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Oral History Transcript — Dr. Robert Farquhar

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Interview with Dr. Robert Farquhar
By David DeVorkin
At the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC
July 22, 2008

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Robert Farquhar; July 22, 2008

ABSTRACT: In this interview Robert Farquhar discusses topics such as: family background and childhood; beginning his interest in aviation; joining the Army and fighting in the Korean War; doing undergraduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for aeronautical engineering; George McVittie; orbital dynamics and thinking about getting into cosmology; Sputnik; deciding to go to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to study astrodynamics; working at the RAND corporation; Sam Herrick; Robert M. L. Baker; Stanley Ross; John Breakwell; William Thompson; celestial mechanics; Lagrangian points; Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); James McDivitt; Ari Shternfeld; working at Lockheed; University of California, Berkeley; going and teaching at the University of London; William Bonnor; Ben Lange; doing his Ph.D. at Stanford University; drag-free satellites; Ames Research Center; Goddard Space Flight Center; Bob Groves; Redstone Arsenal; Hermann Bondi; Apollo program; George Low; Norman Ness; Keith Ogilvie; Jeff Briggs; Joe Veverka.

Transcript

Session I | Session II | Session III | Session IV

DeVorkin:

This is July 22, 2008, and weíre in David DeVorkinís office, my office, and Bob Farquhar is here. This is the fourth oral history session with you. You were just saying that Goddard got a new —

Farquhar:

New Director, yes. Heís the former head of the Space Department at APL. His name is Rob Strain. He has a bachelorís degree from Western Michigan College or University, Iím not sure which, in accounting, and that is his sole formal education. He had a job at Orbital Sciences, then he went to APL, and now heís going to Goddard, and every time heís been brought along by Mike Griffin, because his other big qualification is heís a good golfer and he golfs with Griffin all the time.

DeVorkin:

I see. Youíre telling me this because this is an example of the direction NASA is going?

Farquhar:

Well, this is the way things are going in general. Yes, Iím very pessimistic about everything these days. Everything is now being taken over by corporate managers and so forth, and thereís no room for people like me anymore, I can see that. Itís becoming very obvious to me.

DeVorkin:

Well, didnít you see the move from the previous one or two NASA administrators like Goldin and then Sean OíKeefe and then to Griffin as a move away from corporate in a way? Do you see Griffin as corporate?

Farquhar:

Oh, yes. Oh, very definitely.

DeVorkin:

How so?

Farquhar:

Oh, everything comes from Mike Griffin on down, you know, and everybody has to say yes or theyíre out of there. Even some guys who were friends of his thought they were going to move up when he came down, but they didnít agree with some of the things, and, bang, they were gone.

DeVorkin:

Is this what happened to Alan Stern?

Farquhar:

Yes, actually, that is what happened to Alan Stern. If I wasnít being recorded, I could tell you some more things about Alan.

DeVorkin:

Well, even if you are being recorded —

Farquhar:

Okay, Iíll tell you anyway. Alan has got his eyes on the administratorís job.

DeVorkin:

So we havenít seen the last of him?

Farquhar:

No, heís been making contacts with the Obama campaign. I just heard that one yesterday. I already knew he wanted to be the next administrator.

DeVorkin:

I mean, did he have an ideological split with Griffin?

Farquhar:

Yes, a little bit. Well, he came up with trying to penalize JPL for their overruns, and Griffin didnít like the idea, so he got rid of him. Well, I guess Alan turned in his resignation.

DeVorkin:

So it was that serious?

Farquhar:

Yes, it was in the press that Alan was going to take a certain action, and that same day Griffin put out a press release contradicting what he had said, so then he just decided, well, his position was untenable and he left.

DeVorkin:

Did you agree with Sternís position on this issue?

Farquhar:

Yes, I think I would, given the facts of the situation. I mean, he had the rug pulled out from under him. Heís trying to manage a program. Griffin is more of a micromanager than Alan Stern. Alan Stern is a micromanager, too, so that part isnít good. On the other hand, heís my micromanager. In other words, heís a good friend of mine, so that makes it a little bit better.

DeVorkin:

Oh, I see, okay.

Farquhar:

That was one of the reasons I left the New Horizons Project, because even though itís an interesting program and everything, I had very little to say anymore because it all came from the top down, and then they had all kinds of review panels, it was too much for my style of running a mission.

DeVorkin:

Okay. Well, thatís very interesting as an introduction. Iíd love to go on with it, but I think weíd better go back to the chronology.

Farquhar:

Yes. Okay.

DeVorkin:

At the end of the last session, session three, you were at the NASA Ames Research Center and then you went to the NASA Electronics Research Center. This is that short-lived thing in Cambridge.

Farquhar:

Yes. When I was at Ames, I was an employee of the Electronics Research Center. I was their representative at Ames.

DeVorkin:

Right. When you were there, this is í66 to í68, í69, approximately.

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

You were making proposals for the libration point communications satellite for Apollo.

Farquhar:

Yes, right.

DeVorkin:

That got the attention of the Goddard Space Flight Center people.

Farquhar:

Yes, they actually came out to talk to me while I was at Stanford on a NASA fellowship, and Bob Groves was the name of the guy that came out there. They were going to put out an RFP, request for proposal, to do a systems study. Well, I had mixed feelings about it, because I hadnít finished my thesis yet, and here youíre going to get about six or seven other contractors putting proposals in to do the stuff that I was already doing. So that part of it I didnít like, but on the other hand, I liked all of the attention that it was getting.

DeVorkin:

But you said in the interview last time that the RFP sounded very much like your thesis.

Farquhar:

Yes, well, it was part of my thesis. The guys from General Electric in Philadelphia won the thing, and they produced a report. I was in a race with them to get my thesis done before they put their report out, and I beat them by several months. So that was good, and they referenced all my work, I sent them a copy of my thesis, and so therefore my stuff got out first. That was important.

DeVorkin:

At this time, did you feel that Goddard was the place for you to go, or did you have other options?

Farquhar:

Well, I was committed to going back to the Electronics Research Center.

DeVorkin:

Right, which you did.

Farquhar:

Yes, I did, and soon after I got there, I decided that that wasnít the place for me. But now I had moved all the way out there with my family and bought a house. I couldnít just pick up and go. Itís not like the old days when I was a bachelor; I could always come and go as I pleased. So that added some stability, which I didnít like. But I did start talking to the guys down at Goddard about how I could transfer down there, and eventually I was able to get the transfer in. That happened a few weeks before the people at the Electronics Research Center were notified all of sudden that the Center was going to close in a couple weeks, because I guess Nixon was getting even with Senator Kennedy and he wanted to close it because it was in his place and he was bashing NASA all the time. So Nixon thought, ďYeah, okay, fine, you donít like NASA? Iím going to close up your Center out there.Ē Thatís exactly what happened.

DeVorkin:

Now, were you a federal employee when you were up there?

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

So you had federal status, and this is just really a shift in your duty location.

Farquhar:

Yes, thatís all it was.

DeVorkin:

Now, your first program work from 1970 to í72, as you have on your inverse chronological sheet here that was in some of your original writing, you have that you engaged in studies of post-Apollo lunar exploration concepts. Could you tell us a little bit about how you got into that kind of work, who else was working in it, who you were working for and what your duties were?

Farquhar:

I was out at Goddard, but the nice thing about Goddard at that time was people could go off on their own and be an entrepreneur, so to speak, and try to get business in various places, and I was working with a lot of people at NASA Headquarters in the Lunar Exploration Office. The Apollo Program was still going on, but they were looking to the future. What are they going to do later? And they had all kinds of plans to go back to the moon again, and they were doing systems studies and so forth, of how would they go back. They had contracts out to North American and various other big contractors on what would the vehicles look like, and they were talking about reusable vehicles this time rather than the Apollo way, which was just the throwaway. So I was very interested in that, and I came up with this rendezvousing at the L2 libration point of the Earth moon system and wrote some papers on that, and wrote a big TN [technical note] on it and so forth. I was still pushing for the far-side communications thing also. Then we were looking at an automated lunar program that would follow the Apollo Program if they didnít have enough money to do the next phase of the human exploration, and it turns out that was becoming pretty obvious that there wasnít going to be money around to do the second human phase, so there was more concentration on the automated program. But they still needed a communications link for the far side of the moon, so I was involved in that. But I put out this NASA technical note, and that was interesting because I discussed the use of the Earth moon L2 point and how youíd use a reusable transportation system to rendezvous there and what were the advantages, and also the business about the far side communications. I had photographs of the crater Tsiolkovsky in there, several of them, and was advocating that this was a good site for a future human mission. Then Jack Schmitt had the idea of landing on the far side of the moon, and so the thing was a little serendipitous that these two things were happening at the same time.

DeVorkin:

It was purely serendipitous?

Farquhar:

Yes, right. I didnít know what he was doing and I had no idea he was thinking about going to the far side. As a matter of fact, Gene Cernan didnít like the idea that he was talking it up about the far side. He was very upset about that. But he did manage to get a hearing down at Johnson Space Center, and thatís when I was called down there to explain about how we could actually do this thing, and they brought some contractors in and so forth.

DeVorkin:

Were you briefed by any of your superiors at Goddard before you went down there to know what the Goddard message was or the Goddard line of argument was?

Farquhar:

No, it happened very quickly. Goddard really wasnít involved as far as the management was concerned, except for my local manager. He knew about it, and they asked me if I could come down, and I just talked to my branch head and said, ďHey, can I have travel to go down there? They want me to go down and give a presentation.Ē He said, ďOh, yeah, sure,Ē and he didnít have to get the okay from anybody else. I was just going down there to explain to them about the technical details of how a communications satellite would be done for the far side. I didnít even know that there were going to be any contractors down there at the time and that they had moved along that far and that this big briefing was set up for Jim McDivitt. I didnít know that either. All I knew was I was going to go down there and talk to Jack Schmitt and/or some of the other people that were involved in the feasibility studies of this thing. The next thing I know, I get down there and Iím in this briefing with Jack Schmitt and we went through the whole thing, and then I found out there was going to be a briefing later that afternoon. It was a big deal. There were lots of people there and I remember they had a little sign outside of the meeting room that said what it was going to be, lunar far side landing and everything. I remember some of the other people coming in with me and he says, ďThat lunar far side landing, whatís this?Ē They were making fun of it, you know. It was like this was some kind of joke, you know. But then we got in there Jim McDivitt was taking it very seriously.

