On April 1st, 1961 Fred Adler was asked to form a Space Systems Division within the Hughes Aircraft Company. At that time, only 4 years after the launch of Sputnik, several important events were taking place. As a result of a major loss in Hughes business resulting from the cancellation of the Air Force’s F-108 interceptor, the space race beckoned. Hughes was starting a contract from JPL to build a lunar lander called Surveyor. That program was to build up a cadre of Hughes space engineers and an organizational infrastructure that ultimately served as a basis for many future space programs at Hughes. The Air Force and CIA were initiating space programs to observe Soviet activities from space. Hughes would ultimately be a major player in those programs. Finally, a small team, led by Harold Rosen, was developing the first geostationary communication satellite called Syncom. Syncom was successfully launched in 1963 and in 1964 Syncom 3 transmitted television from the Tokyo Olympics to the USA. The successful demonstration of Syncom ended the controversy of which orbit was best for commercial communication satellites and launched a new industry which ultimately changed the world and also Hughes in a profound way. A new organization, Intelsat, was formed to provide international communication and Hughes provided their first satellite, Early Bird or Intelsat I in 1965. Many more were to follow.
Charles Richard Johnson (Dick) died peacefully at his home in El Segundo surrounded by his family on March 31, 2022 following a long illness. Dick was born on December 4, 1936 in Lewiston, Idaho to Lillian H. and Charles J. Johnson. His family moved several times around the country, but ended up back in Lewiston in 1949.
His lifelong interest in classical music started with his playing the clarinet and violin in the Lewiston High School band and orchestra. He also acquired a passion for fly fishing leading to numerous trips in future years around the west to the best fly fishing rivers in the country.
He also developed an interest in chemistry in high school and with a friend built a chemistry lab in a detached shed at his home. His superior performance on the chemistry achievement test was instrumental in his admission to Caltech and his future life in Southern California. Dick came to Caltech in 1955 and received a BS degree in applied chemistry in 1959 and a Masters Degree in mechanical engineering in 1960. The next year Dick was an exchange student for a year at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm Sweden, where he met his first wife, Gudrun. Returning to Los Angeles in 1961,
Dick joined Hughes Aircraft Company as a Member of the Technical Staff and married Gudrun in 1962. Dick had a varied and successful career in the Hughes Space and Communications Group (HSC) over the next 48 years. He started working as a systems engineer on studies and government satellite proposals. Dick went on to work as the systems engineering manager on several government programs. He was the program manager of both HS-350, a large classified communication satellite program, and the UHF Follow-On program. Dick served as manager of commercial new business programs at HSC for two years. He also was manager of the HS-601 programs division, which developed the highly successful 601 satellite bus used by commercial and government satellite programs. Before retirement in 1994 he was the manager of all HSC government new business. After a very brief retirement he came back to work in 1995 as a consultant offering technical support to numerous HSC/ Boeing programs, proposals, and several technical review teams until he fully retired in 2009.
Dick and Gudrun had an active family life during these years, raising three children, Karin, Erik, and Anders. They had numerous trips to Europe, especially Sweden, and visited many of Gudrun’s friends and family. They started their married life in Baldwin Hills, but moved to El Segundo in 1974 and lived here the remainder of their lives. Gudrun predeceased Dick, and he married Linda Yan in 2006. During this time Dick continued his interest in music as the president of the South Bay Community Concert Association for eight years. He spent many hours listening to CD’s from prospective performers to recommend artists to the board for upcoming concert seasons. Another of Dick’s avocations was cooking. Taught by his mother, he developed his skills and did a lot of cooking in his retirement years, Dick and Linda took several trips abroad including one to China to meet Linda’s family. They were both active in and sang in the choir of the United Methodist Church of El Segundo. Linda was devoted to Dick and attended him with great care in his declining years.
Dick is survived by his wife, Linda Yan Johnson, his brother, Bob Johnson, his three children, Karin Tan, Erik and Anders Johnson, and four grandchildren, Ginger and Serkan Tan and Steele and Kaylee Johnson.
