Chapter nine: Kersher’s Roulette

Comments about Richard Kershner (page 91), his approach to the job of team leader and to engineering, are based on the views of different Tran­sit team members.

The First Transit Proposal, 4 April 1958, (APL Archives) gives details of the satellite and incorrectly suggests that the ionosphere might be the biggest problem facing satellite navigation (pages 92-94).

Limits on orbital configuration and its relationship to ground stations (page 94) are from interviews with Guier and Weiffenbach.

The section in this chapter on the search for longitude had a number of secondary sources:

John HarrisomThe Man who Found Longitude, by Humphry Quill (Baker, 1966).

History of the Invention by John Harrison of the Marine Chronometer, by Samuel Smiles (Press Print).

Memoirs of a trait in the character of George III of these United Kingdoms, by John Harrison (W Edwards, 1835).

John Harrison and The problem of Longitude, by Heather and Mervyn Hobden (Cosmic Elk, 1989).

“The Longitude,’’ an essay by Lloyd A. Brown in volume two of The World of Mathematics, edited by James R. Newman (Tempus, 1956).

Kershner’s trips to the Pentagon (page 97) were remembered by both Guier and Weiffenbach. Though there is no written record of these trips at APL, he presumably had to go back and forth several times.

Transit on Discovery is mentioned several times in memos, letters, and progress reports of Transit in the APL archives (page 98), and various members of the team explained that it was part of DoD efforts to deter­mine Earth’s gravitational field and thus, of course, the forces that would act on a ballistic missile in flight.

The details in pages 98 to 104 were extracted from numerous reports and memos in the APL archives, from interviews with the Transit team mem­bers, and from memos and papers that Henry Elliott had kept.

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