Von Braun’s 50-Year-Old Secret:

The US Explorer I Discovery that Could Have Saved

the World ….

 

By Richard C. Hoagland
© 2008 The Enterprise Mission

 

A half-century ago, from a windswept Florida beach, the United States finally "got back in the game" -- after the shock of the Soviet Union's Sputnik just three months earlier -- and successfully launched its own satellite into an orbit of the Earth ... dubbed after launch, "Explorer I."

Unknown to anyone but a handful of civilian engineers and US Army personnel, intimately involved with the launch that night, this would became a true "history-defining moment" -- when the launch team, via Explorer I, immediately and serendipitously made America's MOST important and overarching discovery, of all nations that would someday ever venture off the Earth ... in the entire fifty-year history of "space"--

 

The secret of gravity and inertia themselves ... revealed as a true "anti-gravity effect" -- somehow operating on Explorer I ... radically affecting its very orbit!

 

A seminal discovery ... which -- at the stroke of a White House pen -- could have re-written not only the history of science … but, the destiny of the entire world ….

However, this was not to be.

This monumental, history-making breakthrough was immediately followed by the United States' most far-reaching political move of this same half-century -- a hurried decision, made apparently that same night, to keep this phenomenonal "anti-gravity" discovery a total secret ... not only from its own civilian scientists, its own "free press" ... its own citizens and taxpayers ... but, from everyone on Earth!

This is the story of the Enterprise Mission's painstaking, years-long investigation (given context in our recent New York Times bestseller -- Dark Mission: the Secret History of NASA): the "back-engineering," scientific and political analysis of this "world-changing, pre-NASA discovery" ... and the grave global consequences that have now evolved from the crucial decision, made by "someone" in a position of Authority that night--

To simply ... "bury it."

In subsequent pages, we will detail and document "who" exactly made this amazing breakthrough, precisely "how" it was achieved, and "what" the stunning, world-wide implications could have been ... if science had been allowed to take its natural course that night -- if this unique discovery had been freely presented, freely studied and freely discussed in the global scientific community in the ensuing years ... and then, implemented as a revolutionary, Earth-based "gravitational control technology."

But, most important--

We will detail how this paradigm-shattering breakthrough can now be duplicated -- by any student, in any decent high school physics laboratory ... literally, anywhere on Earth!

And what that now could mean for all Humanity.

 

* * *

 

Explorer I was launched at 10:48 PM EST, January 31, 1958 -- from Pad 26A, at Cape Canaveral.

The Jupiter-C rocket (C standing for "composite") that successfully launched this first US satellite into the Florida skies (below), was actually a converted "Redstone" military ICBM -- a rocket developed as a US Army advancement over their earlier "V-2s," by Wernher von Braun and his imported team of "Operation Paperclip" German Nazi rocket engineers to the United States, in the decade immediately following World War II.

 

 

This "Jupiter-C satellite launcher" was built around a main liquid-fueled rocket stage, composed of two separate tanks for housing liquid oxygen and the "Hydyne" hydrazine-based fuel, standing a total of 47 feet high and weighing, fully loaded, 62,700 pounds.

Atop this "main stage" were 15 individual, much smaller solid propellant rockets, arranged in three additional "stages" (weighing a total of 1380 pounds), consisting of 11, 3 -- and finally, 1 -- topped, at 71 feet above the ground, by the ~31-lb, bullet-shaped Explorer I satellite itself (below) -- literally bolted to the fnal "solid" stage beneath it.

 

 

Explorer I's best-known, unclassified contribution to space science was the discovery of the famed “Van Allen” radiation belts – named for the University of Iowa physicist, James van Allen, who first found (via his radiation detectors aboard Explorer I, confirmed by the two successor Explorer III and IV spacecraft) the high-energy “donuts” of charged particles circling the Earth, trapped by its "dipole" magnetic field (below).

 

 

Van Allen went on to win the equivalent of the “Nobel space physics prize” for this fundamental space discovery -- which was eventually found to be a basic feature of ALL planets in (and outside) the solar system exhibiting similar magnetic fields.

He even made it to the cover of TIME magazine.

 

 

By stark contrast, the ultimately far more significant (literally "physics-shattering" -- as you shall see) anomalous orbital dynamics exhibited by this same satellite, and, on its very first orbit that night--

That, Explorer I’s actual trajectory, unambiguously (and most disturbingly) seemed to violate two basic laws of 20th Century Physics, immediately after launch--

Have received NO scientific acknowledgements, prizes, or peer-reviewed discussions … even fifty years after their totally unexpected discovery ....

So, "who" made this remarkable discovery ... and then (as the evidence will prove ...) actively participated in its subsequent, deliberate, decades-long (and still on-going) cover-up?

Why -- none other than Wernher von Braun, himself ....

 

 

To fully understand the extraordinary technical and political significance of what "mystifyingly" occurred that January night in 1958, one has to go back to the events themselves, swirling around this "super-charged, US Army launch attempt by von Braun and his German team ..." -- a desperate effort for the US to "catch up" in a space race it was clearly still losing to the Soviets at that point -- and compare what was expected to happen with Explorer I's launch ... with what actually happened.

 

* * *

 

Because of the extremely primitive status of the "global satellite tracking network" in 1958, required to follow a satellite in orbit, the number of "stations" up and running the night Explorer I was finally launched was "few and far between"; the portion of this Mercator-projection map (below) NOT shaded, is the latitude coverage straddling the equator dictated by the planned inclination of the first US satellites -- Vanguard and Explorer -- designed for orbits between "latitudes 40 degrees north and south." As you can see, most of the existing ground stations were concentrated along a band running raggedly north and south, mostly in the Americas -- heavily favoring one side of the planet but leaving the rest of the world "dark" (the scattering of stations seen in other parts of the world -- such as the one in central Australia -- did not yet have the proper equipment to detect Explorer I's radio frequencies, having been originally planned to support the Navy's Vanguard Program).

Explorer I was launched by von Braun and his team with an orbital inclination of "33.3 degrees ...."

 

 

Thus, when the spacecraft disappeared over the South Atlantic horizon from Cape Canaveral that evening, after being launched "downrange" (the line extending southeast from Florida -- above), there was essentially no way for von Braun (or anyone else ...) to track it, to KNOW from "telemetry" (radioed information ...) if "his" satellite had been successfully placed in orbit by the Jupiter C ... or not--

But to impatiently just wait ....

Until Explorer I -- moving at ~18,000 miles per hour (5 miles per second ...) -- had almost completely circled the entire world ... and came back around ... within range of special radio receivers set up in the deserts just north of San Diego, California (a place called menacingly "Earthquake Valley" ...).

There, if the receivers picked up Explorer I's faint telemetry signals as it was coming over the Pacific Ocean for the first time -- after the spacecraft had almost circled the entire planet -- word was to be "flashed" (by "long-distance telephone" -- as it was quaintly called in those days ...) to Cape Canaveral (where von Braun's Army launch crew was nervously waiting ...), and, to the Pentagon in Washington DC -- where von Braun himself, Van Allen, and William Pickering (Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory -- JPL -- the West Coast facility which had constructed the actual satellite) -- were also watching "the clock tick down the seconds" ....

