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Mueller, George Edwin
Mueller
Mueller
American engineer. Headed the NASA Office of Manned Spaceflight during the Apollo program.

Born: 1918-07-16. Birth Place: Saint Louis, Missouri.

George E. Mueller was Associate Administrator for the Office of Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters, 1963-1969, where he responsible for overseeing the completion of Project Apollo and of beginning the development of the Space Shuttle. He moved to the General Dynamics Corp., as senior vice president in 1969, and remained until 1971. He then became president of the Systems Development Corporation, 1971-1980, and its chairman and CEO, 1981-1983. In the 1990's he was on the board of the Kistler Corporation, which sought to develop a low-cost reusable two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle.

George Mueller (pronounced "Miller"), born July 16, 1918, was Associate Administrator of the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight from September 1963 until December 1969. Hailed as one of NASA's "most brilliant and fearless managers", he was instrumental in introducing the all-up testing philosophy for the Saturn V launch vehicle, which ensured the success of the Apollo program in landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth by the end of 1969. Mueller also played a key part in the design of Skylab, and championed the space shuttle's development, which earned him the nickname, "the father of the space shuttle."

More recently, Mueller was Chairman & Chief Vehicle Architect of the now defunct Kistler Aerospace Corp.

George Mueller was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 16, 1918. His mother, a high school graduate, was from Belleville, Illinois and had been a secretary, but she never worked after marriage. His father was an electrician who began working as a boy and never went to high school, but later became superintendent of an electrical motor repair shop in St. Louis. Both parents were English speakers, but also spoke German, although Mueller never learned it well enough to converse. He went to Benton School in St. Louis until the 8th grade, when he and his parents moved to a larger house in the country called Bel Nor, and later graduated from Normandy High School.

The young Mueller enjoyed reading science fiction and, helped by his grandfather, woodworking - although his first model ship capsized. When he was aged 11 or 12 Mueller also built and raced model aircraft - such as gliders and rubber band model airplanes. Always curious about how things worked, he also built radios, following in the footsteps of his father. Interested in these activities, the teenage Mueller wanted to be an aeronautical engineer but discovered that where he could afford to go to school, the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) in Rolla, Missouri, there was no aeronautical engineering department. They did offer mechanical engineering, so he enrolled in that program but found it discouraging and switched to electrical engineering.

Mueller assumed he would end up working in industry and so, in his senior year, went on a tour of various suitable companies. He applied to RCA, General Electric and Emerson but when he graduated in 1939 the economy took another downturn and he, like most of the class, had no job.

After applying to several graduate schools, he got an offer of a television fellowship (funded by RCA) at Purdue University. The fellowship led to his working on an early television project. Purdue was building a television transmitter for the campus, and it was the first of the kind that was using all vacuum tubes to produce the pictures. It was also the first using a cathode ray tube for display purposes. They still had mechanical disks for scanning but were trying to develop an all-electronic approach.

Near graduation, he applied for a research job at Bell Labs which he received. After a year to establish himself there he married Maude Rosenbaum who he'd met in St. Louis and dated while at Purdue. The work Mueller did at Bell Labs deferred him from being drafted into the military during World War II. He initially researched orthicon technology but as Bell Labs geared up for war, it later became heavily involved in airborne radar technology. As the war progressed, his group was given the task of building the first airborne radar for Bell. Ultimately, the radar designed by MIT was chosen over the Bell Labs system, but not until after Mueller became spectacularly sick while flight testing Bell Labs' radar on a visit to Wright Airfield in Ohio. He continued his work on magnetrons and said he came close to co-inventing the transistor. If he and his co-workers had placed their contacts on a single crystal of zircon rather than working with multiple crystals, they would have beaten Shockley's team, also at Bell Labs.

Mueller increasingly believed that to move up in the hierarchy of the Labs he would need a PhD, and he began working towards this goal on a part-time basis at Princeton University, getting up every morning at around 5 o'clock and driving to Princeton to take a couple of courses before driving back down to Holmdel to work all day at Bell Labs. In 1946 a colleague at the Labs, Milton Boone, a professor from Ohio State University on leave at Bell Labs during the war, encouraged Mueller to help set up a vacuum tube lab and run the communications group at Ohio State.

Moving to Columbus, Mueller taught electrical engineering and the new field of system engineering, and continued his research, focusing his PhD thesis on dielectric antennas. Upon obtaining his doctorate in physics in 1951, he became associate professor of electrical engineering. Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation, later part of TRW, recruited him and he took a one year sabbatical in 1953. A consultant to Ramo-Wooldridge, Mueller got involved in the review of radar designs and the Bell Labs radar for the Titan rocket (which was originally radio-guided). Mueller was peripherally involved with some of the developments of the inertial systems and generally began to help out wherever there was a problem. Mueller admitted in 1987 that at this time he didn't know anything about missiles.

