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Extra info for Chariots for Apollo: The NASA History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft to 1969
But Kennedy was deeply 55 interested in space. Before his inauguration, he had appointed an ad hoc committee, headed by Jerome B. Wiesner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to review the entire missile and space effort. 61 Because Wiesner had joined in the “missile gap” rhetoric during the November presidential campaign, his committee’s report the following January was suspect in some quarters. Nevertheless, it spurred NASA’s civil service workers to prove it wrong. The Wiesner report also touched off a debate on the choice of a new leader for the space agency.
23 FOCUSING THE AIM The Goett Committee did only what it was set up to do—study possible options and suggest objectives that NASA might pursue—but its findings did focus attention on manned circumlunar flight. Well before the committee discontinued its meetings, small groups at nearly all of the field centers had taken the initiative and started research toward that goal. For example, during the summer of 1959, Gilruth formed a New Projects Panel within the Space Task Group under H. g Meeting twice in August, the panel members identified a number of areas for research and recommended that work begin immediately on an advanced manned capsule, a second-generation spacecraft crewed by three men and capable of reentering the atmosphere at speeds nearly as great as those needed to escape the earth’s gravitational pull.
50 48 The industry conferences and the awarding of the feasibility contracts attracted the attention of the White House staff. George B. Kistiakowsky, Eisenhower’s special assistant for science and technology, assigned Donald F. j This Group would investigate both NASA’s activities thus far and its goals, missions, and costs in the foreseeable future. ” Obviously, the report continued, “any of the routes to land a man on the moon [will] require a development much more ambitious than the present Saturn program,” calling not only for larger boosters but for lunar landing and takeoff stages as well.