Jim Taylor – Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) project flight team telecom analyst (1970 – 2003, so far)
I have been working in spacecraft telecommunications systems analysis and operations since I received my Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford in 1962. My first job was with the old RCA "Space Center" in Hightstown, New Jersey. I was involved not with deep space missions then but with the earth-orbiting Tiros satellites made by RCA, which were the first civilian weather satellites. The earliest ones transmitted and received at very high frequency (VHF). Very early in my career, when we were all younger, my first supervisor at RCA recognized my writing capabilities and put me into tasks that involved writing proposals about satellite communications systems. As part of my telecom systems analysis, I created and used design control tables. In those days, this work was done with slide rules and desk calculators. During my 8 years at RCA, I often read with admiration articles by JPL authors in the JPL Space Program Summaries that the RCA library had. I wanted to come home to California (I am one of those rare California natives, born in Ventura), so I interviewed and was accepted by JPL in 1970. The telecommunications group here needed people for what they called "mission operations". I was naive about mission operations, having to ask even what it was. However, I must have taken to it because that's largely where I’ve made my career for the last 33 years. See the next sections for my work on Mars programs at JPL, other spacecraft programs at JPL, and the other things I've found time to do.