Oral History Transcript — Dr. Ernst Krause
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Ernst Krause; July 1, 1983
ABSTRACT: Concerns Krause’s (b. May 2, 1913) tenure at NRL (1938-54). This interview discusses and identifies a series of news clippings, correspondence, reports, and photographs which document Krause’s activities, primarily with respect to V-2 and cosmic ray experimentation. Also discussed briefly are post-war rocket activities at JPL, CALTECH and NRL.
DeVorkin:We have a short impromptu interview with Dr. Ernst Krause in my office here at the Air and Space Museum.
Krause:First, there's a series of odds and ends of newspaper, clippings I have brought which you might be interested in. If you are, you can make copies of them.
DeVorkin:Absolutely. Then we can send them back to you.
Krause:Some of these have dates on them, fortunately. This one has a date of April, '46. Another is October, '46.
DeVorkin:Oh, there you are. I see you with Arthur H. Compton.
DeVorkin:This is in '47, EVENING BULLETIN, Philadelphia.
Krause:Here's one that unfortunately doesn't have a date on it. It's a Johns Hopkins release.
DeVorkin:That's a nice picture of you.
Krause:Somewhere I've got more on that. That was the engineering awards for that year.
DeVorkin:(Reading another clipping) "Rocket Scientist Says American Cooking Tasteless." December 6, 1946.
Krause:I did this because of the V2 recovery that we were trying to do, and I think I kept that for the date up there, December 6.
DeVorkin:Yes, I see it, "Crews Hunting V2 Rocket Parts." That's nice.
Krause:Here's the rest of this Steinhaus article — El Paso, that's it. Oh, and there's the picture of Col. Turner. I commented about Turner earlier in our discussions. He was a real old tough Army colonel, but he was one of our best friends. I quoted him in a document there — on one occasion there was a whole busload full of generals came in to view this firing, but we weren't ready, so Col. Turner told them to go home. Now, here is the famous picture that you have also, but maybe we have some dates on here somewhere. This is from a Washington
DeVorkin:Here it is — June 8, '46.
Krause:'46, okay. This is with you and — Krause — Harrison Smith. Harrison Smith is one of the fellows who developed the telemetry system.
Krause:Maybe you'd better take this one which is the same thing but there's a date on that.
DeVorkin:That's great. SCIENCE, SCIENCE WEEKLY —
Krause:This is from American Philosophical Society.
DeVorkin:"High Altitude Research with V2 Rockets" by Ernst H. Krause, Rocket Science Research Section, Naval Research Lab. This is an abstract of your paper, 1947. That's interesting with the two spectra.
Krause:Yes, that must have been with Tousey's spectra.
DeVorkin:Is there a date on this? Marshall Andrews. This is WASHINGTON POST. We can probably retrieve that. Oh yes, the date, October 29, '46. That's only a few days, a few weeks after the original flight.
DeVorkin:That's very fast.
Krause:This must have been one of these popular documents of which there were several.
DeVorkin:LIFE MAGAZINE or something? Oh, this is the life of the future, fascinating.
Krause:There's our picture.
DeVorkin:Yes, this is marvelous stuff. The continuation of the story. SATURDAY EVENING POST, 1947.
Krause:There we are, we're ready for a pushbutton war.
Krause:The Allsop brothers. Joseph Allsop. There's a picture of the V2 going off. I'd forgotten all about this. Is there a date on this? Yes, it's December 6, '47. The Saturday Evening Post. Here is an article by Fritz Zwicky. I didn't recall keeping this. Yes, you might make yourself a copy here, because I think this may have Zwicky's experiment that you asked about: these shaped charges that he sent into space, and he describes them in here.
DeVorkin:I can see that's a test. That certainly is not from the V2 itself. It would have been incredible, to have seen something like that.
Krause:I think this is. Well, you can now pursue it at your convenience.
DeVorkin:Thank you. That's from the PASP. This is Dr. Condon. "Security should be enforced by scientists, not by uninformed bureaucrats." That's interesting.
Krause:Why did I clip that out?
DeVorkin:There must be something on V2s in there. It mentions Dr. Kettering. Well, I'll have a look at it, certainly. This is from E. W. Engstrom to you?
Krause:No, I don't think that's very important. It's a reprint.
DeVorkin:From RCA. These are acknowledging copies of papers.
DeVorkin:I'd like to have a chance to look at this.
Krause:This fellow at A. D. Little sent me this document.
Krause:There's the local little paper from where I lived in Cheverly. I think I gave you this one, didn't I, on the rockets?
DeVorkin:Yes. That one I certainly remember. Washington Physics Colloquium, "Cosmic Ray Research —"
Krause:Yes, I was invited to give a paper there.
DeVorkin:Very nice. This is WASHINGTON PHYSICS, at the National Bureau of Standards?
