Category The Secret of Apollo

Creating Concurrency

We are in a technological race with the enemy. The time scale is incredibly compressed. The outcome may decide whether our form of government will survive. Therefore, it is impor­tant for us to explore whether it is possible to speed up our technology. Can we for example plan and actually schedule inventions? I believe this can be done in most instances, provided we are willing to pay the price and make no mistake about it, the price is high.

— Colonel Norair M. Lulejian, 1962

The complex weapon systems of World War II and the Cold War involved enormous technical difficulties. Scale was not the problem, for large-scale systems such as the telephone network, electrical power systems, and sky­scrapers had existed before. Rather, the difficulty lay in the heterogeneity of the components, their novelty, and their underlying complexity. Military per­sonnel were unfamiliar with the new technologies of rocket engines, nuclear weapons, and guidance and control systems.

New technology provided opportunities for military officers with a techni­cal bent. Allied with scientists and research engineers, these officers promoted the ‘‘air force of the future’’ over the traditional ‘‘air force of the present.’’ Through wide-ranging research and fast-paced development, the air force would maintain a technological edge over its Communist adversaries. Sepa­rating research and development (R&D) from current operations, these offi­cers created new methods to integrate technologies into novel ‘‘weapon sys­tems.’’ In so doing, they brought into being new organizations and niches for technical officers, scientists, and engineers.

Of the new technologies developed during World War II, ballistic missiles were among the most promising. The marriage of ballistic missiles with fusion

warheads promised an invulnerable delivery system for the ultimate explo­sive. At the push of a button, an entire city could be obliterated within thirty minutes. While the bomber pilots who dominated the air force’s leadership vacillated, technical officers and their scientific allies pressed ahead and past air force skeptics, winning top-priority status for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Led by Brig. Gen. Bernard Schriever, their success was the apex of scientific influence in the military and laid the foundation for a new way of organizing R&D. Combining scientific novelty with the military’s need for rapid development, this new approach became known as concurrency.1

Concurrency replaced the air force’s prior management methods for large – scale technology development. If the technology of ICBMs had been less com­plex, or if their development had occurred at a more relaxed pace, then the air force’s existing management techniques might have sufficed. Facing the combined impact of technical difficulty and rapid tempo, however, the loosely organized technical divisions of the air force’s development groups could not cope. Equally important, the scientists who advised the air force’s leaders did not believe that traditional methods and organizations would succeed. Based on their recommendations, Schriever created a centralized, tightly planned management scheme to implement the air force’s complex new weapon sys­tem as quickly as possible. To understand the changes that Schriever and his allies wrought, we must turn to the air force’s methods prior to the develop­ment of ICBMs.

Applying the Systems Approach

By mid-1953, JPL’s continuing research in solid-propellant rocketry led to the conclusion that solid propellants could equal or exceed liquid propellants in performance as well as eliminate the cumbersome logistics of liquid-propelled missiles. Following up on this conclusion, Army Ordnance funded several studies, from which it selected JPL’s Sergeant. JPL managers and engineers stressed their recent recognition that missiles had to be viewed ‘‘as true sys­tem problems’’ that considered ground-handling equipment, operations, and training as well as technical improvements such as an improved guidance sys­tem and solid-propellant propulsion. Warning Army Ordnance about the dire consequences of making Sergeant a crash program, JPL Director Louis Dunn stated that ‘‘a properly planned development program’’ would ‘‘pay for itself many times over’’ by avoiding changes to production and operations.

Shortly after the army accepted JPL’s proposal, Dunn left to head Ramo – Wooldridge’s Atlas project. Corporal project manager William Pickering be­came JPL’s new director in August 1954. Pickering reorganized the laboratory to mirror academic disciplines on the Caltech campus.25

Even though he structured JPL on an academic model, Pickering recog­nized some of its limitations. Noting, ‘‘R&D engineers may not necessarily fully appreciate military field conditions,’’ Pickering assigned ‘‘certain person­nel a particular system responsibility as a sole task.’’ They performed studies of training, logistics, organization, and other factors to determine the ‘‘in­strumentation, training and schooling requirements, the caliber ofpersonnel requirements, and a typical Table of Organization for the missile battalion.’’26 Pickering assigned Robert Parks as project manager and Jack James as Parks’s deputy. James soon developed processes that would significantly change JPL’s management practices.

