SP-4104 NASA Engineers and the Age of Apollo


The draft is the largest educational institution in the world.

Robert s McNamara
Secretary of Defense (1961-1968)
Remark to Reporters, 1966


Chapter 2

Beginnings: 1932-1948


[27] The last time Hank Smith-now a facilities design engineer at Kennedy Space Center-piloted an airplane was in 1959. He was a senior at the University of Florida, but by then he had already put in a successful stint training as a Navy fighter pilot. A Korean War veteran finishing college on the GI Bill, he was in an all-veteran fraternity, and "there was this guy... he was probably 22 or 23, who had a little airplane." Smith's fraternity buddies, no doubt impressed by heart-stopping tales of combat flying, pestered him to fly the fellow's airplane. "I never flew a really light airplane-they call them puddle jumpers-like little Piper Cubs. This was a little high-wing tail-dragger. I said, "I don't know how to fly your airplane."' The owner of the tail-dragger was insistent; "he said, 'aw, come on.' Well, the fraternity guys kept bugging me, 'come on Smith, you're a big hot shot Navy pilot! You go fly his airplane."'

So "one day in the spring, I said, 'OK, well, tomorrow morning we'll go fly, if it's nice."' It was nice, and the two men took off in the little plane. "I sat beside him. He took it up to a couple of thousand [feet]. He said, 'OK, do you want to fly it?' I said, 'OK. Now, I'm going to tell you something that we learned in the Navy. When I say, 'I've got it,' I've got it. I'm in charge. Get your hands off. Put 'em over your head. I don't care what you do.' Then I said, 'when I say, you've got it, you've got it. We've got to do that, because I don't know your plane.' So he says, 'OK, that's a deal. If we have trouble, you've got it.' I say, 'OK, I've got it.' So I took this thing through some 15 angle bank turns-you know, you had to use rudder pedals to coordinate the whole flight. Then I say, 'OK, you've got it.' He says, 'come on, fly it!' I say, 'OK, I've got it again.... Will this thing do 30 degree angle bank turns?' He said 'yes.' I say, 'will it do 45 degree angle bank turns?' He said, 'yes.' I say, 'will it do 60 degree angle bank turns?'

"He says, 'I don't think so! T don't think I've ever done over 45 degree angle bank [28] "I said, 'look back that way,' because I knew where we were going. By the time he stuck his head back there I cranked that thing up, put on every bit of power I had, and did a 60 degree angle bank turn, rolled it back, did another one, rolled again, did another.... I didn't know if I could do it, but I had just enough power to hang in there.

"Then I said, 'you've got it!'

"This kid's eyes were huge! Big!"

That a fraternity brother might own his own airplane was almost unthinkable in 1934 when Smith was born in Oneonta, then a small city of 12,000 in upstate New York. "We lived out in the country ... a mile outside of town ... that's all dairy country." Smith and the other youngsters worked on the farms, putting hay up in barns and hauling and spreading manure. "We went through all that. Then, in the fall, the next big thing was to put corn in the silos.... We'd work from 8 or 9 o'clock until dark.

"We did ... a lot of odd jobs. I worked in the filling stations. One time a boy and I-for several years we took about a half an acre and grew vegetables, and sold them over in the city. We always had a garden. My mother canned and froze and did everything like that.... We grew carnations.... Easter Sunday morning there'd be four or five people making corsages.... We'd be up all night and I'd start delivering about 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning to the Catholics.... I'd deliver until noon-time. I never made it to church on many occasions. In the afternoon, it was plants, lily plants. I had to get all those delivered."

Oneonta was a railroad town, one of those places through which the Delaware and Hudson passed on its way from Pennsylvania through New York State to Canada, mostly carrying coal to Montreal. Smith's father, like "just about everybody's father, worked on the railroad. He worked in the shops area. They did a lot of fabricating of box cars, repaired cars. They had built passenger cars in the old days. There was a big roundhouse there where they fixed locomotives.... We used to go down and play on the trains . . . in the empty box cars. Dad used to take us every once in a while down to the big old roundhouse where they repaired things, and if they wanted to move it around, we'd get on and watch it go around." Smith was impressed by the locomotives, "those big powerful things. I always can remember the filthiness of them, how dirty everything was.

"At one time [Smith's father] worked with his hands. Then ... in later years, he ran the storeroom, handling parts and materials. He ran it, kept it stocked, and serviced it." While his mother was mostly a homemaker, she had gone "to a little business school" and worked occasionally as "a legal secretary for the various attorneys around my home town ... back then, to make ends meet."

Going to college had become, by the time Smith was growing up, the normal expectation of Oneonta's "solid" families. "We'd all go to college; we'd all graduate.... If you were a good student, you went on to college." The expectation of a college education had already begun to work its divisions on the town's high school students. "There were three curriculums: there were the guys who were jocks-did the PE [physical education] stuff, and shop. They also had business courses." And then, "for the good students," there was the precollege curriculum, in which students took mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. Smith was a good [29] student, and he "loved math." His father and mother "were eager for me to go to RPI [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute]," and Smith, too, "always wanted to go to RPI, [to] get an engineering degree there."

But he never made it to RPI. Instead, he went to one of New York State's two-year technical institutes, where he began a course in electrical technology. Before he could finish, he "got inspired to go into the U.S. Navy." Naval recruiters came to the campus "and started recruiting.... The uniforms were really sharp-the blues, the golds, the white hats-really sharp! Big time stuff! ... They told everybody back then that you were the top 10 percent of American youth. You know, like the 'Marines need a few good men.' And . . . the guys that were accepted into that program were good.... When I started in all the testing ... there were, like, 38 guys from all over that were getting physicals, testing, both mental and physical. Out of that group ... seven of us made it.... The rest either couldn't pass the mental test, which I thought was easy," or the physical. And thanks to "all that good farm work, [Smith] was in good physical shape."

He was accepted into the Naval Aviation Cadet program when he was twenty years old. He stayed with the Navy for four years, undergoing rigorous flight training and officer's ground school at Pensacola, Fla. and the Naval Air Station at Cecil Field, near Jacksonville. By then he had become a Florida resident, which meant that he would have had to pay out-of-state tuition had he wanted to go to RPI. Because he had gone into the Navy during the Korean War (although he was never sent to Korea), he was eligible for GI Bill benefits. He enrolled at Jacksonville University-"a small private institution"-where his new wife had a teaching position. "I went two years there.... I took all this pre-engineering stuff, the chemistry and all ... to get all this stuff out of the way."

Two years later he transferred to the University of Florida, where he earned a degree in civil engineering in 1962. He and his wife had "bought a little home," and when it came time to look for a job he applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Jacksonville. The Corps "had started all the design for NASA for the Kennedy Space Center.... In the process, they decided-since it was getting so big-that they needed a Canaveral District office.... So they formed that spring the Canaveral District office, and in July of '63, two or three hundred of us came down here." Smith worked with the Corps for about a year, until March 1964, when he went to work for NASA as a facilities design engineer. "This whole place ... on this side of the river,1 I've seen come out of the ground.... We buried jeeps in the mud-had sand in the hair and face." He never left.

Paul Dussault was always something of a misfit, someone who "oscillated around" a lot when he was young, before he decided what to do with his life. His life began on the south side of Chicago, now in the inner city; he lived in a flat with his mother after his father left home when Dussault was too small to remember. Born in 1932, he led an adventuresome boyhood, watched over by a parent who was both tolerant and "hard-driving." His mother had been an Army nurse during World [30] War II, which meant that he also lived, off and on, with his grandmother. "When I was in elementary school, I was at the top of my class. I got good grades.... We went out and did lots of things when I was a kid. We'd go over the whole city exploring. I think every weekend there were a bunch of us who would always go downtown to the museums and things like this, and ride on the streetcars all over the place. It was cheap transportation. Our parents let us go around . . . when I was about eleven years old, twelve years old, I was riding all over the subways. Then something happened when I got to high school. There was some misfortune there in the print shop class ... there were a lot of other things that go on with people of that age. And so I thought to myself, 'Well, I'm just going to get by from here on out.' So that's what I did.

"I got red Fs all through high school.... I would go about four days every week. I knew if I was absent more than that, you automatically flunk. But ... I always had it calculated right down to the last day. So you could miss 20 percent of the time and still pass.... I would take off every Friday. [Mother] knew I was messing around and she knew I was a lot smarter than that. I don't think she was too worried. She figured I'd straighten out. I was ... interested in something different than everybody else.... I've always been interested in airplanes ... I used to work on model airplanes. And when I got to high school . . . I got interested in World War I airplanes." So on the days when he skipped school, Dussault scoured old magazine stores for flying magazines from the 1930s and built airplanes. Everybody else was "interested in World War II airplanes . . . but I wanted to go back further, because this was something that wasn't so well known.... I used to-rather than work with kits and stuff like that-I'd rather make my own drawings and work from there and build them up.... I would work with the whole structure of the airplane.... They didn't fly very well.... They were too heavy; I built them strong.... But I had a lot of fun building them."

Dussault did his calculations right and managed to graduate from high school and enter a "junior college anybody could get in in those days. I was there for a couple of weeks and decided I didn't want to do that either.... I was playing on a basketball team, and . .. I was also working in this hospital [as an orderly] where my mother was the head nurse.... I just went there because there were a lot of student nurses there.... So I quit the school, I played basketball eight hours a day at the Y." And when "basketball season was over, I joined the Army." By then the United States was at war in North Korea, and Dussault hankered after the excitement of combat: "I kept volunteering to get there.... I always liked the military.... I was trying to make myself look older during World War II, so I could join up." His luck held, and he managed to join "a special regimental combat team where General William Westmoreland was the commanding officer.... I enjoyed the whole thing, because seeing places like Tokyo and stuff like that in Asia was good experience.... I was in the paratroopers, which was kind of fun.... I liked airplanes."

