Portrait of Russell Larson

Russell A. Larson

Program Engineer and Astronaut Liaison

Russ Larson graduated with a degree in mathematics and physics, joined the US Naval Reserve, and moved to General Motors, before finally transferring to MIT’s Instrumentation Lab. A man with a lifelong interest in electronics, he worked in computer science and helped lead the project to program the Apollo Guidance Computer for the Lunar Module (LM) and served as Project Manager for the Lunar Module Flight Program. Larson also worked directly with the astronaut crews, training them on the simulators and guidance system. If they had questions on how the system worked, Larson would answer it. He became a point man between the astronauts and other IL space engineers.

When the Apollo 11 alarms sounded, Russ was at Houston’s Mission Control Center. While he couldn’t offer his vocal support on the decision to continue the moon landing procedure, his thumbs-up still resonates in stories about the day. After the Apollo program was over, Larson continued to be a project manager through the Skylab and Space Shuttle missions, spending most of his career with Draper.