SP-4310 Way Station to Space


- Chapter 15 -

For Future Generations



[407] The Stennis Team

No one knew better than Roy Estess that "it was the people more than anything" that really mattered when it came right down to getting the job done, "where the rubber meets the road." As the Stennis Space Center (SSC) hit the home stretch in the 1990s in quest of another level of achievement in the NASA family, Estess knew his organization was on the right track with the focus on the prize of becoming the "Center of Excellence for Rocket Propulsion Testing."1

After all, NASA Administrator Dan Goldin had challenged the youthful SSC crew in April 1992 to become the "best test center in the whole world." Their old friend, J.R. Thompson, had laid down an earlier proposal, later endorsed by Admiral Truly in November 1991, that the SSC, with its unique buffer zone, test facilities, and highly experienced personnel, become the Agency's prime rocket test center.2

[408] With many successes in capturing the Agency's lead role in rocket testing, Estess was also aware that he had other programs and gifted employees in the commercial remote sensing and Earth sciences areas who needed nurturing in the changing culture of the SSC and at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In NASA's long-range strategic plan, SSC had specific goals to support an "enterprise," or line of business, as the lead center for propulsion testing. Other NASA enterprises, or lines of endeavor such as "The Mission to Planet Earth" and the "Space Technology Enterprise," were important areas where the SSC scientists and engineers had the expertise to make significant contributions.3

In fact, the SSC scientists, engineers, and researchers were among the nation's leading experts in commercialization of remote sensing technology. To bring his installation more in line with changing national priorities, Estess adjusted his SSC organization in the summer of 1996 to allow the SSC team the opportunity to become effective in meeting these new challenges. The new organization called for separate elements with a Commercial Remote Sensing Office, an Earth Systems Science Office, and a Technology Transfer Office. These organizations would answer straight to the SSC director's office. The new organization also added strength to its "Propulsion Test Directorate" and "Center Operations and Support Directorate."4

Most scientists and engineers at the center felt that the new organization, effected by Estess and the senior staff, provided them the ability to better utilize their expertise and was a step in the right direction to participate in the ever-changing technical culture sweeping the nation and the countries of the industrialized world. The SSC personnel also believed the new directions enabled them to better use the rapidly developing technology available to them.5

For instance, Dr. Greg Carter, a scientist who joined the SSC organization in 1987 as a member of the Earth Resources Laboratory (ERL), said he strongly believed that the Lab and its offspring, the Science and Technology [409] Laboratory (STL), were "too confining and obsolete" in the new world of personal computers (PCs) with "gigabyte capabilities." Dr. Carter mused that the ERL's old mainframe computer tied the scientists and researchers down with its "closed-room technology." "We can now accomplish at our own desks on a PC what we could with the old mainframe computer," he pointed out.6

Estess and Deputy Director Mark Craig looked upon the science function as one of the "three lines of business," along with commercial remote sensing and propulsion testing. This type of diversification, and Estess's pledge to continue his strong support of the resident agency concept, opened the doors to even greater diversification and expanding opportunities for the young scientists and engineers who came to the SSC in the late 1980s and early 1990s looking for future careers in science and engineering.7

Charles "Chuck" Hill, a Mississippi State University graduate from New Albany, Mississippi, was proud of the national accomplishments made by his commercial remote sensing group and pleased with its new organizational status. Hill joined the ERL staff in 1978 and believed that the customer-oriented experience the ERL employees learned in the early years was extremely helpful in their successful endeavors to form partnerships with private enterprise entities who sought help in solving their business problems. "We have a reputation throughout NASA that we can deliver more for the dollar than any other element in NASA," Hill proudly proclaimed. Estess, on the other hand, did not claim any credit for the phenomenal success of the Commercial Remote Sensing Program. "I just put Brannon and his guys in that office and allowed them to do the job," Estess said. The key word, in the Estess management philosophy, in practically every instance, is found in the word "allowed." Estess became known by the SSC team as a delegator and enabler who allowed people to independently perform their own missions.8

Sharing some of the nostalgic feeling about the old ERL, Hill also quickly pointed out that the Lab served an extraordinarily useful purpose as a "facilitator in developing an international industry using remote sensing as a tool." Hill wisely observed, however, that in today's atmosphere of advanced technology, "You have to learn when its time to let go and move ahead with the [410] changing times." Hill pointed out that SSC Director Roy Estess was a "practical man" who encouraged the advancement of their "requirements-directed" commercial programs.9

The positive outlook and enthusiasm of the 1996 SSC team did not take place overnight. Estess and his colleagues made the development of a highly motivated and well-trained workforce a centerpiece in all of their planning efforts for over six years. As the old guard began to show signs of changing career plans and looking forward to retirement, Estess and his staff began recruiting replacements for the men and women who participated in the SSC's many major accomplishments during its 30-year history. There was no time, however, for an "orderly" transition" of the center's top management.10

In a short period of time, about three years, Estess lost several of his most experienced and reliable managers. Deputy Director Gerald Smith; Center Operations Director A.J. "Jack" Rogers, Jr.; Associate Director Bill Taylor; Personnel Director Sharon Jeffers; and Information and Management Systems Director (Science and Technology Laboratory) William "Bill" Huseonica all retired from NASA during the early part of the 1990s. Sadly, Propulsion Test Operations Director Harry Guin, a strong leader, visionary, and driving motivator for the SSC, lost his life in an automobile accident.11

To compound Estess's management problems, a sturdy supporting cast of SSC veterans, including Marv Carpenter and Wayne Roberts, also retired. Senior Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and contractor managers at the SSC--Doug Howard, Bob Bush, Harry Johnstone, Roscoe Nicholson, and Tom Baggette--also left the SSC team for retirement. When Estess looked toward NASA Headquarters, he saw his boss and friend, Admiral Richard Truly, and long-time supporter, J.R. Thompson, leave their NASA Headquarters's positions for other opportunities.12

Straight ahead, Estess faced a full agenda with such important items as the developing lead center for propulsion testing, the shaping of a new vision for [411] Commercial Programs and Earth sciences, and technology transfer activities. These tasks, such as consolidation of management for all Agency propulsion testing at the SSC, involved coordination and organization at the national level with difficult decisions and far-flung organizational complexities.13

Such program initiations would be difficult under the best of circumstances, but during the "hard times" of the increasing fiscally conscious 1990s, a much heavier management burden was heaped on the SSC team, along with the new programs. Estess had to manage the SSC under close fiscal scrutiny, constantly trying to get the most "bang for the buck." Many avenues open to past center directors were not options for Estess during his watch.14