After returning from his sabbatical year to Ohio State, Mueller taught but was also retained as a part-time consultant to R-W. In 1957 he joined Ramo-Wooldridge full-time as director of the Electronics Laboratories. This Laboratory soon merged with the mechanical group, and then Mueller became deputy leader of this larger research and development organization. He was also program director for the Pioneer program and later took over as head of R&D . The Thompson Products Company bought R-W and merged it into what became TRW. While working on missile systems Mueller became convinced that all-up testing was essential as "you don't want to be testing piece-wise in space. You want to test the entire system because who knows which one's going to fail, and you'd better have it all together so that whatever fails, you have a reasonable chance of finding the real failure mode, not just the one you were looking for.

Mueller became increasingly involved with NASA and the Apollo Program. NASA's Administrator James E. Webb sounded Mueller out for a top job. Mueller would only agree if the agency was restructured, and so during the fall of 1963 Webb worked with Associate Administrator Robert Seamans to restructure NASA, shifting three centers over to report to Mueller directly, as well as a local group at Headquarters. Mueller accepted the job - although he took a substantial pay cut. The reorganization of NASA and the Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) was announced in November 1963.

Encouraged by Webb, Mueller had studied the OMSF, speaking with people he knew from his work at Ramo-Wooldridge. His impression of OMSF: "there wasn't any management system in existence". More seriously, Mueller found no means to determine and control hardware configurations, which gave no way to determine costs or schedules. Mueller concluded he would have to "teach people what was involved in doing program control."

In August 1963, Mueller invited each of NASA's field center directors to visit him and explained how his proposed changes would put Apollo back on schedule and solve problems with the Bureau of the Budget. Change did not come easy and he had some problems with Wernher von Braun who gave "one of his impassioned speeches about how you can't change the basic organization of Marshall." After some argument von Braun accepted Mueller's proposals and reorganized MSFC strengthening its capacity in running large projects.

Mueller's position was strengthened by Webb having the directors at MSC, MSFC and KSC report direct to OMSF. Mueller also reduced attendance at the MSF Management Council to just himself and the Center directors. Borrowing from the US Air Force Minuteman program, Mueller formed the Apollo Executive Group which consisted of himself and the presidents of Apollo's main contractors.

The biggest problem Mueller still faced was Apollo's slipping schedule and huge cost overruns. He had always thought the only way to resolve this, and achieve a lunar landing before 1970, was to reduce the number of test flights. Mueller wanted to use his "all-up testing" concept with each flight using the full number of live stages. This approach had been used successfully on the Titan II and Minuteman programs but violated von Braun's engineering concepts. The von Braun test plan called for the first live test to use the Saturn's first stage with dummy upper stages. If the first stage worked correctly then the first two stages would then be live with a dummy third stage and so on, with at least ten test flights before a manned version was put into low earth orbit.

The Saturn V program manager Arthur Rudolph cornered Mueller with scale models of Saturn and Minuteman. The Saturn dwarfed the Minuteman but Mueller replied, "So what?"

Eventually von Braun and the others were won over. As von Braun stated: "It sounded reckless, but George Mueller's reasoning was impeccable. Water ballast in lieu of a second and third stage would require much less tank volume than liquid-hydrogen-fuelled stages, so that a rocket tested with only a live first stage would be much shorter than the final configuration. Its aerodynamic shape and its body dynamics would thus not be representative. Filling the ballast tanks with liquid hydrogen? Fine, but then why not burn it as a bonus experiment? And so the arguments went on until George in the end prevailed."

Mueller's concept of all up testing worked. The first two unmanned flights of the Saturn V were successful (the second less so), then the third Saturn V put Frank Borman's Apollo 8 crew in orbit round the Moon on Christmas 1968, and the sixth Saturn V carried Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 to the first lunar landing.

In an interview Mueller acknowledged what would have happened if all up testing had failed, "The whole Apollo program and my reputation would have gone down the drain".

With this battle won, in November 1965, Mueller reorganized the Gemini and Apollo Program Offices, creating a five box structure at HQ and field center. This structure replicated Mueller's concept of system management and provided far better program overview. The key part of the idea was that inside these "GEM boxes" (named from his initials) managers and engineers communicated directly with their functional counterparts in NASA HQ bypassing all the usual chain of command and bureaucracy. GEM Boxes

With another battle won, Mueller still found that he could not always find the right people with the right skills. Using his background with Air Force projects Mueller sought Webb's permission to bring in skilled Air Force program managers. He proposed Minuteman program director Colonel Samuel C. Phillips as Apollo program director in OMSF. Webb agreed, and so did AFSC chief General Bernard Schriever. Phillips in turn agreed and brought with him 42 mid-grade officers and eventually 124 more junior officers. Ultimately, over 400 experienced military officers worked on Apollo and other NASA programs during the 1960s.

Seamans (promoted in 1965 to Deputy Administrator) stated that Mueller "didn’t sell; he dictated - and without his direction, Apollo would not have succeeded."

Also well known were Mueller's Project Status Reviews often held on Sundays and in brutal detail. The presentations were nicknamed "“pasteurized" as the tired managers' ability to absorb the detail was waning, and the charts were merely "past your eyes."

After the Apollo 1 fire, NASA Administrator James Webb became distrustful of Mueller, but commented. “Even if I wanted to, I couldn't fire him because he was manager of our successful Apollo project, and one of the ablest men in the world ... The last thing I wanted was to lose him, but I also had another desire, which was not to let his way of working create too many difficulties.

