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<v Dr. John R. Pierce>Well, this is a good start. Through these, uh, satellites that are definitely on the books, eh, something we'll be fin- found out about reliability. Eh... Ground stations will be got into, eh, service in this country and abroad and, uh, people will have experience using and tracking satellites. With a CentCom satellite, an experiment will be made in, in just attitude control of the spin type in a communication satellite. Uh... And then it will be an experiment, if you wish, although maybe that's the wrong word to use for it, in, uh, altitude control of a more elaborate kind. And other things will have to follow these first satellites. Eh... It would be unwise, as I say, to freeze one's thoughts about what sort of satellite will be used before the information is in <v Dr. John R. Pierce>from the early ones that are shot off. Because if you put yourself in a position, uh, of making up your mind before you get information, what good is it to get information? Anyway, I predict a brilliant future for satellite communication, uh, as the first union of- or as a point of union between space science, eh, or space technology, rather. Uh, space science has not been isolated from the rest of science. Space technology has not found a close and practical adherence yet to the, ehh, technology on which we live and which builds the world we live in and which makes us able to live in. I think that this may, uh, sort of bridge this gap so that we'll no longer so much talk about, eh, space technology as about, eh, science and technology in general that are at the disposal of man.
<v Irwin Hersey>That was Dr. John R. Pierce, director of research for Bell Telephone Laboratories, with some pointed comments about how communication satellites might be used. The government agency with the greatest interest in weather satellites would certainly be the United States Weather Bureau. Dr. F. W. Reichelderfer, the Chief of the Weather Bureau, recently made these remarks with regard to weather satellites. <v Dr. F. W. Reichelderfer>The atmospheric sciences are much more detailed than we normally think. And this is the field that the space age is bringing us into where we can get hold of some numbers eventually. And we're only at the beginning of this where we can get hold of some numbers that will make us a quantitative science. I would like to say that we- we've made real progress in recent years. Numerical weather prediction, the, the, the explanation, study and forecasting of what is going on, the atmosphere by elec-, by computer is, is well advanced. Great progress has been made from the beginning by, by John von Neumann and Carl Rossby and others, so that each day now, we have two maps computed entirely without contamination by human hands, comp- eh, computed by one of the advanced design models, a computer. This also is our wind tunnel. It's being used by a project under Dr. Smagarinsky, among others, to determine what happens when you vary the, the basic factors in the atmospheric circulation so that we can try to explain the longer term trends. And obviously, if we're going to engage in any measure of large scale control, weather control or modification, we must know more about how to predict the variations, eh, that happen naturally. We would have quite, quite an enigma if we added unknowns that come naturally to unknowns from anything that was produced artificially. We've seen in the field of rainmaking what a can of worms this really makes.
<v Dr. F. W. Reichelderfer>Those of you who are engineers know how hopeless it is to do, to deal with anything really fundamental and final in a heat engine, which is what the atmosphere and its resulting circulation and weather are - a heat engine. When you don't know the input, we don't know yet. It's still controversial as to whether the fluctuations in the ?sole? output of radiation has any, eh, real practical, eh, effect on differences in insulation, in the heat absorbed on the earth. This is one of the things we must find out. It, eh, should not be very difficult to, to get a complete sense of the thunderstorms, which has applications in communications and other things from, eh, future satellites to get precipitation. We're already getting cloud tops over the oceans where we have no other way to me- measure them on a large scale by the infrared measurements from Tyros 3, where within a few thousand feet, within a percent an- an- accuracy of the order of fifteen or twenty percent, we can eh, tell at the heights of the tops of clouds over the oceans.
<v Dr. F. W. Reichelderfer>Well, satellites can do many other things. They can give snow fields of very great value to a hydrologist in estimating, eh, the runoff that redu- results in floods or the water that's available for storage and for water supply and, and, eh, irrigation. Uh... They show marvelous things about the breaks in ice fields in, in the po- eh, the polar regions. Uh, there are applications there that you can well imagine. I haven't said anything about weather control. This is one of the most controversial and explosive subjects. I made some remarks the other day and found that I didn't recognize when it got into print, but I had said, eh, of course. Of course, we must look with an open mind at the possibilities of weather control. We- we don't know what the possibilities are. Eh... It's going in many ways, it's going to be a, a bear by the tail because there are consequences for it. For example, you, you hear someone say glibly that if we melted the ice on the north polar ice cap, it would open up new lands to agriculture. It would also put a good many lands under 20 feet or 30 feet of water, including most of the parts of the world. So there are consequences that must be investigated. But, eh, I'm glad to say that meteorologists are looking at this with an open mind. I mentioned Dr. Smagarinsky. One of the things he doesn't like to talk about, but one of the things we have in mind there is to test, uh, theories of, eh, what happens if you change the heat inflow in, uh, a large area or all over the globe. There are possibilities, uh, as to what we can do to hurricanes and rainmaking and so on. Uh, maybe, uh, this will be, uh, grist for some of the questions. I won't say any more about now, except that we're very much interested. We're very excited about knowing more about it and nobody knows what the outcome will be. Uh, in closing, I simply want to say that we are indebted to so many people in our current ?geological? Program - NASA, the military services and so on. I, I just couldn't, eh, stop without saying that much of what's going on is being done in many of the sister services, eh, who work very closely with the Weather Bureau.