If the eventual word from Earthquake Valley was "go," the three scientists were then scheduled to begin a live press conference over at the National Academy of Sciences, and announce triumphantly to an equally waiting world--

"We did it!"

Only after all this "waiting and nail biting" ... a literally hours-long vigil, and an equally archaic mode of communicating "success" when it was finally learned (over a single telephone line -- stretching between California and Washington DC ...) -- would (or could!) anyone in the rest of the world that night really KNOW that Explorer I had successfully made it into orbit!

That key California signal -- for a carefully planned, Explorer I trajectory around the Earth of 220 by 1000 miles -- was expected at about 12:30 AM EST, February 1, 1958 (below).

 

 

Slightly over an hour and a half after Explorer's launch from Florida," the moment of truth" in this intensely anticipated "window" came ... and went--

And--

Nothing.

Then -- it was 12:31 ... then, 12:32 ... and more nothing.

Because of the "clockwork" nature of satellite orbits when, by 12:33, there was STILL no signal ... it became dreadfully apparent to von Braun's entire senior team -- General John B. Medaris, head of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) which had actually launched Explorer I for the US Army earlier that night (below)--

 

 

And ... William Pickering ... Director of the Cal Tech laboratory (JPL) under contract to ABMA for the actual design and construction of Explorer I (below)--

 

 

That, they were likely never going to hear that desperately hoped-for signal ... because, somehow ... "something" had gone radically wrong!

By 12:41 AM it was all but certain.

Instead of going into orbit and coming around the Earth on time, Explorer I had -- somehow -- been plunged back into the atmosphere far over the horizon from the Cape -- and, by now, had simply burned up ... literally, somewhere on the far side of the world ....

It was never going to "come around the Earth and over Earthquake Valley ..." -- because it no longer even existed!

A photograph of von Braun (below) -- snapped while he and everyone else at the Pentagon desperately awaited word ... any word -- captures perfectly what he was obviously fearing--

 

 

Von Braun would later directly write about his roller coaster emotions during that "interminable wait," in a piece entitled "The Story Behind the 'Explorers,'" appearing in the Des Moines Sunday Register, April 13, 1958:

 

“... the bird was due in California about 12:30 A.M., EST. We had four tracking stations there poised to pick up its signal, and Bill [Pickering] had them on the long-distance phone.

“Twelve-thirty came. There was no signal.

“A minute went by. And another. And another, without a beep from the satellite. Eight
minutes elapsed
and still they didn’t hear a thing.

“We were miserable. Obviously, we’d been mistaken. The Explorer had never really gone
into orbit [emphasis added] ...."

 

Then, at 12:42 AM--

There it was!

 

 

Within the next 30 seconds, all four Earthquake Valley stations picked up Explorer I's transmitted signals "loud and clear."

The United States was -- finally -- in orbit!

Explorer I had just been "late."

But ... why?

George Ludwig -- Van Allen's chief assistant, and designer of the ~18 pounds of batteries and custom-made radiation-monitoring equipment on-board Explorer I -- described his own automatic first reaction--

 

"... we all realized immediately that the rocket had provided a larger than expected thrust, resulting in a higher than planned orbit, and a longer orbital period. The orbit had been expected to have a perigee (lowest height above the Earth) of about 220 miles and an apogee (greatest height) of about 1000 miles. The perigee and apogee heights were actually 223 miles and, more significantly, 1592 miles, respectively, with an orbital period of 114.7 minutes rather than the 105 minutes that had been originally anticipated ...."

 

With the (belated!) acquisition of Explorer I by Earthquake Valley -- von Braun, Van Allen and Pickering were whisked from the Pentagon to the more "scientific" (and civilian ...) "National Academy of Sciences" -- for a packed "2:00 AM press briefing ...."

Amid all the adulation and congratulations, this iconic photograph (below) was taken, capturing the mood of "a new US technological and political renaissance" -- symbolized now by the resounding success of Explorer I -- in the face of the Soviet Union's "daunting early wins" in this new game ....

 

 

Lost in all the well-deserved self-congratulations ... was the nagging real reason for Explorer I's agonizing delay at Earthquake Valley: its "higher than planned" orbit.

And ... any serious questioning -- either from the assembled scientists that night, or from the press -- as to how something like that could even have been achieved ... powered only by von Braun's relatively primitive "Jupiter-C" rocket ....

 

* * *

 

Van Allen (below) -- when he wrote about his own emotional experience that memorable night -- also barely touched upon "the problem"--

 

 

" … the burning of all four stages [after launch] was monitored by down-range stations and judged to be nominal. The final burnout velocity of the fourth stage was somewhat higher than intended, and there was a significant uncertainty in the final direction of motion. Hence, the achievement of an orbit could not be established with confidence from the available data. The telemetry transmitter was operating properly, and the counting rate data from our radiation instrument corresponded to expectations… The reception of the telemetry signal after the lapse of [almost] one orbit was necessary before success could be confirmed ....

"... for about an hour following receipt of the [last] down-range station reports, there was an exasperating absence of information ... The clock ticked away, and we all drank coffee to allay our collective anxiety. After some ninety minutes, all conversation ceased, and an air of dazed disappointment settled over the room. Then, nearly two hours after launch, a telephone report of confirmed reception of the radio signal by two [sic] professional stations in Earthquake Valley, California, was received. The roomful of people exploded with exultation, and everyone was pounding each other on the back with mutual congratulations [emphsis added] ...."

 

Van Allen -- NOT being a true "rocket scientist" (he was, after all, primarily a physicist -- specializing in custom-designed instrument payloads for sounding rockets ... not the launch vehicles themselves) -- can be forgiven for not immediately appreciating the deeper implications of the problem presented by Explorer I's inexplicable, significantly higher-than-planned orbit that night; he could only assume (as, apparently George Ludwig did ... and everyone else) that the "higher orbit" was the by-product of a "slightly greater efficiency" -- somewhere in von Braun's pioneering, multi-staged Jupiter-C launch vehicle -- most likely, in the solid-fueled rockets, designed by JPL (in addition to the satellite), that comprised those critical last three upper stages ....

As we have detailed in "Dark Mission," in the chapter devoted to the remarkable history of one of JPL's key founders -- Jack Parsons, and his early solid-fuel rocket pioneering -- "solids" in this period were only slightly more predictable than "alchemy" ... or "magik"; depending on a variety of arcane chemical and physical variables -- the exact proportions of fuel to oxidizer mixed together; the physical size of the propellant grains of that resulting mix; the density of the final packing of those grains into the rocket's casing; even the temperature of the propellant -- any one of these parameters could affect the final product, which would result in a well-known "variable thrust and burn time" for all solid-fueled rockets of the period ....

Parson's singular claim to fame was, by exhaustive trial and error, over more than two decades (from the 1930's through the 1950's ...), to finally have hit upon a fuel/oxidizer mixture, and a loading process, which eliminated almost all these inherent solid-rocket variability’s ... almost.

For these well-known reasons (to those who "hung around the fledgling space program ..."), it was assumed by all the "non-rocket scientists" (and by the press ...) that one of these "normal variables" in the Jupiter-C's upper stages easily accounted for the rocket's additional performance ....