Jack James graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1942 and began his career at General Electric (GE) in Schenectady, New York. Starting by working on turbine engines, he soon transferred into the Test Engineering program, where he rotated through a number of laboratories and projects to gain experience. During World War II, he served as a navy radar officer on the battleship South Dakota. After the war, he returned to GE.

At GE, James worked for Richard Porter on the Hermes project to test-fire modified V-2 rockets. At the end of World War II, Porter had worked on the Paperclip project, which brought German rocket engineers and technicians to the United States, and Porter brought a number of the Germans with him to GE. GE developed the radar guidance system, and James worked with SCR – 584 radar systems, on which he ‘‘had the chance to make many mistakes.’’ In 1949, after the Research and Development Board picked JPL to manage the Corporal project, James moved to Pasadena. He had a ‘‘nightmare job’’ get­ting GE to deliver the guidance system, because GE had hoped to manage the project and had ‘‘lost heart in the job.’’ After Dunn left JPL, James helped complete Corporal.27

One of Corporal’s irritants was its lack of instrumentation for telemetry data. James, who was the project manager for the first two Sergeant flights, designed instrumentation into the new missile for testing and troop training, even though this added extra weight. Engineers could reconfigure telemetry equipment and measurements, depending upon the missile’s use for engineer­ing development, testing, or training — or for its final military purpose.28

Another of Corporal’s faults was horrendous reliability and maintenance. Sergeant incorporated the vibration testing established on Corporal for com­ponents. James also investigated the maintenance problem theoretically, to determine the best design, procedures, and supply inventories. He noted that some branches of the army recommended that suppliers create test equipment to isolate faulty components down to the piece-part level. In contrast, his analysis showed that small numbers of larger replaceable packages were more cost-effective. Because the army levied stringent reliability requirements, Ser­geant engineers developed a strict failure reporting system that required docu­mentation about how engineers would permanently repair each failure.29

To Pickering, Parks, and James, the systems approach meant including re­liability, testing, and maintenance early in the design process. Sperry Rand Corporation, which the army selected to manufacture Sergeant, created a sys­tems engineering program for test equipment. It consisted of formal and in­formal meetings and conferences, coordination of engineering changes, and the development of consistent testing, reliability, and maintenance methods at JPL and Sperry and in the army. Sergeant managers and engineers standard­ized environmental testing standards, safety procedures, component mount­ing practices, and maintenance procedures. They also separated testing into five major phases: feasibility flights, guidance system development, system development and integration, engineering model flights, and system proof tests.30

JPL used old and developed new organizational structures and procedures in its relationship with Sperry. Army Ordnance defined institutional arrange­ments, using JPL as the contractor responsible for technical research, devel­opment, and cognizance. Sperry was to manufacture the missile as the prime contractor, but not until it learned how to build the system as co-contractor with JPL. JPL engineers issued Technical Guidance Directions, and Sperry next provided cost estimates. With JPL’s approval, Army Ordnance officers then funded Sperry on a cost-plus-fixed-fee basis. The army required two re­views, a Design Release Inspection and a Design Release Review, both held early in 1959.31

Because of the planned transition from JPL to Sperry, James required that JPL engineers describe their designs in a series of documents that James sent to Sperry. This forced JPL engineers to synchronize design work to a fixed schedule and to produce consistent documentation. If an engineer was un­sure about how a design interacted or connected to a neighboring subsystem, that engineer would simply check the design document’s latest release. James also instituted a system of document change control so that engineers could not arbitrarily change their designs. Modifications would pass through James, who would ensure design and documentation consistency through a Research Change Order.32 This progressive design freeze, augmented with change con­trol, turned out to be one of the most significant organizational elements in the success of Sergeant.

Engineering changes were a prominent source of conflict between JPL and Sperry. Coordination between the two started in 1956, with Sperry assigning a number of engineers to work with JPL in Pasadena. In 1957, monthly co­ordination meetings that alternated between Pasadena and Sperry’s new Utah facility began. After negotiations with Sperry, JPL managers extended their Research Change Order system so that it governed engineering and produc­tion changes at JPL and Sperry. That same year, the two organizations cre­ated a biweekly Operational Scheduling Committee that initially governed the scheduling and preparations of test rounds but soon included broader coordi­nation and contractual issues. Continuing problems led to a project-based re­organization at Sperry, and both organizations established Resident Offices at each other’s facilities. The Sergeant Action Review Committee, formed in December 1959, reviewed all design changes, allowing only those that were mandatory.33

