|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1958 - Quarter 1|
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Cooke AFB (with major operational and training units) transferred from Air Research and Development Command to Strategic Air Command. Launch facility construction as well as research and development activities at Cooke AFB were the responsibility of the A References: 88 .
In 1958-1959 Makeyev designed and built the first mock-up of a new design missile to rectify the shortcomings of the R-11. The R-17 would later become infamous around the world as the 'Scud-B'. The decision was made to devote the Makeyev bureau to sea-launched missiles, and in 1959 the program was transferred to Votkinsk Machine Building Plant.
Hyperion was considered as a ca. 1970 Saturn follow-on. Hyperion would have doubled the translunar trajectory performance of the Saturn V at less than one third of the liftoff mass.
The Von Braun team's Super-Jupiter evolved into the Juno V. The 4 E-1 engines were abandoned in favor of clustering 8 Jupiter IRBM engines below existing Redstone/Jupiter tankage.
In testimony before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden and DeMarquis D. Wyatt, Assistant to the Director of Space Flight Development, described the long-range objectives of the agency's space program: a multimanned orbiting space station; a permanent manned orbiting laboratory; unmanned lunar probes; and manned lunar orbital, lunar-landing, and-ultimately-interplanetary flight.
On the basis of the immense delta-winged M-50 bomber Myasishchev proposed the RSS-52 aerospace vehicle. The M-50 derivative would enter a circuit 1,000 km from base, accelerate to supersonic speed, and then launch the M-44. The M-44 would accelerate to hypersonic velocity, conduct a high speed run of an overwater circuit, and then splash down in the sea. In the United States, the X-15 was being developed to answer analogous questions. However due to the expense and technical problems, Myasishchev was unable to convince the leadership to approve the RSS-52.
In 1958 H. Kurt Strass and Caldwell C. Johnson of NASA's Space Task Group at Langley Field, Virginia.sketched a spacecraft design concept for a two-man orbiting laboratory to be launched by an Atlas-Vega booster. This was one of the earliest sketches of a two-crew Mercury follow-on. The Vega stage was dropped in favour of the Agena a year later, and a similar one-crew Mercury-Agena space station was proposed by McDonnell some years later.
In 1958, the year after Sputnik 1, Krafft Ehricke, then with General Dynamics' Convair Division, designed a four-man space station known as Outpost. Ehricke proposed that the Atlas ICBM being developed by Convair could be adapted as the station's basic structure. The Atlas, 3 m in diameter and 22.8 m long, was America's largest rocket at the time.
The Navy space proposal to the Advanced Research Projects Agency, during the tenure of that organization's interim surveillance over national space projects, was known as Project Mer. This plan involved sending a man into orbit in a collapsible pneumatic glider. The glider and its occupant would be launched in the nose of a giant launch vehicle. After the glider had been placed in orbit, it would be inflated, and then flown down to a water landing. References: 483 .
Russian hands over two R-2 missiles and technical drawings. Further 12 ordered. References: 87 .
Phase One would take an experimental vehicle up to 6,000 to 7,000 km/hour at altitudes of 80 to 100 km. In this phase the vehicle would remain controllable using aerodynamic surfaces. Phase Two would take the vehicle to Mach 10, and 100 to 150 km altitude. This would require solving problems of control at hypersonic speeds, reaction control of the vehicle outside of the atmosphere, re-entry, and landing.
Strategic Air Command assigned responsibility for U.S. operational ICBM capability; while the 672nd Strategic Missile Squadron, first to be equipped with USAF Douglas Thor IRBM, was activated. References: 17 .
The U.S. Army Map Service studied methods of mapping the moon. This effort evolved into Project LAMP Lunar Analysis and Mapping Program) in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey. By spring 1960, the first maps were in preparation. Additional Details: US Army Map Service studied methods of mapping the moon. References: 16 .
Decree 'On adding of space work to Plant No. 1 (later Progress Plant) at Kuibyshev' was issued. References: 474 .
The American Rocket Society and the Rocket and Satellite Research Panel issued a summary of their proposals for a National Space Establishment. The consensus was that the new agency should be independent of the Department of Defense and not, in any event, under one of the military services. References: 483 .
A successful limited flight was made by the fourth Atlas fired from Cape Canaveral.
