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Interview of Ernst Krause by David DeVorkin on 1982 August 10, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/28022
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Examines Krause's (b. May 2, 1913) early career at NRL as a physicist (1938-51) and as Associate Director of Research (1951-54), and briefly, his work at Lockheed (1954-55), at Systems Research Corporation — his own company — (1955-56), and at Ford Aeroneutronics (1956-62). After detailing aspects of his early life and education (University of Wisconsin, PhD, 1938, physics), the interview closely follows Krause's career at NRL, including his involvement with wartime research, Operation Rocketsonde Branch in 1946, spectroscopic research using V-2s cosmic ray research, and his work with the AEC. Central to the interview is Krause's role as a manager of science, and his perceptions of the organizational relationships that evolved to make use of V-2s.
This is an oral history interview with Dr. Ernst H. Krause by David DeVorkin under the auspices of the Scholarly Studies Program, date August 10, 1982, and we're at Dr. Krause's home in Newport Beach, California. In the room also are Dr. Krause's wife and daughter, Katherine. I'd like to begin by taking you back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2 May 1913, to find out a little bit about your early home life, your father and your mother. Particularly, what was your father's occupation, your mother's training and occupation if she had one, and a few brief comments about your background.
That's an interesting point to begin with. First of all, I have no recollection of my father. He died when I was three years old.
What was his full name?
His name was Ernst John Krause. My mother, Martha née Strege, was a housewife. They had five children, four boys and a girl, and upon my father's death, she had her hands full just bringing up the children.
What number were you?
I was right in the middle, number 3. We were very poor. We lived with my grandparents. My grandfather had been a carpenter and built his own house. That's where we lived for years. My father was a chef, and he served in some of the top restaurants in Milwaukee for years. He died at the age of 33 years. I went to a Lutheran parochial school in Milwaukee for the first eight grades. Subsequently I went to Boy's Technical High School where I received both a normal high school training as well as a training in what was then called "electrical". So I wound up with a dual degree.
Was this a high school that had competitive, required exams?
No, not at all. In those days there were no entrance exams for any high school as far as I recall.
Did you elect to go to that particular high school?
I elected to go to that particular high school primarily because of the vocational training, in my case electrical. There were others available, such as plumbing, carpentry, machine work and so on.
What was your interest? Where do you think it developed from?
I have no idea. There was no interest in the family, since I had no father, and since my grandfather was old and retired. There was no motivation within the family to steer me one way or another. I don't know.
Did you often read books? Go to the library? Take out magazines?
In those early days, no, very little of that.
Do you recall reading something like the World Book Encyclopedia or early POPULAR MECHANICS, something that would get you interested?
POPULAR MECHANICS occasionally, WORLD BOOK, no. I just have no recollection of what did it. There are so many points in my life where I don't know why I did what I did.
Did you have friends who were similarly inclined?
No. I probably chose electrical with the intent of learning this vocation and going to work. There was no motivation within the family to go on to college, except to go to seminary to become a preacher. That motivation was there. In fact, one of my brothers did go to seminary and did become a preacher. There was no background in terms of college.
So you would have been the first one to have gone to college?
Outside of my older brother who went to seminary. That's correct.
About finances — as you were going through high school, did you have any afternoon jobs, odd jobs on the weekend?
All kinds of them. The family, as I said, was very poor. I worked in many different places. I set pins in a bowling alley for years. I worked in a bakery, which was a very slavish kind of a job. I did all kinds of odds and ends work. I did janitorial work. I helped support the family. All the money went to my mother for this purpose.
In high school, were there any teachers who influenced you? Any one that you recall, not necessarily by name but by what kind of teachers they were, teachers of physics possibly?
Yes, there was a teacher of physics, Dr. Miles Martin, who was a very capable physicist and an excellent teacher who did spark my interest in physics. I had an algebra teacher who was a very capable person. He must have whetted my appetite for mathematics. This was evidenced by the fact that when I went on to Milwaukee Extension, which I'll talk about in a minute, the professor who was fresh out of Harvard was much impressed with my algebra ability. Much more so than I was. I had no idea I had that capability. I had one or two English teachers who were extremely interesting, and who sparked my interest in literature and reading, in which, as I said earlier, I had very little interest prior to this.
At what time in your high school years did you ever realize that you were going to want to go to college? Did you go directly to college after high school?
I went directly to college. Again, I don't know quite how I got to go to college. I had worked for three summers on a farm, first with one of my cousins who had a farm some 30 miles from Milwaukee, and it was extremely hard work, but I enjoyed it. Then finally one year I actually hired out for a summer, and I wanted to stay on the farm, but my sister, Bertha, one year older than I, insisted that I come home and go back to school. And I owe much to her for this.
This is high school?
This is high school, the last year of high school, yes. I wanted to quit even before I finished high school and stay on the farm.
What was your idea in pursuing a course in electricity: That you would graduate from high school and become a hometype electrician?
Precisely that sort of thing, yes.
You didn't know that there was something beyond it at that time?
No. It was a foreign world to me.
When did it cease to become foreign? It must have been some time in high school — when you took your physics courses?
A little bit then, but as best I can recall the situation, I got out of high school in the year 1930, and so, the Depression had already hit, and jobs were hard to come by. I think the thing that motivated me to go on to college as much as anything was the fact that I couldn't get a good job.
In fact, that reappears later in 1934, when I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. That was the height of the Depression and I couldn't find a job, so I decided to go on into graduate work.
During this time did you continue in odd jobs? To support yourself?
Did they change in character as you moved into college?
Well, not too much. In college I bussed dishes for the first two years. After that I worked my way into becoming an assistant in the physics laboratory, and that then sparked my interest more in physics. Ultimately I got graduate assistantships which paid even better — the magnificent amount of $300 a semester for teaching approximately half time.
What were your courses like in physics at the Milwaukee Extension? You mentioned there was a professor from Harvard?
The professor from Harvard was in mathematics, and as I said, he was so impressed with my ability, he wanted me to go to Harvard, and so he got me all the admission forms. It turned out, in those days, that you had to spend one semester there so they could evaluate you before you could get a scholarship, and I simply couldn't afford that. As a result, I couldn't go to Harvard, even with his backing.
From the people I've interviewed, I know that Milwaukee Extension, during this period, produced a good number of very fine instrumentalists, physicists. In fact, I'm just wondering, was Gerry Kron one of your colleagues?
Yes, indeed, Gerry Kron was in school with me. He was one of the brightest in our class. Another one was Dave Parkinson, whom you may have bumped into also. He went to Brush Corporation and did a lot of early work there.
What contact did you have with these people while at Milwaukee Extension?
Well, quite a bit with people like Gerry Kron and Dave Parkinson. I was very closely associated with them. We were classmates.
Do you recall talking about the future with them, about interesting things in physics?
No really, no. We were all working hard trying to absorb this new world of physics, mathematics and literature. We were living in the present. The future was of little concern.
So obviously there were a number of people who later became very successful from this particular area. Do you think it was the community of people going through the college at that time, or something about the college, that produced these successful people?
It's difficult to say. However, the physics and math departments were extremely good. The physics professor there was Miles Martin, who was an excellent teacher of physics. In fact, for one year, he went around to the high schools in the state and gave lectures on physics and demonstrations. I went with him and was the individual who set up all his experiments and helped him conduct the experiments in front of the various classes.
Sort of a magical show?
Sort of a magical show, but in the meantime he slipped in a lot of good physics. The math department was also very rigorous. That proved helpful.
As you were pursuing the EE degree, did you have any breadth courses in science? In areas of physics other than electrical engineering? You must have had mechanics and things like that also.
Oh, quite a bit. Yes, indeed. We were required to take courses in mechanical engineering, civil engineering, hydraulic engineering, chemistry, etc.
Did you ever deviate from your interest in electrical engineering?
Not in my undergraduate years.
That sounds as if you did later on, possibly.
Well, as I went into graduate school, I went into physics. The reason I went into physics was because in those days, the graduate departments in engineering schools were not very strong. At Wisconsin it was not a very strong school, and so I shifted to physics.
During the period when you were in Milwaukee Extension, were you living at home?
Oh yes, indeed.
Then when you moved to Madison?
I roomed out.
Did that create an additional financial hardship or did you have a stipend from Wisconsin?
I had no stipend. It cost $2 a week to live with a roommate, and I worked to earn that, and I worked to earn the food.
What did you do?
Again, in the first year, it was bussing dishes, mostly, at 25 cents an hour.
Who were your professors at Wisconsin? If we can move to the graduate school, unless you feel there's something else.
Well, let me just point out something, as I move to graduate school. In electrical engineering, there were two of us who were the smartest in the class, which, as I've pointed out to my children many times, is never a good thing. I shifted over to physics, and I had become sort of cocky. At that point, the physics department at the University of Wisconsin had some giants, like Gregory Breit, Eugene Wigner, Julian Schwinger, Van Vleck, three of whom won Nobel Prizes subsequently. When I got into physics and came under their influence, I was brought down to size very quickly. Their understanding of physics fundamentals and mathematics was vastly greater than what I had experienced in the electrical engineering school. It was a tremendous blow to my ego, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Was this your first contact with modern physics?
Yes, it was. The physics in undergraduate school was essentially classical physics and more elementary, of course. I learned a tremendous amount of physics from Julian Schwinger, who was there as an undergraduate at the time. He of course was in theoretical physics. He had an office next to my laboratory.
Back up. You said he was there as an undergraduate?
He was there as an undergraduate, yes, and for a very simple reason. He had been at Columbia, and he should have gotten his degree, but he refused to take one certain course in English or History or some such subject, and they wouldn't give him his degree. Some years later I think they did give it to him, but he just didn't care. He was that smart. Julian would come to his office at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon and work until about 5 o'clock in the morning. Every night, around about 9 or 10 o'clock, we would go out for a chocolate ice cream sundae which we were both very fond of. This would take about three hours, including some standing on street corners, at which time I learned more physics than I learned any other place. He had great facility for reducing things to simple terms so that they could be understood.
What kind of physics were you moving into?
Well, I was moving into a crossover between spectroscopy and nuclear physics. I did my thesis on a subject called the sensitized fluorescence of potassium. This is a mechanism for exciting potassium to a higher state, and then observing the decays.
Right. I take it that your thesis was the paper published in 1939 in the PHYSICAL REVIEW. 
What of "The Polarizing Characteristics of Polaroid Plates for Wavelengths of 4,000 to 20,000 angstroms", 1936, JOURNAL OPTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. Was that your MA?
No, that was just a paper.  Although the MA at that point didn't require a paper, this contributed to it. This was about the time that work was being done on creating materials for polarizing light, other than the natural crystals which had been used previously. I did an analysis of some of these new plastic materials that had polarizing characteristics.
Now, this is working way out into the far infrared, from the near ultraviolet. But the fluorescence work was ultraviolet?
The fluorescence work involved the excitation of the potassium and sodium atom by the mercury 2516Å line.
A good number of people who ended up in rocket work at NRL started in the vacuum ultraviolet laboratory. I'm just looking for links. Would you say at this point that there was any direct relationship between your research at Wisconsin and your subsequent research at NRL?
Not initially. The work at NRL to start with could perhaps best be described by my first visit there.
Will that help identify how you came to go there? That's what I want to know.
No. Let me back up and talk about how I got to go there. Having received my Ph.D. in physics in 1938, the nation was moving out of the Depression years. Hitler was on the move. The sounds of war were in the air. But they escaped me. At this point in time, the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington had a director by the name of Dr. A. Hoyt Taylor, who had gone to Wisconsin. He had gone to Wisconsin perhaps 20 years earlier, and he wanted to expand the work at the Naval Research Laboratory. Much of the work at the Laboratory at that point was being done in the field of radio, and they had people who were ex-radio operators in the Navy, and some hams. He wanted to inject more physics into the Laboratory's activities. Dr. Taylor inquired of the Physics Department at Wisconsin whether they had some recommendations of graduates who would be interested in the Naval Research Laboratory. The head of the department talked to me about it and I said I certainly would be interested. They recommended a fellow classmate by the name of Dr. Burnett, who had been a ham and understood a lot about electronics, and myself, even though I had never dabbled much in radio or electronics.
You had, of course, studied vacuum tube technology by that time?
Yes indeed. I had taken courses at Wisconsin on the subject, both in information theory as it existed then, and also the whole subject of vacuum tubes and related matters.
Had you followed any of the amplifier work that was being done by Whitford and others at Wisconsin in the thirties?
No. Whitford, of course, was working in astronomy, and at that stage of the game I was not following his work.
Did you then, as a result of this contact at NRL, take the job sight unseen, or did you go out and visit?
No, I took the job sight unseen. We were hired on contract, not on civil service, because that was the only mechanism that NRL could move on quickly. We were hired — mind you as graduate Ph.D.'s in Physics — at the fabulous sum of $2400 a year. That was the first year's contract.
Was there any consideration about leaving Wisconsin? How did your family, your mother feel about that, or your sisters and brothers?
No, there wasn't. I had left home several years earlier, and there was no particular concern about that. The only concern was the girl I left behind, Constance Fraser, whom I went back later and married.
Okay, that's good, but what about financial needs of your family? Did you consider that in taking the job? Did you consider other job possibilities that might have paid more?
No. Jobs were still reasonably scarce, and so that did not enter in. I of course kept contributing to the family for some years afterwards. It was not a situation which we've had in the last 20 years in which a graduate has eight job offers. It wasn't that luxurious.
Had you considered the possibility of staying in University-based research, staying in the vacuum ultraviolet work?
No, primarily because there was no opportunity.
So, this was an opportunity that presented itself.
Yes. It was as much opportunistic as anything. It turned out to be extremely fortuitous, in retrospect.
Any events in transferring to the Naval Research Lab that you'd like to comment on?
The one point I wanted to make is that when I got there — and this is historically extremely important, I'm sure you've learned this from many other sources — the date was September, 1938...
You have 1938 in your vita, from 1938 to 1945.
It was September, '38. Upon arrival there, they took us through the laboratory and one of the things they showed us, which is extremely clear in my mind, was a then very highly classified project, and that was a working radar. It was a radar that had been developed by R.M. Page and Varella and a few others, and it was operating from the roof of the laboratory. It had a 400 megacycle frequency with a bedspring antenna that was rotatable. Very clearly, one could see reflections of airplanes and other objects. It was my first exposure to the subject, and it of course is almost the date of the invention of radar. The actual date probably goes to not more than six or twelve months before that.
Did they have the magnetron?
Oh no. This was before the magnetron. This was a simple, as I recall it, a parallel set of EIMAC transmitting, tubes operating at 400 megacycles. EIMAC made some very excellent tubes at that time. Frequencies were being pushed higher and higher, and this was being accomplished by the simple expedient of making tubes smaller. The more sophisticated approach of magnetrons and traveling wave tubes, etc. came later.
Okay. But you were exposed very early to miniaturization by seeing this.
Well, it was a different kind of a miniaturization than we have today. This EIMAC transmitting tube was about the size of a baseball, out of which you could get very high power, as opposed to the tubes which were perhaps a foot long and three inches in diameter, that were used for that same amount of power for other purposes, such as radio broadcasting. From my perspective, and I had a great deal of exposure on the subject during that time and much since then, radar was invented by these people at NRL. There was much patent litigation in subsequent years. To the best of my knowledge, R.M. Page and his associates did finally receive the basic radar patents.
Hagen wasn't there yet, was he?
Hagan either was there or he came there at almost the same time. He was however working on a different subject.
Okay. What section did you work in, in the beginning, and to whom did you report?
I initially reported to Claude Cleeton. This section was called the Communication Security Section. The early area I worked on was to take the technique of pulse transmission and reception that was developed in radar, and apply it for other purposes. I forget the sequence of this, but first we applied it to secret communications. We thought this would be a very clever way of conducting secret communications that couldn't be intercepted. Out of this, there developed some rather fundamental patents, some of which Cleeton has, some of which I have, some of which we jointly have. Some patents I have with one or two of my other associates. Most of these are in the area of pulse modulated communication applied for various purposes, including that of telemetry.
When you say you have the patents, these are really Navy patents aren't they?
The Naval Research Laboratory at that point had a policy that if the patent was of interest to the Navy, they would do all the patent work and take out the patent in your name. You had to grant the Navy or the government so-called shop rights, which meant that the government would not have to pay royalties but you were free to sell other applications or other rights to anybody you wanted to.
It was delightful, yes.
How come universities don't do that, pray tell? Or was this a way the Navy used to stimulate this kind of work?
