The Apollo Training Team   

      Thoral Gilland



William (Bill) Greene




         Clyde Steele

   Environmental Control            'Carry On '  GSE


    Alfred  (Al) Sohler

        Guidance & 


     Gary Steinbeck


Leonard Urbaniak

Electrical Power

      John Winton

   Lead Instructor

         S/C Systems

 Digital Acceptance




During the early years of the 1960's, the Space & Information Systems Division (S&ID) of North American Aviation in Downey, California, (prime contractor for the Apollo Spacecraft), engaged in a massive recruiting effort.

One support task was the preparation and presentation of systems & mission training briefings for the customer (NASA) personnel during all program phases.

The plan was to provide an accelerated training program as the systems were developed, in order to meet the demands of the space race to the moon.

Instructors were selected from the most skilled and experienced personnel available on the job market. Only those personnel having a high degree of related background experience from the aerospace community were considered.

Candidate instructors were assigned subject tasks and were given "wire brush" auditions before being considered for a member of the training team.

Dry runs of a particular briefing were conducted by key personnel to ascertain that objective material was presented, and with a high degree of professionalism.

After meeting these criteria, briefings were scheduled for the customer. A course critique system was also established for the customer to provide feedback on both the material and presentation. 

Our target student population included the astronauts, flight simulation and control personnel at Houston and launch operations  personnel in Florida. Other  familiarization briefings were presented  for administrative ,clerical and  support staff of the NASA Contractor and sub-contractor orginazations.

Our Instructors prepared Handout and training material, along with Programmened Instruction Text books for the Flight Control Division of the NASA

Video Tape Recordings of each system and acceptance checkout equipment were made in the TV studios at Downey, CA. and Houston, TX  (JSC ).  

Our Team worked with the Russian  Cosmonauts in preparation for the Apollo Soyuz Test program (ASTP )


William (Bill) Ruffin




Lunar Missions

Apollo Soyuz 

Apollo SkyLab

In Memorium

During the phase out period of the training program, and following downsizing of our staff, remaining members supported the SkyLab program with tailored briefings to address in space fault isolation objectives and contingency moding.

Willard "Will" Waddell

   Sequential Systems