During the summer of 1911,a major face-lifting was performed on Greenbury Point, at a cost of about $2,500. A huge wooden hangar was erected. It was divided into three separate compartments of equal size to accommodate the three Navy airplanes. The beach was cleaned and groomed; the field was plowed and rolled; trees were felled and removed; and in September a swamp was drained and partially filled to provide additional operating space and, incidentally, to eliminate the hordes of mosquitoes thereabouts.
Office and sleeping facilities were provided, a large gasoline storage tank was installed, and a 30-foot motor boat was ordered for use as a crash boat. Working space was prepared and an engine-testing stand and turntable were rigged for performing aeronautical experiments at the Engineering Experiment Station. Certain aviation supplies were sent from the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Lieutenant John Rodgers and the Navy's Wright B-1 biplane were the first to arrive at Annapolis. Several crates containing the disassembled B-1 were delivered on 6 September, and the B-1 was assembled by the same evening. The next day, Rodgers took off from Farragut Field at the Academy parade grounds and, after flying spirals, turns, and circles, he buzzed the grounds. He landed and refueled;then, at 3:40 p.m. he took off for a cross-country flight to Washington, D. C. He flew the 30-odd miles at about 2,000 feet and alighted on the Washington Monument Grounds where he was greeted by Captain Chambers. He then flew nine miles to the aerodrome of the Army Signal Corps at College Park, Maryland. Here he arranged to house the Navy B-1 temporarily in one of the Army's hangars, since the aerodrome at Greenbury Point was still not completed.
On 16 September, Rodgers embarked from College Park for Havre de Grace, Maryland, where his family lived. He got away at 1:15 p.m. into a 10-m.p.h. wind. A reporter noted:
The plane was canted at an angle of 30 degrees most of the time while he was in sight and for a part of the way he was apparently not making more than four miles an hour. He must have improved on this average, for he made Baltimore by 3 o'clock, taking two hours for the forty-mile flight. He landed and replenished his fuel and continued at 3:30. He landed at Havre de Grace at 5:35. The airline distance is 70 miles, but by the course flown the machine probably covered 125 miles.
In completing his return flight to Annapolis from Havre de Grace, Rodgers had logged a total flight time of six and one-half hours from the time he originally departed from Annapolis on 7 September until his return. Fortunately, he experienced no mishap en route. Rodgers reported to the Superintendent of the Naval Academy and commenced shore leave that lasted 44 days, until 3 November.
Lieutenant J. H. Towers, together with the Curtiss A-1 Triad and the Curtiss A-2, arrived at Annapolis during the latter half of September, and before the month was out, the two Curtiss machines were assembled except for their engines. On the morning of 30 September, Towers made the first Annapolis Bight of the Curtiss contingent. He flew the A-1 ten minutes at a height of approximately 200 feet. He flew another three flights as well on 3 October, which totaled one hour's duration.
Lieutenant T. G. Ellyson, meantime, had obtained leave to participate unofficially in the Nassau Boulevard Aero Meet, held at Long Island, N.Y., from 23 September to 2 October. Since he was not permitted to use a government machine for private profit, Ellyson leased a standard Curtiss airplane for the Nassau Meet.
On Saturday 23 September, Ellyson won the $600 cross-country event against such renowned pilots as Claude Grahame-White, Thomas Sopwith, Lieutenant Thomas DeWitt Milling, Eugene Ely, and George Beatty. He covered a total distance of 18 miles in 21 minutes and five seconds. The next day he participated in the quick-starting event, but failed to win. He also participated in events on the 28th and 30th of September and won two additional $50 prizes.
The question of permitting the Navy pilots to engage in aeronautical contests and perform daring stunts cropped up intermittently. There was a tremendous public demand for aviation meets. Since aeronautics was relatively new at this time, it represented a new amusement to millions of curious people. New speed, endurance, and altitude records were being established almost quarterly as ever-better aircraft were developed and produced in America and abroad. And the spirited young men composing the Navy's aeronautical unit were no exception in their desire to win fame and fortune in this new art.