That "everyone assumed" this was the case, is obvious ... because, it is equally obvious that no one at the time (at least, anyone who will talk ...) actually sat down and carried out even the most basic of "rocket calculations" -- of just how "over efficient" von Braun's Jupiter-C had to have been ... to result in anything even approaching Explorer I's much higher-than-expected orbit!

Fifty years after the fact, we have done those calculations ... with some spectacular and very thought-provoking results.

 

* * *

 

OK, now comes the part where the "mathematically challenged" (or squeamish ...) might want to turn away. If you do, we promise we'll summarize the cool stuff -- in neat, plain English -- at the end ....

Because--

The foundation of all true "rocket science" is--

 

The “Rocket Equation!”

 

Wp = Wi * (1 - e**(-dV/g*ISP))

 

Where,

 

Wp = weight of propellant expended during the thrust arc
Wi = initial weight of the vehicle
V = delta velocity change
g = Earth's gravitational acceleration (32.174 ft/sec^2)
ISP = specific impulse of the engine (and fuel) in use

 

Solving for dV (the final rocket velocity), the equation becomes:

 

dV = -g*ISP*ln(1- Wp/Wi)

 


Back to English.

Broken down, the above equation is actually quite simple.

The key parameter is the number representing "ISP" -- a rocket's "specific impulse" (expressed as "seconds").

Specific impulse is somewhat like a "miles per gallon" reading for your car; the higher the specific impulse (ISP) for a given rocket system (engines plus fuel), the more efficient the total rocket system is ... in terms of "miles per gallon" usage of that fuel ....

And, the higher the final velocity you can achieve with a given amount (mass) of fuel.

And ... higher final velocities result in higher orbits!

So, high ISP numbers are good; lower ISP numbers are ... "less good" ....

In terms of determining if the JPL upper stages could have achieved the performance levels required to place Explorer I into its higher-than-expected orbit, we began by looking at the published parameters of the solid rockets JPL used in constructing those stages for von Braun's final "composite" rocket.

One major clue was in Van Allen's own report:

 

"... the final burnout velocity of the fourth stage was somewhat higher than intended [emphasis added] ....."

 

According to the Smithsonian's "National Air and Space Museum Data Sheet, Department of Astronautics" -- published on an official NASA website--

The fuel and oxidizer used in the JPL-designed "solid" upper stages for the Jupiter-C was "... polysulfide-aluminum and ammonium perchlorate." This was pretty standard stuff, even if its ISP was fairly poor, compared to almost any liquid chemical rocket fuels in use today; the ISP varied from about "220 seconds" in the atmosphere, to about "235 seconds" in a good vacuum (because, contrary to common misperception, rocket engines actually work best in a pure vacuum -- when the thrust exhaust isn't slowed down by the surrounding air!).

The Smithsonian data sheet also neatly listed the "fueled" and "empty weight" of each Jupiter-C stage (below).

 

Plugging these numbers into the Rocket Equation, and averaging the atmospheric and vacuum ISP efficiencies of the upper stages together (as the Jupiter-C rose out of the atmosphere that night, and the later stage ignitions became more efficient ...), gave us the maximum theoretical "by the book" velocity those three upper stages could have imparted to Explorer I at "orbit injection."

 

dV = -32.2 X 228 X (662lb/1380lb) = 3520 feet per sec

 

But--

We already knew that this velocity, added to the maximum velocity imparted by the liquid-fueled first stage (at "staging"), was the "nominal satellite injection velocity" -- what was required to place Explorer I into its planned orbit of about "220 by 1000 miles" (red line, below).

Since the actual orbital parameters (according to George Ludwig's figures) were "223 by 1592 ..." -- almost 600 miles higher at apogee than "nominal" (the blue line, below) -- what we really needed was a measure of how much additional velocity that approximately 600-mile increase in apogee represented, to put Explorer I into an orbit that much higher (and more elliptical) than originally targeted ....

 

There's a well-known "rule of thumb" in rocket science -- that, for "every additional foot per second of injection velocity" at perigee (the low point of the orbit), a spacecraft gains "about a mile of additional altitude at apogee" (the highest orbital point).

Using this approximation, Explorer I had gained something like "an additional ~600 feet per second" ....

Was this covered by the normal variations for solid rocket performance of that generation?

Inverting our Rocket Equation -- and solving for the additional ISP required of those solids, to match that now known additional performance -- produced the following result:

 

Additional required velocity = ~ 600 feet per second

3520 + 600 = 4120 total feet per second for Explorer I

Increase in Explorer I injection performance = 4120/3520 = 1.17

 

Equivalent “improvement” in 2nd, 3rd and 4th stage propellant ISPs =

1.17 X 228 = ~ 267 secs!

 

This amounted to almost a twenty percent performance increase -- in ALL the upper stage solid ISPs -- over the same solid-fueled rockets' measured performance in previous JPL applications!

The idea that one of the 15 solids in those upper stages might exhibit this degree of major variation, was barely plausible; that ALL of them TOGETHER (required to produce the total delta velocity increase) had done so that night, was simply impossible ... by any known chemistry and physics.

"Normal physics" also says you "can't get something for nothing." Yet, somehow, by this simple calculation, Explorer I DID exactly that--

Acquiring six hundred extra miles of "something" ... from absolutely nothing.

Just how the hell did JPL and von Braun manage to accomplish that!?

 

 

* * *

 

It would have been at this point -- for anyone who actually DID this simple set of calculations, in 1958 -- that they HAD to have realized they had a major discovery on their hands ... and ... a major problem.

The problem was:

No "small variations" -- a few percent, at best -- of the Jupiter-C's individual solid rockets in the vehicle's upper stages -- from "grain size, packing density, mixture variations, etc., etc." -- could possibly account for a ~20% INCREASE in overall delta V at burnout ... resulting in almost 600 additional feet per second ... and 600 additional vertical miles ... of "super performance" for America's first satellite!

So, what was left ...?

That, serendipitously, Explorer I had made--

 

A profound and fundamental scientific breakthrough ... regarding how objects really gravitationally orbit one another!

 

And that, as a result, almost 300 years of Newton's long-accepted "Law of Universal Gravitation" was, somehow, wrong ... as might be his equally unquestioned "Three Laws of Motion" ... and potentially (shudder ...), even Einstein's "General Theory of Relativity" ....

Whatever the ultimate cause -- this was NOT going to be any "small" Scientific Revolution.

And, that was precisely “the Problem” ….

And the solution to "the Problem" -- as we can now demonstrate -- was a political decision, made by "someone" that night, to instigate an immediate cover-up of this entire, stunning US space discovery ... which obviously, if openly verified, would have been--

Tthe most important result of the entire space program!

A cover-up which (according to the evidence)--

Is still on-going.

For, while Ludwig and Van Allen -- both eminent physicists, both intimately familiar with the Explorer Program (because they were designing all its intricate on-orbit measuring instruments!) -- freely published the intended orbital parameters of Explorer I we've just cited, and even compared them to the higher, enlarged orbit ... neither of them seemed to realize (and Ludwig STILL doesn't ...) just what those numbers had to represent (unless, of course, they were ultimately "persuaded" to remain "ignorant" ...).

