SP-4308 SPACEFLIGHT REVOLUTION

 

Notes

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Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Epilogue

 

[447-518] A caveat on notes

 

Many of the following notes refer to a piece of correspondence by file number (e.g., A32-1, LCF [Langley Central Files]). The NACA/early NASA correspondence files have been accessioned by the National Archives (NASA Record Group). Any reference that appears as above is now in the National Archives. This caveat applies only to correspondence by file number in the Langley Central Files. Other references to documents in the Langley Central Files and Langley Historical Archives are correct as of publishing date.

 

Prologue

 

1. George Will, "What Paths Would the Nation Have Taken Had Taylor Lived?" Washington Post, 20 June 1991.

2. Ward Moore, Bring the Jubilee (London: Heinemann, 1955).

3. Will, "What Paths."

4. John Noble Wilford, "A Spacefaring People: Keynote Address," in A Spacefaring People: Perspectives on Early Spaceflight, ed. Alex Roland, NASA SP-4405 (Washington, 1985), p. 69.

5. See Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), p. 123; also Frederick I. Ordway III and Mitchell R. Sharpe, The Rocket Team (New York: Crowell, 1979), pp. 377-378.

6 See chap. 5, "The Satellite Decision," pp. 112-134, in McDougall, Heavens and the Earth.

7. McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, pp. 153-154; on Project Vanguard, see Constance M. Green and Milton Lomask, Vanguard: A History, NASA SP-4202 (Washington, 1970).

8. Wilford, "A Spacefaring People," pp. 69-70. For a persuasive account of the responses of American policymakers to the launching of Sputniks I and 2, see Robert A. Divine, The "Sputnik" Challenge: Eisenhower's Response to the Soviet Satellite (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); for an interesting revisionist interpretation, see Rip Bulkeley, The Sputniks Crisis and Early United States Space Policy (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1991). Bulkeley argues that no U.S. president could have quieted the alarm aroused in 1957-1958 by the Soviet demonstration of ICBM capability. If the Soviet Union had been only the second country in the world to orbit a satellite, the American electorate would have still perceived the ICBM demonstration as a cataclysmic threat to its strategic security and as a turn of events demanding an instant and dramatic response from the country's leadership. Although Dr. Bulkeley's thesis has some merit, I remain convinced that the post-Sputnik media riot and the country's generally hysterical reaction could have been generated only in response to the Soviets having the first space launch. If the Soviets had been second into space, I do not believe that the NACA would have been abolished and NASA established before a year had passed.

9. For an analysis of this close election, see pp. 350-365 of Theodore H. White, The Making of the President, 1960 (New York: Atheneum, 1961).

10. For a critical interpretation of the history of the NACA, NASA's predecessor, see Alex Roland, Model Research: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958, 2 vols., NASA SP-4103 (Washington, 1985). For more sympathetic interpretations focusing on the operations of the NACA's various research laboratories, see Richard P. Hallion, On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981, NASA SP-4303 (Washington, 1984); Elizabeth A. Muenger, Searching the Horizon: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1976, NASA SP-4304 (Washington, 1985); James R. Hansen, Engineer in Charge: A History of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958, NASA SP-4305 (Washington, 1987); and Virginia P. Dawson, Engines and Innovation: Lewis Laboratory and American Propulsion Technology, NASA SP-4306 (Washington, 1991). For a brief survey treatment, see Roger E. Bilstein, Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915-1990, NASA SP-4406 (Washington, 1989).

11. James R. Hansen, 'Transition to Space: A History of Space Plane Concepts at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1962-1957," Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 40 (Feb. 1987): 67-80. For additional historical and engineering analysis of the technologies pertinent to the development of hypersonic boost-gliders and other "space planes," see The Hypersonic Revolution: Eight Case Studies in the History of Hypersonic Technology, ed. Richard P. Hallion (Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio: Special Staff Office, Aeronautical Systems Division, 1987).

12. On the many twists and turns of NASA's space station development since the late 1950s, see Howard E. McCurdy, The Space Station Decision: Incremental Politics and Technological Choice (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990).

13. Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath (New York: Harper and Row, 1979), p. 55.

14. On NASA's controversial decision to go to the moon via lunar-orbit rendezvous, see John Logsdon, "Selecting the Way to the Moon: The Choice of the Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous Mode," Aerospace Historian 18 (June 1971): 66 70. On the demise of the American SST program, see Mel Horwitch, Clipped Wings: The American SST Conflict (Cambridge. Mass., and London: MIT Press, 1982). On the space station, see McCurdy, The Space Station Decision, pp. 30-31. The books we have on the Space Shuttle Challenger accident came out in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and really do not adequately explore either the causes of the explosion or the character of the follow-up investigation by the presidential commission chaired by former Secretary of State William Rogers. Essentially. they are little more than examples of sensational journalism. For the best treatment of the forces at work in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, see Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988). pp. 222-242. As a former NASA astronaut (Gemini X and Apollo Xl), Collins is, of course, sympathetic to NASA's interests; however, he provides a keen analysis of what went wrong with the Space Shuttle program.

15. Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (New York: Macmillan Co., 1963), bk. 2, p. 43.

16. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (University of Chicago Press, 1962).

17. Ibid., p. 91.

18. For an extensive and interesting application of Kuhn's theory of revolution, see Edward Constant II, Origins of the Turbojet Revolution (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980).

19. William Sims Bainbridge, The Spaceflight Revolution: A Sociological Analysis (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1976), p. 1.

20. On the Committee for the Future, see Bainbridge, The Spaceflight Revolution, pp. 12-14 and 158-197. On the deviancy of science-fiction fandom, see pp. 227-233.

21. Ibid., p. 4.

 

Chapter 1

The Metamorphosis

 

1. In the wake of Sputnik, Eisenhower created a President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) from an existing science advisory board that was helping the Office of Defense Mobilization; chairing the new PSAC was James R. Killian, Jr., president of MIT and new special assistant to the president for science and technology. Eisenhower asked the committee to identify American objectives in space and advise him on how those objectives could best be met. On 22 Feb. 1958, the PSAC recommended in a preliminary staff document entitled "Organization for Civil Space Programs" (copy in NASA HQA) that a new space agency be established with the NACA as its nucleus. NACA leaders learned about this recommendation and passed informal word of it to their laboratories soon thereafter. On 2 Apr. 1958, all NACA Main Committee members received a confidential letter from the NACA's executive secretary informing them that the president, following the PSAC recommendation, had just sent a plan for a new space agency to Congress.

See John F. Victory's letter to Floyd L. Thompson, Langley associate director, with attached memorandum from Dwight D. Eisenhower to the secretary of defense and the chairman of the NACA, 2 Apr. 1958, plus the attached White House press release, marked "strictly confidential" and dated 2 Apr. 1958, 12:00 noon EST, with the text of Eisenhower's message to Congress. The letter from Victory to Thompson is in the folder "Space Material," Floyd L. Thompson Collection, LHA.

For a historical analysis of Killian's and the PSAC's role in the establishment of NASA, see Walter A. McDougall's Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 170-172.

2. For Eisenhower's reaction to Sputnik and his concerns about the militarization of space, see McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, pp. 158-176. The reader needs to pay special attention, however, to McDougall's interpretation of the NACA in these pages. On page 164, for instance, McDougall argues that "by the mid-195Os the venerable NACA was slumping. It was the best equipped aeronautical research organization in the world, but institutional conservatism and financial strictures rendered its future very dubious." In the opinion of other historians, including myself, McDougall's portrays of the NACA in its last years is off the mark. The NACA was not in any slump. In the years just preceding 1958, the NACA was involved in some of the most productive work it had ever done. McDougall's interpretation implies that the NACA died of old age. An alternative interpretation, which I support, would suggest that the NACA was killed in its prime. It was not Sputnik per se that killed it; it was the hysterical American reaction to the threat posed by the Soviet satellite. For criticism of McDougall's interpretation of the late NACA similar to my own, see Richard P. Hallion's review of Heavens and the Earth in Technology and Culture 28 (Jan. 1987): 130-132, and Virginia P. Dawson, Engines and Innovation: Lewis Laboratory and American Propulsion Technology, NASA SP-4306 (Washington, 1991), p. 162.

3. Alex Roland, Model Research: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958, 2 vols., NASA SP-4103 (Washington, 1985), 1:1-25. On the NACA's inaugural meeting, see the "Minutes of Meeting of National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics held in the War Department of Washington, D.C., April 23, 1915," cited in Roland, Model Research, 1:27 and 326 n. 2.

4. Charles J. Donlan interview with author, Hampton, Va., 17 Aug. 1990, transcript, pp. 34-35, OHC, LHA.

5. For the full text of the NACA charter, see app. A to James R. Hansen, Engineer in Charge: A History of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958, NASA SP-4305 (Washington, 1987), p. 399.

6. Tom D. Crouch offers an excellent and fair appraisal of Samuel P. Langley's mixed contributions to aeronautics in A Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane, 1875-1905 (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., 1981). See especially chap. 7, "S. P. Langley: The Scientist as Engineer," pp. 127-156, and chap. 12, "The Great Aerodrome," pp. 255-283. A 1988 paperback version of Crouch's book is available from the Smithsonian Institution Press.

7. On the NACA's annual Aircraft Manufacturers' Conferences (later called NACA inspections), see Roland, 1:111-114 and 232-233, and my own Engineer in Charge, pp. 148-158.

8. This opinion was expressed by British aviation journalist C. G. Grey in an obituary for NACA Director of Research George W. Lewis, published in The Aeroplane, 27 Aug. 1948. More recently, distinguished American aviation historian Richard K. Smith wrote in the Smithsonian Institution's Milestones of Aviation (New York: Hugh Lauter Levin, 1989) that "in the years 1928 1938 no other institution in the world contributed more to the definition of the modern airplane than the Langley Laboratory of the U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics" (p. 240).

For the history of Ames laboratory, see Edwin P. Hartmann, Adventures in Research: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1965, NASA SP-4302 (Washington, 1970), and Elizabeth A. Muenger, Searching the Horizon: A History of Ames Research Center, 194 0-1985, NASA SP-4304 (Washington, 1985); and for a history of Lewis, see Virginia P Dawson, Engines and Innovation. On the High-Speed Flight Station at Muroc Dry Lake (later renamed Dryden Flight Research Center), see Richard P. Hallion, On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981, NASA SP-4303 (Washington, 1984). The best work so far on the history of Wallops Island is Joseph A. Shortal, A New Dimension: Wallops Flight Test Range, The First Fifteen Years, NASA RP-1028 (Washington, 1978)

9. Jerome C. Hunsaker interview with Walter Bonney, 2 Nov. 1971, transcript, p. 1, OHC, LHA.

10. For all the details, plus a critical analysis, of the NACA committee system, consult Roland, Model Research, esp. app. B, 2:423 465 For a rough breakdown of the roles played by the various committees, see Hansen, Engineer in Charge, pp. 5-9.

11. A biography of Hugh Dryden is badly needed. The place to start is Richard K. Smith, The Hugh L. Dryden Papers, 1898-1965: A Preliminary Catalogue of the Basic Collection (Baltimore: Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974). Dr. Smith, who compiled and edited this collection of Dryden's papers, informs me that the collection is in truth a rather meager potpourri.

Our picture of George W. Lewis is a little more complete. See, for example, my chapter, "George W. Lewis and the Management of Aeronautical Research," in William P. Leary's biographical anthology, Aviation's Golden Age: Portraits from the 1920s and 1950s (Iowa City: University of lowa Press, 1989), pp. 93-112. Those interested in source materials about George Lewis should consult my short bibliographical essay about him at the end of Leary's hook (pp. 186 187).

12. Some of the "young Turks" came from Langley (for example, Robert Gilruth and Max Faget, future leaders of the NASA Space Task Group, which put together Project Mercury), but the leading group developed at NACA Lewis. This group was led by Lewis's dynamic associate director, Abe Silverstein, and included, among others, such promising young men as George Low, who before too many years would be heading NASA's Manned Lunar Landing Task Force, and Edgar M. Cortright, Jr., future director of NASA Langley (1968-1976). To be a "young Turk" in 1957-1958 meant to be an NACA employee who, in historian Alex Roland's words, "wanted the NACA to campaign for a broad new role in space" (Model Research, 1:292). The title apparently dated from an informal NACA dinner meeting hosted by NACA Chairman Jimmy Doolittle in Washington on 18 Dec. 1957. During the dinner, an NACA generation gap became obvious over the issue of what the NACA's role should be in space, and Langley's intemperate John Stack called Hugh Dryden "an old fogey." To qualify the inferences drawn from Roland's portrays, I must add that Stack's passion rested squarely in aeronautics; he was hardly a "space cadet" as Roland (and McDougall) seems to suggest. A few months after the Washington dinner, in the spring of 1958, Silverstein reported to Washington, at Dr. Dryden's request, to take on the huge job of inventing NASA's spaceflight development program. He eventually brought with him to Washington several other Lewis people. On this subject, see also Dawson, Engines and Innovation, pp. 163-166. In Heavens and the Earth, McDougall refers to the "young Turks" as the NACA's "frontier faction" (p. 200). However, the NACA actually employed two frontier factions: one devoted to space and one devoted to aeronautics. The spaceflight revolution, in key respects, left members of the second group behind.

13. "Biographical Sketch of Dr. T. K. Glennan," Langley Air Scoop, 15 Aug. 1958. On the front page of the same issue was a news item, "President Announces Nominees to Head NASA."

14. Both Roland and McDougall refer to the occasion when Hugh Dryden told the House Space Committee in the spring of 1958 that some of the ideas being proposed for putting Americans into space have "about the same technical value as the circus stunt of shooting a young lady from a cannon." Sensibly cautious remarks like this did not endear Dryden to congressmen who were in a rush to see Americans in space and made his selection as the first NASA administrator politically impossible. Model Research, 1:299; Heavens and the Earth, pp. 195-196.

15. A seven-page carbon transcript of "Glennan Message to NACA Employees," dated 22 Sept. 1958, can be found in the folder marked "Space Material" in the Thompson Collection, LHA. Glennan did not make his first trip to Langley until Wednesday, 7 Jan. 1959. Accompanying the administrator was Hugh Dryden, deputy administrator, as well as a number of other NASA headquarters officials. The group arrived at Langley around 11:30 a.m., after a brief stop to see research facilities at Wallops island, and they returned to Washington in the late afternoon. Glennan and his staff toured a number of Langley wind tunnels in which various tests were being conducted in support of NASA's nascent space programs. See the article "Glennan Views Facilities, Hears Research Reports," in NASA Langley Air Scoop, 9 Jan. 1959.

16. "Glennan Message," pp. 1-2.

17. T. Keith Glennan, "The First Years of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration," unpublished diary, 1964, Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kans., 1:6-7. Subsequent to the drafting of this book, NASA published an edited version of Glennan's diary, The Birth of NASA: The Diary of T. Keith Glennan ed. J. D. Hunley, NASA SP-4105 (Washington, 1993).

18. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, p. 9.

19. "Glennan Message," pp. 2-3.

20. Ibid., pp. 3-4.

21. Quoted in "Glennan Message," pp. 6-7.

22. Floyd L. Thompson interview with Walter Bonney, Hampton, Va., 28 July 1975, transcript, p. 25, OHC, LHA; on the history of NACA Wind Tunnel No. 1, see Hansen, Engineer in Charge, pp. 69-72 and 442.

23. For detailed inventories of the history of the NACA's wind tunnels, see Roland, Model Research, 2:507-528, and Hansen, Engineer in Charge, pp. 441-478.

24. Flight Log Book, 1958, 7 Oct. 1958, Langley Flight Log Book Collection, LHA; next to the F-101A entry are the words "Hubbard's Sound Flight." See also Domenic J. Maglieri, Harvey H. Hubbard, and Donald L. Lansing, "Ground Measurements of the Shock-Wave Noise From Airplanes in Level Flight at Mach Numbers to 1.4 and at Altitudes to 45,000 Feet," NASA TN D-48, Sept. 1959. For information on the variable-electronic control system, see Siguard A. Sjoberg, "Flying Qualities Associated with Electronic Flight Control Systems," NASA TN-66282, 5-6 Nov. 1958.

25. Quoted in Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox, Apollo: Race to the Moon (New York: Touchstone Books, 1989), p. 31.

26. Ira H. Abbott, "A Review and Commentary of a Thesis by Arthur L. Levine, Entitled 'A Study of the Major Policy Decisions of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics,' Dated 1963," NASA HQA, HHN-35, Apr. 1964, p. 195. The LHA also preserves a copy of Abbott's manuscript.

27. H. J. E. Reid to Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, "Transmittal of Report on Review of Langley Research Effort," 31 Jan. 1958, A200 IA, LCF. A photocopy of this report is also in the Thompson Collection, LHA, in the folder "Space Material."

28. Langley was a strong supporter of the Dyna-Soar project. Inaugurated by the U.S. Air Force in Nov. 1957, the concept was for the design and operation of an experimental manned hypersonic glider, designated the X-20, that could fly out of the atmosphere, bounce in and out of shallow earth orbit for at least a large part of a trip around the planet, and return home to a runway landing. Even before the NACA's formal agreement in May 1958 to support the air force's manned military space project, Langley had been active in hypersonic and boost-glider research. Some of its researchers and facilities stayed active in support of Dyna-Soar until the DOD canceled the project in Dec. 1963. For firsthand insights into Langley's involvement in Project Dyna Soar, see John V. Becker, "The Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," unpublished manuscript, May 1983, pp. 35-51, copy in the LHA. For a brief critical examination of the Dyna-Soar's controversial history, see McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, pp. 339-341.

29. In midsummer 1958, Stack visited the Vickers organization in Weybridge, England, to review a British proposal for the Swallow arrow-wing aircraft. The proposal consisted of a plan for a 25,000-pound research airplane derived from the Swallow configuration that would be the progenitor of a supersonic commercial transport. Stack made several trips to Europe in the late 1950s and early 1960s as an NACA/NASA representative to NATO meetings concerning the Mutual Weapons Defense Program (MWDP). For information on the Swallow and Stack's trips to Europe, see the miscellaneous material in the folders marked "MWDP," in section 6 of the John Stack Collection, LHA.

30. James R. Hansen, "Transition to Space A History of 'Space Plane' Concepts at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory 1952-1957," Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 40 (1987): 67-80. On the X-15, see Richard P. Hallion, On the Frontier, pp. 101-129, and Milton O. Thompson, At the Edge of Space: The X-15 Flight Program (Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992).

31. Thompson interview with Bonney, 28 July 1975, p. 20.

32. Ibid.

33. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 28.

34. Roland, Model Research, 1:135-137; Hansen, Engineer in Charge, pp. 145-146.

35. Caldwell Johnson quoted in Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 28.

36. For an appraisal of Langley's research environment in the early years, see Hansen, Engineer in Charge, pp. 33 40. For an insightful autobiographical look into the freedoms of NACA laboratory research, read John V. Becker, The High-Speed Frontier: Case Histories of Four NACA Programs, 1920-1950, NASA SP-445 (Washington, 1980). Becker, who came to work at Langley in 1936, did pioneering research in high-speed aerodynamics culminating in major contributions to the X-15 program.

37. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 27.

38. In essence, the deal with the Selective Service System called for the induction of eligible Langley employees into the Army Air Corps Enlisted Reserves. However, NACA inductees received no military training, never wore a uniform, and spent absolutely no time on active duty. For the details of this arrangement, see Hansen, Engineer in Charge, pp. 203-205.

 

Chapter 2

The First NASA Inspection

 

1. As had been the case for the NACA's annual manufacturers' conferences, Langley's planning for NASA's First Anniversary Inspection was complete. The typically exhaustive thoroughness of preinspection planning is evident in both the abundance and the detail of the extant archival material. This material includes several relevant internal memoranda, including an "Operation and Policy" statement; all purchase requests; complete lists of the invited guests plus copies of the invitations; all programs and booklets; representative visitor identification badges; luncheon menus; maps of tour-bus routes; as well as group photos, sheets with daily attendance figures, selected press coverage clippings, and all NASA press releases. In the LHA are five large folders of material for the 1959 inspection. They are located, along with the records for the 1964 NASA inspection (also held at Langley), in a special cabinet drawer labeled "1959 Inspection-1964 Inspection." Material on the 1959 inspection can also be found in E6 1E, LCF. Langley's correspondence files are located in the LHA.

2. "The Nice NASA Show for the People," Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, 27 Oct. 1959.

3. "Nearly 20,000 at Open House; Public Pays First Visit to NASA," Newport News Daily Press, 25 Oct. 1959.

4. "Nice NASA Show," Daily Press.

5. Axel T. Mattson, "Synopsis of the NASA First Anniversary Inspection, Technical Presentations," 6 July 1959, p. 1, in 1959 inspection folder labeled "NASA 'First Anniversary Inspection' LRC-1959 Policy Statement," in the "1959 Inspection-1964 Inspection" drawer.

6. T. Melvin Butler, Langley administrative management officer, "Memorandum for A11 Concerned; Subject: Special Duties for the 1959 NASA Inspection at Langley Research Center," 5 Oct. 1959, and "Information for Group Leaders and Assistant Group Leaders, NASA 1959 Inspection," 9 Oct. 1959. Both memoranda are in the "1959 Inspection File" in the LHA. For in-house news stories (with photographs) on the 1959 inspection, see the 16 Oct. 1959 issue of the Langley Air Scoop. For outside technical reviews, consult the 19 Oct., 26 Oct., and 2 Nov. 1959 issues of Aviation Week. An editorial team from Aviation Week covered all four days of the NASA inspection and published several articles on NASA's research highlights. Most of these articles, however, were based largely on NASA's press releases prior to the inspection.

7. See folder entitled "NASA 'First Anniversary Inspection' LRC-1959 Policy Statement" for correspondence between Langley and the various NASA centers regarding their participation in the 1959 inspection. See also the relevant NASA press releases in the "Press Releases" folder for the 1959 inspection. On the cancellation of the Vega program. see "NASA Kills Vega, Adopts USAF Agena," Aviation Week, 21 Dec. 1959, and "Vega Out, Hopes Pinned on Centaur," Missiles and Rockets, 21 Dec. 1959.

8. Axel Mattson interview with author, 14 Aug. 1989, Hampton, Va., transcript, pp. 9-10, OHC, LHA. At the time, Mattson was the assistant chief of Langley's Full-Scale Research Division.

9. Mattson interview, 14 Aug 1989, pp. 9-10.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid., pp 2-5 and 11. See also Axel Mattson to the associate director. The Langley correspondence files, E6-1E, LCF, contain several letters from Mattson to Langley and NASA headquarters concerning his visits to JPL, Goddard, and other NASA centers in preparation for the 1959 inspection.

12. Mattson interview, 14 Aug. 1989, p. 5.

13. Charles J. Donlan interview with author, Hampton, Va., 17 Aug 1990, transcript, p. 16, OHC, LHA.

14. Mattson interview, 14 Aug. 1989, p. 4.

15. Smith J. DeFrance to Dr. H. J. E. Reid, 29 Oct. 1959, E6 1E, LCF.

16. H. J. E. Reid to Dr. Smith J. DeFrance, 30 Oct. 1959, E6-1E, LCF.

17. Englishman John Hodge had joined the STG in the spring of 1959 along with 30 other engineers who had been handpicked by the STG after they had been laid off by the AVRO (A. V. Roe) aircraft corporation in Canada; a new Conservative government in Ottawa had canceled a project for the building of a technologically innovative supersonic interceptor, the CF-105 Arrow, and some swift action by NASA had a lowed the space agency to acquire some exceedingly talented people. Hodge became the second NASA flight director - Christopher C. Kraft's deputy - at Mission Control in Houston. It was his misfortune to be the flight director on duty during the tragic Apollo 1 fire that killed astronauts Roger Chaffee, Edward White, and Virgil Grissom in Jan. 1967. Subsequent to the Apollo program, Hodge served as director of NASA's Space Station Task Force. Windler also became a Houston flight director, and Huss, too, served in Mission Control. On the recruitment of the Canadians into NASA's space program, see Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., James M. Grimwood, and Charles C. Alexander, This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury, NASA SP-4201 (Washington, 1966), p. 153, as well as Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon (New York: Touchstone Books, 1989), pp. 21-23. See also Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, p. 21.

18. Among the Langley documents relevant to the establishment of the STG, see especially Paul E. Purser to Robert R. Gilruth, "Initial Hiring of Personnel for Space Center," 3 Sept. 1958; and Robert R. Gilruth to Langley Associate Director Floyd L. Thompson, "Space Task Group," 3 Nov. 1958. Both letters can be found in the Floyd L. Thompson Collection, LHA. On the formation of the STG, see also Gilruth's "Memoir: From Wallops Island to Mercury, 1945-1958," unpublished manuscript presented at the Sixth International History Symposium, Vienna, Austria, 13 Oct. 1972, pp. 39 42, copy in LHA. For an excellent history of NASA's Project Mercury, see Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean.

19. STG script for "NASA 1959 Inspection: Project Mercury," Oct. 1959, p. 1. All of the scripts for presentations given at the 1959 inspection are in the folder labeled "Press Releases, 1959 Inspection," in the 1959-1964 inspection drawer in the LHA.

20. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, pp. 29 30.

21. Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 237-238. See also John A. (Shorty) Powers' memorandum for STG files, "Response to queries about Astronauts' personal stories," 27 Aug. 1959, C136-1, LCF.

22. STG script, "Project Mercury," pp. 1-2.

23. Gilruth, "Memoir," p. 45. On NASA's selection of the Mercury astronauts, see Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 129-131; also Mae Mills Link, Space Medicine in Project Mercury, NASA SP-4003 (Washington, 1965), pp. 44-46.

24. By this time Bob Champine, one of Langley's most talented test pilots, had already experienced the high G-forces of the navy's centrifuge at Johnsville, Pa., and had also ridden several of the Project Mercury simulators, so he knew what NASA astronauts must endure. See Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 43 and 94. For some thoughts on the tortures of the wheel from the perspective of a Gemini and Apollo astronaut, see Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988), pp. 30-31.

25. Yeager quoted in Collins, Liftoff, p. 46.

26. In the LHA, I have left a folder with photocopies of dozens of local newspaper stories about the Mercury astronauts. The chief local reporter covering the astronauts was Virginia Biggins, columnist for the Newport News Times Herald. In her column, "Point of View," Ms. Biggins often covered the personal lives of the astronauts, in spite of the notoriously restrictive Time-Life contract. For some fascinating recollections of the Project Mercury astronauts and their days in the Hampton Roads area, see the transcript of my interview with Ms. Biggins, dated 1 Aug. 1990, OHC, LHA; for comments on how she was able to work around the Time-Life restrictions, see pp. 4-5. A Langley videotape of a presentation made by Ms. Biggins in July 1991 at the former Langley Visitors' Center on her recollections of the days when the astronauts were training at Langley is available through the Langley Office of Public Services.

