Manager, Land-Air Range Operations
Served 1950 – 1987
Melvin Lux was born in Chadron, Nebraska, in 1921.
Mel came to White Sands in 1950 to join Land-Air after six years with the U.S. Coast Guard and four years at the University of Colorado where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
At that time the range was set up to have government personnel manage and operate instrumentation south of U.S. Highway 70 and contractor personnel do the same thing north of the highway.
By 1952, Mel was supervising the company’s electronics group of 200 engineering and technical personnel in operating, maintaining and modifying electronic data collection systems and equipment. During these years, his group was also asked to integrate new instrumentation systems into the mix to improve data collection.
From 1965 to 1974, Mel served as the manager of Land-Air’s Instrumentation Department. His duties included directing almost 500 supervisory, technical, administrative, and support personnel. There is a long list of radars and trajectory measuring instrumentation that his team helped put on line at White Sands and Holloman Air Force Base. They also took their expertise on the road to places like Green River, Utah, for Athena and Pershing missions.
In 1974, Mel was made division manager of the Dynalectron Land-Air Division to provide program management of the White Sands data collection contract. During this period, he was responsible for the start-up of the new film processing facility on the main post. It was the largest film processing facility of any of the test ranges and was capable of processing both black and while and color film in 16, 35 and 70 millimeter formats.
Mel was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Dynalectron Corporation in 1979 and held this position until he retired in 1987.
During his 37-year career on White Sands and Holloman, Mel saw everything from V-2s and WAC Corporals to Pershing, Lance, Athena, Patriot and the Space Shuttle landing at Northrup Strip. His Hall of Fame nomination package states he “is the creator and father of the Land-Air attitude that is: “Whatever it takes, wherever it’s needed, for the good of the Range and DoD.”
Mel lives in Alamogordo with his wife Zumi.