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experience was gained with the performance of these components in the flights of blocks I and II spacecraft.
Mr. KARTH. Might I ask, Mr. Horner, whether or not all of these items were designed by JPL?
Mr. HORNER. They were furnished in response to JPL designs. Some of the components were off-the-shelf components that have been used in many systems, but generally speaking they were specified by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Mr. KARTH. Could you say whether or not they were optimum design within the state of the art at the time they were made?
Mr. HORNER. As in any such endeavor, we do a limited amount of systems engineering analysis in order to be sure our components fit into the system, and we certainly concurred with their application. Mr. KARTH. Did you make any recommended changes?
Mr. HORNER. Our involvement, as you will note as I proceed through my statement, in the Ranger program was evolutionary in nature in that we had a growing responsibility as additional spacecraft were built. We did have employees working directly with the JPL on a team basis, and there were many program reviews during the process. It is very difficult to tell sometimes where specific suggestions come from. There were changes in design as it went along as a joint endeavor between the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and our staff.
Mr. KARTH. Were any of these recommended design changes implemented in the spacecraft?
Mr. HORNER. I was speaking only of those that were implemented. I know of none that were suggested and dropped.
At the time of the initiation of development for the block III spacecraft, Northrop was given a contract to fabricate and integrate the entire attitude control subsystem and deliver it to JPL in accordance with the design furnished by the Laboratory.
Mr. KARTH. May I ask what your opinion of the design was that was furnished by the Laboratory, just so that I understand what Northrop's position was at that time?
Mr. HORNER. Our position was one of being responsive to the customer, Mr. Chairman. We had a very limited responsibility, and therefore limited knowledge of the entire system. As far as we were concerned, the design was doable; it was our responsibility to interpret it in production hardware, test it, and deliver it. It was certainly capable of that-the design was capable of that function.
Mr. KARTH. What were the reasons for your substantive changes in design or those that you anticipated making, at least, in the design for Block V?
Mr. HORNER. Block V had a different mission.
Mr. KARTH. It had different experiments.
Mr. HORNER. Different experiments, different trajectory requirements--it was quite a different mission.
Mr. KARTH. I see. Thank you.
Mr. PATTEN. Mr. Horner, I have always associated Northrop with aviation. You say you fabricate the central computer and sequencer. Do you folks have the know-how about computers?
Mr. HORNER. Yes, sir. How long may I have to describe our capabilities, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. PATTEN. I may be mixed up with some other company, but I thought Northrop essentially was aviation.
Mr. HORNER. Northrop has a total of five operational divisions in the corporation, one of which is an aircraft division which has produced aircraft, and in fact, is now producing aircraft. Another division, our Nortronics Division has extensive involvement and has had for many years, in electro, electromechanical, inertiamechanical systems. It was one of the earliest designers and builders of the flightborne computers.
Mr. PATTEN. You don't do any submarine work, though. [Laughter.]
Mr. HORNER. Yes, sir. We have the very common position with the rest of the aerospace industry in that we try to do almost everything in the aerospace industry.
Shortly after this contract was initiated, we were also given work in the fabrication of the central computer and sequencer, which controls all of the commands for the functional components of the spacecraft and its scientific payloads.
Mr. KARTH. Did you ever recommend redesign of the C.C. & S.?
Mr. HORNER. We were asked to conduct a design review of the C.C. & S. and did participate down the road in that activity up to the cancellation of block IV.
Mr. KARTH. Did you ever recommend any design changes for C.C. & S. for block III?
Mr. HORNER. No, sir, not specifically. As I said, our staff worked closely with JPL in all of the progress meetings and in the process of carrying out our support engineering function we had people working directly with the JPL staff. The extent to which design changes came from our people or came from those at JPL is impossible to discern. I have no way of knowing.
Mr. KARTH. Your techniques after becoming familiar with the C.C. & S. design for Ranger VI and subsequent ones-if you were aboard at that time-were you satisfied with them?
