Space Center Oral History Project
Edited Oral History Transcript
by Carol Butler
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada – 21 April 1999
Today is April 21, 1999. This oral history is with Owen Maynard, in
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The oral history is being done for the
Johnson Space Center Oral History Project, and it's being conducted
by Carol Butler.
I want to thank you for joining us today. The first question I have,
to begin with, is how you first learned about the opportunity at NASA
and if you could tell us about your interview and the process there.
All right. I was working at AVRO, Canada, Ltd., based at Malton [Ontario],
near the International Airport, or actually on the same airport as
the International Airport is that you flew in to come to Toronto.
It's called the Pearson Airport, named after one of our prime ministers,
who became prime minister after I left Canada.
I was working there, and had been working there for some years, actually
from about 1946 until '59. It was in '59 when I learned that people
from NASA were interested in interviewing me and several others with
respect to working on the Man-in-Space Program, is the way they referred
That's where I was, and I had been working on the AVRO Arrow airplane,
very advanced long-range interceptor for NORAD [North American Aerospace
Defense Command], the North American Regional Defense. Canada had
the responsibility to design, develop, then operate the interceptor
force, whereas the U.S. part had to do with the strategic defense
force, the intercontinental ballistic missiles and the like, and the
bombers. So this fighter was a reasonable percentage in terms of value
or cost, Canada being 10 percent the population and gross national
product of the U.S. It was a reasonable piece of the total defense
So that's where I was working at the time when I heard about this,
and the AVRO Arrow had just been canceled for several reasons, most
of which I understand and some of which I would tend to agree with,
and some I have some difficulties with. I'm not as emotionally torn
up about it as some people are, but I do recognize it was quite a
catastrophe to quite a lot of people and, I think, to Canada as a
whole and to Canadian high-tech industry, not as complete a catastrophe
as we who worked on it might like to think, because there were many
other things that were going on in space and did go on in space without
us after we got recruited and sent to the U.S. People talked about
it as being a big brain drain, but there were very significant brains
that were left here, let me tell you, and they did some pretty great
So that's where I heard about it, and the circumstances somewhat behind
it. Apparently Sputnik I had gone into orbit, and as several other
things that happened that showed that the Soviet Union was a way farther
advanced in their technology than we dreamed of. We thought that they
were back in the dark ages in this kind of stuff, but when they put
Sputnik I into orbit, it really woke us up. [They] did that on the
exact day we rolled our AVRO Arrow out the hangar door for the press
to see, and hardly anybody showed up at the stands we put up for the
press to see, and our wonderful airplane rolled out the hangar door
in the absence of great media attention. Couldn't figure it out. We
had no idea. At least I couldn't at my level.
So I think that answers part of your question, and I think the next
If you could tell me about the interview process itself, if you remember.
I remember some parts of it. How I got selected personally to be one
of the people that got interviewed is a bit of a mystery to me, but
I think it might have had to do with Jim [James A.] Chamberlin, who
was also an employee and a very senior, tremendous technical leader
on the AVRO Arrow. He was very familiar with what I had done. He and
I got along quite well and everything else. So I think he was one
of the people that was responsible for NASA being interested in us
in the first place. Another fellow, named Fred Mitchell, who I worked
more directly for. People never knew that they worked for Jim Chamberlin.
You never knew that. You just didn't appreciate that. He was a very
unusual, tremendous guy. A recent movie was made that included him
as a character in it. They portrayed him—he was strange, but
he wasn't the kind of strange they portrayed in the movie. He was
a great guy to know and work with.
I think that he's the guy, and maybe Fred Mitchell, and maybe even
John [D.] Hodge, might have—because I think they were the ones
that were dealing with NASA on the subject in the first place, and
I think that they might have thought that I would be a good guy for
them to interview, not necessarily thinking that—I think that
the company, AVRO, really wanted certain people to go and to get insight
about certain things and then bring it back to the company, because
the agreement was that we could go for two or maybe three years, I
can't remember, and come back again without any sort of hard feelings.
I know this isn't part of the question, but I, indeed, came back after
two years and represented some of the other people, that I was coming
back anyway, so they said, "Why don't you come back and find
out what's going on back there and see whether or not we want to come
back." So I was coming back anyway.
So I came back and talked to Fred Mitchell, and I said, "What
have you got going that would gainfully employ us? He said, "Nothing."
And I said, "Well, I guess we won't come back then." But
he's deceased now, just recently, as a matter of fact, but he indicated
at that time that, "You know, guys, the reason we would want
you back would be to help create the sorts of things that we ought
to be doing in the first place."
So I felt a bit bad about being sort of brash in my response to them,
because what he was asking for was for us to think about coming back
to help begin new things again beyond the AVRO Arrow and so forth.
I was young and didn't sort of appreciate that that was sort of a
thoughtful, maybe a right thing to do. But there wasn't the dedication
and resource, and it's hard to get something going if you're just
a technical person, without having the right policy set above you
in the first place. And that continues to be the problem. As we talk
on some other subjects, we'll find that without the right policies
above you, you can't do anything.
The nature of the interview was, [Space task Group Director] Bob [Robert
R.] Gilruth conducted it with Paul [E.] Purser, I believe, was there,
and Charlie [Charles J.] Donlan, both from NASA, great, great people.
I think it was Bob that was asking the questions. That's the way I
remember it. The first question was, "Are you interested in the
Man-in-Space Program?" And if there was one, we were barely aware
of it. We knew it was possible to put people in space, or we thought
it was. We, in fact, had little meetings and discussed these things
in sort of a private way within the company. So I had an idea what
putting a man in space would be about and how difficult and complex
I just recently had left the Air Force in a permanent way, the Royal
Canadian Air Force. I had been in it during the war, as a pilot, and
I had flown as a pilot for the City of Toronto Squadron, but this
was a reserve squadron, and I flew for the permanent Air Force that
supported that reserve. I would flight-test the airplanes that we
maintained and modified and whatnot, among other things.
So my response to "Are you interested in the Man-in-Space Program?"
was, "Yes, I'm interested in everything from the flying in it
to the engineering of it," and I put them in that order, indicating
that flying would have been more interesting.
I had previously made a commitment to myself and to my family, without
actually verbalizing it to them, that now that I had children, I would
not fly operationally anymore. I figured that that was for younger
people and unmarried people, because the risks that you took were
such that there's a fair chance of you leaving a mother with some
children. When I used to do the flying and see other guys doing it
when they were in that kind of a status, it used to bother me that
I was flying with people, that if that guy gets hurt or killed or
whatever, not only does he get hurt or killed, but there is a widow
back there and children without a dad. My having a tremendous family
relationship and so forth, that was very important to me. In spite
of that position that I had taken, at least internally to myself,
I said, yes, I would be interested in flying in it.
Well, he came back instantly with, "Well, we aren't here to recruit
flight crew. We're here to recruit engineers."
So I am the first, I think, Canadian—I know I'm the first Canadian
to volunteer as an astronaut and the first to be rejected. I might
even be the first person ever, because I don't think that the opportunity
had been given yet to the—this is very early in the program,
so I'm not sure that the opportunities had ever been given in the
States for the Alan [B.] Shepards [Jr.] and John [H.] Glenns [Jr.]
and so forth to volunteer, even. So anyway, I'm claiming that. That's
a claim to fame that I have, the first person to volunteer as an astronaut,
certainly in Canada, and the first to be rejected.
Quite a piece of history.
I don't remember much else in the interview. They seemed to have known
what my background was. I don't ever remember having a resume, but
I do remember being interviewed when I went to AVRO in the first place.
They must have had some kind of record about what they found out in
that interview and what my supervisors had said about me since. I
hadn't done anything to embarrass anybody, so I think that primarily
the work that I had done was viewed as being quite satisfactory.
He seemed to have insight about what I did in the Royal Canadian Air
Force as a pilot and what kind of airplanes I flew and so forth, and
he sort of disbelieved the fact that I had flown the … [DeHavilland
DH-98] Mosquito at as young an age as I was. The fact that I had,
he had a great deal of knowledge and interest about that particular
airplane. There's kind of a long story about that, but it was a tremendously
good airplane in the United States Army Air Corps, now the United
States Air Force. When it was the Army Air Corps, they were looking
at it from the point of view of using it as a reconnaissance airplane.
That was one of its functions that it did for the Royal Air Force,
the Royal Canadian Air Force, and Royal Australian Air Force.
So he was familiar with it and had actually flown in it as an engineering
observer, with a very experienced test pilot from Langley Field, Virginia.
They were super impressed with it, not only with its abilities in
terms of bomb-load carrying capability in the bomber and fighter,
fighter-bomber versions and also as a night fighter, photographic
reconnaissance pathfinder, and actually could carry a passenger or
two, and did so from England to Sweden and back, and they carried
them in the bomb bay. So there actually was a commercial version of
it, as well as the Air Force versions.
So I think that that Mosquito had a significant part in my being—maybe
not my being recommended by the company, but in their accepting me
as a potential NASA person. Throughout the years that I worked for
NASA, I think that that was a significant part. Bob Gilruth, later
Dr. Gilruth, in his confidence that he had in me, when he would give
me different assignments, sometimes directly from him, even though
he was very high above me, he'd either make them directly to me or
he would do it through my supervisors, through the supervisory chain.
But in NASA, particularly at the Space Task Group and at the Manned
Spacecraft Center, there wasn't much need to stand on formality of
that sort. If he wanted you to do something, it was perfectly okay
for him to go ask you to do it, and you did it.
I think that I told them that I would take the job, but he told me
to go home and think about it for a while, for a day or something
like that. I came back within the day and confirmed that, yes, I would
do it. My wife agreed. I wasn't out of a job. I had been hired back
after the cancellation of the Arrow and the firing of everybody. I
think that was a Friday, and I was hired back on a Saturday, so I
never lost a day's pay, whereas a lot of people did.
So I think I've answered more than your basic question, but the sort
of answer that you'd accept.
Good answer. Good answer. You did accept, and you did move down to
the Space Task Group, which was based in Virginia at the time. How
was the move? How was your reception with the Space Task Group and
even your reception with the locals in Virginia?
How was the move? My brother's father-in-law, Charlie Miller, who
had lost a son, he was a Hawker Typhoon pilot in the time of the Normandy
invasion and subsequent time periods. He was a Typhoon pilot and he
was shot down by friendly fire, it turned out. So Charlie Miller didn't
have any sons of his own anymore. He had a son-in-law, my brother,
named Glen. I arrived on the scene and visited with them and stayed
at their home for a little while, and became very friendly and accepted
into the family like the boy that they lost. I was more like his age,
I think. Charlie Miller helped me an awful lot in getting the job
even at AVRO when I first went there. He drove me up there voluntarily.
There was no way for me to get from where I was to Malton. There were
no buses. I don't know, there might have been something. But it was
a big mystery to me how I was going to get up there to do an interview,
and he drove me up in his new Packard right after the war, and he
waited for me while I went in for the interview.
This is something that should happen to ever young veteran that comes
back from the service, to have a Charlie Miller to sort of help them
along like that. Charlie is now deceased, but I am very grateful to
him. He was American. I had originally some kind of bad feelings about
Americans, because I lived on the border, with Michigan on the other
side, and the American boys would come across and steal my girlfriends
and things like that, so I didn't like them. I learned to like them
as time went on, but it was a learning process. Charlie was one of
these people that was a very good guy and was very, very helpful.
Now I'm not sure that I answered the question or not.
About moving down to Virginia.
Yes, I haven't even got to that yet. The move on this side was very
quick. We went through all kinds of processes with the Canadian Government
to get passports and all that kind of stuff, and with the U.S. Government,
all conducted in a very mutually agreeable kind of a way. Charlie
Miller—the reason for me bringing him up in the first place,
he was then in the real estate business, and he sold our house for
us and got a good price for it and everything, within forty-eight
hours. So we were effectively free and clear to go in about forty-eight
hours. It took us a while longer to get through all the routines with
getting fingerprints and all that kind of stuff, and for all the kids,
and birth certificates and all that stuff.
Actually, we met some of the people that came from AVRO and went there
with us. I didn't know everybody that went. It was thirty-some. I
didn't know. As a matter of fact, I knew only three or four. We met
most of them in the process of getting our fingerprints taken and
So when we went there, we had a family, my wife and I and three kids,
but we didn't already have a social kind of relationship with the
other people that went down there. This business of designing and
building military airplanes, in particular, isn't the kind of business
where you have a lot of socializing. We worked tremendously long hours
and we were completely unfair to ourselves and to our wives and our
kids, but we were dedicated to getting the job done properly. I have
a story about fairness that kind of personifies all this, but I think
it is a little long, unless we tack it on later.
So when we went to Virginia, we knew very few people, and we stayed
in a hotel called—what was it called? The [Chaimberlin] Hotel?
Now I can't remember the name of that place. But I remembered it just
the other day, thinking about it. We stayed in that hotel, and Rod
[Rodney G.] Rose and Lela Rose and their two boys stayed in the same
hotel, and a lot of the rest of the Canadians did until we found houses.
So how were we treated by the people began with the people we went
there with, that you would think we would already go with a community
of people that we had our support group and all that. People didn't
know about support groups in those days because they didn't go charging
off and doing things like that.
Very quickly, though, when we got to the Space Task Group offices
and found ourselves homes, we very quickly were accepted royally into
the community at the Space Task Group. I think that probably [H.]
Kurt Strass, one of the guys that I immediately started working with,
and Bob [Robert O.] Piland. I think that I wasn't probably there certainly
no more than two or three days when I found out that I was invited
to dinner at Kurt's place, we were, and accepted into their social
group, which was centered on ballroom dancing lessons. They were taking
ballroom dancing lessons, so we took ballroom dancing lessons with
them. Helen had been a good ballet dancer, student. I have a daughter
now that's world-class ballet dancer, retired. She wasn't that good
a dancer, but she was certainly the best dancer in this whole group,
and Bob Piland was probably the worst. I was sort of somewhere in
the middle. But we had a great time socializing with these people
in a very healthy kind of way, and accepted into the community of
work, quickly and deeply.
When we finally bought a house—and it wasn't very long before
we bought the house—one of the neighbors was a NASA person,
Perkins, and he had kids that were my kids' age, and they played together.
So the local community was very readily accepted, or they accepted
Later on, when Bob [Robert E.] Vale and Marge Vale brought their kids
down from Canada, they weren't in the original recruitment, but I
thought it would be a good idea if Bob came down. I phoned him and
asked if he was interested. Then I went and talked to some other people
and they said, "Oh, yeah." So he and Marge came down with
their kids. I'm not sure that that was a right thing for me to do,
because they ended up being torn from roots that were much different
from my roots, but they're [now] living in [Louisianna]. Bob is deceased
now, but Marge and her kids are living in—I think they're in
the New Orleans area now.
So we were accepted at both the community level and the social level.
One or two evenings a week we would go to these ballroom dancing lessons
with "Wally" teaching us, and then we'd go back to our homes
… (different places [each] time). We would continue with playing
records and doing this different kind of ballroom dancing, including
the Twist. It was the latest step. We learned that from Wally pretty
So I think that we were accepted extraordinarily well, and we got
to know [most of] the rest of the Canadians and English people. Some
of them don't like to be referred to as NASA Canadians. I do, but
they don't. Some of them don't, because they came from England and
some of them feel they got kind of a raw deal coming here all the
way from England to work at AVRO and then to be fired or laid off
with no work. So it leaves a bad taste in their mouth, so their feelings
for Canada aren't quite as warm as mine, and I would like them to
be. But that's their problem. Now that you've been in Canada for,
what, a whole day, you can appreciate that.
That acceptance continued throughout, as far as I'm concerned, throughout
my entire career at NASA. There was never indication one that we were
viewed as "northern wetbacks" or anything like that. I used
to refer to myself as a "northern wetback," but that's the
only way that ever happened. Americans have great taste in appreciating
Canadians, and I think they've had primarily very, very good relations
with Canadians, as most other countries have. Canadians have sort
of a way of getting along with essentially everybody, in very large
part due to the role that our soldiers and airmen played in World
War I. For no apparent gain to Canada, we went and helped people in
their hours of need, and it just seemed that this was a good opportunity
to go help Americans in their hour of need. That was a lot of motivation.
I actually went there with about the same salary that I had at AVRO,
and the exchange rate on the dollar, the Canadian dollar, you could
buy an American dollar for 90 cents Canadian. It was the other way
from what it is now, only by 10 percent, but anyway, it was very nice
to take the few little scheckles that we had from selling our house
and so forth, and go to the States and have more American dollars
than we had Canadian dollars when we left. So that's very unusual
circumstance. We sort of wish that were here again on occasion.
Understandably. As you did come down and were settling in, what were
your initial roles and responsibilities with the Space Task Group?
I went to a meeting, after I sort of signed in, I went to meetings
with Kurt Strass and Bob Piland, and I don't recall who else, and
what they were doing was, they were looking at drawings that showed
the configuration of the Mercury space capsule. We called them capsules
in those days, rather than spacecraft. So we were looking at this
design. It was a pretty small piece of what I normally looked at.
I normally looked at sort of a whole airplane or I would look at the
Sometimes I had assignments that worked on crew stations in the AVRO
Arrow and the jetliner, and a little bit in the CF-100 interceptor.
But I was kind of familiar with crew stations, and I was very familiar
with the escape systems, ejection seats, and the like, and had looked
at designing escape modules instead of just an ejection seat, a whole
encompassing thing that would let you survive an explosion, a fire,
and some other things like that, and then parachute you to the ground
and land the whole capsule, rather than you just suspended from a
So the Mercury spacecraft, to a pilot and a crew station design kind
of person, was like an escape capsule. We hadn't actually designed
and built any for our airplanes, but we had considered them as approaches,
and we did trade off studies to decide whether we wanted to do that.
In the case of the high Mach number AVRO Arrow and the barely supersonic
CF-100, but mostly for the AVRO Arrow, we looked at the escape capsules.
So the Mercury capsule, with a single person in it, was sort of the
same thing as we would [create as an] escape capsule for an airplane
like the AVRO Arrow.
We ended up using ejection seats on the AVRO Arrow, and later on we
used ejection seats in the Gemini spacecraft, but in the Mercury spacecraft
we used an escape tower. I can explain to you why it is that you use
escape towers or when do you use them and when do you use ejection
seats and so forth.
But the Mercury capsule was like—it wasn't that unfamiliar to
me, in view of the fact that I had studied and done some layouts and
whatnot on escape systems before, that would actually be operating
at very high altitudes and low pressures and everything.
So the first assignment was just to sit down with the guys and look
at these drawings and chat back and forth. I was given an assignment
to—one of the questions that I brought up when I was looking
at these designs was how are you going to dissipate the loads and
what will be your acceleration and acceleration rates on the flight
crew and the different organs of their body when you have land impact.
Spacecraft was designed and the mission was designed so that if you
have to abort off the pad or shortly after liftoff, that if the winds
are not right, and a few other things, that you might end up landing
on land. It was primarily designed to land in the water, but there
was a possibility and a probability to land on land. And if you did,
what would the nature of the land be, the soils mechanics and so forth?
If it was hard stuff like concrete curb on the side of a highway or
something, I believed that this would cause a great deal of difficulty
with respect to the ability of the human body organs to take the impact,
not because of acceleration, but because of acceleration rate. This
was not a well-known thing to the rest of the people that I was meeting
with, but it was well known to me because of the ejection seat system
that we had in the AVRO Arrow, and the fact that I had dealt directly
with the guy that invented it in the first place. He's the guy that
knew all about what the real critical parameters were, not just acceleration,
but also acceleration rate. [Once again, or more to the point,] acceleration
is length over time-squared, and acceleration rate is length over
time-cubed. That's what [is sometimes known as] a suddenly applied
load, very high stress and potential fracture, [sheering, and crushing]
So I brought that subject up and they said, "Well, what would
you suggest doing about it?" And I said, well, you have to get
the equivalent of a tire in between your structure that's going to
deform and so forth, which is like the shock absorbers on an airplane
landing gear. I'd worked on airplane landing gear in both the CF-100
and the AVRO Arrow, and I'd done the overall airplane dynamics differential
equations, very complex kind of stuff, without a computer. So this
was very laborious stuff to me, and I sort of got it embedded in my
blood how you deal with those things. I discovered what a tire is
really for, why do you have a tire on the landing gear of an airplane.
Even though the pressure was very, very high in the AVRO Arrow's tires,
for instance, if you didn't have a tire, you really did an awful lot
of damage to things. Small as it seems to be as a contributor, when
you look at the physics and the structures and dynamics associated
with landing something with a finite vertical velocity and so forth,
you need something that behaves like a pneumatic tire rather than
something that behaves like a shock absorber, an Oleo shock absorber.
So I said, "Well, you need something like the equivalent of a
tire." "Well, what would that be?" Tires on this thing.
So I'm fumbling around, and finally said, "Well, have you looked
at lowering the heat shield and putting a fabric or nonmetallic or
even metallic, that's crushable, kind of a skirt around it before
touchdown, before impact, and have that compress the air in that bag?
That would behave as the tire to reduce the rate of rise of G."
They said, "Well, we think that somebody has looked at that and
has written a report on it, actually, here at Langley Research Center."
And they figured that that would [not] work.
I said, "Oh, I'd like to see that report." So some way or
other I couldn't get hold of the report. I don't know why that was.
But I got authorized to go ahead and study, investigate that more,
and I did analyses to kind of convince myself that this was a right
thing to do. I used a [modeling approach from a] book called Eshbach
[phonetic], an engineering book that tells you how to scale things
and model things and extrapolate from subscale to higher scale and
all that. We subsequently will find that Eshbach along with that book
over there on physics and chemistry, that they were sort of the bibles
that I and my people used for many years in the space program.
I ran the analyses and I did drop tests of the models that I made,
small subscale models, and I figured that it really was going to work.
I did some of the final drop tests down at a tank that they used to
do tests on at Langley Research Center. They built scale models of
airplanes, and they crashed them into the water in different wave
configurations to see how they would survive a ditching. So that was
a place that was all properly instrumented to do such things.
So I took my little model down there, and I did the tests down there,
and I got the results. I wrote something up. By that time I had found
the other guy's report, but I hadn't read it yet. I had just had it
for about four or five hours. So I had my report and I gave it to
them before they gave me their report. I said, "Where did I go
wrong? I'm finding that this is a perfectly acceptable thing to do,
and here's the way it would scale up," and all this kind of thing.
"Here's what the G levels would be and the rates of rise of G
would be, and so forth."
I said, "Where did I go wrong?" Now, I asked that in all
innocence, because we believed, we in the aircraft industry—I
don't know if everybody believed this, but I certainly did, and most
of the people around me—that in NACA [National Advisory Committee
for Aeronautics], that is, the people in the organization that preceded
NASA, an NACA document was the gospel. It was the truth. There was
no point in arguing about it, because it was right. It had been through
the right reviews, and they never got released unless they were 100
percent, 110 percent, maybe, confirmed.
So here was this document they handed me. Here it was an NACA document,
and I handed them one that didn't have any nomenclature on it. I think
it had the Space Task Group working paper number on it or something
like that. They read my document before I read theirs, and I said,
"Where did I go wrong?" because I knew I was wrong, because
NACA said I was wrong. They said, "No, you're right." [Laughter]
My faith! It was like losing your religion or something like that,
or finding out that your mother really wasn't your mother, or something
like that, you know. It was terribly shocking to me to find that I
was right and they were wrong. The shock was to find that they were
wrong. The fact that I was right, I got no elation from that. The
shock of them being wrong was a greater thing to me than the fact
that I was right. I fully expected that. I was supposed to be right.
But they said I wasn't, and I would be very willing to stand there
and believe them.
This led to—I think that that might be known in the community,
technical community at NACA and the Space Task Group, is known as
one of the early milestones in the Space Task Group, doing things
somewhat independently in terms of confirming what they were told
by other organizations and so forth. At least to the people that immediately
surrounded me, it gave us reason to look into things in depth ourselves,
to the maximum extent that we could, and not simply rely on what somebody
else said. In fact, that was incorporated in the design of the Mercury
spacecraft. Rod Rose actually picked up on it and had the actual system
designed and developed, the full-scale system that was put on the
manned Mercury spacecraft.
You noticed I said "manned," because I had to do with the
first unmanned Mercury[/Atlas] spacecraft. We didn't do that on it,
because it didn't have an escape system. It didn't have a man in it,
and it was not expected to be landing on the land anyway. So the problem
there was an expeditious getting of a flight-weight system into flight
test on top of an Atlas. So the first spacecraft I worked on, there
was no need to put this thing in it. But Rod went through the terribly
difficult process of actually mechanizing that, so the concept was
there. But how do you mechanize it? How do you make it happen is something
that I would normally do at AVRO, and I was capable of doing it, but
some way the job got split so I think Rod got the short end of the
stick, if you will. It was a very difficult thing.