DeVorkin:

Did you have to file a trip report with your Goddard people when you came back?

Farquhar:

No, I just wrote a memo to John Clark, who was the director at the time.

DeVorkin:

Right, and you told him what had happened?

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Did you get any feedback from him, any kind of concern?

Farquhar:

Yes, they were very concerned.

DeVorkin:

Yes, tell me about that.

Farquhar:

I didnít talk to John Clark personally, but he talked to my Division Head Fritz Von Bun. Well, his name wasnít Fritz. He went by Fritz Von Bun. It used to be two words, but when he came to the United States, he wanted to be more like the people here, so he made it into one word, rather than Von Bun, as two separate words. He was a former German fighter pilot from World War II, a Messerschmitt pilot, he was telling me. So he was my big boss down there. He was kind of a tough guy to work for; he didnít tolerate any nonsense.

DeVorkin:

Yes, I can imagine. So what was the issue?

Farquhar:

So he was very concerned. Fritz Von Bun was in a staff meeting, and they had seen my memo. I mean John Clark had seen my memo, and he was very concerned that I may have committed Goddard to doing more than they were able to do. But the whole thing passed away very quickly because the idea was quickly rejected by NASA Headquarters saying, ďNo, itís going to cost too much. We donít have the money, plus itís too risky,Ē etc., you know, that sort of thing.

DeVorkin:

No one like Clark or others were strongly in favor of it, looking at it as a large project that they may take on at Goddard?

Farquhar:

Well, they didnít have time to react completely. I donít know how seriously they took it to begin with either, because it was just a possibility, and JSC was looking at this thing. But they didnít know how serious they were, and by the time, within a week or so, it was clear that all the budgets were getting cut back. Apollo 17, it wasnít clear whether they were even going to fly that mission, and so Jack Schmitt kind of backed away from it about a week or so later after that presentation. He had been working on it actively for about a month and a half, and I was involved in some of the conversations going back and forth. He was also working with Paul Lowman; heís a lunar scientist, a geologist. I think heís still working out at Goddard.

DeVorkin:

I might know that name. What were you doing then in addition to this? You were talking about the post-Apollo missions, the idea of a lunar orbit rendezvous, but it was really at the L2 point?

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

You were simply dealing with capability, the —

Farquhar:

It was technical studies.

DeVorkin:

Purely technical studies. You werenít considering why or how much material?

Farquhar:

I wasnít advocating anything, no. I was just putting out a technical study and quoting from some of the other reports of the studies that were being done by North American and other people. I think Convair was doing studies. There were a lot of contracts that were let out from Lunar Exploration Office, and I was involved with them, not so much officially, but I would go down there and theyíd ask me to come down because I knew a lot about libration points, and not too many other people did at the time.

DeVorkin:

What was your day like at Goddard? What was a typical day? Where did you live, and how did you get to Goddard, and what would you do typically in an average day?

Farquhar:

Well, I lived in Columbia, Maryland. My boss lived there, too. My branch head lived there, and heís the guy who hired me, and he talked me into moving out there. Itís about a thirty-five- to forty-five-minute drive every day down the BW Parkway, nice pleasant drive. I had things pretty good. Nobody really told me what to do. I kind of did whatever I wanted to do. It was pretty good. And I guess Bob Gross thought that something would come of this. It isnít as regimented as it is now, and our people have to have charge numbers to do anything. They give them very little extra time to do work on their own, or projects on their own.

DeVorkin:

But being in the federal service, you had to work up,a performance plan or something of that sort each year and say what you would be working on and at what level you were expected to work. Did you do any of those?

Farquhar:

For the first year or so, I didnít. I donít remember having to do hardly any of that stuff, no. It was pretty freewheeling. I wasnít on any flight projects. I was just doing studies, but it was mainly me going out and talking to people, and then they would say, ďOh, why donít you look at this,Ē or something, and theyíd let me do it. We had a lot of freedom in those days.

DeVorkin:

You were in a particular office. What was it?

Farquhar:

It was in the Mission Operations Directorate, and they were involved with mission ops more than anything else. Then I was there studying all kinds of new things that they could get into, and I guess they had some kind of overhead type of thing or some kind of general thing that they could do some of this work, and I was given free rein, pretty much.

DeVorkin:

What contact did you have with people who were on projects at Goddard?

Farquhar:

At that time, very little.

DeVorkin:

Nothing in space sciences?

Farquhar:

No. Well, then, later in January of í72 is when I got into that. They volunteered me to take part in a study that Norman Ness, whoís one of the main division heads at Goddard, wanted to pursue. He wanted to start looking at going to comets. I thought, ďOh, darn, Iím going to have to do some real work now. They put me on this task.Ē But I got there for the first meeting, and it was kind of fun because almost everybody was a scientist except me. It was interesting right away, and I got some ideas and started working on that, and that became a whole career in itself there.

DeVorkin:

Yes, it sure did. But did Ness ask for you directly, or did he go through Von Bun?

Farquhar:

He went through Von Bun, and Von Bun thought, ďOh, hereís the guy Iíll put on it, because heís not on anything else, any project,Ē you know.

DeVorkin:

You were basically doing special projects that were, in your own words, designed to be somewhat entrepreneurial to get different parts of NASA interested in new programs.

Farquhar:

Yes. Well, they just let me do what I wanted to do, and I knew a lot of the people at NASA Headquarters, and I wormed my way in somehow and started talking to them.

DeVorkin:

Yet you werenít talking about specific purpose missions. You were just talking about capabilities? Is that the way to talk about your technical studies? These are feasibility studies or requirement studies?

Farquhar:

Well, I wanted to see these things happen.

DeVorkin:

Give me a few examples.

Farquhar:

I was motivated by trying to put up the first libration point satellite, and the best possibility was to do this communications thing.

DeVorkin:

Yes, it was a communications thing as the first thing that one could think of doing from a libration point. But when that fell through, did you ever suggest what else would you do at a libration point?

Farquhar:

Yes, well, thatís when I talked about all these post-Apollo things and I said, ďHey, if you do a libration point rendezvous, this is a good way to send things to and from the moon.Ē There was a lunar base study at the time, also, and I was involved with that. Yes, Iíve got some of the memos from those guys. I got the contractors interested in the thing, and they went and did some of their own calculations, and they gave me credit for everything. They had some presentations at NASA Headquarters, and they asked me to come down there at the same time. The NASA Headquarters guys liked the idea, so I got to know all the people in the Exploration Office down at Headquarters, some more than others, and they were always asking me to come down and present my ideas and so forth. Then, naturally, Goddard liked it because they thought, ďWell, maybe this will be some business for us.Ē But I did it all on my own.

DeVorkin:

But you understand what Iím trying to get at. I can imagine somebody saying, ďWouldnít it be great to put a Starbucks at L2,Ē you know, in other words, some particular purpose, and if you were talking to some of the people like — or just considering whatís around at L2 at the moment, you know, at this point where itís getting a lot of notoriety with MAP and —

Farquhar:

Well, now it is, yes.

DeVorkin:

Yes. But was there any discussion by any of the scientists at that time for the advantages of sending some scientific payloads to L2?

Farquhar:

No.

DeVorkin:

They never talked to you?

Farquhar:

No. I tried to talk to them. Itís in the Journal of Astrological Science, some of the history is in there. I tried to convince people out at Ames when I was working at Ames that, ďHey, it would be really nice to put something at the Center.Ē There was one point where you could measure the solar wind as itís coming in, and where itís not disturbed, and you can then look at its effect on the magnetosphere. They said, ďOh, nobody would be interested in that.Ē These are space physicists. They just blew me off, you know.

DeVorkin:

Why do you think thatís the case?

Farquhar:

They hadnít thought a lot about it, and they thought I was talking a lot of nonsense, I guess. ďOh, you canít put something there and leave it there. Itís unstable. So therefore it doesnít work. Itís unstable.Ē

DeVorkin:

So they didnít know enough about orbital stuff?

Farquhar:

Yes, they didnít know very much about it at all. Scientists still donít, and I donít know why they donít, but most of them donít know too much about orbital dynamics, not even the basic fundamentals. Then I talked to them about putting it back in the tail of the Earth, and they said, ďOh, that stuff is just a lot of random things going out there. Who cares?Ē But when I talked to Norman Ness about it, this is about í71 or so, he was very interested. As I said in my book, and Norman liked what I said, he said, ďIt was immediately grasped by Norman Ness.Ē He liked that phrase ďimmediately grasped,Ē and thatís right, it was. I mean, he saw it right away, whereas some of the people under him, because I walked in — well, this is a long story. There was a project going on at Goddard called the International Sun-Earth Explorer, and there were three satellites. There was a mother-daughter pair that was in high-Earth orbit, looking at the fine structure of the magnetosphere. Then there was one more that was going to be in heliocentric space. Somebody asked me, ďWouldnít you like to come down and see what other things weíre working on?Ē I think it was the section head that I had. His name was Bob Coady. He just died recently. I remember he brought me down there, and I thought, ďOh, well, okay, I donít have anything else to do today. Iíll go down there with you to the meeting.Ē So he took me down to the project meeting, Jerry Madden was the project manager. Steve Paddock was their systems engineer or deputy project manager, I canít remember. But he goes up and heís outlining the whole thing on the blackboard. ďWeíre going to put this heliocentric spacecraft just over here to the side, just outside of this sphere of influence of the Earth, and weíre going to have it sit there where it can —.Ē

DeVorkin:

Sphere of influence?

