The time was almost 30 years ago and it is fair to say I was not quite out of the "still wet behind the ears" stage for an engineer. I had been working in industry for about three years and I was just given a project that would change my career direction and, in fact, my life. The project? I was assigned to evaluate a new concept Pogo suppressor on a cryogenic rocket engine liquid oxygen (LOX) feedline.
How did I end up getting assigned this project? Well, I had a few things going for me at that stage of my career. Firstly was that my company division was on a massive hiring spree. Since I had been hired three years earlier my division had doubled in size. Fortuitously for me, that meant I was now in the upper 50% of seniority. Secondly, I had just had a performance review and I had casually told my immediate supervisor during the review that I would be interested in learning about waterhammer should the opportunity arise. Thirdly and finally, I had demonstrated a knack for solving tough analytical problems. What that meant is that I was in the enviable position of having my supervisors assign me to any problem that was out-of-the-ordinary and otherwise unusually difficult. The new Pogo suppressor was such a problem.