Captain Chambers, however, was not in favor of allowing Navy pilots to participate in public meets. He favored restraint and persistently cautioned the Navy pilots to practice known Bight safety principles. Flying was a particularly perilous vocation at this time. By the end of 1910, when U.S. naval aviation was getting started, there had been 37 world aviation fatalities. By the end of 1911, this figure had risen to 76. Lieutenant George E.M. Kelly, one of Ellyson’s aviation classmates at Curtiss’ North Island aviation camp, had been killed in the crash of an Army Curtiss biplane pusher. And, in October 1911, 25-year-old Eugene Fly, who contributed so much to gaining support for naval aviation, was killed while flying at an exhibition meet at Macon, Georgia.
Among other things, Captain Chambers feared that Rodgers was far too daring for his and the Navy’s own good. In a letter to the manager of the Wright Company, he confided that Rodgers “can be relied on to attempt sensational stunts and…he has good judgment as a flyer, but he is a little inclined to be too independent and to spring surprises.” Later in the year, Captain Chambers lamented, “Of course John will be wanting to do all sorts of stunts and I will try to keep him from smashing things up, in order to avoid being obliged to shut down from lack of funds.”
Ellyson had arrived at the Annapolis aerodrome on 4 October, fired with a desire to make new aerial conquests. From the 7 th to the 9 th , he flew the A-1 for 21 minutes.
On 11 October, Ellyson and Towers, while attempting to establish a long distance record flight for hydroplanes, were forced to land at Smith Point, Virginia, far short of their goal of Old Point Comfort. Three times they were forced to alight en route: at a point 30 miles below Annapolis, when a safety wire on the gasoline tank broke; at Cedar Point, Maryland, when the bracket on the carburetor adjuster broke; and, finally, at Smith Point, (79 miles south of Annapolis) when four bearings burned out. The USS Bailey (TB-21) had to be summoned to ferry the A-1 back to Annapolis. The A-1’s engine was dismounted and shipped to the Curtiss Company for replacement.
Both Navy Curtiss machines received new engines in mid-October. The A-2 training landplane, which was originally equipped with a 4-cylinder Curtiss engine of 50 h.p. had been considered by Ellyson to be hopelessly underpowered. At Ellyson’s urging, a 60-h.p., 8-cylinder Curtiss engine was purchased and installed in the A-2 on 13 October. Ellyson piloted the A-2 four days later for eight minutes. Two days afterward, a new 75-h.p. V-8 Curtiss engine arrived and was installed in the A-1.
Ellyson was then ordered by the Bureau of Navigation to fly to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, with Towers as co-pilot, “to rest the Navy Curtiss hydroareoplane in extended flights over water.” This was their second chance to establish a record long distance flight for hydroplanes. Two mishaps occurred to the A-1, however, before Ellyson and Towers could embark on their proposed Odyssey. On 23 October, Towers broke a wing panel when he dunked the lower right wing in making a water landing. The following day, Ellyson broke a propeller tip while turning on the choppy surface of Chesapeake Bay.
But, within a day’s time, Lieutenants Ellyson and Towers were able to take off for Fortress Monroe. Their destination was more than 130 miles away, which indeed was a formidable flight for the rickety, two-man hydroplanes of this period. Such pusher-type aircraft shook violently from motor vibrations, generated deafening noise, and suffered repeated breakdowns and failures. Ellyson and Towers planned to fly directly over water all the way down and back, so they could alight instantly in case of emergency. They decided to fly close enough to the west shoreline of Chesapeake to be within close taxiing range of a beach on which to make any necessary repairs.
The pair left Annapolis at 12:15 p.m., 25 October, with Towers in the right seat and Ellyson in the left. they alternated piloting the A-1 for the first hour to avoid excessive fatigue; Ellyson flew the first half hour and Towers the next. Trouble developed with the radiator after the first hour of flight, when the water connections on top of the radiator began to leak. Water seeped onto the magneto, causing the engine to misfire. Towers managed to tighten some of the connections. Once he climbed partly from his seat to tighten the water manifold on the engine; and for an hour he held the water-pipe in place to prevent additional water spillage. Nevertheless, water continued to drip through the honeycombing of the radiator; and the A-1’s incessant vibrations broke loose a water connection in the upper right hand corner of the radiator. Oil was running low and the engine became hot from lack of sufficient water in the radiator. After flying two hours and two minutes for a distance of 112 miles, the aviators were forced to come down ten miles south of the Rappahannock River, at Milford Haven, Virginia. Lieutenant Ellyson adroitly beached the A-1 by running it full speed onto the beach.
