Encyclopedia Astronautica
McNamara



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McNamara
Credit: NASA
McNamara, Robert S (1916-) American Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson, 1961-1968. Supported offloading manned space to NASA, killed X-20 Dynasoar, Blue Gemini, and SAINT. Created MOL as substitute.

Served as president of the World Bank, 1968-1981. As Secretary of Defense in 1961, McNamara was intimately involved in the process of approving Project Apollo by the Kenned Administration.

Born: 1916.

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Associated Countries
See also
Bibliography
  • Launius, Roger D, NASA Chief Historian, NASA History Office Home Page, Web Address when accessed: here.

McNamara Chronology


1961 October 27 - .
  • Dynasoar accelerated. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Secretary of Defense McNamara announced that progress of the Administration's accelerated defense buildup made unnecessary the use of additional defense funds appropriate by the Congress above the amount requested by the administration. The Congress had voted $514.5 million for additional long-range bombers; $180 million additional for the B-70; and $85.8 million additional for Dyna-Soar.

1961 November 16 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Second decision on launch vehicles - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun; McNamara; Webb. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Golovin Committe studies launch vehicles through summer, but found the issue to be completely entertwined with mode (earth-orbit, lunar-orbit, lunar-surface rendezvous or direct flight. Two factions: large solids for direct flight; all-chemical with 4 or 5 F-1's in first stage for rendezvous options. In the end Webb and McNamara ordered development of C-4 and as a backup, in case of failure of F-1 in development, build of 6.1 m+ solid rocket motors by USAF.

1961 December 5 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan.
  • Recommendation that the weapon system of the Titan II, with minimal modifications, be approved for the Mercury Mark II rendezvous mission. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. Spacecraft: Gemini. On the basis of a report of the Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Associate Administrator, and John H. Rubel, Department of Defense Deputy Director for Defense Research and Engineering, recommended to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara that the weapon system of the Titan II, with minimal modifications, be approved for the Mercury Mark II rendezvous mission. The planning group had first met in August 1961 to survey the Nation's launch vehicle program and was recalled in November to consider Titan II, Titan II-1/2, and Titan III. On November 16, McNamara and NASA Administrator James E. Webb had also begun discussing the use of Titan II.

1961 December 7 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • DOD/NASA coordination for Mercury Mark II - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara; Seamans; Webb. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and DOD Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering John H. Rubel recommended to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and NASA Administrator James E. Webb that detailed arrangements for support of the Mercury Mark II spacecraft and the Atlas-Agena vehicle used in rendezvous experiments be planned directly between NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight and the Air Force and other DOD organizations. NASA's primary responsibilities would be the overall management and direction for the Mercury Mark II/ Agena rendezvous development and experiments. The Air Force responsibilities would include acting as NASA contractor for the Titan II launch vehicle and for the Atlas-Agena vehicle to be used in rendezvous experiments. DOD's responsibilities would include assistance in the provision and selection of astronauts and the provision of launch, range, and recovery support, as required by NASA.

1961 December 7 - . LV Family: Atlas; Titan.
  • Recommendations to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara on the division of effort between NASA and DOD in the Mark II program. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and John H. Rubel, Department of Defense (DOD) Deputy Director for Defense Research and Engineering, offered recommendations to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara on the division of effort between NASA and DOD in the Mark II program. They stressed NASA's primary responsibility for managing and directing the program, although attaining the program objectives would be facilitated by using DOD (especially Air Force) resources in a contractor relation to NASA. In addition, DOD personnel would aquire useful experience in manned spaceflight design, development, and operations. Space Systems Division of Air Force Systems Command became NASA's contractor for developing, procuring, and launching Titan II and Atlas-Agena vehicles for the Mark II program.

1962 May - .
  • Mudflap approved. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. Spacecraft: Program 505. US Secretary of Defence McNamara approved the US Army request to proceed with development, under the code-name Mudflap. America's first ASAT system was later known as Program 505, which used prototype Nike Zeus DM-15S anti-ballistic missiles, operated from Kwajalein Atoll by the U.S. Army.

