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Joy Stick Introduction: James Kottmeier

James Kottmeier
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When Jim was at Honeywell Aeronautical in Minneapolis, he was part of a group charged by NASA with designing the Stabilization and Control System (SCS) for both the Apollo Command Module and also the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). The team realized they couldn’t use the recently developed printed circuit technology.  The immense vibrations from the 7.5 million pounds of thrust from the Saturn 5 Rocket 5 engines fighting to lift the 6.7 million pounds free from earth’s gravity would cause that technology to literally come apart and fail electronically. 

To circumvent this Jim and his team designed a welded “matrix” circuit technology uniquely for the Apollo Program.  This was also repairable in space if the dire need should arise. The “matrix” was one of very many new innovations and technologies necessitated by the unknown and totally new adventure to send Americans to the moon and back safely.

The most obvious of these new inventions was the guidance control stick used by the astronauts to “steer” the Command Module as well as the LEM.  It became known as a “joystick”.  It was designed to be handled by the astronauts while wearing their very bulky space suits yet giving precise control, stabilization, and safety.  Jim Kottmeier was both lucky and proud to be part of this program.

ITM Museum Executive Director Chuck Brooke (L) and Board President Gerry Schnepf (R) presented Jim his award.
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