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Oral History Transcript — Dr. James Westphal

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Interview with Dr. James Westphal
By David DeVorkin
At Space Science and Exploration Department at NASM
September 14, 1982

Oral history interviewee photo
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James Westphal; September 14, 1982

ABSTRACT: Reviews Westphal's (b. June 13, 1930) family background, education, and early employment at the Seismograph Service Corporation (1948–53) and at Sinclair Research Labs (1954–60), where he gained experience in designing and constructing a variety of instrumentation. The bulk of the interview is devoted to a thorough discussion of Westphal's career at the CALTECH (1961– ), first as an instrumentation engineer and later as an associate professor and professor of planetary science (1971– ). The interview documents his initial activities in the design and improvement of infrared detectors and telescopes, and then his increasing interest and involvement in the science of infrared astronomy and planetary astronomy. Also covered in great detail is Westphal's work on the Wide Field Camera for ST, including discussion of the evaluation of detectors (SIVIT, SIT, CCD) , design, competing for the contract award, NASA’s procedures and structure and their effect on the development of ST and its instrumentation, and the use of ST and WFC after launch.

Transcript

Session I | Session II | Session III

DeVorkin:

This is our third oral history session with Jim Westphal. The date is September 14, 1982. We are now talking in the space Science and Exploration Department at NASM. We finished talking about the Princeton proposal for the wide-field camera. Were there other proposals for the wide-field camera?

Westphal:

Yes, there was at least one more, as far as I know. In fact, I'm sure there was just one more; it was a proposal that was organized at Goddard, and I'm trying to remember now who the potential subcontractor was. I guess I don't know. I don't remember any more now. I never saw that proposal, so I don't know any details about it. I know conceptually that the idea was to use so-called intensified CCDs; that is, a photocathode with either an electrostatic or magnetic focus. Then instead of a phosphor and a piece of film as is common with image intensifiers, particularly in those days, they used, in fact, the CCD silicon membrane in the vacuum chamber, so that the highly accelerated photoelectrons would impinge directly upon the silicon.

DeVorkin:

Do you know who was involved?

Westphal:

Yes, the guy who was the Principal Investigator was Stan Sobieski. He had been at Goddard and had been involved in the Phase B of ST. He was in fact, I think, the chairman of the detector committee, or something. And that's fuzzy, because there were complications there. I think we mentioned earlier the strange situation that had occurred two or three years before that when the discussion was: should they try to put something besides an SEC vidicon on the ST? His private view of that — which was accidentally overheard by me, walking down the path to lunch at a Princeton meeting — was that his mind was made up and he didn't want to be confused by the facts, or something to that effect (laughs).

DeVorkin:

His mind was made up for the CCD?

Westphal:

No, for the SEC.

DeVorkin:

Oh, he was, originally.

Westphal:

Originally, but then Goddard had some sort of a fairly well funded activity with Vero, the people that build intensifiers, and TI (Texas Instruments) to put a TI CCD in a Vero tube. It had been only marginally successful. But that was the basis of their proposal for a wide field camera. As I say, I really don't know any of the mechanical details about it at all. I never saw the proposal.

DeVorkin:

Let me ask you some simple questions about the overall design: In the call for proposals, was it already specified as an axial instrument, or radial instrument, the one coming out the side bay?

Westphal:

Yes, I'm sure that it was, because we never considered anything else.

DeVorkin:

The question comes to mind now, because you mentioned that Dr. Spitzer's final design wasn't good because it obstructed the field of some other instrument.

Westphal:

Yes, apparently, in their effort to become more competitive, they had plastered — that might be an unkind word — one or more CCDs kind of outboard, and as I remember, even an extra SEC vidicon, so that there were two of them. In that process they had apparently obscured one or more of the axial bays. Now, I don't know whether that obscuration was truly serious, or whether it was only a formal obscuration; that is, that it broke the words in the interface requirements document, which said that each instrument had a certain area that it could use.

It was obviously in the proposal. But I don't think that was the real reason that it was rejected. That would have been coped with one way or another, including just having removed the stuff. I think the real reason it was rejected was NASA's rather unhappy experience in trying to generate an SEC that really worked, that had any chance at all to fly in that size. They had flown smaller ones, but they just continuously had one problem after another with the very large format SEC vidicons.

DeVorkin:

What about the ultimate design, where you have two fields, the planetary camera mode, and what is called the wide field mode? Was that already in the RFP? Was that something that was built in? Did you have to match F-ratios, focal lengths?

Westphal:

No, the only thing that was in the AO was just this specification that it should be a wide field camera; and some guide lines about what they meant by wide field, which was more than three minutes of arc on a side. I don't now remember exactly what was in the AO; but the clear implication was that you were supposed to somehow generate something on the order of a 2,000 by 2,000 format that covered something on the order of 200 by 200 seconds of arc.

DeVorkin:

A square measuring 200 seconds of arc on a side?

Westphal:

A 10th of a second of arc per pixel, and a 2,000 by 2,000 array of pixels, so it would be 200 seconds of arc on a side. So that was a little bigger than three minutes of arc on a side. We of course didn't quite make that. We make a 1600 by 1600 field in that mode. But the clear result of that requirement that was in the AO, or that desire that was in the AO, was that we would have to change the F-ratio internally in our camera. We probably would have had to have done that anyway, looking back at it now.

It would have been very difficult for us to have put the detectors and everything that needed to be in front of it, the filters, the shutter and everything like that, right in the original focal plane, which isn't very far inside the box, inside of the area where we could have installed it. It might well be that we could have done it, but it certainly would have been a very different machine mechanically. But the real thing was the fact that the CCDs had only 15 micron square pixels. A 10th of a second of arc was 25 microns, roughly at the main focus of the telescope.

So we were mismatched badly. We were oversampled. And that meant that we wouldn't have had anywhere near the three minute of arc field. So it became clear, I think, even before the proposal stage, where things were just conceptual, and nobody had done any real design, that there were great advantages in the re-imaging. This allowed you to have a lot more freedom of space and geometry and geography. Of course, clearly, if you wanted to put four CCDs in the main focus, you were not going to catch all the light, because they each took up a finite space, and you couldn’t butt them together. There had been, and continues to be, efforts to do that for military and other reasons, where they tried to put CCDs close together. I guess, nowadays they do fairly well, but they never of course make it really completely solid.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Do you ever worry about the spatial integrity of the four CCDs that are quite widely separated?

Westphal:

Yes, we worried about that particularly at the beginning. Tom Kelsall, who at that time was not actually on our team, but was at Goddard, helped with that. He's an infrared type astronomer. He’s involved in COBE now.

DeVorkin:

COBE?

Westphal:

COBE, the Cosmic Microwave Background Experiment. It's a shuttle payload that is going to look at the 2 degree background business. Tom was at that time, and still is, our instrument scientist at Goddard; that is, he is the scientist that Goddard especially assigned to the wide field camera. Since that time we have added him to our team in a formal sense, so he is also one of our team members.

He came up with a very clever idea which relieved our worries a lot, which is now known as "Kelsall dots". What he proposed was that we go along the crest of the pyramid that splits the beam into four pieces, that lies at the OTA focal plane, right at the ridge Westphal—214 line, and poke into the aluminum (it was actually done with a laser) little wee holes. Then put a light behind the pyramid that you could turn on and off. That would generate rows of little stars. Many of them of course would be close enough to the focal plane that they would be sharp; but even those that are not right exactly in the focal plane, and therefore would be slightly out of focus, still would be a fairly compact image.

Of course then on each CCD is an image from that pyramid face. You choose to make the scale such that it overlaps; that is, that the image is a little too small for the CCD. So the CCD actually has some pixels on the two sides that image the two crests of the two ridges of the pyramid or the facet of the pyramid that it is looking at, so it can see those little holes. The holes are 10 microns in size, so they are small with respect to the resolution of the system. Essentially then, you see the same row of holes in the images on the two adjacent CCDs of each of the faces. So by that technique, you can in fact tie the four images all together really quite accurately, and probably very, very accurately. We don't know how well you can do it, but we ought to be able to do about as well as we can do in any kind of astrometry.

So it's a very pretty and clever idea. It turned out to have all kinds of advantages beyond just that. It gave us a light source that we could turn on without having any external light stimulus any time the instrument was running. It told us in fact that the instrument was still in focus. So after the instrument has been subjected to vibration or it has been loaded in the space telescope or something like that, then any time we can turn the instrument on, we can find out whether everything is still working and still pointed in the right direction, and all that good stuff. So it's one of those little innovations of which the wide field camera has a number, that are really very, very convenient and very pretty.

DeVorkin:

Yes. What about the prism itself, the pyramid that splits the fields? First of all, when and for what reasons did you create the planetary mode? And then, how did you come to the prism design?

Westphal:

I believe I mentioned to you in an earlier discussion having to do with opening up the wide field camera to be not a facility instrument, but a PI instrument. Remember, we talked about that in our meeting in Pasadena, that Bob O'Dell was the chairman of a Phase B working group, and that John Bahcall had kind of forced the wide field camera selection to open up, because otherwise the wide field camera was going to be a facility instrument that would have been built by Princeton with an SEC. I told you at that time that I had never thought that the CCD was a viable candidate, because I didn't see any clever way to use more than one. Bob O'Dell had mentioned there's a clever way; you put a pyramid in the focus and re-image. So the idea had come to me from Bob O'Dell.

DeVorkin:

But you don't know where it came from.

Westphal:

I don't know where he got it, and I've never asked him. You ought to ask him some time when you talk with him where that came from.

DeVorkin:

I'll track that back. Yes.

Westphal:

It may well have been his own idea. I just simply don't know. But that's where the idea first came to me. That made it a viable technique. Now, in a team meeting that we had after we organized our team, but before we wrote the proposal, when we just were getting ready, somebody — and I can't tell you who, just some one of us around the table — suddenly realized that we could rotate that pyramid about its axis 45 degrees and have a completely separate mode. So that took care of one of the things that all of us wanted for different scientific reasons, namely, a high resolution mode, one which more adequately, spatially sampled the blur circle.

DeVorkin:

Spatially sampled what?

Westphal:

The blur circle of the telescope. The implication of that being, of course, that you need pixels that are smaller than the 25 micron equivalent blur circle. It cost you field size. You had a smaller field, but you had many more samples across the image. Of course we were fully aware at the time of the AO that the Europeans were going to build a faint object camera, which was to be the high resolution camera.

DeVorkin:

Do they duplicate each other in any way?

Westphal:

They overlap each other, in a sense. One of their modes, their lowest resolution mode, is the same essentially as our planetary camera. But their instrument is one that uses photocathodes, and so its sensitivity dies around 8,000 angstroms, or 7,000 or so. It turns out that we have a through-put advantage longward of 6,000 angstroms; and of course they have nothing beyond 7500 or 8,000. There was a special interest on the part of a few of us on our team to be able to go out to 9,000 angstroms, specifically to 8870 angstroms, where there is a methane absorption band, and where there is some really very pretty planetary work to be done on Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, and on Neptune for that matter.

DeVorkin:

Who wanted to do the planetary work?

Westphal:

I was one who had done a bunch of it from the ground, but Bill Baum was anxious to do that, we were Danielson and Brad Smith. I think even Jim Gunn was intrigued by that, even though he's never been very much of a planetary person. So it was a popular thing to do. But the rest of the team was all very anxious to have a high resolution mode, because of their interest. And many of us, Baum and I especially, also had the same interest, in looking with higher resolution, particularly in the red and the near infrared, at deep space objects.

The one that I was particularly interested in was one I think we talked before about a little bit, and that was the possibility of seeing a stellar disk in the process of collapsing, which you want to do as far in the infrared as you can get, because of the dust absorption problem. So you really do want the high resolution and the high quantum efficiency. Now, we had a little bit of a problem at that point, because we were attempting, incorrectly, to be sensitive to the jargon problems; NASA is very jargon conscious. I think mainly Ed Danielson was guiding us with this. We of course wanted to call it a wide field mode and a narrow field mode. I mean, it was the obvious thing to do. But Ed primarily, and others also said, no, don't do that. Don't do that. That infringes upon the FOC's business.

DeVorkin:

FOC? The Faint Object Camera from Europe?

Westphal:

Right.

DeVorkin:

I was wondering about that. What kind of pressure did you get to be worried about that?

Westphal:

Well, it was wholly internally generated, of course, because we were talking only to ourselves, essentially, at that point. We were trying to be sensitive to that sort of thing. Since we were interested in using the instrument on planets, and particularly the planetary mode on planets, it was then fairly obvious, well, let's call it a planetary camera. That has an advantage, because that will tend to enlist the interest of NASA people who were interested in planets. We would get a broader constituency by that process.

DeVorkin:

Remember, I asked you last time we met if it had anything to do with the fact that many, many planetary proposals were sent in during 1977-78, and you recalled that you had no knowledge of that.

