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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Aeronautical and Astronautical Events
of October-December 1961


SOURCE: Eugene M. Emme, comp., Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961, Report of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, 87th Cong., 2d. Sess. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1962), pp. 52-78.

OCTOBER 1961


October 2-7: Twelfth Congress of the Internal Astronautical Federation held in Washington, D.C.

October 2: NASA Deputy Administrator Dryden and Soviet Academy of Sciences official Dr. Leonid I. Sedov both appealed for greater international cooperation and exchange of information in the peaceful exploration of space in their speeches at the opening of the 12th World Congress of the International Astronautical Federation.

---: NASA conducted a press conference for foreign correspondents attending the IAF Congress, pointing out that some 40 nations are now participating in NASA programs or are obtaining NASA help for their respective space programs. Director of the Office of International Programs, Arnold Frutkin, pointed out that growing space research cooperation would soon include a university training program in which 100 foreign students would work at American universities on peaceful space experiments.

---: USAF Atlas E missile made successful 5,000-mile flight at Atlantic Missile Range. The payload included the guidance equipment for the Centaur rocket, radiation sensors, and a nose cone intended for the Minuteman. Data capsule was recovered.

October 3: House Science and Astronautics Committee released interim report on "Research and Development in Aeronautics," which concluded that "the welfare of the Nation, in both its economic and security aspects, is dependent in no small degree on continuing aeronautical research of high caliber."

---: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson began tour of west coast missile and space installations.

---: Inhouse procurement policies and practices of NASA reviewed by headquarters and field personnel in conference at Lewis Research Center.

---: First regular meeting of the International Academy of Astronautics held in conjunction with the 12th Annual Congress of the International Astronautical Federation in Washington.

---: Dr. Vladimir A. Kotelnikov, of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences, told the IAF that Russian radar returns from Venus indicated a value of 149,599,500 kilometers obtained by Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the figure of 149,597,850 kilometers obtained by Lincoln Laboratory. Disagreement remains on whether Venus day is a 9-to-11-earth-day period or 225-earth-day period.

October 3-5: PERT (program evaluation and review technique) symposium held at Huntsville, Ala., sponsored by the American Institute of Industrial Engineering and the University of Alabama.

October 4: Beginning of the fifth year of the "space age," being the anniversary of the launching of Sputnik I (1957).

---: Project West Ford given final approval by the White House.

---: Maj. Robert Rushworth, U.S. Air Force, flew X-15 to 2,820 miles per hour, with bottom tailfin missing in programed malfunctions for test of stability and control.

---: State Department ruled that Soviet space scientists would not be allowed to visit the American Rocket Society's Space Flight Report to the Nation in New York on October 9-14, a reciprocal action prompted by Soviet restrictions on American scientists in the U.S.S.R.

---: Soviet scientists in Washington for 12th IAF Congress revealed that Maj. Gherman Titov was ill during his 17 orbits in Vostok II on August 6. Disorientation, nausea, and irregular heartbeat resulted from prolonged weightlessness, according to O. G. Gazenko and V.J. Yazdovsky of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

October 5: USAF Atlas fired 9,000 miles for Atlantic Missile Range into Indian Ocean, carrying dummy nuclear warhead and a data capsule which was recovered.

October 5-6: Atomic Energy Commission announced that the Tory II-A-1 nuclear test reactor underwent tests on September 28 and October 5-6. Power levels of the test were not disclosed but advanced plans called for tests at full power. The test was for "about 1 minute" at temperatures "in excess of 2,000þF." and emission of radiation was "negligible."

October 6: USAF Titan I launched from Cape Canaveral carrying Titan II guidance system.

October 7: Soviet E-166 jet fighter flown to 1,482.039 miles per hour in closed 100-kilometer course, according to Moscow claim.

---: Second stage of Nike-Zeus exploded at 2-miles altitude in test launch.

---: U.S.S.R. launched fourth multistage rocket 7,500 miles into the Pacific.

October 8: Plans for a worldwide scientific study of the Sun, to begin in 1964 and continue for 18 months, were approved by scientists from 51 nations gathered in London for the triennial meeting of the International Council of Scientific Unions. Final plans to be drawn in Paris in April 1962 at a meeting of the International Committee on Geophysics, successor to the IGY.

---: In article in New York Times, Dr. Edward C. Welsh, Executive Secretary, National Aeronautics and Space Council, said: "In my view, we [the United States] do not have a division between peaceful and nonpeaceful objectives for space. Rather, we have space missions to help keep the peace and space missions to enable use to live better in peace."

---: In article in New York Times, Mr. George J. Feldman, consultant to the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, outlined several areas of international space law that urgently require solution, including sovereignty in space, liability for damage from spacecraft, conflicts of interest arising from space experiments, sovereignty claims on celestial bodies, and the international allocation of satellite radio frequencies. Communications satellites make latter point particularly critical, as well as posing an unprecedented problem in American contract and antitrust law.

October 9-15: American Rocket Society's 16th annual meeting and Space Flight Report to the Nation held in New York City.

October 10: NASA Argo D-4 rocket was launched from Wallops, reaching an altitude of 585 miles and landing 817 miles out in the Atlantic, to gather data on the density of electrically charged helium atoms in the upper atmosphere.

October 11: X-15 flown more than 40 miles into space-217,000 feet-and reached a speed of 3,647 miles per hour, Maj. Robert White, U.S. Air Force, as pilot. This was above 99.9 percent of Earth's atmosphere; pilot's heartbeat and respiration rose to twice above normal; and outside skin temperature of the X-15 rose to 900þF on reentry.

---: NASA Administrator Webb, speaking to the American Rocket Society, said NASA scientists "are going to consider the rendezvous technique with great care before going ahead with Nova." Decision on whether to give priority to the rendezvous technique would probably be made by the end of 1961, he said.

---: Final report of House Committee on Science and Astronautics relating to their hearings on "Commercial Applications of Space Communications Systems" released, having among its conclusions:

(1) Because of worldwide interest and potential usefulness of a space communications system, the U.S. Government must "retain maximum flexibility regarding the central question of ownership and operation of the system."

(2) NASA will not only evaluate the various commercial proposals but will "conduct all space launches and retain direct control over all launching equipment, facilities, and personnel."

(3) Research and development of military space communications systems should continue to be conducted by DOD but all research and development in space communications "should be conducted under the general supervision of NASA in accordance with its statutory mandate to 'plan, direct, and conduct aeronautical and space activities'" as well as evaluate the technical merits of proposed systems.

---: In a luncheon address to the American Rocket Society, Gen. Bernard A. Schriever said: "I have been, am being, and, if the situation is not changed, will continue to be inhibited if our space efforts continue to be carried out under an unnecessary, self-imposed national restriction; namely, the artificial division between space for peaceful purposes and space for military purposes." Asserting USAF management experience in space systems, General Schriever added: "There is no short cut to the creation of a team of dedicated and experienced men with a tradition of accomplishment."

---: Jacqueline Cochran set woman's altitude record of 56,071.3 feet, in Northrop T-38 jet trainer at Edwards Air Force Base.

October 13: In speech at the American Rocket Society, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson stated: "If I could get one message to you it would be this: The future of this country and the welfare of the free world depend upon our success in space. There is no room in this country for any but a fully cooperative, urgently motivated all-out effort toward space leadership. No one person, no one company, no one Government agency, has a monopoly on the competence, the missions, or the requirements for the space program. It is and it must continue to be national job."

October 13: Discoverer XXXII was placed into polar orbit; its capsule contained components of USAF satellite systems. This marked the 100th successful firing of the Thor booster rocket.

---: The Ad Hoc Carrier Committee established by the FCC to make an industry proposal on the development and operation of commercial communications satellites recommended a nonprofit corporation be formed, to be owned by companies engaged in international communications, with the U.S. Government having one more representative on the board of directors than any one company. Western Union filed a minority statement proposing a public stock company arrangement to prevent dominance of the corporation by any one company.