At Milford Haven, temporary repairs were improvised on the radiator and the aviators were under way at 4:00 p.m. But, 25 minutes later, they were once more forced to land at Buckroe Beach, Virginia—35 miles south of Milford Haven and just a few miles north of their goal—when the engine began misfiring again as a result of another radiator leak and a broken magneto connection. Ellyson and Towers came down in such heavy surf that they split the bottom of the bow of the main pontoon. Despite their troubles, the two aviators had established a two-man hydroplane distance record of 138.2 miles. Temporary repairs were made on the engine the following day, 26 October, and the pontoon was patched with tar and canvas. The Bay waters were too rough to permit take-off, however, so the A-1 was taken to a smooth inlet. Less than 200 feet of smooth water existed in the inlet, and, since the A-1 could not become airborne from the water while supporting the weight of two men, Lieutenant Towers took off alone at 12:50 p.m. In five minutes, he covered the six remaining miles to Fortress Monroe, where he was joined by Ellyson a short time later.
The next day, another radiator and float arrived at Fortress Monroe from Annapolis. They were installed on the A-1; and the pair tried that afternoon to take off for the return flight. But they could not get power enough to lift off the water because of the low octane of the Army gasoline with which the A-1 had been refueled. Higher octane gasoline was procured from nearby Newport News but bad weather delayed them two more days. Finally, they got underway for their return flight at 10:20 a.m. 30 October.
Four days would elapse before they would reach Annapolis. They were forced to alight at the mouth of the York River, Virginia, because of a defective radiator and water pump; at Fleeton, Virginia, because of a steaming radiator; near Reedville, Virginia, for the same reason (where they were delayed until 2 November by inclement weather); and at Point No Point, Maryland, because of carburetor trouble (where they were delayed still another day by foul weather). Finally, at 4:40 p.m., 3 November, the two aviators completed their return flight to Annapolis.
A week passed before either Ellyson or Towers took the A-1 aloft again. On 10 November, after patching a leak in the honeycombing of the radiator, Ellyson flew four hops in the A-I which lasted a total of 18 minutes at an average altitude of 75 feet. Towers accompanied him as passenger on two of the hops, then flew a ten-minute flight alone at approximately 150 feet altitude. Intensely cold weather and winds up to 30 m.p.h. delayed further flying until 15 November.
On 15 November, Towers took the A-1 aloft for its 100th recorded flight. The flight lasted five minutes and was flown at approximately 150 feet altitude. At 3:30 p.m. the same afternoon, Towers flew the A-1 for still another flight. He flew for about three minutes at approximately 175 feet altitude in a 15-to-20-m.p.h. southeasterly wind.
This was the A-1's 101st recorded flight. Suddenly, luck ran out. Approximately one-half mile from shore, Towers attempted to make a left turn. While the A-1 was banked at roughly 45 degrees for the turn, its vertical rudder jammed. Towers was unable to right the A-1 by use of the ailerons alone, and the hydroplane spiraled to the water and plunged in, left wing first. Lieutenant Rodgers, who witnessed the accident, thought that the plane was gradually righting itself shortly before it hit; and he predicted that Towers could have straightened it out sufficiently to avert the disaster had he been 50 or 60 feet higher.
Just before the A-1 struck the water, Towers freed himself from the web of wires and controls and leaped out of the plane. Hitting where the water was about 15 feet deep, the A-1was instantly submerged. It shortly settled upside down with the main pontoon floating on the water's surface. Towers scrambled atop the pontoon and awaited the rescue boat, which arrived 45 minutes later.
Towers received a black eye, swollen face, bruised legs, and a wrenched left ankle, but no serious injuries. The time of evening was so late and the water so rough that the A-1 was moored to a duck blind to await salvage operations the next morning. All of the following day, members of the Navy aviation camp tried to beach the sunken A-1. But they were prohibited by buffeting 25-m.p.h. northwesterly winds. They did, however, succeed in righting and anchoring the damaged A-1 in shallow water, where the waves smashed most of what little remained of the aircraft's wings. The engine was stripped from the wreckage on 17 November, and the wreckage was towed ashore.
