Category The Secret of Apollo

Organizing ESRO’s Early Projects—with American Help

ESRO selected projects in consultation with scientific groups, a council rep­resenting the national governments, and its own scientists. Ad hoc groups recommended experiments to the Launching Programmes Advisory Commit­tee (LPAC), which in turn selected a few of them to form a satellite payload. The LPAC recommended payloads to the Scientific and Technical Committee and the Administrative and Financial Committee. These committees then pre­sented their assessments to the ESRO Council, which made the final decision. The Council passed its decision to ESRO headquarters, which then authorized ESTEC and the other ESRO organizations to begin work.9

Unlike ELDO’s, ESRO’s authority included contract placement and con­trol. The ESRO Convention required that ESRO ‘‘place orders for equipment and industrial contracts among the Member States as equitably as possible, taking into account scientific, technological, economic and geographical con­siderations.’’ To do so, ESRO created a register of member state suppliers. For items costing more than 10,000 French francs, ESRO’s financial rules required that ESRO request bids from industry, unless ESRO had ‘‘no alternative but to go directly with one supplier.’’ ESRO submitted all purchases of greater than 500,000 French francs to its Administrative and Finance Committee, along with any purchases outside of the member states.10

Although ESRO’s day-to-day affairs revolved around engineering, scien­tists heavily influenced the selection of projects and experiments. The short­term sounding rocket program consisted of seventy-one launches from Sar­dinia, Norway, Sweden, and Greece between 1964 and 1968. For the medium term, ESRO’s satellite program consisted of two spin-stabilized scientific spacecraft, known as ESRO-I and ESRO-II. Shortly thereafter, ESRO approved three more satellites: a polar orbiting satellite known as the Highly Eccen­tric Orbit Satellite (HEOS-A) and two complex attitude-stabilized spacecraft known as Thor-Delta 1 and Thor-Delta 2 (TD-1, TD-2).11

In 1963, scientists and administrators in ESRO’s Preparatory Commission initiated internal and contract feasibility studies for ESRO-I. Performed early in 1964, these contract studies contributed to the definition of the scientific payload. ESRO released its tender for ESRO-I in November 1964. After ESTEC engineers evaluated the resulting proposals, ESRO awarded several contracts in April 1965. The Laboratoire Central de Telecommunications of Paris re­ceived the contract for project management and satellite integration, and companies in Switzerland and Belgium received ‘‘associate’’ contracts.12 Each of these companies had subcontractors, including some American companies offering components not readily available in Europe, such as sun sensors, bat­teries, and test equipment.13

ESRO-II evolved at the same time — and with the same process. ESTEC scientists and engineers began internal design studies in July 1963 and awarded external design study contracts to a Belgian firm and a Swiss univer­sity.14 ESTEC engineers deliberately introduced variations in the designs that these institutions studied so as to assess different methods of attitude control.

After completion of these feasibility studies, ESTEC engineers wrote technical specifications used in the call for tenders in June 1964. In November, ESRO selected British firm Hawker Siddeley Dynamics as prime contractor, and Hawker Siddeley subcontracted to several British and French companies.15 ESTEC let separate contracts for the command, telemetry, and checkout sub­systems and also coordinated the ‘‘supply of sub-systems to the prime con­tractor.” Hawker Siddeley had responsibility for project management, speci­fications, interfaces, structures, and integration.16

The HEOS project started somewhat later and evolved similarly. In early 1964, a study group rejected a planetary mission because it would have re­quired the construction of large ground stations. Instead, the group recom­mended a spacecraft in a highly eccentric orbit around Earth. ESRO endorsed the project in July 1964, at which time ESTEC appointed a project manager. ESTEC conducted feasibility studies in late 1964 and issued calls for tender in June 1965. In November, ESTEC awarded the contract to a consortium led by Junkers Corporation.17 The Junkers team hired Lockheed Space Corporation from the United States to provide consulting and to supply high-reliability parts. Development began in January 1966. The HEOS project marked the first contract award to a consortium, a trend that would soon become the norm for European industry. Following American trends, it also marked the first use of an incentive contract instead of a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract.18

ESRO-I and ESRO-II took advantage of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) offer to launch ESRO’s first two satellites free of charge. HEOS-A also used an American launcher, but ESRO had to pay for the service. NASA offered its junior partner technical assistance, including project training, reviewing test results, participating in joint reviews, conduct­ing launch operations, and supplying additional tracking and data acquisi­tion support. Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) managed NASA’s contri­butions. Through working groups and design reviews, GSFC space scientists and engineers guided ESRO personnel through their early projects.19

What did ESRO administrators, scientists, and engineers learn from GSFC personnel? GSFC managers began projects by issuing a project specification and a competitive tender. They expected the prime contractor to issue a space­craft handbook for experimenters and to attend monthly interface meetings with experimenters and other organizations. Cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts were the norm for development; administrators monitored them through monthly contractor reports. GSFC managers stressed the importance of change control, coordinating all design changes with contributing organiza­tions. The initiator of changes had to submit a written proposal to the project manager, who had final authority.20

GSFC and ESRO formed joint working groups for ESRO-I and ESRO-II so that ESRO personnel could learn from their NASA counterparts, so that NASA personnel could learn about European methods, and so that solutions for common problems and interfaces could be worked out. NASA provided representatives from its technical divisions, along with the project manager and representatives from Scout launch vehicle contractor Ling-Temco-Vought. The working groups covered topics such as mechanical and electrical inter­faces, launch and mission procedures, reliability and quality assurance, and testing and verification. The Europeans heeded American advice regarding interfaces, iteratively defining and reworking interfaces until they were con­sistent across subsystems and between the spacecraft and the launch vehicle.21

High-level ESRO administrators visited the United States in 1964. ESTEC’s technical director, chairman of the Scientific and Technical Committee, and Large Satellites Division chief visited NASA headquarters, GSFC, Princeton University, and Grumman Corporation to learn about the organizational and technical aspects of the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory project. In Feb­ruary 1965, the ESRO-I project manager and scientists visited Rice Univer­sity in Houston. After visiting Rice — and presumably NASA officials from the Manned Spacecraft Center—they visited renowned space scientist James van Allen of Iowa State University.22

With little spacecraft experience, European contractors also used American assistance when they could get it. ESRO-II prime contractor Hawker Siddeley had ‘‘a considerable amount of technical liaison’’ with Thompson-Ramo- Wooldridge (TRW). Junkers hired Lockheed as a technical and management consultant for HEOS and to procure high-reliability components. These sup­plemented other European-American industrial interactions at that time, which included Boeing’s one-third purchase of Bolkow, TRW’s establishment of Matrel Corporation with Engins Matra, North American’s cooperation with Societe d’Etudes de la Propulsion par Reaction, and Douglas Company’s co­operation with Sud Aviation.23

British organizations also assisted ESRO. A visit by ESRO administrators to the U. K. Ministry of Aviation focused on financial estimating and report­ing procedures and the use of the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). On its projects, the Ministry of Aviation placed contracts for the en­tire development and planned future expenditures by acquiring predicted fi­nancial profiles from its contractors. The ESRO visitors found that the min­istry and some of its contractors used PERT/TIME for schedule planning. Because PERT was available in Britain only through International Business Machines (IBM) computers and produced summaries intended for ‘‘PERT oriented managements which are even rarer in the U. K. than PERT oriented project teams,’’ the ministry recommended that PERT was not a good solution for scheduling and cost-estimating problems.24

ESRO’s inexperienced project personnel depended on contractors. Accord­ing to ESRO-II project manager Ants Kutzer, one important innovation was to have ESRO representatives attend all project meetings between its two major contractors, Hawker Siddeley and Engins Matra. He stated that ‘‘although un­usual … the most valuable aspect… was that the ESTEC project team gained detailed technical knowledge of the design as well as experience.’’25

