McNamara and Space Projects

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OM

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Bomiwriter said:
I do not care to acknowledge this man's actions concerning the project. He strangled any chance to incrementally enter space with a winged piloted glider, and cancelled any chance of gaining a valuable future hypersonic data base and boost-glider orbital operations experience for future projects. It appears deliberate and upon writing to him twice and presenting circumstantial evidence that the project appears to have gone "Black," citing the Cuba problem, he never answered me. I told him of Docs I have copies of that stated an outright interest by a particular Govt agency in the DS project, but still, two letters remained unanswered. I wonder what happened to those letters, now that he is deceased and who found and read them.

...MacNamara was, quite clearly, one of the worst SecDevs we've had. He was, without question, far more damaging to our aerospace dominance and our national defense than Symington and Cheney combined. Beyond the idiocy of canceling both MOL and Dynasoar, much of the failure of Vietnam can be laid squarely at his feet as the result of his attempts to implement the scourge of micromanagement upon the one area of human existence that it simply cannot be applied to: warfare. The sheer number of x-factors involved in armed combat on a nation vs. nation scale overwhelm any attempts to micromanage the course of the conflict successfully, and only a completely delusional retard would have failed to observe this and known better than to try.

The man deserves to be remembered in nothing but derision, because that's all he's earned.

[/vehement_venting]
 

Proponent

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OM said:
...MacNamara was, quite clearly, one of the worst SecDevs we've had. He was, without question, far more damaging to our aerospace dominance and our national defense than Symington and Cheney combined. Beyond the idiocy of canceling both MOL and Dynasoar

Although I don't want to defend McNamara in general, let me point out that MOL was approved while he was at DoD (1965) and canceled (1969) after his departure (1968). Personally, I hold his support of MOL against him: as a space station it was inferior to NASA's stations in every respect, it weakened support for them, and had very little military utility.
 

carmelo

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OM said:
...MacNamara was, quite clearly, one of the worst SecDevs we've had. He was, without question, far more damaging to our aerospace dominance and our national defense than Symington and Cheney combined. Beyond the idiocy of canceling both MOL and Dynasoar, much of the failure of Vietnam can be laid squarely at his feet as the result of his attempts to implement the scourge of micromanagement upon the one area of human existence that it simply cannot be applied to: warfare.
I agree,but for MOL remember that was cancelled in 1969,and Mc Namara was go from long time.
I dont'like Mc Namara,mostly for Vietnam,but maybe his thougt was: X-20 is operational in 1969-70.
Blue Gemini is ready in 1965-66... so....
 

OM

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Proponent said:
Although I don't want to defend McNamara in general, let me point out that MOL was approved while he was at DoD (1965) and canceled (1969) after his departure (1968). Personally, I hold his support of MOL against him: as a space station it was inferior to NASA's stations in every respect, it weakened support for them, and had very little military utility.

...In order:

1) Then don't. Everyone who's tried to defend that schlub's actions has gotten their heads handed to them on a pike. You'd be safer defending Nixon and Watergate.

2) MacNamara approved MOL only to appease the Air Farce after he'd canceled the X-20 program.

3) He had already gotten the ball rolling to cancel the MOL program at least a year before his departure, although by his own admission he'd been looking for ways out of the program even before he greenlighted it in 1965.

4) MOL was never meant to be Skylab, and most of the criticism against the program comes from hindsight. It was a program that, had it gone through, would have given us far more experience in space station operations than we got between the time the first MOL was to be launched and Skylab, and what was learned would have benefited that particular program as well as enhancing our national presence in space. IMO, to sit back and go "well, it wouldn't have worked anyway" is just defeatism.
 

Byeman

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OM said:
4) MOL was never meant to be Skylab, and most of the criticism against the program comes from hindsight. It was a program that, had it gone through, would have given us far more experience in space station operations

That is debatable. After the first mission, they would have found that the crew induced too many vibrations and was no value added to mission*. The follow ons would have been launched unmanned.

* The mission wasn't to learn or develop space station operations, it was reconnaissance, no more, no less. Everything else was just cover story. The NRO wanted no part in it and canceled the program. Since it was a visible program, it couldn't get swept on the rug, like many other canceled NRO programs (There have been many other NRO stillborn programs).
 

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McNamara was also very bad for strategic weapons development. Reading several accounts of the timeframe I read between the lines that the Bay of Pigs scared McNamara and made him conclude US superiority would continue to cause Soviet adventurism as they were desperate to appear strong.

He cancelled many projects, downsized deployments and basically put the US on the path that would ALLOW the Soviets to catch up and exceed US force levels. He believed the Soviets would feel better (my words) if they were the US's equal when it came to nuclear forces.
 

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bobbymike said:
He cancelled many projects, downsized deployments and basically put the US on the path that would ALLOW the Soviets to catch up and exceed US force levels. He believed the Soviets would feel better (my words) if they were the US's equal when it came to nuclear forces.

