Draper Engineer Alan Campbell

In Their Own Words: Alan Campbell on the Legacy of Apollo

Seamus Tuohy

Alan Campbell is aerospace engineer currently working at Draper on the next era of space exploration.

"The reason why I decided to come work a Draper is because of the legacy of Apollo. I want to be able to usher the United States and the world into the next space age and the legacy has continued here at Draper to this day. The field of guidance navigation and control has evolved in terms of solving problems that we didn't know how to solve, back in the days of Apollo. Fortunately, now, we have significantly higher processing power in our computers.

Think about it this way for the Apollo missions: all of the memory on that was on the computer, there is significantly less than your carry around in your pocket. That's absolutely mind blowing. That we were able to solve these editor of processes and that amount of memory to a degree that allowed us to not only to get to the moon but to land on the moon within a margin of error to the exact spot that we were aiming at. And get back. Take back off again, reinsert into the earth atmosphere. That is mind blowing.

[Draper’s] charter is to solve the world and the nation's hardest problems. That's our goal and it always requires that bit of extra creativity in order to find the solution to solve these problems.

Space, truly is the last frontier that we have. And I think that the technological benefit from solving the problems, as exploring as much of it as we possibly can is the best way or best place for us to go, whether the next step is Mars, whether the next step is one of the moons of the planets in the outer solar system, like Titan.

Humans, we explore. We've managed to conquer this planet. We've conquered all seven continents. We have landed on the moon. Next place is Mars and there's no reason to stop expanding."