President Eisenhower, answering a December 10, 1957, letter from Soviet Premier Nikolai A. Bulganin regarding a summit conference on disarmament, proposed that Russia and the United States '. . . agree that outer space should be used for peaceful purposes.' This proposal was compared dedicate atomic energy to peaceful uses, an offer which The Soviets rejected. References: 483 .
NACA established a Special Committee on Space Technology to study the problems of space flight. H. Guyford Stever of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was named Chairman. On November 21, 1957, NACA had authorized formation of the Committee. References: 16 .
Successfully fired at 2024 hours EST from AMR. The flight was successful in that all missions were accomplished.. The missile followed its predicted trajectory closely. Impact was 370 meters over and 86 meters to the tight of the predicted impact point, a radial miss distance of 380 meters. This wee the fifth complete flight test of warhead and fuse system. Missed aimpoint by 286 m. References: 439 .
The Air Force received 11 unsolicited industry proposals for Project 7969, and technical evaluation was started. Observers from NACA participated. References: 26 .
4751st Air Defense Missile Wing to develop and conduct training program for Bomarc units, and the 864th Strategic Missile Squadron to be equipped with Jupiter IRBM, were both activated. References: 17 .
Paul E. Purser and Maxime A. Faget conceived of a solid-fuel launch vehicle design for the research and development phase of a manned satellite vehicle project. This launch vehicle was later designated Little Joe. When Project Mecury began in October 1958, the purposeof the Little Joe phase was to propel a full-scale, full-weight developmental version of the manned spacecraft to some of the flight conditions that would be encountered during exit from the atmosphere on an orbital mission. Also, Little Joe tests were used to perfect the escape maneuver in the event of an aborted mission. References: 483 .
First launch of Navy Polaris test vehicle at Cape Canaveral. References: 17 .
Thor IRBM successfully fired from Cape Canaveral, flew prescribed course, and impacted in preselected area. References: 17 .
A conference was held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to review concepts for manned orbital vehicles. The NACA informally presented two concepts then under study at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory: the one proposed by Maxime A. Faget involved a ballistic, high-drag capsule with heat shield on which the pilot lies prone during reentry, with reentry being accomplished by reverse thrust at the apogee of the elliptical orbit involving a deceleration load of about 8g, and proceeding to impact by a parachute landing; the other Langley proposal called for the development of a triangular planform vehicle with a flat bottom having some lift during reentry. At this same meeting there were several Air Force contractor presentations. These were as follows: Northrop, boost-glide buildup to orbital speed; Martin, zero-lift vehicle launched by a Titan with controlled flight estimated to be possible by mid-1961; McDonnell, ballistic vehicle resembling Faget's proposal, weighing 2,400 pounds and launched by an Atlas with a Polaris second stage; Lockheed, a 20 degree semiapex angle cone with a hemispherical tip of 1-foot radius, pilot in sitting position facing rearward, to be launched by an Atlas-Hustler combination; Convair reviewed a previous proposal for a large-scale manned space station, but stated a minimum vehicle - a 1,000-pound sphere - could be launched by an Atlas within a year; Aeronutronics, cone-shaped vehicle with spherical tip of 1-foot radius, with man enclosed in sphere inside vehicle and rotated to line the pilot up with accelerations, and launched by one of several two-stage vehicles; Republic, the Ferri sled vehicle, a 4,000 pound, triangular plan with a two-foot diameter tube running continuous around the leading and trailing edge and serving as a fuel tank for final-stage, solid-propellant rockets located in each wing tip, with a man in small compartment on top side, and with a heat-transfer ring in the front of the nose for a glide reentry of 3,600 miles per hour with pilot ejecting from capsule and parachuting down, and the launch vehicle comprising three stages (also see July 31, 1958 entry); AVCO, a 1,500-pound vehicle sphere launched by a Titan, equipped with a stainless-steel-cloth parachute whose diameter would be controlled by compessed air bellows and which would orient the vehicle in orbit, provide deceleration for reentry, and control drag during reentry; Bell, reviewed proposals for boost-glide vehicles, but considered briefly a minimum vehicle, spherical in shape, weighing about 3,000 pounds; Goodyear, a spherical vehicle with a rearward facing tail cone and ablative surface, with flaps deflected from the cone during reentry for increased drag and control, and launched by an Atlas or a Titan plus a Vanguard second stage; North American, extend the X-15 program by using the X-15 with a three-stage launch vehicle to achieve a single orbit with an apogee of 400,000 feet and a perigee of 250,000, range about 500 to 600 miles and landing in the Gulf of Mexico, and the pilot ejecting and landing by parachute with the aircraft being lost. References: 483 .
