Editor's Note: Each Thursday, @Ford Online takes a look back at Ford heritage moments from the company's past.
DEARBORN - On May 10, 1956, Ford announced it was organizing a new company, Aeronutronic Systems, Inc., which would design and manufacture weapons systems for the military and related systems for commercial application.
The company underwent a number of name changes, including Aeronutronic Ford, Philco-Ford and Philco eventually becoming Ford Aerospace & Communications Corporation.*
Through the years, the company was noteworthy for its distinguished record of the design, development, manufacture and installation of total systems as well as the training of customer personnel.
Early government projects included Shillelagh surface-to-surface missiles and lunar capsules. Philco-Ford was the primary contractor for NASA’s Houston control center. (Click here for more information on Ford Aerospace & Communications and the Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.)
Additionally, the company participated in the Mariner IV mission transmissions from Mars as well as the launch of the Voyager 2 mission to study our solar system and deep space.
Through the years, the company’s technical expertise extended to include satellite and terrestrial communications, defense systems, high-speed information systems and innovative industrial technology, including artificial intelligence, microelectronics, satellite solar and battery power and software development.
In October 1990, Ford sold the Ford Aerospace & Communications Corporation to the Loral Corporation.
*Aeronutronic Name Timeline
• October 11, 1892: Helios Electric Company founded
• July 9, 1906: Name changed to Philadelphia Storage Battery Company
• January 8, 1940: Incorporated as Philco Corporation
• May 10, 1956: Aeronutronic Systems, Inc. formed as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company
• July 1, 1959: Aeronutronic Systems, Inc. merged into Ford as Aeronutronic Division
• December 11, 1961: Philco Corporation becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company
• June 13, 1963: Aeronutronic Division transferred to Philco Corporation
• October 6, 1966: Philco Corporation named changed to Philco-Ford Corporation
• October 10, 1974: Philco-Ford sells the Philco trademark for home entertainment products to GTE Sylvania and agrees to drop Philco from their corporate name in the U.S.
• March 31, 1975: Philco-Ford Corporation name changed to Aeronutronic Ford Corporation
• December 1, 1976: Aeronutronic Ford Corporation name changed to Ford Aerospace & Communications Corporation
• October 24, 1990: Ford Aerospace & Communications Corporation sold to Loral Corporation