Site Activation Working Groups

During its first months, the Site Activation Board functioned more as a working group than a management team, but in September Scheller activated several subordinate groups. Lt. Col. Richard C. Hall took command of the Site Activation Working Group, set up to resolve technical interface problems and devise methods of accomplishing new requirements within a given facility. At its first meeting in December, Hall introduced a typical problem. The Communications Service Branch had not received telephone requirements for firing room 1 from the operating organizations. Hall asked the group to submit all requirements at least 60 days prior to the "need date" (the date on which an item was required). The following month Hall's group assumed formal responsibility for daily site activation matters.11

James Fulton, Launch Vehicle Branch chief in Clearman's office, recruited Donald Simmons to handle LC- 39's electrical cable problems. Simmons's experience on Atlas served him well as the first chief of the Cable Working Group. The group's mission in September 1965 involved preparation of a cable accounting system, the Site Activation Board's third essential management tool. This tracking system kept tally on more than 60,000 cables including all connectors by part number, the length of cable, cable makeup, procurement action and date, the agency furnishing the cable, the need date as assessed from the PERT schedules, "from and to" locations, and the installation contractor. Communication and instrumentation from the launch control center to pad B alone required nearly 160 kilometers of cable. KSC let a $2 million contract for the job in October 1965; the work included the installation of 142 kilometers of coaxial, video, telephone, and instrumentation cables plus terminal equipment. The group managed network configuration through computer printouts and network diagrams, with a General Electric team in Huntsville preparing the cable interconnect drawings.12

A contractor and two working groups played important logistical roles in site activation. The Boeing Company, primary integration contractor on the Minuteman program, gathered, processed, and reported data for the Site Activation Board. While much of Boeing's effort involved the PERT schedules, its management systems staff at the Cape effected major improvements in the equipment records system. During the fall of 1965, few engineers relied on the system. When someone needed information about ground support equipment, he normally went to the designer. In early December the equipment records system lacked nearly 33% of its essential data; 79% of the support equipment did not correlate with a PERT activity. Boeing initiated a four-month search and classification program that reduced the respective figures to 5% and 7% and made the equipment records system an effective tool.13

The Equipment Tracking Group benefited from the resulting improvements. This group resolved differences between the estimated-on-dock and required-on-dock dates and tracked all items until installation and final testing. The group reflected Colonel Scheller's belief in management by exception, concentrating on items that failed to meet schedule dates or arrived in the wrong configuration. When this happened, team members scrambled to devise acceptable "work-around" measures. 14

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