Kazakh VS Decree 'On renaming town of Zarya to Leninsk at site 10 at Tyuratam' was issued. References: 474 .
Last test of the original R-7 8K71 test series. Suborbital launch test. References: 98 .
Lieutenant General Donald Putt, Air Force Director of Research and Development, sent a letter to Dr. Hugh Dryden, Director of NACA, inviting NACA participation in the Air Force effort in the manned ballistic rocket program. Dr. Dryden informed the Air Force that NACA was preparing manned spacecraft designs for submission in March 1958. References: 483 .
Explorer I, the first U.S. earth satellite, was launched by a modified Army Ballistic Missile Agency Jupiter-C. Explorer I, developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, carried the U.S.-IGY (International Geophysical Year) experiment of James A. Van Allen and resulted in the discovery of the radiation belt around the earth. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Soviet Premier Nikolai A. Bulganin in a letter to President Eisenhower stated that the Soviet Union "is ready to examine also the question of the intercontinental rockets if the Western powers are willing to reach agreement to ban atomic and hydrogen weapons, to end tests thereof, and to liquidate foreign military bases in other nations' territories. In that case, an agreement on the use of outer space for peaceful purposes only would unquestionably meet no difficulties." References: 17 .
The Senate passed a resolution (S Res 256) creating a special Committee on Space and Astronautics to frame legislation for a national program for space exploration. References: 483 .
To further the national space effort pending a decision as to permanent organization, the Secretary of Defense created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), an organization under consideration since November 15, 1957.. ARPA was authorized to direct or perform advanced projects in the field of research and development. It was also empowered to deal directly with operational elements on all aspects of ARPA projects; for example, to bypass the Army Staff and the Chief of Ordnance in dealing with the Army Ballistic Missile Agency on what was to be the Saturn project. Roy W. Johnson was named ARPA Director. ARPA was to be a centralized group capable of handling direction of both outer space and antimissile-missile projects, whose duties in the space field were to bridge the gap until Congress could consider legislative proposals for the establishment of a National Space Agency. References: 16 .
Ionosphere research. Launched at 1151 local time. Reached 120.4 km.
A greatly expanded NACA program of space flight research was proposed in a paper, "A Program for Expansion of NACA Research in Space Flight Technology," written principally by senior engineers of the Lewis Aeronautical Laboratory under the leadership of Abe Silverstein. The goal of the program would be "to provide basic research in support of the development of manned satellites and the travel of man to the moon and nearby planets." The cost of the program was estimated at $241 million per year above the current NACA budget. References: 16 .
Successfully fired at 1954 hours EST from AMR. The flight was successful in that all missions were accomplished, with the exception of the Hardtack adaptation kit mission. Impact was 258 meters over and 172 meters to the left of the predicted impact point, a radial miss distance of 310 meters. The primary objectives of the test were to test the warhead and fuse system and the guidance system. Missed aimpoint by 310 m. References: 439 .
The Special Committee on Space Technology, established by NACA on November 21, 1957, to study and delineate problem areas that must be resolved to make space flight a practical reality and to consider recommended means for attacking these problems, met for the first time. At the meeting the new committee established seven working groups: (1) objectives, (2) vehicular program, (3) reentry, (4) range, launch, and tracking facilities, (5) instrumentation, (6) space surveillance, and (7) human factors and training. The objectives group was to draft a complete national program for space research. Other than this specific assignment, the remainder of the meeting was largely devoted to organizing the working groups. These groups were to present their first reports at the next meeting. References: 483 .
19,861 acres of South Camp Cooke transferred from the Army to the Navy on interim permit basis (actual transfer on 27 May). References: 88 .
