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<v Narrator>This is The Challenge of Space Flight, part of a series on the significance of space exploration, science, and technology. A new world in the making. <v Narrator>In the near future, with the help of meteorological satellites, man may be able to control many aspects of the weather. He will know what is happening weather wise anywhere on the earth's surface. Perhaps learn to control hurricanes in their infancy with the help of satellites such as the Tyros and Nimbus. The transit satellite is expected to provide far more effective navigation than is presently available. Eventually, communication satellites will increase overseas telephone and telegraph facilities by as much as a thousand percent. Today, The Challenge of Space Flight examines the role of satellites in the nation's space program. First, Vice President Johnson speaks briefly on weather satellites. <v Lyndon B. Johnson>We already have made a small but a very encouraging start in turning the space age to peaceful uses for the benefit of mankind. An outstanding example is in the field of weather. Our Tyros satellites are already telecasting information on global weather conditions to any nation asking for this service, including the Soviet Union. And this development has more than technical utility. It forms a practical base for improved international relations. <v Narrator>Now James E. Webb, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, talks of the present and future status of satellites in space.
<v James E. Webb>With respect to the applications area through which space science and technology can begin to yield useful benefits, <v James E. Webb>Public policy has been established to speed up the bringing into being of a worldwide operational system for communications based on relay satellites, and three important research and development projects have been instituted. These are project relay being developed for NASA by the Radio Corporation of America. The TSX satellite program, through which the American Telephone Telegraph Company is applying its own resources at its own expense to contribute to an early national operational capability, and the CentCom satellite utilizing the resources of the Hughes Aircraft Company. All these projects are being carried out in the closest association with the Federal Communications Commission and other interested government departments, as well as with the organizations and interests in other nations concerned with international communications. The principle of privately regulated operation by a grouping of the present carriers has been endorsed, and a strong effort is being made to implement it. However, complete re- reservation of forseeable governmental interest has also been made. Governmental needs reserved include those relating to international cooperation, worldwide availability of service, and so its military needs as can be fulfilled through the use of common carriers. Arrangements have been made to keep a Tyros weather satellite in orbit at all times until a follow on system operated by the United States Weather Bureau is brought into being. And at the President's request, Congress has appropriated funds for the Weather Bureau to initiate this new operational system based on the number of satellites. It provides this operational system by the Weather Bureau, not only for the use of the resources of this governmental agency, in addition to those of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, but a major step forward with other nations at an international conference of all nations interested in participating in this new worldwide weather satellite systems has been called. 100 nations were invited. The United States Navy has made a large step forward into applications field through the successful launching of the transit navigational satellite. Arrangements are now being considered to utilize transit capabilities to meet the navigational requirements of commercial airplanes and ships. <v Narrator>That was James E. Webb, NASA administrator. Now here to guide us in the satellite phase of space exploration is Irwin Hersey, editor of astronautics and director of publications for the American Rocket Society.
<v Irwin Hersey>For the past two weeks, we've been talking about the scientific exploration of space with specific emphasis on the moon and the planets. What sort of vehicles will use to do the job and how much progress we've made so far, uh, in these various areas. Today, we're going to tackle a different subject, the subject of satellite applications. What different kinds of satellites there are, what their uses are, how they work. What kind of progress we've made on such satellites and so forth. We're fortunate in having with us this afternoon Mr. Sidney Sternberg, who's the Chief Engineer of the RCA Astroelectronics Division at Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. Sern- Sternberg has been closely associated with the Tyros weather satellite program and can tell us a good deal about that, as well as other types of satellite programs. To begin with, Mr. Sternberg, what are the different kinds of satellites and, uh, how do they work? <v Sidney Sternberg>Well, eh, the application satellites fall into several cate- categories. There are communication satellites, meteorological satellites, navigation satellites, reconnaissance satellites and also scientific satellites. Now, the communication satellites will actually perform the task of repeating, uh, messages which are sent to the satellite back to the earth in the same way that a relay station, uh, would repeat messages that we sent from one point to another on the ground. Actually, the communication satellite can be looked at as a very tall tower in space, uh, getting around the problems of line of sight for communications.
