Lapas attēli

15 July 1960

Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr.

675 Hale Street

Beverly Farms, Massachusetts

Dear Bob:

This will confirm our telephone conversation of this morning. I am attaching for your files a copy of the press release which is to be made on Tuesday morning next. It is my understanding that this action has been coordinated with the action to be taken by the Public Relations Department of RCA in announcing your departure from your present job.

I was delighted to learn that you could spend some substantial portion of Wednesday, 27 July, in Washington with Dick Horner. As I told you, he will want to help you in connection with your office assistants to the greatest extent possible. It seemed best to set this kind of a meeting for some day other than those scheduled for the NASA-Industry Conference. In this connection, our Advisory Committee on Organization will be meeting on the 28th and 29th, and, as I told you, Dick Horner and I plan to take dinner with them on the evening of Thursday, 28 July. I would like very much to have you join us for that session which I think will be very interesting. It is my understanding that you can do this.

I think I should confirm in writing my offer to you of the post of Associate Administrator of NASA, reporting to me, at the annual salary of $21,000. In this post you will have responsibility for operating management of the Agency in the same manner as has Mr. Horner. I am delighted that you will join us and I look forward with eager anticipation to your being on the job full time. In the interim, as circumstances may permit, we will look forward to having you with us from time to time.

I am going to be away for ten days but Dr. Dryden will be here during my absence and can answer any questions which you might have. I hope that your holiday is giving you plenty of rest and building up a substantial store of energy-I can assure you you will need the latter. Kindest personal regards.


T. Keith Glennan


July 26, 1960

Dr. T. Keith Glennan

Dear Keith:

Thank you for your letter of 15 July. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss office assistants with Dick Horner on Wednesday, 27 July, and I am happy to have dinner with you, Dick Horner and your Advisory Committee on Organization on Thursday evening, 28 July.

As I indicated in our telephone conversation of 9 July, I am looking forward to working with you as Associate Administrator of NASA, starting 1 September at an annual salary of $21,000. Although I recognize that many factors may affect the duration of the assignment, we are thinking in terms of a two-year period for family planning purposes.

With best regards,


Robert C. Seamans, Jr.

May 8, 1961: Letter, with report attached, from Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and NASA Administrator James E. Webb to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson

During the last week in April and first week in May, the Vice President held a number of meetings relevant to his charge from President Kennedy. Meeting with him was a disparate group, ranging from those in charge of NASA, such as Jim Webb and Hugh Dryden, to Wernher von Braun, Air Force General Bernie Schiever, and others in and out of government. Finally, the Vice President called directly on McNamara and Webb for their specific recommendations. The important sections of the resulting, somewhat convoluted, document are included below. It should be recognized that the Department of Defense (DOD) already had proposed a draft report containing many ideas and recommendations not germane to the joint decisions. These had to be removed by negotiations, and joint NASADOD findings and recommendations had to be added.

The letter and report were delivered to the Vice President on the morning of May 8, just prior to the celebration for Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard. Following a White House award ceremony, Shepard delivered an address to Congress, overseen by the Vice President and House Speaker John McCormick. He then went with his family to the State Department, where he was tendered a luncheon by the Vice President. Johnson left the luncheon, report in hand, for a meeting with the President.

Dear Mr. Vice President:

May 8, 1961

Attached to this letter is a report entitled "Recommendations for Our National Space Program: Changes, Policies, Goals," dated May 8, 1961. This document represents our joint thinking. We recommend that, if you concur with its contents and recommendations, it be transmitted to the President for his information and as a basis for early adoption implementation of the revised and expanded objectives which it contains.


Robert McNamara
James E. Webb


It is the purpose of this report (1) to describe changes to our national space efforts requiring additional appropriations for FY 1962; (2) to outline the thinking of the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of NASA concerning U.S. status, prospects, and policies for space; and (3) to depict the chief goals which in our opinion should become part of an Integrated National Space Plan. . . .

