With a Little Help
Autobiography of Rick Wagner

Chapter 8: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman (NG) purchased TRW Space and Defense in 2002, spinning off the automotive business. TRW had spun off its own consumer credit data business itself a few years earlier. The company leaders put up a big tent in the parking lot just to the west of building M1 and invited all employees to receive the information about the sale to Northrop Grumman. Simon Ramo was there and he told us it was a good fit and that it was the way forward to prosperity in the future. The full transition to the NG way of doing things took a few years. One thing I noticed was that we started winning our proposals. In fact, we won the last five proposals I had worked on at NG. Prior to that, the only winning proposals I had supported were for restricted programs. Having a well paid lobbying team in Washington seems to pay off.

Bonsai

2002 was the second year of my two year term as President of Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai. In November I was elected Program Chair, a position in which I was responsible for arranging monthly demonstrators for club meetings. I served as Program Chair for a standard two year term, 2003-2004.


Harry Hirao was the demonstrator at Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai's June meeting in 2002. Harry Hirao (right) and his assistant,
Kaz Murai, clean up a Chinese juniper they donated to the benefit drawing. Photo by Jim Peerson.

Help from Jim

Club member Jim Peerson (and future President) invited various bonsai sensei (teachers) to his house on Monday evenings and invited club members over to work on bonsai. We also went to Harry Hirao's house on Sunday afternoons for workshops. Attendees included Bob Lawlor, Ed Walters, Herb Eisenberg, Jim's wife Dawn, and others. Through Jim's efforts, I obtained training in bonsai from many acknowledged masters including Frank Goya, Ben Oki, Joe James, Cheryl Manning, Ted Matson, and Larry Ragle. My acquaintance with these sensei was of immense help in my later club role as Program Chair.


Playing Chess with 2nd VP John Luhnow at the 2002 July bonsai club picnic at Recreation Park in El Segundo.

Big Thinking

I continued to think about science fictiony things like space cities. It seemed to me that the conventional view in space exploration/colonization (if any thought about space travel can be considered "conventional"), which was putting people and resource operations on moons and planets, was not the right approach, due to the inefficiency of climbing into and out of gravity wells associated with massive natural bodies. The right approach would be to build large pressure vessels in space (to hold breatheable atmosphere for the inhabitants), and then drift around in the asteroid belts or Lagrange Trojan points and capture space rocks as they drift by. This would require the minimal energetic and reaction mass resources. I produced a CAD model of a space city concept to illustrate the kind of space habitat I had in mind. Gerard O'Neil was, of course, an inpiration to me in the 1970s.

Another approach would be to take a largish (several hundred tons) metallic asteroid, melt it, and blow it up into a spherical pressure vessel much as a glass blower blows a bottle from a lump of melted glass. To melt it, a large concentrating mirror could be set to focus sunlight on it. So to that end, I started thinking about how to build very large space reflectors with minimal mass of materials. I arrived at an arrangement of two circular films of mylar or other polymer, one clear and one aluminized. A circular compression member around their perimeter would allow them to retain a someshat flat circular shape when a small amount of inert gas is inserted between them, but they would bow slightly into spherical shapes. I drew some concept sketches to illustrate the principle.

In 2002 I filed a patent disclosure on a pneumatic space mirror. Naturally, nothing ever came of this patent disclosure due to the relatively primitive state of the space industry, both here in the USA and around the world.


In my office at TRW in 2002. Photo by Alex Morales.

Mentorship: Inspiring Students

My daughter Becky joined the robotics team at Redondo High School, Beach Cities Robotics (BCR), FRC 294. BCR was formed of students from two high schools, Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, and Redondo High Shool. In the fall of 2002, BCR had a demonstration at Space Park on family day and I was asked to get involved. I helped out, and some of the mentors asked me to become the official liaison with Northrop Grumman. I agreed and attended the 2003 competition kickoff the first Saturday in January. I remained a mentor with the team after Becky graduated high school and went to Rochester Institute of Technology in mechanical engineering.

FRC is FIRST Robotics Competition. FIRST stands for "for inspiration and recognition of science and technology." It was founded by Dean Kamen of New Hampshire in the early '90s and was intended to further the observation that we become what we celebrate, so by celebrating scienctists and technologists with robotics competitions, we can inspire students to create a better world by pursuing education and careers in science and technology.

