Oral History Transcript — Dr. Hendrik C. van de Hulst
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Interview with Dr. Hendrik C. van de Hulst
Hendrik C. van de Hulst; May 27, 1983
ABSTRACT: Van de Hulst recalls his interest in space science. Discusses Space Science in Holland and the effect of Sputnik. Discusses the foundation of the European Space Research Agency (ESR). Describes the connection between American and European ideas concerning the Large Astronomical Netherlands Satellite (ANS) and knowledge of NASA Large Space Telescope. Describes the Williamsburg Conference of 1976 and the deadlock between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). Discusses changes in IST (Instrument Science Team) and its original organization. Discusses NASA-ESA relations. Describes the effect of NASA's cancellation of the ISPM (International Solar Polar Mission).
Smith:This is Robert Smith talking with Professor Van de Hulst in Leiden. I wonder if I might start by asking when your interest in space science began?
van de Hulst:That occurred rather unexpectedly and accidentally. I had been interested in astronomy and working in astronomy ever since the beginning of my academic career. And one day in 1959, my older colleague, Prof. Oort, asked me to substitute for him in a meeting called at London at the Royal Society in which ICSU (see appendix 1) would discuss the formation of a committee on space research, an international committee on scientific space research. Oort had been invited to be the representative of the International Astronomical Union at that meeting, but he could not go and I went in his place. And I came back from that meeting as the first President of COSPAR. So I jumped in head first.
Smith:Did you expect space astronomy to develop more quickly than it did in the 1960s? Were you very optimistic at the beginning of the space age?
van de Hulst:No. No, I certainly have not been disappointed at the speed things went. In a way, to the contrary, it was quite obvious that many people had very grand expectations, some of them entirely unfounded, and I found myself at that time often having to lean over backwards to tell certain audiences that they should not really expect all the wonders that they were told by the space enthusiasts would occur in the next decade. For instance, it was rather customary in those early years of space research to find references in the literature on the overpopulation on the earth, implying that space immigration would help (laughs). That of course has now vanished completely from the popular literature; but at that time it was present.
Smith:Now I wonder if there was much interest in sounding rocket astronomy in the 1950s in Holland, if there was much of a base of space science in Holland in that time?
van de Hulst:Again, I cannot pretend that I know exactly what interests there were. There were always certain enthusiasts. But if I talk about the universities, the academic establishment, then we knew about these developments, and we welcomed them as useful additions to what could be done, but there was not a big drive to say, "We must do that, too." You have to remember that we were at that stage in the period of a great flourishing of radio astronomy, in which the Netherlands had taken a leading role. And you cannot do everything at the same time.
Smith:People preferred to stay with the radio astronomy?
van de Hulst:Yes. I do not remember any actual proposals from, say, before Sputnik, to use considerable manpower or funds to do something about rocket research. That was outside our scope.
Smith:But after Sputnik, then things changed?
van de Hulst:After Sputnik, the main thing which changed, of course, is that, first we realized that it was possible, that it could practically work (chuckles), and that it was not so excessively expensive to do something. But the main thing which changed, is that there was a source of funds opened, because of the public appeal, and because of the American reaction: oh, we are behind the Russians. And as a consequence of that, the western European reaction was: perhaps we should also do something. So it is like — I would hesitate to say that in a popular book, but I think in such an interview, one should be honest — it is something like sailing: if on a day without much wind, there comes a gust of wind, you try to catch it (chuckles).
Smith:And in the early 1960s there is a move to found what eventually becomes ESRO. I wonder if you would like to talk a little bit about your role in the foundation of ESRO?
van de Hulst:Yes.
Smith:Who were the people you were involved with?
van de Hulst:I can hardly separate that from two other things. First, I must say that at that time I was active in a fully international undertaking; by fully international I mean a worldwide undertaking which was COSPAR. But that undertaking was by its nature of being worldwide really limited to talking, exchanging ideas, but had no pretense to preparing joint projects. Secondly, I was active on the national side in starting to prepare what we could really do on the limited scale of the Dutch National Committee for Space Research under the Academy of Sciences, of which I have been a chairman since its first meeting until now, over more than 20 years. And in the third place I was also at that time, almost immediately from the beginning, active — that is, one of the people that was active, certainly not the main driving force, but one of the active people in trying to create a European organization to do space research. The first meeting ever that led to that organization, a pre-meeting one should call it, was held during one of the first COSPAR meetings, I think the first COSPAR Symposium, at Nice in January 1959, I suppose. During a lunch break, Pierre Auger, the French scientist, called together some of his friends. I think some 10 people standing about one of the tables in the Hall of that COSPAR meeting was the first European get-together on seeing what we could do in establishing a European organization. And that involved certainly at that time I may mention at least two key members, Massey (Harry) from England, and Amaldi of Italy. Amaldi had already given a good push by publishing a paper (see appendix 2) entitled "Créons une organisation Européenne pour la recherche spatiale, (Let's create a European organization for space research) which appeared in December 1959 in "Expansion scientifique", the quarterly Journal of L'association d'étude pour l'expansion de la recherche scientifique. I have not seen the original but a mimeographed digest was among the papers for the December 1960 Meyrin conference. He gave a glowing account of what Europe might do in space, in which his main thesis was, Europe has the same gross national product as the United States, and it certainly has equivalent brain power, so why don't we catch up with the United States in space in the next five years. And of course you know what has happened is that we never caught up quantitatively, mainly because there was not the political determination to spend that much money on space science as there was in the United States.
Smith:How did you then go about establishing an organization for ESRO? You started off with a group of interested people?
van de Hulst:Yes. Oh, I could give you — I must have somewhere in my file the precise account of that (see appendix 3). I wonder if it has ever been written up, that precisely? But if I have to quote from memory, it went by successive steps. One of the first things was a private meeting called at Auger's home. A first semi-official meeting was held at the invitation of the Royal Society in London, not by the Royal Society, but at the invitation of the Royal Society. And then, on Royal Society letterheads, we approached the governments and suggested that this might be a good idea.
Smith:I see, so it was through the Royal Society the approaches were made?
van de Hulst:Yes. And then another very important part, which already became far more official, and which was roughly a year later, was a meeting being held by formally designated government spokesmen, of course mostly scientists, but with the backing of their own governments — to establish a preparatory commission for the European Space Research. And that meeting was being held at the premises of the CERN near Geneva at Meyrin, I should say, officially. Again, that was not an accident because CERN served as the prime example of how things should be done to get a good working organization together. Even the CERN annual budget served as a kind of semi-official accounting unit in the early discussions.