Although Jackson Balch had difficult battles to fight within the bureaucracy, he had a sense of financial security. Jerry Hlass, too, had to prove the installation capabilities and expertise in order to move into NASA's inner circles, but a good part of his tenure was during the liberal budget years of the Reagan and Bush Administrations, both favored NASA growth. Estess, on the other hand, was appointed just in time to be the recipient of budget deficits, downsizing of government, and a "challenged" NASA budget. Although he was assigned heavier management burdens, Estess was, at the same time, faced with getting the new jobs done at the lowest possible cost, a situation that was somewhat unfamiliar to NASA managers who grew up during the abundant budget days of the Apollo program. His fellow center directors at the larger centers usually operated with huge coffers of management and Research & Development (R&D) funds.15

Estess described the road for the team during the early 1990s as a "bumpy one." But, at the same time, he was optimistic about new rocket programs on the horizon; and he was pleased with the marketing effort SSC had done in [412] expanding its capability to the commercial launch industry. A large part of the new NASA trend toward conservative fiscal management policies that Director Estess inherited, however, had to be delegated to a new, but eager, SSC management team.16


NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin prepares to speak during summer commencement exercises 3 August 1996 at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin prepares to speak during summer commencement exercises 3 August 1996 at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Goldin challenged the graduates to "Burn [their] fingers by reaching for the fire inside [their] dreams." He dared the students to use the "fire inside" to "light up the world." (Photo courtesy of Robert Jordan, University of Mississippi [SSC-97-033]).


Estess was not alone in believing his new SSC management team was up to the task of taking the Stennis Space Center into the twenty-first century. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin expressed his delight with the enthusiasm of the young engineers and their supporting cast when he paid his first visit to the installation on 14 April 1992. Those at a private meeting with the senior staff in the Gainesville Conference Room remembered how intently Goldin listened as Harry Guin passionately emphasized the need to consolidate NASA's test activities at the SSC. Deputy Director Gerald Smith said there was no doubt that Goldin connected that day at Stennis with hopeful and zealous SSC personnel. The uninhibited, youthful SSC engineers openly discussed their ideas with the NASA chief, and he admittedly "listened" to their [413] opinions of his plans for the Agency. There is no doubt that Goldin's first impressions of the SSC team were somewhat enriched by Roy Estess, who was serving at the time as an assistant to the new Administrator at NASA Headquarters and made the airplane trip to the SSC with Goldin. Later, Goldin bragged at a Technology Fair in the State of Washington that the SSC work in commercial remote sensing was a national model for all to follow.17

When considering the good relations that developed between Dan Goldin and the relatively fresh and ardent SSC team of engineers and scientists, it is no wonder that SSC Director Estess pointed with pride to the new and diverse SSC management team that was in place by the summer of 1996. Obviously, Estess was happy to see his NASA boss pleased with his SSC team members and their accomplishments, which they proudly displayed to the new Administrator. That special relationship between Goldin and the SSC team continued, and the NASA Administrator told Estess after a tour of the SSC Test Complex in 1995, "This is a good place; don't screw it up!"18


The Stennis People

"The good place" Goldin spoke of had a workforce directed by a culturally diverse management team assembled by Estess to tackle new challenges facing the SSC. The SSC team's personnel recruiting efforts resulted in six of the 13 organizational elements at the center being headed by women and members of various minorities. There were a few seasoned NASA managers among the group, but several members of the "new" SSC team were already respected leaders from other NASA centers and programs who had joined the SSC team.19

In his high-intensity recruiting program, Estess was able to bring Boyce Mix, one of the most experienced propulsion experts in the country, into the SSC organization in 1994 as director of the growing and critical Propulsion [414] Test Directorate. Mix, who began his aerospace career at SSC in the 1960s as deputy chief of the S-1C booster test program, had for years directed the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) testing at the SSC for NASA-MSFC. Estess lured Mix back to the SSC from his position as MSFC director of the SSME project office.20

John L. Gasery, Jr., who had directed the SSC's Safety and Mission Assurance Office, added his expertise to the support of the new lead Center of Excellence portfolio of experienced personnel. No doubt, Gasery's attention to the center's safety and quality programs was a major factor in the SSC's credibility in rocket testing. David Brannon and Rick Miller were elevated in the new SSC organizational structure with their Commercial Remote Sensing and Earth Systems Science program offices respectively, answering to Estess. Lon Miller, with an extensive background in propulsion technology planning and Agencywide recognition as an extremely competent manager, was added to the Propulsion Directorate.21

Marina Love, budget expert and comptroller, brought her respected credentials to bear as the SSC's Chief Financial Officer. Love came to the SSC with experience from both the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and NASA Headquarters. Ken Human, who appropriately advised Estess through numerous touchy legal issues, including the Advanced Solid Rocket Motor (ASRM) and buffer zone conflicts, added his strength as Chief Counsel to the new management team. Myron Webb, who assisted Estess in his handling of public affairs, continued advising the SSC director in public and community relations. David Powe, who brought national credit and recognition to the installation with the Tri-State Education Initiative, extended institution's educational aims in his work with state and NASA Headquarters officials.22

Florence Kailiwai-Barnett, decorated manager and former associate director of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, was named by Estess as director of the Center Operations and Support Directorate. With this appointment, she replaced A.J. "Jack" Rogers, Jr., and brought "other center" experiences to the SSC, as well as a reputation as an Air Force "Manager of the Year." Another newcomer to the SSC organization was Kim Graham Stone, appointed by [415] Estess to head the Procurement Office. Prior to joining the Stennis team, Stone was a deputy director of the Acquisition Division at NASA Headquarters. Kirk Sharp, a reliable SSC administrator, brought management experience from his tenure as deputy chief of the former Information and Management Systems Office to become the SSC's first Chief Information Officer to the newly created and recognized Technology Transfer Office. This area was elevated by Estess, who had long-championed technology transfer activities at the SSC.23

Estess was also fortunate to recruit Richard E. "Rick" Arbuthnot as chief of the Human Resources Office. Arbuthnot came to the SSC from NASA Headquarters where he was administrative assistant to the Associate Administrator for Human Resources. Encouraged by the gains the SSC had made in its propulsion test mission, Arbuthnot felt that the 210 NASA civil service and 3,598 government and contractor personnel working at Stennis had a bright future ahead. Arbuthnot said he was impressed with Estess and his integrity as a manager. "I am honored to work for a man like Roy Estess," Arbuthnot said.24

