THIS BOOK deals with the origin, course of development, and results of the first American earth satellite project, one of several programs planned for the International Geophysical Year. Primarily an analysis of the scientific and technical problems in this pioneering venture in the exploration of outer space, the text also examines the organization of an undertaking bound hy an inexorably fixed time limit, discusses briefly the climate of American opinion both before and after the launchings of the first Russian Sputniks, and concludes with a somewhat cursory evaluation of what the satellite program contributed to human knowledge.
Written in lay language insofar as the authors could translate scientific and technical terms into everyday English, the book nevertheless is not one for casual reading. The very multiplicity of Federal agencies, quasi-governmental bodies, and private organizations that shared in the project complicates the story. Indeed in some degree the interrelationships of these groups and key individuals within them constitute a central theme of this study. Even so, by no means all the several hundred people whose dedicated work made satellite flights possible are mentioned by name in the text. To have identified each person and explained his role would have turned this book into a large tome.
As authors we divided our responsibilities by topic: Milton Lomask wrote the chapters on the field tests and satellite launchings at Cape Canaveral, Constance McLaughlin Green the rest. Jointly and separately we are deeply indebted to the late Alan T. Waterman, the late Lloyd V. Berkner, Hugh Odishaw, Homer E. Newell, John P. Hagen, Milton Rosen, and a score of other men for their help in sorting out the pieces of a complex tale and for drawing upon their memories or private papers for information nowhere officially recorded. We are equally grateful to Charles A. Lindbergh for writing an intro duction that puts the material into the perspective of the mid-1950s. NASA historians Eugene M. Emme and Frank W. Anderson assisted us at many points, and Nancy L. Ebert of the NASA Scientific and Technical Information Division devoted many hours of overtime to typing the text. We want to thank also the men who suhjected the manuscript in whole or in part to a critical reading.
Time has modified many judgrnents
about Project Vanguard, but a good deal of the story is still
controversial. While we have endeavored to present it dispassionately,
doubtless few of tlse participants will suhscribe to our every
interpretation. Scientists, engineers, technicians, industrial
managers, the President and the White House staff, the Bureau
of the Budget, and members of Congress tended to view the program
as it progressed from markedly different standpoints. In the final
analysis the verdict of our readers may determine the place of
Vanguard in history.Constance McLaughlin Green
Constance McLaughlin Green