Westphal:

No, I didn't know that.

DeVorkin:

That was interesting.

Westphal:

Now, we recognized that we had a jargon problem with calling it a planetary camera because now suddenly the deep space people might not be interested. So we were very careful in our proposal to make it very clear that that was just a label for it, and that in fact, we expected that the majority of the use of it would not be for planetary purposes, but for high resolution stuff, particularly in the red, where the faint object camera was not going to be workable. So we were careful in the proposal not to step on FOC. and not to look like we were trying to compete with them directly. There was a time later, not so much later, maybe a year into the program or even less, when the FOC was under heavy pressure, particularly in Europe, but also in the United States: "Why are you building this FOC when there is a wide field camera that will do everything it'll do and better?"

DeVorkin:

So the pressure was on them, not on you?

Westphal:

The pressure was on them, yes. Duchio Machetto, who is essentially the FOC PI (I don't remember his official title, the FOC is not a PI instrument) and I appeared before a National Academy committee. Kent Ford was chairman and the committee was going to review the instruments before NASA blessed them, essentially. It's a complication of the system that is not worth taking any time to discuss. So the committee was set up at NASA'S request. The working troops in NASA were very unhappy about all of that. They didn't think it was any of the Academy's damn business.

DeVorkin:

Who made the decision, if NASA was unhappy about it?

Westphal:

It was only the working level troops that were unhappy. It was the higher level troops in NASA that thought it should be done.

DeVorkin:

Was that a Hinners idea?

Westphal:

I can't tell you. I wouldn't be surprised, but I don't really know. I might have known at the time. I know that at the Bob O'Dell level, they were unhappy, and specifically that Bob O'Dell was just furious. He thought it was none of their damned business. He got up and made a speech, too, saying in essence that he didn't give a damn what they said. We were going on in our own way anyway. It didn't serve any useful purpose to stand up and say that at all.

DeVorkin:

This is around '78, '79?

Westphal:

Yes, something like that. It was about a year into the program or so, whatever those dates would be. At any rate, Duchio felt that he was under great pressure and great jeopardy, so he and I collaborated very carefully and essentially generated some viewgraphs and wrote up some stuff showing how the two instruments were in fact complementary to each other. They had an overlap area which was a healthy thing to have. We generated a curve showing the advantage of the FOC over the wide field camera, and vice versa as a function of wavelength, you know, so it would make kind of an S curve. The same curve, by the way, I noticed that Duchio used in his IAU thing. I think it's just been published. You should get a copy of that, because it tells you a lot about the present state of the instruments.

DeVorkin:

Of all the instruments?

Westphal:

All the instruments.

DeVorkin:

What is the publication you are talking about?

Westphal:

I don't know what it is officially called. It is the proceedings of the IAU colloquium. Is that right? No, it's from the general assembly. I don't know what its title is officially; but the Institute published the thing, and if you have any trouble at all laying hands on one, I can send you one. Oh, you are going to see Mona tomorrow, right?

DeVorkin:

Yes.

Westphal:

She will hand you one. She helped make it all happen.

DeVorkin:

Yes. So you already talked to her about it.

Westphal:

Yes, I was talking to her; that's how I was aware of it.

DeVorkin:

Okay, so the Institute published that.

Westphal:

She's going to tell you a whole lot of good stuff, if you ask her the right questions about how things really were, because she was really inside the system.

DeVorkin:

If you could help me find those right questions, I would be very happy.

Westphal:

Well, one of the things you surely want to talk to her about is this detector committee that I talked about before, this committee that was run by Jeff Rosendhal. You should ask her about the Freedom of Information thing of Spitzer. She must know about that in bitter detail. She can tell you, I think with a fairly balanced view, a lot better than many of us could, about the conflict between Goddard and Marshall, which of course continues to this day, in this whole program, and which has been a very negative feature of this program, from the perception of those of us trying to work on the outside, anyway. An area you should talk to her at great length is something called "SMO-1000". Well, it's also called "OP-01, Volume 3". That was the Operations Requirements Document, for operating the telescope. It was a two-year enterprise that she was the mother of, and all of us went through great pain and suffering to get that document into a form so that when ST finally came to be, and the Institute came to be, that they had some chance of success. Of course, it wasn’t a totally successful activity, but it was amazingly good, I think. Anyway, she was the mother of that as well.

DeVorkin:

Did she set policy in any way by saying: "There shall be an Operations Requirement Document?"

Westphal:

No, that's a formal thing, the system always does. It's just the formality of things. She must have in fact helped decide just what the titles were, and all of that, but you will have to ask her about that. But the answer is, yes, she set an awful lot of policy, even though it wasn't her business. She set it because the system had massive vacuums, and she filled those vacuums. Her decisions in general have been very good, in my perception. There are other people who probably don't think that, but I think they have been amazingly good. In the process, she became educated day by day. All of this was kind of foreign to her, and she is a very, very bright lady.

DeVorkin:

Yes. We are trying to prepare for that, and I won't be seeing her tomorrow. I'll be seeing her the day after tomorrow.

Westphal:

She told me tomorrow, so I don't know (laughs). Well, anyway, whatever.

DeVorkin:

Yes, I'll get to her myself and straighten that out. But we are trying to prepare ourselves. As an example, in your case, you know pretty much what you want to say. I don't have to work too hard dragging it out of you. She seems to be the same.

Westphal:

Yes. She’s very open.

DeVorkin:

That's my perception.

Westphal:

You should back up with her a little bit before ST time, too, to get her background.

DeVorkin:

Oh yes, you mean prior to '72?

Westphal:

Oh yes.

DeVorkin:

Oh yes. We wouldn't be able to understand her otherwise.

Westphal:

Right. She doesn't expect you to do that; and she didn't send you the papers of earlier times. I told her that you were going to give her a hard time over that, probably.

DeVorkin:

You bet.

Westphal:

She didn't recognize that that was the thing that you would want to do. In fact, we had a long discussion last night about it: why do you do that sort of thing? I said, a man has to understand the background of people, or he can't understand how all this worked. It's really serious.

DeVorkin:

Yes. It is clear that she is some one capable of filling voids, then she had to have some background knowledge of the fact that the voids were there in the first place. It would be a certain perception of management, something I wouldn't understand. Am I correct that really she is a management person in many ways.

Westphal:

That's right, yes. She has a technical engineering background, but the main thing is, she's a quick study. She learns so fast that it scares you. She learns well, and she asks questions. She isn't bashful in any sense about exposing her ignorance. She's bright enough to identify who are the right people to talk to and to work with. From my perception, that's been the reason for her success.

DeVorkin:

Marvelous! She's going to be a very important person to talk to.

Westphal:

So we were at the point where we got diverted away from the pyramid business. Somebody on our team pointed out, and I can't tell you who it was any more now, that we could rotate the pyramid and have the whole other mode. So then we quickly in a couple of hours decided, probably less than that, in probably a half hour, decided what F-ratio it ought to be; that is, what scale it ought to be. A planetary camera was born and that dictated the geometry of things.

Now, we did a lot of threshing around early on, trying to minimize the number of optical surfaces inside of our box, because of the ultraviolet interest. But later after we were selected and really got serious, we had JPL professional mechanical designers aboard who had not been into the loop at all, at the point that I am talking about now. This was all really being done by the team itself. The JPL technical people were really not associated with it at all at that point.

We hadn't really started to write a proposal. Although, I think, by then we probably already had the money from the director's discretionary fund to write the proposal, I think we really weren't spending any money or effort at all at that point. The only people we were talking to at JPL at that point were, as I remember anyway, would have been the CCD people. We were working very closely with them, because we were getting a CCD on the telescope, because one of the things we knew we had to do was to produce some scientific results, and some pretty pictures to go in this proposal from a real CCD.

DeVorkin:

That explains a lot of your publications with the Palomar people.

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

With Kristian and Sandage.

Westphal:

Kristian and Sandage and I worked together, but that was not a CCD thing. That was a SIT vidicon, and that was a straightforward attempt to extend the Hubble diagram further out.

DeVorkin:

Yes. But in the various packets, your various proposals, you had CCD images from the 200-inch.

Westphal:

That's right, and all of that had been done for that purpose, but of course there was wonderful science in it. I mean, we were just mind-boggled at the stuff that was coming out of this device. So we were madly using it to do science. At the same time we were trying to write this proposal, and make pictures for it and everything else.

DeVorkin:

Did you have the input of people who were professionals at writing grants? Did the grantsmanship type people at Caltech or JPL help you out?

Westphal:

Danielson had been down that road a number of times, and he knew the form of things. Then when we really started writing the proposal, he recruited Nancy Evans, whom I think I mentioned. She is across the street here right now. She was really the pro at how you do it; what's the format; she was the one that talked us into using color pictures and so on. I mentioned that all before. Other than that, we didn't have any real proposal writers. The text was written in our own hand, and edited among us, and argued about and so forth. That text was all written by two or three of us, essentially Gunn, Kristian, Danielson, and myself.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Who was responsible for making sure that your power requirements were met, that all the integration characteristics were going to be met?

Westphal:

Well, it was all faked.

DeVorkin:

Faked?

Westphal:

Yes, faked, (laughs) in a sense. We knew in some detail what kind of electronics we needed. By then, we had some JPL people seriously in the thing, particularly Fred Landauer in that particular area, who was also the CCD man. There are rules of thumb in this business that tell you how many chips you are going to need to do a certain thing. There are many kinds of rules of thumb: how many square inches; how many pounds; how much power they will take. Of course, that's straightforward.

Therefore, how much heat they generate. How much it costs to do that many chips. I mean, it's amazing that there are these rules of thumb that are good to within 20% that these kind of people know about, and can use to make estimates like that. So what was done was that they did that process, and they made estimates. I was fairly uncomfortable about all of that, but it turned out to be true. For instance, in the power case, we had more power than we knew what to do with.

We had a weight problem that we didn't recognize then. But the weight problem in fact grew up later in some sense when we had to put an external radiator on the instrument to be able to get rid of the heat, to get the detector cold enough. But there were many, many just wild guesses in all of that. And in a minute we'll come to an event that occurred a little later on that was kind of crucial in this. I'll tell you a little side feature of that. At any rate, the answer was these things were guessed at. They were intelligent guesses, but they were guesses. An intelligent guess like that is good to a factor of two or a little better in the real world. Things are always worse than your guess; and so they keep making the guesses bigger; and they still keep getting worse. There is some fundamental law or something involved in that.

DeVorkin:

How close did you come?

Westphal:

For the power we came amazingly close, 5% or something like that, but that was surely accidental. For the weight we were seriously incorrect. We were off by a couple of hundred pounds.

DeVorkin:

So what was this episode that you were going to tell me?

Westphal:

Well, later on after we were selected, the one thing that the system was up-tight about was that we said we had to have an external radiator. NASA's view of that was, "no, you won't. That doesn't fit the interface requirements document. It says you can't do that, and we are not going to proceed that way." Mona can tell you a bunch about that that I don't know, either. She was in the middle of that business, too.

DeVorkin:

She was responsible for the Interface Requirements Document?

Westphal:

No, but she was in the middle of it somehow. I don't know who was responsible for what, but she certainly knows the history, from NASA's viewpoint, of that better than anybody, except maybe Bill Keithley who was the project manager at that time. He is now the head of all projects at Goddard. At any rate, the first thing we had to do was to prove we really needed an external radiator; that is, to make an engineering proof that we did. So I went down to Marshall, where the project was being run and, of course, is yet being run. By luck I laid hands upon Jean Olivier who was and is the chief engineer. Jean is a very, very straightforward reasonable guy, and he is very competent in many ways. He has his weak spots too. He likes to study things to death, instead of making it happen, a sickness that's common at Marshall. They do an awful lot of studies, and kind of forget that someday they have to build something. So their problem is like that; and again, you may hear a bunch of that from NASA people about that particular feature of things.

DeVorkin:

That's sort of a sophistication of the old problem of some marvelous instrumental astronomers that I was interested in finding out more about in the 1930's at Mt. Wilson. They would constantly make the machinery they built better, which kept them away from using it.

Westphal:

Yes, never getting an instrument on the telescope and using it.

DeVorkin:

Is this a very common problem?

Westphal:

That's a sickness among instrument builders, yes, and opticians.

DeVorkin:

Is it something that you are afflicted with at a level?

Westphal:

Oh, at some level, sure. Opticians are the worst at that. A telescope miror is never finished from an optician's viewpoint. You finally take it away from them. And it's the same fundamental sickness.

DeVorkin:

So you had to get to Jean Olivier about this radiator?

