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This Website is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Mr. Von L Burton Sr. (October 1912 ---June 1989) and Mrs. Martha L Burton (November 1913--January 1993) without whom's guidance, direction, patience and time the following might have not been possible.

Dr. Von L. Burton, Jr.

P.O. Box 11067
Huntsville, Alabama 35816
Phone: 256 830 5827
Linkedin(Click Here)
(Click Here)For Google Search

Ancestry : According to Ancestry.com: 80% Africa 20% Northern Europe
(Majority Scandinavian region and smaller localized scatterings)
  Click Here for Website Traffic

Personal Data:

Career Highlights:

  • Twenty one (21) awards: NASA Seventeen(17), Athens State University four(4). (Click Here)

Hobby Highlights:

  • Focused Interest: Guitar Enthusiast.

  • Continuous Education (Click Here)
    I highly recommend these courses.They are well taught and affordable.


  • Further Study Statistics, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware; May 1964; June 1966.

  • Masters Business Administration, Alabama A & M University, Normal, Alabama; June 1975.

  • Doctor of Science in Computer Sciences and Systems, Southeastern Institute of Technology, Huntsville, Alabama; September 1986.

Aberdeen Proving Ground

1964 – 1966

  • Employed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland, and charged with the responsibility of statistical sampling and analysis of United States Army Stockpiles of 105mm Howitzer ammunition which are located in various parts of the country. Had responsibility of selecting the samples, the logistics related to transportation of samples to the particular testing ground (Yuma, Arizona, Dugway, Utah, Madison, Indiana, Aberdeen, Maryland). Coordinated the inspection of samples by various inspectors, managed all operations relative to performance of the test and recording of the velocity data from each round fired. Performed the resulting statistical analysis and wrote report providing an identification of ammunition lots by failure rate as well as the description of other performance parameters.  

  • The purpose of sampling these stockpiles was to determine the effects of long-term storage under various environmental conditions on the performance of the ammunition and ensure the availability of sufficient usable quantities in case of emergency conditions.

  • The 105mm Howitzer round weighs 33 pounds and according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, holds the record of being fired more than any other artillery round in World War II. To my knowledge, I was the only person that had this responsibility at that time.

  • Click Here for Position Description.

1963 Purchased first guitar. For you guitar enthusiast it was a Silvertone Model 1448 that incorporated the Amplifier in the guitar case purchased from Sears.


1966 –1971

  • Became interested in the “man on the moon” project and began employment with NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center and joined the Trajectory Section (Click Here) . Had the responsibility of optimizing the trajectory for flight of the Saturn V moon rocket (Click Here) through its first 100 miles into what was called then a parking orbit. (Click Here) As perhaps recalled from memory of TV viewing of the various lift-offs, as the rocket lifted off from its launch pad, it appeared to tilt over in a certain direction as opposed to direct vertical flight. (Click Here)  Specifically, my responsibility was the generation of the polynomial equations that determined the amount of vehicle tilt that would minimize what is referred to as the Angle of Attack to ensure the safe passage of the vehicle through what is termed the regime of Maximum Dynamic Pressure. The mathematical technique termed "Runge-Kutta" was employed using an SDS 930 computer (Click Here)

  • For members of the Trajectory Section at the Marshall Space Flight Center during all Saturn V Rocket launches (Click Here for reunion picture 2007). From left to right Walter Witty, Bobby Brothers, Gerald Wittenstein, Jerry Weiler, Von Burton. Not pictured the late Pamela Pack.

1966 Purchased second guitar; a Gibson model 335, semi - hollow body, maple,separate tone controls and two way switch. (Click Here)

1969 Purchased second Gibson Model 335 same as 1966, except Walnut instead of Maple.

1972 – 1977

  • Following the lunar landing, joined the Preliminary Design Office of Marshall Space Flight Center and became engaged in the planning of future advanced space vehicles, satellites and payloads. Performed the mission operations analysis on all payloads that passed through Marshall Space Flight Center. One satellite was the High Energy Astronomical Observatory (HEAO) (Click Here) which later mapped the entire galaxy for stars that emit X-rays. Wrote report on the percentage of area of the galaxy covered each day based on a given scan rate. The agency accepted and adopted this 6 month calculation and the HEAO program moved forward. (Click Here).

    (Click here for analysis)
  • Other projects included a project entitled Large Space Telescope (LST) which was later named the Hubble Telescope and which, when launched in 1991, was the world’s most sophisticated telescope since Galileo made the first telescope in 1607.

  • Before the Hubble Telescope was an approved program, the early years were spent in selling the idea to Congress, to the astronomical community (many of whom were skeptical), and coming up with a preliminary design.