When the Korean War was over Dussault knew for certain only one thing: he did not want to stay in the Army. He tried junior college for a few months, taking liberal arts courses, working "a little harder this time, and [I] got pretty good grades." But he still had no idea what he wanted to do with himself, and he needed money, so he went to work for a meatpacking company in the Chicago stockyards. A brief [31] inspiration to become a pilot for the U.S. Air Force came to nothing, and he supposed that he could stay close to airplanes by becoming an aeronautical engineer. Since the University of Illinois "would, then, admit anyone regardless of grades," he wend there and after two years majored in aeronautical engineering.

At the University of Illinois one of his professors introduced him to orbit theory, which he was studying when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I in 1957. "The people at the University of Illinois did some crude tracking of the spacecraft to pin down its orbit. And we were making some calculations on it... it was kind of exciting." Then he began taking courses in rocketry and design, and decided that astronautics might be even more exciting than airplanes. Two years into the "space age" he realized that he would have to go to the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) to find the "courses in orbit design and . . . planning missions, space missions in the future" that he wanted. He got a summer job with the Rand Corporation, which was hiring graduate students. "They were doing all kinds of exciting things there.... I worked on some interplanetary orbits." He had gone to UCLA principally to study with "this guy ... who was from the old school that had thought up some nice, elegant ways to calculate all of these orbits by hand. But when the computers came along, it kind of put him out of business."

In the summer of 1960, half-way into a master's degree program, Dussault ran out of money and began looking for a job. He found one at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Dussault's career at Marshall was brief. "I hadn't finished my master's" thesis and "people were a little irritated with me at Marshall, because I was working on my thesis while I was there.... I did mainly my stuff, which was on libration point satellites." A libration point, he explains, is "an equilibrium point in an isolated, two-body gravitational system, such as the Earth and the Moon, [which] are somewhat isolated in the solar system. Or it could be the Sun and the Earth, or the Sun and Jupiter. It would not be the Sun and the Moon, for instance, because the Moon is really going around the Earth.... There are five equilibrium points in this two-body system. This is a general sort of thing that holds throughout the universe.... Now, if you place a spacecraft at one of these points, with just the right velocity, then it will stay in the same configuration relative to the other two bodies. So it's kind of in equilibrium with them." The notion of a gravitational equilibrium between the Earth and the Moon has been an inspiration for space colony enthusiasts, who have proposed locating colonies at libration points.2

Dussault mailed his thesis to UCLA and then decided to become a mathematician. He returned to the University of Illinois and "did almost all the course work for a degree in mathematics, but I didn't like the pure mathematics courses. I despised them.... And I didn't take linear algebra and real variables. Those awful things. I couldn't take that stuff at all." Again he ran out of money. He found work for a summer at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory. "And you know, you get out there in the real world and things are kind of dull and kind of drab.... I wanted to go back to school again."

During his last year at the University of Illinois, Dussault had become "obsessed with one subject-general relativity theory and cosmology. I really got into the thing, and all of the mathematics that they had in it. I took courses in tensor [32] calculus ... it had so many physical applications, I really liked it. So I thought 'I'll try to get into mathematics up at Berkeley."' On his way back to California he made a detour through Queen Elizabeth College at the University of London, England, where he planned to work with a physicist who shared his enthusiasms-and, he confesses, enjoy the company of the college's many comely young women. "I was over there all of three days after going over there on the Queen Mary. It was a nice trip. But ... I decided, 'Gee, I don't like the way students live over here.' It was pretty bad. You live in hovels. I thought, 'I'm not used to this anymore; I don't think I can take this.' So I took an airplane home.

"I had no job, no money, nothing. And I said, 'Gee, I'd better go back out to California and see if I can get a job.' So I just drove my car out to California, and started looking for a job.... It turned out, I got there at just the right time." He found a job at Lockheed Missiles and Spacecraft's research laboratory at Palo Alto, where he worked with John Breakwell and Stanley Ross, specialists in orbit theory. "Ross, at that time, was working on a contract for Marshall Space Flight Center to do the interplanetary flight handbook for NASA. And people still refer to this thing.... So I helped him draw up all the plots ... he gave me a lot of crummy work to do and I seemed to do it with relish, so ... he liked to have me around."

John Breakwell, meanwhile, had become "a professor at Stanford University.... We were within a stone's throw of the university.... Breakwell, being over there... encouraged me to come back.... I got into the school all right, because my grades were good.... In the meantime, I got married ... my wife had lots of money and all I had was lots of debts." His mother had remarried and built up a profitable nursing home business. Between the two women, there was enough money to put him through school.

He completed all of his course work at Stanford but "kept putting off the oral examinations." Money began to run out; he was being paid "a paltry sum," and it was time to look for a job again. This time he found one with a space mission planning group for NASA's Electronic Research Center, located in Boston. "I'd have to go back and forth to ERC all the time. And I had a terrible fear of flying, but I overcame it.... I used to jump out of planes." But as a passenger, "I didn't have any control over the situation. That's what I don't like." He worked for the Electronic Research Center for three years; most of the time he was actually located at NASA's Ames Research Center. Meanwhile, with the help of Stanley Ross, he was able to get a NASA fellowship at Stanford University to complete his doctorate "working day and night, weekends, everything-well, I was really interested in what I was doing, too.

"I had a lot of ideas I had developed in my thesis. One of the main ones that had some applications as far as NASA was concerned was a data-relay satellite for communications off the far side of the Moon. And it involves being in a libration point orbit ... and controlling this spacecraft, because the libration point orbits are not stable.... So I did all of the first work on this stuff. And then I thought, 'I'm going to see some of this stuff used, because I'm not interested in just writing papers'.... I tried to get this started when I was at Ames ... but people just kind of laughed. And there were scientific applications also, putting a spacecraft in a halo orbit about the [33] Sun and the Earth where it could monitor the solar wind as it came in towards the Earth.... I took that [idea] to some of the space science guys at Ames ... and they said, 'Nah, we're not interested in that'.... I said, 'Hey, you can put it in the tail of the Earth and just leave it there all the time.' 'Nah, we aren't interested in that.' Most of the people that you find working at NASA are specialists in one thing. And they don't seem to want to know what anybody else is doing. The one thing I did get with my jumping around in different areas is, I have a pretty good background in physics and space science and mathematics and engineering. So [it was the] perfect thing for a systems engineer coming into NASA, and then all my model airplane work early on, when I get into the spacecraft systems, it's the same type of thing."

Once at the Electronic Research Center, Dussault discovered that "they weren't interested in space science, but they were interested in the communications on the far side of the moon. And the lunar landings were taking place around that time [and] the orbiting of the Moon. And it became pretty obvious that they were having problems communicating with these guys on the far side. So I thought, 'Gee, I'm in NASA now, I'm going to start writing letters.' So I wrote a letter to George Low, saying, 'Hey, you ought to worry about the safety problem here, you know'.... He wasn't too happy getting it. 'Who is this upstart telling me I should do something different?"' Dussault got "a very short reply, just 'Thanks for your information; we'll file it somewhere.' The people at the Electronic Research Center (ERC) were pretty interested in this.... But nobody took ERC very seriously; that place was the outer edges of the NASA system."

NASA's Electronic Research Center was closed down in 1969, and its facilities transferred to the Department of Transportation. Dussault, who (along with his wife) had not liked living in Boston anyway, had to look elsewhere for work. Finally he found a place for himself at Goddard Space Flight Center, where there was some interest in a lunar communications satellite. That interest was short lived, but Dussault stayed on at Goddard, continuing to work out his ideas in the development of trajectories for unmanned satellites.

George Sieger, like Paul Dussault, was left fatherless as a small boy and also marvels over the freedom for adventure that meant when he was growing up. World War II not only provided his mother an occupation and an income (as it had Dussault's mother), but exposed him to an early and lasting enthusiasm: airplanes. Sieger was born in Toledo, Ohio, where his mother operated a boarding house to support herself, George, and his two sisters. There she sheltered enlisted men (and, after the war, veterans) as they passed through town. There were "steam-fitters who worked at the local refineries. We had a semi-pro basketball team in there. We had country 'n western singers.... They'd go through and stay anywhere from a couple of days to weeks at a time," remembers Sieger. "After they would leave, they would send various packages, mementos, stuff that they had gotten overseas.... So I had a Continuous source of everything from war relics to tons of balsa wood-literally huge boxes of balsa wood.... A couple of the people that we had got me interested [34] in modeling various airplanes.... They'd send me aircraft recognition manuals, and I became very interested in the military services, and in particular, flying."

The self-confidence he would later need hovering over the controls at mission operations at Johnson Space Center during an Apollo mission came to him as a boy. "It came from the fact that to a great extent I was on my own to pick and choose and make my decisions from a very early age. I used to drive my mother nuts. One day, I'd be there coming home from high school." Then "I'd have a couple of days off from work, and I'd hitch-hike to see the air races-say, 'Hi, Mom, I'm going!' Christ, if my kids did that to me today, I'd have cardiac arrest!"

When Sieger "was in late grade school and early high school, I was ... building my own airplanes. Originally, I started off from kits, and found out that the kits left a lot to be desired. I had [acquired! a hard and practicable knowledge of aerodynamics, just in the process of building various airplanes. And I finally came to the point where I started designing my own airplanes." His first flight happened when he was a teenager; a brother-in-law took him to Franklin Field, where he had the first of many flights in "an old Piper J-2 Cub." Sieger's interest in airplanes and flying readily transferred itself to spaceflight, as he began to devour, in the 1940s, articles by "the Wernher von Brauns and the Willy Leys who [had] written in several of- I guess, at that time, what was considered pulp magazines ... those were the only magazines that would publish some of their far-out thoughts."