Westphal:

He and I were told, I guess, by Keithley — I don't rember exactly how it came to be — that we were to work on the problems. So I went into his office and with the blackboard, we spent a couple of hour discussing that problem and agreed upon a certain set of tests that needed to be made for thermoelectric coolers, because the efficiency of a thermoelectric cooler was part of the issue. We had done just a little bit of work to demonstrate that those had any chance of working at all; so we were hard at work already. In fact we had started work at JPL before we even were selected, because we were so convinced that we were going to be selected. So we immediately started to work using some of this director's discretionary money to work on the most obvious problems of things that were the real questions. The thermoelectric cooler was really the foremost one at that point. We really didn't know if we could keep these things cold enough. So we had already ordered thermoelectric coolers, and had found the right guy. As always with these things, you've got to find the right man and the right company.

DeVorkin:

But back up just a second. You mentioned that you were pretty sure you were going to get it.

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

You didn't really know what the project was at Goddard, and you didn't know really what inside track Lyman Spitzer had at that time. What convinced you, just as an aside? Or should we talk about it in detail later?

Westphal:

No, I don't think there's any particular detail about it. I think, first, just sheer arrogance (laughs). You know, the Caltech syndrome. Secondly, we were convinced that NASA would never pick the SEC, because they had already spent $5-million and three or four years trying to build one; and it would have been just insanity for them to do that, because there was just no evidence that you could ever build one of these things.

The third thing was that we were convinced that the Sobieski enterprise, which I think we were aware was going on, but didn't know any details about, really didn't have a chance, either, because various people, including Doug Currie who was on our team had been trying to put CCDs in bottles, and found all kinds of high energy particle damage to the devices. And you know, it was not a new idea. RCA by then had already been at it a couple of years trying to put one in a bottle commercially. They kept advertising that they were going to have it available four months from now, and it never happened. Ultimately, it never did happen.

They never really did find a solution to that problem. There are people still threshing around to this day about that particular issue. So we didn't think there was any viability in that; so our conclusion was that either there wasn't going to be any wide field camera at all, and we didn't believe ST would fly without one, or it was just highly probable that it was going to be ours. The crucial issue was, was there some technological problem that would make us crash, that we wouldn't be able to solve. The most obvious of those of course was: could we really build CCDs? There weren’t any CCDs yet we could honest-to-god fly. But that was being worked as hard as it could be worked from our perception at that instant, anyway, by JPL and TI. So we immediately started working on these other obvious things. The most obvious of all was this thermoelectric cooler.

DeVorkin:

It was good policy then, in a way, so that if there was a question down the line before the final decision was made about some of these problems, at least, you were already working on them.

Westphal:

Yes, and we could feed new information into the system, if they allowed us. Officially, they couldn't allow us to do anything like that. But in the real world, of course, they could if they chose to. I mean, NASA can essentially do whatever they please in that process, arguing that it is in the Government's best interest, which it obviously is. That was our worry about the mouse milk: although nobody was going to get mouse milk into a proposal by the time the proposals were due, somebody could always put in a late proposal, which the Government could always, if it was in the Government's best interest, accept. That was why we were keeping coronene under a funny label.

DeVorkin:

Is the mouse milk episode, this syndrome, known by Mona Tycz? Is that something we should talk to her about?

Westphal:

Oh yes, she will tell you about the mouse milk. She will tell you things that I don't know to this day. I'm sure about it. (laughs). But mainly, what the reaction was of people internally in NASA when the proposal came in with this crazy name of this crazy stuff in it was: what kind of game are these guys trying to play? So, about the thermal radiators, Olivier and I made an agreement that we would do certain tests on these thermoelectric coolers to understand what their capabilities were. We were already building a mock-up of the camera head; that is, the thing that has the CCD in it, to find out what its thermal load actually was, how much cooling did we actually have to have? We agreed on a schedule by which we would get that done, which was just a couple or three months, maybe less, in the future.

I learned later that Olivier thought I was out of my mind, that I would agree to do something of that level of complexity in two months. He thought, boy, this guy is really out of it. But in fact we did produce the data in less than the two months, or less than whatever the time period was. As I remember, it was on the order of a couple of months. We had a very clear case, so Keithley assigned Perkin-Elmer, who was doing the mirrors and all of that, the job of doing an independent study of the matter, so that he had something besides our view of how all of this was technically.

DeVorkin:

They were worried about something that was going to stick out on the OTA itself?

Westphal:

Well, they didn't want anything outside of the skin of the spacecraft for all kinds of reasons; mainly because it was different. The spacecraft shroud, this outer can, had doors in it, and you know, the whole world was based on the premise that you put an instrument in and closed the door on it. Keithley also assigned Lockheed, who builds this outside shroud, to show him how they could get rid of our heat through the door, demonstrate that they really could get rid of the heat, if we were to allow the temperature to be above a certain number and so forth. So it was basically a straightforward engineering study being done by three different groups. Then there was to be a shoot-out, down at Marshall on a certain date. Jim Gunn and I went down. In fact it's the only time I've had to ask Jim to go with me to back me up in a situation like that. I wanted, you know, my smartest colleague in these areas right there with me.

DeVorkin:

What kind of agreement had you had with Olivier? Did you know that he was going to agree or disagree with you?

Westphal:

Oh, no, no. It was a straightforward technical issue: what are the numbers, and then once we know what the numbers are, then we will make a decision that's rational somehow.

DeVorkin:

So there were three different design groups. There was Lockheed, Perkin-Elmer, and then you and Olivier?

Westphal:

Oh no, Olivier was just on the side orchestrating all of this.

DeVorkin:

So, Perkin-Elmer, Lockheed and you.

Westphal:

And us, yes.

Westphal:

The issue was strictly a technical issue. Then it was up to Keithley to decide on a programmatic basis whether he going to allow us to have an outside radiator or not.

DeVorkin:

What was the nature of the shoot-out?

Westphal:

The nature of the shoot-out was that we were to present our data of what we had learned, our proposal, and what the scientific impact of various conceivable steps that Keithdey could take, including not letting us have the external radiator, so that he had the basis to make a decision from our presentation. He had asked Lockheed to demonstrate that they could in fact do it in an alternate way. This really was an issue of just getting a panel next to our radiator that was cold enough so that we could dissipate the heat to it. It had nothing to do with the internal design of our instrument. It had to do with the interface, as it were, and which was the desired thermal environment.

Then he had Perkin-Elmer looking at our conceptual design to see that they believed that we had done our thermal analysis correctly. He was just trying, completely appropriately, to get a technical backup to see whether he was getting a straight story from us. He asked Lockheed and Perkin-Elmer both to make an estimate of how much it would cost the project, if he would let us have the external radiator. Of course, we were also asked how much extra was it going to be to have this external radiator. Well, we had originally proposed the external radiator, so our view was that it was nothing extra. It was in our original proposal. Well, it turned out that in threshing this around, the radiator grew to a bigger thing. In fact, it grew to a thing the size of the door over there.

DeVorkin:

A regular door?

Westphal:

Yes, and it had originally been, I don't know, three feet wide and two feet high, or something; so it had grown by a factor of three or four in area.

DeVorkin:

This is what you found that you would need.

Westphal:

No, it actually was just what was convenient to put into the spacecraft. The view was, if we are going to have a hole in there, and put something in there, we might as well put something in there big enough so that there is plenty of margin for us, and there is margin for the next instrument that comes along, that goes in our place when we are removed some day and thrown away, and some new instrument comes along. If we're going to have a hole, let's get every inch we can get. That was really Olivier's suggestion, his view of the matter; if we're going to have this, let's do it right. And we were all for that, of course. So Jim and I went down to Marshall.

The meeting was going to be done by telephone, one of these so-called three-wire hook-ups. You have probably been involved in those. They are better than the little Bell Telephone thing that only one person can talk in at a time. In the three-wire one everybody can talk at once, and there is not any waiting for the other guy. It's used on a large scale in the ST project just to cut down travel effort. That's a noble thing. But it's a miserable way to proceed. Of course, they have this Rapifax system, which is a high-speed facsimile system that ties all the NASA centers and, in this case, Perkin-Elmer and Lockheed together, and lots of other places. You can put a thing in and it appears on the other end. It's like these telephone things, only it's better. That is, it has better resolution. It's a better system.

DeVorkin:

So you can use graphics?

Westphal:

You could send all the viewgraphs that you were going to present around to everybody. Then whoever was talking about a viewgraph, everybody else had their copy and they could look at it. The aside that I wanted to make about it was that Jim and I were sitting in the conference room where this was to happen an hour or two later at Marshall. Just kind of marking time, you know.

DeVorkin:

In one of those high-rise administration buildings?

Westphal:

Yes. Somebody from Marshall — I don't remember, probably one of the thermal guys — came into the room. We were having a little technical discussion, clarifying something, and he said, by the way, did you hear what Perkin-Elmer's wag was?

DeVorkin:

Wag?

Westphal:

Yes. I said, what's a wag? And he said, a wag's a wild-assed guess. And I said, no. He said they want a megabuck to put your damned heavy radiator on the outside. I just went completely wild! I said, I cannot believe that those people would tell Bill Keithley that their wild-assed guess of what it was going to cost was a million bucks. He said, awh, it's the way it runs around here. Sure enough, in the telephone conference later on, Keithley asked, what's your estimate of this. The guy on the other end from Perkin-Elmer says, our wag is, it's a million bucks. He asked Lockheed what their estimate was, and they said, well, their wag was, I don't know, $750,000.

He asked me what my estimate was and I said, we proposed it this way. It doesn't cost you anything. I was just flabbergasted. I mean, it was just another part of my education — that the system would operate in that sort of a mode. Of course, I had no way to know whether they ultimately charged him a million bucks or not, each one of them, but probably so. At any rate, this was the first time I had seen Keithley really in action. He was very organized. He listened to everybody's argument, and he looked at everybody's viewgraph and he asked perceptive questions. He said, "Okay, we're going to have an external radiator. It’s the only way to proceed." He said, "That’s an easy count." He got up and walked out of the room (laughs) just like that.

DeVorkin:

So, even though you had proposed it in your budget, the external radiator you eventually went with was the big one?

Westphal:

Yes, the big one. Indeed, in the end, it did cost a little extra money, mainly because it caused us a weight problem, downstream. That in turn cost us money, because we were incompetent in a certain way at JPL, and didn't recognize we had a weight problem until we had spent a lot of money designing stuff we had to throw away and start over with.

DeVorkin:

Without that external radiator, what do you think might have happened to your instrument?

Westphal:

If we had actually proceeded, I would not have proceeded actually, I don't think. I don't think this team would have proceeded, because it would have meant a very warm CCD that would have been a very poor system. I don’t think Headquarters would have proceeded, either. He had no real choice about that. Once it was clear that technically this was what had to be done to make it work, he really had very little choice about that.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Was that the major design glitch with your development?

Westphal:

Yes, and then this weight problem that we had about a year or a year and a half later, where JPL just wasn't keeping track of the weight, and it was a personnel problem and an organizational problem, not a real technical problem.

DeVorkin:

How does it become a personnel or organizational problem?

Westphal:

In this particular case, they had assigned a man the job to keep track of the weight, and he wasn't interested in electronics, so he just didn't keep track of the electronic weight. He was a mechanical engineer; and he didn't know anything about the electronic stuff, so he just didn't do it.

DeVorkin:

What did he think, they didn't weigh much?

Westphal:

Well, I don't know what he thought. But it was that simple-minded. You would say, how can that happen? How can somebody do that? Of course, the managerial f ailure was that the managers were not watching what this guy was doing well enough to find out that he wasn't doing his job right.

DeVorkin:

Did that cost you anything?

Westphal:

Yes, oh yes, it cost us a lot. It cost us having independent electronics. We could have had the two cameras with totally independent electronics. Now, we have a common string of electronics.

DeVorkin:

No redundancy.

Westphal:

It cost a lot of money, and with no redundancy, it cost us reliability. Yes, it cost us a batch.

DeVorkin:

Any worries right now?

Westphal:

Do I have worries right now? Oh, you always have worries, but things are going very smoothly today. Right now we have a little worry about heat pipes, but that's, I think, not a real serious issue. You use the heat pipe to get the heat from the thermoelectric cooler out to this radiator.

DeVorkin:

Right, yes. As far as the design of the camera now, and its development down the road, is there anything else we should talk about? Do you have any contractors and subcontractors other than JPL of interest?

Westphal:

The filter mechanism, the thing that holds the 48 filters and moves them into position, is being built by a fellow by the name of Ernie Schaefer, at something called Schaefer Magnetics. Schaefer Magnetics is a little five-guy enterprise, or a ten-guy enterprise, out in LA at the west end of the San Fernando Valley. He has built essentially all of the space-qualified motors that NASA has flown for the last 15 years, of one sort and the other. He is just NASA's real pearl at building electrical motors.

DeVorkin:

Motors. I thought you meant filters.

Westphal:

Well, no, no, not filters now. This is a filter mechanism. This is the mechanical thing that holds the filters and puts them in position.

DeVorkin:

Yes. What makes his motors so reliable?

Westphal:

Just competency and carefulness. And good first-class design. He just knows how to do it. He won't build something that isn't right. He charges NASA what it really costs to do it, and that's a hell of a lot of money.