It was definitely intended to stimulate. To some extent, they over-stimulated, because some of the people started inventing fancy chicken coops and things like that. But they soon put a stop to that. There's a very interesting ironic story associated with one of my patents. It was fundamental work on pulse communication, and it later was contested by, of all people, Bell Laboratories. They had been dabbling in this same area. For a period of about a year, the Navy lawyers and the Bell Laboratory lawyers fought out who had precedence, did they or did we? To be granted a patent, required in addition to the original concept, a "reduction to practice.” I had built several transmitters and receivers, and tested them by transmitting over some distances, in trying to develop this secret communication system.
Was this then one of your first studies? I know that you did ship to ship recognition work in '41.
That came next. This was prior to that. We're coming to that.
This was immediate?
Would you classify it as pre-war or definitely a wartime effort?
This was pre-war. To finish the story with Bell Laboratories — after the lawyers argued for a whole year as to who had precedence, finally it became clear that it was very hard to prove. So Bell Laboratories proposed that if they could have rights for AT&T, I could retain all other rights on this kind of communication. Well, what was ironic about it — and we finally agreed to do that — was in those days the only people who were transmitting, or could use a system of this nature, was AT&T. So the fact that AT&T got the rights meant the patent had little further value to me. Today, of course, many variations of pulse communication are utilized by many users. There is another interesting facet about one of those patents. Since we were trying to develop a secret communication system, the Navy classified the patent as SECRET. Although that patent was originally granted in 1945, I received the patent about two years ago.
Two years ago?
Two years ago. What had happened was that the Navy had taken it out and held it secret for 17 years. I believe they could renew it for another 17 years, so they held it in Secret status for a long, long time.
Seventeen years was their standard period?
In those days, a patent was granted for 17 years and under certain circumstances could be renewed for another 17 years. I don't know what it is today. In any case, I finally received the patent, the actual document, some 30 or more years later. The whole technology of pulse communication systems was new at that time, but it never turned out to be very profitable to me in the patent sense. Now, your question about the identification system. It was an obvious next step that we were going to have a secret pulse communication system. The matter of identifying a friend was already becoming quite critical, and so we thought, here was a real good way of doing that. We would have a system which couldn't very easily be breached or copied, and we would use it for identification purposes.
Were you working directly then on problems that were delegated by Claude Cleeton, or were you identifying these problems yourself? I'd be interested to know what degree of freedom of choice you had during these years.
A great deal of freedom of choice. Most of these things developed as one worked on them, and then we would discuss them and proceed, and Claude Cleeton was the best of bosses. He wasn't a boss at all. He just sort of encouraged you and you went along. One couldn't have asked for a better environment.
Did he treat everybody that way?
I think so. Yes.
As you spent time at NRL, 1939, '40, '41, did you begin to look at what other people were doing? Did you have contact with E.O. Hulburt and people like that in the optics division?
Quite a bit within NRL, sure, quite a bit of contact. Particularly in the radio area. Radio was the largest area, so there was a lot of interplay in the radio area. There was quite a bit in the optical area, and I of course had interest in optics, so there was quite a bit of crossover there.
What was the origin of your interest in optics?
Again, it's hard to say. In graduate school I just sort of drifted into it.
Ever build any optical devices?
Yes. In fact, while at the university, I built several optical instruments. We had a shop in the physics laboratory there, and I built several which were used by Professor Hollander in the biology department. He was trying to isolate certain wavelengths for biological experiments. I think Hollander later went to Columbia.
So you built light systems? Or projection systems that could have precise filters in them?
Well, I built a monochrometer. But this was actually an ultraviolet monochrometer. That's what was unique about it. Obviously for biological experiments monochrometers were available, but not in the ultraviolet, and since I'd been working in the ultraviolet, I built this ultraviolet monochrometer, which was very important because of the high energies associated with the shorter wavelengths.
Oh, I see what he was doing. He was examining the effect of far ultraviolet light on living organisms.
On living organisms, right, of some kind.
And you provided him with his UV source.
Good. Did it have to be a monochrometer?
I forget the detail. But all I know is, he got it very cheap.
Now, Hulburt was kind of in a combination of things, getting back to NRL. There were a lot of problems that he had been associated with in the ultraviolet, indirectly, and directly in ionospheric research, and ionospheric research had a lot to do with radio propagation. Did you get involved in that at all?
I did not get involved in the ionospheric research at that early stage. It came later in the upper atmosphere experiments. I was aware of, and did follow Hulburt's optical propagation experiments in the atmosphere.
Right, but I'm looking for links before that.
Gregory Breit and Merle Tuve had done the basic experiments on the measuring of the ionospheric layers, using pulse techniques in about 1926. They had conducted this very famous experiment that first applied pulse techniques, and it was some of these same techniques that were ultimately used in the development of radar. Why the concept of radar took a decade to emerge is a little hard to say. On the other hand, nobody really felt that an airplane, for example, could reflect a pulse with sufficient energy to be detected above the noise background. The ionosphere theoretically of course was vast, so it could easily reflect a pulse. But an airplane, we found out later could too.
Was Gregory Breit doing this at Wisconsin when you were there?
No, Gregory Breit had done this more than 5 years before. When I first met him in 1934 I was not familiar with this experiment. As an aside, I might mention that Gregory Breit wanted me to go into theoretical physics. I resisted it.
Why is that?
I just was more interested in the experimental side, but he felt I had the mathematical training. I took several courses from him.
So from your experience at Wisconsin, all of these things that you were getting involved in at NRL were new?
Oh yes. They were new, and they were particularly new to me, because my experience in electronics had been rather limited.
But you'd always liked electricity, and now you were getting into it?
Well, after ship to ship recognition, you had a major report and study that came out in September, '44, "NRL pulse control system." This was a continuation or a review of the work that you had been doing now for several years? 
This was another application of pulse techniques, for guidance purposes, and again the concept was classified Secret. It was intended to be something that couldn't be copied easily or jammed easily. That was the initial concept. It was completely new in the sense that all the guidance systems prior to then had been continuous wave techniques of one kind or another, and so we built this pulse control system. I might add that the pulse control system ultimately ran into some difficulty which in retrospect we perhaps should have recognized. That is, pulse reflections.
You were talking about guidance systems, pulse control.
If you were in an airplane, and you had transmitted from it, and you were now trying to guide, let us say, a missile against another airplane, then you would have a direct pulse going from the transmitter to the missile in flight, but you would also get a reflection back off the earth up to that missile. This got you into all kinds of problems. We were working at rather low frequencies in those days, so the reflection off the earth could be comparable to the direct signal.
Where did you test these things?
We tested them at Cape May, New Jersey, where the Navy had an air station, and I believe, still does.
It wasn't connected at all with Aberdeen or anything like that?
No, this was a Navy air station at Cape May, right on the tip of the Cape.
Okay. You went up there, traveled up there, and did these tests on site?
It was only about 40 miles from NRL. We would go there, and of course, everything was extremely classified because these were intended for secret systems. I recall one amusing incident. We got there, and a Navy commander in charge knew what was coming. We had this equipment in the airplane, so he posted a guard. After a while the commander went away and I wanted to get at the equipment in the airplane, and the guard wouldn't let me in!
How did you feel working on secret things? These were wartime conditions by now, and was all the secrecy justified?
War was just beginning. Because of the military potential of these new techniques, secrecy was certainly justified. The application of radar to Naval and Air warfare during the war proved to be a tremendous asset to the Allies. Let’s see, what year are we here?
Well, depending upon which system you're talking about, the recognition system was '41.
The pulse control system lasted until at least '44. The guidance system reports for jet propelled missiles were made in '45 but presumably you were working on these all through the war. 
Yes, that's correct. The reports were delayed by quite a bit, so the work could have been done a year or more earlier. We were beginning to get into wartime conditions there, that's right.
You had OSRD panel work too.
How did the OSRD actually come into a place like NRL? Were you aware of the agreement, the structure?
Yes. Are you talking about OSRD or NDRC now?
Well, NDRC would be first.
NDRC was first, yes. When NDRC was formed at MIT, and also the Countermeasure Branch at Harvard, it was composed of people from academia, primarily physicists and some engineers. Many of these people were extremely bright, but they generally had little experience in subjects like radar, countermeasures and communication electronics. To get themselves up to speed, the Naval Research Laboratory was one place they visited quite frequently, initially, to learn what was going on.
So Bush's people like George Harrison and others would make site visits, or was it further down than that?
I don't know about George Harrison, but quite a few of them would make site visits. As you know the people at MIT, at the Radiation Lab, went to work on much higher frequency radar, and NRL tended to stay more with the lower frequencies that they'd been working on. So there was a great deal of interplay between the NDRC laboratories and the Naval Research Laboratory.
What was your daily life like during the war years? Was it clear that you could work on one project and one project alone, or were you also called upon to put out a lot of fires or deal with these OSRD people coming through who needed orientation? Did you find that your day was your own, and was predictable?
No, anything but predictable. Things became rather hectic. As the war came on and we started expanding at NRL, here I was, a youngster out of school. I was injected into managing many of these new people that were coming in, and we started a lot of little projects. We had a lot of visitors. We started contracting for things, and everybody was getting into the war effort. Some of the contractors were quite incompetent and we had a lot of trouble with that.
What did you find you had to contract for, most commonly?
Well, for example, if we wanted some power supplies, which in today's context are very simple things, procurement would send out a request for bids on these power supplies. It would be a simple power supply with a volt meter and an ammeter and switches and a few other odds and ends. Someone would bid on the thing, and after he'd bid on it, he would come in and say, "By the way, what's an ammeter?" You wouldn't believe it. We had problems like this.
So you didn't have a procurement agency that did any screening? Or was the pressure simply too great?
The pressure was so great. Things were moving so fast.
What kind of person came in and asked what an ammeter was?
It was some contractor who had been in a completely different kind of a business, but the war was going on and his business was practically run out, so he was improvising. The incident sticks in my mind, though, and that wasn't the only one. However, I must hasten to add that the contribution of many of these contractors to the war effort was very salutary. These people were familiar with low cost production and once started, they could produce very efficiently. Although they had no capability in the development of electronic products, if you provided them a working model, they were ingenious in the production of more of the same.
When you needed something like a transformer, voltage regulator, something of that sort, did you have good communication within the base itself, within the lab, that would tell you that one didn't presently exist there, or that there wasn't one someplace else internally in the Navy where you could grab it?
The internal inventory and communication on this was almost nonexistent. On the other hand, the technology was moving along very quickly, so that the chances of their having been something were not very great.
Did you have finite projects identified, with specific funding numbers, due dates? Did you have review systems that would review the status of your projects? People breathing down your neck?
It varied. By way of example, as we were initially working on the pulse communication system — this was still before the war and things were a little easier then — somebody like Claude Cleeton would of course keep pretty close tabs on what was going on. And occasionally Dr. Taylor would be given a presentation. As time went on and we got into the war period, things got more hectic, and we became our own guides and bosses in these matters. Perhaps a good illustration of this — this is getting ahead of the story a little bit — is that as we moved into pulse communication systems and pulse guidance systems, we decided the only way to build a good non-jammable guidance system was to build jammers. And so we set a group up who would counter the group that was building the guidance equipment.
These were electronic jammers.
Electronic jammers, yes.
As opposed to the flak machines.
Yes. These are electronic jammers. We had probably been at this for no more than about three to six months or so when word came in that the Germans were dropping some guided missiles on our ships in the Mediterranean, and it was causing a great deal of panic. The Navy turned to us, because we'd been doing some countermeasure work.
This was '42, '43?
This was 1942. We had precious little information to go on. There was no such thing then as there is now like an NSA or somebody else who was intercepting frequencies and knew what was going on. The only information we had was that occasionally one of these devices would hit the stern of a ship, and a few pieces would break off and lie on the deck, so we would get these few pieces. We decided, on the basis of no information, to proceed on what would we have done to have something operational in the fleet today? We concluded that if we'd had something in the fleet, it would have been invented three or four years earlier, because it takes time to R & D, produce and so on. On that basis, it would have to be a simple amplitude modulated system. That conclusion made the jamming problem easier. We developed a scanning receiver, the first of the scanning receivers, and we did this mechanically by simply taking the condenser on a receiver and attaching a motor to it so that it would scan automatically across the dial slowly.
Whose design was that? Was that your idea?
It's hard to say whose idea this was. One of the people who was deeply involved with this at that time was Sam Lutz who came to us from Purdue and later went to Hughes Laboratory at Malibu and has since retired. He was one of many people involved in this, I just happen to recall.
I'm trying to get an idea of your research style. You worked in a group of people, with a group, or did you largely work alone?
No. At this stage of the game, I was already in charge of many things. I would get a group of two or three people to work on a specific subject, and so perhaps six or so of these groups were working at various times on different subjects. For example, as I recall, at that point, I think I had earlier put Sam Lutz in charge of this countermeasure group. So he'd been stewing about that question. When the German information came in, then we asked him immediately to go to work on a system that would do this. In the meantime, we kept working in other areas also.
You were managing about how many distinct groups?
I suppose there were half a dozen of these by this time.
You carried work home with you?
Well, not in the paper sense. First of all, hours were long. We worked many hours. And of course one would think about these things at home. So to continue my thread. These scanning receivers were connected to an oscilloscope, so that you could monitor. When a pip came, you stopped the receiver, then you had the frequency of that signal that was coming at you. We knew we had to do all of this in a matter of something like two or three minutes, which was unheard of in those days. In other words, you had to intercept this signal, identify it, then get a transmitter cranked to the right frequency, and turn the transmitter on and jam it. We then built a transmitter whose frequency could be adjusted very quickly, and monitored by the same oscilloscope. While we are on this subject of how we worked in those days, the pressure was tremendous.
We put this countermeasure system together in a very short period of time. As I recall, it must have been something like a month or so. We built about four of them in our own laboratory and shops. Two of them were then installed by us on two destroyers, which were brought into the Washington Navy Yard specifically for the purpose. Having installed them, we then trained some officers to run this equipment, and the destroyers left to steam over into the Mediterranean for the purpose of escorting convoys through the Mediterranean. After the destroyers had left, a Navy commander who had been working with us and myself flew to Europe via the old Pan-American Clipper, which was an experience all its own. No, I'm sorry, I think the first flight we made was by some Navy aircraft via South America and Africa. That's right, that was the first one.
Have you a date for that first flight?
I have the impression it must have been some time in '43. I don't recall it exactly. One way of identifying it is that on that particular trip we also went to Turin, Italy, where the Navy detained us because the Allies had just captured the southern tip of Italy. That's one way of identifying dates. The Allies had captured two German radars, and they asked us to go there and identify and take a look at these radars. They were German Wurzberg radars; one of which was subsequently brought over, I believe, to NRL.
Do you know how the communication structure was between the Allies, who captured it first, how the word got to you? Was there a lot of lag time or was communication very good?
I had the impression the communication was very good. My information came of course from U.S. Navy people. We would usually work out of wherever the local Navy headquarters were. My impression was that there was particularly good communication between the British and the U.S. I think the British were the principal ones that had been in the southern tip of Italy.
They had a very strong radar group, of course. They developed the magnetron.
Oh yes. Yes, indeed.
Yet you were the ones called in. I'm interested to know why. Was it because you were local there, or you represented a better facility.
We might have been closer to the site at that point in time. It could well have been that some British technical officer had also inspected these radars. We had gone to various naval stations in the Mediterranean, which at that point meant the North African Coast, in order to discuss with many of the officers and operators our analysis of these German guided missiles, and what they should do to counter them. The Navy people were intensely interested in this. I recall, at least on one occasion, being questioned in great detail about why were we sure that they were radio frequency, and weren't they perhaps infrared? They could have been infrared, but it was my suspicion that the infrared techniques had not been developed that far and that they were not infrared. We discussed this at great length. (Later, after the Allies captured some of these missiles, my judgment was proven to be correct.) In any case, we were on the North African coast, to do what we could to quiet this guided missile scare that was running all over the place.
Did you capture any of the missiles intact? Did you get a chance to actually look at any of them?
Not until afterwards, quite a bit later. Then they were all captured.
None of them were duds that were retrieved?
No. Only, as I said, pieces of them. We would get pieces of them and those pieces, as I recall, were not very helpful.
So you made a good guess as to what it was.
We just simply made a good guess. Yes.
And the story that you related over lunch — would it be relevant to repeat that now, after you interrogated the Germans who were involved? Or should we wait?
Well, after we had made these installations, and after the convoys steamed through the Mediterranean, and after we talked to all these people about what they should do and so on, there were no hits by these guided missiles. We prided ourselves on the fact that we really had accomplished something. Some years later on a subsequent trip we interviewed some of the German scientists and engineers who had developed these missiles. They were scientific and technical people not inside the military. They had been excused from the military, and they were very much put out because these missiles they had developed were taken over by the military. The military took them over without asking for any training or any help, which irritated the scientific people very much. They pointed out that the military would then take these out on a foray into the Mediterranean and drop them on our ships and come back and say they sank three ships today, and the next day they would come back and say they sank two ships. Whereas the fact of the matter was, they didn't sink any ships, and the technical people knew this. The reason they didn't was because these military people were so arrogant that they thought they knew how to deploy this system and how to operate it, and they didn't, and the technical people felt the system was operating badly and the military couldn't fix it. So whether or not our countermeasures were really successful, or whether it was disorganization among the Germans that really stopped these missiles at this point is very difficult for me to say.
