Category The Secret of Apollo

Organizing to Communicate with Technologists

During World War II, scientists vastly increased the fighting capability of both Allied and Axis powers. The atomic bomb, radar, jet fighters, ballistic missiles, and operations research methods applied to fighter and bomber tactics all had significant impact on the war. Recognizing the contributions of scientists, Gen. H. H. ‘‘Hap’’ Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces, advocated maintaining the partnership between military officers and scientists after the war’s end. His plans led to the creation of several organizations that cemented the partnership between technically minded Army Air Forces officers and the community of scientific and technological researchers.

In 1944, Arnold met briefly with eminent aerodynamicist Theodore von Karman of the California Institute of Technology and asked him to assemble a group of scientists to evaluate German capabilities and study the Army Air Forces’ postwar future. Among the group’s recommendations were the estab­lishment of a high-level staff position for R&D, a permanent board of scien­tists to advise the Army Air Forces, and better means to educate Army Air Forces officers in science and technology.9 The Army Air Forces acted first to maintain the services of von Karman and his scientific friends. Supported by General Arnold, the Army Air Forces established the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) in June 1946 as a semipermanent adviser to the staff.10

Arnold recognized that establishing an external board of scientists would do little to change the Army Air Forces unless he also created internal posi­tions to act as bridges and advocates for scientific ideas. He established the position of scientific liaison in the air staff and elevated his protege Col. Bernard Schriever into the position in 1946. Schriever had known Arnold since 1933, when as a reserve officer Schriever was a bomber pilot and main­tenance officer under Arnold. Schriever’s mother became a close friend of Arnold’s wife, leading to a lifelong friendship with the Arnold family. Arnold encouraged Schriever to take a full commission, which Schriever did prior to World War II. Schriever served with distinction in the Pacific, and his work in logistics brought him into contact with procurement officers at Wright Field. After the war, Arnold moved him to the Pentagon. As scientific liai­son, Schriever helped create the air force’s R&D infrastructure, including test facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles as well as research centers in Tennessee and near Boston. He worked closely with the SAB, an association that would have far-reaching conse­quences.11

Despite the creation of a research office in Air Materiel Command (AMC),12 an increasing number of military officers believed that AMC did not pursue R&D with sufficient vigor. The controversy revolved around the conflict be­tween technologically oriented officers who promoted the ‘‘air force of the future’’ and the traditional pilots who focused on the ‘‘air force of the present.’’ Advocates of the future air force had powerful allies in General Arnold and in Lt. General Donald Putt, a longtime aircraft procurement officer from Wright Field. Putt had been a student of von Karman at Caltech and in the late 1940s was director of R&D in the air force headquarters staff.13

Putt and an energetic group of colonels under him discussed how to im­prove air force R&D, which in their opinion languished in AMC. As bud­gets shrank after the war, AMC gave high priority to maintaining operational forces, leading to R&D budget cuts. This concerned members of the SAB as well as Putt’s allies. Putt and his colonels plotted how the SAB could aid their cause.14

Capitalizing on an upcoming meeting of the SAB in the spring of 1949, Putt asked the chief of the Air Staff, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, to speak to the board. Vandenberg agreed, but only if Putt would write his speech. This was the opportunity that Putt and his proteges sought. Putt asked one of his allies, SAB military secretary Col. Ted Walkowicz, to write the speech. Walkowicz included ‘‘a request of the Board to study the Air Force organization to see what could be done to increase the effectiveness of Air Force Research and Development.’’ Putt ‘‘rather doubted that Vandenberg would make that re­quest.’’ Fortunately for Putt, Vandenberg at the last minute backed out and had his deputy, Gen. Muir Fairchild, appear before the board. Fairchild, an advocate of R&D, read the speech all the way through, including the request. Putt had already warned SAB Chairman von Karman what was coming, so von Karman quickly accepted the request.15

Putt and his colonels knew that this was only the first step in the upcoming fight. They also had to ensure that the report would be read. Putt’s group carefully picked the SAB committee to include members that had credibility in the air force. They selected as chairman Louis Ridenour, well known for his work on radar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Radiation Laboratory. More important was the inclusion of James Doolittle, the famed air force bomber pilot and pioneer aviator who was also Vandenberg’s close friend. Putt persuaded Doolittle to go on a duck hunting trip with Vandenberg after Ridenour and von Karman presented the study results to the Air Staff. Putt later commented that ‘‘this worked perfectly,’’ gaining the chief’s ear and favor. Putt’s group also coordinated a separate air force review to assess the results of the scientific committee. After hand-picking its members as well and ensuring coordination with Ridenour’s group, Putt noted that ‘‘strangely enough, they both came out with the same recommendations.’’16

The Ridenour Report charted the air force’s course over the next few years. It recommended the creation of a new command for R&D, a new graduate study program in the air force to educate officers in technical matters, and im­proved career paths for technical officers. The report also recommended the creation of a new general staff position for R&D separated from logistics and production, and a centralized accounting system to better track R&D expen­ditures. After a few months of internal debate, General Fairchild approved the creation of Air Research and Development Command (ARDC), separating the R&D functions from AMC. Along with ARDC, Fairchild approved creation of a new Air Staff position, the deputy chief of staff, development (DCS/D).17

With the official establishment of ARDC and the DCS/D on January 23, 1950, the air force completed the development of its first organizations to cement ties between technically minded military officers and scientific and technological researchers. These new organizations, which also included the RAND Corporation,18 the Research and Development Board (RDB),19 and the SAB, would in theory make the fruits of scientific and technological research available to the air force. The RDB and SAB coordinated air force efforts with the help of the scientists and engineers, similar to how the wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development had operated, but RAND was a new kind of organization, a ‘‘think tank.’’ ARDC and the DCS/D would attempt to centralize and control the air force’s R&D efforts. They would soon find that for large projects, they would have to centralize authority around the project, instead of the technical groups of AMC or ARDC.

Functional Management or Project Management?

JPL’s lunar and planetary programs developed under very different organi­zational regimes. In the lunar program, Cliff Cummings and James Burke ran the Ranger program on an academic model; Burke coordinated the ac­tivities of the subsystem engineers who worked under the technical division chiefs. JPL contracted with Hughes Aircraft Company (HAC) to design and build the Surveyor lunar lander. Surveyor lacked support from JPL, whose per­sonnel concentrated on Ranger and Mariner. Because of JPL’s neglect, HAC ran the program as it saw fit. By contrast, Robert Parks and Jack James ran the planetary program, which consisted initially of the Mariner spacecraft to fly by Venus, on the formal model they had developed on Sergeant. Al­though Mariner’s design was a modification of Ranger, the spacecraft achieved quite different results: disastrous failures on Ranger and spectacular success on Mariner. Their contrasting fates illustrate the significant influence of orga­nizational structure and processes on the technical success or failure of space­craft.

Ranger and Surveyor were intended to support NASA’s lunar program both by attaining space achievements before the Soviets did and by helping the Apollo mission. Ranger was to take close-up pictures of the lunar surface be­fore the spacecraft crashed onto the Moon and to help engineers develop spacecraft technologies for use on other programs. Ranger had an additional goal: ‘‘to seize the initiative in space exploration from the Soviets.’’ Surveyor was to perform a soft landing on the lunar surface. Conflict between scientific and engineering goals hampered both projects. Scientists desired on-board experiments, but for engineering purposes and for Apollo support, experi­ments were a nuisance. By contrast, Mariner was a purely scientific program to explore Venus and Mars, relaying photographs and scientific data back to Earth. It did not support Apollo and, consequently, had clearer mission ob­jectives.44

By late 1959, some of JPL’s managers believed that JPL needed to change its organizational structure. They thought that Pickering’s academic structure did not work well for large projects. To investigate, JPL hired management consulting firm McKinsey and Company to assess JPL’s organization. Based on the firm’s recommendations and pressure from managers like Jack James, Pickering established project-oriented Lunar and Planetary Program offices, but he maintained the authority of JPL’s functional divisions and added the Systems Division. Pickering selected Cliff Cummings to head the Lunar Pro­gram Office. Cummings, in turn, selected his protege James Burke to head Ranger.45

Burke, a Caltech mechanical engineer, had a reputation as a brilliant engi­neering researcher and technical specialist. He had an easygoing attitude with others but drove himself very hard.46 On Ranger, which began in December 1959, Burke’s mild demeanor turned out to be a handicap. The 1959 reorga­nization created project managers, but the division chiefs from Pickering’s functional organization controlled the personnel. Project managers had little authority and had to negotiate with powerful division chiefs for personnel and support. Burke did not have the authority to force division chiefs to abide by project decisions. For example, when Mariner needed personnel, division chiefs compromised Ranger by transferring some of Ranger’s most experi­enced engineers to the more glamorous Mariner. Biweekly meetings with the divisions focused on program status and scheduling, not technical problems or systems engineering.47 Burke’s project office consisted of a single deputy, and he gave the critical systems engineering tasks to the Systems Division, ad hoc committees, and technical panels.

Although JPL had developed substantial expertise in reliability on Cor­poral and Sergeant, reliability and quality assurance engineers could only advise design engineers, who could reject their advice. With many senior engineers transferred to Mariner, Ranger’s reliability suffered. Design incon­sistency resulted from continuing changes in the scientific experiments re­quested by NASA headquarters. Ranger also suffered from a requirement to sterilize components by baking them at high temperatures, which signifi­cantly reduced electronic component reliability.48

Burke’s lack of authority inside JPL was a small problem compared to his lack of authority over external organizations. JPL reported to the Office of Space Flight Programs at NASA headquarters. Air force Atlas and Agena ve­hicles were to launch Ranger, yet launch vehicles fell under the jurisdiction of the Office of Launch Vehicles at NASA headquarters, which assigned respon­sibility for Atlas and Agena to Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). MSFC had responsibility for, but no authority over, the air force for these vehicles. Thus, authority for the Ranger program was divided between two NASA field centers, two headquarters offices, and NASA and the air force.49

Ranger was not a priority for MSFC or for the air force. MSFC was busy designing the Saturn I rocket, a step toward von Braun’s dream of manned space flight. For the air force, NASA’s use of Atlas and Agena was secondary to developing ballistic missiles. Agena contractor Lockheed gave priority to the hundreds of upper stages slated for the air force as opposed to the nine pur­chased by NASA. NASA did not help matters, assigning responsibility for the Agena program to a headquarters-chaired committee, where Ranger was only one of several NASA Agena users. Project personnel had to work through the committee, which reported to MSFC, which in turn coordinated with the air force, which then directed Lockheed.