Smith:Yes. So by the early 1960s you were becoming heavily involved in helping to establish ESRO. You were also involved in COSPAR, so there must have been quite a heavy administrative load that you were carrying at that time. Was that something that you felt was necessary to do, but you really didn't like giving up the time for basic research? Or did you enjoy establishing a new organization and getting things moving?
van de Hulst:I always have some problems when the word "administrative" is used. I have the feeling that whatever one does in life which is good, even the experiments you do in your own laboratory, take a fair amount of discussion together before you know what can be done and what must be done. Sometimes I say to people who are complaining about it, say, well, go and sit for a while in the meetings which are necessary before people start building a bridge across a river, and then you will see how much is necessary before you know exactly what to order and what to arrange. And the same thing is true for these things, and I don't call that administrative, partly because these are amply spaced meetings to decide on certain policies. But the actual work has to be done by other people who spend all their time doing it. And I have never been in a position — I have been asked to be, but I have always declined to be put in a position — where I had to spend all my time doing these things.
Smith:I wonder if we can move on to ESRO in the 1960s? You talked in one of your published articles about having to make package deals around about 1970. I wonder if I could ask exactly what you meant by package deals? Were these package deals involved with applications?
van de Hulst:
Okay, that is a rather late event in the history of European space research, and in my feeling, a not too happy set of events. But of course it's all practical politics. The word, package deal, is being used in the European Space Agency to describe two historical agreements which were made, say, one, I think just before 1970 and the other just after, and which came out of a rather strong conflict of vision of how things should be proceeding. Of course you have to realize that the main drive to have a European organization at all is in many countries a purely national drive, which the country itself hopes to get certain advantages by participating in that European co-operation. And certainly the different emphasis in different countries is striking. Smaller countries usually are more, I would say, honestly fighting for a European organization, because that is obviously important for them. The bigger countries tend to be more open in protecting their own interests and in saying, well, we don't want to do jointly in a difficult way things which we could easily do ourselves in a simple way. So there is always potentially lots of conflict of opinion and sometimes a very severe conflict of interests. Now in that situation, it was notably the French who wanted to push for less science, which is less money dumped into a bottomless pit, which was supposed to be good science, and more money into things which would eventually become a source of income, namely, applications. We all agreed on the desirability to have also such applications. I remember personally that in the context of an advisory paper which I wrote, probably in 1963, for our own government, the point of eventual applications was certainly mentioned as something of interest, the fact that industry would thrive by not lagging behind the most modern research. In 1970 most other countries still had the feeling that this reward was quite remote. The French, however, at that time had the policy that they wanted to cut the budget and they actually wanted to cut the science budget back to one-third, not by one-third, but to one-third, and use the rest to do applications. Now, when changes of that magnitude are proposed, it is obvious that government officials cannot with their standing mandate deal with these things. They have become too difficult to resolve, so one has to call a ministers' conference. (see appendix 4) And I think there have been two or three ministers' conferences during that time, which were properly prepared, and ministers' conferences are called the package deals.
Smith:Yes, fine. That makes it clear. I wonder if I could move on to a specific project that was being discussed in the 1960s? That is the Large Astronomical Satellite. I think that it was planned for a 1969 launch and that it was in effect to be a large optical telescope in space. When did the idea for that start being discussed seriously? What I'm trying to find out is, if there was any contact between the American ideas for a Large Space Telescope, even in the early 1960s, and this large astronomical telescope that Europe was thinking of launching?
van de Hulst:Yes. Oh, there definitely was. The idea of a large telescope was present even before ESRO was established, or even before; it was present from the very beginning. We as astronomers are quite familiar with the idea that we live on the bottom of an earth sea, and that it is better to get out of it, that you get better quality observations by getting out of it. That has been a commonplace statement for any kind of popular book or lecture, and it is obvious that if you could get out of it, that you could get better image quality and get better wavelength coverage. In this particular case of the large telescope, it was the image quality which would help. And therefore, it was put on the very first list of wishes to go for a large telescope. And so when the, I think, first science plan within ESRO was drawn up — at the time when ESRO as an organization was not yet established, but when it was still called the Comité Preparatoire for European space research — a large astronomical satellite figured prominently.
Smith:You were thinking about a large optical telescope?
van de Hulst:A large optical telescope, yes.
Smith:Do you have any idea about the size you were interested in?
van de Hulst:Certainly we did have ideas. I do not know now what the constraints were. But of course we had more than just ideas — there was a call for proposals and there were three responses to that call for proposals. The one I am most familiar with was the response in which Germany and the Netherlands, that means scientific institutes from Germany and from Netherlands, participated. For that reason it was called "GERNELAS", German-Netherlands, and Large Astronomical Satellite. And actually, I think one of these projects was selected for execution, but then the, say, lid of the money box closed and a year later the decision was taken for an indefinite postponement.
Smith:What year was that decision made? Can you remember that?
van de Hulst:I cannot remember, but I can look it up. May I for a moment? I think I should give you a copy of this. Have I sent this to you or not?
van de Hulst:All right, okay. But in there these dates are stated, yes.
Smith:One story that I had heard about the LAS was that at one point it was thought that things were in a bad shape, a NASA manager was called in to give the project a look over, and he said that he didn't think it was feasible; and that contributed to the decision to postpone. I don't know if you know anything about that?
van de Hulst:I certainly know about it, because I was one of the members of the committee with which he worked. Do you remember his name?
Smith:I think he was the manager for the NIMBUS.
van de Hulst:Yes. I met him a couple of years ago again. At this moment I forget, but it will come back. (see appendix 5) And I have not written that up here, because I had forgotten about that as an important part; but it is true. In my memory, his contribution was rather important in giving us a realistic feeling about how projects of this size should be approached. But his conclusions were not in the nature that we should not do it. It was purely a financial matter, which we finally decided against it.
Smith:He was recommending perhaps an organizational change?
van de Hulst:He was constructive. I remember well, of course, that was also in the early years of NASA itself, in which NASA itself was groping for the correct methods, and he was very strongly sold on what we call the systems approach. As a teacher I try always to put things in simple terms, but that is the best message I remember from that time. I don't know whether he used these words, or if this is simply my translation. That you should never give the answers before you know the questions? (laughs) And so people tend to say, well, could we perhaps have in this particular case a telescope of that size and that length, and so, but he insisted always in saying what do you want to do with it? What do you need in order to accomplish that goal? And in that way approach it. He was so systematic about that, which was a good course in organization which I took on sitting on that committee.
