The Launch Vehicle Panel, AACB
During the years 1963 through 1967, the Launch Vehicle Panel of the AACB was quite active as the principal coordination mechanism in the field of launch vehicles. It was the only panel of the AACB on which Defense Affairs was directly represented. The Panel met about four times a year and considered major interagency matters in the areas of space propulsion systems, including the coordinated development and use of launch vehicles.
During this period, the Chairman of the Panel was Dr. Alexander H. Flax, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Research and Development. The principal Air Force members were Mr. Joe Jones (Deputy to Dr. Flax), Mr. H. J. Weigand (Scientific Advisor, DCS/R&D), Col. R. Nudenberg (ADC for Space, AFSC), and Col. James Fitzpatrick, (DCS/R&D).
The Vice Chairman was Mr. M. W. Rosen, Senior Scientist, Office of Defense Affairs. Principal NASA members were Mr. V. L. Johnson (OSSA), John Sloop (OART), and Mr. A. O. Tischler (OART).
The Panel Secretaries were Maj. Roman C. Fruge, USAF, for the DOD, and Mr. Alfred Nelson, Program Plans and Analysis, for NASA.
Over a period of several years (1964 through 1967), the Panel coordinated the introduction and use of more advanced versions of the Thor family of launch vehicles, the Long-Tank Thor and the Thor-Augmented Thor. In addition, the Panel coordinated the introduction of the Thor-Delta at the Western Test Range and the use of this range for NASA Thor-based launches.
 NASA-DOD Agreement on the Thrust-Augmented Thor-Delta, Thrust-Augmented Thor-Agena, and Launch Facilities
During 1963 and 1964, the Launch Vehicle Panel laid the ground work for three formal NASA-DOD agreements concerning new launch vehicle combinations (reference DOD-NASA agreement concerning the maintenance of a National Launch Vehicle Program, of February 23, 1961).
 Coordination of Study Efforts in the Area of Reusable Boosters and Hypersonic Flight
In the summer of 1964, I became increasingly concerned about the proliferation of studies on reusable boosters and the closely related area of hypersonic flight, as sponsored by both NASA and the DOD. It appeared that the two Agencies might in some cases be funding very similar studies in this field by the same contractor so that, in effect, a contractor might be receiving double pay for essentially a single study effort. There also seemed to be some duplication of studies, both in-house and contractor, sponsored by NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers.
To reduce unnecessary duplication, if in fact it did exist, and to place whatever future effort was needed on a coordinated basis, I took the initiative in arranging for a joint NASA-AFSC review of the studies in this area which had been completed, were underway, or planned. Accompanied by Colonel Ebbeler, I discussed the matter with General Ritland, Colonel Coulter, and two other of Ritland's assistants at a meeting on August 19, 1964. We agreed on the plan of action outlined in the attachment (Attachment IX), which was carried into effect. The general short-term result was to shift the emphasis from conceptual studies to coordinated efforts to develop the more advanced technology which was identified as being commonly prerequisite to any reusable booster system.
Growing out of this review, initiated by Defense Affairs, the Supporting Space Research and Technology (SSR&T) Panel of the AACB, at its meeting on April 26, 1965, discussed ways of accomplishing detailed coordination in the technological domain of reusable space boosters and hypersonic flight, having been requested by the Co-chairmen, AACB, to examine the need for establishing a sub-panel under the SSRT Panel for this purpose.
At the AACB meeting on August 24, 1965, Dr. Eggers of NASA presented the recommendation of the SSRT Panel that an "Ad Hoc Sub-Panel on Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology" be established. Proposed terms of reference, specifying that the charter of the sub-panel would expire on July 1, 1966, were submitted and approved by the Co-chairmen. The Sub- panel was authorized and directed to accomplish the following:
The Sub-panel of twelve members was chaired by Mr. Milton B. Ames, Jr., OART, with Mr. Howard P. Barfield, DDR&E, as Vice-chairman. Joint Working Groups were organized to deal with the areas of (1) Mission Analysis and Concepts, (2) Structures and Materials, (3) Aerodynamics, Including Reentry, (4) Rocket Propulsion, and (5) Air Breathing Propulsion.
The review and assessment of concepts, technology, and economic factors conducted by the Sub-panel was wide in scope and thorough. The Sub-panel heard briefings from some eight offices and laboratories over the following six months.
The final report of the Sub-panel was signed on September 22, 1966. The SSRT Panel agreed with the summary conclusions and general recommendations of the Sub-panel, but felt that an economic study in depth was required to provide more specific guidelines for developing the most meaningful technology to yield the greatest payoff.
A comprehensive presentation of the results of the study was given to the AACB on September 22, 1966. The conclusions and recommendations were very general in nature and dealt primarily with a further coordinated program of system studies and experimental projects as a basis for future evaluations of the practicability and benefits of reusable boosters. The Sub-panel found ample reasons to be encouraged by the prospects or reusable boosters as a means of reducing the cost per pound of space payloads.
 The Co-chairmen of the AACB, in complimenting the Sub-panel on its work, expressed the view that systems studies and realignment of existing technology studies should be the principal initial steps toward implementation of the recommendations of the report.
 Offer of Excess Minuteman Missiles to NASA
By letter dated December 18, 1964, the DOD inquired whether NASA could make use of excess (outdated) Minuteman missiles in its R&D programs. After a comprehensive review made by OSSA, NASA advised the DOD on August 16, 1965, that NASA could not use excess Minuteman missiles to advantage in any of its programs, but kept open the option of requesting the allocation of a limited number of these boosters should a possible use develop in the future.
 Attachment IX. NASA/AFSC Coordination of Reusable Booster Studies.