With this confusing organization, launch vehicle problems were a virtual certainty. Having many organizations interposed between JPL and Lockheed led to misunderstandings about the electrical and physical connections be­tween JPL’s spacecraft and Lockheed’s Agena upper stage. Exasperated JPL engineers could not get crucial Agena information from the air force or Lock­heed because they did not have the ‘‘need to know’’ required by air force security.

In September 1960 Lockheed sent a mockup of the Agena upper-stage inter­face hardware to JPL. Not surprisingly, the hardware did not match JPL’s expectations. After the ensuing investigation, the air force granted security clearances, then let NASA sign its own contract with Lockheed in February 1961. The problems also led managers and engineers in the air force and NASA to hold a design review covering interface hardware in December 1960. JPL engineers sent tooling and spacecraft mockups to Lockheed to check interface designs, so that when they manufactured flight spacecraft, they would match Agena’s interfaces.50

Mariner was JPL’s showcase project, intended to fly two spacecraft past Venus in 1962 and two more past Mars in 1964. Originally slated to launch with the new high-energy Centaur upper stage, NASA canceled the Mariner A spacecraft (the first of the series) when it became clear that Centaur would not be available in time. Regrouping, JPL engineers lightened the design to launch on Atlas-Agena launch vehicles. NASA approved the new Mariner R

spacecraft in the fall of 1961. Mariner benefited from its allure as a planetary mission and from its stable complement of onboard science experiments.51

Although Mariner’s organization included elements similar to Ranger’s, a number of features significantly strengthened Mariner’s management. As with Ranger, project managers emphasized interfaces between the spacecraft and launch vehicle, required significant testing, used JPL’s matrix structure, and had a small project office. There the similarities ended. Robert Parks, former Sergeant program manager, ran JPL’s planetary programs, and he selected his Sergeant deputy, Jack James, as project manager. The two Sergeant vet­erans decided to use Sergeant’s best management features, particularly fail­ure reporting, design freezes, and change control. Mariner engineers began by writing functional specifications to resolve spacecraft interface problems. They then created a design specification manual that defined the preliminary design, mission objectives, and design criteria. James created a development operations plan outlining the communication processes for the project, in­cluding interfaces, technical design decisions, schedule reporting, and design status meetings. James’s plan even specified what topics each status meeting should cover and who should attend. Unlike on Ranger, on Mariner James tracked the development of specifications and design drawings, not just hard­ware.52

James believed that the most innovative management feature of Mariner was the use of progressive design freezes. After a survey of subsystems to de­termine when to freeze each design element, the project periodically pub­lished a Mariner R change freeze document, along with any approved changes to drawings or specifications. Once frozen, a component’s design could be modified only through an engineering change requirement form approved by James.

Problem reporting became one of the project’s significant innovations. Project manager James instituted the ‘‘P list,’’ a list of critical problems. Any problem that made the P list received immediate attention and extra re­sources. The project implemented a failure reporting system for Mariner in November 1961, starting with system integration tests for the entire spacecraft. Failure reports were distributed to division chiefs, the project office, and engi­neers responsible for designing components and subsystems.53

As JPL prepared for its first Ranger and Mariner flights, its engineers and

Подпись: Image not available.

Mariner Venus 1962, also called Mariner 2. Mariner’s success helped convince NASA to reform JPL rather than reject it. Courtesy NASA.

managers were confident that they would succeed. Even if faults occurred, five Ranger test flights and two Mariner spacecraft gave ample margin for the un­expected. Despite last-minute changes to Ranger’s science experiments and occasional testing glitches, both projects remained on schedule. The Ranger project planned to build five ‘‘Block 1’’ spacecraft, only one of which had to work properly for Ranger’s initial objectives to be met. Surely one of them would.

”Paris, We Have a Problem’—with Interfaces

ELDO’s technical troubles traced in most cases to problems with inter­faces: component boundaries that were also organizational boundaries. Here ELDO’s inability to either impose standards or ensure communication among its engineering groups produced its logical result: failure. ELDO engineers and managers soon recognized that they had a major problem with inter­faces and communications. Through the Secretariat and national organiza­tions they tried to make this point to the politicians who governed ELDO. Despite efforts to improve ELDO’s communications and systems engineering, ELDO’s basic flaw was a lack of authority that no piecemeal measures could repair. Symptoms of this problem became evident first in cost overruns and schedule slips, then in flight failures.

In 1964 and 1965, the first test flights of Britain’s Blue Streak were decep­tively promising.38 DeHavillands’s first stage design incorporated several years of design experience prior to the formation of ELDO, as well as American techniques from the Atlas program, which itself had developed for a num­ber of years before Britain acquired some of its technologies. Because the first tests flew only the British first stage, they did not involve interfaces with any other stage. Because a single government organization with prior rocket and missile experience managed Blue Streak, and because firms experienced with these technologies and with each other built it, communications were not a problem. Blue Streak’s success was not to be repeated.

Problems soon appeared in the interfaces between the rocket stages and the organizations responsible for them. Under ELDO agreements of 1963, mem­ber states divided interface responsibility by having the lower stage contractor responsible for interfaces between any two stages. Thus the British were re­sponsible for the interface between the first and second stages, the French for the interface between the second and third stages, and the Germans for the third stage-test satellite interface. Meetings in 1965 further defined interface procedures, specifying that the Interface Design Authority (the lower stage contractor) would freeze the design, make the information available to all parties, and provide for hardware inspection. The Interface Design Authority would submit a Certificate of Design to ELDO to certify the correctness of the interface. However, the scheme had a fatal flaw: ‘‘It was not the intention that an Interface Authority should do again work already allocated and being per­formed by another Design Authority. The Interface Design Authority would therefore base his design declaration on statements, made by the other Design Authorities concerned, that the relevant specifications had been met.’’39

The contractor documenting the interface merely ensured that the other organizations involved provided the appropriate documentation, but no or­ganization analyzed both sides of the interface for discrepancies. ELDO docu­mented the interface specifications and trusted contractors on each side ofthe interface to abide by them. Without anyone checking both sides, misunder­standings about specifications went unnoticed until the organizations tried to connect the stages or test them in flight.

Misunderstandings became painfully evident the moment contractors tried to connect hardware. In an early test of the interface between the French sec­ond stage and the German third stage, the structure failed because of the wrong kinds of connecting bolts. When the ELDO Secretariat decided to make changes to the French second stage, the French complained, question­ing who had the ‘‘power to impose a solution.’’ In another case, the Germans developed a table to mimic the structural interface of the Italian test satellite ‘‘before the Italian Authorities had completed their examination [of] the re­quirements.’’ This led to a mismatch between the assumed size ofthe connect­ing ring and the actual ring later designed by the Italians, and the Germans had to scrap their hardware and build a new table.40

Complaints about communications and integration problems reached the ELDO Council through member state delegations, leading to a study of ELDO’s organization in early 1966. Belgian engineers, who had to collect data from all ELDO members to design the telemetry system, were the first to con­front the interface problem. They suggested that the Secretariat be given sub­stantially more authority in a two-level management scheme. The first level would be a study bureau to establish specifications. It would be at the national level but under the “functional authority’’ of the ELDO Secretariat, and it would have authority to approve modifications and make technical decisions. Through control of the national bureaus, the Secretariat would impose con­sistent standards and processes. At a higher level in the organization, the Sec­retariat would have greater power, ‘‘corresponding in the English sense to the word ‘control’ (monitoring plus decision authority).’’ Belgian delegates pro­posed to staff this level with seventy engineers, with seven ‘‘inspector gen­erals’’ from each national program under the direction of a management di­rector. The engineers would focus on integration problems and look for future problems, while the seven inspector generals and the seven national program managers would meet with the Council to discuss problems at least every other month.41

Countering the Belgian proposal, the French proposed an Industrial Inte­grating Group that would exchange information among the government and industrial firms. The French solution provided information but did not give the Secretariat the power to enforce solutions. The Industrial Integrating Group would collect information and pass its recommendations to the Sec­retariat, which in turn could recommend changes with the member states and the ELDO Council. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Industrial Integrating Group would be led by SEREB, the French organization that coordinated the French rocket program.42

In matters political, French proposals carried more weight. German dele­gates supported the French because they did not want a strong project man­ager. Not wanting the project manager to have financial control, the Dutch supported the Germans. The ELDO Council decided to appoint a project manager for Europa I but to strictly limited the manager’s authority. Council members directed, ‘‘The Project Manager shall remain within the approved technical objectives, timescale, programme cost to completion and total ap­propriations under each country chapter in the current budget.’’ The manager would have to ‘‘pay due regard to the opinions and advice of other directors, but the decisions would be his own responsibility.’’ The Council also required that he ‘‘act in agreement with the Member States concerned regarding bud­get transfers.’’43 Without authority over budgets, the project manager could take no significant actions without agreement from the member states.

