SP-4311 Way Station to Space

 

- Chapter 3: Piloted Space Flight -

 

 

[55] The American response to the challenge proffered by the Sputniks consisted of more than just an increase in missile research funding and the promotion of space science. Wounded national pride required a more tangible response, as did the need to demonstrate to both allies and adversaries abroad U.S. ability to operate on the Cold War's new front. President Eisenhower recognized this when he indicated support for projects designed to assure, "the U.S. does not have to be ashamed no matter what other countries do."1 While not prepared to underwrite an exorbitant space spectacular, he did agree to a modest project that, if successful, would restore faith in American technical prowess. The perceived Soviet advantage could be nullified by putting a piloted satellite into space. NASA's Project Mercury proceeded with this "unstated," but widely held hope.2

The possibility of human space flight intrigued differing groups within the aeronautical community, and studies had been underway for several years. Military planners looked on space as the ultimate "high ground" in the Cold War. Some reviewed the theoretical work of German researchers Eugen Sanger and Irene Bredt, who had proposed a piloted craft that would skim the top of the atmosphere and possess intercontinental range.3 Others thought of military bases on the moon.4 Aerodynamicists working on the X15 for the NACA's hypersonic program considered the rocket plane a step on the road to piloted space flight. Flying as high as 62 miles, the X-15 furnished the opportunity to test many items required for space flight while earning several pilots their astronaut wings.5 A follow-on to the X-15 held out the promise of orbital flight and many NACA engineers believed that a winged spacecraft would be the ticket to the new frontier.6 Political need for speed in putting a human in space dictated a program that would fly soon, but the complexities of winged spacecraft would take time to solve.

In 1957 PARD's Maxime A. Faget began researching the potential of a simple ballistic design for space flight which drew heavily upon work already conducted concerning ICBM warhead design. Engineer H. Julian Allen, of Ames Lab, had demonstrated the effectiveness of a blunt shape in overcoming the problem of re-entry heating. The conical shape of a vehicle utilizing such a design also simplified the problem of aerodynamic stability.7 Another fundamental problem involved the limitations on the weight-lifting capacity of available boosters. The Atlas ICBM, the most powerful U.S. booster at that time, could only lift a weight of about one ton to orbit. A ballistic capsule would have to be designed within this weight restriction.

[56] On 24 January 1958 PARD submitted a confidential 10 page report, "A Proposed Simple Means for Manned Space-Flight Research," to Langley management. The proposal called for a series of sub-orbital missions to be launched from Wallops. A piloted capsule would be boosted to an altitude of 100 to 200 miles by a solid-fueled rocket, make a parachute-slowed splashdown in the Atlantic, and be refurbished and reused. The group suggested the rocket, a cluster of seven Sergeant motors, be fired in stages of four, two, and one, with the second and third stages to be fired "at the pilot's discretion." The program carried an estimated cost of $2.4 million and a preparation time of eighteen months.8

Faget presented this concept in a paper at what turned out to be the last NACA Conference on High-Speed Aerodynamics, held at Ames 18-20 March 1958.9 Other papers presented discussed an Ames design for an orbiting lifting body, and Langley's plans for a winged design founded upon data derived from the X-15 program.10 While not the only ballistic design under study (several industry designs had been discussed prior to the conference), and disparaged by some as a "stunt" and "undignified," PARD's design met the weight limits imposed by Atlas, and the time scale imposed by politics. "The choice involved considerations of weight, launch vehicle, reentry body design, and, to be honest, gut feelings.''11

After approval of the NACA's assumption of the civilian space mission, Robert Gilruth, who had encouraged and assisted the ballistic capsule studies, went to Washington, and received the assignment to formulate a piloted space program. He assembled a small team that included engineers from Langley and Lewis Labs, and set to work.12 Faget and Paul Purser were members of this team; understandably, as "although no official approval for the development of a manned capsule had been received, Faget was able to obtain the support of a large section of Langley through personal persuasion.''13 The NACA moved swiftly, motivated more by the military's strong push to monopolize human space flight than by the Soviets. In August 1958 President Eisenhower directed that this endeavor be carried out by the civilian NASA, and several ARPA members were then integrated into Gilruth's planning group.14 After roughing-out the program and receiving approval to proceed, Gilruth returned to Langley and organized a group of researchers to execute the project. The group became known, in November 1958, as the Space Task Group (STG).

The original membership of the STG contained a hefty percentage of PARD veterans, fourteen out of a total of thirty-six from Langley. Ten other researchers came aboard from Lewis.15 Organized as an autonomous division of Langley, and reporting directly to Headquarters, the STG found itself involved in a highly complex, and highly visible, undertaking. The fact that so many of the STG came from PARD, and the group's location at Langley, guaranteed Wallops a major role in Project Mercury. Indeed, a very early program outline placed, "extension of the Wallops Island capabilities," as [57] the first step in, "successful completion of the program."16 Wind tunnels at Langley, and at several universities, were utilized, but the range at Wallops offered a convenient place from which to conduct flight tests without unduly disturbing military schedules at the Cape. The smaller Wallops base also received less notoriety than its Florida counterpart, allowing for a test program more reminiscent of NACA programs. Minor setbacks could be corrected without excessive criticism.17

The very basic shape of the Mercury spacecraft had already been investigated, but the specific details of the design remained to be finalized and tested. Determination of the aerodynamic characteristics of differing shapes became one major area of research. Testing different materials for use on the craft's heat shield, and refining the parachute recovery system were others. A series of tests (started in the summer of 1958, before the official start of the project) involved dropping models of varying complexity from balloons, and later from C-130 aircraft to discover the motions of experimental shapes during descent.18 These tests allowed engineers to study designs for both drogue and main parachutes, and gave radar and telemetry operators the opportunity to test equipment and hone their skills.19

Sounding rocket launches in support of Project Mercury included the launch of two-stage vehicles to determine the aerodynamic characteristics of models traveling at nearly Mach 3, and five-stage vehicles which provided data on aerodynamic heating. Given Wallops involvement in the hypersonics program, such test flights were relatively routine.20 Also routine were tests in the Preflight Jet that investigated heat ablation characteristics of different materials. While Wallops' wind tunnel could not provide a full range of test data, information generated there added to data obtained from tunnels at Langley and outside NASA to fill out a complete picture. The testing may have been routine, but the goal of the tests, a human in space, sparked an enthusiasm for the project that pervaded the operations.21

As the pace of the project increased, administrative arrangements shifted to reflect early shuffling within NASA. On 26 January 1959 T. Keith Glennan formally designated Gilruth both an Assistant Director of the Beltsville Space Flight Center (Goddard), and Director of Project Mercury. "Mr. Gilruth will serve under the direction of and report to the Director of Space Flight Development, Dr. Abe Silverstein."22 Glennan desired to bring all space related activities to one field center. Unfortunately, that center had yet to be built, so the STG (like Wallops) continued to rely on Langley for support.