By his senior year in high school at Toledo Central Catholic, Sieger was ready for an imaginary venture into space, writing for his first term paper "a thesis ... on going to the Moon, where I had taken some of the more advanced thinking of the von Brauns and the Willy Leys and, to a great extent, sketched out the basic type machine that would go to the Moon. I was naive enough to believe it could be as simple as a three-stage rocket.3 I designed all of the interior portions of the rocket.... The unfortunate thing is, I never thought how to get back.... And when I was in the Air Force over in Formosa, in October of '57, I also had the opportunity to see the impact of Sputnik I on people in the Far East. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be associated with space at the earliest opportunity I could. But at the same time, I was also interested in aircraft flying."

High school had been especially important to Sieger. "They had an extremely good engineering school associated with [it] ... a coop program, where, as you finished your second year of drafting, you then picked a direction, whether you would go into the mechanical side ... the surveying side ... the electrical side. They had several good instructors, who turned me on to ... looking forward to going to college. I also had some fine chemistry and physics teachers." He would not be the first, nor would he be the last, youngster to be taken under the wing of a dedicated and enterprising teacher determined to live and act the pieties of a democratic American education.

Things were tight in the Sieger household as George, his mother, and two sisters all worked to make ends meet and have enough left over for the sisters to attend nursing school. For Sieger, the fruits of hard work turned into a mixed blessing. On one hand, he earned two scholarships-one to the U.S. Naval Academy, and the other to a Naval ROTC program at Notre Dame. But "I had been carrying several jobs [35] throughout,, high school, including a job "at the A & P warehouses, and the standard fare down there was ... a quart of chocolate milk and some brownies for supper every night when you got home from school; I had been doing that for a couple of years in a row." The result was diet-induced diabetic symptoms, and he "flunked both of [the] physicals" required by the Navy.

Undaunted by this reverse in the fortunes of one of her charges, Sieger's history teacher at Central Catholic, "Sister Mary Mark ... gave me the encouragement to go off and believe that I could get through college on my own. She ... kept me going on.... My father was a World War I veteran, and she had done enough research to find out that ... the State of Ohio Elks Association provided funding for schooling for [children of l deceased veterans of World War I." Sieger won a modest scholarship from the Elks-"it was five hundred dollars a year; in the early '50s, that was a hell of a lot of money"-which he took to begin work on a B.S. degree program at Parks College in East St. Louis, Ill. Parks was one of the few aviation schools in the country that offered a B.S. degree, and Sieger was keen to get into a U.S. Air Force aviation training program, which required one year of college. His sisters would work successfully with him to repair his diet, so he could pass his physical. But there was more to Parks College than convenience. "I liked their basic philosophy-that in order to graduate from school you had to be able to design an airplane, build an airplane, and fly an airplane.... As you were approaching the end of your curriculum, you would get into a two-year design project where you would actually take and build that ... airplane at Parks College."

He finished work for his B.S. degree in three years and in 1954 applied for and received his appointment for Air Force flight training. During the nine-month hiatus between graduation and his reporting date, he worked for McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft at Lambert Field in St. Louis. There he learned "an awful lot about aircraft flight test data reduction [working on] one of the first of the true supersonic airplanes, the F-101A, [and] the XV-1 Convertaplane, which was a pulsejet-driven helicopter.', In the spring of 1955 he finally began his flight training for the U.S. Air Force, graduating from basic to propellor and then jet-driven aircraft before being assigned to a fighter squadron. It was during that training period that he met another person who would make a large difference in his life: Morris Coleman. "He was a barnstormer, crop duster, and flight instructor. He taught you an awful lot, not only about flying, but about people. And I think he was very instrumental in developing a large amount of my attitudes [about] working with people.... His philosophy in dealing with your crew chief was one of the most instrumental ... because the crew chiefs the guy who is ultimately responsible for you, your ass, and your airplane. You take good care of him and he'll take good care of you.... You've got to earn respect, so right off the bat, you proceed to earn it. He also taught me to fly."

Sieger was attached to the 13th Air Force and sent to Korea to fly F-86s. "We got an Opportunity to fly all over the Far East.... We ranged down into Okinawa, Formosa; we got down into the Philippines.... We were all over in Thailand, and we got an opportunity to see the Far East.... It was the best flying in the world." Flying tankers (what the Air Force evidently had in mind for him next) would have been too much of a let-down; Sieger left active duty and returned to McDonnell-Douglas [36] in St. Louis. He had hoped to get a slot as a test pilot, but "at that time they were knee deep m pilot slots, so I picked up a flight test engineering slot." He began work for McDonnell, about 1958, at Holloman Air Force Base working on F-101B and F-102B aircraft and on McDonnell's new missile program. For two years he worked for McDonnell, learning what he could from the experience of "hands-on operational engineering."

By 1960 NASA's Space Task Group, newly formed at Langley Research Cent to orchestrate the Mercury-the first American man in space'-program, was advertising in Aviation Week for capable young men with operational engineering experience. Sieger applied and was accepted. He soon found himself working in the control center at Cape Canaveral during the Mercury launches. In time, millions around the world would see the back of his head as he peered at display screens or bent over controls at NASA's mission control in Houston; few were aware of the cool-headed temperament needed to talk men-however much of the "right stuff" they might have-through the perils of the remote and unforgiving sea of space.

The Southern Railway passes along the eastern slopes of Virginia's Blue Ridge mountains and crosses the James River at Lynchburg, the city where Ed Beckwith was born in the worst year of the Depression. Surrounded by the rolling hills of some of the loveliest country in the East, home of Virginia's fabled gentry, Lynchburg has struggled off and on to sustain its mixed community of small factories, merchants bankers, rail entrepot, and local and neighboring colleges. The city itself ushers the southward bound toward the Piedmont's small manufacturing region that spreads loosely from Danville down through North Carolina, a result of the water power that flows east from the mountains. "My birthday," says Beckwith, still sensitive to the deprivations of poverty, "is 1933, which indicates probably a small family. I was the only child. Of the people I knew, almost all were either single, or only had one sibling. .. We became close to one another . . . through the family." The two principal industries in Lynchburg at that time employed Beckwith's parents. "Father was with a railroad express company ... he was always called 'the extra board,' which meant that he did a job each week or so, looking at the board to see which jobs were available according to seniority. Sometimes he rode the mail car or freight car to various cities from Lynchburg. Sometimes he just handled freight." Beckwith's mother worked in the Craddock Terry shoe factory.

"I wanted to be a pilot.... Across the street from me lived Woody Edmondson who was the national aerobatics champion for several years during the war.... I was just a little kid. I knew him-not well.... I could see him drive in and drive out." And so Beckwith became enamored of airplanes. "I was the first kid on the block to build stick models and that kind of thing.... Back in those days, you were fortunate to find a balsa wood kit. They were pine, because balsa was being used by the military in World War II.... I was in sixth grade in school; I remember carrying my first model to the auction and auctioning it off. It was very popular, and it went very quickly.... I was excited."

[37] Beckwith had finished high school and begun college at Lynchburg College when disaster struck his family. "My parents both were in an automobile accident d neither worked for a while. I stopped school and went to work at Craddock Terry.. . I nailed on shoe heels." However, a friend of the family who knew of Beckwith's enthusiasm for airplane model building suggested the NACA's apprenticeship program at Langley Research Center near Hampton, across the James River from Newport News. Beckwith applied, and after hardly a month of nailing heels into shoes at Craddock Terry, Beckwith began work at Langley m June 1953. '`Immediately I wanted to get into the model shop.... Of course it was filled up. I went into the sheet metal shop."

The NACA also helped Beckwith finish college. Under its cooperative education program, he returned to school at the Norfolk Division of William and Mary, and at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, while he was working at Langley and accumulating credit toward an advance in grade and salary. His college studies under the coop program were a "straightforward [curriculum] in aeronautical engineering.... The only thing that the coops did not have to do ... during those days, was-for one English course we were allowed to substitute reports that we had to write back at NACA.... We didn't get any credit for it; we just didn't have to take it. "During the coop plan, each time you came back to work after spending a quarter at school, you went to a different organization.... During those early days, coops were cheap labor, so we spent a time in the sheet metal shop.... I had already spent a year there, [anal in the machine shop, the wood shop-which is the model maintenance shop; in the instrument research division, in which we used to calibrate instruments ... and then, after those had been covered, you went into some research organization-hypersonics, subsonics, whatever."

Finally, in 1958, Beckwith earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering. "In my travels around [Langley] field . . . working at various places, I learned to know people.... I was fortunate enough to be able to get to enough places in engineering-besides research scientist-to know where I wanted to go, and they were willing to have me back, so I went to what was called the free-flight tunnel ... flew models in a wind-tunnel." It had been a long way there, but he made it.

One of the few black men to reach the upper tiers of NASA's management hierarchy,4 William McIver was another child of Brooklyn, where he was born in 1936. He was one of five children; his mother was a homemaker, and his father was a freight inspector for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He remembers his boyhood as having been "fairly sheltered. I was largely interested in athletics and science ever since I was a kid. I used to listen to these radio programs like Captain Midnight and ... the Green Hornet. I ... always remember sending in for secret decoder rings and ... got interested in all that sort of stuff. And particularly during the Second World War, there were all these things about secret weapons and NAZI agents ... hiding out in Patagonia developing a secret weapon and so forth. So I got interested ... in science and engineering from a sort of adventure standpoint.

[38] While he does not say so, his parents must have urged schooling on their children, for of their four offspring who survived childhood, one became an electrical engineer, one a political scientist, one went into business administration, and one, William, obtained a doctorate in aerospace science. The strongest influence on his career was one of his father's godsons, a chemical engineer who gave William a summer job working in his company. "I used to work part time [for him]. He'd let me do drafting.... In hindsight, now, I can see that it was really just busywork, but at the time it was great.... He had a small company, a precision machine shop, so I got a chance to actually get my hands on a lathe and a drill press."