Smith:And so was there a change in how ESRO approached its science programs after that?
van de Hulst:I do not remember a major change, but you have to remember that we were all in a learning process. And so we were hiring personnel at a fairly fast rate, and how that personnel learned its job, and how much of that was due to this input, or to other inputs, I couldn't possibly say.
Smith:Now did that experience affect, say, your involvement with the ANS (Astronomical Netherlands Satellite), as to how you were going to establish that program?
van de Hulst:Yes, it might be one of the inputs, but certainly not a main one. I think the best way of learning is simply doing things. And if I remember the situation back at the time preceding the National ANS satellite, then it to me is obvious that we could do that. We were an acceptable partner to NASA on the science side only because certain groups from the Netherlands had performed well on small or bigger experiments in NASA satellites. And I remember in particular our very first satellite experiment ever, which was measuring cosmic ray electrons on OGO-5, which was launched in 1968. That was one of the 13 experiments in that satellite, and that that particular group performed well, did not give problems, delivered things in time, was giving the right inputs to the operations, etc., etc; that contributed to the confidence which NASA had to go ahead with the joint enterprise on the ANS. And of course, I mean, now if industry would hear that story, they would say that was only a small part of it, but from the point of view of the science, it is an important part and of course then, another part of is that industry could perform well and did.
Smith:The part that is interesting to me is that it is a Netherlands satellite.
van de Hulst:Yes.
Smith:Did you take the proposal to ESRO that it should be a Dutch satellite? I wondered how you would work within ESRO, but occasionally work outside it in the national context?
van de Hulst:Oh yes, that's fairly complicated. The way I like to put these things is that, if we make a list of the satellite experiments in which we as Netherland's scientists have been actively involved — that means experiments cooperation with other groups — then, out of a total list of about 10 from the beginning to now, we can distinguish which were the managing agencies. And the managing agencies have been three so far. There has been the European organization, ESRO, later becoming ESA. There have been satellites managed by NASA; and there have been satellites managed by the national agency NIVR. And so that is the main distinction for us scientists who have, in each of these cases, had to rely on those agencies for the proper operation, the launch of the satellite, all the household functions and everything. To us it looks somewhat the same. We only have to know that the agency who does the managing and operation is a reliable one. And so in that respect, for us as scientists, there is not a big difference between these things. But for the national pride, and for the national industry, and for the national government, it makes an enormous difference that they can show that they can also handle that part of the work, which is the part in which 90% of the money goes. That is extremely important. But from our more limited scientific angle, the difference is not big and has been overplayed by using always the word, national satellite.
Smith:Were the contractors that you have gained, say, through your involvement with radio astronomy and with ESRO used in getting money from the Dutch Government to support the ANS?
van de Hulst:I would say, yes, but if you ask me to prove that it is of course almost impossible. But I can say one thing, that for instance, I remember now that when ESRO was established, it was obvious to the founders that there should be one major laboratory in which all the work would be done, or the substantial part of all the work would be done. And that should be at one geographical location in one of the member countries. Then each of the nine or ten member countries put up elaborate bids in telling why they could offer such a good place and such good surroundings, and such good atmosphere, etc., etc. And then finally Holland was chosen. You know that the ESTEC Laboratory is still at Noordwijk. Holland was chosen as the site for that laboratory and one of the factors which really entered there substantially was that the scientific surrounding and the technical surrounding was good in Holland. We had a flourishing physical and astronomical community who had been shown to be creative, etc. And the radio astronomy there counted, and we also had a flourishing industry in the electronic fields in Philips, and in the aerospace field, at that time aeronautic fields, in Fokker. So all of these things were favorable on the Dutch side. And I remember also that of course through COSPAR I had many contacts; and the earliest conversations I had on the possibility of an ANS satellite was privately during a COSPAR meeting with Homer Newell and with Hugh Dryden — they both sound really like names from history — and they were willing to listen and to support this idea, simply because the Dutch science was of a certain standing.
Smith:Was there any sort of committee formed to push for the ANS?
van de Hulst:No, there was not one promotion committee, one could say. It was clearly the task of the NIVR; I mean, with that I'll have to give you the Dutch term. The literal translation of the Dutch name of that organization was the Netherlands Institute for Aeronautic Development (the word Development is very important, you see) and Space. And that is not so clearly seen from the English name. But that committee was really kind of a promotion committee by itself, a partly government run and partly industry run body to create good conditions for risky undertakings into new technologies, which was first only in aeronautics and later included space. Now that organization, which is more than just a committee, but it is an institute, was of course pushing with all force to get that national satellite. And the industry did its own advertising partly by the side. And we as scientists, of course, went along quite happily and made it clear that we would be quite happy to have this added opportunity, because, mind you, we were in a situation where we were and are as one of the European members of ESA not entitled to more than roughly 5% of the launch opportunities of ESA. And in NASA we were not entitled to anything. NASA had the nice policy of welcoming guests if they came with good proposals, but it was not obvious that this policy would last. And so there were all the reasons to say, "Let's make sure that this work can continue, and let's provide also a possibility of a national launch which, so to say, is within our own jurisdiction whether it is yes or no." And perhaps I should add that at that time we also felt that this own jurisdiction would also include that we could do it at perhaps a slightly more gentle pace, so that we would not always have to meet those impossible deadlines. But that part, I underestimated. It became clear from the experience that once you are in such an undertaking, once the industrial teams are working, that there are autonomous economic reasons why things should be done fast. Otherwise, they become too expensive. That is the same for a national satellite as for NASA, as for ESA.
Smith:I wonder now if I could start moving in towards Space Telescope?
van de Hulst:Yes.
Smith:I wonder how aware you were of the National Academy of Sciences papers during the 1960s on the large space telescope? Did you keep closely in touch with the developments there?
van de Hulst:If you ask whether I was aware of the papers, I do not know. I am not sure that I really know all the paper work or committee reports which at that time were produced. That I do not know. If you ask me whether I was aware that these plans were in the making, then the answer is, yes, very much so. And I think I referred in one of the papers that I wrote recently to that talk which Lyman Spitzer gave at the Hall of the National Academy. At that time I was COSPAR president, and it was an impossible thing, so partly I slept through that evening talk, because the workload during the COSPAR congress was impossible (laughs), but I did hear it.
Smith:When did you first think that the NASA Large Space Telescope was a serious proposition, that they actually might be getting this off the ground, rather than just talking about it?
van de Hulst:I would have to really refresh my memory on that to know exactly what the situation was. And the thing which pops up immediately when I think of those early days is the Williamsburg Conference. That I have also mentioned somewhere. That was January, 1976.