27. See Robert Voas, "Project Mercury Astronaut Training Program'" unpublished paper presented at the Symposium on Psychophysiological Aspects of Space Flight, San Antonio' Tex., 26-27 May 1960, copy in Langley Technical Library. Dr. Voas (a navy lieutenant with a Ph.D. in psychology) served on the NASA astronaut selection committee and became a formal member of the organization within the STG that evaluated, tested, and trained the Mercury astronauts. For a virtually complete bibliography of Voas's contemporary papers and presentations on Mercury astronaut training, consult the NACA/NASA card file in the Langley Technical Library. For a historical analysis of Mercury astronaut selection and evaluation, as well as the role of Dr. Voas and others in it, see Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 159 165.

28. Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 237-238.

29. See STG script, "Project Mercury," pp. 3-5. John Glenn is quoted in Collins, Liftoff, p.31.

30. Some readers may be surprised by this reference to a "sidearm controller" for the X-15 "space plane" and Mercury spacecraft simulator if they associate the original development of sidearm-control technology with the much ballyhooed and supposedly altogether new electronic flight control systems of the 1980s. The history of the sidearm controller goes back at least to German research into new flight control systems for their advanced fighter aircraft of World War II. For those interested in this specialized technical topic, see the short bibliography compiled by engineer Paul E. Hunt of Langley's 8 Foot Tunnels Branch in 1959, on early (post-World War II) American research into sidearm flight controls, NACA/NASA card file, Langley Technical Library.

31. STG script, "Project Mercury," pp. 1-4.

[457] 32. Ibid., pp. 1 and 3.

33. The phrase that the STG treated the Mercury astronauts as "active and valuable participants" is from Collins, Liftoff, p. 48. Mike Collins was not part of Project Mercury, but as an astronaut in the follow-up Gemini and Apollo programs' he became very familiar with the experiences, good and bad, of the original seven astronauts. For Gilruth's experiences in flight testing, see the early sections of his "Memoir" as well as the analysis in my Engineer in Charge, NASA SP-4305 (Washington, 1987), pp. 262-270 and 275-278. Gilruth's systematic and quantified approach to aircraft flight testing is also featured prominently in chap. 3 of Walter G. Vincenti, What Engineers Know and How They Know It: Analytical Studies from Aeronautical History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990); chap. 3 is entitled, "Establishment of Design Requirements: Flying-Quality Specifications for American Aircraft, 1918 1943."

34. "Capsule Built at Langley and Lewis Launched Atop Atlas in Mercury Test," Langley Air Scoop, 11 Sept. 1958. On the history of Big Joe, see Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 125-128.

35. STG script, "Project Mercury," pp. 4-5.

36. Gilruth, "Memoir," p. 46. On the history of Little Joe, see Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, esp. pp. 124-126, 208-213, and 291-294.

37. Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 208-209.

38. Ibid., pp. 210-213. For a contemporary news magazine story, see "Little Joe Launch Tests Mercury Capsule Escape," Aviation Week, 14 Dec. 1959. For a former astronaut's thoughtful summary of the role played by chimpanzees and other primates in Project Mercury, see Collins, Liftoff, pp. 48 and 51-52.

39. Gilruth, "Memoir," p. 43.

 

Chapter 3

Carrying Out the Task

 

1. Robert R. Gilruth, "Memoir: From Wallops Island to Mercury, 1945-1958," unpublished manuscript presented at the Sixth International History Symposium, Vienna, Austria, 13 Oct. 1992, p. 38, copy in LHA. In the OHC, LHA, is a barely audible copy of my tape recorded interview with Gilruth at his home at Kilmarnock, Va., 10 July 1986. This interview, which lasted for over three hours, covers important aspects of Gilruth's entire NACA/NASA career.

On Presidential Science Adviser Kistiakowsky and ARPA's contrasting positions on the early space program, see Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 202-205. On ARPA specifically, see pp. 195-198 and 201-206.

2. Gilruth, "Memoir," pp. 34 39; Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., James M. Grimwood, and Charles C. Alexander, This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury, NASA SP-4201 (Washington, 1966), pp. 110-116; Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988), p. 28.

3. Charles Zimmerman interview with author, 1 Aug. 1990, Hampton, Va., transcript, pp. 5 6, OHC, LHA.

4. Gilruth, "Memoir," pp. 38-39.

5. The key technical paper was H. J. Allen and A. J. Eggers, Jr., "A Study of the Motion and Aerodynamic Heating of Ballistic Missiles Entering the Earth's Atmosphere at High Supersonic Speeds," NACA Conf. Research Memo. A53D28, Aug. 1953. Five years later, in 1958, the NACA issued updated versions of the original report as NACA TN-4047 and NACA TR-1381. For historical analysis of the blunt-body concept, see Edwin P Hartmann, Adventures in Research: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1965, NASA SP-4302 (Washington, 1970), p. 218; Elizabeth A. Muenger, Searching the Horizon: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1976, NASA SP-4304 (Washington, 1985), pp. 66-68; Alex Roland, Model Research: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958, 2 vols., NASA SP-4103 (Washington, 1985), 1:285-286; Collins, Liftoff, p. 24; and James R. Hansen, Engineer in Charge: A History of Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958, NASA SP-4305 (Washington, 1987), pp. 349-350 and 358-361.

6. PARD engineers J. Thomas Markley and Max Faget are quoted in Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon (New York: Touchstone Books, 1989), pp. 39-40. Faget analyzed the Mercury capsule design in "Mercury Capsule and Its Flight Systems," Aero/Space Engineering 19 (Apr. 1960): 48-53. Charles Donlan speaks highly of Faget and his contributions to the Mercury spacecraft design: "Max was a very ingenious fellow. He had some novel and sound ideas, for the most part, a good engineer. The original ballistic capsule approach came out of Harvey Allen's work. But as a simple, quick way to get the job done, l think the Mercury capsule came [from] Max, and [from] Caldwell Johnson." Donlan interview with author, Hampton, Va., 17 Aug. 1990, transcript, p. 28, OHC, LHA. Langley veteran Charles Zimmerman seconds Donlan's appraisal of Faget: "I don't think Max Faget has ever gotten the credit he deserved in this project." Zimmerman interview with author, 1 Aug. 1990, p. 14. Many references to Faget's contributions to Project Mercury may be found in Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean.

7. The NACA published the Faget-Garland-Buglia paper on nonlifting, wingless satellites in NACA Conference on High-Speed Aerodynamics, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Moffett Field, Calif., March 18, 19, and 20, 1958: A Compilation of Papers Presented (NACA: Washington, 1958), p. 19ff.

8. Gilruth, "Memoir," p. 32.

9. Ibid., p. 33. It is easy to confuse Matthews' concept with the winged reentry vehicle concepts championed by Langley's hypersonics specialist John V. Becker, as the two researchers' theoretical findings were combined for various analytical purposes beginning in 1957. For detailed information on Becker's early space plane concepts, see his auto biographical "The Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles, 1952-1963," 23 May 1983. A copy of this manuscript is preserved in the LHA. Becker's pioneering ideas for hypersonic gliders and transatmospheric vehicles are featured prominently in Hansen, Engineer in Charge, esp. pp. 367-373 and 377-381. On Becker's winged manned satellite proposal in 1957-1958, see also Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, p. 89.

10. Gilruth, "Memoir," p. 34. John V. Becker offers what might be interpreted as a mild dissent from this consensus in "The Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles," p. 34

11. Gilruth quoted in Collins, Liftoff, p. 61.

12. Gilruth interview, 10 July 1986. See also Gilruth, "Memoir," p.41; and Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, p. 7.

13. Jack C. Heberlig interview with Robert B. Merrifield, Oct. 1967, quoted in comment draft of Dr. Merrifield's history of the early years of NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Tex., dated 16 Feb. 1970, chap. 3, p. 11. Merrifield's unpublished manuscript provides a thorough and thoughtful account of the history of the STG and its move from Virginia to Texas. A copy of the comment draft of his manuscript is preserved in the LHA. I do not know why Merrifield's work, which was sponsored by NASA, was never published.

14. Robert R. Gilruth to Associate Director Floyd L. Thompson, "Space Task Group," 3 Nov. 1958. A copy of this document can be found in the Floyd L. Thompson Collection in the LHA. With the memorandum is a cover sheet with a handwritten note from Thompson to Administrative Chief Officer T. Melvin Butler saying "For prompt action. Important - Do Not Destroy." See also the earlier document from Langley's Paul E. Purser to Gilruth, "Initial hiring of personnel for Space Center," 3 Sept. 1958, also in the Thompson Collection. Both memoranda are in the folder labeled "Space Task Group, Formulation."

15. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, p. 22.

16. Ibid., p. 7.

17. This quote, from an anonymous Langley engineer who was not part of the STG, is from Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 30.

18. On Langley's PARD, see Gilruth, "Memoir," pp. 3-28; former Langley engineer Joseph A. Shortal's exhaustive A New Dimension: Wallops Island Flight Test Range, The First Fifteen Years, NASA RP-1028 (Washington, 1978); as well as Hansen, Engineer in Charge, esp. pp. 269-270.

On the air force's proposed Project MISS, see McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 197; and Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, p. 93.

19. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 32.

20. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, pp. 29 30.

21. Charles Zimmerman interview with Walter Bonney, 30 Mar. 1973, transcript, p. 24, OHC, LHA. See also Zimmerman interview with author, 1 Aug. 1990, pp. 5-6 and 11-13.

22. The Langley division chief is quoted in Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 31. The authors do not identify him.

23. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 31.

24. Ibid.

25. Floyd L. Thompson, "Comments on Draft Chapters l-IV of MSC [Manned Spacecraft Center History [Robert B. Merrifield's manuscript, see n. 13], Dated February 16, 1970," 27 Mar. 1970, p. 7. Copies of this memorandum to Dr. Eugene Emme, NASA HQA, can be found in the Thompson Collection, LHA, in a folder labeled "MSC History Comments" and in E1-3, LCF. At the time of his "Comments," Thompson was special consultant to the NASA administrator.

26. For complete internal files documenting NASA Langley's support of the STG and Project Mercury, see the correspondence in A189-5, LCF, and in the LCF's even more voluminous collection of letters filed under the project name "Mercury." See also the material in Thompson's personal collection of "Project Mercury" papers, now preserved as part of the LHA's Thompson Collection.

27. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, pp. 32-33.

28. Collins, Liftoff, p 150 liftoff is an excellent "insider" history, while Collins' Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journey (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1974) is the best autobiography yet to come from anyone astronaut or otherwise involved in the space program

29. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 254. On ground control of flight tests at Edwards AFB in the late 1940s and 1950s, see Richard P. Hallion, On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981, NASA SP-4303 (Washington, 1984), pt. 1.

30. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 255.

31. William J. Boyer interview with author, Hampton, Va., 24 Aug. 1990. This tape-recorded interview has not been transcribed, but the tape is available in the OHC, LHA.

32. NASA Langley press release, "NASA Langley Research Center Directs Establishment of $80 Million Tracking System for Project Mercury," 16 Aug. 1961. For analysis and more information on the tracking network, see Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, esp. pp. 213-221.

33. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 255.

34. Boyer interview, 24 Aug. 1990. On Goddard's responsibility for Minitrack, see This New Ocean, p. 146; and Alfred Rosenthal, Venture into Space: Early Years of Goddard space Flight Center, NASA SP-4301 (Washington, 1968), pp. 65-66.

35. Boyer interview, 24 Aug. 1990.

36. Paul Vavra interview with Robert B. Merrifield, quoted in Merrifield's manuscript, chap. 3, p. 39 n. 74.

37. See the Western Electric Company's Final Progress Report to NASA: Project Mercury, Contract Number NAS 1-430 (June 1961), copy in Project Mercury files, LHA.

38. Boyer interview, 24 Aug. 1990.

39. Edmond C. Buckley, director, Tracking and Data Acquisition, NASA headquarters, to Floyd L. Thompson, director, NASA Langley, 27 Feb. 1962, E1-2C, LCF. Another copy of this letter is in the folder labeled "Mercury Tracking Range" that is part of the Thompson Collection in the LHA.

40. Ibid.

41. Gilruth, "Memoir," p. 47. Reflecting on Thompson's agreement with Gilruth, Caldwell Johnson has jested that all STG members to this day "wonder which half they were in," the half Gilruth wanted or the half Thompson wanted to give away.

42. Thompson, "Comments on Draft Chapters," p. 7.

43. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, p. 17.

44. Thompson, "Comments on Draft Chapters," pp. 7-8.

45. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., interview with author, Newport News, Va., 26 June 1990, OHC. LHA.

46. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, pp. 27-28.

47. Thompson, "Comments on Draft Chapters," p. 8.

48. Merrifield's manuscript, chap. 3, pp. 61 - 34. See also Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 251-253. The official moves to lessen STG's dependence on Langley can be followed in the Langley correspondence files: Code A189-5 and "Mercury."

49. On the difficult genesis of Goddard Space Flight Center, see Rosenthal, Venture into Space, pp. 27-35, and Robert L. Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 1958-196S, NASA SP-4101 (Washington, 1966), p. 79.

50. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, p. 15.

51. Ibid., pp. 16 17.

52. Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean, pp. 390 392; Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp. 130-132; McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, pp. 373-374; Merrifield manuscript, chap. 4, pp. 21-33.

53. Joe Stein, NASA headquarters news release, "Manned Space Flight Laboratory Location Study Completed," 19 Sept. 1961. Constant rumors of the STG's impending move appeared in the Hampton Roads newspapers for weeks; see, for example, Bill Delany, "Mercury Unit Move Rumors Cited by NASA as 'Unofficial Reports,' " Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, 30 May 1961.

54. Editorial, "A Terrible Waste of Time and Money," Newport News Daily Press, 27 June 1961. So disturbed were members of the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (PCC) that they launched a campaign of letter writing, petitioning, and lobbying to keep the STG where it was. Leading the "call to arms," was a special subcommittee of the PCC's legislative committee whose members worked in conjunction with the efforts of home district Congressman Thomas N. Downing. Members of this "Save the STG" subcommittee included local newspaper magnate William R. Van Buren; prominent real estate broker John P. Yancey (the subcommittee's chairman); Charles K. Hutchens, delegate to the Virginia Genera Assembly; Mayor O. J. Brittingham, Jr., of Newport News; Mayor George C. Bentley of Hampton; Mayor G. S. Forrest of Poquoson; Rodger Smith of the York County Board of Supervisors; Leslie O'Hara, a PCC director; Frank Floyd, co manager of the Peninsula Shipbuilders Association; and Irving L. Fuller, the PCC's executive vice president. The local newspapers, besides staying on top of rumors and NASA statements about the STG's relocation, reported regularly on the actions of this special committee. One can follow the outline of the losing battle to keep the STG at Langley from the late spring to the early fall of 1961 in articles from the Newport News Daily Press from I June through 21 Sept.

55. Caldwell Johnson quoted in Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 131.

56. Donlan interview, 17 Aug. 1990, p. 39.

57. Ibid., PP 39~40

58. Ibid., p. 23.

59. See the day-to day correspondence from this period pertaining to STG activities in A189-5, LCF. For the details of the Glenn and Carpenter flights, see Swenson, Grimwood, and Alexander, This New Ocean pp. 422 436 (Glenn's Mercury-Atlas 6 flight in Friendship 7, 20 Feb. 1962) and 446-460 (Carpenter's Mercury-Atlas 7 flight in Aurora 7, 24 May 1962). For a more popular and abbreviated history, see Collins, Liftoff, pp. 52-57.

60. This letter was quoted at length in "Gilruth Thanks Langley Staff for Support of Project Mercury," Langley Researcher, 5 July 1963.

61. My account is derived from the following articles in the Newport News Daily Press: "Saturday's Tribute to Astronauts Set," 13 Mar. 1962; "Sen. Byrd Accepts Invitation to Program Honoring Space 'Team,' Parade Route Set," 14 Mar. 1962; "State to Pay Tribute to Project Mercury Space 'Team' Today," 17 Mar. 1962; "Seven Astronauts Get Rousing; Peninsula Throng Hails Project Mercury Team," 18 Mar. 1962; "Respect, Awe Mix with Pride as Peninsula Pays Its Respects to America's Astronauts," 18 Mar. 1962.

62. Parke Rouse, Jr., The Good Old Days in Hampton and Newport News (Richmond: Dietz Press, 1986), p. 69.

 

Chapter 4

Change and Continuity

 

1. Various people have related this story to me, notably Edgar M Cortright in a July 1988 interview, Yorktown, Va., transcript, pp. 9-10, OHC, LHA, and Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., in a July 1990 interview, Newport News, Va. The versions told by Cortright and Loftin are virtually identical in the details of the incident; however, Cortright, who at the time of the incident was the deputy director of the Office of Lunar and Planetary Programs at NASA headquarters, tells the story with an implicit criticism of Thompson's behavior. Loftin, Thompson's assistant director, praises the boldness and independence of his center director. Cortright witnessed the incident; Loftin heard about it.

2. Dr. John E. Duberg interview with author, Hampton, Va., 8 Aug. 1991.

3. Senator John F. Kennedy quoted in Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988), p. 63.

4. For a critique of Webb's approach to the management of NASA and its application to other arenas of American life, see Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 380-383.

5. Quoted in McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 383, from Webb's remarks to a "Conference on Space, Science, and Urban Life," held at the Dunsmuir House, Oakland, Calif, 30 Mar. 1963.

6. My presentation of the general character of Langley's formal organization in the 1960s is based on my study of organization charts, correspondence pertaining to the formal organization found in file E26-3C, LCF, and a staff office notebook that chronicles the major organizational changes at Langley from World War II to the present. This notebook, in the LHA, has been kept up to date in recent years by Langley historical program coordinator Richard T. Layman.

7. Langley Announcement, No. 7-62, "Reorganization of Langley Research Center," 16 Feb 1962, E26-3C, LCF.

8. Ira H. Abbott, director of Advanced Research Programs, to Langley, Attn.: F. L Thompson, "Establishment of an Analysis and Computation Division at the Langley Research Center, and authorization to appoint a division chief for the new division," 13 Dec. 1960, E26 3C, LCF.

9. For the complete history of PARD, see Joseph A. Shortal's exhaustive A New Dimension: Wallops Flight Test Range, The First Fifteen Years, NASA RP-1028 (Washington, 1978) For a shorter treatment with special emphasis on PARD's role as a training ground for space, see Robert R. Gilruth, "Memoir: From Wallops Island to Mercury, 1945-1958," unpublished manuscript presented at the Sixth International History Symposium, Vienna, Austria, 13 Oct. 1972, copy in LHA.

10. Duberg interview, 8 Aug. 1991. For some interesting history related to the "maverick" character of PARD, see Henry S. F. Cooper's essay, "We Don't Have to Prove Ourselves," in The New Yorker, 2 Sept. 1991, esp. pp. 57-58. Dr. Cooper's article tells the story of former PARD employees Maxime A. Faget and Caldwell Johnson; after working on the STG, the two NACA/NASA engineers went on to operate their own company, Space Industries International, on the outskirts of Johnson Space Center.

11. Cortright interview, July 1988, esp. pp. 1 6. On NACA Director George Lewis and his paternalistic and obfuscatory style of management, see James R. Hansen, Engineer in Charge: A History of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958, NASA SP-4305 (Washington, 1987), pp. 24-40, and "George W. Lewis and the Management of Aeronautical Research," in Aviation's Golden Age: Portraits from the 192Os and 193Os, ed. William M. Leary (lowa City: University of lowa Press, 1989), pp. 93-112.

12. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., interview with author, Newport News, Va., 26 June 1991.

13. Ibid.

14. Israel Taback quoted in James Schultz, Winds of Change: Langley Research Center's 75 Years of Accomplishment, NP-130 (Washington, 1992), p. 21.

15. On the dissolution of the Hydrodynamics Division, see H. J. E. Reid, internal memorandum for all concerned, "Changes in Organization of the Langley Research Center," 23 Dec. 1959, E26-3C, LCF.

16. For a brief history of Langley's hydrodynamics work, see the NASA Langley press release, "Changing Research Emphasis Leads to Dissolution of NASA's Hydrodynamics Division after 29 Years," 29 Dec. 1959, E26-3C, LCF. For design information on the Martin YP6M-I Seamaster jet-propelled flying boat, see Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft, NASA SP-468 (Washington, 1985), pp. 382-385. For basic information about Convair's Sea Dart, see Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes, 3d enlarged ed. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1982), pp. 515-517.

17. See H. J. E. Reid to NASA headquarters, "Proposed Reorganization of Langley Research Center and Changes in Excepted Positions," 16 Dec. 1959, E26-3C, LCF. For Parkinson's principal work on the hydrodynamics of seaplanes, see his "Appreciation and Determination of the Hydrodynamics Qualities of Seaplanes," NACA TN-1290, 1947.

18. On the NACA Tank No. 1, see Starr Truscott, "The NACA Tank - A High-Speed Towing Basin for Testing Models of Seaplane Floats," NACA TR-470, 1933. For an excellent detailed presentation on the nature and contributions of Langley's Hydrodynamics Research Division in the 1930s and early 1940s, see "Air and Water," in George W. Gray, Frontiers of Flight: The Story of NACA Research (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948), pp. 63-81. For the history of flying boats, see Kenneth Munson, Flying Boats and Seaplanes Since 1910 (New York: Macmillian Co., 1971); and Capt. Richard C. Knott, The American Flying Boat, An Illustrated History (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1979). On the floatplanes of World War II specifically, see Wagner, American Combat Planes, pp. 334-345.

19. On the U.S. Navy's termination of its flying-boat program in the late 1950s, see Loftin, Quest for Performance, p. 385, and Wagner, American Combat Planes, p. 481.

20. Reid, "Changes in Organization of Langley Research Center," 23 Dec. 1959.

21. Quoted in NASA Langley press release, "Changing Research Emphasis," p. 1.

22. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., interview with author, Newport News, Va., 5 Aug. 1989, transcript, p. 5, OHC, LHA.

23. Raymond L. Bisplinghoff, "Twenty-Five Years of NASA Aeronautical Research: Reflections and Projections," in Space Applications at the Crossroads: 21st Goddard Memorial Symposium, eds. John H. McElroy and E. Larry Heacock (San Diego: Published for the American Astronautical Society by Univelt, 1983), pp. 30-31.

24. John V. Becker, "The Development of Winged Reentry Vehicles, 1952-1963," unpublished, 23 May 1983, p. 31, copy in LHA.

25. Ibid.

26. Mark R. Nichols interview with author, Hampton, Va., 6 July 1988, transcript, pp. 2-3, OHC, LHA.

27. All of the statistical information in this chapter regarding personnel, payroll, budget, expenditures, and so forth is from the NASA Historical Data Book, NASA SP-4012 (Washington, 1988), vol. 1, NASA Resources 1958-1968, by Jane Van Nimmen and Leonard Bruno with help from Robert L. Rosholt. NASA personnel statistics given in various sources may seem contradictory. The NASA Historical Data Book gives certain personnel numbers for a given year, and the NASA Historical Pocket Statistics may give others. Neither is in error; the differences depend on when the count was taken. The number of NASA employees changed every day. The NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 1, NASA Resources 1958-1968, which is my source, provides personnel statistics for 30 June and 31 Dec. of each year.

28. Earl D. Hilburn, deputy associate administrator, NASA headquarters, to Dr. Floyd L. Thompson, 16 Aug. 1963, copy in C131-1, LCF. Floyd L. Thompson to NASA headquarters, "Manpower Requirements," 9 Sept. 1963, C131-1, LCF.

29 On NASA's early problems involving the low ceiling on its personnel complement, see Robert L. Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 1958-1963, NASA SP-4101 (Washington, 1966), pp. 139-141.

30. See the summary of the NASA Staff Conference, Monterey, Calif., 3-5 Mar. 1960, p. 56, copy in NASA HQA. Glennan's views are outlined in Rosholt, Administrative History of NASA, p. 140.

31. Rosholt compared Glennan's 1962 "Budget Guidelines" with the "Summary Financial Plan for Fiscal Year 1961, NASA," that NASA submitted to the Bureau of the Budget on 19 Aug. 1960, Administrative History of NASA, p. 140.

32. Roger E. Bilstein, Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915-1990, NASA SP-4406 (Washington, 1989), p. 71.

33. See Hilburn to Thompson, 16 Aug. 1963.

34. Thompson to NASA headquarters, "Manpower Requirements," 9 Sept. 1963.

35. Axel T. Mattson, research assistant for Manned Spacecraft Projects, Langley, to Manned Spacecraft Center, Attn.: Mr. M. A. Faget, "Langley Research Center Tests of interest to Manned Spacecraft Center," 27 Aug. 1963. Mattson compiled these reports regularly from late 1962 into 1967. Copies of them are preserved in the Project Apollo files, LCF. Their contents will be discussed in chap. 11 in relation to Langley's work in support of Apollo.

36. See Table 4-19, "Administrative Operations Direct Obligations, by installation (in millions of dollars)," in NASA Historical Data Book, 1:146.

37. For a general analysis of how procurement and contracting were done by NASA in its early years, see Rosholt, Administrative History of NASA, pp. 61-65, and Arnold S. Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, NASA SP-4102 (Washington, 1982), pp. 65-105. On the allocation of resources by NASA headquarters, see Levine, pp. 63 64.

38. See Table 5-19, "Value of Awards by installation (in millions of dollars)," NASA Historical Data Book, 1:202.

39. See Table 4 26, "Amounts Programmed for Research and Development, by installation (in millions of dollars)," NASA Historical Data Book, 1:166.

40. See tables 5-20 through 5-27 of the NASA Historical Data Book, 1:203-226, for detailed information on NASA contracts and contractors in the period 1958 to 1968.

41. Steven T. and Sarah W. Corneliussen, "NASA Langley Research Center Support Services Contracting, Historical Summary," 29 May 1991, p. 1. Much of the discussion about the history of support services contracting at Langley that follows in this chapter is based on the unpublished Corneliussen study or on the oral histories they conducted for it. A copy of this study and all the materials collected for it are preserved in the LHA.

42. Duberg interview, 8 Aug. 1991.

43. Corneliussen and Corneliussen, "Support Services Contracting," p. 6. For an analysis of support services and the issue of the integrity of the NASA civil service staff, see Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, pp. 86-87.

44. Corneliussen and Corneliussen, "Support Services Contracting," pp. 9-10.

45. For definitions of the various types of contracts authorized by NASA, see app. D of Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, pp. 313-314. Levine's definitions are based on House Committee on Science and Astronautics, 1965 NASA Authorization, 88th Cong., 2d sess. (1964), pp. 1327-1328.

46. Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, app. D, p. 313.

47. Corneliussen and Corneliussen, "Support Services Contracting," p. 17.

48. Edwin Kilgore interview with Steven T. Corneliussen, Hampton, Va., Apr. 1991, LHA.

49. Sherwood Butler interview with Sarah W. Corneliussen, Hampton, Va., Apr. 1991, LHA.

50. Robert Moore interview with Sarah W. Corneliussen, Hampton, Va., Apr. 1991, LHA.

51. On the American atomic bomb project, see H. D. Smyth, Atomic Energy (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1945); this is the original official report. For a very readable historical analysis, see Stephane Groueff, Manhattan Project: The Untold Story of the Making of the Bomb (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1967), and Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986). See also R. G. Hewlett and O. E. Anderson, A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1962), vol. 1, The New World.