BCR is one of the great legacy competitive robotics teams. It was founded in 1998 and won the world championship with two other alliance partner teams in 2001. BCR won the world title in the FIRST Tech Challenge (the smaller robots) in 2007, and again won the world championship in FRC (full sized robots) in 2010. I mentored the team continually in the period from the fall of 2002 through 2010, and documented team activities on this Website as BCR Supplemental Pages.

Bonsai

We continued to attend monthly bonsai club meetings as a family and to participate in club events.


Andrea won the bonsai demonstration tree, grafted shimpaku by Mas and Gary Ishi, February 2003, Ken Nakaoka Community Center, Gardena.

I continued to be active in bonsai and continued with Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai as Program Chair and then as member.


This is my slant style San Jose juniper in the 2003 Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai annual bonsai show in May. Photo by Elaine Pine.


My son Tom surfing at Redondo Beach in 2003.

Tom was into surfing at Redondo Beach. Andrea would drive him with his surfboard to the beach in south Redondo, right at Torrance beach.


I began mentoring FRC team 294, Beach Cities Robotics, in 2002. Photo in the spring of 2003.

I traveled with BCR to competitions. We won the silver medal in 2003 at Los Angeles.


My daughter Malia with her surfboard in the summer of 2003.

I traveled with BCR to the World Championship in Atlanta Georgia, in April of 2004, but we didn't do very well there that year. I learned a lot, attending conference sessions put on by the top teams. I recruited Ken Sterk, an engineer at Northrop Grumman, who became an excellent mentor and is still with the team as of this writing in November 2016.

As part of my support to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project, I consulted with I&T engineers on techniques for measuring tension in membranes. A membrane is a 2D object that has a stress field with two orthogonal components. There existed no way to directly measure them. If one knows boundary conditions, it should be possible to compute stress fields throughout the membrane, but it would be convenient for test purposes to directly measure them. Hence I invented the Offset In-Plane Membrane Tensiometer.

JIMO

I was fortunate enough to be assigned to work on the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) proposal for an ambitious mission requiring a nuclear fission reactor for electric propulsion using Xenon as the reaction mass. This vehicle for a scientific mission to the icy moons of Jupiter, Io, Ganymede, Calisto, and Europa, was have been launched and deployed in low earth orbit, then gently boosted into a trajectory away from earth before the liquid lithium metal cooled nuclear reactor was started up. Then its electric propulsion system would take over and gently accelerate it to Jupiter, where it would decelerate and spiral in to Jupiter orbit. It would then spiral into and orbit closely each of the icy moons in turn before being decomissioned.

The icy moons were part of NASA and JPL's "follow the water" plan for the search for extraterrestrial life in the solar system. The idea being that since all known life requires water, any life originating independently from that on earth would also most likely require water for origination and continuation. Those four moons of Jupiter are mostly water ice with some liquid water thought to be below the icy surfaces of some of them.

Our proposed spacecraft would spiral into a circular orbit of a moon at a very low altitude, on the order of just a few kilometers, for a close-up view. The spacecraft would orbit with the payload end with the science instruments down, and the nuclear reactor up. It was a side thrusting configuration allowing gravity gradient stabilization and minimal maneuvers during descent and ascent. It was clearly a superior approach, and with our strong test approach, it's no wonder we won.


My facility plan for JIMO. The spacecraft is over 200 feet long. The nuclear reactor is at the extreme left end. The payload
bay with the scientific instruments is at the right end. The triangular panel array is the heat rejection system. The reason
for the triangular configuration of the radiators is that they must be within the neutron exclusion cone. Otherwise, neutrons
will impact the radiators, some being flung into the payload bay, causing problems. The neutron exclusion cone is created by the
lithium hydride neutron absorbing shield directly behind the nuclear reactor.

As part of the proposal process, I traveled to a NASA facility in Ohio to check out a large thermal vacuum facility that had been designed for testing space nuclear reactors, but had never been used for that purpose. NASA was really into reliability and end-to-end test for this proposal, so I worked out a way to do an end-to-end ground test of the propulsion system using electrical heating elements to simulate the nuclear fuel. All systems from Brayton or Rankine (two options were proposed) cycle turbine to heat rejection radiators would be functioning at full power in vacuum. To do this I invented a cold plate sandwich system, putting liquid nitrogen cooled plates between stowed heat rejection radiator panels to fit it inside our largest thermal vacuum TV chamber.