Farquhar:

Yes. So it was off on the side of the Earth, like in the Earthís orbit, at about a hundredth of an AU away. Then I stupidly burst out, ďI donít think thatís going to work, Steve,Ē and he was kind of offended that I said that. Heíd never seen me before. ďWho is this guy telling me it wonít work?Ē Well, it wonít work. I mean, you canít put something off on the side like that. You have to put it at the O1 point. If itís off on the side, itíll just drift all over the place.

DeVorkin:

Well, sure. But he didnít know that?

Farquhar:

He didnít understand that, no. Heís still around.

DeVorkin:

Now, youíre saying this was typical of space scientists at Ames? Was it also typical of scientists at Goddard?

Farquhar:

Keith Ogilvie is the main guy, he was pushing this heliocentric spacecraft to be off on side of the Earth or the other, for some science he wanted to do, and he had written a NASA TMX, X document, they called them, on this thing. It was a Goddard X document, and I still have a copy of it, about interplanetary something or other. Anyway, he wanted to do certain science with this thing as part of the ISEE program, and when I started talking about putting it at the L1 point, he didnít like this at all. He still works out at Goddard now. Heís about eighty-two years old or something. I had many run-ins with him throughout the years. As a matter of fact, when I took it out of the halo orbit, he didnít like that idea either, so heís been upset with me all along.

DeVorkin:

Did he eventually understand the nature of these points?

Farquhar:

No. Well, he didnít want to move it there, and he wanted me to shut up about it, you know, and so forth. But I wrote him a memo over there, and then I figured, ďOkay, Iím not going to get anywhere with Keith Ogilvie.Ē

DeVorkin:

Could you tell whether it was clear in the audience if the audience shared in the ignorance?

Farquhar:

Well, this was one of the very early project meetings that they had where everybody was there, scientists, engineers, DSN types and so forth. Well, I didnít say too much about it at that time, and then I went back and did some work and sent him out a memo or two saying, ďHey, this is where you want to put the thing.Ē Then I found out about the fact that you had the solar interference, and I talked to some JPL guys and then we got into the halo orbit thing. I said, ďOh, thatís no problem. We can go in this halo orbit.Ē I thought, ďHold it. Look, hereís the halo orbit has another use,Ē you know.

DeVorkin:

Well, that was so that you could see, quote, unquote, the satellite from Earth.

Farquhar:

Yes, so you could get the information back.

DeVorkin:

This is sitting beyond the sun.

Farquhar:

Yes, itís right on line with the sun, basically, or close to it. Actually, there was some little wiggles there I wonít get into here.

DeVorkin:

Well, that was the same issue with the communications satellite. You wanted that in the halo orbit.

Farquhar:

Yes, because that was on the other side of the moon. Well, people can understand this, because the moon is blocking the eye. But here, youíre looking at the sun. Well, itís in between you and the sun, so why canít you communicate with it? Because thereís too much noise in the background from the sun. So you have to have a halo orbit around that thing, too. It turns out itís easier to get it into the halo orbit. This came later. Even other Dynamicists said, ďNo, it doesnít make any difference. If you go right to the point or you go into the halo orbit, the Delta V to retro in there is the same.Ē I said, ďThat doesnít seem right to me.Ē So I ran some cases, and, sure enough, it went down to zero if you made it large enough.

DeVorkin:

Now, this is early 1970s, and when you say you ran some orbits, what did you run them with? What kind of computers?

Farquhar:

A mainframe.

DeVorkin:

IBM? What kind of access did you have, like turnaround time and that sort of thing?

Farquhar:

That took about a day sometimes. You get back these big sheets, with all kinds of numbers on them, and then I have to make my own graphs and everything.

DeVorkin:

Yes. But Iím just curious about the infrastructure there. Did you do your own programming?

Farquhar:

I was doing some of my own programming then. Not all of it, but I did some of it. Then there were other programmers around, but I had to write down all of the formulas for them, and then theyíd put it into the computer, into the FORTRAN language.

DeVorkin:

So you were using FORTRAN primarily?

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

How was the Computer Center set up there? There was a centralized Computer Center? And everybody used it?

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

So you used the same Computer Center that, letís say, the scientists used.

Farquhar:

No. They had different centers in different buildings.

DeVorkin:

Oh, okay. So you had a mainframe for your own building.

Farquhar:

The Mission Operations people had their own stuff. The scientists had their own stuff. But there was some stuff shared. I donít remember the whole thing. All I know is it went into a black box and somehow the paper would come out, and then Iíd look at the answers and try something else.

DeVorkin:

Iím interested in getting your sense of how you interacted with the computer. You know, today the things are sitting on the top of ours desks, and we get instant turnaround time. But at that time, as you just said, it could be up to a day turnaround time.

Farquhar:

Yes, or longer if it was big jobs. When I did first start messing around with the computers at all? When I was working at Lockheed, I guess, but then more so when I was doing my Ph.D. thesis because there I had to do all my own stuff. I didnít have anybody working for me, and we had a Burroughs B5500 and I used ALGOL. I learned ALGOL, which wasnít a bad language. And they had integration packages, so we didnít have to do everything, and they had a whole program library, and you could access that. But you still had to write all the code to use these different packages.

DeVorkin:

Did you use what we used to call front ends? Did you have formal training in using computers?

Farquhar:

No.

DeVorkin:

How did you learn?

Farquhar:

By doing it.

DeVorkin:

Well, I mean, like first at Lockheed but then at Goddard —

Farquhar:

No, not so much at Lockheed. Just when I did my thesis work. I just have to go down to the Computer Center. Then one of the things that I always noticed down there is there were some people down there constantly. The other doctorate students were there all the time. They were at the Computer Center. I came to realize very quickly that if youíre spending all your time putting runs in and getting them back, you werenít doing anything. You were wasting your time. I mean, you go down there when you need something, and you work hard on it, you get the answer, and now you go back to start writing. A lot of the stuff I did was analytic anyway, an awful lot.

DeVorkin:

So you werenít doing numerical approximations and —

Farquhar:

No, I did analytic approximations. I did power series and stuff like that. Iíd want to get a graph of something, you know, and then Iíd run a computer program so I could get all the points. I mean, I did a lot of calculations by hand.

DeVorkin:

So you didnít have any Cal Comp equipment to do graphical work?

Farquhar:

Yes, you could do graphical work. That was just starting then. That was about 1967 or so.

DeVorkin:

Oh, yes, right. Well, Iím thinking early. By early seventies, it was pretty available, wasnít it?

Farquhar:

Oh, yes, they had that, where you get these big printouts. As a matter of fact, thereís an artifact I got for the museum if they ever wanted it someday.

DeVorkin:

What do you have?

Farquhar:

I got this big sheet. I had it up on my wall at Goddard when we did the IC3 mission, it shows the trajectory out there, and itís got the halo orbit. Itís about this big, and then all around there, weíre just noting weíre going to put a TCM in there. I wrote down dates on there, all the way through, for about three or four years of the mission.

DeVorkin:

For the audiotape, basically weíre talking a very large piece of paper, like a poster.

Farquhar:

Itís a Cal Comp plot.

DeVorkin:

And itís the original?

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Oh, yes, absolutely, because, if and when we ever get IC3 back, that sort of documentation should go with it.

Farquhar:

Iíve even got a picture of myself pointing, showing where the thing is and so forth.

DeVorkin:

Oh, yes, absolutely.

Farquhar:

Yes, thatís good stuff.

DeVorkin:

Okay. Iím just trying to get a flavor of what the place was like. Did you typically eat lunch with other people? Did you bring your lunch? Did you buy your lunch?

Farquhar:

I very seldom went to the cafeteria. I usually brought my lunch, or Iíd go down to the machine and get it. Thatís what I do nowadays, even. But in those days, my wife packed a lunch for me.

DeVorkin:

But you didnít eat with other people?

Farquhar:

Well, Iíd eat with my roommates, and when I was at Stanford, we were in a whole bunch of cubicles in this one big room where all the graduate students were. The famous guy with me is Brad Parkinson. Heís the guy that did all the GPS stuff. He put up the whole NavStar system.

DeVorkin:

But at Goddard on a typical day, would you meet informally with other people, using your lunch hour as a mechanism of communication, or was it pure relaxation, or did you work through lunch?

Farquhar:

Oh, I worked through. I just worked all the time, yes.

DeVorkin:

Was that necessity or choice?

Farquhar:

Choice. I liked what I was doing. I was doing things I wanted to do. I mean, nobody was telling me to do anything. It was working out pretty good. Yes, Iíve pretty much always had it this way, now that I think about it, you know. [laughs] Thatís probably one thing, yes. Itís probably harder to do that nowadays.

DeVorkin:

Hard to say.

Farquhar:

It would be almost impossible.

DeVorkin:

Well, people here have their choice. But it is a curiosity about how Goddard worked. Did you find that you were among people who you felt much more compatible with there than at Lockheed, letís say, or Ames?

Farquhar:

Well, there were a lot of guys there working on different projects, and so they had to go to different meetings. When I got on the IC project, I went to some of the meetings too, but actually working on the flight dynamics part of it, we were divorced a lot from a lot of the other meetings. Iíd just tell the other guy, ďI need this much fuel on here,Ē and so forth, and that was about it, and then they kind of let me go off on my own. I had to sell the thing to the scientists first. I had to sell it to Norman Ness and Keith Ogilvie, the guy who didnít want to do this. He worked for Norman Ness, and you donít argue with Norman if Norman wants to do something a certain way. Forget it. Shut up. [laughs]

DeVorkin:

Letís then coherently go through how you and Norman Ness got together. You said it was basically on the Cometary Mission.

Farquhar:

Iím trying to think what came first, the chicken or the egg here. I think I talked to him first of all about the libration point mission. Iím almost sure of that. Yes, because I remember calling my wife up, and I said, ďBonnie, guess what? Iíve sold the halo orbit mission,Ē because I knew after I talked to Norman I had him talked into it. It didnít make any difference what anybody else thought. Heís a very powerful guy at Goddard. Well, he was a division head, but it was more than that. He was a very strong personality, and he was the first guy within NASA who ever made it to the National Academy of Sciences, and he had already been in at that time. So he was thought very highly of.