Even while Apollo was progressing Mueller and others were pushing for an aggressive post-Apollo program. He established the Apollo Applications Office in 1965. The Applications were extensive involving a manned lunar base, an earth-orbiting space station, Apollo telescope, the Grand Tour of the Outer Solar System, and the original "Voyager program" of Mars Lander probes. Faced with Congressional disapproval and infighting within NASA the ambitious Apollo Applications Program was cut back time and time again until just Skylab remained.

Mueller is often credited as being the "Father of the Space Shuttle". Whether this is entirely true is debatable -- Scott Pace propounded the view that, in such a complex system with so many stakeholders, "everyone was a Shuttle designer." What is beyond doubt is that Mueller played a key role in early Space Shuttle decisions and in championing the cause for a reusable space vehicle. While perhaps not the 'Father' he has been accurately described by Professor John Logsdon as the 'Policy Father of the Space Shuttle'.

Mueller held a one-day symposium (held at NASA headquarters) in December 1967 to which 80 people from the Air Force, NASA and industry were invited to discuss low cost space flight and shuttle-like designs. The designs ranged from 'simple' concepts like Martin Marietta's six person reusable craft similar to the Dyna-Soar (launched by a Titan III-M), to partially reusable concepts like Lockheed's Star Clipper or Tip Tank from McDonnell Douglas, to fully reusable two-stage vehicles like the one proposed by General Dynamics.

Following this symposium Mueller continued to champion a "space shuttle". Although he did not invent the term, he did make it his own. He was also a keen proponent of space stations and was well aware that the space shuttle was to shuttle to and from such a station.

While in London in August 1968, to receive an award from the British Interplanetary Society, he again trumpeted the cause of the shuttle, "...there is a real requirement for an efficient earth to orbit transportation system - an economical space shuttle". "I forecast that the next major thrust in space will be the development of an economical launch vehicle for shuttling between Earth and the installations, such as the orbiting space station that will soon be orbiting in space." He also stated, as many others would do later, that "The shuttle ideally would be able to operate in a mode similar to that of a large commercial air transports and be compatible with the environment of major airports".

Mueller's optimism grew in 1968 and he chided Wernher von Braun (who had been cautiously promoting a cheap interim shuttle-type craft), "You'd be telling me that my Shuttle was in the future and you needed an interim system." Mueller was sure that the incoming president, Richard Nixon, would want to go "all out" and that "this may be the big program for Nixon".

In 1987 Mueller had this to say about the shuttle, “It was clear to us at that time that we needed to have a joint program between the Air Force and NASA, and that that program ought to be aimed at providing low cost space transportation for all of our needs. It's just in my view unfortunate that we made the compromise, after I left NASA, in terms of a partially reusable vehicle, and all that that implies in terms of not only the cost of the throw-away parts but also the cost of the ground troops that have to process it and put it together and fly it every time. That combination—and ground support is a not insignificant part of a Shuttle cost—was a set of decisions that doomed low cost space transportation for that generation of vehicles.”

Almost everyone who worked with Mueller on Apollo agreed he was technically brilliant and exceedingly capable. Even those who frequently disagreed with him like Christopher Kraft or George Low recognized his abilities. While Mueller could be described as intellectually arrogant he was not an office tyrant, in fact, one of his colleagues, John Disher, describes working for him as a "piece of cake". Nor did he try to belittle others or shout them down. While appearing affable and reasonably charming "with the epitome of politeness, but you know down deep he's just as hard as steel!".

Mueller resigned from NASA on November 10, 1969 effective from December 10. Rumors had been circulating for a while that he wanted to return to private industry. The New York Times stated that 'informed sources' "alleged clashes with (Administrator) Thomas Paine over space priorities for '70s and disputes with subordinates; he has twice been passed over for deputy admr post".

In an interview Mueller gave different reasons for leaving, "One is that the decision had been made to terminate the Apollo program, and that was a good time then to leave before, and let someone else take over for the next phase. From a practical point of view, I needed to go make some money so I could keep my family going. It was costly for us to join the Apollo program. My salary was half what I was making in industry when I went there, and it was just a strain to keep the family going and work going at the same time. So I went back to industry.".

After a short time at General Dynamics, Mueller became chairman and president of the System Development Corporation, a spin-off from the RAND Corporation, in 1971. He remained with SDC following the Burroughs Corporation's acquisition of the company, and retired after growing the company successfully in 1984. While at SDC, Mueller remarried to his second wife Darla. After a short retirement, Mueller became the president of the International Academy of Astronautics, in addition to consulting and other volunteer work. Yearning to return to full-time employment, he became the CEO of Kistler Aerospace in 1996 and remained with the company for a number of years. He currently lives in Kirkland, Washington with Darla.

