Jack Stroud Apollo Missions

Jack Stroud Apollo Engineer


Jack Stroud Apollo Missions Engineer, Computer Programmer, Mathematician

Jack Stroud – Apollo Missions

Jack Stroud (1913 – 1984) is most well known in the Stroud family for having written the Apollo moon missions re-entry equation for returning astronauts such as Alan Shepard and John Glenn safely back to earth.

Brief Biography

Jack Stroud (1913 – 1984), Apollo moon missions engineer, was born in Colorado Springs in 1913 to the Rev. K.D. and Lulu Stroud.

Jack attended Bristol Elementary School, North Junior and Colorado Springs High School (now Palmer High School). He was a member of the National Honor Society and received a scholarship to Colorado College (CC). He completed two years at CC but because of his father’s loss of eyesight he left college and returned home to help his parents and younger siblings. He worked several menial jobs then took a job in Chicago working in the postal service.

Following WWII, Jack returned to Colorado Springs. At the urging of his mother, he re-entered college and completed his degree in mathematics when his mother died. Upon graduation from college, he accepted a position with the National Bureau of Standards where he remained for more than seven years. He then took an engineering position with North American Rockwell in the space program.

As Lucy Bell writes in her 2019 article published by Unrepresented entitled, “Making a Way When There Is No Way: Three Generations of the Stroud Family in Colorado Springs,”  “Fourth son and mathematician Jack, was part of the Apollo I team that put the first man on the moon.”

Nina recalls how her brother Jack Stroud and the other boys in the Stroud family would steal away to the upstairs attic and create electric gadgets. On such gadget was the crystal radio — similar to the image shown below. Rather than using a razor blade, Jack would use a crystal rock. The needle would scratch against the crystal rock creating sound, and a small set of earphones connected to the circuit would amplify the sound. In this way the family would listen to the old Afro-American radio shows like Amos ‘n’ Andy.

This razor-blade radio looked a lot like a crystal set in design. I had thought about trying to build one, but I never got around to it.

Years later, Jack would develop the mathematical equation to propagate radio signals beyond the earth’s horizon in May 1959. By transmitting radio waves at an angle into the sky it was possible to reflect the signal back and transmit beyond the horizon. This became known as beyond-the-horizon radio transmission. Jack’s technical paper can be found at the US Government Printing Office (GPO) or on Google Books here: An Analysis of Propagation Measurements Made at 418 Mc Well Beyond the Radio Horizon.

troud Family Colorado Jack Stroud Apollo Engineer National Bureau of Standards Radio Wave Propagation

Jack Stroud Tech Paper at NBS on Radio Wave Propagation


Family & History

Jack Stroud was the sixth child of the Rev K.D. and Lulu (Magee) Stroud. Details regarding Jack’s own children and family are under research.


  • Contributed to the financial support of his parents and younger siblings, postponing his college aspirations
  • Jack Stroud earned a BS in Mathematics from Colorado College
  • Studied Engineering and Science at Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Learned Journalism and Mathematics from Northwest University
  • Studied pre-Law at the University of Colorado and UCLA
  • Published book on poetry, Like it Is and Like it Was
  • Was an active member of  American Association for the Advancement for the Science, Mathematical Association of America, Institute of Radio Engineers and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity