Idaho Celebrities Pt. 5: Boise’s Very Own Rocket Scientist

Jim Steinfort helped get America to the Moon during the space race
Command Module Stock Image

It takes a lot of brilliant and dedicated people working closely together to achieve a miracle like transporting three guys in a tin can from the Earth to the Moon and back safely.

James R. Steinfort, who calls Boise home, is just one of those brilliant people who dedicated his life to NASA’s Space Program during the Apollo Moon Missions.

Jim Steinfort nasa computer engineer

After graduating Cum Laude from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, Jim served in the Air Force during the Cold War as a Radar Specialist.

Later his skills took him to Houston where he worked at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center. His work was to maintain the computer systems that simulated the Apollo 11-17 missions. Without these simulations that Jim helped maintain, the astronauts would not have been able to properly train and prepare for a mission to the Moon. 

Moon Landing Stock Image

As a member of the Apollo 13 Ground Support Team, Jim joined the effort to help get the crew back down to Earth without any casualties. 

Jim says the portion of the Apollo 13 movie that depicts the Ground Support Team attempting to solve a complex problem with limited materials is as accurate as life.

Later his expertise was applied to the Apollo/Soyuz Mission when the American and Russian  space stations successfully docked in orbit. 

Space Station Stock Image

Finally, the Skylab and NASA Shuttle Projects required his knowledge.

Jim’s simulations were able to train the astronauts to fly and land the world-famous NASA Space Shuttle properly.

Space Shuttle Stock Image

Jim has also had a hand in the functionality of the Skylab Space Station. His computers received and logged the data coming from Skylab during its missions.

It has been 50 years since man first landed on the Moon, and much has happened since then, lots of it with some help from Jim Steinfort.

How cool is it that Idaho has its own resident rocket scientist!?

NASA Patches
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Adam Brimhall

Adam Brimhall

An expert at going out.