<v Sidney Sternberg>And will certainly bring together the, both the European mainland and the, eh, American, eh, continent, eh, much closer together for more, more communications. <v Sidney Sternberg>Now, in meteorology, the... One of the major problems for years has been to collect data on a worldwide global basis on the various meteorological parameters such as cloud formations, temperatures, uh, velocity of airstreams.
<v Sidney Sternberg>The difficulty has always been that one could not place many stations over the Pacific Ocean and over the Atlantic Ocean. Now, of course, with satellites, we are able to get rather complete global coverage, eh, on all these measurements. And as a result why the mere- metereorological people can make better estimates on their weather forecasting and also attempt to build more careful scientific models of the atmosphere. In the navigation satellite applications, the, probably the most noteworthy there has been the transit satellite program. And here, uh, there is a real possibility, I believe, in providing to ships at sea and airplanes, eh, eh, an opportunity to get all weather navigation directly from satellites without relying upon stellar navigation, which is one of the primary means for navigation today. And on the gyro and dead reckoning schemes that are presently being utilized, it can provide much more accurate navigation possibilities, and for this reason should be extremely useful in all our traffic lanes. In the reconnaissance, eh, area, this, of course, is a- of major interest to the military, eh, eh... There is little question that if one can sample and measure various things on the earth and see the, uh, atmospheric patterns, one can also look at the ground and determine various characteristics of both, eh, city and landmark, uh, uh, areas. This is of major interest, I say the military and I don't think there is much that should be said at this point on the subject. Now, the perhaps the fifth and final application area that we should discuss is the scientific satellites. And here, uh, this is exemplified by such programs as the Orbiting Astronomic Observatory, the, the OGO program. And here we do have a rather interesting possibility in viewing from above the atmosphere, the stars and the planets. The important thing here is that the astronomers on the ground are quite limited by the, eh, density of the atmosphere and the perturbations and the light, eh, s... information that comes from the stars and therefore are extremely limited in the amount of information they can collect by getting above the atmosphere. This opens up new horizons for the astronomers, not only in terms of the white light wavelengths, but actually all the way up to ultraviolet. And ultraviolet, of course, is filtered out rather completely by the atmosphere. So there is a complete new range of, of energy information that will be available to astronomers. I think very... This is certainly rather brief, but I think this covers the, the major areas of satellite applications. <v Irwin Hersey>Well, let's go back a little and, uh, consider these various areas again from the standpoint of how much we've accomplished to date in each of them. For example, in the, in the communications field, most of our listeners, I'm sure, are familiar with the Echo program. But what comes beyond the Echo program and, uh, what other experiments are we planning and how soon will we have an effective communications, uh, satellite setup?
<v Sidney Sternberg>Yes. Well, the Echo program, of course, is a communications program which uses what is called a, a passive balloon system. That is the energy which one receives from the satellite is not repeated, but merely is bounced off the balloon as a reflector. Now, uh, I might say that before the Echo program, we did have an example of a communication satellite, although perhaps it wasn't advertised quite in this way. And that was Project Score, which in 1958 broadcast the, broadcast President Eisenhower's voice around the world. <v Sidney Sternberg>Uh... the... This was an active satellite system as opposed to the echo balloon system, which is a passive system.
<v Sidney Sternberg>Now, it turns out that the application of these two different types of satellites, uh, will be really determine the future as to what particular mode of operation each is the, the most efficient. The present emphasis is to launch, uh, active type of repeater satellites. And we expect that in the summer of 1962 that there will be active, eh, repeater satellites - certainly of an experimental nature at this point - that will be in orbit. One of the programs, of course, is the relay program, the NASA relay program. And I might say this is being built by the Astroelectronics Division of RCA, if you permit me. And the, eh, the Bell Telephone System is also building a satellite of a similar type. The attempt here will be to show by experimental, uh, means how one would communicate, in particular, from between this country and Europe by using a repeater satellite. It is purely experimental and it will be some time, I think, before we know exactly what form a communica- communication satellite will take in order to give us a truly efficient and economic communication satellite system. <v Irwin Hersey>Uh... With respect to communication satellites, there's been a good deal of discussion over whether the satellite program should be, uh, government operated or nongovernment operated and so forth and so on. Uh... I'm just curious. These first experiments that you've already mentioned, these will be government launches, I assume.
