NOTES

1. President John F. Kennedy, quoted in John M. Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970), p. 128.

2. Robert R. Gilruth, "Experts Were Stunned by Scope of Mission," New York Times, Moon Special Supplement, 17 July 1969. The description of Gilruth's reaction is taken from an interview, in Kilmarnock, VA, 10 July 1986, and from Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), p. 16-17.

3. Robert R. Gilruth, Director of Key Personnel Development, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, to Francis W. Kemmett, Director of the Staff, Inventions and Contributions Board, NASA headquarters, 28 August 1973. The main purposes of Gilruth's letter, which was solicited by a NASA awards board, were to evaluate Dr. John C. Houbolt's role in NASA's July 1962 decision in favor of the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) concept for Project Apollo and to determine whether Houbolt's contribution was worthy of the maximum prize that NASA had been authorized to give ($100,000) for an outstanding national contribution. To do that, however, Gilruth had to review the Space Task Group's position on LOR and the entire Apollo mission mode controversy. It is believed that no historian besides the author has seen this letter, which is in the author's personal LOR file. After a long investigation, the NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, chaired first by Francis Kemmett and then by Frederick J. Lees, decided not to give Houbolt the award.

4. Clinton E. Brown interview, Hampton, VA, 17 July 1989. Brown's remarks are from a panel discussion involving Brown, William H. Michael, Jr., and Arthur W. Vogeley that the author organized and led as part of Langley's celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing. A videotape of the evening program featuring this panel discussion is preserved in the Langley Historical Archives (LHA), Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.

5. William H. Michael, Jr. interview, Hampton, VA, 17 July 1989. F.R. Moulton's book on celestial mechanics was available by 1958 in a second edition (London: The MacMillan Co., 1956), but the NASA Langley library seems not to have had it. The library did get one later.

6. On the history of pioneering thoughts about and proposals for space stations, see Frederick I. Ordway III, "The History, Evolution, and Benefits of the Space Station Concept," presented to the XIII International Congress of History of Science, August 1971; Barton C. Hacker, "And Rest as on a Natural Station: From Space Station to Orbital Operations in Space-Travel Thought, 1885-1951." Both of the preceding unpublished papers are available in the archives of the NASA History Office in Washington, DC. For published information, see Wernher von Braun and Frederick I. Ordway III, Space Travel: A History: An Update of History of Rocketry & Space Travel (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), p. 18-20; Howard E. McCurdy, The Space Station Decision: Incremental Politics and Technological Choice (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 5-8, 237 (n.7). On NASA's belief that a space station was the logical follow-on to Project Mercury, see Barton C. Hacker and James M. Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini (Washington, DC: NASA SP-4203 1977), p. 5-6; McCurdy, The Space Station Decision, p. 7-9. 71.

7. Brown interview, 17 July 1989.

8. Clinton E. Brown to Eugene C. Draley, Associate Director, "Formation of a Working Group to Study the Problems of Lunar Exploration," 24 March 1959, A200-1B, Langley Central Files (LCF), Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.

9. William H. Michael, Jr., to Eugene C. Draley, Associate Director, "Attendance at Meeting of Working Group on Lunar and Planetary Surfaces Exploration at NASA Headquarters on 14 February 1959," A200-1B, LCF; William H. Michael, Jr., "Attendance at Meeting for Discussion of Advanced Phases of Lunar Exploration at NASA Offices, Silver Spring, Md., Saturday, May 2, 1959," A200-1B, LCF. On the Jastrow Committee, see R. Cargill Hall, Lunar Impact: A History of Project Ranger (Washington, DC: NASA SP-4210 1977), p. 15-16; William David Compton, Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions (Washington, DC: NASA SP-4214 1989), p. 13-14.

10. Harry J. Goett to Ira S. Abbott, "Interim Report on Operation of ‘Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight,'" 17 July 1959, A200-1B, LCF. On the Goett Committee, see Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 9-10; Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon, p. 56-57; and Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 43-45.

11. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., interview, Newport News, VA, 5 August 1989, copy of transcript in LHA, p. 100; Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 43-45.