Dick’s memorial service will be held on April 30th, 2022 at 2:00pm at the United Methodist Church of El Segundo, located at 540 Main Street. There will be a reception at the church following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, the United Methodist Church of El Segundo, or to a charity of your choice.
Paul Sengstock passed away on January 28, 2021 at age of 88, spending his final months in hospice care. He is survived by his wife Judy – his college sweetheart, three children, and five grandchildren. Paul attended Northwestern University where he earned his degree in Electrical Engineering and was in the Navy ROTC program. Following his Navy career, he was hired by Hughes Ground Systems and moved to California, settling in Torrance.
At Hughes Space and Communications, Paul was part of Dr. Harold Rosen’s team that built and launched the first commercial communications satellites (Syncom I and II) in 1963. His contributions included design development and support of Launch and Mission Operations. Paul subsequently worked on several commercial HS376 spin stabilized spacecraft that were launched on several different expendable launch vehicles and then the first space shuttle optimized spacecraft, Syncom IV.
Syncom IV was the brainchild of Alois Wittman and Dr. Harold Rosen who handpicked a small dedicated team to run the program led by Ron Swanson as program manager and Jerry Dutcher as system engineering manager. The system engineering team consisted of Chuck Rubin mechanical and Paul Sengstock for spacecraft electrical interfaces that worked closely with NASA and the different Hughes functional areas during the development phase. Syncom IV required development of its own propulsion to transfer from the Shuttle orbit (LEO) to Geosynchronous orbit. It was to be secured to the Shuttle’s payload bay using a reusable “cradle” adapter encircling the lower half of the spacecraft’s cylindrical drum. Deployment in orbit was to be implemented through a “Frisbee” ejection, clearing the payload bay with a small residual velocity and low spacecraft spin. Spacecraft on-board timers would autonomously command deployment of the S/C omni antenna to enable command and telemetry capability, spin up the spacecraft to about 30 rpm and fire the solid rocket motor to achieve the first transfer orbit. Electrical interfaces with the shuttle, the on-board S/C timer, launch, mission control and operations control centers were Paul’s primary responsibilities.
Syncom IV S/C was offered to the Navy as a lynch-pin for 5 years of world-wide communication service from 4 geosynchronous locations. Options were identified for 2 years of service extension and Navy could purchase the satellites after option exercised. The project was renamed LEASAT for Leased Service.
The Leasat contract provided Hughes an opportunity to expand its business from a spacecraft manufacturer to developing the system architecture and providing hardware for an entire worldwide communications system, including being a service provider. Hughes responsibilities included financing, launching, insuring, building the ground control network and operating the satellites for their lifetime in addition to spacecraft manufacture. Hughes Communications Inc (HCI) was formed as a subsidiary to Hughes Aircraft to provide ground stations and become the service provider to the Navy.
by Andy Ott
Jack Fisher, the key founder, architect and manager of this website (www.HughesSCGHeritage.com) capturing Hughes Space and Communications Group history from 1960 to 2000 passed away November 2, 2020 at the age of eighty-eight after a battle with lung cancer. His legacy includes his wife Myra of 64 years, two children (Robert and Julianne) and four grandchildren. Jack retired from Hughes SCG in 1992 but continued to manage this website until the illness would no longer allow.
Jack was born in Berwyn Illinois in 1932. His avid interest in airplanes during WWII was key to his graduation from the University of Illinois (BSAE); then USC (MSAE) and UCLA (Hughes Executive Education Program). Prior to joining Hughes in 1961, Jack worked for Lockheed in trajectory design and optimization of several launch vehicle and aircraft systems. This experience paved the way for Jack to join the Orbital Dynamics Section of Hughes.
Jack’s first assignment at Hughes was directing the trajectory and orbit design for the Hughes Lunar Orbiter proposal to NASA. This was in addition to various studies of Surveyor transit trajectories. He was assigned to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 6 months to learn Ranger trajectory procedures and support Ranger 5 flight operations and became responsible for Ranger 6 trajectory design. Jack became the Group Head of the Guidance and Trajectory Department for the Surveyor program.Jack became a nationally recognized expert of systems engineering in spacecraft development and mission design for commercial, NASA and DoD programs, including:
*Managing Spacecraft Systems Engineering Laboratory that provided mechanical, electrical, launch systems and mass properties expertise, including oversight.
