Jerry Woodfill - Biographical Background




Former  Apollo 11 and 13 Warning System Engineer


For more than 48 years, Jerry Woodfill has been employed by NASA in Houston. He holds BAEE and BSEE degrees from Rice University which he attended on a basketball scholarship. At the onset of the lunar landing program, he managed the spacecraft warning systems so that he was monitoring spacecraft Eagle's descent when Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon. Likewise, on April 13, 1970, Jerry was monitoring Apollo 13's warning system when the vehicle exploded. His system was the first alert of the life-threatening malfunction depicted in the Tom Hanks-Ron Howard movie APOLLO 13. For his role in the rescue of Apollo 13, he shared the Presidential Medal of Freedom as a member of the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team.

For the 40th Anniversary of the rescue of Apollo 13, the website Universe Today featured "13 Things that Saved Apollo 13" based on Jerry's recollection of mission events which contributed to the rescue.

Jerry often speaks to educational groups: schools, teacher workshops, and summer space camps as an outreach for the JSC education volunteer program.  To this end, he was  recognized in 2004 as a “Hi-Lighted” JSC Educational Volunteer and in 2012 as the NASA Johnson Space Center's Educational Volunteer of the year.    Having keynoted a number of national conventions and the opening of a University Science and Mathematics Education School,  he often shares historic talks concerning the space race and the rescue of Apollo 13 from his perspective as a participant.   Especially well received is his recreation of President John Kennedy’s Rice Stadium Moon Race Speech.  Present as a student, Jerry was inspired to the extent that it led to his employment at the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1965.

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