Partly on the strength of our I&T plan, we won the proposal against Lockheed. Unfortunately, the Iraq war started up draining NASA funds, and the project was canceled after one year in development. This cancellation is another example of the pitiful state of our space "exploration" program.


Teaching beginners at the novice workshop at the annual Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai show in May, 2004.

AWIMR

I wrote a proposal for an automated walking inspection and maintenance robot (AWIMR), a 20 million dollar program to develop a six legged rotot to assist astronauts, particularly on the way to Mars. The proposal had been started by another engineer and I completed and submitted it. We won the program and worked on it for a little over a year. Normally in a small project like that, the author of the proposal is made project manager, but Northrop Grumman felt it would better to put a more experience manager in charge. I became the integration and test manager (I&T APM). I worked with Hobson Lane on AWIMR, and we went to Applied Minds in Pasadena to see about some collaborations and to get their take on robotic assistance of astronauts. I met Story Musgrave, the astronaut who led the Hubble Servicing Team, there and he told me that the standard astronaut handrails (those bars painted yellow that astronauts grip during EVA) were not used the way that NASA at first intended. He said the astronauts just use their fingertips on them, not a full grip.


Automated Walking Inspection and Maintenance Robot (AWIMR), rendering from a CAD model.

AWIMR would be placed outside the Mars spacecraft patrolling and photographing the surface. In the case of a meteorite impact, the astronauts could send to inspect and possibly repair the damage. Our calculations showed that five kilograms of robot could replace 100 kilograms of space suits, spare parts, and expendables. It's a no-brainer, and should be revived if any nation ever gets serious about human Mars exporation.

It was on AWIMR that I invented the electrostatic robot foor for a space walking robot. The AWIMR we developed proposed to use a sticky foot, which would have worked fine, except that when pulling a sticky foot up for a step, the pulling action could damage delicate spacecraft surfaces such as thermal insulation and solar cells. The electrostatic foot could be turned on and off. The right kind of control of positive and negative voltage could also generate repulsive forces on insulating surfaces. My coworker, Hobson Lane and I filed a patent disclosure for the electrostatic robot foot, and the intellectual property department filed for a patent, but Northrop Grumman eventually dropped it without telling me. I had to inquire as to its status just before I retired. Now it's public domain. Let me know if you would like to see a copy of the IRAD report (see below).


Testing the electrostatic foot for a space walking robot. Summer high school intern David Litwak, the author, and
technician John Takigawa discuss the test procedure. Photograph by Patti Diaz.

I generated enough interest in the electrostatic robot foot for space walking within Northrop Grumman to obtain IRAD (independent research and development) funds for testing a prototype. I obtained a summer internship for a promising BCR high school student, David Litwak, and he assisted me in the development and test. We had a voltage source that went up to 3,000 volts DC, but we found that a practical robot foot should operate at about 1,000 volts. The higher voltages tend to punch through thin insulators, and that a thousand volts is adequate for generating about a pound of sticking force for a three inch diameter foot. Quoting from the 2005 IRAD report conclusion:

The objectives for the IR&D, listed above in section 2.2, were achieved. We examined the analytical electrostatic model for real materials and found that an empirical model is more suitable for use as a guide to design. We established the foot’s sensitivity to surface irregularities and evaluated the suitability of the foot to microgravity locomotion and other uses in a space environment.

However, because our initial model of attractive force versus voltage was not confirmed, the report was suppressed, that is, never published. The electrostatic foot works, and is a no-brainer for any future space walking robot. We demonstrated it on a number of surfaces from bare metal, through mylar and kapton insulation and on silicon solar cells with cover glass.

I also filed a patent disclosure for a multi-legged robot gait optimized for using sticky feet. Then, just as with JIMO, the program was one of several NASA cancelled, even though we were performing to budget, schedule, and technical expectations.


Arts Day LA at UCLA, July 2005. Andrea and I used to volunteer to promote bonsai at this annual event.

Politicization

I remember reading about President Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon in the newspaper in 1958 when I was eight. While I have always followed politics, I was always somewhat aloof to it. I was drafted into the Army (and technically illegally switched to the Air Force) in 1969 during the Nixon administration when I was 19 before I was old enough to vote. Voting age in California was 21 at the time. I have voted in every Presidential election since then, and sometimes for Democrats, but I considered myself a half-hearted anarchist in my younger days. I had some idealistic science fictiony notion that in the far distant future an advanced civilization would have no need for a centralized government. I even joined the Libertarian Party in the 1980s, which is about as close to advocacy of anarchy as a political party can get. I even ran for a non-partisan office (water replenisment district) in the 1990s at the urging of the Libertarian Party. I came in second out of six candidates.