Within a week's time, Towers had convalesced and returned to duty. The A-1, however, was a total loss except for its engine, propeller, gasoline tank, the main pontoon, and the two wing floats. Except for warped exhaust valves that required grinding, the engine appeared substantially unimpaired. It was overhauled and tests made on the magneto at the Engineering Experiment Station showed that it, too, had survived the submergence without major damage.
Upon hearing of the accident, F. H. Russell, the alert manager of the Burgess-Wright Aircraft Company, suggested that it would be less costly for the Navy to buy a Burgess-Wright hydroplane for use with the A-1's engine than to rebuild the demolished A-1. The Navy, however, considered it far wiser to use the spare Curtiss parts already in stock together with an order for $450 more worth of parts from the Curtiss factory rather than to expend several thousands of dollars for one of the Burgess-Wright hydroplanes.
Within two weeks of the accident, the A-1 pans not available at Annapolis were en route from the Curtiss factory. And by 9 December, the parts had arrived and the A-1 was completely reconstructed in the Engineering Experiment Station. On 19 December, the rebuilt A-1 emerged from the Experiment Station. Its wings were detached in order to slip it through the doorway, and then reattached on the beach.
Ellyson test-flew the rebuilt A-1 for three hops that day, the first two of which lasted ten minutes and the final one 12 minutes. Lieutenant Towers, too, made one ten-minute flight.
During November, another officer had joined the Navy Aviation Camp to take flight training. Ensign Victor Daniel Herbster was assigned as a student to Lieutenant Rodgers for instruction in the B-1 Wright biplane. Herbster had been born in West Newton, Pennsylvania, 20 July 1885. He had entered the Naval Academy in 1903 and had graduated in 1908. After serving the two years sea duty then required by law, he was commissioned an ensign on 6 July 1910.
Rodgers commenced instructing Herbster in mid-November after returning from his long -leave of absence. Two brief lessons of about 15 minutes each conducted above the field at Greenbury Point (to avoid the hazards of flying a frail land plane over water) convinced Rodgers that the Navy's airfield was far too small for training purposes. He reported:
The machine [B-1] must be constantly turned very sharply in order to avoid any obstructions and to keep over the land. The pupil learns nothing in these turns because they must be executed by the aviator himself. I consider teaching more or less a dangerous occupation and one that should be attempted when all conditions are favorable.
Towers, too, had complained of the airfield's diminutive size when he first arrived in September; and he had pleaded that more room be made available. In flying the wheel-type airplanes of this period, pilots understandably preferred to fly over level, well-cleared land since the power plants were subject to malfunctions at any time and the pilots desired level land for making emergency landings. Unfortunately, Greenbury Point could not provide an area adequate for such overland flying, and to make matters worse, sharp-edged corn stalks near the field snagged the Navy's land planes during take-offs and landings. The lower wing of the Wright B-1, for example, was punctured by some nearby corn stalks and had to be replaced.
In addition to these land problems, Greenbury Point also offered serious water problems. The main pontoon of the A-1 Triad drew approximately one foot of water, and the waters surrounding Greenbury Point were often not much higher than this at low tide. Thus, neither land nor water aircraft of the Navy could function under peak operating conditions at Greenbury Point.
And, if one more reason were needed for not making Greenbury Point a permanent site for future naval aviation activities, it came in the form of those stray bullets from the nearby Naval Academy rifle range. Hence, after the close of the 1911 flying season, Greenbury Point was abandoned for other sites.
The problem of developing pontoons that were efficient for hydroplanes in both water and air was yet to be satisfactorily resolved. Weight, strength, stability, water permeability, durability, buoyancy, and design were all factors that had to be considered when designing hydroplane pontoons. Combating the suction phenomenon that occurred during take-off, when the pontoon tried to break free of the water's grasp, was one of the major recurring difficulties to be overcome.
It was necessary to construct pontoons that could not only break free from the clutch of a becalmed sea, but could also arise from very rough waters. Although the A-1 could be flown from choppy water with ease, it was difficult to make it rise from very rough or very calm waters.
During the autumn and winter of 1911, Naval Constructor William McEntee commenced experiments on hulls and pontoons at the naval Experiment Model Basin at the Washington Navy Yard. Naval Constructor Holden C. Richardson, of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, was also assigned to this duty at the Model Basin. The two men conducted various towing tests with experimental model pontoons and with model hydrovanes or blades attached to the bottom of the model pontoons.
