Case files were then read by the State Department, which pronounced upon suitability. War Department ambitions and State Department scruples inevitably collided. Someone was cooking the records. It is a known fact that any German who lived in Germany during the war and who possessed any capabilities whatsoever, was a member of some affiliation to the Nazi Party.
Otherwise he was placed in a concentration camp. The determining factor lies in the question of just what constitutes an active Nazi. The extent of his Party participation cannot be determined in this Theater. Like the majority of members, he may have been a mere opportunist. Subject has been in the United States more than two years and if, within this period, his conduct has been exemplary and he has committed no acts adverse to the interests of the United States, it is the opinion of the military governor, OMGUS, that he may not constitute a security threat to the United States.
Suggest internment. After the war, the Americans paid Ruff to write reports derived from that research. Another person given a clean bill of health was Dr. His work in the United States was so widely respected that in a building at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine was named in his honor. When evidence surfaced that he had participated in the Nazi extermination programs and medical experiments, the JIOA arranged a visa for him to go to Argentina, found him a job there, and even threw in a free flight.
Rudolph, who worked on the Saturn V rocket, escaped exposure until October , by which time the task of beating the Russians to the Moon had long been accomplished. They funded the trip on the understanding that he would immediately bring his wife back to the States. American secret service agents were guests at the wedding and, during the honeymoon, lurked quietly in the shadows, ever vigilant in case the Russians decided to pounce.
Two years later, as quietly as possible, von Braun and his fellow Germans were loaded into a bus and taken across the U. The bus then did a U-turn and headed back through the border control station, so that the passengers could all be given unlimited entrance visas, which they then used to apply for American citizenship. What could be more revolting and more inexcusable? How and why was this allowed to happen? In the s, Sergei Korolev had been at the forefront of Soviet experimentation.
At the same time, Ivan Kleimenov and his deputy, Georgiy Langemak, made significant advances at the Scientific Research Institute Number 3, a government-sponsored effort. Progress was, however, threatened when Kleimenov and Langemak fell victim to a Stalinist purge in and were executed on trumped-up charges of spying for the Germans. In the following year, the secret police came for Korolev, who was thrown in the Kolyma gulag in eastern Siberia on charges of sabotage.
Within two years his team had developed the RD-1, a liquid fuel rocket engine eventually incorporated into fighter and bomber production. He surmised that, if energy could be properly directed, there was no reason why the Soviets would not be able to duplicate the success of the V The main reason the Soviets were behind the Germans at the end of the war was not because they did not understand how to build long-range rockets, but rather because they had chosen not to do so.
They had concentrated their industrial effort into more immediate, practical, and down-toEarth weapons. In view of the German experience, that was an intelligent decision. He collected some personnel and took them back to Russia, where they remained until around Their brains were picked of all useful information, whereupon they were sent packing.
Germans were not allowed to develop with the program or to offer creative direction. The Russian space program was a lot more Russian than the American was ever American. Soviet necessity became the mother of invention. Since the Americans had been able to pilfer a large number of V-2 rockets, they made do with these well into the s.
The Russians, in contrast, quickly ran out of surplus V-2s and were forced to make their own, grafting German know-how onto home-grown research. The result was the Pobeda rocket, a vast improvement on the V-2, and thus a leap ahead for the Russians. Scratch beneath the surface, and one quickly finds that the giants of Cold War rocket technology had more in common than in contrast.
Von Braun and Korolev were both visionaries who dreamed of putting objects into orbit, and men into space. Both knew, however, that their fantasies could never be realized unless they could be sold as practical programs for the defense of the state. Both therefore willingly sold their souls to arms production, while telling themselves that a spacecraft is merely a missile by another name. Since he did not have allies on the borders of his enemy as the United States did he could not rely on bombers to carry his weapons. He wanted instead to leapfrog the U. In April he gathered together rocket scientists and military leaders and ordered them to develop missiles capable of hitting the United States.
