James E. Webb and the Grand Strategy of the Moon Landing: A Political, Administrative, and Contextual Analysis

By Charlotte Waldman
2020, Vol. 12 No. 09 | pg. 1/1


The man who powered NASA through the Apollo Era had no background in science or engineering. Rather, NASA achieved one of history’s most thrilling tasks on an ambitious timeline in turbulent political conditions precisely because NASA Administrator James E. Webb operated so successfully as a strategist, not a scientist. The moon landing mapped onto cyclical strategic plans, folding into larger visions of the presidency and splitting into political and technical spheres. Webb formulated tactics for each strategic plan and demonstrated a dynamic perception for the way NASA's political and technical spheres related to each other and to the larger field the moon landing was situated in. Although he failed to secure a future for either Apollo or the dominance of large-scale projects, by carefully determining NASA’s end goal while adroitly assessing the environment he worked within and the means available to him, Webb ultimately brought the moon shot into reach.

On May 25th, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stood in front of Congress and announced that the nation “should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”2 On July 20th, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and declared to more than half a billion people watching on television that his lunar walk represented “one giant leap for mankind.” 3 He splashed down safely in Hawaii four days later. The successful moon landing employed 35,000 NASA workers and 400,000 contractors in thousands of companies and universities around the U.S. at its peak and required the largest commitment of resources ever made by any nation in peacetime.4 The question of what strategic approach united Kennedy’s lofty Cold War-oriented political rhetoric with the remarkable technological success of the Apollo 11 moon landing speaks to crucial issues of government mobilization and efficacy across broad realms of politics, industry, technology, and public imagination during the Cold War.

The search for a strategist points to James E. Webb, who served as NASA Administrator between February 1961 and October 1968. Webb was an experienced attorney, businessman, and manager at the time he accepted President Kennedy’s appointment. He had served as Director of the Bureau of the Budget and Undersecretary of State in the Truman administration, in addition to directing several private firms and serving on the board of directors of the McDonnell Aircraft Company.5 Although his lack of engineering experience made him initially reluctant to accept the job, Webb approached every part of the traditional strategic model with impressive diligence, carefully determining NASA’s end goal while adroitly assessing the political environment he worked within and the means available to him.

The grand strategy of the moon landing folded into larger strategic visions of the presidency. The moon landing strategies thus mapped into a triangular form of cyclical strategic plans: At the peak of the triangle was the big-picture question of how the space program reflected and served broad political and cultural realities. It was in this sphere that Webb and the presidential administrations he worked with developed the moon landing in ways that ensured its political viability and contribution. Once the manned lunar landing had been set, with Kennedy’s decade deadline weighing over NASA, the triangle’s two lower prongs represented NASA’s political strategic sphere and technical strategic sphere to progress towards the moon landing.

Within this defined moon-shot goal, the political realm powered the technical one: The desired political goal was congressional funding through a strategy of coalition-building; this funding then became the resources for the technical strategic plan, which focused on getting to the moon through managerial strategies and attention to administrative organization. The Apollo accomplishment exemplified to Webb the revolutionary capabilities of large-scale management, whereby democratic countries could use the Apollo program as a model to address other complex issues. Across all sectors and eight turbulent years, the 1969 moon landing reveals the ways Webb’s grand strategies powered NASA to success.

Contextualizing the Moon Landing

The moon landing was conceived to serve larger goals in a particular historical moment. Powerful political actors and the political ecology of the 1960s cultivated an opportunity receptive to space as a Cold War strategy. Within this space strategy, defining the right end goal was a primary tactical mission--the manned lunar landing goal in particular served Kennedy's vision for national prestige and took advantage of broad political support in the early 1960s. The context that had invited the moon landing shifted throughout the 1960s, however, as Kennedy’s energy gave way to the Vietnam War and Johnson’s domestic battles to pass the Great Society. Big-picture presidential ambitions changed with cultural shifts, and the moon shot in turn was forced to reckon with changes in the larger domestic and political goals it had been mobilized to serve. The strategies invoked to put a man on the moon cannot be understood without a thorough interrogation of the historical moment of the project’s launch and the moon landing’s changing role in the larger strategic vision it was designed to contribute to.

The Eisenhower Administration

NASA’s start under the Eisenhower administration marks the genesis of the moon landing from time before international and domestic objectives had coalesced to justify the cost of such an ambitious endeavor. From its origin, NASA was created to serve a political and military agenda. NASA’s roots go back to the formation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1915. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite. President Eisenhower responded by creating NASA to absorb NACA and counter the Soviet Union’s domination of space.6 But Eisenhower refused to enter into a race with the Soviet Union, and the political conditions of Eisenhower’s tenure did not generate any justifications for expensive manned flight projects. In December 1960, the Science Advisory Committee reported that a manned lunar landing was feasible but would cost between $26 and $38 billion.7 Eisenhower scoffed at this expense and refused to approve any manned program beyond Mercury, virtually eliminating all spending for Projects Gemini and Apollo.8 The Space Council met so seldom and accomplished so little that Eisenhower proposed abolishing it, and at the beginning of 1961, the future of NASA’s manned program was uncertain.9 Although the stage had been set, without broader presidential goals, NASA languished in uncertainty just months before Kennedy launched the space age to energetic audiences.

The Kennedy Administration

Under President Kennedy, major changes in political will created a strategic niche for NASA to fill, inspiring Kennedy to act. Two events in April 1961 in particular ushered in this historical moment: First, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin shocked the world by becoming the first man to orbit the earth on April 12th, 1961.10 Gagarin’s flight humiliated Americans, undermining the mission to prove American free capitalism superior to the Communist system. Immediately, the mood of caution about space that had prevailed among many members of the Kennedy Administration reversed, as the USSR claimed that the flight showed that the Soviet system could dominate science and technology.11 Stoking the conflict, Soviet premier Nikita S. Khrushchev announced “Let the capitalist countries catch up with our country!” and the Central Committee of the Communist Party proclaimed that in this achievement “are embodied the genius of the Soviet people and the powerful force of socialism.”12 Where Eisenhower hadn’t had reason to justify a costly space project, all of a sudden, Kennedy did. Space had opened up as a crucial area needed to contribute to America’s Cold War strategy.