Lieutenant Richardson had been born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, on 7 December 1878. He had entered Annapolis in 1897 and been graduated in 1901. After serving the two years required, he was commissioned ensign in 1903, was made Assistant Naval Constructor with a relative rank of lieutenant, junior grade in 1904, and was promoted to lieutenant in 1908. In 1907, he completed his work on a Master of Science degree in Naval Construction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1910, before joining the naval aviation group, he constructed a glider which he test-flew in January 1911.
Since the airfield at Greenbury Point was too small for overland flights, Captain Chambers hoped that McEntee and Richardson would develop suitable pontoons for both Navy land planes-the Wright B-1 and the Curtiss A-2—so they could be flown over water. New candidates taking instructions could then be trained to fly over water where it was less risky than flying over land. Captain Chambers, however, soon despaired of having pontoons developed at the Model Basin for the B-1 in time for use during the 1911 flying season. Thus, when the Burgess-Wright Aircraft Company announced they had developed a pair of pontoons designed to fit Wright-type biplanes, Captain Chambers dispatched Rodgers and Herbster to the Company's plant at Marblehead, Massachusetts, to test and possibly procure a pair for the Navy Wright B-1. Rodgers and Herbster arrived on 19 November, and the next day Rodgers made several test flights in a Burgess-Wright biplane equipped with the dual pontoons. The pontoons responded satisfactorily and Rodgers ordered a pair for the Navy.
Rodgers then exploited this opportunity to chance a stunt flight. He duplicated Curtiss' earlier 17 February 1911 air-to-water-to-ship demonstration flight on 24 November. He flew a new Burgess-Wright hydroplane from the torpedo station at Newport, R.I., and for 15 minutes circled above the third and fourth divisions of the North Atlantic Fleet. Then he landed alongside the USS Ohio (BB-12). Next, Rodgers and the biplane were hoisted on board the Ohio ,by an electric crane, during the course of which one of the biplane's wings became slightly damaged. This prohibited further experimental flights from being made in conjunction with the Fleet, so Rodgers and Herbster returned to Annapolis.
Rodgers continued instructing Herbster in the B-1 at Annapolis until the new Burgess pontoons arrived. Herbster made 17 flights under Rodger's instruction from 3 to 7 December. He logged more than four hours of flight instruction in this time, learning first to manipulate the wing-warping and rudder control stick, and then to coordinate both thisand the elevator control stick, followed by instructions in take-offs and landings. Rodgers reported that Herbster was quick to learn flying and "could now if necessary make a flight alone." The pontoons arrived 7 December, and from the 8 th through the 11th of December, the B-1 was overhauled and the new pontoons were attached.
The Burgess-Wright pontoons were composed of a wooden framework wrapped snugly in treated linen and made watertight by several applications of rubberized paint. The rubberized paint acted also as an adhesive, for it penetrated the fabric and helped cement it to the wooden framework. Successive coats of filler were applied and rubbed down to reduce the skin friction and to make a smooth surface texture.
In profile, the pair of Burgess pontoons were sled-shaped, similar in appearance to the A-1's single main pontoon constructed by Curtiss. The bottoms of the B-1's twin pontoons, however, were "V" or boat-shaped rather than flat-bottomed as the A-1's pontoon. Moreover, both of the new pontoons had two pronounced steps cut in their bottoms. As the pontoons sped over the water, these steps served to force the water's flow onto the bottom of the pontoon directly behind the steps, enhancing the lift of the plane. The first step of each Burgess pontoon contained a ventilating tube that permitted introduction of air to the step. Air so admitted eliminated each pontoon's tendency to adhere to the water's surface during take-off.
By Monday, 11 December, the B-1 was fully prepared to make its first water flights.
Rodgers took the B-1 aloft for its maiden flight as a hydroplane. The flight lasted about ten minutes and everything seemed to respond favorably: the pontoons, though heavier than the wheel assembly they replaced, proved more than adequate for flights carrying one person.
Then, the same afternoon, Rodgers attempted a flight with Herbster as passenger. The stability of the B-1 diminished appreciably with Herbster's added weight, "so that she climbed very slowly stalling very easily, and it required only very little up rudder [i.e., elevator] to point her up so that she would cease to climb but drop instead."