Jon B. Roth, who has served as assistant to the director and as Procurement Officer at the SSC since 1988, is a retired Navy Commander with experience in private business--as a manager and as a public accountant. Roth's naval experience and his gentlemanly manners helps in his role as a representative to the resident agencies. Estess depends on Roth to assist in a wide range of activities that involves interagency cooperation.25

Estess appointed Pamela G. "Pam" Covington in 1992 to serve as the SSC Equal Opportunity Officer. Covington, a native Mississippian from Jackson, had experience as an intern in several elements of the organization including Procurement, Public Affairs, Personnel, and in the STL. She helped Estess achieve "good marks" in recruiting women and minorities. Most employees at the SSC feel comfortable discussing their problems with Covington. Estess said he was pleased with the SSC's work in getting women into the workforce and vowed to continue recruiting them.26

Although Estess refused to play favorites with members of his staff, his selection of deputy was one of his best personnel decisions. When Gerald [416] Smith retired, Estess lost a very competent manager and respected propulsion engineer. Estess named Mark Craig, who was architect of the NASA Strategic Plan and the strategy for NASA's Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Enterprise, as his deputy. Estess worked with Craig while serving as assistant to Goldin at NASA Headquarters. The two men worked together on one of Goldin's action teams when the new Administrator was restructuring the Agency to meet budget guidelines and set NASA on a more efficient and productive course. Estess and Craig became agents of Goldin's "faster, better, cheaper" doctrine and were responsible for such changes as the reshaping of the Space Station program.27

When Craig reported to SSC in 1995, he brought with him vast experience in managing major NASA programs and in long-range planning at Johnson Space Center (JSC) and at NASA Headquarters. In addition to heading the Space Exploration Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Craig also served on the Administrator's staff, helping Goldin in his early days of transition at NASA Headquarters. Along with a great deal of enthusiasm, Craig added a "new language" to planning discussions and exercises at the SSC. The leader also contributed a high level of sophistication in management strategy and planning to which most Stennis employees had not been exposed. For instance, Craig saw the SSC as being involved in three "lines of business" which included commercial remote sensing, Earth systems science, and rocket propulsion testing. To the delight of some and the consternation of others, Craig did not necessarily list the three in the same order as other members of the senior staff. Perhaps the good-natured and sly deputy director listed his "lines of business" in a contrary order to provoke spirited discussion. For those not familiar with the SSC jargon, Craig usually listed "propulsion" last, behind commercial programs and science activities.28

Estess's management philosophy, which supported the Agency's approach to affirmative action, was to put a person in a job and "give them space" to manage their own area of the SSC operations. Perhaps Estess paid close attention to one of his mentors, Jackson Balch, who said he believed in putting his people in a position "where they could fail." Balch said time and [417] again, "A job that gives a person the chance to fail - and fail hard - is a good job. If a person has a 'fail-safe job,' it's not worth a flip!" Apparently, Roy Estess's own straightforward management concept paid off during his first years, because every manager in his organization respects and speaks well of their relationship with the SSC director. When compared to Fortune, Balch, and Hlass, who served before Estess, one senior staffer said Estess was not like any of his predecessors, but developed his own management style as the SSC's fourth director/manager.29


In Remembrance Of Fallen Friends

History has a way of claiming our best leaders before they live to see their life's work reach full fruition. Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and John Kennedy are just a few such examples. In the case of the SSC, there were four men, Henry Auter, James Fletcher, Harry Guin, and John C. Stennis, who died during the 1990s before the SSC reached its loftiest goals. Wernher von Braun and Jackson Balch were claimed by death by 1980. Although these men played huge parts in the center's history, it is safe to state that they would have been absolutely delighted to see the astonishing developments that came about at the SSC. No one would dispute that all of these fallen leaders would have been ecstatic to see the SSC proclaimed as NASA's Center of Excellence for Rocket Propulsion Testing with a lead-center purview that reached across Agency and geographical borders.30

But alas, Henry Auter, who served as the installation's first deputy director and its only "acting director," died on 11 February 1991 of a heart attack [418] at his home. Many employees had referred to Mr. Auter as the SSC's "godfather," because he gave so much of his time helping others advance in the NASA organization and in projects assisting those less fortunate in his community. His last task was completing his duties as treasurer of the Picayune First Presbyterian Church.31

Dr. James C. Fletcher, two-time Administrator of NASA who became closely associated with the SSC during the early 1970s, worked at the national level to raise the center's status from a purely rocket test facility to a space and environmental, multiagency research complex. In fact, Dr. Fletcher issued an Administrator's decision in 1974 that "officially" renamed the Mississippi Test Facility (MTF) to the "National Space Technology Laboratories" (NSTL), and raised its status as a separate facility answering directly to NASA Headquarters and not reporting to the MSFC in Huntsville. Fletcher was also helpful in getting the center renamed after Senator John C. Stennis in 1988. Fletcher, who last visited the SSC in the spring of 1989, died of lung cancer at his home in suburban Washington on 22 December 1991.32

Perhaps the saddest surprise came to the SSC team on 15 October 1993, when Harry Guin was cut down in his prime in a fatal automobile accident while he was enroute to witness his beloved "Crimson Tide" Alabama football team in action. Mr. Guin was one of the SSC pioneers, having started work at the site in the summer of 1963. He became known as a "visionary," promoting the SSC as the nation's Center of Excellence for Rocket Propulsion Testing. Like his role model, University of Alabama Coach Paul [419] "Bear" Bryant, Mr. Guin was a respected leader of people and a compassionate individual who evoked "the very best" of team members who served in his ranks. He was one of the authors of the "White Paper" presented to the Crippen Group in New Orleans in 1986 and a champion of the center's quest to become the lead center for propulsion testing. Reference papers left on Guin's desk the afternoon he died are evidence that he could see his "vision" for the center nearing its fruition.33

During his last visit to south Mississippi and the NASA SSC on 23 August 1990, Stennis insisted that he visit the site at old Logtown, where the long and fascinating odyssey of the Stennis Space Center began. Roy Estess was joined by Roy Baxter, Jr., Mack Herring, Myron Webb, and a few other friends on the journey back in time.34

The open ball field, on the Logtown School grounds where the meeting was held in 1961, was covered by towering pine trees and undergrowth. The Stennis party pointed to the spot where the flatbed truck that Stennis spoke from 30 years earlier was parked. On that return to Logtown in August 1990, the thoughtful Senator smiled and seemed pleased when he was told by Baxter, Estess, and other friends in the party that "it all worked out for the best." Senator John C. Stennis, father of the Stennis Space Center, died 23 April 1995 at the age of 93.35