Within a week of Gagarin’s flight, the nation also learned of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. On April 17th, Cuban exiles attempted a U.S. supported invasion of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Met with unexpected counter attacks, the operation ended in total failure, entrenching Cuban communism and becoming an embarrassing foreign policy disaster for the United States.13 Back to back with Gagarin’s flight, the botched operation made Kennedy appear vulnerable and left him “visibly depressed and grim.”14 Kennedy began to consider a space achievement as a way to erase memory of the Bay of Pigs and symbolize national vitality. The moon landing emerged in this context, as Cold War commitments to overtake the Russians gained urgency and political will for national prestige in space aligned with Kennedy’s search for presidential redemption.

The space endeavor the United States decided to pursue needed to be one that could show up the Soviet Union and demonstrate the technical prowess of the United States. To do so, it needed to be a race that the Americans could win. The day after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Kennedy sent a memo to Vice President Johnson to ask, “Do we have a chance of beating the Soviets by putting a laboratory in space, or by a trip around the moon, or by a rocket to land on the moon and back with a man? Is there any other space program which promises dramatic results in which we could win?” April’s embarrassments had provided both will and urgency, and he demanded answers “at the earliest possible moment.”15 Webb established a NASA study team to investigate “on an urgent basis and in detail, the requirements for a program aimed at a 1967 lunar landing,” and insisted on waiting for their conclusions even as Vice President Johnson pushed him to commit. The NASA study convinced Webb that a lunar landing was indeed “the first project we could assure the president that we could do and do ahead of the Russians, or at least had a reasonable chance to do.”16 Meeting this first and most important criterion, the President adopted the manned lunar landing as a goal of future political and international payoff.

The moon landing had several important features that made it a smart political choice. Although Kennedy’s New Frontier campaign theme dovetailed nicely with his dramatic space policy, the infinite and intangible qualities of space presented a problem of narrative: How could Americans “dominate” outer space? Marking the moon as a destination solved this problem by creating an identifiable and concrete goal, making applicable the parallel between wilderness and outer space. Before the lunar landing goal, NASA’s flights “simply touched the boundaries of infinite outer space,” lacking purpose and heading seemingly nowhere.17 But as Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center Wernher von Braun explained: “Everyone knows what the moon is; everyone knows what this decade is; and everyone can understand an astronaut who returned safely to tell the story. An objective so clearly and simply defined enables us to translate the vague notion of conquering outer space into a hard-hitting industrial program that can be orderly planned, scheduled, and priced out.”18 The moon flight’s strong destination transformed NASA’s rhetoric and ideology, enlisting all other flights in the service of that definable goal.

The “manned” part of the manned lunar landing deserves similar recognition, illustrating a priority for prestige over science in order to most effectively contribute to the Kennedy administration's Cold War vision. In January 1961, the Ad Hoc Committee on Space maintained Eisenhower’s dismal view of the manned space program, releasing a report to warn President-elect Kennedy of the program’s grave deficiencies. The report criticized NASA for emphasizing its manned spaceflight programs at the expense of the more scientifically productive unmanned probes.19 Unmanned space explorations flights could achieve certain scientific exploration tasks more easily and cheaply than manned, leading renowned scientist Dr. Philip Abelson to publicly complain that “manned space exploration has limited scientific value and has been accorded importance which is quite unrealistic” a few months after Kennedy announced his plan.20 While NASA defended the goal with a positive chorus from scientists with ties to the agency, Abelson conducted a straw poll for Science journal and found that of scientists not “connected by self-interest” to NASA, only 3 of the 113 questioned favored the current manned space program.21

The manned moon landing goal, however, was born in the White House, not in a science lab. In light of the propaganda battle against the Soviets, the Kennedy administration viewed manned flight as a critical part of American prestige in space. In a classified memorandum, Webb and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara argued that “It is man, not merely machines, in space that captures the imagination of the world.”22 The Kennedy administration believed that the Cold War would be won or lost in the so-called undecided Third World; the paramount goal was thus to assert America’s image as superior to the Soviet Union for this audience of non-aligned countries.23 In this framing of the Cold War struggle, prestige was as important as power. To win over the “hearts and minds” of the Third World, the Cold War justified a bigger role for the government in the management of the national image, and after the Bay of Pigs setback, an active space program could demonstrate leadership and regain American credibility. Webb carefully developed the moon landing goal with political actors to serve their larger ends, ensuring the goal’s political viability at the cost of its full scientific potential.

Kennedy reversed Eisenhower’s position and aligned the moon landing with the country’s lofty vision of freedom as he dramatically announced the new American space policy on May 25th, 1961. Speaking to a joint session of Congress, Kennedy set up the Third World as “the great battleground for the defense and expansion of freedom today” and introduced space as a strategy “to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny.”24 In a reference to Gagarin’s flight, Kennedy officially positioned the space race in terms of prestige, and prestige in terms of freedom. The “dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks…as did the Sputnik in 1957,” he noted, marked a significant “impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take.” With freedom at stake, Kennedy requested over $500 million in supplemental appropriations for the proposed manned flight.25

The moon landing goal was thus glorious and justified and noble. Space was about more than just space: Integrating the moon landing with his New Frontier campaign theme at Rice Stadium in September 1962, Kennedy assured Americans that those supporting a moon landing could count themselves among those who “rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power.”26 By affirming that “the eyes of the world now look into space,” Kennedy spoke it into existence. In his celebrated assertion of American ability and will, Kennedy pronounced to the packed stadium that “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”27

The Johnson Administration

Although Americans were deeply receptive to Kennedy’s message in the early 1960s, the country underwent sweeping changes under President Johnson that created a context no longer able to align grand space endeavors with its national priorities. The country under Johnson being torn apart by the Vietnam War was not the same one that had eagerly welcomed the moon landing when Kennedy proposed it as a noble Cold War project in 1961. Public idealism had shifted to environmental and anti-war issues, permanently supplanting the space program’s short-lived status as a “good war” or “morale crusade.”28

