DESTINATION MOON: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program
 
 
CHAPTER III: BEGINNING THE LUNAR ORBITER PROGRAM
 
The Lunar Orbiter Project Office Is Established
 
 
 
[50] With the Request for Proposals already sent out, the fledgling Lunar Orbiter Project Office (LOPO), under the direction of Clifford H. Nelson, set up shop at the end of August in the Langley Research Center's sixteen-foot wind [51] tunnel facility in the West Area. The members of the original LOPO nucleus included Israel Taback, Robert Girouard, William I. Watson, Gerald Brewer, John B. Graham, Eugene A. Brummer, Robert Fairbairn, and Anna Plott, the last conducting all secretarial tasks. William J. Boyer joined the group soon after its formation.

Langley Center Director Floyd L. Thompson was instrumental In selecting Nelson as Project Manager. Very experienced at Langley, Nelson had the technical skills and the ability to work closely with people which his assignment required. Ideally a project manager should be capable of serving all vital managerial functions in a project. These include business as well as technical responsibilities. Nelson met most of the requirements which these responsibilities entailed.

Dr. Thompson brought James S. Martin, Senior Engineer at Republic Aviation, into Langley in October 1964 to assist Nelson in the realm of business management for the project. Coming from the aerospace industry to NASA, Martin had extensive experience in handling the business problems of contractors, and he was very capable of getting a job done. He had great knowledge of the operations of industrial contractors, something which Nelson and his staff needed. Martin's area of competency complemented-that of Nelson and the two men formed a good team.

[52] Both successfully instilled in the other members of the Lunar Orbiter Project Office a sense that the whole venture depended upon their individual work. Each member of the team came to see how his Job fitted into the overall objectives of the project. Dr. Thompson assisted Nelson and Martin in the task of establishing good working relationships among those divisions at LRC which would lend support to Lunar Orbiter and among the other NASA and contractor personnel who had a part in the program.


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