McIver went to Brooklyn Technical High School, "one of the three competitive [science and technical] high schools in New York City. There's Bronx High School of Science. There's Peter Stuyvesant and there's Brooklyn Tech. Those are the science and engineering high schools. Then there's the school of needle trades, the school of fashion and design, the school of music and art.... I went to the engineering school largely because it was in Brooklyn, and because of the athletic teams.... There was also some snob value in going to a competitive high school like Brooklyn Tech. And then, probably the key thing was that CCNY [the City College of New York] in those days was absolutely tuition free.... If you had something like an A average in high school . . . you could go to CCNY tuition free, which is, thank heaven, what I was able to do. And that was very lucky, because then I really didn't have to work full time or anything like that when I was in college. I could study.... I was very fortunate."

McIver now chuckles over his great expectations when he graduated from CCNY in 1957 with a mechanical engineering degree: "I-as [were] many City College guys-was fairly self-confident. I decided I wanted to come to Lewis [Research Center] and I had heard about people like Si Ostrach, Frank Moore, and Harold Mirels.5... I wanted to join their research group-with my bachelor's degree!" When he was interviewed for his first job at Lewis, McIver was politely told that he might not be quite ready to work with the likes of Ostrach, Moore, and Mirel, but that he could get his feet wet in some research at Lewis, and, after he had some experience, he might move into "analytical research." He was hired by George M. Low,6 then chief of the special project branch of the supersonic propulsion division at Lewis. Low encouraged him to do graduate work at Case Western Reserve with NASA support "as long as I made up the time on Saturdays or Sundays." This McIver did, earning his master's (1959) and doctoral (1964) degrees while working at Lewis.

McIver finally got to work with Simon Ostrach who, in addition to being his branch chief at Lewis, was his professor at Case Western Reserve. "Those were the glory days ... of aerodynamics and high-speed research." Like so many aerodynamicists in the 1950s, McIver was drawn to the problem of protecting the nose cones of intercontinental ballistic missiles from burning up on reentry. Where his own work converged with the problem was in the possibilities of sheathing the blunt-shaped nose with an ablative material that would burn away as the missile reentered the Earth's atmosphere. McIver stayed at Lewis until 1969, when he was lured by NASA's "career development" programs to Washington, where he began [39] a second career on the executive staff in the administrator's office and a program office at NASA Headquarters.

Among the characteristics that distinguish NASA's Apollo era engineers, none is so striking as the fact that virtually all of them are white males. Only among the youngest-those who arrived at NASA in the late 1960s-did the percentage of blacks creep to 3 percent, or the percentage of women to 4 percent. Compared to black and women scientists and engineers employed nationally in 1970 (1 percent and 5 percent, respectively), a black engineer had a better chance of employment with NASA, while a woman engineer fared slightly worse.7 By 1984,13.1 percent of NASA's scientists and engineers were women, while 8.7 percent were black. (Nationally, in 1984 about 12 percent of all employed scientists and engineers were women, while 2 percent were black.8) Blacks continued to find NASA, a government agency, a relatively more ready employer than did women. Richard Ashton and Marylyn Goode were two other NASA Apollo era engineers-one a black man, the other a black woman-who managed to thread their way through the eye of the needle. Both were from the South and were beneficiaries of that region's network of black educational institutions and communities with strong religious foundations that had emerged from the hopefulness of Reconstruction. Both gravitated toward Langley Research Center.

Ashton's father was a farmer from Westmoreland County in northern Virginia. The land was everything, the southern black family's succor and hedge against the future. The Ashton farm had been in the family since Richard's great, great grandfather cultivated it. "When he passed away my great grandfather left the provision in [his] will that any Ashton that wanted to could take up homestead there. I've got a number of relatives living up there on the farm right now." Stability and continuity also marked Ashton's mother's family. His grandmother had lived "around the corner" from his great grandmother in Norfolk until she died at the age of ninety-five. Ashton, his mother, and grandmother all grew up in the same house. Each parent's family was large, with eight or more children, while his parents themselves produced a large family-Ashton was one of eight siblings. Ashton himself has four children. ``It makes a very warm, close relationship, having a very large family.'' What is more, he observes, "out of that group you've got to have a couple of good ones. And later on the older kids, they always tend to serve as role models for the younger ones." Ashton is also the son and grandson of men who fought in segregated armies. His father managed to enter Hampton Institute in 1942 on a baseball scholarship only to be drafted and sent to fight in Europe and the Pacific. Then there's "great, great uncle Joe that fought in the Spanish-American War, and my grandfather [who] fought in World War I."

In his own way Ashton knows that a national need for technical skills has promoted social and economic mobility, as he remarks that he and his brothers and Sisters "came through when they had the Sputnik era in space and everyone was hired on, going and working for NASA and so forth.... Most of us went into the [40] technical fields, with the exception of one brother who went into business administration and one sister that went into elementary education." Indeed, it would seem as if the "space age" was as liberating for Ashton's generation as the Union armies had been for his great, great grandfather's. Four of his five sisters have been employed in some facet of engineering-one as a mechanical engineer for the Navy, another as a nuclear technician (also for the Navy), another as an electronics technician, and the fourth as an electrical engineer for the Northrop Corporation. One brother, an Army officer, like Ashton has a degree in physics.

"Resourceful" best describes the kind of childhood Ashton and his brothers and sisters had, one in which they learned mathematics not only because their father insisted on it, but because the boys all "worked" a paper route. "From when I was eleven to eighteen, I had a paper route for ten miles.... Counting became a part of me and the rest of my brothers, and we just passed it on down. Even my sisters, from time to time, worked that route. My older sisters, they used to work in stores. They had to do a lot of counting." It was their resourcefulness, too, which enabled them to learn basic fluid dynamics when they first became interested in moving things. Living in Norfolk, "on the water," Ashton amused himself by making boats, and then airplanes.

"All the materials I needed to make airplanes or submarines were right back there [on the water front] ... reeds, and crates.... The most I would have [to] buy would be rubber bands." He learned how to put "together an airplane so that it would glide and fly pretty well, how to balance it, [the correct] wing spread.... I wasn't reading books,... I was just trying the various designs, [doing] a lot of experimentation.... I was just crazy about airplanes. I had an encyclopedia of all sorts of airplanes from World War I and II.... My brothers ... we all used to make planes, submarines. We used to make submarines that would go under the water and come back up [with] rubber bands [to move] a propellor.... Submarines have diving planks and you turn them down and the power from the propellor pushing them forward causes the submarine to dive down just as an airplane will go up. As long as the submarine was being powered, it would stay down.... I used to carve [the propellors] out of [tree] limbs, old clothes pins." One day in 1957, when Ashton was thirteen years old, he made his "first metallic rocket. It was too heavy to fly. But I was in a metalwork class and I made a rocket. I didn't have anything that I could use for a propulsion system, because I wasn't that knowledgeable about chemistry and making explosives. Then, if I had put an explosive in the rocket I probably wouldn't be here today." Two years later, when Ashton was in high school, the Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite, and after that he "had dreams of joining NASA."

Richard Ashton's father feared that his son would be crushed if he did not abandon those dreams. In the ninth grade Ashton had to choose between his high school's "general" or "college preparatory" curriculum, in which he would "get a lot of analytical courses, the mathematics, the sciences." Ashton's father wanted him to take the more vocationally oriented general curriculum. After all, he insisted, the purpose of schooling is to get a job. Ashton's guidance counselor urged the college preparatory course. He took the college preparatory curriculum and "although we [41] didn't have calculus, we had algebra, trigonometry, solid geometry, a little bit of analytical geometry, physics, chemistry.... The school was ... fundamentally good in the sciences."

Norfolk State (the Norfolk Division of the Virginia State College) was one of the many state-supported community colleges available to youngsters like Ashton who would have been unable to attend college otherwise. Ashton, like his brothers and sisters, entered Norfolk State after high school. "Being there, [it] gave us an Opportunity to work in the summer to get enough money to go to college during the other part of the year. The tuition was low, and you could walk to school." Once in college Ashton began studying for a concentration in mathematics or electrical engineering. "But my father showed me this [news]paper back in 1962 and said, 'look at all of these electrical engineers looking for work in California. You don't want to be an electrical engineer.' He told me, '[become] a physical education teacher. You can always get a job because they will always need teachers.' My father ... didn't want to take any chances. Then again, at that time there weren't that many black engineers and scientists and he probably thought, if I'd gone into that area I'd have come out and wouldn't have had a job. So he thought [being a] teacher would have been a safe thing for me to do-or go into the post office." Not only did Ashton decline a career in physical education or the post office, he changed his college major from mathematics to physics. "I enjoyed working the problems [and] decided I'd switch over to physics and stay with physics.... I liked the applications."

"I enjoyed math, I enjoyed science," and when Ashton's college physics teacher suggested in 1964 that he participate in Langley Research Center's cooperative training program, he was thrilled. "I came here [to NASA at Langley] to be a scientist. I had an idea of winning whatever prize there is to [be] found-a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize in science and engineering.... That was my goal, [and] also to get a Ph.D. in physics." But he was soon disappointed, although not in the way his father had feared. His first coop assignment at Langley was in the standards section of the instrument research division, which calibrated instruments. "The civil servants really didn't do much there. [The work] was mostly done on contract . . . other people monitored contracts, [did] paper pushing-nothing, really, in terms of 'hands on.' The coops do all the sorts of things that the engineers don't want to do ... xeroxing, running errands, walking through purchase requests, picking up travel, doing a few mathematical computations, but not much.... I'd always had jobs, working hard, during the summer shoveling rocks [and] doing hard, difficult, tedious labor type jobs in which people stand over you all day long. And if you had half an hour for lunch they made sure you didn't take one second beyond the half an hour.... And every minute you had to be busy, working very, very hard. So I came to NASA, and ... it was my first encounter with people coming in and drinking coffee, reading the paper.... The people around me weren't all that productive. And I said to myself Gee Whiz, now I know why the Russians are beating us in space."'

