Sam Scalone's son tells us that his father "was born in 1917 in
Philadelphia, PA of immigrant parents
who came to the USA from Enna, Sicily in 1915. Growing up in South
Philadelphia during the great depression Sam did many odd jobs to
help keep food on the family table from shoe shine boy, selling
chickens door to door, farm day laborer to digging trains out of
banks for 5 cents a day. Like so many during those difficult
times, Sam had to drop out of high school to work and help support
the family. In 1939, he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corp
stationed in New Mexico building cattle damns to collect rainfall
livestock. During the second world war he worked at the
Naval Yard as a rigger building battleships. His first
career was as a commercial and residential painter and then
his Associate Degree in mechanical design from Temple University
began his career in engineering in 1962,working as a contract
engineer on different projects all over the country from year to
year. He retired in 1990."
"From late 1970 to September 1971 he was a contract
draftsman working for the RCA facility (now L3 Communications) in
Camden NJ that engineered the LCRU (Lunar Communications Relay
Unit). He did the mechanical engineering designs on the two LRV
antenna masts (high-gain and low-gain); and I remember him saying
that the unique challenge was that they had to be designed so
that, when they were unfolded by the Astronauts, there would be no
way possible that the masts could ever tear their spacesuits."
|Momento from Scalone's time
at RCA including mission patches and, at the center, a
drawing by RCA artist James Burns of an astronaut aligning
the high-gain antenna.
|James Burns drawing with the
high-gain antenna on the front of the Rover and the
low-gain antenna mounted next to the LRV instrument
|Left to Right: Paolo and
Giovanna Scalone (Sam's parents),
Mary Jo Scalone, Sam Scalone, February 13, 1954.
|Sam Scalone (seated) and a
colleague at Elco Optisonics (1968).
In about 2010, Alan decided to identify the RCA artist responsible for a number of drawings in his father's collection. A relatively short search led him to James Burns and, after getting Burns in touch with the ALSJ, to an ALSJ page devoted to Burns' work. Alan, following in his father's footsteps, pursued a career in engineering - as a software engineer - beginning in 1979 with the development of computer systems that control oil refineries for Honeywell and, later, developing some of the first internet communication systems for Motorola in 1992. In 2003, Alan founded an educational software company.