On August 2,1958, meanwhile, Dr. Detlev Bronk, president of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council,11 had formally announced the format ion of a 16-man Space Science Board to survey in concert the scientific problems, opportunities, and implications of man’s advance into space. This group, in actual being since June, was under the chairmanship of Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner.12 Besides acting as the focal point for all Academy Research Council activities connected with space science research, the board would "coordinate its work with the appropriate civilian and Government agencies, particularly the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, and with foreign groups active in this field."13 Thus, within the scientific community there already existed the organizational framework, both in the Federal Government and in civilian groups, through which basic space science research—as contrasted with applied research and technology—could be administered. This could provide the vehicle for coordination of contracts and resources with universities and with industry.
In the spring of 1958, prior to the establishment of NASA, the Department of Defense had already formally requested that the Academy-Research Council establish an Armed Forces-NRC Committee on Bioastronautics that would concern itself, as necessary, with any field of science in order to pursue its objectives. Pertinent aspects of astronautics, biology, chemistry, medicine, psychology, and related disciplines would be included. Examples of specific research problems were closed-system environments; stress; crew selection, motivation, surveillance, and control, including group dynamics; ground support facilities; weightlessness; metabolic requirements, including nutrition and water balance; cosmic and other forms of radiation; isolation and confinement; displays, controls, and communication; circulation; deceleration and vibration; escape and survival; orientation; and man-machine system problems.14
On September 22, 1958, a planning group headed by Brig. Gen. Don D. Flickinger* met to consider possible courses of action.15 The first meeting of the executive council was held in San Antonio, Tex., on November 10,1958,16 with Dr. Melvin Calvin, University of California, serving as chairman.** This meeting was attended by Dr. Lovelace, Chairman of the new NASA Special Committee on Life Sciences, who noted that while the relationship of his Committee with other Government agencies was not yet clear, major functions were to be the formulation of policies and stimulation of all possible developments related to man's adaptation to space flight. He therefore welcomed liaison with the Armed Forces-NRC Committee.
Thus, by the fall of 1958 both the civilian and military scientific communities were geared to solution of the biomedical problems presented by the immediate objective of manned space flight. The interrelated efforts of the scientific community at the highest Government level in behalf of space exploration are indicated in chart 1. Through the next years, the biomedical problems of manned space flight were to be of continuing concern to the life-sciences community of the Nation.
* Other memebers of the group were Lt. Col. Robert Holmes, USA (MC); Capt. W. L. Jones (subsituting for Capt. Charles F. Gell, USN (MC)); Dr. R. Keith Cannan, NAS - NRC; and the following members of the Academy - Research Council: Dr. Frankin L. Campbell, Division of Biology and Agriculture; Glen Finch, Division of Anthropology and Psychology; and Herbert N. Gardner, Division of Medical Sciences. (Memorandum for record dated Sept. 23, 1958, Subj.: Staff Meeting re: Committee on Biostronautics.
** Other members were Dr. Howard J. Curtis, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Dr. Paul M. Fitts, University of Michigan; General Flickinger; Dr. John D. French, University of California Medical Center; Captain Gell; Dr. James D. Hardy, U.S. Naval Air Development Center; Colonol Holmes; and Dr. Otto H. Schmidt, University of Minnesota, who was subsequently to become chairman. (See app. A.)
11. The National Academy of Sciences, a nonprofit organization, was established under a congressional charter signed by President Lincoln in 1863. In 1916, at the request of President Wilson, the Academy organized the National Research Council "to enable scientists generally to associate their efforts with those . . . of the Academy in service to the Nation, to society. and In science at home and abroad." Dr. Bronk was also a member of the President's Scientific Advisory Committee.
12. Press release, Aug. 3, 10p,15 from the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council; Emme, op. cit., p. 99.
13. Academy-Research Council press release, cited above. The National Science Foundation, it should be noted, had as early as 1954 been assigned "major responsibility on pure scientific research" by Executive Order 10521, "Administration of Scientific Research of Federal Agencies," Mar. 14, 1954.
14. Minutes, Armed Forces-NRC Committee on Bioastronautics, Nov. 10, 1958, and Appendix A, "Tentative Outline of Rules," Sept. 22. 1958.
16. Minutes of First Meeting, Executive Council,
Armed Forces-NRC Committee on Bioastronautics, Nov. 10, 1958. The
Bioastronautics Committee was dissolved on Mar. 3, 1961. (See Memo for Members
of the Executive Council and Panel Chairmen of the Armed Forces-NRC Committee on
Biastronautics from Sam F. Seeley, M.D., Exec. Secretary.) The historical record
of the contributions of this group remains to be written.