It turned out to also serve as a sea anchor, which was highly desirable,
but it had an awful fatigue problem. Maybe the term "fatigue"
isn't right. It took an awful beating in the water, splashing about
in the waves. But it served to stabilize the Mercury capsule, and
it's a very, very, very poor boat. To be in that little tiny thing
like that and be bobbing in the waves would lead you almost instantly
to sea sickness, as far as I can tell. We did a lot of tests to find
that out. I think there would be very few people that wouldn't get
sea sick in that thing all by itself.
I can imagine.
Maybe even with the heat shield lowered and serving as a sea anchor.
It helped a little bit, but I'm not sure it was still all that good.
I have a little document here that I wrote October 7, 1959, and it
was called "Prepared by O. Maynard, NASA STG [Space Task Group]
ECAD [Engineering and Contract Administration Division] Engineering
Branch," and I don't remember what "ECAD" stood for.
The "D" is for "division," but I can't remember
what that division's name was now.
It says, "The following problems have been selected as specific
starting points in the optimization of the Mercury capsule."
So they took all of these things. I had actually written down assignments
of who it is that would take them, and sometimes it was myself. All
of these things got considered in the design at both NASA Space Task
Group and at McDonnell [Aircraft Corporation], who was the producer
of the Mercury capsule. So we could— [interruption]
That was Roy and Clara Snyder, and they are Mennonites from the community
here in Waterloo and neighboring farms. There's a lot of Mennonites
around here, one of the reasons it's a nice place to live. One of
my neighbors was a long-time, long-life, full-life friends of Roy
and the rest of them. My neighbor's name was Moses Martin. I've got
some anecdote that has to do with everybody's name. But anyway, Moses
Martin and Hannah were everything that you would expect in people
that would come from this community, everything that you would expect
them to be.
Well, Roy Snyder here asked me one time if I would talk to people
from his church about the space program or what it is that I had been
involved in. This is kind of a rarity for somebody to be in the community
that had something to do with it or even knew Alan Shepard and John
Glenn and people like that, you know. They may be Mennonites, but
they weren't blind, you know. So they wanted to hear about it. They
had heard about that letter that I gave you from Joe Hoban, because
he lives here, too, in this community now. He used to live in Sarnia,
but he lives here now.
So they asked me to go talk to their congregation, and several congregations
came to one church. This is quite an interesting thing. You'll probably
find this in quite a few places in the States as well. The people
in Friendswood, Texas, asked me to do the same thing. They accepted
us into their church. We weren't Quakers; we were Protestants. United
Church of Canada is what we belonged to, but there wasn't such a thing
there. They invited us to join them in their church, and our kids
were at the right age where this was really good for them and everything
So they just opened their arms to us. I mean, they kind of overdid
it. They had me be the president of the adult Sunday school class,
and I had never done anything like this before, so I couldn't figure
out why that was, but I did it. One of my jobs was to get some kind
of a speaker every Sunday to talk to the adults while the children
were off getting Sunday school. Whenever I couldn't find one, then
I would have to do it, or I'd have to make some excuse. It was easier
to give a talk than it was to make an excuse, so I'd have to do that.
So this was something that NASA never gave us guidelines, "You
should work in the community and become friends with the people,"
and so forth, but it was a good thing to do, for NASA to be accepted
into the community. So one Sunday we had studied King Solomon's building
of the temple. So in a few, two or three weeks after that, I couldn't
find somebody else to give a talk, so I gave one that says—they
kept asking me, "Tell us what the Apollo Program is about. What
is it and why is it now important?" I didn't really hardly know,
myself. It turns out that a lot of other guys had been asked similar
things by their people in their churches. But I decided that, well,
now I know about King Solomon's building of the temple, I'll draw
an analogy between King Solomon's building of the temple and people
of the United States of America, since the United States of America
doesn't have a king, it's really the people of America building the
Apollo Program. So I drew parallels, quite a few. It's pretty interesting
to look at things from that perspective.
One of the things I said was, the result of King Solomon building
his temple was that it was such a magnificent undertaking and a magnificent
accomplishment in the end, that people came from far and wide with
golden treasures and whatnot for him. The Queen of Sheba and all kinds
of people said, "I don't want any trouble with this guy. If he
has a god that he can build a temple to of this nature, completely
cedar-lined and all this stuff, I don't want to be in any conflict
with this guy. He'll have no war with me."
So they would come and see this temple and bring him presents, rather
than fight with him. Well, turns out I didn't notice at the time,
but turns out that his father, David, was the guy that beat everybody
up and did all the warring and everything, so when it came time for
Solomon, there wasn't anybody to fight anyway. But I didn't know that
when I was talking to the people in Friendswood. I hadn't studied
it that deeply.
Anyway, when I came to talk to these people here, I researched it
a lot more, and I had met some missionary pilots, jungle pilots, they're
called, that would do missionary work in Africa for twenty, thirty
years, raise their kids there. I learned a lot about the way people
are in Second and Third World countries from these guys and their
wives and their kids. So I invited quite a few people that I had met
in the world of flying and in space and in power from space, young
dynamic people that I had met from the local universities and so forth.
I invited them to come to this church and hear what I was saying and
then hear what the response would be from people that thought like
people do in the Second and Third World countries. These people aren't
backward at all, but they understand the Third World countries, because
of their missionary work, much better than the rest of us do.
So I'm being very careful about getting prepared for this thing, and
I get shown—Roy showed me the church where we would do this.
I said, "I'd like to meet your minister or whatever you call
him, because I'm going to be occupying his premises," sort of
thing. I said, "Can we put a screen up so I can show some overhead
projections and things?" So I looked where the screen would be,
and here's this cross, gold cross up there, right behind where the
minister would be when he's speaking and everything, and I thought,
"This is where they want me to put this screen." I thought,
"This isn't going to work." [Laughter]
So Roy took me in to meet the minister. Well, the minister turned
out to be a young woman about your age. I'm not going to guess what
you're age is, because I didn't know what hers was and I don't know
what yours is either. But she had been educated [to be and] she was
the preacher. I had pictured "this man with a black hat and beard"
as being the head, the minister, but this was a young woman, sophisticated,
highly educated, like my daughter. My oldest daughter went to Wheaton
College in Illinois, same place that Billy Graham went. She was educated
in Christian education and in piano, music other than piano, and physical
education. So Merrill, my daughter, was both the same age as this
Mennonite preacher, and it sort of blew my mind that I was all set
to face up to this guy with a big beard and a black hat and everything,
you know. The image was all wrong.
I told her the gist of what I had in mind, and that I had gotten myself
updated on King Solomon and all that stuff. So I told her what the
update was, and she agreed, yes, that's a reasonable interpretation.
So she allowed me to use her pulpit, effectively, to give this talk
from. They took down that cross off the wall and put up a screen.
They don't stand on ceremony to the degree that you would think, that
I had thought, anyway, so they're very down to earth, very practical
kind of people.
But preceding my talk—and you know my talks are liable to get
kind of long—preceding my talk, she gave a very long sermon
to the assembly, the people assembled, and the theme of her talk was
"Be satisfied." Or "Be content." Yes, that's the
word, "Be content." Contentment is a big theme of these
people. And that doesn't mean to be content with whatever is laid
upon you. If you don't like what's laid upon you, go get that fixed.
But having done that, be content from then on. Don't continually be
rebellious and all this kind of stuff. Don't be continually influenced
by a person with the newer, higher performance, prettier-looking car.
Be content with the wife you've got; don't go looking for another
one. Things like this. It was sort of, be content with the earth,
as opposed to going to the moon, sort of thing, which was very good,
but it was sort of eating into my time. She had it typed up for me
and asked me just to not publish it, but I could give it to my daughter
and some other things like that.
But that was a very interesting experience, to go through that with
those people and to go through with the Mennonites here. It would
have been about 1965 or so, '64 or '65, that I did the thing in Friendswood,
Texas, in 1995 or '96, probably about 1995, so thirty years later
with the Mennonites here. The analogy was quite well accepted by them.
So I asked Moses Martin, I said, "You know, I said in that, when
I was talking about the analogy, about how King Solomon's temple was
very impressive to the people who came from far and wide to see it,
and they were sort of super impressed with that thing. I understand
that you and Hannah went to NASA, Kennedy Space Center [Cape Canaveral,
Florida], on a tour one time. You were telling me about having been
there. Were you impressed with the vehicle assembly building?"
That very large building. Have you ever seen it, yourself?
"Were you impressed with that? I don't want to have any conflict
with a country that has these kinds of magnificent facilities and
has these kinds of resources to build these kind of facilities and
rockets and all these kind of things. It's just magnificent."
I asked Moses, I said, "Were you impressed with that vehicle
assembly building?" Because maybe it's the largest building in
the world or the largest internal volume of the building in the world
or something like that. I know when you look at it and you're miles
away and you keep driving towards it, it never changes size; it's
So he said, "Well, I don't remember being impressed myself so
much, but there was a lady on the bus with us that, when we were getting
back on the bus after having looked at the building from the outside,
then went in and had an inside tour, we come back and we're getting
on the bus, and the lady said, 'You know, this is the first building
I've ever seen that was bigger on the inside than on the outside.'"
And that sort of said it all. Moses understood what she was saying,
had a funny look on his face. I thought, "Okay." [Laughter]
This community here is very good and it's very much like Friendswood
was. Friendswood wasn't completely integrated yet at that time, and
the first black family came to the high school at the time that we
were there, and we watched that enterprise get initiated, and watched
with great interest as to how the people handled that. I don't think
we ought to get into it. It was favorable.
It was kind of a large family, five or six kids, and they were super
athletes, boys, and the girl was a little bit older, about two years
older than my oldest girl. My oldest girl was a very good athlete,
Merrill. I can't remember this girl's name. I think that was their
only daughter. But when she graduated from high school, in the yearbook
it said that she willed her shoes, basketball shoes that she played
basketball in, she willed them to Merrill Maynard because Merrill
was a very good basketball player. Merrill was thrilled. I mean, I
get choked up when I think of how Merrill accepted that and thought
how wonderful that was. That was a great piece of help in that community's
Then my son played football, a little tiny guy. He's even shorter
than I am. But he put his heart and soul into football, and he did
extraordinarily well for his size. Not even for his size; he just
did it extraordinarily well, period.
So my children all behaved as they should have behaved, not because
I made them do that, but because their mother was a good mother and
because they were just good kids. Chris [Christopher C.] Kraft lived
in the same community, and his kids were friends of my kids. His daughter
was a friend of my daughter, and his son was a friend of my son. Chuck
[Charles W.] Mathews lived there, and he had a boy and a girl, and
they knew each other at school. So if you talk to Chris Kraft or Chuck
Mathews, you might say that I told my kids that you were coming here
to talk to me, and that they asked me if I would pass their fond regards
on to them and their children.
I can certainly do that. Certainly do that. I'll be glad to.
That's worth making a note about. Your basic question about "How
were you treated?" I guess I would say that we were treated extraordinarily
well, but we expected to be treated extraordinarily well. We had no
reason to doubt that we wouldn't be. We had no "I wonder how
they're going to treat us?" kind of thing. There wasn't any feeling
of that. We just walked into the community and they just opened their
arms. It wasn't because we brought big money to them or anything like
that, I don't think. We spent quite a long time there.
Leaving NASA was a very difficult thing for me to do, but I had committed
to it at a certain critical phase in the program. I said that I would
do something and then after I had done it, I would resign. I did do
that, and I did resign. I did it for a series of reasons that we could
go into if we've got a week or something.
But both our acceptance into NASA and into the communities of both
Virginia and Texas were ordinary to Canadians, but because we sort
of expected to be treated decently and properly and everything. I
think that we were treated a little bit better than ordinary. I think
that we left with very warm feelings and very fond feelings about
the people, and we still write back and forth to people, some of the
very first people we met in Friendswood. Frances Brown. You might
look up Frances Brown. She still lives in Texas. She had the same
number of kids as we had, that were opposite gender, and she was certain
that they were going to marry each other back and forth and all this.
We're trying to get Frances to come up here sometime, but I don't
know that she ever will. We're still working that problem.
So that's a very important question that you asked, and I think that
we had a great relationship with all those people. The difficulty
about leaving was because we had established very significant roots
there. I think in Friendswood, though, that our kids, coming from,
of course, first Canada, then from Virginia, a lot of moving around,
they were in the lower grades of school. Our son had just graduated
from high school when we left Texas and moved up to Massachusetts.
Children, I think, have a lot more difficulty moving from A to B—boys,
when they're in their lower teens, and girls when they're a little
bit—girls don't have the same difficulties that boys do, I think.
Girls' difficulties occur a little bit later than the boys do, I think.
I don't know how that all works, but my kids do and my wife does.
But when you hear about things like the shootings in Colorado two
days ago now—
I think just yesterday.
Just yesterday. Is that possible for that to happen here? And you
don't even ask those questions anymore, because you don't like the
answers that you're liable to get. But it's pretty sad. I tell you,
I wouldn't have thought that anything like that would happen in either
the Virginia community that we were in, or in the Texas community
that we were in.
Or in the Kitchener-Waterloo community that we're currently in. I
think we're terribly blessed that our young people are sort of as
under control as they are, and it's a difficult thing.
I was telling you about the kids, the new province or new territory
that's being partitioned off north of Ontario, in the Northwest Territories.
They've just started as effectively a new province. It's not quite
the same thing. But they had an awful lot of difficulty because of
the kind of television shows that they watched. I think I was mentioning
to you "All in the Family" was a big, big problem to them,
where this sort of indicated that sons-in-law could be disrespectful
to their fathers-in-laws and things like that, and this was just terrible
for the people who actually rely so much on that to simply live in
extreme environments like they do, to the point where they now have
their own television system and their own culture and everything else.
That's one of the reasons that Canada did this. Canada didn't stand
up and do it; they did. They worked very hard to set things up so
that Canada would do this.
The people in the Canadian Government that worked with them on this
subject are to be very highly commended for it. I don't know how it's
all going to work out, because it's only happened on April the first,
and it's sort of like an April Fool's thing.
Hopefully it will all work out.
Hopefully it will all work out. They have the equivalent of a new
premier for this part of the territory, and he's a very young guy,
just having gotten a law degree. We ought to wish him well. And he
ought to set a lot of patterns for things like other countries that
have got different cultures. Canada's got a lot of different cultures,
and they almost, as far back as you can think, they've encouraged
them to keep their cultures. It's sort of a mosaic rather than a melting
So in Canada they have this mosaic way of things, of looking, that
these people live here and do what they want to do culturally and
everything else, and let these people do this thing here, and work
that out so that it works as a mosaic and … there [are many]
conflicts between them. I'm sure there [are], some, because it's a
very difficult problem, but hopefully Canada will set an example for
some other people and other countries that have this unfortunate situation
where they kind of can't get along with each other.
Hopefully so. I'm going to pause here and change the tape.
Would you tell me about some of the people that you worked with or
actually interacted with socially and technically?
Well, there was Bob and Marge Vale, worked at AVRO. He was sort of
the same level as my boss was, as my supervisor was. My boss was a
fellow named Hank Shoji [phonetic]. He and Bob and I would have lunch
together frequently. Bob wasn't one of the people that was interviewed
to go down and work there. I think maybe he had indicated that he
wasn't that interested in it. When we got to the Space Task Group,
it became evident that we needed certain expertise. I was asked if
I would call Bob and see if he would be interested in coming down
and joining us, and I did do that. He and Marge and their kids came
down, and they actually lived in Friendswood as well. He ended up
being a division chief, the same level as I was, in the Engineering
Jim and Ella Chamberlin. Jim Chamberlin was sort of our leader. He
sort of led everybody, but it was always really good to be on his
side. You just pitied people that didn't cooperate with him. It wasn't
that he was mean or anything; I wouldn't like to deal with Jim Chamberlin
if I was on the other side of the fence. I think I mentioned some
time ago that there was a movie recently written about that AVRO Arrow
thing, and he was sort of our chief technical guy on that airplane.
He was just relentless about certain things.
I have some more things on that. I think I have to say, we were talking
earlier about fairness, and I said that we weren't very fair. Well,
there's a short anecdote. Maybe it's short. I was working on a set
of problems, hydraulic plumbing in the Arrow, structurally analyzing
it, designing the plumbing, the shape of the ends and the pipes and
a whole bunch of things, selecting the pipes and actually bending
them. I was sort of allowed to do that, even though I was an engineer.
I was allowed to go into the shops, because I had been a technician
and all that, and they loved me and all that.
But we had to redesign these pipes because of the very high pressures
that we were operating at, high temperatures and high flexing and
all that. I got the assignment to go do that. Each one is a whole
new piece of science in itself, so there's a lot of different pipes.
So one day Jim came to my boss, Hank Shoji, and he said, "We've
got three pipes yet to go, and if Owen would just do this with this
pipe, and this with this pipe, and this with this pipe, and put this
extra loop in this one and bend this one the other way, and do the
analysis and all that kind of stuff that certifies that it's ready
to go, I could take that to Ottawa and get a clean bill of health
on Thursday. If you could do it by Thursday, I could take it and get
the clean bill of health on Saturday." Because we were really
advancing at a very rapid rate in this airplane, you know.
I had been working day and night on trying to fix this problem that
came unknown to us, at least [until we] started to get malfunctions
in these pipes. … I didn't have anything to do with it before,
but frequently I would get the assignment to go fix up some critical
problem. I'm sure that other people got these kind of assignments,
too, but I seemed to always have one or more of these.
So I would work until two or three, four o'clock in the morning sometimes
on these things, and I'd have to build the pipe and put it in the
test rig and put different loads on it, and figure out this and that
and the other thing, and make a complex matrix, then invert it, and
a big analysis as well as testing to get basic data. So it took quite
a while to do this for each pipe. Sometimes I wouldn't do it right,
and I would go get bad numbers. So I'd have to redesign it again,
so it might take a couple of iterations. I never could be sure [that]
I got it right [until I got it right and proved it].
Jim says, "Well, if you do all these things, then I could get
this clean bill of health." And Hank looked at me, and I'm exhausted.
I can't remember what time of year it was, but there was no air-conditioning
in this room. It was a loft. It was a big, big monstrous room. I don't
remember being cold in the winter, but I remember being awful hot
in the summertime.
Anyway, I'm exhausted mostly because I didn't get much sleep. So Hank
looked at me, and I'm sort of like this, you know. He says to Jim,
"But Jim, you aren't being fair."
And Jim says, "Well, I have no requirement to be fair."
He had a requirement to get this thing up and running and certified
and ready to go. That's what mattered, and fairness has got nothing
to do with it.
Today you'd probably get slapped about the ears for that, but we actually
loved the guy for this, for this kind of a driving leadership that
he provided and that just motivated the hell out of you. [I'd] go
home, my wife used to say to me, "Why is it that you spend so
much time at work when you've got these three wonderful kids and you
love your kids so much?" And I did, you know. My kids are just
tremendously important to me, and always have been. "Why is it
that you dedicate so much of your time to work [so] much above and
beyond the call of duty?" And I never could answer her that.
So we weren't fair. Jim wasn't fair to his wife and kids and to us,
and we weren't fair to each other or to our wives and kids. We were
maybe more fair to each other than we were to our wives and kids,
but we would set examples and standards that would end up treating
other people unfairly.
I don't know that I would want it any [different] now, because it
was very elating to have that kind of a pressure, I think. I think
that might have ended up with maybe being why I've got some health
problems now. But I sort of wouldn't change that for anything, nor
would I change the tremendous stress sort of thing that you're under
when you're a military pilot in the Air Force during a war. It's such
great fun, you know, sort of thing. The worse it is, the better it
is, or something like that. I don't know what it is. It's very confusing,
and it's not very helpful to humanity, to maybe have that kind of
If wolves had that kind of a characteristic, they would go eat each
other up overnight and the whole wolf population would be destroyed,
but they're smarter than that. They know about territorial imperatives
and things like that, and they know how important it is to leave that
pack over there to its territory, and you stay in your territory.
Humanity's only beginning to learn about that.
That business of fairness, Jim was the personification of the opposite,
but we loved him for it. He just terrorized the civil servants at
NASA when they were first exposed to him, about his way of—and
usually almost all the time being right and putting all kinds of pressures
on all kinds of people so that they couldn't behave in their very
sort of relaxed way that they had gotten used to. Particularly when
you're a civil servant, you kind of can't get fired. And to have a
tiger like that come along and sort of almost bully you into doing
things is difficult to deal with. I was always very happy that I was
on his side.
Rod and Lela Rose went down there with us, so they're part of the
Canadian contingent. We met, actually, in the Chamberlin Hotel. Sounds
like it's named after Jim Chamberlin. Chamberlin Hotel in Newport
News is where that was. They had a couple of boys that were our kids'
age. Christopher was one of them, and my middle daughter called him
"Criffer." She had some things that made a creaking sound,
and he took them away from her, and she complained that "Criffer's
got my creaks." So she still goes around, every time we talk
to Rod and Lela, we always remember that Criffer had her creaks.
A fellow named Tom [Thomas V.] Chambers and his wife Doreen. I didn't
know him at AVRO, but I knew them and got to know them very well in
Texas. Didn't know them in Virginia, either. I discovered one day
that Tom had been on the Arc Royal aircraft carrier in its
battle with the Bismarck, and if you remember that story about the
sinking of the Bismarck, the Bismarck sunk the Hood on the 24th of
May, Queen's birthday, a pretty bad thing to do.
And then the entire Royal Navy had to go after the Bismarck, and if
they didn't sink it, the morale of the country was already terribly
damaged by the sinking of the Hood, and the Hood, the Arc Royal, and
the Spitfire were the big morale things of Britain during the war.
"As long as we've got those, we're okay." And the first
thing to go was the great battle cruiser Hood, with one or two rounds
out of the Bismarck.
Well, it turns out that I didn't know this before, but Tom Chambers
was on the Arc Royal that sent up the Swordfish airplane, biplanes,
funny-looking things, that dropped the torpedoes that hit the rudder
of the Bismarck, that slowed it down and made it turn only
one way, and allowed the rest of the Royal Navy to catch it and sink
it. I immediately would put Tom Chambers on a pedestal, and I said,
"Doreen, [it] must be great to have a husband that's sort of
a hero like this," and Tom says, "Let me interrupt that.
I was an electronics technician, communications equipment, on the
Hood, ordinary seaman kind of a guy." I said, "Well,
yeah, but you still are very highly recognized in the Navy."
He said, "Well, actually, Doreen was an officer. She outranked
John [D.] Hodge, I knew him in Canada, knew him and his wife and kids
in the States. He was in the Flight Operations Directorate, and he
wasn't involved with the same people that I was. I was more in the
engineering side. They were engineers. They would operate the stuff
that the engineers would conceive and design and get built. They'd
participate in design reviews and that kind of thing.
John and I, actually, it was agreed that he and I ought to not necessarily
write, but sign off on the mission rules for the Apollo Program. Each
mission we made a set of rules for. I can't remember, his division
prepared some and my division prepared some, and we put them all together,
and both the Program Office that I worked for and the flight operations
director, Chris Kraft, that he worked for, agreed that if Owen Maynard
and John Hodge agreed on these rules, then they were the rules.
So that's the way it was, except after we did that, then Chris Kraft
came along and said, "Well, that's okay, but during a mission,
the flight director doesn't have to go along with those rules. If
he needs to change those rules or make a new rule, it's his problem.
He can't lean on those rules saying, 'I only did what the rules said.'"
He's actually putting big pressure on his flight directors. When you
shift from the Program Office responsibility to the operations responsibility,
it can be a very sharp shift.
I was able to accept that okay, but a lot of people in Program Offices
and engineering people, non-operations people, have a lot of difficulty
with this. But I recognized that there had to be a transition point
that's very sharp, between the engineering people, subsystem managers,
systems engineers and whatnot, Program Office people versus [Flight]
Operations Directorate people, and Flight Crew Operations Directorate
people. So if it's got the word "operations" in it, I know
what that is, and I've dealt with it and been in those kinds of organizations
But you kind of can't have the engineering world on the operation
world's back during the operation. That's why you'll see the flight
controllers, flight directors, and all those guys are sort of isolated
in the MOCR, Mission Operations Control Room, and the other people
are sort of outside that room behind locked doors. They actually interface
through flight operations people who come outside to [them]. They
have to know that they've got a problem. When they're in training
and simulation, then it's a little different, but not much because
you're training and simulating to know how to behave under the real
So John Hodge and I were able to operate in that situation where I
effectively handed over whatever my people and organization and my
parts of the contractor world could hand over to him. We did that
in simulation training kinds of enterprises and in the writing of
rules and so forth. But we both knew where the line was drawn and
who was responsible on each side.
I don't know where John got the capability, the insight to be able
to do that. That might be a good question for you to ask him. I know
he was a flight controller in England as well. He was involved in
that kind of thing at AVRO, but we didn't really have that kind of
a thing at AVRO except in flight test, and that was a different organization
again. I don't know where John got the talent to do that.
I remember one of the things he did was, he could stand outside of
a room, a room like this, with a window like that, and he could write
on that window a message that said, "Everything is okay,"
and he'd write it in mirror image, as far as he looked at it, so that
the people on the other side could read it ordinary. I could do that,
too, but I know how come I can do that, but I don't know how come
he could do that. It's something that's sort of difficult to learn
to do. The younger you are, the easier it is to learn.