Smith:This is Side #2 of Tape #1 of Robert Smith talking with Professor Van de Hulst. So we are talking about the Williamsburg Conference in 1976.
van de Hulst:Yes. Of course, you were referring to the 1960s earlier. And 1976 is a lot later; but that is the first thing which comes to my mind, because also my own involvement in these different projects has not been constant. I mean, it has gone in waves, depending on what seemed to be necessary. And so I'm not certain that I know everything that has happened in the meantime. But if I sketch the situation at that time, then I feel it is correct to say that NASA had been talking about a large telescope for a long time. There were strong voices, both inside NASA and in Congress, I think, to say that it was too expensive, and that NASA should seek for partnership. ESA had dropped its own large astronomical satellites for a long time, but had retained interest in participating in some form, so there were two obvious partners which could be brought together, and which had been together. I should perhaps add that there has been a rather unbroken tradition of annual or bi-annual consultations between ESA and NASA planning committees on their future projects. And I have participated in various functions in a number of those two or three days discussions, and in reports written on those; and I think the space telescope was never lacking there as an interesting project.
van de Hulst:But by this time, say, roughly around 1975, it had developed into what I felt was a complete deadlock where neither NASA nor ESA knew what move to make next. There the thing might have died, and then it was in a sense revived by the initiative of two committees outside NASA and outside ESA. One was the Space Science Board of the National Academy. The other was the Space Committee of the European Science Foundation. They both have strictly an advisory capacity only, but they did muster enough authority and enough funds to invite a number of people to a conference to be held at Williamsburg, Virginia. To there the NASA and ESA officials were invited as guests, and so there we did discuss what would be the scientific interests, and what might be the practical restrictions. And that gave enough impetus, again, to the entire thing for NASA and ESA to start talking and doing real planning.
Smith:Who were the people who were pushing for the conference in the Space Science Board and on the European Committee?
van de Hulst:Again, I would have to look up the real list of the Conference participants. (see appendix 6) The persons I should mention at the European side first, beside myself, would be Massey, and I think also Reimar Lust. And on the side of the Space Science Board, I do not remember exactly who was at that time involved. At a slightly earlier time it was the personal initiative of Herb Friedman, who talked us Europeans into forming something which could, to some extent; act as the European equivalent of the Space Science Board. That committee, which was brought into being also probably in the early 1970s, was originally referred to as the Preliminary Space Science Board for Europe.(see appendix 7) But when a few years later the European Science Foundation was established, we asked the European Science Foundation to adopt that committee as one of its committees, so that we would not be like an orphan, but have a certain home in a European organization. And that happened. So I remember distinctly that Friedman was talking to me and others, and was the man who first pushed for that. And the main reason was that, of course, the Space Science Board was, in certain respects, rather unhappy about the performance of NASA, and the fact that they could always give advice but NASA could always take different decisions. And they felt that the kind of problems that they ran up against with their big established NASA organization could have their counterparts in the problems we ran up against in Europe, and that it would be good to talk together regularly to see what we did about it. And so that happened (chuckles).
Smith:So these problems would be the projects that scientists wanted to develop, were not being developed?
van de Hulst:In fact, one should say it is not as much the individual project as the general procedure, the general atmosphere. In any big organization one has to be wary of vested interests and of sluggishness appearing after a while. And so, in fact, we never pretended to really go over the complete list of projects. On the European side ESA had its own organisms to discuss future projects, and so on. We did not try to meddle with that planning system. But it was really keeping the finger on the pulse of the procedures, seeing whether things went wrong, like the early talks about Space Telescope coming to a deadlock and nobody knowing what to do about it. That was more our function.
Smith:Yes. Could I ask what had caused the deadlock? Why NASA and ESA had become locked?
van de Hulst:Well, again, I would have to study quite a lot of papers to give a well-considered answer to that. But I think it's mainly the fact that cooperation is always difficult. No matter who the partners are, each partner wants to get its money worth, wants to make sure that it doesn't make a fool of itself in giving too much away. And each partner has its own perspective, seeing things closer to home as more important than things far away, and that can give endless problems. I mean, it's almost like a marriage. In principle, it's not obvious that it would work (chuckles). So I have been amazed, and sometimes rather annoyed, at how little certain people in America knew about Europe. And the sloppy way in which things are being referred to, even up to the present day in Space Telescope, as being a fully American project. I don't know how it is now, but certainly two or three years ago, one could go around an American university community, and I think if one would have taken a poll asking which answer is correct, is Europe not at all involved with Space Telescope, or is it involved in the form of an unpaying guest, or is it involved as a minor partner, I think that a majority of people would have answered, as an unpaying guest. Whereas, from the very early part it was clear it was a paying guest; and therefore a minor partner. That point has been, for certain reasons, difficult to get across. And this is just one example. People tend to emphasize their own part of a project. I mean, that happened with the ANS also. It happens with IRAS, too. When you see a publication from one country, the contribution from that country is emphasized. But the complete absence of a reference to European participation in certain statements from the American side on Space Telescope has sometimes kind of hurt me.
Smith:Was there any problem about Europe providing one of the instruments without going into competition? I'm wondering if ESA wanted to have a commitment from NASA that they would take a European instrument, NASA holding back from that, saying that they would want all instruments to go to competition at some slightly later date. Was that perhaps one of the sticking points?
van de Hulst:No. Not that issue. I can see your point; that might have been. But the historical development was different. The agreement that Europe would provide one of the instruments, and that it would be a Faint Object Camera was already made well before NASA ever went out with an announcement for opportunity for the other instruments. And that created no problems. But of course, the same joint committee of the Space Science Board and of the European Science Foundation insisted that they should at least have a chance to comment on whether the selection was properly made. It gave that comment, and it was favorable. This is not a terribly important part of the history.
Smith:Yes. I wonder how the decision to have a 15% European involvement came about? Why it was 15%, and why not, say, 10 or why not 30%? Why the figure of 15?
van de Hulst:That I couldn't tell. This of course, since it was part of an agreement, it must have a pre-history, both at the European and at the NASA side. And I presume that the pre-history of the European side is simply that that is the kind of sum which would fit reasonably within an on-going science budget without using up too much of the fixed envelope of the science budget for too long a time. And at the NASA side, there must have been some consideration that by showing that they did have the cooperation of Europe, and that there was a substantial contribution, that they could get the approval of budget in Congress. But just exactly how that worked (laughs) that is difficult to retrace.