12. Michael, Jr., interview, 17 July 1989.

13. W.H. Michael, Jr., "Weight Advantages of Use of Parking Orbit for Lunar Soft Landing Mission," in Lunar Trajectory Group's [Theoretical Mechanics Division] unpublished "Studies Related to Lunar and Planetary Missions," 26 May 1960, A200-1B, LCF.

14. On 13 November 1948, H.E. Ross presented the essential elements of the LOR scheme in a paper he presented before a meeting of the British Interplanetary Society in London. His conclusion was that LOR–in comparison with a direct flight to the lunar surface from the Earth–would reduce the Earth-launch weight by a factor of 2.6. In his paper Ross credited Hermann Oberth, Guido von Pirquet, Hermann Noordung, Walter Hohmann (of "Hohmann transfer" fame), Tsiolkovskiy, and F.A. Tsander for having earlier discussed ideas pertinent to the LOR concept. See H.E. Ross, "Orbital Bases," Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 26 (January 1949): 1-18. For a history of the first pioneering inklings about the value of rendezvous in orbit, lunar and otherwise, see Barton C. Hacker, "The Idea of Rendezvous: From Space Station to Orbital Operations in Space-Travel Thought, 1895-1951," Technology and Culture 15 (July 1974), as well as 1963 (supplemented 5 February 1965 and 17 February 1966), copy in the Milton Ames Collection, Box 6. The quote from Clint Brown about Michael's reaction to the Vought briefing is from Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 114-115.

15. For the Vought concept that came out of the MALLAR study, see Vought Astronautics brochure, "Manned, Modular, Multi-Purpose Space Vehicle," January 1960.

16. Michael, Jr., "Weight Advantages of Use of Parking Orbit for Lunar Soft Landing Mission," p. 2.

17. The "Jaybird" story is taken from Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 115. For the technical reports that resulted from the early lunar studies in the Theoretical Mechanics Division, see, among others, J.P. Gapcynski, "A Consideration of Some of the Factors Involved in the Departure of a Vehicle from a Circular Orbit About the Earth"; W.L. Mayo, "Energy and Mass Requirements for Lunar and Martian Missions." Both articles are in the Lunar Trajectory Group's "Studies Related to Lunar and Planetary Missions." On Bird's lunar bug ideas, see Michael, Jr., interview, 7 April 1989, copy of transcript in LHA, p. 14-15. See also William H. Michael, Jr., and Robert H. Tolson, "Effect of Eccentricity of the Lunar Orbit, Oblateness of the Earth, and Solar Gravitational Field on Lunar Trajectories," June 1960, copy in the Langley Research Center's Technical Library.

18. John C. Houbolt, "A Study of Several Aerothermoelastic Problems of Aircraft Structures in High-Speed Flight," Eidgenoessiache Technische Hochshule Mitteilung 5 (1956): 108 p. Throughout his career at NACA and NASA Langley, Houbolt was not a terribly prolific author of technical papers. A complete bibliography of his papers is available among the author's papers in the LHA.

19. John C. Houbolt interview, Williamsburg, VA, 24 August 1989, transcript in LHA, p. 3.

20. Ibid., p. 7-8.

21. Ibid., p. 9. On Rand and the early space program, see Walter A. McDougall, Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985), especially p. 89, 102, 106-110, 121-123.

22. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 13; Loftin, Jr., interview, 5 August 1989, p. 100-101.

23. NASA Langley, "Minutes of Meeting of LRC Manned Space Laboratory Group," 18 September 1959, A200-4, LCF. See paragraph five for Houbolt's statement on the rendezvous problem.

24. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 9-10.

25. Bernard Maggin to Milton B. Ames, Jr., "Inter-center Discussions of Space Rendezvous," 23 May 1960; John C. Houbolt, "Considerations of the Rendezvous Problems for Space Vehicles," presented at the National Aeronautical Meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers, New York City, 5–8 April 1960. Both documents are in A200-La, LCF. The point about Marshall’s limited interest in the rendezvous problem is from Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 14-15.