Post NASA career:

Senior Vice President, General Dynamics Corporation, Falls Church, Virginia (1969–1971)
System Development Corporation, Santa Monica, California Chairman, President (1971–1980); Chairman, Chief Executive Officer (1981–1983)
Burroughs Corporation Senior Vice-President (1982–1983); Consultant (1984 -)
Kistler Aerospace (Rocketplane Kistler from 2006) CEO 1995-2004; Chairman and Chief Vehicle Architect 2004



Country: USA. Agency: NASA. Bibliography: 535, 5805.
Photo Gallery

MuellerMueller
Credit: NASA



1963 July 23 - .
  • George E Mueller named NASA Deputy Associate Administrator - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Holmes, Brainard, Mueller. Program: Apollo. George E. Mueller, Vice President for Research and Development of Space Technology Laboratories, was named NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight to succeed D. Brainerd Holmes, effective September 1..

1963 October 24 - .
  • NASA-Industry Apollo Executives Group - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM.

    The NASA-Industry Apollo Executives Group, composed of top managers in OMSF and executives of the major Apollo contractors, met for the first time. The group met with George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, for status briefings and problem discussions. In this manner, NASA sought to make executives personally aware of major problems in the program.


1963 October 30 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB.
  • Manned Saturn I earth orbital flights canceled - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Webb. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing.

    NASA canceled four manned earth orbital flights with the Saturn I launch vehicle. Six of a series of 10 unmanned Saturn I development flights were still scheduled. Development of the Saturn IB for manned flight would be accelerated and "all-up" testing would be started. This action followed Bellcomm's recommendation of a number of changes in the Apollo spacecraft flight test program. The program should be transferred from Saturn I to Saturn IB launch vehicles; the Saturn I program should end with flight SA-10. All Saturn IB flights, beginning with SA-201, should carry operational spacecraft, including equipment for extensive testing of the spacecraft systems in earth orbit.

    Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller had recommended the changeover from the Saturn I to the Saturn IB to NASA Administrator James E. Webb on October 26. Webb's concurrence came two days later.


1963 December 31 - .
  • Samuel C Phillips new NASA Deputy Director for Apollo Program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Phillips, Samuel. Program: Apollo.

    NASA announced the appointment of Air Force Brig. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips as Deputy Director of the NASA Headquarters Apollo Program Office. General Phillips assumed management of the manned lunar landing program, working under George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator of Manned Space Flight and Director of the Apollo Program Office.


1963 December 31 - .
  • NASA/USAF discussions on MOL joint control and support. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth, Mueller. Spacecraft: MOL.

    MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth apprised George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, of recent discussions with officers from the Air Force's Space Systems Division regarding MSC's joint participation in the MOL project in the area of operational control and support. Such joint cooperation might comprise two separate areas: manning requirements for the control center and staffing of actual facilities. Gilruth suggested that such joint cooperation would work to the benefit of both organizations involved. Furthermore, because a number of unidentified problems inevitably existed, he recommended the creation of a joint NASA Air Force group to study the entire question so that such uncertainties might be identified and resolved.


1964 February 20 - .
  • All 12 Gemini flights to end in water landings. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini, Gemini Paraglide.

    George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, informed the staff of the Gemini Project Office (GPO) that all 12 Gemini flights would end in water landings, although Project Gemini Quarterly Report No. 8 for the period ending February 29, 1964, still listed the paraglider for the last three Gemini missions. Additional Details: here....


1964 February 22 - .
  • Studies of the dangers of meteoroids and radiation in the Apollo program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: A7L, Apollo CSM, CSM Cockpit.

    George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, summarized recent studies of the dangers of meteoroids and radiation in the Apollo program. Data from the Explorer XVI satellite and ground observations indicated that meteoroids would not be a major hazard. Clouds of protons ejected by solar flares would present a risk to astronauts, but studies of the largest solar flares recorded since 1959 showed that maximum radiation dosages in the CM and the Apollo space suit would have been far below acceptable limits (set in July 1962 by the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences). Cosmic rays would not be a hazard because of their rarity. Radiation in the Van Allen belts was not dangerous because the spacecraft would fly through the belts at high speeds.


1964 March 19 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II.
  • The Air Force Systems Command weekly report (inaugurated in September 1963) summarizing actions taken to resolve Titan II development problems would no longer be issued. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, informed Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., that the launch vehicle 'no longer appears to be the pacing item in the Gemini program.'.

1964 October 27 - .
  • Samuel C Phillips named Director of Apollo Program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Phillips, Samuel. Program: Apollo.

    NASA announced the appointment of Major General Samuel C. Phillips as Director of the Apollo Program. Phillips thus assumed part of the duties of George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator of Manned Space Flight, who had been serving as Apollo Director as well. Phillips had been Deputy Director since January 15.


1965 February 18 - .
  • Apollo Extension System (AES) to produce space hardware for future missions at a fraction of the original development cost. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Spacecraft Bus: Apollo CSM. Spacecraft: Apollo X.

    Testifying before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics during hearings on NASA's Fiscal Year 1966 budget, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller briefly outlined the space agency's immediate post-Apollo objectives: 'Apollo capabilities now under development,' he said, 'will enable us to produce space hardware and fly it for future missions at a small fraction of the original development cost. This is the basic concept in the Apollo Extension System (AES) now under consideration.' Additional Details: here....