I. Recommendations for FY 1962 Add-ons

Our recommendations for additional FY 1962 NOA [New Obligation Authority] for our space efforts are listed below. They total $626 million, of which all but $77 million is for NASA....

II. National Space Policy

Projects in space may be undertaken for any one of four principal reasons. They may be aimed at gaining scientific knowledge. Some, in the future, will be of commercial or chiefly civilian value.

Several current programs are of potential military value. Finally, some space projects may be undertaken chiefly for reasons of national prestige.

The U.S. is not behind in the first three categories. Scientifically and militarily we are ahead....

III. Major National Space Goals

It is the purpose of this section to outline some of the principal goals, both long-range and short-range, toward which our national space efforts should, in our opinion, be directed. . . .

We recommend that our National Space Plan include the objective of manned lunar exploration before the end of this decade. It is our belief that manned exploration to the vicinity of and on the surface of the Moon represents a major area in which international competition for achievement in space will be conducted. The orbitiing of machines is not the same as the orbiting or landing of man. It is man, not merely machines, in space that capture the imagination of the world....

The establishment of this major objective has many implications. It will cost a great deal of money. It will require large efforts for a long time. It requires parallel and supporting undertakings which are also costly and complex. Thus, for example, the RANGER and SURVEYOR projects and the technology associated with them must be undertaken and must succeed to provide the data, the techniques, and the experience without which manned lunar exploration cannot be undertaken.

The Soviets have announced lunar landing as a major objective of their program. They may have begun to plan for such an effort years ago. They may have undertaken important first steps which we have not begun.

It may be argued, therefore, that we undertake such an objective with several strikes against us. We cannot avoid announcing not only our general goals but many of our specific plans, and our successes and our failures along the way. Our cards are and will be face up— theirs are face down.

Despite these considerations we recommend proceeding toward this objective. We are uncertain of Soviet intentions, plans, or status. Their plans, whatever they may be, are not more certain of success than ours. Just as we accelerated our ICBM program we have accelerated and are passing the Soviets in important areas in space technology. If we set our sights on this difficult objective we may surpass

them here as well. Accepting the goals gives us a chance. Finally, even if the Soviets get there first, as they may, and as some think they will, it is better for us to get there second than not at all. In any event, we will have mastered the technology. If we fail to accept this challenge it may be interpreted as a lack of national vigor and capacity to respond....

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November 15 and December 6, 1961: Letter from NASA researcher John Houbolt to me, and my response

Even before President Kennedy's special message to Congress, NASA was switching into high gear. Many policy issues needed addressing. To what extent should NASA hire additional personnel? Where would we find individuals capable of managing large programs and projects? Where should the management of Apollo be located? Were new NASA centers required? To what extent could NASA enlist the support of the Army, Navy, and Air Force? Should the Apollo Saturn be assembled outdoors, as was customary, or indoors? How was NASA going to be managed to control schedules and costs or to select contractors?

None of the decisions were as intractable as the selection of the mission "mode"—the strategy adopted for getting humans and equipment to the Moon. There were two strong camps-one in favor of direct ascent, the other for Earthorbit rendezvous. However, there was also a "voice in the wilderness,” that of John Houbolt, who had a small team located at the Langley Research Center in Langley, Virginia. He advanced the concepts of lunar-orbit rendezvous.

Houbolt may not have felt confident that NASA was approaching the lunar landing “fairly and frankly,” but my written response to him, given here, was a lot more supportive than my first reaction, that he should cease and desist. Houbolt may have been a “crank," but I thought his views made sense, and I kept checking to be certain Brainerd Holmes and his systems analyst Joe Shea gave Houbolt's views careful consideration.

Dear Dr. Seamans:

... Since we have had only occasional and limited contact, and because you therefore probably do not know me well, it is conceivable that after reading this you may feel that you are dealing with a crank. Do not be afraid of this. The thoughts expressed here may not be stated in as diplomatic a fashion as they might be, or as I would normally try to do, but this is by choice and at the moment is not

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