DeVorkin:

How could an independent person like that do that; whereas, some company like Bodine that has such enormous resources not be the place you would go to? What is your perception of the craftsmen in a small shop as opposed to the larger contractors.

Westphal:

It's, I suppose in some fundamental sense, exactly like the difference between the guys that built the high-speed photometer and the guys that built the wide field camera. The high speed photometer was built by the guys at the University of Wisconsin in their own shops and their own basement, with their own hands. It's a first-class piece of hardware in every way. It's very inexpensive, when you proceed that way. JPL builds it with a massive matrix organization with all kinds of managers and all kinds of controls, and so on. There's just not the sense at the individual personal level of personal interest, of personal responsibility, and of personal pride in a place like JPL as there is in a group at Wisconsin, where five guys built it, or ten guys, or something.

DeVorkin:

Yes. The high-speed photometer is a simpler device.

Westphal:

It's a simpler device, but I don't have any doubt whatsoever they could have built our instrument. If I ever were to be involved, which I have no intention whatsoever of being, in building another instrument that goes in space like this, the only way I would proceed is in that style, the Wisconsin style. It's very much my personal style. But I don't think NASA, unless it changes its view, will allow any instrument of the cost and complexity of our instrument to be built that way, because they don't, in their guts, believe you can do it.

DeVorkin:

A high-speed photometer costs far less?

Westphal:

Yes. I don't know what it costs, but probably less than $10-million. Our instrument, in the end, is going to cost 40 to $45-million, or so. But I'll bet our instrument would cost half that if Wisconsin had built it. But you can't know that, of course. Well, what else? There were one or two other things that I thought maybe were important....

DeVorkin:

So the constraints of the review system and the matrix system for building the wide field camera contributed to its cost? If it had been a $10-million system, you would have been able to do it in the basement, too?

Westphal:

Yes, we would have liked to.

DeVorkin:

Would JPL have allowed that?

Westphal:

JPL didn't have any choice. It wasn't their business. I mean, I was the PI, and I decided who was to do what. But NASA Headquarters might not have allowed us to do it. I don't know whether they would or not. They allowed the Wisconsin instrument. But again, that's a thing where Mona can tell you something about their thinking. But my anticipation is that they considered the HSP a throw-away instrument. It was not in the original AO, that kind of an instrument.

It was proposed by Bob Bless as a thing about the size of a lunch bucket. It was to live in the corner of one of the actual instrument boxes, and was to cost less than a million dollars. I mentioned this to you before, that I've always thought one of the funny things of ST was that after we were all selected, including him, there was this first round of reproposing and so forth that went on six months or so after we were selected.

The next thing he knew, his travel budget was just like my travel budget. It was a million bucks for the length of the activity, so the travel budget was bigger than his original proposal (laughs), which I've always thought was kind of fun. He was in a big box, just like everybody else. But my perception of it, and as I say, Mona can tell you what people really were thinking, I'm sure, was that the HSP was a throw-away instrument. If it didn't work, they had wasted the money, but it wasn't crucial to ST. I never say this in a public forum, but I believe it is in fact true that the wide field camera is crucial to the flight of ST. They will not fly ST even now without a working wide field camera, I don't think; but I could be wrong about that.

DeVorkin:

That's the feeling, as far as what NASA seems to be very interested in, which is good discovery pictures.

Westphal:

That's right. They've got to have the pictures, and they are not just about to let the first really nifty pictures from ST come from the faint object camera from Europe. They're just not going to do that. That's just not in the nature of the individuals involved, as I read them. On the other hand, they're not going to hold a launch up for nine months, either, waiting for a wide field camera, I don't believe, but I could be wrong about that. I certainly am not planning on anything like that.

DeVorkin:

I know you're not planning on it, but if there was that kind of a slip, you would certainly be arguing to delay the launch. But what kind of problems would that propose?

Westphal:

I don't know that I would be arguing to delay the launch, necessarily. I might be perfectly willing to put on my hat of a broader citizen, and not just the PI on the wide field camera, if there was some real evidence that they could take it up and put it in after it was ready to go. I might be willing to proceed that way without making a big stink. I mean, I would probably argue against it at the beginning; but I probably would acquiesce to that without any big fray. It's really not an unreasonable stance.

DeVorkin:

Yes. So they would put some lead in there and send it off.

Westphal:

Well, that's the problem. To put something in its place is going to cost more than it would cost, and take longer than it would to fix the instrument to the first order, unless we have some unbelievably catastrophic problem.

DeVorkin:

I see.

Westphal:

Somebody made an estimate, I understand; and I don't know this for a fact. It's second-hand, that Lockheed told Marshall that it would cost them four and one-half million dollars to build a plug to go in place of our instrument, if they wanted to fly the bird without our instrument in it.

DeVorkin:

Does that result from a problem of design, or of manpower, to design something that would fit in there correctly?

Westphal:

It has two or three real reasons; that is, technical reasons, and then several programatic reasons. The technical issues are that it has to in fact look thermally, at least, and, probably as far as its weight is concerned, but not as far as its electrical consumption is concerned in this particular case, look like our instrument, because everything is so intermixed in that way that that would be essential. If it is built by somebody like Lockheed, it's built in the full aerospace style, which means that it's all documented. Interface documents have to be generated, and it has to be designed.

It has to go through preliminary design reviews, preliminary requirements reviews, critical design reviews, on and on and on. It would have to be built on kind of a crash basis, so that would mean they would have to put a lot of people on the job in a hurry. It would turn out in the real world that they couldn't use any of our design at all. They would have to start from scratch. So there are real reasons for it to cost a bunch of money. The other reason is that it is an opportunity for an organization, which is a profit-making organization, or an organization that wants to put a lot of people on the payroll, even though they may not be profit making, like JPL as an example, to do just that. If they get NASA in a position where they don't have any choice, they will do something that, in the jargon of the business, is called "getting well". They will "get well" on that. That sounds callous, but the fact of the matter is that they depend on being able to do that; and therefore, they very often do things for free at other times in the system.

They don't play the game exactly according to the rule book, and they do things for free and so forth, knowing full well that before it's over with, they will end up in the position where they want to be. They are skilled at that. They know exactly how to play it. They know exactly how to proceed. NASA understands all of that; NASA management does. That's not to say that there is a general unholy alliance between these people, or something; but everybody understands how the game works; and everybody plays the game in a certain way.

There are jousting matches; and sometimes one side gets a little ahead of the other side back and forth. But in general, it's in their vested interest on both sides for that all to work, and that's one of the hard lessons that it has taken me a long time to understand. I keep learning things, every day I learn something, or every few days I learn something about the subtlety of the system I didn't know about it. It's a very well orchestrated, well organized system, and it works in that way. Now, whether you could do it in some other way that would be very much more efficient is very problematical.

You certainly can on a small scale, but whether you can on a big scale is not clear. It's also almost irrelevant. I mean, this thing of the Wisconsin instrument is an excellent counterexample of how you can do it for a lot less money, and get an awfully nice piece of hardware. But then Wisconsin said they would be happy to build a thing called a thermal structural unit, which is a box just like their instrument. It is essentially a plug like we were talking about for an axial instrument for some very small amount of money, the cost, I don't remember, was maybe a few tens of thousands of dollars, when Perkin-Elmer, I think, had told Fred Speer that it would cost him several million dollars to get that built. Speer is the project manager at Marshall. Somehow, that didn't ever come to happen, and I don't know the details of that. But somehow that didn't really happen. They didn't end up building that thing; and Perkin-Elmer ended up building it.

DeVorkin:

So Perkin-Elmer built it?

Westphal:

They are going to build it, I guess. I don't exactly know the status of it at the moment, but Wisconsin is not building it, to my knowledge.

DeVorkin:

What is this thing called?

Westphal:

It's called the thermal structural unit, which means it has the same thermal, and structural properties as the real instrument. As I say, it's a plug. It's called a TSU.

DeVorkin:

Okay, yes, they've had these things for previous flights.

Westphal:

Oh yes, they always have them.

DeVorkin:

So you have thermal structural units for all of the different devices.

Westphal:

No, it turned out that that got deleted out of the program once upon a time, back when there was a money crunch. So there is no thermal structural unit for any of the instruments, except this one that is now going to be apparently made by Perkin-Elmer that will work for axial instruments. But there is not a thermal structural unit for the wide field instrument. It was cut out of the program three or four years ago to save money.

DeVorkin:

Is there a certain amount of danger in that?

Westphal:

Sure, they don't have anything to plug in to play with. The only thing you can play with is the real instrument. It's a dangerous game.

DeVorkin:

I see.

Westphal:

But Fred Speer has got his hero's medal from NASA with the concept of let us not do that. Let us not build a thermal structural unit, and an engineering model, and a prototype, and then finally a flight unit. Let us build something called a proto flight unit which is, you build one of them.

DeVorkin:

He's the one responsible for that philosophy?

Westphal:

Yes, and he got the NASA's hero's medal for that.

DeVorkin:

That was done quite some time ago, even with the HEAOs.

Westphal:

That's right. Exactly. It was on HEAO that that was done, and Fred was the father of that.

DeVorkin:

That's why the museum doesn't have anything to show.

Westphal:

That's right, because there isn't anything. (laughs).

DeVorkin:

So he's the one we should talk to about that.

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Okay. What about the other instruments, the spectrographs and the others. Are they also run in the same manner as the wide field camera team, the matrixing the large scale production?

Westphal:

The High Resolution Spectrograph is being built by Ball Brothers, and it is built in a matrix organization, as far as I know. I don't really know the details of that. The Faint Object Spectrograph is built by Martin Marietta, as far as I know, with a normal aerospace style. Each of those companies, though, has different styles. Matrix organizations, I think, are dying out, because they work great as long as there is more work to do than anybody knows what to do with. They are a disaster when you don't have enough work, because you've got this massive bunch of people out there with nothing to do. So matrix organizations were very effective, apparently, or at least relatively effective, when the aerospace industry was expanding, and there was more work than anybody knew what to do with. But places like JPL have not solved that problem internally, and it's very, very severe. I have no idea whether the new director is interested, or understands the problem, or anything. We will all see in the next months.

DeVorkin:

That's very interesting. Certainly I know that they use that technique to build large spacecraft, the various stages of Saturn and that sort of thing. But using matrix organizations down to the level of instruments makes it quite a big operation.

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Is there anything else we should cover on the instrument itself?

Westphal:

I don't think so. There were two events, I guess, that are worth mentioning in passing, which JPL didn't have the technical competency to do. One of them had to do with procuring the proper optical filters; and the other was procuring the optics. Their only way of procuring optics was to call up Eastman Kodak and Itek, and let them both tell them how many millions of dollars it would cost. So I took that part away from JPL, and furnished them the optics. We bought the optics from a little company in Tucson that was a spinoff from the Optical Sciences Center.

DeVorkin:

Brandt, or someone like that?

Westphal:

No, this company's name is Tucson Optical Research Corporation, TORC. We had some experience, not actually with TORC, but with another fellow in Tucson who was from that bunch, and that experience had been very good indeed. These optics were very inexpensive. I think we paid $60,000 for the whole set, and Itek's bid was, I think, two and one-half million dollars or something. Kodak's bid was also some huge amount. In fact, we spent more at Kodak having them study the optical design than it cost to build the optics. It was in fact at that point that I took the thing away from them, when it was $60,000 to get a design study made that we already knew all the answers to. That is the style of a place like JPL, and particularly in that area. That process of taking those activities away from JPL caused great bitterness inside the system.

DeVorkin:

Bitterness against you?

Westphal:

Yes. And, you know, it was saying, you are not competent to do a thing that you are allegedly competent to do. One understands that doesn't make people happy.

DeVorkin:

Who made their cameras on the various probes? Did they make their cameras, themselves?

Westphal:

No, those were done by spending a million dollars some place on the outside, having somebody else do it. Those cameras were much simpler — well, simpler is the wrong word. There was much less precision in the optics than ours. They were also bigger, which makes them easier to mechanically build.

DeVorkin:

The optical elements?

Westphal:

Yes, they were big lenses.

DeVorkin:

That's understood.

Westphal:

A different kind of a problem. No, it was the same style.

DeVorkin:

I would like to ask you about the structure of NASA insofar as it dictates the structure of this whole project. I met you once down at Marshall and you were at the quarterly review , the managers review, I understand. Now you are at another review session. How much time do you spend going to these review sessions, and what value are they really?

Westphal:

Well, an inordinate amount of time is the answer. I would have to really look at my calendar to tell you; but I would expect that on the average it is more than a week a month.

DeVorkin:

A week a month?

Westphal:

Yes, that I am involved in reviews that are not immediately involved with my instrument, that are reviews of things that are broader than just my own instrument.

DeVorkin:

Is this because you have been designated as telescope scientist as well as a PI?

