Born: 1890-10-14. Died: 1969-03-28. Birth Place: Denison, Texas.
Eisenhower was president of the United states between 1953 and 1961. Previously he had been a career U.S. Army officer and during World War II was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. As president he was deeply interested in the use of space technology for national security purposes and directed that ballistic missiles and reconnaissance satellites be developed on a crash basis.
Eisenhower was a practical Midwesterner who understood the US military from every angle. When the Soviets launched the Sputnik, Eisenhower knew that the heavily classified American rocket and space programs - Atlas, Titan, Polaris, and Minuteman, and the Corona spy satellite - far surpassed what the Soviet Union could do in every technical area. He knew that the only reason that Soviet rockets could orbit larger payloads was that they had to build bigger rockets because they had not been able to miniaturize atomic bombs and electronics, or produce lighter alloys for the rocket structures, as the Americans had. He knew that the missile gap - the supposed numeric superiority between Russian and the United States in missile production - didn't exist. But a lot of this information he couldn't or wouldn't convey to the public, and the clamor for him to do something was deafening.
From his long experience with the military, and the inexorably growing power of what he called the military-industrial establishment, he also knew that giving the job to the military services was not an option. They would squabble endlessly between themselves - each service already had its own planned satellite, man-in-space, and man-on-the-moon projects in the works. Furthermore, when the inevitable budget priorities came up each year, any scientific space projects would be cut back or cancelled before any pet military projects.
So in April 1958 Eisenhower proposed to Congress to create a civilian space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), using the existing 8,000-strong National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as its basis. He would rip out of the military those parts of it that were mainly devoted to fundamental rocketry or space research. Most notable of these were the Army's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech and von Braun's rocket team at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
Ongoing research projects were cancelled or transferred to NASA. These included the Air Force's million-pound-thrust F-1 rocket engine, Centaur high-performance upper stage, Pioneer moon probes, and Man-in-Space-Soonest orbital manned capsule; the Army's Explorer satellite, Saturn I heavy launch vehicle, and Project Adam suborbital manned capsule; and the Navy's Vanguard booster and satellite with the Able upper stage.
The military was still allowed to pursue its own purely-military space programs. The utilitarian military spy and communications satellites, and the Titan rockets used to launch them were relatively uncontroversial. But there was a persistent military effort for a manned role in space or to deploy combat spacecraft in orbit. Over the years these would include the DynaSoar and Manned Orbiting Laboratory manned satellites; a dizzying array of manned spaceplanes and interceptor spacecraft; many generations of unmanned space weapons; and shaping of the specification for the space shuttle.
The wisdom of Eisenhower's choice was indicated by the fact, that despite the expenditures of hundreds of billions of dollars on these projects, not one of them reached the flight-in-orbit stage. When the budget crunch came, military space projects were always the first to go.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the National Security Council (NSC) were given a complete briefing on the Atlas program. Briefers were Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Trevor Gardner, Professor John von Neumann, and Brigadier General Bernard A. Schriever, Commander of the Western Development Division.
Trevor Gardner, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Research and Development, requested that a working group be formed to evaluate the ballistic missile program. Such an evaluation was necessary to assure that the administrative management and control procedures of the program would allow the full project acceleration as directed by President Eisenhower and the National Security Council on 8 September. Accordingly, a committee was established under Hyde Gillette, Deputy for Budget and Program Management, to evaluate these procedures and to recommend means for reducing administrative delays that might impede attainment of the earliest possible operational capability of Atlas.
The Air Force Ballistic Missile Committee (AF/BMC) withheld approval of WDD's proposed initial operational capability (IOC) program until a further review was completed. Austerity in facilities and reductions in military objectives were recommended. Secretary of the Air Force Donald Quarles and the AF/BMC directed the Western Development Division to adopt a "poor man's approach" when working out the alternate IOC program.
President Eisenhower in a White House press release congratulated the Soviet scientists on SPUTNIK I. He gave a brief history of the development of the U.S.-IGY satellite program and pointed to the separation of Project Vanguard from work on ballistic missiles.
President Eisenhower in major address on science and security announced that scientists had solved the problem of ballistic missile reentry and showed the nose cone of an Army Jupiter-C missile which was intact after a flight through space. He announced the creation of the office of Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and the appointment of James R. Killian, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to the new post.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower recommended to Congress the formation of an Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in a Defense Department reorganization proposal. The new agency would provide unified Defense Department direction and management of certain advanced research and development projects.
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.
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."
President Eisenhower directed the highest and equal national priority for Atlas, Titan, Thor, Jupiter, the WS 117L advanced military satellite system, and WS 224A BMEWS. This action returned the Titan program to its previous highest national priority status.
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.
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.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a message to Congress, proposed the establishment of a National Aeronautics and Space Agency into which the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics would be absorbed. The new agency would conduct the civilian space program through research in its own facilities or by contract and would also perform military research required by DOD. Projects primarily military in character would remain the responsibility of DOD. Additional Details: here....
The President, basing his recommendation on the March Z6th report of his Science Advisory Committee, stated it was essential that the nation adopt the program because it represented the next step forward in man's compelling urge to explore and discover, it would develop space technology essential to our defense, enhance our national prestige, and furnish the nation new opportunities for scientific observation and experiment which would add to man's "understanding of the earth, the solar system and the universe." The President therefore advised Congress that a National Aeronautics and Space Administration be created to furnish, "a civilian setting for administration of space functions [which] will emphasize the concern of our nation that outer space be devoted to peaceful and scientific purposes." (History, Hq ARDC, 1 Jan 31 Dec 1958, p. 13; Max Rosenberg, The Air Force in Space, 1959-1960, dtd Jun 62, USAF Hist Div Liaison Ofc, p.3.)
President Eisenhower recommended to Congress the creation of the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (ODDR&E). This would have more rank and authority than, as well as replace, the present Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD/R&E).
T. Keith Glennan, President of Case Institute of Technology, and Hugh L. Dryden, Director of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, were nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be Administrator and Deputy Administrator of NASA. The Senate confirmed their nominations one week later.
By Executive Order, President Dwight D. Eisenhower transferred the Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL, a government-owned facility staffed and operated by the California Institute of Technology, from Army to NASA jurisdiction. The new JPL radio telescope at Camp Irwin, Calif., called the Goldstone Tracking Facility, was capable of maintaining radio contact at distances of up to 400,000 miles and was the first of NASA's deep-space tracking stations.
After a meeting with officials concerned with the missile and space program, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced that he intended to transfer to NASA control the Army Ballistic Missile Agency's Development Operations Division personnel and facilities. The transfer, subject to congressional approval, would include the Saturn development program.
The initial plan for transferring the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Saturn to NASA was drafted. It was submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower on December 1 1 and was signed by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker and Secretary of the Air Force James H. Douglas on December 16 and by NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan on December 17.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower directed NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan "to make a study, to be completed at the earliest date practicable, of the possible need for additional funds for the balance of FY 1960 and for FY 1961 to accelerate the super booster program for which your agency recently was given technical and management responsibility."
COURIER I-B active communications satellite successfully placed into orbit by Thor-Able-Star launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral. After completing one orbit it received and recorded a transcribed message to the United Nations by President Eisenhower transmitted from Fort Monmouth, N.J., and retransmitted it to another earth station in Puerto Rico. This marked the 100th launch of the Douglas Thor, military and scientific combined, and a Thor record of 60 percent of the U.S. satellites boosted into orbit.