Along with appointing a project manager, the ELDO Council requested that the Secretariat investigate program management procedures and agreed with ‘‘the necessity of adopting a system for providing delegations and the Secretariat with continuous and full preventative information on the prog­ress of the current programmes.’’ Secretary-General Carrobio reported back, agreeing that a ‘‘Corps of Inspectors’’ should review ELDO and make rec­ommendations concerning processes, structure, and management. Carrobio also proposed an “integrating group set up by industry and subordinate to the Secretariat’s authority.’’ Such a group would enhance ELDO’s position.44

The French proposal prevailed. In July 1966, the ELDO Council approved the Europa II vehicle,45 which could place a small communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit, and agreed to create an integration group, known as Societe d’Etude et d’Integration de Systemes Spatiaux (SETIS [Company for the Study and Integration of Space Systems]), to strengthen the Secre­tariat. Beginning as a division of SEREB, SETIS had the same analysis and integration functions and was then spun off into a separate organization.46

SETIS had only advisory capacity, reporting to the ELDO Project Manage­ment Directorate, which the Council also created at that time. Under the new system, the Project Management Directorate assigned project managers to Europa I and Europa II. Each country selected its own project manager, who reported to the national organization and to the ELDO project manager, who distributed information to member states through the Scientific and Techni­cal Committee. SETIS worked only on Europa II because Europa I was soon to begin integration testing. For Europa II, the Secretariat now had authority to place contracts directly with industry. ELDO’s Europa I project manager remained virtually powerless.47

Secretary-General Carrobio expected that SETIS would strengthen ELDO’s technical capabilities. Because the SETIS engineers came from Europa II con­tractors, SETIS would ensure better communication between ELDO and the manufacturers ‘‘by means of direct contacts.’’ SETIS planned to hire forty engineers for the Europa II program and sixty more after that, arranged in three divisions: PAS Vehicle (Europa II) Development, Planning and Infor­mation, and System Integration. Despite SETIS’s apparently broad charter, its power was strictly limited; it could not amend contracts or change costs, schedules, or technical performance except through the Secretariat. Because the Secretariat did not have much power in these matters, SETIS could only analyze information that member states and their contractors were willing to provide.48

In December 1966, the chairman of the Corps of Inspectors delivered his committee’s report, which described ‘‘the problems ofthe interfaces’’ and ‘‘the role played in this matter by the Secretariat.’’ The report noted, ‘‘The Ger-

man Authorities and the German industrials repeatedly stressed the difficul­ties which have resulted from an incomplete solution of the interface prob­lems, which they attribute to gaps in the methods of coordination.’’ A number of interface problems bedeviled the project, and the Corps of Inspectors con­cluded that the Secretariat should define its methods and intentions to deal with interface issues.49

Carrobio responded the next month, first to specific problems noted by the Corps of Inspectors. The Secretariat had ‘‘played a determining role in recon­ciling the viewpoints’’ of the French and Germans in making design changes after a test failure in February 1966. However, in the case of problems with the German third stage, neither the German authorities nor ELDO could con­trol foreign suppliers for third stage components. Even here, Carrobio stated, ‘‘These were not so much a matter of principles as of practical difficulties due to slippages in the development programme of Germany’s foreign suppliers.’’ Because German contractor Bolkow had no control over the suppliers, Carro – bio argued, ‘‘It is then up to the Secretariat to intervene and endeavour to find and win acceptance for the least harmful compromise, and this has been done on all occasions.’’ Carrobio believed that only minor fixes to ELDO’s organization were necessary, not a complete overhaul.50

ELDO member state delegates took some time to approve the new pro­cesses and procedures proposed by the Corps of Inspectors. After an ELDO visit to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to learn more about project management techniques, the ELDO Council finally ratified the new program management procedures in September 1967. SETIS came into official exis­tence on January 1,1968. Both project management and SETIS strengthened ELDO’s Europa II project. Europa I remained hampered by indirect contract­ing and a lack of authority.51

As ELDO, the national governments, and the contractors started to build and integrate Europa I, they found numerous communication and interface problems. Complaints bubbled up from the contractors through the national delegations to the ELDO Council, leading to an enhancement of ELDO’s project management capability. The new procedures gave the Europa II proj­ect manager the authority to make direct contracts and gave him a staff that could monitor events more closely. However, even for Europa II, the Secre­tariat still had limited authority to modify contracts, costs, and schedules. Un­fortunately, ELDO’s immediate future hinged on Europa I and its less effective organization.

The Rise of the Weapon System Concept

The air force had to develop two kinds of technologies. The majority of the projects were concerned with component development. On account of their great cost and complexity, however, large-scale weapons such as bombers, fighters, and missiles took up the bulk of the air force’s R&D resources. To manage these so-called weapon systems, air force officers found that their loosely organized prewar methods did not suffice. For the new systems, the air force looked to new models of centralized project management.

Two World War II aircraft projects fit the bill. The complex B-29 and P-61 projects both used committees to coordinate the development ofthe airframe, electronics, and armament during development, instead of after airframe manufacture and testing.20 For the complex and pressurized B-29, engineers designed armament and communications together from the start, because the aircraft’s computer-controlled fire-control systems were integrally connected to the airframe. For the B-29 and the P-61, officers considered the entire air­craft a system that included manufacturing and training as well as hardware.21

Another influential World War II program was the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. Gen. Leslie Groves of the Army Corps of Engineers managed the project, gathering physicists, chemists, and engineers at Los Alamos, New Mexico, to design the bomb. Groves administered the project with a staff of three and made major decisions with a small committee con­sisting of himself, Vannevar Bush, James Conant, and representatives of each of the services. Army officers directed day-to-day operations at each of the project’s field sites, most of which had traditional hierarchical organizations, albeit cloaked in secrecy. Because of technical and scientific uncertainties, the project developed two bomb designs and three methods to create the fissile material.22

The organization at Los Alamos differed from the organization at other project sites. Director Robert Oppenheimer wrested a degree of freedom of speech for the scientists and ensured that they remained civilians. Oppen- heimer, to respect the traditional independence of scientists and maintain open communication, initially adopted the loose department structure of uni­versities. This changed in the spring of 1944, when tests showed that the pluto­nium gun assembly bomb would not work. The tests led to an acceleration of work on the more complex implosion design. As R&D teams grew, the project needed and obtained strong managers like Robert Bacher and George Kistia – kowsky, who transformed the project’s organization from an academic model to divisions organized around the end-product — a project organization.23

Americans also learned from the organization of the German V-2 proj­ect, headed by Wernher von Braun. Reporting to General Arnold on Ger­man scientific capabilities at the end of World War II, von Karman stated that one of the major factors in the success of the German V-2 project was its organization:

Leadership in the development of these new weapons of the future can be as­sured only by uniting experts in aerodynamics, structural design, electronics, servomechanisms, gyros, control devices, propulsion, and warhead under one leadership, and providing them with facilities for laboratory and model shop production in their specialties and with facilities for field tests. Such a cen­ter must be adequately supported by the highest ranking military and civilian leadership and must be adequately financed, including the support of related work on special aspects of various problems at other laboratories and the sup­port of special industrial developments. It seems to us that this is the lesson to be learned from the activities of the German Peenemunde group.24

In the Ridenour Report of 1949, the SAB remembered the lessons of the Manhattan and V-2 projects for organizing large new technologies. They noted that new systems were far more complex than their prewar counter­parts, making it necessary for some engineers to concentrate on the entire system instead of its components only. Project officers also needed greater authority to better lead a task force of ‘‘systems and components specialists organized on a semi-permanent basis.’’ Because the air force had few qualified technical officers, the committee recommended that the air force draw upon the ‘‘very important reservoir of talent available for systems planning in the engineering design staffs of the industries of the country.’’25

Despite the recommendations of the Ridenour Report, AMC officers at Wright Field continued to organize projects on functional lines mirroring aca­demic disciplines and to coordinate projects through small project offices. As late as 1950, typical project offices had fewer than ten members, and engi­neering expertise, parceled out from Wright Field’s functional divisions, were, as one historian put it, ‘‘only casually responsible’’ to the project office.26 At the time, AMC’s Col. Marvin Demler stated: ‘‘Due to the complexity of the mechanisms which we develop, and our organization by hardware special­ties, a very high degree of cooperation and coordination is required between organizations at all levels. In fact, an experienced officer or civilian engineer coming to Wright Field for the first time simply cannot be effective for perhaps six months to one year while he learns ‘the ropes’ of coordination with other offices. The communication between individuals necessary for the solution of our problems of coordination defy formal organizational lines.’’27

For large projects, this informal structure was not to continue for much longer. When the Korean War broke out in late 1950, the air force found itself with numerous unusable aircraft. In January 1951, Vice Chief of Staff Nathan Twining instructed DCS/D Gen. Gordon Saville to investigate the air force’s organization to determine whether it contributed to the poor aircraft readiness. Saville ordered the formation of a study group, led by Colonel Schriever, to investigate the problem. The group returned to the comments of the Ridenour Report regarding the lack of technical capability in the air force and the problems caused by separating airframe development from compo­nent development.28

Schriever’s group completed its study in April 1951 and released an influen­tial paper called ‘‘Combat Ready Aircraft.’’ It pinpointed two major problems with current aircraft: requirements based on short-term factors, leading to continuous modifications, and insufficient coordination and direction of all elements of the ‘‘complete weapon.’’29 The latter concern probably arose from the Ridenour Report and the examples of the B-29, the V-2, and the Manhat­tan Project.

To solve these problems, the group recommended that the air force cre­ate an organization and process with responsibility and authority over the complete weapon by adding ‘‘planning, budgeting, programming, and con­trol’’ to the functions of the responsible air force organizations. The organiza­tions would have complete control over the entire projects, enforced through full budget authority.30 Examples of this kind of organization already existed in the air force’s guided missile programs. These weapons differed substan­tially from piloted aircraft, and the separate procurement of airframe, en­gines, and armament (payload) made little sense.31 The study group suggested that the air force let prime contracts to a single contractor to integrate the entire weapon and that the air force organize on a project basis.

Changes to the procurement cycle had to be addressed as well. The group noted that in World War II, decisions to produce aircraft occurred haphaz­ardly and that aircraft rolled off the assembly line directly to combat units at the same time as they were delivered to testing. Because production con­tinued rapidly and little testing occurred, invariably the operational units found numerous problems, leading to the grounding of aircraft for modi­fications. Believing the current emergency did not allow for the fly-before – you-buy sequential approach and that the delivery of the production aircraft to combat units was dangerous and wasteful, the group selected a solution that was a compromise. It recommended eliminating the X – and Y-model air­craft but slowing the initial production line until test organizations found and eliminated design bugs. Only then should production be accelerated, it said. The air force would select contractors based on the best proposal instead of through a ‘‘fly-off’’ of aircraft prototypes. These ideas, along with project – centered organization and simultaneous planning of all components through­out the weapon’s life cycle, defined the weapon system concept.32

Brigadier General Putt, now commander of Wright Air Development Cen­ter, immediately campaigned for the weapon system concept among the com­ponent developers at Wright Field. He had a difficult sell because the new organization had moved power from the functional organizations to the proj­ect offices. The project office was to act on a systems basis, making compro­mises between cost, performance, quality, and quantity. Putt admonished the component engineers: ‘‘Somebody has to be captain of the team, and decide what has to be compromised and why. And that responsibility we have placed on the project offices.’’ He also stated in no uncertain terms who had the au­thority, telling the component engineers that they needed to be ‘‘sure that all the facts’’ had ‘‘been placed before’’ the project office. ‘‘At that time,’’ he told the engineers, ‘‘your responsibility ceases.’’33

Without a large number of technical officers, the air force handed substan­tial authority to industry. Under the weapon system concept, the air force ‘‘purchased management of new weapon system development and produc­tion.’’ However, contractors had to ‘‘accept the Air Force as the monitor of his [the contractor’s] plans and progress, with the cautionary power of a partner and the final veto power of the customer.’’ The air force stated that it could not ‘‘escape its own responsibility for system management simply by assigning larger blocks of design and engineering responsibility to industry.’’ Although the new process gave industry a larger role, air force officers would not remain passive.34

Adoption of the weapon system concept throughout the air force did not go smoothly, because of continuing disagreements between the DCS/D and ARDC on one hand, and the deputy chief of staff, materiel (DCS/M), and AMC on the other. The key question that divided the fledgling ARDC and its parent, AMC, was when ‘‘development’’ ended and ‘‘production’’ be­gan. If production started early in a weapon’s life cycle, then AMC maintained greater control, whereas if development ended relatively late in the cycle, then ARDC acquired more power. Not surprisingly, AMC leaned toward a defi­nition of production that encompassed earlier phases of the life cycle, while ARDC opted for late-ending development. Because development continued as long as changes to the weapon occurred, and because production began

Weapon System Project Office implementation of the ‘‘system concept.’’

the moment the first prototype was built, no objective definition tipped the scales one way or another. Under such circumstances, the air force’s official arbitrator between ARDC and AMC, James Doolittle, had to intervene.

