When did you first know you were interested in aerospace engineering? Samberg: My dad graduated high school as the oldest of five in 1929. His father, an immigrant tailor, was thrown out of work and he had to support the family by becoming an electrician. I think I subconsciously wanted to fulfill his dream at an early age. I found myself doodling airplanes while in class. When Sputnik went up in 1957 it blew my mind away. I was hooked on studying aeroastro.
What did you do while at MIT AeroAstro? Samberg: Enjoyed being an undergraduate at a terrific academic university, meeting really smart people, and trying to grow up. I was most interested in control systems and took elective classes in that area, eventually getting my first job in that area.
What things particularly stand out about your time at MIT/AeroAstro? Samberg: I was a very average student at MIT. I think throughout the four-year experience I discovered that I could solve the equations, but lacked a real feel for what was going on physically. That just served to make me want to get the most out of the four-year experience in a broad sense.
What have you done since leaving MIT? Samberg: Upon graduation I took a job at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, Calif. I initially worked in the guidance and control group for the Polaris missile. I became friendly with a guy who had also just graduated from the University of Colorado and worked at Philco Ford. We shared an apartment. He was admitted to Stanford for a masterâ€™s program in electrical engineering sponsored by his company. Being competitive, I immediately looked into what Lockheed had to offer. I began my studies for my MS in aeronautics and astronautics in Stanfordâ€™s second trimester, graduating in August 1963, one year after getting my MIT degree, while working throughout. The Stanford experience paid off in other ways. I met my wife, Rebecca, who was getting her MS in history, and we married right after I completed my coursework in August. We just celebrated our 53rd anniversary. After the wedding I went back to Lockheed and worked in a terrific group doing orbital mechanics for various satellites launched off the Agena platform. Although I could do the work, it was becoming increasingly clear to me I would never be great at it. Another benefit of being around Stanford at that time was that two friends from MIT were enrolled in the business school. I developed a real interest in the stock market at that time, importantly influenced by Comsat, the first commercial satellite company, going public.
Published on Nov 18, 2016
Annual magazine review of MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department research and educational initiatives.