Krause:It was. I also gave one at the Cosmos Club at that time. They (Science Service) were very interested in this whole area of Space Exploration.
DeVorkin:This is January 11, 1947. This is a schedule of what V2 rockets will tell us.
Krause:In fact, here's a copy of the paper.
DeVorkin:Good. The transcript. Very nice.
Krause:High Altitude and that was published in many different forms. Here is one from October 29, '46 — Tom Henry.
DeVorkin:Rocket stays up 11 minutes. Okay.
Krause:That I think you have.
DeVorkin:Yes, we do have that. This is American Philosophical Society.
Krause:I think I gave you a copy of the paper, but here is the agenda of the meeting.
DeVorkin:That would be very nice to have on the agenda; we could xerox that.
Krause:It's very interesting, the people who were involved, you see. Shapley was in charge of that particular meeting. And Tom Gates, who later became Secretary of Defense, was in charge.
DeVorkin:You spoke at that?
DeVorkin:Along with Compton.
Krause:Yes. I recall this meeting very well. The earlier speakers, particularly this fellow Zacharia Chaffee, who was from the Harvard Law School, preceded me, and gave a talk on "Do Judges Make or Discover Law?" He was a brilliant, most articulate speaker and he ad libbed a very complicated set of arguments. I thought, oh my stars, what an act to follow!
DeVorkin:I understand. Yes, you should keep it in the envelope there. Is this a bibliography to it?
Krause:Yes, this I'm not sure you have.
DeVorkin:No, I don't.
Krause:Here are the publications you asked me about. This document answers your question about who did the telemetry development, etc.
DeVorkin:These are early references that talk about telemetry.
Krause:Yes. This one here talks about expanding NRL.
DeVorkin:September 10, '45, oh boy, that's very nice. That's a "federal diary," so that's the WASHINGTON POST. Great.
Krause:More stuff on NRL. Organization and so on.
DeVorkin:"Scientist Group for Naval Work."
Krause:there's a picture, here's more on the same kind of subject. And there's A. Hoyt Taylor, the Director of Research at NRL and the man who brought me to NRL.
DeVorkin:— oh, marvelous.
Krause:He was a very capable guy for that sort of thing. He is really responsible for moving NRL into applied research before the war.
DeVorkin:"Navy to Probe Upper Atmosphere." Navy Department News Release, very good.
Krause:There's a listing of all the different people and the structure. And that's also the V2 Panel. You have that, don't you? Didn't I just give you another copy of that?
Krause:That's a nice picture of the V2 that you probably do have.
DeVorkin:I'm not sure. It's a good one, though.
Krause:Now, I have a group of pictures here also. The thing I regret most, that I do not have copies of, are the reports that I made, memos for file, etc., to the director.
DeVorkin:That would be late '45?
Krause:Yes, all those, that whole period. Of course, some of that stuff may have been classified, but not much of it.
DeVorkin:Yes. Now, could you give me, for the tape, to the best of your recollection, who that director was, who you reported to, and within what possible classification those records may still be filed?
Krause:First of all, A. Hoyt Taylor was still Director of Research. I believe he was Director of Research up until '48 or '49. So all this early material was to A. Hoyt Taylor, and as a result much of that probably was directed to him for information purposes.
DeVorkin:Okay. He was Director of Research for all of NRL?
Krause:For all of NRL. He was head of all of NRL at that point. At that point, I was reporting to A. Hoyt Taylor. Prior to that point, in the earlier period, as I have stated in the record, I reported to Claude Cleeton. However, by the end of the war, Claude Cleeton had moved into a position of doing a very special assignment on IFF work. Then when the war was over, I forget just where he wound up in the scheme of things, but then I reported directly to A. Hoyt Taylor. So this work must have all gone either to A. Hoyt Taylor or to Commodore Schade, who was the Navy director at that point.
DeVorkin:That's Schade. In their files then it's likely that we can find their files, that we can find this?
Krause:I would think so, yes.
DeVorkin:And that would have been identified as coming from the Communications Security Section? Is that correct?
Krause:Now you're asking a question that I again have difficulty in recalling the dates. The earlier work, I believe, was with the Communications Security Section, until we formed Rocket-Sonde Research, which we formed at the end of '45 or the beginning of '46.
DeVorkin:Okay, that's fine.
Krause:Now let's move on to the pictures. (Opens package). I think we've been through these. (crosstalk) Well, that's a much later picture that has nothing to do with the issue here. I don't know how those got in there.
DeVorkin:That's one I'd like to be able to copy.
Krause:Okay. And this shows a kind of a platform we had, and how our activity was up at the nose cone. That's where we did our final installation testing, etc.
DeVorkin:Right. This is a picture that has a large canister in front of it that says "No Smoking," and it's 7 March '47, rocket on gantry crane.
Krause:Sort of, later in the game.