[420] The Stennis Vision

When Senator Stennis died, Roy Estess observed, "He was a giant in every way." With Stennis, there were Guin, Fletcher, and Auter who walked the pages of the Stennis Space Center history book. They helped lay a foundation and set the center on a course toward full realization of a "bigger dream." The SSC vision began to sharpen in the mid-1990s, featuring a focus on old ambitions with new approaches to excellence in rocket propulsion testing to serve the nation's test needs.36

The new SSC vision was also inclusive with other lines of business to pursue, exploiting the SSC expertise in Commercial Remote Sensing and enhancing its Earth Science research. When the Clinton Administration initiated its "reinventing government" policies in 1993, Stennis employees exclaimed, "Why, we've been reinventing government for 25 years!" They were right, too, because the multiagency complex had featured the sharing of research and resources since the early 1970s. Now, Roy Estess and his management team had incorporated the multiagency doctrine in their new vision for the twenty-first century.37

Administrator Dan Goldin also found the SSC especially appealing with its small, but innovative team making use of diverse talents to accomplish new missions, "better, faster, and cheaper." Since the SSC crew had managed with less funding than most NASA installations for years, managing the Stennis Center in the tight fiscal times of the 1990s was not an insurmountable handicap.38

For instance, from FY93 to FY96, the facility operations budget was reduced by 20 percent, and contractor staffing was lowered by 17 percent. These remarkable savings were made possible by closing facilities, consolidating functions, and reviewing operations to find more efficient ways of doing business. In addition to these savings, from FY93 to FY95, the shared operating costs by NASA and the resident agencies were reduced by $2.7 million. Two examples that contributed to cost savings at the SSC were the Main [421] Electrical Substation privatization project in 1993 with Mississippi Power Company and the NASA-Navy library consolidation of 1995.39

Estess mused that many "highly technical and accomplished" NASA managers had not had to deal with "survival" in the same manner as their colleagues at the SSC who had struggled for years to make ends meet. He pointed out that a number of NASA programs at other centers and locations "just rolled in" with the managers not having to "scrap and fight" for work to obtain the programs as did the small NASA crew at the SSC.40

Nevertheless, along with the budget considerations there was still much work to be accomplished by the SSC team of the 1990s as it reached to raise the center to a higher level in the NASA hierarchy. Richard Bach, aviator and author, wrote, "You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however." Roy Estess and the SSC team had realized Bach's axiom many years ago and had worked more days than not trying to get their bosses up the line to pay attention to their plans for the center.41

An important milestone that focused on the SSC's emerging role as a propulsion center of excellence came in 1992 when Estess and T.J. "Jack" Lee, MSFC director, signed a joint statement of agreement between their centers regarding the development and test of propulsion components and systems. More importantly, the document acknowledged the development of the SSC into a "Center of Excellence for Rocket Propulsion Testing." Goldin had insisted that Estess and Lee meet and settle this issue. After they signed the document, it was immediately forwarded to Goldin in Washington under a jointly signed cover letter. The agreement included most issues between the MSFC and the SSC, but the "test management" role for the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) program was not covered. Both parties agreed that the contested issue, the "responsibility for SSME testing," would be addressed at a future date.42



NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, MS, flight certifies all of the main engines that help power the Space Shuttle into Earth's orbit.

NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, MS, flight certifies all of the main engines that help power the Space Shuttle into Earth's orbit. Shown on the "B" stand, B-l test position, is a static firing of a Space Shuttle Main Engine. One of the many tame deer, which share the SSC environment, studies a "common place" test-firing. (SSC-96-129-15).


Agency and public recognition of the SSC's Center Of Excellence status came when the Agency began to define its vision in 1991-1992. Ken Human was named by Estess to coordinate the SSC inputs for the NASA Agencywide Vision Statement. Human remembered how eager the SSC employees were to participate in the NASA-wide project. The Vision Statement was published in 1992 and entitled, "John C. Stennis Space Center Long-Range Plan for the 1990s." It was printed on page one of the 15 June 1992 Lagniappe. The statement read, "To expand the frontiers of space exploration, Stennis Space Center will provide the United States with the world's best center of excellence for ground-testing large space propulsion systems. This center is represented by a unique pool of talent and state-of-the-art test facilities and technologies. Stennis Space Center delivers safe, responsive, and cost-effective propulsion test services which...



This 1992 aerial view shows Stennis Space Center's propulsion test facilities.

This 1992 aerial view shows Stennis Space Center's propulsion test facilities. The four large test stands are the E-l Test Facility (center); A-1 Test Stand (left); A-2 Test Stand (right); and B-1 Test Stand (far back). (SSC-92-039-37).


...sustain U.S. leadership in space exploration and enhance our economic competitiveness."43

The Stennis vision was brought into sharper focus on 1 May 1994 when the responsibility for SSME test management was transferred from the MSFC to the SSC. The transfer marked the first time in the entire history of the center, even during the time of the Apollo program, that the SSC would be in charge of rocket testing at the installation. True, the former MTF organization had a great deal of autonomy during the certification testing of the Saturn V first- and second-stage rockets in the 1960s and in 1970, even as a component installation of the MSFC. The MSFC, however, was ultimately in charge of managing the test program.44

The SSC's goal of assuming the responsibility for test management had been sought after by SSC managers for at least two decades. The illusive prize [424] came about shortly after G.P. "Porter" Bridwell, an old friend of Estess and others at the SSC, was named director of the MSFC on 6 January 1994. Bridwell had served as acting deputy director of the SSC in the spring of 1987, while Estess was temporarily away engaged in the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Graduate Business School. During that time, Bridwell developed a greater appreciation for the expertise of the SSC and reacquainted himself with the installation's extensive test facilities. In addition, Bridwell was exposed to a liberal dose of "brainwashing" by Harry Guin and other supporters of a major role for the SSC in rocket propulsion testing.45

When Bridwell assumed the director's position at the MSFC, he told Estess, "Hey, I read the mail. Two administrators [Truly and Goldin] have decided that Stennis ought to be the Center of Excellence for Rocket Propulsion testing, and the only outstanding issue is the SSME; therefore, I'm moving the SSME to Stennis. I'll make that decision!"46

