SP-4103 Model Research - Volume 2


Appendix H (4/4)



[716] 40. "Functions and Responsibilities of Standing Committees and Subcommittees of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," 1 Jan. 1950.


[When Hugh Dryden succeeded George Lewis as the NACA's director of aeronautical research in 1947, he resolved to strengthen and clarify the role of the technical committees (see document 39). This policy statement is one result. Most of Dryden's concepts had been in effect, at least nominally, throughout most of the NACA's history, but this is the first formal statement of what the technical committees were to do and how. Note the attention given to the issue of industry "representation." (See document 43.)]

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was established by the Congress in 1915 and consists of 17 members appointed by the President of the United States to include the heads of the U.S. Air Force, naval aviation, Civil Aeronautics Administration, National Bureau of Standards, Weather Bureau, and Smithsonian Institution, [717] together with scientists and aeronautical experts. A Chairman and a Vice Chairman are elected annually. The Committee is authorized to conduct research and experiment in aeronautics in such laboratories as may be placed under its direction, and to encourage and support research in scientific and educational institutions by means of research contracts. To discharge this responsibility the Committee has a technical staff, headed by a Director, operating three major research stations, and has organized standing committees and subcommittees (referred to hereafter as technical committees) with advisory functions with respect to various fields of aeronautical research. The entire organization is usually also referred to as the NACA. To avoid confusion in this discussion the Committee of 17 men is called the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee performs the same function in NACA as does a Board of Directors in private industry. The Committee has the power and responsibility to determine programs and policies, and to arrange for their execution. To assist in planning, the Executive Committee appoints annually the technical committees composed of groups of experts in various fields of aeronautics. The military and civil air organizations of the Government are also represented on the technical committees. While these technical committees have the status of advisory groups, their competence and prestige are very high and their recommendations within their field of competence are almost certain to be adopted.

Members of technical subcommittees appointed by the NACA from outside the Government are appointed in their professional capacities as individuals and not as representatives of their employers. They (members) are expected, as opportunity is given by the normal contacts of a professional man, to discuss technical matters with their professional colleagues within their own and other organizations as required in the planning of NACA research programs. In order to promote free discussion, the meetings of the subcommittees are closed; accordingly, the minutes are confidential documents and are made available only for the use of a subcommittee member and his immediate staff. The subcommittee members from the military services and from other Government agencies are representatives of the offices with which they are affiliated, but the members not representing Government agencies are not representatives of any organization.

The Director is appointed by the Executive Committee. The Director and his staff operate the three major research stations and two field stations, and in addition supply technical and secretarial assistance to the technical committees. The Director is ex officio a member of all technical committees, and members of his staff are included in their membership. Hence the Director and his staff have a direct channel for the presentation of research proposals originating within the staff and for presenting their views to the technical committees.

The present committees (January 1950) are as follows:

Committee on Aerodynamics
Subcommittee on Fluid Mechanics
Subcommittee on High-Speed Aerodynamics
Subcommittee on Stability and Control
Subcommittee on Internal Flow
Subcommittee on Propellers for Aircraft
Subcommittee on Seaplanes
Subcommittee on Helicopters
Special Subcommittee on the Upper Atmosphere
Committee on Power Plants for Aircraft
Subcommittee on Aircraft Fuels
Subcommittee on Combustion
[718] Subcommittee on Lubrication and Wear
Subcommittee on Compressors
Subcommittee on Turbines
Subcommittee on Propulsion-Systems Analysis
Subcommittee on Heat-Resisting Materials
Committee on Aircraft Construction
Subcommittee on Aircraft Structures
Subcommittee on Aircraft Loads
Subcommittee on Vibration and Flutter
Subcommittee on Aircraft Structural Materials
Committee on Operating Problems
Subcommittee on Meteorological Problems
Subcommittee on Icing Problems
Subcommittee on Aircraft Fire Prevention
Industry Consulting Committee


The duties of any specific technical committee are to consider problems relating to the assigned field, for example, propulsion of aircraft and guided missiles, and to make recommendations to the Executive Committee for their study. In order to discharge their duties the technical committees are instructed periodically to

1. Review research in progress by the NACA and by other agencies.

2. Recommend problems that should be investigated by the NACA or by other agencies.

3. Assist in the formulation and coordination of programs for research by the NACA and by other agencies.

4. Serve as a medium for the interchange of information regarding investigations and developments in progress or proposed.

Problems to be investigated by the NACA may be suggested by the Director and his staff, by members of one of the technical committees, by the military services, other Government organizations, and in fact by any individual or organization. Authorization for inclusion of a research problem in the program of the NACA is given by the Executive Committee in the form of an approved Research Authorization. All research to be conducted by the NACA with public funds requires the approval of the Executive Committee. With the exception of investigations requested by Government agencies, it is the policy of the Executive Committee to obtain recommendations from the appropriate technical committees on all proposed research, although such referral is not mandatory. It is also the policy of the Executive Committee, in so far as practicable, to keep the technical committees informed of the program in their fields so that their recommendations may be intelligently made.

The Research Authorizations describe research problems for which solutions are needed. The attack on these problems requires detailed planning, the assignment of responsibility to laboratory groups, the determination of equipment to be used, scheduling of work, etc. These matters are the responsibility of the Director and his staff. Members of the technical committees are often requested to advise on methods of attack, and on aspects of particular investigations, and are encouraged to make recom-mendations in these areas. The technical committees are, however, not expected to perform administrative functions in the execution of approved research programs.


January 1, 1950



[719] 41. Ira H. Abbott, memorandum, "Improvement of Laboratory Inspections," 14 June 1949.


[Ira H. Abbott went to NACA headquarters in 1948 after almost two decades at Langley. Familiar as he was with the old industry conferences, which were discontinued for security reasons as World War II approached, and sensitive as well to the intent behind the postwar laboratory inspections, Abbott attempted in this memorandum to provide guidelines for uniform and effective inspections. The new inspections had even more show and less substance than the old Langley conferences; substantive exchanges of information were restricted almost exclusively to "classified technical conferences" on specific topics. In the margin of the original, John Victory wrote "Good" beside the last paragraph in section 4 and "Excellent" beside the second half of section 5; he wrote "Fine statement" at the end of the memorandum.]


1. Although the recent Langley inspection is considered to have been highly successful, it has resulted in several thoughts about possible improvements for future inspections. It is recommended that these thoughts, and others that may exist, be discussed in this office and their substance transmitted to the laboratories for general guidance.

2. Purpose. The inspections are held to acquaint leaders of the aviation industry, military establishment, other Government agencies, educational institutions, and others interested in aeronautics, with the research and facilities of the NACA. Within limits set by classification, the visitors should get a general impression of the state of knowledge and of the contributions of the Committee, but the purpose of the inspections is not to present our latest technical information. This latter purpose is served by classified technical conferences and by regular reporting procedures.

3. Status. Current inspections appear to be in a transitional stage between the old engineering conferences and the type of inspection that will best serve the present purpose. Although the talks have been simplified and generalized to some extent, there is still a tendency to present too much detailed technical information. Comparatively few of the visitors are technical experts. Moreover, aeronautics has become so complex that even capable technical men cannot be expected to grasp quickly the intricacies of the many subjects discussed during a single inspection. The visitors can be expected to carry away only a general impression. The inspections should be conducted so that this impression is not one of bewilderment, but rather one of confidence that the Committee knows its business and is making substantial progress through the orderly but vigorous conduct of research in well-planned facilities.

4. Generalization. Each talk or series of talks should, if possible, cover a well-defined technical problem. The nature and origin of the problem, its importance and relation to the aircraft or power plant as a whole should be briefly but adequately covered. In many cases a brief history of the problem, consisting of only a few sentences, may help to orient the listener. The talk should explain the status of the problem, the research attack that is being made on it., and the nature of recent contributions. One or more examples of recent contributions should be shown and explained without being too technical.

Visitors will tend to form impressions from the general character of the talks and subject matter. They will not usually understand or heed subtle qualifications. Erroneous impressions may, therefore, result from talks that are strictly accurate. Much misunderstanding can be avoided by plain statements that claim enough, but never too much. Any necessary qualifications should be straightforward and unmistakable.

5. Simplification. Care should be taken to make all talks and charts understandable to people unfamiliar with technical terms. Even such terms as Reynolds number and Mach number are not generally understood, or may be improperly understood. [720] Although such terms need not, and probably should not, be avoided altogether, understanding of the material presented should not depend upon the visitors' knowing their meaning. Such terms as shock wave, normal shock, expansion zone, Mach lines, boundary layer, and rotary derivatives are not generally understood and require some explanation; perhaps only a few words. The visitors cannot be expected to know the meaning of symbols, even the most common ones. Words should be used instead of symbols or to supplement symbols on charts for identification of scales, and other purposes. Formulas should generally be avoided, although simple ones may be useful on occasion.

No more than one idea should be presented on a single chart. Such devices as pictorial representation and bar charts should be used freely to avoid the appearance of complexity. The use of symbols or other complicated methods for identification of curves should be avoided. Although simplified, the charts should present quantitative results for the benefit of those who understand their significance when the classification and nature of the subject permits. Ingenuity will be required to simplify the presentation without losing the technical significance.

6. Demonstrations. As a general rule, every stop should include some form of demonstration or inspection of equipment. The visitors expect and enjoy demonstrations. Moreover, demonstrations create more lasting impressions than lectures that may be imperfectly understood. Whenever possible the visitors should see facilities or apparatus in operation rather than stationary exhibits.

7. Staff. All division chiefs, section heads, and other technical staff taking part should understand the purpose of the inspection and the necessity for presenting the material in a simple, effective manner. The best result will be obtained only by everyone's working toward the same goal.


Aeronautical Consultant.


42. "NACA Policy on Release of Proprietary Information," adopted by the NACA 16 June 1949, amended 16 Dec. 1949.


[Since 1931 (see document 25), the NACA had reserved to itself the right to release proprietary information obtained in the course of doing research for private parties. Orville Wright took exception to the policy then (see document 26) and many industry representatives had since. In 1949, the NACA gave in to industry pressure and adopted the, policy reproduced here. (See also document 43)1


In the interest of fair and equitable consideration of a manufacturer's competitive position, it is the policy of the NACA to withhold from release, except to appropriate government agencies and the manufacturer concerned, technical information on specific models of a manufacturer's aeronautical product undergoing active development, except by specific agreement with the manufacturer.

With regard to technical information on specific models that have reached the production stage or whose development has been discontinued, the NACA will observe the following procedure:

(1) Reports containing such information will be made available to the manufacturer concerned for review and comment in advance of circulation beyond government agencies.

(2) When reports containing such information are distributed beyond government agencies, the NACA, upon request, will provide the manufacturer concerned with the list of organizations and individuals to whom the report has been sent, in [721] order that the manufacturer may supply such supplementary information as he desires.

(3) When the NACA contemplates the formal presentation orally of such information in advance of its release in report form, the manufacturer concerned will have the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed discussion.


43. "A Report to the Industry on the Work of the NA CA Industry Consulting Committee, "30 Dec. 1949.


[Unlike the NACA technical committees, whose industry members did not serve as representatives of their companies, the Industry Consulting Committee was explicitly designed to bring within the NACA structure representatives who could voice the concerns and interests of the entire aviation industry, though not necessarily of the specific companies that employed them. This ICC report reflects the range of issues considered by the committee, the tenor of its recommendations, and the strength of its influence on NACA policy. (See documents 36, 40, and 42 for evidence of changes in NACA policy prompted by the ICC.) As might be expected, relations between the NACA and the ICC were occasionally more strained than this glowing report suggests.]

The NACA Industry Consulting Committee, which was established late in 1945, has as its objective the promotion of the understanding of the mutual policy problems of the industry and the NACA, as distinguished from detailed technical problems. The Industry Consulting Committee has been active in expressing the industry's viewpoint on those problems referred to it by the NACA and has brought to the attention of the NACA those problems arising in industry relating to NACA work. It strives to assure the continued excellent cooperation that exists between the industry and the NACA in ever seeking to advance the frontiers of flight.

While the Industry Consulting Committee has been working closely with the NACA, having met with the NACA on several occasions in addition to its own meetings, it has in the past relied principally on personal contacts and correspondence in advising the industry of its work. In view of this, the following report has been prepared in order that the industry may have a better understanding and a full appreciation of the work of the Industry Consulting Committee.




Late in the fall of 1945, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics established the Industry Consulting Committee to "advise the NACA as to general research policy and programs especially with regard to the needs of industry." By statute the membership of the Committee comprises the presidents of four firms making aircraft engines or large aircraft, the presidents of two airlines, the president of one firm making light aircraft, and one representative of fixed-base aircraft operation. In December 1949 the NACA increased the size of the Committee to nine by authorizing the addition of a member chosen from the presidents of firms manufacturing aircraft engines or aircraft accessories. The members are appointed annually in order to provide rotation of membership and the Committee elects its chairman and vice-chairman annually from its membership. Dr. T. L. K. Smull, Head, Research Coordination of the NACA, serves as secretary for the Committee.

By mutual agreement with NACA and the other groups concerned, the Industry Consulting Committee has used the technical committees of the Aircraft Industries Association and the Air Transport Association for such technical advice as required on airframe, engine and air transport matters. In addition, it has been the practice for the Chairman to circularize company presidents in advance of the meetings of the ICC to [722] determine topics of interest to the Committee that otherwise might not have come to their attention.




National Aeronautical Research Policy- One of the first problems considered by the ICC was in connection with the drafting and approval of a policy on aeronautical research that would be nationwide in scope. The Aeronautical Research Policy of the NACA was studied by the ICC and suggestions offered regarding the relationship of the industry to government. This study, both by the NACA and the ICC, culminated at a joint meeting of the ICC with the NACA on March 21, 1946, with all parties concerned agreeing that the Aeronautical Research Policy, as revised on March 21, 1946, be approved as a National Aeronautical Research Policy for the guidance of the Army, Navy, the CAA, the NACA, and the aircraft industry.*


Recommendations regarding the Organization and Operation of the NACA Committee Structure- One of the first recommendations of the Industry Consulting Committee dealt with membership of the NACA, when it was recommended that the NACA should have at least three public members as follows: one member technically qualified in current airframe problems, one member technically qualified in current aircraft power plant problems, and one member technically qualified in current problems in the operation of civilian aircraft. At the time this recommendation was made, the NACA had one member actively engaged in the field of operation of civilian aircraft. Since then, as vacancies occurred in the NACA, men were appointed whose backgrounds met the other qualifications set forth in the ICC's recommendation.

The ICC, since its inception, has stressed the desirability of keeping NACA technical committees small enough that they would not become unwieldy but at the same time has stressed the desirability that the number of men chosen from industry be increased.

It has also been brought to the attention of the NACA that it would be highly desirable for those members chosen from industry to serve on NACA technical committees to speak with authority in their field regarding progress and work of the NACA. At the same time, it was felt that the most effective operation of the NACA technical committees would result if the ICC would make available to the NACA suggestions as to men in industry they considered most competent in the various fields covered by the NACA technical committees. With these ideas in mind, at its December 2, 1948 meeting, the Industry Consulting Committee passed the following resolution:

RESOLVED, That the Industry Consulting Committee recommends that the NACA adopt the following policy in the interest of improving the operation and efficiency of the NACA subcommittees in planning aeronautical research in the national interest:

(a) With a view toward obtaining the best information possible regarding industrial specialists who are qualified and available for services on various NACA subcommittees, the NACA shall solicit from the recog-nized industry technical committees of the Aircraft Industries Association a selection of candidates for each subcommittee member that may be selected from the industry. Acceptance or rejection of such recom-mendations shall be the sole responsibility of the NACA, and such recommendations shall not alter the status of subcommittee members who shall continue to serve as individuals rather than representing the interests of any company, group, or organization.
[723] (b) In order to promote productive exchange of basic research information relative to planning for existing and future research programs, the NACA subcommittee members shall, within the limits of military security, be (1) permitted by their employers to discuss progress (in their field of specialization) such as shall not compromise their employer's competitive position, (2) permitted to discuss with other specialists in the industry information reviewed in NACA subcommittee meetings to the extent that such discussions are in the interests of furthering the basic research program.