Krause:This must be one of the openings in the nose cone itself that's put in there for, I would think, an optical experiment of some kind.
DeVorkin:"SOUTH" is stamped into it, and it's January 2, '47. Print No. 175.
Krause:Those are pictures of some of our electronic distribution panels, etc., that we had to have access to at the last minute in the nose cone itself. One can also see how we sealed off the nose cone, so we maintained an atmospheric pressure.
DeVorkin:Right. I see, and there's the hole just above it.
Krause:there's the little hole right above it, maybe we'll see some more on that before it's all over.
DeVorkin:That's picture 171.
Krause:Yes. Here are some photomultiplier tubes. I don't recall now but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this photomultiplier tube was looking through that hole in there. This could well have been, instead of an optical experiment, it could well have been an ionosphere measurement of some kind.
DeVorkin:Okay. This is 177. This looks like miscellaneous electronics. I don't know —
DeVorkin:— all spread out —
Krause:— how much interest you have in that.
DeVorkin:Well, we certainly want to record them. These are #183, and #187.
Krause:This is a picture of the V2 as it's being raised on its launch platform.
DeVorkin:That's #00018, November 27, 1946.That's a new one.
Krause:This is a picture of some equipment that we had installed below the nose cone itself. This section underneath is a section that was used for guidance equipment, normally. I don't recall just what that equipment is.
DeVorkin:This is #00036. Is that a small lead igloo there?
Krause:Yes. You have various photos of these cosmic ray experiments.
DeVorkin:Yes, but I haven't seen this one. This is a much smaller one, solid lead, with great blocks of lead -
Krause:— ten inches of lead there, yes.
DeVorkin:This is #00063. Is this one of your experiments?
Krause:Yes, that's one of them. I don't recall which one. Is there a date?
DeVorkin:November 5, '46.
Krause:Yes, I don't recall which one.
DeVorkin:This looks like a trajectory.
Krause:This is a trajectory with indications of what's happening. I don't know whether you have that or not.
DeVorkin:No. That's very nice. Now, is this a specific trajectory, or this is generally what could be expected?
Krause:Well, that is no doubt a specific trajectory for one of the launches. (crosstalk)
DeVorkin:— after the fact?
Krause:It probably was done before the fact. It gives all of the basic conditions, the total weight, 27,900 pounds, the thrust, then it gives the cutoff conditions.
DeVorkin:I see. Great. This is #00049, "Figure 13, V2 trajectory curve."
Krause:Here's May 23, 1946, the optical design of the NRL spectrograph with lithium fluoride beads for the 360 degree look.
DeVorkin:This is #00044. May 23, 1946. Marvelous, that's a good picture of one.
Krause:This is an experiment that was attached to the section below the nose cone. You see the big gore here, I'm not sure what it is.
DeVorkin:This is Print No. 105.
Krause:I'm not sure what this is either. That's a very interesting experiment.
DeVorkin:strange looking thing. Print No. 91. What did you pass up there for?
Krause:Oh, this is just the laboratory lashup, I don't think there's any title on it. That was in the laboratory, yes.
DeVorkin:At White Sands or NRL?
Krause:It does look like it's in a trailer, but no, I cannot identify that.
DeVorkin:Okay, we will keep it for identification some day. December 12, '46, it's Print No. 79.
Krause:It has a title on the back which is interesting.
DeVorkin:"Push Plates, spring, block and parachute."
Krause:So we're kicking something out, for some purpose there.
DeVorkin:No. 108. Yes, that is interesting.
Krause:Here's one of the amplifiers with which the ionization measurements were made.
DeVorkin:"A hundred kilocycle amplifier ionization group, Print No. 95." The Neptune. Was that actually built? HASR-2.
Krause:Yes, this was one of the Martin rockets. At the moment I'm at a loss as to what experiments were on it.
DeVorkin:"NRL Upper atmosphere instrumentation," it says here.
Krause:I think this must have come out of the Martin proposal, of which I gave you a copy, rather than an actual device.
DeVorkin:Print No. 1031. These are nice pictures.
Krause:I don't know to what extent you want any of this stuff.
DeVorkin:Sure. Print No. 1016 of the igloo and Print No. 1014 of the igloo, very nice, with a machinist in the background. That's a nice picture, nice composition.
Krause:Again, I don't know whether I gave you these telemetry pictures or not.
DeVorkin:No, this is a new one for me. Print 1108 and it has telemetry airborne unit, very nice.
Krause:Here's one of the pieces that was recovered.
DeVorkin:This is a crash, Print No. 144. These are drawings.
Krause:Both of these are interesting drawings. They provide an indication of things that went below the nose cone itself. The telemetry transmitter, of which I just gave you a picture, was separately sealed, so that it retained an atmosphere of pressure. It didn't go into the nose cone which was sealed up. The various distribution panels, here, were then used for final test purposes. In this same chamber we also put storage batteries and other odds and ends of things.