Bridwell had the "pleasure" of informing his SSC friends and colleagues of the SSME transfer at a Stennis Center Awards Ceremony on 5 May 1994, at which he was the featured speaker. "We're a sister center, and we're going to work together. I pledge our support to you," Bridwell stated. He also said that he wanted the MSFC to work more closely with Stennis on NASA research technology projects for "future propulsion systems testing." Harry Guin, a staunch advocate of the advancement of propulsion testing, was posthumously awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal at the ceremony where Bridwell announced the test management transfer.47

A memorandum of agreement between the MSFC and the SSC making the historic test management transfer pact official was signed by Estess on 28 June 1994 and Bridwell on 21 July 1994. Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Flight (Space Shuttle) Bryan O'Connor concurred in the document that was designed to produce more efficient and cost-effective propulsion operations for the Agency.48

Boyce Mix, who had managed the test program for the MSFC for years, observed in a recollection in June 1996, "The transfer of the SSME test [425] management mission was the right thing to do. Porter called me in while I was still working for the MSFC and said he intended to transfer the SSME test management role to the SSC and asked my opinion. I told Porter that the SSC would do a good job managing the SSME test program." Mix said Bridwell then replied, "I'm going to do it!" The seasoned Mix further observed that the test management mission, in a like manner to the completion of the Component Test Facility (CTF), was an acquisition that was absolutely necessary before the SSC could be seriously considered as the Agency's lead center for rocket testing. Test management, then, was one of several pieces of a "puzzle" Estess had to put together before his vision for the SSC was totally clear.49

As Mix surmised, the test management mission was an enormous milestone for the SSC in securing credibility as the Agency's lead center for rocket testing. In addition, at least three major studies conducted by NASA and the government in 1994 and 1995 underscored the SSC's contention that the nation should institutionalize and consolidate its rocket test programs. The NASA Federal Laboratory Review (NFLR) and the NASA Zero-Base Review (ZBR) budget challenge initiated in 1995 pointed to the SSC as a Center of Excellence for Rocket Propulsion Testing and recommended that management of all rocket testing be consolidated at Stennis. A third study, called the National Facilities Study (NFS), conducted in 1994, was not quite as favorable for the SSC because it recommended certain turbopump testing be performed at the MSFC instead of the SSC. The NFS did, however, call for an end to duplication of NASA and DoD facilities nationwide, a point which was to the liking of the SSC management. The deck could have been partially stacked in favor of the SSC because the SSC deputy director was a member of the NFS team.50

SSC Director Estess was extremely pleased at the recognition and recommendations of these prestigious study teams. When Administrator Goldin [426] released the findings of the ZBR on 19 May 1995, Estess said, "The overall impact of this announcement is very positive for the Stennis Space Center." Estess had a right to be pleased with the ZBR findings. The study recommended that the SSC assume management of the NASA White Sands Test Facility from the JSC and facilitate "all" future rocket engine testing for the Agency.51

A bonus for the SSC also came from the ZBR exercise. Estess and his rocket team coined a novel management strategy they called the "National Rocket Propulsion Test Alliance" (NRPTA) and presented it at a landmark ZBR meeting at the KSC on 31 March 1995. The NRPTA would be composed of representatives from the following civilian and DoD installations involved in rocket testing: SSC, White Sands Test Facility, Lewis Research Center, MSFC, Phillips Laboratory at Edwards AFB, Arnold Engineering Development Center, Naval Warfare Center, and Redstone Technical Test Center. The Test Alliance plan was designed as an advisory body with authority to develop major propulsion test policy and place systems at the most appropriate and economical facility for a particular result.52

Estess recalled that Lon Miller played a major leadership role in helping pull together the ZBR presentation that contained the Test Alliance plan. Proudly remembering the KSC meeting, Estess said the presenters at that important review were Lon Miller, David Brannon, Tom Sever, Robert Bruce, and Doug McLaughlin. Estess exclaimed, "That's a real team!" Apparently the ZBR group was equally impressed by the Stennis team. To the delight of the SSC managers, the Test Alliance plan presented by the SSC was so well received by the ZBR team that they incorporated the NRPTA in their final recommendations, and an action to implement the plan was passed on to SSC.53

Estess and his crusaders found that they were not in the game alone. From the very outset, Goldin clearly connected with the enthusiastic efforts of the SSC to emerge as a leader in his scheme to do things in NASA "faster, better, and cheaper." As Roy Estess recalled, "The moons were lined up," and he modestly added, "I didn't have a thing to do with it. Administrators changed, [427] and when another Administrator came in [Goldin], he even made changes that have helped us substantially. He's pushed us ever further up the ladder. He's challenged us to go forward."54

There were other NASA Headquarters officials in the 1990s who favored the SSC progressive and supportive attitude. Major General Jeremiah W. "Jed" Pearson, III, USMC, was named in April 1992 to replace William B. "Bill" Lenoir as associate administrator for the Office of Space Flight. Although Lenoir had proved to be a good friend and supporter of the SSC's program, Pearson also quickly took a liking to Roy Estess and his team. In March 1992, John R. "Jack" Dailey was named by Goldin as Acting Deputy Administrator. Like Pearson, Dailey was a Marine, having risen to the lofty position of Assistant Commandant in August 1990. Perhaps both Headquarters leaders were impressed with the "gung ho" attitude of the Stennis team in its support of overall NASA-wide objectives, a quality not universally found in a proud NASA organization that had sometimes experienced conflict with its parochial attitudes.55

With the "stars aligned" in the heavens for the restless SSC group, the road still remained a bit "bumpy" on the more realistic roads on Earth. With the support of Goldin, Pearson, and Dailey at the Headquarters, and endorsements from the NASA Laboratory Review, the National Facilities Study and the White House-favored ZBR, one might think that the SSC managers could finally rest easy with their missions secured as the center prepared for the twenty-first century. As the Congress began serious deliberations on the FY97 budget in the spring of 1996, however, Roy Estess and his senior staff worried that "something might go wrong." After all, a significant role for NASA's "Lead Center for Rocket Propulsion Testing" entailed consolidation of test functions and activities at other locations, such as the test laboratory at the SSC's old nemesis, the MSFC in Huntsville, Alabama. Test facilities at White Sands were also scheduled to be terminated by the new NASA test consolidation plan, with rocket propulsion testing at the MSFC and White Sands to be managed by Stennis Space Center.56