*Led Pioneer Venus and Galileo Systems Engineering which resulted in launch and delivery of six spacecraft to Venus and a probe to Jupiter that increased our knowledge of both by orders of magnitude.
*Planned and directed Systems Engineering Training Program at SCG that resulted in training of several hundred Systems Engineers. Planned and presented a 3-day seminar on Mil Std Systems Engineering on both the East and West coasts, a seminar to General Motors Executive committee and hundreds of top executives both in the United States and GM Europe familiarizing them with Spacecraft Systems Engineering processes, and a 5-day NASA Systems Engineering Course to Goddard, JPL, Langley, Lewis, and Ames.
Jack has published and presented numerous papers to several professional societies and has consulted with a number of organizations including the Royal Australian Air Force. Jack also consulted with NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory and Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) project leading the Project Manager’s Independent Review Team.
Having watched all segments of the Netflix coverage of the Challenger disaster, I concluded that there are two basic questions being covered. The first is how did they decide to launch on such a cold day in January and how did our candidate Greg Jarvis get bumped from April 1985 to January 1986.
I was down at the Cape the previous year in January 1985 prepping our first LEASAT spacecraft for launch. There was a shuttle launch that afternoon around 3 PM; it was a very cold day. The launch was a success, but recovery of the solid motors showed major leakage around the seals and almost a total burn though. I believe these photos were used in the Netflix documentary.
The Thiokol workers knew that the seals were a major problem and needed to be fixed. A design change was initiated but had not been finalized and implemented for the Challenger launch.
The movie seemed to indicate that they didn’t know the cause of failure at the time of launch. With the history of seal leakage, I was surprised when they did launch on that fateful day when there were icicles hanging from the launch vehicle.
As Steve pointed out, NASA was trying to use the shuttle for all launches. Their aggressive schedule was to launch at least two per month and up to four spacecraft per launch. Any delays by one would probably bump the launch dates for all the others to later dates (my conclusion). This would be a major cost overrun I’m sure.
Apparently, the new criteria to launch was changed from “Prove it is OK to launch” to “Prove it’s not OK to launch”. Following the disaster, the launch schedule was delayed until the mod had been authorized and implemented. As the movie points out, there were no more rocket failures after this change had been implemented.
So how did Greg get bumped to this fateful launch date? Greg was originally assigned to be on a launch in April 1985 along with our LEASAT F3 spacecraft. Senator Jake Garn was assigned to a TRW spacecraft the previous month. That one had problems and was scrubbed. He then bumped Greg because the rules allowed him to do that. Greg could have been on the next launch in September with our F4 but F3, which Jake Garn took, failed to activate properly upon deployment. Subsequent meetings with NASA personal showed F3 could be saved by installing a bypass switch around the malfunctioning switch. This did not allow Greg to ride along.
I think Greg could have taken the next flight scheduled for December but thought it would be a better choice to go with the schoolteacher, Christa McAuliffe in January and help her with her activities. I also heard a rumor that Rep Bill Nelson didn’t want to fly with Christa because she would get all the news coverage. Greg agreed to switch to the January 1986 flight and all were happy.
Steven D. Dorfman
As head of HCI I was involved in a pitched battle between NASA and Arianne for a contract to launch 10 future Hughes spacecraft. It was important for NASA to win to demonstrate their ability to serve the commercial market. We were skeptical when the government shut down all US Expendable Launch Vehicle launches of commercial satellites but we were pressured to accept the government position. NASA and Arianne both had very aggressive (and government subsidized} bids of about $30M per launch. In the heat of the competition NASA added the sweetener of permitting Hughes employees to fly on two of our launches as Payload Specialists though it soon became clear that they wouldn’t let us have much to do with our payloads. Frankly it was a marketing ploy that couldn’t be matched by Arianne.