We must go ahead with it, comrades. To the Soviets, the bomber seemed a decidedly old-fashioned way to deliver death. In public, however, they tried desperately to maintain the moral high ground, at least until their rockets were ready. The Nazi bombardment of London with V-2 weapons proved how futile such attempts are. The argument. Actually, it is a piece of deliberate bluff, an attempt at extortion by intimidation.
The first was launched on April 16, , with another sixty-four fired over the following six years. They were not, strictly speaking, weapons tests, since the rockets lacked explosive warheads, but the data collected were incorporated into what became a wide-ranging project to produce ballistic missiles. In , for instance, a sensor in a V-2 demonstrated the existence of the ozone layer.
Sometimes, however, even the science was militaristic. While nose-cone cameras provided nice snapshots of Earth, they also underlined the possibility of using satellites for reconnaissance. For von Braun, life was comfortable, but not fulfilling. While his dreams were limitless, those of his new masters were decidedly finite.
Since the White House felt confident that the atom bomb provided a very cheap way to demonstrate American military power, it seemed safe to cut other programs. In this climate of frugality, purely speculative projects had little hope of thriving. The benefit of the V-2 was immediately obvious—a beefed-up version would make a useful intercontinental ballistic missile. Exploring space, however, seemed to have no practical benefit, at least among the bean counters at the War Department.
In order for von Braun to be given the green light to go into space, he or someone needed to demonstrate that space offered unique potential for national security. Opinion on this subject was deeply divided. In , a team commissioned by the navy promoted the idea of an Earth-circling satellite capable of relaying valuable information back to Earth. The group had obviously been influenced by captured German documents containing proposals to this effect.
But this enthusiasm was not mirrored by the higher brass who could not immediately see how a satellite would make the job of fighting a war at sea any easier. The report was filed. The army was slightly more enthusiastic. Army aviators, who would shortly split off to form the air force, asked their civilian suppliers to submit proposals for a satellite. The most attractive response came from Douglas Aircraft, which, it so happened, had only recently set up a research and development group in Santa Monica, California, called RAND.
What it would actually do was not entirely clear. More important were the political implications. But, toward the end, even he could not resist flights of fancy typical of those who look to the sky: The most fascinating aspect of successfully launching a satellite would be the pulse quickening stimulation it would give to considerations of interplanetary travel. Whose imagination is not fired by the possibility of voyaging out beyond the limits of our Earth, travelling to the Moon, to Venus and Mars?
Such thoughts when put on paper now seem like idle fancy. But, a man-made satellite, circling our globe beyond the limit of the atmosphere is the first step. Subsequent steps, Ridenour thought, would follow in quick and logical progression, like an escalator to the Moon. Practical applications for satellites were secondary to their value as symbols of cultural virility.
A subsequent report, by J. Lipp, completed in February , drove this point home: Since mastery of the elements is a reliable index of material progress, the nation which first makes significant achievements in space travel will be acknowledged as the world leader in both military and scientific techniques. No promising avenues of progress in rockets can be neglected by the United States without great danger of falling behind in the world race for armaments. The fact that they had so cleverly snatched von Braun and the majority of his team bred a dangerous complacency among Americans.
They thought that they had a winning hand or, put differently, that the space race had been won even before it began. Complacency was encouraged by deeply imbedded cultural stereotypes. Americans assumed that the Soviets did not have the technical brains to devise rockets, nor the engineering prowess to build them. Hence it is likely to produce great mistakes and great abortions.
If we employed it in quantity, we would be economically exhausted long before the enemy. A thrust forward in satellite development would have required enthusiasm from both the army and the navy. That was sorely lacking. Both were obsessed with protecting their own turf at a time when competition for funding was intense. The secretary of defense, James Forrestal, filed his First Report on December 29, , and revealed that all three branches of service the air force had been established the previous year had bodies studying the feasibility of satellites.
This sparked an angry reaction among ordinary Americans, who objected to what seemed blatant boondoggling. Martin Company, and, in retrospect, seems to have been significantly ahead of anything the Soviets were doing at the time. American complacency was shattered in September when a weather plane accidentally picked up indications of an atomic blast in the Soviet Union. They consequently felt a need to move into new areas of defense where their presumed technological superiority would give them an advantage.
