Unmanned Space Project Management: Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter


This analysis represents the distillation of extensive investigation of the management of two major NASA projects, Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter. In its present form, the report reflects the comments and criticism of many NASA officials who had responsibility for various aspects of these projects as well as the observations of many persons outside NASA who are knowledgeable about these two projects and the general field of project management. The number of people interviewed and consulted is far too great to permit individual acknowledgment. Seldom do so many contribute so much to a manuscript of such slender proportions.

The author owes special debts to James E. Webb, the Administrator of NASA when Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter projects were being conducted, whose perceptions of management and administration were an especially invaluable resource; to Dr. Homer E. Newell, Associate Administrator of NASA, who headed the Office of Space Science and Applications which was responsible for the projects; to David Williamson, Jr., Assistant Associate Administrator, whose thorough critiques served to illuminate and refine the manuscript throughout; to Benjamin Milwitzky, the former NASA program manager of Surveyor who devoted many hours to reconstructing the details concerning Surveyor; and to Captain Lee R. Scherer, the former Lunar Orbiter program manager. The Langley Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory facilitated the author's interviews at each of those locations as did the two prime contractor companies, The Boeing Co. and Hughes Aircraft Co. Colleagues on the staff of the National Academy of Public Administration who were particularly helpful in reviewing the many metamorphoses of this document include the Executive Director, George A. Graham; the Associate Executive Director, Roy W. Crawley; and two Senior Research Associates, Richard L. Chapman and Neil Hollander.



Senior Research Associate

National Academy of

Public Administration