1965 March 29 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II.
  • Full EVA considered for Gemini 4. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth, Low, George, Mueller, Seamans. Flight: Gemini 4. Spacecraft Bus: Gemini space suits. Spacecraft: G4C.

    The possibility of doing more than the previously planned stand-up form of extravehicular activity (EVA) was introduced at an informal meeting in the office of Director Robert R. Gilruth at Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). Present at the meeting, in addition to Gilruth and Deputy Director George M. Low, were Richard S. Johnston of Crew Systems Division (CSD) and Warren J. North of Flight Crew Operations Division. Johnston presented a mock-up of an EVA chestpack, as well as a prototype hand-held maneuvering unit. North expressed his division's confidence that an umbilical EVA could be successfully achieved on the Gemini-Titan 4 mission. Receiving a go-ahead from Gilruth, CSD briefed George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Mannned Space Flight, on April 3 in Washington. He, in turn, briefed the Headquarters Directorates. The relevant MSC divisions were given tentative approval to continue the preparations and training required for the operation. Associate Administrator of NASA, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., visited MSC for further briefing on May 14. The enthusiasm he carried back to Washington regarding flight-readiness soon prompted final Headquarters approval.


1965 April 9 - .
  • Manned space flight control transferred to Houston - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo.

    George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, announced the transfer of control over manned space flights from Cape Kennedy, Fla., to Houston, Texas. MSC's Mission Control Center would direct the flights from end of liftoff through recovery.


1965 June 7 - .
  • Procurement of Apollo lunar surface experiments package authorized - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Apollo LM. Spacecraft: Apollo ALSEP.

    George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, approved procurement of the lunar surface experiments package (LSEP). The package, to be deployed on the moon by each LEM crew that landed there, would transmit geophysical and other scientific data back to earth. NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications would make the final selection of experiments. Mueller emphasized that the LSEP must be ready in time for the first lunar landing mission. Management responsibility for the project was assigned to MSC's Experiments Program Office.


1965 July 1 - .
  • Apollo Site Selection Board - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Within its Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA organized an Apollo Site Selection Board. As an advisory body to the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, the group would recommend landing sites for Apollo..

1965 December 1 - .
  • Green light to begin the Saturn IVB Orbital Workshop program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, von Braun. Spacecraft Bus: Skylab. Spacecraft: Orbital Workshop.

    George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun discussed Marshall's briefing on the S-IVB Workshop concept presented at Headquarters the previous day. Mueller asked that MSFC formulate a program development plan and present it at the next meeting of the Manned Space Flight Management Council. Specifically, Mueller demanded that the plan include experiments to be carried aboard the Workshop; funding arrangements; and where development work should be done (in house, or elsewhere). In addition, he asked that MSFC submit two such plans, one for the unpressurized and another for the pressurized version of the Workshop. In effect, Mueller gave Marshall the 'green light' to begin the Orbital Workshop program. At von Braun's request, the Workshop received the status of a separate project, with William Ferguson as Project Manager.


1966 March 3 - .
  • Landing rocket system for Apollo. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Shea. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, Apollo X.

    Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller acknowledged receipt from Joseph F. Shea, the Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager at MSC, of a detailed technical description of MSC's plans and development progress toward developing a landing rocket system for Apollo. (MSC had undertaken this effort some months earlier at Mueller's specific request.) Mueller advised Shea that he had asked AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher to work closely with Shea's people to devise a land landing system for AAP built on Houston's effort for Apollo.


1966 March 9 - .
  • Douglas proposal on the airlock for the AAP. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Seamans. Spacecraft Bus: Skylab. Spacecraft: Orbital Workshop.

    A team of engineers from Douglas Aircraft Company, headed by Jack Bromberg, presented a technical briefing and cost proposal to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller on the company's design on the airlock for the AAP. Mueller observed that Douglas' idea for a 30-day capability seemed technically sound. He expressed strong interest in the AAP spent-stage experiment because it would establish a solid basis for space station requirements and definition. However, he cautioned that he had not received definite approval from either the Administrator, James E. Webb, or his deputy, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on the spent-stage concept and admitted that he had 'some selling to do.'


1966 March - .
  • Total cost of the Apollo manned lunar landing program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Webb. Program: Apollo.

    NASA OMSF prepared a position paper on NASA's estimated total cost of the manned lunar landing program. Administrator James E. Webb furnished the paper for the record of the FY 1967 Senate authorization hearings and the same statement was given to the House Committee. The paper was approved by Webb and George E. Mueller and placed the run-out costs for the program at $22.718 billion.


1966 April 15 - .
  • NASA said to need a manned space flight goal other than "using Apollo hardware" - a Mars flyby or landing mission. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth, Mueller. Spacecraft: IMIS 1968, Von Braun Mars Expedition - 1969.

    MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth summarized Houston's position expressed during discussions with Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller two days earlier. Gilruth cited NASA s need for a manned space flight goal other than 'using Apollo hardware' (and suggested a Mars flyby or landing mission as an in-house focus for planning.) Also, he repeated his concern over the imbalance between AAP goals and resources, as well as the extent of engineering redesign and hardware modification that had been forced upon the project. Though expressing his and MSC's desire to contribute to and be a part of AAP, Gilruth voiced concern that 'the future of manned space flight . . . is in jeopardy because we do not have firm goals, and because the present approach appears to us to be technically unsound.'


1966 April 15 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3 Agena D.
  • Evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Seamans. Spacecraft Bus: Skylab. Spacecraft: Orbital Workshop.

    Associate Administrator for Manned Space Fight George E. Mueller informed Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of the Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Office's evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space. The proposal was feasible, Mueller advised, but did not seem a desirable mission for inclusion in the AAP. Additional Details: here....


1966 May 11 - .
  • Refurbished CSMs proposed for AAP. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth, Mueller. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, Apollo LM Lab, Apollo X.

    Replying to a suggestion by MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that AAP capitalize on Apollo hardware to an even greater extent by using refurbished CSMs, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller deferred any action toward implementing a competitive effort for such work. This was necessary, he said, because of the present unsettled nature of AAP planning. Additional Details: here....


1966 August 2 - .
  • S-IVB airlock module (AM) experiment planned as part of the dual-launch Apollo-Saturn 209-210 mission. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Seamans. Spacecraft Bus: Skylab. Spacecraft: Orbital Workshop.

    George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, recommended to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., that NASA proceed with its procurement effort on an S-IVB airlock module (AM) experiment as part of the dual-launch Apollo-Saturn 209-210 mission. The AM, to replace a LM aboard one of the vehicles, was to serve as the module affording a docking adapter at one end to permit CSM docking and at the other end a sealed connection to a hatch in the spent S-IVB stage of the rocket. Additional Details: here....


1966 October 7 - .
  • Apollo AS-202 impact error analzyed - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Guidance.

    In a memorandum to the NASA Deputy Administrator, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller commented on the AS-202 impact error. Mueller said the trajectory of the August 25 AS-202 mission was essentially as planned except that the command module touched down about 370 kilometers short of the planned impact point. Additional Details: here....


1966 October 19 - .
  • Von Braun complains of transfer of Apollo lunar work - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Stuhlinger, von Braun. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM.

    Marshall Space Flight Center Director Wernher von Braun wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that MSFC had spent a considerable effort in planning the transfer of study and development tasks in the lunar exploration program to MSC. Von Braun said, "We feel it is in the spirit of the MSF Hideaway Management Council Meeting held on August 13-15, 1966, to consider the majority of our Lunar Exploration Work Program for transfer to MSC in consonance with Bob Seamans' directive which designates MSC as the Lead Center for lunar science." He added that MSFC had formulated a proposal which it felt was in agreement with the directives and at the same time provided for management interfaces between the two Centers without difficulty.

    Briefly MSFC proposed to transfer to MSC:

    1. planning for Apollo Applications lunar traverses;
    2. lunar surface geological, geophysical, geochemical, biological, and biomedical experiments; and
    3. emplaced scientific station experiments.
    MSFC proposed to retain

    1. the local scientific survey module and related mobility efforts,
    2. Apollo Applications program lunar drill,
    3. lunar surveying system, and
    4. lunar flying device (one man flying machine).
    He added that MSFC had been working in specific areas of scientific technology that promised to furnish experiments that could be used on the lunar surface or from lunar orbit as well as from a planetary vehicle for planetary observations. Among these were radar and laser altimetry and infrared spectroscopy.

    Von Braun said that Ernst Stuhlinger of the Research Projects Laboratory had discussed the proposed actions for transfer of functions to MSC, and MSC Experiments Program Manager Robert O. Piland had indicated his general agreement, pending further consideration. He asked that Gilruth give his reaction to the proposal and said, "It would be very helpful if our two Centers could present a proposal to George Mueller (OMSF) on which we both agree."


1966 November 2 - .
  • Mission planning for AAP flights 209 through 212. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Spacecraft: Apollo ATM, Orbital Workshop.

    After intensive effort by AAP groups at MSFC and MSC on the ATM and AAP mission planning for Flights 209 through 212, George E. Mueller told the two Center Directors that he now had ample information for a 'reasonable plan' to proceed with AAP. First, Mueller stated that the Orbital Workshop mission could best achieve AAP objectives by launching the complete airlock, Workshop, and multiple docking adapter unmanned into a one-year orbit, with activation to be accomplished by a separately launched crew. The first two AAP missions, said Mueller, would thus provide a three-man, 28-day flight and, at the same time, would establish a large clustered space configuration for use during subsequent missions. Secondly, Mueller posited that the ATM to be developed by MSFC could readily be integrated into an LM ascent stage and could reasonably be scheduled for launch during 1968. He cited the possibility that, by eliminating some equipment from the LM, the complete CSM-LM-ATM vehicle could be launched by a single booster. However, Mueller stated his belief that the correct approach should retain those LM subsystems required to operate the vehicle in a tethered mode, even though normal operation might call for the LM/ATM to be docked to either the Workshop or the CSM. Further, Mueller expressed real concern regarding the likelihood of significant weight growths in the ATM systems. For this reason he favored separate launch of the LM/ATM combination. Mueller planned to present AAP planning along these lines during discussions over the next several days with Administrator James E. Webb and the Director of the Budget regarding NASA's planning for manned space flight in the post-Apollo era.


