Network Support Group (NSG) - as remembered by Lyle Easter
Provided engineering and operations support for the Manned Space Flight Tracking Stations.
I joined NSG in April 1964. NSG was housed in the Riggs Building at the intersection of Riggs Road and University Blvd near College Park Maryland. The NASA counterpart organization was housed across the parking lot in the University Building.
The BFEC organization was headed by Bill Lauman. Operations was run by Denny Green. The engineering group was run by Ed Beetle of Bendix Pacific (BENPAC). My only experience with the operations group was to help develop systems readiness test for the new UNIVAC 642B computer to be installed for Apollo support. I did provide Command hand over support for Gemeni IV out of Houston. I transferred to engineering right after that. Engineering had two groups, Data and RF/Track/Comm. The primary task of these groups was to configure hardware at the tracking stations to comply with mission requirements. The group also provided general engineering level hardware support to station personnel. The configuration control was provided though a series of Engineering instructions (EI). This was a complete package which included implementation instructions, testing, documentation, parts and tools necessary to install/modify or remove station equipment. In addition the group provided factory/site acceptance testing. One of my more vivid memories of the early Gemini Engineering efforts was having to virtually reconfigure the telemetry interface for each mission. The data flow was illustrated on very long role size drawings that were taped to the wall in the hall way. The engineers would roll up and down the isle on their desk chairs marking up the drawings in red and yellow.
Around 1967, the NSG moved to a building on Landover Road in Kent Village Maryland. The NASA counter part moved into GSFC, Building 12. During that same time period, Ed Beetle left and Walt Ruzella (BENPAC) became head of Engineering. Also during this time period, the network started reconfiguring for the Apollo missions (installation of the 642B computers, MSFPT-2 telemetry, (I can't remember the name of the new intercom system) and interfacing to S-Band systems).
1968 saw the hand over of engineering from BENPAC to BFEC. Jim Boulton (BFEC) became the Engineering manager. Lyle Easter was Lead Engineer for the Data Group and Don Smith was the lead for the RF/Track/Comm side.
Engineering reorganized in early 1969. The new organization included Engineering comprised of Data (computers, telemetry, timing, displays, TV) and RF/Track (S-Band, acquisition/tracking, receivers, communications), Engineering Support (EI processing, logistics coordination), Drafting/Illustration and Software. Jim Boulton was in charge of the new organization, Don Smith headed up the Engineering activities, Lyle Easter took over Engineering Support replacing Tony Beganwald who took charge of the Drafting/Illustrations activity. Engineering office was relocated to the second floor over a shopping center located on Powder mill Road near College Park Maryland (Rt 212). The facility later moved to a building on Kenilworth Ave. in the College Park/Greenbelt area.
I left the BFEC organization in August of 1969 to join Lundy Electronics in Charlotte NC. I returned in April of 1985 to find a different organization as a result of the consolidation of the two tracking networks. Engineering operated out of the Columbia Headquarters with satellite offices in the Heathrow Building. Engineering was run by Jim Conrad. This organization included Data Systems (Dennis McGinley), RF/Tracking, Communications (Vince DiLosa - ex NASA), PMEL and logistics coordination (Harry Krietzburg), Architectural Engineering Support Department (AESD) (Chuck Lacey) and Systems Integration Office (SIO) (Warren Jones - ex NASA). This organization held rather firm for next tens years of NMOS, then down sizing began to get in shape for the CMOS rebid. Engineering divided into two main activities, Sustaining (Dennis McGinley) and New Projects (Hugh Pickens). SIO disappeared with the on set of Engineering Change Automation System (ECAS) and EC(formerly EI) coordination and processing became a staff activity under McGinley.
1996 saw the NMOS contract becoming ISO9001 certified. I moved on to the Intelligent Transportation group on the Charlotte NC contract.