Kutzer was an acute student of research and development (R&D) manage­ment, having read American studies of R&D contracting, including those by RAND and the Harvard Business School that documented American missile management methods. He followed the development of scheduling tools such as PERT as well as early systems engineering texts. To Kutzer, the lesson of these early studies and tools was that for complex projects, managers needed to deploy new methods that identified ‘‘all of the activities required to meet the end objective.’’ These methods should, Kutzer said, show complex inter­relationships and constraints, including interfaces; predict the time and cost outcome; optimize resource allocation; and be flexible enough to adapt to rapid change.26

Because of the great diversity in nationalities involved in the ESRO-II proj­ect, Kutzer believed that it needed new management techniques. He empha­sized close coordination and communications between ESRO, GSFC, and the contractors. He felt that ‘‘informal exchange of ideas and techniques’’ in the NASA-GSFC working group and numerous subgroups made ‘‘a major contri­bution to project success.’’ Kutzer discussed formal specifications and docu­ments at regular meetings and supplemented them with informal meetings. To minimize the effect of ‘‘rather exhaustive listening to a foreign language,’’ Kutzer systematized meeting agendas to standardize the vocabularies used in the meeting. So too did ESRO-I managers.27

The HEOS program borrowed extensively from American management models, resulting in thorough advanced planning, stronger project manage­ment and systems engineering, and the development of European consortia. Junkers led the winning industry team, drawing extensively on Lockheed for management ideas. Lockheed helped to bring together the Europeans’ diverse companies and traditions in the process of developing the proposal bid:

The firms had mutually coordinated their bid proposals in Europe and after­wards met in Sunnyvale to write the definitive bid text. In these weeks, very lively discussions with the experienced specialists of the American firm led to strong contact between the executives of the European firms, which became decisive for cooperation in the realization of the project. Furthermore, the par­ticipants learned to link the same ideas with the same words. . .

The consortium’s bid consisted of approximately 1,000 pages, around one-third of which concerned management and cost-estimating questions. Without the advice of the American firm, this part in particular would not have undergone such a deep treatment.28

The Junkers team bid far surpassed earlier and contemporary bids in the detail and attention given to management. Junkers won the HEOS contract by a considerable margin. Junkers team members believed that they won by such a wide margin primarily because ‘‘it could be assumed [by ESRO] with great certainty that the bidders had constructed quite realistic time and cost plans.’’29 For later ESRO projects, European teams adopted the Junkers ap­proach, including using American consultants, constructing detailed man­agement plans, and employing close-knit consortia to carry those plans out.

Both ESRO and its contractors experimented with PERT and other plan­ning techniques to determine their utility for spacecraft projects. Europeans learned of PERT through American papers and contacts and acquired it through the use of IBM computers. As an experiment, the ESRO-I prime contractor, the Laboratoire Central de Telecommunications (LCT), proposed

Подпись: Image not available.

HEOS spacecraft. On the HEOS project, European contractors formed their first consortium based on recommendations received from U. S. contractor Lockheed. Courtesy NASA.

using IBM PERT/Cost software. LCT management found the reports gener­ated very useful for analyzing completed and future activities and expenses. They delivered reports every three months to ESRO, including a cost plan, a bar chart for management, and a detailed cost report. Because ESTEC did not have PERT but wanted its own PERT plan for top-level project events, ESTEC managers updated their own network by hand from LCT’s PERT results. The ESTEC project team also generated weekly bar charts. Near the end of the program, as the spacecraft progressed in a serial fashion through testing, the project stopped using PERT, switching to simple bar charts.30

HEOS prime contractor Junkers developed sophisticated PERT networks, using a detailed monthly cycle for acquiring inputs and generating outputs. In part because Junkers’s incentive contract rewarded a launch in early 1969, Junkers emphasized the use of PERT to control schedules. It created an 800- event network for HEOS, backed by a system of Planning Change Notices that tied PERT to engineering and management changes. As LCT had done on ESRO-I, Junkers produced bar charts for managers and more detailed net­work listings for planners, and it also used PERT/Cost with generally favorable results.31

ESRO-II management also used PERT through prime contractor Hawker Siddeley but paid more attention to developing new techniques to measure project progress and to implement configuration control. Project manager Kutzer recognized that although configuration control as used by the U. S. Air Force was useful for ESRO-II systems engineering, he could not imple­ment it, because of the lack of experience and lack of detailed requirements for ESRO-II. Instead, ESTEC engineers established the requirements through the ‘‘unusual approach’’ of attending all technical and contractor meetings. They limited themselves to being ‘‘technically suspicious and taking nothing for granted,’’ and they tried to be “pessimistic about success and to find weak links,’’ to ensure strong testing, and ‘‘to support the contractors.’’32

Hawker Siddeley’s project manager developed a new process to assess progress during specification development. He created an empirical method whereby planners gave each proposed specification a ‘‘marks loading,’’ a nu­merical value that depended upon the amount of work expected. The engi­neer responsible for the specification could estimate the percentage of work completed against the specification. For example, a specification worth 50 marks loading and estimated at 60% complete would be given a current marks value of 30. By adding the total of all current marks values and dividing this sum by the total marks loading for the project, Hawker Siddeley acquired an estimate of the amount of work completed and the amount remaining.33

After completing the specifications and establishing a design baseline, Kut – zer and Hawker Siddeley’s managers implemented a configuration control process. They developed standardized forms that summarized subsystem status, including acceptance test status, reliability, defect reports, modifica­tions, and information and action items still required. When the subsystem successfully passed its tests and supplied the relevant paperwork, ESTEC issued a Design Acceptance Note that formally accepted the subsystem. After issuance of the Design Acceptance Note, engineers could modify the design only by submitting a Modification Proposal Authorization Form. It included the modification and the reasons for it; the estimated cost, schedule, and weight impact; and its effect on other subsystems, documentation, and firms.34

One European deficiency was the lack of environmental test facilities suit­able for satellite checkout. Europeans knew from American published papers and personal contacts that satellites had to be thoroughly tested on the ground, including vibration testing, charged particle radiation testing, and thermal vacuum testing. ESRO’s initial program included substantial invest­ments in facilities, including environmental test facilities. By 1966, ESTEC managers had two vacuum chambers and vibration systems under construc­tion. In 1966, ESTEC used its own vibration system and vacuum facilities to test the ESRO-I structural test and thermal models. Prior to completion of ESTEC’s facilities, ESRO and its contractors used British, French, and Ameri­can facilities.35

Largely because of their lack of environmental test facilities, European companies did not have parts that met the high standards typically associated with American satellites. All three of ESRO’s initial satellites procured high – reliability electronic components from the United States.36 When American companies could not deliver these scarce components on schedule, delays of several months ensued for ESRO-I and HEOS. Only the ESRO-II pro­gram avoided significant delays in procurement of high-reliability American parts.37

Each project acquired American expertise through direct consultation and interaction with GSFC personnel. During a design review by GSFC person­nel in October 1966, NASA experts stated that ESRO had not sufficiently ac­counted for the space thermal environment and needed to perform further analysis and testing. In response, ESRO created a complex thermal model and added a test in a French thermal vacuum chamber, both of which verified the adequacy of the original design. NASA reviewed ESRO-I launch operations plans in October 1966. After the Flight Readiness Review at ESTEC from Au­gust 12-16, 1968, ESRO managers and engineers waxed enthusiastic: ‘‘It was a great moment for the Project Team, when at the end of the Flight Readi­ness Review, the NASA experts declared ESRO-I flight ready.’’38 GSFC experts performed similar reviews for ESRO-II and HEOS between 1966 and 1968.39

After some initial problems, ESRO’s satellites operated successfully. ESRO – II launched in May 1967 but never made it into orbit, as NASA’s Scout launcher exploded during ascent. ESRO regrouped and successfully launched a second model in May 1968. ESRO-I successfully launched in October 1968, and HEOS in December.40

ESRO personnel began their first projects recognizing their own inexperi­ence and took advantage of NASA’s offer to help, both in launching their first two satellites for free and in training ESRO personnel in spacecraft de­sign and management. European managers, engineers, and scientists visited the United States to learn American methods, and their American counter­parts reciprocated by visiting ESTEC during working group meetings, de­sign reviews, and Flight Readiness Reviews for ESRO’s satellite projects. GSFC personnel gave substantial help to ESRO, as did American contractors TRW and Lockheed to ESRO’s prime contractors Hawker Siddeley and Junkers for ESRO-II and HEOS. ESRO and its contractors used American models for its testing programs, planning methods, configuration control, and reliability as­sessment. They also acquired and used PERT with the help of IBM computers. On HEOS, Lockheed advised European contractors to emphasize manage­ment issues, leading to a strong consortium that won the bid by a large mar­gin. The Junkers consortium’s successful bid was the model for contractor consortia on later bid opportunities. The technical success of the satellites ESRO launched in 1968 and 1969 showed the value of ESRO’s methods.