This provided an obvious boon for those working in rocketry, because satellites seemed to offer the possibility of keeping tabs on what the Soviets were doing. Once both powers possessed nuclear weaponry, methods of delivery became much more important. Americans understood that Stalin was keen on developing intercontinental ballistic missiles, and felt obliged to follow the same path. For von Braun, this was both a blessing and a curse. Von Braun had come full circle.
His new weapon, the Redstone rocket, was the muscular son of the V2—faster, more dependable, more accurate, and because of its nuclear warhead a great deal more powerful. Somewhat ironically, those rockets would eventually be deployed in Germany, but this time aimed eastward, toward the Soviet Union. In early , von Braun and his team were moved to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, with a specific remit to develop ground-to-ground ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads.
See a Problem?
Their transfer to Huntsville came like a reward for five years of loyal service. Many felt that their penance had been served and they could now start to rebuild their lives in an environment more suited to their tastes. Very few expressed a desire to return to Germany, and even fewer acted on that desire. They had decided to become Americans, to buy homes, play baseball, make pie instead of strudel, and raise their children according to the American Dream.
They considered themselves incredibly lucky, especially those who had once been card-carrying Nazis. Their adopted country valued their services, gave them healthy funding, and seemed eager to forget their past. Building them was one thing, firing them another. Booster rockets developed and built at Huntsville were sent in pieces on ocean-going barges to the Cape Canaveral facility, where they were assembled and fired. The separation of construction and testing had the effect of creating two boomtowns.
One era ended as another began. The first launch at Cape Canaveral, involving a two-stage Bumper 8 rocket, took place on July 24, The first stage was a V-2 rocket made in Germany, and one of the last in the American booty of war. It was supposed to travel on a near horizontal trajectory, as suited the flight of a nuclear missile. It was destroyed by remote control. Henceforth, American missiles would be made in America. A few months later, RAND returned to the subject of satellites.
Possibilities ranged from the benign—meteorological prediction—to the sinister, spying. How would the enemy react? Would the launch of a satellite worsen relations with the Kremlin? All the musing about satellites started from the assumption that the Americans would be first in space. RAND was thinking about what could be done with satellites in the sky long before the military or the government felt enthusiastic about putting them there. In contrast, in the Soviet Union, the eagerness to put an object into orbit was great, but surprisingly little discussion took place about the utility of doing so.
As an indication of things to come, a V-2 launch in June was hugely important. The rocket was called Albert, in honor of its passenger, a chimp stuffed into its nose cone. The test was supposed to determine whether a primate could withstand the g-forces of lift-off, the effect of which would multiply his weight by a factor of six.
As it turned out, the g-forces proved immaterial since Albert died of suffocation, the first martyr of the U. A year later, Albert II rocket scientists did not waste time thinking up names was launched with another unwilling primate aboard. This one fared better, at least as far as his oxygen supply was concerned, but died when its return to Earth proved bumpier than expected.
Two more attempts that year suggested that primates were quite good at withstanding g-forces, but both passengers died while awaiting rescue from their capsules. The Albert tests demonstrated that von Braun and his team had in mind not just space exploration which could be achieved with cameras, radar devices, and the like but also space travel. They also revealed that adding a living organism to the rocket equation made it infinitely more complicated.
But that complexity was what drove von Braun. He understood that the exploration of space could never really get off the launch pad unless it was rooted in the familiar. Merely shooting instruments into the sky would always have limited public appeal. Americans, if they thought about space at all, thought Buck Rogers.
The only type of project considered worthy of their support was one that would allow them to live vicariously the comic book life. In , von Braun completed The Mars Project, a book which, as the name implied, speculated on the shape of a future manned mission to the Red Planet. Though the space craze had yet to begin in earnest, von Braun had an uncanny sense of the developing mood.
