AN ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY OF PROJECTS MERCURY, GEMINI AND APOLLO
Stanley H. Goldstein
B.A., Brooklyn College, 1953
M.A., University of Illinois, 1956
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of Public Affairs of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Public Administration
Graduate School of Public Affairs
This thesis for the Doctor of Public Administration
Stanley H. Goldstein
has been approved for the
of Public Affairs
Date July 24, 1984
Copyright by Stanley H. Goldstein 1984
All Rights Reserved
Goldstein, Stanley H. (D.P.A., Public Administration)
Astronaut Training: An Administrative History of Projects
Mercury, Gemini and Apollo
Thesis directed by Professor Jay M. Shafritz
The first lunar landing mission, July 1969, was the cul-
mination of years of intense engineering design, development, and
testing. Concurrently, a number of administrative processes were
also developed and implemented. Space planners were quick to
realize that in a research and development (R&D) effort such as
was represented by Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, failures
were to be expected. With Congress and the public pressing for a
success (particularly in the early days), Johnson Space Center
officials recognized that astronaut training might well play a
significant role in the crew's ability to adjust to emergencies
likely (and unlikely) to occur during space flight.
As the scenario played out, astronaut training did contri-
bute materially to the success of Project Apollo. For this reason,
a case study tracing the development and management of the astronaut
training program is both interesting and instructional. Further-
more, an analysis of the case reveals specific recommendations
applicable to practicioners of training in both the public and
There were certain factors which effected the form and
substance of the astronaut training program and contributed to its
success. These factors are identified and, wherever possible, tied
together with the training literature available during the growth
and development of the space program. The conclusions reveal a
set of relatively unique conditions (e.g., strong political and
public support for the space program; past Air Force experience in
training test pilots; the paucity of applicable training theory)
which contributed, each in its own way, to the success of the
training effort. Finally, in discussing the lessons to be learned,
the study also suggests certain areas (management support, trainee
motivation, training philosophies, strategies, and techniques)
which trainers might well consider when developing and managing
training programs in an R&D setting.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend
Faculty member in/>fcha(rge of thesis
To my wife, Joan, and my daughters, Jill and Susie, whose concern
for my (and their) sanity drove me to complete this task. Their
pride in this accomplishment kept me on the right track. And to
my mother who, although she did not live to read the final version,
would have been as proud as any mother could be.
My sincerest thanks must go to ir\y committee -- Drs. Jay Shafritz and
Eileen Tynan and Admiral Alan Shepard for their continued interest,
support, and technical direction in this effort which I thought
unique. And to Joanne Horn and Freda Lowe, my everlasting appre-
ciation for their typing and proofreading abilities and their
composure under fire.
INTRODUCTION ................................................ 1
The Moon Landing ......................................... 1
Spaceflight in Literature ................................ 3
The Importance of Training to the Lunar Landing......... 4
The Study Design ......................................... 8
Questions to be Answered by the Study .................... 10
Why Conduct the Study? ................................... 12
Notes ...................................................... 14
METHODOLOGY ................................................... 15
Research Focus ............................................. 15
The Historical Approach .................................... 16
The Case Study ............................................. 17
History of Administrative Case Studies ................ 18
Limitations of Case Studies ................................ 19
Overcoming the Limitations ................................. 20
Data Collection ............................................ 21
Observing the Facts ........................................ 22
Sources of Documentary Review .............................. 24
Interviews ................................................. 26
Summary ............................................. 31
Notes ...................................................... 33
LITERATURE REVIEW: THE FIELD OF TRAINING .................... 36
Overview of Training ....................................... 36
Definition of Training ..................................... 39
Training, Education, and Development ....................... 41
Training History ......................................... 43
Training in the Public Service ............................. 45
Learning ................................................... 51
Transfer of Learning .................................54
Training Management ...................................... 58
Role of the Training Organization .......................... 60
Barriers to Effective Training ............................. 62
Summary .................................................... 64
Notes ...................................................... 65
THE MILIEU .................................................... 71
Introduction ............................................... 71
The Cold War ............................................... 71
The Eisenhower Space Policy ................................ 73
National Security (1953-1955) 74
International Geophysical Year (IGY) ....................... 75
Rocketry ................................................... 76
Sputnik and Beyond ....................................... 79
The Space Act .............................................. 85
John F. Kennedy ............................................ 88
The Space Race ............................................. 92
Summary .................................................... 94
Notes ....................................................... 96
GENESIS TRAINING FOR PROJECT MERCURY ...................... 100
Introduction ............................................... 100
Project Mercury Background ................................. 101
Selection of the Astronauts ................................ 102
The Training Program Philosophy ............................ Ill
The Nature of the Job ................................... 113
The Type of Trainee .................................... 114
The Facilities and Equipment Available .................. 114
The Group Approach ...................................... 115
The Critical Factors in Program Development ................ 116
The Role of Space Medicine ................................. 117
Simulation The Ultimate Training Technique ............... 122
Definition .............................................. 122
History ................................................. 124
Types of Simulators ..................................... 127
How Much to Simulate? ................................... 129
Types of Simulations .................................... 131
Environmental Simulation .............................. 131
Operational and Procedural Simulations ................ 133
Integrated and Mission Simulations .................... 138
The Program Itself ......................................... 139
Basic Classroom Engineering and Science ................. 140
Systems Training ........................................ 142
Capsule Attitude Control Training ....................... 145
Environmental Familiarization ............................ 148
Egress-Survival Training ................................. 152
Preflight Preparation .................................... 155
Physical Conditioning .................................... 156
Managing the Training Program .............................. 157
Definition ............................................... 157
Management Support ....................................... 158
Determining Training Objectives .......................... 160
Curriculum Design ...................................... 161
Selection of Trainees .................................... 164
Determining Methodological Approach(es) .................. 164
Organization of the Training Effort ...................... 166
Funding and Budgets .................................... 167
Scheduling ............................................... 168
Record Keeping ........................................... 169
Evaluation of Training ................................... 170
The Flights of Mercury ..................................... 173
Summary .................................................... 178
Notes .................................................... 181
THE BRIDGE TRAINING FOR GEMINI ............................. 192
Introduction ............................................... 192
Gemini History ............................................. 193
Program Development How the Training Requirements
Were Met ................................................... 198
Classroom Training in Science and Technology ............. 200
Operations Familiarization ............................... 201
Environmental Familiarization ........................... 201
Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Design and
Development ..................................... 203
Aircraft Flight Program ................................. 203
Gemini Mission Training ................................. 204
Training Equipment and Devices .......................... 205
Program Management ........................................ 212
Determining the Training Objectives ..................... 213
Curriculum Design ....................................... 214
Selection of Trainees ................................... 216
Determining the Training Aids to be Used................. 217
Organization of the Training Effort ................... 218
Program Costs ........................................... 219
Scheduling .............................................. 220
Record Keeping .......................................... 221
Evaluation of Training .................................. 221
Gemini Ascending .......................................... 222
Summary ................................................... 233
Notes ..................................................... 235
THE FINAL ASSAULT TRAINING FOR APOLLO ..................... 239
Introduction .............................................. 239
Apollo History ............................................ 240
Apollo Training Philosophy................................. 244
Program Development ....................................... 247
Classroom Training ...................................... 248
Science Training ........................................ 249
Other General Training................................. 260
Simulation .............................................. 261
Lunar Module Simulation ................................. 262
Lunar EVA Simulation .................................... 266
Command Service Module (CSM) Simulators ................. 267
Program Management ....................................... 270
The Flights of Apollo ................................... 279
Summary ................................................... 292
Notes ..................................................... 294
CONCLUSIONS ................................................. 299
Introduction .............................................. 299
Summary of Training Highlights of the Three
Programs ................................................ 301
Factors Contributing to Training Program
Development ............................................... 304
Space Race Atmosphere ................................... 304
NASA as a Public Agency ............................... 305
The R&D Nature of Spaceflight and the Role of
Training as a Guarantor of Mission Success ............. 306
Culture and History of the Organization ................. 307
Motivation and Qualifications of the Trainees
State of the Art in the Field of Training and
Development ............................................ 309
Military Test Pilot Training...............^............ 311
Training Philosophies/Strategies Used ................... 312
Mission-Related Decisions as Drivers of the
Training Program ....................................... 314
Pioneering Attitude ..................................... 315
Management Attitudes .................................... 317
Factors Contributing to the Successful Management
of the Training Program................................ 318
Lack of Guiding Literature .............................. 319
Development of Training Objectives Influenced
by the Nature of Manned Space Flight ..................... 319
Innovation .............................................. 321
Evaluation Techniques ................................. 323
Early Training Management Failures ....................... 323
Lessons to be Learned...................................... 325
Notes ..................................................... 333
BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................. 334
Books and Reports .......................................... 334
Periodicals ................................................ 342
NASA Documents Published ................................. 344
NASA Documents Unpublished ............................... 346
U.S. Government Documents .................................. 348
Interviews ................................................. 349
APPENDIX .................................................... 351
Glossary .................................................. 351
The Moon Landing
"Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has land-
ed." Those words, spoken by astronaut Neil Armstrong as his
Apollo 11 spacecraft touched down on the lunar surface, con-
cluded a massive nine year effort involving 400,000 government
and industry employees and costing $25 billion. Capsule
Communicator Charles Duke, speaking from the Mission Control
Center at Houston, Texas summed up his own feelings and those
of most of the world when he replied, "Roger Tranquillity. We
copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn
blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot."*
As a result of this momentus flight, the history of the
world was unalterably changed. Whether for better or worse is
still to be determined, but changed it was! And for a brief and
precious moment, the world was united as it had never been before.
As the Houston Chronicle noted in two related headlines "Nothing
Seems Impossible" and "All Men Brothers for a Moment."2
The Apollo 11 mission was launched on July 16, 1969 at
which time the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn launch vehicle were
inserted into a "parking orbit" 100 miles above the earth.
After a two and a half hour checkout, the Apollo/Saturn
configuration continued on to the vicinity of the moon and were
inserted into a translunar orbit. The Commander (Neil Armstrong)
and Lunar Module Pilot (Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin) then transferred
to the Lunar Module to make an initial inspection of their
lunar lander. At eighty-one hours into the mission, the Lunar
Module was powered-up and systems checks were accomplished.
After a sleep period back in the Apollo, the same two crewmen
reentered the Lunar Module and made final preparations for the
descent to the moon's surface. One hundred hours after-the
flight began the Lunar Module was undocked from the launch
vehicle and the descent propulsion system was fired as planned.
Twelve minutes later, on July 20th at 2:17 p.m. (Eastern
Standard Time) Armstrong's fateful words rang out.
After a two hour postlanding checkout, both astronauts
donned their portable life support systems (space suits), and one-
by-one descended a ladder attached to the Lunar Module. When first
setting foot on the lunar surface, Armstrong then echoed the theme
which characterized much of the philosophy of the U.S. space
program: "That's one small step for [a] man one giant leap for
mankind." After completing their experiments on the moon, (which
included leaving a plaque which read: "Here men from planet Earth
first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for
all mankind") and some twenty-three hours after touchdown, the
astronauts in their Lunar Module lifted-off from the moon's
surface to rendezvous with the mother-craft. Approximately
four and a half hours later the Apollo and the lunar lander
were docked and the crew reentered the spacecraft to rejoin
astronaut Michael Collins who had been orbiting the moon while
his fellow crew members walked on the dust-laden and cratered
surface. After an uneventful trip back to Earth and some one
hundred and ninety five hours after initial launch, the space-
craft splashed down into the Pacific Ocean, its mission success-
Spaceflight in Literature
The complexities of this feat, both technically and
administratively, were staggering. Never before had a nation
attempted a peacetime project of such magnitude. But thinking
about a flight to the stars was, itself, very old. Precisely
where or when the first man-in-space dream originated is lost in
antiquity, although Greek mythology holds it must have been
spawned as soon as the dream of flight itself.^ /\uthors have,
over the years, fancied many and various approaches to spring man
from the fetters of Earth. In 160 A.D. Lucian wrote of Menippus
who was carried to the moon on a giant water spout and returned
when Mercury took hold of his right ear and deposited him safely
back to earth. In the 17th Century, Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac
discussed with his friend DeGuiche several methods of reaching
the moon including:
1. Flasks of dew held under the arms and drawn up by
2. A series of rockets setting off one another to
propel an ariel chariot
3. An iron chariot steadily drawn up by means of the
driver continually throwing a magnet ahead of
4. A wooden bird whose wings would be moved by
5. Filling two huge vases with smoke, sealing them
hermetically, strapping them under the arms,
and waiting for the smoke, which rises and can-
not leave the containers, to push him up.6
Even as late as 1869, Edward Everett Hale proposed a huge
flywheel to hurl a brick sphere into orbit.6 j^e 19th century,
though, saw one of the first potentially feasible proposals from
the pen of a fiction writer. Jules Verne described in detail
how a cannon would propel a projectile into outer space in his
"From the Earth to the Moon and a Trip Around It.11? /\ncj wrl'ters
such as Marjorie Hope Nicholson and Arthur C. Clarke have chro-
nicled a wide variety of imaginative approaches conceived by
inventors, scientists and dreamers over the years.8
The Importance of Training to the Lunar Landing
But engineers were forced by the laws of nature to
adhere more closely to reality. Only in the 20th century,
historically representing the twinkling of an eye, did man
through the efforts of theoreticians and technicians begin to
gain access to the technology which would lead to the startling
and in some ways unsettling events of July 1969.'