The NACA, following its study of these suggestions, at its December 16, 1948 meeting, revised the appropriate section of the statement of "Functions and Responsibilities of Standing Committees and Subcommittees of the NACA," in such a manner that the ICC feels that part (b) of its resolution was fully covered. . .**

Members of technical subcommittees appointed by the NACA from outside the Government are appointed in their professional capacities as individuals and not as representatives of their employers. They (members) are expected, as opportunity is given by the normal contacts of a professional man, to discuss technical matters with their professional colleagues within their own and other organizations as required in the planning of NACA research programs. In order to promote free discussion, the meetings of the subcommittees are closed; accordingly, the minutes are confidential documents and are made available for the use of only subcommittee members and their immediate personal staffs. The subcommittee members from the military services and from other government agencies are representatives of the offices with which they are affiliated, but the members not representing government agencies are not representatives of any organization.

Part (a) of this resolution was discussed by the ICC with the NACA at a joint meeting on May 19, 1949, at which time the NACA indicated they would welcome a roster of qualified and available people in whom the industry has confidence and who would be available for subcommittee services and suggested that the ICC proceed with the preparation of such a list to be submitted annually not later than October. The ICC, with the assistance of the ALA, has prepared the first of such rosters and submitted it to the NACA on September 28, 1949.

The ICC is firm in its belief that the industry should encourage its personnel who serve on NACA technical committees to take a more active part in their NACA subcommittee work. It should be noted that the industry expects a lot on the part of the NACA and that the industry should in turn recognize its responsibility to the successful operation of the NACA. In keeping with this the ICC at its May 19, 1949 meeting, adopted the following resolution:

RESOLVED, That the Industry Consulting Committee recommends that the aircraft industry recognize their responsibility to contribute to the successful oper-ation of the NACA by encouraging their personnel that serve as members of NACA technical committees to devote the time and effort required to most effectively carry out the duties and responsibilities of membership on an NACA technical committee.
Recommendations regarding the Exchange and Dissemination of NACA Research Information- Since the ICC was established, at a time when there was a major change in emphasis being made in the NACA research program, brought on not only by the practical application of jet propulsion, but also by the return of the NACA to more fundamental research in lieu of the development work it has been carrying on during the war for the military services, the ICC expressed the desire for a comprehensive report in some detail by the NACA to the industry regarding the proposed NACA program to enable [724] the industry to prepare thoroughly studied and correlated recommendations. In response to this, the NACA, in August 1946, circulated throughout the industry a summary of the NACA's research effort. It was reviewed in detail by the industry and the results, in the form of comments submitted by the AlA, were most helpful. The comments and recommendations of the industry in various phases of the Committee's activities were reviewed by the technical committees of the NACA and were of material assistance to these groups in their ever continuing reexamination and formulation of the NACA research program. At the same time, the ICC recommended that the publication policy of the NACA be revised to eliminate as far as possible the delays inherent in the release of reports and that frequent progress reports by the NACA be made available for those that need the information. It also noted the desirability of military declassification of information developed by the NACA during the war in order that this information might be made available to the greatest possible extent at the earliest possible date. In this regard, it should be noted that the NACA has reorganized its report duplication procedure, which greatly reduces the time required for the preparation for release. The declassification of information developed during the war was rapidly effected and a comprehensive index of all NACA technical publications was prepared and widely distributed throughout the industry in 1947. These indexes are now being revised and brought to date. These new indexes will be released early in 1950.

The Industry Consulting Committee also urged that there be more frequent contact between NACA staff members and industry technicians and it has been gratifying to note that the number of visits by NACA technical personnel to industry has increased substantially during the past several years. In this regard, to be most effective, the industry in turn should permit and even foster more visits by its highly trained technical personnel to the NACA.

For the past several years, the question of the possible release of a manufacturer's proprietary information by the NACA in its reports has received considerable attention by the ICC. This had been of particular concern in the phase of the NACA research on aircraft engines and engine components. The question has been reviewed and dis-cussed in detail by the ICC as well as by the groups relied on by the ICC for technical advice. The consideration of this problem was culminated by the ICC at its December 2, 1948 meeting when it passed the following resolution:

RESOLVED, That the Industry Consulting Committee recommends to the NACA the following policy considerations for adoption in the interest of improving the manner of circulating reports and engineering information resulting from development or evaluation testing of an individual manufacturer's product conducted by the NACA:

(a) A fair and equitable policy on the distribution of engineering data on a manufacturer's product should include provisions for prior review by the manufacturer of any reports of NACA testing on his equipment to determine whether or not the design information of a proprietary nature in the report will be detrimental to his competitive position.
(b) Such policy should also provide for the right of the manufacturer to modify or supplement the NACA report in order to insure there is no conflict with patent or design rights.
(c) Such policy should also provide for prior review by the manufacturer of any proposed public discussion by the NACA of information resulting from development or evaluation testing of a manufacturer's product to assure that such public discussion will not present design information of a proprietary nature that would be detrimental to a manufacturer's competitive position.

[725] This recommendation was reviewed by the NACA and discussed in detail at the meeting of the ICC with the NACA on May 19, 1949. Final action was taken by the NACA at its December 16, 1949 meeting. . .***

In its study of present NACA procedures for the dissemination of research information by (a) correspondence, (b) visits, both by industry personnel to the NACA and by members of the NACA staff to industry, (c) NACA technical conferences, (d) NACA reports, both the annual reports on NACA research and status reports on research in a given field, (e) inspections held at the NACA laboratories and (f) meetings of NACA technical committees, the Industry Consulting Committee felt that one further step should be made by the NACA in the interest of effective cooperation between the NACA and the industry. It was pointed out that the present urgency in connection with the aircraft program was such that it was necessary not only for the industry to have the results of completed research but also to have knowledge of research in progress so that when problems arose in industry, the industry could quickly relate them to NACA research in progress for the purpose of arranging discussions by industry personnel at the NACA laboratories. With this in mind, the Industry Consulting Committee at its May 19, 1949 meeting, passed the following resolution:

RESOLVED, That the Industry Consulting Committee recommends that the NACA keep the aircraft industry advised of the research in progress in the Committee's laboratories by means of a listing and brief description of active investigations, prepared and distributed at convenient intervals.

This was discussed with the NACA at that time and the NACA is now working on the problem of preparing a suitable status report of active research for distribution to the top engineering personnel in industry. It is anticipated that the first of these status reports will be distributed in the near future.

Unitary Wind-Tunnel Plan- The Industry Consulting Committee has been kept advised by the NACA of the steps that were being taken regarding the preparation of a unitary wind-tunnel plan for the transonic and supersonic facilities that would be required in the national interest. Title I of public law 415, 81st Congress, approved October 27, 1949, authorizes the NACA and the armed services to initiate this wind tunnel program. In that regard, the scope of the facilities included in this authorization is in keeping with the recommendations that were made to the NACA regarding the program by the ICC at a joint meeting with the NACA on June 5, 1947.

General- It has not been the purpose of this report to discuss in detail all of the problems that have come to the attention of the Committee, but rather to give an indication of the scope of the Committee's activities and to give an indication of its accomplishments. The ICC has found the NACA to be both willing and cooperative in striving to achieve a greater understanding of the problems of the industry. The Committee would like to emphasize that it feels that industry in turn must not be negligent in its responsibilities toward the effective operation of the NACA. If the ICC is to continue as an effective advisory group to the NACA, it must have the continued confidence and support of the industry. .



44. "Policy for Operation of Unitary Wind Tunnels on Development and Test Problems of Industry, "approved by the NA CA 6 May 1953 on recommendation of the NA CA Panel on Research Facilities.


[The language of the National Unitary Wind Tunnel Plan Act of 1949 technically reduced the NACA to a housekeeping function for unitary tunnels built on industry's behalf at NACA laboratories. In the event, however, the unitary plan proved to have [726] exaggerated supersonic wind-tunnel requirements; even after meeting all the legitimate demands of industry, the NACA staff had ample time available for its own projects in the unitary tunnels. This pattern was evident by the time the NACA, in consultation with the industry and the military services, prepared this policy for unitary-tunnel operation. The NACA resisted industry pressure to charge fees on contract work done for the military services, a practice that would have benefited the industry with no advantage to the government.]

Public Law 415, 81st Congress, states in the section which authorized the con-struction of unitary wind tunnels at NACA laboratories that:

"The facilities authorized by this section shall be operated and staffed by the Committee but shall be available primarily to industry for testing experimental models in connection with the development of aircraft and missiles. Such tests shall be scheduled and conducted in accordance with industry's requirements and allocation of laboratory time shall be made in accordance with the public interest, with proper emphasis upon the requirements of each military service and due consideration of civilian needs."
The following policy recommended by the NACA Panel on Research Facilities was adopted by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at its meeting on May 6, 1953:
1. The unitary wind tunnels shall be operated in the public interest with the desires and requirements of industry fully considered and their rights adequately protected.
2. Development work shall be given first priority in these tunnels, but the NACA staff shall be given the necessary flexibility to permit utilization of the unitary wind tunnels and other NACA equipment for the greatest public good.
3. Different treatment shall be given (a) company-financed proprietary devel-opment projects and (b) development projects of companies carried out under military contract.
4. A fee covering total direct costs shall be charged for proprietary work (3a above).
5. Proprietary work shall be scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis, subject to rules that safeguard against monopolization of wind tunnel time by any single company or group.
6. A certain amount of time shall be reserved each year for proprietary testing, the amount to be determined by experience. Initially 60 days per year, or as much thereof as required, shall be allotted for proprietary testing for each unitary wind tunnel.
7. No fee shall be charged for work on projects carried out under military contract (3b above).
8. Scheduling of projects of companies having military contracts or letters of intent shall be carried out substantially as at present. All such projects shall be approved by one of two clearance panels before scheduling. The clearance panels shall consist of one representative each from the Air Force, Navy, and NACA, competent to determine military priorities in the use of NACA facilities. The existing panel shall be continued as the Aerodynamics Clearance Panel and a second Propulsion Clearance Panel shall be appointed. The routine scheduling of specific dates shall be done by the NACA staff.
9. In all development testing, military and non-military alike, the manufacturer shall be given the greatest possible freedom within the objectives of the scheduled program to obtain the precise information he requires, to determine the sequence and number of test runs to be made, and to make modifications to [727] the program arising from the results currently being obtained, subject only to requirements of safety and practicability and the total time assigned.
10. In order to recommend to the Executive Committee of the NACA detailed rules and procedures within the preceding policy framework, a unitary committee shall be established, composed of seven members, one each from the Air Force, Navy, CAA, and NACA, and three from industry. This composition is chosen to give industry a predominant voice as compared with any single Government agency but not over all Government agencies combined. When the rules and procedures have been recommended, the unitary committee shall meet only if and when there are new problems of an important nature to be considered. The members shall be so chosen that the committee will be competent to cover both aerodynamic and propulsion wind tunnels.
11. It is considered desirable that the rules and procedures developed by NACA for operation of unitary wind tunnels be coordinated with corresponding ones of the military services so that the greatest practicable degree of uniformity is established in the methods and operations of tunnels throughout the unitary plan. It may even be expedient to utilize the same unitary committee and clearance panels.

The report of the NACA Facilities Panel upon which the above policy is based was prepared following an all-day hearing at NACA Headquarters on March 6, 1953, at which representatives of the aircraft industry and of the Air Force, Navy, and NACA presented their views to the Panel and responded to questions. The Panel members are:

J. H. Doolittle, Chairman
Rear Admiral Thomas S. Combs, U.S.N. (represented at the hearing by Rear Admiral Lloyd Harrison, U.S.N.)
Ronald M. Hazen
Major General Donald L. Putt, U.S.A.F.
Arthur E. Raymond
Walter G. Whitman
Theodore P. Wright


The witnesses who appeared before the Panel were:


Hugh L. Dryden (NACA)
Colonel E. H. Wynn, U.S.A.F. (Air Research and Development Command, U.S.A.F.)
F. A. Louden (Bureau of Aeronautics, U.S.N.)
Admiral DeWitt Ramsey, U.S.N., Ret. (Aircraft Industries Association)
Major General E. M. Powers, U.S.A.F., Ret. (Curtiss-Wright Corporation)
A. T. Colwell (Thompson Products, Inc.)
C. L. Johnson (Lockheed Aircraft Corporation)
Ralph S. Damon (Chairman, Industry Consulting Committee, NACA)
Kendall Perkins (McDonnell Aircraft Corporation)
Robert L. Hall (Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation)
John F. Victory served as secretary and recorded the proceedings.

Comment is made on paragraph 7 of the policy. Even though most of the industry representatives who were heard by the Panel strongly supported a fee system for work on projects under military contract, the Panel recommended against a fee for such work, and the NACA concurred, for the following reasons:

[728] (a) Since the costs of all investigations of this nature are paid for by the Government, there is no useful purpose to be served by requiring the company to pay a fee which the company in turn recaptures from the military service that has contracted for the development.

(b) Since by law fees from a non-governmental agency are required to be deposited in the U.S. Treasury as miscellaneous receipts and are not available for expenditure by NACA, the net result of a fee system for military contract work would be to reduce, at least by the amount of the fee, the funds available to the military services for research and development. This would not be in the public interest nor in the interest of any of the parties concerned, including industry.

(c) The fee system for military contract work involves unnecessary bookkeeping and overhead as the fee has no bearing on the scheduling or conduct of the investigation. The military services, the industry, and NACA would be involved in sizeable estimating and accounting activities, quite unproductive and all definitely tending to increase the cost of aircraft and missiles to the taxpayers. NACA keeps cost records on all projects and can supply such information when required.

(d) The fee system would not adequately appraise the concurrent interests of the military services and the public in work done under military contract. Under the system adopted, these interests are recognized in the determination of the amount of time to be allotted to any specific military project. Consideration is given to the program desired by the contractor, the priority attached to the project by the contracting agency, the programs of the other military services and of other contractors, existing data, and the ability of the equipment to provide the desired information. The interests of all parties involved are protected by joint discussions in advance of scheduling.



45. "A National Research Program for Space Technology, " a staff study of the NACA, 14 Jan. 1958.


[While the Eisenhower administration was pondering the shape of the American space program in the early days of 1958, the NACA published its bid to become the national space agency. Or rather it proposed to continue its pattern of cooperation with industry and other government agencies, expanding its activities to encompass spaceflight and space research. The NACA would soon be chosen as the nucleus of a new civilian space program, but its transmutation into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration meant that the NACA would be forced to abandon many of the old practices recommended in this document.]

In this technological age the country that advances most rapidly in science will have the greatest influence on the emotions and imagination of man, will have the greatest rate of industrial and economic development, the highest standard of living, and the greatest military potential, and will command the respect of the world. The scientific advances of the Soviets in their bid for world supremacy have been amply demonstrated by the recent success of their satellite program. These advances are the results of a far-reaching plan and sustained effort that poses a most serious challenge to the United States and the Western world. It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space.

This task requires rapid extension of knowledge in regions already familiar, and penetration into still unexplored areas. Major research fields include the following:

Space Mechanics
Space Environment
[729] Energy Sources
Propulsion Systems
Vehicle Configuration and Structure
Launch, Rendezvous, Re-entry, and Recovery
Communication, Navigation, and Guidance
Space Biology
Flight Simulation
Measurement and Observation Techniques


A major, coordinated national effort is required for rapid and efficient execution of these researches. Urgency dictates the maximum effective utilization of existing facilities, knowledge, and organizations.

The possibilities opened up by space flight and its impact on the thinking of mankind are so vast that scientific research in the field should not be guided only by considerations of military application. Conversely, the urgency for fulfilling military needs demands that the research should be strongly influenced by military considerations. It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency working in close cooperation with the applied research and development groups required for weapon-systems development by the military.