I was pleased with the economic gains under President Clinton, and I even thought that the budget surplusses could continue. However, the taxation and spending policy came from the House that became Republican in 1994. All those gains against the national debt were blown away by G. W. Bush's tax cuts for the rich, passed by the Republican House and Senate early this century. When G. W. Bush was elected, I predicted that "we would be in Baghdad within four years" and we were. A friend of mine, and fellow test engineer, Chris Cook, asked me, after running into me after several years, said "how did you know?" I said it seemed obvious to me at the time when he was elected that he intended to invade Iraq. But it was the aftermath of the illegal invasion that really got my attention. The disbanding of the Iraqi army was a big part of it, leading to eventual chaos there and the need for continual fighting with U.S. troops. We still had tens of thousands of soldiers and marines in Iraq when President Obama took office.

So Andrea and I both joined the Democratic Party in 2004 and campaigned for John Kerry for President. Three times we paid to ride the bus with 50 other volunteers to Las Vegas and campaign in Nevada. We met Senator Harry Reid in the firefighter's union hall parking lot. We went door to door. We registerd voters at shopping centers. We phone banked. And still the people re-elected G. W. Bush.

We joined the Torrance Democratic Club. We campaigned, first for John Edwards, who lost the primary, and then for Barack Obama, who actually won the election! I was elected President of the Torrance Democratic Club and served from 2008 through 2010 when I left California for Hawaii after I retired from Northrop Grumman.


Andrea and I started getting involved in politics with the Democratic Party in 2004 after outrageous abuses
of the Bush Administration. Martha Madison, Rick, and Andrea at a Democratic Party event in Torrance in spring, 2004.

Project Redwood

I joined Project Redwood in October of 2004. It's the only restricted program I worked on that had an unclassified code name. I was the APM (assistant program manager) for integration and test. I continued in that role until June of 2008, when my position was eliminated to "save money." I had learned over the years that safety is a high priority in I&T. In fact, safety, both personnel and hardware, trumps just about everything else. On my watch we had zero safety issues, incidents, unplanned events, whatever you want to call the bad things that can happen on the integration and test floor. A few months after I was dismissed, Redwood had a very serious safety mishap during test.

Space Warfare

Many people may not realize that in 2006, President Bush signed an executive order legalizing aggressive space activity, so I thought I would get with it and so I invented a potentially useful space weapon. Suppose that you fired an ordinary machine gun in space. The bullets that missed your target might continue to orbit for years, potentially causing "friendly fire" in the future. But what if the bullets were water ice? If they were small enough they might evaporate (sublime) in sunlight in a single orbit. And at orbital speeds, a small ice bullet can do a lot of damage to a spacecraft, impacting with explosive force. Hence, my space water gun. Years earlier I had proposed a space shotgun, a 100 foot long, one foot diameter, graphite gun tube in low earth orbit using liquid bi-propellant to accelerate intelligent shot packages that would spin up when exiting the tube and then open at an optimal point that intercepts a rising ICBM. That would produce an expanding disk of shot that the ICBM would have to fly through for a certain hit. Shot was aimed only in directions that decrease orbital velocity so that shot would enter the atmosphere. As with the water gun, the space shotgun also went nowhere.

Beach Cities Robotics

Becky was attending engineering school at Rochester Institute of Technology and I continued as a mentor for BCR.


Beach Cities Robotics in Arizona in 2005 with the Innovation in Controls award.

Our successful robot for the 2005 season used two electric motor driven joints and a pneumatically actuated gripper for handling tetrahedra. I showed the student in the center with the orange headband how to do the calculations to size the motors for the two joints. Students programmed the robot control board with preset positions using a PID (proportional, integral, differential) algorithm. We went to the world championship competition in Atlanta again in 2005.

Andrea and I also became involved with the University of Hawaii Alumni Association. we saw them at a booth at the annual Hoolaulea at Alondra Park in Torrance and joined up. We helped at the booth at the annual Hawaiian cultural event and also helped recruit students to UH at the local high school college fairs.


Recruiting students for UH at Manhattan Beach's Mira Costa High School in 2005 with the UH Alumni Association.