If either physicist, for a moment, had sat down and actually gone through the "rocket calculations" we just have, both would have instantly realized that to expect that type of "anomalous super performance" -- from EVERY one of the 15 solid-fueled JPL rockets atop von Braun's modified Redstone--

Was impossible.

Yet, neither of these key physicists (nor, any other physicists, astronomers, rocket engineers, members of the scientific press, etc., etc.) -- over these last fifty years -- has apparently EVER done this simple calculation ... or stopped to consider (if they have), even for a moment, the extraordinary alternative to the inevitable assumption "it must have been the rockets ...."

That, it might have been, instead--

The Physics!

 

* * *

 

One blatantly obvious initial reason that Van Allen and Ludwig DIDN'T do this calculation that same night, HAD to have been "Wernher von Braun."

After all, this was "Wernher's baby!"; if HE didn't know what made his rocket tick ... what might account for its "dazzling increased delta V" ... who would?!

That von Braun was immediately prepared to be 'less than candid" about this remarkable Jupiter-C "over performance" (initially, by simply not discussing it ...) -- to, in every way, downplay the ultimate significance of what had really happened to Explorer I that night -- is apparent in his immediate actions at the National Academy press conference that morning--

With the entire world press corps gathered, and hanging on his every word ... he said nothing!

And, he continued to say nothing ... to his death.

However, giving him the benefit of the doubt ... for "great uncertainties" in the numbers that first roller coaster morning, when "the cold light of day dawned …" von Braun had to have found time to do those crucial calculations. And he HAD to have realized then that nothing involving the JPL solid upper stages could have resulted in that amount of "extraordinary, additional performance" ....

Yet, three months later -- writing in that same Des Moines Sunday Register article, in April 1958 -- von Braun would simply say:

 

 

"… there’d been just a slight error in our quick estimate of the satellite’s initial speed and period of revolution [emphasis added] …."

 

"Slight error" ....

Six hundred additional feet per second (that's just over "four hundred miles per hour ..."); and ... six hundred miles higher as a direct result, at apogee ....

Yet, all from ... NOWHERE.

Where were the "triumphant official ABMA press releases" ... the proud "White House announcements" (at the height of the Cold War and this sudden "space race" with the Soviets) ... and then, the ultimate "solemn ceremony" in Stockholm ... celebrating such an extraordinary scientific breakthrough in "Newton Laws" by the United States -- the first ... in almost three centuries!?

The proof that von Braun knew that this wasn't just "the result of his own rocket" -- that, in fact, this was something BIG ... something potentially "extraordinary" -- comes from von Braun himself:

Immediately following the baffling events surrounding the launch of Explorer I, von Braun began quietly writing and sending out a series of clandestine letters all over the world -- to a very select group of "extraordinary physicists" ... but deliberately, NOT to any associated with the Explorer program (like Van Allen!). In this correspondence, he is clearly, unquestionably, looking for “an alternative physics” -- that could eventually explain what really happened to Explorer I.

Not exactly the actions of "just a rocket guy" -- complacently satisfied with his own vehicle's performance!

One fascinating von Braun exchange involved fellow German countryman, theorist Burkhard Heim (below).

Another -- if anything, even more indicative of von Braun's real thinking, in his persistent secret efforts to understand the apparent “new gravitational physics” that (he obviously now believed ...) had, somehow, radically altered Explorer I's orbit after launch -- involved the even more remarkable, anomalous gravitational discoveries of a future Noble Laureate, Dr. Maurice Allais.

But first -- to Heim's theoretical relevance to von Braun's "problem" ....

 

 

Heim (who had worked at the world-famous "Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics," in Goettingen, Germany, after the War), had rocked the physics and space communities just a few years earlier, by presenting at the 1952 and 1954 sessions of the "International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Congress" historic scientific papers, outlining the first theoretical proposal for "fuel-less field propulsion technology“ -- a means of sending true space vehicles to other planets, without the profound "limitations of rockets" ....

Because his radical proposal was backed by some extremely innovative (if highly complex) "unified field equations," created by a bona fide physicist attached to such a prestigious German scientific institution, Heim immediately became something of an international celebrity. Here was a "scientific somebody" in the 20th century, directly suggesting that Newton's long-inviolate Third Law of Motion "... for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" -- which lies at the heart of every rocket-based propulsion system -- might, in fact, be completely circumvented by a new 20th Century "space-time field technology"--

Which could itself move through space -- yet, expel NO "reaction mass" ... by electromagnetically "hooking into the very fabric of 'space-time'" itself!

Heim worked on his theories in close collaboration with quantum theory physicist and pioneer Pascual Jordan (himself a close associate of Nobel Laureates, Max Born and Werner Heisenberg. Jordan also is known as the developer of "the non-associative Jordan Algebras"). Significantly, Heim was seeking in this collaboration to carry out key physical experiments with Jordan ... in gravitation -- because, even before the War, the latter had turned his attention from "quantum mechanics" to "cosmology" ... the origin and evolution of the largest structures in the Universe ... where gravity reigns supreme ....

But the joint projects Heim proposed, to test his own far-reaching "gravitational theories," never materialized -- as the necessary government funding in post-War West Germany in the 1950's (except for a small grant from the aerospace firm, Messerschmitt-Belkow-Blohm) was apparently "not available."

The title of one of Heim's later papers (1976) -- "Basic Thoughts on a Unified Field Theory of Matter and Gravity" -- specifically reveals his fundamental and continuing interest in alternative gravity research, some 20 years after he first burst upon the world stage ... and the obvious reason for von Braun's provocative (and well-documented) "sudden interest in Heim" in 1958 ... right after Explorer I!

For, according to the "Research Group -- Heim Theory" -- a collection of international scientists currently collaborating on publishing and discussing Heim's "unified field" work, in English (following Heim's death, in 2001) -- Wernher von Braun's telling interest -- remember, a "rocket guy" -- centered specifically on Heim's radical ideas re "... spacecraft field propulsion and orbital dynamics."

According to the Research Group:

 

"... in a letter to Heim, Wernher von Braun enquired about progress in the [German] development of such a field propulsion system since otherwise he could not accept responsibility for the enormous cost of the [Apollo] moon-landing project. Heim [because of the lack of West German government funding to develop the technology] answered in the negative [emphasis added] ...."

 

From this documented correspondence, it should be blatantly apparent that Wernher von Braun -- thought by the press and public to be merely a "steely-eyed missile man" -- was actually probing far beyond ... searching avidly for an "alternate gravitational solution" to his major Explorer I problem, one which did NOT involve "trivial rocket explanations."

Obviously, at some point after that memorable January night, von Braun had carried out the same calculations we just did ... and had come to the same conclusion:

Namely, that-

"Something" was radically wrong with all existing gravitational theories ... used (quite unsuccessfully, it turned out ...) to attempt to predict the orbit of Explorer I.

In other words, Von Braun -- contrary to his public "caviler dismissals" of Explorer I's anomalous behavior (the statements in the Sunday Register ...) -- privately, was clearly ... secretly ... bent on finding "a serious, workable alternative to Newton and Einstein ...!"

As his independently confirmed private correspondence with Burkhard Heim, now unquestionably confirms.

