An Annotated Bibliography of the Apollo Program/The Management of the Apollo Program
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The Management of the Apollo Program
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Biddle, Wayne. "Two Faces of Catastrophe." Air and Space/Smithsonian. 5 (August/September 1990): 46-49. Discusses the different ways in which NASA handled the Apollo 204 fire in 1967 and the Challenger disaster in 1986. Biddle concludes that the comparison shows NASA had become more fragile and lost direction following the Moon landing.
Bilstein, Roger E. Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles. Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration SP-4206, 1980. This thorough and well-written book gives a detailed but highly readable account of the enormously complex process whereby the Marshall Space Flight Center under the direction of Wernher von Braun developed the launch vehicles used in the Apollo program ultimately to send twelve humans to the Moon. Based on exhaustive research and equipped with extensive bibliographic references, this book comes as close to being a definitive history of the Saturn rocket program as is ever likely to appear. Moreover, it is not simply a technical history but covers the decision-making process that lay behind the technological development, making it not just a history of hardware development but also an analysis of technical management and organization. As one reviewer said in Air University Review, "This volume is just one of many excellent histories produced by government and contract historians for the NASA History Office....The book is enhanced by many excellent appendixes and charts, and it has a thorough essay on sources and documentation....Author Roger Bilstein...gracefully wends his way through a maze of technical documentation to reveal the important themes of his story; rarely has such a nuts-and-bolts tale been so gracefully told."
Chapman, Richard L. Project Management in NASA: The System and the Men. Washington, DC: NASA SP-324, 1973. Based on almost 150 interviews and contributions by NASA officials, this slight and somewhat uncritical study does provide a useful look at NASA's project management system that contributed significantly to the success of the Apollo program. Although far from a definitive treatment, this volume provides useful information on management within NASA during the Apollo era, even though it does not focus specifically on Apollo. It covers especially the Office of Space Science and Applications, the Office of Advanced Research and Technology, and field center organization. Equipped with useful if dated and selected reference notes and bibliography.
Goldstein, Stanley H. Reaching for the Stars: The Story of Astronaut Training and the Lunar Landing. New York: Praeger, 1987. This is a detailed account of the development and management of the astronaut training program.
Houbold, John C. "Lunar Rendezvous." International Science and Technology. 14 (February 1963): 62-65. Discusses the author's role in the development and promotion of lunar rendezvous, the method ultimately chosen for reaching the Moon in the Apollo program.
Kraft, Christopher C., et al. "Flexible Yet Disciplined Mission Planning." Astro- nautics and Aeronautics. 8 (March 1970): 84-88. Four managers at the Manned Spacecraft Center discuss the evolution of mission planning for Apollo since the inception of the program. They stress the need for flexibility in the development program and the capacity to react to major readjustments in the program.
Lambright, W. Henry. "James E. Webb: A Dominant Force in 20th Century Public Administration." Public Administration Review. 53 (March/April 1993): 95-99. This discussion of the life and management practices of the NASA administrator during the bulk of the Apollo period provides an important perspective on the ways NASA reached President Kennedy's goals for Apollo.
______. "James Webb and the Uses of Administrative Power." In Doig, James W. and Hargrove, Erwin C. Editors. Leadership and Innovation: A Biographical Perspective on Entrepreneurs in Government. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, pp. 174-203. This lengthy analysis of Webb's administrative practices furnishes a biographical perspective on the way he managed NASA during the Apollo years. It discusses his triadic division of labor among the three top managers--himself, his deputy Hugh L. Dryden, and Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr.; Webb's political astuteness; his struggles with the Air Force; his management during the Apollo 204 fire; and his attempts to "sell" post-Apollo programs in the post-fire political environment.
Levine, Arnold S. Managing NASA in the Apollo Era. Washington, DC: NASA SP-4102, 1982. A narrative account of NASA from its origins through 1969, this book analyzes key administrative decisions, contracting, personnel, the budgetary process, headquarters organization, relations with the Department of Defense, and long-range planning.
Logsdon, John M. "Selecting the Way to the Moon: The Choice of the Lunar Orbital Rendezvous Mode." Aerospace Historian. 18 (Summer, 1971): 63-70. In this well-written article, Logsdon heralds the landing on the Moon as "one of the greatest technological accomplishments of western civilization" and points to the selection of the lunar orbital rendezvous (LOR) as one of the key decisions in successfully carrying out the Apollo mission. He shows that while few NASA managers were initially convinced of the merits of this approach, a few individuals within NASA convinced the remaining leaders in the space agency to support this approach, resulting in "one of the most important choices in the history of technology."
