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Janes, Chesterfield H. (Chesterfield Howell), 1934-



  • Existence: November 16, 1934-

Biographical Information

Chesterfield Howell Janes was born on November 16, 1934 in Gainesville, Florida. Janes lived in Gainesville until 1946 when his parents divorced and he moved with his mother to Melrose, Florida. He finished high school in Melrose in 1953 and applied to Purdue University. Janes lived in the "X-Dorm," now Meredith Hall, and was a brother in Theta Chi fraternity, a member of the Amateur Rocket Society, a member of the Canterbury Club, and IAS. Janes graduated from Purdue in June of 1957 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

After graduation, Janes took a job with General Dynamics as an Engineer in their mechanical lab and also worked on ground support for the Atlas rockets in Florida. In 1961, General Dynamics transferred Janes to the Atlas-Centaur launch pad which would be responsible for launching the United States' first lunar probe, Surveyor-1. Janes' unique position in the Atlas program was assembling the rockets. He was responsible for putting the stages together and the payloads. One of Janes' proudest moments is when he, and another engineer, got to place the Surveyor-1 spacecraft into the nose cone of the Atlas-Centaur rocket.

In 1966, Janes applied to IBM and was accepted as the Engineer in charge of second shift. IBM awarded Janes the Manned Flight Awareness Award in 1966 and took him and his wife to Houston, Texas where he was a VIP for the Apollo-Saturn 202 launch. While at this launch, he met fellow Purdue graduates, Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee, who he was a classmate of at Purdue. While at IBM, Janes was the Mechanical Systems Manager during Apollo 11 and was in the firing room during the launch. Janes worked on the Saturn I, Saturn I-B, and the Saturn V rockets during his career at IBM. In 1993 Janes retired from IBM and took a job as a Quality Engineer at Homelite Corporation. Janes retired in April of 2009.


MS0 1, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.


Downing, Jody. Purdue University Debris. Vol. 70. Indianapolis: Central Publishing Company, 1957. Print.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Chesterfield H. Janes papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 301
Scope and Contents The Chesterfield H. Janes papers document the life of Janes as a Purdue student and as an IBM employee. Included within this collection are items from Janes stay in the X-Hall (presently called Meredith Hall), some memorabilia of the NASA astronauts, a collection of space related stamps and first day covers, and photographs of the Apollo-Saturn 202 (AS-202) launch. Strengths in this collection are the X-Hall ephemeral materials.  Included are receipts from the housing contract and...
Dates: 1953 - 2012; Other: Majority of material found within 1953 - 1975