John W. Aaron - 2006
John W. Aaron began his career at NASA in the Flight Operations Directorate at the Manned Mission Center (now Johnson Space Center) in Houston. He quickly advanced to become Electrical, Environmental and Communications officer in Mission Control for the Gemini and Apollo programs.
Among his many contributions, Aaron devised the recovery for the power systems on Apollo 12 after the spacecraft was struck by lightning during launch, thus avoiding a mission abort. He also developed the recovery sequence for powering up the Apollo 13 Command Module to prepare for Earth atmosphere reentry after the CM was shut down to preserve power following a devastating explosion in the oxygen tank.
Aaron led the team of engineers that developed the flight software for the Space Shuttle Orbiter’s onboard avionics system and eventually became chief of the Spacecraft Software Division. He also directed the earliest phase of the International Space Station program and was appointed to lead efforts to streamline and manage JSC’s engineering support of the Space Shuttle and ISS programs.
Aaron’s leadership led to better integration of the various NASA initiatives that provided the foundation for the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) initiative.
He has served as technical assistant to the director of the Johnson Space Center, manager of the Space Station Projects, and manager of the JSC Engineering Directorate, Systems Engineering Office.
Aaron retired in 2000 but continues to do part-time consulting work. He and his wife, Cheryl, live in Marble Falls, Texas.