26. Lowell E. Hasel, "Minutes of Meeting of LRC Lunar Mission Steering Group," 24 May 1960, A200-1B, LCF.

27. Space Task Group, "Guidelines for Advanced Manned Space Vehicle Program," June 1960. For the summary details of these guidelines, see Ivan D. Ertel and Mary Louise Morse, The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Vol. I: 38-41. In brief, the STG identified a manned circumlunar mission as the "logical intermediate step" toward future goals of lunar and planetary landing. Essential to the guidelines were plans for advanced Earth-orbital missions and an Earth-orbiting space station.

28. NASA Space Task Group, "Apollo Technical Liaison Plan," 16 November 1960, A200-Lb, LCF; Langley to Space Task Group, "Langley Appointments to Apollo Technical Liaison Groups," 7 December 1960, in Project Apollo files, LCF. The following Langley researchers were appointed to the Apollo liaison groups: William H. Michael, Jr. (Theoretical Mechanics Div.), to Trajectory Analysis; Eugene S. Love (Aero-Physics Div.), to Configurations and Aerodynamics; John M. Eggleston (AeroSpace Mechanics Div.), to Guidance and Control; Robert L. Trimpi (Aero-Physics Div.), to Heating; Roger A. Anderson (Structures Research Div.), to Structures and Materials; Wilford E. Sivertson (Instrument Research Div.), to Instrumentation and Communication; David Adamson (Aero-Physics Div.), to Human Factors; and Joseph G. Thibodaux, Jr. (Applied Materials and Physics Div.), to Onboard Propulsion. Interestingly, John Houbolt was not appointed to any of the liaison groups.

On the first Industry-NASA Apollo Technical Conference, see the Wall Street Journal, 18 July 1961. Among the many valuable papers given by Langley's John Becker to the Archives of Aerospace Exploration at Virginia Tech, there is his file on the Lunar Mission Steering Group. On the file's cover, Becker provides a brief written introduction to the file's contents. Inside the file there is a copy of the Apollo Technical Liaison Plan, with handwritten notes by Becker. For information about this file and others in the Archives of Aerospace Exploration, contact the special collections archivist at the university library in Blacksburg, VA.

29. Houbolt, "Considerations of the Rendezvous Problems for Space Vehicles," p. 1.

30. NASA Langley, "Minutes of Meeting of LRC Manned Space Laboratory Group," 5 February 1965, A200-4, LCF. See paragraphs three and ten.

31. William A. Mrazek, Marshall Space Flight Center, to John C. Houbolt, 16 May 1960, B10-6, LCF; Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 11.

32. John C. Houbolt, "Lunar Rendezvous," International Science and Technology 14 (February 1963): 63. There have been several attempts to clarify the detailed history of the genesis of LOR at Langley and Houbolt's role in it. The best efforts to date are Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 14-16, 60-68; John M. Logsdon, "The Choice of the Lunar Orbital Rendezvous Mode," Aerospace Historian (June 1971): 63-70; and Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, chaps. 8 and 9. None of them are complete, nor fully satisfy the Langley participants in the history, such as Houbolt, Michael, Brown, et al. In a footnote to their excellent book on Project Apollo, Murray and Cox remark on the holes in the overall LOR story, suggesting that "there is a fascinating doctoral dissertation yet to be written on this episode." This essay may not close off the possibility of this doctoral dissertation, but its goal is to fill in many of the gaps and stress the Langley role in LOR.

33. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 15; Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 15-16.

34. Serving on the Low Committee were Eldon Hall (Office of Launch Vehicle Programs, NASA HQ), Oran Nicks and John H. Disher (both of the Office of Space Flight Programs, NASA HQ), Alfred Mayo (Office of Life Sciences Programs, NASA HQ), Earnest O. Pearson, Jr. (Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Research Div., NASA HQ), Heinz H. Koelle (Marshall), Max Faget (Space Task Group), and John Houbolt (Langley). See Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 28-29. For Langley's copy of the first draft of the Low Committee report, "A Plan for a Manned Lunar Landing," 24 January 1961, see A200-1B, LCF. On the cover sheet of this report, Low identifies the members of his Lunar Landing Working Group; Houbolt's name is not included. He had been named to the committee, but he did not participate in its discussions. Nor did anyone else from Langley.

35. "RCA Will Do Saint Payload," Aviation Week and Space Technology 5 (December 1960): 27. For other sources on Project Saint, see Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 416 n. 64.

36. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 16, 21-25. On Houbolt's final chart, there were three conclusions: (1) "Rendezvous opens possibility for earlier accomplishment of certain space measurement with existing vehicles"; (2) "There is a need for rapid development of manned rendezvous techniques—should make use of Mercury and 'Saint' technology"; and (3) "NASA should have manned rendezvous program in long-range plans with objectives of expediting soft lunar landings and flexible orbital operations."

37. Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 116.

38. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 17-18.

39. See the reference to Brown's presentation in Charles J. Donlan to NASA Headquarters, Code KB, Director of the Staff, Inventions and Contributions, 1 March 1974. A copy of this letter is in the author's personal LOR file. John D. Bird also refers to it in, "A Short History of the Development of the Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous Plan at the Langley Research Center," p. 2.

40. The preceding two paragraphs are derived from the author's unsigned feature story, "The Rendezvous That Was Almost Missed: Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous and the Apollo Program," NASA News Release No. 89-98, 7 July 1989, p. 5-6.

41. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 28-29.

42. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 21-26.

43. John I. Cumberland, Executive Secretary, Space Exploration Program Council (SEPC), to SEPC members and speakers, "Agenda for SEPC Meeting, 5–6 January 1961," A200-IB, LCF. During the first day, other technical presentations were made by Oran Nicks (Lunar and Planetary Programs, NASA HQ) on "Support by Unmanned Lunar Program"; Milton B. Ames (Office of Advanced Research Programs, NASA HQ) and E.O. Pearson (Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Research Div., NASA HQ) on "Research and Development Support"; and Clark T. Randt (Office of Life Sciences Programs, NASA HQ), on "Life Science Aspects."

44. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 29.

45. Robert L. O'Neal to Charles J. Donlan, Associate Director, "Discussion with Dr. Houbolt, LRC, Concerning the Possible Incorporation of a Lunar Orbital Rendezvous Phase as a Prelude to Manned Lunar Landing," 30 January 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

46. Ibid. p. 60; Owen Maynard to Frederick J. Lees, Chairman, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 13 November 1982. A copy of this letter is in the author's personal LOR file. In truth, Houbolt's numbers were overly optimistic in estimating the required weights for the lunar excursion module, because in some critical areas detailed information about the necessary subsystems was not available. Subsequent analysis by NASA and its industrial contractors provided much more realistic weight numbers. The later values for these weights did not turn out so radically out of line with Houbolt's projections; they were still within the single-launch capability of the Saturn V vehicle and therefore validated the advertised feasibility of the LOR mode for the manned lunar landing mission.

47. Dr. Harvey Hall to KB/Director of the Staff, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 28 March 1973. A copy of this letter is in the author's personal LOR file.

48. Von Braun quoted in Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 116-117.

49. Ibid., p. 117.

50. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 22.

51. Gilruth to Kemmett, 28 August 1973, p. 1; see note 2 of this monograph.

52. Donlan to Code KB, Director of the Staff, Inventions and Contributions, 1 March 1974, p. 2; see note 39 of this monograph.

53. Gilruth to Kemmett, p. 1.

54. Gilruth to Nicholas L. Golovin, 12 September 1961, quoted in Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 61.

55. The quoted phrases are from Houbolt's letters to Francis W. Kemmett, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 23 May 1978 and 2 September 1981. Copies of these letters are in the author's personal LOR file.

56. The phrase "like an extremely far-out thing to do" is from George Low, quoted in Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 117.

57. George M. Low, "A Plan for Manned Lunar Landing," 24 January 1961, A220-Lb, LCF; George M. Low, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, to Frederick J. Lees, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, 21 October 1982. A copy of this letter is in the author's personal LOR file. See also E.O. Pearson, "Notes on Key Problems of Manned Lunar Missions," 13 January 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

58. See M.J. Queijo to Associate Director, "Techniques and Problems Associated with Manned Lunar Orbits and Landings," 21 February 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

59. Bernard Maggin to John Houbolt, 1 March 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

60. Brown interview, 19 July 1989. The politics also involved at least one major industrial firm, North American Aviation in Los Angeles, which already had a big contract for a command-and-service module based on the direct-ascent mode. If NASA selected LOR, North American most likely would have to "share the pie" with some other contractor that would be responsible for the separate lunar lander. That contractor turned out to be Grumman. For more on the politics of the mission-mode decision, see Henry S.F. Cooper, "We Don't Have to Prove Ourselves," The New Yorker (2 September 1991): 64.

