NASA Office of Logic Design

NASA Office of Logic Design

A scientific study of the problems of digital engineering for space flight systems,
with a view to their practical solution.

2006 MAPLD International Conference

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
with a session at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Washington, D.C.

September 26-28, 2006

Malcolm Johnston

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Instrumentation Lab


Malcolm has been involved in space and defense programs for 45 years, most recently as a consultant to Draper Laboratory following retirement as their Manager of Space Program Development, primarily marketing to the NASA and DoD. He lives in Dartmouth with his wife Sally and 15 year old son Douglas, and serves on several environmental committees (recently retired after 10 years on the Massachusetts Audubon Board.)

After graduating from Cornell University's School of Mechanical Engineering in 1959, Malcolm joined the Boeing Airplane Co. His assignments involved preliminary design of space vehicles for the Air Force and NASA, and analysis of space weapon system concepts for the Air Force.

In early 1962, after a stint in the U.S. Navy, Malcolm joined the M.I.T. Instrumentation (now Draper) Laboratory's Apollo guidance, navigation, and control project. His responsibilities focused on testing and operation of the on board computers and associated software. He later represented the Laboratory on NASA's Apollo Data Priority Panel, which was responsible for development of nominal and contingency mission operation techniques.

During the early '70's, he participated in conceptual design, evaluation and marketing efforts for fault tolerant digital computer applications ranging from early NASA Shuttle candidates to Navy VSTOL aircraft and submarines.

In 1975, Malcolm left the Laboratory for two years to serve as a Senior Product Manager at Digital Equipment Corporation's Headquarters, coordinating computer system development strategy and managing multiprocessor development aimed at significantly increasing system dependability. Upon successful launching of the first product development, he returned to Draper and resumed his space-oriented activities with emphasis on fault tolerant computer systems for demanding real time control applications.

In the early '80's he represented NASA's Chief Engineer on software engineering and management review's for all major NASA flight programs. He participated in a similar review of the FAA Air Traffic Control System and served on the Strategic Defense Initiative's Pilot Architecture Study and Phase One Engineering Team (POET).

During the late '80's and '90's, Malcolm's responsibilities continued to expand to include development, management, and marketing of the Laboratory's advanced space systems, primarily for the NASA and DoD.

2006 MAPLD International Conference - Session G
"Digital Engineering and Computer Design: A Retrospective and Lessons Learned for Today's Engineers"

2006 MAPLD International Conference: Home Page

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