NASA found itself situated in opposition to the Great Society in the new makeup of the 1960s. Webb had contributed to the inception of the lunar landing goal with the understanding that, politically, the moon shot’s survival depended on fitting neatly into the priorities of the presidency, and now, he struggled to enlist the goal to serve Johnson’s own political strategy. In 1964, Webb told Johnson that he knew “of no area where the inspirational thrust toward doing everything required of a Great Society can be better provided on a proven base of competence, and with so many practical additional benefits to be derived, than through the space program.”29 But despite Webb’s fervent attempts to convince Johnson that “the space program lies in our first area of building the Great Society,” the Apollo program and the Great Society were increasingly contrasted as rival national priorities. At a 1966 meeting of the National League of Cities, NASA became a scapegoat for the mayors’ anger about the lack of support for the Great Society and a symbol of the confrontation between domestic priorities and those of the Cold War.30

For NASA, this translated into tighter budgets and declining public support. In 1965, the proportion of people who wanted to see space spending cut outnumbered the people who wanted to see it increased by a ratio of two to one.31 The Cold War priorities that had driven public support for an aggressive space program slipped behind other concerns. By the time the lunar expeditions ended in 1973, the proportion of people who wanted to see space spending cut outnumbered those who wanted to see it increased by a ratio of eight to one, and an opinion poll ranked space exploration second-to-last on a list of eleven government priorities. It paled in importance to health, the environment, the problems of cities, crime, drug addiction, and the education system.32 By the time the moon landing finally occurred, the space program had nothing to offer the new priorities of the nation, though the event itself generated widespread excitement. Although Webb tried to sell a post-Apollo program that would expand upon the Apollo technology, Johnson put him off, beset with the Vietnam War and budget problems.33

The consequences of this changing context highlight how delicate the right conditions were in 1961 to allow such an ambitious goal to take off at all. The moon landing confirmed its place as a tactic towards a larger goal when it floundered as the larger goal seemingly disappeared. For Webb, situating NASA in the country’s uncertain fabric was imperative. Perhaps most tellingly, in 1967, Webb gave the following advice to another NASA official:

What I want you to realize is that you are not on a nice ship teaming across the ocean at a high speed with the flags flying. You are sort of on a raft that is partly at the mercy of the currents and…you are going to keep your feet wet and have a real hard time getting all of it done, but you must consider the total environment within which you operate.34

The strategies Webb invoked to put a man on the moon must be situated in the larger strategic vision they operated within, perceptive to the full ocean that Webb analyzed around him.

The Political Strategic Field

In the face of these changing circumstances, the moon landing’s success should be attributed to Webb’s savvy maneuvering in sometimes unfavorable political situations. Once Kennedy had decided upon the manned lunar landing and announced the country’s commitment to achieving it within the decade, NASA’s strategic vision narrowed. The end goal had been decided—now, how to implement it? NASA’s political plan revolved around the relationship between NASA and Congress. As NASA strove to win funding, their resources in the political realm consisted of the non-monetary means that NASA could tap into. Webb worked to align the interests of congressional key players with divergent end goals by leveraging NASA’s political and economic influence to attract congressional funding.

Webb brought a sophisticated understanding of power to his position that allowed him to enact such an effective strategy for NASA. To Kennedy, Webb’s government experience met NASA’s needs more than technical experience could; he insisted he wanted to appoint Webb as Administrator precisely because he had been involved in policy at the White House and State Department level.35 Webb’s experience manipulating bureaucratic power made him what Tom Wolfe, author of The Right Stuff, called one of the “ablest and most distinguished of the off-the ballot politicians” and “the sort of man of whom a congressman or senator was likely to say: ‘He speaks my language.’”36 NASA’s official legacy even credits Webb for having “politicked, coaxed, cajoled and maneuvered for NASA in Washington,” recognizing his background as a Washington insider with exceptional understanding of political exchange as a key ingredient to Apollo’s hard fought success in the realm of federal budgeting.37

Webb’s experience with bureaucratic politics explains his success with a strategy based on forming a powerful coalition that could secure funding in exchange for political favors. Coming out of the Bureau of the Budget, Webb already “understood that major endeavors are often unstable conglomerations of forces and interests that you’re trying to keep in metastable balance and moving in the same direction,” as Executive Secretary of the National Space Council Scott Pace put it.38 Webb himself described leadership as “fusing at many levels a large number of forces, some countervailing, into a cohesive but essentially unstable whole and keeping it in motion in a desired direction.”39 These forces included constituents from both inside and outside of his agency who had divergent interests to realize through NASA. Webb spoke frankly of the legislators who “were interested in selling their influence with the space program for other kinds of benefits they could get in their districts and committees.”40 Faced with the task of securing funding to make a lunar landing possible, Webb realized the goals of NASA’s congressional constituents by skillfully leveraging contract awards, political capital, and NASA’s positive publicity.

Contract Awards

Perhaps most significantly, Webb leveraged NASA’s lucrative aerospace contracts with a tactical eye for political exchange. Although Webb could justify the location of the field centers along the “space crescent” on technical grounds, their placements were dictated at least as much by congressional politics.41 By far the biggest winner of this exchange was Texas, home to the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), the complex of facilities for spacecraft development, astronaut training, and flight operations.42 The MSC’s district happened to be home to the lawmaker with the most control over NASA’s funding: Houston Congressman Albert Thomas, chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for NASA’s budget.43 Several other vital figures to NASA’s financial future also hailed from Texas, including Johnson and Rep. Olin Teague, who chaired the Manned Space Flight Committee. With Texas reaping the benefits from the multimillion-dollar MSC, Teague worked tirelessly to sell manned space flight to members of the House.44

Webb’s strategic awarding of NASA’s lucrative contracts spoke directly to his plan to satisfy important constituencies by aligning financial interests. Two days before Kennedy even announced the moon landing mission to Congress, Webb communicated his agenda to Vice President Johnson in a “grand mix of noble vision and pork barrel politics.”45 Balancing NASA’s needs with the solicitations of politicians, Webb pointed out that Rep. Thomas and George Brown, a friend of Johnson and a Texas political ally, “were extremely interested in having Rice University make a real contribution” to the Apollo program, and that in fact Brown had brought it to his attention.46 In Webb’s rhetoric, these considerations blended seamlessly with the idea that using Rice’s thirty-eight hundred acres of land and easy water transportation in Thomas’ district could build up a strong engineering center in the Southwest to “serve the national interest.” Perhaps most transparently, though, when Webb informed future MSC director Robert Gilruth, chief of the Space Task Group at the Langley Center in VA, that he and many others would be moving to Texas, Webb asked “What did Harry Byrd [Senator from Virginia] ever do for you, Bob?” When Gilruth replied, “nothing,” Webb responded,

That’s what I mean. We’ve got to get the power. We’ve got to get the money, or we can’t do this program. And the first thing, we got to move to Texas. Texas is a good place for you to operate, It’s in the center of the country. You’re on salt water. And it happens to be the home of [Albert Thomas] the man who is the controller of the money.47

With the understanding that political exchanges were necessary to power technical progress, Webb crafted coalitions through attentiveness to money, or as Webb so aptly put it, “the power.”