In April 1951, Doolittle reported that because development continued through a system’s entire life cycle, the ARDC definition should hold. In con­sequence, ARDC should control production engineering.35 The new agree­ment led to the issuance of Air Force Regulation (AFR) 20-10, ‘‘Weapon Sys­tem Project Offices,’’ in October 1951. The regulation specified that every major project should have a Weapon System Project Office (WSPO), with offi­cers from ARDC and AMC in charge.

A marvel of diplomacy, the document stated that during the early portions of development, the ARDC representative would be the ‘‘team captain,’’ and in the later portions, after a decision to produce the article in quantity, the AMC representative would be the ‘‘team captain.’’ In practice, the line between the two was fuzzy, leaving the two officers to work it out for themselves based on circumstances or personalities. The team captain coordinated the activi­ties for the entire project but did not have authority over the other officer. If the two could not agree, they would both have to take the problem to higher authorities, potentially all the way up to the DCS/D and DCS/M at air force headquarters.36

The resulting ambiguities continued to cause organizational headaches, leading once again to intervention by Doolittle. This time Doolittle did not feel comfortable forcing a solution, so he recommended another Air Staff study to investigate the problem. His only proviso was that the group pro­tect the importance of R&D. The Air Staff gave the DCS/M, Lt. General Orval Cook, responsibility for solving the interface problems. In cooperation with DCS/D Laurence Craigie, Cook appointed a task group, the ‘‘Cook-Craigie Group,’’ to work on the issue. Group members decided that ARDC should keep responsibility for weapon systems until the Air Staff stated in writing that the weapon should be purchased.37 The new process, known as the Cook – Craigie Procedures of March 1954 and formalized by modification of AFR 20-10 in August of that year, momentarily ended the bickering between the development and materiel groups. Their unity would be tested severely with the development of the air force’s most radical new weapon, ballistic missiles.

The NASA School of Hard Knocks

In the summer of 1961, JPL engineers prepared the first Ranger spacecraft for flight. Having successfully passed through a series of structural, electrical, and environmental tests, Ranger 1 was scheduled for launch in July. After two hardware component failures in the spacecraft and one in the launch vehicle delayed the launch, the Atlas-Agena took off in August. Within minutes, engi­
neers found that the Agena upper stage did not ignite, stranding Ranger 1 in Earth orbit. The spacecraft operated properly but burned up in Earth’s atmo­sphere on August 30. Ranger 2 launched in November. Its Agena also failed, placing Ranger 2 in a low orbit, from which it soon disintegrated in the Earth’s atmosphere. The air force launched an investigation of the failures and pres­sured Lockheed for solutions.54

Ranger 3 was the first of JPL’s Block 2 design, which included new science experiments as well as a television camera to take lunar surface photographs for Apollo. In January 1962, the air force’s launch vehicles placed Ranger 3 on a trajectory that would miss the Moon, but JPL decided to operate the spacecraft as close as possible to the normal mission. While performing the first-ever trajectory correction maneuver (firing thrusters to change the space­craft’s course), a reversed sign between the ground and flight software re­sulted in the spacecraft’s course changing in exactly the opposite direction from that desired. Two days after launch, the spacecraft computer failed, end­ing the mission prematurely.55

Launching in April 1962, Ranger 4’s computer failed almost immediately after separating from Agena. This made the spacecraft blind and dumb-able to send no data to Earth and unresponsive to commands. Its trajectory was nearly perfect; the spacecraft crashed onto the Moon’s surface three days later. Although NASA and the newspapers proclaimed the mission a great success, which it was for the air force’s launcher, it was a complete technical failure for JPL. Engineers hypothesized that the failure was due to a metal flake floating in zero gravity that simultaneously touched two adjacent electrical leads.56

JPL next scheduled its two Mariner R spacecraft for launch. The first launch on July 22 failed after five minutes, when Atlas’s guidance system malfunc­tioned. Air force and General Dynamics engineers traced the problem to a missing hyphen in a line of software code. Mariner 2 launched in August and successfully flew past Venus in December. Its outstanding performance kept Congress and NASA headquarters from losing all confidence in JPL.57

Burke and his team made several changes to Ranger’s design and organi­zation between Ranger 1 and Ranger 5. On early flights, division chiefs inter­fered with spacecraft operators, so Burke reserved authority to command the spacecraft to project managers and engineers. Engineers also added redun­dant features to the spacecraft. Despite proof that heat sterilization compro-

Подпись: Image not available.

Ranger. The failures of the first six Ranger flights led to NASA and congressional pressure to strengthen project management. Courtesy NASA.

mised electrical component reliability, lunar program chief Cliff Cummings maintained NASA’s sterilization policy. In any case, Ranger 5’s components had already been subjected to sterilization. Project engineers formed investi­gation groups to study interfaces and spacecraft subsystem interactions. They also added a system test to check interfaces and interactions between the spacecraft and flight operations equipment and procedures.58

These changes did not completely resolve the project’s problems. Ranger 5 launched in October 1962 and began to malfunction within two hours. This

time, the power system failed, losing power from the solar panels. Shortly thereafter the computer malfunctioned, and the battery drained within eight hours, causing complete mission loss. The spacecraft’s disastrous failure con­vinced JPL and NASA headquarters managers that the project was in serious trouble. Both launched investigations.59

The headquarters investigation board’s findings left no doubt that JPL’s organization and management of Ranger were at fault. They criticized JPL’s dual status as a contractor and a NASA field center, noting that JPL received little or no NASA supervision. Project manager Burke had little authority over JPL division chiefs or the launch vehicles and no systems engineering staff and showed little evidence of planning or processes for systems engineering. JPL’s approach-using multiple flight tests to attain flight experience-had strong traces of its army missile background. The board believed this “mul­tiple shot’’ approach was inappropriate. Spacecraft had to work the first time, and testing had to occur on the ground, not in flight. The board character­ized Ranger’s approach as ‘‘shoot and hope.’’ Supervisors left design engi­neers unsupervised, and design engineers did not have to follow quality as­surance or reliability recommendations.60 The Board’s position was clear: ‘‘A loose anarchistic approach to project management is extant with great empha­sis on independent responsibilities and individual accomplishment. . . This independent engineering approach has become increasingly ingrown, with­out adequate checks and balances on individual actions. Pride in accomplish­ment is not a self-sufficient safeguard when undertaking large scale projects of international significance such as JPL is now undertaking for NASA.’’61

JPL’s rapid growth also caused problems. From 1959 to 1962, JPL’s budget grew from $40 million to $220 million, while its staff grew from 2,600 to 3,800. Most of the new budget went into subcontracts, yet JPL’s business manage­ment capability did not expand accordingly. Often JPL personnel ‘‘failed to penetrate into the business and technical phases of subcontract execution.’’ This was due in part to JPL’s ‘‘two-headed’’ nature, as a contractor to the gov­ernment, and as a de facto NASA field center. NASA did not require JPL to use NASA or Department of Defense regulations, treating it as a contractor. On the other hand, NASA headquarters did not supervise JPL tightly like a con­tractor, because of its quasi-field center status.62 Ranger managers had neither

the authority and resources to carry out their mission nor the oversight that might lead to discovery and resolution of problems.

Failure in the race for international prestige was no longer acceptable to NASA headquarters.63 The board recommended strengthening project man­agement, establishing formal design reviews, eliminating heat sterilization, assigning launch vehicles either to NASA or to the air force, instituting a fail­ure reporting system, clarifying Ranger’s objectives, and eliminating extra­neous features. To spur JPL into action, the board recommended that NASA withhold further projects until it resolved Ranger’s problems.64

JPL Director Pickering quickly replaced lunar program chief Cummings with Robert Parks and project manager Burke with former Systems Divi­sion chief Harris Schurmeier. He gave them the authority that Cummings and Burke only dreamed of: power over division chiefs in personnel matters. He also created an independent Reliability and Quality Assurance Office with more than 150 people and gave this office authority over the engineers.65

Schurmeier instituted process changes to strengthen Ranger’s systems en­gineering. He levied an immediate design review, adopted Mariner’s failure reporting system, and ensured that engineers took corrective action. Schur­meier also instituted Mariner’s system of engineering change control and de­sign freezes. Ranger expanded the use of its Design Evaluation Vehicle to test component failure modes and inter-subsystem ‘‘cross-talk and noise.’’ Schur- meier required that engineers plan and record each test on new test data sheets. Ranger 6 also adopted conformal coating, a method to cover all ex­posed metal wiring with plastic to preclude short circuits from floating debris. NASA headquarters and JPL delayed the next Ranger flight until early 1964 to ensure that the changes took effect.66

During 1963, JPL scheduled no launches but concurrently worked on Ranger 6, Surveyor, and Mariner Mars 1964 (MM64). MM64 was JPL’s next planetary project, planned to launch in November 1964 to fly by Mars. Ad­ministrative mechanisms for Ranger 6 and MM64 converged during this time, while managers paid relatively little attention to Surveyor, which JPL con­tracted to HAC.67