DeVorkin:

That carried a lot of weight at NASA.

Farquhar:

Yes. Heís the guy who discovered the sector boundaries and the solar wind. Heíd done a lot of things in the 1960s.

DeVorkin:

Thatís right.

Farquhar:

Later on he did other things, too. Heís still around, and he and I still communicate.

DeVorkin:

Heís up at the Bartol or is he retired?

Farquhar:

Heís retired, but heís still on Voyager. He has the magnetometer on there, and he and Ed Stone are good buddies. Well, by knowing Norm, then I got to know a lot of other scientists over there.

DeVorkin:

So youíd say Norm was the first person who you really interacted with as a scientist, for scientists that you got to know and work with?

Farquhar:

I think thatís right, yes. Although I knew Paul Lowman early on, too. And thatís how I got to talk with Jack Schmitt, because he was a buddy of his.

DeVorkin:

Can you remember your first significant interaction with Ness and what you talked about?

Farquhar:

We talked about where we going to put the IC3 spacecraft. Now, I wrote some memos. Iíve still got some of those. Iíd have to look at the exact chronology of that to get it straight. Iím not at that point in my work yet.

DeVorkin:

But this should serve as a stimulus for you to find that, because Iíd like to append that sort of thing to the interview tape. Or you can use it yourself.

Farquhar:

Like I told you already, Iíve got to go back and sort out all my stuff by what I need for the different chapters. I do have all those memos so then I can figure out exactly when these things happened. I was working on that NASA TN in 1970, and I was really trying to get that out, and that had more to do with the moon than anything else. I was at Goddard in like December 1st of 1969, and I started right away working on libration point stuff, and I was working in several areas.

DeVorkin:

So you met Ness pretty quickly.

Farquhar:

Not that quickly, but sometime in 1970 or í71.

DeVorkin:

Because you move over to becoming the study manager for Cometary Explorer.

Farquhar:

Yes, thatís in í72 or í73, even.

DeVorkin:

Well, you have it going from í72 to í75 in here, and so Iím interested in how that happened.

Farquhar:

Well, that was because he started up this working group to — yes, Iíve got a lot of this stuff documented in some papers. Itís easier to go back and look there. But yes, because that first meeting took place in late January, like January 30th or 31st of í72 with a whole bunch of scientists and myself. He wanted somebody that knew something about the dynamics as how we would get there, and he had the idea to do it with an Explorer spacecraft, which was unheard of in those days because to do a planetary-type mission or Cometary mission with an Explorer, you had to come up with something much more sophisticated to do a mission like this, and JPL was always coming up with things that cost too much. And Ness had the idea that he can do it a lot cheaper, and so this Cometary Explorer thing was one of the things he wanted to do. He came up with the idea for Pioneer Venus, and what happened was that, as usual, Goddard gave it away under some pressure maybe, and it went to Ames, and then it eventually went to JPL. It always seemed to go this way.

DeVorkin:

It seems almost counterintuitive that in order to justify doing a deep space or planetary mission, youíve got to make the instrument more sophisticated and more multifunctional. Is that a characteristic of NASA? Because I would think that if youíre doing a deep space mission, you want to make sure everything works and so you want to make it as simple as possible.

Farquhar:

They had to have a lot of redundancy and stuff like that. The argument JPL always used, because I was in competition with them, they didnít want Goddard doing any Cometary mission, no way, no how, and thatís where this chapter ďComet WarsĒ comes into play, because we had a lot of rivalry, a lot of competition going on for many, many years. In the end, none of us got the mission. We didnít do a mission. I one-upped them by taking IC3 and going off and doing it that way.

DeVorkin:

Thatís right.

Farquhar:

But JPL always put forth the argument that planetary missions have so much visibility that you canít fail there because it makes NASA, makes the agency look bad, you see. So thatís how they could argue that itís going to take more money to do these missions. That was their logic, their rationale.

DeVorkin:

But then how does the multiple-use design then mitigate against failure?

Farquhar:

What multiple-use design?

DeVorkin:

Well, if you have six experiments, is it a success if only one of the six works?

Farquhar:

No.

DeVorkin:

Has it got success if two work?

Farquhar:

A partial success, but everything had to work.

DeVorkin:

So wouldnít it be more likely if you just send one payload out that it would work?

Farquhar:

No, itís too much trouble to send it out there. It cost a lot for the launch vehicle and everything else, and it takes a long time to get there.

DeVorkin:

So itís that kind of economy that weíre looking at here.

Farquhar:

Yes, because youíre not doing that much as far as cruise science. Cruise science got pretty dull in a hurry. It still is.

DeVorkin:

Thatís very interesting. By ďcruise science,Ē you mean taking data along the way?

Farquhar:

Yes, right, yes. That wasnít too much interest to the planetary scientists.

DeVorkin:

But it certainly was to people like Van Allen and John Simpson and people like that.

Farquhar:

Yes, but missions did not sell on the cruise science.

DeVorkin:

All right. Okay.

Farquhar:

You had to have a goal in mind. You had to go to a certain destination. The space physics guys were always arguing with the geologist as to whatís important and what isnít. But comets are a little bit different. NASA and these guys were more interested in the solar wind interaction and this sort of thing, and thatís what we actually did on IC3, but we put a camera on some of the first studies that we did with this. Iíve still got all those project documents and everything else. You know, you have to put out a project plan and things like that, and Iíve got all that stuff. Iíve got to sort all that stuff out.

DeVorkin:

Well, if anything, this record is going to alert you as you read through it. I probably will ask you, you know, when you get to this point in the transcript, please go get that stuff and document it. So this will be a good organizer. Will you do it?

Farquhar:

Iíve got some organizers here. [laughs]

DeVorkin:

I see, yes. Describe what the job of the study manager for Cometary Explorer was.

Farquhar:

Well, they didnít like me being study manager, by the way, because all the study managers usually came out of the Projects Office. But they had various studies going on at Goddard, and every week youíd go to the directorís office, and youíd have to give a status of whatís going on. This time they had a guy from Code 500, which had never happened before. Code 500 is the Mission Operations branches. I was about the first guy that ever did this from Code 500, where I was the study leader. This was strictly an engineering thing. These guys do what they were told. Theyíre not supposed to come up with any new ideas. All the ideas are coming from the Science Directorate. Thatís how they usually worked. But I got to working with those guys early on, and thatís how Iíve been doing things. Like today, I was on the phone to Cornell talking to Jim Bell and trying to get him interested in becoming the principal investigator on this new mission Iím looking at, either to a centaur or to a Trojan asteroid, and weíre going to put it into the New Frontiers Program. But thatís how I operate. Then tomorrow Iím talking to the Orbital Sciences guys, and weíre going to have a meeting and weíre going to talk about what itís going to take to build this thing, and can we do it within the budget of the AO thatís coming out and so forth. So Iím kind of like the Don King of the planetary science business, without the hair. [laughs]

DeVorkin:

Was it Norm Ness that made it possible for you to become the study manager? Did he want you as study manager?

Farquhar:

Well, it wasnít up to him. Because first they had a study manager for the one thing, and then this thing morphed into different phases. Somehow I got in there, though, later on. It wasnít right at the start.

DeVorkin:

It would be, I think, important to know how that happened, because it was, as you say, unusual. I mean, you know, like in large organizations, you have people who are doing the daily work and then you have people doing advanced projects, and thereís usually quite a big firewall between the two, which is one of the big problems. Was that typical at Goddard as well?

Farquhar:

Yes. They usually had people — they have certain people doing the advanced studies — and JPL is still this way — and then itís turned over to the people who do the Phase B work. Then another whole group comes in to do the Phase C and D, and then after itís launched, then thereís another group comes in to do all the operations. Whereas everything Iíve ever worked on, Iím there with the first idea, then Iím there all through the study phase, and then Iím there for the operations, too. So I carry it all from cradle to grave. I donít give up. We had a big argument on the IC3 mission, because it was all fine for me to do all the basic work and everything else, but then now itís going to get launched. Oh, well, then thereís another group within Code 500 who does the operations. I said, ďNo way. Youíve got to be kidding. Iím going to do it. Iím in charge.Ē So we had a big fight about that.

DeVorkin:

Was John Lindsey the same way? Did you know John Lindsey?

Farquhar:

That name sounds familiar.

DeVorkin:

He was in the space sciences side. He might have passed away by the time you got there. He did OSO.

Farquhar:

Okay. I remember OSO.

DeVorkin:

And he was absolutely amazing at keeping control over OSO and making it work. I mean, it basically died with him, I think.

Farquhar:

Well, they had several OSO spacecraft.

DeVorkin:

Oh, six or seven of them. Yes. But the last few.

Farquhar:

Yes, that was a clever idea. I remember the thing was it was a dual-spin satellite.

DeVorkin:

Yes, exactly right. So how did you bend the bureaucracy to be able to do this, to stay with the mission through the various Phase A, B, C, D?

Farquhar:

Yes, it was hard.

DeVorkin:

I mean, what is the key? What was the key ingredient that you employed to make sure that happened? How would you describe it?

Farquhar:

You have to work the politics, and I can see that the scientists were really in charge of things, and if you get them on your side, youíre a long way down the road. Then you go over to the Project Office, you get the project manager on your side. I sold it to Jerry Madden. That was the guy I sold it to also. But Jerry Madden liked what I said right away, and usually these project managers are pretty tough, and they donít want to change anything, you know. But somehow he liked it. Yes, I got a couple of key guys who kind of bought what I said right off the bat, the project manager, Norman Ness, the division chief, he was the dictator of all these other guys. Nobody would cross Norm Ness.

DeVorkin:

Was he known as a dictator?

Farquhar:

Well, everybody knew that you didnít mess with him, especially all the people working with him. When Norm said do it a certain way, they damn well better do it this way.

DeVorkin:

What would happen to them if they didnít? Theyíd be embarrassed or theyíd disappear?