Did you ever get a chance to examine one of these missiles that was captured, and determine exactly what the frequencies were?
So presumably you did do some damage or prevent damage.
I suppose so, yes.
Going back then to your first Mediterranean tour, at this time of course it was still far too early to actually be in contact with any of the German scientists.
Yes, that came later, as I will discuss in due course.
So this was a tour that ended how? You had established the jamming technique, trained local people, then returned to the United States?
After we went over the Wurzberg radars near Taranto, we returned home.
Were you involved in any action directly?
I'm not sure what you mean by this. On one occasion we were flying along the northern coast of Africa in a military DC-3, we were subjected to a great deal of ground fire, and shells were exploding all around us, which was a very interesting experience. On several other occasions, we were bombed. We were at a base in Northern Africa, and everything was completely blacked out. At night we slept in barns. These were primarily air stations, and these airmen would go out every night and in the daytime, the Germans, and I guess to some extent the Italians at that point, knew where these bases were, so we were subjected to some bombing on some of these bases.
During your Mediterranean tour, then, knowing or surmising that they had these amplitude modulation guided missiles, dropped from airplanes, you mentioned before that this was probably indicative of their technology three years prior to deployment?
Yes. That was our reasoning.
What was your supposition at the time as to what their state of the art material was, and what was in store for the war in the near future if it didn't end? Do you remember any feelings about that?
Not with respect to guided missiles. We did feel, and we were perhaps somewhat arrogant, that they did not have the radar techniques, and that we had quite an advantage in that respect. It turns out that that was sort of correct. They did not, and their radar techniques were developed later. In fact, their Wurzberg radars were fairly crude with respect to our technology in those days. But I might add parenthetically, that subsequently, when the same thing happened and we captured the first Japanese radar, that turned out to be a real crude device compared to our technology or even the German technology. Very interesting analogy.
Yes, quite right.
Particularly when one thinks of the Japanese technology today.
In looking at this missile technology, knowing what was available back in the United States, did you return to the United States with a stronger interest in developing guided missile work as a result of this tour? Did the tour change your view as to what the priorities should be?
Very definitely. It was very clear to me and to some of my associates that we just had to put much more emphasis on this whole subject of guided missiles. That was where warfare was going. In fact, and again my sequence of events may be off a little bit here, I proposed the establishment of a guided missile subdivision at the Naval Research Laboratory for the purpose of pursuing this sort of thing, and it met a very receptive audience, and so subsequently such an organization was established.
You noted that, and I'm curious whether you retained a description of the program that you suggested. A copy of the proposal.
Yes, I do have a copy of that and I can give that to you. 
Now, were you talking at that time about atmospheric jets, as guided missiles, or were you considering solid or liquid fuel rockets?
The technology at that point in time was primarily liquid. Solid propellants were of course known, but their specific impulse was very low and so we were thinking mostly in terms of the liquids. However, perhaps because of my extended exposure to the German V-2 program, my own thinking was heavily toward the utilization of these propulsion systems to ballistic (as opposed to atmospheric) missiles.
Were you getting involved in the propulsion problems themselves, or did you remain in guidance yourself?
Very little in the propulsion part of the business. We stayed more on the electronics, the communications, the guidance, and such problems.
Did you however have any contact with Frank Malina and the people in the GALCIT group, what came to be JPL?
I made one or two trips to JPL early in the game, and I did meet and talk with Frank Malina before he left, or was forced out, whichever.
Which was it?
That's too big a subject to get into in this conversation. Frank Malina, however, was a very capable physicist and aerodynamicist, there's no question about it. When we went there, I recall he cooperated with us very much in showing us what was going on there. They of course were working in the Army rocket program at that time.
They had the Corporal?
They had the Corporal and the predecessor to the Corporal, I forget what the name was, a smaller version of it.
So you knew what they were doing.
Did you have it in mind that you'd combine their propulsion with your guidance and control? Were you thinking of that or were you thinking of propulsion research right there at NRL?
No. We were not thinking of it at NRL. I'm not sure how we were thinking about putting the whole thing together, because things were sort of early in the game, in an R&D sense, and so we hadn't gotten to the point of putting it together.
Okay. We're talking about a period that already brings us up into '44 and '45, and I don't want to leave the war years certainly without talking about your second tour to Europe and your interrogation of German scientists. Is this an appropriate time to find out, (a), how you got into it, and (b), what transpired?
All right. It's a good point in time, yes. What had happened toward the end of the war, and we're now in something like early 1945, spring, was that the Russians had overrun Peenemunde, the principal German V-2 rocket development base, and forced the entire German contingent out. They couldn't capture them. The Germans got out before they could be captured. The Germans loaded quite a few freight cars full of their stuff and all their people and they moved east toward Belgium. They initially had an idea to reconstitute some place in Belgium. When they got near Belgium, the Allies were beginning to move in from the East and it was clear that that plan wouldn't work, so they doubled back and headed South to the so-called Redout area near Munich where Hitler was going to take his last stand.
When they got near Munich — this included virtually the entire group of V-2 people, Werner von Braun, General Dornberger, I think also Stuhlinger, the whole group of them — the German situation was getting worse and worse, and the group was either captured or, as they claim, they gave themselves up. There was much talk when I was there about what happened, and I am hardly the one to say which it was. But nevertheless, the group was then incarcerated in a large girls' dormitory in Garmish Partenkirchen, a delightful place. We went to Garmish Partenkirchen. In fact, we were in Paris, at which point I was joined by a Navy Intelligence officer from ONI, and he and I drove a jeep from Paris to Munich. I was part of the R. Porter group which had been constituted by the Army. Porter was from General Electric and had been working on some Army programs.
He was on Project Hermes?
Project Hermes, that's right, another rocket missile project.
Now, you had known certainly about the V-1 and V-2 before you came over.
How much did you know? Can you recall?
Well, my problem is how much I knew before and how much afterwards, and the sum of the two is pretty large. But the V-1 was quite well known, and it turned out that the V-1 was quite ineffective. One reason it was quite ineffective was because of the SCR 547 radar, which was a US radar designed by my boss at Aerospace Corporation, Dr. I.A. Getting, who at that time was at the MIT Radiation Laboratory. These SCR 547's were dispersed along the English coast. They could easily detect the V-1s and they could dispatch fighters to knock them down. So the V-1 was well known. We of course also knew about the V-2. We knew its range. We knew its approximate size. We weren't too sure about their guidance system, as to whether it really had accuracy or whether it was really just sort of wild. We knew something about the launch sites. That's about what we knew.
You knew the approximate range.
Yes. Since we knew the launch sites and we knew where they landed, you could tell that it was a 200 to 400 mile kind of range. This of course could be established from their size, theoretically. In any case, when we went to interview the German technical people in Garmish, the incident that is of interest here is the fact that the intelligence officer said, "Now, don't you technical fellows start talking. We have to soften these people up first. We have experience in this, and let us get them softened up first and then they'll start talking. They won't want to talk initially." We agreed. Our first interview was with three of the Germans, two of whom were technical people. As soon as these three Germans sat down and we sat down at the table, the Germans began talking and talking and talking about what they had developed, what further advances they had on the drawing board, what they could do with the V-2 to improve it, to expand it, to extend its range, to improve its guidance accuracy — all of these things they had worked out in great detail, and they wanted to tell us about it.
They were not speaking through a translator? You knew German well enough?
I knew German well enough. We did have a translator present. I understood German well enough so that I didn't really need the translation. In any case, the discussion went on and on. Pretty soon they pointed out that they had on the drawing boards the complete analysis and design for a V-2 which would extend its range to 3000 miles, which I think they called the V-2 A or B.
The Wasserfall was one of the German missiles, but as I recall, was not one of the V-2 long range variants. They stated that one of the V-2 design variants included small wings to provide aerodynamic glide on re-entry which would extend its range to 3000 or more miles. With this design it would be possible to set up a launch site somewhere in the state of Washington, and bomb Tokyo.
That, I didn't know.
They argued that if only the Americans would now get behind us, and take them, the group, to the U.S., they could set this up in so many days, (they'd worked it all out), and they'd bomb Tokyo.
This wasn't von Braun?
This was not von Braun. At this point, incidentally, von Braun had taken a jeep with a driver and had gone from this Belgian turnaround area down toward Munich, and the jeep left the road, and von Braun was almost killed. He was in pretty bad shape for a while. This was right at that time. The net result was that he broke an arm, broke a few other odds and ends and finally recuperated all right, but he was almost killed. One of the reasons was that on the Autobahn, which is a very fast road, there was every so often a bridge across a river or something, and the bridges were all bombed out. They had to slowly go down, ford the river, and go ahead, and I guess the driver got a little anxious and I think he went down one of the embankments.
Did he still have his arm in a cast when you interviewed him?
No, no, I never did interview him at that point. I never did interview von Braun. As I say, he was in pretty bad shape at that point. So we interviewed some of the other people.
Do you remember their names?
At the moment, no. In fact, all our reports were classified at that time so I didn't even keep any copies of them. I presume somewhere in NRL's files there must be a report.
Did you get down to specifics with them about guidance techniques?
Not in any great detail. It was established that they were using inertial systems, and as I recall, the accuracy, or the drift rate of their gyros was "so much," and therefore they could get a guidance accuracy of something like "that". We talked only in generalities.
Did they ever talk about a celestial guidance system?
No. Not that I recall. And it's also a harder way to do it automatically. It has to be completely automated. In any case, to return to our early interviews at Garmish, after a while it dawned on us why the Germans were talking freely, and that was something that we should have known in the first instance. Since they came out of Peenemunde and since the Russians had taken over Peenemunde, according to the Geneva Convention, prisoners from that area should have been turned back to whoever had taken the area, and so this whole group was supposed to have been turned back to the Russians. And if there's any one thing that the Germans didn't want, it was to be turned over to the Russians. Anything but that! So they were willing to cooperate to the nth degree. As a result of this general operation, not so much ours alone but also the Paperclip Operation that the Army was conducting at that time, a large part of the Peenemunde group was brought over to the U.S., which is a completely separate story. In addition some 150 V-2s which were found in the caves along the eastern area, in Belgium and other places, were also brought to the U.S.
You just handed me a report on a proposed guided missile program for the Naval Research Laboratory, presented before the director on December 3, 1945, by E.H. Krause, coordinator of guided missiles. Was that your official title?
That was one of my titles at that point, yes. In fact, in that paper I discuss the function of coordinator, which I look upon with a bit of a jaundiced eye.
That's interesting. This was not what came to be known as Project 8, which was Milton Rosen's idea? We'll get to that in a while.
No. I do not know Project 8. It must have come after my time.
I'll provide you with the content. Before we go on, have you read Newell's book? 
Yes. I have a copy here.
Okay, I can refer you to Project 8 in there. We'll get to it.
All right. Oh, Project 8, that's the name Rosen gave to it. Well, that history is a little distorted I'm afraid, but I'm not sure I have a much better version. But go ahead.
Well, before we talk about that, let's go back. We left you at the end of the last tape talking about the German scientists who very actively wanted to come to the United States to avoid being captured by the Russians.
Yes. A thought has just occurred to me, where I should set the record straight. I must go back just a little bit. On my first trip, in which we were trying to learn more about the guided missiles and trying to inform our own troops about it, you had asked, what did I know a priori?
One thing did happen on that trip that suddenly struck me. I did go over to London, and one of the German scientists had been captured somehow, and he was being held in England in seclusion somewhere and was subsequently released to the military, and I interviewed him in order to learn more about these early missiles of the Germans.
You don't recall his name?
No, I do not recall his name. In fact, I do not recall what I really learned from that interview, but again, I would think that a document must exist somewhere at NRL, since I filed a classified report on that.
I'm pretty sure it does.
It was an interview in London at the Royal Naval Establishment, and it did give me a little more insight into this subject.
Very interesting. Let me ask you about your possible contact with people who were working in Paperclip. When you were in Europe or before that time, did you have any contact with Holger Toftoy or James Bain?
I had much contact with Colonel Toftoy and Colonel Bain. However, again, the extent to which this took place, immediately after I came home, or in Europe, is a little fuzzy.
What I'm after is the contact you may have had which could have stimulated in your mind the use of the V-2s after the war.
Well, the principal meeting that established this whole V-2 upper atmosphere program took place when I made an appointment to see Colonel Toftoy in his office, and proposed to him the use of these for upper atmosphere research. Now, I had met Colonel Toftoy before that meeting, and Colonel Bain, and I'm trying to recollect in my mind, to what extent either or both of them were involved in setting up the Porter Mission. I'm sure they were involved but whether we saw them before we went over there, or only after we were over there — I'm afraid my mind is not clear.
But in any event, this is way before December of '45? Was this as early as the summer of '45?
The meeting with Colonel Toftoy at which I proposed setting up this upper atmosphere program, and getting some kind of a joint operation going with the Army and the Navy at least, the date of that must have been somewhere between the middle of '45 and October of '45, as best I can guess at the moment. I had returned from my European trip on about 1 June 1945. On the trip we learned much about the V-2s and the existence of the 100 or so assembled weapons. In fact during April 1945 we met some of the team that had inspected some of the V-2s in Belgium. Recall also that the Germans launched the last V-2s in March 1945 before the Allies captured the launch sites. I think this can be checked. In fact, again, there's probably a document at NRL somewhere which reports on this.
What kind of document would that be?
I would think that I wrote a memo for file, or for the record, or a memo to the director of research or some such thing.
Who was director of research at that time?
It was Dr. A. Hoyt Taylor.
How did that October meeting go?
It went extremely well, and Colonel Toftoy was immediately interested. He encouraged me to go ahead and work with the Navy and meet with other people to get such a group set up. I believe it was at that same meeting that we discussed some kind of a committee to coordinate utilization of the V-2s for research. At that point, the Army under Colonel Toftoy had already had General Electric involved in the V-2 program, as a follow on or as a part of Project Hermes. This meeting that I had with Colonel Toftoy was a result of many discussions that we had internally at NRL, which gets us back to your so-called Project 8. Project 8 was a name that was coined I believe by Milt Rosen, long after the fact. I have no recollection of having called this thing Project 8. Certainly, the fact that we had meetings among our top group of people, such people as Homer Newell, Gilbert Perlow, Seddon, Milton Rosen and others, in which we asked ourselves what do we want to do now that the war has come to a close? The paper that I have given you here discusses in part my philosophy on that general subject. But we did discuss many different types of things to get into. To the best of my recollection as regards the concept of going ahead and using these V-2s for upper atmosphere research, I don't know with which one of a half a dozen people it might have originated. But my recollection is that everyone was quickly and favorably disposed to the concept of doing this type of research, because most of us were research type people. And we wanted to get away from warlike efforts.
Now, there's something that I have to clarify here. In your first NRL report, number 1, you gave a one or two page history of what went on. You indicated that the rocket sonde section, which was established 17 December 1945 and began January 1946, was actually begun without knowledge that the V-2s would be available, and that there was a conference on 7 January '46 between NRL rocket sonde section people, of which you were the head, and Colonel Bain, about the V-2s. Is it possible that you had knowledge of the availability of the V-2s, but Bain or Toftoy had not been able to make the commitment to you, or anything like that? I'm interested in the decision process within the military that made the V-2s available. But you see, I have evidence that at least the NACA was well aware of the V-2s and the possibility for using them for research as early as March and April of '45. And so it is very unusual, in my mind, that you wouldn't be aware of it. I'm just wondering if this was not an over-simplification. This is the report I'm referring to. This is your GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO UPPER ATMOSPHERE RESEARCH, Report No. 1. Just as we know that we never fully trust anything in the published record, as I know you appreciate, the kind of commentary down in here may have been written as an oversimplification of the history of the actual process. This is on page 1, talking about Bain.
The answer to your question requires that the larger picture be viewed. The existence of 100 or so V-2s, just as the existence of the Peenemunde V-2 team, was known since early 1945. VE day was May 9, 1945. It must be remembered that during the ensuing time the Japanese conflict was still underway and many of us, as well as the Army, were preoccupied with problems related thereto. In addition, as I pointed out earlier, the disposition of the V-2 team, as well as the V-2s themselves, had to be sorted out in terms of the Geneva Convention (and probably other Conventions, Agreements and Protocol). All of this took time. I was not privy to these considerations, but I am sure the Army spent a great deal of time on the matter. Thus, even though the idea had been kicking around for a long time, the final assurance that the V-2s would in fact be transported to the U.S. and available for whatever purpose could easily have taken a year or more.
