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NASA SP-4021 



ASTRONAUTICS AND 
AERONAUTICS, 1976 



A CHRONOLOGY 



NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 



NASA SP-4021 



ASTRONAUTICS AND 
AERONAUTICS, 1976 

A Chronology 



Eleanor H. Ritchie 



The NASA History Series 




Scientific and Technical Information Branch 
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE 



1984 
ADMINISTRATION 

Washington, DC. 



Wel.lesl.uy Ccllegc library 



T\_ 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington, D.C. 20402 (paper cover) 



Library <>/ Congress Catalog Number ft.) 



Contents 



January 1 

February 23 

March 43 

April 69 

May 87 

June HI 

July 137 

August 175 

September 203 

October 235 

November 267 

December 285 

Appendix A: Satellites, Space Probes, and Manned Space Flights, 1976 . 307 

Appendix B: Major NASA Launches, 1976 337 

Appendix C: Manned Space Flights, 1976 341 

Appendix D: NASA Sounding Rocket Launches, 1976 343 

Appendix E: Abbreviations of References 351 

Index and List of Abbreviations and Acronyms 355 

Errata in Earlier Volumes 397 

Illustrations 

Comsats launched by NASA, 1976 2 

Concorde arrives at Dulles Airport 103 

Third Century America exposition opens at KSC 108 

National Air and Space Museum 138 

First panoramic view of Mars from liking 1 147 

Goldstone antenna used in solar-energy tests 197 

Enterprise (Shuttle Orbiter 101) rolled out at Rockwell 223 

XV- 15 (tilt-rotor research aircraft) rolled out at Bell 258 

iii 



January 1976 

January: "An impressive record of cost-cutting that could well set an 
example to many agencies" had been achieved by NASA since the mid- 
sixties, said Sen. William A. Proxmire (D-Wis.), one of the agency's 
severest critics. Chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee 
that handles NASA's appropriation, Proxmire said that NASA had made its 
tight budget go farther by acting as its own prime contractor when 
construction bids were too high; buying electronic parts from a standard- 
ized list; providing reimbursable launches to private industry and other 
outside organizations on an "accelerated" basis, although not — 
according to Proxmire — charging enough for them; and, in general, 
making "one dollar do the job that it took two dollars to do in the free 
and easy money days." {Today, 1 Jan 76, 1) 

Failure to reach a satisfactory nuclear arms agreement with the Soviet 
Union would result in U.S. development of a new land-based inter- 
continental missile, according to U.S. government sources quoted by 
Reuters in a Baltimore Sun story. The 5-yr defense plan to be submitted 
to Congress in 3 wk with the new FY 1977 budget would include spending 
$1.07 billion to start work on a larger and more accurate missile called 
MX that could be launched from silos, aircraft, or land-mobile platforms. 
The new missile would be operational by 1985, the report said. {B Sun, 
1 Jan 76, A6) 

2 January: NASA planned 18 major satellite launchings in 1976, 16 from 
Cape Canaveral and 2 from the Western Test Range at Vandenberg Air 
Force Base. First of these, on 1 3 Jan., would be a U.S. -Canadian commu- 
nications technology satellite; second, on 15 Jan., would be the Helios 
satellite built by West Germany. Other NASA launches during the year 
would include 2 comsats for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; 2 
maritime comsats (Marisats); Palapa, a comsat for the Indonesian gov- 
ernment; the second geostationary operational environmental satellite 
(GOES-B); and Lageos, a laser geodynamic satellite to help alleviate 
earthquake hazards. {NYT, 3 Jan 76, 5) 

As he assumed the presidency of the American Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science, Dr. William D. McElroy (chancellor of the Univ. 
of Calif, in San Diego, and former director of the National Science 
Foundation) said he planned to reorganize the AAAS journal Science, 
involve the association more deeply in government and industry activity, 
and quadruple the membership. Dr. McElroy, called the "leading world 
authority on the biochemistry of firefly light," said he hoped to stop the 
publication of pure research papers in Science, as more specialized 
scientific journals could do this more efficiently, and to promote a free 
flow of ideas between the universities and the industrial community by 

1 



January 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 




Four of the comsats in NASA's 1976 launch schedule: A, Comsat General's Marisat, 
launched 19 Feb.; B, NATO III— A, launched 22 Apr.; C. Comsat General's Comstar 1A, 
launched 13 May; D, Indonesia's Palapa, launched 8 July. 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

including more articles of interest to users in industry and engineering, 
and paying more attention to science issues in government policy. He 
referred to the "unfortunate separation" between industry and univer- 
sity after World War II when science gained new nonindustrial financial 
support; by increasing the circulation of Science magazine, he would 
expand the AAAS membership, as the magazine is available only to mem- 
bers. {NYT, 2 Jan 76, 10) 
5 January-4 February: Permission to fly the British- and French-built 
Concorde supersonic transport into the U.S. was the subject of a hearing 
called by Transportation Secretary William T. Coleman, Jr., in Washing- 
ton to help him decide the matter within 30 days. Basic arguments pro 
and con were not new, observers agreed, as they had all been thrashed 
out in a bitter 1971 congressional fight that halted U.S. efforts to build 
an SST after about $1 billion had been spent on the project. The case 
against the Concorde had been that it was too noisy and that its emissions 
polluted the atmosphere and depleted the stratospheric ozone shield. 
Spokesmen for the Concorde cited its benefits in speed of travel and 
technical achievement. At the hearing, representatives of the Va. state 
government called for approval of Concorde landings at Dulles, in view 
of the airport's significance as Virginia's international gateway; these 
advocates found themselves opposed to the views of the local Va. juris- 
dictions which did not want the SST landing there. Gov. Hugh Carey of 
N.Y. opposed the Concorde's coming into JFK Airport because of the 
noise. On 6 Jan. the Environmental Protection Agency reversed its 
previous stand, calling for a total ban on commercial operations in the 
U.S. of the British-French SST. On 13 Jan., the Aerospace Industries 
Assn. — U.S. manufacturers of aerospace vehicles and components — 
submitted a letter deploring the cancellation of the U.S. program and 
supporting Concorde's application to operate. On 29 Jan., the Am. Inst, 
of Aeronautics and Astronautics, claiming to represent 22 000 engineers 
and scientists, called for a limited-operations trial period to collect data 
as the basis for a final decision on giving Concorde access to U.S. airports. 
The Concorde had begun regular passenger service 21 Jan. between 
Paris and Rio de Janeiro, and between London and Bahrain, as the climax 
of 14 yr of technical cooperation between Britain and France and a joint 
investment of more than $3 billion. 

DOT Secy. Coleman announced 4 Feb. that he had granted the Con- 
corde "limited scheduled commercial flights" into the U.S. for a period 
not to exceed 16 mo under precise limitations. British Airways and Air 
France could send up to 2 flights per day into JFK and Dulles airports, 
but the permission could be revoked upon 4 mo notice or immediately in 
case of emergency. The limitations included prohibitions on landing or 
takeoff in the U.S. before 7 am or after 10 pm local time, and on flying 
at supersonic speed over the U.S. or any of its territories. In his 61 -page 
decision with 36 pages of appendix, Coleman said the 16-mo period 
should be long enough to demonstrate the validity of his judgment. Upon 
hearing of the secretary's decision, 2 members of the Senate Commerce 
Committee were narrowly defeated in an attempt to ban the Concorde 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

from landing in the U.S. by attaching such a ban to a bill authorizing funds 
for airport development. The Concorde's only supersonic competitor was 
the USSR's Tupolev-144, in service since 26 Dec. 1975 within the Soviet 
Union as a freight plane. {NYT, 5 Jan 76, 1; Av Wk, 5 Jan 76, 26; 
W Star, 6 Jan 76, A-3; W Post, 6 Jan 76, A-l; AIA Aerospace News 
Release 76-1; text, AIAA letter to DOT, 29 Jan 76; NYT, 21 Jan 76, 
16-17; WStar, 21 Jan 76, A-3; B Sun, 28 Jan 76, A-6; NYT, 1 Feb 
76, 3-1; DOT Release 09-76, 4 Feb. 76; NYT, 5 Feb 76, 1, 16, 32M; 
W Post, 5 Feb 76, A-l, A-18; B Sun, 5 Feb 76, A14) 

6 January: The Republic of Ireland would become the eleventh member of 

the European Space Agency, ESA announced today, when parliaments of 
the existing member states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, 
the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) 
ratify the agency's convention. Ratification might take 1 to 2 yr, during 
which time Ireland would retain its observer status. The ambassador of 
the Republic of Ireland in Paris signed the ESA convention 3 1 Dec. 1 975. 
(ESA release 5 Jan 76) 

7 January: The U.S. Coast Guard began its Project Icewarn field program 

with the first of a number of daily ice-observation missions by aircraft 
over the Great Lakes during the winter navigation season. The flights 
would continue through 2 Feb., when ice conditions were expected to 
stop all shipping on the Great Lakes, and resume in Mar. with the 
breakup of the ice and continue through Apr. Objective of the program 
was to provide Coast Guard personnel with experience in operating a 
side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) system developed by NASA's Lewis 
Research Center, which included equipment to convert radar signals to 
ice-cover images transmitted in real time from the aircraft to the ground 
through a relay channel on Sms/Goes 1. The system would be demon- 
strated in a simulation during which ice-cover information would be 
transmitted to captains of lake shipping for use in routing the ships 
through the ice. (Wkly Briefs for Admr, 12 Jan 76) 

• A new computer program developed at Johnson Space Center from Landsat 

digital data could compile maps on any scale desired showing water 
surfaces in excess of 0.024 sq km, said specialists in the Earth Obser- 
vations Division at JSC. Nations needing an inventory of their water 
resources could obtain maps of their lakes and reservoirs, and state 
governments could use the service in choosing between recreational and 
industrial use of available water supplies. The program, called Detection 
and Mapping (DAM) Package, required only $300 worth of computer 
time to map more than 33 800 sq km. As the two Landsats cover about 
95 percent of the earth's land mass, the system could produce surface- 
water maps for virtually all populated regions with almost 100% accu- 
racy for water areas as large as 0.04 sq km; position accuracy — the 
degree to which the maps match the terrain — would be within 90m of 
dead center. User training would be typically no more than a day, and 
the system would need no experts to implement it. (NASA Release 76-4; 
JSC Release 76-01) 

• The Peoples Republic of China indicated for the first time that it planned 

to put a man into space, according to an article in the Peking Kuang- 

4 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

ming Daily entitled "The Launching and the Bringing Back of Artificial 
Satellites from Earth." As reported by radio from Hong Kong, the article 
recalled that PRC had put 5 satellites into orbit since 1970, emphasiz- 
ing that China 4 (launched 26 Nov. 75) "returned to earth as scheduled 
after functioning normally." After explaining how satellites were 
launched and recovered, the article added that recovery was particularly 
significant in "sending men into space." The radio report said that the 
article — first of its kind in the official PRC press — was even more sur- 
prising because the Chinese supposedly had not heard that man had 
walked on the moon, as this had never been reported in the Chinese press. 
(FBIS, Hong Kong AFP in English, by G. Biannic, 7 Jan 76) 

8 January: Goes 1, a new geostationary environmental satellite launched in 

Oct. 1975 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
(NOAA), became operational, replacing Sms 1 above the equator over 
northern Brazil to provide forecasters with visual and infrared pictures 
of the western hemisphere, to monitor solar-flare activity, and to relay 
information from data-collection stations in remote areas. 5ms 1 would 
be moved to standby status over the eastern Pacific south of Mexico; a 
prototype satellite, some of whose systems have degraded, it could still 
provide full operational data on an emergency basis. Sms 2, launched in 
Feb. 1975, was moved in Dec. from 115 W to 135°W to provide 
improved imagery of the Pacific in the Hawaiian Islands area. (NOAA 
Release 76-1) 

• The Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif., NASA's prime site for 

experimental research in aeronautics, was renamed the Hugh L. Dryden 
Flight Research Center in memory of the pioneer aeronautical re- 
searcher who was first Deputy Administrator of NASA, a position he held 
until his death in 1965. Dr. Dryden's contributions to aeronautical 
research included investigation of high-speed airfoils, supersonic 
propeller-tip velocities, boundary layers, and airflow wind turbulence, 
and development of high-speed wind tunnels. He was director of the 
former National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics from 1947 until 
that agency became NASA in 1958. (NASA Release 76-7; FRC Release 
1-76; Goddard News, Feb 76, 6) 

• In observing the results of Salyut 4 's first year of operation in space, Soviet 

cosmonaut Konstantin Feoktistov in an article in Pravda reviewed the 
research and experiments conducted on board the space station, calling 
it "a major achievement for Soviet space navigation." Special mention 
was given to the solar radiation studies and environmental photography 
done from Salyut 4; the first expedition photographed a million sq km 
of Soviet territory, and the second crew also took pictures to enable 
scientists to follow developments in hydrology, vegetation, and climate. 
Medical studies of the crews centered on the effects of long space flights 
and the mechanism of the body's adaptation to weightlessness. Salyut 4, 
the article noted, was built with an eye to longer activity for the station 
and better facilities for prolonging manned missions. (FBIS, Tass in Eng- 
lish, 8 Jan 76) 

9 January: Geos 3, the geodynamics experimental ocean satellite launched 

9 Apr. 1975, completed 9 mo in orbit and the project was judged 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

successful with respect to the prelaunch mission objectives. Problems 
with orbit definition and revised criteria for data distribution had delayed 
the release of large quantities of data, said a report by Charles W. 
Mathews, Associate Administrator for Applications at NASA, but the first 
batches would be shipped 30 Jan. to principal investigators, and sub- 
sequent batches would be released monthly thereafter. (MOR E-855- 
75-01 [postlaunch], 25 Feb 76) 

10 January: An unmanned ground terminal that could operate with several 

satellites in synchronous orbit above the earth was patented by three 
engineers for the Communications Satellite Corporation. Previously, a 
separate earth terminal was needed for each satellite. William K. Sones, 
Laurence F. Gray, and Louis Pollack, of the ComSat staff in Washington, 
D.C., invented the new facility, considered a major advance that would 
add reliability and reduce costs. The structure included a single reflector 
about 9.7m by 15.4m with enough traveling-wave tubes, transmitters, 
receivers, and amplifiers to handle two or more satellites, plus monitors 
and controls; the reliability feature was a system that switched in another 
tube if one became defective. Possible uses would be on offshore rigs or 
at oil-pipeline installations that were unmanned but required constant 
communication by satellite. (NYT, 10 Jan 76, 31) 

11 January: The French government halted operations of sounding-rocket 

and scientific satellite launchings from its base at Kourou, French Gui- 
ana, after 7 yr of activity that included launches of 275 rockets or 
balloons, many of them under U.S. government or National Science 
Foundation programs. The base had become a victim of European eco- 
nomic problems that had led to the abandonment of ELDO — the European 
Launcher Development Organization formed by several countries in July 
1966 — when the first launching in 1971 failed. The head of the oper- 
ations division at Kourou said there was a complete lack of coordination 
among the countries, although France and its partners had spent about 
$500 million on the site and support facilities at Kourou. Space research 
would resume in about 4 yr with the launch of a 3/4-ton tele- 
communications satellite sponsored by the French government, under a 
new system in which each project would be under the management of one 
country. Ten European governments would contribute money, and the 
funds would be allocated in the form of contracts for each project. 
{W Post, 11 Jan 76, E 7) 

12 January: Use of dirigibles instead of drifting stations in the Arctic Ocean 

for polar exploration and scientific studies was advocated by Soviet polar 
explorer Nikolay Blinov, a staff member of the Leningrad Arctic and 
Antarctic Institute, as reported by Tass. The USSR had been using obser- 
vatories set up on ice floes to forecast weather and ice formations on the 
northern sea route for about 40 yr; the 23rd North Pole station was 
established on a large iceberg in the last quarter of 1975. Blinov pointed 
out that the continuously drifting stations, never safe from breakup 
and melting away upon encounter with warm water, offered less relia- 
bility than dirigibles, which could remain over a location for an indefinite 
time to register data on the "hydrological regime" of a certain area and 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

would be durable and less expensive to maintain. (FBIS, Tass in English, 
12 Jan 76) 

73 January: Eighty percent of the 114 federal research laboratories had not 
adopted cost-cutting activities recommended 6 yr ago by the General 
Accounting Office. A new GAO survey found that agencies had not made 
periodic inspections of equipment to find unused items that could be sold; 
had not established equipment pools to eliminate duplication and under- 
use of costly scientific tools; and had not started using "time meters" as 
a check on how often the equipment was used. Agencies following the 
three recommendations could save millions of dollars, said Rep. Les 
Aspin (D-Wis.) in releasing the GAO report, citing an atomic research 
facility that saved $24.2 million by disposing of unneeded equipment. 
Aspin also referred to purchases of expensive sophisticated equipment 
for a single experiment that was never used again, when it could have 
been sold or passed along to another agency. (W Star, 13 Jan 76, C8) 

• The largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere began operation 
on a mountaintop about 483 km north of Santiago, Chile, to give astron- 
omers their best look at objects such as the Magellanic Clouds and the 
brightest globular star clusters visible only from that hemisphere. The 
13.7m-long telescope's steerable portion weighed 300 tons, so delicately 
balanced that one person could move it by hand. Its mirrors were made 
of Cervit, an optical material insensitive to temperature changes; its 
1 5-ton main mirror was 4 m in diam. and 6 1 cm thick, and the secondary 
mirror was 1.3 m in diameter. The new Cerro Tololo Inter-American 
Observatory would be run by the Association of Universities for Research 
in Astronomy (AURA), Inc., under contract to the National Science 
Foundation and in cooperation with the Univ. of Chile at Santiago; Cerro 
Tololo and its sister institution, Kitt Peak National Observatory near 
Tucson, Ariz., would be national research centers with 60% of all tele- 
scope time available to qualified visiting scientists who would otherwise 
lack access to instruments capable of frontier research in astronomy. 
(NSF Release PR 76-4) 

14 January: The French government had earmarked a preliminary budget 

of $3.6 million for development of a spy satellite that would survey the 
earth's surface with infrared cameras, the N.Y. Daily News said. Weigh- 
ing several hundred kg and orbiting at 500 to 600 km altitude, the 
satellite would use several lenses in visible and infrared light to detect 
details at sizes ranging from 10 to 100 m. The government's represen- 
tative for armaments, J.-L. Delpech, said that France had "no military 
space policy" because reconnaissance satellites were "not essential" to 
France's "deterrent strategy." (FBIS, in French, 13 Jan 76; NY News, 
14 Jan 76, 58) 

15 January: Helios 2, third* cooperative project of the U.S. and the Federal 

Republic of Germany, was launched from Complex 41 of the Eastern 
Test Range at 1 2:34 am EST (0534 GMT) on a Titan-Centaur (TC-5) into 



*First FRG-U.S. venture was the German research satellite GSR-A, launched 
in Nov. 1969 and titled Azur in orbit. 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

a solar orbit that would put it between 44 million and 144 million km 
from the sun, 3 million km closer than its twin, Helios 1, launched 10 
Dec. 1974. Each Helios carried 7 experiments of West German scien- 
tists and 3 from the U.S. The experiments would investigate solar proc- 
esses and events such as coronal, solar-wind, and interplanetary fields 
and waves; cosmic rays, both solar and nonsolar; dust particles and 
zodiacal light; and celestial mechanics. Helios 2 was the first spacecraft 
carrying a detector for gamma-ray bursts in space, whose cause and 
source had not been identified since discovery in 1969. Combining Helios 
data with information from other satellites might pinpoint the direction 
of the sources and permit their identification with visible celestial objects. 
The Helios spacecraft weighed 376 kg, with a 1.75 m cylinder carrying 
conical solar arrays on each end that gave it a spool shape; with deploy- 
able booms extended, Helios 2 would measure 32 m tip to tip. The solar 
arrays would provide a minimum of 240 w at aphelion — much more 
when closer to the sun — to power the data handling and transmission. 
Scientists also hoped for more information on the unexpected concen- 
tration of micrometeorites found by Helios 1; about 15 times more of 
these particles were detected within 53 million km of the sun than had 
been observed near the earth. Cost of the 2 Helios missions was about 
$260 million, of which the German share was about $180 million for 
spacecraft units, 7 experiments, and command and data-acquisition 
expenses; mission control would be at the German Space Operations 
Center near Munich. The U.S. paid for the 2 launch vehicles and the 3 
U.S. experiments, plus support services, a total of about $80 million. A 
third Helios had been considered for launch in 1980 to measure solar 
activity at the height of the 1 1-yr cycle and to study Comet Encke. (NASA 
Releases 75-317, 76-2; MOR S-823-76-02 [prelaunch] 7 Jan 76, 
[postlaunch] 23 Jan 76; NYT, 16 Jan 76, 27) 

• The USSR's supersonic passenger plane TU-144, in service between Mos- 

cow and Alma Ata in Kazhakstan, had flown further on the special test 
bench still being used to operate its engines under varying flight condi- 
tions than it had in the skies, according to a story in the newspaper 
Pravda. The bench, designed simultaneously with the aircraft itself, 
could accommodate the 65-m-long plane and simulate conditions such as 
outside-temperature changes from — 60°C to 150°C; oncoming and 
vertical air currents with a velocity of 30 to 50 m per sec; and air-current 
impact on skin and control mechanisms in TU-144 takeoff and landing. 
The plane's wings and fuselage were "wrapped" in 5000 steel rods with 
sensors attached to 12 000 points that signaled the slightest change to 
computers; the bench included 8000 thermometers, as well as 3300 km 
of wires from the TU-144 to instruments and computers, "equal to the 
distance between Moscow and Alma Ata," the report said. During the 
tests, the cabin retained normal atmospheric pressure and temperature 
even when exterior conditions imitated those at 18 to 20 km in the 
stratosphere where the plane would be flying. (FBIS, Tass in English, 
14 Jan 76) 

• Scientists attempting to find a source of unlimited energy like that which 

powers the sun had taken two potentially significant directions, Walter 

8 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

Sullivan reported in the New York Times. Soviet researchers had shifted 
from emphasis on laser beams for crushing nuclear fuel to superdensity, 
to use of electron beams for that purpose. Although 90% of U.S. effort 
had been on converging pulses of laser light, a new system of using ion 
beams had shown advantages over the electron-beam method from which 
it evolved: the apparatus would deliver a vast amount of energy to a fuel 
pellet, causing the shell to explode both inward and outward. The inward 
blast, crushing the pellet core to 1000 times its original density, would 
produce a fusion reaction resulting in helium, and a small amount of mass 
would be converted into a large amount of energy. The U.S. electron- 
beam study was based at Sandia Laboratories, in N.M., one of three 
research centers operated by the Energy Research and Development 
Administration. Although the U.S. use of ions was the chief novelty in the 
fusion-energy field, laser fusion was still the front runner, Sullivan noted. 
(A/FT, 15 Jan 76, 22) 

16 January: An impartial "science court" to weigh controversial national 
issues such as pesticide use or nuclear-reactor safety was one of several 
ideas under consideration by two advisory groups appointed by the 
President last year to give the proposed White House office of science 
and technology a head start in its task of making major policy decisions. 
Dr. Simon Ramo, chairman of the advisory group on technological 
contributions to economic strength, pointed out that no procedure 
existed for dealing with scientific and technical portions of important 
issues. Dr. William 0. Baker, president of Bell Laboratories, would chair 
the other advisory group on advances in science and technology. A 2-day 
meeting of the groups in Washington ended with the plan to test the 
science-court idea in an experiment, choosing a controversial issue in 
which a clearcut statement of scientific facts seemed feasible, then 
arguing the case with advocates and cross examinations for both sides, 
with an impartial panel of scientific judges to make the decision. Dr. 
Ramo said the experiment should teach the advisory groups about the 
issue they chose, help the government agency that must deal with the 
issue, and demonstrate whether the court idea would work. Major issues 
on which the advisory groups would attempt to assist the White House 
included the world problem of food and nutrition, the issue of tech- 
nological innovation and its effect on productivity, and the effect of 
government regulation on advancement in science and technology. 
(NYT, 16 Jan 76, 32) 

• The board of directors of Communications Satellite Corporation (ComSat) 
declared a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share payable 15 Mar. to 
all shareholders of record at close of business 13 Feb. The group's 22nd 
consecutive quarterly dividend would be the 7th at the 25-cent rate. 
(ComSat Release 76-1) 

17-29 January: The Communications Technology Satellite designed by 
U.S. and Canadian technicians — world's most powerful comsat — was 
launched from Complex 17, Eastern Test Range, at 6:27:54 pm EST 
(2328 GMT) on a Delta 2914 vehicle, delayed from its scheduled date of 
13 Jan. The 346-kg space craft cost $60 million in Canadian funds and 
$22 million in U.S. funds. The design departure used on Cts was the 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

system for providing solar power to the transmitter: a pair of accordion- 
pleated solar arrays to be extended by thin steel booms to a wingspan of 
7.5 m each, that could provide 1 kw of power over Cts's 2-yr lifetime. 
A 3-axis stabilization system would keep the panels pointed toward the 
sun for power while the satellite antennas aimed accurately at the center 
of target transmission areas, about a timezone wide. The large-diameter 
low-profile spacecraft would be turned over to the Canadian Department 
of Communications for operation after the spacecraft reached syn- 
chronous orbit. Apogee-motor firing at 3:41 pm EST 20 Jan. put Cts into 
a synchronous orbit at 35 888 km altitude, with final station at 1 16°W 
over the equator reached 29 Jan. 

Cts was the result of a 5-yr international program of cooperation 
between NASA and CDC to pioneer in new methods of providing commu- 
nications services by transmitting high-quality color TV and other data to 
small user-operated ground stations in remote areas. It carried a high- 
efficiency 200-w traveling-wave tube amplifier developed at LeRC that 
would operate at power levels 10 to 20 times higher than those of 
previous satellites, permitting the use of smaller and less expensive 
ground equipment, and in a new frequency band providing microwave 
signals in the 12-ghz region. In 1971, the World Administrative Radio 
Conference had begun assigning frequencies between 1 1 and 1 4 ghz and 
18 and 30 ghz to signal-relay and broadcast satellites of the future, in 
hopes of averting a communications jam in orbit in the 1980s. The 
satellites could provide any country with a means of transmitting its own 
TV programs and setting up medical and educational consulting services 
in sparsely settled regions by using small, inexpensive — even portable — 
ground stations. (NASA Release 76-9, 75-316; MOR E-610-76-01 
[prelaunch] 22 Dec 75, [postlaunch] 28 Jan 76, [postlaunch #2] 13 
Feb 76; ESA news releases 1 6 Jan 76, 6 Feb 76; WStar, 1 8 Jan 76, A-2, 
21 Jan 76, A-ll; NYT, 30 Jan 76, C 11) 
18 January: Ats 3, launched 5 Nov. 1967 primarily as a comsat, went into 
semiretirement when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis- 
tration turned off its multicolor spin-scan cloud camera that had taken 
the first color photograph of the earth from space. During its 8 yr of 
orbiting 35 800 km in space synchronously with the earth's rotation, 
Ats 3 helped prove the theory that continuous viewing of earth's cloud- 
cover would provide meaningful weather information. Ats 3 transmitted 
thousands of photographs of hurricanes, tornado-bearing thunderstorms, 
and other life-threatening weather phenomena, including the timely 
warning of Hurricane Camille before its assault on the Gulf Coast in Aug. 
1969. Besides weather pictures, Ats 3 had relayed live TV coverage of 
events such as the Apollo missions, Pope Paul's visit to Colombia, and the 
1968 Olympic games in Mexico City. Although superseded by more 
sophisticated geostationary spacecraft such as Sms 1 and 2 and Goes 1, 
which offered better visual transmission and provided nighttime imagery 
through infrared sensors, Ats 3 would continue to relay data as part of 
NOAA's worldwide weather-facsimile broadcast system, and would be used 
by NASA in communications demonstrations such as medical and edu- 
cational experiments. (NOAA Release 76-5) 

10 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

• Reviewing the Energy Research and Development Administration's first 

year of operation, ERDA Administrator Robert C. Seamans Jr. said the 
U.S. had taken major steps to assure adequate energy supplies in the 
future. Establishment of ERDA on 1 9 Jan. 1 976, bringing together energy 
research functions formerly located in other agencies, was itself a mile- 
stone. Specific steps cited by Seamans included a major solar-heating 
demonstration and completion of two heating-and-cooling projects; de- 
velopment of a national energy R&D plan emphasizing conservation of 
energy and development of new sources; demonstration and testing of 
more efficient recovery and use of coal, oil, and shale; biohazard screen- 
ing of 150 compounds in fossil fuels to determine which might cause 
cancer or genetic mutations; and identifying problems in the nuclear-fuel 
cycle, including reprocessing of fuel and disposal of wastes. Describing 
fossil and nuclear energy as the near-term and midterm resources of the 
nation, Seamans said that conservation should enable them to carry the 
U.S. into the next century, when essentially inexhaustible energy sources 
should be available: solar electricity, breeder reactors, and fusion power. 
(ERDA Release 76-5) 

• The Apollo lunar scientific experiments package (ALSEP) set up on the moon 

in Feb. 1971 by astronauts Alan B. Shepard and Edgar D. Mitchell 
during the third manned exploration of the moon ceased transmission, 
probably because of failure of electronic components, engineers at John- 
son Space Center said. The Apollo 14 instrument, one of five stations on 
the moon, had provided scientists with lunar seismic data in combination 
with stations set up during the Apollo 12, 15, 16, and 17 missions. 
Originally designed with a 1-yr lifetime, the ALSEP 14 was first of the 
stations to fail completely, although it had lost its ability to receive 
commands a year previously. The remaining stations continued to pro- 
vide data on the moon's seismic activity, heat flow, interactions with 
earth's magnetic field, and the solar-wind and cosmic particles that 
continuously bombard the lunar surface. Findings based on ALSEP data 
included measurement of moonquakes, mostly at about 4 on the Richter 
scale; indications of a lunar core at or near the melting point; a thick 
lithosphere that probably prevented mountain-building on the moon; and 
a tenuous atmosphere deriving from solar-wind particles. The seismic 
instruments on the ALSEPs were the most sensitive in existence, and 
the remaining stations were estimated to last for another 3 yr. (JSC 
Roundup, 13 Feb 76, 1) 

• Food preparation and packaging techniques developed by NASA to feed 

Apollo and Skylab crews during space flight had been used in a pilot 
program to provide balanced nutrition to elderly persons living alone, the 
Johnson Space Center announced. The program, called Meal Systems for 
the Elderly, was part of JSC's Technology Utilization program to apply 
space-developed technology to solution of earthbound problems. The 
goal was to provide a meal system that could be opened, cooked, eaten, 
and cleaned up by older people living alone; each meal would provide at 
least a third of the daily diet allowance for an older person, and a field 
demonstration had been scheduled that would evaluate the meal design 
and delivery methods by the end of 1976. The JSC team developing the 

11 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

program would aim at a shelf-stable, multimeal package that could be 
distributed by several methods — even parcel post- — to senior citizens 
living beyond the range of hot-meal delivery or to those in areas where 
meals were not provided. (NASA Release 76-6; JSC Release 76-02) 

20 January: Dr. Wernher von Braun, who had retired in 1972 as Deputy 

Associate Administrator for Long-Range Planning at NASA Hq, said in a 
W ashington Star interview that he had been brought to Washington in 
1970 to "lend clout to NASA's ability to get its appropriations." His 
assignment had been to present to Congress the program of a manned 
expedition to Mars; "so many national problems" had arisen that Con- 
gress would not commit itself to another multibillion-dollar space pro- 
gram, and the reusable space shuttle was the only element of the concept 
that survived. Dr. von Braun recalled that NASA's resources were cut to 
about a third during his last 2 yr at NASA, and the new organization with 
which he was associated — the National Space Institute — was created to 
"reach large numbers of people" and broaden public support of basic 
science, "where it is much more difficult to predict the payoff." "Re- 
member," he added, "nuclear energy, which ultimately was used in the 
hydrogen bomb, was discovered because some astrophysicists were inter- 
ested in what keeps the sun hot." {W Star, 20 Jan 76, A-l) 

21 January: President Ford sent a $394.2-billion FY 1977 budget request to 

Congress, an increase of $44.8 billion over the FY 1976 request; how- 
ever, comparisons were distorted by the switch this year to a new federal 
budget calendar. (FY 1976 would end as usual on 30 June, but FY 1977 
would not start until 1 Oct.; for the "transition quarter," July through 
Sept., the budget would run about $98 billion, revenues at $81.9 billion, 
and the deficit at $16.1 billion. The change appeared in the Budget 
Reform Act of 1974, to give the Congress more time after it convened 
in Jan. each year to adopt a budget for the coming fiscal year.) 

The budget attempted to explain "what went wrong" when an esti- 
mated national deficit of $9.4 billion turned out as an actual deficit of 
$43.6 billion; in FY 1975, the last completed fiscal year, spending totaled 
$324.6 billion ($20 billion more than anticipated), whereas receipts were 
only $281 billion, compared with an original estimate of $295 billion, the 
difference partly owing to an antirecession tax rebate enacted toward the 
end of the fiscal year. The biggest single factor — $6.5 billion spent in 
unemployment compensation — resulted from the recession unforeseen 
early in 1974; apart from higher unemployment payments under the 
existing program, Congress had extended benefits and coverage, 
accounting for $1.5 billion of the increase. The budget said that most of 
the discrepancy "can be explained by differences between actual and 
assumed economic conditions and the effects of new legislation." The 
NYT commented that "total figures for outlays, receipts, and the deficit 
in the [budget] document submitted at the beginning of each year for the 
fiscal year to follow have become increasingly meaningless." 

In a press briefing on his budget, President Ford stated his intent to 
"restrain the growth of federal spending and restore the vitality of the 
private economy." This was expected to be the keystone of his campaign 
for reelection. Total federal outlays under the proposed budget would 

12 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

increase 5.5% over the current fiscal year, less than half the average 
annual growth in federal spending over the past 10 yr. Largest per- 
centage increase in the budget again would be in the field of energy 
research; aside from defense, increased spending in areas such as mass 
transit and water pollution would represent work on programs already 
begun rather than new starts. 
Highlights of the budget were: 

• Increased defense spending of about $10 billion, exceeding $100 

billion for the first time. 

• Increased Social Security payments by employers and employees, 

to close the gap between income and outgo. 

• A proposal for consolidating about 60 current federal programs — 

in areas such as health, education, child nutrition, and social serv- 
ices — into "block grants" to the states, with few strings attached. 

Proposed spending for defense represented a turnaround of sorts: 
defense spending had fallen for a while after Vietnam, then rose again in 
FY 1975 with the end of the draft and conversion to higher priced 
all-volunteer armed forces with an upward pressure on wages. The outlay 
in FY 1977 would be for weapons; more than half the recommended 
increase would go for procurement, research, and development. Defense 
at $101.1 billion would constitute a fourth of the total budget, as in 
recent years, and Social Security about another fifth. Interest on the 
public debt would add a tenth; these three items would account for more 
than half. Five other basic budget items — Medicare-Medicaid, unem- 
ployment compensation, civil service retirement, and veterans bene- 
fits — would make up three fourths of the total, leaving only a fourth of 
the total budget for all remaining government spending. 

Science, represented by $23.5 billion in federal R&D spending pro- 
posed for FY 1977, would use more than half that amount for military 
projects; the space program would get $3.6 billion, only 4% more than 
the current year and much less than price escalation. Highest priorities 
for increases in civilian spending on science would be colleges and 
universities, which would get $2.6 billion in research funds, and the 
National Science Foundation, which would get $812 million. NASA, under 
the proposed budget, would postpone purchase of one of the Space 
Shuttles for a year, and would drop its plan for a Mars-Jupiter-Saturn 
explorer. At the height of spending for the Apollo program 10 yr ago, 
civilian and nonspace science got 20% of R&D funding; in FY 1977, 
it would get 37%. {W Star, 21 Jan 76, A-l, A- 10, A-l 1; W Post, 
22 Jan 76, A-l, A-14, A-15, A-16; NYT, 22 Jan 76, 1, 24, 25, 26) 
• At a hearing on solar power from satellites conducted by the subcommittee 
on aerospace technology and national needs of the Senate Committee on 
Aeronautical and Space Sciences, NASA Deputy Administrator George M. 
Low and Dr. John M. Teem, ERDA's Assistant Administrator for Solar, 
Geothermal, and Advanced Energy Systems, were questioned closely by 
Sen. Wendell H. Ford (D-Ky), subcommittee chairman, on the ERDA and 
NASA responsibilities for the program. Testimony revealed that ERDA had 
prime responsibility for solar, as well as other, power-generating con- 
cepts, and that NASA had not requested funds for developing an indepen- 

13 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

dent program but was working on solar-power ideas to use in satellite 
missions. Primary goal of ERDA's program, Dr. Teem testified, was devel- 
opment and demonstration of terrestrial solar-energy applications that 
were commercially attractive and environmentally acceptable: solar 
thermal electric, photovoltaic, wind, and ocean-energy conversion. 
Dr. Teem pointed out that the FY 1977 budget included no direct funding 
for energy fUl) for NASA, as the basic responsibility rested with ERDA. 
Dr. Low added that, when ERDA decided that research should proceed, 
NASA would do the work with ERDA funding. (Text, pp. 192-227) 

• Flight tests by the Air Force had confirmed the concept called LATAR 

(laser-augmented target acquisition and recognition) that would permit a 
pilot in a high-performance single-seat fighter to fly the aircraft and 
operate its weaponry at the same time. The LATAR pod, mounted under 
the fuselage of an F-5E directly beneath the cockpit, contained a laser- 
target designator, a spot tracker, and an electro-optical sensor. The spot 
tracker was a device that finds a laser "spot" from another target 
designator operated from another aircraft or on the ground; initial target 
identification could be either visual, by radar, or by a helmet-mounted 
sight system that integrated sight control with movement of the pilot's 
head. The flight tests were conducted at the Air Force Flight Test Center, 
Edwards AFR, Calif. (OIP Release 308.75) 

22 January: The Aerosat Space Segment Board, representing the European 

Space Agency, Comsat General Corp., and the government of Canada, 
decided to issue requests for proposals for a supply of Aerosat spacecraft 
beginning 1 Mar., with target date for award of contract 15 Nov. The 
Aerosat program, to be carried out by ESA, the U.S. Federal Aviation 
Administration, and the government of Canada, would set up an experi- 
mental satellite-communications system between transoceanic aircraft 
and the ground to test functions and timing of an operational system for 
the International Civil Aviation Organization. Two satellites designed for 
7-yr lifetime would be launched into geostationary orbit over the Atlantic 
Ocean, probably in 1979-80. (ESA release 23 Jan 76; Comsat General 
Release 76-103) 

• Commenting on the first 3 mo of operation of the USSR Venus orbiters, Tass 

reported that optical instruments had yielded new data on the planet's 
cloud layer, much more transparent than earth clouds, and on lumines- 
cence of the dark side of Venus, formed in a relatively narrow layer at 
high altitudes. The orbiters were measuring magnetic fields connected 
with the solar wind in the vicinity of Venus, but had not registered a 
magnetic field of the planet itself, the report said. (FBIS, Tass in English, 
22 Jan 76) 

23 January: Three space scientists at Johnson Space Center would begin a 

week-long round-the-clock test of experiments and procedures in a 
mockup of the Spacelab designed for the Space Shuttle. The team, 
headed by astronaut-physician Dr. Story Musgrave, would eat, sleep, 
and perform space-related duties in a mockup of the Shuttle orbiter crew 
compartment, and would carry out more than 20 experiments in space 
medicine and one in space physics inside the 6.8-m-by-4.06-m Spacelab 



14 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

mockup. The team inside would be in constant communication with flight 
operations engineers and scientists at control points outside the mockup, 
which had been equipped with both instruments and experiments just as 
the Spacelab would be. The team would demonstrate 14 operational tests 
whose results would serve in planning inflight crew activities, procedures, 
and scheduling, and in studying items such as personal hygiene, general 
housekeeping and special-purpose cleaning and maintenance, and func- 
tional utility of the orbiter aft deck from which many of the Spacelab 
experiments would be monitored. The simulation was also designed to 
evaluate ground-support procedures and data-handling techniques. (JSC 
Release 76-04) 

• INTELSAT — the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization — 

awarded a 9-mo $75 000 contract to Hughes Aircraft Co. for devel- 
opment of improved vibration-test techniques for testing future Intelsat 
spacecraft, leading to reduced spacecraft weight and a lessening of 
spacecraft fatigue. (INTELSAT Release 76-1-M) 

• The Soviet Union would use artificial satellites and manned orbital stations 

to investigate dynamic processes in the ocean during the new 5-yr plan 
period, Tass reported. Soviet oceanologist Leonid Brekhovskikh in an 
interview forecast a growing number of experiments conducted jointly 
with other countries, among them a "polymode" experiment with the 
U.S. to study the nature of huge vertical formations in the ocean discov- 
ered by Soviet scientists in 1970. The USSR also planned a global satellite 
experiment called "pigap" for concurrent study of dynamic processes in 
the atmosphere and the ocean. (FBIS, Moscow Tass, U 1, 29 Jan 76) 

24 January: The National Transportation Safety Board reported that U.S. 

commercial airlines had the best safety record in 1975 since 1957, with 
only 42 accidents and a total of 124 deaths, 1 12 of those in the major 
air disaster of the year: the crash of an Eastern Airlines flight short of 
the runway at Kennedy International Airport in New York City on 

24 June 1975. The fatality rate — statistically 0.001 per million air 
miles flown — was especially encouraging as it came after 467 persons 
had been killed a year earlier in commercial aviation accidents. John H. 
Reed, acting chairman of the safety board, commented that it was 
"as difficult to explain a good year as it is a bad one . . . we'd like to 
feel that all the effort toward safety is a contributing factor." (W Post, 

25 Jan 76, A3) 

25 January: The Great Galactic Ghoul struck again, reported Washington 

Post staff writer Thomas O'Toole, when one of the unmanned Viking 
spacecraft (Viking 2) approached the orbit of Mars and lost one of its 
three ovens designed to heat samples of the Martian surface and look in 
the gases for signs of Martian life. Space scientists found that almost all 
the accidents with Mars-bound spacecraft — three failures and four near- 
failures — had occurred in the same region, which had no unusual fea- 
tures such as extra cosmic dust or increased solar wind, magnetic field, 
or background radiation. First "victims of the Ghoul" were Soviet 
spacecraft — Zond 2 in 1964, and Mars 1 a year later — whose batteries 
died when they crossed the area and never came on again. One Mariner 



15 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

lost its radio in the Ghoul's orbit but came back on when it reached Mars; 
another lost one or two instruments to cosmic dust; two others lost their 
guidance stars when they reached the Ghoul's orbit, but locked on them 
again when they left it. Most costly casualty of the Ghoul was Mariner 7, 
whose battery exploded the day in 1969 when it crossed the Ghoul's 
orbit, damaging the rest of the spacecraft so that it was useless by the 
time it flew past Mars. The area was about 56 million km from earth and 
209 million km from the sun, and Viking 2 would not leave it until some 
time in February; scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were hoping 
for no further damage to it or to the other Viking, which was coming 
along a month behind the first. {W Post, 25 Jan 76, A-3) 

• Establishment of an Office of Science, Engineering, and Technology Policy 

in the White House, a goal of U.S. scientists since 1973, would become 
effective within 6 wk or so, the New York Times reported. Since Presi- 
dent Nixon had abolished a similar office, the scientific community had 
been concerned over the lack of provision at the top level of government 
for sophisticated advice on science and technology affecting U.S. policies 
on world food supplies, environmental pollution, energy, transportation, 
disarmament, and similar problems. The Ford Administration had en- 
couraged Congress to establish such an office by law rather than set one 
up by executive order, and the House of Representatives had passed an 
Administration-backed bill in Nov. 1975. A Senate bill, "roughly com- 
parable" according to the NYT, had been agreed upon by several com- 
mittees and was on its way to passage; this measure would establish a 
White House office with a director and as many as 4 associates, who 
would work closely with the Office of Management and Budget on science 
and technology budgets and would prepare an annual report for the 
President to send to Congress on science, engineering, and technology, 
with options on federal investment and priorities in the three related 
fields. The Senate bill would also call for authorization of funds to 
establish science and technology offices in each state; the House bill did 
not have similar provisions. (NYT, 25 Jan 76, 26) 

• The Federal Aviation Administration's flight service station at Tucumcari, 

N.M., was receiving reports of cigar-shaped flying objects with pulsating 
colored lights dominating the night skies over Clovis, N.M. The objects 
were reported by policemen and residents for 4 nights, and a reporter 
photographed one of the objects showing a curved strip of light against 
a black background. FAA radar had shown nothing unusual, a spokesman 
said. (W Star, 25 Jan 76, A-7) 
26 January: Prompted by the crash of a TWA flight near Dulles Airport that 
took 92 lives in Dec. 1974, the Federal Aviation Administration hired 6 
veteran airline pilots to analyze air traffic-control procedures, but the 
findings were so scathing that the report had not been released, said an 
editorial in the Washington Star. The National Transportation Safety 
Board this week issued its findings in the case with a "rare dissent" in 
assigning blame for the crash. The Star pointed out that, although the 
Air Line Pilots Assn. disagreed with the majority finding of pilot error and 
the Professional Air Traffic Controllers disagreed with the minority 

16 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

finding of ground-control error, leaders of both groups — and members of 
the board — all questioned FAA handling of its responsibilities. The Star 
called on new FAA administrator John McLucas, sworn in in Nov., to 
make air safety his highest priority. {W Star, 26 Jan 76, A- 14) 

• The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had joined 

in research in Antarctica on stratospheric pollution with a team from the 
Univ. of Wyo. supported by the National Science Foundation. NOAA's 
Aeronomy Laboratory would launch 2 balloons carrying probes with 
containers that would open at different altitudes to collect a vertical 
profile of fluorocarbons and nitrogen oxides in the relatively clean stratos- 
phere over Antarctica. The measurements would be used in testing two 
theories of ozone destruction in the stratosphere, the first being the 
production of destructive chlorine through breakdown of manmade 
fluorocarbon aerosols migrating into the upper atmosphere. The other 
theory posed a natural ozone-limiting cycle, involving dissociation in the 
stratosphere of bacterially produced nitrous oxide that became nitric 
oxide harmful to the ozone layer. The Antarctic launches would help to 
explain variations in nitrous oxide measurements as a function of lati- 
tude, season, or some other cause. (NOAA Release 76-17) 

27 January: Laser beams had become the latest major tool in manufacturing 

aircraft, the Aerospace Industries Association announced, reporting on 
a year-long series of tests of the numerically controlled laser cutting-arm 
technique. The test objective was to define effects of a laser on physical 
characteristics of the parts produced, such as corrosion and fatigue. The 
cutting arm was coupled with a computer data bank that chose the best 
method of positioning parts on flat thin aluminum sheets, saving both 
time and money and reducing aluminum scrap by 30 to 50%. Usual 
methods such as blanking, routing, and sawing had been used since 
World War II. The Air Force was funding a program to use thicker sheets 
of metal and higher power lasers in an application of new technology to 
aircraft manufacture. (AIA Release 76-4) 

28 January: The Viking 1 on its way toward Mars might have lost the use 

of one of its ovens just as Viking 2 was reported last week to have done, 
project officials said. Each of the Mars landers carried three ovens to heat 
surface samples for analysis by a gas-chromatograph mass spectrometer 
that would determine atmosphere elements and search for organic mate- 
rial that would indicate biological or nonbiological activity. Loss of one 
oven on each craft would not affect the operation of the instruments, but 
would mean that only two instead of three soil analyses would be done. 
A separate biology instrument on each lander would search directly for 
life forms in soil samples. A monitoring device on the ovens was suspected 
as the cause of the test-data anomaly. (NASA Releases 76-14, 76-15) 

• The 12th annual meeting of the American Institute of Aeronautics and 

Astronautics opened in Washington with the theme "Aerospace and 
Public Policy," offering 9 panel discussions beginning with one on the 
Space Shuttle during which John F. Yardley, NASA Deputy Administrator 
for Space Flight, would give the keynote address on shuttle program 
status and flight operations plans. Other panels would discuss domestic 



17 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

direct-broadcast satellites; inflation, capital formation, and the aerospace 
industry; national transportation policy; military aircraft selection; ex- 
porting aerospace technology; aerospace and energy; transition to the 
future; and the environmental impact of aerospace operations. The AIAA 
convention was preceded by a 2-day aerospace sciences meeting during 
which about 200 papers were presented at 75 technical sessions. The 
AIAA's von Karman lecture would be presented by I.E. Garrick, distin- 
guished research associate at NASA's Langley Research Center, speaking 
on aeroelasticity. 

At the honors night banquet 29 Jan., 14 major AIAA awards would be 
presented; fellows and honorary fellows of 1975 would be honored; and 
Edgar M. Cortright — former director of LaRC and previously Chief of 
Advanced Technology, Assistant Director of Lunar and Planetary Pro- 
grams, and Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Science and Appli- 
cations and later for Manned Space Flight at NASA Hq — would be 
installed as AIAA president. Dr. Cortright had left NASA in Sept. 1975 
after 17 yr to become vice president and technical director of 
Owens-Illinois Inc. Speakers at the honors banquet would be Clarence 
"Kelly" Johnson, chief of Johnson Space Center's spacecraft design 
division, who would receive the spacecraft design award of the year, and 
astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, who commanded Apollo 11 and took the 
first walk on the moon. (AIAA releases 6 to 16 Jan 76) 

• A communications satellite system to serve more than 200 U.S. public 
television stations within the next 2 yr was proposed by the Public 
Broadcasting Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in a 
report prepared for managers of PBS member stations before the annual 
meeting in Los Angeles next month. If the member stations approved the 
proposal and the Federal Communications Commission followed with its 
approval promptly, the system could be in operation within 21 mo, 
putting PB ahead of commercial networks by renting circuits on satellites 
operated by Western Union Telegraph Co. instead of leasing land lines 
from American Telephone & Telegraph at $12 million a yr. The $38- 
million satellite system would offer 3 or 4 channels instead of the single 
land line; expense of additional land lines had precluded additional trans- 
missions to special audiences, such as Spanish-speaking populations in 
major cities and the U.S. Southwest; the cost of the land lines would 
increase yearly; and the cost of adding other stations to the PB satellite 
system would be limited to the cost of a simple ground receiver. (W Star, 
28 Jan 76, A-l; W Post, 29 Jan 76, A-7) 

29 January: Intelsat IV- A F-2, second in a series of improved commercial 
comsats, was launched from Cape Kennedy on an Atlas-Centaur at 
6:56 pm EST (2356 GMT) into a transfer orbit at about 31 000-km 
apogee, aimed at a station over the Atlantic Ocean at 29.5°W which it 
should reach by April. Working as a backup to Intelsat IV-A F-l, the 
newly launched spacecraft would provide almost two thirds more commu- 
nications capability than previous Intelsats, by increasing the number of 
transponders from 12 to 20 and by using an improved antenna system 
that permitted frequency reuse by beam separation. The east-pointed 
beam used for transatlantic service would illuminate Europe and Africa; 

18 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

the same 320-mhz bandwidth would be reused in the west beam aimed 
at North and South America, doubling the usability of the frequency and 
the satellite's capacity. The cylindrical spacecraft was about 7 m high 
and 2.38 m in diameter, with a solar panel about 2.8 m long; liftoff weight 
was 1515 kg, and in-orbit weight 825.5 kg. (NASA Release 76-8; MOR 
E-49 1-633-76-02, 12 Feb 76 [prelaunch], 25 Feb 76 [postlaunch]) 

• Soon after Rockwell International Corp. was named prime contractor on a 

$5— billion Space-Shuttle program, Rep. Olin E. Teague (D-Tex.), chair- 
man of the House Science and Technology Committee, had accepted an 
invitation for a trip to Rockwell's resort in the Bahamas. Teague's name 
was added to a list of senators and representatives who had accepted 
invitations from Rockwell, a prime government contractor; most went to 
hunt at the company's lodge in Maryland. Three Senate staff members 
had accepted invitations to hunt at the Maryland lodge of another 
contractor, Northrop Corp. During the previous week, the Pentagon had 
rebuked 38 civilian and military officials, including admirals and gen- 
erals, for accepting similar invitations from Northrop. House rules 
prevented members, officers, or employees from accepting gifts "of 
substantial value, directly or indirectly, from any persons, organization, 
or corporation having a direct interest in legislation before the 
Congress;" the Senate had no similar written regulation. [W Post, 
29 Jan 76, F-5) 

• A vacuum test facility built near Philadelphia in 1962 by General Electric 

to test satellites would be used to freeze-dry most of New York City's 
air-pollution control records, damaged in a 16th-floor records office on 
Wall Street by flooding from a ruptured check valve in the 17th-floor 
airconditioning system, the New York Times reported. Hundreds of 
thousands of cards and pages had been shipped in a refrigerator truck to 
Pa. to be dried before mold could form and consume the cellulose fibers 
in the paper. After placement in the chamber, the records would undergo 
a vacuum so that the water would turn into vapor, move to a condenser, 
and turn to ice; after being frozen and dehydrated, the papers would be 
rewarmed. Use of the facility would save "hundreds of thousands of 
dollars" and untold time in attempting to duplicate the records, the 
Commissioner of Air Resources said. (NYT, 29 Jan 76, 35) 
30 January: Col. Stuart A. Roosa, 42, an astronaut since 1966, announced 
in Houston that he would retire from the Air Force and from NASA on 1 
Feb., one day after the 5th anniversary of the launch of his only space 
flight, Apollo 14. Roosa had piloted the command module while Capt. 
Alan B. Shepard and Cdr. Edgar D. Mitchell had made the third moon 
landing, and had previously been on the Apollo 9 backup crew. Roosa 
told associates he was exploring "companies involved in new proce- 
dures." (NYT, 30 Jan 76, 34; W Star, 30 Jan 76, A-2) 

• San Marco C-2, launched from the San Marco platform 18 Feb. 1974 into 

an elliptical orbit to record day-by-day variations in the equatorial atmos- 
phere's density, composition, and temperature, was declared a success 
after 23 mo in orbit during which it obtained more than 1 7 diurnal cycles 
of data. The data had been correlated with data from Explorer 51 (AE-C) 
in studying the physics and dynamics of the thermosphere, and these 

19 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

studies would continue as more data from the two satellites were pro- 
cessed and analyzed. Two U.S. scientific instruments were still operating 
normally, but the Italian air-drag balance instrument (which mal- 
functioned shortly after launch) had not performed properly. (MOR 
S-894-74-04, 30 Jan. 76) 

• INTELSAT — the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization — 

awarded an 18-mo $275 000 fixed-price contract to TRW Systems, Inc., 
for a skewed reaction-wheel thruster attitude-control and stabilization 
system. A system based on the reaction-wheel principle would offer a 
combination of light weight, high reliability, and accurate performance 
for future comsats. External disturbances of satellite stability would be 
canceled by spinning up the reaction wheels to create offsetting torques, 
then stopping the spin by use of thrusters. (INTELSAT Release 76-4-M) 

• INTELSAT — the International Telecommunication Satellite Organization — 

awarded a 12-mo $22 000 fixed-price contract to the Republic of 
China's Government Radio Administration for collection and study of 
ionospheric scintillation data at 4 ghz, to be used as a data base for 
studying satellite-signal fluctuations caused by ionospheric effects. 
(INTELSAT Release 76-5-M) 
During January: Using Landsat imagery of an 85 000-sq-km region from 
the western edge of the Nile to the border of Libya along the Medi- 
terranean coast, the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Tech- 
nology at the request of President Anwar Sadat made a study of the 
region's geology, drainage, and ground water. The study resulted from 
problems of a rising ground-water table and salinity on newly reclaimed 
areas west of the Nile Delta. A copy of the report, sent to NASA by the 
Egyptian academy's remote-sensing research project, said in part, "The 
new maps prepared from Landsat satellite images are more detailed and 
much more elaborate as compared to previous maps prepared by the 
traditional methods ... It has been possible to construct on the Landsat 
images 14 geological and environmental units in the investigated 
area . . . This work helps to decipher the geological history of northern 
Egypt, the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile Delta ... It is emphasized 
that additional irrigation waters should not be introduced in the area of 
investigation until detailed geological and hydrogeological studies have 
been carried out." (Wkly Briefs for Administrator, 12 Jan 76) 

• Two scientific experiments carried on last July's Apollo-Soyuz (ASTP) mis- 

sion had produced spinoffs that would benefit sufferers from phlebitis and 
leukemia. Each of the experiments had used electrophoresis — passing an 
electric current through a solution to separate differing types of cellular 
matter- — under the weightless conditions of space flight to produce re- 
sults unobtainable in earth's gravity. One experiment used human kidney 
cells in isolating pure samples of the 5% of cells that manufactured an 
enzyme (urokinase) effective in removing blood clots from veins and 
arteries, with major potential for treating persons with conditions such as 
phlebitis. The separated cells, frozen and returned for use as starters in 
a culturing process, provided 6 to 7 times more urokinase than the 
original sample. The other spinoff was the successful testing of a pre- 



20 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 January 

servative medium developed for use on the ASTP mission that would make 
it possible to perform transfusions of a certain type of white blood cells 
in the treatment of leukemia; the preservative, used to freeze granu- 
locytes on the mission, actually improved the survivability of the cells so 
that a stock of the material could be kept frozen for use upon demand, 
instead of searching for donors with resultant delay in emergencies. (NASA 
Releases 76-3, 76-5) 

• Communications via satellite was a science-fiction writer's dream 30 yr 

ago, but within 2 decades after Arthur C. Clarke predicted it, the first 
comsat — Early Bird, launched 6 Apr. 1965 into synchronous orbit — 
began operations 28 June 1965 and opened a new chapter in commu- 
nications history. In an article in the Telecommunications Journal, 
Santiago Astrain, secretary general of the International Tele- 
communications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT), viewed the past 10 yr, 
up to the new Intelsat IV-A, largest operational comsat to date. 

The brief history of INTELSAT summarized the organization's devel- 
opment from 1960, when President Eisenhower called for the creation 
of a global communications system; after the United Nations passed a 
resolution supporting the concept, the U.S. Congress passed the Commu- 
nications Satellite Act of 1962 that brought the Communications Sat- 
ellite Corporation (ComSat) into being. On 20 Aug. 1964, 1 1 countries 
(representing 85% of the world's telecommunications traffic) created an 
international consortium to be managed by ComSat on an interim basis. 
On 12 Feb. 73, the Definitive Agreements were signed; by the time they 
took effect, the number of member nations had increased to 80. Mem- 
bership was open to all countries that were members of the International 
Telecommunications Union (ITU); any country, whether or not a member 
of INTELSAT, could have access to the system on a nondiscriminatory 
basis. 

Current planning was geared to meet a traffic demand for capacity to 
handle about 70 000 telephone channels by 1984; this would represent 
a 6-fold increase within 10 yr. Intelsat V satellites due to enter service 
in 1979 would provide more than 23 000 channels. As INTELSAT had the 
object of providing high-quality communications service, its policy had 
been to maintain a "spare" comsat in each ocean to make additional 
capacity always available; this had enabled the organization to provide 
domestic services at a reasonable cost. Since operations began in 1965, 
the number of countries actually participating in operations had in- 
creased from 5 to 64; the number of earth stations, from 5 to 90; and 
the number of antennas, from 5 to 1 15. (Telecommunications Jl, vol 42, 
672-677) 

• NASA issued 2 major reports — SP-386, "Outlook for Space," and SP-387, 

"A Forecast of Space Technology 1980-2000"— prepared by a task 
group initiated by Administrator James C. Fletcher in June 1974 to 
examine the civilian role of the U.S. space program during the coming 25 
yr. The group included 20 representatives of NASA and 1 from the USAF. 
"Outlook for Space," according to the foreword by Fletcher, was "an 
impressive analysis of the services that space systems and technology 



21 



January ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

might provide the world of today and tomorrow," and related this anal- 
ysis directly to national needs and human purposes. 

"A Forecast of Space Technology," according to a preface by study 
director Donald P. Hearth, "was an important element of the study and 
provided key inputs to the study and its conclusions." The technology 
forecast was conducted by a team from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 
supported by representatives of other NASA centers; Jack N. James and 
Rob Roy McDonald of JPL led the technology team. This report forecast 
developments in technology of acquiring, processing, transferring, and 
storing information, energy, and matter. 

"Outlook," on the other hand, identified future objectives of space 
programs and prepared background information that could serve as a 
basis for development of program plans. Objectives were established as 
earth-oriented or extraterrestrial; categories of need were either physical 
(provision of food, shelter, health, security, education, good environ- 
ment, and the work necessary to obtain these) or needs of mind and spirit 
(the quest for knowledge, the need to explore the unknown, the sense of 
accomplishment in the face of challenge). The 3 conclusions of the report 
were that a space program could help fill the need to improve food 
production and distribution, to develop new energy sources, to meet new 
challenges to the environment, and to predict and deal with natural and 
manmade disasters; that the space program could answer the need for 
intellectual challenge, exploration, and knowledge that would help hu- 
manity understand its relation to the universe; and that those in charge 
of the space program must make it recognized as meeting these public 
needs. Efforts recommended by the study group would be in data man- 
agement, predictive modeling of future missions, advanced commu- 
nications, space processing, and a permanent space station. (Text) 



22 



February 1976 

1 February: Scientists at Mass. Institute of Technology, using NASA's Sas 3 

x-ray astronomy satellite, found a stellar object unlike any other and 
were unable to say what it was. The discovery, located by Dutch astron- 
omers in the center of the galaxy in the constellation Sagittarius, gave 
off x-ray bursts that were unevenly spaced, although pulse after pulse 
proved to be identical. The object might be a single new source or a 
combination of old ones, but its distance was millions of light years and 
the source might be nonexistent now, the investigators said. {W Star, 
1 Feb 76, A-6) 

2 February: A "so far secret NASA material" in outfits worn by 3 U.S. skaters 

was credited by an Olympic games official with the clean sweep of the 
international women's speed-skating championships at Davos, Switzer- 
land. Sheila Young of Detroit, Mich., set a world record of 40.91 sec for 
the 500-m race; Leah Poulos of Northbrook, 111., set a U.S. national 
record of 2:13.98 for the 1 500-m event, followed by Young and Nancy 
Swider of Park Ridge, 111. The press chief of the Innsbruck organizing 
committee said a flood of records could be expected because skating 
garments "contain an aerodynamic property which is better than any 
used before," and attributed the U.S. victories to a "frog suit" made of 
the new material. U.S. Olympic Committee officials said they had no 
knowledge of such suits, and team members were not available for 
comment. (W Star, 2 Feb 76, D-l) 

3 February: Tests on the Lageos — a geophysical research satellite expected 

to remain in orbit several million years — concluded at Goddard Space 
Flight Center at the end of Jan., NASA announced, and the satellite would 
be shipped to the Western Test Range in California for launch in late 
April. Called the "cosmic golfball" because of its 426 special reflectors 
designed to return laser pulses to their exact point of origin on the earth, 
Lageos would provide a stable point in the sky to permit measurement of 
the relative locations of participating ground stations within a few centi- 
meters; these measurements would provide scientists with models of 
earth's crustal motion, useful in predicting earthquakes. Manager of the 
Lageos project would be the Marshall Space Flight Center at Huntsville, 
Ala. (MSFC Release 76-17) 
• A team of engineers and scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory had 
devised a way to transfer blood without contamination and lengthen its 
safe storage time, NASA announced. Using a concept developed in space- 
craft sterilization, the team — under contract to the National Heart and 
Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health — worked out an 
aseptic fluid-transfer system on which patents had been applied for by the 
Calif. Institute of Technology, which operates JPL for NASA. Two dual- 
walled tubes, fused and penetrated by heat, would permit clean transfer 

23 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

of blood from one container or bag to another; the unique connector 
would be manufactured as part of the container. Outer portions of the 
tubing would be polyvinyl chloride, and the inner parts of heat-resistant 
kapton; application of heat at 200°C through a metal clamp to the flat 
end links of each tube would effectively fuse the tube and sterilize the 
adjoining areas. Heat could be applied by a portable device no larger than 
an ordinary hair dryer. The method was reported to kill 99.999% of all 
bacteria and spores, even when surfaces had been purposely con- 
taminated. (NASA Release 76-20) 

• Pioneer 10 — on its way out of the solar system — would cross the orbit of 

Saturn nearly a billion miles from earth on 10 Feb., NASA announced. As 
it crossed Saturn's orbit, the Pioneer would be 1 384 600 000 km from 
the sun and 1 435 807 000 km from earth; however, the big-dish 
antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network should be able to hear the 
spacecraft as far out as the orbit of Uranus — 3.2 billion km from 
earth — which it should reach in 1979. Systems aboard the 256-kg 
spacecraft were still operating, and the Pioneer was returning valuable 
information on the character of the interplanetary medium in the 
unexplored space beyond the orbit of Jupiter, which it flew past in 
Dec. 1973. Project officials said that communication might be possible 
well beyond Uranus. Pioneer 10 carried a message for any intelligent 
beings who might retrieve it on its wanderings through the galaxy; 
scientists calculated that it might encounter a star system once every 
million years, and should remain in good condition even though its 
nuclear power source would die in a few decades. (NASA Release 76-21; 
ARC Release 76-04) 

• An environmental satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmos- 

pheric Administration (NOAA) had used its capability of measuring ocean 
temperatures to help fishermen on the Calif, coast find tuna and salmon. 
A pilot project using satellite imagery to locate areas of "upwelling" off 
the coast — areas where cold nutrient-rich water would rise from the 
bottom to the surface — had shown that these areas were favored by the 
fish, and the fishermen could save time and fuel by using the data to 
locate them. NOAA's polar-orbiting satellite passing over the coast twice 
daily would use visual and infrared sensors to relay data including 
sea-surface temperatures to earth, where images of thermal fronts indi- 
cated upwelling areas. The fronts transferred to navigation charts would 
be available to fishermen at northern Calif, ports. NOAA's National Envi- 
ronmental Satellite Service conducted the research through a 
NOAA-supported sea grant program at Humboldt State Univ.; the tech- 
nique would be applicable to fishing industry in many parts of the world. 
(NOAA Release 76-10) 

• A new manmade fiber stronger than nylon for possible use in drogue 

parachutes had been tested in the 5-m transonic tunnel at the Arnold 
Engineering Development Center in Ohio, the Air Force announced. The 
material, called Kevlar, had been developed by DuPont for use in tires, 
and could be woven into parachute materials twice as strong as nylon 
with only half the weight and volume of nylon counterparts. The AEDC 
tests used 4 ribbon-type parachutes 2 m in diameter, tested to destruc- 

24 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

tion; one was 100% nylon, another 100% Kevlar, and the remaining two 
were composed of different blends of the two substances. The tests 
measured dynamic loads as the chutes were deployed at about 966 km 
per hr at simulated altitudes from 15 to 115 km; steady-state loads were 
also measured at those altitudes for speeds of from 640 to 1440 km per 
hr. The material-evaluation tests were a novelty for the tunnel, normally 
used for aerodynamic studies of large-scale models or engine compati- 
bility with flight hardware. (AF OIP 003.76) 

4 February: First mainstage test of the Space Shuttle main engine occurred 

at the National Space Technology Laboratories in Hancock County, 
Miss., Marshall Space Flight Center announced. The engine — called the 
Integrated Subsystem Test Bed — was fired for 3.38 sec, reaching and 
stabilizing at its minimum power level: 50% of its rated power level of 
1 668 075 newtons at sea level, or 2 090 654 newtons at altitude. Tests 
were conducted by the prime contractor for the engine, Rocketdyne Div. 
of Rockwell International Corp., under MSFC direction. (MSFC Release 
76-29; Rockwell Release RD-2) 

• An asteroid more than 3 km across was photographed near earth 27 Jan., 

about 7.5 million km distant, by the Mt. Palomar Observatory, the Calif. 
Institute of Technology reported. The asteroid, of the type that made 
giant craters on planets of the solar system, was closer to earth than any 
known celestial body other than the moon. The institute said there was 
no chance that the asteroid — called 1976 AA — would collide with the 
earth on its present path, as the orbits of the earth and the asteroid did 
not touch. (NYT, 4 Feb 76, 21) 

5 February: The "Historic Redstone Test Site" at MSFC, neglected since the 

final Redstone test firing in Oct. 1961, would be restored to its original 
appearance as an exhibit for visitors during the Bicentennial celebration, 
MSFC announced. The interim test stand, as it was called, was built by the 
U.S. Army in 1953 and used to test moderate-range Redstone rockets. 
On 31 Jan. 1958, a modified Redstone renamed Jupiter-C launched into 
orbit the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1. Another modification of the 
Redstone tested on the stand was the Mercury-Redstone, one of which 
powered the first U.S. manned space flight — that of Alan Shepard in 
May 1961. The stand was the site of 364 test firings between 1953 and 
1961, after which it was retired from a space program that had become 
much more sophisticated. Painted in its original colors and designs, and 
with a Redstone borrowed from the Army Missile Command installed on 
it, the site would appear much as it did 15 yr ago in its new role as an 
historical exhibit. (MSFC Release 76-32) 

• Physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, 111., 

discovered a new elementary particle, heaviest ever observed, the annual 
meeting of the American Physical Society was told. The investigators 
from Columbia Univ., the State Univ. of N.Y. at Stony Brook, and the 
Fermi lab said the "upsilon" particle raised the possibility that physics 
might never be able to identify any ultimate or basic building blocks of 
matter. The upsilon was discovered in debris of particles created by 
acceleration of a proton beam aimed at a beryllium target; the resulting 



25 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

collision produced a cluster of electron-positron pairs with a mass of 
6 billion electron volts, more than 6 times that of the proton and 1.5 
times that of any other particle. The report on the upsilon particle was 
a last-minute addition to the annual meeting's agenda because the data 
were available only in the last few wk; first observed about 5 mo ago, the 
upsilon had been seen only 12 times so far, but was expected to require 
new thinking in theoretical physics. {B Sun, 6 Feb. 76, A-3; W Post, 
9 Feb 76, A-3) 

• The accepted explanation of solar energy — fusion of hydrogen atoms into 

helium at the sun's core — had been challenged by more than one recent 
discovery, the Christian Science Monitor reported. Measurements of 
natural vibrations in the sun, published in the journal Nature by a Soviet 
and British group, had revealed that the sun pulsed steadily every 2 hr 
40 min. Such regularity had not been predicted by the fusion theory. 
Another group, reporting in the journal Science on a 3-yr experiment 
directed by the Brookhaven National Laboratory, found fewer neutrinos 
created by thermonuclear reactions at the sun's center than was "consis- 
tent with standard ideas of stellar evolution." Suggested explanations 
were a tiny black hole at the sun's center, which could radiate energy 
outward without creating neutrinos, or a shutoff of the sun's thermo- 
nuclear furnace, which would lower the number of neutrinos long before 
any decrease in heat or light would become apparent. {CSM, 5 Feb 76, 
16; B Sun, 23 Jan 76, A-3; NYT, 23 Jan 76, 1; 18 Feb 76, 32) 

• Thermal protection fabrics developed for use in the Apollo and Skylab 

programs would be the basis for research into improved clothing and 
equipment for firefighters, under a contract signed between NASA and the 
Department of Commerce's National Fire Prevention and Control Ad- 
ministration. The agreement assigned management responsibility to 
Marshall Space Flight Center for a 3-yr program funded jointly by NASA 
and NFPCA at a cost of $300 000 in the first year. The program would 
emphasize weight reduction, performance, and cost of equipment to 
improve the chances of a firefighter's surviving any fire uninjured, in a 
job described as the most hazardous in the U.S. (MSFC Release 76-31) 
6 February: U.S. airlines suffered a near-record deficit in 1975, according to 
year-end statements recently released that showed declines for nearly all 
the 1 1 trunk carriers and a total deficit of $87 million, second only 
to 1970's loss of $100.8 million. In 1974, the group had earned 
$250.8 million. Reasons given included rising fuel prices, costly strikes, 
and proliferating fare discounts. The recession in the first part of 1975 
cut passenger traffic for all lines, and fuel costs continued to soar another 
30% in 1975 after doubling the previous year. Increasing numbers of 
discount fares resulted in an average of 7.04 cents of revenue per 
domestic passenger mile for TWA, down from 7.51 cents for the same 
month a year earlier. Although January 1976 traffic had increased about 
11%, and predicted profits from an increase of 2% in unit revenues 
might produce as much as $140 million for the 1 1 major carriers, this 
would represent only a 6% return on equity compared to the 12% 
considered fair by the Civil Aeronautics Board. (NYT, 6 Feb 76, 39) 



26 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

• A small-scale model of the Space Shuttle and its launch pad would be used 

in a test program begun at MSFC to reduce noise during a Shuttle launch. 
Sound energy could damage sensitive instruments or other payloads 
carried in the Shuttle orbiter, and reducing launch noise by modifying the 
launch facility would be more economical than redesigning the launch 
vehicle itself or its associated payloads to tolerate anticipated levels of 
noise. The model would test various designs that sprayed water into, above, 
and below the rocket exhaust; firing the engines into a water spray would 
convert acoustic (sound) waves into thermal energy, which would dissi- 
pate as steam. Use of the water technique had significantly reduced — but 
not eliminated — the damaging noise. (MSFC Release 76-33) 

9 February: An ad hoc committee of 9 prominent astronomers, assisted by 

a group of experts from NASA, ERDA, and the Air Force and the atmos- 
pheric and astronomical science communities, reviewed the program of 
solar research being conducted by the U.S. Air Force's Sacramento Peak 
Observatory in N.M., and recommended that the National Science Foun- 
dation assume responsibility for its operation after 30 June 1976. The 
Air Force had established the observatory near Alamogordo in 1952 to 
research methods of predicting solar geophysical disturbances that might 
affect military responsibilities of the AF; reduced manpower had forced 
the AF to earmark the observatory for phaseout. Dr. H. Guyford Stever, 
director of NSF, announced that NSF would take over the SPO operation 
and continue its role in solar research at a productive level. Constructed 
at a cost of about $8 million, SPO had an estimated replacement value of 
about $20 million. (NSF Release PR76-15) 

10 February: Atmosphere Explorer D, second in a series of 3 maneuverable 

unmanned spacecraft designed to explore a specific area of earth's outer 
atmosphere, had ceased functioning, spacecraft controllers at GSFC said. 
AE—D had stopped working 29 Jan. when a power-supply electronics 
malfunction disabled its solar array. Launched 6 Oct. 1975, AE—D had 
transmitted important data on energy transfer in the upper atmosphere 
and on processes critical to the atmospheric heat balance; although it did 
not last its design lifetime of 1 yr, it did transmit a full set of lower 
thermosphere data on the daylight side from North to South Pole at 
constant times during its 4— mo operation. AE-C, launched in 1973, was 
still functioning normally, returning upper-atmosphere data in the region 

above 128 km; AE-E, launched in Nov. 1975, had a payload similar to 
that of the others but also carried equipment to measure earth's ozone 
layer between 20 °N and S. (NASA Release 76-24) 
12 February: The three U.S. astronauts who participated in last summer's 
Apollo-Soyuz project— Thomas P. Stafford, Vance Brand, and Don- 
ald K. Slayton — left Saudi Arabia after a 2-day visit in Riyadh and 
headed for Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, on a goodwill 
tour of the Middle East. (NY News, 12 Feb 76, 96) 

• NASA announced award of an $8.8-million extension for 1 yr of a contract 

with Northrop Services, Inc., of Houston for operation and maintenance 
of lab and test facilities at Johnson Space Center. Northrop had provided 
these services to JSC for the past 3 yr; the extension would bring the value 



27 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

of the contract to $37 416 742. Northrop had used 425 employes to 
maintain and operate the life sciences and engineering labs and the lunar 
curatorial lab. 

NASA also announced award of a $6.8-million extension for 2 yr of a 
contract with the Charles Stark Draper Labs., Cambridge, Mass., for 
technical support of Space Shuttle orbiter avionics software develop- 
ment. Draper had provided this support to JSC since 1974. The effort, 
employing 55 people, would include software design, verification, simula- 
tion, requirements formulation, and analysis as required for program- 
ming the guidance, navigation, and control computer for the Shuttle 
orbiter. (JSC Releases 76-12, 76-14) 

• Louis Morton, one of the foremost U.S. military historians and chairman of 

NASA'S historical advisory committee from 1970 to 1973, died at the age 
of 63 in Burlington, Vt., after surgery. A member of the National 
Archives advisory council since 1968, he had worked strongly for sepa- 
ration of the National Archives and Records Service from the General 
Services Administration, and had advocated a coordinating office for the 
federal government's entire historical program with a chief government 
historian. Based at Dartmouth College, where since 1960 he had been 
teacher, writer, and administrator, Morton was active in national 
organizations related to history and had served on history and biography 
juries for the Pulitzer prize. He had been with the Army's office of 
military history from 1946 to 1959, serving as historian, then as deputy 
chief and chief of the Pacific branch; he was editor of an 1 1-vol. history 
of the U.S. Army in the Pacific during World War II, and general editor 
of the 17-vol. "Wars and Military Institutions of the U.S." (W Post, 
15 Feb 76, B 12) 
13 February: Ceremonies at GSFC honored 45 members of the team respon- 
sible for NASA'S Delta rocket, the "workhorse" of the agency's most 
dependable launching systems. NASA Administrator James C. Fletcher 
and Deputy Administrator George M. Low participated in the event. 
Delta placed NASA'S first communications satellite (Echo 1 ) into orbit 
12 Aug. 1960; through January 1976, 1 19 Deltas had been launched. 
The Delta's reliability and economy had made it the primary vehicle for 
commercial spacecraft, international users, and operational meteorolog- 
ical systems. The number of reimbursable launches for non-NASA users 
had increased over the years; of the 1 1 Delta missions scheduled for 
1976, all but 2 would be launched for foreign or commercial users on a 
reimbursable basis, better than 80% of the total. Delta's payload capabil- 
ity had risen from 68 kg to 910 kg. As Dr. Fletcher remarked, "Delta 
is becoming a standard against which to measure the conduct of NASA'S 
business in the future." (NASA Release 76-27) 

• Dr. Alexander M. Lippisch, designer of the first operational rocket-powered 

fighter aircraft, died in Cedar Rapids, la., at the age of 81. As chief of 
design after 1939 at Germany's Messerschmitt Company, his speed 
research led to development of the ME 163B, world's fastest airplane at 
that time, which had a speed of nearly 1015 km per hr and could climb 
to 9 km in 3 min. As director of research at the Airplane Research 



28 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

Institute in Vienna after 1943, he was rounded up in Operation Paperclip 
by the Allies, who put him to work for the U.S. Air Force technical 
intelligence section and sent him to the U.S. in 1946 to work at Wright- 
Patterson Field in Ohio. He had left government service in 1^57 and 
gone to work for Collins Radio, where he headed the company's aero- 
nautical laboratory. In 1965 he left Collins to form his own group, the 
Lippisch Research Corp., and at his death was developing an airfoil boat 
and an aerodyne (wingless aircraft) for the West German government. 
(NYT, 13 Feb 76, 34) 

75 February: The long-secret site of USSR space launches — previously 
identified by U.S space experts as Tyuratam, for the name of the local 
railway station — was identified in the newspaper Kazakhstanskaya 
Pravda as "Leninsk," in a dispatch on construction of electric power- 
transmission lines. The dispatch, stating that the Leninsk area had been 
connected to the Central Asian power grid, was believed to be the first 
in which the name appeared in a Soviet publication. U.S. astronauts who 
visited the space complex last year during Apollo-Soyuz mission prepara- 
tions had reported that a city of about 50 000 population was associated 
with the launch complex, and was known as Leninsk. Publication of the 
name — which had not appeared on Soviet maps or reference books — was 
considered either an oversight by the censor or a decision to make the 
name public. (NYT, 15 Feb 76, 12) 

• An around-the-world auto race planned for mid- 1976 as part of the U.S. 
Bicentennial celebration would feature a 1914 Model T Ford, tracked by 
a NASA satellite from the starting point in Paris to its termination in New 
York City, NASA announced. The car, driven by Goddard Space Flight 
Center employee Robert H. Pickard, would carry a 13.6-kg electronics 
package that would transmit the car's ground speed to the random- 
access measuring system (RAMS) carried on NASA'S Nimbus 6 meteorolog- 
ical satellite that covers the entire globe once every 12 hr. Nimbus 6 
would relay information to CSFC through a ground station in Alaska. The 
auto race would demonstrate use of the RAMS system for ground tracking 
applications where transmissions could encounter various kinds of inter- 
ference; normally, RAMS would collect data from instruments on moving 
platforms such as balloons or buoys to allow calculation of wind or 
sea-surface movements. Pickard, a car enthusiast, had worked in the 
space program since the Vanguard days and was presently project man- 
ager for the comsat-metesat system called GOES (geostationary opera- 
tional environmental satellite). (NASA Release 76-23) 

17 February: Under an agreement between NASA and ERDA — the Energy 
Research and Development Administration — in the initial phase of 
ERDA'S 5-yr program for solar heating and cooling, Marshall Space 
Flight Center would assist in managing the commercial demonstration 
projects portion that would show the nation's businesses and industries 
that solar heating, cooling, and hot-water systems could be used eco- 
nomically to relieve the growing demand for fossil fuels. MSFC would 
evaluate responses to Program Opportunity Notices (PONs) — ERDA's 
equivalent of NASA's Requests for Proposals — and would administer the 



29 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

demonstration projects resulting from contracts awarded by ERDA. The 
PONs solicited a variety of commercial projects that would use solar-based 
systems in commercial buildings; of the 308 proposals received from 
industry, ERDA expected to award from 8 to 20 contracts during 1976. 
(MSFC Release 76-42) 

18 February: A "house of the future" incorporating technology from aero- 
space research would be open to the public at Langley Research Center 
after July 1, NASA announced. The Tech House, a project of NASA's 
technology utilization program, would demonstrate how an average fam- 
ily could cut fuel consumption by two thirds and water consumption by 
one half, using innovative energy and water management systems inte- 
grated with building designs and materials. Building started in late Jan.; 
all equipment and features in the house would be available to the public 
within 5 yr, or are available now. A family selected by NASA would live 
in the house for at least a year, beginning early in 1977; a systems 
engineer would monitor all use of the systems in the normal life of the 
family and record day-to-day savings. The contemporary one-story 
house would have an enclosed living space of about 500 sq m; its major 
feature combined solar collectors with night radiators and heat pump for 
one of the most cost-effective heating and cooling systems now available. 
Contributing to the NASA project were the National Association of Home 
Builders, the National Bureau of Standards, and the Department of 
Housing and Urban Development. (NASA Release 76-26) 

• The Communications Satellite Corporation (ComSat) reported 1975 net 

income of slightly more than $46 million, compared to nearly 145 million 
for 1974, attributing the increase to additional leasing of circuits to the 
corporation's customers — 3833 at the end of 1975, compared to 3510 
in 1974. The report noted the FCC decision of 4 Dec. 1975 ordering lower 
rates for services provided through ComSat's global system, and warned 
that the decision would have "a substantial adverse impact" on future 
earnings unless modified by judicial review. ComSat had appealed the 
ruling and delayed filing a schedule of lower rates. (ComSat Release 
76-3) 

• More than 25% of all scientists and engineers in the U.S. and the USSR were 

engaged in weapons work of some kind, whereas fewer than one hun- 
dredth of 1% were engaged in arms control or disarmament, said William 
Epstein, former director of the U.N. Disarmament Division, in a letter to 
the New York Times. Warning of the "terrible doomsday weapons that 
scientists may yet develop" in the spiraling arms race, Epstein called on 
scientists and engineers to establish nationally and internationally a code 
of conduct that would include educational work on the perils of the arms 
race and political efforts to achieve arms control and disarmament. 
"Science may be neutral and amoral, but scientists are not . . . They 
have a moral duty to use their capabilities for the benefit of humanity and 
not for its destruction." Uniting their efforts behind a "Hippocratic 
oath" not to engage in means of mass murder, associations of scientists 
and other professional bodies could provide moral support and tangible 

30 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

assistance to those "even in dictatorial countries" where imprisonment 
or harassment would be the result of such action. (NYT, 18 Feb 76, 33) 
19 February: Marisat 1 — first satellite of a privately owned $100-million 
system to provide rapid high-quality communications between ships at 
sea and shore stations — was launched on a Delta for Comsat General 
Corp. from Cape Canaveral at 5:32 pm local time (1032 GMT). The 
655-kg craft was headed for a stationary orbit 35 788 km above the 
Atlantic Ocean at 15°W, about 547 km southwest of the coast of 
Liberia. A second satellite, Marisat B, would be stationed over the Pacific 
later this year. Marisat 1 carried 2 channels each about 4 mhz wide, 
operating in the L and C bands; one would translate shore-to-ship signals 
from 6 to 1.5 ghz, the other would translate ship-to-shore signals from 
1.6 to 4 ghz. Ground stations at Southbury, Conn., and Santa Paula, 
Calif., would provide earth-satellite communications links, using 12.8-m- 
dia. antennas to relay tracking, telemetry, and command information 
between the satellites and the Comsat General control center in Washing- 
ton, D.C. The U.S. government would use three UHF channels on the 
satellite, completely separate from the L- and C-band channels, through 
its own terminal facilities. The satellite system, owned and operated by 
a consortium headed by the Comsat General Corp., would be used by 
commercial shipping lines, as well as by the U.S. Navy pending com- 
pletion of its own Fleet Satellite Communications System. By early April, 
commercial telephone, telex, and data communications would be avail- 
able to link ships and offshore facilities with shore stations connected into 
domestic and international communications networks worldwide. Marisat 
mobile terminals had been purchased or leased from ComSat and in- 
stalled on ships of a number of nations. (NASA Release 76-22; MOR 
M-492-205-76-01 [prelaunch] 26 Jan 76, [postlaunch] 13 Apr 76; 
ComSat Release CG 76-107; W Star, 20 Feb 76, A-6) 

• A new comet now approaching the sun — named Comet West, after Richard 

M. West of the European Southern Observatory at Geneva, Switzerland, 
who discovered it in Nov. 1975 — would be the object of extensive space 
and ground-based study to identify and measure its constituents, NASA 
announced. Comet West would come closest to the sun on 25 Feb., but 
would not be readily visible until about 2 March because of solar bright- 
ness; it would provide the first opportunity for extensive comet study 
since the appearance in 1973 of Comet Kouhoutek (a "visual disappoint- 
ment" from which more had been learned about comets than in all the 
time that had gone before). NASA would participate in the study along with 
the Naval Research Laboratory, and with the Univ. of Colo, at Boulder 
and the Johns Hopkins Univ. (NASA Release 76-31) 

• Work began on the world's largest radiotelescope — the "Very Large 

Array," consisting of 27 dish antennas each 25 m wide and weighing 160 
tons, plus a Y-shaped layout of rail tracks and underground tubing along 
three 21 -km legs — and was scheduled for completion in 1981 at a cost 
of $76 million. The plains of St. Augustine, N.M., isolated and desolate, 
had been chosen because a ring of mountains would prevent radio 
interference. The VLA would probe objects such as quasars that appeared 

31 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

to speed away at more than half the speed of light, as well as other puzzles 
such as black holes, star formation, galactic structures, and interstellar 
molecules. Its design would improve on three weaknesses of current 
telescopes: poor resolution, poor sensitivity, and inability to make images 
or maps quickly. Antenna signals routed through underground wave- 
guides to a control center would be amplified and fed into a computer 
system that could turn out high-resolution images of the radio source in 
8 to 12 hr. The array would be supervised by officials of the National 
Science Foundation, Associated Universities, Inc., and the National 
Radio Astronomy Observatory. (CSM, 19 Feb 76, 16) 

• The universe had been analyzed and found to be open, a group of astron- 

omers told the annual meeting of the American Association for the 
Advancement of Science in Boston. The director of Cornell Univ.'s 
national astronomy and ionosphere center, Dr. Frank Drake, said that 
the most recent astronomical data indicated that in about 30 billion years 
the universe would have changed, and no stars would appear in a night 
sky, having gathered into "Island Universes" — clusters of galaxies 
widely separated from each other. Computer analysis of recent obser- 
vations indicated that separation of galaxies into islands had not yet 
begun, which meant that the universe might be comparatively young. 
The conclusion that the universe was open had been based on factors 
such as expansion rate, deceleration, and density of the universe. Evi- 
dence today would support the "big bang" theory which stated that the 
universe had exploded in the beginning from a single solid mass, and 
would go on expanding. (B Sun, 19 Feb 76, A-3) 

• U.S. observers were concerned about spiraling strategic arms programs in 

the USSR, the Christian Science Monitor reported. Heavy payload in the 
Soviet nuclear system and an expanded program of deploying multiple 
warheads had aroused fears of a possible "first strike" by the USSR 
against U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) systems. Intelligence 
experts estimated the USSR would have 1500 land-based missiles by 
summer, compared with 1054 for the U.S.; an article in Foreign Affairs 
magazine by Paul Nitze — Secretary of the Navy in the Johnson 
administration — had stated the Russians believed they could "win" a 
nuclear war, whereas popular feeling in the U.S. was that all participants 
in a nuclear exchange would be destroyed. A Russian "cold launch" 
system for missile launching that did not damage the silo was contrasted 
to the U.S. "hot launch" system that damaged the silo during launch. The 
Pentagon had sought $78 million for development of a new ICBM called 
"MX," and a FY 1977 budget of $9.4 billion for strategic forces. {CSM, 
19 Feb 76, 6) 

• Extinction of several species of life forms resulted from a weakening of the 

earth's ozone shield nearly a million years ago, according to a study of 
recorded atmospheric occurrences that had not previously been corre- 
lated. In the Jan. issue of the British scientific journal Nature, Drs. 
George C. Reid and I.S.A. Isaksen of NOAA and Thomas E. Holzer and 
Paul J. Cruzen of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, 
Boulder, Colo., stated that fears about man-caused destruction of stratos- 
pheric ozone might be well founded. Examination of earth-core samples 

32 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

showed extinction of species of microscopic sea animals during a reversal 
in polarity in earth's magnetic field that weakened magnetic forces 
shielding the atmosphere from solar and cosmic radiation. The resultant 
heavy bombardment of radiation formed nitric oxide in the high atmos- 
phere, in turn destroying part of the ozone shield. Similar increases in 
radiation, recently recorded, would inevitably affect present organisms, 
the report said; aside from direct effects on higher forms of life, indirect 
damage would come from the consequent upset of the ecological life 
cycle. (NYT, 19 Feb 76, 21) 
20 February: Astronomical observations and laboratory experiments span- 
ning 16 yr had failed to detect any signals of life in outer space, the 
142nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement 
of Science was told. The session in Boston heard reports on a 4-galaxy 
scan using the largest radiotelescope in the world — the 600-m-dia. 
antenna at Arecibo, P.R. — from Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell Univ. and his 
Cornell colleague, Dr. Frank Drake, director of the National Astronomy 
and Ionosphere Center at Arecibo. "Of the trillion stars we looked at in 
four galaxies," Dr. Sagan said, "there is not a single one that at the time 
of our observation was devoting a major effort to communicate with us." 
Another effort — a 4-yr scan by the National Radio Astronomy Obser- 
vatory at Green Bank, W.Va., of 659 stars in the region of the Milky 
Way — had yielded negative results after analysis of 90% of the obser- 
vations. However, fewer than a millionth of the stars in the Milky Way 
had been scanned, for very brief periods, at only a few wavelengths. 
Negative results did not rule out the possibility of receiving the looked-for 
signals some day, the meeting was told. (NYT, 21 Feb 76, 40; B Sun, 
21 Feb 76, A-3; W Star, 20 Feb 76, A-3) 

• NASA announced selection of the Boeing Commercial Airplane Co. of Seattle 

for award of a $20-million contract to build an experimental flight 
research aircraft for use in noise-reduction technology. Boeing would 
modify a government-furnished C-8 Buffalo transport aircraft into a 
quiet short-haul research airplane (QSRA) for the Ames Research Center's 
noise-reduction research program, aimed at reducing aircraft-noise im- 
pact on U.S. communities and congestion at major airports. The redesign 
to meet QSRA concepts would enhance aircraft performance and control 
at low speeds, and would demonstrate propulsive-lift technology that 
would permit civil transport aircraft to achieve a short takeoff and 
landing (STOL) capability. STOL aircraft could use runways at existing 
smaller airports to relieve traffic at large metropolitan airports, as well 
as to reduce noise impact. (NASA Release 76-33) 

• A simple, inexpensive, and effective method of suppressing noise in wind- 

tunnel testing of space vehicles would be patented by two MSFC engineers, 
MSFC announced. While developing an acoustic environment for reentry 
of the Space Shuttle solid rocket booster, Paul W. Howard and Luke A. 
Schutzenhofer of MSFC's Systems Dynamics Lab. found their acoustic 
data distorted by background noise reflected at transonic speeds from the 
walls of the wind tunnel, causing shock waves. The primary aerodynamic 
cause of the background noise was found to be the edgetone effect of 
high-velocity windflow over holes in the perforated walls of the tunnel; 

33 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

covering the perforated walls with wire screening minimized direct con- 
tact between the airstream and the edges of the holes, and the noise was 
greatly reduced. The temporary fix proved so successful that the screens 
were permanently installed, and the patent should be issued to the public 
by early summer. (MSFC Release 76-44) 

21 February: A simple device to reorient an orbiting satellite toward the earth 

stations with which it would communicate had been used successfully on 
Satcom 1, RCA-owned comsat launched by NASA in December 1975. 
Patented by two engineers at the RCA Electronics Div. in N.J., the new 
equipment took advantage of the gyroscopic effect of a wheel normally 
rotated to stabilize a satellite in synchronous orbit; only a simple start 
signal from the earth could activate it. Previous systems needed precision 
controls involving delicate sensors and thrust motors manipulated from 
the ground. Satcom 1, in synchronous orbit at about 35 000-km alti- 
tude, had been rotated 90° by the new system to point its instrumen- 
tation at the earth; it would begin regular transmission in March. (NYT, 
21 Feb 76, 31) 
• A Russian system for intercepting and destroying satellites apparently was 
unsuccessful this week, U.S. intelligence sources said. The test involved 
Russian satellites only, and posed no threat to any U.S. satellites in space. 
A target spacecraft (Cosmos 803) launched from Tyuratam 12 Feb. was 
the object of the test, carried out by an interceptor spacecraft (Cosmos 
804 ) launched 4 days later. Observers differed on whether the intercep- 
tor had been maneuvered close enough to destroy the target, although 
a routine announcement by the USSR said the second launch had success- 
fully completed its mission. In 5 tests between 1968 and 1971, USSR 
interceptor satellites had blown up on radio signal after approaching the 
targets in orbit, and the explosions had destroyed both interceptors and 
targets; Cosmos 804 had not blown up. U.S. Secretary of State Henry 
Kissinger had said that the 1972 nuclear arms limitation agreement with 
Russia forbade the 2 countries from interfering with each other's satel- 
lites, but did not prohibit tests of an antisatellite system. (B Sun, 21 Feb 
76, A-l; WStar, 21 Feb 76, A-3) 

22 February: Study of earth's climate to permit predictions of global climatic 

changes by the end of the century should be the top space priority, said 
a study group formed by NASA last year to assess U.S. progress in space 
and where it should go next. The 3-vol report of the study group did not 
mention manned exploration of Mars, which had been the prime recom- 
mendation of a forerunner study 7 yr ago. Citing the dependence of the 
world's population on a complex system producing food and fiber where 
climate is favorable, the report said the entire system was predicated on 
a constant climate. Understanding of climatic processes would help solve 
earth's most pressing problems: food shortages, and worldwide weather 
changes caused by pollution. The report estimated that a 1 -degree 
cooling of earth's annual temperature would mean loss of $ 1 billion in 
grain production, $2.2 billion in timber and fiber output, and $ 1 .4 billion 
in fish catches; the drop would also increase the demand for electrical 
energy by $700 million, with a $2.4 billion rise in health costs other than 



34 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

treating skin cancers caused by alterations in earth's atmosphere. The 
group recommended development of 6 satellites to identify and assess 
worldwide crop conditions; other satellites to study chemical changes in 
the atmosphere and to watch for solar changes affecting earth's weather; 
and a network of 4 to 6 large geostationary satellites to observe ice and 
ocean conditions and keep tabs on the earth's radiation balance. Manned 
flight should develop along the lines of Space Shuttle and space station — 
to be used partially for climate study — and instrumented craft should be 
sent to explore every solar-system planet except Pluto, the report said. 
Cost of the weather-satellite program was set at $1.7 billion, with oper- 
ating costs over 20 yr estimated at $4.6 billion; the planetary exploration 
program would cost a total of $5.1 billion to the year 2000. (W Post, 
22 Feb 76, A-3) 

• NASA announced plans for a seventh Lunar Science Conference to be held 

15 to 19 March at JSC, bringing together scientists in geology, chemistry, 
physics, astronomy, engineering, and biology under joint sponsorship of 
JSC and the Lunar Science Institute of Houston. Discoveries about the 
moon would be applied to problems of the origin and early history of the 
solar system, for instance using lunar data to interpret craters and 
volcanoes photographed on the surfaces of Mercury and Mars. Other 
papers would discuss meteorites, satellites of Jupiter (about the size of 
earth's moon), and use of earth-based telescopes to measure chemical 
composition of asteroids. Lunar science conferences had been held 
yearly since 1970, when the first such assembly heard scientific results 
from the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission. More than 700 scientists 
from as far away as Australia attended the 1975 conference. (NASA 
Release 76-25) 

• Steam might be the power behind rockets of tomorrow, the annual meeting 

of the American Association for the Advancement of Science was told by 
Dr. Freeman Dyson of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. 
Steam engines of the future would be powered not by coal but by laser 
beams so powerful that they could instantly turn water into superheated 
high-velocity steam that could carry a 1-ton spacecraft into earth orbit. 
Basic research on laser propulsion had already been done by Dr. Arthur 
Kantrowitz of the Avco Everett Research Lab. in Cambridge, Mass. A 
laser beam with energy of 1 million kw would be needed to carry a rocket 
and its spacecraft away from earth; this laser would be 10 times more 
powerful than any developed so far. Ideally, the laser and rocket would 
be located on a mountain at 3-km altitude, where air would be free of 
water vapor that would reduce laser efficiency. Development of laser 
propulsion would take money, Kantrowitz said, but not as much as other 
rocket engines have cost. {W Post, 23 Feb 76, A-2) 
23 February: Western Union filed with the Federal Communications Com- 
mission a tariff designating 1 1 more major metropolitan areas as "Sat- 
ellite Access Cities." WU had already placed on line to Westar, the first 
U.S. domestic comsat system, 9 major metropolitan areas — New York, 
Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, 
Houston, and Pittsburgh — served by 5 ground stations, located near 



35 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles. The Glenwood, 
N.J., station (near N.Y. City) would serve Boston, Buffalo, Philadelphia, 
Baltimore, and Wilmington under the new access. The station at Lake 
Geneva, Wis. (near Chicago), would serve Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleve- 
land, Cincinnati, and St. Louis; the station at Cedar Hill, Tex., would 
serve Kansas City. In operation for more than a year, the 2-comsat 
Westar system had been used by several hundred corporations for both 
voice and data transmission; Westar also included TV centers in New 
York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas that had been transmitting 
increasing amounts of U.S. video news and sports coverage since 
July 1975. (WU news release 24 Feb 76) 

• In a close race to tame the hydrogen-bomb reaction process — fusion — to 
make electricity, the U.S. and USSR were both ready for larger en- 
gineering units to demonstrate the practical production of electricity by 
the mid-1980s, reporter Robert Toth said in the Los Angeles Times. The 
Kurchatov Institute in Moscow had announced earlier in Feb. a "break- 
through" in the first successful test conducted in its Tokamak-10, the 
last purely experimental machine intended to prove feasibility of the 
approach. Last November, U.S. had announced a comparable achieve- 
ment with the Alcator Tokamak at the Mass. Institute of Technology, 
described as a major development in fusion research. Although U.S. 
scientists claimed a fusion process had been first tested at Los Alamos 
20 yr ago, it was not seriously pursued, whereas the late Dr. Lev 
Artsimovich of the USSR had worked along the same line independently 
and given the machine its name— a Russian contraction for current- 
machine chamber — upon achieving the first success. 