The pattern to be followed is that already developed by the NACA and the military services. The NACA is an organization in being, already engaged in research applicable to the problems of space flight and having a great many of the special aerodynamic, propulsion, and structures facilities required, and qualified to take prompt advantage of the technical training and interest of scientists competent to help in the research on space technology. The membership of the NACA and its broadly based technical subcommittees includes people from both military and civilian agencies of the government, and representative scientific and engineering members from private life, thus assuring full cooperation with the military services, the scientific community, and industry. This organization has proved to be an effective national research and coordinating body.

This type of cooperation and coordination among equals, which is traditional with the NACA, is considered to be essential. The broad scope of the scientific research to be accomplished will require the active cooperation of many governmental and private organizations. The alternative to cooperation would be an undesirable concentration of research authority which would hamper the initiative and the freedom of thought on which science lives.

During the past half century this country achieved world leadership in solving and later exploiting the problems of flight. The NACA in partnership with the military services, other branches of the government, the scientific community, and industry has played a leading role in this achievement. The accomplishments of the NACA are known and envied by aeronautical research establishments of all the larger countries of the world.

The NACA is an experienced operating agency with great research laboratories and a favorable reputation among scientists for its effective sponsorship of basic research in other institutions through research contracts. Since the end of World War lithe NACA has been increasingly engaged in research applicable to the problems of space flight and has designed and constructed the special facilities required for this work. The NACA in 1952 formally initiated studies "of the problems associated with unmanned and manned flight at altitudes from 50 miles up and at speeds from Mach number 10 to the velocity of escape from the earth's gravity," a result of which is the cooperative NACA-USAF-USN project, the X-15 research airplane designed and now [730] under construction for studying some of the problems of manned flight in nearby space.

The Soviet challenge to our leadership is of such scope and vigor, however, that our rate of progress in solving the problems of space flight must be greatly increased. The NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology.

Adequate response by the NACA to this responsibility will require a rapid expansion of its efforts. A rational procedure for this expansion is proposed as follows:

1. Greatly expanded use of our applicable existing facilities through rapid increase in staff.
2. A greatly expanded contract research program to obtain assistance from groups outside the government which possess singular competence in specific areas of interest.
3. Construction of needed new research facilities at existing laboratories and at new locations when required.

As in the past, the NACA will need to supplement and complete its laboratory findings by flight research. The capability will be needed to make space flights for research purposes. This will require a launching site and an appropriate network of observation stations.

In addition to the research fields previously enumerated as directly connected to the problems of space flight, an adequate national program must provide for basic scientific research on the phenomena of the upper region of the atmosphere and space. These include the character and distribution of matter, cosmic rays, solar radiation, electric, magnetic, and gravitational fields, and scientific studies of the universe from satellites and space platforms. The National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences should be responsible for the planning of scientific experiments and the assignment of priorities for research on space phenomena for basic scientific purposes. In order to avoid confusion and unnecessary duplication of facilities, the responsibility for making space flights for this scientific research should rest with the NACA. It would be the duty of the NACA to provide the flights and to assist in all possible ways in obtaining the required data, but financial support of the basic research programs should rest with the National Science Foundation.

There exists a continuing need for large-scale flight effort on the frontiers of space technology, using special research vehicles of advanced design. Cost considerations alone make it impractical to separate the scientific aspects of such effort from the military aspects. A cooperative effort is required. Consequently, these flights should be conducted by the appropriate agencies of the Department of Defense and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in the successful pattern of the research airplane programs.



46. "A Program for Expansion of NACA Research in Space Flight Technology with Estimates of the Staff and Facilities Required," 10 Feb. 1958.


[In this document, the NACA projected how it would carry out the space mission that the Eisenhower administration was about to hand it. The analysis is remarkably prescient on propulsion, launch vehicles, and spaceflight, demonstrating those strengths within the NACA organization that made it the logical choice as nucleus of the new space agency. Section 4 is furthest from the mark; the capabilities envisioned for this new laboratory were realized by expanding existing NACA laboratories and acquiring facilities like those of the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal, which became NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. NASA would never pursue nuclear propulsion research as extensively as [731] envisioned in this prospectus. The sections on contracting and budgeting proved to be exceptionally conservative, and space science was almost totally slighted.]





At a meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics on January 16, 1958, a resolution was adopted on the subject of space flight which is reproduced on the inside of the cover of this document. The resolution states in part "that the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics has an important responsibility for coordinating and for conducting research in space technology either in its own laboratories or by contract, and therefore should expand its existing program and add supple-mentary facilities to those now available as necessary."

As a guide to implementing this resolution the NACA staff has studied the elements of an expanded research program on space flight and has prepared estimates of

(1) the increase in staff and facilities required at the existing NACA laboratories,
(2) the nature and scope of supplementary facilities and staff that are required at a new laboratory, and
(3) the expansion of contract research by the NACA.

Recognizing "the urgency of an adequate national program of research and development leading to manned satellites, lunar, and interplanetary flight" the study was directed to achieve maximum augmented research capability at the earliest possible date.

Since the end of World War II the NACA has been engaged increasingly in research applicable to the problem of space flight and has designed and constructed some special aerodynamic, structural, and propulsion facilities required for this work. For example, studies were formally initiated in 1952 leading to the X-15 research airplane project, a cooperative project between the NACA, the Air Force, and the Navy. The North American Aviation Corporation is now building the X-15 and it is sched-uled to make its first flight in about one year. The X-15 will be used to explore problems of manned flight into nearby space, particularly the control of the attitude of the vehicle in space in the absence of aerodynamic forces, the safe return from space to the atmosphere without destructive heating, and the effect of weightlessness on the pilot. The NACA is also engaged in studies of satellite configurations suitable for safe re-entry at still higher speeds, both for manned and unmanned flight.

The research program of the NACA has evolved in the past several years so that over 2/3 of the existing staff will be engaged in researches applicable to advanced missiles and space vehicles in fiscal year 1959. A strong core of research leadership exists in the NACA staff in many of the most critical areas of space flight technology. This study therefore envisions expansion of the NACA staff and facilities under this research leadership at the highest rate consistent with the hiring of qualified personnel. In program areas in which singular competence exists in scholastic or other scientific groups outside the NACA staff, such groups would be integrated into program through the research contracts.

Prototype, and in some cases, large-scale facilities required for space flight research exist now at the NACA laboratories. As the new staff is acquired it can be integrated, trained, and usefully employed in the space flight program, while new and advanced facilities are under construction.

Supplementary facilities will be located at existing laboratories whenever possible in the interests of speed and economy of effort. A new laboratory will be required at a site appropriate for the launching of space vehicles. Systems research on flight vehicles [732] and on space propulsion devices will be conducted at the new flight laboratory. This laboratory would also provide a site for rocket and nuclear propulsion research facilities that cannot be located at existing laboratories for reasons of safety and required exclusion distance.

A major expansion of the NACA flight research program is proposed. Currently many of the problems of space flight are studied without requiring that the space vehicle be launched into an orbit. The technique for these space-equivalent flights is well established; they can be augmented quickly and economically without major technical or facility developments. Concurrently, the flight of unmanned satellites can be rapidly accomplished with extension of the instrumentation and range capabilities of the existing launch site. Propulsion and guidance for these flights can be provided by equipment already developed as a part of the military program.

In logical continuation of such an orderly program, larger unmanned satellites can serve as test beds for research in space on energy sources, propulsion systems, materials, structures, etc. New launching facilities would be required for these vehicles.

The goal of the program would be to provide basic research in support of the development of manned satellites and the travel of man to the moon and nearby planets. At each step the program would not only serve to advance the technology of space flight but would provide space vehicles for carrying instruments in support of national scientific groups investigating the phenomena of the upper atmosphere and of space. For research on large and complex space systems a cooperative program with the military services and industry, similar to the current X-15 program, will be required.

In the following sections, the proposed program of NACA research on space flight, and the staff and facilities required to implement it, are discussed under the following outline headings:

1. Energy Sources and Propulsion Systems
2. Materials and Structures
3. Launch, Rendezvous, Re-entry, Recovery, and Flight Simulation
4. Measurement, Communications, and Guidance
5. Space Mechanics
6. Space Environment




For flight beyond the earth's atmosphere, research is required to ensure the most efficient utilization of energy sources that can yield the high thrust required for vehicle launching or for deceleration in landing, the smaller thrust required for control of speed and direction during flight in space, the high impulse required for propulsion in space, and the power required for communications and for operations within or about the space vehicle.

The high thrust required for launching is probably best provided by chemical and nuclear rockets. The high specific impulse required for very long flights in space is probably best provided by electric power generating plants that operate ion or plasma jets; these power plants can also produce auxiliary operating power. For flights in space of short or intermediate duration (cis-lunar flights, for example), several systems appear competitive: chemical rockets; nuclear rockets, in which the reactor heats a propellant; solar rockets, in which the sun heats a propellant; and ion and plasma jets.



Chemical Rockets


Propellants. Theoretical analyses and small-scale experiments have shown the potential merits of liquid-propellant combinations such as hydrogen-oxygen, ammonia-fluorine, hydrazine-fluorine, hydrogen-fluorine, and hydrogen-ozone for long-range flight. These, capable of providing high impulse per unit mass, yield high ratios of payload to gross vehicle weight. High-energy-release compounds may also be incorporated into solid-propellant rockets. Theoretical performance of such propellants, under all probable operating conditions, must be calculated. The complex analyses require use of high-speed automatic computers, for the analyses must extend to the complete vehicle and its flight missions. Similar analyses must be made of the applicability of free radicals as propellants; use of these propellants is contingent on development of techniques for producing and stabilizing free radicals in high concentrations.

Because of the large quantities of propellant involved in launching very large vehicles, thorough investigation must be made of techniques for on-the-site preparation of the chemicals, for their storage in the liquefied condition (at temperatures as low as -420°F), and for their handling with full protection of personnel and neighborhoods against toxic effect.

Propellant pumps. Effective pumping of low-temperature or highly reactive propellants requires controlling the amount of cavitation, reducing pump weight (pump weights in current design are as much as one half the total engine weight), and providing reliable rotating seals for cryogenic-fluid pumps. Research involves study of pump inlet head requirements and of pump stage characteristics, and evaluation of pumps, first in complete turbopump systems and then in complete vehicle systems.

Combustion. To obtain high combustion rates and efficiencies, it is necessary to study the effects of propellant injection, mixing, and vaporization, of chamber configuration, and of the kinetics of the reaction. It is necessary also to determine causes of and remedies for the destructive combustion oscillations that often accompany high combustion rates. Experimental research must progress from small-scale to full-scale rockets, because scaling laws are yet to be determined. Similar combustion problems exist for solid propellant rockets: ignition, burning rates, temperature, and pressure effects on burning must be determined for various high-energy grain compositions on both a small and a large scale.

Cooling. In the liquid-propellant motor, thrust chamber and nozzle walls are cooled by the propellants; the amount of required cooling is markedly increased by combus-tion oscillations. The effectiveness of heat transfer is a function of coolant-passage, thrust-chamber, and nozzle design as well as of the propellant. Nozzle-cooling may also be required in high-energy solid-propellant motors. To establish reliable and light-weight designs, theoretical analyses and experimental tests are required on small-scale and, later, full-scale engines.

Turbines and gas generators. It is desirable to operate the turbine on the same high-energy propellants as the rocket itself. It is also desirable that turbine and propellant pump be matched so that they may operate at the same speed. The turbine must also produce the maximum amount of work per pound of working fluid. Research is therefore required to develop satisfactory gas generators and turbines able to withstand high-temperature corrosive gases and to meet the requirements of low weight, low rotational speed, high efficiency, and high reliability.

Controls and systems studies. Research is required on techniques and apparatus for control of flow rates, flow-rate ratios, pressures, heat-transfer rates, and thrust direction in chemical rocket motors. Initial laboratory tests employ electromechanical simulation of such parameters of the rocket motor as chamber-, injector-, and propellant-[734] system characteristics. Later research progresses to tests on small- and large-scale rocket engines.


Nuclear Rockets


The nuclear rocket, with potentially higher specific impulse than the chemical rocket, offers a substantial increase in payload for a given gross vehicle weight. The advantage of higher specific impulse is offset by higher engine weight and by handling difficulties. The goal of nuclear rocket research is to approach the high specific impulse theoretically possible while minimizing the engine weight and the handling problems.

Reactor composition and geometry. (1) Criticality investigation: Existing methods of analysis must be modified, and new methods devised, to treat the epithermal and fast reactors that may be desirable; these methods must be checked by critical experiments. Satisfactory methods can then be used to analyze effects of fuel concentration in various cladding materials, of moderator configuration, of pressure shells and thermal shields, and of reflector materials and configurations on critical loading and on spatialand spectral-neutron-flux distributions. Desirable reactor configurations can then be designed. Mock-ups of these on a large variable-geometry critical facility are required to determine the necessary fuel loading as well as the variation of neutron flux with position in the reactor and with neutron energy.

(2) Fuel-element research: Some problems in this area are-

(a) fission-product diffusion through fuel-element cladding;
(b) fuel distribution required for a desired power distribution;
(c) maintenance of fuel-element strength and life at high temperatures and high radiation fluxes, by appropriate metallurgical, fabrication, and assembly techniques;
(d) analysis of the steady-state and dynamic heat transfer between propulsion gas and fuel element.

Although each problem may at first be treated separately, research must eventually be conducted under actual reactor operating conditions, because the temperature level, the gradients in temperature, the fuel loading, the neutron flux levels, and the flow rates must all be approximated simultaneously. There are two ways in which this research can be accomplished: by means of a test reactor that can supply the proper neutron flux level, or by a full-scale nuclear rocket test firing. Both approaches must be pursued. Experiments in a test reactor are more economical, but full-scale tests provide a closer approximation to all test conditions and are an indispensable preliminary to any nuclear rocket launching.

Since the required test reactor represents a considerable extension of current reactor technology, a further desirable preliminary step is a test in an already available reactor of lower flux- and power-density.

Reactor control. The neutron flux levels of the reactors intended for nuclear rocket application far exceed values in existing reactors. These high flux levels, in themselves, introduce new control problems. Typical are those that arise from the very rapid response of the xenon burnout rate to a perturbation of neutron flux in thermal reactors, and the low cross-sections possessed by the usual control materials for fast-neutron radiation.

Pumps and turbines. Problems are similar to those in the chemical rocket field, but generally more difficult. The low densities of liquid and gaseous hydrogen enforce use of large pumps and turbines of many stages. An additional problem is the heating of pump and turbine by radiation from the reactor.




Chemical arid nuclear rockets remain attractive for many types of flight in space. Although launching rockets may be used to furnish sufficient initial impulse so that the vehicle coasts to its destination, a more useful propulsive means may be a low-thrust rocket that is usable for relatively long periods during the flight. Such rockets require long-life engines that are relatively small compared to those used in launching, since only low accelerations are needed. Their higher thrust-to-weight ratio permits shorter travel time to a given rendezvous than do the electrical propulsion schemes; this could be more important than high payload in missions such as rescue operations.

As flight duration increases, the electrical propulsion devices, electric-arc-heated jets and ion and plasma jets, appear superior; these require electric power. The systems which generate this power can also provide the power for auxiliary operations in or about the space vehicle.


Chemical and Nuclear Rockets


Areas requiring research for propulsion in space, as distinguished from launching, are:

Thrust chambers. Low chamber pressure may be desirable for the chemical rockets, since high nozzle pressure ratios are available even for a low chamber pressure. The results are reduction in required weights of engine and propellant systems and alleviation of engine cooling and erosion problems. Undesirable effects may be: (1) combus-tion inefficiency, since low pressures always reduce chemical reaction rate, and (2) energy losses caused by increased initial dissociation in the chamber and decreased recombination rates in the exhaust nozzle.