Farquhar:

Well, he embarrassed people in meetings. As a matter of fact, Keith Ogilvie, I mean, you felt sorry for poor Keith Ogilvie at the meeting when he protested about the fact I wanted to put it up at the libration point. And then Norm Ness just lays into him and says, ďWell, why wouldnít you do this here? What are you stupid or something?Ē Thatís the way he would really go after the guy, and Ogilvie would just sit there and take it. You couldnít do much else. Besides, Norm was usually right. Thatís the other thing.

DeVorkin:

That helps.

Farquhar:

But he was such a famous scientist at that time, not just within NASA. He was known pretty well. And at all the meetings he was like this, too.

DeVorkin:

So your various constituents, if you want to put it that way, in political terms, were the scientists. You got them on board. Then the Program Managers.

Farquhar:

Yes. Also, the guys I worked for, Bob Groves, he saw that I was doing a lot of good things, he had a lot of confidence in me, and then I got to be known by the Director of Mission Operations Directorate, and he could see that these other guys all seemed to like me.

DeVorkin:

Who was that? There were several, probably.

Farquhar:

John Mengel, I think, was the first guy.

DeVorkin:

Well, there were two John Mengels.

Farquhar:

Okay. There were a lot of scientists there that I got to know. John OíKeefe? He also helped me out with the Jack Schmitt thing at the time. Well, I would make the rounds and talk. Iíd get to know all these guys, and I was an entrepreneur. I didnít sit around at my desk and say, ďWell, what are they going to assign me to now?Ē Iíve never been that way. Iíve got my own ideas on what I want to do.

DeVorkin:

But you were in an operations group, Code 500.

Farquhar:

Yes. But they did all the orbit work, all the trajectory business.

DeVorkin:

Yes, of course, thatís why you were there.

Farquhar:

They did all the mission design work there. So thatís where it was located. Okay.

DeVorkin:

So you were doing your job, but there must have been a lot of maintenance that required your expertise as well. The big problem with people in daily operations groups, is that many of them are just as qualified, if not more qualified or more talented in doing advanced projects type stuff, but they canít do it because of the daily workload. You know, youíve got a daily deadline.

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Was there ever any of that kind of kickback or feedback that said —

Farquhar:

Well, I had some stuff to do when I got in the IC project, but I didnít mind doing that, and I had to write a few memos and things like this, and then I had people helping me because then I got a budget, and it had these RTOPs, these research — I forget what the thing stood for. You would write these things up and youíd get money from Headquarters then to work on such and such. So I had Don Yeomans working for me on the one thing, because he was working at CSC at the time, and I thought, ďWell, I need a guy to do Cometary ephemerides,Ē and hereís Don Yeomans, you know. He didnít really have anything to do. But I got him a lot of money from NASA Headquarters and everything, and he worked at CSC, and, yes, that went on for about five years.

DeVorkin:

How did you find Don and others like him?

Farquhar:

I canít quite remember. But when I first got interested in this thing, I could see right away that one of the things we wanted to do was to get a good orbit for the comets, because a lot of papers had been written, and missions to Encke, and guys used elements out of a handbook, you know, and didnít propagate them forward. Of course, the orbit changes completely, so they had missions that could never work.

DeVorkin:

Did they know what osculating elements means?

Farquhar:

They didnít understand a lot of stuff. They didnít understand about the fact that comets have non-gravitational acceleration and some orbits change.

DeVorkin:

Well, Don understood that stuff.

Farquhar:

Well, Don did his thesis on that. He did his thesis on Giacobini-Zinner. Hey, it gets even more Twilight Zone type of stuff, because I looked at Donís thesis, and said, ďWell, thatís interesting.Ē He gives credit to the person who typed his thesis, Marge Holmgren. Thatís interesting, and he said she did a great job. Well, here I am on the West Coast, and Marge Holmgren typed my thesis, too. I was the first one she ever did, and Donís was like the second one she ever did, and heís at the University of Maryland. She had moved out here, and then she did his after that, you know.

DeVorkin:

Well, you know, a number of typists who can handle the old Leroy lettering sets and all the old equations things.

Farquhar:

Well, it was all done on electric typewriter and everything.

DeVorkin:

But did you put in the equations in your thesis, or did she?

Farquhar:

Oh, yes. I wrote them out, and then she typed them, and then I had to review them. God, it was a mess.

DeVorkin:

She typed them?

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

This is before computers.

Farquhar:

Yes. Oh, yes.

DeVorkin:

Because we used to have to use Leroyís in the early to late sixties. You know the Leroy machine, sort of a pentagraph?

Farquhar:

Iím trying to think what it is. I heard the name.

DeVorkin:

It had a rigid grid that had all the symbols on it, and then you put a pen with a needle in it and ran that across, and you could produce that on the piece of paper with the ink.

Farquhar:

No, we didnít have to do that. She had all the symbols on her typewriter. They had different balls they could put in, you know.

DeVorkin:

Wow. Cool. Oh, thatís right, IBM Selectrics and stuff.

Farquhar:

Yes, they had IBM Selectric, yes.

DeVorkin:

Oh, first class.

Farquhar:

Yes, pretty much.

DeVorkin:

Just looking at it.

Farquhar:

It wasnít bad.

DeVorkin:

I mean, I had a masterís thesis with about a hundred triple integrals. I had to put every one of them in.

Farquhar:

My Masterís thesis, I just did them by hand and just reproduced them.

DeVorkin:

Sure. Well, they wouldnít let me do that. This had to be print quality. That was the school. But anyway, okay, so Iím building up now a picture of youíre working at Goddard and using your entrepreneurial techniques to begin becoming something. Even though youíre in Code 500, youíre beginning to do project management. That was clearly something you liked to do.

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Did you ever receive any flak for that, though? Did anybody ever try to draw you on the carpet or draw your bosses on the carpet?

Farquhar:

Oh, I got a lot of things. I got in trouble a lot, yes, for various things.

DeVorkin:

Give me a few examples.

Farquhar:

— mathematicians who got into this stuff later on, into halo orbits and libration points and all this kind of good stuff, and they got a whole new jargon. They calculate things. They worry about invariant manifolds and dynamical tubes that the spacecraft will run down and so forth.

DeVorkin:

Yes, invariant manifolds, Iíve heard that, right.

Farquhar:

Yes, invariant manifolds, and so hereís a whole book. But theyíve been ignoring any of my earlier work, which really gets me pissed off, because they basically are doing the same things. They come up with the same results that I came up with years before, but now they claim that itís calculated a different way with dynamical systems theory, so therefore itís all different, and they have an interplanetary superhighway and all this kind of stuff.

DeVorkin:

Who is in this category of new age sustramechanicers?

Farquhar:

Well, these are the main culprits here. Theyíre all from Caltech, I think. Well, no, this guy now has moved to Virginia Tech. Gerald Morriston is the leader of the group, not Brian Morriston. Also Wang San Koon, Martin Lowe, and Shane Ross. This is their book. I just copied this the other day. Dynamical Systems: The Three-Body Problem in Space Mission Design. Theyíre trying to be relevant. If they just did this, thatís one thing. But no, now you have to have this in order to do this design. You canít do these things without having their methods, so they talk about the Genesis mission and how they used all these invariant manifolds and all this kind of good stuff. But then lately I saw this book here is about three-hundred-and-some pages. Some history. ďDiscovery of Halo Orbits.Ē

DeVorkin:

Thatís Section 6.2.

Farquhar:

Yes. So, ďThe points of equilibrium along the line,Ē blah, blah, blah, letís see, ďhave been known for over two centuries.Ē Euler LaGrange, right? ďTheir existence was known to pioneers of space flight in the mid-twentieth century but no application of them was proposed until 1950. At that time, Arthur C. Clarke talked about the translunar libration point would be an ideal place for relaying TV and radio broadcasts from Earth to colonies on the far side of the moon.Ē Well, Iíd pointed that out. But he had it right at the point, so you couldnít see it from the Earth, you see.

DeVorkin:

Right.

Farquhar:

Okay. But that was if you had colonists. A decade and a half later, they got me finally. Look at this. I couldnít believe it. It says about the communication link to the far side, named such a trajectory of halo orbit. So they are giving me credit finally, the bastards. They took forever. Then it goes on and on, and I published all these papers and so forth.

DeVorkin:

They also referenced your '68, '69, and '72 papers there.

Farquhar:

Then they talk about the IC mission.

DeVorkin:

So are you telling me this may not be the most reliable history?

Farquhar:

No, this is okay, but Iím going to add another whole chapter because they donít have enough in here about it.

DeVorkin:

Well, is it just that, that there isnít enough detail or that theyíre getting something wrong?

Farquhar:

No, they got it right here. This is all good.

DeVorkin:

Okay. Page 145, just again for the record.

Farquhar:

Then they go on about the Barcelona group. This is another group of mathematicians that are doing all this work. They even mention me down here a little bit; they call my stuff as being classical methods, you know.

DeVorkin:

So youíre commenting on the fact that youíre considered to be a classical method. Isnít that also called a pioneer?

Farquhar:

Maybe. But itís not — anyway, this is a diagram. Itís a pretty simple diagram that I made a long time ago.

DeVorkin:

Let me get it for the record here. Itís a blog by Shane Ross called ďWhat is the Interplanetary Superhighway.Ē

Farquhar:

Right. Heís one of the authors of this thing. This explains the thing. Itís a bunch of nonsense. These guys have come up with all this nice jargon and everybodyís picked up on it. Iíve seen it on covers of Science magazine. I canít believe it.

DeVorkin:

Well, is there something wrong with the metaphor of a superhighway?

Farquhar:

Yes. It actually takes longer. A superhighway is something you go fast on. Itís actually a very slow route between places and stuff. Itís a bunch of hype, is what it is, but they manage to convince people. But hereís the one thing I want to show you.

DeVorkin:

The idea of the winding tunnels and conduits. Thatís what you mean.

Farquhar:

Yes. Theyíre shown in here.

DeVorkin:

They visualize them. But these are equal potential services, right?