In the hands of an able strategist such as Webb, the contract work that NASA produced had enormous potential to alter NASA’s position. Rep. George Miller of California, who became chairman of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics in 1961, had been a vocal critic of the space program before his tenure as chairman. But the contracts and jobs created by California’s dominance in the aerospace industry may have made Miller more inclined to support NASA’s funding as chairman, where he became noticeably less willing to criticize the space program.48 In general, the aerospace industry was among the country’s fastest growing industries in the 1960s. Its economic impact translated into vested political interest and grassroots support for NASA from impacted geographic areas.49 The influence of this economic bloc in NASA’s support and funding is a testament to Webb’s tactical handling of NASA’s greatest resource.

Political Capital

To leverage NASA’s political capital, Webb capitalized on NASA’s ability to step on the scale in certain political matches to satisfy key players who held power over NASA’s budget. One such player was Oklahoma Senator Robert Kerr, chairman of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. Kerr was a politician of the quid pro quo: Webb described him as a politician who would “cooperate with people who cooperated with him.” He pragmatically noted that, “You had to convince Kerr that you could help his image and you could help him with the White House. You had to offer him something. And, if you could not offer him what he wanted, you had to offer him something else instead.”50 Shortly after Kennedy’s announcement, Webb traveled to Oklahoma to help Kerr stage a meeting on space policy with regional leaders. The optics offered a chance for Kerr’s own constituents—the Oklahoma “folks back home”— to see Kerr as a major figure in Washington in the glamorous new field of space flight.51

NASA’s political favors extended beyond congressional politics. After Kennedy’s assassination, Webb was particularly grateful for President Johnson’s continuity of support. In 1964, Webb looked to help Johnson by putting his support behind the Civil Rights Act. Webb, who hailed from North Carolina, spoke to Richard Russell of Georgia, the leader of the southern coalition fighting the bill, and worked to persuade several other southern senators.52 Prior to the 1964 election, Webb also helped Johnson counter his adversary Governor George Wallace. In late October, Webb went to Alabama and “let it be known that NASA was concerned about the attitudes down there,” which made it difficult for NASA to recruit top people from Alabama. This reference to Wallace’s hard line against Johnson and civil rights put NASA’s weight in Johnson’s favor. Webb even engineered certain political rewards from NASA’s accomplishments to reflect towards Johnson as the Gemini program developed. In October 1965, for example, two Gemini capsules did a rendezvous in space, a remarkable feat designed and approved within three days. Webb made sure that the announcement of the rendezvous flight came from the Texas White House, so that Johnson could get the publicity and claim credit.53

Public Image and Publicity

The last non-monetary “resource” that Webb had at his disposal to influence congressional budgetary decisions came in the form of NASA’s image and narrative. NASA capitalized on this valuable but enigmatic resource through deliberate control and timing. The agency developed a large and active Public Affairs Office (PAO), with smaller PAOs at each space center to handle the public relations activities of that center.54 The PAOs worked to cultivate NASA’s bold, brave, frontier style narrative and to popularize NASA’s space flights. In his aptly titled book Selling Outer Space, James Lee Kauffman described how the agency “managed these events in ways that garnered publicity” and “never missed a chance to exploit public enthusiasm.”55 John Glenn, the first American to orbit earth in 1962, became the poster child of this type of space celebrity. Glenn received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal from the president at the White House, appeared in ticker-tape parades in Washington and New York, and received the rare honor of addressing a joint session of Congress. NASA officials rigorously generated this publicity; indeed, Kauffman goes so far as to suggest that the Distinguished Service Medal award itself was purposely designed to act as a public relations vehicle. As an ironic measure of its success, Kauffman notes that “part of the perception of NASA as a scientific, technical agency that was above manipulating public perception comes from the agency itself” as it engaged in its sophisticated campaign to “peddle” Project Apollo.56

The agency leveraged this carefully generated publicity explicitly to influence congressional hearings through key flight timing and the presence of these new astro-celebrities. John Glenn’s famous earth-orbiting flight, for example, took place exactly one week before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics opened hearings on NASA’s Fiscal Year 1963 authorization bill. Wry congressional commentary bolsters Kauffman’s suggestion that the timing “must certainly have played a part in the deliberations of members of Congress and in the enthusiasm of the public during crucial times in the congressional budgetary process.”57 As the Committee on Science and Astronautics debated the bill, Rep. Chenoweth commented to Webb that Glenn’s successful flight just one week earlier had provided the agency with a “most opportune propitious time” to present its budget request. Committee Chairman George Miller retorted, “May I say to the gentleman that that wasn’t accidental.”58 Attaching the positive buzz of the space flights to the budgetary process proved effective, if not subtle. When the authorization bill finally reached the House floor several months later on May 23rd, 1962, Scott Carpenter blasted into space just hours later on the morning of May 24th, watched by 40 million captivated television viewers. The House approved the bill unanimously, 343-0.59

The strategic coincidences didn’t end with “propitious” timing: Glenn, along with fellow astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom, appeared in Congress as the star witnesses on the Committee on Science and Astronautics’ opening day of hearings on NASA’s next authorization bill. And over a year later, the astronauts and their wives traveled to Washington for a highly publicized awards ceremony scheduled for the exact day the House conducted crucial debates on NASA’s appropriation bill. Conveniently, Chairman Miller invited the astronauts to visit the House chamber during the actual floor debates.60 NASA officials expertly managed the publicity around the astronauts as a resource in itself, coordinating positive press with congressional hearings. As with NASA’s contracts and political capital, Webb used his coalitional strategies to direct all of NASA’s non-monetary resources to the final goal of winning enormous amounts of federal funding. In a now well-funded organization with a massive technical goal ahead of it, Webb’s next question was how to put it to good use.