He also knew how to nurture that mood. He was an enthusiastic salesman eager to promote space exploration to any group willing to give him a platform. I do not share this optimism. The ultimate conquest of space by man himself is a task of too great a magnitude ever to be a mere by-product of some other work. He was helped by a number of other talented space enthusiasts who knew how to talk to the people, among them Arthur C.
Clarke, whose Exploration of Space set out in confident terms the road or flight path ahead. It was a huge best-seller and a Book of the Month Club selection. That book was followed in by The Conquest of Space, lavishly illustrated by the premier space artist of the time, Chesley Bonestell. As Ley wrote: It is the story of a great idea, a great dream, if you wish, which probably began many centuries ago on the islands off the coast of Greece.
It has been dreamt again and again ever since, on meadows under a starry sky, behind the eyepieces of large telescopes in quiet observatories on top of a mountain in the Arizona desert or in the wooded hills near the European capitals.
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It is the story of the idea that we possibly could, and if so should, break away from our planet and go exploring to others, just as thousands of years ago men broke away from their islands and went exploring to other coasts. Isolationism is neither a practical policy on the national or the cosmic scale. And when the first contact is made, one would like to think that Mankind played an active and not merely a passive role—that we were the discoverers, not the discovered.
Progress, the message went, implied tackling difficult challenges before their time. According to the dream, its constant rotation would generate artificial gravity, making it livable for an extended period. The station would serve as a foundation for lunar expeditions, and eventually for trips to Mars. The series brought cutting-edge science to the people by using experts who were not afraid to communicate. The popular historian Cornelius Ryan, a senior contributor at the magazine, helped the scientists provide drama and punch, while Bonestell and Fred Freeman sparked the imagination further with vivid images of what space vehicles would look like.
What are we waiting for? Woven into the comic-book story was a message about political expediency, designed for those who were otherwise unenthusiastic about rockets. That somebody else very probably would be the Soviet Union. Sweeping around the Earth in a fixed orbit, like a second Moon, this man-made island in the heavens could be used as a platform from which to launch guided missiles. A poll found that only one quarter of those involved in the space industry believed that man would land on the Moon by Most thought that such an event would not occur until the twenty-first century, if at all.
As a result of the series, he became a household name, which suited his ego perfectly. Disney provided rocket ships, simulated trips to the Moon, People Movers, and, circling the park, a monorail which looked like something space colonists would someday use to get to work. At Disneyland, the futuristic Tomorrowland was just a gentle stroll from Frontierland.
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One era morphed smoothly into another, with the time traveler picking up cotton candy, a hot dog or a Mouseketeers hat along the way. The values embodied in coonskin caps, log cabins, and muskets were perfectly suited to that of rocket ships, space stations, and people movers. The common theme was exploration, enhanced by entrepreneurship.
The West was conquered by the horse and Winchester rifle, and space would be subdued by the rocket and ray gun.
Close on the heels of Buck Rogers, bankers and bureaucrats would follow. When the frontier was officially closed, that vitality came under threat—or so it was thought. In truth, the Turner thesis was founded upon a romanticized vision of the frontier which bore little relation to reality. The American West was not a pristine democratic paradise in which pioneers automatically acted nobly and avarice was suspended. Settlers brought the imperfections of society with them in the holds of their Conestoga wagons.
The pioneering life seemed idyllic to everyone except the pioneer. Nevertheless, for those religiously devoted to Turnerism, space seemed a natural outlet for the pent-up American spirit. Conquering space resonated perfectly with myths about conquering the American West—a new generation would be able to share the experiences of their forebears. First would come the brave explorers, who would ride rockets to new outposts of the American Dream. Then would come the intrepid pioneers establishing colonies on distant planets.
Then would come commerce and, rather like Alaska, the Moon and Mars would eventually become states of the Union. One way to achieve this, he understood, was through cheap gimmickry. In , a book by Jonathan Norton Leonard entitled Flight into Space ended with an appeal by von Braun for the creation of an artificial star which would have no other purpose than that of wowing the people. Once established in orbit, it will inflate a white plastic balloon feet in diameter.