Farquhar:

I donít know what the hell theyíre talking about.

DeVorkin:

Theyíre not physical?

Farquhar:

Theyíre just trajectories, as far as Iím concerned, but thereís some kind of manifold that they float on.

DeVorkin:

Maybe itís dark net.

Farquhar:

But if Iím trying to go from Point A to B, I donít have to compute a thousand paths out there and then pick one of them as being the optimal one. Thatís what they do. And yet the way we did it, is somehow state as we just used an iteration technique. But no, we actually targeted back. We had a targeting program, so itís all wrong what theyíve been saying.

DeVorkin:

Well, is it a question of computing power? They have computing power?

Farquhar:

Yes, they have lots more. So they use it, but it doesnít give them a better answer than what we got before. As a matter of fact, one of the things Iím going to show in my book, the Genesis flight path out to the halo orbit, if you overlay that with the IC3 flight path, they look exactly the same, because they are. There is no difference here, but these guys, they donít understand it.

DeVorkin:

Well, is it they donít understand or they have to make their own mark?

Farquhar:

They conveniently overlook what has been done before, yes. They usually donít reference it at all.

DeVorkin:

For what? For what reason?

Farquhar:

Just recently because Iíve complained a little bit to them, now I see theyíre starting to pick up on it. Now, see, this picture here —

DeVorkin:

This is Figure 2 on the blog The Interplanetary Superhighway.

Farquhar:

Yes. But this is a figure Iíd used in a lot of my stuff, and I see this figure appearing in these things over and over again. They never say where itís from. So now what theyíve done, this is pretty clever, in this new book, Figure 5.5.2 is the same figure but notice thereís a difference except that they rotated it.

DeVorkin:

Yes.

Farquhar:

And so itís different. Only for the purpose of making it different, so then they can say that it was theirs and not mine, you see. Youíve got to say something.

DeVorkin:

Thatís hilarious.

Farquhar:

But you can see the rest of it is all the same, you know.

DeVorkin:

Yes, itís just reversed.

Farquhar:

And they changed the — these are LL2 rather than L2 or whatever is here.

DeVorkin:

Yes. So that means lunar libration. And EL is earth libration.

Farquhar:

Yes. They changed a little bit of the stuff to make it different.

DeVorkin:

Well, at least they give you some credit. It says "NASA has a lot of experience with halo orbit missions.Ē By the way, is this Xeroxed from a book thatís published?

Farquhar:

You can get an electronic version of this on the web.

DeVorkin:

Oh, thatís what that is. Okay. Yes, because it looks almost like galleys, not an actual print.

Farquhar:

I donít know if they ever published it, because I couldnít get it on Barnes & Noble. They even referenced all kinds of my work in this thing. Which is good. But hereís the thing. Back to the Interplanetary Superhighway. This brief historical sketch that they talk — ďThe Interplanetary Superhighway is based on a mathematical concept known as invariant manifolds, the tubes. Invariant manifolds are part of dynamical systems theory, chaos theory, created by Poincarť and his celebrated study of three-body problem,Ē etc., ďand then Carles Simo and his group at Barcelona were the first to apply this to space mission design, the seminal work for the Soho mission.Ē It was not used. Unfortunately, it was not used for the Soho Mission. But then itís been used here. Then this is more on the Interplanetary Superhighway. [Farquharís phone rings]

DeVorkin:

I want to finish up with this blog. But first of all, you asked me to read this section, and there is something here that really is very strange. On Page 2 of 7, it says, ďThe work of Simoís group on invariant manifolds and dynamical systems theory in the late 1980s gave rise to the question of whether the invariant manifold tubes of one planet might intersect the tubes of another planet to provide a means of transport between the planets.Ē What the heck does that mean? Does that imply some sort of wormhole or thing? I mean, it gives that kind of impression, but I know thatís not true.

Farquhar:

No. What happens is that given all the perturbations that are going on, you can transfer things from one end of the solar system to the other, given each time. Things move around a lot. So these guys think that, ďOh, look what weíve found. Weíve found a real cheap way to go between places.Ē Of course, it might take them a hundred years to go from one place to the other, and it doesnít take any Delta V or anything else, any fuel. So this is such a great thing.

DeVorkin:

And they name it the Superhighway.

Farquhar:

Yes. If theyíre studying the natural motion of asteroids or something, yes, this is a great thing. What theyíre doing is great for this type of work. But theyíre trying to apply it to space missions, where you have to go there from Point A to Point B. You donít want to take fifteen or twenty, hundred years to go from one place to another. Youíve got to get there, you know. They donít understand this.

DeVorkin:

But theyíre using terminology that would to a science fiction buff, who does not really know the orbital mechanics involved, that thereís something special going on.

Farquhar:

Right.

DeVorkin:

This kind of person could be sitting in Congress or just about anywhere.

Farquhar:

Thatís right. And they buffaloed NASA on this stuff to some extent.

DeVorkin:

Youíre kidding.

Farquhar:

No. You know, they gave them all kinds of grants and everything. Martin Lowe works out of JPL, and he got all kinds of money from NASA Headquarters to do this stuff, and he says, ďLook, I can go from here to here, and it doesnít cost anything.Ē But itís not a practical way to do things. But these guys donít understand that. Theyíve got a real scam going on here with this stuff. NASA gives them money and so forth and so on. I was going to write a paper just to expose them, but then I thought itís not worth it. But you didnít read the good thing they said about me on the last paragraph.

DeVorkin:

Oh, I didnít get that far. On the bottom of that same page then — ďThe fact that the theory of invariant manifolds was used in the design of the Genesis trajectory in no way diminishes the work of Robert Farquhar and others on earlier La Grange point missions. He not only coined the name halo orbits, he convinced NASA to fly the historic first libration mission, ISEE-3/ICE,Ē and thatís what youíve been calling the IC3 mission.

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

ďHe opened the door for the rest of the world to follow.Ē Thatís nice. ďToday libration points are not only accepted by the space community but have become a popular location for a great variety of missions. Many of these have been conceived of by Bob Farquhar. We are building on the work that he and his team began.Ē

Farquhar:

That was good, so Iím going to put that in the book.

DeVorkin:

Thatís very nice. Now, the question is, did they put that in after you wrote them the letter or before you wrote them the letter? Because you said you complained to them at some point.

Farquhar:

Yes, I complained to Jerry Morriston, and we had some pretty nasty letters going back and forth.

DeVorkin:

And this is the result of that?

Farquhar:

I think it might be, yes, from one of the guys, not from him, but from somebody thatís connected with that group.

DeVorkin:

Yes, but thatís very interesting.

Farquhar:

But there are several of these groups around the world now. Thereís one at Purdue headed up by Kathleen Howe, who worked at Stanford under John Breakwell, and so she used my thesis to try to go on from there, but never references me. Sheís really something. I hate these people.

DeVorkin:

Well, what kind of community is this?

Farquhar:

Yes, this is a strange community. Yes, I know this is. They donít like me for some reason or other.

DeVorkin:

Is it just you or is this anybody?

Farquhar:

Itís mainly me, I think, yes. Maybe because I try to take too much credit. This is what they try to think, or something.

DeVorkin:

I see. Has anybody told you that?

Farquhar:

I complained to Al Diaz, who was then the director at Goddard, because they actually plagiarized some of the stuff that Dave and I did. And since that time, Tom Stengle, who is now the branch chief in Flight Dynamics, told all those guys not to reference any of my work ever, and so I complained again, and they decided, well, theyíre not going to reference my work, but they put it in a bibliography at the end. I never saw a paper with a bibliography.

DeVorkin:

Oh, your own boys at Goddard.

Farquhar:

Yes, right, guys who used to work for me, even.

DeVorkin:

Thatís very interesting.

Farquhar:

Yes. Itís bad. This is typical for this business.

DeVorkin:

Okay. Let me move from that to the phone call you just had.

Farquhar:

Okay. Yes, thatís more fun.

DeVorkin:

Now, can you tell me who that was on the phone?

Farquhar:

Yes. His name is John McCarthy from Orbital Sciences.

DeVorkin:

Now, it sounds like you are ginning up a project to go to an asteroid.

Farquhar:

Yes, or to a centaur. Weíre not sure yet. Weíve got two possibilities.

DeVorkin:

You said you probably have a P.I. now, Jim Bell. What is Joe Veverkaís role?

Farquhar:

Joe is kind of the senior statesmen out there at Cornell. And heís the P.I. on another mission Iíve got going on with Orbital.

DeVorkin:

Well, Iím trying to understand what your style is as an entrepreneur in this case. Basically, what you said on the phone call was that you dream up a mission, but there has to be a P.I., and youíre not it because youíre not a scientist.

Farquhar:

Right.

DeVorkin:

So you basically go out there and you find somebody whoís willing to be the P.I.

Farquhar:

I have a good network of scientists that I know, and for this kind of science. This guy, Jim Bell, was on the NEAR mission with me. He was part of the Cornell group.

DeVorkin:

Well, are you the only one whoís basically working in a Code 500 type mode or role that is going out there doing this kind of entrepreneurship?

Farquhar:

There are not too many people I know of that are doing this. It usually starts with the scientists, and they come up with the mission that they want to do, and then they go and they talk to a mission designer like myself. And say, ďCan you calculate a trajectory out here,Ē or do something, but I usually think of the whole thing myself as to what kind of spacecraft are we going to need and what kind of timing are we going to need, what objects should we go to, which ones are the most interesting and so forth. So I know a little science, and, see, I can understand whatís going to sell and what isnít. Weíre in a competition here, a big competition. Thereís going to be other big groups coming in from JPL, from APL and so forth.

DeVorkin:

Were those groups created and put together by scientists or by others?

Farquhar:

Usually by scientists. Usually start with the P.I., and heís got an idea for a mission. With the New Frontierís missions, though, theyíve got a set of missions that they have to do. They canít just do anything.

DeVorkin:

So this particular one is design a mission to an asteroid.