<v Sidney Sternberg>These experiments will be government launches. That's right. They will be launched by NASA and they will be launched from Cape Canaveral. <v Irwin Hersey>How soon do you think it will be before there is a launch by one of the companies which is extremely interested in the communications field? <v Sidney Sternberg>Well, this is, uh, very difficult to say. I think that, uh, it may well be that the, the government will continue to launch satellites, eh, whether the satellite itself be privately owned or government owned, eh. All of the, eh, range instrumentation, all of the range facilities are presently under government operation. And I would, I would assume that, uh, this service would be provided by the government in any case. <v Irwin Hersey>I would like to ask you a little bit later about the, uh, benefits to mankind from all of these, uh, satellite applications. But while on the subject of communication satellite, uh, there, eh, have been, as you know, o- on several occasions suggestions made by various people, uh, that we set up some sort of a, a communication satellite for the purpose of broadcasting not or- not only radio, but also TV programs all over the world and especially to the, uh, undeveloped nations. And this creates some problems, such as supplying them with, uh, radios or, uh, TV sets. Do you have any ideas on how this could be accomplished or any comment that you'd like to make on it?
<v Sidney Sternberg>Well, um, this is a program that RCA is considering actually the, the placement in orbit of a, a synchronous type of satellite with a very high power transmitter that could broadcast television programs directly into the homes of, of these other countries. Now, as to where these countries would get their radios and TV sets, eh, this is something really we haven't explored yet. I think that, uh, uh, this comes later, perhaps after we've determined what the best way of using the satellite might be and getting the satellite into orbit. Uh, I'm really not certain how they will get their sets at this point. <v Irwin Hersey>Have you found any interest in the part of, let's say, government information agencies in supplying, uh, radios or TV sets for, uh, these people?
<v Sidney Sternberg>Yes, this, uh, there appears to be some interest on this part, uh, uh. The people in information services certainly would be interested in broadcasting to these countries whether or not their interest is real enough to provide the sets that go into these homes, <v Sidney Sternberg>I don't know. And of course, this is, this is where you determine how, how real the interest is. <v Irwin Hersey>One of the reasons there is so much interest in communication satellites is, of course, the fact that, uh, our present, uh, capacity to handle messages is severely limited. Uh, cable setups and other such setups can only handle a limited number of, uh, of messages. What is the extent of the amplification of message handling that would result from an efficient, uh, communication satellite setup? <v Sidney Sternberg>Yes, I, eh... The present method, eh, of communicating overseas is by submarine cable. And actually the primary reason for the communication satellite is to provide communications across the ocean. It is true that perhaps, eh, in the future we might use the same satellites for communicating within our own continent, but there are still a rather efficient means by wire or a radio relay to do this kind of communicating without satellites. Now, there have been many studies made as to the economics of communication satellites, what the cost of keeping communication satellites and orbits would be, measured against the number of phone channels and TV programs that would utilize, uh, uh, these facilities.
<v Sidney Sternberg>I would say that, uh, knowing the limitations on the submarine cables, that one c- could consider, uh, communication capabilities of the order of a hundred or thousand times what now exists, uh, in the submarine cable. And we do know in communications that, eh, the more channels you provide, the more people communicate. And it just appears to be a, an axiom that, eh, eh, you give people a chance to talk and they'll talk. So that we have confidence that has as m-, as many channels as we will provide will be very definitely used. <v Irwin Hersey>It's been pointed out by a number of people with an active interest in this field that, uh, the data handling problem resulting from the establishment of, uh, worldwide communication networks, possibly through satellites, is enormous. For example, it even creates such problems as uh, how do you communicate with somebody who may not speak your language? Among other things. And of course, this is only one small part of the whole matter. But would you care to comment on this briefly?