Ashton soughed it out. He "got through it" with the help of "a very good mentor and good person to talk to." Next to disenchantment, what he had to "get through" was being one of a handful of black engineers at Langley Research Center. "I had never been in a different environment like that. When I grew up I went to [an] all [42] black elementary school [and] high school. Norfolk State was a black college. When I came here ... I had to learn to adjust to... a different culture. It took me a long time.... My adjustment wasn't as difficult as some other people. I think I had it pretty easy. There were some people that got here before me, [black] engineers and scientists ... they had a terrible time." After three months Ashton was able to get reassigned to one of Langley's research divisions, where he could work on things he "really enjoyed-optics, spectra of meteorites entering the atmosphere, cameras, determining things about the energy, the density [of the atmosphere].... I just loved that. It was scientific, and I thought I was making a contribution.... Usually black engineer scientists didn't work in research areas at Langley Research Center.... They worked in more operational support [areas], calibration labs, the computer facility running computers ... operational sorts of things."

About a year after he had been working at Langley in earnest, Ashton was able to go to the University of Virginia graduate school, where he earned a master's degree in engineering physics-a program for which NASA paid his "full salary, tuition, everything." But when he returned to Langley, Ashton was repeatedly assigned to jobs in various support or operational activities. What he wanted to do was research, and a true research assignment always seemed to elude him. He had turned down offers from Westinghouse and IBM, at 50 percent increases in salary, in the hopes of moving into one of Langley's research areas. At long last he was able to get reassigned to the same research division he had worked in earlier. "I was working on optical properties of various satellites, materials, and their surfaces ... and also studies of the atmosphere, [the] determination of atmospheric ozone.... Then I went on to actually working with the experiments that were designed to actively measure the constituents of the upper atmosphere, [or] aeronomy." He also worked on "lifetime" studies of satellites, or studies to predict the effects on a satellite's life of its movement through the Earth's atmosphere and the interplanetary medium. Although Richard Ashton would never get his Nobel, or Pulitzer, or Ph.D., he was finally doing research.

NASA offers its mid-level professional employees a "career development" program to give them an opportunity for the varied experiences they might need to advance. In the late 1970s Ashton went to NASA Headquarters for a year of "career development." But his career failed to develop; by 1981 he had been sidelined to an administrative staff position, where he has remained, one of the 30 percent minority of NASA scientists and engineers who, after more than fifteen years service, had not achieved a grade higher than a GS-12.


Like Richard Ashton, Marylyn Goode comes from a large southern black family. And like Ashton, she volunteers the information that her parents were able to send all of their children to college, and that all five children were able to become professionals. Goode herself is an engineer. One brother is a dentist and a minister, another is a doctor, and her two sisters are both teachers. Richard Ashton's father had urged him to become a teacher because there would always be a need for [43] teachers, and it appears that many young black people had followed that advice; both of Goode's parents were trained as teachers at a Presbyterian college in Knoxville, Tenn. (Goode's mother stayed in elementary school teaching, but her father abandoned it in favor of the insurance business.)

Born in 1942 in Asheville, N.C., Goode attended church-affiliated schools in her hometown It was as a schoolgirl that she discovered her love for mathematics and science Although advanced course offerings were negligible, an appreciative teacher encouraged her, and she began "thinking about medicine." But when it came time for Goode to go to Hampton Institute, she "majored in teacher education because my father-realizing when I went to school in 1958 [that] there were not very many jobs open for blacks [and] teaching was a field that black women could get into-insisted . . . that I get a degree in teacher education. I did not want to teach." Nevertheless, she yielded to her father's wishes and pursued her high school's "teacher education" curriculum rather than its "general studies" program, which would have enabled her to major in mathematics and science. Still, she clung to the hope of a career in some area of science. "My solution to that was ... I took everything ... required for teacher education, but I [also] took the higher-level math courses as electives."

Her father had been right. Goode supported herself for two years after graduating from Hampton Institute by teaching. But as she taught, she took graduate courses at Virginia State College in Petersburg. One of her physics professors must have admired her determination and ability, for he offered her a teaching assistantship in aerosol physics, which enabled her to stop teaching and work for her master's degree in physics. Meanwhile, she had married and started a family. In 1967 she earned her degree and took a job at Langley Research Center because her husband had found a teaching job nearby. She began her work at Langley "as a data analyst.... At that time they were hiring most of the women as what they called 'computers' and they were putting them in an office together" where they worked on Friden calculators. Although Goode had already had experience with FORTRAN and programming IBM computers, she, too, was put in the "computer pool."

Langley had only just disbanded its racially segregated all-female computer pools, and Goode spent most of her time with the survivors of the black female computer group once located at the edge of the center. Goode found the computer pool deadly. "Men coming here with math degrees were never put into a computing pool; they were just put out in the sections with the engineers. And they were usually converted to engineers within a very short time. So I asked the division chief about that, and he says, 'Well, nobody's ever complained ... the women seem to be happy doing that, and so that's what they do.' And that was it." Goode never rested, and after five years of tedium she was able to get an assignment to an engineering section. At the same time (1973), her two children were now old enough to tend themselves, and she began a protracted and ultimately successful struggle to earn a doctoral degree in physics.

The hurdles she has overcome have been considerable, but she readily acknowledges the support of individuals who sympathized with her and supported her. She recalls one supervisor in particular, who told her that when he thought of " 'a woman [44] working, it was someone who you always had to make excuses for because she didn't do her work right' or something to that effect. He really thought that a woman should be at home, and when she was out here working she was just sort of a bumbling something. And I said, 'Well, gee thanks. I'm sitting here, a woman.' He said, 'Well, I don't think of you as a woman."' Her efforts to complete her work for a doctoral degree were handicapped by supervisors who evidently "didn't think it was worth their while ... to educate the women out here, because they thought the women would quit."

Persevering in her determined way to master a field of advanced aircraft design "sonic boom propagation," she found herself in "left field" when public funding for a supersonic transport all but vanished. If and when commercial supersonic transport revives on a large scale, Goode suspects she will be "one of the few around who's working it because those who were very into it in the late '60s, and there were a lot of them who did a lot of work in it, they are retiring.... You know, things you try that don't work are not always written up. So they might have to redo a lot of [that early work].... We write up the successes, but you don't always write up something that you've tried and that didn't work."

Matthew O'Day, like George Sieger, came from a Catholic family in Toledo, Ohio. O'Day's father, unlike Sieger's, survived World War I, but his initial enthusiasm for engineering did not. The elder O'Day had been one of the fortunate few to enter college-where he began an engineering program-in the first decade of the twentieth century. When he returned, he chose to make dentistry his life's work. (O'Day's mother had gone into nursing, one of the few professions then open to women.) Nonetheless, O'Day's father retained his interest in mechanical things and shared that interest with his growing son, who "spent a lot of ... time just watching what he was doing" while his father repaired the family automobile and did "do-it-yourself types of things" around the house.

O'Day remembers that "most boys" were interested, as he was, "in airplanes and building model airplanes.... I was doing things like that along with the people that I grew up with." At the same time, he was doing well in school in "subjects like physics, chemistry-things like that.... The teachers that I remember the most are the ones that were involved in the technical subjects, like algebra or chemistry.... They gave you aptitude tests" in school, and "in areas like engineering ... there was an indication that I would do well."

The assumption in the O'Day household was that the children would go to college. "I wanted to go to a Catholic university, [and] some place that offered aeronautical engineering." So after graduating from high school in 1954, O'Day went to the University of Detroit, which was located sixty miles from Toledo and offered the special attraction of a cooperative work-study program with the NACA. "I certainly remember when the Russians launched Sputnik.... I was in college.... I was more interested in the aeronautical part [of engineering], and still am, than I was m the space part of it, because that's all there was when I was growing up. There was [45] a little bit of publicity about [what] Robert Goddard had done [and], in the Second World War, what the Germans were doing with their rockets. But that was an aspect of things that I didn't particularly care for because they were weapons of death rather than things that would really benefit mankind." Later in his life O'Day would reject working on military or classified projects, having resolved to apply his talents to "peaceful" uses.

At the University of Detroit O'Day concentrated on aeronautical engineering, ultimately specializing in structures and strength of materials. Both at Detroit and the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), where he would later do graduate work, he was exposed to nontechnical subjects and later came to appreciate the relative breadth of his education. "In engineering [at Detroit] I had courses in accounting and economics [which were] required. Being a Catholic university, you had to take philosophy courses or you studied logic and ethics and things like this. But with your engineering courses, you didn't have the time . . . to take courses that I think I would have liked to have taken. That's one thing that impressed me about Cal Tech, because there was a requirement for a humanities course in the master's program.... I took a course in ... American and English history.... I did well in it ... enjoyed the humanities courses." After two years at the University of Detroit, O'Day entered the coop program, which "provides you with the wherewithal! to complete your education. That was not a major consideration for me." However, the coop program did introduce O'Day to Lewis Research Center, where he began working during alternate quarters in bearings and icing research. After he got his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1959, O'Day went to Cal Tech-again with NASA help-for a master's degree. Since the NASA graduate study program was "relatively generous, I saved enough money to go another year of graduate school ... and got what's called an engineer's degree in 1961." Cal Tech "provided you with the kind of background that you would need if you wanted to go into a research type of engineering career as opposed to the manufacturing or something like that. So it all pretty well fit in with what I planned to do when I finished graduate school, which was to return to Lewis."