Tests at Wallops continued, and evaluations of the launch escape system occupied a prominent place in the work. The explosion of large boosters remained a common occurrence at the Cape, so Mercury planners conceived a way to lift the capsule and its crew away from danger should an emergency arise during launch. The system consisted of a solid-fueled rocket attached to the top of the spacecraft by means of a tower. If needed, the system could pull the capsule high enough to allow the pilot to activate the craft's [58] parachute recovery system, and the STG deemed it an essential feature. The first tests of the escape system involved simply firing a tower and test capsule from a platform on the shore. These "beach abort" launches, conducted with both makeshift and production motors, proved that the system would work from a standing start. Obtaining in-flight performance data required a more elaborate series of tests, however, including a booster large enough to launch the tower and capsule combination, and simulate the aerodynamic conditions the Atlas would produce.23

To provide a vehicle for this task, one that would be operable from Wallops, Langley modified the booster design earlier proposed by PARD by reducing the number of solid-fueled motors from seven to four. The resulting "Little Joe" booster could hurl a production Mercury capsule and tower to a height of 100 miles and simulate the Atlas well enough to provide valid data.24 The Little Joe also provided the means to flight test other capsule systems, and test the reactions of biological specimens (including monkeys) to the mission environment.25 While not capable of providing orbital velocity, the booster allowed the execution of many preliminary tests without interfering with operations at the Cape, or necessitating the use of more expensive boosters.

Not all of the tests succeeded, of course. The most disconcerting failure came with the first attempt to launch the Mercury-Little Joe combination. A...

 


Little Joe vehicle with prototype Mercury capsule on Wallops launch pad.

Little Joe vehicle with prototype Mercury capsule on Wallops launch pad.


 

[59] ....short-circuit activated the abort system approximately thirty minutes prior to the scheduled launch. The escape tower pulled the capsule away from the booster, but the spacecraft's main parachute failed to deploy and the capsule was ruined.26 On an earlier occasion a malfunction during a beach abort test caused a tower and capsule to somersault through the air and hit the water 1000 feet offshore.27 The NACA-experienced Space Task Group recognized these failures as an inevitable part of a learning curve. This official tolerance for failure began to wane as NASA developed into a more visible enterprise. The intense negative public reaction to the Vanguard explosion was a harbinger of things to come.

Public relations constituted a novel trial for the space agency. "NACA was real low-key, they did not even have a public affairs officer, or division.... they just didn't believe in public relations very much, ...."28 Given that the data NACA generated dealt with highly technical engineering matters, a portion of which had military or proprietary value, this lack of official contact with the general public is understandable. Even the non-NACA portions of NASA (the Vanguard team, von Braun's group, and JPL) were more accustomed to military security than public relations. Wallops Station operated within this tradition. PARD once turned down the offer of a boresighted television camera as an accessory for their FPS-16 radar. "We said, we don't want that kind of stuff at Wallops, because we're not interested in showing this to the public. We thought that's what they were using it for at other places."29

The popular and politicized nature of the space effort did not give NASA the luxury of anonymity. The Space Act required the Administration to "provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and results thereof."30 Though the public's attention focused on activities at Cape Canaveral, Wallops also attracted notice. These new responsibilities called for Wallops to expand this aspect of its operation as well.

A March 1958 request from the Department of Air Sciences at Maryland State College for "Static displays of a type that would tend to give the local civilian population an idea of your organization's function and relationship to the Eastern Shore," at a one day event had to be turned down. Wallops' limited supply of such materials was in use elsewhere.31 In August 1959 a sounding rocket experiment that released a sodium-vapor cloud, "visible to ground observers within a 700-mile radius of the launch site," provoked a flurry of calls from citizens and officials startled by the strange apparition in the sky. The Wallops team had not foreseen this reaction.32

The situation began to improve as NASA's increased funding moved through the system. In April 1959 Headquarters directed Langley, "to have installed at Wallops Island twenty (20) telephones for use of the Public Information Office and press representatives."33 A 30 June staff meeting at Headquarters discussed the matter of public relations during Project Mercury [60] and concluded, "It will be his [the Director of the Headquarters Office of Public Information] to determine the propriety of releases, interviews, tours, and spot coverage of activities at the W.I. launching site, the A.M.R., and elsewhere." This served to coordinate public relations for Mercury and showed an awareness of the importance of this feature of the project.34 Indeed, NASA's effort to disseminate information drew fire from Albert Thomas who berated Glennan and Dryden about the increased personnel cost this effort entailed, and the impression that this put "the pressure on the poor scientists," especially if a shot failed to launch. Glennan defended their public relations program as necessary to fulfill their legal requirements and pointed to Wallops as a place where publicity had been "controlled" (meaning, not excessive).35 Thomas conceded the accuracy of this reference to Wallops, but Glennan still felt compelled to dispatch a memo to the center directors reinforcing NASA's launch policy. "I have stated many times, that the Test Conductor and Project Supervisor must understand that pressure from newspapers, distinguished visitors, or 'brass' from HQ. is not to influence a decision to attempt a launch. I want to reiterate my position on this matter."36

As Project Mercury progressed, public fascination with the space effort grew. The installation of bleachers on the mainland opposite the island provided ringside seats to rocket launches.37 While the military generally exhibited a tolerant attitude toward security at Wallops, one military public information officer was somewhat taken aback at the sight of a grandstand full of people waiting to see a supposedly classified launch.38 On one occasion it was decided to withdraw the base security guards for a weekend to demonstrate the open nature of the operation. However, "We had people wandering around where the rockets were stored, hitting on them, ... so .... we said, you know, if they get blown up its going to be our fault."39 The guards soon returned. That the experiment took place at all comes as something of a surprise given Krieger's feelings about safety. In an April 1960 memo he issued a strong warning about "unauthorized people on the island," brought to the launch site by employees traveling over the new causeway. "It is absolutely necessary that the entire island be considered an explosive area."40 More official visitors also prompted Krieger to look to the appearance of his charge. "During the rapid growth of the island in area, new facilities, and the heavy workload, of all, it is apparent that we have neglected our policing and sight appearance on the island." Individuals were assigned to clean up various buildings and areas.41

The public interest peaked near the end of the Little Joe program when two flights carrying monkeys were launched. The first of these tests flew on 4 December 1959 and sent a number of specimens to an altitude of 53 miles. The second, on 21 January 1960, tested the monkey's reaction to the stress of a launch abort via the escape tower. Then Administrative Assistant Joyce Milliner recalled, "We had over a hundred photographers, I mean from every [61] well-known news media," for the December launch. Even the stars of Mercury, the original astronauts, came to the island for the flight. While they were not to fly from Wallops themselves, nor participate in the test program there, they maintained a certain interest in the outcome of the test.42

 


<<Miss Sam>> gazes from her contoured couch prior to flight test from Wallops in Little Joe 1B on January 21,1960.

"Miss Sam " gazes from her contoured couch prior to flight test from Wallops in Little Joe 1B on January 21,1960.


 

The final Little Joe flight launched on 28 April 1961, only one week before Alan B. Sheppard, Jr. flew Mercury-Redstone 3 to an altitude of 116 miles on a sub-orbital path to become America's first official space traveler. The disappointing part of the affair, for U.S. space enthusiasts, was the flight of Yuri A. Gagarin of the Soviet Union, who had completed one orbit around the Earth on 12 April. Round two of the space race went to the USSR.43

Wallops' role in Mercury did not end with the last flight of the Little Joe, however. Early in the planning process NASA realized that communications with a piloted vehicle represented a greater technical challenge than did communications with an automated satellite. Monitoring the pilot and the sophisticated craft during the experimental program necessitated high data transmission rates and nearly continuous contact. In 1956 construction had begun on the "Minitrack" network of tracking and data reception stations to support the Vanguard project. Though this network came to NASA with the rest of Vanguard, the limited range of operations and the restricted volume of data they could process made them unsuitable for Mercury.44 The task of [62] coordinating the development of a system capable of supporting the piloted flights fell on Edmund Buckley. In 1959 he commenced to work, first at Langley where he headed the Tracking and Ground Instrumentation Unit (TAGIU, a Langley group separate from the Space Task Group), an then from Headquarters as an Assistant Director in Silverstein's Office.45