    To sell the idea and need for an instrument such as the Hubble, The Marshall Space Flight Center formed a "Traveling Team" to visit the various observatories around the country to promote the Hubble Telecopes advantages.

    I (click here) was a member of this team and presented a proposed operational on orbit timeline for the Hubble. Dave Shultz, Garvin Emanual, John Butler and Clay Hamilton discussed other areas of specialized interest. This photo was taken at the Kitt Peak Observatory in the area of Tuson Arizona around 1973. I think the previous night that we slept in our clothes as the host astronomer did not wish to sacrifice any time using the Kitt Peak (click here) telescope and there were no motels on the mountain wherein the telescope was located. Two hours prior we departed Chicago following a briefing to the astronomers at the Yerkes Observatory (click here) in in freezing ice and snow and landed in Tuscon which was sunny and above 90 degrees

  • Received a total of seventeen (17) individual awards from NASA; six of which are indicated in this career highlighter.

February 4, 1972  Group Achievement Award (Center Award)

Exceptional Performance of duty and outstanding teamwork during the period July 1, 1970 to November 30, 1971. Your untiring devotion to duty and extra efforts displayed in the Modular Space Station study have been a great asset to Program Development and the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.”

May 30, 1975 Group Achievement Award (Center Award)

“Exceptional Performance of duty and outstanding teamwork during the period November 31, 1973 to December 31, 1974.   Your Outstanding Contributions and Leadership in the Phase A Study of Atmospheric, Magnetospheric and Plasmas in Space Payloads have been a great asset to the Program Development and the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.”

  • Performed all on-orbit operations planning for initial space shuttle flights indicating crew activities and shuttle operations on-orbit as a function of time on-orbit.

1978 – 1979

  • Selected to attend for a period of one year NASA Headquarters’ Career Development Program as a member of the Advanced Projects Office. Primarily involved in developing briefing packages for the initiation of various new projects to various congressional committees.  Also heavily involved in developing the payload requirements for what was then referred to as a Space Platform and a new family of launch vehicles under the direction and tutorage of Captain Robert F. Freitag, ( U.S. Navy Retired) (Click here) termed Heavy Lift Launch Vehicles and John Disher (Click here). These activities were in support of NASA’s long range planning program.

  • Participated in NASA Headquarters coordination of Skylab Re entry.( Click here)

  • Shared office space with Jesco Von Puttkamer.(Click here)
  • Served also as Executive Secretary of the 25k Power Module User Requirements Working Group.

1979 – 1981

  • Served on Source Evaluation Board for the procurement of an Atmospheric Sciences Payload.

  • Served as Assistant to the Director, Administration and Program Support Directorate (600 Civil Servants and 700 contractor personnel). This Position involved management of the infrastructure at the Marshall Space Flight Center consisting of the offices of procurement, computer services, telecommunications, plans and analysis, technology utilization, property management and facilities.

    (Click here for organizational chart).
  • Served a representative to the Level II Program Requirements Change Board.

1981 – 1991

  • Responsible for the transmission and data reduction of data generated by payloads that fly on the Space Shuttle. Data were received either from tape recorders removed from the shuttle upon landing and flown to Huntsville by private aircraft or by direct downlink to tracking stations during shuttle flights. Established and implemented real-time telemetry capability at the Marshall Space Flight Center for payloads that fly aboard the Space Shuttle.

    Among these were the Solar Array Flight Experiment. (Click Here)

NASA and Athens State University

1976 – Present

  • Received three teaching awards from Athens State University.(Click Here)

  • Received Outstanding Teaching Award in May of 1982, from the college.

"Outstanding teaching and the promotion of academic excellence while serving as  adjunct professor for the Division of Business Administration”.

  • Received Excellence in Teaching Award from Delta Mu Delta Honor Society;  May 1991.

  • Wrote Lab Manuals for use with statistical computer software.

1980 Developed considerable interest in vintage guitars produced by Fender and for many years played the Fender Telecaster model as well as the Fender Stratocaster models.

November 1981

  • Awarded first U.S. Government patent for the invention "Reaction Engine Powered Generating System with Power Load Variation Control Capability."(Click Here) Awarded November 24, 1981.

August 13, 2013

  • Awarded second U.S. Government for the invention "Thrust Reaction Utilization Method and System" (Click Here)
    Awarded August 13, 2013.

July 1984 (Agency Award)

  • Received Space Concept Development Team Award recognizing initial conceptual creations in the origination of the Space Lab (Click Here), which flies in the cargo bay of the shuttle on most missions.

