Born: 1910-09-14. Died: 2005-06-20. Birth Place: Germany.
Bernard A. Schriever earned a B.S. in architectural engineering from Texas A&M in 1931 and was commissioned in the Army Air Corps Reserve in 1933 after completing pilot training. Following broken service, he received a regular commission in 1938. He earned an M.A. in aeronautical engineering from Stanford in 1942 and then flew 63 combat missions in B-17s with the 19th Bombardment Group in the Pacific Theater during World War II. In 1954, he became commander of the Western Development Division (soon renamed the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division), and from 1959-1966 he was commander of its parent organization, the Air Research and Development Command, renamed Air Force Systems Command in 1961. As such, he presided over the development of the Atlas, Thor, and Titan missiles, which served not only as military weapon systems but also as boosters for NASA's space missions. In developing these missiles, Schriever instituted a systems approach, whereby the various components of the Atlas and succeeding missiles underwent simultaneous design and test as part of an overall "weapons system." Schriever also introduced the notion of concurrency, which has been given various interpretations but essentially allowed the components of the missiles to enter production while still in the test phase, thereby speeding up development. He retired as a general in 1966.
As a result of the 26 February meeting, Trevor Gardner submitted a plan for accelerating the intercontinental ballistic missile system (IBMS) program. This was sent to Secretary of the Air Force Harold E Talbott and Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan Twining. The plan called for emergency funding and an operational capability as early as 1958-60. Mr. Gardner also recommended that high-ranking military officers be placed in charge of the revised program and specifically named Major General James McCormack, Jr., Vice Commander of ARDC, and Brigadier General Bernard A. Schriever, then Assistant for Development Planning, Deputy Chief of Staff/Development, Headquarters USAF, for the top positions.
After completing an evaluation of possible management approaches, a special WDD study group recommended to General Schriever that the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation manage the Atlas program. In this position, the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation would provide and be responsible for systems engineering and technical direction (SE/TD) for the entire Atlas project and for monitoring hardware development accomplished under Air Force contracts with industry.
General Schriever forwarded two important recommendations to Headquarters ARDC. First, he recommended that an alternate propulsion system contractor be introduced into the Atlas program as a back-up. Second, he presented the results of the Atlas management study of 18 August and recommended Ramo-Wooldridge for the SE/TD role in the project.
After further study, General Schriever recommended that the Convair program be continued because the company had the experience and could become the nucleus for the Atlas development team. Convair would handle airframe structural and aerodynamic aspects of the program along with the assembly of the vehicle and its components. The Western Development Division and the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation would provide SE/TD for the Atlas contractor.
The early results of missile configuration studies conducted by Lockheed, the Glenn L. Martin Company, and the newly formed Guided Missile Research Division (GMRD) of Ramo-Wooldridge, supported by other Air Force studies, indicated the numerous advantages of a two-stage missile. Therefore, General Schriever recommended to LtGeneral Thomas S. Power, Commander, ARDC, that a second, or alternate, configuration and staging approach be introduced into the program to take full advantage of more advanced concepts and to stimulate competition.
Quarles Committee studies best method of furnishing the United States with a sattelite by end of 1958. A committee, appointed by Secretary of the Air Force, D. A. Quarles, to recommend the best method of furnishing the United States with a satellite between the dates of June and December 1958, was briefed at Western Development Division (WDD). The Atlas project was reviewed and the potential of Atlas as a booster vehicle in a selected satellite system was presented. The committee was advised that WDD was qualified to manage the program if so directed but that such a program would interfere, to some extent with the high priority of the Atlas development effort. (Memo, Col C. H. Terhune, Dep Cmdr Tech Opns, WDD, to Brig Gen B. A. Schriever, Cmdr WDD, 28 Jun 55, subj: Visit of DOD Satellite Committee, 28 Jun 55.)
President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the National Security Council (NSC) were given a complete briefing on the Atlas program. Briefers were Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Trevor Gardner, Professor John von Neumann, and Brigadier General Bernard A. Schriever, Commander of the Western Development Division.
Secretary of the Air Force Donald Quarles rejected WDD's FY 1958 ballistic missile program budget submitted to the Air Force Ballistic Missile Committee by Major General Schriever. Secretary Quarles directed a cut from the recommended $1,672 billion on a maximum of $1.3 billion and advised a restudy of IOC planning.