On Sergeant, JPL proved its capability as an army arsenal, with full capa­bility to design, develop, and oversee a missile from inception to operational deployment. JPL engineers developed the procedural expertise necessary to convert research technology into operational weapons, including reliability and maintenance, systems analysis, project scheduling and coordination, and phased planning. JPL Director William Pickering supported these systems methods, although he clung to an academic-style organization. Contractual relationships between the army, JPL, and Sperry led to the development of formal systems to report and respond to failures, and to progressively freeze and document the engineering design as it progressed. Jack James recognized their utility to coordinate diverse design activities and would apply them again on spacecraft projects, as JPL underwent its second major transforma­tion from an army arsenal to a National Aeronautics and Space Administra­tion (NASA) field center.

Aging Technology and Changing Objectives

Without any staff members except for those supplied by the national govern­ments, and with technical problems more complex than originally thought, ELDO’s Preparatory Group moved the project, now known as Europa I, slowly forward between 1961 and 1964. Although the first and second Blue Streak launches in 1964 succeeded, delays and technical difficulties led to sub­stantial cost escalation, from the 198 Million Accounting Units (MAU)21 origi­nally budgeted (the equivalent of £70 million) to 400 MAU at the end of 1964.22

Commercial communication satellites soon troubled ELDO executives and national representatives. Americans tested their commercial viability with the Early Bird satellite in 1965 and controlled the market through Intelsat, the international consortium for satellite telecommunications. Europeans wanted to break the American stranglehold. In 1964, the ELDO Secretariat reported that an upgraded Europa I launcher could place 20-40 kilograms of equip­ment in polar orbit and that a more powerful ELDO B rocket could place a 1,000-kilogram communications satellite in geostationary orbit in the 1970s. The next year, French officials proposed that ELDO scrap Europa I and in­stead immediately begin work on ELDO B. Other delegates vetoed this as too risky but agreed to reconsider it later.23

Spurred by massive overruns that they disproportionately funded, the Brit­ish reversed their strong support of ELDO in April 1966. They now believed that Europa I would be obsolete and its commercial potential limited and stated that they would neither participate in rocket upgrades nor contribute beyond existing commitments. Under pressure from the other delegations, the British agreed in June 1966 to remain in ELDO, but only if the organization re­duced the British contribution. In July, delegates agreed to this but also voted to fund an equatorial base, inertial guidance improvements, and the Europa II rocket, which could launch up to 150 kilograms into geostationary orbit. The new cost was 626 MAU, more than three times initial ELDO estimates. Britain would not contribute to any costs above the agreed 626 MAU level.

Technical problems soon pushed costs past the limit. In February 1968, after two failures of the French second stage, the British invoked ELDO’s new procedures for projected cost overruns. Two months later, the British announced that they would make no further contributions to ELDO. Italian delegates, angered by the refusal of France and Germany to include them in the bilateral Symphonie communications satellite, and also by their inability to recoup ELDO contracts for their own space industry, refused to agree to a French-German ‘‘austerity plan’’ that would have cut Italian portions of the program. After yet another rocket failure in November 1968, this time of the German third stage, delegates from France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands agreed to make up the shortfall in British and Italian contribu­tions to complete a scaled-back program. Italy finally agreed to rejoin, but Britain would supply its first stage for only two more test flights. After that Britain would be through with ELDO. The remaining partners agreed to fund studies for a first stage replacement.24

NASA International Programs chief Arnold Frutkin noted the “half­hearted and mutually-suspicious character of participation by its [ELDO’s] members.’’ European governments held together only insofar as the United States resisted European commercial interests. With Europeans united in their suspicions that the Americans intended to monopolize communication satel­lites, Frutkin believed, ‘‘US offers in space and other fields of technology will continue to be regarded with extreme and often irrational suspicion until the comsat issue is resolved.’’ In sending mixed signals, American leaders helped keep ELDO alive.25

Changing technological objectives contributed to ELDO’s problems. With­out firm objectives at the start, ELDO and French studies showed that ELDO needed a more powerful launch vehicle to place communications satellites into orbit. The French, who viewed ELDO as an essential part of their drive for independence from the United States, were willing to pay the price. So too were the Germans, who subsidized their own reentrance into rocketry. The Belgians and Dutch believed they needed to go along with their power­ful neighbors. As long as ELDO guaranteed the Italians technically interesting tasks, Italian leaders would contribute. However, the British had little to gain in that the first stage was operational. Convinced of American willingness to launch European satellites, British leaders believed it more important to fund applications satellites than launchers. These differences might have been over­come if ELDO’s rockets had proved successful.