<v Irwin Hersey>That was Dr. F.W. Reichelderfer, Chief of the United States Weather Bureau, discussing what weather satellites can do and, in fact, have already done. Appearing on the same program with Dr. Reichelderfer and Dr. Pierce was a very distinguished panel, which at one point in its discussion got around to satellite applications. Members of the panel were Dr. Hugh Dryden, Deputy Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; General Bernard A. Schriever, Commanding General, Air Force Systems Command; and Dr. F. Jay Krieger of Rand Corporation, one of this country's leading authorities on Soviet activities in spaceflight. The moderator for the panel was Arthur C. Clarke, a former chairman of the British Interplanetary Society and one of the world's leading science and science fiction writers. Here's a portion of their discussion on satellite applications. <v Arthur C. Clarke>Now, I'd like to throw out an idea that the, the panel couldn't kick around, eh, this question of, eh, national prestige in space. Eh... Referring again to the fact that I live in the Far East. Eh, you may not be aware that, of all the U.S. space achievements prior to the one which has had most impact on the world, is the Echo-1 satellite - for the simple reason that everybody on earth could see that with our own eyes under favorable conditions, and it gave them a sense of participation. This is something up there, they didn't just read about it, they could see it. Now, a- as many of you know, I am rather keen on communication satellites generally, eh, having thought of them in nineteen forty five. In extenuation, I should say that at time I've never seen commercial TV. Nevertheless, em, I would like to suggest that this country has a chance of obtaining a major first in not only prestige, but technology in every respect. This wouldn't just be a prestige thing, it'd be something with the big follow on. If it set up a global television network in time for the 1964 Olympics and arranged for a receiver and a local network in every country. This would be a fairly cheap thing to do, and I think the value in every respect would be enormous. And I'd like to know what the panel thinks of this.
<v Dr. Hugh Dryden>I think we're very much aware of the many values to be obtained by the early launching of communication satellites and their early attainment of a global capability. Eh... As you have all heard many times, we hope before the end of 62 to demonstrate, eh, real time television across the Atlantic. The communication satellite is something like, eh, jet transportation and, and air transportation. It's a device for, for getting, in this case, a program from one country to another country. But you are then dependent for local stations and, eh, local receiving sets in homes to transmit it further. And I think the establishment of these networks within countries that don't have them would be a fairly expensive proposition. We, uh, hope in the- in this early work to have the cooperation already pretty well settled in Great Britain, France and Germany. We hope to have at least one station in South America. Everyone has been studying and looking forward, eh, to the possibility of, uh, transmission from a satellite to receivers and homes.
<v Dr. Hugh Dryden>I believe it was Dr. Pierce or someone else who, eh, has written an article that has appeared or is to appear in one of the technical journals which lists this as one of the space fantasies, because, as most of you know, the size of antenna required to receive this program and the sensitivity of the receivers is such that I don't think it will be on homes. Now, in the future as our payloads increase, as we develop nuclear sources of power for satellites, it may be that we can ultimately come to a system of that kind. But all of us are fully aware of the urgency of, uh, obtaining, eh, some global capacity ad it- at as early date is possible. <v Gen. Bernard A. Schriever>I can only add to what Dr. Dryden had to say, that, uh... And I certainly agree with you. I don't believe we can accomplish this TV, uh, objective that you mentioned by 1964. But, uh, I think that a communication satellite, uh, has tremendous prestige potential. There are different in- in various different ways of communications. And not only that, the communication satellite has, eh, not only, eh, very great, eh, civilian, eh, eh, potential and we have quite a few communications companies in this country that are very interested in it. From a military standpoint, there is no question but that we have to develop satellite communications as rapidly as we can. Our nuclear rocket world in which we live, eh, has changed the time for a decision from a matter of maybe days or even weeks to one of minutes. And, uh, our communications systems today are simply not up to, uh, the demands that, eh, that, the world today has placed upon the decision making process. Much can be done to, eh, get us back in, in step with communication satellites. So they are of extreme importance, prestige wise, civilian application wise, military application wise.
