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Artificial satellites, Astronautics, History

GavaghanCommunications | Source material

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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p255

The account of the launch of Explorer 1 (pages 122-123) comes from the oral histories of Pickering and Van Allen, from Pickering's interviews with me, from the Green and Lomask book (Vanguard - A History) and from accounts in the New York Times.

James Van Allen describes his isolation and concerns on the launch of Sputnik in his oral history at the National Air and Space Museum.

In his oral history and when talking to me, Pickering describes the wait for the acquisition of Explorer 1 and his trip to the NAS to face the World's press once the satellite was in orbit.

Details on pages 123-125 are a synthesis of extracts from minutes of the USNC for the IGY, the executive committee of the USNC, the TPESP, the Technical Panel on Rocketry and the Working Group on Internal Instrumentation.

An ad hoc meeting of the TPESP, November 10, 1955, discussed the budget for the whole satellite program. Homer Newell emphasized the importance of allocating money quickly for optical and radio tracking and for scientific instrumentation.

The need to understand the organizational relationship between the different official bodies was mentioned. This was an early warning of a struggle for control of the program. The NRL was emphatic that it retain control of the launch vehicle and to a large extent over the scientific instrumentation. A formal statement said, "The NRL desires the advice and guidance of the USNC with respect to scientific instruments... and guidance will be followed in so far as is possible without compromising the achievement of a first successful launch."

The question of organizational relationships and responsibility resurfaced nearly a year later. In an attachment to the minutes of the seventh meeting of the TPESP on September 5, 1956, a note records an informal meeting at the Cosmos Club between Richard Porter and Admiral Bennet during which there was discussion about whether the satellite program was a DOD program with IGY participation or vice versa.

The third meeting of the TPESP took place in the Founders' Room at the University of Michigan. The panel discussed the possibility that the


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Page text content checked against original in print by HG on 2nd May, 2013.

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