Von Braun's letters to and from Maurice Allais (below) are even more revealing -- in terms of the alternative gravitational ideas von Braun (backed by personal experience, remember ...) was obviously willing to entertain.

 

 

Allais, a French economist by training (he would go on to win the Noble Prize for Economics, in 1988) was also an accomplished physicist -- publishing copious experiments through the French Academy of Sciences [and winning fourteen physics prizes -- including, the Gold Medal of the National Center for Scientific Research (C.N.R.S.), the most distinguished honour in French Science, from the 1930's through the 1980's].

The work that obviously brought Allais to von Braun's attention was the French physicist's startling observation of "... highly anomalous pendulum motions, made during a solar eclipse over Paris in 1954 ...." (and repeated, during another solar eclipse, also over France, in 1959).

Allais noted that the normal, progressive "Foucault motion" (due to the rotation of the Earth) of his laboratory's uniquely-designed "paraconical pendulum," during the eclipse, suddenly reversed ... and literally "ran backwards" (with the Earth's rotation!) ... until mid-eclipse, when the pendulum motion reversed again ... rapidly resuming its normal rate and direction of angular rotation (below) ....

This set of completely inexplicable (under any current theory ...) solar eclipse observations has since been termed "the Allais Effect."

 

 

Here (below) is a trace of Allais' actual, remarkable 1954 pendulum observations -- made during the eclipse.

The graph shows (red line) the normal, progressive angular trend (the downward slope) of the pendulum's apparent rotation, mirroring the Earth's actual opposite motion.

This trend is suddenly interrupted by an upward deflection in the graph -- at the precise beginning of the eclipse (left green line) -- representative of the complete reversal (backwards rotation) of the pendulum's (normal) forward angular motion!

This hour-long "pendulum anomaly" is then followed (near mid-eclipse -- center green line) by a rapid resumption of the normal downward trend ... once again, the normal "mirrored reflection" of the Earth's inertial spin ....

 

 

Needless to say (but, we'll say it anyway ...), this astonishing behavior was completely unpredicted ("unmodeled" is the term ...) by either Newton or Einstein -- in terms of the "normal" inertial motions of a pendulum freely swinging under gravity ....

Or, to quote Allais directly:

 

"... indeed, the effects of the eclipse are spectacular and cannot be explained in the framework of currently accepted [gravitational or inertial] theories ...

"Over many centuries, no phenomenon had ever before been exhibited, whose observed values were from twenty to a hundred million times greater than the values obtained by [prior theoretical] calculation [emphasis in the original] ...."

 

In a very real sense, Allais' stunning eclipse observations were a remarkable "ground-based version" of von Braun's equally aberrant Explorer I behavior in space; in von Braun's growing perception, the two phenomenon could only be caused by the same gravitational anomaly -- ergo, his obvious interest in Allais' continuing experiments.

Documentation of this fascinating von Braun/Allais correspondence comes from two independent sources: Professor Allais himself ... and the current, official website of the NASA-Marshall Spaceflight Center -- whose first Director was ... Wernher von Braun.

Allais, writing in 1999, in "a memoir for NASA" -- flatly stated:

 

"... with regard to the validity of my experiments, it seems best to reproduce here the testimony of General Paul Bergeron, ex-president of the Committee for Scientific Activities for National Defense, in his letter of May 1959 to Werner von Braun [emphasis added] ...."

 

In that same year -- 1999 -- a summary of Allais's provocative experiments was posted on the NASA-Marshall website, in anticipation of a possible repetition of Allais' original observations -- to be carried out during an August, 1999 total solar eclipse about to sweep over Europe in a geometry very similar to Allais' 1954 event.

Remarkably, the NASA-Marshall website also cited von Braun's "interest" in professor Allais' experiments ... and even made mention (though, quite obliquely ...) of "why" he took some interest ....

 

"... rocket pioneer, Wernher von Braun, NASA/Marshall's first director, first became interested in Allais' experiments in 1958, when early investigations began to look at predicting satellite trajectories in orbital mechanics [emphasis added] ...."

 

The total understatement of "the Problem" by NASA, in 1999, and the equally apparent "downplaying" of von Braun's much deeper personal involvement with Allais (as you shall see ...) -- even after half a century -- is telling ....

For, the evidence of how just how seriously von Braun took Allais' work is amply revealed by what the rocket expert publicly did next:

In 1959, following the May letter from General Bergeron (cited by Allais, above) -- von Braun apparently personally arranged for the French physicist to publish a lengthy, three-part series on his revolutionary pendulum experiments in a leading US aerospace journal (and, for the first time in English -- as Allias' published experiments had previously been available only in French ...):

The journal was "Aero/Space Engineering" (below).

 

 

Allais' series did not "beat around the bush," but directly confronted the startling possibility that his lengthy series of meticulous pendulum observations, consisting of literally thousands of hours of detailed repetitions -- which included the extraordinary, totally unexpected 2 hours and 34 minutes of the amazing events during the '54 eclipse -- revealed fatal flaws in the previously "sacrosanct" laws of Newton and Einstein ....

The same "fatal flaws" first experienced by von Braun, in space ... in the bizarre orbital behavior of Explorer I, the night of January 31, 1958.

In hindsight, von Braun seems to have hoped that, by sponsoring open US publication of Allais' revolutionary data in a major US space engineering publication, the resulting "discussion and debate" might spur a timely "innovative engineering solution" ... one that he himself could ultimately then use to quietly solve "the secret Explorer problem"

For, there was still no open acknowledgment of the existence of the "Explorer anomaly" itself ... either, within the aerospace community, or to the public. Von Braun's idea may have been that, by exposing other rocket engineers and scientists to Allais' astonishing, compelling experimental contradictions to existing gravitational theory ... someone in that community "might just hit on a solution" ....

At least, that's the best I can come up with at the moment, to explain -- from a remove of over 50 years -- von Braun's clearly contradictory efforts in this time period -- his continuing decision (agreement?) to hide the "ultimate space discovery" from the rest of the world ... but, simultaneously, to sponsor open publication and discussion of the potentially revolutionary physics that seemed to lie at the root of "the Explorer problem!"

For ... "the Problem" was only getting worse.

In the slightly more than a year and a half that had elapsed -- between the first appearance of the "Explorer anomaly," January 31, 1958, and the US publication of the first section of Allais' unique, three-part experimental examination of the real nature of gravity, in September, 1959 -- von Braun had successfully orbited two additional Explorer satellites ... and the US Navy had orbited three (of its planned eleven ...) Vanguards.

And, all of them ... exhibited the same type of "baffling orbital anomalies" as Explorer I!

 

* * *

 

Von Braun's "worst fears" -- that Explorer I was NOT a fluke -- were totally confirmed less than two months later ... with the successful orbiting of Explorer III.

Launched March 26, 1958, the satellite was planned for a trajectory essentially identical to Explorer I's original intended orbit: 220 by 1000 miles. However, to the chagrin of von Braun and his launch team, the new spacecraft also wound up in a close repeat of Explorer I's peculiarly extended flight path!

And, again, no one (except von Braun ...) seemed to have a clue as to what was really going on ....