The general concept of utilizing rockets or these V-2s for research purposes, no doubt developed in many places. Balloons had been used for many decades to probe the upper atmosphere. In those days balloons were limited to about 75,000 feet of altitude. Since there was considerable atmosphere remaining above this altitude (e.g. in terms of detecting and measuring primary cosmic rays, or in terms of ionosphere measurements, or even in terms of solar ultraviolet measurements), there had been for many years the desire to reach higher altitudes for research purposes. In theory, rockets were the obvious and only solution. The difficulty was that in actual development in this country at that time (early 1940's) the payload capability as well as the stability of a rocket propelled platform were very marginal for practical experimentation.
Thus, the advent of the V-2 on the scene, with its payload capability in the region of a ton, and in addition, of its stability, was a natural for an excellent research platform with which to probe the atmosphere as well as to make measurements of primitive (prior to distortion by the earth's atmosphere) radiation arriving at the earth. Even though the potential of this new research tool was no doubt obvious to many researchers, some practical questions remained and it also was necessary to put the whole package together. The practical questions remaining were many, but perhaps the two most important were 1) how to devise experiments or alternatively, how to redesign some aspects of the rocket or rocket platform so that the rocket generated environment would not dominate and nullify the experiment (an interesting macroscopic version of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principal) and 2) how to recover data from the experiment. (It must be noted again that at this point in time, 40 years ago, the world of rocketry and electronics was very primitive). Data recovery required considerable development and testing of physical recovery methods; telemetry needed development to provide sufficient data capacity for large payloads. So in summary, I must say that the concept of using V-2s for research was hardly a brilliant thought.
However, the development of the specific experiments, the development of the necessary auxiliary systems and the packaging of the overall approach to justify the relatively costly launches was, in my judgment, very innovative. Had we not done this at this time, I am sure that it still would have been done, albeit, some years later. There was one other factor that had to get settled from the Army's point of view. The Army's reason for bringing these V-2s over was not to do research. They were more advanced than anything we had, and the Army simply wanted to get up to speed in the operational use of these new weapons. They brought them over for educational purposes, in rocketry and missilery primarily, and it wasn't until later that it became clear that one could do both; one could analyze them, one could get experience, one could train U.S. people, and one could do this research. So I would suppose that the best explanation is that 1) months of wistful thinking took place regarding the utilization of V-2s for research 2) more months went by to ship to the U.S. and make arrangements to contract for launching, 3) more time was required to solidify our own thinking and make our case with the Navy and Army, and finally more time was required before the Navy and Army made a firm commitment. The reference in my report is a formality because a firm commitment had not been received. The formation of Rocket-Sonde certainly envisioned the use of V-2s.
Looking at those dates again, you say in there that the rocket sonde section was established 17 December, '45. You then must have given a proposal to the NRL people before that. Is this the proposal of December 3, 1945, the one that you're talking about that established the section?
That is the same thing. Clearly several things happened there. This proposal stated it was a proposal for a guided missile program, and this December 3 paper obviously represented at least a month or two of mulling over before it was issued. In here I'm proposing a lot of guided missile activity for the Naval Research Laboratory, of which the upper atmosphere research program is only one part. Subsequently, we learned more and more to the research part of this program, as opposed to the other parts of the guided missile program that I had also proposed.
This report, then, this proposal of December 3, 1945, as understand Newell's comments, is what was later called Project 8 by Milton Rosen.
To begin with, let me repeat that I have no recollection of the name Project 8. As referred to by Rosen and Newell, this term was applied to the upper atmosphere research program. My proposal of Dec. 3, '45, as you can see, was much broader, upper atmosphere research being only one part of it. It is referred to by Homer Newell in his book and in fact also in Milt Rosen's write-up in another NRL document which I have here.
Okay. What is this?
The Naval Research Laboratory each year publishes a summary document on programs, etc. This is a document of the year 1973, and in this particular one, they celebrated the Naval Research Laboratory's 50th anniversary. This document was prepared by many people who had made contributions to NRL, and in addition, they subsequently had a three or four day symposium at which several of us gave presentations. In this document, I wrote a paper called "The Genesis of Rocket-Borne Space Research," and Milt Rosen wrote a paper called "The Pre-Vanguard Era at NRL." Now, Rosen spends a little bit more time here, and he does refer to it. 
— he must talk about Viking and stuff —
He does refer to the fact that this is sort of equivalent to Project 8, although here he does not call it Project 8. Furthermore, in this particular document, and Milt Rosen is a very capable and credible individual and I don't want to reflect badly on him at all, he says it was his idea that we use these missiles for upper atmosphere research. I'm not at all sure that that is the correct history, since there were at least ten other people involved, some of whom were also very research-minded people, like Art Ruhlig, for example. They're all listed in here, the individuals involved. Milt Rosen has conveniently listed them in here; in addition — there was Homer Newell, Jack Mengle, Conrad Hoepner, C.H. Smith, Dan Maser, Gill Perlow, Ralph Havens, Jack Clark, Bob Burnight, Thor Bergstralh, and a few others. This was the group of which I was the leader, and this was the group who kicked around all these different ideas. So it is just very difficult for me to say at this point who had the idea first.
It is very difficult. It must have been a very exciting meeting. Do you remember the particular meeting?
There was a whole series of meetings. We had meetings continuously for a period of a month or two.
From the October date when you possibly met Toftoy?
Well, again, I'm not quite sure about the meeting with Toftoy. However, we did have meetings regarding future plans during most of the second half of 1945. In any case, we did spend a long time on this question. Recall now that the war was over in May of '45, and at that point we were all sort of tired, and I suppose we took it easy for a month or so, and then we started asking ourselves the question, what next? And we kicked around many different ideas. Clearly, most of this group of people that I mentioned earlier were physicists. And the physics concept of doing research dominated our conversation. My recollection is that most of the people were quite enthusiastic about this concept of doing research using rockets.
But you thought for a while you were going to have to build your own rockets?
At which point we knew that is not clear in my mind. We knew the V-2s existed. We knew that a hundred or more existed. As I mentioned, probably, the rumors were flying that they were going to come over. Probably initially they were just rumors, that the Army was trying but wasn't certain as to whether they were going to be able to pull it off. All of this perhaps took two or three months is my guess. So I'm afraid that's about all the light I can throw on that period of three months or so when all this was taking place. But when we decided on this course, this entire group was very enthusiastic. I worked hard in preparing this paper that you have here. The Navy people involved were very receptive, I must say that for them. Certainly the NRL people were very receptive. I recall particularly the director of the laboratory was enthusiastic. Captain Sam Turner, who at that point was somewhere in Navy headquarters, I believe, was very enthusiastic. So the enthusiasm was there. It took somebody to put this thing together, and that sort of fell on me, and the Army. Colonel Bain and Colonel Toftoy were the most agreeable and cooperative people to work with.
Do you know if Toftoy had the decision power to make them available or did he have to go higher?
As far as I know, I had the impression he had the decision power. It could well be that he had to go higher. I don't know. In any case, he was very cooperative. Perhaps I should mention another person while we're on this subject of how the services cooperated here and how everybody was enthusiastic. Interest in the V-2 as a weapon system and consequently in V-2 launchings was extremely high among the military services. On one of our first launchings at White Sands, Colonel Turner, a tough old Army colonel, was commander, and he really was in charge! On one of the early launches, there was something like a busload full of Army and Navy and Air Force generals that came to view the launching, and so obviously that launch was going to go, no matter what. Well, as we progressed, there were delays in propulsion loading and a few other odds and ends. We had a little trouble with one of our experiments. As a result it got late in the day, and it was clear that if we would launch that day, some of our optical experiments would be lost because of the position of the sun. Colonel Turner came to me and he said, "Ernie, do we launch or don't we launch?" I said, "I'd rather we didn't launch because we would lose some of our experiments”. Mind you, at this point, that whole grandstand was full of generals over there, and here was this Colonel making a decision. So when I made my recommendation to Colonel Turner, he called over his major, Major Herb Karsch, (who threads his way through this whole story) and he said, "Herb, call off the firing. Tell the generals there won't be a launch for another two days." Just like that! That was the kind of cooperation we had. They were not putting on generals' demonstrations. They were hewing to the line. I must give the Army a lot of credit for how they helped get this whole thing off the ground.
That's very good. Certainly it was a tremendous boost for you, in feeling that what you were doing was really important.
Why were the scientific experiments of interest to Toftoy and Bain or to the military?
I think they were only of interest in a sort of a general rather than a specific way. To what extent Turner and Toftoy had had discussions I don't know. But suffice it to say, they seemed to have respect for us. Somehow we had gotten to them, and it all just worked out very well.
Did you ever talk amongst yourselves or frankly with one of the military people? Did you ever ask them: "'Why are you interested in all this stuff?" "Why are you being so accommodating?"
I can't recall that at this time. I suppose another reason in their minds was, they'd just finished fighting a war also, and I suppose they too were interested in putting these ploughshares to peaceful purposes, in a philosophical sense.
I've had a second to look at this report that you wrote, and it looks to be something very very much broader than simply a proposal. It looks like a policy statement. You define basic research or applied research, the basic philosophy of research that you feel should go on at NRL in the postwar years.
That's correct. It is a statement of philosophy, a statement of what I felt those of us who were there to help the Navy and to help do research should do, and it then wraps this philosophy up and proposes a specific set of actions.
Yes, it does.
Furthermore, in retrospect, it appeared to be quite perceptive. I pointed out that missiles are extremely important, and that I felt at least a quarter of the laboratory's effort should be devoted to missiles, because it was the weapon of the future. Certainly history has vindicated that point of view.
You have these statements, "what should NRL do?" When you summarize, "What I believe NRL should do" here, were you reflecting a common opinion amongst those people in your group that you had these dealings with? 
Yes. I think if you look at the last paragraph in there, I make it extremely clear that I've stated this all in the first person but that the entire group supports this point of view, which they did.
This is on page 11.
Okay, very very good. Now, this is within your rocket sonde group itself, as it was established in December of '45, to begin 1st January '46.
Yes. But recall that this same group had been working together for a long time. We just formed a new division.
When this January 7th conference, between the NRL rocket sonde people and Bain took place, and when apparently the V-2s were formally offered, publicly, it could well have been formally offered before then privately to you and possibly to Taylor and Hulbert. Soon after that there was a meeting of interested people at NRL, 16 January '46.
Now, it became quickly apparent to me, going through your minutes and other statements, that people beyond the rocket sonde section were being brought in.
Oh yes, indeed.
Can you recall for me the process by which people outside of the section were brought in, the discussions which you had? Did you talk about this with Bain?
Well, let's separate the discussion into two parts, internal NRL and external NRL. Internal NRL, this presentation was given to the director; I'm not sure if it was separately given to the various superintendents of the different divisions at NRL, or if they were present at the same presentation to the director. I can't quite recall that, but in any case, the superintendents of the various divisions were involved, and in fact, with some of these other divisions, like the optical division, the whole matter had been discussed with a few people down there, such as Tousey. Hulburt was still Head of the Optics Division and he was most enthusiastic. Within a few years he was to become the Director of Research. We solicited ideas and experiments from these other divisions, and it was particularly the optics division that became deeply involved. Externally, this meeting was called, and again, Homer Newell refers to it in his book. The date was 16 January. I had invited quite a few outside people to this meeting. It would be interesting to have the attendance list at that meeting. I don't have it but it must exist some place. Very capable outside scholars became interested in the program, people from Harvard, Princeton, the cosmic ray group at Cal Tech. All of these people immediately evinced a great deal of interest, and they, like we, saw the great new tool that this was going to provide to get outside the atmosphere to learn more about the solar system and the universe.
I have the V-2 report No. 1, which is not the January meeting, but the next meeting, February 27, which was held at Princeton.
At that time, these were the people who were there. Can you think of people who were not there at the January meeting?
No. This is interesting because we hadn't quite formed yet. Some of these are members of our committee, which was formed, our rocket research committee, like Dow of Michigan, Green of General Electric, and Whipple was on our committee.
Nichols was too, wasn't he?
Nichols might have been at the first one or two meetings, but he was not regularly a member. Maybe he was a member for six months or so, yes; and Van Allen was not at this first meeting.
He was nominated to be the representative, he and Golay, but neither of them were at that meeting?
Ah yes. This then is the organizing meeting, yes.
That was the February meeting.
Nichols was there, yes. okay.
Now, was Van Allen at a previous meeting? Was he at the January meeting?
I do not recall. Could well have been.
I'd be interested to know how these particular people were chosen. Did you and Bain or someone else or you yourself decide that the particular institutions, as indicated on the top of page 2, would be the representative institutions, and then the institutions themselves would nominate their people, or how did it go?
I'm afraid my memory fails me on how that was done. I believe the institutions chose their representatives. They were certainly not chosen by the Army or ourselves. NRL and the General Electric Company because they had the launch responsibility; Princeton because they had done all kinds of pioneering work in telemetry, and Nichols of course had written a rather definitive paper on the whole subject of telemetry.
That's how Princeton came into the act. They were also involved in some of the cosmic-ray experiments. As I recall, Montgomery was there at the time, and he had been doing some cosmic ray work. The Harvard interest was of course very clear because of the solar interest, and the interest of Whipple. Whipple in the prior five or so years had done some brilliant measurement of pressures, densities, and temperatures in the upper atmosphere, through some ingenious experiments on the ground, and so his interest was very clear. I should also point out that after we got up high above the atmosphere, Whipple's data proved to be very good. In addition, Harvard was involved because of Menzel's solar interest. Menzel was very interested.
What was your contact with Menzel? Did you have any?
Oh yes, quite a bit.
Before this time?
Not much before this, no.
So you were aware, generally aware, that solar research was done at Harvard?
Oh yes. Yes, but I did not know any of the people. I hadn't met them. I had a tremendous respect of course for Harvard University (Observatory), and for Harlow Shapley. Shapley was personally interested in this too, but of course he was getting old at the time, but nevertheless, we got the support of the department, which gave Menzel support and which gave Whipple support.
Okay. So Shapley was supportive.
Oh yes, he was, very much so. Yes, indeed. Now, to get back to your question of how was this put together — in other words, did we have this all decided and hold a meeting and get it certified, or was it done at the meeting? It was done at the meeting. We did have some discussions with Bain and with Toftoy. Bain at that point I think was deputy to Toftoy.
Bain was your contact eventually, where Megerian sent all of the reports to the Pentagon, to Bain's office.
I'm not sure where Toftoy was, though. He was at BuOrd?
No, no. BuOrd is Navy. He was Army Ordnance.
He I believe was head of Army Ordnance. I can't throw any more light on why these were the members of the committee, other than, it's just a very logical kind of a flow from what I've just said.
It is an interesting progression. All members were to be working members. What did that mean, actually?
That meant we wanted people who would be either involved in the experiments directly — in other words, conduct experiments themselves — or be involved in the launch operation. We didn't want to get some people who were institutionally responsible but not directly involved.
Understood. In the case of the addition then of Michigan here, and Bain's suggestion of Golay, which would be Signal Corps, Army —
I do not recall that Bain suggested Golay. From my point of view, Golay was a very competent physicist. He had done extensive work in infrared. He fitted the picture perfectly.
I take it there was no resistance, no discussion about adding more and more members to the panel?
No, in fact it turned out to be a rather nice, right size of a panel. I'm sure we had discussions before this meeting of the fact that we did not want a large panel. Because that's unworkable. I should also point out that Dow had been working on Air Force programs. So there was a double thread running through this, first of all, the different institutions, and secondly, that the Army, Navy and Air Force were all equally sort of represented. In fact, as I reflect on this, it was amazing that by some means we assembled a group that was 1) very competent for the purpose and 2) not too large, so that the group could be very effective. This all just fell into place. We did not have to create barriers to keep people out. The number of applicants were extremely limited. Also the individuals and institutions were very compatible. During the early phases there was very little dissension. I think this was largely due to the fact that very few institutions could initially step up to prepare experiments for the short time frame involved (3-6 months).
But the Navy had more representation, in the guise of the Applied Physics Lab, which was then added on top, which was very much a Navy operation.
Yes. So there were essentially two Navy representatives, but as I said, this created no problem.
How did you feel at NRL? Was there a competition between NRL and APL, sort of a friendly rivalry between the two?
Not too much. To begin with, as I recall, they were doing different kinds of experiments. There really wasn't a rivalry. There was still so much to do, and the resources were adequate, so you didn't have the competition. As you know, subsequently, Jim Van Allen and his group at Johns Hopkins developed the Aerobee rocket, which was a small rocket, and that was not at all considered competitive. It was fine with us. There were, of course, externally many, many people who visited us, and all of this was discussed with them, and they were encouraged to participate. My paper to the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia on April 25, 1947 acknowledges and reports on the many different experimenters involved in the early phase of the progress.