Smith:I wonder if I could just go back to the Williamsburg Conference again. You said that things got moving again through that, and that people were talking to each other. Who were the people that you were dealing with at that time? Was it the administrator, or was it perhaps Noel Hinners or someone slightly lower down the scale who you were doing the direct negotiations with?
van de Hulst:No, it certainly was not the administrator, but I think it was the top echelon under him. It was Noel Hinners for the last day (according to my files), and his substitute Rasool for the entire meeting.
Smith:Yes. Now you said that it was decided quite early that Europe would go with the Faint Object Camera. What was the reason for that? Was it that there was a photon-counting detector that the decision was to go with the FOC?
van de Hulst:Frankly, I do not know. I was at the moment not involved in any planning committee of ESA. I was not involved in the Faint Object Camera, so I simply don't know.
Smith:Yes. Now I wonder if I could move on to the Instrument Science Team?
van de Hulst:Yes.
Smith:Was this founded in 1977 when the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between NASA and ESA, and there was a definite decision, a definite commitment that things were to go ahead, or was it an earlier development?
van de Hulst:I think it must have been earlier, but I haven't looked it up. Is it important for you to know the answer right now? (see appendix 8)
Smith:No, we can find out later.
van de Hulst:I can look it up, if you will remind me of it, and it is simple, because we have just completed the 30th and last meeting of that Instrument Science Team. I think I have been chairman in all of them except one or two; I may have been absent for some reason.
Smith:So you are going to change the structure of the team now?
van de Hulst:Yes, perhaps I can immediately say that. It was always foreseen that of course the teams which exist for all instruments on ST would gradually have to change the character of their work. In the beginning you're dealing mostly with design matters. You try to push certain specifications more strongly than others, and run up against either technical or financial problems, and realize that there is a limit. So there is this constant interplay which is mainly dealing with design specifications. Later emphasis shifts to software, and still later to the actual operations. And we have now, well before launch, of course, reached the situation in which operations is our 95% job, because the design is finished and it's in the hands of the engineers to make sure that the whole thing gets ready. But in the science operations observing program, both for the early verification stages and for the later more scientific stages, still take a lot of discussion. Now NASA has had very elaborate discussions about how to organize these things. And you know there has been a lot of confusion due to the fact that a number of NASA centers were involved. In order to set the precise responsibilities there have been a number of changes recently. But it was obvious that this job of how to do the early operating phases had to be approached by NASA. And in doing that certain new rules have been defined, and, so to say, as a side issue of that redefinition, also the role of the European team in that early operation stage has been redefined. It has now been agreed that the European team will be changed into an Investigation Definition Team, an IDT, which is exactly the same term which is being used for the teams established by NASA. So it is going in the direction where we would like it to go, where, so to say, the differences are minimized.
Smith:Will it have the same members, or will it have new members?
van de Hulst:It will be composed of virtually the same members. I think one member did not want to continue his membership because he felt his input was really only meant for the instrumental side. He could better use his capacities doing other things. And there will be two members added. I think at this moment the formal establishment of that new team has not been completed in an administrative way, but there will be two new members. That will be the two Europeans who, at the Space Telescope Institute in Baltimore, will be specialists for the Faint Object Camera. It's obvious that one should like to have those key persons in there.
Smith:So that would be Chris Blades?
van de Hulst:Yes, Blades and Paresce. And the chairmanship will change. Machetto will take over as the chairman, and I will remain for a while as a normal member of that team.
Smith:May I ask how the team was chosen in the first place? Was there a competition, or were people invited to join the Instrument Science Team?
van de Hulst:All members except myself as chairman were chosen, indeed, on application. If you want to call that competition, I think that is not exactly the proper word, but applications were invited, and then selection was proposed by the ESA executive (see appendix 9) to the Science Program Committee, and those people were then chosen. One man was later added for his specialty, because we felt we were too short in that, and he was added with the same blessing. That was Gerd Weigelt.
Smith:What kind of rewards do the Instrument Science Team members receive? The people who work for the NASA Instrument Definition Team have the reward of getting a certain amount of time.
van de Hulst:Yes.
Smith:Is it going to be the same for the European IDT?
van de Hulst:Yes. Now that's a question which sounds almost as a question to trap me. And if you were a journalist I would have to be more cautious (laughs). The formal situation is that there were no rewards. And formally, the members of this team were considered by ESA as consultants. The reason for that is that in an earlier decision, a couple of years earlier when the decision was taken to go ahead with EXOSAT, a different policy was followed. And that had given certain ill feeling on people not involved. It had caused a certain amount of difficult discussion, how to arrange that. That of course, incidentally, has been solved very elegantly and completely now, but at that moment the memory of that kind of difficulty was still clear, and ESA therefore decided to do it differently with FOC and to avoid those problems altogether. Of course, it did create problems of how you, well, how do you maintain the interests of these people if there are no rewards (laughs). The most bitter comments which I have heard at some times, which have now been subsided, but certain team members said, "Well, we would be better off by not being team members, because then we could do good astronomy and put ourselves in a better position to apply for observing time (laughs) with this instrument. Because now we work our head off, and we may not find our observing proposal rewarded." But I always felt that that was overdoing it, because it is obvious that somebody who is so intimately knowledgeable about the instrument and its performance and its possibilities, can also make good proposals.
Smith:So the 15% time is 15% European time?
van de Hulst:The 15% is there is no doubt about it. The 15% was simply a European time, and again, I may be more orthodox there than some other people who try to interpret the early decisions. My understanding of that early decision was that all of the observing time would be given on the basis of merit, and that the 15% was not actually a full guarantee, but was more or less an expected percentage. But other people interpreted it as a guarantee, and of course in practice it won't make much of a difference.
