Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Apollo reunion attendees recall 'exciting times'


July 22, 2009 7:36 AM

Santa Barbara will be well represented by a handful of space engineers at an Apollo Reunion in Waukesha, Wis., today and tomorrow.

Apollo was a NASA program during the 1960s and into the 1970s, which successfully landed a man on the moon.

More than 100 Apollo engineers still live in the Santa Barbara area, including Richard Kraemer, one of 120 Delco engineers who worked with MIT in Boston in 1962.

"There were some exciting times," said Mr. Kraemer, 75, who remembers his responsibilities as being quite serious. "I think the thrust was the quality of what we were doing; with lives involved, it was a dedication thing."

The Apollo reunion happens every five years and alternates between Waukesha and Santa Barbara. In 2004, it was held at Fess Parker's Doubletree.

The reunion will boast a social hour tonight, a golf outing in the morning and an afternoon educational opportunity, all of which will lead up to the reunion's main event, an evening banquet.

The banquet will feature a speech by John Kaufman, a presentation by Art Voros, a presentation by Hugh Brady's grandson Liam Brady-Cheney, a speech by Bob McMillin and a speech by Lockheed Martin Vice President of NASA Program Integration Capt. Ken Reightler.

Jim Lovell was originally scheduled to speak at the banquet, but he will now be unable to attend.

Mr. Kraemer said his experiences during the 1960s were all about teamwork.

"My job was supervising electronics; somebody else was in charge of software," he said. "The total team was about 300."

Mr. Kraemer admits, however, that there were times he felt honored personally.

"I worked with Dr. (Charles Stark) Draper, known to be the father of inertial navigation," he said. "That was pretty great for me."

The reunion will be held at the Country Springs Hotel and Western Lakes Golf Club in Waukesha.

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