DeVorkin:These are pictures, are these Thor Bergstralh's?
DeVorkin:Who's that? Looks like you're just installing the material just below the nose cone, there.
Krause:This is the telemetry transmitter being checked out, here, and no doubt there are some of the experiments in there that are being checked out. This is checkout in the hangar at White Sands. That's Schifflett and that's Bergstralh.
DeVorkin:Schifflett at the lower right, Bergstralh at the upper left. And this is Print No. 910.
Krause:Here are some more. This is Ralph Havens here, another checkout. We did extensive checkout, of course, on the ground, before launch.
DeVorkin:Ralph Havens looking at instrumentation, Print No. 902.
Krause:Here is one of a prism. What happens is, this was ejected. This I believe was the camera that was ejected after we passed through the atmosphere. It was poked out through that hole, and then it took its pictures. This is the cartridge in which the pictures were sealed, from which they were later recovered.
DeVorkin:These are pictures of the ground.
DeVorkin:Print No. 1081. That's a fascinating picture.
Krause:Those are geiger counters. Part of the cosmic ray experiment.
DeVorkin:This is one I haven't seen, 4852.
Krause:This is an indication of how the telemetry was recorded.
DeVorkin:This is a sample, 16 millimeter film record, taken with 10 channel recorder, Print No. 708. A lot of pictures. That kind of thing I have, that one I have. I don't know what that one is.
Krause:It's the inside of a nose cone before it was mounted. It shows here, for example, an experiment that we put right at the nose tip, and that cable connects to that experiment. No doubt a temperature or pressure gauge.
DeVorkin:Print #1128, and Print #1140. That looks like an Aerobee platform. That's definitely an interesting piece. Looks like a wave guide. I'll certainly take that for future consideration, #1137.
Krause:There again is the telemetry and its housing.
DeVorkin:No. 1110. And what's this?
Krause:That's a radar tracker.
DeVorkin:He's moving it manually? That's how they followed it?
Krause:Strange, if he is, because there is a drive motor on it.
DeVorkin:Yes, looks like it.
Krause:I'm not quite sure. It's just a picture that was taken.
DeVorkin:No. 405. Now, that's an interesting group. This is a Navy group.
Krause:Yes, they came around.
DeVorkin:That's with your hand on your head.
DeVorkin:You don't recognize any of these people in particular?
Krause:I ought to recognize the admiral. I forget his name. He was very supportive in what we were doing.
DeVorkin:All right, that's Print No. 483.
Krause:I don't think that's much of anything. Well, here's some of the details on how we were trying to measure the ionosphere densities.
DeVorkin:That is, "Theory of the Ionosphere Experiment, Figure 13, Print No. 00384."
Krause:That was done either by Burnight or Seddon. Now, here is obviously a V2 that's gone berserk.
DeVorkin:That's fascinating. Print No. 00305.
Krause:Calm photographer, who wasn't running! Here is a ram pressure experiment. That's where we're measuring ram pressure.
DeVorkin:And this is Print No. 1077. Representative sections of the continuous — is this telemetry? "Continuous film record."
Krause:This, I believe, is more of the ionospheric experiment work.
DeVorkin:Print No. 1090.
Krause:And then this was also. In other words, we'd send down a signal and measure it on the ground.
Krause:Now we're getting into some of the standard atmosphere pressure density measurements here. They even have titles on them.
DeVorkin:Yes, these are fine. "Nose cone V2 warhead."
Krause:Now, there again is a nose tip experiment. You want the whole bunch?
DeVorkin:Sure. I'm not taking numbers down here if they're identified. Here you have counterweights for a V2? What is that?
Krause:Yes, we had to keep the nose heavy, and in some cases we had to actually put lead at the base of the warhead, when we had light experiments in the nose cone.
DeVorkin:Boy, that was a time!
Krause:Yes, wasn't it?
DeVorkin:Yes. Print No. 00120. "Main body of V2."
Krause:Did you ever recover one of those old nose cones for your display?
DeVorkin:No. We asked around.
Krause:That's too bad. That's a good picture of it. We had three access holes in this one.
DeVorkin:Okay, we're not collecting that one.
Krause:Some indication of the kind of cosmic ray counts we got.
DeVorkin:Yes, that's a good one.
Krause:Some of that of course is recorded in the published articles. Do you have all that?
DeVorkin:Yes, we have them.
Krause:This again is standard atmosphere work. I don't know if you want it with that other group there.
DeVorkin:Yes, certainly. This went into the SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY, Newell, Figure 12, it says. A pressure curve for October 10th experiment, Print No. 337. I've seen it published before. This is Print No. 947.
Krause:That's more cosmic ray work, there.
DeVorkin:Prints 1129, 897, — who are these people?
Krause:These are again people who are checking out telemetry.
