HHR-32 NASA Office of Defense Affairs: The First Five Years

 

XIII. RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE OPERATION OF TRACKING STATIONS

 

[205] General

Starting long before the establishment of the Office of Defense Affairs, there had been continuing differences of opinion between NASA and DOD over management and technical operation of the ground instrumentation comprising the space tracking facilities of the two Agencies. These stemmed from a basic difference in philosophy between the two Agencies as to the operational mode in which ground facilities could most effectively support space missions. DOD, as operator of the national missile ranges an; their associated down-range tracking stations, tended to view each station as an entity operating under the cognizance of the range operations director for that particular range and called up by him to provide tracking and telemetry support to any missile or spacecraft requiring such support. NASA, on the other hand, regarded each station as an integral part of a world-wide network which was, in turn, a part of a closed-loop operational system encompassing the mission control center, the network and the spacecraft. Each network station must look alike, and respond alike, to the control center and to the spacecraft commander; therefore, NASA contended, the individual network stations must be standardized as much as possible and integrated into a single network under central operational management and control. Without this kind of centralized design approach and subsequent centralized operations and configurations management and control, the integrity of the network and the required vital reliability could not be assured. It was around this basic issue, which was certainly an honest difference of opinion between NASA and DOD as to the most efficient and effective way of handling network management and operation, that most of the subsequent controversy centered.

During the early planning for Mercury in the 1959-1960 period, the Air Force had pressed hard to be given responsibility for the operation of all manned space flight tracking nets. This all-inclusive concept had to be dropped when it was found that certain foreign countries on whose territory tracking stations would be needed would not agree to the establishment within their borders of an activity under U.S. military jurisdiction, whereas they found a civilian installation politically acceptable.

However, in cases where there was no diplomatic bar to consolidation the idea of single-agency operation of collocated facilities of NASA and the DOD had strong appeal in Congress and the bureau of the Budget The Air Force lost no opportunity to nurture such a policy by making extravagant claims of e economies to be achieved, with no decrease in efficiency, by placing certain NASA tracking stations under the AMR (later ETR).

NASA had consistently taken a strong position to the effect that the supporting networks were an integral part of the manned space flight projects for which NASA was responsible and should, therefore, to the [206] maximum extent practicable, be under direct NASA technical control. NASA argued that having as many stations in the network as possible operated by a single contractor would facilitate standardization of instrumentation and operating procedures, training of technical personnel, failure reporting and analysis, and general network operational control. It would permit greater flexibility in transferring personnel to meet shifting workloads or to fill temporary vacancies. Overall, it would result in shorter lines of administration and control, thereby promoting greater efficiency and reliability.

NASA's position pertained only to the technical operation of the -tracking, telemetry, and communication equipment. NASA had always accepted the principle of consolidation and single management of the logistic (base) support for collocated facilities.

NASA refuted the claims of substantial savings through single-agency operation, pointing to the additional contractor levels under the Air Force procedures for the operation of the ETR, with the accompanying additional overhead, fees, etc. The Air Force contended that from a technical standpoint the NRD, through its Range contractor and instrumentation sub-contractor, could operate the NASA stations just as effectively as could NASA .

The space committees of Congress had for some time taken an active interest in this matter, but the controversy came to a head when Congressman Holifield, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Military Operations, prompted by a NASA request for funds for the installation of an instrumentation facility on Antigua Island for support of Apollo, addressed identical letters dated March 9, 1965, to Mr. McNamara and Mr. Webb in which he raised questions concerning single-agency operation of collocated tracking stations. Specifically he inquired as to whether cost comparisons had been made between fulfillment of the NASA request and, alternatively, the expansion of the existing Air Force tracking facility on Antigua to accommodate NASA's needs. He asked whether studies on unified management at other locations, such as A Ascension and Hawaii, had been made.