Farquhar:

There is about five or six things in there. One of them was to go to Pluto and/or KBOs and that ended up being the New Horizons mission. That was competed along with a lot of other things. Then thereís a mission to go to the far side of the moon, or going to the South Pole to the Aitken Basin.

DeVorkin:

So thatís something on the far side?

Farquhar:

Well, itís near the South Pole.

DeVorkin:

Well, Iíll look for it. But what Iím curious about is now NASA essentially issues these AOs ďAnnouncement of Opportunity.Ē And theyíve been putting these things out for quite some time. Have you ever been involved in creating an AO?

Farquhar:

Iím trying to think. When I was at Headquarters, I might have been involved in doing some of it, yes.

DeVorkin:

Have you ever been involved in providing input to an AO? Has your advice been ever sought out by anyone at NASA Headquarters saying, ďBob, weíd like to go to this asteroid,Ē or this comet or this whatever. ďIs it feasible and what would it take and what would we have to put into the RFP to make it happen?Ē

Farquhar:

Okay, itís a little different than that.

DeVorkin:

How does it work?

Farquhar:

Well, letís see. When I started the Discovery Program at NASA Headquarters, which is where a lot of this stuff comes from, we decided we wanted to get cheaper planetary missions. Jeff Briggs and I worked on this to begin with. And later on this morphed into ďfaster, cheaper, betterĒ with Dan Goldin. People put out the history as thoughÖ We just recently had a meeting in Huntsville called Discovery at Fifteen, and they were going to do the whole thing. What happened was that I ended up giving the keynote talk on the history of the program, and a lot of them didnít know the history of the program, that we had two science teams, and thatís where the name Discovery came from. It came from Bob Brown from the Space Telescope Institute. So I was in charge of the program at that time. Jeff Briggs brought me in. I was working in Space Physics, and he said, ďWell, how would you like to work in my side, too?Ē I still worked with Space Physics, but I came over there.

DeVorkin:

Because Jeff was in Planetary Science.

Farquhar:

Yes. He was the head of that then. Heís still out at Ames, but heís an emeritus guy now.

DeVorkin:

You began interacting with NASA in this entrepreneurial mode about when? In the late sixties or mid-sixties, do you think?

Farquhar:

I really got started in the entrepreneurial mode when I wrote the first paper on the lunar communications satellite. That was í66.

DeVorkin:

Well, my question was, was NASA using AOs at that time as well?

Farquhar:

Yes, they used AOs all the time, Announcement of Opportunity, but that was mainly for the scientist to propose an instrument to go on something. They didnít have whole missions as Announcements of Opportunity.

DeVorkin:

When did that start?

Farquhar:

With the Explorer Program, they had it there for a while. Right? You could propose an Explorer mission.

DeVorkin:

An early Explorer, you mean?

Farquhar:

Yes. Right. But then a lot of those were just assigned to somebody. The planetary missions started with the Discovery Program. This was the idea. We were going to try to bring that into the Planetary to lower the cost of the thing, and also then let people do things that didnít come out of some big committee saying, ďHereís what we should do next.Ē

DeVorkin:

Well, thatís my question. How were the AOs generated? How would I go about finding out how the AOs were generated and to what extent scientists in the relevant disciplines had input to those AOs or whether it was really an internal NASA operation?

Farquhar:

Well, the way that the Discovery thing was set up is you can propose to do anything, almost, if it fits within the budget. We put budget guidelines. We put some constraints on the thing at the beginning. Now itís getting out of hand a little bit. Well, it evolves.

DeVorkin:

But what does NASA Headquarters do? How does it decide to issue an AO?

Farquhar:

Well, you have to go through the chain of command there, and ultimately the guy thatís in charge of the space or the Science Mission Directorate then, which was Alan Stern recently, would say, ďYes, okay.Ē I mean, heíd sign off on it at the end.

DeVorkin:

But who would initiate AOs? Would the program managers?

Farquhar:

No. It would come out of the different offices. If itís a planetary one, it comes out of the Planetary Office.

DeVorkin:

And to your knowledge, do they employ committees to deliberate over what the AO would be?

Farquhar:

No, itís usually given to a couple people, and theyíre given guidelines and itís iterated back and forth, I mean, all the details of it. These are like legal documents. They have to have enough in there so that they donít have to award the thing to anybody if they donít want to.

DeVorkin:

Right. Sure. But these people who are given the job are people at NASA Headquarters.

Farquhar:

Yes, theyíre at NASA Headquarters.

DeVorkin:

Are they typically scientists?

Farquhar:

Scientists, former project managers, whatever. They usually get a mix of people in there because all this stuff in there. It starts with the science usually, though. But the way the Discovery Program was set up, this was going to be set up to do planetary missions. They have to be certain category of things. Because I know the Genesis guys tried to get in there to begin with, and they were ruled then that they should go to the Explorer Program rather than to the Discovery Program, but they finally got in there somehow. They made it fit. But what we did to begin with was we said, well, these things canít cost more than 250 million, something like that, counting launch vehicle and everything else. We said you canít use a launch vehicle that was bigger than the Delta 2. That would keep the size small, you see.

DeVorkin:

Sure, thatís the cost constraint, yes.

Farquhar:

Things like this, and you had to include DSN costs and things of this sort, and you had to have a principal investigator whoís responsible for everything. More complications as the first two missions didnít work this way. They were kind of selected arbitrarily by NASA to go forward.

DeVorkin:

Now, what does that mean? Tell me about that.

Farquhar:

They didnít have the same competition they have now. When the AO goes out, there was like thirty-four proposals came in. They chose about three of them to down-select two in the end out of the three. So you had to go through several hurdles. But the first two missions, which were kind of prototypes for the program to see if it would really work was NEAR and Mars Pathfinder. That doesnít mean there wasnít competition, because JPL and APL competed to do NEAR.

DeVorkin:

To do NEAR but not Pathfinder. Pathfinder was only JPL.

Farquhar:

Pathfinder — thatís another whole story here. And they chose to do that one first, but then it turns out that NEAR is going to launch earlier, so NEAR is the first mission in the Discovery Program, even though the other one was selected programmatically first.

DeVorkin:

Weíre getting — itís very interesting stuff.

Farquhar:

Weíre diverging.

DeVorkin:

Weíre diverging but in very, very interesting ways, and I think this would be very valuable in the future, certainly to me, because Iím trying to understand how NASA as a funding agency influenced what I would call disciplinary change in astronomy in the sixties, seventies, and eighties. In other words, did astronomers change what they were interested in and how they would go about pursuing a particular question? Did they change their actual questions they asked, and whether they did or not, did they decide to use different methodologies for answering whatever questions they asked? And Iím not quite sure how Iím going to get into that, and Iím trying to probe it.

Farquhar:

Yes. How does NASA do the things that theyíre doing? How do they decide what they want to do?

DeVorkin:

Exactly.

Farquhar:

And whatís been happening over many, many years now, they get groups, scientific groups at the National Academy of Sciences who do various studies to recommend a program for them. Hereís the big question, and then they get into actual missions where you should do this, and then they even prioritize these missions. And what theyíve been doing recently, they had decadal studies, every ten years. They do this stuff, and these are the most important questions that need to be answered, you know. But what the decadal study for the planetary missions did this last time, is they had all the important things we they to do. So these things come out as flagship missions. They categorize these are the things that cost like three or four billion dollars. And so these are things that are just going to be given to somebody to do when NASA finds the funds to do them. Then they have these things now which are called New Frontiers, which is an outgrowth of the Discovery Program, but missions costing more than the Discovery Program would. So there they have a smaller set of missions. These are all missions that the decadal study has deemed as being important. So thereís a set of missions there, but itís a small set, about seven missions maybe. They think that these will fit in the budget for New Frontiers. Then they say also, ďBut we still want to do the Discovery Program,Ē and thatís open to doing anything you want, basically. So you just put it in and then it goes through several reviews and itís finally winnowed down to a couple missions.

DeVorkin:

So the Discovery missions now are like what Explorer might have been in the seventies.

Farquhar:

Yes, Explorer and Discovery things are the same cost, roughly, but the Explorer missions are in space science and small astronomy missions. And the planetary is all separate.

DeVorkin:

Is the Discovery.

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Yes, thatís right. So the way you describe it, though, it sounds like the overall envelope of what are the important areas of the discipline to address is determined by the highest recognized most representative supposedly body of science in the United States. Youíre saying yes? I mean the national —

Farquhar:

I donít always think theyíre the best, most important things, but maybe they are.

DeVorkin:

Yes. But they are definitely community-based.

Farquhar:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

These decisions are made by a community, a larger group than, letís say, a particular observatory or a particular person making a decision doing something.

Farquhar:

Right.

DeVorkin:

Now, youíre sitting inside NASA, okay, and in a way, you are the antithesis to this kind of collective thinking.

Farquhar:

Yes. I hate collective thinking.

DeVorkin:

All right. But the fact is though that you say, ďOkay, Iím an Entrepreneur. Iím going to get a bunch of people interested in X.Ē But you are still subject to the AOs that come down.

Farquhar:

Yes, now I am, yes. But with New Frontiers one of the things they put in there, ďWe would like to do a reconnaissance of the centaurs and Trojan asteroids.Ē Thatís what theyíd like to do. So thatís okay. Thatís enough for me. But they donít say how theyíre going to do it. Are they going to orbit them? Are they going to ram into them and have them impact? I get to make all those decisions.

DeVorkin:

But orbit and ram are two very different missions. And you go out and find the P.I. who is interested in the ramming or the P.I. —

Farquhar:

No, I come up with the mission first that I think is going to sell. I evaluate all the things. Now, youíve got a cross cap youíve got to fit in. What can be done? What clever way can you find to do all this stuff and make it fit in the cross cap? And then say you get involved with the launch vehicle, and now this particular one Iím looking at is using solar electric propulsion.

DeVorkin:

Well, in the case of NEAR, you came up with the idea that you were going to soft-land?

Farquhar:

Well, I came up that after the fact.

DeVorkin:

What were you originally trying to do, just orbit?

Farquhar:

Just orbit, right.