Technical Strategic Field

In this third sphere of implementation, with Webb having shaped the decision to go to the moon and secured the funding for resources, the final goal was technical—essentially, how to convert millions of dollars into a successful manned launch within the decade. The relatively simple clarity of this task in comparison to the moon landing’s political elements should not negate the shocking scale of the technical mission. As one of NASA's manned flight engineers reported, “when President Kennedy said we were going to go to the moon by the end of this decade, most of us in the Space Task Group thought the guy was daft. I mean, we didn’t think we could do it. We didn’t refuse to accept the challenge, but God, we didn’t know how to do [earth] orbit determination, much less project objects to the moon.”61 Webb’s quest towards how best to achieve what he called “large-scale endeavors” led him to a study and a strategy of management. From upper leadership through agency-wide organization, Webb implemented management styles that reflected the agency’s needs and was attentive to questions of complementary strengths in order to guide NASA towards technical success in space before the decade was out.

The management skills that Webb brought to NASA and applied to the moon landing were decisive in bridging the gap between what was technically feasible and what was actually administratively possible in major government programs. A 1966 internal NASA report on administrative structure underscored that “It was repeatedly stated that the manned lunar landing could be achieved within the current state of the art. This would suggest that the manned lunar landing was essentially a management and engineering problem, rather than a scientific one.”62 Management, then, became a critical tool to beat the Soviets in a field in which they had been largely dominant. As John E. Pike, director of space policy at the Federation of American Scientists, pointed out, that “the reason we got to the moon before they did was that they had no one to pull this all together. The critical difference was, we outmanaged them.”63

Webb’s success at this task was especially impressive given the agency’s dismal management system as it entered the Apollo age. Before Webb entered in 1961, the agency was poorly equipped to handle the scale of the projects in its mandate. One of the people brought in to help organize Project Apollo revealed that “NASA had considerable technical depth, but almost no program management experience.”64 The functional implications of this deficiency included institutional difficulties on the Ranger project so severe that Congress launched an investigation into “problems of management” at NASA Headquarters.65 Webb’s priority on management transformed the agency, pragmatically applying ideals of chains of command, checks and balances, and supervision to create an “organizational paragon.”66 In Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, Arnold Levine argues that “the success of NASA was a success in organizing ‘large-scale endeavors.’” As such, “the same system of management that made the lunar landing possible may also have been its most important byproduct.”67 Management was the most important internal tool Webb brought to NASA, and to Webb, NASA’s success in turn proved management effectiveness to be the most important lesson NASA could produce.

At NASA’s highest leadership level, Webb applied his awareness of his own strengths and weaknesses to develop a “triad” model for policy decision-making. From the beginning, Webb informed Deputy Administrator Hugh Dryden and Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans Jr. that he wanted them to make big decisions together while, in Webb’s words, “each would undertake those segments of responsibility for which he was best qualified.” Practically, Webb explained that they formed an “informal partnership within which all major policies and programs became our joint responsibility, but with the execution of each policy and program undertaken by just one of us.”68 This structure demonstrated Webb’s awareness of his own limitations. Future NASA Administrator Michael Griffin described the intimidating scope of the Administrator position, underscoring that “It is technical. It is scientific. It is political. It is managerial.”69 To this extent, the three men complemented each other. Webb was a politically adept administrator, while Dryden was a “science-statesman,” a former home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and as a federal science administrator at NACA. Seamans was an industrial research manager and former MIT engineering professor considered an excellent “detail man.”70 They each applied their vast knowledge to their roles, with Webb in the lead as “Mr. Outside,” Seamans as “Mr. Inside” and Dryden as “Mr. Science.”71 The agency benefited from Webb’s desire to construct a team that could compensate for his own weaknesses and unite the expertise needed for effective decision-making.

This triad system at the top reflected Webb’s values for the organization as a whole. Elevating multiple opinions and not shying away from dissent was important to Webb’s style; he is remembered at NASA as a someone who “clearly listened to an awful lot of different people, many of whom did not agree among themselves, but that was okay, nor did they necessarily agree with Webb.”72 At the top level, Webb believed the triad would provide the perspectives necessary to make good decisions and compensate for his own lack of technical expertise.73 But the triad was also important for the agency as a whole in terms of its effect on power and organization. Young NASA contained strong subcultures from the different technical and research groups that were brought together to form the new agency. Organizationally, the triad concept served to keep the managers in the program offices and centers from trying to manipulate higher ups for their own group’s interests or using statements by one senior official to undermine the position of another. In the face of these subcultures, NASA’s triad declared that leadership would speak with one voice.74 Adapting organizational structure to fit the agency’s qualities at certain moments served Webb well as he worked to impose an internal order over the coming years that could facilitate technical progress while reflecting changing realities.

As NASA faced new challenges and conditions throughout the 1960s, agency-wide organizational restructuring was Webb’s chosen tool to shift the agency to effectively respond to the new reality. Three significant NASA reorganizations illustrate this strategy particularly well: first, the 1961 reorganization to focus the agency towards the lunar landing goal; next, the 1963 power shift to support all-up testing, a controversial testing change; and lastly, the organizational response to regroup and correct problems after the 1967 fire that killed three astronauts.