---: The American Rocket Society presented its major annual awards as follows: Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Medal to Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Astronautics Medal to Comdr. Alan B. Shepard, Mercury astronaut, for his MR-3 flight of May 5; James H. Wylk Memorial Medal to Harrison A. Storms, Jr., of North American Aviation; Propulsion Medal to Robert B. Young of Aerojet-General Corp. for his role in development of Titan II engine; G. Edward Pendray Award to Kraft Ehricke for his contribution to astronautical literature; and Research Medal to Dr. James Van Allen of State University of Iowa for basic research.

---: On its second birthday in space, Explorer VII was still transmitting although it had been scheduled to stop a year ago.

---: The Soviet Union announced it had fired fifth multistage rocket 7,500 miles into the Central Pacific, with all stages functioning perfectly and with the nose cone landing in the target area with a high degree of accuracy.

October 14: Capsule of Discoverer XXXII recovered by C-130 piloted by Capt. Warren Schensted, U.S. Air Force, the sixth aerial recovery of an ejected satellite capsule and Schensted's second catch. Capsule contained test objects including seed corn.

---: NASA Argo D-4 launched from Wallops Station carried United States;Canadian topside sounding satellite payload to 560-mile altitude.

---: U.S.S.R.'s Tass announced that the "Air Force Herald" would be retitled "Aviation and Cosmonautics" (Aviatsiga I Kosmonavtika), beginning in January 1962.

---: U.S.S.R. claimed a new world speed record for vertiplanes on a closed 62-mile circuit at 209 miles per hour. Tass said this exceeded the previous record of 191 miles per hour held by a New Zealander, G. Ellith, flying a British Rotordyne. The following day, Tass claimed a horizontal speed of 228 miles per hour for the Kamov vertiplane.

October 14-15: Sky Shield II provided aerospace control exercise for NORAD and SAC, including grounding of all commercial aircraft for 12 hours.

October 17: USAF-USN-NASA X-15 flown to 108,600 feet and a record speed of 3,900 miles per hour, piloted by Joseph Walker at Edwards, Calif.

October 18: NASA Scout fired payload to 4,261-mile altitude, obtaining data on the ionosphere.

October 18: First U.S. showing of films of Vostok II space flight by Gherman Titov, before the Maryland Academy of Sciences in Baltimore, was canceled at the last minute by a Soviet Embassy official. Film had been shown to press correspondents in Moscow on October 9.

---: James A. Van Allen was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal of the Franklin Institute, Philadephia, for "his many contributions and poineering achievements in the filed of space science."

October 18-22: The 20th American Assembly sponsored by Columbia University met to study the problems of space exploration and, in its report, recommended a proper balance with it and other programs in the national interest.

October 19: In a speech at Naval Research Laboratory, Harold Brown, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, said Government labs would hereafter be the "primary means" for carrying out military weapons programs; that DOD would seek an increase in the number of supergrade scientific positions and would ask for the same top pay for scientists as NASA has; that labs would be given increased status in the chain of command; and that lab directors will be given funds they can spend for research without prior approval.

---: NASA Administrator Webb, speaking at the 20th American Assembly, said the accelerated space program was necessary or else "we would see the Russians, with the advantage of their advance position in booster thrust, stay continuously ahead. . . . The cost over the 10 years of the accelerated program will very probably be less than if it were stretched out over 15 years."

---: NASA Scout launched from Wallops Island, Va., and placed 94-pound P-21 payload to 4,261-mile altitude in a study of the ionosphere.

October 20: Ranger test postponed at Atlantic Missile Range.

October 21: USAF Midas IV launched into polar orbit from Pacific Missile Range, and also carried Project West Ford payload.

October 22: NASA announced that Dr. Hiden T. Cox, executive director of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, would become Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, and "charged with developing NASA policies to insure that the character, the intent, and the results of America's space effort are correctly and adequately interpreted to the people of this country and the world."

---: Assistant Secretary of State of International Organization Affairs, Harlan Cleveland, outlined in a speech at St. Louis University the seven-point program that the United States will propose to the United Nations General Assembly for guaranteeing peace and world cooperation in space: (1) Explicit confirmation that the U.N. Charter applies to the limits of space exploration; (2) a declaration that space and heavenly bodies are not subject to claim of national sovereignty; (3) an international system for registering all objects launched into space; (4) a specialized space unit in the United Nations Secretariat; (5) a world weather watch using satellites; (6) a cooperative search for ways toward weather modification; and (7) a global system of communications to link the world by telegraph, telephone, radio, and television.

October 22: National Science Foundation announced the establishment of a science resources planning office to study U.S. long-range scientific needs, to be headed by NSF Associate Director for Planning, Richard H. Bolt.

October 23: The Freedom 7 Mercury capsule in which Alan B. Shepard, Jr., made the first suborbital space flight, was presented to the National Air Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. In his presentation, NASA Administrator Webb said: "To Americans seeking answers, proof that man can survive in the hostile realm of space is not enough. A solid and meaningful foundation for public support and the basis for our Apollo man-in-space effort is that U.S. astronauts are going into space to do useful work in the cause of all their fellow men."

"Such flights as those of Freedom 7 are not stunts. They are not antithetical to sober scientific and technological research. Interpreted properly, these dramatic events can add much to public understanding and excite creative interest in extending the base on which public support must rest."

---: NASA announced that it had ordered 14 additional Delta launch vehicles (Douglas Thor first stage, Aeroject-General AJ10-118 second stage, and Allegheny Ballistics Laboratory third stage) for Relay, Syncom, Telstar, and Tiros satellites. Five of the first six of the twelve Deltas successfully launched Echo I, Tiros II and III, and Explorers X and XII.

---: Ranger launching again postponed at Atlantic Missile Range because of technical difficulties.

---: Cleveland extension (SNPO-C) of the joint AEC-NASA Space Nuclear Propulsion Office (SNPO) activated, located on Lewis Research Center and headed by John L. Wilson.

---: USAF Discoverer XXXIII failed to achieve polar orbit.

---: First underwater launching of Navy Polaris A-2, and first firing from submarine, U.S.S. Ethan Allen.

---: AEC announced that the Soviet Union had detonated a thermonuclear bomb with a 30-megaton yield as well as a small underwater nuclear device. These were the 22d and 23d Soviet nuclear tests reported by AEC.

---: Marshal R. Y. Malinovsky, Soviet Defense Minister, announced that the U.S.S.R. had solved the problem of antimissile defense (a statement later qualified in retranslation).

October 24: Studies of "unconventional" rockets using liquid fuels in the thrust range from 2 to 24 million pounds announced by NASA; 2 contracts being carried out by Aerojet-General and Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation.

---: USAF Titan fired from Cape Canaveral to coincide with over head passage of Midas IV.

---: The first Centaur liquid-oxygen/liquid-nitrogen tanking tests were successfully completed at Sycamore Canyon.

---: Long duration static test of the S-I stage (SA-2 vehicle) occurred at Marshall Space Flight Center, for a period of 120 seconds.

---: Small liquid-fuel rocket was fueled and fired while floating in ocean off Point Mugu in Aerojet-General demonstration of this launching technique.

October 25: NASA selected Pearl River site in southwestern Mississippi, 35 miles from Michoud plant in New Orleans, for static test facility for Saturn and Nova-class vehicles, completed facility to operate under direction of Marshall Space Flight Center.

---: Ranger 2 shot postponed indefinitely as the 8-day "window" (i.e., when the Moon, Sun, and Earth were in favorable positions) had ended before technical difficulties could be corrected.

---: Reported from Cape Canaveral that launch of Titan the previous evening had been detected by Midas IV.

---: USAF announced that Project West Ford's 350 million depoles launched with Midas IV had not yet been found by radar contact.

---: Full Tass text of Marshal R. V. Malinovsky's speech on October 23 as it appeared in Soviet dailies, showed no statement to the effect that the Soviets had perfected an antimissile missile, as had been reported by Moscow correspondents of the American press.

October 26: National Aeronautic Association appointed committee headed by Maj. Gen. Albert Boyd, U.S. Air Force (retired), to program U.S. efforts to break world aircraft records now held by other nations.