Bonsai

The bi-annual Shohin Seminar is held in even years in Santa Nella, not far from my sister's house in Los Banos in the San Juaquin Valley of central California. A number of people from our bonsai club, Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai, traveled up there to stay for a few days and participate in the workshops and demonstrations of shohin, bonsai under 10 inches high. Andrea and I drove up there and stayed in the Ramada Inn, the site of the Seminar, in Santa Nella in February, 2006. Naturally we visited Chris and Gary while we were up there.


My sister Chris looks at some of the beautiful shohin on display at the seminar.

In 2006 the team also went to the championship in Atlanta. Northrop Grumman very graciously paid for NG mentor travel as usual.


With BCR in Phoenix, March of 2006. We changed our shirt color to blue that year.

Andrea was working in the career center at Redondo High and acted as a team liaison to the high school. She and I were both mentoring the team and helping to obtain resources.


Teaching computer aided design (CAD) at the lab on campus at Redondo Union High School in February 2007.

JWST Robotic Servicing Proposal

The AWIMR program was cancelled after about a year due to NASA setbacks because of funding cuts due to the Iraq war (illegal invasion). But Gary Segal and I occasionaly created proposals for robotic servicing, including a proposal to service the James Web Space Telescope at earth-sun L2. Tasks for a robot out there include cleaning the mirror and refueling.

Toward that end, and also for assembling a large telescope mirror in space, I created this concept for an eight arm space robot:


Eight armed space robot assembling a 10 meter segmented mirror.

The eight arm space robot concept was created in February, 2007. The final image on that page illustrates a possible space warfare role for a space robot.

Another interesting space robot, this one using control moment gyros (CMGs) for motion, is probably one of the most useful types of space robot:


A CMG space robot assembling a 10 meter segmented mirror.

The CMG space robot concept was created in March, 2007. This is probably the most cost-effective design for a robot for assembling large structures in space.

Space Robotics Technical Committee

In May of 2006, as a member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, I was looking at an on-line list of technical committees (TCs). They had committees for all kinds of robotics, including agriculture, underwater, search and rescue, and so on, but no space robotics. Ken Goldberg was the head of the technical committees at the time so inquired of him about it and he suggested that I start one, so I did. I recruited members of the new TC, mostly from academia, and also recruited my co-chairs. Here's the Space Robotics TC Legacy Page that I created to help communicate with members and the public. The committee continues today with this as the current Space Robotics TC page.

The Space Robotics TC areas of interest were divided into microgravity robots and planetary robots. The two are very different fields. About all they have in common is robotics and that they are not on earth.

Northrop Grumman sent me to the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA '07) in Rome, Italy, in April of 2007. I was the organizer of a workshop on space robotics. Andrea accompanied me and our friends Hannes Mayer and Anita Meldt joined us in Rome. See the photo page for more about the conference and our holiday in Rome, Venice, and Vienna.

I continued submitting patent disclosures whenever I got an idea for an invention. In thinking about electric cars, it seemed to me that within 50 years, all automobiles would be electric. We will look back at gasoline engines and wonder how they dominated the business for so long with all those moving parts! Water pumps, oil pumps, fuel pumps, crank shafts, cam shafts, mufflers, and fuel tanks. But a gasoline engine also makes noise, which has a warning function for pedestrians. At low speeds an electric car can be perfectly quiet, which might create hazards for pedestrians or children used to hearing the noise of an oncomming car. Hence, my patent disclosure for an automotive audio pedestrian safety device.


Becky at Niagra Falls in 2008. Andrea and I flew to New York for her graduation from RIT.

I was again the organizer of a conference workshop on space robotics at the 2008 ICRA International Conference in Los Angeles, California.

BCR Wins World Championship FRC

Beach Cities Robotics, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team 294, won the FRC World Championship at Sait Louis, Missiouri, in April of 2010, and this time as the alliance captain of three teams. We picked our alliance partners FRC 67, the HOT (heroes of tomorrow) Team, and FRC 177, Bobcat Robotics. The build and competition seasons are documented in my BCR supplemental pages 2010 Season.