On Project Sherwood and the history of the program in controlled thermonuclear reactions carried out by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission during the period 1951 to 1958, see Amasa Bishop, Project Sherwood: The U.S. Program in Controlled Fusion (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1958), and Joan Lisa Bromberg, Fusion: Science, Politics, and the Invention of a New Energy Source (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1983.)

52. NASA Management Manual, pt. 1, "General Management instructions," chap. 4, No. 4-1-1, 8 Mar. 1963, p. 1.

53. On the administrative evolution of Apollo from a project to a program, see Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era.

54. National Research Council, NASA's Aeronautics Research and Technology Base: A Study of the Report of the Ad Hoc Aeronautics Research Committee, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (Washington: National Academy of Sciences, 1979), p. 6.

55. On the NACA/NASA work on the XB-70 and XB-70A, see Richard P. Hallion, On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981, NASA SP-4303 (Washington, 1984), pp. 180-189.

56. John V. Becker, High-Speed Frontier: Case Histories of Four NACA Programs, 1920-1950, NASA SP-445 (Washington, 1980), pp. 86 87. For more on the feelings of other Langley divisions about PARD, see Hansen, Engineer in Charge, pp. 269 270.

57. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., interview with author, Hampton, Va., 5 Nov. 1991.

58. Loftin telephone interview with author, 30 Jan. 1992.

59. Charles J. Donlan interview with author, Hampton, Va., 17 Aug. 1990, transcript, pp. 27-28, OHC, LHA.

60. Rosholt, Administrative History of NASA, pp. 145-146.

61. Ibid.

62. Ibid., pp. 157-158.

63. Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, pp. 43-45.

64. What has been described in the text is a system of project management that evolved gradually, in fits and starts, through several major reorganizations taking place during the first five years of NASA, from October 1958 to October 1963. For a far more comprehensive examination of the development of the NASA organization and its management in this period, the reader should consult the previously cited works by Rosholt and Levine. Both books go into great detail about NASA's project management.

65. On the nature of the wartime work at NACA Langley, see Hansen, Engineer in Charge, pp. 194-202.

 

Chapter 5

The "Mad Scientists" of MPD

 

1. The scientific and technical literature generated by the field of plasma physics since its emergence as an identifiable scientific discipline in the 1950s is too vast to cite. For basic technical information about the field provided in this chapter, I have primarily used a well-known textbook from the early 1960s, Ali Bulent Cambel, Plasma Physics and Magnetofluid-Mechanics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963) and one NASA publication by Langley authors Adolf Busemann, Robert V. Hess, Paul W. Huber, Clifford H. Nelson, and Macon C. Ellis, Jr., Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics in Space Exploration, NASA SP-25 (Washington, 1962). These papers were originally presented by their authors at a NASA/University Conference on the Science and Technology of Space Exploration, Chicago, III., 1-3 Nov. 1962. Ironicaly, in the midst of using Cambel's book, I discovered that the MPD Branch at Langley did not care for Cambel, a physics professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, III. In the 1960s, the head of the MPD Branch, Macon C. Ellis, Jr., turned down more than one of Cambel's ideas for doing MPD research under contract to Langley.

For a more basic discussion of the nature of gases and plasma than can be found in the Cambel textbook, consult, as I did, Paul G. Hewitt, Conceptual Physics, 6th ed. (Glenview, III.: Scott, Foresman and Co.. 1989), pp. 244-246; Gary L. Buckwalter and David M. Riban, College Physics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987), pp. 832-835; or some other textbook in physics.

2. See Thomas G. Cowling, Magnetohydrodynamics (London: Adam Hilger, 1976), pp. 1-2. However, the best discussion of the confounding nomenclature of plasma physics can be found in the introduction to an unpublished paper by Langley MPD researcher George P. Wood. A copy of this paper, which is undated (but seems to have been written in 1959), can be found in the collection of personal papers donated in 1991 to the LHA by Macon C. Ellis, Jr.

3. For a historical analysis of Chapman's work on solar physics and solar and terrestrial relationships, see Karl Hufbauer, Exploring the Sun: Solar Science Since Galileo (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), esp. pp. 154-158 and 217-221. Several references are made to the contributions of the Chapman group in Homer Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere: Early Years of Space Science, NASA SP-4211 (Washington, 1980).

4. For those interested in the many complex details of Alfven's work, see Alfven, Cosmical Electrodynamics (Oxford University Press, 1950). Also see Hufbauer, Exploring the Sun, pp. 205-206, 216, 242, 253, and 311.

5. For details about the discovery of the earth's radiation belts from the scientist who discovered them, see James Van Allen, The Origins of Magnetospheric Physics (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983). For a brief historical analysis of the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts, see Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere, esp. pp. 173 176; Hufbauer, Exploring the Sun, pp. 165-166; Roger Bilstein, Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915-1990, NASA SP-4406 (Washington, 1989), pp. 46 47 and 81-82; and John E. Naugle, First Among Equals: The Selection of NASA Space Science Experiments, NASA SP-4215 (Washington, 1991), pp. 15-17.

6. On the emergence of the concept of the magnetosphere, see Van Allen, The Origins of Magnetospheric Physics; Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere, pp. 172-186; and Hufbauer, Exploring the Sun, pp. 228, 235, and 240-243.

7. Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere, pp. 182-184. On Eugene Parker's theory of the solar wind and its impact on astrophysics and solar science from 1957 to 1970, see chap. 6 in Hufbauer, Exploring the Sun, pp. 213-258.

8. In response to questions that the author had posed to him in a letter, retired NACA/NASA researcher Macon C. Ellis, Jr., in early Nov. 1991 tape-recorded answers and provided other oral reminiscences concerning the history of MPD at Langley. The information contained on the roughly 90-minute tape provides an excellent overview of MPD research at Langley. However, because of the candid nature of some of the remarks made about fellow MPD personnel, Ellis chose to restrict access to the tape. This he did by giving the tape to the author for his personal use and asking that a copy not he placed in the LHA. The quotation from Ellis in the text is from the author's handwritten transcript of this audiotape, p. 2.

9. Quoted from Ellis's handwritten notes entitled "Branch Re Cap," for a meeting of the Compressibility Research Division on 18 June 1958, p. 1. The branch referred to was the Gas Dynamics Branch. These notes are in a folder labeled "Editorial Copy, 1958," Ellis Collection, LHA.

10. A significant amount of MPD-related research was conducted at the other NASA research centers. For example, a parallel MPD branch at Lewis was especially interested in the promise of ion thrusters and electric propulsion. The best sources for NASA's early MPD activities agency-wide are the published reports of the intercenter conferences on plasma physics; see, for example, Program of the Third NASA Intercenter Conference on Magnetoplasmadynamics, held at Langley, 24 25 Apr. 1962, or "Program of the Fourth NASA Intercenter Conference on Plasma Physics," held at NASA headquarters, 2 4 Dec. 1964. Copies of most of these NASA meeting programs are in the Ellis Collection, LHA. For a list of organizations that conducted MPD and plasma physics research, as well as for lists of the dozens of people involved, see the relevant documents in the folder labeled "Statistics on Visitors, etc.," Ellis Collection, LHA.

11. NASA Langley press release, "NASA 1959 Inspection: Magnetoplasmadynamics," Oct. 1959, p. 1, "1959 1964 inspection" drawer, LHA.

12. Ellis audiotape, author's transcript, p. 9.

13. Ibid., p. 5.

14. "Agenda and Tentative Schedule for Interlaboratory Magnetohydrodynamics Meeting, Sept. 22-23, 1958," copy in folder labeled "MHD Meeting - 9-22/23-58," Ellis Collection, LHA. The folder contains several documents related to the conference. Dr. Busemann served as the "meeting chairman," and Macon C. Ellis, Jr., served as its "coordinator." Busemann continued to work on MHD-related problems throughout the early 1960s; see, for example, "On the Karman Vortex Street in Magnetofluid-Dynamics," 80th Annual Proceedings of the Institute of Aerospace Sciences, 1962; "Relations between Aerodynamics and Magnetohydrodynamics," which was presented at a NASA-sponsored conference at the University of Chicago, 1-3 Nov. 1962; and "Lift Control in Magmetohydrodynamics," a paper presented at the International Symposium of Applications of the Theory of Functions in Continuum Mechanics at Tbilisi in the Soviet Union, 18-24 Sept. 1963. Copies of all three papers are available in the Langley Technical Library.

15. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., to Charles J. Donlan, Langley associate director, "Outline of NASA-Postdoctoral Resident Research Associate Program Administered by National Research Council - NASA - NAE and recommendations relative to Langley participation," 29 Nov. 1966, copy in folder labeled "RRA Program," Ellis Collection, LHA. This folder contains a rather complete file on MPD's involvement in the RRA program at Langley.

16. Special personnel folders for Adamson and Feix are in the Ellis Collection, LHA.

17. For insight into the amount and type of MPD research conducted by outside groups under contract to Langley, see "MPD Branch Research Grants and Contracts," a seven-page document, dated Oct. 1966, in the Ellis Collection, LHA. MPD monitored 37 contracts amounting to almost $4 million.

The MPD Branch collected complete information on its committee memberships, publications, contracts, and visitors in preparation for a major June 1968 briefing of new Langley Director Edgar M. Cortright. Much of this information is in a folder labeled "Statistics on Visitors, etc.," Ellis Collection, LHA.

18 NASA established a Technical Working Group for Electric Propulsion (TWGEP) on 1 Sept. 1960. Chaired by Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger of NASA Marshall, the group comprised representatives from Marshal, JPL, Lewis, Goddard, Langley, and NASA's Nuclear Engine Project Office. MPD Branch Head Mike Ellis was Langley's representative. The Ellis Collection contains a complete set of minutes to the TWGEP meetings. The first of there meetings convened at Marshall on 13 Oct. 1960.

19. NASA Langley press release, "NASA 1959 inspection: Magnetoplasmadynamics," Oct. 1959, p. 1.

20. John V. Becker interview with author, Hampton, Va., 5 Aug. 1991.

21. Donald D. Baals and William R. Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, NASA SP-440 (Washington, 1981), p. 85.

22. For information on the arc-jet facilities built and operated at Langley in the 1960s, see Martin A. Weiner, Resume of Research Facilities at the Langley Research Center (Washington: NASA, July 1968). A copy of this catalogue (No. CN-123,837) is available in the Langley Technical Library.

23. For more information on the hotshot tunnel, see Baals and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 84-85; and Weiner, Resume of Research Facilities, facilities in Building 1247B.

24. William H. Allen, ed., Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use, NASA SP-7 (Washington, 1965), p. 251. See also Baals and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, p. 84.

25. A one-page chronology of early shock-tube operation in Langley's Gas Dynamics Laboratory from 1951 to 1953 is located in the Ellis Collection, LHA; see the folder labeled "Editorial Copy, 1958." Also in this folder is a chart (circa 1957) listing the major research facilities in the Gas Dynamics Laboratory and giving basic data on their test section sizes, running times, dates of initial operation, and stagnation temperatures and pressures. Mike Ellis used this chart and its associated information to brief a meeting of the NACA's aerodynamics committee held at Langley on I May 1958.

26. Becker interview, 5 Aug. 1991. See George P. Wood and Arlen F. Carter, "Considerations in the Design of a Steady DC Plasma Accelerator," presented at the Third Biennial Gas Dynamics Symposium, Northwestern University, Evanston, 111., 24-26 Aug. 1959, copy in the Langley Technical Library.

27. George P. Wood, Arlen F. Carter, Alexander P. Sabol, and Richard H. Weinstein, "Experiments in Steady State Crossed-Field Acceleration of Plasma," in Physics of Fluids 5 (May 1961): 652; George P. Wood, Arlen F. Carter, Hubert K. Lintz, and J. Byron Pennington, "A Theoretical Treatment of the Steady-Flow, Linear, Crossed-Field, Direct-Current Plasma Accelerator for Inviscid, Adiabatic, Isothermal, Constant-Area Flow," NASA TN D-924, June 1961; Arlen F. Carter, George P. Wood, D. R. McFarland, and W. R. Weaver, "Research on a Linear Direct-Current Plasma Accelerator," in AIAA Journal 3 (June 1965): 1040-1045. For an earlier version of this paper, see George P. Wood, Arlen F. Carter, Alexander P. Sabol, D. R. McFarland, and W. R. Weaver, "Research on Linear Crossed-Field Steady-Flow DC Plasma Accelerators at Langley Research Center, NASA," presented at the AGARD Specialists' Meeting on Arc Heaters and MHD Accelerators for Aerodynamic Purposes, Rhode Saint-Genése, Belgium, 21-23 Sept. 1964, published as AGARDograph 84, copy in the Langley Technical Library. For a general description of Langley's early work on plasma accelerators, see NASA Langley press release, "NASA 1959 inspection: Magnetoplasmadynamics," pp. 2-3.

28. Becker interview, 5 Aug. 1991.

29. Ibid. A preliminary proposal for what Stack wanted to call a "Trans-Satellite Velocity" wind tunnel can be found in the folder labeled "Editorial Copy, 1958," Ellis Collection, LHA.

30. Arlen F. Carter, Willard R. Weaver, Donald R. McFarland, Stephen K. Park and George P. Wood, "Development and initial Operating Characteristics of the 20-Megawatt Linear Plasma Accelerator Facility," NASA TN D-6547, Dec. 1911; see also "Design of the 20 Megawatt Linear Plasma Accelerator Facility," NASA TN D-6116, Jan. 1971, by the same authors.

31. On Langley's work with Hall-current accelerators, see John R. Sevier, Robert V. Hess, and Philip Brockman, "Coaxial Hall-Current Accelerator Operation at Forces and Efficiencies Comparable to Conventional Crossed-Field Accelerators," in ARS Journal 32 (Jan. 1962): 78-80; Philip Brockman, Robert V. Hess, and Richard Weinstein, "Measurements and Theoretical interpretation of Hall Currents for Steady Axial Discharges in Radial Magnetic Fields," presented at the Fifth Biennial Gas Dynamics Symposium, Northwestern University, Evanston, 111., 14-16 Aug. 1963; W. Grossmann, H. A. Hassan, and R. V. Hess, "Experiments with Co-Axial Hall-Current Plasma Accelerator," presented at AIAA Fourth Electric Propulsion Conference, Philadelphia, 31 Aug.-2 Sept. 1964; H. A. Hassan, R. V. Hess, and W. Grossmann, "Study of Coaxial Hall Current Accelerators at Moderate Pressures," NASA TN D-3286, Oct. 1966. Copies of all these papers are available in the Langley Technical Library. The author wishes to thank Mr. Hess for his generous assistance in explaining, via letters, telephone conversations, and personal interviews, the development of the MPD accelerators at Langley.

32. Robert V. Hess and Macon C. Ellis, Jr., to Floyd L. Thompson, associate director, "Visit to the Research institute of Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa., to discuss high temperature dames," 21 June 1959, copy in folder labeled "CN (Early)," Ellis Collection, LHA. Three folders containing material on Langley's development of a cyanogen dame apparatus are in the Ellis Collection, LHA. Ellis also comments on the cyanogen flame apparatus in his audiotape, author's transcript, p. 4.

33. NASA Langley press release, "NASA 1959 inspection: Magnetoplasmadynamics," pp. 1-2. For the early experimental findings involving the Langley cyanogen dame apparatus, see Paul W. Huber and Paul B. Gooderum, "Experiments with Plasmas Produced by Potassium-Seeded Cyanogen Oxygen Flames for Study of Radio Transmission at Simulated Reentry Vehicle Plasma Conditions," NASA TN D-627, Oct. 1961. See also Huber, "Experiments with Plasmas Produced by Alkali-Metal-Seeded Cyanogen-Oxygen Flames for Study of Electromagnetic Wave Propagation at the Langley Research Center," paper presented at the Symposium on the Plasma Sheath, Cambridge, Mass., 7-9 Dec. 1959, copy in the Langley Technical Library.

Calvin T. Swift's major MPD research papers from the period include "Generalized Treatment of Plane Electromagnetic Waves Passing through an isotropic inhomogeneous Plasma Slab at Arbitrary Angles of incidence," NASA TR R-172, Dec. 1963, coauthored by J. S. Evans; "Radiation from Slotted-Cylinder Antennas in a Reentry Plasma Environment," NASA TN D-2187, Feb. 1964; "The Aperture Admittance of a Ground Plane Mounted Waveguide illuminating a Perfectly Conducting Sheet," NASA TN D-4366, Mar. 1968, coauthored by J. Earl Jones; "Experimental investigation of a Plasma Covered, Axially Slotted Cylinder," in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation 17 (Sept. 1969): 598 605, coauthored by P. B. Gooderum and S. L. Castellow, Jr.; and "A Theoretical investigation of Electromagnetic Waves Obliquely incident Upon a Plasma Slab," NASA TR R-339, Apr. 1970

34. Very little can be found in any publications of the NASA History Series about Project RAM. The NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 2, Programs and Projects, 1958-1968, pp. 464-466, provides only the most basic information. For technical information on the radio transmission problem caused by the plasma sheath and early thoughts about the potential for attenuating it, see Macon C. Ellis, Jr., and Paul W. Huber, "Real Gas Flow Conditions about Hypersonic Vehicles," in Reentry Dynamics, Part 11: Proceedings of the Conference on Physics of the Solar System and Reentry Dynamics, July 31 to Aug. 11, 1961 (Blacksburg, Va.: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1962), pp. 120-154; and John S. Evans and Paul W. Huber, "Calculated Radio Attenuation due to Plasma Sheath on Hypersonic Blunt-Nosed Cone," NASA TN D-2043, Dec. 1963.

35. Handwritten notes for briefing of the Langley senior staff, 15 Feb. 1962, in folder labeled "Text and Vu-graphs for 2/15/62 Briefing," Ellis Collection, LHA.

36. Quoted from "Langley Feasibility Study of Release of Barium Cloud within Earth's Magnetosphere," 16 Aug. 1965, p. 1, copy in folder labeled "Ba-Cloud Project," Ellis Collection, LHA.

37. For a summary of the scientific objectives of the barium cloud experiment, see "Scientific Merits of Experiment Involving a Barium Release at High Altitude (Several Earth Radii)," an unpublished Langley paper from early 1968, Ba-Cloud file, Ellis Collection, LHA.

38. "Langley Feasibility Study of Release of Barium Cloud," p. 2.

39. L. Biermann, R. Lust, Rh. Lust, and H. U. Schmidt, "Zur Untersuchung des interplanetaren Medinms mit hilfe kunstliche eingebrachtee lonenwolken" ["Study of the interplanetary Media by Means of Artificially ionized Clouds''], in Zeitschrift fur Astrophysik 53 (1961): 226-236. On Biermann's important contributions to solar physics, see Hufbauer, Exploring the Sun, pp. 215-221.

40. R. V. Hess, head, Plasma Physics Section, to Charles J. Donlan, Langley associate director, "Request for transmittal of letter to the Secretary of the Space Sciences Steering Committee concerning recent discussion of R. V. Hess with Prof. Biermann on use of plasma cloud as space probe," 15 July 1964, Ba-Cloud file, Ellis Collection, LHA. On the front of this memorandum, MPD Branch Head Mike Ellis has penned the words, "Hess'[s] claim for plasma cloud ideal"

41. NASA, "MPI/NASA Magnetospheric ion Cloud Experiment Project Proposal/ Development Plan," 15 Dec. 1967, copy in Ba-Cloud file, Ellis Collection, LHA. Ellis audiotape, author's transcript, pp. 3 and 19.

42. For draft copies of the relevant memoranda of understanding between NASA and West Germany's Federal Ministry for Scientific Research, see Ba-Cloud file, Ellis Collection, LHA.

43. NASA, "MPI/NASA Magnetospheric lon Cloud."

44. On the accident and the findings of the NASA investigative board, see the story in the New York Times, 9 July 1967. Max Planck Institut researchers also experienced an accident involving the mishandling of barium; for an account see Linda Shiner, "Come to Aruba When the Barium Blooms," Air 6~ Space 6 (Feb./Mar. 1992): 58.

45. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., letter to author, 28 Jan. 1991, p. 3. Ellis communicated Langley's "scooping" of the West Germans after talking to Leo D. Staton, one of the Langley men involved in NASA's analysis and reporting of the findings from the barium cloud experiments. For a summary of the results of the barium cloud experiments, see Hal T. Baber, Jr., Kenneth H. Crumbly, and David Adamson, Barium Releases at Altitudes Between 200 and 1000 Kilometers - A Joint Max Planck Institut - NASA Experiment, NASA SP-264 (Washington, 1971). For further analysis from NASA researchers, see David Adamson, Clifford L. Fricke, Sheila Ann T. Long, W. F. Landon, and D. L. Ridge, "Preliminary Analysis of NASA Optical Data Obtained in Barium Cloud Experiment of Sept. 21, 1971," in Journal of Geophysical Research 78 (1 Sept. 1973): 5769-5784; David Adamson and C. L. Fricke, "Barium Cloud Evolution and Striation Formation in the Magnetospheric Release on Sept. 21, 1971," NASA TN D-7722, Sept. 1974; and David Adamson, C. L. Fricke, and Sheila Ann T. Long, "Results of Magnetospheric Barium ion Cloud Experiment of 1971," NASA TR R-437, Mar. 1975.

46. Ellis to author, 28 Jan. 1991, p. 3.

47. The best source for the history of Project Sherwood remains Amasa Bishop, Project Sherwood. The U.S. Program in Controlled Fusion (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1958). From 1953 to 1956, Dr. Bishop served as chief of research division in the Controlled Thermonuclear Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission. Several aspects of Project Sherwood are also covered in Joan Lisa Bromberg, Fusion: Science, Politics, and the Invention of a New Energy Source (Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 1983).

48. Most of my insight into the nature of Langley's one-megajoule theta-pinch apparatus comes from the Ellis audiotape, author's transcript, p. 7. For a survey of the historical development of the various sorts of "pinch" devices, see chap. 3 (pp. 22-32) and chap. 10 (pp. 90 105), in Bishop, Project Sherwood Also see Bromberg, Fusion, esp. pp. 6-7, 19-20, 25-26, 70-71, and 134-135; on the theta-pinch specifically, see pp. 143-144 and 226-227. For those interested in the technical details of Langley's one megajoule energy storage system, a copy of the successful Nov. 1961 proposal for the system is preserved in the Ellis Collection, LHA.

49. For a general summary of the intent of the Magnetic Compression Experiment, see the "Rough Text on Laboratory Astrophysics," prepared by Karlheinz Thom as the proposed text for an MPD presentation at the 1964 NASA Inspection, copy in Ellis Collection, LHA. Mike Ellis discusses this experiment on his audiotape, author's transcript, p. 15, and in his 28 Jan. 1991 letter to the author, p. 1.

50. Langley's earliest published papers on the results of experiments in the plasma focus facility include the following, all of which appeared in The Bulletin of the American Physical Society: J. H. Lee and C. E. Roos, "An Investigation of Hard X-rays from a Plasma Focus," 15 (1970): 642; J. H. Lee and L. P. Shomo, "Angular Variation of Neutron Yield from a Plasma Focus by Neutron-lnduced Gamma Spectrometry," 15 (1970): 814; J. H. Lee and Nelson W. Jalufka, "lnvestigation of X-ray Emission from a Plasma Focus," 15 (1970): 815; J. H. Lee and L. P. Shomo, "Dependence of Neutron Fluence Anisotropy on the Neutron Yield of a Plasma Focus," 15 (1970): 1463; and Nelson W. Jalufka and J. H. Lee, "Investigation of Current Sheet Collapse in a Plasma Focus Apparatus," 15 (1970): 1462. For a complete list of publications and presented papers based on research in Langley's plasma-focus facility from 1968 to 1985, see the special bibliography on the plasma-focus facility that I have added to the Ellis Collection, LHA.

51. Macon C. Ellis, Jr., "15 Minute Briefing for Mr. Cortright," handwritten notes, June 1958, copy in folder labeled "Cortright June 24, 1968 Briefing," p. 4, Ellis Collection, LHA.

52. Ellis audiotape, author's transcript, p. 14.

53. Becker interview, 5 Aug. 1991.

54. Ellis audiotape, author's transcript, p. 17. For historical analysis of the slow and tortuous progress of fusion work through the doldrums in the 1960z, see Bromberg, Fusion, esp. pp. 110 174.

55. On the Nixon administration's rejection of the plan for a manned Mars mission in the 1970s and 1980s as the follow-on to the Apollo program and as the next great space challenge accepted by the United States, see Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 420 423; Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988), p. 201; and Edward C. Ezell and Linda Neuman Ezell, On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet, 1958-1978, NASA SP-4212 (Washington, 1984), p. 186. Mike Ellis also comments on the ramifications of President Nixon's decision for the study of electric propulsion in his audiotape: "Nixon said that a manned Mars mission was a subject we could not talk about. 'It shall be relevant or it shall not he at all.' Electric propulsion was no longer relevant to any practical application; so, bingo, politically, we couldn't mention it," Ellis audiotape, author's transcript, p. 17.

If a manned mission to Mars is to be attempted in the twenty-first century, as many advocates of the American space program have strongly suggested, it will require a radically new nuclear or electric propulsion system like those studied by NASA's MPD experts in the 1960s. If that is the case, and the United States does endeavor to land astronauts on Mars sometime during the next century, the decision of the Nixon administration to stop basic research in that area will be seen as a significant temporary setback.

56. Robert V. Hess interview with author, 12 Nov. 1991; Ellis audiotape, author's transcript, p.6.

57. Becker interview, 5 Aug. 1991.

58. Ellis to author, 28 Jan. 1991, p. 3.

 

Chapter 6

The Odyssey of Project Echo

 

1. Norman L. Crabill interview with author, Newport News, Va., 11 Nov. 1991, OHC, LHA.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Howard Gibbons, "Earthlings Stirred by NASA Balloon, Awesome Sight in the Sky," Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, 29 Oct. 1959.

5. On the Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel and its earlier incarnation as the V-2 Panel, see Homer Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere: Early Years of Space Science, NASA SP-4211 (Washington, 1980), pp. 33-49, and John E. Naugle, First Among Equals: The Selection of NASA Space Science Experiments, NASA SP-4215 (Washington, 1991), pp. 1 4. Both Newell and Naugle participated as research scientists in the history they examine in these books. A mathematician-turned-physicist, Newell worked with the V-2 missiles at White Sands, New Mexico, from 1947 to 1955, when he became the NRL's science program coordinator for Project Vanguard. Newell then joined NASA in 1958 and led its space science program through much of the 1960s. In 1960 physicist Naugle transferred from the Space Science Division at NASA Goddard, where he had been studying cosmic rays and protons in the magnetosphere using nuclear emulsions exposed during the flights of upper-atmosphere sounding rockets, to NASA headquarters where he supervised the space agency's research into fields and particles. On the history of the V-2, both in Germany and White Sands, see Walter Dornberger, V-2 - Shot into the Universe: The History of a Great Invention, trans. James Cleugh, with intro. by Willy Ley (New York: Viking Press, 1958). Dornberger was the German army officer responsible for the V-2 program at Peenemunde. He came to work for the American rocket program after World War II as part of Operation Paperclip.

