Page images
PDF
EPUB

Action: A project organization was established which is far superior to that which existed in the past. Project assignments were defined by name throughout the Laboratory, and lines of responsibility were established from the project manager down to the cognizant engineer level. The project manager was recognized as the boss, and his systems managers, such as the spacecraft systems manager, were given direct authority over division personnel assigned to the projects.

2. Recommendation: Relieve the project manager of all duties not directly related to Ranger.

Action: The present Ranger project manager, Mr. H. M. Schurmeier, was appointed to this position on December 12, 1962. Since this appointment, Mr. Schurmeier has devoted all of his time and energies to the Ranger project.

3. Recommendation: Hold formal design review at appropriate stages of the design of the spacecraft.

Action: The Ranger block III design was under almost constant review up to the launch of Ranger VI. These were primarily subsystem reviews which were held on alternate Wednesdays. In addition, the design review team, which conducted the original design review (see item 1 under "General"), met periodically for total design reviews. The last review held by this group was in the fall of 1963. A formal design review was in progress for block V at the time of the cancellation of the project.

4. Recommendation: Apply strict quality control and quality assurance procedures and methods to all areas of the project.

Action: The quality assurance and quality control program at JPL was reorganized and strengthened considerably. From a Laboratory effort of approximately 2 part-time personnel, the staff of the quality assurance and reliability office has been increased to over 150 people.

Mr. KARTH. From what, may I ask?

Mr. NICKS. From 2 to 150.

Additional responsibilities and authority has been placed in this area and a rigid failure reporting system and engineering change control program have been initiated.

PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

1. Recommendation: Reexamine JPL's assignments and JPL headquarters working relationships.

Action: JPL assignments are continually under review by headquarters. There have been two lunar and planetary flight program assignments made to other centers during 1963; the Pioneer project to Ames, the lunar orbiter project to Langley. The JPL headquarters working relationships have been improved many times over what they were during the 1962 time period.

2. Recommendation: Withhold assignment to JPL of new major flight projects pending resolution of Ranger difficulties.

Action: This recommendation was carried out and as a result some assignments were made to other field centers (see item 1 above). A competition was held between the Goddard Space Flight Center and JPL for the Mars 66 mission. Based on this competition, it was decided to place the Mars 66 mission at JPL.

3. Recommendation: Bring the headquarters staff to full potential in order to enable closer monitoring of Ranger; assign a ÑASA headquarters technical representative to JPL.

Action: At the time of the Kelley report, the Ranger program staff consisted of a manager and one engineer. In early 1963, it was increased by the addition of a program scientist. A NASA headquarters technical representative was not assigned to JPL, but a NASA quality assurance and reliability expert was assigned full time in residence at JPL. This man (Cliff Rumin) has devoted particular attention to the Ranger project, and has played a large part in the buildup of the quality assurance and quality control effort at JPL within the past year and a half.

Mr. GURNEY. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KARTH. Mr. Gurney.

Mr. GURNEY. Could we have a little control area, the increase from 2 to 150? strange. It sounds major and drastic. Is that why you beefed it up to 150?

explanation on that quality That strikes me as certainly Was it very weak before?

Mr. NICKS. I think the way it was done before and the way it was done now are quite different, and in that sense it is materially strengthened. It was being done by the sections and divisions. Separate entities in the organization had their own quality control and assurance work done under their own province. The way it is now, it is pulled out as a completely independent operation, a police force, you might say, to bore in on the whole matter from an independent point of view. Mr. GURNEY. Does the original quality control still exist?

Mr. NICKS. Well, the people involved at the time when this recommendation was put into effect were high-level people and did have cognizance over what was going on in these other branches, but they were not pulled together as an organizational team as they now are. Mr. GURNEY. These 150 people are they people you pulled out that were doing quality control before, or are they doing quality control in addition to what was done before?

Mr. NICKS. Some of them were doing quality control before any other people were added to the Laboratory, but this is a full-time job for them now.

Mr. GURNEY. Have you eliminated the other quality control people? Mr. NICKS. Yes.