Aircraft before Systems

The air force’s R&D methods trace back to the creation of aircraft in the first decade of the twentieth century. Because the army did not create an arsenal to develop aircraft, contractual relationships between the Army Air Corps and the aircraft industry governed military aircraft development. The Army Sig­nal Corps ordered its first aircraft from the Wright brothers in 1908 using an incentive contract that awarded higher fees for a higher-speed aircraft.2 Army evaluation and testing of aircraft began near the Wrights’ plant in Dayton, Ohio. These facilities soon grew into the Air Corps’s primary complex for air­craft development and testing.

While European powers rapidly developed aircraft for military purposes, the U. S. Army kept aircraft development a low priority. World War I broke American lethargy; in 1915, Congress created the National Advisory Com­mittee for Aeronautics (NACA) to promote aircraft research, evaluation, and development for the military and the aircraft industry. Engineers at NACA’s facility at Langley Field in Hampton, Virginia, concentrated on the testing and evaluation of aerodynamic structures and aircraft performance, using new wind-tunnel facilities to test fuselages, engine cowlings, propeller designs, and pilot-aircraft controllability. The United States mass-produced a few Euro­pean designs during the war but rapidly dismantled most of its capability after the war’s end.3

Between World War I and World War II, the Army Air Corps fostered air­craft development at a leisurely pace. Typically the engineering and procure­ment divisions at Wright Field in Dayton contracted with industry for aircraft, which officers, civilians, and operational commands then tested. Army Ord­nance and the Army Signal Corps developed the armaments and electronic gear that Wright Field personnel then integrated into the aircraft. Wright Field procured the components, then modified them as necessary to inte­grate them into the aircraft. Funding constraints were more important than schedule considerations, leading to a rather deliberate development and test­ing program commonly described as the ‘‘fly before you buy’’ concept.4

After the Air Corps released design specifications, contractors designed, built, and delivered a prototype known as the X-model to the Air Corps. The Air Corps tested this model, making recommendations for changes. After completion of X-model testing, the contractor made the recommended design changes, then developed the Y-model production prototype. The Air Corps then ran another series of tests and made further design recommendations. After approval of the Y-model, the contractor released the production draw­ings and built the required number of aircraft.5

From the mid-1920s, Wright Field assigned a project engineer from its Engineering Division to monitor all aircraft design and development. By the late 1930s, Wright Field assigned a project officer to each aircraft in develop­ment, along with the project engineer and a small supporting staff. For ex­ample, in the Bombardment Branch before World War II, Col. Donald Putt and five other officers managed six aircraft projects with the assistance of a few secretaries and Wright Field engineers assigned to tasks as needed. Be-

‘‘Fly before you buy’’ sequential development, typical of the Army Air Corps in the 1920s and 1930s. Adapted from Benjamin N. Bellis, L/Col USAF Office DCS/Systems, ‘‘The Requirements for Configuration Management During Concurrency,” in AFSC Management Conference, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, D. C., AFHRA Microfilm 26254, 5-24-2.

cause of the slow pace of development, the limited role of the government in testing and approving designs, and the fixed-price contracting method typi­cal before the war, this small staff sufficed. Project officers focused on aircraft safety and on finding design weaknesses.6

As war loomed in 1940, Congress legalized negotiated cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF) production contracts. With a flood of funding and a goal of build­ing 50,000 aircraft, the Air Corps immediately signed letters of intent to get design and production moving, with cost negotiations deferred until later. Under the prior competitive bidding process, procurement officers did not need to understand the financial details of a manufacturers’ bid, because the manufacturer — not the government-lost money if it underbid. However, under CPFF arrangements, cost overruns were the government’s problem. The Air Corps Procurement Branch grew rapidly to collect information and negotiate with contractors to assess the validity of cost charges and determine a fair profit.7

Unless Congress extended the authority to negotiate contracts after the war, the military’s capability to control industry and influence scientists and their new technologies would dramatically decrease. Fortunately for the mili­tary, the Procurement Act of 1947 extended the military’s wartime authority and tools, including the formerly controversial negotiated contract mecha­nism, into peacetime.