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

Social and Technical Issues of Spaceflight

Europe’s lag seems to concern methods of organization above all. The Americans know how to work in our countries better than we do ourselves. This is not a matter of ‘‘brain power’’ in the traditional sense of the term, but of organization, education, and training.

-Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, 1967

July 1969 marked two events in humanity’s exploration of space. One became an international symbol of technological prowess; the other, a mere historical footnote, another dismal failure of a hapless organization.

‘‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’’ These words of American astronaut Neil Armstrong, spoken as he stepped onto the surface of the Moon in July 1969, represented the views not only of the National Aero­nautics and Space Administration (NASA) but also of numerous Americans and space enthusiasts around the world. Many journalists, government heads, and industrial leaders believed that the Apollo program responsible for Arm­strong’s exotic walk had been a tremendous success. They marveled at NASA’s ability to organize and direct hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals toward a single end. Even Congress was impressed, holding hearings to uncover the managerial secrets of NASA’s success.1

Apollo was the centerpiece of NASA’s efforts in the 1960s-the United States’ most prestigious entry in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union. Purportedly, the massive program cost more than $19 billion through the first Moon landing and used 300,000 individuals working for 20,000 contractors and 200 universities in 80 countries.2 It was a visual, technological, and pub­licity tour-de-force, capturing the world’s attention with television broadcasts

of the Apollo 8 voyage to the Moon during Christmas 1968, the Apollo 11 land­ing, and the dramatic near-disaster of Apollo 13 in April 1970. Whatever else might be said about the program, it was an impressive technological feat.

This American achievement looked all the more impressive to European observers, who on July 3, 1969, witnessed the fourth consecutive failure of their own rocket, the grandiosely named Europa I. Whereas Apollo’s mandate included a presidential directive, national pride, and an all-out competition with the Soviet Union, Europa I began as a cast-off ballistic missile searching for a mission. When British leaders decided to use American missile tech­nology in the late 1950s, their own obsolete rocket, Blue Streak, became ex­pendable. The British decided to market it as the first stage of a European rocket, simultaneously salvaging their investment and signaling British will­ingness to cooperate with France, a gesture they hoped would lead to British acceptance into the Common Market. Complex negotiations ensued, as first Britain and France — and then West Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the Nether- lands—warily decided to build a European rocket. All the countries hoped to gain access to their neighbors’ technologies and markets, while protecting their own as much as possible.

The European Space Vehicle Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) reflected these national ambitions. Without the ability to let contracts or to direct the technical efforts, ELDO’s Secretariat tried with growing dismay to integrate the vehicle, while its member states minimized access to the data necessary for such integration. Not surprisingly, costs rose precipitously and schedules slipped. After successful tests of the relatively mature British stage, every flight that tried to integrate stages failed miserably. The contrast be­tween European failure and American success in July 1969 could not have been more stark, with American astronauts returning to Earth to lead a round – the-world publicity tour, while European managers and engineers defended themselves from criticism as they analyzed yet another explosion. ELDO’s record of failure continued for more than four years before frustrated Euro­pean leaders dissolved the organization and started over.

Apollo was a grand symbol, arguably the largest development program ever undertaken. Many observers noted the massive size and ‘‘sheer compe­tence’’ of the program and concluded that one of the major factors in Apollo’s success was its management.3 Learning the organizational secrets of Apollo and the American space program was a primary motivation for European government and industry involvement in space programs.4

French journalist Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber gave European fears of American domination a voice and a focus in his best-selling 1967 book, The American Challenge. Servan-Schreiber argued that the European problems were due to inadequacies in European educational methods and institutions as well as the inflexibility of European management and government. The availability of university education to the average American led to better man­agement of technology development in commercial aircraft, space, and com­puters. Europeans needed to learn the dominant American model for man­aging and organizing aerospace projects: systems management.

European space organizations needed to create or learn new methods to successfully develop space technology. Wernher von Braun’s rocket team in Nazi Germany confronted major technical problems in the 1930s and 1940s, requiring new kinds of organizational processes. In the 1950s, the army’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the air force-through its industrial con­tractors — developed progressively larger, more complex, and more power­ful ballistic missiles. Both groups encountered obstacles that the application of more gadgetry could not overcome. Like von Braun’s group, these groups found that changes in organization and management were crucial. NASA’s manned program confronted similar issues in the 1960s, resulting in major organizational innovations borrowed from the air force. In each case, the unique technical problems of spaceflight posed difficulties requiring social solutions — changes in how people within organizations in design and manu­facturing processes related to one another.

Von Braun’s Conversionй

Despite the imposition of systems engineering and configuration manage­ment on MSFC, they remained foreign concepts to members of Huntsville’s engineering family. They had been working together on rockets since the 1930s, and the many years of experience had taught them the technologies, processes, and interactions necessary to build rockets. These engineers under­stood rocketry and each other so well as to make formal coordination mecha­nisms such as systems engineering redundant. The efforts of Mueller and Phillips had brought configuration management and air force methods to contractors, but the functional, discipline-based laboratories remained the centers of power in MSFC.

As MSFC’s effort on the Apollo program peaked in 1966 and layoffs threat­ened, however, MSFC leaders realized that they would have to diversify be­yond rocketry to keep themselves in business.112 In new fields such as manned space stations and robotic spacecraft, MSFC’s unmatched ability in rockets meant little, and they soon found new utility in systems engineering.

By the summer of 1968, von Braun recognized that he needed to strengthen systems engineering at MSFC. He called in Philip Tompkins, a communi­cations expert from Wayne State University, to study MSFC’s organization and recommend how better to implement systems engineering. At the time,

Mueller was pressing von Braun to emphasize systems engineering in the design of the Skylab space station. Von Braun explained to Tompkins that Mueller, who had been trained in electrical engineering, thought more natu­rally in terms of a ‘‘nervous system’’ than he, who thought of rockets as ma­chines. Von Braun belatedly saw the validity of Mueller’s point of view and was determined to reorient MSFC along systems engineering lines so as to better coordinate MSFC’s design efforts.113

Tompkins investigated MSFC’s organization and soon concluded that the design laboratories were overly oriented toward ‘‘low-level subsystems engi­neering.’’ As one manager stated it, ‘‘If we had a lawnmower capability at the Marshall Center, we’d put lawnmowers on all the vehicles.’’114 To com­bat this, Tompkins recommended significant strengthening of the systems engineering office. With this change, systems engineering by late 1968 be­came a much stronger element within MSFC, albeit weaker in the traditional rocket groups than the newer organizations that focused on other projects. As MSFC’s ‘‘family’’ organization and expertise in rocketry grew less important, systems engineering took their place. Formal coordination processes replaced the informal methods that sufficed in von Braun’s heyday.

Why did NASA’s most experienced group of engineers take so long to em­brace systems engineering? Three factors contributed: the almost exclusive use of in-house capability for rocket development and testing, the extraordi­nary continuity of von Braun’s team, and the continuity of the team’s R&D project. From the mid-1950s until the early 1960s, von Braun’s team members relied upon their own capabilities to design rockets, using external contrac­tors sparingly. When they did use contractors, they did so for only specific components, or they closely monitored the contractors, such as Chrysler for the Redstone and Jupiter. The use of contractors significantly increased for the Saturn V project, and systems engineering began to make inroads into MSFC at this time. However, not until MSFC diversified out of rocketry and many of the original team began to retire in the late 1960s did systems engineering become a major element of Marshall’s R&D process.