A certain idealism, possibly shaped by the relatively broad curriculum he had had at the University of Detroit and Cal Tech, led to an important detour in O'Day's early career. While he had been at Cal Tech, "John Kennedy had been elected president. He pushed forward the Peace Corps program, and I found that to be an interesting concept. So I applied ... and in August, '61"-only a few months after returning to Lewis from California-"I was selected for a program that was to go to WestPakistan ... The Peace Corps tour of duty was two years.... What I did essentially was teach engineering subjects. One of them was strength of materials, in a government polytechnic institute.... I also taught a course in hydraulics. I never had a course in hydraulics myself; it took a little fast footwork to keep ahead of the students!"

A measure of O'Day's dedication was that he had to resign his job with NASA in order to join the Peace Corps. Virtue had more than its own reward, however; before he completed his two-year tour in 1963, Congress passed legislation reinstating government employees in their old positions, so O'Day "had a job waiting for me [46] back here at Lewis." He began working with materials and structures for advanced propulsion systems, and remained with NASA, at Lewis, for the next two decades.

"The thing was-if I go back through my life," reflects Ed Collins, "I'm a Christian, and I believe in God, and that He had his hand on my life." Perhaps it was a divine hand that guided Collins from Charlotte, N.C., where he was born in 1940, to Langley Research Center toward the end of the Apollo decade. His father had owned a contracting business and operated a do-it-yourself franchise store, and Collins' growing up resembled the fabled "all American" boyhood of the 1950s. "I raised chickens and sold eggs. I sold Christmas cards ... door to door.... I was in the Boy Scouts. I was an eagle scout. I liked sports. I ran cross-country [and] track all through high school [and] college."

Perhaps his faith that God has guided his life is due to the vacillations of his own purpose-as distinct from a desire simply to "do well"-as a boy. Unlike some of the older Apollo era engineers, Collins did not play with airplane models or erector sets. He might have gone into business. When he was about sixteen, his father found operating both a contracting business and a franchise too burdensome, and turned the store over to his son "to just kind of run it for him. I really enjoyed doing that.... I liked to put up displays, figure out the advertising, and things like that. My goal at that time-I would have stayed in that store, had it made it. I probably wouldn't have gone to college."

But "the store didn't make it.... That was my senior year in high school, and all of a sudden I had to decide what I wanted to do.... I had decided at that time, even though I liked business and all, there was more future in engineering." Collins had been a good student: "I did pretty well in everything.... I graduated ... in the top 5 percent in the state [in] math, verbal, everything.... Nuclear engineering looked very attractive to me at that time; it was exciting, and a new field." Besides, North Carolina State University, where most of Collins's family had gone to college and he was destined to go, "did not have business administration. They were not a liberal arts school.... It was either go there in some technical field or go somewhere else." It also happened that North Carolina State was one of the few institutions that had a nuclear reactor, so he figured, "this might be a really good jumping off place."

Collins entered North Carolina State in Raleigh in 1958, planning to major in nuclear engineering. "I made average grades my first two years. I played around a lot because . . . my mother [had] held pretty close strings on me. I hadn't really sowed any oats.... When I went to college I joined the fraternity and I became an officer in the band," for which he played the trombone. "I was running track and crosscountry, indoor and outdoor.... In my senior year I was a senior senator for the student government, and I liked to get into activities like that. I was in the YMCA on the campus and played volleyball for them." He also joined "Mu Beta Psi, which is a music fraternity." Once he settled down into his major program he "made all As and Bs, because I really got interested.... We had a lot of one-on-one and you could go and talk to your professor if you were having a problem.... In the nuclear [47] engineering classes we sort of became a team, because they would give us problems to work and we would do them together."

Once he graduated, in 1962, he was in danger of losing his draft deferment, and, not wanting to go into the military, he turned down a lucrative but probably shortlived position with a national heating and air conditioning firm to take a job with the U.S. Navy. For a few months he worked with a unit that went down into the bowels of ships to design changes in piping, "where the pipes would go, determine what the weight changes would be to the center of gravity of the ship, and determine the parts that were needed, and an estimated cost, estimated time.... But I didn't want to do that the rest of my life He contacted a friend who worked for NASA at Langley Research Center, and before the year was out he was able to arrange a transfer. "They still had a lot of slots at that time. This was still in '62 and the space agency was hiring and it [was] the big heyday. Everything was flowing pretty freely.... I was brought in to do research on semi-conductor devices ... mainly with radiation damage effects." NASA also arranged for him to return to school, to the College of William and Mary, where he earned a master's degree in integrated optics in 1965.

After working at Langley for a number of years, he was faced with another career decision and would awaken to the fortuitous nature of the divine guidance he believed he was receiving. He had been offered an opportunity to return to North Carolina State and study for a doctorate in acoustical engineering. He and his wife had already started their family: "We decided we wanted three children, and I said, 'we are going to have to have our third one now, before all this is done.' So we did. During that time is when I became a Christian, and I began to see God's hand in my life and began to pray and ask for guidance. I felt He wanted me in some type of project work, and I developed a real desire to work on a project. I began thinking about the team efforts that I had been involved in ... all the way back to college ... and how enjoyable they were.... I put everything together. I decided I didn't want to go back to school.... A Ph.D. would look nice on my record, but it wouldn't really get me another promotion, and it would really take time away from equivalency. I believe after a certain number of years of research, a man is equivalent to a Ph.D. whether he has a title or not. So I decided that was what I was supposed to do, after much prayer, and thinking, and talking."

In the end, project work would not provide the avenue of advancement that Collins had expected, and he tried repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, to shift into management to earn the promotions he thought God intended him to have. Instead, Collins would spend his NASA career working on several innovative engineering research projects, most of which were abandoned as the agency scaled down after the heyday of Apollo. Meanwhile, he would continue attempting to broaden the circle of Christian fellowship among his friends and co-workers.

A few of the NASA engineers who first sent men into orbit in tiny capsules were already well into their careers with the NACA when Hank Martin was born in 1943-the year word of German experiments with long-range rockets began to slip [48] into the British war ministry. The son of a research chemist for a multinational oil firm, Martin was raised in Woodbury, N.J., across the Delaware River from Phildelphia. Woodbury was "a typical small town,. .. an interesting mix . . . of blue coil, and white collar." His mother was a homemaker, and the family socialized most; with the families of his father's colleagues.

Martin came to engineering quite purposefully. "I was always into how things worked.... I wanted to take things from ... basic concepts and make ... spectacular things to happen." He had a chemistry set, "of course. I did all kinds of strange things, and that led to my interest in rockets and explosives.... I used to like to play with fireworks, and then make my own." He used to shoot them off "across the school ground.... They didn't have any kind of organized model rockets or commercial versions.... If you wanted a rocket that really flew, you made it yourself. You got the match heads and the gun powder and you built the thing." He was also intrigued by electronics. "I was fascinated about how you could split water into hydrogen and oxygen ... and so I used to try to accumulate vast quantities of hydrogen and oxygen and make them react with each other, make water.... I was usually building a burglar alarm or a crystal set, or something like that."

After going to Catholic grammar and preparatory schools in New Jersey, in 1962 Martin entered Catholic University in Washington, D.C. While there was no doubt he would go into science or engineering, he is not bashful about admitting that he chose engineering over science to avoid foreign language proficiency requirements. "I knew I wanted something that involved labs and science.... But I had a terrible time with languages, and I knew that if you wanted to get into pure science, you had to have French, German ... and I really didn't want to deal with that stuff." Besides "by that time I was into my car phase.... I could see engineering ... associated with cars. And I always thought that was really neat. So ... I started out in chemical engineering, and then switched over to mechanical engineering."

Catholic University proved difficult for Martin, or rather its mathematics courses did. "I never really had that much of an aptitude for pure mathematics ... but I did take a shine to computers." Equally important, Catholic University introduced him to philosophy and conceptual approaches to problems. "The school is geared towards you probably going on and doing some graduate work as opposed to the type of engineering school where you might come out and know how to do something.... I came out with a general approach to problem solving ... a way to think about things . . . a way to break big problems down to small problems and then build up the answers until you had something that worked."

By then he had also acquired a taste for philosophy, just as he had acquired an abstract interest in space exploration. He remembers seeing the 1950 film Destination Moon, based on Robert A. Heinlein's 1947 juvenile novel, Rocket Ship Galileo, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968. When he saw Destination Moon, "that was back in the days when you could sit through and see it a second time ... and I did. I was hooked from that point." As for Stanley Kubrik's 2001, "I liked the philosophy in the picture better than I liked the picture as a science fiction picture." He became an avid science fiction reader-necessary, he thought, to understanding much of what went on in a film like Kubrik's. As with science fiction, so with philosophy: "I think it gave [49] me a much broader view of what was going on.... Philosophy ... had a profound effect on the way I think about things.... You just don't ... take everything as truth.... And I'm always looking for alternative explanations, alternative ways of doing

Perhaps, but when he graduated from Catholic University there was only one alternative: NASA "There was status, working for NASA.... You were somebody on the block if you worked for NASA." He began working at Goddard Space Flight Center in heat transfer, conducting thermal analysis and design for satellites, or ensuring that satellites in orbit operate at the right temperature to protect their delicate instruments. "I could not have walked out of school-any school-at the time, and sat down . . . and done a thermal design on a satellite. No one was teaching you how to do thermal design ... they were doing it all with electrical analogy at the time. And digital computers were starting to be of significant value.... It was a brand new field, and that's probably one of the things I liked about it." Although the organization Martin entered in 1966 "changed names, changed leaders, came under different divisions," the fundamental problems it was trying to solve remained the same, and Martin continued working with it for the next two decades.