After we selected the Shuttle to launch our satellites (for other reasons) we decided to accept the NASA offer knowing that it would be a thrill for many at HSC to be in space despite the danger and a good morale booster for a dedicated workforce. We decided to post the opportunity and soon had 600 applicants! We narrowed it down to 10 and then selected a prime and backup for the two missions. Greg Jarvis as prime for the first mission and Bill Butterworth backup. After a schedule was posted for Greg’s flight NASA said they would like to bump him to a future flight in order to enable Senator Jake Garn to fly on the next Shuttle mission. I protested strongly but they wanted to placate an important source of funding for NASA so Greg was moved to another flight where the same thing happened for Representative Bill Nelson. That is how Greg wound up on the Challenger flight.
I was devastated after the explosion. Sometimes you make the right decision but you have the wrong outcome. This was such a case.
Later on, the government reversed the decision they had imposed on us and instead of all launches being on Shuttle… no commercial launches would be on Shuttle! And they unilaterally canceled our contract causing us to have several years of scrambling for ELVs. We ultimately sued the government for breach of contract and many years later won a $300M settlement.
The excellent Netflix documentary brought back all these memories and reminded me how badly NASA had screwed up and caused Greg’s death. It was painful but motivated me to share my thoughts.
November 12, 1936—July 10, 2020
This obituary appeared in the LA Times on August 2. 2020
Ken Kobayashi, 83, of Torrance, CA passed away on July 10, 2020. Born in LA to Tsuneyoshi and Yaeko Kobayashi, he attended Redondo Union High, proudly served in the U. S. Air Force, loved being a UCLA Bruin Alumni and retired after 35 yrs at Hughes Aircraft. Ken is survived by his brother Eichi Kobayashi, wife Naomi Kobayashi, daughters–Tammi & Terri (Kevin) Seki, sons—Scott & Kory (Elizabeth), and grandchildren–Jason, Kyra, & Krystal, along with nieces, nephews and dear relatives.
A private family service will be held at Green Hills Memorial Park.
This obituary appeared in the LA Times on July, 24, 25, and 26.
William Frederick Hummel died peacefully on July 18, 2020 after 97 years, six months, and 22 days of life. He was born in 1922 in Nanjing, China to American missionary parents along with all of his siblings and cousins. The family returned to the United States in 1927 and settled permanently in Los Angeles. William attended Los Angeles High School commuting from the family home in eastern Hollywood aboard the Red Car. He attended UC Berkeley, majoring initially in Astronomy, and later in Physics.
His studies were interrupted by his service in the US Navy during World War II. The Navy sent him to midshipman school at Columbia University in New York City, and then to advanced training in the newly emerging field of microwave technology at Harvard University and MIT in Boston. (UC Berkeley later awarded him his bachelor’s degree based on these credits.) He served as a radar officer aboard the cruiser Boston in the Pacific Theater, traveling throughout Japan during the first year of the postwar occupation.
After separating from the Navy, he returned to California and soon met his future wife, Laurel Elizabeth Jones. They married on July 20, 1947. Their first child, Gregory Evan Hummel, was born in 1950, and died at the age of 17 months due to a congenital heart defect. Their surviving children are Gwendolyn Elisa Hummel (born 1953) and Martin Edward Hummel (born 1954).
William embarked on a long and distinguished career in the aerospace industry, which was then rapidly growing in Southern California. He simultaneously pursued graduate studies in Electrical Engineering at USC earning his MSEE in 1957. He worked at Hughes Aircraft Company for 35 years, retiring as Chief Scientist of the Controls Systems Laboratory. One accomplishment in which he took great pride was designing the control system for the Surveyor series of unmanned spacecraft, which successfully soft-landed on the Moon, proving the feasibility and paving the way for the astronauts of the Apollo program. In connection with his work, he also returned to China, and lived in Munich, Germany during an extended assignment to partner with an aerospace company there.