Mr. HORNER. Our techniques, again, I will have to say in effect are working in the laboratories. We have only administrative responsibility for them in performing this function, and we have no way of knowing. I am sure that they are satisfied with their work by them as individuals, and as professional people, if they weren't satisfied with the way the work was progressing, I am sure I would hear about it. Since I haven't heard about it, I assume they are satisfied with the end objective.
Mr. KARTH. So you heard of no deficiency suggestions from any one of your 100 or 135 personnel who worked with JPL at that time; is that correct?
Mr. HORNER. Well, as you know, the original controller design was a design of the 1959-60 time period. In any device such as this, there is a constant effect of the improved state of the art. It was recognized by JPL that there were some characteristics of the C.C. & S. that perhaps could and should be improved, and it was this recognition, at least partly this recognition that led them to ask us for a complete design evaluation and redesign in connection with the block IV work. Mr. KARTH. How about testing procedures or testing deficiencies? Were there any recommendations that your technical people made in that area?
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Mr. HORNER. As far as the C.C. & S. and attitude control system were concerned, it was a part of our contractual responsibility to test and deliver a quality-assured item to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We carried out the tests in accordance with the specifications. We had mutual agreement on the test specifications and delivered the hardware in accordance with those specifications.
Mr. KARTH. Were these quality control and testing specifications as all inclusive and as rigid as you experienced with other NASA contractors, including NASA centers?
Mr. HORNER. I would say yes.
Mr. KARTH. Thank you.
Mr. HORNER. Thus, by virtue of the functional relationship between the attitude control system, the central computer and sequencer, and the rest of the elements of the Ranger program, Northrop possessed a comprehensive understanding of the Ranger spacecraft when a NASA decision was made in early 1963 to enlarge the program by adding several additional spacecraft with the objective of increasing the total information available concerning the lunar surface and selenology.
With the increased number of spacecraft in the program and the inherent repetitive production-type operations involved, it became the expressed desire of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to have the major responsibilities for the Ranger spacecraft assumed by an industrial contractor and retain in the Laboratory only project management responsibility.
Mr. KARTH. Do you concur in the assignment of total production of the Ranger spacecraft to an industrial contractor in about the same time frame as it was in fact assigned to an industrial contractor, or would you suggest that it should have been done earlier, sir?
Mr. HORNER. Well, I would suggest that the actual timing for the assignment of the Ranger program to an industrial contractor was influenced greatly by the historical occurrences in the formation of the
In the process of forming the total space program, I think we are all aware that there were changing assessments as to the numbers of Ranger spacecraft, total numbers of Ranger spacecraft that would be available. At any one point in the program, it had to be recognized that it would take some period of time in excess of a year, and probably less than 2 years, to bring in an industrial contractor to effectively manage the system, so whether or not at any one point in time it is a good idea to bring in an industrial contractor depends very much on how many remaining Ranger spacecraft there were in the program. The timing of this decision was very much influenced by a determination in the late 1962 or early 1963 time period to greatly increase the Ranger program and the total number of spacecraft which literally made it possible to bring in an industrial contractor.
I don't think it was practical to bring in an industrial contractor as long as there were only three or four spacecraft left to be launched in the program.
To accomplish this objective, of course, it was necessary to select the industrial company, and in February 1963 we were advised by a letter from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that our firm was one of those being considered. In the succeeding weeks, personnel from NASA headquarters and from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory eval
uated our proposal for implementing the program as well as our facilities and professional staff which would be engaged in the work. In March we were advised that we were the successful competitor, and our first work on the spacecraft engineering began in the middle of that month. At that time the program was planned to constitute three additional blocks of spacecraft. They were blocks III, IV, and V, with four spacecraft in block III, three in block IV, and five to be flown as block V.