Webb implemented his first agency-wide reorganization in November 1961 to create a facilitating structure that could unify the agency around the new mandate. The reorganization concentrated responsibility for hardware and for programs in the same offices. Previously, a separate Office of Launch Vehicle Programs had been responsible for launch vehicle development; after the reorganization, NASA program planning was organized by goal rather than by hardware.75 This reorganization provided the Manned Space Flight program with “organizational prominence” as a structural method of emphasizing the commonality of agency objectives. In his report on NASA’s administrative history, Robert L. Rosholt justified the 1961 reorganization by stressing that “the manned lunar landing was a NASA objective, not just the objective of the Office of Manned Space Flight.”76 This meant that “all NASA field installations were to contribute to its accomplishment, not just the centers labelled as manned space flight centers. Agency-wide functions…were to be performed for the benefit of the entire NASA program, not just one segment of it.”77 To assist with the unification, the centers were to report directly to Associate Administrator Seamans, and a new Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition was set up to provide agency-wide support.78

When these changes were announced, they were justified in jargon of administrative rationality, but Professor of Public Administration Henry Lambright notes that “at issue in fact was power.” The reorganization allowed Webb to “pull power upward from the centers to headquarters, especially to the triad, to counter centrifugal forces operating at mid-level and to provide a balance among NASA programs,” reinforcing internal control as NASA began to tackle the moon landing goal.79 In this way, the first major reorganization treated management as an instrument of power to prioritize the moon landing and reflect the needs of the agency.

The next reorganization occurred two years later to organizationally support George Mueller’s controversial “all-up” testing decision. When Mueller, director of Manned Space Flight, arrived in 1963, he undertook an intensive evaluation of Apollo. The results were discouraging—Mueller concluded that Apollo was falling too far behind to make the Kennedy deadline for the moon landing and diagnosed overtesting. Wernher Von Braun’s rocket team dedicatedly used his “German model,” separately testing each item connected to the rocket with painstaking detail.80 Mueller, under the pressure of Kennedy’s deadline, called on the rocket team to introduce the more efficient “all-up testing,” assembling all three stages of the Saturn V moon rocket along with the command and service module and conducting just two or three unmanned test flights of the whole system all together.81 Testing a number of the components together as a complete system would eliminate many of the tests of individual stages, without, in Mueller’s opinion, posing a much greater risk than testing components sequentially.82

All-up testing received major pushback. Von Braun’s rocket team was horrified, considering it totally contrary to their rules of verification. Without it, however, NASA’s chances of reaching the moon within the decade looked slim. To bolster Mueller against the resistance of the Von Braun rocket team, Webb announced a second reorganization along with the all-up testing announcement. This reorganization structurally strengthened Mueller’s hand in the agency, putting Mueller in a good position if Von Braun and others decided to fight the all-up decision.83 Mueller prevailed, and the decision stood. Twenty years later, one of Von Braun’s rocketeers confessed that “I still admire him for that courage he had.”84 In the case of such controversial decisions, Webb’s organizational strategy effectively managed power and contained agency tensions to preserve internal order on the timeline required.

Lastly, on January 27th, 1967, a fire swept through the Apollo 1 rocket in a pre-flight test, killing the three astronauts inside immediately. It was a devastating blow. Internally, NASA employees grappled with the loss of their colleagues, while externally Webb faced harsh criticism from Congress and struggled to keep the public’s trust in NASA and its mission. Many blamed the fire on the failure of North American Aviation, the prime contractor for the Apollo command and service modules, and the Review Board’s investigation emphasized the technical aspects of what went wrong.85 But as with the changes brought by the moon landing goal and the all-up testing goal, Webb’s primary response was to question his own management system and adjust it to respond to the tragic disaster that had occurred under its watch. This structural examination demanded a certain amount of soul-searching: James Beggs, who worked for Webb and later became NASA Administrator under Reagan, believed Webb felt a special pain. Webb had tried to create the perfect management system and now was forced to wrestle with the question of whether that system had failed or certain people in it.86 Webb undertook a major analysis of the management errors that had twisted NASA’s communication before the fire. In Webb’s view, the fire had occurred because “there had been too much emphasis on programs and not enough on administration,” according to Arnold Levine.87 As Webb looked to regroup, he was determined to make the agency work more closely under the approved chains of command.

In response, Webb appointed Harold Finger as Associate Administrator for Organization and Management to bring about tighter control from above. Webb believed that self-policing and relatively loose control had led to the deadly failures, and instructed Finger’s new office to ensure that all officials “accomplish agency programs…within the prescribed systems and procedures.”88 Under Finger’s leadership, this office provided Webb with multiple layers of feedback, mitigating the communication lapses that preceded the fire. Webb bolstered this organizational system by altering financial channels to give the Office of Organization and Management “police authorities.” Webb clarified his mandate for Finger’s office:

We say, ‘You’ve got to prescribe the system, you’ve got to monitor the system, you’ve got to audit performance under it, and these fellows can’t get the money to go forward without you.’ …I am giving them real teeth. I am saying to Harry [Finger], ‘If these fellows don’t satisfy you with respect to the components to the system, cut off the water. Don’t give them any money.89

To Webb, restructurings, new offices, and a steadfast faith in the importance of enforcing his own “system” was the key to responding to crisis. Management as a strategy engendered an understanding of organization that linked it closely to power, with leadership adapting organization to facilitate technical progress under changing conditions.

One theory in particular was central to NASA’s success: System management, an innovative large-scale organizing method that George Mueller imported to NASA from the U.S. Air Force. System management derives from the idea of a “system engineer,” which aerospace figure Simon Ramo defined as a generalist who acts as an “integrating negotiator” with a holistic vision of what needs to be added or subtracted to make the entire system run harmoniously. System management, then, is a “structure for visualizing all the factors involved as an integrated whole, much as system engineering visualizes all of the physical aspects of a problem.”90 At the time, midlevel officials resisted the presence of the Air Force managers brought in to reform NASA, but the introduction of system management provided NASA executives with critical tools to impose cost and scheduling constraints. Underscoring the indispensable nature of NASA’s use of management as a technical strategy, historian Stephen Johnson characterized large-scale system management as the “secret of Apollo.”91

Management is of paramount importance because, as a strategy, it shows that the success of NASA is replicable. For Webb, the implication of successful large-scale management was a legacy far more important and far-reaching than any political or technical accomplishment. The country’s failure to embrace this lesson was Webb’s greatest disappointment; a sign of failure from the nation where Webb and NASA had succeeded. NASA’s success with a task as momentous as the moon landing proved that the United States had the capacity to establish and carry out large scale governmental projects. Management, to Webb, truly became the answer to the trope that if we can put a man on the moon, we can address other large public problems.