He and Laurel enjoyed traveling extensively throughout Europe, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. His many other interests included gardening, candid photography, personal computers, and dogs. He was an ardent lover of classical music and made sure his children were initiated into a love of music. After he retired from Hughes he bought a van and traveled extensively along the back roads of California, accompanied by his beloved Labrador Danny Boy.
In later years he pursued his deep interest in economics and monetary systems developing an acclaimed website and publishing a book, “Money—What It Is and How It Works.” He also founded an online Google discussion forum called Understanding Money, which still continues. After his beloved wife Laurel died in 2005, in her memory he endowed the Laurel Hummel Scholarships for international students at UCLA Extension. He will be mourned and greatly missed by all who knew him.
This post updates and replaces the following: Hughes Aircraft Bibliography posted on 2/12/19 and Uplink–Hughes Communications Newsletter 1994-1998 posted on 6/23/20
University of Nevada Las Vegas
The UNLV Library has a significant collection of Hughes Aircraft documents and other material that are referenced at https://www.library.unlv.edu/speccol/finding-aids/MS-00485.pdf
Books About Howard Hughes
Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters. Richard Hack. New Millennium Press, 2001.
Howard Hughes Aviator. George J Marrett. Naval Institute Press, 2004.
Howard Hughes H-4 “Hercules.” Northrop Institute of Technology, Aviation History Library. Historical Airplanes, 1962. Many photos of the aircraft being transported from Culver City to Long Beach.
Howard Hughes and His Flying Boat. Charles Barton. Self published, revised edition 1998.
Howard Hughes, His Life and Madness. Donald L. Barlett & James B. Steele. W. W. Norton & Company, 1979.
Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes Hollywood. Karina Longworth. Custom House, 2018.
Books Relating To Hughes Aircraft
As I Remember: A Walk Through My Years at Hughes Aircraft 1951-1997. Scott Walker. Hawthorne Publishing, 2010.
Call Me Pat: The Autobiography of the Man Howard Hughes Chose to Lead Hughes Aircraft, Downing Company, 1993.
Hughes After Howard: The Story of Hughes Aircraft Company. D. Kenneth Richardson. Sea-Hill Press, 2011.
The Origins of Satellite Communications. David J Whalen. Smithsonian Institute Press, 2002. Excellent account of Syncom development.
Something New Under the Sun: Satellites and the Beginning of the Space Age. Helen Gavaghan. Copernicus, 1998. Detailed account of the Syncom development.
The Rise and Fall of Comsat. David J. Whalen. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Open Skies, Anik, COMSTAR and SBS.
NASA and the Space Industry. Joan Lisa Bromberg. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. Covers Syncom and the NASA Ka-band satellite controversy.
Paving the Way for Apollo 11. David M. Harland. Springer Praxis Publishing, 2009. Surveyor I description and mission.
To Reach the High Frontier, A History of U. S. Launch Vehicles. Roger Launius, Dennis R Jenkins Editors University Press of Kentucky, 2002. Great source of historical data on launch vehicles.
Communication Satellites Fourth Edition. Donald H. Martin, Aerospace Press AIAA 2000. Hughes satellite data from Syncom to HS-601.
Mission to Jupiter: A History of the Galileo Project NASA SP 2007-4231. Michael Meltzer 2007.
Mission Jupiter, The Spectacular Journey of the Galileo Spacecraft. Daniel Fischer Copernicus Books 2001.
Dynamic Analysis and Design of the Synchronous Communication Satellite, D. D. Williams. Engineering Division Hughes Aircraft Company TM-649 May 1960.
SYNCOM Engineering Report Volume I, NASA TR R-233. Syncom Projects Office Goddard Space Flight Center. March 1966. Syncom II description and mission.
SYNCOM Engineering Report Volume II, NASA TR R-252. Syncom Projects Office Goddard Space Flight Center. April 1967. Syncom III description and mission.
NASA Compendium of Satellite Communications Programs, NASA TM X-751-73-178. Goddard Space Flight Center, June 1973.