[R.] Bryan Erb was the subsystem manager for the heat shield on the
command module, and he worked at AVRO, but I didn't have much to do
with him at AVRO. He's one of the guys that I said, after I left,
or when I was leaving, retiring from Raytheon [Company], even, about
this power from space thing, I knew he was interested in it, and he's
one of the guys that I said, "To you, from flailing hands, I
throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high." I did that with him
and several other people in NASA. I told them what I thought were
sort of gems of wisdom, sort of thing, but that's a whole different
subject of what is wisdom. It is what the receiver thinks it is; it
isn't what the transmitter thinks it is. So it's very difficult to
sit down and say, "I'm only going to tell you what I think is
wisdom" kind of stuff, because I can't tell that. It's up to
you to decide what's wise about what I've said, it's not up to me
to, before the fact, decide I'm only going to tell you these wise
things, because I have no idea what you're going to accept as wisdom.
Maybe nothing. That's the way with everybody.
Bob and Myra Piland. Bob Piland was in the same dance social thing
that we were in. He also was the acting program manager and then the
founding of the Apollo spacecraft program. He was a leader, very calm,
calm kind of a guy, at least on the outside, and would get you involved.
If [you] tended to be on the outside and not very interested, he would
in some way encourage you to get in there and participate, because
he was going to, at a certain point, give you an assignment, and he
wanted to have you sort of in the middle of it before you actually
got responsibility. Tremendous guy.
[The] program manager was Charlie [Charles W.] Frick, first one, and
then later on Joe [Joseph P.] Shea, and Bob stayed on as assistant
program manager for a while, but then he left and he took over another
enterprise that had to do with Earth resources, i.e., … looking
back at the Earth from space, rather than [just] looking out at [space].
This was long before … Frank Borman's crew went to the moon
in Apollo 8. Already, certain people at NASA were thinking about "We
ought to be looking back at the Earth from space," but most people
had pie-in-the-sky kinds of ways of thinking or looking out at the
moon. It turns out to be not as great a thing as looking back at the
Earth from the moon.
So, already Bob and other people were off doing this Earth resources
stuff and interacting with such people as my wife's cousin's husband,
Jim Bruce. Jim came down. He'd come down to visit us, and he'd go
over and talk to Bob. So we had some relationship with Bob and Myra
after he left the Program Office.
Caldwell [C.] and Kitty Johnson. Caldwell wasn't a graduate engineer
from a university, and he finally got in on the grandfather clause
of engineering. I think Bob Gilruth had a lot to do with that, that
put him in [this] kind of [category], a different pay scale kind of
thing. He had won the Wakefield Trophy in model airplane designing
and building, and this was an indication of real potential in somebody.
So when he went to NASA, NACA back in those days, and said that he
was Caldwell Johnson, they knew that he was the guy that won the Wakefield
Trophy that year and so forth. They would then immediately want to
hire him just based on that.
I was telling him a story one time about a guy I worked with in the
loft at AVRO, when we were lofting the jetliner, [I] used to design
boats [as well] with him [as a hobby]. We'd build boats and go and
have a … long weekend [among] the 30,000 islands in Georgian
Bay. [This is not the] 1,000 islands in the St. Lawrence River, but
30,000 in Georgian Bay. We'd go up there like Labor Day or something
like that and we would run these boats. So Roy and I were into designing
boats as well as lofting airplanes. So I mentioned Caldwell Johnson
was also interested in boats, but more as something you use to go
fishing with and duck hunting with. [With Caldwell], it wasn't sort
of the designing of the boats [that was of interest]. It was Bob Gilruth
that was more interested in designing boats.
But anyway, I was telling him about this guy, Roy Nelder [phonetic],
an extraordinarily capable guy, and I said, "Yeah, he used to
be in model airplane stuff. He won some kind of a trophy."
[Caldwell] said, "He won the Wakefield Trophy two years in a
row and beat me out cold." That's who Roy Nelder is. This is
a guy [in] Malton, where you landed. This is a guy in Virginia, Tidewater,
Virginia. They knew each other through this Wakefield Trophy thing.
So if you're talking with Caldwell, you might ask him about his experience
with Wakefield Trophies and did he know Roy Nelder and some things
like that. Okay.
[Caldwell] took my son—he had a son, but my son was very much
interested in what Caldwell was doing—that is, going …
fishing. Caldwell taught him a lot about fishing. He took him fishing.
Some boys are very responsive to men that do those things and others
aren't. Where your son might not be interested in what you do, somebody
else's son might be. And my son was very much interested, and he learned
a lot from Caldwell Johnson. I think Caldwell will remember him and
will have fond memories of him. Ross keeps reminding me, "Do
you ever see Caldwell Johnson anymore?"
When Caldwell moved from Virginia to Texas, it was terrible, because
he moved away from his beautiful Tidewater, Virginia, where he knew
where all the flounders were and all the other kind of fish and the
ducks and all that. He had this home on the water. He was completely
disheveled when the decision was made, we were going to move to Texas.
We were going to talk a little bit later about relationships with
the unmanned program, the [NASA] Jet Propulsion Lab [Pasadena, California].
When we get to that, I'll give you another insight into Caldwell's
way of thinking.
Max and Nancy Faget. Of course, Max was the head of the Engineering
Directorate, and he and Caldwell seemed to operate as if they were
electronically interconnected. One would think certain aspects of
the problem and one would think other aspects of the problem, and
they could kind of overlap in ways that were different each time,
but magic in the final output. Why they were able—I don't know
that they knew each other for years and years and years, but they
knew each other at the Pilotless [Aircraft] Research Division thing.
Max would be thinking all the time, and his head would be going like
that, you know, but he's thinking. You could sort of picture Caldwell
just watching him and picking up on the waves and drawing a picture
of what it is that Max was thinking about. It was sort of that magical.
Max was highly academically trained. He was a doctor, a Ph.D., I guess.
But his dad was a medical doctor and he knew an awful lot about medicine,
the human factors, as well as engineering. He was an executive officer,
I guess is what they called them, in the submarine service, so he
was what they call a submariner. A person that works and lives in
submarines is a submariner, so he was a submariner. He wasn't the
pilot. He wasn't an airplane kind of guy. He came from the other side
He had experience during the war on submarines and probably in the
Pacific, where you are submerged and away from humanity for long periods
of time and have to sort of rely on your equipment for life support
and all that kind of thing in a much more sophisticated way than you
do if you're on top of the surface. So, being in a submarine and even
being submerged for a short period of time is a big problem to start
with. I've done scuba diving, skin diving. Scuba diving is self-contained.
“Scuba” means self-contained underwater breathing apparatus,
as opposed to holding your breath. So those are two different things
and there's different rules and ways you treat them.
But being in a submarine is something I've never experienced, and
I'm not sure I want to. But you are isolated and you are dependent,
depending. You have to depend on your equipment. The cleanliness of
the oxygen you breathe and of the air and getting the carbon dioxide
out of it, making the thing simple, the business of coming back up
to the surface again, you don't want anything to fail that stopped
you from doing that or makes you do it at too high a rate prematurely.
Then to be in it in a wartime situation. In an airplane, you're shot
at. Nobody ever actually shot at me or killed me or anything, or I
never killed anybody else either. But when I tell Boy Scouts, when
they ask me how many people did I kill, I didn't kill anybody and
none of them killed me. They look at me and they think, "Well,
okay. I guess since you worked for NASA, I'll listen to what you've
got to say anyway." But they have a hard time getting over it.
I think young boys are like that all the time.
But when you read stories about Max, [they usually have] to do with
his sort of genius and his sort of way of thinking and relationship
with Caldwell, very blunt in his behavior with certain people, not
so blunt in behavior with other people, but when something happened
that he didn't like, he could get very vocal about it. He could really
put you down and really be very blunt. Joe Shea said one time, about
Max—the command module in the Mercury capsule and the Gemini
capsule were all what they called blunt bodies, and they had a certain
virtue with respect to … reentry, being able to withstand the
reentry head loads and all that kind of stuff. So Max was a big blunt-body
person, and Joe Shea had a way of not exactly endearing himself to
everybody, but he told Max one time, "Max, no matter what kind
of a spacecraft you design, because of your personality I know it's
going to be a blunt body right off the bat," which is kind of
unkind. And Max did not take that as a personal insult or whatever.
He and Joe Shea were sort of [a] somewhat comparable intellect. They
kind of tend to cross each other a little bit. I think the programs
turned out okay that they were both involved in, but they certainly
didn't see eye to eye on quite a few things. I appreciated both of
their virtues. I don't think Joe appreciated the insight and the knowledge
that Max had, simply because he was a mariner, a submariner. At the
same time, Max would appreciate my perspective because I was a pilot.
We never sort of talked about that, but it does matter where you came
from and what your heritage is and what your personal experience is.
Kurt and Frances Strass were very good people that we met. I worked
with Curt at work. It was they who got us involved in this social
business of the ballroom dancing and stuff, and had us over to their
place for dinner like two days after we crossed the border kind of
thing, you know. Instant acceptance.
La Marr [D.] and Belle Beatty. I think that they're at the Cape now
rather than Houston. They were in Virginia. He was a technician in
the Mercury Program. That's where I first met them, I think. Well,
I guess I met them earlier than that. They invited us over for dinner
one time, and she served lasagna like I've never tasted before or
In the Mercury Program, they continued to work on the Mercury capsule
after I delivered it to the Cape and went back to Virginia to work
on the Apollo Program, and they continued to do certain things with
it. They had rented a cottage there on the beach or something. I was
invited down to the launch of the Mercury Atlas number one, because
I had done so much project engineering on it, putting it together
in the first place, and then handed it over and went and started working
So I went down there for the launch, and I went around and visited
with and met them. These people were all very unhappy. There [were]
a lot of tears. This thing was getting ready to fly, and they'd put
their lives and souls into this thing. Some people didn't really know
what the problem was. They were so emotional about this thing. This
thing was getting ready to fly, and it was like the baby that's grown
up and he's going off to college, maybe going off to war or something.
It was that kind of emotional. I had been away from it long enough
that I probably felt that way at one point, but I didn't feel like
that. Caldwell Johnson and I both were there as guests. We had no
responsibility. We just had fun, because we were guests.
They got the thing, they launched it in overcast conditions, and it
got up to 40,000 feet or so max—alpha q [?q] maximum angle of
attack times dynamic pressure, and it blew up. Caldwell and I were
in the room behind where the guys were that were controlling it, and
we couldn't see or hear anything. We were there as guests, but we
were bottled up. I guess we knew that something had happened because
the noise stopped.
Bob Gilruth and Walt [Walter C.] Williams, another guy, was sort of
the head of the operational community, operations community, at the
Cape, he and I had a pretty good relationship. But I didn't have very
much directly to do with him. He didn't have good relationships with
some people like Joe Shea and some other people, but I think I had
good relationships with him. I don't remember too many people I didn't
have good relationships with. Anyway, Walt Williams and Bob Gilruth
come out of that room and put their hands on my shoulders and said,
"Go find that thing. Find out what happened. Tell us what happened.
Tell us what we need to do to fix what happened so we can get on with
Took me off Apollo to do that, and I had been the project engineer,
so I knew where all the bodies were buried. This guy Joe [Joseph M.]
Bobik, who was the inspector that I had in Virginia when we built
the thing, he had been the—I'm going to mention his name later,
or we'll do it now. He came from Lewis Research Center [Cleveland,
Ohio], another NASA Center, and first he came to Langley Research
Center to be the inspector for the building of the Mercury Atlas number
one spacecraft, and he had been the crew chief on Air Force One.
The first Air Force One was for [President Dwight E.] Eisenhower,
and the airplane that preceded that, that was for good old Harry [S]
Truman. It had a name like Rosie May or something. I can't remember
what its name was. So this is the first military kind of an airplane,
commercial/military high capability, full of all kinds of electronic
equipment and everything else, but it's going to carry the President
of the United States, the most responsible job in the whole wide world,
This guy was the crew chief for it. He had a crew, and he was the
chief of the crew. If there was anything wrong with that airplane
when it was being designed, even, and built, through to its actual
initiation of its operational use, if something was wrong with that
airplane, he would simply tell that guy to fix it in the following
way. So as a crew chief and a master craftsman, so he had a background
that was much more focused on airplanes than I had, that was more
focused on boats and production machinery and then, later, airplanes.
Relatively small experience with actual airplanes for me compared
So we used him as the inspector, and the craftsman at Langley Research
Center, NASA craftsman, that had grown up in the ancient times of
biplanes and radial engines, before jet engines and everything else,
and they were tremendously capable craftsmen. An engineer or draftsman
would give them a sketch of something to make, and they'd instantly
make it. They didn't need a lot of information. Tremendously capable.
So we had to get this spacecraft built so that how we built it and
how we changed it and everything could be documented so that ordinary
technicians and craftsmen in manufacturing plants could build it,
rather than it being the reason it's like this is because this craftsman
actually knew something that nobody else knew how do this, how to
tie this knot, even, how to sharpen this took in this particular way,
and they knew this and they were very proud of it.
Well, they have their work critiqued by a guy from another Center,
to start with, and a guy that had been in the Air Corps, rather than
in NACA, an inferior being, you know, all the way around, a very quiet
guy. He wouldn't put his hands on anything. He wouldn't fix it himself.
He would get his people to fix it and then he would get the right
people to document what the fix was, and then he would make sure that
got handed over to the people that were going to make the following
production units and all that kind of thing.
So this was a piece of capability and participation of a group of
people, generally called inspectors, that you have to subject your
craftsmen to, that they're normally their own inspectors. It's like
you don't tell your mother that she's not cooking that roast right
or baking that pie right, you know. If it turned out that because
you had some kind of an epileptic condition or something, you had
to teach your mother, "No, no, no, don't do it that way, you
do it this way. Don't put so much pepper in it. You actually should
measure the pepper," or whatever, the salt. The analogy with
ordinary life is a little difficult to come up with, but for a craftsman,
a man—and men are funny things compared with women. Women are
funny things, too, but in different ways. But they sort of take offense
at certain things, and there has to be a sort of relationship for
people to accept criticism.
If you're a craftsman or a designer, a creative kind of a person,
men have a big problem with the fact that they aren't creative like
women are. Women create babies, you know, and the [product] of their
creation is a baby. Men don't really feel that they have created that
same baby. They have no feeling for that creative accomplishment.
What they do is, they expend their energies on creating things that
turn out to be artifacts. They create boats and airplanes and other
things that you then put up on display.
If you come along and critique, somebody from the outside world, outside
community, comes along and says that what you've done isn't right
or, "I don't even like what you did. I think you should do it
this way rather than that way," when it comes to a piece of equipment,
men don't—creative people, at least, those that are more straight
craftsmen than technicians, they sort of handle this fairly well,
but people that are creative and craftsmen at this level tend to be
So it's like if you say, "I don't like the way you torqued up
that lock nut. I want you to wire lock it instead," and that's
the right terminology, but I won't explain what wire locking is…
Joe Bobik was very into wire locking because on reciprocating engines,
… there's a certain [band] of [oscillatory] vibration that,
if you don't lock the nuts that you put on a bolt, [if] you don't
lock them to the [shank] of the bolt, they will tend to [rotate] and
… they will unwind, and the nut will fall off the bolt, the
bolt will fall out, and the airplane will fall apart.
So on engines in particular, you wire lock everything… Joe had
this religion that said you wire lock everything, period. The reasons
on rockets, rocket-powered things, is a little different than it is
on internal combustion engines, but it's still a good policy. These
guys—Lewis Research Center is an engine center, and so Joe was
more attuned to the really complex problem of an engine versus a piece
of structure. So he brought that culture with him, and when he inspected
the stuff, he would find fault with the lack of wire locking most
frequently. He would give me a little chit that said, "This isn't
wire locked, and it should be."
I appreciated what his job was, what we wanted him to do, not only
to make the thing reliable and everything, but to begin to transition
not just these guys in NACA or NASA to being craftsmen for manned
spacecraft, these guys that had mostly been talking about rocket,
unmanned rocket things, if rockets at all and, prior to that, airplanes
that were sort of experimental and not really operational.
So we had to get these—if these people were going to participate,
we had to get it so that [their] work has to be inspected. When I
used to design things at AVRO and somebody said, "We're going
to have a design review," I'd say, "What do you want to
review it for? I designed it and it's perfect." I wouldn't take
these things well. I told you about [Avro Test Pilots] Jan [Janusz]
Zurakowski and Spud Potocki in that regard. Okay. So I knew from where
I spoke, because I was like that myself.
Let's see. Did I get to—I can't remember the last question you
asked now. We're still just going through this list of people.
We talked about La Marr Beatty. Tom [J. Thomas] and Mary Markley.
Tom was sort of the money guy. He was the guy that controlled the
funds that went from the big pot to the different contractors and
the different divisions and so forth of the Program Office, so each
Program Office had a Tom Markley. He headed up a division. I can't
remember the name of the division now. But he was the guy that Gilruth
sent down to Texas, down to Houston. We knew we were going to move
from Virginia to Houston, so he sent him down to initiate the getting
of the buildings that we'd move into temporarily while we prepared,
while we built our own site buildings and so forth.
So he was on the forefront of quite a few things, and he was a Marine,
short, stocky Marine kind of a guy. He was sort of bull-doggish and
exactly the kind of a guy that you needed to do that kind of a job.
So I had good relationship with him. He, in fact, was at Raytheon
when I moved from NASA to Raytheon as well. I had good relationships
with him as well.
George [M.] and Mary Low. George Low had been at NASA headquarters.
He's deceased now, as you likely know. When they moved to Houston
for George to be the Assistant Center Director, they had a house built
in the little community that we lived in, in Friendswood, down the
road a little bit, a little closer to Clear Creek. My kids used to
go and cut his lawn. He had kids of his own. I don't know why his
kids didn't cut his lawn.
But my son Ross had a boat, a little aluminum rowboat, with a little
tiny motor on it, and there are places he could put it into Clear
Creek and run this little boat. Well, George was right on the creek,
and George helped him build a little dock on George's property and
let Ross keep his boat on that property. Ross was a very particular
kind of a person, you know, and George saw something in him that he
liked, and Ross in George, and they had a great relationship going
because of this business that Ross could keep his boat on George's
dock. I don't know why it is that George was like that, because he
didn't have a lot of time for that kind of thing, and he had kids
of his own, too. Anyway, Ross had a very close relationship with George
Low, and Mary probably didn't participate in that. Would you interview
her in lieu of him, do you think?
It's a possibility, if you think that would be a good plan for us
to talk to her.
Well, there's so much history to do with George Low.
Such a big deal. I think that to sort of put the burden on Mary is
sort of overdoing it. George [W. S.] Abbey and everybody else knew
George Low sort of inside out, and sort of give the historical account
of what he did and his accomplishments and all that kind of thing
would be daunting to anybody.
He and I didn't see eye to eye as much as some people thought we maybe
should, but I have to give him credit for an awful lot of things.
I don't want to get involved in that any further.
But he's the guy that after the fire—he, being my neighbor,
he was out jogging one morning in the fog, and he had terrible sinus
problems. Boy, what he did in the presence of all of the health problems
he had was just—what he did without the health problems would
seem colossal, but in the presence of these health problems, it was
super colossal. So he came by one day and asked me if I would take
over the total engineering responsibility for the Apollo spacecraft
program. He said, "We've got two kinds of problems, one set that
is administrative and one set that's technical. We're probably in
worse shape administratively than we are technically."
So Bob [Robert W.] Williams has resigned as the chief of Systems Engineering
[Division], and I had previously been that. Bob Williams had been
hired to be my deputy. When Bob got his arms around it enough and
George Abbey came on board in configuration management enough, they
then separated it off so that Bob Williams had Systems Engineering
Division and I had Mission Operations Division. That was a division
that somebody else was supposed to have had, Bill [Dr. William A.]
There was a time when they were two divisions, that Bill Lee had Mission
Operations and I had Systems Engineering before Bob Williams arrived
on the scene. Bill Lee came to Joe Shea one day as the program manager
and said, "I can't do what needs to be done in this missions
operation world, among other things, figure out where we are going
to land on the moon, the site selection. When I try to figure it out,
I say I can't land here because of this, I can't land there because
of that, and I can't land there because of this other thing,"
he covered the whole moon up and he sort of concluded that he couldn't
land on the moon. Now, he knew that we probably could, but he didn't
have enough insight into how things were in the equipment and also
in the orbital mechanics and piloting considerations and things.
So he figured that I could do that, and in previous presentations
that I made, I appeared to know or at least talked about how you would
figure out where you're going to land and so forth. I always picked
the Sea of Tranquility because it always sounded to tranquil, just
between you and me. That's not between you and me, because most people
know that, you know. But it became a very sophisticated problem to
figure out where to land. You had to know a lot more.
Bill was a psychologist. He ended up being the assistant manager for
the lunar module, and he would be able to deal with all the subsystem
managers in an extraordinarily good way, because there was more psychology
involved than there was technical considerations. He learned the technical
considerations pretty quickly, but he was like Joe [Joseph P.] Loftus
[Jr.], they both had degrees in psychology and they shone like the
lights in the night because of this.
But when Bill said that he couldn't do it and he thought that I could,
I said, well, I sort of understand that, but I think that because
I was a Canadian citizen, I hadn't taken out U.S. citizenship yet,
I didn't do it at all at NASA. I did it long after when I got to Raytheon.
But because of that, I had some difficulties with some security considerations
and operational considerations that I could not be privy to because
they couldn't tell—like there would be top secret, no foreign,
except Canadian. There's lots of things in NORAD that are like that,
but if it didn't say "except Canadian," just said "top
secret, no foreign," then I couldn't participate. I couldn't
know the secrets and I couldn't know—if you knew the secrets,
you often knew who it is that brought them the secrets. That was the
big thing they wanted to always protect … the source of the
So because of the operational aspect, I didn't figure I could do that
myself or even lead in it, and I didn't know how much of that there
was. I knew there was some, but I didn't know how much it was. So
I figured that the leader of the division ought to be the U.S. guy
and me, a Canadian, okay, I can be his deputy, but I don't want to
be the leader. And I explained that to them, that I didn't think I
would be capable of doing that and taking the right responsibilities
Well, they just ignored that and said, "Okay, you're the chief,
totally." I said, "I would be happy to be the deputy and
have Bill be the chief." Well, they had something in mind for
Bill, besides, I guess, so they said, "No, we can't do that,
so you're going to be the chief of both the Missions Operation Division
and the Systems Engineering Division, but it's going to be one division
called Systems Engineering Division still."
So I had to figure out—or my people and I had to figure out—I
got all of his people, so we have to now go figure out what the sites
are going to be, and a whole bunch of other things having to do with
mission planning not from a detailed point of view but from sort of
an architectural point of view. And Flight Operations Directorate
under Chris Kraft and Rod Rose and those guys were the actual operations
guys that had to put the numbers together in response to the sort
of architectural structure that we defined and stated in that symposium
that I've talked about before, that took us a year to put together.
I did that as the chief of Mission Operations Division for a whole
year, effectively, and Bob Williams had taken over systems engineering
of all of the equipment for both command module, service module, and
lunar module. George Abbey was the configuration management guy. So
they got it to the point where we had established the baseline and
also initiated the process of change, how do you control and manage
change. It was in the latter part of that, that the fire occurred.
I was the operations manager in the control room, in the Spacecraft
Analysis Network room with the chief engineer or the program manager
from each of the prime contractors in there with me and with my mission
staff engineers in there with me. But we actually did it on a shift
basis so that my mission staff engineers could operate as the operations
manager or I on a three-shift-per-day basis. We did this during simulations
as well as the real missions.
We did this actually at the time that the fire occurred. I was the
operations manager, and I had just finished writing the catastrophe
plan. Bill was supposed to have had that written, but he didn't. It's
one of the things I had to pick up and do. I had actually just completed
it. One of the things says, go lock all the safes with all the configuration
in it, because you have to really nail down what the configuration
is, or was, at the time of the fire, so you can initiate the investigations
as to what happened. The only thing I had to do with the fire was
issue that catastrophe plan that said who was responsible for doing
this, that, and the other thing, and Bob Williams ended up being the
guy that was primarily responsible in the Program Office for coming
to understand all of this stuff.
I went about continuing with mission planning and the architecting
and flight test part of things for essentially a year, quite a few
months, anyway, while other people are off facing up to the fire issues.
So I am not responsible for that stuff. If you want to find somebody
who's responsible for the fire, they might have picked me as being
responsible, but I think that they knew something that I knew and
they knew, that they knew they'd better not do that, because they
knew that requirements that I had laid on had been deleted by people
outside my control that precluded the guys getting out and saving
themselves. That's about all we ought to say. But you'd think that
there would have been some people that would have looked at me in
kind of a funny way, at least, and said, "He's the guy we ought
to put the finger on."