Mr. SCHURMEIER. I think the statement here may be a little bit misleading, which implies there were only two part-time people on quality assurance and reliability. That is not correct. There were, I guess, about 30, if you add up all of the quality assurance and reliability people.

Mr. NICKS. The problem with this is there were two guys named. What you had done is hired in Brooks Morris and some key people to head this thing up, and it was just about to blossom, and the other people weren't named as a part of their official staff at the time. Mr. SCHURMEIER. That is right.

Mr. NICKS. If you looked at the organization chart and the names of the people, you would find it saying this sort of thing, but in essence, the job was being done in another part of the Laboratory.

Mr. GURNEY. One other question. Was the quality control which was being done prior to this reorganization standard throughout the industry, or is this method standard which you are doing now?

Mr. NICKS. I think what they are doing now is more standard, and that it has been an improvement.

Mr. GURNEY. Did you ever look into this quality control area in the earlier Ranger failures, or only until you got around to Ranger V or VI?

Mr. NICKS. Ranger V. It was reviewed in greater depth than it had been earlier.

Mr. CORTRIGHT. It had been the subject of some discussions as to what it was. There were different points of view on that, by the

way.

Mr. KARTH. What would you say would be a comparable number for the 150 people? I couldn't quite believe that these two figures were used in the same context.

Mr. CORTRIGHT. Thirty.

Mr. KARTH. I wonder if I could ask a question on the program management section.

I know that the last sentence of the action statement says that the JPL headquarters working relationships had been improved many times over what they were during the 1962 time period. I wonder if you could explain to us for the record what was wrong, and how it has been improved.

Mr. NICKS. I think the direct relationship between Mr. Schurmeier and Mr. Cunningham, the field office and headquarters program office, was improved because of a clear delineation of the project mission assignment and his people assigned to him as a clear-cut team.

One of the reasons for the recommendation that the project manager has this only as one assignment, you see, is that before, the project manager was also the deputy director for all the lunar projects, and he had other kinds of activities and jobs to perform.

When Mr. Schurmeier was given this assignment as a direct assignment, we had then a 1-to-1 correlation between the program manager and project manager with full-time relationship. They knew exactly when and how to work together and they work well together, and this has helped.

Mr. KARTH. What caused this better management working relationship to come about? Was this something that had been suggested by NASA, or was this a voluntary act on the part of the JPL? Mr. NICKS. This was a voluntary act on the part of JPL Mr. KARTH. Precipitated by the Kelley report?

Mr. NICKS. I think it was made before the Kelley report came out, as a matter of fact, but it was precipitated by the kind of things that precipitated the Kelley report, an overall review of the problems.

Mr. KARTH. And this was after 4 years of operating under that type of management?

Mr. NICKS. This was in early 1963; yes.

Mr. KARTH. I wonder if you would, one more time, explain for the record precisely what was wrong with the management situation that existed prior to the project system now.

Mr. NICKS. I believe the lunar program office as it was set up before and the planetary program office, which were two separate offices at JPL with a lot of interaction between, made it a little harder for us to work with them because the headquarters people were fewer in number. When we would go out to work on a particular project, we

would have to work with these people here and then also with those people over there. What they did to improve it was to centralize, made an assistant director out of Mr. Parks for lunar and planetary projects, made clear-cut responsibilities to project managers reporting all to him, and among them was Mr. Schurmeier, and made this his full-time assignment. That meant that it was now clear who was responsible in detail for this project, and exactly who he should work with. He also had his objectives clarified. We worked them out, and this was one of the recommendations you will see in the Kelley report which said to get these objectives clearly in mind for a given flight. This might have been a problem, because we had different kinds of Rangers, and we had different people involved in the different kinds of Rangers, but the whole organization was streamlined under Mr. Schurmeier.