Westphal:

No, I'm not that. I'm just a PI. No, the reason for that is two-fold. One is that until the Institute came into existence there was, by my perception, a vacuum in the project of scientifically-oriented engineering competency, if I can put it that way. There were scientists associated with the projects, the O'Dells and the Leckrones, and people like that, who have zero or even negative engineering competency. There were a lot of good engineers around without any science competency. There was almost nobody in the system that understood both worlds at some level.

So I kind of fell into that function. It started in fact with that business about the external radiator, where Keithley was amazed at the engineering competency that came in the door in the person of Gunn and I. In the arguments about it, Perkin-Elmer had not done their home work properly and we just blew them out of the water technically. In an engineering sense, they were just plain wrong! They just hadn't thought about the problem at all. The Lockheed people came in with the craziest damn thing you ever saw to try to get this door cold enough so that we could use it. We pointed out seven reasons why that couldn't work, just at a glance. So soon I was drug into the system in an engineering sense, looking at fundamental engineering kinds of questions.

DeVorkin:

By Olivier, or by Speer?

Westphal:

No, this was before Speer's time; by Keithley, by Olivier, by osmosis, by various people in the loop, by my own volition, by my own sense of responsibility to the thing. By my own best interest I learned very quickly that if you didn't go to these reviews that were going on at about one out of three of them, they would make some decision that caused you some immense pain, out of ignorance, or out of maybe something else. But at any rate, it was in your own vested best interest to be there, or something was going to happen that you didn't like. So it's partially a style. I mean, Bob Bless is an example, who runs the Wisconsin instrument. He never comes to any of these things. The only meeting he ever goes to is a science working group meeting, and maybe half of those.

DeVorkin:

Is he invited to any?

Westphal:

Oh sure. Everybody's invited to these things.

DeVorkin:

Does it hurt that he doesn't go?

Westphal:

I think it does, but he's taking the approach that he can't spend the time; his instrument is going along well; and he's kind of insulated from the rest of the system. That's true, in many ways; and he feels that somebody somewhere will make it work right. That's the product of having done it a couple of times before. He was involved in Copernicus and, I may have the jargon wrong, in the OAOs.

DeVorkin:

He was in OAO-2 with Code. Yes, so that was the Wisconsin package.

Westphal:

Yes, whatever it was. He knew something about the business. He knew what mattered and what didn't. He had a little bit more experienced view of the world. Others like Jack Brandt also spend essentially no time going to anything; except he goes to the Science Working Group. But this very meeting which went on this morning, which has to do with the structure of the Institute and how it's going to interact with the scientists and the PIs and everybody else, Brandt's not there. He sent Steve Maran only after somebody in the project told him he absolutely had to send somebody. He wasn’t going to have anybody go to the meeting,

DeVorkin:

Is that hostility?

Westphal:

Well, there's some hostility involved in that. He doesn't like the Institute. But, pick some other meeting and the same thing is the first order of truth. He just doesn't support meetings.

DeVorkin:

Now, if you found you fell into a void where engineering didn't know enough about the scientific needs, and science didn't know about engineering requirements and that sort of thing, how do you think NASA has survived so far in being able to send up satellites that work?

Westphal:

Well, it's the difference between whether they work, or whether they work 10 or 100 times better for the same effort. I mean, ST is going to do some awesomely beautiful thing if it works at all, no matter what, even if we hadn't had an external radiator, we would still make the most god-awful pretty pictures you ever saw. But it's the difference between doing that, being able to do 100 times better than that, for the same effort. I think that is the answer to that. I mean you can go back and look at this crazy stuff that went on with the Mariner spacecraft and with Voyager, and probably before it's all over, it will even happen to some of the Galileo, if they ever fly Galileo.

The science community has not found the means, or the inclination, to recruit scientist types, or engineer types that can do both, and get them into the system in a place where they can have an effect on how things are done. From my viewpoint, it is the improper choice of scientists at the NASA centers, the resident scientists, of picking the wrong kinds of people. In fact, when I came to visit Noel here the last time I was in this building, that was one of the prime questions he asked me, and that we talked about at length, is what is the function of scientists in the center.

My view is that, in general, and certainly it is true of JPL, and as I look at it at Goddard, it is almost uniformly true of Goddard, that the wrong kinds of scientists are there. You need scientists who have an engineering interest, an instrumentation interest is what that really means, and who have at least a reasonably good competency in science, who can be involved, be useful to a project. You need scientists who technically influence a project, and help set the priorities, so that dumb decisions are not made, that could just as well have been many times better decisions.

DeVorkin:

There are those kinds of scientists out there. You're one of them.

Westphal:

At JPL?

DeVorkin:

At JPL, too, Leighton, certainly.

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

And at other places; Jerry Kron, I think, would fall into that area; or Lou Hobbs at Yerkes. Why aren't these people at Goddard, or why haven't they been brought in?

Westphal:

Well, Leighton was involved in Mariner 4, I guess it was. But after the instruments were all designed and being built, even then he made a massive improvement in what happened, how it was done, and kind of pushed in from the top at a very late time. He made people madder than hell because he kept changing things, but I'm sure that Mariner 4 was 10 times a better spacecraft, produced 10 times better data, than it would have without him. The answer, I think, is that there are first, just a limited number of people that are scientists and engineers both. It comes from accidental situations like mine, or just people who were just so awesomely smart that they do all of that. Jim Gunn or Bob Leighton are two perfect examples. But especially Jim Gunn.

The environment of a NASA center is not a fun environment. It's a painful environment. It has very few rewards on a personal basis. It's thankless. It doesn't pay an awful lot of money. It does not have high scientific prestige. In general, it is just the way the system works at some level, so they are not very attractive jobs to people. People like that tend, in science, I think, to want to do their own thing in their own small scale style. They don't really want to run a great big project. Many of them have been forced to do so in the particle physics biz, just because that how that biz has evolved in recent years. I suspect that if you wanted to find some really competent scientists to staff a NASA center with, that's the place in science you ought to go to try to f ind them; look to a bunch of people in the particle physics biz that have learned to live in that environment, and how to do it. You don't want to find a bunch of astronomers. I mean, any good physicist can be an astronomer.

DeVorkin:

That's a damn good suggestion.

Westphal:

So if I were going to try to staff up a NASA center with the right kind of people, I would try to recruit some astronomers all right. There are a few around. But I would probably go off to the particle physics biz and try to recruit some of those people who know how to operate in that kind of a world.

DeVorkin:

Let's turn to the Science Institute then. You said that there was this void before the Science Institute was in existence. How does that Institute fill that void?

Westphal:

Well, first it has formal responsibility, and with that responsibility it has authority that somebody like me in the system really didn't have. So the job is now legal and NASA recognizes its existence, which means that in my case the impacts I had were almost on a personal basis. I convinced some guy somewhere that it was easy to do something in a different way very quietly, and you know, not attacking his ego or the system's ego, or anything else. I said, gee, do you suppose you could do it like this, because if you did, nifty stuff would happen. The Institute can be more direct about things. That doesn't necessarily mean it's more effective. That depends on the individuals. The Institute is especially effective, because several of the people that are on the staff of the Institute came out of HEAO, and they know the biz. They know how to operate in it. They didn't have to stop to get educated as I did. Giacconi, Ethan Schreier, and Roger Doxey; those three come instantly to mind.

DeVorkin:

Let me ask you about the origins of the Institute. How far back do you go in the deliberations for there, first, to be an institute, and then second, where it was supposed to be?

Westphal:

I never have been directly involved in any of that. By the time they were discussing where it was to be, all of us were in one way or another potential candidates or something, so we were quite appropriately frozen out of any of those internal NASA discussions.

DeVorkin:

Was Mona Tycz involved?

Westphal:

Oh yes, very much so. Again, that's an area she can tell you about a lot. Another person who can tell you a lot about that is Warren Keller. Warren Keller is now the director of Wallops Island, or whatever it is properly called; but he operates out of Goddard. I was not involved in the National Academy activities, the Hornig Committee, or any of that sort of business. I was an early strong supporter of the Institute for awhile, and then for awhile I was not a supporter of the Institute.

DeVorkin:

Could you review reasons, first, why you were a supporter, and then why you were not?

Westphal:

First I thought it was a nifty idea, because it makes sense. It sounds like a good thing to do. I didn't think about it an awful lot further than that. It just sounded like a reasonable thing to do. I also felt very strongly that somehow the real operation of the spacecraft and the real decisions about what to do and what not to do, in the way of observations and the like, ought to be in the hands of astronomers, rather than being in the hands of NASA. Especially not in a NASA center. The NASA center that would clearly have been involved in that was Goddard. There already had been bad history about that.

DeVorkin:

You've already mentioned in previous interviews what some of the history was. The most poignant seems to have been the lag in the amount of time you can get to your data.

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Would you say that's one of the primary ones? What are some of the others?

Westphal:

Well, there was, and is a perception (I don't know how accurate it is, because I have not been personally involved in it) that the Goddard operators of spacecraft don't really care much about the science. It's very hard to get scientific inputs effectively into how they operate things.

DeVorkin:

Are you talking about the people at the terminals in the engineering control, or their supervisors?

Westphal:

Well, both, probably. I'm talking secondhand and thirdhand. That's not good, because I don't really know case histories and stuff like that.

Westphal:

You really should talk to some of the people who had real experience with that.

DeVorkin:

Who would that be?

Westphal:

Bob Bless is a good guy to talk to. Jesse Greenstein is an especially good man to talk to about IUE. IUE was a real problem in many of these ways at the beginning; but it has become very, very much better, I think at the hands of Al Boggess, as best I can tell. But again, I don't use it, so I don't really know the details. Things are certainly infinitely better than they were at the beginning. I'm talking about things that I only know from hearsay, and you should talk to the people that really know the details about it. At any rate, there was in fact a general perception in the community that you just didn't want Goddard running this thing, putting it brutally.

Then there came a time, as I got involved in it more, when I really couldn't convince myself that NASA was going to really support an institute, when it came down to it, to support an institute that was worth having. It was not because I didn't think you could have a good institute. It was that I thought NASA was not going to let it happen. At that time there was immense politics going on about it, and where it was going to be, and who was going to run it and so forth. Again, there was a strong effort coming out of Princeton, out of Spitzer, to take the Institute.

Well, that's just a perception. I don't know whether it's true or not. Let me back off of that; but the point was that, as I thought more about it, I really couldn't see what the real honest-to-god function of the Institute was, in the form that people were thinking of it, as a science institute. I still believed that the thing should not be at Goddard, but I thought that the thing should really be an operational activity, that it should be manned by a group of science engineers or the like, who really wanted to get the best data out of the spacecraft. The business of taking care of how the time would be allocated I thought could be handled fairly directly and simply as an independent enterprise with a NASA peer group, an activity which clearly could and has been done in various other ways. Grants are done that way, and all kinds of things are done that way.

DeVorkin:

That's your standard Kitt Peak users committee type operation?

Westphal:

Well, that perhaps, but more nearly the standard kind of NASA peer group review of proposals for grants, particularlv the group at NASA that does that on a big scale, or the geology grants and the — I can't think of that particular group; but they have a PI meeting once a year. They have this group that goes through them. That was probably moderated, modified, perpetrated — I don't know exactly the right word — by my worry about the personaiities that might be involved. Also, there was my reading that NASA had serious financial problems with the telescope; and that the institute, it seemed to me, was unlikely to end up being a real science institute. I didn't in any sense actively fight it, but I just was not a strong vocal supporter of it at that point. However, there were a number of people internally in NASA who finally came to want to support it. There had been an almost universal negative attitude about it internally in NASA. Nobody thought it was a good idea. Almost nobody wanted it to happen. It was too foreign. It smacked of giving away NASA's responsibilities to some bunch of people that were incompetent and inexperienced, and so on.

DeVorkin:

Was there any particular spokesman in NASA against it?

Westphal:

Yes, there were several. Warren Keller was one of them. Noel was, I think, kind of on the fence about the thing. Tom Young was fairly negative about it.

DeVorkin:

Frosch was in at that time.

Westphal:

Frosch was in at that time. Frosch was not negative about it. Again, Mona can tell you an awful lot more about this than I can. I think she will give you a balanced view. She has very few axes to grind; and I think she will give you a balanced view of it that is certainly an insider's view. At any rate, being good soldiers, a number of these NASA people, including as an example, Warren Keller, when the word was that we were going to have a science institute, they started to really try to make it happen. The problem was that the only scientific help they could get in that was from these science teams.

DeVorkin:

The science teams?

Westphal:

Yes, the investigation definition teams, the PIs and their teams for the instruments. There was an underground sabotage enterprise going on, and continues to this day, at Goddard, among the scientists at Goddard trying to kill it. Jack Brandt and his group of people who just would not let it be that that decision had been made that it wasn't going to be at Goddard. As I say, it continues to this very day.

