JOPLIN, Mo. – July 20th marks the 50th Anniversary of man landing on the moon, but the mission wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for a Joplin company.
Eagle Picher has been a major player in the U.S. Space Program from its very beginning. In addition to providing batteries for almost every satellite ever launched, foreign or domestic, their products also played a key role in the Apollo program.
Retired Eagle Picher Engineer Jack Brill, a Joplin native, spent 52 years at the company. His first project was working on batteries for the minute man ballistic missiles. Then, he worked on the space program, helping build and design batteries for the Lunar Module, the ship that Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin used to land on the Moon.
“Two sets of batteries on the Lunar Module, the ascent and the descent, once they separated from the Command Module they were on batteries, and the descent batteries powered them down and the ascent batteries powered them back up.”Jack Brill, Mechanical Engineer, Eagle Picher
Brill says he felt a tremendous sense of pride knowing that his work, and that of other Eagle Picher employees, made the historic moment possible. Between the three stages of the Saturn 5 Rocket, and the Command and Lunar Modules, more than 40 Eagle Picher batteries were on each Apollo Mission that went to the Moon.
Brill met Neil Armstrong years after the Moon landing, when Armstrong became a board member of the Joplin company.