James M. Cloeren

James M. Cloeren – Spacecraft Oscillator Designer 1934 – 2001

James M. Cloeren, a spacecraft oscillator designer at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md., died Oct. 30, 2001 from injuries sustained in the crash of an experimental plane near Westminster, Md. He was 67. Born in Darby, Pa., he was a resident of Westminster, Md.

Mr. Cloeren served in the Navy from 1952 – 1956 as an electronic technician and earned an associate in arts degree from Montgomery College, Rockville, Md., in 1963.

He worked for Tracor, Inc. (formerly Sulzer Labs, Inc.) from 1956 – 1967 where he was responsible for designing and manufacturing crystal oscillators and clocks. From 1967 – 1975 he worked for Austron, Inc. and managed their Washington, D.C. division with responsibility for its time and frequency products. He spent the next three years at T. E. Corporation working with time/frequency and navigation products for the scientific and military communities. At Satellite Navigation Systems, Inc., he served as the vice president for manufacturing from 1977 – 1981. He spent a year at Advanced Navigation, Inc., as vice president for manufacturing.

Mr. Cloeren joined APL in 1982. He was a specialist in the development of ultra-stable oscillators used for spacecraft navigation, timekeeping, and radio science experiments on unmanned scientific satellites. As systems engineer he led the team that designed and built the precision quartz oscillator for radio science measurements to be conducted by the CASSINI mission to Saturn. A testimony to his work is illustrated by a quote from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who described the CASSINI oscillator as the “finest in the solar system.”

A senior engineer at APL, at the time of his death, Mr. Cloeren was a section supervisor in APL’s Space Department and also served on the Technical Program Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers – International Frequency Control Symposium.

Mr. Cloeren and fellow APL co-worker, Jerry Norton, built and co-owned the 1999 Titan Tornado II, two-seat, single-engine aircraft they were flying at the time of the accident.

Mr. Cloeren is survived by his wife, LaHoma; a daughter, Cathy of Boca Raton, Fla., a sister, JoAnn Raeder of Laurel, Md., and three grandchildren. His son, David, predeceased him in September, 2001.