The manned space program in general and its lunar landing
phase in particular represents a rare combination of pioneering
research and development in areas such as technology, manufac-
turing and program management; a massive infusion of government
resources (e.g., money, manpower); and an unusually high degree
of citizen interest and enthusiasm. Thus it provided an oppor-
tunity to design, develop, and test new hardware and software
technologies and administrative management philosophies; and to
refine existing techniques, strategies, and approaches in these
There are many aspects of the lunar landing effort which
deserve study. And as a result, a number of excellent and infor-
mative histories have been written about each of the major pro-
jects which led to the accomplishment of the national goal of
landing men on the moon and returning them safely to earth within
the decade of the 1960's. Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo
contributed significantly to the fund of knowledge necessary to
take the "giant step" to the moon. The total effort required at
least three major aspects to be satisfactorily accomplished:
hardware development (e.g., spacecraft and launch vehicles);
software development (e.g., computer programs) and manpower deve-
lopment (e.g., astronaut training). The last, although receiving
considerably less attention than the others, was as important as
any for mission success. In a state-of-the-art program such as
space exploration, equipment failures could be expected. Thus,
the manner in which the astronauts reacted to those failures
could spell the difference between a nominal mission or a
catastrophic event (e.g., spacecraft destruction and/or astronaut
death). And it was training which provided the experience
necessary to help the flight crew respond to these potential
emergencies. As far back as 1958, Ogle noted:
Yet there comes a point of performance where the
failure of either man or machine serves to destroy the
other regardless of safety-escape provisions. It is
easy to see then, that in spacecraft design, and in
selection and training of space flyers, little can be
left to chance. When earth-bound man achieves his
sought-for freedom in the limitlessness of space, he
must be capable of the most exacting performance . .
in all creation.9
To further attest to the importance of training to
mission and program success, one need only review several criti-
cal inflight incidents. During Gemini 8, astronauts Neil
Armstrong and David Scott docked their spacecraft with the Agena
target vehicle which had been launched several days earlier.
Almost immediately they began a violent and uncontrolled roll.
At one revolution per second it was only a matter of minutes
before the astronauts would lose consciousness and die. They
quickly undocked but continued to roll. Only quick thinking and
much practice on flight simulators programmed to provide a
variety of potential catastrophies saved the day. Flipping a
series of thruster switches, the crew finally brought the space-
craft under control. The problem, diagnosed only after a suc-
cessful landing, was found to be a thruster stuck in the "on"
position. Likewise, as late as Apollo 11 itself, there was an
emergency which could have terminated the flight prior to lunar
touchdown. When alarm bells began to sound only seconds prior to
lunar touchdown indicating a computer anomalie, a real-time deci-
sion had to be made as to whether to continue the mission or
abort the flight short of its goal. Only knowledge of the com-
puter systems and their programs, obtained through many hours of
familiarization briefings and training convinced the crew and the
ground support team that it was safe to disregard the warning
bells and land the Eagle.
In his Apollo post-flight debriefing, Armstrong noted,
among other things, that landing on the moon was trickier than
it had been on earth.10 Thus, even with all the complex simula-
tion techniques with which the Apollo 11 crew practiced during
its extensive training period, complete fidelity for landing a
vehicle on the moon had not been totally reproduced. However,
implicit in his statement was the realization that without the
earth-based training, mission success would have been less
likely to occur. Once again, the efficiency of the training
program had been proven.
In general terms, the value of training and development
is recognized (albeit passively by most organizations) in both
the public and private sector as a valuable tool to increase
effectiveness, efficiency, and ultimately, productivity. In the
public sector though, it is seldom used as a direct support to
mission accomplishment. Such is the case because of the service
nature of much of the work accomplished by public agencies
(e.g., welfare, police protection). As a result, attempting to
draw inferences about the specific contributions of various
types of public agency training is often tenuous. However, in
studying the development and management of astronaut training,
the writer will deal with one of the rare instances in which
training and development in the public sector was used as an
integral part of mission success.
To help understand the manned space program and how
training impacted it, this study will trace the development and
management of the astronaut training portion of the moon landing
program. Information uncovered in the course of the research
may well make a contribution to public sector training managers
who have responsibilities for designing, developing and imple-
menting training activities for expensive, high technology
programs of great interest to a large segment of the population.
An important example of how training or the lack of it may
impact public sector program managers is the nuclear accident at
3 Mile Island. As Charles Kriessman notes, three of the
accident's four major causes were directly attributable to difi-
ciencies in training.H Ford, describing the same events also
concludes that, as an example of technology outstripping our
ability to direct it, the accident was caused primarily by
poorly trained technicians.12 Thus, information concerning how
to develop and manage a training program may well provide a base
of experience for those faced with similar responsibilities.
The Study Design
The study will begin with the methodological approaches
to be used in gathering the data on which the analysis and
conclusions will be based. Chapter 3 describes the
appropriate literature which connects the field of training
development and management to the case study. As such, it pro-
vides a framework for understanding the field of training by
viewing the literature as it applies to the definition and
history of training. The Chapter further provides an overview
of certain subsets of training (e.g., learning, transfer of
training). Finally, the limited literature available describing
management of training programs is discussed.
Chapter 4 notes the political, social, economic, and
world conditions which helped create the space program. As
such, it reflects the all-encompassing need for mission success
and the concomitant recognition of training as the vehicle to
help accomplish this success. It also sets the stage for a
description of the three major space flight programs leading up
to the lunar landing.
Chapter 5 begins with the history of the training effort
involved in Project Mercury and traces and analyzes the various
phases through which it traversed in terms of its development
and management. Chapters 6 and 7 cover the Project Gemini and
Apollo training programs. Chapter 7 concludes with the training
provided for the flight of Apollo 11 the lunar landing
mission. Chapter 8 represents an analysis of the case study and
the conclusions to be drawn from the astronaut training program
One reason for ending the research with Apollo 11 is
that it was the culmination of a national goal. Additionally
though, the basic training program had by that time been deve-
loped and tested and was fully operational. Subsequent missions
involved refinements of the Apollo training experiences. Thus,
the study will offer researchers, public administration
academicians, and public sector managers responsible for the
design, development and management of administrative programs a
unique opportunity to learn how an important part of a major
federal program was accomplished. Administrators, historians
and practicioners in the field of training and development may
also benefit by learning more about events which occurred during
the early days of the space program and by so doing, understand
better the factors which shaped the national response to a series
of perceived problems. Finally, since the case study method will
be used to develop and analyze the data, the approach used in
this study may well assist those interested in developing case
studies as a method of teaching and analyzing the field of public
administration. Tracking and investigating this major public
sector training program may also provide the motivation for
others to use the public sector as a basis for developing similar
studies which themselves might advance the field of public
Questions to be Answered by the Study
Many intriguing questions can be posed regarding the
development and management of the astronaut training program.
One of the most critical ones is, what kind of training program
was developed to accomplish a goal for which man had little or no
experience? One brief example should illustrate the difficult-
ies. Weightlessness was initially viewed with great concern by
planners. Those responsible for astronaut training were faced
with developing techniques which would simulate weightlessness
and provide the astronauts with sufficient background to enhance
their ability to deal effectively with mission emergencies.
Furthermore, the training had to provide spacecraft designers
with data (based on astronaut performance during the training) to
be used in actually designing the equipment which the flight crew
would be using during their missions. The major problem though
was that weightlessness can be simulated only for very brief
periods of time (e.g., less than one minute). The question,
then, as it relates to planning and developing the training beco-
mes a very provocative and important one. Other questions also
germane to the field of training and development can be raised.
What were the factors which contributed to the success of the
training program involved in the lunar landing program? How did
these factors relate to one another? What were the developmental
and management problems and how were they resolved? What
training philosophy was used (if there was one)? What was the
role of various types of training techniques? In what way did
training contribute to mission success? These questions, to be
raised and answered in the study, are particularly interesting in
that planners, in developing the program, were forced to ask
themselves these and other questions to which the answers were
imponderable (e.g., since man has never before traveled in space,
what training would be necessary to support space travel involving
ReDroduoed with np>rmkcinn nftha f'nnwrinht
a human being living and working in an environment outside the
earth's atmosphere, landing on an alien sphere [the moon], and
returning safely to Earth?).
Why Conduct the Study?
Such questions have relevance for contemporary trainers,
particularly in the public sector, where so many substantive
programs are high-cost, high-visibility and require significant
amounts of training to insure success. An analysis of events
concerning the development and management of the astronaut train-
ing activities, if viewed as an application of traditional
training philosophies and methods, the development of new
approaches, and the combination of both in a unique fashion, may
well provide a framework within which public sector training
management decisions could be made in the future. Additionally,
the potential exists to expand the body of knowledge which
training professionals use in their day-to-day planning,
development, and implementation activities.
Understanding the state-of-the-art existing during the
late 1950's and 1960's as it relates to training theory,
techniques, and management is critical to understanding how and
why the training program developed as it did. This background
data can be used by today's trainers in their attempts to
understand better how to train, develop, and utilize human
resources. Thus, the study will contribute to a better histori-
cal perspective of the field of training itself.
Finally, because of the unique nature of the manned space
program a wide assortment of people believe that we should view,
in a critical and scientific manner, why, how, and what was
accomplished in one of mankind's premier efforts: the moon
landing program. As time passes it will be increasingly dif-
ficult to recapture the specific information required to piece
the various aspects of this history together. Fortunately,
records and memories are still fresh at this time and many of the
major participants in the events are still with NASA andthe
Johnson Space Center. Thus, the opportunity currently exists to
systematically study an important segment of the nations manned
space program, the astronaut training program. The writer has
attempted to accomplish just this.
NOTES CHAPTER I
^Courtney G. Brooks, James M. Grimwood, and Lloyd S.
Swenson, Jr., Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar
Spacecraft, (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, 1979), p. 344
2The Houston Chronicle 20 July, 1969, sec. A, p. 1.
3U. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
Apollo 11 Mission Report, NASA-238, 1971, pp. 2-3.
4john K. O'Doherty, "The History of Space Flight," The
Ai rman, (Febuary, 1964): 12-14.
^Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Edited by Leslie
Ross Meras, (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1936).
^Edward Everett Hale, The Brick Moon and Other Stories,
(Salem, N.Y.: Ayer Co., 1970), Reprint.
7Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon and a Trip
Around It, (Phi 1 a: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1869).
^For example, see Arthur C. Clarke, "Space Travel in
Fact and Fiction," Journal of the British Interplanetary
Society, IX, (September 1950): 213-230 and Marjorie Hope
Hicholson, Science and Imagination, (Hamden, Ct.: Shoe String
Press, 1976), Reprint of 1956 edition.
9Dan C. Ogle, "The Threshold of Space," Air University
Quarterly Review, (Summer 1958): 51.
10Gene Farmer and Dora Jane Hamblin, First on the Moon:
A Voyage with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E.
Aldrin, Jr., (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1970), p. 245.
^Charles Kriessmen, "A Spectrum of Simulators for Power
Plant Training," Training and Development Journal, Volume 35,
(July 1981): 37-3'5; ;
12Daniel F. Ford, Three Mile Island: Thirty Minutes to
the Meltdown, (New York: Viking Press, 1981), pp. 243-261.
13For a good example of such a study see Graham T.
Allison, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile
Crisis, (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1971).
To determine and then to evaluate the factors
contributing to the success of the astronaut training
program (and, in turn, the success of the entire manned
space program), the proposed study must have a focus.
There exists a multitude of information and, as a result,
obtaining and correctly structuring the data is vital for
purposes of analysis. The researcher has chosen to concen-
trate on several areas which, when studied, appear to provide
the greatest possibility for helping draw conclusions about
the astronaut training program and its implications for other
public sector trainers. For example, one must understand the
conditions leading to the national commitment to land men on
the moon and return them to earth before the end of the decade;
the basis for selecting the astronauts; why and how the training
program was developed and administered; and how the training
program actually functioned in each of the three space flight
programs leading up to the lunar landing. Using these aspects
as the conceptual base for the study, it was clear that some
form of historical search was likely to provide the most help
in establishing a framework for gathering the data.
The Historical Approach
What is history? According to Nevins, it . is an
integrated narrative or description of past events or facts
written in a spirit of critical inquiry for the whole truth."1
Historians such as Gottschalk and Gray agree that history and
the historian deal with the dynamic and the static, the aim
being to be both descriptive and interpretive.2 History, though,
can never be totally recaptured. Of this there is no doubt.
It has been said that, ". . the utmost the historian can grasp
of history as actuality, no matter how real it may have seemed
while it was happening, can be nothing more than a mental image
. . based on an application of (the historian's) own
experience. ."3 Thus, attempting to understand history is in
some measure a fantasy. The writer proposes though, by the use
of appropriate methodology, to add a substantive degree of
realism to the history of the space program.
As anyone who has ever embarked on the treacherous
journey of writing history knows, there are many problems
inherent in a historical work. As Nevins says, "A cynic's
definition of history is "a lie agreed upon".^ Disraeli is
also reputed to have said that he preferred romances to history
because romances tell more truth.5 Gottschalk places this com-
ment in perspective by noting that history is not a science but a
method. Most historians would agree.