6. On the central role of Project Vanguard in the U.S. celebration of the IGY, see Constance Green and Milton Lomask, Vanguard: A History (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1971). For final edited versions of the presentations made at the Ann Arbor meeting, see James Van Allen, ed., Scientific Uses of Earth Satellites (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1956). For a readable history of the IGY, see Walter Sullivan, Assault on the Unknown: The International Geophysical Year, 2d ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971).

7. C. E. Brown, W. J. O'Sullivan, Jr., and C. H. Zimmerman, "A Study of the Problems Relating to High Speed, High Altitude Flight," 25 June 1953, copy in the Langley Technical Library. For several years, this report was classified as "Secret." For more on the history of the Brown-Zimmerman-O'Sullivan study group, see James R. Hansen, Engineer in Charge: The History of Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958, NASA SP-4305 (Washington, 1987), pp. 351-353.

8. William J. O'Sullivan to Don Murray, Glen Ridge, N.J., 29 Sept. 1960, p. 3, copy in Milton Ames Collection, box 6, LHA. O'Sullivan wrote this letter to answer questions that Murray, a free lance writer, had asked in preparation for a magazine article on O'Sullivan and the Echo balloon. The article was published as "O'Sullivan's Wonderful Lead Balloon" in the Feb. 1961 issue of Popular Science Monthly. Also, an interview with O'Sullivan about the genesis of inflatable satellites, conducted by Edward Morse and dated 28 Aug. 1964, is in a biography file concerning O'Sullivan in NASA HQA. Morse eventually drafted a "Preliminary History of the Origin of Project Syncom," NASA HNN-40, I Sept. 1964, copy in NASA HQA.

9. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, pp. 3-4.

10. Ibid., p. 4. See also O'Sullivan to Associate Director [Floyd L. Thompson], "Report on Project Vanguard and the IAS, UAARP, and TPR meetings of Jan. 25-27, 1956,' 7 Feb. 1956, in Project Vanguard file, LCF.

11. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, pp. 4-5.

12. Ibid., p. 6.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid., pp. 6-7.

15. Ibid., p. 7.

16. For Arthur C. Clarke's thoughts on his 1945 article on "Extraterrestrial Relays" in Wireless World, see his Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry Into the Limits of the Possible (New York: Popular Library, 1977), pp. 205-207. Profiles of the Future first appeared in print in 1958.

17. Clarke, Profiles of the Future, pp. 205-207.

18. John R. Pierce, "Orbital Radio Relays," Jet Propulsion 25 (Apr. 1955): 153-157. For a later presentation by Pierce, see "Satellite Systems for Commercial Communications," a paper presented at the 28th Annual Meeting of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences (IAS), New York City, 25-27 Jan. 1960, copy in Langley Technical Library. On Pierce's early ideas for communications satellites, see Delbert D. Smith, Communications Via Satellite: A Vision in Retrospect (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1976), pp. 18-19.

19. For contemporary technical distinctions between active and passive satellites, see NASA, Space Communications and Navigation, 1958-1964, NASA SP-93 (Washington, 1966), pp. v and 1; see also Linda Neuman Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 2, Programs and Projects, 1958-1968, NASA SP-4012 (Washington, 1988), p. 364. For insights into the nature of early U.S. satellite proposals, see R. Cargill Hall, "Early U.S. Satellite Proposals," Technology and Culture 4 (Fall 1963): 410 434.

20. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 7.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid., pp. 7-8. On the IGY satellite program, see Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere, pp. 46 49.

23. See the introduction to James A. Van Allen, ed., Scientific Uses of Earth Satellites (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1956); O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 8.

24. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 8.

25. William J. O'Sullivan, Jr., to Director [Henry J. E. Reid], "Proposal for the NACA to undertake research on development of earth satellites," 29 June 1956; Robert R. Gilruth to Associate Director [Floyd L. Thompson], "Comments on suggestion for research on drag of earth satellite," 13 July 1956. Both letters are in the Project Vanguard file, LCF. A long section of O'Sullivan's 1956 proposal to NACA Langley for satellite research is quoted in Joseph A. Shortal, A New Dimension: Wallops Flight Test Range, The First Fifteen Years, NASA RP-1028 (Washington, 1978), p. 600. In the late 1950s and early 1960s during the genesis of inflatable spheres for space research, Shortal served as chief of PARD.

26. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, pp. 8-9; O'Sullivan to Associate Director [Thompson], "Report on Action Taken by USNC/IGY Technical Panel on Earth Satellites on Sept. 5, 1956, regarding NACA Proposal," 19 Sept. 1956, in Project Vanguard file, LCF. See Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere, pp. 50 57 and app. E, "Original Membership of the U.S. National Committee for the International Geophysical Year," p. 433.

27. Joseph A. Shortal, memorandum for all concerned, 26 Dec. 1956, Project Vanguard file, LCF; Walter E. Bressette to author, 11 Mar. 1992, p. 2, author's files; Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 600.

28. Murray, "O'Sullivan's Wonderful Lead Balloon," p. 47.

29. Ibid. Murray visited Langley while writing his story and witnessed the balloon-folding procedure.

30. Bressette to author, 11 Mar. 1992, p. 3.

31. "Sub Satellite Originated at Langley Lab'" Air Scoop, 5 Jan. 1957, p. 1. For details about the Sub Satellite, see O'Sullivan, "The USNC/IGY-NACA Earth Sub Satellite Experiment," a paper presented to the Comité Spéciale de l'Année Géophysique Internationale (CSAGI) Rocket and Satellite Conference, Washington, D.C., 30 Sept.-5 Oct. 1957, copy in Langley Technical Library.

32. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 10. For a chronology of the "Highlights in the inflatable Satellite Program," including a reference to the reconfirmation of an allotment of space for O'Sullivan's Sub-Satellite on Vanguard by the Technical Panel on the Earth Satellite Project, see "Recommendation for Distinguished Service Medal, Mr. William J. O'Sullivan, Jr., Aeronautical Research Engineer, Assistant to Division Chief, Applied Materials and Physics Division, and Head, Space Vehicles Group, AMPD, Langley Research Center," [ca. 1961], copy in Milton Ames Collection, box 6, LHA.

33. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, pp. 9 10; Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 600604. For a chronology of the development and operations of Project Vanguard, see Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, 2:87.

34. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 10. A copy of O'Sullivan's San Diego paper, "The USNC/IGY-NACA Earth Sub-Satellite Experiment," can he found in the Langley Technical Library. O'Sullivan presented an earlier version of this paper at a rocket and satellite conference held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington the previous month.

35. Bressette to author, 11 Mar. 1992, p. 3; O'Sullivan to Associate Director [Thompson], "NACA 12-foot spherical satellite," 5 Dec. 1957, Project Vanguard file, LCF.

36. Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), p. 100.

37. "Moonwatchers," Newport News Daily Press, 6 Oct. 1957, front page.

38. Quoted in McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 141. A transcript of an interview with Gerald Siegel about Sputnik and other issues related to politics and space is in NASA HQA.

39. Robert R. Gilruth, "Memoir: From Wallops Island to Mercury, 1945-1958," unpublished manuscript presented at the Sixth International History Symposium, Vienna, Austria, 13 Oct. 1972, pp. 33-34, copy in LHA; Charles J. Donlan interview with author, 17 Aug. 1990, transcript, p. 6, OHC, LHA.

40. O'Sullivan to Associate Director [Thompson], "Decisions made on NACA 12-foot satellite at Apr. 3, 1958 meeting of TPESP," 9 Apr. 1958, Project Vanguard file, LCF. See also O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 10. For a summary description of the Jupiter C's development, see Wernher von Braun, Frederick 1. Ordway III, and Dave Dooling, Space Travel, A History: An Update of History of Rocketry and Space Travel, 4th ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), pp. 128-129.

41. At the same time O'Sullivan was directing the development of the NACA's 12-foot inflatable, he was also working on a pneumatically erectable satellite intended specifically for navigation purposes. Because a sphere would reflect radar signals in all directions, O'Sullivan realized that this shape would not work as a navigation satellite. What was required instead was a "corner reflector" that would reflect signals back precisely from whence they came. With this basic knowledge of radar signals and optics in mind, O'Sullivan designed a little 6.4-inch-diameter passive reflector satellite equipped with tiny solar cells for flight into orbit aboard a Vanguard. Ground tests demonstrated, however, that an active satellite with a more powerful transmitter would make a much better navigation satellite, as it could be tracked by a comparatively small tracking receiver requiring little space and power and would not require a large and powerful radar. O'Sullivan, therefore, laid the corner reflector satellite aside in the spring of 1958 and concentrated on the Beacon satellite. See O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, pp. 10 11.

42. Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 607; Eugene M. Emme, Aeronautics and Astronautics: An American Chronology of Science and Technology in the Exploration of Space, 1915-1960 (Washington: NASA, 1961), p. 110. Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book (2:370-371) provides a chronology of the development and operations of Project Echo, including information on the 30 inch Sub-Satellite and 12-foot inflatable sphere.

43. O'Sullivan to Associate Director [Thompson], "Launch vehicle for NACA 12-foot satellite," 11 July 1958, Project Vanguard file, LCF. See also Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 610; "Highlights in the Inflatable Satellite Program," in "Recommendation for Distinguished Service Medal, Mr. William J. O'Sullivan, Jr., [ca. 1961]," Ames Collection, box 6, LHA; Bressette to author, 11 Mar. 1992, p. 4. Bressette has pointed out that O'Sullivan's dogged insistence on a circular orbit for the inflatable satellites "nearly negated the Scout missions with the 12-foot sphere, because for the early Scout satellite launchings the Scout management required a 6 percent over-velocity at satellite insertion. This resulted in a very elliptical orbit." Scout was a low-budget, solid-propellant booster built by LTV of Dallas, Tex., which specialized in putting small payloads in orbit. As shall be explained in the next chapter of this book, NASA Langley served as project manager for Scout.

For details concerning the deployment and inflation techniques used for the 12 foot satellite, see Alan B. Kehlet and Herbert G. Patterson, "Free Flight Test of a Technique for Inflating an NASA 12 Foot-Diameter Sphere at High Altitude," NASA Memo 2 5-59L, 1959, copy in the Langley Technical Library. Details about the design of the 30 inch and 12-foot inflatable spheres were presented in a special NASA report by Claude W. Coffee, Jr., Walter E. Bressette, and Gerald M. Keating, Design of the NASA Lightweight Inftatable Satellites for the Determination of Atmospheric Density at Extreme Altitudes, NASA TN D-1243, Apr. 1962.

44. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, pp. 14-15; Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 610; von Braun, Ordway, and Dooling, Space Travel, pp. 156 and 172-173; Roger Bilstein, Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915-1990, NASA SP-4406 (Washington, 1980), p. 47.

45. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 15.

46. Walter E. Bressette, letter to author, 16 May 1992, author's files.

47. [Langley Aeronautical Laboratory], "Preliminary Langley Staff Study, NASA Space Flight Program," 15 May 1958, copy in folder "Space Material," Floyd L. Thompson Collection, LHA. On the early work by U.S. industry on communications satellites, see Smith, Communications via Satellite, pp. 58-59; McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 352.

48. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 11.

49. Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 686; Bressette to author, 11 Mar. 1992, p. 4.

50. Research Authorization (RA) A12L145, dated 8 May 1958, in Research Authorization Files, LHA. Seq also Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 686. For an outline of the early organization at Langley for Echo, see Jesse L. Mitchell to Associate Director [Thompson], "NACA 100-Foot Diameter Communications Satellite Experiment," copy in Project Echo file, LCF. See also Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 686-687.

51. William J. O'Sullivan to Associate Director [Floyd L. Thompson], "Meeting on establishment of a task group to carry work load on 30-inch, 12-foot, and 100-foot satellite, held on February 18, 1959," 19 Feb. 1959, Project Echo file, LCF. For NASA's public justification for Project Echo, see "NASA Urges Project Echo Participation," Aviation Week, 71 (14 Dec. 1959): 65 67.

52. Leonard Jaffe, chief, Communications Satellite Program, "Project Echo: Results of Second Planning Meeting," 13 Oct. 1959, Project Echo file, LCF. The first Echo planning meeting had taken place on 10 June 1959; see Leonard Jaffe, "Results of Project Echo Planning Meeting on June 10, 1959," 16 June 1959, in Project Echo file. On JPL's part in the early stages of Project Echo, see Walter K. Victor and Robertson Stevens, "The Role of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Project Echo," JPL Tech. Release 34-141, 14 Oct. 1960; on the Goldstone receiving station, see Stevens and Victor, "The Goldstone Station Communications and Tracking System for Project Echo," JPL TR 32-59, 1 Dec. 1960. Copies of both are in the Langley Technical Library. On Bell Telephone's role, see William C. Jakes, Jr., Bell Labs, "Participation of Bell Telephone Laboratories in Project Echo and Experimental Results," NASA TN D-1127, Dec. 1961. The July 1961 issue of the Bell System Technical Journal is devoted to extensive discussion of Project Echo and Bell's participation in it.

53. Robert J. Mackey, Jr., head, Communications Branch, NASA Goddard, "Echo A-12 Working Agreement: GSFC-LRC," 4 Jan. 1961, Project Echo file, LCF; Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 689. At the second Project Echo planning meeting on 13 Oct. 1959, Leonard Jaffe had named Goddard's Robert Mackey to be the "action officer" for Project Echo.

54. On Project Shotput, see Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 685-695. The author would like to thank Norman L. Crabill, one of the heads of the Shotput program at Langley, for sharing his personal papers relevant to Shotput, for example, his unpublished talk given at Langley on 24 May 1961 to the NASA/DOD Technical Committee on Communications Satellites, "The Echo A-12 Vertical Test Program." The complete documentary record of Shotput is preserved in the Project Shotput file, LCF.

55. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, pp. 12-13.

56. Ibid., pp. 13-14; Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 690-691.

57. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 14.

58. Norman L. Crabill interview, 11 Nov. 1991.

59. Bressette to author, 11 Mar. 1992, pp. 4-5. On 19 May 1961, the president of Schjeldahl, G. T. Schjeldahl, testified about his company's involvement with "Erectable and Inflatable Structures in Space" at a Hearing before the Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, 87th Congress, First Session, May 19, 1961, no. 12 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1961), pp. 2-5. At this same hearing, Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., technical assistant to Langley Director Floyd Thompson, and William J. O'Sullivan, Jr., head of the Space Vehicle Group at Langley, also gave testimony concerning inflatable structures in space, including structures that could be used as space stations. Anyone interested in the manufacturing of the balloons should see G. T Schjeldahl Co., "Design and Inflation of Inflatable and Rigidizable Passive Communication Satellites (Echo I and Echo II)," in Aerospace Expandable Structures (Mar. 1964): 576-604.

60. Crabill interview, 11 Nov. 1991; Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 690. By the early 1960s, Norman Crabill had become an expert on the ascent problems of sounding rockets and other launch vehicles; see his paper, "Ascent Problems of Sounding Rockets," presented at an AGARD meeting on the Use of Rocket Vehicles in Flight Research, Scheveningen, the Netherlands, 18-21 July 1961, copy in Langley Technical Library.

61. O'Sullivan to Associate Director [Thompson], "Results of Shotput test no. 1," 16 Nov. 1959, in Project Echo file, LCF. For technical analysis of the launch problems involved with Shotput 1, see Robert L. James, Jr., and Ronald J. Harris, Calculation of Wind Compensation for Launching of Unguided Rockets, NASA TN D-645, Apr. 1961; Robert L. James, Jr., A Three-Dimensional Trajectory Simulation Using Six Degrees of Freedom with Arbitrary Wind, NASA TN D-641, Mar. 1961; and Sherman A. Clevenson, memorandum for files, "Spin-balancing and alignment of the second stage of the first SHOT PUT at Wallops Island, Virginia," 4 Nov. 1959, Project Shotput file, LCF. See also Norman L. Crabill, Ascent Problems of Sounding Rockets, AGARD Report 391, July 1961.

62. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 12.

63. Ibid.; Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 691.

64. O'Sullivan to Murray, 29 Sept. 1960, p. 13; O'Sullivan to Associate Director [Thompson], "Echo satellite collapsing and inflation pressures," 19 Jan. 1960, Project Echo file, LCF.

65. For details about the launch-vehicle problem in Shotput 2, see Norman L. Crabill to Clarence L. Gillis, "Preliminary data and analysis for the SHOTPUT No. 2 vehicle, fired Jan. 16, 1960, at 5:30:00.108 p.m. EST," 29 Jan. 1960. On the balloon tear in Shotput g, see C. D. Bailey, memorandum for files, "Shotput 3," 29 Feb. 1960, as well as "NASA Trajectory Data for Shot Put 3, Flown Feb. 27, 1960, at 6:20:54.3 p.m. EST," 9 May 1960. These documents are in the Project Shotput file, LCF.

66. Crabill interview, 11 Nov. 1991; Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 690 692. For genera information and the public reaction to Shotputs 2 and 8, see "Wallops Launches Inflatable Satellite, Visible from Afar," Newport News Daily Press, 17 Jan. 1960; "Recorded Message Bounced Off NASA's Space Sphere," Daily Press, 28 Feb. 1960. Many technical documents relating to the trajectory and tracking of the Shotputs are in the Project Shotput file, LCF.

67. Edwin P. Kilgore to author, 17 Feb. 1992, author's files.

68. Ibid.; Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 693.

69. Crabill interview, 11 Nov. 1991.

70. Crabill interview, 11 Nov. 1991; Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 689 690. Bressette and Coffee conducted an analysis in the spring of 1959 to determine the gas leakage to be expected from meteoroid puncture, concluding that the balloon should retain sufficient pressure to remain spherical for at least seven days. For their optimistic findings, see their memorandum for Space Vehicle Branch files, "Gas leakage from the 100-foot sphere caused by meteoroid puncture," 22 May 1959, in Project Echo file, LCF.

71. President Eisenhower's message is quoted in full in "Highlights in the Inflatable Satellite Program," p. 4, box 5, Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

72. For these articles, see the front pages of the Newport News Daily Press, 12-16 Aug. 1960. On 14 Aug., the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia ran a full-page ad in the Daily Press in celebration of Echo and the "First Phone Call Via a Man-Made Satellite."

73. Crabill interview, 11 Nov. 1991. For a complete technical overview of the Echo I mission from the point of view of the launch-vehicle contractor, see Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc., "Detailed Test Objectives for Launch Vehicle Mission No. 1 - Echo 1 Payload Delta Program," Feb. 1960, copy in Langley Technical Library.

74. Leonard Jaffe, "Project Echo Results," Astronautics 6 (May 1961): 32-33, 80. See also Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 694 695, and Alfred Rosenthal, Venture into Space, NASA SP-4301 (Washington, 1968), p. 89.

75. See George R. Thompson, "NASA's Role in the Development of Commercial Satellite Communications," NASA HHM-8, 31 Jan. 1966; Bilstein, Orders of Magnitude, pp. 5657 and 65 65. For basic information about the NASA satellite communications programs of the 1960s, see Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, 2:364-394. For the contemporary thinking on satellite programs, see "The NASA Communications Satellite Program," 9 Feb. 1961, copy in Langley Technical Library, code N-96842; this report reviews NASA objectives in passive and active communications satellite programs as of early 1961. See also Leonard Jaffe, "NASA Communications Satellite Program," in Proceedings of the Second National Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Space, Seattle, May 8-10, 1962 (Nov. 1962): 103-114, copy in Langley Technical Library.

76. Bressette to author, 16 May 1992.

77. See Bressette, Study of a Passive Communication, Gravity-Gradient Stabilized, Lenticular Satellite, Jan. 1965, copy in Langley Technical Library, GER 11893. For Langley's commitment to passive reflectors in the early 1960s, see Warren Gillespie, "An Earth-Oriented Communication Satellite of the Passive Type," in Advances in Astronautical Sciences 6 (1961): 51 63.

78. Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere, pp. 144-153. For information on the Explorer missions, see also Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, 2:232-253; Helen T. Wells, Susan H. Whitely, and Carrie E. Karegeannes,"Explorer," in Origins of NASA Names, NASA SP-4402 (Washington, 1976), pp. 49-52. For technical details of the Explorer 9 mission, see O'Sullivan, Claude W. Coffee, Jr., and Gerald M. Keating, "Air Density Measurements from the Explorer 9 Satellite," paper presented at a Meeting of the International Committee on Space Research, Washington, D.C., 30 Apr.-11 May 1962, copy in Langley Technical Library.

79. Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, 2:298, 400. See also Coffee, Bressette, and Keating, Design of the NASA Lightweight Inflatable Satellites, NASA TN D-1243, Apr. 1962.

80. Von Braun, Ordway, and Dooling, Space Travel, pp. 174-175.

81. In keeping with a historic and unique national pattern of competitive private ownership of the means of communications, it was NASA's job to help private enterprise set up an effective commercial comsat system through its state-funded R&D, not to create the entire system itself. A rather flexible policy directive from the Eisenhower administration supporting the early establishment of a commercial comsat system led to NASA's joint project with AT&T for Telstar but still left room for NASA's own development of Relay. In May 1961, however, the political framework for NASA's participation in the comsat business changed dramatically with President Kennedy's announcement of his ambitious plan for a single global comsat system. This announcement was made in his lunar landing speech. For analysis of these developments involving NASA and commercial comsats, see McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, pp. 352-359.

82. Von Braun, Ordway, and Dooling, Space Travel, p. 174.

83. Bilstein, Orders of Magnitude, pp. 65 66.

84. Arthur C. Clarke, "A Short Pre-History of Comsats, Or: How I Lost a Billion Dollars in My Spare Time," in Voices from the Sky: Previews of the Coming Space Age (New York, 1965), pp. 119-128.

85. Crabill interview, 11 Nov. 1991.

 

Chapter 7

Learning Through Failure: The Early Rush of the Scout Rocket Program

 

1. Abraham Leiss interview with author, Hampton, Va., 19 July 1990; see also Roland D. English interview with David Ferraro, Hampton, Va., 14 Dec. 1990. Transcripts of all Ferraro's interviews, which were conducted in preparation for a 1991 NASA video on the history of Scout, are located in the OHC, LHA. The author wishes to thank Mr. Ferraro, a talented producer of video documentaries, for generously sharing his many interviews concerning Scout. The essential documents regarding the history of Scout can be found in the Scout Project files, LHA, which are organized chronologically.

Fortunately, personnel in the Scout Project Office (notably Abraham Leiss), because of their understandable pride in the many accomplishments of the Scout rocket, kept detailed scrapbooks with clippings, documents, photos, and other miscellaneous materials central to the history of Scout. This chapter offers only a brief look into that history during its troubled early period. A comprehensive scholarly history of the Scout program has not yet been written.

2. For a detailed history of PARD's work at Wallops Island, see Joseph A. Shortal, A New Dimension: Wallops island Flight Test Range, the First Fifteen Years, NASA RP1028 (Washington, Dec. 1978). Shortal was the second head of PARD operations (and subsequently of the Applied Materials and Physics Division) at Wallops Island from 1951 to his retirement in the late 1960s. His history is especially valuable as an insider's account of what went on at Wallops Island just before and after the start of the spaceflight revolution.

3. On Vanguard, nothing has yet surpassed Constance M. Green and Milton Lomask, Vanguard: A History, NASA SP-4202 (Washington, 1970); on the IGY, see Sydney Chapman, IGY: Year of Discovery (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959); Walter Sullivan, Assault on the Unknown: The IGY Discovery (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961); and J. Tuzo Wilson, IGY: The Year of the New Moons (New York: Knopf,1961). For a concise and insightful analysis of the IGY history, see Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 112-140.

4. English interview with Ferraro, 14 Dec. 1990; James R. Hall interview with Ferraro, Hampton, Va., 4 Dec. 1990.

5. Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 706-707.

6. Ibid.

7. Remarks made by William E. Stoney to Ferraro and used in the 1991 NASA video,"Scout: The Unsung Hero of Space."

8. Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 707.

9. NASA Space Flight Program, Preliminary Langley Staff Study, 15 May 1958, pp. 1 and 28, Scout Project files, LHA.

10. This research authorization (RA) is not in the RA files in the LHA, which for some unknown reason only encompass the early 1950s. For a discussion of this RA, see Shorta, A New Dimension, p. 707.

11. This air force effort to develop an advanced solid-fuel rocket launch vehicle was known to the DOD as "Project 609A" (Hyper-Environmental Test System 609A). For details of the agreement between the air force and the NACA (and later NASA), see Clotaire Wood to Langley Director [Reid], 11 July 1958, in the Scout Project files, LHA. Enclosed in this letter is a document entitled "Specifications for Solid-Fuel Rocket Test Vehicle," dated a day earlier. See also "Aeroneutronic Wins New Space Contract, AF Project Involves High-Altitude Tests," Aeroneutronic News, Newport Beach, Calif., 9 May 1960. For an example of Scout's early role in the air force's nuclear weapons testing program, see the 10 Oct. 1960 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology; its lengthy cover story concerns the air force's first launch of a "Blue Scout" rocket. See also "Nuclear Detector Sent Up, Blue Scout's 1st Flight," Norfolk-Portsmouth (Va.) Virginian-Pilot, 22 Sept. 1960.

12. Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 707.

13. Ibid., p. 708; see also Ferraro letter to author, 9 Sept. 1991, copy in LHA.

14. Warren J. North, chief, Manned Satellite Program, to NASA Administrator (T. Keith Glennan), "Status Report No. 1 - Scout," 3 Mar. 1959, copy in Scout Project files, LHA. See also "NASA Awards Scout Contracts," Aviation Week, 2 Mar. 1959, p. 2; and "First Scout Vehicle Delivery Due Aug. 15," Aviation Week 16 Mar. 1959, p. 26. For a concise and well-illustrated introduction to the details of the Scout rocket, see LTV publication, The Scout: Solid Propellant Launch Vehicles (Dallas, 1962), copy in the Floyd L. Thompson Collection, LHA, folder labeled "Scout." See also Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 708-710.

For an excellent technical summary of the evolution of the Scout program to 1968 by someone intimately involved with it, see Milt Green, "Project Review - Scout Launch Vehicle," in Spacecraft Systems Education, 2 vols. (Belgrade, [formerly] Yugoslavia: Pergamon Press, 1968), 2:3-15. Green was the program director for the Scout Missiles and Space Division of LTV in Dallas.

