Lou Ramon has been a “space cadet” his entire life. As a young boy, he had his own model plane “air force” hanging from his bedroom ceiling and he grew up reading and watching science fiction TV shows and movies. So it’s no wonder he ended up turning that passion into a lifelong career in the space industry.
Lou received a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly University in Pomona, Calif. Accomplishments of his nearly 50-year career, in and around the Johnson Space Center in Houston, are too numerous to mention. He has been involved in nearly every U.S. human spaceflight program from Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle, the International Space Station to Orion. Among the many highlights for him was working as part of Apollo 11, alongside astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. He worked on the development of the Manned Maneuvering Unit and the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System for the Space Shuttle. He also led a team that had a hand in the design of the International Space Station. After the Columbia Disaster, Lou led a Boeing team to assure the Space Shuttle was safe to return to flight. He continues to be passionate about human spaceflight and considers himself to be an “old-fashioned spaceman.”
Lou began as a docent at the Discovery Center in the summer of 2013 and is a member of the Space Foundation Andromeda Club. He volunteers because it offers the opportunity to combine his interests in space and education. He enjoys talking to people about the space program and says, “I feel that I can help people to better understand what the space program is about, why it is important to them and to encourage youngsters to further their knowledge in science, technology, education and math (STEM).” Not surprisingly, he says his favorite exhibits in the Discovery Center are the ones that have ties to space programs he has worked on. He’s partial to both the Lunar Module and the Lunar Rock (which has recently been returned to NASA), as well as the Space Shuttle and the U.S. spacesuit exhibits. Lou receives a great deal of fulfillment from volunteering in the Discovery Center and encourages anyone who is interested in space to volunteer. He says, “Go for it! The Discovery Center has great plans for the future and a great professional staff. Everyone here helps make the Discovery Center a unique and worthwhile resource to the region.”
Lou retired in July of 2013 and he and Cindy, his wife of 30 years, settled down in Woodland Park, Colorado. They fell in love with the mountains and the area after regularly visiting from Houston. They have three grown children who live in Houston, Seattle and Dallas. In addition to volunteering with the Space Foundation, Lou also volunteers with the FIRST Robotics Competition, the BEST Robotics Championships in Denver and the Woodland Park Music Series.
The benefits of volunteering with the Space Foundation are numerous. To read more about them and how you can volunteer to help further the Space Foundation’s mission to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity, visit http://www.spacefoundation.org/about/volunteer-opportunities.