Inherent in any history is the use of the historical
method. It can best be described as the critical examination
and analysis of data however obtained. The historical method
when applied to the past is what makes history.7 Thus, the two
basic elements of history are "... a body of more or less
trustworthy materials and a critical method applied to them."
This is the framework within which the writer has approached the
As the critical method to be used to help place the data
in perspective, the case study format was selected since in an
administrative (e.g., non-scientific) setting it is most able to
provide the necessary objectivity.
The Case Study
As Bock and Campbell state, the case study is a method
which adds, ". . some aspect of reality" to research.0
However, in studies of administrative processes, the researcher,
according to Kerlinger is not always able to formulate his problem
simply, clearly, and completely. Very often there is only a
rather general diffuse and even confused notion of the
problem.10 Simon notes that case studies are an excellent
technique if the researcher desires a mass of data about the sub-
ject but has an incomplete idea of what he is specifically
looking for.11 Garson agrees and justifies case studies as ". .
an exploratory phase of research, not supporting.generalizations,
but providing insights in later undertaking more comprehensive
approaches." Thus, a case study would appear to allow the
researcher considerable latitude in his attempt to build a
detailed descriptive analysis of various events. Descriptive
research techniques, as described by Van Dalen and Meyer,
1. Collecting information which describes the situation;
2. Identifying problems and current conditions;
3. Making comparisons and evaluations; and
4. Determining what others with similar problems are
As descriptive research, a case study does not have a
clear set of dependent and independent variables as required in
traditional scientific research. This fact by itself
distinguishes it from other kinds of research.14
Thus, taking into account the subject matter (e.g., the
space program) any attempt to evaluate one of the factors leading
to its success (e.g., the astronaut training program) would, of
necessity, involve obtaining a large volume of data but might not
begin with a distinct hypothesis. And even if an hypothesis were
possible, it would be unlikely to be able to scientifically test
for its applicability. It would appear then that the case
study is the most appropriate tool to use in this situation.
To make a final decision, however, one should understand more
about the case study approach. A brief history will help to pro-
vide the necessary background.
History of Administrative Case Studies
The use of case studies for the development of knowledge
about the administration of government is a relatively recent
phenomena.15 Mosher describes its genesis in the late 1930's
with the formulation of the Committee on Public Administration of
the Social Science Research Council. Their attempt was to pro-
vide useful guides to administrators faced with similar problems;
to furnish useful materials for students; and to promote and
develop a true science of administration.16 After World War II,
students of public administration began to emphasize questions of
public policy determination and deemphasize concerns with mana-
gerial techniques. The Harvard Littauer School began to develop
cases with this trend in mind and in 1947 the Committee on Public
Administration Cases (CPAC) began to promulgate cases which
showed the complexity (rather than the simplicity) of public
administration. Such cases concentrated on policy and program
decisions and each case was supposed to stand on its own as a
contribution to public decisionmaking. However, according to
Mosher, since the cases didn't produce or test systematic genera-
lizations about administration, the trend in case study develop-
ment began to change from the concept of "targets of opportunity"
to one of interest in certain subject matter areas which would
develop more intensive understandings in these areas.17 The
astronaut training case study clearly represents the more recent
Limitations of Case Studies
As certainly as the case study method appears advan-
tageous for researchers, there are various critics of the method.
The typical objections, according to Eulau, are:
1. The grounds for selecting the case study are often
weak and obscure;
2. The case usually deals with critical and extreme
problems and does not represent a modal situation;
3. Case studies have problems with the lack of relia-
bility of findings in terms of interpreting;
4. The approach lacks a theoretical framework to deter-
mine what the researcher included and excluded in the
5. Case studies lack sufficient followup or systematic
followup and thus, no real basis exists for evaluation
He does, however, note that researchers should use what-
ever method is likely to yield the most satisfactory results.19
Polsby, Dentler, and Smith also criticize the method by
indicating that cases place great emphasis on organizational
climate, personality, and atmospheric detail. As a result, the
reader is often overwhelmed by details and case study writers do
not handle this except in the most primitive ways.20
Overcoming the Limitations
Each criticism has certain validity. However, the
writer has taken great pains in structuring the study to overcome
these complaints. For example, the caveat concerning the reasons
for selecting a particular case study is inappropriate in this
situation since the existing case study literature concerning
training management, particularly in the public sector, is
generally limited in volume, and when available, is weak. As a
result, this study may be able to improve the quantity and
quality of data dealing with training management. Furthermore,
although this case does deal with an unusual situation
(e.g., astronaut training) its applicability appears to be suf-
ficiently general that the results could be used by training
managers working in any high technology industry. The lack of
reliability of findings would, on the face of it, appear to be a
difficult problem to overcome. However, the writer used "hard
data" (e.g., documents) wherever possible to add to the objec-
tivity and thus improve the likelihood of reliability.
Interviews were conducted, in part, to point the writer to
written information with which he was not previously familiar.
Whenever possible then, substantive and recoverable information
became the key element in the search for data. In fact, the only
criticism that might apply in this study is that there may not be
systematic followup to allow for generalizations. However, it is
likely that the study is inherently interesting and relevant that
students in the field or practicioners may use it as the basis
for conducting additional research which will provide further
evidence for a set of generalizations concerning training manage-
ment in the public sector.
The other basic element of history is the data itself.
Collecting the facts on which conclusions can be based is the key
process in any study. Thus, any study is only as good as the
data collected. And a study about the space program is no excep-
tion. Basically, data can be collected by observation; review
of documentary evidence; and interviews. In this study, each
was used to its greatest advantage.
Observing the Events
By and large, there are two types of observation:
structural and participant. Selltiz, Wrightsman and Cook'describe
structural observation as varying along a structural continuum.
As such, the observer knows the aspects of individual and group
behavior that are relevant to the study being conducted.21
Becker and Geer endorse participant observations as an
appropriate mode.22 in participant observation, the observer may
or may not be involved in the social setting he is observing.
Stone describes various advantages of observation:
1. The observer is able to obtain data that the subject
may either be unwilling or unable to report any other way;
2. The observer can make inferences (although not always
accurate) about what caused the behavior;
3. Behavior is observed as it occurs, thus avoiding a
retrospective approach on the part of subjects.23
However, as Stone discusses, there are certain disadvan-
tages of the approach:
1. Observers are not always the best measuring devices
since their reports of what they observe may be incomplete
and may not, for a variety of reasons (e.g., fatigue)
provide reliable or valid data. (Kerlinger also notes that
observers can easily make incorrect inferences from obser-
vation but notes that this can be overcome with appropriate
structuring of the observation.24)
2. The observation of behavior may be more of a relative
method of measurement than are other techniques.
3. Observers, to be competent, need considerable training
which can be expensive and time consuming.25
Simon adds additional obstacles in using observations
including observer variability, observer bias, variability among
observers, and observer-caused effects.26
Taking into account the problems and vagaries of
observation, the writer used this technique as a method of
filling gaps in the information otherwise obtained. During the
early days of the space program, (1961-1967), the writer per-
formed personnel management duties at the Johnson Space Center
for, among other organizations, the Astronaut Office and the
Flight Crew Operations Directorate. Both organizations were
deeply involved with the development and management of astronaut
training efforts and the experience provided the writer with an
excellent knowledge of the key personnel of these organizations,
how they thought and acted, and how they interacted with each
other. In addition, from 1967 on, the writer held the position
of Director of Training. In this capacity, he was in a prime
position to observe first-hand the training events which took
place from that time until the first lunar landing mission. As a
result of this experience, observation, even recognizing its
shortcomings, appears to be a viable data-gathering technique.
It has been used, however, in a limited sense in this study and
only as a tool for establishing a perspective about various
Sources of Documentary Review
Documentation played a critical role in determining the
factual basis for the development and implementation of the
astronaut training program. Documentary sources can be either
primary or secondary.27 Primary evidence is that which is
recorded by someone who actually witnessed the events described.
Secondary evidence, on the other hand, involves the findings of
those who did not observe the event themselves, but rather
investigated primary evidence.
Although an important source of factual information,
some writers have pointed out the weaknesses of documents.
Richardson, Dohrenwerd, and Klein note that when the original
events aroused strong feelings, a certain bias may creep into the
reporting of events. And if subsequent evidence changed the
explanation of an event, the documents may not reflect the
change.28 Additionally, they can be misleading in that those who
have compiled the secondary documents may have insufficient
training, interest, or the motivation of scientific researchers.
Thus, determining the reliability of evidence is a serious
problem. Richardson, Dohrenwerd, and Klein also note that docu-
ments often provide tangential information as opposed to that
which is central to the researcher's interests.2^
However many the criticisms, though, the general objec-
tivity and substantive nature of documents far outweighs the
disadvantages. As a result, much reliance was placed on the
written record. And since the events occurred yesterday
(historically speaking), the information can be expected to be
reasonably fresh and accurate.
A great number of Johnson Space Center (JSC) and
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) primary
documents were marie available to the writer through the JSC
Technical Library, the JSC History Office, NASA RECON (a
computerized, online, interactive system for search and
retrieval), DIALOG (an information and retrieval system con-
taining over 150 data bases and more than 55 million records),
and various JSC offices involved in astronaut training. Such
documents included memoranda, reports, policy statements,
letters, mission reports, books authored by astronauts pertaining
to their space-related activities, NASA working papers, etc.
They provided direct evidence of the specific events which
occurred during the period under study as did such non-NASA
sources as Air Force histories and studies (obtained from the Air
Force Historical Office) concerning pilot training and aerospace
medical studies, and conferences and technical society pro-
ceedings concerning a wide variety of aspects of astronaut
Many secondary sources also exist. A number of NASA
histories have been written describing the Mercury, Gemini, and
Apollo programs. They provided the writer with an overview so
that astronaut training efforts could be analyzed and evaluated
in a larger setting. In addition, NASA histories of the launch
vehicle, space science, and Apollo-Soyuz programs contributed a
certain flavor to the writer's understanding of the role played by
training in the conduct of the total U.S. space program. Other
secondary sources included books and articles describing the
development of computers and simulators, hardware that was vital
in preparing astronauts for manned missions. Popular journals
(e.g., Aviation Week) have also published numerous articles on
astronaut training which provided both basic data and interpreta-
tion of events.
The role of the interview in historical research,
and particularly in this study, is quite important. Kerlinger
indicates that "The interview is probably man's oldest
and most often used device for obtaining information."30
Interviews were used to uncover information concerning the dyna-
mics involved in a variety of critical issues which effected
astronaut training. Only by using interviews could this infor-
mation have been obtained, analyzed, and evaluated. Huse states
that interviews provide a direct and personal way to obtain pri-
vate views and feelings.31 Since the manned spaceflight program
was a first-of-a-kind, there were many disagreements as to how
the training program should be developed and conducted.
Interviews revealed much in the way of motives, interpersonal
relationships, and the real source of authority and power.
Nadler and Schein also support interviews, although they
cite certain disadvantages of this approach. Memories fade and
accuracy may be a problem. In addition, they are time consuming
and require some degree of skill on the part of the
interviewer.32 The advantages, according to Selltiz, include the
fact that they are an excellent technique when the issues are
complex, when the relevant dimensions are not known, and the
research lies in the area of exploration of a process or the
individual's formulation of an issue.33
That interviews are direct is both a strength and a
weakness according to Kerlinger. It is a strength since it per-
mits probing; because much data can be obtained by specific
questions; and it is flexible since it is adaptable to various
situations. However, it is weak in that the interviewer may seek
information the respondent is unwilling or unable to give
directly; it is extremely time-consuming; and in some situations,
the interviewer becomes part of the measuring instrument (that
is, he interjects his thoughts, ideas and philosophy into the
Another weakness found in the interview process concerns,
according to Simon, the complexities of the human mind. Inter-
views may be flawed because of lack of knowledge by the
subject; the fallibility of memory; and attempts by the inter-
viewer to cover up important information. The interviewer can
also answer questions with a view toward trying to please the
observer and the subject may, for a variety of reasons, inten-
tionally try to deceive the interviewer.35 Simon describes other
obstacles created by the humaness of the interviewer. They
include observer variability and bias, and cheating by the
Dexter discusses the interviewing of elites (defined as any
interviewee to whom specialized, non-standard treatment is given)
and notes that in such contacts the interviewees' definition and
account of the situation as well as his view of what constitutes
relevant information is important.37 sjoberg and Nett describe
the focused interview as an approach to interviewing elites and
attribute it to Merton and his associates at Columbia's Bureau of
Applied Social Research. In the focused interview the inter-
viewee has been involved in the situation being interviewed;
possible significant elements have already been analyzed by the
researcher; the interview guide setting forth the major areas of
inquiry is then developed; and the interview focuses on the sub-
jective experiences of the interviewees to get their definition
of the situation.38 Much of this philosophy was followed in the
interviews bearing on this study.
In no case did the writer find in any of his various
interviews, any of the problems attendant upon interviewing.
This was true because those interviewed were in key positions and
had been interviewed previously by others. Also, all were proud
to have been associated with the manned space program in general
and the astronaut training program in particular. All felt they
had contributed to an event which ranks high on the list of human
achievement. In addition, the fact that the writer was well
known to all the interviewees and had worked with them for many
years helped establish an excellent rapport and as a result,
the interviewer was trusted.
