Do a quick Google search for "Ham the Space Chimp" and you'll come across this picture. That clean cut man in the white lab coat? That's our own Dr. Bill Britz!! We are very proud of our Founder's early veterinary work with the chimpanzees that supported the early American space program. Dr. Britz has some great anecdotes about the Mercury program and the colony of chimpanzees that was located at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Dr. Britz remembers the infant animals coming from Africa were in generally poor health. One night, unable to separate two animals that had latched on to each other, he put them into a single cage together. The next morning, he found both animals "bright-eyed and bushy tailed" happy to greet him. Dr. Britz became an early advocate of social housing for NHP's as a result of this experience. He felt that putting them together, saved the two animals.
That serious looking young man in the center of the photo below is our CEO and President, Bill Britz ("the younger"). After receiving a degree in Astrophysics, young Bill went to work for NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Bill became a Space Shuttle Flight Dynamics Officer (call sign "FiDO"). which was a Mission Control Front Room specialist that reported immediately to the Flight Director.
The FDO was responsible for the Space Shuttle's flight path from launch to landing. Bill supported many Space Shuttle missions, but is most proud of his work as the Lead FDO for STS-80. A difficult and challenging mission, Bill was selected as the MVP of the Flight Control team and received the honor of hanging the mission plaque on the wall in the control room. The plaque remains on the wall today.