Like many of facets of the space program, the design, construction, and operation of the "Manned Space Flight Tracking Network" (MSFN) departed from previous NACA practice and relied heavily on contractors. Engineers from Western Electric, Bendix, RCA, IBM, and others, worked with experts from Goddard and Langley to prepare the network.46 The desire to beat the Russians to the punch did not leave NASA time to effect a slow build-up of capabilities and equipment from within, and the avowed civilian nature of the program precluded excessive military involvement. NASA needed help fast and turned to the private sector to obtain it.47

Additionally, the need for frequent ground to space contact dictated that NASA make arrangements for a global network that included specially equipped ships, and stations located on foreign soil. While most of the eleven Minitrack stations were situated outside the U.S., only one operated outside the Western Hemisphere. Placement of most of them along a rough "fence" running north to south provided contact with an orbiting satellite at least once each orbit so that the spacecraft could downlink information or receive instructions.48 Mercury required a network encircling the globe in an equatorial fashion. Ships could cover open stretches of ocean, but NASA began negotiations with foreign governments to obtain permission to locate land stations where required. An important aspect of these negotiations rested on the civilian nature of NASA and Project Mercury. Many countries could not politically accept U.S. military bases on their soil. If the proposed NASA tracking stations were perceived to carry a military stigma, the negotiations would have rapidly broken down.

These departures from previous custom affected Wallops in several ways once the decision was made to locate the prototype Manual SpaceFlight Network station at the island. Buckley needed a place where research, development, and testing of the new systems could be performed. With Goddard still under construction, TAGIU at Langley, and a wealth of radar and telemetry experience and equipment already in place at Wallops, the base offered a convenient site for the "Evaluation/Training" facility. It also provided a place where visiting diplomats could observe the type of equipment and operations being discussed, and a politically safe location to train foreign personnel while allowing NASA to emphasize the civilian and scientific character of the program.49 This decision brought a steady increase in the population of research contractors working at the base, and brought in foreign nationals who came to inspect and learn how to operate the equipment to be used in their countries.50 It also resulted in Wallops' assumption of responsibility for a facility outside its own fences.

[63] In March 1959 NASA received a request from Collins Radio Company to establish a communications link between Wallops and Bermuda.51 Buckley, Krieger, and the other Wallops planners recognized that the increased range of the vehicles launched from the island, created a need for a tracking facility beyond the bounds of the existing installation. Scout, particularly, would require a downrange station as orbital insertion of the vehicle's payload would occur some distance away. In May 1959 NASA justified the Bermuda Station before Congress by pointing out that it would be used for both Mercury flights from the Cape, and Scout flights from Wallops.52 On 13 November James F. McNulty of the STG was "authorized to proceed to Bermuda to initiate and supervise the construction of the Project Mercury station," to be built by Western Electric.53

Operational responsibility for the tracking station had yet to be decided upon, however. Buckley suggested either operating the facility with civil servants or contractors reporting to Krieger; contractors reporting to Walter Williams at Headquarters; or, "of course, the undesirable [option] of the contractor reporting to General Yates [Maj. Gen. Donald N., AMR Commander].... We have to decide it quickly to prevent Yates or someone else deciding it for us and also because the training of a few members of these crews start in the near future.... I don't think we ought to wait on this."54 NASA, still engaged in fighting for a niche in the federal bureaucracy, definitely wanted to limit military encroachment on its operations.55 The agreement reached in a meeting with Assistant Director Hartley A. Soule at Headquarters allowed Western Electric to operate the station under Wallops' supervision until 30 June 1961, when the situation would be re-evaluated.56 With a full flight schedule of his own to deal with, Krieger could not afford to dispatch scarce personnel to operate the station directly. The personnel involved with the MSFN Evaluation / Training facility at Wallops, it should be noted, did not report to Krieger. Instead, they reported to TAGIU, first at Langley, later at Goddard. Administering the contract and supplying flight controllers for non-Mercury launches constituted as much as Krieger could handle with his limited personnel budget.57

As the pace of several projects accelerated, the work-force shortage became more acute. In July 1960 a proposal surfaced to move the Blossom Point Minitrack Station from Maryland to Wallops.58 The proposal was made despite a trip to Wallops, at which, "A discussion was held on the Wallops manpower situation. Apparently not only is there a serious shortage of personnel space, but there is also a severe limit on overtime. It was stated that Wallops had no idea how to man the NASA radar [Spandar], although a contract for this to an industrial organization was being considered. Also the amount of support from Langley IRD was in question. Wallops would like more IRD support, while Langley may tend to concentrate on only those Wallops projects that are of direct interest to IRD."59 In spite of the need, after reviewing NASA's budget request for fiscal year 1961, Thomas' [64] Subcommittee, "denied salaries for 373 of the requested 962 new employees .... The majority of the increase in staff being requested in 1961 is required for the Goddard center and the Wallops station, where the impact of new and expanding duties and responsibilities is most urgently felt."60

Wallops complement did increase during this period (see appendix 3), but the commensurate increase in work-load stressed the Station's capabilities. In a communication to Shortal, Krieger related the situation during the summer of 1960: "Of course the trouble is that you guys, with a 3,000-man organization behind you, can put together a three-shift operation when you want to, whereas Wallops simply does not have, for instance, three shifts of radar people. As a result, on anything like Scout when your people need radiation checks or telemetry checks, or command-destruct checks at 11 o'clock at night and 2 o'clock in the morning, and start wind weighting at noon the next day to fire at 7 o'clock the following night, it means that my radar people do not have time between these various functions to go home and get a reasonable amount of sleep and get back. Although they may work only a matter of five or six hours out of 24, they cannot manage to get home for a period of 24 hours or more sometimes. The best we have been able to do so far to solve this problem is to put beds around the various places on the island and encourage our people during these two or three hour breaks to go climb in bed and get as much sleep as they can. This is not a solution at all, of course, but until I get more people and get some of them trained, I do not see how we can do any better.''61

One labor problem Wallops mostly evaded centered on the difficulties experienced by other NASA, and Air Force, launch facilities with work stoppages. Strikes hampered construction efforts at operational missile bases as well as at test ranges. These job actions resulted in delays so severe that the Senate convened hearings on the issue. The Air Force estimated that by March 1961, 195 strikes at their 19 operational sites caused the loss of 50,500 worker-days, and 132 strikes at the three test sites lost 112,322 worker-days.62 "Work stoppages in connection with organizational efforts and negotiations for new collective bargaining agreements account for more than half of the total man-days lost. A large portion of this occurred at Patrick [Cape Canaveral]. Jurisdictional disputes of all kinds are the second most important cause, accounting for more than a fourth of the total."63 A June 1961 NASA staff meeting reported that, "The President has issued an executive order establishing an 11-man commission ... to deal with labor disputes at the three launch facilities, AMR, PMR, and Wallops. The Commission will have persuasive authority only, but the executive order has the effect of enforced arbitration."64

Despite this reference to Wallops, there seems to be no evidence of labor problems of this nature at the Station. The only strike at Wallops noted during this era involved a three-day walkout by the security guards starting on 28 August 1963, for higher wages. After Wallops administrators explained that [65] the contract for security services was let after a competitive bid (a bid over which they had no control), the strike ended.65 The small size of the expansion of the facilities at the base, relative to the massive build-up at other sites, mitigated many of the factors causing the strife. The slow economy of the Eastern Shore also made striking an unattractive option.66

Generally speaking, relations with both research and maintenance contractors seem to have been smooth. "Once we got into the mode of contracting for these services, they became a part of our team and we just sort of thought of them as Wallops employees.... They were local people and friends, ...."67 To comply with federal regulations prohibiting "fraternization" between civil servants and contract personnel, separate jobs and facilities were supposed to be provided. Wallops had neither the time nor the resources to always comply with this though. "We brought the contractors in and they were assimilated with the civil servants, and we caught the devil for that several times along the way. So every now and then we'd have to isolate the contractor and give him a radar to operate."68 "Until they got really formal with the [Inspector General] and we had to sort of abide by the rules, we were lax on that."69 Efficient accomplishment of urgent tasks called for bending the rules.