Our introduction into the program was on a phased basis, with Northrop providing engineering support to the Jet Propulsion Laboratories in their accomplishment of the systems responsibility on blocks III and IV, whereas Northrop assumed systems responsibility for block V under the program management and direction of the Jet Propulsion Laboratories as an agent for the Government. The supporting engineering function on blocks III and IV spacecraft was effected largely by providing professional staff of Northrop personnel to work in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory organization at Pasadena. These professional people were trained and experienced in disciplines that were in short supply in the JPL organization because of the expanded workload and by their work on the block III and block IV spacecraft, it was intended that they would gain experience which would be of value in the Northrop organization in carrying out its responsibilities on block V. The number of people involved in this support effort built up to a level of slightly more than 120, and although it was scheduled to increase to a higher level, a decision was made during the summer months to curtail the program by canceling block IV spacecraft, and this action had the effect of stabilizing the Northrop employment at JPL.
Simultaneous with the engineering support effort on blocks III and IV, Northrop initiated program activity on the block V spacecraft in its Hawthorne facility. By the terms of our contract, we were required to conduct a complete design review of the spacecraft to determine its suitability for the block V mission and to establish a program schedule for the application of people, facilities, and money to attain the desired launch schedule. Because of the nature of the program, it was necessary to institute a substantial facility construction effort and assemble the project management and engineering staff from the various organizations of Northrop divisions. The facility inplementation, the assembly of the project organization, and the design review of the spacecraft were essentially complete and the final definition of the engineering features were under discussion with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when we were told on December 13, 1963, that it was necessary to cancel the block V contract since the financial resources were not available to complete it. At this point, Northrop's remaining responsibilities as regards the block V effort were defined by the termination clause in our contract, and except for the final negotiations with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, that phase of the program is completed. We have continued to provide engineering support to the Ranger block III activity at Pasadena, and as of this week, we have 77 people engaged in this effort. We anticipate the continuation of this service to phase out our people as the block III flight program is completed.
Mr. KARTH. If I could ask at this point, How much money did Northrop Corp. receive from NASA as a result of their work on the Rangers that were subsequently canceled?
Mr. PATTEN. In the next paragraph, he says $17 million.
Mr. HORNER. That is not a precise answer to the question. That is the total involvement in the Ranger program to date.
Mr. KARTH. I wonder if you could then answer my question?
Mr. HORNER. Sir, if I may refer to as I mention in my statement, Mr. Chairman, we have not yet completed negotiations of the termination of block V, but on block V as a whole an approximate number is five and a quarter million. On block IV, it was $30,000. We had just initiated our work on block IV when it was canceled.
Mr. KARTH. That is what you have received up to date?
Mr. KARTH. That makes your negotiations more important, doesn't it?
Mr. HORNER. Day by day.
Mr. KARTH. For the benefit of the subcommittee, then, we would be fairly accurate if we said that approximately $534 million was spent on Rangers subsequently canceled and will never be flown?
Mr. HORNER. Five and one-quarter-as far as Northrop is concerned. Mr. KARTH. Thank you.
Mr. HORNER. Thus, in summary, I can say that the Northrop Corp. has been involved in the Ranger project since early in 1960. There has been hardware of our fabrication on each flight, and to the best of our information, it has functioned consistently in accordance with its design specifications. During calendar year 1963, there was a major growth in our activity on the program, and at the time of block V cancellation, there were a total of more than 600 Northrop people engaged on the project. Our contractual work has amounted to slightly more than $17 million, and Northrop invested approximately $4 million of its own resources in facilities for the program.
We have been most appreciative of our opportunity to participate with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in this endeavor, and, needless to say, it was a sharp disappointment to us when the block V spacecraft were canceled. The staff reductions forced by the precipitous nature of the cancellation and the severe financial losses incurred by the unamortized facility investment posed problems for our management from which it is difficult to recover, and the solutions are not yet in sight. However, we are putting forth our best efforts to provide a continuing high-quality professional staff on our support contract, and I am assured by responsible managers in both the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and NASA that our performance has been excellent.
In your letter requesting my appearance at this hearing, you also requested my views on several other matters relating to the integrity of the Ranger project. I have only limited and qualified capability to respond to these questions, as I am sure you will agree in view of the rather specific and limited nature of our involvement.
Mr. KARTH. I don't think 135 personnel is too limited.
Mr. HORNER. At the present time, it is somewhat less than that. However, in response to that question, the methods in which the personnel are employed is more important in terms of our influence on the program as an entity than the numbers of people.