The NASA and DOD replies assured Congressman Holifield that the various mechanisms - for NASA-DOD consultation, coordination, and cooperation had been brought to bear in the cases of Antigua and Ascension. It was stated that the two Agencies were in agreement, that there was no duplication of capabilities in NASA's request for facilities on Antigua, that NASA support requirements there were not within the capability of the DOD facilities, that a joint site-survey team had assisted in the coordination of planning for the NASA facility, and that plans were in progress for augmentation of the Antigua community support facilities of the Air Force as necessary to provide logistic support for the NASA facility under single-agency management. It was also reported that agreement had been reached in principle on provisions and procedures governing NASA and DOD relationships at locations where major instrumentation facilities of both Agencies were, or would be, collocated. and that a joint study would be made on the matter of technical operation of the instrumentation facilities at Antigua and Ascension.

[207] After months of informal discussions and negotiations--in which the principal participants were OTDA and Defense Affairs (Boone and Rosen) for NASA, and NRD and DDR&E (Hall and Kronauer) for the DOD--the "Agreement between the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Regarding Their Respective Land-based Tracking, Data Acquisition, and Communication Facilities" was signed by Dr. Seamans and Dr. Brown. effective May 22, 1965. Some of the components covered by this agreement were part of the ETR (formerly AMR); in those cases, this agreement supplemented but did not alter the AMR-MILA agreement of January 17, 1963.

The principal provisions of the new agreement were

 

(1) The responsibility for development, procurement, installation, and check-out of mission-oriented facilities directly associated with the launching and in-flight control of either Agency's missiles launch vehicles, or spacecraft rests with that Agency.
 
(2) The DOD is responsible for the development, procurement' installation, and check-out of the general purpose facilities of the National Ranges, in support of the launch programs of both Agencies.
 
(3) The responsibility for operation and maintenance of instrumentation facilities normally rests with the Agency responsible for funding and furnishing such facilities. However, where instrumentation facilities of both Agencies are collocated, the responsibility for operation and maintenance will be determined through the procedures set forth in this agreement.
 
(4) In planning support for new programs, both Agencies will give full consideration to us existing facilities.
 
(5) Planning for major modifications or additions to facilities by either Agency will be properly coordinated with the other Agency to avoid unnecessary duplication and to insure that requirements of both Agencies are properly considered.

 

 

An annex to this agreement listed the assignments of management responsibilities at DOD-NASA collocated facilities as follows:

Location

Base Support Mgr.

Instrumentation Ops. Manager.

.

Grand Bahama Island (GBI)

DOD

DOD

Grand Turk

DOD

DOD

Antigua

DOD

(see note)

Ascension

DOD

(see note)

Point Arguello

DOD

DOD

Kokee Park

NASA

NASA

Bermuda

NASA

NASA

NOTE: Operation of DOD equipment was to be under DOD management. Management responsibility for operation of NASA equipment to be installed was to be determined after completion of an agreed joint study then in progress.

 

In the course of finalizing this agreement, Mr. Rosen had pointed out that NASA's acceptance of DOD management of the instrumentation operations at the NASA facility on Grand Bahama Island applied only to the existing Gemini network facility and not necessarily to the new unified ''band station which NASA was then planning to install on GBI. Rosen had proposed to DOD that a notation to this effect be made in the Annex. General Kronauer, representing DOD, said that such a notation was not necessary. a letter to Rosen dated May 17, 1965, Kronauer had said:

 

"This statement seems to provide clear assurance that NASA would not be prevented from requesting a joint study of operation of facilities at Grand Bahama Island or at any other co-located stations within the purview of this Agreement. In addition, I can assure you that DOD has no intent of foreclosing the NASA option to request joint studies, as provided for in the body of the Agreement with respect to Grand Bahama or any other DOD-NASA colocated facility."
 

[210] This point became a matter of contention between OTDA and NRD later on.

Two changes in management responsibility were called for by the Agreement. One was the case of Kokee Park, a station on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, managed by the Navy. The other involved NASA and ETR facilities located about ten miles apart on Bermuda. Kokee operated about ninety per cent in support of NASA and ten per cent for the Navy, with minimal use by the Air Force. Although Kokee Park was not a major facility, it had played a key role in the negotiations leading up to the signing of the Agreement. The NASA installation on Bermuda, operated by NASA, was a major facility of the manned space flight network. The ETR facility there was small and was operated by ETR as part of the ETR Glotrac net.

