Thomas Stanley Logsdon, 82, of Seal Beach, California, passed away on May 1, 2020. Tom was an internationally recognized rocket scientist, author, expert witness, keynote lecturer, and short course instructor. He used his extraordinary knowledge of mathematics and physics to help put a dozen astronauts on the moon and played an integral role in the invention of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is so vital to our modern world.
Tom was a well-recognized and praised Applied Technology Instructor for more than 30 years. Tom would typically come teach his courses in Columbia two or three times yearly, enjoying a long friendship during dinners with ATI’s President Jim Jenkins. A great friendship also developed between Lisa Badart and Tom, with over 13 years of working together to schedule and facilitate his courses. He loved to share with Lisa his adventures and stories. ATI Staff old and new loved working with him. He will be missed by all. See some links to his popular courses below.
Tom was born on September 27th, 1937 to George Stanley Logsdon and Margaret Buckman Logsdon, in Springfield Kentucky. After graduating from Springfield High School in 1955, he went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Math & Physics at Eastern Kentucky University and a Master’s degree in Point-Set Topology (Mathematics) from the University of Kentucky. He had many wonderful teachers, but always fondly recalled Prof. Robertson from Springfield High School, and his college mentor, Dr. Smith Park, a beloved Mathematics professor at EKU. In 1984, he was awarded an honorary PhD from EKU and was the Alumni of the year for EKU’s 100th anniversary.
After graduation, Tom landed his first job as an Aero-ballistics Engineer for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, CA, kicking off a 32-year career in the aerospace industry. He was recruited by Rockwell International to become a Trajectory Mathematician on the Apollo Space program. When asked about his job on a television interview, he said, with his usual clever sense of humor, “before the flight, we predict where the rocket will go, and after the flight we try to explain why it didn’t go there!”
He went on to work on the Shuttle Spacecraft program and in the mid-1970s Tom employed his mathematical genius to determine the placement of 24 satellites (satellite constellation) which make up our worldwide GPS. He was recently recognized as one of 28 original Inventors of GPS. While at Rockwell, he also worked on the Saturn V moon rocket, Skylab flight maneuvers, and unmanned Mars missions. He was also awarded the Rockwell Presidential Award and held a patent centered around navigation of jetliners.
In addition, Tom was a well-respected author, writing over 30 books, from his first book about space travel, “A Rush Toward the Stars”, to some of the first computer programming books, to his best-selling “Six Simple Solutions that Shook the World.” He also taught computer science at USC for many years.
After retiring from Rockwell, Tom ran a full-time business up until his death, producing books, magazine articles, and technical papers; teaching GPS & Orbital Mechanics short courses for NASA & JPL, lecturing around the world, being a guest speaker for Crystal Cruises (averaging 8 cruises a year), and appearing on radio and TV.
He was passionate about playing tennis and did so until just prior to his death. His career and pleasure travel took him to over 100 countries, all seven continents, and around the globe several times over. In 2016, Tom was inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Museum Hall of Fame.
Tom wed Cynda (Cyndi) Hedrick in Newport Beach, CA and became stepfather to Chad Stephen Logsdon. Cyndi Logsdon actively supported Tom’s business by designing his charts & course materials; giving him feedback on his courses, books, and presentations; keeping him organized; and accompanying him to many exotic places to coordinate his appearances.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Margaret Logsdon, his wife Cynda, his sister, Ann Logsdon Sims of Bardstown, KY, and two sisters who died in infancy, Molly and Rose Mary. He is survived by daughter, Donna (Drew) Schilder, along with his stepson Chad, his brother, Pat (Patsy) Logsdon of Loretto, KY, seven nieces and nephews, and numerous great-nieces and nephews.
Tom’s ATI courses offered over 30 years
Please join us for a virtual/Zoommeeting for:
Tom Logsdon’s Virtual “Celebration of Life”
May 30 at 10 AM PST
Zoom Video Conference Info:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or Telephone Dial-In:
US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923
International numbers link
Meeting ID: 201 428 7217
NOTE: If you have not used Zoom before, to see the video, you will need to download the App on your smartphone, Mac, or PC prior to joining the meeting. You can go here and choose the appropriate platform: https://zoom.us/download or when you click on the meeting link above, it will ask you to download the App. Or You can call in to the Telephone Dial-In number and just listen.