Like Hank Martin, Richard Lockwood is the son of an engineer, but an aeronautical engineer who spent most of his career working with the NACA at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory. His father "was pretty well immersed in his work. His work was kind of his life." The new middle class9 and the era of postwar affluence into which Robert was born in 1944 offered the increasing possibility that preference-rather than necessity-might decide the outlines of one's work life. Robert's mother wanted him to "look around" when it came to deciding on a career; his father, he insists, "didn't push" him into aeronautical engineering. But then, his father did not have to. Robert had "always had a natural inclination towards mathematics and science-always enjoyed them." He built model airplanes and worked on his own car. He followed his father's work and "occasionally watched wind tunnel tests at Langley."

After attending schools in Hampton and Newport News, Va., Lockwood went to Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI). There he took part in a cooperative workstudy program with the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. He worked at Redstone for alternate quarters during the last three years of his five-year degree program in aeronautical engineering, doing "trajectory analysis on computers, both analog and digital," as well as computerized "structural analysis." When he graduated from VPI in 1964, he transferred to NASA's Langley Research Center and began working "in the twenty-two inch helium tunnel-it was a hypersonic tunnel-doing experimental research. My own research was mostly in . . . studying the effect of mach number on boundary layer transition."

He was again able to take advantage of a work-study program, as NASA bore the costs of graduate courses at the University of Virginia while he worked at Langley During the process, he discovered a fundamental difference between doing analytical and experimental work. "The work is different. And it takes a [50] special kind of a person to be a good experimentalist. You really have to be a nitpicker on detail. And I've always hated minutiae." Thus he decided to do further graduate work, so he could earn a doctorate and continue working in the realm of analysis. Lockwood also realized that he preferred physics to mathematics: "I've always enjoyed the connection between reality and theory. You learn something about certain equations ... and then, by George, you go out in nature and you see it happen.... It gives you confidence that what you're doing is real. I couldn't be an abstract mathematician . . . who plays abstract games that, in their lifetime, they [sic] may never see a concrete example [off. It's just a bunch of equations on a piece of paper." He may have disapproved of mathematicians' preoccupations with equations on paper, and he may have disliked minutiae, but Lockwood was increasingly drawn into computerized analysis. "I don't know why I work with computers, because they're almost one hundred percent minutiae." Computers are also full of numbers and equations; but they are, he says, merely tools, tools that encourage one to "start thinking a lot more about form.... And it tends to have you make things more orderly. And I think that it's useful to try to reduce that chaos."

With NASA's help, Lockwood managed to earn a master's degree from Harvard and, after transferring to NASA's Ames Research Center in California, a doctorate in aeronautics from Stanford University in 1969. He denies that his pursuit of successive degrees in a field that did not normally require the doctorate represented any special career ambition; rather, it enabled him to do what he wanted to do, which was to develop computer programs to simulate air flows and turbulence around aircraft-or computational fluid dynamics. He really did not care about "moving ahead, [and] and I never have moved ahead." He's "very comfortable" making "more money through investments than" he does from his salary at Ames.

Although deeply immersed in the computerized mysteries of modern aircraft design, Lockwood is a space program enthusiast, but for pragmatic reasons that echo some of the controversies of his own generation: "We need to find outlets. It's healthy to have outlets for creativity and work and everything other than war.... In the past, the primary mover of technology has been war. It's kind of nice to have something peaceful that pushes technology." He cares that NASA is a civilian, not a military, agency. "I don't think I could work to build better hydrogen bombs.... I'm not anti-nuclear.... Human nature being what it is, we can't trust the other side."

Fred Hauser claims no special aptitude or enthusiasm for engineering, having become an engineer mostly because his father was one. Born in 1946, he grew up in the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey area, where his father was a mechanical engineer for the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). "He tried to be objective and not force me into something that I wouldn't want myself [but] had he not been an engineer, I probably would not be. I don't know what I would be, but I probably would not be an engineer." Hauser's mother, a trained nurse, "worked some, part time, and the rest of her time was devoted to housework.... She did not sew or do [51] decoupage or thinks like that, like some women do." She also died "relatively young, when she was fifty two." If his mother appears to have worked constantly, his father found time to garden, which he preferred to working on cars. Nor has the younger Hauser worked on cars or been a "fix-it" person. "I'm just not that way."

The family took its Catholicism seriously. Hauser's father had gone to Villanova University, and Hauser resolved that he, too, wanted to go to a Catholic college. He also knew that he wanted to leave home and live at school. He admits to not having agonized much about where he should go to school, nor had there been much debate in the family whether he would go to college to at all. Notre Dame just seemed the place, and he started there in 1964, beginning a program in mechanical engineering "probably because my dad was a mechanical engineer." After the first year he decided to switch to aerospace engineering. When "I entered college ... NASA was going strong, and I think I was very heavily influenced by that." As it turned out, "aerospace was just a fancy name, and they just added a course or two to the curriculum that related to space flight. My undergraduate education, if you had a specialty ... would have been in the area of flight dynamics"-a field in which he has done little work since leaving college.

There was another disillusionment as well. College "was tough. It was difficult, truly.... The difficulty I had with engineering is just simply due to intellectual abilities.... I probably just don't have the raw intellectual talent.... l worked very hard, and I think I probably did almost as good as I could have. I was in the bottom half of my class". Although he read a lot-novels, not science fiction-he learned "early, in fact, I probably learned by the time I was a sophomore in college, that I don't really like sitting down and working detailed engineering problems. And I'm just not very good at it."

Hauser stayed at Notre Dame in a graduate degree program. It was 1968, and the number of American troops in Viet Nam was growing from 385,300 in 1966 to 536,100 by the end of the year. Casualties were growing too; over 10,000 American families had lost their sons or daughters to combat in Viet Nam since 1965. The Tet Offensive of January had intensified the polarization over the war among policy makers and public alike, and by the end of the year more stringent draft exemptions provoked further student unrest on campuses across the country. Hauser found himself in danger of losing his student draft deferment and quickly decided it was time to go to work as an engineer for the government. He called Marshall Space Flight Center, where he had located an opening, and soon found himself in Huntsville, Ala.

Once on the NASA rolls, Hauser began the work that would take him into the next decade: the preliminary design, planning, and "costing" of future programs. Apollo 11 would land its crew on the Moon's surface the next summer, and NASA engineers were busily defining the possible missions to carry them over into the next decade He continued working, for the remainder of his career, on "phased program planning," the last planning phase for a space project before metal is bent. Having limited confidence in his intellectual and engineering abilities, he found that planning and organizing were things he could do and liked to do. "I think I do have [52] management talent. I do have abilities to plan and organize and coordinate. If I was seventeen, I wouldn't go into engineering."

By the winter of 1949 World War 11 was becoming a thing of bittersweet memories and the lineaments of the postwar era had been drawn. As the U.S. Senate ratified the agreement creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the creation of two separate German states assured the continued dominance of the Soviet Union over much of Eastern Europe, the Communist Chinese drove the Nationalists off of the mainland, whence they retreated to the island of Formosa. In the United States, New York audiences thronged to see Richard Rodgers' and Oscar Hammersteins' "South Pacific," while in France, Simone de Beauvoir ignited one of the war-fueled revolutions of modern times with her feminist treatise, The Second Sex. More subtle harbingers of things to come occurred that year when Northrop Aircraft, Inc. took delivery of the BINAC, a guidance computer for its new missile projects for the Navy,10 and domestic economic and federal procurement policy became intertwined as the Truman administration initiated the practice of awarding military contracts to "distressed areas."11

Ronald Siemans, born in 1949 in Oil City, Pa., would still be a schoolboy when John F. Kennedy issued his challenge to the nation's space agency in 1961 to send a man to the Moon and bring him back. He would be one of the last new engineers to join NASA before the end of the Apollo decade, first going to work at Johnson Space Center in 1967 as part of a cooperative work-study program at Finn Engineering (later Cleveland State University) in Cleveland, Ohio. The son of a mail carrier Siemans grew up in a household little involved in the new age of science or technology-indeed, his parents, neither of whom had attended college, "didn't know too much about" education at all. Nonetheless, they managed to start their first child, Siemans's older brother, in college. Lawrence had shown some inclination toward science or engineering in high school, but was discouraged from pursuing a scientific career by guidance counselors who warned of humanities requirements for most undergraduate science curricula. "I wasn't too interested in getting into literature.... I didn't want to get off into a lot of the humanities type education requirements that were required for the pure science background ... so I picked engineering.... You had to take your science courses; it's just that you're not required to take the heavy amounts of history and English and literature and all that sort of stuff, which was not one of my stronger suits."

Another thing Siemans worried about was money: how would he pay for college? Finn Engineering offered financial aid in the form of a cooperative workstudy program with NASA, so he chose Finn and began his studies in chemical engineering. His first coop assignment was at the Johnson Space Center, where he worked during alternate quarters after his freshman year. There he began "working with what engineers do, plotting, just [being a] technical aide. It was right after the Apollo fire.12. A lot of people were involved in trying to figure out how to make the fixes and changes required to get the Apollo [program] back on schedule. But there [53] were still teams looking at Moon bases and Mars missions and space station." Siemans was assigned to a group that was doing "trade studies" for a possible manned orbiting space station. Trade studies examine the trade-offs to be made between cost, weight, fuels, environmental systems, and other design features in which an improvement in one may result in disadvantages elsewhere in the design. "I did a lot of schematics ... just to look at which was the most optimum way to go as far as the type of chemical systems that were used in the environmental control system of the station. The area I went into was the crew systems division, which i~ responsible for the environmental control systems, EVA [extravehicular activity: systems, and thermal systems".