 

Kokee Park

NASA regarded Kokee Park as a test of DOD's willingness to apply, where NASA was concerned, the predominant-user concept in deciding management responsibility, a concept which had earlier been generally applied by the DOD in reorganizing the Pacific Missile Range. NASA felt strongly that it should manage Kokee, with instrumentation operation by the principal NASA contractor, and negotiations to this end had dated back a year or more.

In a letter to Dr. Brown dated November 6, 1963, commenting on a DOD study on the reorganization of PMR, Dr. Seamans had stated that he would appreciate an opportunity to discuss with Brown the question of reassigning to NASA the DOD-contractor operated stations at Canton Island, Kokee, and South Point on the Island of Hawaii. Brown's reply assured Seamans that no administrative changes in the cases of these stations would be made until Seamans and he had discussed the matter. Despite this assurance, a TWX was sent by AFSC to AFWTR on December 31, 1964, information copy to NASA, announcing DOD's intention to transfer Kokee from the Navy to the Air Force, effective February 1, 1965. This was the first official notification we had received of the intended change. I immediately called Dr. Hall to protest this action. ' reviewed the background and said I considered that it would be improper, in the light of Brown's assurances to Seamans, for the DOD to direct such a transfer until the matter had been resolved at the Boone-Hall level or Brown had discussed it with Seamans.

Hall called back that same day to say that a letter would be presented to Brown for, signature on the following Monday, advising NASA of the intended transfer on February 1. I replied that I felt the receipt of such a letter would cause considerable resentment on the part of cognizant officials in NASA and expressed the hope that, in the interest of good relations, the letter would not be sent until we had had an opportunity to discuss the matter further in an effort to resolve it. Hall declined to go along with the suggestion. The letter was signed out by Brown on January 6, 1965. It caused a strongly adverse reaction in NASA, as I had predicted.

[211] Our reply of January 8, signed by Hilburn in the absence of Seamans, restated at length our case for the transfer of Kokee from the Navy to NASA. We expressed our concern over DOD's announced intention to transfer the station to the Air Force. We stated our feelings that an interim transfer of management to the Air Force could not but prejudice the ultimate organizational status of the station and could not avoid causing a certain amount of disruption for NASA at a time when Kokee was engaged in supporting the Gemini flight program and NASA was also undertaking a substantial augmentation of our installation at Kokee in preparation for Apollo. Finally, referring to the on-going discussions between Hall and myself regarding management arrangements at all collocated tracking facilities, we stated that Kokee Park was a matter of immediate importance to NASA and suggested that we deal with this issue first before proceeding to discuss an agreement covering other tracking facilities where NASA and DOD installations were or would be collocated. I am confident that the application of this bit of leverage was responsible for obtaining the DOD's agreement in principle, prior to the consummation of the overall Agreement, that Kokee would be transferred directly to NASA.

Seamans and Brown met to discuss the Kokee issue on March 12. On March 19, Seamans sent a letter to Brown stating that it was a matter of urgency that the issue be resolved so that NASA could proceed in an orderly and timely manner to install at Kokee the Unified S-Band instrumentation necessary for the support of the Apollo mission. An attachment to the letter set forth in considerable detail the facts and considerations which we believed clearly established the case, both on a cost and effectiveness basis, for reassignment to NASA of responsibility for the administration and operational management of Kokee. Seamans proposed a set of interdependent actions to lead up to the finalization of the overall Agreement, the first of which was:

 

"DOD issue instructions for the transfer of the management of Kokee Park to NASA as soon as practicable but not later than May l, 1 96 5, with the understanding that the DOD may continue to operate its own instrumentation if this is desired by the DOD and proves to be the best arrangement after joint review."

 

Brown's response to the proposed actions, dated March 30, 1965, was favorable, and we informed Brown by letter dated April 12 that we had designated GSFC to work with the National Range Division, AFSC, to prepare a joint plan in time to permit the transfer of Kokee to NASA by May 1, 1965.