But when George Low asked me to be the chief engineer, he wanted to
make sure that if something went wrong technically, that I indeed
was responsible and I had no excuses, because when they would normally
ask me what went wrong with something, I would know what went wrong.
I might not personally, but I could find out pretty quickly through
my people. I would know what went wrong and who messed up, if there
was anybody messed up. Sometimes it would be me, and sometimes it
would be my supervisor, and sometimes it would be somebody else, and
sometimes it would be six people, you know. But some way I had a network
that not so quickly would find out what had malfunctioned or something,
you know. Where did the wire actually break or whatever? As to assignment-wise,
who was responsible for that, that should have caught that or inspected
for that, and so forth.
Bob Williams went through this terrible part of the fire recovery
thing, and did some reorganization within that part, that division.
I'm off talking to Gilruth about mission planning. Gilruth had assigned
other people to do parts of the investigation, and he and I had lots
of time to talk. We used to talk about sailboats and things, but very
businesslike from now on, about how we're actually going to fly the
How did you figure out how you would fly the mission?
Well, Jack [John R.] Sevier had a great deal to do with that, and
a great deal of it was actually initiated by Bill Lee, Dr. Lee, who
was the psychologist kind of a guy. Some of it I used to talk about
when I was in the Engineering Directorate, that said, "Well,
here's what the configuration should be and here's what the architecture
of the mission should be." I would talk about that, and that's
why Bill Lee thought I knew everything there was to know about it,
is that I did know enough that I could rationalize that the configuration
ought to be this because the mission is this, and the mission ought
to be this because the configuration is this. I could play the two
like the left hand and the right hand on the piano so that they were
somewhat in sync.
But I had inherited Bill Lee's people. They were recruited by Bill
or somebody else, that had a lot more insight into what kind of people
do you need to work a problem like this, like Paul Purser did with
getting Frank [Francis W.] Casey and all that. Somebody had the insight
to get some tremendously capable people, and one of them was Jack
Sevier. I can't remember the others that actually came from Bill Lee's
organization. I'm kind of confused about where did they come from.
Did they come from me or from Bill? If I went through the list of
everybody, I could sort that out, but it's a little difficult for
me to do right now.
It ends up that the best way to explain how we—not, I, but how
we—figured that out, was we gave Grumman [Aircraft Engineering
Corp.] a small contract to study the mission planning because it impacted
on the lunar module so greatly, but for them to study it from the
ground all the way up to the ground and back again, knowing that they
didn't know everything about the command and service module, and that
it was primarily focused on what the lunar module would be able to
The fact that I had worked with them so much in configuring the lunar
module, the relationship with Grumman was just absolutely fabulous.
When you told them to do something—I don't know if we've gotten
into this—when you told them to do something, they wouldn't
do it unless they convinced themselves that was something they should
do, which was—we've talked about that. But that is a fabulous
thing for a contractor to do. For a guy like me, in the customer side,
for you to have the confidence that you can willy-nilly tell the contractor—and
I never really did this, I never really told them what to do. I would
sort of indicate what I thought the requirements were and the guidance
and those kinds of things, and build on what we said in the statement
of work in the first place, and things like that.
But I stayed away from telling them how to design it and what the
configuration actually should be in any kind of detail, and only sort
of monitor what they were doing. Then if, because of some insight
I had, I would tell them what the problem was that I had because of
this insight, then they would accept that, usually that or tell me
how come I was messed up right there and then, or they'd go away and
think about it. But it was always so rationally determined and so
reasonable and everything, you know.
So we gave them a contract to actually tell us how we should fly the
mission to make it the best for the lunar module, because the lunar
module had to be very high performance and very light weight, so you
had to get a lot out of every pound that you put into that thing.
It was critical from that point of view, whereas the command module
and the service module weren't nearly so critical. So we would modify
the way we flew the mission in some part because it made life easier
for the requirements of the lunar module and made it so it didn't
have to be so heavy in certain areas, that kind of thing.
So how we did it was, we enlisted the aid of a very good contractor
in Grumman and also in TRW [Inc.] and also very good people in NASA,
in the Program Office. These were people that administratively worked
for me, had worked for Bill Lee, and some that came from my old division
and transferred to the Mission Operations Division. It's got the word
"operations" in it, but it's not flight operations. It differentiates
between what the architecture is and the commands that you give, and
the intelligence. There's this thing called communications, command,
control, and intelligence, C3I, it's called.
Some of the intelligence I would—and it's sort of a security
kind of a way of saying things. There's some intelligence about how
things are in the world and whether or not the Soviet Union has got
a spacecraft in orbit at the same time you are, and some things like
that, some of which I wouldn't be privy to. We had to sort of rely
on certain people to keep us straight in that world of sensitive stuff,
and Grumman to keep us straight so that we didn't overburden their
spacecraft weight-wise and performance-wise, and some of it to keep
us straight so we didn't overburden the crew.
We assigned a mission staff engineer to each of the missions to make
sure that we didn't overburden the Flight Operations Directorate guys,
Chris Kraft's guys, and we selected those people primarily from Chris
Kraft's organization. Some of these people were what you call the
"walking wounded." You can talk to John Hodge about that
term. Ask John about the "walking wounded" and who were
these people who got transferred, or temporarily assigned programmatically
to work for Systems Engineering Division…
One of them was Manfred "Dutch" von Erinfreid III. Some
of them were assistant flight controllers or would-be flight controllers
that in a mission issues would occur, in the Mercury and Gemini and
Apollo missions, but this was sort of preceding all the Apollo missions.
If they were working the Gemini mission and something happened and
they were the flight director and they did a perfectly good job directing
the flight, directing the mission, but the other thing that these
guys had to do was interface with the press, the media, after they
changed shifts. You can kind of picture that. They still do this.
You can kind of picture the problem. This guy has been stressed out,
particularly if there's been some difficulty, like fifteen kids got
shot at the local high school. Then you hand the problem over to somebody
else. The press is going to want to be on your case right away.
And little nitty-gritty kind of things that the press would pick up
on, because it was a very open thing, you know. There wasn't any secrets.
All Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, but this would be the guys that were
doing it back in the Gemini time period. They would have a difficult
time sometimes because they would be so sort of stressed out that
they would not be very tolerant of the media, because the media would
be sort of there for their own purposes, and the heroes in all these
things are the media people, not the astronauts or the flight directors
or the whatever.
So you had to interface with the media after having done your very
stressful shift as flight director. It was the flight directors that
did do that interface. So if you blew your cool at the time when you're
being interviewed by the media, you didn't get to be a flight director
anymore. That was one way to be a "walking wounded."
The term "walking wounded" comes from the infantry, where
you'd send the troops in and they'd get wounded. The guys that were
wounded out on the front line, and they were able to walk, and they
walked back, they interfaced with the guys that are marching forward
to take their place in the foxhole or whatever, if these guys going
forward see these guys coming back, particularly if they talk to them,
if this guy coming back says, "I did a stupid thing. I tripped
over a wheelbarrow and fell and broke my neck, and that's how come
I'm walking back," but if he tells the truth and he says, "It's
hell up there," this poor guy that's going up there fresh, he's
never been in battle before, he would be adversely affected by the
"walking wounded" coming back. So it was a military thing.
You keep the "walking wounded" away from talking to those
that are entering into the conflict. It's counterproductive completely
to have the "walking wounded" talk with the guys that are
freshly entering into the conflict.
So the "walking wounded" can still walk, but they can't
talk. They can't participate anymore. Once they're wounded to that
extent that they are afraid, to the extent that they will adversely
influence the performance of those that are going in to take their
place, it's the "walking wounded" that get to that point
that you have to be very cautious about. If John Wayne gets wounded
and walks back, no problem, you know. He'll motivate the hell out
of the guys that are going ahead anyway. So it isn't sort of all "walking
wounded." Anyway, there's a general category that I'm referring
to as the "walking wounded."
Well, they were good people for me to get, because they understood
the operational world and they understood the operations people, and
they didn't have wild ideas that they one day were going to get to
be the number-one flight director or something like that. They had
satisfied themselves that they were going to have to take a sort of
lesser role until they worked off their penal thing, as they started
to be nice to media people again or something like that, you know.
So some of these guys—and I won't mention, I won't attribute—I
don't know why some of the guys were sent over to me, but I understand
that some of them were in that category of "walking wounded,"
and I don't know if Manfred "Dutch" von Erinfreid was in
that category or not, but he certainly was very vocal about certain
things, and he could tell you what he thought without batting an eye.
The flight directors, the flight controllers, the operational people,
flight operations people, had a camaraderie. I wasn't a part of it,
except these guys that came to me from there. They were into the martial
arts and they would get an awful lot of their frustrations worked
out by working in this martial arts field. Manfred "Dutch"
von Erinfreid III was the number-one guy in that world of martial
arts. Gene [Eugene F.] Kranz was—I don't know, maybe he was
number two or three or four, something like that, but he wasn't number
one like Manfred "Dutch" von Erinfreid III was.
It was Manfred "Dutch" von Erinfreid III that was the mission
staff engineer for Apollo 7, that is, Wally Schirra's mission. That
was a very difficult mission to deal with. It was the first one after
the fire, and you're dealing with Wally Schirra and his crew. Wally
had some characteristics that were very different than most other
people. Some way or other, the mission staff engineer had to convince
the flight crew and the flight operations people that they had to
do these certain things in the mission, called fulfilling the detail
So we had to have detailed mission objectives that were very rational,
that these guys could arm themselves with and go to both the flight
crew and the flight crew operations people, get both the people flying
and the people on the ground, and sort of order, from the Program
Office perspective, "Here's your requirements. Here's what you
have to do." Not how you do it exactly, but you have to do it
however you do it. You are certifying how it is to be done in the
future. So you don't do it your way if you don't intend for your way
to be imparted to the next crew and through your supervision ensure
that you are disciplined and controlled enough that you're doing it
as a flight director would do it or as a command module pilot would
You are the forerunner of those, and you're setting the standard for
those, and you're setting the details in terms of how do you actually
throw the switches and in what order and all that kind of stuff. And
how do you behave with respect to the capsule communicator and who
is it in the crew, the command module pilot, the commander, the command
module pilot or the lunar module pilot. You've got to kind of keep
that straight, folks, that there are certain assignments that have
to go here and here, and we have to know who it is that's doing this,
because it's got to be handed off. You're really not just certifying
the equipment in flight test, you're certifying the processes, of
how do you fly the flight equipment.
That's very difficult to get people to definitize. It's difficult
enough to write rules, but to get it to the point where you can actually
get them to do things in certain ways or in certain orders, even,
according to certain flight plans that are previously written and
they have rehearsed in simulators and all that, and we, the Program
Office, contracted for the simulators and had the simulators built
for both the trainers that the flight crew operated and the simulators
that we used for engineering simulation. The Program Office did not
operate any of these. Either the flight crew did or the simulators
that were used to simulate what goes on on the ground were done by
the Flight Operations Directors, Chris Kraft's directorate.
So let me see. How come we got off on that guy?
Let's take a pause here a minute and I'll change the tape again, and
we'll figure it out.
Okay. You were talking about George Low.
I was talking about George Low and Jack [A.] Kinzler.
… Jack Kinzler, … had … craftsmen [who] worked for
him, that … could create things sort of instantly out of whole
cloth and didn't have to go through the engineering process. As long
as they didn't interact with the way a subsystem worked or something
like that, this was perfectly fine.
They did quite a few things that were sort of in line with the engineering
development of things, but mostly they had a lot to do with mockups
and experimental things, but not the actual flight hardware. On the
[unmanned] Mercury capsule [for Atlas] number one, they did have something
[a lot] to do with the actual flight hardware.
I mentioned Jack Kinzler and told you that he had to build that flag
that they put up on the moon. George Low wanted me to do it, so he
would come to me and he would say, "Now, we have to put a flag
on the moon." I'd give him all this [counter] stuff, because
[of] the weight and everything, it's got to be carried in the lunar
module and occupy space and all that stuff, and here we are fighting
tooth and nail to get an ounce out of the thing, you know.
He would come up with these frivolous things, as far as I was concerned,
and I'd say, "Why do you want to put a flag on the moon? We are
going there for mankind. We aren't going there for the United States
of America. We're going there for mankind," and so forth. So
I'd get [the response], "You don't understand. You're not an
American," … is the way—I would think that's the
way they were thinking, you know.
So then he would give up on me and he'd go to Jack Kinzler and he'd
say, "We need a flag to put on the moon," so Jack Kinzler
would make that flag.
So I would look at that flag and I would say, "What a pity,"
Well, he would ask me, … "What kind of a flag should we
[use]—the Confederate flag or should it be the first flag that
Betsy Ross did," or whoever did that first flag, with the numbers
of stars on it. "Or should we put an extra star on it for the
moon?" The design of the flag, you know. Who cares? As far as
I'm concerned, that's not in the job, in the challenge that was given
to us. Didn't have anything to do with a flag. It didn't say, "Land
on the moon and claim it for the United States of America." It
didn't say that. That wasn't the intent. If I argued with them, it
would get them—we'd have to get to that kind of level of argument.
Then I said, "You know, that just looks so phoney. Everybody
in their right mind knows there's no wind on the moon, and you're
propping the thing up to look like it's blowing in the wind. We have
a hard enough time convincing people that we're really landing on
the moon as opposed to doing something out in the Mojave Desert taking
movies of it, so as soon as you give them a thing like that, they're
going to be all over it, the media and the kids three years old and
everybody else. You must have an awful big national requirement or
loyalty requirement to do that."
Anyway, Jack Kinzler made that flag. As far as I was concerned, they
smuggled it on board, but it had to get weighed and we had to know
how much it weighed and all that kind of stuff.
Alan Shepard, if you remember, we talked about using extra material
from Alan Shepard's space suit for the space suits (for the models
in the command module that we ended up giving to North American) that
my mother had made. Well, when Alan Shepard came back from his mission
in Mercury, the first American man in space, albeit suborbital, we
had a picnic at the Morale Activities Building in Virginia, and my
mom and dad were living with us at the time…
But my mother was infatuated with Alan Shepard, and Alan came to the
picnic. I have a picture, which is one of the great pictures, that
I took of Alan Shepard and my mother at that picnic, and my mother,
believe me, is having a picnic.
You can shut it off. [Tape recorder turned off.] So here's the picture
that I took with this cheap little camera, Polaroid camera, as a matter
of fact, and there's my dad and there's my son and there's my mother
and there's Alan Shepard. Look at the look of adoration in her eyes.
She's having the best time.
Absolutely loved this guy, you know. And here's her soldier boy from
World War I …, standing at attention, and her grandson just
getting his picture taken. But her feeling about him was immense.
Well, anyway, after he landed on the moon in Apollo 14, he sent us
a thing that was half the size of that, with a big "deal"
on it, and the Canadian flag, which changed from that Union Jack to
the maple leaf in 1965. So by this time it was the maple leaf thing.
So he sent this piece of paper with this flag glued to it. "This
flag was taken to the moon and brought back on Apollo 14 by Alan Shepard
and crew," and all this, and gave it to my mother. [Actually]
he gave it to me, and I gave it to my mother. I had a [conference
where I displayed a lot of artifacts] one time that was a little bit
like this, where I [had] stuff all spread out, and somebody stole
Oh, that's unbelievable.
So I guess people would view that as being a pretty valuable thing.
I can't believe someone would do that.
Yes. Well, I decided not to pursue it and sort of [close] the whole
block down and all that, [lock] all the doors and everything. That
would have been too disruptive to what was going on. It was kind of
important, what was going on. But anyway, that's the Alan Shepard
Let me see. Okay. The Jack Kinzler thing, we talked about that. There
was a fellow named Bob [Robert E.] Little and Clyde Thiele at Langley
Research Center that were the supervisors, or the bosses, of the technicians,
the craftsmen that worked there in putting the Mercury Atlas number
one together, the Mercury spacecraft for that together.
I told them the story. I love working with these people because I
am sort of able to communicate with them better than I am with the
intellectuals of the world, you know. So I have a great time with
these people. So I'm telling them a story that I heard when I was
working on the AVRO Arrow up in Canada, thousands of miles away…
and years ago. I tell them the story about the guy that bragged about
everything to all the other guys, and he would come in with something
new, "This was the best there was in the whole wide world,"
or, "This thing that you've got, everybody else has got junk."
I get confused about which of these guys is which now, but the one
guy that was the boss, he would hear that this guy was in bragging
about this thing and upsetting the rest of the guys and occupying
time and all that stuff. So he would try to stop the guy from doing
all this bragging stuff. So this one occasion he come in with a watch
and he says, "See this watch I got? This is the greatest watch
in the world. See, it says 'unbreakable crystal' on it. It says 'unbreakable
crystal, nonmagnetic, and shockproof.'" This is a tough watch.
And waterproof to 200 feet, something like that.
So his boss, he takes a look at the watch. He says, "Let me see
"See, it says it right there, unbreakable crystal," and
So the fellow took the watch and laid it on an anvil and a big sledge
hammer in this hand, and he went CRUNCH! Smashed the watch all to
hell, and said, "Hey, Bob, I think you were taken." [Laughter]
That was the end of the conversation.
Well, I had heard that story up in the shops at Malton, at that airport,
in about 1949 or '50, and I'm telling that story, and the other guys
that worked for these guys, they looked at me and they looked at Bob
and Clyde, and they started laughing. I said, "What are you laughing
about? I think that's a pretty good story."
They said, "Well, you're talking about Clyde Thiele and Bob Little.
That's who did that." They did, in fact, do that. I had heard
that it was guys that worked in a government shop someplace. I'm convinced
that was it. The guy that owned the watch, his name was Bob, because
the story said, "Hey, Bob, you were taken." Small world
like you wouldn't kind of believe.
Small world. What a small world.
So that's the story of Bob. You might ask Caldwell Johnson of which
of the two, who was the boss, and I think it was Bob Little, and Clyde
Thiele was the braggart.
Caldwell knows that. I know he knows that.
John [B.] and Dottie [Dorothy B.] Lee. Dottie Lee was the only woman
engineer at the time we went to the Space Task Group, and her husband
was also an engineer. I dealt with them. Dealt with Dottie on the
heat shield development and heat thermal protection on the Apollo
Program. I remember meeting with her, talking with her about something
that I thought was fairly straightforward, and she says, "You
know, that's the most profound thing I've ever heard," and I
remember, boy, what's profound about this? And I couldn't sort of
figure it. It was something that was very ordinary to the airplane
It might have had something to do with what kind of material we'd
used for the heat protection that everybody was fretting and fuming
so much for. I simply stated what the material was that we used in
a certain part of that AVRO Arrow [air conditioning exhaust duct which
operated at] very, very high temperatures. I sort of spelled out specifications.
I said, "You know, well, the worst problem that I had in thermal,
trying to do proper thermal design, I ended up solving it by using
this kind of material," and apparently I quoted to her something
that she had an understanding was such a high classification that
it was—and here was this "northern wetback" kind of
brought it down from the North, said, "This is the right material."
So, I don't know, she had some way been privy to the development of
that, and here it was known by an ordinary guy like me.
Betsy [F.] Magin was Max Faget's secretary, a very interesting person.
Had an awful lot of fun with her. She was a great fun person.
Carl and Julie. Julie [Julia R.] Watkins was Bob Piland's secretary,
and she was a great girl, too, and her husband Carl was, as well.
Bob Williams. I've mentioned him before. I have such great admiration
for Bob because of what he went through. I don't know exactly why
he resigned and so forth, but I figured that he certainly saved the
day in areas that I was weak in. I was an aeronautical engineer and
he's electrical. He brought to bear electrical insight that I wasn't
that capable of. He was such a pleasant guy. When you talk with him,
he still lives in Wyoming someplace, and I'm sure that George [Abbey]
would be very happy to have you go up and visit with Bob, because
I think he felt very highly of him as well. I think that Bob got maybe
not too good a treatment after he resigned. I think people let him
carry a burden that he ought not to have carried, even if they had
shifted more of it to me. My wife still writes to Bob and his wife,
and we've seen them on a few occasions, not much.
A fellow named Jack [John W.] Small [Jr.] ended up being the guy at
Grumman, that was our daily interface at Grumman. He represented NASA
at the contractor's plant up at Grumman. We had a similar guy at North
American. Jack Small, when I first met him, he was the communications
expert. I asked him, "What do you think the communications system
on the Apollo lunar module was going to be? Give me an estimate. You're
a communications expert. Tell me how much that's going to weigh."
And he told me a pound and a half. Even I, who didn't know much about
those things, thought that that was pretty small weight, you know,
a pound and a half. However, your cellular phone that you've got now,
weighs less than that. He was thinking in the [real far] future. We
aren't going to do this for 100 years yet, you know. So he was saying,
what's the trend going to be? Well, we finally are going to get communications
systems that on one end of it, you're going to have something that's
just a few pounds in weight. So I'm trying to get the lightest weight
because this gives me the most capability to get to difficult places
on the moon and all that kind of stuff. But his pound and a half,
we've sort of retained that as a sort of joke thing. It weighed a
lot more than a pound and a half, maybe two or three pounds. I don't
remember what it weighs.
I remember Jack as being a good friend and a very good guy at Grumman,
not just in the communications area, but sort of covered all areas.
It was great to have him there and watching over things 100 percent
of the time. So I would go up, and I had a great time when I'd go
to Grumman. It was just plain fun for me to go there and deal with
people that were terribly responsible people, but were sort of easy
to deal with, in that you didn't have to be too careful about what
you said to them, because you knew that they were only going to do
the sensible thing anyway. You could be a little cavalier and get
Dick [Richard R.] Carley. You might have interviewed him.
Yes, just last month.
Did I show you his picture in that AVRO Arrow thing?
I didn't actually personally have a lot to do with Dick, but I did
know him at AVRO and during the Apollo Program. He was off working
the computers on the Gemini Program that I really wasn't involved
with. He was sort of the world's leading expert in a lot of the features
of digital computers and initiation of the use of a digital computer.
He had an awful lot to do with that, a very responsible guy and worked
very closely with Jim Chamberlin on that subject.
Chuck Mathews. Did we mention him before? Did you say you had interviewed
We have interviewed him, yes.
Okay. I gave you a note about, if you're talking with him again, tell
him my kids were asking about his kids.
Tell him my kids are all fine and they've all got kids except Ross.
He doesn't have any kids, but he loves his nieces and nephews.
Oh, good. Good.
Bob and Jean Gilruth. The Center director, the guy that came and recruited
me, he is still living, but he has Alzheimer's in a very terminal
kind of a way…
And Alan Shepard. I didn't know Al's wife's name, but Al and I had
an awful lot of very professional interactions in terms of engineering
requirements. He was a guy that I would sort of—didn't have
a lot of interaction with other astronauts, but he was the guy that
was sort of assigned to interact most completely with detailed systems
engineering and other kinds of engineering in the program. Of course,
my mother loved him.
John and Annie, I guess it is, Glenn. I knew John a little bit. I
didn't know him really very well, but he certainly was "Mr. Clean."
I remember somebody asked me—my daughter's father-in-law in
Massachusetts asked me one time if I thought John Glenn would make
a good President. He ran for the presidency some time ago. I said,
"Well, if you want an Eagle Scout for President, okay, John would
make you a good President. But if you don't want an Eagle Scout, I
don't think you want an Eagle Scout for President, then you don't
want John Glenn. You're going to get an Eagle Scout out of John Glenn."
Absolutely straightforward guy, tremendously capable and responsible
and brave and everything else. A great husband, I know that. His relationship
with his wife was—just on occasion, if somebody went to mess
her up when she was stressed out when he was flying and all that,
including the Vice President. He wanted to come and comfort her or
something. John was all over him about this. He didn't want him to
walk on his property. Maybe he was a different political party, because
John ended up being a politician, anyway.
Deke [Donald K.] Slayton. Very tough story about Deke, you know, the
whole [deal] he had with his heart problems. I've had some of them
myself, and I wasn't in a position that it hampered me as much as
his did, because they occurred much later and I really wasn't an astronaut
anyway. But I used to go—sometimes I would go on trips with
him after he was sort of sidelined, and sometimes before he was sort
of sidelined because of his heart problems.
I remember going to Boeing [Airplane Company] to participate in a
review of the Dyna-Soar Program that was the Air Force's equivalent
of like Space Shuttle. It looked more like the Shuttle than it did
like the Mercury or Apollo or any of those. Had wings on it and everything.
Because NASA had the responsibility for man in space, there was no
charter for the Air Force to have that kind of a vehicle. So Deke
and I went to Boeing to participate in a review, and I think it was
a mockup review, representing all of NASA. You're supposed to go to
a mockup review and you see something that's sort of strange, you
write a little chit and either ask about it or suggest a change in
some regard, or something like that.
So [we] went and tried to play it low key, both of us, but it was
right after we were there that the program got cancelled. The way
we got treated by Boeing and people after that wasn't very good. We
didn't get shot or anything, but some of the people got the sense
that Deke and I deep-sixed that program, the Dyna-Soar Program.