DeVorkin:

Not to jump ahead, but in saying that, considering that you just came from a morning of talking about the institute, you said Brandt didn't show up and sent Steven Maran instead. Is this an element to that?

Westphal:

Oh sure.

DeVorkin:

Or is there anything more active than that?

Westphal:

Oh yes, much more active than that. I know only rumors. Again, if Mona is willing, she can tell you exactly what is going on in that. But there clearly are active efforts to this day to sabotage the institute. Now it came time for the institute proposal to go out, the RFP for the institute, and various people were around recruiting various other people to be involved in proposals, or whatever. I was approached by a couple of the groups to aid them in their proposals.

DeVorkin:

Right. Each group gathered together scientists in the field.

Westphal:

Yes. I told all of them that the only way that I could be involved in any proposal was that I was willing to give a two or three-day description, and have a two or three-day discussion period, a question and answer period, about the Wide Field Camera and its nature, and what was going to happen with it, and what I thought. I could recruit team members to be at that, what they thought about data reduction, and how it was going to be, an open field discussion. But only on the premise that all of the potential proposers were in the room at the same time. I would not do it for individual groups. I would do it for all of them at once. If they wanted to get together and organize that, I would be willing to support it, but I wouldn't organize it. Well, that didn't attract anybody at all, fortunately, because I really didn't want the job. But that was my stance. Of course, that laid the clear message out that Westphal wasn't going to be involved in anybody's individual proposal.

DeVorkin:

Was there any internal pressure from Caltech? Was Caltech interested?

Westphal:

Caltech was interested, and this was actually before I made the public statement that I mentioned to you. It's a little hard to remember exactly how that went, but Dave Morrisroe was a person that was pushing it the hardest. He is the treasurer and chief; he's the guy that really runs Caltech, a brilliant man, who was brought there by Harold Brown. He's one of the "whiz kids" and a brilliant, brilliant man. He is now on STIC, the Space Telescope Institute Committee, the AURA committee that overseas the institute.

He's Caltech's business man. He was deeply involved, and was the main architect of the AURA* proposal for the institute, all the management and budgetary part of it; he was the main negotiator with the Government. He is an awesome operator and a very pleasant man. So he was pushing it. Goldberger was pushing it, who is the president of Caltech. They came to me of course, essentially first, I guess, about it all, and wanted me to do something about it. I said, I can't do anything about it, when I've got an instrument to build that is killing me now. But what you've got to do is recruit some astronomer from Caltech, or from Santa Barbara Street (Carnegie), but really from Caltech, who is willing to spend the next three years of his life making this happen.

If you can’t recruit somebody like that, there isn’t a way in God's world you are going to make this happen. So they went off and tried to recruit somebody, and I guess they actually even had a staff meeting. There was nobody on the staff that was willing to do it. Nobody really cared enough to be willing to do that. That to this day was a great disappointment to Goldberger. I think it's really muddied his view of the astronomers at Caltech, and I think properly. I mean, there was just no sense of that happening at all. Again, with typical Caltech ego, I don't think there is any doubt that we could have won that proposal, if somebody had been willing to put the effort into it.

DeVorkin:

Who was chairman at that time? It wasn't Neugebauer.

Westphal:

No, Maarten Schmidt was the director of the observatory.

DeVorkin:

When they were still connected and they were having their identity problems. A tug of war?

Westphal:

The divorce was going on, but that wasn’t the real problem. The real problem was that there was nobody on the staff who wants to do that sort of thing. They want to do science. Well, you can't really argue with that. But it's a lost opportunity. Maybe it isn’t; who knows. A hard question. So, that got everybody off my back of these groups that were doing proposals, but various members of my team (I guess only a couple of them really) were involved in at least one proposal. Well, really only one; Brad Smith was involved in the AURA proposal. I guess Roger Lynds must have been, also, at some level. I don’t know exactly whether he was or not in detail. *He did this function as CIT's representative to the AURA Board (CIT is an AURA member). CIT had decided not to compete for the STScI by the time he helped AURA's proposal.

At any rate, toward the time when the proposal was to be turned in, I got a phone call from John Bahcall, and there was to be a science working group meeting; and he wanted to have a private meeting with me sometime during that science working group meeting. I said fine. On various occasions we had private meetings about things that the two of us felt we needed to do something about, you know, kind of strategy meetings.

DeVorkin:

Any particular date for this?

Westphal:

I don't know. You'd have to go back, and it was some few weeks, or maybe as much as a month or two before the proposals were due for the institute itself. So we met, and John said, Princeton is putting in its proposal. I said I had heard that. He said, we’re not going to propose a director in our proposal. I said, fine (laughs).

DeVorkin:

Not Spitzer?

Westphal:

Not anybody. We're not going to name a director in our proposal, a potential director. So that was discussed a little. You know, I couldn't understand what he was talking about, why was he telling me this. I thought it was interesting. Finally, it comes out that he himself very badly wants to be the director, and I still didn't understand why he was telling me that in any detail. But the whole conversation just kind of died, and I went away a little mystified about what the meeting was really about, why he had done that.

DeVorkin:

Was that meeting at Princeton?

Westphal:

No, it was at Huntsville, I suppose, wherever the science working group was. I'm sure it was Huntsville. So then AURA was selected, and then, of course, Art Code was temporary director; and then they went off on a director search.

DeVorkin:

Was that a surprise that AURA was selected?

Westphal:

No, it was no surprise to me at all. I knew that, once Barry Lasker was involved in making the proposal, and that Dave Morrison was involved in making a proposal; Morrison was the author of the management and financial part of that proposal. I knew, with those two people involved, there was no doubt it was going to be a first-class proposal. What I had heard through the rumor factory of the other route, was that it didn't sound like anybody else had their act together.

DeVorkin:

Not Princeton?

Westphal:

Or anywhere else. There were five proposals altogether originally, I suppose.

DeVorkin:

Yes.

Westphal:

The AURA proposal was selected and so then they started the business of trying to find a permanent director. Of course, names were just flying all over everywhere.

DeVorkin:

Code wasn't a shoo-in?

Westphal:

Code had announced both quite publicly and privately that he just absolutely did not want that job permanently.

DeVorkin:

Really!

Westphal:

Yes. I tried to convince him at one point to take the job permanently. I had a private conversation with him, and really put the screws to him over it, and he said he just didn't want the job. He didn't think he would do a good job at it. He was right.

DeVorkin:

He had already spent a year at Johns Hopkins getting the whole act together.

Westphal:

That's right. Yes. So anyway, names were flying all over everywhere. I got another phone call from John Bahcall and he wants to have another private meeting, which actually may just have been a phone call. I can't tell you now, but at any rate, it turned out — and then it all kind of fell in line — that he was one of the three final contestants in the selection. He wanted to know if I would be willing to be his deputy, if he won this thing. I was very noncommittal about that. I told him that was really not my style, and I didn't really think I wanted to live in Baltimore. I wanted to make the Wide Field Camera work, and 19 reasons why I didn't want this job. I didn't tell him, "no," but I sure didn't encourage him very much. Thinking about it, I just decided that until it was a real job, I wasn't going to worry very much about a job like that. But there was clearly a list of negative features about it. There were obviously also a list of positive things about it. So, of course, in the end he was not selected, so it was a moot issue and never raised its head again.

DeVorkin:

Do you know who the third finalist was?

Westphal:

I knew who the top five were. The top five were Giacconi, Bahcall, Art Davidson — in fact, those were the top three, if I'm not mistaken. I know that only by somebody telling me that, and who probably knew. In fact, Bahcall told me. I think he probably knew. I believe, in the list of five was even — and I remember just being mind-boggled to hear that — Jeff Burbidge, who was demonstrably a disaster. I believe the other guy that was in the top five was another demonstrable disaster, the guy at Lick, Wampler. He had gone off to Australia trying to be director, and crashed. That was really scarey. I have learned since that there was really only one candidate ever, and the only issue was whether they could get him; and they had to go through the formality of having some more names. But there was really no question whatsoever that Riccardo was the choice, if they could get him and convince him to take the job.

DeVorkin:

It's apparent that Code didn't even put his name up, or allow himself to be considered?

Westphal:

He would not allow his name to be up there. Lyman's name was never up. There was a rumor around, which I can only say is a rumor, that Lyman had a discussion with Frosch, and Frosch told him point blank that NASA was not about to appoint somebody of his age to that job. I don't know that that's true, but I expect it is, something on that order, something substantially like that. But apparently, his name never was high on anybody's list. That was apparently a great disappointment to him. Well, once Giacconi was named to this thing, then there was this time in which everybody was trying to understand about Giacconi. I didn't know Giacconi personally at all. So everybody was running around trying to understand what Giacconi was going to do, and how was it going to be. I went up to Cambridge to a meeting on CCDs, having nothing to do with ST. The meeting had been organized by a couple of the guys at Smithsonian on CCDs.

DeVorkin:

Anybody in particular?

Westphal:

The people that organized it?

DeVorkin:

Yes. I'd be interested in their interest.

Westphal:

A young fellow, who is not terribly well known, but is actually a fairly competent guy, who was actively building a CCD system.

DeVorkin:

Not in Tannenbaum's group, in the high energy group?

Westphal:

No, this was in the astronomy group, a name I would certainly recognize. The other guy is a well-known name, but who has no technical, no engineering background at all, and was somehow just a front for the system.

DeVorkin:

Dave Latham?

Westphal:

Latham was the guy I was just now talking about. He was just a front for the system. The other guy was John Geary. He was the guy that made it happen. At any rate, I went up to present a paper. Jim Gunn and I presented a paper on ground-based CCD systems, and while I was there I was approached by a kid who had been an undergraduate at Caltech. I only knew the face and I can't remember the name even yet. He said, hey, "There is a guy here who wants very badly to talk to you about ST. His name is Ethan Schreier, and he was involved in HEAO, and he works closely with Riccardo. Could you have lunch with him, the three of us, and we would discuss the ST?” I said, sure.

So I went off to lunch with this guy and Schreier, and we talked about the pointing control system, which was the instantaneous problem at that time, and how the ST project was really organized and going. Of course, Schreier had been up to his ears in HEAO, so he knew the cast of characters at Marshall in some detail. That was my first contact with Riccardo's Mafia; and I was very impressed with Schreier and I am to this day. He is an awfully, awfully competent guy. He is clearly the guy that is really running the institute on a day by day basis. It is a shame the man wasn't made the deputy. There is a story around, but I don't know that it is true; that one of the restrictions on Riccardo was that he had to get a "real astronomer" to be his deputy. So they go and pick Don Hall, who is a very good guy, but he is not a real astronomer. He is an infrared astronomer.

DeVorkin:

Who is that?

Westphal:

Don Hall, who was at Kitt Peak. A good guy. A really good guy.

DeVorkin:

He's a pretty senior fellow; isn't he?

Westphal:

Yes. I imagine he's 50, and a really good guy, and I supported it in every way. But the fact is that the guy that is really running the thing is Schreier on a day-by-day basis. He's the guy making the decisions and so forth, as best I can read it.

DeVorkin:

Bahcall wanted you as the deputy. Does that mean, in many ways, that he wanted you to run it?

Westphal:

Yes. Sure. That is exactly what it meant. I am sure I would never have taken that job, even if it had really honest-to-god been offered to me. It's just not my kind of thing. It's not my part of the world, or anything else.

DeVorkin:

So that was your first contact with Riccardo's people?

Westphal:

So that was my first contact with Riccardo's crew. I was very, very impressed. So there ensued, while they were all getting on board, a lot of contact, mainly on the phone, betwen Schreier and me and so forth. I met Riccardo first at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Institute, which didn't break any ground.

DeVorkin:

Nope, I was there, too. (laugh).

Westphal:

Various things have gone on since that time, but we're on a very congenial basis. The Institute is a Riccardo enterprise, and he is running it his way. He is learning his lessons in his own style. What has happened in reality is that the PIs, and particularly my function as kind of being the science engineer of the system, have now disappeared and been taken over by people like Schreier and Doxey, who are really awfully good guys, who have that as a full time job, and that's their business.

So my workload has gone down immensely in the last four or five months. I go to a lot fewer meetings than I used to go to, and have a lot less phone calls. They have picked up that function, as it is their job and they are doing it well, I think. A lot of people are worried about Riccardo. Riccardo is very ambitious. This morning he was working as hard as he could to increase his budget and point out that he is not going to be able to keep his young people, if they can't do science, and if he doesn't have a science budget that had been promised to him.

DeVorkin:

He doesn't have a science budget?

Westphal:

No. The system cut his budget by some immense amount because of the crunch this year, and it's not going to be a bit better next year, so there is a real crisis there. Noel's going to have to face up to that.

DeVorkin:

Why is it Noel's decision?

Westphal:

Because the money comes out of the Goddard kitty. They are the operations kitty.

DeVorkin:

Yes. How do Hinners and Giacconi get along?

