Born: 1912-03-23. Died: 1977-06-16. Birth Place: Wiersitz.
Wernher von Braun was the leader of what has been called the "rocket team," which had developed the German V-2 ballistic missile in World War II. Attended institutes of technology in Berlin and Zurich and received doctorate in physics at the University of Berlin in 1934. Joined the rocket experimental center in Peenemunde in 1937 and was director of research until 1945; his work and that of his colleagues led to development of the V-1 and V-2 guided missiles used against the Allies during World War II. Surrendered to U.S. Army in 1945. Von Braun and some of his chief assistants--as part of a military operation called Project Paperclip--came to America and were installed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, to work on rocket development and use the V-2 for high altitude research. They used launch facilities at the nearby White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico. Later, in 1950 von Braun's team moved to the Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama, to concentrate on the development of a new missile for the Army. They built the Army's Jupiter ballistic missile, and before that the Redstone, used by NASA to launch the first Mercury capsules.
After being moved to NASA, von Braun led his rocket team in the development - within only six years - of the monster Saturn I and Saturn V boosters, that took America to the moon. Von Braun's long standing dream of moving on to his personal life objective - Mars - was crushed by the Nixon administration and a public grown jaded and indifferent to spaceflight. Von Braun died at Alexandria, Virginia just five years after leaving NASA after being sidelined into a headquarters job.
|Von Braun at Kummers|
Die Rakete zu den Planetenräume (The Rocket Into Interpanetary Space) by Hermann Oberth was published in Germany, and was the genesis for considerable discussion of rocket propulsion. The book would have a huge and life-changing impact on ten year old Wernher Von Braun.
The VfR fires its 'Kegelduese' liquid oxygen and gasoline-fueled rocket motor in a demonstration for the Director of the Chemisch-Technische Reichsanstalt in an attempt to secure financial support. Nebel had arranged the demonstration and runs the Kegelduese for 90 seconds. It generates 7 kgf and consumes 6 kg of liquid oxygen and 1 kg of gasoline in that time (specific impulse 90 seconds). Participating are Oberth, Nebel, Riedel, Ley, and Von Braun. Nebel's Mirak is not yet ready to test.
Wernher von Braun joined the German Army Ordnance Office rocket program at Kummersdorf. He is working on a 300 kgf thrust liquid propellant engine, which has been tested with an exhaust velocity of 1700 m/s, but it is believed can be tuned up to as much as 1900 m/s. This is to power the A1 rocket, which is to have the same tractor configuration as the 20 kg test rocket launched in August 1932. The main issue is how to solve the problem of keeping the rocket stabilised in flight, as the August test demonstrated. The A1 is to be 1.4 m long x 30 cm in diameter, a 150 kg gross takeoff weight, and 40 kg of propellant., allowing a 16.5 second burn time.
His public doctoral thesis, "About Combustion Tests," was completed in very little time (one source states that he joined the SS at this time). The actual thesis was later revealed to be a classified Army document. This dissertation, "Construction, Theoretical, and Experimental Solution to the Problem of the Liquid Propellant Rocket", was dated 16 April 1934 but did not surface until 70 years later. It detailed the construction and design of the A2 rocket that would fly later that year.
Von Braun's German Ordnance group launches A-2 'Max' from the Island of Borkum in the North Sea before the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army. The rocket is at an altitude of 1.7 km at burn-out, and reaches 2.2 km before falling back to impact 800 m from the launch point.
Von Braun's German Ordnance group launches the second of two A-2 rockets ('Moritz') successfully to a height of 3.5 km on the Island of Borkum in the North Sea. Burnout is at 1.8 km, and the rocket ascends more vertically than the test the previous day, reaching a greater altitude and impacting 500 m from the launch point.
Joint German Army-Air Force rocket research station opened at Peenemünde on the Baltic Sea. The Army Ordnance rocket program under Capt. Walter Dornberger moved 90 of its staff from Kummersdorf. Thiel and five staff working on V-2 rocket engine development remained at Kummersdorf until the summer of 1940, when the test stands at Peenemuende were finally completed..
First launch of an A3 rocket. New facilites being built at Peenemuende were not ready, so the A3 launches were made from the offshore island of Greifswalder Oie. The A3 launched on this day was 6.5 m long and 70 cm in diameter. The engine occupied the first 2 m of the fuselage. The missile had a 750 kg lift-off mass, including 450 kg of propellant, which was pressurised to 20 atmospheres. The 1.5 tonne thrust engine had a 1900 m/s exhaust velocity and a 45 second burn time. The parachute deployed 3 seconds after launch, and the engine cutoff at 6.5 seconds. The rocket impacted and exploded 300 m from the launch point.