I would, on occasion, room with Deke. That is, NASA was kind of penny-pinching
at the time. I don't know why we were rooming together, because I
don't remember doing this with hardly anybody else, but I remember
us being in the same room together. In the morning he would get up
and do his exercises. I would do pushups and he had this little rubber
thing that he'd do this with, you know. It was a little tiny thing
he kept in his briefcase. Every morning he would do exactly the same
routine, very, very organized in his routines.
I was reading in this book about him, this book I just got recently,
my daughter got it for me, and he's deceased now, so I think somebody
else might have finished off the back part of it. But there's a part
in there where somebody was—"other voices in the night"
or something. They have these little things every once in a while.
I think it must have been his wife, I think it was—I don't know
if it was his first wife or his second wife—sort of complained
about when he was a little boy, he never had his adenoids and tonsils
removed, and therefore he snored a lot. I don't remember him snoring.
I would have remembered something like that. If I remembered the elastic
thing, I would have remembered him snoring. I was reading it and I
thought, "Gee, I don't remember Deke snored." I remember
some of the other [characteristics], but I never remembered that Deke
So when I read all of these books, I find—and I've got most
of them there—when I read them, I find that the person that
wrote it sort of some way misunderstood the nature of the equipment
that they're actually operating with. That kind of shocks me continuously
as I read them. I keep running into that.
I read one recently in this Reader's Digest about Gene [Eugene
Yes, he just wrote his book.
Yes, so the Reader's Digest has got maybe a compressed version of
that book in it. I think we can sort of kill three birds with one
stone here if we do it right. [Looking at book.] There's Gene, the
last guy to walk on the moon. This is probably Buzz Aldrin. Yes, it
is Buzz Aldrin with Jack Kinzler's flag. Here's Gene with—I
had an awful time stomaching that. Where does it say, "Go land
on the moon, return safely to the Earth, and, incidentally, while
you're there, go run around in a Jeep and put yourself in jeopardy"
and all this kind of stuff? I had a hard time with those things. I
was amazed that they actually found room to put the thing on there.
Well, what he was talking about in here was the docking of the lunar
module, the command module, and how complex that was. I remember conceiving
it and talking—Caldwell Johnson said, you know, any young buck
knows how to rendezvous, but docking's the problem. So I said, well,
I'm going to take a look at that docking problem very carefully and
make the assignment to Larry [Laurence G.] Williams to make sure that
that docking system never created a problem, and if ever it did, he
was to be there in that Spacecraft Analysis Network room to say how
to get out of that problem. And he was, up until I left. Then as soon
as I left, he never showed up again, and they had one of these problems
after I left. [Laughter]
And he doesn't show up. I was there as a guest in the viewing room,
so I'm sitting there with another guy, and he's saying, "What
do you think is going on there?" I said, "Well, they've
had a problem with the docking mechanism there, but don't you worry,
because they'll call the SPAN room and Larry Williams will be in the
SPAN room and he will come out and talk to the flight director and
the capsule communicator and tell them what to do." It's all
been written down and everything, but some of the nuances bear explaining
I guess that picture isn't in here. So we are recording this, are
Let me say something about that docking system we used.
It's called the probe and drogue. So when I sat down with Larry Williams—and
this is typically the way I would sit down and talk to a designer
about things—I would say, "What are the requirements?"
"Well, it's to some way dock the lunar module to the command
module, and vice versa."
I'd say, "Well, no, I mean in really elementary detail things."
So it went something like this. After thinking about it, I would have
a problem on my mind, and about two or three o'clock in the morning
my brain would work out what the answer to the problem was, and then
in the morning I would wake up and I would have a different perspective
on the problem than I had when I went to bed.
Caldwell Johnson would do a similar thing, except his mind did its
working while he was out fishing in the wee hours of the morning,
or duck hunting or something. Then he would come into work and he'd
write little notes and leave them on your desk. He was into work before
everybody else was. The notes would sometimes say, "Okay, about
that problem we had the other day. Do this and this and this and this.
Charlie, you do that, and Art, you do that," and so forth. Sometimes
you'd see notes that said, "Owen, there's two flounders and three
ducks in the freezer in the cafeteria for you," so you'd go down
and there would be two flounders and three ducks with a little note
on it to that effect. [Laughter] This guy just spoke his mind. He
lived there at the Langley Field, and this was his home. He had sufficiently
good relationships with everybody, that they would let him put his
stuff in their freezer. Now people come along and want him to move
to Texas, you know. This is bad news for a guy that's really got his
beachhead established there.
So, within two or three days of us really realizing we're going to
have to face up to this docking problem, I came into work and I had
the following things on my mind to use, to tell Larry Williams how
we should approach this. And it went something like this, that, I
don't know, but I think that these two spacecraft, no matter whether
they've been together in the last few minutes or they've been separated
for a long period of time, they might have built up different charges
on them, where one was highly positive or one was highly negative,
or slightly different anyway. When you bring them both together, there
might be sort of a big lightning bolt. Not saying that there really
will be, but I've got to face up to what would happen if that situation
So the first thing I want to do is, I want to have one touch the other
one and discharge that thing, and I know that you get voltage gradients.
The voltage gradient is the problem. The voltage difference between
the two things, divided by the distance between the two, and when
that gets high enough, there will be a little arcing and a little
pitting. That occurs in your light switches and everything else. That's
why the light switch has to sort of go quickly so that that pitting
doesn't occur too deeply. So that when you make that dock, when the
one thing touches the other thing, it has to be done at a fairly—it
should be done at a significant rate of closure. So I'm just touching.
That's all I want to do, is I want to touch, but I want to keep on
closing. I don't want to bounce off. So that was one of the requirements,
Next requirement is to tie together so that if there's a tendency
to pull away, it won't pull away. That's one degree of freedom. If
you think of things as having three axes, an X, Y, and a Z axes, you
get forces in three directions, and no matter what the force is, you
can resolve them into three directions. No matter what the moments
are, you can resolve them into three directions. No matter what the
angular displacements are, you can solve them in three directions.
So, first thing, so there's three forces in both directions. So there's
really six forces altogether, like three tension and three compression,
so there's six of those. And there's three moments in both directions,
so there's six of those. So I've got these twelve things that I have
to deal with when the thing is [separate]—two things are [separate],
they're completely free with respect to one another, and they have
the ability to move in all of these twelve directions.
So I want to take one at a time. So I want to take the X direction,
we'll say, along the centerline of the axes of the two spacecraft,
or one of the spacecraft, and I want to tie that down, all of a sudden
tie the two together in that particular direction. And having tied
them together with a sort of a string that's in tension, you pull
them together so that it will come apart against a compression thing,
so that it can take both tension and compression. So there's two of
Now, that makes one spacecraft able to sort of wobble a lot with respect
to the other in … pitch and yaw and roll, all three directions.
You don't worry about that. You just let them wobble in angular motions.
You've got to nail down in sort of the X and Y direction and Z direction
just by this one contact, that at the same time took out the electrostatic
discharge. So first thing is to tie them together and then to get
rid of the angular motions in the yaw and pitch and roll. They might
have violent motions because might have large velocities at the time
when they touch. So you want some shock absorbers to dissipate that
energy in those directions and also along the axis.
So it was very definitive about the way we stated the problem, and
having stated the problem in sort of geometric axis kind of degrees
of freedom, then degrees of constraint kind of terms, then that lets
the designer think about how [he] can mechanize this now. So then
we said—or I said, the business of tying it together in the
first place is no different from an airplane with a probe on the end
of it that hooks into the drogue on a refueling airplane. So when
the airplane pilot flies up to the pipe tube that comes out of the
back of the tanker, he puts this thing in the hole of that thing,
and then he touches. There's an electrostatic problem there, too.
So the mechanization of it is, you follow—"Larry, you do
what they do on refueling systems that the Air Force has got fabulous
numbers of hours on." They didn't have so many hours as they've
got now. Like these guys these days, they refuel two or three times
in a mission. But the people did know how to do that refueling business.
So tying the probe and the drogue together, the drogue is on the tanker
and the probe is on the airplane that needs the refueling. So once
you tie that together and the mechanization that you use to do that,
the little probes or devices you use to latch them together and so
forth, just copy it straight from highly developed refueling equipment.
Then having done that, having got them tied together, now pull them
together by having that probe compressed with hydraulics or pneumatics,
and just pull them together so that you force shock absorbers, that
are like elbows, to hit up against the side of the drogue, which is
already on the refueling thing. It's very much like that same thing.
So the elbow of the three shock absorbers on the lunar module thing
or the command module thing. It was on the command module where this
stuff was basically—the probe part was mounted on the command
It will then dissipate the yaw and pitching momentums, momenta, and
then you retract the center actuator and just pull them right together
until the two faces, the sort of round faces, they maybe come together
like this or that, instead of flush. But whenever they come together
like that, you keep compressing them until they come together flat.
As soon as they're together flat all the way around, you then activate
the latches around here that tie them together permanently. Then when
you want to separate, you undo those latches and reverse, take that
thing that you retracted and now you extend it. Then you are in the
same problem as the probe and drogue and the refueling thing.
So the problems that they always had in this thing [were] exactly
the kind of problems that you'd have in a refueling thing. You never
had problems once they got the things tied together. It was never
any problem occurred in the things that didn't have to do with the
equipment of the refueling thing. So I never could understand why
they didn't understand this.
There were some problems with who is it that trained the astronauts.
We built simulators that trained them with respect to an awful lot
of things, but we didn't build devices where they could go practice
this thing, because in this case—you're a test pilot, you must
have done a refueling thing at some point in time in your career.
So this is not different from that. This is a pretty simple thing,
and we'll just tell them that this won't be any different than your
refueling thing, to speak of. But we'd have Larry Williams there in
case some nuance came up because of the magic of deep space or something.
Anyway, that's the latest of one of these things that came up. I'm
reading a book about somebody. "This thing is so complicated,
you know, very tricky and all this kind of thing." You never
heard them complaining about probe and drogue system in-flight refueling
thing. I couldn't understand why they would think that this thing
was complicated compared with this refueling concept, except maybe
they didn't have any experience in the refueling. I never did, because
when I was flying, we never did refueling. They hadn't matured it
to the point where it was a viable thing.
Now, I've mentioned Joe Loftus and Jack Sevier. You haven't talked
to either one of those guys.
Tremendously important people in the scheme of things, of crew stations
and all that kind of thing for Joe, and the human factors, how do
you fly the thing and how do you train. Now, I met these guys after
Caldwell Johnson had been transferred from the program office back
to the Engineering Directorate, and Dave [David M.] Hammock came to
the Program Office from Engineering Directorate to take Caldwell's
place. Because of some conflict that Joe Shea had, a constraint that
Joe had with respect to—he wanted somebody different from Caldwell
Johnson. Maybe they didn't get along or something. I don't know what
So anyway, some way he got Dave Hammock, and Dave was the head of
another department. Mine was Spacecraft Integration Department and
his was Launch Vehicle Integration Department. He was a propulsion
guy, primarily, that we used to interface with Marshall Space Flight
Center and their propulsion stuff. Perfectly capable guy that grew
up in a comparable kind of culture and background, what-not, to me,
and he had a lot to do with boats, steam engines on boats, and pistons
going back and forth. We had quite a bit in common that we could kind
of talk easily, yet separate very easily what it is that we were involved
So Dave came on board as the command module engineering guy, and I
was the lunar module engineering guy. Charlie Frick left, just like
Caldwell Johnson did. Joe Shea came on board as the program manager.
He sort of required this to be the situation when he arrived. Some
way he—enough said. Joe immediately said, "Okay, these
aren't going to be two separate organizations. They're going to be
systems engineering, and you're going to think total system rather
than two different spacecraft or two different or many, many subsystems.
Think of it as a total system. So that's the way you're going to have
to think now, guys."
And people didn't usually do that. There weren't many people who did
that, but Joe did in previous things that he had worked on, and so
did General [Samuel C.] Phillips, who hadn't come to the program yet,
but he was, in the future, to be the program director from NASA headquarters.
So now things are right. We have an American guy that's head of systems
engineering, Dave Hammock, and Joe Shea is an American guy, and they've
got this Canadian guy that has some insight about how things work
from having been involved in their conception in the first place,
and bringing them up to speed to where they are now. A perfectly willing
guy to not be the number-one guy and all that, you know. Things looked
like they might work out.
Well, it wasn't very long before—well, I became aware that there
was going to be a briefing in NASA headquarters about the—I
knew quite a bit about the command module and service module and also
more about the lunar module, but a lot of water went under the bridge
on the command module and service module during Caldwell being the
guy that, after contract award to North Americans, and the only thing
that I really knew was they got my model. If they make it like the
model, they'll have a good pencil sharpener on the guy's head.
There was to be a briefing at NASA headquarters, at a very high level.
The people who were to be there [included] the administrator, Jim
Webb. I thought of these people as being above God sort of thing,
you know. There was to be a guy named General Sam Phillips, that Webb
and others were trying to entice to let himself be loaned from the
Air Force to come work on Apollo. I guess at the time, to people that
knew about how do organizations work, it would sound like that's a
good thing to do. I was indifferent. I didn't sort of care who the
hell was at NASA headquarters. They were so far away from what I did,
that I didn't care, sort of thing.
But anyway, there was to be this big briefing, and it was to be done
by the Systems Engineering Division at the Manned Spacecraft Center.
So I put together the part for the lunar module, the status of it
and everything, and Dave put together the part about the command and
service module and the rest of the program. There was a lot more to
be said about the command and service module than there was about
the lunar module, and I knew about the lunar module. I would be [on
a re-learning] curve about the command and service module.
Well, Dave resigned sort of the day before that presentation was to
be made, and so I was the Assistant Division Chief, so it was abundantly
clear that I would have to go make this presentation. So I got the
visual aids, and I think they were like slides, glass slides, three-inch
or something like that, that we used in those days. Sometimes we used
flip charts and sometimes we used overhead projectors, and sometimes
we used 35 millimeter, but the common thing was these glass things.
They're very difficult to make time-wise and everything. So I had
to essentially take the artwork that's been produced for my own presentation.
I wasn't to [actually] make a presentation. I just prepared it and
then I gave it to him, [Dave]. He understood everything about the
lunar module, but I didn't understanding [everything] about the command
So I get handed all of his charts, and I have to go to Washington
and brief God and everybody about this, where the program is. I went
and I took all this stuff, and I stayed up all night thinking about
how I'm going to use—it wasn't clear as to how you use these
charts and what order you put them in or what you're going to say
or anything. There was no (what I call) facing-page text so that anybody
could have made the presentation. So I have to figure out what the
facing-page text—what I would say when that visual aid is up
there on the screen. It isn't that it took me all night. I simply
took all night to think through this thing. I'd had no sleep.
I go in the next morning and here is God and everybody, Jim Webb and
General Phillips, and Max Faget is there and Joe Shea is there. A
lot of us are learning how to get along together, like Joe and Max
had a problem in this regard. Some people would say they didn't, and
maybe you just wouldn't categorize it as a problem, but one thought
one way and one thought another way.
Anyway, I went through and did the presentation, and I was amazed
that I was sort of not uptight about it in any kind of a way. I remember
I got to the point where I'm talking about the command module and
what the lift-to-drag ratio was going to be so that you'd know how
much cross range and up range and down range maneuvering capability
you would have. Some people were of the school of thought that, well,
we don't want it to have any lift-to-drag ratio so that it won't get
off the ballistic track. That is, … it doesn't have any lift
at right angles [to the] free air stream. If you put the center of
gravity right on the center of the cone, then it won't have [any "LIFT"].
If you offset the center of gravity a little bit, it will start to
create an angle of attack and the thing will move off in a particular
direction. So your guidance system has to know about all that. If
it's straight ballistic, you just have to know where it was when it
reentered and how fast it was going in three directions. Then you
could predict where it was going to land. But if you had this lifting
capability, Lord knows, because you could roll it so that you had
it at a certain attitude and the lift vector was over here and you
rolled it, then the lift vector was over there, it would cancel out.
So just by spinning on the way in, just like a bullet does when it
comes out of a rifle barrel, the reason it's spinning is so that any
eccentricities in the center of gravity doesn't create an angle of
attack and a lift vector and cause it to come off its proper ballistic
trajectory. So that's why you spin them up. So you could spin up the
command module. It doesn't have to be spun up very fast to do this
and to null it all out, so if you want to come in on a straight ballistic
trajectory, you should spin the thing up. That's a fairly easy thing
If you want to actually fly it steady so the lift vector is in one
direction, that's a little harder to do in some ways, or in some other
direction. So you can correct both up range, down range, and cross
range, both ways, by simply rolling the thing up [to] the right angles
and all that, which ends up being something that you have to do in
the computer to help the astronaut to do this.
So there were those, including Max, of the school of thought that
you don't want any eccentricity. You want a straight come-in ballistically.
Then there's nothing to fail. So there was an argument from that one
school of thought versus the other school that wants the maximum maneuverability
capability. The astronauts would be in favor of that so that I can
have the greatest ability to fly the thing, you know. Bigger, more
of a jock kind of a thing.
So this argument had been going on in my absence under Caldwell Johnson,
and North American's [involvement] and the flight operations people
are involved and the flight crew people are all involved. So I came
to this point and the document didn't say what the current requirement
was in this regard, and I simply asked Max, in the middle of the presentation,
I said, "Max, what's the L-over-D these days?" If you're
in the airplane business and you're a pilot, you know that fundamental
to the airplane is what the lift-to-drag ratio is, what the L-over-D
is. So I realized that—I said this to Max, so, you know, "What's
the L-over-D requirement like today?" You know, inferring that
it wasn't like this yesterday or the week before or something, which
is true. But to a guy that's coming in from the outside, here we have
the chief of systems engineering [who] doesn't even know what the
hell the L-over-D is, you know, sort of thing.
But Max came back and told me what it was and showed that we had a
good relationship, and I guess Phillips knew that I was sort of new
to that part of the job and so forth. So I skated over. That was the
biggest boo-boo that I made all day. It was a completely forgivable
[We had apparently] convinced General Phillips that he should, in
fact, come to the program, but he said, on accepting the job, he said,
"First thing I want to do is talk to Owen Maynard," because
he knew that I had a lot of problems systems engineering-wise, and
he was very, very much an expert in that field. And he's going to
be the boss of the total program, command service module, lunar module,
and the launch vehicle all come under his jurisdiction now. He's figuring
that I've got more problems than anybody else's got and that he'd
better kind of get in and help me solve my problems or at least understand
whether or not I understand them.
So I don't know where we got into that. Some of the other astronauts
that I've interacted with were, of course, Deke and Wally. And [L.]
Gordon Cooper [Jr.], not much. I wasn't involved on Mercury by the
time they started flying in it, or [M.] Scott Carpenter. Jim [James
A.] McDivitt came along later. He wasn't in the first batch of seven.
He came along later. Had a lot of interaction with Jim, and he actually
became the program manager after George Low left, so he ended up being
my boss. He was a colonel at the time, and I used to tell my guys,
when they're dealing with other astronauts and everybody else, "I
want you to take command of the situation, guys, and you view yourselves
as colonels, because some of the flight crew are colonels. But don't
give yourself a rank below that. You assume command and you assume
that you're going to tell them what they're going to do."
I learned this from a guy named Squadron Leader CLV Leit Gervais [now
deceased], in the Canadian Air Force, and he could jump into a place,
a position that required you to take command of something, and he
would take command in a way that you just dream about, you never would
picture anybody doing this. He could command the situation where the
people that he's commanding outranked him by a lot, and he would,
"I am in charge here." Didn't say, "I don't care what
your rank is," or anything, but, "I'm in charge." As
a matter of fact, when I heard him say this, he said, "This is
the camp." We had a summer camp where the squadron was doing
its training, to upgrade themselves to a certain level. I had received
a little bit of training as his adjutant. I didn't know why I was
receiving this, but I got trained as his adjutant.
We arrive in this out-of-the-way place, in an old building that had
been run down, and we renovated it instantly—I did—for
the reserve squadron that only flew on weekends normally, to come
to this place. We meet in the mess, and Squadron Leader Gerve all
of a sudden appears in the middle of the floor with all the other
guys, with their beer steins and everything, having a good time. Peacetime.
And he says, "I am Squadron Leader CLV Leit Gerve. I am the Camp
Commandant here. The program for your "Camp" operations
is as follows, and it is displayed over there." This is something
that he and I had prepared before the fact. I didn't know it was going
to be put out there for people to shoot at.
But anyway, there it is. "I will be the commandant." This
is a fancy way of saying, "I am the boss of this thing. I don't
care what your rank is or anything else, and I'm permanent Air Force
and you guys are all reserve Air Force and so forth." And he
says, "In my absence, Flying Officer Maynard will take my place."
All of a sudden I didn't sort of volunteer to have command of the
situation, but he did disappear a few times. These guys all accepted
this, you know. It was no problem, which kind of flabbergasted me.
So I had to sort of play that role a little bit.
Turned out when I was talking to George Abbey about—I was interviewing
him to see if I wanted him to come to NASA to work as the configuration
management guy on Apollo, but I'm not sure that he viewed it that
way. I think he came to figure out whether he wanted to come to NASA
to be the configuration management guy. So we had two slightly different
perspectives, but George probably knew that I had a different perspective
than he had, but I didn't know it. And he was actually thinking of
being an astronaut at the same time, and Joe Shea talked him into
being configuration management guy. And he was, and he did a tremendous
job on it.
He is a tremendously capable guy and terribly insightful, has tremendous
insights about certain things. His capabilities of understanding what's
going on in people's minds mysteriously, I don't know how he did it,
how he does a lot of that. But I'm sure he still does that, still
has that capability, but it took that kind of a thing to take on the
[job of] secretary of the Configuration Change Control Board, who
defines what it is that's going to be brought up at the board meeting,
and [whether] other people are prepared or [not is their problem].
You can't bring that up because you aren't prepared and so forth.
So the secretary of the Configuration Change Control Board has an
awful lot of power, and I've discovered that the secretary of anything
has got an awful lot of power. He can simply tell the chairman, before
the fact, "Well, this isn't ready for review yet by the board,
but this one is." So what gets reviewed and when it gets reviewed
is dictated by this guy.
Now, did I talk about Joe Bobik? Did I mention that name? He was the
And I talked about La Marr Beatty?
Okay. When Caldwell and I went to the Cape for the launch of the Mercury
Atlas number one, Joe Bobik—we were guests, and we'd had a few
drinks and were having a really good time and went around and visited
La Marr and the wife and kids and all that kind of stuff, and everybody
was so depressed. "Our baby is going to go flying." Joe
Bobik corners me and he says, "Owen, oh, you can't believe how
bad it is."
I said, "What are you talking about, Joe?"
And he says, "The problems with that capsule, mating it with
the Atlas launch vehicle at the interface where the adapter mates
to the Atlas launch vehicle is so messed up that you wouldn't believe
And I said, "Oh, Joe, you're just an old worry wart," you
He says, "I would say what's wrong but they won't fix it."
When he said what was wrong with building the capsule, I would see
to it that it got fixed to his satisfaction. Well, these people just
didn't have that attitude.
What the problem was, is we had two contractors, that is, McDonnell
and General Dynamics [Corporation] were the two. McDonnell built the
spacecraft and the adapter, and General Dynamics built the launch
vehicle. So you have two different contractors at these interfaces
… [where Joe's "terrible things" had been observed].
Two different Centers. Kennedy Space Center is responsible to get
them tied together, to tie these two contractors together. Kennedy
Space Center is responsible to do that. The Manned Spacecraft Center
is the Center that sort of owns it. The Lewis Research Center, which
is way off north someplace in Cleveland, their guy, Joe Bobik, the
inspector, has been following it all the way through, and he's responsible
to find out if everything is perfect.
Back in the days of the Air Force One, he used to have a crew as the
crew chief. He was the chief. He'd tell this Indian to this and this
Indian to do that, and whatever was wrong, he fixed it. He got it
fixed. Well, now this same guy identifies what's wrong, but these
Indians that have to fix it are all from different tribes and they
don't get along. They have been vying against each other, the government
guys, for budgets, and the contractor guys for, "I am the launch
vehicle contractor and you're only the spacecraft contractor. Who's
the superior and who's the chief?" and all this.
So that interface thing is a big problem. Joe told me about all these
sort of mechanical—I thought, well, what are they're talking
about? They haven't wire locked the way Joe wants it or something
like that. But he said, "No, no, it's worse than that. It's so
bad." He said it was so bad that he couldn't explain it to me,
and I thought, well, he's just gone over the hill. "I'm here
to have fun, Joe. It's not my problem. I'm not the project engineer
in this thing. I'm just here as a guest." Caldwell was, too.
The thing gets to 40,000 feet and it blows up. Gilruth comes out,
as I said, I think, earlier, with Walt Williams, and they put their
hands on my shoulders and say, "Okay, go find it and fix it."
The guy they'd assigned to take my place, they didn't talk to him
at all; they just came straight to me. They said, "You can have
any resource that this country has to find out what's wrong with it,
and we'll talk about what we have to do to fix it."