---: Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory successfully flight-tested largest plastic balloon (318 feet in diameter and 434 feet long).

---: U.S.S. Blandy demonstrated capability of a destroyer to recover MR-2 Mercury capsule, with Virgil Grissom aboard, from water in series of pickups in lower Chesapeake Bay.

October 27: Largest known rocket launch to date, the Saturn 1st stage booster, successful on first test flight from Atlantic Missile Range. With its eight clustered engines developing almost 1.3 million pounds of thrust at launch, the Saturn (SA-1) hurled waterfilled dummy upper stages to an altitude of 84.8 miles and 214.7 miles down range. In a postlaunch statement, Administrator Webb said: "The flight today was a splendid demonstration of the strength of our national space program and an important milestone in the buildup of our national capacity to launch heavy payloads necessary to carry out the program projected by President Kennedy on May 25. We in NASA deeply appreciate the contribution by the military services and American industry in achieving this important milestone." Development of Saturn had begun under Advanced Research Projects Agency auspices in 1958.

---: Goddard Space Flight Center and Geophysics Corp. launched Nike-Cajun rocket from Wallops Station with 60-pound payload that reached 90-mile altitude in a study of electron density and temperature in the upper level of the atmosphere.

---: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory scientists reported that Discoverer XVII nose cone (launched November 12, 1960, from Pacific Missile Range) had picked up tritium-product of a solar flare in which hydrogen and helium combine at high energies. While recovered satellite capsules often pick up some tritium, capsule of Discoverer XVII had 100 times the normal amount.

October 27: Secretary of Defense McNamara announced that progress of the Administration's accelerated defense buildup made unnecessary the use of additional defense funds appropriate by the Congress above the amount requested by the administration. The Congress had voted $514.5 million for additional long-range bombers; $180 million additional for the B-70; and $85.8 million additional for Dyna-Soar.

---: Second NASA honor awards ceremony in Washington: Dr. Abe Silverstein, new Director of the Lewis Research Center, received NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal; William O'Sullivan of Project Echo received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award; and George D. McCauley received the Sustained Superior Performance Award. Other NASA personnel who had received NASA or non-Federal awards during NASA's third year were also recognized.

---: Comdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Award in New York City.

---: All-out speed trial of X-15 postponed because of heavy cloud cover, a flight aimed at 4,100 miles per hour.

October 29: NASA announced that first Mercury-Scout launch to verify the readiness of the worldwide Mercury tracking network would take place at Atlantic Missile Range.

---: U.S.S.R. announced completion of its series of Pacific rocket tests with a successful shot of 7,500 miles. Since series began on September 13, Tass had announced a total of eight shots, emphasizing the accuracy of what was described as a "fundamentally new type of guidance system."

October 30: U.S.S.R. exploded 55- to 60-megaton nuclear device as per Khrushchev's promise to the 22nd Communist Party Congress. White House release later in the day pointed out that this Soviet explosion would "produce more radioactive fallout than any previous explosion. The Soviet explosion was a political rather than a military act."

October 31: NASA has assembled an outstanding management team for its stepped-up assault on space, NASA Administrator Webb added: "These mean, and many others associated with them, know the technical side of aeronautics and space and are all experienced in the management of large activities. Each has demonstrated a personal earning capacity for beyond what the Government is able to pay for their services. Each is thoroughly familiar with the opportunities and problems associated with our most important technical military weapon system development efforts. It is fortunate for this Nation that men with these high qualifications and such experience are willing to forego large earnings in industry and a more normal personal and family life to supply the leadership needed in our national space effort."

---: Launch of Mercury-Scout canceled at T minus 10 seconds at Atlantic Missile Range because of mechanical difficulties, while record speed flight of X-15 was again prevented by cloud cover restricting instrumentation.

October 31: At autumn meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Los Angeles, Dr. Hilde Kallmann-Biji reported on Committee on Space Research report by an international studies group on data discovered by Soviet and American satellites as well as sounding rocket observations including those of Britain and West Germany. Findings indicated that 500 miles in space, temperatures may fluctuate 1,000þF., and that the Earth's upper atmosphere has distinct day and night variations in density and pressure.

During October: A series of some 50 supersonic flights to analyze the characteristics, intensity, and air and ground effects of supersonic booms began at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., under joint sponsorship of the USAF, FAA, and NASA.

NOVEMBER 1961


November 1: New organization of NASA headquarters became effective, which established four major program offices (Manned Space Flight, Space Sciences, Advanced Research and Technological, and Applications), and provided center directors with direct line to the Office of the Associate Administrator.

---: Reported that the DOD-NASA Golovin Committee was near agreement on hybrid solid-and-liquid fuel rockets for Dyna-Soar. Golovin Committee had been meeting for 3 months to work out families of large rockets for overall national space program.

---: Mercury-Scout, testing global tracking network, was destroyed by range safety officer after lift-off.

---: Radiocarbon from nuclear tests had been useful in tracing movements of the atmosphere, reported Prof. Gordon S. Fergusson to the National Academy of Sciences. Studies since 1955 showed that it took 1 year for carbon 14 to move from one hemisphere to the other, once it gets into the lower atmosphere.

---: Scientists and engineers of Langley Research Center and the Space Task Group were guests of the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce honoring the 46 years of NACA and NASA on the Virginia Peninsula.

---: Ballute (balloon braking system) reentry test of 500-pound Cree vehicle, launched by three-stage Nike rocket, reaching an altitude of 28 miles and a speed of near 1,900 miles per hour, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

---: USAF Hound Dog missile launched successfully from B-52 over Atlantic Missile Range and hit target area.

November 2: Lewis Research Center scientists, G. B. Brown and E. E. Callighan, reported at 1961 International Conference on High Magnetic Fields at MIT, that NASA was constructing a magnetic shield of superconducting alloys for future manned spacecraft.

---: British Skylark reached an altitude of more than 100 miles in third of four NASA firings to study ultraviolet radiation in the Southern Hemisphere.

---: Navy Aerobee 100, which had been launched from water on October 24, recovered and overhauled, made its second successful launch at Point Mugu, Calif. This was the second successful launch of liquid-fuel rocket from the open sea, having been towed to sea, fueled horizontally, ballasted to float vertically, and ignited by remote control.

---: Reported unnamed NASA spokesman stated that two inspections of Gurtler-Herbert & Co's renovation of the Michoud Ordnance Plant for NASA revealed no racial discrimination.

November 3: NASA announced start of a nationwide recruiting drive for 2,000 talented scientists and engineers.

November 3: Nine-nation Western European Conference in London announced decision to launch a satellite in mid-1965, using a British Blue Streak first stage, a French Veronique second stage, and a West German third stage, from the Woomera range in Australia.

---: Lincoln Laboratory of MIT reported that examination of telemetry from Midas IV indicated that Project West Ford package of dipoles had been ejected at the expected time and the proper speed. No evidence was available as to whether the dipoles had been released, and no radar reading had been obtained.

---: Three Polaris A-2 missiles successfully fired within 3-hour period from submarine Ethan Allen.

November 4: USAF Office of Aerospace Research symposium at MIT, at which Dr. Otto Schmitt, of Northwestern University, reported that snails, worms, and one-celled paramecia had the ability to detect magnetic fields encountered on the surface of the Earth.

November 5: USAF Discoverer XXXIV launched into polar orbit with recoverable capsule. Launch represented 22d successful in the Discoverer series.

November 6: NASA informed Marshall Space Flight Center that management of the Agena B vehicle system would be retained at Marshall Space Flight Center.

---: Department of Commerce issued a proposal by MIT researchers on a science information network, entitled "An Experimental Communications Center for Scientific and Technical Information" (OTS, AD-255626). Proposed network included newspapers as well as radio and TV and recommended further research of a specific network to process, identify and retrieve scientific documents and information for dissemination.