Final launch of the A3. The rocket is fired without the parachute that ruined the first two attempts, but in heavy fog. It is more successful than earlier shots, but at 800 to 1000 m altitude it also veers over and thrusts its way downward into the ocean. Analysis showed that the fins steering the rocket could not overcome the 8 m/s wind blowing at the time of the launch. Further study shows that at the low speed of initial rocket acceleration, a wind as little as 4 m/s would be enough to topple the rocket. A rudder area ten times greater than is needed to control the rocket at low speeds. This result leads to the decision to abandon the A3 configuration and build the A5 to support development of the A4 missile.
New test series at Greifswalder Oie. The island had changed a lot, with massive new concrete installations. Three A3's were flown with a new Siemens control system. The first was launched vertically, reaching 7 km at 45 seconds into the flight at the time of engine cut-off. Both the drogue and main parachutes functioned correctly, and the rocket splashed down in the harbour and was recovered a half hour later by a motor boat (the rocket could float for up to two hours before water entering the empty propellant tanks would sink it).
Saenger's advanced rocketry work was so secret that Von Braun was not even aware of it until one of his team, looking for a new method of rocket ignition, heard of its existence. Von Braun, Walter Thiel, and Rudolf Hermann were finally given a tour of Saenger's advanced facilities at Trauen.
It is decided to move testing of production V-2s and training of combat launch crews from the Baltic Sea to the middle of Poland, at Heidelager, near Blizna. German units here operationally test fired over 100 V-2's, launching 10 on one day, only a small number of which were fully successful.
The Royal Air Force attacked Germany's Peenemünde Rocket Research Center, causing heavy damage and delaying V-weapon program by months.
With the V-2 development program already in crisis, the Allies launch a massive bombing raid against Peenemuende. On that evening test pilot Hanna Reitsch was visiting the launch site. At 23:30 the air raid siren sounded. 600 British bombers drop 1500 tonnes of ordnance on the launch centre. However many bombs fell in the ocean around the peninsula, or buried themselves harmlessly in sand dunes. The resident area was hardest hit, while the Luftwaffe station at Peenemuende West was not touched. 47 British bombers were shot down - they were told before the raid that this was the most important mission of the war, and that their commanders would accept a 50% loss rate. 735 people were killed in the raid on the ground, including 178 of the 4000 inhabitants of the residential area. A large number of the foreign slave workers in the Trassenheide concentration camp barracks were also killed.
After the tremendous raid the rocket team wander around the devastated facility, half-clothed, the buildings bathed in a weird light and everything covered in fine sand, as if flour was dropped over everything. Thiel and Walther - the two leading rocket engineers in Germany - were killed in the raid, and virtually all major facilities were damaged. The saving grace was that the soft sand of Peenemuende attenuated the blast of many bombs. Nine bombs hit the main assembly hall, but while there was splinter damage to some of the machine tools, there was no decisive hit that would prevent production from continuing. It was estimated that operations could resume in 4 to 6 weeks.
The raid was not unexpected. The high altitude contrails of the V-2 test launches were called 'frozen lightning' and could be seen from Sweden on clear days. The location and purpose of Peenemuende appeared in a crossword puzzle in a illustrated magazine published in central Germany in early 1943. British reconnaissance flights to locate the launch facilities had been recognised for what they were.
This raid, together with the bombing of V-2 production lines at the Zeppelinwerke in Friedrichshafen and the Raxwerke in Wiener Neustadt convinced Saur to reduce the V-2 production rate goal to 900 per month.
As part of a summary of his work on rockets during World War II, Wernher von Braun speculated on future uses of rocket power. These included an observatory in space, the construction of space stations in earth orbit, a space mirror, and interplanetary travel, beginning with trips to the moon.
Secretary of War Patterson approved plan to bring top German scientists to United States to aid military research and development. Small group of German rocket specialists brought to United States under Project Paperclip to work on missile development at Fort Bliss and White Sands Proving Ground.
U.S. upper atmosphere research program initiated with captured German V-2 rockets. A V-2 panel of representatives of various interested agencies was created, and a total of more than 60 V-2's were fired before the supply ran out. The Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University then undertook to develop a medium-altitude rocket, the Aerobee, while the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) directed its efforts to the development of a large high-altitude rocket, first called the Neptune, later the Viking.
Committee on Guided Missiles of the Research and Development Board approved recommendation that Army Hermes project "be given the task of providing the National Military Establishment with a continuing analysis of the long-range rocket problem as an expansion of their task on an earth satellite vehicle."