The agreed deadline passed without the transfer's having been effected. Seamans called this to Brown's attention in a letter dated May 18, stating we had been informed that agreement on the transfer plan had been achieved in the field but that final approval had been delayed because of objections raised by NRD . Seamans said that since our people had accepted the changes proposed by NRD, he was at a loss to understand why the transfer had not been accomplished. Seamans enclosed an agreed draft of the [212] NASA-DOD basic agreement on collocated facilities which he said he had signed with the understanding that the agreement would become effective concurrently with the transfer of the Kokee Park station to NASA.

On the same date that he signed the overall Agreement, May 22, 1965, Dr. Brown ordered -the Air Force to proceed with the transfer of Kokee to NASA but, apparently because of the reluctance of NRD to relinquish management responsibility, the actual negotiations for the transfer continued to be drawn out. The turnover was finally effected on July 1, 1965.

 

Bermuda

The Agreement called for NASA to assume responsibility for logistic support and technical operation of the major NASA and minor ETR facilities on Bermuda under the concept of single management of collocated stations by the predominant user. Before this transfer was effectuated, there was an information study made by GSFC, concurred in by the Air Force, which concluded that no money would be saved by placing these facilities under NASA management. On the strength of the study, GSFC proposed that the arrangements on Bermuda remain as they were, but for some reason NRD insisted that the transfer be made, probably to strengthen its case to retain control of other contested stations, such as Antigua, Ascension, and GBI. The transfer was ultimately made, effective September 1, 1966.

 

Canton Island

We in NASA and our DOD counterparts agreed that resolution of the question of administration and operation of the tracking stations at Canton and South Point, Hawaii, should present no difficulty as far as DOD/NASA interests were concerned. Canton was a small facility used by NASA as a secondary station in support of Mercury and Gemini, but for which the DOD had no requirement. Administrative and logistic support was being provided by FAA who made some use of the facility in connection with transpacific air traffic control. The Weather Bureau maintained a weather station there. The network instrumentation, which was NASA owned and NASA oriented, was being operated under Navy management, using the same contractor as used by NASA. The FAA had informed all parties that its support would terminate on June 30, 1965. DOD had announced in January that the Air Force would assume responsibility for technical operation of the facility on February 1, 1965, but would perform this function only until July 1, 1965. In light of all these considerations, DOD readily agreed to turn the facility over to NASA or July 1, 965. The entire NASA involvement at Canton was phased out during the latter part of 1967.

 

[213] South Point, Hawaii

At the South Point tracking station, NASA was maintaining some telemetry equipment for support of unmanned space flight operations. Technical operation of the equipment was under the management of the Air Force. When NASA took over the Kokee station, this equipment was moved to Kokee. Shortly thereafter the DOD phased out the South Point facility.

 

Antigua and Ascension

Agreed terms of reference of the joint study group on Antigua and Ascension, referred to in the annex of the tracking station agreement had been issued by Dr. Brown and Dr. Seamans on April 3, 1965. The group -headed by Col. D. H. Vlcek, USAF, from NRD, representing the DOD, and Mr. F. B. Bryant, OTDA, representing NASA - submitted its report on June 14, 1965. The group had made a thorough study and evaluation of the cost effectiveness of mission support under NASA management and operation as compared to NRD/ETR management and operation of the new NASA Unified S-Band (USB) and Deep Space Net (DSN) facilities being installed at Antigua and Ascension. They had considered mission requirements and schedules, overall workload, current and planned equipment of both Agencies, required technical complement for maintenance and operation, management relationships, and costs.

The agreed conclusions of the joint study were essentially as follows:

 

Actually, the anticipated costs tabulated in the joint study showed a ten per cent saving under NASA management. This was in sharp disagreement with the claims of large savings under NRD/ETR management that had been made by the Commander, NRD.

Following this joint study, Dr. Brown and Dr. Seamans signed a MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT, effective August 3, 1965, which accepted the study as meeting the requirements set forth in the terms of reference. They agreed that:

 

 

With the agreement of May 22, 1965, the transfer of Kokee Park on July 1, 1965, and the agreement of August 3, 1965, a long-standing source of friction between NASA and the DOD, more specifically between OTDA and NRD, appeared to have been removed. Unfortunately, however, the lull in the controversy lasted only a few months.