Our team in the pits after the competition. From left to right: Jen Sharp (kneeling); Karen Izumoto
(kneeling); Forrest Kim; Alek Munoz (kneeling front); Wiley Davis (kneeling); Ricky Wedeen; Andrew Keisic
(mentor, kneeling); Robbie Gleichman; Nighelles David; Dave Ansari (mentor, kneeling, holding banner);
Fintan O’Grady; Matt Steiger; Ryan Sharp (kneeling, team captain); Alex Davis (kneeling); Peter Johnson
(mentor); Ken Sterk (mentor); Cindy Sharp (crouching, parent mentor); Rick Sharp (parent mentor); and
Rick Wagner (mentor). The drive team consisted of Ryan Sharp (driver); Anton Schuetze-Coburn (co-driver,
not shown); Robbie Gleichman (human player and programmer); and Andrew Keisic (adult coach). Hidden
completely behind Forrest Kim is mentor and team coordinator Andrea Wagner.

Berkeley Professor Ken Goldberg suggested that I write a paper on how the team designed and built the robot and executed a winning strategy at the world championship. The result was Winning the 2010 FRC Championship. It's filled with pointers for any robotics team. I also have a page of photographs from the World Championship in 2010. It's a story in pictures: 2010 World Championship.

I attended the 2010 ICRA International Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, in May of that year. Northrop was again very gracious in funding my travel, but Andrea did not accopany me to that one.

I continued to be active with Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai too, putting a tree in our annual show every year since the early '90s. In the photo below, I am working on a large Monterey cypress forest that I later donated to the club when I departed California for Hawaii after retiring from Northrop Grumman. The club helped me dispose of my bonsai collection by selling a large number of them in the annual October auction. I also sold a number of them privately and donated some others to the club.


At the bonsai picnic in July 2009.

Mayflower Project

I started at the beginning of the Maflower Projet. It was a demonstration of an innovative pico-sat, also called a cube-sat. I was the APM for I&T. We produced the tiny spacecraft on time and within budget. It was launched after I retired from Northrop Grumman. Mayflower was a triple cube-sat. That is, it took up the space in the PPOD (pico-sat deployer) that three regular cube-sats would take. I contributed to a white paper on the project in August of 2010 which was company proprietary, so, unfortunately, I cannot reference it here.

A manager in the department, John Pierro, who had earlier worked in systems engineering, invited his friends and coworkers to the annual summer Mozart concert at the Hollywood bowl. That was quite nice of him and Andrea and I attended the last two summers I was at Northropo Grumman, 2009 and 2010.


Andrea, Elizabeth, and I were John Pierro's guests at the Mozart concert at Hollywood Bowl, performed by the LA
Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John McGegan. Thursday, July 22nd, 2010.

In June of 2010 my son Robert married fiance Michelle in Sacramento, so Andrea and I took Becky on a road trip vacation to see Sacramento and attend the wedding. I got a chance to chat with Roger Herrera whom I hadn't seen in over 30 years. I also met Michelle's family and renewed acquaintences with Camilla's side of the family. It was a goood event and Robert and Michelle seem very happy together.

Mits passed away in August of 2010. His daughter Sophie-Ann had been staying with him and helping him when he died. Andrea and I flew to Hawaii to attend his memorial service. April played the harp at the service. Sophie-Ann and Galen were most gracious, allowing me to stand with them in the front and greet mourners. It was a very large gathering, as Mits was well known for his work and well liked among church and university people and among the general population. Then-candidate for Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie attended the memorial service and and also mentioned Mits by name later in his election victory speech as being an inspiration to him.

The Congressional spending cuts inspired by the Great Recession that began with the stock market crash of 2007 were beginning to take their toll in the aerospace industries. Layoffs were beginning, and Northrop Grumman offered other engineers and me incentives to take early retirement. Coincidentally, Andrea's job at Redondo High School was eliminated, and Andrea's Mom's health seemed to be deteriorating as she had been living alone in Hawaii. So we decided I should take early retirement (I turned 61 that August) and we would move to Hawaii to take care of Mom.



October 15, 2016, East Oahu Preparedness Fair, Kahala Mall, Kahala, Oahu, Hawaii.

Note to other Rick Wagners about the use of our name: I am Richard J. Wagner, and I know there are lots of us Richard Wagners who go by "Rick." I use our name, "Rick Wagner," in the title of this autobiography because that's the name I go by. I established my personal home page under that name back in 1995, long before many people even knew the Internet (much less the Web) existed. So I consider that I have a kind of Web presence precedence, and therefore am entitled to use my nickname in the title of my work. I know and/or hope you will understand.


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