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Mississippi Moments Podcast

These are the stories of our people in their own words. From sharecroppers to governors, the veterans, artists, writers, musicians, leaders, followers, all those who call Mississippi home. Since 1971 we've collected their memories. The technology has changed, but our mission remains the same: to preserve those wonderful stories. Listen to Mississippi Moments Monday through Friday. at 12:30pm on MPB think radio.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Aug 27, 2018

Hattiesburg native Richard Burger graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1965. In this episode, he recalls returning to Mississippi to work at NASA’s test facility (later renamed the Stennis Space Center) as a computer programmer. Because he was working for General Electric under government contract, Burger’s story was rather unusual for that time, as opportunities for African-American in Mississippi were typically limited to menial or low-level positions.

As a programmer, Burger worked with NASA engineers testing Saturn rockets. He remembers his first assignment working with a “unique” engineer named Charlie Parker to develop a fuel delivery system to speed the test-firing process.

Throughout his career, Richard Burger used a wide variety of computers and programming languages. He compares the NASA main frames of the 1960s to today’s more powerful laptops.

PODCAST BONUS: After working in the private sector for over twenty years, Burger returned to NASA in the 1990s with a new mission: taking at-risk African-American youth from inner-city high schools in Los Angeles, on a six week tour of NASA laboratories and Black Colleges. It was a program dubbed “Earth to L.A.”

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