In 1969, Webb published Space Age Management: The Large-Scale Approach, in which he strove to establish general administrative principles and argue the potential of NASA’s success as a model of administration. Webb believed that the nation needed to better understand the form of organization that the Apollo program represented in order to cope with its major problems--the greatest lesson of Apollo could thus be an organizational system that could unlock big, complex solutions to big, complex issues.92 Webb contended that:

Our society has reached a point where its progress and even its survival increasingly depend upon our ability to organize the complex and to do the unusual. We cannot do these things except through large aggregations of resources and power…our society desperately needs a way--an organized, proven way--to determine and judge the methods by which such aggregations of power can be applied.93

Webb reframed the Cold War context that the moon landing had emerged from around these managerial stakes, regarding the question of whether the democratic United States could compete with more authoritative nations to organize large endeavors as “the great issue of this age.”94 When NASA failed to win commitments and funding for projects beyond Apollo in the hostile climate of the late 1960s, Webb viewed America as pulling back from the revolutionary frontier of large-scale management, in addition to the new frontier of space itself.95 Just as the moon landing as a goal served larger presidential grand strategies, its achievement, to Webb, spoke to a truly grand strategy of management, with which democratic countries could tackle complex issues through large-scale mobilization if only embraced by the nation.


The man who directed NASA through its crucial Apollo Era had no background in science or engineering. But NASA achieved one of history's most thrilling tasks on an ambitious timeline in a turbulent political environment precisely because Webb operated so successfully as a strategist, not a scientist. Webb not only formulated strategies for each part of the triangular strategic plans, but also demonstrated a dynamic perception for the way NASA’s political and technical spheres related to each other and to the larger field the moon landing was situated in. And just as he could look beyond the moon landing as a final destination in a political sense, so too did Webb represent did his strategies for NASA as work towards an even grander strategic plan—one able to reach social destinations on earth that could be re-imagined as possible if Webb could prove the moon-shot to be in reach.

NASA today is moving ahead on new programs, including the Artemis program to land astronauts back on the moon by 2024. This time, NASA is gearing up for a long-term presence that could eventually allow humans to reach Mars, and relying heavily on private companies such as Blue Origin, Dynetics, and Space X.96 These new developments are occurring in a vastly different economic, social, cultural fabric than the one Webb worked in the 1960s. But the attempt to achieve “large-scale endeavors” endures. In this space era, we will learn more about the galaxies through the James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in March 2021. Webb’s legacy, though, and the strategic realities of the moon landing, continue to persevere on Earth more than 50 years after the historic event.


A&E Television Networks. "The Bay of Pigs Invasion Begins." History. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-bay-of-pigs-invasion-begins.

"Apollo 1 (AS-204)." Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. https://airandspace.si.edu/explore-and-learn/topics/apollo/apollo-program/orbital-missions/apollo1.cfm.

Carton, Andrew M. "''I'm Not Mopping the Floors, I'm Putting a Man on the Moon'': How NASA Leaders Enhanced the Meaningfulness of Work by Changing the Meaning of Work." Administrative Science Quarterly 63, no. 2 (2018): 363-69. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0001839217713748.

Griffin, Michael D. "Chapter 1." In NASA at 50: Interviews with NASA Senior Leadership, edited by Rebecca Wright, Sandra Johnson, and Steven J. Dick. Washington, DC: NASA History Program Office, 2012. Digital file.

"July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap For Mankind." NASA. Last modified July 20, 2019. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo11.html.

Kauffman, James Lee. Selling Outer Space: Kennedy, the Media, and Funding for Project Apollo, 1961-1963. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1994.

Kennedy, John F. "John F. Kennedy's Moon Speech – Rice Stadium." Speech, September 2, 1962. NASA. https://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/ricetalk.htm.

———. "Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs (The Goal of Sending a Man to the Moon)." Speech, May 25, 1961. Wikisource. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Special_Message_to_the_Congress_on_Urgent_National_Needs.

Lambright, W. Henry. Powering Apollo: James E. Webb of NASA. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

———. "Leading in Space: 50 Years of NASA Administrators." In NASA 50th Anniversary Proceedings: NASA's First 50 Years: Historical Perspectives, edited by Steven J. Dick. Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Communications, History Div., 2010. ProQuest Ebook Central.


"Langley Research Center Fact Sheets." NASA. https://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/Apollo.html.

Launius, Roger D. "Leaders, Visionaries and Designers." NASA. Last modified October 16, 2008. https://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/leaders.html.

———. "Leaders, Visionaries and Designers." NASA. https://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/Apollo.html.

———. NASA: A History of the U.S. Civil Space Program. Malabar, FL: Krieger, 1994.

Levine, Arnold S. Managing NASA in the Apollo Era. The NASA History Series. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Scientific and Technical Information Branch, 1982.

McCurdy, Howard E. "Inside NASA at 50." In NASA 50th Anniversary Proceedings: NASA's First 50 Years: Historical Perspectives, edited by Steven J. Dick. Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Communications, History Div., 2010. ProQuest Ebook Central. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.libproxy.vassar.edu/lib/vcl/detail.action?docID=4857312

———. Inside NASA: High Technology and Organizational Change in the U.S. Space Program. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

NASA. "Who Is James Webb?" James Webb Space Telescope. https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/content/about/faqs/whoIsJamesWebb.html.

Pace, Scott N. "Chapter 7." In NASA at 50: Interviews with NASA Senior Leadership, edited by Rebecca Wright, Sandra Johnson, and Steven J. Dick. Washington, DC: NASA History Program Office, 2012. Digital file.

Rosholt, Robert L. An Administrative History of NASA, 1953-1963. Report no. SP-4101. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Offices, 1966. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19660018716.pdf.

Rouelette, Joey. "Musk's SpaceX, Bezos' Blue Origin Land Contracts to Build NASA's Astronaut Moon Lander." Reuters. Last modified April 30, 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-nasa/musks-spacex-bezos-blue-origin-land-contracts-to-build-nasas-astronaut-moon-lander-idUSKBN22C3DI.

Slotkin, Arthur L. Doing the Impossible: George E. Mueller and the Management of NASA's Human Spaceflight Program. New York, NY: Springer, 2012. Digital file.