61. NASA Langley, "Work at LRC in Support of Project Apollo," 3 May 1961, Project Apollo file, LCF. This 15-page report divided Langley's Apollo support work into seven categories: (1) trajectory analysis, (2) configurations and aerodynamics, (3) guidance and control, (4) heating, (5) structures and materials, (6) instrumentation and communications, and (7) human factors. See also Rufus O. House to the Langley Director, "Number of Professionals in Support of Project Apollo," 19 May 1961, Project Apollo file, LCF. This memo advised center management that there were 326.5 professionals currently involved in research projects supporting Apollo, with 91 of these involved in the study of reentry heating problems.

62. Loftin interview, 5 August 1989, p. 93.

63. NASA Langley, "Manned Lunar Landing Via Rendezvous," 19 April 1961, copy in A200-1B, LCF.

64. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 61.

65. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 30.

66. Ibid., p. 28.

67. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 61.

68. Ibid.

69. See McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 8, 318, 328; Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 79-80.

70. For an analysis of Lyndon Johnson's enthusiasm for the lunar mission, see McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 319-320; Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, p. 119-121.

71. For a more complete analysis of the political thinking behind Kennedy's lunar commitment, see chapter 15, "Destination Moon" (p. 307-324) of McDougall's Heavens and the Earth.

72. John C. Houbolt, Associate Chief, Dynamic Loads Division, to Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Associate Administrator, 9 May 1961, copy in Box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

73. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 36; Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 81-82, 110. The Fleming Committee had 23 members, 18 of whom were from NASA Headquarters; Langley had no representative. The members from headquarters were: Fleming, Addison M. Rothrock, Albert J. Kelley, Berg Paraghamian, Walter W. Haase, John Disher, Merle G. Waugh, Eldon Hall, Melvyn Savage, William L. Lovejoy, Norman Rafel, Alfred Nelson, Samuel Snyder, Robert D. Briskman, Secreat L. Barry, James P. Nolan, Jr., Earnest O. Pearson, and Robert Fellows. The other members were Heinz H. Koelle (Marshall), Kenneth S. Kleinknecht and Alan Kehlet (STG), A.H. Schichtenberg (The Lovelace Foundation), and William S. Shipley (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Not surprisingly, most of these men were big-rocket specialists.

74. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Associate Administrator, to John C. Houbolt, Associate Chief, Dynamic Loads Div., NASA Langley, 2 June 1961, copy in Box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA; Seamans to Director, Launch Vehicle Program (Don R. Ostrander), and Director, Advanced Research Programs (Ira H. A. Abbott), "Broad Study of Feasible Ways for Accomplishing Manned Lunar Landing Mission," 25 May 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

75. For example, Murray and Cox state that Houbolt was a member of the Lundin Committee (Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 118).

76. Loftin interview, 5 August 1989, p. 91-97; Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 32-34. Other members of the Lundin Committee, besides Lundin and Loftin, were Walter J. Downhower (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Alfred E. Eggers (NASA Ames), Harry O. Ruppe (NASA Marshall), and Lt. Col. George W. S. Johnson (U.S. Air Force). Unlike the Fleming Committee, this task force—by design—had no members from NASA headquarters and was conceived to represent the technical judgments of the NASA centers.

77. Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., told this story from the audience during the 17 July 1989 videotaped celebration program for the twentieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. See also Loftin interview, 5 August 1989, p. 93.

78. NASA (Lundin Committee), "A Survey of Various Vehicle Systems for the Manned Lunar Landing Mission," 10 June 1961, A200-1B, LCF.

79. Ibid., p. 16; Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 34.

80. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 33; see also Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 118.

81. Loftin interview, 8 August 1989, p. 93-94.

82. Seamans to Directors for Launch Vehicle Programs and Advanced Research Programs and to Acting Director for Life Sciences Program, "Establishment of Ad Hoc Task Group or Manned Lunar Landing by Rendezvous Techniques," 20 June 1961, A200-1B, LCF. See also Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 37-38. Serving on the Heaton Committee were ten officials from NASA headquarters, five from NASA Marshall, one from the NASA Flight Research Center, and two from Langley. The two from Langley were Houbolt and W. Hewitt Phillips. There was also one representative from the U.S. Air Force.