 

 

Explorer III 's final orbital parameters were -- "125 miles by 1750 miles ... with a period of 115.7 minutes" -- an orbit more elliptical (and even higher) than Explorer I's ... but of almost exactly the same duration!

There was NO WAY this could be dismissed as simply another "over performance" by the Jupiter-C (and yet, of course, according to the "experts," that's all it could be ...)!

With the launch of Explorer IV four months after that -- July 26, 1958 -- "the anomaly" was solid:

Explorer IV's final orbit was "163 miles by 1373 miles ..." compared to the, again, intended "220 by 1000." At first glance, this does NOT look like any kind of confirmation ... until the fact that Explorer IV was carrying twice the payload of scientific instruments, compared to the previous spacecraft, was factored in ....

Then, the "peculiar physics" matched once again -- perfectly.

As previously noted, in this same time frame -- March 17, 1958 to September 12, 1959 -- the US Navy (finally) succeeded in placing three Vanguard satellites of its own in space.

All of them ... also reached "higher and more elliptical orbits" than originally planned -- so high and so elliptical, that they now represent the three oldest man-made objects still orbiting the Earth ... half a century after they were sent aloft; each still with a remaining life span (before they someday, finally, dip low enough to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere ...)--

Of "several hundred years" ....

And yet, despite all this ... "the secret" held.

No one in the press, writing about any of these historic early launches, even seemed to suspect that "something was seriously wrong" (or, if they did, they certainly didn't write about it ...). They didn't seem to even notice that all these early orbits were "significantly higher" than originally planned, at altitudes (as anyone can calculate ...) the rockets themselves weren't even capable of reaching!

But, since von Braun -- the hero of the hour -- was saying nothing ... it had to be "the rockets," right? They were simply "more efficient" than originally designed (rah ... rah for "good ol' American technology." Take that, you commies ...).

After all, who wanted to argue with "the man?!"

 

 

Von Braun's cover-up -- and simultaneously quiet (if not quietly desperate) quest ... for an "alternative physics" to ultimately fix the problem ... was working--

Certainly, "the cover-up" part .....

 

* * *

 

At this point, if there are still skeptics remaining out there (there always are ...) -- who simply don't (or won't) believe us -- look carefully at von Braun!

Clearly, von Braun's aggressive world-wide search for a workable physics "work around" to this major (if carefully hidden ...) overarching problem, was not something he was doing "just out of idle curiosity"; he, of all people, obviously realized that if this apparent "breakdown" of Newtonian mechanics in satellite dynamics was not ultimately understood -- and then somehow controlled -- the impossibility of placing future satellites in any kind of planned orbits would rapidly spell "the End" to the entire space program!

If spacecraft couldn't be launched on precisely predictable trajectories, then, scientific missions based on known satellite orbits (and thus, calculable Earth geometries), couldn't be successfully carried out; carefully designed military reconnaissance fly-overs of intended targets (like, suspected missile bases in the Soviet Union ...) couldn't be pre-planned (a Cold War concept that the Pentagon was secretly counting on, even then ...); and missions -- unmanned or manned -- to the Moon ... or to the other planets (such as Mars -- von Braun's personal favorite ...)--

Forget it!

 

 

So, it was imperative that someone -- von Braun! -- truly "figure it out" ... and soon.

For mission planners, on both sides of the Iron Curtain (after the successful launch of Explorer I), had decided to raise the stakes ... and set their eyes on the Moon as the next prize in this new geopolitical game.

William Pickering, Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) -- which, you might remember, had designed both Explorer I and its three solid-fueled upper rocket stages -- was at the forefront of those planners on the US side who now had their sights set on places "far beyond low-Earth orbit ...”; Pickering, in the immediate aftermath of Sputnik, had strenuously argued for a major US effort to “… send an American spacecraft to the Moon at the earliest possible opportunity ...."

In the Pentagon, just one month after Explorer I was launched, ARPA (the "Advanced Research Projects Agency") was hurriedly formed by President Eisenhower, as a means of coordinating the various military services response to the new Soviet space challenge (two years later, the new civilian space agency, NASA -- also formed by Eisenhower in the summer of '58 -- would assume control of all of ARPA's "non-military" space missions).

Within a month of this "military R&D agency's" formation, taking its lead directly from Pickering's earlier proposal ARPA dramatically announced -- on March 27, 1958 (just one day after von Braun successfully orbited Explorer III) -- that it was looking to "shoot the Moon," with a "quick and dirty" program called "Pioneer" ... as a way of finally upstaging the Russians and taking back "some of the political momentum" in the "space race."

That was the obvious politial intent.

In the actual DOD statement, the more diplomatic language read "... to determine our capability of exploring space in the vicinity of the moon and to obtain useful data concerning the moon."

Unfortunately, from August 1958 through December of that year, there were four straight failures in this hurriedly- put-together, first US "Lunar Program."

And then, one day after New Year's Day, January 1959 ... came another Soviet surprise:

"The First Soviet Cosmic Rocket" (later renamed Luna-I ...) was launched by the Soviets toward the Moon , on an upgraded "R-7 intercontinental rocket" -- placing an ~800-pound unmanned Russian probe on an impact trajectory designed, for the first time, to contact the surface of another world ....

Given the size of the Soviet "Block-E" upper stage atop its R-7 launcher (below - top), compared to the tiny American Pioneer lunar spacecraft (below - bottom), and Block E's sheer mass (which provided ample ability to carry both the required guidance system and the fuel for several mid-course corrections en route to the Moon ...), Luna I should have easily impacted "within 60 to 120 miles of its intended aiming point ...."

 

 

Instead--

Thirty four hours after launch, the Soviet's first unmanned lunar probe successfully crossed the Moon's orbit ... but, ahead of the Moon ... by some "3700 miles ..." (below), before eventually moving into a ~ year-long, recurring solar orbit: the first manmade object of the "space age" to totally escape from Earth ... renamed "Mechta" -- Dream.

Major question: why, with all that mass and technology going for them ... did the Russians miss!

Von Braun, looking at their mission from the outside (since, it was damn certain the Soviet's weren't calling him with daily updates!), could only logically conclude one thing:

That, whatever "non-Newtonian" forces were acting on his (and the Navy's Vanguard) spacecraft in Earth orbit, seemed now also to be acting on the Soviets as well! This was the first independent confirmation of this possibility, as in Earth orbit the Soviets could claim (and had) that any orbit they achieved was the one that "they'd intended" ....

Missing the Moon ... by more than its own diameter (2160 miles) ... and, with the Soviet's sophisticated space navigation technology, was pretty dramatic evidence that the mysterious "Force" (non-Newtonian gravity) demonstrably operating on von Braun's spacecraft ... had also been operating on the Soviet's, all along!

And ... that it extended into space at least to the distance of the Moon ....

What was also obvious was the fact that, they too, seemed totally incapable of doing anything about it!

Unfortunately, this crucial insight still didn't provide von Braun with any practical assistance in compensating for these maddening "non-Newtonian" celestial mechanics in his own program ....

For, two months later, when it came von Braun's turn to try again -- with another US Moon-bound mission (like Explorer I, built by JPL), "Pioneer 4" -- the JPL/von Braun spacecraft missed the Moon by 37,000 miles (below)--

Ten times the Russian's error!