Analyses Related to the Hughes Gyrostat System, A. J. Iorillo https://www.nro.gov/Portals/65/documents/foia/declass/Sunshine2019/SC-2018-00001_C05105855.pdf
Fuel Slosh Energy Dissipation On a Spinning Body. John T. Neer, Jerome O. Salvatore. Hughes Aircraft Report SCG 20027R February 1972.
Pioneer Venus. NASA SP-461. Richard Fimmel, Lawrence Colin, Eric Burgess, 1983.
Galileo: Exploration of Jupiter’s System, NASA SP-479. C. M. Yeates, et al, 1985.
U. S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns With the People’s Republic of China. Volume II Satellite Launches in the PRC: Hughes. Report of the Select Committee on U. S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns With the Peoples Republic of China, May 1999. (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-CRPT-105hrpt851/pdf/GPO-CRPT-105hrpt851-1-2.pdf)
COMSAT Technical Review 1971-1995 (http://www.comsatlegacy.com/CTR.html)
The Intelsat IV Spacecraft. Launch and Orbital Injection of Intelsat IV Satellites. The Intelsat IV Communications System. Volume 2 No 2 Fall 1972.
Intelsat IVA Transmission System Design J. Dicks, M. Brown Jr. Volume 5 No 1 Spring 1975
The COMSTAR Program. The COMSTAR Satellite System. Volume 7 No 1 Spring 1977
MARISAT A Maritime Satellite Communications System. Volume 7 No. 2 Fall 1977.
Intelsat IV In-Orbit Liquid Slosh Tests and Problems In the Theoretical Analysis of the Data V. J. Slabinski Volume 8 No. 1 Spring 1978.
Summary of the SBS Satellite Communications Performance Specifications G. G. Churan, W. E. Leavitt. Notes Volume 11 No. 2 Fall 1981.
Intelsat VI The Communications System. Volume 20 No. 2 Fall 1990
Intelsat VI Spacecraft Design. Volume 21 No. 1 Spring 1991.
INTELSAT VI From Spacecraft to Satellite Operations. Volume 21 No. 2 Fall 1991.
INTELSAT VI: System and Applications. Volume 22 No. 1 Spring 1992
INTELSAT 603 Reboost. S. B. Bennett Volume 22 No. 1 Spring 1992.
SSTDMA in the INTELSAT VI System. Volume 22 No. 2 Fall 1992.
Hughes Industrial Historic District (http://www.hugheshistoricdistrict.com/howard-hughes/) Includes history of Hughes Aircraft, visual tour of remaining buildings, timeline of life of Howard Hughes, Hughes H-1 Flying Boat (Spruce Goose) including video of flight, Historical Development Photos, and a bibliography
Abandoned and Little-Known Airfields: California, Western Los Angeles Area, PaulFreeman (http://members.tripod.com/airfields_freeman/CA/Airfields_CA_LA_W.htm#hughes) Many photos and information about the Hughes Culver City Airfield.
Historic American Engineering Record Hughes Aircraft Company HAER CA-174 (https://cdn.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/ca/ca2100/ca2172/data/ca2172data.pdf) Document describing Hughes Culver City facility including development of facility, history of Hughes Aircraft.
Hughes Aircraft Company, 6775 Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA Photos From Survey HAER CA-174. (https://www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.ca2172.photos?st=gallery&c=40)
Santa Barbara Research Center History https://sbrc-sbrs.com
Uplink Hughes Communications Newsletter 1994-1998
Recently I contacted Tony and asked about the preliminaries that led up to the TACSAT contract. He responded and covered a lot more ground. I thought his response merited posting on our website. Jack Fisher
As I recall, TACSAT was like any other SAMSO program. They put out pre-RFP notice in 1966 that they were interested in buying a satellite with the specs which Dick described1. Our Space Division marketing team followed the development of TACSAT specs very carefully. There was another contemporaneous procurement SAMSO was working on that we also followed carefully—the DSP ballistic missile early warning satellite.
Ultimately, we had to decide which program to go after because we did not have the resources to compete vigorously for both. Having recently failed to beat TRW for both Intelsat III and a classified program for the NRO, we needed a win.
