Credit: St. Louis Science Center
Members of MAC’s Old Team under McDonnell Aircraft Company worked on the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, which supported, developed and proved the methodology necessary for the Apollo Program to reach the Moon. The company was “ground zero” for America’s first human spaceflight program, flying six Mercury and ten Gemini manned missions for those programs. James S. McDonnell, company founder and CEO, had the foresight to use company funds to carry out original design studies for a manned satellite well before the launch of Sputnik 1 and well before being chosen as a prime contractor, which was announced on February 13, 1959. Beyond designing and building the spacecraft, much of the simulation and training for America’s first astronauts also happened in St. Louis, and those astronauts worked closely with the McDonnell employees.
MAC’s Old Team’s influence on the nation’s space programs did not end with Mercury and Gemini. Team members continued to work on several programs including: Skylab, the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, the Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle), the International Space Station, Hexagon, and other NASA, military and company-funded programs.
Why are they called MAC’s Old Team? “THIS IS MAC CALLING THE TEAM. THIS IS OLD MAC CALLING ALL THE TEAM.” All employees would hear these words over the company PA system announcing special events and introducing visiting dignitaries which included the President of the United States. What could be more fitting to honor Mr. McDonnell’s memory than ‘MAC’s Old Team’?