The continuity of von Braun’s team, along with the continuity of the tech­nologies upon which the team worked, helps to explain the dismissal of sys­tems engineering at MSFC. Simply put, when each team member knew the job through decades of experience and knew every other team member over that period, formal methods to communicate or coordinate were redundant. Rocket team members knew their jobs, and each other, intimately. They un­derstood what information their colleagues needed, and when. When they began to work on new products such as space stations and spacecraft in the late 1960s, it was no longer obvious how each team member should communi­cate with everyone else. Formal task planning, coordination, and communi­cation became a necessity, and systems engineers performed these new tasks.


Systems management evolved as the manned space programs developed. Like the ballistic missile programs before them, the manned programs were in­augurated with few cost constraints and substantial external pressure to speed development. Despite massive cost overruns, the programs continued for the first few years with few questions from headquarters or Congress. Glennan, and later Webb, let the STG, MSC, and MSFC do their jobs with minimal supervision. These organizations used informal engineering committees to manage the manned programs. When NASA needed rigor in manufactur­ing and component quality, it had the air force and its industrial contractors to supply them. Informal methods frequently produced technical success but failed miserably at predicting costs.

Spiraling costs led Holmes, the first head of OMSF, to challenge Webb. Holmes’s failure made it obvious to his replacement, Mueller, that he had to control costs. To do so he enlisted the help of air force officers, led by Phillips. Mueller forced MSC and MSFC to adopt stronger project management, in­stitute systems engineering, expand ground testing, and report more thor­oughly to headquarters. Phillips instituted configuration management and project reviews throughout Apollo to control technical, financial, and con­tractual aspects as well as the scheduling of the program. Air force officers brought in by Mueller and Phillips propagated the reforms and transformed OMSF’s organizations into project-oriented hierarchical development orga­nizations.

Systems management made development costs more predictable and cre­ated technically reliable product, but at a price. The disadvantages of systems management would become apparent later, but for the moment it was a mana­gerial icon. If there was a secret to Apollo, it was Phillips’s organizational re­forms, which transferred air force methods to NASA, superimposed upon the technical excellence of STG and MSFC engineers. Europeans would eventu­ally make a concerted effort to learn the managerial secrets of Apollo, but not before trying their own ideas, and failing miserably.


From Concurrency. to Systems Management

We have found that concurrency is as unforgiving to inept management principles as a high performance aircraft is to pilot error. In fact, it requires MORE formality, not LESS.

— Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Bellis, 1962

By 1955, Bernard Schriever’s Western Development Division (WDD), in con­junction with the Special Aircraft Projects Office (SAPO) and Ramo-Wool – dridge Corporation (R-W), had implemented concurrency to rapidly move intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) from development into testing. As tests unfolded in 1956 and 1957, Schriever’s officers and contractors found, much to their consternation, that Atlas failed at an alarmingly high rate. In the rush to push ICBMs into service, Schriever had created an organization that was remarkably informal and flexible but whose disregard of regular pro­cedures also cut out many essential functions of the air force’s bureaucracy. Many of these techniques had been put into place to ensure that there was communication among technical, financial, legal, and operational personnel. Focusing explicitly on the technical issues, Schriever’s officers and contractors let other concerns fall to the wayside. Problems with financing and schedul­ing were compounded by technical problems endemic to radical new tech­nologies.

To fend off criticism, Schriever’s organization had to improve the reliability of the complex weapons and better predict and control costs. This required more formal engineering and management practices. Engineers made mis­siles more dependable through exhaustive testing, component tracking, and

configuration control. Managers improved cost prediction and control using new tools like the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and new procedures such as phased planning. The end result was systems management, a means to create new technologies rapidly but also to plan and control the excesses of concurrency. The new methods slowed development but increased reliability and cost predictability of air force technology programs.

While justifiable under the perceived national emergency in the 1950s, the huge costs of concurrency could not be sustained forever. To achieve cost control, Schriever and his cohorts adopted centralized, formal management techniques. Inherent in this shift was a slowdown in the pace of technological innovation, imposed by managerial checkpoints. Replacing a rapidly paced world of novel wonder weapons promoted by military officers and scientists was a more sedate world of dependable weapons and predictable adminis­tration offered by engineers and managers. Consistent with Secretary of De­fense Robert McNamara’s determination to centralize control and authority for weapons development, Schriever’s modified techniques became the basis for the new Air Force Systems Command and by 1965 the heart of the Depart­ment of Defense’s (DOD’s) development processes.1

ESROS Crisis

Despite significant technical progress, in 1967 ESRO was an organization in crisis, for financial, scientific, technical, and political reasons. The member states kept a short rein on ESRO’s finances, even tightening their grip as time passed. Scientists fought among themselves about which ESRO satellite pro­grams would be considered top priority, and program costs escalated. ESRO’s administrative structure made decisions difficult, and its satellite operations were awkwardly organized. Finally, the emergence of communications satel­lites was a catalyst to expand ESRO’s mission from pure science to commer­cial technology development. Between 1966 and 1968, ESRO and the member states confronted these issues, leading to significant changes in ESRO’s role and organization.

Although always troubled, ESRO’s financial status worsened in 1966. Mem­ber states controlled ESRO’s budget by setting three-year and eight-year caps. During the first three-year period, ESRO underspent its financial cap by 120 million French francs because it did not build facilities as rapidly as planned. Much to the surprise of ESRO’s administrators, scientists, and engineers, the ESRO Council refused to carry the funds forward to the next three-year period, 1967-69. Because ESRO planners had assumed that they would be able to carry these funds forward, ESRO’s programs were in jeopardy. Shocked administrators canceled ESRO’s most expensive program, the Large Astro­nomical Satellite. In addition, ESRO reduced the three planned TD missions to two, then eventually one.41

These reductions exacerbated scientific struggles over payloads and ex­periments. ESRO could not satisfy the atmospheric researchers, astronomers, geophysicists, and cosmic ray physicists competing to fly experiments. Sound­ing rockets were cheap enough to fly frequently, but spacecraft were a different story. In the end, scientists flew fewer experiments than they desired and had to take turns with complex missions.42

Overruns on ESRO’s early projects contributed to ESRO’s cost problems. ESRO-II project manager Kutzer estimated his project’s cost overrun at 50% with a schedule slip of 10%. In addition to this, ESRO had to build a second ESRO-II satellite because of the loss of the first in a launcher failure. HEOS performed better from a cost standpoint. Its project manager estimated the increase of the prime contract at 18% after accounting for inflation, with a 13% schedule delay. He considered this excellent and credited it to ESRO’s authority to choose contractors based on factors other than the cheapest bid. The Junkers team did not have the cheapest bid, but it did have by far the most detailed one. Cost increases, along with the loss of carryover funds, resulted in an immediate cut in current projects and pressure to cut future ones.43 The first new project to feel ESRO’s pressure to accurately predict and control costs was the Thor-Delta 1 and Thor-Delta 2 (TD-1/2) project.