Awakening public interest in the United States and in Europe was manifested by publication in September 1949 of The Conquest of Space by Willy Ley. Ley featured detailed descriptions of orbital space stations and manned flights to the Moon and back as part of man's quest to conquer the frontier of space. The First Symposium on Space Flight was held 12 October 1951 at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Papers read at the Symposium were published in March 1952 by Collier's magazine under the title 'Man Will Conquer Space Soon.' Contributors were Wernher von Braun, Joseph Kaplan, Heinz Haber, Willy Ley, Oscar Schachter, and Fred L. Whipple. Topics ranged from manned orbiting space station) and orbiting astronomical observatories to problems of human survival in space, lunar space ventures, and questions of international law and sovereignty in space. Finally, Arthur C. Clarke's The Exploration of Space, first published in England in 1951 and a Book of the Month Club selection in America the following year, persuasively argued the case for orbital space stations and manned lunar and planetary space expeditions, popularizing the notion of space flight in general.
Office, Chief of Ordnance directed that the Ordnance Guided Missile Center conduct a preliminary study of the technical requirements and possibilities of developing a 500-mile tactical missile that would be used principally in providing support for the operations of the Army Field Forces.
The First Symposium on Space Flight was held at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Participants included Wernher von Braun, Joseph Kaplan, Heinz Haber, Willy Ley, Oscar Schachter, and Fred L. Whipple. Among the topics discussed were an orbiting astronomical observatory, problems of survival in space, circumlunar flight, a manned orbiting space station, and the question of sovereignty in outer space.
In a meeting, Dr. Wernher von Braun, Frederick C. Durant III, Alexander Satin, David Young, Dr. Fred L. Whipple, Dr. S. Fred Singer, and Commander George W. Hoover agreed that a Redstone rocket with a Loki cluster as the second stage could launch a satellite into a 200-mile orbit without major new developments. This became a joint Army-Navy study project after meeting at Redstone Arsenal on August 3. Project Orbiter was a later outgrowth of this proposal and resulted in the launching of Explorer I on January 31, 1958.
Research and development Policy Council (DOD) unanimously recommended that the time-risk factor in the scientific satellite program be brought to the attention of the Secretary of the Defense for determination as to whether a Redstone backup program was indicated.
The U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., began studies of a large clustered-engine booster to generate 1.5 million pounds of thrust, as one of a related group of space vehicles. During 1957-1958, approximately 50,000 man-hours were expended in this effort.
President Eisenhower in major address on science and security announced that scientists had solved the problem of ballistic missile reentry and showed the nose cone of an Army Jupiter-C missile which was intact after a flight through space. He announced the creation of the office of Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and the appointment of James R. Killian, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to the new post.
Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy directed the Army to proceed with the launching of the Explorer earth satellites. This order, in effect, resumed the Orbiter project that had been eliminated from the IGY satellite planning program on September 9, 1955. Von Braun was to modify two Jupiter-C missiles (modified Redstones) and attempt to place an artificial earth satellite in orbit by March 58.
Explorer I, the first U.S. earth satellite, was launched by a modified Army Ballistic Missile Agency Jupiter-C. Explorer I, developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, carried the U.S.-IGY (International Geophysical Year) experiment of James A. Van Allen and resulted in the discovery of the radiation belt around the earth.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency ARPA provided the Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) with authority and initial funding to develop the Juno V (later named Saturn launch vehicle. ARPA Order 14 described the project: "Initiate a development program to provide a large space vehicle booster of approximately 1.5 million pounds of thrust based on a cluster of available rocket engines. The immediate goal of this program is to demonstrate a full-scale captive dynamic firing by the end of calendar year 1959." Within AOMC, the Juno V project was assigned to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal Huntsville, Ala.
Following a Memorandum of Agreement between Maj. Gen. John B. Medaris of Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) and Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) Director Roy W. Johnson on this date and a meeting on November 4, ARPA and AOMC representatives agreed to extend the Juno V project. The objective of ARPA Order 14 was changed from booster feasibility demonstration to "the development of a reliable high performance booster to serve as the first stage of a multistage carrier vehicle capable of performing advanced missions."
Space Task Group officials visited the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to determine the feasibility of using the Jupiter launch vehicle for the intermediate phase of Project Mercury, to discuss the Redstone program, and to discuss the cost for Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicles.
Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker and NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan signed cooperative agreements concerning NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Army Ordnance Missile Command AOMC, and Department of the Army relationships. The agreement covering NASA utilization of the von Braun team made "the AOMC and its subordinate organizations immediately, directly, and continuously responsive to NASA requirements."