The only problem with the interviews was the time that
had elapsed since the activities had taken place (e.g., in some
cases, as much as twenty years). However, personal notes and pre-
viously published data were available for the interviewees to
refresh their memories, and in very few instances did this prove
to be a problem.
The writer used a varying set of open-ended questions,
since each of the interviewees played a different role in the
training program development and management and different
information had to be elicited based on the function and
responsibility of the interviewee. Selltiz lists the criteria
(which this writer used) in developing questions:
1. Is the question related to the research problem and
the research objectives;
2. Is the type of question right and appropriate;
3. Is the item clear and unambiguous;
4. Is the question a leading question;
5. Does the question demand knowledge and information
that the respondent does not have;
6. Do the questions demand personal and delicate material
that the respondent may resist.39
Considerable research was accomplished prior to deve-
loping the specific questions for each interviewee since it was
vital that the researcher know the objective of each interview.
Although most of the twenty interviews were face-to-face, some
were conducted by telephone. All but one was tape recorded to
assure accuracy of interviewer recall.40 Typical of the
questions asked were:
1. Why was overlearning used as a training philosophy?
2. What were the major differences (and why were there
differences at all) in philosophy or strategy between
Mercury, Gemini and Apollo?
3. What were the major training problems in each of the
programs and how were they resolved?
4. In what ways was management supportive or non-supportive
of astronaut training?
5. What were the strengths and weaknesses in an overall
evaluation of the astronaut training program?
6. How specifically did crew training contribute to the
success of Apollo 11?
Interviewees were those who were responsible for the
planning and development of the overall manned spaceflight
program; those responsible for simulator design, development, and
operation; those responsible for the development, implementation,
and administration of the training program; and the astronauts
themselves who provided first-hand experience about the training
(a list of interviewees and their positions in the space program
can be found in the Bibliography).
The reasons the writer selected those to be interviewed
hinged on their positions during the astronaut training
activities. All were truly experts in a field wherein little had
been known. Expert opinion can clearly be useful as a source of
objective information which might be difficult to obtain any
other way. It is- important when various judgments involve human
values. In some cases, notes Simon, it is difficult to determine
just what expert opinion is and what first-hand data is.41 Simon
describes the differences between expert opinion and more' formal
scientific investigation. He states that the scientific method
tries to minimize human judgment involved in data gathering since
opinion is basically subjective. Further, ordinary scientific
investigation can be replicated since the researcher specifies
exactly how he obtained the data. But since expert opinion seeks
judgments and opinions, the data obtained by using it may not be
able to be replicated.42
Interviews, then, as other techniques, are replete with
advantages and disadvantages. In this particular case, though,
the advantages seem clearly to outweigh the disadvantages.
First-hand knowledge of events (even though the events occurred
years ago) represents an excellent method of obtaining facts and
viewpoints otherwise unavailable.
This combination of techniques--observation, documentary
review, and interviewscomprise the approach used to obtain the
data. Because of the nature of the information, statistical pro-
cesses were not required.
There is a plethora of information available concerning
all aspects of the astronaut training program. Thus, the role of
the author was to determine the strain of the filterthat is,
within the author's perspective, based on his working knowledge
of the space program, what was and was not important. Such deci-
sions were difficult and may be considered by some to be
arbitrary, but they were done in good faith with an attempt to
capture a sense of the training development and management effort
rather than to develop data on every bit and piece that made up
The other piece to the methodological puzzle is to
determine what knowledge existed pertaining to training develop-
ment and management during the time that the astronaut training
program was being developed and conducted. Only by understanding
this can the results of the training effort be placed in a proper
perspective. To make this discovery, we need to turn our attention
to a review of the literature existent in the training field.
NOTES CHAPTER II
*A1 lan Nevins, The Gateway to History, (Boston: D. C. Heath
and Company, 1938), p.
2Louis Gottschalk, Understanding History: A Primer of
Historical Method, 2nd ed., (New York, Alfred Knopf, 1969),
p. 44. and Wood Gray et al., Historians Handbook, 2nd ed.,
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1964), p. 27.
^Gottschalk, Understanding History, p. 47.
Kevins, The Gateway to History, p. 22.
6Gottschalk, Understanding History, p. 29.
^Nevins, The Gateway to History, p. 23.
8Ibid., p. 50.
^Edwin A. Bock and Alan K. Campbell eds. Case Studies in
American Government, (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hal1
Inc., 1962), p. ViII.
10Fred N. Kerlinger, Foundations of Behavioral Research,
2nd ed., (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973), p. 16.
nJul ian L. Simon, Basic Research Methods in Social Science,
(New York: Random House, 1969), pp. 206-207.
12oavid G. Garson, Political Science Methods, (Boston:
Holbrook Press, Inc., 1976), p. 165.
13Deobold B. Van Dalen and William J. Meyer, Understanding
Educational Research. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1966), p. 177.
14Simon, Basic Research Methods, p. 45.
^Frederick C. Mosher in Charles 0. Jones, Clean Air: The
Policies and Politics of Pollution, (Pittsburgh: Urnver-
sity of Pittsburgh Press, 1975), Appendix, pp. IX-XX.
18He inz Eulau, The Behavioral Persuasion in Politics, (New York
Random House, 1963), pp, 121-122.
2Nelson W. Polsby, Robert A. Dentler, and Paul A.Smith,
Politics and Social Life. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin and
Company, 1963), pp. 3-4.
^Claire M. Selltiz, Lawrence Wrightsman, and Stuart W. Cook,
Research Methods in Social Relations, 3rd ed. (New York:
Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1976), p. 69.
22noward S. Becker and Blanche Geer, "Participant Observation
and Interviewing: A Comparison", Human Organization. 16,
^Eugene F. Stone, Research Methods in Organizational Behavior,
(Santa Monica, CA: Goodyear Publishing Co., 1978), pp. 70-
71. This view is supported by others including David and
Chava Nachmicis, Research Methods in the Social Sciences,
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976), p. 74.
2^Kerl inger, Foundations of Behavioral Research, p. 538.
25Stone, Research Methods, p. 69.
26simon, Basic Research Methods, pp. 273-291.
27jul es R. Benjamin, A Student's Guide to History, 2nd ed.
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979), p. 8.
2gStephan A. Richardson, Barbara S. Dohrenwerd, and David
Klein, Interviewing: Its Forms and Functions, 5th ed.
(New YoTkl Basic Books, Inc., 1965), p. 21.
S^Kerl inger, Foundations of Behavioral Research, p. 480.
31Edgar F. Huse, Organizational Development and Change,
2nd ed. (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1980), p. 94.
32David A. Nadler, Feedback and Organization: Using Data-
Based Methods, (Reading: Mass.: Addison-Wesley
Publishing Co., 1977), pp. 123-124.
33Selltiz, et. al., Research Methods, pp. 296-299.
34Kerl inger, Foundations of Behavioral Research, pp.
33Simon, Basic Research Methods, pp. 294-302.
36Ibid., pp. 273-279.
3^Lewis Anthony Dexter, Elite and Specialized Interviewing
(Evanston, 111.: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1970), pp. 5-23.
33Gideon Sjoberg and Roger Nett, A Methodology for Social
Research, (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1968),
39Selltiz, Research Methods, pp. 299-304.
40Alfred Benjamin, The Helping Interview, (Boston': Houghton
Mifflin Company, 1969), pp. 58-62.
41Simon, Basic Research Methods, pp. 114-117.
LITERATURE REVIEW: THE FIELD OF TRAINING
Overview of Training
The training activity is, particularly during times of
limited resources, an important element of all public sector per-
sonnel management programs. Whether it is functionally located
in the Personnel Office (which, in the public sector, is the
generally accepted organizational structure) or is separate, or
whether it is considered a system or a subsystem, training is an
integral part of a process which is increasingly geared toward
the full development of human resources. As Techner states,
"Accepting this modern trend towards complexity in industry and
government and increasingly larger units of organization, we must
train the individual to play a part in this more complicated
No longer can a training function which strives for
relevance be isolated from the mainstream of other personnel activ-
ities (e.g., position classification, employee relations). To a
great extent, this fact is being recognized by both management and
personnel professionals. Such "oneness" of purpose has certain
clear implications for all trainers. Theoretically, they are less
likely to bury themselves in the methods and techniques of curric-
ulum development and teaching or consider training programs
solely on their own merits. To a large extent, there is a growing
recognition that training must contribute substantially to the
development of employees and to the attainment of specific organi-
Most public sector managers and employees recognize the
value of training. The federal government in particular has been
one of it's strongest proponents. According to the
Government Employees Training Act (GETA), training must be for
the purpose of:
1. Promoting efficiency and economy in the operation
of the government;
2. Developing maximum proficiency in the performance of
3. Establishing and maintaining the highest standards
of performance in the transaction of the public
4. Installing and utilizing the best modern practices
and techniques which have been developed, tested,
and proved within or outside the Government.2
The Act further implies that even employee self-
education and improvement should be geared toward these goals.
Thus, the official government-wide policy sustains the concept
popularized by Frederick Taylor as far back as the early 1900's,
that of employee efficiency.3
In fiscal year 1980 the federal government recorded
827,000 instances of formal classroom training representing 32
million hours of time in the classroom at a cost of $327 million.4
Add to this Munson's estimate that in 1983 approximately
thirty billion dollars was spent annually on training in the U.S.
and Canada and it is clear that training is big business.^
With training costs steadily mounting and greater numbers
of public servants attending courses, effective program develop-
ment and management of the training effort is becoming a
recognized approach towards controlling overhead and assuring that
the training is contributing its share in terms of accomplishing
agency goals. One method of understanding training development
and management is to study it in action. The writer has selected
a case (the astronaut training program) which represents an
excellent opportunity to combine various factors often faced by
public sector training managers. To establish the context for
understanding training program development and management, the
writer will review the literature which defines the field of
training; note the history of the field; discuss two critical
aspects of program development; learning and transfer of
learning; define and discuss training management; indicate the
role training generally plays in organizations; and describe the
barriers to effective training. The major emphasis will be to
determine the state-of-the-art existing in the field of training
and training management during the period leading up to the
lunar landing mission (1958-69). Since literature is represented
by theories, events, programs, laws, case studies, etc. the review
should add to our understanding of the field extant at that time
and help us relate the training and development literature to the
case study. Where necessary, current theory will be described if
it can contribute to our understanding of the events comprising
the astronaut training program.
Definition of Training
A critical question that must be answered in order to
understand training development and management is, what is
training? In the "early days" it was considered by some to be one
of the most important but neglected aspects of public employment
and seldom written about.6 Plantyj et ai.( in 1943, defined it as
a specialized and very practical form of education which deals
with systematic development.^ The Government Employees Training
Act (GETA) continued this line of thought noting that it is:
. . the process of making available to an employee and
placing or enrolling such employees in a planned,
prepared, and coordinated program, course, curriculum,
subject, system or routine of instruction or education in
scientific, professional, technical, mechanical, trade,
clerical, fiscal, administrative or other fields which
are or will be directly related to the performance . .
of official duties ... in order to increase the
knowledge, skill, and qualifications ... in the perform-
ance of official duties.8
In the 60's, though, the concept broadened to include
learning and behavior modification. Caldwell, writing during that
period, indicates that in the public sector training is part of
the learning process and a form of planned experience.^ g]aser
combined education and learning and described both as being con-
cerned with the techniques and procedures for guiding and
modifying human behavior.10 In so doing, he stressed behavioral
cnanges as opposed to skills training. McGehee and Thayer,
interested as they were with training in private industry, focused
on learning and its impact on behavior by stating that
"Training ... is the formal procedures which a company uses to
facilitate employees' learning so that their resultant behavior
contributes to the attainment of the companies' goals and
objectives."11 Morrison, in the initial Training and
Development Handbook (1961), further broadens this definition by
indicating that it is the structured arrangement of activities
which facilitates learning.12 And DePhillips, Berliner and
Cribben as far back as 1960 provide a reasonably comprehensive
description by indicating that it is:
That process which, under company auspices, seeks in a
planned, coordinated, and continuous manner to develop in
all employees those understandings, skills, and attitudes
which will maximize individual present and future effi-
ciency and the efficiency of the overall company
In the 70's the definition expanded again and con-
centrated more on establishing appropriate organizational climate
as a tool to enhance learning. Byers, writing about the public
sector, states that training's role is to develop people in a
number of ways including the use of non job-related development
activities and to create organizational conditions for full
utilization of their developed talents.^ This thrust toward
creating an appropriate organization climate for learning was
also championed by Knowles in his concept of andragogy, a process
model of designing training for adults. Its assumptions involved
changes in self-concept (from dependency to self-directedness); an
expanded role of experience (which broadens the trainees base so
he can relate to new learning); readiness to learn (as a mature
individual, the trainee is more ready to learn); and orientation
to learning (adults have a problem-centered approach to
In the 1980's Wexley and Latham have typified the trend
towards viewing training as a method of increasing self-awareness.