---: N. Varvarov, in Soviet newspaper, Ekonomicheskaya Gazeta, denounced the U.S. space program as using outer space for military purposes and cluttering the cosmos with an unnecessarily large number of satellites. Especially critical of the Discoverer series, the article said: "the United States, pursuing an intensive arms race, is setting up an elaborate system of cosmic military intelligence communications and navigation. . . . Actually, this is banditry on an international scale."

November 7: Explosion in hydrogen system canceled full-power run of AEC Kiwi B-1A reactor at Jackson Flats, Nev. Five men were injured, and the reactor was not damaged.

---: NASA announced award of a contract to North American Aviation Co. to study the feasibility of a large erectable manned space station based on Langley Research Center concept.

November 8: Industry proposal to FCC for organizing a commercial communications satellite system critically reviewed in hearings of the Monopoly Subcommittee of the Senate Small Business Committee.

November 9: X-15 flown to announced record 4,070 miles per hour (later revised to 4,093) by Maj. Robert White, U.S. Air Force, in top-speed test flight, making safe landing with outer right windshield cracked.

November 9: Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in speech at Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, said: "I for one do not fully understand why, in the midst of a plethora of necessary and costly activities, our Nation should be required, urgently, to develop a capacity to put men on the Moon and challenge our principal opponent in doing so."

---: Senate Small Business Committee concluded critical hearings on the FCC's handling of the communications satellite project.

November 10: USAF Atlas with capsule containing squirrel monkey destroyed by range safety officer at Atlantic Missile Range when main sustainer engine failed 15 seconds after launch.

---: Reported that ONR-supported radio observatory at Cal Tech's Owens Valley, Calif., had expanded the radius of the observable universe 27 times (36 sextillion miles, the distance traveled by light at a speed of about 186,000 miles a second in 6 billion years).

---: In reviewing NASA's communications satellite programs, Administrator Webb pointed out that it had been speculated that the satellite system "may have progressed enough by 1964 that we shall be able to watch the Tokyo Olympic Games on television at home."

November 11: NASA announced that top speed of X-15 on Major White's record flight was revised to 4,093 miles per hour (mach 6.04), reached at 95,800 feet. (White also held altitude record of 217,000 feet (41 miles), flown on October 11).

November 12: Mercury-Atlas 5, scheduled for launch no earlier than November 14, ran into technical difficulties, postponing launch for several days.

---: Bell Aerosystems Co. announced design of a "practical zero gravity belt" to propel a man a short distance in space.

November 13: USAF announced that amateur radio communications satellite, assembled by Project Oscar Association, would be flown piggyback on future Discoverer vehicle.

November 13-22: International Meteorological Satellite Workshop held in Washington, D.C., attended by weathermen from 28 nations, sponsored by NASA and the U.S. Weather Bureau to apply Tiros-acquired data to practical day-to-day weather prognosis.

November 14: United Arab Republic neither confirmed nor denied reports of November 8 that it had successfully launched its first rocket. Dr. Eugen Saenger of the Stuttgart Jet Propulsion Institute in Germany denied any connection with the United Arab Republic program as charged by Israel.

---: Soviet and bloc delegates from Czechoslovakia and Poland, who had previously accepted invitations, did not attend the NASA-Weather Bureau International Meteorological Satellite Workshop held in Washington; telegram from Andre Zolotukhin received by Dr. Reichelderfer stated that "our representatives unable to participate," but requested "dispatch of relevant papers if possible."

November 15: Navy Transit IV-B and Traac (Transit Research Attitude Control) satellites launched into orbit by Thor-Able-Star at Atlantic Missile Range.

---: USAF Discoverer XXXV launched into polar orbit with 300-pound recoverable capsule.

November 15: NASA Bios (biological investigation of space) payload launched by Argo D-8 booster rocket from Pacific Missile Range, but veered sharply off course 57 seconds after launch.

---: Anniversary of the first flight of the USAF-USN-NASA X-15 powered with the XLR-99 engine (15 flights total to date). A $225 million research program under NASA management, test data indicated that X-15 would exceed its design limits by 100 percent in altitude and 17 percent in speed. The X-15 had already pushed near its design altitude limit of 250,000 feet (reached 217,000 feet October 11, 1961) and passed its maximum design speed of mach 6 (reached mach 6.04 November 9, 1961).

---: NASA Director of the Office of Manned Space Flight, D. Brainerd Holmes, said, in an interview, that at least 10 Apollo spacecraft would be ordered in the manned lunar vehicle prime systems contract to be awarded in December 1961.

---: Army launched Speedball rocket successfully from the island of Roi-Namur on Kwajalein atoll in the Southwest Pacific, the first target rocket to be used in Nike-Zeus development.

November 16: Gold-plated capsule of Discoverer XXXV recovered after 18 orbits in midair over Fern Island by C-130 aircraft, Capt. James F. McCullough, U.S. Air Force, as pilot. It was the 10th recovery from orbit in the Discoverer series and the 1st recovery observed from the ground.

---: In speech on "Scientists and Engineers in the Space Program," Albert F. Siepert, NASA Director of Administration, outlined NASA's basic policies on personnel. He pointed out that of NASA's some 20,000 employees, only 4,000 had come to NASA through individual appointments, the remainder on transfer of organizations intact to NASA. NASA's personnel utilization practices, Siepert said, were as follows: (1) Don't use a scientist or engineer when another skill will do as well; (2) classify a man's skills by what he actually does, rather than how he was formally trained; (3) provide professional entrance into the Federal civil service through an examination which is work centered rather than academically oriented; (4) take on-the-job training and education seriously; (5) encourage professional recognition outside the agency; and (6) recognize that job satisfaction depends upon the man's continued interest in his work as well as his take-home pay."

---: William J. O'Sullivan, Jr., of Langley Research Center awarded the Second NASA Invention and Contribution Award for conception and development of the inflatable space vehicle. Proposed in January 1956 to the U.S. IGY Committee, O'Sullivan's invention led to two successful NASA experiments, Echo I and Explorer IX, and U.S. Patent No. 2,996.212, entitled "Self-Supporting Space Vehicle" issued to the NASA Administrator on behalf of the United States on August 15, 1961.

---: Army Nike-Zeus antimissile rocket with active second stage successfully fired at Point Mugu, Calif.

November 17: NASA announced selection of the Chrysler Corp. for construction, test, and launch of 20 first-stage Saturn boosters at its Michoud, La., fabrication plant.

---: First USAF Minuteman successfully fired from silo at Atlantic Missile Range, making 3,000-mile flight.

November 18: Ranger II placed into low orbit from Atlantic Missile Range by Atlas, but Agena second stage did not restart, leaving deep-space probe Ranger in parking orbit. Results reported to delay lunar-landing Ranger shot in early 1962.

---: NASA announced that record Argo D-8 vehicle was launched with Bios payload from Point Arguello, but reentry capsule beacon signal had not been acquired by down-range recovery forces.

---: Evidence of traces of living things in meteorites from space reaching Earth, reported in Nature magazine by George Claus of NYU and Bartholomew Nagy of Fordham, based upon discovery of five types of "organized structures" in the Orgueil meteorite found in southern France in 1864, and the Ivuna meteorite that fell in central Africa in 1938.

---: Reported from Moscow that U.S.S.R. was planning to orbit a man around the Moon in 1962, and that the U.S.S.R. had ICBM's in being with 100-megaton warheads.

November 19: NASA announced the completion of the preliminary flight rating test of the Nation's first liquid-hydrogen rocket engine. The engine, the RL-10, was designed and developed by Pratt and Whitney, of United Aircraft, for the Marshall Space Flight Center, and 20 captive firings were competed within 5 days under simulated space conditions, consistently producing 15,000 pounds of thrust. RL-10, previously known as XLR-115, was initiated in October 1958 and over 700 firings were conducted in its development.

---: Navy Skylark balloon began coast-to-coast flight carrying University of Chicago cosmic ray experiment, launched at Brawley, Calif., and landing near Asheville, N.C., on November 21.

November 20: NASA announced consolidation of nuclear-electric propulsion program at Lewis Research Center by transfer of the Marshall Space Flight Center Research Projects Division under Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger to Lewis within 3 months.

