SoCal FoRK: INCOSE LA, Oct 16, History of Systems Eng.

Jim Whitehead (
Wed, 1 Oct 1997 18:01:42 -0700

This looks really good.

- Jim

-----Original Message-----
From: IRUS - Irvine Research Unit in Software []
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 1997 5:38 PM
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Subject: FYI: INCOSE LA, Oct 16, History of Systems Eng.

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From: "Ruth, Susan C." <>
Subject: INCOSE LA, October 16, History of SE

Please circulate to all interested people.

The next INCOSE meeting:

Date: Thursday, October 16, 1997

Time: 5:30 Refreshments
6:00 Speaker

Place: Aerospace Corp
2350 E. El Segundo Blvd
El Segundo, CA
Bdg A1, Room 1062
Directions below

Topic: Our speaker, Dr. Stephen Johnson, will present the Early History of
Aerospace Systems Engineering. There is not alot of information on the
history of systems engineering and how we got where we are today, and Dr.
Johnson's doctorate dissertation dealt with the early development of ballistic
missiles and the transition of systems expertise to the NASA space program.
This will be an excellent opportunity to understand and appreciate the
important events that led to the way that we currently practice systems

Speaker: Dr. Stephen Johnson is an assistant professor in the Department
of Space Studies at the University of North Dakota, where he teaches history,
economics, and management of space endeavors. Before coming to UND, he
worked in simulation, control system, systems engineering, and dependability
R&D at Northrop, Martin Marietta, and the Space Engineering Research Center
at the University of Cincinnati. He worked on the Magellan Venus Mapper
program for 5 years, and was also the Associate Director at the Charles
Babbage Institute for Computer History at the University of Minnesota. He
received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in the History of
Science and Technology, where he researched the development of systems
management in American and European space programs.

Dr. Johnson will describe the early history of systems engineering, as it
developed in defense and space programs from the 1940s through 1960s.
Its precursors include systems integration from the Radiation Laboratory's
radar projects, World War II operations research, and project management
methods developed in 1950s defense programs. Systems engineering began to
flourish in the late 1950s and early 1960s in the DOD's air defense and
ballistic missile programs, and in NASA's space projects. It developed
initially as a means to coordinate and verify subsystem engineering
functions. Later, managers attached financial and schedule information to
the coordination functions, enabling them to control scientists and
engineers, and to link technical working groups to the managerial and
political hierarchy.

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