Emily Stephens Mueller ’42

Emily Stephens Mueller was an aeronautical engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Manned Spacecraft Center.

Mrs. Mueller is a Roanoke native who attended Jefferson High School. She graduated from Roanoke in 1942 with a B.S. in mathematics and went on to graduate studies at the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary and the University of Houston. She began her career as an eighth-grade math teacher in Martinsville, Virginia, but after a year turned her attention to aeronautics.  

Mrs. Mueller, who worked with NASA from its founding, began her aeronautics career with the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics at Langley Air Force Base. While with the NACA, she was stationed for a time in California, where her duties included assisting with the development of supersonic planes, beginning with the X-2. She also worked closely with the original seven astronauts, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton. When NASA moved to Houston, she followed.  

During the Apollo and Mercury space programs, Mrs. Mueller experimented with analytical processes to determine what extreme temperatures would be encountered by a space craft and how to solve the problems caused by protruding parts of the ship, such as antennae, which get hotter than the smooth surface of the craft itself.  

She was the author and co-author of numerous scientific papers as well.  

She was a loyal supporter of the College and was awarded the Roanoke College Medal in 1977.

Emily Stephens Mueller received the Roanoke College Medal in 1975.