"Max hoped to get Washington into high gear."
...observed Wernher von Braun on why Hunter left Douglas to become a member of the professional staff of the National Space Council.
In 1962, Max joined the professional staff of the National Aeronautics and Space Council in Washington, D.C. As part of this advisory group to the President of the United States, he provided insight into future space programs and the creation of National Space Policy.
There, he helped guide national decision makers through the heady Apollo years. While on the Council, he redefined the deep-space exploration program through an understanding of planetary flight mechanics, especially in recognition of the role of planetary gravity fields in reducing the rocket impulse required. He was the first to recognize the tremendous impact of gravity boost given by the giant planets, especially Jupiter, to spacecraft following escape trajectories out of the solar system, on out of the ecliptic missions, and approaching closely to the sun.
President Kennedy asked the Council to make suggestions for a speech he was going to give at Rice University in Houston in September, 1962. It was Max who proposed the term "spacefaring nation." The proposal filtered its way up to the President, who liked it, and inserted into the ringing speech "We choose to go the Moon in this decade..."1
Established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 19582, the NASC was chaired by the President of the United States (then Dwight Eisenhower). Other members included the Secretaries of State and Defense, the NASA Administrator, the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, plus up to four additional members (one from the federal government and up to three from private industry) chosen at the President's discretion.
In the late 1950's, then-senator Lyndon Johnson was a strong supporter the space program, telling a Democratic Caucus session as early as 1958, "Control of space is control of the world."
He was instrumental in revising and passing the legislation that created NASA and in supporting the U.S. space program as chairman of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences and of the preparedness subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
After he was elected, President Kennedy had suggested dissolving the National Aeronautics Space Council, which was the liaison between NASA and the White House. Eisenhower had sat as its chairman; Kennedy wasn’t interested. Only at the insistence of Vice President Elect Lyndon Johnson was the council saved and Johnson agreed to be the chair.3
“The Potential for Nuclear Propulsion for Manned Space Flight”
“Recoverable Space Launching Nuclear Systems”
“Single-Stage Spaceships Should be our Goal”
“Possible Nuclear Space Vehicles During this Century”
“Barriermanship” or “How to Walk a Development Program”
“A 1963 Space Perspective”
“The Future of Nuclear Energy in Space”
“Future Unmanned Exploration of the Solar System”
“Space Nuclear Propulsion”
“Objective of Unmanned Exploration of the Solar System”
“Propulsion for Unmanned Exploration of the Solar System”
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