— let me turn the tape — We're going through Dr. Krause's files here, and to document his work on the German guided missiles, he wrote a report entitled "The Beginning of Guided Missile Warfare," Dr. Ernst H. Krause, in the March-April 1947 issue of COAST ARTILLERY JOURNAL, page 8 through about page 11, and it's a review of the various missiles that he examined after they were captured, for example, the German HS 293, a radio controlled gliding missile. This will be inserted as a footnote in the appropriate place in the interview. We're going through a file. I'll identify the folder. It says "NRL Rocket Sonde. January '46 through September '47." However, here is a December letter, '47, from H.B. Sailor, Brigadier General, Ordnance Department, to you.
That was on my resignation as I shifted to another program.
It's very interesting, he says, "As you know the Ordnance Department sponsored this panel at the beginning of the V-2 firing program in order to insure the maximum possible scientific benefit to result from the V-2 firings." This is a sort of an acknowledgement.
This is your resignation. I don't quite understand. You went on to what you considered to be a better position or what?
After the early success of this upper atmosphere research program, the AEC was beginning testing again in the Pacific. They approached us and asked if we would work with them on their new program. After much discussion, we agreed. So some of us broke away to assist the AEC, and some of the people stayed in the upper atmosphere research program.
Why did you make the decision to break away?
Well, that's a very interesting question and very difficult to answer. Again, I'm not sure. First of all, there was a lot of pressure brought on us on the importance of this new activity. The upper atmosphere program had obtained a certain inertia, was in good hands and it was rocketing along. There's Colonel Toftoy's title, Office, Chief of Ordnance. 
All of these letters during this period deal with your resignation, at this point.
I think we're past, yes, we're past that.
This is a proposed guidance missile program for NRL. 
— let's see what that is — the reaction to it —
I don't know. Maybe we went back too far. Yes, a lot of these would be of direct interest.
This one would be of interest, right here. This is the organizational announcement. 
This is the laboratory order, number 46-45. Function of the Rocket Sonde Research Division. This is a copy of this.
Yes, and you can have this copy.
Isn't that strange, there's no date on this document. I’m having trouble. But it must have been after December 3, 1945, when I had proposed the establishment of this guided missile organization. At that point, the director appointed a committee consisting of Captain Pryor, R.M. Page and myself, to draw up a specific proposal before the next meeting on December 10. In those days things were moving pretty fast. I made my presentation on the 3rd of December. This document must have been about 2 days after that. And then they asked for a more specific proposal within five days. Dr. Taylor was still the director of research.
So you can have a copy.
It is a marvelous document. That establishes it.
And I gave you a copy of the laboratory order. 
That's a more specific, more detailed laboratory order.
Yes, but this relates to a different organizational change? At the same time that the Rocket Sonde section was announced, the fire control division had existed previously and contained the guided missile subdivision which then became the rocket sonde research subdivision.
And you continued as subdivision head.
I continued as subdivision head. These now relate to two other organizational changes, which probably don't have too much to do with this here, but in any case you can have a copy of that too. Let's see what else we've got here. Admiral Schade, incidentally, who signed this was a Commodore, Commodore Schade. (Interestingly enough, the title of Commodore had just been reinstituted in the Navy. It was reinstituted during the war. Then it was abandoned. And within the last six months it was reinstituted as a one stripe Navy admiral, so that provided a correspondence with the Army and the Air Force.)
Okay. That makes sense.
I gave you a copy of that.
And I gave you a copy of the December 3 paper.
It comes in before then.
There's the picture, that's the Bergstralh picture, published in the WASHINGTON POST. 
That was published in the WASHINGTON POST, let's try to get a better date. It just says 1947. It's a Friday. That narrows it down somewhat. We might be able to get it better than that.
And I put down 1947. There's more coming — that's the picture.
Here's the WASHINGTON STAR, 6/8/46. And this is an article entitled "Navy Fits Brain Into Rocket for Test 100 Miles Above Earth" — you're on the right — 
C.H. Smith who worked with us is on the left. 
C.H. Smith. Okay.
There it is again. Ah, there's a date, 11/21/46, WASHINGTON POST, rocket camera. But that's earlier than this. Yes.
So these are some of the first rocket photos that got into the newspapers, so it must have been a very exciting time.
It was this picture here which showed for the first time the roundness of the earth.  That glue has given away —.
Here's an interesting one. El Paso TIMES, 12/5/46.
— that's Ralph Havens, Thor Bergstralh there —
Putting something into the cone. Havens has the very tip of the cone on there.
Who's in the middle there?
That's me. 
Oh, that was you, partially obscured by the mailing label. And then down here, working on the rocket engines —
That's one of the German scientists working on the propulsion.
Ludwig Roth, okay. Good news coverage here. What is this, "Hop Into Your V-2 for Supper with Your Fellow Rocketeers."
A supper that we threw after some successful launch. That was at our house.
This was a party you gave when you were living in Cheverly at that time so that answers that question. Very good, a nice collection.
I think I gave you the principal documents there.
It would be marvelous to have a memorandum of your meeting with Toftoy.
One must exist, and why I didn't keep one, I don't know. It shouldn't have been classified, although it might have been.
You're opening up another file, that says, —
These are a lot of pictures taken at White Sands. That's a picture that we created to illustrate details of the V-2.
I've seen copies of that.
That's Thor Bergstralh in his younger days.
What is he working with there? Some kind of an instrument? Could that be his camera?
No, I don't think that's the camera. I'm not sure what it is.
He was working on ejection?
Oh yes, we had to eject the camera or part of it to recover the film. There we are working on the V-2 itself. 
Which picture is this? If you can identify them — this is December 5 firing and it's dated December 16, 1946. That's a small photograph of a number of you. okay.
These are more pictures of working on the V-2.  This is on the nose cone.
Some of you are on your stomachs and on your hands and knees.
Yes. Now, to the extent that you want to take these pictures with you and send me back copies, feel free to do so.
This one, I think, certainly is very nice. This is you on your hands and knees, I take it.
Okay, that one I would like to copy.  I'd like to take this one.
That's just the V-2 on its launching platform. More V-2 images.
Here is a nice V-2 shot, sharp, partially assembled, ten people standing around. I can see you there very close to the cone. It simply says 84 on the back, and a number 522. Okay, we'll copy this one certainly. 
There you see a small snapshot of ballistic missiles that we recovered at the end of the war. 
Complete with packing crate.
Yes. That I think is the FX 4. That I describe in that other document.
Here's a miscellany; groups of solar spectrograms, the early ones. November '46. Some of them don't even have dates on them, isn't that terrible?
That looks like relatively high dispersion, with spectrum at 1 mile, spectrum at 35 miles, compared.
A beautiful comparison isn't it. How you moved into the ultraviolet. 
Was this Tousey's instrument?
This one certainly is. This one I recognize. That's the October 10 flight. Now, this I've only seen in half tone, and I would very much like to have a copy of this. This is the V-2 after impact. Do you recall which flight? That was the March 7 flight? It doesn't say.
No date, no nothing.
It has 553.
Well, that's the NRL number on the back, so that might help you.
The NRL number is 395. Certainly that's a good quality photograph. This must be the same. There you are again, yes.
Now, this is a good picture to show. That’s the telemetry transmitter right there. 
Right, it's easily visible. You're working just above it. I'll identify the number. You're in there, who else is there? You have your hand inside the cone.
It's hard to tell with these heads. I think that's Thor Bergstralh there.
With the hat.
With the cap. Yeah. Could be Francis Johnson, I'm not sure.
This is No. 536, okay, we'll copy that.
Here's a beautiful picture of one of the cosmic ray experiments. 
Right. Now, this is fascinating. All of the tubes are exposed. There is no shielding on this particular one, or is there shielding on the inside?
There is lead in there. See the lead in there? We've got counters on the outside, in addition to the counters on the inside, to provide a coincidence anti-coincidence arrangement. If something came in from the side and activated these lower counters, they would automatically cancel out, by coincidence. So the only ones that are counted are ones with a coincidence up the line up here.
As far as direction was concerned, you mean?
Yes. Well, as far as the fact that it penetrated so much lead. We characterized it by how much lead it penetrated, whether the bottom counters went off. But in addition to the bottom counters, the top ones had to go off and the side ones not.
Exactly. I see. This is 1 1 3 1. You have a number of pictures. 
A whole series of them here.
Is this what was called the lead igloo?
It could have been. We didn't use that name very much, but I imagine that was the same.
Who designed this pile of counters?
Various people had experiments. Gilbert Perlow had one set of experiments, and I gave you some of the published reports. I had some experiments. Sergei Golian had experiments. They were all somewhat different.
How did you decide to do cosmic ray work, as opposed to ionospheric work or spectra?
Because the whole matter of what was the nature of the primary cosmic radiation intrigued me. It was a very hot subject during the previous decade, and all kinds of experiments were devised to analyze it. It was extremely difficult because the mass of atmosphere degenerated the primary radiation. Here we had an opportunity to conduct some experiments above the atmosphere and perhaps detect the primary cosmic radiation.
This is what excited you the most?
Yes. Oh yes.
I'd like to copy these pictures.
Well, whatever you decide you want here. After we had gone through perhaps 20 or 30 launches of V-2s, we got worried about the fact that eventually we'd run out of V-2s. Therefore, we set up the specifications for the kind of a launch rocket that we wanted. Again, perhaps a little history is helpful here. After we set forth our requirements, we consulted the manufacturers to see what their thinking was. We also estimated the price of such a rocket. We were working with ONR at that time. So I called up Captain Slack at ONR. He knew about our program. We knew each other. I said, "You know, we're going to (— mind you, this was on the telephone —) have to replace these rockets eventually here, and we want to go into development of a new one, and can we get funded for it?" He said, "How much is it going to cost?" I said, "Well, it looks like about a million and a half dollar program." He responded, "Well, I think we can swing that sort of thing. Why don't you proceed through the procurement channels?" He would try to raise and earmark the money. That's sort of how the whole thing started through the machinery. You could never do that nowadays.
Right. This is a proposal from the Glenn L. Martin Company? 
Right. We set up the specifications, what we wanted, what the thing should look like. We sent it out to six of the big companies including Martin, and we then evaluated the whole thing. Martin was the one whose proposal won. That was in June of '46. They were the ones who then built the Viking rocket. It also is the first or one of the first that used a gimbaled nozzle for control, and there's a certain amount of dialogue that's been going on with the Air Force for years, as to whether they did it in one of their test rockets in California. In any case, we incorporated in it better technologies than the V-2 had, and the V-2 after all at that point was almost ten years old. This is the set of specifications that we sent out to the various manufacturers.
Now, the term was HASR.
High Altitude Sounding Rocket.
It's the Martin report. Here's the one. It looks considerably smaller but it doesn't look like an Aerobee.
I think this is different. HASR-2 had the gimbaled rocket. This had the five rockets for controlling direction.
Five rockets, that sounds like an Aerobee. A 300 or 150 or something, a big one. This is what Martin gave back to you?
This is a formal proposal by Martin, which was evaluated, on the basis of which they were awarded the contract.
But interspersed in here there are technical diagrams, specifications, quite a number of pages, and then there are reprints.
Some of these don't apply to this document. That's Howard Seifert's famous paper on the physics of rockets. He wrote several papers. He was at Cal Tech for many years, a very capable physicist and aerodynamicist.
This is a valuable document, the entire document. I wonder if our museum has that?
I don't know.
We do have the Viking rocket. It's good to know the documentation is here. That's the important thing. It's nothing I think I want to carry away today. Let me ask you about the rocket group, the panel, and how the NRL experiments proceeded. What was the relationship? I know that the group putting together the V-2 spectrograph was made up of people from the rocket sonde section and the optics section. Some of your people were working with Tousey on that. Did they still report to you?
Oh yes. The interface was the optical instrument itself. Tousey would have complete responsibility for the entire optical instrument, including the control mechanism to point it at the sun. It was all built into a single unit. Charlie Strain and Eric Durand in Rocket Sonde worked with Tousey, but Tousey was the primary experimenter and was in charge.
There was no control mechanism in the early one?
Not the first ones, but subsequently there were. You had to point it into the sun. Tousey contracted with Ball Brothers to build this device, including the control mechanism. Ball Brothers was just getting into the pointing control business.
This was later with the Aerobee.
He probably did it with the Aerobee also. I'm not too familiar with it. He probably did both. Although the payload in the Aerobee was rather limited for this type of an experiment.
What was it like working with Tousey?
No problem. No, that all worked out very well. In the optical case, all the data went on film, so you didn't telemeter the data, but you did telemeter whether it went on properly, whether it kept running, etc. So there was simply an interface, and at this point our telemetry people picked it up and saw to it that it was properly recorded in the time sharing telemetry sequence. Also, the rocket sonde people would be responsible for any interference between experiments. If, for example, you had several experiments which were radiating, for one reason or another, to make ionosphere measurements or what have you, you didn't want them to interfere with each other. Other than this, the experimental instrument itself and the conduct of the experiment, the analysis thereof, the publishing thereof, all was done by the experimenter, and the rocket sonde organization then served as a central agent to put it all together. In addition, the rocket sonde people performed certain experiments themselves. For example, the cosmic ray experiments were done within rocket sonde, primarily because there was no other group outside that was involved in that area of physics. The same thing was true of the ionosphere measurements that were done by Bob Burnight and Seddon. The pressure density measurements were also made within rocket sonde by people like Ralph Havens.
Everything, from where I sat, worked out quite pleasantly, and again I think it was simply because there was so much to do and resources were adequate, so there wasn't much of a problem. You have raised the question of priorities and why, for example, did NRL fly three solar spectra experiments before APL flew their first one. The reason was that NRL was ready and APL was not. A solar spectrograph that would operate in the ultra-violet and do so unattended in space, with the additional provision of storing exposed film in a cassette that not only would survive impact, but also have the film survive the high temperature of re-entry, all of these were requirements that required time to design, build and test. It could not be done from scratch in one or two months. Furthermore NRL had a superb shop capability for building such devices. As best I recall, APL was scheduled in according to their planned readiness. I have no recollection of any argument over the matter. We did have some problem on the Upper Atmosphere Research Committee.
The main function of the committee was to assign space for each launch, and to be as fair as we could about it. This proved to be easy initially, because the main criteria was an important experiment (in the view of the Committee) and a hardware readiness. It took many months before most experiments could be ready. It just wasn't possible to make slight modifications to a physics laboratory instrument and install it in a rocket launched vehicle. Generally design, construction and test had to be done from scratch. It is interesting to note here that today one or two years are required to provide experimental hardware for the Air Force's Space Test Program (STP). Later on it became more difficult. There were restrictions on weight on volume, there was the arrangement of pieces of things, the electromagnetic interference problem, the telemetry constraints, etc. Sometimes the committee would assign the whole launch to one experimenter, but most often not. There were one or two incidents in which people felt that they weren't getting their due share and created quite a bit of a fuss, but we settled it.
Are these in the minutes of the panel, or is there anything that you feel we should discuss now, as far as episodes or incidents?
I don't recall what's in the minutes.
I went through the minutes and there does not seem to be any discussion of differences of opinion, because the minutes only indicate what was discussed.
I think George Megerian cleaned them up. I don't think there is anything worth elaborating on in that respect.
There was a group of astronomers, Spitzer, Goldberg —
Spitzer, yes; Goldberg, yes.
— who expressed considerable amount of interest in joining in, in one capacity or another, and they're mentioned here and there in the minutes.
And I recall from documents that there was a meeting at ONR with Waterman and Spitzer and Tousey. I don't know if you were at that meeting. About the role that people like Spitzer, who was at Yale at the time, would be able to play. Do you recall, at that time, what the process was? Anything about Spitzer?
To begin with, I do not recall the specific meeting that you talk about. I don't think I was at it. However, with both Spitzer and Goldberg, and more so with Spitzer, I had numerous sessions — I forget all the subject matter now — but I don't recall that they proposed any experiments which anybody turned down. As I recall, they evidenced a lot of interest, but never did really come in with a set of experiments. That's my recollection of it.
They wanted to create a group that somehow provided theoretical support for either interpreting the observations that were going to be made or that were made, or helping to direct observations.
Yes, I think there was some of that. It doesn't loom very large in my mind.
This was an important element at the time as to their perception of who was doing this new science — could you give me a few comments on that?
I think the thing that dominated my thinking, and most of the people in the program, was that the experimenter was the one who should be analyzing his own experiment. Experimenters did not want to have somebody else analyze everybody's experiments. And I think that thinking dominated throughout. Of course, it's a classical approach, as you know, in physics and astronomy, that you don't monkey around with the investigator. We just stood on that point. So, these discussions that you speak of could well have taken place, but they never loomed very large. At least they never came to my attention. Maybe somebody else knocked them off, I don't know. It's pretty hard to take a position that the experimenter shouldn't be primarily responsible for not only doing his experiment, but for analyzing and reporting and getting credit for it.