 

Pioneer 4 Trajectory

 

And still, the US press suspected nothing.

"Space travel" in these early, heady days, was still so new, so filled with all sorts of "known unknowns" (to borrow a notorious line from later Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld ...) that the press covering these early missions was essentially "just reading press releases." They were certainly NOT doing any original, substantative reporting on ... let alone real, in-depth, original investigations of, "government space institutions" ....

If the US Army, the Navy, ARPA ... eventually, NASA itself ... were all excusing these early mission failures and anomalies as just typical "equipment problems," or, "unexpected thrust," or, "guidance difficulties," etc., etc. -- who in the press corps, in those early years, knew enough about this totally new profession -- literally, "rocket science!" -- to effectively argue with a "giant" like von Braun?!

And -- who would want to try!?

So, the cover-up rolled on ....

Ten months later, Von Braun had to have experienced another major shock when, on September 12, 1959, the Soviets launched their second unmanned "Cosmic Rocket" to the Moon ....

 

 

And this time ... they didn't miss.

What had the Soviets learned in those "intervening months," that von Braun was still attempting to figure out -- regarding the "non-Newtonian" forces now demonstrably acting on all spacecraft -- whether they were in low Earth orbit ... or, headed for the Moon!?

And, how had they been able to "figure it out" -- allowing their second lunar attempt to successfully crash land on the lunar surface (complete with Soviet flag and Communist Party pennants) ... once again, ahead of the Americans?

Inquiring minds ....

 

* * *

 

And yet, just nine years later ... on December 24, 1968 ... three American Apollo astronauts -- with almost surgical precision -- would be successfully inserted into lunar orbit via Earth-based, computer-driven orbital calculations ... carried out "in Houston." They would make ten historic circuits of the Moon that Christmas Eve ... returning live television from their lunar orbit to an awe-inspired world ... complete with an eerie and unique reading of Genesis ... before "returning safely to the Earth" -- exactly as John Kennedy envisioned ....

 

 

How did NASA do it?!

How -- in the face of the baffling "non-Newtonian gravitational anomaly" discovered by von Braun only ten years earlier, which had made it impossible for the US to not only predict future orbits of Earth satellites, but also to successfully aim any spacecraft at the Moon ... and certainly, to successfully place one in lunar orbit -- did the United States actually carry out ... just nine years after the Russians hit the Moon with Luna 2--

Apollo 8?!

More inquiring minds really want to know ....

Just eight years earlier ... in 1960 ... von Braun was made head of NASA's massive rocket development program, to ultimately design the monster "moon rocket" -- the 363-foot tall, 3300-ton Saturn 5 (above and below) -- that would one day send Americans triumphantly to the surface of the Moon ....

 

 

In addition--

Von Braun was one of the key NASA personnel -- as first Director of NASA's "Marshall Space Flight Center" -- tasked with finding the best way to use this massive vehicle he was designing "to carry out the mission" ... even before Kennedy's historic commitment to "Apollo," in 1961.

Yet, back in 1960, von Braun secretly also knew he couldn't really "complete that mission" ... because of the continuing "non-Newtonian dynamics" problem!

The immediate task at hand for the rest of NASA (which didn't know they had a problem ...) was determining exactly "how" such a massive launch vehicle could best be utilized in the envisioned "Apollo Program" -- in support of a "direct ascent" mode (go from Earth, land directly on the Moon, then return); in an "Earth orbit rendezvous" mode (rendezvous various elements of the Apollo Expedition in Earth orbit first, before heading for the Moon and then returning); or, in a "lunar orbit rendezvous" mode (send two Apollo craft -- on one rocket -- to the Moon ... splitting them apart in lunar orbit for a separate landing by one of them, before rendezvousing back in lunar orbit with the first ... and then returning safely to the Earth - below).

 

 

The last concept was nicknamed "LOR" ... vigorously championed by a young engineer from NASA-Langley, John Houbolt . But, despite LOR's clear engineering and economic advantages in making it feasible to reach the Moon before the President's 10-year deadline (by NOT attempting to build and land a spacecraft on the Moon weighing close to a hundred tons, and standing almost 70 feet high - below!), Houbolt kept running into "... mysterious brick walls" -- in his years-long, virtually "one man crusade" to convince NASA senior management that this was the ONLY way that Apollo could succeed.

 

 

Houbolt found, to his puzzlement and increasing professional frustration that, despite making "eminent engineering sense to more and more NASA managers and engineers ..." (when he got a chance to brief them on the full details in person ...), LOR stubbornly remained "for some reason" (that no one would ever come right out and tell him ...) the least favored of all of these early lunar landing ideas ... across the Agency.

Based on what we have documented here, at least one man in NASA knew that "reason"....

Von Braun, obviously (because of the still-concealed "non-Newtonian dynamics" situation ...) was adamant that the only hope of achieving any Apollo Landing was "direct ascent."

That meant that your intended "rendezvous target" was the entire Moon ... as opposed to (in LOR) "an infinitesimal, artificial spacecraft ... floating somewhere in the dark ... in lunar orbit." This conviction was, undoubtedly, based on von Braun's assessment that, if the Russians had (somehow!) made it to the lunar surface with a direct ascent trajectory for their unmanned Luna-2 ... he could too!

With "direct ascent," with "a big enough rocket and enough fuel ..." you could employ a "brute force technique" to get to the surface of the Moon -- overwhelming the unpredictable orbital dynamics of whatever gravitational anomalies were interfering with the spacecraft trajectories enroute ... by using repeated rocket burns (and a lot of fuel ...) to constantly correct your course ... until you safely landed on the Moon!

But that required a truly massive rocket ... much bigger even than the Saturn 5 ....

This, in our opinion, is why von Braun was so fixated on "direct ascent" from the beginning: a single, ultra-massive rocket (that he eventually, fittingly called Nova - see below) -- designed to send an equally massive lunar landing craft directly to the lunar surface from the Earth ... carrying sufficient fuel to ultimately counteract any "non-Newtonian uncertainties" that it encountered on the way there ... and ... in returning home.

 

 

It was the only Apollo strategy -- based on what von Braun knew about the real orbital dynamics of cis-lunar space in 1960 -- which had even a slim chance of actually working!

Later, because of the sheer size of the Nova fuel margins, von Braun reluctantly expanded his "direct ascent" lunar mission concept to include "Earth Orbit Rendezvous" (EOR); the "brute force" method would also work in Earth orbit -- ultimately allowing two (or more) spacecraft to come together -- rendezvous -- and thus, a greater mission flexibility in assembling the right spacecraft components for Apollo ... before heading for the Moon.

And, if anything went wrong -- if rendezvous was NOT achievable (because of the continuing "non-Newtionian dynamics problem ...") -- the astronauts, with EOR, were still "only a couple hundred miles above the Earth" ... where, within hours, they could easily come home ....

NOT possible with LOR--

Where the astronauts could become literally "stranded" ... in a spacecraft not capable of carrying enough fuel to overcome the even more uncertain "non-Newtonian forces" -- operating 240,000 miles from Earth ... in lunar orbit.