83. Houbolt's paper, "Problems and Potentialities of Space Rendezvous," first presented at the International Academy of Astronautics' International Symposium on Space Flight and Reentry Trajectories, was published under the same title in Astronautica Acta 7 (1961): 406-429.

84. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 39.

85. For the conclusions of the Heaton Committee, see Ad Hoc Task Group for Study of Manned Lunar Landing by Rendezvous Techniques, "Earth Orbital Rendezvous for an Early Manned Lunar Landing," Part I, "Summary Report of Ad Hoc Task Group Study," August 1961.

86. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 39.

87. Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 119. See also Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 46.

88. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 47-48.

89. "Report of DOD-NASA Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, Vol. 1, 1961," copy in A200-1B, LCF. See Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 67-68. The members of this committee, besides those mentioned in the text, were: Kurt R. Stehling and William A. Wolman (NASA HQ); Warren H. Amster and Edward J. Barlow (Aerospace Corp.); Seymour C. Himmel (NASA Lewis); Wilson Schramm and Francis L. Williams (NASA Marshall); Col. Matthew R. Collins (Army); Rear Adm. Levering Smith and Capt. Lewis J. Stecher, Jr. (Navy); and Col. Otto J. Glaser, Lt. Col. David L. Carter, and Heinrich J. Weigand (Air Force). There were no Langley representatives on the committee.

90. John D. Bird, "A Short History of the Development of the Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous Plan at the Langley Research Center," final supplement, 17 February 1966, p. 3.

91. Harvey Hall, NASA Coordinator, NASA-DOD Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, to Langley Research Center, 23 August 1961, A200-Lb, LCF.

92. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 49.

93. Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 60.

94. Ibid., p. 55-60.

95. On the Shoulders of Titans is an outstanding, detailed history of the Gemini Program. For a briefer and somewhat more colorful insight into this important preparatory program for the Apollo mission, see Michael Collins Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (New York: NASA/Grove Press, 1988), p. 63-113. Better yet, see Collins' memoir, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys (New York: Macmillan, 1977). Collins, the command module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, was also an astronaut in the Gemini Program (Gemini-Titan X, 18-21 July 1966). His memoir is one of the best books about the manned space program of the 1960s.

96. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 49-50.

97. NASA Langley, "Manned Lunar-Landing through Use of Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous," two vols., 31 October 1961, copy in Box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA. Other Langley researchers who made contributions to this two-volume report were Jack Dodgen, William Mace, Ralph W. Stone, Jack Queijo, Bill Michael, Max Kurbjun, and Ralph Briasenden. In essence, Houbolt and his associates prepared this two-volume report as a working paper that could provide, as NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden would later explain, "a quick summary of the information then available on LOR as a mode of accomplishing manned lunar landing and return." See Dryden to the Honorable Clinton P. Anderson, Chairman, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, U.S. Senate, 11 April 1963, copy in A200-1B, LCF.

98. John C. Houbolt, NASA Langley, to Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Associate Administrator, NASA, 15 November 1961, p. 1, copy in the Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

99. Ibid., p. 3.

100. Ibid., p. 1.

101. Robert C. Seamons, Jr., to Dr. John C. Houbolt, NASA Langley, 4 December, 1961, copy in Box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA.

102. George M. Low, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, to Mr. Frederick J. Less, Chairman, Inventions and Contributions Board, NASA, 21 October 1982. A copy of this letter is in the author's personal LOR file. See also Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 120.

103. For an excellent capsule portrait of Dr. Joseph F. Shea, see Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 120-125.

104. Ibid., p. 124.

105. Ibid.

106. Ibid., p. 125.

107. Ertel and Morse, Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Vol. I: 141. On Glenn's historic flight, see Lloyd S. Swenson, James M. Grimwood, and Charles C. Alexander, This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury (Washington, DC: NASA SP-4201 1966), p. 420-436.

108. Bird, "A Short History of the Development of the Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous Plan," 17 February 1966, p. 4.

