DESTINATION MOON: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program
 
 
CHAPTER IV: NASA AND BOEING NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT
 
NASA Solely Responsible for Photographic Data
 
 
 
[89] A more difficult problem impinging upon contract negotiations was the working relationship which Boeing and NASA were going to establish with the two major subcontractors: RCA and Eastman Kodak. Eastman Kodak's photographic system would be the-heart of the Lunar Orbiter, and this meant that Eastman Kodak would play a major role in the success of the program. However, NASA-Langley and Boeing had to define and limit the extent of this firm's participation in the Lunar Orbiter Program.

One reason for this became apparent when Boeing suggested that the lunar Orbiter Program use the Eastman Kodak facilities for reconstituting and processing photographic data from the spacecraft. Boeing considered this to be advantageous because of the presence of the NASA-owned Ground Reassembly Printer at the EK plant in Rochester New York.17 Lt. Col. Clifton E. James, Assistant for [90] Photography, USAF Office of Space Systems, raised the first sign of disapproval of the Boeing idea in a memorandum to Brockway McMillan, the Under Secretary of the Air Force, in February. James stressed that "the achievement of large scale lunar photography will most certainly create wide public interest which can be compared with the acclaim accorded to Sputnik I and the first manned orbital flight."18

Because of the great potential impact of such an event and because it would be sustained not by one but by five photographic missions, James felt that United States space exploration would best profit if the National Aeronautics and Space Administration managed every facet of the processing, handling, and distribution of all photographic and other data transmitted to Earth by the spacecraft. James stressed that "the selection of a contractor's facility for establishing the Lunar Photographic Production Laboratory will not only detract from the potential prestige of this program, but it will also result in management problems...."19

In NASA Seamans read the James memorandum and sent it on to Homer E. Newell in OSSA for review. After [91] evaluating the criticisms which James had raised, Newell's office resolved that, although "the consequences of performing this work at Eastman Kodak are uncertain, the possible disadvantages appear to outweigh the advantages."20 Newell felt that Eastman Kodak with its reputation for extremely precise, high-quality work but also strong security consciousness, might hinder the accessibility of interested parties to the lunar photographic data. Therefore, his office recommended that NASA conduct the processing of Lunar Orbiter photographic data., most likely at Langley, using technicians from EK in the initial stages of data reduction. All of this work would be done under NASA auspices and management. Boeing would have to accept NASA's position on this matter as final.


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