Spring 2017 - Articles

Rocket Science

By April 4, 2018 No Comments
Rocket Science

If it wasn’t for World War II, Brooks Moore would have experienced Auburn for longer than two years. “At 5 years old, I had already been saying I wanted to go to Auburn,” said Moore. “My older brother and some of my cousins also attended the university, but the war interrupted my turn.”

Instead, he attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning (SLI) and Tulane University before transferring to Auburn in 1946 to study electrical engineering.

Moore enrolled in the V-12 Program, the first step in a successful career that included stints at the Naval Research Center and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Moore never expected to be working with rockets after college, especially when, as a kid, he read about them in Buck Rogers and the 25th Century comic books. But after graduating from Auburn and earning a master’s degree from Georgia Tech, he began developing underwater mine and torpedo defense systems at the Naval Research Center in Panama City, Fla.

Three years later, he heard of some interesting work going on at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville—building missiles and rockets.

Moore got a job directing design and control systems in rocket development for the Army with space pioneer Wernher von Braun. “He was a genius, not only technically, but he was also very personable,” said Moore. “You never knew when he was going to stop by and talk to the engineers. He made everybody feel like they were a vital part of the operation.”

The Von Braun team created the first ballistic missile, Redstone.

Skylab launch on Saturn V, May 14, 1973

Moore was later transferred to the Marshall Space Flight Center and served as the director at the guidance and control division and was later promoted to director of the Astrionics Lab at NASA. During his time there he was involved with the Saturn V manned lunar launch, Skylab (first space station), the Hubble Telescope and countless other programs.

Retiring from NASA in 1981, he continued to serve the space program for another 25 years as a contractor for the Control Dynamics Co.

An active member of the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council since 1970, Moore was also a 1981 charter member of the Auburn Research Advisory Board, with which he is still active. He was involved with the Madison County Auburn Committee, which helped lobby funds for the university in the 1960s and ’70s.

Although Moore was only able to attend Auburn for his last two years, he has made his involvement with university affairs a top priority. He even has two scholarships named after his wife and himself, the Huntsville-Madison County Auburn Club Brooks and Marian Moore Endowed Scholarship and the Brooks and Marian Moore Endowed Scholarship.

Moore now gives tours at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, where he continues to thrive off the Auburn spirit.

“The Auburn experience was extremely important in my career,” said Moore. “Not just the book learning, but also the association with top-notch people and professors.”