They note that, whatever the definition, training's goal is to
"Improve an individuals level of self-awareness; and/or increase
an individuals skill in one or more areas of expertise; and/or
increase an individuals motivation to perform his or her job
Thus, in a few short years, training has generally moved
in the direction of goal orientation and the full development of
the employee. Clearly, there is still no one definition of
training. We can conclude, however, that from an analysis of
training definitions theoreticians appear to be moving closer
toward viewing training as playing a critical role in the devel-
opment of human resources and viewing the role of the trainer
as including responsibility for establishing the climate within
which training can flourish.
Training, Education and Development
There has been some perceived confusion among theoreti-
cians and practicioners concerning training, education, and
development. Traditionally, training has been geared to improve
current performance; education designed to move employees into
new jobs; and development as an approach to provide overview ("big
picture") information to trainees according to Nadler and
others.Glaser, on the other hand, indicates that the distinc-
tion between training and education is usually made based on the
specificity of behavioral end products and the minimizing versus
maximizing of employee differences.18
The Office of Personnel Management (0PM) notes somewhat
formally, in a slide/tape training presentation entitled
"Managing Employee Development", that training is a process of
specialization through which discrete tasks of varying
complexity are learned. Education, on the other hand, concerns
the establishment of an intellectual framework so that trainees
can deal with a wide range of unpredictable situations.19
Laird, more recently, defines training as an experience
which causes employees to acquire new, predetermined behaviors;
education as those activities which are designed to improve the
overall competence of employees in a specified direction and
beyond the job currently held; and development as the activities
concerned with preparing employees so that they can progress with
the organization as it develops, changes, and grows.^0
Goldstein, a prolific writer on the theory and practice of
training notes that training and education (he does not discuss
development) are ". . the systematic acquisition of skills,
rules, concepts, or attitudes that result in improved performance
in another environment".^!
Nadler summarizes these definitional distinctions by
stating that training is a line function while education is
not.22 But what appears more important is not what trainers see
as the similarities or differences between these definitions, but
that trainers and supervisors use the same terms to identify and
describe the type-of experience needed to develop employees.
Another aspect which provides the background needed to
understand training program development and management is the
history of training. Although this history is imprecise, several
key epochs have been instrumental in its growth and represent a
consensus of most writers.
Techner and DePhillips both trace the growth of the
field of training as we know it today to the Industrial Revolu-
tion and several population explosions.23 increased population,
which provided an easy source of plentiful and cheap labor, stoked
the rapidly growing flames of the Industrial Revolution. During
this period, people tended to migrate to urban areas where new
techniques of production could be most efficiently exploited. In
addition, the Industrial Revolution emphasized machines and pro-
duction and changed the basic face-to-face training relationships
found in the apprenticeship system by redirecting it towards a
less personal, more formal system.
In 1809, a new concept, vocational training, was ini-
tiated in New York state by the Masonic Order. About fifteen
years later manual training began in the U.S. as a method of pro-
viding appropriate training for troublesome teenagers. In the
latter part of the 19th century, factory schools were established
to meet the needs for skilled manpower.
The federal government formally recognized the growing
field of training in 1917 by passing the Smith-Hughes Act which
provided $7 million for vocational training in agriculture,
trades, home economics, and teacher training.24
According to Steinmetz, training tends to grow quickly
when emergency conditions are dominant.25 And World War I, as
DePhillips notes, was an excellent example.26 since conscription
took large numbers of qualified workers from the pool of labor,
rapidly expanding war-time industries had little time available
to let workers develop themselves. Thus, skill-oriented formal
training was required to fill the gap.
In general, the 1920's and 30's were difficult for the
field of training. Workers were available and there was little
need for industry to train unskilled people since this would
appear to be an unnecessary overhead expense. The federal
government too, was quiescent although in the 1920's the Federal
Board of Vocational Education was created to help youths who had
left school to enter industry by providing job-related
training.27 World War II gave the lagging field a much needed
revitalization. Industrial growth created a need for highly
trained personnel and industry began to understand that voca-
tional schools could not upgrade workers sufficiently to prepare
them to function with the skills needed to deal with the
complexities inherent in the business world. Furthermore,
workers began to realize that more education would mean higher
pay.28 The training field was beginning to achieve some measure
of stability and importance.
In the 1950's the growth of high-technology industries
(e.g., computers, aerospace) began in earnest. Workers were
required to possess skills and knowledges far in excess of what
they could reasonably be expected to bring to the job or learn as
quickly as they could in the "factory worker" era. Additionally,
industry grew in size and complexity while many technological
changes were taking place. With technology mushrooming, obso-
lescence of skills became more rapid, government regulations began
to chafe private industry, and competition of all types for the
more highly skilled employees became rampant. As a result,
training in private industry began a rapid expansion. At the same
time, training professionals began to turn their attention to the
newly burgeoning knowledge worker.29
Training in the Public Service
Several major events marked the history of employee
training in the public sector. In 1958 the federal government
codified its policies concerning the training of federal employees
by passing the Government Employees Training Act (GETA). It
authorized agencies to expend funds for training and directed them
to establish and maintain training programs within standards set
by the Office of Personnel Management (0PM), formerly called the
Civil Service Commission (CSC). The Act also directed agencies
1. Determine internal training needs;
2. Establish and operate training programs to meet
3. Determine the kinds of training to be provided and
the training facilities to be used;
4. Establish and make full use of internal agency
facilities for training employees;
5. Select and assign employees for training;
6. Evaluate the results of training; and
7. Establish appropriate administrative controls.30
For the first time since the Pendleton Act had created
the Civil Service Commission in 1883, federal employees had a
singular and unified training policy that affected all its
employees. The Act replaced the confusion of individual
agency policies that attempted to foster meaningful training
courses and programs. In the years since its enactment, the
GETA has been audited numerous times by 0PM, the Office of
Management and Budget (0MB), and the General Accounting Office
(GAO). A sample of GAO audit topics over the years reveals the
types of concerns manifested.
1971 - Improvements Needed in Management of Training
Under the GETA.31
1972 - Opportunities to Increase Effectiveness of Long-
Term Full-Time Training Programs for Civilian
1975 Upward Mobility Programs in the Federal Govern-
ment Should be Made More Effective.33
1977 The GETA of 1958, A Progress Report.3^
1981 Status of External Short-Term Training Provided
to Federal Employees bv Non-Governmental Educa-
Although these reviews did lead to some policy and pro-
cedural changes, by and large the Act has proven itself success-
ful and has made a significant contribution to improving
efficiency and effectiveness in the public sector.
A Task Force on Career Advancement, constituted by
President Lyndon B. Johnson, found that interagency training was
still too limited and that few agencies had sound executive
development programs. Additionally, the Task Force felt that many
subject-matter specialists moving into administrative positions
were not sufficiently prepared for these assignments.33 The
result of their efforts was Executive Order 11348 of April 20,
1967, in which the CSC was instructed to:
1. Counsel with agencies on the improvement of training;
2. Identify needs for new or expanded interagency
3. Encourage agencies to use appropriate external train-
4. Disseminate findings on training methods; and
5. Conduct (or assign responsibility for) research in
Agencies were required to:
1. Reevaluate, at least annually, the effectiveness of
their methods for identifying training needs;
2. Periodically review each employees training needs in
relation to program objectives.
3. Determine the effectiveness of the training, as well
as the result of the E.O.'s affect on stimulating the
employees desire for self-development.33
To meet its responsibilities under the E.O., CSC estab-
lished a Bureau of Training and a Regional Training Center in each
of its regions throughout the country. In 1976, the Bureau of
Training issued a report which identified a number of disincen-
tives to effective employee training and development.
Among these disincentives were:
1. Benefits of training are not clear to top management;
2. As a result, management rarely evaluates and rewards
managers and supervisors for carrying out effective
training and development.
3. Since they do not know the results of training activi-
ties and lack information about long-range personnel
needs, management does not consider training in
formulating long-range agency plans and budgets.
4. Supervisors do not systematically plan for the train-
ing of their subordinates because top management fails
to provide "appropriate guidance", budget, and other
5. Most training is for short-term objectives with an
immediate return on investment desired.
6. Supervisors, participants, and course instructors may
have different goals and aims for a particular
7. Agency employee development specialists provide only
limited counseling and consulting services.39
Stahl describes still other milestones effecting public
sector training. They include:
1. Rapid development in the 1930's and 40's of academic
programs in public administration.
2. In-service training programs of TVA and other New
Deal agencies. 3
3. A 1938 Executive Order authorizing the CSC to "estab-
lish training courses for federal employees."
4. The impetus given to training as a result of wartime
5. The encouragement given to training programs by the
first and second Hoover Commission reports.
6. A 1955 White House endorsement of training as "an
essential aid to the efficient operation of the
7. Expansion -ef orientation and improved skill training
in state and local governments.
8. Expansion by universities of non-credit after-hours
There are also a number of federally mandated Acts which
have influenced training in the public sector. The Manpower and
Development and Training Act of 1962 recognized the critical need
for more and better trained personnel in occupational categories
including professional, scientific, technical and
apprenticeships. Even during the periods of high unemployment
(existent during the years immediately prior to passage of the
Act) many jobs remained unfilled because of the shortage of
qualified personnel. The Secretary of Labor was responsible for
determining what skills were needed in the economy, promulgating
policies for the occupational development and utilization of
workers, and promoting the development of broad and diversified
training programs to equip workers with new and improved skills.
The Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare
(HEW) was responsible for entering into agreements with States
under which the State vocational education agencies provided the
training needed to equip the persons referred by HEW for
appropriate work. During the first two years of the Act's
existence, $285 million was appropriated for its operation.41
The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was an attempt to
mobilize the human and financial resources of the nation to combat
poverty. Training, however, was to play a major role in its
accomplishment. For example, two of the seven titles dealt with
training. Title I: Youth Programs described Job Corps,
Work-Training, and Work-Study Programs, while Title V: Work
Experience Programs discussed on-the-job training as a way to help
those unable to support or care for themselves or their families.
The initial appropriation (1965) was for $10 million.42
To help solve the nations high unemployment rate,
Congress passed the Emergency Employment Act of 1971. The Act
provided unemployed and underemployed persons with transitional
employment in jobs providing needed public services during times
of high unemployment (e.g., in excess of 4.5% unemployed).
Wherever feasible, training and manpower services were to enable
persons to move to private sector employment. Initially, $750
million was appropriated and this was increased to $1 billion the
following year (of which 85% was to be expended for salaries and
A major piece of legislation was approved with the
passage of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA)
in 1973. It consolidated the manpower programs in the above
Acts and by doing this, became the chief government machinery
to provide job training and employment opportunities for the
economically disadvantaged, unemployed, and under employed. It
also attempted to assure that training and other services led to
maximum employment opportunities. Of the six titles comprising the
Act, four related to training and included Comprehensive
Manpower Services, Public Employment Programs, the Job Corps and
the establishment of the National Commission for Manpower
In general, then, it can be seen that the growth of the
training field has, with only several perturbations, been rapid
and steady. And current trends would appear to indicate that it
will continue to be a vital part of personnel management in the
development and organization of human resources.
Unfortunately, it can also be seen that by the late 1950's there
was little direct relationship between the growing and dynamic
field of training and development and the newly unfolding
requirement to provide adequate training for our astronaut corps.
Many writers and practicioners view learning as the most
critical element of training. Learning, and particularly adult
learning has been studied for many years. Basically, the two
major groups working in the field of learning tend to be either
empiricists (e.g., those who use different approaches until
something works) or theorists (e.g., who are concerned with the
nature of learning, how it takes place and what facilitates and
McGehee attempts to develop an understanding of adult
learning by defining it as ". . organized experience used to
develop or modify knowledges, skills, and attitudes."45
citing Crow and Crow, provides three separate yet clearly related
1. Learning involves change. It is concerned with the
acquisition of habits, knowledges, and attitudes.
2. Learning is a change in the individual which fills a need
and makes him more capable of dealing with his
3. Learning is a change in behavior as a result of
Hilgard and Bower also relate learning (as most learning
theorists do) to change, and define it as:
. . the process by which an activity originates or is
changed through reacting to an encountered situation,
provided that the characteristics of the change in activ-
ity cannot be explained on the basis of native
response, tendencies, maturation, or temporary states of
the organism (e.g., fatigue, drugs).47
McGehee and Thayer, however, in one of the earlier
texts devoted specifically to training, indicate that learning
must relate to performance. They also note that learning is
determined by motivation, conditions of practice, and individual
DePhillips, Berliner and Cribben define learning as
". . the mental activity by means of which skills, habits,
ideas, attitudes, and ideals are acquired, retained and utilized
resulting in the progressive adaptation and modification of
behavior."49 Ultimately, then, they see learning as behavioral.
Calhoun in 1963 states that there is a substantial body
of generally held learning theory. It includes terminology such
reinforcement, participation, habits and set, multiple receptors,
span of attention, and transfer.50
UePhillips, Berliner and Cribben as well as Byers devel-
op similar lists of training principles or conditions that must
exist for effective learning to take place. They include:
1. Everybody can learn.
2. Everybody is different.
3. The learner must be ready.
4. The learner must be motivated.
5. Satisfaction is important.
6. Learning is active.
7. Learning must start where the learner is.
8. Learning must go from the simple to the complex.
9. Natural units should be used.
10. Organization of the training effort is required.
11. Appropriate materials must be provided.
12. Variety avoids boredom.
13. The learner needs feedback.
14. The learner needs reinforcement.
15. Time must be provided for repetition and practice.
16. Training must be geared for transfer.
17. Learning has different levels.51
In summary, it is sufficient to state that there exists
a wide variety of learning theories. However, even theorists
themselves cannot agree as to which ones are paramount or have
the greatest degree of utility. As McGehee notes, learning
theorists create problems because:
1. Studies which help develop theories are generally
done with animals.