---: Executive order of the President suspended the 8-hour limitation on construction workers in NASA. It stated that "a clearly leading role in aeronautical and space achievement has become a vital national objective," and that it was essential to conduct the space program "with a major national commitment of manpower, material, and facilities," and "with all possible speed and efficiency."

---: In news conference, Dr. Albert R. Hibbs, Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Chief of Space Sciences, stated that it would be a "major accomplishment" if the United States were to overtake the Russians in the race to the Moon, a "less than 50-50 chance." He pointed to the rumors that the Soviet Union had already attempted to launch a probe to Mars.

---: NASA Launch Operations Directorate announced establishment of Offices of Financial Management and of Procurement and Contracts to support NASA activities at Cape Canaveral, previously done by Marshall Space Flight Center.

November 20-21: Technical conference on the progress of X-15 research held at Edwards Air Force Base, sponsored jointly by NASA, USAF, and USN; the third in a series, previously held in 1956 and 1958.

November 21: In a speech on "Our National Program in Space," NASA Administrator Webb said:

"In carrying out its responsibilities, NASA cooperates with and depends upon private industry, universities, and many other Government agencies--not only the Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the Bureau of Standards, but the Weather Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Aviation Agency, the National Science Foundation, and others.

"It has been only 4 years since the first manmade satellite orbited the Earth. Since then, progress in this new field of space has been tremendous. I believe that in the years ahead the rate of progress will trace a steeply ascending curve. I believe also that the many problems we will solve to achieve manned exploration of space will create a wealth of new materials, consumer goods, processes, and techniques, thus opening a host of new jobs, careers, opportunities for investment, and a general national growth.

"We can be first in space if we advance our scientific and technical knowledge at the most rapid rate possible, and if we go forward with the sustained effort that it requires. That is the basis of our national space effort."

---: Titan ICBM launched from Cape Canaveral carrying target nose cone to be used in Nike-Zeus antimissile-missile tests. This was first Titan ICBM to be fired from Cape Canaveral by a military crew, AFBSD's 6555th Aerospace Test Wing.

November 22: USAF launched an unnamed satellite with an Atlas-Agena booster from Point Arguello, Calif., in first unannounced U.S. satellite launching.

---: An F4H Phantom II piloted by Lt. Col. Robert B. Robinson (USMC), claimed a new world speed record at Edwards Air Force Base, averaging 1,606.324 miles per hour.

November 23: Tiros II completed first year in orbit, still transmitting cloud-cover photographs of usable quality, although it has been expected to have a useful lifetime of only 3 months. Tiros II had completed 5,354 orbits, and had transmitted over 36,000 photographs.

---: National Aeronautic Association notified Mrs. Constance Wolf, of Blue Bell, Pa., that her Texas-to-Oklahoma balloon flight of 40 hours 13 minutes, 363.99 miles and 13,000-foot altitude established 15 women's world records.

November 24: First four U.S. Nike-Cajun rockets arrived in Norway for use in research program off Andoeya Island early next year.

---: DOD announced that the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) had selected Space Technology Laboratory (STL) to develop satellite system under Project Vela for detection of clandestine nuclear weapons in outer space.

---: Official Soviet films on the flight of Vostok II shown on nationwide TV in NBC program, "Crossing the Threshold-Part I."

November 25: Announced that the largest quartz lens ever ground had been completed by Bausch & Lomb for use in NASA's optical solar simulation system at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The lens is 36 inches in diameter, 6 inches thick at the center, and weighs 350 pounds.

November 26: Russian scientist, K. Florensky, reported in Komsomol Pravda that a comet's head, not a meteorite or an interplanetary atomic weapon, caused the big explosion that jarred Siberia on June 30, 1908. The blast near the Hunguska River killed 1,500 reindeer, felled trees over an area of 700 square miles, and was recorded on seismographs around the world.

November 27: The United States presented an outline for a program for cooperation and control in outer space to the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space meeting in New York. This was the first committee meeting held since its membership was expanded from 18 to 24 nations by the General Assembly 2 years ago, the 7 Communist members refusing to attend until today. U.N. Delegate Charles W. Yost urged consideration of the U.S. proposals before the life of this Committee expired at the end of the year. The U.S. proposals were: acknowledge that international law and U.N. Charter extend to outer space; establish central registry for all space launchings and satellites; and share all information from weather satellites.

---: USAF reported that Lincoln Laboratory's Millstone Hill radar at West Ford, Mass., had made three sightings on November 3, 13, and 15, which might be the missing package of 350 million copper needles launched into orbit on October 21.

---: Senator Robert Kerr announced that he would introduce legislation to authorize private ownership of the U.S. portion of the proposed worldwide communications satellite system. His bill would create the "Satellite Communications Corp." which the participating firms would buy.

---: The Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation announced openings for 18 young scientists and engineers for graduate study in rockets, jet propulsion, space flight and space structures at Cal Tech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Aerospace Laboratory at Princeton, and the Institute of Flight Structures at Columbia. Established in 1949, Guggenheim fellowship program in the aerospace sciences has provided financial aid to 142 students to date.

---: General Curtis E. LeMay, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, said in an interview with U.S. News & World Report:

"I think we're at the period of space technology that we were in aeronautical technology along about 1914. At that time no one could predict the type of weapon systems that the airplane was going to produce, or the transportation system that it would eventually produce. As a matter of fact, it was pretty much a laughing stock--a very expensive toy."

"We, of course, initially did a very poor job in our development program to advance the science of aeronautics in this country. I hope we do a better job in space. At the present time we can't predict what will eventually come out of research in space in the way of weapon systems or commercial vehicles or any other use that we might put space to. I am sure that men are going out into space. I'm sure that they'll find useful things to do out there, and I'm sure that, unless something is done to preclude it, they'll find things to fight over out there, too."

November 28: President Kennedy awarded the Harmon International Aviator's Trophy jointly to the three X-15 test pilots. The first joint award in the history of the trophy went to A. Scott Crossfield of North American, Joseph A. Walker of NASA, and Maj. Robert M. White, U.S. Air Force.

---: NASA selected North American Aviation to design and build a three-man Apollo spacecraft leading toward eventual lunar landings and exploration of the Moon. Each proposal was evaluated by a team of nearly 200 NASA and DOD specialists.

November 29: Mercury-Atlas 5 launch from Cape Canaveral placed Mercury spacecraft carrying chimpanzee "Enos" into orbit; retro-rockets were fired on second rather than planned third orbit because of developing malfunction of altitude control system. Mercury capsule was recovered 1 hour and 25 minutes after water landing by the destroyer Stormes, and well-performing "Enos" recovered in excellent condition. Project Mercury officials named John H. Glenn as prime astronaut for the first manned orbital mission with M. Scott Carpenter as backup, and Donald Slayton as prime astronaut for second manned orbital mission with Walter Schirra as backup.

---: President Kennedy, after giving lengthy answer to a question at his regular press conference, was handed a note by his press secretary, which he read and then said: "chimpanzee who is flying in space took off at 10:08. He reports that everything is perfect and working well."

---: Thomas F. Dixon, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator, in speech before the Greater Los Angeles Press Club, reviewed west coast space projects and said:

"All of these projects are part of a unified national program, which was accelerated earlier this year. I want to emphasize that this is a national program. It is not just a NASA program. It is not just a government program. It is a program to mobilize America's manpower and resources to meet the goals we have set for ourselves in space."

---: Soviet Cosmonaut Gagarin in New Delhi said that "we will not have to wait long" for the first manned flight to the Moon. Garagin was making a 9-day visit to India.

---: Air Force Office of Aerospace Research (OAR) announced that its Office of Scientific Research had awarded 139 basic research grants and contracts worth almost $8 million so far this fiscal year.

November 30: Army fired its Pershing solid-fuel tactical missile from Cape Canaveral on a 200-mile flight, testing accuracy, warhead components, and blast and heat factors at launch in relation to operational crew protection. This was the seventh straight successful firing of the Pershing.