Advantages of the fusion process were that it was the most efficient 
reaction known, producing 180 times more energy than consumed; fuel, 
the heavy forms of hydrogen, would be as inexhaustible as the seas; and 
the process left no radioactive waste like that from atomic-power plants 
based on the fission reaction. Fusion would require containment of the 
reaction in a magnetic field, which had been accomplished, and contin- 
uous production of energy would require temperatures of a million 
degrees Centigrade and a density of 100 trillion ions for a second — 
conditions beyond the capability of present machines. Both the U.S. and 
USSR results had been 5 to 10 times less than needed, although they were 
5 to 10 times greater than previously achieved. {W Post, 23 Feb 76, 
A-l) 

24 February: The Apollo lunar scientific experiment package (ALSEP) left on 
the moon's surface during Apollo 14, reported dead [see 18 Jan.] when 
transmission ceased last month from unknown causes, came to life just 
as unexpectedly 19 Feb. with transmitter, receiver, and experiments 
functioning very well. One experiment — the charged-particle lunar envi- 
ronment experiment — had previously been unable to perform during 
lunar daylight because temperature variations had degraded its power 
supply; since the revival, the experiment had been sending good data 
during lunar daylight. JSC scientists and Bendix engineers who designed 
the ALSEPs had no idea what happened to the Apollo 14 station, one of 



36 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

5 transmitting data from the moon; one possibility cited was a relay in 
the power system that had stuck and then became unstuck. Estimated 
remaining life of the Apollo 14 station was once again 2 to 3 yr; all the 
stations had performed well, with the oldest — from Apollo 12 — nearing 
its 7th year. ALSEP experiments were still providing data on conditions 
inside the moon and on moonquakes; scientists were still hoping for 
seismic signals from a large meteor impact that would identify the moon's 
core. (NASA Release 76-34; JSC Release 76-17) 

• Pure carbon materials originally developed as ablative heatshields on the 

Apollo spacecraft were being used at medical centers across the U.S. in 
research on artificial limbs and implants in human tissue. The inert 
tendencies and high degree of purity exhibited by the carbon materials 
made them suitable for implantation without causing infection or rejec- 
tion. Northwestern Univ. in 111. and the Rancho Los Amigos hospital 
center run by the Univ. of Southern Calif, at Los Angeles had studied the 
materials in skeletal fixation devices that used carbon-button implants to 
connect the devices to nerves. Other projects included carbon implants 
to control pain (especially in the lower back) and neuroelectric stimu- 
lators to relax contracted muscles in paralyzed patients. Much of the 
technology used in purifying the carbon materials originated at NASA's 
Marshall Space Flight Center. (MSFC Release 76-45) 
25 February: Fred W. Haise, Jr., astronaut on the Apollo 13 lunar mission 
of April 1970 that nearly ended in disaster, would command the first 
free-flight test of the Space Shuttle, Johnson Space Center officials 
announced. A research pilot for NASA since 1959, Haise worked at Lewis 
Research Center and the Flight Research Center before his selection as 
a civilian astronaut in 1966. He was technical assistant to the manager 
of the Shuttle orbiter project from April 1973 to January 1976. With 
Haise on the test Shuttle flight would be Air Force Lt. Col. Charles G. 
Fullerton, appointed astronaut in 1969, who had never flown in space. 
The Shuttle was scheduled to fly piggyback in 1977 on a modified Boeing 
747 jet transport, then in free-flight testing and landing after release at 
about 8-km altitude. Haise and Col. Fullerton would guide the Shuttle 
to an unpowered landing at the Dryden Flight Research Center in Calif, 
to demonstrate handling and reusability. {B Sun, 25 Feb 76, A-7; 
W Post, 25 Feb 76, B 5; NASA Release 76-35; JSC Release 76-17) 

• Comsat General Corp. announced an agreement with ARCO — the Atlantic 

Richfield Co. — to install a Marisat terminal on the S/S Arco Prudhoe 
Bay, a tanker commissioned in Baltimore in 1971, to evaluate satellite 
communications with an eye to equipping other Arco ships if the new 
medium should prove reliable. The tanker would transport crude oil from 
Alaska to U.S. west-coast ports, and communications via satellite would 
be valuable during periods when the aurora borealis (northern lights) 
made high-frequency communication difficult. Comsat facilities had been 
installed previously on 1 5 commercial vessels; the Marisat system would 
be the 16th, and would begin operations in commercial service about 
1 April. (Comsat Release 76-105) 



37 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

26 February: A radio sensing system deployed by the federal government in 

remote areas of the U.S. since the spring of 1975 to warn of impending 
natural disasters had already passed one test, reported David S. Johnson, 
director of the National Environmental Satellite Service. An impending 
flood upstream from the town of Deming, Wash., had been detected by 
the sensors, and the river had crested an inch above its flood stage as 
predicted. The radio sensors, attached to transmitters, collected and 
relayed data from NOAA geostationary satellites (Goes 1, watching the 
East Coast, and Sms 2 watching the Pacific Coast); the satellites relayed 
the information to NOAA computers in the World Weather Building at 
Suitland, Md. Initial work on the system began in the 1960s, and it was 
already operational. By summer of 1976, 150 to 200 sensor stations 
would be in place; a total of about 10 000 would eventually be situated 
to warn of floods, earthquakes, forest fires, or tidal waves that began in 
unfrequented areas. The system could also be used for keeping track of 
ships at sea or of trucks on the highway. (B Sun, 26 Feb 76, A-l; NOAA 
Release 76-32) 

• Recovery of the unmanned Soyuz 20 spacecraft that landed in Kazakhstan 

16 Feb. carrying a "comprehensive biology payload" — including both 
plant and animal life — concluded what the Christian Science Monitor 
described as an impressive 3-mo biology experiment. Results from 
Soyuz 20 would be compared with those of similar experiments — 
including some from the U.S. — carried on the Vostok-type biosat Cos- 
mos 782 which stayed 19.4 days in space last year. Cosmos 782 had 
carried a small centrifuge to test effects of artificial gravity on flora and 
fauna; comparison of the previous tests with those from Soyuz 20 would 
help decide whether — and how much — artificial gravity would be needed 
in future space stations. Soyuz 20 had docked with the Salyut 4 space 
station 19 Nov. 1975, an example of a self-docking biolab that demon- 
strated the USSR plan for assembling complex space objects from sepa- 
rately launched modules. {CSM, 26 Feb 76, 6) 

27 February: Beginning with the 1976 forest-fire season, a new satellite- 

linked monitoring system of 23 NASA-designed ground stations would 
monitor forest conditions throughout thousands of sq km in Calif.'s 
Region One redwood area, providing data every 3 hr to foresters in 
Sacramento by means of a geostationary weather satellite. The 90-kg 
self-powered stations developed by NASA's Ames Research Center in 
cooperation with the state Division of Forestry would transmit continuous 
reports on wind speed and direction, air temperature, solar radiation, 
relative humidity, and the moisture content of forest litter such as pine 
needles and grass. Sensors to be added would measure rainfall and air 
pollution, including particulate matter and ozone concentration. The 
Synchronous Meteorological Satellite 2 (Sms 2) operated by NOAA from 
its vantage point over the equator would receive and relay the data. (JSC 
Roundup, 27 Feb 76, 3; NASA Release 76-28; ARC Release 76-07) 

• Charles W. Mathews, NASA Associate Administrator of Applications, retired 

after 33 yr of government service with NASA and its parent organization, 
NACA. As a member of the science staff at the Langley Research Center 
since 1943, he was chairman of the group that developed specifications 

38 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

for the Mercury spacecraft before NASA was established. When Mercury 
became an official program in 1958, Mathews transferred to Houston 
(now the Johnson Space Center), serving as manager of the Gemini 
program. Upon completion of Gemini, Mathews went to NASA Hq as 
director of the Skylab program (then known as Apollo Applications 
Program); in 1968, he became Deputy Associate Administrator for 
Manned Space Flight, and remained in that position until 1971. Awarded 
the NASA Distinguished Service Medal by President Johnson in 1966 for 
contributions to the manned space program, Mathews received the award 
a second time in 1 969 for contributions to the first manned lunar landing. 
At his retirement, he stated that he would "continue to devote effort to 
the further realization of the tremendous potential of space . . ." (NASA 
Release 76-38) 
29 February: The concept of a "science court" — an impartial quasi-judicial 
body of scientists to conduct inquiries into conflicting scientific claims — 
was advanced by Dr. Arthur Kantrowitz, director of Avco-Everett Lab- 
oratories, a high-technology industrial firm in Mass. The proposal would 
be a means of assuring a rational and orderly assessment of scientific 
facts underlying highly complex issues of public concern. Although 
hearings had been held by Congress and federal agencies on issues such 
as radiation, automotive safety, air pollution, drugs, and pesticides, these 
had frequently been superficial and led to no resolution of facts. A recent 
Harvard University book on the subject said in part: "The principal 
shortcoming of such hearings can be revealed simply by asking how 
'adversary' these adversary hearings are . . . direct battle over facts, if 
it occurs at all, takes place as a free-for-all in the mass media." 
Conflicting statements by experts had added to confusion and paralyzed 
decision-making processes. A test of the "science court" concept had 
been recommended as part of the new White House office of science and 
technology policy. {NYT, 29 Feb 76, 8) 

• Information of value to the U.S. Pioneer mission to Venus scheduled for 

1978 was published by the USSR in Pravda after 4 mo of analysis of the 
2 Soviet spacecraft that reached Venus in Oct. 1975. Each of the 
Russian craft, weighing about 5000 kg, separated into an orbiting section 
and a landing capsule; the two landers transmitted the first panoramic 
photographs of the Venus surface to earth. U.S. scientists had debated the 
angle at which landers should enter the Venus atmosphere; the Russian 
report stated that Venera 9 entered at 20.5° and Venera 10 at 22.5 
to the horizon. Besides the entry angle, the report included details of 
descent, amount of sunlight on the surface, wind speeds, rock chemistry, 
and character of surface erosion. Although the 2 landers failed under 
surface temperatures of 482 °C and pressure 90 times that of earth — 
Venera 9 lander operated 53 min., Venera 10 65 min — the orbiters 
continued to transmit data on cloud cover and upper atmosphere. The 
U.S. planned to launch 2 spacecraft, an orbiter and a lander, toward 
Venus in 1978, the lander separating into 4 or 5 probes to relay data via 
the orbiter to the earth. (NYT, 29 Feb 76, 34) 

• Grover Loening, pioneer aeronautical inventor and first person to receive 

an M.A. degree in aeronautics from an American university, died at the 

39 



February ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

age of 87 at his home in Fla. after a long illness. In 1913, after working 
for an aeroplane builder in N.Y., Loening became assistant to Orville 
Wright and manager of the Wright brothers' factory in Dayton, 0. In 
1914 he was appointed chief aeronautical engineer of the Army Signal 
Corps aviation section. As vice president of Sturtevant Aeroplane Co., he 
pioneered the first U.S. steel-frame airplane in 1915; later he formed his 
own company and developed the M8 2-seat Pursuit monoplane using 
rigid strut bracing, which he patented. After World War I, Loening 
produced the Flying Yacht which established world records and won him 
the Collier Trophy in 1921; his next success was the Loening Amphibian, 
with the first practical retractable carriage. A member of the Aviation 
Hall of Fame, Loening was one of the first directors of Pan American 
Airways and a member of the Smithsonian Institution board for about 
20 yr. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit and nearly every U.S. 
aviation medal, he had been selected 3 wk ago to receive the Smith- 
sonian's Langley gold medal for aerodromics. {W Star, 3 Mar 76, B-5) 
During February: Water hyacinths thought to be environmentally affected 
by the location of NASA's National Space Technology Laboratories in 
Miss, proved to have unexpected benefits for space-age processes and 
byproducts, when NASA scientists monitoring the effects of wastes dis- 
charged into nearby streams found that the water plants had a peculiar 
ability to absorb and concentrate toxic metals, and to metabolize various 
other chemical pollutants, while they continued to produce massive 
amounts of plant material. For a year, biochemists at NSTL had worked 
with the plants as a filtration system for purifying polluted waters, as a 
source of biogas for fuel, as a protein and mineral additive to cattle feed, 
and as a soil fertilizer and conditioner. The vascular plants could absorb 
and metabolize large quantities of nutrients and pollutants from domestic 
sewage waste waters. An installation of the size needed to meet pollution 
standards at the nearby community of Orange Grove would have cost 
about $500 000; stocking the sewage lagoon with enough water hya- 
cinths to purify up to a half million gallons of sewage outflow daily cost 
only a few thousand dollars. 

Plants taken from sewage lagoons had been dried and ground into 
feeding rations for beef cattle, producing a meal rich in minerals and 
protein, and added to corn silage fed to a herd of steers at the nearby 
agricultural experiment farm operated by Miss. State Univ. A 4-mo 
study resulted in weight gain comparable to that on a diet fortified with 
cottonseed or soybean meal. The high cost of fuel for drying the plants 
after harvesting led to construction of a prototype solar dryer at NSTL 
that was designed to dry 18 tons of wet material each 36 hr; the dryer 
might prove a solution for agricultural problems other than drying of 
grains and forage. 

Another use of the plants was as a source of methane gas and 
fertilizer, using an anaerobic fermentation process with a yield of nearly 
57 000 cu.m. (2 million cu. ft.) of gas from an acre of water hyacinths. 
A state like La., with more than a million acres of unwanted water 
hyacinths, might produce more than enough methane gas to fuel 



40 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 February 

2 million homes in the New Orleans region annually. Another study 
showed a remarkable ability of the plants to filter out "heavy" metals 
(cadmium, mercury, nickel, lead, silver) and other toxic organic sub- 
stances common in industrial waste waters. Although plants harvested 
from these sites could not be used for animal feed or fertilizer, they could 
be used to produce methane gas; researchers found that biogas generated 
from plants containing trace metals yielded a higher percentage of 
methane than plants free from metals. Spinoff projects resulting from 
worldwide interest in the NASA findings included a survey by NASA in- 
vestigators of water hyacinths blocking up the White Nile, requested by 
the Sudanese government; a plan to use hyacinth plantings as a detection 
system for assessing heavy-metal pollution in waters near thermonuclear 
installations; and use of the plants in a system to recover millions of tons 
of gold "tailings" left over from mining and present in streams near 
disused mines in the western U.S. (NASA Release 76-36) 

• A 7.6-m radio-controlled model of the dirigible Hindenburg, star of a 

recent motion picture on the last days of the world's largest airship, was 
given to the National Air and Space Museum for display along with a 
full-size control car used in interior and exterior filming of the picture. 
Other full-size sets had been constructed to represent the passenger 
compartments, internal engineering and cargo areas, and a complete bow 
section. The radio-controlled model could perform 28 separate func- 
tions, from dumping water ballast to operating a complex system of 
interior lighting. (NAA newsletter Feb 76) 

• The USSR had made good use of observations from its manned space 

stations, Soviet Academician Leonid Sedov said, citing photographs 
taken by Salyut 3 showing 67 locations where oil and natural gas could 
be found in the Caspian Sea region and 84 in Uzbekistan. The satellite 
did in 3 mo a job that had taken 60 yr of ground prospecting to reveal 
102 deposits, he said. Published in the Feb. issue of the British magazine 
Spaceflight, the report by Sedov mentioned contributions to agriculture 
from a space survey that revealed millions of gallons of water "just below 
the surface" of arid lands near the Caspian Sea, showing areas that might 
be suitable for "oasis farming" or grazing livestock. Discussing changes 
in the environment made possible by space technology, Sedov said such 
influences should "bear a global character," to avoid a repetition of the 
"notorious experiment" (the so-called West Ford) in which the U.S. 
released a cloud of copper fibers in orbit in 1963 for communications 
experiments; West Ford caused worldwide complaints by radio astron- 
omers. (Spaceflight, Feb 76, 54) 



41 



March 1976 

1 March: NASA's cancellation of a mission to Uranus by withholding funds in 
a severely restricted budget for FY 1977 had produced a "Uranus 
option" plan, sponsored by engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 
that would take a spacecraft destined for Saturn and give it the ability 
to go the extra distance to Uranus as well. In an interview with the New 
York Times, John R. Casani— deputy project manager of the Mariner 
project at JPL — said the necessary trajectories had been plotted, and 
modification of the spacecraft remote-sensing instruments to use at 
Uranus was already under way. 

Of the two Mariner missions scheduled for launch in Aug. and Sept. 
1977, to fly by Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in Nov. 1980 and Jan. 1981, 
the first mission would remain unchanged. The second Mariner, trailing 
the first by 9 mo, would fly a lower speed trajectory to allow a bigger 
slingshot effect from Saturn's gravity for propulsion toward Uranus; the 
slower speed would also allow flight controllers to decide on the basis of 
the first Saturn flyby whether to use the second Mariner for a closer look 
at Saturn or to go for Uranus. The second choice would mean that, by 
1985, U.S. spacecraft would have looked closely at all the planets of the 
solar system except Neptune and Pluto; a Mariner flyby of Uranus 
between Nov. 1985 and Jan. 1986 would take the spacecraft further out 
into the solar system, toward Neptune. Obtaining data on Neptune would 
take "a miracle," Casani said, although the JPL engineers would not rule 
out the possibility. The infrared spectrometer on the second Mariner 
would be improved in sensitivity to detect the temperature of Uranus, 
twice as far from the sun as Saturn is, and 20 times as far as earth; also, 
the spacecraft would be able to photograph Uranus, 4 times the diameter 
of earth, and gather data on its magnetic field, atmosphere, and other 
physical properties. The Mariner missions to Jupiter and Saturn would 
cost about $305 million; addition of the trip to Uranus would add about 
$21 million to the cost of the mission. (NYT, 1 Mar 76, 11) 

• An all-systems simulation of landing Vikings 1 and 2 on the surface of 
Mars, to exercise the entire 750-person Viking flight team so that 
everyone knew exactly what to do when the time came later this year, 
began 20 Feb. and built up to a "Mars landing" 22 Feb., concluding 
today as a "fantastic success" according to James S. Martin, Jr., project 
manager at Viking Control in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory installation 
in the San Gabriel Mts. near Pasadena. The computer program had to 
be redesigned to facilitate uplink command to the spacecraft cameras, 
and more time had to be allowed for certain ground-control and data- 
processing procedures, but no major problems developed. In the room 
where a full-scale model of the Viking lander complete with operational 

43 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

cameras stood on a simulated Martian surface, prankish team members 
had put three tiny marine fossils from earth's Paleozoic period on the 
sand within the camera field-of-view. When the camera came on to 
transmit after the simulated landing, the first picture was startling, but 
the fossils were immediately recognized, and the joke demonstrated that 
even tiny objects near the landing site would appear in the pictures 
transmitted from Mars. (NYT, 4 Mar 76, 32) 

• Lt. Col. Michael A. Love, test pilot of the successful NASA lifting-body 

program, was killed in the crash of an F-4C fighter on a dry lake bed at 
Edwards AFB, Calif., shortly after takeoff in a proficiency flight. Love's 
navigator, Maj. E.B. Underwood, Jr., ejected from the plane before it 
crashed and was hospitalized in stable condition. Love, 37, was chief AF 
pilot assigned to the X-24B program that tested a wingless aircraft to 
develop a space vehicle that could be flown to earth and landed like a 
plane. After serving in the lifting-body program as a chase pilot for 
various M-2 and X-24A flights, Love made his first X-24B flight on 
4 Oct. 1973 and had piloted the plane to its fastest speed — better than 
1860 kph — before terminating the program 20 Aug. 1975 with a hard- 
surface landing of the X-24B on the runway at Edwards. {W Star, 2 Mar 
76, A-5; W Post, 3 Mar 76, A-20; NASA X-Press, 12 Mar 76, 2) 

• At 0300 GMT (12:30 pm local time) the Japanese ionosphere sounding 

satellite Ume was launched from the Tanegashima site on the 3-stage 
liquid-fuel N rocket to an orbital altitude of about 1000 km. The cylin- 
drical satellite weighed 1 39 kg, had a diameter of 94 cm, and was 82 cm 
high. Its estimated lifetime was 1.5 yr. This was the second successful 
launch with the new N rocket. (FBIS, Kyodo 29 Feb 76) 

• A technical management team called SPICE (for Spacelab payload integra- 

tion and coordination in Europe) would be established by the European 
Space Agency as the result of a planning meeting in Paris, ESA an- 
nounced. The team would work at the Federal Republic of Germany's 
technical center at Porz-Wahn, with half of its 20 members from the 
center's staff; the ESA announcement called the center "the European 
organization that has devoted the most effort to forecasting, studying and 
preparing the utilisation of Spacelab." Max Hauzeur, manager of the 
SPICE team, would be responsible for a number of items for the first 
Spacelab payload: coordination of instrument and experiment develop- 
ment; data management; design and interface specifications; schedule 
monitoring; acceptance of experiments, and approval of integration 
tests; and coordination of training programs. (ESA release, 1 Mar 76) 

• The European Space Agency (ESA) announced an agreement on loan of a 

radiometer for 2 yr to the Iranian College of Science and Technology at 
Tehran for use in propagation experiments in the 12-ghz band, to be 
used by European relay satellites for long-distance public telecommuni- 
cations. The experiments would be carried out in "particularly inter- 
esting conditions," ESA said, because of Iran's geographical and climatic 
characteristics. (ESA release, 1 Mar 76) 
2 March: Discovery of a new kind of photosynthesis — a bacterial system 
using purple instead of green pigment to convert sunlight into chemical 
energy and food — was announced by a team of scientists from NASA's 

44 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

Ames Research Center and the Univ. of Calif, medical center at San 
Francisco. Contained in cell membranes of Halobacterium halobium, 
found in salty waters, the pigment when energized by sunlight could 
transfer protons across the membrane. It appeared to increase the 
evaporation rate of salt, with possible applications in desalination of sea 
water; it also seemed to resemble rhodopsin, the little-understood visual 
pigment of the eye, and might aid in understanding the evolution and 
operation of vision. The purple pigment, which acted as a proton pump, 
might also explain the key process of ion transport in all cells. Deposited 
on a film and exposed to sunlight, it had already been tried out in crude 
solar cells. Scientists were excited by the possibility of practical uses of 
the purple pigment because — although less efficient than chlorophyll — it 
could be purified and was stable over a broad range of temperatures and 
activities. The newly discovered process was the first instance of a system 
other than the one based on green chlorophyll in which cells could use 
light energy to survive, said Dr. Walter Stoeckenius of the University of 
Calif., chief researcher. Bacteria used in the research came from salt 
flats near the Mediterranean, where they had been known for a century 
to cause pinkeye in salted fish and red herrings to become red. The study 
in which the discovery was made was part of research into earth orga- 
nisms living in extreme environments like those expected to exist 
on other planets. (NASA Release 76-30; ARC Release 76-12; W Post, 
3 Mar 76, A-l; B Sun, 3 Mar 76, A-3) 

• A cooperative use of spaceflight techniques by U.S. and USSR scientists 
might verify the existence of "gravitational waves" that could be used 
to probe quasars and other explosive cosmic events, said an article in the 
Astrophysical Journal. The new technique — proposed by Dr. Kip S. 
Thome of Calif. Institute of Technology and Prof. Vladimir B. Braginsky 
of Moscow State University — would use a net of radio signals between 
earth and interplanetary spacecraft to monitor sudden unexplained 
fluctuations in the returned radio frequencies. Analysis of changes in the 
length and shape of the waves would reveal what had happened to the 
matter that generated the wave, according to the theory. The idea of 
gravitational waves had grown by analogy with the three types of man- 
ifestations of electrical force: the static electric field, static magnetism, 
and radiated waves that took form as visible light, radio waves, x-rays, 
etc. As the extremely precise clocks needed for the experiments had only 
recently become available, the search for gravity waves might not be 
successful for another decade, the scientists said. {NYT, 2 Mar 76, 17) 

2-9 March: Comet West, one of the few such objects visible to the unaided 
eye in daylight, reached maximum visibility in the eastern sky before 
sunrise this week. Having skirted the sun a week ago, the comet had 
become less brilliant as its distance from the sun increased, but was more 
easily seen as it moved away from the sun. The comet was said to be the 
brightest such object since Comet Bennett's appearance in 1970. The 
comet had appeared in photographs taken in August 1975 at an obser- 
vatory in the Chilean Andes, but was not identified until Richard West, 
a Dane working in Geneva, studied the photographs. Comets are of 
special interest because they are thought to be composed of materials 

45 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

from the outer fringes of the solar system. Reports from Italy, Switzer- 
land, and elsewhere described the comet's tail as 2 to 4 times the 
apparent diameter of the moon, unusually short for so bright a comet. 
NASA reported extensive observations of the comet using rockets, high- 
flying aircraft, and ground-based instruments; smog or clouds might 
make ground observation difficult. (NYT, 2 Mar 76, 17; 9 Mar 76, 43; 
B Sun, 3 Mar 76, A-3) 

3 March: Women would definitely be admitted to the U.S. space program, the 
Chicago Tribune reported, and NASA would make a formal announce- 
ment in July. Only one woman — Russia's Valentina Tereshkova, who 
orbited for 3 days on Vostok 6 in June 1963 — had been in space so far. 
The U.S. space women would fly on the Space Shuttle scheduled to be 
operational by 1980; the exact number had not been determined, but 
they would form part of a group of 15 mission specialists who would be 
chosen within the coming year. Screening, evaluation, and physical 
examination of applicants would be completed by Dec. 1977, and select- 
ees would join NASA as candidates for space flight by July 1978. (B Sun, 
3 Mar 76, A-3) 

5 March: First microwave observations of carbon monoxide in the upper 
atmospheres of earth, Venus, and Mars were reported by a team of 
scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena. Establish- 
ment of carbon monoxide as a common component of the upper atmos- 
pheres of the planets should lead to a better understanding of the delicate 
balances in earth's atmosphere, said Dr. Joe W. Waters, who headed the 
team. Carbon monoxide at lower altitudes on Venus and Mars, as well as 
on earth, had previously been measured by infrared techniques that had 
also detected CO on Jupiter last year, according to JPL's Dr. Reinhold 
Beer. JPL microwave observations used a radiotelescope at Aerospace 
Corp.'s electronic research laboratory to detect the carbon-monoxide 
absorption frequency at high altitudes, well above the smog layer over 
Los Angeles; calculations indicated that the same technique could mea- 
sure CO in the upper atmospheres of the other planets. The Mars experi- 
ment used the larger radiotelescope at Kitt Peak, Ariz., to record the 
identifying signal. CO occurred in 20 parts per million at 80 km altitude 
on earth, and about 1000 parts per million at 100 km above Venus; the 
Mars readings were still being analyzed. (NASA Release 76-40) 

• Simultaneous measurement of ocean-surface conditions from an aircraft 
and from an altimeter on NASA's Geos 3 satellite 840 km above the 
surface was the mission of a NASA-Navy team just back from a month's 
expedition to Newfoundland. Correlation of aircraft data on actual sur- 
face conditions with remotely sensed data from Geos 3, launched 9 April 
1975, would demonstrate satellite capability of making accurate and 
rapid sea-state measurements. Newfoundland was chosen for the experi- 
ments because it exhibited a wide range of climatic and oceanographic 
conditions within a relatively short time period. Measurements taken 
were sea ice, sea state, surface-wind field, and determination of atmos- 
pheric refractivity. Each pass of the satellite — 8 to 10 times a day — 
would produce 10 to 15 min of data relayed to Goddard Space Flight 
Center via tracking stations at Bermuda, Madrid, or Winkfield, England. 

46 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

Satellite observations plotted for the North Atlantic would be compared 
with aircraft data and with daily Navy-NOAA forecast maps. The team 
consisted of 8 persons from the Naval Research Laboratory and 1 1 
representatives of Wallops Flight Center and Lockheed contractors. 
(NASA Release 76-39; WFC Release 76-2) 

• NASA selected Grumman Aerospace Corp. and McDonnell Douglas Astro- 

nautics Corp. to negotiate fixed-price contracts for parallel systems 
analyses of concepts for space stations in low- and synchronous-altitude 
earth orbits, including orbit-to-orbit transportation. The 2 studies, each 
to last 18 mo and cost about $700 000, would be managed by MSFC for 
Grumman and by JSC for McDonnell Douglas; the work would begin 
1 Apr. The studies would define an operational base in space to serve as 
a space laboratory, of modular construction with potential for growth 
over the years. Proposals were also received from Rockwell International 
Space Div. and Boeing Aerospace Co. (NASA Release 76-41; JSC Release 
76-19; MSFC Release 76-50) 

• The Dept. of Defense announced its first successful powered flight test of 

a bomber-launched cruise missile, prototype of a weapon the USSR had 
sought to curb in strategic arms talks. The Boeing-made missile, basically 
a pilotless jet drone resembling a small plane with airbreathing engines, 
could carry nuclear warheads at low altitudes to evade detection by 
enemy radar. The successful test, in which the robot-like craft was 
launched from a B-52 at an altitude of about 3 km and flew for 1 1 min. 
over the White Sands range, was viewed as a step in final development 
of a highly strategic weapon for the U.S. Control of cruise missiles — both 
air- and submarine-launched types — had been a major issue in negotia- 
tions with the USSR. The Air Force missile just tested would be an aid to 
bomber penetration of enemy defenses, whereas the Navy's cruise mis- 
sile would be a tactical type for use against enemy ships rather than a 
strategic type aimed at land targets. The first test scheduled for 26 Feb. 
had been canceled because of problems with the B-52's airconditioning 
unit. Later tests would try out the programmed guidance system. 
{WPost, 6 Mar 76, A-12; W Star, 6 Mar 76, A-2; B Sun, 6 Mar 76, 
A-l; NYT, 6 Mar 76, 18) 

• A new device called an ultrasonic bolt-stress monitor — using ultrasonics to 

measure stress on a bolt — had been developed by LaRC physicist Joseph 
S. Heyman, the Langley Researcher announced, and would be submit- 
ted to Industrial Research magazine as a candidate for selection among 
the 100 most significant new products developed during the year. The 
bolt-stress monitor would replace equipment now in use to monitor a 
multitude of bolts in a facility or a piece of equipment, as it would detect 
a 1-psi change in 50 000 psi in measuring stress. Heyman had invented 
a continuous-wave ultrasonic microemboli monitor, used to observe blood 
circulating outside the body during surgery and detect larger than nor- 
mal particles, that was selected by the magazine as an IR 100 winner in 
1974. (Langley Researcher, 5 Mar 76, 3) 
6 March: U.S. failure to renew the Indian government's access to the ATS 
satellite relaying birth-control and agricultural information to 2400 vil- 
lages might intensify tensions between Washington and New Delhi, the 

47 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Baltimore Sun said in an editorial. An alliance of U.S. scientists and 
environmentalists had already protested the sale to India of uranium for 
a power station near Bombay; the group had asked the Nuclear Regu- 
latory Commission to require India to demonstrate that the substance 
would not be used to make bombs, as India had done in 1974 with 
plutonium derived from Canadian material supplied for a joint atomic- 
energy project. Combined with Ford Administration efforts to use devel- 
opment aid to force India into a more friendly posture, the Sun said that 
withholding advanced technology used by India for humanitarian pur- 
poses would create "an unnecessary blur" between humanitarian and 
development aid and would exacerbate rather than relax existing ten- 
sions. {B Sun, 6 Mar 76, A- 12) 

7 March: Dr. James B. Pollack, research scientist at Ames Research Center, 

had been named to receive the H. Julian Allen award for 1975, for major 
findings about the atmosphere of Venus. Dr. Pollack and coworkers used 
airborne infrared telescope observations in 1974 to show that the top 
20 km of Venus's heavy cloud cover consisted of a water solution of 
concentrated sulfuric acid. The heat absorption peculiar to sulfuric acid 
might account for conditions of extreme heat near the surface of Venus. 
Dr. Pollack would share honors with 8 other Ames employees; the award, 
given for outstanding papers written by members of the Ames staff, would 
be accompanied by an honorarium of $1000. (ARC Release 76-11) 

8 March: Jan A. Bijvoet (pronounced byfoot) of the Netherlands arrived at 

Marshall Space Flight Center where he would on 1 April become the new 
representative of the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Spacelab 
program office. Most of his career had been with transatlantic cooper- 
ative programs; from 1961 to 1970, he had worked for NATO as a senior 
scientist in the evaluation methods section of SHAPE's technical center. 
Before coming to MSFC he had spent 6 yr in ESA's aeronautical satellite 
program, a joint activity of ESA and the Federal Aviation Administration. 
At MSFC Bijvoet would be responsible for technical and managerial liaison 
between NASA and ESA on the Spacelab program. He succeeded Robert 
Mory, who had been at MSFC since the beginning of the Spacelab program 
in 1973 and had been reassigned to the Paris office of ESA. (MSFC Release 
76-70) 

9 March: Former astronaut William A. Anders, serving as chairman of the 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was appointed U.S. ambassador to Nor- 
way by President Ford. Anders, 42, had served at NRC since Dec. 1974 
and had told the President he wished to remain in the post for only a yr. 
Selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1963, Anders was one of the 3 
crewmen of Apollo 8 to orbit the moon at Christmastime 1968. Anders 
left the corps of astronauts in 1 969 to become executive secretary of the 
National Aeronautics and Space Council, a White House post abolished 
by President Nixon 4 yr later; he then was appointed head of the Atomic 
Energy Commission (whose functions were reorganized in 1974 into the 
Energy Research and Development Administration and NRC). He had 
turned down an offer of reappointment at NRC for a 5-yr term. (WSJ, 
9 Mar 76, 3; W Post, 8 Mar 76, A-20) 



48 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

12 March: Tests completed in flight on the two Mars-bound Viking spacecraft 
showed that each had 2 ovens of the organic chemistry experiment in 
good working order. JPL spokesmen said they were confident the instru- 
ments would carry out the investigations planned on the Mars surface 
later in the year. Earlier data indicated that one oven on each spacecraft 
might have failed, but investigators would not be certain until the Mars 
landings, scheduled for early July and Sept. The ovens — 3 on each 
Viking lander — were designed to heat surface samples to 500 °C to 
release organic matter in the soil for analysis by the gas chromatograph 
mass spectrometer on each lander. (NASA Release 76-43) 

• Dr. Bruce T. Lundin, director of Lewis Research Center, received the 1976 

Astronautics Engineer Award from the National Space Club at its 19th 
annual Dr. Robert H. Goddard memorial dinner in Washington. The 
award, made by a group of judges including former NASA scientist 
Dr. Wernher von Braun, was for outstanding leadership in development 
and operation of the Centaur high-energy rocket stage, and the 
Atlas-Centaur and Titan-Centaur launch vehicles. The Atlas-Centaur 
launched all NASA's Surveyor spacecraft in the 1960s and many others 
such as OAOs, the recent Intelsats, Mariners, and Pioneers. The Titan- 
Centaur, largest U.S. rocket, launched West Germany's Helios space- 
craft toward the sun and the Viking spacecraft to Mars. A NASA employee 
since 1943, Dr. Lundin became director of LeRC in 1969 after a year and 
a half at NASA Hq as Deputy Associate Administrator and Acting Associ- 
ate Administrator for Advanced Research and Technology. As leader in 
the development and operation of the Centaur vehicle, he built the 
Centaur staff at Lewis and made the decisions that set the character and 
style of the whole project. (Lewis News, 19 Mar 76, 1; LeRC Release 
76-11) 

• First of 4 U.S. -West German rocket launches to investigate the source of 

the aurora borealis, in a study called Project Porcupine, would be fired 
to an altitude of 500 km from northern Sweden, NASA announced. Two 
identical 250-kg payloads would be flown at twilight between 17 Mar. 
and 4 Apr. when moonlight interference would be at a minimum; a 
second pair of rockets would be launched in 1977. The instrument 
packages would have 1 2 quill-like booms sticking out to gather data for 
aurora-probe experiments beyond the orbits of the U.S. Skylab and USSR 
Salyut space stations. At about 450 km altitude, canisters of barium 
would be exploded to identify magnetic-field lines and plasma drifts; a 
NASA jet from Ames Research Center would be in flight over Greece to 
photograph the clouds released from the rockets. Data from Project 
Porcupine would be compared with energetic-particle and magnetic-field 
data gathered by NASA's Ats 6. The payloads, largest and most complex 
to be fired on sounding rockets, would be the first flown on the new Aries 
rocket, modified from Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile parts 
provided by the U.S. Air Force. Project Porcupine would be part of 
the 1976-78 International Magnetospheric Study, a 40-nation effort 
to explore the upper atmosphere. (NASA Release 76-44; NYT, 
28 Mar 76, 21) 



49 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

14 March: U.S. worldwide predominance in science and technology had 

eroded over the past 15 yr, said a National Science Foundation report 
transmitted to Congress by President Ford. Based on a review of 492 
major technological innovations, the report said the U.S. share of the total 
sank from 75% in 1953-55 to 58% in 1971-73. U.S. spending on 
research and development declined from a peak of 3% of gross national 
product in 1963 to 2.3% in 1974. Since 1960, U.S. receipts for use of 
American inventions abroad had tripled, but payments the other way had 
increased 4.5 times. Foreign inventors receiving U.S. patents now ac- 
counted for more than 30% of all those issued by the Patent Office. The 
study was the most specific compilation to date on changes in relative 
support for science in the U.S. and other nations; the USSR, West Ger- 
many, France, and Japan had improved their inventiveness and worker 
productivity faster than the U.S. The message to Congress did not 
mention the international comparisons, but said inflation and reces- 
sion had adversely affected science and technology in the U.S. (NYT, 
14 Mar 76, 1) 

15 March: A Titan III— C rocket launched from Kennedy Space Center at 

2:55 am local time (0755 GMT) carried into stationary orbit at about 
36 000 km 2 experimental nuclear-powered comsats for the U.S. Air 
Force; 23 min later, the Navy's Solrad 11 -A and 11-B riding pig- 
gyback on the same rocket were sent toward an orbit more than 
120 000 km up and at opposite sides of the earth, where they would 
monitor solar flares that disrupt communications and navigation systems 
on earth. The Air Force's Les-8 and Les—9 were designed to guard 
against space jamming of U.S. military communications; spokesmen said 
the satellites were "right on the money" but would undergo various 
tests before they began their experimental message traffic. {NYT, 
17 Mar 76, 39) 

• Insulation systems developed under contract at MSFC for the liquid- 

hydrogen tanks of NASA's Saturn V launch vehicle had found new uses 
in the shipping industry, MSFC announced. Two firms — McDonnell 
Douglas and Rockwell International Corp. — had developed the 
polyurethane-foam systems for efficient cryogenic (low-temperature) 
insulation. The McDonnell techniques had been used to insulate storage 
tanks on liquefied natural-gas carriers in conjunction with a French naval 
engineering firm; the system, to be marketed jointly by the 2 firms, had 
the advantages of quick and easy installation with high efficiency that 
would reduce boil-off (loss through evaporation) for a given thickness of 
insulation. The Rockwell system was adapted for tuna-boat insulation; 
more than 40 boats had been equipped with the new insulation before 
being sold at prices ranging from $1 million to $4 million. (Marshall 
Star, 31 Mar 76, 4; MSFC Release 76-51) 

• Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, last man to leave footprints on the moon's 

surface when he commanded Apollo 17 in 1972, would leave govern- 
ment service 1 July. Cernan, a Navy captain, would complete 20 yr in 
the Navy in June and would retire from both the Navy and the astronaut 
corps. Selected as a NASA astronaut in 1963, Cernan had had 3 space 

50 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

missions (including 2 flights to the moon) and was the second American 
to walk in space, when he was pilot of Gemini 9 in June 1966. As 
lunar-module pilot of Apollo 10 in May 1969, he and Astronaut Thomas 
P. Stafford had flown the module within about 15 km of the moon's 
surface in a full-scale rehearsal of all but the final moments of the first 
lunar-landing mission 2 mo later. In Dec. 1972, Cernan and Astronaut 
Harrison H. Schmitt landed at Taurus-Littrow during the last scheduled 
manned lunar mission. In 1973, Cernan became special assistant to the 
Apollo program manager, working on the joint U.S. -USSR Apollo-Soyuz 
Test Project; in Sept. 1975, he became chief of training operations in the 
astronaut office. (NASA Release 76-47; JSC Release 76-20; W Star, 

16 Mar 76, A-2) 

16 March: The 50th anniversary of Dr. Robert Goddard's successful launch 
of the world's first liquid-fueled rocket at his aunt's farm near Auburn, 
Mass., was observed in a re-enactment at the launching site — now 
marked by a granite monument — and in 15th anniversary ceremonies at 
the Goddard Space Flight Center, which also launched a commemorative 
rocket. Dr. Goddard had written on space navigation while still in high 
school; his early theoretical writings prompted the New York Times to 
print an article on its editorial page in 1920 saying that Dr. Goddard was 
ignorant of elementary physics if he thought a rocket would work in the 
vacuum of space. The Times ran a correction on 17 July 1969, the 
morning after the Apollo astronauts were launched toward the first lunar 
landing. 

The original rocket launched by Dr. Goddard in 1926 was about 3 m 
high, traveled a little more than 12 m upward, and attained a speed of 
56 m in 2.5 sec. powered by a combination of gasoline and liquid oxygen. 
By contrast, the Saturn V rocket with its Apollo payload stood over 
110 m tall and could cover 25 km in 2.5 sec powered by a mixture of 
kerosene and liquid oxygen, a fuel remarkably similar to that used by 
Dr. Goddard. Although, as CSFC Director Dr. John F. Clark pointed out 
at the Center re-enactment, "Not a line appeared in a single paper about 
the Auburn flight ... In fact, the attention he did get in the early 1920s 
was adverse . . .," Dr. Goddard continued his work in New Mexico in the 
1930s and flew his rockets to heights over 3 km and at speeds up to 
supersonic. 

Of Dr. Goddard's concepts, Wernher von Braun said: "Goddard did 
most of the basic research and development that made possible rockets 
such as the Saturn V." Dr. Goddard had died in 1945, but his widow had 
attended the dedication of the Center when it opened in 1961; she had 
planned to attend the re-enactment in Auburn, but a heavy snowstorm 
swept New England 16 Mar. and seriously curtailed attendance at the 
event. Astronaut Eugene Cernan, principal speaker at the Mass. ceremo- 
nies, had reached Boston's Logan Airport only an hour before it was 
closed down by the storm, and was taken by car to the scene as the 
scheduled helicopter could not fly. (NYT, 16 Mar 76, 16; W Post, 

17 Mar 76, C-2; GSFC News, Mar 76, 1; Worcester Telegram, 17 Mar 
76, 1; report of commemorative committee, Auburn Rotary Club, 
19 Mar 76) 

51 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

• Timing the rebound of laser pulses aimed at reflectors left on the moon by 

Apollo astronauts had served to reinforce Einstein's theory of relativity, 
according to a study in Physical Review Letters reported by the New 
York Times. The equivalence principle — that objects of different weight 
fell at essentially the same speed — was tested in the 16th century by 
Galileo, who showed that all bodies responded similarly to gravity regard- 
less of size or composition. Einstein's theory was based on a related 
assumption, that the mass responsible for an object's inertia was equiv- 
alent to the mass responsible for the gravity that it generated. However, 
if the gravitational pull of the earth were influenced by the sun's gravity, 
the relationship between a body's inertia and its gravity would not always 
be uniform, and the report described experiments to test a theoretical 
departure from equivalence. An eclipse of the sun in 1919 had been used 
to test Einstein's theory, and showed that light from distant stars was 
bent — as expected — as it passed through powerful gravity near the sun. 
Other experiments — bouncing radar beams off Venus and Mercury to 
see if the beams were bent or lengthened by the sun's gravity, or 
monitoring round-trip signals to Mariner 9 as it sailed behind the sun or 
radio emissions from quasars in that direction — had narrowed any devi- 
ations from Einstein's formulation to a small margin. 

The experiments reported recently were independent analyses of 
1389 measurements of round-trip travel times of laser pulses aimed at 
moon reflectors, to detect changes in earth-moon distance to within 
127 mm. If earth gravitational energy were influenced by the sun's 
gravity, the effect would alter the earth's gravity more than that of the 
moon, and the moon's motion about the earth would deviate by as much 
as a meter from conventional predictions. The experiments showed no 
such effect. (NYT, 16 Mar 76, 17) 

• The Energy Research and Development Administration requested pro- 

posals for what the Wall Street Journal called a "scaled-down" Insti- 
tute for Solar Research, a modest facility with a budget of $4 to 
$6 million in its first year. The National Academy of Sciences months ago 
recommended an institute with a wide research role, a staff of about 
1500, and an annual budget of $50 million; unsolicited proposals had 
been arriving from nearly every state, with many politicians interested 
in having the institute locate in their constituency. ERDA would operate 
the facility through contracts with any organization, including nonprofit 
groups, corporations, universities, or state or local governments, and 
operations should begin by early 1980, according to Robert Hirsch, an 
acting assistant administrator of ERDA, at the press conference. The 
institute was a requirement of a 1974 law calling for various solar-energy 
demonstrations to be financed by the federal government; ERDA wanted 
initial proposals for a 5-yr operation, with future functioning dependent 
on performance and availability of funds. As ERDA currently contracted 
out most of its solar research to private facilities, a reporter asked why 
its work called for a special institute instead of expanding the current 
research program; Hirsch responded, "because the law requires it." 
(WSJ, 16 Mar 76, 3) 



52 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

17 March: NASA asked scientists to submit proposals for scientific experi- 

ments to be carried on the first Spacelab mission in late 1980, according 
to Dr. Noel W. Hinners, Associate Administrator for Space Science. 
Primary objective of Spacelab 1 would be to verify performance of 
systems and subsystems and to measure the environment surrounding 
NASA's Space Shuttle; secondary objectives would be to obtain scientific, 
applications, and technology data and to demonstrate Spacelab's ability 
to perform space research. The first flight would emphasize stratospheric 
and upper atmosphere research, but proposals from other scientific 
disciplines were also solicited. 

Objectives of the Spacelab 1 mission had been planned jointly by NASA 
and the European Space Agency (ESA); the NASA announcement of oppor- 
tunity would be sent to U.S. scientists and those in all other nations not 
members of ESA, and ESA would make a separate solicitation to its 1 1 
member states. Responses would be coordinated between the two agen- 
cies. (NASA Release 76-49) 

• The U.S. Navy Dept. selected General Dynamics Corp. to develop its cruise 

missile, under a $34.8-million contract that would cover costs of inte- 
grating systems into the prototype. GD won the award after 2 yr of 
competition with Vought Corp., a unit of LTV; the Navy recently finished 
a series of tests comparing prototypes made by the 2 companies. Last 
week the Navy had ordered Vought to stop work on its version, after the 
company had reported cost overruns and the missile performed badly 
under testing. The cruise missile, a jet-powered weapon with an advanced 
guidance system, would fly at low altitudes to make detection difficult. 
The sea-launched version could be put into submarine torpedo tubes and 
fired from under water as well as from ships. In both the Navy version 
and the Boeing missile being tested by the Air Force [see 5 Mar.], 
McDonnell Douglas Corp. was maker of the guidance system and Wil- 
liams Research Corp. the engine manufacturer. {WSJ, 18 Mar 76, 2) 

18 March: Donald K. (Deke) Slayton, pilot of the docking module on the 

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, had been appointed to a newly created 
position as Deputy Director of Flight Operations for approach and land- 
ing tests of the Space Shuttle at Johnson Space Center, the Spaceport 
News of KSC reported. Slayton would be responsible for planning and 
implementing the shuttle approach and landing test project, under the 
Director of Flight Operations for the Space Shuttle project. (Spaceport 
News, 18 Mar 76, 5) 

• NASA announced it had completed negotiations with Owens-Illinois, Inc., 

for replacement of a mirror blank for the Infrared Telescope Facility 
being built at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The 126-cm-dia. replacement would 
be ready for processing at the Kitt Peak National Observatory that would 
turn it into a telescope mirror. Opticians at Kitt Peak had cut a center 
hole in the original disc preparatory to grinding it when a fracture was 
detected last Sept.; the crack, extending radially more than 86 cm from 
the center hole, rendered the mirror blank useless. The original and 
replacement were cast from Cervit, a transparent ceramic material 
obtained by NASA for testing as part of the Space Telescope. When a 



53 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

different material was decided on for the Space Telescope, the Cervit 
blank was transferred to the infrared telescope project. Cervit had prac- 
tically zero thermal expansion, making it ideal for telescope materials, 
and had been used in 2 of the world's 5 largest telescopes. Under the new 
agreement, Owens-Illinois would provide a replacement lens for 
$200,000 and return of ownership of the damaged blank to the Ohio 
firm. (NASA Release 76-42) 

19 March: Dr. George M. Low, Deputy Administrator of NASA, announced 
that he would leave government service at the end of June to become 
president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he received his 
bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1948 and master's in 
1950. He had been a trustee of the institute since 1971. In 1949 Low 
became an aeronautical research scientist at NACA's Lewis Flight Pro- 
pulsion Laboratory in Cleveland. When NASA was formed 9 yr later, he 
came to Hq^as Chief of Manned Space Flight and was chairman of the 
committee that planned the Apollo lunar landing program. He became 
Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight before trans- 
ferring to the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston in Feb. 1964 
as Deputy Director. In April 1967 after the Apollo 204 fire, Low became 
manager of the Apollo spacecraft program; under his leadership, the 
spacecraft was redesigned, manned space missions resumed 23 mo later, 
and Apollo 11 made the first manned lunar landing in July 1969. 
Appointed Deputy Administrator of NASA by the President in Dec. 1969, 
Low negotiated the agreements with the USSR that led to the 
Apollo-Soyuz flight and other cooperative space projects. (NASA Release 
76-54; Admr's letter, 19 Mar 76; NYT, 20 Mar 76, 17; Marshall Star, 
24 Mar 76, 1) 

• A press briefing following the 7th lunar science conference at Johnson 
Space Center [see 22 Feb.] featured the cochairmen, Dr. Larry Haskins, 
chief of planetary and earth sciences at JSC, and Dr. Robert Pepin, 
director of the Lunar Science Institute, and Dr. Deter Hayman of Rice 
Univ. Dr. Haskins said the conference aimed at broadening the planetary 
view of people working with lunar samples and data; a substantial interest 
was developing in the lunar polar-orbiter mission among people more 
interested than before in planetology, and aware that orbiting and 
remote-sensing missions would be the principal source for studying 
geoscientific evolution of these bodies. As an example, long-range oper- 
ation of the lunar-surface packages had produced information that re- 
sulted in a lowered value for lunar heatflow; this in turn "constrained" 
the composition of the moon and its evolutionary history — "Whatever 
history it has, the amount of heat in the interior has to match the present 
heat loss from the body." 

Also, said Dr. Haskins, lunar data were being used widely by scientists 
not previously concerned with lunar research: for example, archived 
data would be used to tell whether the moon was differentiated only in its 
outer extent, or more than 50% of it had undergone chemical separation 
or even developed a core. Another example would be the matching of 
seismic with magnetic data to get a better overall picture of lunar 
evolution. 

54 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

Dr. Pepin noted that 740 people had attended the conference, many 
more than the previous year; the program committee had purposely 
included discussions of other planetary and meteorite investigations that 
revealed much about the first 500 million yr of solar-system history, 
whose clues still exist in the moon (although hard to interpret) but no 
longer exist on earth. Experience with other planets had been insufficient 
to say if they had preserved early solar-system records; "best chances 
are not," he added. Early solar-system history, especially of the inner 
planets, was characterized by enormous bombardment of all solid sur- 
faces by objects now referred to as meteorites, but on a scale in those 
days "that almost suggests we should call them something else." These 
huge objects clearly left their mark, with evidence that the bombardment 
took place more than 4 billion yr ago, then rapidly tapered off. Data from 
Mercury, Mars, and Venus would be expected to show that the historical 
record had been erased by time, constant impact, and geological activity 
in which the surface was pounded, dispersed, or remelted. 

The intense bombardment had wiped out earth's early geological 
record too; terrestrial geologists had tried to put the age of the oldest 
earth rocks farther and farther back, getting in gradual stages as far back 
as 3.7 billion yr in a large anorthosite deposit in Greenland. This bound- 
ary condition for earth geology was one reason for the growing interest 
in lunar and general planetary studies: the flow of information had been 
not only from planetary to terrestrial scientists, but also in the other 
direction. Lunar scientists had begun to examine terrestrial craters such 
as the 60-km impact phenomenon called Manicouagan: what would have 
been referred to 5 yr ago as remnants of a Manicouagan volcano had now 
been established as an impact, mainly because the ease of sampling 
(greater there than on the moon) had permitted study of energy partition 
and formation of rock, glass, and melt material in a large-scale impact. 
Comparative planetology means applying results of studying one plane- 
tary surface to explain phenomena on other planetary surfaces. Earth, 
unlike other planets we know about, continued as a thermally active 
planet with volcanism, mountain upheaval and wearing down, and had 
obliterated much of its earlier record. The early stages of the lunar and 
planetary program focused attention outward; now these studies had 
provided knowledge applicable to earth, and the generation and devel- 
opment of lunar-surface morphology as a result of external bombardment 
was only one example of this application. 

Over the next 2 to 3 yr, a group of 50 to 100 scientists would be 
studying in detail the phenomenon of volcanism on all the terrestrial 
planets as a fundamental stage of planetary development, in a pilot 
project to define comparative planetology and relate it to a specific 
aspect. Mercury apparently had basalt flows; Venera pictures suggest 
recent activity on the surface of Venus that produced what seem to be 
basalts. Mars clearly had basalts: it had the largest volcano in the solar 
system, "an enormous structure that would . . . cover the state of Kan- 
sas if . . . plunked down there." In 2 or 3 yr, Dr. Pepin said, we should 
be able to give an integrated picture of the issuing of basalts from the 

55 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

interior onto the surface, an extremely important process in the devel- 
opment and evolution of a planet. 

Life in the solar system was an exciting subject now, said Dr. Hayman, 
and discoveries were coming in at a pace that would make today's 
theories outmoded by the time they got into print 6 mo from now. The 
task of scientists, he said, was to include the general public in the 
excitement, and to make it filter through to the colleges and universities, 
to high schools, and even to grade-school levels. 

One thing that had changed in the past 20 yr since the days of Harold 
Urey and Hans Seuss was the concept of the solar nebula and the 
formation of planets and satellites by accretion. The problem was the 
noncondensable material in the nebula, and where it went: the solar 
physicists explained its absence by the theory of a solar upheaval that 
cleaned out the inner parts of the solar system by a superstorm of ions. 
Applying thermodynamics to this theory made it possible to calculate 
which compounds would condense out at what temperature. The Allende 
meteorite that fell in Mexico in 1969 contained compounds similar to 
what had been predicted as a result of condensation of the solar nebula 
at high temperatures. Then, 2 or 3 yr ago the idea arose that the sun and 
planets had formed not only from gases but also from so-called presolar 
grains, which had not been specifically identified; their identity on the 
earth and moon would have been lost over time because of geological 
processes. So the search shifted to meteorites. 

Although none of the grains had been definitely identified, the confer- 
ence had heard 2 reports that might be interpreted as finding presolar 
grains. Metallic nuggets in the Allende meteorite were found to consist 
of platinum-group metals in extraordinarily small fragments, a millionth 
of a meter, that did not vaporize or melt readily and might be presolar 
grains (although it would take a lot of work to settle the question, 
Dr. Hayman said). Also, a group from Berkeley had dissolved carbo- 
naceous meteorites in hydrofluoric acid to get rid of the silicates; the 
carbon residue was found to be full of gas called "planetary" because its 
composition differed from that of the sun and was much more like that 
of earth. The question was how carbon material could have been of 
planetary origin under the solar-nebula theory: speculation was that the 
carbonaceous material might predate the formation of the sun and have 
originated elsewhere. It could not have undergone great heat without 
being destroyed, so the objects containing the material must have been 
created farther out, not in the inner region of the sun and terrestrial 
planets but in the region of the giant planets. 

If the heavier elements were synthesized in the stars by nuclear 
processes, especially in explosions of novas and supernovas that pro- 
duced all sorts of elements as they blew away their outer envelopes, all 
the elements are probably represented in this expanding envelope. With 
rapidly dropping temperatures, the condensation of presolar grains 
would occur within 10 yr. It would be possible to look at the product of 
a single event to extrapolate the total of many such events of which all 
the elements around us would be the product. 



56 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

Dr. Haskins said in summary that developments in methodology and 
the availability of more precise measurements would make it possible to 
supplant earlier measurements. Geophysicists were learning to extract 
information from bits of material instead of bucketsful or large chunks 
as they had done in the past. The Apollo program had been responsible 
for a steady progress in the field of measurements: "there simply was not 
the funding and interest correlated together to do it prior to that time." 
Asked what the scientific community had learned about the moon in 
the 3 yr 3 mo since the last moon mission, Haskins said they were 
beginning to understand the major stages in the evolution of every 
planetary body composed of rocky material; the moon had passed 
through stages that the earth had not reached, and had preserved a 
record of what had happened — for example, a preview of the kind of rock 
that would be formed later in earth history. The findings provided a broad 
framework in which more and different questions could be asked, not just 
investigation of the more obvious characteristics of the many materials 
brought back. Queried on the lunar-sample curatorial facility, Dr. Has- 
kins said that moon rocks from the Apollo expeditions were housed in a 
leaky, flimsy facility that would not protect them for use of future 
generations of scientists. A new facility was desperately needed, because 
the present building was not fireproof and the roof leaked; within the 
building, the rocks had been kept in nitrogen-filled cabinets and handled 
only in clean-room conditions, to prevent contamination. However, mois- 
ture in the surroundings might have led to erroneous deductions regard- 
ing the moon environment when scientists analyzed the lunar samples. 
(Transcript, 7th lunar science conf. press briefing, 19 Mar 76; NASA 
Release 76-25; JSC Release 76-15; Science, vol. 185, 346; W Post, 
21 Mar 76, A-3) 

• Congress's Joint Committee on Defense Production, inquiring into 
government-contractor activities involving hospitality or gratuities to- 
ward federal employees, revealed that Rockwell International Corp. had 
entertained Eugene A. Cernan and Ronald E. Evans, NASA astronauts, at 
a facility on Bimini in the Bahamas, in addition to 1 1 other NASA employ- 
ees who had enjoyed hospitality at a hunting lodge in Md. Both Rockwell 
and Northrop Corp., another NASA contractor, ran hunting lodges on the 
eastern shore of Md. where 1 3 NASA employees and one former employee 
had acknowledged acceptance of entertainment. The DOD had announced 
it would reprimand its chief of research, Dr. Malcolm R. Currie, and dock 
his pay, for accepting a similar weekend from Rockwell. {W Star, 
19 Mar 76, A-l; WSJ, 17 Mar 76, 17) 

22 March: A General Accounting Office review of the Seasat oceanographic 
spacecraft program revealed a lack of formal agreements between NASA 
and potential Seasat users on application of resources, said an article in 
Aviation Wk and Space Technology. GAO said there "should have been 
top-level agreements among NASA, the National Oceanographic and At- 
mospheric Administration, and the Defense Dept. concerning Seasat 
participation prior to project approval within NASA." NASA responded that 
it was "of the opinion that there are clear understandings . . . regarding 



57 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

roles and responsibilities in the Seasat-A project and that formalized 
agreements are being prepared." GAO also reported increased costs 
during Seasat spacecraft definition; objections from the user community 
to changes in instrumentation had prompted NASA to raise the cost ceiling 
on the spacecraft rather than fly hardware that would not meet user 
requirements. GAO asked Congress to require that NASA provide specific 
data on how Seasat would produce $350 million yearly in benefits; why 
NASA, rather than users, should pay for Seasat improvements to benefit 
the user community; and what agency responsibilities would be in future 
Seasat operations. (Av Wk & Sp Tech, 22 Mar 76, 44) 

• In a special message to Congress, President Ford requested an increase in 

federal spending to $24.7 billion for scientific research and development 
in the energy, defense, and space programs. Ford said his request for the 
1977 fiscal year, an 11% increase over 1976 estimates, included 
$2.5 billion for basic research. The budget asked $2.6 billion for energy 
R&l), a 35% increase over 1976, including funds for nuclear power, 
development of solar and geothermal energy, and fusion power; major 
increases were for energy conservation and for research on fossil fuels 
to improve direct combustion of coal for production of oil and gas. The 
President also asked congressional conferees to act quickly on bills to 
establish the Office of Science and Technology. (W Star, 22 Mar 76, 7) 

• Pioneer 10, on its way out of the solar system, spent 24 hr in an enormous 

magnetic "tail" area of the planet Jupiter, the Ames Research Center 
reported, registering zero on its solar-wind detector during that time 
because the magnetic envelope completely shut out the solar wind. 
Dr. John H. Wolfe, project scientist, said it was conceivable that the solar 
wind "could have died completely for a whole day without our being in 
the tail . . . But we believe we've found that Jupiter has a very stretched- 
out magnetic envelope . . ." Exact shape and size were not known, but 
were estimated as conical and better than 800 billion km long, spanning 
the distance between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. Earth's magnetic 
tail had been measured at more than 6 billion km by previous spacecraft; 
the magnetic tails of the 2 planets had been shown to extend to great 
distances by the force of the solar wind, a supersonic charged-particle 
stream constantly emitted from the sun. {NYT, 26 Mar 76, 19; W Post, 
27 Mar 76, A-5; NASA Release 76-55; ARC Release 76-22) 

• Cost of the Air Force B-l bomber might run more than $1 1 billion over 

original estimates because of inflation and higher prices, said Rep. Les 
Aspin (D-Wis.), adding that total cost increases on the B-l would be 
around $1 billion while inflation would be responsible for another 
$10 billion increase. Three research contracts on the B-l had already 
run $129 million higher than expected, he said, and those represented 
only money spent for models, engines, and electronics. By the end of 
1976, Congress would have to decide whether to go ahead with the 
bomber, intended as a replacement for the aging B-52. (LA Times, 
22 Mar 76, 11C) 
23 March: The House passed, 330 to 35, and sent to the Senate an author- 
ization bill of $3.7 billion for the nation's space programs for FY 1977, 
slightly less than the administration request, but $133 million more than 

58 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

for FY 1976. Research and development authorizations totaled 
$2.77 billion, nearly $10 million more than requested. The Space Shut- 
tle would use $1 .29 billion in R&D money, plus $40 million for 8 construc- 
tion projects. (W Post, 23 March 76, 6) 

• A new network of space satellites would replace the existing hotline between 

Washington and Moscow later in 1976, said Willis K. Naeher, Deputy 
Assistant Secretary of State for Communications, on a weeklong working 
visit of U.S. communications specialists to Russia with Soviet counter- 
parts to check Soviet facilities and transmit test messages over both the 
Molniya and the Intelsat networks. The new system was planned to 
provide more reliable emergency communications between the two cap- 
itals than had been available for a dozen years using a transatlantic cable 
and radio system. The overland line had been disrupted when parts of the 
cable had been damaged by fire, stolen, and once plowed up by a Finnish 
farmer. Coordination was necessary because the U.S. and Russian sys- 
tems functioned differently: whereas Intelsat used a "necklace" of sat- 
ellites around the equator maintaining a fixed attitude toward earth, the 
Molniya traveled in an elliptical north-south orbit and would be visible 
from both countries for periods of 8 hr at most, so that 4 satellites would 
be needed instead of the 3 originally planned. Failure of a Molniya III 
launch caused the delay from 1974, original starting date. Final test of 
the Intelsat portion would begin in Apr. (NYT, 23 Mar 76, 14) 

• The 2 USSR spacecraft orbiting Venus had completed their program, the 

Tass news agency announced, stating that further scientific experiments 
would be made "under an additional program." Tass did not elaborate 
on the further experiments, nor did it indicate how long the two craft 
would remain in operation. Venera 9 had completed 75 orbits since its 
arrival at Venus on 22 Oct. 75, and Venera 10 had completed 71 since 
its arrival 3 days later, Tass said. (NYT, 23 Mar 76, 3) 
24 March: Travelers aboard NASA's Space Shuttle orbiter in the 1980s would 
use a unique space suit and rescue system, developed at Johnson Space 
Center. The Shuttle suit, a departure from the customized astronaut 
suits, would consist of a two-piece upper and lower torso cover in small, 
medium, and large sizes to accommodate all astronaut candidates or 
crews, including females. Only the pilot and mission specialist would be 
outfitted with the space suit; the commander and payload specialists 
would be provided with a personal rescue system nicknamed the "cosmic 
soccerball," consisting of a container nearly a meter in diameter con- 
structed of three layers — urethane, Kevlar, and an outside thermal 
protective layer, with a small viewing post of tough Lexan — containing 
its own simplified life-support and communications systems. During a 
rescue operation in space, a space-suited astronaut could transfer the 
rescue balls in one of three ways: using the handle to carry the enclosure 
like a suitcase from one vehicle to another; hooking a device like a 
clothesline between two spaceships and passing the rescue ball with its 
passenger from the disabled ship to the other; or using the remote- 
manipulator arm in the orbiter's cargo bay to pluck the rescue ball with 
its passenger from the disabled ship and put it aboard the rescue ship. 



59 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Materials to be used in the rescue ball and the Shuttle suit would 
provide longer shelf life, according to technicians who ran pressure and 
abrasion tests on them; use of the fabric to make joints in the space suits 
(instead of the Apollo and Skylab suit use of neoprene rubber molded into 
convolutes containing cables) would provide better mobility and reduce 
cost and weight of each suit. The new suit also featured a module 
construction that closed with a body seal at the waist, considered more 
reliable than the pressure-seal zippers used in the previous suits. The new 
suits also were designed with an integral portable life-support system as 
part of the rigid upper torso, instead of the bulky 34-kg package that 
previously had to be unpacked and connected to the suit. (NASA Release 
76-56; JSC Roundup, 26 Mar 76, 1) 

25 March: The first satellite in the 2-ocean Marisat system inaugurated 
communications services to U.S. Navy ships. However, the scheduled 
1 Apr. start of service to commercial shipping was canceled because of 
malfunctions in C- and L-band transmissions, involving random vari- 
ations in signal strength. The Navy operations used UHF frequencies. 
Marisat 1 was launched 19 Feb. into synchronous orbit over the Atlan- 
tic; Comsat General Corp. — 86% owner and manager of the Marisat 
system — said tests indicated that the problems could be solved "with 
respect to the [second] spacecraft" awaiting launch at ETR, in time to 
permit its scheduled launch 27 May for service in the Pacific Ocean. The 
difficulty appeared to be associated with a despun C-band triplexer, 
arising from loose metal particles. (Av Wk & Space Tech, 29 Mar 76, 
14; Comsat 1975 rept. to stockholders, 9) 

• Space-related technology would serve to monitor municipal water pollution 
and dispose of solid wastes, NASA announced, describing systems for 
electronic monitoring of water quality in cooperation with the Gulf Coast 
Waste Disposal Authority and for sewage treatment at a plant midway 
between Los Angeles and San Diego. Johnson Space Center at Houston 
developed under contract with Boeing a trailer-mounted automated sys- 
tem to process data from up to 40 different water sensors for rapid 
indications of pollution, temperature, turbidity, and similar items. The 
current procedure was to sample city water at regular intervals and send 
the samples to a laboratory for analysis, with results available days later. 
JSC and the Goddard Space Flight Center developed a biosensor to give 
total bacteria count directly, by adding chemicals that caused bacteria 
to radiate light; this sensor could both detect and quantify living or dead 
bacteria in a continuous-flow water sample. 

At Langley Research Center, scientists working on Skylab environ- 
mental control had developed an electronic sensor that could detect 
human or nonhuman fecal coliform bacteria in a few hours, rather than 
a few days; the device would permit public health authorities to act 
quickly if large quantities of disease-producing bacteria entered a water 
supply. The automated monitoring system would eventually include a 
device to detect known carcinogenic chemicals — chloroform and carbon 
tetrachloride, for instance — already found in the drinking water of cities 
surveyed for the project. Some of the pollutants were thought to be 



60 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

byproducts of chlorine added to city water to guard against waterborne 
diseases. A gas-chromatograph technique developed at Ames Research 
Center to extract minute samples of organic materials from the atmos- 
pheres of other planets would be valuable to concentrate the harmful 
chemicals detected in city water for rapid onsite analysis. Another Ames 
system, attaching fluorescent dyes to bacteria so that their presence 
could be recorded by electronic sensors, could be applied to detection of 
waterborne viruses. 

As for sewage disposal, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory used for the 
new million-gallon-per-day treatment plant at Huntington Beach, Cal., a 
process invented by Marshall Humphrey, a JPL engineer working on 
lightweight materials for insulating rocket motors. Using a pyrolytic 
converter to produce activated carbon by chemical changes induced by 
heat, he found that sewage solids were excellent raw material for produc- 
tion of carbon. The new process would convert solid sewage to activated 
carbon, which could then be used to remove impurities from incoming 
waste water and recycled and reactivated with new incoming sewage. 
Gases generated from sewage solids would serve as fuel for the converter. 
Dry black odorless powder of carbon and ash would be the only residue 
from the process. Even the billion-dollar secondary sewage-treatment 
plants in compliance with EPA standards had not solved the problem of 
solid-waste disposal; primary treatment of sewage had left about 40% 
solid waste in water leaving the plants and discharged into rivers and 
offshore waters. The JPL process would exceed EPA standards for ocean 
discharge and reduce capital costs of processing systems as much as 
25%. (NASA Release 76-57; KSC News, 4 Mar 76, 2) 

• NASA's reusable Space Shuttle program would produce significant benefits 
for civil aviation, the agency reported in announcing the first operational 
tests of an advanced flight-control system for civil aircraft to be conduc- 
ted by the Shuttle, together with advances in structural materials tech- 
nology for aerospace manufacturers. 

Standard heavyweight mechanical backup flight-control systems had 
been required when reliability of electronic control systems was in ques- 
tion; however, aerodynamic requirements for the use of mechanical 
systems had hampered development of flight-efficient aircraft designs. 
Use of the advanced electronic controls would reduce weight, resulting 
in less fuel consumption, and a computer tie-in with ground navigation 
and mission controls would provide constant reliable communication and 
reduce traffic delays. Use of composites — strong lightweight combina- 
tions of metals and plastics — would reduce structural weight by more 
than 30% compared to aluminum. Developed by NASA and the Air Force 
in collaboration with industry, the composites would demonstrate in 
Shuttle testing the weight reduction and cost effectiveness needed for 
future designs. (NASA Release 76-58) 

26 March: RCA-B, called Satcom 2 in orbit, was launched from the Eastern 
Test Range at 5:42 pm EST (2242 GMT) on a Delta 3914 vehicle into a 
synchronous transfer orbit at 35 753-km apogee and 185-km perigee, 
and inclination of 27.25°. Second in a series of 3 large 24-transponder 



61 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

comsats to be launched by NASA on a fully reimbursable basis for the • 
Radio Corporation of America, Satcom 2 would transmit voice, data, 
telex, and facsimile messages to and from the continental U.S., Alaska, 
and Hawaii from its geosynchronous orbit at about 35 800-km altitude 
above the equator at 1 20° W. The spacecraft was box-shaped, 1 .2 x 1.2 
x 1.6 m, weighing at launch about 990 kg; it was 3-axis-stabilized, 
carrying 2 rectangular solar panels about 7m" continuously oriented to 
the sun to provide electric power. After dropping the apogee motor, 
Satcom 2 would weigh about 463 kg in orbit. The communications 
system included a fixed 4-reflector antenna assembly and a lightweight 
transponder of traveling-wave-tube amplifiers; the 24 input and output 
filters were of a graphite-epoxy composite. All 24 channels were simul- 
taneously operable throughout a minimum 8-yr lifetime, each having a 
36-mhz bandwidth within the 500-mhz allocation to RCa's Globcom Inc. 
(NASA Release 76-37; MOR M-492-206-76-02 [prelaunch] 18 Mar 76, 
[postlaunch] 13 Apr 76) 

• The Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center, formerly the Flight Research 

Center at Edwards, Calif., was formally dedicated in a ceremony by NASA 
Administrator James C. Fletcher; Dr. T. Keith Glennan, first adminis- 
trator of NASA from 1958-1961; Sen. Frank E. Moss (D-Utah), chair- 
man of the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences; and 
Mrs. Dryden, guest of honor, who unveiled a bust of her late husband that 
would be placed in the Center's lobby. After the ceremony, visitors were 
invited to a display of aircraft in the main hangar, including the 747 
aircraft that would be used for the Space Shuttle orbiter approach and 
landing tests next year. Center efforts to transfer space technology to 
industry were represented by a solar-energy display and low-drag truck 
exhibits. Dr. Dryden in 1947 had been named to the newly created post 
of director of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics; when 
Dr. Glennan, then head of the Case Institute of Technology, was selected 
as NASA's first administrator, he insisted on Dr. Dryden as his deputy. 
When James E. Webb was chosen NASA's second administrator, he also 
made the condition that Dr. Dryden remain as his deputy; he had served 
in that position until his death in 1965. {NASA X-Press, 26 Mar 76; 
program) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center forecast completion by 1 April of a unique 

facility — one of the largest and most significant construction jobs under- 
taken in the past 10 yr — at the Center, an x-ray test facility costing 
about $4 million. The new facility included a 305-m-long stainless steel 
x-ray path guide tube nearly a meter in diameter, connecting the x-ray 
source with a 6-m-diameter instrument chamber housing the telescopes 
and other instruments to be tested. Work began in January 1975, and 
would be completed on schedule. The facility, the only one of its size and 
type, would be used first to test instruments for NASA's High Energy 
Astronomy Observatory (HEAO) program; later it would be used in x-ray 
verification testing and calibration of mirrors, telescope systems, and 
instruments, for rocket payloads in x-ray stellar studies and similar 
projects. After checkout, the facility would be turned over to MSFC's 

62 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

Science and Engineering Directorate. (Marshall Star, 31 Mar 76, 4; 
MSFC Release 76-53) 

• NASA's Technology Utilization Office, publisher since 1963 of more than 

6000 single-page Tech Briefs on new techniques and innovations re- 
sulting from advanced research and technology programs in NASA, 
announced it would begin publication of NASA Tech Briefs in April 
1976. The new document would be a two-color journal designed for 
non-aerospace users of NASA technology, containing information on as 
many as 600 items annually that previously appeared in the single-page 
briefs as well as new data that previously appeared in Technology Com- 
pilation booklets. The document would sort the information into 9 tech- 
nical categories to make it accessible as a current-awareness medium, 
and a cumulative index would appear once a year. The journal would be 
free to U.S. citizens. (NASA Release 76-60) 

27-28 March: A series of rocket experiments funded by the National Science 
Foundation and NASA was launched from Poker Flat Range, Alaska, to 
measure magnitude and direction of electric fields and neutral winds in 
the auroral atmosphere. Spectrographic observations of the releases of 
barium vapor on 2 successive days indicated that a pulsating aurora was 
induced by vapor releases near 250 km altitude, but only when the 
explosions occurred in the path of precipitating electrons associated with 
the visible aurora. Previous experiments had produced no definite evi- 
dence of pulsations, and the experiments would be repeated to clarify the 
results. {Nature, 12 May 77, 135) 

28 March: A reorganization of the NASA office (NaPO) located at the 
contractor-operated Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena became 
effective. NaPO would no longer report to the Associate Administrator for 
Center Operations at NASA Hq in Washington, D.C.; a resident legal office 
would report to the NASA General Counsel, and a resident procurement 
office would report to the NASA Assistant Administrator for Procurement 
at Hq. E.S. Groo, the Associate Administrator for Center Operations, said 
the change was made to relate the NaPO functions more directly to the 
functions performed by their Hq counterparts, or by certain NASA field 
centers. NaPO's cryogenics procurement activities and personnel would be 
relocated to the MSFC resident office at Canoga Park, Calif., and would 
be functionally responsible to MSFC; the Delta procurement activities and 
personnel would remain at JPL but would be functionally transferred to 
CSFC at Greenbelt, Md. (NASA Release 76-50; Groo anno. 15 Mar 76) 

• A component of the backpack worn by Neil A. Armstrong on the moon's 

surface had been used by the former astronaut — now professor of aero- 
space engineering at the Univ. of Cincinnati — in bioengineering experi- 
ments testing better blood pumps for heart-lung machines and artificial 
hearts or kidneys. The Apollo double-diaphragm pump that circulated 
cooling water through plastic tubes in the astronaut's space suit proved 
in the UC tests to be 10 or more times less damaging to red blood cells 
than pumps previously used. Blood, a delicate substance easily damaged 
by prolonged mechanical pumping, had lost critical amounts of hemo- 
globin in procedures such as open-heart surgery when pumps had taken 



63 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

over the heart's function for several hours. Armstrong, working on a 
team at the university's Institute of Engineering and Medicine, recalled 
the Apollo pump's efficiency from a power and weight standpoint and 
borrowed one from NASA for experiments with animals. The pump, de- 
signed to run on minimum power, created little turbulence in the flow of 
fluid and had no moving parts to damage the cells. It would be further 
modified for medical use. {NYT, 28 Mar 76, 64) 

30 March: No immediate serious problem appeared to exist in modification 

of the stratosphere, according to a report released by an interagency task 
force on inadvertent modification of the stratosphere (IMOS) prepared by 
the Interdepartment Committee for Atmospheric Sciences (ICAS). Assess- 
ing presently postulated manmade modifiers of the stratosphere other 
than fluorocarbons, the report considered 6 kinds of possible hazards: 
nitrogen fertilizers, brominated compounds, other chlorinated com- 
pounds, particles, the Space Shuttle, and carbon monoxide. The report 
concluded that concern over modification of the stratosphere was so far 
speculative, and that it was based on compounds not yet released to the 
upper atmosphere in quantities believed sufficient to produce a hazardous 
effect. Although a large number of substances had been considered, only 
those appearing most potentially harmful were singled out. Also, cumula- 
tive effects from several substances might become significant later, the 
report said, even if the effect of any single substance were relatively 
slight. The report urged increased research into stratosphere modifiers 
and prevention of inadvertent modification now and in the future. (IMOS 
report, 30 Mar 76) 

31 March: First test firing of the second Space Shuttle main engine — Engine 

0002, first to have a flight-type engine-mounted controller — achieved 
the programmed 1.5-sec duration, firing through a diffuser used for 
altitude simulation when production engines were throttled in testing. 
Engine 0002, a flight configuration that would not be flown, was a 
developmental engine instrumented for test purposes. It was fired on the 
National Space Technology Lab's Stand A-2, used in Saturn V tests 
during the 1960s and modified and reactivated for the Space Shuttle 
program. NASA planned to fire each engine on the A-2 throttling test 
position before using it on a Shuttle flight. Stand A-l, the sea-level 
test position, had been used for about a year to test the first SSME, a test 
version known as the integrated subsystem test bed; A-l was also 
developed for the Saturn program and modified for Shuttle tests. (MSFC 
Release 76-57; Rockwell Release RD-7) 
• Dr. William H. Pickering, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the 
California Institute of Technology since 1954, retired, announcing that 
he would return to Caltech as a professor of engineering. He had earned 
all his degrees at that institution and had joined the faculty in 1936, 
becoming a member of the JPL staff in 1944. The staff at that time 
numbered a few hundred; when he became director, the total had 
reached 1000, and numbered about 4000 when he announced his retire- 
ment. Born in New Zealand in 1910, Dr. Pickering had become one of 
the world's foremost experts in space technology. Under his leadership, 

64 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

JPL had designed Explorer 1, first successful U.S. satellite, and went on 
to develop and operate the Ranger, Surveyor, and Mariner space probes. 
Dr. Pickering was first president of the American Institute of Aeronautics 
and Astronautics in 1963, and president of the International Astronau- 
tical Federation in 1965-66. NASA's announcement of his retirement said 
he would work on gaining worldwide scientific support for the proposed 
International Solar System Decade of research and space exploration of 
all aspects of the solar system. (NASA anno. 23 June 75; NYT, 21 June 
75, 41; LA Times, 31 Mar 76, 1; Pasadena Star-News, 1 Apr 76, 1) 

• Gerald A. Mossinghoff, NASA's Assistant General Counsel for general law 

since Jan. 1974, was appointed Deputy General Counsel effective this 
date. He joined NASA in 1 963 as a patent attorney in the Office of General 
Counsel; in 1966 he was named director of the Office of Legislative 
Planning at the U.S. Patent Office, and returned to NASA in Dec. 1967 
as Director of Legislative Liaison. He received NASA's Exceptional Ser- 
vice Medal in 1971. A registered patent attorney, Mossinghoff had 
received a B.S. in electrical engineering from St. Louis University and a 
J.I), with honors from George Washington University. (Admr.'s announce- 
ment, 31 Mar 76) 
During March: Launch of RCA's Satcom 2 this month was the second launch 
of a Delta vehicle using 9 large Castor IV solid rocket boosters instead of 
the standard 9 Castor lis. (First to use the larger rockets was the Delta 
that launched Satcom 1 on 12 Dec. 75.) RCA had underwritten develop- 
ment expenses of adapting the NASA "workhorse" Delta to use the larger 
rockets, in a unique NASA-customer-launch vehicle contractor arrange- 
ment that had enabled RCA to design its domestic comsat to be the 
heaviest to date without having to use a larger and more expensive 
launch vehicle. The Castor IV boosters would permit a Delta to put into 
synchronous orbit a payload weighing about 900 kg, compared to about 
700 kg for a vehicle equipped with the Castor lis. NASA was thinking of 
the more powerful Delta as a standard launch vehicle for other customers 
who could use the increase in permissible weight of about 29% in many 
areas of spacecraft design: weather forecasting, scientific exploration, 
and communications. {Spaceport News, 18 Mar 76, 1) 

• More new discoveries would be made in space than on the ground during 

the first 10 to 15 yr of Shuttle operations, a colloquium on bioprocessing 
in space was told by James H. Bredt, NASA program manager for space 
processing. The meeting of more than 200 industrial and academic 
bioscience researchers at Johnson Space Center heard reports on Space 
Shuttle and Spacelab capabilities and status. Noting that Spacelab would 
be able to carry 300 to 400 experiments, more on each flight than all 
other previous manned space missions combined, Bredt urged the audi- 
ence to submit experiment programs that would make use of the new 
national resource. Participants recommended formation of a small group 
of bioscientists to advise NASA in discussions of space processing sug- 
gestions, and scheduling of followup meetings to define areas of interest 
so that programs could be developed before instrumentation develop- 
ment began. NASA spokesmen said more than 1400 experiment proposals 



65 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

for Shuttle flights were on hand, and Shuttle flight opportunities covering 
the first 2 Spacelab missions would be announced later this year. (Av Wk 
& Sp Tech, 29 Mar 76, 53) 

• Endorsed by the state of Colo, as a bicentennial project, a mobile space 

museum prepared by the High Flight Foundation — a nonprofit religious 
organization founded in 1972 by Apollo 15 astronaut Col. James B. 
Irwin — would tour the U.S. to give residents of 30 cities a chance to see 
a large exhibit on national accomplishments in space. The exhibit would 
include tools and photographs, miscellaneous objects and films. During 
the tour, various state governors participating in bicentennial celebra- 
tions would receive from the astronauts state flags that had been flown 
to the moon. With Col. Irwin on the board of the High Flight Foundation 
were astronauts Col. William R. Pogue (Skylab 3) and Col. Alfred M. 
Worden (Apollo 15). (Spaceport News, 18 Mar 76, 8) 

• NASA announced selection of the initial crew of the Boeing 747 shuttle- 

carrier aircraft that would carry and launch the Space Shuttle orbiter in 
approach and landing tests. Pilots would be Fitzhugh L. Fulton, Jr., and 
Thomas C. McMurtry, both of Dryden Flight Research Center; flight-test 
engineers would be Victor W. Horton, also from Dryden, and Louis E. 
Guidry, Jr., of Johnson Space Center. All the men chosen were civilians. 
The ALT flights, scheduled for early 1977, would carry the orbiter to an 
altitude of 7.5 km, where it would separate from the 747 and the orbiter 
crew would pilot it to a glide landing. Unmanned and manned captive 
flights would precede initial free flights. (DFRC Release 3-76) 

• A device used in training Apollo astronauts was adapted to assist persons 

incapable of supporting their entire weight with their legs. Developed at 
Langley Research Center, the flying lunar-excursion experimental plat- 
form would exert a constant weight-relieving force during any vertical 
movement by the patient; the supporting force would be selected for a 
particular patient, and could be changed as the patient's condition im- 
proved. Besides its application as a device for exercise during rehabil- 
itation, the apparatus showed potential for use in warehouses and storage 
facilities where heavy equipment was handled. The project was di- 
rected by LaRC's Technology Utilization Office. (Langley Researcher, 
5 Mar 76, 7) 

• The Federal Aviation Administration would use 15 new twin-jet Sabreliners 

to do a nationwide airways navigation-system checking job that formerly 
took about 50 older aircraft to do, according to a report by Rockwell 
International Corp., makers of the Sabreliner. The old Civil Aeronautics 
Administration (predecessor to FAA) in 1932 had hired 2 pilots in single- 
engine planes to inspect beacon markers — then the only night- 
navigation aids for air travel — as well as to check safety at emergency 
landing fields. The report reviewed the advent of radio-range trans- 
mitters, omnidirectional signals, and instrument-landing systems, for 
which the FAA operated a Flight Inspection National Field Office based 
in Oklahoma City with field offices in the continental U.S., the North 
Atlantic, and the Caribbean. Until recently, safety checks had been the 
job of a fleet of military-surplus C-47s (commercially called DC-3s) 



66 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 March 

known in World War II as Gooney Birds. These became unsatisfactory 
with the advent of the jet age, and Sabreliners were added to the fleet in 
1968. FAA officials noted that the new twin-jet could cruise at 435 knots, 
compared to 150 knots for the DC-3s scheduled for retirement in 
June 1976. {Skyline, Spring 76, 34) 

• Observance of 1976 as the 50th anniversary of U.S. commercial aviation 

would be established by a resolution introduced in the Senate by 
Sen. Howard Cannon (D-Nev.). The Air Mail Act of 1925 — known as 
the Kelly Bill — gave the Postal Dept. authority to contract airmail 
carriage to private carriers, but the first contract airmail flight did not 
take place until 15 Feb 1926 in Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago. The 
Postal Dept. had laid out a transcontinental route, and the contracted 
routes acted as feeder lines that greatly expanded airmail service around 
the country. Passenger airlines existed, but passengers were few, so that 
carrying the mail could mean the difference between success and failure 
for the airlines of the period. Each of the 46 cities that inaugurated 
commercial airmail service 50 years ago would cancel its special com- 
memorative cover on the date of the first airmail flight to that city. 
Covers were issued by the Aviation Historical Foundation in cooperation 
with the U.S. Postal Service. (NAA News, Mar 76, 2) 

• On a visit to the ERDA Model Zero 100-kw wind generator installed at 

NASA's Plum Brook Station near Sandusky, 0., a reporter from Popular 
Science magazine climbed the steel tower to get a close look at the 
monster propeller measuring more than 398 m and rotating at maximum 
speed of 40 rpm. The flexible aluminum propeller blades operated down- 
wind of the 30 m steel tower similar to utility rigs, set on a raised concrete 
foundation designed to withstand high wind and rotor-thrust loads and to 
be accessible for maintenance. The NASA approach to generating power 
had been to use large generators rather than groups of small ones; the 
power from wind was said to increase with the square of the rotor 
diameter, so that doubling the rotor diameter would produce 4 times the 
power, besides keeping costs down. Design improvements for future wind 
turbines would include use of composite materials to reduce cost and 
weight and improve reliability, and development of a different hub to 
reduce bending moments of the rotor-blade roots and make them less 
likely to break. (Popular Science, Mar 76, 73) 

• A new technique of using aircraft to map surface temperatures of bodies 

of water with an accuracy close to 1 °C was announced by Calspan Corp. 
The company said the method could be used to monitor the discharges 
of large volumes of heated water into rivers and lakes by power plants, 
steel mills, and other industries. Ecologists had sought regular monitoring 
of such flows, said to be potentially dangerous to fish and other marine 
life. Like the conventional method of taking water temperatures from 
aircraft, the Calspan method used an infrared thermal mapper to record 
infrared radiation from the surface, but did not require "ground truth" 
readings taken simultaneously at the sites being scanned, using boats, 
equipment, ground personnel, and correlations that were both time- 
consuming and expensive. The new system used a radiometer to track 

67 



March ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

along the image produced by the thermal mapper, extrapolating true 
ground temperatures from a series of passes over sites with identical 
temperature and noting changes in infrared intensity. Maps using this 
technique had been within 1 C of agreement with temperatures checked 
at the water's surface. {Calspan News, Second Quarter 76, 3) 

• An FAA test of a new method of conserving energy, to be used when weather 

or other factors caused delays in aircraft landings, saved nearly 
2.5 million liters of fuel in 1 day. The test consisted of holding Chicago- 
bound flights on the ground at 150 airports until they could be accepted 
at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport with a minimum of airborne 
delay. (Av Wk & Space Tech., 22 Mar 76, 37) 

• A 3-yr International Magnetospheric Study that began 1 Jan., sponsored 

by the International Council of Scientific Unions, would be coordinated 
by a steering committee set up by the Special Committee on Solar- 
Terrestrial Physics, chaired by Juan G. Roederer, professor and senior 
research physicist at the University of Denver. The 20 or more countries 
participating in the study had already submitted more than 1000 individ- 
ual research programs, including ground-based, balloon, rocket, aircraft, 
and spacecraft experiments as well as networks of magnetic, auroral, and 
other geophysical observatories. Among major spacecraft projects 
planned by the European Space Agency, Japan, the Soviet Union, and 
the U.S. would be use of ESA's Geos spacecraft in geostationary orbit. ESA 
and NASA would join in an International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE) pro- 
gram to measure properties of different parts of the magnetosphere 
simultaneously. About 40 other spacecraft launched before and during 
the study period were expected to contribute sun-earth physics data to 
the study. Roederer told the National Academy of Sciences that the 
international coordination differed from that used in the International 
Geophysical Year, relying on interlocking spacecraft missions and quick 
and active exchange of information and scheduling. {IS AS News Report, 
Mar 76, 1) 



68 



April 1976 

1 April: Dr. Bruce C. Murray, professor of planetary science at California 
Institute of Technology and geologist by training, succeeded Dr. Wil- 
liam H. Pickering as director of Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 
After earning bachelor's, master's, and doctor's degrees at Massachu- 
setts Institute of Technology, Dr. Murray became a geologist and later 
served in the Air Force. At the USAF Cambridge Research Lab., trying 
to expand knowledge of the earth's shape and gravity field by the use of 
earth satellites, he became interested in space technology. First faculty 
appointee at Caltech in the field of planetary astronomy in 1960, 
Dr. Murray and Prof. James Westphal were in 1962 the first observers 
of infrared emission from an object outside the solar system (a star) and 
did infrared mapping of the moon, Venus, and Jupiter. Dr. Murray was 
the author or coauthor of 4 books and more than 60 scientific papers, 
including the recent book "Navigating the Future." (Pasadena Star- 
News, 1 Apr 76, 1; Glendale News-Press, 1 Apr 76, 1; Montrose 
Ledger, 1 Apr 76, 1) 

• Images from NASA's Landsat 1 earth-resources survey satellite helped 

Alaskan Indians to choose the best areas of timberland and mineral 
deposits in compliance with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 
1971, NASA announced. The act set aside 99 million acres from federal 
public lands so that more than 200 native village corporations and 12 
native regional corporations — representing about 100,000 Indians, Es- 
kimos, and Aleuts — could settle claims going back to the U.S. purchase 
of Alaska from Russia in 1867. A regional corporation — Doyon, 
Inc. — asked the Univ. of Alaska to recommend the best land out of 
inaccessible, irregularly shaped tracts scattered over the huge state. 
Though known to be rich in minerals and commercially profitable forests, 
the area had no detailed maps and few settlements, roads, or airfields. 
Scientists at the university's Geophysical Inst, used Landsat images, 
combined with limited ground and aerial data, to map 7 million acres of 
which Doyon chose 2 million. The Doyon selections were based heavily 
on the Landsat maps; the university reported that application of Landsat 
data "at least doubled the value of the land selected . . ." (NASA Release 
76-63) 

• Egypt and the Federal Republic of Germany had agreed that Germany 

would supply Egypt with a ground station for receiving transmissions 
from the Symphonie 1 and Symphonie 2 comsats jointly operated by 
FRG and France, the MENA news service from Cairo announced. The 
stations would use 200 lines initially for telephone contacts between 
Egypt and "each of Germany and France," as well as between Egypt and 
any other Arab state in which a similar station would be established. The 

69 



April ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

stations would also be used for television transmissions between France 
or Germany and Egypt. Egyptians would be sent to FRG for training in 
operating the proposed station, and steps toward establishing the stations 
would begin in 1976. (FBIS, MENA in English, 1 Apr 76) 
2 April: Gerald D. Griffin, Deputy Associate Administrator for Operations in 
NASA Hq's Office of Space Flight, had been named Deputy Director of the 
Dryden Flight Research Center effective 1 May, NASA announced. Griffin 
joined NASA in 1964 and served as a flight controller at Johnson Space 
Center during the Gemini program before being named an Apollo flight 
director in 1968; he served in that position on all 1 1 Apollo missions, and 
was lead flight director on Apollo missions 12, 15, and 17. He went to 
NASA Hq in 1973 and had previously been Assistant Administrator for 
Legislative Affairs. He had served in the Air Force and was an aerospace 
engineer with Lockheed and with General Dynamics before coming to 
NASA. (NASA Release 76-66; DFRC Release 5-76) 

• Two engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center had developed a solar- 

energy collector using air rather than water for heat transfer; this might 
be the key to low-cost solar-energy systems. The collector consisted of 
3 parts: a rigid foam structure, a metal collector plate, and a transparent 
cover. The device needed no tools or fasteners, but could be fitted 
together, and required no insulation; it measured 1 by 2 m and weighed 
about 17 kg. The inventors said their collector had shown itself in tests 
to be as efficient as other more costly and complicated collectors, and the 
chief patent counsel at MSFC was considering it for patenting. An average 
house of about 140 m~ would require about 67 m~ of collector area, or 
a 40-collector system, to provide sufficient heating. A solar-energy 
system could save a household about 75% of its normal winter heating 
expense, and could be modified to heat water year round. (NASA Re- 
lease 76-56) 

• The largest American flag ever painted would be exhibited on an outside 

wall of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center as part 
of KSC's preparation for the Bicentennial exposition Third Century Amer- 
ica, scheduled from 20 May through Labor Day 1976. The flag, mea- 
suring 64 m by 33.5 m, would be painted on the VAB — world's second 
largest building — along with a huge Bicentennial symbol 33.5 m in 
diameter. More than 1900 liters of specially formulated paint had been 
donated by the Montgomery Ward paint laboratories, and the Bicen- 
tennial administration would pay for the painting. The 160-m-high 
south wall of the VAB would be washed down, rinsed, and primed with 
white before the finishing coat of white could be added and the design 
overlaid in red and blue. KSC had been chosen by President Ford to house 
the Third Century America exposition, featuring exhibits by 16 federal 
agencies and many U.S. industries, the only such exposition to be spon- 
sored by the government during the Bicentennial year. (KSC Release 
112-76) 

• Pluto — outermost of the 9 planets circling the sun — might have a surface 

of frozen methane, putting its temperature in its near-vacuum environ- 
ment at close to absolute zero (total absence of heat) and indicating that 
never since the ice formed had the sun's heat been able to boil off the 

70 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 April 

covering, according to a team at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in 
Ariz. Dr. David Morrison of the University of Hawaii said that Pluto 
might look and behave just the way it did when it was formed during the 
creation of the solar system; nowhere but on Pluto had methane been 
found as a solid, and nowhere else was it present in such abundance. The 
frozen surface also meant that astronomers might have been fooled since 
Pluto's discovery in 1930 into thinking it larger than it really was; 
instead of being the size of the earth, Dr. Morrison said, "it might be only 
half our size or even smaller." Pluto, 4.8 billion km distant, was the last 
planet to have scientists define its surface composition. (NYT, 2 Apr 76, 
37; W Post, 2 Apr 76, A-l; Science, 23 Apr 76, 362) 

4 April: Engineers at the Jet Propulsion Lab. at Pasadena had used equip- 

ment identical to that used by NASA's Deep Space Network to maintain 
comfort conditions in a 6— story building at JPL with almost no operation 
of the building's conventional heating and cooling equipment, the L.A. 
Times reported. Adaptation of a simple 8-station remote-control panel 
allowed remote control of building ventilation, heating, and cooling; 
adaptation of a highly sensitive resistance device to measure return air 
on one of 4 air handlers permitted constant monitoring of the building's 
average comfort level. Operators demonstrated maintenance of the com- 
fort level by using the thermal storage of the building structure, outside 
weather, heat from lights, and heat generated by occupants. Over a 
month, the building had used less than half the energy required in 
pre-energy crisis days. The program was expected to save more than 
10 percent of JPL's annual energy costs. (L.A. Times, 4 Apr 76, 1) 

5 April: Harris M. (Bud) Schurmeier, manager since 1972 of the Mariner 

Jupiter/Saturn project at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was named Assis- 
tant Laboratory Director for Civil Systems, JPL Director Bruce C. Mur- 
ray announced. The new post would direct Civil Systems activities at JPL, 
begun in the 1960s to apply specific JPL capabilities in technical and 
management areas to critical problems of society, including technolog- 
ical transfer to energy, environment, biomedical, and transportation 
systems. Replacing Schurmeier as manager of the Jupiter/Saturn 
project that would send 2 instrumented Mariner spacecraft to the giant 
outer planets next year would be John R. Casani, former manager of JPL's 
Guidance and Control Division. While serving as Mariner Jupiter/Saturn 
project manager, Schurmeier had also acted as Deputy Assistant Labora- 
tory Director for Flight Projects for the past 6 yr; the latter position 
would not be filled immediately. (JPL release 5 Apr 76) 
• Howard R. Hughes, 70, aviation pioneer and founder of a financial empire 
that included aerospace and aviation holdings, died en route to Houston. 
He was president of Hughes Aircraft and sole trustee of its owner, the 
Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His estate was estimated to be worth 
between $1.5 and 2 billion. Newspaper accounts of his wealth and years 
of withdrawal from public contact told of his early achievements in flying, 
sparked by his learning to fly during his production in 1930 of "Hell's 
Angels," then the most expensive motion picture ever made. On 13 Sept. 
1935 he set a world land-plane speed record, flying the H-l (his own 
design) at 566 kph; in the same plane, he established a transcontinental 

71 



April ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

speed record 19 Jan. 1937 of 7 hr 28 min. On 10 July 1938, he took 
off in another Hughes plane from N.Y. and flew around the world with 4 
associates in 91 hr. Although he had no degree, he studied at Caltech and 
Rice Institute and had helped to design several aircraft, including the 
Lockheed P-38 fighter and the same company's triple-tailfin Constel- 
lation transport. {NYT, 6 Apr 76, 1; W Post, 6 Apr 76, A-l; Av Wk, 
12 Apr 76, 23) 
6 April: Marshall Space Flight Center announced award of a contract to 
Ivey's Plumbing and Electrical Co. of Kosciusko, Miss., for construction 
of a test facility at MSFC for the solar heating and cooling development 
program MSFC is directing for the Energy Research and Development 
Administration. The $647,243 contract was awarded by the U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers, which would monitor construction activities; com- 
pletion date set by the contract was 1 Nov. 1976. The facility would be 
located in an area formerly used as a swing-arm test facility for Saturn; 
data-acquisition equipment — instrument terminals and cabling from pad 
to blockhouse — used for Saturn would be available for the heating and 
cooling tests. The facility would consist of 4 test areas, 2 designed for 
complete system or subsystem tests; a third would be used to test liquid 
energy storage subsystems, and the fourth for passively testing solar 
collectors. A solar simulator constructed in a nearby building would be 
linked to the test facility for data collection. 