The first test of Ranger’s enhanced management was Ranger 6’s launch in January 1964. Whereas Ranger 5 had fourteen significant failures in testing prior to launch, Ranger 6 had only one subsystem failure during its life cycle testing, boding well for its future. The only hardware that caused trouble was the single new major element, the television camera from Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Ranger 6’s launch was flawless, except for an unexplained telemetry dropout. So too were its cruise and midcourse correction. Expecta­tions rose as Ranger 6 approached its final minutes, when the spacecraft was to take pictures just prior to crashing onto the surface. Reporters, engineers, managers, and scientists waited anxiously in a special room at JPL during the last hour for the first pictures to be broadcast. None ever came. Pickering, who arrived just prior to Ranger 6’s impact, was humiliated, saying ‘‘I never want to go through an experience like this again—never!”68

Investigations ensued, followed this time by congressional hearings. JPL’s board isolated when the failure had occurred and which components had failed. Board members could not determine the cause of the failure but none­theless recommended engineering changes to deal with the several possible causes. NASA Associate Administrator Robert Seamans assigned Earl Hilburn to lead the headquarters investigation of the troubled program. Hilburn’s re­port claimed that the spacecraft had numerous design and testing deficien­cies and called for the investigation to be expanded to the entire program. Project personnel vehemently disagreed with the tone and many specific rec­ommendations. JPL incorporated some minor changes but refused to modify its testing practices.69

Minnesota congressman Joseph Karth headed the congressional investiga­tion, which focused on JPL’s status as a contractor and NASA field center as well as its apparent refusal to take direction from NASA headquarters. Con­gress recommended that JPL improve its project and laboratory management. Pickering complied by strengthening project management, but he hedged on hiring a laboratory operations manager to assume some of his responsibili­ties. When NASA Administrator James Webb refused to sign JPL’s renewal contract unless it complied, JPL finally hired Maj. General Alvin Luedecke, retired from the air force, as general manager in August 1964. While the suc­cessful flight of Ranger 7 in July 1964 finally vindicated the troubled project, NASA managers became concerned with JPL’s third program, Surveyor.70

By late 1963, JPL managers spotted trouble signs as Surveyor moved from design to testing. Despite indications of escalating costs and slipping sched­ules, personnel limitations and preoccupation with Ranger and Mariner pre­vented JPL managers from adding personnel to Surveyor.71 However, NASA headquarters managers held a design review in March 1964 to investigate.

The headquarters review uncovered difficulties similar to those on Ranger. Surveyor’s procurement staff at JPL was ‘‘grossly out of balance’’ with needs, far too small given that the project consumed one-third of JPL’s budget. The review team recommended that both JPL and HAC give project managers more authority over the technical staff. It also recommended that JPL have ‘‘free access to all HAC subcontractors,’’ that JPL schedule formal monthly meetings with HAC and the subcontractors, and that JPL’s Reliability and Quality-Assurance Office closely evaluate hardware and testing. HAC’s man­agement processes also received criticism. The HAC PERT (Program Evalua­tion and Review Technique) program did not account for all project elements, leading to inaccurate schedule estimates. HAC’s change control system, in­herited from manufacturing, was unduly cumbersome. Most critically, HAC did not ‘‘flag impending technical problems and cost overruns in time for project management to take corrective action.’’72

JPL engineers began their own technical review in April, using twenty ex­perienced Ranger and Mariner engineers. Their primary finding was the in­adequacy of HAC’s systems engineering. HAC divided the spacecraft’s tasks into one hundred discrete units, instead of the eight to ten subsystems typical for JPL. JPL found that many groups ‘‘showed a surprising lack of informa­tion or interest’’ about the impact their product had on adjacent products or on the spacecraft as a whole. The spacecraft’s design showed HAC had per­formed few trade-offs between subsystems, leading to a complex design. This led to reliability problems because HAC’s design had more components and critical failure points than necessary.73

The design reviews came too late to fully compensate for three years of in­attention. In April 1964 the first lander ‘‘drop test’’ came to a premature end when the release mechanism failed and the lander crumpled upon ground impact. JPL management responded by increasing JPL’s Surveyor staff from under one hundred in June 1964 to five hundred in the fall of 1965. In the meantime, five independent test equipment and spacecraft failures doomed the second drop test in October 1964.74

HAC partially complied with NASA recommendations — it strengthened

its project organization in August 1964. JPL resisted the headquarters pres­sure to change, but after some pointed letters from Office of Space Sciences and Applications head Homer Newell, and not-so-subtle pressure from Con­gress and Administrator Webb, JPL relented and “projectized” Surveyor and its other programs. Both JPL and HAC added personnel and improved bud­geting, scheduling, and planning tools. JPL created the Project Engineering Division, which assisted flight projects in ‘‘launch vehicle integration, system design and integration, system test and launch operations and environmental requirements.’’75

JPL reassigned engineers from Ranger and Mariner to Surveyor, and it in­stituted an intense program of contractor penetration. While JPL stated that this led to a clearer picture of problem areas and a better relationship be­tween JPL and HAC, HAC engineers and managers frequently viewed it as an exercise in educating JPL personnel, instead of letting them fix the pro­gram’s myriad problems. In 1965, HAC estimated that approximately 250 JPL engineers were at HAC’s facility on any given day. Numerous changes led to months of intense contract negotiations between the two organizations.76

Surveyor’s problems caught Congress’s attention, leading to a House in­vestigation in 1965. The subsequent report identified “inadequate prepara­tion’’ and NASA’s inattention as the primary problems, resulting in ‘‘one of the least orderly and most poorly executed of NASA projects.’’ Congress did not believe further changes to be necessary but severely criticized NASA for its past performance. The investigation concluded, ‘‘NASA’s management per­formance in the Surveyor project must be judged in the light of a history of too little direction and supervision until recently.’’ Nonetheless, five of Surveyor’s seven flights eventually succeeded.77

Ranger and Surveyor were JPL’s trial by fire. Embarrassing failures and cost and schedule overruns plagued early efforts in both programs. They humbled JPL and provided leverage for Congress and NASA headquarters to impose their will on JPL. JPL managers and engineers learned that they needed strong project management, extraordinary attention to design details and manufac­turing, change control, and much better preliminary design work before com­mitting to a project.

When Pickering finally agreed to change JPL and its processes, Jack James’s

Mariner project provided the model. JPL survived its early managerial and technical blunders on Ranger and Surveyor primarily because of its solid suc­cesses on Mariner. Jack James’s strong project organization, backed by pro­gressive design freezes and change control, made Mariner a much different organization than Ranger or Surveyor. Based on the Mariner model, later projects would earn JPL its reputation as the world’s leader in the art of deep space exploration.

Disaster and Dissolution

To uncover technical problems prior to the upcoming test flights, ELDO con­tracted with Hawker Siddeley Dynamics to develop an electrical mockup of the Europa I and Europa II launchers at its facility in Stevenage. The company, in conjunction with engineers from other contractors, assembled complete stage mockups (sometimes without engines) prior to the F5 through F11 tests and flights. Hawker Siddeley ran several kinds of tests, including injection of faulty signals, electromagnetic interference, and flight sequence testing. These uncovered numerous design problems, which Hawker Siddeley then reported to the ELDO Secretariat and participating companies.52 Although Hawker Siddeley engineers found numerous problems, they did not find enough of them.

ELDO’s next major flight test, originally scheduled for 1965, mated France’s Coralie second stage with Britain’s Blue Streak first stage. After engineers aborted eight launch attempts because of various technical glitches and un­favorable weather, the ninth finally flew in August 1967, with the first stage operating properly. The second stage successfully separated, but its engines never fired, sending the stage crashing prematurely to Earth. Subsequent in­vestigations showed that the problem stemmed from an electrical ground fault in the second stage, which deenergized a relay in the first stage, leading to a failure of the second stage sequencer, which then failed to issue commands for the second stage to fire. In short, the launch failed because of an electrical interface problem between the first and second stages.53

The next attempt with Coralie came in December 1967. It failed just as the first flight had, with its engines ‘‘failing to light up.’’ In this case the failure occurred because of an electrical interface problem between the second stage and its connection to the ground system on the launch pad. Electromagnetic interference also hampered communication with the vehicle’s safety system, causing the loss of flight data and the potential of an inadvertent explosion.54

After the loss of the first Coralie in August, the French considered second stage problems to be minor. However, with another failure of French equip­ment, French authorities reacted with urgency. In a major internal reorganiza­tion, the French contracted with SEREB to manage the second stage program. SEREB had been involved with the program until 1963, performing feasibility studies and initial designs. After that time, authority rested with the military Laboratory for Ballistic and Aerodynamic Research (LRBA) and the Bureau Permanent Nord Vernon. The French Space Agency now interposed SEREB between itself and LRBA to ensure closer surveillance and management of the program.55

SEREB proposed a major vehicle redesign to improve reliability. The pro­posals involved performing more qualification tests on Coralie components and replacing several major components with others that SEREB used in its Diamant rocket design. ELDO’s technical group rejected the French propos­als because they were very costly and, more importantly, because they would disrupt the entire program, including designs for the first and third stages.56

ELDO engineers supported LRBA rather than SEREB, rejecting SEREB’s proposal to replace components. They stated, ‘‘The approach adopted by the French authorities is mainly due to the formation of a new technical di­rection team which is naturally anxious to use equipment with which it is familiar while being less familiar with the equipment it proposes to replace.’’ ELDO engineers chided SEREB: It ‘‘will have to make great efforts to be as familiar with the programme as the present team—which has ‘lived with’ the EUROPAI launcher for five years and is at present very experienced — not only in order to develop its equipment but also to take account of the specific con­tingencies of ELDO.’’ The member states rejected SEREB’s proposal in favor of ELDO’s proposal to upgrade and test existing second stage components.57

While the French regrouped, ELDO management assessed the impact of the project management reforms. The Secretariat divided its Project Manage­ment Directorate into two divisions, ‘‘one responsible for technical and time­scale aspects and the other for financial and contract aspects,’’ while other directorates provided support to them. Secretary-General Carrobio noted, ‘‘The principle is now acknowledged, inside and outside the Secretariat, that additional work or modifications to approved work require the prior agree­ment of the project management directors.’’ The coordination between mem­ber states and the Secretariat was improving, but still there were problems with schedule reporting (member states delivered PERT reports late) and cost control (member states did not thoroughly check contractor proposals). On Europa II, ELDO’s system of monthly progress reports and meetings worked smoothly.58