<v Sidney Sternberg>Well, any, eh, large scale communication system has a problem with its terminal equipment, the distribution of the, of the messages, eh, whether it be a simple telegram messages or voice channels. There is always a very large terminal distribution problem, uh. With the communication satellites, uh, the present thinking is to have a, a satellite central in each country that will participate in the, uh, communications system. And it is at this central that the, eh, perhaps, eh, interpretations and, eh, eh, information handling and distribution will occur so that if you were to pick up your phone at home to call a friend of yours in Europe, why the signal would go from the phone to a communications central in this country would be broadcast to the satellite. This, in turn, would repeat it to a communications central in the foreign country that you're calling. And here again, it will be handled and distributed to the right party. Now, this is true that the distribution and handling of this information will be enormous. And I think that we will just see, eh, an increased capability on the part of automatic data processing systems, which will certainly be required to handle this increased traffic. <v Irwin Hersey>I can think of about 20 more questions I'd like to ask you about communication satellites. But since we still have several other categories to talk about, let's move along to one project, which I know has been very close to you. And that's the, eh, meteorological satellite, and in particular, the Tyros, uh, weather satellite. How is this program coming along and what are the follow ups on the program and how long is it before we actually have a full scale satellite, weather satellite system operating?
<v Sidney Sternberg>The, uh, meteorological program and the Tyros program, as you as you undoubtedly know, the first launch for Tyros one was in April of 1960, and this was the first meteorological satellite. It was also the first television satellite, I might say, that, eh, that imaged, eh, cloud information and broadcasted this information to the earth. Now, since the advent of Tyros One, there have been two more launches, Tyros-2 and Tyros-3. Uh... Tyros-2, uh, actually gave us a remarkably long life system that operated successfully for about one year. And this, indeed, we think, eh, was quite a record for satellite reliability. Uh... The Tyros-3 program satellite gave us quite a bit of information on the, eh, hurricanes, and essentially its purpose was to detect, eh, the hurricanes that were generated during this last hurricane season. And we have some really remarkable, eh, television pictures, which you might have seen in some of the publications of the formations of these hurricanes that we, we know quite well. Uh, there will be a continuing series of launches in the Tyros program. Uh, we expect that almost at all times there will be a Tyros satellite in orbit. Uh, the Weather Bureau and the meteorological community is extremely busy trying to analyze the information that's been received. And, as you know, there have been already sent back to earth somewhere around 50 to 60 thousand pictures. And you also probably know that to study one picture takes a considerable amount of time. So the amount of information that has been made available to the meteorological community is quite significant. <v Sidney Sternberg>The, uh, uh, next, uh, program in meteorology following Tyros will be the Nimbus satellite program. This is presently under development, uh, under the auspices of NASA.
<v Sidney Sternberg>The Nimbus program is still an experimental program, however. It is not being considered as of the moment as a, an operational weather system, but it is being designed to provide a very flexible experimental tool again for weather research, which, incidentally, is also the primary purpose of the Tyros program. Exactly when we will be in a position to provide operation- operational meteorological satellites, frankly, this has not been completely resolved yet. As you may have read, there has been an international workshop in Washington, I think it was last month, in which countries of the world got together to discuss how a, an operational worldwide weather system might be utilized. And this is certainly under discussion, I know the Weather Bureau is busy, uh, generating plans as to how one would organize a worldwide operational weather system. But I think as of this particular moment, we don't know exactly when we will have it. <v Sidney Sternberg>There are a lot of factors involved, certainly, and, uh, the economics of, of having a long life reliability satellite is also part of this.
<v Irwin Hersey>Thus far, we've been talking about weather satellites entirely from the standpoint of being able to tell us what the weather is. How much work is actually going on with regard to weather modification, utilizing satellites? <v Sidney Sternberg>Well, at the moment, absolutely nothing is going on in this particular field, uh. <v Sidney Sternberg>The primary emphasis has been to collect data so that we could better understand the weather. It's been a research program. Uh, hopefully, eh, if we can create models of the atmosphere that will help us predict the weather for long periods of time in advance, eh, we might learn how to control the weather, but I, eh, feel that controlling the weather is a, a long time coming from this particular point. <v Irwin Hersey>Okay. Let's move along now to, uh, navigation satellites, uh. The transit program has been one which has attracted, uh, quite a bit of attention, and also it appears to be, uh, fairly close to the point where in the not too distant future there will be an operational, uh, navigation satellite system. How about this? <v Sidney Sternberg>Well, certainly the transit program is moving along quite rapidly under the auspices of the Navy. The U.S. Navy is sponsoring this program. Eh... It has been a rather successful program, I believe. And I might say that the, the t- transit satellite, as compared to some of the other satellite programs, is in terms of, say, numbers of components, a, uh, a much simpler satellite.