DeVorkin:Here's two almost identical prints.
Krause:Yes. We had to carefully monitor the dynamics of the system. Here we are checking out where the Center of Gravity is, and what the weights are. You can see how crudely we did these things, but they were adequate to assure stability in flight.
DeVorkin:This is a good one. I'll take this one, 4519. That's quite fascinating. What is this?
Krause:I don't know what this is. Some sort of an experiment. Now, there's an interesting one.
DeVorkin:No. 336 —
Krause:— two interesting ones here of recovered bodies.
DeVorkin:Okay, this is #00142, and that's a rocket engine, and "ionospheric recovery," October 10th, #00332.
Krause:That's, that must have been a solar experiment, I think, rather than a camera.
DeVorkin:Okay, this is #00513.
Krause:That's a recovered nose cone: That one was in excellent shape, so that we had the detached section there, which came down just beautifully, and so it tumbled, and you see it's in very good shape.
DeVorkin:#143. Those look like electrical connectors. Is this a parachute?
Krause:There's a description on the back of this one, here.
DeVorkin:"Camera recorder used for cosmic ray counts and other information with a parachute. Very small. This is Print No. 160.
Krause:That's one of the early solar experiments.
DeVorkin:— Solar, with all the different pieces of it.
DeVorkin:This is designed to go probably in the wing. This one is already in a wing. This is November 1, '46, right. #1153. This couldn't have been the October 10th one, could it?
Krause:I don't think so. There are some of the recovered cameras.
DeVorkin:These are recovered cameras, print 4155.
Krause:Here are some more pressure temperature measuring devices.
DeVorkin:No. 166. Those are all film containers?
Krause:Yes. Oh, here we have this one again.
DeVorkin:No. 115 is the film containers. Yes, that's a weird thing.
Krause:Unless it's a drag measuring device or something, to get some density measurements. I'm not sure.
DeVorkin:Print #118. That's fascinating.
Krause:There are some of the pieces, I believe, that were recovered.
DeVorkin:Who is the fellow there?
Krause:I don't remember.
DeVorkin:This is Print #00109, dated September 6, '46.
Krause:Well, that's it.
DeVorkin:That's quite a collection.
Krause:Did you get a copy of this document that Bergstralh and I wrote, on the history?
Krause:You have a copy of that.
DeVorkin:Yes, we do, that's fine.
Krause:Now, here are some other things, some of which you have.
DeVorkin:This is now correspondence we're looking at. Okay, yes, this is your resignation.
Krause:Yes. I don't know if you're interested in these documents or not.
DeVorkin:Some of them look vaguely familiar. Did we already get some of these?
Krause:No. I don't think so.
DeVorkin:Okay. We can certainly check.
Krause:Here again something becomes clearer, see. I'm submitting a resignation to the NACA subcommittee on the upper atmosphere, of which I was also a member, and that's still another committee.
DeVorkin:Right. May 10, '46.
Krause:See, there was a special subcommittee on the upper atmosphere.
DeVorkin:Of the NACA?
Krause:Of the NACA, and here's the membership of that.
DeVorkin:That's good, very good. Certainly we can copy all of these.
Krause:Now, somebody complained to Army Ordnance, and I think it must have been Zwicky. It is Zwicky, yes. So Toftoy sent this to me and said, "Is it really that bad out at White Sands Proving Ground?" I then answered him, and I pointed out to him that I thought the actions of Colonel Turner and all the White Sands people were excellent, and I do not understand why anybody was complaining. And then, the rest of the correspondence back and forth.
DeVorkin:Well, had you known Zwicky by then?
Krause:Oh yes, yes.
DeVorkin:Did you feel it was unusual that he was complaining? Or did you ever talk to him about why he was complaining?
Krause:No, it wasn't unusual that he was complaining. He would complain at the drop of a hat. Here we go, now, we're beginning to get some clues on this JRDB subcommittee. Joint Research and Development Board, this was a subcommittee on basic electronic research, but that I believe is the JRDB under which that other committee existed. The launch committee — here we go, here's some more on it — "Panel On Basic Research, committee on electronics," joint — JRDB. And these are some of the members. Oh, this is an agenda for a meeting of same. Again, this was a change in organization within NRL. I'm not sure if I gave that to you.
DeVorkin:Yes, but let me again be absolutely sure.
Krause:Here is a French paper on the subject of cosmic ray work.
DeVorkin:This is by Pierre Derners. Okay, very nice.
Krause:This is the paper on telemetry that was published in Electronics. I think you have a copy, I don't know.
DeVorkin:I certainly want to take these and be sure.
Krause:Now, here is an early paper on solar spectroscopy which Charlie Strain wrote, and I'm not too clear on that early history in which Strain, Durand, who were in Rocket Sonde, along with Tousey, were involved in the spectroscopy work. Later Tousey took it all over. I don't know if you have this. Do you have this?