1962 May - .
  • Mercury MA-7 Delta 7 (cancelled) - . Call Sign: Delta 7. Crew: Slayton. Backup Crew: Schirra. Payload: Mercury SC18. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Johnson, Lyndon; McNamara; Slayton; Schirra. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-7 Delta 7. Spacecraft: Mercury. Astronaut Deke Slayton was to have been the second American in orbit. On March 16, 1962, it was announced that Slayton was grounded - due to a minor heart fibrillation known to NASA when they selected him to be an astronaut. Slayton's three orbit flight would have been called Delta 7. Instead Carpenter was selected for the mission, and Schirra, Slayton's backup, was moved to the Mercury 8 flight.

1962 August 20 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C.
  • US Department of Defense announced Titan III launch vehicle. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. The Department of Defense announced plans to develop a Titan III launch vehicle powered by both solid and liquid fuel rocket motors with a total thrust of over 11 million newtons (2.5 million Ibs). .Scheduled to become operational in 1965, the Titan III would be used to launch the Air Force's X-20 (Dyna Soar) manned spacecraft, as well as heavy unmanned military satellites. Martin Marietta Corporation had been selected as prime contractor for the project, at an estimated cost of between $500 million and $1 billion. At a news conference the following day, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara cited the Titan III as a major step toward overtaking the Soviet Union in various phases of military space development.

1962 December - .
  • Nike Zeus ASAT test. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. Spacecraft: Program 505. The extended range Nike Zeus was first tested in ASAT mode from White Sands against a point in space. After several tests with good results, McNamara authorised the Army to complete the ASAT facility at Kwajalein Atoll, including storage of the system's nuclear warheads.

1963 January 17 - .
  • Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA management responsibilities in the Cape Canaveral area. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara; Webb. NASA Administrator James E. Webb and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara signed a new agreement on Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA management responsibilities in the Cape Canaveral area. The Air Force would continue as single manager of the Atlantic Missile Range and host agency at the 15,000-acre Cape Canaveral launch area. NASA's Launch Operations Center would manage and serve as host agency at the Merritt Island Launch Area, north and west of existing DOD installations. DOD and NASA would each be responsible for their own logistics and administration in their respective areas. Specific mission functions - e.g., preparation, checkout, launch, test evaluation - would be performed by each agency in its own behalf, regardless of location. DOD retained certain fundamental range functions, including scheduling, flight safety, search and rescue operations, and downrange airlift and station operation.

1963 April 30 - .
  • NASA / Department of Defense dispute over Gemini management responsibility. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara; Seamans. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. In a NASA position paper, stimulated by Secretary of Defense McNamara's testimony on the fiscal year 1964 budget and an article in Missiles and Rockets interpreting his statements, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Associate Administrator, stressed NASA's primary management responsibility in the Gemini program. McNamara's remarks had been interpreted as presaging an Air Force take-over of Project Gemini. Seamans recognized the vital role of the Department of Defense in Gemini management and operations but insisted that NASA had the final and overall responsibility for program success.

1963 December 10 - .
  • Cancellation of the X-20 DynaSoar project and start of the MOL project - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. Spacecraft: Dynasoar; MOL. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announced cancellation of the X-20 Dyna Soar project at a news briefing at the Pentagon. McNamara stated that fiscal resources thereby saved would be channeled into broader research on the problems and potential value of manned military operations in space, chiefly the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) project. These decisions on the X-20 and MOL had been discussed and coordinated with NASA, and, although the Air Force received responsibility for the MOL project, NASA would continue to provide technical support. By the end of 1963 $410 million had been spent on Dynasoar, with another $373 million needed through the first flight. It was decided to complete re-entry testing of the Asset subscale unmanned vehicle, at a cost of $ 41 million.

1963 December 19 - .
  • NASA position on the Defense Department's Manned Orbiting Laboratory project. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara; Webb. Spacecraft: MOL. NASA Hq advised the centers regarding the agency's official position vis-a-vis the Defense Department's Manned Orbiting Laboratory project. Both NASA and DOD viewed MOL as a project designed to fulfill immediate military requirements. The project could not be construed as meeting the much broader objectives and goals of a national space station program being studied by both organizations under post-Apollo research and development program policy agreements between NASA Administrator James E. Webb and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara (dated 14 September 1963).

1965 January 23 - .
  • Department of Defense requesting proposals for design / development of the MOL. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. Spacecraft: MOL. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara announced that the Department of Defense was requesting proposals from the aerospace industry for design studies to support development of the MOL (especially cost and technical data). Three contractors would be chosen to conduct the studies, a step preliminary to any DOD decision to proceed with full-scale development of the space laboratory.

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