Low, George M. The Apollo Program: A Midstream Appraisal. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1966. Edwin A. Link Lecture Series, Smithsonian Publication no. 4693. This 22-page reprint of a lecture by the deputy director of the Manned Spacecraft Center assesses the Apollo program from a management perspective at a time when even Gemini was incomplete. He devotes considerable attention to astronaut training and the problems of flight control. Useful for a sense of where the program was almost 5 years after President Kennedy's proclamation of the intent to land an American on the Moon and more than three years before the actual landing.
McCurdy, Howard E. Inside NASA: High Technology and Organizational Change in the U.S. Space Program. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, New Series in NASA History, 1993. While not devoted exclusively to the Apollo period, this study of NASA's organizational culture over the course of its entire history includes coverage of that culture during the Apollo period. Based on archival sources and extensive interviews, McCurdy covers such topics as the Apollo fire, Apollo 13, the lunar orbit rendezvous, approaches to contracting, the relationships between NASA's centers and the headquarters, and much else. He attributes NASA's relative success during the Apollo period to a number of factors including extensive testing, technical capabilities maintained within the agency, and a willingness to accept risk and failure. Then he shows how with age, the agency's performance tended to decline. An important and provocative study with which, naturally, not everyone will agree.
Mueller, George E. "Apollo Actions in Preparation for the Next Manned Flight." Astronautics and Aeronautics. 5 (August 1967): 28-33. Reviews the program from materials to management, comments on the Apollo 204 fire and the changes made in response to it, and states that an open-ended 1968 mission will be a major milestone in the program.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. What Made Apollo a Success? Washington, DC: NASA SP-287, 1971. Reprint of eight articles from Astronautics and Aeronautics, March 1970, by such key Apollo program managers as George M. Low, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Eugene F. Kranz, and Howard W. Tindall, Jr. Discusses topics ranging from design principles to mission planning.
Perrow, Charles. Complex Organizations. New York: Random House, 1979. A general study, this work investigates the management of sophisticated organizations such as NASA and offers some general insights into the way in which the Shuttle program was handled.
Roberts, Christopher B. "NASA and the Loss of Space Policy Leadership." Technology in Society. 12 (1990): 139-55. As the title suggests, this article discusses NASA's inability since Apollo to obtain adequate funding for programs it wants to pursue. The author argues that the reason for this failure lie in the "dominance of bureaucratic goals over program goals." While not specifically focused on Apollo, this discussion does cover the reasons for its success as background for the succeeding failures.
Roland, Alex. "Barnstorming in Space: The Rise and Fall of the Romantic Era of Spaceflight, 1957-1986." In Byerly, Radford, Jr. Editor. Space Policy Reconsid- ered. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989. Pp. 33-52. This interesting article says little directly about Apollo but argues that its success led NASA to develop a long- range plan in 1969 that it continued to follow for the next two decades. "Believing that only manned spaceflight sells before Congress and the public, [NASA, he argues] has never given proper exposure to its unmanned programs. NASA's truly spectacular achievements in space science, earth resources monitoring, geodesy, and weather analysis have gone comparatively unnoticed." Roland believes that NASA should invest its limited budgets since Apollo in less expensive but more productive automated missions instead of ones carrying humans. Not everyone will agree with this assessment, but it represents one knowledgeable scholars perception of the effect of Apollo on NASA management.
Seamans, Robert C., Jr. "The National Commitment to Apollo." Astronautics and Aeronautics. 7 (August 1969): 32-48. The former deputy administrator of NASA presents an insider's view of the history of the Apollo program dating back to the Eisenhower administration and discusses how its architects got the program started and its managers carried out its goals. He concludes that management needed continually to monitor the program's elements, formulate alternate plans when difficulties arose, ensure good vertical communication in both directions, remain flexible, and retain capable, dedicated people for "both making and executing decisions." Discusses the "Apollo Effect," which inspired national debates on the efficacy of such an approach to achieving other national goals.
______. "Action and Reaction: Part 2, Lessons Learned." Astronautics and Aeronautics. 7 (September 1969): 44-52. Although bearing a different title, this is part 2 of the article above in which the author draws management lessons from the Apollo program in the areas of allocating resources, managing actions, dealing with overlapping authority, competition in space, and cooperation.
______. "Action and Reaction--Conclusion: The Space Program and the Needs of the Nation." Astronautics and Aeronautics. 7 (October 1969): 62-75. The conclusion of the three-part article, this segment proposes national priorities for research and development, then measures the space program against them.