DeVorkin:Yes, we do, but I'll keep these all together and give them back to you.
Krause:Now, here, I think, are a whole series of papers on pressure and densities.
DeVorkin:Yes, that's an area we don't have much on. By the rocket panel themselves, in PHYSICAL REVIEW.
Krause:Here is, from the ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, I don't know if you have that.
DeVorkin:Durand, Oberly and Tousey, yes, I'm pretty sure we do. Here is one on cosmic rays, that we don't have. Here's a letter to you from Carl Anderson.
Krause:Yes, I had been invited there.
DeVorkin:That's very nice.
Krause:I don't know if you have that or not.
DeVorkin:Not that particular article, no. Very nice.
Krause:This is the 25th anniversary of NRL. I don't know if there's anything pertinent in that or not.
DeVorkin:Well, we have some good names and pictures here.
Krause:Here is another interesting article, "Secrets of the Stratosphere," a Sunday magazine article.
DeVorkin:That's marvelous. May 11, '47, that's very nice.
Krause:And here is the telemetry paper.
DeVorkin:Yes, the ISA JOURNAL. I know we haven't seen this article. This is the sort of thing that would be very good — '47, this to Wexler from you.
Krause:That's when I left and Newell took over. These pictures I think you have already.
DeVorkin:This one, you just had right there, looks very nice. This must be NRL itself?
DeVorkin:Okay, so you're checking out the cosmic ray experiment. Who are the people in this picture?
Krause:That's Carl Seddon, kneeling — (off tape)
DeVorkin:Okay, you said it was Carl Seddon, kneeling. Schifflett and Bergstralh on the right, checking out the telemetry and the cosmic ray instruments.
Krause:— Right —
DeVorkin:This is print #762.
Krause:This is a picture of one of the impacts we obtained.
DeVorkin:Oh my God, it's an enormous explosion.
Krause:It is. If it comes down without being broken up, it has the energy equivalent to its weight in TNT.
DeVorkin:Yes, exactly. This is July 10, 1947, no print number.
Krause:This again is Thor Bergstralh, and there's a label on the back side to tell you what it is. It's the ejection equipment for, I believe, the camera.
DeVorkin:Okay. This is October 12 test and it's print #159.
Krause:Now, the one document that I thought I had here, that started all this, I can't find, and that is this letter that Homer Newell wrote to me. I will send you a copy of it. It concerns Ball Brothers. In fact, in that letter, he quotes the fact that Tousey has just received a quote from Ball Brothers, as to how much this spectrograph will cost, and I think it's something like $60,000. Or, if we want to do something else, then it's so many thousand dollars, and there's a date on that.
DeVorkin:Oh, that would be extremely helpful -
Krause:I'll send you that.
DeVorkin:Because my recollection or his recollection is only that you worked through Baird in Boston, and worked directly that way, but if there was an earlier idea -
Krause:I recall that Ball Brothers came first. Okay, we'll see what the date on that letter is.
DeVorkin:Absolutely. Well, certainly if you can send me the letter.
Krause:I know that date must have been after I resigned, so, it was just about a month afterwards.
DeVorkin:So this wasn't in any way the first of the V2s?
Krause:That doesn't quite hang together. Let me get it. But it could well have been when I was at White Sands and Homer stayed home and he relayed information to me. It is earlier. I'll get it for you.
DeVorkin:Okay. That's very interesting. Well, also, for the tape, the Joint Research and Development Board, you did know about them? You don't have any specific recollections of the March '46 meeting at JPL?
Krause:Yes, indeed I remember that meeting. I gave a paper there. That actually turned out to be a very definitive meeting on space. That's when it was pointed out that, there are the following functions that space can serve. One is communication. Another is navigation. And that those are the principal functions, and of course that proved to be true, very true, for many years.
DeVorkin:I think those are certainly all of yours.
Krause:Yes. Just make a note of this here, now: the Newell letter, Ball Brothers, plus some other things in there. Then we want records of the JPL meeting of March '46. Then we want the JRBD upper atmosphere committee which I thought I had more information here but I don't seem to.
DeVorkin:That would be very very useful. Great.
Krause:There was an unfinished question here earlier, that started you on the recorder.
DeVorkin:That was the Ball Brothers question. I was also looking for that March '46 meeting. Those are the two questions we have.
Krause:Yes. I would say it might be wise at this point to go through the gallery, and then if we have any other questions, we can come back here and the girls could go on their way.
DeVorkin:We just had a tour of the gallery, and now Michael Dennis is with us, and we've just gone over organizational charts — Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Committee on New Weapons, and also the JDRB, which later on became the RDB.
Krause:JRDB. Joint Research and Development Board.
DeVorkin:Now, to this '46 meeting.
Dennis:The 1946 meeting you're referring to is also going to be the second meeting of the launching panel of the Joint Committee on New Weapons and Equipment.