Mr. CORTRIGHT. Mr. Chairman, I think that there is a possible implication that is incorrect here, and that is that the organization that existed prior to even this improvement of many times was not capable of coping with the problems. I don't think that is exactly the situation. The situation is that we found that after these initial Ranger flights we really had a "bear by the tail" here, and rather quickly began to cut through minor irritants, that in the past had bothered both parties, to get at the heart of the matter, and this involved JPL cleaning up and streamlining some of the internal organization so the project was more of a total entity, and it involved certain steps on our part in the way of rapid response and close liaison, all of which were designed to get us pulled together and get this project working.

I don't think there is any single thing that you can point to which represents an improvement of many times.

Mr. KARTH. What about the recommendations on the headquarters staff? I thought Dr. Newell had said there were 17 such NASA people at JPL.

Mr. CORTRIGHT. That is the NASA residency at JPL.

Mr. KARTH. And that is for all of the programs?

Mr. CORTRIGHT. Yes, and their functions are primarily concerned with the business operations and contracting, procurements, and that sort of thing, but, in addition, Mr. Clifford Rumin, a reliability and quality assurance man, was assigned there full time at our request. Mr. NICKS. Recommendation: Give complete responsibility for Atlas-Agena checkout and launch at AMR to either NASA or the Air Force.

Action: The responsibility for checkout and launch operations of the Atlas-Agena was given to NASA upon signature of the revised NASA/ USAF agreement for Agena vehicles dated August 9, 1963. Checkout and launch of Ranger VI was completed by the launch contractor under the technical direction and control of NASA.

(2) Recommendation: Give complete responsibility for the procurement and technical direction of Atlas and Agena "NASA peculiars" to either NASA or the Air Force. This decision should be consistent with (1) above.

Action: The responsibility for procurement and technical direction of mission-peculiar modifications was given to NASA in the agreement referenced above. The USAF contract for procurement and modifications for the Ranger block III vehicles was transferred to NASA on June 14, 1963.

MISSION OBJECTIVES

(1) Recommendation: Establish specific mission objectives for each future Ranger flight and eliminate all activities and/or operations which do not contribute to achieving these objectives.

Action: The mission objectives for the Ranger block III missions were defined and agreed upon early in 1963. These objectives state that:

The mission of the block III Ranger flights is to obtain television pictures of the lunar surface which will be of benefit to both the scientific program and the U.S. manned lunar program. These pictures should be at least an order of magnitude better in resolution than any available earth-based photography. Should the requirements of the manned lunar program conflict with the scientific requirements, every consideration will be given to meeting the manned lunar program needs. The attainment of technological data will be a byproduct and not an objective of these flights.

Mr. KARTH. What activities or operations were going on that did not contribute to achieving the objectives of Ranger?

Mr. NICKS. This recommendation was made with regard to putting other kinds of scientific experiments which might be useful for getting data on interplanetary space or something of that sort and not directly contributing to the lunar data. They recommended against that kind of thing because of the importance of the prime mission of obtaining pictures.

Mr. KARTH. Going back one page for a quick question, it seemed to me you said that there were six or seven technical people, scientists or engineers, on your headquarters staff. My arithmetic doesn't add it up that way as I read it here. In fact, it comes out to be about three.

Mr. NICKS. Part of the problem here, I mean in the arithmetic, is that I have a project management staff and then I have sciences people, people that worry most about the payload, and this is talking about the program office.

Mr. KARTH. Thank you.

Mr. NICKS. Recommendation: Determine Apollo's requirements more specifically and evaluate Ranger's capabilities and limitations for meeting these requirements.

Action: The Apollo requirements, insofar as Ranger capabilities are concerned, are given every consideration. Suggested landing areas have been furnished us by the Apollo program and, where possible, Ranger will attempt to provide pictures in these areas.

That was the case for Ranger VI, by the way. Some of these I thought might be skipped, but we will go through them if you wish.

SPACECRAFT DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND TESTING

(1) Recommendation: Assign system responsibility for Ranger 10 and subsequent to an industrial contractor.

Action: This recommendation was fulfilled by the contractural arrangement with the Northrop Corp., which was to have been assigned spacecraft systems responsibility for Rangers 10 and subsequent (see item 2 under "General").

(2) Recommendation: Initiate a combined testing and design review for Kangers VI to 9.

« PreviousContinue »