“For innovative and technical contributions in the origination of Space lab payloads concepts and the successful accomplishment of extensive preliminary design and definition efforts in the establishment of the Space lab Development Program.”

August 1984 - June 1986

  • Completion of a two year program in Digital Electronics from National Radio Institute. The program covered 52 subject areas, and also the assembly of an IBM XT personal computer  ~ (it still works).

November 1985 (Agency Award)

  • Received IUS Failure Investigation and Anomaly Team Award. (Challenger Investigation).

“For demonstrated technical and management leadership in the resolution of  the ISU-1 anomaly exhibited in the development of a very complex fault isolation matrix and ground test programs and analyses to support conclusions reached.”

July 1986 (Center Award)

  • Sustained Superior Performance Award

"Based upon last year’s performance appraisal of highly successful rating, employee’s performance has continued to be at a highly successful level and is expected to continue in the future.”

June 1986

  • Awarded the Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) Degree; Southeastern Institute of Technology. Dissertation: The Establishment and Implementation of Real-Time Telemetry Capability at the Marshall Space Flight Center for Payloads that Fly Aboard the Space Shuttle. (Click Here)

Additional Research Papers

  • An analysis of VLSI Technology and Future Computer Architectures (1986)

  • Integrated (Voice and Data) Local Area Networks (1985)

  • Historical Perspectives on Telemetry (1985)

  • An Analysis of the Societal Relationships of the Microcomputer (1986)

  • An Analysis of the Background Factors and Perspectives that have Shaped the Economic Forces of the Current Hardware/Software Cost Ratio (1986)

December 1989

  • Published the following Reference Book, The Programmable Logic Device Handbook through TAB Books currently, McGraw Hill Inc.

About The Author

Von L. Burton, a 23 year veteran of the Marshall Space Flight Center, is responsible for the reduction of data generated by payloads that fly onboard the space shuttle. In addition he is an adjunct professor of statistics at Athens State College, Alabama, where he received an Outstanding Teaching Award in 1982.
Burton's work experience has involved such projects as: optimizing the flight trajectory of the Saturn V moon rocket; planning advanced space vehicles, satellites and payloads; performing mission operations analysis on payloads; and developing payload requirements for a space platform.
Recognized by NASA with two Outstanding Achievement Awards and a Sustained Superior Performance Award. Burton received a Space Concept Development Team Award for his initial conceptual creations in the origination of Spacelab and an IUS Failure Investigation and Anomaly Recovery Team Award.
Burton holds a B.A. in mathematics from Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; an M.B.A. from Alabama A&M University, Huntsville; and a D. Sc. in computer sciences and systems, specializing in data communications from Southeastern Institute of Technology, Huntsville, Alabama.

What is a programmable logic device?
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Reviewers Comments
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March 1995

  • Retired from NASA, continues as Professor, Athens State University, Athens, Alabama.

  • Honorary Member of the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society

  • Served on several Search committees and other appointed committees

  • Member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

  • Created and Designed the Concept of "Keysheets" and Published
    "The Official Complete Guitar Scales Reference Manual". Click Here

1995 Purchased Gibson model ES -345 which is the B.B.King "Lucille" Model. This guitar has stereo windings and a maple neck which gives me for a brighter attack. It has the same architecture design however it does not contain the "f" holes. Guitar enthusiast will quickly recognize that the absence of "f" holed solved a problem of amplifier feed back.In 1995, I purchased this guitar for $999.99 and in 2006 the price has increased to $2695.00. Yes it is worth the price

Year 1999

  • Founded the Real African American History Website Click Here

  • Over 2 million hits per year.

Year 2004

  • Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 8th Edition 2003--2004, Volume 4, Page 72

Year 2006

Congressional Awards

  • Presented with "Congressional Medal of Distinction" by Congressman Tom Reynolds (Republican-New York). Click Here

  • Presented with "National Leadership Award" by Congressman Tom Reynolds (Republican New York). Click Here

  • Appointed Honorary Chairman of National Republican Congressional Committee Business Advisory Council from State of Alabama. Click Here

  • Appointed by Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert, to the Congressional Majority Trust as Honorary Chairman from the State of Alabama. Click Here

Year 2007

CEO Thrust Power Systems. Click Here

Rate My Professor (Click Here)

2007 Recorded CD "Blues for the Right Mood" using the B.B King "Lucille Model" (Click here to listen).
I recorded this CD as a hobby and in 2010 it ranked number 8 on the chart. It is all instrumental and no vocals. (Click Here)

2008 Recorded CD "Moody Weather" using a Gibson Model 335 but not released until 2013 (Click here to listen).