Author Topic: Early 1950s ARPA space programs - Suzano, Somnium, Discoverer, Midas, et al  (Read 3967 times)

Online leovinus

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While I am familiar with WS-117L, I never saw those space projects mentioned in the quote. Pardon me if I have missed it but a cursory search here on NSF brings on nothing. Anyone has more info?

Particularly on "Suzano" as that sounds like a military space station or something? All of this seems related to ARPA. There are hints at Google books but no reports or studies that I see.

AN AIR FORCE HISTORY OF SPACE ACTTVITIES, 1945 - 1959, August 1964, AFD-110321-031

p174/175

Quote
In the space program itself, there were 10 projects. Discoverer, Midas, and Sentry(*) were elements of the old WS-117L ARS, now separated as the test experiment, infrared, detection, and reconnaissance satellites respectively; Notus and Transit were the communication and navigation satellites; Sheppard was the space surveillance project; and Suzano was a more recently approved space platform or orbital base from which to launch advanced space missions.

OSD had also approved. a space electronic countermeasure project dubbed. Somnium ; added. a requirement for Tribe, a series of vehicles for special military space missions; and established. Project Longsight, a series of space studies and " system analyses to supply DOD on a continuous basis with suggestions of projects that should be initiated to satisfy future military requirements. There was a strong similarity between the stated purpose of Project Longsight and. ARDC's space study program.

*) Sentry was to be re-designated as Samos in August 1959.

Offline LittleBird

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OSD had also approved a space electronic countermeasure project dubbed Somnium

I so hope that was named after Kepler's story ...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somnium_%28novel%29
« Last Edit: 10/05/2022 06:47 am by LittleBird »

Offline JoeFromRIUSA

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While I am familiar with WS-117L, I never saw those space projects mentioned in the quote. Pardon me if I have missed it but a cursory search here on NSF brings on nothing. Anyone has more info?

Particularly on "Suzano" as that sounds like a military space station or something? All of this seems
Oh! Suzano!
Don't drop a bomb on me...
« Last Edit: 10/11/2022 03:32 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline tssp_art

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There's a pretty good historical source offered by NRO that makes available scans of the progress of most of these programs - "Index, Declassified WS117L, SAMOS, and SENTRY Records".

For history buffs it's quite a treasure trove.

https://www.nro.gov/FOIA/WSS-Records/


Offline LittleBird

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There's a pretty good historical source offered by NRO that makes available scans of the progress of most of these programs - "Index, Declassified WS117L, SAMOS, and SENTRY Records".

For history buffs it's quite a treasure trove.

https://www.nro.gov/FOIA/WSS-Records/

It is indeed, but I think the OP is drawing attention mainly to Sheppard, Suzano,  Somnium, Tribe, and  Longsight. Only the last of these rings a (faint) bell with me ... and that's because I'd seen it here https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4899-6427-4  I think.

Google finds it inside that  as "LONGSIGHT (ARPA/Air Force/Army). Unorthodox, creative studies and system analyses in missiles and spacecraft designed to discover projects needed for future."
« Last Edit: 10/02/2022 06:17 pm by LittleBird »

Online Blackstar

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There's a pretty good historical source offered by NRO that makes available scans of the progress of most of these programs - "Index, Declassified WS117L, SAMOS, and SENTRY Records".

For history buffs it's quite a treasure trove.

https://www.nro.gov/FOIA/WSS-Records/



It's a great resource. It was actually declassified in (I think) the late 1990s. NRO later got a copy and then scanned it and put it on line. There is also a collection of Agena documents. I don't know if it is included in that website or elsewhere on the NRO website. The NRO site has/had a lot of declassified documents spread around in various places without a single good connecting point/index. The Agena collection only went up to 1967. It was primarily programmatic documents and not technical ones, so things like memos and letters concerning Agena. It is great, but still leaves a lot to be desired if you were going to write an Agena history.


Online leovinus

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"ARPA""project suzano"

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22ARPA%22%22project+suzano%22&tbm=bks&sxsrf=ALiCzsYT6WRLQw3OA6Inxb8cIrUw8NKm8w%3A1664735311786&ei=T9g5Y4XIL8WJur4PzOeOwAU&ved=0ahUKEwjFq52nlsL6AhXFhM4BHcyzA1gQ4dUDCAg&uact=5&oq=%22ARPA%22%22project+suzano%22&gs_lcp=Cg1nd3Mtd2l6LWJvb2tzEANQtwVY3CVghidoAHAAeACAAWOIAc4FkgECMTCYAQCgAQHAAQE&sclient=gws-wiz-books

https://books.google.fr/books?id=3UgVAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA2&dq=%22ARPA%22%22project+suzano%22&hl=fr&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiGiJq7lsL6AhXphc4BHbLdDLUQ6AF6BAgFEAI#v=onepage&q=%22ARPA%22%22project%20suzano%22&f=false

https://archive.org/stream/missilesrockets5195unse_1/missilesrockets5195unse_1_djvu.txt

So it was ARPA "EOR" way of going to the Moon, 1959. It was probably short lived as 1959 was the year ARPA space programs ended crushed between a rock (NASA) and a hard place (USAF).  The Pioneer probes - America first lunar program - started at ARPA but soon went to NASA.
Great finds but also what I call “hints”. It tell us there was project Suzano, related to space stations and moon. And probably crushed as you say :) But all these government projects produce a final report at end, right? I would love to know more about early military space stations and moon programs. It puzzles me to see the same hint “there was a project suzano” ten times and no final report. Which is why one of the questions for this thread is whether someone can locate a final or interim report? Or NTRS number? Or what were the Arpa report numbers anyway in 1959ish? Any help finding more substance greatly appreciated :)

Online leovinus

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There's a pretty good historical source offered by NRO that makes available scans of the progress of most of these programs - "Index, Declassified WS117L, SAMOS, and SENTRY Records".