Based on the successful example of the Junkers team for HEOS, most firms organized themselves into consortia for the February 1967 TD-1/2 contract award. In the design competition, contractor cost estimates ranged from 99 million to 176 million French francs. With such widely varying estimates, ESRO managers and engineers could not predict the final cost. ESRO even­tually selected the MESH consortium, consisting of Matra, Entwicklungsring Nord (ERNO), Saab, and Hawker Siddeley.44 ESRO management soon rued this selection, as MESH’s cost estimates grew dramatically, even during nego­tiations. Technical problems of three-axis stabilization led to these ballooning costs, which induced ESRO management to cancel the preliminary contract in mid-1968 and reduce the two-spacecraft program to a single satellite, TD-1.45 By that fall, ESRO reentered into a contract with MESH for a single vehicle with a simplified stabilization system.46

The economic potential ofcommunication satellites also confronted ESRO. In the early 1960s, NASA’s Echo, Telstar, and Syncom projects demonstrated the reality of satellite communications. The United States led efforts to create Intelsat, a semiprivate organization to develop commercial satellite commu­nications. To prepare for Intelsat negotiations, the Europeans organized the Conference Europeene de Telecommunications par Satellites (CETS [Euro­pean Conference for Satellite Telecommunications]), which, in turn, con­tracted with ESRO to investigate communications satellite design. At the same time, the French and Germans developed their own bilateral program, known as Symphonie, and Italy started its own program, known as Sirio. By 1968, the CETS effort through ESRO focused on television broadcasting in conjunc­tion with the European Broadcasting Union. ESRO’s new director-general, the British scientist Hermann Bondi, concluded that politically ‘‘ESRO could not

survive on a very narrow base of pure scientific research.’’ He resolved to con­vince his scientific colleagues of that fact.47

In the fall of 1967, ESRO management proposed to manage the CETS pro­gram as it had its earlier projects, by giving out a number of associate con­tracts, one with the integration task. This was no longer acceptable to Euro­pean industry. Having whetted their appetites on ESRO’s scientific satellites, and sensing the possibility of commercial gain on a larger scale, the contrac­tors put pressure on ESRO to let a single prime contract. As stated by CETS spokesmen, ‘‘Although the advantages of the ESRO proposition have been recognized—in particular the flexibility in choosing contractors, the con­trol of program costs, and the geographic distribution of contracts — certain delegations expressed very clearly the opinion that industry should be con­ferred global system responsibility, because this task permits them to acquire a highly profitable experience in the domain of technical management and finance of complex projects.’’ ESRO management caved in and gave industry the prime contractor role. However, ESRO maintained the tasks of prepar­ing specifications, defining the entire system (including ground system and infrastructure), and providing detailed supervision of performance, cost, and schedule. The prime contractor prepared system specifications and approved subsystem designs in collaboration with ESRO but otherwise managed, inte­grated, and tested the satellite.48

Big projects such as the Large Astronomical Satellite held another dan­ger for ESRO. On this program, the British and French national delegations insisted on contracting through their national organizations, as they did in ELDO. Only project cancellation saved ESRO from this dangerous precedent, which might have doomed ESRO to ELDO’s fate.49

Uneven contract distribution also created political problems for ESRO. As French leaders had planned, France won a significant percentage of techni­cal and facility contracts, with ESRO headquarters in Paris, and contracts for ESRO’s first three satellites. The Netherlands, with ESTEC on its soil, also did well. British and Italian leaders complained bitterly to the ESRO Council, de­manding that contracts be distributed to more closely match contributions to the organization.

The loss of carryover funds from ESRO’s first three years of operation caused a major financial crisis for ESRO, leading to several project cancella­tions. Although its cost overruns were smaller than those of many comparable American spacecraft projects, ESRO’s stringent financial rules amplified their effect. Technical troubles on TD-1 led to further cost increases, adding more pressure. When combined with the growing importance of nonscientific ap­plications like satellite telecommunications, pressure grew among the mem­ber states and within ESRO itself for changes in its goals and management. In response, the ESRO Council commissioned internal and external reviews to improve ESRO’s organization and management.

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.

Technical Challenges in Missile and Space Projects

Missiles were developed from simple rocketry experimentation between World Wars I and II. Experimenters such as Robert Goddard and Frank Ma – lina in the United States, von Braun in Germany, Robert Esnault-Pelterie in France, and Valentin Glushko in the Soviet Union found rocketry experimen­tation a dangerous business. All of them had their share of spectacular mis­haps and explosions before achieving occasional success.5

The most obvious reason for the difficulty of rocketry was the extreme volatility of the fluid or solid propellants. Aside from the dangers of handling exotic and explosive materials such as liquid oxygen and hydrogen, alcohols, and kerosenes, the combustion of these materials had to be powerful and controlled. This meant that engineers had to channel the explosive power so that the heat and force neither burst nor melted the combustion chamber or nozzle. Rocket engineers learned to cool the walls ofthe combustion chamber and nozzle by maintaining a flow of the volatile liquids near the chamber and nozzle walls to carry off excess heat. They also enforced strict cleanliness in manufacturing, because impurities or particles could and did lodge in valves and pumps, with catastrophic results. Enforcement of rigid cleanliness stan­dards and methods was one of many social solutions to the technical problems of rocketry.6

Engineers controlled the explosive force of the combustion through care­fully designed liquid feed systems to smoothly deliver fuel. Instabilities in the fuel flow caused irregularities in the combustion, which often careened out of control, leading to explosions. Hydrodynamic instability could also ensue if the geometry of the combustion chamber or nozzle was inappropriate. Engi­neers learned through experimentation the proper sizes, shapes, and relation­ships of the nozzle throat, nozzle taper, and combustion chamber geometry. Because of the nonlinearity of hydrodynamic interactions, which implied that mathematical analyses were of little help, experimentation rather than theory determined the problems and solutions. For the Saturn rocket engines, von Braun’s engineers went so far as to explode small bombs in the rocket ex­haust to create hydrodynamic instabilities, to make sure that the engine de­sign could recover from them.7 For solid fuels, the shape of the solid deter­mined the shape of the combustion chamber. Years of experimentation at JPL eventually led to a star configuration for solid fuels that provided steady fuel combustion and a clear path for exiting hot gases. Once engineers determined the proper engine geometry, rigid control of manufacturing became utterly critical. The smallest imperfection could and did lead to catastrophic failure. Again, social control in the form of inspections and testing was essential to ensuring manufacturing quality.

Rocket engines create severe structural vibrations. Aircraft designers rec­ognized that propellers caused severe vibrations, but only at specific frequen­cies related to the propeller rotation rate. Jet engines posed similar prob­lems, but at higher frequencies corresponding to the more rapid rotation of turbojet rotors. Rocket engines were much more problematic because their vibrations were large and occurred at a wide range of nearly random frequen­cies. The loss of fuel also changed a rocket’s resonant frequencies, at which the structure bent most readily. This caused breakage of structural joints and the mechanical connections of electrical equipment, making it difficult to fly sensitive electrical equipment such as vacuum tubes, radio receivers, and guidance systems. Vibrations also occurred because of fuel sloshing in the emptying tanks and fuel lines. These ‘‘pogo’’ problems could be tested only in flight.

Vibration problems could not generally be solved through isolated tech­nical fixes. Because vibration affected electrical equipment and mechanical connections throughout the entire vehicle, this problem often became one of the first so-called system issues — it transcended the realm of the structural engineer, the propulsion expert, or the electrical engineer alone. In the 1950s, vibration problems led to the development of the new discipline of reliability and to the enhancement of the older discipline of quality assurance, both of which crossed the traditional boundaries between engineering disciplines.8

Reliability and quality control required the creation or enhancement of so­cial and technical methods. First, engineers placed stronger emphasis on the selection and testing of electronic components. Parts to be used in missiles had to pass more stringent tests than those used elsewhere, including vibra­tion tests using the new vibration, or ‘‘shake,’’ tables. Second, technicians as­sembled and fastened electronic and mechanical components to electronic boards and other components using rigorous soldering and fastening meth­ods. This required specialized training and certification of manufacturing workers. Third, to ensure that manufacturing personnel followed these pro­cedures, quality assurance personnel witnessed and documented all manufac­turing actions. Military authorities gave quality assurance personnel indepen­dent reporting and communication channels to avoid possible pressures from contractors or government officials. Fourth, all components used in missiles and spacecraft had to be qualified for the space environment through a series of vibration, vacuum, and thermal tests. The quality of the materials used in flight components, and the processes used to create them, had to be tightly controlled as well. This entailed extensive documentation and verification of materials as well as of processes used by the component manufacturers. Orga­nizations traced every part from manufacturing through flight.9

Only when engineers solved the vibration and environmental problems could they be certain the rocket’s electronic equipment would send the signals necessary to determine how it was performing. Unlike aircraft, rockets were automated. Although automatic machinery had grown in importance since the eighteenth century, rockets took automation to another level. Pilots could fly aircraft because the dynamics of an aircraft moving through the air were slow enough that pilots could react sufficiently fast to correct deviations from the desired path and orientation of the aircraft. The same does not hold true for rockets. Combustion instabilities inside rocket engines occur in tens of milliseconds, and explosions within 100 to 500 milliseconds thereafter, leaving no time for pilot reaction. In addition, early rockets had far too little thrust to carry something as heavy as a human.