...Which was not his choice to make, but the President's and Congress. LBJ should have jettisoned him the second it became apparent he was allowing he Soviets to catch up.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Payload would have been five astronauts (six if they wanted to be uncomfortable and skip a few kind of important componants). Probably easier, more cost effective ways to launch five astronauts, but claims that the DS was useless are so much ill-informed bunk.

It was for military missions
 

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Bomiwriter said:
A military space force composed of numerous vehicles, robot sats, bomb platforms, resupply lifting body & boost-glide variety, reconn gliders, decoy orbital and reentry bomb gliders, etc.

All which could and were done with cheaper systems.
The US had all the necessary strategic weapon delivery systems. There is no advantage with DS in this area
The US had all the reconsats it needed. DS would have been a poor platform for this. Its H2-O2 APU's would have induced vibrations and their exhaust would have enveloped the DS in a cloud of water vapor.
ASAT? Program 437
Inspection sat? Blue Gemini would have been cheaper if needed.

DS would have been bust as a weapon system and would have been an expensive but advanced X-plane much like the XB-70.

Also resupply for what?
 

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Topic Split - See Manned or Unmanned Space exploration.

Original topic renamed.

Regards Bailey.
 

bobbymike

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Bruno Anthony said:
bobbymike said:
McNamara was also very bad for strategic weapons development. Reading several accounts of the timeframe I read between the lines that the Bay of Pigs scared McNamara and made him conclude US superiority would continue to cause Soviet adventurism as they were desperate to appear strong.

He cancelled many projects, downsized deployments and basically put the US on the path that would ALLOW the Soviets to catch up and exceed US force levels. He believed the Soviets would feel better (my words) if they were the US's equal when it came to nuclear forces.

This is fascinating stuff. Can you elaborate further? You can never fuc*ing trust progressives with America's safety. IMO, Kennedy also shat himself during the Crisis.

I will try and find the books I have one it's called 'Inventing Accuracy' can't remember the other one.

I think the other were
The Wizards of Armageddon
Memoirs of a Cold Warrier.
The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy - maybe has some information
 

GeorgeA

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Another fine book on the subject of McNamara and nuclear forces is by an Australian historian, Desmond Ball, called Politics and Force Levels: The Strategic Missile Program of the Kennedy Administration. Very detailed, not especially technical, but a good overview of such issues as Minuteman deployment and Skybolt. It was printed in 1980 so you might be in ILL or eBay territory, but I recommend it if you can find it.


Also Neil Sheehan's biography of Bernard Schreiver, A Fiery Peace in a Cold War, is very worthwhile, although Sheehan does descend into screedville where Vietnam is concerned.
 

bobbymike

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George Allegrezza said:
Another fine book on the subject of McNamara and nuclear forces is by an Australian historian, Desmond Ball, called Politics and Force Levels: The Strategic Missile Program of the Kennedy Administration. Very detailed, not especially technical, but a good overview of such issues as Minuteman deployment and Skybolt. It was printed in 1980 so you might be in ILL or eBay territory, but I recommend it if you can find it.


Also Neil Sheehan's biography of Bernard Schreiver, A Fiery Peace in a Cold War, is very worthwhile, although Sheehan does descend into screedville where Vietnam is concerned.

Yes I have that one as well and it is a great book on this topic.
 

J.A.W.

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Quote from Chuck Yeager who was in charge of the pilots school for the USAF winged spacecraft program..

"Man, I was shocked by Secretary McNamara's decision.
There we sat with a school that had trained the 1st generation of military spacemen,
who now had no missions to fly."

Maybe the JFK/LBJ administration wanted to appear to be demilitarising space, ( CIA 'Big Bird' instead?)
esp' after the high altitude nuke testing fiasco..
 

RyanC

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Byeman said:
DS would have been bust as a weapon system and would have been an expensive but advanced X-plane much like the XB-70.


The B-70A would have been the best strategic bomber ever built, too bad it was strangled in it's cradle.
 

J.A.W.

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The B-70A would have been the best strategic bomber ever built, too bad it was strangled in it's cradle.
[/quote]

This is a point of contention,

esp' given that the similar performance envelope SR-71 appeared largely immune to interception attempts.

(& did they ever fling a Bomarc at an SR-71 drone?)


What is for sure..

Is the pity of the XB-70 still being the fastest big air-burning bird to have flown so far, & 50 years ago!


Was McNamara ever cited as being on the Lockheed lobbying (kick-back) list?
Seems NAA really got the shaft (XF-108/Navajo/XB-70) while the 'skunk-works' got the hi-tech contracts,
so, does something still stink, 1/2 a century down the track?
 

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Topic closed. This is not a politics forum. Please respect the forum rules.
 
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