The nuclear rocket may realize considerable advantage from the use of low chamber pressure. Here, the increased dissociation of hydrogen at low pressures permits the addition of more enthalpy to the propellant without exceeding the temperature limit of the reactor material. Of course, this means that the reactor flow passages must be designed for low gas pressure; the supporting heat transfer studies must include these conditions.

Exhaust nozzles. To fully expand the exhaust gases to the high pressure ratios encountered in space will require carefully contoured nozzles. The required contours may be significantly different for each propellant system, and must allow for the chemical recombination that occurs as temperature decreases through the nozzle. The recombination effects are much greater here than for conventional high-thrust rockets. Extensive experimental investigation under simulated high-altitude conditions is there-fore required.

Propellant tanks and pressurization systems. Lightweight propellant-pressurization systems can replace turbopump systems if low rocket chamber pressures are used. The associated propellant tanks will require thermal radiation shields and refrigeration equipment to permit long-term storage of liquefied gases in space. Design of tanks and of pressurization systems presents unique problems because the tanks may be too flimsy to contain propellant during take-off; they would then require assembly in orbit and filling from supply ships.

Thrust modulation, starting, and termination. Space propulsion will require rocket engines having variable thrust direction and thrust magnitude, and capable of many start-stop cycles for maneuvering to effect rendezvous. The problem of starting chemi-cal rockets under high-vacuum conditions must therefore be studied. This problem, as well as that of thrust termination, may be particularly severe with solid-propellant rockets.


[736] Solar Rockets


Solar energy may be used to heat hydrogen for use as a rocket propellant. For flights of intermediate duration (e.g., cis-lunar ones), such a system appears competitive in weight with a nuclear rocket and superior in thrust capability to an ion or plasma jet. The problems of radiation collection by lightweight, durable surfaces must be solved. A heat exchanger of low weight must then receive this radiant heat and transfer it to the hydrogen,- which is then exhausted through a conventional rocket nozzle.


Electric-Arc-Heated Jet


Nuclear fission energy can be converted by a thermomechanical power plant to electric energy. An electric arc can then heat hydrogen for use in a rocket. This system is capable of providing higher specific impulse than is obtained from a nuclear rocket; the specific impulse appears limited by nozzle cooling requirements. Research problems are electrode cooling and erosion, nozzle cooling, and electric power plant design.


Ion and Plasma Jets


For interplanetary travel with high payload-to-gross-weight ratios, propulsion devices are desired which provide a higher specific impulse than that attainable with chemical or nuclear rockets. The optimum specific impulse for any flight mission will, of course, depend on the weight of power plant, shielding, and structure required to produce this impulse. One promising technique for obtaining high values of specific impulse is through electrical propulsion; that is, the acceleration of positive ions or plasmas to very high jet velocities (3x 105 feet per second, and higher) by electrostatic and electromagnetic fields.

Specific problem areas are:

Ion generation. Various methods of generation must be studied, to determine which method gives high ionization efficiency with low equipment weight. Promising methods are:

(a) contact of propellant having low ionization potential (e.g., the alkali metals) with grids composed of metal having a high work function (e.g., platinum or tungsten).
(b) electron removal from a plasma created by high intensity electrical discharges, electromagnetic induction, or short-wavelength radiation.

In order to reduce weight and size, for a given thrust, attempts should be made to produce ions with high mass-to-charge ratios; e.g., by ionizing high molecular-weight materials or by producing charged multimolecular particles.

Ion acceleration. Thrust per unit jet area is limited by current density, when electrostatic acceleration is used. The saturation current density can be increased if the accelerator length is reduced, but too short a length may result in a scattered ion jet or in electrical breakdown between the electrodes. The geometric designs that may effect the best compromise must be studied; for example, use of a number of small units to produce a given over-all thrust, with the length-to-diameter ratio of each unit sufficiently high to reduce field divergence and jet scattering.

Improved accelerator life and reliability must be sought by studies of electrode heating and erosion and of the application of induced magnetic fields to reduce positive-ion contact with the electrodes.

The extent to which uncharged molecules and molecular particles can be accelerated by positive-ion bombardment must be determined. If the end velocity of the uncharged particles can be made to approach that of the ions, then high ionization [737] efficiency may not be required and a more favorable overall mass-to-charge ratio may be attainable for a mixture of ionized and non-ionized materials.

Space-charge neutralization. The maximum current density that can be obtained in the jet is limited by space-charge effects. To avoid space-charge buildup, electrons must be ejected at the same rate as positive ions and must be made to intermingle with the ions to form a neutral plasma within an extremely short distance of the jet exit. Optimum electron beam configurations must be determined, as well as the best methods of securing maximum neutralization efficiency by use of electric and magnetic fields.

Plasma generation. Electric-arc discharge and electromagnetic induction are two promising means for plasma generation. For electric-arc plasma generators wherein a gaseous propellant is used, research is necessary on electrode materials, spacing, cooling, and erosion. Where the electrode material is to be used as a propellant, research is necessary on feeding of the electrode propellant. Plasma generation by electromagnetic induction requires search for desirable combinations of coil arrangement, peak current, pulsing frequency, and propellant.

Plasma acceleration. A plasma may be accelerated by either externally applied or internally induced magnetic fields. The positive and negative charges comprising the plasma are accelerated without separation, so that space charge is avoided, and thrust for a given exhaust area may be higher than that attainable in the case of ion jets. Pertinent information on acceleration by internally induced magnetic fields will come from research on controlled fusion. Acceleration by externally applied magnetic fields will require high-field-strength electromagnetic coils, and research will be necessary to reduce power losses by efficient coil configuration and by the use of cryogenic coil coolants, with possible exploitation of super-conductivity. Acceleration of plasma to high velocities will also require research on means of producing high-frequency, time-varying magnetic fields positioned along the length of the accelerator. Investigations of segments of full-scale systems combining practical plasma generators, plasma accelerators, and the necessary electrical circuits and generators must be conducted to determine whether troublesome component interactions will occur.




The principal energy sources considered suitable for generation of electric power in space are (1) solar radiation, (2) radioisotopes, (3) nuclear fission, and (4) nuclear fusion. Solar radiation and radioisotopes appear most suitable for producing small amounts of electric power for auxiliary equipment and for sustaining satellites by means of ion or plasma jets. Nuclear-fission and solar energy sources appear most suitable for producing the large electric power required for interplanetary flight by means of ion and plasma jets, and nuclear-fusion energy is potentially suitable.


Solar Radiation


The solar battery is a promising source of less than a kilowatt of electric power. Effectiveness of this device will depend on further advances in the field of solid-state physics; such advances may also provide more efficient thermoelectric energy converters. Thermomechanical processes, like those described for nuclear fission, for convert-ing heat from solar radiation to electric power, must also be investigated. Research must also be directed to methods for construction of low-weight, easily-repaired, radiation-collecting surfaces.


[738] Radioisotopes


Energy from radioisotopes in the form of either radiolytic decomposition energy or heat for thermomechanical devices must be evaluated as sources of electric power. Use of polonium-210 to decompose water now appears especially attractive for less than a kilowatt of electric power; the resulting gaseous hydrogen and oxygen can be recombined in a fuel cell in order to produce electric power. Research should include (1) study of means for sensitizing the reaction in order to increase the yields of hydrogen and oxygen, (2) design of low-weight decomposition chambers and fuel cells, (3) search for more readily available or longer lived isotopes than polonium-210, and (4) search for suitable working substances other than water. Other related schemes, such as the radioelectric cell, should be explored.

The capabilities of the radioisotope-thermomechanical system will be estimated from the results of two other studies: research on the radioisotope fuel cell will guide selection of the suitable radioisotope, and research on the fission- thermornechanical system will supply information on effective conversion of heat to electric power.


Nuclear Fission


A thermomechanical system that uses heat from nuclear fission is considered to hold the highest promise for producing electric power for space propulsion of manned vehicles in the near future. In this power plant, a working fluid is heated in a reactor and is then expanded through a turbine. Waste heat is rejected by thermal radiation from a large radiator, and the working fluid is then recompressed to its initial pressure. The working fluid could be a gas operating in a Brayton cycle; or the fluid could be a liquid that is boiled and condensed in a Rankine cycle. Achieving high performance in such a power plant involves the following problems:

(1) Choice of gas or vapor as the working fluid.- A gas cycle permits use of inert gas, like helium, so that higher cycle temperatures are permitted and corrosion of metallic parts is not a serious problem. A metallic-vapor cycle permits about ten-fold reduction in radiator size for a given turbine inlet temperature; however, the radiator still has the greatest weight of any component in the power plant. Because of its greater long-term potential, the vapor cycle deserves the primary effort; the gas cycle must be carried along, at a lower level of effort, as a reserve solution in case corrosion problems prove insurmountable.
(2) Fluid properties.- The physical properties of promising metals in their liquid and vapor phases must be determined. Typical metals of interest are mercury, rubidium, sodium, and lithium.
(3) Convective heat transfer must be investigated for liquid and vaporized metals, particularly during phase change in a zero-gravity field.
(4) Radiator design.- Because of its size, the radiator must be as light as possible. Rotation appears desirable to provide (a) a centrifugal field for separa-tion of liquid and vapor phases, and (b) an artificial gravity field for the crew. However, vibration may be excited by the machinery and by unbalances intro-duced by crew motions; hence vibration damping to avoid structural fatigue must be studied. Meteoroid damage and repair of the thin shell of the radiator must also be considered.
(5) Corrosion and mass transfer.- In addition to the usual problems of this type associated with liquid metals, evaporation and condensation produce additional problems. The radiator may gradually dissolve in the working fluid, and the dissolved metal carried to and deposited in the boiler. Long-term tests are required to study this problem.
(6) Serious radiation damage to materials near the reactor after prolonged exposure of one or more years must be prevented.
[739] (7) Crew protection.- Shielding against radiation from the reactor is helped by the absence of surrounding matter that would scatter radiation, but is hindered by the requirement that shields in space must withstand abnormally high temperatures. New shield materials and new criteria for radiation attenuation are required.
(8) Fuel-element fabrication.- Large quantities of uranium or other fissile material are used up in power plants generating several megawatts. Burnable poisons must be investigated in order to extend the fraction of a given loading of U-235 that can be consumed. The stability of the poisons and their compounds in combination with other reactor materials must be studied. Materials and methods must be found for fabricating fuel elements containing unusually high fractions of fuel and poison.
(9) Reactor design.- For the large power plant, the high initial loading of U-235 and the high burn-up cause unusual problems. Producing non-uniform energy release through the core, to obtain maximum coolant-out temperature, is another problem.
For power plants of a few kilowatts, reactor-weight minimization becomes more important than uranium burn-up. Novel fast reactors must therefore be designed.
(10) Generators must be designed to maintain high efficiency and to minimize weight of the generator and its radiator by operating the generators at high temperatures and high stresses.
(11) Turbine design.- The turbine would use unconventional materials, operating for a very long time at high temperature and high stress. The best compro-mise between weight and efficiency must be established, without compromising reliability.
(12) Pump or compressor design.- Pump weight and reliability are the principal considerations in liquid-metal systems; novel compressor design is required in gaseous-helium systems.


Nuclear Fusion


When the methods of initiating, maintaining, and containing the fusion reaction have been developed by laboratories now working on this project, the adaptations to flight propulsion will require (a) basic cycle analyses, (b) minimization of size and weight of electric- and magnetic-field generators, and (c) analytical and experimental work on the practical problems of shielding, heat transfer, and integration with vehicle configuration.

Those aspects of fusion research that are directly applicable to plasma-jet propul-sion can be undertaken immediately. These include methods of generating, retaining, and accelerating the plasma, and methods of reducing size and weight of electrical equipment. Advances toward the solution of these problems in either the thermonuclear field or in the plasma-jet field are helpful to both fields. Also, studies of thermodynamic cycles and methods by which fusion can be applied to propulsion must be undertaken, particularly of techniques which will combine thrust and power generation in a single compact unit.




Advances in space-flight structures and propulsion systems are critically dependent upon advances in materials and materials fabrication. The goal of developing optimum structures and safe, efficient power plants will best be achieved by integration of a strong materials research program with structural and propulsion research. The required research ranges from basic studies in solid-state physics, through material development and evaluation, to fabrication into useful structures and power plant components.


[740] Materials to Contain High-Energy Propellants


Materials are needed that have high strength over a wide temperature range and that can withstand highly reactive high-energy propellants. For example, fluorine reacts vigorously with virtually all pliable materials, so that the problems of valve seals and turbopump seals become extremely difficult; fluorine also can be contained only in certain metallic containers that are scrupulously clean. At the other extreme of the temperature range, the walls of regeneratively cooled chambers are in contact with rocket combustion gases at temperatures of 5000°-9000° F.


Materials for Nuclear Reactors


Materials for fuel elements and for adjacent structural materials must maintain high strength at high temperatures and in high radiation fields. Required research includes the development of methods for inserting fuel into the fuel element structure, the behavior of fuel elements when nuclear fuel is molten or near molten, and determination of fission product leakage from various fuel elements. Since high burn-up reactors will be used in space flight, the compatibility of reactor poisons with other reactor materials must be determined. For such reactors, where low weight and long life are primary requirements, careful determination is required of the allowable thermal stresses in materials used in fuel elements, pressure shells, and thermal shields.

New criteria for radiation shielding and new shield materials usable at high temperatures are required.


Materials for Heat Exchangers


Stringent requirements exist for materials employed in heat exchangers using the alkali metals as heat transfer media, in both liquid and vapor states. Both steady-state and dynamic conditions must be considered. Thermal conductivity, diffusivity, heat capacity, electrical and thermoelectric properties, and radiant emittance must be determined for various materials and for various material shapes. Additional properties must be measured for the fluids themselves, in both vapor and liquid states: e.g., enthalpy, entropy, viscosity, dimerization, heat capacity lag, surface tension, electrical resistivity, and speed of sound.


Materials for Electrical Propulsion


The properties of superconductors and their fundamental laws of behavior have direct application in magnetogasdynamics, electromagnetic plasma accelerators, and fusion devices. A search is needed for high voltage insulators and for materials with unusual magnetic properties. The ion jet will require high voltage insulators, with high resistance to erosion, for use in the ion accelerator; the arc plasma jet will require electrode materials with, very low erosion rates at high temperatures.


Materials and Structures for Solar Energy Collection


Solid-state physics research must develop superior materials for thermoelectric and for photoelectric conversion of radiant energy. Stable and durable reflective coatings and backing materials are needed for solar-radiation receivers. Techniques of folding, releasing, inflating, and maintaining inflation of balloon-like collecting surfaces must be developed.


Materials for Engine and Vehicle Structures


Engine materials that operate at thousands of degrees during powered phases of flight may drop to nearly absolute zero during coasting phases; structural materials may vary through nearly as wide a range. Such diverse materials must be studied as [741] metals, plastics, ceramics, cermets, and heterogeneous materials and coatings with properties tailored for use in extreme temperatures, both high and low, and in extreme temperature gradients. Materials for the external shell of the vehicle must also be resistant to erosion by micrometeoroids; the rates of erosion and penetration of representative metal and plastic structural elements subjected to micrometeoroid bom-bardment must be determined. After the micrometeoroid's mass- and energy-spectra have been established by IGY program results, laboratory methods of creating similar particles and of accelerating them must be developed, so that extensive ground-based research can be carried on.


Structures for Launching


Considerable knowledge of the problems of designing for launching has already been acquired from experience with ballistic missiles. The aerodynamic loads and aerodynamic heating of the vehicle are not severe, and this fact permits a light structure. On the other hand, the payload will commonly require protection from even these loads and heating. Jet-reaction controls impose bending loads on the vehicle; sloshing of propellant in the tanks aggravates these forces. The principal problems requiring study are thus payload packaging and the strength and rigidity of tank and structure.