Paul Visher, our assistant division manager and Bud Franklin, our manager of Advanced Projects, chose TACSAT as the target. As Dick Brandes wrote1, they believed that the TACSAT satellite configuration was more representative of future program targets than the peculiar DSP configuration. Paul foresaw the HS318 ( our “green” program ) and the Intelsat IV programs which were to evolve shortly after the start of TACSAT in 1967. So, TRW won the DSP contract. We won TACSAT. In 1967 and 1968, even before TACSAT was launched, we used the TACSAT win as our relevant related experience.
With a large satellite configuration in hand, we beat TRW, and others, for the HS-318 and Intelsat IV contracts. These wins came just in time to prevent having to lay off the Surveyor and Intelsat II teams whose programs were ending. Even TACSAT was to end in a year. Thanks to Mr, Hyland’s foresight and faith, the bulk of these people were carried for many months entirely on company funding
Bob Roney became our new Space Division manager shortly before the wins were announced in 1968. At an all hands meeting, the day he took over, Bob informed us that our division had but a 60-day backlog. Dick Brandes and I still recall the tension felt by all in the room.
In 1970, with both programs underway, we then had enough stable business to finally become a Group, and Bud Wheelon joined us as Group Executive. The rest is history pretty much as Steve Dorfman wrote2. He, too, was limited by security restrictions to paint a complete picture. For the record, in 1972, we beat TRW again for the SDS relay satellite contract.
Twenty years later, with our new HS 601 design, we were to beat TRW and GE for the AUSSAT and Navy UHF Follow-on contracts.
During the TACSAT years. In 1964, Paul Visher allocated IR&D funds for me to complete the analytical work deriving the stability rules for dual-spin satellites, Hughes Gyrostats. The next year, Bernie Burns and I built some small spinning models which were enough to convince management that the analyses were correct. Fortunately, Doctors Puckett, Roney and Adler were steeped enough in spin dynamics to agree.So, when TACSAT came along my task was to build demonstration models elaborate enough to convince SAMSO and Aerospace management. John Neer wrote about this work3.
We also hired UCLA Professor Peter Likens, to study my analyses, and to work with Dr. Tino Mingori of Aerospace to promulgate the results. When we submitted our proposal, the novelty of the design was not an issue with the technical evaluators. And, as Dick Brandes wrote, our proposal was very cost competitive because we valued the future prospects1. Peter went on to become President of Lehigh university and, later, the University of Arizona.
After we won TACSAT, I worked on both the HS318 “green” program and Intelsat IV proposals. Bill Bakemeyer was the “green” proposal manager and Al Owens was the Intelsat IV proposal manager. I was in charge of the Technical Volumes and Executive Summaries for both. The proposals were sequential, with brief overlaps, so that I could do both. I used many of the same staff. For example, Al Wittman was the principal Design Integration leader for both. The “green” program was much more demanding. It was our first entry into the operational world of satellite reconnaissance. And it was not a geostationary orbit mission. The satellite was a multi-mission vehicle carrying an electro-optical precision pointed payload and a very wide band ELINT payload with large steerable receive and downlink antennas. We also designed and built the elaborate ground data processing segments for both payloads along with the satellite command and control station. The Surveyor guys were perfect for the job.
Jim Cloud was the program manager, aided by Bill Bakemeyer, Shel Shallon, Warren Nichols, Frank Wolf and many other Surveyor veterans. Their contract performance was spectacular. The satellites and the ground segments worked as planned and it was done on schedule and pretty close to our budget. The program was still going when I retired. Intelsat IV was a relatively straightforward next generation Comsat. I then went on to manage the SDS relay satellite proposal, our “yellow” program. This time I stayed on as deputy to Roger Clapp until the first launch.
Reference 1. TACSAT, Dick Brandes
Reference 2. A (Very) Short History of the Space and Communication Activities of Hughes Aircraft Company–Steve Dorfman
Reference 3. On the Gyrostat Road, John Neer