In the next Europa I flight, in December 1968, ELDO engineers felt vin­dicated in their earlier resistance to SEREB’s proposals because both Blue Streak and Coralie worked perfectly. Even though the German Astris exploded shortly after separation, ELDO and German engineers believed that they would isolate and repair the propulsion system problems they thought re­sponsible.59

Their confidence was unfounded, for on the next attempt, in July 1969, Astris failed precisely as before, with an explosion within one second of sepa­ration from the second stage. The Germans realized, just as the French had two years before, that they had major problems. The Germans formed four committees: a government committee to investigate the failure, a committee to investigate the rest of the design, an internal committee of the contractor ASAT, and a committee to oversee and coordinate the other three committees. Contrary to expectations, the investigators found that the explosions resulted not from a third stage propulsion problem but from an electrical failure in the interface between the third stage and the Italian test satellite that ignited the safety self-destruct system. The Italians had already noticed sensitivity in these German circuits during their tests, but neither they nor the Germans recognized the importance of the finding.60

German engineers fixed the electrical troubles, but the third stage showed new problems in the last flight of Europa I, in June 1970. This time, the result­ing investigation showed two third stage failures. First, an electrical connector disconnected prematurely, preventing separation of the Italian test satellite. Engineers traced this mechanical failure to the pressure between trapped air in the mechanism and the vacuum of space. Second, the third stage propul­sion feed system failed, probably because of contaminants that kept a pressure valve open. These failures led the ELDO Council to create a quality assurance organization in 1970, but because of a lack of staff, it could not cover all sites and processes.61

In November 1971 Europa II flew for the first and last time. This vehicle, which included a new Perigee-Apogee stage, blew up two and one-half min­utes into the flight because of an electrical malfunction caused by a failure of the third stage guidance computer. This too was an interface problem; the computer had been manufactured in Great Britain and delivered to Ger­man contractor ASAT, which took no responsibility for proper integration. At last, ELDO member states reacted strongly. As stated by General Aubi – niere, ELDO’s new secretary-general, ‘‘The failure of F11 in November 1971 brought home to the member states — and this was indeed the only positive point it achieved — the necessity for a complete overhaul of the programme management methods.’’62

The ELDO Council appointed a committee to review every aspect of the program. The committee, which included senior engineers and executives from government and industry in the United States and Europe,63 issued a devastating indictment of ELDO’s organization and management, finding nu­merous technical problems that resulted from the lack of authority and inade­quate communications. Poor electrical integration in the third stage was the immediate problem, having caused the failures of flights F7-F11. This was a function both of the poor management of the German company ASAT and of the contracting of the Secretariat, which did not assign integration authority to any of the contractors working on third stage components. Failures resulted from interface problems with components delivered by foreign contractors to ASAT, and between ASAT’s two partners, MBB and ERNO.

Communications between ASAT and its two partners were extremely poor. ASAT was a small organization created by the German government solely to coordinate the large companies MBB and ERNO on the ELDO third stage. Communications between ASAT and other firms supplying third stage com­ponents were even worse, leading to a design that obeyed ‘‘none of the most elementary rules concerning separation of high and low level signals, separa­tion of signals and electrical power supply, screening, earthing, bonding, etc.’’ This made the British guidance computer and sequencer extraordinarily sen­sitive to noise and minor voltage variations, which in turn caused it to fail in the F11 flight.64

By far the most significant recommendations were to abolish indirect con­tracting and to ensure the definition of clear responsibilities for interfaces. Member states at last gave the Secretariat the authority to place contracts. Now desperate for solutions, ELDO adopted a number of American tech­niques, including the full adoption of phased planning, work breakdown con­tractual structures, and preliminary and final design reviews for the Europa III program, ELDO’s hoped-for improvement to Europa II.65

General Aubiniere, the new secretary-general and former director of the French Space Agency, hoped that stronger project management would turn ELDO around. Unfortunately, ELDO never got another chance. After the British withdrew financial support in 1971, the remaining partners had to de­velop a new first stage or purchase Blue Streak stages. Disillusioned after the F11 failure, the Germans threatened to withdraw. With continuing political disagreements over launch vehicles and over cooperation with the United States space shuttle program, ELDO’s support evaporated. The member states eliminated Europa II while the F12 launch vehicle was on its way to Kourou in April 1973. ELDO bid for a part in the American shuttle program, but when the Americans withdrew its proposed Space Tug, a vehicle to boost payloads to higher orbits, ELDO’s time was up. The member states dissolved it in Feb­ruary 1974.66 Twelve years of negotiation, compromises, and struggle came to an end.


Political and industrial interests drove the formation of ELDO, Europe’s larg­est cooperative space project. All of the major powers preserved national interests through indirect contracting, by which national governments main­tained authority. Even after being strengthened in 1966 by adding a Project Management Directorate and an integrating organization, SETIS, the Secre­tariat was limited to collecting information and distributing it through the Technical Directorate to the ELDO Council. Member states compounded the Secretariat’s weakness by changing objectives, as British support weakened and French leaders lobbied to create a more powerful rocket that could boost communications satellites to geostationary orbit.

ELDO’s weakness resulted in a series of failures caused by interface prob­lems. The ELDO Secretariat could neither create nor enforce consistent docu­mentation, processes, or quality. Nor could it force contractors to commu­nicate with each other. These problems resulted in badly designed electrical circuitry between the British, French, and German stages as well as internal to the German third stage because of the poor management and attitude of Ger­man and British contractors. Six consecutive failures were the result, all but one because of interface failures traceable to poor communications between member countries and contractors.

While rocket and space programs in the United States and the Soviet Union all confronted numerous failures in the process of learning how to build these complex technologies, inadequate organizational structures and processes compounded ELDO’s problems. Like James Burke, the Jet Propulsion Labo­ratory’s first Ranger project manager, Europa I project managers had no con­trol over major elements of the project. ELDO’s unbroken series of failures mirrored Ranger’s early problems, showing the criticality of organizational issues. Europeans had the capability to build rockets, as shown by successes with Nazi Germany’s A-4 in World War II, and the postwar British Blue Streak and French Veronique and Diamant. However, all of these projects benefited from strong, centralized organizations and close working relationships be­tween government and contractors to ensure better communication. The ill – fated Europa launchers had none of these advantages.

ELDO combined many of the worst management ideas into a single, piti­ful organization. Its engineers, managers, and directors struggled against a fatally flawed management structure that was almost the exact antithesis of systems management in the United States. Where systems management pro­moted strong authority for the project manager, in ELDO the manager’s au­thority was virtually nil. Systems management required critical attention to interfaces, but ELDO initially ignored them; no single individual or group ever analyzed both sides of the interface to ensure compatibility. Compo­nent quality assurance-through inspections, testing, and documentation — was standard in the United States but only randomly present in ELDO. ELDO’s hapless record and defective structure was a warning to European leaders that cooperative technology development required true cooperation. Europeans would begin launcher development again, but this time on a much sounder basis. The new effort would build upon Europe’s successful science satellite group, ESRO.


ICBMs and Formation of the Inglewood Complex

Missiles, particularly ballistic missiles,38 disrupted the air force’s culture, oper­ations, and organization in several important ways. First, and most obviously, missiles had no pilots, relegating humans to only pushing a button. Second, maintenance and long-term operations of missiles amounted to storage and occasional refurbishment, as opposed to the ongoing repairs typical for air­craft. Third, because missiles were used just once, missile testing required the creation of a missile production line. Unlike aircraft, where a few prototypes could be built and tested with dozens or hundreds of flights each, every mis­sile test required a new missile. This implied that the fly-before-you-buy con­cept, where aircraft could be tested before instigation of full-scale production, no longer applied. For missiles, testing required a production line. Finally, missiles involved a variety of challenging new technical issues, as described in the previous chapter. Simply put, many of the air force’s existing organiza­tional and technical processes did not work for missiles.

Ballistic missile programs languished at a low priority during and after World War II, as the air force concentrated its efforts first on manned bomb­ers, and then on jet fighters for the Korean War.39 The rapidly escalating Cold War provided the impetus to transform the loosely organized missile projects. Successful testing ofthe Soviet atomic bomb in 1949 spurred the United States to develop a fusion weapon. In March 1953, Assistant for Development Plan­ning Bernard Schriever learned of the success of American thermonuclear tests from the SAB. Recognizing the implications of this news, within days Schriever met renowned mathematician John von Neumann at his Princeton office. Von Neumann predicted that scientists would soon develop nuclear warheads ofsmall enough size and large enough explosive power to be placed on ICBMs. Because of their speed and in-flight invulnerability, ICBMs were the preferred method for nuclear weapons delivery, ifthe air force could make them work. Realizing that he needed official backing, Schriever talked with James Doolittle, who approached Chief of Staff Vandenberg to have the SAB investigate the question.40

The Nuclear Weapons Panel of the SAB, headed by von Neumann, reported to the air force staff in October 1953. In the meantime, Trevor Gardner, assis­tant to the secretary of the air force, volunteered to head a Department of De­fense (DOD) Study Group on Guided Missiles. Gardner learned of Convair’s progress on its Atlas ICBM and met with Dr. Simon Ramo, an old friend and head of Hughes Aircraft Company’s successful air-to-air missile project, the Falcon. Based on the results of his study group, Gardner and Air Force Sec­retary Talbott formed the Strategic Missiles Evaluation Committee, or Teapot Committee, to recommend a course of action for strategic ballistic missiles.41

Von Neumann headed the group, and Gardner selected Ramo’s newly cre­ated Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation (R-W) to do the paperwork and man­age the day-to-day operations of the study. Ramo had partnered with fellow Hughes manager Dean Wooldridge to form R-W.42 In February 1954 the Tea­pot Committee recommended that ICBMs be developed ‘‘to the maximum extent that technology would allow.’’ It also recommended the creation of an organization that hearkened back to the Manhattan Project and Radiation Laboratory of World War II: ‘‘The nature of the task for this new agency re­quires that over-all technical direction be in the hands of an unusually com­petent group of scientists and engineers capable of making systems analyses, supervising the research phases, and completely controlling the experimental and hardware phases of the program — the present ones as well as the subse­quent ones that will have to be initiated.’’43

On May 14, 1954, the air force made Convair’s Atlas its highest R&D pri­ority. Because Convair and the majority of the aircraft industry hailed from

