Sunday, October 23, 2011

NASA and Phillip Osborne Roesch


Oleander Hotel
 


 Phillip Osborne Roesch loved repairing radios as a young man with Buzz Creel and he always remained curious about how they worked.  Being the intelligent man that he was, Phil built upon his experience working in maintenance and repair of the electrical systems in the Oleander hotel that sat on the corner of Pineapple Avenue and Eau Gallie Boulevard.


All his past experience prepared him for the most interesting and challenging job of his lifetime.  In 1951, at the age of 34, he obtained a position with RCA, a subcontractor for NASA, working at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  In seeking out an explanation of what he did, Phillip replied as if it could be understood, "I calibrate the equipment used to calibrate the monitoring instruments that are used to record the missile telemetry and other in-flight information and support activities."

It was always a top secret when and what time military missiles were to be launched.  NASA certainly didn't want the Russians knowing this information or anyone else that might have an interest.

Base Where Phillip Worked


A very rare picture of Phil at work
 Phil was involved with Cape Canaveral from the very early beginnings of space exploration.  There were various times he would be sent "down range" to Antigua, West Indies; Grand Turk, Ascension and other islands to monitor missile activities in that corridor.  Part of the monitoring was to pinpoint the recovery location of early pre-man missions of returning monkeys.  The first to return home safely on May 28, 1959 were Able, a rhesus monkey, and Miss Baker, a squirrel monkey.  These animals were launched to study the biological impact on man during space flight.


One page out of three of his resume
 It was on May 5, 1961 the first manned Mercury spacecraft lifted off with Astronaut Alan B. Sheppard that lasted a total of 15 minutes.  These missions took place during Phil's first 10 years of employment.  Phil, as Communication Manager, ultimately supervised a staff of 19 technicians and radio operators, directly in maintenance and operation in a number of communication center facilities.

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