[428] As one might imagine, after 35 years of having management matters 180 degrees in the other direction, the consolidation plan was met with consternation, opposition, and a lot of "foot dragging" from management elements and politicians representing some of the other NASA centers involved. Although the scheme would save the federal government and the national taxpayers millions of dollars, the plan was met with sour-grape chides from the Alabama center, such as "we were born to test" and "testing is our tradition." These howls grew as Goldin prepared to present his Operating Plan to Congress and implement the NASA-wide findings of the ZBR, which included test consolidation at the SSC. Only one "star" had fallen out of alignment, the SSC's old friend, Porter Bridwell, the MSFC director who was influential in transferring SSME testing to the SSC, had retired. He was replaced by Wayne Littles of the old-time, more "traditional" MSFC management team. The MSFC's loss of its dominance over the SSC no doubt was worsened when the SSC placed a resident office in Huntsville in March 1996.57

In late April 1996, Estess worried that the consolidation plan might still fail, even with all data points giving a green light to Administrator Goldin's NASA proposal. It was hard for anyone to imagine that the NASA Administrator and his very top people could not get their own way with the NASA organization. A last piece of the consolidation and lead center puzzle was the approval of approximately $45 million in funds for upgrading and completing the CTF. The request for CTF monies was included in Goldin's FY97 Operating Plan sent to Congress as part of the appropriations bill.58

Another fortuitous event occurred when the SSC's long-time supporter, Senator Trent Lott, was elected Senate Majority Leader to replace Republican Presidential candidate Robert "Bob" Dole. Lott had been one of the SSC's most ardent supporters throughout his highly successful political career. Senator Lott began working to promote the SSC in 1968, when he was administrative assistant to 5th District Congressman William "Bill" Colmer. Lott was elected to that House Seat in 1972 as a Republican when Colmer retired and served as a U.S. Representative until he was elected to the Senate in 1988. With his home at Pascagoula, Mississippi, on the Gulf Coast, Lott had been...



U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi (left) meets with Roy Estess, Stennis Space Center director, during an August 1996 visit.

U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi (left) meets with Roy Estess, Stennis Space Center director, during an August 1996 visit. Lott, a staunch supporter of the Stennis Space Center, was chosen Senate Majority Leader by his colleagues in 1996. (SSC-96-4484).


...one of the architects of the multiagency concept and had supported all of the SSC agencies and their programs at every juncture. He stood vigil on Capitol Hill in the summer of 1996 as the NASA Appropriations Bill, with the consolidation plan and the over $45 million CTF-enhancement funding proposal, passed the House and Senate. A cautious Lott kept a keen eye on the NASA bill as it worked its way through final congressional committee actions.59


The Lead Center

Even while NASA legislation was being pondered on Capitol Hill, on 29 May 1996, Roy Estess assembled the SSC employees in the Visitors Center auditorium to hear possibly "the best news" in the installation's entire 35-year history. The occasion was the center's annual Honor Awards Ceremony, an event that had been traditionally a time of good cheer. NASA Administrators, astronauts, and national leaders, such as Stennis and Lott, had in the past come to the Visitors Center to pay tribute to the NASA-Stennis team. The auditorium had been the scene of some sad times, also. Most vowed never to forget the [430] crew of the Challenger in a memorial service, as the SSC employees joined their NASA colleagues in a nationwide tribute. The team had also remembered their friend and leader Harry Guin at an Honor Awards ceremony.60

Perhaps, many SSC team-member thoughts went to other friends who had fallen along the way and were not present to witness NASA Headquarters's William Trafton, Associate Administrator for the Office of Space Flight, present Roy Estess with a letter designating the SSC as NASA's Lead Center for Rocket Propulsion Testing. The message was almost unbelievable. Patrick "Pat" Scheuermann, tapped by Harry Guin back in 1988 to carry on the bold, "can do" tradition of the SSC team, was not in the auditorium that day with his associates. The 32-year-old engineer, trained by Guin, was manning the new SSC Resident Office in Huntsville! Scheuermann's deep reverence for Guin and respect for Estess were evident when he commented, "I knew we had reached our mark months ago to become NASA's lead center for rocket testing. The lead enter role is a tribute to the vision that Harry and Roy shared for the SSC." Scheuermann also believed that the designation proved the power of the dream that motivated the small, but highly effective, SSC team. After all, the center had risen form a "test support" role in 1986 to its status of responsibility for all NASA rocket testing. This historic document presented by Trafton was clear in its subject and direction and was to take effect on 30 May 1996.61

Roy Estess, who had pushed for just such a designation for almost ten years, responded on behalf of all NASA-SSC personnel when he said, "This is a natural decision for NASA because of the investment that has already been made here in south Mississippi." To Estess and the SSC team, the "lead center" designation was also the fulfillment of another dream of yesteryear. The proud director told his fellow employees, "This major responsibility is also keeping with the vision Dr. Wernher von Braun had in the early 1960s for this installation to be NASA's test center."62

Thrilled that NASA had recognized the SSC as its lead center for rocket propulsion testing, Senator Lott praised the NASA designation. "This move [431] means Stennis will become the Center of Excellence for propulsion testing of rocket engines, not only for NASA but for the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, and private industries with missions involving rocket launches. It means NASA recognized the unique facilities and personnel who have built Stennis's worldwide reputation for high-tech research and development."63

A long-time advocate who had supported the SSC as an employee, state senator, and as a U.S. Congressman, Gene Taylor, said, "This is a day we will long remember. Stennis Space Center [was] finally recognized for its unique Space Age facilities, and the best expertise in the world in rocket testing and advanced technology."64

Senator Lott's sentiments were also no doubt felt by the uncounted number of employees, their superb leaders, and their community friends, who made uncommon sacrifices in past times to advance the Stennis Space Center to world-class status as America's rocket test center. Indeed, the day was a long time coming for the hundreds of "believers" who participated in the extraordinary, never-give-up campaign waged for years by the little "can do" SSC team. And all the SSC team asked for in return was to finally be granted the respect of their NASA colleagues across the country and be allowed to use the national rocket test facility to its fullest potential.65

The "Way Station to Space" on Mississippi's Pearl River is now engraved on the trade routes of history for future generations to navigate as they explore worlds beyond their wildest dreams.



1. Roy S. Estess, interview by Mack Herring and Myron Webb, SSC, MS, 24 April 1996, tapes and notes in Stennis Space Center Historical Records Collection (henceforth referred to as SSCHRC); "New Stennis Director Roy Estess," Lagniappe, 16 February 1981, SSCHRC.