<v Sidney Sternberg>And so the reliability factors, the power requirements, all of the, uh, satellite engineering requirements perhaps are less stringent, less exacting, and it could easily approach the operational stage at the soonest. Again, I don't think we can say when we will have it, because, as you mentioned before, in communication satellites, there is a data processing problem here too. The- making the satellite simple, I think, is a, is a good design philosophy. But in doing so, very often, you complicate the problem of handling the data on the ground. And truly, this is the case in the transit program, the communications equipment or isolator- radio isolation equipment and the satellite is simple, but the ground processing of the data, in order to find out where you are with respect to the satellite and therefore respect to the ground at the moment is quite complicated and takes a rather large data processing system. So I think the emphasis is going to be in the next few years, eh, to learn how to simplify, eh, the ground processing problem, eh, before we can economically realize a, an operational system, navigation system. <v Irwin Hersey>Thank you very much, Mr. Sternbergh, I've enjoyed very much our chat with you this afternoon on satellite applications. You've been listening to Sidney Sternbergh, Chief Engineer, Tyros program, RCA Astroelectronics Division at Princeton, New Jersey.
<v Narrator>You are listening to the Challenge of Space Flight. Thus far, you've heard from Vice President Lyndon B Johnson. NASA Administrator James E. Webb, and Sidney Sternbergh, Chief Engineer for the Tyros Satellite Project. Now here again is Irwin Hersey, Editor of Astronautics. <v Irwin Hersey>Dr. John R. Pierce, Director of Research for the Bell Telephone Laboratories, has been interested in communication satellites for a long time. In fact, for more than ten years at this date. Recently, at a meeting of the American Rocket Society, Dr. Pierce had some very interesting points to make with regard to communication satellites. Now, here's Dr. Pierce. <v Dr. John Pierce>A great deal that goes into rockets comes from other preceding fields of science and technology, and especially the electronics that goes into the guidance and the transistors and the solar cells were provided by a... <v Dr. John Pierce>Part of the whole field of science and technology that was not directly inspired by space. So really, I think at least practical applications,
<v Speaker>It will be our investment in science and technology that is paying off and not- being paying off and not our investment in space alone. <v Dr. John Pierce>When new fields are young, they seem rather isolated. Once, uh, airplanes were, uh, just crazy things that sportsmen flew, once the telephone was a toy, and once automobiles were amusement devices for the rich. But another time comes when these things come closer to the general technology of the age, when airplanes are part of a transport system involving communications and ground facilities and guidance facilities, navigation facilities that are drawn in from the rest of the current technology. And it seems to me that a great step will be taken and is being taken in bringing space into connection with an already thriving part of technology. And it may be that in the field of communication, this is one of the most important advances can be made because there is a tremendous communication technology in the world already. There are 70 million telephones in this country, about 60 million in other parts of the world. You can pick up your telephone now and call to, uh, any place in the United States and to about 160 different political areas. But you'll get very good service within the United States and to, uh, Europe and Hawaii via submarine cable. <v Speaker>Uh, the service to some of the lands is not too satisfactory because it's shortwave radio, it's limited in quantity, somewhat limited in quality. Uh, here, microwave radio, on or- on a continental basis, and cable systems with repeaters every few miles that can be powered and maintained, provide all sorts of communication for television, as well as for telephone. The cable time barely adequate now exist for overseas traffic. More are being put in and more will be, uh, used. Uh, there are now two cables to Europe, cable to Hawaii. One is being on, others being planned to Great Britain, cable to Japan as planned. The, uh, British Empire is planning a Commonwealth communication system, but this barely keeps up with the overseas telephone traffic, which is growing much faster than domestic traffic and up to 20 percent a year. Now, those satellites, of course, provide a way out, a way of putting a microwave repeater in the sky, either low or high. I don't think I need to dwell on the, uh, details of this. You've heard about it before. But if this is to become a reality and not something that Arthur Clarke describes in 1945 or I described in 1955, or that I'm talking about now, there must be a tremendous step taken in the reliability and predictability of lo- on long life and performance in the space arch.
