Neal Terian was assistant engineer for Modus like model one.
DS: What a history for you.   Everyone on your sheet here, you have Frank Malinowski, Roger Thompson, Gary Barnett, Richard Ruiz and Robert Hummer, and they all retired and you kept going.
JY: I think that probably Robert Hummer retired because he didn’t like the way the company was going.   Whenever, this is of course my perception, when we got so involved with Hughes and it was a big interface.   At least at that time he left.   So I presume that that was part of the reason.
DS: When you were doing the science work up here with your smaller group, when did you start seeing Hughes making a bigger influence and start pressuring you to do things their way?   With Thematic Mapper?
JY: Yes. Because Santa Barbara Research Center would never have won Thematic Mapper if indeed it would not have been for Hughes.   Because Thematic Mapper was, even at the time that it was bid, it was a big program. I don’t think we had the resources to handle that.
DS: What do you mean?   People, buildings, test equipment?
JY: People, I think principally.   And actually buildings too. We were 1977…
DS: B32 hadn’t even been built yet.
JY: B32 was built, we moved in about 1988. When we started Thematic Mapper we were still up in the main Coramar.
DS: B3, B1?
JY: Yes, probably B1 wasn’t built yet. Then we moved down to the post office, to that office which was called post office.   There were two or three buildings down there.
DS: We called them the Beavers.
JY: Yes.
DS: Is that it?
JY: Yes. Then we had those two buildings. We had the post office, which we converted into a clean room.   That worked up until the time that we moved up to B32, B31.
DS: Before Thematic Mapper came in were you pretty independent. You were doing your science and made these contributions to the technical world.
JY: Let us say that historically sort of tracking things the way the instruments went. We did the Five-Channel Radiometer, we worked on that.   I’ll throw out dates and they may not be exactly right, but they’ll be at least in the ball park. In the 1960 to 1966 or ’67 range we did Dual Radiometer which was the one just was launched as a ballistic missile in a sense.   It took data and fell back into the ocean. That started in probably 1965 and lasted for two or three years. We were doing some planetary work in that region.   For example we did a Venus-Mercury Infrared Radiometer. We did a Venus-Cloud Photo Polerometer.
DS: Did those go on Voyager?
JY: What went on. Let’s see we did the Pioneer Jupiter. We did two instruments, one was an Infrared Radiometer and the other was Jupiter Infrared Radiometer. So this instrument went on Pioneer Jupiter. I am not sure which of the numbers they were.   And they were very, actually as a whole, all these instruments were very successful.
DS: And the first of their kind, right?
JY: The first of their kind, yes.   There was indeed one or two times when this got launched into orbit and at least there was one time when the mirror did indeed stop.
DS: Soon after it went up?   You are pointing to the Five-Channel Scanning. Was that the first time it had been attempted?
JY: To the best of my knowledge, yes.
DS: That technology.
JY: Then we did Multi-spectral Scannner. I saw that in the optics lab and indeed that mirror was flopping back and forth like this. I said boy we will be fortunate if that thing lasts three months up in orbit.   It lasted many years. That mirror mechanism was designed and built by Hughes Aircraft.
DS: The Culver City guys.
JY: Yes, the Culver City guys.   At that time we were working with the Space and Calm people too.
DS: So Space and Calm was separate?
JY: From SBRC, yes.
DS: What else can you think about stories? Before TM, how was your life? How was the business run? Was it an exciting discovery time for new advances in the industry, for you personally?
JY: I would say for myself personally, as I have said previously, I couldn’t have as for a better.   Basically my work environment has been great. Whenever I wanted to have more responsibility it was there to be picked up. I must say that after I was optics manager for fifteen years, I didn’t want to do that anymore. It took a while to get out of that. Ultimately, I was successful in that too.
DS: You were able to have access to what you need technically. You found that your reputation is stellar in this world now.
JY: All that I can say along that line is that I am a firm believer of telling it as it is.   Sometimes that is not what program managers might like to hear.
DS: We know one recently on Biers.   In the overall part, what do you think was the most technically and satisfying instrument that you ever worked with?
JY: There is no doubt in my mind that as far as I am concerned, the knowledge, techniques, measurement methodology which was developed on the Thematic Mapper was the most challenging for me. I can… here is a report.
DS: Test requirements.
JY: For making band-to-band registration measurements. This is making band-to-band for Thematic Mapper at about one to two microradion accuracy level, that is pretty accurate. It was done while the instrument was scanning, so that it scanned at seven. The scan fifteen degrees in fraction of a second.
DS: This had never been accomplished before.