Westphal:

I don't really know, for a fact. I think, well, but I don't really know. Noel is not a hard guy to get along with, at least externally. I've never had yet a really hard kind of a circumstance interaction with him. I don't know how that works, but Noel as you know is just infinitely competent and smart. He certainly has the best interest of the activity in mind. He learns quickly; he's a quick study. He isn't bashful at all about asking anybody in sight what's going on. So, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens there. An awful lot of people in the optical astronomy community though are very uncomfortable, and think that Riccardo's just going to take over everything, and he's going to have all the budget, and all the money. And there won't be any money for universities in astronomy or anything else. I think it's all crazy, but a lot of people have that view, panic stricken, some of them here and there.

DeVorkin:

Is he correct, though, in his fear that he isn't going to be able to keep his young scientists?

Westphal:

Yes, I think it's a very serious problem. In fact I had a personal conversation with Noel, while standing waiting to catch the shuttle; and told Noel that that was a very real thing. The guy that we helped him recruit, John Hoessel, one of Gunn's students at Caltech, is a year and a half beyond his Ph.D. He doesn't know whether ST is going to survive. Nobody does. He is at the Institute. They offered him a job with 50% of his time to do science, and he's not getting his 50%, because they don't have the budget. They are having to put him in there to do this, that and the other thing. There are all these panics, and he is very restive. He's worried, and I don't blame him a bit for being worried. If he sits there for four years doing no science, and then the place goes away, he's out in the cold. That's a real problem. I think Riccardo's being brilliant to hire these young guys. It is exactly the thing to do, bright young guys, get them in the system, instead of hiring a bunch of old guys with gray hair.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Well, how do you feel about that? (laughs). You're not particularly old, but you've got gray hair.

Westphal:

I feel pretty old some days. But, no, he's doing exactly the right thing. He will ultimately be able to recruit one or two really, senior first-class astronomers. He made a pass or two at two or three people already, I understand. It was too early for that. He's got to get his feet on the ground and demonstrate he's got a real place. I mean, he can't recruit a Sandy Faber until he's got something to offer her. Right now he doesn't have anything to offer, except a bunch of hard work shuffling papers for NASA; and that's not attractive to anybody.

DeVorkin:

That's primarily what people are doing there. But they are also, I know, doing a lot of the work for the astrometry team. The astrometry team that is there is using PDSs.

Westphal:

The Guide Star Selection systems. But that's strictly a service function, you know. It's got to be done. You've got to have guide stars to run a telescope with, so that's a very organized formal activity to do that. It's what Barry Lasker is running.

DeVorkin:

He is running that?

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

How does that seem to be going?

Westphal:

I haven't sat in on those reviews. That's the kind of thing I don't have to go to any more. So I can't tell you there's a great concern. I know they won't be ready in time; because if you just do the simple arithmetic, they are going to have to run 29 hours a day or something to be able to get there from here. But that's going to get fixed, because there are guys that know better ways to separate the images and so forth. There will be a solution to that problem. So I think the first order of the answer is that it's going well.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Has anybody developed a scenario for how the telescope itself is going to be tested, once it is placed in orbit, and then what the first science is that is going to be done with it?

Westphal:

Yes, there are, at the moment, two separated activities. One is called orbital verification, which is really an engineering verification that everything works. That will have almost no involvement of the instruments, by the present plans. It is mainly to get the telescope and the optics to work.

DeVorkin:

Is that Goddard or Marshall?

Westphal:

That's mainly a Marshall activity. That's mainly to let the contractors get paid. They can't pay the contractors until they have proved that they have really done their job. So there's a tremendous pressure to do that as fast as possible. The first thing is supposed to take a month. Then there's going to be science verification, according to the present plans, which will take something on the order of two or three months. There will be a kind of staged turning on of the instruments and checking this and checking that, and so on.

DeVorkin:

Will there be some checking of the instruments while the astronauts are still in the area?

Westphal:

No. They don't even open the door of the spacecraft until the astronauts and shuttle have moved away, not permanently away, but away quite a distance, because of contamination problems.

DeVorkin:

Yes. So continue on. Then there's the science verification?

Westphal:

The present plan is that there is going to be this separated science verification enterprise. Now, there are a number of those who are very uncomfortable about all of that, and also, history has shown that you don't do things like that.

DeVorkin:

Oh, could you give me an example of the history?

Westphal:

Well, the history is that you turn on the instruments and start trying to get some science just as quick as you can, because you are always worried the son-of-a-bitch is going to die.

DeVorkin:

For some unknown reason?

Westphal:

Like the Seasat did, you know. If they had played the game with Seasat that they are proposing with ST, there wouldn't be one single bit of Seasat science data in existence.

DeVorkin:

Wasn't Seasat turned off?

Westphal:

No. Seasat had a catastrophic short in a slipring on the solar panels, and it blew its batteries up. It was a short that had been seen on a classified program before, and the part of Lockheed that knew that, didn't tell the part of Lockheed that built Seasat, that that problem was there. It's just mind-boggling. JPL didn't discover it, either.

DeVorkin:

But Seasat started doing science real quick?

Westphal:

Oh, gorgeous, yes. They turned the damn thing on the first day. They got 22 days of data, or something like that, of spectacular stuff. They essentially did everything they had advertised they were going to do in those 22 days.

DeVorkin:

Yes. My cousin is working on the team at Goddard that is still analyzing the data.

Westphal:

Yes, gorgeous data. You know, every day now brings more beautiful data from that experiment. But at any rate, the history is that you just don't gamble like that. This separate science verification thing was galloping on. Almost everything has some kind of strange political wang to it. It's tied up to this Goddard and Space Science Institute business. The business of Brandt's group trying to scuttle the Institute. Now, one of their games is to take science verification away from the Institute, where it clearly properly should be, and let that be a Goddard function. So they are off making all these plans about how the Goddard people are going to do this, and it's going to be a big Goddard team that's going to do it. And yes, they will put a PI on it all right. "But, you had better not get in the goddamn way, and so forth." Now that part of it, Riccardo is livid about. In due process, that part of it will get fixed.

The real problem, though, is this problem that it is just madness not to turn instruments on in the first month. Now, there is a problem there, and a technical problem. That is that the spacecraft degases so slowly that the predictions are that the pressure inside the spacecraft, where the instruments are, is going to still be so high after a couple of weeks, or even a month, that it may not be safe to turn on those instruments that have really high voltages.

DeVorkin:

Arcing.

Westphal:

That is all of them except ours and the high speed photometer. The present guess is that it is going to be about a month before you can turn those instruments on. That creates, now, a crisis, a political crisis, if you would, or a sociological crisis. I finally recognized that after our meeting, a mission operation working group meeting, here a couple of months back, and decided that it just could not proceed that way. The question was just not turning on any instrument at all for a month, then all the instruments could be turned on. See, the game was that everybody had to turn on at the same time, so nobody got ahead of anybody, or something. So I called up Bill Fastie, who is one of the telescope scientists; the Fastie of the Fastie-Ebert spectrometer, you know the name.

DeVorkin:

Yes, I hope to be able to talk to him.

Westphal:

Oh you must. He's a delightful man. Any time I have this sort of a problem, I lay it on Fastie, because he is neutral, smart and experienced. I called him, and I just laid it on him. I said, Bill, I can't say anything about this, because if I do, it will immediately be perceived that Westphal is trying to jump ahead of everybody else. But, I said, this is madness. We can't do this. In the first place, the public is not going to tolerate that thing being up there a month without any pictures coming out of it. That is crazy!

DeVorkin:

This is very different than a probe to another planet, where you have plenty of time.

Westphal:

Oh. very different. He said, sure, that's right. And I said, well, I don't know what the hell to do about it. Like I say, I can't open my peep about it.

DeVorkin:

Which is true.

Westphal:

Yeah, but I'll tell you what. I am prepared to convince my team, and I believe I could convince my team to essentially give the Wide Field Camera to NASA, Noel Hinners, Bert Edelson, whoever you want.

DeVorkin:

Who is he?

Westphal:

Bert Edelson is the head of Office of Space Science and Applications.

DeVorkin:

Okay.

Westphal:

Our team will cede it to them for the first month, or until the other instruments come on, however long that is, and let them publish the data from it, and just leave our name off of it. It will be in scientific papers coming out, descriptive of the thing, with Noel Hinners' name on it, as the author, or something.

DeVorkin:

"Galaxy in Triangulum, Large Magellanic Cloud".

Westphal:

Whatever, yes. Somehow, let us get some data as quick as we can, before some evil thing happens to our instrument, or the spacecraft, or something. He said, well, let me work on the problem. He says, you are absolutely right. I've been thinking about it, too. And he said, it is clear that it's sheer madness. We've got to do something about it. So Wednesday of this past week Bill Fastie called me and read me a letter that he is sending to Bob O'Dell as the Project Scientist. O'Dell is at Rice now. But he's still the Project Scientist, as a consultant to the project.

DeVorkin:

He's not a telescope scientist?

Westphal:

No. no. He's the Project Scientist, because until he went to Rice, he was a NASA employee who was the scientist that was assigned to the ST project at the working level.

DeVorkin:

Are you telling me that O'Dell now has his cake and can eat it, too?

Westphal:

That's right.

DeVorkin:

How did he swing that?

Westphal:

Well, it probably won't last very long, but I don't know.

DeVorkin:

I think it’s great.

Westphal:

Yes, well, as long as it lasts, it's great. At any rate, he is the chairman of the Science Working Group now. Fastie is saying in this letter: we can't proceed this way. I propose to solve the problem in the f ollowing way: The teams have guaranteed time, and let them start observing as soon as they are willing to turn on their instrument, and start charging against their guaranteed time; and if the instrument works and produces reasonable data, then that's fine. If it doesn't, then you don't charge it against them. That's an elegant solution to the problem. It gets around the political problem in a straightforward way. Now the only other problem left is that we now have to put an embargo on the publication of that science until such time as all the instruments are running, or some given time, or something like that; but that's okay.

DeVorkin:

If an instrument doesn't work, you are saying because it hasn't outgased enough?

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

And then it will eventually work?

Westphal:

Yes. That's the fundamental problem. Of course, in the case of the camera, the other thing that matters, is the Faint Object Camera. It's one that has 40 kilovolts in it, and they will destroy it if they turn it on too early. They don't even have a pressure gauge in there to find out when too early is!

DeVorkin:

The Faint Object Camera has 40 kilovolts?

Westphal:

Yes, it does. It has a six-stage intensifier in it that has 40 kilovolts across it.

DeVorkin:

Where is it getting that?

Westphal:

Oh, it makes it right there on the spot. It doesn't draw any current. This is an electrostatic field, so there is no problem about that. But it sure is a problem to contain that 40 kilovolts, I'll tell you that. Until that pressure inside of their instrument is below 10-5 tor, why, they don't dare turn the thing on.

DeVorkin:

Could that blow more than their instrument if they turn the thing on?

Westphal:

No. It will just eat up their tube. Actually, what it will do is arc across and make a carbon trail where it arced, and forever after the 40 kilovolts is dissipated down the carbon trail. That's what happens.

DeVorkin:

In the case of your initial suggestion, though, which was to let them start taking pictures the public could see: is that also in the Fastie letter?

Westphal:

No, but that's going to happen, no matter what. Whatever pictures are taken, the public is going to get to look at them. There is no way that's not going to happen.

DeVorkin:

What would be your role then, in the first few days, weeks, and months after launch, as you envision it?

Westphal:

That's not at all clear at this point, how that's going to be. The Institute has the official responsibility delegated to them from NASA as being the interface to the public. So my expectation is that as we just start generating pretty pictures, there will be a discussion between Riccardo, or whoever, and me, or whoever, about which ones ought to be released to the public. We will generate a caption to go with the pictures, and they will be released. I mean, it's very much like what's been done with Voyager. All of these fundamental worries and problems about that sort of business, are similar, of course, to what happened bitterly in the case of Voyager with the Io volcanoes. You undoubtedly are aware of that crazy business.

DeVorkin:

Why was it bitter?

Westphal:

Well, they published the pictures in the paper, as they properly should. One of Al Cameron's postdocs up at Smithsonian took the picture out of the paper and submitted a scientific paper to SCIENCE, based on the newspaper picture, explaining all about the volcanoes on Io, while the science team was under an embargo not to publish anything until after the encounter was over, and two weeks went by. All this was a formal thing, signed off by Noel that NASA would stand behind that, and so forth. When NASA went up to say, "what is this stuff?" Al Cameron said, "it's public information, and you guys can go to hell!" The chairman of the Space Science Board was thereby, in some sense, destroying the PI system, because what is the point of being a PI, if some random fool out in the boondocks can grab a press release picture and publish science about it.

DeVorkin:

Do you think Cameron did that purposely?

