October 8, 1957: Memorandum of a Conference, President's Office, White House, Washington , 8:30 a.m.
1. Quarles presented and explained a memorandum on the Earth Satellite, Oct. 7, 1957 (copy filed with NSC).
2. The President decided not to shift from the present orderly procedure to produce an Earth Satellite. It is understood that Mr. Holaday will counsel with the Army. Quarles suggested that for an additional $13 million the Army could provide a rocket capable of orbiting the Satellite about one month ahead of the proposed orbiting in March, 1958 (using Navy rocketry).
3. The Department of Defense will issue a statement along the lines presented by Quarles and attached to the above-mentioned memorandum (detached and given to Hagerty). 3
4. The President made these guiding points:
a. The U.S. determined to make the Satellite a scientific project and to keep it free from military weaponry to the greatest extent possible.
b. No pressure or priority was exerted by the U.S. on timing, so long as the Satellite would be orbited during the IGY 1957-1958.
c. The U.S. Satellite program was intended to meet scientific requirements with a view toward permitting all scientists to share in information which the U.S. might eventually acquire.
5. Quarles made the important point that the Russians having been the first with their Satellite to overfly all countries, they have thereby established the international characteristic of orbital space. We believe that we can get a great deal more information out of free use of orbital space than they can.
7. Apparently the thrust of the rocket used by the Russians to put up their Satellite was around 200,000. The thrust of our rockets runs from 27,000 (Navy) up to 150,000 at present. It is believed that the Russian rocket was the one used in their August rocket tests. Quarles pointed out that the Army had sent up a rocket within a year 6/700 miles in the air. Its speed was much lower than the speed of the rocket used by the Russians-probably mach 12 at the peak, with a very much lower speed at the top of the trajectory.
8. According to the newspapers, the Russians have offered to take up some of our instrumentation in the next Satellite launched. This will pose a very difficult problem for us as we do not think they know how to make some of the very delicate material which we will include in our Satellite. Apparently, our scientists believe the present Russian Satellite is far more crude and less instrumented than what we have in mind.
9. The President desires to have today for his press conference the following information:
(1) From DOD. What action was being taken by the U.S. in regard to guided missiles beginning in 1953?
(2) From DOD. When was the first scientific committee set up on guided missiles?
(3) The date and nature of the Killian Committee's consideration of guided missiles.
(4) What were the priorities for guided missiles and the date of establishment for the priorities?
(5) As to the Earth Satellite:
a. The date and nature of Killian Committee consideration?
b. What were the priorities for the Earth Satellite and the date of establishment of such priorities?
(6) What were the estimated costs for the Earth Satellite program and the dates of establishing those costs? (The President's recollection was that the final cost estimate was $110 million, with a possibility of going to $150 million, the increase being due largely to increased instrumentation and reserves for contingencies; it being understood that an increase up to $150 million would require further consideration by the President.
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