Seamans, Robert C., Jr., and Ordway, Frederick I., III. "Lessons of Apollo for Large- Scale Technology." In Durant, Frederick C., III. Editor. Between Sputnik and the Shuttle: New Perspectives on American Astronautics. AAS History Series, 3. San Diego: Univelt, 1981. Pp. 241-87. This article by the former deputy administrator of NASA during most of the Apollo period and a knowledgeable writer on space subjects first appeared in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (London) in late 1977. It discussed the Apollo program in terms of its "object lesson[s] for the management of large-scale technological endeavors." Among the lessons the two authors derived from NASA's impressive achievements in the program as well as its problems such as the Apollo 204 fire were that without support and "a solid use of relevant technology" no large-scale program could succeed. Also crucial was the need to offer benefits to significant numbers of people, whether those benefits were tangible or intangible, such as national security or pride. Finally, Apollo and its successor, Skylab, showed that triumphs in one venture did not necessarily translate into support for future ventures, as NASA found out when funding shrank in the late 1960s and the 1970s in the wake of other national commitments.
Stuhlinger, Ernst, and Ordway, Frederick I., III. Wernher von Braun: Crusader for Space. Issued in two separate, unnumbered volumes: An Illustrated Memoir and A Biographical Memoir. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company, 1994. The illustrated volume consists of 132 pages of photographs and plates plus a biographical sketch and some appendices on von Braun's awards and honors, honorary degrees, lectures, and selected works. The much longer biographical memoir covers his life, with one chapter on Apollo, presented from the perspective of the authors, who were both co-workers under von Braun, Stuhlinger having worked under the German rocket developer and manager from 1943 to 1970 and Ordway from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. Contains a list of references but no specific reference notes, in character with its billing as a memoir rather than a critical, scholarly study. Provides a number of insights into von Braun's inimitable management style.
Tompkins, Phillip K. Organizational Communication Imperatives: Lessons of the Space Program. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company, 1993. Although sloppily written in places, this useful study examines the leadership and management at the Marshall Space Flight Center going back to the Apollo period. It discusses Wernher von Braun's authoritarian but effective leadership style and carries the analysis forward through the Shuttle Challenger accident in 1986 and the changes that followed.
Turner, Sarah H. "Maxime Faget and the Space Shuttle." NASA Activities. (November/December 1990): 22. This brief biographical sketch of the designer of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft also covers his involvement in Shuttle design. Not specifically concerned with management matters, this article is nevertheless useful in providing a context for the understanding of Apollo management decisions.
______. "Sam Phillips: One who Led us to the Moon." NASA Activities. (May/June 1990): 18-19. This biographical sketch of the Air Force general from the Minuteman program who became deputy director and then director of the Apollo program provides more of an overview of his life than an assessment of his managerial contributions to Apollo, but it does offer some perspectives to use in conjunction with true management studies.
United States Congress. House Committee on Science and Aeronautics. Apollo Program Management: Staff Study for the Subcommittee on NASA Oversight of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-first Congress, First Session. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1969. Less the study indicated in its title than a collection of summaries of presentations made to the Subcommittee on NASA Oversight by five key NASA contractors and the three principal NASA centers involved in the Apollo program--the Kennedy Space Center, the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, and the Marshall Space Flight Center--this is nevertheless a highly useful compilation if hardly a critical one. It includes appendices containing correspondence with industrial managers and Manned Space Flight Center directors plus a bibliography of key Apollo documents and program directives. As such, this volume provides a good deal of insight into the ways in which Apollo program management operated, although obviously other sources need to be consulted as well.
United States Congress. House Committee on Science and Aeronautics. NASA Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Decision. Hearing, Eighty-seventh Congress, Second Session, July 12, 1962. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1962. This 11-page committee print contains primarily a briefing by D. Brainerd Holmes, director of the Office of Manned Space Flight, to Congress on the decision to employ a lunar orbit rendezvous rather than an Earth orbit rendezvous as the mode for reaching the Moon. Also included are comments by Clyde Bothmer and Joseph F. Shea plus answers to queries by congressmen.
United States Congress. House Committee on Science and Aeronautics. Pacing Systems of the Apollo Program: Staff Study for the Subcommittee on NASA Oversight of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1965. This committee print analyzed the lunar excursion module and the command and service modules plus their critical subsystems. It concluded that NASA management was "employing its resources effectively in" solving problems with these pacing systems. The analysis itself comprises only 9 pages of the print, the remainder consisting of testimony by NASA officials under questioning by subcommittee members. Includes 44 figures illustrating the points made by NASA managers.
Webb, James E. Space Age Management: The Large-Scale Approach. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969. This book is an attempt by the second NASA administrator, who presided over the agency during most of the Apollo era, to distill what he learned from this experience for use in other large-scale efforts. He discusses such issues as doctrines and practices, the environment in large-scale endeavors, how to safeguard the democratic process in such efforts, the impact on society, leadership as a factor, organizational structure, and the executive at work.