Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Special Publications Series.
Opening Space Research: Dreams, Technology, and Scientific Discovery
is George Ludwig's account of the early development of space-based electromagnetic physics, with a focus on the first U.S. space launches and the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts. Narrated by the person who developed many of the instruments for the early Explorer spacecraft during the 1950s and participated directly in the scientific research, it draws heavily upon the author's voluminous collection of laboratory notes and other papers, upon the Van Allen archive, and upon a wide array of other sources. This book presents very detailed discussions of historic events in a highly readable (semitechnical), first-person form. More than that, though, Opening Space Research brings to the forefront the entire team of scientists who made these accomplishments possible, providing an extensive index of names to enhance and complete the historical record. Authoritative and unique, this book will be of interest to space scientists, science historians, and anyone interested in space history and the first U.S. space launches.
About the Author
George H. Ludwig was the former chief research scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's satellite systems and director of operations for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 Special acknowledgments 3
Chapter 1: Setting the Stage at the University of Iowa 5 Initiating the Iowa cosmic ray program 7 Inventing the rockoon 10
Chapter 2: The Early Years 21 Entering opportunity’s door 21 The summer 1953 rockoon expedition 23 McDonald's andWebber’s balloon programs, 1953–1955 33 The summer 1954 third rockoon expedition 36 A great personal adventure, summer 1955 37 Discovery of the auroral soft radiation 54 Anderson's Canadian balloon flights in early 1956 57 Iowa City balloon flights in March 1956 59
Chapter 3: The International Geophysical Year 67 IGY inception and early planning 67 Adding rockets to the program 70 Artificial Earth satellites 70 A retrospective view of the IGY 84
Chapter 4: The IGY Program at Iowa 89 Ground-launched rockets 89 Projects sometimes failed 94 Large balloons 96 Rockoons 102
Chapter 5: The Vanguard Cosmic Ray Instrument 125 Van Allen’s cosmic ray experiment proposals 126 Major challenges 127 Evolution of the instrument design 130 Assembling and testing the instrument 137 Final work on the Vanguard instrument 151 Additional notes on the data recorder 152
Chapter 6: Sputnik! 159 Early indications of Soviet intentions 159 Scientists gather to review IGY progress 163 A memorable cocktail party: The announcement 166 Closing the conference 170 Continuing reactions 173
Chapter 7: The U.S. Satellite Competition 177 Competing launch vehicle proposals 177 The Stewart Committee and the Vanguard decision 186 Keeping the Orbiter dream alive 193
Chapter 8: Go! Jupiter C, Juno, and Deal I 213 Obtaining the approvals 214 Preparations at Huntsville and Pasadena 216 A call from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory 217 A hurried move to California 231 Building the Deal I satellite 234 Instrument calibration 235 The corona discharge problem, again 238 Environmental testing 238
Chapter 9: The Birth of Explorer I 245 The first countdown attempts 245 The Deal I launch: Explorer I in orbit! 247 Public jubilation 257 Returning from the Cape 258
Chapter 10: Deal II and Explorers II and III 263 Building the Deal II instruments 263 To Cape Canaveral for the Deal II launch 269 A heartbreaking failed launch attempt 272 The crash effort for a second try 276 The Vanguard I launch 280 A successful Explorer III launch! 280
Chapter 11: Operations and Data Handling 287 Explorer I operation 287 Explorer I data acquisition 291 Explorer III operation 293 Explorer III data acquisition 295 Data flow 297 The ground network 298 Data tape logistics 305 Making the data intelligible 309 Reading and tabulating the information 313
Chapter 12: Discovery of the Trapped Radiation 319 Iowa's cosmic ray experiment 321 Early hints of the high-intensity radiation 324 Examining the Explorer I data 325 From perplexity to understanding with Explorer III 330 My hurried move back to Iowa City 336 The announcement 339 The Soviets missed the discovery 347
Chapter 13: Argus and Explorers IV and V 359 Nuclear weaponry and the cold war 359 The Argus effect and project 361 NOTSNIK 364 The Iowa cosmic ray group and Argus 365 Explorer IV and V preparation and launch 367 Explorer IV operation 375 Early unclassified Explorer IV results 376 Argus results 380
Chapter 14: Extending the Toehold in Space 395 Completing the first generation 395 Second-generation spacecraft 406 An early scorecard 417
Chapter 15: Pioneering in Campus Space Research 421 The Cosmic Ray Laboratory 421 Establishing the university’s role in space research 425 Training ground for Space scientists 426
Chapter 16: Some Personal Reflections 429 Family life 429 The university scene 431 Collegial interactions 434 Public exposure 438 Physics or engineering 438 The value of an outstanding mentor 440 The spirit of the times 441
Epilogue 445 Acronyms and Abbreviations 449 Selected Bibliography 453 Name Index 457 Subject Index 465