2. The language used by learning theorists is esoteric.
3. Researchers bring their own predispositions to
Unfortunately, even with the great amount of work being
done in the field of learning, Goldstein, Gagne and others still
believe that a definitive list of learning principles that can be
adapted to training does not exist.
The definition of training available during the late
1950's and 1960's and the distinctions between training,
education, and development seemingly have one common denominator:
learning. Although there is relatively little consensus about
learning theory in given situations, space program psychologists
and training personnel did have access to specific theories as a
result of their application to Air Force test pilot training.
Nevertheless, all those responsible for the astronaut training
program knew that learning could not be considered to have taken
place unless it could be transferred to the job (e.g., flying
Transfer of Learning
Training, both in the public and private sector is only
successful if it "takes". Learning must relate to performance
note McGehee and Thayer.54 And Ellis indicates that there is
probably no topic more important in the psychology of learning
than its transfer to the job situation.55 Only if the learner
can repeat on the job what he or she has learned can the train-
ing be said to be valuable. However, as McGehee and Thayer
point out, since the theory and technique concerning transfer is
still incomplete, it has been and will continue to be a problem
Ellis defines transfer simply by stating that it is the
experience on a particular task which influences the performance
on a subsequent task.57 similarly, Wexley and Latham refer to
it as the extent to which what was learned during training is
used on the job.58 gagnej although discussing the student
in a classic academic setting, describes it in almost identical
terms by indicating that learned capabilities should enable the
student to perform acts of practical value to him in everyday
McGehee and Thayer, Ellis, and Wexley and Latham talk
of positive transfer (learning that results in better perform-
ance on the job); negative transfer (learning which results in
poorer job performance) and zero transfer (learning which does
not affect job performance in any way).50 clearly, ^ -js
task of the trainer to develop and implement training which
creates positive transfer situations.
There appears to be two ways in which learned capabili-
ties can be used. Gagne refers to lateral transfer (making it
possible for the individual to execute performances not directly
learned but similar to those learned) and vertical transfer
(making it possible for the individual to transfer learning to
advanced or more complex tasks).51 Lateral transfer is most
affected by conditions internal to the individual (e.g., basic
capability, motivation). In terms of vertical transfer, the
mastery of subordinate capabilities is the primary condition.
Vertical transfer, then, is enhanced by the variety of previous
knowledge the individual has acquired. Both types of transfer
have clear implications for the trainer in that only with a good
understanding of such factors can trainers develop and implement
The factors which influence transfer of learning,
according to Ellis, are task similarity; time interval elapsing
between tasks; the degree of original task learning; the variety
of previous tasks; and task difficulty.62
Ellis, Goldstein, and Wexley and Latham generally agree
that optimization of positive transfer can be obtained by using
concepts such as:
1. Maximizing the similarity between the training and
2. Providing as much experience as possible with the
task being taught.
3. Providing for variety of examples in concept and/or
4. Identifying important features of the task.
5. Assuring that general principles are understood.
6. Making sure that the trained behaviors are rewarded
on the job.
7. Designing training content so that trainees can see
Goldstein notes that there are two sets of factors
affecting the degree of transfer, one relating to the variables
that determine the relationship between the learning and
transfer settings and the other determining the degree of
learning in the training environment.y^ seconc| set 0f
factors is divided into preconditions of learning (e.g., trainee
readiness, motivation) and conditions of practice (e.g., whole
vs. part learning, massed vs. spaced practice, overlearning,
feedback, and retention).
Unfortunately, most of those knowledgeable in the field
would indicate that past research has not led to one clear
unifying theory concerning the learning situations in which con-
ditions of practice can be applied. In 1965, Ellis noted four
"current" issues and problems in transfer of learning and for-
mulated them in terms of questions.
1. What are the effective ways of measuring transfer
2. Is spaced or massed practice more conducive to
transfer? 3 4
3. Are there certain transfer theories noted for cer-
tain kinds of learning?
4. How can we best teach for transfer?*^
Almost two decades later, the same questions can be posed
with little certainty that solid answers will be forthcoming.
Although progress is being made, it is slow and often tortuous.
To maximize the effectiveness of training transfer to the
workplace there are a number of theories with which the trainer
should be familiar. But their lack of universality reduced the
likelihood than any one or several of the theories would be used
in the developmental stages of the astronaut training program.
As James E. Swiss notes, "Program administration, no
matter how good or bad, usually receives no notice from either
the public or the press."66 And training management is no
different. One problem resides in the definition. Training
management or training administration (terms which tend to be
used synonymously) have a variety of meanings to theorists and
practicioners. But above all, there exists very little in the
way of a precise definition or even a set of understandings about
what training management is. Some would say that it is no dif-
ferent than any other management function. For example, Laird
indicates that, "As administrators of the training function, the
Training and Development Officer must do all the things any other
manager achieves. This means planning, organizing, directing and
controlling the on-going function."67 However> since the func_
tion deals with the development of human resources (one of the
most important aspects leading to the success and continuation of
an organization), it would seem that there are activities
required that are above and beyond that which is faced by a
In a distant primer devoted to personnel management, the
purpose of training (management) according to Beach, is to
"organize the procedures by which people learn knowledge and/or
skills for a definite purpose."6a And a training program
according to Bass and Vaughn is designed to produce the terminal
behavior required of the organization's members to achieve its
As Knowles describes it, "The process of translating
a program design into a flow of people and materials through a
system of activities is the function of (training)
administration."70 The argument as to whether training is a
system (Tracey proposes that not only is it a system, but it is of
such complexity that it requires a high degree of planning and
control to permit proper management) or, as Byers indicates, a
subsystem contributing its expertise to a larger system is really
peripheral to its basic goal which is the development of
people.71 DePhillips agrees with Byers while noting that
training management is, "... the device for bringing
together training needs, objectives, resources, methods, and
materials into an organized relationship; its purpose-to develop
human resources needed to achieve national goals."7^
Knowles stresses the role of training management in
terms of directing employees towards more and better self-
diagnosis. He says:
In fact, the main thrust of adult-education technology
is in the direction of inventing techniques for
involving adults in the ever deeper processes of
self-diagnosis of their own need for continued learning,
in formulating their own objectives for learning, in
sharing responsibilities for designing and carrying out
their activities, and in evaluating their own progress
toward their objectives.
Analyzing these various streams leads to the develop-
ment of a definition of training management which views it as
the planning, development and implementation of an overall
program geared to maximize the present performance and future
potential of employees within the context of meeting both individ-
ual and organizational needs.
It is this definition, then, as imprecise as it might
be, which the author will use in discussing training manage-
Role of the Training Organization
Lippitt and Nadler discuss several roles of the training
department, be it large or small. These roles include admin-
istering various programs; and contributing to organizational
problem solving.74 Byers suggests that finding alternative ways
of accomplishing objectives is an additional factor.7^ Gammuto,
concentrating more on the processes of training, describes the
role of the training organization as involving:
1. Determination of training needs.
2. Establishment of training objectives.
3. Selection of instructional methods and media
and development of instructional materials.
4. Conducting and administering training.
5. Evaluation of training.7(>
The responsibilities of the training director are, of
course, part and parcel of the responsibilities of the training
organization. Laird, building on Lippitt and Nadler, describes
those responsiblities as administrator, consultant, designer of
learning experiences, and instructor.77 Tracey utilizes a
systems approach to describe the role of the training director
and cites the necessary elements as:
1. Identification of training and development needs.
2. Collecting and analyzing job data.
3. Selecting and writing training objectives.
4. Constructing evaluative intruments.
5. Constructing criterion measures.
1. Selecting and sequencing course content.
2. Selecting and using training strategies.
3. Selecting training aids.
4. Selecting equipment requirements.
5. Producing training records.
6. Selecting equipment requirements.
7. Producing training records.
8. Selecting instructors and trainees.
1. Administering and analyzing criterion measures.
2. Evaluating training systems.
3. Following up on graduates.78
Knowles andralogical approach adds establishing a cli-
mate conducive to adult learning, and creating an organizational
structure for participative planning to this list.79 Gammuto
notes a seldom discussed requirement for an effective training
system when he states, "Know the goals, policies, procedures and
practices of the organization.1,80
These, then, comprise the activities which must be
managed in a successful training program. In addition, though,
numerous writers have described certain administrative factors
necessary for a training program to be well managed. For
example, Newell declares that planning is the primary require-
ment, without which success would be problematical.81 McKeon
discusses the need for the training function to have access to
information to aid in decision-making in activities such as
planning, organizing, implementing, reviewing, and providing
feedback to trainees and managers.83 Caldwell, writing five
years earlier (1962), supports this theme by indicating that
determining training effectiveness depends on adequate infor-
mation and as a result, the development and maintenance of a good
record system is vital.83 Caldwell, however, also identifies
a key concern to the develoment of a meaningful training program
when he notes that, "Money is the indispensible indirect resource
since it is required to make all other resources available."84
Thus, it would seem that planning, information and money consti-
tute the lubricant which makes the machinery work.
Barriers to Effective Training
No matter how good the planning, the availability of
information, or the abundance of funds, there remain numerous
problems in the quest to successfully implement effective
training. DePhillips indicates that the major barriers to the
acceptance of training in an organization are both psychological
and organizational. Among the psychological reasons, he ranks
fear of change as being paramount.85 Some of the process
questions with which formal training has been plagued include,
according to French:
1. How can training needs be determined and how can
training needs be distinguished from organizational
needs (and thus met some other way)?
2. How can trainees by motivated?
3. What methods and devices are best?
4. How can results of training be evaluated?86
Byers also notes several problems which inhibit the
effectiveness of training.
1. Training time is non-productive.
2. Training takes time and money that could be spent
on actual production.
3. The best people who could profit most from the
training can't be spared to attend.
4. Training cannot prove that it makes enough difference
to justify the cost.87
The previously noted Bureau of Training report on training
disincentives indicates that a variety of problems result in the
ineffective utilization of training. Such problems include:
1. Supervisors and managers train and develop employees
unsystematically and mostly for short-term objectives.
2. Behavioral objectives of training are often imprecise.
3. Training programs external to the agency sometimes
teach techniques and methods contrary to practices of
the participants organization.
Timely information about external training programs
is often difficult to obtain.
5. Agency training and development effectiveness is
impaired as a result of statutory restrictions on
6. The training specialist provides only limited coun-
seling and consulting services to the rest of the
The litany of problems, however, is not unique to
federal employment. Both in the public sector and private
industry, managers are plagued with similar adversities. However,
this list of limitations does represent the realistic setting
within which professional trainers develop and manage their
This chapter has attempted to describe the general field
of training development and management and point to the limited
amount of relevant information available to the astronaut training
planners, particularly in the early days of the space program.
The next chapter will set the stage within which the space program
was born and began to mature. In so doing, it will covertly indi-
cate the importance of astronaut training to program success and
more overtly describe the importance of program success to the
entire nation. The contradiction, then, between the importance of
training and the lack of precedent to guide planners and managers
will lead to a description in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of how this
major problem was overcome in each of the programs leading up to
the lunar landing.
NOTES CHAPTER III
^Fred Techner. Training in Modern Society, (Albany, N.Y.:
Williams Press Inc., 1966), p. 6.
^u.S. Congress. Government Employees Training Act, Public
Law 85-507; 72 Stat. 327, 85th Congress, 2nd sess., July 7, 1958,
^Frederick Winslow Taylor. The Principles of Scientific
Management, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1911), Reprinted by
(New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1967).
40ff ice of Personnel Management, Interagency Advisory
Group. "History and Perspective of Federal Training", Interagency
Task Force Report on Federal Government Staff Development and
Training, (Washington, O.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office,
1982), pp. 11-13.
^Lawrence S. Munson, How to Conduct Training Seminars,
(New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1984), p. 9.
^William E. Mosher and Donald J. Kingsley, Pub!ic
Personnel Administration, rev. ed., (New York: Harper and
Brothers Publishers, 1941), p. 271.
7Earl G. Planty, William S. McCord, and Carlos A. Efferson,
Training Employees and Managers, (New York: The Ronald Press
Co., 1948), p. 20.
^Government Employees Training Act, p. 380.
^Lynton K. Caldwell, Improving the Public Service Through
Training, (Washington, D.C.: Agency for International Development,
1962), p. 15.
lORobert Glaser, Training Research and Education, (New York:
John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1965), p. 1.
llwill iam McGehee and Paul W. Thayer, Training in Business
and Industry, (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.,1961), p. 3.
12james H. Morrison. "Planning and Scheduling," in
Robert L. Craig and Lester R. Bittel, eds., Training and
Development Handbook, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1967),
l^Frank A. DePhillips, William M. Berliner, and James J.
Cribbin, Management of Training Programs, (Homewood, II.:
Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1960), p. 6.
^Kenneth T. Byers ed. Employee Training and Development
in the Public Sector, (Chicago: International Personnel
Management Association, 1970), p. 9.