The lack of problems with organized labor was fortunate, as the pace of action did not slow as Mercury testing gave way to the operational phase of that program. While the Mercury effort focused on support for the tracking network, after the final Little Joe tests research work at the base reverted to an emphasis on sounding rockets. Programs like Scout and Trailblazer mover to the forefront of the agenda. In October 1960, Preflight Jet, inactive since February, was formally deactivated, its personnel having already been reassigned. Several new tunnels coming on line at Langley rendered the unit surplus and obsolete.70 At the same time the Helium Gun, in storage for "several years," also went. Useful for transonic tests, the needs the hypersonic and space programs exceeded its ageing capabilities.71

As if the hectic pace of activities was not enough to try the endurance of the Wallops personnel, Mother Nature contributed more excitement. In mid-September 1961 the approach of Hurricane Ester compelled Krieger to report, "Now battening down station.... Will keep you informed if we can."72 Though Ester missed the island, many local residents evacuated to the safety of the main base. Krieger noted afterward, "Handling more than 2400 refugees in 755 automobiles very interesting exercise. Seems any town has certain number of aged, sick, pregnant, and otherwise incapacitated citizens requiring doctor's care. Ended up operating 26-bed hospital complete with doctor, six nurses, etc. No births, deaths, or injuries to report." The Station itself escaped with only minor damage.73 The previous December, Technical Services Division Chief William Grant had organized a Damaged Control Branch in his division. This Branch prepared contingency plans and a team to deal with potential catastrophic emergencies.74 Planning of this nature [66] undoubtedly facilitated readying for, and recovering from, the hurricane. Ester proved to be only a dress rehearsal, however. On 7 March 1962 (Ash Wednesday) a severe winter storm pounded the East Coast, flooding Wallops and Chincoteague Islands. The Main Base again played host to numerous refugees. Far enough removed from the coast to escape the sea's assault, the old Navy base provided a haven where relief efforts could begin. The magnitude of the storm was such that, for the first few days, the NASA personnel were on their own in the humanitarian work. One remembered it "as the time 5000 people came to dinner, and went home two weeks later."75 The leaders at Wallops divvied-up their responsibilities: Grant oversaw damage control efforts on the island; Robbins saw to the needs of the civilian population; and Krieger coordinated contacts with local political leaders and NASA.

The task of providing for the refugees called for fast action on Robbins' part. After contacting the Red Cross and the Army, he set his staff to registering everyone who came off the helicopters that were evacuating Chincoteague, "so we could catalog who was here and who wasn't here." Feeding several thousand people in a cafeteria facility designed for only a few hundred also provided a challenge.76 "Joe Robbins went out and started telling these companies to bring us food. We didn't know where we were going to get the money to pay, but we'll pay you. We had no authority to do it from Headquarters. We got authority after the fact."77 By providing a centralized location for the effort, and "taking charge," the Wallops personnel kept a bad situation from deteriorating into a total disaster.78

The damage to the launch facility was heavy, but could have been worse. The storm breached the recently authorized, but incomplete, section of the seawall, flooding the island. The older section of the seawall had been stressed to the limit. The Ground Blast Apparatus was damaged so severely Langley decided not to rebuild it. The storm also completely destroyed Goddard's DOVAP radar facility, "including the steel mat approach road."79 Sand clogged the underground infrastructure and lay several feet deep on the launch pads. Equipment and electronics had been thoroughly immersed in salt water, and several buildings sustained structural damage, including one housing a number of rocket motors.80

Many installations escaped with only minor damage, though. Grant's team began cleaning equipment and digging out. The Scout complex, only slightly battered, was repaired quickly enough so that the launch of Scout 9 took place on 29 March, only three weeks after the storm. Similarly, most of the Station soon returned to normal operation.81 An immediate transfer of funds into "Project 3512," provided $1 million to initiate repairs at the Station. An additional million was required to complete the repairs, add to the seawall, and replace equipment that failed prematurely due to exposure to the elements.82 For their efforts after the storm, the staff of Wallops Station received a NASA Group Achievement Award.83

[67] As the operations at Wallops began to recover from the effects of the Ash Wednesday Storm, decisions involving the post-Mercury direction of the piloted spaceflight program, began to affect the base. President Eisenhower had not authorized any piloted program to succeed Mercury, but after Gagarin's flight dashed American hopes of putting a human in space first, something more substantial became necessary. The new Kennedy Administration, picking up the pieces of the Bay-of-Pigs fiasco, turned to NASA to reassure nervous allies and demonstrate Yankee competence to critics foreign and domestic. The chosen course of action was a highly publicized goal to send an American expedition to the moon before the end of the decade. NASA rose to the challenge by elevating its lunar plans from a low-priority, futuristic aspiration to the high-priority Project Apollo.84

After President Kennedy's decision to expand the piloted program into a major national effort, NASA implemented plans to establish a field center dedicated to human operations in space. The Mercury team worked at Langley, reported to Goddard, and operated as a semi-autonomous organization within NASA, largely independent of any existing field center. Since aeronautics, Langley's specialty; space science, Goddard's responsibility; and piloted space flight all presented differing and unique problems, Headquarters felt that a field center devoted to the latter would minimize interference and facilitate oversight. Located in Houston, the Manned Spacecraft Center provided Gilruth and company a place to call home.85

Detailed planning for the complex lunar endeavor could not begin in earnest until Mercury answered some basic questions. Indeed, it soon became apparent that an intermediary program would be required prior to any attempt to reach the moon; thus came Mercury Mark II, or Project Gemini. Certain general aspects of Apollo were immediately evident, however, and some of them related to the role Wallops would play in the mission. A piloted lunar mission entailed the launch of large payloads. This meant large, liquid-fueled boosters beyond the capabilities planned for Wallops. While plans existed for the development of large, solid-fueled boosters (larger even than the current Space Shuttle's solid boosters) these plans operated under Air Force auspices until late 1963. NASA concentrated primarily on the liquid-fueled systems familiar to most of its people in the interest of saving time. Any decision to utilize large launchers of either stripe from Wallops would have required an additional expansion of facilities that a cost-conscious Congress, adamant about avoiding duplication of facilities, would not have funded.86 More importantly, Wallops suffered from the physics of its geographic location. Apollo required a launch site within 28.5 degrees of the Earth's equator. Cape Canaveral barely satisfied this requirement; Wallops, situated just shy of 38 degrees north, simply sat too far out of range to launch a piloted lunar mission.87

But what of Apollo research and development? Even though no astronauts ascended into orbit from Wallops during Mercury, the base unquestionably [68] played a valuable role in testing hardware and training support personnel. The more advanced Apollo hardware would obviously require testing no less rigorous and thorough, while new techniques were needed for the ambitious lunar mission. Plans coalesced and in the Spring of 1962 NASA announced that Apollo equipment testing and evaluation would take place, not at Wallops, but at the Army missile range at White Sands, New Mexico.88 At first, one wonders why NASA eschewed using facilities totally under its own control, or why Congress permitted such an apparent duplication. Why not modify and reuse the Little Joe equipment and employ the experienced personnel at Wallops instead of constructing new facilities and training new people at White Sands?