Southern California, the air force established its new ICBM development or­ganization, the Western Development Division (WDD), in a vacant church building in Inglewood, near Los Angeles airport. Air force leaders placed newly promoted Maj. General Bernard Schriever in command on August 2, 1954. Because the Teapot Committee had recommended creation of a ‘‘Man­hattan-like” project organization, one of Schriever’s first tasks was to see if this made sense and determine who would oversee the technical aspects ofthe project.44

Schriever rejected the Manhattan Project organization because ICBMs were significantly more complicated than the atomic bomb.45 Because neither he nor the scientists believed that the air force had the technical expertise to manage the program, Schriever could hire Convair as prime contractor, or he could hire R-W as the system integrator, with Convair and other contrac­tors as associate contractors. The air force used the prime contractor proce­dure on most programs, but this assumed that the prime contractor had the wherewithal to design and build the product. Schriever was already unhappy with Convair because he believed Convair kept “in-house” elements such as guidance and electronics in which it had little experience, to the program’s detriment.46

Scientists with whom he had worked for nearly a decade also deeply influ­enced Schriever. Von Neumann and his fellow scientists believed the Soviet threat required a response like the Manhattan Project a decade earlier, bring­ing together the nation’s best scientists to marry ballistic missiles to thermo­nuclear warheads. Schriever later explained:

Complex requirements of the ICBM and the predominant role of systems engineering in insuring that the requirements were met, demanded an across – the-board competence in the physical sciences not to be found in existing orga­nizations. Scientists rated the aircraft industry relatively weak in this phase of engineering, which was closely tied to recent advances in physics. The aircraft industry, moreover, was heavily committed on major projects, as shown by existing backlogs. Its ability to hire the necessary scientific and engineering tal­ent at existing pay-scales was doubted, and with the profit motive dominant, scientists would not be particularly attracted to the low-level positions accorded to such personnel in industry.47

Organization of the Inglewood complex: the Western Development Division, the Special Aircraft Projects Office, and Ramo-Wooldridge.

Many years later Schriever described his admiration of the scientists: ‘‘I be­came really a disciple of the scientists who were working with us in the Penta­gon, the RAND Corporation also, so that I felt very strongly that the scientists had a broader view and had more capabilities. We needed engineers, that’s for sure, but engineers were trained more in a, let’s say a narrow track having to do with materials than with vision.’’48

To capitalize on the vision and expertise of physical scientists and mathe­maticians such as von Neumann and von Karman, Schriever created an or­ganizational scheme whereby the leading scientists could guide the ICBM program. Following the von Neumann committee recommendations, Schrie­ver selected R-W for systems engineering and integration.49 Free of civil ser­vice regulations, R-W could hire the requisite scientific and technical tal­ent. The air force could more easily direct R-W than Convair, because R-W had few contracts and no production capability. The aircraft industry dis­puted this unusual arrangement, fearing that it established a precedent for ‘‘strong system management control’’ by the air force and also that it might create a powerful new competitor with inside information about air force con­tracts and contractor capabilities. On both counts, the aircraft industry was correct.50

Selecting the best and brightest technical officers from ARDC, Schriever’s talented staff quickly took charge of ICBM development. Because AMC re­tained procurement authority, it set up a field office known as the Special Air­craft Projects Office (SAPO) alongside Schriever’s ARDC staff in Inglewood. By September 1954, air force headquarters approved Schriever’s selection of R-W, confirming the triumvirate of the WDD, the SAPO, and R-W. Schriever’s next battle would be to establish the authority and credibility of his team in the face of skepticism at air force headquarters and the outright hostility of the aircraft industry.51

The Premier Planetary Spacecraft Builder

While Ranger and Surveyor floundered, the Mariner project showed JPL’s technical and managerial abilities at their best. After the successful flight of Mariner 2 (also known as Mariner R) past Venus in 1962, JPL targeted Mari­ner 3 and Mariner 4 at Mars, planning to launch during the next opportunity in November 1964.78 Together, they composed the MM64 project, which ex­tended methods adopted from Mariner R and Ranger.

MM64 manager Jack James used committees established on Ranger to help coordinate across the contributing organizations: JPL, Cape Kennedy, Lock­heed, and Lewis Research Center. Four committees coordinated guidance, control and trajectories, tracking and communication, launch operations, and launch vehicle integration. They had no official authority but made recom­mendations to project management. Headquarters named JPL the project management institution to which the other organizations reported.79

James improved communication between the project office, JPL’s techni­cal divisions, and external organizations. Mariner managers and engineers extended the concept of the hardware interface to include operational and management interfaces, including the spacecraft, launch vehicle, space flight operations, project and technical division management, science instruments, and operations. James enlisted the cooperation of JPL technical divisions by creating the Project Policy and Requirements document, which served as a ‘‘compact between the JPL Project Office and the JPL Line Management for execution of the project.’’ Each project manager met weekly with division rep­resentatives to consider ‘‘the most serious problems facing his particular area.’’ JPL also added a monthly meeting with division managers to ensure that they

By 1964, JPL learned by experience the typical profile of engineering changes and, con­sequently, how better to predict costs and schedules, as shown in this change request chart for Mariner Mars 1964. Adapted from From Project Inception through Midcourse Maneuver, vol. 1 of Mariner Mars 1964 Project Report: Mission and Spacecraft Develop­ment, Technical Report No. 32-740,1 March 1965, JPLA 8-28, 32, figure 20.

were familiar with Mariner’s problems and that they released personnel to work on them. These measures ensured sufficient attention to Mariner and made JPL’s matrix structure work.80

Change control had been one of James’s innovations on Mariner R, and he formalized it for MM64. The change control system expanded to include progressive ‘‘freezing’’ of specifications and interface drawings as well as hard­ware, culminating in a final spacecraft design freeze in January 1964 and a support equipment freeze in June 1964. After a freeze, changes could be made only through a change board, which allowed only modifications required for mission success. Project managers kept statistics on changes, noting that the majority of the project’s 1,174 changes occurred at subsystem interfaces and in subsystems that contained state-of-the-art equipment.

Project managers also formalized other processes developed first on Mari­ner R. MM64 management added requirements for parts screening, problem reporting, in-process inspection, comprehensive documentation, and “rigor­ous status monitoring.’’ The managers continued environmental tests, sys­tem tests, and quality assurance procedures developed from Corporal through Ranger. James also continued the Mariner R practice of the ‘‘P list.’’ Any problem making the P list received special attention, with ‘‘the most effective people available’’ assigned to solve the problem.81

James monitored progress through the use of three sets of schedules and through regular and special reports. The primary schedule reported top-level events and milestones in Gantt (bar) chart format to headquarters. The sec­ondary schedules consisted of Gantt charts for each subsystem, major com­ponent, or task. JPL managers called their third set of schedules flow charts, which represented the flow of all of the equipment destined to be integrated in the system test.82 These network charts ‘‘resembled PERT in format and intent’’ but were “intentionally not so extensive as to require handling by a computer.’’ Network flow charts showed the project’s critical path and sched­ule interactions of all subsystem components, integrated and updated from data supplied by JPL’s divisions. The project required updated schedules every other week, in conjunction with a formal report that compared progress with the schedule. Every two weeks, project personnel compiled the data on manual sort-cards that managers manipulated to discern trends and financial implications. Managers monitored some 1,100 flow chart events.83

When combined with the experience of JPL’s engineering staff, Mariner’s organizational techniques ultimately yielded success. Mariner 3 launched in November 1964, only to be declared dead within nine hours. The problem was in the design of the launch vehicle shroud protecting the spacecraft, de­signed by NASA’s Lewis Research Center. JPL took charge of the investigation and quickly developed a solution, leading to the flawless launch of Mariner 4 on November 28. Although the spacecraft had some in-flight difficulties, JPL engineers guided the craft to a spectacular conclusion in July 1965, as the spacecraft beamed 21 pictures of Mars back to Earth, as well as analyzing Mars’s atmosphere. JPL’s success contrasted sharply with five Soviet failures to reach Mars.84

Later Ranger and Surveyor flights confirmed that JPL had dramatically im-

proved its spacecraft management and engineering expertise. Ranger’s last two flights, in February and March 1965, were technically superb. Between June 1966 and January 1968, JPL launched seven Surveyor spacecraft to land on the Moon, five of which succeeded.85

Surveyor’s management underwent significant changes late in the project. In September 1966, JPL managers changed the task structure of the HAC con­tract to a new system known as work package management,86 which realigned cost accounting and monitoring of tasks ‘‘to the individual performing groups in the contractor’s organization.’’ Along with the work breakdown structure, JPL required that HAC submit monthly financial reports with more detailed technical, cost, and schedule information. JPL and HAC management met once per month to cover these topics, with a further ‘‘consent to ship’’ meet­ing scheduled prior to the shipment of each spacecraft to review its test his­tory and problems. HAC and JPL managers developed a thorough ‘‘trouble and failure reporting system’’ that they considered innovative enough to pub­lish a special report on it. The process recorded all test anomalies, required failure analysis by cognizant engineers, involved independent assessments by HAC and JPL organizations, and provided status of failure reports and actions categorized by mission criticality.87

The Mariner Venus 1967 program (MV67) further formalized JPL’s man­agement and systems engineering. Taking advantage of this, MV67 used the MM64 design as a baseline. Project manager Dan Schneiderman, former spacecraft systems manager for Mariner R and MM64, defined a new manage­ment approach at the beginning of the project in a document entitled ‘‘Project Policy and Requirements.’’ He froze the entire MM64 design at the outset, re­quiring change control for any modifications necessary for the Venus mission. The project used three test models: one for antenna and development test­ing, another for temperature control testing, and the third for flight hardware environmental qualification. Engineers also used the qualification model for simulation and command checking during mission operations. Quality as­surance and reliability engineers screened parts, tracked and analyzed failure reports, performed failure mode analyses, verified test procedures, and wit­nessed tests.88

Schneiderman gave the spacecraft system engineer substantial responsi­bility, including preparation and publication of design specifications books for the flight and test equipment. Subsystem engineers supplied “functional specifications” for their subsystems and support equipment. The spacecraft system engineer also maintained current interface and configuration draw­ings and mediated ‘‘disputes arising out of disagreements between subsystem circuit designers.’’ Change control procedures and subsequent design modifi­cation lists were also that engineer’s responsibility. The system manager, the spacecraft system engineer’s supervisor, ran periodic reviews, which included the spacecraft systems interface and subsystems design review, the spacecraft hardware review, the spacecraft preshipping acceptance review, the launch readiness review, and quarterly headquarters reviews.89

MV67’s managers and engineers also trained spacecraft operators through the testing process. System testing checked interfaces between subsystems, be­tween the spacecraft and the launch vehicle, and between the spacecraft and the mission operations system and operators. JPL engineers found that they could train mission operators prior to flight by involving them in the inte­grated system testing at JPL and on the launch pad. The mission operations team members communicated with the spacecraft during these tests using their normal commands and equipment, and they ran compatibility tests with the Deep Space Network. Mariner 5, launched in June 1967, arrived at Venus in October. It functioned well, returning data from its atmospheric experi­ments.90

Later JPL managerial innovations included separation of configuration control paperwork and project scheduling from the system engineer. This routine work was given to a separate Project Control and Administration organization. JPL ultimately required all engineering change requests to in­clude cost and schedule impacts along with the technical changes, in effect recreating a version of the air force’s configuration management.