Smith:Can I ask how the decisions that you make at the Instrument Science Team are translated into action at ESTEC? Dr. Machetto is a member of the team, and you act as an advisor to him, and he would then liaise with the Faint Object Camera manager? Would it be like that?
van de Hulst:Yes, that comes close to it, but it does not describe the situation fully. The main answer to your question is that this team has an advisory capacity. The ESA management has a manager for the ESA part of the ST project. And the ESA part is not only the Faint Object Camera. It is also the power system, i.e., the arrays with solar cells, which is of course a far bigger project, moneywise, or at least comparable. And incidentally, that manager happens to be one of my earlier students here, which is not that I pushed him, but it turned out to be a job which just suited him. So I know what he can do. So that is fine, but we provide only advice; and we ask certain questions, and it is then the management which makes the decision. That is exactly as it is being done at NASA, that the management makes decisions, and other groups give only advice, including the Science Working Group under O'Dell. So formally it's quite okay. We ask for certain things, as, say, wouldn't it be nice to do so and so. For instance, we did finally put extra equipment into one of the modes, making it possible to use it also spectrographically. We did do other things. We also asked for a bigger memory, and that we did not get, because it came outside the financial possibilities. And so there are certain things where we were successful, and others unsuccessful. But these desires were always expressed in the form of advice. Now, I refer to certain things being curious. The curious thing is that I, as a chairman of this advisory team, had Duccio Macchetto as my secretary, so in a way I was his boss. But on the other hand, we as an advisory team advised to the project in which Machetto is the project scientist (chuckles). And in that respect he, so to say, is our superior. But that has never given any problem.
Smith:So that's been perfectly harmonious?
van de Hulst:Yes. And you may notice that in this booklet which we did put out, we put the contributors from both teams side by side.
Smith:I'll just make a note for the tape. That is ESA, SP 1028 that we are talking about there. I wonder, if we could just talk a little bit about another design change which seems to have occurred in the Faint Object Camera. And that is the second detector at some time was being talked of as F-200 or even a higher F-number. But now it has gone to F-48. I wonder what the reason was for the transition there?
van de Hulst:Well, you are referring to the Phase A study, and the Phase A study is a short study in which certain things are being put down on paper as possibly being feasible and desirable, but it's only in the later phases that you start to be confronted with the facts. You ask a very basic question there, for which I have not prepared myself, and I am not certain that I know the answer completely. I feel that we felt that going to this even higher focal ratio, as one of the main modes, which means an even smaller field, would gain us rather little. It would be in very few situations of any help, and it would emphasize one of the weak points which this camera has observationally, namely, its small field. On the other hand there were many situtations in which we could be helped by going the other way to the F-48. So that, I think, was the main reason. But that dilemma was also relieved by the fact that in the few observational situations where you want to really have the utmost resolution, we had this extra Cassegrain switch-in which brings us to F-296. And so if for certain reasons it's really necessary, we can do that.
Smith:Could I ask about the complimentarity of the Faint Object Camera and the Wide Field Planetary Camera? It seems to be that these are the two cameras, and one is very good in the ultraviolet; and one is very good towards the redder end. And it looks as if this has been carefully organized to be like that. I wonder if that in fact has been so?
van de Hulst:Well, I have my ideas, but one can answer this question at different levels. You could answer it from the present point of view. You could even answer it from the future point of view; namely, on what basis will the general observer who applies for observing time decide which camera he will propose? And then, the difference which you mentioned; namely, ultraviolet and infrared, is one of the very prime differences. The difference of the field, if that counts, is very much in favor of the Wide Field Camera. On the other hand, if it really comes to the utmost precision where the point spread function of the entire telescope must be kept as small as possible, then the Faint Object Camera is the only camera which will really show what the performance of the telescope in its most precise mode is. So there are, obviously quite a number of projects or investigations in which that will count. But that is all as we can see it from the present situation. We will just have to wait how that develops. And I am in a sense curious myself what the statistics will be of observation time granted to these two cameras. On top of that, there are of course practical questions of switch on and switch off, which are all in the hands of the Space Science Institute to arrange. But it is also necessary to look at this question from a slightly more historical point of view, and say, "What can have prompted NASA to take the decision to have these two rather different cameras on the same telescope?" And that is somewhat guesswork on my part, but I have always had the strong feeling that the original decision in which the entire complement of instruments was made for these first, say supposedly 10 or 15 years, that that was partly based on gambling on different techniques, some of which were more advanced and some of which were more established. And it's clear that at that time the IPCS, Imaging Photon Counting System, which is the basis of the detector system in the Faint Object Camera, was already established; whereas the CCDs, which were proposed for the Wide Field Camera, were coming up rapidly, but were by no means established. At the time of the decision it was open: there could be the good luck that the development would go well; there could also be the bad luck that the development would be retarded or would lead to disappointments. A detector of that size in CCDs had never been made. And so I think it was a good policy of NASA to bet on several things simultaneously and let history take care of itself.
Smith:Yes. Has there been much consultation, say with Professor Westphal, about arranging things so that you don't tread on each other's toes? Or is it just that naturally the detectors will work in a complimentary way?
van de Hulst:If there has been any consultation I am not aware of it. Rather to the contrary, in such a situation in which bids are invited by NASA, or proposals are invited by NASA, on the basis of Announcement of Opportunity, you get the same situation as in any industrial bid. There comes a time of silence in which nobody talks to nobody (laughs). They are just waiting on what NASA's answer will be, and so I don't think there has been any formal consultation there.
Smith:This is Tape #2, Side #3 of the tapes on the Interview with Professor Van de Hulst. I wonder if I could just talk a little bit about NASA-ESA relations, how you found working on Space Telescope, if there had been any particular problems about working with NASA, even kind of secondhand removed in the Instrument Science Team?
van de Hulst:Yes (laughs). That's a really difficult question. Generally, I must say thinking back also of other cooperations, I have been quite impressed by a number of things which NASA has done in the way of its general approach. And I have been quite impressed by the succession of a number of people in charge of the science program and of their — well, that's not our subject. Certainly the policy to open their satellite for good proposals from others has been, by and large, a very good policy. So my general impression over those roughly 20 years has been quite favorable. On the other hand, when you look closely into certain things, of course, then you see also bad developments. In the Space Telescope the major impression was that it was, even for NASA, a bit too large to handle. I mean that NASA did not really have sufficient control of the interrelations between the different centers involved and Headquarters. There have been situations where we talked to people at Headquarters, and they said we will be happy to hear how the situation is over here because we cannot find out (laughs).
van de Hulst:Yes. And I think I refer to that in my symposium talk in a few words, which NASA makes the pretense that its management system is watertight; but in fact, it isn't. It's really the devotion of the scientists who make it, who then pick up certain things which have gone wrong, and which have passed through the supposedly watertight screening by the various committees, and which must then be redressed.
Smith:So this is slipping through the micro-management system?
van de Hulst:Yes, slipping through the micro-management system, and I think, if one would like to get details there, it would be possible, but I know only a very little about that. But my general impression is that it does occur. That has put, say, the people like O'Dell, as chairman of the Science Working Group, in a rather difficult position at times, because he has or had also a certain allegiance to the Marshall Center, where the main management was. It is also clear that the instrument scientists — and I'm not referring to the Faint Object Camera particularly — had certain legitimate claims, and that Goddard had certain legitimate claims, but how it all hangs together, is sometimes a muddle to me.