<v Dr. F. Jay Krieger>In the Soviet Union, the popular science literature has quite a few articles on commu- communication satellites, but I think it's, uh, just a matter of feeding the people some ideas rather than, uh, actually trying to implement, eh, such a system. I don't think that Soviet authorities would, uh, cooperate in any regard. <v Arthur C. Clarke>I should think the Soviet Union may very well be quite scared. The idea of... <v Dr. F. Jay Krieger>Very much so. <v Arthur C. Clarke>TV, because it will abolish theoretically at any rate, could abolish many of their forms of censorship. I would like to take home the point that was mentioned just now that we can't have a satellite-to-home TV certainly at this stage, eh, that it will only be from satellite to a rather sensitive ground receiver ?inaudible?. That is true at the moment, uh, but even at this stage, something we can do in the next few years. A central sensitive receiver and just a few, a, a few display units in the big cities of some eastern countries.
<v Arthur C. Clarke>I'm thinking of the enormous crowds that were attracted by one television display in Colombo, at an, an American fair there a few years ago. It would have an enormous popular appeal, particularly those that if it was timed with the 64 Olympics goes the whole world. This is something the whole world is interested in. Ultimately, I am sure, whatever, eh, my friend John Pierce may have said, I think he'll agree with me in his more optimistic moments, that ultimately we will be able to pick up transmissions directly in our own homes, because if you look at it, eh.. If you have, when you have space stations big enough to have ?inaudible? that can beam services to specific countries, it's obviously more economical to flood the entire country with a television program from straight down from above, from a satellite and to try and do it from a lot of ground transmitters. So ultimately it might be more economical, but that may be a 10 or 15 years ahead.
<v Irwin Hersey>You've been listening to a panel discussion on satellite applications. Participants included Dr. Hugh Dryden, Deputy Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Dr. F. J. Kreeger, Physics Department, the Rand Corporation; and General Bernard A. Schriever, Commanding General, Air Force Systems Command. Arthur Clarke, past Chairman, British Interplanetary Society, was the moderator. Next week they will be joined by Dr. Arthur Kantrowitz, Vice President, AFCO Corporation, and Dr. Verna von Braun, Director, George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The discussion where we stand on space exploration in relation to the Soviet Union. Irwin Hersey, Editor of Astronautics and Director of Publications for the American Rockets Society, will again serve as your guide to the Challenge of Space Flight.
Seminar of the Air. Challenge of Space Flight
Satellites in the Nation's Space Program
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
American Rocket Society
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
This episode focuses on "Satellites in the Nation's Space Program." Includes comments by Vice President Lyndon Johnson and NASA administrator James E. Webb; and comments made by Dr John R. Pierce, director of research at Bell Telephone Labs at a meeting of the American Rocket Society. The majority of the program is devoted to an interview with Sydney Sternberg, chief engineer of the Tyros weather satellite program at RCA Astro Electronics Division in Princeton, N.J.
Series Description
"Several months prior to the first manned space flight, the objectives, the methods and the men behind the flight were little known to a large portion of the more than 8 million people living in the Metropolitan area of New York. Metropolitan New York, far removed from the centers of space flight activity and with only a few exceptions from participation in the nation's industrial activity leading up to the initial flight had not had a single radio program dealing with the subject. The Challenge of Space Flight filled that gap. In association with The American Rocket Society and the editor of the Astronautics, Irwin Hersey, The Challenge of Space Flight presented in simple, easy to understand language the accomplishments, the objectives and the meaning of space flight to the nation. The Challenge of Space Flight enlisted the help of leading scientists, engineers, educators and government officials for an explanation of attempts that would be made to explore the moon and the planets, weather satellites, the relative positions of the Soviet Union and the United States in the race for space, the law of outer space, education in the space age etc. The Challenge of Space Flight dealt with the search for life in space, the methods of maintaining life once astronauts landed on the moon and other planets. Among the prominent government officials heard on the program were President John F. Kennedy, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, Senator Jacob J. Javits, Victor L. Anfuso, (Congressman), etc. etc. (See brochure for further details.) THIS WAS THE FIRST PROGRAM OF ITS KIND ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES THAT ATTEMPTED TO DO A RADIO STUDY IN DEPTH OF THE NATIONS SPACE EFFORT."--1962 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Associate Producer: Costigan, Bob
Director: Halpern, Harold Kirk
Producer: Halpern, Harold Kirk
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: American Rocket Society
Speaker: Webb, James E.
Speaker: Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
Speaker: Sternberg, Sydney
Speaker: Pierce, John R.
Writer: Hersey, Irwin
Writer: Halpern, Harold Kirk
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-d3d9d3119b3 (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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Chicago: “Seminar of the Air. Challenge of Space Flight; Satellites in the Nation's Space Program,” 1962, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Seminar of the Air. Challenge of Space Flight; Satellites in the Nation's Space Program.” 1962. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Seminar of the Air. Challenge of Space Flight; Satellites in the Nation's Space Program. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from