Structures for Space Flight


Vehicles in space have small applied loads. There are no aerodynamic or gravita-tional forces, and vehicle acceleration will generally be only 0.1 g or less. Although these factors permit light structures, there are additional problems in structural design, and these problems must be investigated to keep low the weight penalties they introduce: a manned vehicle containing a reactor can have low reactor-shield weight if the structure widely separates crew and reactor; the structure must resist vibratory forces from crew motion, power plant, and other machinery; solar radiation and heat from within the vehicle will introduce thermal distortions; it must be possible to launch the structure in pieces and assemble it in space; critical areas must be protected from damage by meteoroids, and the structure must accept some erosion and penetration by meteoroids; for vehicles using liquefied gases as propellant, an insulated, pressurized tank must be provided.


Materials and Structures for Re-entry Operations


The re-entering vehicle will be small compared with either the spacecraft or the launching vehicle. The only items requiring safe return to earth are men, valuable records, and specimens requiring inspection on earth. Thermal protection for reentering vehicles is a problem area in which we have made notable progress. The expected extremes of the environments must be investigated, and the emphasis must shift from mere survival to optimum design. Techniques which must be studied more vigorously than at present include internal cooling, film cooling, transpiration cooling, ablation, and endothermic decomposition. Low-thermal-diffusivity materials with high heat of fusion or heat of decomposition, good mechanical strength, and low density must be sought for use in the latter two techniques. For the other techniques, structural constructions must be sought that allow effective cooling, that have low weight, high strength, and resiliency, and that can be fabricated simply and reliably.


Dynamics of Structures


Because most of the large structures in the flight vehicle are of extremely light construction, their dynamic behavior becomes of great importance. The natural vibrational modes and frequencies must be determined by analysis, model experiments, and [742] full-scale experiments (the free mode of suspension must be simulated in full-scale system tests); methods of damping and of separating natural structural frequencies from any forcing frequencies of the system must be examined. The interactions among the vehicle structure, guidance system, power plant, and their controls must be studied first on a laboratory scale, with the aid of simulators, computers, and models; then in full-scale ground tests of the entire vehicle; and finally in flight. Control and stability derivatives and criteria, as well as methods of analysis and operation, must be estab-lished as guides for future design.




The launching phase of flight is characterized by a need for large, high-impulse rockets which are reliable and controllable, and by the need for precision guidance equipment. The relatively high probability of accident with current liquid-propellant rocket systems cannot be tolerated either from a safety, cost, or logistics point of view.

Ground test. Many of the problems of boosting to orbit and beyond do not require flight facilities. For example, rocket propellant systems of high impulse and reliability are being developed in static test stands. Similarly, lightweight structures and guidance components are largely developed in ground tests. Aerodynamic problems such as loads during yawed flight and during separation of stages, high-altitude separation of the external flow by the underexpanded jet, and heating of the base region by the jet are under study with scale models in NACA wind tunnels. In addition, wind-tunnel tests are underway to establish promising configurations for turbojet and ramjet boosters, relatively recent concepts in propulsion technology requiring intensive evaluation of such problems as variable-geometry requirements of the induction system and protection against aerodynamic heating. All of these research areas must be greatly expanded if satisfactory solutions are to be reached at an early date.

Flight test. Some boost problems require information best obtained during actual launchings. The problems include: (a) the dynamic interactions of propulsive thrust, inertial forces, and air loads through flexible structures and fluid systems; (b) factors affecting the performance of guidance components of various stages in the presence of boost dynamics; (c) development of improved ground monitoring, flight path computing, and corrective techniques necessary to the precise establishment of initial orbits; (d) booster separation and thrust cutoff; (e) flight development of ramjet boosters with components too large for full-scale free-jet testing; and (f) flight checks on jet interference effects and corrective measures currently under study.




One of the difficult problems which must be solved is that of achieving physical contact between two satellites. This operation must be repeated many times in the course of assembling and maintaining space stations or vehicles. Successful mastery of this problem eliminates the need for gigantic boosters to put the complete system into orbit in one launching; these boosters would be extremely large and would risk the entire operation on one firing.

Flight paths. Special analyses pertaining to the establishment of flight rendezvous must be undertaken. Calculation of orbits and orbit motions around the oblate earth is a special segment of the Space Mechanics research described elsewhere. Many calculations must be made to find the simplest paths for effecting rendezvous from the launching site or from other sites in use.

The opportunity for putting a second satellite into exactly side-by-side flight with a preceding satellite from the same launching site and with essentially the same boost [743] flight plan is infrequent; the probability of rendezvous increases as the orbits approach the equatorial orbit.

The analyses must determine not only the best times for rendezvous but the additional energy required when perfect rendezvous are not possible or fail because of control deviations.

The additional energy required for bringing imperfect orbits together is a function not only of the amount of correction required but of the time allotted to achieve the correction. Minimum-energy closing flight paths as well as those which compromise energy for the sake of time must be studied. Correction to both orbits may prove desirable.

Propulsion. The flight-path studies are influenced by the type of propulsion system available. The rendezvous techniques with a few large or with many small chemical rockets will be different from each other as well as from the methods of applying continuous ion- or plasma-jet thrust. Studies of the type described will help establish the type of orbit-control propulsion systems to be emphasized for various missions. Even the relatively simple motions of men moving in the space surrounding spaceships must be studied to determine the best means of locomotion.

When ion- or plasma-propulsion systems utilize nuclear energy and shadow shielding of their reactors, the most desirable closure paths may be those that do not expose one vehicle to the radiation field of the other.

When chemical attitude-control rockets are used, an additional problem is to avoid heating of surfaces adjacent to the jets.

Guidance. Satellite tracking and instructions from the ground will probably direct the initial closures. Final closure will inevitably be guided by one or both of the satellites using their own relative tracking equipment and their own computers. Research leading to the development of suitable lightweight equipment is required.




One of the hazardous parts of flight in manned spacecraft is re-entry into the atmosphere. During this phase of flight the occupant is threatened by both deceleration loads and aerodynamic heating. In addition, he must preferably alight at a relatively small preselected site at a relatively low, preselected velocity.

The NACA is already engaged in studies of the re-entry problem. Optimum re-entry flight paths to minimize heating and acceleration forces due to aerodynamic drag are being sought. These optimum paths are a function of the density of the configura-tion, its shape and the extent to which variable geometry is utilized, its ability to cool or dissipate heat, and its velocity and angle of entry. Not only must optimum paths be established but the consequence of error in control must be evaluated.

Aerodynamic heating. Fundamental research is underway on boundary-layer development, transition, and heat transfer. At the high reentry temperatures, molecular vibration, dissociation and recombination, and ionization occur in appreciable amounts. Application of magnetic fields may serve to utilize these effects to advantage. Prelimi-nary studies have already provided important insight into the problem, but the work must be extended to apply more nearly to configurations suitable for manned reentry rather than to ballistic nose cones.

Cooling. The consequences of aerodynamic heating may be combated with various cooling techniques involving radiation, heat capacity, film cooling, free and forced convection, and ablation. Boundary-layer theories are being developed which include the effects of such complications as the addition of fluid to the boundary layer, such as occurs in the case of an ablation surface or of film injection. Many empirical data are required in the area, however.

Development of large-scale facilities to generate simultaneously the true pressure, velocity, and temperature environment, and the gaseous constituents, has so far proven [744] very difficult. Small-scale facilities exist, however, and continuing research is necessary to improve not only the facilities but interpretation of the data from them.

Loads. The aerodynamic loads during reentry not only determine the safety and comfort of the occupant but the heat loads as well. Small-scale studies are underway to provide experimental checks on the validity of current theories for calculating these loads throughout the free-molecule-, slip-, and continuum-flow regimes.

Configurations under study include capsule types suitable for ballistic type deceleration and parachute landing, and winged glide vehicles which can be maneuvered in the atmosphere and landed like an aircraft. Accurate knowledge of the lift and drag is required to fly a preselected flight path. The stability and controllability of these craft during reentry must be established to insure safe flight.

Guidance. Errors in flight path can result not only from inadequate theories or data to use in trajectory calculations but also from inadequate guidance and control. Studies must be conducted to establish the optimum manner of applying decelerating forces to the reentry vehicle in order to minimize the energy required and the chance for error. The effects of flight-path error on loads, heating, and motions must be determined.

Flight. Since many of the problems associated with reentry can be studied only by actual flight, it is important to enlarge the program of unmanned flight testing of the better configurations arrived at from laboratory research. Test vehicles would be heavily instrumented to determine motions, loads, temperatures, and guidance parameters. Having ascertained that the vehicles can descend safely along a controlled and predetermined flight path, the piloted phase would begin, with successively more difficult reentries being attempted. The X-15 flight test program will constitute an important initial step in the reentry problem.




After the space vehicle has slowed to moderate supersonic speeds where deceleration loads and heating are no longer a problem, it must still be flown through the transonic- and subsonic-speed ranges to a safe landing. The capsule-type vehicle will simply be decelerated by aerodynamic drag to velocities at which a parachute may be deployed for landing purposes. In event of a water landing, present techniques for flotation, location, and pickup must be refined.

The winged reentry vehicles must be studied in existing wind tunnels to determine their flight characteristics at supersonic, transonic, and subsonic speeds, including landing speeds. The optimum configurations for reentry probably must be modified to insure safe flight throughout the low-speed range; these modifications must be determined concurrently with the high-speed experiments in order to avoid wasted effort.




A major question in the control and guidance of space flight and the associated atmospheric exit and entry, is the influence of the vehicle motions on the performance of the human or automatic controller. In many instances, these vehicle motions will differ importantly from those experienced to date in conventional atmospheric flight. For instance, a space or satellite flight will involve a relatively prolonged longitudinal acceleration or deceleration in the exit and reentry. How will the human react to this and how will his ability to perform a precise control task be impaired? What effect will this have on the drift rate of an inertial guidance platform, or the accuracy of an angular accelerometer? Secondly, the dynamics of the vehicle will be markedly different from those with which we have current experience; reduced or nonexistent damping will result in highly oscillatory or divergent pitching oscillations which in turn will have their influence on the human or automatic controller, Finally, the controls will in some [745] cases be of the reaction rather than the conventional displacement type, and will probably have strong cross-coupling effects.

All these factors emphasize the fact that past flight experience will not be an adequate guide to the required performance of spacecraft flight controls; furthermore, the desired experience cannot be built up in actual flight, since failure will be catastrophic. Thus, there is an evident need for studying the influence of vehicle motions on a human or automatic controller. This need may be met by using motion simulators tied in with an analog computer, that will subject the human and automatic components to the linear and angular accelerations of a flight mission as produced by the "controller" inputs or by outside disturbances, and by computing trajectories resulting from these motions with a digital computer. An insight is needed into the interrelations of controller characteristics, vehicle dynamics, and resulting flight trajectory.




Flight through space will require communication, navigation, and guidance systems of far greater range and accuracy than heretofore required for flight through the atmosphere. Equipment now available or in advanced development stages is suitable for guiding manned satellites into and out of orbit; the accuracies presently available, however, are not sufficient to insure satisfactory rendezvous of earth satellites, for precise re-entry guidance of satellites, or for lunar or planetary flights. To design satisfactory systems, significant advances must be made in several problem areas:

(1) Navigational instruments for reference to inertially or electromagretically stabilized platforms, or to the earth's magnetic field, or to radio signals from the earth, or to the positions of earth, moon, and stars, in order to provide precise knowledge of vehicle orientation, position, and velocity; and instruments and techniques for combined use of several aids and of smooth transfer of emphasis from one navigational aid to another (particularly in landings) with full adjustment of navigational programs to the capabilities of automatic and human controls;
(2) Techniques and apparatus for tracking from the ground, computing deviations from a prescheduled program, and relaying corrective signals to the vehicle;
(3) Mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic systems for converting guidance intelligence into control operations;
(4) Aerodynamic and jet-reaction control systems for boosters, and jet-reaction control systems for spacecraft;
(5) Integration of power plant control with the guidance of the entire vehicle, incorporating all vehicle stability parameters;
(6) Scheduling of dead weight disposal, of separation, and of transfer from one method of guidance control to another;
(7) Control of vehicle direction, velocity, and acceleration, particularly in order to affect rendezvous; and matching all requirements for judgment to the faculties of the "pilot" (whether he is in the vehicle or on the ground), by extensive use of pilot-training simulators that include psychophysical and physiological effects;
(8)Techniques for linking various navigation and guidance components into complete systems.

Unique design problems arise from the need to minimize mass and volume of vehicle-carried instrumentation, because of the premium imposed by high ratios of take-off weight to payload weight. The same requirements for extreme lightness result in structures that are subject to considerable flexibility, particularly for boosters, high-performance gliding re-entry satellites, permanent space stations, and interplanetary spacecraft. The structural flexibility will result in interactions among the structure, the [746] guidance system, and the propulsion-system controls that must be studied first in the laboratory, using analog simulators; next, on complete ground-based systems; and, finally, in flight.




Research must be performed on techniques and apparatus for transmission of information to the ground for high-speed data processing, for transmission of corrective guidance signals from the ground to an unmanned vehicle, and for communications between the ground and a manned vehicle as well as between manned vehicles. Among techniques that must be investigated are simultaneous use of optical and radio-frequency trackers, high-speed electronic computers, and ultra-stable clocks to perform automatic computations of speed and direction; and automatic phasing of relay stations around the earth to maintain continuous communications with an orbiting vehicle. Basic laboratory research, by use of electro-mechanical simulators, must be supple-mented by field measurements. Optimum frequency bands, and modulation and com-mutation methods, must be determined that will yield highest signal-to-noise ratio and highest information content.




Each phase of the research program requires unusual techniques and apparatus of measurement and observation. Other measurements are the actual goals of flight in space. The research program must therefore treat measurements both as intermediate steps and as final goals.

The program emphasizes that work which can not efficiently be performed elsewhere for reasons of urgency, economy, expense or uniqueness of required facilities, or close interrelation with other research facilities of the organization. This implies that great reliance is placed on fundamental instrument research performed by other agencies directly concerned with physics, biology, and medicine, and on collaboration with these agencies; that maximum possible use is to be made of available commercial instruments and industrial skills; and that the Laboratory's own research is concerned principally with advanced instruments whose commercial counterpart does not exist, and with adaptation and application of existing instruments to space flight research. Some areas in which research, development, or application is required are the apparatus and techniques for:

(a) monitoring of static and dynamic pressures, temperatures, and flow rates of highly reactive or erosive propellants used in chemical rockets;
(b) measurement and control of flow rates, flow-rate ratios, pressures, heat-transfer rates, and thrust direction in chemical and nuclear rockets; systems tests using electromechanical simulation of chamber, injector, propellant-system, or reactor characteristics in preliminary laboratory tests; and final field tests of the actual system;
(c) measurement and control of local fuel-element and coolant temperatures, and of local reactivities, in nuclear power plants; and monitoring of the chemical and physical condition of reactor- and heat-exchanger materials and structures;
(d) control and guidance of remotely-operated devices that must replace human hands and senses in the conduct of hazardous ground tests and in the operation of unmanned flight vehicles;
(e) measurement of such parameters of ion and plasma jets as jet thrust, jet velocity, ionization efficiency, and potential and charge distributions;
(f) measurement of the high temperatures, velocities, and heat-transfer rates associated with the launch and re-entry phases of flight, both in actual flight and [747] in laboratory simulation of flight (as in wind tunnels, shock tubes, and ballistic ranges);flight (as in wind tunnels, shock tubes, and ballistic ranges);
(g) observation of the profiles of fluid temperature, pressure, and velocity in pumps, turbines, and heat-exchanger passages, and at the surfaces of nose cones, nozzles, guide vanes, and vehicle shells;
(h) monitoring the kinematic behavior and the internal condition of the vehicle-the structural temperatures, deflections, and stresses; the condition of the power plant, of the navigational and guidance devices, and of the instrumentation; and the physiological condition of the occupants;
(i) simulation of acceleration, temperature, and pressure environments for testing and for research;
(j) measurement of upper-atmosphere properties by adaptation and installation of nuclear-, optical-, radio-, and mass-spectrometers, magnetometers, electrometers, and thermometers; since the energy density in space is so low, unusually high sensitivity is required to ensure that the instruments are influenced primarily by the atmosphere under study rather than by the vehicle on which they are mounted;
(k) automatized collection, transmission, and analysis of data;
(1) engineering, evaluation, and field testing of complete instrument systems.