Smith:Do you have perhaps an example of one of these mistakes which just slipped through the net of micro-management?
van de Hulst:Well, I think on a purely technical point, the ill expected performance of the guiding system as first designed should have been picked up earlier. Of course, I have never checked up where that could have been done nor do I have the documents to check up. But in principle, one could try to retrace that through all the review committees and see where was the actual flaw. But it's almost like replaying a game of chess; sometimes you can say the 11th move was bad, but it's too late now.
Smith:Yes. I wonder if ESA-NASA relations were affected at all when NASA cancelled the Solar Polar missions, the thought being that if there is a European-NASA collaboration, then NASA won't cancel?
van de Hulst:Yes.
Smith:But then they go and cancel. Did that affect people's thinking at all?
van de Hulst:Oh, it definitely did, yes. I mean, you bring it up. I did not bring it up in this connection, but of course, there is, in Europe there has been, let's call it a political decision to spend this much money on the Space Science program in ESA and not more. And within that money it is difficult to have a continuing flow of good projects, because the total amount is not that enormous, and therefore, there is also a continuous pressure, let's work together with other partners, and in particular with NASA. But then there is the question, can reliable agreements with NASA be made? And at the moment when NASA made a one-sided decision to step out of formal agreement to do jointly the ISPM, the Solar Polar Mission, that clearly was interpreted both by the Europeans and by a good number of Americans as very bad behavior, a break of contract. It's not for nothing that these things are called Memoranda of Understanding rather than contracts, which is to keep the lawyers off your back. And there is of course an escape clause in any such MOV that a project can only be done if the money is available. But certainly here the impression was that NASA had acted with contempt of its partner. Even in the National Academy of Sciences that feeling was felt very strongly. So if you then ask what repercussions that had, then one immediate repercussion was, of course, that a good number of Europeans say, "Can we do any planning at all involving NASA as a partner? Or should we really become completely self-supporting? Well, the answer is obvious." We should not, because of that bad event say we won't deal with NASA anymore, because it is too obvious that by doing things together you can learn. You can do bigger projects together. So it has not undermined the complete basis of cooperation, but it certainly has given it a shock.
Smith:On Space Telescope in particular.
van de Hulst:Space Telescope particularly. I think Sir Harrie Massey would have been good to talk to, but you are probably aware that he died on 27 November 1983. Now, the man who knows a lot about it is of course Macchetto. But of course he is in a more junior class. I wouldn't blame him if he declines and says, I want to keep my record clean and not (laughs) give commentary. One nearer to retirement age can afford to give it. And on the NASA side I think O'Dell would be the first man to ask. Oh well, there are any number of people who would give very interesting and very different comments. One might want to ask, could ask Nancy Roman, for instance.
van de Hulst:You could ask Dave Leckrone.
Smith:Yes. Well, that's a good list to get to work on.
van de Hulst:Oh yes, I think you should also add to that list Ivan King, because he is in a peculiar position. He is slightly more apart from it. He is not in NASA, a representative, but he is an American member appointed by NASA on the ESA FOC team. He is one of the two American members. And at the time when he was president of the American Astronomical Society, he had also taken an initiative in doing things about the Space Telescope Institute. So he is a quite wise and knowledgeable person also to ask.
Smith:Yes. I wonder if, just to finish, there is anything you think we have left out that you might want to say? Any area that we've left untouched on Space Telescope that you think might be an important miss?
van de Hulst:No. That I could perhaps find out afterward, if I go over it again. You have seen some of the things I wrote down and selected your questions from there, so I don't think there is anything of major importance that we have missed.
Right. Thank you very much.
1: ICSU, the International Council of Scientific Unions, probably is the largest world-wide non-governmental organization in science. It has two kinds of members: the International Scientific Unions (about a dozen), and the Academies of Science or other nationally representative bodies from most countries that take a serious interest in science. I then attended the London meeting as a (substitute) representative of IAU, the International Astronomical Union. The meeting was convened by Dr. Homer Newell (of NASA). Our foremost concern at the time was to avoid premature politicizing of space science, because the issue of "peaceful use of outer space" had already been raised, both by USA and by USSR, before the United Nations. In the cold war we judged that whatever contacts could be organized by the well-established channels of the non-governmental organizations would constitute a definite gain for world science and (perhaps) for world peace.
2, 3: Here are a few more details from my files. The "First International Space Science Symposium" sponsored by COSPAR took place in Nice, France, at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen Jan. 11-16, 1960. Neither foreword nor introduction of the Symposium Volume (1200 pages) mentions the highly informal get-together of Auger et al. during this meeting. The dates and names of the subsequent, more formally convened meetings were:
29 April 1960, London, at the invitation of The Royal Society, "European Space Research Meeting." The 2-page report states that "The following group of European space scientists (21) from ... (10 countries) agrees that further steps should be taken to establish European co-operation in space research," and continues to enumerate the desired first steps. Prof. P. Auger was chosen as the group's secretary. (I have also a more elaborate report in Dutch of this meeting and of a number of the following).
23-24 June 1960, Paris, Centre de Conférences Internationales, "Groupe d'études Européen pour la collaboration dans le domaine des recherches spatiales", 29 persons attending, including a few from government offices. Auger was in the chair. A "bureau" was formed, chaired by Massey (UK) and a "drafting committee" chaired by Canpiche (Switzerland) to draft a first text for what half a year later became the Meyrin Agreement.
3-6 October 1960, London, at the Royal Society. Now the acronym GEERS (Groupe des Experts Européens des Recherches Spatiales) is used. 36 persons from 11 countries attended. The report summarizes advantages to science, technological and economic advantages, and indirect benefits, and continues to discuss suggested programs and forms of organization.
28 November-1 December 1960, Meyrin, at the CERN premises, "Intergovernmental Conference on Space Research". Dr. J.H. Bannier, director of the Dutch Foundation for Pure Research and long-time insider in CERN affairs, was elected as formal "rapporteur" of the conference. The main outcome was the Meyrin Agreement to set up (with government blessing and financial support) a "Comité Préparatoire Européen pour les Recherches Spatiales" (COPERS).
24-25 January 1961, London, informal discussion meeting called by the Royal Society and the British National Committee on Space Research on small vertical sounding rockets (not in the Copers context). 30 January-2 February 1961, Strasbourg, France, conference on the development of a European Space Rocket. This meeting was held at the invitation of the French and UK governments and was a precursor to ELDO. 13-14 March 1961, Paris, first session of COPERS.