JY: To the best of my knowledge, it had never been accomplished before. I can remember my conversations with some system engineer who was at that time at Hughes Space and Calm(sp?) had indeed come up with a radical pattern which permitted us to make ten or twenty measurements across the scan line. We indeed had proposed that we would make measurements and maybe get four or five points. Whenever it came up with this radical pattern I thought that that was good enough.   Marshall said, no we need something more. I said how do we do this? I said I don’t know. Indeed, I played around more.
DS: So Marshall was telling you.
JY: To do something more, and it turned out to be good that he did that. I was rather perturbed right at that time and we came up with this.   Rather than twenty or thirty points across the scan line, this did basically thousands of points.
DS: You originally came up with what you thought would work, they pushed you for more, without telling you how.   Then you came up with this.   Which even today, now, we are using these patterns. Aren’t we?
JY: This would be what I would say that based upon the technology that we learned back on Thematic Mapper, we do a lot of our measurements using critical patterns. I must say that if indeed another person hadn’t shown a concept back on Fissors, which wasn’t this complicated at all. But this individual, Frank Malinowski. I am not sure I would have ever have came up with this. If I hadn’t seen something that Frank came up with back on the Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer. That concept just developed to this. Indeed, how we measure modulation transfer function. How line spread functions. Its idea got started.
DS: We see this on ETM Plus.   The Land Set Seven. It is more detailed here but this basis of using the radical scanning.
JY: One can do a lot with radicals. Nowadays, back in this timeframe computers aren’t what they are today. We would get data that was taken over three or four hours, and it would take the LGP-70 (that sounds right) computer a hundred hours to reduce the data.
DS: How did you get the data?   We didn’t have desktop computers.
JY: Certainly we did not have desktop computers like we have now. Actually, data coming out of Thematic Mapper came out at a rate of (searches papers). I guess I am going to have to rely on my memory because it doesn’t say here. At eighty megabytes per second. Back at that time that was fast. The individual who was instrumental in the multiplexer, the electrons associated with electronics, was Richard Julian.
DS: Really? I ought to call him. You guys are working on these instruments and testing them, and this was in the late ‘70s, right?
JY: Thematic Mapper would have been in the early 1980’s.
DS: Early ‘80s. That is when I hired in in 1982 and I worked on Thematic Mapper was one of them, and I was in configuration management. I remember having data cards, this is only for the configuration part. We had to put holes in the cards and we handed them in and the building was in the basement of B1. A huge room and it was off the floor and it was freezing in that room, it was chilled.   The data guys were gods and they would work through the night and magically we would get a big stack of papers in the morning with our data that we had put on these cards. How did that work for you on the science side?
JY: Thematic Mapper the data came out in hexadecimal form. I had by my desk two stacks of these computer forms.
DS: The green foldout sheets?
JY: Right. For various tests which were run on Thematic Mapper.   I got so that I could read hexadecimal pretty good. Sure is nicer now, whereas you don’t have to do that.
DS: It is all computerized now.   You were pointing the stacks maybe three feet tall each with the data that came through.
JY: When we would see something we would try to remember, had we seen that before and we would pull out something and leaf through it and sometime find comparable stuff.
DS: It must have taken. If you are running tasks on an instrument and it spewed out all that data to you, the testing process must have taken a long time. Because you would have to go through that data, reduce the data, then come to conclusions, and then have to go change. Let’s say when you were designing the radicals or the scan rate or something you would have to.
JY: Typically, we would have built things pretty close to being right in the first place.
DS: You would have to because there is not much chance to go back.
JY: That didn’t always happen.   For example, Modus, the first protoflight instrument, we found that we had more stray light in it than was acceptable. So we basically had to tear it apart or disassemble it.
DS: Was that discovered through analysis?
JY: Through analysis of test data.
DS: Of data and it wasn’t acceptable.
JY: Yes. Some anomalies on the protoflight Modus, we discovered significant electronic cross talk in the swerve midway region. There were electronics people and other people, and I wasn’t involved in this at all, who were running down trying to find out what this cross talk was due to. They found out that to fix that on protoflight would have been something like six months to a year. It was decided that the program didn’t have that much time. I think that one of the reasons was that if, indeed, we would have taken that much time, the spacecraft integrater would have charged NASA an arm and a leg because they would have said, whether it was right or wrong, hey we are waiting on that instrument. You are costing.
DS: We still hear that today. Did you say stray light or scatter?
JY: It was a combination of stray light and out of band leakage of our optical filters.
DS: Let us see.
JY: This thing, this report is the only report I have ever verbally dictated.
