Encyclopedia Astronautica

Houbolt, John C (1919-) American engineer, at NASA 1945-1985. Claimed to have discovered and certainly promoted the lunar orbit rendezvous strategy used for Apollo.

John C. Houbolt, the son of a Dutch Teamster, grew up on a farm in Joliet, Illinois. After receiving a master's degree in engineering from the University of Illinois, he began working for NACA's Langley Research Center. He worked there his entire life, until retirement in 1985. He claimed to have discovered and promoted the lunar orbit rendezvous strategy for Apollo.

Houbolt was a studious man with short greying hair and the Mr Peepers quality of a high-school algebra teacher. He was obstinate and exhibited the kind of bravery only found among civil servants who cannot be fired in promoting his received wisdom on lunar orbit rendezvous. But the mythology of his story of standing alone in promoting the only successful lunar landing strategy against all odds has been magnified way out of proportion by his own self-promotion.

Birth Place: Altoona, Iowa.

Born: 1919.04.10.

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

Houbolt Chronology

1960 April 5 - .
  • Houbolt paper on rendezvous in space with minimum expenditure of fuel - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Houbolt. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. John C. Houbolt of the Langley Research Center presented a paper at the National Aeronautical Meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers in New York City in which the problems of rendezvous in space with the minimum expenditure of fuel were considered. Additional Details: here....

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