Ron ToelleThe SWOSU Division of Physics will host its annual Physics Spring Alumni Banquet on Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 7:00 PM at the Stafford Air and Space Museum.  We’ll take this opportunity to recognize and reward the achievements of our students, to look back on another year, and to remember the life and impact of Dr. Benny Hill on our program and alumni.  The program will culminate with a talk by Ron Toelle, a retired engineer with NASA. 

Ron Toelle graduated from SWOSU (then SWSC) in 1963.  He was hired by NASA in Huntsville, AL, and assigned to the Advanced Studies office to do trajectory analyses on the Saturn Class of launch vehicles.  Three years later he moved to the Aero-Astrodynamics Lab where he helped developed trajectory simulation code that is still in use today.  His team produced a 4-degree-of freedom (4-DOF) simulation for the Saturn rocket vehicles that was within 0.5% of the accuracy of the 6-DOF computer program and used only 5% of the machine time.  The team was responsible for the payload predictions of all Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles.  He was then selected as part of a five-man team working directly with famed rocket scientist Dr. Werner Von Braun to develop the Skylab Program.

Ron’s simulation programs were later modified to perform the design studies for the space shuttle vehicle (STS), and his team was responsible for all flight design predictions of the Shuttle and published the Design Environments.

Ron transferred to the Software office responsible for the Solid Rocket Booster electrical test requirements, and eventually to the Solar Heating and Cooling office at Marshall Space Flight Center where he was the resident air conditioning system expert supplying design oversight for solar systems driving air conditioning systems.  He helped develop the Solar System trouble shooting  team which made ‘house-calls’  on early systems that did not perform.  

After the Solar Program was cancelled in 1981, Ron transferred to Program Development Office where he was study team leader of multiple advanced vehicle studies.  Two of his projects that went to program status were Aero Flight Experiment and Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS) which later flew on the Shuttle and expendable launch vehicles.

From Program Development Ron moved to the IUS/TOS program office as the TOS integration manager for integration into the Shuttle and onto a Titan vehicle.  He then transferred to the advanced transportation system office to coordinate with the US Air Force Program Office in the development of a launch system for President Regan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

Ron served on a STS pre-flight work package evaluation team to recommend ways to  streamline the pre-launch activities to reduce cost.  He was assigned as Chief Engineer for a small project to develop a magnetic levitated experiment to fly on the Shuttle to simulate micro-gravity. This was accomplished in record time and the flight experiment exceeded expectations.  Due to the short development time, the project only consumed 60% of the allotted budget.  Ron’s final assignment before retiring from NASA was as Chief Engineer of a Solar Powered Propulsion experiment.

Ron consulted for the next ten years specializing in development of collapsible Polyimid structures for space applications.  The final hardware he helped is a ten foot square solar concentrating Solar Reflector to be used in a Solar Power application.  This hardware only weighs three pounds.

Ron now spends time working on his antique car collection.

Tickets for the banquet are $20 each and may be paid for at the door, but we need a head count by Wednesday, April 22, so we ask that you make reservations by email (, phone (580/774-3109), FAX (580/774-3115), snail mail (c/o Terry Goforth, 100 Campus Dr., Weatherford, OK 73096) or in person.  We look forward to seeing you there! 

Fun at the Lake: 2015 Shish-Kebab

The annual Physics Shish-kebab will be on May 2, 2015, at Crowder Lake.  We’ll be serving food around 6 p.m., but we’d love to have you come out earlier to visit and to take in the many activities available at the lake, including canoeing, fishing, hiking, watching nature, and just taking in some gorgeous western Oklahoma scenery.  All the delicious food you remember, plus the induction of new Physics Club officers (with improvised oaths) and the “other awards” that weren’t presented at the banquet will bring back memories.  No reservations required, but if you let us know you’re coming it will help us plan accordingly.  We hope to see you there!