DS: This whole thing?
JY: The major part of it.   Principally because a little bit before I started this I was out in the backyard cutting some limbs and I ended up with a broken arm. I wasn’t able to write.
DS: Let me write the title here.   This is Test Requirements for BL19 and 20, Geometric Accuracy, Band-to-Band Registration Self-induced Vibration. Let’s see what the year is here. That is so that I have it on record. An internal memorandum dated 18 August 1980 from Jim Young to A.S. Chapman. Copied Larry Candell, C.R. Jones, Nichols and Fletcher Phillips.
JY: Art Chapman, do you know him?
DS: I don’t.
JY: He lives in Santa Inez.   The first time I was associated with him I think was Thematic Mapper. You might want to get a copy of a description that he wrote to somebody at NASA who was looking for historical stuff on the Thematic Mapper.   Art wrote up a 50 or 60 page summary of his personal.
DS: That would be great. It has been a couple of years now, Sue Hiker pulled together a group. NASA was interviewing for Land Set.
JY: Art was not available at that time.
DS: I was there and met with everyone. But I didn’t know he had written something.
JY: He was asked by the same person who was pulling that stuff together to give his observations so he did that.
DS: When I came on board, Robert Talley was the president, Fletcher Phillips and Nichols, I think he had four people reporting to him at that time. That was 1982. I would have to look.
JY: Dr. Talley came to SBRC, my recollection, probably August 1958.
DS: I have pretty extensive interviews from him, from Dr. Talley too. Your most challenging, the most technically exciting for you was Thematic Mapper. What kind of stupid things did you see come down the pipe that were just unreasonably asked, or failure. Do you have any stories along those lines. And mind you, when I am telling the stories this is not going to come out as a negative or a personal kind of thing. We are talking about the technology. Just the world that we were operating in.
JY: I guess I would have the most negative feelings with respect with how people have been pulled on and off the program during the Biers program. People from El Segundo would come up. Some of them were very good. They would be here, they would learn the ropes. Then they would go away and then some other people would come up. The people weren’t always good, but then we didn’t always have good people here.   That is no way to run a program if you want to get continuity.
DS: They are still doing that too.   Those poor people.
JY: From the other side, if I would have been one of the individuals who my manager said you will go, I wouldn’t want to stay away from home. Basically, I wouldn’t do it now.
DS: That has been rough for them.     What do you remember about the weird testing that was done? I guess stories about people going up on the roof to test something?
JY: I can give you a little story like this. We had major problems in understanding some stuff. I am not sure that I can relate exactly what all that stuff was. On what was called 1973-IRTM, Infrared Temperature Mapper. This was an instrument that ultimately went on Viking, and it went to Mars. It was making measurement there. Prior to it getting completed we had stray light problems. Understanding of stray light problems. I recall that Howard Glenn worked on it for a while, and then I was working on it for a while and I think this is back maybe 1970 timeframe at least. I got pretty close to being burned out, if you will. So I went on three week vacation. Then Gene Peterson took over and he worked on it while I was gone, plus doing other stuff that he would typically be responsible for. Then I came back and Pete said hey here it is. So indeed, I continued on with that and then Howard Glenn and I came up with an adequate solution. That was somewhat frustrating. I guess that there have been more than a one time frustrating experience, but that was one of the ones that I remember.
DS: Then to see it launch.   What was one of the first launches that you saw?
JY: I have not gone to any launch personally, that does not turn me on. I was invited.
DS: Sure, I know. How many instruments that you worked on are launched?   Do you have any idea? How much of your work that you have touched is in the air? There must be a lot.
JY: I did major work on Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer. This is one that I can tell a story. Satellite Infrared Spectrameter. This was done in the 1969 to 1971 timeframe. Basically, Barnes Engineering had built what was called Survey.   They apparently had some problems.   NASA wanted us to do what was ultimately called serve(?). So at that time I had become optics head, we didn’t call it managers at that time.   I was interviewing people and I would say I was a little bit on the naïve side. I interviewed Ed Russell. Ed Russell had just gotten his PhD. from Ohio State University.   Very good guy. I just didn’t understand how somebody who had a PhD. would indeed want to work here. So I didn’t make an offer. Fortunately, probably Talley, maybe Hummer, one or the other, said regardless of where he fits in the organization, we want him. So they hired him. Ed and I were the principal individuals who worked on this from an Optical Radiometry Grading Spectrometer. After that, I did not make that, that was a terrible decision. As it turned I would love to have Ed in the optics group.   Although he turned out to fit better in system engineering anyway.