DeVorkin:But it wasn't a meeting of the V2 panel?
Dennis:No, the V2 panel has not appeared in anything I have seen in Ordnance Records. As I mentioned before the tape, the Research and Development Board had a panel or committee (they're interchangeable right now in my head) on upper atmosphere research. The meeting or conference, the Aeronautical Symposium, it was called, sponsored by JPL and GALCIT, was March 15 or 16, '46. The original letter sent out announcing the symposium was signed by Clark B. Millikan, acting chairman of JPL Executive Board. It was dated 11 February '46. So people knew there was going to be a meeting in February, '46.
Krause:Yes. Clark Millikan — I knew Clark Millikan, of course — he was head of the aerodynamics department at Cal Tech.
Dennis:Now, in the proposals for a three day meeting at Cal Tech, the sessions were devoted to technical problems of launching, the problem of the catapult, and then, they were going to have invited papers on things like problems of the upper atmosphere: physical properties, pressure, temperature and composition, by Gutenberg at Cal Tech, the ionosphere by Joe Kaplan at UCLA, meteorological problems — originally they had no one assigned to give the paper. Later on they decided to have Bjerknes give that paper. "Astronomical problems of V2 rockets," astronomical problems in relation to rockets, H. D. Babcock spoke. Ozone and photochemicals, aspects of the upper atmosphere, they planned to have Joe Wolfe from Cal Tech.
Dennis:No. Just Wolfe. This is just the initial memo about the meeting itself. Originally they were going to have cosmic waves, Wheeler from Princeton.
Dennis:Then in the second session they were going to have a day devoted just to the upper atmosphere research, the physics of the upper atmosphere, with rockets as a tool for upper atmosphere research. The tentative plan was for topics for general consideration, discussions of vehicles now available, and measurement plans for the near future. They wanted to have discussion groups. That is, W. Pickering wanted to have them. They were at the bottom of the memorandum. He was charged with the technical arrangements, and all correspondence was to be sent to Colonel Barnes at JPL who took the administrative end. Subjects for discussion groups were instrumentation and physical properties, photographic techniques, ionosphere measurements, cosmic ray and ion measurements, and then another thing, the recovery versus radio reporting, techniques for slow descent, both balloons versus rockets, and discussion of future plans for coordination of activities. Ultimately, Bjerknes gave the meteorological paper, and Oliver Wolfe of the U. S. Weather Bureau gave that ozone and photochemical paper — actually it might be a different one because I might have gotten it wrong on the first one. So, that's all I know about the symposium. I do know that there is at least a JPL report called "JPL GALCIT Report Number 3," of abstracts of the papers given, but I cannot find any record that it ever was published. I'm sure they're available in some form. They're not in the GALCIT record, so it's an incomplete set I must have. They only have two boxes of reports.
DeVorkin:What we want to know is what your recollections of the meeting are.
Krause:I'm not sure now that I was at the meeting. Do you have evidence that I was at the meeting?
DeVorkin:Oh yes, you gave a paper.
Krause:I gave a paper?
Dennis:I'll get the exact title, give me a moment now. E. H. Krause, "Experiments and Plans for the V2." You were sandwiched between Frank Malina, "Rockets for Upper Atmosphere Research" and James Van Allen, "Experiments Done by APL," during the afternoon.
DeVorkin:You can imagine how interested we would be in recovering that meeting.
Krause:Well, I made numerous visits out to JPL, and had conversations with quite a few of these people. When we started into the V2 program, there was a tremendous amount of interest in various institutions around the country, and they would ask me to come and discuss things, which I did. And I recall having discussions with Frank Malina. This was of course long before the time that Bill Pickering moved in there. Bill Pickering was still a professor of electrical engineering at Cal Tech. I think I had some discussions with him at that point also, and with some of the other people there. Most of the ones I recall were just individual discussions, like this, rather than a meeting, like that.
DeVorkin:Was there a time when JPL wanted to participate more, either setting up their own rockets with experiments, or getting involved in V2s?
Krause:Not in setting up their own rocket program. My recollection is that they wanted to get out of the rocket program. Von Karman and his adherents had established Aerojet Corporation and Cal Tech and JPL wanted to get back to fundamental research. Neher, for example, was interested at that time. He had been an established cosmic ray man, and I had some discussions with him. But Neher had other cosmic ray interests and never got involved in rocket experiments. Millikan of course was always interested in everything. Let's get this date clear with respect to the date of the cosmic ray symposium at Cal Tech, which I gave you a paper on, and which I have one here — I think I have it here, have an extra copy — it's in that envelope. Maybe you can find it faster.
DeVorkin:Yes, 1948, June 21-23 — Symposium on Cosmic Rays —
Krause:Oh, so this came two years later.
DeVorkin:This symposium did.