<v Dr. John Pierce>Uh... You can get a good deal of good out of a scientific satellite or even an exploring satellite if it doesn't function perfectly or if it functions for a limited time. Relay satellites will be useful only if they keep going for years. This is a difficult problem.
<v Dr. John Pierce>Uh, if you took the experimental evidence, you might believe it was impossible. Score launched on December 18th, 1959, less than 33 days. Well, that was an early experiment. Courrier launched on October 4th, 1960. Act lasted 17 days. That isn't very encouraging. Uh, the Echo satellite is a passive satellite. It's still going, but it isn't most suitable thing for commercial communications. <v Dr. John Pierce>If you make calculations about reliability, uh, the indication you get is that rather small and simple satellites with perhaps a thousand components might indeed last for several years. If the very, very best components that are available, components that have been well-tried in the past, tested over a period of years, are used, and that one carefully rejects anything new and untried. But even then, it isn't easy. One believes that this reliability can be achieved in simple satellites at least, however. There's the question of reliability during launch. The Titan guidance system has been launched over 40 times, a lot of failure. So we believe the electronic, uh, components can survive launching. Uh, we can't be quite sure that we'll attain these long lives in space until something has been launched. <v Dr. John Pierce>And that's a room for experiment. But we do have a lot of experience on the ground and some things and satellites to go on.
<v Dr. John Pierce>It will be desirable either for satellites, say, seven thousand miles high that rise and set, or satellites twenty two thousand three hundred miles high, hanging stationary in the sky. It will be desirable to have the altitude of these controlled to keep the power that is needed down. I don't think that in the present state of knowledge, this is any time to try to say just what sort of satellite system will be used. I wish that the people who regulate such things would just allow anyone to put up a satellite system and try out several, but that doesn't seem to be quite in the cards. The law gets in the way. Uh, but certainly lots of different things will have to be tried out. I feel sure that there will be 24-hour satellites, eh, tried. I think myself that probably low altitude satellites may provide communication earlier. <v Dr. John Pierce>At any rate, the thing to do is to get on. And fortunately, this country has a program. Uh, early in 1962, another passive balloon will be launched by NASA, uh, a hundred-and-thirty-five-foot one in eight-hundred-mile orbit. Late in 1962, three will be launched in the seventeen-hundred-mile orbit in a- something called Rebound, uh, uh, Army Satellite, uh, system. Advent is scheduled for launching in a lower altitude than 24 hours sometime in 1962. This will be very interesting because this is a very complicated satellite, both electronically and in the altitude control and station keeping. It will be very interesting to see what happens. Uh... NASA's project relay satellite will be launched in mid-1962. This is- will be an elliptical orbit launched by ?inaudible?, going from six hundred to twenty five hundred miles. But why not a circular orbit? It's nice to have a go through the Van Allen belt for radiation measurement, because we don't know very accurately how much radiation there is in the Van Allen belt, but also because the rocket is available, the ?inaudible? will want to put it in a high of circular orbit to be of any use. A... A satellite built, eh, by, eh, the Bell System, the TSX, will be launched at AT&T expense, Bell System expense, by ?inaudible? in the second quarter of 1962. That's presumably before a relay in April. This will go into an orbit somewhat like relay. Most of these satellites will be capable of trend-, of, uh, of, uh, voice tests, uh, across the ocean in cooperation with the post office departments who run the telephone systems in England and France and, uh, perhaps other countries as well. I know Japan is very interested. Finally, NASA has- is going to launch a CentCom satellite, a, a, a Hugh satellite, uh, as a NASA program, late in 1962 in a 24-hour orbit. This is a simple little satellite. It will be very interesting to see how well they're able to keep it in the 24-hour orbit. It has a li- more limited, eh, eh, communication capacity than the lower altitude satellites. It's a lighter satellite. Well... [cut, long silence] <v Dr. John Pierce>And if you wish, although maybe that's the wrong... [cut]
Seminar of the Air. Challenge of Space Flight
Satellites in the Nation's Space Program
Producing Organization
American Rocket Society
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
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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: American Rocket Society
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Speaker: Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
Speaker: Webb, James E.
Speaker: Pierce, John R.
Speaker: Sternberg, Sydney
Writer: Halpern, Harold Kirk
Writer: Hersey, Irwin
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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 9, 2023,
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 9, 2023. <>.
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