---: Army successfully fired a Nike-Zeus antimissile from White Sands Missile Range in the first flight test of all three rocket motors.

During November: Studies by General Electric's Space Sciences Laboratory, under NASA contract, disclosed that the heat barrier encountered by vehicles returning from deep space will be at least 2 1/2 times more severe than previously estimated.

During November: Textron's Bell Aerospace Corp. completed 81 flight tests with cold gas one-man propulsion system in USAF C-131 aircraft flying "Keplerian trajectories."

---: National Bureau of Standards established the Radio Refractive Index Data Center at its Boulder, Colo., laboratories, to correlate data from 300 reporting points on the variable refraction of radio waves at specific times, heights, and locations.

---: DOD revised its patent policy on space research and development contracts in accordance with present NASA patent provisions, such provisions already having been written into space communications contracts (i.e., Government retains royalty-free exclusive title to patents developed under contract).

---: USAF announced expansion of gaseous physics research activities with the construction of a $636,000 laboratory at L. G. Hanscom Field, Bedford, Mass., as a part of the Cambridge Research Laboratory.

---: Project Rover, Project Pluto, and the U.S. underground nuclear test program were halted in Nevada by a jurisdictional strike between the Operating Engineers and the Plumbers and Pipefitters Unions.

---: Representatives of 30 American aerospace firms in Europe formed an informal organization known as U.S. Aerospace Industries in Europe.

---: Douglas Aircraft reported successful drop and recovery of a data capsule and camera that will be used to film inflation of Echo-type spheres as a part of Project Big Shot (the first phase in the NASA program leading to a global communication system using rigidized inflatable spheres equidistant and in orbit around the Earth).

---: Two-hundred-foot radiotelescope of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization was commissioned at Parkes, 200 miles west of Sydney, Australia. Slightly smaller than the British radiotelescope at Jodrell Bank, the Parkes telescope is considered superior in surface accuracy and tracking control. It cost $1.8 million of which the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Corp. donated $500,000.

---: USAF aircraft produced sonic booms on routine training missions over major airplane intersections, in support of FAA studies of supersonic air transportation problems.

DECEMBER 1961


December 1: Three new world helicopter speed records were claimed by Capt. Bruce K. Lloyd, U.S. Navy, and Comdr. E. J. Roulstone, U.S. Navy, who flew an HSS-2 helicopter at 182.8, 179.5, and 175.3 miles per hour for 100, 500, and 1,000 kilometers, respectively, over a course along Long Island Sound between Milford and Westbrook, Conn.

---: Nike-Zeus guidance system successfully passed initial flight test at White Sands Missile Range.

---: Navy-sponsored Hypersonic Propulsion Research Laboratory, for simulating flights at speeds up to mach 10, was opened at Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University.

December 1-2: Two Roksonde meteorological sounding rockets were successfully fired from Cape Canaveral, telemetered measurements of winds and temperatures at altitudes above 180,000 feet. Produced by Marquardt for the Army, Roksondes had already completed a series of tests at White Sands Missile Range and Pacific Missile Range.

December 2: Twelve Canadian Black Brant rockets for upper-atmosphere research were to be launched from NASA's Wallops Station, Virginia, as the Canadian Defence Research Board shifted the firing site from Fort Churchill because a fire largely destroyed the Canadian facilities. Capable of carrying a 150-pound payload to an altitude of 150 miles, Black Brants were to be fired from Wallops at the rate of two in December 1961, two in February 1962, six in April 1962, and two in May 1962.

December 4: Ambassador Adlai Stevenson introduced a resolution before the U.N.'s Political Committee for a U.N. space program guided by four considerations: (1) Application of the principles of international law to outer space and celestial bodies to ensure against sovereignty claims in space; (2) making the U.N. a clearinghouse for use of outer space, including information on satellite launchings and cooperation for peaceful use of outer space; (3) international cooperation on weather satellite information; and (4) international cooperation on communications satellites.

Ambassador Stevenson said: "There is a right way and a wrong way to get on with the business of space exploration. In our judgment, the wrong way is to allow the march of science to become a runaway race into the unknown. The right way is to make it an ordered, peaceful and cooperative and constructive forward march under the aegis of the United Nations."

---: Reported from Cape Canaveral that Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., had moved into "ready room" quarters. NASA had made no announcement whether a man would ride in the next Mercury capsule.

---: USAF fired a Blue Scout rocket from Point Arguello, Calif., aimed at a point some 27,600 miles out in space and over the South Pole, to measure low-energy protons originating from the Sun.

December 5: A new world aircraft altitude record for sustained horizontal flight was claimed by Comdr. George W. Ellis, U.S. Navy, who flew an F4H Phantom II at 66,443.8 feet over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

---: AEC-NASA Space Nuclear Propulsion Office (SNPO) selected the proposal of the Aetron Division of Aerojet-General Corp. as the basis for negotiating an architect and engineering contract for an $8 million downward-firing test stand for the Nerva engine. The Nerva would be used in nuclear rockets with a reactor derived from the Kiwi B test series.

---: Reported by Drew Pearson that CIA had warned that Russia "is preparing to launch a man around the moon in 60 days."

December 6: The first Project Mercury manned orbital flight, MA-6, was scheduled by NASA for early in 1962 after analysis of the data from the MA-5 chimpanzee orbital flight indicated that the Mercury-Atlas system and the tracking network were ready for manned orbital flight.

---: Astronauts Alan B. Shepard, Jr., commander, U.S. Navy, and Virgil I. Grissom, captain, U.S. Air Force, were awarded the first astronaut wings (almost identical design of a shooting star imposed on the traditional pilot's badge) in a joint ceremony by their respective services.

---: U.S.S.R. raised its expenditure on science by 12 percent in its 1962 budget. The Minister of Finance, Vasily Garbuzov, announced that the 1962 expenditure on science would be 4,300 million rubles ($4,773 million). Also announced was a 44-percent increase in the defense budget to 13,400 million rubles ($14,874 million).

---: Italian Air Force crew fired Jupiter IRBM from Atlantic Missile Range, the third such launching.

December 7: NASA postponed its projected manned orbital flight from December 1961 until early in 1962 because of minor problems with the cooling system and positioning devices in the Mercury capsule, Dr. Hugh Dryden, Deputy Administrator of NASA, said in a Baltimore interview. "You like to have a man go with everything just as near perfect as possible. This business is risky. You can't avoid this, but you can take all the precautions you know about."

---: Plans for the development of a two-man Mercury capsule were announced by Robert Gilruth, Director of NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center. The two-man capsule, to be built by McDonnell Aircraft Corp., would be similar in shape to the Mercury capsule but slightly larger and two to three times heavier. Its booster rocket was announced to be the USAF Titan II, scheduled for flight test early in 1962. One of the major objectives in the two-man capsule program would be a test of orbital rendezvous, in which the two-man capsule would be put into orbit by the Titan II and would attempt to rendezvous with an Agena stage put into orbit by an Atlas rocket. Total cost for a dozen two-man capsules plus boosters and other equipment was estimated at $500,000,000. Program name later announced as Gemini.

December 7: Power run completed the test series on the Kiwi B-1A reactor system being conducted at the Nevada Test Site by AEC's Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Fourth in a series of test reactors in the joint AEC-NASA nuclear rocket propulsion program, Kiwi B-1A was disassembled for examination at the conclusion of the test runs.

---: Second Atlas ICBM launched by SAC crew, from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

---: Preproposal conference on the contract for design, research, development, fabrication, and testing of the reactor-in-flight-test (Rift) vehicle was held at Marshall Space Flight Center. This vehicle would test-fly the Nerva nuclear engine now under development. Twenty-nine firms were invited to attend this preliminary conference at which they were furnished general information on the project. Interested firms would then have 30 days to file information on their capabilities and experience. Then a smaller number of firms would be invited to submit detailed bids. Purpose of the two-step evaluation was to enable firms not in a competitive position to avoid the expense of entering detailed proposals.

