Jack F. Clemons Space Shuttle Program 1978

Jack Clemons, Space Shuttle Program (1978) Clear Lake City, Texas

Jack Clemons is an aerospace engineer and air and space industry professional. He was a lead engineer on NASA's Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs, and later an aerospace company executive. He appeared as himself in the "Command Module" episode of the 2008 Discovery Science Channel six-part documentary Moon Machines.[1]


Jack received his Bachelor's and master's degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida. During the Apollo Moon Program he was a lead engineer at TRW Systems Group in Houston, Texas, supporting operations at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center (now the Johnson Space Center). He developed procedures allowing astronauts to monitor the Apollo Command Module Onboard Guidance and Navigation Computer during atmospheric reentry, and to control the reentry manually should they need to override the computer.[2] He provided real-time reentry support during missions Apollo 9 through Apollo 14, including NASA Mission Control Center backroom support during the extended 6-minute reentry blackout period on Apollo 13.[3][4]

Following Apollo, at IBM Federal Systems in Houston, he was the overall program manager for the development of the onboard software for NASA's Space Shuttle.[5][6][7] Driven by a NASA requirement for "error-free" code, Shuttle Flight Software became the first program rated at CMM Level 5, the highest rating of the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model.[8] As a member of the IBM team, Jack worked early on with Shuttle astronauts to design the onboard computer displays, and later provided problem analysis and flight support during the first six Space Shuttle missions.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Clemons was Senior Vice President of Engineering at Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Control Company in Rockville, Maryland.[9] His organization designed and implemented the hardware and software required to support the modernization of the FAA's nationwide Air Traffic Control computer systems,[10] and the United Kingdom's London Area Air Traffic Control Centre, as well as systems in Scotland, Eastern Europe, South America, and New Zealand.[11]


  1. Moon Machines, Episode 2: The Command Module, Discovery Science Channel, 2008 (Jack Clemons as himself)[1]
  2. J.F. Clemons, Jr. and P.E. Moseley, Recommended Entry Monitoring and Backup Control Procedures for Apollo 11 (Mission G), NASA MSC Internal Note No. 69-FM-185, July 2, 1969.
  3. Richard Corfield, Apollo 13: Houston, we've had a problem, Chemistry World, March 2010, pp., 56-61 (Jack Clemons interview)[2]
  4. Joe Pappalardo, Did Ron Howard exaggerate the reentry scene in the movie Apollo 13?, Air & Space Magazine, May 1, 2007 [3]
  5. J. Robert Lineback, Code check speeds launches, Electronics Magazine, Vol. 56, No. 8, April 21, 1983, pp 48-49 (Jack Clemons interview)
  6. Arthur Erikson, "The Changing Face of Engineering", Electronics Magazine, Vol. 56, No. 11, May 31, 1983, pp 125-133 (Jack Clemons interview)
  7. A Case Study: The Space Shuttle Primary Computer System, Communications of the ACM, Volume 27, No. 9, September 1984, pp. 874-900 (Jack Clemons interview)[4]
  8. C. Billings et al, Journey to a mature software process, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 33, No.1, p.46, 1994 [5]
  9. Jack Clemons (co-author),Securing the Future of US Air Transportation: A System in Peril, Committee on Aeronautics Research and Technology for Vision 2050, National Research Council, November 2003 [6]
  10. Jack Clemons testimony to the 106th Congress, House of Representatives 2nd Session, House Report 106-1052, Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Technology, Section 4.5(cc), page 253 Hearings on “R&D to Improve Aviation Safety and Efficiency: A Review of the FAA Fiscal Year 2001 Funding Request for R&D”, March 1, 2000 [7]
  11. PR Newswire, Lockheed Martin Receives Contract to Modernize Albanian Air Traffic Control System, Jan 9,2003 (Jack Clemons interviewed)[8]

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