So I thought to myself, first resource I want is Joe Bobik. Now I
want to listen to what he had to say. And next resource I wanted was,
I thought probably the Navy had some kind of an underwater thing that
would go down there, diving bell, and you get into the bell and you
find the thing, some secret way of finding it that I wasn't privy
to, you know. This is the United States you're talking about here.
They can do anything. So I figured that they had this kind of capability
to find the thing, and I would only have to sit there and watch, sort
of. But, no, it was out in about thirty-some feet of water. We predicted
where it would land because [based on its ballistics from] when it
shut off and all that.
Then we went out and looked. We rented a fishing boat, [i.e. it] looked
like a fishing boat. It was really for this kind of a purpose, with
four scuba divers and two sixteen-foot aluminum boats with Evinrude
motors on them. We sent them out in a square search, where you tie
a chain between the two boats. They would just go down the water,
dragging the chain on the bottom, and whenever it would hang up on
something, scuba divers would go down and see what that was. If it
was something like an old missile that had been there for a long time
and had all kinds of growing stuff on it, then it wasn't new, so they'd
lift the chain over it, and then they'd continue on and do what's
called a square search. So you went like this and then went out like
that until you found something.
I can't remember where we found it, but we started at a point where
we predicted it would have landed if it went ballistically. Then we
did this square search, and we found it rather quickly. I had Joe
Bobik on board with me all the time when the guys are doing this.
He's telling me about all the nitty-gritty problems. The first thing
they did was—he's the safety guy, the inspection guy, and all
that stuff. The first thing they did—he wasn't too seaworthy
in this, didn't feel too good. The boat was a little bit rocky, I
But anyway, we got the thing together, recovered it. [There are] some
pieces of it we had a difficult time finding, and the Air Force thought
that some of this fiberglass that we had on the top, that replaced
the launch escape system, they thought that that might have fallen
off and punched a hole in the Atlas tanks, and that's how come it
So I couldn't find some of this stuff that they postulated that that
might be the case, so I dove down. I had done some skin diving when
I worked for [the MacCraft Boat Works in 1940]. We lost an anchor
and I went down and found the anchor [without] scuba gear. So I didn't
really know how to work the scuba gear thing, so I just dove down
[about] thirty feet, I think [that] is not an unreasonable—yes,
you can dive a lot further than that. Free diving. If you do it with
scuba gear, you have to be careful about how fast you come back up
again. You can [scuba dive] deep and you can [stay] down there for
a long time, but if you're free diving (just take a breath on the
surface and dive down and hold your breath) you can do that without
sort of damaging yourself, but you can't stay very long.
So anyway, I drove down, skin diving, to see what it was like. They
told me—I said, "This thing is sort of orange color,"
but they couldn't find it. Then when I got down there, I could see
why they couldn't find it, because everything else was orange color,
too, all the little life forms and everything. They tend to be that
color. So then I had to describe more specifically what kind of orange
and what its shape was and things like that, and then they found it.
We put it together, and I discovered that Jim Chamberlin was the guy
that was in charge of this recovery thing. I wasn't. I just was told
to go find it, but Jim was still my boss. He always would show up
as being your boss, you know. So he and I would go to different contractors
and hear what they had to say about the thing—the Convair [Division
of General Dynamics Corp.] people that built the launch vehicle, McDonnell,
that built the adapter that I had put together, but they had done
some super analyses with computers and everything more so than I did.
And several other experts. Even Chuck [Charles E.] Yeager. We went
and talked to Chuck Yeager about what happens at high speed and things.
I did. Jim Chamberlin didn't do that.
But we finally figured out, in a very elementary way, what we believed
had gone wrong, and the Air Force and everybody else had done it in
a very sophisticated way, with the greatest of computer programs and
systems engineering analysts and everything. Jim is chairing these
meetings. They had made their presentations that were magnificent.
We stopped for a coffee break and Jim sees me over in the corner,
sitting beside him, sort of, on the stage off where people didn't
really see me, and I'm using this [little old circular] slide rule
right here. I'm doing calculations. Normally people use slipstick
slide rules like this, but I used to use this "sissy" one
… and get people torqued off. They start not making sense. So
I'd pull this thing off. They didn't know how to work this, and they
knew how to work that one.
So anyway, I'm working with this thing and it didn't bother Jim, but
it would bother a lot of other people to see me doing this calculation
and then see him asking me, you know, "What are you finding out?
What's the answer you're getting?" He knew what the problems
were that I was analyzing. So he figured that I'd be getting the answer
about now, and I had this envelope. Sure enough, I had this envelope.
I was writing on the back of this envelope.
I said, "Oh, I have a negative margin of safety of 5 percent
at the adapter launch vehicle skin interface on the launch vehicle
side," to the point where he just heard me say that. He knew,
when I said that, that that meant that the skins of the launch vehicle
would be put in compression and they would buckle because the [compressive]
stress in them [due to drag and bending loads] had exceeded the tensile
stress due to internal pressure. As long as the thing was pressurized,
you could put compressive—like the skin itself was pressurized.
You could put a compressive load on it like this, as long as there
was enough tension load on it that didn't let it go into total compression.
One equaled the other out. So the local pounds-per-inch in compression,
due to the bending moments and whatnot, was 5 percent greater than
the tension loads in the skin due to the internal pressure.
I predicted that using the technology and approaches that you would
use [for] designing an arrow. I don't mean the AVRO [Arrow]. I mean
the kind you shot with a bow. I was a toxopholist, sort a nut about
archery, and so I had certain ways of understanding how … you
design an arrow for the purposes of making it stiff, yet light, and
all this kind of stuff. The equations that you use are much the same
as you—the same as I used, in any case, for this total stack
of Atlas-Mercury thing. I don't know how these other guys formulated.
They had the fancier equations of motion and everything, and mine
was pretty elementary.
So I told them we had this negative margin of safety of 5 percent.
So after coffee break, everybody comes back together, and Jim stands
up and he says, "Well, gentlemen, I'd like to thank you for the
really wonderful presentations that you've given us, and the understanding
that you have for the program and the problems and everything is tremendous.
We certainly appreciate it. However—" He was the master
of that, too. "However, THE NASA has determined that there is
a negative margin of safety at max-alpha-Q of about 5 percent, and
that NASA will write the contract change notice to add doublers on
the Atlas skins so that we'll allow them to go into compression some
before they buckle, and we'll also change the trajectory to decrease
the bending moment [by] not [pitching] it over so fast. Thank you
very much, gentlemen," and that was the end of it.
These guys were livid, the Air Force and General Dynamics and everything
else. But Jim had said, "The NASA," like it wasn't just
NASA that determined it, it was "the NASA," like "the
Christ child," "the God almighty," and he said, "the
NASA did something." I looked around to see where the rest of
NASA was, and I was the only guy that was NASA. He had a funny way
of doing that. We, in fact, did that change and they went on and continued
to fly the thing with some doublers on it.
I spent quite a bit of time [with] Jim Chamberlin, but he was a key
guy in so much of this, in [the Arrow], Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.
Well, not so much Apollo. I didn't realize that he was viewed as a
leading expert on Apollo. I'd been off doing Apollo by myself, without
the benefit of Jim Chamberlin being around, but when push came to
shove and they had certain problems that they couldn't have me solve,
they would go to Jim to solve them because he had the right security
clearances, because he had gotten his U.S. citizenship and all that.
He had told me, when I was required to—I had this thing that
says, "Please sign this piece of paper that you intend to become
a U.S. citizen," and I said, "I didn't know, when I left
Canada, that I was supposed to become a U.S. citizen." And he
says, "Well, don't worry about it. You can intend to be one today
and sign the piece of paper, and you can intend to not be one tomorrow,
you see, but you already signed the piece of paper." Another
one of the "is is," you know, kind of a thing. But I think
he must have become a U.S. citizen and he would get clearances and
coming to understand certain data that I didn't get to know about.
If we could pause there for a minute, I'll change the tape again.
After you left NASA, I understand that you moved on into industry
to work on Solar-Powered Satellites. Could you tell me about your
work in that, and how it evolved, and the status that it's in now?
All right. I didn't leave NASA to work on Solar-Powered Satellites;
I left NASA to find out about such things as Solar-Powered Satellites.
I didn't understand it. They had been conceived, but I was looking
for something for NASA to use to pay back the taxpayers and everybody
else that paid for us having the great opportunities to do the Mercury,
Gemini, and Apollo Programs and to actually give them something that
would begin to pay them back. I talked about that to Bob Gilruth,
now Dr. Gilruth, and Chris Kraft, now Dr. Kraft. Everybody is a "doctor"
these days. But I didn't know what I was looking for.
Joe Shea and [D.] Brainerd Holmes at Raytheon said, "That's consistent
with what we at Raytheon would like to do as well, so we'd be happy
to have you come here and spend 90 percent of your time figuring out
what ought to be done in the U.S. [by] Raytheon … and [10 percent
on] what ought to be done … in Canada, but from a Raytheon perspective,
since Raytheon-Canada is in Waterloo," where we currently are.
… I never did come to work for Raytheon-Canada, like I was supposed
to, but I was to spend 10 percent of my time figuring out what would
be appropriate for Canada to do, versus what would be appropriate
for the United States Raytheon to do. Therefore, NASA would be our
customers in the United States, and Canadian Space Agency would be
our customers in Canada, but the Canadian Space Agency didn't exist
yet. So I was plowing pretty unplowed ground.
I never did find out what Canada should do and get it compatible with
what Canada wanted itself to do, and I never could do that. I never
could get that 10 percent of my time spent on what Canada should do.
So when I retired in '92, I tried to bring that back into existence,
because I feel very strongly that both the U.S. and Canada ought to
be doing certain things, and I'm not in a position to actually tell
them what to do. I don't work for either one of them, and they have
no reason to—they have people that are doing that sort of thing
Once you leave, you are an outsider, and it's very difficult to—as
a matter of fact, when John Hodge started working on the Space Station,
he had worked on it for quite a while, and he left NASA, I think,
and he came back and he started working on it again. I heard that
he was doing this, so I called him up to say congratulations, but
I was sort of kidding, because it was a very tough problem. It was
a problem that you sort of didn't want to have.
I said, "Congratulations, I think, John, in your new assignment."
I said, "Incidentally, I wanted to tell you that as you start,
that when I was in the Engineering Directorate in the Spacecraft Integration
Branch and you were in the Flight Operations Directorate, in the Flight
Control Division, and you were the head of that division, and you
were worrying about Gemini and subsequently Apollo, while you were
doing that, I was in the Engineering Directorate in Spacecraft Integration,
I got the assignment to define the configuration for the Space Station
that would sort of replace that configuration that everybody else
was yammering about sometimes under contract and sometimes by internal
studies and all that kind of thing."
And I had reviewed some of these studies and had expressed my unhappiness
with them, so AIAA [American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics]
decided that they would have a publication, one of their early journals,
that would be dedicated to the Space Station and have Bob Gilruth—wasn't
yet a doctor—to be the honorary editor of this. So I got the
assignment to write the central paper on space stations. I probably
had a big ego that got me into trouble, because it precipitated that,
so it's all my own fault that I got this thing, among other things.
I had to go figure out what a space station should do.
That resulted in a patent. Manned Spacecraft Center was new, and NASA
was relatively new, and they had a bunch of legal patent attorneys.
Those attorneys thought this was a good thing to patent after we wrote
the article and it appeared in the magazine. I can't remember the
dates, but I can get them, to find that article.
We finally conceived a Space Station that was based on the same sort
of way of thinking that we had conceived the—not the Mercury,
because other people really conceived that, and other people really
conceived the Gemini, but the way we sort of conceived the Apollo
Program under the overall leadership of Bob Gilruth.
In the first meeting that I had with Bob Gilruth on Apollo, I asked
him what the guidelines should be, and he had said that, "Well,
you're an aerospace technologist. We hired you," and these other
three or four guys who were at this meeting. "You guys, [for
the] government, have to figure out what the guidelines should be."
We didn't even know what President Kennedy was going to say. We didn't
know that he was going to decide that we really want to go to the
moon and land before the decade is out and return them safely and
all that. We didn't have that as a guideline. We had to sort of—what
would we think ought to be done, or what are the options that we've
got to tell NASA headquarters that they can tell the President that
he can now use as a policy statement? And that was all kind of “loosey
goosey,” the way that gets done.
But that's sort of what I was doing. I was fishing around in this
field of things to see what would make some kind of sense. So we had
defined a fair amount about what Apollo was, enough that we could
get that contract with North American going, and enough that we could
get the lunar module contract started, but not quite. We didn't get
the right amount of money and all that kind of thing.
So this came at a time when I was in sort of transition of quite a
few things, and so I all of a sudden had to invent—and I didn't
think of it as an invention, but it ended up getting patented, and
I didn't think it was patentable, but I'm not the one that decides
those things. So I ended up making some sketches and using my little
circular slide rule and other things. I had studied quite a bit of
issues about what I thought requirements might maybe could be or should
be, so I wasn't starting exactly from ground zero.
I came home from a meeting where one of the contractors was presenting
what they [thought the] Space Station should be, at one of the NASA
Centers, the Langley Research Center had a study [by] North American,
so I was sitting there observing that and appearing very negative,
so that's when I really got the assignment to go, "Well, you
figure it out yourself, then." And so I know that people that
are sort of in charge of things or put themselves in charge of things
deserve what they get, you know. "Go figure it out, you know,
by yourself." So I'm going home on the airplane, and I'm making
sketches of what I think this thing ought to be. Rather than writing
requirements, I tended to draw pictures. That's maybe not the right
thing to do, but anyway, that's the way I did it at that time.
I walked into my office in Virginia, and I gave these pictures to
Will Taub [deceased]. I said, "We've got to write a paper to
put in this AIAA document." I was working for Chuck Mathews at
the time. "We're supposed to talk about space stations. Bob Gilruth
will be the honorary editor."
So Will Taub took this terrible sketch thing that I made, and he's
a great artistic guy as well, and he made that into a picture that
looked kind of rational, and it kind of looked like this. It said
that the thing is sitting on the pad, the Space Station sits on top
of the lower stages of a Saturn launch vehicle, and [it appears to
be] just a [big] cylindrical thing. There's nobody in it, but it's
got a rocket motor that separates it from the launch vehicle. I'll
give you copies of this [the patent].
Then when it gets up into orbit, it either automatically or [a] crew
might get aboard, but this could be done automatically. You simply
take a shaped charge and cut this skin so that three things fold out
from it that will actually create artificial gravity if you rotate
it, and it would look like this when it's folded out, with three radial
arms that are 120 degrees apart, and on them there would be—this
is [unclear] that I put on there just to sort of finish the picture.
But the basic concept was to launch, or build the thing totally on
the pad, and while it's on the pad, you sit or you can stand—there's
different rooms on each of these three arms, and you can actually
go into them and you're standing so that Earth's gravity is in the
same direction as your artificial gravity is going to be, and you
can actually learn how to do things on the thing before you launch
it, including put the salt and pepper where you want it and everything
in the refrigerator and all that stuff.
Then when you get into orbit, you then have cut these arms [along
3 longitudinal lines] so that they will now swing out horizontally,
and start to rotate them, and that will create artificial gravity.
The farther you get from the center of the axis, the more [artificial]
gravity you'll have that's proportional to the radius out times the
angular velocity-squared. So you can make this so that you can get—and
I thought at the time, one-sixth of a G, the same that you're going
to get on the moon.
If we're going to go explore space, we're going to have to at least
learn how to walk on the moon. Then having done that and provided
all that capability and medication and everything else that would
let you live at one-sixth of a G, instead of at 1 G, then you would
want to get a lot of experience about—then you could go explore
the rest of the solar system or whatever you wanted to do with at
least one-sixth of a G. If you had spun it up more, you could get
So you could have proportions of the radius. So if you had one-sixth
of a G halfway out, you would have a third of a G all the way out.
If you had half a G halfway out, you'd have a whole G all the way
out. So it would be more expensive and difficult to do, the higher
the angular velocity would be, but I don't know, I didn't actually
figure out the numbers on that.
But that would be the basic concept, so that when I talked to Bob
Gilruth about it, he said, you know, what we want to do as a sort
of guideline was make it so that people—the guideline he gave
us for Apollo was, formulate the program so that it can be accomplished
by ordinary people. I had a difficult time understanding what that
meant, but I finally did, and we finally did, ordinary people being
ordinary test pilots, ordinary astronauts, ordinary Center directors,
ordinary chiefs of systems engineering, ordinary chief engineers.
Not geniuses. Don't want to require a genius to do this.
There's all sorts of reasons why you don't want that. If you have
somebody that's extraordinary, then you can kind of take advantage
of that extraordinariness, but if you formulate the program so that
ordinary people can do it, then when you get extraordinarily capable
people, they'll be able to actually do it a little bit better or cheaper
So if we're going to send people up into space, to Mars or someplace,
we want to be able to send ordinary people out. We don't want to have
[to have] super athletes that can take these low-gravity things and
survive and recover, and we don't want to have to have them particularly
within a particular age group. We want to be able to use ordinary-age
people to go do it, even senators and—weren't any women who
had flown yet, so even women sort of thing, you know.
So we thought that what we wanted to do was fix it up so that these
people can treat being in space as being ordinary, like they could
sit down and have a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette [can you believe
how "in-vogue" that was?]. Now, these are words we actually
said, because in those days it was terribly common for people to sit
and smoke a cigarette, and that was a part of living. I mean, you
wouldn't use that line these days, because, "Gee, I'm against
this whole program because they got people smoking cigarettes,"
but it was only like the personification of, you know, being in a
very familiar kind of an environment, make it as familiar to them
as you can. Therefore, have artificial gravity. So it was fundamental
in this Space Station concept to have artificial gravity.
This was to be flown in Earth orbit for however many times you needed
to fly it, and put as many of them up there as you needed to put.
Then when you're ready to go to— [Brief interruption]
Okay. So that you would build several of these and fly them in Earth
orbit, and then you would decide, we are now mature enough that we
can do other things, experiments and a whole bunch of other things,
and we'll put a hangar at the end of it, so that part of it rotates
and part of it doesn't rotate. The part that doesn't rotate is at
roughly zero gravity, like everything else is normally, and the part
that rotates does so around it, and the central part, you can open
up the hatch like this and you can fly a mating spacecraft in just
like the command module. See, we knew all about the command module
by then. So we have the Apollo command module kind of a thing, with
a little short service module on it because it's not going to the
moon, it's just going from Earth up to the Space Station.
So there's a whole bunch of legal documents, legalese, that got written
about this, and one of the plastic model airplane people made a kit
for it, which I bought and I have made that model. It's much more
detailed than this. When you have built two or three or four of them—what
was it, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria? You say,
okay, I've got my little fleet and my name is Christopher Columbus
and I'm going to go to Mars instead of America, and I will take off
from Earth orbit and I will use propulsion, high thrust kind of a
propulsion thing, probably, to get me out of Earth orbit and on my
way to Mars, and then I'll use ion propulsion almost continuously
all the way there and all the way back.
I didn't get into the details of how do you actually make a trans-Mars
spacecraft out of it, but it becomes the central living place where
everybody is during the trans-Mars insertion and trans-Earth insertion
once you get to Mars, on the way back. Inside the non-rotating part,
you could have the Martian landing vehicles like the lunar module
that goes down and lands on the moon. You open up the hangar doors
and away it goes. This is a big thing, but it ends up giving you this—it
really was a trans-Mars spacecraft. It was designed so that you would
progressively mature it by flying it in Earth orbit first, and use
that as your basis for your Space Station. This is entirely different
than what we've currently got.
So I told John Hodge that this paper had been written and that this
patent had been [given]—NASA had decided to patent it, and it
covered all the kinds of—lots of other kinds of space stations
as well as this, so that when other people wanted to propose something,
they wouldn't sort of patent it and then get the patent rights, rather
than NASA getting them. That patent is so old, I don't even know what
the date was now, but it's so old that the fact that they've got it
patented wouldn't do anybody any good.
But here's what happens when you leave. See, when I left the Spacecraft
Integration Branch and had conceived this in the presence of great
people, great leadership like Bob Gilruth and so forth, this is what
we sort of figured was the right thing to do after we did the stuff
to do with going to the moon. Then as soon as you leave, the next
guy that takes the job, he just throws that all away and he goes and
does what he wants. John Hodge was off doing that, and I said, "I
just want to alert you to the fact that this patent exists and that
we thought through this thing with Bob Gilruth, and it may be perfectly
reasonable to understand that what we might do in the future, the
Space Station might not be consistent with this at all, but I want
you to at least know that this exists, and it existed at a time when
you were off doing something else and you wouldn't have been aware
And he said—you haven't talked to John Hodge yet, right?
Actually, we just spoke with him a few days ago in Washington, D.C.
Oh, did you? So you had your interview totally with him?
We've talked with him at least once and we'll see if we need to go
Okay. Well, he said to me after all this, he said, "You know—"
I was working at Raytheon at this time, and so was Joe Shea. He says,
"You know, if you and Joe Shea wanted to continue to tell NASA
what to do, you shouldn't have left," and hung up. So that told
me a lot, that once you leave—when I first left NASA and went
to Raytheon and would come back to NASA for Shuttle reasons, proposals
on Shuttle and discussing of Shuttle and navigation guidance computers
and stuff like that for Shuttle, in the early months of that transition,
when I would come back I would get treated royally. Everybody was
very nice to me, particularly the people that worked for me at one
But as time went on, it seemed to all of a sudden to occur very abruptly,
like about three or four years, something like that, all of a sudden
I was the bad guy because I was a contractor and I was out to spend
the taxpayers' money irresponsibly, and it was NASA's responsibility
to make sure that people didn't do stupid things with taxpayers' money.
So contractors are only people that are money-grubbers and they don't
do things that are for the greater good, like we NASA people do.
So I didn't believe that, but it appeared as though that's what they
believed, and that's the way they behaved. It took about three or
four years, something like that, for them to come to that kind of
conclusion. So I know that I can't—once you leave, you can't
go home again. When I came back to Canada in '92, I came back to Canada
and I purposely—I really know that you can't come home again
to some extent, and I found out to what extent that was in different
areas, with respect to your relationships with your cousins and all
that kind of thing versus your relationship with the different parts
of the government or industry or whatever. Really pronounced. Not
a shock, because I kind of knew that this would happen.
And I've run into that problem dealing with the Canadian Space Agency,
even though I'm very good friends with the chief executive, the president,
and with several of the astronauts that I met and know quite well,
and they sort of [say] things [like], "You're one of the guys
that I heard about when I was a little kid growing up," you know.
"I really loved the AVRO Arrow and the Apollo Program and the
Mercury" and all that kind of stuff, "and that's how come
I'm an astronaut today."
So it is sort of impossible for somebody from the outside to come
in and tell the government what it is they ought to do. However, I'm
struggling to do this, still, and Raytheon is being … supportive
[but they see no positive approaches permitted by either the U.S.
or Canadian governments]. My job was called Manager of Space Systems
at Raytheon, and that sort of was a big umbrella under which I could
do anything and use [certain] marketing funds … to do this…
Well, [Dr.] Joe Shea came to me one day and he said, "There's
a guy named Arthur Heron [phonetic] and Bill Brown, that you don't
know, that have been sort of wasting the company's money [and time]
on a thing that's called power from space," Solar-Powered Satellites
and Microwave Power Beaming [to the Earth] and things like that. He
said, "Go talk to them about it and put it to bed, and get them
off the back of other people within [this Division and others that
might be involved.]" It's a big company.
So I found them and talked to them, and I have the organization, or
I have the charter, if you will, to do what they want to do within
Raytheon. So I talked to them [for about] a week. I [went] back [to]
Joe Shea and I said, "It won't go to bed, Joe. This thing is
more potentially real than you've been led to believe."
And he says, "Well, you know—" He didn't say this
in these kind of words, but sort of, "Well, you know, I hired
you to do these kind of things, and I have to sort of follow through
and let you go ahead and do these things."
So we organized a—or he organized a blue ribbon committee within
Raytheon, chaired by [Dr.] Martin Schilling [phonetic], who was the
top engineer, senior vice president for engineering. I don't remember
what his exact title was. He was a very, very capable, highly responsible,
[highly respected], good guy. So some way Joe Shea arranged for him
to chair a blue ribbon committee, with several people, top-level people,
from within Raytheon on the committee, and some consultants from the
outside as well, and he me—it was primarily me—put together
a briefing that briefed these people about the Power From Space, but
I got Bill Brown [and Arthur Herron] to help. A tremendous amount
of the work was done by Bill Brown [now deceased] in this first presentation,
and Arthur Heron [also now deceased], the guy that was the marketing
guy [and later on the Contracts Administator], that thought this was
a good idea.
So the three of us go to this blue ribbon committee and we present
[the] Solar-Powered Satellite [SPS] concept, and the microwave power
beaming part of it would be the part that would be of most interest
to Raytheon. After the presentation, [Dr. Schilling and others] asked
all sorts of questions.
