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The Space Age Before Sputnik
In 2009, I met Milt and Sally Rosen. Milt led the 1940s-50s Project Viking and was the technical head of Project Vanguard. Sally came up with the name Vanguard for the program to launch the first American satellite.
Sally allowed me to copy some of their significant documents. One was an exchange with the widow of rocket pioneer Robert Goddard. Goddard, 1882-1945, built the first liquid-fueled rocket. The New York Times attacked him; it claimed that rockets would not work in a vacuum.
This letter passed the torch from Goddard to the next generation which landed humans on the Moon. Astronaut Wally Schirra joked that people left out the important phrase, “and return him safely to the Earth.”
Published in Technology
I have his book on the Viking project. Excellent read.
What a great post! Ricochet, where you meet the people who’ve driven so much of the world’s progress…thanks, Richard!
I’m surprised the Times would have said that, given the number of rocket scientists that worked there . . .
July 17, 1969
I will be talking about Project Vanguard on March 14th from 10:00-11:30 pm EST on
Excellent: a correction, almost 50 years late and probably buried on the last page of section B. That’s almost as long as it took for them to apologize for Duranty’s lies about the Holodomor.
Takeaway: they’ve always been evil.
It was in the Editorial section, close to the last page. It was the day after Apollo 11 took off.
Page 37 of the leisure section?
I worked on the Viking Project. Specifically on the explosive actuated separation nuts,pin pullers and cable cutters which allowed the lander to separate from the orbiter and deploy experiments. My work was done in the early ’70’s, the dates you quote must be their time on the Vanguard program.
NASA recycled the name Viking for the soft landing on Mars. It originally referred to the NRL program.
They had a problem fact checking because the scientific basis went all the way back to the 17th Century. Old knowledge is no knowledge.
Here’s a 1954 interview with Milt.
Richard, another mind blowing post. I grew up and still live near Auburn MA where Robert Goddard was experimenting with liquid fueled rockets, there and Airport Hill in Worcester. I was fascinated by him as a boy.
I love your histories. Thank you for bringing us into your world.