Representatives of Advanced Research Projects Agency, the military services, and NASA met to consider the development of future launch vehicle systems. Agreement was reached on the principle of developing a small number of versatile launch vehicle systems of different thrust capabilities, the reliability of which could be expected to be improved through use by both the military services and NASA.
In a staff report of the House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration, Wernher von Braun of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency predicted manned circumlunar flight within the next eight to ten years and a manned lunar landing and return mission a few years thereafter. Administrator T. Keith Glennan, Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden, Abe Silverstein, John P. Hagen, and Homer E. Newell, all of NASA, also foresaw manned circumlunar flight within the decade as well as instrumented probes soft-landed on the moon. Roy K. Knutson, Chairman of the Corporate Space Committee, NAA, projected a manned lunar landing expedition for the early 1970's with extensive unmanned instrumented soft lunar landings during the last half of the 1960's.
The Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC), the Air Force, and missile contractors presented to the ARPA-NASA Large Booster Review Committee their views on the quickest and surest way for the United States to attain large booster capability. The Committee decided that the Juno V approach advocated by AOMC was best and NASA started plans to utilize the Juno V booster.
Maj. Gen. John B. Medaris of the Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) and Roy W. Johnson of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) discussed the urgency of early agreement between ARPA and NASA on the configuration of the Saturn upper stages. Several discussions between ARPA and NASA had been held on this subject. Johnson expected to reach agreement with NASA the following week. He agreed that AOMC would participate in the overall upper stage planning to ensure compatibility of the booster and upper stages.
Space Task Group and Army Ballistic Missile Agency personnel met at Huntsville, Alabama, to discuss Redstone and Jupiter flight phases of Project Mercury. During the course of the meeting the following points became firm: (1) Space Task Group was the overall manager and technical director of this phase of the program, (2) ABMA was responsible for the launch vehicle until spacecraft separation, (3) ABMA was responsible for the Redstone launch vehicle recovery (this phase of the program was later eliminated since benefits from recovering the launch vehicle would have been insignificant), (4) Space Task Group was responsible for the spacecraft flight after separation, (5) McDonnell was responsible for the adapters for the Mercury-Redstone configuration, and (6) ABMA would build adapters for the Mercury-Jupiter configuration. Because many points could only be settled by detailed design studies, it was decided to establish several working panels for later meetings.
An Army task force was formed to develop a plan for establishing a manned lunar outpost by the quickest practical means. The effort was called Project Horizon. The first phase of the project was to make a limited feasibility study, with estimated time and costs. The task force worked under the direction of Maj. Gen. John B. Medaris of the Army Ordnance Missile Command and in full collaboration with the von Braun team. The report was completed on June 8.
The Project Horizon Phase I report was completed. In it, a U.S. manned landing on the moon in 1965 was proposed, to be followed in 1966 by an operational lunar outpost. Expenditures would average $667 million a year from Fiscal Year 1960 through Fiscal Year 1968. The guiding philosophy of the report was one of "enlightened conservatism of technical approach." On July 28 the report was presented to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff. Additional Details: here....
After a meeting with officials concerned with the missile and space program, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced that he intended to transfer to NASA control the Army Ballistic Missile Agency's Development Operations Division personnel and facilities. The transfer, subject to congressional approval, would include the Saturn development program.
The initial plan for transferring the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Saturn to NASA was drafted. It was submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower on December 1 1 and was signed by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker and Secretary of the Air Force James H. Douglas on December 16 and by NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan on December 17.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency ARPA and NASA requested the Army Ordnance Missile Command AOMC to prepare an engineering and cost study for a new Saturn configuration with a second stage of four 20,000-pound-thrust liquid-hydrogen and liquid-oxygen engines (later called the S-IV stage) and a modified Centaur third stage using two of these engines later designated the S-V stage). Additional Details: here....
H. H. Koelle told members of the Research Steering Committee of mission possibilities being considered at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. These included an engineering satellite, an orbital return capsule, a space crew training vehicle, a manned orbital laboratory, a manned circumlunar vehicle, and a manned lunar landing and return vehicle. He described the current Saturn configurations, including the "C" launch vehicle to be operational in 1967. The Saturn C (larger than the C-1) would be able to boost 85,000 pounds into earth orbit and 25,000 pounds into an escape trajectory.
NASA accepted the recommendations of the Saturn Vehicle Evaluation Committee Silverstein Committee on the Saturn C-1 configuration and on a long-range Saturn program. A research and development plan of ten vehicles was approved. The C-1 configuration would include the S-1 stage (eight H-1 engines clustered, producing 1.5 million pounds of thrust), the S-IV stage (four engines producing 80,000 pounds of thrust), and the S-V stage two engines producing 40,000 pounds of thrust.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower directed NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan "to make a study, to be completed at the earliest date practicable, of the possible need for additional funds for the balance of FY 1960 and for FY 1961 to accelerate the super booster program for which your agency recently was given technical and management responsibility."