The importance of the 1947 act should not be underestimated, for it per­petuated government use of CPFF contracts. This had several significant rami­fications. First, the CPFF contract reduced risk for industry. Where high risk was inherent, as it was in R&D, this drew profit-making corporations and uni­versities into government-run activities. Second, to reduce government risk, CPFF contracts required a government bureaucracy sufficient to monitor con­tractors. Third, CPFF contracts turned attention from cost concerns to tech­nical issues. This “performance first’’ attitude led to higher costs but also to a faster pace of technical innovation and occasionally to radical technologi­cal change. Last, the CPFF contract provided some military officers with the means to promote technological innovation along with their own careers.8

Negotiated contracts formed the basis for Cold War contractual relation­ships between government, industry, and academia. Government officials be­came both partners and controllers of the aircraft industry in a way unimag­ined before the war, with expanded procurement organizations that made the federal government a formidable negotiator. To fully exploit their extended authority to create new weapons, however, the Army Air Forces would also have to solidify its relationships with scientists and engineers.

From Missiles to Space

JPL’s entry into the space program came through an alliance with the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) on the Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic missile program. In 1955 and 1956, JPL worked with ABMA on a backup radio guidance system and the reentry test vehicle for Jupiter. The radio guidance work gave JPL the funding and opportunity to improve radio communica­tions between ground systems and flight vehicles, later evolving into JPL’s Deep Space Network. The reentry test vehicle was a spacecraft in all but name. ABMA and JPL performed reentry test flights between September 1956 and August 1957. The Army Ordnance commander, Gen. John Medaris, ordered the remaining rocket hardware to be put into storage, hoping to launch a spacecraft.34 For the moment, Medaris had to wait; the navy’s Vanguard was to launch the first U. S. spacecraft. However, the failure of Vanguard’s first test flight in December 1957 paved the way for the army.35

With public pressure building in the wake of Sputnik, President Eisenhower gave the army the green light to unleash Wernher von Braun’s ABMA team and Pickering’s engineers at JPL. Pickering seized the opportunity. By partici­pating in the space race, Pickering could return JPL to engineering research instead of the drudgery of weapon systems development. In a brief discussion immediately preceding a meeting to assign responsibilities for the orbital at­tempt, Pickering convinced Medaris to assign JPL the spacecraft and tracking network. JPL engineers quickly designed a high-speed stage, eventually des­ignated Explorer 1, consisting of clusters of Sergeant solid motors and a cylin­drical can that contained telemetry equipment and scientific experiments.36

JPL engineers used processes developed on Sergeant and the reentry test vehicle. By the summer of 1956, ABMA and JPL had tested rocket motors in small vacuum chambers to ensure that they would operate in space. Engineers expanded these tests to examine the Explorer spacecraft’s capacity to with­stand large temperature variations in a vacuum, such as it would encounter when in the Sun or in the shade of the Earth. JPL engineers replaced vac­uum tubes with transistors, repackaged electronic components, and tested the entire package with random-vibration tests. In addition, they used re­dundancy to increase the chances for success if one component failed. JPL’s ground telemetry systems were ready. When in January 1958 the ABMA’s Jupiter rose from Cape Canaveral, JPL’s Explorer 1 spacecraft and ground sys­tems functioned perfectly, returning scientific data leading to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts and confirming that micrometeorites were not a problem.37

ABMA and JPL followed Explorer 1 with a series of spacecraft in the Ex­plorer and Pioneer series. Because the primary goal was to compete in a prestige race with the Soviets, engineers hurriedly lashed together existing technologies to jury-rig space missions. Explorer 2-Explorer 6, Pioneer 3, and Pioneer 4 had a mixed record, with several successes and several failures. Be­cause of the urgency of the space race, neither the army nor Congress ques­tioned this record. Spacecraft failures occurred out of sight, unlike spectacu­lar rocket explosions and their unpleasant publicity. JPL engineers, used to the army mentality of firing many test rounds, thought of these early space­craft as test rounds and were not overly concerned with achieving a perfect record. They rushed into space and reverted to the earlier Corporal mentality of small project groups using informal methods.38

Despite the exploits of ABMA and JPL, the army lost its battle against the air force and the new NASA for a significant space role. On January 1, 1959, President Eisenhower transferred JPL to NASA, and the ABMA soon there­after.39

