Thursday, February 23, 2012

Engineer James Hand '60 to Return to Washington College to Share Project Apollo Experiences

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Alumnus James Hand ’60 will return to Washington College on Tuesday, March 20 to talk about his decade of work with NASA’s Project Apollo. The event will take place at 6 p.m. in Decker Theatre in the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.
Hand’s presentation will address many aspects of the Apollo space missions, with a particular focus on the first manned lunar landing of July 1969. As a NASA scientist working first at Kollsman Instrument Corporation in New York, and then at the MIT/Instrumentation Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., Hand helped develop guidance, navigation, and control systems for the Apollo Command and Lunar Modules. He participated in the first lunar landing mission as part of the engineering support center at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Along with discussing his own experiences and contributions to the Project, he will talk about President John F. Kennedy’s vision for America’s space program, the astronauts and other key contributors, technology, and the importance of that era’s legacy for today. The talk will be accompanied by a slide show and video of the Apollo mission launch.
“I promise that no pop-quiz will be given,” says Hand of his talk. “But I may ask the audience to consider a few decisions, such as ‘Should I land in the lunar crater or fly over it, given the chance of running out of fuel and crashing?’ ”

Before the talk, from 5:15 to 6 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to look through a large collection of Hand’s Apollo memorabilia and chat with him about what is displayed. The items will include documents containing the signatures of thousands of NASA employees, including Hand, that were carried to the moon on the first lunar landing mission.
Hand received his B.Sc. in physics from Washington College, an MBA in Management from Hofstra University, and a Master Certificate in Computer Programming from Boston University. He participated in the Apollo 11 mission as a scientist in the engineering support center at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Tex.
The event is sponsored by Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Department of Physics. A reception hosted by the 1782 Society will be held afterward in the Underwood Lobby. For more information:
Photo caption: In a photo taken on June 29, 1970, Washington College graduate James Hand is shown working on the Apollo Command Module Guidance and Navigation Console.