B.S.M.E., Aeronautical Option (1967)
- University of Wyoming
A native of Casper, Wyoming, William "Bill" M. Stoval, Jr. graduated from UW in 1967 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, aeronautical option, in 1967. That same year, by virtue of a friendship with another UW engineering graduate, H. David Reed, he was offered a job at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston as a Flight Dynamics Officer (FDO), one of the most important and demanding positions in all of flight control.
As FDO he was responsible for insuring that the trajectory of the spacecraft remained within acceptable limits to ensure crew safety. This included the planning and execution of all maneuvers over the course of a flight as well as real-time high-speed trajectory monitoring during launch phase, powered descent to and powered ascent from the lunar surface.
Stoval became the flight dynamics rendezvous specialist and "flew” 5 lunar missions and 4 earth orbit missions. His responsibility further increased when he began "flying" launch phase, the most critical and demanding period of manned spaceflight. He "flew" launch phase on the last 3 Apollo flights and 5 subsequent earth orbit missions.
Stoval was honored by NASA, with the Superior Achievement Award, for his critical role in controlling the return trajectory on Apollo13, perhaps the most significant of his accomplishments. His nomination to the Hall of Fame was supported by some of the legends of manned space flight such as Chris Kraft, Glynn Lunney, and astronauts Charlie Duke and Al Worden. During his nine year career as an FDO he made many significant contributions to manned space exploration.