Chuck Lahmeyer, EE’66, is a big reason why the world knows what distant planets in our solar system look like. In 1975, he went to work for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California, and in 1980 he developed a machine to host the codes coming from the Voyager spacecraft on its journey to Uranus and Neptune.
The equipment used error-correcting codes created by engineers Irving Reed and Gustave Solomon. Lahmeyer’s Reed-Solomon machinery — on which he holds the patent — removes errors from the transmitted data, similar to cleaning up a snowy television picture. With his device, information on the planets’ brightness, magnetic field and temperature were correctly captured.
Lahmeyer also worked on Galileo, providing the designs for an incoder, a piece of circuit that other technicians later used to capture images and information.
Lahmeyer retired to Missouri and gives back to S&T regularly through his service to the Mid-Missouri Section of the Miner Alumni Association. He is the group’s president.