Siemans had entered the coop program not only because it would help to pay his expenses, but in the widely shared expectation that he would have a job waiting for him at Johnson Space Center when he graduated. In this expectation he was sorely disappointed. "If you don't get it in writing, you'd better not believe the government, because they really put it to us." NASA's budget sank to its lowest debt in fiscal year 1974; the decline had begun with the fiscal year 1969 budget.13 1971 "was the year the RIFs [reductions in force] were occurring, and the promise of a guaranteed job didn't hold up that year."

He managed to wait out the ebb tide by entering a master's degree program in chemical engineering at Rice University, in nearby Houston, Tex. "Rice was a far superior school ... and the depth of the education and expectations for each course was higher.... But I can't say, honestly, that I've used much of that extra education ... well, yes, I have." When Siemans was able to return to a real position at Johnson Space Center in 1972, he used his Rice training in catalysis to promote an air communication device to improve the environmental system on the then-new space shuttle orbiter. From that point on he would spend his career with NASA working on environmental systems for advanced manned spacecraft designs.

The transformation of American society that had begun during the early lives of the NASA Apollo era engineers who were born between 1918 and 1932 was virtually complete by the time the guns had been silenced at the end of World War II. The twelve younger men and one woman who talk of themselves in this chapter share some characteristics with the earlier group. Most still came from the old Northwest and Northeast; a few more came from the South; none came from west of the Mississippi. Of the younger group, more grew up in urban than in rural areas, but about the same proportion (or more) were the sons of manual or service workers in the older group; three of the younger engineers' fathers had been employed by the railroads Four of the five whose fathers had been salaried professionals were sons of engineers; the fifth, the single woman in the group, was the daughter of school teachers. More so than in the older group, attendance at college-and thus the promise of middle class employment-had become the normal expectation.

While virtually all had shown special abilities in science and mathematics, they gravitated not toward academic careers, but toward engineering or engineering [54] research. Relatively more of the younger group were attracted not only to engineering, but to the kind of engineering that would bring them ultimately to NASA; NASA's cooperative work-study programs enabled more than a few to fulfill their ambition. More than half had been fascinated by airplanes; a few had flown them. Several were fascinated by rockets as well.

Their educational experiences were similar to those of the older group. Few, as before, attended the elite or prestigous engineering schools or universities; when they did, it was to complete graduate programs, and their advanced work was subsidized by NASA. The availability of publicly funded higher education was significant for virtually all of them, especially the three blacks in the group, which included one woman. The three out of four who did not do most of their undergraduate work in publicly supported state colleges attended Catholic colleges or universities.

The federal government was the employer of first resort for virtually the entire group. A few took temporary odd jobs-in a classroom, a factory, a metal shop- as a means of surviving before settling into their careers. But even those who did not begin working with NASA shortly after graduating from college worked in government jobs; one was a volunteer engineering instructor with the Peace Corps. And only one-George Sieger-spent any significant amount of time working in private industry, for a large government aerospace contractor. Half the group began working for NASA within a year of graduating from college. And with the exception of one who went to work for the NACA's Langley Laboratory in 1953, and another who began his first job at the NACA's Lewis Research Laboratory in 1957, all began their NASA careers in the 1960s.

The wars that marked their generation were the Korean War and the Vietnam War, but those wars left little mark on this group; only three enlisted during the Korean War, and only two of them experienced combat duty. The two youngest, who might have served in Vietnam, escaped by obtaining draft deferments as civilian engineers working for the government (the Navy and NASA). One must assume that the majority, who did not enlist, were eligible for deferments by attending engineering schools. Their mobilization was of another kind.

No engine designed or built to launch men to the Moon was as powerful as the engine of the U.S. government itself. Modern technology is the product, first and foremost, of vast organizations; it was the federal government which above all else ensured that NASA, the defense establishment, and the aerospace industry would have the armies of trained engineers needed to design, develop, and build the machines that would fly-long before anyone decided just what those machines should be, or where they should go. The GI Bill, the military services' reserve officers' training programs, cooperative work-education programs, the draft- with its exemptions and deferments for those in engineering school or working for the government in engineering fields-all generated in this country one of the great social and occupational changes of the twentieth century.

[55] With one eye cocked on the growing joblessness and labor unrest that followed demobilization in 1919-1920 (the miseries of which were exacerbated by an inflation in the cost of living of over 100 percent between 1913 and 1920), and the other on the languishing supply of scientists, technicians, and medical personnel as young men marched off to war or into the factories that would supply the front, the federal government went into action itself. During World War I students in scientific, technical, and military fields began to receive deferments from the draft, instituted in May 1917. The Student Army Training Corps, administered through over 525 institutions, paid for the support and education of no less than 140,000 students who enlisted, prepared to go into active duty when called. Uncle Sam continued the policy with the National Defense Act of 1920, creating the Army and Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps at American colleges and universities. The fortuitously compatible motives of containing unemployment and building a technical workforce continued in the creation of the National Youth Administration, which educated 620,000 young people between 1935 and 1943. The next year Congress passed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act (better known as the Gl Bill), which, along with its Korean War counterpart, kept millions of veterans out of the job market and sent them to school instead.

The federal government thus became not only an agent of occupational change, but of social and economic change. Where once higher education had been the preserve of a genteel minority with a virtual monopoly on "higher learning," by the dawn of the post-World War II era, attending college-any one of the 900 institutions added to the 951 in existence in 1910-became possible for the offspring of parents who had never dreamed of admission to the realm of the salaried professional. The social and economic aspirations (and accompanying insecurities) thus released have yet to be measured, but they are etched in the middle class experience common to most of us.14 This is the phenomenon that largely unites NASA's Apollo era engineers, for all their individual diversity, and that brought them to the threshold of the space age.

1. The Banana River separates John F. Kennedy Space Center from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, site of NASA's launch pads.

2. See, for example, Gerard K. O'Neill, The High Frontier (New York: William Morrow, 1977).

3. The mammoth Nova booster, envisioned by NASA engineers in 1960 as necessary for a direct ascent to the Moon, incorporated four stages; the Saturn V (AS-506), used for the lunar orbit and rendevous manned Apollo Moon landings, consisted of three stages (S-IC, S-II, and S-IVB). See Roger E. Bilstein, Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles, NASA SP-4206 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980).

[56] 4. The arcanum of NASA's management hierarchy can have more nominal than substantive significance. From the top down, it goes something like this: Administrator, Deputy Administrator, Associate Deputy Administrator, Associate Administrator for line or staff functions, General Counsel, Inspector General, Assistant Administrator, Assistant Associate Administrator, Deputy Associate or Assistant Administrator, Division Director, Branch Chief, and Section Head. Division directors and above are normally members of the government's senior executive service.

5. The building of a flight propulsion laboratory for the NACA was authorized by Congress in 1940. Located adjacent to the Cleveland, Ohio municipal airport, the laboratory began operations in 1942 and in 1948 was named the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in honor of Dr. George W. Lewis, the NACA's Director of Aeronautical Research from 1919 to 1947. In 1958, the laboratory became a part of NASA and was renamed Lewis Research Center. Simon Ostrach, Franklin K. Moore, and Harold Mirels were members of a small group of "resident geniuses" at Lewis who were allowed virtually complete freedom to pursue basic research in aerodynamics, especially problems of heat transfer. All three have been inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. See Virginia P. Dawson, Engines and Innovation: A History of Lewis Research Center, NASA SP-4306 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991).

6. An Austrian by birth, Low was detailed from Lewis to NASA Headquarters in 1958 to serve as chief of Manned Space Flight (programs). He moved to NASA's new Manned Spacecraft Center in Clear Lake, Tex. for the Mercury program and held various high-level line positions in NASA's manned spaceflight programs until returning to Headquarters in 1969 to serve as Deputy Administrator (1969 to 1976).

7. See Appendix C, table 7 and National Science Foundation, "Characteristics of the National Sample of Scientists and Engineers, 1974," Part 2: Employment, NSF 76-323 (Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, 1976).

8. NASA Personnel Analysis and Evaluation Office, "The Civil Service Work Force as of September 30, 1984" (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration,1985) and National Science Foundation, "Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering" (Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, January 1986).

9. The "new middle class," as described in C. Wright Mills' classic White Collar: The American Middle Classes (1951), is a twentieth century class consisting of salaried workers-primarily managers, salaried professionals, salespeople, and office workers. It is a class which has largely replaced the "old middle class" of the nineteenth century, which was composed of well-to-do farmers, entrepreneurs, and independent professionals.

10. Developed by J. Presper Eckert, Jr., and John W. Mauchly, the BINAC was the first airborne computer. A much simpler machine than the ENIAC, which used a decimal system, the BINAC operated with a two-digit binary code and was actually two [57] computers which constantly checked one another. Harry Wulforst, Breakthrough to the Computer Age (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982).

11. Official Washington had been persuaded by wartime prosperity that full employment was the key to a healthy economy. This conviction resulted m the Employment Act of 1946, a measure which signaled the federal government's acceptance of a responsibility to "promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing ower " The economic downturn of 1948-1949, which prompted the administration's decision to use military contracts to reduce unemployment, was followed by a revival, which intensified with the onset of the Korean War.

12. Apollo astronauts Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee perished in a fire on January 27, 1967 in the Apollo command module during a simulated countdown for mission AS-204.

13. NASA's total budget authority declined from a pre-1980 high of $5.25 billion in 1965 to slightly over $3 billion in 1974.

14. See Frederick Rudolph, The American College and University: A History (New York: Knopf, 1962), John S. Brubacher and Willis Rudy, Higher Education in Transition: A History of American Colleges and Universities, 1636-1976 (New York, 1976), The Statistical History of the United States from Colonial Times to the Present (Stamford, Conn.: Fairfield Publishers, 1965), and Ross M. Robertson, History of the American Economy, 2nd ed. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1964).