Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Barbara Barbieri McGrath (1953–) Biography - Personal to Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) Biography » Joseph C. Mills Biography - Remained Focused On Education, Became A Reactor Safety Expert, Designed Power Systems For Spacecraft, Spent Nine Years On The Iss

Joseph C. Mills - Designed Power Systems For Spacecraft

boeing nuclear director iss

Between 1987 and 1994 Mills was a Rockwell program director in charge of developing nuclear power systems for military applications and civilian exploratory missions in space. Among his projects were the NASA Space Exploration Initiative and the Dynamic Isotope Power System for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Air Force. Mills also was program manager for Rockwell's space nuclear power systems component of the "Star Wars" missile defense—the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO)—initiated by President Ronald Reagan. Mills worked on both a multimegawatt nuclear power system for the DOE/SDIO and a 40-kilowatts-electric (kWe) Thermionic Space Nuclear Power System for the DOE/Air Force/SDIO.

However by the early 1990s the world had changed dramatically. When the predicted energy crisis failed to materialize, plans for a new generation of nuclear-powered electrical-generating systems were put on hold. With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, interest in the military applications dwindled. In 1994 Mills went to work on the International Space Station (ISS). It was to be the high point of his career.

At a Glance...

Born Joseph Chester Mills Jr. on February 26, 1946, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Joseph Chester Mills Sr. and Mildred Craddock Mills; married (divorced); married Gail, 1982; children: two (first marriage), two stepchildren. Education: University of California-Los Angeles, BS, engineering, 1967; University of California-Los Angeles, MS, nuclear engineering, 1969; University of California-Los Angeles, PhD, nuclear engineering, 1972. Politics: Democrat.

Career: Rockwell International, Atomics International (later Rocketdyne), Canoga Park, California, various project and program management positions in the development of new nuclear power systems, 1972-87, Rockwell International, program director for development of nuclear power systems for military and exploratory space missions, 1987-94, Rockwell and the Boeing Company, director of the Power Module/Cargo Element Team for the International Space Station, 1994-97; Boeing, Canoga Park Site Director, 1997-98; Boeing, Huntington Beach Site Director, 1998-99; Boeing, Houston, TX, vice president and deputy program manager for ISS contract, 1999-01; Boeing, vice president and program manager for ISS contract, 2001-03; Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Pasedena, CA, vice president and program manager for JIMO Phase A Trade and Concept Design Study, 2003-04; Boeing, Canoga Park, CA, vice president and executive focal of space science initiative, 2004-05.

Memberships: American Nuclear Society; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Awards: LA-San Fernando Engineers' Council, Distinguished Engineering Project Achievement Award for the ISS Electric Power System, 1998; Aviation Week, Laureate of the Year for Space, 2002; Boeing 30-Year Service Award, 2002; Black Engineer, Black Engineer of the Year Pioneer Award, 2004; Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Stellar Award, 2004.

Addresses: Office—c/o The Boeing Company-NASA Systems, 13100 Space Center Blvd, Houston, TX 77059-3556.

Initially Mills worked on Rockwell's solar power systems for the ISS, as director of the Power Module/Cargo Element Team at Canoga Park. When Rockwell merged with The Boeing Company in 1996, followed by Boeing's acquisition of McDonnell Douglas, the companies' ISS contracts came under Boeing's administration. In 1997 Mills became the site director at Canoga Park and in 1998 he became site director at the Huntington Beach, California, facility. In these positions Mills oversaw the design, development, testing and evaluation, production, and flight preparation of the hardware and software used for the assembly of ISS components in space. These out-board and in-board trusses and their associated electrical power systems, produced under McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell contracts, were launched from the space shuttle for the construction and instrumentation of the ISS.

Joseph C. Mills - Spent Nine Years On The Iss [next] [back] Joseph C. Mills - Became A Reactor Safety Expert

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