As with most decisions of this type, several factors played a role. The first involved the desire by many, both inside and outside NASA, to change spacecraft recovery modes from the splashdown of Mercury's water landings to a touchdown on dry land for Apollo. A splashdown utilizing a large, expensive naval fleet and the danger of losing a small spacecraft in the vast ocean was deemed a necessary evil for Mercury because of the relative ease of designing a capsule capable of providing a survivable water landing, and the wide margin for targeting error contained in those miles of empty ocean. Political pressures left insufficient time to overcome the engineering and navigational problems associated with a dry touchdown; Mercury had to fly, and quickly, so mission planners went with a water-based recovery mode.

The Soviet Vostok capsules, however, came down on dry land. This gave the Russian hardware an aura of technical superiority, and provided ammunition for NASA's critics. If part of NASA's job consisted of advancing astronautics the way the NACA advanced aeronautics, then Apollo better be able to land in Kansas; especially since the need to best the Soviets propelled the program.89

The sight of all those recovery ships did not sit well with Congress, and the vision of an Apollo capsule laden with precious moonrocks, and possibly moonwalkers, going the way of Gus Grissom's sunken Liberty Bell 7 sat even less well with NASA planners. Many techniques were proposed to provide a safe touchdown, from an inflatable paraglider to retro-rockets that would fire just prior to landing. One factor common to all these schemes was the need for open land in which to conduct tests. Wallops provided access to lots of salt water, but little open land.90

The other major factor in choosing White Sands lay with the relocation of Gilruth's team. Moving the STG to Houston simply made it more convenient and cost-effective to use the facilities in New Mexico instead of traveling to the Eastern Shore to conduct tests. White Sands, opened by the Army in 1945, conducted sounding rocket firings and provided the Army with the same general capability that Wallops provided the NACA and NASA. Additionally, most of the major Apollo contractors were located either in California or Louisiana, and White Sands would be more accessible to them as well.91

[69] Unlike the Mercury spacecraft, Apollo needed a significant orbital maneuvering capability, requiring new test apparatus. These liquid-fueled engines and thrusters, especially the Service Module engine, remained out of Wallops purview. The final determinant came when wind tunnel tests at Langley indicated that the proposed Apollo Command Module and Launch Escape Tower combination would be aerodynamically unstable if flown on the Little Joe booster. A newly designed, somewhat larger booster designated "Little Joe II" met the test criteria, leaving the original Little Joe facilities at Wallops unusable without extensive modifications. Little Joe had come off the drawing boards at Langley, but most of its designers, hard at work on the Little Joe II, now labored in Houston. The combination of geographic locations, new designs, and desire for both a consolidated test facility and for solid ground for test articles to land upon, eliminated Wallops from the site selection process.92

Testing of flight hardware at Wallops for Project Gemini was limited to experiments relating to the flexible-wing landing concept. Designed by Francis M. Rogallo of Langley, and considered a prime contender for both Gemini and Apollo touchdown systems, the device resembled a modern hang-glider. A short series of launches from Wallops in late-1959 tested basic features of the system. These flights proved that a folded pare-glider could successfully be ejected from a canister and deployed at supersonic speeds. Most testing of the "Rogallo Wing" occurred in wind tunnels and at the Flight Research Center (the old HSFS), where rudimentary piloted tests flew. Technical difficulties with the system, and serious cost increases in Project Gemini as a whole, led to the adoption of conventional parachutes to recover the new spacecraft.93

While flight hardware testing for the piloted program waned, operations at the MSFN Evaluation/Training facility resumed. Gemini called for orbital mission durations of up to fourteen days, the expected length of a lunar mission, and several new tracking and data relay stations were required to cover this increased time on orbit. Five new land bases and two new shipboard stations came on line to augment the former Mercury network, and replace two that went out of service.94 The Wallops facility, deactivated in December 1960, was reactivated the following July and evaluated improved instrumentation and trained new crews.

Preparing the facility for the new program proceeded in two stages. First, new classrooms were built to accommodate more students, and new courses reflected the improved equipment and the experience garnered from Mercury. Secondly, the updated instruments were installed and tested. Operation of the facility continued throughout the retrofit period, and both phases of the upgrade were largely complete by November 1963.95

In the Fall of 1961 the Tracking and Ground Instrumentation Unit moved from Langley to Goddard. Headquarters felt that consolidation of two of NASA's three tracking networks at one center would promote economy and [70] efficiency. Goddard, already home for the unpiloted satellite network, seemed a logical place to host the consolidation, more so than the aeronautically oriented Langley.96 In 1964 NASA carried the consolidation one step further. "With the advent of the Apollo Program, it is apparent that the training area, established for the Mercury-Gemini programs, will be unable to cope with the increased demand of the more advanced program and its new equipments."97 Therefore, NASA sought $356,000 to relocate the facility to Goddard. Harry Goett, Director of Goddard, explained to Albert Thomas, "In order to train the crews that go out to the worldwide stations, we send them down initially to Wallops and train them there in the operation before they go out. We figure that there will be a considerable cost saving if we move them nearer to Goddard."98

The completion of construction at Goddard made it feasible to take the training center there, and despite the improvement in conditions around the Delmarva, the infrastructure around Wallops remained limited. Trainees sent to Wallops for "Gemini Phase I Training," had to reserve rooms at the Lord Salisbury Motel, over forty miles away. Tourists filled the local motels, and "other NASA commitments," filled quarters on the base itself.99 So, just as most piloted space flight testing left Wallops when the STG left Langley for Houston, the major portion of the Island's participation in the MSFN left when TAGIU moved to Goddard.100

After relocation of the training facility Wallops' relation to the piloted space flight program became one of occasional support. Tracking facilities at the range assisted in tracking Saturn I - Pegasus, and Saturn V test launches. Scout flights supported Apollo heat-shield materials testing.101 Helicopters performed a series of model drops to test the possibility of using pare-gliders to recover lifting bodies, a support for early Space Shuttle research.102 Wallops personnel would travel to other facilities to assist with piloted shots.103 As the piloted programs and the space flight centers matured, however, tasks that once came to Wallops by necessity and convenience, went to more specialized installations. The result was a certain increase in specialization at Wallops. The program became more focused on the conduct of economical space science, with occasional forays into aeronautical research. Legacies of Project Mercury: contractors, public relations, and foreign researchers, did not wane with the piloted programs at the Station, though. These influences grew stronger as Wallops moved through the final phase of the transition era, the phase that saw the base move from simply carrying out the programs of others to planning some of their own.

 


[
71-77] NOTES

1. McDougall, 202.

2. Ibid., 200.

3. Richard P. Hallion, "The Antecedents of the Space Shuttle," in History of Rocketry and Astronautics, vol. 10, of the American Astronautical Society History Series, ed. A. Ingemar Skoog, (San Diego: A.A.S., 1990), 228-31. See also, Hansen, 350.

4. William E. Burrows, "Securing the High Ground," Air and Space / Smithsonian (December 1993/January 1994): 64-69.

5. Hallion, On the Frontier, 106-29. Systems needed in space that were tested on the X-15 included: reaction control jets, heat resistant materials, and a pilot pressure suit.