15Malcolm Knowles, The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species,
2nd ed., (Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1980).
l6Kenneth L. Wexley and Gary P. Latham, Developing and
Training Human Resources in Organizations, (Glenview, II.:
Scott, Foresman and Company, 1981), p. 4.
^Leonard Nadler, Developing Human Resources, (Houston:
Gulf Publishing Co., 1970), p. 27.
^Glaser, Training Research and Education, pp. 4-5.
19U.S. Civil Service Commission, Washington D.C., deve-
loped the audio-visual aid in 1977 for use in the field.
20Dugan Laird, Approaches to Training and Development,
(Reading, Pa.: Addison-Wesley Publications Co., 1978), p. 9.
21lrwin I. Goldstein, Training: Program Development and
Evaluation, (Monterey, Ca.: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1974),
22Nadler, Developing Human Resources, p. 33.
23$ee Techner, Training in Modern Society, pp. 1-14 and
DePhillips, Berliner and Cribben, Management of Training Programs,
p. 27-41. 24 25 26 27 28
24Clyd S. Steinmetz, "The Evolution of Training," in
Robert L. Craig & Lester R. Bittel, eds., Training and Development
Handbook, p. 4.
25Ibid. pp. 8-9.
26DePhil1ips, Berliner, & Cribben, Management of Training
Programs, p. 36.
27Steinmetz, "The Evolution of Training", pp. 11-12.
^9Jay M. Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management and
Labor Relations (Oak Park, II.: Moore Publishing Company, Inc.,
1980), pp. 170-171. Shafritz notes that according to Peter Drucker
the knowledge worker, working with his education rather than with
his animal strengths or manual skill, is the largest and fastest
growing group of workers whose "essential resource of production"
is knowledge. The emergence of the knowledge worker makes ours a
39The Government Employees Training Act, Sect. 6 (a)
^Comptroller General of the United States, Report to the
Congress, Improvements Needed in Management of Training Under the
Government Employees Training Act, May 25, 1971!.
32Comptroller General of the United States, Report to the
Congress, Opportunities to Increase Effectiveness of Long-term
Full-time Training Programs for Civilian Employees, June 30, 1982.
33Comptroller General of the United States, Report to the
Congress, Upward Mobility Programs in the Federal Government
Should Be Made More Effective, April 29, 1975.
^Comptroller General of the United States, Report to the
Congress, The GETA of 1958, A Progress Report, June 14, 1977.
35Comptroller General of the United States, Report to the
Congress, Status of the External Short-term Training Provided to
Federal Employees by Non-Government Educational Oganizations,
May 3, 1981.
38Felix A. Nigro and Lloyd G. Nigro. Modern Public
Administration, 4th ed., (New York: Harper and Row Publishers,
1977), pp. 338-343.
37U.S. President, Executive Order 11348 of April 20, 1967,
39U.S. Civil Service Commission, Disincentives to
Effective Employee Training and Development, Research Project for
the Utilization Committee, (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1973), pp. 1-27.
40.Glenn Stahl, Public Personnel Administration, 5th ed.,
(New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1962), pp. 278-299.
41U.S. Code, Manpower Development and Training Act of
1962, P.L. 87-415; 76 Stat., 23, 87th Congress, 2nd sess.,
March 15, 1962, pp. 29-30.
42U.S. Code, Equal Opportunity Act of 1964, P.L. 88-452;
78 Stat. 508, 88th Congress, 2nd sess., Aug. 20, 1964, pp. 585-587,
and p. 608.
43U.S. Code, Emergency Employment Act of 1971, P.L.
92-54; 85 Stat. 146, 92nd Congress, 1st sess., July 12, 1971,
pp. 155-156 and p. 161.
4^U.S. Code, Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of
1973, P.L. 93-203, 87 Stat. 839, 93rd Congress, 1st sess.,
Dec. 28, 1973. pp. 925-977.
McGehee and Thayer, Training in Business and Industry,
^Knowles. The Adult Learner, pp. 5-6.
4?E. R. Hilgard and G. H. Bower, Theories of Learning,
3rd ed., (Hew York: Appleton Century and Crafts, 1966), p.2
48McGehee and Thayer, Training in Business and Industry,
490ePhi11ips, Berliner, and Cribben, Management of Training
Programs, p. 69.
88Richard P. Calhoun, Managing Personnel, (New York:
Harper and Row Publishers, 1963), p. 182.
Sl-See DePhillips, Berliner, and Cribben, Management of
Training Programs, pp. 100-127 and Byers, Employee Training and
Development, pp. 114-121.
82William McGehee, "Learning Theory and Training." in
Edwin A. Fleishman, ed., Studies in Personnel and Industrial
Psychology, (The Dorsey Press, 1961).
83See Goldstein, Training: Program Development and
Evaluation, pp. 92-94 and R. M. Gagne and R. C. Bolles. "X
Preview of Factors in Learning Efficiency," in E. Galanter ed.,
Automatic Teaching: The State of the Art, (New York: John Wesley
and Sons, Inc., 1959).
54McGehee and Thayer, Training in Business and Industry,
88Henry C. Ellis, The Transfer of Learning, (New York: The
Mac Millan Co., 1965).
56McGehee and Thayer, Training in Business and Industry,
57Ellis, The Transfer of Learning, p. 3.
58Wexley and Latham, Developing and Training Human
Resources in Organizations, p. 74.
59r. M. Gagne, The Conditions of Learning, 2nd ed., (New
York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1970), pp. 333-334.
60see McGehee and Thayer, Training in Business and
Industry, pp. 173-176, Ellis, The Transfer of Learning, p. 197 and
Wexley and Latham, Developing and Training Human Res~ources, p. 74.
61r. M. Gagne, The Conditions of Learning, 2nd ed.,
62E11is, The Transfer of Learning, pp. 39.
63Ellis, The Transfer of Learning, pp. 70-72.
Goldstein, Training: Program Development and Evaluation, p. 111.
Wexley and Latham, Developing and Training Human Resources in
Organizations, pp. 75-77.
^Goldstein, Training: Program Development and
Evaluation, pp. 112-127.
65Ellis, The Transfer of Learning, pp. 7-8.
66James Swiss, "Establishing a Management System: The
Interactions of Power Shifts and Personality Under Federal
MHO", Public Administration Review, (6 May 1983): 243.
67Laird, Approaches to Training and Development, p. 16.
^Dale S. Beach, Personnel: The Management of People at
Work, (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1965), p. 316.
^Bernard M. Bass and James A. Vaughn, Training in
Industry: The Management of Learning, (Monterey, Ca.:
Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1966), p. 6.
70Knowles, The Adult Learner, p. 155.
7iwm iam R. Tracey, Designing Training and Development
Systems, (New York: American Management Association, 1971),
pp. 1-19. and Byers, Employee Training and Development in the
Public Sector, p. 16.
72DePhillips, Berliner, and Cribbin, Management of Training
Programs, p. 63.
^Malcolm S. Knowles, The Modern Practice of Adult
Education: Andragogy Vs. Pedagogy, (New York: Association Press,
1970), p. 51.
^Gordon L. Lippitt and Leonard Nadler, "Emerging Roles of
the Training Director," reprinted in the Training and Development
Journal, Volume 33, No. 16, (June 1979): 26-30.
75Byers, Employee Training and Development in the Public
Sector, pp. 18-19.
76John J. Gammuto, "Technical Training: A Systematic
Approach," Training and Development Journal, Volume 34, (September
77Laird, Approaches to Training and Development, pp. 15-29.
78Tracey, Designing Training and Development Systems,
^Knowles, The Adult Learner, pp. 95-99.
88Gammuto, "Technical Training: A Systematic Approach",
81Gale E. Newell, "How to Plan a Training Program,"
Personnel Journal, (May 1976): 220-225.
82Jesse C. McKeon, "Training Records and Information
Systems," in Robert Craig and Lester R. Bittel, eds., Training
and Development Handbook, p. 606.
83Caldwell, Improving the Public Service through Training,
88DePhillips, Berliner, and Cribbin, Management of
Training Programs, pp. 70-79.
88Wendell French, The Personnel Management Process: Human
Resources Administration, (New York: Hougton Mifflin Co., 1964),
87Byers, Employee Training and Development in the Public
Sector, p. 274.
88l).S. Civil Service Commission, Disincentives.
To understand the significance of space exploration to
this nations political, social, economic, psychological and
technological fabric during the 1950's and 1960's (and by
implication, the importance of the astronaut training portion of
the manned spaceflight program) it is necessary to understand the
background within which the space program was born and matured.
Unfortunately, not all facts (or the interpretation of these
facts) leading to the decision to attempt a lunar landing can be
known. But certain personalities and events stand out as being
of paramount importance. And although many of the events
overlap, it is possible to determine basic themes and trends by
viewing them in broad outline.
The Cold War
During the early 1950's, the Korean conflict occupied
much of the resources of the nation. Following the hostilities,
both the U.S. and Russia continued jockeying for position and
power. Increasingly, these two superpowers competed with each
other in terms of each others policies, strategies, programs and
philosophies. Since each saw the uncommitted nations of the
world as having to choose sides, the efforts of both countries to
convince the unaligned became increasingly combative. Thus, the
competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union for interna-
tional prestige became an integral part of the Cold War between
them.1 Their alliance during World War II had become
increasingly uneasy because of a basic clash of ideologies. Each
side ". . perceived hostility and threat in the others behavior
and responded in such a way as to reinforce the initial
suspicions. In the resultant rivalry, technology as translated
into both industrial capacity and military hardware became a major
indicator of national prestige and power."2 As george V. Allen,
Director of the U.S. Information Agency told a Congressional
Committee, "It is hardly an over statement to say that space has
become, for many people, the primary symbol of world leadership
in all areas of science and technology."^ Likewise, Livingston
Merchant, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs noted, in
a presentation to the same committee, that . . the perfor-
mance of the U.S. and the Soviet Union in space will inevitably
be compared by the rest of the world."4
As Rosholt indicates, the 1957 flight of Sputnik revealed
that Russia had greater rocket power than the U.S. Thus, the
nations of the world began to believe in Russia's general com-
petence and superiority in science and technology. Russia, then,
through its space spectacular had gained a degree of prestige
which helped magnify their worldwide image while at the same time
tarnishing the reputation of the U.S. as the undisputed technology
leader of the world.5
As a result of the development of the atomic and nuclear
bombs, the cost of war had increased dramatically in terms of the
potential loss of life, destruction of the environment, and the
vast resources needed to conduct such a war. Both nations, at
least overtly, stated that a large-scale war between them was
unthinkable. But a contest there must be! And the differences
between the two nations had to be resolved if at all possible in
some acceptable way. The brinksmanship, as described by Allison
and practiced by President Kennedy and Chairman Kruschev during
the Cuban missile crisis was not an appropriate substitute.6 Thus
the space program was selected to bear the brunt of the "attack"
The Eisenhower Space Policy
Another key element in the total committment made by
this country to the space program was shaped by President
Eisenhower's approach to space exploration. Logsdon states that,
". . Eisenhower followed a policy of calm conservativism with
regard to space."7 He believed quite firmly that the political
and psychological impacts of space achievements were not impor-
tant factors in international politics. Never, according to
Logsdon, did Eisenhower believe that a lunar expedition would
enhance national prestige enough to make it worth the enormous
cost. Thus, such a venture would not be justified either on a
scientific or military basis.8 According to Cox, even after the
early Russian space successes, the White House staff constantly
overlooked or grossly undervalued the enormous psychological and
propagandists aspects of the burgeoning space race.9
During the Eisenhower administration, the basic
outlines of his space policy included separation of civilian
and military space projects and a low estimate of the political
significance of satellite launches. In the mid 1950's, though,
this latter belief began to weaken.
National Security (1953-55)
National security also played a role in shaping the
decision to attempt a lunar landing. In 1955, White House plan-
ners began to recognize that the "New Look" military strategy,
developed two years previously, and consisting of massive retal-
iation as both a deterrent to total war and to local aggression
could no longer be considered credible.111 Accordingly, the "New
New Look" became the answer. It was characterized by the accept-
ance of a minimum of finite deterrence involving the maintenance
of a retaliatory capability sufficient only to stop a direct
attack on key American interests; the downgrading of mobiliza-
tion potential and reserve forces; and a gradual acceptance of
the need for some kind of capability to deter or fight in
limited wars.11 Although no clarion call for the development of
rocketry, military thinking was beginning to change. And
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM's), heretofore
residing in limbo as a potential military force, once again
began to receive careful consideration. The Army, Air Force,
and Navy each entered the ICBM game with high hopes.
International Geophysical Year (IGY)
Early in 1950, Lloyd Berkner, head of the Brookhaven
National Laboratory and considered the founder of the concept of
the IGY and a small group of internationally recognized scien-
tists determined that July 1957 December 1958 (a period of
maximum solar activity) would be the time period most appropriate
for an IGY. The group actively began selling the idea to scien-
tists around the world and four years later the Comite Special de
l1 Anee Geophysique Internationale (CSAGI), a goal-setting and
coordinating group proposed, as the centerpiece for the IGY a
series of studies to observe extra-terrestrial radiation and
geophysical phenomena in the upper atmosphere. The proposal
included the concept of using rockets to launch small satellites
with appropriate instrumentation.12
Although not a strong proponent of the IGY, Eisenhower
finally approved it on July 24, 1955. Inherent in the approval
was that the funds required to develop the launcher (rocket)
would be made available. Eisenhower's support, as well as that
of Congress, was based more on political than scientific
grounds.The following day Russia too announced its par-
ticipation and several days later indicated that its 1957 launch
would include a much larger payload than the U.S. was capable of
putting into space.14 Thus, the U.S. and Russia appeared to be
on a collision course to develop the biggest and best satellite
in support of the IGY goals. Clearly, the key to success would
be the rocket. And since one of the several critical elements
required for the -yet-to-be announced manned space program was the
development of rocket power, the success of the U.S. rocket
program was vital.