For NASA, JPL proposed a new program for lunar and planetary explo­ration known as Vega. Vega was to develop a third-stage rocket and spacecraft similar to Explorer’s high-speed stage and payload. Its spacecraft design was far more complex than Explorer’s because it needed to operate for months in transit to the Moon, Venus, or Mars. The Vega spacecraft was to feature important new technologies, including solar panels, three-axis attitude stabi­lization, and a flight computer. Just as after Corporal, when JPL managers and engineers planned the Sergeant missile as a ‘‘systems job,’’ JPL engineers and managers carefully planned for Vega, succeeding the hastily built Explorer and Pioneer spacecraft.40

JPL Director Pickering selected Clifford Cummings as Vega project direc­tor. Cummings had worked under Pickering on Corporal and Sergeant, de­veloping analytic tools. He believed that better maintenance required better analysis of training programs and costs, supply networks and logistics, test equipment, and vehicle design. Vocal and outspoken, Cummings believed that scientists and engineers could work out difficult problems through work­ing groups and a thorough test program.41

Cummings and his deputy, James Burke, organized Vega’s test program using lessons from Corporal, Sergeant, and Explorer. He and Burke planned a mockup spacecraft for structural and mechanical tests as well as an engineer­ing model for environmental and electrical tests. Only after the engineering model passed these tests would JPL build the flight spacecraft. Vega featured a new ‘‘systems test’’ that would simulate the flight sequence and events with all of the spacecraft subsystems working together. Engineers were to record test results on specialized forms for later analysis. After engineers assembled and tested the spacecraft in this manner, they would then perform the same tests in a large vacuum chamber, then in a vibration test facility, and finally at Cape Canaveral prior to launch.42

Plans for Vega did not come to fruition because NASA Administrator Keith Glennan canceled the program in December 1959 to avoid duplication of the air force’s previously secret Agena upper stage. Glennan decided to use the air force’s Atlas-Agena for NASA’s early missions instead of Vega. Never again would JPL work on the rocket designs upon which it had made its reputation. In place of Vega, JPL acquired NASA’s robotic lunar and planetary missions, which became the Ranger, Surveyor, and Mariner programs. Time spent plan­ning for Vega was not completely wasted, as its design studies and test plans carried over to Ranger.43

Organizing for Failure

As was typical for other large projects in Europe and the United States, ELDO managers distributed tasks to a number of organizations. ELDO funded the British Ministry of Aviation for the first stage. The ministry, in turn, chan­neled funds to the Royal Aircraft Establishment, which contracted with De – Havillands for most of the stage and with Rolls Royce for the engines. De – Havillands subcontracted with Sperry Gyroscope for the guidance package. ELDO funded the French Space Agency for the Coralie second stage. The agency, in turn, contracted with the French Army Laboratory for Ballistic and Aerodynamic Research for second stage development and the government’s National Company for Study and Construction of Aviation Engines for en­gines.26

West Germany, which had no space organization prior to the ELDO dis­cussions, initially placed its space activities under the German Ministry for

Atomic and Water Power. In August 1962 the Germans formed the govern­ment-owned Space Research Company to study space activities, under the guidance of the German Commission for Space Research. The Ministry for Atomic and Water Power expanded to become the Ministry for Scientific Research, under the Ministry for Education and Science. ELDO delegated the Ministry for Education and Science as the national agency to oversee the Europa I third stage, and this agency in turn contracted with the newly created industrial consortium Arbeitsgemeinschaft Satelitentrager (ASAT). ASAT was an uneasy—and according to some, involuntary-alliance between two major German aerospace firms, Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) and Entwicklungsring Nord Raumfahrttechnik (ERNO). Similar unwieldy ar­rangements held for the Italian, Belgian, and Dutch portions of ELDO.27

Complexity of the organizational structure contributed to ELDO’s difficul­ties but was not the most significant problem. The difficulty was that work­ing groups, usually private companies and government-industry consortia, did not report to ELDO but to their national governments. These, in turn, reported to the ELDO Secretariat in Paris. Because ELDO distributed funds to the national governments, which distributed them using their own pro­cedures, the industrial and engineering groups took their orders from the national governments, not the ELDO Secretariat. This ‘‘indirect contracting’’ structure interposed an extra layer of bureaucracy and gave that layer final authority.28

