Encyclopedia Astronautica
1965.09.01 - Webb sees time as right to begin serious study of a Saturn V space station.


During several visits to MSC, NASA Administrator James E. Webb raised a number of technical and policy questions relating to programs and management practices. Webb seemed particularly concerned about the difficulty of getting the program offices at Headquarters and the Centers to take an active interest in NASA's potential influence in the national economy and world affairs.

During his second visit (20 August), he again expressed his interest in a spacecraft using true "off-the-shelf" technology as a method of reducing costs and repeated his belief that the time was right to begin serious study of a Saturn V space station. Early the following month, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth scheduled planning sessions to discuss the part MSC' management might play in helping shape NASA decisionmaking regarding the next major mission to be undertaken in the manned space flight program. Gilruth was particularly interested in the ideas raised by Webb during his recent visits to Houston. Gilruth stated his conviction that any decision on the next major mission must recognize two chief constraints: (1) maximum use of existing hardware and technology and (2) maximum use of existing NASA facilities, particularly the manned field centers. The MSC Director put forth several points for consideration: what the next major mission should be; how Apollo Extension Systems and the Saturn V might best be l incorporated into that mission; and how Houston might divide responsibility for workloads and program with MSFC and KSC without relinquishing any of its traditional responsibilities.

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