15. On the X-1 (or more technically, XS-1) program at Langley, see chap. 10 of James R. Hansen, Engineer in Charge: A History of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958, NASA SP-4305 (Washington, 1987), pp. 271-310; for more general histories of the X-1 flight test program, see Richard P. Hallion, Supersonic Flight: The Story of the Bell X-1 and Douglas D-558 (New York & London: Macmillan Co., 1972) and On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981, NASA SP-4303 (Washington, 1984), esp. chap. 1, pp. 3-22.

16. James R. Hall quoted in "Scout Moves to Goddard: Leaves Legacy of Camaraderie," Langley Researcher News, 25 Jan. 1991, p. 7.

17. H. J. E. Reid, memorandum for all concerned, "Establishment of Scout Project Group," 29 Feb. 1960, in Scout Project files, LHA. On Scout's organization, see also Eugene C. Draley, memorandum for files, "Scout Organization," 4 Mar. 1960, Scout Project files, LHA. This group was already located on the second floor of the impact basin building on Langley's west side. The individuals assigned to Scout from the various Langley research divisions were: Carl A. Sandahl and Andrew G. Swanson from the Applied Materials and Physics Division; William J. Nelson from the Aero Physics Division; Max C. Kurbjun from the Aero Space Mechanics Division; Harry L. Runyan, Jr., from the Dynamic Loads Division; Axel T. Mattson from the Full-Scale Research Division; James E. Stitt from IRD; Leonard Sternfield from the Theoretical Mechanics Division; Isidore G. Recant from the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel Division; and Edwin C. Kilgore from the Engineering Service Division. One individual each was also assigned from the Mechanical Service Division, the Electrical Service Division, the Procurement Division, as well as from Maintenance. The project office gave regular written status reports to Langley management, copies of which are preserved in the Scout Project files, LHA.

18. Hall interview with Ferraro, 4 Dec. 1990. In 1959 two Langley researchers in the Theoretical Mechanics Division, Robert H. Tolson and Wilbur C. Mayo, conducted "Studies of Use of the Scout as a Booster Vehicle for Lunar Exploration." For more about the lunar exploration studies based in this Langley research division, see the next chapter.

19. Leiss interview, 19 July 1990.

20. Hall quoted in "Scout Moves to Goddard," Langley Researcher News, 25 Jan. 1991, p. 7. For basic information on the Scout Project in its very early period, see the unofficial "Scout Manual," prepared by the Scout Project Office at Langley on 25 Apr. 1960 and distributed to all Langley Scout team members. The cover of this manual shows a triangle faced Boy Scout saluting in front of a Scout rocket. A copy of this manual and all subsequent Scout manuals are in the notebook "Scout Project, 1959-1961," LHA. Such notebooks, unofficial scrapbooks, were kept by the Scout Project Office for the entire period of Scout's operation.

21. Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 709-710.

22. Hall interview with Ferraro, 4 Dec. 1990; Ken Jacobs interview with Ferraro, Hampton, Va., 29 Nov. 1990; Milt Green interview with Ferraro, Hampton, Va., 28 Nov. 1990.

23. Larry Tant interview with Ferraro, Hampton, Va., 14 Dec. 1990; Jon Van Cleve interview with Ferraro, Hampton, Va., 16 Nov. 1990.

24. William E. Stoney, Jr., and Edwin C. Kilgore, memorandum for the Langley Associate Director (Floyd L. Thompson), "Outline of steps required to insure an earliest possible firing of the Scout and those required to make possible subsequent firings at intervals of not over two months," 28 Jan. 1960; H. J. E. Reid, Langley director, to NASA, Code R (Research), "Acceleration of Scout Program to insure earliest possible firing and to make possible subsequent firings at intervals of not over 2 months," 29 Jan. 1960. Both documents are in the Scout Project files, LHA. See also Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 717.

25. Hall quoted in "Scout Moves to Goddard," p. 7.

26. Shortal, A New Dimension, pp. 717-718.

27. Ibid., p. 718; "NASA Launches 'Scout' Vehicle in Wallops Test," Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, 19 Apr. 1960; "Ignition Failure in Third Stage Aborts Initial Scout Test Launch," Daily Press, 25 Apr. 1960.

28. Hall quoted in "Scout Moves to Goddard," p. 7.

29. Ibid.

30. Ibid.; "Scout Veers, Is Destroyed After Firing From Wallops," Baltimore Sun, 2 July 1960. See also Robert J. Mayhue, Scout ST-1 Flight-Test Results and Analyses, Launch Operations, and Test Vehicle Description, NASA TN-1240 (Washington, June 1962), and Shortal, A New Dimension, p. 720.

31. Hall quoted in "Scout Moves to Goddard," p. 7. For details of the launch, see "Preliminary Flight Report on Scout ST-I," Dec. 1960, Scout Project files, LHA.

32. "Obtain Valuable Data in First Scout Launching," NASA Langley Air Scoop, 8 July 1960; "NASA Fires Scout," Newport News (Va.) Times Herald, 2 July 1960. Copies of the press releases given out by NASA after the launch are preserved in the "Scout Project, 1959-1961" notebook, LHA. Also see Shorta, A New Dimension, p. 720.

33. "Preliminary Flight Test Results of Scout ST-2," Dec. 1960, Scout Project files, LHA. On the military launches, see "USAF Launches Second Blue Scout," Aviation Week, 21 Nov. 1960, p 30. Copies of a I newspaper articles mentioned in the text can be found in the notebook, "Scout Project, 1959-1961," LHA.

34. Vought Corp. brochure, "100 Scout Launches, 1960 1979," published for program in celebration of 100th Scout, held in Williamsburg, Va., 27 July 1979.

35. English interview with Ferraro, 14 Dec. 1990.

36. Hall quoted in "Scout Moves to Goddard," p. 7.

37. "Scout Shot Veers Off, Destroyed," Newport News Daily Press, 21 July 1963; English interview with Ferraro, 14 Dec. 1990. For details, see LTV, "NASA Scout S-110, Final Flight Report," 7 Aug. 1963, report code 3-30000/3R-233, copy in Scout Project files, LHA.

38. Tom Perry interview with Ferraro, Hampton, Va., 14 Dec. 1990.

39. Eventually two Scout review committees were formed. The first, created on 22 July 1963, was chaired by Richard R. Heldenfels, the hard-nosed director of the Structures Research Division at Langley. The other six members of this review committee were Langley engineers Edward M. Gregory, Edwin C. Kilgore, Clifford H. Nelson, Eugene D. Schult, Joseph A. Shortal, and Joseph G. Thibodaux, Jr. This committee was to look specifically into the most recent Scout 110 failure. The second committee, an intercenter group chaired by Richard B. Morrison of NASA headquarters, was to look more generally into the problems of the Scout program. The other members of this panel included Eugene C. Draley of Langley; Hermann W. Kroeger of Marshall Space Flight Center; Daniel G Mazur of Goddard Space Flight Center; and William A. Fleming, Milton W. Rosen, and Warren A. Guild, all of NASA headquarters. For details on the second committee, see Homer E. Newell, director, Office of Space Sciences, NASA headquarters, to director, Langley Research Center, "Scout Review Committee," 9 Oct. 1963, in Scout Project files, LHA. All the documents collected by the Langley committee, a I the minutes of meetings, plus the final reports and recommendations of both committees can be found in the Scout Project files, LHA.

40. Hall interview with Ferraro, 4 Dec. 1990.

41. Eugene D. Schult interview with Ferraro, Hampton, Va., 6 Dec. 1990.

42. Jacobs interview with Ferraro, 29 Nov. 1990; English interview with Ferraro, 14 Dec. 1990.

43. Jacobs interview with Ferraro, 29 Nov. 1990. The ups and downs of the Scout program can best be followed by surveying the "Scout Vehicle Status Reports." These reports were reviewed after every one or two flights. Copies of all these reports are in the Scout Project files, LHA.

44. Hall interview with Ferraro, 4 Dec. 1990.

45. See Langley Research Center, Project Development Plan: Scout Program, Jan. 1964. This 100-page document expresses the essentials of the recertification process. Other documents from the recertification process include "Scout Engineering Program Plan," revised 4 Mar. 1964, and "NASA/DOD Scout Launch Complex Maintenance Manual," 2 vols., 15 Feb. 1964. All these documents are in the Scout Project files, LHA.

46. Green interview with Ferraro, 28 Nov. 1990.

47. Schult interview with Ferraro, 6 Dec. 1990.

48. English interview with Ferraro, 14 Dec. 1990.

49. LTV Missiles and Electronics Group brochure, "Scout: 30 Years of Service, 1960-1990," (Dallas, Feb. 1991). For more basic historical information on Scout, see Linda Neuman Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 2, Programs and Project 1958-1968, NASA SP-4012 (Washington, 1988), pp. 19-21, 61-67, 244-247, 444 448, and 465-477. For a comprehensive listing of the technical reports published by NASA and its contractors relevant to Scout, see Abraham Leiss, Scout Launch Vehicle Program, Final Report, 3 vols. (NASA Langley: NASA CR-155950, May 1982), 3:1122-1206.

50. The preceding summary of Scout's accomplishments has been composed largely from a survey of the newspaper clippings, magazine stories, documents, and miscellaneous materials in the Scout Project Office scrapbooks. For more exhaustive details on the Scout launch vehicle program, including the San Marco operation, see Abraham Leiss, Scout Launch Vehicle Program. Mr. Leiss, as the chief administrative assistant of the Scout Project Office from its inception in 1960, has collected in these three volumes everything any researcher could possibly want to know about Scout. For an excellent short history of the Scout program to 1979, see Andrew Wilson, "Scout: NASA's Small Satellite Launcher," Spaceflight 21 (Nov. 1979): 446-459.

51. See "Scout Financial Data" in Leiss, Scout Launch Vehicle Program, 1:268-273.

52. Perry interview with Ferraro, 14 Dec. 1990. David Ferraro used Perry's phrase "the unsung hero of space" as the subtitle for his 1991 NASA video on Scout.

53. Van Cleve interview with Ferraro, 16 Nov. 1990.

54. Hall quoted in "Scout Moves to Goddard," p. 7.

 

Chapter 8

Enchanted Rendezvous: The Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous Concept

 

1. President John F. Kennedy, quoted in John M. Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), p. 128.

2. Robert R. Gilruth, "Experts Were Stunned by Scope of Mission," New York Times, Moon Special Supplement, 17 July 1969. The description of Gilruth's reaction is from my interview with him in Kilmarnock, Va., 10 July 1986, and from Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon (New York: Touchstone Books, 1989), pp. 16 17.

3. Robert R. Gilruth to Francis W. Kemmett, director of the staff, Inventions and Contributions Board, NASA headquarters, 28 Aug. 1973. The main purpose of Gilruth's letter, solicited by a NASA awards board, was to evaluate Dr. John C. Houbolt's role in NASA's July 1962 decision in favor of LOR for Project Apollo and to determine whether Houbolt's contribution was worthy of the maximum prize that NASA had been authorized to give ($100,000) for an outstanding national contribution. To do that, however, Gilruth had to review the STG's position on LOR and the entire Apollo mission-mode controversy. I do not believe any historian besides myself has seen this letter, a copy of which is in my personal LOR file.

4. Clinton E. Brown interview with the author, Hampton, Va., 17 July 1989. Brown's remarks are from a panel discussion (involving Brown, William H. Michael, Jr., and Arthur W. Vogeley), which I organized and led as part of NASA Langley's celebration of the 20th anniversary of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing. A videotape of the evening program featuring this panel discussion is preserved in the LHA.

5. Interview with William H. Michael, Jr., Hampton, Va., 17 July 1989, videotape, LHA. F. R. Moulton's book on celestial mechanics was available by 1958 in a second edition (London: Macmillan Co., 1956), but the Langley Technical Library appears not to have bad it. The library has obtained one since.

6. On the history of pioneering thought about and proposals for space stations, see Frederick 1. Ordway 111, "The History, Evolution, and Benefits of the Space Station Concept," presented to the 13th International Congress of History of Science, Aug. 1971; and Barton C. Hacker, "And Rest as on a Natural Station: From Space Station to Orbital Operations in Space Travel Thought, 1885-1951." Both of the preceding unpublished papers are available in the HQA. For published information, see Wernher von Braun and Frederick 1. Ordway 111, Space Travel: A History: An Update of 'History of Rocketry Space Travel' (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), pp. 18-20; and Howard E. McCurdy, The Space Station Decision: Incremental Politics and Technological Choice (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 5-8 and 237 n. 7. On NASA's belief that a space station was the logical follow-on to Project Mercury, see Barton C. Hacker and James M. Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini, NASA SP-4203 (Washington, 1977), pp. 5-6; and McCurdy, Space Station Decision, pp. 7-9.

7. Brown interview, 17 July 1989.

8. Clinton E. Brown to Eugene C. Draley, "Formation of a working group to study the problems of Lunar exploration," 24 Mar. 1959, A200 1B, LCF.

9. William H. Michael, Jr., to Eugene C. Draley, "Attendance at meeting of Working Group on Lunar and Planetary Surfaces Exploration at NASA Headquarters on February 14, 1959," A200 1B, LCF; Michael, "Attendance at meeting for Discussion of Advanced Phases of Lunar Exploration at NASA Offices, Silver Spring, Md., Saturday, May 2, 1959," A200-1B, LCF. On the Jastrow Committee, see R. Cargill Hall, Lunar Impact: A History of Project Ranger, NASA SP-4210 (Washington, 1977), pp. 15-16; and William David Compton, Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions, NASA SP-4214 (Washington, 1989), pp. 13-14.

10. Harry J. Goett to Ira H. Abbott, "Interim Report on Operation of Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight," 17 July 1959, A200-1B, LCF. On the Goett Committee, see Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 9-10; Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, pp. 56-57; and Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp 43-45.

11. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., interview with author, Newport News, Va., 5 Aug. 1989, transcript, p. 100, OHC, LHA; Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp. 43-45.

12. Michael interview, 17 July 1989.

13. W. H. Michael, Jr., "Weight Advantages of Use of Parking Orbit for Lunar Soft Landing Mission," in Lunar Trajectory Group's [Theoretical Mechanics Division] unpublished "Studies Related to Lunar and Planetary Missions," 26 May 1960, A200-1B, LCF.

14. On 13 Nov. 1948, H. E. Ross presented the essential elements of LOR to a meeting of the British Interplanetary Society in London. His conclusion was that LOR compared with a direct flight to the lunar surface from the earth - would reduce the earth-launch weight by a factor of 2.6. In his paper Ross credited Hermann Oberth, Guido von Pirquet, Hermann Noordung, Walter Hohmann (of "Hohmann transfer" fame), Tsiolkovskii, and F. A. Tsander for their early ideas concerning LOR. See H. E. Ross, "Orbital Bases," in Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 26 (Jan. 1949): 1-18. For the history of the first pioneering inklings about the value of rendezvous in orbit, lunar and otherwise, see Barton C. Hacker, "The Idea of Rendezvous: From Space Station to Orbital Operations in Space Travel Thought, 1895-1951," Technology and Culture 15 (July 1974): 373 388; as well as Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 5 6.

15. For the Vought concept that came out of the MALLAR study, see Vought Astronautics brochure, Manned, Modular, Multi-Purpose Space Vehicle, Jan. 1960.

16. The quote from Clint Brown about Michael's reaction to the Vought briefing is from Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp. 114-115.

17. Michael interview with author, Hampton, Va, 7 Apr. 1989, transcript, p. 6, OHC, LHA The story about Tom Dolan discussing the essentials of LOR with unknown engineers in PARD is taken from John D. Bird, "A Short History of the Development of the Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous Plan at the Langley Research Center," 6 Sept. 1963 (supplemented 5 Feb. 1965 and 17 Feb. 1966), box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

18. Michael, "Weight Advantages of Use of Parking Orbit for Lunar Soft Landing Mission," p.2.

19. The "Jaybird" story is taken from Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 115. For the technical reports that resulted from the early lunar studies in the Theoretical Mechanics Division, see among others: J. P. Gapcynski, "A Consideration of Some of the Factors Involved in the Departure of a Vehicle from a Circular Orbit About the Earth"; and W. L. Mayo, "Energy and Mass Requirements for Lunar and Martian Missions." Both articles are in the Lunar Trajectory Group's "Studies Related to Lunar and Planetary Missions." On Bird's lunar bug ideas, see Michael interview, 7 Apr. 1989, pp. 14-15. See also William H. Michael, Jr., and Robert H. Tolson, "Effect of Eccentricity of the Lunar Orbit, Oblateness of the Earth, and Solar Gravitational Field on Lunar Trajectories," June 1960, copy in the Langley Technical Library.

20. John C. Houbolt, "A Study of Several Aerothermoelastic Problems of Aircraft Structures in High-Speed Flight," in Bidgenossische Technische Hochshule Mitteilung 5 (1958): 108. Throughout his career at NACA and NASA Langley, Houbolt was not a terribly prolific author. A complete bibliography of his papers is available in the LHA.

21. John C. Houbolt interview with author, Williamsburg, Va., 24 Aug. 1989, transcript, p. 3, OHC, LHA.

22. Ibid., pp. 7-8.

23. Ibid., p. 9. On Rand and the early space program, see Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), esp. pp. 89, 102, 106-110, and 121-123.

24. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 13; Loftin interview, 5 Aug. 1989, pp. 100-101.

25. NASA Langley, "Minutes of Meeting of LRC Manned Space Laboratory Group," 18 Sept. 1959, A200-4, LCF. See paragraph 5 for Houbolt's statement on the rendezvous problem.

26. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 9 10.

27. Bernard Maggin to Milton B. Ames, Jr., "Inter-center discussions of space rendezvous," 23 May 1960; John C. Houbolt, "Considerations of the Rendezvous Problems for Space Vehicles," presented at the National Aeronautical Meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers, New York City, 5-8 Apr. 1960. Both documents are in A200-1A, LCF. The point about Marshall's limited interest in the rendezvous problem is made in Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 14-15.

28. Lowell E. Hazel, "Minutes of Meeting of LRC Lunar Mission Steering Group," 24 May 1960, A200 1B, LCF.

29. STG, "Guidelines for Advanced Manned Space Vehicle Program," June 1960. For the summary details of these guidelines, see Ivan D. Ertel and Mary Louise Morse, The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology (Washington: NASA, 1969), 1:38-41. In brief, the STG identified a manned circumlunar mission as the "logical intermediate step" toward future goals of lunar and planetary landing. Essential to the guidelines were plans for advanced earth-orbital missions and an earth-orbiting space station.

30. STG, "Apollo Technical Liaison Plan," 16 Nov. 1960, A200-1B, LCF; Langley to STG, "Langley appointments to Apollo technical liaison groups," 7 Dec. 1960, in Project Apollo files, LCF. Interestingly, John Houbolt was not appointed to any of the liaison groups

On the first NASA/lndustry Apollo Technical Conference, see the Wall Street Journal, 18 July 1961. Among the many valuable papers given by Langley's John Becker to the Archives of Aerospace Exploration at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is his file on the Lunar Mission Steering Group. On the cover of this file, Becker provides a brief written introduction to its contents. Inside is a copy of the Apollo Technical Liaison Plan, with handwritten notes by Becker. For information about this file and others in the Archives of Aerospace Exploration, contact the special collections archivist at the university library in Blacksburg, Va.

31. Houbolt, "Considerations of the Rendezvous Problems for Space Vehicles," p. 1.

32. NASA Langley, "Minutes of Meeting of LRC Manned Space Laboratory Group," 5 Feb. 1960, A200-4, LCF. See paragraphs 3 and 10.

33. William A. Mrazek, Marshall Space Flight Center, to John C. Houbolt, 16 May 1960, B10 6, LCF; Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 11.

34. John C. Houbolt, "Lunar Rendezvous," International Science and Technology 14 (Feb. 1963): 63. Several attempts have been made to clarify the detailed history of the genesis of LOR at Langley and Houbolt's role in it. The best efforts to date are: Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 14-16 and 60 68; John M. Logsdon, "The Choice of the Lunar Orbital Rendezvous Mode," in Aerospace Historian (June 1971): 63-70; and Murray and Cox, Apollo, chaps. 8 and 9. However, none of these are complete, and none fully satisfy the Langley participants involved: Houbolt, Michael, Brown, et al. In a footnote to their excellent book on Project Apollo, Murray and Cox remark on the gaps in the overall LOR story, suggesting that "there is a fascinating doctoral dissertation yet to be written on this episode." This chapter may not close off the possibility of a doctoral dissertation, but my goal in writing it was to fill in many of the gaps and stress Langley's role in LOR.

35. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 15; Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 15-16.

36. "RCA Will Do Saint Payload," Aviation Week and Space Technology 5 (Dec. 1960): 27. For other sources on Project Saint, see Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 416 n. 64.

37. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 16 and 21-25. On Houbolt's final chart were three conclusions: (1) "RENDEZVOUS OPENS POSSIBILITY FOR EARLIER ACCOMPLISHMENT OF CERTAIN SPACE MEASUREMENT WITH EXISTING VEHICLES"; (2) "THERE IS A NEED FOR RAPID DEVELOPMENT OF MANNED RENDEZVOUS TECHNIQUES - SHOULD MAKE USE OF MERCURY AND 'SAINT' TECHNOLOGY'; and (3) "NASA SHOULD HAVE MANNED RENDEZVOUS PROGRAM IN LONG-RANGE PLANS WITH OBJECTIVES OF EXPEDITING SOFT LUNAR LANDINGS AND FLEXIBLE ORBITAL OPERATIONS."

38. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 116.

39. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 17-18.

40. See the reference to Brown's presentation in Charles J. Donlan to NASA headquarters, director of the staff, Inventions and Contributions Board, I Mar. 1974, author's LOR file. John D. Bird also refers to it in "A Short History of the Development of the Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous Plan," p. 2.

41. The preceding two paragraphs are derived from my unsigned feature story, "The Rendezvous That Was Almost Missed: Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous and the Apollo Program," NASA News Release No. 89-98, 7 July 1989, pp. 5-6.

42. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 28-29.

43. Ibid., and Ertel and Morse, The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, 1:66.

44. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 21-26.

45. John 1. Cumberland, executive secretary, SEPC, to members and speakers, "Agenda for SEPC Meeting, Jan. 5 6, 1961," A200-1B, LCF.

46. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 29.

47. Robert L. O'Neal to Charles J. Donlan, associate director, "Discussion with Dr. Houbolt, LRC, concerning the possible incorporation of a lunar orbital rendezvous phase as a prelude to manned lunar landing," 30 Jan. 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

48. Ibid., p. 60; Owen Maynard to Frederick J. Lees, chairman, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 13 Nov. 1982, copy in author's LOR file. In truth, Houbolt's numbers were overly optimistic in estimating the required weights for the LEM, because in some critical areas detailed information about the necessary subsystems was not available. Subsequent analysis by NASA and its industrial contractors provided much more realistic weight numbers. Still, the later values for these weights did not turn out to be so radically different than Houbolt's projections they were within the single-launch capability of the Saturn V vehicle and therefore validated the advertised feasibility of the LOR mode for the manned lunar landing mission.

49. Von Braun quoted in Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp. 116-117. Quote expressing skepticism about LOR from Dr. Harvey Hall to director of the staff, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 28 Mar. 1973, author's LOR file.

50. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 117.

51. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 22.

52. Gilruth to Kemmett, 28 Aug. 1973, p. 1.

53. Donlan to director of the staff, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 1 Mar. 1974, p.2.

54. Gilruth to Kemmett, 28 Aug. 1973, p. 1.

55. Gilruth to Nicholas E. Golovin, 12 Sept. 1961, quoted in Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 61.

56. The quoted phrases are from Houbolt's letters to Francis W. Kemmett, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 23 May 1978 and 2 Sept. 1981, copies in author's LOR file.

57. George Low, "A Plan for Manned Lunar Landing," 24 Jan. 1961, A200-1B, LCF. On the cover sheet of this report, Low identifies the members of his Lunar Landing Working Group; Houbolt's name is not included. George M. Low, president, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., to Mr. Frederick J. Lees, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 21 Oct. 1982, copy in author's LOR file. See also E. O. Pearson, "Notes on Key Problems of Manned Lunar Missions," 13 Jan. 1961, A200-1B, LCF. The phrase "extremely far-out thing to do" is George Low's, quoted in Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 117.

58. Low to Lees, 21 Oct. 1982, p. 2.

59. See M. J. Queijo to associate director, "Techniques and problems associated with manned lunar orbits and landings," 21 Feb. 1961, A200 1B, LCF.

60. Bernard Maggin to John Houbolt, 1 Mar. 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

61. Brown interview, 17 July 1989. The politics also involved at least one major industrial firm, North American Aviation in Los Angeles, which already had a contract for a command-and-service module based on the direct-ascent mode. If NASA selected LOR, North American most probably would have to "share the pie" with some other contractor who would be responsible for the separate lunar lander. The other contractor turned out to be Grumman. For more on the politics of the mission-mode decision, see Henry S. F. Cooper, "We Don't Have to Prove Ourselves" in The New Yorker (2 Sept. 1991): 64.

62. NASA Langley, "Work at LRC in Support of Project Apollo," 3 May 1961, Project Apollo file, LCF. See also Rufus O. House to the Langley director, "Number of professionals in support of Project Apollo," 19 May 1961, Project Apollo file, LCF. This memo advised center management that 326.5 professionals were currently involved in research projects supporting Apollo; 91 of these professionals were involved in the study of reentry heating problems.

63. Loftin interview, 5 Aug. 1989, p. 93.

64. NASA Langley, "Manned Lunar Landing Via Rendezvous," 19 Apr. 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

65. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 61.

66. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 30.

67. Ibid., p. 28.

68. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 61.

69. lbid.

70. See McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, pp. 8, 318, and 328, and Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp. 79 80.

71. For an analysis of Vice-President Lyndon Johnson's enthusiasm for the lunar mission, see McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, pp. 319-320, and Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, pp. 119-121.

72. For a more complete analysis of the political thinking behind Kennedy's lunar commitment, see chap. 15 "Destination Moon" (pp. 307-324) of McDougall, Heavens and the Earth.

73. John C. Houbolt to Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA associate administrator, 9 May 1961, copy in box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

74. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 36; Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp. 81-82 and 110. The Fleming Committee had 23 members, including 18 from NASA headquarters; Langley had no representative. The committee members from headquarters were Fleming, Addison M. Rothrock, Albert J. Kelley, Berg Paraghamian, Walter W. Haase, John Disher, Merle G. Waugh, Eldon Hall, Melvyn Savage, William L. Lovejoy, Norman Rafel, Alfred Nelson, Samuel Snyder, Robert D. Briskman, Secrest L. Barry, James P. Nolan, Jr., Earnest O. Pearson, and Robert Fellows. The other members were Heinz H. Koelle (Marshall), Kenneth S. Kleinknecht and Alan Kehlet (STG), A. H. Schichtenberg (The Lovelace Foundation), and William S. Shipley (JPL). Not surprisingly, most of these men were big-rocket specialists.