The Secretariat had no authority to force governments or contractors to make changes; it could only make suggestions to the national governments. Nor could the Secretariat take legal action, both because contractual authority lay with the national governments and because the contracts themselves were vaguely worded. As late as 1972, the Europa II Project Review Commission stated, ‘‘There is no clear definition of responsibilities within the ELDO orga­nisation, nor between ELDO staff and ELDO contractors.’’29

Uncertainty about roles and responsibilities led to two kinds of situations. When the national agency was ‘‘strongly structured,’’ as in Britain and France, it led to ‘‘a complete effacement of the Secretariat’s role.’’ On the other hand, when the national agency was weak, as in the case of Germany’s new organi­zations, it led to ‘‘confusion in the minds of firms about the technical respon­sibilities of the Secretariat and those of the national agency.’’ In some cases the Secretariat ‘‘did not respect the responsibilities of the national agencies’’ and undermined their authority.30

Having unclear and changing requirements did not help. The 1972 review commission concluded, ‘‘Europa II seems in a continuous state of research and development with major changes made from one launch to the next almost independently of whether the previous flight objectives have been achieved.’’ No single, complete specification existed for the entire vehicle. Without clear specifications, engineers did not have clear goals for defining telemetry mea­surements, for limiting the weight of the vehicle, or for ensuring quality and redundancy across the project. The end result was ‘‘a launch vehicle with little design coherence, and posing complicated integration and operational problems.’’31

Because the British and French designed their first and second stages before ELDO existed, they ensured that their government organizations determined methods and standards for their own stages. ELDO itself had no authority to impose standards. This led to inconsistent and incomplete specifications, documentation, quality standards, and procedures. The Secretariat had no quality organization until 1970, relying upon national teams to enforce good manufacturing practices, use high-quality components, and adhere to testing procedures. At best, the result was components, processes, and documenta­tion of variable quality. In practice, variable quality led to flight failures.32

With only a small engineering staff, the Secretariat’s ability to analyze problems was also limited. Before ELDO came into official existence, the Pre­paratory Group relied on engineers supplied by the national governments. After February 1964, the Secretariat built a small engineering staff in the Tech­nical Directorate. Often the engineering staff ‘‘endeavored to promote the solution of technical problems, but in some cases important solutions [were] refused on budgetary grounds.’’ Without access to necessary information, adequate staff, or authority to make changes, the Technical Directorate per­formed little systems engineering. Unless contractors resolved interface prob­lems among themselves, the problems remained unresolved.33

Problems lingered in this way because of poor communication. No single location existed for project documentation. Nor did ELDO define what docu­mentation should be produced. Project reviewers noted that ‘‘while certain documents were available, there was nothing systematic about this.’’34 For communication across national boundaries, barriers of language, industrial competition, and national factionalism took precedence. The most extreme case was with the German third stage contractor ASAT, which had ‘‘total dis­interest in the IGS [Inertial Guidance System-built by British contractor Marconi], a refusal to attend acceptance or bench integration tests, a lack of cooperation in defining strict working procedures, a total refusal of respon­sibilities.’’ The ELDO Secretariat failed to bridge the gap between ASAT and Marconi. Communications between manufacturing and testing were poor, as were communications between the launch and engineering teams. In the case of the guidance systems, Marconi ‘‘built a wall between users and manufac­turers, a wall which was accepted, if not liked, by everybody and which ELDO, among others, did not make much effort to destroy.’’35

The ELDO Secretariat’s financial and scheduling groups were better staffed than its technical teams, but the problems were similar. ELDO created a Proj­ect Management Directorate, which used tools such as the Program Evalua­tion and Review Technique (PERT) to track three levels of schedules: the con­tractors, national programs, and the ELDO Secretariat.36 Unfortunately, the Secretariat had no authority to force timely or accurate reporting. Analysts la­mented, ‘‘The reports of the member states are always late.’’37 Even when the Secretariat could acquire timely data, it could do little more than watch the schedule slip and remind offenders that they were deviating from the plan. Tools and organizations to report schedule slips and cost overruns were of little use to personnel in the Secretariat, other than to remind them of their lack of power with respect to the national governments and contractors.

By design, ELDO’s member states created a weak organization. ELDO’s Secretariat had few staff members and little authority to do anything but watch events happen and try to coordinate its unruly member states and con­tractors. When troubles came-and come they did-the Secretariat tried to coordinate and plan around the problems. What it could not do was manage or control them.

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.