Do you recall that this was their suggestion?
No. Only because you brought it up. I do not recall that.
That's important because I didn't want to lead you on to something like that.
No. But it might well have been since you bring it up. I find it a little strange that we did have these discussions with Spitzer and Goldberg. They were very friendly discussions, but I can't for the life of me recall what experiments they were proposing, if any, or what the discussions were about. That's about all I can recollect.
There were some astronomers, at least one in particular, Jesse Greenstein, who flew on an early APL flight.
Even though there are some documents from the Bumble Bee project, I know, APL reports and others that indicated what happened — it was a failure — there is a difference of opinion, Greenstein basically saying the rocket failed, and the APL report saying that the instrument failed. Do you have any recollection of that particular instance?
That was on an Aerobee, wasn't it?
No, it was a V-2.
It was a V-2?
Yes. It was a flexure problem.
Flexure problem? In the rocket?
In the instrument. It worked perfectly when the rocket was horizontal, but when it was vertical, something pinned and a rotating drum wasn't allowed to rotate and advance the film. This is the interpretation of the Bumble Bee program. 
No, I do not recall the incident.
Okay, that's fine. As you have mentioned already, there was a difficulty assigning space to various experiments, and priorities. The APL group did get a good number of the first flights, the very, very earliest flights for "cosmic radiation". Do you recall any discussions of how they managed to get on board so quickly? Even though they came in later, and were not a central group on the panel?
Well, to begin with, I don't recall at all that they had any undue number of flights. Once the NRL cosmic ray experiments went on a given flight, there was little payload volume or weight remaining.
They were big.
They were large in volume and heavy. A new experiment was generally created every time and it took much time to do that. I don't recall that either from my point of view, or from any criticism that I heard, that too much went one way or the other. In any case, whoever took the responsibility for an experiment had a big job on their hands. It wasn't that simple. Let me give you a good example. When we started all of this, we said to ourselves, "Now, this is a good way to do some experimentation. We're going to get away from this business of having a complicated, costly set of apparatus in a physics laboratory in a basement in some university, and because it is complicated and costly, it lasts for 50 years and generation after generation grinds out theses on that same equipment because it's expensive and new equipment is more expensive.
We've got a setup here which by its very definition is going to get destroyed each time. How good can you have it?" So we could redesign the experiment every time on the basis of what we learned, and improve it and what not. In addition to that, we said to ourselves, "Furthermore, since it's not going to last very long, we can just jumble up the wires any old way. It doesn't have to be done very well. Therefore we can build the whole thing a lot cheaper." Well, that proved a costly lesson to learn. It was a big mistake. We did assemble one experiment that way, and we got it to working all right. Then we got it on the launch stand and the damn thing wouldn't work. Then, to check out that experiment, with all that jumble of wire all over the place, was absolutely impossible.
This was one of your cosmic-ray experiments.
I believe it was one of the cosmic-ray experiments we tried this on. Yes.
It just didn't work?
So we soon learned our lesson. The fact that the lifetime of the thing was going to be very short doesn't mean that you can build it sloppily. You're still going to have to build it so that it can be tested very expeditiously and quickly. Furthermore, things have got to hang together even better than they do in the laboratory because of the severe launch environment.
How about preflight testing, vibration testing and that sort of thing, did you have procedures?
Definitely. All kinds of test procedures.
Did you have meetings where you sort of brainstormed as to what kinds of procedures you were going to have? Did you write out the procedures formally?
Initially we never really had time to write out all the procedures. As time went on, procedures were formalized. We did not check out everybody's experiments. If somebody at Harvard or Princeton wanted to put an experiment in there, it was up to them to worry how to shake, rattle and roll the thing, and we didn't worry about that. We did worry about this, though, in terms of our telemetry gear, as well as for our experiments. Other than that, we just took great precautions to nail things down, so to speak.
Okay. That alters my next question, because you were talking about telemetry and, of course, this was one of your most personal interests, the telemetry and guidance, am I correct in that?
And the cosmic-ray experiments.
Yes, certainly, but in general, as far as the care and feeding of a V-2, the telemetry was an NRL project.
After Tousey's June '46 failure — one way or another, no data came from it — I've recovered from NRL files the fact that a group of people began playing around with the possibility of a spectrograph that used photoelectric sensors, and not photographic film. The photoelectric sensors could scan a selected part of the spectrum.
Yes, by some mosaic technique.
Right. And telemeter the information back. I think that it was carried out in the rocket sonde section because it certainly wasn't carried out in the optics section. Dr. Tousey has no recollection of it.
I don't think it was carried out in fact. We had of course been using both photoelectric tubes as well as electric-multiplier tubes, both of which would be required for such a mosaic technique. No doubt the mosaic approach was theoretically considered because it lent itself to recovering data via telemetry and avoided the problem of physical recovery. However, it did not require much analysis to realize that the spectral resolution of this approach would be utterly inadequate. The situation today is vastly different because of the availability of small solid state devices instead of vacuum tubes.
I see. It seemed to be a group of NRL people. I can't recall the names. But you have no direct recollection? 
Yes. All of these people were in Rocket Sonde. They were the principal over who developed the telemetry system.
After the June flight, where the first V-2 spectrograph was lost, you indicated to me before that that experiment was a failure. My understanding is that it was a failure because the spectrograph was never retrieved. Do you have a different recollection of what went on? Do you recall what the decision process was to remove the V-2 spectrograph from the nose cone to the fin? Were you involved in that at all? The summer of '46, because for the October 10 flight, it was definitely in the tail. The story I know so far is that because the June flight was a failure, and that the cassette was not retrieved, they stuck the spectrograph in the tail.
The spectrograph and its cassette were not retrieved because the first spectrograph was placed in the nose of the V-2 and cone separation did not take place. Richard Tousey's explanation is correct. In order to avoid excellent aerodynamic conditions during reentry, which would result in complete disintegration because the energy released on impact was equivalent to an equal mass of TNT on the ground, we had arranged to separate the nose cone by means of explosive bolts so that the nose cone and the after body would both be aerodynamically unstable and tumble during reentry, thus dissipating their energy and impacting the earth with minimum damage. For some unknown reason, the nose cone separation in the June flight did not occur and the resultant impact resulted in complete catastrophe to all the instruments including the solar spectrograph.
The reason for placing the solar spectrograph in the aft end is that after separation, the effective Β of the aft-end is considerably less than that of the nose cone, assuming separation has taken place. (Β=W/(CPA), where W is the mass of the body, CP is the effective drag coefficient and A is the effective area undergoing drag. For the fin section, W is relatively small and CP and A are both relatively large, resulting in a low Β. Impact velocity is a function of Β.) Thus the fin location proved to be very helpful in not only recovering the steel film cartridge, but more importantly, the spectrograph (which was expensive) could be recovered almost intact and re-used. As I recall, we flew one spectrograph two or three times. Recovery of steel film cartridges was routinely made for other experiments in the nose cone. Well, I suppose that rationale could have existed. I'm not sure it's true. In fact, I'm a little confused by all this, because to the best of my recollection, we always found that nose cone. But anyhow, it could well have been.
By February 12, 1946, the NACA had been officially informed of V-2 firings, and had plans for placing scientific packages in there, and by reading through their minutes of some of their panel meetings, it was also evident that they knew about the V-2s and were interested in using them for almost a year before that, but never got into the act. I guess a panel member was eventually included from the NACA, but I'm interested in knowing what contact you had with those people, NACA people.
Only a little but there was communication. Any membership must have come at least a year later, because during my tenure, there wasn't any. I don't recall any NACA requests for experimental participation.
Their interest was in the standard atmosphere tables, extending them.
Yes, definitely. As I recall, in discussions we had with them, they concluded that measurements we were making were progressing rather well and they would utilize our data rather than to conduct additional experiments of their own on the V-2.
There were people like Warfield, Wexler — They were on the panel on upper atmosphere, committee on aerodynamics NACA. I think he was the one who ended up on your panel.
Now, was this an NACA committee, or was this the Upper Atmosphere Committee of the DOD, which existed for a while (and of which I was a member)?
Well, this is on the NACA letterhead, the minutes of the panel on the upper atmosphere, committee on aerodynamics.
Of course, we had quite a few conversations with Wexler, and Warfield, yes. Now it all sort of comes back. The rest of the people I don't know; but Wexler and Warfield, certainly we had conversations with them, yes. In fact Wexler was official NACA liaison with our panel.
Okay. There was no strong pressure from them one way or another to do anything?
Not that I recall. But they were interested and monitored our activities continually.
Okay. My understanding was that there was an observer there who wanted to just keep track of what you were doing.
Either Wexler or Warfield were observing us pretty closely.
Where did you get your money? Was there any question about budget or funding, for your cosmic ray experiments, for the cost of the 25 warheads that were provided?
Not much. As I said, the resources, by and large, were fairly easy to come by in those days, and we did not have any difficulty with finances. These things were reasonably expensive, not nearly what we have today on the satellite programs, of course, which are extremely expensive. The Army covered the launches completely, and was somehow funded for all of that.
Were you ever put in a position of advising the Army, even though you're from a naval institution, or the panel which was from a multiplicity of institutions? Anything that you felt you had learned about the behavior of rockets that they weren't prepared to accept? Or were there ever any problems in communicating to the Army information you had gathered? I'll tell you what this is based on. After several panel reports, you put in there or Megerian put in there, a comment that there was no feedback from the Army. They didn't know if anybody was reading these reports or not.
Oh, you mean, the minutes that we sent to them?
That's right, the minutes. Was there any indication that the Army may not have been that interested?
No. No, I don't know why that comment would have come about. No.
Okay. Later on in the minutes, there was — this was a discussion that one of the NACA observers mentioned — a question as to the rapid firing schedule, a number of people tried to slow down the firing schedule. Was the Army pressing for the rapid schedule?
Again, from where I sat, and I think one must recognize that in a program like this, which was new and interesting and exciting, and lots of agencies and people involved and a good deal of money being spent, that one could expect comments and criticism and kudos from many different quarters, and we of course got all those. I do not recall, in our committee deliberations, that we ever were under any pressure to go faster or slower. We always seemed to have enough experiments to fill up the rockets. And there was a maximum speed that could be obtained by the Army down at White Sands, in terms of refabricating all the necessary parts for these V-2s. So, no, at least in let's say in the period up through '46 and '47 I don't recall any great pressure of that kind. Certainly the Army was not pressing us on this. Under the circumstances a criterion of too fast a firing schedule was to be expected, since many of the institutions, as I have pointed out, were neither ready or prepared to respond on the time cycle. However, there were enough good experiments readied, and they were good, they produced good data, they were not "make-work". Again let me say the Army's conduct and point of view was exemplary.
Pressing you to go slower?
Pressing us to go faster or slower. No.
They just set their schedule and you adhered to it?
Okay. We've already discussed the NACA. Did you have any contact with American Rocket Society at the time? Were they taking an interest in what you were doing?
Well, I was just browsing through some papers and found the first list of senior members of the American Rocket Society of 100 people or so, among which I was listed. That's why I had the paper, I guess. But again I don't recall. Nothing stands out in my mind. I'm sure they were interested. I don't recall any particular discussions with them.
Dr. Krause, from time to time, you testified before a military or insight panel on V-2 firings (Toftoy was also involved). You and he asked for a continuation of the program past the original 25 launches. Do you recall these meetings? Who were your friends and/or critics on the panel?
Again, I recall mostly friendly discussions. I certainly do not recall any hostile critics on this committee.
People on "Advisory Committee for V-2 firings" were: H.B. Saylor, H. Hewett, Col. Hood, D.G. Dockum, O.N. Spain, R.P. Jones, J.W. Crowley (NACA), H. Toftoy, J. G. Bain, Mesick, Simmons, Slattery, Abbott, L.D. White, Littlejohn, C.F. Green (GE). I have notes by Green on a meeting of 10/25/46 where you were present and testified.  Do you have these types of records?
How many times did you testify?
I don't recall. I only attended a few such as the critical one of 10/25/46.
What was the origin of this advisory committee? Did it predate the V-2 panel?
Probably formed at about the same time. This committee was primarily an Army Committee with representation from the Navy and AAF. Its purpose was to coordinate, certify and arrange funding agreements among the Army units and military service. It was concerned with overall aspects of the V-2 firings of which our Upper Atmosphere activity was only one.
Okay. Now, at NRL you developed the 23 and the 30 channel telemetry for V-2.
APL developed a six channel device, a much smaller device. Why was there such a difference? Was there a design philosophy difference?
In the number of channels?
Well, APL had the problem of the Aerobee rocket which had such a small payload, and so that meant, a) the telemetry system should be lighter and smaller, and b) in any case, you didn't need all the channels because the experiments were much more limited, again for the same volume/weight restrictions. So it just sort of fit.
But even in the beginning, when they were flying things on V-2s, they were designing things eventually for the Aerobee?
This is how that worked?
Were you interested at all in using the Aerobees after the V-2s ran out?
We considered that. However, because many of our experiments, like the cosmic ray experiments, and even the optical ones, if they're done right, just simply require heavier payload capability. If we had our druthers, we would prefer the heavier payload capacity. So, we made a stab at that, and we got our bigger launcher, the Viking.
Looking particularly at your cosmic ray work, you acknowledge contact with John Wheeler and others at Princeton.
What was the nature of your contact?
Well, there were meetings. In fact, John Wheeler on quite a few occasions came down, and when he came to Washington we had discussions with him.
How did you meet him? How did you make contact with him?
I'm afraid I can't recall that initial meeting, or why it occurred. In any case John Wheeler is a theoretical individual, and if we were going to make cosmic ray measurements, we'd naturally want to get to somebody like that to get some theoretical counsel. Also John Wheeler had an interest because of Princeton's telemetry interests.
So it cleared with Nichols.
I have no idea. John Wheeler was just an excellent man to work with, just a great personality, and needless to say, a very competent theoretical physicist. He was very helpful.
Did he ever suggest differences in your experimentation procedure, or ask you about the data, how it was constituted? Did he ever suggest maybe moving a cosmic ray telescope from one place to another, or anything like that?
I don't recall that as much as discussing the results with him, which are after all quite difficult to interpret. I don't particularly recall any a priori kind of suggestion. A very amusing incident comes to mind, though, with John Wheeler. He was visiting us one day and we were discussing all this, and I got one of these funny letters from the public. This fellow said, "I see you've been doing these experiments on making ultraviolet measurements in the upper atmosphere. I want you to know that you're not measuring the ultraviolet at all, you're measuring contra-blue rays.„ Contra-blue rays! He said. "I want you to know that I discovered these some ten years ago, and they have some characteristics like this, and that's what you're really measuring." I said to myself, "Contra-blue rays? I never heard of contra-blue rays. But then there are a lot of things I haven't heard of." I said, "John, have you heard of contra-blue rays?" He said, "Contra-blue rays? Never heard of them." It's the funniest thing. You see, these guys, these crackpots, get a smattering of it, and then they invent something which sounds almost right. Contra-blue rays. You think, that sounds about right, there must be something like that!
You had not done any cosmic ray work prior to your V-2 work?
How then would you typify your entry into cosmic ray physics?
That's an interesting question. The answer, at least partially, comes from the pulse techniques that we used in radar and in all of these other things I discussed earlier. Much of the electronics, etc., came from the cosmic ray people originally, and we modified them and adapted them. So therefore we understood the electronics associated with the cosmic ray business, and particularly the cosmic electronic techniques for such complex telescopes. That, plus the deep interest in fundamental physics and particle physics, sort of focused my interest at that point.
Did you report at meetings of the Physical Society on your work?
Oh yes, and I gave you some copies of those. 
Yes, we have the papers, but I'm wondering if there were any recollections you might have about the reactions of the physicists to your work? Did the physicists come up to you later and talk to you about it?
Oh yes. There was a great deal of interest. In fact, the one paper I sent you, from the Pasadena meeting, there was also an invited paper by R.A. Millikan.  Millikan was still alive and still active and extremely interested in this cosmic ray work. There were quite a few people at Cal Tech who were doing cosmic ray work, like Neher and a few others, but they never got into our program.
I guess their interests lay elsewhere. They certainly were welcome, and it could have been arranged, but they didn't.
But solving the question of the nature of the primary cosmic rays had to be about one of the most central questions there was.
Yes. Neher, as I recall, was trying to get at this problem through geographic disposition of the rays that you measure on the earth, which proved very difficult.
