To meet the challenge of Sputnik, the Army in January 1958 initiated action to present a triservice man-in-space proposal to ARPA for approval. Perhaps because of its own ongoing experimental Man-in-Space program—budgeted under R&D funds and therefore during Air Force approval only—the Air Force did not participate.
The Army proposal as finally developed in April 1958 at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Ala., was designated Project Adam.5 The objective of the proposed project was to carry a manned, instrumented spacecraft to a range of approximately 150 statute miles; to perform psychophysiological experiments during the acceleration phase and the subsequent 6 minutes of weightlessness; and to effect a safe reentry and recovery of the manned spacecraft from the sea. Already feasible through existing hardware and recovery techniques, it would supply fundamental knowledge on human behavior during transportation by rocket, cabin design criteria, recovery techniques for manned reentry vehicles, emergency escape procedures, and data transmission techniques. In addition, as a pioneering achievement, it would enhance the technological prestige of the United States. Participating agencies of the Army-sponsored effort would be the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency, the U.S. Army Medical Service, USN Task Force for Recovery Operations, and selected contractors.
The carrier vehicle would consist of a modified Redstone thrust unit and an instrument compartment as used in satellite and reentry firings. The human passenger would travel in a reclining position relative to the missile thrust axis so as to keep acceleration effects at a minimum. The biomedical aspects would include measurement of human reactions as follows: Electrocardiogram, blood pressure, respiratory rate and depth, galvanic skin resistance, two body temperatures, and motion picture coverage of the passenger. Measurements of the spacecraft environment would include cabin pressure, oxygen partial pressure, carbon dioxide partial pressure, cabin air temperature, spacecraft skin temperature, humidity, cosmic radiation, gravitational force (for weightlessness determination), noise, and vibration.
The proposal urged that Project Adam be approved as the next significant step toward the development of a U.S. capability for the transportation of troops by ballistic missiles, and that funds in the amount of $4.750 million be provided immediately.
In July 1958 the Director of ARPA, having studied the proposal submitted by the Secretary of the Army on May 13, stated that since it was not considered necessary for the Man-in-Space program, it would not be funded by ARPA. Through the next weeks, following the establishment of NASA, discussions were held concerning the utilization of Redstone and Jupiter vehicles for the NASA man-in-space program; but Project Adam per se, like the Air Force MISS, was to stop in the conceptual stage.
Now, in effect, the new team—NASA—would carry forward a man-in-space program that would draw upon the conceptual thinking of the scientific world thus far, but which yet require implementation into fact. To the new team would fall the decision-making process, including the responsibility for courses and alternative courses of action. The new phase had begun.
5. Manuscript sources include "Development Proposal for project Adam," Rep. No. D-TR-1-58; "Project Adam Chronology"; DXM Journal Entries, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 1958; and "Agreements in Manned Satellite. Project." All in NASA Historical Archives.