Subsystems and components to be tested would include solar col- 
lectors, thermal-energy storage equipment, and solar heating and cooling 
devices. Testing the hardware against predetermined performance 
standards would produce data for input to analytical programs; the 
analyses in turn would be used to evaluate total systems performance 
under environmental conditions other than those simulated during tests. 
Components of the facility — heat exchangers, cooling towers, chillers, 
fans, pumps, and control valves — would be arranged to permit maximum 
flexibility for future modifications and use of other test positions or 
procedures. (MSFC Release 76-59) 

• New Mexico State University and NASA would sponsor a 3-day symposium 

aimed at motivating Hispanic and Native American college and high- 
school students to follow science and engineering as career fields, the 
Johnson Space Center announced. The symposium sent invitations to 
faculties of 1 4 colleges and universities with high numbers of Hispanic 
and Native American students, as well as local area high schools, to hear 
speakers and view exhibits from NASA field centers and from the aero- 
space industry. The session from 21 to 23 April would highlight career 
opportunities in the aerospace field, including a workshop session on the 
need for additional aerospace courses in the school curriculum and a job 
fair providing information on placement. (JSC Release 76-23) 

• The Michoud Assembly Facility operated for NASA by MSFC at New Orleans 

was nearing production capability for the Space Shuttle external tank, 
MSFC announced. Delivery of all required items to Michoud would require 
an estimated 225 trucks, about three fourths of them carrying loads 
classified as oversize. By the time all 225 trucks arrived, total "train" 
length would have reached more than 3 km. Getting the equipment from 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 April 

the suppliers located at faraway points such as Dallas, San Diego, Bal- 
timore, and Nashville had presented problems because of the size of the 
loads; special escorts were required for oversized loads, and travel time 
at New Orleans for oversize loads was restricted to the period between 
10 pm and 4 am. Tooling and fixtures being installed at Michoud would 
give Martin Marietta, prime external tank contractor, the capability 
needed to meet flight schedules; each Shuttle flight would require a new 
external tank, and NASA had planned more than 400 flights between 
1979 and 1989. Launches should number 60 per year by 1984. (MSFC 
Release 76-60) 

• Every ruble spent on space research had been returned many times to the 

Soviet national economy, said Cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov in a Tass 
interview during observations of the 15th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's 
space flight. Leonov was one of the two USSR participants in the Apollo- 
Soyuz Test Project, and had been the first man to walk in space during 
a Voskhod 2 flight 18 Mar. 1965. He stated that 496 spacecraft had 
been launched from Soviet cosmodromes in the last 5 yrs, 35 of them 
communications satellites, 13 Meteor weather satellites, and several 
Prognoz science satellites, as well as about 400 in the Cosmos series. The 
long-functioning Salyut stations were the main line of Soviet space 
activity, Leonov said, carrying out research in cartography, geology, 
agriculture, forestry, and hydrology as only a few of the many fields of 
knowledge expanded by work on orbital stations. Leonov also stressed the 
importance of the Soviet-American Apollo-Soyuz test project. (FBIS, 
Tass in English, 6 Apr 76) 

6-9 April: Signatories of the International Telecommunications Satellite 
Organization (INTELSAT) held their 4th annual meeting in Singapore, with 
68 of the 93 signatories attending. The meeting adopted the board of 
governors' recommendation to increase the capital ceiling for the global 
satellite system from $500 million U.S. to $900 million U.S., to allow 
financial flexibility for the Intelsat V spacecraft program. (The capital 
ceiling was defined as the net capital contributions of signatories and all 
outstanding contractual capital commitments.) The meeting also ap- 
proved requests from Nigeria and Zaire for use of the Intelsat space 
segment for domestic public telecommunications on the same basis as for 
international services. Intelsat satellites were providing fulltime services 
through 137 antennas at 109 earth stations in 73 countries. (INTELSAT 
Release 76-12-1) 

7 April: The Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International Corporation was 
awarded a $6.9 million contract by Goddard Space Flight Center to 
produce RS-27 engine systems for the Delta launch vehicle. The contract 
called for delivery of 10 engines between March and Sept. 1977. NASA 
had returned 12 Rocketdyne-built H-l engines for use in producing the 
new RS-27 systems. (Rockwell Release RD-6) 

• Tass announced that the USSR expedition Polar Experiment North-76 had 

begun work in the high latitudes of the Arctic. Using 10 scientific ships, 
as well as planes, radar, and installations for rocket probing of upper 
atmosphere layers, a team of scientists would observe ice floes in the 

73 



April ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

polar basin, including the geographic North Pole. The expedition, said to 
be the largest in the history of Arctic exploration, would simultaneously 
determine the heat balance deep in the ocean, in the atmosphere, and in 
floating ice in the North Pole area. Ice floes in the polar basin had been 
found to forecast climate changes in the densely populated and econom- 
ically developed areas of the northern hemisphere. From the beginning 
of the century to the 1940s, the floes had receded from continental 
coastlines, indicating a relative rise in global temperature; they had 
begun to appear further south again, indicating a cold phase, and the 
appearance had been correlated with difficulties in northern navigation 
and fisheries and unusually snowy winters in western Europe, droughts 
in Asia, and unexpected cyclones and hurricanes. (FBIS, Tass in English, 
7 Apr 76) 
9 April: The Johnson Space Center announced award of a 1 -yr extension of 
the Pan American World Airways contract for plant maintenance and 
operations services at the Center. Pan American had been selected 
13 Feb. 1974 to receive a cost-plus-award-fee contract for operation of 
all utility systems and maintenance of utilities, buildings, roads, ditches, 
and special equipment at JSC; the current award represented the second 
of 2 planned extensions and would extend the effective period through 
12 Feb. 1977. Annual estimated amount of the contract was $7.4 million. 
(JSC Release 76-25) 

• A "mysterious force" on the moon had made one of the remote-controlled 

stations set up by Apollo astronauts behave peculiarly, Boyce Rensberger 
reported in the N.Y. Times. After operating without interruption since its 
placement on the lunar surface in Feb. 1971, the station went dead, 
returned to life spontaneously a few weeks later, then went dead again. 
Engineers at JSC were waiting to see if the unknown influence would 
switch the station on again. Called ALSEPs, for Apollo lunar scientific 
experiment packages, the five stations deployed on the moon at intervals 
since Nov. 1969 had been sending a steady stream of scientific data on 
moonquakes, heat flowing from the moon's interior, and the nature of 
particles in the solar wind; the atomic power supplies, designed for a 1-yr 
lifetime, had proved more durable. The faulty station, left by the 
Apollo 14 mission, stopped receiving ground commands in March 1975 
when its receiver failed; on 18 Jan. 1976, its transmitter stopped; on 
Feb. 19, the entire station came back to life — both receiver and trans- 
mitter working — and one experiment that had never operated during 
lunar daytime began working flawlessly night and day. Then, exactly a 
month later, the entire station shut down again. One theory was that the 
starts and stops might relate to extreme temperature changes on the 
moon, varying from 121°C at lunar noonday to — 184°C at lunar 
midnight. However, as day and night had not originally affected the 
station's operation, scientists could not explain why temperature change 
did not produce failure from the start. (NYT, 9 Apr 76, 4) 

• Astronomers at the University of Massachusetts had clocked pulsars — 

superdense remnants of collapsed stars— at speeds over 2 million kmh, 
making them the fastest movers in earth's galaxy, the National Science 
Foundation reported. Some of the objects exceeded galactic escape 

74 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 April 

velocity, meaning they could pull free from the Milky Way and spin off 
into intergalactic space. First discovered in 1968, pulsars were denned 
as dense bodies in which a sun-size mass had been compressed into a 
sphere 16 km in diameter. The material was said to be so dense that a 
teaspoonful would weigh a billion tons. With its collapse, the body would 
spin increasingly faster and its magnetic field would increase in intensity; 
the newly formed pulsar would send out electromagnetic signals that 
pulsed like a radio beacon with each turn (hence the name pulsar). The 
high velocities were thought to be caused by the intense magnetic fields, 
up to a trillion times that of earth's magnetic field: a slight displacement 
of the pulsar's magnetic field could release large amounts of electro- 
magnetic energy in one direction, upon which the pulsar would move 
in the opposite direction as would a rocket. (Pasadena Star-News, 
9 Apr 76, 5) 

12 April: Louis Mogavero was appointed Director of NASA's Technology 

Utilization Office in the Hq Office of Industry Affairs and Technology 
Utilization, the agency announced. Mogavero, who joined NASA in 1966, 
had held management and planning positions in the former Office of 
Manned Space Flight, and in 1972 had worked with a White House study 
group evaluating new opportunities in technology. Before joining NASA he 
was operations manager for new product development with the Boeing 
Co., and received a master's degree in engineering administration in 
1970 from George Washington University. (NASA Hq announcement, 
12 Apr 76) 

• Electricity from outer space to power homes and industry would be not only 

possible, but entirely probable, soon after the turn of the century, said 
Ralph I. LaRock of NASA Hq at a recent meeting held at Marshall Space 
Flight Center. LaRock, director of the Energy Technology Applications 
Division in NASA's Office of Energy Programs, described a proposed 
satellite power system under study by NASA, industry, the Energy Re- 
search and Development Administration, and other groups. MSFC's share 
of the study was aimed at defining overall systems requirements (includ- 
ing satellite structure, economical size and materials for the solar array, 
new technology needed in satellite and support systems, and transport- 
ing, erecting, and maintaining the system in space). LaRock said predic- 
tions of technology advancement during the 1980-1990 time period 
indicated a good chance of "our having a few solar-power satellites in 
operation by the turn of the century." (MSFC Release 76-75) 

13 April: The House of Representatives passed H.R. 13172, authorizing a 

supplemental $16 800 000 for NASA for the period 1 July 1976 through 
30 Sept. 1976 (the so-called "transition period" after which the 
new government fiscal year would begin on 1 Oct.). The authorization, 
supplementing NASA's research and program management request, was 
$3 186 000 less than the original request of $19 986 000. (NASA Ofc. 
of Budget Operations, Chron. Hist. FY 76, 16 June 76) 

• Calling the Space Shuttle "clearly ... the next logical step" in tapping the 

scientific and commercial possibilities of space, the Baltimore Sun said 
in an editorial that criticisms of the Shuttle program from an economic 
point of view should be balanced with the rewards that would come only 

75 



April ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

from experience. The first Shuttle was never intended to be self- 
supporting, the editorial said, and the rewards would include increased 
knowledge to serve as the basis for more sophisticated programs and the 
increased likelihood of constructing a permanently staffed permanently 
orbiting space station. Complaints from prospective users — ComSat and 
DOD — that Shuttle fees would be too high "before NASA even has an- 
nounced these fees" were an obvious ploy to keep the fees as low as 
possible, the editorial said. (B Sun, 13 April 76) 

• A 2-yr comparative study of data on dust storms on Mars and earth 

revealed that Martian dust storms were much like severe ones on earth, 
"only more so," the Jet Propulsion Lab. announced. JPL investigator 
Peter M. Woiceshyn used Lowell Observatory data to conclude that a 
wall of dust more than 50 km high swept down the slopes of the Hellas 
area on Mars in July 1971 at speeds greater than 480 km per hr. 
Mariner 9 occultation data verified that winds of extreme velocity would 
be required to raise surface dust in the low atmospheric pressure of Mars, 
where the air density was only 1/ 100th that on earth. When Mar- 
iner 9 arrived at Mars in Nov. 1971, another dust storm had been raging 
for several weeks, and dust-cloud tops were estimated to be 50 to 70 km 
above the surface. The JPL report said the two 1971 storms and another 
detected by astronomers in 1956 began in the same location on the slopes 
of Hellas, triggered by a cold jet stream from the Martian north pole 
funneling down a long valley across the planet's equator. Similar storms 
on earth in Russia, in Iran, and on the U.S. plains east of the Rockies 
caused great damage from soil erosion, similar to that on Mars revealed 
by Mariner 9. More storm data from Mars would be sought by the Viking 
spacecraft scheduled to land there in July and Sept. 76. (JPL release 
13 Apr 76) 

• A celebration in Moscow of the 15th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight 

into space heard a speech by A. P. Aleksandrov, president of the Academy 
of Sciences, reviewing Soviet firsts in space: launch of the world's first 
artificial satellite, first manned flights and walk in open space, first flight 
to the moon and delivery to earth of lunar soil samples by automatic 
devices, creation of orbital stations, and unique experiments in the study 
of solar-system planets. Aleksandrov recalled that the first manned space 
flight occurred only 3.5 yr after launch of the first artificial satellite, 
which he said made the Russian word "sputnik" common to all peoples 
in all languages of the world. He reviewed Soviet progress in space 
research and applications, especially in communications, mentioning 
that the number of Orbita network ground stations to reach remote parts 
of the Soviet Union had now climbed to 68. He referred to the success 
of the Apollo-Soyuz joint experimental flight as "a significant contri- 
bution to the progress of world cosmonautics." (FBIS, Tass report 
13 Apr 76) 
14 April: A NASA earth-survey aircraft — one of two U-2 high-altitude re- 
search planes flown by the agency — had been studying the stratosphere 
over Central America, South America, Canada, the Caribbean, and the 
Pacific Ocean to measure ozone, nitric oxide, and manmade pollutants as 
part of a long-term global effort to understand the effects of pollutants 

76 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 April 

on global climate over a long period of time. The data flights used 4 
scientific instruments: a stratospheric air sampler, to measure ozone and 
nitrogen ozide; an aerosol particle sampler, to measure minute aerosols; 
a stratospheric cryogenic sampler to measure halocarbons (freons) and 
methane levels; and a foil sampler, to measure aerosols and trace gases 
for the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The other 3 studies 
were under the direction of NASA's Ames Research Center. Data from the 
flights would be available to the other governments involved in the 
studies. (NASA Release 76-60) 

15 April: Alternative "super safe" landing sites for the second Viking space- 

craft scheduled to arrive on Mars were being investigated by NASA, 
Dr. Harold Masursky told the annual meeting of the American Geophys- 
ical Union in Washington. Masursky, an astrogeologist with the U.S. 
Geological Survey, said the prime landing sites had been carefully se- 
lected and should present no problem. However, in case of trouble with 
the first lander, scheduled to touch down early in July, the second lander 
now scheduled to descend in a less well known area would proceed to a 
less challenging site to ensure salvaging the mission. The prime site, in 
the Chryse region at the mouth of the largest channel system identified 
on Mars, was of special interest because scientists thought areas with 
highest probabilities of water would be most likely to harbor life as known 
by man. The scheduled second landing area, called Cydonia, had the 
highest recorded atmospheric water content during the season when the 
Viking would land, but was in an area not accessible by radar from earth 
and was therefore not as well known. Giant radar telescopes in the U.S. 
and at Arecibo, P.R., were scanning areas near the Mars equator that 
would be safer than the prime sites, even if not as scientifically produc- 
tive. (NYT, 18 Apr 76, 25) 

16 April: Dr. John F. Clark would retire 1 July after 10 yr as director of the 

Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA announced. His successor would be 
Dr. Robert S. Cooper, deputy director of GSFC. Dr. Clark had come to 
NASA in 1958, serving from 1963 to 1965 as Deputy Associate Adminis- 
trator for Space Sciences and Applications, after which he was appointed 
to his post at GSFC. An authority in atmospheric and space sciences, 
Dr. Clark while director at GSFC had been responsible for major advances 
in communications, weather and climate, earth resources, space physics, 
and space astronomy. (NASA Release 76-71) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced award of 2 contracts totaling 

$486 388 for fabrication and installation of 2 test towers to be used in 
structural load tests of the Space Shuttle external tank. One contract, 
awarded to the Lucey Boiler Co. of Chattanooga for $344 660, was for 
pickup from MSFC of government-furnished construction materials and 
fabrication and delivery by July 1976 of all sections and components of 
the towers. The other contract, awarded to Teledyne Brown Engineering 
of Huntsville for $ 1 4 1 728, was for installation of the towers by 30 Sept. 
(MSFC Release 76-69) 

• The Communications Satellite Corp. reported net income of $1 1 041 000 

for the first quarter of 1976, compared with $12 692 000 for the same 
period of 1975. Although total income of $37 276 000 for the first 

77 



April ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

quarter was 2% higher than that for the same period in 1975, higher 
depreciation charges associated with the launch of additional satellites — 
Intelsat IV- A F-l and F-2, and the first Marisat — and higher operat- 
ing costs, together with expenses of operating Satellite Business 
Systems — a partnership formed by subsidiaries of ComSat, IBM, and 
Aetna — accounted for the reduction in income. ComSat had appealed 
the FCC decision of 4 Dec. 75 reducing its rates, and FCC had delayed the 
effective date of the lower rates until the court had ruled on the appeal. 
(ComSat Release 76-7) 
17 April: The $6.2— billion Space Shuttle, "America's only remaining space 
spectacular," might come apart at the seams because of unsafe nuts and 
screws, Jack Anderson and Les Whitten reported in the Washington 
Post. Discussion at NASA as early as Apr. 1973 had centered on the 
menace of substandard screws; in July 1973, Johnson Gage — a Bloom- 
field, Conn, firm — had sent NASA a warning based on tests of individual 
screw and nut threads stating that the standards "provide for a loophole 
that allows [NASA to] accept outright junk." Computer tests had revealed 
that millions worth of faulty threads reached Rockwell International 
Corp., principal Shuttle contractor, because of low standards and it was 
feared the inferior screws had gotten into Shuttle equipment. Although 
company engineers were worried about the standards and the resultant 
products, the company bought fasteners from outside suppliers and could 
not control quality from 6000 vendors in 47 states, company minutes 
said. Industry had fought to keep the low standards rather than pay the 
estimated $120 million cost of retooling; the American National Stand- 
ards Institute, led by industry, had blocked every move for tighter 
standards, Anderson and Whitten charged. {W Post, 17 Apr 76, B— 11) 

20 April: India's second artificial earth satellite would be launched in 1978 

from a USSR cosmodrome, Tass announced. The agreement had been 
made at a Moscow meeting of a working group of Soviet and Indian 
specialists. (FBIS, Tass in English, 20 Apr 76) 

21 April: Kennedy Space Center announced award to Pan American Tech- 

nical Services, Inc., Cocoa Beach, Fla., of the first contract to modify KSC 
facilities for Spacelab processing as part of the Space Shuttle program. 
The $129 627 contract included architect and engineer services to 
design the modifications of the Operations and Checkout Bldg., including 
changes in utilities (gaseous nitrogen, helium, high-pressure air, water 
and airconditioning) and adaptation of Apollo equipment acceptance and 
checkout rooms to make them compatible with ground-support equip- 
ment provided by the European Space Agency for automated Spacelab 
testing. Spacelab — to be carried into space by the Space Shuttle 
orbiter — was being designed, developed, and built by 9 member nations 
of ESA at a cost of $300 to $400 million. At the end of each mission, the 
Spacelab would be removed from the landed orbiter and prepared for the 
next mission. The engineering model to be used for facility and orbiter 
checkout was scheduled to arrive at KSC in July 1978; the first flight 
model was due in June 1979. (KSC Release 128-76) 



78 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 April 

• William A. Anders, former Apollo 8 astronaut who became the first 

chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1974, was sworn in 
as U.S. ambassador to Norway [see 9 Mar.]. (NRC Release 76-93) 

• Joseph A. Zinno made aviation history "of a sort," the National Aeronautic 

Association reported, when his man-powered 68-kg airplane swooped off 
the ground and flew more than 24 m for 5 sec at Quonset Point, R.I. In 
1959 a British industrialist had offered a prize of $24,000 (now grown 
to $92,500) for flight in a machine powered solely by the crew that could 
fly a figure-eight course around 2 pylons set 0.8 km apart and cross the 
starting and finish lines at least 3 m above the ground. So far 16 
Europeans and Zinno had succeeded in flying man-powered planes. 
However, aeronautical experts believed the altitude needed to make a 
figure-eight maneuver (more than 12 m) would undo any aviator striving 
for the prize. (NAA newsletter, June 76, 3) 

• Tass announced the return to Riga of the 20th Soviet Antarctic expedition 

after completing "its successful 15-month program of research." For 
the first time under Antarctic conditions, scientists had operated autom- 
atized processing of data from rocket soundings of the atmosphere; also 
for the first time, a shelf glacier had been drilled with 3 holes, one of them 
358 m deep (entirely through the glacier). The Soviet scientists reported 
increasing cooperation with colleagues; the 20th expedition included 
geologists and medical workers from the German Democratic Republic, 
and a U.S. weather specialist spent the winter at the Soviet station while 
a Soviet glaciologist spent the winter at the U.S. McMurdo station. (FBIS, 
Tass in English, 21 Apr 76) 

22 April: Nato MA, first in a series of NATO-USAF military comsats, was 
launched from Eastern Test Range at 3:46 pm EST ( 1 046 GMT) by a Delta 
vehicle into a synchronous transfer orbit at about 35 000 km altitude 
before being positioned above the equator off West Africa at about 
15°W. The comsat would transmit voice, data, facsimile, and telex 
messages among military ground stations; a NATO IIIB spacecraft was 
scheduled for launch later in 1976 into geosynchronous orbit above the 
Indian Ocean. Nato 1IIA, weighing 310 kg in orbit and designed for a 
7-yr lifetime, was drum-shaped, 2.2 m in diameter and 2.2 m long, and 
extended about 3 m with antennas out. The eventual 3-satellite system 
including 16 major ground terminals had been estimated to cost about 
$340 million. (NASA Release 76-46 and 76-46A; MOR M-492- 
207-76-01 [prelaunch] 19 Apr 76, [postlaunch] 20 May 76; W Post, 
23 Apr 76, A-21) 

• NASA's Wallops Flight Center received a National Safety Council award for 
its performance in on-the-job safety. The Council selected Wallops for a 
third-place award in its annual contest honoring the lowest disabling- 
injury frequency achieved by NSC member organizations. Wallops 
qualified for its award with a recorded rate of zero lost-time injuries per 
million man-hours worked, as compared to a rate of 1.4 injuries for all 
competing units in the Aerospace Section, Research and Development 
Division. (WFC Release 76-4) 



79 



April ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

• The European Space Agency's launch vehicle Ariane during its 5-yr 

development period would use hydrazine fuel supplied by the USSR, 
reported the British journal New Scientist. The U.S. hydrazine plant near 
Baltimore had been closed down because of contamination by nitro- 
samines, hydrazine sources suspected of causing cancer. Hydrazine, 
highly corrosive and difficult to handle, had not been manufactured in 
Western Europe, and no one wanted to do so, according to the report. 
Ariane's discontinued predecessor Europa used a less powerful fuel — 
liquid oxygen and kerosene — and the USSR had used hydrazine from the 
plant near Moscow to power the large rockets that launched the Salyut 
space stations and large interplanetary probes. The report said that the 
hydrazine deal stemmed from France's longstanding cooperation with the 
USSR in aerospace technology; if the Soviets should restrict hydrazine 
supplies, France would build a European plant because its commitments 
would override environmental objections. (W Post, 22 Apr 76, A-52) 

23 April: Addressing the Utah Air Force Association's Bicentennial program 
in Salt Lake City, NASA's Deputy Administrator George M. Low gave a 
status report on ongoing projects such as Landsat, Viking, and the Space 
Shuttle, then speculated at length on accomplishments in space that 
might be celebrated on the occasion of the U.S. Tricentennial. Referring 
to "the beginning of the industrialization of space," using the first- 
generation reusable space-transportation system called Shuttle to set up 
the first factories in space, he said "the real breakthrough" would come 
with energy collected from the sun and beamed down with microwaves 
to provide all the electrical needs of a major city. None of this tech- 
nology, he added, was beyond today's knowledge. He then forecast a 
cleanup of earth's environment, communications applications of all 
kinds, and exploration of outer space made possible by discoveries using 
the Space Telescope, ending with descriptions of space colonies that 
would "become the real frontier." He concluded by stating that "all of 
my projections are overly conservative" and could all become reality 
long before the end of America's third century. (Text) 

26 April: "No useful data" appeared in photographs taken during the 
artificial-eclipse experiment on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, reported 
Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, quoting U.S. scientists 
who examined the photographs. This view contrasted with earlier Soviet 
statements. The experiment consisted of Apollo's blocking out the solar 
disk while pictures of the corona were made from the Soyuz. According 
to the magazine, many NASA officials and U.S. scientists "believed pri- 
vately before the flight that the Soviet experiment would produce only 
marginal results." (Av Wk, 26 Apr 76, 11) 

• A $4.5-million structural test data-acquisition system to be used for tests 

on Space Shuttle components was nearing completion of installation and 
checkout at Marshall Space Flight Center, MFSC announced. Developed 
by Avco Electronics, the system included a central facility with a com- 
puter system, 6 line printers, 5 graphics display units, a printer-plotter, 
2 card readers, and 4 video hard-copy units; 4 data-selector units; and 
24 static-input units. The central facility, to be located in MSFC's Test 
Laboratory, was designed for a lifespan of 10 yr and would combine 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 April 

extreme accuracy with high reliability and ruggedness. Testing the exter- 
nal tanks, solid-fuel rocket booster, and other parts of the Shuttle for 
structural integrity would require monitoring up to 6000 channels of 
data simultaneously, fed into the computers from test hardware else- 
where at the Center. The Avco contract also provided for training MSFC 
personnel to operate the system when completed late in 1976. (MSFC 
Release 76-73) 

• Rockwell International awarded subcontracts totaling nearly $2 million for 

equipment and material for the U.S. Air Force's new B-l strategic 
bomber development effort. Rockwell was awarded the B-l system 
contract in 1970, and the first prototype flew for the first time 23 Dec. 
1974. A second B-l equipped with full offensive avionics made its first 
flight 1 April 1976; a third prototype nearing completion was scheduled 
to begin flight tests this year. Contracts just awarded to 5 Ohio companies 
were for manufacture of the fourth prototype. The companies were: 
Cleveland Pneumatic Co., main landing gear, $1,270,000; TRW Inc., 
fuel pumps, $195,800; Westinghouse Aerospace Electric Div., gener- 
ator and controls system, $73,000; RMI Co., titanium, $165,000; and 
Titanium Metals Corp., titanium, $106,000. The titanium would form 
major B-l components such as the wing carry-through structure. (Rock- 
well Intl. Release LA-2) 

• NASA was beginning to make headway in efforts to solve basic problems of 

U.S. aircraft manufacturers caused by a long-term dearth of low-speed 
aeronautical research, reported Aviation Week & Space Technology 
magazine. Industry engineers reporting on discussions at a recent Wi- 
chita meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers said use of the 
workshop technique had been effective in uncovering primary problem 
areas by crosstalk with such specialized segments as aerodynamicists and 
propulsion engineers. NASA research being further refined in industry 
product development included general-aviation aircraft airfoils, aircraft 
drag reduction, propeller efficiency, and reduction of airflow separation 
on wing trailing edges. Lewis Research Center had begun exploration of 
alternatives to conventional reciprocating engines, such as diesel and 
rotary concepts. NASA had also begun studying the application of ad- 
vanced technology to agricultural aircraft, said to be responsible for 
increasing farm production by about $10 billion annually, to solve prob- 
lems such as corrosion of aircraft structures by agricultural chemicals 
and control of chemical drift. (Av Wk, 26 Apr 76, 56) 

• Employment in the U.S. aerospace industry continued downward, the an- 

nual employment survey by the Aerospace Industries Association said. 
Employment figures would fall below 900 000 by the end of 1976, 
compared with 925 000 at the start of the year. Peak employment in the 
industry was 1 500 000 in 1968. The predicted decline, amounting to 
3.5%, would be spread among all sectors of the industry; greatest 
decline — about 6000 — would be in employment on aircraft programs, 
much of it in plants producing transport aircraft. The continuing erosion 
of the high-technology manpower base was principally due to slackening 
demand for commercial jetliners, uncertainties in export markets, the 
level of government commitment to new or replacement military aircraft, 

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April ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

and reduced investment in the space program, the report said. The 
forecast was based on data provided by 48 major firms representing more 
than 65% of total aerospace employment. (Aerospace News, 26 Apr 76) 

• Comsat General Corp. signed an agreement with the Water Resources 

Division, U.S. Department of Interior's Geological Survey, to conduct a 
6-mo joint evaluation of the use of satellites to transmit data from remote 
hydrological sensors to a central facility. Comsat General would provide 
1 1 small data-collection platforms to receive and transmit the data via 
satellite to a central receive facility. The DCPs would be located near 
Survey sensors in the continental U.S.: 5 in the Pacific Northwest, 5 in 
eastern Pa., and one near Survey headquarters at Reston, Va. Central 
receiving station would be the ComSat station at Southbury, Conn., 
where the data would be stored on magnetic tape and accessed by the 
Survey on interconnecting terrestrial lines. The program would provide 
a chance to evaluate collection of environmental data by satellite under 
operational conditions; it would begin later in 1976 and conclude within 
6 mo, subject to FCC approval. (ComSat Release CG 76-112) 

• The vast spaces between galaxies previously thought to be empty contained 

large clouds of gas, 2 scientists from the University of Arizona said. The 
National Science Foundation, which funded the research using the 2.3m 
telescope at Kitt Peak, announced the discovery as the most solid evi- 
dence to date for the presence of substantial amounts of matter between 
the galaxies. The discovery, expected to affect current theories on the 
evolution of galaxies, might contribute to learning whether the universe 
would continue to expand indefinitely; more mass in the universe, with 
resulting greater gravitational forces, would eventually halt and reverse 
the expansion. Dr. Robert E. Williams and Dr. Ray J. Weymann studied 
clouds of gas in the vicinity of certain quasars and found that the clouds 
were associated not directly with the quasars but with the cluster of 
galaxies that contained the quasar. (NSF Release PR76-35) 
27 April: Marshall Space Flight Center announced shipment of the first 
production segment of a motor case for the Space Shuttle solid-fuel 
rocket motor from the manufacturer (Ladish Co. of Cudahy, Wis.) to the 
Cal-Doran Metallurgical Services plant at Los Angeles, where it would 
undergo heat treatment and cleaning before being forwarded to Rohr 
Industries at Chula Vista, Calif. Rohr — subcontractor to prime con- 
tractor Thiokol Corp.'s Wasatch Div. in Utah — would process the cylin- 
drical segment, with a finished weight of about 5060 kg, for delivery to 
Thiokol in Sept. 1976. Thiokol would load the solid propellants into 4 
motor-case segments over 3 m in dia. and 45.5 m long, each holding 
about 500 000 kg of propellant. The 4 segments joined would stretch to 
more than 35 m and constitute about three fourths of the solid-fuel 
rocket booster. Each launch of the Shuttle would use 2 boosters, burning 
from ignition on the pad to burnout at an altitude of about 42 km; at that 
point, the SRBs would be separated and descend by parachute into the 
ocean for recovery, refueling, and reuse. (MSFC Release 76-76) 

• Observations from NASA's airborne Kuiper observatory by a group of Cor- 

nell University scientists reported the first occultation, or eclipse, of a 
star by a planet observed from above the lower layers of earth's atmos- 

82 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 April 

phere. The occultation was observed from an altitude of 12.4 km over 
the Atlantic near Bermuda, using the 1-m telescope to view the passage 
of Mars between the earth and the star Epsilon in the constellation 
Gemini. Light from the star passed through the Martian atmosphere 
before reaching earth; changes in the light after it passed through the 
planet's atmosphere would give astronomers new information about the 
density and composition of that atmosphere, thought to consist of argon 
rather than water and carbon dioxide which had been frozen into the 
Martian polar caps. The two unmanned Viking spacecraft scheduled for 
Mars landing later this year would also measure the argon present in the 
Mars atmosphere. (NSF Release PR76-36) 

28 April: A model of a nuclear reactor developed by NASA for space applica- 

tions, using a gaseous rather than a solid nuclear fuel, had begun tests 
at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, NASA announced. A reactor 
using gaseous fuel could operate at temperatures that would melt solid- 
fuel rods; the higher operating temperature would make the gaseous 
reactor potentially more efficient than conventional solid-core reactors. 
Also, the gaseous fuel would permit continuous reprocessing of the fuel, 
eliminating the need for a separate reprocessing plant required for solid 
fuel; the predicted efficiency would translate into reduced mass and 
weight in space applications. Nuclear-energized laser research by NASA 
indicated that power from a gaseous reactor could be generated as laser 
beams, offering the prospect of a new space technology by which energy 
from a nuclear-power station in space might be transmitted over large 
distances, using laser beams, to users on space platforms, lunar bases, or 
space ships for propulsion. The tests were designed to use hardware 
salvaged from an earlier NASA-Atomic Energy Commission nuclear- 
rocket program. (NASA Release 76-76) 

29 April: Rear Admiral Stuart J. Evans had been named NASA's Assistant 

Administrator for Procurement, effective 1 June, NASA announced. Adm. 
Evans, the Deputy Chief of Naval Procurement, would assume his new 
post after retiring from the Navy 31 May 1976. He would succeed Rear 
Admiral Kenneth L. Woodfin (Ret.), present Assistant Administrator for 
Procurement, who had announced his plans to leave NASA after a year's 
service to join a private firm. Adm. Woodfin had been Deputy Chief of 
Naval Material (Procurement and Production) before coming to NASA. 
(NASA Releases 76-68, 76-78) 
• Tass reported a new development in U.S. -Soviet scientific and technical 
cooperation in a joint oceanographic experiment called Polymode to 
study vortex formations in the ocean. Professor Alan Robinson of Har- 
vard University, heading a delegation of U.S. oceanographers to a plenary 
meeting of the Polymode organizing committee, said the mission would 
help crack the secrets of the ocean and place its resources at the service 
of mankind. Scientists had theorized that ocean vortexes, like cyclones 
in the atmosphere, had substantial influence on weather all over the 
globe. Work on Polymode would begin in mid- 1977, with the northern 
area of research in the North Atlantic, 1000 km west of the Azores, and 
the southern area 200 to 300 km north of the Antilles. (FBIS, Tass in 
English, 29 Apr 76) 

83 



April ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

30 April: Venus — whose dense atmosphere had prevented observation of the 
surface, except by radar — might be as technically active as Mars, and 
possibly as active as the earth, researchers at JPL's Goldstone tracking 
station announced. As reported in Science magazine, new high- 
resolution maps from 2 different radiotelescopes disclosed the planet's 
surface with enough detail to permit a study of its geology. A series of 
8 maps taken by the 64-m steerable dish at Goldstone revealed a 
1500-km-long trough near Venus's equator comparable to large earth 
rift systems such as the East African, giving "strong evidence of exten- 
sional tectonic activity" on Venus. Evidence of a fault movement seemed 
to appear in another Goldstone map showing a long arc-shaped mountain 
range crossed and bowed by another linear feature. A high-resolution 
image obtained at the Arecibo observatory in P.R. showed a large part 
of the Venus northern hemisphere including a basin-like feature 
about 1000 km across with a bright sharp rim; "the shape is wrong" for 
an impact basin, according to the Arecibo report. The new maps raised 
as many questions as they answered, Science commented. (Science, 
30 Apr 76, 454) 

• Long-term directions and opportunities in civil aviation — including pas- 
senger air travel by rotorcraft from small urban-center airports, or 
intercontinental air transportation on hypersonic craft rated environ- 
mentally acceptable — were projected in a NASA study, "Outlook for 
Aeronautics," announced by the agency as the result of its study on the 
role it should play in research and development of aviation and the 
technical advances that might be needed. Relatively few major new 
developments could be expected through the early 1980s because of 
economic setbacks and environmental pressures, the agency said, but, 
with adequate research and technology investments, new opportunities 
should arise in the period 1985-2000. Demand for passenger transpor- 
tation should grow from 250 million annually to about 1 billion annually 
by the year 2000; by the late 1980s, air traffic should exceed the 
capacity of the present airport system. Congestion should lead to devel- 
opment of short-haul aircraft using smaller airports; increasing costs 
would result in greater efficiency and economy with improved safety in 
subsonic aircraft, the report said. (NASA Release 76-78) 

During April: Air Force cold-weather tests of an air-cushion landing system 
for use on large transport aircraft were completed after 4 wk at a site in 
Canada. The device, which resembled an upside-down life raft installed 
under the fuselage, was made of rubber and nylon; it measured about 
10 m long and about 4 m wide. The elastic container was filled with air 
from two engines mounted under the wings; air forced out through more 
than 6800 holes on the bottom surface created an air bearing between 
the landing surface and the trunk. The cushion system, successfully 
demonstrated in the late 1960s on a smaller single-engine aircraft, had 
the advantage of exerting a very small amount of pressure over the entire 
landing surface as contrasted to conventional landing systems. Further 
tests of the system would be conducted on the twin-engine short-takeoff- 
and-landing (STOL) aircraft. (AFSC Newsreview, Apr 76, 15) 



84 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 April 

• Bicentennial year 1976 also marked the 50th birthday of scheduled-airline 
service in the U.S., the National Aeronautic Association reported. On 
13 April 1925, Henry Ford had started an air-freight service between 
Detroit and Chicago, first such commercial flights on a regular schedule. 
Upon passage of the Air Commerce Act of 1926, one of NAA's founding 
members, William P. MacCracken, Jr., took office as the first U.S. 
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics. By 1931, airlines 
were spanning the country; by 1950, U.S. airlines carried 19 million 
passengers 16 billion km, and in 1975 they carried more than 200 mil- 
lion passengers 263 billion km — amounting to almost 80% of intercity 
public passenger travel in the U.S. Airlines also accounted for 93% of 
travel to overseas destinations. In 1976, the U.S. scheduled-airline fleet 
included 2200 jet aircraft serving communities nationwide with 13 000 
daily flights. (NAA News, Apr 76, 3) 



85 



May 1976 

1 May: NASA announced issuance of a patent to Richard T. Whitcomb, an 
aerospace technologist at Langley Research Center, for an aircraft wing 
to be used at subsonic speeds. The new wing, called a supercritical or 
"upside down" wing, was described as increasing speed without need for 
additional power and as suitable for any aircraft flying near the speed of 
sound. Whitcomb last year received $25 000 for the invention from 
NASA's Inventions and Contributions Board. (NYT, 1 May 76, 31) 

3 May: The European aerospace industry was frustrated in attempting to 

increase its share of commercial and military aircraft sales, said Robert 
B. Hotz, editor-in-chief, in an editorial in Aviation Week magazine. 
Although maintenance of a viable European aerospace industry would be 
in the best interest of the Western world, Hotz said, attempts to organize 
it on a truly international competitive scale had emphasized inherent 
weaknesses and failed to achieve fiscal success. Recent developments- 
nationalization of the British aircraft industry, and French moves toward 
a transatlantic rather than a cross-channel cooperation — had intensified 
the problems, characterized by higher wage scales and lower productiv- 
ity. Suggestions for improvement included organizations based on com- 
mercial and technical considerations, rather than on political boundaries 
and restrictions; marketing goals based on the broadest markets possible, 
rather than on narrow domestic requirements; and controlling labor costs 
that had priced European products out of the export market and had held 
production to a rate below that needed to fill international market re- 
quirements. {Av Wk, 3 May 76, 5) 

4 May: NASA launched Lageos — a laser geodynamic satellite — from West- 

ern Test Range on a Delta rocket at 3 am CDT (0800 GMT) into a near- 
circular orbit with 5940-km apogee, 5845-km perigee, inclination of 
109.8°, and period of 225.5 min. Lageos, resembling a "cosmic golf- 
ball" 60 cm in diameter and weighing 411 kg, would act in space as a 
sophisticated mirror reflecting laser beams directed at it by stations on 
the ground; scientists timing the round trip of the laser beams would be 
able to detect movement of the earth's surface as small as 2 cm. The 
3-yr phase 1 of the Lageos mission would validate laser-ranging tech- 
niques as compared with long-baseline interferometry and lunar laser 
ranging; phase 2 would consist of application of phase- 1 techniques 
continuously for the usable life of the passive satellite. Although Lageos 
was not expected to fall back to earth for at least 8 million yr, and 
contained no moving parts or electronics to wear out, the 426 laser 
reflectors on its surface would be eroded in the space environment 
probably within 50 yr. (NASA Release 76-67; MSFC Release 76-82; MOR 



87 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

E-639-76-01 [prelaunch] 28 Apr 76, [postlaunch] 27 May 76; NYT, 
5 May 76, 30; W Post, 5 May 76, A-8) 
5 May: Oso 8, an orbiting solar observatory launched 21 June 1975, had 
performed without failure of any subsystem except a redundant solar 
sensor, and was judged successful, according to a postlaunch mission 
operations report. Primary mission objectives were high-resolution spa- 
tial and spectral observations of the solar chromosphere and transition 
regions, obtained by the pointed experiments aboard the observatory; 
secondary mission objectives were met with "substantial numbers" of 
observations of solar x-rays, earth airglow, and cosmic x-ray background 
radiation. At launch, Oso 8 carried the most comprehensive package of 
cosmic x-ray experiments ever included in a single payload, including the 
first satellite instrument containing large-area thin plastic window detec- 
tors to measure ultrasoft x-rays; the first high-sensitivity crystal spec- 
trometer flown to measure cosmic x-ray sources with extremely high 
spectral resolution; and the first satellite experiment flown to measure 
x-ray polarization of cosmic sources with high sensitivity. (MOR S-821- 
75-09 [postlaunch], 10 May 76) 

• Agreements between the French government and the European Space 

Agency for use of launch facilities at Kourou, French Guiana, were 
signed in Paris by Michel d'Ornano, minister for industry and research, 
and Roy Gibson, director general of ESA. The Kourou facilities include 
the Guiana Space Centre belonging to France's Centre National d'Etudes 
Spatiales (CNES) and the Ariane launching site belonging to ESA that 
replaced the former equatorial base belonging to the defunct ELDO orga- 
nization [see 1 1 Jan.]. The meeting of the European Space Conference 
in April 1975 had decided that all ESA member states would contribute 
to the costs of the Guiana space center until the end of 1980. Ariane 
(the ESA heavy launcher now under development) would provide Europe 
with a satellite launch capability of its own after 1980. (ESA newsletter, 
Aug 76, 2) 

• The Energy Research and Development Administration announced 

plans to launch a giant manned and instrumented balloon, Da Vinci II, 
between 24 May and mid-June to determine physical and chemical 
changes in air pollutants over distances of several hundred km from their 
source. The helium-filled balloon more than 70 m high — equaling, with 
its gondola, the height of a 15-story building, and carrying the same 
crew of 4 that flew on Da Vinci I in November 1974 — would fly for up 
to 36 hr at altitudes from 3 to 9 km from St. Louis, Mo., to a point in 
111., Ky., or 0. Da Vinci I flew from Las Cruces to Wagon Mound, N.M., 
in 12 hr to prove the feasibility of using a manned instrumented balloon 
for lower atmosphere research. Crew members were Dr. Rudolf J. Engel- 
mann of NOAA; Otis Imboden, photographer from the National Geographic 
Society; Jimmie Craig, pilot from the U.S. Naval Weapons Center; and 
Mrs. Vera Simons, project consultant and experienced balloonist, who 
originated the idea for the project. The crew would use a variety of 
instruments to conduct more than 20 experiments to show what happens 
to a plume of polluted air as it moves across several states. (ERDA Release 
76-128) 

88 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

6 May: NASA announced award of a grant to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 

Troy, N.Y., to establish a center for the study of new composite materials 
and their application to the development of more efficient commercial 
transport aircraft. The grant would continue a relationship that began 
with establishment of a NASA program in materials engineering at RPI in 
1961. The new grant for research into composites — very strong light- 
weight materials combining various substances, such as fiberglass bonded 
with epoxy — would emphasize more exotic composites using carbon 
fibers that exhibited high tensile properties. The potential structure- 
weight reduction of up to 30% in future aircraft using composites could 
translate into a 10 to 15% reduction in aircraft fuel consumption. 
First-year funding for the RPI center would be $300 000. (NASA Release 
76-82) 

• The FAA announced plans to test a computer-based system for predicting 

potential hazards from wake vortices along aircraft approach and depar- 
ture paths. The tests would take place at Chicago's O'Hare International 
Airport and would run for several mo in an attempt to validate results of 
thousands of measurements previously taken at Kennedy Airport in New 
York, London's Heathrow Airport, and Denver's Stapleton Airport, to 
establish how long vortices linger on runways in relation to wind speed 
and direction. Additional tests at O'Hare would check out a system for 
detecting and tracking wind shear, another hazard to landing and depart- 
ing aircraft. (FAA Release 76-43) 

7 May: NASA announced plans to launch a second maritime satellite (Marisat) 

for the Comsat General Corp. later this month, as part of a system to 
provide communications to the U.S. Navy, commercial shipping, and 
offshore industries. The first satellite of the system, Marisat 1, was 
successfully launched 19 Feb. into an orbit over the Atlantic at 15°W 
longitude, where it had provided UHF service to the Navy since 25 Mar. 
NASA hoped to inaugurate fulltime commercial voice and data communi- 
cations, using both Marisats, by 1 July. A third satellite had been con- 
structed as a spare. (NASA Release 76-83) 

• A launch-abort system for the Space Shuttle, for use in case of malfunction 

during the first 2.5 min of flight, was "quietly" removed by NASA 3 yr 
ago although such a system had been designed into the Shuttle late in 
1971, according to the Washington Post. (In 2.5 min the Shuttle would 
reach a 40-km altitude from which it could "fly" to earth.) Staff writer 
Thomas O'Toole said that in 1973 NASA "reversed itself and dropped the 
launch-abort system ... a decision understood to have met with dissent 
inside the space agency." The abort system designed for the Shuttle 
consisted of 2 huge solid-fuel rocket motors, one on each side of the 
Shuttle tail, that could be fired to separate the spacecraft and its occu- 
pants from the booster engines and main-engine fuel tanks in case of 
trouble; however, the abort motors weighed 43,500 kg — half as heavy 
as the entire 68 000-kg Shuttle carrying an average 18 000-kg pay- 
load — and even after they fired, the Shuttle would fall for 2 or 3 sec 
before being lifted away from the boosters. 

Elwood W. Land, director of system operations for the Shuttle pro- 
gram, defended the decision to remove the abort system, saying that it 

89 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

was not needed because of redundancy built into the spacecraft and its 
engine. Land noted that, in 58 manned space flights, neither the U.S. nor 
the USSR had resorted to a launch-abort system to rescue spacecraft 
crews, notwithstanding 2 close calls: Gemini 6 astronauts had almost 
fired their ejection seats when their engine shut down on the pad in 1965, 
and the Soyuz 18 cosmonauts never reached earth orbit but flew their 
spacecraft to a landing in southeast Siberia. The 1-man Mercury capsule 
had a rocket-boosted escape system to carry the spacecraft cabin away 
from its rocket engines and fuel tanks; the 2-man Gemini had ejection 
seats to fire astronauts from the cabin like jet pilots from disabled 
aircraft; and the 3-man Apollo carried a large solid-fuel rocket motor 
that could pull the 18 000-kg spacecraft away from its tower of engines 
sec after trouble hit the engines or fuel tanks. Only remaining provision 
for the Shuttle was a pair of ejection seats for pilot and copilot of the first 
4 orbital test flights; the seats would be removed when 5 more crew 
members were added for subsequent tests and for operational flights. 
"There is no way to install 7 ejection seats in the shuttle," the article 
noted. {WPost, 7 May 76, A-3) 

• Bradford Johnston was appointed NASA's Associate Administrator for Appli- 

cations, succeeding Charles W. Mathews who retired 27 Feb., NASA 
announced. Johnston's appointment would be effective 7 June. Now a 
private management consultant in Wis., he received a B.A. in economics 
from Wabash College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. 
His NASA responsibilities would include planning and directing agency 
programs to identify and demonstrate useful applications of engineering 
and science techniques. (NASA Release 76-84; Hq announcement 
10 May 76) 

• The Smithsonian Institution awarded its Langley gold medal for aeronautics 

to James E. Webb, former head of the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration, and the late Grover Loening. Webb was cited for man- 
agement skills in leading the U.S. to "pre-eminence in space flight re- 
search and development." Loening [see 29 Feb.] was honored as "a 
pioneer aeronautical inventor" who developed the Loening amphibian 
plane and the design of the strut-braced monoplane. (W Post, 8 May 
76, E-3) 
10 May: NASA announced that a task team headed by Marshall Space Flight 
Center, and including representatives from Kennedy Space Center and 
Johnson Space Center, would assist the Air Force's Space and Missile 
Systems Organization (SAMSO) in evaluating industry proposals for vali- 
dating the development of the Space Shuttle interim upper stage (IUS). 
The IUS, an expendable solid-fuel rocket stage capable of launching one 
or more spacecraft, would be carried into low earth orbit in the bay of 
the Space Shuttle orbiter; after deployment, it would be fired to carry the 
spacecraft into orbits of from 800 to 35 000 km, or to earth-escape 
trajectories for interplanetary missions. The basic IUS developed to meet 
1)01) objectives would be altered as needed to meet NASA-unique require- 
ments (planetary missions, or economical delivery of several smaller 
satellites). MSFC would be responsible for establishing the NASA-unique 



90 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

requirements; its task team would be responsible for planning and coor- 
dinating NASA's IUS activities; KSC would be responsible for IUS launch 
operations, and JSC for IUS-orbiter integration and flight operations. The 
Air Force was expected to award a contract for IUS development by Sept. 
1976. (MSFC Release 76-89) 

• NASA announced selection of McDonnell Douglas Corp. and the Singer 

Company's Simulations Products Division for parallel negotiations, lead- 
ing to award of a contract to one of the companies for maintenance, 
modification, and operational support of Johnson Space Center's simu- 
lator complex to be used in training flight crews for the Space Shuttle. 
The 2-yr contract beginning 1 July would provide for optional additional 
periods of 24 mo and 6 mo respectively. The training complex, consisting 
initially of a Shuttle procedures simulator and a crew procedures evalu- 
ation simulator, would have added to it an orbiter aeroflight simulator and 
a Shuttle mission simulator. General Electric and Computer Sciences 
Corp. also submitted proposals. (NASA Release 76-87; JSC Release 76-30) 

• Sen. John Glenn (D-O.), first American to orbit the earth in Mercury 6, 

said he would be available as a running mate for Jimmy Carter in the 
national elections but would not pursue the vice-presidential nomination. 
Glenn said Carter was clearly front runner in the Ohio primary scheduled 
for 8 June, and that his "ship is already in." {NYT, 11 May 76, 13) 

• The European Space Agency announced plans for a NASA presentation on 

current status of the Space Transportation System to be held in Paris 12 
to 14 May, for about 250 representatives of governments, national 
institutes and agencies, and industry of the ESA member states. Opened 
by Roy Gibson, director general of ESA, the program would be introduced 
by Arnold W. Frutkin, NASA's Assistant Administrator for International 
Affairs. Other NASA speakers would be John F. Yardley, Associate 
Administrator, Office of Space Flight; Chester M. Lee, director of space 
transportation system operations; and Harold E. Gartrell, deputy man- 
ager of the Shuttle payload integration office. The Space Transportation 
System would include the U.S. Space Shuttle and the ESA Spacelab, as well 
as a new upper propulsion stage and a U.S. -developed tracking and data 
system. ESA representatives scheduled to present the Spacelab portion of 
the 3-day program would include Bernard Deloffre, director of the 
Spacelab program for ESA; Heinz Stoewer, Spacelab project manager; 
Jan J. Burger, Spacelab payload adviser; and Jacques Collet of ESA's 
planning directorate. (ESA release 10 May 76) 

10-12 May: The Senate considered and passed H.R. 13172 authorizing 
NASA $16 800 000 for increased pay costs for the "interim period" 
1 July through 30 Sept. 1976. The authorization — part of the budget for 
fiscal year 1976 — supplemented NASA's research and program manage- 
ment request, and was $3 186 000 less than the original request of 
$19 986 000. (NASA Ofc of Budget Ops, Chron Hist FY 76, 16 June 76) 

1 1 May: President Ford signed legislation reestablishing the post of White 
House science adviser, a job abolished by President Nixon 3 yr pre- 
viously. The signing took place in the White House rose garden, at a 
ceremony attended by leading scientists. President Ford had asked for 

91 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

legislation to set up the position and the White House Office of Science 
and Technology on the recommendation of Vice President Rockefeller 
and at the urging of major scientific groups; the job had previously 
existed under executive order. Originally established by President Roose- 
velt during World War II, the position lapsed until 1957 when President 
Eisenhower reactivated it after the launch of Sputnik. President Ford 
was expected to make a early choice of science adviser, who would direct 
the Office of Science and Technology Policy and would also be a member 
of the Domestic Council and adviser to the National Security Council. 
{WPost, 12 May 76, A-21) 

• Communications Satellite Corp., the international telecommunications con- 

sortium, had begun contract negotiations with U.S. manufacturers on 
building a new generation of comsats with a capacity of about 12 000 
simultaneous telephone calls plus television, to meet growing demand for 
international communications expected by the early 1980s, the annual 
meeting of ComSat stockholders was told. Joseph V. Charyk, president 
of ComSat, noted that the 2 new Intelsat IV-A satellites scheduled for 
launch this year had a capacity of about 6250 simultaneous telephone 
calls, plus television; the first such satellite — Intelsat I, the 1965 Early 
Bird — could carry either 200 telephone calls or one TV channel. Charyk 
said negotiations had been held with Hughes Aircraft (maker of Intelsat 
IV), TRW Inc., and a division of Ford Motor Co. for construction of the 
new satellites. However, he said, ComSat's share of future international 
satellite operations would depend on the outcome of its appeal from an 
FCC order of last Dec. calling for sharp reductions in rates. Had the FCC 
rates been in effect for all of 1975, ComSat profits would have been 
$1.60 a share rather than $4.62 a share, he said. {W Post, 12 May 76, 
D-9) 

• The Air Force awarded a $1 million supplement of a previous cost-plus- 

incentive-fee contract to General Electric's Aircraft Engine Group at 
Cincinnati, 0., a labor-surplus area, for extended flight-test spare parts 
support for B-l aircraft engines, the Department of Defense announced. 
(DOD Release 213-76) 

• Clocking the speed of plasma at 50 km per sec in the active regions of the 

sun was "among the most interesting results" of investigations carried 
out aboard the USSR space station Salyut 4, Dr. Konstantin Feoktistov 
wrote in the Bulletin of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Feoktistov, 
one of the cosmonauts on the flight of Voskhod 1 in Oct. 1964, was 
quoted in a Tass broadcast as saying that data from the two manned 
expeditions to Salyut 4 were still being processed, but that the missions 
had established man's ability to "work well in conditions of weight- 
lessness" for more than 2 mo. Citing the stay of Pyotr Klimuk and Vitaly 
Sevastyanov aboard the station from 25 May to 25 July last year, and 
describing the use of exercises and pressurized suits to maintain health 
during that time, Feoktistov said the mission results offered hope that 
orbital stations and piloted space flights would be further developed. 
(FBIS, Tass in English, 1 1 May 76) 



92 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

12 May: NASA announced a first-time use of satellite relay of medical data 
from a moving ambulance to a hospital. Scientists and engineers at the 
National Space Technology Laboratories (NSTL) at Bay St. Louis, Miss., 
worked with General Electric's Science Services Laboratory to develop 
a special portable transmitter and antenna that could continuously trans- 
mit voice and medical data — including electrocardiograms — from a 
moving ambulance to the satellite and down to a hospital receiving 
station. During demonstrations of the system on a highway near Bay St. 
Louis, communications from the ambulance had been received as far 
away as N. Mex. The NSTL system, using the data-collection system on 
Goes 3, was similar to a telemedicine system being demonstrated by 
Johnson Space Center at the Papago Indian Reservation in N. Mex., and 
use of the Ats 6 for medical communications in Alaska. Use of an 
inexpensive receiver at the medical center could make remote health 
care economically feasible; the system might eventually lead to devel- 
opment of a special medical satellite to relay emergency data from 
remote hospitals, ships, offshore oil platforms, and other remote locations 
to major medical centers for consultation. (NASA Release 76-86) 

• A joint U.S. -British astronomy project to study the remnant of an exploded 

star failed when a rocket-motor malfunction kept the x-ray telescope 
aboard from acquiring its target, a supernova remnant called Puppis A 
some 10 trillion km from earth. An English Skylark sounding rocket fired 
from the Woomera Rocket Range in Australia carried a NASA-designed 
flight telescope, fabricated and assembled at Marshall Space Flight Cen- 
ter, to obtain information on evolution of stars and the formation of 
neutron stars. Although the telescope assembly, as well as the detectors 
and electronics supplied by the United Kingdom, worked perfectly, a 
hole burned through one side of the rocket's aft end produced more spin 
than the despin device could offset, said Richard Hoover of MSFC, prin- 
cipal U.S. investigator for the project. "Even with the residual spin, we 
scanned a portion of the sky in the area of the prime target and acquired 
data on the diffuse x-ray background [a secondary objective] . . . but we 
couldn't lock on Puppis A in order to get a high-resolution map as 
desired." The payload was recovered by parachute about 160 km down- 
range in excellent condition, Hoover said. (NASA Releases 76-62, 
76-92; MSFC Release 76-54; MFSC Star, 17 Mar 76, 3) 

• NASA announced plans for a 2-day course, "Technology Exchange Be- 

tween the Textile Industry and Government," to be held at Clemson 
University, Clemson, S.C., to acquaint industry executives with new 
developments in textile research stemming from government-sponsored 
programs. Co-sponsored by NASA's Technology Utilization Office, the 
College of Industrial Management and Textile Science at Clemson, and 
the Economic Development Administration, the course would offer dis- 
cussions by experts from industry, government, and the academic com- 
munity on a wide range of subjects including new fiber developments, 
fire-retardant materials, and innovations in textile manufacture. Course 
themes would include industry-government cooperation, new needs and 



93 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

opportunities for cooperation, industrial developments adopted by the 
government, industry-government information systems presently avail- 
able, and consumers' choices at retail. (NASA Release 76-88) 

13 May: Ames Research Center announced award of a $939 000 contract 
to Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, 0., for aid in administering 
an early-warning aviation safety system for the Federal Aviation Admin- 
istration. Under the 2-yr contract, Battelle would implement a reporting 
system to obtain from persons in the national aviation system information 
on potential threats to flight safety; the reports would be processed to 
preserve anonymity of the informants and to make the data quickly 
usable to avoid or reduce aircraft accidents. An aviation-safety reporting 
system instituted by FAA in May 1975 had met with reluctance on the 
part of the public to report directly to a regulatory agency. NASA, invited 
to act as a third party, agreed to act as collection point for safety reports 
to encourage participation by pilots, controllers, and others using the 
nation's airways. (NASA Release 76-52; ARC Release 76-34) 

• Successful testing of a solar receiver developed with heat-transfer tech- 
nology used by Rocketdyne Division, Rockwell International Corp., for 
the U.S. space program was "a major step forward in development of 
solar electricity generating systems," said Dr. Jack Silverman, director 
of energy systems for Rocketdyne. Using a large field of mirrors individ- 
ually focusing the sun's rays to a central receiver on a high tower, where 
the concentrated heat served to boil water into superheated steam, the 
system generated the steam at 1366 K and 738 newtons per cm". The 
central receiver was exposed to high heatflows approaching those en- 
countered in rocket engines, and many times higher than those in con- 
ventional steam boilers. The development program was sponsored by the 
Energy Research and Development Administration; Rocketdyne was also 
under contract to McDonnell Douglas and ERDA to develop a similar 
receiver and thermal storage subsystems for a 10 000-kw solar 
electricity-generating pilot plant to be in operation by the end of the 
decade. (Rockwell Release RD-9) 

13 — 15 May: NASA launched Comstar 1 A-l, first of a series of three Comsat 
General Corp. satellites planned to provide 14 400 two-way high-quality 
voice circuits in a telephone-communications network serving Hawaii, 
Alaska, Puerto Rico, and contiguous U.S. An Atlas-Centaur fired from 
ETR at 6:28 pm EDT 13 May put the Hughes Aircraft-built comsat in an 
elliptical transfer orbit; firing of the apogee motor at 6:42 pm 15 May 
would put the Comstar on station over the equator at 128°W, south of 
San Francisco, at just over 35 000-km altitude, by 4 June. The spin- 
stabilized cylinder 6.1 m high and 2.4 m in diameter, weighing about 
816 kg in orbit, with 14 000 solar cells mounted on the cylinder surface, 
would carry 24 radio repeaters each capable of handling 1200 one-way 
voice channels in the 4- to 6-ghz range, using a technique of cross 
polarization that would double satellite capacity by more efficient use of 
the frequency spectrum. Comsat General Corp. would own and operate 
the satellites and associated earth facilities, leasing to American Tele- 
phone and Telegraph Co. and to GTE Satellite Corp., a subsidiary of 
General Telephone and Electronics Corp. The $43-million satellite was 

94 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

called Comstar D-l after achieving orbit. (NASA Release 76-75; /YTT, 
13 May 76, 51; Comsat General Release CG 76-115; MOR M-491- 
201-76-01 [postlaunch] 27 May 76) 

14 May: Dryden Flight Research Center announced it would begin a series 

of YF-17 test flights in mid-May to aid designers of future highly maneu- 
verable aircraft. The YF-17, built by Northrop Corp. for the Air Force's 
lightweight fighter program, is a twin-engine aircraft incorporating many 
innovations to give it high performance and maneuverability. Objectives 
of the NASA research program would be to collect in-flight data on 
pressure around the engine nozzles and afterbody, for comparison with 
wind-tunnel data to improve prediction techniques for future fighter- 
aircraft design; and to continue NASA studies on improved maneuvering 
for fighter aircraft in the areas of buffet, stability and control, acceler- 
ation, and handling. Under a $255 000 contract funded jointly by NASA 
and the U.S. Navy, the YF-17 would be flown for about 8 wk by Gary 
Krier, DFRC's YF-17 project pilot. (DFRC Release 7-76) 

15 May: A U.S. -European Space Shuttle project starting in 1980 would 

recruit 30 more astronauts — including women and participants from the 
USSR — for the planned 200 flights in the project, U.S spokesmen said at 
a Paris news conference held at the end of a 3-day meeting between NASA 
and European Space Agency officials. John F. Yardley, NASA Associate 
Administrator for Manned Space Flight, told newsmen that NASA was 
already training more than 30 astronauts for this program. Each flight, 
carrying 3 U.S. astronauts and up to 4 Europeans on space-science 
missions lasting between a week and a month, would cost between 
$18 million and $21 million; European scientists had expressed concern 
that the flights would cost so much that less money would be left for 
scientific experiments than they had hoped. Arnold W. Frutkin, NASA's 
Assistant Administrator for International Affairs, when asked if the 
Soviets might be involved in the project, said, "We have made it clear 
in informal discussions that this would be available to them." Those using 
the Shuttle would be expected to foot the bill, officials emphasized. {NYT, 
15 May 76, 2; W Post, 15 May 76, A-15; W Star, 16 May 76, A-3) 
17 May: SPAR II, a Black Brant VC sounding rocket carrying materials- 
processing experiments, was launched from the White Sands Missile 
Range in the second of a series of 15 planned during the next 5 yr in the 
SPAR (space-processing applications rocket) program managed by Mar- 
shall Space Flight Center. The 225.7-kg payload consisted of 10 experi- 
ments, 6 similar to those carried on SPAR I launched 1 1 Dec. 1975; the 
rocket reached an altitude of 188 km, providing about 5 min of near- 
weightlessness during the coast phase, and the payload was recovered by 
parachute and delivered to the investigators for analysis. MSFC employees 
Carolyn Griner and Dr. Mary Helen Johnston were principal investiga- 
tors for 2 experiments, both on dendrite remelting and macro- 
segregation. Other experimenters were Robert B. Pond (Johns Hopkins 
University), 2 experiments on solidification of lead antimony eutectic; 
Dr. James W. Patten (Battelle-Northwest Research Institute), 2 experi- 
ments on producing closed-cell metal foams; Dr. S.H. Gelles (Battelle 

95 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Memorial Institute), agglomeration in immiscible liquids; Dr. H. Ahlborn 
(University of Hamburg), behavior of aluminum alloys under zero grav- 
ity; and Dr. Louis Raymond (Aerospace Corp.), 2 experiments in casting 
thoria dispersion-strengthened composites at zero gravity. (MSFC Release 
76-83, 76-94) 

• Payload responsibilities for the first 6 flights of the Space Shuttle had been 

allocated by NASA, according to Aviation Wk and Space Technology 
magazine. The first 6 orbital missions scheduled for 1979-1980 would 
be verifications of the overall Shuttle system; the first flight would carry 
no payload except a 45 000-kg data-analysis system, but the other 5 
flight-test missions would carry scientifically meaningful payloads. NASA 
had assigned the second and fifth flight tests to its Office of Applications; 
the fourth and sixth, to the Office of Space Science; and the third, to the 
Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology. The Office of Applications 
would be involved with space-processing hardware, and the Office of 
Space Science would oversee the use of existing research instruments; 
the OAST had been considering a space "workbench" on which various 
instruments could be deployed for 3- to 9-mo periods. The orbital 
flight-test missions would begin with a duration of only a few orbits, which 
should increase to about 7 days by the sixth flight mission; the first 4 
flights would land at Dryden Flight Research Center, and the latter 2 at 
Kennedy Space Center. {AvWk, 17 May 76, 21) 

• Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, Captain, USN, would retire from military service 

1 June but would remain in his present job with the space agency as a 
civilian, NASA announced. Weitz, pilot on Skylab 2 (the first manned 
mission 25 May to 22 June 1973), was part of the crew who saved the 
mission by erecting a "parasol" shade to reduce overheating caused by 
damage to Skylab 1 during its launch, and by unjamming a solar-power 
wing to provide enough electrical power for their mission and 2 follow-on 
missions of 59 and 84 days respectively. Retiring after 22 yr Navy 
service, Weitz was currently working on payloads and flight-crew docu- 
mentation for the Space Shuttle. (JSC Release 76-33) 

• International golfing great Arnold Palmer was scheduled to pilot a Learjet 

36 "business aircraft" from Denver, Colo., for an assault on the speed- 
around-the-world record that had not been surpassed for 10 yr. A Learjet 
24 had circled the earth in 1966 in 65 hr 38 min 39 sec elapsed time, 
at an average speed of better than 563 kph (50 hr 20 min actual flying 
time) including 17 intermediary stops. The National Aeronautic Associ- 
ation had sanctioned the new attempt, designating journalist Robert 
Serling as official onboard observer. Two additional pilots would accom- 
pany Palmer and Serling on their 2-day flight, scheduled to cover nearly 

37 000 km, under the auspices of the Aviation Space Writers Associ- 
ation. Nine stops were planned for the new flight: Logan Airport at 
Boston; LeBourget at Paris; Mehrabad Airport at Tehran, Iran; Band- 
anaraike International Airport at Colombo, Sri Lanka; Kemayoran Air- 
port, Jakarta, Indonesia; Manila International Airport; Wake Island; 
Honolulu International Airport; and Arapahoe County Airport, Denver. 
Besides NAA sponsorship, the flight was sanctioned by the American 



96 






ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

Revolution Bicentennial Association and the Aviation Historical Founda- 
tion. (NAA newsletter, May 1976, 1) 
18 May: Ames Research Center had contracted with Goodyear Aerospace 
Corp. of Akron, 0., for studies of 2 lighter-than-air vehicle concepts for 
civilian use, NASA announced. New requirements for transporting heavy 
loads in power-plant construction, transferring ship cargoes to shore 
points, and providing quiet energy-saving intercity transportation had 
revived interest in lighter-than-air vehicles, formerly the only means of 
nonstop rapid travel across the world's oceans. Use of airships for 
military missions also had come under consideration; principal potential 
use was transport of ship cargoes over a beach to shore points. NASA, in 
conjunction with the U.S. Navy, was also studying military applications 
for conventional airships that would use the great endurance potential of 
the airship in activities such as antisubmarine warfare and sea control. 
One of the concepts under study, a feeder airliner 60 m long carrying 
80 passengers, would be used as a short-haul transport system, landing 
and taking off vertically and cruising at 160 knots. The other concept, 
a vehicle to transport large heavy payloads over comparatively short 
distances, would combine features of large dirigibles and helicopter 
rotors to provide lifting capacity far beyond that of either type of vehicle 
alone; the dirigible buoyance would lift the empty weight of the vehicle, 
and the total lifting capacity of the rotor system would lift and support 
the payload. The heavy lifter would be most likely to have immediate 
application, NASA said, because of the need for transport of heavy power- 
generating equipment or other outsize industrial equipment to a remote 
destination not served by any other heavy transport systems. Increased 
engineering knowledge and better understanding of weather phenomena, 
as well as substituting inert helium for the volatile hydrogen used in 
German airships of the 1920s, would make a modern airship safe. (NASA 
Release 76-93) 

• The European Space Agency announced completion of the launcher inte- 

gration site for its Ariane launch vehicle on schedule. The site — a 
building near Paris measuring 105 m long, 50 m wide, and 33 m 
high — constructed on its own land by Aerospatiale, the contractor called 
"the industrial architect of the Ariane programme," was for devel- 
opment tests and assembly, integration, and acceptance of the complete 
launcher before its dispatch to the launch site. Four Ariane flight tests 
were scheduled for 1979 and 1980. (ESA release 18 May 76) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center and Dryden Flight Research Center officials 

signed an agreement to conduct jointly a comprehensive program of tests 
on the parachute recovery system for the Space Shuttle's solid-fuel 
rocket booster. The program, to begin early in 1977, would consist of 
drogue-parachute tests and main-parachute tests, using single para- 
chutes, and test deployment of the 3-parachute cluster (actual flight 
configuration) to be used in recovery of the solid rockets, largest ever 
flown. The parachutes, some 36.5 m in diameter, would be the largest 
used in the space program; Apollo spacecraft parachutes were about 
24.5 m in diameter. The Dryden center would provide the B-52 aircraft 

97 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

for the test drops, as well as the flight and maintenance crews, and would 
perform the tests over the National Parachute Test Range about an 
hour's flight from Edwards AFB in Calif. MSFC engineers would evaluate 
the test data to determine the adequacy of the system. (NASA Release 
76-94; DFRC Release 6-76; MSFC Release 76-87) 

19 May: Arnold Palmer, piloting the Learjet "200 Yankee" named in honor 
of the U.S. Bicentennial, landed at Arapahoe County airport near Denver 
after a record-setting flight around the world that took 57 hr 25 min 42 
sec and covered 37 000 km. Palmer's flight was 28 hr 43 min 19 sec 
faster than the longstanding record set by Arthur Godfrey and Dick 
Merrill in 1966. Accompanied by the official observer and timer for the 
National Aeronautic Assn., Robert J. Serling, and by copilots James E. 
Bir and L.L. Purkey, Palmer averaged better than 770 kph on the 
2.5-day flight that made 9 stops in 7 countries. In meeting officials at 
each of the stops, Palmer presented Bicentennial flags and bronze repli- 
cas of the Declaration of Independence; at Wake Is., he left a silver 
plaque commemorating the U.S. Marine Corps defense of the island in 
World War II. In addition to the speed-around-the-world record, NAA 
planned to claim for the Palmer flight 18 additional records for speed 
over recognized course: e.g., Boston to Paris, Paris to Tehran, etc. Since 
he took up flying in the 1950s, champion golfer Palmer had logged about 
4500 hr as a pilot. (NAA News, July 76, 1) 

• Ground-based equipment incorporating computers that would work with 
components aboard a Shuttle orbiter to guide it to a safe landing had been 
shipped from the contractor, Cutler Hammer's AIL Division, NASA an- 
nounced. The equipment, called a microwave scanning-beam landing 
system (MSBLS), would be installed on a runway at Dryden Research 
Center, where initial flight tests of the orbiter would begin in mid- 1977; 
a second set would be installed on a newly constructed runway at 
Kennedy Space Center, where initial Shuttle orbital missions would be 
launched in 1979. Both locations would be equipped for approach from 
either direction, and each system would be fully redundant, including a 
comprehensive monitoring system with automatic switchover and an 
uninterruptible power supply. As the Shuttle orbiter would descend in a 
steep glide moderated to a soft touchdown, onboard computers would 
direct the vehicle through commands to the control surfaces and must 
know the vehicle's precise position at every instant; standard instrument- 
landing electronics could not provide this information, so that the type 
of beam created by the MSBLS would be needed. 

The MSBLS system would cover a total field of positions through all 
possible paths the orbiter would take, instead of providing a single 
straight path for the orbiter to follow; its scanning beam would sweep a 
wide flat course across the landing sector, and pulses from a ground 
transmitter would be coded to identify the exact angle at which the beam 
pointed at each instant of the sweep. A receiver in the descending orbiter 
would pick up the pulses and decode them to determine the track; the 
onboard computer would accurately compare the orbiter's location with 
the desired location and automatically correct any discrepancy. The 



98 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

MSBLS would provide an unprecedented degree of position-guidance accu- 
racy. (NASA Release 76-97; JSC Release 76-35) 

• Isaac T. Gillam IV, NASA Hq Program Manager of Small Launch Vehicles, 

was designated Director of Space Shuttle Operations at Dryden Flight 
Research Center, effective 23 May. In his new position, Gillam would be 
responsible for development of test support facilities, institutional sup- 
port of test operations, and flight and industrial safety for test operations 
in support of Shuttle carrier-aircraft testing and orbital approach and 
landing tests conducted at DFRC. Before coming to NASA Hq in 1963, 
Gillam served in the U.S. Air Force as pilot, missile launch crew com- 
mander, and KOTC instructor; he had done graduate work at Tenn. State 
Univ. while serving as assistant professor of military science. From 1963 
to 1966, he was resources management specialist at NASA Hq and was 
then appointed Assistant Delta Program Manager in the Launch Vehicles 
Directorate. Named Delta Program Manager in Sept. 1968, he became 
Program Manager of Small Launch Vehicles (including Delta and Scout) 
in June 1973. He received NASA's Distinguished Service Medal for his 
work in the launch-vehicle program. (NASA Release 76-96) 

• The Air Force announced award of a $2 067 113 cost-plus-fixed-fee con- 

tract to Teledyne McCormick Selph of Hollister, Calif., for unsymmetri- 
cal dimethyl hydrazine, a chemical used in Titan missiles and NASA-USAF 
space boosters. The contracting activity was the San Antonio Logistics 
Center at Kelly AFB, Texas. (DOD Release 223-76) 

• In an address to the American Institute of Industrial Engineers, meeting in 

St. Louis, W.F. Rockwell, Jr., chairman of Rockwell International Corp., 
warned that the U.S. in its search for energy independence should not "go 
driving up the wrong street" but should make use of nuclear power. 
Claiming that solar power, nuclear fusion, or other exotic power sources 
were solutions for the distant future, Rockwell described nuclear energy 
as "the bridge that will allow us to make a smooth transition to those 
future energy sources" and as being "safe, clean, abundant and eco- 
nomical." Rockwell noted the 6- to 10-yr period needed between the 
concept and the start-up of a power plant, adding that today's Americans 
have roughly 36 mo to "get it all together if we're going to have enough 
power in 1990." (Rockwell Release R-20) 

• Dr. Wernher von Braun was admitted to hospital in Alexandria, Va., 

14 May and was reported in fair condition yesterday, the Washington 
Post reported. Hospital spokesmen refused comment on von Braun's 
illness, citing requests from his doctor and family. Von Braun, who left 
the government in 1972 to become a vice president of Fairchild Indus- 
tries, Inc., in nearby Germantown, Md., underwent an operation for 
cancer last year at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, a hospital 
official there said. The German-born scientist, now 61, had led devel- 
opment of the U.S. space program in the early 1960s. (W Post, 19 May 
76, B-4) 
20 May: The U.S. Navy launched an experimental ocean-surveillance 
satellite — part of the Whitecloud system developed by the Naval Re- 
search Laboratory — on 30 April from Vandenberg AFB aboard an Atlas 

99 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

launch vehicle, reported Defense/ Space Business Daily. The satellite 
was in a near-circular orbit of 1122-km apogee, 1100-km perigee, 
inclined 63.5°, with a period of 107.5 min. {SBD, 20 May 76, 21) 
• NASA Hq conducted a news conference on the Viking mission to Mars, with 
Dr. Noel Hinners, Associate Administrator for Space Science; Robert 
Kraemer, director of planetary programs; Walter Jakobowski, Viking 
program manager; James Martin, Jr., Viking project manager; and 
Dr. Gerald S. Soffen, Viking project scientist, to review the mission and 
answer questions. Dr. Anthony Calio, NASA's Deputy Associate Adminis- 
trator for Space Science, opened the session by recalling the work done 
on Viking over the past 7 yr that would culminate in Viking's reaching 
Mars within the next few weeks. The U.S. for the first time would be 
operating 4 spacecraft simultaneously, 2 in orbit and 2 on the planet's 
surface. Kraemer mentioned Galileo's sighting of Mars in 1609, the 
detection of "canali" on the planet's surface by Schiaparelli and others 
in the 1800s, and Percival Lowell's founding of the Lowell Observatory 
in 1894 followed by his publication of reports on "Mars and Its Canals" 
and "Mars as the Abode of Life." Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the 
Tarzan stories and "grandfather of science fiction writers," began writ- 
ing stories about civilization on Mars that had kept the public "waiting 
ever since to get down to the surface and see what is there." Although, 
as Kraemer pointed out, 4 Mariner missions had shown that civilization 
did not actually exist on Mars, nothing had ruled out the existence of life, 
and that was a purpose of the Viking mission. 

Jakobowski reviewed the history of Voyager, Surveyor, and Viking, 
especially the 1971 Mariner flyby that revealed Mars as a dynamic 
planet. Martin, Viking project manager at Langley Research Center, said 
the 2 Viking spacecraft had been flying for a long time and had turned 
in "exceptionally good" performance; this would be the first mission to 
use optical navigation to confirm radio-tracking data, and the first set of 
results had shown the spacecraft to be "right on course." Martin added 
that — as an expression of confidence in his team — a quiet period had 
been declared the coming week when most of the flight team would be on 
vacation; "the team needs that time off to get ready for a pretty active 
and hectic summer," he said. A.T. (Tom) Young, Viking mission director 
at LaRC, showed slides of mission operations and possible landing sites, 
reviewing the reasons for site selection and what NASA hoped to learn in 
both scientific and engineering areas, concluding with a summary of 
expected activities during the first 20 days on Mars. Viking-mission 
audio from JPL would be available starting about 15 June. 

Dr. Soffen noted that the scientific questions about Mars covered 
more than the presence of life there, which was only one of 13 in- 
vestigations to be conducted by Viking, and suggested that the press 
representatives "ought to prepare yourselves from an educational point 
of view about all the experiments other than just the biology." The first 
question raised by the press was on the indicators of a safe landing; 
Martin replied that there would be 5 — telemetry from a footpad switch; 
startup of the lander computer, accompanied by turnoff of the descent- 
engine heaters; drop on equipment-power bus with shutoff of entry 

100 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

equipment; and switch in data rate from the orbiter-to-lander 4— kilobit 
rate to a 16— kb rate for sending pictures to the orbiter. A question about 
turning on the backup lander computer got a detailed response involving 
detectors and switches in a complex procedure that occur when "the 
second computer hollers for help," as Young put it. Other questions 
concerned dust storms, camera resolution, and chances of success; 
Soffen concluded by noting "if we knew the answers, we wouldn't have 
to do this mission." (Text, 20 May 76; NASA Releases 76-90, 76-98) 

• NASA announced delivery of experiment hardware for the first of three High 

Energy Astronomy Observatories (HEAO) to the prime contractor, TRW 
Systems of Redondo Beach, Calif. The hardware consisted of 4 experi- 
ments to survey and map x-ray sources during the 6-mo mission of 
HEAO-A in 1977. A Naval Research Laboratory experiment (Dr. Herbert 
Friedman, principal investigator) would use a large-area survey instru- 
ment to locate x-ray sources and obtain data for studying the physics and 
evolution of energy sources. An experiment built by Goddard Space 
Flight Center with assistance from the Calif. Institute of Technology 
would measure emissions and absorptions of diffuse x-rays and correlate 
results with radio and visible light ray emission; principal investigators 
were GSFC's Dr. Elihu Boldt and Caltech's Dr. Gordon Garmire. A third 
experiment, for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and MIT, was 
a scanning modulation collimator to determine precise celestial positions 
of selected x-ray sources and investigate their size and structure; prin- 
cipal investigators were SAO's Dr. Herbert Gursky and MIT's Dr. Hale 
Bradt. The fourth experiment, for the University of Calif, at San Diego 
and MIT, would determine the position, spectrum, time variations, in- 
tensity, and other properties of hard x-rays and low-energy gamma rays; 
principal investigators were UCSD's Dr. Laurence Peterson and MIT's 
Dr. Walter Lewin. Data gathered by the HEAO missions could lead to new 
theories about energy production and high-density nuclear matter. Mar- 
shall Space Flight Center, which would manage HEAO for the Office of 
Space Science, directed TRW in designing and building the observatories 
and integrating and testing the overall system, including the experi- 
ments. (NASA Release 76-100; MSFC Release 76-86) 

• NASA announced signature of an agreement between the Universities Space 

Research Association (USRA) and the Langley Research Center to provide 
university participation in the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) 
space research program managed by LaRC, which would use the Space 
Shuttle to launch and retrieve an earth-orbiting multipurpose- 
experiment carrier starting late in 1979. USRA was established in 1969 
through the National Academy of Sciences as a consortium of 50 univer- 
sities in the U.S., through which the academic community could work with 
NASA on scientific and technological developments in the space program; 
its headquarters was at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The 
agreement with LaRC called for USRA to solicit, select, and implement 
university experiments for each LDEF mission, with funds provided by the 
sponsoring organizations. NASA would also seek participants in the LDEF 
program through a formal announcement of opportunity inviting private 

101 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

companies, research and engineering institutes, and other government 
agencies to provide space experiments for LDEF missions. (NASA Release 
76-99) 

22 May: The Air Force's P76—5 satellite was successfully launched by NASA 
from the Western Test Range on a Scout vehicle at 0041 am PDT. The 
72.6-kg spacecraft, designed to evaluate propagation effects of dis- 
turbed plasmas on radar and communications systems, was placed in a 
near-circular sun-synchronous orbit with apogee at 935 km and perigee 
at 863 km, inclination of 99.6°, and period of 105.9 min. The launch 
was requested by the Air Force Nov. 75 and agreed to by NASA 3 Dec. 
1975, under a 1962 memorandum of understanding on joint NASA-DOD 
use of the Scout vehicle, and costs of the launch would be borne by the 
USAF. Mission objectives would be achieved, according to a postlaunch 
report. (MOR M-490-602-76-01, 21 Apr 76, [prelaunch] 5 May 76, 
[postlaunch] 24 Sept 76) 

• NASA announced issuance of a patent to engineers of Scott Aviation for a 

new type of breathing apparatus invented under NASA contract, suitable 
for use as emergency equipment for firemen [see 17 May]. The appara- 
tus included an alarm system working on the compressed air delivered to 
the wearer through a face mask, warning by a whistle audible only to the 
wearer if the air pressure fell. The equipment was also lower in weight 
and bulk, more comfortable, highly visible, and easier to operate. The 
weight of the apparatus, fitting over the face and around the head, was 
supported from the hips. Scott Aviation had planned to deliver 50 sets 
of the equipment to the Boston fire department in July. (NYT, 22 May 
76, 31) 

• Two engineers working for Lockheed Aircraft Corp. had reported that 

windmills could supply up to a fifth of U.S. energy needs by 1995, the 
Washington Post said. The engineers, Michael Dusey and Ugo Coty, 
reporting on a year-long investigation funded by the Energy Research 
and Development Administration, said that large wind-turbine gener- 
ators could save 2 billion barrels of oil a year; construction of 54 000 
generators with rotor blades more than 160 m end-to-end could furnish 
1 trillion kw hrs of electricity annually. Other benefits would include 
reduction of air pollution and creation of a new industry that would 
employ thousands, they said. The Lockheed researchers put no price tag 
on their findings, but an earlier study by the University of Hawaii had 
said such windmills could cost up to $50 000; the price would be re- 
gained within 7 yr and the windmills could remain in operation up to 
50 yr, according to the 1974 report by Hawaii's Donald Grace. A 
professor from the Univ. of Mass. — William Heronemus — had proposed 
some years ago a network of 957 windmills each about 113 m high just 
to meet the needs of the state of Vermont. {W Post, 22 May 76, F-l) 
24 May: Commercial supersonic transatlantic transport service began with 
the arrival of Concorde aircraft from London and Paris at Dulles airport 
near Washington, D.C. The Anglo-French plane had been barred from 
New York's John F. Kennedy airport under a ruling by the Port Author- 
ity of N.Y. and N.J. after Transportation Secretary William T. Coleman, 



102 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



Mm 




British Airways Concorde rolling out at Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C., after first 
touchdown 24 May 1981. (Photo courtesy British Airways) 

Jr., granted limited scheduled flights into the U.S. for a trial period not 
to exceed 16 mo [see 5 Jan. -4 Feb.]. The Concordes arrived at Dulles 
2 min apart, British Airways arriving at 1 1:54 am EDT and Air France 
at 1 1:56, taxiing into a nose-to-nose position in front of the main termi- 
nal building. About 8000 persons were on hand for the landing, many of 
them leaving their cars and walking in on the limited-access highway 
because of the traffic backup; of the crowd, airport officials estimated that 
only about 20 were there to protest the Concorde landings. The French 
flight carried 80 passengers, the British flight 75; both Air France and 
British Airways had limited passenger payloads to 80 on Concorde flights 
until they gained more experience with the aircraft's fuel consumption. 
The two carriers had selected Monday for the inauguration of North 
Atlantic service because neither would ordinarily offer a Washington- 
bound flight that day. Air France planned 3-per-wk flights, leaving Paris 
on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday and returning to Paris on Monday, 
Thursday, and Saturday. British Airways would offer 2 trips per wk, 
leaving London's Heathrow on Thursday and Saturday and returning on 
Friday and Sunday. One-way fare London to Washington would be 
$633.60; Paris-Washington, $827. The difference would arise from 
fluctuations in currency exchange. The trip took 3 hr 50 min for the Air 
France plane, spending 2 hr 53 min at supersonic speeds on the way. The 
British plane timed on its return flight took 3 hr 57 min. The Federal 
Aviation Administration had instrumented the Dulles airport with 8 
permanent and 5 portable recorder units to measure the perceived noise 
in decibels (pndb) for a data base on all airport noise and especially 
Concorde noise. {NYT, 25 May 76, 1; WPost, 25 May 76, A-l, Av Wk, 
24 May 76, 27; 31 May 76, 22) 
24-26 May: A "new view of Jupiter," as the New York Times called it, was 
the subject of a 3-day Ames Research Center symposium on Pioneer 
discoveries. Scientists from NASA, the Smithsonian Institution, and 15 



103 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

universities were resource persons for 4 news briefings per day, each 
scheduled for an hr or more, and 5 science workshops, meeting in the 
morning and afternoon each day, with a wrapup session the afternoon of 
the third day. Topics discussed were Jupiter's atmosphere and weather; 
magnetosphere and radiation belts; origins, characteristics, and com- 
position of the planet and its moons; origin of life on the planet; and 
Pioneer 1 1 targeting toward Saturn upon its departure from the vicinity 
of Jupiter. 

Pioneer findings about Jupiter — characterized by low density and 
high mass, 318 times that of earth, containing three quarters of the 
planetary material in the solar system— included discovery that Jupiter's 
Great Red Spot, three times the size of earth, was not the only such spot; 
several smaller ones detected in the atmospheric flow around Jupiter 
moved in and out of the area occupied by the Great Red Spot without 
losing their own identity. Pioneer measurements of Jupiter properties — 
internal heat, composition of its moons — permitted the first detailed 
calculations of the process that formed the planet. Its history was appar- 
ently that of a failed star: it went from a gas cloud to a body heated 
red-hot by gravitational contraction, then to a 4.5-billion-yr cooling, 
still in process, that made it resemble a "white dwarf." The four planet- 
size inner moons — Jupiter's "Galilean" satellites — proved scientifically 
the most interesting; they exhibited a regular density gradient and com- 
position that constituted the best direct evidence for Jupiter's history. 
The protostar phases deduced for both Jupiter and Saturn indicated that 
the outer solar system underwent 2 different periods of relatively high 
temperature. Jupiter had retained for 4 billion yr its primordial heat, 
which could be neither radiated nor conducted away because of the 
planet's composition. A "new metal" — liquid metallic hydrogen, sim- 
plest of the alkaline metals — identified only inside Jupiter is thought to 
constitute the planet's interior, beginning about of a quarter of the 
distance from the surface to the center. As the substance has low thermal 
conductivity and is opaque to radiated energy, the heat cannot be dissi- 
pated, and the temperature at Jupiter's center is about 30 000°, 6 times 
that of the surface of the sun. As Jupiter's liquid regions are too hot for 
life, living organisms would have to exist in its gaseous atmosphere. 
Between the temperatures for freezing and boiling water, Jupiter's 
atmospheric pressure increases with depth from 5 times earth's atmos- 
pheric pressure to 10 times. 

Pioneer data suggest slow atmosphere-turnover times of months or 
years that would permit survival of atmosphere-borne life, said Dr. Cyril 
Ponnamperuma of the Univ. of Md. Jupiter was 1000 times as large a 
region for forming complex organic molecules as earth, and a wide 
variety of environments would be available. The origin of life on a planet 
would depend less on huge time periods than on how often nature mixed 
the proper ingredients in the proper environment, Dr. Ponnamperuma 
said; enough billions or trillions of attempts could produce a highly 
complex molecule able to replicate itself. The fact that Jupiter's atmos- 
phere might provide hospitable sites for life raised the problem of con- 



104 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

tamination of that atmosphere by earth organisms riding on atmosphere 
probes launched by the U.S. and other countries. 

Pioneer also found that Jupiter acted as a giant vacuum cleaner, 
sucking small dust particles from a vast region of space (comparatively 
little dust was present in the Asteroid Belt), and 170 times as many 
meteoroids were striking Jupiter's atmosphere as struck the earth in 
areas of similar size. Concentrations of these particles at Jupiter would 
be the result of the planet's enormous gravity field. Jupiter's magnetos- 
phere — a million times the volume of earth's — was found to leak high- 
energy electrons; Jupiter was the major source of such electrons in the 
solar system, and the sun and Jupiter were the only known important 
sources of high-energy particles in the solar system. The energy of these 
particles was constantly increased by recirculation through the planet's 
radiation belts, said Dr. James Van Allen of the Univ. of Iowa. Earth- 
orbiting satellites and other spacecraft had detected Jupiter electrons as 
far away as Mercury, said Dr. John Simpson of the Univ. of Chicago; an 
input of more than 100 billion watts would be needed to maintain the 
observed energies. Jupiter was also known to be the strongest radio 
source in the sky, except for the sun; the massive radio bursts were 
caused by the moon Io moving through the Jovian magnetic field, said 
Dr. David Morrison of the Univ. of Hawaii. Scientific detective work 
revealed that the bursts occurred every 21 hr — half of Io's orbital 
period — and one of 3 places on Jupiter's visible surface had to face the 
earth, which Pioneer data proved to be true. (NASA Releases 76-80, 
76-91; NYT, 31 May 76, 14) 

25 May: The Environmental Protection Agency, at a Washington briefing for 

science writers, described its techniques of airborne remote sensing — 
combined use of aerial photography and heat-sensing instruments — to 
detect 98% of water-pollution discharge points in the U.S. John Moran, 
EPA director of monitoring, said the agency had long used aerial photos 
to map the extent of oil spills; other devices in EPA's "growing arsenal" 
included a laser system to measure ground contours and determine 
whether strip-mined land had been properly restored; an airborne laser 
firing energy pulses toward the ground to define particle layers in the 
atmosphere below the aircraft and thus measure the air-inversion ceiling 
during urban air-pollution alerts; and a system for laser fluorosensing 
that would monitor water pollution by measuring surface oils, dissolved 
organic matter, and even algae, by sensing responses to an ultraviolet 
beam. An earlier EPA report described use of techniques or devices 
developed for other purposes by NASA or DOD, to detect smoke drift in the 
atmosphere, oil spills, runoff from illegal stock feedlots, and sick vegeta- 
tion. (WStar , 26 May 76, A-ll) 

26 May: NASA announced plans for a 3 -mo demonstration this summer of 

using Ats 6 — known as the "teacher in the sky" — to help some of the 
world's poorest people boost food production, improve health and nutri- 
tion, expand family planning, and raise income levels, through applica- 
tions of remote sensing, space communications, and high-resolution 
aerial photography. The program, a joint effort of NASA and the Agency 



105 



May ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

for International Development, would consist of both filmed and live 
portions broadcast to as many as 30 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin 
America. AID would provide $3 million to finance the demonstration. At 
a UN conference in Nairobi 6 May on trade and development, Secretary 
of State Kissinger emphasized the use of satellite technology to improve 
cooperation between industrialized and developing nations; depending 
upon the response to the broadcasts, AID would be prepared to propose 
to Congress a long-range follow-up technology program. Ats-6 was 
completing a year-long program of instructional television for India; 
upon completion of this mission 3 1 July, NASA would move the satellite 
to a location over the Western Hemisphere where it would beam audio 
or audiovisual presentations in black and white or in color to special 
receivers on the ground. AID officials and NASA specialists would set up 
one transmitter-receiver unit in the capital of each participating country, 
and up to 5 receivers in outlying locations; each receiver terminal would 
be equipped with color-television monitors. The live portion of the 
demonstration would feature 2-way discussions between U.S. personal- 
ities and representatives of the recipient countries; a local program would 
be developed in the host country to demonstrate the communications 
abilities of the ATS. NASA would be responsible for moving the equipment 
from country to country and for operation of the satellite and associated 
equipment. (NASA Release 76-101) 

• A new device developed by the USAF Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at 
Edwards AFB, Calif., would permit an annual "physical examination" of 
the motors of intercontinental ballistic missiles while the missiles were 
still in the silo. The practice of removing the motors for inspection had 
resulted in high costs for handling and transportation as well as high risk 
of damage to the motors. The AF Space and Missile Systems Organization 
(SAMSO) at Los Angeles asked AFRPL to find a compact, safe, and eco- 
nomical means of inspection, and acoustical holography was selected. 
The system when fully developed would be able to scan the outside of an 
intact missile top to bottom, probing the propellant inside its motors. The 
device worked much like sonar, transmitting high-frequency sound 
waves and registering reflected vibrations; the reflected waves, processed 
electronically, would reproduce any flaws in the propellant on a cathode- 
ray tube for instant viewing or photographing, and the information would 
be stored in a computer for later evaluation. Future uses of acoustical 
holography might be made in medical science, improving on current 
x-ray techniques. (AF Release OIP 174.75) 

26-27 May: John H. Disher, Director of Advanced Programs, NASA Office 
of Manned Space Flight, was keynote speaker at a space industrialization 
symposium at Marshall Space Flight Center sponsored jointly by MSFC 
and the Alabama section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and 
Astronautics. Defining space industrialization as "the use of space to 
produce a salable/profitable product or a service which companies as a 
business expense or citizens through their taxes are willing to pay for," 
Disher reviewed uses of space for communications, weather prediction, 
navigation and mapping, and earth-resources survey; he then described 

106 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

the advantages of space environment — earth overview, zero gravity, 
vacuum, heat and waste disposal, and uninterrupted solar energy — for 
future uses, concluding with a prediction of a growing tourist industry in 
space. The symposium concluded 26 May at the annual banquet of the 
Ala. AIAA with an address on "Space Industrialization as a Concept" by 
Dr. Krafft Ehricke, science advisor for North American Space Division, 
Rockwell International Corp. Sessions of the symposium dealt with space 
habitation, space transportation, space processing of materials, and 
space power. The symposium was organized to disseminate recent infor- 
mation on expanded space operations after the advent of the Space 
Shuttle to all segments of the scientific and technical community; par- 
ticipants included NASA centers, other government agencies, industry 
and universities. (NASA Release 76-81; MSFC Release 76-64, 76-79; 
Disher text) 

28 May: Marshall Space Flight Center announced a new approach to issu- 
ance of 2 parallel contracts, to be awarded for studies of a space indus- 
trialization effort that would run from 1980 to 2010. One of the study 
contracts would be awarded to an aerospace firm, the other to a research 
or "think-tank" firm, to obtain different viewpoints. The proposed work 
would consist of 2 phases, each lasting about 8 mo, and each contract 
would cost about $200 000. Replies to today's requests for proposals 
were due 29 June, and contracts were to be awarded this fall. Whereas 
the space program had so far emphasized scientific and other exploratory 
activities, space industrialization would emphasize production of goods 
and services for economic benefit. First phase of the study would define 
goals, establish the rationale for a space program on the basis of terres- 
trial alternatives, and set up a time frame with options and budgetary 
considerations. The second phase would study future mission oppor- 
tunities and the optimum role of man in the program, responsiveness of 
the concepts to national and industrial needs and goals, and technological 
implications as against costs. (MSFC Release 76-98; NASA Release 
76-107) 

30 May: Third Century America, the U.S. Bicentennial exposition on science 
and technology, opened to the public with 30 000 persons attending; 
32 000 employes of the Kennedy Space Center had attended a preview 
the day before. Built within 4 mo, after President Ford in Feb. called on 
NASA to create a Bicentennial fair at Cape Canaveral, the exposition 
occupied 30 acres and 15 geodesic domes clustered around the mam- 
moth Vehicle Assembly Building, so large that the U.N. Secretariat could 
be mounted on wheels and rolled easily through its doors. "The message 
from NASA, 16 other federal agencies, and a conglomeration of defense 
contractors," said the Washington Post, was that America had spent 
her technology tax dollars well. The show was put together with 
$3 million in grants from the Dept. of Commerce, a $500 000 loan from 
NASA's budget, and an $800 000 advance from the KSC visitor center 
account. Before it opened, the show was expected to draw 800 000 to 
2 million persons; in July, average daily attendance was about 5000, and 
expectations were reduced to 500 000 before the fair closed 7 Sept. 

107 



May 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



Many Fla. attractions reported a drop in attendance this summer. 
{W Post, 25 July 76, G-5) 

During May: Rockwell International Corp. awarded contracts for the Air 
Force B-l strategic bomber program. On 18 May, Rockwell awarded a 
$2.4-million contract to Hamilton-Standard Division, United Tech- 
nologies Corp., for air conditioning and pressurization equipment and 
air-recirculation loops for the fourth B-l in the 4-plane prototype 
program. The firm had supplied similar equipment for 3 earlier B-ls. On 
24 May, Rockwell awarded a $1.8-million subcontract to Martin Mari- 
etta Aerospace for tail assemblies, consisting of 2 horizontal stabilizers 
and a single vertical stabilizer, for the fourth B-l prototype aircraft. 
Martin Marietta had supplied stabilizers for the other 3 B-ls. Rockwell, 
system contractor on the B-l program, had developed the B-l to 
modernize the strategic bomber force; its advantage over previous heavy 
bombers was the design ability to avoid enemy defense by flying at nearly 
sonic speed at treetop height to avoid radar detection. The first 2 
prototypes were in flight test, and the third was scheduled to fly later in 
1976. (Rockwell Releases LA-3, LA-4) 

• Spaceflight, publication of the British Interplanetary Society, announced 
that Soviet authorities after a 2-yr delay had released a photograph of 
Capella — the brightest star in the constellation Auriga — obtained by the 
"Orion 2" observatory aboard Soyuz 13. Capella is a yellow giant star 
150 times as luminous as the sun and 47 light-years away. Soviet 
scientists believed they had found a "new association of stars" in the 
several dozen hot stars of extremely low radiation discovered around 
Capella; they claimed this was the first time in the history of astronomy 
that a telescope had obtained a spectrogram of a planetary nebula — a 
huge gaseous formation with a high-temperature star at the center — and 
had obtained pictures of a known star with a gaseous envelope rich in 




Third Century America, sole Bicentennial exposition paid for by the L.S. government, 
opened to the public 30 May 1976 at Kennedy Space Center. (NASA 76-H-445) 



108 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 May 

silicon. The Orion 2 equipment could make precision study of stellar 
objects in the ultraviolet spectrum and provide spectrograms of stars of 
13th magnitude "to extend the limits set by the American Skylab, whose 
crews took pictures of stars down to 7.5th magnitude," the Russians said. 
{Spaceflight, May 1976, 177) 
• The National Aeronautic Association reported that Karl Striedieck and 
L. Roy McMaster were jointly claiming a world soaring record for out- 
and-return distance of 1299 km, for flights they each made on 17 March 
along the Allegheny Mountains. Striedieck, an Air National Guard pilot 
from Port Matilda, Pa., flew in a Schleicher AS-W17 sailplane from Lock 
Haven, Pa., to Mendota, Va., and back, on course for 1 1 hr averaging 
more than 117 kph, claiming by this flight the world out-and-return 
record for the fifth time. McMaster, an accountant from Elmira Heights, 
N.Y., flew the same course in a Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus sail- 
plane, landing about an hour later than Striedieck. If approved by NAA 
and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the world-record claims 
would give McMaster a U.S. National Standard Class record for out-and- 
return distance; Striedieck's AS-W17 would not qualify under standard- 
class rules. (NAA Newsletter, May 1976, 3) 



109 



June 1976 



1 June: Recently published criticism by columnist John Keats of "a modest NASA 
effort to provide meals for elderly people" not only "managed to mis- 
understand just about every aspect of what we are doing" but also "put 
down the elderly and [raised] my ire in the process," astronaut Joseph P. 
Kerwin wrote in a letter to the New York Times. Kerwin pointed out that 
the NASA program was' a response to the Texas Governor's Committee on 
Aging, which had asked the agency for help in developing good-tasting 
easy-to-prepare and easy-to-deliver meals for people not reached by pro- 
grams such as Meals on Wheels or group meals sponsored by Congress in 
various city centers. Kerwin said NASA's engineers "know a little about 
packaging and shelf life," and "we care because we have relatives who are 
old, and because we'll be old ourselves soon — if we're lucky." The tech- 
nology being used to do a job for the old was good, Kerwin concluded, "but 
it's the caring of which I am most proud." (NYT, 1 June 76, 34) 

• During its 3 most active yr, NASA had awarded only 19% of its procurement 

funding to concerns in the industrialized Northeast, according to a Library 
of Congress study commissioned by Rep. Michael J. Harrington (D-Mass.), 
whereas the Sunbelt states — ranging from Maryland to Texas — received 
33% of the total awards. Of $8.7 billion spent by NASA in procurement 
contracts for 1968, 1971, and 1975, the Northeast received $1.7 billion 
and southern regions received $2.9 billion, the report said. "While the 
aggregate populations in these combined regions are roughly comparable," 
Harrington said, "the NASA procurement contracts run almost 2 to 1 
against us . . . NASA's contract award procedures now join that long and 
growing list of federally funded activities which discriminate against the 
industrialized Northeast states." (IWT, 2 June 76, 40) 

• NASA announced an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organization 

(ISRO) to add a solar-energy experiment to the cooperative satellite instruc- 
tional television experiment (SITE) now under way using Ats 6, the applica- 
tions technology satellite. In May, ISRO was sent 2 solar arrays capable of 
producing 260 watt-hr of power a day under Indian sunlight conditions; the 
arrays would provide electricity to run 2 of the SITE TV receivers during the 
4 hr each day that Indian programming would be broadcast to some 5000 
villages using Ats 6. When India's National Committee for Space Research 
studied power alternatives for the SITE terminals in 1969, solar cells were 
used almost exclusively in spacecraft and were considered too expensive for 
use on the ground; since that time, demand had increased sharply, the price 
had come down, and the sharp rise in petroleum prices had made the price 
of solar power more attractive. Although current cost of a solar-power 
system for a SITE terminal was estimated as $31 1 per yr (26% higher than 
the $247 cost of kerosene generators), research and production should 

111 



June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

bring the cost down to about $139 a yr by 1979, while the price of 
kerosene-generated electricity could well be higher. Also, arrays from solar 
cells could be produced in India and other developing countries by using 
existing technology, which would add to the advantages of solar power for 
use throughout the world. 

Solar power had proved desirable for use in areas not having central 
power stations; the solar-power systems were simple to install, had no 
moving parts, and needed only cleaning of array surfaces and maintenance 
of electrolyte levels as operational maintenance. NASA's Lewis Research 
Center had demonstrated a solar array as a power source for an Ats 6 
ground station last year; the India project would be one of many conducted 
by L.RC to support the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administra- 
tion (ERDA) in demonstrating terrestrial applications of solar-cell-generated 
electricity. An ISRO engineer would visit LeRC for training in assembly and 
operation of the solar arrays. (NASA Release 76-95) 

2 June: NASA announced selection of IBM Corp., Gaithersburg, Md., for award 
of a $24-million 44-mo cost-plus-award-fee contract to supply a Space 
Shuttle data-processing complex for the mission control center at John- 
son Space Center. The complex would consist of 3 computers and periph- 
eral equipment for support of the Shuttle program; work to be performed 
would include design, fabrication, delivery, installation, and checkout of 
the computer complex and associated software. Control Data Corp. of 
Minneapolis also submitted a proposal. (NASA Release 76-104; JSC Re- 
lease 76-37) 

• The USSR would probably put men on the moon within 10 yr to do more 
ambitious exploration than that done by U.S. astronauts, according to a 
report on Soviet space programs 1971-1975 by the Science Policy 
Research Division of the Library of Congress's Congressional Research 
Division. Dr. Charles S. Sheldon, II, chief of the Science Policy Research 
Division, stated in the report that the USSR did not abandon lunar plans 
when Apollo 11 got to the moon in July 1969, but that the Soviet 
program had been plagued with "hardware and systems . . . quite inad- 
equate by our standards." In a summary of Dr. Sheldon's report, the 
Washington Star noted his statement that the "race for the moon" was 
closer than many believed at the time; "the Soviets probably wanted to 
send the first manned flight around the moon by November 1967, when 
a test failed." Although a Soviet Apollo would probably not appear for 
the next 3 yr, Dr. Sheldon said, "within the decade there will probably 
be a Soviet landing on the moon that will be a generation beyond the 
Apollo flights . . . ." Describing the extensive Soviet military uses of 
space in addition to scientific and economic purposes, the report noted 
"the seriousness and steadiness with which the Russians are adding to 
their space facilities and their space operations, building versatility and 
experience in depth." The report did not mention the absence of this 
element in the U.S., the Star noted. The report would be published later 
in 1976 by the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, 
for which it was prepared. (W Star, 2 June 76, A-3) 



112 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

3 June: NASA announced plans to roll out the first of 2 rotor systems research 

aircraft (RSRA) 7 June at the Sikorsky Aircraft Division in Conn. The 
RSRA, capable of conventional cruise flight as well as typical helicopter 
performance, was the product of a joint NASA-Army research program 
to reduce rotor noise and vibration — with attendant high maintenance 
costs — and improve performance and cruise speed of future civil and 
military helicopters. The RSRA was the first helicopter designed with 
research capability in mind; devices in the main rotor-support structure 
would permit accurate measurement of rotor forces in flight, and force- 
measurement systems were also incorporated in the wing, tail rotor, and 
auxiliary engine to permit measurement and control of the lift and drag 
of the rotor system. The Army, world's leading user of helicopters, would 
make the RSRA available to the U.S. helicopter industry for rotor-systems 
tests; most of the technology would also be applicable to civil vehicles. 
NASA's goal would be to meet predictions of increased usage in the civil 
helicopter industry to enable the U.S. to compete favorably in the growing 
world market. (NASA Release 76-105) 

4 June: Kennedy Space Center announced award of a $40 214 contract 

extension of 12 mo to Ky. State Univ. for continuing its studies of the 
effects of oxygen atmospheres on animals. The animal under study was 
the vinegar fly — Drosophila melanogaster — which was grown and tested 
under 5%, 20%, and 60% oxygen concentrations (normal oxygen con- 
tent of earth's atmosphere is 21%). Studies over 2 yr showed that, at the 
5% and 20% oxygen levels, survival rates of the initial generation of the 
flies were the same. Flies in a 60% oxygen environment had a survival 
rate like that of the flies in the 20% environment, for up to 20 days; after 
20 days, flies in the 60% atmosphere died. Tissue studies indicated that 
exposure to a 60% oxygen environment resulted in physical changes, 
including accelerated aging and problems in the nervous system. The 
contract extension would permit studies of the mortality, fertility, and 
gene frequencies of the flies over 10 or more generations. The data would 
aid in establishing proper oxygen content in manned spacecraft atmos- 
pheres during future manned missions, and in selecting humans to par- 
ticipate in manned missions and in deep-sea dives. (KSC Release 198-76) 
• A fully metallic replica of the Spacelab — called a "hard" mockup — had 
begun assembly near Bremen, West Germany, at the plant of ERNO, a 
subsidiary of VFW-Fokker and prime contractor for the Spacelab. The 
role of the replica was to ensure that all nonelectrical elements of the 
complex craft would be compatible; 4 additional Spacelabs would be 
constructed, including the flight unit, only one of which would be con- 
structed. The next model would be the "high fidelity" model, to be built 
after final design details are agreed on later in 1976; it would be used for 
crew training. The next — Engineering Mockup 1 — would be sent to the 
U.S. in 1978 for fitting into the Shuttle. The flight unit would be sched- 
uled for shipment to Kennedy Space Center a year later; finally, En- 
gineering Mockup 2 would be built and kept in Europe to help members 
of the European Space Agency (ESA) prepare missions over the 10-yr 
operational period. The single flight version, designed to make at least 50 

113 



June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

flights, would carry a wide range of scientific and technological ex- 
periments for which the experimenters would be expected to pay a fee. 
The Europeans hoped to modify this policy in view of their nearly 
$400 million investment in the project. (NYT, 4 June 76, A- 15) 

7 June: NASA announced selection of Computer Sciences Corp. of Falls 

Church, Va., for negotiation of a 2-yr $6 million cost-plus-award-fee 
contract to provide technical support services at the National Space 
Technology Laboratories, Bay St. Louis, Miss. The contractor would 
provide support services for NASA's on-site launch-vehicle and rocket- 
engine static testing and certification programs, and for NASA and other 
resident agencies working in space and earth-environment programs. 
(NASA Release 76-111) 

8 June: The Communications Research Centre (CRC) of the Canadian govern- 

ment's Communications Department in Ottawa announced successful 
demonstration of a new satellite-aided search-and-rescue concept that 
could reduce time, fuel-dollar, and other costs associated with con- 
ventional ways of finding downed aircraft. The demonstration was funded 
by the Canadian Department of National Defence. The project, begun in 
May 1975, used the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation's Oscar 6 
satellite with simulated distress signals to show that crash sites in 
Canada — and elsewhere in the world — could be pinpointed with accu- 
racies as good as 1.6 km, generally within 3 km, in as little as 15 to 
20 min after the spacecraft first heard the signal. The conventional 
emergency locator transmitter (ELT) mandatory for aircraft in Canada 
and the U.S. would automatically signal on crash impact, as designed, 
providing a signal on the international distress frequency of 121.5 hz for 
at least 100 hr for search-and-rescue aircraft to home into. The search 
range until now had been within 50 km of a crash site, flying crisscross 
patterns involving many planes and dozens of costly as well as risky flying 
hours. 