 

Grand Bahama Island (GBI)

An issue which was blown up out of all proportion to its real significance and which consumed an inordinate number of negotiating man-hours was the question of who should manage the technical operation of NASA's unified S-band instrumentation facility on Grand Bahama Island. To begin with, there were probably two principal factors which contributed to making this a cause celebre:

 

[215] (1) A fundamental and irreconcilable difference of opinion between NASA and the Air Force as to the most effective and efficient management arrangement for the technical operation of an instrumentation facility as part of an integrated space tracking network.
 
(2) A concern on both sides that the decision of responsibility for GBI would set a precedent or pattern for other tracking stations in the networks of the two Agencies.

 

As indicated earlier, the NASA negotiators of the May 22, 1965, agreement on management of tracking stations had made it clear that the assignment of responsibility to DOD for the technical operations ma management of the then existing NASA facility on GBI would not necessarily apply tic new USB installation on GBI which was then in only the planning stage. DOD understanding of this had been confirmed by the principal DOD negotiator General Kronauer, in a letter to Mr. Rosen. Lt. Gen. L . I. Davis, Commander, National Range Division, AFSC, may not have know of this in the first instance. In an earlier letter, dated October 23, 1964, Mr. E. C. Buckley, Associate Administrator for Tracking and Data Acquisition, had said he saw no reason at that time for not requesting NRD to operate the USB equipment to be installed on GBI. Based on this, Davis had proceeded to plan on the assumption that NRD would operate the USB facility after installation and checkout by NASA.

At a meeting of the Space Flight Ground Environment Panel 1 of the AACB on December 15, 1965, at which a representative of NRD was present, NASA had announced that it was proposing GSFC operation of the new USB station on GBI, and that NASA would discuss this with NRD as soon as the GSFC technical operations plan was completed. A Logistics Support Requirements Document dated December 30, 1965, which was transmitted to NRD by an OTDA letter dated March 14, 1966, indicated that NASA intended to operated and maintain the USB station. Davis' reply on May 6, 1966, challenged cost effectiveness of NASA operation of the station. He questioned the need for a location remote from the NRD instrumentation facility on GBI, -the separation having been specified by NASA to avoid RF interference . He contended that by locating.- the USB station closer to the ETR main base- and assigning O&M responsibility to ETR, certain cost and efficiency advantages be realized in the areas of housing, transportation, and the pooling of cross-trained technical personnel. He expressed the view that a study of the depth and detail of the Ascension-Antigua study was as not needed ,' this s case,, and urged a prompt reappraisal of the NASA posit position.

There followed over the next several months a series of progressively more sharply worded letters between Buckley and Davis.

Buckley further defended the site selection on the grounds that installation of the USB equipment at the location originally offered on the [216] main ETR base would have placed the majority of the buildings on the main base within the radiation hazard radius of the USB transmitter, in violation of DOD and NASA accepted electromagnetic radiation hazard criteria. He explained some of the considerations which, in his opinion, favored NASA operation of the equipment as "the most effective and economical approach." The USB station would be a transportable, van-mounted facility. It would be used only during the launch phase of Apollo flights and would be manned by a partial full-time staff augmented during launch periods by a part-time staff drawn from the NASA con-tractor's personnel complements at GSFC and MILA. Furthermore, it was possible that the GBI USB station would be required only for the early Apollo Block II missions; i.e., until it could be determined that the stations at MILA, Bermuda, and Antigua could provide continuous USB tracking and communications. If so, NASA would want to move the facility elsewhere, together with its manning personnel..

Davis' position was not altered by the justification advanced in Buckley's letters. In a letter dated August 1, 1966, Davis reiterated his belief that it was the clear intent of the Brown-Seamans agreement of May 1965 that NRD would be responsible for both base support and instrumentation operation of all NASA facilities on GBI. He pointed out that the NRD had adhered to the letter and intent of that agreement regarding single management by transferring the Kokee Park and Canton Island stations to NASA (actually not voluntary on NRD's part) and designating NASA as single manager of the collocated stations on Bermuda. He found nothing in Buckley's letters nor the GSFC Maintenance and Operations Plan which would indicate that NASA management of' the USE facility on GBI would be more effective or economical than ETR management;. He would refer the matter to Dr. Brown.