1966 November 18 - .
  • NASA plans to include the DOD's astronaut maneuvering unit "back pack" aboard AAP flights. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Spacecraft Bus: Skylab. Spacecraft: Orbital Workshop.

    As requested by Robert C. Seamans, Jr., at the monthly program meeting during October, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller summarized the agency's present plans for including the DOD's astronaut maneuvering unit 'back pack' aboard AAP flights. Additional Details: here....


1966 December 7 - .
  • Name for the Apollo Lunar Receiving Laboratory sought - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo.

    Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller requested Leonard Reiffel, NASA Hq., "to be thinking about an appropriate name for the Lunar Receiving Laboratory - a descriptive kind of name rather than one that doesn't signify exactly what it is."


1967 January 26 - .
  • NASA planned to form an "embryonic space station" in 1968-69 by clustering four AAP payloads. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Spacecraft Bus: Skylab. Spacecraft: Orbital Workshop.

    At a NASA Hq briefing, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller stated that NASA planned to form an 'embryonic space station' in 1968-69 by clustering four AAP payloads launched at different times. The first mission would be the launch of a manned spacecraft followed several days later by a spent S-IVB stage converted into an OWS. After the two spacecraft had docked, the crew would enter the Workshop through an airlock. Twenty-eight days later they would passivate the OWS and return to Earth in their spacecraft. In three to six months, a second manned spacecraft would be launched on a 56-day mission to deliver a resupply module to the OWS and to rendezvous with an unmanned ATM, the fourth and last launch of the series. The cluster would be joined together using the multiple docking adapter. Emphasizing the importance of manning the ATM, Mueller said that 'if there is one thing the scientific community is agreed on it is that when you want to have a major telescope instrument in space it needs to be manned.'


1967 March 8 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Saturn V translunar payload 44,500 kilograms - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, LM Weight.

    NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller stated that the February completion of MSFC studies of the Saturn V launch vehicle's payload and structural capability would permit an official revision of the payload from 43,100 kilograms to 44,500 kilograms; the CM weight would be revised from 5,000 to 5,400 kilograms; and the LM from 13,600 to 14,500.


1967 May 4 - .
  • Apollo mission redesignations - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller, Phillips, Samuel. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 204.

    Directions had been prepared to designate mission AS-501 formally as Apollo 4, AS-204/LM-1 as Apollo 5, and AS-502 as Apollo 6, NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips informed Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller. Phillips said he thought it was the right time to start using the designations in official releases and appropriate internal documentation. Mueller concurred.


1967 November 4 - .
  • Apollo mission schedule for six flights in 1968 and five in 1969 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 10, Apollo 14. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery.

    NASA announced an Apollo mission schedule calling for six flights in 1968 and five in 1969. NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller said the schedule and alternative plans provided a schedule under which a limited number of Apollo command and service modules and lunar landing modules, configured for lunar landing might be launched on test flights toward the moon by the end of the decade. Apollo/uprated Saturn I flights were identified with a 200 series number; Saturn V flights were identified with a 500 series number. Additional Details: here....


1968 January 15 - .
  • Program progress in Apollo described - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, LM Ascent Propulsion. George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, summarized for Administrator James E. Webb recent program progress in Apollo. Preparations were under way toward the revised January 22 launch date for Apollo 5. . Additional Details: here....

1968 April 3-15 - .
  • Due to stringent funding restraints facing the AAP, the most practical near-term program was a Saturn IB OWS designed to simplify operational modes and techniques in Earth orbit. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Spacecraft Bus: Skylab. Spacecraft: Orbital Workshop.

    Following discussions at the Manned Space Flight Management Council meeting at KSC on 21- 24 March, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller and MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth concluded that, with the stringent funding restraints facing the AAP, the most practical near-term program was a Saturn IB OWS designed to simplify operational modes and techniques in Earth orbit. It was agreed that a special task force would be set up to define and implement any changes necessary to the MDA, incorporate new experiments into the program, and plan and program the critical series of medical experiments required for AAP in order to collect vital data regarding crew performance during the early phases of AAP long-duration flights. The MDA task force held an initial meeting at MSC on 10-11 April. Requirements for the critical medical experiments were identified, and potential Earth Applications experiments were reviewed. MSFC was requested to make a preliminary design analysis of the impact of incorporating critical medical experiments and to determine which Earth applications experiments could be accommodated.


1968 July 17 - .
  • Review of the Apollo LM program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, LM Guidance.

    NASA Associate Administrator George E. Mueller, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, and other high-ranking manned space flight officials from Headquarters visited Bethpage for an overall review of the LM program. Greatest emphasis during their review was on schedules, technical problems, and qualification of the spacecraft's principal subsystems. Mueller and Phillips cited several areas that most concerned NASA:

    • Delivery schedules from subcontractors and vendors had slipped significantly during the past year, to the point where many components were only marginally supporting spacecraft deliveries.
    • The large number of hardware changes made during the past year was affecting costs and schedules.
    • Costs forecast for Fiscal Year 1969 exceeded the current LM budget.
    Mueller also suggested that Grumman consider eliminating the LM rendezvous radar to save weight aboard the vehicle. He stated that VHF ranging would be more accurate and would probably be the preferred mode of operation.

1968 October 2 - .
  • Operational philosophy for the Apollo 7 mission - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 7. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to reemphasize the operational philosophy for the Apollo 7 mission. . Additional Details: here....

1969 March 11 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Cost of the Apollo 204 fire $410 million - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 204. Spacecraft: Apollo LM.

    The additional direct cost to the Apollo research and development program from the January 27, 1967, Apollo 204 fire was estimated at $410 million, principally for spacecraft modifications, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller testified in congressional hearings. The accident delayed the first manned flight of the spacecraft by about 18 months. "During this period, however, there occurred a successful unmanned test of the Lunar Module and two unmanned tests of the Saturn V vehicle."


1969 June 23 - .
  • AAP and the Apollo Lunar Exploration Mission (ALEM) CSM commonality issues. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Spacecraft Bus: Apollo CSM. Spacecraft: Apollo X.

    In response to a TWX from NASA Hq (see 20 June entry) Kenneth S. Kleinknecht and Robert F. Thompson of MSC talked to John H. Disher (NASA Hq) at the suggestion of Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager George M. Low. Also listening to the conversation were Robert V. Battey and Harold E. Gartrell of MSC. (Low had suggested the call be made to William C. Schneider of NASA Hq, but he was not available.) Kleinknecht reiterated to Disher that from the beginning of both the AAP and the Apollo Lunar Exploration Mission (ALEM) consideration had always been given to maintaining the maximum degree of commonality between the basic CSM and those required for both programs without creating severe constraints on the objectives of either mission. Kleinknecht pointed out different requirements of the program and how they clearly indicated some major configuration differences between AAP and ALEM: Long duration of the AAP mission. Backup reaction control system deorbit capability of AAP. Thermal characteristics of AAP missions because of long attitude holds. Use of batteries in lieu of fuel cells in the CSM (if the Saturn V Workshop became a reality the CSM would be quiescent for long periods of time). Kleinknecht added that 'inasmuch as ALEM is still required to do lunar-landing missions as well as collect orbital scientific data, we cannot tolerate any weight penalties that may be associated with scar weights ...weights incurred by using a resulting from commonality with the AAP vehicle....' He also recognized that there would be more commonality between the AAP and ALEM should the Workshop become official because expendables could then be supplied to the CSM from the Workshop rather than carried in the CSM. He added that about three and one- half months had been spent in studying and defining the ALEM CSM, and a major change to provide commonality with the AAP CSM would result in that time being lost and at least three and one-half months delay in the launch readiness of the first ALEM mission. Kleinknecht concluded that MSC agreed in principle with Headquarters in providing as much commonality as possible, but recommended that the 20 June TWX from Headquarters be rescinded and that MSC not pursue a commonality study with North American. Four days later, MSC received another TWX from George E. Mueller (NASA Hq) saying, '. . . it is our understanding that you will continue your in-house evaluation of the differences in requirements and the impact of these differences on the configuration of CSM's to support lunar exploration, AAP Saturn V Workshop, and early space station missions. This further assessment should be available for discussion by July 7 and will likely be presented to the Management Council in executive session on July 8 or 9.'


1969 August 4 - .
  • Seven astronauts from the defunct MOL project transferred to NASA - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Spacecraft: MOL.

    Acting on an offer made by the Defense Department to assign a number of astronauts from the defunct MOL project to NASA, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller chose seven astronauts to augment MSC's flight crews. They were Karol J. Bobko, Charles G. Fullerton, Henry W. Hartsfield, and Donald H. Peterson (USAF); Richard H. Truly and Robert L. Crippin (USN); and Robert F. Overmyer (USMC). The decision to utilize these individuals, Mueller stated, derived from their extensive training and experience on the MOL project and the important national aspect of future manned space flight programs.


1969 November 10 - .
  • Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E Mueller resigns - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo.

    NASA announced the resignation of Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller effective December 10. In December Charles W. Mathews was named Acting Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight until a successor for Mueller was appointed.


1970 January 8 - .
  • Dale D. Myers was appointed NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller.

    Dale D. Myers was appointed NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight with an effective date of 12 January. He succeeded George E. Mueller, who left NASA on 10 December 1969 to become a vice president of General Dynamics Corporation. Prior to his acceptance of the NASA position, Myers was Vice President and General Manager of the Space Shuttle Program at North American Rockwell.


1970 January 12 - .
  • Dale D Myers' appointed NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo.

    Dale D. Myers' appointment as NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight was announced effective January 12, to succeed Dr. George E. Mueller, who had joined General Dynamics Corp. in New York City as a Vice President. Before this appointment, Myers was Vice President and General Manager of the Space Shuttle Program, North American Rockwell Corp.



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