THE DEVELOPMENT OF PROPULSION TECHNOLOGY FOR U. S. SPACE-LAUNCH VEHICLES, 1926-1991

THIS BOOK ATTEMPTS TO Fill A GAP IN THE LITERATURE about space-launch vehicles (and in the process, strategic missiles, from which launch vehicles borrowed much technology). There are many excellent books about rocketry. (The Note on Sources discusses many of them.) But none covers the ways in which the technology in the United States developed from its beginnings with Robert Goddard and the German V-2 project through the end of the cold war. This book concentrates on propulsion technology to keep its length manageable, but it occasionally mentions structures and guidance/control in passing, especially in chapters 1 and 2.

Besides the lack of coverage of the evolution of rocket technol­ogy in the existing literature, there is a severe problem with accu­racy of details. Apparently reputable sources differ about matters as simple as lengths and diameters of vehicles and details about thrust. I cannot claim to have provided definitive measurements, but I have tried to select the most plausible figures and have pro­vided various references in endnotes that readers can consult to find for themselves the many discrepancies.

I have been working on some aspects of this book since 1992. I initially wrote a much longer manuscript, organized by project, that covered the entire gamut of major technologies. I have organized this much shorter volume by types of propulsion with overviews in chapters 1 and 2 to provide context and cover factors in technology development that do not fit comfortably in chapters 3-7.

In researching and writing both manuscripts, I received help from a huge number of people. I apologize in advance for any I in­advertently neglect to mention or whose names I have forgotten. I especially want to thank Roger Launius. As my boss at the NASA History Office, he provided unfailing encouragement and support for my initial research. Now as editor for the series in which this book will appear, he has continued that support. Michael Neufeld at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) shared his own research on the V-2 with me and arranged for me to consult the captured documents held by his institution. He also read many chapters in draft and offered suggestions for improvement. I am fur­ther greatly indebted to NASM for granting me the Ramsey Fellow­ship for 1991-92 and allowing me to continue my research there with the support of archivists, librarians, curators, docents, and vol­unteers, including John Anderson, Tom Crouch, David DeVorkin, Marilyn Graskowiak, Dan Hagedorn, Gregg Herken, Peter Jakab,

Mark Kahn, Daniel Lednicer, Brian Nicklas, George Schnitzer, Paul Silbermann, Leah Smith, Larry Wilson, Frank Winter, and Howard S. Wolko.

Подпись: x Preface Special thanks are due to Glen Asner of the NASA History Divi­sion, who read an earlier version of this book and offered detailed editorial advice at a time when NASA intended to publish the book. Glen’s advice was extremely valuable, as was that of three anony­mous NASA readers. Then Texas A&M University Press accepted the book for publication. Glen and Steven Dick, NASA chief histo­rian, graciously relinquished the manuscript to Texas A&M.

Chapters 1, 2, 6, and 7 contain material I published earlier in chapter 6 of To Reach the High Frontier: A History of U. S. Launch Vehicles, ed. Roger D. Launius and Dennis R. Jenkins (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2002). The material in the present book results from much research done since I wrote that chapter, and it is organized differently. But I am grateful to Mack McCor­mick, rights manager, the University Press of Kentucky, for con­firming my right to reuse the material that appeared in the earlier version his press published.

A number of people read earlier versions of the material in this book and offered suggestions for improvement. They include Matt Bille, Roger Bilstein, Trong Bui, Virginia Dawson, Ross Felix, Pat Johnson, John Lonnquest, Ray Miller, Fred Ordway, Ed Price, Milton Rosen, David Stumpf, and Jim Young. Many other people provided documents or other sources I would otherwise have been unable to locate easily, including Nadine Andreassen, Liz Babcock, Scott Carlin, Robert Corley, Dwayne Day, Bill Elliott, Robert Geisler, Robert Gordon, Edward Hall, Charles Henderson, Dennis Jenkins, Karl Klager, John Lonnquest, Ray Miller, Tom Moore, Jacob Neufeld, Fred Ordway, Ed Price, Ray Puffer, Karen Schaffer, Ronald Sim­mons, Ernst Stuhlinger, Ernie Sutton, Robert Truax, and P. D. Um – holtz. Archivists, historians, and librarians at many locations were unfailingly helpful. Here I can only single out Air Force Historical Research Agency archivist Archangelo Difante and Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center historian and archivist (respectively) Harry Waldron and Teresa Pleasant; China Lake historian Leroy Doig; Laguna Niguel archivist Bill Doty; Clark University Coordi­nator of Archives & Special Collections Dorothy E. Mosakowski; NASA archivists Colin Fries, John Hargenrader, Jane Odom, and Lee Saegesser; and JPL archivists John Bluth, Barbara Carter, Dudee Chiang, Julie Cooper, and Margo E. Young for their exceptional assistance. Several reference librarians at the Library of Congress should be added to the list, but I do not know their names.

I also want to thank everyone who consented to be interviewed (included in endnote references) for their cooperation and agreement to allow me to use the information in the interviews. In addition, many people discussed technical issues with me or provided other technical assistance. These include Ranney Adams, Wil Andrepont, Stan Backlund, Rod Bogue, Al Bowers, George Bradley, Robert Cor­ley, Daniel Dembrow, Mike Gorn, Mark Grills, John Guilmartin, Burrell Hays, J. G. Hill, Ken Iliff, Fred Johnsen, Karl Klager, Franklin Knemeyer, Dennis B. Mahon, Jerry McKee, Ray Miller, Ed Price, Bill Schnare, Neil Soderstrom, Woodward Waesche, Herman Way – land, and Paul Willoughby. Finally, I offer my deep appreciation to my excellent copyeditor, Cynthia Lindlof; my in-house editor, Jen­nifer Ann Hobson; editor-in-chief Mary Lenn Dixon; and everyone else at Texas A&M University Press for their hard work in getting this book published and marketed. To all of the people above and others whose names I could not locate, I offer my thanks for their assistance.

Подпись: xi Preface It goes (almost) without saying that these people bear no respon­sibility for the interpretation and details I provide in the following pages. I hope, however, that they will approve of the uses I have made of their materials, suggestions, comments, and information.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF PROPULSION TECHNOLOGY FOR U. S. SPACE-LAUNCH VEHICLES, 1926-1991

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