75. Seamans to director, Launch Vehicle Programs (Don R. Ostrander) and director, Advanced Research Programs (Ira H. Abbott), "Broad Study of Feasible Ways for Accomplishing Manned Lunar Landing Mission," 25 May 1961, A200 1B, LCF.

76. Seamans, "Broad Study." Seamans, associate administrator, to John C. Houbolt, NASA Langley, 2 June 1961, copy in box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

77. Murray and Cox state that Houbolt was a member of the Lundin Committee (Apollo, p. 118). Loftin interview, 5 Aug. 1989, pp. 91-97; Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 32-34. In reading a preliminary draft of this chapter, Loftin challenged Houbolt's statement. Loftin insists that he spent weeks in Washington on this committee and only sent Houbolt in his place the few times he could not attend a meeting. Other members of the Lundin Committee, besides Lundin and Loftin, were Walter J. Downhower (JPL), Alfred E. Eggers (Ames), Harry O. Ruppe (Marshall), and Lt. Col. George W. S. Johnson (U.S. Air Force). Unlike the Fleming Committee, this task force - by design - had no members from NASA headquarters and was conceived to represent the technical judgments of the NASA centers.

78. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., told this story from the audience during the videotaped celebration program for the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. See also Loftin interview, 5 Aug. 1989, p. 93.

79. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 33-34. NASA (Lundin Committee), "A Survey of Various Vehicle Systems for the Manned Lunar Landing Mission," 10 June 1961, A200 -1B, LCF.

80. Ibid., p. 16; Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 34.

81. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 33; see also Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 118.

82. Loftin interview, 5 Aug. 1989, pp. 93 94.

83. Seamans to directors for Launch Vehicle Programs, Advanced Research Programs, and to acting director for Life Sciences Program, "Establishment of Ad Hoc Task Group or Manned Lunar Landing by Rendezvous Techniques," 20 June 1961, A200 1B, LCF. See also Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 37-38. Serving on the Heaton Committee were 10 officials from NASA headquarters, 5 from Marshall, I from the Flight Research Center, and 2 from Langley, Houbolt and W. Hewitt Phillips. One representative from the U.S. Air Force was also a member.

84. Houbolt's paper "Problems and Potentialities of Space Rendezvous," first presented at the international Academy of Astronautics' international Symposium on Space Flight and Reentry Trajectories, was published under the same title in Astronautica Acta 7 (1961): 406-429.

85. Houbolt interview, 29 Aug. 1989, p. 39.

86. For the conclusions of the Heaton Committee, see Ad Hoc Task Group for Study of Manned Lunar Landing by Rendezvous Techniques, "Earth Orbital Rendezvous for an Early Manned Lunar Landing," pt. 1, "Summary Report of Ad Hoc Task Group Study," Aug. 1961. Houbolt interview, 29 Aug. 1989, p. 39.

87. Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 119. See also Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 46.

88. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 47-48.

89. Ibid.

90. Ibid.

91. "Report of DOD-NASA Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, Vol. 1, 1961," A200-1B, LCF. See Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 67 68. The members of this committee, besides those mentioned in the text, were: Kurt R. Stehling and William A. Wolmam (NASA headquarters); Warren H. Amster and Edward J. Barlow (Aerospace Corp.); Seymour C. Himmel (Lewis); Wilson Schramm and Francis L Williams (Marshall); Col. Matthew R. Collins (army); Rear Adm. Levering Smith and Capt. Lewis J. Stecher, Jr. (navy); and Col. Otto J. Glazer, Lt. Col. David L. Carter, and Heinrich J. Weigand (air force). No Langley representatives were on the committee

92. Bird, "A Short History of the Development of the Lunar-Orbit- Rendezvous Plan," final supplement, 17 Feb. 1966, p. 3.

93. Harvey Hall, NASA coordinator, NASA/DOD Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, to Langley, 23 Aug. 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

94. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 49.

95. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 55-60.

96. On the Shoulders of Titans is an outstanding, detailed history of the Gemini Program. For a more brief and somewhat more colorful insight into this important preparatory program for the Apollo mission, see Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988), pp. 63-113. See also Collins' memoir Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys (New York: Macmillan Co., 1977). Collins, the CM pilot for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, was also an astronaut in the Gemini program (Gemini-Titan X, 18-21 July 1966). His memoir is one of the best books about the manned space program of the 1960s. On Gemini's relationship to MORAD, see Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 49-50.

97. NASA Langley, Manned Lunar-Landing through Use of Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous, 2 vols., 31 Oct. 1961, copy in box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA. Other Langley researchers who made contributions to this two volume report were Jack Dodgen, William Mace, Ralph W. Stone, Jack Queijo, Bill Michael, Max Kurbjun, and Ralph Brissenden. In essence, Houbolt and associates prepared this report as a working paper that could provide, as NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden would later explain, "a quick summary of the information then available on LOR as a mode of accomplishing manned lunar landing and return." See Dryden to the Honorable Clinton P. Anderson, chairman, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, U.S. Senate, 11 Apr. 1963, A200-1B, LCF.

98. John C. Houbolt to Robert C. Seamans, associate administrator, NASA, 15 Nov. 1961, p. 1, copy in box 7, Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

99. Ibid., p. 1.

100. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Dr. John C. Houbolt, 4 Dec. 1961, box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

101. George M. Low, president, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., to Mr. Frederick J. Lees, chairman, Inventions and Contributions Board, NASA, 21 Oct. 1982, copy in author's LOR file. See also Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 120.

102. For an excellent capsule portrait of Dr. Joseph F. Shea, see Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp. 120 125.

103. Ibid., p. 124.

104. Ibid.

105. Ibid., p. 125.

106. On Glenn's historic flight, see Loyd S. Swenson, James H. Grimwood, and Charles C. Alexander, This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury, NASA SP-4201 (Washington, 1966), pp. 420-436. For more on the Chance Vought contract, see Ertel and Morse, Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, 1:141. On the Chance Vought team briefing, see Bird, "A Short History of the Development of the Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous Plan," supplemented 17 Feb. 1966, p. 4. Regarding the headquarters meeting, see NASA, "Minutes of Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Meeting, April 2-3, 1962," copy in A200-1B, LCF. See also Ertel and Morse, Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, 1:147-152.

107. Arthur W. Vogeley interview with author, Hampton, Va., 17 July 1989, videotape, LHA.

108. Faget quoted in Henry S. F. Cooper, "We Don't Have to Prove Ourselves," p. 64.

109. Ibid. For details of the Manned Spacecraft Center's final evaluation in favor of LOR, see Charles W. Matthews, chief Spacecraft Research Division, MSC, to Robert R. Gilruth, MSC director, "Summary of MSC Evaluation of Methods for Accomplishing the Manned Lunar Landing Mission'" 2 July 1962; and Robert R. Gilruth to NASA headquarters ("Attn: Mr. D. Brainerd Holmes"), "Summary of Manned Spacecraft Center evaluation methods for accomplishing the manned lunar landing mission," 5 July 1962. Both memoranda are included in app. A of the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight's confidential 169-page report, Manned Lunar Landing Program Mode Comparison, 30 July 1962.

110. Gilruth to Kemmett, 28 Aug. 1973.

111. See Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 125.

112. Ibid.

113. Low to Lees, 21 Oct. 1982; Low to John C. Houbolt, Senior Vice-President and Senior Consultant, Aeronautical Research Associates of Princeton, 7 Aug. 1969, copies in author's LOR file.

114. Axel T. Mattson, research assistant for Manned Spacecraft Projects, to Charles J. Donlan, "Report on activities (April 16-April 19, 1962) regarding Manned Spacecraft Projects," A189-5, LCF. Mattson's memo lists all personnel that Houbolt saw at the Manned Spacecraft Center. One of the Houston engineers with whom Houbolt and Bird met, Chuck Matthews, had just returned from a meeting at NASA Marsha 1. There Matthews had reviewed Houston's thinking on the LOR concept According to Mattson's memo, that presentation was "apparently well received by von Braun, since he made favorable comments." See also Mattson interview with author, Hampton, Va., 14 Aug. 1989, transcript, LHA.

115. Statement by Axel T. Mattson at the 17 July 1989 evening program on the 20th anniversary of Apollo 11, videotape, LHA.

116. "Minutes of the MSF Management Council," 6 Feb. 1962, p. 1, A200-1B, LCF; Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 64.

117. Brown interview, 17 July 1989; Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, pp. 68-72.

118. "Concluding Remarks by Dr. Wernher von Braun about Mode Selection for the Lunar Landing Program Given to Dr. Joseph F. Shea' Deputy Director (Systems) Office of Manned Space Flight," 7 June 1962, copy in box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA. For more on von Braun's surprise announcement in favor of LOR and the reaction of the Marshall audience to it, see Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 139.

119. For an introduction to the concept of "closure" in science and technology, see The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, eds., Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, and Trevor Pinch (Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 1990), pp. 12-13.

120. John C. Houbolt to Dr. Wernher von Braun, director, NASA Marshall, 9 Apr. 1962, A189-7, LCF; von Braun to Houbolt, 20 June 1962, copy in author's LOR file. Von Braun argued later that he really had not changed his mind from EOR to LOR; he had not been that strong a supporter of EOR in the first place. His people at Marshall had investigated EOR, and Gilruth's people in Houston had investigated LOR, but that was part of a NASA management strategy to cover all the options thoroughly. He claims he personally did not take sides until he had all the facts. When he did, he supported LOR. See Murray and Cox, Apollo, p. 139.

121. NASA, "Lunar Orbit Rendezvous: News Conference on Apollo Plans at NASA Headquarters on July 11, 1962," copy, box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA. In the press conference, Dr. Robert Seamans credited John Houbolt specifically for his contribution to the LOR concept: "I would first like to say that when I joined NASA almost two years ago one of the first places that I went to was Langley Field, and there reviewed work going on on a research basis under Dr. John Houbolt. This work related both to rendezvous and what a man could do at the controls, of course under simulated conditions, as well as the possibility of lunar orbit rendezvous" (p. 8). On Wiesner's opposition to LOR, see McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 378, and Murray and Cox, Apollo, pp. 140-143.

Even after its July 1962 announcement in favor of LOR, NASA continued to evaluate the other major options for the Apollo mission mode. See, for example, the Office of Manned Space Flight's confidential Manned Lunar Landing Program Mode Comparison, 30 July 1962, and the follow-up, Manned Lunar Landing Mode Comparison, 24 Oct. 1962. Copies of both documents are in A200 -1B, LCF. Both reports concluded that on the basis of "technical simplicity, scheduling, and cost considerations," LOR was the "most suitable" and the "preferred mode." Some forms of EOR were also feasible and would have adequate weight margins.

122. John C. Houbolt, Roy Steiner, and Kermit G. Pratt, "Flight Data and Considerations of the Dynamic Response of Airplanes to Atmospheric Turbulence," July 1962.

123. Houbolt interview, 24 Aug. 1989, p. 73.

124. I. E. Garrick, Distinguished Research Associate, NASA Langley, to Mr. Francis W. Kemmett, Inventions and Contributions Board, NASA headquarters, 18 Nov. 1974. Garrick wrote two other letters to Kemmett, dated 14 Nov. 1975 and 12 Sept. 1978. Copies of all three are in author's LOR file.

125. Low to Lees, 21 Oct. 1982, pp. 2-3.

126. On 7 Aug. 1969, two weeks after the successful completion of the Apollo 11 mission, von Braun wrote Houbolt a personal letter in which he referred to Houbolt's "singular contribution to the Apollo program." "We know that it must be highly gratifying to you because of the rousing and complete success of your Eagle. The LM concept that you developed and defended so effectively - even, on occasion, before unsympathetic tribunals was indeed a prime factor in the success of man's first lunar landing mission." Wernher von Braun, director, NASA Marshall, to John C. Houbolt, senior vice-president and senior consultant, Aeronautical Research Associates of Princeton, Princeton, N.J., 7 Aug. 1969, ropy in author's LOR file.

Throughout this chapter, I have often ca led Houbolt "a crusader," knowing all too well that this association has plagued Houbolt for nearly 30 years. This characterization of Houbolt is one of the major factors that killed his chances for receiving a $100,000 cash award from a NASA inventions and contributions board in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This board decided after a lengthy inquiry that it did not give awards to individuals who simply advocated or "crusaded" for causes - however righteous.

The NASA awards board perhaps significantly underestimated the sometimes vital role of a crusader in the ultimate success of a major technological endeavor. Most certainly in this case the awards board worked from far too literal a definition of "crusader'" because Houbolt was not just arguing for something for which other people were more responsible. He made LOR a personal cause only after his own extensive work on the relevant problems. "Not until I showed them all my analysis and so forth did the awards committee even realize that I had gone into so much depth in terms of working through all the various parts of the problem," says Houbolt.

 

Chapter 9

Skipping "The Next Logical Step"

 

Much of the information expanded upon in this chapter is based on an earlier unpublished essay, "Visions of Man in Space: NASA Langley Research Center and the United States Space Station Program," by Beverly C. McMillan and James R. Hansen, final revision, Sept. 1992. I would like to thank Ms. McMillan for her valuable assistance in clarifying the early history of space station research at Langley.

1. Von Puttkamer quoted in Charles R. Pelligrino and Joshua Stoff, Chariots for Apollo (N.Y.: Atheneum, 1986), pp. 24 26.

2. For an analysis of the long and twisting political history of NASA's attempt to develop and operate an orbiting space station, see Howard E. McCurdy, The Space Station Decision: Incremental Politics and Technological Choice (Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), and Sylvia D. Fries, "2001 to 1994: Political Environment and the Design of NASA's Space Station System," Technology and Culture 29 (July 1988): 568-593. On the operational history and demise of Skylab, see Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988), pp. 163 200, as well as James E. Oberg's insightful essay, "Skylab's Untimely End," in Air 6~ Space/Smithsonian 6 (Feb./Mar. 1992): 73-79. My assertion that space station designers deliberately designed Skylab for only a short stay in space so that they could replace it with a more elaborate station is based on personal interviews with key NASA officials involved in space station work; they wish to remain anonymous.

3. K. E. Tsiolkovskii, Investigation of Universal Space by Means of Reactive Devices (1911 and 1926), NASA translations in Tsiolkovskii, Works on Rocket Technology, Nov. 1965, HQA; Hermann Oberth, Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen (1923), NASA translation in HQA; and Guido von Pirquet, "Fahrtrouten," in Die Rakete (May 1923 to Apr. 1929). For a summary of the pioneering ideas on space stations, see McCurdy, Space Station Decision, pp. 5 8. On Tsiolkovskii specifically, see 1. A. Kol'chenko and 1. V. Strazheva, "The Ideas of K. E. Tsiolkovskii on Orbital Space Stations," in History of Rocketry and Astronautics, ed. R. Cargill Hall (San Diego: American Astronautical Society, 1986), pp. 170-176; on Pirquet, see Fritz Sykora, "Guido von Pirquet: Austrian Pioneer of Astronautics," in History of Rocketry and Astronautics, pp. 140-156.

For a summary and analysis of early space station proposals, see the following essays: Frederick I. Ordway III, "The History, Evolution, and Benefits of the Space Station Concept," presented to the 13th International Congress of the History of Science, Aug. 1971, copy in HQA; Barton C. Hacker, "And Rest as in a Natural Station: From Space Station to Orbital Operations in Space Travel Thought, 1885-1951," unpublished manuscript, [undated], HQA; Alex Roland, "The Evolution of Civil Space Station Concepts in the United States," unpublished manuscript, May 1983, HQA; and John M. Logsdon, "The Evolution of Civilian In-Space Infrastructure, i.e., 'Space Station' Concepts in the United States," in Civilian Space Stations and the U.S. Future in Space (Washington: U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, OTA-STI-241, Nov. 1984).

4. Wernher von Braun, "Crossing the Last Frontier," Collier's 129 (22 Mar. 1952): 24-29 and 72-74. For the other articles in this special issue of Collier's devoted to the theme of space exploration, see "Man Will Conquer Space Soon."

5. Von Braun, "Crossing the Last Frontier," pp. 24-25.

6. Ibid. For additional information and thoughts on von Braun's space station concept, see McCurdy, Space Station Decision, pp. 5-7, and Christopher Lampton, Wernher von Braun (New York: Franklin Watts, 1988), p. 106.

7. [Laurence K. Loftin, Jr.], "Manned Space Flight Proposal" [Summer 1959]; Harry J. Goett to Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight, "Plans for May 25-26 Meeting," 6 May 1959. Both documents can be found in the Floyd L. Thompson Collection, LHA. See also the Minutes of the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight, 25-26 May 1959, copy in HQA.

8. Laurence K. Loftin, "Manned Space Flight Proposal," pp. 2 4. For a brief analysis of the X-20 Dyna-Soar program, see Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 190 191 and 339-341. ~

9. Loftin interview with author, Newport News, Va., 5 Aug. 1989.

10. [Laurence K. Loftin, Jr.], untitled talk at the 1959 NASA inspection [Fall 1959], AMIS Committee file, Thompson Collection, LHA.

11. Ibid.; Loftin interview, 5 Aug. 1989. In his inspection presentation, Loftin expressed many of the same ideas that he had offered at the second meeting of the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight, held at Ames Research Center, on 25 26 May 1959. A copy of the minutes of this meeting is preserved in the HQA.

12. Mark R. Nichols interview with author, Hampton, Va., 6 July 1988, transcript, p. 3, OHC, LHA.

13. [Laurence K. Loftin, Jr.], "Manned Space Laboratory Research Group," [Fall 1959], an organization chart with handwritten notes on attached page by Floyd Thompson, AMIS Committee file, Thompson Collection, LHA.

14. Ibid.

15. Loftin interview, 5 Aug. 1989. See also McCurdy, Space Station Decision, pp. 8-9. Industry's early interest in the space station can be seen in several documents in file A200-1A, LCF. For example, see J. O. Charshafian, general manager, Santa Barbara Division, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, to E. C. Draley, assistant director, NASA Langley, "NASA Assistance on Aerial Platform," 19 May 1959; Beverly Z. Henry, Jr., to Associate Director [Thompson], "Visit of Goodyear Aircraft Corporation representatives to the Full-Scale Research Division," 19 Oct. 1959; Ralph W. Stone, Jr., to Associate Director [Thompson], "Visits of Messrs. A. B. Thompson and Paul Petty of Chance Vought Astronautics to Langley, November 6, 1959," 12 Nov. 1959; Beverly Z. Henry, Jr., to Associate Director [Thompson], "Visit of the Martin Company representatives on January 12, 1960," 26 Jan. 1960.

16. [Loftin], untitled talk at the 1959 NASA inspection, p. 1; Loftin interview, 5 Aug. 1989

17. Emanuel Schnitzer, "Erectable Torus Manned Space Laboratory," 16 May 1960, A200-4, LCF. See also Schnitzer to Associate Director [Thompson], "Space Station Project - Results of discussions at NASA Headquarters on May 10-11, 1960," 23 May 1960, A200 4, LCF.

18. Schnitzer to Associate Director [Thompson], "Transmittal of updated article on Erectable Torus Manned Space Laboratory to the American Rocket Society," 24 Oct. 1960, A200-4' LCF. Several documents from 1960 and 1961 pertaining to the work on the inflatable torus are in A200 4' LCF. See also W. Ray Hook, "Space Stations - Historical Review and Current Plans," unpublished paper presented at the winter annual meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Phoenix, 14-19 Nov. 1982, Langley Technical Library. Hook is a Langley engineer who has been involved with space station work since the 1960s.

19. On the wobble problem, see Peter R. Kurshals, James J. Adams, and Ward F. Hodge, "Space Station Dynamics and Control," in NASA Langley, A Report on the Research and Technological Problems of a Manned Rotating Spacecraft, NASA TN D-1504 (Washington, Aug. 1962), pp. 71-72.

20. Floyd L. Thompson to NASA, "100-foot diameter automatic erecting modular space station - Request for approval of study contract," 9 June 1961, A200 4, LCF. For design information, see Rene Berglund, "Space Station Research Configurations," in NASA TN D-1504, pp. 9-21. For an analytical summary of Langley's designs of the inflatable torus and rotating hexagon, see Fries, "2001 to 1994," pp. 572-578. The opening paper of TN D-1504, "Space Station Objectives and Research Guidelines" by Paul R. Hill and Emanuel Schnitzer (pp. 1-9), offers a general statement of early Langley goals and ambitions regarding its space station work with both the inflatable torus and rotating hexagon concepts. For North American's presentation of the hexagon concept, see North American Aviation, "Self-Deploying Space Station, Final Report," SID 62 1302, 31 Oct. 1962, Langley Technical Library.

21. Emanuel Schnitzer, memorandum for files, "Results of Space Station Conference between NASA Headquarters and Goodyear Aircraft Corporation," 21 Apr. 1961, A200 4, LCF. For insights into the turbulent history of the Centaur development, see Roger Bilstein, Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles, NASA SP-4206 (Washington, 1980), esp. pp. 36-38: 43-46, and 131-137; and Virginia P. Dawson, Engines and Innovation: Lewis Laboratory and American Propulsion Technology, NASA SP-4306 (Washington, 1991), pp. 166 169, 179, and 188-193. On the matter of maneuvering a rendezvous with a rotating space station, see Roy F. Brissenden, "Some Considerations of the Operations Requirements for a Manned Space Station," in NASA TN D-1504, p. 97.

22. Low cited in Schnitzer, "Results of Space Station Conference," p. 1. Details concerning the design of the rotating hexagon can be found in Berglund, "Space Station Research Configurations," pp. 9-21.

23. Loftin quoted in U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing Before the Committee on Science and Astronautics, 87th Cong., 1st sess., 19 May 1961, pp. 5-9 and 12-18. For this committee's analysis of the situation, see U.S. House of Representatives, Expandable Space Structures: Report of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, 87th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1961), Serial m. Copies of both publications are in the Thompson Collection, LHA.

24. The quotes are from the Hearing Before the Committee on Science and Astronautics, pp. 12-13.

25. See Kurzhals, Adams, and Hodge, "Space Station Dynamics and Control," pp. 76-77. See also Hook, "Space Stations," p. 4.

26. For insights into Langley's early thinking about the power requirements of the orbiting space station, see the records of the Nichols committee in A200-4, LCF, esp. the reports of the subcommittee on auxiliary power chaired by William J. O'Sullivan. The issues of the power supply for the inflatable torus and rotating hexagon are clarified in John R. Dawson and Atwood R. Heath, Jr., "Space Station Power Systems," in NASA TN D-1504, pp. 59-71. For an account of the debate at Langley between those favoring solar and nuclear power for a space station, see Hook, "Space Stations," p. 5, and listen to Beverly McMillan's tape recorded interview with Langley space station researcher William N. Gardner, Newport News, Va., 26 Sept. 1991, OHC, LHA. See also Gardner, "A Review of Langley Space Station Studies," in Compilation of Papers Presented at the Space Technology Symposium, NASA Langley, Feb. 1969, Langley Technical Library.

27. H. A. Storms, president, Space and Information Systems Division, North American Aviation, to Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., technical advisor to director, NASA Langley, "Transmittal of Proposal for Engineering Analysis of NASA Self-Erecting Space Station," 14 July 1961, A200 4, LCF; Gardner interview with McMillan, 23 Sept. 1991. On the development of nuclear reactors for the space program, see William R. Corliss, SNAP Nuclear Space Reactors (Washington: U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Sept. 1966). The Atomic Energy Commission initiated SNAP, which stood for Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power, in 1955 specifically to develop a nuclear power system for a space vehicle. The commission's effort involved both nuclear reactors and radioisotope systems. NASA Langley researchers learned quite a bit about SNAP findings during the early 1960s, as they struggled to choose the right power plant for their space station designs. The first SNAP system actually to go into space was SNAP 10 A, a 500-watt system launched from Vandenberg AFB on 13 Apr. 1965. See Corliss, SNAP, pp. 59 66 and 108-118.

28. See the reports of the Subcommittee on Radioisotope Power to the Langley MORL Technology Steering Committee from 1963 and 1964, A200 4, LCF.

29. Dan C. Popma, Charles H. Wilson, and Franklin W. Booth, "Life Support Research for Manned Space Stations," in NASA TN D-1504, pp. 107-120.

30. Ibid., pp. 108-112.

31. W. Ray Hook interview with McMillan, Hampton, Va., 16 Sept. 1991, in OHC, LHA; Gardner to McMillan, 23 Sept. 1991.

32. Hook interview with McMillan, 16 Sept. 1991.

33. Joseph S. Algranti, Donald L. Mallick, and Howard G. Hatch, Jr., "Crew Performance on a Lunar-Mission Simulation," in NASA TN D-1504, pp. 135-146.

34. George W. Zender and John R. Davidson, "Structural Requirements of Large Manned Space Stations," in NASA TN D-1504, pp. 33-44.

35. Ibid.; Robert S. Osborne and George P. Goodman, "Material and Fabrication Techniques for Manned Space Stations," in NASA TN D-1504,pp. 45-53.

36. See Berglund, "Space Station Research Configurations," pp. 12-15.

37. Ibid., pp. 13-14.

38. Emanuel Schnitzer, memorandum for files, "Orbital Flight Test of 10-Foot Inflatable Space Station Model on Scout - Details," 10 May 1961, A200-4, LCF.

39. Hill and Schnitzer, "Space Station Objectives and Research Guidelines," p. 2. For similar statements about the ultimate use of a space station, as conceived at Langley in the early 1960s, see Loftin's testimony in the Hearing Before the Committee on Science and Astronautics, pp. 6, 9, and 13 14.

40. Loftin's testimony, pp. 13 14.

41. Hook, "Space Stations," p. 4; see also the description of the MORL concept in the NASA Langley press release, "Industry Asked to Propose Manned Orbiting Research Laboratory Plans," 24 Apr. 1963, A200-4, LCF.

42. NASA Langley press release, "Industry Asked to Propose Manned Orbiting Research Laboratory Plans." Hook interview with McMillan, 16 Sept. 1991; Gardner interview with McMillan, 23 Sept. 1991.

43. Floyd L. Thompson, Langley Research Center Announcement No. 32-63, "Reorganization of Langley Research Center and reassignment of personnel effective June 10, 1963," 6 June 1963; Thompson, Langley Research Center Announcement No. 33 63, "Changes in Organization of the Applied Materials and Physics Division'" 6 June 1963. Copies of both announcements are preserved in the Thompson Collection, LHA. For the minutes of the meetings of the Langley MORL Technology Steering Committee, as well as the weekly and (later) biweekly reports of the MORL Studies Office, see A200-4, LCF.

44. Gardner interview with McMillan, 23 Sept. 1963.

45. William N. Gardner, head, MORL Studies Office, to Associate Director [Donlan], "MORL Studies Office Weekly Report - Week ending June 22, 1963," 24 June 1963, A200-4, LCF.

46. W. Nissim, Douglas Aircraft Co., "London Daily Mail Astronomical Space Observatory,"Douglas Report No. SM-36173, Nov. 1959, copy in Langley Technical Library.