The satellite system would depend on two things: highly precise orbit 
predictions (knowledge of the satellite's exact position at any instant) and 
sophisticated computer processing of distress signals relayed to a ground 
station. The system works by measuring the Doppler shift in the ELT 
signal frequency as the satellite at about 1 100 km altitude passes over 
the crash site; locations of about 60 "crashes" simulated by transmitters 
as far away as Winnipeg had been fixed by processing Oscar 6 signals 
with increasing degrees of accuracy. An operational system would in- 
clude 3 satellites with a design lifetime of 7 to 10 yr, with total spacecraft 
and launch costs about $30 million. When the satellite nearest to a crash 
site appeared over the visible horizon, it would alert ground stations that 
it had received an alarm; 15 min later, at the conclusion of its pass, an 
immediate fix accurate within 112 km would be possible, and a position 
fixing the site within 3 km would be delivered within 2 to 15 min 
depending on the capacity of the computer. A $3 million annual cost over 
10 yr would be only a small part of what Canada was now spending on 
aerial searches. (CDC release 8 June 76) 



114 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced it had used aerial thermal- 

scanning techniques to locate high heat-loss areas as part of its energy 
resources management program to reduce energy consumption agency- 
wide. The Lewis Research Center had made thermal scanning flights for 
all NASA centers, and MSFC had been scanned twice, once in October 1975 
and again in February 1976, using a C-47 aircraft with onboard scan- 
ners that recorded on digital tape the average temperature of each area 
covered. Fed into a computer, the digital tape produced printouts and 
live mosaic maps projected on a television monitor to show areas where 
excessive steam-line losses occurred and to identify buildings losing 
excessive heat through roof structures. The MSFC facilities office vali- 
dated the data through visual inspection of steam lines and roof insu- 
lation, and issued work requests for repair and replacement of insulation 
in 88 steam-line locations. Longer range action was planned to repair and 
replace deteriorated roofing and replace sections of the steam lines. (MSFC 
Release 76-104) 
9 June: NASA launched Marisat 2, second in a series of ComSat maritime 
communications satellites, at 8:09 pm EDT from the Eastern Test Range 
on a Delta vehicle, into a transfer orbit with apogee of 36 924 km, 
perigee of 185 km, and 26° inclination. The apogee boost motor fired 
1 1 June would put the spacecraft into a 36 000-km-altitude syn- 
chronous orbit at 176°E over the Pacific. Marisat was designed to 
transmit voice, data, facsimile, and telex messages to and from ships at 
sea, through special stations in Conn, and Calif, interconnected with 
existing domestic land networks; initially, the system would be used by 
the U.S. Navy, until its requirements terminated in the late 1970s. The 
cylindrical satellite, weighing 655 kg at liftoff and 317 kg in orbit, 
measured 2.1 m in diameter and was 3.6 m long. Like Marisat 1, which 
had been operating over the Atlantic since its launch 19 February, it 
carried 3 UHF channels for government use, activated or deactivated by 
ground command, and 2 4-hz channels operating in the L- and C-bands 
respectively to carry ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship signals; the full 
ship-to-shore capacity would always be available independent of govern- 
ment use of the UHF channels, which would use separate receiving 
facilities. (NASA Release 76-83; MOR 492-205-76-02 [prelaunch] 
7 June 76, [postlaunch] 14 Oct 76) 

• Johnson Space Center announced "the most successful balloon flight of its 

type ever conducted" when a football-field-sized balloon carried a 
scientific instruments package at a 40-km altitude across the central 
Texas night sky for 1 2 hr to gather information on far distant giant and 
super-giant stars. The 589-kg package known as BUSS — for balloon- 
borne ultraviolet stellar spectrometer — gathered data on 16 separate 
stars, including Arcturus, a giant star in constellation Bootes; super-giant 
Antares (alpha Scorpii); Vega (alpha Lyrae); and Spica (alpha Virginis), 
super-hot star and one of the brightest observed during the flight. Of 
special interest was super-giant Deneb in constellation Cygnus, 1400 
light years distant, whose light recorded by BUSS was emitted before the 
Anglo-Saxons settled in England; Deneb was so large that, if the sun were 



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June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

located in its center, the earth would orbit the sun entirely within the 
star's outer limits. The BUSS payload was the culmination of a 3-yr 
international collaboration between JSC and the Space Research Labora- 
tory of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Dr. Yoji Kondo of JSC was U.S. 
coprincipal investigator, with Dr. Thomas H. Morgan and Dr. Jerry L. 
Modisette of Houston Baptist University; the Dutch team was led by 
Dr. Cees de Jager. Purpose of the balloon flights in a series of star studies 
that began in 1971 was to evaluate the experiment systems for use on 
the Space Shuttle; the BUSS package was designed to obtain data on 
spectral variations of a variety of stars and aid scientists in determining 
their structure and evolution. Previous flights had obtained some infor- 
mation but only a fiftieth of the spectral range covered by the BUSS 
payload. The package was landed by a parachute about 26 m in di- 
ameter, similar to those used on the Apollo command module; the pay- 
load, chute, and balloon were recovered between Abilene and Ft. Worth 
by NASA engineers who returned the material to Houston. The data would 
be analyzed by the U.S. team and by the Dutch scientists, who had 
returned to Holland, in preparation for another balloon flight scheduled 
for the fall of 1976. (JSC Release 76-39) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced selection of 1 1 industrial firms to 

negotiate for award of contracts totaling $200 000 for marketable solar- 
heating and cooling subsystems — solar collectors and control systems — 
to be tested and evaluated for inclusion in complete solar-heating systems 
that would be installed in residences and commercial buildings through- 
out the U.S. Data gathered from these installations would be used in a 
national solar-energy development program administered by the Energy 
Research and Development Administration (ERDA), for which MSFC is 
managing the heating and cooling demonstration. Of the 1 1 companies 
selected, 8 were small businesses. The companies were: Northrup, Inc., 
Hutchins, Tex.; Rho Sigma, Van Nuys, Calif.; Solar Energy Products 
Co., Avon Lake, O.; Solar Energy Systems, Inc., Pennsauken, N.J.; 
Solargenics, Inc., Chatsworth, Calif.; Solaron Corp., Commerce City, 
Colo.; Sunworks, Inc., Guilford, Conn.; Ying Manufacturing Corp., Gar- 
dena, Calif.; Honeywell, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.; Libbey-Owens-Ford 
Co., Toledo, O.; and Martin Marietta Corp., Denver, Colo. (NASA Release 
76-109; MSFC Release 76-106) 

• Lewis Research Center announced the first of a number of solar-cell demon- 

strations it would conduct as part of the national photovoltaic conversion 
program directed by the Energy Research and Development Adminis- 
tration: a solar-powered refrigerator, standard-size camper's model, 
fitted with 3 panels of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into elec- 
trical energy. Designed for use in remote locations, the solar cells would 
run the refrigerator during daylight hours and charge conventional 
automobile batteries located under the unit; the batteries would power 
the refrigerator during darkness and on overcast days. With the cooper- 
ation of the Interior Department's National Park Service, the refrig- 
erator was being used for perishable foods at a trail-construction camp 
at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan, a roadless area near northern 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

Lake Superior accessible only by boat or floatplane and typical of places 
that have no regular electric power. The solar-cell arrays, although 
relatively expensive, cost less to use in remote locations than the fuel and 
transportation would cost for alternative power sources. (NASA Release 
76-110) 

• Dr. James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator, named the Ames Research 

Center to lead a program to strengthen helicopter research and devel- 
opment and serve as a focal point for industry participation and program 
management. A special helicopter management advisory group had made 
a presentation to Fletcher 28 May reviewing research needs and stress- 
ing the need for improvements in helicopters if the U.S. industry were to 
get a fair share of the market. Overall direction of the program would 
come from ARC; Lewis Research Center would conduct research on 
propulsion, and Langley Research Center would do research in struc- 
tures and materials, avionics, and noise. ARC would also conduct research 
in aeromechanics, including technology integration and large-scale test- 
ing and simulation. (NASA Release 76-112) 

• Successful completion of the Da Vinci II scientific balloon flight by 4 crew 

members was announced by the Energy Research and Development 
Administration. Launched west of St. Louis on 8 June, the balloon had 
flown over the city during the day and moved eastward across the 
Mississippi River toward evening; it had flown across 111. and landed near 
Griffin, Ind., a distance of more than 240 km in 24 hr. Purpose of the 
flight — a joint project of ERDA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency — was to fol- 
low industrial and urban air pollution across the surrounding countryside 
and to record its changing concentration and chemistry. The crew re- 
ported excellent scientific data, especially on concentrations of sulfur 
dioxide. The crew, its 3m-square gondola, and more than 900 kg of 
scientific equipment landed safely and in good condition. (ERDA Release 
76-170) 

• An article in Moscow's Krasnaya Zvezda reviewed the increasing use of 

satellites for military communications, especially in the U.S. Space com- 
munications had become available in Britain, France, the Federal Repub- 
lic of Germany, Canada, Brazil, and Norway, as well as other countries, 
and though basically designed for commercial purposes "there is no 
doubt" that most of the channels were used by the military, the article 
said. As an example, the national system of space communications in 
Iran was said to be developed to provide guidance for combat aircraft. 
Not satisfied with the potential of commercial systems, the Pentagon and 
the NATO command had established communications satellites exclusively 
for military purposes, the article said, quoting U.S. News and World 
Report as saying that since 1960 "the Pentagon has sent 83 commu- 
nications satellites . . . into orbit but has not got what it wanted. Of all 
these satellites only 13 still continue in orbit, and not all 13 are func- 
tioning normally." The Soviet magazine also pointed out that 6 launches 
of DSCS-2 satellites had been planned, but 2 had been lost during launch 
and 2 more had broken down in orbit; the 2 currently operating were 

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June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

over the Pacific and the Atlantic at about 36 000 km, and another 6 had 
been ordered, the first pair due for launch in spring 1977. As press 
statements showed that two thirds of the military communications with 
foreign countries were going through commercial systems, "foreign ob- 
servers" had concluded that the military systems had proven less reliable 
than Intelsat; the Pentagon had explained that requirements on military 
satellites were considerably higher, as they had to work with small mobile 
stations in widely scattered locations, needed increased protection 
against jamming, and must be durable to withstand possible combat 
effects. The Russian commentator said the U.S. had begun developing a 
third generation of military satellites — the DSCS-3 — with launch sched- 
uled for 1981, and that these new spacecraft would be powered by 
radioisotope thermoelectric generators with longer working life and 
greater capacity. Elimination of bulky solar panels would also make the 
new craft more difficult to detect in orbit. After describing the Fleetsat- 
com and Afsatcom systems, the article pointed out that "the creation of 
a manned multipurpose transport spacecraft" [the U.S. Space Shuttle] 
would have a major impact on communications-satellite systems; such 
spacecraft would be able to launch large mass and capacity comsats, 
eliminating "complex operations and devices [needed to prepare] the 
satellite for work following its injection into orbit," and would simplify 
technical servicing and repair of the comsats while in orbit. Although 
many technical problems remained, space facilities had become the basis 
of military communications abroad, the article concluded. (FBIS, Kras- 
naya Zvezda, 26 May 76, 3) 

10 June: Johnson Space Center announced delivery of the first of 2 training 

aircraft to Ellington AFB, Tex., for JSC's use in training Space Shuttle 
crews. The aircraft (STA) was a modified Grumman twin-engine Gulf- 
stream II jet designed to simulate flight characteristics of the Space 
Shuttle orbiter, using thrust-reverser engines and direct lift control to 
vary the jet plane's dynamics to resemble those of the orbiter. After JSC 
personnel conducted a receiving inspection on the plane, it would be 
returned to Grumman at Bethpage, N.Y., for installation of an electric 
aileron-trim system; this modification should take about a week. The 
second STA, scheduled for delivery in late July, would remain at Bethpage 
to ensure that the plane could duplicate the various landing flight modes 
of the orbiter during the flight tests. Remaining tests would verify STA's 
ability to match orbiter trajectory during the period from 10-11 km 
altitude through touchdown and would check out recent engineering 
changes. (NASA Release 76-108; JSC Release 76-38) 

11 June: A 2-wk experiment to observe the Gulf Stream about 580 km east 

of NASA's Wallops Flight Center used a combination of spacecraft, air- 
craft, and water craft to check the ability of remote sensors to measure 
the magnitude and boundaries of the Gulf Stream from space. Gulf 
Stream measurements would aid in planning more effective use of coastal 
waters, as in cooling nuclear power plants, or in constructing offshore 
drilling rigs or airports located on manmade islands. Scientists also 
wanted more data about the Gulf Stream, which carries heat energy that 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

influences the global balance of energy in the atmosphere and the ocean, 
affecting weather and climate as well as coastal water movement, besides 
carrying nutrients important to the fishing industry. Traditional methods 
using closely spaced ship stations or buoys to obtain data had proved 
inadequate for studying fast-changing or large-scale phenomena. Sat- 
ellite measurements used in the experiment included infrared signatures 
that identified the Gulf Stream boundary from space photographs. A 
precision altimeter on NASA's Geos 3 (geodynamic experimental ocean 
satellite) measured surface deviations in the ocean within 20 cm, from 
which velocity of a current could be calculated; the experiment also used 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Noaa 4 weather 
satellite. A C-54 research plane from Wallops carried instruments on 3 
flights to measure the current by observing wave interactions; surface 
measurements were taken by the research vessel Advance II from Cape 
Fear Technical Institute at Wilmington, N.C., manned by ocean scientists 
from N.C. State University at Raleigh. The project was part of a scientific 
research task directed by NASA Hq's Office of Applications. (NASA Release 
76-115; WFC Release 76-7) 

• Detente, to be meaningful to U.S. scientists, must include progress toward 

more intercommunication and openness, said Dr. Bruce Murray of Cal- 
Tech and Merton E. Davies of RAND Corp. in an article in Science 
magazine. Noting that for nearly 2 decades the space program of the U.S. 
and the USSR were bound together through rivalry, competition, and — 
most recently — cooperation, the authors found it appropriate upon com- 
pletion of the Apollo-Soyuz mission to review relationships between the 
2 countries and focus on areas of possible common interest. The inter- 
relationship with the Soviet space effort had stimulated both societies and 
had influenced the character of individual programs, the authors said. 
Future joint activities could take three forms: data exchange, cooper- 
ative experiments, and joint operations. Examples cited were exchanges 
of weather-satellite pictures, lunar soil and rock samples, and limited 
data on Mars obtained during simultaneous missions in 1971; the U.S. 
biological experiments carried on Cosmos 782, launched and returned 
to earth in 1975; and the joint operation of Apollo-Soyuz, which demon- 
strated the practicality of such missions despite differences in language, 
institutions, technology, and style. Joint scientific progress in space 
would depend on broader social objectives and activity, supported by 
popular enthusiasm for intellectual and generally human adventure, the 
authors said. {Science, 11 June 76, 1067) 

• The board of governors of the International Telecommunications Satellite 

Organization (INTELSAT) announced that, at its recent meeting in The 
Hague 19 — 27 May, it adopted a 10-m class Standard B ground station 
to supplement the Standard A station long the foundation of INTELSAT'S 
global system. Currently, 114 Standard A ground stations with 30-m 
antennas were operating throughout the world, as well as 29 smaller 
stations used for domestic service, telemetry, tracking and control, 
monitoring, and limited telecommunications between 2 or 3 destinations. 
Broadest use of the Standard B station would be in developing countries 



119 



June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

that had limited telecommunications requirements. Under study for some 
years, the Standard B station would use single-channel-per-carrier (SCPC) 
equipment that allowed routing of traffic on a circuit-by-circuit basis 
instead of in large groups or bundles, minimizing the capacity loss 
associated with smaller antennas; it also worked with voice activation, 
which would be mandatory, using satellite capacity for telephone service 
only when activated by voice signals. Adoption of the second standard for 
international service would mean a 40% drop in rates paid for use of the 
satellites, plus ability to route traffic to any ground stations equipped to 
receive the user's signals, with no restriction on the total amount of 
traffic. Previously, the drain on satellite power limited small ground 
stations to providing service to only 1 or 2 other points. (INTELSAT 
Release 76-17-1) 
11 — 30 June: The scheduled Fourth of July landing of Viking 1 on the 
planet Mars was briefly complicated by 2 problems announced in the news 
media 1 1 June: a mechanical problem with a leaky valve in the Viking's 
fuel tank, and a threatened strike by about 200 technicians at a desert 
tracking station at Goldstone, Calif., one of 3 in the world that relayed 
signals to and from the Viking. Neither proved insuperable; by 18 June, 
John D. Goodlette, chief Viking engineer, was describing the mission as 
"shooting right down the pickle barrel." "If we do nothing to the 
spacecraft from here on out," he added, "we'd miss our target by less 
than 60 miles [95 km]." Washington Post staff writer Thomas O'Toole 
explained that the target was a spot about 9600 km from Mars, where 
the onboard braking engine would slow the spacecraft from about 
14 200 kph to about 9600 kph, putting it into an elliptical orbit to survey 
possible landing sites. 

Viking 1 would scan and map the surface for 2 wk; its cameras would 
photograph the prime landing site near an ancient rift valley, and other 
instruments would measure surface temperatures and search the Mars 
atmosphere for signs of water. The new orbit would bring Viking over the 
planned landing site once each 24.6-hr Mars day (called a sol). The 
2 wk of photographs and measurements were needed so that scientists at 
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where the flight had been directed since 
launch in April 1975, could choose the safest and most interesting spot 
for their 4-ton bird to alight. The landing attempt would be the first U.S. 
try at putting a spacecraft down on another planet; the USSR had made 
5 unmanned attempts, 3 on Venus and 2 on Mars. The 2 Venera 
spacecraft had survived on the surface long enough to send back 1 
picture each; the third crashed. One Mars spacecraft had crashed, and 
the other was blown over after it landed by winds clocked at more than 
300 kph. 

After Viking's braking engine was fired, the main job of flight direc- 
tors would be to navigate it into a path where its orbit would be lowered 
again, with apogee reduced from about 19 000 km to 12 500 km. The 
firing was successful 19 June, and the Viking neared the end of a 
690-million-km voyage that began 10 mo ago. William J. O'Neill of JPL 
said the precision of the flight could be likened to "shooting a basketball 
in Los Angeles and putting it through a hoop in Madison Square Garden 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

in New York City." Viking was following a northeasterly path around 
Mars that would bring it within 1450 km of the planet's surface; flight 
directors planned a second maneuver to bring it still closer over an area 
20°N of the equator, called Chryse, where Viking would attempt to land 
4 July, selected as a good place to search for signs of life or fossilized life 
that thrived when a river flowed there a billion years ago. Harold S. 
Masursky of the U.S. Geological Survey, chief geologist for Viking, said 
that Chryse resembled California's Death Valley or the water-worn dry 
valleys of Nevada or Wyoming, where ancient rivers overflowed their 
banks millions of years ago to deposit alluvial soils on the valley floors. 
Rock and soil in the Chryse valley appeared red from millions of years 
of iron oxide deposits brought down by the river overflow; Masursky and 
his colleagues hoped that the red soils would contain organic molecules, 
signs of a once-existent life on Mars. 

A photograph taken 19 June and released by JPL on Sunday, 20 June, 
showed the ''awesome" Valles Marineris from about 360 000 km up — 
parallel canyons south of the Mars equator that, if extended together on 
earth, would reach from Calif, to Penna. The smaller was about 3 km 
deep, 64 km wide, and 645 km long; the larger was 6 km deep, 96 km 
wide, and more than 3200 km long. (Arizona's Grand Canyon, largest on 
earth, is about 2 km deep, 21 km wide at its greatest breadth, and only 
350 km long.) The northern hemisphere of Mars appeared covered with 
haze, which scientists said was probably from water vapor misting out of 
the cold surface as the sun warmed it during the longer summer days. 

Successful firing of the braking engine at 1:25 pm EDT Monday, 
21 June, put Piking 1 into a lower orbit so that its cameras could begin 
to photograph steep slopes, craters, boulder fields, and other potential 
obstacles. On 27 June, Viking project manager James S. Martin an- 
nounced that the 4 July landing was off; pictures of the primary landing 
area showed "too many unknowns," and the site appeared too hazardous 
to risk landing without investigating other sites. As the Viking 1 cameras 
could not distinguish objects "smaller than a football field," objects as yet 
invisible could endanger the landing. However, as there was no assurance 
of any hazard-free area roughly 20 km by 100 km anywhere on Mars, 
some scientists had wanted to go ahead with the planned landing. Pre- 
vious closeups taken by Mariner 9 were not as detailed as those from 
Viking, and dangerous details of the primary landing site became more 
obvious with photos from Viking 1 coming in more clearly. 

The New York Times reported that the first alternative site was an 
area called Chryse Phoenicia, a basin about 30 km northwest of the 
original site; if that site appeared too rough, scientists would look at 
Tritonis Lacus, about 6400 km east of Chryse, although if this happened, 
the landing might be delayed until as late as the first wk of August. 
Project Manager Martin suggested delaying the Viking 1 landing, if it 
were not down by 25 July, until the Viking 2 (now 8 million km away) 
arrived in Mars orbit; possibly 2 Viking spacecraft might be orbiting 
simultaneously. JPL said flight tracking and control facilities there were 
insufficient to handle full operations of both spacecraft simultaneously, 
and a number of preorbital maneuvers for Viking 2 would be required 

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June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

starting about 27 July. John Noble Wilford said in the New York Times 
that the earliest possible Viking 1 landing would be 9 July, and other 
alternatives would take longer. Scientists, he said, were "dismayed by 
the rugged Martian terrain" — the primary landing area being heavily 
pocked with craters, steep escarpments, and a sprinkling of knoblike 
features probably remnants of erosion like that in the Grand Canyon. 

On 28 June, Viking 1 photographed a site about 300 km northwest 
of Chryse — the "northwest territory" — after pictures of the prime site 
showed it to be far more rugged than expected; the scientists wanted a 
landing as close as possible to the original site because they thought it 
offered the best chance of finding signs of existing or fossil life. The 
alternate site would be somewhat flatter and safer, but less interesting 
scientifically, O'Toole said in the Post 29 June. Photographs released 
29 June at JPL showed a plateau in the Chryse valley originally picked 
as the Viking 1 landing site, where a curving and rugged coastline at the 
plateau's base could have been formed only by an ocean-like surf. 
Pictures taken from an altitude of about 1450 km showed a crater with 
lava-flow traces more than 30 km wide, "a truly enormous scale" 
according to chief geologist Masursky. "The biggest lava flooding ... on 
earth are the basalt floods on Iceland, which are no bigger than a few 
kilometers across." 

Temperature changes mapped by Viking were also dramatic: instru- 
ments on Viking registered differences of more than 60°C (140°F) 
between day and night in the same parts of the planet. Dr. Hugh H. 
Kieffer, atmospheric scientist on the Viking team, said that the atmos- 
phere on Mars was almost perfectly transparent to sunlight, as little 
water was present to absorb it; "whatever sunlight reaches the planet 
gets right to the surface, which then radiates the heat back to the 
atmosphere to warm it up." An instrument aboard Viking could tell when 
day broke on the Mars surface although it had no way of "seeing"; it 
measured water vapor in the atmosphere, and registered its presence 
when the sun warmed the permafrost that "literally pops [water] into the 
atmosphere when that sun hits the surface first thing in the morning," 
according to Dr. Barney Farmer of JPL. Besides surveying possibilities for 
its own landing, Viking 1 was photographing potential landing sites for 
Viking 2 to give scientists an idea whether they might have to shift sites 
for that spacecraft also. {W Post, 12 June 76, A- 12; 19 June, A-3; 
20 June, A-l; 21 June, A-9; 22 June, A- 17; 28 June, A-3; 29 June, 
C-4; 30 June, A-27; NYT, 21 June, 10; 28 June, 17; Av Wk, 28 June 
76, 14) 
13 June: Photographs from U.S. remote-sensing satellites had revealed the 
existence of water, oil, uranium, and other minerals in the Egyptian 
Sahara and the Sinai peninsula, the Washington Post reported. Egyp- 
tian scientist Ahmed Abdel Hady, head of an Egyptian-American scien- 
tific team in charge of a remote-sensing project that had been receiving 
data from satellites since 1972, said in an AP interview that the satellites 
revealed enough water in the Sinai desert "to turn most of it green." 
(Most of Sinai was still occupied by the Israelis, who seized it in 1967.) 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

The Egyptian government, working in cooperation with Okla. State 
Univ. and the Univ. of Mich., had an annual budget of $1.2 million for 
study of the untapped resources, Abdel Hady said. 

Although the satellite data had shown that highlands in northern Sinai 
and the coastal strip of Wadi el Arish, totaling more than 770 km", 
concealed a huge water potential, he declined to go into details because 
"I don't want to make it difficult for Egypt when it negotiates the next 
Israeli pullout." However, he described photographs of an area about 
1350 km" in Sinai that showed three different areas rich in petroleum 
and natural gas: the Gulf of Suez, with oil reserves already proven; the 
Mediterranean offshore area in northern Sinai, not yet explored; and a 
large area in southern Sinai marked by sedimentary rocks carrying 
natural gas. Uranium was also detected in northwest and southern Sinai, 
and west central Sinai contained huge amounts of silica that could lead 
to a glass industry, Abdel Hady said. Besides the desert potential, he 
added, the images also showed significant food-growing potential in a 
previously unnoted fertile area measuring about 965 km" near the Nile 
basin; the images were also used to study the Qattara Depression in the 
desert west of the Nile, site of a huge proposed hydroelectric project. 
(WPost, 13 June 76, G-2) 

14 June: Marshall Space Flight Center — lead NASA center for Spacelab 
development — announced that the full-scale model of the Spacelab mod- 
ule developed by the European Space Agency for orbital research and 
applications missions in the Shuttle orbiter had been shipped from Ger- 
many and was on display at the U.S. Bicentennial exposition on science 
and technology at Kennedy Space Center, open until 7 Sept. The Space- 
lab access tunnel and pallet section manufactured at Huntsville for MSFC 
had been shipped to KSC for assembly with the module. The pressurized 
module would be used by U.S. and European scientists working in space 
in a shirtsleeve environment; the unpressurized pallet would contain 
unmanned equipment such as telescopes, antennas, and instruments 
requiring direct exposure to space; and the access tunnel would be used 
by the crew to transfer from the orbiter to the module and return. 
Spacelab was designed to be fully reusable for an operational lifetime of 
50 missions or 5 yr, whichever is reached first; nominal mission duration 
would be 7 days, but could be extended as long as 30 days. Spacelab was 
managed jointly by ESA, NASA Hq, and MSFC. (MSFC Release 76-1 10) 

• The Air Force announced that its third prototype B-l bomber successfully 
completed its maiden flight, having left Air Force Plant 42 at Palmdale, 
Calif., at 3:37 pm PDT and landed at nearby Edwards AFB after a flight 
of 2 hr 9 min. Since its rollout 1 1 May, the prototype built for USAF by 
Rockwell International's B-l Division had undergone fuel and 
propulsion-system checkout, subsystem tests, low- and high-speed taxi 
tests, and a complete review of flight readiness. The B-l was the first 
large swing-wing aircraft to complete a complex 8-mo series of struc- 
tural integrity testing so early in its design life. The third B-l's primary 
flight-test objective was to acquire data to verify predicted design loads 
in test missions at both subsonic and supersonic speeds. Highest altitude 



123 



June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

reached during the maiden flight was about 3 km, with top speed at 
.45 mach. Crew members were Doug Benefield of Rockwell, pilot; AF Lt. 
Col. Ed McDowell, copilot; and Rockwell flight-test engineer Jack Bald- 
win, who was riding in the B-l for the first time. (USAF release 14 June 
76) 
15 June: Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman, Jr., proposed a 
$ 1 billion program to muffle noisy jet engines and replace older planes 
with quieter new ones, the Washington Post reported. The proposed 
program, part of a comprehensive aviation-noise policy submitted to the 
Office of Management and Budget, would be paid for by a surcharge on 
airline tickets — probably 2% — that would go into an escrow fund to be 
used by the nation's airlines over a 6- to 8-yr period. The "retrofit" 
program — most controversial part of the noise-abatement policy — 
would consist of modifying older 2- and 3-engine jets (such as the 
McDonnell-Douglas DC— 9 and Boeing 727) by surrounding them with 
sound-absorbent materials to make them quieter. The fund could be used 
as part of the cost of replacing older 4-engine jets (the Boeing 707 and 
the McDonnell-Douglas DC-8) with newer, quieter planes. Although the 
Air Transport Association (ATA) representing most U.S. airlines had long 
favored replacement of the 4-engine planes, the Post said, it had vigo- 
rously opposed retrofit of 3-engine planes because the cost would out- 
weigh the benefits. Retrofit had been advocated by the Environmental 
Protection Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, and many 
citizens' groups to reduce noise levels around airports and take advan- 
tage of the useful life left in many of the older planes; however, the Post 
noted that opposition to retrofit in the administration had been based on 
expense, its possible contribution to inflation, and the fact that newer 
quieter planes would eventually solve the problem anyway. The Post 
quoted "no better than 50-50" chances that Congress would go along 
with providing public financing to help privately owned airlines make 
their planes quieter, according to a Capitol Hill source. Under Secretary 
Coleman's proposal, the 8% surcharge on airfares now going into a trust 
fund for improving terminal and navigational facilities would be reduced 
by 2%, which would go into the retrofit fund, so that no actual increase 
in ticket prices would occur. (W Post, 15 June 76, A-3) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced development of a solar-simulator 

test facility, believed to be the largest of its kind in existence, to compare 
the efficiency of solar-energy collectors in MSFC's program of assisting the 
Energy Research and Development Administration in its solar energy 
program. Designed to provide variable levels of energy similar to ground- 
level solar radiation, the simulator contained a lamp array with 405 
tungsten halogen 300-watt lamps paired with the same number of Fres- 
nel lenses to provide an illuminated area for solar collectors up to 1 .2 by 
2.4 meters. After a 6-wk checkout of the lamp array, power equipment, 
and solar-collector fluid-flow systems, the simulator would serve to test 
solar-energy collectors that used either air or liquid as the heat-transfer 
medium. (MSFC Release 76-1 11) 

• The Energy Research and Development Administration announced selec- 

tion of 2 firms, one in Mass. and the other in Calif., to study potential 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

wind-power use by utilities to generate electricity in their own localities. 
The JBF Scientific Corp., a small research company in Wilmington, 
Mass., would study potential wind-power use by the Cambridge Light Co. 
and the New Bedford Gas and Edison Light Co. in New England; the 
utilities would provide information about their power needs and other 
data. The Aerospace Corp. of El Segundo, Calif., would assess potential 
wind-power use by the Hawaiian Electric Co., which serves most of that 
state; the Univ. of Hawaii would also participate in the study. Besides 
examining the utilities and their power needs, the contractors would 
study other ways of generating electricity (such as coal and nuclear 
plants), comparing them with wind energy to see if conversion would be 
practical and economical. The regional studies would last 1 yr each and 
would cost about $500 000 overall. The resulting data would supply a 
model for utilities throughout the country to assess the use of wind 
energy in their own regions. (ERDA Release 76-180) 

16 June: Western Union announced that it had signed a 7-yr contract with 
the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) for transmission services 
via the Westar satellite. Duration of the contract was a possible 15 yr. 
Contingent upon approval by the Federal Communications Commission, 
Western Union would begin 31 December 1978 to provide CPB with 
service on 3 fulltime fully protected transponders for $800 000 per 
transponder per yr, or $2.4 million annually, permitting CPB to offer 
national distribution of programs to 165 public-television stations 
through its manager, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The contract 
would give CPB an option on a fourth Westar transponder and establish 
rates for both scheduled and unscheduled service, and anticipated sat- 
ellite distribution of radio programs to about 170 public radio stations 
through National Public Radio (NPR). Use of a 3- or 4-channel satellite 
system would serve many of the Congress's policy goals for public 
broadcasting, CPB officials said: autonomy of local public stations, in- 
creased flexibility in programming, and lower cost of expanding public 
broadcasting coverage. (Western Union release, 16 June 76) 

• Dr. John L. McLucas, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, pre- 
dicted that the U.S. would produce a second-generation supersonic trans- 
port, probably in cooperation with the Europeans, as a followup to the 
Concorde program. Speaking at a luncheon of the Air Force Association 
and in a subsequent interview with the New York Times, Dr. McLucas 
said that Congress probably would enact legislation to sharply reduce 
aircraft noise over the next 6 to 1 yr by modifying and replacing present 
aircraft. Biggest question would be how much financial help the airlines 
would get to carry out the plan: McLucas predicted that the airlines 
would have to settle for loan guarantees rather than outright subsidy. 
Calling the aviation industry "an endangered species," he said it was 
threatened by low profits, lack of capital for new equipment, and absence 
of a national aviation policy; he asked for more cooperation between 
industry and government, and exploration of joint projects with Euro- 
pean partners. "A joint effort to advance . . . the design of the next- 
generation SST would be in keeping with this new spirit of international 

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June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

cooperation," he added. Dr. Mc Lucas was secretary of the Air Force 
until President Ford transferred him to head the FAA. (NYT, 17 June 
76, 49) 

1 7 June: NASA studies in the year past had shown that 5 of 6 types of products 

considered for space processing could be expected to become profitable, 
Dr. William R. Lucas, director of Marshall Space Flight Center, told the 
subcommittee on aerospace technology and national needs of the Sen- 
ate's Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. NASA's space- 
processing program had deliberately pursued a policy of performing 
experiments on available missions and sponsoring formal experiments by 
members of the scientific community, Lucas said; the experiment pro- 
gram had been "reasonably representative" of the scientific potential 
that scientists foresaw for materials processing in space. Although avail- 
able mission capabilities had severely restricted what could be done, the 
program had included demonstrations of crystal growth, solidification of 
homogeneous mixtures of immersible materials, processing biological 
materials for medical application, and other phenomena relating to phys- 
ical metallurgy and fluid physics. Potentials identified with glasses and 
ceramics had not yet undergone experimentation. 

Citing the success of experiments in electrophoretic separation and 
crystal growth on the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz missions, Lucas empha- 
sized the necessity of developing novel techniques for virtually every 
experiment; experience so far had justified the early interest in materials 
processing in space, although many lines of investigation had not been 
completed because of the program's operational constraints. Wide re- 
sponse to the program both in the U.S. and abroad was evidence of the 
scientific community's interest, he said. Next steps in development would 
be to finalize payloads for early Shuttle missions, then proceed with design 
and development; "We expect to proceed with research . . . both 
through the SPAR [rocket] project and through an expanded program of 
ground-based research," he added. "We shall need to reemphasize the 
ground-based program ... to replenish the fund of new ideas in space 
processing and build a base of technical support with the breadth that 
Shuttle experiment operations will need." (MSFC Release 76-112) 

18 June: NASA launched the Gravitational Probe-A (GP-A) from Wallops Flight 

Center at 7:41 am EDT on a Scout vehicle into a trajectory with peak 
altitude of 889 km and total flight time of 6960 sec. The 1 02.5-kg probe 
was designed to measure the gravitational red shift predicted by the 
equivalence principle laid down by Einstein in 1907 as the cornerstone 
of the general theory of relativity: GP-A would directly determine the 
effect of gravitation on time by comparing the rate of a rocket-borne 
clock to an identical clock on earth. During the flight, the probe clock 
would be in a weaker gravitational field than the identical clock on earth; 
as the probe clock rose through increasingly weaker gravity to its max- 
imum altitude, it would appear to run increasingly faster, and its rate 
would slow as it returned to the stronger gravity at lower altitudes. The 
experiment required not only extremely accurate telemetry throughout 
the probe's ascent and descent, but also an extremely accurate set of 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

clocks; those used were atomic-hydrogen masers of extraordinary sta- 
bility, according to Dr. R.F.C. Vessot of the Smithsonian Astrophysical 
Observatory, principal investigator. ("Maser" is an acronym for micro- 
wave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.) The clocks were 
expected to provide measurement accuracy within 5 thousandths of 1% 
(5 x 10 ) of the predicted effect. The experiment and its support 
systems performed normally, but Dr. Vessot said that 1 to 3 mo of data 
reduction would be needed to determine whether the scientific objective 
had been met. (NASA Release 76-106; MOR S-879-76-01 [prelaunch] 
14 June 76, [postlaunch] 23 June 76; MSFC Release 76-1 13) 

• A 2-mo study this summer at the Ames Research Center would bring 

together a specially chosen panel of a dozen scientists — "authorities on 
every aspect of space exploration" — to make an in-depth examination of 
problems anticipated in the colonization of space. Sponsored by NASA, the 
group would also consider whether satellite power stations for earth could 
be built by space colonists. In a report by James Barron for the Washing- 
ton Star, Princeton physicist Gerard K. O'Neill detailed his ideas for a 
kilometer-plus- wide cylinder with living quarters for 10 000 colonists on 
its outer rim, the length to be determined by the number of colonists 
desired; O'Neill emphasized that the colony could be ready by 1990 
using existing technology and materials mined from outer space. O'Neill 
last year took his theories to a NASA-sponsored study group at Stanford 
University that included 28 physicists, engineers, and social scientists; 
the panel recommended that the U.S. move toward the colonization of 
space, saying that it "would represent 'cashing in' on the scientific 
information returned to us by Apollo." (W Star, 18 June 76, A-l) 

• The USSR Venera 10 spacecraft, launched a year ago and in orbit around 

the planet Venus for the past 8 months, was continuing its research work 
although its companion, Venera 9, had ceased to function, a Tass broad- 
cast announced. Venus was passing behind the sun "from the point of 
view of an observer on earth," and a radio beam sent to earth by Venera 
10 had passed only 1.5 million km from the sun's surface. Analysis of 
Venera 10 signals had shown that streams of near-solar plasma were 
very heterogeneous and subject to rapid changes in time; also studied 
were the possibilities of receiving information and controlling spacecraft 
depending on conditions of radio beams passing near the sun. (FBIS, Tass 
in English, 18 June 76) 
18-30 June: Johnson Space Center announced its plan to use a space- 
environment simulation chamber to dry records and documents damaged 
in Houston's flood 15 June. The first batch, scheduled to be dried 
19 June, consisted of medical records from Methodist Hospital and 
valuable irreplaceable books from the Contemporary Arts Museum, as 
well as museum records. The material would be put inside the chamber 
on shelves that would be heated to 48°C, and the chamber would be 
pumped to a vacuum; the process would take from 48 to 72 hr. The 
technique was pioneered by McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corp. for the 
USAF when the latter's records were water-damaged in a fire. A later 
announcement said the drying was successful and that JSC was in process 

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June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

of drying material from St. Joseph's Hospital and the Univ. of Houston's 
law library. (JSC Release 76-42; JSC release 30 June 76) 

20 June: The USSR launched Intercosmos 15 on 19 June, a Tass broadcast 

announced, as an example of "socialist countries' cooperation" in space 
research. The spacecraft orbital parameters were 521 -km apogee, 
487-km perigee, 74° inclination, and 94.6-min period. Intercosmos 15 
was designed to "test new systems and units," including a telemetry 
system developed and manufactured with the participation of specialists 
from Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic 
Republic, as well as the USSR. Satellite data would be transmitted to 
receiving stations in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the GDR. (FBIS, Tass 
in English, 20 June 76) 
• An official Indian government press release broadcast from Bombay said 
that 2 Centaur rockets and 2 M-1008 rockets would be fired from the 
equatorial rocket-launching station at Thumba on 28 or 29 June, and 
1 July respectively. (FBIS, Samachar News Agency in English, 20 June 
76) 

21 June: The U.S. Senate by unanimous vote of 88 ratified the multination 

convention on registration of objects launched into outer space. All 37 
countries now members of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful 
Uses of Outer Space — which drafted the convention — were expected to 
ratify it; France and Bulgaria had already ratified, and 24 nations 
including the USSR had signed it. Registration would be with the secretary 
general of the UN, reporting was mandatory, and the information to be 
provided "as soon as practicable" included the name of the launching 
state (or states), appropriate designator of the space object (or its regis- 
tration number), date and territory or location of the launch, basic orbital 
parameters (apogee, perigee, orbital period, inclination), and general 
functions of the space object. The convention embraced objects launched 
into earth orbit or into space transit — lunar or deep-space probes — but 
did not require reporting on objects in brief transit through outer space, 
such as sounding rockets or ballistic-missile test vehicles. The convention 
would supersede the voluntary system that had been in operation since 
1962; the U.S. State Department had told the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee that, although nearly all countries launching objects into 
outer space had respected the voluntary system, there had never been 
agreement on the kinds of information to be supplied and the information 
conveyed to the secretary general had never been uniform. 

The committee's only question regarding cooperation was the Peo- 
ple's Republic of China, which had not reported on its outer space 
launchings; Senator Clifford P. Case (R-N.J.) had asked Secretary of State 
Henry A. Kissinger to find out if mainland China would register under the 
new convention. NASA had told the committee that the U.S. would not 
incur substantial costs from the convention's requirement that partic- 
ipating states with space tracking facilities help in identifying a space 
object, when requested by another participant on the grounds that the 
object to be identified was "hazardous or deleterious." NASA was already 
tracking nearly 5000 space objects, some as small as a dinner plate, and 

128 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

knew which nation owned most of them. (NASA Ofc Legis. Affairs, report 
for 21 June 76; Av Wk, 28 June 76, 63) 

• President Ford announced his intention to nominate Alan M. Lovelace, 

NASA's Associate Administrator for Aeronautics and Space Technology, 
to succeed George M. Low as Deputy Administrator. Lovelace had 
occupied his position since September 1974. Before coming to NASA, he 
had been director of research and development for the Air Force Systems 
Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, 0., 1967-1972; director of science 
and technology for Air Force R&D, assigned to Andrews AFB; and acting 
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Development for the Air 
Force in October 1973. The nomination required Senate confirmation, 
but no opposition was expected; if the Senate did not act by the end of 
the week, before its 4 July recess, confirmation might be delayed until 
after 19 July. (Pres Doc, 21 June 76, 1072; Av Wk, 28 June 76, 21; 
NASA Release 76-118) 

• NASA would buy the Department of Defense's 2 Space Shuttle orbiters if the 

administration would give NASA an extra $835 million or so for that 
purpose, Aerospace Daily reported after a meeting between George M. 
Low, departing NASA Deputy Administrator, and Dr. Malcolm R. Currie, 
DOD's chief of research and engineering. The 2 agencies reportedly 
agreed that the nation needed 5 orbiters — 2 more than NASA had planned 
to buy — and that NASA should buy them. NASA Administrator James C. 
Fletcher and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld were reported 
ready to meet to "firm up a proposal" to the Office of Management and 
Budget and to President Ford; 0MB might contest the need for 5 orbiters, 
Aerospace Daily said. {Aero Daily, 21 June 76, 22) 
22 June: Tass announced the launch of the Salyut 5 orbital scientific station 
"under the program of studying the outer space." Parameters were 
260-km apogee, 219-km perigee, 51.6° inclination, and 89-min per- 
iod. Control posts inside the Soviet Union as well as vessels of the USSR 
Science Academy "sailing in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean" were 
tracking the flight, receiving telemetry, and controlling the station, the 
announcement said. Although the official announcement did not mention 
manned flights as part of the Salyut 5 program, the Washington Post 
reported that a Western specialist in Moscow had predicted the new 
station would be manned "sooner or later." The Washington Star noted 
that 2 visiting cosmonauts — Pyotr Klimuk and Vitaly Sevastyanov, who 
lived aboard Salyut 4 for 63 days last summer — speaking at an inter- 
national meeting in Philadelphia 2 wk ago said the new station would be 
able to accommodate 6 cosmonauts for as long as 3 mo, and would have 
2 entry ports, so that 2 spacecraft could dock with it at the same time. 
The 2-mo flight of Klimuk and Sevastyanov set a Soviet record for time 
spent in space; however, the 84-day flight of 3 Americans (Gerald P. 
Carr, Edward G. Gibson, and William R. Pogue) aboard Skylab 4 had 
set the overall endurance record in early 1974. 

A USSR manned mission would be the first launching of cosmonauts 
since the joint Apollo-Soyuz flight with the U.S. in July 1 975; the last USSR 
orbital station, Salyut 4, was launched 26 December 1974 and was still 

129 



June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

performing experiments, according to official announcements. The Star 
said that the Soviets were directing their resources toward perfecting 
permanent stations in contrast to the U.S. approach of developing a 
reusable space shuttle. (FBIS, Tass in English, 22 June 76; W Post, 
23 June 76, A-ll; W Star, 23 June 76, A- 15) 

• Switzerland and the U.K. became the first 2 countries to sign a protocol 

authorizing the European Space Agency to "undertake the exploitation 
phase" of its meteorological satellite Meteosat. The agreement, signed in 
Paris, would remain open until 30 September for signature by the other 
participants (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden) 
and for other countries to participate. Meteosat, being developed for ESA 
by the Cosmos consortium with Aerospatiale (France) as prime con- 
tractor, was one of four current ESA applications programs; it covered the 
design, development, construction, launch, management, and control of 
a preoperational satellite. ESA's responsibility for checking out Meteosat 
in orbit for the first 6 mo after launch (scheduled for the third quarter 
of 1977) would be extended by the protocol to include the subsequent 
2.5-yr "exploitation phase" of the satellite to be carried out with 
meteorological authorities in the participating countries. Other ESA appli- 
cations programs were OTS (telecommunications), MAROTS (maritime 
communications), and Aerosat (air traffic control). (ESA release 23 June 
76) 
23 June: Marshall Space Flight Center announced award of a $209 368 
contract to a small business firm, Northern Research and Engineering 
Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., for designing, assembling, and demonstrat- 
ing a portable self-contained firefighting module conceived as a joint 
effort of NASA's Technology Utilization Office and the U.S. Coast Guard. 
The module would be a lightweight unit complete with pump, hose, 
firefighter suits, and other equipment that could be transported by heli- 
copter to the deck of any medium-sized boat in the area of a shipboard 
or dock fire; it would be able to pump about 5700 liters of sea water per 
min for an uninterrupted 3 hr. (MSFC Release 76-116) 

• The USAF Arnold Engineering Development Center operated in Tenn. by 

the Air Force Systems Command announced that it was using infrared 
equipment, designed in Europe to locate tumors in the human body, 
for studying heat patterns on the surface of the Space Shuttle manned 
orbiter vehicle under simulated flight conditions. Infrared cameras 
were known to detect a tumor because its heat-radiation characteristics 
differed from those of normal tissue. In the USAF tests, a model 
heated in a wind tunnel's supersonic airflow produced infrared 
radiation received by a camera and transferred to a detector that 
could record infrared radiation from 7000 points in the fleld-of-view. 
Earlier Shuttle tests had shown the need for a protective system when 
the vehicle plunged into the dense atmosphere and for data on expected 
temperature levels, important to the selection of structural materials and 
to the design of internal parts. Ceramic-like tiles had been used in a 
scanning test to see the effect of a slight misalignment on the overall heat 
distribution on the orbiter's underside; the resulting data had demon- 



130 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

strated advantages over more traditional methods. Standard procedures 
required the application of surface coatings — either a paint that changed 
from solid to liquid at a specified temperature, or compounds whose 
ultraviolet radiation changed with temperature — but such materials 
could create a surface roughness that would alter the results. Also the 
melting-paint technique required washing and repainting the model after 
each test. The infrared camera could transmit its findings to a computer 
for analysis within minutes, and could provide a permanent color record 
if required. Use of mechanical heat-measuring devices was limited by the 
number of sensors that could be installed, and the time required to do so. 
(Although the infrared system would minimize the need for mechanical 
instrumentation, tests calling for simultaneous temperature data from all 
portions of the model surface would still require installation of sensors.) 
About 90% of the system used at AEDC was off-the-shelf hardware; 
computer programs and methods of interconnecting components were 
devised by ARO, Inc., the center's operating contractor. (OIP 114.76) 
25 June: NASA announced selection of 8 scientists as a team to develop 
experiments for a proposed unmanned lunar mission in 1980, under 
study at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The mission would use a low-cost 
instrumented polar-orbiting spacecraft with a smaller companion sub- 
satellite, launched together from Cape Canaveral on a single Delta 
vehicle, to orbit the moon for a yr and examine nearly the entire lunar 
surface from pole to pole, on both near and far sides, to expand knowl- 
edge gained from the small areas visited by previous U.S. and Soviet 
missions to the whole of the moon. This first U.S. lunar mission since 
Apollo 17 in 1972 would also be the first global survey of a body other 
than earth. 

The 8 experiment areas would provide measurements for scientists to 
determine the moon's gravity, magnetism, and heat flow, and the chem- 
ical and mineral composition of the moon's surface. Advanced remote 
sensing — gamma-ray, x-ray, and reflection spectroscopy — would be 
used in 3 of the experiments to create chemical maps of the lunar 
surface; a fourth experiment, spectrostereo imaging, would provide pho- 
tographic data to match these maps with individual features of the lunar 
landscape. Magnetometer and electron reflector experiments would map 
electrical and magnetic properties of the lunar surface and subsurface; 
the remaining 2 experiments — heat flow and gravity field — would pro- 
vide information on the deep interior of the moon. The gravity field would 
be mapped by tracking the polar-orbiting spacecraft circling at an alti- 
tude of 100 km above the lunar surface; the subsatellite, in a higher orbit 
up to 5000 km, would track the orbiter when it was hidden from earth 
by the moon. Mascons (mass concentrations) on the near side of the moon 
had been discovered by analyzing similar tracking data during the early 
lunar-orbiter flights in the 1960s; the proposed experiment would deter- 
mine whether such mascons existed on the far side of the moon, besides 
providing information on the lunar interior. 

Principal investigators named were: gamma-ray spectrometry, 
Dr. James R. Arnold, Univ. of Calif, at San Diego; spectrostereo imaging, 



131 



June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Merton E. Davies, RAND Corp.; electron reflection, Dr. Robert P. Lin, 
Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley; infrared spectrometry, Dr. Thomas B. 
McCord, MIT; microwave radiometry, Dr. Duane 0. Muhleman, Cal- 
Tech; gravity and altimetry, Dr. Roger J. Phillips, JPL; magnetometry, 
Dr. Christopher T. Russell, Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles; x-ray spec- 
trometry, Dr. Jacob L. Trombka, Goddard Space Flight Center. Each of 
the 8 principal investigators would be accompanied by groups of co- 
investigators; the 71 -member science team would be aided by JPL staff 
members. JPL scientist in charge of the study was Dr. T.V. Johnson. (NASA 
Release 76-119) 

• NASA announced it would use starlight that left the surface of a nearby star 

200 yr ago to signal the lighting of a giant 200-candle Bicentennial 
birthday cake at the new Superdome stadium in New Orleans just before 
midnight on 3 July. Photons of light that left Gamma Bootes just before 
midnight 3 July 1776 — when the signers of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence were officially witnessing the birth of the U.S. — would arrive on 
earth to activate a 1000-cycle tone at the Goddard Space Flight Center. 
The tone, transmitted to New Orleans on commercial telephone lines, 
would signal the lighting of the cake. GSFC's orbiting astronomical obser- 
vatory Copernicus, passing over Hawaii in its 740-km orbit, would 
receive the photons on its star detector and transmit a digital signal to 
the NASA ground station in Hawaii; this signal, retransmitted to the West 
Coast and via microwave to GSFC, would activate a relay connecting the 
tone to New Orleans, where it would be heard on the stadium's public 
address system for 1 min before the candles would be lighted. Astronaut 
Story Musgrave would participate in the Superdome activities. (NASA 
Release 76-121) 

• Kennedy Space Center announced a broad program of research projects to 

use the KSC spaceport and its resources to obtain information on thunder- 
storms and the hazards they offered to launch operations. Meteorological 
and electronics scientists from the U.S. and abroad converged on the 
center for sessions of observing the thunderstorms, whose incidence is 
high in Fla. during the summer months. More than 70 scientists, many 
of them graduate students, would participate in experiments under the 
program; 19 principal investigators would represent organizations such 
as the Naval Research Laboratory, the National Oceanic and Atmos- 
pheric Administration's environmental research laboratory, the Atlantic 
Science Corporation, Mass. Institute of Technology, N. Mex. Institute of 
Mining and Technology, S. Dak. School of Mines and Technology, and 
the Universities of Miami, Arizona, Florida, New York at Albany, and 
Manchester (England). NASA's Johnson Space Center and Goddard Space 
Flight center also were participating. 

Experiments would investigate precipitation formation, lightning be- 
havior, air motions in thunderstorm clouds, and intracloud electrical 
discharges, among the numerous projects beginning this June and con- 
tinuing through the summers of 1977 and 1978. Experimenters would 
provide their own instruments for the experiments, but much KSC equip- 
ment and material would be available, such as the instrumented aircraft 
used in previous lightning studies; weather radars; the detection and 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

ranging system and electric-field measuring system used to monitor 
buildup of electrical charges that might interfere with launches; a 
weather-information network display; a satellite imagery acquisition sys- 
tem, with equipment for processing weather pictures, and an automatic 
picture-transmission (APT) recording system with timing and camera 
devices. An earlier program in 1948 studied dynamics of thunderstorms; 
the current program would emphasize electrical characteristics. (KSC 
Release 279-76) 

• NASA announced that one of its C-54 aircraft based at Wallops Flight 

Center had photographed several Long Island beaches at the request of 
the Environmental Protection Agency. The beaches, recently polluted by 
waterborne trash, were flown over and photographed 23 June with 2 
T-l 1 aerial cameras — one for natural color and one for infrared — and 
the films were developed at WFC and delivered to EPA's Region II Surveil- 
lance and Analysis Division in N.J. EPA would interpret the photographs 
to obtain information about the extent and expected duration of the 
problem; NASA would also determine whether recent Landsat imagery of 
the area would be useful in EPA's analysis. (NASA Release 76-120) 

• Dr. John F. Clark, scheduled to retire 1 July as Director of Goddard Space 

Flight Center, had been selected to serve after that date at NASA Hq as 
special assistant to the Associate Administrator, according to an announce- 
ment by Dr. Robert S. Cooper, GSFC deputy director and Dr. Clark's 
successor. Dr. Clark agreed to stay at GSFC through 14 August to review 
actions needed to finalize design activities associated with a stability 
problem in the Delta second-stage engine, Dr. Cooper said, and would 
also serve as adviser on the Delta's readiness for the Palapa and Itos 
launches later in 1976. (GSFC announcement 1997) 

• The European Space Agency announced that Bernard Deloffre, who began 

serving as director of ESA's Spacelab program 1 March 1975, had 
tendered his resignation 22 June to the chairman of the ESA council, 
through the Director General. A forthcoming meeting of the council 
would discuss a replacement. (ESA release 25 June 76) 

26 June: The USAF launched an early-warning satellite from Cape Canaveral 
at 1 1 am EOT on a Titan IIIC. The satellite — product of the TRW/Aerojet 
Defense Support Program — was reported to be a replacement for a 
satellite launched 14 Dec. 1975 that malfunctioned. Orbital parameters 
were: apogee, 35 600 km; perigee, 35 600 km; inclination, 0.5°; per- 
iod, 1433 min. DOD, which had 10 launches in 1975, had launched 7 so 
far in 1976. (SBD, 29 June 76, 6-F) 

28 June: Dr. William H. Pickering, who retired as director of the Jet 
Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech 31 March, was named to receive a 
1975 National Medal of Science, reported Aviation Week & Space 
Technology magazine. The medal is the U.S. government's highest award 
for distinguished achievement in science and engineering. (Av Wk, 
28 June 76, 11) 

30 June: In a foreword to Volume 2, Program Implementation, of the Energy 
Research and Development Administration's massive report, A National 
Plan for Energy Research, Development & Demonstration: Creating 

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June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Energy Choices for the Future, ERDA Administrator Robert C. Seamans, 
Jr., called attention to the 30% increase in funding for ERDA in the 1977 
budget, whose purpose was to speed the achievement of long-term energy 
independence, encourage cost-sharing with private industry (to avoid 
federal funding of projects "more appropriately the responsibility of the 
private sector"), and support commercial demonstration of synthetic fuel 
production through loan guarantees. The plans contained in the more 
than 400 pages of Vol. 2, he said, represented the agency's considered 
judgment as to which were reasonable to pursue based on current infor- 
mation, but left room for frequent reassessment in view of technical 
development, economic situations, and environmental and social condi- 
tions. (Text, ERDA 76-1) 

• Bernard Deloffre, director of the European Space Agency's Space- 

lab program since 1 March 1975, resigned his position. ESA announced 
that the Director General, Roy Gibson, would personally manage the 
program with the assistance of Prof. Massimo Trella, ESA technical 
inspector, until appointment of a new Spacelab director. (ESA newsletter 
Aug 76, 3) 
During June: Prompted by the crash of an Overseas National Airways DC- 10 
at Kennedy International Airport in Nov. 1975, when a General Electric 
CF6 engine on the plane disintegrated after a massive encounter with 
seagulls, Webster B. Todd, Jr., chairman of the National Transportation 
Safety Board, wrote to Federal Aviation Administrator John McLucas 
that the GE engine was the only one in operation that had disintegrated 
completely on several occasions after bird ingestion. Todd asked that the 
CF6 engine be modified and that bird patrols be set up where known 
problems existed at airports served by CF6-powered aircraft. 

FAA bird-ingestion tests allowed certification of engines that could 
absorb the impact of only 10 birds weighing 0.67 kg each (1.5 lb); Todd 
said that the FAA's birds were too light and that they should have been 
fired into the engine simultaneously instead of one at a time. The gulls 
that caused the ONA crash weighed more than 2.2 kg each (5 lb). 
Although GE immediately protested the letter, only the CF6 had been 
implicated in a massive bird-strike explosion, whereas Pratt & Whitney 
and Rolls Royce engines in similar occurrences did not explode. 

GE said it was planning to use aluminum honeycomb to replace the 
phenolic-resin shroud on the abradable seal around the compressor- 
booster stages; fan blades detached by bird ingestion had scraped off the 
resin, which accumulated in the combustion chamber and mixed with the 
fuel, creating overpressure and ultimately an explosion. Aircraft using 
the CF6 included the USAF's C-5A Galaxy, 190 DC- 10s, 6 B-747s, and 
the A300 Airbus. ONA had decided on CF6 engines for a recent order of 
3 DC- 10s. (Interavia, June 76, 502) 

• The 50th anniversary of scheduled airline service in the U.S. had brought 

little or no traffic growth in a declining economy, the Air Transport 
Association reported in its yearly review for 1975. When airline pas- 
senger travel began in 1926, no more than 6000 persons were carried 
between a handful of markets. In 1975, the nation's scheduled airlines 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 June 

carried more than 205 million passengers over, a network of 58 000 
city-pairs (pairs of cities between which a scheduled service carries 
people, mail, or freight on more than 13 000 daily flights). The pas- 
senger total in 1975 was 2 million less than for 1974, although miles 
flown remained constant; increased traffic during the last quarter of 
1975 had brightened the outlook for the Bicentennial year, ATA said. 
Freight service in 1975 totaled more than 4.7 billion ton-miles, down 
2.5% from 1974. Airline safety improved, with only 3 fatal accidents in 
1975 (fewest recorded since records began in 1949) and 124 fatalities, 
lowest number since 1957. Scheduled airline travel was statistically 10 
times safer than by private automobile; in the early 1930s, it was 
considered 8 times as dangerous. (ATA report, 1976) 

• Symphonie 2, the Franco-German telecommunications satellite that 

drifted out of its normal geostationary orbit late last month, was gradu- 
ally repositioned by using its cold-gas stabilization system, Aviation 
Week and Space Technology magazine reported. French and German 
space technicians determined that the malfunction was caused by a still 
unidentified defect in one of 4 valves feeding the exhaust nozzles of the 
satellite's hot-gas stabilization system. Transmissions normally handled 
by Symphonie 2 were shifted to Symphonie 1 while the repositioning 
went on; both satellites were reported working normally again. (Av Wk, 
28 June 76, 11) 

• The USAF announced that use of a new tool made of a graphite-epoxy 

composite material in fabricating 3 YF-16 fuselages of the same material 
had exceeded design requirements and saved both time and money. 
Materials and processes used to make the 227-kg 18.5-nT composite 
tool replaced a multiple-step method used to construct large, complex, 
highly contoured aircraft fuselage skins or structural shells of graphite- 
epoxy materials; the new concept eliminated 2 steps in fabrication, 
saving up to 50% of total tool cost. Steel curing tools used for smaller, 
less complex components were extremely expensive and could damage a 
contoured part because of incompatible thermal expansion; parts made 
with the new tool had mechanical properties and dimensional tolerances 
that exceeded those made with conventional tools. Whereas 23.5 man- 
hours per 0.09nT were needed to make the previous tool, only 9.7 
man-hours were needed for the new tools, for a total saving of 2660 
man-hours. Elimination of materials used in the multiple-step procedure 
meant additional savings. (OIP Release 096.76) 

• Articles in 2 successive issues of Aviation Week & Space Technology 

magazine reviewed progress in changing to the international metric 
system of units, and concluded that industry would look to the U.S. 
government for the spur required to convert, and the funds to defray 
expenses of converting. The Department of Defense, which was pre- 
paring a directive that would "fall short of ... a substantive push to the 
industry" by stating that DOD's aim was to keep pace with industry, was 
said to be reluctant to take the lead — and be presented with a bill for the 
costs — in converting to metrics for a major new weapons system. The 
magazine had surveyed a dozen firms in the aerospace industry, none of 

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June ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

which had plans to "metricate on their own without a requirement by 
their government or commercial customers." Most industry spokesmen 
said metrication was inevitable, although a mixed system with metric- 
English capabilities would probably be in effect for the period during 
which tools and supplies would be used up or replaced with the new 
measurements. (AvWk, 7 June 76, 44; 14 June 76, 100) 

• Interavia magazine printed a photograph of Dora, a solar generator being 

manufactured by AEG-Telefunken under contract to the German Insti- 
tute for Space Research to provide power for 1980s communications 
satellites. Dora was designed as a "variably deployable array," meaning 
that it could begin its service life partially deployed; unfurled gradually 
at intervals, it could maintain a constant output over the years. It could 
also be folded down and brought back to earth at the end of a Spacelab 
mission. It consisted of two 22- by 2.8-m array panels carrying 46 000 
solar cells. {Interavia, June 26, 504) 

• The government of Nigeria awarded a $ 1 50-million contract toTCOM Corp., 

a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric, for a balloon-borne telecommuni- 
cations and broadcast system to be installed by the end of 1979, and for 
training of Nigerian personnel. Ten tethered balloons supporting trans- 
mitting and receiving equipment at altitudes of 3 to 5 km would provide 
an expanded telephone, television, and radio service for the whole of 
Nigeria. (Interavia, June 1976, 573) 



136 



July 1976 

1 July: In Washington, the Smithsonian Institution's new National Air and 
Space Museum was opened with a speech by President Ford, in obser- 
vance of the U.S. Bicentennial. The President and Vice President Rock- 
efeller were escorted through the $41 -million museum by museum 
director Michael J. Collins, who had piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft. 
At a signal given 1 8 min previously by the Viking 1 spacecraft in orbit 
around Mars, a 3-m metal arm was activated to cut a red, white, and 
blue ribbon to officially open the building. "That's the most expensive 
scissors in history," the President commented as he began his dedication. 
The museum was "a perfect birthday present from the American people 
to themselves." During the next century, he said, the best of the Amer- 
ican adventure lay ahead; it could find out how to harness and preserve 
the forces of nature, explore the "uncharted frontier" of the oceans, turn 
space into a partner for control of pollution and improvement of world- 
wide communications, draw more energy from the earth and sun, develop 
new agricultural technologies, and conquer cancer and heart disease. 
The President noted that just 100 yr ago Alexander Graham Bell first 
publicly demonstrated his telephone. Progress, he said, can be measured 
"not only by the extent of our knowledge but by increasing awareness of 
all that remains to be discovered." 

Described by Smithsonian Institution Secretary S. Dillon Ripley as "a 
chic hangar" and by Washington Post architectural writer Wolf von 
Eckardt as "a work of art" with "a beautiful, natural quality" and "a 
modest timelessness about it," the museum occupied 3 blocks on the 
Mall, stretching more than 200 m and standing about 26 m high. The 
first 2 floors contained more than 10 acres of exhibit space; the third floor 
contained offices, a library, and a cafeteria. The design called for a 
structural-steel frame covered with thin slabs of the same Tennessee pink 
marble used for the National Gallery of Art directly across the Mall; the 
building was divided into 7 bays — 4 marble boxes connected by 3 bronze- 
glass bays facing the Mall. The center entrance bay, "Milestones of 
Flight," contained the only permanent displays: the Wright brothers' 
Kitty Hawk flyer, Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-l (first 
supersonic plane), and the North American X-l 5. The problem, said the 
New York Times, was to design a building that "couldn't possibly hold" 
all it was meant to display; the Saturn V rocket measured 4 times as high 
as the building, and a Boeing 747 fuselage was longer than the building's 
width. "Space Hall" in the east bay contained the full-size rockets 
formerly on display near the Smithsonian "castle"; a pit had been dug 
and the floor lowered to accommodate the 22-m missiles, and the 30-ton 
backup Skylab had been cut out so that visitors could walk through the 



137 



July 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



astronauts' living area. The west bay was for "Air Transportation"; more 
than 100 spacecraft and 64 aircraft, nearly 10 times as many as were 
previously on display, would be exhibited in the new building. 

Chartered by Congress in 1945, the new museum had been quartered 
in temporary structures until after the Vietnam war. All the stories on the 
opening noted that it was constructed on time and within its budget. The 
Smithsonian had begun its aeronautical collection 100 yr previously with 
a group of Chinese kites presented for the 1876 Philadelphia centennial 
exposition; its interest in aeronautics had begun even earlier. Joseph 
Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian, had sponsored a balloon 
ascension from the Mall in 1861 to encourage President Lincoln to use 
balloons for military observation. In 1916, the Smithsonian had begun 
its 29-year association with Dr. Robert H. Goddard, father of the 
liquid-fuel rocket. 

The museum expected 7 million visitors a year; opening date had been 
changed from 4 July to accommodate the Bicentennial crowds expected 
in D.C., and the museum lobby on Independence Ave. had been open to 
the public since 2 Feb. (CSM, 14 May 76; W Star, 25 June 76, C-l; 
1 July 76, A-l; W Post, 27 June 76, El; 1 July 76, B-l; 2 July 76, 
A-l; NYT, 2 July 76, B12; 4 July 76, 22; C Trib, 2 July 76, 4-16; 
Newport News (Va) Daily Press, 25 Apr 76) 
2-12 July: By "unanimous" vote among nearly 30 Viking project scientists, 
Viking 1 would land 17 July in a site called the "Northwest Territory" 
on the Plain of Chryse that would be safer than the original choice, said 
Project Manager James S. Martin, Jr. A mosaic of more than 40 photos 
released by JPL showed the plains area more hospitable than the Valley 
of Chryse, which turned out to be a network of dry riverbeds too steep 
and too rough to risk a landing. The scientists hoped that the new choice 
of site would feature sediments, deposited by ancient Martian rivers, that 
might contain fossils or other traces of life. Being at a lower altitude, the 
site could harbor water in a liquid form; "snow, ice, and even liquid water 
are possible on the site we picked," said Dr. James C. Fletcher, Admin- 
istrator of NASA, in announcing the new plan. {W Post, 2 July 76, A-2; 
WStar, 2 July 76, A-8) 

A AT Times editorial mentioned "super technology" in the taking 
and transmitting of Mars photographs that led to selection of an alterna- 




Mall view of the National Air and Space Museum, opened to the public I July 1976. 
(NASM Photo) 



138 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

tive landing site, "an extraordinarily impressive example" of the poten- 
tial of "robot explorers of the solar system." (NYT, 3 July 76, 20) 

Argon gas detected by Viking 1 in the Mars atmosphere suggested 
that Mars had experienced major volcanic periods that might still be in 
progress. Carbon dioxide, the only gas previously identified in the Mars 
atmosphere, had obscured the presence of argon, which had a similar 
molecular weight. As Viking instruments had detected a reduction in 
atmospheric temperature approaching the south polar cap, colder than 
had been forecast because of pure carbon dioxide, the explanation was 
a dilution by another gas that would conform to the low temperatures, 
identified as argon. Only about 1% of earth's atmosphere was argon, but 
Viking had revealed the Mars atmosphere to be as much as 8% argon 
above the south polar cap. (W Post, 3 July 76, A-2) 

The new landing space chosen for Viking 1 in the Chryse region was 
about 80 km north of an island formed millions of yr ago by flood waters 
rushing from the canyon areas near the Martian equator. (WPost, 4 July 
76, A-4) 

New data received from Viking 1 had provided more questions than 
answers, such as the reason for unexpected readings of Martian tempera- 
ture and atmospheric moisture. The Mars south pole proved colder than 
earlier believed, below the condensation point of carbon dioxide, and had 
as much as 40 to 50 microns of water in the atmosphere, more than 
expected. The newly selected landing site would contain sufficient mois- 
ture to provide ground fog, frost, or even snow. (W Star, 4 July 76, 
A-12) 

The Viking project demonstrated that man had not lost his "primal 
urge to explore," said a NY Times editorial 4 July, even with little 
immediate prospect of economic gain or space colonization. People might 
worry about the expenditures and priorities of such endeavors, said 
Dr. Bruce C. Murray, Director of JPL, "but very few say the product 
itself, the discoveries, is unworthy or immoral." On the Bicentennial Day 
it was proper to remember that the U.S. was a product of the urge to 
explore. Whatever it learned about Mars, Viking 1 proved that there 
was robust life on earth. {NYT, 4 July 76, 4-1) 

Failure to find life on Mars would mean a cut in funding for the space 
program, NASA biologist Dr. Harold Klein predicted. Although he esti- 
mated odds at 50 to 1 against Viking's finding life on Mars, he noted that 
the issue would not be settled because the experiments had built-in 
limitations. Whether or not life was detected on Mars, most scientists 
believed life existed elsewhere in the universe, the NY Times added. 
(NYT, 6 July 76, 15) 

JPL released the best photographs to date of the "Martian Grand 
Canyon," a gorge 10 times the size of Ariz.'s Grand Canyon but rela- 
tively small by Martian standards. The Capri Chasm was as much as 
32 km wide and nearly 2 km deep, compared to Ariz.'s which was no 
deeper than 1.6 km, no more than 21 km wide, and about 350 km end 
to end. The length of the larger canyon of the Valles Marineris on Mars 
had been estimated at more than 3200 km. Rockslides detected in the 



139 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Viking 1 photographs indicated either massive quakes on Mars, meteor 
impacts, or effects of winds reaching speeds over 480 kph, JPL scientists 
said. {W Post, 7 July 76, A- 10) 

The Viking 1 landing on Mars was put off until at least 20 July after 
radar observations indicated the alternative landing site was rougher 
than previous Viking photographs had shown. The spacecraft's orbit 
would be shifted to permit examination of an area west of the previously 
selected landing point. {W Post, 8 July 76, A-2) 

An altered orbit put Viking 1 over an area called Plateau of the 
Moon, third to be scouted in the search for a smooth landing site. Radar 
echoes, which had revealed dunes or boulders on the Plains of Chryse 
invisible to the Viking cameras, showed the plateau to be "twice as 
smooth as the plains." (W Post, 7 July 76, A-2) 

A JPL spokesman said preliminary pictures of another landing site 
proposed for Viking 1 showed Martian terrain as rugged as that in 2 
spots previously rejected. Viking 1 was scheduled to take more photo- 
graphs of a region called West-Northwest, beyond the area that control- 
lers last wk said was too rough for a landing. (W Star, 12 July 76, A-6) 
6 July-24 Aug.: A 2-man spacecraft, Soyuz 21, was launched from the 
Baykonur cosmodrome at 3:09 pm Moscow time (8:09 am EST) to carry 
out "joint experiments" with the USSR's Salyut 5 station in orbit, 
launched 22 June. Col. Boris Volynov, 41, who flew on Soyuz 5 during 
the first Soviet linkup in 1969, was commander, accompanied by flight 
engineer Lt. Col. Vitaly Zholobov, 39, 35th Russian to fly in space. 
Soyuz 21 orbital elements were: apogee, 253 km; perigee, 193 km; 
inclination, 51 .6°; period, 88.7 min. The docking with Salyut 5 occurred 
7 July and the 2 spacecraft would remain linked for 48 days, the crew 
returning safely 24 Aug. On board Salyut 5, the crew performed experi- 
ments on the development and behavior of fish, melting of metal and 
growing of crystals in weightlessness, and environmental studies. In April 
1975 a Soyuz crew had failed to link with the Salyut 4 station, report- 
edly because of a rocket malfunction, but a second crew was successful 
in May and spent 63 days aboard. Although Soviet authorities offered 
few details on mission plans, the Salyut 5 had 2 docking ports, making 
it possible for 2 Soyuz craft to be docked at once. U.S. sources speculated 
that the mission might try to break the record of 84 days in space set by 
the third crew of Skylab in 1974. 

Tass reported 10 July that Volynov and Zholobov were using an 
exercise device that allowed them to "run" in the weightlessness of outer 
space; a report from the cosmonauts recorded on that date described a 
mass-meter installed on Salyut 5 to measure the crew's weight in space 
through a vibration mechanism. On 28 July a report from the 
flight-control center said the cosmonauts were checking whether their 
training on the running track and other activities producing "micro- 
shocks" would affect the formation of crystals aboard the station. (FBIS, 
Tass in English, 6-30 July 76; W Post, 7 July, A-22; W Star, 7 July 
76, A-2; NYT, 8 July 76, 23; Spacewarn, SPX-273, 20 July 76, 2; 
Spaceflight, Jan 77, 36-37) 



140 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

8 July: A "Big Bird" reconnaissance satellite, built by Lockheed, was 
launched by the USAF from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on a Titan HID. A 
previous Big Bird launched 4 Dec. 1975 had remained in orbit until 1 
Apr. 1976. {Av Wk, 19 July 76, 243) 

• NASA launched Palapa 7, first of a series of Indonesian comsats, into a 

synchronous transfer orbit from the Eastern Test Range at 7:31 pm EDT 
on a Delta vehicle. Orbital elements were 36 504-km apogee, 231 -km 
perigee, and 24.6° inclination. At the 10th apogee, the boost motor was 
fired (4:30 pm EDT on 1 1 July) and the spacecraft was maneuvered into 
a position above the equator at about 83 E. Satellite status was reported 
satisfactory. The satellite's name came from a 14th-century prime min- 
ister, Gaja Mada, who vowed not to eat a popular delicacy called palapa 
until Indonesia was united. The 8 July launch date was selected to ensure 
that the satellite would be operational on 17 Aug., when Indonesia 
celebrated its 31st anniversary of independence. Produced by Hughes 
Aircraft, the Palapa satellites would be identical to the Telesat Canada 
and Westar satellites except for antenna modifications; each satellite 
could relay 12 color TV channels or up to 4000 telephone circuits. A 
second Palapa was scheduled for launch in 1977. (NASA Release 76-1 17; 
MOR M-492-208-76-01, [prelaunch] 24 June 76, [postlaunch] 
14 Oct 76) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced that 3 different solar collectors 

procured from industry in an ERDA-sponsored program on technical 
management and support of solar-energy development were undergoing 
tests of efficiency versus cost. The collectors, after exposure to weather- 
ing, were put into an active situation in which the heat-transfer medium 
(usually water) passed through them, and measurements were made to 
determine their efficiency. At the same time, 4 low-cost collectors devel- 
oped by MSFC were being tested to evaluate the thermal performance of 
black-nickel and black-chrome absorber coatings that could reduce the 
amount of collector area required, and thereby lower the cost of a specific 
application. (MSFC Release 76-121) 

• Discrepancies in forecasting the size of the 1976 Soviet grain crop under- 

lined the difficulty of accurately predicting worldwide harvests and food 
needs, the Washington Post reported. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 
estimated 22 June that the USSR would produce 190 million tons of grain; 
other sources objected that the estimate was several millions of tons 
below the figure set by the Central Intelligence Agency and between 4 
and 10 million tons higher than estimates by 2 private firms (Cargill 
Investor Services of Chicago, and Schnittker Associates of Washington). 
The size of the Soviet crop was a crucial statistic, the Post noted, 
because — if low enough — it could send world grain prices on a rapid rise; 
the price of grain would affect the U.S. economy, triggering higher food 
prices and adding to domestic inflation. The world had had no excess food 
stocks since 1972, so that faraway droughts or political developments 
affecting food trade could make U.S. grain prices fluctuate wildly. Gov- 
ernment and industry had invested millions of dollars to get information 
from satellites, computer banks, private weather consultants, transla- 

141 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

tions of foreign broadcasts, and tipsters, the Post said. Banks, shipping 
companies, railroads, and other enterprises in agricultural trade or in- 
vestment had increased their research in crop data to be ready for price 
changes or sudden shifts in markets. Despite the flood of information, 
global agricultural predictions remained inexact. 

A satellite equipped for crop surveys swept across the Soviet Union 
last year and "helped government analysts assess a major Russian crop 
disaster," the Post noted. The information, fed into complicated com- 
puter models that collated soil moisture and temperature data with other 
inputs, produced a projection of Soviet grain production; however, the 
computer models of the Dept. of Agriculture and the CIA last year 
produced differing estimates. (W Post, 8 July 76, A-2) 

• NASA issued a call for Space Shuttle astronaut candidates — 1 5 pilots and 1 5 

mission specialists — to be selected by Dec. 1977. Applications would be 
accepted through June 1977, and candidates would report to Johnson 
Space Center in July 1978 for 2 yr of training. Appointment as an 
astronaut would depend on satisfactory completion of training. Minority 
and women candidates were encouraged to apply. NASA spokesman Bob 
Gordon said the agency expected no problems if a woman were selected; 
the Space Shuttle was "designed to accommodate women astro- 
nauts. ..the waste management system is the only problem really and that 
has been designed for both males and females." Since the astronaut 
program began in 1959, 73 pilots and scientists had been selected; 31 
persons were available as Space Shuttle crew, 28 astronauts assigned to 
JSC and 3 holding government positions in Washington, D.C. Pilot astro- 
nauts would control the Shuttle during launch, orbit, and landing, and 
would maintain vehicle systems; mission-specialist astronauts would co- 
ordinate orbiter operations in flight planning, use of consumables, and 
management of the payload. (NASA Release 76-122; JSC Release 76-44; 
DOD Release 310-76; NYT, 8 July 76, 12) 
9 July: Marshall Space Flight Center announced selection of 3 firms to 
negotiate contracts for development of solar heating and cooling systems 
for residential and commercial use, under an agreement with the Energy 
Research and Development Administration to install and demonstrate 
such systems in a substantial number of residential and commercial 
structures in a wide range of geographic locations [see 1 July]. Firms 
selected were AiResearch Manufacturing Co. of Calif., General Electric 
Co. Space Div., and Honeywell Inc. Each of the contractors would 
deliver prototype solar heating or heating-and-cooling systems, at an 
estimated cost for the 3 contracts of about $14 million over 3 yrs. (MSFC 
Release 76-125) 

• NASA announced that Dr. Noel J. Hinners, Associate Administrator for 

Space Science, had selected Drs. Charles R. Chappell and James L. 
Burch of Marshall Space Flight Center as members of the flight team for 
the proposed Electrodynamics Explorer (EE) satellite mission, consisting 
of 2 satellites in polar orbit to study physical processes in the atmosphere, 
ionosphere, and magnetosphere from high and low orbit. Dr. Chappell's 
proposal for the mission was a cold-plasma instrument, a retarding 
ion-mass spectrometer; Dr. Burch proposed a high-altitude instrument 

142 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

for measuring medium-energy plasma. The 2 scientists participated in 
the project study phase during the past yr, and would work on the flight 
team with the EE study office at Goddard Space Flight Center in preparing 
a project plan for the dual-satellite mission. (NASA Release 76-123) 

9-18 July: NASA announced plans to launch a 4-stage Javelin sounding 
rocket from Wallops Flight Center carrying a 76-kg payload that would 
release red, white, and blue chemical clouds visible along the East Coast 
from Charleston, S.C., to Boston and as far inland as Cleveland, 0. 
Observation of the rocket's trails would enable the measuring of winds 
and magnetic and electrical fields in space. The rocket, launched at 9:23 
pm local time 18 July from Wallops, fell into the Atlantic before releasing 
its chemicals. According to a spokesman at the center, "We really won't 
know what happened for several days, after we've studied ground track- 
ings, but ground observation indicates there was a mechanical failure of 
some sort." (NASA Release 76-124; WSC Release 76-9; W Post, 18 July 
76, B-2) 

9-10 July: NASA Administrator Dr. James C. Fletcher, carrying greetings 
from President Ford, was among foreign dignitaries attending the cele- 
bration in Yugoslavia of the 120th anniversary of the birth of inventor 
Nikola Tesla. Born in 1856 in Croatia (then part of Austria-Hungary), 
Tesla emigrated to the U.S. in 1884, became naturalized, and worked for 
a time at the Edison company in N.J. His concept of a rotating magnetic 
field led to many improvements in the fields of radio and electricity: the 
Tesla coil, the Tesla reduction motor and system of alternating-current 
transmission, generators of high-frequency current, a transformer to 
increase oscillating currents to high potentials, and systems for wireless 
communication and wireless transmission of electric power. Tesla de- 
signed the power system at Niagara Falls, N.Y., and lived to be 93. 

At ceremonies in the town of Smiljan, Tesla's birthplace, President 
Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia praised the "orientation" of Tesla and his 
compatriots in the U.S. in their support for Yugoslavia during World War 
II. Later, at a luncheon, Tito reviewed Tesla's achievements and urged 
the Yugoslavs to create conditions that would induce talented youths to 
remain and not leave their country to go abroad. At an informal meeting 
Dr. Fletcher presented Tito with photographs of Yugoslavia taken by a 
U.S. satellite, and received from the celebration committee a "golden 
plaque" bearing Tesla's picture to be presented to President Ford. 
President Ford's message at the ceremonies had stated that Tesla's work 
"stands as a link between our two countries in the history of notable 
accomplishments in science and engineering." (FBIS, Tanjug Domestic 
Service, 9-10 July 76, 11-16) 

11 July: Tass announced that the yachts Rodina and Rosslya had left the 
port of Vladivostok in an attempt to repeat the route sailed by Russian 
navigators 250 yr ago on 2 expeditions to Kamchatka under the lead- 
ership of Vitus Bering (1681-1741). The 7-man crews of the ships 
would begin by visiting Okhotsk, the port where Bering built the ship that 
went to Kamchatka, then proceed to Kamchatka about 3700 km away. 
In 1977 and 1978, the expedition would cruise to the Bering Strait and 

143 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

go ashore in North America where Bering's ship St. Peter visited 17 July 
1741. (FBIS, Tass in English, 11 July 76) 

12 July: First flight tests of a unique oblique- wing aircraft model designed for 

future supersonic use would begin early in Aug. at the Dryden Flight 
Research Center, NASA announced. The remotely piloted research vehi- 
cle (RPRV) to be tested had a wingspan of 6.7 m, weighed 400 kg, and 
was powered by a 4-cylinder 90-hp engine; its wing angle relative to the 
fuselage could be varied during flight, and angles up to 45° would be 
tested. The RPRV would be flown by radio control from a ground cockpit, 
with a TV camera in the aircraft nose giving the ground controller a 
pilot's-eye view. Use of the oblique wing was a proposal of Dr. Robert T. 
Jones, senior scientist at Ames Research Center, to alleviate sonic boom 
and increase energy effectiveness of supersonic aircraft; positioned at 
right angles to the fuselage in slower flight, the wing would allow landing 
and takeoff with minimum power and less noise, but rotated with respect 
to the fuselage it would provide the high speed possible with the swept- 
wing design. Studies indicated possible fuel savings even at speeds up to 
1600 kph. (DFRC Release 13-76) 

13 July: Marshall Space Flight Center announced that MSFC engineers had 

developed an optical processing system that could use earth pictures 
taken by satellites such as Landsat or Seasat to survey highway traffic. 
When the New Orleans, La., planning commission asked the Center if 
space technology could provide an automated way to conduct thorough, 
reliable, and inexpensive traffic surveys, MSFC responded with a tech- 
nique used several years ago of scanning phototransparencies with a 
laser beam; the new laser scanner would sense differences in intensity of 
the filtered beam, recognize vehicle sizes and shapes, and store size and 
location data for later use. Data from an aerial traffic survey using the 
system could be in the hands of users within hours. The new method must 
start with aircraft photographs, said MSFC engineer Joseph H. Kerr, who 
patented the rapid survey system; present Landsat satellites passed over 
a target only once in 18 days, but the project gave NASA a chance to 
refine the method for use on satellites in the 1980s. Whereas processing 
of satellite data might now take months, Kerr said his system could 
produce data 100 times faster. (NASA Release 76-128) 
• Solar power would charge batteries in 2 electric vehicles used by the 
National Capital Parks, Dept. of the Interior, during this summer's 
Bicentennial Festival of American Folklife in Washington, D.C., NASA 
announced. The golfcart-like vehicles, each equipped with 6 standard 
traction batteries, would get energy from photovoltaic cells capable of 
providing 1.7 kwh of electricity during peak sunlight; the array was 
prepared by Lewis Research Center as one of several demonstrations of 
solar energy it was conducting as manager of ERDA's photovoltaic test and 
demonstration project. Cells were provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion 
Laboratory, to which ERDA assigned responsibility for the low-cost silicon 
solar-array project. The solar-powered vehicles would be used from July 
through Sept. at the festival, one for transportation of festival workers, 
the other fitted with a vacuum cleaner for refuse pickup. (NASA Release 
76-129; ERDA Release 76-218) 

144 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

14 July: Kennedy Space Center announced award of a $2 250 000 contract 

to the Beech Aircraft Corp., Boulder, Co., for development of a Space 
Shuttle orbiter fuel-cell servicing system. An orbiter would carry 3 fuel 
cells using cryogenically stored hydrogen and oxygen to provide elec- 
trical power; each cell would connect to a separate power bus, but only 
2 cells would be used during minimum power load. Peak or average 
power load would use all 3 cells. The contract called for Beech to design, 
fabricate, test, and deliver a complete cryogenic remotely controlled unit 
that would provide liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen for the fuel cells, 
delivery to be completed by 1 Dec. 1977. (KSC Release 333-76) 

15 July: NASA announced appointment of Robert A. Newman as Assistant 

Administrator for Public Affairs, effective 26 July. Newman was vice- 
president of community affairs for TRW, Inc., and president of the TRW 
Foundation at Cleveland, 0. In his new NASA post, he would be re- 
sponsible for all information services of the space agency except for 
technical publications. He had received bachelor's degrees in journalism 
and sociology from the Univ. of Mo., served in the USAF during the 
Korean War, and had been a member of the board of directors of the Air 
Force Academy Foundation. (NASA Release 76-131; Fletcher anno. 

15 July 76) 

76 July: NASA announced selection of Hamilton Standard Division, United 
Aircraft Corp., for negotiations leading to award of contract for devel- 
opment and production of space suits to be used by men and women 
during Space Shuttle flights. The basic cost-plus-award fee contract 
would cost about $15 million through Sept. 1980. The suit system, 
consisting of a basic suit and built-in support system including breathing- 
atmosphere and cooling components, would be adjustable instead of 
custom-made for each astronaut (as in earlier programs) and would come 
in small, medium, and large sizes to fit candidates varying in height from 
1.5 to 2 m. Hamilton Standard would provide hardware and spares 
needed for 7 suits and support equipment, as well as training, manpower, 
and equipment needed to support the program at NASA field centers. 
Johnson Space Center would have technical direction of the contract. (JSC 
Release 76-46) 

• NASA announced that its Nimbus 6 weather satellite would be monitoring 
the cross-country progress of a 1914 Dodge participating in the Bicen- 
tennial world antique auto race that began 15 June in Istanbul, Turkey, 
and wound through 1 1 countries in Europe. Having crossed the Atlantic 
by ship, the four entrants — all American — were scheduled to rally 

16 July at Times Sq., New York City, to begin the final leg of the race — 
New York to San Francisco — that would recreate the first leg of the 
Great Race of 1908. The tracking device carried on the Dodge belonging 
to Ed Schuler of Morrison, 111., had been checked out last May on a run 
from 111. to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Md. The device, a rugged 
self-powered unit normally carried on balloons, buoys, and ice packs, is 
one of more than 800 such instruments assigned to experimenters since 
the launch of Nimbus 6 in mid-1975. Valued at about $1800, the 
device would be returned to GSFC after the race for checkout and future 
use on another platform. A similar device used in 1971 to track a light 

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July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

plane that flew around the global poles had previously been carried 
around the world on a balloon that came down in Central Africa, where 
a French member of the World Health Organization found it hanging in 
a tree and returned it to NASA; after the airplane trip, the unit served 
another year on a buoy before being retired from service. A 1914 Model 
T Ford originally scheduled to carry the tracking device [see 15 Feb.] 
was withdrawn from the race by its owner. (NASA Release 76-126) 
17-19 July: Project scientists said the high proportion of argon in the Mars 
atmosphere might damage the life-detection instruments on Viking 1. In 
March 1974, a spectrometer pump on a Mars-bound spacecraft failed to 
work properly and Russian scientists concluded the problem was caused 
by argon, an element reluctant to form chemical compounds; the Russian 
pump apparently could not handle the high argon content of the Mars 
atmosphere. Viking 1 's gas-chromatograph mass spectrometer con- 
tained filter material to screen out carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide 
in the search for organic compounds in Mars air and soil samples, which 
would be heated in the instrument to produce gas for analysis by the 
chromatograph; the high argon content might interfere with the read- 
ings. {NYT, 17 July 76, 24) 

J PL flight directors were checking out the instruments on Viking 1 for 
its Mars landing scheduled for 20 July. Immediately upon landing, the 
spacecraft would measure air temperature and pressure and wind speed 
and direction, and would detect any interior motions of the planet such 
as moving lava or shaking of the crust. It was also scheduled to take 2 
photographs, one downward to record the terrain of the landing site and 
the other a panorama shot to show the general surface of Mars. Life- 
detection experiments would not begin until about a wk after the landing. 
(WPost, 18 July 76, A-10) 

Commands from JPL to turn on the $153-million instrument package 
to be landed by J iking 1 on the Plains of Chryse took between 17 and 
18 min to reach the spacecraft nearly 346 million km away from earth. 
First spacecraft responses to the signals indicated the instruments and 
navigational equipment were in working condition. Landing was sched- 
uled for 8 am FDT on 20 July; Viking 1 would separate early in the 
morning into 2 components, 2300-kg orbiter and 590-kg lander. The 
orbiter, powered by purple solar cells on panels, would remain in orbit to 
serve as a radio relay for the lander and to photograph nearly half the 
Martian surface over the next 12 mo. The lander, powered by an atomic 
battery, would coast for about 3 hr, slowed by a parachute and braking 
engines, and land on 3 aluminum legs at about 8 kph, more gently than 
most parachutists land on earth. (W Post, 19 July 76, A-3) 

Odds were heavily against existence of any form of life on Mars, said 
a Washington Post editorial, and against Viking 1 's finding evidence of 
it even if it were there. The Viking flights were "in some ways more 
remarkable an undertaking" than the Apollo flights because the space- 
craft was on its own with no humans to correct errors and a sizable time 
lapse between sending and receipt of radioed instructions. The mission, 
said the Post, was "already a stunning accomplishment. " {W Post, 
20 July 76, A-16) 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



July 



The Viking spacecraft was "a breed apart," the Wash. Post re- 
ported, as different from previous spacecraft "as a Cadillac from a 
Pinto." Almost nothing on the lander had flown in space before; almost 
everything had to be built super-small to save weight. As the first U.S. 
spacecraft to land on another planet, the Viking had to be designed to 
withstand chemical and heat sterilization to avoid contaminating Mars 
with earth organisms. The tape recorder, for instance, had to be made 
of bronze coated with phosphor, because no plastic tape could have 
survived the heat. (W Post, 20 July 76, A-2) 
19 July: President Ford proclaimed 20 July as "Space Exploration Day" to 
coincide with the date 7 yr ago when U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong 
became the first man to set foot on the moon. NASA's Viking 1 lander was 
expected to touch down on the surface of Mars about 8 am 20 July, 
reported nationally on network television; transmission of the first pic- 
ture from the lander should be completed before 9 am. In his proclama- 
tion, the President said, "We begin our third century with . . . the most 
ambitious of all deep space explorations . . . Wherever we reach, we will 
have come in peace for all mankind." In an accompanying statement to 
NASA employees, Administrator James C. Fletcher said "the President 
has in effect commended all of you who work (for) the national space 
agency." (Text; NASA Release 76-133; Fletcher anno, 20 July 76) 




First panoramic view of Mars surface from Viking 1, 20 July 1976: upper half of picture 
is left half of view, lower photo joins it on the right. Upper view shows housing for Viking 
sampler arm; lower view shows (at right) high-gain antenna for direct communication 
with earth. (NASA 76-H-557) 

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July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced that about 80 scientists from 

universities, medical facilities, and industry, serving as the Universities 
Space Research Association, would meet at Huntsville 26-30 July to 
evaluate experiments proposed for the first Spacelab mission. NASA's 
Space Science Steering Committtee would use the evaluations in select- 
ing experiments to be carried on Spacelab 1, scheduled for launch in the 
3rd quarter of 1980. The 10 categories in which experiments were 
proposed were: astrophysics, upper atmosphere, space plasma, bio- 
medicine, atmospheric observations, biology, technology/behavior, 
communications/navigation, drop dynamics/atmospheric cloud physics, 
and technology experiments. MSFC was assigned management responsibil- 
ity for defining, integrating, and operating the payloads for the first 3 
Spacelab missions. (MSFC Release 76-130) 
20 July: The Piking 1 lander touched down safely on a plain at the western 
edge of the Chryse region of Mars at 7:53 am EDT, 1 1 mo to the day after 
its journey of more than 700 million km through space began at KSC 
Launch Complex 41. Landing was within 17 sec of the predicted time; 
velocity at impact, predicted to be 2.4 ± 0.9 kps, was actually 2.49 kps. 
Within minutes of the landing, the Viking began relaying a photograph 
of one of its footpads on the nearby surface up to the Viking orbiter for 
transmission to earth; a panoramic view of the landing site followed. 
Distance from earth to Mars at landing time was more than 322 million 
km, and radio waves took 19 additional minutes to travel back to earth 
to signal touchdown. Spacecraft controllers at the Jet Propulsion Labora- 
tory broke into applause and cheers when the data arrived showing a 
successful landing; telemetry showed the descent curve fitting pre- 
planned values as the lander's aeroshell, supersonic parachute, and 
terminal descent engines braked the descent to the surface of Mars. The 
site at Chryse Planitia was chosen for the landing after Viking orbiter 
data and the giant telescope at Arecibo, P.R., showed that the primary 
landing site and the first alternative were too hazardous. NASA Adminis- 
trator Dr. James C. Fletcher, who was at JPL for the landing, said that 
the intensive search for a safe landing site "really paid off." 

The Mars landing came on the 7th anniversary of man's first landing 
on the moon 20 July 1 969 during the Apollo 1 1 mission. President Ford, 
who telephoned JPL with congratulations after the landing, asked Viking 
Project Manager James S. Martin, Jr., of LaRC if there were plans for a 
Viking 3. Martin replied that there were not, but that his team was 
"ready to take on Viking 3 plus Viking 4, 5, and 6." The Viking 2 was 
expected to go into orbit around Mars about 7 Aug. (Mission Status 
Bulletin 35, 20 July 76; Spaceport News, 23 July 76, 1) 

• The Tass news agency reported the soft landing of "the automatic inter- 

planetary station" Viking 1 on the surface of Mars, adding that the first 
pictures of the surface showed "a foot-pad of the craft on . . . dust- 
covered terrain strewn with small sharp stones . . . According to the 
preliminary assessments, the ground consists of basalt rocks and volcanic 
lava. It is believed to be comparatively soft." Tass noted the post- 
ponement of the Viking landing, originally scheduled for 4 July, and the 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

search for bacterial life on Mars which was "one of the aims of this 
exploration." (FBIS, Tass in English, 20 July 76) 

• Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International Corp. announced it had 

been awarded a $10.8-million contract by Lewis Research Center for 8 
Atlas MA-5 propulsion systems, with an option for 2 additional systems. 
The contract would run through August 1978. The engines would be 
used to launch high-energy astronomical observatories (HEAO), or com- 
mercial comsats for the Communications Satellite Corporation on a 
reimbursable basis. Originally developed by Rocketdyne for the USAF's 
first intercontinental ballistic missile, the Atlas had flown space missions 
since 1958 when it launched Echo, first U.S. comsat. Atlas had powered 
more than 400 payloads with launch reliability of more than 99%. 
(Rockwell Release RD-18) 

• "Eventually there will be an American SST program," Dr. John L. McLucas 

wrote in a letter to the Phlla. Inquirer. Dr. McLucas, Administrator of 
the Federal Aviation Administration, agreed with an Inquirer editorial 
that stated, "Concorde hasn't made it yet," but pointed out that costs of 
research and development and other expenses of producing a new 
aircraft had virtually halted the introduction of new aircraft designs 
"suitable to the major airlines." New transport aircraft would offer 
advantages such as greatly reduced noise, a high level of safety, and 30% 
improvement in fuel efficiency; however, continued development of new 
planes and their purchase by the carriers "is moving beyond the financial 
scope of private investors singly or collectively," Dr. McLucas wrote. 
Some combination of government and private initiative would be needed 
to finance the next generation of air transports; "it's more likely to be 
the result of a cooperative American-European effort," Dr. McLucas 
concluded. (P Inq, 20 July 76, 1-E) 

• India had used deuterium from the U.S. to detonate its first atomic ex- 

plosion, said acting Assistant Secretary of State Myron Kratzer at an 
"unprecedented" hearing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on 
licensing of future sales of reactor fuel to India. The State Dept. said that 
stopping the sale of the reactor fuel would constitute "severe social and 
economic hardship" to 80 million Indians dependent on power generated 
by a plant that had been operating since 1969. Adrian Fisher, "former 
high official in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency," said 
India had broken its word to Canada and the U.S. by using nuclear 
materials to create an atomic device in 1974; India said the device was 
"peaceful" and did not contravene U.S. bans on use of the material to 
build weapons. Herbert Scoville, another former disarmament official, 
said India's nuclear generating stations were producing enough pluto- 
nium to build 10 to 20 bombs per year, and that India now had a 4-yr 
stockpile. Scoville and Fisher said India should be required to sell back 
its plutonium and accept further restriction^'on use of nuclear material. 
A strong U.S. stand on nuclear materials to India was the only hope — 
"perhaps a vain hope," Scoville said — of stopping the spread of nuclear 
weapons. Rep. Clarence D. Long (D— Md.) said that Iran, Egypt, South 
Africa, and Argentina were countries that would be encouraged to de- 

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July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

velop nuclear weapons if the U.S. did not impose sanctions on India and 
restrict the flow of nuclear material. The commission was examining a 
large pile of documents on the history of the U.S. nuclear relationship to 
India; some petitioners (e.g., the Sierra Club) had claimed that evidence 
as far back as 1963 showed India preparing to develop a nuclear ex- 
plosive device for political purposes. (W Star, 21 July 76, A-8) 
21 July: The Marshall Star reported on a Bicentennial celebration at MSFC's 
Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La., that included planting 
of a "moon" tree to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the first Apollo 
landing. Michoud was the place where giant Saturn moon rockets were 
fabricated. Participating in the program were Lt. Gov. James Fitzmorris 
of La.; MSFC Director Dr. William R. Lucas; and Robert Littlefield, 
manager of the Michoud facility. The tree was a pine grown from seed 
carried to the moon and back in 1971 on the Apollo 14 mission as part 
of research into effects of weightlessness on seed germination. The U.S. 
Dept. of Agriculture had planted the returned seeds, and the seedlings 
had been set out in various public areas over the U.S. such as in Philadel- 
phia's Washington Square. As the tree was planted in front of the 
Michoud administration building, a time capsule was deposited to be 
opened during the nation's Tricentennial in 2076. The capsule contained 
documents, tapes, and pictures relating to the space program. (Marshall 
Star, 21 July 76, 4) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced award to Martin Marietta's 

Denver division of a cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract for 
$9 282 667 to deliver parachute decelerator subsystems for recovery of 
12 solid-fuel rocket boosters from 6 Space Shuttle flights. The contract, 
effective through Dec. 1980, covers design, development, manufacture, 
and refurbishment of the subsystems. Work was authorized to start 
6 July at Martin's plant in Colorado and at Pioneer Parachute Co. of 
Manchester, Conn., subcontractor. (MSFC Release 76-135) 

• An enormous radiotelescope "the size of the earth" to be used in studying 

the process of star formation in earth's galaxy had been constructed by 
linking installations in Washington, D.C., California, Australia, and the 
Soviet Union, the Naval Research Laboratory announced. Four large 
radiotelescopes distributed around the world had joined in using very 
long-baseline interferometry (VLBl) to record microwave signals received 
at each antenna on videotape, and comparing the recordings. The re- 
sultant huge antenna would be able to resolve a source less than 
2 ten-thousandths of a second of arc, comparable to the thickness of a 
human hair at a 161 -km distance, or a man's footprint on the moon. An 
instrument this size would be needed to study primordial clouds in the 
constellation Aquila containing water-vapor molecules that emit intense 
microwave radiation through maser amplification, analogous to the oper- 
ation of optical lasers. These water-vapor masers seem to be associated 
with star formation taking place in giant clouds in the galaxy; sizes of the 
individual masing sources, which may number more than 100 in a single 
cloud, range from half to 3 times the distance between the sun and the 
earth. The masing radiation offered a way to study the clouds that 



150 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

obscure radiation at other frequencies and to estimate the physical 
conditions that surround star formation. Installations in the experiment 
were NRL's 26-m antenna at its Maryland Point, Md., observatory; 
NASA's Deep Space Network 64-m antenna at Tidbinbilla, Australia; 
the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory's 22-m antenna at Semeiz, 
USSR; and the Calif. Institute of Technology's 39-m antenna at Owens 
Valley, Calif. The maximum spacing achievable is the earth's diameter 
(12 600 km), a distance approximating the separation between the Md. 
and Australian antennas (12 091 km). (NRL Release 45-7-76B/HF; 
NYT, 20 July 76, 13) 
22 July: Images from 2 Landsats circling the earth 912 km up had helped 
the state of Md. monitor strip-mining damage and inventory its surface 
coal-mining activities, NASA announced. The state did not know the 
location or extent of orphan mines — those abandoned before 1967 — and 
began a mapping program to determine the extent of the disturbed land 
and the procedures and expense that would be required to reclaim it. A 
1967 law required private companies to operate under state-approved 
reclamation plans; acreage disturbed before 1967 would be reclaimed by 
the state. The Landsat images showed from 25 to 30% more acreage 
affected by the mines than anyone had realized. Arthur T. Anderson of 
Goddard Space Flight Center's information transfer laboratory com- 
pared Landsat images taken over a 3-yr period ending in 1974 to 
identify and measure effects of strip mining in Western Md. with an 
accuracy better than that obtainable from aerial photography or 
field-inspection techniques. Other states using Landsat imagery for rec- 
lamation projects were Ohio, Tenn., W. Va., Ky., Pa., S.C., Fla., and the 
Great Plains states. (NASA Release 76-134) 
• President Ford would name Dr. H. Guyford Stever, director of the National 
Science Foundation for the past 4 yr, to head the recently reestablished 
White House Office of Science and Technology, the New York Times 
reported. The post had been abolished by President Nixon 3 yr ago 
"amid reports that he did not like the advice he was getting from it, 
particularly concerning antiballistic missiles and supersonic planes," the 
Times said. Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine had re- 
ported earlier that 4 conservative Republican senators had warned Pres- 
ident Ford that Stever's nomination would be an "affront" to Congress; 
the NSF had been a target of some congressmen because of funding 
projects that Congress considered questionable, Av Wk said. Other 
candidates for the position had shied away because of a possible change 
in administration after the forthcoming elections. Sen. Frank E. Moss 
(D-Utah) urged quick action on the nomination; the Senate Appropria- 
tions Committee had just cut $1 million from a $3.3-million budget 
estimate for the Office of Science and Technology. {NYT, 22 July 76, 37; 
Av Wk, 5 July 76, 13) 
21-31 July: The Wash. Star "Portfolio" column reported that television 
was "barely there" as the Viking 1 spacecraft touched down on Mars 
and began to relay "those sharp, stark pictures to earth." Hardly had 
reporters began asking explanations from scientists "who looked stunned 

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July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

with pleasure at the accomplishment," when "it was commercial 
time . . . and the 9 a.m. programs." Viewers were "left wondering 
whether there was really an event of such magnitude being televised or 
more science fiction," the Star commented. (W Star, 21 July 76, B-l) 

Commentary on the Viking landing on Mars: The Chicago Tribune 
hailed the mission as "an epoch-making success . . . The achievement 
is the greater because the world has known from the beginning what we 
were attempting to do. There would have been no way to hide a failure." 
(CTrib, 21 July 76, 1-7) 

The Phila. Inquirer called the landing "another giant leap for man- 
kind" that "underscores the sophistication of unmanned spacecraft . . . 
Risks can be taken . . . that could not be justified with persons 
aboard ... Its performance in the first hours on Mars speaks more 
eloquently than words." (P Inq, 21 July 76, 5-A) 

The NY Times said the TV networks were criticized for their coverage; 
Dr. J. Richard Keefe, former NASA scientist now at the Univ. of Louis- 
ville, said the coverage was "downright disgusting . . . Talk about being 
blase about space exploration, this was just incredible ... I think the 
population has become apathetic about the whole space program. It's 
kind of sad, I think." Spokesmen for the network told the Times they had 
given 20 to 25 min of coverage, showing the 2 pictures transmitted by 
Viking 1 and released by JPL where the transmission was received. NBC 
said its New York City switchboard had about 30 calls asking for more; 
ABC reported 25, and CBS reported 8 or 10. ABC said the number of calls 
was significant "for the time of day." "What they may not have under- 
stood was that we showed whatever we had," the spokesman said. "That 
was it." (NYT, 21 July 76, 12) 

The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial that it could not "spec- 
ulate with any confidence on why yesterday's Viking I landing on Mars 
was important. And yet we are confident that it was." The TV networks 
that "spent tedious hours broadcasting the dullest political convention on 
record" a wk ago "were preoccupied with game shows" while Viking was 
sending back its first pictures of the surface of another planet. However, 
those who said the $1 billion cost of the project was wasted unless 
Viking's cameras pick up " something interesting, like a local resident," 
would be missing the point, WSJ added. The project demonstrated 
application of the most advanced technology to a single objective, ad- 
vanced managerial skills as "a triumph of human organization," and left 
mankind with the psychic effects of the visit to another planet. 
"... After each leap deeper into space, nothing is quite the same 
again." {WSJ, 21 July 76, 22) 

A Washington Star editorial said that Viking 1 may have "ended 
generations of fanciful imaginings" about life on Mars, and asked if it was 
worth 7 yr of effort and $1 billion "to get a rather sobering view of what 
our imaginations told us was a fascinating planet." Although it was much 
too early to predict the "ultimate scientific harvest," the Star said "we 
have no doubt that the ultimate payoff will be more than adequate in 
scientific if not in fictional terms." {W Star, 22 July 76, A- 14) 



152 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

The first color photograph of Mars, showing a dramatic blue sky 
against a rust-red soil surface, was in error, Viking project scientists 
announced. Astronomer Carl Sagan said that someone had given the 
wrong weighting to the color filters in reconstructing the electronic image 
on earth, and that corrected photos would show a pinker sky. The 
seismometer on the Viking lander had apparently jammed and would 
impair detection of "marsquakes" unless corrected; Lou Kingsland, 
deputy mission director, said the proper command might not have been 
issued or the problem might be in the electrical circuits. {WStar, 22 July 
76, A-l) 

Having successfully set down the Viking 1 lander in a safe spot, 
Project Manager James S. Martin, Jr., announced that Viking 2 would 
be sent to a region likely to be more scientifically interesting even with 
less assurance of safe touchdown. Cydonia, a region halfway between the 
Mars equator and north pole, was considered because of a greater 
likelihood of water, required for the presence of life as we know it. Viking 
project scientists said they were eager to survey a site as different 
physically from the desert Chryse site as possible. Viking 2, still more 
than 1.6 million km from Mars, would arrive in orbit there early in Aug. 
and land about 4 Sept. if all went well. Debate on the second landing site 
focused on possible hazards in the northern region, out of range of the 
radar signals that led to choice of the first site. Astronomer Carl Sagan 
said the first landing was "reasonably lucky," with chances of success 
calculated at only 60%, and the northern site would be less promising. 
However, he and the other scientists voted overwhelmingly for Cydonia 
because, as Sagan said, "it is not only the probability of success but the 
significance of success" that merited consideration. (WStar, 22 July 76, 
A-6) 

Asked about the role of luck in the successful Viking 1 landing on 
Mars, Project Manager James S. Martin, Jr., replied, "I don't plan on 
luck .... I believe that most of what you call luck you make yourself. 
It's people doing that extra job ..." Martin's management approach 
during his 8 yr with the Viking project had been to "get into the details 
of everything .... I've never known any other way to be 
successful .... It inspires and motivates the next level of management 
to get involved." (NYT, 22 July 76, 24) 

The "most electrifying new information" received from Mars since 
the Viking 1 landing was that the Martian atmosphere contained 3% 
nitrogen, an element essential to life as we know it, said the NY Times. 
Until this week, the absence of nitrogen on Mars had been the most 
compelling argument against existence of life "in any form" on Mars; 
now this argument had been removed. (NYT, 22 July 76, 30) 

JPL scientists were still hedging on the color of the Martian sky, after 
announcing that photographs released earlier showing a blue sky might 
have been processed wrongly. Astronomer Carl Sagan noted that the 
"boos given to (the) announcement about a pink sky reflect our wish for 
Mars to be just like the earth." Dr. Thomas Mutch, leader of the Viking 



153 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

imaging team, said computer verification of the filtered signals for color 
reconstruction could take another wk or two. (W Star, 23 July 76, A-l) 

Viking Mission Director A. Thomas Young told a news conference 
that the problem with the lander's soil-sampling arm was probably an 
error in the computer command that failed to drop a locking pin near the 
arm's "wrist." A new set of commands to extend the arm further and free 
the pin would be sent 24 or 25 July. The arm would scoop up soil and 
drop it in a hopper on the spacecraft that would distribute it to 3 biology 
experiments aimed at detecting signs of life on the planet. Other scoops 
would be used for chemical analysis. (NYT, 24 July 76, 1) 

Besides the trouble with its soil sampler, the Viking 1 lander was 
having radio problems, said Project Manager Martin. One of two re- 
ceivers getting direct communications from earth was not working prop- 
erly, and the radio for relaying data from the lander to its orbiter was 
operating in a low-power mode. Also, the instrument for detecting "mars- 
quakes" had not been released from its "caged" position on the lander 
despite repeated commands. A special scientific team was checking to see 
if all the problems were related, perhaps in the computer signals to the 
electrical circuitry. ( W Star, 23 July 76, A-3) 

Mars was a very much richer and larger planet than the airless and 
waterless moon, said a NY Times editorial, with a firm surface and 
virtually every essential required for life. Barring the catastrophe of a 
nuclear war, Mars could be sustaining a human population "by the time 
of this nation's Tricentennial," the paper said. {NYT, 25 July 76, A- 16) 

"I really do not know what the fuss is all about — landing on Mars, I 
mean. I landed there 40 years ago," said Buster Crabbe, who played both 
Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers in movies of the 1930s. Crabbe, who won 
the 400-m freestyle swimming gold medal in the 1932 Olympic games, 
was hired by Paramount Pictures to do a Tarzan film, and went on to star 
in space pictures. "People still remember old Flash," the 68-yr-old 
Crabbe said. "Here I am still around, no ill effects from my space 
travel .... I do feel sorry for our space people though, having to go 
through all the things we did years ago. I don't think they know what's 
in store for them. Just wait till they run into the clay men and the hawk 
men and the shark men." (NYT, 25 July 76, El 7; Tucson Ariz. Daily 
Star, 30 July 76, A- 19) 

Viking 1 did not relay any picture of life-sized Martians to earth 
because it landed in the wrong place, charged columnist Art Buchwald 
in the Wash. Post. Buchwald reported his friend, a science-fiction buff, 
as saying the scientists were interested only in finding "a smooth place 
to set down the camera." If the Martians sent a camera to earth, the 
smoothest place to land it would be the Sahara desert. "If you lived on 
Mars you wouldn't pitch a tent on some barren spot where nothing was 
happening," argued the friend. "If Viking had landed next to one of their 
canals, the Martians would have sailed their tall ships up to it and given 
us the greatest show ever seen on television." ( W Post, 25 July 76, H- 1 ) 

A series of simple commands from earth freed the mechanical arm on 
the Viking 1 spacecraft reported to have jammed 22 July. The extend- 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

able arm would be able to dig into the Martian soil as planned, and the 
second Viking spacecraft would be able to land in Cydonia now that the 
Chryse area could be explored. The Viking was commanded to extend its 
arm twice as far as previously and to rotate it several times to free a 
locking pin inserted to protect the arm from vibration during its flight in 
space and landing on Mars. The command was timed to precede trans- 
mission of a spacecraft camera image taken soon after receipt of the 
command; the boom would not be in the picture if it had not responded 
to the order to extend itself in front of the camera eye. When the picture 
came in a half hour later, the mechanical arm was in clear view, and a 
surface shot clearly showed the locking pin had fallen free. Flight direc- 
tors had not succeeded in uncaging a seismometer, composed of 3 
delicate balancing beams to detect movements in the planet's crust, that 
had been wired together for protection from vibrations. Spacecraft com- 
puter signals to electrify and burn the wire were not received, and a 
second command bypassing the computer apparently failed also. De- 
tection of marsquakes might have to depend on Viking 2, scheduled to 
land in the Cydonia basin about 4 Sept. {W Post, 26 July 76, A-l) 

The atmosphere of Mars was once 10 times thicker and richer in gas 
than it is today, and "we could breathe that atmosphere" if it were richer 
in oxygen, said Dr. Tobias Owen of the State Univ. of N.Y., a member 
of the project science team at JPL, where the first samplings by the Viking 
1 mass spectrometer were analyzed. Mars's atmosphere was now 95% 
carbon dioxide, 2 to 3% nitrogen, 1 to 2% argon, 0.3% oxygen; earth's 
atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon-40, and 0.03% 
carbon dioxide. "Mars is an intermediate planet between the earth and 
the moon," said Dr. Owen. "We do not see a hugely abundant biology, 
but that doesn't say there's none at all." Color pictures of the Martian 
surface near the Viking lander revealed a soil even redder than in the 
original picture received last week. Rocks strewn over the desert sands 
exhibited a red coating laid down years ago when Mars's atmosphere was 
richer in oxygen and water, "through oxidation of the iron and hydration 
of the minerals," said Viking geologist Alan S. Binder. "We propose to 
test the hypothesis by cracking open one of the red rocks ... to see if 
there is any rust inside." (W Post, 27 July 76, A-l; W Star, 27 July 
76, A-3; C Trib, 27 July 76, 5) 

Viking Vs mechanical arm scooped its first sample of the Mars 
surface 28 July, leaving a sharp-edged trench clearly visible in a picture 
transmitted afterward by the unmanned lander. The 3-m arm, a tube 
about 38 mm in diameter, ended in a sharp-edged scoop that could dig 
into the surface with a force of about 1 3 kg if necessary. When the cover 
snapped shut on the sample, the arm retracted and swiveled to sift the 
sample into a funnel feeding into the "biology box." This container, 
about the size of a large milk carton, encased the 3 experiments designed 
to detect life. Two other experiments, also located under funnels, were 
the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer to detect organic molecules 
and an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer to identify inorganic materials, 
Sensors inside the funnels would tell whether the samples were sufficient. 