Van Dyke, Vernon. Pride and Power: The Rationale of the Space Program. Urbana, 1964: University of Illinois Press, n.d.

Webb, James E. Space Age Management: The Large-Scale Approach. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969.

Wilford, John Noble. We Reach the Moon: The 'New York Times' Story of Man's Greatest Adventure. New York: Bantam, 1969.


1.) Image Credit: Apollo 11 Launch, July 16, 1969, photograph, https://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/Apollo.html.

2.) John F. Kennedy, "Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs (The Goal of Sending a Man to the Moon)," speech, May 25, 1961, Wikisource, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Special_Message_to_the_Congress_on_Urgent_National_Needs.

3.) Armstrong, in: "July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap For Mankind," NASA, July 20, 2019, https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo11.html.

4.) "Langley Research Center Fact Sheets," NASA, https://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/Apollo.html; NASA, "Who Is James Webb?," James Webb Space Telescope, https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/content/about/faqs/whoIsJamesWebb.html.

5.) NASA, "Who Is James Webb?" James Webb Space Telescope.

6.) W. Henry Lambright, Powering Apollo: James E. Webb of NASA (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 85.

7.) Arnold S. Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, The NASA History Series (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Scientific and Technical Information Branch, 1982), 17.

8.) Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 2.

9.) Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 17.

10.) Ibid, 17.

11.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 93.

12.) Khrushchev, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 93.

13.) A&E Television Networks, "The Bay of Pigs Invasion Begins," History, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-bay-of-pigs-invasion-begins.

14.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 93.

15.) Kennedy, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 95.

16.) Webb, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 96.

17.) Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 41.

18.) Von Braun, in: Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 35.

19.) Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 17.

20.) Abelson, in: Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 106.

21.) Ibid, 106.

22.) Webb and McNamara, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 98.

23.) Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 4.

24.) John F. Kennedy, "Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs (The Goal of Sending a Man to the Moon)," speech, May 25, 1961, Wikisource, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Special_Message_to_the_Congress_on_Urgent_National_Needs.

25.) Ibid.

26.) John F. Kennedy, "John F. Kennedy's Moon Speech – Rice Stadium," speech, September 2, 1962, NASA, https://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/ricetalk.htm.

27.) Ibid.

28.) Howard E. McCurdy, Inside NASA: High Technology and Organizational Change in the U.S. Space Program (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 88.

29.) Webb, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 136.

30.) Ibid, 140.

31.) McCurdy, Inside NASA, 102.

32.) Ibid, 103.

33.) W. Henry Lambright, "Leading in Space: 50 Years of NASA Administrators," in NASA 50th Anniversary Proceedings: NASA's First 50 Years: Historical Perspectives, ed. Steven J. Dick (Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Communications, History Div., 2010), ProQuest Ebook Central.

34.) Webb, in: Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 17.

35.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 84.

36.) Wolfe, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 9.

37.) Roger D. Launius, "Leaders, Visionaries and Designers," NASA, last modified October 16, 2008, https://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/leaders.html.

38.) Scott N. Pace, "Chapter 7," in NASA at 50: Interviews with NASA Senior Leadership, ed. Rebecca Wright, Sandra Johnson, and Steven J. Dick (Washington, DC: NASA History Program Office, 2012), 95.

39.) Webb, in: Lambright, "Leading in Space: 50 Years of NASA Administrators."

40.) Webb, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 103.

41.) McCurdy, Inside NASA, 82.

42.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 106.

43.) Lambright, "Leading in Space: 50 Years of NASA Administrators."

44.) Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 110.

45.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 100.

46.) Webb, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 100.

47.) Webb, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 107.

48.) Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 111.

49.) Robert L. Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 1953-1963. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Offices, 1966), 284.

50.) Webb, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 103.

51.) Ibid, 103.

52.) Ibid, 133.

53.) Ibid, 135

54.) Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 13.

55.) Ibid, 16.

56.) Ibid, 13.

57.) Ibid, 17.

58.) Chenoweth and Miller, in: Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 16.

59.) Kauffman, Selling Outer Space, 17.

60.) Ibid, 17.

61.) McCurdy, Inside NASA, 75.

62.) Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 1953-1963, 239.

63.) Pike, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 215.

64.) Howard E. McCurdy, "Inside NASA at 50," in NASA 50th Anniversary Proceedings: NASA's First 50 Years: Historical Perspectives, ed. Steven J. Dick (Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Communications, History Div., 2010), ProQuest Ebook Central.

65.) Ibid.

66.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 216.

67.) Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, xix.

68.) Webb, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 87.

69.) Michael D. Griffin, "Chapter 1," in NASA at 50: Interviews with NASA Senior Leadership, ed. Rebecca Wright, Sandra Johnson, and Steven J. Dick (Washington, DC: NASA History Program Office, 2012), 3.

70.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 87.

71.) Ibid, 87.

72.) Griffin, "Chapter 1," 3.

73.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 88.

74.) Ibid, 88.

75.) Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 5.

76.) Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 5; Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 1953-1963, 259.

77.) Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 1953-1963, 259.

78.) Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 5.

79.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 109.

80.) Ibid, 118.

81.) McCurdy, Inside NASA, 95.

82.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 118.

83.) Ibid, 118.

84.) McCurdy, Inside NASA, 95.

85.) Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 55.

86.) Lambright, Powering Apollo, 147.

87.) Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 55.

88.) Webb, in: Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 55.

89.) Ibid, 55.

90.) Arthur L. Slotkin, Doing the Impossible: George E. Mueller and the Management of NASA's Human Spaceflight Program (New York, NY: Springer, 2012), xxi.

91.) Johnson, in: McCurdy, "Inside NASA at 50."

92.) James E. Webb, Space Age Management: The Large-Scale Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969).

93.) Ibid, 15.

94.) Webb, in: Lambright, Powering Apollo, 216.

95.) Ibid.

96.) Joey Rouelette, "Musk's SpaceX, Bezos' Blue Origin Land Contracts to Build NASA's Astronaut Moon Lander," Reuters, last modified April 30, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-nasa/musks-spacex-bezos-blue-origin-land-contracts-to-build-nasas-astronaut-moon-lander-idUSKBN22C3DI.

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