Source: NASA Historical Reference Collection, NASA History Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.

The Phillips Report

In late 1965, at the request of NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, Major General Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director at NASA Headquarters, initiated a review of NASA's contract with North American Aviation, Inc., to determine why work on both the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn V second stage was behind schedule and over budget. This highly critical study, known as the Phillips Report, took on added significance when in the aftermath of the fire, it was discovered that NASA Administrator James E. Webb was apparently unaware of the existence of the report. General Phillips provided a set of the notes which comprised the study to J. Leland Atwood, North American President, and George Mueller added his views in a separate letter.

[1] IN REPLY REFER TO: MADecember 19, 1965

Mr. J. L. Atwood
North American Aviation, Inc.
1700 E. Imperial Highway
El Segundo, California

Dear Lee:

I believe that I and the team that worked with me were able to examine the Apollo Spacecraft and S-II stage programs at your Space and Information Systems Division in sufficient detail during our recent visits to formulate a reasonably accurate assessment of the current situation concerning these two programs.

I am definitely not satisfied with the progress and outlook of either program and am convinced that the right actions now can result in substantial improvement of position in both programs in the relatively near future.

Enclosed are ten copies of the notes which was compiled on the basis of our visits. They include details not discussed in our briefing and are provided for you consideration and use.

The conclusion expressed in our briefing and notes are critical. Even with due consideration of hopeful signs, I could not find a substantive basis for confidence in future performance. I believe that a task group drawn from NAA at large could rather quickly verify the substance of our conclusions, and might be useful to you in setting the course for improvements.

The gravity of the situation compels me to ask that you let me know, by the end of January if possible, the actions you propose to take. If I can assist in any way, please let me know.

Major General, USAF
Apollo Program Director


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Updated February 3, 2003
Steve Garber, NASA History Web Curator
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