2. "Goldin Makes Initial Visit To SSC," Lagniappe, 20 April 1992, SSCHRC; J.R. Thompson, "Roles And Missions Report," 8 November 1991; "Goldin Visits Stennis Space Center; New NASA Chief Challenges Facility To Be Best In The World," (Gulfport, MS) Coast Business Journal, 27 April 1992.

3. NASA Headquarters, "NASA Strategic Plan," February 1996, pp. 6, 10, 14-15, 18; Greg Carter, interview by Mack Herring, 10 July 1996, notes in SSCHRC; David Brannon, interview by Mack Herring and Myron Webb, 6 May 1996; Richard Miller, interview by Mack Herring and Myron Webb, 6 May 1996, tapes and notes in SSCHRC; "Harry Guin Receives New Appointment," Lagniappe, 21 August 1986, SSCHRC; A.J. "Jack" Rogers, Jr., interview by Dr. Charles Bolton and Steve Patterson, vol. 386, Mississippi Oral History Program, University Of Southern Mississippi, SSC, MS, 1991, pp. 1-7, SSCHRC; Harry Guin, interview by Steven Patterson, vol. 430 Mississippi Oral History Program, University of Southern Mississippi, SSC, MS, 1992, SSCHRC.

4. NASA-SSC Organization Chart, July 1996.

5. Carter, interview; Miller, interview; Brannon, interview by Herring and Webb.

6. Carter, interview.

7. Miller, interview; Mark Craig, interview by Mack Herring, SSC, MS, 12 June 1996.

8. Charles "Chuck," Hill, interview by Mack Herring, 11 July 1996.

9. Ibid.

10. Estess, interview; Gerald Smith, interview by Mack Herring, 5 July 1996.

11. See Lagniappe collection for retirements, transfers, and appointments of NASA senior staff, 1990-1996. See also NASA-SSC personnel records for like information; Biographies, Gerald Smith, Harry Guin, A.J. "Jack" Rogers, Jr., William "Bill" Huseonica, William "Bill" Taylor, Sharon Jeffers, and Mack Herring, all located in SSCHRC. Their combined experience and tenure of service with NASA equates to over 100 years. The personnel moves of the SSC senior staff did indeed leave Director Estess with an important recruiting job.

12. Ibid.

13. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb.

14. D.K. "Doug," McLauglin, interview by Mack Herring and Myron Webb, 12 March 1996; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb.

15. Roger D. Launius, NASA: A History Of The U.S. Civil Space Program (Malabar, FL: Kreiger Publishing Company, 1994), pp. 131-132; John M. Logsdon, et. al, eds., Exploring The Unknown, Selected Documents In The U.S. Civil Space Program, Vol. 1: Organizing The Exploration (Washington, DC: NASA SP-4407, 1995); James E. Webb to The Honorable Everett Dirkson, 1 August 1966, Document 111-18, 490-492, NASA Historical Reference Collection, History Office, NASA Headquarters; James R. Hansen, Spaceflight Revolution (Washington DC: NASA SP-4308, 1995), pp. 427-430; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 24 April 1996; Lon Miller and Mike Dawson, interview by Mack Herring and Myron Webb, 6 May 1996, tapes and notes in SSCHRC.

16. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb; Monti, Coast Magazine.

17. "Goldin Makes First Visit To SSC," Lagniappe, 20 April 1996, SSCHRC; Charles "Chuck" Hill, interview by Mack Herring, SSC, MS, 11 June 1996.

18. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb.

19. NASA-SSC Organization Chart, July 1996, SSCHRC; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb; Craig, interview; Pamela G. "Pam" Covington, interview by Mack Herring, SSC, MS, 12 July 1996; NASA-SSC Biographies, Mark Craig, Lon Miller, David Brannon, Pam Covington, Boyce Mix, Myron Webb, Richard Arbuthnot, Marina Love, Florence-Kailiwah Barnette; John Gasery, Kirk Sharpe, and Kim Graham Stone.

20. Ibid.

21. See NASA-SSC biographies of senior staff, SSCHRC.

22. Ibid.

23. Ibid.

24. Richard Arbuthnot, interview by Mack Herring, 12 July 1996.

25. Jon B. Roth, interview by Mack Herring and Myron Webb, SSC, MS, 6 May 1996.

26. Covington, interview; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb.

27. Craig, biography, SSCHRC; Commentary, "Notes Of A Newcomer," Lagniappe, 25 May 1995, SSCHRC; "NASA Strategic Plan," Lagniappe, 20 July 1995, SSCHRC; Craig, interview.

28. Ibid.; Estess, interview.

29. E.W. "Van" King, interview; Jackson Balch described his own "personnel management philosophy" to the author during several discussions in May 1969 after the author disclosed that he was going to transfer to NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Balch said there was so much bureaucracy at Headquarters that a "fail safe" work-place had been created, whereby "no one was to blame" when something went wrong. On the other hand, he said he believed that a person should be allowed to "fail and fail hard" if he or she had a good job. Perhaps he never forgot his failure with a house-paint business in Huntsville. Balch felt that he gave employees an opportunity to "fail" on their own. Indeed, he often gave assignments to his staff in which they were entirely on their own where the results were not traceable back to Balch. In many ways, Roy Estess seemed to have adopted Balch's philosophy. Estess, however, was far-less threatening in his approach and seemed to put his employees "at ease." Estess enjoyed recounting actual stories to his employees, somewhat like a Southern, "front porch philosopher."

30. Mix, interview; Rogers, interview.

31. Henry Fenimore Auter, Jr., Obituary, The (Biloxi/Gulfport, MS) Sun Herald, 12 February 1991; Mr. Auter loved the space program and devoted most of his career to NASA's work at the MTF and the NSTL. He helped design structures at the test facility and was in charge of testing the Saturn V boosters during Project Apollo. Curious, however, Mr. Auter wrote that the development of the multi-agency complex at the MTF was the most significant historical event at the site. He was working as a consultant with the author helping develop the historical archives for the SSC when he died. The author talked to Mr. Auter about future historical archives just two days before he died.

32. NASA Headquarters, "James C. Fletcher Biography," SSCHRC; Roger D. Launius, "A Western Mormon In Washington, DC: James C. Fletcher, NASA, and the Final Frontier," Pacific Historical Review, (May 1995): pp. 217-41: Fate brought Dr. Fletcher in close contact with the SSC history on two significant occasions. Dr. Fletcher was the NASA Administrator who executed the document that created the NSTL on 14 June 1974. He flew to the Stennis International Airport in Hancock County, MS, and made an announcement to the local media proclaiming the new installation. When Dr. Fletcher returned to the South Mississippi facility as Administrator on 12 May 1986, he was a supporter of the development of the SSC and was instrumental in its renaming and designation as the John C. Stennis Space Center on 20 May 1988. He also appointed Jerry Hlass as manager of the NSTL in 1976 and Roy Estess as director in 1988.