Again, going back to that original proposal, that established the rocket sonde section, where you talk about basic research, applied research, all these things, thinking about the kind of organization that NRL was and your position in it, would you have any comments as to why you were able to do it? You did it, and not the physicists who had a longer term association with the problem. You did it even though the panel apparently made the offer to the community at large.
I have no idea why. What you're asking is: why wasn't there more response? Now, we, and certainly I, don't think any other member of the committee really solicited — that is, went to the experts to ask them, "Why don't you do an experiment?" We really did little of this. On the other hand, we encouraged people to come in with their experiments. We made it very clear. But in the cosmic ray area, particularly in the first two years, there was just no response.
Did you ever find yourself talking about that with your colleagues?
It's a good question. Perhaps we should have done more in soliciting these other people than we did.
I don't want to lead you with ideas that I may have. With the clear understanding that I'm leading the witness here — I would think that it could be a question of the degree of commitment to an obviously difficult experimental technique that these fellows may have been very unfamiliar with.
Well, they were bright guys. Make no mistake about that. To what extent they got into the program later, I've sort of lost track. Actually, I think there was a good deal of it much later, in the NACA program.
There was a good deal of concern, and perhaps they were right about this, that the rocket itself and the nose cone and all that, no matter how careful you are with anti-counters and what not — were still going to get all kinds of spurious stuff off the rocket itself. There may have been a feeling that you're kidding yourself, you're about the atmosphere but you've still got a centimeter of steel around you or something.
Did you have any contact with Brian O'Brien, University of Rochester?
Yes. It was of two kinds. One, I have the recollection that he worked with Tousey quite a bit on the optical stuff. And later on, he was chairman of some committee, although it may have been much later. I can't remember what that committee was, some activity, whether it was the Naval Research Committee or what. Could have been.
What is the Naval Research Committee?
Well, the Navy has maintained, under I think the Assistant Secretary for Research and Development, a Research Advisory Committee of one kind or another, by one name or another. They always have some very prestigious scientific people who are members.
Well, knowing about the committee, I can go back and probably find out. That would be fine. That's great.
I think it reported directly, and still does, to the Assistant Secretary for Research and Development, rather than the Secretary.
Okay. That's Secretary of the Navy you're talking about.
The first night firing of a V-2 for the launch of artificial meteors, which was another project that the early rockets engaged in, took place in December of '46. Shaped charges were shot out at between 20 and 60 thousand feet. You reported in your 1947 REVIEW paper that the first experiment was not successful but the experiment might be repeated. Now, I've not gotten a clear view of the regard of the efficacy of this experiment from various people I've talked to. Of course Fritz Zwicky ran it. He's no longer here to discuss it. I'd be interested in your comments about it.
You're really stretching my memory. Yes, indeed, I remember the Zwicky experiment, and Zwicky of course was more of a theoretical, in fact, a sort of a grandiose theoretical kind of a guy.
He had somebody else build this equipment for him, and I'm trying to recall who that was.
I think it was Van Allen.
Okay, so that's probably it. Yes. You're asking me what was the efficacy of the physics of the experiment? He would measure some densities at very high altitudes and so on. Well, I don't know how well the experimental equipment was put together. We, on our upper atmosphere committee, as well as in my position at the rocket sonde division, did not concern ourselves about experimental design. The committee did concern itself about the quality of physics involved. Fritz Zwicky's stature as an astrophysicist assured that. If the experiment made basic sense, then it was up to an experimenter how well he put his gadgetry together. We didn't concern ourselves too much about this, nor did we in rocket sonde, except to the extent which it would provide interference with some other experiments. We'd want to know about that. We wouldn't want it rattling around physically and get something else in trouble. We wouldn't want it rattling around electromagnetically and getting something in trouble. So we watched those things. But again, the experimenter was responsible, and I kept taking that position, so that if his experiment didn't work, it was his problem. Now, it's true that we always were responsible for the telemetry, and if the experiment didn't work, we could always get accused of the fact that the telemetry wasn't working. And that happened.
Oh, sure. But the telemetry of course was a time division kind of a thing. If you had 19 channels working and the guy said channel 20 and 21 weren't working, he was standing on pretty weak ground! But we didn't, so to speak, inspect experiments. To that extent, if they came in with a black box, and we had checked out the radio interference problem, we bolted that black box down and plugged our telemetry into it. And it of course went through checkout. But if, when it got up, it didn't work — it didn't work. But mentioning that Zwicky experiment, now it comes back to me. Any time you have any contact with Fritz Zwicky, of course, it's an interesting experience. You know, he once told me, in this booming voice of his — he was a great big fellow anyway —that he was never going to become a citizen of the U.S. for a very simple reason. He was a citizen of Switzerland and he was going to continue to be a citizen of Switzerland for one very simple reason. If he once gave up that citizenship, he could never become President of Switzerland! That's Fritz Zwicky.
Yes, that sounds like him.
But he was a very capable guy.
Again, in your own experiments — and pardon me for jumping around a little bit — did you, in designing your cosmic ray experiments or advising others at NRL in what they did, ever balance the complexity versus reliability issue in designing an instrument?
Clearly, reliability was always in our minds. But I would answer that by saying, in general, we opted for the best performance, which generally meant more complexity rather than less.
This term "best performance" is interesting.
Well, best performance in the sense that the experiment could really zero in on something, rather than come up with some general kind of thing. Like, for example, in that cosmic ray experiment, where we lined all sides with anti-coincidence counters. That got much more complicated. In fact, the number of Geiger counters in there were probably doubled, and the coincidence electronics was about doubled, all of which would make one fret about the reliability of such a thing.
So there was not a redundancy in any way. Each one of these was necessary?
Very little redundancy. Yes.
To what extent did you work with Herbert Friedman in his development of the halogen filled counter?
He wasn't in the rocket sonde section?
No, he was down in optics, with Tousey in optics. Tousey and Friedman were both in optics. They both reported to Hulburt when Hulburt ran optics.
I thought he was either with you or in a third group?
No. Well, that happened later. I think he became head of some entity much later.
That was after NASA started.
Okay, fine. So you did not have any direct contact with him.
On the halogen counters, no. But in general, of course, I had a lot of contact with Herbert Friedman, yes.
Was he running his own programs at that time?
His own X-ray experiments?
His own X-ray experiments, that's right.
Yes. He started up a little bit later. Tousey and his solar spectrograph got in there very early because it's the obvious thing to do, to get that solar spectrograph up there. Friedman, Herb Friedman, got into the program at least a year later, I think, as I recall it.  All of his really great work was done after I left there. It took him a while to get organized.
When all of this started out, you apportioned out 25 V-2s. But it wasn't long before you started wondering if you could get another 25.
We knew there were 100, at all times. But you must remember, whenever we parcelled out a given launch and assigned certain experiments, this had to be done more than a year in advance. It took an experimenter a year, something like that, to get his experiment together. So we had to look ahead at least a year. And at that point, we were firing them at a rate of, as I recall, about two a month. So by the time we got up to 30 or so, and had 60 or 70 left, that meant a couple of years and we'd run out. So then we started scratching around. And of course, it took some time to scratch around. It took us maybe six months before we could let a contract. We had to write specifications. We had to analyze the problem ourselves, what we wanted. Then we had to go to procurement. We had to go on the street. We had to give the contractors X months to respond. Then, even after you've made your selection, then it takes another month before the contract is signed. It takes at least six months. And we were fully aware of this. So, what was the date on that?
I'm confused about something. You're talking about the Viking?
That was in '46.
The proposal was dated '46?
That's right. But I was referring to the fact that batches of V-2s were made available in groups or phases. I don't remember the exact term that was used. First phase of firing, second schedule of firings, third schedule of firings.
That may be. I don't recall that particularly. No, we just would assign "number 17", and that was going to be launched 12 months from now. Then we'd assign number 18 and that's going to be launched 12 1/2 months from now, and so on. Then the experiments that would go in each one.
You left in December of '47 but you made the decision to leave somewhat earlier. I saw some correspondence in October '47, pertaining to that sort of thing. So you were in the V-2 business for something on the order of two years. During this time you knew that the V-2s were in finite supply but you knew that you were going to build Vikings. Did you ever wonder, however, whether this bubble was going to burst, that you would run out of rockets, you'd run out of support for rockets, and ask yourself what you'd be doing later?
No. With the number of V-2s left at that point and the Viking coming down the pike, neither I nor anybody else had any misgivings but that the Viking was going to work all right, sooner or later. The concept of the creation of NASA, of course, didn't occur to us that early. Of course, NASA was created partly in response to Sputnik.
Let's review the reasons that you left the rocket panel and physically left NRL for the AEC and for the Pacific Range. You mentioned a little bit of that before.
Well, I didn't leave NRL. All that work was done for the AEC under NRL auspices.
Could you review your reasons for choosing that different project?
Well, I guess the picture is a little muddled in my mind, but let me try it. To begin with, the first Pacific Experiments were on extremely short notice. From start to finish, probably something like six months.
That is short.
And we were to conduct these very complicated experiments and the situation was allegedly very precarious at this point internationally, and money was no object. We had to conceive and throw together experiments. In fact, an interesting little sidelight is that we hadn't been started in this for about two weeks and the people from the AEC came over and asked us how much space we wanted in the ship that was leaving on such, and such a date, how many tons, then how many tons we wanted to fly out to the Pacific? And at that point we had only half-conceived the nature of our experiments.
I see. You were actually conducting experiments out there.
Oh yes, diagnostic experiments.
In fact, we had to invent a new cathode ray tube so we could make measurements about two orders of magnitude faster than any existing cathode ray tube.
You mean scanning tubes?
These were diagnostic experiments primarily gamma-ray measurements, X-ray measurements, neutron measurements, but of very short duration. We conducted this experiment, and the concept was that when this was over, we were going to come back home and get back into physics. In fact, we started a new division, the Nucleonics Division. The objective was that we would get an accelerator at NRL, and get back to doing physics. Several of us, with the encouragement of NRL management, traveled around the country to help us decide what sort of accelerator we should get. We visited Ernest Lawrence at the Radiation Lab in Berkeley, and his large cyclotron; Anderson at the University of Chicago; Ed Kreutz at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh. Initially, it appeared that we would get back to physics. But the Fates held otherwise. The AEC wanted to conduct another set of experiments in the Pacific. Since they felt that we'd done so well on the first set of experiments, they wanted us back for the second set of experiments.
Are you able to tell me what your experiments were?
They were mainly diagnostic experiments of the nuclear bomb radiation.
What was your role? Was it a managerial role in this experiment or both technical and managerial?
It was both, again, and again there was quite a large group involved.
Primarily NRL people?
Yes, NRL people.
One other question about it. Was it your free choice whether you entered this new area of work?
Oh yes, absolutely. No coercion. The only kind of persuasion was a philosophical, intellectual kind of persuasion. So this second go-round came and again there was much discussion. Ernest Lawrence and Louis Alvarez both talked to me, and again the situation was sort of critical internationally. So I felt that I had some responsibility in this respect. I went off on the second one, and came back, and then we activated the — well, there's another very interesting tale that perhaps should get into the record here. We came back at the end of '51 roughly. There actually followed two series of tests, which we were involved in. We came back from the last of these tests with the realization that we were making ourselves indispensable. But it was a very hard life, long hours and months away from home. We decided that if we were going to do this, we might as well get paid for it. The only way to do that was to form a company. We discussed this with NRL as well as with the AEC. They were all enthusiastic. So we actually formed a company called Krause Company, which was chartered. Then we entered into detailed negotiations with the AEC.
You were no longer employed by NRL?
Still employed by NRL. All this was done with NRL's blessing. They were fully aware of it. It was in the national interest that somebody started doing this sort of thing. The manager of the AEC at that point was Ken Fields. Ken Fields played a prominent role with Groves during the initial development. He was Groves' number 2 man. Ken Fields was a very nice person, and we had various negotiating sessions with him about what the nature of this should be, how big it should be. We worked up budgets in anticipation of it and everything else. Then all of a sudden things began to drag, for a period maybe as much as a month. It became clear that things weren't going right at AEC with respect to our forming this company. We were still working for NRL. Finally at the last minute, the thing fell through.
The reason it fell through was, interestingly enough, because over that same period of time, Edward Teller and E.O. Lawrence had proposed that there be a second weapons laboratory in the country. They thought Los Alamos as a weapons laboratory would deteriorate, with due respect to everything they'd done, and that they needed some competition. They argued that such a laboratory be established — first, to provide friendly competition for Los Alamos, and second, that it be located on the West Coast. All this dialogue was going on during the same period of time completely unbeknownst to me, and it was a rather vigorous dialogue because the community was divided as to whether there should be two laboratories or one, with the added cost and drain on national resources. Nevertheless the AEC in their wisdom finally decided that it was the thing to do. It followed that if they were going to have a second such laboratory, then they wouldn't have need for a diagnostic organization like ours, because the two laboratories could do the diagnostic work.
That would be enough?
Yes. The creation of Livermore Laboratories, then, upset this plan of forming our company. The national dialogue concerning the establishment of Livermore is now a matter of public record and much has been written on it.
You didn't consider going to Livermore or Los Alamos?
Well, Herb York was then charged by E.O. Lawrence to form Livermore and get it going. Herb York, whom I knew very well because he had done one set of diagnostic experiments different from ours, tried two or three times to get me to go to Livermore, but I decided it wasn't for me.
Now, if I'm correct, you went to Lockheed?
So then we came back to NRL and did many things. The Nucleonics Division was formed. We then wanted to obtain a water cooled nuclear reactor at the Naval Research Laboratory. But it was unheard of, to place such a machine in a populated area, particularly Washington, so near the nation's capital. Nevertheless we stood our ground and we plowed through the Atomic Energy Safety Committee, of which Edward Teller was chairman. He was a pretty tough cookie to satisfy on all the safety requirements, but we got it.
Was this the Rickover Reactor? 
No. It was just an open pool rather than a pressurized system, but still water cooled. A well-known type of machine. It wasn't new.
But it was one that was highly reliable?
As opposed to the high pressure ones.
Oh yes, in that sense. It's just that the rods are in an open swimming pool. We obtained AEC safety approval, had all the plans ready and an existing building set aside.
You were going into nuclear physics then in a big way?
Yes. Again, managerial pressures and changes were forcing me away from research. The Naval Research Laboratory decided to organize into three units and create three associate directors of research, one in the nucleonics area, one in electronics, and one in materials. I was selected as one of the associate directors, in the nucleonics area. The others selected were R.M. Page in Electronics, and Oscar Marzke in Materials. Oscar left shortly after I did to go to U.S. Steel as vice-president in charge of research at U.S. Steel. I continued in this new position for a period of a year or so. At this point Pete Quesada approached me. (Incidentally I think he still manages L'Enfant Plaza for the Rockefellers, so he's your landlord). He was then a retired Air Force general. He was a three star Air Force general in charge of the Task Force in the Pacific when we conducted our last set of experiments. He was much impressed with what we did and much impressed with me. He retired from the Air Force and went on the Lockheed Board and on the Board of OLIN Industries. He also joined our management. OLIN was still in private hands at that point. He pressed Lockheed to go into the missile and space business, which they weren't in yet.
This was the day of the Constellation and they were milking the Constellation for all it was worth. So they finally said to him, "all right, if you want to go in this business, you come run it." He agreed. He had to get somebody to help him do it. The first thing he did was to call me up, and we had lunch. He said he was looking for somebody for this job, did I have any recommendations? Which is a common entering ploy. So I made various recommendations and we talked about how to organize it and what not. I didn't hear anything from him for about three weeks. He called back and we had another lunch, and he said, "Well, I've been thinking this over" and you’re the person I really want to come out to Lockheed "and we’ll form the Lockheed Missile and Space Division." At this point in life, I was at that point in time where if I was going to change, that was the time. At the same time, the NRL situation was working beautifully.
It was? For you?
It had regrouped. You were still building your nuclear reactor.
The nuclear reactor hadn't quite started yet. All the plans were there. All the machinery was in motion and so on. No dirt had been turned yet.
But things looked good.
Oh yes. Things looked very good at NRL. In my judgment NRL was the buy for the best of the Service Laboratories at that time. There was much good basic and applied research being done. Incidentally, as I have viewed NRL, perhaps more objectively, from my positions in industry during the past 25 years, this judgment has been reinforced. (See my presentation on this subject at the 50th anniversary celebration of NRL, documented in their 50th anniversary report). However, the challenge of building a new organization, as well as the compensation offer was so terrific. I finally talked to the family about it and decided to accept. So I went to Lockheed in mid '54, and we founded the Lockheed Missile and Space Division.
And you brought in some people, like Hugh Johnson, Loren Apton, P.C. Fisher — any of these people ring a bell?
No, I don't recognize them. Hugh Johnson sounds a little familiar.
Okay. I'm interested in the accretion of astronomers and scientists by Lockheed.