47. C. C. Walkey, Contracts Division, Douglas Aircraft Company, to Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., "Unsolicited Proposal for Advanced Technology Studies Related to Orbiting Laboratories'" 13 July 1964, A200-4, LCF.

48. Charles J. Donlan, chairman, Source Evaluation Board, Langley Research Center Announcement No. 63-63, "Establishment of Technical Assessment Team for Evaluation of Manned Orbital Research Laboratory (MORL) Phase I Study, Douglas Contract NAS1-2974 and Boeing Contract NASI-2975, for Comparative Studies and Preliminary Design of an MORL Concept," 24 Sept. 1963, Thompson Collection, LHA.

49. NASA Langley press release, "NASA Selects Douglas to Continue Space Station Study," 2 Dec. 1963, A200 4, LCF.

50. For some contemporary thoughts on manned space stations from a military vantage point, see John W. Massey, "Historical Resume of Manned Space Stations'" ABMA, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., Report No. DSP-TM-9 60, 15 June 1960, HQA. On the history of the U.S. military's interest in a space station, see McCurdy, Space Station Decision, esp. pp. 101-105, 131-134, 149-150, 166-168, and 198-199. See also Emanuel Schnitzer's 11-page report (once classified "Secret"), "Military Test Space Station - Details of Midterm Briefing at WADD [Wright Air Development Division - Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio] - Preliminary Station for Pre-1965, Feb. 7-9, 1961," 23 Feb. 1961, as well as Alfred C. Loedding, ARDC [Air Research and Development Command] Liaison Office, Langley Research Center, memorandum for files, "Man in Space in 1963 for Military Planning," 6 July 1960; both documents are in A200-4, LCF. As yet, no complete (unclassified) history of the DOD's involvement in space station planning has been written.

51. Douglas Aircraft Company, Missile and Space Systems Division, "MORL: Manned Orbital Research Laboratory," Douglas Report SM-47966, Aug. 1964, Langley Technical Library. For Douglas's follow-up work, see "Report on the Optimization of the Manned Orbital Research Laboratory (MORL) System Concept," Douglas Report SM-46071, Sept. 1964, and "Report on the Development of the Manned Orbital Research Laboratory (MORL) System Utilization Potential," Douglas Report SM-48922, Jan. 1966. Copies of both are also available in the Langley Technical Library.

52. Douglas, "MORL," Aug. 1964, p. 3. For a historical summary of early space station work at Johnson Space Center in Houston, see Henry C. Dethloff, Suddenly, Tomorrow Came . . .: A History of the Johnson Space Center, NASA SP-4307 (Houston, 1993), pp. 188-196 and 221-226.

53. On the air force's MOL concept, see McCurdy, Space Station Decision, pp. 70 and 132-133, and McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, pp. 340 341. The DOD announced its plans for MOL in Dec. 1963, one day after terminating the X-20 Dyna-Soar program.

54. John R. Dawson, secretary, "Minutes of Meeting of Langley MORL Technology Steering Committee: October 28, 1963," 28 Oct. 1963, A200 4, LCF; NASA Langley press release, "NASA Selects Douglas," p. 1.

55. Gardner interview with McMillan, 23 Sept. 1991.

56. Robert S. Osborne interview with McMillan, Newport News, Va., 21 Nov. 1991.

57. Numerous references to the General Dynamics contract for the life-support system can be found in the minutes to the meetings of the Langley MORL Technology Steering Committee and in the weekly and biweekly reports of the MORL Studies Office from mid-1963 to 1964.

58. Hook interview with McMillan, 16 Sept. 1991; Gardner interview with McMillan, 23 Sept. 1991.

59. Osborne interview with McMillan, 21 Nov. 1991. See a so the minutes of the meetings of the MORL Technology Steering Committee and the reports of the MORL Studies Office from late 1964 and 1965. On the Apollo Extension System Program, see Wernher von Braun and Frederick 1. Ordway III, Space Travel, A History, 4th ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), p. 225.

60. Charles W. Matthews, director of Apollo applications, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, to Charles J. Donlan, acting director, NASA Langley, 25 Apr. 1968, A200-4, LCF; NASA Langley, MORL Studies Office, "Intermediate Orbital Workshop System Study, In-House Study Summary," 28 June 1968, Langley Technical Library. On the Apollo Applications Program, see Collins, Liftoff, pp. 164-165; von Braun and Ordway, Space Travel: A History, p. 225; Linda Neuman Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 3, Programs and Projects, 1969-1978, NASA SP-4012 (Washington, 1988), pp. 56-57, 63-64, and 94-100.

61. MORL Studies Office, "Intermediate Orbital Workshop System Study," 28 June 1968, viewgraph LRC-8 2.

62. Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, 3:100 -101.

63. See Robert R. Gilruth, "Manned Space Stations," in Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Bioastronautics and the Exploration of Space, San Antonio, Tex., 24-27 Apr. 1968, pp. 153-177; also William J. Normyle, "NASA Aims at 100-Man Station," Aviation Week & Space Technology, 24 Feb. 1969, pp. 14 17.

64. Hook, "Space Stations," p. 6. For insights into the Apollo Applications Program and the plans leading to Skylab, see W. David Compton and Charles D. Benson, Living and Working in Space: A History of Skylab, NASA SP-4208 (Washington, 1983).

65. Compton and Benson, Living and Working in Space. See McCurdy, Space Station Decision, pp. 23-24; and Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, 3:100-101. See also North American Rockwell, Space Division, "Space Station Program Phase B Definition, Second Quarterly Progress Report," Report SD 70-146, 13 Mar. 1970, and North American Rockwell, "Modular Space Station Phase B Extension, NASA Administrator's Review," Report SD 71-582, 3 Dec. 1971. Copies of both reports can be found in the Langley Technical Library.

66. McCurdy, Space Station Decision, pp. 27-28.

67. Gardner interview with McMillan, 23 Sept. 1991.

68. Hook interview with McMillan, Hampton, Va., 16 Sept. 1991.

69. Gardner interview with McMillan, 23 Sept. 1991.

 

Chapter 10

To Behold the Moon: The Lunar Orbiter Project

 

1. See R. Cargill Hall, Lunar Impact: A History of Project Ranger, NASA SP-4210 (Washington, 1977), p. 285, and Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988), p. 117.

2. Leonard Roberts, "Exhaust Jet-Dust Layer Interaction during a Lunar Landing," unclassified report presented at the 13th International Aeronautical Congress, Varna, Bulgaria, 24-28 Sept. 1962; "The Interaction of a Rocket Exhaust with the Lunar Surface," unclassified report presented at the Specialists' Meeting of the Fluid Dynamical Aspects of Space Flight, Marseilles, France, 20-24 Apr. 1964. Copies of both papers are in the Langley Technical Library.

3. See Hall's comprehensive and well told, Lunar Impact.

4. A complete history of the Surveyor program has not been published. In addition to Hall's Lunar Impact, see Homer E. Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere: Early Years of Space Science, NASA SP-4211 (Washington, 1980), pp. 263-272. A fine summary of Surveyor is contained in Linda Neuman Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 2, Programs and Projects 1958-1968, NASA SP-4012 (Washington, 1988), pp. 325-331. For an analysis of NASA's problems in the management of the Surveyor project, see Erasmus H. Kloman, Unmanned Space Project Management: Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter, NASA SP-4901 (Washington, 1972).

5. The chairman of this Lunar Photographic Mission Study Group was Capt. Lee R. Scherer, a naval officer on assignment to NASA headquarters and a program engineer with the Surveyor project. In Oct. 1962, NASA gave him the job of heading the Office of Space Sciences/Office of Manned Space Flight working group, which was to identify what information about the moon would be most essential to the landing mission. See Scherer, Study of Agena-based Lunar Orbiters, NASA headquarters, Office of Space Sciences, 25 Oct. 1962, copy in Langley Technical Library. See also Bruce K. Byers, Destination Moon: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program, NASA TM X-3487 (Washington, 1977, multilith), pp. 20-23. Byers' study is the most complete history to date of Lunar Orbiter.

6. Kloman, Unmanned Space Project Management.

7. Clinton E. Brown interview with author, Hampton, Va., 17 July 1989. Brown acted as Langley's spokesman in early discussions at NASA headquarters in 1963 regarding Langley's proposed management of the Lunar Orbiter program.

8. Hall, Lunar Impact, p. 157.

9. "NASA Minutes of the First Senior Council for the Office of Space Sciences," 7 June 1962, E1-2A, LCF. Also quoted in Hall, Lunar Impact, p. 157.

10. Penetrometer Feasibility Study Group, Langley Research Center, "Preliminary Project Development Plan for a Lunar Penetrometer Experiment for the Follow-On Ranger Pro gram," 18 Aug. 1961, Code N-101,24218, Langley Technical Library. See also the following memoranda: E. M. Cortright (for Abe Silverstein, director of Space Flight Programs), to Ira H. Abbott, director of Advanced Research Programs, "Lunar Surface Hardness Experiments:" 29 June 1961; E. C. Kilgore, assistant chief, Engineering Division, to Charles J. Donlan, associate director, "Meeting at Jet Propulsion Laboratory on July 18, 1961, attended by representatives of Langley Research Center, Aeronutronics Division of Ford Motor Company, NASA Headquarters, and JPL, to discuss a penetrometer experiment for the follow-on Ranger program," 21 July 1961; John L. McCarty and George W. Brooks, "Visit to NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., by George W. Brooks and John L. McCarty, Vibration and Dynamics Section, DLD [Dynamic Loads Division], June 28, 1961, to discuss possible Lunar Penetrometer Experiment on Ranger Spacecraft," 7 July 1961; Floyd L. Thompson to NASA headquarters, "Lunar surface hardness experiments," 27 July 1961; and George W. Brooks to Associate Director Charles J. Donlan, "Langley action on lunar penetrometer experiment for Ranger follow-on program," 27 July 1961. All these memos are in LCF, A200 1B.

11. See John L. McCarty and Huey D. Carden, "Impact Characteristics of Various Materials Obtained by an Acceleration-Time-History Technique Applicable to Evaluating Remote Targets," NASA TN D-1269, June 1962.

12. Penetrometer Feasibility Study Group, "Preliminary Project Development Plan for a Lunar Penetrometer Experiment," p. 1.

13. Kilgore to Donlan, "Meeting at Jet Propulsion Laboratory."

14. Hall, Lunar Impact, p. 158.

15. Ibid., pp. 156-163.

16. Oran Nicks quoted in Byers, Destination Moon, p. 26.

17. Floyd L. Thompson to Dr. Eugene Emme, NASA historian, "Comments on draft of Lunar Orbiter History dated November 4, 1969," 22 Dec. 1969, in folder labeled "Lunar Orbiter Historical Notes" in Floyd L. Thompson Collection, LHA. See also Byers, Destination Moon, p. 25.

18. Clinton E. Brown interview, 17 July 1989.

19. Ibid. On 12 July 1961, six weeks after President Kennedy's lunar landing speech, three men in Clint Brown's Theoretical Mechanics Division - William H. Michael, Jr., Robert H. Tolson, and John P. Gapcynski - put forward a "Preliminary Proposal for a Circumlunar Photographic Experiment." The idea essentially was to support the Apollo program by adapting the Ranger spacecraft so that it could perform a circumlunar mission that could take high-resolution color photographs during the lunar-approach phase of a "single-pass," circumlunar trajectory. In the cover memorandum to this unpublished proposal, one of its authors, Bill Michael, wrote that "a desirable situation would be that of Langley having prime responsibility for the photographic experiment, in a role similar to that of chief experimenter in other specific experiments carried by the Ranger and other vehicles." See William H. Michael, Jr, head, Mission Analysis Section, to Langley Associate Director Charles J. Donlan, "Preliminary Proposal for a Circumlunar Photographic Mission," 17 July 1961. See a so C. I. Cummings, Lunar Program Director, JPL, to Bernard Maggin, Office of Programs, NASA headquarters, 9 Nov. 1961, and Maggin to Clinton E. Brown, 14 Nov. 1961. Copies of the above documents are in LCF, A200-1B.

20. Israel Taback interview with author, Hampton, Va., 13 Aug. 1991.

21. Floyd L. Thompson to NASA headquarters (Attn: Capt. Lee Scherer), 6 Mar. 1963, A200 -1B, LCF. Attached to this memo is a "system block diagram" for the Lunar Orbiter as well as the data from the mission reliability analysis.

22. On the genesis of NASA's system for project management, see Robert L. Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 1958-1963, NASA SP-4101 (Washington, 1966), pp. 145-158 and 273-276.

23. NASA Management Manual, pt. 1, General Management Instruction, Number 4-1-1, "Subject: Planning and Implementation of NASA Projects," NASA GMI (Washington, 18 Jan. 1961), chap. 4, p. 4. See also Edgar M. Cortright interview with author, Yorktown, Va., July 1988, transcript, pp. 8-9, OHC, LHA.

24. Donald H. Ward, One Engineer's Life Relived (Utica, Ky.: McDowell Publications, 1990), p. 61. Ward served as head of spacecraft launch operations for LOPO.

25. Taback interview, 13 Aug. 1991.

26. See Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 40-41.

27. See Dr. A. K. Thiel, STL, to Oran W. Nicks, director, Lunar and Planetary Programs, OSSA/NASA, Washington, D.C., 20 Sept. 1962, copy in Thompson Collection, LHA. See also Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 16 17.

28. See Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 43 44.

29. Interview with Sherwood Butler, Hampton, Va., 23 Aug. 1991. Butler was Langley's chief procurement officer at the time. For an analysis of the benefits of incentives contracting for Lunar Orbiter, see Kloman, Unmanned Space Project Management, pp. 34 36. See also Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 39-40. For a contemporary news story covering the details of the novel incentives contract for Lunar Orbiter, see Richard G. O'Lone, "Orbiter is First Big NASA Incentive Job," Aviation Week & Space Technology 79 (7 Oct. 1963): 32.

30. Taback interview, 13 Aug. 1991.

31. See Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 40 47.

32. Ibid., pp. 43-44

33. Taback interview, 13 Aug. 1991; see Byers, Destination Moon, p. 56.

34. Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 57-70.

35. For the basics of the Lunar Orbiter camera system, see Leon J. Kosofsky and S. Calvin Broome, "Lunar Orbiter: A Photographic Satellite'" paper presented to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Los Angeles, 28 Mar.-2 Apr. 1965, copy in Langley Technical Library. Broome was head of the photo subsystem group in LOPO; Kosofsky was the camera expert in Lee Scherer's office at NASA headquarters. For a more genera description of the photographic mission and the Eastman Kodak camera, see The Lunar Orbiter (revised Apr. 1966), a 38-page booklet prepared by Boeing's Space Division and published by NASA Langley, esp. pp. 18-20 and 22-26, and The Lunar Orbiter: A Radio-Controlled Camera, a glitzy 14 page brochure that was published by NASA Langley with Boeing's assistance after the Lunar Orbiter project had ended.

36. Kosofsky and Broome, "Lunar Orbiter: A Photographic Satellite." See also Israel Taback, "A Description of the Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft," reprinted in Highlights of Astronomy (Dordrecht, Netherlands: D. Reidel Publishing Co., 1968), p. 464. Taback presented this paper at the 13th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1967. At this meeting, renowned astronomers from all over the world took off their shoes and crawled around on the floor looking at a huge layout of photographs taken by the Lunar Orbiters.

37. Scherer, Study of Agena-based Lunar Orbiters; see Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 20 23.

38. Telephone interview with Thomas Costello of the Boeing Co., Colorado Springs, Colo., 15 Aug. 1961. Costello was an engineer with Boeing who worked on the company's proposal for Lunar Orbiter and then served as one of its project engineers from 1963 to 1966.

39. See "Boeing to Build Lunar Orbiter," Aviation Week & Space Technology 79 (30 Dec. 1963): 22; "NASA To Negotiate with Boeing for Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft," NASA Langley Researcher, 2 June 1963; and "NASA Explains Choice of Boeing over Hughes in Lunar Orbiter Award," Missiles and Rockets 14 (9 Mar. 1964): 13.

40. Dr. Trutz Foelsche, "Remarks on Doses Outside the Magnetosphere, and on Effects EspecialIy on Surfaces and Photographic Films," paper presented at the Meeting to Discuss Charged Particle Effects, OART, 19-20 Mar. 1964, Washington, D.C., p. 8, copy in the Langley Technical Library.

41. Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 72-74.

42. See Lee R. Scherer, The Lunar Orbiter Photographic Missions, p. 2. This is a 20 page typescript booklet published by NASA Langley in late 1967.

43. Erasmus H. Kloman, "Organizational Framework: NASA and Langley Research Center," p. 7. This is a chapter draft from Kloman's comment copy of his subsequent Unmanned Space Project Management. In draft form, Kloman's book contained many more details including the names of responsible individuals, which were omitted in the shortened version published by NASA. The author wishes to thank Thomas R. Costello, former engineer in the Boeing Lunar Orbiter project office, for making available a copy of Kloman's comment edition.

44. The portraits of Cliff Nelson and James Martin are derived from statements made to the author by several people associated with LOPO.

45. Kloman, "Organizational Framework: NASA and Langley Research Center," pp. 10-11.

46. Kloman, Unmanned Space Project Management, pp. 18-19 and 38.

47. Taback interview, 13 Aug. 1991.

48. Norman L. Crabill interview, Hampton, Va., 28 Aug. 1991.

49. Kloman, "Organizational Framework," p. 9.

50. Taback interview, 13 Aug. 1991. See also the press release from News Bureau, the Boeing Co., Seattle, "Robert J. Helberg, Lunar Orbiter Program Manager," 27 Sept. 1965.

51. Kloman, Unmanned Space Project Management, p. 25.

52. Taback interview, 13 Aug. 1991.

53. The author wishes to thank LOPO member Norman L. Crabill for his careful explanation of the mission planning for Lunar Orbiter. Crabill interview, 28 Aug. 1991. For a lengthy written account of mission planning in relation to the design of the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft system, see Thomas T. Yamauchi, the Boeing Co., and Israel Taback, NASA Langley, "The Lunar Orbiter System," paper presented at the 6th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science, Tokyo, 1965, copy in the Langley Technical Library.

54. For the details about the evolution of the early mission plans for Lunar Orbiter, see Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 177-194.

55. Crabill interview, 28 Aug. 1991.

56. Ibid.

57. Ibid.

58. Ibid.

59. Ibid.

60. Ibid.; also see A. Thomas Young to Crabill, "Mission Reliability Analyses and Compari-son for the BellComm Mission and TBC's S-110 Mission," A200-1B, LCF.

61. By the end of the project, Boeing earned nearly an extra $2 million dollars in incentives. See Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, "Orbiter Incentive Award is $1.9 Million," 28 Jan. 1967; "Lunar Orbiter Successes Earn Boeing $1,811,611," 17 Nov. 1967; and "Lunar Success Pays Dividend for Boeing Co.," 18 Nov. 1967.

62. Crabill interview, 28 Aug. 1991.

63. See L. C. Rowan, "Orbiter Observations of the Lunar Surface," AAS (American Astronomical Society) Paper, 29 Dec. 1966; and L. R. Scherer and C. H. Nelson' "The Preliminary Results from Lunar Orbiter I," in Spacecraft Systems, vol. 1, lnternational Astronautical Federation' 17th International Astronautical Congress, Madrid, Spain, 9 15 Oct. 1966.

64. See Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 241-243.

65. Taback interview, 13 Aug. 1991.

66. I have not been able to track down the exact source of the phrase, "the picture of the century," which came to be used generally to describe the historic first picture of the earth from deep space. A number of journalists used it in the weeks following the release of the photographs taken by Lunar Orbiter 1. One might guess that a NASA public affairs officer invented it, but there is better reason to think that someone at Eastman Kodak coined the phrase. In January 1967, the company unveiled a rendition of the remarkable photograph on the huge Kodak Colorama inside Grand Central Station in New York City. The Kodak caption indeed called it "the picture of the century." This phrase, however. was also used to describe other Lunar Orbiter photographs. For example, Boeing and NASA Langley used it in "The Lunar Orbiter/A Radio-Controlled Camera," a brochure published in 1968 (copy in LHA, Ames Collection, box 6), not to caption the earth shot, but to dramatize a stereoscopic picture of the Copernicus crater (see p. 350 of this book). Veterans of the Lunar Orbiter project team at Langley remember the earth shot as "the real picture of the century," however, partly because they know the story of how it almost did not get taken. See Langley Researcher News, "Reliving a Moment in History," 6 Sept. 1991, p. 5.

67. See Lunar Orbiter Photo Data Screening Group, "Preliminary Geological Evaluation and Apollo Landing Analysis of Areas Photographed by Lunar Orbiter II," LWP-363, Mar. 1967, copy in Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

68. Byers, Destination Moon, pp. 243-244.

69. Crabill interview, 28 Aug. 1991.

70. Collins, Liftoff, p. 8.

71. Kloman, Unmanned Space Project Management, p. 7.

72. Ibid., p. 33.

73. Ibid., p. 22.

74. Crabill interview, 28 Aug. 1991.

 

Chapter 11

In the Service of Apollo

 

1. President John F. Kennedy, quoted in John M. Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), p. 128.

2. As one might imagine, the literature on the Apollo lunar landing program is extensive, involving much more than just historical treatments. This diverse literature will be cited where most appropriate. For the details of the involvement of the various NASA centers in the Apollo program, the only adequate sources are in the official NASA History Series: Charles D. Benson and William Barnaby Faherty, Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations, NASA SP-4204 (Washington, 1978); Courtney G. Brooks, James M. Grimwood, and Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft, NASA SP-4205 (Washington, 1979); Roger E. Bilstein, Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles, NASA SP-4206 (Washington, 1980); Arnold Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, NASA SP-4102 (Washington, 1982); W. David Compton, Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions, NASA SP-4214 (Washington, 1989); and Sylvia Doughty Fries, NASA Engineers and the Age of Apollo, NASA SP-4104 (Washington, 1992). For more complete pictures of the roles of Houston and Huntsville in the Apollo program, readers should see two new NASA-sponsored books on the histories of these key NASA facilities: Henry C. Dethloff, Suddenly, Tomorrow Came . . .: A History of the Johnson Space Center, NASA SP-4307 (Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Tex., 1993), and Andrew Dunar and Stephen Waring, History of Marshall Spaceflight Center (forthcoming in the NASA History Series).

3. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., interview with author, Newport News, Va., 8 July 1990.

4. Axel T. Mattson interview with author, Hampton, Va., 21 July 1989; only notes exist for this interview.

5. In the LHA is a notebook labeled "Research Organization Changes/Announcements," which contains a chronological listing of all the major changes in the Langley organization from 1943 to the present. At one time this book was kept by the Langley staff office; for the past several years, it has been updated by the Langley historical programs monitor, Richard T. Layman. The entry for 28 Mar. 1962 reads: "Axel T. Mattson appointed Research Assistant for Manned Spacecraft Projects reporting to Associate Director - relieved of duties as Assistant Chief of Full-Scale Research Division."

6. "Mattson Named to New Position," Langley Air Scoop' 6 Apr. 1962, p. 1.

7. Mattson interview, 21 July 1989, and Mattson interview, Hampton, Va., 14 Aug. 1989, transcript, pp. 52-53, OHC, LHA. There is a recording and transcript for the latter interview only.

8. Mattson interview, 14 Aug. 1989, pp. 53-54.

9. Ibid., pp. 54-55.

10. Ibid., p. 76.

11. Ibid., pp. 55-56.

12 Ibid., pp. 56-58.

13. Mattson interview, 21 July 1989.

14. None of the published histories on Apollo have much to say about the impact studies conducted by North American in Downey. However, numerous technical reports have been written on this work and can be found in NASA technical libraries at Houston and elsewhere. In the LCF, code "Apollo Project," I have found numerous letters and memos concerning such studies. Several references to this R&D aspect of Apollo are made in the following excellent chronologies: Ivan D. Ertel and Mary Louise Morse, The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, vol. 1, Through November 7, 1962, NASA SP-4009 (Washington, 1969); Mary Louise Morse and Jean Kernahan Bays, The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, vol. 2, November 8, 1962-September 80, 1961, NASA SP-4009 (Washington, 1973); and Courtney G. Brooks and Ivan D. Ertel, The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, vol. 3, October 1, 1962,-January 20, 1966, NASA SP-4009 (Washington, 1973).

See also the transcript of my 14 Aug. 1989 interview with Axel Mattson for a rather complete persona account of North American's (and Langley's) work on the impact dynamics of the Apollo capsule.

15. Mattson interview, 14 Aug. 1989, p. 50.

16. Ibid., pp. 51-54; also Sandy M. Stubbs's telephone interview with author, 29 June 1993. Several memos pertaining to Stubbs's work on the return landing characteristics of the Apollo spacecraft are in the LCF, "Apollo Project." There is a microfiche copy of this entire file in the LHA.

17. Mattson interview, 14 Aug. 1989, pp. 57-58.

18. Ibid., p. 55.

19. Ibid., p. 56.

20. Mattson interview, 14 Aug. 1989, pp. 56-58. See Sandy M. Stubbs, aerospace engineer, Structures Research Division, to Langley associate director, "Transmittal of information on a water pressure landing investigation of a 1/4 scale model of the Apollo spacecraft," 12 Oct. 1964, Apollo project files (microfiche), LHA. For Stubbs's work on Apollo's landing impact characteristics, see "Landing Characteristics of the Apollo Spacecraft With Deployed-Heat-Shield Impact Attenuation Systems," NASA TN D-3059, Jan. 1966; and "Dynamic Model Investigation of Water Pressures and Accelerations Encountered During Landings of the Apollo Spacecraft'" NASA TN D-3980, Sept. 1967. These two published papers contain references to his earlier work.

21. Mattson's reports can be found in the Apollo project files (microfiche), LHA. The dates of the reports evaluated in this chap. were: 4 Dec. 1962, 3 Dec. 1963, 17 Nov. 1964, 30 Nov. 1965, 23 Mar. 1966, and 19 Feb. 1968.

22. For basic information on Project Fire, see Linda Neuman Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 2, Programs and Projects, 1958-1968, NASA SP-4012 (Washington, 1988), pp. 448-451. The rocket lifting the Fire reentry payloads was an Atlas Antares; this made Fire unique in that it was the only NASA project ever to utilize the configuration. Herbert A. Wilson served as Langley's project manager for Fire 1, David G. Stone for Fire 2. Under contract to Langley, the Chance Vought Corp. of LTV built the velocity package. Republic Aviation built the reentry vehicle.

For complete details on Langley's management of this program, see Project Development Plan: Flight Reentry Research Project at Hypersonic Velocities, Project Fire (Langley Station, Hampton, Va.: Project No 714-00-00, Mar. 1964), copy in LHA. Also preserved in the LHA is a videotape of key moments in the project's history from 1963 to 1965.

