Chapter nineteen: The Whippersnapper

What Pat Hyland thought about Syncom’s early development is found in an extensive video interview recorded on December 14, 1989 (page 199-201). Copy available from НАС.

HAC’s early views on the commercial opportunities of space come from Bob Roney (page 201).

Frank Carver’s request that Harold Rosen look for new business ventures (page 201) was remembered by Harold Rosen and Bob Roney in their interviews with me.

The account of Rosen’s actions and discussion with Williams come from my interview with Rosen (page 202).

The account of Roney’s recruitment of Williams comes from my inter­view with Roney (page 202).

The account of Rosen’s efforts to tempt Williams back to Hughes comes from my interview with Rosen (page 202).

The technology in pages 203 and 204 is my distillation of the technical information in a number of memos, proposals, textbooks, and interviews.

Rosen s attraction to Southern Californian beach parties is his own recol­lection in an interview with me (page 204).

Sydney Metzgers comment (page 204) was made during an interview dated December 5, 1985, when he said, “When we (RCA) heard ofSyn – com we could have kicked ourselves for not thinking of a spinner at syn­chronous altitudes since RCA had the very early spinner experience.” Metzger, who worked for RCA, joined Comsat in June 1963 as the man­ager of engineering (НАС archives 1993-50 Box 1).

Comments on the TWT for HAC’s 24-hour satellite made in interviews with Tom Hudspeth, Rosen and Roney (pages 204 — 205).

The date that Leroy Tillotson sent his proposal for a medium-altitude satellite to Bell’s research department (page 205) is given in A. C. Dick – leson’s book (see notes for chapter 18).

Carver’s and Puckett’s immediate views ol Rosen’s proposal were given in Rosen’s interview with me (page 205).

A memo from A. S. Jerrems to F. R. Carver on September 17, 1959, reminds Carver of a meeting planned for September 23 to work up a pre­sentation on communication satellites for Allen Puckett (page 205) (НАС archives).

Rosen and Williams first describe their satellite in “Commercial Commu­nication Satellite,” October 1959, by H. A. Rosen and D. D. Williams (page 205), and in Preliminary design analysis of communication satellite, October 1959. This paper reviews the torque box design that Harold Rosen and Don Williams put forward for a 24-hour satellite in September (From НАС archives).

Sam Lutz examined the Rosen Williams idea. His evaluation appears in a memo from S. G. Lutz to A. V. Haeff, October 1, 1959, Evaluation of H.

A. Rosen’s commercial satellite communication proposal (From Bob Roney) (page 207).

A memo from A. S. Jerrems of October 9, 1959, confirms the establishment of a two-week-long intensive study of the Rosen proposal (page 207).

A memo from S. G. Lutz to A. V. Haeff on October 13, 1959. Subject: Eco­nomic aspects of satellite communication gives Lutz’s opinions (page 207).

Memo from J. H. Striebel to A. V. HaefF of October 22, 1959. Subject: market study for a worldwide communication system for commercial use shows more of the thinking at НАС (page 207).

Lutz’s second evaluation of the Rosen Williams proposal appears in a memo from S. G. Lutz to A. V. HaefF of October 22, 1959 (page 207). Subject: commercial satellite communication project; preliminary report on study task force.

A memo from L. A. Hyland to A. E. HaefF and C. G. Murphy of October 26, 1959. Subject: communication satellite orders an immediate and com­prehensive study should be made of patentable potentialities and NASA’s position should be ascertained (page 207). A number of subsequent memos show that Hyland’s instructions were carried out. Invention dis­closure was November 2, 1959.

A memo from D. D. Williams to D. E Doody on November 23, 1959 described Williams’s talks on November 5 with Homer Stewart, then at NASA, during which Williams emphasized that Hughes wished to main­tain its proprietary and patent rights and the company’s desire that the project should be undertaken as a commercial venture. The two also dis­cussed technical issues (page 208).

An interesting aside given the later legal action over patents between НАС and NASA is found in a memo from David Doody to Noel Hammond say­ing that should a 30-day analysis then being undertaken by the company show the 24-hour satellite to be feasible, Hughes would attempt to win a contract from NASA and would proceed with filing a patent application prior to contracting with NASA. He said further that the company would not yet enter the communication field or approach communication compa­nies with the proposal. He further wrote, “We will take our chances on retaining title to the inventions that have been made to date, but should NASA insist on taking title as a result of supporting the development, the company wifi go along with NASA since it does not intend to use resulting patents primarily for the purpose of enhancing its patent holdings.” This view is at odds with the decades-long battle that Hughes fought with NASA.

In September 1959, a barrage of technical memos begins covering topics such as dynamic aspects of communication project, feasibility investigation

of payload electronics. The technical memos mushroom during the fol­lowing years.

Despite Hyland’s decision not to commit funds to the 24-hour satellite (page 208) Rosen and Williams write “Commercial Communication Satel­lite”, January i960y by H. A. Rosen and D. D. Williams. By now the 24- hour satellite has the familiar cylindrical shape.

A memo from Robert Roney to A. E. Puckett of 27 January 1960. Sub­ject: communication satellite review analysis (From Bob Roney) describes yet another review of the Rosen/Williams idea (page 208).

On March 23, 1960, Williams wrote to Hyland, saying that he was pleased by Hyland’s decision to fund the commercial communication satellite. He wrote, “It is my understanding that the program will ultimately be financed by sources of capital external to the company. As one of the inventors of the system, I would like to invest in it myself if possible. I enclose a cashier’s cheque for $10,000. While I realize that this amount will not go very far, I think it can be multiplied by 100 if the company is willing to permit investment by its employees.” This was after Rosen, Hudspeth, and he decided to find some of their own money for the pro­ject (page 209).

A memo from Allen Puckett to D. E Doody dated March 7, 1960 details the requests by Williams, Rosen, and Hudspeth to be released from their usual patent agreements should Hughes not go ahead with the develop­ment of a communication satellite. Puckett states that their request is rea­sonable (page 210).

Details of Rosen’s attempts to raise money from various sources are from my interviews with Rosen.