This, from our analysis, was von Braun's real (though never stated ...) reason for totally rejecting LOR ... until, that is, the summer of 1962 ....

Then -- to the amazement of the entire aerospace community, including (especially!) his own Marshall engineering team (who were definitely NOT for LOR) -- von Braun abruptly reversed his previous position on "how best to accomplish Kennedy's grand vision," and announced at a major June, 1962 NASA meeting, that he had "changed his mind," and was now "backing lunar orbit rendezvous unconditionally ...."

This was von Braun's public explanation:

 

"... we at the Marshall Space Flight Center readily admit that when first exposed to the proposal of the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Mode we were a bit skeptical—particularly of the aspect of having the astronauts execute a complicated rendezvous maneuver at a distance of 240,000 miles from the earth where any rescue possibility appeared remote. In the meantime, however, we have spent a great deal of time and effort studying the four modes [Earth-orbit rendezvous, LOR, and two Direct Ascent modes, one involving the Nova and the other a Saturn C—5], and we have come to the conclusion that this particular disadvantage [low probability of successful astronaut rescue in lunar orbit] is far outweighed by [LOR's] advantages [emphasis added] ...."

 

Von Braun's sudden, simply inexplicable (to most NASA veterans ...) high profile "LOR reversal" ... could only mean one thing:

That -- in this crucial time frame -- "something" suddenly had changed ... in the whole (still classified) "non-Newtonian dynamics" situation!

Curiously, just over a month before this major NASA meeting, on April 26, 1962 -- out of all the previous failed attempts -- a US unmanned spacecraft, Ranger 4, finally, successfully, impacted the surface of the Moon!

Was von Braun's sudden, dramatic "turn around decision" regarding LOR because, the "non-Newtonian dynamics problem" -- still standing firmly in the way of all reliable space rendezvous -- had finally, quietly, been solved?; had Ranger 4 been merely the final, visible demonstration of this in-space celestial-mechanics resolution (with the publicly-presented aspects of the mission merely a convenient “cover”)?!

The more I thought about it (and my own recollections from the early 60's, of the extremely troubled history of the entire "Ranger Program" from this period -- where, successive spacecraft in the series "just kept failing," and there were even eruptions in Congress over "gross NASA mismanagement" of the laboratory in charge, coming after two equally-scathing "high-level" NASA Headquarters reviews of JPL's Ranger management performance) -- the more I began to wonder ....

Could the entire Ranger Program have been just a "cover," all along ... a test-bed (complete with "scientific instruments" and even "principal investigators" from various universities ...), but for the real purpose of flying -- in space -- various deep space mission profiles ... in repeated empirical attempts to understand, and then ultimately fix, "the Problem?"

Was this the real objective of Ranger from its inception: to develop practical "non-Newtonian, celestial-mechanics equations" ... that could successfully correct for the "non-Newtonian anomaly" ... in future NASA missions?!

Was this how NASA learned -- literally by "trial and error" (LOTS of error ...) -- how to so precisely navigate spacecraft in Earth orbit and deep space ... despite the continuing "non-Newtonian Problem?!"

 

 

Like a flash bulb going off, I suddenly realized that this specific NASA laboratory, once even under Congressional investigation for all the "gross irregularities" discovered in the Ranger Program, which had designed ... and built ... and launched Ranger 4 -- the first unmanned NASA spacecraft to finally, navigationally, make it to the surface of another planet -- was none other than the same laboratory (even before it was in NASA ...) whose engineers had also designed and built ... Explorer I--

Bill Pickering's ... Jet Propulsion Laboratory!

And suddenly, it all fit ....

There was even a statement in an official NASA history of the Ranger Program that correlated exactly with our own assessment:


“… as the [Ranger] project got underway, the [supposedly scientific] priorities established at JPL revealed the essential purpose of all five Ranger flights to be the development of 'basic elements of spacecraft technology required for lunar and planetary missions' [emphasis added] ...."

 

Which would have definitely included “… develop viable interplanetary navigation techniques ….”

JPL had to have known about the "Explorer I anomaly" – and, from the beginning!; it had to have been aggressively working on its own solution (with von Braun?) ... since that January night, in 1958!

Who would have had better motivation to figure out and solve this overwhelming celestial navigation problem -- than the one laboratory whose director was intending from the beginning (according to Bill Pickering's official NASA biography ...) "to turn JPL into NASA's most important interplanetary laboratory ..."?

 

 

Which (by solving this "insolvable problem?" -- and learning to control a Physics which makes completely obsolete both Newton and Einstein!) ... it ultimately became!?

Suddenly, the much broader policy implications of NASA's consistent "kid gloves treatment" of JPL -- even during the Ranger fiasco -- especially, in terms of the "inexplicable influence" JPL has seemed (somehow) to exert over NASA's other programs (out of all proportion to its inherent size and actual institutional role ...) took on entirely new meanings ....

In this scenario ... without JPL, and its (obviously top-secret) successfully-developed (via Ranger ...?) interplanetary space navigation computer programs, no one else in NASA was going anywhere … unless JPL agreed.

And that could explain almost everything … regarding NASA’s 50-year-old history ... and actions.

 

 

In terms of Apollo, the crucial "last-minute switch" by von Braun -- from opposing to supporting LOR -- was clearly the single, key decision that ultimately allowed the entire Apollo Lunar Program to succeed.

Because, with NASA's official selection of LOR a few weeks later, as the means of actually landing on the Moon -- a separate, smaller spacecraft to take the astronauts down from lunar orbit to the surface ... and back up again -- the entire Apollo Program suddenly became "manageable": the individual Apollo components became far "lighter" (less massive ...); thus, they now required (comparatively speaking) a much smaller moon rocket to carry them ["only" the Saturn 5 -- as opposed to von Braun's vastly more robust (and far more expensive!) twelve million pound thrust Nova rocket].

Ultimately, because of all of this, the Apollo Program itself was carried out on a much shorter developmental time-frame than it would have followed otherwise -- which, in the end, was what enabled NASA not only to beat President Kennedy's visionary deadline ... but, to "beat the Russians to the Moon" while doing it!

Did Wernher von Braun -- with "a little help from his friends at JPL" -- make all this happen, by finally "figuring out" Explorer I's extraordinary, still-classified, "non-Newtonian discovery ... and problem" ... and, in 1962?

And, if so, how did they do it ... and in so doing, potentially give Humanity the keys to unlocking not only the entire solar system to future human exploration ....

But--

The secret of building real "anti-gravity spaceships" -- with which to ultimately colonize that solar system!

Finally.

A full half century after Explorer I ... is "someone" now doing exactly what we've just described:

Carrying out a real, "top-secret" Space Program ... perhaps, by now, far beyond this solar system ... and, with a fleet of "gravity-controlling spacecraft"--

All based on JPL's "secretly-derived New Physics"--

While the NASA that we see on television ... still pretends "it only plays with rockets?!"

And, no one in the American press corps is still suspecting ... anything!?

Stay tuned ....

 

-0-

 

 

Part II of "Von Braun's 50-Year-Old Secret"

 

 

 

 

Join the Enterprise Conference – and Explore the Implications of This Remarkable New Discovery with Other Members of the “Enterprise Crew” ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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