DeVorkin:

When did it become evident that you could soft-land, and was it your decision to do that?

Farquhar:

Not my decision, but it was my recommendation. No, I couldnít decide anything, but I engineered it so that they couldnít do anything else except what I wanted to do.

DeVorkin:

So they couldnít continue just to orbit?

Farquhar:

No, what happened there was once again I worked with the scientists. I didnít listen to the guys at APL. They didnít want to land this thing.

DeVorkin:

APL did not.

Farquhar:

No.

DeVorkin:

Did the scientists?

Farquhar:

Hereís what happened. The project scientist, Andy Cheng, whoís now the chief scientist at APL, very much against trying to land the spacecraft, and heís the project scientist. The project manager, Tom Cofflin, nice guy, got so upset with me talking about landing, because I talked about it at a couple press conferences. He was so upset with me about that, called me in his office, because he heard that I was talking about it in the hallway to somebody. He said, ďI donít want to hear that ĎLí word anymore.Ē He really got upset. I mean, we had some really bad words. I mean, it go so bad, I get pretty worked up sometimes. I seem like an easygoing guy, but Iím not. I was in his office, and I basically told him, I said, ďFuck you.Ē Thatís how bad it was.

DeVorkin:

But I mean, I know weíre jumping all around, but NEAR was originally designed to be simply an orbiter. And then that would be the end of the mission?

Farquhar:

As a matter of fact, no. It started out we were going to go to the easiest asteroid to get to, which is some little dinky thing about a kilometer. It was called Nereus and then I added things to it. I thought, ďWell, this is kind of dull. Everybodyís been talking about rendezvous with the near-earth asteroid for a long time. What can we do to make it fun?Ē Well, it comes back again towards the Earth, I see how you can — after I rendezvous with it, and then I can target it back to the Earth and then use Earthís swing-by to go to all kinds of different bodies. I put a paper out on this. They said, ďOh, quit talking about all this nonsense. We just want to do this basic mission.Ē Okay. But then I thought, ďWho wants to go to this little asteroid? Letís go to something big like Eros.Ē Now, how can we get there? Well, itís a little harder to get to Eros. This one guy had a whole catalogue of all the Eros opportunities, and I thought, ďYou know, there was a C3 of about forty-something,Ē and that means I need a big launch vehicle or I wonít get much mass out there and itís a big —

DeVorkin:

C what?

Farquhar:

Itís a measure of the launch vehicle, of the energy of the launch and then how much weight. Thereís a curve of spacecraft mass versus C3. C3 is the hyperbolic excess velocity squared. Itís something that they use.

DeVorkin:

Okay. Thatís all I need to know.

Farquhar:

Itís an energy that they use. And where did it come from? Itís in Moultonís book. This is the origin of the C3 thing.

DeVorkin:

I know Moulton. Thatís fine. I just never knew it as C3.

Farquhar:

The launch vehicle people know nothing about where C3 comes from. All they know is why is it C3, why isnít it C2? They donít have any idea. But itís in Moultonís book. Itís in his textbook.

DeVorkin:

Iíll look at Moulton. Yes, I know Moulton.

Farquhar:

Yes. Iíve got something on it. I can mail you the thing. The guy wrote a little history of it. Chauncey Uphoff wrote the history. He likes stuff like this. Heís another character. He died recently. So Iím looking at this guyís table, you know, and itís just straight flights out there, nothing fancy, just launch from the Earth and go out there and you rendezvous. But this is useful, because youíve got this catalogue of opportunities. So then Iím looking at the one and Iím thinking, if you use a two-year delta-vega thing before you try to launch out there, Iíll bet that will cut down on the energy thatís needed to get to Eros and we can get this thing done within the Discovery Program. And sure enough, you know, we worked it out. It works. So then we pushed the Eros thing, and they said, ďOh, why do you want to go there?Ē Because itís bigger than all the others, thatís why. So I talked to Joe Veverka, and I said, ďHey, weíve really got to push them on this.Ē And Tom Cofflin didnít want to do that at first, either. He said, ďOh, god, no, we donít have enough time to do this thing.Ē But they eventually got it through, and we got the whole thing. Thatís another whole story in the book as to how this whole thing evolved. So then weíre going out to Eros. Thereís no thought about landing, and I had the idea that, ďHey, look, our rendezvous at the end of the mission is bring the spacecraft down.Ē I wasnít even thinking about landing, necessarily, but bring it down slowly to the surface and take a lot of images as youíre getting in closer and closer and closer. That was the whole purpose of it. I mean, just landing for the purpose of landing and not doing anything, thatís kind of a stunt, and I donít like to do stunts. A lot of people do, but I donít like to do that. But then I thought if we actually landed, could we get some information after we landed and it turns out we could with the gamma ray spectrometer, which we couldnít get from orbit, by the way. So Iím proposing all this stuff and mentioning it at press conferences, and there was some grumbling when I first mentioned it. But then later on, there was more than grumbling; they didnít want me talking about that because they had other ideas. One of the things they wanted to do was to take the spacecraft and have it do gamma ray bursts for about another couple of years. They thought, well, this is going to be like a WPA project. Because then they could keep going and get more and more money for many years later, see? So naturally they didnít want to end the mission, so that was a lot of the scientistsí motivation. Certain scientists down there. And Andy Cheng wanted to keep it going, so heíd be project scientist for a couple more years on a project, right? And Tom Cofflin wanted it because then APL could keep making money off of this thing. I thought, ďWell, this is stupid. The mission is an asteroid mission. Come on. Why are we going to do something else?Ē This is kind of an extra thing that you could get out of the gamma ray and the x-ray spectrometer, is looking for things like this.

DeVorkin:

The way it landed, though, the spectrometer was actually looking at the surface.

Farquhar:

Yes, right.

DeVorkin:

Was that by design or that was the way it had to be?

Farquhar:

Thatís kind of the way it happened. But they still could have seen something anyway, so it wasnít that big a deal.

DeVorkin:

Interesting.

Farquhar:

Nobody thought we could communicate with it afterwards either. I know the main IRF person, Kate Reynolds, she says, ďWhy are we sitting around here talking about all this stuff? Thereís no way in hell that youíre going to get anything from that low-gain omni on the top,Ē sheís telling me.

DeVorkin:

Yes, but Eros rotates.

Farquhar:

Yes, but it rotates out of our vision. But we had it on there to begin with. It was going to be visible for a couple months anyway. But she just didnít think that anything would be operating from that distance. We barely got any signal back, I mean very little, and we had to use a 70-meter dish in order to get it back. Itís amazing we could get it back then. But, they didnít want me to talk about this landing, and when we went down to talk to Ed Weiler they saw my presentation and said, ďNo, no, you canít show those last two slides,Ē weíre talking about landing. ďNo, you canít show that. We donít want to hear anything about that. I donít want to hear the ĎLí word mentioned.Ē So weíre going through the whole thing. We get done with the whole presentation, and then Weiler says, ďWell, whatís going to happen with the spacecraft afterwards?Ē ďWell, it hasnít been decided yet,Ē weíre all saying, and Iím just sitting there, Iím not saying anything. He says, ďWell, what about landing?Ē I said, ďOh, Iím glad you asked that question.Ē And I answered it. But we were going to get in anyway because I talked to Joe Veverka about it before, and he wasnít going to do anything else but land, because he saw that that was the right thing to do.

DeVorkin:

So you had Joe sold, and Joe must have said something to Ed.

Farquhar:

Joe is a strong personality, like Norman Ness. So you get these guys involved, and then youíre going to get things done.

DeVorkin:

So you get these guys as your constituents.

Farquhar:

The same thing with the Mathilde flyby that we did on the way out to Eros. That thing didnít come up until the critical design review a year before launch. That makes a great story also, because Tom Cofflin was saying — weíre having a big critical design review and everything, and I had Dave Dunham look over what asteroids are we coming close to. They had done it for me once, so we didnít find anything interesting. But Dave went back and put in the real orbits for the things, not off the NASCOM file which are the orbits that are close to what you want, but when you do a big search, you donít try to get the integrated orbits for the whole. So youíve got to put the integrated orbits in, and we had missed this one. I thought, ďJesus, this is a big asteroid and itís not that far off.Ē So then I had these guys working, trying to get it to work, you know. They could never quite get it to work the way we wanted to. It still took a lot of extra fuel and everything. So I mention this thing so at the critical design review, Tom Cofflin was there, I said, ďYou know, I think we can fly by this other asteroid.Ē He thought I was joking. He starts laughing about it. But I wasnít joking.

DeVorkin:

Well, let me just, for the end of the interview say this has been a very interesting interview, a little bit disjoint, but since itís all electronic, itíll be fine. When we get all of this processed, though, I would like to move in this direction and find out more about the Lunar Polar Orbiter, and then weíll do a whole session on IC3. Does that make sense to you?

Farquhar:

Hmmm.

DeVorkin:

Do you have a better idea?

Farquhar:

Yes, Iíd rather go by the way that the book is written.

DeVorkin:

Okay. Thatís all right.

Farquhar:

Like the Lunar Polar Orbiter thing, that was just something I did on the side, you know, didnít get anywhere didnít go anywhere.

DeVorkin:

Somebody might be interested in it.

Farquhar:

Thatís like LRO nowadays. Take a long time.

DeVorkin:

Okay. I will then go back to your original prospectus and pick up from there. How does that sound?

Farquhar:

Well, I have a new outline. Didnít I give you that thing? Itís got chapter four on the history. Yes, thatís it. So we didnít finish some of these other things yet. Let me see. We did that. We did enough of that. This one, we did some of that.

DeVorkin:

So, chapter three and four.

Farquhar:

Yes. It goes on for a long time.

DeVorkin:

Oh, no, of course. Yes, thereís plenty more.

Farquhar:

Goes on a long time.

DeVorkin:

Okay. Fine. I will adhere to that one.

Farquhar:

When you live too long, see?

DeVorkin:

No, no, no. Okay. Thanks a lot.

Session I | Session II | Session III | Session IV