After the presentation, [Dr.] Schilling asked me to come and see him,
so I did, and he said, "What you are suggesting has got all the
earmarks of a very highly potential program that will solve some very
key problems and, in fact, provide bases for an awful lot of advancement
in the world of space and technology and [much] else. So the blue
ribbon committee decided that you ought to be allowed to continue
this, using certain company funds and going out and trying to get
contracts, precipitate funds from the government and other people,
and that you should form a consortium with the key members of industry
that would provide some capabilities where Raytheon doesn't have them,
and so forth.
"So you sort of passed the first test. But I, Martin Schilling,
would alert you, because you’re [the] Program Manager and you're
the chosen person to take this thing further, and you sort of invited
yourself to be the chosen person, so you haven't got any real excuse,
you are the chosen person." He wasn't a mean guy. He didn't say,
"Don't be surprised if you find yourself nailed to a cross sometime."
But that's what that means.
So we went away and we talked to [Dr. Peter Glaser] Arthur D. Little
[Inc.], [who] conceived the whole idea, and Grumman—you know
how I felt about Grumman as an aerospace contractor. And Spectrolab
[Inc., unit of Hughes Electronics Corp.], that [were one of] the photovoltaic
solar cell [experts], one of the only two or three in the country
that are really capable in this area. So we thought if we put these
three contractor industrial complexes together, we could have a critical
mass that would help us come to understand this thing.
We formed a consortium with those three [sets of] people, with us
three: Raytheon, Arthur D. Little, Grumman, and Spectrolab, with Arthur
D. Little as the lead, because they had the patent. They had patented
the idea. These patents don't last forever, so I think it's probably
all gone now. The government had a tough time dealing with us, because
Arthur D. Little had it patented. They didn't like that, NASA or anybody
But we went to NASA and we told them about it. I thought this is what
NASA needs to focus on and develop a capability to make this thing
happen, including space stations …, and manufacturing in space,
and [assembling], and remote manipulators and … Canada went
off and built a thing called the Canadarm [Shuttle Remote Manipulator
System, manufactured by Spar Aerospace (Canada)]. You know that [big
arm] that's on the Shuttle, reaches and [handles] things?
Well, that came about because of the work package or the work breakdown
structure that I made, that said the program should be broken down
into these areas, and one of them was Remote Manipulation, which meant
what you would do without a man in direct contact with it, but man
would control it remotely… One of the first guys we contacted
in NASA headquarters, that got him all fired up, he said, "Gee,
this is something that Canada could do based on the STEM [phonetic]
program that they did, that we used as an antenna on the Gemini Program,"
a communications guy who knew about this. He said, "Those people
think right." So they ended up getting Canada to actually pay
a lot of that [expense] to build that arm, and Canada benefited greatly
from having done that. Now for the current Space Station they're building
an even bigger one with artificial hands on them, rather than just
So that piece grew into some 10 percent for Canada or more, but it
wasn't a piece that I had anticipated for that at all. So I kind of
can't claim any sort of piece of the action or anything there, which
I don't want to do anyway, because I don't like [it when people focus
so hard on the first niche that comes along rather than gaining a
So the Solar-Powered Satellite had in its work breakdown, it had a
requirement really for a Shuttle, a Remote Manipulator, a whole Microwave
System, a whole Space Transportation System to get the stuff up there,
to bring it back for repair, a whole Communications Network, a whole
big deal. This was really a big deal.
We got Sam Fordice from NASA headquarters [to] some way [precipitate]
enough money for us to go do a contracted study for NASA, and he [arranged
for] Lewis Research Center be the contracting agency. We did a study
that was a little bit more extensive than the Blue Ribbon [Investigation]
that Raytheon had done all by itself, quite a bit more extensive.
I was looking for a copy of the book, of the report that says it's
authored by the lead guys from each of those four companies, Peter
[E.] Glaser, Arthur D. Little, Owen Maynard from Raytheon, [J. J.
R.] Mackoviak from Grumman, and I can't remember the guy's name from
So when people say is it feasible to do this, to have a system that
would get you power from space for use on Earth, that study said,
yes, it's feasible. It doesn't say how much it's going to cost and
a whole bunch of other things. But there wasn't much question about
the feasibility except in the power beaming area. A lot of skeptics
figured we couldn't get the efficiency in power beaming that we said,
and they said, "We love Bill Brown, great guy in the electrical
community," but I think he just made some mistakes and he sort
of claimed to be like [the guy who later] invented "Cold Fusion"
as opposed to "Hot Fusion."
So then Sam gave us another contract to do an investigation with Jet
Propulsion Lab being our customer, and it was called the Reception
Conversion Subsystem, RCV, for [the] microwave power transmission
system. This is the final report, a big thick thing. I was the Program
Manager for it, and Bill Brown was the Technical Director. So we demonstrated
the issue that was bothering the chief engineers of all the companies
that says this is not feasible, namely they said, "You can't
get the kind of efficiency that Bill Brown claims you can." So
Jet Propulsion Lab put out a request for proposal, competitive procurement,
but a lot of the insight as to what should be done, we … had
to do [the work as a "TURN KEY" operation], but they were
very capable of doing a lot of this themselves.
So they sent out a Request For Proposal [RFP] and got multiple bids,
and we won, which wouldn't be terribly surprising. Then we went and
did the contract. We demonstrated much better than we contracted for.
We were to transmit a beam of power from a transmitter at Goldstone,
an existing transmitter dish and all that, semi-horizontally, a little
bit above the horizon, to a tower up on the hill, which they already
had built, put a rectifying antenna up there as we had demonstrated
to our own satisfaction in the lab. Put this thing up on the hill,
transmit and demonstrate an efficiency of conversion from radio frequency
power to direct current coming out of this rectifying antenna with
an efficiency of greater than such and so a percent [55%].
What they put in the request for proposal was much less percent than
we had demonstrated to our own satisfaction in the lab, so we were
perfectly confident that we could do this. But it was above the threshold
that the chief engineers of other people in industry thought was doable,
so we did that test and exceeded all of the requirements by a lot,
did it within [the] estimated and agreed-upon cost and schedule, and
with the right instrumentation and did a turnkey operation where we
handed it all over to JPL so that they could sit and run it and make
the demonstrations themselves. We did some demonstrations ourselves
and got convinced that it was performing properly. But it was the
thing that demonstrated feasibility technically, even in the areas
where the critics were dominant.
Then after that, and then the Jet Propulsion Lab wrote papers, sometimes
[jointly] with Bill Brown, but not me, because I would bias it because
I was the Program Manager, but with Bill Brown, would write technical
papers that talked about these demonstrations and what we did. People
would then read those, and because they were JPL, they were authentic,
accepted widely, da-da da-da, da-da. And it's the same as I used to
think of NACA papers, you know.
So at the time of this report, which is September of 1975, about the
time you were being born or something like that, we had demonstrated
feasibility, technical feasibility, sort of—not sort of, but
without fundamental question from the experts in the field, that you
really could take the existing technology of the microwave oven, magnetron,
that there's millions of them built, and you could just build more
millions of them and use those in the transmitter in space, and this
rectifying antenna on the ground where the big skepticism was that
we demonstrated to have much more efficiency, the same efficiency
as we claimed, but much more than people had previously thought to
be possible. That made the thing actually feasible in the sense sort
of different from the guy that invented cold fusion and tried to convince
people that that was feasible, and it turned out that other people
discovered that it wasn't feasible and he had made some mistakes.
Well, what we did by that time in 1975 was convince the world, through
JPL [and NASA], that this thing was technically feasible. Whether
or not it was economically attractive and some other phrases like
that, some subsequent investigations got done, with Bill [William
B.] Lenoir as the guy from NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, an astronaut
that had flown on a mission, but I can't remember what it was, but
he ended up having motion sickness problems and he sort of ended up
not being an astronaut anymore, but he was a very technical guy. He's
the guy that NASA focused on to present this stuff within NASA and
outside NASA and so forth, and we fed him insight that we had. We
sort of turned over the marketing of it to NASA at that point.
So we had it made, and NASA was convinced that this was the right
thing to do. George Low was now the acting administrator at NASA headquarters,
Chris Kraft was the Center director in Houston, and we did this all
[through] Lewis Research Center [and other NASA Centers]. The people
that normally are concerned about power and energy and things, they
support it because they had been involved in it, and they understood
it, the Jet Propulsion Lab, the very key technology arm of NASA that
is run by California Institute of Technology (CalTech). So we had
the academic community with the industrial community, the government
community, all sort of believing that this is a feasible thing. And
it was going wonderfully well.
A change of administration, [James E.] Carter comes in as the President.
Carter was a submariner, like Max Faget, in the nuclear era, and had
a lot of faith in nuclear energy. He, through the Office of Management
and Budget, told NASA that providing power from space for use on Earth
is not within NASA's charter. That's Department of Energy's charter,
[so they told NASA to "stop work on it"].
So one day they had a congressional hearing on the subject, and Barry
Goldwater, Jr., was chairing this particular piece of the hearing.
They had Bill Lenoir explain—I think that Goldwater didn't know
what Carter's pronouncement had been, but you know that the Congress
doesn't necessarily follow the White House. So anyway, Bill Lenoir
made this presentation, and Goldwater, Jr., is listening along with
several other people, and I and Bill Brown and Peter Glaser from Arthur
D. Little, and somebody from Grumman and somebody from Spectrolab,
I don't remember who they were now, we were there, but … just
in the audience sort of thing.
So after Lenoir's presentation with George Low, the acting administrator,
and Chris Kraft, the very highly regarded Center director, and Bill
Lenoir having done this wonderful presentation, Goldwater couldn't
help but be impressed. So he said, "Well, that's very impressive.
So when are we going to have it up and running?" and all that
kind of thing. …I think it was Chris Kraft [who then] said—or
maybe it was George Low, but one of them said, "Well, we've just
received a directive from the Office of Management and Budgets [OMB]
that says this isn't within our charter and we aren't to work on it
anymore, and it would be within the Department of Energy's charter."
So Goldwater said (we anticipated this) …, "Well, is there
a representative from the Department of Energy here? This sounds like
something that really ought to be done." So Bill Lenoir said,
"Yes, there is." So he said, "Who are they?" They
stood up, and he said, "What are you guys doing about this? Are
you going to pick this thing up and run with it?"
And they said, "Well, we just heard a week ago that this is within
our charter and we're supposed to look at it."
"Well, what have you done?"
"We haven't done anything. We didn't know that we were responsible
for this," like a little kid, "I didn't hear you, Mommy,
when you said put the dog out."
Now, they were against it because this would take money that would
normally be spent on fusion. So it was a group of people that were
fusion oriented in all of the Department of Energy, but they didn't
have much of an alternative but to take direction from this committee
and begin to come to understand it. So something like what Joe Shea
did to me, they picked a guy out, named Kuminov [phonetic], Dr. Fred
Kuminov, and they said, "Go put this thing to bed," just
like Joe Shea told me to go put it to bed. Kuminov was a very capable,
responsible guy. He started to investigate it. We told him—we,
Raytheon, told him everything that we knew, whether he wanted it or
not. We laid ten hundred times as much stuff at their doorstep and
would tell them about it without them paying us for it, and really
dumping the whole thing on them, including the program plans at great
lengths and detail, more than we'd shown anybody. We sort of did all
their work for them.
Then they had no alternative but to go pick it up and investigate
it, so they did, but they sort of said, "Well, we'll have to
investigate it independently of Raytheon, because they're so powerful
and so persuasive about things, you know. So we'll have to go look
at it independently." It would be like Kenneth Starr and independent
counsel, you know. You can't be confused by somebody on the other
side being friends or something, you know.
So we weren't sort of allowed or required to participate. As a matter
of fact, we were required to not participate in this big investigation
they were going to make, but they did, and Kuminov himself got religion
about it, and he spent millions and millions of dollars on it.
Then they concluded that, "Yes, it's economically attractive,
but we aren't ready for it yet, so let's wait for another ten years
and look back and look at it again." But Kuminov and his people
got so space-cadet oriented on it that they loved it, and if they
couldn't do it as part of their work, they would do it as part of
their hobby, so they would have annual meetings on it still and everybody
would get invited and so forth. But it was not in the mainstream at
all of either NASA or the Department of Energy after Kuminov put out
his very, very large volumes of reports.
George Abbey and everybody else in NASA knows all about what I've
just told you, but at the time in that meeting with the congressional
hearings, after Lenoir finished his thing, Goldwater said, "Well,
what does industry think about this? Do they think this is something
that's possible to do?" And George Low or somebody said, "Well,
there are some people from industry that understand this, that are
here as observers, and you might ask them." So they did. Like
this is congressional testimony, like, you know, "Did you ever
sleep with this person?" kind of testimony and all.
I was representing Raytheon, and Peter Glaser was representing Arthur
D. Little, and somebody was representing Grumman, I don't remember,
and somebody else was representing Spectrolab. So the other three
guys said, "Yeah, it's feasible and we're ready to go."
And I said, "Well, I'd like to give you an analogy, a comparison
of where we are in this program [with] where Apollo was when President
Kennedy [challenged us] to land [man] on the moon, return [him safely]
before the decade is out, where we were in that program and our understanding
of things. I'd like to give you a comparative analogy."
At the time when Kennedy said that …, what he did is he gave
us a challenge. He didn't order us to do it. He just challenged the
country. That means he's challenging the Congress and so forth to
put up the funds and everything.
At the time when he issued that challenge, we had fifteen minutes
of [sub-orbital space]flight with Al Shepard in space. John Glenn
hadn't been up yet. There were several areas of technology that effectively
Frank Casey's book on physics, reading it, you didn't get the idea
that you really knew what the issues were. There were several areas
and they were, we didn't know what the full-scale scaling factors
would be for a heat shield as big as would be [needed] to bring the
guys back from the moon.
This was in Bryan Erb's subsystem area. But at the time I don't know
that Bryan was even the subsystem manager. There's no contact yet,
so he wouldn't be at the time when JFK made that statement. I guess
there might have been. Yeah, I guess we did have a sort of premature
contract with North American, but there hadn't been any reentry vehicle
of that size. All the military nuclear weapon reentry vehicles were
a lot smaller and they come in at a lot lower velocity. We had a very
large-scale thing and also in a velocity range that was much higher
than normal reentry vehicles had.
So there was some physics to do with the scaling of thermodynamics
parameters of ablation that was the cooling technique that we thought
would be required, and we wouldn't understand that totally by arc
testing or anything until we actually had something that size entering
the atmosphere at roughly that velocity. That didn't occur until the
Saturn V actually put a boilerplate heat shield on it and forced it
back into the Earth's atmosphere at the right heating rate and [another
at the right] heating load, two different launches that figured out
what those things were. Then we could now decide really how thick
the heat shield had to be and things like that. So that was one area
of uncertainty [at the time of JFK's challenge].
At the time when he said, "Do it," we didn't know how thick
the heat shield would have to be, and that gets translated into technical
terms, as we didn't know what the thermodynamic scaling factors were
from arc jets and all that.
We didn't know what the lunar surface was like. The scientists were
telling us that the lunar surface was like a fairy castle structure,
electrostatically suspended particles that when you landed on it,
you'd just sink many meters into the moon surface, like very light
snow for hundreds of meters, maybe. And the leading scientists that
had spent their money looking [through] telescopes and radio telescopes
and everything else, when they tried to formulate what that would
be like from normal scientific data and research perspective, they
concluded that it's what is called soils mechanics, was something
that you couldn't actually land in. So here Kennedy has challenged
us to go land on the moon, and we didn't know whether, if we did,
we would sink out of sight.
So when we studied it and talked about it, when I'm presenting the
story on the thing, I would talk about, "Well, I'm not going
to tell you that we can actually make a landing," and that's
what the man said, "Land man on the moon, return [him] safely
to the Earth." I said, "I can't tell you, as the designer,
that we know how to land, because the physics that comes to us from
the leading scientists in the country says that we would just disappear,
and we aren't about to send anybody up to do that, especially when
you tack on the end of the challenge and return them safely to Earth.
We could land them in this dustbin and left them there, you know,
but, no, we would want to bring them back safely. But when the President
actually puts that one in his challenge, then for certain you can't
leave them in the dustbin.
So we said, "What we can do is we can put a configuration together
that will go down and do an excursion down to the lunar surface and
attempt a landing, all the way to attempt a landing, and if you sink
out of sight, we can abort off it and bring the guys back again."
So that's where the "E" in lunar excursion module comes
from. That's where the "E" is. We can do an Excursion down
Now, understanding this history of that, Grumman and my organization
at NASA continues to this day to refer to it as the LEM, the lunar
excursion module, but NASA headquarters didn't like that. Once they
understood why we put the "E" in, they didn't like that.
"You've got to be more positive about your way of thinking."
But I had to be more honest, you know.
But anyway, I'm back at the congressional hearings, and so what did
we have so far? Two things. One was the heat shield factors, the soils
mechanics at the moon. We were arguing about what … [mode] we
should use, lunar orbit rendezvous or Earth orbit rendezvous, different
techniques like that, but in any case we needed a very light lunar
module to go from the lunar orbit down to the lunar surface.
We needed the weight, projected weight problem, weight-growth problem
that most people said, "This really caught you guys by surprise,"
but we knew the weight was going to grow so much [of a percentage]
per month, effectively. You have to be able to continually come up
with ways of improving the weight situation, which Grumman was very
good at with the weight improvement program and then the super weight
improvement program. Weight was always a big problem. They knew it
and we knew it. [At least] my organization, part of NASA, knew it.
So when Grumman proposed to change the pressurization system from
nitrogen, which everybody else used, to helium, which is a lot lighter
way of doing it, you have to store the helium in a supercritical state,
which is at a terribly, terribly low temperature [and] nobody had
ever gotten helium cooled down to that point before.
They'd never gotten anything cooled down to that point before. But
if you could get it cooled down to this theoretically predictable
thing that we hadn't demonstrated and actually determined the thermodynamic
numbers and the heat leaks and all that kind of thing that would be
associated with it, unless we could [and] we weren't certain about
whether or not we'd be able to do that, so that we ran [the required
Research at Grumman to determine the previously unknown thermodynamic
parameters and scaling factor]. If we said, yes, we could do it, we
ran a big risk, a very high risk, of not being able to do it because
of the weight growth. The LEM finally got down to absolute skin and
bones, you know. It was the lightest thing you could conceive [and
we in the end really needed that supercritical Helium].
We actually used supercritical helium in the … descent stage,
but not on the ascent stage, and that created a lot of problems with
[and for] Max Faget, his practical business of, "You mean I'm
going to have to stake my life on supercritical helium? You mean I'm
going to have to stake my life in this submarine that's submerged
for a week and a day on this piece of garbage that I don't know anything
about? I've got to know about it."
So we had great difficulties with Max on that score, but we convinced
Max that this weight problem was so potential and it really did turn
out to exist, that we had to develop this technology if not [for primary
use], but to use it to save us when we got to this big weight problem,
and at the same time to use as an indicator to the rest of the community
that, "If you guys let your weight grow too much, we're going
to have to go to supercritical helium," including Max and all
the subsystem managers. So it had two prongs to it. One was real in
terms of getting weight down, and the other one was a threat to the
rest of the subsystem managers to keep their weight under control
so that we wouldn't have to use this thing. Well, they did to a large
extent, and we did use it, but we did use it in the descent stage,
and it worked fine.
But at the time of the commitment, we didn't know about that. So now
we've got soils mechanics, the scaling factors, the thermodynamic
characteristics of the supercritical helium. How many is that?
I lost count.
Soils mechanics, scaling factors for the heat shield, supercritical
helium performance thermodynamically. Did I say soils mechanics?
I don't know. Is that four or five? It's really getting late. I can't
think. Anyway, I said what the number was, and then I said, for the
power from space part, we have a comparable lack of understanding
in one or two more areas, so we're close to having the same lack of
confidence, if you will, but admittedly worth the try that we had
in Apollo at the time when Kennedy—well, we did have heavy lift
launch vehicles to get the whole package off. We knew that that was
possible to do, but we weren't anything near having that kind of a
capability for the power from space thing.
I listed some issues in the microwave power-beaming thing and in the
remote manipulators and some other areas. I can't remember what they
all were now, but there's one or two more than there was in Apollo,
which simply said that, yes, this is a lot bigger deal and more to
the point of giving people power, useful good power on Earth, without
polluting the world. And to be that close to the same kind of criticality
that we were in Apollo, the first thing we ought to do is what I was
trying to say, first thing we ought to do is improve our understanding
of the technologies in these areas and get them down to only one or
two, maybe less than Apollo had before we go actually committing to
it or asking the President to give us a challenge in this area.
The Grumman guys and Arthur D. Little and Spectrolab guys, they didn't
like me saying that because they sort of advertised that this was
a 100 percent feasible thing, "Give us the tools and we'll finish
the job tomorrow." And I was saying, "I don't want to shut
off advanced research and development, because I [didn't] think we
would get there if we go just totally alone on what we currently know
and have told people. There's still some skepticism that we have,
and we really must do this advanced technology work."
By and large, that work never got done, because whether the Department
of Energy spending the millions of dollars they did and so forth,
and then saying, "We should put it on the shelf and let industry
develop the technology for other reasons and then we'll use it,"
well, you know, you couldn't let industry develop the heat shield,
scaling, understanding of the supercritical helium, or the soils mechanics
on the moon. There's no reason to expect that industry would naturally
develop and fill in the gaps in the technology for power from space.
It would just be too risky, in my mind, so that's why I said this.
But the Grumman guy and Arthur D. Little guys and Spectrolab guys,
they view me as having sold the farm or, you know, let them down or
something like that, and, in fact, haven't developed hardly any of
that technology. Then Bill Brown [now deceased but in most recent
years questioned the tubes as] the basis for doing it at the time
([he] was using tubes for the transmitters)… Somebody in NASA
asked me, begged me, and begged Raytheon to do an investigation of
how would you approach the job if you were to do it solid state rather
than the tubes, because solid state technology was coming on strong
and all that. They begged me to do a study and got Raytheon to commit
to the resources to do it, and they paid a little bit to do it.
I ended up doing it, and I couldn't get Bill Brown to participate,
because he was [then so strongly] a "tube man" and he wouldn't
even read the final report. Here's the final report, these two green
books. I'm not an electrical engineer and I'm not a physicist. I didn't
have Frank Casey [now deceased] around and I didn't have a Bill Brown
kind of a guy around, but I got to do this all by myself pretty much.
I had some minor help, but people at Raytheon would find more interesting
things to do because I couldn't pay them for only but a few hours.
So the report, I think I mentioned before, that report is written
badly because it simply is a collection of the stuff that I put together
that presented to the people that I was contracted to do it with.
There was no requirement to write the full-blown neat and fancy report,
but that tells an awful lot of how you'd go about doing it solid state.
There's a concept in there that's called the sandwich concept, where
photovoltaic arrays on the back of the transmitting aperture …
[collect] power that's sent down to it by a collection of reflectors
and separators and filters and so forth, so that only that part of
the solar spectrum that is highly efficiently convertible to direct
current to drive the amplifiers on the microwave side of the sandwich,
that's sort of fundamental to that solid state thing.
As you think about it more and more, thermal control ends up being
the limitation for how big things can be and how much power you can
get out of them. There's only really one way to dissipate waste heat,
and that's by radiating it to something that's at a colder temperature
than you are. Deep space has got this nice cold temperature. So using
the most efficient waste heat dissipation coating, thermal control
coating, to do this effectively, I put the numbers together, assuming
that now the critical issue gets to be how good can you make thermal
control coatings and how long will they last, and will you have to
go and repaint them, resurface them with something. That ends up being
the issue, rather than can you [otherwise] technically do it.
This should have an awful lot more investigation than what I was able
to do and several other areas should, that are pointed out in that
and in all the other investigations we did. We'd say, "Here's
additional investigations that should be done." We didn't say
that Raytheon ought to do them, but it would probably be best if Raytheon
didn't do them, had to get somebody else to do them.
None of those things got done, so the government took taxpayers' money
and paid us to tell them what to do, as we viewed it, very responsibly,
but there are those in the government that [view]—Raytheon says
to do these things just in order for Raytheon to rake in some more
money, and, trust me, I don't work for Raytheon anymore, but, trust
me, that was never Raytheon's attitude. And it's not industry's attitude,
to a very large extent.
So the right technology developments weren't done in the area that
I had mentioned to you earlier, with that chart over there, the log
chart that talks about the power beaming from having multiple beams
transmitted from the same aperture, with the bottom line being something
like—I have to get the ground receiving aperture down to about
1,000 acres. That means I have to have about 1,000 transmitting beams
coming out of the transmitting aperture, with pilot beams on the receiving
end that command the power to come to them.
This hasn't been demonstrated, but this is theoretically conceivable
as much more so than the notion of landing men on the moon when the
scientific community is saying they're going to get lost in the dust
or what the thermodynamic performance of the supercritical helium
is, or the scaling factors for the heat shield. So the very key thing
is that we have to—and Bill Brown, just before he died, he died
not too many months ago, and just before he died, a series of telephone
conversations I had with him, he told me that he really thought that
we were going to have to go solid state rather than tubes, which was
contrary to the messages that he was giving before.