The Army Ballistic Missile Agency's Development Operations Division and the Saturn program were transferred to NASA after the expiration of the 60-day limit for congressional action on the President's proposal of January 14. (The President's decision had been made on October 21, 1959.) By Executive Order, the President named the facilities the "George C. Marshall Space Flight Center." Formal transfer took place on July 1.
Members of STG presented the proposed advanced manned spacecraft program to Wernher von Braun and 25 of his staff at Marshall Space Flight Center. During the ensuing discussion, the merits of a completely automatic circumlunar mission were compared with those of a manually operated mission. Further discussions were scheduled.
A joint briefing on the Apollo and Saturn programs was held at Marshall Space Flight Center MSFC, attended by representatives of STG and MSFC. Maxime A. Faget of STG and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun agreed that a joint STG-MSFC program would be developed to accomplish a manned lunar landing. Areas of responsibility were: MSFC launch vehicle and landing on the moon; STG - lunar orbit, landing, and return to earth.
During a meeting of the Space Exploration Program Council at NASA Headquarters, the subject of a manned lunar landing was discussed. Following presentations on earth orbit rendezvous (Wernher von Braun, Director of Marshall Space Flight Center), lunar orbit rendezvous (John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center), and direct ascent (Melvyn Savage of NASA Headquarters), the Council decided that NASA should not follow any one of these specific approaches, but should proceed on a broad base to afford flexibility. Another outcome of the discussion was an agreement that NASA should have an orbital rendezvous program which could stand alone as well as being a part of the manned lunar program. A task group was named to define the elements of the program insofar as possible. Members of the group were George M. Low, Chairman, Eldon W. Hall, A. M. Mayo, Ernest O. Pearson, Jr., and Oran W. Nicks, all of NASA Headquarters; Maxime A. Faget of STG; and H. H. Koelle of Marshall Space Flight Center. This group became known as the Low Committee.
The current Saturn launch vehicle configurations were announced:
Representatives of Marshall Space Flight Center recommended configuration changes for the Saturn C-1 launch vehicles to NASA Headquarters. These included:
After booster problems on the Mercury MR-2 chimp test flight, Von Braun insisted on a further unmanned booster test flight, against the wishes of Shepard and others at NASA. A Mercury boilerplate capsule was launched on a flawless test on 24 March. If NASA had overruled Von Braun, the manned Freedom 7 capsule would have flown instead. Shepard would have been the first man in space (though not in orbit), beating Gagarin's flight by three weeks.
NASA announced a change in the Saturn C-1 vehicle configuration. The first ten research and development flights would have two stages, instead of three, because of the changed second stage (S-IV) and, starting with the seventh flight vehicle, increased propellant capacity in the first stage (S-1) booster.
Huge Saturn launch complex at Cape Canaveral dedicated in brief ceremony by NASA, construction of which was supervised by the Army Corps of Engineers. Giant gantry, weighing 2,800 tons and being 310 feet high, is largest movable land structure in North America.
NASA announced that further engineering design work on the Saturn C-2 configuration would be discontinued and that effort instead would be redirected toward clarification of the Saturn C-3 and Nova concepts. Investigations were specifically directed toward determining capabilities of the proposed C-3 configuration in supporting the Apollo mission.
At NASA Headquarters, the first meeting was held of the Manned Lunar Landing Coordination Group, attended by NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Ira H. Abbott, Don R. Ostrander, Charles H. Roadman, William A. Fleming, DeMarquis D. Wyatt (part-time), and George M. Low (in place of Abe Silverstein). This Headquarters Group, appointed by Seamans, was to coordinate problems that jointly affected several NASA Offices, during the interim period while the manned space flight organization was being formed. Members of the steering group included NASA program directors, with participation by Wernher von Braun of Marshall Space Flight Center, Robert R. Gilruth of STG, and Wyatt and Abraham Hyatt of NASA Headquarters, as required. Fleming acted as Secretary of the Group. A list of decisions and actions required to implement an accelerated lunar landing program was drawn up as a tentative agenda for the next meeting:
NASA selected NAA to develop the second stage (S-II) for the advanced Saturn launch vehicle. The cost, including development of at least ten vehicles, would total about $140 million. The S-II configuration provided for four J-2 liquid-oxygen - liquid-hydrogen engines, each delivering 200,000 pounds of thrust.