Major General B. A. Schriever, Commander of Air Force Ballistic Missile Division directed preparation of a plan for a 10 15 year program leading to development of man carrying vehicle systems for space exploration. A preliminary plan for an orderly space development effort and ultimate manned flight had, in fact, already been prepared and awaited presentation to General S. E. Anderson, Commander of Air Research and Development Command. The plan envisioned manned space flight with a minimum of new development through the use of existing knowledge, experimental programs, missile-boosters, and facilities available throughout the command. (Memo, Col L. D. Ely, Dir Tech Divs, Weapon Systems, AFBMD, to Col C. H. Terhune, Dep Cmdr, Weapon Systems, AFBMD, 13 Dec 57, subj: Manned Space Flight Program; Cmdrs Reference Book, Chronology of Man in Space Effort, 23 Mar 59, prep by AFBMD.)
Major General B. A. Schriever again offered a well defined astronautics program at an estimated cost of $16 million in fiscal 1958 and $112 million in 1959. In addition, $10 million in 1958 and $2O million in 1959 would be needed to procure Thor hardware and acquire a Thor space launch complex. Furthermore, said Schriever, although use of all resources qualified to participate in the program was endorsed it was ". . . imperative that the total Air Force effort in the ballistic missile and space field must be managed by one agency and that agency must be the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division. " Schriever also proposed creation of a research and development command committee, chaired by the missile division, to formulate and recommend technical development in space technology. "The committee would meet periodically and make recommendations to the commander, AFBMD, for formulation of the Air Force program." "(Ltr, Maj Gen B. A. Schriever, Qmdr AFBMD, to Lt Gen S. E. Anderson, Cmdr ARDC, 18 Dec 57, subj: Proposal for Future Air Force Ballistic Missile and Space Technology Development.)
Lt General S. E. Anderson, Commander, Air Research and Development Command. outlined the command concept of the missile division's space mission. This was in reply to General Schriever's proposals of 18 December 1957. Said Anderson: "It is our intention to make maximum use of the peculiar talents of your Division while at the same time bringing capabilities of all elements of the Command to bear upon the problems in this area. " Therefore it was the view of the commander that the division should concentrate on ". .,. the development and model improvements. of certain scheduled space systems to include both planning and management associated therewith.: " In application this policy meant that the division would in "certain instances perform technical developments in astronautics.," The Deputy Commander for Research and Development at Command Headquarters was to retain over-all responsibility for formulation of the Astronautics Technical Development Program. (Ltr, Anderson to Schriever, ZZ Jan 58, subj: Proposal for Future Air Force Ballistic Missile and Space Technology Development.)
A working conference in support of the Air Force 'Man-in-Space Soonest' (MISS) was held at the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division in Los Angeles, California. General Bernard Schriever, opening the conference, stated that events were moving faster than expected. By this statement he meant that Roy Johnson, the new head of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, had asked the Air Force to report to him on its approach to putting a man in space soonest. Johnson indicated that the Air Force would be assigned the task, and the purpose of the conference was to produce a rough-draft proposal. At that time the Air Force concept consisted of three stages: a high-drag, no-lift, blunt-shaped spacecraft to get man in space soonest, with landing to be accomplished by a parachute; a more sophisticated approach by possibly employing a lifting vehicle or one with a modified drag; and a long-range program that might end in a space station or a trip to the moon.
An Air Research and Development Command meeting held at the ballistic missile division to prepare an abbreviated development plan for the man in space program. The general Air Research and Development Command headquarters outline of the immediate planning task centered about designing a manned vehicle within a weight limitation of 2, 700-3,000 pounds which would have to contain a man, a life support system with a capacity to remain aloft for 48 hours, telemetry-communications, and a recovery system. The Air Force Ballistic Missile Division approach was directed to a more distant goal, "Man on the Moon and Return. " By the second day of the conference general agreement on program objectives had been reached. Technical recommendations included selection of an improved thrust Thor with a fluorine-hydrazine second stage, 2, 700-3, 000 pound spacecraft and a General Electric guidance system. As then planned the complete experimental and test program would require approximately 30 Thor boosters, 8 to 12 Vanguard second stages and about 20 fluorine-hydrazine second stages for testing and advanced phases of the program. By the third day an abbreviated dra.ft development plan had been completed. The conference was pervaded by a strong sense of urgency, motivated by the dramatic Air Force mission to get a man in space at the earliest possible time. Those attending the conference anticipated accelerated program approval and scheduled contractor selection to begin on or about 10 April 1958., (Memo, Col C. H. Terhune, Dep Cmdr, Tech Operations, to Maj Gen B. A. Schriever, Cmdr, AFBMD, 25 Mar 58, subj: Man in Space Meeting at AFBMD, lu-12 March 58.)
