- Elliott was seated at his number 13 console in Mission Control when an explosion ripped through a quarter of Apollo 13’s service module, badly damaging the spacecraft’s systems.
- History of Man in space The History of Manned Spaceflight
- Discovery of the Mind with many national & international accomplishments based on his motto: Dream – Believe – & Achieve!
- American Indian Flute: Symphony Performance with the National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center
- The most important asset of any organization is its people
- A universal man with many gifts to share along life’s road to realization!
- Entertaiment: High Eagle’s music has been described as simple elegance
- Failure is not an option! Remember, life is all about learning & discovering!
- Apollo 11–First Moon Landing
Jerry Chris High Eagle Elliott, Presidential Medal of Freedom (Native American Indian), former NASA Space Engineer. “For every problem…there is a solution.” Jerry Elliot played a key role in one of the Moon Landings and in the Apollo 13 “rescue.” His words will inspire, motivate, and give true meaning to being successful individually and as a team.
He joined NASA as a Flight Mission Operations Engineer at NASA’s Mission Control Center and has held progressively responsible technical and managerial positions with highly successful accomplishments in the fields of spacecraft systems, hardware, software, configuration design, trajectories, mission operations, Earth resources, astronaut crew equipment, scientific experiments, and technical management. Served as Staff Engineer, NASA Headquarters, in the Apollo / Soyuz Program Office with partial duties dedicated to onboard spacecraft and ground crew mission operations, requirements, and scientific experiments for the world’s first Russian-American space mission.
Apollo 13 flew with Astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert onboard. Approximately two days after the launch, oxygen tank 2 in the Apollo Service Module exploded while well on its way to the moon. Swigert radioed back home to Mission Control with one of the greatest understatements of the century, “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” The explosion left the spacecraft without power and with a rapidly dwindling supply of air to breathe.
To make matters worse, the laws of physics precluded making an immediate “U-turn” for a rapid return to Earth. The only way to return involved flying around the moon, using a combination of its gravity and an engine burn to slingshot the crew back home. Elliott computed the return-to-earth trajectory that brought the crew safely home. The crew members sought refuge inside the Lunar Module named Aquarius. Unfortunately, Aquarius only provided air for two astronauts for 48 hours, while the return trip required 87 hours.
Flight Controllers and scientists in Houston saved the day by inventing a carbon dioxide-removing device that the astronauts could build using spare parts in the spacecraft. Without it, the crew would have suffocated long before returning home. The astronauts later described the four-day return trip as cold, uncomfortable, miserable, and tense. Fortunately, they arrived in suspense without harm due to the efforts of Elliott and the ground control team. Apollo 13 proved the space program’s ability to deal successfully with a significant unexpected crisis. It symbolizes our true strengths and dedication as individuals, a team, and a nation.
Special honors, awards, & recognition:
•The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor for duties as a Retrofire Officer at NASA Mission Control Center during the aborted Apollo 13 space mission with the safe return of the flight crew. Jerry Chris Elliott computed the spacecraft’s trajectory enabling it to return to Earth.
•Bausch and Lomb National Science Award.
•Science and Engineering National Achievement Award – Presented by the American Indian Art and Cultural Exchange.
•National Chairperson, Native American Awareness Week
•Special Achievement Award by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Lewis Research Center for meritorious achievements and exceptional contributions to research, planning, organization, and responsibilities relating to space and technology programs.
•Group Achievement Award by NASA Langley Research Center.
•Bronze Halo Award by the Southern California Motion Picture Council for outstanding contributions to humanity.
•Designer of the World’s First International Site for Peace, Ecuador
•Medal of Honor Award, the highest national honor bestowed by The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Elliott was one of the founders of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
Authored congressional legislation signed by the President.
National Native American Heritage Month is in large part due to the work of Jerry Chris Elliott, as the Native American Heritage Month offers a closer look at history. Jerry Chris Elliott, in 1976, during the bi-centennial of the United States, Elliott authored legislation recognizing Native people’s contributions to this country.
Elliott was and continues to be an ardent advocate for Cherokee People and all tribes. He continues his work in science with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, where he inspires today’s Native youth in careers of science, engineering, and technology.
Beyond his personal achievements, Elliott’s life serves as a role model for today’s Native youth. Our people search for role models who are both accomplished and work for our community’s betterment.
Our leaders have stressed the importance of education for years, and our youth have taken the challenge. The Eastern Band of Cherokee assists hundreds of students in their educational endeavors. That number represents both young people and adults who are returning to school.
We now also have the means to provide employment opportunities for those who have gained an education. However, we continue to have a significant need for professionals and role models in many fields, as it remains important that during Native American Heritage Month, we recognize our heroes and teach our children about their accomplishments.
It is also an opportunity for the country to learn about Native People and their contributions to the development of the Nation. Many young people learn about the long history of the Americas. There seem to be significant gaps in the curriculum about the Americas, but the opportunity to address those changes is most important.
ELLIOTT-High Eagle championed observance of Native Americans’ contributions.
A young NASA physicist found himself wrangling with members of the United States Congress over something he sensed was ‘missing in the story of America.”
They told him it would take years, but J.C. Elliott-High Eagle managed to see legislation creating a national Native American Awareness Week signed by the President four months later. Its successor, National Native American Heritage Month, will be observed. “I think the time was right as we celebrated the Bicentennial,” said High Eagle. “It was meant to be.”
The fact that Indian tribes sided with the revolutionaries during the War for American Independence helped create the new country. Soon afterward, the framers of the Constitution were influenced by aspects of the Iroquois Confederacy’s “Great Law of Peace.” Native Americans have played important roles in every walk of American life since.
“When I wrote the legislation for Native American Awareness Week, I wanted to do something about an unintentional omission, but I also wanted to tear down the stereotype of Indian people,” said High Eagle. In his youth, he announced to his friends that he intended to be a part of the team that would first land a man on the moon. It’s not unusual to find a kid with dreams like that, but Elliott, who is of Cherokee and Osage heritage, made his dream a reality.
In his career at NASA, he was among the few people who invented manned spaceflight ─ and was a key member of the team that landed a man on the moon and the first American Indian native hired by NASA.
As a student at the university, High Eagle was attracted to physics as the “master science,” the one that seemed to be the best method of “trying to figure out the mysteries of the world.” NASA hired him just before graduation, and he became a flight controller for the Gemini and Apollo projects.
Jerry Chris Elliott is also deeply involved in “world service,” desiring to tour widely for others to hear his music. His soul, constantly stimulating others to the more extraordinary beauty of what life represents, presents a beautiful frequency with which others can align themselves in harmony. His soul is strongly connected with music. He knows how to deal with certain universal rhythms so that his music may bring forth much activity wherever he goes.
He has been a professional solo guitarist (jazz, popular) and is equally proficient on the American Indian flute, Indian drum, and keyboard synthesizer.
His music has been described as simple elegance. Historically, music has been known as a form of communication for Native American Indians — the drum beat is perhaps the most familiar. Traditionally, it was the same with the flute. The native flute has a haunting, soulful sound that penetrates and permeates the world around it, making its presence known.
He has helped bring the Indian flute back from virtual extinction. The soulful sound of his flute music is a blending of traditional and contemporary melodies that permeate the soul and promote relaxation — a quality to be treasured in today’s stressful world! The modern-day significance of native Indian flute music has value in relieving stress in one’s quest for inner calm. Jerry, J.C. High Eagle, has taken his music around the country and the world.
He has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Jerry Chris Elliott / J.C. High Eagle, today’s modern American Indian, is dedicated to the cultures and values of Native American Indians.