Space mechanics refers herein to the study of the motion of vehicles engaged in flight through space. The most analogous area in conventional aircraft technology is that of mission studies. The missions to be studied are those of earth satellites, and flight to our moon, Mars, Venus, and other planets of the solar system. In only the first four might the vehicles be manned. The unmanned flights to the outermost planets might not return within the lifetime of the launcher but nevertheless would be desirable scientific investments. The mission studies preceding even the short flights will of necessity dwarf the efforts which are standard in aircraft practice.


Calculation of Flight Paths


It is first necessary to apply high-speed digital computers to the study of flight paths through two-, three-, and multi-gravitational force fields. The effects of continuous or intermittent propulsive thrust of arbitrary direction and magnitude must be incorporated into these analyses. In addition, the effects of atmospheric drag must be calculated if the flight paths dip into the dissimilar atmosphere of the various planets. This work, already underway, must be greatly expanded.

Measured flight paths with the first, relatively simple vehicles will help determine the accuracy of these calculations and to refine procedures. The first earth satellites are already serving this function; they must be followed soon with lunar and planetary probes which may carry only electronic equipment to facilitate tracking.


Navigational Computations


Computation of the vehicle's location relative to the sun and the planets at various points of the flight path must also be undertaken, using distant stars as references. These calculations will not only determine the design of navigational equipment but may influence the choice of flight path. The performance of inertial-guidance components along the flight path must be calculated for similar reasons.

Pertinent to the general navigational problem is a study of the effect of errors in thrust application, introduced by such factors as misalinement and inaccuracies in thrust cut-off. The consequences of errors in navigation must also be evaluated.


[748] Subsystem Optimization


One vital function of mission analysis is the parametric study of spacecraft systems and subsystems. Even without optimization of the complete mission, insight may be gained into the effects of variations in many propulsion system parameters such as weight and impulse, or even operating temperatures and component efficiencies. Con-figuration parameters affecting structural weight and payload may also be evaluated on "missions" in order to provide guidance in the selection of configurations for ground and flight tests.


Mission Studies


Each mission requires the choice of flight plan and vehicle configuration; these are not independent. Among the gross variables entering into the flight plan are date and time of launch; power-application schedule, including magnitude, direction, and duration of thrust; flight path; and total duration of flight.

The most important configuration parameters from a performance viewpoint are related to the type of power plant used (for example, chemical rocket, nuclear rocket, ion or plasma jet). With each engine type the parameters of greatest significance are impulse and thrust-to-weight ratio.

A basic aim of the missions studies is to find the combination of flight plan and vehicle system that will reduce flight time, increase payload-to-gross-weight ratio, or increase accuracy of navigation. Determining optimal combinations involves analysis of a multitude of flights. Such studies also reveal the relative importance of various research problems.




Space environment research includes the measurement of the properties of space pertinent to both manned and unmanned space flight; the provision of a safe environment for man for long periods of time; the solution of operational problems of final rendezvous and assembly of vehicles in orbit; the operational problems of navigation, operation, repair, and maintenance of spacecraft; and space exploration problems. Means for carrying out this research must include both experiments on the ground and experiments conducted in space. Such experimentation will involve close collaboration with other national scientific agencies expert in the areas of interest; in particular, fundamental scientific observations and research in space will be under direct cognizance of such agencies.




So complex and expensive an operation as launching of a satellite-, lunar-, or interplanetary-vehicle is justified only when maximum use is made of the vehicle. This implies that wherever feasible, the vehicle should be used not merely to collect data about itself and about how to improve its launching, flight, and operation, but also to collect fundamental scientific data that will expand man's knowledge. Reciprocally, such data will assist in design of future vehicles and in planning their missions.

One such group of data involves those properties of the upper atmosphere and of outer space that affect flight and that influence terrestrial phenomena, such as weather and communication. Some of the physical, chemical, geophysical, meteorologic, and electric properties that must be measured are:

(a) the subatomic, ionic, atomic, and molecular composition and density of the atmosphere;
(b) the wavelength- and energy-distribution of cosmic-ray, ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and radio-frequency radiation;
(c) the integrated radiation and the albedos in broad bands of the spectrum;
[749] (d) the distribution of gravitational, electric, and magnetic potentials around the earth and of their secular and random variations;
(e) the conductivity and transmissivity of the atmosphere for electromagnetic radiation;
(f) the cloud-cover distribution;
(g) the micro-meteoroid population density, speed, direction, and size; and the systematic and random distributions and distribution laws of these quantities.

The effect of some of these physical variables on the vehicles or its contents may in some instances be determined by appropriate ground simulation of upper-atmosphere conditions, but in other cases major flight research efforts are required, progressing successively through the stages of sounding rockets, unmanned spacecraft, and manned ones.

Much of the required information will be obtained by IGY-program observations, but these data will require collation and analysis. Continued experimentation and analysis will be necessary to extend, verify, and (sometimes) explain the IGY data.




The biological problems of space flight stem from environmental factors such as nuclear and cosmic radiation, variable gravity, absence of an atmosphere, and alien planetary conditions. The effect of the space environment on nonhuman life forms such as plants and bacteria must be investigated for application to ecological systems and medical problems. The initial research must determine the magnitude of the presently known biological problems, and must endeavor to uncover new problems by experiment and observation.

Crew environment. The health and efficiency of man demand carefully controlled cabin conditions. An important research problem here is the development of mechanical, chemical, and biological means for sustaining the oxygen-carbon dioxide cycle. Development of compact, lightweight, reliable air conditioning equipment is also necessary.

Metabolism research. The reprocessing of water will be an extremely important function in long space missions. Methods and equipment for this function must be developed. Small, lightweight, and reliable ecological systems offer possibilities for continuous food and oxygen supplies on long missions; research in this area must be pursued. Adaptation and application of medical-research instruments, techniques, and apparatus to any particular flight mission will itself require applied research and engineering development. Similar application engineering will be required for such medical techniques as conditioning of the blood stream against radiation damage.




Final rendezvous and assembly of large satellites and spacecraft in orbit around the earth require research on techniques, methods, equipment, and tools. The various manual functions of the crew during space flight and in a satellite space station will require research because of the variable gravity conditions. Special mechanical aids and techniques may be necessary in the performance of navigation, control, operation, repair, and maintenance of spacecraft and auxiliary equipment. These space operations problems can be crudely simulated by submersion in a water tank; but determination of the physiological effects of weightlessness requires techniques that sufficiently prolong the period of approximately zero-g acceleration so that physiological steady-state conditions may be reached. Such techniques include very-high-speed parabolic-arc flight in a conventional airplane; free fall from high altitudes, in capsules; and flight in orbiting vehicles.




Implementation of the research program outlined in the preceding section requires a large and rapid expansion of the NACA staff, modification and extension of existing NACA facilities, and the acquisition of new research facilities. Experiments with large or hazardous systems for space vehicles will be conducted at a proposed new laboratory in a safe location. Other research which is specifically connected with these large or hazardous experiments will also be conducted at the new laboratory. The existing NACA laboratories will be modified and expanded to permit additional research in fundamental physics and chemistry, research on components, and small-scale testing of a relatively nonhazardous nature; by performing such work at the existing laboratories, large economies in time and money can be realized. Furthermore, many of the research areas represent a natural continuation of present NACA effort, and a nucleus of competent and trained personnel already exists.

Construction of these facilities should be started immediately and completed within a 5-year period.



Chemical Rocket Facility


The NACA has a highly skilled and trained staff of scientists and engineers in the field of chemical rocket propulsion. Considerable research has already been done on basic concepts and design principles for rocket components. In order to support a full-scale space program, the research effort on both liquid- and solid-propellant rockets for launching, sustained flight, and re-entry must be expanded. The existing rocket facility, principally designed for work with low-thrust engines, will be used, as in the past, for fundamental research. A number of larger test stands is needed to determine problem areas and to provide research rockets which will more nearly simulate the problems of full-scale equipment needed for advanced missiles and space vehicles. The need for storable propellants of high specific impulse becomes increasingly important when landing and return flight is contemplated. The reliability and storability of solid propellants makes them attractive for long-duration voyages. A facility for an expanded research effort on storable propellants is thus proposed.

Specifically, the following items are required:

Storable Propellants Laboratory. Synthesis of storable, high-specific-impulse propellants will be studied. Chemistry laboratories for the study of advanced propellant compositions are included, as well as equipment for preparing and testing these propellants.

Rocket Dynamics Laboratory. Test stands for studying interactions among the various parts of a complete vehicle or of its propulsion components, under simu-lated flight conditions, are required.

Altitude Test Laboratory. A means of testing liquid- and solid-propellant rockets under simulated high-altitude conditions is required to study problems of cooling, nozzle behavior, and controls.

Sea-level liquid-propellant test stands. Small liquid-propellant test stands are re-quired to study the combustion, stability, and cooling problems of high-energy liquid-propellant rockets.

Control and Instrument Center. A single, central control and instrument building will serve all of the rocket test stands. High-speed recording instruments will be used for studies of transients and for short-duration runs.

[751] Additions to Lewis Hypersonic Missile Propulsion Facility. Additions to this facility are required for investigation of the chemical problems of dissociation and recombination as they occur in rocket nozzles and in boundary layers. Atoms, free radicals, and ions will be produced in shock tubes; the rates of dissociation, recombination, and relaxation will be studied together with the influence of these processes on nozzle performance, boundary layer characteristics, and cooling. A low-pressure flow system is required to study the chemical processes previously mentioned in an environment simulating that existing in rocket nozzles and on missile surfaces at high altitude. A modification of the Lewis 10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Tunnel is needed to extend chemical and aerodynamic studies to Mach 15 and simulated altitudes of 20 to 55 miles. Chemical reactions have been studied in this tunnel at Mach 3. The modification is designed to permit normal tunnel operation at other times.


Electrical Propulsion Facility


In this facility the basic concepts and principles governing the design of low-thrust, high-impulse space propulsion devices, such as ion and plasma jets, will be studied. Because ion-propulsion research requires large quantities of electric power, and because this power is readily available at the existing laboratories, research on other components of electrical propulsion systems is also planned.

A study of the application of thermonuclear energy to space-propulsion systems requires many of the same laboratory tools as needed in the investigation of ion propulsion; small-scale experiments on controlled fusion schemes are therefore con-templated.

The large electric power supplies and vacuum systems required for the development of ion-, plasma-, and thermonuclear-propulsion systems are also essential in other research areas related to the space-flight problem. For example, they can be used to produce an electric-arc-heated air jet which is needed for materials and instrument research.

The following items are needed:

Ion and Plasma Propulsion Laboratory. Small-, intermediate-, and large-scale ion and plasma generators and accelerators, ranging in power from 3 to 100 megawatts.
Thermonuclear Research Laboratory. Several small test stations with high-current electrical service, hard-vacuum facilities, and shielding.
Power-Unit Research Laboratory. Several laboratories for development of light-weight electrical generators and coils, and for study and development of auxiliary power supplies using nuclear or radioisotope energy.
Space Simulation Chamber. A large vacuum tank, capable of being evacuated to 10-6 mm Hg and equipped with a solar-radiation simulator, for solar propulsion studies, solar-electric power unit development, and solar radiation control studies, directed towards temperature control of spacecraft.
Electric-Arc Propulsion Laboratory. Investigations of electric-arc propulsion devices are planned. Associated problems, such as electrode consumption, nozzle heat transfer, and nozzle flow characteristics will be studied.
Building structure and utilities. Because the transmission of electric power in the quantities required is very costly, it is necessary that the test cells with large power requirements be grouped close to the power conversion equipment. None of the existing laboratory buildings can be modified to accomplish this; therefore a new building is required to house the Electrical Propulsion Facility.


[752] Nuclear Propulsion Facility


Nuclear fission is the energy source for the two most promising space propulsion systems. It supplies the power for the generators of electrical-propulsion devices and the heat for nuclear rockets. A great concentration of research effort is therefore required on this use of nuclear energy. Research on nuclear energy sources must be closely coordinated with other spacecraft and advanced missile research in order to achieve the most effective integration of all the sciences involved in a complete space craft or advanced missile. The conceptual and preliminary phases of nuclear propulsion research can be carried out at existing laboratories augmented with some new facilities. The final stages of research on full-power reactors, complete spacecraft, and advanced propulsion systems will be undertaken at the new laboratory.

Expansion of an existing NACA laboratory is proposed to permit study of the fundamental concepts and principles of design of space propulsion systems, and also to provide for the creation of new methods that exploit the full potential of nuclear-fission energy. The items required are:

Critical-Assembly Laboratory. Critical assembly cells are provided for three types of experiment aimed at determining the nuclear behavior of reactors. Cold critical assemblies provide, at room temperature, data on neutron flux and power distributions, control characteristics, control rod effectiveness, critical mass, and other information necessary for the determination of transient and static characteristics of advanced reactor conceptions. Hot critical assemblies are provided to determine the same characteristics at temperatures existing in the actual proposed reactor. Hot dynamic critical assemblies are provided in addition, wherein full-scale coolant flow is supplied. These tests determine the effects of hydrodynamic phenomena, dynamic loads, and their actions on the neutron distribution and the control characteristics.
Reactor Components Research Laboratory. Space and equipment for reactor fuel-element research from initial small-scale testing to final test in the Plum Brook reactor. Supplies of hydrogen, helium, liquid metals, and boiling metals will be circulated through electrically-heated research fuel elements. Loops with circulat-ing coolants of interest will be built and developed to test promising fuel elements in the Plum Brook reactor. A pool is provided for final underwater tests of the in-pile loop with the actual coolant flows, temperatures, and pressures to be obtained in the in-pile test.
Physics, Radioisotope, and Gaseous Reactor Laboratory. A water pool is provided for fundamental research on shielding, research on power from radioisotope decay, and for the study of radiation effects on bearings and lubricants. Laboratories for research in hydrodynamics, electromagnetic fields, heat transfer from partially ionized mixtures of uranium and hydrogen, instrumentation, and fundamental physics are supplied to study the problems of gaseous reactors.
Space chamber. A space chamber with a vacuum system is provided for testing radiator elements for nuclear-electric space power plants. The chamber is located near the Reactor Component Research Laboratory which supplies the high-temperature gases or the vaporized metal for the tests.




The differences between the environments to which advanced missile and spaceflight airframes and power plants will be exposed, and previous aircraft and powerplant environments requires an appreciable increase in materials- and structures-research effort. New facilities required are:

Power-Plant Materials Research Laboratory. For basic research on the physics and chemistry of solids, and applied research leading to development of materials for [753] (a) containment of high-energy chemical propellants, (b) nuclear reactor fuel-elements and structural components, (c) heat exchangers, and (d) electrical propulsion devices.

Spacecraft Materials Laboratory. Advances in space-flight structures are critically dependent on advances in materials and materials fabrication. This laboratory is for research on such diverse materials as metals, plastics, ceramics, and cermets for structural use and on heterogeneous materials with properties tailored for insulation, heat absorption, and controlled expansion. The research results on materials will be integrated with parallel research on structures.

Power-Plant Structures Laboratory. This laboratory is for studies of (a) powerplant structures for both chemical and nuclear rockets and hypersonic air-breath-ing engines, (b) design and construction methods for large, lightweight propellant tanks for chemical and nuclear rockets, and for pressure vessels for nuclear-rocket reactors, and (c) cooling of surfaces exposed to very high heat fluxes.

Spacecraft Structural Components Laboratory. The extreme premium on structural lightness that is inherent in space flight will undoubtedly lead to unique, very-lightly-loaded structures having very thin shells. Research on components for such structures requires a laboratory which will include equipment for simulating much of the significant environment to be encountered by space structures. A considerable expansion in size and facilities of fabrication shops will be needed to support this research.