Endeavoring to remain within close range of a lifeboat below, Rodgers risked making a turn at a height approximately 15 feet above the water. It was 4:30 p.m. The B-1 stalled while Rodgers was making his turn; and it dropped rapidly toward the water. Like the A-1 a month before, the B-1 struck the water left wing first. The resulting impact turned "the machine to the left causing her to skid to the right so that the hydroplane [i.e., pontoons] struck broadside on and were ripped off. The machine settled head first and then turned over on her back slowly…" The right propeller, pontoons, tail, and ribs were fractured.
The broken B-1 was dragged to the Engineering Experiment Station for repair. Rodgers and Herbster, fortunately, escaped the accident without serious injury.
When the cold, mid-December weather set in at Annapolis, little flying weather remained and few flights could be made. In fact, activity at Greenbury Point had been reduced to less than three hours a day since mid-November as a result of high winds and extremely cold weather. It had been anticipated that the still colder weather of winter would substantially bar flying practice and instruction at Annapolis.
Captain Chambers realized the desirability of establishing a winter flying camp at a site enjoying a warm winter climate. The Navy Yards at Charleston, South Carolina, and Pensacola, Florida, and the Naval Stations at Key West, Florida, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had been considered as possible warm weather sites for a temporary winter flying camp, but Chambers feared there were not sufficient funds to establish a suitable camp to accommodate three aircraft at one of these places.
Glenn Curtiss again offered to help. Curtiss was shifting operations to a winter camp at North Island, San Diego as he had the winter before. He arrived in early December to develop a flying boat type of airplane for the Navy as well as to teach civilian students to fly, and he invited Ellyson to join him in making the experiments. Captain Chambers was at first undecided whether to locate a winter camp at North Island for all Navy airplanes and pilots, or for only two of the three aircraft and send the third-either the A-1 with Towers as pilot, or the Wright B-1 with Rodgers and Herbster-to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to conduct flying exercises and experiments with the Atlantic Fleet. Ellyson, however, pointed out that:
It would be useless to send one Curtiss [airplane] to San Diego and one to Guantanamo. We only have one set of tools, and no spares. Any aeroplane for effective work must be a two man machine. Again it takes some little time and experience to work up a two man team.
Towers and I both have confidence in each other and that is something I fear I would not have in four out of five men in the air.
Furthermore, Ellyson contended that Rodgers and Herbster, together with the B-1 should accompany them to North Island because "more will be accomplished by keeping the three machines together." It was decided therefore, to situate the winter camp for all three Navy aircraft and pilots at North Island, California, adjacent to the Curtiss camp.
Ellyson was placed in charge of the two Curtiss aircraft; Rodgers was given charge of the Wright plane. Three canvas tent hangars were obtained from the Mare Island Naval Shipyard to house the aircraft and personnel; and arrangements were made to use the torpedo boat tender Iris (anchored a short distance from North Island) for communicating with Washington to order aircraft parts. By 3 January, the airplanes were packed and on their way to North Island, where Ellyson arrived on the 15th and Rodgers on the 20th. The growing naval aeronautical unit was to continue more practice flights, more flight instruction, and more experimentation culminating in better hydroplanes and creation of a feasible flying boat.
Thus the first year of naval aviation activities came to a close. It had been an auspicious year; for packed within this brief span of time were notable accomplishments. A practical hydroplane had been developed for the Navy; three airplanes had been obtained and three aviators had been qualified to fly them; another student had nearly completed his instructions; an aerodrome (albeit an unsatisfactory one) had been established; a new two-man hydroplane record had been set; experimental work had commenced for further development of hydroplanes; and there had been formed an organizational framework within which the whole apparatus could function. Interest in aviation had been aroused among many naval officers in the Fleet. Naval aviation was here to stay.
Mr. Ra y re c ei v ed his B . A. from the Unive rs ity o f M a ryland (1950), his M.A . from Am e rican University ( 1959), and is pre s entl y working on his Ph . D . dissertation at the Uni v ersity of Colorad o . He h a s held p o sition s as an historian with t h e Joint Chiefs of Staff, U. S . Air Force (Air Defens e C o mmand) U. S . Na vy (Chief of Naval Mat e rial) D e fen se Communi c ations A g en c y , a nd i s now with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, wh e re he i s writing th e hi s tory of management of th e Apollo Program.