04-05 April 1961, Stockholm, first session of the "Interim Scientific and Technical Working Group" of COPERS chaired by Prof. Hulthén (GTST). 8-9 May 1961, London, second session of GTST.
17-18 May 1961, Scheveningen (The Hague), Netherlands, COPERS 2. 24-25 October 1961, Munich (Germany), COPERS 3. 21-23
February 1962, Paris, COPERS 4.
10-11 May 1962, Rome, Italy, COPERS 5. The hot issue of the location of the Headquarters and Establishments of ESRO was — after many formal proposals, evaluations and search parties — decided in meetings of the COPERS Bureau, attended by the heads of delegations, on 26-27 March and 4 April 1962, as follows:
ESDAC: Darmstadt Northern Range: Kiruna Plus there was a recommendation to set up a laboratory in Italy. I still do not know (2 January 1984) whether a written history of this early development is available anywhere. However, I note that in the commemorative book "20 Years Europe in Space," to be published by ESA, May 1984, there will be a chapter by Prof. Auger: "Personal memories of the pre-history of ESRO."
For any further information, the editor is Dr. N. Longdon at ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
4: I find records from a minister's conference at Rome, 11-13 July 1967, and one at Bad Godesberg near Bonn, 13-14 November 1968. I remember the first as uneventful but the second one as dramatic. Bondi (then director general of ESRO), urged me (then chairman of the ESRO council), to come back from a scientific meeting at Bombay threatening with his resignation. Certain disastrous proposals drawn up in preparation for the Bonn conference could not be stopped. I did fly back. From the third minister's conference, presumably at Brussels, I do not remember anything nor do I find papers. The fourth one, in Brussels on 4 November 1970, left behind it a really chaotic situation so that the full controversies recurred in the ESRO Council meeting in December. I might as well record here a personal handwritten document I find among those papers:
DREAM I am standing by the side of a wide canal in a Dutch landscape. The canal issues into a lake. It obviously is springtime, because I see at some distance several people at work to prepare their sailboats. Some huge boats are already sailing on the lake. There is a ship moored near me in the canal and it is somehow my duty to do something with it. So I unhook it and push it along the shore of the canal with a long pole as we often do, by some hundred meters to a place where I can better examine it. In the full light, where it is now, I can see that it is about thirty feet long, has several parts of a normal ship and also some roughly cut tree trunks, strung together quite well with thin steel cable. Tied upon it also are several bundles of straw. I conclude that it does certainly float and that one could safely stand upon it, but it seems quite impossible to rig it up with mast and sails. So I start pushing it back along the shore again. But I am not certain that I remember the exact place where it belonged. When I approach the place where I think it belongs (there is a farm at some distance across the water), I see several boys and girls and some grown-up men standing in the grass, fishing. Like most fishermen they yield way upon approach of the boat but do look very friendly. One of the boys, whose line is attached to his bamboo fishing rod with a nail, gets his line caught and it takes us a little while to undo it. All of this is done gently, without haste, without hostility, and without words. I still am not sure that this was the correct place. So I address one of the men and say: "I have come to return your raft". He looks puzzled, so I think perhaps he does not know that word in English and I translate in Dutch "uw vlot". He faintly smiles and says: "You know, it is not really a raft; it used to be a real ship." I wake up. This is an authentic dream noted in Paris on 22 December 1970 at 3:45 A.M., after I had just learned of the intention of France to denounce the ESRO convention. Upon waking the thought strikes me that it might form a good contribution to the closing issue of the ELDO-ESRO Technical Review. Suggested key: canal = Europe, lake = the world, ship = ESRO, me = me, fishing gentleman = prime minister of France.
Page 5: The name was (Bill) W.G. Stroud, Consultant to the Director General (of ESRO). I enclose a copy of an interoffice memo which he wrote on 14 September 1967 toward the end of his stay in Holland. (I also find a thank-you note he wrote from Goddard 3 November 1967.) There was a scientific symposium at Leiden Observatory, 14-15 December 1967 presenting the results of the study which the LAS group and the ESA staff had been conducting over the past 3/4 year. This shows that contrary to my memory the LAS project was by no means "dead" at that time. However, I have also correspondence, both from De Jager and from Borgman, in February 1967, arguing to kill LAS in favor of cheaper TD satellites (archival box 29).
Page 6, 7: On the Williamsburg conference. Now that I have had a chance to leaf through some files I am impressed by the fact that the deadlock, to which I referred, was not in the scientific or technical planning. Both the NASA internal advisory bodies and the Space Science Board had studied the problem of building and operating ST at great depth and had produced elaborate reports, some of which I first saw when I attended in October 1975 the (general) ESF-SSB coordination meeting on space science at Washington. For instance, the report on the summer study conducted in August 1975 at Snowmass, Colorado by the Committee on Space Astronomy and Astrophysics of the SSB, includes 3 pages on the LST. And from Danielson I learned at that time that an "LST Operations and Management Working Group" had met in Huntsville, Alabama, 18-19 September 1975 under chairmanship of O'Dell and had gone in detail into possible instruments and their costs. I must conclude (now) that the situation which I experienced as a deadlock was in the decision making: NASA wavering to do it alone, and not quite knowing how to put a NASA-ESA cooperation on ST on a good footing, although there was an ad-hoc NASA-ESA working group on ST reporting to the highest officials, Fletcher and Gibson. The main elements of the later cooperation had already been thought up but somehow the negotiations seemed to have become stagnant. During 1975, June and July, Goody (chairman of SSB) met with Massey in London and in Varna and the terms for the Williamsburg conference of 26-29 January 1976 were agreed (I do have detailed lists of participants, agenda, proposals and notes in archival box 88). Page 12: The first meeting of the PSSBE was held in 1974 on 10-11 April at London, a "closed discussion meeting" called by the Royal Society. The invitees include two Americans, Goody and Friedman. The first letter setting forth the ideas for such an "international advisory body" is by Friedman, 21 November 1973, and is marked private.
8: The first meeting of FOC-IST took place on 16 February 1977, about 2 months after SPC had decided on its composition. NASA's choice of Phil Crane and Ivan King as it's representatives on the team was told to me in a phone call from Nancy Roman November 1977 and confirmed by a letter from NASA HQ International Office in January 1978.
9: Executive (singular) is being used in ESA as a collective word for the Director General and his central management staff.