The Charter of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board, prepared jointly by Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and STG, was approved at the first meeting of the Board at NASA Headquarters. The purpose of the Space Vehicle Board was to assure complete coordination and cooperation between all levels of the MSFC and STG management for the NASA manned space flight programs in which both Centers had responsibilities. Members of the Board were the Directors of MSFC and STG (Wernher von Braun and Robert R. Gilruth), the Deputy Director for Research and Development, MSFC (Eberhard F. M. Rees), and the STG Associate Director (Walter C. Williams). The Board was responsible for:
The Sub-Board would :
Four Saturn-Apollo Coordination Panels were established to make available the technical competence of MSFC and STG for the solution of interrelated problems of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft. The four included the Launch Operations, Mechanical Design, Electrical and Electronics Design, and Flight Mechanics, Dynamics, and Control Coordination Panels. Although these Panels were designated as new Panels, the members selected by STG and MSFC represented key technical personnel who had been included in the Mercury-Redstone Panels, the Mercury-Atlas Program Panels, the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups, and the Saturn working groups. The Charter was signed by von Braun and Gilruth. Charter of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board, October 3, 1961.
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.
NASA announced that the Chrysler Corporation had been chosen to build 20 Saturn first-stage (S-1) boosters similar to the one tested successfully on October 27 . They would be constructed at the Michoud facility near New Orleans, La. The contract, worth about $200 million, would run through 1966, with delivery of the first booster scheduled for early 1964.
NASA announced that The Boeing Company had been selected for negotiations as a possible prime contractor for the first stage (S-IC) of the advanced Saturn launch vehicle. The S-IC stage, powered by five F-1 engines, would be 35 feet in diameter and about 140 feet high. The $300-million contract, to run through 1966, called for the development, construction, and testing of 24 flight stages and one ground test stage. The booster would be assembled at the NASA Michoud Operations Plant near New Orleans, La., under the direction of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
NASA announced that Douglas Aircraft had been selected for negotiation of a contract to modify the Saturn S-IV stage by installing a single 200,000-pound-thrust, Rocketdyne J-2 liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen engine instead of six 15,000-pound-thrust P. & W. hydrogen/oxygen engines. Known as S-IVB, this modified stage will be used in advanced Saturn configurations for manned circumlunar Apollo missions.
Rosen Committee studies in November and December indicated that the most flexible choice for Apollo was the Saturn C-4, with two required for the earth orbit rendezvous approach or one for the lunar orbit rendezvous mission, with a smaller landed payload. The panel rejected solid motors again, but Rosen himself still pushed for Nova. An extra F-1 engine was 'slid in' for insurance, resulting in the Saturn C-5 configuration. The Manned Space Flight Management Council decided at its first meeting that the Saturn C-5 launch vehicle would have a first stage configuration of five F-1 engines and a second stage configuration of five J-2 engines. The third stage would be the S-IVB with one J-2 engine. It recommended that the contractor for stage integration of the Saturn C-1 be Chrysler Corporation and that the contractor for stage integration of the Saturn C-5 be The Boeing Company. Contractor work on the Saturn C-5 should proceed immediately to provide a complete design study and a detailed development plan before letting final contracts and assigning large numbers of contractor personnel to Marshall Space Flight Center or Michoud.
D. Brainerd Holmes, Director of the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, announced the formation of the Manned Space Flight Management Council. The Council, which was to meet at least once a month, was to identify and resolve difficulties and to coordinate the interface problems in the manned space flight program. Members of the Council, in addition to Holmes, were: from MSC, Robert R. Gilruth and Walter C. Williams, Director and Associate Director; from Marshall Space Flight Center, Wernher von Braun, Director, and Eberhard F. M. Rees, Deputy Director for Research and Development; from NASA Headquarters, George M. Low, Director of Spacecraft and Flight Missions; Milton W. Rosen, Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion; Charles H. Roadman, Director of Aerospace Medicine; William E. Lilly, Director of Program Review and Resources Management; and Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director for Systems Engineering, Shea, formerly Space Programs Director for Space Technology Laboratories, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., had recently joined NASA.
The preparation of schedules based on the NASA Fiscal Year 1962 budget (including the proposed supplemental appropriation), the Fiscal Year 1963 budget as submitted to Congress, and Fiscal Year 1964 and subsequent funding was discussed at the Manned Space Flight Management Council meeting. Program assumptions as presented by Wernher von Braun, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), were approved for use in preparation of the schedules :
Marshall Space Flight Center's latest schedule on the Saturn C-5 called for the first launch in the last quarter of 1965 and the first manned launch in the last quarter of 1967. If the C-5 could be man-rated on the eighth research and development flight in the second quarter of 1967, the spacecraft lead time would be substantially reduced.