Temperature-Distribution-Control Laboratory. The problems of controlling the magnitude and distribution of heat loads in spacecraft structures are quite diverse- they cover a range from protection against re-entry heating to balancing and re-distributing the human, equipment, and solar heat loads in a long-duration or permanent spacecraft. Because of the wide diversity of the problems and of the techniques to be used in solving them, a special laboratory is needed to study temperature-distribution-control systems. The equipment will include a large centrifuge, with heat source, for study of the problems of internally removing heat during re-entry. The large decelerations during re-entry greatly complicate the internal heat transfer due to free convection and surface boiling.

Structures and materials research tunnels. Tunnels are required for simulation of the environments of re-entry and flight at hypersonic speeds within the atmosphere. The tunnels will be adjacent to the Electrical Propulsion Facility in order to share the vacuum-pumping system and the electric-power supply. There will be a pebble-bed-heated tunnel providing temperature to 4000°F and velocities to Mach 7, and several arc tunnels providing various combinations of Mach numbers, temperatures from 10,000°F to 30,000°F, and Knudsen numbers ranging from the continuum region to the free molecule, region.

In other facilities high-temperature gases will be produced by a cyanogen-oxygen burner and by a nitrous-oxide compressor to provide Mach-15 gas streams with temperatures from 5,000° to 10,000°F at stagnation pressures of 300 to 1000 atmospheres.

Diffuser for 9- by 6-Foot Thermal-Structures Tunnel. The existing 9x6-Foot Thermal-Structures Tunnel at Langley was designed for structural research on high-speed aircraft operating at altitudes up to about 70,000 feet. The addition of a diffuser to this tunnel will allow it to operate at effective altitudes over 100,000 feet for structural research on boosters and spacecraft during the launching and re-entry phases of flight.

Hypervelocity-Particle Laboratories. These will provide facilities for research on the impact of high-velocity particles with materials of typical vehicle and powerplant structures. Techniques for controlling size-, number-, and energy-distributions [754] of solid and liquid pellets must be developed as the first step of this research.


Launching, Re-entry, and Recovery


Aerodynamic problems of spacecraft are essentially confined to the boost, re-entry, and recovery phases of flight. A large effort in these research areas, directed toward a solution of ballistic and boost-glide missile problems, and toward satellite re-entry problems is being carried out at the existing NACA laboratories. However, considerably more work is required before manned flight into space and manned entry into an atmosphere are assured of success. The solution of the aerodynamic problems of spacecraft requires that several of the existing facilities be modified, and that a number of new facilities be added to the existing laboratories.

Specifically, the following items are required:

Atmosphere Entry Simulator. This facility will provide equipment necessary for the investigation of entry into planetary atmospheres by vehicles of any particular design flying an entry trajectory appropriate to that design. Vehicle motion, heating, and surface erosion will be investigated by using various simulating facilities, each having a supersonic nozzle that will duplicate the density distribution and composition appropriate to the particular atmosphere and trajectory under consideration; a hypervelocity gun will launch scaled models of the pro-posed vehicle upstream through the supersonic nozzle. This facility will provide a natural extension of present NACA research with ballistic-entry simulators and will cover the cases of gliding, grazing, and skipping satellite re-entries.
Hypersonic Free-Flight Facility. This facility will permit measurements or observa-tions of aerodynamic forces and moments, flow-field geometry, heat transfer rates, and boundary-layer characteristics on scale models in free flight at velocities up to 35,000 feet per second. It consists of a shock-heated, short-duration, hypersonic wind tunnel in combination with a hypervelocity gun for launching models up-stream through the hypersonic air stream.
Planetary-Atmosphere Wind Tunnel. This wind tunnel will provide information concerning forces, moments, and heat transfer rates that would be experienced by a space vehicle while flying in the atmosphere of neighboring planets. The supersonic wind tunnel is capable of operating with gas mixtures that duplicate planetary atmospheres. Auxiliary equipment includes compressors, evacuator, and gas-storage spheres.
Large-Scale Hypersonic Wind Tunnel. A large aerodynamic facility capable of operating at very high velocities with Reynolds numbers approaching those of full-scale re-entering vehicles is needed to study aerodynamic performance and heating problems during re-entry. This need will be filled by a 4-foot-diameter blowdown tunnel using 700-atmosphere stagnation pressure, and a 5000°F ceramic-pebble-bed heater. The Mach number range is 18 to 40 with helium and 12 to 18 with air or nitrogen.
Extension of Langley Hypersonic Facilities. Several of the Langley Laboratory hypersonic facilities require modernization on extension of capability in order to study the problems associated with manned entry into an atmosphere. Included in this category are: increased compressor and vacuum-pump capacity for the 20-inch helium tunnel, a 4-foot-diameter Mach-15 air jet of 5000°F stagnation temperature and 200-atmosphere stagnation pressure, a 2-foot-diameter hypersonic nozzle for the 16-inch free piston compressor, instrumentation and recording equipment for the 30-inch hypersonic tunnel and the 20-inch jet, and a heater for the 20-inch, Mach-8.5 facility.
Modification of Ames 8- by 7-Foot and Lewis 10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Tunnels. Second-throat modifications of these tunnels are required to increase their peak Mach numbers from 3.5 to about 6. This Mach number increase is required for the study, at the Lewis Laboratory, of launching problems such as base heating, nozzle performance, altitude starting, and stage-separation. The modification of the Ames facility will aid in large-scale investigations of the aerodynamics and thermodynamics of re-entry.
Hazards Laboratory. The dangers from fires, explosion, toxic fumes, and radiation are very great, particularly during the launching of manned satellites. Research on the prevention of and protection from such disasters requires concrete pads and bunkers, ventilated buildings, instruments, and devices to simulate certain critical loads and temperatures.


Flight Research


During the interim period before a final flight station is selected, constructed, and manned, significant progress can and must be made in both the manned- and unmanned-flight phases of space research. In order to accomplish this, the facilities at the existing NACA flight-research stations must be extended in range and capability.

Extension of Wallops Island capabilities will include increasing the range of telemeter-, radar-, and optical-tracking systems; providing a downrange remote radar and instrument station, a ship-borne downrange station, and launching, handling, guidance, and control equipment; and expanding the Langley and Wallops support facilities.

Extension of Edwards High Speed Flight Station facilities will include:

(1) Precision Radar and Telemetering Range Extension:- The existing range consists of three linked stations placed to handle the basic X-l5 flight profile. This profile will be extended by changes in the propulsion system and addition of boosters. In addition, more advanced vehicles will be operated. Extensions of the existing range and of magnetic-tape data-processing equipment are required to handle these programs.
(2) Navigational Research Equipment:- It will be necessary to, provide an adequate navigational system, for use by the pilot, that is consistent with the extremely high speeds and relatively short flight times involved in space and space-equivalent flight. Research on both equipment and techniques required in this problem area can be accomplished using the X-.l5 test vehicle. Some of the equipment required for such research includes an airborne navigational stable platform and necessary ground support equipment.
(3) Elevated-Temperature Structural-Calibration Facility:- In flight studies of structural problems, it is necessary to measure structural temperatures and stresses. To interpret the results of structural-temperature and structural-stress measurements, it is necessary first to calibrate the instrumentation, as installed in the test vehicle, to determine effects of temperature and loading. A facility large enough to handle a full-scale X-15 wing panel is required.
(4) Flight-Guidance Training Facility:- The increasing complexity of problems encountered in flight research at high speeds has led to the use of analog-computer simulation as an essential preliminary to the flight test in order to delineate problems, avoid hazardous conditions, and serve as a training device for the pilot. A facility such as this will be needed for the X-15 and for future spacecraft.
(5) Recovery Research Facility:- One of the problems of manned space flight is terminal guidance to return base. This problem can be studied in flight with the X-15 airplane. It will be necessary, however, to augment the existing precision radar range with an acquisition radar.
[756] (6) Expansion of existing laboratory building:- Additional building space will be required to house new data-reduction and analog- and digital-computer equipment, enlarged instrument and radar laboratories and shops, and the enlarged research staff required to man facilities described above. This space is best obtained by enlargement of the present building.


Flight Simulation


The control and guidance of space flight and of atmospheric exit and entry is influenced to a large extent by the effects of vehicle motions on the performance of human and. automatic controllers. Ground-based simulators are required for studying the interrelations of controller characteristics, spacecraft dynamics, and the resulting flight trajectory. This area of research is a logical extension of NACA work now in progress, so that the design and operation of new equipment will lean heavily on the experience already gained in operation of existing simulators.

Flight control equipment. The facilities described here will enable simulation of the control problems (both human and automatic) of space flight and of atmospheric exit and re-entry. Part of the equipment consists of (a) a six-degree-of-freedom motion simulator for imposing linear and angular accelerations on human subjects; (b) a whirling arm with a three-degree-of-freedom flight table for imposing motion inputs on automatic-control and guidance components; and (c) analog and digital computers to convert control actions of human and automatic operators into flight-path motions and trajectories and to command the drive system to produce accelerations in response to the control signals.




New and improved instruments and techniques will be required not only to aid in navigation and in control of orbits, but also to provide measurements required in laboratory research. The following facilities are needed:

Instrument Research Facilities. Expansion of current work is required to develop the techniques and apparatus for measuring flight- and environment-variables, and, even more urgently, for making measurements in current research at hypersonic speeds, high temperatures, and low pressures.
Space Navigation Systems Laboratory. Obtaining the extreme navigational and guidance accuracy required for many phases of space flight depends strongly on having adequate reference instruments. Research on systems for space-flight-path selection and navigation requires a laboratory for research in analog information transfer, optical and electronic measurement, optical- and electronic-system cou-pling and simulation, and servo-, gyro-, and generator-performance.




Additional computing, data-collecting, and data-processing facilities are required for performing the intricate computations associated with selection of orbits and flight paths for space vehicles. Characteristics of propellants, propulsion systems, and vehicle structure must be considered. Human factors, guidance accuracies, and the limitations of communication systems enter into the analysis.




A number of research problems in the area of space environment must be studied by ground simulation before there is any actual flight testing. Typical of the problems are the aerodynamic and thermodynamic phenomena that occur in the slip-flow and free-molecule-flow regimes with ionized, dissociated, non-equilibrium gases. The NACA has done research in these fields by using such techniques as hypervelocity [757] guns, shock tubes, and electric-arc-heated tunnels. This effort must be expanded; hence additional research facilities to extend our present capabilities are required.

Magnetogasdynamics Laboratories are required, wherein ionized gases and plasmas will be used to study magnetogasdynamic effects that occur in flight through space and in planetary atmospheres. Studies will be made of the effects of magnetic .fields on gas flow and of the effects of this gas flow on boundary layers, heat transfer, and deceleration. This research will also aid studies of communication and tracking.




A new NACA laboratory is necessary to provide the extensive facilities . . . for flight research and for research on large-scale components and complete spacecraft systems; these facilities also provide for necessary preflight tests of full-scale equipment. Some of the required ground facilities are of such a hazardous nature that none of the existing NACA laboratory sites provides adequate safety.

Sufficient supporting facilities are included to make the new laboratory self-sufficient, with both the facilities and the atmosphere for a well-balanced, integrated research effort.


Chemical-Rocket Research Facilities


The chemical-rocket research must include both use of high-energy propellants and scaling up of efficient, small-scale rocket designs to sizes suitable for launching. The necessary background for design of large rockets will be provided by preliminary research on small rockets. Both liquid and solid propellants will be studied. Complete, full-scale vehicles, that include the rocket motors, tanks, controls, turbines, and pumps, will be tested for the full duration of thrust production.

The chemical rocket research facilities . . . must be located in an isolated area with about 25-mile exclusion distance. In the prevailing downwind direction, an even larger exclusion distance should be provided, if possible, for dissipation of toxic rocket exhaust gases. The site must be large enough to allow one or two miles between large test stands, and several thousand feet between small test stands.

Large-scale chemical-rocket facilities. Each of several vertical test stands will be capable of testing a complete vehicle and its propulsion system in either single- or multi-stage versions. Both liquid- and solid-propellant motors will be tested. Supporting facilities for each stand are a water supply for cooling the jet and the flame deflector; an expendable building for supplies, tools, operating equipment, and vehicle assembly; an explosion-proof, concrete instrument vault at the test stand; and a remotely located control and instrument room. These stands will vary in their thrust capacity from 1,000,000 to 250,000 pounds. Some of these stands will use the turbopump propellant-feed system of the final vehicle; others will have a pressurized propellant system for testing the thrust chamber alone. All of these stands will exhaust directly to the atmosphere . . . . One of these stands will be equipped with an ejector for simulating altitude operation of the rocket with an exit pressure of 0.1 atmosphere. Another stand will be for studying vehicle systems under dynamic conditions. . .

This stand will incorporate a "soft mounting" in order to simulate the airborne condition of the vehicle. Vibrators will dynamically excite the vehicle while it is sus-pended in the soft mounting. Later modifications of this stand will allow "tethered flight" for even more realistic dynamic studies.

[758] Small-scale chemical-rocket facilities. Small-scale rocket test cells . will be built for studies of gas generators, liquid-propellant injectors, thrust chambers, flow-control systems, and exhaust nozzles. They will have a maximum capacity of 20,000 pounds thrust. The cells will be designed for operation with fluorine and hydrogen, although other propellants, including solids, may also be used. Additional cells will be in a remote area for tests with ozone. All will be equipped with ejector systems for research at simulated high-altitude conditions.

Fuel-pump research facility. This building . . . . is for testing full-scale pumps for hydrogen, ammonia, hydrazine, and other fuels; reduced-scale hydrogen pumps for the nuclear rocket may also be tested here. Liquid hydrogen will be pumped directly from a low-pressure tank car into a high-pressure tank car. Gas turbines, operating with liquid-propellant gas generators, will be used to drive the pump rigs. One cell will be capable of testing turbopump units to study pump-turbine matching problems. A common control and instrument room will be located some distance from the cells.

Oxidant-pump research facility. Test cells of this building . . . each contain a pump stand, a gas turbine, a liquid-propellant hot-gas generator with its associated plumbing, a pump supply tank and the necessary piping. These cells will be devoted primarily to studies of fluorine pumps, but other oxidants may be investigated as the need arises. One cell will be capable of testing turbopump units for studies of pump-turbine matching problems. Fluorine will be recirculated from the pump outlet, through a liquid-nitrogen heat exchanger, and back to the supply tank. The pump will be housed in a small, metal-lined vault. A single control and instrument room will be located some distance from the cells.

Turbine and gas-generator research facility. In this building . . . gas generators using high-energy propellants will be studied under both sea-level and high-altitude condi-tions. Turbine studies will include evaluation of experimental turbines and fundamental aerodynamic design studies of high-work-capacity turbines. Turbines for nuclear rockets, using hot, gaseous hydrogen as the working fluid, will also be studied. A suitable power-absorption device, such as a water brake, will be provided.

Flow-metering building. This building contains three separated test cells, for flow studies with fuels, oxidants, and water, respectively. The facility will be used for routine calibration of flow metering and control equipment used in rocket tests, and for development of improved metering and flow-control equipment. Each cell will be provided with a supply tank and a receiver tank. The supply tank will be pressurized with high-pressure gas.

Operations and data-reduction building. This building will contain offices for research engineers and supporting professional staff, and for data-reduction equipment and its required operating personnel.

Chemistry laboratory. This laboratory will supply routine chemical analyses of propellants, pressurizing gases, and other materials for the Chemical-Rocket Research Facilities. In addition, special chemical analyses and studies of special analysis techniques required in rocket research programs will be conducted here.

Propellant-supply and -handling facilities. Because the location of the proposed laboratory, as dictated by safety considerations, may be remote from commercial sources of cryogenic fluids needed for rocket research, facilities are provided for their manufacture on the site. The facilities include a combination liquid-oxygen-liquid-nitrogen production plant, a fluorine generation plant, a liquid-ozone generator, and a hydrogen production and liquefaction plant.