6. Gilruth, "Memoir," 463-67; Hansen, 377-81. The X-15 follow-on, known as Project HYWARDS, was an Air Force proposal that NACA personnel studied.

7. Hansen, 349-50; Shortal, 675-7. Allen perceived that a blunt shape moving rapidly through the air would create a shock wave that would keep much of the generated heat away from the nose-cone.

8. Langley PARD, "A Proposed Simple Means for Manned Space-Flight Research," 24 January 1958, in folder "January - May 58," in Wallops box #4. Shortal credited PARD's Max Faget and Paul Purser with this "scheme," page 650.

9. Hansen, 377-81, The paper Faget read was co-authored by Benjamin J. Garland and James J. Buglia.

10. Ibid.

11. Gilruth, 465-67.

12. Ibid., 467; Data Book II,102.

13. Shortal, 437. Recall that, at the time, Shortal, PARD Chief, was Faget's boss.

14. Gilruth, 469; Data Book II, 98-99.

15. Ezell, Data Book II, 102n lists the Langley members of the STG by their prior affiliation.

16. NACA-Langley, "Facilities required for the development and test of manned space vehicles," undated, in folder "Preliminary Space Expansion Notes," FLT Papers. Quote is from "Summary" on page 8.

17. "Robbing," OHI, Tape 1b: 50-80. Shortal, 646.

18. Shortal, 637-38, 643-46.

19. Ibid., 643-46. The drogue parachute was small, designed to stabilize the spacecraft rather than slow it. It also served to extract the larger main parachute from storage.

20. Ibid., 638, 660.

21. Ibid., 636, 647. "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape 1b: 560.

22. Memorandum from the Administrator, T. Keith Glennan, 26 January 1959, in folder 3390 "Goddard Space Flight Center," in file tray "Administrators, Glennan," in NHO. See also: "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape 1b: 560.

23. Shortal, 647-49.

24. Langley PARD, "Proposed Simple Means," as cited in note 8; Data Book II, 48-9; Shortal, 647-9.

25. Shortal, 199-200; "Robbing," OHI, Tape 1b: 20-80.

26. Shortal, 656; "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape 2a: 50.

27. Shortal, 647.

28. "Milliner," OHI, Tape la: 84. In mid-1957, the NACA received a request from the publication Missiles and Rockets for information pertaining to solid-fueled motors. Headquarters forwarded the request where H. Lee Dickinson, the "Employee Relations Officer," was directed to deal with it. Memorandum with enclosures, H. Lee Dickinson to Walter T. Bonny, 28 June 1957, in folder "Wallops and Related Materials," MA Collection.

29. "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape 2b: 450, speaker is Marvin McGoogan. A bore-sighted camera was designed to be mounted on the radar and aligned with the radar's dish so that controllers could see what they were tracking. McGoogan stated that the partial failure of the first Scout might have been averted if trackers could have seen that their radar readings were in error.

30. National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, sec. 203a, 3.

31. Letter, Lionel R. Booth to John C. Palmer, 19 March 1958; Letter, H. J. E. Reid to Maryland State College, 9 April 1958; both in folder "Special File, March - April 58," in RGA181-1(S). Note that this institution is now the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

32. Letter, Thomas S. Combs to Director, Langley Research Center, 25 August 1959, in folder "Special File, July - August 59," in RGA181-1 (S). See also: U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Appropriations, Supplemental NASA Appropriation for 1960, Hearings before a House subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, 86th Cong., 2nd sess., 6002-OlH, 16.

33. Memorandum, NASA Headquarters to Langley Research Center, 17 April 1959, in folder "Wallops, January - June 46 [sic]" in RGA181-1(C).

34. Minutes of Administrator's Staff Meeting of 30 June 1959, page 3 and annex 2, in binder "December 58 - June 59," in Staff Meetings box, NHO.

35. Supplemental NASA Appropriation for 1960,16-17, as cited in note 32 above.

36. Memorandum from the Administrator, T. Keith Glennan, 10 March 1960, loose in binder "NASA Staff Conference, Monterey, CA., 3-5 March 1960," in box "NASA Staff Conferences," in NHO. It is interesting to note, that even after this admonition, during the Administrator's staff meeting of 3 November 1960, "The problem of scheduling launches in a highly charged political climate was discussed. Flight dates during this period, as at all other times, will of course be governed by technical considerations only." Minutes of Administrator's Staff Meeting of 3 November 1960,2, in book #1, in box "Administrator's Staff Meeting Minutes, October 60 - June 61," in NHO.

37. "Milliner," OHI, Tape 1B: 120. NASA Wallops News Release, "Wallops Station Contract Awards During November," 3 December 1962, lists a contract for bleachers with Evans Construction Company in the amount of $26,400; in file tray "Wallops Flight Facility (cont.)," in NHO.

38. Ibid., Tape la: 350. The incident occurred in the late-60's or early 70's, but accurately reflects the situation at Wallops throughout the era. See also: "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape la: 140, for low level of security at the base.

39. "Robbing," OHI, Tape la: 535.

40. Memorandum, Robert L. Krieger to Staff, 14 April 1960 in folder "Special File, January - April 60," in RGA181-1(S).

41. Memorandum, Robert L. Krieger to Staff, 7 June 1960, in folder "Wallops, January-June 60," in RGA181-1(C).

42. "Milliner," OHI, Tape 1b: 120; "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape 2a: 25-50. For technical details of these flights see, Shortal, 656-9.

43. McDougall, 243. See also: Data Book II, 139-43 for tables 2-28 and 2-29.

44. Data Book II, 534-38; Rosholt, 45.

45. Data Book II, 521-24.

46. Ibid., 546-47. Old ways die hard, though. In February 1959 John Crowley sent a memo to Floyd Thompson at Langley: "It is suggested that Langley make use, wherever practical, of the personnel and facilities of the Pacific Missile Range, the White Sands Missile Range, Eglin Gulf Test Range, and the Atlantic Missile Range." Notice that he apparently felt it unnecessary to suggest using Wallops. Memorandum, John W. Crowley to Floyd L. Thompson, 20 February 1959, in folder "January - May 59," in Wallops box #4.

47. McCurdy, 34-40, 134-36; McDougall, 200; Rosholt, 156.

48. Data Book II, 534-36, 540. The 11 Minitrack stations included 3 in the U.S. (Blossom Pt., MD., Ft. Stewart, GA., San Diego, CA.); 3 Caribbean sites (Antigua, Grand Turk, Havana); 4 in South America (Anzofagasta and Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Quito, Ecuador); and 1 in Woomera, Australia.

49. U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, NASA Authorization for 1965, Hearings before a House subcommittee of the Committee on Science and Astronautics on H.R. 9641, 88th Cong. 2nd sess., 6402-18H, part 4, p. 2129. See also: Data Book II, 546. For the influence of foreign observers see: Memorandum, Edmund C. Buckley for the Record, 5 July 1960, in "Chron. File, July - December 60," in NASA HQ box #1. This memo describes the fourth meeting of "The Mexican - U.S. Commission for Space Tracking Observations - Project Mercury." On 27-30 June 1960, the Commission met at Wallops, toured the base, and viewed the equipment. Buckley was Chairman of the U.S. section of the Commission. See also: Letter, Edmund C. Buckley to General Antonio Perez-Marin, 14 December 1962, in "Chron. File, January - December 1962," in the same box. This letter describes the arrangements to be made for the training of Spanish personnel for the tracking station at Las Palmas (Grand Canary Island). That NASA could cooperate with Francisco Franco's government without drawing severe Congressional fire is probably a testament to the perceived importance of the space program.