Because rockets and satellites were fully automated, and also because they went on a one-way trip, determining if a rocket worked correctly was (and is) problematic. Engineers developed sophisticated signaling equipment to send performance data to the ground. Assuming that this telemetry equip­ment survived the launch and vibration of the rocket, it sent sensor data to a ground receiving station that recorded it for later analysis. Collecting and processing these data was one of the first applications of analog and digital computing. Engineers used the data to determine if subsystems worked cor­rectly, or more importantly, to determine what went wrong if they did not. The military’s system for problem reporting depended upon pilots, but con­tractors and engineers would handle problem reporting for the new technolo­gies — a significant social change. Whereas in the former system, the military tested and flew aircraft prototypes, for the new technologies contractors flew prototypes coming off an assembly line of missiles and the military merely witnessed the tests.10

Extensive use of radio signals caused more problems. Engineers used radio signals to send telemetry to ground stations and to send guidance and de- struct signals from ground stations to rockets. They carefully designed the electronics and wiring so that electromagnetic waves from one wire did not interfere with other wires or radio signals. As engineers integrated numerous electronic packages, the interference of these signals occasionally caused fail­ures. The analysis of ‘‘electromagnetic interference’’ became another systems specialty.11

Automation also included the advanced planning and programming of rocket operations known as sequencing. Rocket and satellite engineers de­veloped automatic electrical or mechanical means to open and close propul­sion valves as well as fire pyrotechnics to separate stages, release the vehicle from the ground equipment, and otherwise change rocket functions. These ‘‘sequencers’’ were usually specially designed mechanical or electromechani­cal devices, but they soon became candidates for the application of digital computers. A surprising number of rocket and satellite failures resulted from improper sequencing or sequencer failures. For example, rocket stage sepa­ration required precise synchronization of the electrical signals that fired the pyrotechnic charges with the signals that governed the fuel valves and pumps controlling propellant flow. Because engineers sometimes used engine turbo­pumps to generate electrical power, failure to synchronize the signals for sepa­ration and engine firing could lead to a loss of sequencer electrical power. This in turn could lead to a collision between the lower and upper stages, to an engine explosion or failure to ignite, or to no separation. The solution to se­quencing problems involved close communication among a variety of design and operations groups to ensure that the intricate sequence of mechanical and electrical operations took place in the proper order.12

Because satellites traveled into space by riding on rockets, they shared some of the same problems as rockets, as well as having a few unique features. Satellites had to survive launch vehicle vibrations, so satellite designers ap­plied strict selection and inspection ofcomponents, rigorous soldering meth­ods, and extensive testing. Because of the great distances involved-particu – larly for planetary probes-satellites required very high performance radio equipment for telemetry and for commands sent from the ground.13

Thermal control posed unique problems for spacecraft, in part because of the temperature extremes in space, and in part because heat is difficult to dissipate in a vacuum. On Earth, designers explicitly or implicitly use air currents to cool hot components. Without air, spacecraft thermal design re­quired conduction of heat through metals to large surfaces where the heat could radiate into space. Engineers soon designed large vacuum chambers to test thermal designs, which became another systems specialty.

Unlike the space thermal environment, which could be reproduced in a vacuum chamber, weightlessness could not be simulated by Earth-based equipment. The primary effect of zero gravity was to force strict standards of cleanliness in spacecraft manufacturing. On Earth, dust, fluids, and other contaminants eventually settle to the bottom of the spacecraft or into corners where air currents slow. In space, fluids and particles float freely and can dam­age electrical components. Early spacecraft did not usually have this problem because many of them were spin stabilized, meaning that engineers designed them to spin like a gyroscope to hold a fixed orientation. The spin caused particles to adhere to the outside wall of the interior of the spacecraft, just as they would on the ground where the spacecraft would have been spin tested.

Later spacecraft like JPL’s Ranger series used three-axis stabilization whereby the spacecraft did not spin. These spacecraft, which used small rocket engines known as thrusters to hold a fixed orientation, were the first to en­counter problems with floating debris. For example, the most likely cause of the Ranger 3 failure was a floating metal particle that shorted out two adjacent wires. To protect against such events, engineers developed conformal coating to insulate exposed pins and connectors. Designers also separated electrically hot pins and wires so that floating particles could not connect them. Engi­neers also reduced the number of particles by developing clean rooms where technicians assembled and tested spacecraft.

Many problems occurred when engineers or technicians integrated com­ponents or subsystems, so engineers came to pay particular attention to these interconnections, which they called interfaces. Interfaces are the boundaries between components, whether mechanical, electrical, human, or “logical,” as in the case of connections between software components. Problems between components at interfaces are often trivial, such as mismatched connectors or differing electrical impedance, resistance, or voltages. Mismatches between humans and machines are sometimes obvious, such as a door too high for a human to reach, or an emergency latch that takes too long to operate. Others are subtle, such as a display that has too many data or a console with distract­ing lights. Finally, operational sequences are interfaces of a sort. Machines can be (and often are) so complicated to operate that they are effectively unusable. Spacecraft, whether manned or unmanned, are complex machines that can be operated only by people with extensive training or by the engineers who built them. Greater complexity increases the potential for operator error. It is probably more accurate to classify operator errors as errors in design of the human-machine interface.14

Many technical failures can be attributed to interface problems. Simple problems are as likely to occur as complex ones. The first time the Ger­mans and Italians connected their portions of the Europa rocket, the diame­ters of the connecting rings did not match. Between the British first stage and the French second stage, electrical sequencing at separation caused com­plex interactions between the electrical systems on each stage, leading ulti­mately to failure. Other interface problems were subtle. Such was the failure of Ranger 6 as it neared the Moon, ultimately traced to flash combustion of propellant outside of the first stage of the launch vehicle, which shorted out some poorly encased electrical pins on a connector between the launch ve­hicle and the ground equipment. Because the electrical circuits connected the spacecraft to the offending stage, this interface design flaw led to a spacecraft failure three days later.15

Some farsighted managers and engineers recognized that interfaces repre­sented the connection not simply between hardware but also between indi­viduals and organizations. Differences in organizational cultures, national characteristics, and social groups became critical when these groups had to work together to produce an integrated product. As the number of organiza­tions grew, so too did the problems of communication. Project managers and engineers struggled to develop better communication methods.

As might be expected, international projects had the most difficult prob­lems with interfaces. The most severe example was ELDO’s Europa I and Europa II projects. With different countries developing each of three stages, a test vehicle, and the ground and telemetry equipment, ELDO had to deal with seven national governments, military and civilian organizations, and national jealousies on all sides. Within one year after its official inception, both ELDO and the national governments realized that something had to be done about the ‘‘interface problem.’’ An Industrial Integrating Group formed for the pur­pose could not overcome the inherent communication problems, and every one of ELDO’s flights that involved multiple stages failed. All but one failed because of interface difficulties.16

By the early 1960s, systems engineers developed interface control docu­ments to record and define interfaces between components. On the manned space projects, special committees with members from each contributing or­ganization worked out interfaces between the spacecraft, the rocket stages, the launch complex, and mission operations. After the fledgling European Space Research Organisation began to work with American engineers and managers from Goddard Space Flight Center, the first letter from the American project manager to his European counterpart was a request to immediately begin work on the interface between the European spacecraft and the American launch vehicle.17

Systems management became the standard for missile and space systems because it addressed many of the major technical issues of rockets and space­craft. The complexity of these systems meant that coordination and commu­nication required greater emphasis in missile and space systems than they did in many other contemporary technologies. Proper communication helped to create better designs. However, these still had to be translated into techni­cal artifacts, inspected and documented through rigid quality inspections and testing during manufacturing. Finally, the integrated system had to be tested on the ground and, if possible, in flight as well. The high cost and “nonreturn” of each missile and spacecraft meant that virtually every possible means of ground verification paid off, helping to avoid costly and difficult-to-analyze flight failures. All in all, the extremes of the space environment, automation, and the volatility of rocket fuels led to new social methods that emphasized considerable up-front planning, documentation, inspections, and testing. To be implemented properly, these social solutions had to satisfy the needs of the social groups that would have to implement them.