Westphal:

Oh, I don't think Cameron had anything to do with it in its original activity. But the minute that he was challenged, then of course he was supporting his man. But I don't know that. I never talked to him about the matter. I didn't think I could keep my temper.

DeVorkin:

He's a pretty amiable guy, though.

Westphal:

He's normally a very amiable, reasonable guy. What in the world was in his mind was beyond me. That was a bitter, bitter thing, and NASA just absolutely couldn't do anything about it. Not only were they intimidated by it being Cameron, but they had no legal basis whatsoever to do anything about it. On a legal basis he was absolutely right.

Westphal:

Anyway, that particular business has led our team into a kind of negative reaction, because Brad Smith, who was the head of the imaging team on Voyager was the victim of this. He is on our team. Our team's reaction to that was, well, if that's the way the system's going to be played, that's the way we are going to play it. We'll split our team into three pieces. One group will be sitting in the back room writing papers as fast as they can write them. As for the remainder of the crew, a third of them will be out in front getting the data in, and the other third will be reducing it as hard as they can go. We'll submit the scientific paper at the same minute we release the pictures to the public. I don't think that's going to happen, you know, but that was the reaction.

DeVorkin:

Have you given any thought to what's the first thing you would like to do with your wide field camera?

Westphal:

Our team is just in the process of that. We are to have a meeting early in October in Flagstaff, where the aspens are nice, to spend three days getting our real science program in order. But there clearly are a number of obvious things that one wants to see done very early on. You want a picture of Pluto to find out whether there is a moon or not, and if so, what it looks like.

DeVorkin:

You don't believe there is?

Westphal:

Well, there's some people who think there may not be. I don't know. But anyway, do it right. Clearly, we want to look at M87 straight off the bat.

DeVorkin:

The jets?

Westphal:

No, to find out if the black hole's in the center or not.

DeVorkin:

How are you going to do that?

Westphal:

Oh, all you’ve got to do is look at the intensity of the light in the center. You don't even need to do any data reduction. You look at the screen and measure the brightest pixel, and there is the answer. We will want to look at a number of peculiar galaxies undoubtedly, straightaway. We will want to take some pretty pictures of Jupiter. We will very quickly want to take pictures of various planets in the ultraviolet. Nobody really knows what planets look like in the ultraviolet in any serious way. If everything is "according to Hoyle," why, they are going to be all very noninteresting, Rayleigh scattering fuzzy-looking balls. My guess is that that’s not the way it's going to turn out.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Are you going to be orchestrating what you look at at all with the other instruments?

Westphal:

Well, that's the issue of all this science verification: how is that really going to be done? Or are we all going to go off independently, which doesn't make any sense. That's inefficient with telescope time if nothing else. And so an attempt is being made with something called a CATWIG, which is — god, what does it even stand for any more now! Anyway, it's a group from the teams and from the Institute who are trying to identify a set of standard targets, and make sure that we know, at least, enough about the targets from ground-based work, in the event that we don't get all the ground-based work done between now and launch time, so that we can maximize the efficiency of this process. I was one of the main perpetrators of that. I would say, I guess I was the one that suggested there be such a group.

So that’s an attempt to keep from having just wild thrashing around. Now the other thing is that the teams will, ahead of time, before the general community gets a chance to make proposals, have to turn in proposals for the science we are going to do during our 30 months, you know, this tapering off 30-month thing. That will have to be adjudicated through the time allocation committee, and through Riccardo to resolve the conflicts. Of course the attempt will, as usual, be made to get conflicts resolved by getting people to join together, rather than taking one away from the other one. But there will be problems in that area without any doubt.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Have you been approached by outside people not involved in ST, who would like to get on and do some work with you?

Westphal:

Yes. And also from people internally in ST; that is, from other teams and from a group of telescope interdisciplinary scientists, such as Bahcall, Longair, and people who are not building an instrument, but are on the science working group, and who have the same fraction of time on the telescope as the teams do.

DeVorkin:

As the telescope scientists do?

Westphal:

Yes. Ed Groth, the data operation team leader, and the two telescope scientists, Fastie and Schroeder, and the interdisciplinary scientists are Bahcall, Longair, and the guy from Texas that is the high resolution spectrograph guy. I can't think of his name right this second; he's a New Zealander. Including John Caldwell, I think that accounts for all of them; they get the same fraction of telescope time as each team does.

DeVorkin:

With any instrument they want?

Westphal:

Any instrument they want, but it's not clear what they get. They don't know what they are going to get. That was very fuzzy in the AO.

DeVorkin:

You mentioned a number of things you would be looking at. You didn't mention one thing that of course the news and the press has picked up on, and that NASA has been pushing. And that's the search for extrasolar planetary systems.

Westphal:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Will that be one of the goals of your high resolution mode? Or is that something left to the European Faint Object Camera?

Westphal:

No. They are going to try to do direct detection. They are going to try to actually image something. They have this coronagraph mode. There is a problem with that now, because the specifications on the cleanliness of the optics have been relieved to the point that that isn't going to work any more. It is really that dirty.

DeVorkin:

It has been relieved?

Westphal:

Yes, trying to have something that you could really make happen.

DeVorkin:

They have a coronagraph mode, a little occulting disk?

Westphal:

Yes, a little occulting disk and the whole bit, yes.

DeVorkin:

What about these cleanliness problems?

Westphal:

It's a really serious issue, but a much more serious issue for most of us is the potential of contamination from organics, which make the telescope opaque in the ultraviolet. There are a lot of problems with that.

DeVorkin:

What are they going to do?

Westphal:

Oh, it's a terrible problem. It's a long discussion, and it's just not resolved at the moment; and it's expensive.

DeVorkin:

It's something we can talk about later?

Westphal:

Yes. Anyway, the answer is yes, we do want to do that, but we are going to do it by the astrometric technique, of looking for a star wobbling. So that's a long-term thing. That's going to take some years of observations. So very early on we want to take first epoch pictures for that purpose. We do have a candidate list for that. We will argue among ourselves. We've got 30 stars on that list, and we will pick whichever ones happen to be logistically handy, or properly spread around the sky, or whatever.

DeVorkin:

Are you going to look at Barnard's Star?

Westphal:

It's not one of the best candidates, by our view, as I remember. Bill Baum is actually the one who had been doing that. I think it didn't turn out to be one of the prime candidates.

DeVorkin:

So you really don't believe all the Swarthmore data?

Westphal:

I don't know. No, it's a good thing to look at all right.

DeVorkin:

Maybe the period is too long.

Westphal:

The period is long.

DeVorkin:

Yes, very interesting. Okay, what exactly is a telescope scientist, and an interdisciplinary scientist?

Westphal:

The telescope scientists are Fastie and Schroeder, who are optical types. Their responsibility is to make sure that Perkin-Elmer really built a proper telescope, and that you could believe the testing, and all of that.

DeVorkin:

So they are actually bird dogging the optical system?

Westphal:

They have been largely responsible in pressuring NASA to continue to work on the mirrors until they are of the quality they are. They are superlative. That wouldn't have happened, if Fastie especially hadn't just said, it is unconscionable to stop right now to save $25,000. Fastie doesn't throw his weight around, but the system knows that they had better straighten up and fly right when Fastie starts after them. He doesn't have to throw his weight around. I was one of the perpetrators of the formation of a group of interdisciplinary scientists. A long time ago when I was on Wasserburg's COMPLEX Committee, we had seen just bitter interdisciplinary fights on spacecraft, particularly ones that were encounter spacecraft, over who got to make the observation and when. Just bitter, bitter kinds of things.

I was one of the guys, maybe the guy, that originally suggested such a group; that there ought to be interdisciplinary scientists on every one of these working groups to guarantee that the general community had a voice. Up to that time, all of those working groups had just been the PIs, and every one had a vested interest. There wasn't anybody there who could stand back and say, that's just not the proper balance. So that has in fact been done. That was suggested to NASA and NASA accepted that, and that's been done. So Caldwell, Longair (Longair is Astronomer Royal of Scotland now), Bahcall, and this guy whose name I can't think of from Texas, a high resolution spectroscopist and John Caldwell — I may be missing someone — are the interdisciplinary scientists. Their task on the Science Working Group is to stand up and represent the general community. They have been very effective at that, and it has been a very good thing, a very positive thing.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Well, what is the latest launch date?

Westphal:

I think the formal date is still the last days of February of 1985, but there is more and more evidence that it is slipping. I think the official Goddard position now is in the first half of calendar '85. 1 believe somebody told me that was the official stance now.

DeVorkin:

What do you think you will be doing between now and then? I think that will be my last question of you. I'll let you leave on that.

Westphal:

Yes. Well, we have to get the instrument built finally, get it assembled, turn it on and get it tested, find out what its problems are, and fix them if we can find the time and money to fix them.

DeVorkin:

And again, there is only one instrument? There are even no mock-ups of it?

Westphal:

That's right. It is one piece of hardware. So we won't turn it in until February or March, or something like that. We deliver it to Goddard in August, according to our present schedule of next year, less than a year from now.

DeVorkin:

Am I right; they are going to do all the structural, thermal, and vibration testing, everything on that one model?

Westphal:

Sure, all done at JPL, insulated from the spacecraft. Then they will finally assemble it into the spacecraft at Lockheed a year later. It will never go through any vibration. It will go through an acoustic test, but it's not a full-up acoustic test. We will be able to turn it on, maybe, depending on just how the heat pipes work. We will be able to turn it on one mode, the mode in which the CCDs are running backwards; so we will be able to see that there isn't any catastrophic electrical interference. If we can turn it on with the CCDs running forward, we will look at the Kelsall dots and see if we are still there and still in focus. And then once it's at Lockheed, it kind of goes into limbo for a year and a half or two years, whatever it is, before launch.

DeVorkin:

What do you do during that time?

Westphal:

Well, during that time we will continue to work on our software to reduce data when we get it. I suspect there will be a quiet time somewhere there. Then near the end of that time, we will start going into training at the Institute, how to push the buttons, and all that stuff. You sit at the console while your instrument is taking its data, and watch what's coming down.

DeVorkin:

Is that directly like the IUE situation?

Westphal:

Very much like the IUE situation, yes.

DeVorkin:

Is that the best situation you can think of?

Westphal:

It is a very good way to proceed, given the circumstance. You can't let an astronomer do what they call "joy sticking;" they will say, "I don't like that star. I'll go to this one." The thing has to be preplanned. in detail. But in fact we were able — and this really was Ed Groth primarily — to convince the system that it was viable to have preplanned branches in the schedule; that say, come to this point and look at this star. Let's say the high speed photometer is an obvious case, working on flare stars, and if you look at a star that is not flaring, you don't want to sit there for four hours, so you have preplanned and scheduled a branch at that point. You can say, I'm going to sit here four hours, or I'm going to go over to this star and look at it. The game is that you can have these branches, essentially one level of branching, but with maybe as many as six or eight possible branches. But you end up in time and in position in the sky, or pre- ferrably, at least in time, no matter which branch you went down, ready to hand the instrument to the next activity at that end of the table, at the same time it would have been before. In principle, at the same place in the sky, although it turns out the system is more flexible than that, so it doesn’t have to be that.

DeVorkin:

So unlike IUE, which was a one-telescope operation, you've got five or six people working, plus the serendipity mode, I understand.

Westphal:

Well, no, there will only be one actual instrument running under the present understanding of the system, because of thermal problems, and the radial instrument. In principle, only the radial instrument is used in the serendipity mode on any scale. So the Wide Field Camera will be on all the time. If it is the primary instrument, then of course it decides what is going to happen. If it's the secondary instrument, then it looks in the sky wherever the primary instrument is looking, and that becomes what used to be called the serendipity pictures. They are called parallel pictures now.

DeVorkin:

Well, were they thinking at one time that the serendipity mode would work for all instruments.

Westphal:

It will in fact work for all the instruments. The problem is, you can't have them all on at the same time. Of course, there is not much you can do with some of them in that mode. I mean, the spectrograph isn't very much use if it's looking at some blank place in the sky. After you have looked at the sky brightness spectrum and so forth a few times, you've kind of done that. That mode would not be useful with a high speed photometer either, unless it would happen to land on an interesting star, which is not very likely. But there are possibilities. If you are working on the Magellanic Clouds, it is entirely conceivable that you could get two actual instruments both on interesting objects, because they happen to be placed in the sky the right way.

DeVorkin:

Okay. One final thing: What is your impression of the next few years, between now and launch and checkout? Are you looking forward with a certain amount of joy in your heart, or a bit of anxiety? (Westphal laughs). How would you describe your feelings?

Westphal:

Both of those things. And a hope that the load is going to go down so that I can do some other neat stuff. I am looking forward to that enough that I am going to ask for some 200-inch telescope time this coming year. Do a little astronomy, and get my f inger back in the pie a little, hoping that the next year I can get into it full up again. But that's a hope. It may not happen.

DeVorkin:

Thanks a million.

Westphal:

Very good. I'll catch my shuttle.

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