Encyclopedia Astronautica

Freedman, Toby (1924-) American physician. Human factors physiologist at North American, proved feasibilty of Apollo three-crew cabin.

Dr Toby Freedman was the son of a Romanian comedy gag writer, who grew up in Manhattan. He inherited his father's wit but wanted to do something more important in life. The military financed a medical education, and he began his career as an Air Force flight surgeon during the Korean War. In 1954 he was part of a team brought in to pull through a test pilot who had barely survived an ejection at supersonic speed from an F-100 fighter. This case led him into the new research area of aerospace medicine.

After leaving the service, he was hired by North American to assist on the X-15 spaceplane project. When Harrison Storms received the green light to make a bid on the Apollo program, he brought Freedman to Downey to handle the life sciences section of the proposal. This basically had to be invented as they went along, there being no experience in 1960 of the effects of long-term spaceflight, let alone going to the moon and back, on the human body. Freedman ran some experiments, cooping up three UCLA students as a simulated crew for twelve days in a cramped cockpit mock-up. This simple experiment led to several basic insights, and were a part of North American's proposal that impressed NASA.

After North American won the Apollo program, Freedman continued to run human factors engineering, as well as serving as personal physician to the senior engineering managers - several of whom he had to nurse through heart attacks brought on by the incredible stress of meeting Kennedy's goal of landing on the moon within nine years.

Birth Place: , New York.
Born: 1924.

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Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • North American American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. North American, Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA, USA More...

  • Gray, Mike, Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon, Penguin Reprint edition, 1994.
  • Public records,

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