Dick Parfitt—Jack Fisher

I don’t remember that in the Pioneer Venus studies prior to the proposal that anyone had a great deal of concern about the spacecraft wire harness. For our proposal effort and program costing exercise the Design Integration organization would have been responsible for the design and construction of the harness and I’m sure that was taken into account in their bid. For my systems engineering bid I was blissfully ignorant of any responsibility for the wire harness.

When we started working under the contract in 1974 I was fortunate enough to recruit several very experienced systems engineers, one of whom was Dick Daniel. Shortly after he started Dick came to tell me that we needed to get Dick Parfitt to do the wire harness Interconnection List (ICL). The ICL is list of connections that the harness must provide and is essentially the starting point for the design of the harness—or the first set of harness requirements and was the responsibility of systems engineering. Well I couldn’t argue with that, but then I learned that Dick Parfitt was in the Commercial Division. I was reluctant until I learned that Dick had done the ICLs for all previous commercial and NASA satellites, with the exception of Surveyor. So Dick Parfitt did the Pioneer Venus ICLs—there were four to be done: the Orbiter, Multiprobe, Large Probe, and the Small Probe. I don’t remember any issues that arose, Dick worked unobtrusively and efficiently and got the job done. I wish I could write more about Dick Parfitt because he was a great asset to SCG. I would invite anyone who has recollections of Dick to add their comments to this post.

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About Jack Fisher

Jack was a systems engineer at Hughes from 1961 to 1992. He contributed to various programs including Surveyor, Pioneer Venus, Galileo, Intelsat VI and innumerable proposals. He was the manager of of the Spacecraft Systems Engineering Lab until his retirement. Upon retirement Jack taught systems engineering at a number of national and international venues.

3 thoughts on “Dick Parfitt—Jack Fisher

  1. Dick Parfitt was one of the most valued assets Hughes had. The “Parfitt Diagrams” were very helpful not only for design of the wire harness BUT also immensely useful during System Integration and the entire System Test Program for all programs I was involved with (OSO, Pioneer Venus, KuBand Radar and Communications, Leasat, DirecTV and all HS-601’s, and even the GeoMobile product line, though Dick was not there personally for GeoMobile; but we followed his example.

  2. I seem to remember when I started in 1982 Dick Parfitt had a room in S1 where he drew the schematics by hand and had files of drawings you had to check out and copy individual pages.

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