Railroad tank cars and road trailers will be used both for storing and for transporting cryogenic fluids. A small number of stationary tanks for storable materials such as ammonia and hydrocarbons will be provided, Tube tank cars, roadable tube trailers, and compressors will be provided for handling gaseous hydrogen, helium, and nitrogen.


[759] Nuclear-Rocket Research Facilities


Nuclear rocket research will be carried out on two different systems: high-thrust rockets for ground-to-orbit missions, and low-thrust rockets for missions in space. The facilities for small- and intermediate-scale experiments on low-thrust nuclear rockets to be carried out at existing sites are described in Section III. The facilities for small- and intermediate-scale experiments on high-thrust nuclear rockets, and the large-scale test facilities for both the low- and high-thrust systems, are located at the new site.

High-power-density test reactor. This . . reactor will be for in-pile testing of single fuel elements in closed-loop experiments. Use of such a reactor will permit studying rocket elements at the design level of power density while consuming less time and less money than would a comparable test in a complete reactor for a rocket. A test reactor providing neutron flux adequate for testing rocket fuel elements requires a considerable extension of current reactor technology. For this reason, the hazards of its use may require a separate, remote site.

For such a test reactor, both neutron flux and power density must be increased about 20 times the magnitudes produced by the low-pressure, water-cooled, research reactor common today. Preliminary calculations indicate that three different types of reactor might be developed to meet the requirements: a supercritical-pressure, water-cooled reactor; a helium-cooled reactor; or a liquid-metal-cooled reactor. With each reactor system the ultimate potential would have to be approached in order to realize the performance required. Further study is required to determine which of the three systems would be best.

A preliminary design of a helium-cooled reactor is presented . . in order to give some idea of what the test reactor might be like. Thermal-neutron fluxes on the order of 1016 neutrons per square centimeter per second are needed in the test holes. Helium would be circulated at high pressure and be heated in the core by molybdenum fuel elements. Water-cooled heat exchangers remove heat from the helium.

A test hole about 6 inches in diameter would be provided in a central island of beryllium for insertion of experimental rocket fuel elements. The discharge from the fuel element would be cooled, filtered, stored, and released to the atmosphere when at a safe level of activity.

A hot laboratory is required for detailed examination of irradiated specimens.

High-thrust nuclear-rocket systems facility. Use of large bodies of water is planned for the static testing of nuclear rockets. Obtaining the desired exclusion radius is facilitated by this approach and prolonged contamination of the test site is eliminated.

The test site will contain an underwater platform that is erected in relatively shallow water, like that on the continental shelf or adjacent to an unoccupied island or atoll. The top of the platform will be approximately 20 feet below the surface of the water in order to minimize neutron activation of the platform and to shield workers above the water from any radioactivity of the platform that might remain from a previous firing. In order to utilize the underwater platform for either static testing or launching, an erection barge, a fuel barge, and one or two tugboats are required.

The proposed method of static-test operation is as follows . . .: The erection barge is maneuvered to place the static-test superstructure onto the underwater platform, with the nuclear rocket engine supported out of the water and with its jet directed upward. The fuel barge is positioned and, after the fuel and control lines have been connected to the engine, is submerged onto its supporting platform. Pumps on the fuel barge supply fuel at any desired pressure to the turbopump. The erection barge is then removed to a safe distance, and the engine is fired remotely.

After shutdown, fuel is pumped through the reactor at a reduced rate and discharged to the atmosphere. When the afterheat decays sufficiently to be handled by a heat exchanger on the fuel barge, a cap is used to close the nozzle exit, and the [760] hydrogen coolant is then recirculated. A mechanism on the fuel barge then removes the rocket engine from the test superstructure and submerges it in the water. The fuel barge is refloated and towed to the engine disassembly area, the rocket engine remain-ing submerged all the time.

In addition to the nuclear rocket engine itself, the steel superstucture is made radioactive by the firing. This superstructure is hoisted off the platform and sunk in nearby water.

Low-thrust nuclear-rocket systems facility. In this facility vacuum-pump capacity will be installed to permit testing of nuclear rockets with thrust up to 2500 pounds and chamber pressure as low as 2.4 psia. The exhaust gases from the rocket will be cooled, filtered, compressed, and stored. When the radioactivity in the stored gases is sufficiently low, these gases will be discharged through a stack.

Supporting facilities required are a critical assembly building for conducting critical experiments for the high-thrust nuclear rocket; a rocket-assembly and pretest building; a disassembly and hot-lab facility and a general laboratory building for small-scale, out-of-pile research.


Nuclear-Electric Propulsion Systems Facilities


This facility . . . will provide for operation of assemblies of. . . various full-scale spacecraft components to determine component interactions. Research on scaling tech-niques will permit prediction of performance of full-scale components from tests of smaller-scale components. Endurance and reliability will also be determined as a necessary step preceding flight. Because of the potential hazards from failure of nuclear reactors, this station will be located about 5 miles from the adjacent facilities, and a distance of one mile will be provided between the various facilities in the station.

Low-power-reactor research facility. Nuclear reactors will be assembled and tested here at low power (100 to 1000 watts) to obtain data on reactor criticality and neutron-flux distribution.

Small-power-plant systems facility. This facility . . . will be used for research with the small thermomechanical electric power plants that will be utilized in early spacecraft. For reasons of safety, the power plant components will be contained in a 20-foot-diameter, 60-foot-long tank; this tank can be evacuated to 0.02 atmosphere to approximate space environment. The complete power plant, except for the radiator, can be studied in this vacuum tank; thus, the tank will contain a reactor, complete shield (not the shadow shield planned for the flight model), heat exchanger, evaporator, turbine, generator, and pumps. In place of the large spacecraft radiator, heat exchangers will reject waste heat to cooling water. Shielding and cooling of the tank will be provided by immersing the tank in a 30-foot-deep water basin.

Large-power-plant systems facility. This facility . . . will permit simultaneous operation of all components of large spacecraft power plants. A 40-foot-diameter, 120-foot-long vacuum tank will contain all the power plant components except the radiator. The hot working fluid leaving the turbine can be fed either to heat exchangers which will reject waste heat to cooling water, or it can be fed to a spacecraft radiator installed in a 120-foot-diameter, 320-foot-high tank. This tank will be cooled by water sprays and will be evacuated by mechanical exhausters to 0.02 atmosphere to reduce windage forces on the rotating radiator, to avoid oxidation problems, and to reduce convective heat transfer.

Hot laboratory facility. This facility . . . will provide four separate hot disassembly and laboratory areas. Its central location will permit its use for all three reactor test facilities.

Full-scale ion- and plasma-jet systems facility. In this facility, several large vacuum-jacketed tanks, on the order of 50 feet in diameter and 50 to 120 feet in length, are used for ion- and plasma-jet systems research. A central exhauster system evacuates the [761] tanks to 10-3 atmosphere and separate vacuum pumps further reduce the pressure to 10-3 atmosphere. A refrigeration system circulates liquid nitrogen through coils to cool the inner tank walls. The tanks for ion-jet research contain condenser plates for removing the ion-jet material.


Spacecraft Structures Facility


This facility provides for research on and preflight calibration of spacecraft and power plant structures. The building includes a large area for research on fabrication techniques and for structural and vibration tests on large-scale structures such as complete vehicles, propellant tanks, radiators, etc. Large, relatively low-capacity loading equipment, radiant-heating equipment, vibrators, and "soft" mounts are necessary research items for the main structural test area. Vehicle and radiator structural tests also require a large, refrigerated vacuum tank.




The launching facility is illustrated . . . for a seacoast location. The 10,000-foot separation between adjacent launching pads is conservative, even for high-energy propellants. The most hazardous operations will be confined to the central part of the site, and the less hazardous operations will be more uniformly distributed.

The launching facility may be combined with the static-test facility either (a) by placing the fuel-synthesis plants at the center of the exclusi9n circle and distributing the static-test and launching stands along the coast, or (b) by placing the static-test stands several miles inland along a line parallel to the seacoast.

A natural harbor is assumed.

Launching facilities for chemical rockets. The launching site is provided with a number of launching facilities capable of handling rockets that have thrusts up to 1,000,000 pounds and that utilize either solid propellants or conventional or high-energy liquid propellants. In addition, a large platform with supporting equipment is provided for launching rockets with less than 150,000 pounds thrust. The site will accommodate more or larger launching facilities if required.

Launching facilities for nuclear rockets. In the section on nuclear rocket research facilities, the large-scale static tests were to be conducted from an ocean or gulf site, making use of an underwater platform, an erection barge, a fuel barge, and a seagoing tug. A rocket disassembly building and a "hot" laboratory were provided at the harbor. These same items of equipment are intended to support the nuclear-rocket launching site . . . . However, it must be remembered that some platform locations suitable for static test may not be suitable for launchings. Nuclear rockets will probably require launching over several thousand miles of water in order to provide reasonable probability that the rockets will fall into a safe area in the event of an aborted flight.

Ship-borne launching and tracking facilities. The technique of shipboard launching and tracking is proposed to supplement rather than replace the shore-based facilities. This operation would stem from a continental base whose function would be to prepare and assemble the flight vehicles as well as to provide the necessary laboratory and logistic support. This home base might be the main launching site previously described.

Advantages of this system include remote launching with complete freedom of location and direction of firing. This permits freedom of choice of orbit, including equatorial orbits not attainable from the continental USA, and also increases the frequency with which rendezvous may be attempted with vehicles in orbits other than equatorial.

[762] Whether launching is from sea or land, vessels still could serve as remote tracking stations, thus providing more freedom in choice of launching site and minimizing the need for locating tracking stations on foreign territory.

Guidance, communications, and tracking equipment, and range stations. The final guidance equipment is not well determined because of the rapid progress in this field. The number of range stations depends on the site and on the extent to which the Defense Department range stations can be shared. One new station should be in the vicinity of final-stage burnout and another in the southern hemisphere, to permit observing the apogee.

Guidance, computing, and instruments building. This building contains the offices of the scientific personnel at the launching site, the rocket-instrument test and development laboratory, and two digital computers. One computer would handle operational trajectory calculations and guidance problems of satellites during launching, rendezvous, orbit, and re-entry. The other would serve as a standby and would also perform data reduction and theoretical analyses of less urgent nature during this time.

Assembly shops. The shop is the largest building in the area. It would have area for work on approximately 10 large rocket assemblies at one time. The final assembly area would have a ceiling 200 feet high, with provisions for later increases, so that the rocket assemblies could be handled in a vertical position. Supporting fabrication and maintenance shops are included.

Supporting facilities. Additional supporting facilities required are a warehouse at the harbor, docking facilities, air strip, hangar, roads, tracks, utilities trench, fuel tank cars and trucks, sea water intake, and utilities buildings.




Research in physical measurements, communications techniques, controls, guidance, and navigational instruments is closely interrelated. A group of four main laboratory buildings in close proximity with one another is required, along with one smaller complementary structure.

Guidance and controls systems laboratory. This laboratory will provide for adjusting, adapting, modifying, and testing control systems used in chemical- and nuclear-rocket power plants and in the associated research facilities; and for similar operations on guidance-control systems. In addition to conventional laboratory instrumentation for monitoring all variables, simulators and analog computers will be coupled to control elements through electromechanical links, in order to permit the complete systems analysis that necessarily precedes any extensive field tests.

Measurements and communications laboratory. This laboratory will be used for mainte-nance of primary laboratory standards, calibration of working standards, evaluation of measurement and communications equipment, adaptation of physical, meteorological, and engineering instruments to meet space, weight and environmental conditions imposed by the nature of the research project, and for instrument research that must necessarily be performed in close proximity to the other research activities it is in-tended to aid.

Computation and data-reduction laboratory. This laboratory will house facilities for performing intricate research computations by use of high-speed digital computers, relaxation nets, or simulators; for automatic data analysis by use of digital-analog computers; and for housing a central group of mathematicians to assist the research staff in short-term data analyses and research computations.

Instrumentation laboratory. In this laboratory, both commercial and NACA-developed instruments will be adapted, combined, and applied to form complete instrument systems for solution of the specific problems of the rest of the Laboratory. It will include facilities for simulating conditions of temperature, pressure, and acceleration to [763] which instruments will be exposed in use; and the supporting facilities for instrument servicing.

A large whirling-arm facility, housed in a simple shed-type building, will be included to complement the acceleration-test facilities of the Instrumentation Laboratory, so that a complete space-cabin instrument assembly may be tested conveniently.




Space operations research facility. This building will provide for missions studies and for research on application of biological and medical equipment and techniques. A large area is provided for mock-up, assembly, and testing of research vehicles, exclusive of propulsion systems, prior to launching.

Space- and planetary-environment facility. This facility will allow simulation of outer-space conditions for research on and testing of instrument systems and equipment. A liquid-nitrogen-jacketed cylindrical tank capable of evacuation to ultra-high vacuum is provided. Alternatively, it will be possible to simulate atmospheric conditions on other planets. The chamber is equipped with access doors and observation windows, and has provisions for temperature and pressure variation.

Navigation and flight-simulation facility. This facility is for research on navigation techniques and pilot training. It will be a spherical structure with a star projector located at the center. A transparent horizontal floor will bisect the interior of the sphere; navigational- and control-equipment and pilot-training simulators will be installed near the center of the sphere.

Re-entry and rendezvous piloting simulator. This facility will provide means for research and development on vehicle controls and instrumentation, and for training pilots for the launching, rendezvous, and re-entry of vehicles traveling between ground and satellite orbit. The simulator is a centrifuge having a test cab with six degrees of freedom, and complete computing and servo-control positioners.




Timely solution of the many problems of manned space flight will require the immediate application of a number of scientific disciplines, some of which are not represented in the NACA's present research effort. In areas such as medicine, biology, astronomy, biophysics, and psychology, the NACA has neither performed any direct research nor has played any active role in directing and coordinating research efforts. In other research areas such as communication, guidance, and navigation, the NACA has used the end results of developments in these fields, but has not played an active role in producing these results or in contributing in any major way to the research effort.

It is necessary that the NACA develop competence in the application and use of these disciplines, and that it support the basic research that will lead to worthwhile developments in these areas. This support, in most cases, should take the form of direct work by the NACA; in other cases, this support can more effectively and economically be obtained by providing the NACA with the contractual authority to coordinate and to support financially the work of other existing groups. In a large number of areas, the end product of this contracted research would be a research report as has been the case in the past. In other research areas, the end product of the research effort may well be an item of hardware or research equipment, particularly since most of the areas of space flight research require extension of previous practice.




An orderly and comprehensive program of NACA research on space flight technology, and the research facilities required to implement the program, have been outlined in the preceding sections.

The urgent need for a rapid buildup of national capability in space flight technology, leading to early flights of manned space vehicles, has been the most important consideration in organizing the program. Immediate expansion of the staff and facilities at existing NACA laboratories provides the earliest, best organized, and most powerful extension of national capability in space flight research. Limitations of existing laboratories as launching sites for space vehicles, and as sites for large propulsion-system research facilities, enforce concurrent construction of a new laboratory. To achieve early competence at the new laboratory, its nucleus will be drawn from the appropriately qualified staff of the existing laboratories.

The NACA will integrate in the program the talent and competence of qualified scientific groups outside its organization, by a greatly expanded program of contracted research.

Estimates of the staff and costs for the program are as follows:

1. The annual NACA operating budget for personnel, supplies, and equipment will be increased by 100 million dollars to provide for an increase in staff of 9,000 and for their support. This increase will provide for expansion of existing laboratories and for operation of a new laboratory. A two- to three-year period will be required to enlarge the staff to the target number.
2. Facilities for space flight research at the existing NACA laboratories will be augmented at an average annual rate of 55 million dollars for the next five years.
3. The facilities and equipment required for the new laboratory are estimated to cost 380 million dollars exclusive of the costs of the site. These funds will be expended in about a five-year period.
4. Research will be contracted to qualified organizations outside the NACA at an initial annual rate of 10 million dollars and, if necessary, increased above this rate as the research program develops.

* See document 40.

** See document 44.

*** See document 46.