---: United States and Soviet delegates to the United Nations informally discussed the question of the political makeup of the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and on a possible joint resolution in that Committee.

December 8: NASA selected Mason-Rust as the contractor to provide support services at NASA's Michoud plant near New Orleans, providing housekeeping services through June 30, 1962 for the three contractors who would produce the Saturn S-I and S-IB boosters and the Rift nuclear upper-stage vehicle.

---: USAF fired an Aerobee sounding rocket from Point Arguello, Calif., out over the Pacific 1,300 miles high and 900 miles toward Hawaii, at which point the rocket released three sets of flares to be photographed from California, Hawaii, and Alaska. Purpose was to provide a more precise knowledge of the location of Hawaii with respect to the North American mainland by means of photogrammetric triangulation of the flare photos.

December 9: Solid-propellent rocket motor generating nearly 500,000 pounds of thrust was fired in a static test of 80-second duration by United Technology Corp. at Sunnyvale, Calif., under USAF contract.

---: Nike-Zeus antimissile missile was fired from Point Mugu in its first low-altitude flight, going up to 40,000 feet and then out over the Pacific Missile Range at that altitude.

December 10: The Carnegie Institution issued annual report containing several findings from its space scientists: Philip Abelson contended that it was a waste of time and money to sterilize vehicles going to the Moon or planets because any life there would be so unlike terrestrial life that it could not be contaminated by Earth organisms; Horace Babcock offered a theory on alternating spiral magnetic fields of the Sun that might explain sunspots, flares, and the 22-year magnetic cycle; other scientists noted growing evidence of major differences in chemical composition of distant stars, indicating a need to revise methods of computing distances to those stars.

December 11: The U.N.'s Political Committee unanimously approved a resolution calling on the Committee of Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to meet on March 31, 1962, to begin discussions of world cooperation in space. The resolution essentially incorporated the four-point U.S. program on the peaceful uses of outer space. The U.S.S.R. supported the resolution although it had previously rendered the Committee inoperative by boycotting its meetings.

---: The national space program portends a major technological advance for mankind, NASA Associate Administrator Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., told the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. Comparing its potential to that of the invention of the steam engine, Dr. Seamans noted:

"Two aspects of such major advances are characteristic. First, the practical results are largely unforeseeable, primarily because they develop on broad fronts and, frequently, in unsuspected directions. Second, the concentration of effort required does not diminish effort expended on other frontiers of knowledge, but rather spurs such activities. For example, despite fears that space technology would monopolize the scientific effort of this country, such fields of activity as oceanography, geophysics, and the physics of high-energy particles have greatly increased since the national space effort has become a serious one."

---: Contract awarded by Army Engineers to Brown & Root, Inc., for design of major portion of NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston, Tex.

---: Survey of leading space experts on U.S. space goals from 1970-75 by the North American Newspaper Alliance produced a consensus that the United States would establish a Moon base from which to thoroughly explore the Moon and to launch interplanetary manned probes. Those interviewed included important figures in space industry, USAF, NASA, and space research.

December 12: Discoverer XXXVI was launched by the USAF into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., with a piggyback 10-pound Oscar (orbiting satellite carrying amateur radio) satellite aboard in addition to the Discoverer payload. Oscar was the first satellite built by private citizens to be put in orbit, transmitted Morse signal to world amateur radio operators.

---: The National Center for Atmospheric Research was inaugurated at Boulder, Colo. To include the facilities of the High Altitude Observatory of the University of Colorado, to be governed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a corporation of 14 universities from coast to coast, and to be financed by the National Science Foundation, the center would provide a national attack on weather research, including the use of tools such as rockets, balloons, and computers too expensive for any one university to finance.

---: USAF Atlas launched from Atlantic Missile Range carried piggyback package of 28 dummy fuel cells in a study of how metals evaporate on reentry.

---: Army announced that track radar for Nike-Zeus antimissile missile had successfully tracked an Atlas ICBM on November 22 from Ascension Island as well as Echo I 1,500 miles from Earth.

December 13: NASA Administrator James E. Webb said in a speech in Cleveland that the United States would follow its first manned orbital flight in January 1962 with similar manned orbital flights every 60 days. These would gather data on effects of weightlessness, needed to determine the pacing of the two-man flight program later on. Mr. Webb also forecast the launching of 200 sounding rockets, 20 scientific satellites, and 2 deep-space probes in 1962.

---: USAF completed Titan I research and development test flight program of 40 launches at the Atlantic Missile Range; of the 40 launches 4 had been failures.

December 14: NASA fired a four-stage solid-fuel Trailblazer rocket from Wallops Station, Virginia, in the first of a series of reentry tests. Two stages boosted the rocket to 167 miles; then the other two drove the nose cone down through the atmosphere at 14,000 miles per hour.

---: Nike-Zeus firing in extended range from Point Mugu attained all test objectives.

December 15: NASA's Explorer XII satellite returned voluminous data revising previous information on the Van Allen radiation belts and showing them to be no substantial problem to manned space flight. Launched on August 15, 1961, and transmitting until December 6, 1961, Explorer XII returned information amounting to 5,636 telemetry tapes (2,400 feet each). Of principal interest was its finding that the Van Allen belts consist of a preponderance of protons over electrons in a ratio of 1,000 to 1. Since the protons are of less than 1 million electron volts energy, they do not themselves offer a serious radiation problem and serve to slow the velocity of other radiation.

---: S-IB stage of the Advanced Saturn launch vehicle would be built by the Boeing Co., NASA announced. The $300 million contract, to run through 1966, called for development, construction, and test of 24 flight stages, plus several for ground tests. Assembly would take place at the NASA Michoud Operations Plant, New Orleans, La. The S-1B would be the first stage of the vehicle that would launch the three-man Apollo spacecraft for direct circumlunar flight or, with rendezvous, for lunar landing.

---: In a ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the USAF graduated its first class of five pilot-engineers from its school for space pilots. Graduates were awarded advanced technical degrees.

December 18: Dr. Robert Jastrow, Chief of Theoretical Division and Director of the Institute for Space Studies, Goddard Space Flight Center, making the 25th annual Wright Brothers' Lecture before the Institute of Aerospace Sciences, reviewed progress in the space sciences, said the most exciting and fruitful area thus far had been investigation of "solar control over the atmosphere of the Earth, causes of weather activity in the lower atmosphere, and the structure of the upper atmosphere."

---: NASA announced that the first station in a network of data-gathering stations for use with second-generation satellites had been completed near Fairbanks, Alaska. Site for the second of the $5 million installations, each with a high-gain antenna 85 feet in diameter, was announced to be Rosman, N.C., 40 miles south-west of Asheville.

December 18: USAF awarded an additional $52 million contract to North American Aviation for development of a prototype B-70 bomber, bringing to $267 million the amount allocated for the B-70.

---: Capsule from Discoverer XXXVI was ejected from orbit after 6 days and a record of 64 orbits, landed in the Pacific near Hawaii, was kept afloat by 3 USAF pararescue men until arrival of Navy destroyer.

---: USAF Minuteman ICBM successfully fired from a silo and traveled 3,600 miles down the Atlantic Missile Range, the second consecutive successful silo launching.

---: Successful test of a new way to steer large-size rockets was announced by United Technology Corp., an experimental method called liquid thrust vector control (TVC), in which a gas or liquid is sprayed into the exhaust path of a rocket engine, deflecting the exhaust and thereby turning the vehicle. The test was made with a 450,000-pound-thrust solid-fuel engine.

---: DOD summary statement on the X-15 program stated that to that date there had been 45 flights of the X-15, with planned performance achieved on 42 and the prime research objectives achieved on 40. The 98-percent launch success record of the X-15 was attributed to (1) use of alternate modes for subsystems and (2) the presence of a pilot to detect malfunctions in subsystems. This compared to a 43-percent launch record for an unmanned missile with no alternate modes in subsystems.

December 19: NASA announced that Ira H. Abbott, Director of Advanced Research and Technology, would retire in January after 32 years service with NACA and NASA. Beginning with the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in 1929, Abbott became internationally known for his aerodynamic research, in more recent years as supervisor of X-15, supersonic transport, nuclear rocket, and advanced reentry development programs.