155 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

The 3 biology experiments were the "pyrolytic release" experiment 
of Dr. Norman Horowitz, to look for microorganisms that used the sun 
as a source of energy like photosynthesis on earth to build organic 
compounds, through exposure of the sample to radioactive carbon diox- 
ide under artificial sunlight; a "labeled release" experiment by Dr. Gilbert 
Levin of Biospherics, Inc., to look for signs of microbial metabolism by 
tracing radioactive organic compounds injected into the Mars sample to 
see if they were consumed, releasing gaseous wastes that could be 
detected; and a "gas exchange" experiment by Vance Oyama of NASA's 
Ames Research Center to provide a rich variety of foods in a liquid 
form — "chicken soup" — to the Mars sample and look for changes in gas 
composition inside the experiment chamber that would indicate the food 
was being used. 

The biology-box samples would incubate for from 5 to 12 days before 
results were announced, and a positive finding would be confirmed by 
subsequent control experiments. The science team anticipated a long 
wait for any kind of answer, as well as the possibility that the answers 
might be contradictory. Dr. Gerald Soffen, chief scientist for Viking, 
pointed out that results would be difficult to interpret: "you have to put 
yourself on the level of a microbe," he added. The microbes might drown 
in the liquid, ingest the wrong food, or burn up in the warm experiment 
chambers. {W Star, 28 July, A-l, A-5) 

One of the five soil-testing experiments on Viking 1 did not receive 
enough soil to actuate it, project officials announced, and two attempts 
to start the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer working on a sample 
apparently failed. Project Manager Martin said the flight engineers were 
not yet able to determine what went wrong, because the sampling arm 
apparently worked as planned but the sample never got into the instru- 
ment. The motor driving a stirring rod to brush particles through a 
strainer did not come on, and scientists speculated the sample might still 
be sitting on the strainer. A photograph of the trench dug to obtain the 
sample had shown that the soil was surprisingly cohesive, "like wet 
sand," according to Princeton Univ. scientist Dr. Robert B. Hargraves. 
After delivering soil to the experiments in the biology box, the mechan- 
ical arm made 2 attempts to dig and deliver a sample to the mass spec- 
trometer but the instrument did not signal receipt of the sample either 
time. It was not clear, Martin said, whether the arm lost the soil on the 
swing back or was off the mark when it deposited the soil, or the soil in 
the hopper never filtered down to the instrument. The arm responded 
properly to the following command and delivered a spoonful of soil to the 
x-ray spectrometer with no difficulty. (NYT, 29 July 76, 1; W Post, 29 
July 76, A-3; W Star, 29 July 76, A-3; WSJ, 29 July 76, 1) 

Viking project scientists debated the makeup of the Mars soil sample 
that might have been too thick to filter into an instrument opening. 
Dr. Ronald Scott said that, although the material was somewhat cohe- 
sive, "certainly something must have gotten through." Deputy Mission 
Director Kingsland said the most likely causes of the apparent malfunc- 
tion were failure of the mechanical scoop to obtain a full sample, or 



156 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

failure of the "level full" indicator in the instrument to signal properly. 
Dr. Klaus Biemann of MIT, chief of the gas chromatograph experiment, 
said the arm might have come up empty from the trench after scooping 
for the biology experiments, and that a repeat attempt next week would 
take both possible explanations of the problem into account. Kingsland 
said the material seemed to have a consistency "something like wet 
clay." Dr. Scott emphasized that this did not indicate water in the soil. 
The other instruments seemed to be processing their samples normally, 
and results from the inorganic-chemistry sampling in the x-ray spec- 
trometer should provide the first assay of Martian soil as early as tomor- 
row. {NYT, 30 July 76, A-22; WStar, 30 July 76, A-5; C Trib, 3 1 July 
76,2) 

The first experimental results from Mars, returned 30 July by Viking 
1 's lander, showed that the surface consisted of iron, calcium, silicon, 
titanium, and aluminum, in amounts that would be determined within a 
few days. The entire surface around the lander was covered with a very 
thin coating of vivid orange-red iron oxides that gave the plant its red or 
rusty appearance. "Mars is a painted desert," said Dr. Gerald Soffen, 
one of the project scientists. Dr. Priestly Toulmin, leader of the 
inorganic-chemistry team, noted that Mars soil up to now could be 
analyzed only by long-distance methods such as light reflections from the 
surface; Viking had "picked up a piece of Mars and put it into an 
analytical instrument." Dr. Benton Clark, also of the inorganic- 
chemistry team, said that Viking had not detected trace elements like 
vanadium or molybdenum considered essential for plant growth on earth; 
this did not mean the elements were not present, nor had elements like 
arsenic been detected that would make earth soil sterile. The results "do 
not rule out the possibility of some form of life," Dr. Clark added. Results 
from the 3 biology experiments would be transmitted to earth within a 
few days. {NYT, 31 July 76, A-l) 
22-24 July: NASA launched the second in a series of Comstar satellites at 
6:04 pm EOT 22 July from Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on an 
Atlas-Centaur AC-40 into a transfer orbit with 42 171-km apogee, 
2930-km perigee, and 21.8° inclination. Like its predecessor launched 
13 May, Comstar-B ( called Comstar D-2 in orbit) was owned and would 
be operated by Comsat General Corp. under lease to American Tele- 
phone and Telegraph Co. as part of a three-satellite domestic commu- 
nications system. Comstar D-2 went into orbit lacking FCC approval for 
its operational use; AT&T engineering director Robert Latter said details 
for use of the system had not been worked out. On 24 July at 6:12 pm 
EOT, Comsat General commanded firing of the apogee kick motor to put 
the Comstar into station at 95° W, above the equator for coverage of the 
southwestern U.S., at approximately 35 793-km altitude. A third Com- 
star would be launched in 1978 to allow for growth of service, and a 
fourth Comstar would be built as a spare. (NASA Release 76-127; Comsat 
General Release CG-76-117; NASA MOR M-49 1-20 1-76-02; [pre- 
punch] 20 July 76, [postlaunch] 13 Dec 76; D/SD 26 July 76, 
127) 



157 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

23 July: Proponents of the B-l strategic bomber, "vigorously opposed for 
years by people inside and outside of government," seemed likely to win 
their struggle to get approval for the $22— billion program, said Science 
magazine. A House-Senate conference committee voted in mid-June to 
spend $960.5 million in procurement funds for the first 3 B-l planes, 
although the Senate had passed an amendment delaying spending of the 
money until a new administration should take office. 

This year's fight to procure the B-l was the culmination of a 15-yr 
effort that began with the shooting down of a U-2 plane over the Soviet 
Union in 1960; the USAF projected the building of a low-flying manned 
bomber, the ideas converging in 1969 with AMSA (advanced manned 
strategic aircraft), a project opposed by then Secretary of Defense 
Robert McNamara. In 1969, when Melvin Laird became President 
Nixon's Secretary of Defense, AMSA studies were concluded and the final 
design "metamorphosed into the B-l," Rockwell Intl. Corp. becoming 
prime contractor. At the same time, other Pentagon planners were 
backing a strategic armed cruise missile decoy system (SCAD), assuming 
that Congress would not approve both programs. At the urging of the 
USAF, Secretary Laird canceled the SCAD program in July 1973, but the 
chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (Sen. Thomas Mcln- 
tyre, D-N.H.) ordered it reinstated. 

Both the bomber and the cruise missile had encountered development 
problems and increased expenses; internal Rockwell documents from 
Jan. 1974 showed company concern about "competitive threats in the 
form of the standoff missile and . . . the launch aircraft" that other 
companies might seek to build. A massive public-relations campaign was 
mounted to protect the B-l; ultimately, Science said, the B-l would win 
but the cruise missile would also have its day, quoting John B. Walsh, 
Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) at the 
Pentagon, as saying "you need both bombers and cruise missiles." 
(Science, 23 July 76, 303) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced that Barbara S. Askins, a chemist 

in MSFC's Astronomy Branch, had applied for patent on an improved 
process, autoradiographic film intensification, that would improve photo- 
graphic images after films or plates had been developed. Exposing silver 
or other imaging material on a developed film or plate to a radioactive 
environment would convert the material to a radioactive compound; 
placing the radioactivated material in contact with a receiver emulsion 
on an unexposed film or plate would reproduce the original image with 
increased contrast and density. The hazards and complexity of handling 
radioactive material had limited the use of such a process, but the new 
process did not require special training, expensive equipment, or extraor- 
dinary safety precautions, as it used an isotopic organo-sulfur 35 com- 
pound and could be adapted easily to an ordinary photographic labora- 
tory. Askins said the process would be used in astronomy and other 
scientific research where low light levels were encountered. (MSFC 
Release 76-13) 

• The U.S. had the smallest Air Force since the beginning of the Korean War, 

General William J. Evans told a luncheon of the National Security 

158 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

Industrial Association in Los Angeles. Gen. Evans, commander of the Air 
Force Systems Command, said that the Air Force, in an effort to reverse 
this trend, was in the midst of the greatest modernization period of its 
short history, citing "the effective combination" of "land-based termi- 
nals and spaceborne satellites to provide attack warning, weather data, 
communication links, and positioning and navigation for American forces 
wherever they may be." The U.S. was building a modern Air Force "with 
inefficient equipment that would be at home in a museum," he said, 
calling on industry for more investment in modern equipment and ad- 
vanced technology. Contractor testing had not been realistic, and 
performance of contractor products had failed to meet operational re- 
quirements; the government presence in contractor plants, to which 
industry objected, could be reduced with better designs, streamlined 
operations with better visibility, and measures such as greater use of 
computers to reduce inefficiencies. (AFSC Release OIP 152.76) 

• The organizational structure of a large earth-orbiting space station was the 

topic of a doctoral study at Fla. State Univ. for Dr. James Ragusa of 
Kennedy Space Center's Science and Applications Office. The study was 
an offshoot of work on future space projects (with Gene McCoy of KSC's 
Shuttle Payload Integration Office) before Dr. Ragusa left to work on his 
Ph.D. The topic was one about which little had been written, and was 
timely in that the structure should be included in plans for such a mission. 
Spacelab, with a 7-man crew, needed no complex organizational struc- 
ture; a space colony with a projected population of thousands would 
require a government rather than an organizational structure. A space 
base housing 50 to 100 persons would bring together people of varying 
backgrounds for extended periods of time — the station being designed 
with a 10-yr operating life — and large-group behavior would be a factor 
in considering the best type of organization. Ragusa investigated the 
organizational structures used on submarines and destroyers, inter- 
viewing the submarine captains and taking cruises on the nuclear sub 
Nathanael Greene and the research sub Benjamin Franklin. 

Among those interviewed for the study were Dr. Wernher von Braun; 
Arthur Clarke, author of 2001 and father of the communications satel- 
lite; several astronauts; and Gene Roddenberry, creator of the TV series 
"Star Trek." Ragusa found that the organization on Roddenberry's 
U.S.S. Enterprise was modeled after that used on 18th century English 
ships, which in turn was based on that used on Phoenician ships 2500 
years ago, in which the ship was considered an extension of the country 
itself and abided by the laws and traditions of the homeland; the captain 
was king, and his word was law. The structure best fitting the needs of 
a space base was the "total matrix model" with four levels of hierarchy, 
best for efficient and orderly management of the crew because of its 
adaptability. Of 8 models, the "Star Trek" structure ranked fifth be- 
cause of its lack of flexibility and efficiency. (Spaceport News, 23 July 
76, 5) 

• NASA announced that the U.S. Government Printing Office had published the 

3-volume English edition of the joint U.S. -USSR Foundations of Space 
Biology and Medicine, summarizing biological and medical results of 

159 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

the first 15 yr of space flight. The work was produced by a joint editorial 
board on space biology and medicine formed in Oct. 1965 by NASA and 
the Soviet Academy of Sciences; the USSR had published a Russian- 
language edition in Moscow. The text consisted of 45 chapters, 19 
authored by U.S. scientists, 20 by USSR scientists, and 6 by teams of 
authors from both nations. Volume I was called "Space as a Habitat"; 
Volume II, "Ecological and Physiological Foundations of Space Biology 
and Medicine," responses of man, plants, and animals to space flight; 
Volume III, "Space Medicine and Biotechnology," technology and pro- 
cedures needed to sustain life and permit living creatures to function in 
space. (NASA Release 76-135) 

23-24 July: The scientific balloon Da Vinci III, launched west of St. Louis, 
Mo., at 7:25 am GDI on 23 July, landed safely at about 9 am EDT on 
24 July about 80 km east of Lexington, Ky. Purpose of the flight was to 
follow industrial and urban air pollution into the surrounding country- 
side, recording the changes in concentration and chemistry of the pollut- 
ants. Early findings indicated that high levels of ozone and sulfur 
dioxide — 2 major air pollutants — persisted throughout the flight. The 
4-member crew of Da Vinci III included 3 who manned both the Da 
Vinci I flight in Nov. 1974 and the Da Vinci II flight in June 1976: 
Dr. Rudolf J. Engelmann of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration; pilot and project originator Ms. Vera Simons; and pilot 
Jimmie Craig of the U.S. Naval Weapons Center. The new member of the 
crew was Preston B. Herrington of Sandia Laboratories, Energy Re- 
search and Development Administration, which would collect and ana- 
lyze the flight data as well as conduct all flight operations. Da Vinci was 
a joint project of ERDA, NOAA, and the Environmental Protection Agency. 
(ERDA Releases 76-211, 76-245) 

25 July: Blueprints for future Mars explorations, triggered by the Viking 1 
landing on Mars, included not only the dispatch of roving robot vehicles 
to the surface of Mars but also collection and return of Mars samples by 
a "sailing ship" — a spacecraft carrying an onionskin-thin sail of 
aluminum-coated plastic measuring more than 185 m~ and powered by 
the pressure of solar electromagnetic radiation. Space flight would be- 
come possible with less reliance on heavy and expensive rockets, said 
John Noble Wilford in the New York Times; a space-sailer could be 
launched from an earth-orbiting Shuttle, deploy landers to collect and 
return samples, and return to earth with larger amounts of Martian 
samples than possible by other methods. JPL's plans for future missions 
might include a fleet of the sailers (to be called Yankee Clippers) "flying 
the routes from earth orbit to the vicinity of Mars, hauling supplies and 
portable habitats, and finally explorers, to a Mars base." (NYT, 25 July 
76, 44) 

• Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.) charged that the U.S. Navy planned to spend 
$187.6 million to repair F-14 Tomcat jet-fighter engines that it planned 
to replace at an additional cost of up to $1.9 billion. ". . . The Navy 
hopes to pull a double whammy on the taxpayers by replacing the 
repaired engine with a brand new one," Aspin said. The Navy conceded 



160 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

that replacing engines in the jet fighters would cost $1.6 to $1.9 billion, 
but claimed the planned repairs to current engines would cost only 
$86 million. The Navy said it wanted new engines for installation begin- 
ning in 1981. (WPost, 26 July 76, A-l) 

25-31 July: An almost equal division of opinion in the U.S. Senate on whether 
to go ahead with production of the B-l bomber was occupying politicians 
and commentators in Washington. The New York Times Magazine 
story headed "Will It Bomb?" asked if the B-l were really needed and 
concluded that it was not, admitting that the project had a "seemingly ir- 
reversible momentum" and already had "a backhanded commitment to 
production." Election-year oratory was calling for a decision to be 
postponed until a new administration took office. A lobby group called 
Campaign to Stop the B-l Bomber, claiming to represent 26 national 
organizations, sent a telegram to Democratic presidential nominee 
Jimmy Carter asking him to send back Sen. Walter F. Mondale (D- 
Minn.), vice presidential nominee, who was meeting with Carter in Ga., 
for a "crucial" vote in which Mondale's presence was "essential." The 
vote to postpone in the Senate Appropriations Committee was 15 to 14; 
the House of Representatives had voted twice, in April and again in June, 
to proceed with the B-l, but on both votes the nonvoters could have 
changed the outcome. (The April vote in the House was 210 to 177, with 
46 not voting; the June vote was 207 to 186, with 37 not voting.) A 
spokesman for Rockwell Intl. Corp., which would be prime contractor for 
the B-l, warned that postponement would increase costs by at least 
$500 million, cost 3000 workers their jobs, and shelve plans to hire 
another 7700 workers. Defense Secretary Donald F. Rumsfeld said delay 
in producing the B-l would be "unsound from a cost standpoint, from 
a management standpoint," and Air Force Secretary Thomas C. Reed 
said delay would add "half a million dollars to the cost of the program 
for no purpose." 

A New York Times story 30 July said that a breakfast meeting with 
Secy. Reed for a group of Senate aides had been paid for by the Air Force 
Association, a private group with 155 000 members — largely retired Air 
Force personnel — and chartered as a veterans organization not required 
to register as a lobbyist. The Air Force Legislative Liaison Office, which 
arranged the breakfast, seemed to have been "concerned that it might 
be engaged in a form of lobbying of doubtful legality," said the NYT, 
pointing out that a 1948 law "specifically provides that no funds appro- 
priated by Congress can be used by a Government agency directly or 
indirectly 'to influence in any manner' the vote of a member of Con- 
gress." (NYT magazine, 25 July 76, 7; W Post, 26 July 76, A- 13; 
C Trib, 29 July 76, 10; NYT, 30 July 76, A6; Av Wk, 26 July 76, 23) 

26 July: Johnson Space Center announced delivery and acceptance of the 
Sperry Rand computer system, Univac 110/46, that would drive the 
Shuttle mission simulators. Dr. Bruce B. Johnson, technical manager of 
the contract, said that JSC had tested the computer complex round the 
clock for 30 days before its acceptance, and that the complex had 
demonstrated reliability "far in excess of contractual requirements." 

161 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Completed 3 wk ahead of schedule, the Univac 1 100/46 contained 10 
processors, making it one of the most powerful digital computers built to 
date, with 900 000 36-bit words in the main memory and 2 billion 
characters in mass storage capacity. The computer would simulate a wide 
range of mission situations — prelaunch, ascent, aborts, orbit rendezvous 
and docking, entry, and landing — in the process of training flight crews 
and ground personnel in all phases of the Shuttle program. Total cost of 
the computer complex was $7 934 876. (JSC Release 76-47) 

• The U.S. Air Force announced production of a new material with electrical 

properties suitable for solid-state laser applications: anisotropic yttrium 
aluminate doped with neodymium (Nd:YA10 ( ), a substance difficult to 
make into high-quality single crystals. The new material would replace 
neodymium YAC in solid-state lasers because it loses less heat than 
conventional lasing materials, requires no external component to polarize 
the laser light, and stores more energy for electro-optical switched-laser 
operations. The USAF sponsored the research at a pilot plant of Lambda- 
Airtron Division of Litton at Morris Plains, N.J. which produced 40 rods 
of the new material; the longest, about 100 mm long, was valued at 
$4000. The high cost resulted from the cost of the raw materials and the 
iridium crucibles used in production, as well as the large amounts of 
power needed. The Air Force Materials Laboratory at Wright-Patterson 
AFB, O., would lend the tested rods to qualified government agencies and 
contractors. (AFSC Release OIP 118.76) 
27 July: The Viking 1 orbiter photographed a tiny moon of Mars called 
Phobos at a distance of just over 8000 km, providing a picture so clear 
that more than 100 craters were visible on the surface only 22.5 km 
across. At least 6 craters measured nearly 2 km across, meaning that 
meteorites the size of small towns had crashed into Phobos during the last 
3 or 4 billion yr. The face of Phobos in the picture released by JPL was 
the same one photographed in 1971 and 1972 Mariner 9, first space- 
craft to orbit Mars. "This means that Phobos always shows its same side 
to Mars," said Dr. Thomas C. Duxbury of JPL, as earth's moon always 
shows the same side because of the pull of earth's gravity. Another 
Viking 1 picture showed small channels in the Argyre basin of Mars's 
southern highland that were the best evidence yet for heavy rainfall on 
the planet in past ages. Present atmospheric pressure on Mars was only 
about 7.7 millibars, 1 /200th of that on earth and insufficient for liquid 
water to form or rain to fall. {W Post, 28 July 76, A-8) 

• Johnson Space Center announced that NASA had awarded the Singer Co. 

Simulations Products Division, Binghamton, N.Y., a $6.5-million 2-yr 
contract for maintenance, modification, and operational support of JSC's 
simulation complex at Houston to be used in training flight crews for the 
Space Shuttle program. Initially, the simulation complex would consist of 
the Shuttle procedures simulator and the crew procedures evaluation 
simulator; later, an orbiter aeroflight simulator would be added, followed 
by the Shuttle mission simulator. In addition to systems and hardware 
engineering, configuration control, installation and tests of modifications, 
and development, drafting, and illustration of software, the contract 



162 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

would require maintenance, servicing, and operational support of the 
equipment as well as documentation and logistics support. Extensions of 
24 and 6 mo would be optional. McDonnell Douglas Corp. also negotiated 
for this contract (see 10 May). (JSC Release 76-48) 

• NASA announced the appointment of Harold E. Pryor as Deputy Adminis- 

trative Assistant for Technology Utilization in the NASA Hq Office of 
Industry Affairs. Pryor had been with NASA since 1964, serving as di- 
rector of the management systems office, the staff operations division in 
the Office of Procurement, and the NASA/DOD Contract Administration 
Services Office in the Defense Supply Agency Hq. He was also executive 
assistant to the Director, Manned Space Flight Management Operations, 
until July 1973, when he became director of the Scientific and Technical 
Information Office. Pryor earned bachelor's degrees in naval science and 
tactics and in aeronautical engineering; he served in the U.S. Navy during 
World War II. He would succeed Clare F. Farley, recently retired from 
NASA. (NASA anno. 27 July 76) 

• Tass reported from Moscow the launch of Intercosmos 16, carrying 

scientific apparatus developed in the German Democratic Republic, 
Czechoslovakia, and Sweden, as well as in the USSR. Orbital parameters 
were said to be 523-km apogee, 465-km perigee, 94.4-min period, and 
50.6° inclination. The probe was to study ultraviolet and x-ray radiation 
from the sun and the effects of this radiation on upper-atmosphere 
structure. Observatories in Bulgaria, Hungary, the GDR, and Czechoslo- 
vakia were making ground observations of the sun simultaneously with 
measurements taken aboard the satellite. (FBIS, Tass in English, 27 July 
76) 

• Reporting on the opening of the new National Air and Space Museum in 

Washington, D.C., Pravda mentioned the life-size model of the docked 
Soyuz and Apollo spacecraft, saying that it "arouses the greatest interest 
among the museum's visitors" and adding, "The USSR and the United 
States must continue cooperation." The news story, headlined "First 
Anniversary," quoted both Dr. James Fletcher, NASA Administrator, and 
his deputy Dr. George M. Low on the technical and political importance 
of the ASTP mission. (FBIS, quoting Tass in Pravda, 16 July 76, 5) 

• U.S. intelligence sources reported the third failure of the USSR this year in 

testing an antisatellite system, when a Russian Hunter satellite failed to 
stay in orbit 21 July. The Hunter's mission was to destroy the Cosmos 
839 launched into orbit 12 days earlier; U.S. analysts did not know what 
was causing the Soviet problem. Soviet efforts to develop an antisatellite 
system dated back about 10 yr, with only 5 successful launches out of 
more than 20 attempts before testing stopped in 1971. All 3 attempts 
since testing resumed in Feb. 1976 had been failures, the U.S. intel- 
ligence sources said. The satellite-destroyer was reported to be about 
8 m long and to weigh about 2.5 tons at launch; equipped with 5 main 
rocket engines, the interceptor was said to be able to close on a target 
at about 4 km per sec and to get as close as 30 m to the target before 
exploding on ground command. The Associated Press report noted that 
the U.S. had not tried to develop a similar system since the 1960s; 

163 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Dr. Malcolm Currie, DOD Director of Defense Research and Engineering, 
said last winter that "we are very much concerned about satellite vulner- 
ability." (WPost, 27 July 76, A-2; C Trib, 27 July 76, 2) 

27-28 July: NASA's Flight Research Center announced that Edwards AFB, 
Calif., was the scene of 3 air records set by pilots in the SR-71. Maj. 
Adolphus (Pat) Bledsoe, Jr., pilot, with Maj. John Fuller as recon- 
naissance system manager, flew the SR-71 at 3400 kph, surpassing the 
previous "absolute" (on a straight course) speed record of 2981 kph as 
well as a world-class speed record of 2920 kph set by Soviet pilots, both 
in Oct. 1967. Next day, Capt. Robert C. Helt, pilot, with Maj. Larry A. 
Elliott as recon officer, flew the SR-7 1 to an altitude of 26 km, surpassing 
the previous record of 24.4 km (in horizontal flight) set in 1965 by USAF 
Col. K.L. Stephens in a Lockheed YF-12A interceptor (prototype sister 
ship of SR-71). On the same day, Capt. Elden Joersz, pilot, with 
Maj. George T. Morgan, Jr., as recon officer, flew the SR-71 at a speed 
of 3530 kph to surpass the previous record of 3331 kph over a closed 
course set by Col. Stephens in 1965 in the YF-12A. The National 
Aeronautic Association verified the speed and altitude measurements, 
but the records would be unofficial until accredited by the Paris-based 
Federation Aeronautique Internationale. (FRC issuance 27-28 July 76; 
WStar, 28 July 76, 5) 

28 July: Kennedy Space Center announced that Mae Walterhouse, coordi- 
nator of the Federal Women's Program at KSC and recently elected 
national president of Federally Employed Women, Inc. (FEW), would 
participate in the 1976-1977 Career Development Program at NASA Hq. 
Ms. Walterhouse would report to Washington 7 Sept. for a yr of experi- 
ence in the Office of Resources Management. The NASA program would 
assist the centers in developing potential supervisors and managers at all 
levels throughout the agency, foster understanding of Hq functions on 
the part of center personnel, and provide training in specific disciplines 
or functional areas. Ms. Walterhouse, who received a national award this 
summer for service to the FEW organization, planned to return to KSC and 
join the Administration Directorate after the yr at NASA Hq. (KSC Release 
376-76) 

• The Department of Defense authorized development and testing of 2 pro- 
totypes of an improved STOL (short takeoff and landing) aircraft for the 
Marine Corps by McDonnell Douglas Corp. at a cost of about $400 
million, the Wall Street Journal announced. The prototype, called the 
A\8b Harrier, would be an adaptation of the existing A\8a Harrier built 
by Britain's Hawker Siddeley Aircraft Ltd. The Marine Corps had pur- 
chased 110 earlier Harriers from the British firm; if McDonnell Douglas 
could develop a stronger version, the Corps would buy "several hun- 
dred" from that company. The new versions were expected to cost about 
$5 milllion each. The Hawker Siddeley group had been authorized to 
build an improved Harrier for the Royal Navy; the Pentagon said it 
expected "mutual cooperation in the procurement of supplies and the 
exchange of information" as the 2 programs proceeded. {WSJ, 28 July 
76,6) 



164 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

• 1)01) announced plans to sell West Germany 500 Sidewinder missiles and 

support equipment valued at $43 million. The announcement was one of 
several made by the Pentagon on foreign weapons sales, since law 
required that Congress must be notified and have 20 days in which to 
disapprove such sales. DOI) also planned to provide $26 million in pilot 
training under a Northrop Corp. contract to upgrade the Saudi Arabian 
air force, through the sale of F5E jet fighters and construction of support 
and training facilities. (WSJ, 29 July 76, 3) 

• Under a 3-nation agreement announced by Britain, West Germany, and 

Italy, the Tornado MRCA (multi-role combat aircraft) dubbed "the spear- 
head of Europe's coming offensive against the United States for equality 
in the skies" would go into production and would be operational by 1980. 
The agreement provided for construction at a total cost of $10 billion of 
809 swing-wing "wonder weapon" planes that could fly just under the 
speed of sound at treetop level, and twice the speed of sound at higher 
altitudes; it was designed to replace 2 of the most profitable planes ever 
produced by U.S. makers, the Phantom used by Britain's RAF and the 
F104 Starfighters used by West Germany and Italy. The Tornado car- 
ried terrain-following radar that could fly it under enemy radar, and 
could vary its wingspan from 8.5 to 14m. Panavia (consisting of British 
Aircraft Corp., Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm, and Aeritalia) would 
build the Tornado airframe and Turbo-Union (Rolls Royce, Motoren- 
und-Turbinen Union, and Fiat) would build the engine. The U.S. press 
noted that, for the first time, American aerospace firms would be facing 
a competitor as formidable as themselves. (W Post, 15 Aug 76, A- 14; 
WStar, 18 Aug 76, A-4) 
29 July: NASA launched ITOS-H, fifth operational spacecraft of the second- 
generation improved Tiros operational satellite (ITOS) series, from the 
Western Test Range at 1:07 pm EDT (10:07 am PDT, local time) on a 
2-stage Delta vehicle into a synchronous polar orbit with 1523.6-km 
apogee, 1512.5-km perigee, 102.1° inclination, and 116.2-min per- 
iod. After successful injection into orbit, the satellite was redesignated 
Noaa 5; upon completion of in-orbit checkout, spacecraft control would 
be transferred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
(NOAA) as part of that agency's National Operational Meteorological 
Satellite System (NOMSS). Of 4 previous Noaa polar-orbiting spacecraft, 
2 still provided limited information but had deteriorated after 2.5 and 
1 .5 yr in orbit respectively because of harsh environmental conditions in 
space. 

ITOS spacecraft were designed to provide complete global coverage of 
earth's cloudcover and atmospheric structure on a daily basis, using both 
daytime and nighttime instrumentation. The 345-kg boxlike spacecraft 
measured roughly 1 x 1 x 1.25 m and carried 3 winglike panels cov- 
ered with solar cells, as well as earth-orientation devices and 4 commu- 
nications antennas. Sensor systems included 2 vertical-temperature 
profile radiometers, 2 very high-resolution radiometers, and 2 solar- 
proton monitoring systems, as well as a scanning radiometer system to 
provide both stored picture coverage for transmission on demand and 



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July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

direct transmission of images to receiving stations within range. Visible- 
channel resolution was 3.7 km, infrared resolution 7.4 km. (NASA Release 
76-130; MOR E-601-76-17 [prelaunch] 28 July 76, [postlaunch] 30 
July 76, 1 Oct 76; NOAA Releases 76-143, 76-152) 

• U.S. airline traffic increased more than 12% in the first half of 1976, the 

Air Transport Association reported; increasing numbers of passengers 
plus increased fares and cost-cutting would produce better profits for the 
airlines. Analysts said Americans were flying in unprecedented numbers 
because they felt the recession was over; even "ailing international 
carriers" like Pan American World Airways and Trans World Airlines 
were trimming their operating losses and might show some profit for the 
year, the Wall Street Journal reported. (WSJ, 29 July 76, 15) 
30 July: NASA announced that its Viking Undergraduate Intern Program, 
permitting U.S. college students to participate in the Viking mission to 
Mars, was under way at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, 
Calif. Fifty-eight students from about 600 applicants had been selected 
to spend 30 days during the summer working with Viking scientists in a 
number of scientific areas at JPL, where more than 72 science teams were 
conducting a detailed examination of the planet, including a search for 
life. The program was the idea of Prof. Thomas Mutch of Brown Univ., 
leader of the Viking imaging team, who was assisted by a teammate, 
Prof. Carl Sagan of Cornell Univ.; the 2 professors reviewed each of the 
applicants' qualifications and selected the 58 students for the summer's 
work. The program, designed to directly involve undergraduates with a 
strong interest in planetary science, was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan 
Foundation and by NASA's Planetary Geology Office. (NASA Release 
76-139) 

• A "tethered" satellite— suspended by a cable from the Space Shuttle 

orbiter's cargo bay — could serve to deploy and control materials used in 
constructing a space station, or to transfer articles from one manned 
vehicle to another, said NASA scientists at the Marshall Space Flight 
Center. The orbiter could also "troll" a tethered satellite through a 
low-altitude earth orbit to explore the atmospheric region between 80 
and 120 km above earth's surface; previous exploration vehicles — 
sounding rockets and low-altitude satellites — could not remain in that 
region long enough for extensive studies before being forced back to 
earth by atmospheric drag and gravity. The Smithsonian Astrophysical 
Observatory would aid NASA in system-dynamics studies for the tethered 
satellite system. MSFC would manage program development, integrate 
experiments, and support orbital operations. If the tethered system 
proved feasible, MSFC would begin spacecraft system design, and the first 
mission could be scheduled as early as 1980. (NASA Release 76-138) 

• NASA announced it had awarded a $300 000 grant through its Office of 

Aeronautics and Space Technology to the Univ. of Wash., Seattle, 
Division of Ceramic Engineering for research into the nature and prop- 
erties of ceramic materials. The grant would help educate engineering 
design students in the search for new materials capable of sustaining high 
temperatures and exhibiting physical properties needed in an increasing 



166 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

number of applications. Engineering contributions to the field of ce- 
ramics had led to improvements in fiberglass, optical communications, 
nuclear fuels, catalytic converters, self-cleaning ovens and ceramic-top 
ranges, eyeglasses that darken in the sun, and human implants not 
susceptible to reaction with body mechanisms. Principal focus of the 
Univ. of Wash, program would be development of gas-turbine engine 
components that could withstand high temperatures and severe mechan- 
ical stress, and economical production of such components. (NASA Re- 
lease 76-137) 

• NASA announced selection of a team consisting of General Electric Co. and 

Hamilton Standard Division of United Technology Corp. for negotiating 
with NASA and ERDA a $7-million contract to design, build, and test by 
1978 a 1.5-Mw wind-turbine electricity-generating system, biggest in 
history. The experimental system, a windmill with 2 horizontally rotating 
fiberglass rotor blades about 61m long mounted on a 45-m tower, could 
produce annually enough energy to supply more than 500 homes at a site 
with average winds of 29 kph. Located at a utility-company site, the 
NASA-ERDA system would supply electricity to the local utility for public 
use, to determine the economics and operating characteristics of large 
wind turbines coupled to conventional power plants. Utility companies 
had proposed 17 sites across the U.S.; ERDA would measure their wind 
characteristics over the coming year and would choose the site late in 
1976. Lewis Research Center would manage the project for ERDA. The 
new system would be bigger than the 1.25-Mw system, 53 m in di- 
ameter, built near Rutland, Vt., in the 1940s; that project could not 
compete economically with the then low cost of fossil fuels, and had been 
abandoned. (NASA Release 76-136) 

• Officials of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) 

threatened a slowdown at major U.S. airports in the form of strict adher- 
ence to rules on spacing of aircraft, the Chicago Tribune reported. The 
union, in a salary dispute with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, would 
use the slowdown to protest failure to raise flight controllers' pay. Federal 
Aviation Administration rules would permit a separation between air- 
planes of from 4.8 to 8 km; if controllers spaced flights the full 8 km 
apart, schedules could be delayed by as much as 6 hr at busy airports 
such as Chicago's O'Hare. The tactics, although inconveniencing travel- 
ers, would not affect air safety, said PATCO president John Leyden. FAA 
had issued a request that controllers ignore the slowdown. (C Trib, 
30 July 76, 5) 
31 July: Johnson Space Center employees Herbert A. Zook and Richard W. 
High received a patent this week for invention of a "capture cell," a 
device to capture meteoroids traveling through space and preserve them 
for scientific analysis. The cube-shaped cell had an open side covered by 
a thin membrane; a meteoroid striking the membrane would enter the cell 
and shatter, but the remnants and any vapor created by the heat of 
impact would remain inside the cell, which was constructed of a material 
like polyethylene. Large arrays of the cells would be exposed on a 
spacecraft for a long time, up to a year, to allow time for a number of 



167 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

strikes to occur. Interest in the composition of meteoroids springs from 
the possible information on larger bodies such as comets or asteroids on 
which they originated. (NYT, 31 July 76, 27) 
During July: Scientists at JPL completed a list of "purple pigeons" — bright 
birds of the future — as unmanned planetary missions considered feasible 
for the period 1980-1990. In hopes that Viking l's successful landing 
on Mars might prompt wider support for such missions, JPL proposed 7 
advanced missions that would probably be reduced to 3 or 4 to be 
forwarded to NASA Hq. The list includes: return to Mars with rover 
vehicles to extend exploration of the Martian surface; a lander for one 
of Jupiter's moons, accompanied by a satellite around the planet; a 
similar mission to Saturn and its moon Titan; asteroid rendezvous and 
near-range photographic mission; a radar-mapper satellite for Venus; 
flight to Halley's Comet with a solar-sailer satellite (propelled by solar 
radiation); and establishment of an automated station on the moon for 
extended study of the lunar environment, probably by an international 
scientific group. (Av Wk, 26 July 76, 16) 
• Marshall Space Flight Center announced a number of activities, centered 
on the Space Shuttle, including testing, procurement, and completion of 
facilities. 

— During July, MSFC awarded 14 contracts each of which totaled 
more than $50 000. (MSFC Release 76-155) 

— MSFC completed preparation of a 2.8% scale model of the Space 
Shuttle solid-fuel rocket booster (SRB) that would be tested in Ames 
Research Center wind tunnels (the 2 supersonic facilities and the 4.2m 
transonic facility). MSFC had used a 0.5% scale model in its smaller 
trisonic (over mach 3) wind tunnel to develop preliminary environmental 
data; the smaller tunnel was cheaper to operate, and a smaller model was 
cheaper to alter. Data from the ARC tests would be use in SRB component 
vibration and acoustic design and in establishing qualification-test crite- 
ria, and finally for generation of data on the acoustic environment for 
reentry of an actual full-scale SRB. (MSFC Release 76-120) 

— Completing the first phase of acoustic testing that used scale mod- 
els of the Space Shuttle with models of the Kennedy Space Center launch 
pad, MSFC announced that it had begun another test program using a 
scale model of the Vandenberg AFB, Calif., launch pad and a Shuttle 
model having working main engines and solid-fuel rocket boosters to the 
same scale. The Vandenberg launch pad differed from that at KSC, but 
MSFC said that much of the information obtained since Aug. 1974 in 150 
test firings to evaluate different acoustic methods for the KSC launch pad 
would be useful in suppressing noise at the Vandenberg site. The tests 
were made to determine the best way to control noise and ignition 
overpressure when Shuttle engines and boosters were ignited at launch; 
uncontrolled pressures and acoustics could damage the Shuttle or its 
payload. Tests were scheduled for completion in Dec. 1976. (MSFC 
Release 76-117) 

— MSFC announced award of a $247 363 contract to Rockwell's 
Space Div. for a 12-mo study of Shuttle booster and external tank 

168 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

options that could reduce cost per flight and increase payload weight 
capability. (MSFC Release 76-118) 

— MSFC announced that the first flight-configuration nozzle for the 
Shuttle main engine under development by Rockwell's Rocketdyne Div. 
had been completed and successfully proof-tested. Completion of the 
nozzle represented a significant design and manufacturing achievement; 
the nozzle consisted of 1080 precisely formed tapering tubes brazed to 
a shell and stiffened by bands. It was about 3m tall and 2.7m in diameter, 
weighing about 454 kg. Attached to the main combustion chamber of the 
main engine, the nozzle would allow exhaust gases to expand to obtain 
maximum thrust, contributing to highly efficient burn. (MSFC Release 
76-128) 

— MSFC announced completion of tests conducted with KSC to deter- 
mine the effects of salty and brackish water on materials used in elements 
of the Space Shuttle. Recovery of 2 Shuttle boosters after each launch 
would require towing the boosters in the salty Atlantic Ocean and into the 
brackish waters of a Fla. river. The studies used an integrated test bed 
constructed from the same materials and covered with the same sealants 
and paints planned for use on flight rockets, carrying samples of elec- 
trical and electronic equipment and hydraulic systems being considered 
for Shuttle use. The test bed, shipped to KSC, was put into the ocean for 
7 days and in the Banana River for 3 days, at a depth that closely 
simulated actual booster-recovery conditions. Returned to MSFC, the test 
bed had been subjected to study by engineers and technicians to discover 
the effects of the ocean and river environments, and to look for corrosion 
or marine biological growth. After this study, the refurbished test bed 
would be used again for tests in the ocean by KSC personnel. (MSFC 
Release 76-131) 

— MSFC announced it had requested bids from industry on develop- 
ment of range-safety receivers for the Space Shuttle. Each Shuttle's 2 
booster solid rockets would carry 2 receivers and the external tank 1, a 
total of 5 for each launch. The receivers would be part of a safety system 
that would let the range safety officer destroy the vehicle in case of a mal- 
function at launch. NASA planned to reuse the receivers up to 20 times, 
recovering and returning the equipment to the manufacturer for testing 
before it was shipped to the assembly contractor for reuse. (MSFC Release 
76-132) 

— MSFC announced that assembly of the first Space Shuttle external 
tank had begun at the Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans. 
Assembly should be completed and the tank delivered to the Natl. Space 
Technology Laboratories at Bay St. Louis, Miss., in mid- 197 7 for use 
in the test program for the main propulsion engine. The tests would use 
the tank, three Shuttle main engines, and other components in actual 
firings to verify the design and operation of the main propulsion system. 
The program would consist of 1 5 test firings, 1 1 at or near the full 8-min 
duration. (MSFC Release 76-137) 

— MSFC announced preparations for the arrival of the first Space 
Shuttle orbiter in mid-July for a series of tests at MSFC's dynamic test 



169 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

facility. The orbiter would arrive at the Redstone airfield in 1978 atop 
a modified Boeing 747 and be off-loaded by KSC personnel. On the 
ground, the orbiter would become the responsibility of MSFC personnel, 
who would move it to the test facility and mate it with the rest of the 
Space Shuttle elements for vibration tests. This would be the first time 
all elements of the Shuttle were united. Tests were scheduled to run from 
spring to winter of 1978. (MSFC Release 76-141) 

— MSFC announced completion of tests on minitank 5, a small alumi- 
num tank coated with a spray insulation that would be used to protect the 
Space Shuttle's external tank and its highly volatile liquid hydrogen 
contents from engine exhaust or aerodynamic heat. This was the fifth of 
13 such tanks to be tested at MSFC. The tests were to determine the 
effectiveness of Martin Marietta's foam insulation against stress encoun- 
tered during Shuttle launch and space flight. Besides acoustic and vac- 
uum tests, the minitanks would undergo pressure, boiloff, and holding 
tests with liquid hydrogen; the hold test would determine the effect of a 
7-hr idle period on a full tank's insulation system. The test period of 
7 hr was estimated to be the longest time a fueled Shuttle would have to 
wait on a launch pad before liftoff, -(MSFC Release 76-142) 

— MSFC announced completion q£ the only totally new structure built 
exclusively for testing the Space Shuttle external tank: the pneumatic 
test facility at Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, which 
would accommodate the tank measuring 47 m long (more than half the 
length of a football field) and 8.4 m in diameter. Empty, the tank would 
weigh about 34 000 kg. The pneumatic facility would be used for proof 
tests and leak tests of the external tank's liquid hydrogen tank; the proof 
test would pressurize the tank with gaseous nitrogen and apply a series 
of external loads with 9 hydraulic cylinders. The leak test would verify 
that no out-of-specification leaks existed. Martin Marietta Aerospace was 
prime contractor at Michoud for external tank production. (MSFC Release 
76-143) 

• Johnson Space Center announced it had awarded to Klate Holt Co. of 

Houston a 1 -yr $ 1 .5-million extension of contract for custodial support 
services at JSC. The cost-plus-award-fee contract was originally awarded 
in July 1975. The contractor had provided custodial services in 82 
buildings at JSC and to buildings occupied by JSC at nearby Ellington AFB. 
(JSC Release 76-45) 

• The Newsreview, published by the Air Force Systems Command, reported 

that a long-winged U-2 aircraft on loan to NASA had successfully com- 
pleted tests in the "icy grip" of the main chamber at McKinley Climatic 
Laboratory during which it underwent exposure to temperatures as low 
as — 57 °C. The laboratory, operated by the USAF Armament Devel- 
opment and Test Center at Eglin AFB, Fla., conducted the tests at NASA's 
request to isolate flight-control malfunctions occurring in the cold tem- 
peratures of high altitude. The U-2, a single-seat single-engine jet 
designed to operate at altitudes above 21 km, had been used by NASA as 
an earth-resources survey tool, making observations in astronomy, high- 
altitude atmospheric physics, and geophysics in addition to supporting 
general earth-resources programs. (AFSC Newsreview, July 76, 6) 

170 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

• Gene Sivertson of Langley Research Center's Space Systems Div. had 
developed a new idea for search and rescue operations using passive 
reflectors with imaging or side-looking radar to locate persons in 
emergency situations. The passive reflectors could be rigid, inflatable, or 
erectable structures that would show up on a radar system as bright spots 
easily distinguishable from clutter signals of the terrain. The reflectors 
could be carried as standard equipment by aircraft, ships and small boats, 
earth vehicles, and individuals; different packages could be tailored to 
the user's needs. The inflatable concept would use a balloon containing 
a reflector structure of aluminized mylar, with a small helium or hydro- 
gen gas generator in the canister holding the mylar-saran balloon. De- 
ployed in an emergency situation, the reflector would mark a distress site 
and provide a radar target. The concept had been field-tested in Mich, 
and Fla. with excellent test films as a result. Sivertson hoped to have the 
imaging radar on satellites with continuous global monitoring, and to test 
the system on the Space Shuttle in the 1980s. {Langley Researcher, 9 
July 76, 3) 

• Dr. John A. O'Keefe, geophysicist at Goddard Space Flight Center, pub- 

lished a book, Tektites and Their Origin, which noted that a piece of the 
moon could be purchased for a small amount. Tektites, the glass pebbles 
that fall from the sky, are ejecta from lunar volcanoes and not debris of 
meteorite impacts on the moon or the earth as previously suggested. 
Lunar missions that discovered tektite-like glass in the dust at some sites, 
the study of microscopic tektites from the bottom of earth's seas, and the 
volcanic appearance of some layered tektites caused the change in ideas. 
(Goddard News, July 76, 3) 

• Calling the Landsat photographs "some of the most fascinating, most 

valuable photographs ever taken," Readers Digest magazine said the 
satellites "will have enormous effect on our lives and on the lives of our 
children," as they revealed "things never before known about the earth 
and man's activities on it, vastly improving our ability to make the planet 
more habitable." The article quoted NASA Administrator James C. 
Fletcher: "If I had to pick one Space Age development most likely to 
save the world, I would pick the Landsats and the satellites that will 
evolve from them later in this decade." The article described the process 
by which Landsat images were collected, processed, and used for a 
number of purposes: detecting oil and mineral deposits, finding sources 
of fresh water, assessing crops, forcecasting and minimizing damage 
from natural disasters, and monitoring population growth and pollution, 
among others. The Landsats, despite their importance, were still "in 
their infancy," the article said, looking toward the day when "few 
activities will be undertaken on. ..the globe without first consulting these 
electronic oracles in space." (RD, July 1976, 13) 

• An unusually high loss of total blood hemoglobin after the first 16 days of 

flight was one of the medical findings from the Salyut 4-Soyuz 18 
mission reported by Cosmonauts Vitaly I. Sevastyanov and Lt. Col. Pyotr 
Klimuk to the 19th annual meeting of the Committee on Space Research 
(COSPAR) of the International Council of Scientific Unions. If valid, the 
Soviet data would represent a "significant departure" from earlier data 

171 



July ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

on body mechanisms governing red cells in zero gravity, said Aviation 
Week and Space Technology magazine. Klimuk told the Phila. meeting 
that hemoglobin had decreased 16% in his blood and 25% in Sev- 
astyanov's by the 16th day of the flight; although past data showed 
hemoglobin loss averaging 1% daily, Sevastyanov must have had a 
mechanism that "destroyed more cells than normal" to achieve the 25% 
deficiency. U.S. Skylab missions reported that crewmen normally recov- 
ered their ability to produce red blood cells with more time in orbit; the 
cosmonauts did not discuss their recovery from the hemoglobin 
deficiency, but reported that nothing medical had ben discovered during 
their 63-day flight to prevent increased duration of Soviet space flight. 
(Av Wk, 5 July 76, 49) 

• New federal policies deriving from the Occupational Health and Safety Act 

and the National Environmental Policy Act would affect about 30% of 
the USAF's Aerospace Medical Division investment in biotechnology re- 
search and development, said an article in Aviation Week magazine. 
"USAF has yet to appreciate. ..how important these two laws are going to 
be. The day is rapidly coming when even major weapons systems will 
never get through [a Defense System Acquisition Review council] with- 
out having to come to grips with. ..the occupational safety of the people 
that have to work around the system and the impact of... noise, electro- 
magnetic radiation effects and toxic effluents," said Col. George C. Mohr, 
director of AMD research and development. 

Among items of special interest were the rocket fuels — unsymmet- 
rical dimethylhydrazine and monomethylhydrazine — and the hydro- 
chloric-acid fallout expected from Shuttle motor exhaust during launches 
at Vandenberg AFB; effects of laser exposure on eyes and skin; effects of 
multiple stress, including that caused by locating or operating equipment; 
and development of hardware, such as a lightweight 1 —kg helmet to 
replace the standard 2-kg helmet that caused "high moment" effects on 
the wearer during sustained high-gravity maneuvers in the new genera- 
tion of fighter aircraft. Another environmental-safety hardware item was 
a new 9-layer 25-mm windshield for planes to overcome the bird-strike 
problem, in place of the standard 2 -layer 8.5-mm-thick windshield. 

A major problem, Col. Mohr said, has been that biotechnology stand- 
ards and criteria often were not considered until after the system concept 
had been finalized; another problem is the DOD policy of tri-service 
planning, an attempt to ensure that the services do not duplicate re- 
search. Use of mathematical modeling in biotechnology had tended to 
"drive aerospace medicine research toward an engineering discipline," 
the article said; the data output is usable by design engineers, while new 
legislation prevents use of humans in hazardous testing, and cost of 
laboratory animals has soared. {Av Wk, 19 July 76, 219) 

• "To prove that enthusiastic but untrained high school and college-age 

students can build a 5-kw solar generator," a project called Sunfire 
managed by JPL's Space Exploration Post would build such a generator 
for inhabitants of Pitcairn Is. in the South Pacific about 8000 km east 
of Australia. In 1974, Howard Broyles of JPL became interested in using 
solar energy to supply power at low cost, and discovered that the Pitcairn 

172 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 July 

residents could use the power; he interested a physics teacher at the local 
high school in the actual construction of a solar electric generator, and 
work began as a class project. When the site of construction became 
unavailable at the end of the school year, the project, under the name 
Seep (solar energy experimentation project), was offered to the JPL Space 
Exploration Post and approved by Dr. William H. Pickering, JPL Direc- 
tor. Sunfire — backward acronym for Energy for Remote Islands From 
the Sun — would be a 5-kw generator converting solar rays into elec- 
tricity by using a parabolic mirror to focus the rays on a boiler that makes 
steam, turning a double set of turbines that run alternators to produce 
the power. The Pitcairn residents, fewer in number "than JPL's Building 
180 has employes," are mostly descendants of the crew of HMS Bounty, 
which mutinied in 1790 and found refuge on the small remote island. 
{Laboratory, 1976-4, 8) 



173 



August 1976 

1 August: Scientists at JPL, where the Viking 1 mission was being directed, 
were startled at responses from 2 of 3 instruments reporting on the first 
Mars surface samplings. The labeled-release instrument, designed to 
count radioactive molecules released by a process feeding tagged nutri- 
ents to a soil sample, had counted 4 times as many radioactive releases 
as would have resulted from a similar earth sample: 4537 per min for the 
first 9 hr 20 min it counted, compared to about 100 counts per min from 
Calif, soil sampled in a prelaunch test, and no more than 750 per min 
fvom soil gathered in the dry valleys of Antarctica. The rapidity and 
magnitude of the response were "quite surprising," said Dr. Gilbert 
Levin of Biospherics, Inc., which built the instrument. 

Another Viking instrument, the gas-exchange experiment that damp- 
ened a surface sample with nutrients and monitored the resultant release 
of gas, detected an increase in oxygen released by the sample 15 times 
greater than was explainable by the Mars atmosphere or by oxidation of 
minerals similar to earth soils. The same instrument 24 hr later reported 
an increase in oxygen release 30% greater than that detected the first 
day. Scientists said the results might be attributed to superoxides, pro- 
duced by intense ultraviolet solar radiation on the Mars surface, reacting 
with the extemely iron-rich Martian soil, not shielded by atmosphere as 
earth's surface is. Further information would be needed to reach firm 
conclusions, said Dr. Harold Klein of Ames Research Center, chief 
Viking biologist. (JVPost, 1 Aug 76, A-l; NYT, 1 Aug 76, 4-8) 
• Having completed a yr of service to India's Satellite Instructional Tele- 
vision Experiment (SITE), Ats 6 began a 4-mo journey back to an orbital 
location over the Western Hemisphere to take part in experiments using 
direct broadcasting for education and health care. During its journey, it 
would be used by NASA in a project with the U.S. Agency for Intl. 
Development (AID) to demonstrate the potential of direct broadcasting to 
officials in more than 24 developing countries. 

The first set of demonstrations — known as AIDSAT, for AID space-age 
technology — would begin between 1 and 26 Aug. for 1 1 developing 
countries and one international conference; the program would consist of 
3 films created especially for the purpose, one on communications tech- 
nology for national development, one on use of satellites for natural 
resources monitoring, and one on use of satellites for disaster prediction 
and relief. After these films the host country would transmit a 30-min 
program originated in the terminal in each nation's capital; then a 2-way 
discussion would be shown in which U.S. officials conversant with space 
technology and U.S. assistance would talk with representatives of the host 



175 



August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

country. President Ford would present an initial greeting, and astronaut 
Owen K. Garriott would be moderator of the first 5 programs. 

Of the 12 programs planned, those to Thailand, Pakistan, and Ban- 
gladesh were broadcast first, and subsequent ones were scheduled 9 Aug. 
to the United Arab Emirates, 10 Aug. to Oman, 16 Aug. to Jordan, 17 
Aug. to Kenya, and 18 Aug. to Yemen. On 23 Aug. the program would 
address the Conference on Applied Science and Technology in the Arab 
World at Rabat, Morocco; programs to Libya, Sudan, and Morocco 
would be broadcast during the remainder of August. A second group of 
demonstrations would begin in late Sept., and 15 more countries in 
Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean had been invited 
to participate. (NASA Release 76-140) 

• By the yr 2000, mankind would have chosen between global cooperation 

and mutual destruction, said biochemist Isaac Asimov, professor at the 
Boston Univ. School of Medicine and one of the most prolific science- 
fiction writers. In an article copyrighted by the Phila. Bulletin, Asimov 
set forth his predictions which envisioned a single world power: a global 
community would grow in which more and more of the world's activities 
would be under control of multinational organizations, approaching a 
21st-century global government, unless the nations were willing to settle 
for mutual suicide. The U.S. population would be less than now predicted, 
Asimov said, about 265 million, with government policies keeping growth 
to a minimum. The world population would have reached about 6 billion, 
a 50% increase from that of 1976. The U.S. would be searching for ways 
to use its food supplies to encourage a saner population policy; it would 
not be able to hoard its food for profitable sales because the welfare of 
the U.S. would depend on a strong world economy and "as non-desperate 
a world population as possible." The U.S. would be more nearly a vege- 
tarian nation, both because of the higher yield per acre of grain and other 
plant food than if used for animal raising and because of the adverse 
effect on world opinion if the U.S. continued its wasteful eating habits 
while others starved. 

World opinion would have more power to affect national policy in the 
yr 2000; improved electronic communications would bring peoples 
closer and make them effectively part of a global community. Petroleum 
fuels would diminish and no longer serve as the major energy source; coal 
would become more important, as would windpower and solar and geo- 
thermal energy. By the yr 2000 the world would embark on new tech- 
nological advance, whatever the apparent benefit, with more caution and 
foresight. A space colony would be under construction, to serve both as 
a human habitat and as a solar-power station. As the number of such 
colonies increased, population expansion might again be possible, plus 
sufficient energy to satisfy a hungry world. The yr 2000 would probably 
be a dark time, Asimov said, but would offer hope to all those alive for 
a brighter future for their children. (C Trib, 1 Aug 76, 23) 

• Tass, the official Soviet press agency, said that permanent monitoring of 

earth from space would soon be a possibility because of advances in 
manned space missions, citing a prgress report on the cosmonauts (Boris 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

Volynov and Vitaly Zholobov) who had been orbiting the earth in the 
Salyut 5 space laboratory since 7 July. Major tasks of the cosmonauts, 
Tass said, were to survey Soviet territory below the 52nd parallel and 
compile detailed maps; analyze geological formations for possible gas, oil, 
and ore deposits; and study seismic activity or storms and forest fires. A 
previous report described a photographic search for minerals by the two 
cosmonauts, who photographed the southern Ukraine, Moldavia, the 
Altai territory of Soviet Central Asia, and the Caspian lowlands. Tass did 
not say whether a permanent monitoring service would be automatic or 
man-operated, or if the USSR planned to inaugurate such a service. {LA 
Times, 31 July 76, 1 Aug 76) 

2 August: An early burst of activity recorded by an instrument aboard Viking 

1 on the surface of Mars had begun to slow down, said biologists at JPL 
who had been startled by the high rate of reaction indicated by the 
labeled-release experiment. The instrument used a sample of Martian 
surface, fed with a nutrient of amino acids, sugar, and vitamins, plus a 
radioactive-carbon tracer that would produce radioactive carbon dioxide 
if the sample used the nutrient to grow or metabolize. A geiger counter 
in the instrument had counted as many as 4500 radioactive molecules 
per minute being released from the sampler over 8 hr, going as high as 
8000 per min over the period of a day. Dr. Harold P. Klein of Ames 
Research Center, head of the Viking biology team, said the origins of the 
activity were not clear, and scientists were not sure whether "something 
is metabolizing" or not. It would take a wk to reach any conclusion from 
these results or those of the other two biology experiments, team mem- 
bers said. (NYT, 1 Aug 76, 1; W Post, 1 Aug 76, 1; 2 Aug 76, C-5; 
WStar, 2 Aug 76, A-l; WSJ, 2 Aug 76, 1) 

3 August: Cloud-brightness images from orbiting satellites would enable the 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to predict the 
difference between relatively "dry" hurricanes and destructively wet 
ones such as Agnes (1972), Fifi (1974), and Eloise (1975), said Dr. Neil 
Frank of the Dept. of Commerce's National Hurricane Center. For years, 
said Dr. Frank, meteorologists had known that some hurricanes were 
wetter than others, with those having highest potential rainfall also 
highest in damage over land. A new technique would estimate hurricane- 
rainfall potential from cloud images calibrated with computer models of 
river-basin flooding; the technique would be "a predictive tool" for 
inclusion in hurricane warnings. Heavy rains from Fifi in 1974 caused 
one of the worst natural disasters of the Western Hemisphere when 
heavy rains brought unexpected flash flooding that killed thousands in 
and around Honduras. Besides killing 118 people, Agnes caused an 
estimated $2.1 billion in property damage from torrential rains and 
flooding; Eloise caused an estimated $200 million in property damage, 
again mainly from rain-caused flooding. 

The satellite technique was used retrospectively to estimate the rain- 
fall from 7 hurricanes for which radar and rain-gauge measurements 
were available; results disclosed little or no relationship between the 
volume or intensity of a storm and its rainfall. However, the rainfall 

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August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

potential calculated by the new procedure for the 7 hurricanes in the 
study agreed well with actual experience. Although estimates obtained 
through the new technique were relative, not absolute, the NOAA 
scientists viewed the procedure as a valuable tool for developing nations, 
an inexpensive system to monitor rainfall and improve the meteorological 
basis of agricultural and water-management planning. (NOAA Release 
76-158) 

• The rate of production of radioactive gas from a Mars sample monitored 

by an instrument on Viking 1 had "plateaued," said Dr. Gilbert V. 
Levin, who designed the instrument, and the slowdown in activity was 
puzzling from both a biological and a chemical standpoint. A biological 
response would generally evolve gas for a longer period, whereas the 
count — if recording a merely chemical reaction — "took place at a very 
rapid rate initially and then, uncharacteristically, slowed down and took 
a long time to plateau." A special team of scientists from several fields 
was convened to consider all possible nonbiological explanations for the 
unusual readings from Viking 1, and various laboratories around the 
U.S. were being enlisted to help test the theories. {NYT, 3 Aug 76, 18; 
WStar, 3 Aug 76, A-7; WSJ, 2 Aug 76, 1) 

• Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr., second person to walk on the moon, told an 

audience at Orange, Calif., that he had become an alcoholic several years 
before the 1969 Apollo 11 moon mission and stopped drinking only 2 
days before the flight. He had resumed drinking shortly after the mission. 
Aldrin said that, as a West Point cadet, he had been "caught in the 
alcohol trap": having decided to give up alcohol when he was sent to 
Korea as a combat officer, he resumed drinking when he perceived that 
his military image was measured by "who could drink the most." Aldrin 
spoke at a hospital where he stayed during a month-long recovery 
program in the summer of 1975; he had not mentioned his alcoholism in 
his 1973 book "Return to Earth" although he did discuss his post-Apollo 
psychiatric treatment, confirmed by the Air Force in 1972. {W Star, 
3 Aug 76, A-2; NYT, 3 Aug 76; W Post Parade, 26 Sept. 76, 6) 

• NASA announced that a French team of experimenters, using very high- 

resolution sensors on the Oso 8, had observed an oscillation in the sun's 
atmosphere every 14 min very like seismic activity on the earth, during 
which the atmosphere moves up and down as much as 1300 km. No one 
had expected "this huge movement of gas which might well involve the 
entire solar atmosphere," said Dr. Roger Thomas of GSFC, one of the Oso 
8 project scientists. "However, it may prove possible to use the waves 
to learn more about the sun's interior, in a manner analogous to using 
seismic activity to study the structure of the earth or moon." Dr. Roger 
Bonnet of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, 
principal investigator, agreed that the discovery could be one of the most 
important results from the French instrumentation. Oso 8 was launched 
21 June 1975 carrying 8 onboard instruments for solar research — the 
most sophisticated and ambitious ever flown, according to NASA — and 
preliminary results indicated the spacecraft's mission could be consid- 
ered successful. (NASA Release 76-141) 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

• Lockheed Aircraft Corp. reported a 24.2% decline of earnings in the 2nd 

quarter, and 10.1% decline in the first half of 1976, blaming the drop 
on substantial writeoffs and costs related to the TriStar L— 1011 and 
reduced levels of production. The company had hoped to apportion 
startup costs of tooling and production over sales of an estimated 300 
TriStars; only 1 3 planes were delivered in the first 6 mo of 1 976 and only 
3 more were scheduled for delivery during 1976, with firm orders for 22 
more. However, 3 of the remaining order were subject to approval by the 
Japanese government, which was investigating Lockheed bribes paid in 
Japan to promote its sales there. Robert W. Haack, Lockheed chairman, 
said that the company was in an "overall stronger position" this year 
despite the lower earnings, pointing to debt reduction, a new bank- 
lending agreement, and contracts signed during the second quarter of 
1976, which included a $625-million contract with Saudi Arabia for an 
air-traffic control system and a $697-million order from Canada for 18 
of its F3 Orion aircraft. (NYT, 4 Aug 76, 41; WSJ, 4 Aug 76, 9) 

• INTELSAT — the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization — 

announced award of an $8840 contract to the Univ. of Oulu, Finland, 
for measurements of low-elevation-angle scintillation. The 1-yr contract 
covered investigation of the slow fluctuation in received-signal strength 
from a satellite to earth stations in humid localities, at elevation angles 
of 5 above the horizon. Water vapor in the lower atmosphere could 
cause fluctuations in signal strength, intensified where the look-angle 
from station to satellite is as low as 5°, causing the signal to pass through 
more of earth's atmosphere than if the elevation angle were greater. 
(INTELSAT Release 76-2 \-M) 
4 August: Johnson Space Center announced signing of a supplemental agree- 
ment with Lockheed Electronics Co. of Houston for $2.57 million, for 
additional scientific and technical support at the Slidell Computer 
Complex of the Earth Resources Laboratory in La. The supplemental 
agreement brought the total value of the contract to $7.1 million. (JSC 
Release 76-49) 

• MSFC reported an unprecedented amount of data distributed to and used by 

the scientific community as a result of rapport, established under an 
arrangement known as the Skylab solar workshops, among principal 
investigators in the Skylab Apollo telescope mount (ATM) project and 
other scientists. The workshops, supported by NASA, had provided a 
means of "intense interaction and collaboration" by the participants, 
MSFC said. 

The first workshop, held in Oct. 1975 on coronal holes, was attended 
by 60 scientists representing 19 universities and other institutions; a 
second workshop in Feb. and the last this wk would conclude the series. 
The workshops met near the High Altitude Observatory at Boulder, 
Colo., under fairly isolated conditions; the scientists were together most 
of the time, passing on information, explaining discoveries, and talking 
shop from breakfast until late at night. Jack Zirker of the Univ. of 
Hawaii's Institute of Astronomy, director of the first workshop series, 
said the workshop procedure was "an ideal way to deal with the topic" 

179 



August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

because participants collaborated closely between meetings, planning 
and carrying out projects that otherwise might have languished. 

The next workshop in the series, on solar flares, was scheduled to 
begin with a first meeting in the last week of Oct. 1976. Discussions at 
the first meeting would define the total effort; participants would return 
home to work on individual pieces of the problem. A second meeting 4 
or 5 mo later would be a midterm status review and working meeting, 
with participants contributing information relevant to the total project. 
At the final workshop, participants would sum up their findings and 
identify unsolved problems, preparatory to publishing their results. The 
workshop would produce a monograph summarizing the state of the art 
at that point. Scientists taking part in the solar workshop series said the 
system could be adapted readily to research in other scientific fields and 
was highly productive. (MSFC Release 76-145) 
6 August: The jumbo jet — "a revolutionary class of elephantine airliner" 
carrying twice as many passengers as the biggest narrowbodied air- 
craft — was a jumbo bust, said the Wall Street Journal reporting on 
declining business in the aircraft industry, especially on a 3-way battle 
among U.S. manufacturers for British Airways orders. The government- 
owned British airline would buy 6 widebody jet liners valued at about 
$165 million with possible options on 3 more, to replace an aging fleet 
of Boeing 707s and Vickers VClOs on its long-distance routes, and there 
was no British-made aircraft of the size British Airways needed. 

McDonnell Douglas had been advertising in London papers "the 
difference to Britain" of $537 million and 13,000 jobs if the DC- 10 were 
chosen, because it would use the Rolls Royce engine now used in Lock- 
heed's slightly smaller TriStars. Lockheed, also competing for the order, 
said the engines on its L— 1011 TriStars had already provided more than 
$750 million of business for Britain, and buying a long-range version of 
the TriStar for overseas routes would be simply an extension of a proven 
relationship. The Boeing Company had also been competing for the 
order, although its 747 was said to be too big for the British Airways' 
long-distance routes: it would carry about 400 passengers, compared to 
260 for the DC- 10 and 240 for the L-101 1. Boeing, however, had been 
talking with Aerospatiale of France on a smaller version of the latter's 
widebody twin-engine jet, to be marketed in the U.S. with a revised 
Boeing-built wing in return for French participation in a bigger version 
of Boeing's 737; the French were reported wary of Boeing and leaning 
toward an agreement with McDonnell Douglas on a modification of the 
French 150-seat Mercure. 

The WSJ reported 10 Aug. that U.S. manufacturers' sales of wide- 
body aircraft had fallen "billions of dollars behind original projections." 
McDonnell was producing DC- 10s at only 20% of capacity; Boeing had 
cut output of 747s from 84 a yr to 18; and Lockheed's production of 
L-101 Is was "even lower." U.S. airlines, for which the widebodies were 
originally designed, had not placed a single new order for passenger 
jumbos since 1973, and planned to buy "only a handful" before 1980. 
The jumbo was industry's answer to the problem of carrying the pas- 
senger load predicted for 2 decades without clogging runways, skyways, 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

and airports; the traffic growth had been curtailed by economic recession 
and the oil embargo that increased fuel prices unexpectedly. Also, the 
rise in nonstop service between medium-size cities whose traffic formerly 
was funnelled through major airports had cut into the traffic of the jumbo 
jets. Makers of the widebodies were far from breaking even on their 
design and development costs, which had run over $4 billion; about 1 200 
planes would have to be sold to cover that investment, the WSJ said, and 
so far the 3 makers reported only about 700 firm orders and deliveries, 
with another 80 options that might or might not materialize. (WSJ, 
6 Aug 76, 12; 10 Aug 76, 1) 

• NASA announced award of a $7-million contract to General Electric Co. and 

the Hamilton Standard Div. of United Technologies Corp. for design and 
construction of the world's largest windmill to be located at one of 17 
possible utility-company sites where it could produce energy for as many 
as 500 homes a yr [see 30 July]. Sponsored by the Energy Research and 
Development Administration and NASA, the project would be directed by 
LeRC's wind-power office. Richard L. Puthoff, program manager of LeRC's 
wind-power office, said that wind as an energy source could provide 5 to 
10% of U.S. needs at maximum efficiency and usage. The 100-kw 
system built in 1975 at LeRC's Plum Brook test area had been used as an 
experimental apparatus in developing the large windmill. (NYT, 8 Aug 
76, 20; WSJ, 6 Aug 76, 6) 

• INTELSAT (International Telecommunications Satellite Organization) an- 

nounced that its board of governors, meeting in Washington 21-28 July, 
had approved the loan of a cesium ion thruster to NASA under a 1-yr 
no-cost arrangement, for use in research on inert gases (argon and 
xenon) as propellants for auxiliary propulsion in spacecraft and ground- 
based applications. Like the nickel-hydrogen battery for the Navy's 
navigation-technology satellite to be launched later this year and an echo 
canceller to be licensed for use in satellite communications, the INTELSAT 
thruster was developed under a series of contracts managed by COMSAT 
Laboratories at Clarksburg, Md. It had exhibited higher electrical and 
propellant efficiency than other thrusters of comparable size. (INTELSAT 
Release 76-22-M) 

• The board of governors of INTELSAT — the International Tele- 

communications Satellite Organization — announced award of a 14-mo 
$2.9 million contract to the Societe Des Telecommunications Inter- 
nationales du Cameroun for additional tracking, telemetry, command, 
and monitoring services to be provided by a new antenna collocated at 
Zamengoe, Cameroon, with existing standard communications and an- 
tennas. The new facilities, to be operational by October 1977, would 
augment service as the global satellite system became more complex, 
providing redundant service especially in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean 
areas. The contract included an option for extended service for an 
additional 24 mo. The Cameroon facilities had monitored Intelsat IV-A 
satellites since 1 April 76. (INTELSAT Release 76-23-1) 
8 August: A new political-economic battle between the U.S. and Britain was 
expected as bilateral talks were scheduled in London for Sept. on rene- 
gotiation of the "Bermuda Agreement" of 1946 regulating airline oper- 

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August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

ations between the U.S. and Britain, in the Caribbean, and in and out of 
Hong Kong. Britain had announced 22 June it would withdraw from the 
agreement. The pact (which originally settled wrangling between wartime 
allies over peacetime air commerce, and served as model for more than 
60 bilateral air-travel agreements between the U.S. and other nations) 
specified the routes the two countries' airlines could fly and prevented 
competition on prices. At the time, U.S. carriers had the advantage of new 
equipment to fly the North Atlantic, and Britain and other war-poor 
European countries were looking to tourism to bolster their economies. 

Britain's objectives in renegotiation would be an equal share of traffic 
instead of the present 65 to 35% split in favor of the U.S., as well as a 
cutback in the number of North Atlantic flights. Constantine Menges, 
director of the international division of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board, 
said the British were interested in equality of results rather than equality 
of competition, and warned that encouraging airlines to equalize their 
shares of the market would endanger consumer interests by allowing the 
airlines to neglect measures that would increase their markets. Political 
factors would govern any decision: most non-American airlines (includ- 
ing Britain's) were state-owned and symbols of national prestige. On 
many international air routes, competing airlines pooled operations and 
shared revenues and expenses. This cartel philosophy had not applied to 
North Atlantic routes because of the Bermuda principles; however, 
Britain now wanted to reduce the number of flights (now involving 28 
airlines) that had became destructively competitive, with an estimated 
equivalent of 8 jumbo jets flying empty between the U.S. and Britain 
every day. The British view was that restricting the number of flights 
would enable each nation's airlines to fly more profitably, eventually 
benefitting the consumer by easing the pressure for higher fares. 

On the other hand, U.S. legislation that created the CAB in 1938 had 
exempted international routes from regulation by subjecting CAB deci- 
sions affecting them to presidential review, leaving room for political 
influences. Whereas the U.S. airlines would be sympathetic to restrictions 
on flight numbers, the U.S. ideological commitment would uphold free 
enterprise and unrestricted competition. However, renegotiation might 
offer the U.S. some advantages: changes on other transatlantic routes 
where it was now at a disadvantage against European national carriers, 
increasing the use of charter groups to fill empty seats on scheduled 
flights, and securing greater equality in so-called fifth and sixth freedoms 
that permitted European carriers to lure transatlantic passengers with 
cheap stopovers in and transport to and from other cities besides the 
basic destinations. Dr. Menges suggested that the U.S. might best nego- 
tiate with the European Common Market as a whole, instead of with any 
one nation; the British rejected this idea as an affront to national sov- 
ereignty. (NYT, 8 Aug 76, 3-1) 
9-25 August: At 15:04 GMT (18:04 Moscow time) 9 Aug., Luna 24, an 
automatic space probe, was launched toward the moon "from the orbit 
of an artificial earth satellite" as the official USSR news agency Tass 
described it. A course correction 1 1 Aug. permitted the probe to reach 



182 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

a preset point in near-moon space; a braking operation 14 Aug. put the 
probe into a circular selenocentric orbit 115 km from the moon's sur- 
face, with 120° inclination and 1 hr 59 min period. {NYT, 11 Aug 76, 
37; FBIS, Moscow Tass in English, 9 Aug 76, 14 Aug 76; Spacewarn 
bulletin, 17 Aug 76, 1; P Inq, 10 Aug 76, 6; LC S&T Alert #3407, 
31 Aug 76) 

At 6:36 GMT (9:36 Moscow time) 18 Aug. the probe landed on the 
moon in the Sea of Crises (Mare Crisium) at 12°45'N and 62°12 / E, 
about 40 km from a northern isthmus between the moon's 2 seas, where 
the oldest rocks (about 4.5 billion yr) on the moon might be sampled. The 
area differed from the Sea of Felicity — site of landings by Luna 16 
(1970) and Luna 20 (1972) — not only in age but also in the presence 
of mascons, gravitational anomalies caused by mass concentrations of 
extremely dense materials. (The U.S. Lunar Orbiter 5 had discovered 5 
such concentrations on the moon in 1968.) 

The USSR's 8th successful unmanned landing on the moon in 6 yr was 
expected to make up for the failure of Luna 23, which sustained damage 
when it landed on the moon 8 Nov. 1975 and was unable to carry out 
its mission. The U.S. had not probed the moon since 1972, date of the 
last of 6 manned lunar landings. Luna 24 weighed 1880 kg upon 
landing; early reports contained no description of the probe, but photo- 
graphs of it appeared in Oct. in Aviation Wk and Space Technology 
magazine, with comparisons of the earlier probes. (FBIS, Moscow Tass in 
English, 18 Aug 76, 13 Oct 76; UPI, Denver Post, 19 Aug 76, 14-F; 
NYT editorial, 26 Aug 76; Science News, 28 Aug 76; Av Wk, 1 1 Oct 
76, 53) 

Tass announced 19 Aug. that, after being on the moon 22 hr 49 min, 
Luna 24 had blasted off the moon's surface at 5:25 GMT (8:25 am 
Moscow time) and was on its way back to earth with a sample of moon 
soil obtained by a device that drilled to a depth of about 2m and put the 
core sample into a hermetically sealed container in the return module. 
The bulk of the spacecraft remained on the moon's surface; the New 
York Times noted there was no mention of a robot vehicle like the 
Lunokhods landed previously. Lunokhod 1 (on Luna 17) had spent 
10 mo on the moon in 1970-1971, traveling about 10 km; Lunokhod 
2 (on Luna 21 ) roamed the Lemonnier crater in the Sea of Serenity for 
6 mo in 1973. (FBIS, Moscow Tass in English, 19 Aug 76; NYT, 20 Aug 
76, A- 19; UPI, Denver Post, 20 Aug 76, 10; LA Times, 20 Aug 76, 3) 

On 22 Aug. the Luna 24 return craft parachuted to earth in a "forest 
site" 2400 km northeast of Moscow, soft-landing at 17:55 GMT (20:55 
Moscow time). The landing craft and sample were flown to Moscow from 
the site. Research on the comparatively large moon sample would pro- 
ceed at the Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry Institute of the USSR 
Academy of Sciences in Moscow, where lunar samples returned by Luna 
16 and Lunar 20 had been studied. Pravda was quoted as stating that 
the 1970 mission of Luna 16 brought back particles of lunar iron that 
"does not rust"; learning how to manufacture such a metal under earth 
conditions "would repay all the expenditures for space study," the 

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August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

newspaper said. Metallurgy stations might be established in space or on 
the moon to make nonrusting iron in commercial quantities, a process 
requiring a powerful vacuum like that in space which would be difficult 
to establish on earth. The gray-brown lunar material was said to resemble 
the Luna 16 sample, also taken from a lunar "sea" area. Mineralogists 
studying the top of the 30-cm-wide column of material said they ex- 
pected to find the same Mendeleyev elements existing on the moon as on 
the earth, but in different proportions because of fewer volatile ma- 
terials. Scientists would search the lunar sample for any sign of water 
vapor, regarded as important "not only for space physics but also for the 
future exploration of space," Tass said. 

The Luna 24 landing craft, still on the moon, would continue to 
function and flight controllers were still communicating with it. (FBIS, 
Moscow Tass Intl Serv in Russian, 21 Aug 76; Tass in English, 25 Aug 
76; CSM, 24 Aug 76, 1; B Sun, 24 Aug 76, 5; SBD, 3 1 Aug 76, 223) 
9 August: McDonnell Douglas Corp. announced award of a $63.9-million 
contract to Hughes Aircraft Co. for research, test, and development of 
radar for the Navy F-18 strike fighter, including 3 renewal options for 
additional production beyond the development phase. Current Navy and 
Marine Corps plans called for procurement of 800 F-18s in addition to 
the test-flight planes; major assembly was to be completed late in 1977 
and early 1978, with first flight scheduled for mid- 1978, McDonnell 
said. Hughes Aircraft received Army and Navy contracts totaling 
$16.5 million a wk later for a location-reporting system and for develop- 
ment of a missile fire-control system for the F-14 fighter plane, the Wall 
Street Journal reported. {WSJ, 9 Aug 76, 11; 17 Aug 76, 6) 

• More trouble developed for the DOD's "controversial" F— 111 and F-14A 

jet fighter planes, the Wall Street Journal reported, as the Air Force 
announced grounding of 183 General Dynamics F— Ills at Nellis AFB, 
Nev., and Cannon AFB, N.M. The groundings, ordered after inspections 
showed defects in fan blades, would continue to midmonth and would not 
affect F— Ills stationed elsewhere. A General Accounting Office report 
on the Grumman F-14A, 14 of which had crashed at a loss of 
$161.6 million, questioned the plane's ability to cope with attacks by 
antiship missiles. The GAO said that problems with equipment and inade- 
quate supplies of parts had reduced the readiness of the F-14A to 37.2% 
during 1975, and that the electronic equipment's reliability was ex- 
tremely low, some of the major systems exhibiting only 6% to 14% of the 
desired objective. Cost of the F-14A had risen from $18.2 million each 
in 1973 to $20.2 million. Designed to defend the Navy against assaults 
by antiship missiles, the F-14A could engage current Soviet fighter jets, 
said GAO, but the Navy itself feared the plane's ability to cope with the 
missiles might be "marginal." {WSJ, 9 Aug 76, 11) 

• The U.S. Senate, by a vote of 78 to 6, confirmed the nomination of 

Dr. H. Guyford Stever to be director of the newly created Office of Science 
and Technology Policy in the White House. Dr. Stever, director of the 
National Science Foundation, had been under criticism for NSF actions in 
reviewing applications for research grants; also, conservative senators 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

had objected to social-science textbooks prepared under NSF auspices in 
the 4 yr that Dr. Stever headed that agency. 

The confirmation marked reestablishment of aWhite House science 
advisory post after its elimination by President Nixon early in 1973. On 
7 Nov. 1957 President Eisenhower had announced appointment of 
Dr. James R. Killian as special assistant to the President for science and 
technology, whose prime role was to speed rocket and missile develop- 
ment in the wake of the first satellite a month earlier. Dr. George B. 
Kistiakowsky, who succeeded Dr. Killian, wrote later that the science 
advisory committee set up in the White House helped President Eisen- 
hower make major military decisions. 

The Natl. Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Prior- 
ities Act of 1 1 May 1976 would also provide 4 new executive-branch 
agencies: the Office of Science and Technology Policy, whose director 
would advise the National Security Council upon request, but would 
mainly assist the Office of Management and Budget in decisions on 
funding federally supported R&D and would prepare an annual science 
and technology report for Congress as a counterpart of the State of the 
Union Message; the President's Committee on Science and Technology, 
consisting of 8 to 14 specialists in a wide range of fields who would study 
for 2 yr and report on the nation's science, engineering, and technology 
policies, and disband after submitting the report unless the President 
chose to continue it; the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, 
Engineering, and Technology, to deal with interagency problems, 
chaired by the Science Adviser; and the Intergovernmental Science, 
Engineering, and Technology Panel, consisting of the Science Adviser as 
chairman, the Director of the NSF, and at least 10 members representing 
state interests, to define civilian problems at state, regional, and local 
levels which could be resolved by science, engineering, and technology. 
Dr. Richard T. Atkinson, Deputy Director of NSF, would act as Director 
until the end of the present administration in January. {CR, 9 Aug 76, 
S 13954-13963; NYT, 6 Aug 76, Al; 10 Aug 76, A3; 15 Aug 76, 4-6; 
24 Aug 76, 28) 
10 August: By a vote of 82 to 6, the U.S. Senate approved a $104— billion 
defense appropriations bill that prohibited expenditure of $ 1 billion voted 
by the House for the controversial B-l bomber, until after 1 Feb. 1977, 
when the next President would be in office. The House had included funds 
for initial orders for a fleet of 244 supersonic B-ls that would eventually 
cost more than $22 billion. The bill would go to conference where the 
House-Senate differences would be settled, after Congress returned 
23 Aug. from a week's recess for the Republican convention. The date 
of the production decision would be important because the current 
Republican administration proposed to place orders for the first 3 planes 
in Nov.; the Democratic presidential nominee, Jimmy Carter, opposed 
B-l production and wanted a review of prototype test data early next yr. 
The Senate bill was $3.9 billion less than President Ford's budget pro- 
posal and $1.4 billion less than the House voted; however, it was 
$11.6 billion more than appropriated for FY 1 976, which ended 30 June. 



185 



August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

(/VFT, 10 Aug 76, 8; WSJ, 10 Aug 76, 3; W Star, 10 Aug 76, A-2) 

• The U.S. Air Force announced selection of the Boeing Aerospace Corp., a 

unit of the Boeing Company, to design and produce an interim upper- 
stage (IUS) solid-fuel rocket motor for the Space Shuttle, to lift Shuttle 
craft from low earth orbit to higher mission altitudes. Boeing, chosen 
over Martin Marietta, Lockheed, and General Dynamics Corp., still had 
to negotiate a contract, estimated to be ultimately worth about 
$300 million. (NYT, 10 Aug 76, 45; WSJ, 10 Aug 76, .3) 

• Aeronutronic Ford Corp. would probably win a $250-million contract to 

build Intelsat V, the next generation of seven global comsats owned by 
INTELSAT (the 94-nation Intl. Telecommunications Satellite Organiza- 
tion), said the New York Times. Scheduled for launch starting in 1979 
to expand message-handling capacity of the INTELSAT network, particu- 
larly across the North Atlantic, Intelsat V would be first to use both a 
spatial separation technique used on Intelsat IV and a cross-polarization 
technique used on two ComSat domestic satellites leased to American 
Telephone & Telegraph and the General Telephone and Electronics 
Corp. INTELSAT's board at its July meeting chose Aeronutronic for final 
negotiations over Hughes Aircraft, which had build all but one of the 
preceding generations of Intelsat spacecraft; other competitors elimi- 
nated earlier were TRW Systems (which had built one previous generation 
of the Intelsats) and Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. All the competitors 
had selected West European or Japanese subcontractors. 

Unlike previous Intelsats, which were cylinders coated with solar 
cells, Intelsat V's would be boxlike containers with flat solar-cell panels 
stretching from each side like windmills; weighing nearly a metric ton 
apiece, the spacecraft would be stabilized by a 3-axis system similar to 
those used on the Franco-German Symphonie satellites over the Atlantic 
Ocean, and on the U.S. domestic satellites built and operated by RCA. 
Each Intelsat V would carry 27 signal-transmitting transponders with 
capacity of 12 000 two-way telephone conversations, compared to 6000 
through Intelsat IVA and 4000 through Intelsat IV; each satellite would 
also transmit color TV. Intelsat V would replace Intelsat IVA which had 
replaced the Intelsat IV, seven of which were in orbit above the Atlantic, 
Pacific, and Indian Oceans. {NYT, 10 Aug 76, 37) 

• Robert G. Deissler, technical consultant to NASA's Lewis Research Center, 

received the 1975 Max Jakob Memorial Award at the 16th National 
Heat Transfer Conference in St. Louis. The award, established in 1961 
by the American Society for Mechanical Engineering and the American 
Institute for Chemical Engineering, commemorated a pioneer in the 
science of heat transmission, and was given for distinguished service in 
the field of heat transfer. Deissler, who joined Lewis in 1947 and gained 
early recognition for work in turbulent flow and heat transfer of variable- 
property fluids in pipes or tubes, was cited for "outstanding contributions 
to the theory of turbulence and turbulent transport... for his ability to 
perceive and derive the fundamental theory required to advance applied 
research and development in convective heat transfer." Author of about 
70 technical papers, Deissler had received an Exceptional Service Award 

186 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

in 1957 from NACA, NASA's predecessor. (LeRC News, 6 Aug 75, 1; CI 
PD, 10 Aug 76) 

• Both the Boeing Co. and Japan's official transport-development corporation 

announced pending agreement on Japanese participation in a billion- 
dollar project to develop a new medium-range Boeing jet liner in the 
1980s. The new plane, temporarily designated the 7x7 (middle number 
to be given later), would be a 198-passenger 2-aisle craft, probably with 
3 jet engines: one under each wing, and a third on the tail. It would be 
low-noise and fuel-conservative, with a high-performance bent wing to 
operate close to the speed of sound. The medium-range jet would fly 
one-stop trips between N.Y. and San Francisco. The pending agreement 
was announced separately, Reuters news agency reporting from Tokyo 
that the Civil Transport Development Corporation representing govern- 
ment and leading aerospace manufacturers had said the parties were 
ready to proceed; Boeing headquarters in Seattle termed the announce- 
ment premature, but verified progress in negotiations. Proposed Japanese 
share in the venture had ranged from 50 to 30 to 20%, the last amount 
currently being discussed. Aeritalia, the Italian aerospace-development 
concern, had agreed to put up 20% and Boeing had favored French, 
British, and West German participation. {NYT, 1 1 Aug 76, 43) 
12 August: NASA announced plans for rollout of the first Space Shuttle orbiter 
on 17 Sept. at NASA's Rockwell Intl. Space Div. at Palmdale, Calif. The 
ceremony was scheduled for 9:30 am PDT, and media representatives 
were alerted. (JSC Release 76-51) 

• WFC announced launch of a rocketborne experiment to investigate effects 

on the upper atmosphere of metal ions from a meteor shower. A 2-stage 
solid-propellant Nike-Tomahawk was launched at 1 1:54 am EDT, lifting 
a 149.3-kg payload to a peak altitude of 147.5 km. The payload 
included 2 experiments, one for the Univ. of 111. and the other for the 
Univ. of Bern, Switzerland, as well as a solar-aspect sensor and a clam- 
shell nosecone provided by WFC. The Illinois experiment also carried an 
instrument for GSFC. The meteor shower (the Perseids) deposited metallic 
debris in the atmosphere from about 120 to 90 km; measurements of the 
relative concentration of the different metals — magnesium, iron, cal- 
cium, potassium — could help identify the nature and origin of the mete- 
or. A second objective would be to study the dispersion and concentration 
of metal ions in the atmosphere, thought to cause unusual propagation 
of radio and TV signals. The meteor shower was predicted to last for 4 
days beginning 11 Aug. (WFC Release 76-12) 

• McDonnell Douglas Corp. would join Aerospatiale and Dassault-Breguet of 

France in a transatlantic consortium to develop and market a new 
medium-range jetliner for the 1980s, announced France's Trans- 
portation Secretary Marcel Cavaille at Toulouse, capital of the French 
aerospace industry. Tentatively named Mercure 200, the 160-to 
180-seat twin-jet aircraft would have a range of about 3000 km; a 
modification of the current Mercure plane, it was estimated to cost about 
$240 million to develop, whereas a totally new plane would have cost 
more than $1 billion. The new plane, designed to save about 20% of fuel 

187 



August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

costs over the current Mercure, would be powered by a CFM 56 engine 
jointly designed by General Electric and France's government-owned 
Snecma (Societe Nationale d'Etude et de Construction de Moteurs 
d'Aviation). Aerospatiale — the state-owned National Society of Aero- 
space Industry — would get 40% of the construction work, which would 
cushion it from layoffs when construction of the Concorde ended this 
year; Dassault, the private company that designed the plane, would get 
5%, probably the final assembly. McDonnell would get 15%, the rest to 
be offered to other European manufacturers. 

Including McDonnell Douglas in the consortium would give the Mer- 
cure 200 an unprecedented entry into the American market, which 
amounted to half the world market, noted the New York Times. Although 
the new aircraft would compete with Boeing's 727 and 737, which 
previously had a monopoly on the medium-range market, exploratory 
talks with Boeing had come to nothing because French officials feared the 
size of Boeing's operation would relegate the French to little more than 
a subcontractor, the preliminary agreement with McDonnell Douglas 
awaited a McDonnell promise not to build a plane competing with the 
French-German passenger-transport Airbus. (NYT, 13 Aug 76, D3; 
WSJ, 13 Aug 76, 4) 

• NASA announced it would cosponsor a conference 21 Sept. at the Univ. of 
Conn, on transfer of biomedical instrument technology. The conference, 
also sponsored by the New England Research Applications Center, the 
Conn. Dept of Commerce, the Conn. Product Development Corp., and 
the Univ. of Conn. Health Center, would display technology developed 
by NASA for the manned space program to manufacturers and show how 
the technology could be applied to develop improved medical equipment 
and techniques. Hundreds of improvements based on NASA technology 
were already in use by the medical community, ranging from bio-isolation 
garments to a rechargeable cardiac pacemaker. At the conference, 
medical experts from NASA Hq, JSC, and NASA's biomedical and tech- 
nology applications teams would describe the types of technology avail- 
able to industry and the medical community, and the role NASA could play 
in helping to commercialize new products. NASA's program of licensing 
patents would also be explained. (NASA Release 76-144) 

13 August: MSFC announced completion of 2 of 8 major facilities for pro- 
duction of Space Shuttle solid-propellant rocket motors at Thiokol 
Corp.'s Wasatch Div. in Brigham City, Utah. Thiokol was selected as 
prime contractor by MSFC for development of the solid-fuel rocket motor, 
main element of the reusable solid-fuel rocket booster being developed by 
MSFC. The 2 completed units were a nozzle-bearing test facility, used to 
test a flexible bearing allowing the rocket-motor nozzle to turn up to 8 
in any direction for thrust-vector control in steering, and an x-ray facility 
for inspecting propellant after casting into the motor-case segments. A 
case-preparation building, where motor cases would be prepared for 
propellant loading by sandblasting, cleaning, relining, and painting, was 
reported 95% complete. Three facilities for loading the propellants — 
casting pit 1, a casting house, and casting-pit covers — were about half 



188 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

completed. A case-refurbishment facility to handle the motor cases after 
recovery would be under construction shortly. (MSFC Release 76-151) 
15 August: In an attempt to predict the weather on the planet Jupiter, 
Dr. Gareth P. Williams, researcher at NOAA's Fluid Dynamics Laboratory 
at Princeton Univ., applied a computer model of earth's atmosphere to 
Jupiter and found that it not only reproduced patterns known to exist 
there but also provided new explanations of visible features such as the 
Great Red Spot and horizontal stripes, as well as revealing a 4-yr cycle 
of heat transfer. 

Using a set of equations describing physical processes that produce 
atmospheric behavior on earth, Dr. Williams fed in conditions known to 
exist on Jupiter — the planet's enormous size, amount of sunlight it 
receives, and rate of rotation (which dominated the behavior of the 
Jovian atmosphere) — and found that the basic behavior of atmosphere 
was "quite similar." The purpose of atmosphere, he said, was to transfer 
heat from the equator to the poles; the terrestrial heat cycle took about 
a month, but the NOAA model revealed a corresponding cycle on Jupiter 
that took 4 yr. Whereas the earth received its heat from the sun, Jupiter 
received only 4% as much solar heat as earth, but the infrared meas- 
urements showed that the planet was warmer than it should be if its only 
heat source were the sun. Scientists believe that the planet generates 
heat of its own in an amount about equal to what it receives from the sun; 
this extra heat complicated the job of modeling Jupiter's atmosphere 
because there was no way of telling how it might be distributed, but it also 
provided a confirmation for the model. 

Atmospheric motions on Jupiter tended to perpetuate themselves 
instead of dying out, as they do on earth because of interaction with the 
earth's surface. Jupiter has no "surface" as we know it, Dr. Williams 
noted; "it just gets denser toward the interior and motions gradually 
dissipate downward...." Circulation patterns producing eddies in the 
planet's atmosphere seem to be stable; the Great Red Spot had been 
apparent since the 17th century, when it was first sighted. The research- 
ers hoped that Pioneer II, now about halfway between Jupiter and 
Saturn, might provide a positive test of the Princeton model; "we think 
Saturn is like Jupiter, but we don't know," said Dr. Williams. "Maybe 
it has a red spot." (NOAA Release 76-170) 
• Because supersonic aircraft are inherently dirtier than those flying slower 
than sound, the Environmental Protection Agency's emission standards 
for future generations of supersonic aircraft would allow SSTs to emit 4 
times more air pollution than subsonic jets. EPA described the standards, 
scheduled for issuance 16 Aug., as "the most stringent that can be 
imposed" by the 1980 effective date; additional requirements for reduc- 
ing amounts of oxides of nitrogen would take effect 1 Jan. 1984. EPA 
recommended new ground procedures to reduce duration of SST engine 
operation — and resulting pollution — while the planes were on the 
ground. 

New standards for 1980 engines would allow carbon monoxide emis- 
sion at 58% below the current Concorde level, and hydrocarbons 77% 



189 



August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

lower, with nitrogen oxides at about the current level; 1984 levels would 
be 88% less for carbon monoxide, 94% less for hydrocarbons, and 44% 
less for nitrogen oxides. The 1984 allowances would still be much higher 
than those for subsonics. EPA estimated it would cost the aircraft industry 
about $ 1 million to meet the new emission levels for a fleet of 70 planes, 
and that the standards would cost airlines about $5 per hr per plane for 
increased maintenance. (W Post, 15 Aug 76, A- 12; WSJ, 17 Aug 76, 
8) 

16 August: MSFC announced that NASA had extended for 8 mo an existing 

contract with Sperry Rand of Huntsville, Ala., for continued engineering 
support services to MSFC's Science and Engineering Directorate. The 
$3,479,844 extension would run through 31 March 1977. (MSFC Re- 
lease 76-152) 

17 August: A large scientific balloon released 13 Aug. in Sicily by German 

and Italian scientists discharged a package of equipment for gamma-and 
cosmic-ray experiments and dropped it to earth near Rutland, Mass., 
said a meteorologist of the Natl. Weather Service at Worcester Airport. 
The radio-controlled balloon came down in Gardner, Mass., after a 
separation explosion at 40.2-km altitude. A spokesman at Hanscom AFB 
in Bedford said the balloon was owned by the Natl. Center for Atmo- 
spheric Research in Palestine, Tex. {NYT, 18 Aug 76, 13) 

• The 2 Soyuz 21 cosmonauts aboard space station Salyut 5, first manned 

space mission since last July's Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, were experi- 
encing "a state of sensory deprivation, a sort of sensory hunger," 
according to the government newspaper Izvestia. Although Col. Boris 
Volynov and Lt. Col. Vitaly Zholobov continued to carry out their 
scientific and medico-biological experiments as they entered the 7th wk 
of their stay on Salyut 5 — the halfway mark toward breaking the U.S. 
endurance record of 84 days in space set by 3 Skylab 4 astronauts in 
1973 — and despite their years of training to combat the problem, Iz- 
vestia said "the organism still reacts in a peculiar way to space condi- 
tions. " One symptom of "the increase in their need for communication" 
was that the cosmonauts were asking ground control more and more 
often for news from earth. On the advice of psychologists, ground control 
had begun playing music to the cosmonauts, Izvestia said. (UPI, in 
WStar, 17 Aug 76, A-4) 

18 August: NASA announced appointment of Jerry Hlass, Director of Space 

Flight Facilities at NASA Hq, as Manager of the Natl. Space Technology 
Laboratories at Bay St. Louis, Mo., effective 1 Sept. Hlass came to Hq 
from GSFC, where he was head of the Data Acquisition Facility Section 
between 1961 and 1963. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical 
engineering in 1949 from N.C. State Univ., and a master's in engineering 
administration from Geo. Washington Univ. in 1971. As manager of 
NSTL, Hlass would report to the Hq Associate Administrator for Center 
Operations. (NASA anno. 18 Aug 76; NASA Release 76-147) 

• Lockheed Aircraft Corp. won a significant contract for construction of 6 

new widebody jets when British Airways announced selection of the new 
long-range TriStar L— 1011 for delivery starting in 1979 to replace 



190 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

Boeing 707s and VC-lOs on routes where the older planes were too small 
but the Boeing 747 was too large. Selection of Lockheed followed an 
intense competition with McDonnell Douglas over the past 6 wk, in which 
Lockheed was plagued by questions of finance following its near- 
bankruptcy in 1971 and its role in alleged bribery in the sales of military 
and commercial planes overseas. Lockheed chairman Robert W. Haack 
said market research indicated a need for 244 aircraft like the new 
TriStar by 1985, offering the company improved chances for reest- 
ablishing itself in the jetliner field. (NYT, 19 Aug 76, 51; WSJ, 19 Aug 
76, 3; W Post, 19 Aug 76, CI 3; C Trib, 19 Aug 76, 4-9) 

• A federal judge ordered NASA to reinstate with back pay and benefits the 

federal employees who lost their jobs at Marshall Space Flight Center to 
private contractors, the Washington Star reported. In a suit filed in 
1967 in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., by the AFL-CIO 
American Federation of Government Employees, the union contended 
that 22 MSFC contracts with private companies resulted in the layoff of 
about 3000 federal workers. Judge Joseph Waddy agreed that the 
contracts were illegal and ordered that federal employees who lost jobs 
as a result of work going to the private companies should be rehired, and 
that any similar contracts be canceled. The decision upheld Civil Service 
Commission standards that forbid a private contractor from assuming an 
employer-employee relationship over federal workers. NASA attorney Sid 
Masri said as many as 2000 employees could be terminated as a result 
of the decision, which NASA was sure to appeal. {W Star, 18 Aug 76, 
A-2, B-2; WSJ, 19 Aug 76, 17) 

• U.S. officials reported that Peru planned to buy 36 late-model 

fighter-bombers from the USSR, a deal that might jeopardize a 
$200-million short-term loan being negotiated between Peru and a 
group of U.S. banks. The Soviet Union was said to have offered Peru good 
terms for a $250-million purchase of 2 squadrons of Sukhoi-22 planes; 
the price would be paid over 10 yr at 2% annual interest, with a yr of 
grace. A spokesman for the U.S. banks said they were unaware of the 
pending deal and could not comment on the effect it might have on the 
proposed loan, considered essential to enable Peru to pay for a recently 
expropriated U.S. -owned mining company valued at $100 million; Peru 
had offered $12 million in compensation. Peru had a foreign debt of 
about $3.7 billion, one of the highest of any developing nation. U.S. 
officials said Peru's motive for seeking the fighter-bombers might have 
been to apply political and military pressure on neighboring Chile, which 
was dealing with Bolivia to obtain access to the Pacific through territory 
seized by Chile from Peru in 1883. {NYT, 19 Aug 76, 5) 
19 August: The National Science Foundation reported that U.S. spending for 
research and development (R&D) would reach $38.1 billion in 1976, 8% 
above the 1975 level. R&D expenditures would account for 2.2% of the 
gross national product in 1976, down from 2.3% in 1975. Of the total 
R&D spending, federal agencies would account for $20.1 billion; indus- 
try, about $16.6 billion; universities and colleges, about $800 million; 
and other nonprofit institutions, about $600 million. The figures ap- 

191 



August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

peared in a NSF report, National Patterns of R&D Resources: Funds and 
Manpower in the United States 1953-1976, updated annually in a 
continuing analysis of the nation's scientific and technological resources. 
(NSF Release PR76-68) 

• The space share of federal R&D funding for FY 1977 would increase only 

slightly, according to a Natl. Science Foundation report, An Analysis of 
Federal R&D Funding by Function, Fiscal Years 1969-1977 '. The 
1977 estimate of $2940 million was considerably less than the 1969 
level of $3732 million; the space share — 13% — was much lower than 
the 24% for the earlier year. Manned space flight, always the leading 
subfunction, remained predominant with the Space Shuttle accounting 
for more than 40% of all space activities. Space science, with 20% of the 
total, reflected a decline from 1976 and showed effects of lower funding 
for NASA lunar and planetary exploration as Viking and outer planet 
missions moved into the launch stages. Space technology and NASA 
support activities would increase during FY 1977. (NSF, Space Science 
Resources Studies, 19 Aug 76, 1) 

• The European Space Agency announced that its exhibit at the Farnborough 

International Aerospace Exhibition in Sept. would include a full-scale 
model of the Spacelab, to be exhibited for the first time in Britain to give 
the British public a better idea of Europe's space activities and to extend 
contacts with science and industry. ESA's exhibit would also include 
full-size models of Meteosat and the OTS comsat, plus a tenth-scale model 
of the Ariane launcher. British firms were prime contractors for the OTS 
(orbiting test satellite) scheduled for launch in 1977 and for the maritime 
satellite Marots to be launched early in 1978. (ESA release 19 Aug 76) 

20 August: Noaa 5, launched by NASA 29 July for the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) into a sun-synchronous polar orbit at 
1505 km, was turned over to NOAA after checkout and would become the 
primary operational satellite providing weather forecasters with a wide 
variety of environmental data. Noaa 5 would replace an earlier version, 
Noaa 4, which would become the backup spacecraft; an older polar 
orbiter launched in 1973 would be deactivated. NOAA's Natl. Environ- 
mental Satellite Service operates 2 satellite systems: one polar-orbiting, 
the other consisting of 2 geostationary satellites remaining in the same 
relative position to earth's surface at all times. The polar-orbiting craft 
would scan any spot on earth twice every 24 hr and return visual and 
infrared imagery of cloudcover, sea-surface temperature, and other 
environmental indicators. (NOAA Release 76-199; MOR E-601-76-17 
[postlaunch] 1 Oct 76; telcon, NOAA PAO, 5 Oct 76) 

24 August: Aerospace contracts valued at about $1 billion were hanging fire 
as DOD and NASA struggled over which agency would ask Congress for 
funds (beyond those already appropriated for development and testing) 
to pay for 2 additional Space Shuttles, said the New York Times. NASA's 
commitment of 1971 was to develop the Shuttle system at a cost of about 
$6.9 billion, to include 2 Shuttles, the start on a third, and a series of 
preoperational flights into orbit beginning in 1979. The NASA plan envi- 
sioned a total of nearly 600 Shuttle flights in the 12 yr beginning with 



192 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

1980, with a fleet of 5 Shuttles averaging an annual 60 flights starting 
in the mid-80s. 