50. "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape 2a: 545, notes that the influx of contractors was not abrupt. For foreign nationals see: U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, NASA Authorization for 1964, Hearings before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics on H.R. 5466, 88th Cong. 1st sess., 630312H, part 4, 2845. It should be noted that many of the foreign stations were operated by contract to Bendix, while employing local people.

51. Letter, Robert C. Miedke to G. B. Graves, 12 March 1959, in folder "Special File, January - March 59," in RGA181-1(S).

52. U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, NASA Authorization for 1960, Hearings before a Senate subcommittee of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences on S. 1582 and H.R. 7007, 86th Cong. 1st sess., 5905 21S, 787.

53. Letter, E. C. Buckley to J. F. McNulty, 13 November 1959, in "Chron. File, January-June 1960," in NASA HQ box #1. This directive reminds McNulty that NASA's agreement with the Bermuda Government remained informal, and thus he was to keep a low profile while there and avoid the press, until a formal agreement could be signed.

54. Memorandum, E. C. Buckley for E B. Smith, 16 November 1959, Ibid.; Walter Williams was STG's Associate Director for Operations at this time.

55. Arnold S. Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era (Washington, D.C.: NASA, 1982), 211-37, for NASA- military relations.

56. Memorandum, Robert L. Krieger for Wallops Station Files, 15 March 1960; Memorandum, Hartley A. Soule for Files, 23 March 1960; both in folder "Special Files, January - April 60," in RGA181-1(S).

57. Ibid.; Data Book II, 545-47.

58. Memorandum, Robert D. Briskman for Assistant Director, Space Flight Operations, 13 July 1960, in "Chron. File, July - December, 1960," in NASA HQ box #1. The Blossom Point Minitrack Station was the prototype facility

59. Memorandum, Robert D. Briskman for the Record, 13 July 1960, Ibid. Quote is on page 2. Notice that Briskman was also the person recommending placing the Blossom Point Station at Wallops, even after seeing the situation firsthand. The Minitrack station eventually moved to Goddard.

60. U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Appropriations, Independent Offices Appropriations for 1961, Hearings before a Senate subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations on H.R. 11776, 86th Cong, 2nd sess., 6005-16S, 238.

61. Letter, Bob Krieger to Joe Shortal, undated, attached to Memorandum, C. C. Shufflebarger for Associate Director, 1 August 1960, in folder "Wallops, July - August 60," in RGA181-1(C).

62. U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Government Operations, Work Stoppages at Missile Bases, Hearings before a Senate subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations pursuant to Senate Resolution 69, 87th Cong.1st sess., 610425S, part 1, 12. The three test sites, Patrick, Vandenberg, and Edwards Air Force Bases, all hosted NASA operations.

63. Ibid., 13 for quote, 250-51 for statistics.

64. Minutes of Administrator's Staff Meeting, 1 June 1961, p. 1, in book #2, in box "Administrator's Staff Meeting Minutes, October 60 - June 61," in NHO. One of the alleged reasons for the strikes was dissatisfaction with the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 that established guidelines for compensation of labor used in government construction projects. While a review of the Act, conducted in 1963, concluded that the Act, "is badly in need of a general overhaul and updating," it also stated that "the allegation that the Davis-Bacon Act was the cause of work stoppages ... at missile bases, [was] not generally substantiated by other testimony received." Perhaps. Two years later, however, "Wallops Island is still concerned about labor rates under the Davis-Bacon Act and the classification of employees working on Wallops Island contracts." For the D-B Act see: U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Education and Labor, Administration of the Davis-Bacon Act, Hearings before a House general subcommittee of the Committee on Education and Labor, 88th Cong. 1st sess., 6306-OOH, 13. For Wallops' concern see: Memorandum, J. B. Sollohub for File, 5 February 1965, in folder "Special File, January - May 65," in RGA181-1(S); quote is on page 3.

65. NASA Historical Staff, Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1963 (Washington, D.C.: NASA, 1964), 325 (this annual chronology is hereafter cited in the form "A&A, date"); "Robbing," OHI, Tape 1b: 150. It is interesting to note that the company listed in Wallops' telephone directories during 1962 and 63 (Plant Security Inc.) as providing guard services, was replaced in the 1964 directory by a new entry (Metropolitan Security Services, Inc.), at the 2-319 phone number. Telephone directories are in box "Center Telephone Books; Stennis Space Center (1990 - ); Wallops Flight Center (1962 - 1979)," in NHO. See also: "Floyd," OHI, Tape la: 450.

66. "Robbing," OHI, Tape 1b: 160-200, for Wallops' relative size in NASA. "Milliner," OHI, Tape la: 360, for economic conditions on the Eastern Shore.

67. "Milliner," OHI, Tape ] b: 152. It should be noted that contractors were classed as either "service" contractors, providing operational services (such as security or grounds maintenance); or "research" contractors, fulfilling program contracts for various segments of NASA (such as operating a radar). This distinction was emphasized during the course of each oral interview.

68. "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape 2a: 545.

69. "Milliner," OHI, Tape 1b: 152.

70. Memorandum, Robert L. Krieger to Langley, 6 October 1960; Memorandum, Floyd L. Thompson to Wallops, 1 November 1960, both in folder "Wallops, September - November 61," in RGA181-1(C), (note that they are misfiled). For tunnels coming on line at Langley during this time see Data Book I, 356-7. The deactivation of Preflight Jet at this time is somewhat ironic in view of a strongly worded memo written by Krieger in August 1957 in response to a "ridiculous" proposal to relocate the wind tunnel to Langley. Memorandum, Robert L. Krieger for Associate Director, Langley, 6 August 1957, in folder "Wallops, January 55 - February 58," in RGA181-1(C).

71. Memorandum, Wallops Station to Langley, 6 October 1960, in folder "Wallops, September - December 60," in RGA181-1(C).

72. Teletype, NASA Wallops Station VA to Langley Research Center - Director, 19 September 1961, in folder "Wallops, September - November 61," in RGA181-1(C).

73. Teletype, NASA Wallops Station VA to NASA HQ - DR Abe Silverstein, 21 September 1961, Ibid. See also: "NASA APR, September 1961," section SFP, 27.4. "The Main Base," or simply "the Base," usually refers to the old Navy base in the lexicon of the Wallops Station.

74. Memorandum, William E. Grant for All Concerned, 16 December 1960, in folder "Wallops, September - December 60," in RGA181-1(C).

75. "Robbing," OHI, Tape 1b: 216-275. Quote is near 220.

76. Ibid.

77. "Milliner," OHI, Tape 1b: 310-80, quote is near 340.

78. Ibid. See also: W. Corlett Galvin, "Report of Storm Damage Suffered by Wallops Island During the Period March 6-9, 1962," p. 3, in "Chron. File, January - December 1962," in NASA HQ box #1.

79. W. Corlett Galvin, "Report," Ibid. Memorandum with attachments, Floyd L. Thompson for NASA - Code RTM, 5 April 1962; Teletype, NASA LRC Langley AFB VA to NASA HQ Wash D C, 11 March 1962, both in folder "Special Files, January - April 62," in RGA181-1(S). Teletype, NASA Wallops Station VA to NASA Headquarters, 12 March 1962, in folder "Wallops, January - March 62," in RGA181-1(C). DOVAP stands for Doppler Velocity And Position. Shortal's work ends prior to the Ash Wednesday Storm, but on page 630 there is a picture of the breached seawall.