Swinging swiftly around the Earth miles above the surface, the balloon will gleam as brightly in the sunlight as a first magnitude star. The ceremony bore a remarkable similarity to the mass baptisms popular within southern evangelical movements. The past was forgotten and sin washed away. Three years later, and a full thirteen years after the war, von Braun was invited to give the commencement address at St.
Louis University. He chose as his theme morality and science, telling the audience gathered in the June sunshine: Technology and ethics are sisters. While technology controls the forces of nature around us, ethics controls the forces of Nature within us. I think it is a fair assumption that the Ten Commandments are entirely adequate, without amendments, to cope with all the problems the Technological Revolution not only has brought up, but will bring up in the future.
It has frequently been stated that scientific enlightenment and religious belief are incompatible. I consider it one of the greatest tragedies of our times that this equally stupid and dangerous error is so widely believed. That came from the man who used slave labor to build rockets. All that mattered was that the silver-tongued German would take them to the Moon.
The nation, he thought, had a clear-cut and dangerous enemy, but was doing nothing substantial to confront it. Eager that Americans should wake up to the dangers threatening them, he decided to weave his political message into his fiction. The result was the film Destination Moon , on which Heinlein collaborated with the director George Pal. In the film, a group of politically astute businessmen, fed up with the timid foreign policy of their government, decide to sponsor a private venture to travel to, land on, and colonize the Moon.
At one point a retired general explains the project to a group of businessmen: We are not the only ones who know the Moon can be reached. The first country that can use the Moon for the launching of missiles will control the Earth. That, gentlemen, is the most important military fact of this century. But fiction is often more exciting than the truth. Truman struggled with the problem of maintaining American security while keeping the federal budget under control. His solution was nuclear weapons, a cheaper and more dependable alternative than a massive land army.
His successor, Dwight Eisenhower, was equally frugal. What Eisenhower desperately wanted to resist was a crippling arms race, which would not necessarily make America safer, but would definitely make her poorer. In a speech to the Society of Newspaper Editors, he referred eloquently to the dilemma facing the world: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. We pay for a single fighter plane with half a million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8, people.
One strange trip for mankind
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. Satellites, by offering the possibility of knowing precisely what the Russians were doing, made it possible to achieve the same level of protection with a much smaller military force.
That, at least, was how things seemed in But within the Eisenhower solution there lurked a quandary. While satellites might make it possible to avoid a financially crippling arms race, they still implied a costly commitment of their own. Whenever anyone spoke of the urgency of the satellite issue, references to the Manhattan Project were made. Eisenhower understood that satellites would again require the government to play a huge role as sponsor and manager, something he abhorred, both for reasons of economy and ideology.
Nor was there any guarantee that the advent of satellites would make the Cold War antagonists feel more secure. Acrimony might simply be extended into outer space. The complexity of the satellite issue perhaps explains why the government seemed to blow hot and cold. On November 17, , therefore, the secretary of defense denied that the United States was working on a satellite and further stated that he would not be surprised if the Soviets were first into orbit.
Avoiding a populist clamor was, however, difficult when the ubiquitous Wernher von Braun was talking up space from every podium. His most recent project was the unfortunately named Slug later called Orbiter , a five-pound midget which, he claimed, could be put into orbit for virtually nothing.
It would rely on existing technology, with the army supplying the booster and the navy the tracking facilities. The idea was born at a party hosted by the astrophysicist James Van Allen on April 5, A group of eminent scientists had gathered to meet the renowned geophysicist Sydney Chapman, who was in Washington on a brief visit from Britain.
Talk turned to the course the group wanted their research to take, and particularly to the attractiveness of measurements and experimentation performed in the upper atmosphere. Lloyd Berkner, recently appointed to head the new Brookhaven National Laboratory, suggested organizing another International Polar Year. The first such event had been held in , the second in The year-long symposium was designed to bring together scientists from all over the world to cooperate on revolutionary projects. Logic suggested that the next event would be held in , but the scientists preferred —58, for a number of reasons.