DOD had earmarked $1.5 billion for Shuttle expenses by 1 98 1 , includ- 
ing $700 million for refurbishment of Vandenberg AFB in Calif, for 
polar-orbit Shuttle launches and $190 million for facilities at Cape 
Canaveral, Fla., plus $178 million for development of an interim upper 
stage ( a solid-fuel rocket to be ordered by the Space and Missile Systems 
Organization of the USAF from Boeing Aerospace, for boosting Shuttle- 
payload spacecraft into extremely high orbit). DOD had been maintaining 
for 2 yr that it would not have money for the 2 final Shuttles; Dr. 
Malcolm Currie, DOD Director of Research and Engineering, told Con- 
gress during budget testimony 3 March that paying for the orbiters would 
exceed what DOD considered "cost effective" amounts for participation 
in the shuttle program. 

DOD's refusal to pay had caused "consternation among planetary 
scientists," the NYT said, because NASA might be forced to cut much of 
its scientific space program in the 1980s to pay for 2 more Shuttles 
within a fixed budget. However, the matter should be resolved within a 
few wk, the article added. {NYT, 24 Aug 76, 37) 
• The Soyuz 21 manned mission to space station Salyut 5 ended abruptly 
after cosmonauts Vitaly Zholobov and Boris Volynov had been in orbit 
48 da. Although the first manned space flight since Apollo-Soyuz failed 
to break the U.S. 84-day record, no problem was mentioned by the Tass 
news agency; the first hint of termination came about 10 hr before the 
landing. The Soyuz 21 descent module landed by parachute on the Karl 
Marx collective farm near Tselinograd in Kazakhstan at 9:33 pm Mos- 
cow time (1:33 pm EST); general condition of the cosmonauts was "sat- 
isfactory," said Tass. Experiments returned to earth for analysis were of 
3 kinds: geophysical and astrophysical observations, technological, and 
biological. Technology experiments used processes potentially useful in 
constructing a larger space station, such as studies of the behavior of 
gases and liquids in space and a soldering technique using a chemical 
reaction to produce the necessary heat. Cytological and genetic experi- 
ments should provide additional data on the nature and hazards of solar 
radiation in prolonged space flight. (Nature, 26 Aug 76, 735; Av Wk, 
30 Aug 76, 23; FBIS, Tass in English, 24 Aug 76; NYT, 25 Aug 76, 20; 
WPost, 25 Aug 76, B-9) 

25 August: NASA announced the appointment of Carl E. Grant as NASA 

Director of Personnel, effective 5 Sept. For the past 5 yr, Grant had been 
personnel director for the Small Business Administration; previously he 
was associate director for personnel administration at the Smithsonian 
Institution, and had held personnel positions at the Civil Service Commis- 
sion, Department of Defense, and U.S. Army. He received a B.S. in 
economics and business administration from the Univ. of Detroit in 
1960. In his new post, Grant would be responsible for personnel admin- 
istration agencywide. (NASA anno. 25 Aug 76) 

26 August: First flight of a new fly-by-wire control system for jet aircraft was 

scheduled for 27 Aug. at Dryden Flight Research Center, NASA an- 
nounced. The system would use 3 digital computers for primary control 

193 



August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

(and a 3-channeI analog system for emergencies) to translate pilot 
signals to aircraft-control surfaces by lightweight wires instead of the 
conventional control systems, reducing the aerodynamic load as much as 
20% and saving up to 10% in production costs. In Phase I of the 
program, a modified G-8 jet was flown 42 times to establish the feasibility 
of digital fly-by-wire control, using a single-channel digital computer 
developed for the flight-control system of the Apollo lunar module. Phase 
II would use a triplex system that could be modified to use Shuttle 
software, leading to a digital system with applications both to Shuttle and 
to other advanced transport systems. Project pilot Gary Krier would fly 
the checkout tests, scheduled to last through 1978 with about 30 flights 
planned. (NASA Release 76-150; DFRC Release 74-76) 

27 August: NASA's Scientific and Technical Information Office announced 
publication of the first formal report on early scientific results from the 
Viking mission to Mars: an 80-p book, "Viking 1 Early Results." The 
book, a concise description of the Viking mission, its scientific experi- 
ments, and its objectives, told the story of the Viking 1 lander's first 25 
days of operation on the surface of Mars and gave "a preliminary and 
tentative account of early conclusions." The book also contained 50 
photographs of Mars taken from the surface and from orbit. (NASA 
Release 76-151) 

• A Spacelab simulation mission known as ASSESS II would be flown jointly 
next spring by NASA and the European Space Agency, and the payload 
specialists for the 4-engine jet mission would be named shortly, NASA 
announced. ASSESS was the acronym for airborne science Spacelab 
experiment-systems simulation. Carlos C. Hagood, NASA mission man- 
ager for Spacelab 2 and ASSESS, said two U.S. candidates would be named 
as prime payload specialists, with a third as backup; ESA would also select 
prime and backup specialists. Launch date of the 10-day mission had 
been set for 15 May 1977. The mission would be flown in the Galileo II, 
a Convair 990 operated by Ames Research Center, one of several ARC 
flying laboratories supporting research activities internationally. The 
aircraft would fly 6.5 hr each day, and the payload specialists would 
remain in the plane and work another 6 hr on the ground; their off-duty 
time would be spent in a van containing living quarters connected to the 
aircraft. 

ASSESS was developed to involve individual principal investigators (Pi) 
in defining and operating the scientific payload; to study the investigator 
working-group (IWG) concept, providing Pis a means of full and direct 
visibility into mission management and a direct channel for making 
recommendations; to evaluate the concept of PI selection of payload 
specialists; and to validate a concept for training and cross-training 
Pi-selected payload specialists. MSFC was lead center for the ASSESS II 
mission. Dr. Anthony C. DeLoach was MSFC mission scientist; ESA mission 
scientist was Dr. John Beckman of the European Space Research and 
Technology Center at Noordwijk, The Netherlands. ESA mission manager 
was Johannes de Waard, based in Porz-Wahn, West Germany. NASA 
candidates for payload specialist would be selected by NASA members of 



194 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

the investigator working group, and European candidates by the ESA 
members; the selections would be recommeded to the ASSESS program 
manager, Bernard T. Nolan of NASA Hq Office of Applications. (MSFC 
Release 76-158) 

• A Soviet-American symposium of oceanography experts in the Black Sea 

town of Yalta ended as scientists agreed on a 2-yr program of joint effort 
in the Atlantic aimed at compiling a theoretical model of the ocean. The 
model would aid in more accurate weather forecasting, in predicting 
climate fluctuations several yr in advance, and in combating environ- 
mental pollution. Cooperating in the work would be 10 Soviet and Amer- 
ican vessels, earth satellites, and meteorological ground stations. (FBIS, 
Tass in English, 27 Aug 76) 
29 August: French interests had spent as much as $2 million to pressure the 
public, the news media, and various legislators into granting permanent 
U.S. landing rights to the controversial Concorde supersonic transport, 
wrote Robert Walters in the Washington Post Parade magazine. By the 
time a decision would be made next year, the expenditure would probably 
reach $3 million. The French producer of Concorde — Aerospatiale — 
signed up influential Americans and engaged as principal in its campaign 
a firm called DGA International, whose chairman was Charles E. Goodell, 
former Republican senator from N.Y. The U.S. Dept. of Justice found that 
DGA had a contract calling for a bonus of $500 000 if commercial 
Concorde service were authorized; U.S. law prohibited representatives of 
foreign interests from signing contracts in which financial compensation 
"is contingent in whole, or in part, upon the success of any political 
activities." The Dept. of Justice in a civil suit filed in federal court in 
1975 charged that the contract was illegal; the case was settled without 
a trial when the defendants agreed to elimination of bonus clauses and 
to full labeling of their public-relations and propaganda materials. The 
lobbying, however, continued unabated, the Parade article noted, as did 
employment of former legislators and public officials on behalf of Con- 
corde. {WPost, Parade, 29 Aug 76, 17) 

• An article in the Baltimore Sun magazine reported that more than 3000 

amateur radio operators — "hams" — in 90 countries had pooled their 
efforts to design, build, and finance the ham satellite series known as 
OSCAR, for orbiting satellite carrying amateur radio. The first OSCAR rode 
into space from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., 12 Dec. 1961, sixtieth anniver- 
sary of the first transatlantic wireless transmission, as a piggyback pay- 
load on the Thor-Agena carrying the USAF Discoverer 36 into orbit. 
Oscar 1 weighed about 4.5 kg and consisted of a battery, a small 
transistor, and an antenna packed into a metal case; constructed by radio 
hams working for companies building satellites, it operated on a tenth of 
a watt power and transmitted the greeting "hi" in Morse code before it 
stopped functioning 3 wk later. NASA agreed to provide launches as 
deadweight ballast for government satellites to advance public interest in 
space science, after the hams pointed out the OSCAR's potential use in 
educational programs and emergency communications. 



195 



August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

In 1959 the hams had formed the Radio Amateur Satellite Corp. 
based in Washington and affiliated with the American Radio Relay 
League, national association of ham radio operators. After launch of 
Oscar 4, satellite activity shifted east, where AMSAT members working 
for GSFC and ComSat were eager to undertake assembly projects. By 
using volunteer efforts and parts donated as tax-deductible contributions 
by various companies, the hams could produce a satellite for about 
$60 000, compared to the commercial cost estimated at $2 million. 
Oscar 6, oldest active ham satellite, was about to celebrate its 4th 
anniversary; Oscar 7, most recent (and largest, at nearly 30 kg), had 
been in use for nearly 2 yr. 

Baltimore engineer Jack Colson, an employee of the Johns Hopkins 
Applied Physics Laboratory, had received an award as the first amateur 
to be in touch with hams in all 50 states; he took 8 mo to achieve this, 
4 mo for Hawaii alone because the satellite path permitted commu- 
nications with the islands for only 2 min every 3 wk. Colson had also 
talked with hams in 43 countries and had bounced signals off the moon; 
he estimated that his ham contacts over the past 25 yr numbered about 
30 000. The 750 000 radio amateurs all over the world came from all 
walks of life and ranged in age from 8-yr-olds to elderly men and 
women; about 20 000 amateurs were joining the U.S. ham network every 
year, the article said. Use of the satellite was free to all hams, whether 
or not they belonged to an amateur organization; OSCARs had transmitted 
medical data, weather bulletins, and emergency communications such as 
search-and-rescue mission information. Although shortwave radio could 
outdo the satellite on sheer distance, its transmissions — unlike those of 
the satellite — could be upset by atmosphere conditions or solar emis- 
sions. To improve OSCAR's time and distance limitations, AMSAT members 
were working on a new satellite that could transmit continuously over a 
greater geographical area for up to 10 hr, because of a higher elliptical 
orbit. Launch was planned for 1980. {B Sun Magazine, 29 Aug 76, 10) 

30 August: The Peoples Republic of China launched its sixth satellite, refer- 
enced as China 6, from its facility at Shuang-Cheng-Tze into a highly 
elliptical orbit with 2147-km apogee, 193-km perigee, 69.1° inclina- 
tion, and 108.7-min period. An announcement from the China press 
agency Hsinhua said the satellite was functioning normally, but gave no 
details on the spacecraft or its mission. (NYT, 31 Aug 76, 7; SBD, 8 Dec 
76, 203; SSR, 31 Aug 76, 31; SF, Feb 77, 78) 

• Return of the USSR's Luna 24 to earth with a load of material drilled from 
nearly 2 m below the surface of the moon might be a dress rehearsal for 
a round-trip Mars probe to offset world headlines gained by Viking 1, 
said the Christian Science Monitor. The question why the Soviets would 
expend more effort on moon samples when they already had three sets 
(two from previous probes, Luna 16 and Luna 20, and one from the U.S. 
Apollo program) would be answered if the Luna 24 mission were being 
used to perfect techniques for obtaining Mars samples, a move "which 
would vault the Soviet Union back into the lead in planetary research," 
said the CSM. The USSR had landed unmanned spacecraft on the surface 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



August 



of Venus and obtained information for a short period, and had sent to the 
moon in 1973 an unmanned vehicle Lunokhod 2 that crisscrossed the 
Lemonnier crater for 6 mo, reporting back data on magnetic fields and 
laser direction-finding. The CSM noted that, although the USSR auto- 
mated machines worked well, the Soviets still lacked boosters to propel 
cosmonauts to the moon. (CSM, 30 Aug 76) 

The 26-m "Venus dish" at NASA's Goldstone tracking station near Bar- 
stow, Calif., normally used to communicate with interplanetary space- 
craft, was serving as a research tool to study conversion of solar energy 
from satellites to electricity for use on earth, Goldstone researchers 
reported. In the tests, the big antenna represented an energy satellite 
collecting and converting sun energy into microwaves; more than a km 
and a half away, a set of receiver panels called a "rectenna" played the 
part of a ground station. The 7.6-m-high receiver panels contained 
more than 4500 aluminum T-shaped rectenna elements about 100 mm 
high, working like a TV antenna to gather and filter the microwave 
energy, converting it to AC or DC that could be fed directly into a utility. 
Results had been promising, with collection and conversion of microwave 
beams to usable electricity at an efficiency of 82%. (NASA PAO, 
76-H-685, caption) 

Scientists all over the world had been invited to propose experiments for the 
second Spacelab mission, NASA announced, asking that they submit by 
1 Oct. their letters of intent to propose, with actual proposals due by 
3 Dec. Final selection of experiments would be made in Aug. 1977; 
proposals would be evaluated in the areas of space science (including life 
sciences), applications, and space technology. 

Primary intent of the second Spacelab mission would be to evaluate 
the laboratory's system and subsystem performance, but space and 
resources would be available for experiments. Second objective of the 




The 26-m "Venus dish" at NASA's Goldstone tracking station near Barstow, Calif., in use 
with rectenna (in background) for solar-energy conversion experiments. (NASA 
76-H-685) 



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August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

mission would be to demonstrate the broad capabilities of Spacelab for 
scientific research, especially in astrophysics (astronomy, high-energy 
astrophysics, and solar physics). Proposals should designate a principal 
investigator as the point of contact with NASA, to manage the efforts of 
any other persons involved in the experiments. 

As the second mission payload would not include a pressurized module 
as the design for Spacelab 1 did, instruments would be mounted on 
pallets exposed to space with a remote manipulator system available if 
needed. Experiments would be controlled remotely by persons at the 
payload-specialist station in the Space Shuttle orbiter's aft flight deck. 
Power, data distribution, and thermal control would be available from 
flight subsystems in a pressurized igloo on the forward pallet. Spacelab, 
a reusable space laboratory, was under construction in Europe by the 
European Space Agency for NASA. Marshall Space Flight Center was the 
lead center for Spacelab development, as well as for the Shuttle main 
engine, external tank, and solid-fuel rocket booster. (NASA Release 
76-152) 

• A slowdown ordered by the 14 000-member Professional Air Traffic 

Controllers Organization 25 Aug. had caused disruptions in air travel 
nationwide, airline officials told the New York Times. Eastern Airlines 
experienced 1-to 2-hr delays in rush-hour traffic at La Guardia Airport, 
and similar snarls were reported by other carriers at other airports, the 
most severe at Los Angeles. Union president John F. Leyden had asked 
members to start handling traffic "by the book 1 ' and adhere rigidly to 
rules that required planes to stay about 5 to 10 km behind aircraft ahead 
of them, omitting efforts to expedite traffic flow as is normally done. The 
controllers were protesting delay in completion of a Civil Service Com- 
mission study of controller job classification, which held hope of higher 
pay levels, and a CSC announcement that its investigation had found both 
undergrading and overgrading in the jobs. (NYT, 30 Aug 76, A-9) 

• Information from space satellites orbiting more than 900 km above the 

earth was being regularly evaluated in U.S. attempts to measure crops in 
the Soviet Union, the Peoples Republic of China, and other countries, 
officials of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture said. The information had been 
incorporated with other data in a project known as the Large-Area Crop 
Inventory Experiment (LACIE) that had been going on since 1974 and 
would be completed by mid- 1978. The disclosure of crop-watching 
appeared in a weekly issue of Foreign Agriculture published by the 
department's Foreign Agricultural Service. {W Star, 30 Aug 76, A-5) 
31 August: NASA selected 3 firms for negotiations leading to award of a single 
contract for assembly, checkout, launch operations, and refurbishment 
of the Space Shuttle solid-fueled booster, MSFC announced. The firms 
were Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and United Space Boosters Inc. of 
Sunnyvale, Calif., a wholly owned subsidiary of United Technology Corp. 
The contract would extend through March 1980 to include the first 6 
development flights of the Shuttle, with option for renewal through Feb. 
1982. The contractor would be responsible for assembling and checking 
out the booster (forward and aft skirts, attach structures, nosecone, and 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

various subsystems) with the solid-fueled motor. Two solid-fueled boost- 
ers would be used to launch the Shuttle, in conjunction with the orbiter 
main engines; after launch, the boosters would be jettisoned, lowered into 
the ocean by parachute, retrieved, and returned to KSC for refurbishment 
and reuse. Work would be performed at MSFC and KSC except for the 
solid-fueled motor, which would be returned to Thiokol facilities in Utah 
for reloading with propellant. (MSFC Release 75-159) 

• Johnson Space Center announced selection of Mason-Reguard, Lexington, 

Ky., for negotiations leading to award of a cost-plus-award-fee contract 
for protective support services, including security, operation of police 
and fire departments, safety engineering, and emergency ambulance 
service. Proposed cost of the services from 1 Oct. 1976 through 30 Sept. 
1977 would be $1 837 000, with option for extension over two more 
1-yr periods. (JSC Release 76-52) 
During August: The U.S. Air Force files for Project Blue Book, a 20-yr 
investigation of unidentified flying objects, had drawn many visitors since 
they were opened to the public at the National Archives in Washington, 
D.C., on 14 July, according to Science magazine. The USAF investigation 
had been closed in 1969 after the government decided that none of the 
12 618 cases in the file indicated the existence of extraterrestrial vehi- 
cles. Only 701 of the total number remained unexplained. Biggest year 
for sightings was 1952, with 1501 reported; only 146 were reported for 
1969, last year of the project, and only 1 of the objects sighted that year 
remained unidentified. The national preoccupation with UFOs "cur- 
rently seems to be at a low ebb," said Science, adding that the most 
promising investigations might be in the behavioral or subjective aspects 
of UFO sightings. (Science, 20 Aug 76, 662) 

• "Enticing hints but no firm answers" to the question of life on Mars were 

the product of an increasing volume of scientific data from the Viking 
1 lander; "practically faultless operation" for more than 5 wk had 
produced enough information to keep the Viking scientists busy, es- 
pecially the data from the 3 bioexperiments and a related molecular 
analysis of Martian soil. Results were "certainly not what would be 
expected" if earth-type organisms were present, but they were not 
explainable in terms of "simple" nonbiological chemistry, said Nature 
magazine. 

The labeled-release (LR) instrument added a small amount of water 
containing nutrients "labeled" with carbon 14 to its Mars sample, and 
incubated it at 15°C, warmer than the surface temperature of Mars. 
"Totally unexpected" was a massive and rapid release of radioactivity 
into the gas phase — presumably carbon monoxide or dioxide — and the 
radioactive count reached 4500 in 10 hr, leveling off at about 8500 in 
48 hr. A second dose of radioactive nutrient produced an initial burst 
followed by a drop in radioactivity, and the graph "almost" flattened out 
for the remaining 4 days of the experiment; however, scientists were 
surprised to discover a possible trend to very slowly accelerating release 
of radioactivity. "Unfortunately," said Nature, "the experiment (was) 



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August ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

stopped for performance of a control test..." A repetition of this experi- 
ment later would extend incubation over wk or mo rather than days; 
"results certainly do not look like anything one would expect" from an 
earth sample in the same situation. Most popular explanation for the 
initial burst of activity was oxidation of the labeled nutrients. 

The gas-exchange (GE) experiment used gas chromatography to mon- 
itor a Mars sample wetted with a "soup" of nutrients to detect any 
changes in the instrument's content of gas. First dampening of the 
sample produced "a remarkable burst of oxygen" that leveled off after 
several hr but remained stable for days. The experiment would continue 
"for some time," to see if further changes occurred. Viking scientists 
were trying to duplicate results of the LR and GE experiments in earth 
laboratories using simple catalysts and oxidizing agents. 

The pyrolytic-release (PR) experiment, most technologically complex, 
proved "least equivocal when it comes to interpretation" of the results, 
Nature reported. A Mars sample incubated in a "Martian atmosphere," 
with added water vapor and irradiation from a xenon lamp to simulate 
solar radiation, was heated to 625°C to drive off and account for un- 
reacted carbon monoxide and dioxide and to pyrolyze any organic com- 
pounds trapped as vapor. The vapor trap, heated to 700°C, would 
release and oxidize any remaining organic compounds. A sterile sample 
should provide a peak ratio of about 500 to 1; the results from the Mars 
sample were about 75 to 1, "several times more active" than non- 
sterilized soil from the dry valleys of Antarctica. Results from the control 
experiment with heat-sterilized soil would be "crucial" because a high 
peak ratio would indicate that biological, rather than chemical, processes 
were going on in the soil that could fix atmospheric carbon monoxide or 
dioxide in the presence of light. If life were present on Mars, science 
would expect a high peak ratio from a surface sample strongly illu- 
minated in atmosphere of about 90% carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, the 
initial run of the organic-chemistry analysis was spoiled by a failure of 
the surface-sampling arm to deliver a full load to the gas-chromatograph 
mass spectrometer. A further analysis would be performed on a full load 
obtained subsequently. Lack of detectable organic compounds in this 
sample would further complicate interpretation of the 3 biology experi- 
ments. (Av Wk, 30 Aug 76, 22; Nature, 26 Aug 76, 734) 
• The 1976 summer Olympic games at Montreal 17 July- 1 Aug. were the 
most widely telecast event in history, INTELSAT announced, having been 
viewed by more than 1 billion persons according to press estimates. 
Record use of the global system for satellite coverage included more than 
930 transmissions during the games, more than 70 telecasts on some 
days. During peak periods satellites transmitted as many as 5 programs 
simultaneously across the Atlantic Ocean. The global television coverage 
used 2 Intelsats over the Atlantic, 1 over the Pacific, and 1 over the 
Indian Ocean; the 4 satellites sent 2585 half-channel hours of Olympic 
and related transmissions, more than twice the number of hours of the 
1972 Olympics at Munich. Teleglobe Canada, the Canadian commu- 
nications authority that arranged for the global services, used earth 



200 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 August 

stations at Lake Cowichan, B.C., and Mill Village, N.S., as well as a 
transportable station at Montreal; other transmissions went through 
ComSatCorp's Andover, Me., ground station. (INTELSAT Release 
76-24-1) 
• The Natl. Science Foundation announced that federal funding for research 
and development would increase in FY 1977, ahead of expected inflation. 
The long-term trend of the R&D portion of the budget had been down- 
ward, with a steady decline from 1967 to 1971; a slight rise in 1972 
preceded another decline to a 1975 low that represented the smallest 
federal support for R&D for the 10-yr period. The estimated increase for 
FY 1977 would restore "real performance" to a level close to that of 
1972, although about 20% below that of 1967. Estimated shares of the 
FY 1977 total would be 11% for basic research, 23% for applied re- 
search, and 66% for development. (The NSF noted that most major NASA 
projects had been categorized as development, as they primarily gener- 
ated outer-space transport technology. Substantial parts of these pro- 
grams were classified in former years as basic or applied research. The 
shift in NASA categories resulted in lower shares of federal R&D funding 
for basic and applied research, and a larger share for development.) 
About 60% of development funds would be accounted for by DOD, which 
with NASA and ERDA would account for more than 90%. NASA's 
$99-million increase put its share of the total 1977 R&D budget at about 
15%; DOD accounted for an estimated 48% of the federal R&D total in 
1977, and ERDA would account for 14%. HEW would account for about 
1 1%, NSF 3%, and USDA about 2%. The next 4 agencies in size of R&D 
support — DOT, Dept. of Interior, EPA, and Dept. of Commerce — all 
showed decreases in their federal R&D funding from the 1976 level. (NSF, 
Science Resources Studies, 10 Aug 76, 1) 



201 



September 1976 

1 September: NASA launched a Navy Transit Improvement Program (TIP-IIl) 

spacecraft on a Scout vehicle at 2:14 pm PDT from the Western Test 
Range into an elliptical polar transfer orbit with 787-km apogee, 341 -km 
perigee, 90.2° inclination, and 96-min period. Although orbit was 
achieved, the spacecraft's solar panels failed to deploy and the Navy was 
reported planning corrective action. The NASA portion of the launch 
was adjudged successful 21 Sept. (MOR 490-601-76-02 [prelaunch] 
17 Aug 76, [postlaunch] 24 Sept 76; SSR, 31 Oct 76, 31; Pres Rpt 
76, 99) 
• Marshall Space Flight Center announced selection of Science Applications, 
Inc., of Los Angeles and Rockwell Intl. Corp. for negotiation of contracts 
to study space industrialization. The study program would lead from 
Shuttle Spacelab and early space-station experiments to permanent, 
practical, commercial use of space. The space-industrialization accom- 
plishments so far achieved would be expanded into disciplines other than 
communications and meteorology; the study program would attempt to 
define a balance between future opportunities (satellite power systems) 
and relatively immediate benefits (space processing of materials). Possi- 
ble areas of activity would include development of new techniques and 
materials, new development of earth resources, and eventually the move- 
ment of people to space for tourism or medical purposes, and the indus- 
trialization of the moon. The parallel studies would proceed in two 
phases, each requiring about 8 mo, and would cost about $200 000 
each. (MSFC Release 76-160) 

2 September: Something found by Viking 1 on the surface of Mars behaved 

as if it were alive, said 6 biologists on the science team at JPL, who 
nevertheless refused to confirm the presence of life on Mars until results 
from Viking 2 were in. Viking 2 was on its way to a landing scheduled 
for 3 Sept. on Utopia Planitia (the Utopian plains) above which the air 
was found by Viking 1 's orbiter to contain 5 to 10 times as much water 
as that over the Chryse area where Viking 1 landed. A surface sample 
of Chryse itself dug by a mechanical arm was found to contain a sur- 
prising amount of water that boiled off when it was heated by an instru- 
ment on the Viking 1 lander. Four other instruments, 3 built to look for 
life, received samples of the Mars soil: one to look for photosynthesis, the 
second to look for signs of metabolism, the third to detect "breathing" 
or "sweating" characteristic of earth-type life forms. All 3 instruments 
appeared to detect what they were looking for, but the biologists ex- 
plained the results as an exotic chemistry not connected with biology. 
Having quoted odds of a million to 1 against finding life on Mars, the 
biologists now said they could never state with 100% certainty that 



203 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Viking had found life until they could return a Mars sample to earth, 
which some were afraid to do: Nobel prizewinner Dr. Joshua K. Leder- 
berg of Stanford University had told associates that Martian life forms 
brought to earth might threaten the 2 million species of life here by 
competing in unknown ways for food, water, or air needed to survive. 
(Thomas O'Toole, W Post, 3 Sept 76, A-2) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced that the Space Div. of Rockwell 

Intl. Corp. at Palmdale, Calif., had received delivery of three dummy 
main engines for the Space Shuttle — known officially as flight mass 
simulators — for mounting on Shuttle Orbiter 101, which would be used 
for approach and landing tests at Dryden Flight Research Center and for 
ground vibration tests at MSFC. The simulator engines, resembling the 
real main engines in size and weight, could be adjusted in weight and 
center-of-gravity and gimballed to provide various positions for testing. 
Orbiter 101, after vibration testing, would be returned to Palmdale for 
replacement of the simulators with flight engines and placed in flight 
status. (MSFC Release 76-162) 

• The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that a 

team of fishermen, engineers, physicists, oceanographers, biologists, and 
computer specialists had used a satellite to find fish off the coast of 
Louisiana in a government-industry cooperative program begun by NOAA 
last year. Water turbidity, measured by Landsat sensors as variations in 
color, would reflect the distribution of fish; the fishing vessels, working 
with spotter aircraft, confirmed the presence of fish in most areas pre- 
dicted by the Landsat data. This technique of locating concentrations of 
fish would aid in better understanding of coastal fishery ecology and 
better resources assessment and management, NOAA said. On 19 July, 
Landsat 1 had passed over a selected study area, sending multispectral 
scanner data to Goddard Space Flight Center; the data tapes were 
hand-carried to NASA's Earth Resources Laboratory in La. for processing. 
Less than 21 hr after the scan, the spotter pilots and fishing-vessel 
captains were being called to check their findings with predicted loca- 
tions. The satellite reports were valid, NOAA said. Installation of an 
operational system would require 3 to 5 yr to develop special computer 
programs and facilities. (NOAA Release 76-196; JSC Release 76-50; JSC 
Roundup, 10 Sept 76, 4) 

• Soyuz 21 cosmonauts Boris Volynov and Vitaly Zholobov, who landed 

safely 24 Aug. from a 48-day mission to Soviet space station Salyut 5, 
returned to Moscow from the Baykonur cosmodrome near Tyuratam 
where they had been resting after their flight. The two received the title 
of Hero of the Soviet Union, Volynov for the second time. The news 
agency Tass reported that Salyut 5 was flying in a "controlled automatic 
regime." In a Pravda interview, Academician Georgy Petrov empha- 
sized the importance of orbiting stations, which he said would serve in 
preparing for space flights to other planets as well as in studying the earth 
from outer space. Petrov predicted the building of space stations with 
changeable crews of 20 to 30, serving for periods of time up to decades, 
and later the establishment of "super-large multipurpose orbital com- 



204 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

plexes with crews consisting of a hundred members and more." A special 
role would be that of stations for moon study in selenocentric orbits, from 
which crews would land on the moon's surface in "small expeditionary 
spacecraft." (FBIS, Tass in English, 1-6 Sept 76) 

3 September: Viking 2 apparently touched down at about 6:39 EDT in a field 
of windswept sand dunes on the Utopian plains of Mars at the edge of its 
northern polar cap, after a communications breakdown that left JPL 
scientists without contact during the last 3 hr of the spacecraft's journey 
of more than 650 million km through space. The stabilization system on 
the orbiter, which served as a relay link between the lander and the deep 
space tracking network on earth, lost power 26 sec after separation of 
the lander at 3:40 pm EDT, and the high-power antenna on the orbiter 
no longer pointed at the earth. The blackout lasted nearly an hr, while 
mission personnel tried to reestablish communications. A low-power 
transmitter on the orbiter, installed to provide limited 2-way commu- 
nications with earth, finally sent engineering data at 6:59 pm indicating 
that the lander had touched down. Lander signals were strong for 17 min 
until the orbiting relay link passed out of range. 

First pictures from the lander would be relayed about 3 am EDT on 4 
Sept. as the first step in a "recovery plan" to put the experiments and 
systems back on schedule. All pictures and data taken by the lander were 
being stored on tape in the orbiter for later playback. Except for the 
orbiter malfunction, the pictures would have been available within 2 hr 
of the touchdown. 

The landing date of Viking 1, originally 4 July, had been postponed 
for 2 wk in order to ensure a safe site; the spot for Viking 2 was chosen 
because indications of frost or fog in the area made it likely to encourage 
the presence of life, scientists said. Results from Viking 1 suggested 
either that chemical processes never observed in earth laboratories oc- 
curred on Mars, or that life forms existed on Mars that were unknown 
on earth. Life search by Viking 2 would not begin for a wk; the 2 landing 
craft were about 7400 km apart on the surface of Mars, Viking 1 at 
Chryse near the equator (at a latitude comparable to that of Mexico City) 
and Viking 2 in a warmer area (at a latitude comparable to that of 
Montreal) more than 1600 km northeast of the Viking 1 site. {W Star, 
4 Sept 76, A-l; B Sun, 4 Sept 76, A-l; NYT, 4 Sept 76, 1; W Post, 
4 Sept 76, A-l) 

• Newest international organization created to exploit space technology "for 
the benefit of mankind," the International Maritime Satellite Organi- 
zation (INMARSAT) was chartered in London after 4 yr of study and 
negotiation. A 1958 United Nations subgroup called IMCO — the Inter- 
governmental Maritime Consultative Organization — had been respon- 
sible for nautical matters of common concern to seafaring nations. The 
UN Secretariat first report on space activities and resources in 1972 
noted IMCO's interest in space for maritime purposes, particularly distress 
systems, safety of navigation and position determination, operation of 
maritime mobile services beyond the scope of existing methods, and 
improved maritime communications. IMCO proposed a new international 

205 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

maritime satellite system for exchange of telephone, telegraph, and 
facsimile messages and improvement of navigation. IMCO's Maritime 
Safety Committee in March 1972 had formed a panel of experts to study 
and recommend a program of experiments and development work that 
would be necessary to form a new organization. 

The panel examined the financial, legal, technical, and operational 
problems of creating a new entity, reporting yearly to the safety commit- 
tee. As the consensus favored formation of a new organization, the IMCO 
assembly resolved in November 1973 to convene an international con- 
ference early in 1975 to set up an international maritime satellite sys- 
tem. IMCO's secretary general was to invite all UN member states and 
interested intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations. 

The international conference, 23 April to 9 May 1975, was attended 
by delegates from 45 nations and observers from 15 international agen- 
cies and other organizations. The conference set up two working com- 
mittees, one to discuss relationships between governments and their 
telecommunications and maritime entities and the distribution of powers 
between the member states and the INMARSAT council; the second work- 
ing group would consider procurement and financial policy. The confer- 
ence concluded that an international intergovernmental organization was 
needed to administer a worldwide maritime satellite system. It agreed to 
reconvene early in 1976, appointing an intersessional group to draft 
recommendations on four points: relationships between governments and 
designated entities, distribution of powers between assembly and council, 
type and number of appropriate international instruments, and procure- 
ment policies. The first conference concluded with a recommendation 
that all countries permit operation of ship stations (onboard terminals) in 
certain radio-frequency bands within harbor limits and other waters 
within national jurisdictions. 

As the first session ended, representatives of 13 Western European 
countries and the United States agreed on major elements of the organi- 
zational arrangements that would form the proposed system. The ar- 
rangements envisioned the designation by a government of an entity to 
assume its responsibilities with INMARSAT, vesting of management in a 
strong governing body with investors making policy in proportion to their 
use of the system, and a procurement policy awarding contracts on the 
basis of price, quality, and most favorable delivery time. These issues had 
been debated during the organization of INTELSAT. INMARSAT differed, 
however, because of the maritime interests involved (ship owners, mari- 
time unions, national maritime ministries and regulatory bodies) and the 
presence of the USSR historically had favored international organizations 
composed of governments only, having been reluctant to enter "mixed" 
organizations involving states and private enterprises, such as INTELSAT. 

The working group's first session in London in August 1975 included 
representatives of 37 countries and 8 international organizations. The 
U.S. and the USSR reached an agreement on the basic roles of govern- 
ments and operational entities, adopted by the session, which also devel- 
oped a procurement policy. At the second session in October 1975, 31 
countries and 6 international organizations were represented; this session 

206 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

discussed membership rules, investments, and information policy. The 
third session, held in December 1975 at Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 
was attended by representatives of 26 countries and 4 international 
organizations. It set up two committees, one to deal with financial, the 
other with nonfinancial, matters. The U.S. representative commented on 
"the cooperative spirit" shown at the three sessions. 

The international conference resumed in London in February 1976 
with representatives from 47 countries and 16 intergovernmental agen- 
cies and international organizations. Texts of two documents — a con- 
vention to be signed by governments, and an operating agreement to be 
signed by signatories (governments, or their designated entities) — were 
adopted in large measure, with some revisions. Three articles of the 
convention not decided were the maximum voting power of each council 
member, the question of permitting reservations to the convention, and 
the official and working languages to be used. The conference agreed to 
a third session to resolve these points, setting up a preparatory commit- 
tee for the formal establishment of INMARSAT. 

The third session of the conference, called on Sept. 1, 1976, was 
attended by delegates from 47 countries and observers from Yugoslavia, 
as well as delegates from 23 international agencies. The delegates agreed 
that no reservations would be made to the convention or the operating 
agreement, and decided to omit the matter of language from the con- 
vention. Preconference negotiations had led to a consensus on the ceiling 
permissible on a council member's vote, setting 25% of total voting 
participation as an upper limit; this wording was accepted by the confer- 
ence. Observers noted significance in the languages in which the new 
convention was printed: English, French, Spanish, and Russian. (Stephen 
E. Doyle, INMARSAT . . . Origins and Structure, 13 April 77) 
4-8 September: Soviet news agency Tass reported the successful touchdown 
of the Viking 2 lander, adding that no data were coming from the lander 
""owing to failures in the Viking station's orbiting vehicle" that relayed 
lander communications to earth. (FBIS, Tass in English, 4 Sept 76) 

As the long-awaited picture transmission from the Viking 2 landing 
site on Mars finally appeared at JPL, scientists were surprised to see rocks 
and more rocks in the Utopia region where they had expected steep sand 
dunes. Boulders were so numerous that driving a vehicle across the 
Utopia plain would be a challenge, Walter Sullivan wrote in the NYT. 
The scientists had hoped that the damper climate at the Viking 2 site 
might give more definite clues to organic life than the ambiguous reports 
from the Viking 1 lander experiments. They said they were delighted 
with the clarity of the photographs and the speed with which they were 
transmitted once the communications problem was solved. A tilt in the 
horizon appearing in the pictures meant either that one footpad of the 
lander was resting on a rock (according to Dr. Thomas A. Mutch, head 
of the surface-imaging experiment), or that the lander was on a slope 
(according to Project Manager James S. Martin, Jr.). Martin expressed 
concern about getting the second lander back on schedule after the 
difficulties it had encountered on descent. Although communication had 
been reestablished with the orbiter's main antenna after an unexplained 

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September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

stability problem had pointed its transmitters out of earth's range for 
about 12 hr, the lander might have suffered from a rocky landing when 
one shock absorber failed to function. An apparent tear was visible in the 
rim of the 76.2-cm aluminum dish on the Viking 2 lander, which Martin 
said probably resulted from the landing, but did not affect the radio 
signals to earth. Only direct communication with the lander would show 
whether damage had occurred to the body and its electronics systems. 
Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell Univ. pointed out that both Viking landing sites 
had been chosen purposely "for their blandness," as free as possible from 
geological hazard; the rocks visible in the Viking 2 transmission were 
evidence of "an enormous exuberance of geological processes." 

Meanwhile, two of Viking 1 's three biological instruments repeated 
their samplings of Mars soil from the plain of Chryse, with ambiguous 
results. The experiment that used nutrients to detect life processes in the 
soil registered about the same number of radioactive counts (suggesting 
that the nutrient was being metabolized) as the first trial had. The photo- 
synthesis detector registered only a third as much activity as the first 
sample, however. 

The NYT pointed out that the Viking 2 lander would deploy its 
instruments in an environment different from that of Viking 1. Utopia, 
nearer the Martian north pole than Chryse, was expected to have a layer 
of water-containing permafrost underlying the surface; as the Martian 
summer was at its warmest in the Utopia region, scientists hoped for a 
better chance of life-identifying experiments at the Utopia site. Exobi- 
ologists had noted that, if Viking 2 results were more suggestive of life, 
they would feel encouraged; if the results were the same as those from 
Viking 1, this at least would show that the first reports were reliable. 
{NYT, 5 Sept 76, 1, 4-5; W Star, 5 Sept 76, A-l; W Post, 5 Sept 76, 
A-l) 

An editorial in the NYT said the Viking engineers from government 
and private industry had needed luck to achieve two successful landings 
in two attempts; luck would have been inadequate without the "superb 
design and technical foresight" that had anticipated and forestalled 
many problems. (NYT, 6 Sept 76, 14) 

Project Manager Martin reported 5 Sept. that what had appeared to 
be a tear in an antenna was probably dirt, spattered up when Viking 2 
landed. The successful uncaging of the Viking 2 seismometer met with 
cheers from the geophysicists on the project who had been marking time 
since the Viking 1 instrument failed to unlock. Dr. Nafi Toksoz, a 
seismologist from MIT, said that lack of data from more than one point 
on Mars would make triangulation (and precise location of seismic dis- 
turbances) impossible, but even one instrument might answer questions 
about the nature of the planet's interior and the level of tectonic activity. 
He predicted that Mars would be "more active than the moon and less 
active than the earth." [W Star, 6 Sept 76, A-3) 

As Piking 2 prepared to reach for soil samples, project scientists 
speculated on the possibility of mobile landers to explore the terrain and 
collect samples for study on earth. Dr. Elliott C. Morris of the U.S. 
Geological Survey said he felt like a child with nose pressed against a 

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candy-store window, the "goodies forever beyond his reach." Like the 
Soviet Lunokhods that moved about on the moon, Mars landers with 
wheels or tractor treads could be set down in a relatively flat area and 
sent into mountains, canyons, and craters far more dramatic than similar 
features on earth. Project Manager Martin noted that such a mission 
could be launched in 1981 to land on Mars the following year: a backup 
lander in storage at Martin Marietta's Denver plant could be modified to 
make it mobile, and a spare orbiter was in storage at JPL, control center 
for the Viking missions managed by LaRC for NASA. Walter Sullivan of the 
NYT commented that the vivid detail in the panoramas transmitted from 
the cameras on the two landers had given the viewers the urge to go on 
over the horizon to see what lay beyond. {NYT, 7 Sept 76, 21) 

The first weather report from the Viking 2 lander disclosed that Mars 
weather was almost the same in the northern latitudes as in the tropics 
this time of year, except that winds in the northern regions shifted more 
often. Dr. Seymour L. Hess of Fla. State Univ., leader of the Viking 
weather team, said the findings were as predicted, the winds changing in 
patterns similar to those in similar regions on earth. Bitterly cold temper- 
atures on the Utopia plains — warmer than at Chryse, where the nights 
were longer — were no colder than Arctic or Antarctic temperatures at 
night on earth. The soil at Utopia appeared red in the Viking 2 photo- 
graphs, but not as red as the surface at Chryse. The red color resulted 
from oxidation of iron in the Martian soil, which had an iron content of 
14%, richer in iron than almost any soil on earth. The Viking scientists 
theorized that the paler soil at Utopia resulted from the presence of 
water, which would wash out some of the redness by forming hydrates or 
sulfates with other minerals in the soil. (W Post, 8 Sept 76, A-7) 

6 September: Aviation Week magazine reported that the State Superior 
Court of Ariz, had found against aeronautical chartmaker Jeppesen 
Sanderson, sued by insurance underwriters for failing to include on the 
map of the Philippines a peak near Manila — Mt. Kamunay, nearly 1050 
m high — where four crewmen were killed in July 1971 when a Pan 
American Boeing 707 flew into the mountain. More than $5.8 million 
was awarded in damages for value of cargo and aircraft in a ruling called 
a "landmark in product liability litigation." The suit had been brought 
originally by three of the four widows, whose damage awards had not 
been set. (Av Wk, 6 Sept 76, 47) 

• Leadership of Europe's comsat programs had gravitated toward the 
U.K. — "more by accident" than by design, said an ESA official — since 
prime contractorship for those programs had fallen to Britain's Hawker 
Siddeley Dynamics within the European consortium known as MESH 
(Matra of France, ERNO of W. Germany, Saab-Scania of Sweden, Aeri- 
talia of Italy, and Fokker-VFW of Holland). Current programs included 
OTS, the orbital test satellite scheduled for launch in 1977 to evaluate 
items for an operational European telecommunications system; Marots, 
to be launched in 1978, an experimental maritime comsat; and ECS, the 
European comsat that ESA hoped to fly in the early 1980s. Aviation 
Week & Space Technology magazine reported that potential markets 
worldwide for prime-contractor capability had become so numerous that 

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September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

MESH had divided marketing responsibilities among its members accord- 
ing to their influence in various regions, HSD being strongest in Arab 
League areas and in Africa. An HSD official noted that Europe was ahead 
of the U.S. in three-axis stabilization and in higher frequencies for satellite 
communications; demonstration of effective project leadership would 
assure future success in the world market. (Av Wk, 6 Sept 76, 96) 
6-8 September: A MIG-25 (Foxbat) Soviet mach 3.2 fighter plane made an 
emergency landing at 1:57 pm (457 GMT) at the Hakodate commercial 
airport on Hokkaido, northernmost of Japan's three main islands. Pilot 
of the MIG-25, Soviet Air Force Lt. Victor I. Belenko, initially asked for 
an interpreter and a canvas cover for the plane because it contained 
"military secrets." Japanese officials, who said at first that the pilot 
would be returned to the Soviet Union if his landing was merely an 
emergency, later said Belenko had asked for political asylum and would 
be transferred to the U.S. on 8 Sept. 

Japan's Natl. Police Agency announced that Belenko was the 15th 
Soviet national to seek protection in Japan with a view to taking political 
asylum in some other country; of the previous 14, 1 1 went to the U.S. 
and 1 each to Italy, Israel, and West Germany. (FBIS, Hong Kong AFB 
in English, 6, 7 Sept; Tokyo Kyodo in English, 6, 7 Sept; Av Wk, 1 3 Sept 
76, 25; WPost, 7 Sept 76, A- 1) 

7 September: Third Century America, the bicentennial exposition on science 

and technology that opened in May at KSC, closed its gates with a 
ceremony that included music, fireworks, and cannon salutes. More than 
600 000 visitors had seen displays prepared by government agencies, 
educational institutions, and industry firms, many of which had represen- 
tatives on the outdoor stage during the closing exercises. A time capsule 
dedicated during the ceremony would remain on display at the visitor 
center with duplicates of the items contained in the capsule: 1976 coins, 
stamps, and medals; items representative of 1976 technology and life- 
style, including space-related materials; newspapers, letters, and a mail- 
order catalog. The stainless steel cylinder, enclosed in a stainless steel 
cube with a lexan plastic top, would be opened in 99 yr (on 4 July 2075) 
in preparation for the U.S. Tricentennial. (Spaceport News, 3 Sept 76, 
8; 17 Sept 76, 4) 

8 September: NASA announced that the rollout of Orbiter 101 had been set 

for 17 Sept. at the Rockwell Int'l Space Div. assembly plant at Palmdale, 
Calif, [see 1 1 Aug.]. First of NASA's Shuttle spacecraft off the assembly 
line, OV-101 was not yet scheduled for orbital flight: its first job, begin- 
ning in Jan. 1977, would be as a test vehicle. It would be launched from 
a modified Boeing 747 jetliner on which it was riding piggyback, in a 
series of approach and landing tests at Dryden Flight Research Center. 
It would then be ferried early in 1978 to Marshall Space Flight Center 
for ground vibration tests. Mated in a test stand to the 46-m external 
tank as if for an actual launch, Orbiter 101 would undergo extended 
vibration and stress loading equal to that experienced during a launch 
phase, when all the main engines — OV-101's three main engines and the 
two solid-fuel boosters — would produce up to 30 million newtons of 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

thrust. After the testing at MSFC, Orbiter 101 would be- returned to Calif, 
to be prepared for space flight; Orbiter 102 would be used in initial orbital 
flights from Kennedy Space Center, scheduled for 1979. 

Under construction since June 1974, the Orbiter's main parts came 
from various contractors: crew module and aft fuselage from Rockwell 
at Palmdale, mid fuselage (cargo bay) from General Dynamics in San 
Diego, wings from Grumman Aerospace in N.Y., and tail assembly from 
Fairchild Republic in N.Y. Orbiter's three main engines (each providing 
211 500 kg of thrust at launch) were constructed by Rockwell's Rock- 
etdyne Div. under contract to MSFC. (NASA Release 76-143; Marshall 
Star, 8 Sept 76, 1) 

• President Ford named Shuttle Orbiter 101 the Enterprise, over the objec- 

tions of NASA officials who preferred the name Constitution and had 
planned the Orbiter rollout ceremonies for 17 Sept., Constitution Day. 
NASA Administrator Dr. James C. Fletcher had paid a 45-min visit to the 
White House to brief the President on the Shuttle program and to discuss 
the naming. The name Enterprise, illustrious in U.S. naval history, had 
been given to the first nuclear-powered carrier, to a World War II 
carrier, and to an American sloop in the Revolutionary War. The name 
Constitution had met with objections that the Shuttle was considered an 
international effort in which several countries would participate. Avi- 
ation Week magazine commented on the "power of an aroused involved 
public — especially in an election year" in getting nearly 100 000 fans 
of the TV series Star Trek to sign letters and petitions asking the White 
House to have the first Orbiter named Enterprise (after the space ship in 
the series) rather than Constitution, the name favored by NASA officials. 
Av Wk said the officials were concerned about commercialization of the 
name Enterprise in association with the TV show. The Washington Star 
in an editorial said it was "pathetic" that the public desire for drama in 
outer space had not been killed by the mundane discoveries on Mars, 
Venus, and the moon, and predicted that "nothing exciting will happen 
in the real-life Enterprise," even though the naming incident confirmed 
a public desire "to associate space with adventure and suspense." 
(WPost, 9 Sept 76, E-9, A-2; W Star, 19 Sept 76, E-l; Av Wk, 13 
Sept 76, 26; 27 Sept 76, 11; Marshall Star, 15 Sept 76, 1) 

• Lewis Research Center announced award of a $73.6 million contract 

to General Dynamics Corp.'s Convair Div. for 8 Atlas-Centaur launch 
vehicles to be used in NASA missions over the next 4 yr. Launches 
would include Intelsat V comsats, High Energy Astronomical Obser- 
vatory (HEAO) satellites, FLTSATCOM satellites for a worldwide DOD 
communications system, and the Pioneer Venus mission to provide 
details on the Venus atmosphere. The fixed-price incentive contract 
would run from 3 Sept. 1976 through Sept. 1980; work would be done 
at the contractor's plant in San Diego, Calif. (NASA Release 76-154) 

• The Space Segment Board for Aerosat met at Frascati, Italy, to review 

proposals for development, production, launch, and 7 - yr operation 
of two satellites [see 22 Jan.]. The space segment of the Aerosat 
program, conducted jointly by the European Space Agency, the 

211 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, and the government of Canada, 
would provide an experimental system of satellite communications be- 
tween transoceanic aircraft and the ground, leading to guidelines for an 
operational system to be established by the Intl. Civil Aviation Or- 
ganization (ICAO). During the program, two satellites would be launched 
into geostationary orbit over the Atlantic Ocean, separated by about 25° 
longitude, with a 7-yr lifetime; the first launch would occur in 1979, and 
the second 8 mo later. The space board, representing ESA, Canada, and 
Comsat General Corp., reviewed the proposals submitted by General 
Electric, Radio Corp. of America, and TRW; all were reported to be of "a 
commendably high technical standard," but the price submitted by GE 
was below that of the other two. The board therefore authorized nego- 
tiation with GE toward award of a fixed-price contract. (Comsat General 
Release CG 76-120; ESA release 10 Sept 76) 

8-17 September: About 70 French officials, mostly from the Centre National 
d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), and about 140 Soviet representatives of the 
Cosmic Research Institute at Moscow and the Intercosmos Council of the 
Soviet Academy of Sciences met in Leningrad to review current joint 
programs and to discuss new collaborations, especially a joint in- 
vestigation (possibly in 1983) of atmospheric and surface characteristics 
of the planet Venus. Under a new protocol of 1975, the two countries 
were to work together in 1 1 specific areas including lunar and planetary 
studies. France had provided some of the equipment carried on Venera 
9 and Venera 10 to study the Venusian atmosphere; on the future 
mission, a Soviet Venus orbiter would drop French-supplied pressure 
balloons to within 55 km of the planet's surface. Joint projects included 
space biology experiments supplied by France for Cosmos 782, and a 
French spacecraft called Signe 3 to be launched by the USSR late in 1977 
and used with a Prognoz satellite for localizing and studying gamma-ray 
sources. The meeting marked the tenth anniversary of the signature of 
an intergovernmental agreement between France and the USSR on space 
cooperation. (Av Wk, 27 Sept 76, 26; FBIS, Tass in English, 9 Sept 76) 

9 September: An aviation-policy declaration issued by the Ford adminis- 
tration today went beyond a similar policy issued in 1970, the New York 
Times reported, quoting Transportation Secy. William T. Coleman, Jr., 
who drafted the policy, as saying the timing of the declaration was "85% 
coincidental" with current talks between the U.S. and Britain on Britain's 
plan to withdraw unilaterally from the Bermuda agreement on trans- 
atlantic air passenger markets. The new policy emphasized the U.S. view 
that private carriers operating without subsidy could offer the most 
efficient service to air travelers. Britain wanted a new Anglo-American 
agreement to reduce the number of transatlantic flights, giving the 
government-owned British Airways about half of what remained; it cur- 
rently had about 34% of the market. Charles Robinson, Deputy Secre- 
tary of State, had told a press conference that unilateral withdrawal from 
the Bermuda agreement was an "improper and illegal" way to force the 
reduction in flight numbers. The new U.S. statement endorsed the idea of 
trimming excess passenger capacity [see 8 Aug.] but opposed a rigid 
division of the market into equal shares, pointing out that two thirds of 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

the passengers originate in the U.S. The statement also called for more 
flexibility in charter rules, the addition of domestic feeder routes to 
strictly international carriers such as Pan Am to fill seats between 
domestic cities, and elimination of cross-subsidization (promotional dis- 
counts) so that economy-fare passengers would not subsidize bargain- 
fare customers. {NYT, 9 Sept 76, 5) 

• A nickel-zinc battery improved by space technology, installed in a utility 

van and tested against a regulation lead-acid battery, ran the delivery 
vehicle nearly twice as far at a constant speed of about 32 kph, Lewis 
Research Center announced. The improved battery would be able to 
meet the needs of 95% of the nation's drivers for a full-service urban 
vehicle and could help to reduce dependence on petroleum. The improve- 
ment consisted of an inorganic separator adapted from space battery 
technology. L.RC planned further studies of the battery's life, perform- 
ance, and competitive cost, using sample batteries in mail pickup and 
delivery vans with the cooperation of the U.S. Postal Service. (NASA 
Release 76-155) 

• The European Space Agency (ESA) announced opening of a new ground 

station near Michelstadt/Odenwald, West Germany, that would include 
two 15m-dia parabolic antennas that would be operational for the 
launches of ESA satellites Geos and Meteosat in 1977. Geos, first geo- 
stationary scientific satellite, and Meteosat, Europe's first meteoro- 
logical satellite, would remain in uninterrupted contact with the 
Odenwald station because of their geostationary orbits. The two antennas 
represented an innovation in the field of telecommunications, ESA said, 
because of a special construction: To avoid mutual interference with 
ground-to-ground links operated by the W. German post office, the 
special construction resulted in an exceptionally low sidelobe level here- 
tofore unattained, without reducing the station's telecommunications 
performance. The station would be inaugurated 14 Sept. by Hans 
Matthbfer, German minister for research and technology, and Roy Gib- 
son, ESA's director general. (ESA release 13 Sept 76) 
10 September: Scientists using a NASA S-band radar obtained the first detailed 
pictures of the surface of Venus, NASA announced. Installed at the 
Arecibo radar observatory in Puerto Rico under a $3-million NASA 
contract, the S-band system was 50 times more sensitive than equipment 
previously available for radar observations of Venus. Optical telescopes 
had been unable to penetrate the dense cloudcover of Venus, but the 
Arecibo radar had produced high-quality photograph-like images with a 
clarity like that of optical photographs of the moon taken from earth. 
Data were obtained during a series of daily 2-hr observations in the 
months before and after the close approach of Venus to the earth in late 
August 1975. 

Radar echoes of the signal from a powerful transmitter operating at 
a 12.6-cm wavelength were measured for strength, precise frequency, 
and time of arrival by a 330-m radiotelescope at Arecibo and an auxil- 
iary 30-m telescope about 10.5 km distant; the two telescopes consti- 
tuted an interferometer that enabled mapping of areas with detailed 
definition and precise location of the echoing regions. Venus features as 

213 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

small as 19 km could be distinguished. In the area about 10.25 million 
sq km mapped by the radar, scientists had observed a large basin bor- 
dered by ejecta suggesting its formation by impacts like those that 
created the maria on the moon, as well as a very bright area "about the 
size of Oklahoma" tentatively named Maxwell (for the 19th-century 
physicist) which appeared to result from processes internal to Venus — 
possibly a large eruption of lava — with long parallel ridges unlike fea- 
tures on either the earth or the moon. (NASA Release 76-153; NYT, 10 
Sept 76, A-l) 

• Part of a Soviet satellite — the rocket body from Cosmos 854, tracked by 

North American Air Defense Command radar — had fallen in Montana 
earlier this week, DOD sources reported. The rocket body, which had not 
been recovered, looked like a meteor as it passed over Washington State 
and Idaho and fell south of the Canadian border. DOD said debris from 
Soviet space vehicles had dropped on the U.S. previously, but usually in 
small pieces. (W Star, 10 Sept 76, A-5; Av Wk, 13 Sept 76, 30) 

• The European Space Agency announced selection of General Electric Co. 

to produce and launch two satellites for the Aerosat program [see 
8 Sept.], saying that the GE bid was "significantly below" that of the 
other two contenders, the RCA Corp. and TRW Inc. A GE spokesman esti- 
mated the value of the contract at $60 million, half to be spent in the U.S. 
and half to go to a consortium of foreign companies known as the Cosmos 
Group, which had formed a bidding team with GE. (NYT, 1 1 Sept 76, 33) 

• A British Airways Trident 3 collided with an Inex-Adria McDonnell Douglas 

DC-9 near Zagreb, Yugoslavia, at 1 1:34 am local time in good weather; 
the midair collision killed 1 76 persons. Three major airways converged 
over Zagreb, and four air-traffic controllers had been arrested and were 
being held on suspicion of responsibility for the disaster. Crash recorders 
from both aircraft and cockpit voice recorders were to be used in an 
initial hearing to show whether the Yugoslav transport, taking German 
tourists from Split to Cologne, was being controlled in the Serbo-Croat 
language instead of in English (the official international aviation lan- 
guage). Zagreb control had cleared the DC-9 to climb to the point where 
the collision occurred; a British Airways official said after hearing a tape 
that the Trident crew may not have seen the DC-9 or known of its 
approach. (Av Wk, 20 Sept 76, 32) 
11 September: The Air Force launched the first Block 5D advanced mete- 
orological satellite from Vandenberg AFB on a Thor-Burner 2 at 1:01 am 
local time into an orbit with 848-km apogee, 818-km perigee, 98.6° 
inclination, and 101.5-min period. The RCA-built research satellite was 
a 450-kg cylinder 6.4m long and 1.7m in diameter. USAF later reported 
that a power-system failure had apparently occurred because no commu- 
nications were coming from the Ams 1; no cause of the malfunction had 
been determined, and "chances of correcting it are grim," USAF said. 
(SSH, 31 Oct 76, 31; SBD, 21 Sept 76, 24; Av Wk, 27 Sept 76, 26) 

• The USSR launched the second operational satellite in its Statsionar 1 series, 

also known as Raduga (Rainbow), into a circular orbit at 35 900-km 
altitude, 0.3° inclination, and 1436-min period, Tass announced. Car- 



214 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

rying retransmitting equipment for continuous telephone and telegraph 
communications, Raduga would also transmit color and black-and-white 
TV programs to Central Asia and Siberia. (UPI in NYT, 14 Sept 76, 28; 
Sf, Mar 1977, 117) 

12 September: Vandals who damaged the moon rock on display at the 
National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., were not success- 
ful in obtaining a piece of the rock, said the Washington Post. The lunar 
sample, a 40-gram triangular chuck of basalt, had been imbedded in a 
block of glass so that it might be touched by museum visitors; about 2 
cubic mm had been chipped away and a missing corner of the triangle 
and a scratch over the surface had become visible in the single beam of 
light that illuminated the sample. NASA had sent experts to photograph 
the damage and to vacuum the exhibit area for any dust or small chips 
that might have come off the sample. Electronic security measures were 
being increased, and a fulltime guard had been stationed near the display, 
as a result of the incident. {W Post, 12 Sept 76, B-3; Av Wk, 27 Sept 
76, 16) 

• As Viking 2 , s lander was preparing for its scoop-and-analyze sequence on 
the rocky Utopia site of Mars, the Viking 1 orbiter fired its engines to 
shift orbit around the planet in 40° longitude jumps each day for 9 days 
before taking over the relay of communications from the Viking 2 
lander. Viking 2's orbiter would then begin a polar-orbital scan of Mars 
to search for traces of organic materials — carbon-based molecules found 
in all life forms on earth — not yet detected by Viking 1 experiments. 
Viking 1 's lander would remain in standby mode after its weeks of 
testing at the Chryse site. Project scientist Dr. Gerald A. Soffen, com- 
menting on the confusing results of the Viking 1 experiments (which 
hinted at the existence of life but offered no evidence of organic chem- 
icals), said he had been prepared for the discovery of organic chemicals 
without life, but the suggestion of Martian life without organics was 
totally unexpected. 

Just after 6 a.m. EDT on 12 Sept., the 3-meter arm of Viking 2 dug 
its first sample of Mars soil and dropped it into the hopper leading to three 
biology instruments. First cycle of the pyrolytic-release experiment 
began when the soil reached the test chamber, to be incubated in a carbon 
monoxide-carbon dioxide atmosphere containing a radioactive tracer; 
after 5 days, the atmosphere would be flushed out and the soil sample 
heated to vaporize any organic material. A detector would measure the 
radioactive carbon that had been ingested by any organisms. The gas- 
exchange detector — looking for signs of photosynthesis in the dark — 
would reveal the presence of organisms that might exhale gases such as 
oxygen or carbon dioxide through the night as well as in the daytime. 
(The first results of the same experiment on Viking 1 at Chryse had 
showed the soil was releasing six times as much gas as it would have in 
the absence of photosynthesis; a second trial had produced a signal a 
third as strong as the first, but still twice what it would have been if no 
photosynthesis were going on. Neither the readings nor their differences 
had been explained to everyone's satisfaction.) The third biological 

215 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

instrument — the labeled-release experiment — would add a nutrient liq- 
uid to the test chamber on Tuesday and monitor over 10 days the release 
of radioactive tracer from any metabolized nutrient. 

A second soil sample would be used beginning Monday, 13 Sept., for 
an organic-chemistry analysis to detect carbon molecules, and for an 
x-ray fluorescence experiment to learn the composition of inorganic 
chemicals in the Mars soil. 

Scientists believed chances of finding definite traces of life would be 
better at Utopia, where five times more water had been measured in the 
air than at Chryse. They also planned to reduce chances of ambiguity in 
the Utopia readings by conducting the photosynthesis search at night, 
and by moving a rock to take a sample of Mars soil that was shielded from 
the killing solar ultraviolet constantly impinging on the planet's surface 
and that was deeper than the sample taken at Chryse. {W Star, 12 Sept 
76, A- 14; W Post, 13 Sept 76, A-5; C Trib, 13 Sept 76, 6-16) 
13 September: A select committee of the National Academy of Sciences, 
named 2 yr ago at the request of four federal agencies, recommended a 
2-yr delay before banning aerosol sprays containing fluorocarbons. The 
group advised three "urgent" measures: drafting of legislation to regu- 
late fluorocarbon usage when the need arose; action to require labeling 
of products containing fluorocarbons, so that consumers could stop using 
them if they wished to do so; and a campaign by public health agencies 
to reduce people's overexposure to sun and the resulting malignant 
melanoma, incidence of which had been increasing by 10 to 15% a year, 
about a third of the current 8500 yearly cases being fatal. 

An international conference on threats to the stratospheric ozone, 
meeting at the State Univ. of Utah, heard Dr. James G. Anderson of the 
Univ. of Mich, report findings from a 28 July balloon flight of chlorine 
and chlorine monoxide at 35- to 42-km altitudes in quantities twice as 
abundant as predicted by theorists. The results had not been available 
when the NAS findings were issued. The NAS had said that a selective ban 
on fluorocarbon spray-can propellants would be necessary within 2 yr. 
The international conference also heard a report that nitrous oxide in the 
air was increasing steadily as a result of many factors (including fuel 
combustion and bacterial digestion of fertilizers), becoming as serious a 
threat to the stratospheric ozone as the Freons, with a 20% ozone re- 
duction possible by the end of the 20th century. Bags of exhaust gases 
obtained from a federal test center for auto emissions had shown that the 
catalytic converters designed to remove hydrocarbons from exhaust had 
permitted considerable release of nitrous oxides. Dr. R. J. Cicerone of the 
Univ. of Mich, had estimated that automobile contribution of nitrous 
oxide to the atmosphere within a yr was about a million tons. 

Researchers from the Univ. of Calif. Livermore Laboratory at Law- 
rence had told a meeting of the American Chemical Society that better 
methods of analysis were needed to permit accurate predictions of the 
effects of contaminants on the stratospheric ozone. Supersonic transport 
operations, for instance, were known to affect the stratosphere but not 
enough was known about the forty-odd possible chemical reactions at 



216 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

high altitude to say if or how the ozone layer was damaged. William H. 
Duewer, a chemist on the Livermore team, added that, even if all the 
chemistry were pinned down, the effect of SST operations could not be 
determined precisely until meteorological factors were fully accounted 
for. The next 1 or 2 yr should provide new insights into these stratos- 
pheric processes, the team said. (NYT, 14 Sept 76, 1; 17 Sept 76, A 14; 
W Post, 14 Sept 76, A-l; Av Wk, 6 Sept 76, 49) 
13-16 September: The soil-collecting arm of the Viking 2 lander apparently 
jammed some time between delivering a sample of Mars soil to the 
biology-experiment hopper on Sunday and delivering the rest of the soil 
to a second hopper leading to an x-ray analysis chamber. The first indica- 
tion of trouble came when a routine picture transmission of the sampling 
sequence failed to show the collector head, although another picture 
showed that the collector had dug a trench and collected a soil sample. 
The lander had been programmed to halt the arm motion if something 
went wrong; Project Manager James S. Martin, Jr., said more than a day 
might be needed to define the problem. (The arm on the Viking 1 lander 
had jammed twice while digging at Chryse, and both times the flight 
directors at JPL were able to get it moving again.) A command would be 
sent to the Viking 2 lander Tuesday morning, 14 Sept., to extend the 
arm from its arrested position to be photographed so the flight directors 
could see what went wrong. The halt in operations meant that the gas- 
chromatograph spectrometer intended to analyze the soil for organic 
molecules never got a sample for analysis. 

The biology experiments, which did receive soil samples, were 
progressing with their tasks. The gas-exchange experiment had already 
indicated a slower response to oxygen leaving the soil in its test chamber 
than was shown by a similar Viking 1 instrument at Chryse, where a high 
oxygen count had been considered a possible indication of life activity. 
Scientists had decided the reading probably resulted from "an exotic 
chemistry." Dr. Harold P. Klein, chief biologist on the project, said the 
lower readings at Utopia might simply indicate "less oxidizing substances 
at the Viking 2 site." The other two biology instruments were incubating 
their soil samples; both were transmitting data on background radiation 
for use as reference points later in the experiments, which would use 
radioactive counts to determine the presence of microorganisms. 

After seeing a picture of the lander's arm, showing that it had rotated 
180° instead of 45° as it should have, flight directors diagnosed the 
problem as failure of a switch. Project Manager Martin said it would be 
possible to override the switch and get the arm moving again by Friday, 
17 Sept., when flight directors would order the arm to continue delivery 
of a soil sample to the x-ray instrument. 

At a news conference 16 Sept., project scientists reported that the 
first measurements from the labeled-release experiment showed 33% 
more radioactive gas count from the Utopia sample than had come from 
the Chryse soil: 10 000 counts per minute (compared to 7500) or 20 
times the amount of gas that would be registered in the absence of 
metabolic activity. The scientists still refused to say the activity was 

217 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

proof of life, noting that, if organisms were picking up all the nutrients 
in the instrument, it should record up to 15 000 counts per minute. The 
gas-exchange experiment, which had detected some signs of activity in 
the Utopia sample but less than Viking 1 found in the Chryse sample, 
apparently provided an argument against the "exotic chemistry" theory 
because of the prolonged increase of carbon dioxide in the test chamber. 
Dr. Vance I. Oyama of Ames Research Center said of this result, which 
might be attributed to chemical reaction, "if it persisted and was accom- 
panied by other changes, we can ascribe it to biological changes." No 
decisive report had come from the pyrolytic-release experiment, consid- 
ered the least ambiguous of the detectors. 

Project geologists meanwhile were scanning the photographs from 
both Viking orbiters and landers, noting especially the enormous scale of 
Martian topography. "Everything we see is ten times anything on 
earth," said Dr. John Guest of the Univ. of London, adding that earth 
in comparison was almost as smooth as a billiard ball. Most prominent 
features on Mars were the volcano Olympus Mons whose base on earth 
would reach from New York City to Montreal, and a canyon long enough 
to stretch from New York to Salt Lake City. The plateau on which the 
Mars volcano rested stood more than 9 km high, taller than Everest, 
earth's highest mountain. Dr. Michael Carr of the U.S. Geological Survey 
suggested that the outsize features of Mars existed because of the lack 
of plate movement on the planet. Mars, like earth, appeared divided into 
two "provinces" geologically, one area heavily cratered and higher, 
therefore assumed to be older; the other area was lower and smoother, 
considered to be younger. This division might be typical of all bodies of 
the inner solar system, as a similar distribution of "provinces" appeared 
on the moon and on earth. ( W Star, 1 3 Sept 76, A-5; 1 5 Sept 76, A-2; 
WPost, 14 Sept 76, A- 12; 16 Sept 76, C-l; 17 Sept 76, A-4; NYT, 
17 Sept 76, A 14; C Trib, 18 Sept 76, 1-7) 

14 September: Marshall Space Flight Center announced plans for a day-long 
meeting 16 Sept. at MSFC to review the status of the spinning solid upper 
stage (SSUS) that would deliver spacecraft from the Space Shuttle in low 
orbit to their operational synchronous orbits. The SSUS, carrying a sat- 
ellite of the type now being launched by expendable Atlas-Centaur or 
Thor-Delta vehicles, would be launched from earth in the cargo bay of 
the Space Shuttle. In orbit, the SSUS with its payload would be extended 
from the cargo bay on a cradle with a spin table that would stabilize the 
SSUS as it ejected from the cradle, before its own engine ignited to send 
it and its payload into the proper orbit. After reaching the required 
altitude, the payload's propulsion system would position it in the desired 
orbital attitude. Industry representatives invited to the status review 
would hear presentations by NASA and Aerospace Corp. on concepts and 
current mission models for the SSUS. MSFC planned to issue requests for 
proposals for Phase B (preliminary design definition) about 1 Oct., with 
contracts being issued in Feb. Plans were to have the SSUS ready for flight 
in Dec. 1979. (MSFC Release 76-166; Av Wk, 6 Sept 76, 46) 

• The General Services Administration goofed in agreeing to an exchange of 
California property with Rockwell Intl. Corp., said Rep. Jack Brooks 

218 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

(D-Tex.), chairman of the House Committee on Government Operations. 
GSA agreed 3 yr ago to accept a $19.5-million piece of property on the 
former Rockwell AFB at Canoga Park, Calif., in exchange for a surplus 
$16-million building. No other agency had been found willing to occupy 
the Rockwell AFB property, and the corporation had claimed $1 .8 million 
worth of special installations at the former base. Rep. Brooks urged GSA 
to fight the corporation's attempt to get more out of the trade. (C Trib, 
14 Sept 76, 4-7) 

• The price of solar cells had come down, the Energy Research and Devel- 

opment Administration announced. Cells that would have cost about 
$210 ($21 a watt) 6 mo ago today cost $155 ($15.50 a watt). "This 
26% price drop in just 6 mo shows that our research and development 
program is making significant progress," said Dr. Henry H. Marvin, 
director of ERDA's division of solar energy. "However, we have a long 
way to go to meet our 1986 goal of 50<t a peak watt." At the goal price, 
Dr. Marvin said, solar cells could compete with electric power from 
conventional sources; even at the present high cost, solar cells were 
competitive for special uses, such as recharging batteries at remote 
microwave stations operated by railroads and highway departments in 
southwestern states. Manufacture and sale of solar cells for such uses 
doubled in the past 18 mo, and the price during that period had dropped 
almost 50%. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory would manage solar-cell 
purchase contracts for ERDA, the announcement said, to establish tech- 
nical feasibility of uses ranging from remote power sources to integration 
with existing power systems. (ERDA Release 76-290) 

• Cosmonauts from 8 "socialist member-countries of the Intercosmos pro- 

gram" would join crews from the USSR in space beginning in 1978, the 
official Soviet news agency Tass announced. Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shatalov, 
chief of training for the cosmonaut program, said that timing of such 
flights would depend on the readiness of technology and preparedness of 
the crews: the crew commander would be a Soviet flyer, and the flight 
engineer and research engineer would represent another participating 
country. Crewmembers from Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Cuba, 
Mongolia, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia would train at the Yuri 
Gagarin Center near Moscow where Soviet cosmonauts have trained. 
Intercosmos is an association of Communist nations that had already 
cooperated in launching 16 unmanned satellites, the New York Times 
noted; the only men in space so far had been either Soviet or American. 
(FBIS, Moscow Tass in English, 15 Sept 76; NYT, 15 Sept 76, 72; 
WPost, 15 Sept 76, A- 14) 
15 September: The U.S. Air Force launched a Lockheed-built photo- 
reconnaissance satellite into a polar orbit from Vandenberg AFB on a 
Titan IIIB-Agena D. Initial orbital elements were 342-km apogee, 
132-km perigee, 96.4° inclination, and 89.2-min period. The space- 
craft was a 3000-kg cylinder 8m long and 1.5m in diameter. The last 
previous satellite of this type, launched 22 March, had reentered 
1 8 May. (Av Wk, 4 Oct 76, 26; USAF anno. 1 5 Sept 76; Sf, March 1 977, 
117) 



219 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

• Johnson Space Center announced receipt of delivery on the second of two 

Space Shuttle training aircraft. The first had been delivered 8 June 
1976. The modified Grumman Gulfstream II twin-engine jet, flown to 
Ellington AFB from the plant in N.Y., would simulate Shuttle Orbiter 
handling qualities, performance, and flight-control procedures during 
subsonic flight phase, from 10.6-km altitude to simulated Orbiter touch- 
down. Crew training for approach and landing tests of the Shuttle Orbiter 
would begin late in Oct. (JSC Release 76-58) 

• Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. officially opened a facility in Sunnyvale, 

Calif., to manufacture a unique all-silica insulation refined from common 
sand from which 34 000 "tiles" would be made to cover 70% of the 
Shuttle Orbiter's surface. The material was said to be so efficient that it 
could be held with bare hands while red-hot; it could be taken from an 
oven at 1533K and plunged immediately into cold water without dam- 
age. The tiles would be expected to survive such temperatures through 
100 flights with only minor maintenance, making the Shuttle a truly 
reusable space transportation system. Each tile would be milled to match 
the curvature of the Shuttle surface at the exact point to which it would 
be attached; the JSC Roundup said the task of fitting the tiles to the 
spacecraft skin would be like assembling a three-dimensional jigsaw 
puzzle twice the size of a basketball court. No two tiles in a "shipset" 
would be exactly alike. (JSC Roundup, 24 Sept 76, 2) 

• Soviet scientists studying the movement of Phobos and Deimos, moons of 

Mars, had discovered that the speed of revolution of Phobos was increas- 
ing, Izvestia reported. The USSR's institute of theoretical astronomy had 
processed nearly 5000 observations of the Martian satellites from vari- 
ous observatories worldwide over the past 100 yr. Phobos was found to 
revolve at a distance of 9400 km from the center of Mars; Deimos was 
in an orbit 2.5 times further away. The acceleration of Phobos over the 
years was believed to be caused by a so-called tidal interaction with Mars, 
and meant that — "in several tens of millions of years from now" — it 
would fall on to the planet. (FBIS, 15 Sept 76) 
15-27 September: The USSR launched Soyuz 22 into earth orbit 15 Sept. at 
12:48 pm Moscow time (5:48 am EDT) from the Baykonur cosmodrome 
near Tyuratam. Orbital parameters were: apogee 280 km, perigee 
250 km, inclination 65°, period 89.6 min. The spacecraft, carrying 
cosmonauts Col. Valery Bykovsky and civilian Vladimir Aksenov, was 
the first manned Soviet craft to carry foreign-made equipment — a "mul- 
tizonal" photographic instrument made by the "state-owned enterprise" 
Karl Zeiss Jena of East Germany. In a preflight interview, Bykovsky said 
the camera would occupy "a whole section of the Soyuz spaceship." 
Previously, "Intercosmos" instruments developed by other socialist 
countries had been installed only on unmanned Soviet satellites. The 
Zeiss MKF-6 photographic unit was designed "to simultaneously photo- 
graph the earth's surface in six different wave bands," four visible and 
two infrared, according to a Tass broadcast. Journalists were permitted 
to inspect the spacecraft's interior, where the "photographic section" 
had been installed in the space usually occupied by the docking compart- 



220 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

ment. Izvestia announced that the docking equipment had been removed 
and that Soyuz 22 would therefore make no attempt to dock with Salyut 
5, vacated only 3 wk earlier by the Soyuz 21 crew. Soyuz 22 had been 
constructed as a backup vehicle for last year's Apollo-Soyuz test flight, 
Izvestia said. (FBIS, Tass in English, 15-16 Sept 76; Intl Service in 
Russian, 15 Sept 76; W Star, 15 Sept 76, A-4, 16 Sept 76, A-4; NYT, 
16 Sept 76, 21; W Post, 16 Sept 76, A18; Av Wk, 20 Sept 76, 25) 

Moscow radio said 16 Sept. that Soyuz 22 photographed the earth's 
surface and the upper layers of its atmosphere with the Zeiss multi- 
spectral camera built in East Germany for this mission. Pictures of the 
Soviet Union would be used in agriculture, forestry, and geology re- 
search; Anatoly Alexandrov, president of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 
said the new equipment promised much to the Soviet economy in those 
fields as well as in mineral prospecting. One unusual task was the study 
of color effects caused by cosmic-ray particles in light-sensitive cells of 
the eye. The cosmonauts also took samples of the cabin air to record 
changes in its composition during the flight. 

Tass reported 20 Sept. that Soyuz 22 had taken pictures of objects 
that had never been "targets of space photography": the northern 
regions of the Soviet Union, with simultaneous earth and aerial photog- 
raphy to provide the fullest possible comparative data on surface phe- 
nomena and processes. 

The cosmonauts were concluding their final photography sessions 

22 Sept. in preparation for their return to earth, the Moscow domestic 
service reported, packing tapes, logbooks, and other materials in the 
landing module and checking its engine. 

After spending 8 days in orbit, the crew of Soyuz 22 soft-landed 

23 Sept. at 10:42 am Moscow time (3:42 am EDT) about 150 km 
northwest of Tselinograd in Kazakhstan. Cosmonauts Bykovsky and 
Aksenov were feeling well, Tass reported, and the flight data were being 
processed and studied. 

Soyuz 22 's East German-made Zeiss multispectral camera did not 
survive the mission; it was built into the orbital module, normally jetti- 
soned before Soviet reentry procedures. The flight director, cosmonaut 
Aleksey Yeliseyev, emphasized that the crew "enjoyed a large measure 
of independence in controlling the ship and in carrying out various 
investigations." Vladimir Shatalov, in charge of cosmonaut training, said 
that Bykovsky (as commander of Soyuz 22) oriented and stabilized the 
ship so that Aksenov (as flight engineer) could position and operate the 
camera. The crew "carried out all operations ... by heart, so to say, 
without consulting their instructions," Tass reported. 

Postflight medical checks performed at the Baykonur cosmodrome 
near Leninsk showed the Soyuz 22 cosmonauts to be in good health, 
Tass reported 27 Sept. One of the scientific directors of the mission said 
that all twelve of the photo cassettes brought back from Soyuz 22 were 
in good condition, and that the crew had completed "an immense amount 
of research" in space during their week-long expedition. 



221 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine noted that launching 
Soyuz 22 on a mission that did not dock with a Salyut space station 
contradicted an earlier statement by cosmonaut Pyotr Klimuk, com- 
mander of the Soyuz 18 mission to Salyut 4, who had told a COSPAR 
meeting in June that no more Soyuz vehicles would fly missions indepen- 
dent of the Salyut stations. {Av Wk, 27 Sept 76, 20; FBIS, Moscow 
domestic service in Russian, 16 Sept 76, 17 Sept 76, 22 Sept 76, 27 Sept 
76; FBIS, Tass in English, 17-20 Sept 76, 23 Sept 76, 27 Sept 76) 
17 September: The Enterprise — Space Shuttle Orbiter 101, described by 
NASA as the flagship of "the new era of space transportation" and by Sen. 
Barry M. Goldwater (R-Ariz.) as "probably the best investment the U.S. 
Congress has ever made" — was rolled out of Rockwell Intl.'s assembly 
facility at Palmdale, Calif., just before 1 pm EDT, to the strains of the 
theme from the Star Trek TV show and applause from about 2000 
spectators. The audience included Sen. John B. Tunney (D-Calif.); Rep. 
Olin E. Teague (D-Tex.), chairman of the House Committee on Science 
and Technology; and Rep. William M. Ketchum (R-Calif.), "represent- 
ing Antelope Valley" where the Orbiter was built. Also on hand were 
test-flight crewmen Fred W. Haise, Joe H. Engle, Charles G. Fullerton, 
and Richard H. Truly, the astronaut team who would put the Orbiter 
through approach and landing tests scheduled for 1979. Special guests 
were six members of the original Star Trek cast and ST creator Gene 
Roddenberry [see 8 Sept.]. 

NASA Administrator James C. Fletcher told those attending that the 
ceremony was "a proud moment" that would mean "the evolution to 
man in space — not just astronauts." (Plans called for the Orbiter to serve 
as an all-purpose space trainer, carrying a crew of two or more plus up 
to five scientific or technological investigators working in space in a 
shirtsleeve environment.) Willard F. Rockwell, Jr., board chairman of 
Rockwell Intl., predicted "one of the most exciting chapters in American 
history" in the productive use of space that the Shuttle would make 
possible. 

The first Shuttle in orbit was to carry 4500 kg of instruments to 
measure stress, and the second, a small satellite to be left in orbit; the 
last of six orbital test flights would carry a payload of about 30 000 kg 
or as many as six satellites to be left in orbit at altitudes up to 160 km. 

Resembling "a space-bound DC-9," according to Thomas O'Toole in 
the Washington Post, the Enterprise was more than 36.5 m long and 
weighed nearly 70 000 kg, having gained more than 2200 kg over the 
past 2 yr. Strengthening the wings, landing-gear and payload-bay doors, 
parts of the fuselage, and the enormous fuel tanks during Shuttle devel- 
opment had added to both the weight and the cost of the vehicle, meaning 
that its price would be more than the $5.2 billion (in 1971 dollars) 
estimated by NASA. One change alone, from aluminum to a boron-epoxy 
composite for landing-gear doors, would cost about $9000 per kg to save 
112 kg of weight. Replacing aluminum castings in the fuselage with 
titanium would cost about $18 000 a kg to save slightly more than 
200 kg of weight. 



222 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



September 



Sen. Goldwater reminded those at the rollout that the first U.S. 
manned orbital flight (that of John Glenn in Friendship 7 ) had occurred 
14 yr previously, in Feb. 1962, and predicted that the Space Shuttle 
would make manned space flight a "routine" experience. (NASA Release 
76-149; NYT, 18 Sept 76, 1, 8; W Post, 18 Sept 76, A-2; W Star, 
18 Sept 76, A-l; C Trib, 18 Sept 76, 1-7, 2-7; Av Wk, 20 Sept 76, 
12; 27 Sept 76, 12; KSC Spaceport News, 17 Sept 76, 1; JSC Roundup, 
24 Sept 76, 1) 

• NASA announced plans to launch a third maritime satellite, Marisat-C, for 
Comsat General Corp. from Cape Canaveral on a Delta rocket 14 Oct. 
Marisat 1, launched 19 Feb., was in orbit over the Atlantic Ocean at 
15°W; Marisat 2, launched 9 June, was in orbit over the mid-Pacific 
at 176.5°. The two Marisats currently provided communications ser- 
vices to the U.S. Navy as well as fulltime commercial voice and data 
communications to the maritime industry; Marisat-C, which would be in 
synchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean, would be used initially only by 
the Navy, which planned to lease UHF capacity it found to be surplus. 
Comsat General would reimburse NASA for the cost of launch vehicle, 
launch, and other administrative expenses, and would supply all ground- 
station support. (NASA Release 76-156) 

18-20 September: The Viking 2 lander signaled to mission scientists at JPL 
that its sample-collecting arm was working and had moved toward the 
x-ray instrument that would analyze the mineral content of the Mars soil. 
If the collector had delivered its sample and the analysis was proceeding, 
the signal expected on the next relay would confirm that the arm was 
available for further sampling. The mission scientists said they planned 
to instruct the arm to turn over a rock on the surface and take a sample 




Enterprise— Space Shuttle Orbiter 101— on public display for the first time at Rockwell's 
Palmdale, Calif., facility, 17 Sept. 1981. (NASA 76-H-854) 



223 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

from the underlying soil that had not been exposed to lethal ultraviolet 
rays. Geologists had characterized the appearance of nearby soil struc- 
ture as resembling "caliche," a calcium carbonate crust formed on earth 
surfaces by evaporation of water that deposited mineral salts on the soil 
particles and cemented them together. The cementing action might 
increase the difficulty of dislodging a rock with the lander arm, but 
scientists noted the ease with which the arm had taken the first sample. 
As the content of that first Viking 2 sample so closely resembled that 
from the Viking 1, scientists wanted to try for a sample with different 
properties, especially some trace of carbon-based chemicals that would 
indicate life processes. The caliche sample would be taken 25 Sept. and 
the attempt to move a rock would be made 8 Oct., a 3-hr strategy 
meeting decided 20 Sept. Project Manager James S. Martin, Jr., said the 
x-ray instrument had never received its sample for analysis, so a sample 
for it would be dug 3 Oct. An editorial in the New York Times asked 
whether, in the absence of carbon compounds, the mission scientists 
should consider the possibility of Martian life based on some chemical 
other than carbon. (Mission Status Bulletin 42; NYT, 19 Sept 76, 29; 
20 Sept 76, 32; W Post, 19 Sept 76, A 12; 20 Sept 76, A-5; W Star, 
19 Sept 76, A-2) 

19 September: A NASA study reported that relocation of crew training and 

mission-control activities from Johnson Space Center in Tex. to Cape 
Canaveral in Fla. would offer "no management, technical or budgetary 
advantages" and "would seriously affect a smoothly functioning, highly 
efficient organization" at JSC, delaying the Space Shuttle program by up 
to 2 yr. The study, requested in June 1975 by Rep. Don Fuqua (D-Fla.), 
chairman of a subcommittee on space science and applications of the 
House Committee on Science and Technology, said that relocation would 
cost up to $842 million by 1983, and that the funds would not be 
recoverable. (NYT, 19 Sept 76, 24) 

20 September: Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine reported that 

the first hitch in operations of the Viking 2 lander — trouble with its 
digging arm — had been solved: the problem turned out to be in a micro- 
switch. Ground control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Calif, had 
commanded the lander's computer to ignore signals from the malfunc- 
tioning switch in future digs. If the corrective commands freed the arm 
for duty, the experiments needing soil samples would begin receiving 
them and results would become available within a week or 10 days. 
Viking 2 's lander cameras had returned excellent pictures of the Utopia 
terrain around the landing site; the meteorological experiment was col- 
lecting and returning weather data regularly; and the seismometer 
(whose parallel on Viking 1 was never uncaged) was ready to monitor 
marsquakes, the magazine said. (Av Wk, 20 Sept 76, 25, 58-61) 
• The council of Intersputnik — the International Organization for Cosmic 
Telecommunications — ended its fifth meeting in Berlin after 4 days of 
deliberations. Attending were delegations from Bulgaria, Hungary, the 
German Democratic Republic, Cuba, Mongolia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, 
and the USSR; also attending were observers from the Intl. Organization 



224 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

for Radio and Television (OIRT), Intercosmos, and the Standing Commis- 
sion for Post and Telecommunications (CEMA). The meeting adopted 
documents on the use of technical installations for transmitting TV, radio, 
telephone, telegraph, pictures, and data by satellite. (FBIS, ADN Intl. 
Service in German, 20 Sept 76) 

• Evaluation of data and pictures from a dendrite-remelting experiment flown 

in Dec. 1975 on a space processing applications rocket (SPAR 1) 
confirmed the belief that space processing could produce better materials 
than was possible on earth, NASA announced. The experiment, one of nine 
sent to a 225-km altitude for about 5 min of near weightlessness, 
included a camera to record solidification of aluminum chloride solution 
in a transparent vial in the absence of gravity. No fluid motion was 
detected in the liquid, which solidified uniformly without the formation 
of crystals (dendrites) that broke off and settled to the bottom of the 
solution in a control experiment on earth. This experiment was the first 
in which scientists had viewed the process of solidification under weight- 
less conditions, said the co-investigators, Carolyn Griner and Dr. Mary 
Helen Johnston of Marshall Space Flight Center. Controlling the crystal- 
line structure of materials would enable scientists to make them uni- 
formly strong to meet specific needs. (NASA Release 76-159; MSFC 
Release 76-167) 

• Nine sites for the world's first solar electric-power plant had been proposed 

by utility companies and government units in the U.S. in response to a 
request in July 1976, the Energy Research and Development Adminis- 
tration announced. Sites suggested were in Arizona, California, Florida, 
Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and Texas. The agency planned 
to complete an evaluation and negotiate a contract with the selected 
proposer early in 1977; the selected proposer would become a partner 
with ERDA in constructing and operating a plant to generate electric 
power from high-pressure steam produced by concentrated power from 
the sun. Power from this pilot plant would be distributed by the utility to 
its customers; the plant would produce 10 Mw (10 000 kw) under 
optimum full-sun conditions, enough to supply a community of 10 000 
population. Construction of the plant would begin in 1978 and reach 
completion in 1980, at an estimated cost of $100 million. (ERDA Release 
76-294) 
20-25 September: The committee on planetary and lunar exploration of the 
Space Science Board began meeting 20 Sept. at the Calif. Inst, of 
Technology to consider proposals for future space exploration, including 
a radar mission to Mars to determine the thickness of the ice at the polar 
caps and investigate the terracing of the planet as a clue to past climate. 
Terrace edges in both polar regions had been found to lie along concen- 
tric circles centered close to, but not identically with, the poles. Scientists 
had suggested the terraces were formed when Mars was spinning around 
a slightly different axis under climate conditions other than those at 
present. A change in the Viking 1 orbiter's path to take over commu- 
nications relay for the Viking 2 lander would free the Viking 2 orbiter 
by 24 Sept. to proceed with a polar-observing mission. 



225 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

The Viking 2 lander's pyrolytic-release instrument, which had been 
directed to look for evidence of photosynthesis activity in a dry Mars soil 
sample in the dark to avoid ambiguity, had returned an ambiguous 
reading, said Dr. Norman H. Horowitz of the Calif. Inst, of Technology, 
who designed the instrument. The count of radioactive molecules re- 
leased during the analysis was 21 per minute, far less than the 96 per 
minute counted in the first similar assay by the Viking 1 lander, but 
more than the 1 5 counts per minute the instrument would show in the 
absence of photosynthesis. The puzzled scientists planned another sam- 
pling, this time with a moistened sample under a sun simulator, which had 
been omitted from the first run to prevent overheating the Viking 2 
instrument, working in a location warmer than the Chryse area tested by 
Viking 1. 

Although neither of the Viking landers had turned up more than a 
suggestion of life, Viking 2 had confirmed the presence of water on 
Mars, and more than had been expected, project scientists announced at 
a JPL news conference 22 Sept. The permanent northern polar cap was 
found to be composed entirely of frozen water, not of frozen carbon 
dioxide as had been thought. A thin layer of dry ice covering the polar 
caps during most of the Martian year had suggested that both caps 
consisted of frozen carbon dioxide. Two Viking 2 orbiter measurements 
that led to the discovery were the unusually high water-vapor content in 
the atmosphere over the northern pole, and the average-surface- 
temperature readings on the icecap, which were too warm for frozen 
carbon dioxide to exist. Dr. Hugh Kieffer of UCLA predicted that a survey 
of the south polar cap would find it also made entirely of water ice. The 
new evidence suggested that, when first formed, Mars might have had 
twice as much water as the earth had at a similar period in its devel- 
opment; even now, scientists described Mars as "a planet-size iceberg." 
Other Viking instruments had detected traces of krypton and xenon in 
the Mars atmosphere. This discovery was the first clue that the planet 
once had a considerably denser atmosphere that could have supported 
liquid water and even rainfall. Dr. Gerald Soffen, chief Viking scientist, 
said that the krypton finding was a "major marker" that would permit 
deductions about the origin of the Mars atmosphere. 

On Saturday, 25 Sept., mission scientists at JPL were "relieved" to see 
photographs transmitted by Viking 2 showing that the lander had fol- 
lowed an order radioed from earth to dig a trench and dump the soil 
sample into the organic analyzer to screen it for 2 wk in a search for 
microorganisms. (Mission Status Bulletin 44; NYT, 21 Sept 76, 18; 26 
Sept 76, 5; W Post, 23 Sept 76, A-2; 24 Sept 76, A-2; 26 Sept 76, 
A-6; WStar, 23 Sept 76, A-3; 26 Sept 76, A- 14) 
21 September: NASA announced selection of Western Union Telegraph Co. 
and RCA Global Communications, Inc., for competitive negotiations lead- 
ing to award of a single contract to provide tracking and data-relay 
satellite services (TDRSS) to support earth-orbiting spacecraft for 10 yr 
beginning in 1980. Goddard Space Flight Center would manage procure- 
ment of two relay satellites in synchronous earth orbit, plus ground- 



226 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

terminal facilities to be located at White Sands, N.M. The system would 
support all of NASA's scientific, applications, and manned spacecraft 
missions in earth orbit up to 5000-km altitude, including Space Shuttle, 
Spacelab, and the automated spacecraft which the Shuttle would insert 
into orbit in the 1980s. TDRSS, when fully operational, would provide 
coverage over 85 to 100% of each orbit as compared to a present 
average of 15%, and permit closing down many government-owned 
ground stations and leased communications circuits now needed to sup- 
port earth-orbiting satellites in the Spaceflight Tracking and Data Net- 
work (STDN); portions of the latter system would be retained only for 
synchronous satellites and those in higher altitude elliptical earth orbits. 
(NASA Release 76-158) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced development of a solar 

concentrator-collector that would use a large plastic Fresnel lens to 
focus sunlight on a tube containing heat-transport fluid, for use in con- 
structing or converting cooling systems in large buildings or in manu- 
facturing processes requiring heat in the 200-370°C range. A Fresnel 
lens, consisting of a thin transparent material grooved on one surface, 
would serve the function of a heavier ordinary curved lens in focusing 
incoming light in the desired direction. MSFC's lens, thought to be the 
largest tried in a solar-energy application, was assembled from multiple 
lens panels and measured 1 .8 by 3.6 meters; it had been undergoing tests 
at Wyle Laboratories in Huntsville since July 1976. It would be moved 
to MSFC and integrated into a solar test bed for further analysis of 
performance. Primary advantage of the Fresnel lens would be its adapt- 
ability to mass-production techniques, permitting low cost; besides the 
light weight and space saving of the acrylic plastic, MSFC cited durability 
and mechanical strength, as well as ease of cleaning, of lenses exposed 
to weather. The test article, to minimize technology requirements and to 
interface with existing systems, used off-the-shelf materials and hard- 
ware as fully as possible. MSFC findings would be made available to 
industry after further testing and evaluation. (MSFC Release 76-169) 

• MSFC announced selection of two NASA payload specialists and a backup for 

ASSESS II, a Spacelab simulation project to be flown in May 1977 in a 
four-engine jet aircraft. ASSESS II, a joint mission of NASA and the Euro- 
pean Space Agency (ESA), would use the two U.S. payload specialists and 
two selected by ESA [see 27 Aug.]. The two selected, both of the Jet 
Propulsion Laboratory, were Dr. Robert T. Menzies and David S. Biliu; 
Leon B. Weaver of MSFC was chosen as the backup. Dr. Menzies would 
be principal investigator (Pi) for the laser absorption spectrometer experi- 
ment; Biliu was a member of JPL's synthetic-aperture radar research 
team; Weaver, a veteran of the ASSESS Lear 4 mission of Oct. 1974 and 
presently assistant mission manager, would represent MSFC's Spacelab 
Payload Projects Office, and was selected from a group already involved 
in ASSESS II whose experience would permit training at minimal cost. The 
ASSESS II payload would include both NASA and ESA experiments in earth 
resources, monitoring of atmospheric pollution, and infrared astronomy. 
(MSFC Release 76-170; Marshall Star, 22 Sept 76, 4) 



227 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

• A year-long cooperative experiment using Ats 6 in a mission called SITE — 

Satellite Instructional Television Experiment — to broadcast daily pro- 
grams on agriculture, health and hygiene, family planning, and national 
integration to an estimated 5 million persons in 2400 remote villages in 
India never before exposed to television had "met its primary goal," said 
Prof. Yash Pal, director of the space applications center operated by the 
Indian Space Research Organization at Ahmadabad. Ats 6 had relayed 
the programs, broadcast from a ground station near Ahmadabad, to small 
ground terminals consisting of conventional TV receivers augmented with 
small electronic components and inexpensive antennas of chickenwire 
mesh, all built in India; another 2600 terminals near conventional TV 
stations had rebroadcast the instructional material to cities and nearby 
villages. 

Before the programs began, teams of Indian social scientists and 
engineers had visited more than 6000 villages to select the ones to 
receive SITE transmissions; an individual in each village had to be 
identified as TV-set caretaker, and a public site — usually a school — 
selected as the viewing center, so that "weaker sections of village soci- 
ety" could be assured of equal access to the TV programs. As some 
appropriate villages lacked electricity, these had to be supplied with 
power, a valuable side effect of the experiment. Programs for SITE had 
been developed by India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 
collaboration with ISRO; program content and format had to be kept 
simple because of the high rate of adult illiteracy. More than 1200 hr of 
diversified content were broadcast during the experiment; attendance 
was particularly high for programs related to animal husbandry and 
agriculture. Children's programs were received enthusiastically, with 
resulting improvement in school attendance, and many students brought 
younger members of the family to view the programs. 

One yr of experimental TV would not "change the face of our vil- 
lages," said Prof. Pal, but it had created "a cadre of dedicated people 
and the methodology necessary to sustain an ongoing program." As a 
follow-on, the Indian government would construct ground transmitters in 
six cluster areas of villages to include about 40% of those involved in 
SITE, to resume the educational programs by early 1977. (NASA Release 
76-157) 

• The DOI) did not really want the Space Shuttle, charged Sen. William 

Proxmire (D-Wis.), and NASA had "conned Congress into buying a pig 
in the poke" in its efforts to obtain funds for Shuttle development. DOD 
had shown that it did not want the Shuttle by its actions, said Proxmire, 
citing DOO's statement that it would "under no circumstances" pay f° r 
the fourth and fifth Shuttle orbiters, and the DOD decision to go forward 
with a new satellite communications system (DSCS-III) "which will not 
capitalize on the unique advantages of the Shuttle . . . [but] is to be 
compatible with both the Shuttle and the present Titan III-C." Proxmire 
charged that the DSCS decision was based not on a 9-mo wait for the 
Shuttle, but on the fact that "DOD has little confidence in a cost-effective 
operational Shuttle." Proxmire also cited a General Accounting Office 



228 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

report issued in April that DOD would pay less to launch its satellites on 
expendable vehicles than on the Shuttle through 1990-1991, assuming 
that DOD did not plan to recover and reuse any of its satellites. (SBD, 
24 Sept 76, 105) 

• William Allan Patterson, pioneer of many firsts in the airline industry, 

would receive the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy at an annual dinner 
in Dec. sponsored by the Natl. Aeronautic Assn., announced NAA 
President John P. Henebry. The 77-yr-old Patterson, who retired as 
board chairman of United Airlines in 1963, had joined Boeing Company 
in 1929 and in 1934 was elected president of United (created in 1931 
by Boeing's merger with 3 other airlines to form a transcontinental 
system), a position he held for 29 yr. Patterson had declared himself most 
proud of establishing in 1930 the occupation of air stewardess; he had 
been instrumental in passage of the Federal Aviation Act in 1958, 
establishing a single federal agency with full authority for air traffic 
control, and in obtaining appropriation of federal funds for installation of 
landing and navigation aids at major airports across the U.S. The trophy, 
a miniature silver copy of the plane flown by the Wright Brothers at Kitty 
Hawk in 1903, had been awarded yearly by the NAA for significant public 
service of enduring value to aviation in the U.S. (NAA release, 21 Sept 76) 

22 September: Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory successfully used 
a computer system to orient sensors on high-altitude balloons orbiting the 
earth on observation flights of up to 100 days, NRL announced. The 
long-duration missions were required to monitor high-energy solar flares, 
cosmic gamma-ray bursts, and transient x-ray sources. The NRL system, 
designed for superpressure balloons flying at 40-km altitude, used a 
microcomputer programmable for as many as 32 observation tasks, 
which could be modified in flight by ground command. An L-band telem- 
etry link from the balloon permitted receipt and recording of data on 
position and sidereal time, used by the microcomputer to orient the 
detector. Data could be relayed through geosynchronous satellites, using 
the computer to orient a high-gain antenna toward the satellite. Real- 
time long-duration monitoring by balloons could offer a low-cost and 
frequently more sensitive alternative to satellite experiments, NRL stated. 
(NRL Release 44-7-76B) 

26 September: Pilot training for the Space Shuttle would begin in October at 
White Sands Missile Range, the Washington Post reported, with 
instructors completing their training by mid-October. Two of the instruc- 
tors — David Griggs and Ted Mendenhall — were scheduled to make prac- 
tice approaches at the range 29 September; chief instructor Al Manson 
and copilot Ed Rainey made a similar test in August. Aircraft used in the 
Shuttle training are modified Grumman Gulfstream II jets fitted with 
Shuttle orbiter controls and instrumentation. (W Post, 26 Sept 76, A20) 

• Both the United States and the USSR were working on ways to shoot down 

enemy satellites in earth orbit, reported Henry S. Bradsher in the Wash- 
ington Star. Commenting on a Department of Defense disclosure of 
"aggressive basic technology research efforts" to protect U.S. satellites 
from a potential Soviet threat, Bradsher noted that the DOD previously 



229 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

had refused to comment on U.S. work on so-called satellite killers [see 
27 July] and had tended to play down any Soviet danger. With the DOD 
announcement came word that the USSR had conducted 3 satellite- 
destruction tests this year; it had conducted 5 tests of such systems 
between 1968 and 1971, but had dropped them, leading Pentagon 
officials to think the program had been halted in accordance with 1972 
agreements that limited strategic defense armament (SALT I) and 
antiballistic-missile systems. The agreements had been based on each 
side's ability to monitor the other's compliance by means of recon- 
naissance satellites; however, recent reconnaissance photographs had 
been interpreted as showing Soviet launch pads carrying satellite-killer 
systems. 

Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf had stated 25 Sept. that 
the Soviet Union was presumed to be working on guidance systems that 
could destroy targets such as over-the-horizon naval warfare missiles, 
greatly heightening the threat to U.S. warships. Asked if the U.S. were 
developing satellite-killers, Middendorf replied, "We're working in that 
direction." The Pentagon at first refused to comment on a satellite- 
destruction program, but released a statement when pressed about Mid- 
dendorf s answer. (W Star, 26 Sept 76, A-l) 

27 September: NASA was preparing to issue requests for proposals in Jan. 

1977 for the Large Space Telescope, resulting in contractor selection 
during the next year if Congress approved the fiscal 1978 funding 
requested, said Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. NASA 
also hoped to issue an announcement of scientific opportunity to the 
scientific community in Feb., asking for scientific instruments to be 
carried on the first mission of the 2.4-meter telescope. (Av Wk, 27 Sept 
76, 9) 

28 September: MSFC announced launchings of two giant helium-filled poly- 

ethylene balloons carrying cosmic-ray detectors, last week's flight for a 
French-Danish team investigating isotopic composition of primary cos- 
mic rays, the upcoming flight to evaluate instrumentation for a planned 
HEAO launch and for other Space Shuttle experiments. The HEAO flight 
scheduled for 1979 would survey and map gamma-ray and cosmic-ray 
flux. The balloon launch site near Sioux Falls, S.D., was chosen because 
earth magnetic -field lines there would deflect fewer cosmic rays, and the 
low population density and open terrain facilitated payload recovery. The 
balloons would reach an altitude of about 41 km, above 99.6% of earth's 
atmosphere (which fragments cosmic rays), and remain aloft for 40 to 
60 hr sending data to the ground. Upon electronic command from the 
ground, the instrument payloads would separate from the balloons and 
return to earth by parachute; the balloons would be destroyed by ground 
command over unpopulated areas. Telemetry tapes and recovered in- 
struments would go to the investigators for analysis. (MSFC Release 
76-172) 

29 September: NASA announced award of a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to 

evaluate a fuel-saving concept applicable to commercial subsonic trans- 
port aircraft. The three companies selected were Boeing Co., McDonnell 



230 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

Douglas Corp., and Lockheed Aircraft Corp.; each company estimated 
its portion of the contract to be about $ 1 .6 million. The 24-mo contract, 
to be managed by Langley Research Center, would be for a study of 
laminar flow control by use of an air-suction system built into aircraft 
skin surfaces to remove boundary-layer air before it could cause drag and 
air turbulence that would reduce aircraft speed. (NASA Release 76-161) 

• Meetings in Ardashat, Armenia, between Soviet and American scientists on 
space biology and manned flight safety had concluded, announced the 
Yerevan domestic radio news service. The meeting heard reports on 
results of the Apollo-Soyuz joint space mission, and proposed subjects for 
discussion at another meeting to be held in the U.S. in 1977. The 
government of the Armenian Republic gave a reception to honor the 
participants. (FBIS, Yerevan in Armenian, 29 Sept 76) 

30 September: Veteran astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, Apollo commander of 
the U.S. -Russian Apollo-Soyuz mission of July 1975, received the Gen. 
Thomas D. White Space Trophy for 1975, the Natl. Geographic Society 
announced. Gen. David C. Jones, USAF Chief of Staff, presented the 
award, honoring the late Air Force Chief of Staff and given annually to 
the member of the Air Force, military or civilian, who contributed most 
significantly in the preceding yr to U.S. progress in aerospace. Maj. Gen. 
Stafford's citation noted "outstanding contributions ... by his partici- 
pation in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project . . . [He] was instrumental in es- 
tablishing the necessary rapport and spirit of cooperation vital to the 
success of the mission. Under his leadership, the Apollo crew laid the 
basic groundwork for future international technological achievements in 
space and proved that the United States is the acknowledged leader in 
space exploration." Attending the ceremony with Stafford's Air Force 
colleagues and officers of the Natl. Geographic Society were former 
astronaut Michael Collins, now director of the National Air and Space 
Museum, and Dr. Robert C. Seamans, formerly Secretary of the Air 
Force and Deputy Administrator of NASA, now Administrator of the 
Energy Research and Development Administration. (NGS release, 
30 Sept 76) 

During September: Ames Research Center's Astrogram published an inter- 
view with the center's first female aircraft mechanic: a co-op student, 
Maria-Elena Sanchez, enrolled in a airframe and power mechanics 
course at the College of San Mateo. She was one of four females in the 
program, whose total enrollment was about 200. As a mechanic at ARC, 
Ms. Sanchez was performing general maintenance and upkeep on Lear 
jets and the Cessna 402; for her work at Ames, she was receiving both 
monetary compensation and college credit. The college program re- 
quired a student to attend for about 30 mo a school approved by the 
Federal Aviation Administration, then pass a written, oral, and practical 
test to receive a license in Airframe and Power Plant Mechanics. 
Ms. Sanchez, who held a commercial pilot's license and had been flying 
since 1971, said she hoped to complete the program and obtain the A&P 
license within a yr. (ARC Astrogram, 9 Sept 76, 1) 



231 



September ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

• The Marshall Space Flight Center announced 3 Sept. the start of hot-firing 

tests of the steering system for the Space Shuttle solid-fuel rocket booster 
(SRB). First series of tests, which would continue into Oct., would confirm 
design of the thrust-vector control steering system developed by MSFC 
engineers as part of the center's responsibility for SRB design and devel- 
opment. The system under test would provide power to move the nozzle 
of the SRB in any direction, steering the Shuttle in the first 120 sec of 
flight during SRB burn. Data from the first series of tests would be 
evaluated to refine the system design; after any needed modifications, a 
second series of tests would certify the system. Thrust-vector control 
units would be provided in 1978 to Thiokol Corp., MSFC contractor for 
the SRB solid-fuel rocket motor, for testing under actual firing conditions. 
(MSFC Release 76-163) 

— MSFC announced it had delivered the first production case segment 
for the SRB motor to Thiokol's Wasatch Div. in Utah on 27 Sept., beating 
the schedule by 3 days. All case segments for the first motor were to 
arrive at Thiokol by the end of 1976. The delivered segment, almost 
4 m in diameter and 4.2 m long, weighed more than 5990 kg. Eleven 
segments would be used in each motor; joined, the segments and nozzle 
would measure more than 38 m long, over three fourths of the total SRB 
length. (MSFC Release 76-173) 

— MSFC announced 30 Sept. that personnel of the Rocketdyne Div., 
Rockwell Intl. Corp., had fired a developmental test engine for the Space 
Shuttle for 650 sec, longest test to date. The same engine had been fired 
for 300 sec 2 days earlier. The tests, at the Natl. Space Technology 
Laboratory in Bay St. Louis, Miss., would produce component- and 
system-operation data from extended-duration firings at increasing 
power levels. (MSFC Release 76-174) 

• Johnson Space Center announced on 21 Sept. modification of a cost-plus- 

award-fee contract with IBM, Gaithersburg, Md., to cover software for 
ground-based computing and data-processing systems at JSC. IBM would 
develop computer programs for Space Shuttle vehicle management and 
flight operations, and related scientific and medical operations. Value of 
the modified contract would be $19 463 000. (JSC Release 76-59) 

— NASA contracted 22 Sept. with Aeronutronic Ford Corp. for support 
services for the Mission Control Center and other ground-based data 
systems at JSC, including data hardware and software systems en- 
gineering and maintenance, as well as logistics, reliability, and quality 
assurance. The cost-plus-award-fee contract would cost about 
$46 550 000 from July 1976 through 30 Sept. 1978. (JSC Release 
76-60) 

— JSC announced 24 Sept. selection of Hamilton Standard Div. of 
United Technologies Corp. for negotiations leading to award of a contract 
for development and production of a portable oxygen system for Space 
Shuttle crew and passengers. The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, costing 
about $1.9 million, would run from 13 Nov. 1976 to 13 July 1979. The 
system, designed to meet four special Shuttle needs (emergency oxygen 
in case of cabin-atmosphere contamination, prebreathing before space- 
walks, life support during rescue, and emergency oxygen after landing 

232 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 September 

in case of landing-area contamination), would be capable of operating 
independently or connected to the Shuttle oxygen system. The contract 
would call for delivery of ten units and 50 recharge kits for NASA use in 
certification, training, and flight, plus ground-support equipment and 
manpower; it would contain options for 62 additional units and 310 
recharge kits. (JSC Release 76-61) 
• A giant Air Force antenna at Hamilton, Mass., that had shared in trans- 
atlantic communications with the Jodrell Bank Observatory in England 
by way of moon reflections would be dismantled and moved to Westford, 
Mass., for use by the Lincoln Laboratory of MIT in radar studies of earth's 
upper atmosphere, the AFSC Newsreview announced. The big dish, 
nearly 46 m in diameter, had been used by the USAF Geophysics Labora- 
tory since 1962 for ionospheric and radioastronomy studies, as well as 
in auroral studies using satellite beacons. Continuing USAF research at 
Hamilton's Sagamore Hill Observatory would use the facility's 25.6-m 
antenna and smaller receivers. (AFSC Newsreview, Sept 76, 10) 



233 



October 1976 

1 October: The boost given by the Viking Mars missions, now nearing an end, 
to those concerned with the space program might persuade Congress of the 
virtues of possible future projects, Science magazine reported. Describing 
15 Sept. testimony of Dr. John E. Naugle, acting associate administrator 
of NASA, before a House subcommittee, the magazine said "some of the 
juicier projects the agency has in mind for the 1980s" might include a 
roving-vehicle mission to Mars, shipped aboard a Solar Sailor, "the closest 
thing the agency has ever proposed to a genuine space ship." The Solar 
Sailor would be driven by solar pressure — light reflected from the sun, 
collected by huge lightweight sails — and was referred to as "a reusable 
interplanetary spacecraft." Other future projects would be a Global Infor- 
mation Services satellite system to combine earth sensing, meteorological 
and pollution observation, data transmission, and navigation uses, all such 
information to be available to the public at receiving stations or home 
terminals; some sort of solar-energy collection system, either on the ground 
or in space; and moving "a segment of our industrial society into 
space . . . where there is abundant solar energy and an almost inex- 
haustible vacuum to act as a sink for thermal and chemical pollution." 
Naugle and other agency spokesmen had noted that such plans were still 
in the design stage and the agency was not ready to discuss them in detail; 
however, Science commented, the Viking success might mean that for 
NASA "perhaps the sky will be the limit, after all." {Science, 1 Oct 76, 39) 

• NASA announced successful static test firing of one of two Space Shuttle main 

engines for 650 sec at main-stage operating level (50% rated thrust level) 
at the Natl. Space Technology Laboratories, Bay St. Louis, Miss., under the 
direction of MSFC. The firing, on 30 Sept., was the longest test firing of an 
SSME to date. Previous firings had aimed at testing engine-throttling control, 
engine start and shutdown sequence, and engine power balance. The cur- 
rent series of tests, conducted by personnel of Rockwell Intl.'s Rocketdyne 
Div., would obtain component- and system-operation data at increasing 
levels of power. The NSTL test program combined development and accept- 
ance testing; each Shuttle engine would be fired at NSTL before being 
certified for flight. (NASA Release 76-162) 

• Three products developed by Lewis Research Center had appeared in a list 

of the 1 00 most significant products developed during the year, published 
by Industrial Research magazine, said the Lewis News. The magazine 
yearly considers about 1000 entries from industries throughout the U.S., 
and presents the IR-100 award for the products selected by a panel of 
nationally known technical judges. The 1976 award brings to 16 the 
number won by L.-RC since it entered the competition 1 1 yr ago. Products 
cited were: a continuous-production cyclotron target, used in producing 

235 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

radioactive isotopes for diagnostic nuclear medicine; a thickness-measuring 
radar that could measure lake-ice thickness directly beneath an overflying 
aircraft, used by the Coast Guard to help extend the shipping season on the 
Great Lakes; and a ceramic thermal-barrier coating that would increase the 
life of metal parts by protecting them from very high-temperature erosive 
and corrosive gases, used to prolong the usefulness of turbine blades ten 
times beyond that of uncoated blades. (Lewis News, 1 Oct 76, 1) 
1-21 October: No evidence of organic material in the soil of Mars appeared in 
Viking 2 lander's first experiment results, John Noble Wilford reported in 
the New York Times. The experiment — heating a soil sample to vaporize 
any organic molecules — was one of eight scheduled for the lander. 
Dr. Klaus Biemann of MIT, leader of the organic chemistry experiment, 
noted that the Viking 1 lander had found no trace of organic compounds 
either. Biology experiments on both landers had returned data indicating 
some unexplained activity in the soil samples. Gentry Lee, director of 
scientific analysis for the Viking project, said neither a biological nor a 
chemical hypothesis was consistent with all the data. (NYT, 1 Oct 76, D13) 

A letter to the NY Times had emphasized that the absence not of carbon 
but of "the extremely complex molecules of carbon that are characteristic 
of earth life" was the puzzling factor in the Viking findings at Mars. (NYT, 
2 Oct 76, 24) 

Project scientists had offered three possible explanations for the negative 
results of the attempts to identify organic compounds. First, any organic 
compounds left on Mars by the solar wind, by meteor fall, or by past life 
processes could have been destroyed by agents such as ultraviolet radiation, 
oxygen, or oxidants such as nitrates or metal oxides acting independently 
or synergistically; "certainly, " the project report published in the Oct. issue 
of Science said, "continuous exposure to short-wave ultraviolet light in the 
presence of oxygen will cause rapid chemical decomposition of most organic 
compounds." Second, organic compounds might exist in Mars soil in 
amounts too dilute to be detected by the Viking instruments. Third, organic 
compounds might be forming on Mars and undergoing rapid destruction. 
The traces of organic molecules seen in a second Viking 2 lander chemistry 
test could well have resulted from contaminants known to have been in the 
test chamber before the spacecraft left earth, Dr. Biemann said. (NYT, 
2 Oct 76, 28) 

The liking 2 lander pushed at a rock on the surface of Mars but was 
unable to move it, JPL scientists reported. The shove was preliminary to 
an attempt to sample soil shielded from solar radiation and more likely 
to contain organic material. Dr. Louis Kingsland, deputy mission direc- 
tor, announced the lander would be ordered to try again and to turn over 
a smaller rock if the first choice failed to move. Dr. Priestley Toulmin, 
director of the inorganic analysis experiments, said the iron-rich topsoil 
tested by the Viking 2 lander had a striking resemblance to that tested 
at the Viking 1 site; results of the assay were almost a duplicate of those 
sent to earth 2 mo ago. The similarity lead scientists to think the soil had 
been affected by ancient weather conditions that swept over large por- 
tions of the planet; however, the results could not show whether the 



236 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

material below the surface was likewise uniform around the planet. 
(WStar, 6 Oct 76, A-5; NYT, 8 Oct 76, A26) 

The third of three Viking 2 lander tests for dead organic matter in 
the soil of Mars had shown no sign of fossilized life, Dr. Biemann said at 
JPL. The last test would use soil exposed by turning over a rock on the 
Mars surface that scientists said might have been undisturbed for as long 
as a million yr. Dr. Norman H. Horowitz of Caltech, who supervised 
experiments on both Viking 1 and Viking 2 sites that looked for signs 
of biological activity, said that the results he had obtained "would be 
convincing for life on Mars if we had found the dead organic matter." 
The sample from under the rock would be held for chemical analysis until 
scientists could examine photographs of the trench where it was dug to 
make sure the sample was taken from the proper protected place. An- 
other under-rock sample would be dug for biological analysis later, the 
second Viking 2 test for synthesis of organic matter to be conducted at 
the Utopia site. (W Post, 12 Oct 76, A-8; NYT, 12 Oct 76, 18) 

Meanwhile, the seismology instrument on the Viking 2 lander had 
recorded no marsquake activity in the 2 wk it had been monitoring the 
planet's surface, said Dr. Don L. Anderson, seismology team director. 
The detector, turned up to full sensitivity, could detect a quake as small 
as a 3 on the Richter scale (enough to cause only slight damage on earth) 
as far away as 200 km from the lander; Dr. Anderson said it was working 
well, recording breezes and even picking up vibrations from tape record- 
ers on board the lander. A similar instrument on the Viking 1 lander 
never was freed from its packaging. (W Star, 15 Oct 76, A-3) 

The scoop of soil taken from under a rock on the Mars surface also 
failed to yield a trace of organic molecules, Dr. Biemann announced. 
However, mission officials planned to go ahead with biological experi- 
ments using a sample from under another rock later in the week; the 
sample would be tested for signs of life processes — growth, metabolism, 
and respiration. (C Trib, 21 Oct 76, 4-22) 

3 October: Dr. William Nordberg, 46, director of applications at GSFC, died 

of cancer after a 2-yr illness. A native of Austria, he had come to the 
U.S. in 1953 to work as an atmospheric geophysicist for the Army Signal 
Corps. As one of the scientists transferred from the Army to the newly 
formed NASA, he went to GSFC in 1959 as head of the physical meas- 
urement section in Satellite Applications Systems Div. and became Di- 
rector of Applications in 1974. In 1975 he had received both the 
William T. Pecora Award and NASA's Distinguished Service Medal for 
outstanding contributions to applications of remote sensing of earth by 
spacecraft, honoring his work with the Landsat project, in which he had 
coordinated the work of 300 scientists from 38 countries in demonstrat- 
ing satellite uses in disciplines such as agriculture, forestry, land use, 
marine resources and oceanography, mineral and oil exploitation, geol- 
ogy, and environmental impact. (Goddard News, Sept 76, 1; W Post, 
5 Oct 76, C-6) 

4 October: The Intl. Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) 

announced that the Assembly of Parties meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, had 



237 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

confirmed the appointment of Santiago Astrain of Chile, since 1973 the 
secretary general of INTELSAT, as the first Director General of the inter- 
national organization. The board of governors had appointed Astrain in 
July to serve a 6-yr term as Director General, beginning 31 Dec. 1976. 
The Director General would be responsible for implementing permanent 
management arrangements and for tasks such as implementing a new 
high-capacity satellite system to be known as Intelsat V in the late 1970s 
and early 1980s. About 200 delegates, representing 69 of INTELSAT' s 95 
member countries, attended the Nairobi meeting. Elected were a chair- 
man, Isaac Omolo Okero of Kenya, and a deputy chairman, Fernando 
Gaviria of Colombia. Vice chairmen elected to represent the five world 
regions were Romulo Villar Furtado of Brazil (The Americas); Joachim 
Jaenicke of the Federal Republic of Germany (W. Europe); Zika Ra- 
dojlovic of Yugoslavia (E. Europe and N. Asia); and Sribhumi Sukhanetr 
of Thailand (Asia and Australasia). The meeting also recognized the 
People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China, 
and welcomed the PRC to join INTELSAT. (INTELSAT Releases 76-28-1, 
76-29-1; Satellite Pathways, ComSat, vol. 1 no. 7, Sept-Oct 76) 

5 October: About 3000 people attended a ceremony dedicating the Space 
Hall of Fame at Alamogordo, N.M., honoring men and women involved 
in space exploration. Original inductees, numbering 35, included U.S. 
astronaut Neil Armstrong and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Nine of 
the 35 were from the Soviet Union; eight each from the U.S. and West 
Germany; three from Austria, two from France, and one each from Great 
Britain, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Switzerland. Dr. Frederick Du- 
rant of the Smithsonian Institution announced the names of the pioneers, 
nominated by the Intl. Academy of Astronautics in Paris with final 
selection by a committee appointed by the governor of N.M. for the Hall 
of Fame. Lubas Perek, head of the UN's outer space affairs division, told 
the audience that the choice of persons to be honored "will surely reflect 
the grand international character of outer space research." {W Star, 
6 Oct 76, 2; NYT, 10 Oct 76, 26; Intl Space Hall of Fame, media 
release; Alamogordo Daily News, 3 Oct 76, dedication edition) 

• Responses of Presidential candidates Ford and Carter to questionnaires 
submitted by U.S. physicists and engineers emphasized their "differing 
viewpoints," wrote Walter Sullivan in the NY Times. One set of 16 
questions was from 24 professional engineering societies claiming a 
combined membership of one million; the other, dealing with three broad 
issues, was submitted by the American Physical Society's president, 
Dr. William A. Fowler. To a question regarding overseas sales of nuclear 
fuel and equipment, President Ford replied that the U.S. must maintain 
the role of major supplier "for peaceful purposes — so that we can 
influence others to accept controls to minimize the threat of prolif- 
eration." Candidate Carter replied that it was "absolutely essential" to 
halt such sales "even with safeguards" to prevent use of the materials 
in producing nuclear weapons. Physics Today, publishing the replies to 
Dr. Fowler's questions in the Oct. issue, noted editorially that both 
candidates were committed to more support for basic research and "a 



238 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

strong voice for science in the Administration's decision-making." (NYT, 

5 Oct 76, 33) 

• One of the first in a group of 32 commercial solar heating and cooling 

systems in ERDA's nationwide solar-energy demonstration program went 
into operation in Lynchburg, Va., NASA announced. Local and state 
government officials attended an open house at the office of Terrell E. 
Mosely, Inc., where the system is installed, to view the equipment 
together with businessmen, engineers, architects, and federal represen- 
tatives. The 32 pilot projects, selected from 308 proposals submitted to 
ERDA, include ten office buildings, four schools, three hotels or motels, 
two fire stations, two factories, one hospital, one laboratory, one library, 
and some miscellaneous buildings. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center 
provided technical management for the installations in support of the 
ERDA program. (NASA Release 76-163; MSFC Release 76-177) 

• The official Manila radio announced an agreement between Domestic Sat- 

ellite Philippines and the Nippon Electric Co. of Japan for acquisition, 
installation, and construction of 11 earth-satellite stations in a 
$26 million satellite communications system, to be operational by 1978. 
The system would provide long-distance service in the national commu- 
nications network. (FBIS, Manila FEBC in English, 5 Oct 76) 
6 October: A rocketborne experiment to investigate the ionosphere failed 
when the second stage of the two-stage Nike-Cajun vehicle failed to 
ignite, Wallops Flight Center announced. Liftoff at WFC occurred at 
3:30 pm EOT, and the Cajun with its payload fell into the Atlantic Ocean 
about 2 min 14 sec after liftoff. The experiment was to determine ion 
composition of the D and lower E regions of the ionosphere, with special 
emphasis on the transition region. Planned recovery of the experiment 
in midair would have spared the instrumentation from impact and expo- 
sure to salt water, allowing reflight at substantial cost savings. A commit- 
tee had been appointed to investigate the cause of the malfunction. (WFC 
Release 76-14) 

• ESA's Science Program Committee announced that it had unanimously 

approved two new scientific projects at its sixth meeting held 4 and 5 Oct. 
in Paris. The committee approved participation in the Space Telescope, 
planned by NASA for launch in 1983, and agreed to finance a plan called 
GEOSARI (launching a Geos spacecraft into a different orbit on the second 
flight of the Ariane launcher, scheduled for Dec. 1979). The Space 
Telescope project depended on a favorable outcome of negotiations with 
NASA and approval of the project by U.S. authorities in 1977. The 
committee considered an additional ESA-NASA cooperative project, the 
Out-of-Ecliptic (OOE) mission to fly two spacecraft around the sun at its 
north and south poles in a first exploration of the solar system's third 
dimension; the committee agreed to continue negotiations with NASA and 
to join in an announcement of opportunities for the mission if necessary 
before the committee's next meeting, in the spring of 1977. (ESA release 

6 Oct 76) 

• INTELSAT announced award to the British Aircraft Corp. of a 15-mo 

fixed-price contract for design, fabrication, test, and delivery of a model 



239 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

onboard processor programmable to perform a variety of tasks, including 
monitoring and control of satellite electronic functions. A standardized 
system based on microprocessors, rather than hard-wired logic, for each 
individual function or system would reduce weight and power con- 
sumption and increase satellite reliability and efficiency. Value of the 
contract was $121 600 in U.S. dollars. (INTELSAT Release 76-27-M) 

• The Brazilian Telecommunications Company received bids from inter- 
national firms to supply space tracking equipment to the Brazilian satel- 
lite communications system, according to a broadcast from the Brasilia 
Domestic Service. The announcement said the first stage of the domestic 
satellite system, to be concluded in 1979, would consist of 17 receiving 
and transmitting stations primarily in the Amazon region, and two space 
satellites; a third would be used for replacement. During a second phase 
ending in 1981, 19 more stations would be added. The system would 
consist of 44 stations in all, the last eight to be added later. (FBIS, Brasilia 
Domestic Service in Portuguese, 6 Oct 76) 

7 October: Modifications of the test stand to be used at the Natl. Space 
Technology Laboratories for static firing of the combined Space Shuttle 
propulsion system had been finished 2 wk early, MSFC announced. The 
stand had been built for tests of the Saturn V first stage and converted 
for use in the Shuttle program by Industrial Contractors, Inc., of Idaho 
Falls, Ida. In the tests, scheduled to be conducted late in 1977 by 
workers in Rockwell Intl. Corp.'s Space Division under MFSC direction, 
the main engines of the Shuttle would be connected to a structure 
resembling the orbiter; this simulator, using both flight and nonflight 
hardware, would be attached to an external tank, the Shuttle element 
containing liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen for the three main engines. 
Firing of this combination (known as the Main Propulsion Test Article) 
would be the first time the three main engines were fired as a system. 
Engineers would combine acoustic tests with the MPTA firings to obtain 
data for determining optimum vibration and sound levels; they would also 
use the data to check tanking procedures. Hardware for the tests would 
arrive at NSTL next summer. (MSFC Release 76-178) 

• The Energy Research and Development Administration announced plans to 
build a "power tower" in 1978 and put it in operation by 1981. Plans 
called for a large number of sun-tracking mirrors, called heliostats, to 
reflect sunlight on to a boiler located at the top of a tower; water in the 
boiler, superheated by concentrated sunlight, would produce high- 
pressure steam to drive a turbine. ERDA was seeking a utility company to 
construct and operate the pilot plant: the utility would provide the site, 
install a conventional turbine and generator, and distribute the power to 
its customers over existing lines. ERDA would provide the solar portions 
(tower, boiler, heliostats, and storage) and charge the utility for the 
electricity. Sites proposed for the pilot plant were in Ariz., Calif., Fla., 
Miss., P.R., R.I., and Tex. Three teams — headed by Honeywell Inc., 
McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co., and Martin Marietta Corp. — were 
working on designs for the pilot plant, and Boeing Engineering and 
Construction Corp. was developing a design for the heliostat only. ERDA 



240 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

would choose the best design and test it at a facility under construction 
at the Sandia Laboratories of ERDA in N.M. (ERDA Release NF-76-12) 

• ESA announced appointment of Michel Bignier, director-general of the 

French Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) from Jan. 1972 to 
June 1976, as director of the Spacelab program effective during Oct. 
ESa's director general, Roy Gibson, had been managing the program with 
the assistance of the Technical Inspector, Prof. Massimo Trella, since 
the former Spacelab director resigned 3 mo ago. In addition to being 
responsible for directing the Spacelab program, Bignier as a member of 
ESA's 9-man directorate would assist in collective consideration of major 
ESA management problems. (ESA release 7 Oct 76) 
8 October: Dr. Maxime A. Faget, director of engineering and development 
at Johnson Space Center, had been chosen to receive awards from both 
the American Astronautical Society and the Instrument Society of Amer- 
ica, the JSC Roundup reported. Dr. Faget, one of the original 35 mem- 
bers of the NASA Space Task Force Group, received from the AAS its 
Space Flight Award, given for the greatest contribution to the advance- 
ment of space flight and space exploration. Dr. Faget had received AAS's 
Lovelace award in 1971. The ISA had selected him for the Albert F. 
Sperry Award, for "advancing spacecraft, laboratory and biomedical 
instrumentation through technical and engineering leadership of manned 
space flight programs." Dr. Faget in 1969 received NASA's medal for 
exceptional service and distinguished service medal — the agency's high- 
est award — and had been inducted into the Natl. Space Hall of Fame. 
(JSC Roundup, 8 Oct 76, 1) 

• Test pilot William H. Dana had been chosen to receive the AIAA 1976 Haley 

Space Flight Award, the DFRC X-Press announced. Dana would receive 
the award at the IAF conference banquet 15 Oct. Named for Andrew G. 
Haley, one of the founders of the Am. Rocket Society, the award is for 
"outstanding contribution ... to the advancement of the arts, sciences 
or technology of astronautics." Dana would be honored for his service as 
test pilot on the HL-10, M2-F3, and X-24B lifting bodies, and his 16 
flights as project pilot of the X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft. 
(DFRC X-Press, 8 Oct 76, 2; LA Herald-Examiner, 12 Oct 76, 3; 
Lancaster, Calif. Ledger-Gazette, 7 Oct 76, 10) 

• MSFC announced that the Alabama Society of Professional Engineers had 

chosen the Center to receive the first annual Wonder of Engineering 
award, for design engineering achievement in producing a study called 
Ecastar (a project during the summer of 1975, studying energy- 
conservation measures and their possible effect on society and the envi- 
ronment). Ecastar was one of the projects completed over the past 
decade in a design engineering program run at MSFC by Auburn Univ. A 
summer faculty fellowship program sponsored by NASA and the Am. Soc. 
of Engineering Education had awarded the fellowships to engineering, 
natural science, and social science faculty members in summer study 
programs directed by universities at NASA research centers, to enable the 
participants to design courses at their institutions and to further collab- 
oration between engineering and other disciplines. (MSFC Release 
76-183) 

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October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

• NOAA announced award of a $1 441 116 contract extension to Manage- 

ment and Technical Services Co., Daytona Beach, Fla., for technical 
support in operating NOAA's geostationary environmental satellite sys- 
tem. The extension would continue the company's work in processing 
and distributing environmental data. Two GOES satellites at altitudes of 
35 800 km were transmitting imagery and other information to re- 
ceiving stations at Wallops, Va., and Suitland, Md., for communication 
to NOAA centers in Washington, D.C., Miami, Kansas City, and San 
Francisco. (NOAA Release 76-227) 
10 October: U.S. balloonist Ed Yost, who had ditched his balloon in the 
Atlantic when loss of helium prevented him from completing the first 
transatlantic balloon crossing, was rescued by a West German tanker, 
the Elisabeth Bolton, after more than 3 hr of floating about 1200 km 
west of the Azores. The ship was reported headed for Gibraltar. A rescue 
plane sent to the scene earlier from the USAF Search and Rescue Center 
at Ramstein, West Germany, had circled over Yost's position until he 
was picked up. Yost had stayed aloft just short of 107 hr (exceeding the 

1913 record of 87 hr) and had traveled about 4000 km, well beyond the 

1914 record of less than 3100 km. He had worked a year and a half on 
the 2-ton balloon — which had cost him about $100 000 of his own 
money — and began his journey from the U.S. coast at Milbridge, Me., on 
5 Oct. The 57-yr-old balloon manufacturer from Sioux Falls, S.D., said 
he was "in good spirits because I broke a lot of records . . . but I'm sorry 
I didn't land on solid ground." (C Trib, 11 Oct 76, 3; ATT, 12 Oct 
76,5) 

• Problems confronting physicists in a major effort to discover "the true 

nature of the most basic components of matter and the laws that govern 
them" were the subject of last week's annual meeting of the Am. Physical 
Society's Division of Particles and Fields, held at the Brookhaven Natl. 
Laboratory on Long Island, said Walter Sullivan in the NY Times. 
Scientists from the U.S., the Soviet Union, and other countries were 
considering the construction of a "world machine," a particle acceler- 
ator that would dwarf any now in existence, measuring about 48 km in 
circumference and generating ten thousand billion electron volts. Its 
cost, estimated as 3 to 6 times that of the largest accelerator in existence, 
would be met on a global basis with the U.S. and the USSR "playing major 
roles," Sullivan said. Although the project had been discussed at several 
international conferences and would not be built until the end of the 
century, proponents believed that groundwork should begin immediately 
and had asked the Intl. Union of Pure and Applied Physics to take the 
lead in organizing the effort. Design decisions would await the results of 
several machines now projected or being built, that might show how 
problems should be most effectively handled. 

The most powerful machine now operating (at the Fermi Natl. Accel- 
erator Laboratory in 111.) had a 6.5-km ring that could boost protons to 
500 Gev (one Gev equaling a billion electron volts). A modification now 
in progress, called the doubler, would increase the potential to 1000 Gev 
by the late 1970s and would cost between $40 and $50 billion. Fermi's 
closest rival was a super proton synchrotron at CERN — the European 

242 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

Center for Nuclear Research at Geneva, Switzerland — also with a 
6.5-km ring slightly less powerful spanning the Swiss-French border, 
deep beneath rolling farmland. According to the CERN newsletter, The 
Courier, the most ambitious project was a complex planned by the USSR 
called UNK (from its Russian name) consisting of two machines in under- 
ground tunnels at Serpukhov, south of Moscow; one tunnel, forming a 
ring nearly 18 km in circumference, would house a device to accelerate 
protons to 2000 Gev, while the other tunnel would contain a 20-Gev 
electron accelerator whose beam would collide with the proton beam. 
Such collisions, at energies higher than now available, might provide 
answers to puzzles that baffle the theorists, Sullivan said. 

The Brookhaven conference heard plans for Isabelle, a 3.2-km ma- 
chine for colliding proton beams at energies up to 300 Gev, that would 
take 3 yr to build and cost $166 million. CERN was drawing up plans for 
a machine to collide beams of 100-Gev positrons and electrons; energies 
achieved in such collisions are lower than those from proton accelerators 
because the positron is less massive than the proton. A powerful machine 
of this type operating at Stanford Univ., Palo Alto, had been called 
SPEAR; a larger version known as PEP (positron-electron project), more 
than 2 km in circumference, would be completed there in 1980 at a cost 
of $78 million, and would generate beams of 18 Gev. The collision of 
positrons and electrons was considered a "clean" way to produce exotic 
particles because the collision would annihilate the primary particles in 
an extremely intense burst of energy, which would then form itself into 
new particles. 

Among questions discussed at the Brookhaven meeting were the 
nature of the basic building-blocks of matter such as quarks or maons 
(particles tinier than quarks, said to have been suggested as a possibility 
by Mao Tse-Tung when told of the quark concept by a visiting physicist). 
Recent work had shown "how little we understand about the internal 
dynamics" of particles, and the use of higher energies would be one way 
to solve some of the problems, Sullivan suggested. {NYT, 10 Oct 76, 7) 
10-16 October: More than 1000 of the world's top government and industry 
space experts assembled in Anaheim, Calif., at the wk-long 27th Con- 
gress of the Intl. Astronautical Federation. Theme of the meeting was 
"The New Era of Space Transportation." Delegates would have the 
opportunity to hear more than 300 technical papers on topics such as 
safety in space, the future of space law, and the proposed moon treaty. 
Also scheduled for discussion were the use of direct-broadcast satellites, 
space rescue, and the use of solar energy in space. Chairman of the con- 
ference was Dr. George E. Mueller, president and chairman of System 
Development Corp. in Santa Monica and former associate administrator 
of NASA (1963 to 1969) in charge of manned space flight. Delegates 
arriving Sunday evening had a choice of Disneyland tour or a wine and 
cheese reception before the sessions began. 

At opening ceremonies on the eve of Columbus Day, Dr. Mueller read 
a greeting from President Ford and spoke of the Bicentennial and Col- 
umbus as symbols of international cooperation. NASA Administrator 
James C. Fletcher joined with John F. Yardley, associate administrator 

243 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

for manned space flight, in sounding an optimistic note on potential uses 
of space. Fletcher said that mankind had "entered a new world ... in 
less than two decades," pointing to the scheduling of Shuttle flights 
beginning in 1981 that would make space travel attainable, even eco- 
nomically feasible, for the conduct of previously earthbound activities. 
Roy Gibson, director general of the European Space Agency, said the 
member nations of ESA were suffering from an economic downturn and 
might have trouble maintaining ESA's present funding level, estimated at 
$550 million a year. However, he maintained that space programs were 
justifiable on the basis of economic return, and that ESA would recom- 
mend no program "unless it makes good economic sense for the users." 

Dr. Leonard Jaffe, president of the IAF, told the delegates that astro- 
nautics involved all technical fields and affected all human institutions. 
Dr. Lubos Perek, chief of the United Nations' Outer Space Affairs 
Division, brought greetings from the UN secretary general and sum- 
marized UN activities in space, from identifying objects in orbit to sup- 
porting remote sensing and telecommunications — a span of interests, he 
said, "from Astronomy to Gastronomy." 

A panel on space transportation discussed 14 questions, from details 
of the Shuttle mission to clarification of payload prices and legal liability 
for aborted payloads. The electronic environment of the session — 
wireless microphones and wireless translation headsets — illustrated col- 
lateral benefits from astronautics, said Rob Weadd of the Los Angeles 
section, AIAA, in the convention newsletter. On Monday afternoon, 
officials of the Soviet and U.S. space programs reported jointly and 
individually on results of the July 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission. A current- 
events session Monday afternoon heard Boris Petrov, chairman of the 
Soviet Intercosmos Council, call for renewal of the 1972 agreement that 
led to the Apollo-Soyuz mission, after the agreement expired in 1977. 
Shigebumi Saito, commissioner of the Space Activities Committee of 
Japan, said his country hoped to participate in another Spacelab in the 
1980s and looked toward cooperation with ESA as a result of the recent 
visit of ESA director Roy Gibson. Lawrence Morley of Canada's Dept. of 
Mines and Resources said that Canada was "made for remote sensing" 
and would be looking for partners in the study of ocean management. 

On Tuesday, 12 Oct., the Intl. Institute of Space Law held its 19th 
colloquium in morning and afternoon sessions, continuing through the 
remainder of the convention. Since 1967, when an initial treaty of 
principles was signed, space lawyers had worked out international agree- 
ments on liability for space accidents, registration of space objects, and 
rescue and return of astronauts. Two current problems demanding atten- 
tion were treaties to govern direct broadcasting from space and the 
monitoring and sensing of terrestrial phenomena. Also, a draft treaty on 
moon exploration and resource extraction was under way. Among papers 
presented, that by Dr. V. S. Vereshchetin of the Moscow Institute of State 
and Law proposed that the legality of each type of practical use of space 
should depend on its compliance with principles of state sovereignty and 
sovereign equality of states. Dr. Stephen Gorove of the Univ. of Miss, law 
school described the legal regime likely to apply to space colonies, 

244 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

pointing out gaps in existng law and recommending changes. In another 
paper, Dr. Gorove called the moon treaty a landmark in the development 
of space law, and cited many areas of general agreement, adding that 
lack of agreement was equally instructive in revealing problems in the 
process of international lawmaking. Dr. D. Krstic of Yugoslavia stated 
that the era of sovereignty was gradually disappearing, and that space 
activities should be a product of all mankind, not just the strong powers. 

On Wednesday, 13 Oct., some of the congress delegates "including 
a large group of Russian cosmonauts and scientists" took a bus tour and 
had a briefing on the Space Shuttle program at the Rockwell Intl. plant 
at Downey, Calif. Dr. Krafft Ehricke, scientific adviser at Rockwell Intl., 
described studies of Lunetta and Soletta systems that would use huge 
reflectors on thin plastic assembled in space to illumine areas of earth either 
by day or by night, lengthening agricultural activities in season or lighting 
polar regions for increased access to petroleum or mineral depos- 
its in areas where nights might last for 3 mo. Other delegates went in four 
busloads to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena for an all-day 
program during which the guests in four groups rotated among exhib- 
itions and lectures on the Viking spacecraft, the space flight operations 
and spacecraft assembly facilities, and future planetary missions. Speak- 
ers included Dr. Bruce Murray, director of JPL, and A. Thomas Young, 
deputy Viking project manager, as well as John Casani, manager of the 
Mariner Jupiter-Saturn project. 

On Thursday, 14 Oct., IAF delegate R. Gilbert Moore became the first 
Shuttle customer to hand over a letter of intent to purchase NASA's 
"getaway special" — a 90-kg 0.14-cu-m package to be carried by the 
Orbiter on a space-available basis, for $10 000. Moore, general manag- 
er of Thiokol Corp.'s Astro-Met plant at Ogden, Ut., said he would buy 
the ticket for himself, not his company. He had been active for some time 
in obtaining space rides for student experiments, and said he might open 
his Shuttle package for students or sublet some of it to recover costs, but 
had not decided yet what use to make of the package. "It's such a 
bargain," he said. "You can't get a ride anywhere else for that kind of 
money." Moore handed his letter of intent to Chester Lee, director of 
space transportation systems operations in NASA's Office of Space Flight, 
who was in charge of rounding up Shuttle customers; the letter went by 
Comsat satellite to Lee's office in Washington, D.C. 

Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine reported that the 
Soviet representatives at the IAF meeting questioned officials about the 
Shuttle's thermal protection system, its main-engine refurbishment, and 
its handling characteristics, being "especially interested in the use of 
cathode-ray tube displays." The briefings were part of the Rockwell tour 
offered to IAF groups. NASA had approved Soviet inspection of the orbiter, 
the magazine said, because no technology transfer problems were in- 
volved and the Soviets had shown Salyut and Soyuz vehicles to U.S. 
personnel; however, the Soviets had never discussed or shown future 
vehicles to U.S. representatives, the article added. Upon questioning the 
Soviet representatives unofficially about any USSR shuttle plans, NASA was 
told only that analytical studies were under way. 

245 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

The Washington Star and Av Wk reported that Soviet Intercosmos 
chairman Dr. Boris N. Petrov and Vasily A. Sarychev, another member 
of the Soviet IAF delegation, were robbed at gunpoint in the lobby of their 
motel and escaped when a number of people got off an elevator. Petrov 
and Sarychev did not understand the gunman's demands at first, but 
finally surrendered $37 before the unidentified robber fled. Although 
local police were notified, Petrov did not register a formal complaint, and 
the delegation stayed at the convention two days longer, after which 
Petrov and other Soviet officials flew to Washington to discuss future 
joint space missions. Besides Petrov, the IAF delegates included Dr.Ver- 
eshchetin, deputy chairman of Intercosmos; V. C. Vachnadze and 
A. I. Tsarev, Intercosmos members; R. Z. Sagdeyev, director of the USSR 
Academy of Sciences institute of outer space, and his associate, 
Y. P. Semenov; and D. S. Chetveryakov, M. V. Sokolov, and V. P. 
Legostayev. 

As the IAF convention closed on Saturday, 16 Oct., Dr. Mueller said 
the panels and presentations at the meeting had demonstrated again the 
benefits and feasibility of international cooperation. He said it was up to 
the members to convince the President and U.S. Congress to provide 
sufficient funds for the Shuttle over the next 5 yr. (IAF news 27th 
Congress, text; list of abstracts; LA Times, 12 Oct 76, 11; 14 Oct 76; 
Av Wk, 18 Oct 76, 25; 25 Oct 76, 22, 23; W Star, 20 Oct 76, A-2; 
WPost, 27 Oct 76, A-2) 

11 October: Moon rocks — prime celebrities 5 yr ago — had become has- 
beens, wrote reporter James P. Sterba in the New York Times. Astro- 
nauts had brought back from the six moon missions about 382 kg of lunar 
material; Dr. Michael G. Duke, curator of moon rocks at Johnson Space 
Center, claimed to know the disposition of every gram. Fragments re- 
turned from Apollo 1 1 went to 1 37 heads of state and 5 1 U.S. governors; 
chunks returned by Apollo 17 in Dec. 1972 had been dispensed to 
nations and states. Scientists in 15 nations, 26 states, and the Virgin Is. 
had been studying samples under NASA-sponsored research grants, and 
their findings would fill a shelf 1.5 m wide. "We know more about the 
composition of the moon than we do about the earth," Dr. Duke said, 
although less than 20% of the lunar samples had been circulated for 
research and exhibits. Lately the calls for samples to exhibit had dwin- 
dled, and the number of scientists studying them had been halved. 
Security had remained tight because of the efforts of rock collectors to 
obtain samples; however, the moon rocks had lost ground in public 
interest compared to the Mars rocks being turned over by Vikings 1 and 
2, Sterba wrote. {NYT, 11 Oct 76, 27) 

• Inspection by U.S. Air Force and Japanese technicians of the MiG-25 
Foxbat Soviet interceptor plane landed in Japan by a defecting pilot early 
in September revealed a minimum of innovation and an approach that 
relied on "brute force," reported Aviation Week and Space Technology 
magazine. Examination of the Foxbat revealed a standard ejection seat, 
although the pilot had told U.S. interrogators none was carried because 
of a desire to hold down the weight of the steel-frame aircraft (about 
14 000 kg with wings, tail surfaces, and afterburners removed). The 

246 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

number of cockpit instruments was about half those used .in the F-4EJ 
built in Japan under license. None of the avionics in the MiG-25 used 
solid-state circuitry, relying instead on vacuum tubes; fatigue cracks in 
the airframe had been repaired by rough welding techniques. Despite the 
design deficiencies, however, the MiG-25 was "a formidable opponent," 
Av Wk noted. {Av Wk, 11 Oct 76, 18) 

12 October: NASA announced that LeRC, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, 

and the Natl. Weather Service had successfully completed in Alaska a 
3-wk demonstration of an all-weather ice-information system developed 
in response to a Congressional request to see if the Great Lakes could be 
kept open for shipping all year. Cargoes reshipped because their barges 
had been iced in or turned back by weather had incurred additional 
transportation costs estimated at between $30 and $50 million in 1975 
alone. The demonstration — performed along the western and northern 
coasts of Alaska, a region having serious shipping problems caused by 
thick ice 60% of the time — used a Coast Guard plane equipped with 
NASA's side-looking airborne radar to obtain daily microwave imagery 
similar to black-and-white photography, that revealed the type and 
distribution of ice in any kind of weather regardless of dense cloudcover. 
The data on coastal shipping were relayed through a Goes satellite by way 
of Wallops Island to LeRC; after processing, the images were sent back 
through Canada's CTS satellite to Alaska for the Navy's ice interpreters 
to use in making navigation charts for vessels moving in offshore ice. The 
system had been used in the Arctic to aid the Coast Guard icebreaker 
Glacier in operating through ice in zero-visibility conditions. Use of the 
system had helped to keep the Great Lakes open for shipping for two full 
seasons for the first time in history, at an estimated saving of hundreds 
of millions of dollars each year; the 1976-77 shipping would be the third 
and final year of demonstration. (NASA Release 76-165) 
• NASA announced appointment of Dr. James R. Lawson, currently serving as 
special assistant to the director of ERDA's Office of University Affairs, as 
NASA Director of University Affairs, effective 8 November. 
Dr. Lawson, president of Fisk Univ. from 1967 to 1975, received a 
bachelor's degree in physics from Fisk and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from 
the Univ. of Mich. In 1957 he became professor and chairman of the 
physics department at Fisk, doing research on infrared spectroscopy. A 
member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, he had received the Rosenwald 
Fellowship and the Afro-American Natl. Fellowship Award. In his new 
position, Dr. Lawson would be principal adviser on NASA's relations with 
universities, including special university programs having agency-wide 
scope and interest. (NASA anno. 12 Oct 76) 

13 October: NASA announced that a data-collection unit called Site Data 

Acquisition System (SDAS), first in a centralized nationwide network that 
would monitor the performance of solar heating and cooling systems, had 
begun operating last wk, transmitting daily the data from a solar heating 
and cooling system installed at the George A. Towns Elementary School 
in Atlanta, Ga. The school, built in 1962, operated throughout the year, 
including the summer months; a large-scale system for heating and 
cooling, with solar collectors on the roof, had been added to the building 

247 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

last year. The project was conducted jointly by Westinghouse Electric 
Corp. and the Ga. Inst, of Technology, under a cost-sharing no-fee 
contract with ERDA. The data-gathering network to which the Towns 
school SDAS belonged would collect information on climate — tempera- 
ture, humidity, wind, and available sunlight — and collector inlet-outlet 
temperature, flow rate, and performance of the energy-storage system. 
Raw data would be received, processed, and printed out by an IBM facility 
in Huntsville, Ala., under contract to MSFC. 

Total number of units in the program might reach 2000 or more by 
the end of 1979, NASA estimated. Users of the information would include 
manufacturers of heating and cooling systems; building and construction 
firms; architects, municipalities, individuals, and others concerned with 
building design and construction. The national program was aimed at 
demonstrating the efficiency of solar energy systems for residential and 
commercial building, and to stimulate marketing and public acceptance. 
(NASA Release 76- 1 66; MSFC Release 76- 1 88; C Trib, 1 9 Oct 76,1-1 8) 

• NASA announced that Robert N. Lindley, director of project management 

at GSFC, would begin a temporary assignment in Paris 24 Oct. as Deputy 
Associate Administrator for Space Flight (European Operations), serving 
as senior NASA adviser to ESA for the Spacelab program. During this 
assignment, Dr. William C. Schneider, currently Deputy Associate Ad- 
ministrator for Space Flight at NASA Hq, would act as director of project 
mangement at GSFC. Both officials would return to their original positions 
at the end of the ESA assignment. (NASA anno 13 Oct 76) 

• Rockwell Intl. announced award to the Aerostructures Div. of Avco Corp. 

of a contract valued at more than $50 million for long lead-time pro- 
duction work on outer wings of the B-l bomber. Work would cover the 
first three operational B-ls produced for the U.S. Air Force. The Aero- 
structures Div. would design and fabricate tools and prepare for actual 
building of the outer wings. Rockwell Intl. had assembled outer wings for 
the first three B-l prototypes, which had already accumulated more 
than 350 hr of flight tests at Edwards AFB, Calif. Outer wings on each side 
of the B- 1 would constitute a shipset — one of the largest sections of the 
B-l — weighing more than 13 000 kg, and measuring more than 18 m 
long and 4.5 m wide. Fuel would be stored inside the wing structure. 
(Rockwell Release LA-5) 

• The European Space Agency announced choice of payloads for its Anane 

launcher L02 and L03 qualification flights scheduled between June 1979 
and October 1980. Principal passenger on the L02 flight would be the 
recently announced Geosari satellite, with a lateral passenger, Amsat, a 
70-kg radio-amateur space communications satellite proposed by a Ger- 
man organization affiliated with the Intl. Radio Amateur Satellite Organi- 
zation. Ariane L03 would carry the India comsat Apple (Ariane pas- 
senger payload experiment), a three-axis-stabilized spacecraft weighing 
616 kg that would continue experiments in the 4- to 6-ghz frequency 
to be performed by India in the Satellite Telecommunications Experi- 
ments Project (STEP). Mounted in the lower central portion of the launch- 
er, Apple would bear the load of a principal-passenger satellite to be 
chosen by the end of the year from among a second Meteosat prototype; 

248 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

a flight prototype of Symphonie, Franco-German comsat; an Italian Sirio 
microwave comsat with a payload different from the first model (see A 
& A75, 10 Mar); and a Canadian CTS spacecraft equipped with a 
European communications payload. Nominal orbit for the L02 and L03 
flights would be 35 800-km apogee, 200-km perigee, and 17.7° incli- 
nation. (ESA release 13 Oct 76) 

• ESA announced plans to award to Messerchmitt-Bblkow-Blohm of West 

Germany, as prime contractor for COSMOS (a consortium of European aero- 
space companies), two contracts worth a total of about $55.38 million 
(U.S.) for definition of the Exosat satellite (phase B) and for subsequent 
design and development (phase C and D). Subcontractors from ten 
member states of ESA would share in satellite development. Exosat, 
scheduled for launch in 1980-81 by a Delta or Ariane vehicle, would 
measure position, structure, spectral and temporal characteristics of 
cosmic x-rays between — 0.1 kev and +50 kev. Work on the 12-mo 
phase B contract would begin in Jan. 1977. (ESA release 13 Oct 76) 
14 October: NASA launched Marisat 3, third and last in a series of Comsat 
General maritime communications satellites, from ETR at 6:44 pm EDT on 
a Delta into a synchronous transfer orbit. At seventh apogee 8:11 pm EDT 
16 Oct., the apogee boost motor was fired to maneuver the satellite to 
a position at 36 000 km altitude above the equator at about 182°E; 
final move to operation location at 73°E above the Indian Ocean would 
take place in Nov. 

The spin-stabilized active-repeater spacecraft, weighing about 700 kg 
in orbit, was a cylinder with a diameter of about 2 m and an overall length 
of 3.65 m. Built by Hughes Aircraft Corp., the comsat would act as a 
relay station to transmit and receive information between ships and 
submarines at sea and shore stations. It would join Marisat 1, operating 
at 15°W over the Atlantic Ocean since Feb. 1976, and Marisat 2, 
operating at 176.5°E over the Pacific since June. (The Marisat 3 
mission was judged successful 3 Nov. 1976; the Marisat 2 mission [see 
9 June] had been judged successful 6 Oct. 1976.) (NASA Release 
76-156; MOR M-492-205-76-03 [prelaunch] 6 Oct 76, [postlaunch] 
5 Nov. 76; W Star, 15 Oct 76, A-5; MOR M-492-205-76-02, 14 Oct 
76) 

• Marshall Space Flight Center announced scheduling of further tests in 

October for prototype cloud-physics experiment hardware to be flown on 
the Space Shuttle to help researchers understand microphysical proc- 
esses occurring in the atmosphere. The experiments would develop 
techniques for accurate prediction and control of weather (increase of 
snowfall or rain, dissipation of fog, suppression of lightning) to improve 
man's environment. The Atmospheric Cloud Physics Laboratory (ACPL) 
being developed by MSFC would use the low or zero gravity during 
Shuttle/Spacelab flights to perform experiments without contamination 
by supporting devices — wires, spider webs, blasts of air or electrical 
fields — used for test objects in earth laboratories. The prototype equip- 
ment was being tested in weightless periods provided by parabolic flights 
in the Johnson Space Center's zero-gravity test aircraft. O. H. Vaughn of 
the Aerospace Environment Div., Space Science Laboratory at MSFC, had 

249 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

been monitoring performance of the equipment during flights that began 
in September. (MSFC Release 76-186) 

• Ruth Bates Harris, NASA's deputy assistant administrator for community 

and human relations, announced that she would leave the agency 
effective 15 Oct. Mrs. Harris said she would return to New York "to 
attend to pressing personal family needs," but would "spend an number 
of months continuing to work as a consultant" to NASA, in order to 
complete some unfinished community and human relations projects. She 
had been a deputy assistant administrator since Aug. 1974, the first 
woman to reach that position in NASA, and had earlier been the first 
director of NASA's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. Before 
joining NASA, Mrs. Harris had been director of human relations for the 
public schools in Montgomery County, Md., and had been director of the 
Human Relations Commission in Washington, D.C. She had received 
more than 50 awards and citations for her work in human relations. (NASA 
Release 76-170) 

• The USSR launched a geophysical rocket, Vertikal 4, from an undis- 

closed site "in the medium latitudes" of European Russia to an 
altitude of 1512 km. Carrying "more than 10 complex and diverse 
scientific instruments" developed and built by specialists from Bulgaria, 
East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and the USSR, the rocket was designed to 
sample a vertical cross section of the neutral upper atmosphere and 
ionospheric plasma in a 15-min time period. In a Pravda interview, 
Academician B. N. Petrov noted that composition of the atmosphere and 
ionosphere changed with height, the lighter gases being at the top. None 
of the previous Vertikal rockets (launched in 1970, 1971, and 1975) 
had reached altitudes of more than about 500 km, the oxygen section of 
the ionosphere. Vertikal 4 had reached the hydrogen region, or proton- 
osphere, and had measured properties of the plasma affecting radio-wave 
absorption and investigated effects of shortwave solar radiation on the 
earth's atmosphere. Results of the investigation would extend knowledge 
of weather and climate, Petrov said. (FBIS, Tass in English, 14 Oct 76; 
Pravda in Russian, 17 Oct 76; Moscow Domestic Service in Russian, 
29 Oct 76) 
14-18 October: The USSR launched Soyuz 23 carrying two cosmonauts, 
Lt. Col. Vyacheslav Zudov as pilot and Lt. Col. Valery Rozhdestvensky 
as engineer, from the Baykonur cosmodrome near Tyuratam in Kazakh- 
stan at 8:40 pm Moscow time (1:40 pm EDT) 14 Oct. to link up with the 
orbiting space station Salyut 5 and continue research begun there in July 
by the crew of Soyuz 21. The nighttime launch was replayed later on 
Soviet TV. Initial orbit parameters were 243-km perigee, 275-km 
apogee, 89.5-min period, and 51.6° inclination. 

At what the NY Times described as "a restricted press conference 
before liftoff," the rookie cosmonauts said their mission was to concen- 
trate on practical scientific uses of the Soviet space stations, especially 
extraterrestrial manufacture of metals, glass, and pharmaceuticals. 
Rozhdestvensky said that every ruble invested in space exploration had 
"already been returned tenfold to the national budget in one way or 
another." 

250 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

Tass announced at noon Moscow time on 16 Oct. (5 am EDT) that the 
docking of Soyuz 23 with Salyut 5 had been cancelled "because of the 
off-design regime of [the] approach control system," and the crew had 
been ordered to return to earth. The NY Times noted that this was "the 
first occasion on which the Russians have made public their problems 
before the completion of a space flight." Usually no announcement had 
been forthcoming until the crew had returned to earth. At 8:46 pm 
Moscow time (1:46 pm EDT) — almost exactly 48 hr after liftoff — the 
descent module landed 195 km southwest of Tselinograd in Kazakhstan 
"on the surface of Lake Tengiz" in a heavy snowfall. The search and 
rescue teams, working under difficult nighttime conditions, recovered 
the descent module and the cosmonauts from the first splashdown in the 
15-yr history of Soviet manned space flight. Announcement of the 
adverse conditions of the landing was not made until 12 hr afterwards, 
a delay suggesting some difficulty in locating the capsule. Lt. Gen. 
Vladimir Shatalov, director of cosmonaut training, said that helicopter 
and amphibious craft had aided the recovery. Residents of the nearby 
town of Arkalyk welcomed the returned cosmonauts at the airport and 
made them honorary citizens. The crew returned to the Baykonur cos- 
modrome by plane on the morning of 17 Oct. 

The splashdown of Soyuz 23 resulted from chance rather than plan- 
ning, said the newspaper Izvestia on 18 Oct., describing fears at 
recovery-team headquarters that the landing craft might have gone into 
swamps near the lake, after a report that the craft had tilted on impact, 
putting the porthole below the water's surface. The pilot of a plane had 
reported the capsule's position and a helicopter had towed the capsule to 
shore amid fog, snow, and broken ice. The official comments were 
regarded as "an effort to avoid blaming the astronauts for the mission's 
failure," said the NY Times. 

The Soyuz 23 difficulty marked the fourth failure of a Soyuz mission 
to rendezvous; radar trouble had forced the crews of Soyuz 3, Soyuz 8, 
and Soyuz 15 to return to earth without docking. The Wash. Post noted 
that about one in three Soyuz flights had failed to carry out its mission: 
Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11 resulted in the deaths of one and three cos- 
monauts respectively, and two cosmonauts on an unnumbered mission in 
April 1975 had been forced to abort their flight before reaching earth 
orbit. {NYT, 15 Oct 76, A 13; 16 Oct 76, 6; 17 Oct 76, 29; 18 Oct 76, 
32; 19 Oct 76, 17; W Post, 15 Oct 76, A-21; 17 Oct 76, A-17; 
18 Oct 76, A-16; C Trib, 15 Oct 76, 1-5; 17 Oct 76, 1-3; 18 Oct 76, 
1-8; WStar, 17 Oct 76, A- 14; FBIS, Tass in English, 14-17 Oct 76) 
15 October: To criticisms of "basic" research, "whose practical applications 
no one can foresee," the New York Times in an editorial said the two 
Nobel Prizes in medicine for 1976 might have been designed to provide 
an answer and a rebuke. While Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg in the early 
1960s was studying genetic variation in the susceptibility to disease of 
different people (a "seemingly abstruse topic," the Times noted), he 
found in the blood of an Australian aborigine a strange protein described 
as Australia Antigen, now usually called Hepatitis B surface antigen. 
Blood given for transfusions nowadays is regularly tested for this protein 

251 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

to prevent Hepatitis B infection, thus preventing thousands of blood 
recipients each year from being infected. The other Nobel prizewinner, 
Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek, while in New Guinea during the 1950s became 
interested in the so-called laughing disease, "kuru," that was destroying 
the Fore, an obscure Stone Age people. His work on that disease revealed 
a new type of slow-acting virus that could produce brain degeneration, 
and that might be "involved in multiple sclerosis and other major neu- 
rological diseases." The message for financiers and directors of research, 
said the Times, is that "in the long run nothing is more practical than 
basic studies" and that "basic research yields the richest dividends." 
(NYT, 15 Oct 76) 

• Communications Satellite Corporation (ComSat) reported net income for 

the third quarter of 1976 of $7 607 000, down from last yr's third- 
quarter net of $1 1 837 000. The decrease was the result of amounts 
placed in escrow under an FCC accounting and refund order of 16 June 
1976; if the order had not been in effect, the quarter's net would have 
been $14 603 000. Although operating income dropped as a result of 
the escrow requirement, the wholly owned Comsat General Corp. for the 
first time had realized revenues for the entire period from both Marisat 
and Comstar programs; in the third quarter a yr ago, the subsidiary had 
reduced ComSat's net operating income by a penny per share. Operating 
expenses, including taxes, were $30 223 000 for the quarter, up from 
$24 997 000 for the third quarter of 1975; the increase was due to 
costs of the launches of Intelsat IV-A, Marisat, and Comstar satellites. 
ComSat's gross operating revenues for the third quarter of 1976 totaled 
$36 260 000, an increase over last yr's third quarter total of 
$35 116 000; the escrow requirement had prevented the gross revenues 
from increasing more than $15 million over last yr's third quarter with 
the beginning of Marisat and Comstar services and continued growth in 
the number of circuits leased to customers of the Intelsat global commu- 
nications system. Half circuits leased at the end of Sept. 1976 numbered 
4129, a 16% increase over the 3547 leased at the end of Sept. 1975. 
Money put in escrow under the FCC order represented the difference 
between customer payments to ComSat under present rates, and the 
amounts based on lower rates that would be required under an FCC rate 
decision of 4 Dec. 1 975. The rate decision was still under judicial review. 
(ComSat Release 76-16) 

• An enormous explosion in central Siberia that shook the world 68 yr ago 

might have been caused by the crash of a nuclear-powered spaceship 
from an alien planet, according to the Soviet news agency Tass, reported 
in the Washington Star. Tass quoted scientist Aleksey Zolotov, who had 
just returned from a survey of a remote river valley at Tunguska. On 
30 June 1908, a blast estimated as up to 2000 times more powerful than 
the first atomic bomb had shaken measuring devices all over the world 
and had been heard nearly 1200 km away from Tunguska. Trees had 
been uprooted as far as 50 km from the site, and ground tremors had 
thrown to the ground horses that were pulling plows as far away as 
380 km. Most scientists had attributed the explosion to the impact of a 
meteorite or comet with a mass of 10 million tons and measuring mor 

252 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

than 90 meters across. Zolotov told Tass that his survey team had found 
higher than normal radioactivity in remnants of trees near the site; also 
taken were samples of permafrost soil. "Our investigation . . . seems to 
confirm our assumption that what took place in the Tungus taiga was a 
nuclear explosion," Zolotov said. "It is from this point of view that we 
are exploring the possibility of the artificial origin of the Tungus cosmic 
body." Tass did not give figures for the radiation study, nor did it identify 
Zolotov beyond saying he was a "noted Soviet scientist . . . who has 
been studying the Tungus mystery for years." ( WStar, 1 5 Oct 76, A-4) 
17 October: Two recently published books on "the worst disaster in aviation 
history — the crash of a Turkish Airlines DC- 10 outside Paris that killed 
at least 346 people in March, 1974 — " alleged that the disaster was not 
only preventable but was predicted in detail years before it happened, the 
Washington Post reported. Destination Disaster, by an investigating 
team from the London Sunday Times, aimed at inspiring another con- 
gressional investigation into "corporate and governmental interworkings 
that contributed to the disaster," the Post said; The Last Nine Minutes, 
by Moira Johnston, was a more subjective and personal account of the 
same crash. 

Senate and House hearings in the summer of 1974 had revealed that 
a technically similar accident in June 1972 had exposed an error in the 
design of the DC- 10: a faulty locking system for the door of the large 
cargo compartment. The 1972 mishap had resulted in a "gentlemen's 
agreement" between the administrator of the Federal Aviation Adminis- 
tration and the president of the Douglas Division, McDonnell Douglas, 
that the lock would be fixed but that FAA would not issue a public and 
legally binding "airworthiness directive" mandating the repair. After the 
agreement was reached, the director of product engineering for the 
Convair Division of General Dynamics, subcontractor to McDonnell 
Douglas for the fuselage (including the door), wrote a long memorandum 
expressing concern about the door. Neither this memo nor another 
Convair memo on the question of liability for the cost of modifications 
ever reached McDonnell Douglas, the authors said, although evidence 
existed that McDonnell Douglas was fully aware of the problem 
nevertheless. 

Turkish Airlines, which was responsible for maintenance after the 
DC- 10 was delivered, was sharing in liability settlements with McDonnell 
Douglas, General Dynamics, and the FAA, according to attorneys, who 
said total liability from the crash would probably set a single-accident 
record. The Post noted that FAA had issued 147 airworthiness directives 
in 1973; in 1974, year of the crash, the number was 299; in 1975, the 
number rose to 445. 

Private consultant Charles 0. Miller, former chief of the Natl. Trans- 
portation Safety Board's bureau of aviation safety, who had gone to Paris 
to assist in investigation of the Turkish Airlines crash, said in a recent 
interview that the Convair memoranda and other documentation that 
provided background to the technical decisions had been turned up by 
the liability lawyers rather than by the crash investigators or by congress- 
ional investigators. {W Post, 17 Oct 76, A-l, A- 12) 

253 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

18 October: President Ford awarded the National Medal of Science, the 
highest U.S. award for distinguished scientific achievement, to 15 sci- 
entists, one of them now dead: 

— John W. Backus, IBM Research Laboratory, San Jose, Calif., for contri- 
butions to computer programming 

— Manson Benedict, professor emeritus, MIT, for his role in creating the 
discipline of nuclear engineering and his leadership in developing techniques 
for uranium-isotope separation 

— Hans A. Bethe, professor emeritus of physics, Cornell Univ., for contri- 
butions to understanding of the atomic nucleus, the origins of solar heat, 
and atomic energy 

— Shiing-Shen Chern, professor of mathematics, Univ. of Calif, at Berke- 
ley, for work leading to discoveries in geometry and topology 
— George B. Dantzig, professor of operations research and computer sci- 
ences, Stanford Univ., for invention of linear programming and methods of 
using mathematical theory in computers 

— Hallowell Davis, professor emeritus of physiology, research professor of 
otolaryngology, Washington Univ., for research leading to advancement in 
fields ranging from neurology to acoustics and pediatrics 
— Paul Gyorgy, late professor emeritus of pediatrics, Univ. of Pa. School 
of Medicine, for discovery of three vitamins and related research in human 
nutrition 

— Sterling Brown Hendricks, former chief chemist, U.S. Dept. of Agricul- 
ture plant industry station, Beltsville, Md., for research in physical and 
chemical properties of soils 

— Joseph 0. Hirschfelder, professor of theoretical chemistry, Univ. of 
Wise, for contributions to atomic and molecular quantum mechanics 
— William H. Pickering, director emeritus, Jet Propulsion Lab., for leader- 
ship in exploration of planets and the solar system 

— Lewis H. Sarett, senior v. p. for science and technology, Merck & Co., 
for contributions to chemical synthesis of cortisone and other chemo- 
therapeutic agents 

— Frederick E. Terman, v. p. and provost emeritus, Stanford Univ., for his 
role in creating modern electronics , 

— Orville A. Vogel, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, professor emeritus of agron- 
omy and soils, State Univ. of Wash., for agronomic research including 
development of semidwarf wheats 

— E. Bright Wilson, Jr., professor of chemistry, Harvard Univ., for theo- 
retical and experimental contributions to the understanding of molecular 
structure 

— Chien-Hsiung Wu, professor of physics, Columbia Univ., for experi- 
ments leading to the understanding of the decay of the radioactive nucleus 
(ATT, 19 Oct 76, 20) 

• Sweden's Royal Academy of Sciences announced that three more Amer- 
icans had won Nobel prizes: Prof. William N. Lipscomb, Harvard 
Univ., for chemistry, and Prof. Burton Richter of Stanford Univ. and 
Prof. Samuel C. C. Ting of MIT for physics. Prof. Lipscomb won for his 
studies of the structures and properties of boranes, and Profs. Richter 
and Ting shared the physics prize for their independent discoveries of a 

254 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

new type of elementary particle known as psi or J. Americans had won 
all four of the prizes awarded so far this year; Prof. Milton Friedman of 
the Univ. of Chicago had won the prize for economics, and the prize for 
medicine had gone to Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg of the Univ. of Pa. Medical 
School and Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek of the Natl. Institute for Neuro- 
logical Diseases. All the prizes carry an award of $160 000, derived 
from the estate of Sweden's Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, who 
established the prizes in 1901. {NYT, 19 Oct 76, 1, 34; 24 Oct 76, 
E-14) 

• In separate accounts, Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine 

emphasized problems arising in USSR attempts to reoccupy the Salyut 5 
"military space station." The magazine reported that the Soyuz 21 
cosmonauts were forced to return to earth under emergency circum- 
stances 24 Aug. because of "an acrid odor flowing from the Salyut-5 
space station environmental control system." Lt. Col. Vitaly Zholobov 
and Col. Boris Volynov "tolerated the odor for some time but were unable 
to find the cause of the problem before the odor became unbearable," the 
magazine said, noting that the mission was the sixth failure in the last 
nine USSR attempts to complete manned orbital-station missions. In an- 
other story in the same issue, the magazine said that "the Soviets believe 
they have solved the [Salyut 5] environmental control system's odor 
problem that forced the early return of the Soyuz-21 crew" as demon- 
strated by the 14 Oct. launch of Soyuz 23 carrying Lt. Col. Vyacheslav 
Zudov and Lt. Col. Valery Rozhdestvensky. (Av Wk, 18 Oct 76, 13, 25) 

• The Energy Research and Development Administration announced that a 

nuclear explosion reported by the Peoples Republic of China 17 Oct. had 
been detected by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's detection system. 
The explosion, which occurred underground at 1 a.m. EDT at the Lop Nor 
test area in western China, was in the low-yield range, ERDA said. (ERDA 
Release 76-320) 
19 October: Physicians at Johnson Space Center were gathering data on 
female physiological performance and tolerance limits as a basis for 
establishing criteria in recruiting NASA's first women astronauts. Women 
employees of the center were asked to volunteer for testing on a treadmill 
and in a lower body negative-pressure device, to see whether women 
responded differently from men of comparable age to treadmill exercise 
and to stresses on the circulatory system induced by decreased pressures 
on the lower body. On the treadmill test, researchers would monitor the 
subject's heart rate and blood pressure as they varied the speed and tilt 
of the moving treadmill. The pressure device, encasing the subject from 
the waist down, would have the pressure reduced while researchers 
monitored the reaction of the cardiovascular system to the change in 
pressure. NASA had issued a call for at least 30 Space Shuttle astronauts 
(15 pilot candidates, 15 mission specialist candidates) in July 1976, with 
a closing date of 30 June 1977. Selection would be completed by Decem- 
ber 1977. (JSC Release 76-65) 

• Two "pilots of note" — Gen. James M. Doolittle and Neil A. Armstrong — 

had announced plans to establish a Charles A. Lindbergh Memorial Fund 



255 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

to support the work of young scientists, explorers, and conservationists, 
the New York Times reported. Gen. Doolittle, leader of the first World 
War II air raid on Tokyo, and astronaut Armstrong, first man to walk on 
the moon, would head a drive to raise $5 million for the fund by 20 May 
1977, the fiftieth anniversary of Lindbergh's takeoff on the first solo 
nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Income from the endowment, 
expected to be about $400 000 a yr, would be distributed to Lindbergh 
Fellows who "combine qualities that made [Lindbergh] a unique human 
being," said Doolittle at a press conference. He told reporters Lindbergh 
"would have been happier with a living memorial than one out of bronze 
and stone." Lindbergh, who died in 1974 at the age of 72, had continued 
in aviation as a test pilot and airline executive but had branched out into 
medical technology research and wildlife conservation in his later years, 
the /VFr said. The fund's sponsoring committee included representatives 
of the Explorers Club and the World Wildlife Fund, as well as other areas 
of interest to Lindbergh: aerospace, ecology, exploration, and science 
and engineering. Announcement of selections for fellowships would be 
made yearly on 2 1 May, anniversary of Lindbergh's arrival in Paris after 
his 33-hr flight in Spirit of St. Louis. (NYT, 20 Oct 76, 22) 
21 October: Correlations between an astronaut's susceptibility to motion 
sickness on the ground and his susceptibility in space were the subject of 
studies by JSC scientists, based on data from U.S. and Soviet manned 
space flights and on data from tests aboard a zero-gravity training 
aircraft. Motion sickness had been difficult to study because of the 
variety of separate sensory inputs to the brain. The three major compo- 
nents of human balance and posture were generally accepted to be visual 
input, defining the local vertical component; vestibular input from the 
semicircular canals and otoliths in the inner ear, sensing angular and lin- 
ear acceleration and the presence or absence of gravity; and muscle sens- 
ors, monitoring posture. These interrelated inputs normally function to 
keep the body balanced; in an earth-normal gravity, balance would be re- 
flexive, and persons would not be conscious of the body-movement 
patterns that kept them upright. In a moving vehicle, the inputs to the 
brain might produce contradictory information resulting in a feeling of 
discomfort; "motion sickness" is not an adaptive response and does not 
improve the situation, as coughing would do to relieve a throat blockage. 
Persons without sight can experience motion sickness, but persons 
without their vestibular functions intact apparently do not. Although 
little was known about the interactions among the three sensory systems, 
motion sickness seemed to be more related to vestibular input. During 
Skylab missions, in the relatively large areas of living space, much 
vestibular relearning apparently occurred in the first 2 wk of spaceflight, 
after which all crewmen became very resistant to motion sickness. No 
correlation was apparent between an astronaut's susceptibility to motion 
sickness on the ground and his susceptibiity in space. The studies postu- 
lated that the otolith (chalky concretion in the inner ear) was the receptor 
affording the most direct information on gravity, and therefore was the 
source of many of the inputs causing disequilibrium or motion sickness. 
(JSC Release 76-67) 

256 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

• The B-l bomber was vital to U.S. security, said Gen. William J. Evans, 

commander of the Air Force Systems Command, in a speech to the 
Rockwell Management Club at Los Angeles, Calif. As part of a strategic 
triad — SLBMs, ICBMs, and bombers — constituting three distinct types of 
retaliatory weapons, the B-l would help complicate defense efforts of 
potential enemies. Although the U.S. now had "a rough equivalence" of 
strategic strength, Gen. Evans noted that the Soviet Union was engaged 
in an effort to upset "the present equilibrium" and gain military advan- 
tage. Along with deterrent value, the B-l should be considered a flexible, 
reusable, appropriate weapon in a conventional tactical role as well as in 
a nuclear strategic role. A future conflict might start not through "a 
surprise storm of nuclear missiles," but through "daring but limited acts 
of provocation" to which the U.S. should be able to respond with at least 
a show of force or be "perceived as a paper tiger." Gen. Evans congrat- 
ulated Rockwell and other contributors to the development of the B-l 
and urged continuation of the program. (OIP Release 231.76) 

• FAA Administrator John L. McLucas announced award to Wilcox Electric 

Co., Kansas City, Mo., of a $3 720 699 contract for nine Category III 
instrument-landing systems that would complete a program to provide 
all-weather landing capability at key airports across the U.S. One Cate- 
gory III system would be installed at the FAA academy at Oklahoma City 
for training; the other eight would go to Kennedy Airport, NYC; O'Hare, 
Chicago; Houston Intl., Kansas City Intl., Seattle-Tacoma Intl., Los 
Angeles Intl., Portland Intl., and Detroit's Metropolitan Wayne County 
Airport. The new equipment had already been installed at Dulles Intl. 
near Washington, D.C., Atlanta Intl., San Francisco Intl., and Stapleton 
Airport at Denver, as well as at the FAA center at Atlantic City, N.J., 
where it had been used for test and evaluation. Category III equipment 
would permit landings without visual reference to the ground, under 
weather conditions with ceiling zero and runway visibility no less than 
about 200 m. Existing Category II equipment at the sites to be replaced 
would be moved to other airports, to be named later. (FAA Release 76-97) 
22 October: A recently completed manipulator-development facility at John- 
son Space Center's Bldg. 9a laboratory would assist NASA engineers and 
technicians in studying Shuttle payload deployment and retrieval in 
space, JSC announced. The manipulating system, with a reach of 15.2 
meters, was the largest known remotely controlled manipulator system. 
Sizes of payloads to be carried in the Space Shuttle would range from 
very small to a maximum length of 18.2 m and diameter of 4.5 m; 
objective of the facility would be to improve techniques of moving bulky 
payloads in and out of the orbiter's bay in a weightless environment. The 
manipulator arm would be operated from inside the orbiter cabin by an 
astronaut using a pair of hand controllers and viewing the process 
through a window, aided by a closed-circuit TV system. The laboratory 
building also housed working models of orbiter components including a 
full-scale forward cabin section with cargo bay, manipulator station, and 
a large air-bearing table approximately 25 by 30m on which simulated 
payloads could be steered on a cushion of air by the remote arm. The 

257 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

air-bearing table would also test the ability of astronauts to move over the 
smooth interior of the orbiter, using suction-cup shoes instead of cleats 
locking into grids. An engineer wearing suction-cup shoes and strapped 
into a cage-like apparatus on the air-bearing table could be familiarized 
with "walking like a fly" in the day-to-day work environment of the 
Shuttle. (JSC Release 76-66) 

• A new research aircraft combining the precision hover and low downwash 

of a helicopter with the long range and high speed of a fixed-wing aircraft 
made its debut at rollout ceremonies in Arlington, Tex., marking "a 
major milestone in the joint NASA-Army tilt rotor program," according to 
a NASA announcement. The Bell Helicopter Textron's XV- 15 would 
undergo a 2-yr flight-testing program scheduled by Ames Research 
Center and the Army's Air Mobility Research and Development Labora- 
tory. The XV- 15 was a 12.8-m-long 9.7-m wing-span aircraft with 
wingtip-mounted engines, transmissions, and 7.6-m propeller rotors that 
could tilt from the helicopter position for vertical takeoffs and landings 
and for hovering, to a horizontal position for forward flight at speeds up 
to more than 482 kph. The tilt rotor would operate with less noise than 
conventional helicopters or turboprop aircraft of comparable size. The 
first XV- 15 would undergo ground and hover tests, then go to ARC for 
testing in that center's wind tunnel; the second XV- 15 would undergo 
initial envelope-expansion flight tests at Bell's Arlington, Tex., facility 
beginning late in 1977. (NASA Release 76-169; WStar, 24 Oct 76, A-2) 

• MSFC announced completion of a huge self-propelled vehicle called the 

Straddle Carrier Transporter, fabricated by McDonnell Douglas Astro- 
nautics Co. at St. Louis, Mo., and shipped to MSFC for assembly, to be 
used in moving sections of the Space Shuttle external tank at the Mi- 




The XV-15 — a tilt-rotor research aircraft combining features oj helicopters and con- 
ventional airplanes — rolls out at the Arlington, Tex. facility of Bell Helicopter Textron 22 
Oct. 1976. (NASA 76-H-804) 

258 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

choud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Assembled, the external tank 
would measure 47.2 m in length and 8.5 m in dia.; empty, it would weigh 
33 300 kg, and would carry about 708 440 kg of propellants for launch. 
The transporter, completely self-supporting, would use electricity from 
a propane-powered generator for its hydraulic propulsion system, steer- 
ing, lights, and hoists; it would lift, stabilize, and carry major external 
tank assemblies over concrete floors and improved roadways. Its five 
cable hoists included two 10-ton units on a monorail on the aft frame; 
two 5-ton units on a monorail on the forward frame; and a 2-ton hoist 
on a centerline rail. The 5- and 10-ton hoists in combination would 
handle the liquid-hydrogen tank with a volume of 1 573 cu m; the smaller 
hoists would handle the liquid-oxygen tank, with a volume of 552 cu m. 
(MSFC Release 76-193) 
• Dr. Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., director of Johnson Space Center, had 
received the highest honor given by the government of France to a citizen 
of another country: the insignia of the Knight of the Legion of Honor, 
the JSC Roundup reported. The award was given for Kraft's "tireless 
efforts toward better understanding and cooperation between the people 
of the United States and France." He had also received the Natl. Civil 
Service League's career-service award for 1976, as one often chosen for 
"excellence in the public service." 

Dr. Robert R. Gilruth, former director of JSC, was one of 35 space 
pioneers inducted into the Space Hall of Fame 5 Oct. during the dedica- 
tion of the new facility at Alamogordo, N.M. 

At a JSC ceremony 18 Oct., astronaut Donald K. Slayton received the 
American Heart Assn.'s 1976 Heart of the Year award for inspiring 
millions of Americans by "overcoming a heart problem that had 
grounded him for 10 years, enabling him to resume his distinguished 
participation in America's space program." (JSC Roundup, 22 Oct 
76, 1) 
24 October: Rockwell Intl. Corp. inspectors testing their inventory of trans- 
istors after a government warning to watch for counterfeit semiconduc- 
tors had found 1 1 of 1 1 transistors of one type to be fakes, the New York 
Times reported. Rockwell had concluded that bogus parts had been 
"unwittingly built into [NASA's] major current project, the Space Shuttle, 
for which Rockwell is the prime contractor." The /VlTsaid that "a rash 
of discoveries of bogus devices" had plagued the electronics industry for 
the last year and a half. 

The Defense Electronics Supply Center (DESC), a DOD agency that 
procured almost all electronic devices for defense, found 20 of 60 
components taken randomly from stock to be "suspect" and had re- 
turned them to the makers for tests to determine authenticity. "Counter- 
feit" components — devices altered physically to misrepresent their true 
type or quality, by relabeling, renumbering, or adding false reliability 
information or dating — would not necessarily be nonfunctional; howev- 
er, as the purpose of the alteration would be to indicate falsely that a part 
had passed certain quality tests, and would therefore be much more 
valuable, the part might fail under strenuous application. Failure of a 



259 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

single component could have consequences far outweighing its 25-cent 
cost. The transistors tested at Rockwell had been marked to indicate 
suitability for use in the most rigorous applications; upon disassembly, 
the parts showed no indication of having undergone any of the extra 
testing signified by the external markings, which had increased the cost 
fivefold. 

Although one trade organization (Electronics Industries Assn.) set up 
a task group to combat the problem of counterfeiting, "all sectors of the 
electronics industry are working against . . . major procedures to allevi- 
ate counterfeiting," said the NYT report. At issue was the use of distrib- 
utors, intermediary between producers and end users, who had a "heavy 
financial interest in maintaining the current system," the report said. 
Most semiconductor producers sold rejects to junk or surplus dealers for 
their metal content; the items not disfigured were a very inexpensive 
source for remarking, and could be introduced into the market as high- 
quality low-cost items. Virtually all counterfeit components could be 
traced to the big defense contractors, said the NYT. Industry sources 
contended that 'the DOD had loose procurement practices, with a 
purchasing-policy rule that component contracts must go to the lowest 
bidder. As a DESC spokesman pointed out, "We are simply not allowed 
to pay a premium price on any contract," even if the low bid is sus- 
piciously below the going rate — "a strong indication that something may 
be wrong," the NYT noted. Accepted methods of the industry made it 
impossible to guarantee the authenticity of any part that did not come 
directly from the manufacturer, the report added. Although vendors had 
predicted that a 1974 DESC edict calling for a strict and immediate 
upgrading of tests on military-grade components would disrupt the sup- 
ply, few problems had arisen after the regulations had taken effect. 
(NYT, 24 Oct 76, 3F; Newsweek, 25 Oct 76) 

25 October: The failure of Soyuz 23 to rendezvous with Salyut 5 indicated 
that the USSR was still encountering the technical and procedural prob- 
lems that had beset its manned space program for the past 15 yr, said 
Aviation Wk & Space Technology magazine. The failure was the sev- 
enth in 1 1 attempts to complete various space-station missions and the 
second in a row for Salyut; the unplanned water landing that concluded 
the failed mission was the first in Soviet space history, but was attributed 
to "nothing more than bad luck," said Av Wk . The rendezvous-system 
failure was the fourth Soyuz mission plagued by procedural errors or 
hardware malfunctions associated with docking: Soyuz 3 failed to dock 
with Soyuz 2 in 1968, Soyuz 8 failed to dock with Soyuz 7 in 1969, 
and Soyuz 15 had been unable to rendezvous and dock with Salyut 3 
in 1974. Because the failure of a system on the Soyuz 23 ended its 
mission rather than any problem with Salyut 5, Western observers 
wondered how soon the Soviets would attempt to reman the space station, 
which Av Wk referred to as "military." (Av Wk, 25 Oct 76, 23) 

• Viking 2's lander dug a soil sample from beneath a rock on Mars and de- 
livered it to the biological instrument package. All three experiments 
received a part of the sample; initial data from two of them— the labeled- 
release and the pyrolytic-release experiments — were sent to mission 

260 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

control at JPL. The third (gas-exchange) experiment was in a long incuba- 
tion period that would continue through solar conjunction — a movement 
of the bodies which would put the sun between Mars and the earth — 
preventing communication with the Viking landers and orbiters. Con- 
junction would begin about 10 Nov. and continue through early Dec; if 
the landers were revived successfully after the communications gap, 
more samples would be collected in mid-Jan. Leonard Clark, surface- 
sampler engineer, foresaw no problem in reactivating the arm mechan- 
isms, adding that they had worked very well, "just the way they did 
during ground testing on earth before they left the manufacturer." (Av 
Wk, 1 Nov 76, 15) 

26 October: The 2000th major missile launch from Cape Canaveral took 

place at 4:30 pm EDT when an Army Pershing missile was launched by 
troops of Battery C, 3d Battalion, 84th Field Artillery, of the U.S. 7th 
Army from Europe. First launch from "the Cape" had occurred 26 yr 
previously on 24 July 1950, when Bumper 8, a captured German V-2 
rocket capped by a WAC Corporal second stage, lifted off the then 
sparsely settled area. (KSC Spaceport News, 12 Nov 76, 1) 

27 October: Ames Research Center announced that 18 scientists represent- 

ing eight institutions would fly on NASA's Galileo II airborne research 
laboratory on a 3-wk study of atmospheric pollution that would take 
them nearly pole to pole across the central Pacific Ocean, north to south. 
Between 28 Oct. and 19 Nov., the scientists in eight teams would 
measure changes in the upper atmosphere caused by jet aircraft exhaust 
and would investigate the effect on the upper atmosphere of fluoro- 
carbons and halocarbons from aerosol sprays and other sources. The 
experiments at many latitudes from far north to far south would gather 
data in both northern and southern hemispheres to note changes in 
upper-atmosphere composition and pollutants between altitudes of 
10.6 km and 12.1 km. Measuring would begin in Alaska, then proceed 
at Hawaii, Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. Observations 
near Hawaii would be coordinated with similar measurements at about 
18-km altitude by NASA's earth-resources survey aircraft, also based at 
Ames. 

The jet-pollutant study was part of a 4-yr cooperative effort between 
ARC and the Lewis Research Center, which had included experiment 
packages carried on jets operated by Pan American, United, and Qantas 
airlines; the Galileo II flights would measure pollution over remote areas 
not covered by commercial aircraft. The aerosol pollution measurements 
were part of a broader program by NASA and other agencies to ascertain 
the constituents of the upper atmosphere in a nonpolluted condition, in 
order to define changes with time in proportions of ozone, fluorocarbons, 
water vapor, carbon monoxide, and other compounds, and to determine 
whether such changes were manmade. Galileo II data from both types of 
measurements would be coordinated with data collected by NOAA stations 
in Alaska, Hawaii, and Samoa, as well as by stations of the meteorological 
services of Australia and New Zealand and the Commonwealth Scientific 
and Industrial Research Organization. (ARC Release 76-79) 

261 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

• The Soviet Union's earth satellites had added a new profession — that of 

printer — to those of meteorologist, cartographer, and communicator, 
the Tass news agency announced. A Molniya comsat tested in Kha- 
barovsk had transmitted newspapers from Moscow to the Far East more 
economically and more rapidly than had been possible using the trans- 
continental cable. The high-resolution capability of the equipment had 
produced excellent images, the announcement said, adding that "papers 
received by Far Eastern subscribers will now be absolutely identical to 
those taken out of their letter boxes by the Moscovites." (FBIS, Tass Intl 
Service in Russian, 27 Oct 76) 
29 October: MSFC announced that it had modified its Saturn facilities to 
accommodate Space Shuttle work, having completed remodeling of a 
giant test stand used in the 1960s for static test firing of the Saturn V 
first stages. The stand would be used in structural tests of the liquid- 
hydrogen tank portion of the Shuttle external tank; the hydrogen tank 
measured 29.3 m long and 8.5 m in diameter. Stand modifications 
included work platforms, changes in the stand structure including pres- 
surization, and an instrumentation and control system. Holddown arms 
were removed and a flame deflector that channeled rocket exhaust away 
from the area was taken from under the stand. Liquid-oxygen storage 
facilities used for Saturn had been converted for liquid-hydrogen storage 
needed for Shuttle testing, instead of building new storage. The contract 
with Algernon Blair of Montgomery, Ala., by the Huntsville Div., Corps 
of Engineers, was for approximately $4 million. (MSFC Release 76-195) 

• MSFC announced selection of the Bendix Corp., Teterboro, N.J., for nego- 

tiations leading to award of a $7 007 210 cost-plus-award-fee contract 
for installing, activating, disassembling, and removal of special equip- 
ment at MSFC for Space Shuttle structural and dynamic ground tests. The 
contract would run from 15 Nov. 1976 through Dec. 1979. MSFC re- 
sponsibilities in developing the Space Shuttle covered three areas: the 
main engine powering the orbiter, which uses three of these engines; the 
external tank holding propellants for the main engines during launch and 
ascent; and the solid-fuel rocket boosters to be jettisoned after burnout 
and recovered by parachute for future use. MSFC would make structural 
tests of the external tank and boosters, development tests to prove design 
concepts of the main engine and external tank, and dynamic tests simu- 
lating flight conditions to be encountered by the Shuttle during launch. 
(MSFC Release 76-196) 

• Two Landsats, launched in 1972 and 1975 to monitor earth resources, had 

been tested for the job of census taker by NASA and the Bureau of the 
Census, NASA announced. Public Law 521, signed by President Ford 
18 Oct. 76, required a complete U.S. census every 5 yr instead of once 
every 10 yr; the satellites, if their performance in 1980 in regional 
readouts and verifications should prove satisfactory, would permit 
significant savings in manpower, the Bureau said. Landsat images, al- 
though not detailed enough to count people or houses, could serve to 
identify geological, agricultural, and societal features, especially residen- 
tial patterns of growth. Satellite images of areas of Md. and Tex. had 
been processed in 1975 to identify land cover typical of transition from 

262 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

rural to urban use; conventional census boundaries overlaid on the 
images enabled a computer to identify urban fringe zones in the test 
areas, verified by actual census statistics, the Bureau said. (NASA Release 
76-176) 

• NASA's aviation safety reporting system (ASRS) received nearly 1 500 reports 

in its first 3-mo operating period, which ended in mid-July, NASA an- 
nounced. As a result of information in the reports, NASA forwarded 130 
alert bulletins to the Federal Aviation Administration. Pilots and aircrew 
members submitted 62% of the reports, and air traffic control personnel 
34%, indicating broad support for the program within the aviation 
community. About 99% of the reports included reporter identification 
that would permit NASA to follow up on the data if necessary; follow-up 
was used in more than 150 cases. Twelve of the reports concerned 
aircraft accidents and were forwarded to the Natl. Transportation Safety 
Board and the FAA as required; none of the reports contained information 
relating to a criminal offense. All other reports had the reporters' names 
removed, as specified in the agreement between NASA and the FAA, before 
the information was forwarded. Review of the information so far had 
revealed some "less obvious problems" with the national aviation system, 
NASA said, and analysis would proceed shortly: problems included equip- 
ment malfunction, communications breakdown, flight operations, and 
personnel workloads. (NASA Release 76-177) 

• A mysterious radio signal apparently emanating from the Soviet Union had 

been so powerful that it had disrupted maritime, aeronautical, telecom- 
munications, and amateur radio operations throughout the world for 
months, the New York Times reported. The U.S. Federal Communi- 
cations Commission had forwarded four complaints to the USSR Ministry 
of Post and Telecommunications since 25 Aug., but had not received an 
answer. Colin Thomas of Leeds, England, worldwide coordinator of inter- 
ference reports for the Intl. Amateur Radio Union, said that amateurs in 
Sweden, Norway, West Germany, the U.S., and Australia had complained 
of the interference; protests by the British Home Office to the USSR had 
not received a reply, he said. The Intl. Telecommunications Union in 
Geneva, Switzerland, to which the matter was referred, said it had no 
power to enforce treaties against interference but tried to mediate such 
situations. An FCC spokesman said complaints had been received almost 
daily since early July; direction-finding equipment had confirmed the 
source of the signals as the eastern side of the Baltic Sea. An extremely 
wideband signal pulsing 10 times per second was causing the inter- 
ference, which had generated complaints from every type of shortwave 
user. What generated the signals, what type of intelligence they might 
be carrying, and what the purpose was, remained unanswered questions, 
the /VFTsaid. (NYT, 30 Oct 76, 5) 
During October: Numbers of ham radio operators had received pictures 
transmitted by the Viking lander from the surface of Mars more than 
370 million km away, the Associated Press reported in a story reprinted 
by the New York Times. Retired printing foreman Bob Walton of Des 
Moines, la., said that a third of the 260 000 hams in the U.S. might be 
capable of receiving the pictures if they spent about $700 on equipment. 

263 



October ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Last July the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena broadcast on its 
20m band that off-duty personnel would relay Mars pictures through 
their amateur radio station; Walton found a junked TV set, replaced some 
parts, and began receiving the Mars pictures. The JPL signals, tape- 
recorded and put through a converter, turned the sound into pictures 
when played back. Vocal explanations of the pictures could also be taped 
for playback. Storms in Iowa had prevented Walton from receiving some 
of the Mars pictures, but ham operators in Tex. and Fla. sent him the 
ones he had missed, he reported. (NYT, 7 Oct 76, IOC) 

Video transmissions of Viking lander pictures from the JPL ham radio 
station N6V (NASA 1976 Viking) at Pasadena had bypassed ham radio 
operators in San Diego County nearby, wrote Cliff Smith, science writer 
for the San Diego Union. The shortwave radio signals, good for long- 
distance communications, had been received by "about 13 000 hams 
around the world equipped to receive the pictures," but not by the score 
of ham operators around San Diego. The locals pointed out that special 
converter devices N6V used for picture transmission and reception had 
been made by a company in San Diego, and that the local ham organiza- 
tion had donated to N6V the converter used by the station for its Viking 
transmissions. After a representative of the San Diego Reporter Assn. 
called the situation to the attention of the N6V broadcasters — all hams 
employed as technicians at JPL, the Viking control center — N6V cor- 
rected the omission by beaming its broadcasts to a repeater station on 
Otay Mt. that most area hams could receive. Pictures received since the 
change had included shots of the Viking 2 mechanical arm trying to turn 
over a rock; closeups of the Martian moons, Deimos and Phobos; and a 
weird-looking alien whose image the JPL station transmitted as a joke. 
(San Diego Union, 8 Oct 76) 
• MSFC announced development of a new system of vehicle mobility that could 
greatly extend unmanned explorations on the surface of Mars and other 
planets. The concept grew out of work on the successful lunar roving 
vehicle that carried astronauts and equipment on extended exploration 
of the moon, far from the lunar module's landing site. Scientists had 
regretted the lack of mobility of the Viking landers on the surface of 
Mars, because the data on atmosphere and terrain had been limited to 
the landing site. The new idea, called Elastic Loop Mobility System 
(ELMS), would use a continuous elastic-loop track in place of the landing 
pads; the track would distribute lander weight uniformly over a relatively 
large area, with suspension and drive systems on the spacecraft com- 
bined into a single lightweight package. The geometry of the loop would 
serve to provide "excellent mobility" on soft soils and smooth rides over 
hard and rough terrain. Tests on models revealed slope-climbing capabil- 
ity, high maneuverability, and power to surmount obstacles and cross 
crevasses. Combining the ELMS with existing Viking hardware would 
produce a mobile laboratory that could conduct scientific missions on the 
Mars surface for 6 mo along traverses up to 150 km. 

Recent reviews of a possible mobile-Viking mission to Mars, using the 
ELMS concept, considered extending the mission to 2 yr along traverses 



264 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 October 

up to 500 km. The low ground clearance of the Viking spacecraft, 
together with the low ground-pressure tolerances on soft Martian soil, 
ruled out the use of wheels for mobility, as well as the use of conventional 
tracks because of high energy consumption and low operational reli- 
ability. Besides use of the MSFC-developed ELMS for planetary ex- 
ploration, the U.S. Marine Corps had considered the system for a new 
generation of amphibious landing vehicles for the 1980s, a MSFC spokes- 
man said. (MSFC Release 76-191) 

• "Under the guise of lack of funds. ..a paucity of imagination" had lost the 

U.S. "a preeminent place in the world of space science and engineering," 
said a letter in Aviation Wk & Space Technology magazine. In the 
meantime, the USSR "has not turned down any opportunity to use its 
space science and engineering to advance their well-being for the present 
or for the future." The letter cited the Grand Tour exploration of the 
outer planets, during a planetary configuration that "will not occur again 
until 179 years have passed," and the Large Space Telescope program 
as lost opportunities for the U.S. to retain technological superiority. (Av 
Wk, 1 1 Oct 76, 74) 

• Johnson Space Center awarded a $96 000 contract to Martin Marietta 

Aerospace Co. of Denver for a study of equipment needed to construct 
a solar-power satellite (SPS) in geosynchronous orbit, in or about 1990. 
The 9-mo contract called for conceptual design and system definition of 
equipment to support construction of large space systems in orbit, as- 
suming use of the Space Shuttle, and for defining development and 
maintenance costs of such equipment. (JSC Release 76-62) 

— JSC selected Alpha Bldg. Corp. of Houston for negotiations leading 
to award of a $1 369 000 cost-plus-award-fee contract for construction 
support services at the Center, including minor construction and other 
site work — alteration of laboratory systems, facilities, utilities, roads, 
sewers, walks, etc. — required by space programs and normally for 
projects estimated at $10 000 or less. The contract would begin 1 
December 1976 and end 30 November 1977, with the option for the 
government to extend the contract for two additional 1-yr periods. (JSC 
Release 76-63) 



265 



November 1976 

1 November: NASA would appeal a decision of the U.S. District Court ordering 
the agency to rehire all Marshall Space Flight Center civil service 
employees laid off since 1967 as the result of awarding support-services 
contracts to private business, Aviation Week & Space Technology 
magazine reported. The court had ruled that all such contracts awarded 
at MSFC since 1967 were illegal. NASA spokesmen estimated that up to 
1 500 contractor employees now at MSFC could be fired as a result of the 
ruling, and that 17 000 contractor employees throughout the agency 
might be affected by the decision, which ordered NASA to rehire the civil 
service personnel with back pay in amounts depending on the period of 
unemployment. Had all the employees affected been unemployed for the 
full 10 yr (the "worst-case situation"), necessary back pay might go as 
high as $ 1 50 million, NASA said, although the actual funds required would 
be less. An appeals court had already granted NASA a stay until 1 Feb. 
1977 before the district court's ruling became effective, so that the 
agency could ask Congress for supplemental funds to cover the back-pay 
requirements. (Av Wk, 1 Nov 77, 22) 

• NASA announced plans to use a new technique for rapid detection of fecal 

coliform bacteria in water systems, under an agreement with EPA's region 
2, to define water quality in coastal areas of the New York Bight along 
the Atlantic coast. NASA would supply remote data-collecting buoys and 
a monitor designed to detect coliforms, the accepted indicator of bacte- 
rial contamination. Developed at LaRC as a byproduct of early Skylab 
environmental-control systems technology, the electronic monitoring 
device could detect human and nonhuman fecal coliforms in a few hours 
rather than days, permitting health authorities to act promptly upon 
discovery of large quantities of disease-producing bacteria. Shellfish beds 
could become infested with pathogenic organisms resulting from ocean 
dumping of sewage; the sensor could also monitor coliform levels in lakes, 
public water supplies, and sewage-plant effluent. (NASA Release 76-178) 

• The U.S. Air Force Systems Command announced that its space and missile 

systems organization (SAMSO) had completed tests at MSFC to define effects 
of sound waves and shock waves on the Space Shuttle during launch, 
using a 6.4% scale model of the launch pad proposed for Vandenberg 
AFB. The model launch pad, measuring roughly 13 m long by 6.5 m wide 
by 2 m high and weighing more than 27 000 kg, underwent engine- 
induced overpressure and noise environments simulated by Tomahawk 
solid-fuel rocket motors and high-pressure gaseous hydrogen-oxygen 
engines. Shock waves from rocket-engine ignition interacted with ex- 
hausts on the launch pad to direct overpressure back to the launch 
vehicle; the flow rate also created an acoustic field causing turbulence in 



267 



November ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

the surrounding atmosphere. The altered environments were modified 
during testing by altering the configuration to produce the most accept- 
able design of launch vehicle and payload. (AFSC Release OIP 170.76) 

• U.S. nuclear export policy should be conditioned on an international under- 

standing that certain activities are "inherently dangerous," said Victor 
Gilinsky, commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a 
speech at Mass. Institute of Technology. Although the dangers of pluto- 
nium — "both a nuclear explosive and the key to a virtually inexhaustible 
source of energy" — had been regarded as located far in the future, "the 
future is here," said Gilinsky, citing the accumulation of plutonium-rich 
spent fuel from civilian power reactors in storage sites around the world, 
with more and more nations interested in commercial-scale reprocessing. 
Although the desire for plutonium had been stimulated by the assumption 
"almost universally held" that its use was a natural, desirable, and 
indispensable result of using nuclear materials to generate electricity, the 
assumption had made even more difficult any attempt to restrict the 
availability of plutonium. Likewise, safeguards based on confusion or 
misapprehension about the possibilities of misusing plutonium had been 
nullified by the spread of technological knowhow as a national policy of 
the U.S. More than 90% of the enriched uranium imported in 1975 into 
the European Economic Community to produce energy — and eventually 
plutonium — had been supplied by the U.S., Gilinsky pointed out. Nuclear 
commerce should be conditioned on a new policy that "unrestricted 
national development of nuclear power programs is inherently incompat- 
ible with a secure world," he concluded, and no distinction should be 
recognized between military and "so-called 'peaceful'" nuclear ex- 
plosives. (NRC Release S- 14-75) 
2 November: Two NASA laboratories had spearheaded "the most ambitious 
effort so far to detect radio emissions from distant civilizations," Walter 
Sullivan reported in the New York Times. The project, known as SETI 
(search for extraterrestrial intelligence), would use a specially con- 
structed device called a multichannel spectral analyzer with various radio 
telescopes to scan simultaneously a million different frequency bands 
within a range known to scientists as the "waterhole." This part of the 
spectrum lies between the frequencies emitted by hydrogen atoms adrift 
in space ( 1 420 mhz) and those from hydroxyl, composed of one hydrogen 
and one oxygen atom ( 1 662 mhz), which combines with hydrogen to form 
water; the frequency range had been chosen as "a logical rendezvous for 
intelligent creatures trying to make contact for the first time." Ames 
Research Center would have primary responsibility for program manage- 
ment and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory would use its worldwide network 
of antennas besides providing instruments for the multichannel system, 
including a data processor capable of handling 6 million channels. NASA 
officials noted that the search would not depend on deliberate efforts at 
communication by other civilizations, citing the detectable radio energy 
emitted by the earth in normal space operations, television transmissions, 
and so forth. (NYT, 2 Nov 76, 16) 

• Landsat data analyzed by computer had distinguished accurately between 

stands of hardwood and pine, offering an improvement in routine forest 

268 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 November 

management, NASA announced. Forestry specialist Darrel Williams at 
GSFC had achieved an overall accuracy in classifying forest categories of 
90%, in comparison with airplane photographs of the same tract, a 
commercial forest in N.C. owned by the Weyerhaeuser Corp., chosen so 
that the data could be checked against a known base available con- 
tinuously. Aerial photos used in forest inventory might be updated only 
every 3 to 5 yr, because of the expense of airplane flights, whereas 
Landsat could provide repetitive coverage much more frequently. Use of 
the Landsat data, besides replacing conventional photographic coverage, 
could permit continuous land evaluation for insurance and tax purposes 
and provide evidence of unauthorized cutting, among other benefits. 
(NASA Release 76-179) 

• Britain and France announced their decision to build no more Concorde 

supersonic jetliners beyond the 16 now under construction or in the air. 
After a meeting in London with France's transport minister Marcel 
Cavaille, British industry minister Gerald Kaufman told a news confer- 
ence that future projects would concentrate on less exotic subsonic 
aircraft that would stand a better chance of making money. The Con- 
corde, a project begun by treaty in 1962, had already cost about $1.92 
billion for research, design, and development; each plane, with support 
facilities, would cost about $49.6 million. Nine had been built and 
sold — five to British Airways, four to Air France — and, of those remain- 
ing, three would go to British Airways and two to Air France, while 
preliminary purchase agreements had been signed with Iran for two 
others. British Airways had begun supersonic commercial flights in Jan. 
1976 with its Concordes between London and Bahrein; Air France had 
begun similar service at about the same time between Paris and Rio de 
Janeiro. On 24 May 1976, a trial service began from London and Paris 
to Dulles Intl. Airport at Washington, D.C. Banned by the New York 
Port Authority from landing at JFK Intl. Airport, pending results of en- 
vironmental testing at Dulles, the Concorde was losing money for both 
its state-owned sponsors; Air France reported losses of from $30 to 
$32 million in the first 9 mo of Concorde operation. Potential customers 
for the Concorde had made it clear that they would be interested only in 
the Europe-to-New York City route, most lucrative of the interna- 
tional flights. Kaufman added that the two countries had not become 
disenchanted with supersonic transport even though their future plans 
were to build smaller planes; "the fact that you're going for bread and 
butter now," he said, "doesn't mean that you'd be disenchanted with 
caviar later." {NYT, 3 Nov 76, 61; W Post, 4 Nov 76, A-3; W Star, 
3 Nov 76, A-5) 

• Michel Bignier, Director General of the French CNES from Jan. 1972 to 

June 1976, assumed his new duties as director of ESA'S Spacelab pro- 
gram. (ESA newsletter, Nov 76, 2) 
3 November: A Stanford Research Institute study requested by Ames Re- 
search Center of ways to detect possible intelligence signals from outer 
space reported that the most effective and economical technique would 
be use of a hemispheric antenna more than 3 km in diameter, orbiting 

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November ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

the earth opposite the moon but shielded from earth's radio emissions. 
The orbiting antenna would occupy one of the points in the moon's orbit 
where the gravity field of earth and moon would balance one another. 
Two other strategies assessed in the study were an "orchard" of para- 
bolic antennas (similar to that suggested in 1971 for Project Cyclops, a 
joint ARC-Stanford proposal to use massed 100m antennas for signal- 
seeking and for radio astronomy), and a group of antennas in craters on 
the far side of the moon shielded from earth interference to sweep the 
entire range of the heavens during each month. Choice of the best 
strategy would depend on estimates of how far the system would need to 
look to find another technological civilization; Walter Sullivan noted in 
the NY Times "a strong suspicion that the nearest possible civilization 
may be 500 light years or more away." (NYT, 3 Nov 76, 70) 

• Dr. Mary Helen Johnston, metallurgist at MSFC, was principal guest speaker 

at the Federal Women's Day program at Wallops Flight Center. 
Dr. Johnston, who said she wanted to be one of the first American women 
chosen for space flight, participated in 1974 as part of an all-women crew 
of experimenters in a 5-day tryout of the general-purpose laboratory at 
MSFC, a cylindrical mockup of the Spacelab being built in Europe for 
Space Shuttle flights. Using the neutral-buoyancy simulator, a working 
area for handling experiment packages in a zero-gravity environment, 
the crew developed techniques for use on Spacelab. As principal in- 
vestigator for three scientific experiments and co-investigator on an- 
other, Dr. Johnston had planned the work in hopes of going on orbital 
missions in the 1980s. Also on the program was Audrey Rowe Colom, 
director of women's activities for the Corporation for Public Broad- 
casting and current president of the Natl. Women's Political Caucus. 
Besides the speakers, the program included skits by WFC employees and 
a costumed narration of "Two Centuries of American Women on Pa- 
rade." (WFC Release 76-15) 

• Dr. Harrison H. (Jack) Schmitt, astronaut on Apollo 1 7, was the victorious 

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from New Mexico, defeating 
Democrat Joseph M. Montoya, who was seeking a third term. Now a 
consulting geologist, the 41-yr-old Schmitt had a 3-to-2 lead in the 
returns. CBS commentator Walter Cronkite noted in a news broadcast at 
10:25 p.m. EST on 2 Nov. that astronauts constituted only 2 ten- 
millionths of the U.S. population, yet there would now be two U.S. senators 
who were astronauts — Schmitt and John Glenn (D-Ohio) — which was 
"representation out of all proportion." {W Post, 3 Nov 76, A- 17; 
broadcast, 2 Nov 76) 
4 November: JSC announced selection of the Boeing Aerospace Co. for nego- 
tiations leading to award of a contract, valued at about $970 000, 
funded by NASA and ERDA for the study of space-based solar-power 
systems. The 12-mo two-phase study would provide specific data on the 
most effective way to convert solar to electrical energy using satellites, 
and would determine where in space the various phases of a solar-power 
satellite should be constructed and assembled; the second phase would 
define weights and costs of a satellite system. The project would aim at 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 November 

providing uninterrupted energy beamed to earth from large satellites in 
fixed orbits at altitudes above 35 000 km. (JSC Release 76-69) 

• ERDA conducted a demonstration at Ft. Belvoir, Va., for military decision- 

makers on the use of solar cells by the armed forces. Arranged in 
cooperation with the U.S. Army's Mobility Equipment Research and 
Development Command, the exhibit would show the advantages of solar 
cells over conventional sources of electricity in applications such as 
communications and surveillance. Increased purchase by the military 
could improve availability of solar cells to the general population, ERDA 
said, by stimulating mass production and thereby lowering costs. (ERDA 
release 1 Nov 76) 
5 November: NASA Hq announced that Robert S. Kraemer, Director of Lunar 
and Planetary Programs, would become special assistant to Dr. Robert 
S. Cooper, Director of Goddard Space Flight Center, working on the 
applications missions of the center. Kraemer had been at NASA Hq for 9 
yr, 6 of them in his current position. (NASA Hq. special anno., 5 Nov 76) 

• LaRC announced that James S. Martin, Jr., manager of the Viking project, 

would resign in December to become vice president for advanced pro- 
grams at Martin Marietta Aerospace. Martin, who came to LaRC in 1964, 
had managed the Viking project since 1968, directing work at JPL, at 
Martin Marietta's facility in Denver, and at universities and subcon- 
tractor plants throughout the U.S. Martin Marietta had been prime 
contractor for the Viking project. LaRC said that G. Calvin Broome, 
Viking mission director, would become Viking project manager 15 Nov., 
directing the 18-mo extended mission from the control center at JPL in 
Pasadena, Calif. (NASA special anno., 5 Nov 76; LaRC Release 76-37; 
NYT, 6 Nov 76, 9) 

• KSC announced award to Norflor Construction Co., Orlando, Fla., of a 

$284 000 construction contract for an airlock to provide a clean-room 
environment in the spin-test facility of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, 
to be used in preparing Delta-launched spacecraft and later for Space 
Shuttle payload processing. Construction would be completed within 160 
days after contractor's notification to proceed. The airlock installation 
would include a 5-ton crane, air conditioning, personnel airlock, and 
lines for electricity, vacuum, compressed air, and gaseous nitrogen. 
Present clean-room facilities were occupied by elements of the Mariner 
Jupiter-Saturn spacecraft scheduled for launch in Aug. and Sept. 1977. 
Delta payloads scheduled for launch in the spring and summer of 1977 
included Geos (ESA), April; Goes, May; OTS (ESA), June; Japan's GMS 
metesat, July; Sirio, an Italian comsat, August; and Meteosat (ESA), Sept. 
(KSC Release 490-76) 

• NASA Hq and LaRC announced that A. Thomas Young, former mission 

director for the Viking project, had been appointed Director for Lunar 
and Planetary Programs at NASA Hq and would begin his new duties 
6 Dec. in the Office of Space Science. Young, who had worked with the 
Viking project since 1968 and helped develop Mars mission objectives, 
was most recently the mission operations manager and director of the 
750-person Viking flight team at JPL in Pasadena, Calif. In his new job 



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November ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

he would manage NASA's unmanned planetary programs, including 
Viking, Pioneer, Mariner, and Helios, as well as studies in planetary 
astronomy, atmospheres, and geology; advanced scientific planning, pro- 
gramming, and technology; extraterrestrial materials research; and 
flight-program support. (LaRC Release 76-40; NASA Hq special anno., 
5 Nov 76) 
• After a series of technical checks, the Ekran satellite launched in the USSR 
26 Oct. had been activated, Tass annouced. Ekran, in synchronous 
orbit, had transmitted experimental television programs over "a vast 
territory in Siberia between the Surgut and Yakutsk meridians," Tass 
said, describing the new service as a "gigantic telebridge." USSR first 
deputy communications minister V. Shamshin said the new generation of 
comsats would provide a reliable and economical system of television 
communications throughout the Soviet Union. Ekran, whose trans- 
mitters were apparently more powerful than those of the Molniya series, 
would dispense with the need for 12-meter ground antennas used by the 
previous Orbita system, Tass said. (FBIS, Moscow Tass in English, 5 Nov 
76; Moscow Domestic Service in Russian, 6 Nov 76) 

6 November: Scientists at Johnson Space Center had used helium-filled 

balloons as the preferred means of carrying payloads to study the atmos- 
phere above the ozone layer. Although sounding rockets and airplanes 
could operate in the medium between 30 and 50 km over the earth's 
surface, neither could remain stationary for very long, the rocket's time 
in the stratosphere being measurable in minutes; also, payload weight for 
an airplane must decrease with the altitude it can maintain, whereas a 
balloon would be capable of taking an 1 800-kg payload as high as 50 km. 
JSC's Environmental Effects Office had used balloons to study effects on 
the ozone layer of fluorocarbons and other chemical interactions in the 
upper atmosphere; recent Natl. Research Council recommendations on 
reduction of use of freons had been partially based on JSC balloon-flight 
data. The JSC Space Physics Branch had used balloons to carry cosmic- 
ray instrumentation for the study of high-energy particles, and had 
worked with the Utrecht Space Sciences lab in carrying an ultraviolet 
telescope by balloon for use in a range of light that was opaque to 
observation from earth. Balloons and payloads prepared by JSC were 
launched from Palestine, Tex., by the Natl. Center for Atmospheric 
Research, with parachutes for recoverable experiments. (JSC Release 
76-70; JSC Roundup, 19 Nov 76, 1) 

7 November: Instruments left on the moon's surface during the Apollo 

program were continuing to transmit information from 1 3 experiments, 
JSC announced. The Apollo 12 mission (Nov. 1969) accounted for 2 of 
the experiments; Apollo 15 (July-Aug. 1971), for 3; Apollo 16 (April 
1972), for 3; and Apollo 17 (Dec. 1972), for 5. Findings included the 
discovery that the moon did in fact possess an atmosphere, only about 
a millimeter thick and composed of ions of light minerals, and that the 
first two layers below the moon's surface consisted largely of basaltic 
rock and silicon. Data transmitted by 5 of the nuclear transmitters still 
operating were sent to stations at JPL, Pasadena, Calif., and GSFC, Green- 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 November 

belt, Md., where they were analyzed by 10 scientists. (NYT, 7 Nov 
76, 45) 

• Atomic reactor waste buried in the Ural Mountains had exploded in 1958, 
killing hundreds and affecting thousands with radiation sickness, accord- 
ing to an exiled Soviet scientist whose article in the British New Scientist 
was reported by Associated Press. Zhores Medvedev, a biochemist and 
geneticist who had been a wellknown dissident in the Soviet Union, had 
been allowed to go to Britain in Jan. 1973 but became an exile when 
Soviet authorities refused to allow him to return. His article said that 
reactor waste buried for many years in a deserted area had overheated 
and erupted "like a violent volcano," and that strong winds had blown 
the resulting radioactive clouds for a long distance; however, no one had 
been evacuated from the area until after symptoms of radiation sickness 
appeared. Many Ural towns with medium to high levels of radiation had 
never been evacuated, he said, adding that the area was among several 
that were off limits to Western correspondents. Medvedev said several 
biology research stations had been built in what was "the largest area of 
gamma radiation in the world" to study the damage to plant and animal 
life. In 1974, a Soviet official denied reports of explosions at the the 
Shavchenko nuclear power station on the Caspian Sea, at the same time 
that Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, was assuring the public 
that radioactive wastes had been stored safely. 

