Artificial satellites, Astronautics, History

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SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN, Satellites and the Beginning of the Space Age
Copyright for the book, including research notes, Copernicus/Springer Verlag (New York)

History of artificial satellites
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p242

Details of Project Orbiter and how it evolved from von Braun's original proposal.

Information about the long playing rocket (the euphemism by which a rocket capable of reaching orbit was known), its costs, and the costs of the satellite program, as well as their acceptance by the USNC IGY is found in the following minutes, located at the National Academy of Sciences: third meeting of the USNC executive committee (January 7,1955), during which the technical panel on rocketry was asked to report on the technical feasibility of satellites; first meeting of the technical panel on rocketry (January 22, 1955) during which a subcommittee comprising William Pickering, Milton Rosen, and John Townsend was formed; first meeting of the subcommittee evaluating the feasibility of a satellite launch (February 3 and 4, 1955, in Pasadena). No minutes, though William Pickering remembers the first meeting. Fourth meeting of the executive committee of the USNC, during which members were told that the technical evaluation of a satellite was ongoing; On March 5, 1955, there was a meeting between Joseph Kaplan and Hugh Odishaw, the administrative secretary of the USNC, to discuss security procedures surrounding the work of the subcommittee of the technical panel on rocketry. They concluded that the report would be classified but that the committee would prepare an unclassified report for the executive committee; On March 9, 1955, the technical panel on rocketry accepted a classified report on the feasibility of launching a satellite and prepared an unclassified version for the USNC's executive committee; On March 8-10, the fifth meeting of the USNC executive committee discussed the rocketry panel's report and debated whether to back the inclusion of satellites in the IGY. Unusually, the notes from this meeting are handwritten and hard to decipher. The most vocal discussants were Merle Tuve and Athelstan Spilhaus. Tuve expressed doubt about the inclusion of a satellite in the IGY; Spilhaus was strongly in favor. What caused Tuve concern was the classified nature of the project. In the end, the meeting agreed that if the long playing rocker were still classified by January 1956, then it should be dropped from the program. The seventh meeting of the USNC took place on May 5, 1955. An agenda item on the LPR refers to an attachment that is not included in the archives. This meeting was in the period following Quarles' approach to the IGY and prior to Eisenhower's public announcement that there would be a satellite program. Hugh Odishaw was writing and


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Page text content checked against original in print by HG on 1st May, 2013.

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