Krause:This meeting he's talking about.
DeVorkin:Right. Over two years.
Krause:Yes. I'll have to think about this a little bit. Maybe it will come back. I have very little recollection of it right now.
DeVorkin:Certainly any records you have of it would be quite valuable to us.
Krause:I'll browse around some more. The meeting that I do remember is the one at Rand.
Krause:But the one at Rand may well have come a couple of years later also.
DeVorkin:We have one of the Rand reports. This is the Preliminary Design Experimental World Circling Space Ship. And this was at various levels of classification, May 2, '46, but that doesn't tell us when the various meetings would have taken place.
Krause:This is just one big report?
DeVorkin:This is part of it. This is part of the report, May 2, 1946, preliminary design of satellite vehicle. Now, this has nothing really, probably doesn't say anything up front about a meeting. There were many parts of the Rand project, Project Rand.
Krause:Oh yes. The space portion, of course, was just one piece of it. Yes.
DeVorkin:But this indicates that the project was already in full swing in '46. So it's likely, if a meeting had taken place, that it would have taken place about the same time.
Krause:Let me riffle through that for a moment.
DeVorkin:I think this is Spitzer's report. Do you recall, Mike?
Dennis:Yes, Spitzer was involved in the Project Rand group too. He wrote a few papers for them.
Krause:This is very interesting, on the costs. They simply say: "development costs, 50 million, engineering construction, 50 million, launch facilities, 50 million."
DeVorkin:Page 218219. Are you saying they're just —?
Krause:It's a good rounding off of numbers. Although it's a pretty good report.
DeVorkin:Clearly the fascinating thing is that JPL did not participate in exploiting the V2s. Earlier, before you were here Mike, Dr. Krause mentioned something that was in the original interview, that the institutions that took part were the ones that were able to move very quickly on a three-month schedule to produce new instrumentation if I'm paraphrasing your words correctly.
Krause:Yes, or particularly, to produce new specialized instrumentation, that you had to put into a vehicle unattended.
DeVorkin:We were wondering, couldn't JPL do the same sort of thing?
Dennis:I mean, what appears apparently from our research on APL, NRL, and JPL, it is the key — "unattended". James Van Allen had worked on the development of proximity fuses, and the conditions in accelerating shells were similar or analogous to the conditions in an accelerating rocket, and the ability to design instrumentation undoubtedly would be related to the work on the proximity fuse as well.
Krause:To some extent, that's true. The accelerations in the proximity fuse are a thousand times greater, of course, than you have here. So, from the point of view of the acceleration environment, the V2 wasn't bad, wasn't much worse than in the laboratory. As you got into solid rockets, of course, the acceleration environments got worse. But the V2 had a fairly benign environment.
DeVorkin:Was that because of its mass?
Krause:Yes, and a liquid rocket generally does. A liquid rocket has lower accelerations. So, I don't know.
DeVorkin:In your discussions with the JPL people, you mentioned you talked with Malina and others, did they ever express to you their limitations, at taking advantage of the V2? Could they not act fast enough?
Krause:My recollection is that their interests lay elsewhere. However, I have difficulty reconstructing the details of any of those discussions.
DeVorkin:Well, we are going to try to find some of the records of this meeting at JPL itself, I'll be out there in August.
Krause:Plus this meeting at Rand.
DeVorkin:Yes. I'm not sure when that took place.
Krause:It could have been a couple of years later, perhaps.
DeVorkin:What is your recollection of that meeting at Rand? Was it also on the upper atmosphere?
It was on space generally. "What is the outlook in space, and what are the things that we can get out of space, what requirements do the military have for space, what commercial uses would there be in space?" There were a whole series of speakers. As I pointed out earlier, it pretty well limited the applications in space, and the reason I say it was very definitive, I think much of what was predicted there in the sense of what you do in space is still very true today. There is, as you know, a great deal of talk today about the "commercialization of space." NASA of course would like to have one believe the fact that there is a great commercialization that can come out of space.
There are many possibilities, like manufacture good ball bearings or separate proteins. Whereas it is true, you can do many of these things, the cost of doing them is just unbelievable. An experiment such as the one that McDonnell Douglas and Johnson & Johnson are doing on the subject of separating proteins, which I think is a very cleverly devised experiment, in which the g-terms are taken out. Thus, it is theoretically possible to separate proteins with very small difference in mass numbers. It's a good experiment. Whether the marketplace is ready to pay for that type of thing, all remains to be seen. At the moment, one buys these experiments very cheaply. NASA subsidizes them very heavily; the cost of a shuttle launch is very high. The cost of a shuttle launch is over the hundred million dollar category. And NASA's accounting puts it at a much smaller number than that. Rather deliberately, of course. So anyhow, I remember that meeting at Rand particularly for that reason, that it was not a very way out "Star Wars" kind of a meeting.