A report entitled, 'Basic Objectives of a Continuing Program of Scientific Research in Outer Space,' was presented by the IGY Committee. The committee was of the opinion that the need for space research would be required far past the close of the IGY in December 1958. References: 483 .
The name of the NACA Committee on Aerodynamics was changed to Committee on Aircraft, Missile, and Spacecraft Aerodynamics to indicate clearly the committee's cognizance over problems applicable to spacecraft and missiles as well as aircraft. The Aerodynamics Committee had been studying spacecraft research problems for the past 6 years. References: 483 .
U.S.S.R. fired a single-stage rocket to 294-mile altitude with 3,340 pounds of experiments for measuring ion composition of the atmosphere, pressure, temperature, micrometeorites, etc., according to the Soviet IGY Committee. References: 17 .
Successfully fired at 1459 hours EST from the AMR. The flight was successful in that all missions were accomplished. Impact was 461 meters over end 64 meters to the left of the predicted impact point, a radial miss distance of 466 meters. Missed aimpoint by 245 m. References: 439 .
Experience with the X-15 design indicated that many of the weight figures advanced by the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory for the drag or lift configurations of the reentry vehicle (later to become the Mercury spacecraft) were too low, according to Walter C. Williams, Chief of the NACA High-Speed Flight Station. Weights of auxiliary-power fuel, research instrumentation, and cockpit equipment as set by Langley were too low in terms of X-15 experience. Williams stated the total weight should be 2,300 pounds for the drag configuration and 2,500 pounds for the lifting configuration. References: 483 .
At the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, a working committee studied various manned satellite development plans and concluded that a ballistic-entry vehicle launched with an existing intercontinental ballistic missile propulsion system could be utilized fpr the first manned satellite project. References: 483 .
Robert R. Gilruth, Clotaire Wood, and Hartley A. Soule of NACA transmitted a document to the Air Research and Development Command, which listed the design concepts NACA believed should be followed to achieve manned orbital flights at the earliest possible date. These were: (1) design and develop a simple ballistic vehicle, (2) use existing intercontinental ballistic missile propulsion systems, and (3) use the heat sink method for reentry from orbital conditions. References: 483 .
The Joint Navy-Air Force (Burke-White) Agreement was completed. This agreement defined the areas of responsibility between the projected Pacific Missile Range and Cooke Air Force Base. References: 88 .
President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the recommendations of his Advisory Committee on Government Organization that the "leadership of the civil space effort be lodged in a strengthened and redesignated National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," and that legislation be enacted to "give NACA the authority and flexibility" to carry out its expanded responsibilities. References: 16 .
Ministry of Aviation Industry (MAP) Decree 293-140 'On subordinating GSNII-642 to OKB-52' was issued. On the same day Chelomei hired Nikita Khrushchev's son, Sergei, to work as an engineer in his design bureau. This gave Chelomei sudden and immediate access to the highest possible patron in the hierarchy. He was rewarded with his own design bureau, OKB-52, in 1959. This would lead to Chelomei being a key figure in the Soviet space program, even after Khruschev's ouster in 1964. References: 474 .
A working conference in support of the Air Force 'Man-in-Space Soonest' (MISS) was held at the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division in Los Angeles, California. General Bernard Schriever, opening the conference, stated that events were moving faster than expected. By this statement he meant that Roy Johnson, the new head of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, had asked the Air Force to report to him on its approach to putting a man in space soonest. Johnson indicated that the Air Force would be assigned the task, and the purpose of the conference was to produce a rough-draft proposal. At that time the Air Force concept consisted of three stages: a high-drag, no-lift, blunt-shaped spacecraft to get man in space soonest, with landing to be accomplished by a parachute; a more sophisticated approach by possibly employing a lifting vehicle or one with a modified drag; and a long-range program that might end in a space station or a trip to the moon. References: 483 .
Reports were made on recoverable manned satellite configurations being considered by NACA. One involved a blunt, high-drag, zero-lift vehicle that would depend on a parachute landing for final deceleration. Another was a winged vehicle that would glide to a landing after reentering the atmosphere. The third proposal involved features of each of the above. Besides the configuration studies, significant reports were completed relative to motion and heating, stabilization, and attitude control. References: 483 .