JPL went on to pursue new missions to Venus, Mars, and Mercury. Even­tually there were the famous Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The laboratory’s success showed the maturity of its processes and experience. JPL’s preeminence in deep space exploration was undisputed.

ESRO’s American Bridge. across the Management Gap

Firms have shown themselves anxious to collaborate with ESRO as a means of gaining useful experience of the newer management techniques which are indispensable for the effec­tive control of the financial as well as the technical aspects of large and complex projects.

— J. J. Beattie and J. de la Cruz, 1967

The European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) presented a welcome contrast to the ongoing embarrassments of the European Space Vehicle Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO). Created as a service organiza­tion for European space scientists, ESRO overcame its initial organizational difficulties and developed a successful series of scientific satellites. Its achieve­ments proved that effective European space cooperation was possible. Al­though ELDO had been the Europeans’ prime organization to develop space technology, its failure paved the way for ESRO to become the route of choice across the management gap between the United States and Europe.

ESRO’s success owed a great deal to its greater contractual authority (com­pared to ELDO) and to American assistance. While European industry and powerful interest groups focused on the military and economic significance of launchers, ESRO’s scientific satellites seemed insignificant. ESRO’s Conven­tion and procedures consequently had fewer provisions to protect national economic interests than did ELDO, giving ESRO authority that ELDO never had. In addition, whereas Americans did not want to aid Europeans in rock­etry or communications satellites, they cheerfully gave technical and financial assistance to European science.

These factors help explain ESRO’s rise from a small service organization

to the core of Europe’s integrated space organization. Through the authority of its Convention, the ability of its engineering and managerial staff, and the help of the United States, ESRO and its descendant, the European Space Agency (ESA), mastered the art of systems management.1

Establishing the WDDS Authority

With Schriever’s organizational foundations set, the immediate task was to push ICBM development rapidly forward and create a detailed plan within a year. Headquarters control and oversight would come through the budget process, so Schriever knew that until he had his plans worked out, he had to keep the budget profile low. He reallocated budgets from several air force organizations and was careful not to ask for too much at the start. Over the long haul, Schriever knew that the massive budget that he needed would re­quire congressional appropriations and that he would have to vigorously de­fend his plan and its costs. To put off this day of reckoning, in October 1954 he requested a relatively small budget, realizing that there would have to be a major readjustment in the spring. ‘‘This support can be obtained by carefully planned and formalized action at the highest levels in the administration,’’ he recognized. In this breathing space, he developed his technical plans, costs, justifications, and political strategy.52

Selection of Atlas contractors was the next task of Schriever’s team. With the design still in flux, this would have to be done based on company capabili­ties instead of design competitions. Bypassing standard procurement regula­tions, Schriever ordered R-W to let subcontracts to potential suppliers to in­volve them in and educate them on the program. This allowed R-W to assess contractors as well as speed development and procurement. Schriever could not ignore all of the air force’s procurement procedures. He had his team cre­ate performance specifications and perform “prebidding activities’’ to pre­pare for a competitive bidder’s conference. Because of the in-depth knowledge R-W had gained through its subcontracts, Schriever had R-W contribute to the Source Selection Boards, providing inputs as requested by the air force. This was a serious (and possibly illegal) departure from standard procure­ment policy, which required that only government officials control contractor selection.53

Schriever directed R-W and his air force team to reassess the Atlas de­sign and to determine Convair’s role. Convair, which had been developing Atlas since January 1946, understandably believed that it deserved the prime contract to build, integrate, and test the vehicle. It vigorously campaigned against Schriever and the upstart R-W. Convair’s leaders sparred with Schrie – ver’s organization for the next few months before they resigned themselves to R-W’s presence. To appease the air force’s scientific advisers, and to gain electronics capability, Convair executives hired highly educated scientists and engineers. For his part, Schriever placed restrictions on R-W to maintain some semblance of support from the aircraft industry. In a memo dated Feb­ruary 24,1955, the air force prohibited R-W from engaging in hardware pro­duction on any ICBM program in which it acted as the air force’s adviser and systems engineer.54

R-W had three tasks: to establish and operate the facilities for the Ingle­wood complex, to assess contractor capabilities, and to investigate the Atlas design. R-W made its first important contribution in the design task. The re­quired mass and performance of the missile depended upon the size of the warhead and the reentry vehicle, for small changes in their mass led to large changes in the required launch vehicle mass. Working with the Atomic Energy Commission and other scientists, R-W scientists and engineers found that a new blunt cone design decreased the nose cone’s weight by half, from about 7,000 to 3,500 pounds. This in turn decreased required launch vehicle weight from 460,000 to 240,000 pounds and reduced the number of engines from five to three. This dramatic improvement discredited Convair’s claim to expertise and convinced Schriever, his team, and his superior officers that the selection of R-W had been correct.55

The most significant technical issue facing Schriever’s group in the fall and winter of 1954 was the uncertainty of the design. Group members simply could not predict which parts of the design would work and which might not. R-W had been investigating a two-stage vehicle, and the initial results looked promising. In March 1955, Schriever convinced Lt. General Thomas Power,

Pre-Gillette organization of ballistic missile development.

the ARDC commander, that a two-stage vehicle should be developed as a backup to Atlas. By May 1955, the WDD was working on Atlas, the two-stage Titan, and a tactical ballistic missile (ultimately known as Thor) as well.56

In the meantime, Schriever considered how best to fund the program. One possibility was to allocate the funds to a number of different budgets, then pull them back together in Schriever’s group. This approach would hide the true budget amounts from effective oversight. However, the budgets required were too large to hide in this manner. With programmatic invisibility un­likely, Schriever’s deputy, William Sheppard, argued that the best approach was to have a “separately justified and separately managed lump sum.’’57

Schriever had already discussed this approach with Gardner, and the two of them plotted a political strategy. Many of Schriever’s budget actions required coordination with and justification to various organizations. Frustrated with the delays inherent in this coordination, Gardner and Schriever decided that they had to increase Schriever’s authority and funding and decrease the num­ber of organizations that could oversee and delay ICBM development. Both Schriever and Gardner recognized that they needed political support, so they vigorously sought it in Congress and within the Eisenhower administration. Gardner and Schriever briefed President Dwight D. Eisenhower in July 1955, eventually convincing him and Vice President Richard M. Nixon — with John von Neumann’s timely support — to make ICBMs the nation’s top defense priority.58

With the president’s endorsement in hand by September, Schriever pre­sented to Gardner the entire air force approval process, which required 38 air force and DOD approvals or concurrences for the development of ICBM testing facilities. Appalled, Gardner had him show it to Secretary of the Air Force Donald Quarles, who asked them to recommend changes to reduce the paperwork and delays. Gardner and Schriever formed a study group, load­ing it, as Schriever put it later, ‘‘pretty much with people who knew and who would come up with the right answers.’’ Hyde Gillette, the deputy for budget and program management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, chaired the group, which was to recommend management changes to speed ballistic missile development.59

Despite objections from AMC, which did not want to lose any more au­thority, the Gillette Committee agreed with Schriever that the multiple ap­provals and reporting lines caused months of delay. In consequence, the ‘‘Gillette Procedures,’’ approved by Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson on

Ballistic missile organization — Gillette Procedures. Solid lines with arrows show the direct chain of authority. The air force’s commands have no authority over ballistic missile development, and the Air Staff has input only through the Department of Defense Ballistic Missile Committee.

November 8,1955, funneled all ballistic missile decisions through a single Bal­listic Missile Committee in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Although evading ARDC and AMC for approvals and decisions, Schriever’s organiza­tion needed to provide them information. Schriever stated: ‘‘We had to give them information because they provide a lot of support, you see, so it wasn’t the fact that we were trying to bypass them. We just didn’t want to have a lot of peons at the various staff levels so they could get their fingers on it.’’60 The Ballistic Missile Committee reviewed an annual ICBM development plan, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense would present, approve, and fund the ICBM program separately from the air force’s regular procedures. In the development plan would be information on programming (linking plans to budgets), facilities, testing, personnel, aircraft allocation, financial plans, and current status. By 1958, AMC managers had trimmed industrial facility lead time from 251 to 43 days, showing the effectiveness of the new process.61

The Gillette Procedures relegated AMC, ARDC, and the operational com­mands to aiding the ICBM program, without the authority to change or delay it. From a parochial air force viewpoint, the only good thing about the pro­gram was that the completed missiles would eventually become part of the Strategic Air Command. Many in the air force did not take ballistic mis­siles seriously enough to fight for control over them. Col. Ray Soper, one of Schriever’s trusted subordinates, noted that ‘‘the Ops [operational com­mands] attitude, at the Pentagon, was to let the ‘longhairs’ develop the sys­tem — they really didn’t take a very serious view of the ballistic missile, for it was thought to be more a psychological weapon than anything else.’’62

With the adoption of the Gillette Procedures, Schriever garnered authority directly from the president, with a single approval of a single document each year required for ICBM development. Schriever’s organization drew upon the best personnel and air force services, without having them interfere with his authority or decision processes. These new procedures represented the first full application of project management in the air force, where the project manager had both technical and budget authority for the project. Prior to this time, each project drew funds from several budgets and thus required separate justifications for each. The Gillette Procedures made the air force’s financial and accounting system consistent with the authority of the project manager, although Gardner was unable to separate the ICBM budgets from the rest of the air force.63 With these procedures in hand, Convair and the contractors under control, and the air force’s regular bureaucracy shunted out of the way, Schriever drove the ICBM program at full speed, with little heed to cost, using the strategy of concurrency.