RIP: Retired NASA Scientist Hal Doiron, a climate skeptic & a member of the team that developed the Apollo Lunar Module landing software
Via Heartland Institute: Hal Doiron passed away on April 28, 2020. Doiron was the retired vice president for engineering of InDyne, Inc. As a young physicist, he joined NASA-Houston in 1963 and developed the Apollo Lunar Module landing dynamics software used to guide landing gear design for toppling stability and energy absorption performance, to develop landing techniques, and to support landing site selection. He performed docking dynamics studies for the Skylab Program and led the Space Shuttle team that successfully eliminated unstable vibration coupling of the shuttle structural dynamics and rocket engine thrust oscillations.
After his 16-year NASA career, Doiron spent nine years at Reed Tool Co. developing advanced energy exploration drilling technology as manager of technical services, manager of systems engineering, and director of the Diamond Products Division. While a senior manager at McDonnell Douglas Space Systems, his team computed the onorbit vibration response of the International Space Station to dynamic events such as spacecraft docking, berthing, re-boost, and rocket plume impingement to define design limit loads and structural strength requirements. In retirement, Doiron was a consultant to NASA and commercial rocket developers.
Retired NASA Scientist Hal Doiron, a member of the team that developed the Apollo Lunar Module landing software: Doiron noted that “using the same scientific method that put the man on the moon,’ NASA scientists have concluded there is not climate ‘problem.’ Doiron noted that the slogan at NASA: was ‘In God we trust, all others bring data.’ ‘I am here to report today: Houston we do not have a problem. It is impossible to think global warming will cause any problem especially when you look at the benefits of adding Co2 to the atmosphere. We are convinced that we don’t have a problem with fossil fuels. There is no problem.”
Hal Doiron Video PRESENTATIONS
HOUSTON—Unvalidated climate models that don’t correspond with physical data and the requirements of the scientific method contribute to unfounded climate alarmism, a retired NASA physicist said at the Heartland Institute’s recent America First Energy Conference.
Since America’s national security depends in part on energy security, unsubstantiated claims about global warming that prevent policymakers from making “rational decisions” with regard to the development of U.S. energy resources have become a national security threat, said Hal Doiron, a 16-year NASA veteran.
The “propaganda” underpinning climate alarmism is “causing tremendous political bottlenecks” that prevent government officials from “doing the right thing” on energy, he said.
Doiron, who helped develop the Apollo Lunar Module’s landing dynamics software during NASA’s moon missions, also expressed concern that the U.S. military has been directly affected by climate alarmist claims separated from sound science.
He criticized the U.S. Navy for “preparing for something that is unreasonable and would cost too much money” in the form of “extreme sea-level rise,” which has not been borne out by rigorous scientific study.
Doiron defines unvalidated climate models as those that do not agree with physical data. Public policy and military planning should be based only on models validated by physical data, he said.
“At NASA, we have a policy: You can’t make a design decision on a spacecraft or rocket that is not validated,” he said. “You don’t make critical decisions based on ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ Yet our government has been doing that with respect to climate alarm, because too many academics in universities are writing papers, drawing conclusions from models that don’t agree with physical data.”
Doiron is part of a group called “The Right Climate Stuff,” which includes engineers and scientists from across generations who have taken part in NASA’s most high-profile missions dating back to Apollo.
The group has produced its own “rigorous, earth surface temperature model using conservation-of-energy principles” that operates similarly to the way the surface and internal temperature of a spacecraft is analyzed, the Right Climate Stuff team explains on its website.
A personal tribute from Hal’s friend and NASA colleague, Meteorologist Tom Wysmuller:
Wysmuller: I have had the privilege of knowing Hal for more than a decade, and the honor of referring to him as one of my best friends.
We started out in high gear, when the Heartland Institute invited us to participate a special 2 1/2 hour long presentation – probably a record for them, as usual presentation time, per participant, is about 10 to 12 minutes. We were joined by Apollo Astronauts Walt Cunningham and Jack Schmitt, and hosted by Heartland’s James Taylor and adroitly introduced by Leighton Stewart. Hal helped what would become known as “The NASA 49 & NASA 41,” deliver a Climate Realist message to the Administrator of our former agency. Hal used the event to introduce the initiation of our NASA TRCS group – we wisely chose him to be our chairman and never looked back.
Hal participated in many succeeding Heartland Climate Realist conferences, and had a tendency to run over his allotted time during presentations, but nobody cared, as the carefully prepared mathematics and physics held the audience spellbound.
But his contributions went far beyond the Heartland presentations. Back to the dawn of the Apollo program, on computers that were in the digital Stone Age compared to today’s machines, Hal developed software that tested and simulated various configurations of landing structure and pods for the yet to be built Lunar Lander. He then applied his engineering expertise to design the final version. The agency was fearful of the prospects that could have the Lunar Lander either tipping over or sinking into a quicksand-like quagmire that some believed would greet the Apollo astronauts upon their arrival. His design excellence assured that neither would happen, and as we know, every landing was achieved with perfection.
Perhaps an even greater contribution to NASA missions, was Hal’s work on POGO suppression. This is the engineering that managed the resonance changes between the rocket engines and the fuel delivery system depletion during flight. As the fuel left the tanks and was consumed by the engines, resonance phase changes would sometimes cause vibration patterns that would feed upon each other, and in the process, destroy the rocket. Virtually all astronauts that ever flew, owe their lives to Hal Doiron’s work on POGO; a contribution to NASA’s success that is unquestionably enormous!
Hal’s wisdom also clearly shone with his choice of Marilyn, his beautiful Elementary School Sweetheart, to become his wife. They raised four wonderful children: Claire, Laura, Susan, and Michael. Mike, who had two beautiful daughters, was lost to sarcoma cancer at age 38, one week after 9/11, so the Doiron family experienced a dual tragedy. They then worked hard for over a decade, through the Doiron Golf Classic, to raise over a quarter million dollars for MD Anderson’s Cancer Research.
Henry David Thoreau famously stated in his masterpiece “Walden,” that “…the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Not so with Hal, as he led a life of stunning achievement and engineering brilliance, devoted to NASA and the United States that he loved!