By this time, it was becoming evident that the GBI issue would not be resolved between Buckley and Davis. Buckley had kept me informed through conversations and copies of' the correspondence exchanged and had sought my advice as to how NASA should proceed. I had been attempting (with only partial success) to act' as peacemaker and catalyst by urging both parties to lower the tone of their letters to each other and encouraging them to sit down together to talk out' their differences face to face in lieu of continuing to fire verbal salvos at long range.

Buckley drafted an answer to Davis' letter of August 1 and sent it to me for concurrence. The draft again invited joint discussions between staffs regarding NASA's proposal to operate GBI and recommended that if agreement could not be reached the matter be referred to Dr. Foster and Dr. Seamans for resolution.

Before commenting on Buckley's draft, I called Davis on September 17, I told him that in my opinion the exchanges of correspondence over the last three months between Buckley and him were not making progress toward resolving the issue. I suggested that, in lieu of continuing the written dialogue, we simply write a letter to him requesting a joint study on GBI in accordance with the Seamans-Brown agreement of May 22, 1965. Davis said this would be entirely agreeable to him. I then suggested to Buckley that he modify his draft accordingly, which he did.

[217] In a conciliatory letter to Davis dated September 21, 1 96 6, Buckley expressed regret that they had been unable to reach agreement on GBI management arrangements and requested a joint study to compare cost and effectiveness factors under ETR and GSFC operation, in accordance with the provisions of the Brown-Seamans agreement. He referred to my telephone conversation with Davis.

We were surprised, therefore, when the response to this letter, sent by Col. Vernon F. Creighton on September 27, in the absence of General Davis, gave only qualified acceptance of the proposal to conduct a joint study. Creighton said that the determination of agency responsibility should be made primarily on the basis of cost effectiveness, since the prior Antigua-Ascension study had concluded that mission effectiveness was not a critical issue. He enclosed a proposed set of guidelines and specifications to govern a cost effectiveness study as a means of achieving a "truly comparable and objective cost determination." Speaking for Davis, he proposed that Davis and Buckley meet on October 7 in Davis' office to discuss the matter.

NASA considered the NRD guidelines too elaborate and also misleading. Buckley's response on October 14 confirmed an earlier telephone call in which he had informed Davis that he could not meet on the designated date. Buckley suggested that it might be well to defer their meeting until a joint study had been completed and reviewed. He enclosed a proposed revision of the guidelines for a comparative cost study. Buckley agreed that the matter of the effectiveness of NASA vs ETR operation was not at issue. He designated Mr. N. R. Heller, GSFC, as the NASA Co-chairman of a joint study group.

Davis' reply of October 18 was the most intemperate to date. He stated once again that the Brown-Seamans Agreement had "designated DOD as the responsible operating agency for [all] NASA collocated instrumentation activities on GBI." He pointed out that the Range would be operating the Apollo ships which were to have the same instrumentation configuration as the GBI site. He challenged earlier NASA documentation which described the GBI site as a launch-phase-only ground support activity, stating that the most recent NASA requirements documentation clearly specified the use of GBI during the longer period of on-orbit tracking as well and that this would necessitate full time technical crews. (We learned that this stated requirement had been included in NASA documentation by mistake; it was later removed.) His conclusion was that a first year saving of $35,000 in investment costs and a minimum O&M saving of $275,000 annually could be realized through DOD operation of this site.

Davis claimed in his letter that recent experience at Antigua and Ascension had provided "convincing evidence that separate, diverse operation of-co-located stations is not only grossly more expensive but latent with greater problems in dealing with local island governments and people." We knew of no basis for this; Antigua had not yet started to operate. Davis offered to operate the GBI side according to NASA current needs, specifications, schedules, and standards of performance at an annual reimbursement [218] not to exceed $525,000. He stated that NASA's response to his prior efforts to cooperate in providing effective Range services at reduced cost had been disappointing and that he did not in this instance intend to do more than make clear the NRD position; i.e., "We can operate this station equally well or better with higher reliability and far less cost than now planned by NASA" (underlining as in the original). Davis concluded by saying that he did not consider establishment of a further study group, as suggested by Buckley, to be necessary or desirable. He would appreciate a statement of Buckley's acceptance or rejection by November 1.