109. NASA, "Minutes of Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Meeting, April 2-3, 1962," copy in A200-1B, LCF. See also Ertel and Morse, Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Vol. I: 147-152.

110. Arthur W. Vogeley interview, Hampton, VA, 17 July 1989.

111. Faget quoted in Cooper, "We Don't Have to Prove Ourselves," 64. For details of the Manned Spacecraft Center's final evaluation in favor of LOR, see Charles W. Matthews, Chief, Spacecraft Research Div., MSFC, to Robert R. Gilruth, MSFC Director, "Summary of MSC Evaluation of Methods for Accomplishing the Manned Lunar Landing Mission," 2 July 1962; Robert R. Gilruth to NASA Headquarters ("Attn: Mr. D. Brainerd Holmes"), "Summary of Manned Spacecraft Center Evaluation Methods for Accomplishing the Manned Lunar Landing Mission," 5 July 1962. Both memoranda are included in appendix A of the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight's confidential 169-page report, "Manned Lunar Landing Program Mode Comparison," 30 July 1962.

112. Gilruth to Kemmett, 28 August 1973.

113. See Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 125.

114. Ibid.

115.. George M. Low to Frederick J. Lees, Chairman, Inventions and Contributions Board, NASA, 21 October 1982; George M. Low to John C. Houbolt, Senior Vice President and Senior Consultant, Aeronautical Research Associates of Princeton (NJ), Inc., 7 August 1969. Copies of both letters are in the author's personal LOR file.

116. For analysis of Mattson's liaison role for Langley at the Manned Spacecraft Center, see my book, Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center from Sputnik to Apollo (Washington: NASA SP-4308, 1995), pp. 357-369. Axel T. Mattson, Research Assistant for Manned Spacecraft Projects, to Charles J. Donlan, "Report on Activities (16-19 April 1962) Regarding Manned Spacecraft Projects," A189-5, LCF. According to Mattson's memorandum, he took Houbolt to see the following personnel of the Manned Spacecraft Center: Charles W. Matthews and John M. Eggleston (Spacecraft Research Div.), Owen Maynard and Eilsworth Phelps (Spacecraft Integration Branch), Floyd V. Bennett (Flight Dynamics Branch), and Leo T. Chauvin and William F. Rector (Apollo Spacecraft Project Office). Along with Houbolt, Langley's John D. Bird was also visiting the Houston center to discuss LOR. One of the Houston engineers with whom Houbolt and Bird met, Chuck Matthews, had just returned from a meeting at NASA Marshall. There, Matthews had reviewed Houston's thinking on the LOR concept. According to Mattson's memo, that presentation was "apparently well received by von Braun, since he made favorable comments." See also Axel T. Mattson interview, Hampton, VA, 14 August 1989, transcript in LHA.

117. Statement by Axel T. Mattson at the 17 July 1989 evening program on the twentieth anniversary of Apollo 11.

118. "Minutes of the MSF Management Council," 6 February 1962, p. 1; Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 64.

119. Brown interview, 17 July 1989; Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 68-72.

120. "Concluding Remarks by Dr. Wernher von Braun about Mode Selection for the Lunar Landing Program Given to Dr. Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director (Systems) Office of Manned Space Flight," 7 June 1962. A copy of this 11-page document is preserved in Box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA. For more on von Braun's surprise announcement in favor of LOR and the reaction of the Marshall audience, see Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 139.

121. For an introduction to the concept of "closure" in science and technology, see Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, and Trevor Pinch, eds., The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology (Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 1990), p. 12-13.

122. John C. Houbolt, Chief, Theoretical Mechanics Div., NASA Langley, to Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director, NASA Marshall, 9 April 1962, A189-7, LCF; von Braun to Houbolt, 20 June 1962. A copy of the latter is in the author's personal LOR file. Von Braun argued later that he really had not changed his mind from Earth-orbit rendezvous to LOR; he had not been a strong supporter of Earth-orbit rendezvous in the first place. His people at Marshall had investigated Earth orbit while Gilruth's people in Houston had investigated lunar orbit, but that was part of a NASA management strategy to cover all the options thoroughly. He personally did not take sides until he had all the facts; when he did, he supported LOR. See Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 139.

