Dave Doody

Hi, everybody. How's it goin'?

So, my partner Donald Whiting and I sold our home up in Fairfield after stints in the USAF. We let go of our cars, quit our jobs, and "retired" in 1978; in all, we lived aboard our sailboat Almitra for a decade. We commuted from the island harbors for three amazing years while Donald managed the restaurant at the Catalina isthmus (remember Natalie Wood in 1981?), and I played Systems Engineer there. Then he and I, and our friend Bill Coleman, left for the mainland because I'd happened to gravitate into The Deep Space Network. But I mean how much sailing, SCUBA diving, hiking, camping, star-watching, sunning, and snorkeling can one take anyway?

Commuting from our landlubber home in Altadena, Don and Bill operated their own skippering service while I wiggled my way deeper into interplanetary space. They both died in 1993; years later I would dedicate Basics of Space Flight (Bluroof 2011) to Donald. Then and since, I've been working as a senior engineer for Caltech on stuff like the Deep Space Network, the Voyager Outer Solar System Mission, the Magellan Venus Radar Mapper, plus twenty years now on Cassini, which is orbiting Saturn until 2017. I've also been teaching summer terms at Art Center College of Design nearby. And operating SpacecraftKits.com. Over the last decade my dear friend Mitch Scaff has been sharing the humble abode with me (we met when he was an engineer on Magellan).

High school half a century ago. What can I say? Even though I wasn't very outgoing then, there were some good times with good friends. Hey, it wasn't anybody's fault that discrimination went unquestioned; society simply had been taught to dismiss (at best) anyone who happened to love members of the same gender. Hell, the generation before, even being left-handed was proscribed! (My late father "learned" to write, terribly, with his right, but he was a lefty in baseball!) I came out of high school with a good education and a stance of always questioning everything that "should" be taken for granted. Which is good! We live and learn!

I wholeheartedly wish you each a good, loving, fun, adventurous, healthy, generous handful of decades to come!

p.s. Oh, and you can watch Cassini's ongoing adventures here: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov