Washington Redraws Management Lines

On 30 October 1963, NASA announced a revision of its Saturn flight program, eliminating manned Saturn I missions and the last 6 of 16 Saturn I vehicles.* NASA discarded the "building block" concept and introduced a new philosophy of launch vehicle development. Henceforth the Saturn vehicles would go "all-up"; that is, developmental flights of Saturn vehicles would fly in their final configuration (without dummy stages).

George E. Mueller, Holmes's replacement as Director of the Office of Manned Space Flight, made the "all-up" decision.** Mueller came to his new position from a vice-presidency at Space Technology Laboratories. STL provided engineering and technical assistance to the Air Force on its missile programs, including Minuteman, where the all-up concept was first employed. Despite some mishaps -the first attempt to launch a Minuteman from an underground silo at the Cape (30 August 1961) had resulted in a spectacular explosion - Mueller was confident that all-up testing would save NASA many months and millions of dollars on Apollo.44 At the OMSF Management Council Meeting on 29 October 1963, Mueller stressed the need to "minimize 'dead-end' testing [tests involving components or systems that would not fly operationally without major modification] and maximize 'allup' systems flight tests." Two other aspects of Mueller's all-up concept directly affected the Cape. The OMSF Director wanted complete (emphasis is Mueller's) systems delivered at the Cape to minimize KSC's rebuilding of space vehicles. And future schedules would include both delivery dates and launch dates. 45

Two days after the Saturn announcement, NASA published a major reorganization that combined program and center management by placing the field centers under Headquarters program directors rather than general management. Previously, center directors had received project or mission directives from one or more Headquarters program directors, while direction for general center operations came from Associate Administrator Seamans. Following the 1 November reorganization, NASA gave the responsibility for both overall management of major programs and direction of NASA field installations to three Associate Administrators: Mueller, Raymond Bisplinghoff, and Homer Newell. The three Manned Space Flight Centers - Marshall, Manned Spacecraft, and KSC - would report to Mueller.46

KSC realigned its organization on 6 February 1964 to conform with the new NASA structure. At the same time, administrative and technical support functions were separated, in an attempt to strengthen both; and the number of offices reporting directly to Debus was reduced, with more authority and responsibility given to the assistant directors. Henceforth in the Office of Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters and in the three Manned Space Flight Centers, the functional breakout in all Apollo Program Management Offices would be: program control - budgeting, scheduling, etc.; systems engineering; testing; operations; and reliability and quality assurance. At KSC Rocco Petrone as Assistant Director for Program Management was also head of the Apollo Program Management Office.47

* The Saturn C-1, C-lB, and C-5 were renumbered Saturn I, Saturn IB, and Saturn V in 1963.

** Pronounced "Miller." Holmes and Webb had clashed over the amount of NASA's funds that Apollo should receive. Holmes wanted to concentrate almost all of NASA's resources on the lunar mission while Webb, supported by Vice President Johnson, preferred a more balanced program that would provide a total space capability including weather, communications, and deep-space satellites. When President Kennedy sided with Webb, Holmes departed in mid-l963.

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Data Management

On 29 October 1964, the year of the reorganization, in his weekly report to Debus, Petrone stated that his office was preparing a KSC regulation for implementation of the instructions received from Headquarters entitled "Apollo Documentation Instruction NPC [NASA Publication Control] 500-6." This instruction required the following action from each center: identification, review, and approval of all documents required for management of the Apollo program; "an Apollo document index," cataloguing all recurring interorganization documentation used by the Office of Manned Space Flight and the contractors; a "Center Apollo documentation index"; a "documents requirement list," listing all documents required from a contractor - this list would "be negotiated into all major contracts of a half million dollars or over" and would be part of the request for quotation; and a "document requirement description," classifying every item on the "document requirements list," its contents and instructions for preparation. 48

This instruction, Petrone believed, could provide a strong management tool and eliminate many unnecessary documents. The procedure would classify and catalogue documents and make them readily available to anyone who had immediate need for them. It would force many contractors, especially those who had not previously dealt extensively in government contracts, to clarify in writing the exact nature of their roles in the Apollo program. Throughout the entire program, specific delineation of each phase would bring greater clarity to the respective tasks.

A document tree for Apollo-Saturn V, December 1964.

At various times Kennedy Space Center put out Apollo document trees - charts showing the relationship of key documents. On 3 November 1965, for instance, Petrone was to authorize the "KSC Apollo Project Development Plan" under three categories of documents: Apollo Saturn IB Development Operations Plan, Apollo Saturn Program Management and Support Plan, and Apollo Saturn V Development Operations Plan. Within the second category were ten areas of concern to management: program control, configuration management, reliability and quality assurance, vehicle technical support, administrative support, logistics, data management instruction, training, general safety, and instrumentation support. The other two categories had 31 and 44 topics respectively! Typical of those that appeared in both the Saturn I and Saturn V listings were the space-vehicle countdown procedures, the prelaunch checkout plan, and the launch operations plan.49

With even its paper work organized, the Debus team had come a long way from the Launch Operations Directorate of 1960 to the John F. Kennedy Space Center of February 1964. Many problems with the Air Force had been resolved, without undue antagonism resulting. Land on Merritt Island had been purchased for the manned lunar landing program, plans laid for launch facilities and an industrial area, and construction had begun. The center had recruited a roster of engineering and administrative personnel and devised a workable organization.

The new organization did not mean an improvement in every respect. It involved the development of a bureaucracy that was incompatible with the informal, personalized approach of the old days on the Cape. Then the engineers had inspected their instruments, worked on them, sometimes built them; they labored with their hands. Now, they monitored contractors. 50 Meetings with department heads and even the Director had been highly informal. Now secretaries scheduled the meetings, each of which required a detailed agenda, and division heads presided with the formality of a college dean at a faculty meeting. Because the men who launched rockets were a sentimental crew, there were frequent references to the good old times. But to launch a rocket that would put a man on the moon, they recognized, required an extensive organization.

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