123. NASA, "Lunar Orbit Rendezvous: News Conference on Apollo Plans at NASA Headquarters on July 11, 1962," copy in Box 6, Milton Ames Collection, LHA. In the press conference, Robert Seamans credited John Houbolt specifically for his contribution to the LOR concept: "I would first like to say that when I joined NASA almost two years ago one of the first places that I went to was Langley Field, and there reviewed work going on at a research base under Dr. John Houbolt. This work related both to rendezvous and what a man could do at the controls, of course under simulated conditions, as well as the possibility of lunar orbit rendezvous" (p. 8). On Wiesner's opposition to LOR, see McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 378; Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, p. 140-143.

Even after its July 1962 announcement in favor of LOR, NASA continued to evaluate the other major options for the Apollo mission mode. See, for example, the Office of Manned Space Flight's confidential "Manned Lunar Landing Program Mode Comparison," 30 July 1962, and the office's follow up and also confidential "Manned Lunar Landing Mode Comparison," 24 October 1962. Copies of both documents are in A200-1B, LCF. Both reports concluded that—although some forms of Earth-orbit rendezvous were also feasible and would have adequate weight margins—on the basis of "technical simplicity, scheduling, and cost considerations," LOR was the "most suitable" and the "preferred mode."

124. John C. Houbolt, Roy Steiner, and Kermit G. Pratt, "Flight Data and Considerations of the Dynamic Response of Airplanes to Atmospheric Turbulence," July 1962.

125. Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 73.

126. I.E. Garrick, Distinguished Research Associate, NASA Langley, to Francis W. Kemmett, Code KB, NASA Inventions and Contributions Board, NASA Headquarters, 18 November 1974. Garrick wrote two other letters to Kemmett, dated 14 November 1975 and 12 September 1978. Copies of all three of these letters are in the author's personal LOR file.

127. Low to Lees, 21 October 1982, p. 2-3. On 7 August 1969, two weeks after the successful completion of the Apollo 11 mission, von Braun wrote Houbolt a personal letter in which he referred to Houbolt's "singular contribution to the Apollo program." Von Braun stated, "We know that it must be highly gratifying to you because of the rousing and complete success of your Eagle. The LM concept that you developed and defended so effectively—even, on occasion, before unsympathetic tribunals—was indeed a prime factor in the success of man's first lunar landing mission." Wernher von Braun, Director, NASA Marshall, to John C. Houbolt, Senior Vice President and Senior Consultant, Aeronautical Research Associates of Princeton (NJ) Inc., 7 August 1969, copy in the author's personal LOR file.

128. Quoted in Bill Ruehlmann, "If It Hadn't Been for Three Langley Engineers, the Eagle Wouldn't Have Landed," The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, 15 July 1989. Throughout this paper, I often use the metaphor of Houbolt as "a crusader," knowing that this association has plagued Houbolt for nearly thirty years. It is one of the major factors that killed his chances for getting a $100,000 cash award from the NASA Inventions and Contributions Board in the late 1970s and early 1980s (see note 3 of this paper). This board decided, after a lengthy inquiry, that it did not give awards to individuals who simply advocated or "crusaded" for causes, however righteous they were.

One might wonder whether the NASA board did not significantly underestimate the sometimes vital role of a crusader in the ultimate success of a major technological endeavor. Most certainly in this case, the awards board used a much too literal definition of "crusader," for Houbolt was not just arguing for something for which other people were more responsible. Rather, he made LOR into a personal cause when, after extensive work on the relevant problems and his mounting frustration with NASA's failure even to consider LOR as a feasible option, he became convinced that he should crusade. "Not until I showed them all my analysis and so forth did the awards committee even realize that I had gone into so much depth in terms of working through all the various parts of the problem," says Houbolt. Or, to quote again from George Low's letter to the NASA awards committee, "it is my strongly held opinion that without the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Mode, Apollo would not have succeeded; and that without Houbolt's letter to Seamans (and the work that backed up that letter) [author's emphasis], we might not have chosen the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Mode" (Low to Lees, 21 October 1982, p. 3.) Despite this emphatic testimonial from one of NASA's most esteemed former officials, Houbolt received no award.

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