Titov and Kamanin meet journalist Drew Pierson, who claims that five Soviet cosmonauts died before Gagarin flew. They are introduced to Wernher Von Braun. In the afternoon they go to a barbecue at Glenn's house in Virginia. Kamanin carefully notes the technical information he has gleaned: Glenn wore no parachute; the Mercury's solid fuel retrorockets fire in 28 seconds, much more quickly and with more force than the Vostok's low-thrust liquid propellant engine; it is planned to launch a modernised version of Mercury on a one-day flight by the end of 1962; the astronauts train in the centrifuge to 16 G's (versus 12 G's for the cosmonauts); the NASA manned space headquarters is moving to Texas; Mercury is only capable of water landings, no work has been done on land landings or equipping the capsule with an ejection seat; several Amerrican women are considered fit for spaceflight, and the first American woman could make a three-orbit flight in the second half of 1962.
Wernher von Braun, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center, recommended to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight that the lunar orbit rendezvous mode be adopted for the lunar landing mission. He also recommended the development of an unmanned, fully automatic, one-way Saturn C-5 logistics vehicle in support of the lunar expedition; the acceleration of the Saturn C-1B program; the development of high-energy propulsion systems as a backup for the service module and possibly the lunar excursion module; and further development of the F-1 and J-2 engines to increase thrust or specific impulse.
After an extended discussion, the Manned Space Flight Management Council unanimously decided:
NASA awarded a $141.1 million contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company for design, development, fabrication, and testing of the S-IVB stage, the third stage of the Saturn C-5 launch vehicle. The contract called for 11 S-IVB units, including three for ground tests, two for inert flight, and six for powered flight.
MSFC Director Wernher von Braun described to Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager Joseph F. Shea a possible extension of Apollo systems to permit more extensive exploration of the lunar surface. Huntsville's concept, called the Integrated Lunar Exploration System, involved a dual Saturn V mission (with rendezvous in lunar orbit) to deliver an integrated lunar taxi/shelter spacecraft to the Moon's surface. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin sees an interview with Wernher von Braun, wherein von Braun predicts an American manned moon landing by 1970. He is confident the United State will beat the Russians at this. Kamanin agrees - he sees no possibility of beating the Americans - the Soviet Union is 1 to 2 years behind.
Belyayev and Leonov are going to an IAF congress in Greece, where they will unofficially meet Wernher von Braun and several US astronauts. Komarov is touring West Germany. Factory 918 is refusing to fabricate space suits for the female crew for the planned Voskhod EVA flight. They are categorically against the concept. It is necessary to obtain a specific order instructing them to fabricate the suits.
George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun discussed Marshall's briefing on the S-IVB Workshop concept presented at Headquarters the previous day. Mueller asked that MSFC formulate a program development plan and present it at the next meeting of the Manned Space Flight Management Council. Specifically, Mueller demanded that the plan include experiments to be carried aboard the Workshop; funding arrangements; and where development work should be done (in house, or elsewhere). In addition, he asked that MSFC submit two such plans, one for the unpressurized and another for the pressurized version of the Workshop. In effect, Mueller gave Marshall the 'green light' to begin the Orbital Workshop program. At von Braun's request, the Workshop received the status of a separate project, with William Ferguson as Project Manager.
Marshall Space Flight Center Director Wernher von Braun wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that MSFC had spent a considerable effort in planning the transfer of study and development tasks in the lunar exploration program to MSC. Von Braun said, "We feel it is in the spirit of the MSF Hideaway Management Council Meeting held on August 13-15, 1966, to consider the majority of our Lunar Exploration Work Program for transfer to MSC in consonance with Bob Seamans' directive which designates MSC as the Lead Center for lunar science." He added that MSFC had formulated a proposal which it felt was in agreement with the directives and at the same time provided for management interfaces between the two Centers without difficulty.
Briefly MSFC proposed to transfer to MSC:
Von Braun said that Ernst Stuhlinger of the Research Projects Laboratory had discussed the proposed actions for transfer of functions to MSC, and MSC Experiments Program Manager Robert O. Piland had indicated his general agreement, pending further consideration. He asked that Gilruth give his reaction to the proposal and said, "It would be very helpful if our two Centers could present a proposal to George Mueller (OMSF) on which we both agree."