The first and most practical was the fact that a period of intense solar activity would occur then, offering unique opportunities for discovery. They also realized that technology had accelerated since , rendering a fifty-year gap nonsensical. It seemed wise to wed new technology to a coordinated effort at research. Finally, the organizers felt a sentimental yearning to re-create the worldwide community of science that had been destroyed by the Second World War.
The spirit of cooperation would provide a welcome contrast to the antagonism of the Cold War. Before long, committees were formed, resolutions passed, and schedules formulated. The steering group agreed that the research would not be restricted to the polar regions and that, in line with this broadening of scope, the event would be called the International Geophysical Year. The boldest plan called for the IGY to be marked by one epoch-making feat that would draw worldwide attention and push research to an entirely new dimension.
It is important to bear in mind that the IGY was intended to be a scientific event of no specific national identity. It mattered not which nation launched the satellite since, as the organizers naively believed, the achievement would be seen as a leap forward for science, not for any specific country.
In order to maximize the potential and increase the chances of success , the year in question was defined as eighteen months—from July 1, to December 31, The panel, originally commissioned to investigate the possibility of a surprise nuclear attack against the United States, concluded that reconnaissance satellites would significantly reduce the likelihood of such an attack. But, since unauthorized overflights of a country by airplanes were illegal, a different principle governing satellites would have to be established before they could prove their worth.
The panel felt that if the first satellite was scientific, a precedent would be set, and future spy satellites could fly through that legal loophole. This proposal was formally but not publicly endorsed by Eisenhower. The choice of a satellite program was given to the assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Development, Donald Quarles. On May 20, , his office produced NSC, which argued in favor of a quick leap into space. While a small scientific satellite cannot carry surveillance equipment and therefore will have no direct intelligence potential, it does represent a technological step toward the SPUTNIK 49 achievement of the large surveillance satellite, and will be helpful to this end.
The inference of such a demonstration of advanced technology and its unmistakable relationship to inter-continental ballistic missile technology might have important repercussions on the political determination of free world countries to resist Communist threats. Furthermore, a small scientific satellite will provide a test of the principle of the Freedom of Space. NSC quickly became administration gospel on the subject of satellites.
Quarles left the decision to a committee made up of two representatives from each of the three services, in addition to two nonattached delegates selected by him. As such, it harmonized perfectly with the aims of the IGY, since it was so benignly scientific. The other two proposals, in contrast, were makeshift adaptations of military hardware motivated by the desire to get an object—any object—into orbit as soon as possible. While Eisenhower was preparing for the satellite age, he simultaneously sought ways to increase trust between the United States and the Soviet Union.
He wanted desperately to establish a climate that would allow both sides to avoid the rampant proliferation of nuclear weapons. The problem arose, he felt, because of ignorance and distrust. With neither side knowing what the other was doing, both took what seemed the safest course, namely to accumulate as many weapons as possible. Eisenhower wanted to break this vicious circle. The United States had nuclear superiority but wanted a clearer idea of how many weapons the Soviets had and where they were located.
Since secrecy was an advantage for the Soviets, given that it allowed them to bluff, they had no practical reason to accept the proposal. But, by rejecting it, they made it seem like they did not genuinely want peace. The proposal also allowed the United States to go ahead with a full program of reconnaissance, on the presumption that overflights were necessary in order to make Open Skies work.
Spying suddenly became a noble instrument of peace. Meanwhile, on July 28, just a week after Open Skies was proposed, James Hagerty, the White House press secretary, formally revealed what had been decided long before, namely that the United States would launch a small satellite as part of the IGY.
While the rocket would be based on existing Viking technology, it would be an entirely separate program from the one the navy was already pursuing. Such a move would underline the separation between scientific and military ventures, but also make certain that defense programs were not sidetracked by the IGY initiative.
Orbiter, poorly conceived as a scientific device, failed to satisfy these criteria. Since the Redstone rocket was well known to be a modified V-2, Orbiter could not escape its reputation as a weapon of destruction, and a German one at that. But, since Redstone was a much more promising rocket than Viking, this implied that leading the space race was less important to Eisenhower than establishing the civilian character of the U.