80. Memorandum, N. Pozinski for Files, 9 March 1962, in "Chron. File, January - December 62," in NASA HQ box #1.

81. "NASA APR, March 1962," page D 2.4, for Scout 9. "Spinak, et al.," OHI, Tape 1b: 430-75.

82. Memorandum, Edmund C. Buckley to Director, Office of Programs, 15 March 1962; Report, "NASA Project No.3512: Wallops Station, Storm Damage Repairs, undated; Memorandum, W. C. Galvin for Files, 21 March 1962; Report, "Cost Breakdown on Instrumentation Damage at Wallops Island, undated; Memorandum, W. Corlett Galvin for File, 2 May 1962; Memorandum, Edmund C. Buckley for the Associate Administrator, 17 May 1962; Memorandum, W. Corlett Galvin for the Record, 22 May 1962; Letter, Milton E. Stevens to G. S. Brown, 5 April 1962; all in "Chron. File, January - December 1962," in NASA HQ box #1.

83. Memorandum, Edmund C. Buckley for the Associate Administrator, 12 March 1962; Letter, James E. Webb to Robert L. Krieger,13 March 1962; Memorandum, Edmund C. Buckley to the Associate Administrator, 21 March 1962; Memorandum, Robert C. Seamens, Jr. to Patrick Gavin, undated; all in "Chron. File, January - December 62," in NASA HQ box #1. See also: Letter, Robert L. Krieger to Floyd L. Thompson, 2 July 1962, in folder "Special File, May -September 62," in RGA181-1(S); and "Wallops Station Staff To Receive NASA Award," The Salisbury Times, 21 June 1962.

84. John M. Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (Cambridge, MA.: The MIT Press, 1970), 100-30. U.S., President, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, 1953 - ), John F. Kennedy, 1961, pp. 396-406.

85. Rosholt, 213-14; Levine, 19, 33; Data Book I, 390-94.

86. Levine, 227-28 for the advanced solid motor project. This motor measured 21.6 feet in diameter as compared to the Shuttle SRB's 12.1 feet. See also: U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, Development of Large Solid Propellant Boosters, Hearings before n House Special subcommittee of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, 87th Cong. 2nd sess., 6208-08H. No mention of Wallops appears in this record.

87. NACA Report, "Launching Sites for Space," 17 March 1958,1-3, in folder "NACA Committee on Space Technology Working Group Papers," in box "Administrative History, Stever Committee Report 1958 / Minutes," in NHO. See also: James E. Oberg, "Rendezvous in Space," in Air and Space / Smithsonian (August/ September 1993), 44.

88. Courtney G. Brooks, James M. Grimwood, and Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft (Washington, D.C.: NASA, 1979), 9192.

89. Memorandum, Robert F. Freitag to Distribution List, 27 February 1964; Memorandum, Robert F. Freitag to Distribution, 5 March 1964; both in folder 007153 "Land Landing Files," in collection "Project Apollo," in NHO. See also: U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Manned Space Flight Programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, S. Staff Report, 6209-04S. A drawing on page 149 depicts an Apollo capsule touching down on land. In truth, the Vostok capsule could not provide a "survivable" landing. Gagarin and his fellow Vostok cosmonauts left their ships after re-entry and parachuted to Earth separately. For reasons of propaganda and prestige the Soviets could not officially admit this fact, and it took awhile for the nature of the Vostok landing system to become widely known in U.S. policy circles. When the fact did become known, it combined with the unforeseen cost and complexity involved in designing a touchdown system, and the desire not to lose the (perceived) close lunar race over the issue, to quiet demand for the system. Apollo flights, like Mercury and Gemini before them, ended with a splash. James E. Oberg, Red Star in Orbit (New York: Random House, 1981), 54-5; A&A, Z963, 268.

90. Grissom's Mercury capsule sank in the Atlantic after landing when the hatch prematurely jettisoned; Grissom almost went with it. Data Book 11, 144. For alternate landing methods see: Memorandum, Edward Z. Gray to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, 18 August 1964. "Apollo Testing to Begin at White Sands," Aviation Week and Space Technology, 22 July 1963, 281. U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, NASA Authorization for Fiscal Year 1964, Hearings before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, 88th Cong. 1st sess., 6306-12S, 1045-45.

91. Rosholt, 213-14; Levine, 19, 33; Data Book I, 395-97.

92. Ivan D. Ertel and Mary Louise Morse, The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Vol. I, (Washington, D.C.: NASA, 1969), 141. NASA News Release, "Apollo at White Sands, by J. Thomas Markley," 11 September 1962, in folder 007215, in file tray "XII Manned Space Flight: Apollo - Little Joe II," in NHO. Interestingly Wallops had borrowed some equipment for Little Joe from White Sands. See: Letter, R. L. Barber to Commanding General, White Sands, 22 May 1959, in folder ''Special Files, April - June 59," in RGA181-1(S); and Memorandum, E. C. Buckley to Director, Space Flight Programs, 31 October 1960, in "Chron. File, July - December 1960," in NASA HQ box #1.

93. Memorandum, Langley to Wallops, 14 September 1960, in folder "Wallops, September - December 60," in RGA181-1(C). Table, "Chronology of Flexible- Wing Research, NASA-LRC," 8 June 1971, in folder "Flexible-Wing," MA Collection. Shortal, 662-63; Hallion, 137-40.

94. The station at Woomera was moved to Carnarvon, and the Zanzibar station was evacuated after a revolution on the island. Data Book II, 548, 593-94. See also: "Gemini Trackers Training At Wallops Facility," Goddard News, 18 November 1963, 6.

95. Teletype, NASA GSFC Offices to ADE/NASA et al.," 21 November 1963, 2, in folder "Special File, May 63 - February 64," in RGA181-1(S). Memorandum, E. J. Stockwell for the Record, 15 November 1963; Letter. Edmund C. Buckley to General Antonio Perez-Marin, 14 December 1962, both in "Chron. File, January - December 62," in NASA HQ box #1.

96. Data Book II, 547. NASA's third network, the Deep Space Network, was operated from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 1972 the satellite network and the manned space flight network were merged at Goddard.

97. U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, Authorizing Appropriations to NASA, House Report 1240 to accompany H.R. 10456, 88th Cong. 2nd sess., 6403-18H, p. 66.

98. U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Appropriations, Independent Offices Appropriations for 1965, Hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, 88th Cong. 2nd sess., 6404-07H, 1239.

99. Teletype, W G Burton to BDA/STADIR M&O, et al., 11 July 1963, in folder "Wallops, January - June 46 [sic]," in RGA181-1(C).

100. U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, NASA Authorization for 1965, Hearings before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics on H.R. 9641, 88th Cong. 2nd sess., 6402-18H, part 4, 2129.

101. For Saturn I - Pegasus see: U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, NASA Authorization for 1966, Hearings before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics on H.R. 3730, 89th Cong.1st sess., 6502-17H, 203; 255 for Scout. The Saturn I launches also supported Apollo testing, Data Book II, 58. For Saturn V see: "Schedule of Firings," 10 March 1965, in folder "Wallops, January - June 46 [sic]," in RGA181-1(C).

102. Langley Researcher, 31 May 1968, 8; Table "Chronology of Flexible-Wing Research, NASA-LRC," 8 June 1971, in folder "Flexible Wing," in MA Collection.

103. "Milliner," OHI, Tape 1b: 555.


previousindexnext