I knew that the acrimonious tone of this letter, if allowed to stand in the record, would call forth another contradictory reply from Buckley, thus further exacerbating the situation. In an attempt to head this off, I went to see Davis on November 2. I told him that the excessive statements contained in his letter served only to make an agreement more difficult, that the letter was not in accord with the spirit of the Brown-Seamans agreement, that in my opinion he would not be able to produce valid substantiation of his claims as to cost savings under ETR operation, and that therefore his letter would prove to be an embarrassment to him if it came to the attention of DDR&E. I asked him whether he would be willing to withdraw his letter, thus avoiding an answer in kind from Buckley, and to make one more effort to get together on an approach to a resolution of the problem. I said NASA was willing to forego a formal joint study, but expressed my opinion that some kind of a joint review was necessary to arrive at a mutually accepted cost comparison. Davis declined to consider withdrawing his letter, but appeared to be willing to have representatives of NRD and GSFC meet to clear up certain points in his proposed plan for NRD operation of NASA's USB facility.

At our meeting, Davis seemed still to be unaware of NASA's reservations on GBI expressed during the NASA-DOD negotiations and of DDR&E's (Kronauer's) assurance to us that nothing in the Brown-Seamans agreement foreclosed NASA's option of requesting a study on the USB facility on GBI if desired.

I reported to Buckley on the results of this peace-making mission On November 10, I wrote a letter to Davis, furnishing him with a copy of Kronauer's written assurance to us regarding GBI and confirming NASA's agreement that we would not insist on a formalized study. Before sending the letter, I learned that Buckley and Davis had gotten together and that arrangements for their representatives to meet as proposed had been made. I added a postscript to this effect.

Davis answered my letter of November 17, saying that he had been aware of the provision for joint studies and that in the case of GBI he "was not unwilling to enter a joint study but rather did not see the need sir since the issues seemed clearly defined." He went on to say: "As you know, Mr. Buckley has now agreed that this matter can be settled quickly and representative- people are meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve NASA reservations alluded to in Mr. Buckley's most recent letter."

[219] The informal study group was headed by Mr. Henry Thompson, GSFC, for NASA and Colonel Creighton for NRD. The group considered proposed operating arrangements submitted by NRD and GSFC. It received cost-comparison data developed by a GSFC-NRD sub-group which showed an annual O&M cost of $537,000 under ETR operation and $388,000 under GSFC operation ($428,000 if contractor personnel were to live on the local economy rather than in barracks furnished by ETR). The higher ETR cost appeared to stem primarily from the higher burden rate of the ETR contractor and sub-contractor. Colonel Creighton did not accept these figures. There was much discussion of burden rates. Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) representatives were called in by NRD to verify the rates of the GSFC contractor, Bendix. After clearing up some confusion as to Bendix proposals and what was included in the Bendix estimates, the Bendix burden rates and estimates were verified by DCAA.

The discussions in the informal study group carried over into 1967. Seamans and Foster discussed together some of the cost data being developed and proposed modes of operation. Buckley and I, with our principal assistants involved, had several meetings with Shapley and Seamans to consider the tentative results of the joint review. Numerous sets of agreed cost figures had been developed by the sub-group under the Creighton-Thompson. committee. All had shown a cost advantage on the order of' about $100,000 a year under NASA operation, but none of these comparisons had been accepted by Creighton.

We in NASA discussed other factors bearing on the final decision, such as the possible temporary nature of the GBI installation, the additional documentation that would be required under ETR operation, the break in continuity and extra expense of a change-over between NASA (Bendix) installation and checkout of the USB equipment and ETR (PanAm/RCA) operation, and the difficulty of justifying before our Congressional committees the additional cost to NASA and the Government should we accept ETR operation. Defense Affairs and OTDA saw no justification for a recommendation made by the Commander, ETR, that the NASA cost figures be subjected to a further, full review by DCAA, but felt that a third party audit of the figures on both sides might be productive in resolving the impasse on cost comparisons.