Major General B. A. Schriever, Ballistic Missile Division Commander, directed the preparation of a development plan for a full scale manned military space systems program. The goal of the program was to achieve a manned flight to the moon and return. (Chronological Space Hist, 1958.)
Major General B.A. Schriever, Commander, AFBMD, recommended to LtGeneral Samuel E. Anderson, ARDC Commander, that the Air Force Ballistic Missile Committee be advised to seek complete corporate separation of Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation and Space Technology Laboratories (STL).
On instructions from command headquarters, the ballistic missile division prepared several funding alternatives to meet the amount of money that might be realistically budgeted for manned space. These were sorted out at four levels: (a) $100 million fiscal 1959 appropriation which reduced the test program for Thor-Vanguard vehicles but maintained the October 1960 date for the first manned space flight; (b) a $90 million program for the same number of vehicles but postponing the first manned flight from October 1960 to April 1961; (c) a $90 million high risk effort incurred by deleting four more vehicles from the program and retaining the October 1960 launch date; (d) a $75 million program with the same number of vehicles as (c) but delaying the first manned flight date to October 1961. (Memo, Col C. H. Terhune, Dep Cmdr, Tech Operations, AFBMD, to Maj Gen B. A. Schriever, Cmdr AFBMD, 15 May 58, subj: Revisions to the Man-In-Space Development Plan.)
Acting on directions from General Schriever, the missile division staff prepared to establish a fluorine propulsion program. This development was to support the manned military space system, particularly the Man-In-SpaceSoonest effort which was to use a Thor-fluorine second stage. The first action was to arrange a meeting of Air Force, North American Aviation and Bell Aircraft propulsion specialists to determine the status of their fluorine propulsion programs, funds available and overall development expectations for fluorine propulsion systems. (Chronological Space Hist, 1958.)
Major General B. A. Schriever takes on initial responsibility for the Manned Military Space System Program. In an attempt to define more clearly the role of the ballistic missile division in space projects, Major General B. A. Schriever, division commander, outlined his understanding that he was assigned initial responsibility for "planning, initiating and managing the Manned Military Space System Program. " Planning had advanced to the point of contractor selection, awaiting only allocation of sufficient funds to begin the Man-In-Space-Soonest program. Moreover, General Schriever was arranging to meet with Dr. H. L. Dryden of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, "... at the earliest practicable time," to establish the highest level of support and mutual cooperation possible. Working level conferences were already underway to develop concrete application of this cooperative interest in the program. It was also intended that other organizations were to be used as appropriate to "insure maximum utilization of the Air Research and Development Command's Resources. (Ltr, Maj Gen B. A. Schriever, Cmdr, AFBMD, to Lt Gen S. E. Anderson, Cmdr, ARDC, 21 May 58, no subject.)
Major General B. A. Schriever, missile division commander, recommended slipping the target date for the first manned flight from April to May 1960 because of continued delay in approving MISS. Work statements had been initiated for all aspects of the program and the Air Fzrce was studying the Ground Based Information System (tracking and control network) "andthe heat sink versus ablation problem, while Convair, Aerojet-General and Lockheed were studying the design of the backup second stage. Source selection had been established to evaluate prospective contractors to submit proposals for a small capsule. Invitations to the request for proposals briefing would be dispatched within 24 hours after program approval and commitment of funds. Requests for proposals were also being prepared on system assembly tests and a large capsule design. To forestall further program slippage, Schriever made the following recommendations: immediate approval of Man-In-Space-Soonest at a level of $106.6 million for fiscal 1959; grant $31.92 million immediately for first quarter commitment; remainder of second quarter funds, $21.85 million, be released by 1 October and the third and fourth quarter funds of $52.89 million be available by 1 January 1959., Finally, the program should be assigned a priority commensurate with the urgency of the man in space mission. (Ltr, Schriever to Anderson, 24 Jul 58, subj: Actions Required for Man-In-Space-Soonest Program.)
