Peter Kachmar joined the Instrumentation Lab in 1965 after graduating from MIT, and worked on the rendezvous system, which was bringing the Lunar and Command Modules back together in orbit. He worked closely with the software team to ensure that everything would be structured and executed in a way that worked with the rest of the guidance, navigation, and control system.
The rendezvous system was first flown on Apollo 7, but the real test came with Apollo 9’s Earth orbit and actually having men on board. Kachmar and Gene Muller ran many simulations while developing the rendezvous system, running through moon landings and debugging errors. There was a lot of trust put into the program they developed because the simulations were incredibly accurate. After Apollo, Kachmar moved to working on Skylab and the Space Shuttle’s rendezvous system.
Now, he continues working with NASA at Draper as the Principal Systems Engineer, and led the design of the Trident Missile guidance system. Kachmar has been awarded NASA’s Space Awareness Honoree Award.