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth wrote MSFC Director Wernher von Braun that MSC had two lunar landing research vehicles (LLRVs) for crew training and three lunar landing training vehicles (LLTVs) were being procured from Bell Aerosystems Go. Gilruth explained that x-ray inspection of welds on the LLTVs at both Bell and MSC had disclosed apparent subsurface defects, such as cracks and lack of fusion. There was, however, question as to the interpretation of the x-rays and the amount of feasible repair. Gilruth mentioned that James Kingsbury of MSFC had previously assisted MSC in interpreting weldment x-rays, stated that further x-rays were being taken, and asked MSFC assistance in interpreting them and in determining the amount and methods of repair needed.
On August 7, Low asked MSC's Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., to look into the feasibility of a lunar orbit mission for Apollo 8 without carrying the LM. A mission with the LM looked as if it might slip until February or March 1969. The following day Low traveled to KSC for an AS-503 review, and from the work schedule it looked like a January 1969 launch. Additional Details: here....
During a key meeting of Apollo senior figures - top NASA management first approached regarding an Apollo 8 lunar mission in December - reaction: negative. Participants in the August 14 meeting in Washington were Low, Gilruth, Kraft, and Slayton from MSC; von Braun, James, and Richard from MSFC; Debus and Petrone from KSC; and Deputy Administrator Thomas Paine, William Schneider, Julian Bowman, Phillips, and Hage from NASA Hq. Low reviewed the spacecraft aspects; Kraft, flight operations; and Slayton, flight crew support. MSFC had agreed on the LTA-B as the substitute and were still ready to go; and KSC said they would be ready by December 6. Additional Details: here....
At the same time the reconstruction schedule for the destroyed N1 launch complex was being laid out, Apollo 11 landed on the moon and the Americans won the moon race. Mishin's engineers watched the live television at TsNIIMASH. Afterwards Tyulin declared, "this is all Chertok's fault. In 1945 he should have thought of stealing Von Braun from the Americans - but he never considered that solution". "True", Chertok replied, "my adventure with Vasiliy Kharchev didn't turn out too well".
MSFC Director Wernher von Braun forwarded to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth an analysis of increasing space scientists' dissatisfaction with the space program. "Ultimate origin" of dissatisfaction was in "the very complex and difficult interfaces between science, engineering, and management" in NASA and governmental systems and "the need for a quick and flexible challenge-and-response capability."
Young scientists from an academic environment found changing from a research scientist to a science administrator difficult; they often preferred active research to desk-and-meetings career.
Many scientists were reluctant to accept the long times between conceptual design and data gathering in space experiments - often 6 to 10 years. The question was not only of patience, graduate student support, and funding continuity, but also of scientific obsolescence.
Scientists felt that science was not as well represented in upper NASA management as were engineering and project management and that high-level decisions were often made without consideration of scientific viewpoints. While recognizing that the space program also had other prime objectives - such as advancement of technology, national achievement, applications, earth resources, and "bringing the world closer together" - they felt that "science is still a stepchild in this family of program objectives."
The analysis said that a good portion of the problems could be relieved by actions taken by Centers and NASA Hq. over the next few months and years. NASA space projects should be structured to give more scientists an opportunity to launch experiments. With the few present scientific flights, only a few scientists could hope to have their experiments flown in their lifetimes. The situation would improve when the Space Shuttle and Space Station were available, but that would not be before 1978 or 1979. With low emphasis on OAO, HEAO, Pioneer, ATM, and planetary flights suggested by the President's Space Task Group, "we will have almost no good flight experiments prepared, and almost no scientists left in the program, by the time the gates of the shuttle and the station open for science."
NASA should also find ways to reduce the time span between conception and flight of an experiment. "For Bill Kraushaar, who proposed a measurement of gamma rays with a simple (now almost obsolete) sensor on a Saturn launch vehicle, this time is now 8 years, with no end in sight." For the Apollo telescope mount principal investigators, "this time will be 8 years, provided that ATM-A is launched early in 1972."
The Shuttle promised great improvements, but "initiation or continuation of unmanned, relatively unsophisticated spacecraft projects for science payloads" was "highly desirable."
Procedures for proposal, screening, selection, acceptance, and final approval of experiments were "exceedingly cumbersome and time consuming." Streamlining requirements after approval - early definition, documentation, reporting, reviews, and administrative actions - as well as the maze of committees, boards, panels, and offices, was urgently recommended.
"Many scientists inside and outside NASA have suggested that NASA should establish, at a high level in the Administrator's Office, a 'Chief Scientist' position with no other functions than to act as a spokesman for . . . scientists who wish to participate in the space program."
He realized he had been sidelined at NASA and that future plans for lunar and Mars exploration were not to be. He became the vice-present of Fairchild Industries in Germantown, Maryland. There he was also active in establishing and promoting the National Space Institute.