Centuries ago, the Chinese invented solid propellant
rockets which were used during ceremonial events and as a shock
tactic in times of war. However, the rockets did not have suf-
ficient velocity to attain orbital flight (even if those using
the rockets could have conceived of such a use).1*
In modern times, three men (a Russian, an American and a
German) are considered to be pioneers of modern rocketry.
Konstantin Tsioikovsky, Robert Goddard and Herman Oberth
accomplished much of their work at approximately the same time
(1910-25). Their efforts provided the theory and experimental
confirmation needed for the developing field. According to
Logsdon, Tsioikovsky derived the theoretical foundation of
rocketry in 1898. Robert Goddard, the so-called "father of U.S.
rocketry" obtained many patents based on his theories and experi-
ments that covered a wide range of rocket design, propulsion, and
guidance systems. Much of his thinking (although never publicly
stated) concerned developing the means to send manned and
unmanned vehicles to the moon and planets.16 Oberth expanded on
the work of the other two, particularly in the area of the mathe-
matics of rocketry. His activities caught the imagination of the
German arn\y and provided the basis for the development of the
German V-2 rocket used during the latter stages of World War
II.*7 Oberth, like the others, was also interested in using
rockets for space travel and he even wrote science fiction in an
attempt to popularize the idea that men could be carried into
space by rockets. Thus, each of the "giants" of rocketry was to
some extent interested in its application for manned and unmanned
exploration of the planets and stars.
In the U.S., development of rockets proceeded at a slow
pace during the 1930's and 40's. The main reasons were the
Depression of the 30's (and a consequent lack of resources) and a
Truman Administration decision in the mid-40's to use strategic
bombers as opposed to ICBM's as the backbone of our nations
defense. After World War II, the U.S. used left over German
V-2's as the means to lift small scientific payloads into space.
Since they were available (and less expensive than developing new
rockets) little new work was done to add to our small existing
arsenal of launch vehicles. The nation was simply not
interested.18 in the late 1940's each branch of the military
began to have an awareness of the potential application of
rockets for defensive and offensive purposes. For example, the
Office of Naval Research (ONR), working with Johns Hopkins
University, developed the ONR-funded Aerobee sounding rocket.
The ONR at about the same time worked with the Glenn L. Martin
Company on the design and construction of the Viking. Both
rockets could reach an altitude of 150 miles and were used for a
variety of military and non-military experiments. Concurrently,
the Army under General Medaris and Werner Von Braun continued
development of the Jupiter and Redstone rockets. Similarly, the
Air Force's efforts were geared toward designing and building the
Atlas. Although there was much interservice rivalry, it provided
the U.S. with some greatly needed experience in the design,
testing and operation of various sized rockets.19
It was not until the U.S. in 1951 successfully tested a
thermonuclear device that the services began to think seriously
about the military uses of rocketry.20 Once the potential was
revealed, the military upgraded their developmental efforts and
the race was on!
Unfortunately, successful launches were few and far
between. In fact, when the IGY goals were announced and it was
understood that rockets would play a key role in their
accomplishment, the only operational missile available to this
nation was the tactical Redstone (modified from the Air Forces'
Navaho).21 in fact, as late as mid 1957 the military had unsuc-
cessfully tested two Atlas', four of five Thor's and two of four
Jupiter's. Thus, despite past efforts the military cupboard of
rockets was almost bare.
Even with the problems the military was having with its
rockets they were still "the only game in town". And with the
approval of the U.S. IGY committee, Donald Quarles, Assistant
Secretary for Research and Development established an ad hoc
Group on Special Capabilities to decide which of the services
should be given the go-ahead to develop the rocket to be used to
accomplish our IGY goals. On September 9, 1955, this so-called
Stewart committee selected the Navy three-stage Vanguard as the
victor, much to the chagrin of the other services.
Russian interest in developing ICBM's was quite
different. Beginning in the early 1950's they had actively
worked on large rockets for both military and space exploration
applications. Thus, it came as no surprise to those in the know
that only three months after the IGY officially began, Sputnik
was successfully launched by the U.S.S.R.
Sputnik and Beyond
October 4, 1957 was to all intents and purposes, a land-
mark in space flight. For the first time an artificial satellite
had been orbited, and not by the U.S.! Its result, as seen by
Congress' evaluation of the American response came "... as an
emotional shock, a stunning event with an unascertainable threat
value."22 One of the immediate effects was a widespread concern
about U.S. military preparedness and a possible missile
gap.23 one month later Eisenhower attempted to reassure the
reeling confidence of the public by indicating that U.S. defenses
were sound and that we had developed a nosecone capable of reen-
tering the atmosphere at ICBM speeds. In addition, and in part to
quell a rising sentiment of discontent and disillusionment, he
announced the creation of the position of Special Assistant to
the President for Science and Technology. James R. Killian,
President of M.I.T. was imediately appointed to the position. On
November 3, 1957, Sputnik II was launched carrying a dog as a
passenger. As a result "the nation was in a mood of national
confusion."24 in December of 1957 the highly touted Vanguard
exploded on the launch pad and added another embarassment to U.S.
prestige. (This launch was particularly distressing since it
was viewed by a large number of media representatives from
various parts of the world.) On January 13, 1958, America
finally entered into the space age by launching, on a
Jupiter-C booster, the Explorer I. Its 31-pound payload consisted
of a variety of electronic instruments. One and a half months
later, a Vanguard launch was finally successful. But just as
quickly as we appeared to be matching Russia in overall
capability, they launched in May of 1958, a 3,000 pound
satellite. It appeared to be a clear warning that Russia would
soon be able to place a man in space.25 The Houston Post noted,
in a brief retrospective, that although Sputnik left the nation
with a feeling of inadequacy, it did have some positive effects.
The impact was stimulating. Schools and colleges revita-
lized their teaching of math, technology and science. An
enthusiasm for modern languages flared up, although
briefly. Although, as a Senator, Lyndon B. Johnson
handled congressional moves that started research through
NASA, and although some scientists were already decades
deep in research, the science of extraterrestrial rocketry
and space exploration had, until Sputnik been regarded by
most as an interesting improbability. Of what use could
Historically, mankind has had surges of invention in the
desperate cruicible of war, inventions that often proved
useful in daily living once the war was ended. Space
research was the first on a massive national scale ulti-
mately benefiting humanity that was done for human,
aspiration rather that the grim neccessity of war.2**
Looking back, it is difficult for those who did not live
through that period to understand the depth of feelings
experienced by the U.S population, the military, and Congress. A
country whose technological expertise had never before been
seriously challenged, we now had to take a back seat to a mono-
lithic Communist nation whose every idea ran contrary to ours.
Not accustomed to being second-best, America reacted violently.
Proponents of our active entry into space exploration pointed to
the low ebb at which our prestige rested. We were clearly
embarassed and our technological reputation at its nadir.2? The
psychological impact of Sputnik, as Rosholt notes, revealed that
while Russia possessed greater rocket power than we, it also
suggested as to their general competence in science and
technology. They had gained, through Sputnik, a degree of
respectability which helped magnify their worldwide image while
at the same time tarnishing the U.S. image as a leader in
Within hours after Sputnik was launched, Senator
Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee,
initiated an inquiry into the status of the nations missile and
satellite capability.29 One result of the hearings was that the
heretofore low-priority Vanguard shifted gears and suddenly
emerged into the national spotlight. It had become the great
hope of the entire country.
The rush-to judgment on the part of the public and
Congress was swift and forceful. Despite Eisenhower's
assurances, both the country and Congress were restless and con-
cerned lest we no longer possessed the ability to overcome
Russia's military might. The Cold War mentality, so prevalent
since the late 1940's permitted no stepping-back from the
confrontation. As Logsdon states:
. . the Soviet space achievement rudely undermined a
broad set of assumptions which were the underpinning of
American foreign policy, especially the notion that the
U.S. was the unsurpassed leader in military economic, and
technological power. Clearly the Eisenhower administra-
tion had to respond in some way to the challenge provided
by this dramatic Soviet accomplishment.30
Eisenhower, from the beginning, was committed to a slow
and steady pace of technological and scientific development. But
despite his protestation that ", . our satellite program has
never been conducted as a race with other nations," the public
and Congress demanded some action, and quickly.3*
Who should have the responsibility for developing and
implementing a U.S. presence in space? The military, in fact
each of three the branches could make penetrating arguments that
they should become the lead organization. They had the experience
in rocketry and in the mid 1950's the Air Force had even deve-
loped a plan to place a man in space. They quickly refurbished
this idea and began pressing the President and Congress to adopt
their Man-In-Space-Soonest Program. Furthermore, they reasoned,
it was clear that the Russian initiative was nothing more than a
continuation of the Cold War, a war that sooner or later would
develop into a "hot" war. Who better than the military should
run a program destined to be the next major battleground?
The President, though, was adamant. Backed by a hecom-
mendation from Killian, Eisenhower strongly supported the view
that the American space program should be conducted openly (in
part for its public relations value to the uncommitted nations of
the world) and not behind the cloud of military secrecy.
Furthermore, he actively opposed the idea that we were or should
be in a space race with the Russians. On March 26, 1958, the
President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), in a report
endorsed by the President, listed four factors which established
the groundwork for America's entrance into the space age. They
1. the compelling urge of man to explore and to discover;
2. the defense objective;
3. the factor of national prestige;
4. new opportunities for scentific observation and
The report itself reflected the advice of Killian to
establish a civilian oriented space agency. And its basic philo-
sophy was summarized by him in a 1961 speech when he noted that:
. .in space exploration as in all other fields we
choose to go into, we must never be content to be second
best. But I do not believe that this requires us to
engage in a prestige race with the Soviets. We should
pursue our own objectives in space science, and not let
the Soviets choose them for us by our copying what they
The report went on to reflect doubt concerning
man's role in space in terms of his use as a scientific
instrument. It became this country's policy until
challenged and reshaped by Johnson and Kennedy beginning with
the election campaign of 1960.
Opponents of the civilian space program concept were
quick to materialize. Beside the military, it included some
members of Congress, defense and aircraft contractors and
space oriented professional societies and organizations.
But Eisenhower did not swerve. With Lyndon Johnson as his
"strange bedfellow" supporter, they pushed Congress toward a
civilian space agency.
Congress continued to feel a sense of urgency and
based on a committee recommendation, on March 5, 1958
Eisenhower accepted the basic premise that the new civilian
agency would be developed from a strengthened National
Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). NACA was created
in 1915 to "supervise and direct the scientific study of the
problems of flight, with a view toward their practical
solution" and to "direct and conduct research and experiments
in aeronautics."34 it had an excellent technical reputation
and was generally accepted by both Congress and the scien-
Thus, Sputniks' appearance reverberated throughout
the nation. Truly, it was the progenitor of the Space Act
and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.35
The Space Act
In the immediate post-Sputnik hysteria, Lyndon
Johnson began to actively identify himself with the element
of the U.S. population and Congress that favored creation of
a strong civilian oriented space program. Always interested
in the potential political and economic benefits of space,
his views about what type of program to conduct and how
extensive it should be were in direct conflict with those of
Eisenhower. He viewed American superiority in space as an
incomparable opportunity to save the nation and the world.
His views about space marked the beginning of a campaign
which he hoped would lead to the 1960 presidential
The military, and most particularly the Air Force,
continued their active planning of space programs in the hope
of achieving a special role for themselves in space. In
March of 1958, the Air Research Development Command (ARDC)
proposed at a three day conference a "quick and dirty
approach to getting man into space by using a simple
ballistic capsule and envisioning the human passenger as a
rider rather than a pilot (an unusual concept for the Air
Force which had traditionally been interested in piloted,
fully controllable aircraft).37 immediately thereafter, NACA
officially informed the Air Force that it would cooperate
with them in developing a detailed manned satellite plan.
Eisenhower's position though was consistent with his
IGY views (that is, space activities should be conducted
solely for peaceful purposes). He stressed this approach
again in a letter to Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin of January
12, 1958.38 Thus, in late February, the President used the
PSAC report to officially recommend to Congress the
establishment of a civilian agency whose prime purpose was
scientific exploration and not military exploitation.39 On
April 2nd, he sent a bill to Congress envisioning NACA as
the basic building-block of the civilian agency. Although
there was some concern among certain NACA engineers that the
Agencies strength did not lie in hardware development,
program management, or satellite launches, most rallied
behind Hugh Dryden, Director of NACA in his belief that NACA,
rather than the Air Force, should become this nations focal
point for space activities.
Congressional hearings began on April 15 and, with
Johnson in the Senate and Majority Leader McCormack in the
House as the driving forces, the Administration bill, except
for relatively minor modifications, passed both Houses of