DS: It is interesting when you said why would anyone with a PhD. want to work here.
JY: At that time we were not doing.
DS: All of these instruments.   That is back in late ’70.
JY: Yes.
DS: Because at that time at Santa Barbara Research we had like 80% PhD’s.
JY: Yes.
DS: How many guys were around back then?
JY: I don’t know.
DS: How many people were in your optics group?
JY: There were probably five.
DS: So really small.
JY: Yes. Then when we were doing the Visors, the group was maybe sixteen at one point in time. When we were doing Thematic Mapper, if we added in people who came from Tucson, a couple from El Segundo, still working the optics, it got up to about thirty-five.
DS: Yes.
JY: Modus was a little bit less than that. Something up in the twenties.
DS: Do you remember your first guys in your group? This would be thirty-five years ago.
JY: I won’t say the first guys.   In the late 1960’s timeframe, Dick Cline. He came in 1965.
DS: He and I are getting together tomorrow in the afternoon. I know Dick very well, so I am excited.
JY: A person by the name of Joe Akner, he was an optical technician. Max Randall. Both of those individuals have since died. In the late 60’s, Joe Kakonui came on board. He died. Dick Howett. Howett came into the company as an optical technician, worked until middle of 1980.   Left, formed a company of his own called Teletrack. He was an extremely gifted individual. I can recall more than once I said Dick do you know of any way you can communicate to others how you approach a problem to solve it. Because relative to doing things in a laboratory, I haven’t seen anybody better. Maybe there are other people who were better.
DS: Is he still around?
JY: Yes. He lives in this area. He no longer has that company he sold it. My guess is that he doesn’t have to work any more.
DS: If you run across him or any of these people who have stories you can pass my contact information along and see if they have a little part. For you to say someone else is the best you have seen when so many people tell me that about you.
JY: People don’t say that, or shouldn’t say that about me if they are talking about laboratory or hands on.   Because that would not be true.
DS: I remember coming into a room, maybe ten years ago. It was during Modus though, and you were up at a chalk board saying something and this group of people who I thought were experts anyway were, I don’t even remember the topic, I just remember seeing their faces all looking up at you.   There have sure been some characters in our lives. Let’s see about character stories.
JY: This may fit in.   Basically, there was a person by the name of Darryl Erret. He had a PhD. He was, again, very gifted. Back in the days when we didn’t have computers so that we could trace thousands of rays through optical systems easily, now we can. Back when I started at SBRC, I would take a log table and pull out logs out of that so that I could make the calculations. I was lucky if I could get one ray a day.   Darryl, he had a PhD. he was a wiz at a drafting table. He could trace rays through optical systems. Obviously, didn’t have the precision that we have with computers today, but could show what was happening. We would come up with some sort of question. He would think about it. He would go home and come back in the next day or two with some cardboard ensemble which showed the principals involved. Cardboard mirrors, rod here and there. From my standpoint, he wasn’t treated well by management.   Probably it was perhaps his perception of management too.
DS: Played into each other?
JY: Yes.
DS: That makes me think what about the tent. That big tent meeting we had. Where were you then? Where were you working?
JY: That was the late 1990’s.
DS: Yes.
JY: I would have been working on Modus. At that point in time I would have been successful in getting rid of being optics manager. I would have been what people call calibration manager for Modus. I remember in a meeting wherein Bruce Gunther, NASA and, can’t think of the other guys name. Said, hey you ought to have more visibility, or something like that. I looked at them and said don’t go there, I am fine with the way things are. There was a woman who took care of a lot of the bookkeeping, and she had a way of saying hey Jim, I am going to send you some paperwork and you can fill it out and you can be responsible for this. And I said sure you do that, why don’t you send me the forms for my retirement too. I did not care to manage people nor indeed try to keep track of schedules and things.
DS: Takes you away from the technical.
JY: Takes me away from the things that make me maybe not happy, but they are challenging.
DS: Do you remember Bob Turtle?
JY: Yes.
DS: I remember him sitting with those fanfolds, going through and reducing the data. This was back when we were at Valley Forge. So we were already at integration point. So we were doing testing there. No maybe not. Anyway I brought Bob Turtle some rumballs. He is kind of a quiet guy. He is sitting there working, eats a rumball, eats the second one and he goes, bring on the data. All of us just went oh. You know, bring on the rumballs. We thought it was hilarious, because going through page after page was so tedious of looking at that data just to come up with it. That was pretty funny. At the tent meeting when they said they were going to close it down, did you think I am not going?
JY: Indeed, I told Erett that at that point in time a lot of people were, at the time they had the tent meeting, I think the Ball Brothers had a meeting down in Santa Barbara.
