MIT Lab Engineers at the Apollo 17 Splashdown Party

In Their Own Words: Jack Mills on the Lunar Module Test Lab

John 'Jack' Mills
Dr. Charles Stark Draper

Everyone old enough has an Apollo story. This is mine.

I started working at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (IL-7), located at 75 Cambridge Parkway, Cambridge, the week ending July 4,1965. I was hired to work for the Apollo System Group (ASG) as an Electro-Mechanical Technician Class “B”.  The (ASG) group was actively designing and building Ground Support Test equipment that would test and control the newly engineered Apollo Guidance Navigation System.

Approximately two months into my new technician job I was asked by my supervisor if I wanted to shift positions and work in a semi-clean room with the Lunar Module Test engineers and computer programmers. I can remember being told if you want to get ahead around here, that’s the place to be!  I took the new position being offered and never looked back. It was one of the most interesting and rewarding positions I could ask for!  The work environment was exciting and professional. There was a ‘can-do’ attitude in the air.

I worked in this environment through all the Apollo, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz missions.  I was selected to be part of the G&N backup support team, Apollo14, Cape Canaveral Fl.

With the successful conclusion of the Apollo program, management held a small ceremony in the System Test lab. The Power Switch to the Apollo G&N was to be thrown for the last time, signifying the end of the Apollo Program at MIT .   I was asked to throw that switch.

I’ll end my Apollo story by saying:   A belated thank-you “DOC” Draper, for giving me the opportunity to be part of this historic adventure.

It was one Hell of a ride!