He was an absolute, tremendously competent guy and very, very highly
regarded. I'd give him copies of that report and he had sent them
back to me because he didn't believe in them, you see. But all of
a sudden he asked me to send copies of that to Dick Dickinson at JPL,
who was the guy that managed the contracts for these demonstrations
we did at Goldstone on that RSCV program. He's been involved with
a lot of studies that NASA has done since then.
So I have gone to the trouble of putting all that stuff together,
sending it to Dick and telling him about all this stuff and everything
else. He's not paying me, but I feel like I sort of must do this,
because that Martin Schilling guy, when he said, "This thing's
got all the earmarks," and all that kind of thing, but he says,
"My guidance to you as the program manager is, make sure it gets
well on its way before Bill Brown retires."
What he was saying is, you've told us this story based on tube technology.
The world's leading expert on tube technology is Bill Brown, and you'd
better make this thing happen while Bill Brown is still up and functioning
working-wise." He was quite a ways from retirement age at the
time when he said this, and we thought it was funny, you know, a little
bit of humor, but he was dead serious, "You don't have a tiger.
This is not in the category of formulate the program so it can be
done by ordinary people." At the time when we thought it was
feasible, it would have required extraordinary people like Bill Brown,
extraordinarily dedicated, capable, responsible, and greatest human
being that you could know, you know.
So he died when he was eighty-four or something like that, so he would
have retired at sixty-five, so that's like twenty years ago he would
have been retiring. Twenty years ago from 1999, twenty is 1979. So
we would have had to have it well on its way, not completely done,
but certainly we really had to know, be under contract with a whole
bunch of people and so forth. By 1980, in order to fulfill that kind
of a strange requirement programmatically, to make sure you're well
along before Bill Brown retires, now Bill continued. He retired late
and he continued to work, and he worked after he retired, so it took
his death, actually, to convince me that we had gotten to the point
where Martin Schilling [told] me, "Make sure you get it well
on its way before Bill Brown dies instead of retires," and we
have passed both of those milestones.
My health isn't good enough to go have a visit with you sort of out
of town. You've kind of got to come here. And I'm not nearly as smart
or as technologically capable as Bill Brown was. Nobody is that I
know of. In the solid state area, I did indeed get Raytheon to do
certain investigations that brings the solid state devices along.
So does Space Defense Initiative and some other activities that have
But now I understand that Dick Dickinson has discovered that there's
some other ways of doing it without even using solid state, with using
some kind of a gaseous or bunch of crystals in an ellipsoidal kind
of shape, monstrous, big transmitting antenna that conceivably could
do multiple beam-forming and everything else and be self-healing and
a whole bunch of wonderful things.
If you tried to do it, say, with tubes and somebody else, …
the Russians or the Chinese came up with solid state and beat your
own economically and everything else, you'd be dead in the water.
If you tried to do it with solid state and somebody else came up with
these other concepts sometime in the not too distant future, and aced
you out and beat you in a competition, you'd be dead in the water.
So you have to do these advance researches to have the confidence
not only that you can just do it, but you can do it before the competition
comes and does it.
So that's sort of where I believe we are. Dick Dickinson and I both—but
you sort of have to rely on Dick, because he's not retired yet and
all this kind of stuff. But there are a great number of things that
should be done in the world of advanced research and development by
industry and by academia, and we can sort of spell out what those
things are. And by country. Like Raytheon-Canada has a great capability
to come to understand some of the issues simply because we're very
close to the radiation belts and know how the beam is going to be
affected in going through the ionosphere. They claim that, you know,
we've already studied the ionosphere, but it's not for that purpose.
It was for some other purposes. The phenomena that we're concerned
about here is different.
I could be a little bit more specific in what I think should be done
and what I've been trying to encourage the Canadian Space Agency to
do, but I haven't been doing it directly to them. [I've been completely
unsuccessful in] telling this to Bryan Erb, who still works for them.
I would be willing to, and somebody else, highly technical people
that would pick up on the concept and make those kind of charts so
that they understood them and they believed in them. They [would have
to rewrite] that green book so that they understood [it]. They [would
have to believe] in it, in a few key areas that Canada would have
some advantage in doing. We can talk about things that other people
[have], that the U.S. would have some advantage in doing.
So I guess we probably ought to leave it at that, unless you've got
I think this is a good place to close out for the evening. I want
to thank you for the wealth of information you've shared with me today.
It's been fantastic.
Well, it's been a pleasure, because I don't view the history of Apollo
and of my career as being all that sort of valuable to the degree
that it's available. I don't think I've ever told anybody as much
in one session as I've told you, and sort of bared my heart quite
so much in some of the areas as I have with you.
But if we can make something worthwhile come out of it that will help
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, I am a dual citizen and I believe
in NORAD and I believe in NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization],
and I believe that the U.S. and Canada, we need to work together.
We don't need to be one country, but we need to have such things as
NORAD and NATO, and we need to be together on this power-beaming thing.
We are north and south of each other. We are in the family of time
zones. We are concerned about the same piece of geostationary orbit.
Our neighbors are north and south, not east and west.
This goes along with the North American Free Trade Agreement, except
just extend it into South America, whereas the European community
has banded itself together and actually gone quite a bit north and
south. Probably if it's advantageous to have a North American Free
Trade Agreement that involves the U.S. and Canada and now Mexico,
I think that there are those that think that it should involve South
America as well. It could involve South America and go all the way
to Antarctica, and Antarctica goes all the way around in azimuth,
You actually could beam power to outpost islands out in the Arctic
and also to Antarctica. A lot of people will say you can't do that,
but I think you can. But it needs to be investigated, what you really
can do and work out the teaming, whose expertise you're going to use,
who are going to be the leading experts, not as individuals, but as
agencies, MIT, Caltech, Raytheon. I don't want to say Raytheon too
much because I don't want people to think that I'm out promoting Raytheon,
but I happen to have a very, very high opinion of Raytheon, so high
that [those are] the people I went to work [with] when I left NASA.
I would have gone to Grumman, but I didn't see my going to Grumman
was going to help Grumman. I could see my going to Raytheon might
help Raytheon and Raytheon-Canada, but Grumman didn't have a sort
of equivalent counterpart in Canada.
So if I can convince you of nothing else, that I really am sincere
in trying to pass on to people things that they may not be happy to
receive, and they may tell me, "If you wanted to do all these
things, you should have stayed with NASA," or something like
this, and try to tell NASA what to do, don't do that if you're going
to leave, so whatever we can not so much salvage—it sounds like
too negative a thing, but there still is a tremendous opportunity
and there is a need [(more and more imperative and sustained is the
need and it must be shown to be fulfillable before committing to its
I have these … long charts that I was going to show you. To
engineer an enterprise like this, I have [documented] what systems
engineering [(the methodology) would have to be like]. When I left
NASA, they were still trying to figure out what it is that [I and
my Divisions had] been doing all those years. I put together what
I call a circular slide rule, and some people call it the "last
shot" slide rule. I had that circular slide rule here. [It depicts
the process rather completely.]
Most engineers don't know about circular slide rules. But what is
on this circular slide rule, on the outer tire is the different phases
of a program that go from BASICS, Phase Zero, because people normally
don't take the trouble to pull together all of their basics before
they start spending a lot of money. First phase is BASICS and the
next phase is PROPOSAL. Then START-UP after contract award. Define
the concept definitively. Then lay the thing out, make all the drawings.
This is the way it's going to look. Do the configuration, not at the
start, but at this point. Release the drawings [for] manufacturing
and all that, all these different phases.
Then if you don't establish the basics beforehand, you're going to
just waste money all over the place, because the fact that you didn't
understand what the heat shield thermodynamics scaling parameters
would be, or the thermodynamics of the supercritical helium, or the
soils mechanics, you start off without knowing those things. Then
to insist, not including excursion in the acronym, Lunar Excursion
Module, is just sort of lying to yourself [as well as others].
The actual way of explaining how do you do systems engineering in
a very responsible way can be explained on this piece of paper. Then
what's the program look like when you lay it out as a program plan
that is much more definitive than that, if each of those dozen or
more phases are expanded upon in this chart, all key definitions of
all different markings are, there is Phase Zero basics right up at
the top. You see "basics." Then the Roman numeral O. You
never saw that before, right? It's called "Basic Need Resolution
and Advanced Development."
And there's a gate that you [must go through to] get from this phase
to the next phase. [You must review the] design and [other specific
kinds] of a thing, like me facing up to Jan Zurakowski and Spud Potocki,
but at all technical [and other] levels… Unless I get a "yes"
that I'm compliant with everything, I can't be allowed to proceed
into the next phase. And if I get to this gate here that says "To
the Competition," and I don't win the competition, whether it's
competition in the same—someone else beats me out on the demonstration
at Goldstone or I don't get the money for this because somebody else
wants to go spend it on fusion, I just didn't win the competition
and there's no excuses about what the rules were of the competition,
because it's not fair [(fairness never enters into decisions)].
So this isn't an easy thing to do. That says "Advanced Development"
at the top of that column. Over here it says—the whole thing
starts off with "Need Sources." Who is defined for need?
Who defines the requirements? When the man says 1,000 acres, I would
take that. I would look at that as a potential need. You put that
down as a need statement and it says, "Damn it, they can't be
bigger than 1,000 acres." If you come in with 2,000 acres, I
might continue to talk to you, but you're liable—but the guy
that can do it within the 1,000 acres, he wins and I lose, and I go
out the bottom there. It says other competitors get the money and
you can just stop work right there.
Let me change the tape.
And here in the Phase I, called "Proposal," but I have different
ways of naming the phases, the letter is one, Phase I, but remember
it's preceded by Phase Zero. It's called "Proposal" if you
want one word, and it's called "Pre-Proposal through Proposal
Review and Receipt of Contract" if you talk about the nature
of the gate that got you into it and the gate that's going to get
you out of it.
Then there's an objective statement for each one of these phases.
In that lower typing it says "Ensure that high, but defined quality
is," and that's what's written for each of the different phases,
but in this case, the proposal phase, this "defined quality is
proposed compliantly with alternates as insight dictates, and with
required resources." It's kind of long, but objective statements
sometimes are long and they sort of have to be a single sentence,
complex sentence, and everything else. But they have to be a single
objective and single objective statement.
Like when we decide we're going to go bomb the hell out of Yugoslavia,
we'd better have our objectives. People in the military understand
what this objective statement is about. You know why you have to do
this. You don't know what you're doing if you don't. So the objective
statement for the next phase, this is actually "start-up after
contract award," where the customer tells the contractor all
kinds of things that they weren't able to tell … because of
competitive procurement limitations on what you can tell and what
other contractors had proposed, the ideas they had and all that kind
This happened on Apollo after we had competed Command and Service
Module to several people, making different proposals. They allowed
us to have North American consider some of the approaches that they
had come in with, that you might have thought might have been proprietary
or otherwise, intellectually protected. So there's start-up.
Then concept. Really, under contract you definitize the concept so
that when you're talking about the concept in your proposal, in your
pre-proposal activities, you can be a little bit more vague than you
have to be at this point. This is simply cutting down the vagaries.
Then preliminary layout and it goes on and on and on for quite a few
others, consistent with that tire that's around the "last shot"
So you need to focus. A lot of people will say, "I want to do
something rather than nothing," and the something's got to be
something like some big piece of hardware that you put in orbit and
you demonstrate something. If it isn't in line with what you're actually
going to do subsequently under contract to make the production item,
you will lose out to your competition. Competition might be competition
of what people want to do with the tax dollars in terms of the allocations
that Congress might make and so forth. If you haven't proposed something
that's rational and stable and well understood and has got a big payback
and really is fulfilling in [terms of] need and all those things,
you will lose the competition for that money, and it will go someplace
So this sort of is based on the lessons learned, that I learned from
both—well, from the AVRO Arrow program, which was designed for
production [from the outset]. The first Mark 1 Arrow was built [with]
production tooling, which I think I indicated before. It's very rare.
People used to build prototypes, and then when it came to, "Okay,
now you want to buy a bunch. Now I have to redesign and you'll have
to pay for all that development and tooling and everything."
This is based on—shows you what you have to do and where you
have to do it, to develop the program, the enterprise based on design
for production from the [outset], but not have to repeat the design
and development over and over and over again. There are very few things
that are done that way, but I'm a solid believer in it. A lot of things
that Raytheon has done while I was there, and since, have been based
So I think this is the kind of a thing that could be shared if the
government decided this was a good thing to do. To a large extent,
the government does, because we had contracts with the Air Force and
the Army and the Navy, that all of this sort of evolves from. It's
the basis for Raytheon's methodologies. They don't follow it verbatim,
letter to letter, because different kinds of contracts and investigations
might require a different, much simpler approach. But this is the
whole thing. If they're going to do—if you want to—if
they say the whole nine yards, this is the whole nine years of the
enterprise, a major enterprise. Power from space would require—it
just couldn't happen if it didn't face up to doing the whole nine
yards right from time zero.
So the "whole nine yards" term comes from—you've heard
You think it might have something to do with football? Well, [in my
version] it doesn't. It has to do with back in the old days when I
lived on the farm. Frances Shaw was a very entrepreneurial kind of
a guy that went to grade two in school. These guys that go to grade
two in school, you can't beat them. He started an enterprise where
he leased some of the riverside area to make a dock to have gravel
barges that got gravel from different places along the Great Lakes,
and came and dumped it off on this place on the St. Clair River. Then
he would go down with his trucks, gravel trucks, and he would load
them up with this gravel. Then he would sell them to the—he
sold things not at the county level, he sold them to people [and]
at the township level.
See, this is a county. The whole thing's a county. But this is Sernia
[phonetic] Township. This is Eniskilen [phonetic], and this is Brooke
[phonetic], and this is Dawn [phonetic], and this is Moore [phonetic].
This is Sombra. So he would go to the township, head offices, and
tell them, "You know, if we put some gravel on these very, very
bad roads that you have—" Clay, Sombra clay is very bad
stuff. Cars [wheels] just dig trenches. The old Model T Fords used
to just—in the springtime, they'd just dig a trench like you
were going to lay tile in it or something. Like dogs would get in
it and they couldn't get out, and the little tires were about this
So they had to fix those roads up so that [there're] reasonable beds
there to get sort of year-round transportation, transportability.
So he figured out that, "If I put gravel on these things and
… put enough of it on, I can stabilize these things." He
would convince one of the townships to do this, and he would bring
the gravel and dump it where they wanted it dumped, and then they
would have a spreader, would spread it over the road, and all this
kind of stuff.
But when they bought the gravel from him, the gravel came in trucks
that held just about ten yards, but sort of guaranteed nine yards,
nine cubic yards. So if you decided you wanted to do your driveway
and you said, "Well, if I had about two inches of gravel on that
driveway," and the driveway is this long and this wide and I
now know how many cubic yards it is, so I think that I need seven
yards, seven cubic yards. I don't want to buy nine cubic yards. I
only want seven.
Well, he would deliver less than nine yards to you, and he would sort
of be convincing that when he loaded it, that it was—yeah, it's
seven-ninths of a truckload. But it's kind of hard to tell. Then he
runs it over rough road and the gravel goes down and looks like a
lot less. He dumps it on your driveway and [it] almost instantly sinks
into the soft earth and sort of disappears, and you think that you
maybe got half a cubic yard, you know, by this time. You end up thinking
that you got cheated.
So he would say, "You know, just between us folks, you'd be an
awful lot better off, or we would both be an awful lot better off
if you'd go for the whole nine yards in the first place." Then
you know that you didn't get cheated and I'll know that I won't have
a customer that's lost faith in me. So that's where "the whole
nine yards" comes from [(Owen Maynard's version)].
And trucks of that era were nine, ten yards. This time, these days,
they are more like eighteen yards, multiples of nine, still. I don't
know why the nine was there.
But that chart I showed you is about nine—the two of them put
together [are] about nine yards long and it's about a yard high, and
if you take each one of the blocks and you try to talk about what
does [it] mean, even the objective statements, what do I mean by that
objective statement, you can raise a thing that's at least a yard
long. At least I can. So this multiplying length by height by depth
is nine cubic yards.
The whole nine yards.
So that is—if you look at the enterprise like this and say this
is the way I want to do something, then you discipline yourself to
go do it right, you're using the whole nine yards approach and you're
not cheating yourself or anybody else.
So I would be happy to talk to anybody about that, and I'm going to
be talking to people that are responsible for safety inspections and
establishing criterion and whatnot in the province of Ontario. I'm
going to be talking to them about safety.
At the same time on that circular—this slide rule thing, this
guy here, there's a whole bunch of attributes down here. Says "Design
for primary and detailed form, fit, and functionality. Design for
comparability, interchangability, standardization." A whole bunch
of "—ilities" that designers like to have things put
in those terms.
Way out here, number thirty-two, I think it is, is "Design for
safety." So these guys I'm going to be talking about in terms
of attributes in the total enterprise is this one out of how many?
One out of forty-two attributes that you can put together checklists
associated with and conduct design reviews based on—let's see.
How compliant we are with what we, before the fact, determined to
be the need and the requirement, and both the customer and the contractor
agreed that these were the needs and the requirements. This is how
much the contractor is proposing to require in terms of dollars.
Funding rate is the important parameter, and Chris Kraft once told
me that his biggest problem with his people was they didn't recognize
funding rate as being a technical parameter when they were putting
together technical things. I think money just rains down from the
sky some kind of a way. It isn't the total money that counts; it's
how much you get per month. If you put your program together so that
you spend that per month, and may opt not to spend it and make it
all consistent with your total organization and all that kind of stuff,
it ends up being that you really don't need to monitor how much money
you have spent; you need to monitor what your projections are for
staffing up to be able to spend money at a certain rate and then cut
down from that rate to a lower level at some point and build up at
other points and so forth.
If you're manning plan doesn't match the funding rate that you're
liable to get from the customer, the customer can't be magical and
change his funding rate to you too frequently. So I've tried to put
in these kind of documents not what the technical requirements are
for power from space, of the marketing thoughts and so forth, but
how do you go about running the enterprise. Not that I'm ever going
to have anything to do with it or certainly never get paid for it
or anything like that, but I've thought a lot about it.
I would be thrilled and happy if I could contribute to, in your case,
going through George Abbey. I know that somebody in headquarters decides
a lot of these things, but I know that George has an awful lot of
respect. People respect him in high places all over the place. If
I think George picks up on these things and he's got the kind of a
mind that can do this much better than I do. We might be able to do
something, you know, overall beneficial.
So [there're] so many dimensions to what we've been talking about,
that it's scary. I just hate to see—I watch people go off in
certain directions, like with the Space Station. I'm not going to
ever stand up and tell people that the Space Station isn't properly
conceived or anything like that. A lot of people do say things like
that and do say that about the Space Station. But I don't know the
nuances of how come it is like it is. It certainly doesn't look like
the one that I conceived. It isn't [compliant with] that patent, and
it doesn't fulfill the requirements that I conceived at that time
under the jurisdiction of the great Bob Gilruth and Chris Kraft and
all those other guys, at a time when we had a certain way of thinking.
But it's like two generations ago.
So, you know, none of us are sort of great nuts on the Internet or
even the laptop computer. Some of them, you know, Chris and others
might be, but I'm not, and I don't want to get involved in it. I'd
be happy to use this bloody slide rule and so forth, because I sort
of understand what's going on in that narrow field. If I could get
into it, I don't really know how to type with any kind of speed. So
you can't bring me into the present, and the present can't be brought
back to me. We have a big problem in that regard.
I'm hoping that this project will help get the word out.
Hopefully you can make modern history, as well as ancient history,
out of this, even use the history to—what is it they say? If
you don't understand the history, you're bound to repeat all the bad
parts of it. Anyway.
So this is what's in these two charts, the whole nine yards. It's
actually past history because, indeed, Raytheon and, I think, other
people do perform the activities somewhat consistent with this for
certain parts of the federal government contracts. I don't know if
NASA does or not. But I've been trying to impart this stuff to Canadian
Space Agency and other parts of industry in Canada, and I haven't
been very successful.
I don't know how I would do with NASA. The closest NASA Center to
me is Lewis Research Center. But I'd be happy to entertain some way
of communication, have them come here or have them take me there or
something. [I've been preparing to talk to Ontario's] Safety Guys,
you know, [and I'll dive into] "Brave men shall not die because
I faltered" [emphasize my old motto that my other gave me in
1940]. I've got a message for them, that they can't just pick that
safety thing and say, "I'm an inspector and I'm going to make
this whole thing safe." It's not that simple. It's the one area
of expertise that is among thousands that have to be traded off and
all that stuff. So if you don't understand that right at the start,
you're doomed to failure, or you're doomed to really not ending up
with something that's safe.
These guys—I'm going to tell these guys this little story. In
that book there about all the heroes [of the distant past].
We have a little while.
Back in World War I, the guys that were flying these kinds of airplanes
that ended up being aces in the Royal Air Force—and …
there wasn't such a thing as a Royal Canadian Air Force at that time,
but a lot of Canadians flew for the Royal Flying Corps [and] in [its
successor] (Royal Air Force) when it became the Royal Air Force. But
on the Allied side, there was a belief on the part of the policy-makers
on high that you shouldn't give pilots parachutes, because in the
middle of the battle they're liable to panic and just bail out and
leave this very expensive airplane and waste the taxpayers' money.
So you don't provide him [with safety]. Their safety criteria [was]
based on the safety of the investment in the airplane, not on the
safety of the [pilot] flying it.
Like right now the U.S. is doing extraordinary things to make it safe
for the flight crews, … these guys that are [operating over]
Yugoslavia. Compared with other air wars or whatever that anybody's
ever been in, there [hadn't] been the emphasis on that kind of safety
[that we have now]. [If] they fly at lower levels, they could drop
a lot more bombs, carry bigger payloads and a whole bunch of other
things, so safety in the U.S. military is an extraordinarily in-depth
But back in the World War I era, a good many people on the Allied
side didn't give parachutes to their pilots. They gave them to the
observers in balloons because the balloon could get shot down and
then they kind of can't make the balloon sort of desert and run away,
and the balloons don't cost that much anyway. So they allowed as how
parachutes were okay for observers in balloons, but not in airplanes
because they're liable to abandon this difficult thing to fly and
World War II comes along and they give parachutes to everybody. I
don't know what the policy was in the United States Army Air Corps
in either World War I or World War II, but I think that they tried
to make the flight crew as safe as they could in World War II. I don't
know that most people realize that. Safety is not an absolute thing.
It is who it is—he who has the gold gets to make the rules.
So if the rule is, I want the airplane to be safe and brought back
safely, versus I want the pilot to be safe and brought back safely,
they're two different [things]—you might think they're the same
thing, but they aren't. Unless the objective is pointed right where
you want it, you don't get the benefit of it.
As a matter of fact, I got told once, when I was flying those Mosquitoes,
after I got [to] England and I'm flying with the Royal Air Force out
of Royal Air Force bases, I got called in one day and got told that,
"From now on, if you find that you are in some kind of difficulty
and you are going to run out of gas or something like that, don't
ride the airplane down through the clouds and take your chances on
landing in the North Sea or hitting a mountain or something like that.
You bail out and save yourself. At this point in your career, you
are worth more than the airplane. Yesterday, if you ran into a certain
situation, you should [have protected] the airplane, because it's
a very valuable thing. But after this point in time, you are worth
more than the airplane is. Protect yourself. We can always get you
And I was shocked to find that there came a point in time specifically
where one side of the rules were this, and the other side of the rules
were that, and I don't know if that applies in the United States.
I doubt that it does apply in the United States, and I doubt that
it applies in the Royal Air Force either, in this era.
But safety is—equipment safety, you don't want the equipment
to malfunction, but when you draw the mark between making a management
decision and am I going to protect the pilot or am I going to protect
the airplane, am I going to protect the car or am I going to protect
the baby, if you do all sorts of things to protect the driver, then
you're kind of counting on the driver to keep the car under control,
and it makes things safe for the rest of the passengers.
Like in my car, I've got an air bag for the driver. Everybody else
kind of is on their own, sort of thing, you know. And I don't know,
when I get to talk with these safety guys, ask them kind of embarrassing
questions about safety, you know, "Have you really got your head
together right on safety?"
That's important. It's certainly been a key factor in everything that
you've shared with me today.
So I guess that's about it. I don't know if you want to reserve coming
back here tomorrow or—
I think probably I should take this back to Houston, get it all transcribed,
let you review it.
Are you actually going to get it typed?
Oh. That would be good.
And I think we've pretty much covered it. We've covered a great deal
of information, and I'm honored that you shared so much with me.
Well, it was my pleasure and actually my screaming desire to do that.
I appreciate you coming all this way to do it.
So if you go and have a nice night's sleep at the Holiday Inn, then
take the van in and turn your car in at the Holiday Inn, instead of
making that long drive, then if you come another time, you take the
van in the first place, it will make things a lot more pleasant. We
always take the van from here every time we go to the airport…
Okay. Thank you.
to JSC Oral History Website