Organizing ELDO. for Failure

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.

— General Robert Aubiniere, 1974

World War II left Europe devastated and exhausted, while the United States emerged as the world’s most powerful nation, both militarily and economi­cally. Western Europeans feared the Soviet Union’s military power and totali­tarian government, but they worried almost as much about America’s im­mense economic strength. Some asserted that American dominance flowed from the large size of American domestic markets or the competitive nature of American capitalism, while others believed that technological expertise was the primary force creating ‘‘gaps’’ between the United States and Europe. By the late 1960s, the “technology gap’’ was a hot topic for politicians and econo­mists on both sides of the Atlantic.

Investigations showed that European technology and expertise did not radically differ from that of the United States. However, a number of studies showed that Americans managed and marketed technologies more efficiently and rapidly than Europeans. Significant differences between the United States and Western Europe existed in the availability of college-level management education and in the percentage of research and development expenditures. In each of these areas, Americans invested more, in both absolute and per capita terms. Some analysts believed the technology gap to be illusory but a management gap to be real.

To close the gaps, Europeans, actively aided by the United States, took a number of measures to increase the size of their markets, to develop ad­vanced science and technology, and to improve European management. The Common Market was the best-known example of market integration. Science and technology initiatives included the Conseil Europeen pour Recherche Nu – cleaire (CERN [European Committee for Nuclear Research]) for high-energy physics research, EURATOM for nuclear power technologies and resources, the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) to develop scientific satel­lites, and the European Space Vehicle Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) to create a European space launch vehicle.

Because of the military and economic significance of space launchers, the national governments of the ‘‘big four’’ Western European states — the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, and Italy—all supported the European launcher effort. Seeking contracts, the European aircraft industry also actively promoted the venture. Paradoxically, these strong national interests rendered ELDO ineffective. Each country and company sought its own economic ad­vantages through ELDO, while withholding as much information as possible. This attitude led to a weak organization that ultimately failed. When the Euro­peans decided to start again in the early 1970s, ELDO’s failure was the spur to do better, a prime example of how not to organize technology development.

Systems Engineering and Black Saturdays

Systems management included techniques to improve engineering and reli­ability as well as methods for managers to coordinate and control large-scale development. The formal engineering methods ultimately used by Schriever’s organization, known as systems engineering, derived largely from military programs in World War II and the early Cold War. Schriever’s group would expand upon these ideas and ensure that they were adopted throughout the aerospace industry

Although historians have yet to determine all of the originators of sys­tems engineering, many of them were involved with the military. In addi­tion, systems engineering’s proponents almost all had connections with one of two major technological universities in the United States: the California Institute of Technology or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At Caltech, most early systems proponents received their education under the tutelage of famed aerodynamicist and first head of the air force’s Scientific

Advisory Board, Theodore von Karman. MIT’s systems approaches stemmed from the institute’s direction of the Radiation Laboratory and other military projects during World War II.2

One the primary sources of systems engineering was the organizational culture of American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T). Bell Telephone Labo­ratories, perhaps the single largest group of researchers in the United States outside of academia, performed research and development (R&D) for AT&T. Bell Labs researchers typically assigned hardware prototype manufacturing to Western Electric, AT&T’s manufacturing arm. Because of the large size of the corporation and the multiplicity of projects, Bell Labs and Western Elec­tric developed formal specifications and paperwork to handle the relationship between Bell Labs researchers and Western Electric engineers and manufac­turing workers. In their relationships with outside contractors and the U. S. government, Bell Labs and Western Electric personnel found it natural to use these same formal methods. In this structured arrangement coordinating re­searchers and manufacturers was the kernel of systems engineering. Donald Quarles, who headed Bell Labs for a time and later became the assistant sec­retary of defense, was familiar and comfortable with Bell Labs’ ideas about systems engineering. Mervin Kelly, who also headed Bell Labs, became an in­fluential adviser to the air force on many systems.3

MIT became involved with Bell Labs and with systems engineering in part through the Radiation Laboratory’s development of fire control systems dur­ing World War II. One major protagonist was physicist Ivan Getting, who worked on an MIT liaison committee that coordinated the integration of a Radiation Laboratory tracking radar to a Bell Labs gun director on the SCR – 584 Fire Control System. He soon realized that because of electrical noise, the two components working together behaved differently than the two com­ponents alone. Getting had to analyze the behavior of the entire system, not just its components. Because of various wartime exigencies, Getting coordi­nated the efforts of General Electric, Chrysler, and Westinghouse to manu­facture the system, acting as the de facto systems integrator and engineer for the project.4

Learning from this, in 1945 Getting made himself the liaison between the Radiation Laboratory and the navy’s Bureau of Ordnance for the navy’s Mark 56 project. He assigned the Radiation Laboratory as the system integrator for the project. The laboratory made all technical information available to Gen­eral Electric and the navy, checked and criticized designs, sent representatives to conferences, reported to the Bureau of Ordnance on progress, participated in and established procedures for prototype, preproduction, and acceptance testing, and assisted in training programs. To accomplish these functions, Get­ting arranged for the Radiation Laboratory to receive copies of navy and con­tractor correspondence, drawings, and specifications; to be notified of signifi­cant tests and conferences; to examine production designs or models; to have access to contractors and their engineers; and to inspect equipment.5 These arrangements established the formal function of system integration.6 From Getting’s position as a member of the air force’s Scientific Advisory Board and as technical director for Air Defense Command, and from weapon systems engineering courses taught at MIT, the idea of systems engineering spread throughout the air force.7

The 1949 Ridenour Report that led to the founding of Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) noted, ‘‘The role of systems engineering should be substantially strengthened, and systems projects should be attacked on a ‘task force’ basis by teams of systems and component specialists orga­nized on a semi-permanent basis.’’ Transferring authority from the compo­nent engineers at Wright Field, the report recommended that the project offi­cers and engineers who integrated components be given substantially more authority and autonomy.8 Implementing the idea took a good deal of educa­tion and exhortation, along with new regulations. Maj. General Donald Putt, a protege of Caltech’s von Karman, became commanding officer of Wright Air Development Center in 1952. He admonished the laboratory chiefs, ‘‘Some­body has to be captain of the team, and decide what must be compromised and why. And that responsibility we have placed on the project offices.’’9 Engi­neering personnel in the project office acted as systems engineers, with the responsibility for the integration of technologies into the weapon system, whether aircraft or missiles.