For an excellent technical summary of the problems of "Reentry from Lunar Missions" by a leading Langley engineer, see John V. Becker's presentation for Administrator James E. Webb, 5 Aug. 1961, LHA. Another copy of this document, along with an entire collection of Becker's persona papers, is in the Archives for Aerospace Exploration at the library at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., Becker's alma mater.

23. Arthur W. Vogeley, "Piloted Space-Flight Simulation at Langley Research Center'" unpublished paper presented to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, winter meeting, 27 Nov.-1 Dec. 1966, copy in file "Langley Contributions to Manned Space Flight," Milton Ames Collection, LHA. In this file are numerous items pertaining to Langley's development of aerospace simulators. For a more brief and less technical contemporary overview of Langley's simulation work in support of the lunar landing program' see the NASA Langley press release, "Crucial Lunar Mission Events Are Duplicated by Langley Simulators," 18 May 1964, copy in 1964 NASA Inspection materials, LHA.

24. On Project Gemini, see Barton C. Hacker and James M. Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini, NASA SP-4203 (Washington, 1977), which is one of the best books in the NASA History Series.

25. Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/ Grove Press, 1988), pp. 72-73.

26. All the basic information about these facilities is in Martin A. Weiner, "Resume of Research Facilities at the Langley Research Center," July 1968, a copy of which is preserved in the LHA. Weiner, an employee in Langley's Research Models and Facilities Division, had the job of keeping this resume updated from the mid-1960s into the 1970s.

27. Arthur W. Vogeley interview with author, Hampton, Va., 19 July 1989; only notes exist for this interview. For the details about this simulator, see Vogeley's "Discussion of Existing and Planned Simulators for Space Research," unpublished paper given at the Conference on the Role of Simulation in Space Technology, Blackshurg, Va., 17-21 Aug. 1964, as well as Francis B. Smith, "S for Manned Space Research," unpublished paper presented at the 1966 IEEE international Convention, 21-25 Mar. 1966, New York City. Copies of both are in the folder "Langley's Contributions to Manned Space Flight," Milton Ames Collection, LHA. For various documents, reports, references, newspaper articles, and other clippings relevant to this simulator, see the folder labeled "Rendezvous and Docking Simulator," LHA.

28. Quoted in Allan C. Hanrahan, "Rendezvous and Docking Maneuvers: Critical to Apollo Flight Plan," Langley Researcher News, 30 June 1989, p. 5.

29. Quoted in Matthew Paust, "Brainstorms Led to Practice's Realism," Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, 20 July 1989, p. A6.

30. W. Hewitt Phillips interview with author, Hampton, Va., 27 July 1989; this interview was not taped, but the author took notes. Numerous documents and newspaper clippings are in a folder labeled "Lunar Landing Facility and Apollo," LHA.

31. Neil A. Armstrong, Wingless on Luna (New York: The Wings Club, 1988), pp. 8-9. This book was produced from the Wings Club's 25th General Harold R. Harris "Sight" Lecture given by Armstrong at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City, 18 May 1988.

32. Richard P. Hallion, On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981, NASA SP-4303 (Washington, 1984), p. 146.

33. Mattson interview, 21 July 1989; see also Armstrong, Wingless on Luna, pp. 6-11.

34. Vogeley interview, 19 July 1989 According to an official NASA statement from May 1964, LOLA was not built as a training device for astronauts but as "a research tool with which NASA scientists can establish a fundamental understanding in the laboratory of the problems associated with the complex task of approaching the Moon and preparing for a landing on its surface." See Lee Dickinson, Langley Public Affairs Office, to Mr. Ken Allen, Beckman Instruments, Fullerton, Calif., 6 May 1964, Apollo project files, LHA.

35. Gilruth quoted in Michael Collins, Liftoff, p. 61.

36. On Rogallo and the idea of using his paraglider concept for Project Gemini, see Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, esp. pp. 18-20, 92-93, 98-100, 132-134, 147-148, and 170-172.

37. Francis M. Rogallo, "Parawings for Astronautics," luncheon speech presented at the Specialist Meeting on Space Rendezvous, Rescue and Recovery, co-sponsored by the American Astronautical Society and the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, Ca if., 10-12 Sept. 1963, p. 1, copy in Ames Collection, box 6, LHA.

38. Ibid., p. 2.

39. Ibid.

40. Ibid., p. 3.

41. Ibid., p. 4.

42. In the Milton Ames Collection in the LHA is a folder labeled "Flexible Wing" with numerous items relevant to the history of Rogallo's concept. These include several talks and papers that cover this period of the parawing's development delivered by Francis Rogallo to various professional organizations.

43. Francis Rogallo, "Flexible Wings," in Astronautics and Aeronautics (Aug. 1968): 54.

44. "NASA Honors Rogallos with Large Cash Award," Langley Researcher, 2 Aug. 1963, p.1.

45. Rogallo, "Flexible Wings," pp. 52-53.

46. "Lifting bodies" are exactly what their names imply; that is, they are bodies that provide lift without the benefit of wings. In the 1950s, engineers in the NACA and the aerospace industry started thinking about such rounded half-cone designs, which resembled bathtubs or one half of a baked potato, as a means of providing a minimum yet significant amount of aerodynamic lift for hypersonic gliders or other manned reentry vehicles. They thought that sufficient lift could be generated by such a shape to allow the pilot to maneuver the craft down from space through the atmosphere to a graceful gliding landing on a runway. In addition, the lift could be used to slow the spacecraft as it reentered at a high speed from orbital altitude. Lifting-body research continued through the 1960s to the present day. For an analysis of some of this NACA/NASA work, see Hallion, On the Frontier, pp. 147-172 and 339 346.

47. Robert R. Gilruth, STG, Langley Field, to NASA headquarters, Attn: George M. Low, "Development program on spacecraft landing systems," 6 July 1961, Apollo project files (microfiche), LHA.

48. Floyd L. Thompson to NASA, Code RAA, "Proposed Research Authorization entitled 'Free-Flight and Wind-Tunnel Tests of Guided Parachutes as Recovery Devices for the Apollo Type Reentry Vehicle,"' 30 Aug. 1961, Apollo project files (microfiche), LHA. On the testing of the Parasev at Edwards, see Hallion, On the Frontier, pp. 137-140.

49. Collins, Liftoff, pp. 82-83.

50. Hallion, On the Frontier, p. 138.

51. Collins, Liftoff, p. 82.

52. For an accurate narrative and analytical summary of the Apollo fire, see W. David Compton, Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions, pp. 91-112. For an inaccurate and sensational popular account of the tragedy, see Murder on Pad S9, (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1968) by Eric Bergaust. There is definitely some blame and much responsibility to assign in the matter of the Apollo fire, but Bergaust's indictment is largely off the mark.

53. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., memorandum for the Apollo 204 Review Board, 28 Jan. 1967, Apollo project files (microfiche), LHA.

54. Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, 5 vols. (Washington, 1987). For an excellent historical summary and analysis of the Challenger accident and the Rogers Commission investigation, see Collins, Liftoff, pp. 222-238.

55. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., interview with Walter Bonney, the Pentagon,

Washington, D.C., 23 Feb. 1973, transcript, p. 19, OHC, LHA.

56. Report of Apollo 201, Review Board to the Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 5 Apr. 1967, copy in the Langley Technical Library, CN-122577.

57. Ibid., p. iii.

58. Collins, Liftoff, pp. 137-138.

59. John C. Houbolt quoted in James Schultz, Winds of Change: Expanding the Frontiers of Flight: Langley Research Center's 75 Years of Accomplishment, NP-130 (Washington, 1992), p. 98.

 

Chapter 12

The Cortright Synthesis

 

1. On Hans Mark's term as director of NASA Ames Research Center (1969-1977), see Elizabeth A. Muenger, Searching the Horizon: A History of Ames Research Center, 1940-1976, NASA SP-4304 (Washington, 1985), pp. 146-168. For insights into Mark's Machiavellian management philosophy, see Arnold Levine and Hans Mark, The Management of Research Institutions: A Look at Government Laboratories, NASA SP-481 (Washington, 1984).

2. "Dr. Thompson Receives Special Assignment," Langley Researcher, 8 Mar. 1968, p. 1. The Langley Researcher article was basically a reprint of a press release prepared at NASA headquarters.

3. Edgar M. Cortright interviews with author, Yorktown, Va., 18 July 1988 and 7 Aug. 1989. The author wishes to thank Mr. Cortright for the detailed and very candid interviews. Most of the insights used for this chapter come from the 18 July 1988 interview. The subsequent interview covered history pertinent to Cortright's work at NASA headquarters earlier in the 1960s.

4. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, transcript, pp. 3 4 and 5-6, OHC, LHA.

5. Ibid., pp. 3-4. On the feeling that NASA Langley was a little "sleepy" under Thompson's direction and needed some rejuvenation, also see pp. 9-10, 22, 48, and 68-70.

6. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 5-6.

7. Quoted from "Cortright Assumes Duties as New Langley Director," Langley Researcher, 17 May 1968, p. 1.

8. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 12-14.

9. Ibid., pp. 6-7.

10. Ibid., pp. 7 and 10.

11. Ibid., pp. 14-15.

12. Ibid., pp. 27-28.

13. Ibid., pp. 69 and 19-20.

14. Langley Research Center Announcement No. 73-70, "Reorganization of Langley Research Center," 24 Sept. 1970, p. 1, copy in file labeled "Cortright Reorganization," LHA.

15. Ibid.

16. For an overview of the work of the Atmospheric Sciences Division, see "Atmospheric Sciences Division, Space Directorate, Langley Research Center," 10 Apr. 1992, unpublished, copy available in the Langley Public Affairs Office. For a published summary of Langley's achievements in the field of atmospheric sciences, see James Schultz, Winds of Change: Expanding the Frontiers of Flight, NASA NP-130 (Washington, 1992), pp. 119-121.

17. "Reorganization of Langley Research Center," p. 7. See also "Langley Announced Manager of Viking Project Office," Langley Researcher, 13 Dec. 1968, p. 1.

18. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 45 48.

19. "Reorganization of Langley Research Center," p. 2.

20. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, p. 16. See also "Dr. John E. Duberg Named Acting Associate Director," Langley Researcher, 19 Apr. 1968, p. 1. I conducted a long interview with John E. Duberg that covers the history of the Cortright reorganization and his ambivalent feelings about it. A transcript of this interview is located in the OHC, LHA.

21. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 17-18.

22. Ibid., pp. 35 and 41.

23. "Loftin Appointed to Special Assistant to Air Force," Langley Researcher, 28 May 1971, p. 1. For Loftin's critique of the Cortright reorganization, see interview with author, 5 Aug. 1989, Newport News, Va., transcript, pp. 72-87, OHC, LHA For Cortright's version, see Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 34-35.

24. "R. E. Bower Named Langley Director for Aeronautics," Langley Researcher, 9 July 1971, p. 1. Also see Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, p. 35.

25. For additional thoughts from Cortright on his youth movement, see Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 19-20, 42-43, and 69.

26. Ibid., pp. 32-33. Langley in the 1960s and before did actually recruit at many universities outside of the South. It is true, however, that graduates of southern schools outnumbered the rest.

27. Ibid., p. 44. The phrase "sweat-shop conditions" is overly dramatic and implies a callousness toward manual labor on the part of Langley management that did not exist; Floyd Thompson and the old NACA crowd were extremely fond of the technical support staff and interacted with them much more regularly than Cortright and his successors ever did. Furthermore, into the late 1960s, several buildings at Langley that housed researchers were not air-conditioned, leaving them to suffer through the summer heat and humidity as well. Nevertheless, Cortright's initiative should not be undervalued. His changes to the shops made a big difference to those who worked with their hands in the center's various shops, plants, and hangars.

28. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, p. 61.

29. Ibid., p. 56. See also "Contract Awarded to Build Visitor Information Center," Langley Researcher, 10 July 1970, p. 1.

30. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, p. 60.

31. For the complete history of Project Viking and Langley's management role, see Edward C. and Linda Neuman Ezell, On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet, 1958-1978, NASA SP-4212 (Washington, 1984).

32. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 49-53. On NASTRAN, see Thomas G. Butler and Douglas Michel, NASTRAN: A Summary of the Functions and Capabilities of the NASA Structural Analysis Computer System, NASA SP-260 (Washington, 1971). ICASE has remained active from its inception under Cortright to the present. Its director in 1993 was Mohammed Y. Hussaini, Bldg. 1192, 18 West Taylor Street, NASA Langley Research Center.

33. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 51-52. For information on the early history of IPAD, see Robert E. Fulton, "National Meeting to Review IPAD Status and Goals," in Astronautics and Aeronautics 18 (July/Aug. 1980): 49 52.

34. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 52-53.

35. "Langley Buys Boeing Aircraft for Flight Research Program," Langley Researcher, 30 Mar. 1973, p. 1. For all the details on the TCV program, see NASA Langley Research Center, Terminal Configured Vehicle Program Plan (Hampton, Va., 1 Dec. 1973). For a complete history of Langley's use of the Boeing 737 airplane in the TCV/ATOPS pro. gram, see Lane E. Wallace, Airborne Trailblazer: Two Decades with NASA Langley's 737 Flying Laboratory, NASA SP-4216 (Washington, 1994).

36. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 65 36.

37. Ibid., pp. 54-55. For au insightful history of how Langley was able to support supersonic research in the 1970s and 1980s in spite of the political and budgetary climate working against it, see F. Edward McLean, Supersonic Cruise Technology, NASA SP-472 (Washington, 1985), esp. pp. 101-170.

38. Cortright interview, 18 July 1988, pp. 55-56. For information related to the origins of the NTF at Langley, see "Langley Tested for NTF Site," Langley Researcher, 11 July 1975, p. 1, and "National Transonic Facility to be Dedicated," Langley Researcher, 18 July 1977, p. 1. For au excellent technical and historical overview of the development of the NTF, see Donald D. Baals and William R. Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, NASA SP-440 (Washington, 1981).

39. Macon C. Ellis, "Rough Thoughts on Status and Future of Research at Langley," p. 2, in file labeled "Thoughts on Status of Research at Langley," Macon C. Ellis Collection, LHA.

40. Ibid.

41. Ibid., pp. 1-2.

42. "Some Thoughts on the Status of Research at Langley, 1969," p. 1, in file labeled "Reasons for Accepting Assoc(iate) Ch(ief) - H(ypersonic) V(ehicles) D(ivision) in 1970/Case for Sp(ace) Scien(ces) Div(ision)," in Ellis Collection, LHA.

43. Ellis notes to "So called Minutes of 10/27/69 Mtg. of Sp. Sci. & Tech. Steer. Comm.," 10 Nov. 1969, in Ellis Collection, LHA.

44. "Some Hindsight Comments on Langley Management and Reorganizations of 1969-1974," p. 1, in John V. Becker Collection, folder 22-1, Archives of Aerospace Exploration, Main Library, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

45. Ibid., pp. 1-2.

46. Ibid., p. 2.

47. Ibid.

48. See "Abstract of Remarks for Session 7, Airlie House Meeting, 3/13/70," in folder 22-3, Archives of Aerospace Exploration, pp. 1-2, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

49. Ibid., p. 1.

50. Ibid., pp. 1-2.

51. Ibid., p. 2.

52. Ibid., pp. 2-3.

53. Ibid.

54. Ibid., P. 3

55. See the marginal notes to Becker's "Abstract of Remarks for Session 7," p. 3, for handwritten notes concerning the comments made by others to his presentation. Cortright's views on keeping Langley alive mirrored those of his counterpart at NASA Ames, Dr. Hans Mark. In his 1984 study of government laboratories (coauthored by Arnold Levine), Mark wrote: "There is a misconception that organizational self-perpetuation is somehow bad or even sinister. But this is not so. If it were, there would scarcely be a major corporation or nonprofit organization that could outlive its original reason for being and find other uses for its resources and experience" (The Management of Research Institutions, p. 82). The only way for a government laboratory to survive hard times, Mark argued, was for its management to be boldly entrepreneurial. In summary, this meant carving out a unique research area or "area of emphasis," attracting new programs to it, playing hardball bureaucratic politics, and generally doing whatever was necessary to cultivate powerful clients, sponsors, and constituencies. In contrast to this Machiavellian approach, Becker's view was not that Langley had totally achieved the objective for which it was first organized, or ever could, and thus could be put to death, but that it should live on to do what it was set up to do and, in fact, did the best. For him, it was a quality of life issue, so to speak. It made no sense to keep Langley breathing artificially for just any purpose; the country needed Langley to survive for basic applied research.

56. Kenneth Scheibel, "Future Operation of LRC Assured," Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, 17 Aug. 1969.

57. Routing slip, J. V. Becker to Mr. Cortright, 19 Aug. 1969, pp. 1-2, copy in folder 22-1, Becker Collection, Archives of Aerospace Exploration, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

58. Ibid.; Cortright wrote his reply on top of Becker's memorandum with a thick black pen, Archives of Aerospace Exploration, Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

 

Epilogue

 

1. The Apollo program cost a total of $25 billion - $21 billion on the first lunar landing. In contrast, in fiscal year 1961, the U.S. government spent a total of only $98 billion. In 1961 the entire NASA budget was still less than $1 billion; by 1964 it reached over $5 billion and stayed at that level for the next four years. For data on the funding history of the Apollo program, see Linda Neuman Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 2, Programs and Projects, 1958-1968, NASA SP-4012 (Washington, 1988), pp. 128-132, and Ezell, NASA Historical Data Book, vol. 3, Programs and Projects, 1969-1978, NASA SP-4012 (Washington, 1988), pp. 71-63.

2. A vast historical literature exists that treats the remarkable developments in American history in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For contrasting contemporary insights into these turbulent years, see W. L. O'Neill, Coming Apart: An Informal History of America in the 1960s (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1971), and Morris Dickstein, Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties (New York: Basic Books, 1977). For a more balanced treatment, I recommend T. Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (Toronto and New York: Bantam Books, 1987). On public policy in the years of the waning spaceflight revolution, see A. J. Reichley, Conservatives in an Age of Change: The Nixon and Ford Administrations (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1981). On the policies of détente, see Raymond L. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1985).

3. Michael Collins, Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: Grove Press, 1988), p. 269.

4. For a thoughtful retrospective on the ambitions of 1969, both for and against the space program, read John Tierney's feature story, "Earthly Worries Supplant Euphoria of Moon Shots," The New York Times, 20 July 1994, sec. A, pp. 1 and 11.

5. Ibid. To revisit the days of the "counterculture," peruse Charles Reich, The Greening of America: How the Youth Revolution Is Trying to Make America Livable (New York: Random House, 1971). For a detailed account of the Nixon presidency during the year 1969, see Stephen E. Ambrose, Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 1969-1972 (New York and London: Simon and Schuster' 1989), pp. 223-321.

6. Norman Mailer, Of a Fire on the Moon (New York: Signet, 1969), p. 337.

7. Marcus, Picasso, and Mumford quoted in Tierney, "Earthly Worries Supplant Euphoria of Moon Shots," p. 11.

8. Von Braun quoted in Tierney, "Earthly Worries Supplant Euphoria of Moon Shots," p.11.

9. Howard McCurdy, The Space Station Decision: Incremental Politics and Technological Choice (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), pp. 25-26.

10. Memorandum from Peter Flanagan to Thomas O. Paine and Robert Mayo, 6 Jan. 1970, in NASA HQA; quoted in McCurdy, The Space Station Decision, p. 26.

11. Richard M. Nixon, memorandum for the Vice President et al., 13 Feb. 1969, taken from Space Task Group, The Post-Apollo Space Program: Directions for the Future, report to the president (Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President, Sept. 1969).

12. McCurdy, The Space Station Decision, p. 23.

13. Richard M. Nixon, "The Future of the United States Space Program," Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 7 Mar. 1970, p. 329.

14. McCurdy, The Space Station Decision, p. 27.

15. William David Compton and Charles D. Benson, Living and Working in Space: A History of Skylab, NASA SP-4208 (Washington, 1983), pp. 52-56.

16. Fletcher quoted in McCurdy, The Space Station Decision, p. 27.

17. McCurdy, The Space Station Decision, pp. 22-23.

18. "America's Future in Space," speech given by Daniel S. Goldin, NASA administrator, at "'The Eagle Has Landed' at Auburn: A 25-Year Retrospective on the First Lunar Landing," a symposium held at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., 27 Oct. 1994.

19. Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), p. 5.

20. Ibid., p. 459.

21. For an analysis of President Reagan's 1984 State of the Union address and its support of Space Station Freedom, see McCurdy, The Space Station Decision, pp. 177-196. On the history of SDI - or at least that part of the top secret program that is open to scholars - see Donald R. Baucom, The Origins of SDI, 1944-1983 (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1992).

22. Howard McCurdy, "The Graying of Space," Space World, 12 Oct. 1988.

23. For an excellent profile of NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin's philosophy for "reinventing" NASA, see William J. Broad, "Scientist at Work: Daniel S. Goldin: Bold Remodeler of a Drifting Agency," The New York Times, 21 Dec. 1993, sec. B, pp. 5 and 8.

For NASA's "Vision, Missions, and Goals" under Administrator Goldin, see the "NASA Strategic Plan" of May 1994. A copy is available from any NASA public affairs office.

24. Quoted in H. J. P. Arnold's chapter, "The Shuttle: Tragedy and Recovery," in Man in Space: An Illustrated History of Spaceflight (New York: Smithmark, 1993), p. 159. For the complete findings and recommendations, see U.S. House of Representatives, The Future of the U.S. Space Program. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, 101st Cong., 2d sess., 23 July 1990.

25. Edgar M. Cortright quoted in James Schultz, Winds of Change: Expanding the Frontiers of Flight: Langley Research Center's 75 Years of Accomplishment, 1917-1992, NASA NP-130 (Washington, 1992), p. 111.

26. For a summary of Langley's wind-tunnel testing in support of the Shuttle's development, see Donald D. Baals and William R. Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, NASA SP-440 (Washington, 1981), pp. 117-121. A. M. Whitnah and E. R. Hillje provide a detailed engineering report on Shuttle wind-tunnel testing in Space Shuttle Wind Tunnel Testing Program Summary, NASA RP-1125 (Washington, 1984). For a discussion of the development of the special tiles used to protect the Shuttle during reentry, see Paul Cooper and Paul F. Holloway, "The Shuttle Tile Story," Astronautics & Aeronautics 19 (Jan. 1981): 24-36. Cooper and Holloway were Langley researchers directly involved in the Shuttle tile program. In 1991, Holloway became the director of Langley Research Center, succeeding Richard H. Petersen. It is also worth noting that former Langley engineer Max Faget played a critical role at the NASA center in Houston in the conceptual design of the Space Shuttle. For an important article that looks at early plans for the Space Shuttle, see Faget's "Space Shuttle: A New Configuration," Astronautics & Aeronautics 8 (Jan. 1970): 52-61. Starting in June 1973, the journal Spaceflight began running a series of articles by David Baker on the design evolution of the Space Shuttle; the last in the series appeared in Mar. 1978.

Langley remained deeply involved with the STS program even after the maiden flight of Columbia in 1981. The center developed simulations to solve problems in the orbiter's flight control and guidance systems and conducted additional landing tests on tires and brake systems. After the Challenger accident in Jan. 1986, Langley pitched in by helping to redesign the solid rocket boosters and develop new crew emergency escape systems.

27. On the potential of the aerobrake in the mid-1980s, see Thomas O. Paine et al., Pioneering the Space Frontier: The Report of the National Commission on Space (Toronto and New York: Bantam Books, 1986), pp. 121-122. For a fascinating science-fiction account of the use of aerobraking to accomplish a Mars orbital insertion (or MOI) for humankind's first permanent colonizing of the Red Planet, I highly recommend Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (New York: Bantam Spectra Books, 1993), pp. 70-91.

28. Several ambitious proposals, NASA and non-NASA, surfaced in the 1970s to continue lifting-body research, but they failed to rejuvenate the program. With the Shuttle well into its design phase by the mid-1970s, NASA could not afford to vigorously pursue what amounted to a rival technology. For an analytical look into the history of the lifting-body concept in the United States, see Richard P. Hallion, On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981, NASA SP-4303 (Washington, 1984), pp 161-172. See also Stephan Wilkinson, "The Legacy of the Lifting Body," Air & Space Smithsonian 6 (Apr /May 1991): 62.

On ambitions for the HL-20 by the early 1990s, see Theodore A. Talay and Howard H. Stone, "The Personal Launch System - A Lifting Body Approach," a paper presented at the 42d Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, 5-11 Oct. 1991, Montreal, Canada. The IAF published this paper as IAF-91-202.

29. Donald P. Hearth and Albert E. Preyss, "Hypersonic Technology: Approach to an Expanded Program," Astronautics & Aeronautics (Dec. 1976): pp. 20-37. Hearth served as director of Langley Research Center from 1975 to 1985. On the hopes for the scramjet, see The National Commission on Space, Paine et al., Pioneering the Space Frontier, pp. 101-103. The technical literature on the scramjet is extensive, and much of it is classified. For summaries of Langley's work, see O. A. Buchanon, "Development and Fabrication of Structural Components for a Scramjet Engine" (Hampton, Va.: NASA Langley Research Center, 1990), microfiche; "Shock Tunnel Studies of Scramjet Phenomena" (Hampton, Va.: NASA Langley Research Center, 1988), microfiche; and Stanley W. Candebo, "Scramjet Test Bridges Hypersonic Efforts," Aviation Week & Space Technology 140 (28 Mar. 1994): 52-54. The Candebo article reports on planned tests of a large scale ramjet/scramjet power plant in Langley's 8-Foot High-Temperature Tunnel that will allow NASP investigators to determine, for the first time, how scale effects have influenced the design calculations used in scramjet R&D.

30. On the status of NASP in early 1994, see Stanley W. Candebo, "Redirected NASP Program to Focus on Technology," Aviation Week & Space Technology 140 (10 Jan. 1994): 29. See also Candebo's story from the previous summer, "NASP Canceled, Program Redirected," Aviation Week & Space Technology 138 (14 June 1993): 32.

31. Baals and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, pp. 96 and 133-134. See also Keith F. Mordoff, "New, Wind Tunnel Improves Accuracy," Aviation Week & Space Technology 119 (19 Dec. 1983): 69.

32. For a popular treatment of the NTF's design features and promises for important new data, see "Mighty Wind Roars," Popular Mechanics 162 (Apr. 1985): 65. There is a rather vast technical literature on the NTF, mostly NASA reports, all of which are available in the Langley Technical Library. A history of the NTF would make a fascinating doctoral dissertation in contemporary technology.

33. Baals and Corliss, Wind Tunnels of NASA, p. 134.

34. Mark Di Vincenzo, "Heaven's Call Ever Present; NASA Langley to Continue Role in Space Program," Newport News-Hampton (Va.) Daily Press, 20 July 1994, sec. A, pp. 1-2

35. On the ambitions for the Mission to Planet Earth, see Paine et al., Pioneering the Space Frontier, pp. 30-33.

36. Di Vincenzo, "Heaven's Call Ever Present," p. 1.


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