Fred Neitzel

Prior to my hiring on 3 OCT 66:

  1. Plant located adjacent to Santa Barbara Airport
  1. Dave Evans drove a sports car to work each day and would park in a certain place. Supposedly Darryl Errett would sneak out to the parking place and squirt oil from an oil can under the car. When Dave Evans drove away from the spot and noticed the oil, he would stop, get out of the car, and check underneath for the source of the oil.
  1. SBRC provided silicon domes for a missile program and prior to fabrication, the silicon material was tumbled in a cement mixer purchased at Sears, Roebuck that had the blades removed. A man named George Barton and myself purchased this cement mixer for $52.00 in the early 1970’s at a company auction. This mixer was loaned to many SBRC employees for small home concrete work and it was even used by one person to mix soil for his cactus garden.
  1. A man delivering liquid nitrogen was decapitated while making a delivery to SBRC when the entrapped gas pressure blew the neck from the dewar.

After my hire date:

  1. The location of SBRC when I was hired was 75 Coromar Drive, Goleta (corner of Hollister and Coromar). They also maintained space adjacent to the Santa Barbara airport for the fabrication of silicon domes. If I remember correctly, there were 193 employees at that time. Lloyd Scott was the site manager or president. Dr. Robert Talley was his assistant. Both of these men came through the facility frequently visiting with all and using suggestions that were offered.
  1. When I first hired in, the optics people sat adjacent to the mechanical people. I remember passing a certain office many times when the office occupant was asleep. The occupant was an optiker named Dr. McCrea.
  1. My hire date was early October, 1966. I shared the northwest corner office, in the new SBRC building with Dean Upton and Stu Haney. Dean was feverishly working on a spin/scan camera for the Applications Technolgy Satellite (APS). This satellite would remain in the same position relative to a spot on Earth (synchronous earth orbit) and was the brain child of two men from Hughes Aircraft in Culver City. The camera took the first full disk picture of the earth from space that December. The camera was designed, documented, and built in total period of 90 days. The principle people were Dick Cline (optics), Roger Tompsen (systems), Dean Upton (mechanical) and Harry Lecke (optical/mechanical technician deluxe).
  1. A second camera followed the initial version. This camera took the full disc picture of the earth – IN COLOR.
  1. My first hardware contribution at SBRC was a developmental radiometer that would become the principle instrument on the TIROS series of weather satellites (NASA/RCA were the customers). SBRC delivered more of these two channel radiometers than any other civil space instrument in its history.
  1. Along with the instrument for TIROS, was a sister two channel radiometer that was eventually used on the NIMBUS weather satellite.
  1. Stu Haney designed a radiometer that flew on the Mars 67 or 69 flight. As far as I know, this was the first in a long series of a very successful run of various types of Mars instruments
  1. Dean Upton was working on a forward looking infrared (FLIR) system that was to be used at Hughes Aircraft in Culver City. One day a group of people flew up to Santa Barbara on the company plane. As the plane full of these people took off from the Santa Barbara Airport, it lost power and made an emergency landing in the field that now holds the Nexeus Hair Products Plant (if it is still in business) and the Clenet Factory that produced fine motor cars generally used in Iran when the Shah was in power. I do not know the current occupant of that building.
  1. There was an older gentleman by the name of Jack Kuhn that was the same thing as our existing structural analyst group. However, he did not use a computer or even a pocket calculator since neither of these products were part of SBRC’s analysis tool crib. He punched his calculations thru a Freiden (sp) mechanical calculator. There was one in the company and it was shared by engineering and the proposal cost/finance team.
  1. The next group of instruments included a polarimeter and radiometer that flew on the Pioneer Missions to Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto and beyond; the VISSR’s and VAS’s for the GOES and GMS programs. The VISSR and VAS pictures became a staple for the current weather report format on TV. Professors Parent and Suomi of the University of Wisconsin’s Meteorology Department were the darlings of NOAA’s space based weather surveillance effort and were frequent visitors at SBRC. Frank Malinowski, John Reed, Roger Thompsen, Dick Ruiz, Bob Hummer, Jim Young, etc. were important names in these efforts. All were very much respected at NASA GSFC as well as gentlemen.

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