Systems engineering also played a prominent role at Hughes Aircraft Com­pany, where Simon Ramo had assembled a skilled team of scientists and engi­neers to develop electronic gear for military aircraft and the innovative Fal­con guided missile. The Falcon differed from contemporary air-to-air missiles in that it used sophisticated electronics to guide the missile to its target and hit it. Other missiles typically placed a large warhead near an enemy aircraft, then detonated it nearby using proximity fuzes. These required substantial amounts of explosives and hence also a big, heavy missile to carry them. Ramo and Dean Wooldridge instead used what they called the systems approach to determine a more optimal design for air-to-air combat.10

Like MIT’s Getting, Ramo formulated his notions of systems engineer­ing through work on complex military projects. Although he had worked at General Electric, where a number of organizations had the word ‘‘system’’ in them, his work on various components did not stimulate any interest in the processes of engineering. Moving to Hughes Aircraft, and soon heading his own organization devoted to military electronics and missiles, Ramo began to think more seriously about the processes common to Hughes’s varied tasks. Wondering how best to formulate and pass on the expertise necessary to ad­dress the complexities of missiles and electronic systems, Ramo began to pro­mote the idea of an academic discipline of systems engineering. However, his first opportunities to pass along these ideas came not through publication but through his involvement with Schriever’s ICBM program.11

Ramo’s company came into being as a result of a meeting between Ramo and Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson in 1953. At that meeting, Wilson ex­pressed displeasure that the eccentric Howard Hughes had captured a near monopoly on aircraft and missile electronics through Ramo’s group. Wilson informed Ramo that he intended to ‘‘break this monopoly’’ and would sup­port Ramo if he separated from Hughes. This catalyzed Ramo and Wool­dridge’s decision to form their own company, a decision soon rewarded when Deputy Secretary of the Air Force Trevor Gardner awarded them a contract to support John von Neumann’s ‘‘Teapot Committee’’ (chapter 2). Gardner was an old friend of Ramo’s, but despite this, Ramo and Wooldridge did not really want the ICBM systems engineering job because they correctly perceived that this would hinder their efforts to land lucrative hardware contracts. When the air force informed them in early 1954 that they would not acquire any air force contracts unless they took the ICBM systems engineering job, R-W accepted the contract from Schriever’s group.12

Schriever fostered close working relationships between R-W, the WDD of ARDC, and the SAPO of Air Materiel Command (AMC). Schriever and Ramo agreed that R-W personnel should be placed in offices adjacent to those of

Подпись: Image not available.

Brigadier General Bernard Schriever and Dr. Simon Ramo at a building dedication at the Inglewood complex in 1956. Courtesy John Lonnquest.

their WDD counterparts. For example, the office of Schriever’s technical di­rector, Charles Terhune, was next to that of the R-W technical director, Louis Dunn. At the highest level, Schriever and Ramo were in frequent contact.13

Despite the close contact, the function of R-W personnel was not clear to Schriever’s group as late as April 1955. Schriever directed Ramo to assemble a briefing to describe for his officers and contractors the processes and tasks that R-W performed.14 This briefing was one of the earliest descriptions of systems engineering. R-W formed its Guided Missile Research Division (GMRD) in 1954 to handle the technical aspects of the ICBM programs. With Ramo head­ing the division and Louis Dunn, the former Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) director, as technical deputy, the GMRD in April 1955 had five departments: Aeronautics R&D, Electronics R&D, Systems Engineering, Flight Test, and Project Control. While the Aeronautics and Electronics departments concen­trated on subsystems and components, the Systems Engineering, Flight Test,
and Project Control departments performed the bulk of ICBM integration tasks.15

Technical direction of contractors took place through monthly formal meetings as well as numerous informal meetings. R-W Project Control per­sonnel chaired the formal meetings, set the agenda, recorded minutes, and presented current schedules and decisions. Based on the results of these meet­ings, the Project Control Department issued Technical Directives, work state­ments, and contract changes. WDD officers reviewed Technical Directives, along with changes to work statements. They then submitted work statements and contract changes to the SAPO, whose officers then issued contractual changes and approved work statement modifications. Informal meetings were for “information only,’’ and WDD and R-W personnel coordinated this infor­mation as necessary. The Project Control Department handled official plans, schedules, work statements, cost estimates, and contract changes.16

Engineers in R-W’s Systems Engineering Department analyzed major de­sign interactions, studied electrical and structural compatibility between sub­systems and contractors, and issued top-level requirements. One good ex­ample was the nose cone trade study that cut Atlas’s mass in half. Another was an assessment of the Martin Company’s trajectory analysis. Department members found that Martin’s trajectory was less than optimal; by modify­ing it, R-W engineers increased the Titan’s operational range by 600 miles, the equivalent of saving 10% of its mass. R-W systems engineers performed experimental work in the laboratory when they needed more information, analyzed intelligence data on Soviet tests, and programmed early missiles. As noted by one critic of R-W, the engineers often double-checked contractors to avoid ‘‘errors, mistakes, and failures.’’17

By October 1956, the WDD and R-W came to a legal agreement about what systems engineering entailed. The agreement defined systems engineering in terms of three functions:

1. The solution of interface problems among all weapon system subsystems to insure technical and schedule compatibility of the systems as a whole.

2. The surveillance over detailed subsystem and over-all weapon design to meet Air Force required objectives.

3. The establishment and revision of program milestones and schedules, and

monitoring of contractor progress in maintaining schedules, consistent with sound technical judgment and rapid advancement of the state of the art.18

From 1953 through 1957, R-W’s role grew dramatically. Starting with docu­mentation of the Teapot Committee’s deliberations, R-W acquired a contract with Schriever’s new organization to perform long-range studies of ICBMs, to assess new technologies, and to help the WDD set up and operate its new facilities. Its funding grew from $25,494 through June 1954, to $833,608 from July 1954 through June 1955, and to $10,095,545 from July 1955 through June 1956. As R-W’s competence grew, Schriever expanded its role. R-W double­checked contractors’ work; controlled specifications, schedules, and other paperwork; and surveyed the technical horizon for new technological solu­tions. As Schriever himself later admitted, R-W became for the WDD what Wright Field and its component engineers were for aircraft development. For the first few years of expansion, R-W’s services were indispensable to the WDD; they cut program costs and improved ballistic missile performance.19

Along with systems engineering, Schriever initiated other methods to man­age the program. As he well knew, the system approach required planning for the entire weapon life cycle from the start of the program. One of Schriever’s first actions was to establish a centralized planning and control facility to facilitate application of this idea. The WDD established its own local and long­distance telephone services, including encrypted links for classified informa­tion and teletype facilities.

In the fall of 1954 Schriever and his staff developed a management control system. Every month, they required the air force, R-W, and associate contrac­tors to fill out standardized status report forms. One of Schriever’s officers controlled and updated the master schedules, placed on the walls of a guarded program control room. This room was both a place where managers could quickly assess the ‘‘official’’ status of the program and a place where Schriever and his deputies showed the program status and innovative management to visitors.20

A primary benefit of the management control system was the process of preparing the weekly and monthly status reports. Report preparation required that managers collect and verify data, identify problems, and make recom­mendations about how to resolve them. Schriever instituted monthly ‘‘Black Saturdays’’ for project officers to report difficulties. At these meetings, Schrie­ver and his top R-W and military staff reviewed the entire program and as­signed responsibility for resolving all problems to individuals there. These meetings endeavored to bring problems forward instead of sweeping them under the rug. As Schriever put it, ‘‘The successes and failures of all the de­partments get a good airing.’’21

While Black Saturdays brought some order to the technical aspects of the program, the Procurement Staff Division of the Ballistic Missiles Office at air force headquarters had to cope with the legal and financial mess created by Schriever’s disregard for standard processes. The financial officers insisted that ‘‘the technical directives [be] covered by cost estimates’’ because annual fund­ing from the DOD was insufficient to cover rising costs. Schriever fought these regulations as ‘‘examples of the ‘law’s delay’ ’’ but had to give in. In November 1956 he agreed to submit cost estimates, leading to new procedures in Febru­ary 1957. To ensure that R-W and the other contractors documented technical directives, the Guidance Branch of the WDD in October 1956 ‘‘began holding a contract administration meeting immediately after each technical directive meeting.’’ By January 1957 the Procurement Staff Division extended the prac­tice to all technical direction meetings.22

With these new procedures to coordinate the legal and financial aspects of ICBMs, the air force could map out the ramifications of the various changes to the ICBM programs. Although this allowed for a modicum of order across the air force, only upcoming missile tests could determine whether the Atlas and the Titan would fly.