His was a rational, sensible, honorable, and ultimately futile policy. But what priority should be assigned to it? We were working under staggering concepts of nuclear warfare, and the imperative need to prevent a strike against the United States by the Soviet Union. Our mission was to speed the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles with sufficient retaliatory power to discourage attack.
Members of the committee believed that the security of our nation and civilization would depend on our ability to shoot across oceans quickly and accurately by the time Russia had missiles available for shooting at us. A shortage of scientists, engineers and facilities existed in all fields of missiles and space. Military projects needed every man available. The consensus of committee opinion was that we should concentrate on security requirements and assign to the Vanguard program a secondary place.
There would be time to 52 SPUTNIK orbit satellites after our nuclear-warhead missiles were perfected and adequate marksmanship achieved. The ability to put a small ball into space had become confused with national security. Eisenhower had decided that the most important race was that involving ICBMs. He won that race, but never received credit for his victory.
The decision to go with the navy proposal implied a cancellation of the other two. On September 9, both the army and the air force were strictly instructed to cease all satellite work. This suggests either a supreme confidence that Vanguard would work, or a lack of concern for winning the race. Had Eisenhower been consumed by the need to beat the Russians, the sensible thing would have been to permit all three projects to go ahead, the logic being that one would surely succeed. Instead, all eggs were placed in the navy basket.
This project, headed by Killian, was expected to launch by September While it did not carry the cachet of an orbiting satellite, it was hugely important to Eisenhower, much more so than Vanguard. While von Braun and his army boss, Major General John Medaris, felt unfairly treated, they had in fact been given what the president felt was the most important job.
Von Braun and Medaris did not, however, take the decision lightly. They launched a stinging attack on Vanguard, arguing that it was incapable of fulfilling the promises the NRL had made. Jupiter, they maintained, was the only project with a realistic hope of succeeding. That argument was bolstered when a test on September 20, , stunned the American rocket community.
The first three Jupiter stages performed perfectly, taking the rocket to an altitude of miles and a speed of 13, miles per hour, just short of the velocity necessary to achieve orbit. This achievement was all the more impressive given that the fourth stage had, under the instructions of the DoD, been filled with sand, in order to make certain that it could not reach orbit. Eisenhower, however, had no desire to win a race he claimed did not exist.
Reflecting on the matter in , he remarked: Under no circumstances did we want to make the thing a competition, because a race always implies urgency and spectacular progress regardless of cost. Neither then nor since have I ever agreed that it was wise to base any of these projects on an openly announced competition with any other country.
This kind of thing is unnecessary, wasteful and violates the basic tenets of common sense. In any case, lovers of powerful rockets are not very sensitive to nuance. Thanks in part to the shenanigans of von Braun and Medaris, the coherence of the American rocket venture had begun to unravel. According to Arthur C.
In the nick of time, the DoD got wind of the intention and put a stop to it. While both these claims might be technically untrue, both have a basis in fact. There is no doubt that the ABMA team was pursuing its own egotistical fantasies in opposition to the wishes of the government.
In an attempt to rationalize missile programs, the DoD announced that in the future the navy would, appropriately, have control of missiles deployed from ships. The air force, in keeping with its coveted role as the overseers of the nuclear deterrent, would manage the ICBMs, and the army would be confined to tactical missiles with a range of less than miles.
While ABMA would continue to oversee the development of the Jupiter missile, it would henceforth be an exclusively air force weapon. The decision proved devastating for morale at Huntsville. Medaris, in direct contravention of orders, decided to hold on to components of the Jupiter rockets, rather than turn all of them over to the air force. In anticipation of such an event, he spirited away the hardware necessary to put a device into orbit within four months of being asked.
In late July , Hagerty announced the U. The Soviets responded by saying that they, too, would put an object in orbit. Navy and would be launched during the IGY. The Female Persuasion. Into the Black. Republic or Death! Lost Years. Christopher Isherwood. Subscribe to Read More to find out about similar books.
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