33. Mack Herring, Commentary, "He Was Number One," Lagniappe, 19 November 1993, SSCHRC; Mr. Harry Guin was a personal friend of the author. We first met on the first day Guin reported for work at the MTF in 1963. We worked on several joint projects together, the most memorable being the dedication of Stennis Space Center during the late spring and early summer of 1989, prior to the 3 August 1988 dedication. After studying the letters, documents, plans and interviews that were part of this book, the author came to the inescapable conclusion that Mr. Guin was a true visionary and so dedicated to the SSC that he fought "against all odds" to see the SSC reach its full potential. His legacy will go on as long the Stennis Space Center exists.

34. Pat Towell, "John Stennis, Longtime Symbol Of Senatorial Rectitude," Obituary, Inside Congress, Washington, DC, 29 April 1995; U.S. Senator John C. Stennis dominates the history the SSC. He was a staunch supporter of America's space program until the day he retired from the Senate in January 1989. Dr. Fletcher remarked the day of the dedication, that the Center should have been named for Stennis "a long time ago." Fletcher depended on Stennis, somewhat like eight U.S. Presidents who served "with" the Senator, to lead the Agency's budgetary battles in the Congress. The respected Senator no doubt played an important role in the location of the Center in Mississippi, but it must be pointed out that he would not have supported the effort if he believed there was a better location elsewhere in the country to test America's rockets. Senator Stennis's belief in the people of his state and their ability to participate in "greatness" as supporters and workers at the space center, undoubtedly was also a major factor in his tenacious support of the SSC.

35. Ibid.

36. "U. S. Senator John C. Stennis..." Lagniappe, 25 May 1995, SSCHRC; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 7 July 1996.

37. Management Presentation, "The Stennis Space Center," cover sheet, boxed motto, "Reinventing Government For 25 Years," 14 September 1995.

38. "Stennis Space Center Budget History By Major Programs," 23 October 1995; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 7 July 1995.

39. McLauglin, interview by Herring and Webb; Doug McLauglin, "SSC Budgetary Savings," paper especially prepared for SSC History Office by Dough McLauglin, July 1996, copy in SSCHRC.

40. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 24 April 1996; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 7 July 1996: McLaughlin, interview by Herring and Webb.

41. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 24 April 1966; Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures Of A Reluctant Messiah (New York: Delacorte Press/Eleanor Friede, 1978), 92.

42. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 7 July 1995; Roy S. Estess and T.J. Lee, III, Daniel S. Goldin, cover letter for agreement, 29 June 1992; Roy S. Estess and T.J. Lee, III, 20 June 1992.

43. Ken Human, et. al. "SSC Vision Statement," Lagniappe, 15 June 1992, SSCHRC.

44. "SSME Testing Transferred From MSFC to SSC," 18 May 1994; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 7 July 1995; Boyce Mix, interview by Mack Herring, SSC, MS, 27 June 1996.

45. Jerry Hlass to Staff, memorandum, "Appointment Of Acting Deputy Director," 23 March 1987; NASA Headquarters, "Center Directors Biographies," SSCHRC.

46. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 24 April 1996; Mix, interview.


48. Roy S. Estess and Porter Bridwell, "Memorandum Of Agreement," 2 August 1994.

49. Mix, interview.

50. NASA Federal Laboratory Review Task Force, NASA Advisory Council, "NASA's Federal Laboratory Review," February 1995, SSCHRC. It is important to note that the "NASA Federal Laboratory Review" was prepared by the NASA Federal Laboratory Review Task Force under the auspices NASA Advisory Council(NAC). The results were then submitted 28 February 1995 to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) at the White House. This review was part of the Interagency Federal Laboratory Review which included material from the Departments of Defense and Energy, along with NASA. The review was undertaken by all concerned as a means to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government's R&D programs and investments.

51. NASA Headquarters, "NASA Zero Base Review And FY 1997 Process," Briefing To Congress, May 1995, SSC Director's Files, SSCHRC; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 24 April 1996 and 7 July 1995; Lon Miller, interview by Herring and Webb, 4 May 1996.

52. Ibid.; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 24 April 1996; Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 7 July 1995; NASA-SSC, National Rocket Propulsion Test Alliance, "Shaping Test Capability To Match National Needs," Presentation, 28 July 1995), SSCHRC.

53. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 7 July 1995.

54. Ibid.

55. Sue Richard, NASA Headquarters News Release, "NASA Administrator Announces Headquarters Appointments," 28 April 1992, SSCHRC; Jeff Carr, NASA Headquarters News Release, "Organizational Changes To Enhance Programs, Relations," 11 March 1993, SSCHRC.

56. Estess, interview by Herring and Webb, 24 April 1996; "Russian Rocket Findings Will Capture Redstone's Engine Testing Program," Huntsville (AL) Times, 29 March 1996; Lon Miller and Mike Dawson, interview by Herring and Webb, SSC, MS, 4 May 1996.

57. Scheuermann, interview; Myron Webb, interview by Mack Herring, SSC, MS, 24 July 1996; Patrick Scheuermann, interview by Virginia A. Butler, SSC, MS, 11 February 1997.

58. Daniel S. Goldin to The Honorable Jerry Lewis, "FY 96 Operating Plan," 4 June 1996.

59. Office Of Senator Trent Lott, "Biography," July 1996.

60. "SSC Designated As Lead Testing Center," Lagniappe, 20 June 1996, SSCHRC; William C. Trafton to Associate Deputy Administrator (Technical), 28 May 1996, SSCHRC; William C. Trafton to the Director, Stennis Space Center, "Propulsion Testing Lead Center," 30 May 1996, SSCHRC.

61. "SSC Designated..." Lagniappe; NASA SSC News Release, Lanee Cobb, "NASA Directs SSC To Manage All Propulsion Test Activities," 7 June 1996, SSCHRC.

62. Ibid.

63. Susan Irby and Elizabeth Mavar, Office of Senator Trent Lott News Release, "NASA Consolidation Rocket Propulsion Testing At Stennis," 5 June 1996, SSCHRC.

64. Office Of U.S. Representative Gene Taylor, News Release, 5 June 1996, SSCHRC.

65. Previous References, Way Station To Space, 4 August 1996.