Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by both Space Travel, Discovery and Science Fiction. The book on the left was the first book I ever remember reading. I read it in one sitting in my local library in London. I was 7 or 8 years old. It turns out that the book was authored by a fighter pilot -- Reginald Martin, and he fantasized about science fiction in between missions to ward off the horrors of war. Click on the book to learn more.
One night on a Kibbutz in Israel, I was playing poker with friends. We were discussing what we wanted to do with our lives. One fellow said, "You would be great with computers". A light went on inside me. I wrote to a British Computer Company -- ICL -- who hired me right away for some reason. I got back to London a week later. More in the technology section. But that's how I got to Greece, and that's how I got into technology. On the ship at night, and in Israel at the time, when my hormones were not playing havoc, by day I watched the people, and by night, I watched the stars. I was 17.
At ICL, I was trained by the engineers who were inventing and building the computers. I learned how to operate the machines and gradually, how to program them. In 1968, there were not many programmers. I came to New York for a wedding, and met a man who was a programmer at NASA. He invited me to Washington.
What a day!!! I flew on Eastern Airlines to DC, and when I went into his office, he was debriefing the Apollo 10 astronauts! Who was this man?
Harry Hayman led the programming effort for that portion of the Apollo mission from the liftoff from the moon to the rendezvous with the command module in lunar orbit!
This site is dedicated to Harry, who always encouraged my to write a book. Harry passed away in 2008. This is the book. Not exactly what he had in mind, but times change.
At the Bank, I realized there that we were not going to evolve if half the world’s population were dying of famine or disease, and/or living off of $1 to $2 dollars per day. (See the EARTH section of this site for more on this).
I plunged myself into programming computers in the support of economic and social development. The Bank in Washington is not perfect - but it has spawned several ideas. It has put the issues of global health, nutrition and education on the agenda of the world’s leaders. More and more people are getting involved whether in non-governmental organizations (NGO) or in businesses that are in some way connected to helping the poor raise themselves up. While the bureaucracy in Washington is tough, there are amazing people there, who are innovative and engaged when working with counterparts and at the grass-roots within the countries. I retired from there in 1998, although I took on some interesting consulting assignments for several years afterwards.
I married -- yep -- Harry's neighbor, and we had two wonderful kids. I kept my interest in Space and was terribly frustrated at the apathy of the people about the Space Programs.* I watched avidly all of the missions to the moon, the Apollo-Soyuz rendezvous, and the beginning of the age of the Space Shuttle. I cried when Challenger exploded, and went and mourned at the National Air and Space Museum. I was already mourning, as my wonderful young wife had died suddenly a couple of years before, and I was left to raise my beautiful daughter and son by myself. I remarried another wonderful woman 11 years later.
I got interested in Astronomy in 1986 again, as Halley's Comet was due to pass by the Earth. I bought myself a big telescope, but I could not figure out how to work the damn thing, and missed the comet.
For me, my path came full circle. There is a program managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab called the Solar System Ambassador program
I applied with this idea in mind and was accepted in late 2006. It’s been a blast (no pun intended). There are more than 500 Ambassadors like me around the US, and I urge nations to pick up the cause. This part of the website is also meant to encourage understanding, generate support, and give people ideas about careers in the program. If you have time on your hands and can contribute, then follow the contact information on the SSA site and volunteer. We are trained by the scientists and engineers who build the spacecraft and we are given frequent status reports and a ton of multimedia that we use in teaching our communities.
I produce an occasional newsletter too, so if you’d like to be included - no matter where you live, just contact me and put “space newsletter” in the subject line.
If you’d like to know a little about my activities, click here. Finally, if you have kids or adult groups in the Washington DC area and would like a presentation about what’s going on in the World’s Space Programs, contact me.
I hope you enjoy this part of the site. I am very open to comments, corrections, and news.
* JOKE: A pollster knocks on the door and asks the person: "What do you think is the worse problem: Apathy or Ignorance?". The person answered: "I don't know and I don't care". /JOKE