Dr. Charles Stark Draper, the “father of inertial navigation,” evolved the theory, invented and developed the technology, and led the effort that brought inertial navigation to operational use in aircraft, space vehicles, and submarines.
Founder of Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Doc” Draper began the foundation for those achievements as an assistant professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in 1935. He advanced to the post of Institute Professor in 1966.
He wrote extensively in the fields of instrumentation and control, and he served as a consulting engineer to many aeronautical companies and instrument manufacturers. He held a number of patents for measuring and control equipment.
Dr. Draper’s small team of students and technicians at MIT expanded to become MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory. The Laboratory was later divested from MIT in 1973, when it formed a separate, nonprofit research and development laboratory—The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
Dr. Draper stood among the pioneer members of the first group of aircraft engineers. Such monumental efforts as the Apollo landing on the moon and development of guidance systems or components for all deployed strategic missiles bear the stamp of his genius. Nationally, Dr. Draper’s work has created a multibillion-dollar industry.
—Courtesy of Draper Laboratory
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