By Alwyn T. Lloyd
Element & Scale Vol.10: B-29 Superfortress (Part 1)
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Extra resources for B-29 Superfortress in Detail and Scale
Interestingly, John Houbolt was not appointed to any of the liaison groups. On the first Industry-NASA Apollo Technical Conference, see the Wall Street Journal, 18 July 1961. Among the many valuable papers given by Langley's John Becker to the Archives of Aerospace Exploration at Virginia Tech, there is his file on the Lunar Mission Steering Group. On the file's cover, Becker provides a brief written introduction to the file's contents. Inside the file there is a copy of the Apollo Technical Liaison Plan, with handwritten notes by Becker.
He surprised them with this shocking announcement at the end of a day-long briefing presented to Joe Shea at Marshall on 7 June 1962: We at the Marshall Space Flight Center readily admit that when first exposed to the proposal of the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Mode we were a bit skeptical—particularly of the aspect of having the astronauts execute a complicated rendezvous maneuver at a distance of 240,000 miles from the earth where any rescue possibility appeared remote. In the meantime, however, we have spent a great deal of time and effort studying the four modes [Earth-orbit rendezvous, LOR, and two Direct Ascent modes, one involving the Nova and the other a Saturn C—5], and we have come to the conclusion that this particular disadvantage is far outweighed by [its] advantages....
Mrazek, Marshall Space Flight Center, to John C. Houbolt, 16 May 1960, B10-6, LCF; Houbolt interview, 24 August 1989, p. 11. 32. John C. Houbolt, "Lunar Rendezvous," International Science and Technology 14 (February 1963): 63. There have been several attempts to clarify the detailed history of the genesis of LOR at Langley and Houbolt's role in it. The best efforts to date are Hacker and Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans, p. 1416, 60-68; John M. Logsdon, "The Choice of the Lunar Orbital Rendezvous Mode," Aerospace Historian (June 1971): 63-70; and Murray and Cox, Apollo: The Race to the Moon, chaps.