DS: Yes. At that time, that was when a lot of the optics people.
JY: Left.
DS: And they are still there.   Fregoski and I forget who else is still there out of optics now. I have come across them even after all this time.
JY: Linda.
DS: Linda Fulton.
JY: Yes, Linda Fulton.
DS: Jeffrey Parker, Harlan Courtmeyer. I don’t know how many of those you know.
JY: I know all of those.
DS: Yes. So then they had to rebuild the optics department.
JY: After that we never had an optics department that was as capable as what it was.
DS: Was it after that when they combined optics and mechanics? That never came again after the tent meeting.
JY: People were going in to talk to Aram about the possibility of getting, what kind of package did they call?
DS: Severance, get out early.
JY: Aram told me, hey, if indeed you are here to see about one of these packages, we aren’t going to offer you that. I said I don’t want to be offered that. I am not going to El Segundo. First of all, I didn’t really think this was going to happen but if it would have happened, I would have retired. In the middle ‘90’s, this is a little story. We wanted to save some space.
DS: We meaning SBRC, SBRS already.
JY: Yes. I had a pretty big office in the B32. If you think of the office Owen was in, that was my office.
DS: Nice that was a big office.
JY: I had all my data in there.   There was half again as much as I have in there now. You can go and look and see what is in there now.
DS: I have to take pictures of you, before I leave, in there.
JY: So, they were going to combine myself and Tom Pagano we were going to be in the same office. About a year previously we had crunched too.   So that Jerry Hyde and myself were in the same office. You should have seen that office.
DS: Could you walk in there at all?
JY: Jerry had not quite as much stuff as I had but a lot. He would be another person, too the best of my knowledge he is still around.
DS: Was he an optics guy, no one has mentioned his name.
JY: Jerry Hyde back in those days I don’t know the organization that he was part of. He was intimately involved in data analysis. The story goes that when they were talking about that I said, hey why don’t you let me work from home. Then, indeed you can have the whole office. They said, we will think about that. And that same day, two or three hours later they came back and said yes.
DS: You are the only guy that ever. When was that?
JY: I think in 1995. That was a great move. And indeed the company gets more work out of me because it is just there.
DS: But it is legendary that people say they can call you up and you’ll say, just a second. Hear the papers flip and then you have the answers right there.
JY: I used to be better at that.   I am not so good at that now-a-days.   I know I’ve got that some place.
DS: Well, most people can’t find their keys. We are at our couple of hours now. If you think of things or stories, you can always just call me and blurt out your story.   I am really trying to weave the blanket of what SBRS, SBRC was. Trying the colors of everybody’s different stories. How did you feel, because you weren’t retired or maybe weren’t even thinking about it, when they said they were going to close down SBRS?
JY: Back in that timeframe, or maybe even before that, I had written a note to Janet, when she asked when I was going to retire. I guess that was about the time of the tent.
DS: Janet Johnson. That was about in the ‘90’s then.
JY: Yes. I wrote a note back and said I think maybe 2001. She kept that note and showed it to me when I retired here back in 2006. I did seriously think of retiring in 2001.   But I wanted to retire and lock in the retirement package and come back and work, and we weren’t able to work that out. Come 2006 there was talk about Raytheon changing some retirement packages. I didn’t think that would happen, but after I looked at the retirement package, I said I don’t want to take that chance.
DS: They were going to make everyone flow over to that?
JY: I don’t think they would have had that possibility. But there were some other scenarios that people threw out as possibilities and even though I didn’t think it was likely. I didn’t think they could do that, I said hey if they could do that it would be a very poor thing for me.
DS: I heard from a lot of people who retired during this timeframe that it would have cost them so much more to not retire, that it wasn’t worth it.
JY: So I retired and fortunately I continued to work.
DS: Are you consulting now?
JY: Actually, I am an employee of Microcosim. Microcosim has a contract with Raytheon for my services.
DS: So you are doing the same work.
JY: Same work. Now Raytheon is saying, you can work six months of the year. I don’t like that. So when the Microcosim is having some talks with Northrop and I might work doing some of the same work as I am doing now.
DS: Contracted through Northrop.   You know Ball Aerospace won OLI, which is the Land Set continuity, so you should have Microcosim talking to Ball.   One of the first things when they came to me there. I said well you should try to get Jim Young on line, he knows all this. Anyway, I don’t know how the politics work hiring contractors. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone would ask you. Any last words you want to say for this. I could talk to you for hours. I am going to turn this off.

 

 

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