At that time, NACA was already actively engaged in research and study of several phases. For example, in the basic studies category effort had been expended on the study of orbits and orbit control, space physical characteristics, configuration studies, propulsion system research, human factors, structures and materials, satellite instrumentation, range requirements, and noise and vibration during reentry and exit. In addition, NACA outlined the complete program covering full-scale studies of mockups, simulators, and detail designs; full-scale vertical and orbiting flights involving unmanned, animal, and manned flights and recovery; and exploitation of the program to increase the payloads. As to the design concepts for such a program, NACA believed that the Atlas launch vehicle was adequate to meet launch-vehicle requirements for manned orbital flights; that retrograde and vernier controllable thrust could be used for orbital control; that heat-sink or lighter material could be used against reentry heating; that guidance should be ground programed with provisions for the pilot to make final adjustments; that recovery should be accomplished at sea with parachutes used for letdown; that a network of radar stations should be established to furnish continuous tracking; and that launchings be made from Cape Canaveral. It was estimated that with a simple ballistic shape accelerations would be within tolerable limits for the pilot. Temperature control, oxygen supply, noise, and vibration were considered engineering development problems, which could be solved without any special breakthroughs. References: 483 .
The NACA Special Committee on Space Technology held its second meeting at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, and preliminary reports were presented by the committee working groups on objectives and vehicular programs. The committee as a whole was briefed on the work that had been accomplished by the former NACA Committee on Aerodynamics over the past 6 years. It was stated that between 1952 and 1956, approximately 10 percent of NACA's research efforts were applicable directly or indirectly to astronautics. In 1957, the percentage of space flight research rose to 23; and at the time of the meeting, 30 percent of the aerodynamic effort and 20 percent of propulsion research was applicable to astronautics problems. The committee also heard special papers on research being conducted in fluid mechanics, satellite studies, spacecraft design proposals, boost-glide and hypersonic vehicle studies, and missiles. References: 483 .
An 'NACA Conference on High-Speed Aerodynamics' was held at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Moffett Field, California, to acquaint the military services and industrial contractors interested in aerospace projects with the results of recent research conducted by the NACA laboratories on the subject of space flight. The conference was attended by more than 500 representatives from the NACA, industry, the military services, and other appropriate government agencies. Some 46 technical papers were presented by NACA personnel, and included specific proposals for manned space flight vehicle projects. One of these was presented by Maxime A. Faget. Other papers within the category of manned orbital satellites included: 'Preliminary Studies of Manned Satellites, Wingless Configuration, Lifting Body' by Thomas J. Wong and others; 'Preliminary Studies of Manned Satellites, Winged Configurations' by John V. Becker; 'Preliminary Aerodynamic Data Pertinent to Manned Satellite Reentry Configurations' by Jim A. Penland and William O. Armstrong; and 'Structural Design Considerations for Boost-Glide and Orbital Reentry Vehicles' by William A. Brooks and others. References: 483 .
An NACA report was published entitled, 'Preliminary Studies of Manned Satellites, Wingless Configuration, Non-Lifting,' by Maxime A. Faget, Benjamine Garland, and James J. Buglia. Later this document became the basic working paper for the Project Mercury development program, and was reissued as NASA Technical Note D-1254, March 1962. References: 483 .
Decree 'On creation of Branch No. 1 of OKB-456' was issued. References: 474 .
Decree 'On work on automated lunar probes and three-stage launch vehicles for them' was issued. References: 474 .
Objective was limited to test of operation of first stage boosters. The second stage was a mass model (the tanks were filled with sand). The flight was planned to last 96 seconds. The flight continued only to T+63 seconds. Severe vibrations were encountered and the missile was unstable in flight. At T+60 seconds, the autopilot put the missile into a dive.
State Committee for Defence Technology (GKOT) Decree 'On the Creation of the Burya Winged Missile--course of work on 40 Burya' was issued. References: 474 .
President Eisenhower gave his approval to the plans for outer space exploration announced by Secretary of Defense Neil H. McElroy. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was to undertake several space projects including the launching of certain earth satellites and five space probes as a part of this country's contribution to the IGY program. The Air Force Ballistic Missile Division was authorized by ARPA to carry out three lunar probes with a Thor-Vanguard system, and lunar probes utilizing the Jupiter-C rocket were assigned to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. References: 17 .
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