December 19-20: A technical conference on problems of runway slush in winter jet operations was held in Washington under joint sponsorship of the Federal Aviation Agency and NASA. The conference, open to aviation representatives, reviewed the extensive research flight tests conducted at FAA's National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center and other experimental and theoretical work done at NASA's Langley Research Center. Interest in all experiments centered on the adverse effects of runway slush on takeoff and landing characteristics of jet aircraft. Research findings were that on both takeoff and landing in heavy slush jetliners tend to act like "a sailboat without a keel," that at takeoff speeds heavy slush causes jetliners to lose the effect of nose wheel steering and most of their braking power. Recommendations included the devising of a quick and accurate means of measuring runway slush and suspension of jet operations when slush reached a depth of 1 inch.

December 20: X-15 No. 3 made first flight, a successful test of new automated control system, NASA's Neil A. Armstrong as pilot in his first flight of XLR-99-engined X-15. At half throttle, X-15 reached speed of 2,502 miles per hour and an altitude of 81,000 feet.

December 20: NASA announced that Douglas Aircraft had been selected for negotiation of a contract to modify the Saturn S-IV stage by installing a single 200,000-pound-thrust, Rocketdyne J-2 liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen engine instead of six 15,000-pound-thrust P. & W. hydrogen/oxygen engines. Known as S-IVB, this modified stage will be used in advanced Saturn configurations for manned circumlunar Apollo missions.

---: Two new radiotelescopes, one at Cambridge University and the other at Jodrell Bank, would be constructed with grants from Britain's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research totaling $3,360,000. The Cambridge telescope would consist of three 52-foot paraboloidal aerials, two fixed and one rail-mounted, designed to examine a limited area of the sky with greater precision than present equipment. The Jodrell addition would be a 125-foot telescope to be used in conjunction with the present 250-foot telescope.

---: USAF launched Atlas ICBM from Cape Canaveral with a rhesus monkey in a side-mounted pod on a flight 5,000 miles long and 600 miles in altitude. The flight was intended to produce information on reactions to launch and reentry conditions much more severe than in human flights. The monkey survived the flight but recovery attempts failed.

---: In San Bernardino news conference, Gen. Bernard Schriever, U.S. Air Force, said: "I have never felt we were behind Russia in missile development."

December 21: Army Nike-Zeus antimissile missile successfully intercepted a Nike-Hercules missile flying at over 3,000 miles per hour over White Sands Missile Range, while another Nike-Zeus made highest flight to date from Point Mugu and another Nike-Zeus was launched from Kwajalein Island in the South Pacific.

December 22: Unnamed USAF satellite launched from Point Arguello, Calif. The announcement said it was powered by an Atlas-Agena B combination and that the satellite was "carrying a number of classified test components."

---: NASA selected Air Products & Chemicals to supply additional liquid hydrogen for west coast development projects, a $35 million contract to be negotiated for a 5-year period.

December 26: Development time schedule for Dyna-Soar was reduced when DOD authorized the USAF to move directly from B-52 drop tests to unmanned and then manned orbital flights. This eliminated the previous interim stage of suborbital flights to be powered by the Titan II development contract held by the Martin Co. and negotiating a new contract for a larger booster.

---: Ten scientific organizations recommended that the American Association for the Advancement of Science create a new section to deal with scientific information and communication. The problem was seen to be one of an overabundance of information not accessible for the scientist, particularly in interdisciplinary science. Only three other new sections have been created in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in this century.

December 27: The "race in space" between the United States and U.S.S.R. was the top news story of 1961, with the Berlin crisis running second, according to a poll of Associated Press member newspapers and radio stations.

---: Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, speaking before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said that although science had become a determining factor in national and international events, its effectiveness was hampered because educated men did not understand science. Yet, he said, science was truly a part of the humanities; "Who in our times can make an adequate criticism of life without knowledge of the ideals, the methods, the dynamics of science?"

---: DOD and USAF revealed that the B-70 bomber may be redesignated RSB-70 (reconnaissance-strike-bomber) and its mission changed from tracking known, fixed targets to seeking out and destroying unknown, hidden, or uncertain targets.

---: Dr. Carl Sagan, of University of California (Berkeley), disputed the "space seed" life theory in American Association for the Advancement of Science paper. "Panspermic" theory did not seem plausible in the light of the fierce environment of space and the vastness of the universe, he said.

December 28: Titan II, an advanced ICBM and the booster designated for NASA's two-man orbital flights, was successfully captive-fired for the first time at the Martin Co.'s Denver facilities. The test not only tested the flight vehicle but the checkout and launch equipment intended for operational use.

December 29: Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, Deputy Administrator of NASA, speaking in Denver before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said: "The sheer magnitude of the manned lunar exploration program, amounting as it will to $3 billion or more [in fiscal year 1963], represents a significant application of the Nation's resources. These billions of dollars will be spent in the laboratories, workshops, and factories of the Nation and thus constitute a significant factor in the Nation's employment and economy generally. The personnel in the space program are not all scientists and engineers but come from every walk of life."

"The ultimate and practical purpose of these large expenditures is twofold: (1) Insurance of the Nation against scientific and technological obsolescence in a time of explosive advances in science and technology; and (2) insurance against the hazard of military surprise in space."

---: Dr. Joseph F. Shea was appointed Deputy Director for Systems Engineering, Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA headquarters, reporting to D. Brainerd Holmes, NASA's Director of Manned Space Flight. Dr. Shea came to NASA from Space Technology Laboratories.

---: Dr. Arthur Rudolph was appointed Assistant Director of Systems Engineering in NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight. Operating out of the Marshall Space Flight Center, Dr. Rudolph would serve as liaison between vehicle development at Marshall and the manned space flight program at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.

December 30: Navy HSS-2 Sea King helicopter flown at 199 miles per hour for 3-kilometer distance claimed world record at Windsor Locks, Conn., by Commander P. L. Sullivan, U.S. Navy, and Capt. D. A. Spurlock, U.S. Marine Corps.

December 31: NASA established a Management Council to ensure the orderly and timely progress in the manned space flight programs. The Council, composed of senior officials from NASA headquarters, Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Manned Spacecraft Center, and chaired by D. Brainerd Holmes, Director of the Office of Manned Space Flight, would meet at least once a month to identify and resolve problems as early as possible and to coordinate the interface problems.

---: Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Associate Administrator, said in a radio interview that a second Venus probe had been added to NASA's 1962 program as insurance for the first probe scheduled in August. Both probes would be the Mariner R, the reduced-weight version resorted to because of time slippage in the Centaur booster program. Dr. Seamans also said the United States plans three attempts to land instrumented packages on the Moon in 1962.

During December: General Electric announced operation of the largest solar thermionic power system at GE's solar test facility near Phoenix, Ariz. Early tests generated an output of 12.18 watts and unit has potential efficiency of 15 to 20 percent of the total solar energy input.

---: West German Post Office indicated that it would construct near Munich a ground station capable of handling up to 600 phone calls simultaneously for operations in late 1963 or early 1964 with Telstar and Relay type satellites.

---: Japan's launch facilities for its rocket research program would be moved from Akita on the northwest coast of Honshu to Kagoshima on the southern tip of Kiushu, according to an announcement by Hideo Itokawa at the Thul International Symposium on Rocket and Astronautics in Tokyo.

---: USIA reported that U.S. space achievements were a leading item in their overseas information program and covered all media. USIA concluded: "The policy of 'openness' observed in both U.S. manned space flights during the year dramatized the basic difference between the American open society and the Soviet closed society, and drew widespread approval from commentators throughout the free world. The availability of full information about the events through all news media, together with the presence of foreign correspondents--who gave firsthand, on-the-spot coverage--enabled oversea audiences to achieve a high degree of self-identification with one of the greatest adventures of our times."



For further information, please email histinfo@hq.nasa.gov

Last Updated: January 27, 2005