Another Soviet disaster had occurred in Oct. 1960, Medvedev said, 
when then-Premier Nikita Krushchev ordered the launch of a moon 
rocket to be timed with his arrival in New York City for a session of the 
UN General Assembly. When the ignition button was pushed, nothing 
happened; under normal procedures, Medvedev said, workers would 
drain the fuel from the rocket before inspecting to find the cause of the 
failure. However, Marshal Mitrofan Nedelin, then head of Soviet rocket 
forces, felt himself "under an obligation to fulfill the ambitious order" 
issued by Krushchev and decided to investigate immediately. While 
dozens of engineers and other experts were examining the rocket and its 
support systems, the ignition suddenly started to work, but the rocket 
could not take off because of "the forest of inspection ladders." The 
rocket toppled over and turned the Soviet cosmodrome into a holocaust, 
killing many persons in the area, including "some of the best represen- 
tatives of Soviet space technology," Medvedev said. AP noted that the 
Soviet media routinely ignore all disasters, whether natural or manmade. 
(WPost, 7 Nov 76, A-l; W Star, 7 Nov 76, B-8; Av Wk, 15 Nov 76, 
20) 

8 November: The U.S. Air Force announced it would begin flight tests of a new 
system called latar (laser-augmented target acquisition/recognition), de- 
veloped by Northrop Corp. to give pilots of single-seat aircraft enhanced 
air-to-surface and air-to-air attack capability. The latar pod, mounted in 
the gun bay of the USAF F-4E, would contain long-range high-resolution 
electro-optical equipment for target imaging, laser designation, and ac- 
quisition and tracking; its field-of-view would be limited only by the 
fuselage and the externally carried munitions on the aircraft. The system 



273 



November ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

would allow a pilot to acquire a target visually, using either a helmet- 
mounted sight system or a telescopic radar, with the optical turret 
following his line of sight; the view seen by the latar would appear on a 
helmet-mounted display built by Minneapolis Honeywell. The system 
would be suitable for use in all types of aircraft, including helicopters. 
(OIP Release 203.76) 

• FAA Administrator John L. McLucas announced that the agency would 

sponsor a conference in Washington, D.C., 16 Nov. to foster the use of 
metrics in aviation, in accordance with national policy set forth in the 
Metric Conversion Act of 1975. The conference would hear presenta- 
tions by FAA, other federal agencies, aviation users, and the public, and 
would run into a second day if necessary. Subjects to be discussed would 
include air-traffic control, operations, and aeronautical charts and navi- 
gation aids, as well as design of aviation products and the impact on the 
aviation community of a transition to the metric system. McLucas noted 
that FAA had already begun to use metric measurements in areas such as 
standards for airport design and construction. (FAA Release 76-106) 

• Federal agencies allocated $4.5 billion to institutions of higher learning in 

FY 1975, the Natl. Science Foundation reported, a level of support about 
the same as the previous year's but representing an 8% decline when 
converted to constant (1972) dollars. HEW allocated the largest amount, 
$3.2 billion, or 70% of the total; the NSF supplied the second largest, 
$491 million or 11%. Other sponsoring agencies were the Dept. of 
Agriculture, DOD, ERDA, and NASA. Of the $2.2 billion earmarked for 
research and development (about half of all allocations to academic 
institutions), researchers in life sciences received $1.2 billion, more than 
half of all federal R&D funds; research in physical sciences received $307 
million, about 14%, and engineering and environmental sciences each 
received about 9%. All other fields together received only about 13%. 
(NSF Release PR76-91) 
9 November: The $100 million spent by the U.S. on a search for life on Mars 
had produced only disagreement over the findings, Viking project sci- 
entists said at a JPL press conference. Four of six Viking scientists said 
they did not know whether life existed on Mars; one denied that Viking 
had found life; the sixth said he felt Viking had found "primitive mi- 
crobes" in the Mars soil samples. All six agreed that Viking had found 
nothing at either the Chryse or the Utopia landing site representing 
fossils that would have confirmed a previous existence of life on Mars, 
Washington Post writer Thomas O'Toole reported. 

Dr. Klaus Biemann of MIT, who designed the instrument to look for 
dead organic matter, noted that nothing had been detected, and ex- 
plained readouts from other instruments as the result of an exotic chem- 
istry catalyzed by some superoxidant in the surface of Mars and activated 
by solar ultraviolet rays that penetrated the Mars atmosphere all the way 
to the surface. Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell Univ. disagreed, saying that the 
failure to find dead organisms did not outweigh the activity detected by 
the biology instruments, which produced readings at a lower temperature 
and lost them when the sample was heated. This result "smells more like 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 November 

biology than any chemistry I can think of," Sagan added. Vance Oyama 
of ARC favored a chemical explanation; Dr. Gilbert V. Levin of Biosphe- 
rics said he leaned toward a biological explanation. Dr. Norman H. 
Horowitz of Calif. Inst, of Technology, who designed the photosynthesis 
experiment, favored the biology explanation but regretted the absence of 
fossils. Dr. Harold P. Klein of ARC said the Viking results "do not 
rigorously prove there is life on Mars, nor do they rigorously disprove it." 
New York Times reporter John Noble Wilford described the failure 
to detect on Mars the organic compounds essential to life processes on 
earth as "a major surprise," causing most of the confusion over inter- 
pretations of the data; a NYT editorial noted that the Mars findings had 
forced a new look at theories about the origins of life on earth, which 
"seems neither so certain nor so inevitable as it did before the Viking 
landings . . ." (W Post, 10 Nov 76, A-9; NYT, 10 Nov 76, A- 16; 
18 Nov 76, 42) 

• The National Aeronautic Assn., at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., 

announced its selections for Elder Statesmen of Aviation for 1976. The 
award, established in 1954, honored outstanding Americans over the age 
of 60 who had made significant contributions to aeronautics. The three 
persons chosen were: J. Leland Atwood, 72, leader in aviation for more 
than 50 yr, who headed North American Rockwell (now Rockwell Intl.) 
until his retirement in 1970 and originated the design concept for the 
P-51 Mustang; Clifford W. Henderson, 81, originator of the Bendix and 
Thompson trophy races and the Power Puff Derby, and manager of the 
National Air Races 1928-1939; and Blanche Wilcox Noyes, 76, who 
learned to fly in 1928 and won the national closed-course race in 1929, 
the Miami Ail-American air race in 1931, and the Bendix trophy for a 
cross-country flight in 1936. (NAA release 9 Nov 76) 

• INTELSAT announced plans to conduct a 1977 program of research and 

development costing more than $5.4 million, to advance technology for 
its global comsat system. The R&D yearly budget, approved by the recent 
meeting of the board of governors, would consist of $1.3 million for 
research to identify technology that appeared promising for the future 
INTELSAT projects; $2.2 million for contract authority for projects with 
near-term applications; and $1.9 million for in-house support of such 
projects. Areas of exploratory research would include spacecraft and 
microwave technology, communications processing, analysis of propaga- 
tion and transmission, and studies of materials and devices. Near-term 
projects would include development of antennas, transponders, and other 
components; investigation of cross polarization; development of NiH bat- 
teries, voice-channel decoders, high-power transistors, and improvement 
of techniques. (INTELSAT Release 76-33-M) 

• ESA announced acceptance of the first solid-propellant apogee boost motor 

produced in Europe — designed and made by SNIA-Viscosa of Italy in 
collaboration with SEP of France — for use in its Geos (geostationary 
scientific satellite). The motor, measuring 1.1m long with maximum 
diameter of 0.7 m, weighed 305 kg, more than the remainder of the 
spacecraft, and would serve to inject the satellite into geostationary orbit 



275 



November ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

from the elliptical transfer orbit provided by a Thor-Delta launch vehicle. 
The satellite was scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral in April 
1977. (ESA release 9 Nov 76) 

10 November: The Marshall Star reported that a former student research 
assistant at MSFC, now a member of the faculty at Alabama A&M Univ., 
would be principal investigator in a study to develop remote-sensing 
applications for resources study and management, under a $35 000 
grant from NASA and MSFC. The research effort would catalog the trans- 
portation network of Ala., including highways, railroads, water systems, 
and airports, and would devise a system for storing information in quickly 
retrievable form that could readily be updated. Dr. Oscar Montgomery, 
who had worked on the study at the outset, had graduated from A&M and 
had received a Ph. D. from Purdue Univ., returning to A&M in the 
department of natural resources and environmental studies. He and 
other researchers at A&M would identify and assist users of remotely 
sensed data in Ala., develop university facilities and skills to handle, 
process, and interpret such data, and support "ground truth" and related 
activities of the Earth Resources Office at MSFC. The grant, part of the 
Minority Institutions Research Program, would provide remotely sensed 
data obtained by aircraft or spacecraft to the Ala. Development Office 
and other state agencies. (Marshall Star, 10 Nov 76, 4) 

• The Air Force Systems Command announced completion of 3 yr of test and 
evaluation on a production-engineered version of a laser-guided bomb kit 
designed for easy mounting on standard unguided bombs. AFSC noted 
that, during the Southeast Asia conflict, laser-guided bombs were 200 
times as likely to reach the target as manually released unguided bombs, 
and had outscored computer-aimed bombs by 50 to 1. The USAF de- 
scribed the LCB as "one of the most effective technological advances" in 
weaponry, one LGB costing less than 12 standard unguided bombs and 
offering additional savings in fewer missions flown, fewer crew losses, 
increased storage life, and greater reliability. (OIP Release 241.76) 

10-11 November: The mysterious high-power radio signal that had inter- 
rupted international communications for months disappeared suddenly 
on 2 Nov., officials at the Federal Communications Commission reported, 
but resumed as unexpectedly 10 Nov., the foreign minister of Norway 
told his parliament. Personnel at the Rogaland radio station on Norway's 
west coast began receiving the signals again from a shortwave trans- 
mitter they thought was located near Kiev in the Soviet Ukraine. The FCC 
said in Oct. that hundreds of complaints had been received about the 
interference, heard through a wide range of high frequencies from about 
6 to 28 mhz, like a rapid ticking 10 times per sec. The signal had 
disrupted ship-to-shore, aeronautical, telephone, and amateur and inter- 
national broadcast services around the world, particularly in Europe and 
across the North Atlantic. The USSR had never acknowledged that the 
transmissions originated there; a spokesman at the Soviet embassy in 
Washington, D.C., said he did not know what was causing the inter- 
ference. {WStar, 9 Nov 76, 1; W Post, 1 1 Nov 76, A32; NYT, 1 1 Nov 
76, 5) 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 November 

11 November: Ames Research Center announced that a NOAA scientist, 

Dr. Peter M. Kuhn, had discovered a way to give airplane pilots up to 
12 min. warning of air turbulence ahead, during his investigation of 
infrared radiation emitted from atmospheric water vapor using ARC's 
Convair aircraft. While measuring background infrared radiation in the 
atmosphere to define sources of astronomical infrared, Dr. Kuhn had 
seen sudden drastic changes in water-vapor content followed closely by 
turbulence. A radiometer in the aircraft wheel well of the Galileo II flying 
laboratory could detect atmospheric infrared from water vapor, and 
predict accompanying turbulence with an 81% reliability. Experiments 
with varying infrared wavelengths had permitted detection of turbulence 
more than 100 km ahead of the plane. The water-vapor anomalies 
resulted from wave motions in the atmosphere caused by lee waves over 
high terrain or by sudden shifts in wind speed or direction with resulting 
friction between adjacent streams of air. Although water-vapor content 
would usually be fairly constant, the wave motions would thin the vapor 
in one place and concentrate it in another, making the turbulence de- 
tectable. (ARC Release 76-80; Av Wk, 15 Nov 76, 25; NOAA Release 
76-251) 

• NASA announced appointment of Glynn S. Lunney, manager of the Shuttle 

payload integration and development program office at JSC, as Deputy 
Associate Administrator for Space Flight at NASA Hq, replacing 
Dr. William C. Schneider. Dr. Schneider had been assigned as director 
of project management at GSFC. Lunney's NASA career began at LeRC in 
1958; he transferred to the Space Task Group at LaRC in 1959, and 
moved with that group to JSC. He was manager of the Apollo spacecraft 
program in 1972, and served as technical director of the Apollo-Soyuz 
Test Project. (NASA Release 76-183; JSC Release 76-71; JSC Roundup, 
19 Nov 76, 1) 

• Despite lower profits in its work on the Space Shuttle and increased losses 

in business aircraft, Rockwell Intl. reported higher sales and earnings for 
both the last quarter and the full fiscal year ending 30 Sept. 1976. 
Earnings were $121.1 million, up 29% in fiscal 1976, and sales in- 
creased 8% to a record $5.2 billion. The figures did not include discon- 
tinued operations in Rockwell's industrial components area, sold in Dec. 
1975. Four of the company's five operating areas reflected better man- 
agement and lower interest costs: automotive operations, electronics 
operations, consumer operations, and utility and industrial operations. 
The aerospace operations figures reflected fewer award-fee opportu- 
nities, Rockwell said. (Rockwell Release R-40) 

12 November: The first Soviet jumbo jet, the IL-86, would begin test flights 

in Dec, according to a Moscow broadcast. The plane would be able to 
carry 350 passengers at about 373 kph over distances up to 1460 km, 
according to claims, which would mean it could make nonstop flights 
from Moscow to Lisbon. The noise level inside the plane would be lower 
than that in Boeing jumbo jets, the broadcast added. (FBIS, Moscow to 
North America in English, 12 Nov 76) 



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November ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

14 November: The USSR would be able by 1980 to produce a thermonuclear 
reaction by using a powerful laser, according to scientists at the Lebedev 
Physics Institute quoted in the USSR's Academy of Sciences journal 
Priroda. Institute Director Nikolai Basov (sharer of the 1964 Nobel 
prize in physics, for work in laser amplification) emphasized that Soviet 
science had been first to begin work on this problem, which would be the 
basis of power engineering in the future. Scientists were using two 
approaches: building powerful installations called Tokamaks, in which a 
reaction would proceed continuously; or using a laser beam to compress 
a small quantity of material such as deuterium to "a hundred trillion 
atmospheres, thousands of times as great as inside the sun," with accom- 
panying rise in temperatures until a microexplosion occurred, to produce 
current for future power and heat stations. Unlike the Tokamak, this line 
of research could lead to production of transportable nuclear-power 
stations for delivery to remote areas, the article said. (FBIS, Moscow 
Domestic Service in Russian, 14 Nov 76; A&A 64, 367) 

16 November: MSFC announced it had completed a critical design review for 

part of a heavy-nuclei experiment scheduled to go into space aboard the 
third High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO-C) in 1979. The ex- 
periment, called C-3, would characterize cosmic-ray flux from detailed 
measurements of charge and energy spectra, study propagation of cos- 
mic rays, and search for superheavy elements. Principal investigators 
were Dr. Martin Israel, Washington Univ.; Dr. Edward Stone, Calif. 
Inst, of Technology; and Dr. Cecil Waddington, Univ. of Minn. The 
HEAO-C, whose objective would be to map the sky for gamma-ray and 
cosmic-ray flux, would carry two other experiments besides the C-3. A 
design review for the experiment hardware would be held in Feb. 1977. 
(MSFC Release 76-199) 
• Three NASA employees were among 16 career federal employees selected 
as winners of the Natl. Civil Service League's 1976 career service 
awards. In ceremonies at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 
those honored included former astronaut Michael Collins, third U.S. man 
to walk in space, selected for his work with the Smithsonian's Air and 
Space Museum, of which he had been director since April 1971; Chris- 
topher C. Kraft, Jr., director of JSC; and Charles F. Hall, Pioneer project 
manager at ARC, where he had worked since 1942 beginning with NACA. 
(WStar, 23 Oct 76, C-8; W Post, 19 Oct 76, C2) 

17 November: MSFC announced it had issued requests for bids on a contract 

to design, construct, and test on earth a space-based manufacturing 
facility to make structural members for assembling large structures in 
space. Proposals would be received until 30 Nov. The machine to be 
produced under this contract would demonstrate automatic beam fabri- 
cation, a necessary step in developing a facility to support requirements 
for large structures in space, such as space platforms, electrical power- 
generating plants, or large antennas for communications and astronomy. 
(MSFC Release 76-200) 

18 November: MSFC announced near-completion of an experimental chamber 

being built for the Atmospheric Cloud Physics Laboratory (ACPL) sched- 



278 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 November 

uled to fly on Spacelab for use in developing techniques to predict, alter, 
and control weather. The chamber would be a ground-test engineering 
model simulating the expansion of a parcel of air as it rises in the 
atmosphere, using carefully controlled temperature and pressure to mon- 
itor moist air as it would undergo changes like those causing the for- 
mation of cumulus clouds. Droplets formed in the simulated clouds would 
be photographed by cameras outside the chamber; the lack of gravity in 
space would allow the droplets to remain suspended for longer periods of 
time, permitting scientists to study them at length. The completed cham- 
ber, liquid thermal-control system, and temperature sensors would be 
tested to obtain uniform cooling of the chamber walls. Data from the 
experiments would serve to improve computer models of clouds, and to 
aid in developing methods to increase snowfall or rain, dissipate fogs, or 
suppress lightning. (MSFC Release 76-201; Marshall Star, 24 Nov 
76, 1) 

21 November: NASA-funded studies conducted in Fla. and Tex. using infrared 

images from NOAA's Natl. Environmental Satellite Service had provided 
fruit and vegetable growers with timely information on ground tem- 
peratures during periods of crop-killing freezes, NOAA announced. The 
images, provided every half hour by Goes 1 from its equatorial station 
over South America at 35 800-km altitude, were transmitted from 
heat-radiation sensors to ground stations for conversion to visual imag- 
ery. The Fla. study used a computer to display the temperature vari- 
ations in shades of gray, verified by ground readings taken in the area 
by Univ. of Fla. personnel. The Texas study converted the satellite data 
to typewriter characters that produced a remarkably similar printout, 
transmissible over teletypewriter machines, more widely available than 
photofax equipment. Both studies aimed at helping growers decide 
whether to undertake expensive steps to keep crops from being damaged 
by frost; heating orchards in Florida might cost up to $5 million per 
night. (NOAA Release 76-257) 

22 November: MSFC announced it had shipped to GFSC the experiment payload 

for SPAR III, third in a series of about 15 space-processing applications 
rockets being flown over a 15-yr period to obtain space-processing data 
in near-zero gravity until Space Shuttle flights become available in the 
1980s. The scientific payload built by MSFC would be integrated with GFSC 
components — igniter, separator, control and recovery systems — and 
shipped to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range, N.M., for a sched- 
uled mid-December launch. SPAR payloads recovered by parachute would 
be forwarded to investigators for analysis. The SPAR flight would provide 
about 5 min of near-zero gravity in which to perform materials proc- 
essing. (MSFC Release 76-204) 
• MSFC announced that officials from NASA Hq and three of its field centers 
were participating in a Spacelab preliminary design review being held by 
ESA at Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 19-26 Nov. Besides representatives 
of MSFC, lead center for Spacelab design in the U.S., employees of KSC and 
JSC were attending the review to see that basic design requirements had 
been met before construction of the engineering model of Spacelab 

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November ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

began. A NASA in-house review had been held at MSFC 15-17 Nov. (MSFC 
Release 76-203) 
23 November: NASA was negligent in the 1972 death of Kirby Dupree, 
supervisor of a support unit for astronauts, a federal judge ruled in 
awarding $575 000 to the widow and a 4-yr-old daughter. When a 
battery box exploded in an astronaut training facility at JSC, Dupree and 
James E. Scott were assisting with water experiments used to simulate 
space flights. Scott won $100 000 for injuries suffered in the accident. 
Both Dupree and Scott were employees of a contractor at the facility. 
{NYT, 25 Nov 76, 20) 

• A program conducted jointly by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and 

Langley Research Center had been trying literally to work the bugs out 
of aircraft, by studying materials and methods to keep insects from 
sticking to the leading edge of aircraft wings. The study was part of 
NASA's aircraft energy-efficiency program, aimed at developing an ad- 
vanced long-range aircraft with possible savings of 20 to 40% in fuel 
consumption. The laminar flow-control technology on which the ad- 
vanced craft would depend for savings required smooth airflow over the 
wings; impacted insects sticking to the leading edge of the wing could 
interrupt the airflow and cause turbulence. The test planes used at LaRC 
and DFRC had variously coated panels installed on the leading edges, with 
instrumented probes above them to register airflow changes resulting 
from adherence of insects and monitor differences attributable to the 
panel coatings. After a low flight over areas where insects would impact 
the wing surfaces, the aircraft would land for preliminary measurements 
and then fly at high altitudes and speeds to measure the effects on airflow. 
(DFRC Release 20-76; LaRC Release 76-41; NASA Release 76-190) 

• ERDA announced selection of Clayton, N.M., as the first municipal utility to 

field-test its 200-kw wind-turbine generator. The Clayton utility would 
operate the modern windmill for 2 yr beginning late in 1977, and would 
assemble test data on the performance and economics of wind-energy 
systems connected with conventional power plants and providing power 
through existing utility lines. Clayton, a 3000-inhabitant town located 
in an area of the Great Plains with high average wind speeds, would be 
the first U.S. locality in more than 30 yrs to generate electric power for 
public consumption through the use of wind. Its conventional utility 
system used both gas and oil generators. Integration of the wind-power 
system would be supervised by technicians from NASA's LeRC at Cleveland, 
O., who would train the municipal utility employees in operating the wind 
turbine. (ERDA Release 76-348) 
23-26 November: Reports in two national magazines — "both denied," the 
NY Times noted — charged that the Soviet Union had used laser beams 
to put U.S. early-warning satellites out of commission, and each predicted 
that the U.S. had been working on its own hunter-killer satellites. The 
current issue of Newsweek had reviewed the incident of 1975 when a 
U.S. early warning satellite and a companion relay satellite had been 
disabled over the Indian Ocean, citing "strong evidence, despite official 
U.S. denials, that last year's incident over Siberia was the work of a laser 
beam 10 000 times as strong as any natural blaze." U.S. Secy, of 

280 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 November 

Defense Donald Rumsfeld had stated that the U.S. satellites had been 
damaged by the glare of natural gas fires along a pipeline in Western 
Russia, but did not deny that lasers might have caused the damage. 
Newsweek said the U.S. had already developed chemical lasers requiring 
no electrical power, and described a possible fleet of U.S. "dark satellites" 
with radar-absorbing exteriors that would be invisible to Soviet detection. 
It also predicted that a full-scale war in space — a science-fiction type of 
clash of hunter-killer satellites, manned orbital shuttles, and laser death 
rays — could "leap off the drawing boards" in the 1980s. 

Reporter Tad Szulc said in the current Penthouse magazine that the 
U.S. government had not publicized the attack on its satellites used to 
police the 1972 arms pact with the USSR for fear of endangering nego- 
tiations with Moscow on a new strategic arms pact. He said Washington 
was perplexed by the Soviet effort to interfere with satellites that were 
verifying compliance with the 1972 treaty. 

The NY Times noted that spokesmen for both the State Dept. and the 
Dept. of Defense had denied the magazine reports of interference with 
U.S. satellites, although DOD had verified that the USSR had been at- 
tempting to intercept its own satellites already in orbit, not always suc- 
cessfully. Pentagon sources told the /VFT that the Soviet hunter satellites 
used conventional explosives, although shockwaves from an explosion 
would not proliferate in the vacuum of space and a hunter would have 
to be accurate enough to close in and destroy a target with debris. A NYT 
editorial 26 Nov. said the "vast sums" needed for space weapons would 
be more wisely spent on peace and good relations on earth. (C Trib, 
23 Nov 76, 4-15; NYT, 23 Nov 76, 15; 24 Nov 76, 12; 26 Nov 76, 
A-22) 
24 November: A lunar scientist in Johnson Space Center's Division of Lunar 
and Planetary Sciences had suggested that low-viscosity lava rather than 
water could have caused the large channels seen on Mars, JSC announced. 
Ernest Schonfeld, in a paper to be presented at the annual meeting of the 
Am. Geophysical Union, said that the abundant large channels — one of 
the most puzzling landforms on Mars — were more easily explained by 
lava than by water; scientists had not been able to identify thick deposits 
of sediment that should have resulted from channel formation by water. 
Viking 1 had landed near the mouth of a large channel where thick 
sediments should have been deposited, but rocks at that site appeared to 
be volcanic. Schonfeld proposed that thin basaltic liquid melted below the 
Mars surface had flowed freely to erode the surface, and said that the 
coincidence of the age of volcanic activity on Mars and the erosion of the 
channels supported his idea. (JSC Release 76-72) 
30 November: NASA announced establishment of a joint working group with 
the Agency for Intl. Development (AID) to explore further cooperative 
programs upon successful completion of the AIDSAT project. Final demon- 
stration of AIDSAT came 30 Oct. in Haiti. NASA's Ats 6 satellite showed 
people in 27 developing nations how space could improve their way of 
life, using small portable transmitter-receiver units to broadcast high- 
quality color TV directly to low-cost receivers in remote areas. Programs 
consisted of both filmed and live portions: on film, viewers saw a message 

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November ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

from President Ford, followed by one of three films produced by NASA on 
communications technology, remote-sensing satellites (like Landsat), and 
prediction and relief in natural disasters. The live segment contained two 
half-hour programs; the first, originating in the host country, showed 
officials describing technological challenges and current efforts to meet 
them, and the second was a two-way question-and-answer session be- 
tween senior officials in the host country and experts in Washington, D.C., 
discussing education, health, agriculture, and similar national concerns. 
Millions of viewers had seen what in many instances were the first color 
TV broadcasts in the host country. (NASA Release 76-189) 

• Wallops Flight Center announced appointment of Dorinda S. Bailey, an 

equal opportunity specialist in the office of the Center Director, as 
full-time Equal Opportunity Officer for the center. Before coming to 
Wallops in 1974, Mrs. Bailey had been an examiner in the Civil Service 
Commission's Bureau of Personnel Investigations. As EO officer, she 
would be responsible for developing and managing programs to assure 
equal opportunity in center employment. (WFC Release 76-16) 

• The Federal Aviation Administration would stick to its deadline for modifi- 

cations to McDonnell Douglas DC- 10 jumbo jets to withstand sudden 
depressurization, the Washington Post reported, as FAA Administrator 
John L. McLucas withdrew from subordinates the authority to extend a 
1 Dec. 1977 deadline set at the recommendation of the Natl. Trans- 
portation Safety Board. The modification, which applied also to Lock- 
heed L— 1 Oils and Boeing 747s, was ordered after the 1974 crash near 
Paris of a DC- 1 whose cargo door blew off in flight, resulting in the death 
of 346 persons on board. Depressurization of the plane crushed control 
cables running beneath the cabin floor. An official at FAA had granted a 
1-yr extension of the deadline in Oct. 1976 — without McLucas's 
knowledge — but all U.S. airlines flying DC- 10s had agreed to comply with 
the original deadline. Compliance dates for the L— 1011 and 747 were 31 
March 1978 and 30 June 1978, respectively. (WPost, 30 Nov 76, A-9) 
During November: The Natl. Aeronautic Assn. newsletter reported that, 
during the 69th annual general conference of the Federation Aero- 
nautique Internationale in Oct. in Iran, the 1975 FAI gold space medal 
was awarded jointly to Thomas P. Stafford, commander of the Apollo 
crew on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, and to cosmonaut Alexey Le- 
onov, who commanded the Soyuz 19 crew. Stafford and his crew, Donald 
K. Slayton and Vance Brand, also received the De La Vaulx medal for 
establishing during the joint mission the world absolute records for dura- 
tion, distance, and altitude in group flight, as well as the V.M. Komarov 
Diploma for outstanding performance in space exploration during the 
previous year. Their Russian counterparts also received the De La Vaulx 
medal and the Komarov award. Astronauts Slayton and Brand also each 
received the Yuri Gagarin gold medal, created by the FAI in memory of 
the first man in space, for their role in the conquest of space for peaceful 
purposes. Stafford also accepted on behalf of the U.S. ASTP team the 
Honorary Group Diploma for Astronautics, for the planning and exe- 
cution of the first international rendezvous and docking mission in space. 
(NAA newsletter, Nov 76) 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 November 

• Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, currently commander of the USAF Flight 

Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., received the National Geographic 
Society's Gen. Thomas D. White space trophy for 1975, in recognition 
of "outstanding contributions" in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. 
(AF Magazine, Nov 76, 21) 

• Former astronaut Frank Borman, who commanded both the Gemini 7 and 

Apollo 8 missions and who currently was president and chief executive 
officer of Eastern Air Lines, was elected chairman of the board for EAL 
replacing Floyd D. Hall, who had resigned to become permanent chair- 
man of the executive committee of the International Air Transport 
Association (IATA). (Av Wk, 29 Nov 76, 20) 

• The Air Force Systems Command announced completion of vibration and 

performance tests at Arnold Engineering Development Center on a small 
solid-propellant rocket motor scheduled to boost the Intl. Ultraviolet 
Explorer spacecraft into orbit in 1977. The motor, Thiokol Corp.'s 
TE-M-604-4, would be fired about 24 hr after launch to move the IUE 
into a near-synchronous orbit at altitudes of from 24 000 to 48 000 km. 
IUE, a cooperative research program shared by NASA, ESA, and the U.K. 
Science Research Council, would carry a 45-mm-diameter ultraviolet 
telescope to investigate characteristics of stars and planets. (AFSC 
Newsreview, Nov 76, 4) 

• The Natl. Science Foundation's Nov. bulletin contained information on new 

NSF policy on grant renewals, submission of final reports, and other ac- 
tivities. As of 1 Oct., standard NSF awards could be renewed only once, 
by amendment of the original grant or contract, provided that the cumu- 
lative duration of the grant would not exceed 5 yr. Further support for 
the same or a different project would be awarded through new grants, 
based on new proposals. Also effective 1 Oct., the final fiscal and tech- 
nical report on a grant and a summary of the completed project must be 
submitted within 90 days after expiration of the grant. NSF also an- 
nounced a program called Research Initiation in Minority Institutions, to 
encourage research among enrollments predominantly of black, native 
American, Spanish-speaking, or other ethnic minorities; a program 
called National Needs Science Faculty Professional Development, to 
support training for science teachers at both 2- and 4-yr colleges and 
universities; and a Law and Social Sciences program to fund empirical 
research by law-review students in collaboration with legal scholars and 
social scientists. (NSF Bulletin, Nov 76, 1) 

• "Washington sources" not further identified had revealed that the first 

underwater test launch of a Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile, the 
SS-NX-18, had occurred "early in November" between a submarine in 
the White Sea and an impact area near Plesetsk. The "new missile" had 
been test-launched previously from a land-based facility at Plesetsk. 
Spaceflight, published by the British Interplanetary Society, quoted its 
sources as saying that the SS-NX-18 — which used storable liquid pro- 
pellants, and carried multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles 
(MIRVs) — had traveled about 5150 km, about 70% of its design range, 
and would replace SS-N-8 in the Delta 1 and Delta 2 class of USSR nuclear 
submarines. (Spaceflight, vol 19 no 2, 41) 

283 



December 1976 



1 December: Officials of U.S. airlines told Secretary of Transportation William 
T. Coleman, Jr., in an all-day hearing that lack of government help in 
financing the costs of government-imposed rules for quieting planes could 
lead to severe setbacks in service, such as wholesale groundings, diminished 
competition, fuel waste, less relief from noise, and possible loss of the 
national lead in aircraft technology. The airlines had suggested a plan last 
spring to set aside a fourth of the 8% ticket tax for replacement or refitting 
of planes that exceeded the new noise limits. Opposed to this plan was James 
C. Miller 3d, assistant director of the administration's council on wage and 
price stability, who said that he would favor a "pollution tax," imposed on 
planes inversely to the amount of noise suppression achieved, rather than "a 
subsidy from the public purse." Secy. Coleman said he would make a 
recommendation to the outgoing Ford administration by the end of Dec. 
New noise rules promulgated by the Federal Aviation Administration, DOT, 
were to take effect on 1 Jan., setting up a 4- to 8-yr timetable for replacing 
or refitting aircraft that did not comply with stringent limits on noise. (NYT, 
2 Dec 76, 21) 

• NASA announced appointment of Dr. James J. Kramer as acting Associate 

Administrator in the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST), 
replacing Robert E. Smylie, who would become Deputy Director at GSFC. 
Dr. Kramer, who came to NASA Hq from LeRC in 1971, had been manager 
of the refan program office. In a related action, Paul F. Holloway, director 
for space at LaRC, would begin a temporary appointment as acting deputy 
Associate Administrator of OAST on 3 Jan. 1977. (NASA anno. 1 Dec 76) 

• Launch complex 14 at KSC — used for John Glenn's orbital flight in Feb. 1962 

and other manned launches until 1966 — was blown up with plastic ex- 
plosives by an Army demolition team after the Air Force decided the rusty 
and obsolete towers constituted a hazardous area and should be demolished. 
The scrap metal would be sold to the highest bidder. News reports noted that 
a stainless steel memorial would remain to mark the place where the seven 
original astronauts took their first steps into space. {WStar, 2 Dec 76, A-3; 
CBS News transcript, Cronkite-Dean, 1 Dec 76; NBC Nightly News, Brinkley, 
1 Dec 76) 

• A Pentagon group charged with making decisions on weapons programs — the 

Defense Systems Acquisition Committee — held its first meeting to consider 
production of the controversial B- 1 bomber and scheduled another meeting 
for 6 Jan. 1977 to decide on consolidation of cruise missile programs backed 
separately by the Air Force and the Navy. Defense Secretary Donald H. 
Rumsfeld had stated — apparently with approval from the transition team of 
the incoming Carter administration — that he was responsible until 20 Jan. 
for making weapons decisions that came up for scheduled consideration; 



285 



December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

however, he had also told subordinates that DOD should exercise restraint in 
passing on programs that the incoming administration might review or 
change. President-elect Carter had questioned the necessity for a B-l 
bomber program. The controversy over cruise missiles arose from Air Force 
advocacy of an air-launched missile that could be used only with a B-l or 
B-52 bomber; this restraint offered the verification possibility, acceptable to 
the USSR, of controlling the number of cruise missiles by counting the 
bombers carrying them. However, the Navy had advocated its Tomahawk 
missile which could be launched from a submarine torpedo tube as well as 
from a surface ship or a bombing plane. The Navy's preference would 
thwart verification of future arms-limitation agreements, since all attack 
submarines as well as surface ships and bombers could be potential platforms 
for launching the Navy missile. The Carter transition team was concerned, 
said the New York Times, that the Navy might be trying to lock in the new 
administration with a pre-inauguration decision that would complicate fu- 
ture negotiations with the USSR. Both the Navy and the Air Force programs 
were started after a 1972 agreement with the USSR that placed a 5-yr 
limitation on strategic ballistic missiles; the $ 1 5 million design studies had 
grown into $300 million development programs, and had reached the point 
where a decision was needed on proceeding into costly engineering devel- 
opment. Observers pointed to the Army's plan to award contracts in the next 
week or so on its $7 million programs for troop-carrier and attack helicop- 
ters as a decision that would make it difficult for the incoming administration 
to re-examine its predecessor's policy. (NYT, 2 Dec 76, 23) 

• A report in Izvestia on Soviet passenger planes to be in service by 1980 failed 

to mention the Tupolev-144 supersonic transport, the Washington Post 
reported. An official of the USSR Aviation Ministry said the trouble-plagued 
Tu-144 would not go into passenger service in 1976 as promised last Dec, 
when the highly publicized "first scheduled supersonic service" began be- 
tween Moscow and Alma Ata in Soviet Kazakhstan. That service, initially 
twice a week, carried only mail and cargo, and was viewed by Western 
observers as an extended test-flight program. The mail service had been cut 
back to once a week in June 1976, with reports of problems in the passenger 
cabin such as noise, vibrations, and pressure. The Tu-144, which on 
31 Dec. 1968 had been the first supersonic civilian plane to fly, was 
designed to carry up to 1 40 passengers up to 5600 km, but had never been 
known to meet either specification; observers said its fuel consumption was 
greater than expected. Its service on Aeroflot lines, set to begin in 1974 or 
1975, had been set back by a crash in Paris in 1973. Although ignoring the 
Tu-144 in the Izvestia story, Aviation Minister Boris Bugayev said the 
state-operated Aeroflot fleet would include the 350-passenger Ilyushin-86 
airbus, not yet flown, and the medium-range 1 20-passenger Yak-42 air- 
plane, which he said would be "put into service in the current Five- Year 
Plan period." (W Post, 1 Dec 76, A- 12) 

• ESA announced award to European industry of two study contracts, one to 

define a large (about 900 kg) technological and experimental satellite in 
geostationary orbit, the other to define the communications payload for such 
a satellite. The 4-mo contracts, each valued at about $450 000 U.S., went 
to groups headed by Engins Matra and SNIAS of France for the spacecraft, 

286 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

and to a group headed by Germany's AEG-Telefunken for the payload. The 
new satellite would be designed for launch by ESA's Ariane, possibly on the 
fourth development flight scheduled for Oct. 1980; it would flight-test 
equipment and techniques as forerunner of a large platform carrying vari- 
ous communications payloads for direct and semidirect television and sound 
broadcasting and for propagation experiments in the 20- to 30-ghz range. 
The new system would differ from ESA's OTS in offering new services re- 
quired by countries without elaborate ground communications and broad- 
casting installations; it would carry four or more high-power TV channels for 
direct home reception, besides providing low-cost facilities for national 
telecommunications through small "thin route" terminals. (ESA release 
1 Dec 76) 

2 December: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced that the 
Ford administration had decided to authorize construction of the contro- 
versial B-l bomber, under a contract arrangement that would allow the 
incoming Carter administration 5 mo to review the $22.8-billion pro- 
gram. Rumsfeld's announcement said that B-l testing was complete and 
that it was "in the national interest" to proceed with production. During 
the campaign, candidate Carter had said he was opposed to immediate 
production but held out the possibility of further research on the bomber, 
which the Pentagon now declared completed. The unusual contract 
arrangement of month-by-month funding until the end of June was an 
extension of the 1 Feb. deadline set by Congress for commitment of funds 
for the program; the Air Force awarded contracts totaling $704.9 million 
to Rockwell Intl., General Electric, and the Boeing Company for the first 
three production models of the bomber, plus procurement to make eight 
more. The contracts, however, limited government liability to a monthly 
total of $87 million through June. Air Force Secretary Thomas C. Reed 
said at a news conference that keeping the B-l in the research state was 
unnecessary and wasteful, and that "it would be irresponsible not to 
initiate B-l production at this time" in view of the expansion of Soviet 
strategic forces. A manned bomber, he said, was the third part of a 
triad — including land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and mis- 
sile-bearing submarines — that would present "an insoluble problem" to 
the USSR and make it a losing proposition to attack the U.S. because of 
retaliation that would follow. The swing-wing B-l, although only two- 
thirds the size of the B-52, could carry twice the payload, was faster in 
takeoff and flight, and carried electronic systems more difficult to jam 
than those of the B-52. Opponents claimed that $100 million apiece was 
too high a price to pay for a bomber in the age of antiaircraft missiles, 
and suggested alternatives such as loading a commercial Boeing 747 with 
cruise missiles that could be fired while the plane was a safe distance from 
enemy defenses. (NYT, 3 Dec 76, A 18; W Post, 3 Dec 76, A-l) 

• The Natl. Science Foundation announced that employment of academic 
scientists and engineers had increased 3% in 1976; the increase had cut 
across all major fields of study, from 1% in life sciences and engineering 
to nearly 7% in social and environmental sciences. The number of 
full-time scientists and engineers at academic institutions went from 
224 800 to 230 500, or 3%, and the number of those employed part 

287 



December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

time went from 55 900 to 58 700 (5%). Over the period 1965 to 1976, 
there was a significant shift to teaching. Scientists and engineers em- 
ployed primarily as teachers increased 223 200 from 1975 to 1976 
(3%); those working primarily in research and development increased 
5 1 000 (27c). The number of women employed full time as scientists and 
engineers increased 5% from 1975 to 1976, a rate more than double 
that for men. (NSF Highlights, 2 Dec. 76, 1) 

• A solar-powered microwave station, first of its type in commercial use, had 

been installed on the Navajo settlement of Medicine Hat, Utah, the 
Chicago Tribune announced. The microwave relay tower, working in 
the hot climate without the need for airconditioning controls, would bring 
dial telephone service to the Indian community. (C Trib, 2 Dec 76, 4-9) 

3 December: NASA announced that it would simulate the drop of the main 

probe of its planned 1978 Pioneer Venus mission into the Venusian 
atmosphere, by dropping the probe from an Air Force balloon at 32 km 
altitude over the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The drop, scheduled 
for a date between 13 and 16 Dec, would be the first of two tests, a 
second being scheduled for early 1977. Flight events to be simulated just 
before the probe's descent into the dense hot lower atmosphere of 
Venus — deployment of the probe parachute, separation of the heat- 
shield, and (after a 17-min parachute descent) separation of the 
parachute — would occur at an altitude of 16 km, where the temperature 
and density of earth's atmosphere and the velocity of the probe would be 
much the same as those on Venus. The instrumented vessel would 
contain special equipment to monitor system performance, and movie 
cameras on the balloon platform as well as telescopic still and movie 
cameras on the ground would record the test. (NASA Release 76-192; ARC 
Release 76-84) 

• NASA announced two appointments effective 19 Dec. in the Office of Gen- 

eral Counsel: Allie B. Latimer as assistant general counsel for general 
law, and Richard J. Wieland as assistant general counsel for litigation. 
Ms. Latimer, who since 1972 had been assistant general counsel for 
automated data and telecommunications for the General Services Admin- 
istration, was the first national president of Federally Employed Women 
(FEW). Wieland, who had been at JSC since 1963, was currently assistant 
Chief Counsel for general legal matters at that center. (NASA anno. 3 Dec 
76) 

4 December: According to a story in the Chicago Tribune, the USSR on an 

undisclosed date had fired a submarine-launched missile farther than 
ever before. An SSN-8 missile had landed in mid-Pacific slightly more 
than 9000 km from its launching point, presumably a submarine in the 
Barents Sea. (The longest-range U.S. submarine-launched missile could 
reach just under 4700 km.) U.S. intelligence sources were reported 
unsure whether the additional range of the SSN-8 resulted from extra 
rocket power or a lighter warhead; SSN-8 had previously been identified 
as a single-warhead weapon used in the USSR's 17 new Delta-class missile 
submarines. Commenting on the report, the New York Times said the 
Soviets' test shot was "good news paradoxically" for the U.S. and the 



288 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

whole world: in contrast to large land-based intercontinental ballistic 
missiles, the submarine-based missiles were neither large enough nor 
accurate enough for effective first-strike counter-silo use, and their 
concealment and mobility would make them ideal second-strike weapons 
useful only as deterrents. As long as the USSR had no submarine-launched 
missile, there was little possibility of lowering the ceilings set in a previous 
agreement to a level that would head off a Soviet first-strike capability. 
The ceilings had allowed each side to have 2400 strategic bombers and 
missiles, of which 1 320 could carry multiple warheads; if the USSR should 
agree to deploy half its multiple-warhead missiles at sea as the U.S. did, 
such an agreement could eliminate the possibility of either side's con- 
structing a high-confidence first-strike force and would help ensure sta- 
bility of the nuclear balance for a long time. The NYT favored such an 
agreement, which would call a halt to ongoing missile programs. (C Trib, 
4 Dec 76, 2-5; NYT, 6 Dec 76, 32) 

5 December: The fundamental cause of the succession of Ice Ages undergone 

by the earth had been the slight but regular changes in the shape of 
earth's orbit around the sun, according to a team of U.S. and British 
scientists headed by Dr. James D. Hays of Columbia Univ. Analysis of 
layers of fossil microorganisms from cores of sediment taken from the 
floor of the Indian Ocean produced measurements of the earth's climate 
over the past 450 000 yr; changes in climate appeared in alternating 
layers of warm- or cold-preferring microfossils, known as radiolaria. The 
discovery should permit prediction of the onset of the next Ice Age, 
although the cooling trend now in process should continue for about 
20 000 yr. The last great glaciation 18 000 yr ago brought ice down over 
most of Canada, northern Europe and Asia, and the northern U.S.; it was 
one of eight major Ice Ages over the past 700 000 yr. The ice retreated 
about 1 1 000 yr ago to its present boundaries, and the earth is now in 
a warmer period. The investigation, to be reported formally in the 
10 Dec. issue of Science magazine, was supported by a consortium of 
universities and the Natl. Science Foundation. {NYT, 5 Dec 76, 4-14; 
C Trib, 5 Dec 76, 1-9) 

6 December: NASA announced "an unusual agreement" with McDonnell 

Douglas Corp., under which the firm would build a solid-fuel upper-stage 
rocket as a commercial venture, to be available for use in future Space 
Shuttle missions. The firm would build and market the product using its 
own funding and initiative, at no direct cost to NASA or the U.S. govern- 
ment, except when the government might be a purchaser; NASA agreed 
that it would not knowingly fund or formally solicit development of 
competitive or alternate upper-stage systems. McDonnell Douglas would 
market the stage hardware and services either directly to users, or 
through NASA; NASA would not be committed to buy any hardware or 
services from McDonnell Douglas. The Delta rocket, workhorse of NASA's 
expendable launch-vehicle program, which had carried most of the com- 
sats and metesats now in geosynchronous orbit, would be phased out 
along with other expendable vehicles after the Space Shuttle became 
operational. After the Shuttle had carried payloads into low earth orbit, 



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December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

the upper stage would put the payloads (weighing up to 1110 kg) into a 
transfer orbit, where a kick motor would insert them into geosynchron- 
ous orbit. (NASA Release 76-198) 

• MSFC announced that two of its employees had manufactured a precision 

quartz ball that would be used by the National Bureau of Standards as 
a density measure. John Rasquin and Jack Reed of the Materials and 
Processes Laboratory in MSFC's Science and Engineering Directorate 
made the precision sphere, which is 90 mm in diameter and weighs 
290 g. NBS had selected quartz as the homogeneous material for its 
standard because it could be made with a high order of purity, had great 
temperature stability, and was ideal for use in an interferometer because 
of its precisely known optical properties. MSFC originally made two clear 
quartz spheres for NBS that were unsatisfactory because of their high 
transparency, as the interferometer required a highly reflective surface; 
NBS exposed the spheres to gamma radiation for 4 mo to make them 
opaque by changing their molecular structure, but the radiation induced 
minute internal stresses that altered the contour. The spheres, returned 
to MSFC, were reworked by Rasquin and Reed to NBS specifications of 
1x10 ' deviation in radius. One of the spheres had been completed and 
the other was about 50% complete. (MSFC Release 76-209) 
7 December: The mission of the launch of Comstar B on 22 July 1976 from 
the Eastern Test Range on an Atlas-Centaur AC-40 was declared suc- 
cessful by John F. Yardley, Associate Administrator for Space Flight, 
NASA announced in a postlaunch mission operations report. The space- 
craft's apogee motor was successfully fired 24 July 1976, injecting the 
Comstar into the desired synchronous orbit. (NASA MOR M-49 1-201 - 
76-02, 13 Dec 76) 

• The Peoples Republic of China launched an unidentified satellite from the 

Shuang-Cheng-Tzu site into an orbit with 483-km apogee, 170-km 
perigee, 59.5° inclination, and 91.1-min period. Aviation Wk and 
Space Technology magazine reported that mission characteristics indi- 
cated the vehicle was in the 2700- to 4500-kg class and that the launch 
vehicle was a CSS-X-3 booster. Hsinhua News Agency, whose launch 
announcement the Tass agency picked up, reported 10 Dec. that the 
satellite had returned to earth "with precision according to plan," with 
no further details. This was PRC's seventh satellite launch. (FBIS, Tass in 
English, 7 Dec 76; CSFC SSR, 9 Dec 76; FBIS, Peking NCNA, 10 Dec 76; 
Av Wk, 13 Dec 76, 29; SBD, 14 Dec 76, 234) 

• The flight of NASA's Pioneer 11 into unexplored space above the plane of 

earth's orbit had confirmed the structure of the sun's magnetic field for 
the first time, NASA announced. Dr. Edward J. Smith of the Jet Propulsion 
Laboratory — magnetometer experimenter for Pioneer 11 — reported to 
the meeting of the Am. Geophysical Union that observations conducted 
from Feb. to Nov. 1976, while the spacecraft was four times farther from 
the sun than the earth, showed that the solar magnetic envelope had a 
simple north pole-south pole structure split into northern and southern 
portions at the magnetic equator by a "warped" sheet of electric current. 
This warped sheet had appeared to move as the sun rotated, up and down 
relative to the earth's orbital plane. As the solar magnetic field extended 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

several billion miles over the north and south solar poles, well beyond the 
orbit of Saturn, earth spacecraft traveling in earth's orbital plane had 
passed through the warped electric current and detected contradictory 
motions, the field in the northern solar hemisphere being carried outward 
by the solar wind and the field in the southern hemisphere reversing back 
toward the sun. Earlier spacecraft therefore reported reversals in the 
direction of the solar magnetic field each time the current sheet was 
encountered, reports that led to a variety of interpretations. When 
Pioneer 11 had passed close to Jupiter in Dec. 1974, the gravitational 
effect had thrown the spacecraft 62 million km above earth's orbital 
plane, allowing it to measure solar phenomena at a point 16° above the 
solar equator — 9° higher than previously possible — where it discovered 
a uniform solar field, pointing away from the sun. The present solar 
model would exhibit the warped current sheet about 15° each side of the 
solar equator, accompanied by small-scale random magnetic fields of 
varying intensity and direction; the north polar region would generate a 
well-ordered magnetic field in a single direction, and the south pole a 
similar field in the opposite direction. The solar wind would carry the 
magnetic field out until it met the interstellar gas, perhaps near the orbit 
of Pluto, where the outgoing north-polar field would link with incoming 
south-polar field to "close the magnetic loop," Dr. Smith suggested. 
(NASA Release 76-199; ARC Release 76-85; NYT, 7 Dec 76, 1) 
8 December: NASA announced that the proceedings of its Nov. 1976 workshop 
on space battery technology were available from GSFC, where the sessions 
had been held annually since 1968. Batteries had proved to be the major 
limiting factor in long-life space systems used for research in commu- 
nications, weather, and earth-resources detection and monitoring; cur- 
rent life expectancy for batteries was 3 to 7 yr, depending on orbital 
altitude. (Spacecraft in synchronous orbit at 35 000 km altitude derived 
power from electrochemical batteries charged by solar cells on the 
spacecraft surface; batteries on these craft, continuously in the sun 
except for two eclipse periods per year, would escape the charge- 
discharge cycling that wore out similar batteries carried on spacecraft 
circling the earth every 90 min at lower altitudes, discharging their 
power in the resultant periods of darkness.) NASA had begun the work- 
shops to exchange information between manufacturers and users for 
increasing efficiency and lifetime of the batteries, resulting in improve- 
ments by industry in batteries used for heart pacemakers, aircraft, and 
consumer goods such as portable tape recorders, radios, and flashlights. 
Gerald Halpert, GSFC chairman of the battery workshop, said the Nov. 
session had reviewed a new technique of fabricating battery plates elec- 
trochemically at temperatures of 100°C, which would reduce the num- 
ber of steps in the process and provide a more uniform product. Also 
discussed was a rechargeable nickel-hydrogen battery, a new product 
that could provide more energy per kg for larger systems, with storage 
capacities ranging from 25 to 100 ampere-hr. The nickel-hydrogen unit 
would be used for the first time on the Navigational Technology 
Satellite-2, part of the joint services research program for a global 
satellite system. Another topic was the special procedures developed at 

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December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

GSFC for battery improvement that had been implemented in industry for 
quality control and evaluation of the product. (NASA Release 76-200) 

• ESA concluded its preliminary design review of the manned orbital Spacelab 

at the premises of the prime Spacelab contractor, VFW-Fokker/ERNO in 
Bremen, W. Germany. Senior representatives of ESA, NASA, and ERNO 
said the review was successful and the result exceeded expectations. The 
review cleared the way for a detailed design phase to begin development 
of the engineering model of Spacelab, due for delivery by the end of 
1978. The flight model would be delivered by the end of 1979 for a first 
ESA-NASA mission in 1980. (ESA release 9 Dec 76) 
9 December: America's Bicentennial year might be called the "Year of the 
Communications Satellites," NASA Administrator Dr. James C. Fletcher 
told participants at the Conference on Satellite Communication and 
Public Service meeting at GSFC. Recalling that Alexander Graham Bell 
had unveiled the telephone at the Philadelphia Centennial exactly a 
century ago, Dr. Fletcher quoted an observer's statement that, of all the 
gifts young America had received on its 100th birthday, the telephone 
proved to be the most valuable; in 1976, of NASA's 19 launches, 13 had 
been communications satellites, which might prove the most valuable gift 
received by the U.S. on its 200th birthday. Comsats were in use by 107 
countries or territories on 6 continents, Dr. Fletcher said, and more than 
a billion people — one of every 4 on earth — could witness an international 
event as it happened "live by satellite." Not only had comsats been able 
to do current jobs better and cheaper, they had also opened new possi- 
bilities for public service. Development of small inexpensive simple earth 
stations would permit sending needed information to millions of people 
without present access to it, Fletcher said; very large antennas and high 
transmitter power in space would make it possible to use receivers on 
earth "not 30 feet in diameter, or even 10 feet, but the size of your watch 
crystal," he added. To get the larger, heavier spacecraft into orbit, 
Fletcher predicted use of the Space Shuttle, making "runs to space on 
a regular schedule, carrying people and cargo for communications, 
scientific research, earth resources inventory, materials processing, and 
other tasks." Use of the Shuttle would reduce the cost of putting a 
satellite in orbit from more than half to less than a quarter of the total 
cost of design, construction, and launch. Fletcher called on members of 
the conference to help NASA define the public purposes to be served by 
"an imaginative space program" that would involve users in its develop- 
ment from the outset. (Text; NASA Release 76-202) 

• The U.S. Navy, in the last days of the Ford Administration, had awarded 

a $159.9 million contract to Rohr Marine, Inc., for design of a new type 
of warship that would ride on an air bubble at three times the speed of 
conventional ships. The 3000-ton prototype of the "surface effect" 
ships would ride on an air bubble trapped by sidewalls and bow and stern 
seals; the high speed would result from not having to push through water 
as conventional vessels do. The Navy had experimented with a 100-ton 
test vehicle that reached speeds of more than 1 65 km per hr, a new Navy 
surface-speed record, in tests last June near Panama City, Fla. Although 
critics had questioned the need for a ship that speedy, the Navy had said 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

its primary roles would be antisubmarine warfare and sea-to-shore haul- 
ing of people and cargo. The Navy had also successfully fired an antiship 
missile from an experimental air-cushion vessel traveling at about 
1 1 1 kph. (WPost, 10 Dec 76, A-2; W Star, 10 Dec 76, B-12; B Sun, 
10 Dec 76, 6) 

10 December: GSFC Director Dr. Robert S. Cooper presented a Group 

Achievement Award to the AIDSAT team for "the highly successful inter- 
national demonstrations in which leaders of over twenty-five under- 
developed countries were shown the potential benefits to be derived from 
the application of satellite communications and remote earth sensing." 
The demonstrations had taken place over a 90-day relocation period 
during which the Ats 6 was moving from its position over India to a new 
geosynchronous position over the western Pacific. The team — led by 
former GSFC engineer Paul McCeney, NASA Hq Office of Applications, as 
AIDSAT program manager; Al Whalen of GSFC, as project manager; and 
John Wilhelm of the Agency for Intl. Development, as program 
coordinator — undertook to produce 27 programs for broadcast to as 
many nations over the 3-mo period. Three technical teams carried 
portable terminal equipment to three clusters of nations: A, consisting of 
Thailand, Oman, Jordan, Sudan, Mali, Cameroon, Uruguay, Ecuador, 
and Jamaica; B, consisting of Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, 
Yemen, Libya, Upper Volta, Central African Republic, Bolivia, Surinam, 
and Costa Rica; and C, consisting of Pakistan, Kenya, Morocco, Ivory 
Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Argentina, Peru, and Haiti. Goddard en- 
gineers Dave Nace, John Chitwood, and Al Whalen were managers of the 
A, B, and C clusters respectively. The high-level government officials and 
businessmen in the participating countries who took part in the programs 
included eight presidents, three prime ministers, a king, and a sultan. 
Each country received virtually the same 2.5-hr program format, which 
began with a personal taped message from U.S. President Ford and 
presented films on remote sensing and on earth-orbiting communications 
and meteorological satellites, ending with an hour of two-way direct video 
communications between panelists in the U.S. and the host country. 
Millions of viewers in the host countries watched the programs by direct 
or delayed broadcast over national TV networks, some seeing the first 
colorcasts ever received in their country. The historic experiment in 
telecommunications technology transfer fulfilled a promise to make U.S. 
technology available to developing nations, given by Secretary of State 
Henry Kissinger in May 1976 at the U.S. Conference on Trade and 
Development in Nairobi, Kenya. (Goddard News, Dec 76, 3-4) 

11 December: Eight nations located on the equator had claimed sovereignty 

over the orbital locations of space satellites stationed above their terri- 
tory, the Washington Star reported. The foreign ministry of Colombia 
listed the nations as Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Congo, Kenya, Uganda, 
Zaire, and Indonesia. (W Star, 11 Dec 76, A-4) 
12-20 December: "One of the most important ore-bearing structures in the 
world" might prove to be located in an Antarctica site known as the 
Enchanted Valley, the New York Times reported, when a U.S. Geological 
Survey party of six — including two women — had completed their study 

293 



December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

of the formation after an airlift to the site from the McMurdo Sound 
station. The body of rock in the Pensacola Mts., first reached by explor- 
ers in 1957 and first studied in the 1965-66 season, was a layered struc- 
ture produced by eruptions from earth's interior and "strikingly similar" 
to productive formations elsewhere in the world, such as the Bushveld 
complex of S. Africa, the Stillwater formation of Montana, and the 
Sudbury region of Ontario. A Soviet party in the Shackleton Range to the 
northeast, a similar area, reported findings which the leader of the USGS 
group, Dr. Arthur B. Ford, hoped to visit by air. Dr. Edward S. Grew of 
UCLA, who had spent the Antarctic winter at the Soviet Molodezhnaya base, 
had been working with the Russians from a temporary camp in the Lam- 
bert Glacier, near which "a mountain of iron" was reported recently. 

Meanwhile, a Natl. Science Foundation project that aimed at drilling 
a hole through the Ross Ice Shelf was proceeding with the participation 
of 10 nations, seeking to explore the depths below the ice for data on the 
Antarctic bottom water, indirectly responsible for much of the world's 
oceanic food, and to learn whether the ice sheet might eventually slip into 
the sea, raising global sea levels by as much as 10 meters. Countries 
participating with the U.S. in the Ross Ice Shelf Project (RISP) were 
Australia, Britain, Denmark, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Soviet 
Union, Switzerland, and West Germany. The NYT commented editori- 
ally that the Antarctic continent posed a number of scientific problems 
still unanswered in the age of space that had seen visits to and returns 
from the moon; close photographs of the moon and planets; and regular 
reports by man-made instruments on the surfaces of Mars and Venus. 
The RISP — an example of "continued, steady, quiet international cooper- 
ation" in Antarctic research — was "one of the great success stories of 
the post- 1945 world," encountering temporary setbacks that would be 
overcome in time as were those of the space program, the MT added. 
(/V1T, 12 Dec 76, 1-1; 19 Dec 76, 26; 20 Dec 76, A-22) 
13 December: Forecasts of NASA activity in 1977 included plans to launch 19 
missions, with a possible four backup spacecraft in case of trouble with 
current missions. The 19 included eight comsats (NATO-3B; Palapa-B; 
OTS, an operational test satellite developed by ESA; Intelsat IVA-C; Sirio, 
an Italian experimental spacecraft; Intelsat IVA-D; FLTSATCOM, part of a 
Navy-Air Force operational near-global system for command and control 
of all DOD forces; and Japan's CS, a comsat to be placed in synchronous 
orbit); six scientific satellites (HEAO-A, a high-energy astronomical obser- 
vatory; CEOS, an ESA mission to study geomagnetic phenomena from 
synchronous orbit; MJS-A and -B, two Mariner spacecraft scheduled to fly 
by Jupiter and Saturn, "and possibly Uranus; ISEE, a two-spacecraft 
international sun-earth explorer mission developed by NASA and ESA; and 
IUE-A, the international ultraviolet explorer spacecraft also developed 
jointly by NASA and ESA); three metesats (GOES 2, to be launched for NOAA 
into synchronous orbit; CMS, a Japanese geosynchronous meteorological 
satellite; and Meteosat, ESA's synchronous-orbit weather spacecraft, 
scheduled for 0° longitude); one navigational satellite, the Navy's Tran- 
sit 19, with R&D modifications not common to other Transits; and one 
applications satellite, Landsat-C, third in its series of earth resources 

294 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

technology spacecraft. The backup launches to be scheduled only if 
replacements were needed were comsats RCA-C and a spare OTS; navsat 
Transit 20; and metesat ITOS E-2, on standby in case of trouble with 
Noaa 4 or Noaa 5, already in orbit. Of the 19 scheduled launches, all 
but two would be from Cape Canaveral, using 12 Delta rockets, 3 
Atlas-Centaurs, and 2 Titan III-E-Centaurs. The other two launches, both 
from Vandenberg AFB, would use one Delta and one Scout rocket. 
MSFC forecast for 1977 that facilities for assembling and testing the 
Space Shuttle orbiter would be completed, as well as test firings of the 
Shuttle's solid-fuel motors and main engines. (Av Wk, 13 Dec 76, 26; 
KSC Release 492-76; MSFC Release 76-218) 

• NASA's permanent-personnel status as of the end of November 1 976 showed 

the agency as having 153 employees over its end-of-year ceiling, 
23 816. Center with most employees over allowed number was MSFC, with 
143; also over strength were Headquarters with 34, LaRC with 14, ARC 
with 8, and JSC with 5. However, CSFC had 20 fewer employees than 
allowable, KSC had 15 fewer, LeRC and Wallops were each 6 below ceiling, 
and NSTL and DFRC were short three and one employees respectively. The 
General Management Review Report containing these figures noted that 
efforts would be made to achieve the FY 1977 ceiling through attrition. 
(CMRR 13 Dec 76, 13) 

• Radio links with the Viking landers on Mars were reestablished, ending a 

month of silent hibernation during which communications had been 
blocked by the passage of the sun between Mars and earth. Scientists at 
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena sent a "wake-up call" to the 
robot laboratories on Mars that had been collecting a month's supply of 
data during the blackout period; these data, to be played back beginning 

20 Dec, would include images of the area around the two landers, 
inorganic chemical analysis, additional biology data, and any records to 
support the (thus far unsuccessful) search for marsquakes, using the 
seismometer on the Viking 2 lander. 

Resumption of activity would begin Viking's 18-mo "extended mis- 
sion," which would provide more images of the Mars surface and polar 
regions, as well as measurements of water vapor and temperature, some 
at twice the resolution of previous observations; process more samples of 
the surface for life-detection tests and inorganic chemical analysis; pho- 
tograph Deimos and Phobos, the moons of Mars; and monitor daily and 
seasonal weather changes, origins of planetwide dust storms, and any 
seismic activity that might occur. As Mars entered its closest approach 
to the sun in the spring of 1977, scientists would be watching for signs 
of the dust storms thought to be triggered by perihelion; when Mariner 
9 arrived at Mars in 1971, the entire planet was engulfed in the greatest 
dust storms in the history of Mars observations and surveys from orbit 
were limited for several months. Such storms could endanger the Vikings 
on the surface of Mars, besides impeding the view from orbit. {W Post, 
15 Dec 76, 2; NASA Release 76-208; W Star, 16 Dec 76, A-7; NYT, 

21 Dec 76, 21) 

• NASA announced that a series of aircraft flights from Alaska to Argentina 

between January and May of 1974 had provided information on the 

295 



December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

transport and distribution of water vapor in the atmosphere from the 
tropic seas to the higher latitudes, as well as vertically to the stratos- 
phere, important to an understanding of earth's ozone layer and possibly 
of earth climate. Previous studies of water in the stratosphere, made 
from aircraft and balloon flights, had not provided data on latitudinal 
transport. Ernest Hilsenrath of GSFC, who reported this first mapping of 
water-vapor distribution in both northern and southern latitudes in a 
paper at the American Geophysical Union meeting 8 Dec, noted that the 
1974 flights had confirmed an increase in the amount of atmospheric 
water vapor since 1964. The experiments, flown on an Air Force RB-57, 
were managed by GSFC under contract to DOT as part of its Climatic 
Impact Assessment Program. (NASA Release 76-201) 
• Simultaneous measurements by two polar-orbiting satellites of powerful 
electric currents causing magnetic disturbances on earth had produced 
composite diagrams of horizontal current-flow in the ionosphere, vertical 
currents along magnetic-field lines, and the resulting magnetic per- 
turbations, NOAA announced. A team of scientists representing NOAA and 
five universities had presented their findings at the annual meeting of the 
American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Dr. Yohsuke Kamide of 
the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (spon- 
sored by NOAA and the Univ. of Colorado) said that, before the advent of 
satellites, auroras had been studied from the ground with cameras and 
magnetometers, which could detect the presence of powerful currents 
but not their location or direction. The Triad satellite launched in 1972 
by the U.S. Navy had carried a Johns Hopkins Univ. three-component 
magnetometer to measure the strength of vertical currents supplying the 
"auroral electrojets"; using it, together with a satellite launched by the 
USAF Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and ground-based meas- 
urements from stations in Alaska, Canada, and the USSR, the team had 
produced its composite for 30 instances of perturbation. Other members 
of the team were Herbert W. Kroehl of NOAA's Environmental Data 
Service; Dr. Gordon Rostoker, Univ. of Alberta; Dr. Syun-ichi Akasofu, 
Univ. of Alaska; Dr. Thomas A. Potemra, Johns Hopkins Univ.; and 
Dr. Ching Meng, Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley. (NOAA Release 76-274) 
14 December: NASA announced selection of three contractors to negotiate for 
provision of various subsystems for the Solar Maximum Mission space- 
craft. The SMM, scheduled for launch in the third quarter of 1979, would 
carry instruments to investigate solar flares; the spacecraft would be built 
on the modular concept, so that its instrumentation could be readily 
changed or replaced. 

Fairchild Industries, Germantown, Md., would negotiate to provide 
the communications and data-handling subsystem at a proposed value of 
$2.5 million, for one protoflight model with options for up to six addi- 
tional. The C&DH subsystem would provide ground and onboard control 
of all spacecraft and sensor functions, and of retrieval of housekeeping 
and experiment data. 

McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co., East St. Louis, Mo., would 
negotiate to provide the power module subsystem for the SMM at a 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

proposed value of $2.3 million, with options for up to six additional. The 
power module, an unregulated system operating from a deployable solar 
array, would provide 1280 w at the beginning of its operating life. 

General Electric Space Div., Valley Forge, Pa., would negotiate 
to provide the attitude-control subsystem at a proposed value of 
$3.5 million, with options for up to six additional subsystems. The ACS 
would include reaction-control devices as well as a high-performance 
gyro inertial-reference unit, a pair of fixed electronic-scanning star 
trackers, a three-axis magnetometer set, and sun sensors. 

The SMM spacecraft, a 381 -cm-long cylinder weighing about 
1740 kg, would be powered with solar panels and fit atop a modular 
spacecraft base; it would be capable of launch on a Delta and retrieval 
by the Space Shuttle. (NASA Releases 76-203, 76-204, 76-205) 

• MSFC announced the successful launch on a Black Brant VC research rocket 

at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., of the first containerless experi- 
ments in materials processing ever attempted on a spacecraft. NASA's 
third space-processing applications rocket, SPAR III, carried a five- 
experiment payload, two of these using acoustic and electromagnetic 
suspension devices, or levitators. Materials suspended in a levitator could 
be melted and resolidified without touching a container, resulting in a 
degree of purity never before achieved in high-temperature processing, 
as the melt in a conventional container would be contaminated to some 
extent by the container itself. The rocket flight provided about 5 min of 
near-weightlessness for performance of the experiments, which were 
recovered by parachute for experimenter analysis. Experimenters were 
Charles Schafer, MSFC; Jerry Wouch, GE; Dr. John Papazian, Grumman 
Aerospace Corp.; Dr. David Lind, Rockwell Intl. Science Center; and 
Dr. Donald R. Uhlmann, MIT. Conclusions as to the success of container- 
less processing would await analysis of telemetry, inflight film, and ex- 
periment results. (MSFC Releases 76-207, 76-212) 

• The USSR Ministry of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education had 

announced plans to build an Institute of Nuclear Energetics at Obninsk, 
in central Russia, site of the "world's first industrial atomic power 
station," the Tass news agency reported. First Soviet educational institu- 
tion of this type, the new center would train engineers in design and use 
of nuclear power stations. In accordance with a new program of con- 
structing nuclear power stations, Tass said the present 6-million-kw 
capacity would be supplemented by an additional 13 to 15 million kw; 
new stations were being built at Kursk, Smolensk, Kalinin in central 
Russia, and in the southern Ukraine. The Obninsk center would be the 
860th higher education institution in the USSR, Tass noted. (FBIS, Tass in 
English, 14 Dec 76) 

• Dr. Donald H. Menzel, one of the world's leading authorities on the sun and 

its corona, died at Mass. General Hospital after a long illness. During his 
lifetime, he had viewed 15 total solar eclipses, leading expeditions to 
distant places like the Sahara (1973) and Siberia (1936), where the 
Soviets provided a parlor car of the Trans Siberian Railroad for his 
equipment and camping gear. Dr. Menzel had taught for nearly 40 yr at 



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December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

Harvard; Dr. Fred L. Whipple of Harvard, a colleague and former 
student of Dr. Menzel, noted that many of the best-known astronomers 
in the U.S. had also been taught by Dr. Menzel. The Minor Planet Center 
of the Intl. Astronomical Union recently named an asteroid Menzel in 
recognition of his contribution to astrophysics. In 1938, Dr. Menzel 
developed the first coronagraph in the U.S. to permit study of the sun's 
corona without an eclipse; in 1933, he had collaborated with J.C. Boyce 
in establishing the presence of oxygen in the solar corona, and in 1941 
he had worked with Winfield W. Salisbury on the initial calculations that 
enabled the first radio contact with the moon in 1946. He had received 
a Ph.D. in astrophysics at Princeton in 1924, writing science-fiction 
stories to help pay his expenses, and had taught at the Univ. of Iowa and 
Ohio State Univ. before becoming professor of astrophysics at Harvard 
in 1939. He was director of the Harvard College Observatory from 1954 
to 1966, when he was named research scientist at the Smithsonian 
Astrophysical Laboratory in Cambridge. He had retired from the univer- 
sity in 1971, but had continued to do research there. {NYT, 16 Dec 76, 
50) 

15 December: The "hotline" between Washington, D.C. and Moscow had 

changed into a Direct Communications Link using two independent sets 
of orbiting satellites, and eliminating any actual wire between the two 
capitals, the Christian Science Monitor reported. A spokesman for the 
Army Communications Command at Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., where the U.S. 
portion of system was designed and built, said it could be put into use 
whenever diplomats from both countries made the final arrangements. 
The $15-million system would be located at Ft. Detrick, Md., near 
Washington, the spokesman said. {CSM, 15 Dec 76) 
• Ithaco Inc. of Ithaca, N.Y., a space-industry subcontractor specializing in 
low-orbital unmanned-satellite electronics, had discovered a lucrative 
and largely untapped agricultural market by turning its expertise on 
animal electronics: specifically, a new device first marketed 19 mo ago 
to help farmers determine whether their pigs were pregnant and to 
preview the quality of porkchops the hogs would produce. The device 
would let farmers determine pig-pregnancy status 50 to 60 days earlier 
than previously possible, meaning substantial savings for breeders, com- 
pany officials said, adding that the market would not be attractive to a 
large company. Overseas farmers accounted for up to 40% of "Scan- 
oprobe" sales, which totaled $3.8 million for the 1976 fiscal year, best 
in the firm's 14-yr history. Ithaco would not abandon its space contracts, 
the company said, but employees who worked on intricate satellite parts 
could be switched over to the "animal electronics" contracts. (NYT, 
15 Dec 76, A 16) 

16 December: NASA announced that it would modify equipment and facilities 

used in the Apollo, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz programs for use in future 
space programs, and that it would dispose of remaining Saturn-Apollo 
hardware that had no future application. Disposal would eliminate stor- 
age costs, free storage space, and make facilities available for ongoing 
programs, the agency said. The action marked the transition of U.S. 

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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

manned space activity from use of expendable vehicles to use of the 
reusable Space Shuttle, scheduled to undertake its first mission within 
3 yr. Although NASA, at the request of Congress, had kept its remaining 
Saturn-Apollo flight hardware since April 1975 in minimum-cost storage, 
to be able to restore it to flight condition if needed, the backup Skylab 
workshop and Apollo-Soyuz backup docking module had been trans- 
ferred to the National Air and Space Museum; twenty-two H-l rocket 
engines from Saturn stages had been transferred for use in Thor-Delta 
vehicles. Much of the remaining Saturn-Apollo hardware would probably 
be turned over to the Smithsonian Institution, and other equipment would 
be screened for use in the Shuttle or other programs. (NASA Release 
76-206) 

• NASA announced award to Owen Enterprises, Inc., of Wilmington, Calif., of 

an exclusive patent license for production of a solar-energy concentrator 
invented by JPL's Dr. Katsunori Shimada that focuses the sun's rays from 
almost any angle without the need for a tracking mechanism. The 
concentrator — a special arrangement of multifaceted Fresnel lenses — 
magnifies solar energy tenfold, heating a fluid in channels beneath the 
lenses, which is released through a thermostat when the proper tempera- 
ture is attained. A series of the devices could be set up, depending on the 
specific energy requirements of a structure. Suitable for residential, 
commercial, or industrial applications, the concentrator had proved 
much more efficient than other solar-collector units on the market. Owen 
Enterprises, Inc., the licensee, is an American Indian-owned firm that 
planned to assemble the device at facilities on the Rincon Indian Reser- 
vation near Escondido, Calif. The firm would invest $200 000 to develop 
the concentrator for the market, and pay 1% royalty to the U.S. Treasury 
on its gross sales. (NASA Release 76-209) 

• At the request of the Soviet Union, U.S. satellites took pictures of the 

predicted bumper crop of grain in the USSR and turned the pictures over 
to that country to confirm the predictions, said presidential science 
adviser Dr. H. Guyford Stever at a White House briefing. The Russians 
had announced 5 Nov. that more than 220 million metric tons of grain 
had been harvested; U.S. Dept. of Agriculture officials said the 
final figures would probably exceed 1973's record Soviet harvest of 
222.5 million tons. (NYT, 17 Dec 76, A-4) 
16-22 December: The USSR announced its intention of launching carrier 
rockets into two areas of the northern Pacific between 20 and 30 Dec, 
and requested the governments of other countries using sea and air 
routes in the vicinity not to permit their ships and planes to enter those 
areas during the launching period. At the same time the Soviets declared 
other areas free for navigation because the launchings in those areas had 
been completed. The Tass broadcast gave the locations of the danger 
spots as having center coordinates of 46°N, 164°E, and 32°27 N, 
170 10'E. The nature of the launches was not specified. On 22 Dec. 
Tass announced it had been authorized to state the locations were "free 
for sea and air navigation from December 22, 1976." (FBIS, Tass in 
English, 16 Dec 76, 22 Dec 76) 



299 



December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

17 December: Dr. Michael Duke, curator of lunar samples at NASA's Johnson 
Space Center, returned from Moscow with two half-gram samples of 
moon soil brought to earth in Aug. 1976 by the USSR's Luna 24 space- 
craft. The samples were part of a 2-meter-long core of lunar material 
obtained by a hollow drill from the surface of Mare Crisium, a region of 
the moon from which the U.S. had not had any samples. This was the third 
time U.S. scientists had obtained a Soviet sample in exchange for material 
collected by Apollo astronauts from other places on the moon. Other 
members of the U.S. scientific delegation to Moscow this week were 
Dr. Charles Simonds, Lunar Science Institute, Houston, Tex., and 
Prof. Gerald J. Wasserburg of the Calif. Institute of Technology. The 
small size of the sample would not detract from its usefulness, according 
to Dr. Bevan French, chief of NASA's program of research on extrater- 
restrial materials; methods routinely used for extracting information 
from samples of meteorite or deep-sea basalt could produce hundreds of 
chemical analyses from a single tiny crystal or determine the age of a 
fragment smaller than an aspirin tablet. (JSC Release 76-75) 

• NASA announced selection of United Space Boosters, Inc., Sunnyvale, 

Calif., as assembly contractor for the Space Shuttle solid-fuel booster 
rocket. USBI, a wholly owned subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., 
received a cost-plus-award fee contract for $122 million, to cover six 
design, development, and test and evaluation flights up to March 1980, 
with options for 21 operational flights extending into 1982. The contract 
would cover all booster assembly activities at MSFC and KSC; MSFC would 
supervise assembly, checkout, and refurbishment of the boosters, and 
KSC would supervise final assembly, checkout, launch operations, and 
postlaunch disassembly of the boosters. First of six orbital test flights had 
been scheduled for the second quarter of 1979, with operational flights 
to begin in 1980. At launch, the three main engines and two boosters of 
the Space Shuttle would operate together; upon burnout at about 43 km 
altitude, the boosters would separate and descend by parachute to the 
ocean for retrieval and refurbishment. The boosters were designed for 
use 20 times. (NASA Release 76-212; MSFC Release 76-215; WSJ, 
21 Dec 76, 11) 

• The Concorde supersonic airliner, making regularly scheduled flights be- 

tween London, Paris, and the Dulles airport outside Washington, D.C. 
since 24 May, had been lending its distinctive sonic waves to atmospheric 
research by Columbia Univ. monitors, the New York Times reported. 
Dr. William L. Donn, senior research associate at Columbia's Lamont- 
Doherty Geological Observatory, and his colleagues Nambath Balachan- 
dran and David Rind had derived surprising data on daily variations in 
the supposed prevailing winds in the upper atmosphere, and were antic- 
ipating new data on dispersal of atmospheric pollutants and the content 
of the rarefied reaches of earth's atmosphere. The sound waves, inau- 
dible to the human ear but detectable by sensitive microphones register- 
ing changes in air pressure, contained atmospheric information up to as 
far as 120-km altitude, through reflection from the thermosphere. Pre- 
cise knowledge of the Concorde's elevation and location along its flight 



300 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

path had aided in interpreting data on atmospheric temperatures and 
wind conditions depending on the exact strength and path of the sound 
waves, Dr. Donn said. (NYT, 17 Dec 76, A- 18) 
• A British Aircraft Corp. team had successfully launched the second of a 
series of Skylark 12 high-altitude research rockets from the Andoya 
Range in arctic Norway to investigate auroral activity for the U.K. 
Science Research Council and other groups investigating the intense 
phenomena above the Arctic Circle, the London Press Assn. reported in 
a broadcast. The rocket reached an altitude of more than 680 km, 
sending scientific data to ground receivers for 14 min of the flight. First 
launch of the new three-stage Skylark, capable of carrying payloads to 
three times the altitude of earlier versions, took place 21 Nov. (FBIS, 
London Press Assn., 17 Dec 76) 

18 December: Astronaut-pilots in training for the Space Shuttle program had 

used a simulated shuttle- — a Grumman Gulfstream 2 twin-engine jet — 
in approach-and-landing maneuvers over the southern New Mexico 
desert at White Sands Missile Range, the New York Times reported. 
Dr. Christopher C. Kraft, JSC director, who recently watched the training 
at White Sands, said that the latter installation might eventually become 
a space port for launch and recovery of the shuttle. The pilots were to 
test an actual space shuttle — the Enterprise, unveiled this fall by Rock- 
well Intl. — some time next year; the first vertical launch of the shuttle 
had been scheduled for 1977 from KSC at Cape Canaveral, Fla. {NYT, 
19 Dec 76, 41) 

19 December: Three satellites making simultaneous investigations of earth's 

magnetic field had confirmed that long low-frequency waves spreading 
the disruptive effects of magnetic storms on earth had been generated far 
out in space by energetic particles from the sun, NOAA announced. 
Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in 
San Francisco, Calif., earlier in Dec, Dr. Joseph N. Barfield of NOAA, R.L. 
McPherron of UCLA, and W.J. Hughes of London's Imperial College 
reported the waves might have practical uses in exploring for oil and 
minerals, and in aiding undersea communication with submarines, which 
now had to surface to make contact. Environmental satellites Sms 1 and 
Sms 2 , with research satellite Ats 6, in geosynchronous orbit on a line 
along the earth's equator, had carried magnetometers used to detect the 
low-frequency waves passing each satellite in a predicted order, the first 
use of multiple spacecraft to make such measurements simultaneously. 
Confirmation of the theory also identified the point of origin as the 
magnetosphere and the existence of a "resonance region" that amplified 
the wave frequency. The region was described as about 1200 km thick. 
(NOAA Release 76-281) 

20 December: MSFC announced opening of a new solar heating and cooling 

test facility, part of a nationwide demonstration program conducted by 
ERDA, to evaluate solar-powered systems and components and determine 
their efficiency and suitability for residential and commercial applica- 
tions. Systems tested would mainly be those built by commercial manu- 
facturers, but would include experimental systems provided by ERDA and 

301 



December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

NASA. The facility occupied an area formerly used for testing in the 
Saturn program, and data-acquisition equipment used in that program 
would be used in the new facility to collect and store information on the 
effectiveness of the units under test. The site could accommodate 511m"" 
of solar collectors at one time. The facility could test air and liquid 
units for airconditioning (up to 10 tons) or heating (systems up to 
500 000 Btu); it included a test bed for evaluating efficiency of tanks to 
store heat collected by the systems for use when there was no sunlight. 
Systems meeting the criteria for operation, maintenance, and perform- 
ance would be installed in buildings throughout the country for trial use. 
(NASA Release 76-211) 

21 December: The Dept. of Defense had reported McDonnell Douglas as the 
largest U.S. defense contractor for the year ended 30 June, replacing 
Lockheed Aircraft Co., the Wall Street Journal announced. The leader, 
which had been fourth on the list in FY 1975, had obtained contracts 
valued at $2.46 billion (5.9% of all defense contracts of more than 
$10 000 awarded during FY 1976). Lockheed, which had been the 
leader for 6 of the previous 7 yr, received contracts in FY 1976 valued 
at $1.51 billion (3.6% of the total). Third was Northrop Corp. with 
$1.48 billion (3.5%); fourth was General Electric Co., $1.35 billion 
(3.2%). Others of the ten largest were United Technologies Corp., 
$1.23 billion (2.9%); Boeing Co., $1.18 billion (2.8%); General Dynam- 
ics Corp., $1.07 billion (2.6%); Grumman Corp., $982 million (2.3%); 
Litton Industries, Inc., $978 million (2.3%); and Rockwell Intl. Corp., 
$966 million (2.3%). (WSJ, 21 Dec 76, 11; DOD Release 585-76) 

• The Natl. Science Foundation announced that U.S. and Canadian astrono- 
mers had succeeded in using telescopes more than 800 km apart, linked 
by satellite, to simulate a telescope nearly as large as the earth. A radio 
telescope at the Natl. Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, 
W. Va., had been linked through a joint U.S. -Canadian satellite to a radio 
telescope at the Algonquin Radio Observatory in Ontario, allowing the 
observers to review the results while the observations were in process. 
The technique would permit astronomers to measure the size and shape 
of a distant galaxy or quasar with a precision better than 1/1 000 arcsec, 
equivalent to measuring the size and shape of a penny more than 
4000 km distant. The satellite would transmit information at a rate 
equivalent to 10 000 simultaneous telephone calls; the large data rate 
would increase the sensitivity of measurements, allowing the study of 
very faint objects in space. Besides the principal investigator, Dr. George 
W. Swenson, Jr. of the Univ. of 111., the team included S.H. Knowles and 
W.B. Walton of NRL; N.W. Broten and D.N. Fort of Canada's Natl. Re- 
search Council; K.I. Kellermann and Benno Rayhrer of NRAO; and 
J.L. Yen of the Univ. of Toronto. (NSF Release PR76-106) 
• ESA announced that its council meeting in Paris 16 and 17 Dec. had 
approved a new program, Earthnet, in which ESA would centralize and 
coordinate European activities in reception, processing, distribution, and 
archiving of earth-resources satellite data. Earthnet would give Euro- 
pean users access to data from NASA programs such as Landsat, Seasat, 



302 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

Nimbus-G, and the Heat Capacity Mapping Mission, to provide a basis 
for defining European requirements for future remote-sensing satellite 
programs. Earthnet would be integrated into existing data-reception and 
processing facilities at Fucino, Italy, and would use ESA's computerized 
data center at Frascati, Italy, with an information-retrieval network 
RECON to disseminate information on the data available. (ESA release 
21 Dec 76) 

22 December: Rockwell International — prime contractor for NASA's Space 

Shuttle — announced that it had purchased more than $18 million of 
goods and services from minority businesses throughout the U.S. in 1976, 
a 58% increase over 1975. Rockwell had been cited by the Black 
Businessmen's Assn. of Los Angeles for its participation in "Black Eco- 
nomic Development," and by the Natl. Assn. of Black Manufacturers for 
its contributions to industry development. Kenneth B. Gay, Rockwell 
vice president for purchasing, said that "qualified minority businesses in 
the more technical areas" had been hard to find in the past, but there 
were "many highly skilled, competent small companies competing ag- 
gressively for our business" at present. The more than 500 minority 
firms supplying Rockwell received about $5 million for machining and 
specialty fabrication; more than $2 million for metal structures; another 
$2 million each for raw materials and supplies and for technical services; 
and more than $1 million each for electrical equipment and for mainte- 
nance and repair services. (Rockwell Release R-46) 
• An unmanned Soviet spacecraft that returned to the earth 1 7 Dec. in Soviet 
Asia after 18 days in orbit might have been the test vehicle of a new 
Soyuz designed to carry three cosmonauts into space, instead of the two 
that have flown on the 13 Soyuz missions during the past 5 yr. Thomas 
O'Toole, reporting in the Washington Post, pointed out that the Cosmos 
869 had flown the same pattern followed by all Soviet manned space 
flights, and noted that the USSR had long followed the practice of dis- 
guising unmanned test flights of Soyuz spacecraft by using the gener- 
alized Cosmos designation. At least four unmanned Soyuz vehicles had 
flown under the name of Cosmos during the past 4 yr, the article said. 
The USSR had not attempted a three-man flight since 1971, when the 
three crewmen of Soyuz 11 suffocated on their return to earth; the crew 
could have survived had they worn space suits, but the vehicle being used 
had no room for three men in space suits. Officials said then that the 
spacecraft would be modified to accommodate three-member crews in 
space suits, and Western observers predicted that the Inter-Soyuz flights 
scheduled to begin in 1978 with Russians and non-Russians together 
would use three cosmonauts again. (W Post, 22 Dec 76, A-2) 

23 December: Aircraft overflights by Wallops Flight Center, coordinated by 

LaRC at the request of NOAA, were helping the U.S. Coast Guard track an 
oil slick from a tanker grounded off Nantucket Island, NASA announced. 
Flights on 19 and 22 Dec. had obtained data from the ocean around the 
tanker to use in calculating the slick's trajectory; another flight had been 
scheduled for 24 Dec. Imagery from Landsat 2 was providing synoptic 
views of the spill area. NOAA would use the information to set up analytical 

303 



December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

models for determining potential environmental damage associated with 
offshore oil and gas production on the continental shelf. Brookhaven 
Natl. Laboratory, ERDA, had also requested the data for use in environ- 
mental studies. (WFC Release 76-17) 

• The U.S. Army awarded a contract to Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, Conn., 
for a new generation of combat assault helicopters — single-rotor craft 
driven by jet turbine engines, capable of carrying a three-man crew plus 
1 1 heavily armed soldiers — in a decision that would bring a total of 
$3.4 billion including development and other costs to the depressed area 
economy over the next 10 yr, the New York Times reported. State 
officials said the contract could produce up to 17 000 new jobs and called 
it "the perfect Christmas present." Sikorsky officials said the contract 
would bring it $2 billion directly and $1.4 billion more to subcontractors 
in 35 states. Also competing for the contract was the Vertol division of 
Boeing Corp., in Morton, Pa. (NYT, 24 Dec 76, A-l) 

24 December: The first group of future cosmonauts from socialist countries 
had been welcomed at the USSR training center named for Yuri Gagarin, 
Maj. Gen. Georgy Beregovoy, director of the center, told a correspond- 
ent for the Tass news agency. The joint flights with Soviet cosmonauts 
would include representatives from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the 
German Democratic Republic (the first three groups to arrive), Bulgaria, 
Hungary, Cuba, Mongolia, and Romania, and the joint flights were 
scheduled for 1978 to 1983. Beregovoy said the socialist countries had 
been cooperating for the past decade on the Intercosmos program, 
launching satellites and meteorological rockets and more than 20 experi- 
ments in various branches of science. He also mentioned the Apollo- 
Soyuz flight as a successful example of international cooperation in 
space. (FBIS, Tass in English, 24 Dec 76) 

30 December: The Dept. of Transportation announced that the Federal 

Aviation Administration had awarded a $125 363 contract to York 
Univ., Ontario, Canada, for a program to measure ozone and the oxides 
of nitrogen present in all aircraft-engine emissions in the stratosphere. 
The program, to begin in the spring of 1977 in cooperation with NOAA's 
Aeronomy Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., would use detection instruments 
lifted by balloons to an altitude of more than 35 km for the first simulta- 
neous measurement of three types of nitrogen oxides and ozone; deter- 
mining the high-altitude level of nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and 
dinitrogen pentoxide would be an important step in finding the role of 
these oxides in maintaining the ozone balance. The contract would sup- 
port the High Altitude Pollution Program, started in 1975 as part of 
DOT's Climatic Impact Assessment Program; York Univ., which par- 
ticipated in CIAP, had in 1972 provided the first data on the stratospheric 
density of nitric oxide under the direction of Prof. Harold Schiff, a 
pioneer in the field. (DOT Release 76-122) 

31 December: Clocks around the world would be set back one second this New 

Year's Eve, because the earth's spin was that much longer in 1976 than 
it was last year. The backward move would be the sixth in the last 5 yr 
because of a slowing in the earth's spin, the Washington Post explained; 



304 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 December 

the changes were made twice in 1972 and once in each of the last 4 yr, 
each time on New Year's Eve. The standard U.S. timepiece (at the Natl. 
Bureau of Standards Laboratory at Boulder, Colo.) would be reset at 
midnight GMT (7 pm in Washington, D.C.), and similar atomic clocks 
would be reset at the same moment in more than 80 countries including 
the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China. The earth's spin had 
been slowing for at least 250 yr, when it was first noticed, except for a 
10-yr period before 1900 when the rotation speeded up by 25 sec. In 
1878, Simon Newcomb, then chief astronomer at the Naval Obser- 
vatory, first systematically observed a fluctuation in the rate of rotation, 
which still is verified by 80 observatories around the world who send their 
findings to the Intl. Time Bureau in Paris, established in 1972 (the year 
the clocks lost 2 sec). Scientists attributed the slowdown to the moon's 
pull on the tides, braking the motion of the earth's mantle. (W Post, 
31 Dec 76, A2) 
During December: The Air Force Systems Command announced that former 
astronaut Maj. Gen. Michael Collins had been appointed mobilization 
assistant to the AFSC commander. The position was the top Air Force 
Reserve post in AFSC. Collins, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as 
a reserve major general 10 Mar. 1976, would continue to serve as 
director of the National Air and Space Museum. (AFSC Newsreview, 
Dec 76, 10) 

• Images from Landsat had reinforced the theory that mankind had created 

his own deserts through overgrazing of livestock, according to Joseph 
Otterman, a Landsat data user at Tel Aviv University. Satellite and other 
data had shown that overgrazed land on one side of the fence along the 
Israel-Egypt armistice line consistently measured several degrees cooler 
than the other side; the denuded land, reflecting more sunshine, retained 
less heat than vegetated land. The warmer land heated the overlying air, 
causing it to rise, form clouds, and rain; lack of this "heat mountain" 
effect over the denuded land encouraged formation of deserts. (CSM, 
15 Dec 76) 

• Further press comment on Soviet "hunter-killer" satellites appeared in the 

Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and New York Times, prompted 
by reports of the piggyback launch of Cosmos 881 and 882 on 15 Dec. 
Columnist Nicholas von Hoffman noted Pentagon denials that the USSR 
had used laser beams to destroy an American satellite and claims that the 
Soviets had been practicing knockouts only on their own targets; but the 
physical safety of the U.S. was "more in jeopardy now than ever," he 
concluded, adding that "of course, we'll put our money into aggressive 
basic research efforts to stop the Russian hunter-killer satellites." 
Thomas O'Toole in the Washington Post described the launch and 
recovery of two Soviet satellites said by intelligence experts to be larger, 
newer versions of the hunter-killer craft, flown into orbit and back to base 
after circling the earth once, a move the experts said was to prevent 
China's tracking the craft by radar. O'Toole said the Soviets were 
believed to have carried out 16 experiments in the past 9 yr in which 
unmanned spacecraft followed target satellites into space and blew them- 

305 



December ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 

selves up to remove the targets from orbit; these tests stopped in 1971, 
but resumed in Feb. 1976 after the launches of China 5 and China 6. 
The two Soviet spacecraft followed an unusual flight path, similar to 
those taken by manned Soyuz satellites, and were also unusual in re- 
turning to earth after so brief a flight. The New York Times reported the 
launch on 27 Dec. of Cosmos 886, which "apparently attempted to 
intercept" Cosmos 880, launched 9 Dec. "The hunter satellite never 
came closer than one mile to its target . . . and finally disintegrated on 
its third orbit," the NYT noted, adding that Cosmos 880 was still in orbit. 
The NYT story went on to describe the Cosmos 881 and 882 launch, "at 
first thought to have been such a test," as actually connected with the 
manned space program. No effort had been made to interfere with U.S. 
space vehicles, and the 27 Dec. launch — the USSR's fourth test of a 
satellite interceptor this year — had been classified as a failure by intel- 
ligence sources, the NYTsaid. (C Trib, 4 Dec 76, 1-7; W Post, 18 Dec 
76, A-l; NYT, 31 Dec 76, A6) 
• "One of the environmental disasters of the century" was the appearance 
of water hyacinth in the Sudan's Nile river basin, reported an inter- 
national conference of scientists representing the U.S., the Democratic 
Republic of the Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Federal Republic of Ger- 
many, Indonesia, and Mozambique, after a meeting sponsored by the 
Natl. Academy of Science's Board on Science and Technology for Inter- 
national Development, and by the Sudan Agricultural Research Council. 
Besides choking watercourses and interfering with fishing and naviga- 
tion, water hyacinth flourishing in warm river waters around the world 
had proved to harbor carriers of bilharzia and malaria. Measures sug- 
gested for control included herbicides, biological intervention, exchange 
of information and trade restrictions, and stimulation of economic incen- 
tive to harvest the plants. The report cited a NASA discovery that water 
hyacinth was a possible source of biogas production, and recommended 
harvesting to exploit this resource as well as using the plant for water- 
buffalo fodder. (NAS News Report, Dec 76, 2) 



306 



Appendix A 



SATELLITES, SPACE PROBES, AND 
MANNED SPACE FLIGHTS, 1976 

World space activity increased only slightly in 1976; total launches, 
128, increased from 125 in 1975. Of this total, the U.S. had 26 plus one 
space probe, described in the introduction to Appendix B. The USSR had 
99 launches with 121 payloads, 79 of these in the Cosmos series; the 101 
Cosmos payloads included such specialized spacecraft as 8 navigation 
satellites (Cosmos 789, 800, 823, 842, 846, 864, 883, and 887) , and 
the ocean-reconnaissance satellites Cosmos 860 and 861 working as a 
team. The Soviets also launched 7 spacecraft in the Molniya comsat 
series, 3 in the Meteor series, 2 Intercosmos spacecraft carrying experi- 
ments from other countries, a moon probe (Luna 24) that returned a 
surface sample to earth, the magnetospheric investigator Prognoz 5, 2 
additional geostationary domestic color-TV satellites (Statsionar IB and 
1C), and 3 manned Soyuz spacecraft, as well as another orbiting space 
station (Salyut 5). 

The number and variety of launches by other countries decreased 
sharply to a total of 3. In Feb., Japan launched Ume, an ionosphere- 
sounding satellite, using its N rocket for the second time. The Peoples 
Republic of China in Aug. launched its sixth satellite, still in orbit; in 
Dec, it launched China 7, which reentered in Jan. 77. 

Sources of these data include the United Nations Public Registry of 
Space Flights; the Satellite Situation Report compiled by Goddard 
Space Flight Center's Operations Control Center; and press releases of 
NASA, Department of Defense, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad- 
ministration, and other government agencies, as well as the Commu- 
nications Satellite Corporation. Soviet data derive from statements in the 
Soviet press, translations from the Tass news agency, international news- 
service reports, and announcements and briefings by Soviet officials. 
Data on satellites of other nations also come from the announcements of 
their respective governments and international news services. 



307 



Appendix A 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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310 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 





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312 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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313 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 Appendix A 

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315 



Appendix A 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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316 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



Appendix A 



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317 



Appendix A 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



- B E 



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318 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



Appendix A 



■7. 



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319 



Appendix A 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



J 5 S 



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320 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



Appendix A 



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321 



Appendix A 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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322 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



Appendix A 






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323 



Appendix A 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



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324 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 



Appendix A 



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325 



Appendix A 



ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS, 1976 






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