Along about April 1967, Seamans and Foster agreed to appoint Shapley and Mr. John Kirk, assistant to Foster, as a committee of two to attempt to work out a compromise concerning GBI Their efforts were successful. Shapley coordinated his draft agreement with Defense Affairs. Effective June 2, 1967, Seamans and Foster signed a joint memorandum to the Secretary of the Air Force (attention Commander, NRD) and the Associate Administrator for Tracking and Data Acquisition, NASA, stating their agreed decision as follows

 

"1. Operation and maintenance of the NASA USB facilities will be by NASA-Bendix through the first two Saturn V missions.
[220] 2. Operation and maintenance will become a responsibility of ETR after the first two Saturn V missions if it is determined by NASA that there is a continuing requirement for these NASA USB facilities."

 

The memorandum also contained instructions concerning preparations for the change-over and operational relationships after transfer. It was stipulated that ETR would "undertake to operate and maintain the NASA USB facilities at a cost to the government for total ETR operations on GBI that is equal to or less than the cost of GBI operations with continued operation of the NASA USB facility by NASA-Bendix." (Fortunately, it never became necessary to test this provision, as the facility was disestablished following the first lunar landing and while still under NASA operation; otherwise, a new disagreement on cost determination might have developed.)

The final paragraph of the joint memorandum read as follows:
 
"With the above decisions with respect to GBI, and the previous decisions with respect to Ascension and Antigua, we regard the pattern of NASA-ETR relationships with respect to instrumentation facilities in support of the Apollo program as having been established, and expect the fullest measure of NASA-DOD cooperation at all levels in carrying out the decisions that have been made."

 

During the period September 18 through 21, 1967, at the invitation of M. Gen. Vincent Huston, USAF, who had relieved General Davis, I accompanied Huston and several of his officers on an inspection of the Air Force and NASA instrumentation facilities on Grand Bahama, Antigua, and Grand Turk Islands. I found these NASA and DOD field activities to be working harmoniously and effectively together. Nothing that I observed led me to conclude that NASA's views as to the proper organizational, administrative, and operational relationships between collocated facilities needed changing.

 

[221] Joint Use of the Churchill Research Range, Canada

Defense Affairs assisted in the negotiation of a "DOD-NASA Memorandum of Agreement - Joint Use of Churchill Research Range," signed into effect on July 25, 1965.

NASA and the DOD had been making limited use, with Canadian scientific agencies, of a range facility located on the southwest shore of' Hudson Bay, Canada, for launching scientific space probes. This facility, known as the Churchill Research Range, had been operated first by the U.S. Army and then by the USAF for several years under the terms of an intergovernmental agreement. Just before the DOD-NASA agreement of July 1965, agreement had been reached with the Canadian Government for the Canadians to assume management responsibility for the Range, with the provision for NASA and the DOD to use the Range on a tenant basis, the U.S. sharing operating costs on an equal basis with Canada. A joint Range Policy Committee had been established with NASA, DOD, and Canadian representation and co-chaired by Canada and the U.S. NASA was recognized as the lead Agency for U.S. use of the Range and furnished the U.S. Co-chairman of the Policy Committee. The Co-chairmen jointly had the power of decision over Range support operations.

The U.S.-Canadian and DOD-NASA agreements were negotiated on the NASA side by representatives of OTDA, OSSA, and International Affairs, with final internal coordination by Defense Affairs. The DOD-NASA agreement provided that NASA and the DOD would fund the U.S. share of annual operations costs of the Range on a use ratio basis.

 

(On June 30, 1970, the intergovernmental agreement was terminated by mutual consent and the range was turned over to the Canadians as a wholly owned and operated Canadian facility. Title to all U.S. equipment at the range was transferred to Canada. In November 1970, a new intergovernmental agreement was negotiated by which the Canadians agreed to support on a cost reimbursable basis U.S. launches at Churchill Research Range.)

 


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