At the request of John W. McCormack, Chairman of House Committee on Aeronautics and Space Exploration, Major General B. A Schriever prepared a paper, "Space Development Capabilities 1958-1968" This eloquently projected space advances and goals over the next decade. Schriever pointed out that above developments in any other technical area ". improvements in rocket thrust--our lifting capability -will be a direct determinant of our overall). rate of progress, " To this date the rate of progress in space rested directly on the nation's missile program. Another area of primary concern was increasing the reliability of all elements of a space system. with significant improvements in these two areas the nation could anticipate ever increasing payloads placed in orbit, manned orbital satellites and space stations , lunar flights and near planetary explorations. Recoverable chemical powered boosters, ion beam or thermo-nuclear plasma propulsion systems outer space would open an ent; rely new phase of space exploration. Thus in the months and years ahead it was possible to foresee many dramatic developments in propulsion systems, high thrust space vehicles and a vastly increased knowledge of the space environment. (Paper, "Space Development Capability, 1958-1968, " submitted 15 Nov 58, prep by Maj Gen B. A. Schriever, Cmdr, AFBIVID.)
Testifying before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Maj. Gen. Bernard A. Schriever, Commander of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, stated that all three military services should be studying the possibility of a base on the moon. Up to that point, he felt, all such studies had been "in the blue thinking."
Major General Bernard A. Schriever became Commander, Air Research and Development Command (ARDC), and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. Brigadier General Osmond J. Ritland, AFBMD Vice Commander, took over command of the Division and was promoted to Major General. Colonel Charles H. Terhune, Jr., replaced General Ritland as Vice Commander on 11 May 1959.
NASA issued the Gemini Operational and Management Plan, which outlined the roles and responsibilities of NASA and Department of Defense in the Gemini (Mercury Mark II) program. NASA would be responsible for overall program planning, direction, systems engineering, and operation-including Gemini spacecraft development; Gemini/Agena rendezvous and docking equipment development; Titan II/Gemini spacecraft systems integration; launch, flight, and recovery operations; command, tracking, and telemetry during orbital operations; and reciprocal support of Department of Defense space projects and programs within the scope of the Gemini program. Department of Defense would be responsible for: Titan II development and procurement, Atlas procurement, Agena procurement, Atlas-Agena systems integration, launch of Titan II and Atlas-Agena vehicles, range support, and recovery support. A slightly revised version of the plan was signed in approval on March 27 by General Bernard A. Schriever, Commander, Air Force Systems Command, for the Air Force, and D. Brainerd Holmes, Director of Manned Space Flight, for NASA.
Personnel from Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD), Air Force Ballistic Systems Division (BSD), and Titan II contractors met in Los Angeles to reconsider flying Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) fixes on Titan II development flights. BSD, which was responsible for the weapon system development program, had halted the installation of GLV fixes on the Titan II flights because of the limited number of flights remaining to qualify the missile. General Bernard A Schriever, Commander of Air Force Systems Command (of which BSD and SSD were subordinate division), intervened in support of an active program to clean up launch vehicle problem areas. The incorporation of GLV fixes on Titan II flights resumed on November 1 with the flight of Titan II N-25.
In ceremonies commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Air Force Ballistic missile program and activation of the former Western Development Division (WDD), General Bernard A. Schriever, Commander, AFSC, dedicated the new Space Systems Division headquarters and facilities at Los Angeles Air Force Station, California.
General Bernard A. Schriever, Commander, AFSC, announced plans to develop a wingless, maneuverable reentry vehicle (SV-5) as a follow-on to the ASSET spaceplane. The new vehicle was under Space Systems Division management and was part of the new Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Reentry (PRIME) program. Both PRIME and the ASSET programs were part of the larger Spacecraft Technology and Advanced Reentry Test (START) program.
General Bernard A. Schriever, Commander. AFSC, named Brigadier General Joseph S. Bleymaier as Commander, Air Force Western Test Range (AFWTR), with headquarters at Vandenberg AFB. General Bleymaier, former Titan III (Program 624A and 624B) program director and Deputy for Manned Systems AFSC, named Brigadier General Joseph S. Bleymaier as Commander, Air Force Western Test Range (AFWTR), with headquarters at Vandenberg AFB. General Bleymaier, former Titan III (Program 624A and 624B) program director and Deputy for Manned Systems
Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert named General Bernard A. F. Schriever as Director of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Program in addition to his duties as Commander, AFSC. Brigadier General Harry L. Evans was named Vice Director of the MOL Program.