That must have been later?
Okay. Very possibly. Fisher had an X-ray group there after Sputnik, but I didn't know how long he'd been there. I knew Johnson was there for a while. You don't have any direct recollections of who you did bring in? And what did you plan to do?
Well, there was quite a large organization coming in. Clearly the thing we wanted to do was to get Lockheed in the missile and space business, and the first thing we got them into were ICBMs. First of all, the Western Development Division of the Air Force was being formed under Bennie Shriever, with support from the new Ramo-Wooldridge organization, the Space Technology Laboratories (STL). STL had just been formed by Si Ramo and Dean Wooldridge after they left Hughes. This was the period of the so-called missile gap, and they were charged with getting going at any cost on some US ICBMs.
That was your primary thrust?
Initially, yes. At that point, there were very few people in the country that knew anything about rockets. Although Ramo-Wooldridge brought in some very bright people into that organization, we brought some bright ones into Lockheed. One of the first things that the Western Development Division wanted solved was the big problem of the nose cone re-entry. How could we get it in without burning the hell out of everything? So, they had a competition, and let a contract which we at Lockheed won for a so-called X-17, in which a rocket would be fired upward, would be turned around, another rocket would be fired downward, and so by this procedure you could get velocities that would approach ICBM velocities over a short range. In other words, on the way down you'd have not only the gravity forces working, you'd have thrust in addition. That was to be used for re-entry experimentation. So anyway, there we are. We sort of left space science.
Well, you did leave it.
Yes, for a while.
I’m wondering how you felt about that. Did you give it a thought?
Yes, some. I suppose in some ways, one had a certain intellectual curiosity of chasing down more than one path. But strangely enough, I did not give these things too much philosophical consideration, until later. Somehow or other I would get involved, and I would get so intent on doing what I was doing that I just didn't ponder these problems much. On the other hand, the ICBM work was in large part applicable to later space work. Much of this was necessary to achieve large payload capability to geo-synchronism orbit, for escape velocity (to reach the moon and planets), for manned moon landing and return to earth. I was acutely aware of this.
Let me ask you about motives, especially in space research. Richard Hirsh, who has written on the history of X-ray astronomy and other things, has identified three different types of motives. I'd like to pass them by you and get your comments on which you think — or combination of them — would fit your own motives. The first would be the search for new knowledge, pure scientific. The next would be the development of new technologies and their application in science. And the third is improving experimental technology itself. It is a question of goals here. Are you interested in building a better mouse trap, or in building the better mouse trap to solve the problem? Or are you interested in catching the mice?
With respect to those three criteria, certainly the matter of new scientific knowledge is of tremendous interest to me. But I had a problem, as time went on. In fact, I had it rather early. In spite of my interest in doing research and acquiring new knowledge, etc., I had a capability in management, quite unknown to me. This came early in the game, as I mentioned. It thrust me into management positions during the war, for example. And once you're on that road, it's pretty hard to get off of it. That sort of followed me as I went along. I got into more and more management kind of things, technical management, to be sure. There are many facets to it, but one facet is to recognize a good man when you see him. You would be surprised about how many technical people and technical managers don't recognize a good man when they see him. I'll get off in some byways here, but maybe that'll help answer the question. One of the great failures of the aircraft companies here, prior to the entrance of Ramo-Wooldridge into the act, was that they were in a rut. They were doing aerodynamics. They had suppliers that did electronics. They would not compete with their suppliers, so to speak.
In other words, if you had a company like Lockheed or Douglas and they had electronic suppliers like Raytheon or General Electric, they wouldn't think of setting up their own electronics organization in those days. That's competing with your suppliers and in that case your suppliers will desert you. This was the theory, and you would then be in trouble. So they stayed in this aerodynamics rut. When the space and missile business came in, they were at a complete loss. They understood aerodynamics, but aerodynamics is only a small part of the missile business. And they didn't have physicists around. Well, when Ramo-Wooldridge got into the act, they understood this problem, and the first thing they did was to get a team together that was second to none, even though the other companies had been in the business for 20 years. They soon ran with the ball. Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge had the ability to identify what the problem was, they identified people who could solve those problems, and they put them to work. It was at about that same time that some of Ii~ the Companies, and the first one was North American, I believe, started realizing what was going on and started their own different organizations in electronics and so on. Today of course you have highly diversified aerospace companies who are capable of handling large, complex, multi-technical systems. But as I went along, I guess I got the reputation for this: building up organizations, building them up with competent people, not just with people. I've done that about a half a dozen times now. I got into this management groove, and its' just pretty hard to get out.
There are compensations in it.
There are compensations in it, and you just spread yourself much wider and in a sense you can accomplish much more. Unless you are absolutely at the top of the heap — you know, if you have the competence, the real first rate physicist, for example, of which in my book there aren't many — then of course you can make a real contribution. But 90% of the physicists in this world are working in very, very narrow areas, and presumably, get satisfaction out of that and that's all right. I wouldn't complain about it. But when you take the path that I took, you get involved in so many, many different things, and you never dig very deep, but nevertheless you get a very broad exposure.
Yes, you certainly do. So you don't look back on your cosmic ray years, your years with the V-2, and wonder, specifically, what if you had simply stayed in that line?
No. Not particularly.
You can see the colleagues that you had at that time and what they've done now, Friedmann, Tousey, people like that.
Yes. Friedmann particularly I think did a brilliant job. But as I said there are very few who do that type of really fundamental work. The real question is whether I could have done it even if I had pursued it. I don't know.
It's very important. You can't do this kind of science without good management.
That's true, and particularly in technical management. It's partly the scientist's training, which has a certain spaciousness to it, and the engineer also. Certainly there was in my training an influence that said, "look, just do the best job there is to do, do it right, and everything else will fall into place." Well, that's about 42% true.
It takes a lot more than that. Just like the concept that if you build a better mouse trap everybody will beat a path to your door, which of course is not true either. And it's particularly true in today's R & D world, where the resources that are required are so tremendous that the concept of a researcher saying, "Look, just give me the money, and leave me alone for two years and then I'll tell you what I did," is not workable. Or if you're on an engineering project, and you want a radar that will do this, this, this — "Just give me the 40 million dollars and three years from now I'll deliver it to you." It doesn't work that way. It can't work that way with these tremendous resources that are now required. There's got to be accountability all along the way. There's got to be persuasion and selling all along the way. You've got to keep selling. In a sense, it's different than selling television sets. If you're going to sell a satellite program that costs 150 million dollars, it takes continual selling. Nobody's going to give you the 150 and leave you alone for five years until you produce it.
Could you trace these feelings back to the V-2 era? In selling the continued support of these scientific projects to the Army?
The selling, as I mentioned earlier? I didn't have the feelings at that time. On the other hand, the problem was simpler, the required resources were much smaller, and the environment was easier than it has been in the last 20 years. Entirely different environment. Entirely different resources required. As I mentioned, I'm on this Navy committee, and there are any number of space projects which can be extremely valuable to the Navy, or to the Air Force, if you wish. The only trouble is, the systems cost five billion dollars each. Now, how do you weigh that great cost and the advantage it brings you, against the fact that the same money could buy that many more destroyers or that many more B-1s. How do you weigh such a complicated question? Perhaps I can give another example. I recall when Lee DuBridge was science advisor. DuBridge was head of the office of Science Research, right next to the President. I recall seeing him one day and I'd known him a little bit, and I said, "Lee, tell me, how do you weigh these 'big science' projects? You've got in front of you this whole question of a series of astronomical telescopes which had been proposed. The whole package costs three billion dollars. Radio telescopes have been proposed, and that package costs about as much. You've got these tremendous accelerators which are going to cost X billion dollars and cost 200 million dollars to maintain each one, to operate it. All this big science. How do you weigh one against the other. Where does the country put its resources? What do you recommend to the President and the Congress? How do you select?" He said, "we don’t. We take the position that the best way to winnow and sift this whole business out is in the Congressional hearing process, where it is being done." I guess he meant by that that the scientific community is no better prepared than the political-economic community is to weigh matters of this consequence.
So the National Academy can't be used as a last resort. They can be advisors?
Well, as you know, Kantrowitz has for the last ten years been pursuing this matter of a "Scientific Court," which uses judicial procedures to weigh these matters and come up with better answers. I'm not at all sure that such a process would be any better than what we have. I've rambled here on this whole matter of this environment that we're in today, and the concept of a researcher working in his little laboratory all by himself in a corner somewhere. It still exists, of course. But the largest amount of work that's being done is being done with very costly systems, and in some ways it's unfortunate. For example, consider a physics student today. He's got a big machine there, and there's a hole in the wall, and out of that hole in the wall comes some protons, and he doesn't know what's on the other side of the wall. All he knows is what's coming out of that hole in the wall. So now he can concentrate on his experiment. That's vastly different than when I went to school. We built the machine behind the wall and also did the experiments. I'm not at all sure it's better. One gets involved in all kinds of pedestrian things in that approach which are a waste of a researcher's time.
Is there any period of your later career, especially post-Sputnik, that you feel we should record? You were already at Aeroneutronics. You'd founded the company and it had been picked up by Ford by the time Sputnik flew?
Did Sputnik change your life at all?
Well, in one way it changed my life, and that is that the atmosphere of Sputnik in the U.S. was the one of General Motors Wilson, the Secretary of Defense. There were two Wilsons. There was a General Electric Wilson and there was a General Motors Wilson at the same time. They were both either senior vice-presidents or presidents, both very famous in the industrial community. Eisenhower had brought (Charles) Wilson in as Secretary of Defense, and Wilson made it very clear that he didn't want to put a lot of resources into this research business; he wasn't interested in "why grass is greener," and the Department of Defense wasn't going to put a lot of money into research. Particularly they weren't going to put any money into this fuzzy wuzzy space research stuff that was talked about.
This is post-Sputnik or pre?
Just pre-Sputnik. One year ahead of it. At that time ONR had an office out here in Los Angeles. They were interested in continuing some of the space research. They discussed this with us at Aeroneutronics. As a result we conceived of a very low cost experiment to put a very small payload at very high altitude, and possibly in orbit. We proposed a high altitude balloon to go to 100,000 feet from which we suspended a small rocket. The rocket would be fired right through the balloon from 100,000 feet up.
Van Allen had been doing things like that. The Rockoon sort of a thing?
I'm trying again to get the chronology straight in my mind. This was about 1953 or '54. Van Allen may have been doing it at about the same time. In any case, we did this experiment on a shoestring. We only had three balloons and three little experimental pieces of equipment. In fact, we had one cosmic ray counter which was built by Fred Singer. You know Fred Singer. It didn't work. We launched these from Eniwetok atoll. We launched the first one and it failed. The launch appeared to be successful in the sense that the rocket went through the balloon but we couldn't pick up any signals from the experiment. We were just about to launch the second one — and by gosh, if Sputnik doesn't take off!
Okay, so that was '57.
Yes. The telegrams from the Air Force started coming into Eniwetok because here's the Sputnik going around in orbit. At this point what does the U.S. have to look to in terms of a space experiment? It's our damn little thing that's going to be launched at Eniwetok! The pressure was unbelievable. So of course we got all kinds of suggestions. We launched the second one and it didn't work right. We were never quite sure of our calculations of going through that balloon because we were going through this balloon at velocities of about a .22 caliber bullet and what's this going to do to our experiment?
What was the rocket that you were using, a recognizable name?
Yes, a standard little rocket of some kind.
Solid fuel Nike Asp? Something smaller than that? A Deacon?
It was a solid fuel small rocket. The specific type escapes me at the moment. So then what happens is that we have to hold everything until a review committee comes out. So a review committee of about three or four people, whom I knew very well, and who knew me, went through a review at Eniwetok. The review approved the third and final launch. It again appeared to launch successfully, but shortly after launch we lost the experiment signal. That ended that. It was clear what was going on. We were on such a shoestring, we couldn't test anything properly. In fact, the whole thing was done for, I believe, $200,000 or something, just pitifully small.
Was this before Ford took over?
No, this was with Ford.
This was with Ford?
After Sputnik I know that a number of industrial firms such as McDonald became very interested in getting into the space program and providing both the vehicles and the satellites that they would then make available on a competitive basis to the scientists, to users. Were you involved in this part of it at all?
You mean to do it on an entrepreneurial basis?
They may have talked about it but I think they soon abandoned the idea. It was too tricky, too costly. At the present time at least two or three companies in this country today are trying to get financing on an entrepreneurial basis to launch rocket platforms. One of them is my old friend, Bob Truax, a retired Navy Captain, who is one of the original guys in this business.
The French are trying it of course with the Ariane. And are making a lot of noises that they're giving NASA a lot of competition.
Is it fair competition?
You mean in the sense that it is subsidized by the French government? It is subsidized. They've had a total of 6 launches. Of these, four have been successful, the most recent one during mid 1983. They'll probably be able to put communications satellites into orbit, since they don't take a lot of payload.
I want to thank you very, very much. I've got a minute or two left. Are there any general comments you'd like to make back on the V-2 era? What do you think was the most satisfying thing that came out of that era for you?
It opened up a new world for me. We were in an expanding Research Universe and we made the most of it. Rockets and electronics were the key to space exploration. Both fields were developing rapidly. I of course had little experience in space at that point, nor did anybody else. It opened up the world of academe. I brushed up against a lot of capable, very intelligent people, which was an extremely interesting experience. I learned much about many things. I also was very fortunate in that most of the people were very cooperative, and there was, so to speak, hardly a bastard in the crowd, which is rather unusual. It was a very satisfying period. Much good data came out of that early work. In addition, the basis was set for some even better work later on. The basic standard atmosphere work was essentially done in these early days. The definitive cosmic ray work came later. The solar X-ray foundation had been set, with more detailed research to come later.
The world of space had been opened! Landing on the moon and exploration of the planets was to take place before another three decades (one generation) had passed. I consider my participation in blazing the trail and then living to see it unfold in so many avenues, as most fortuitous. It is difficult to comprehend how I could have written, given my choice, a more satisfying scenario for my life. For a half century I have been most fortunate to have witnessed, and been part of, the most unprecedented technological developments the world has ever seen. And yet, I feel that an observation by Norman Thomas about a year before his death, is most appropriate. He said, "Technology has reached a point where it is possible to send a message around the earth seven times in one second, but I am not at all sure we have a message worth sending." As I reflect on my own early projections and subsequent developments, I am greatly impressed by a statement made at approximately the beginning of this same half century by a poet and not a scientist, the Poet Laureate of Great Britain, John Masefield, who said: "Wisdom lies in the masterful administration of the unforeseen."
All right. THANK YOU.
E.H. Krause, "The Sensitized Fluorescence of Potassium" The Physical Review 55 (1939) 164-9.
L.R. Ingersoll, E.H. Krause, and J.G. Winans, "The Polarizing Characteristics of Polaroid Plates for Wavelengths of 4,000A degrees to 20,000A degrees,,,J. Opt. Soc. Am. 26 (1936):233.
J.T. Burke, F.E. Huggins, S. Levine, NRL Pulse Control System (XBA-XBB) NRL Report 3096
"NRL Pulse Control System, September 1944."
In SS&E files: E.H. Krause, "Report on a Proposed Guided Missile Program For the Naval Research Laboratory" Presented before the director on Dec. 3, 1945.
Beyond the Atmosphere.
See: Milton Rosen, The Viking Rocket Story (Harper, 1955).
See E.H. Krause, "Report on a proposed Guided Missile Program For the Naval Research Laboratory Presented before the Director Dec. 3, 1945" SAOHP-SSE NASM p. 2-5.
Noting item in his file.
SAOHP-SSE Working Files, NASM.
SAOHP-SSE Working Files, NASM.
NRL Laboratory Orders No. 46-45 and 47-45 both dated 17 Dec. 1945. SAOHP-SSE Working Files, NASM.
Picture in SS&E files.
Picture of Krause in SS&E files.
Picture of C.H. Smith in SS&E files.
Picture showing roundness of the earth in SS&E files.
Picture of Krause in SS&E files.
Pictures in SS&E files.
Pictures in SS&E files.
Meeting date: 16 Jan. 1946.
Bumblebee Report #81 (July 1948): "High Altitude Research Using the V-2 Rocket.,, L.W. Fraser and E.H. Siegler, APL. Pages 72-74.
The following people appeared on NRL telemetry papers: C.H. Hoeppner, J.R. Kauke, R.E. Taylor, K.M. Uglow, S.W. Lichtman, and P.R. Shifflett.
In SS&E files.
Symposium on Cosmic Rays in honor of Millikan's 80th birthday. Caltech, June 21-23, 1948.
S.E. Golian and E.H. Krause, "Further Cosmic Rays Experiments above the Atmosphere," Phys. Rev. 71 (1947). 918-919.
Low pressure system used in nuclear navy.