For history buffs it's quite a treasure trove.

https://www.nro.gov/FOIA/WSS-Records/

It is indeed, but I think the OP is drawing attention mainly to Sheppard, Suzano,  Somnium, Tribe, and  Longsight. Only the last of these rings a (faint) bell with me ... and that's because I'd seen it here https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4899-6427-4  I think.
Yeah, these 50s Arpa manned space projects, as well as space stations, are fascinating. I could not find hints in lists of still classified NTRS reports or anywhere else. I can see the project names also in congressional hearings. There have to final reports on Suzano and the related projects. But not even a report number that I can locate. As I like the topic of these early manned project and stations any report titles,numbers, copies of reports would be fascinating :) Early NASA reports are often in STAR but not sure how that works for even earlier Arpa reports.

Offline Proponent

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Offline LittleBird

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Try DTIC?

Am I right in thinking that DTIC has different levels of access, i.e. "civilians" [*] like me (and leovinus ?) won't see as much as NASA people, DoD people etc etc.

[* I'm certainly a civilian in Liz Hurley's sense of the word ;-) ... i.e. not a celebrity]
« Last Edit: 10/04/2022 03:24 pm by LittleBird »

Offline Jim

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Try DTIC?

Am I right in thinking that DTIC has different levels of access, i.e. "civilians" [*] like me (and leovinus ?) won't see as much as NASA people, DoD people etc etc.


Yep

Offline Jim

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There's a pretty good historical source offered by NRO that makes available scans of the progress of most of these programs - "Index, Declassified WS117L, SAMOS, and SENTRY Records".

For history buffs it's quite a treasure trove.

https://www.nro.gov/FOIA/WSS-Records/

It is indeed, but I think the OP is drawing attention mainly to Sheppard, Suzano,  Somnium, Tribe, and  Longsight. Only the last of these rings a (faint) bell with me ... and that's because I'd seen it here https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4899-6427-4  I think.
Yeah, these 50s Arpa manned space projects, as well as space stations, are fascinating. I could not find hints in lists of still classified NTRS reports or anywhere else. I can see the project names also in congressional hearings. There have to final reports on Suzano and the related projects. But not even a report number that I can locate. As I like the topic of these early manned project and stations any report titles,numbers, copies of reports would be fascinating :) Early NASA reports are often in STAR but not sure how that works for even earlier Arpa reports.

If they were cancelled, there would be no reports.   even if reports were written doesn't mean they were saved or recorded.
DOD and ARPA reports are not going to be on NTRS.
« Last Edit: 10/05/2022 03:50 am by Jim »

Offline LittleBird

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"ARPA""project suzano"

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22ARPA%22%22project+suzano%22&tbm=bks&sxsrf=ALiCzsYT6WRLQw3OA6Inxb8cIrUw8NKm8w%3A1664735311786&ei=T9g5Y4XIL8WJur4PzOeOwAU&ved=0ahUKEwjFq52nlsL6AhXFhM4BHcyzA1gQ4dUDCAg&uact=5&oq=%22ARPA%22%22project+suzano%22&gs_lcp=Cg1nd3Mtd2l6LWJvb2tzEANQtwVY3CVghidoAHAAeACAAWOIAc4FkgECMTCYAQCgAQHAAQE&sclient=gws-wiz-books

https://books.google.fr/books?id=3UgVAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA2&dq=%22ARPA%22%22project+suzano%22&hl=fr&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiGiJq7lsL6AhXphc4BHbLdDLUQ6AF6BAgFEAI#v=onepage&q=%22ARPA%22%22project%20suzano%22&f=false

https://archive.org/stream/missilesrockets5195unse_1/missilesrockets5195unse_1_djvu.txt

So it was ARPA "EOR" way of going to the Moon, 1959. It was probably short lived as 1959 was the year ARPA space programs ended crushed between a rock (NASA) and a hard place (USAF).  The Pioneer probes - America first lunar program - started at ARPA but soon went to NASA.
Great finds but also what I call “hints”. It tell us there was project Suzano, related to space stations and moon. And probably crushed as you say :) But all these government projects produce a final report at end, right? I would love to know more about early military space stations and moon programs. It puzzles me to see the same hint “there was a project suzano” ten times and no final report. Which is why one of the questions for this thread is whether someone can locate a final or interim report? Or NTRS number? Or what were the Arpa report numbers anyway in 1959ish? Any help finding more substance greatly appreciated :)

Suzano seems to have foundered quickly, based on libra's last, text, link-second hit to it in the file is from Washington Countdown in Missiles and Rockets from October 5th 1959:

Quote
IN  THE  PENTAGON

Ultimate  fate  of  ABMA  .  .  .

remains  decidedly  unclear  in  the  wake  of  re-
cent Pentagon  space  juggling.  Both  NASA  and
the  Air  Force  are  considered  likely  inheritors
of  the  Army  space  agency.

[...]

The  Space  project  graveyard  .  .  .

has  new  occupant — at  least  for  the  present.
It's  ARPA's  Project  Suzano — a  space  station
study  program.  It  hasn't  a  dime  to  work  with
and  apparently  no  prospects  of  getting  one  in
the  budget-tight  times  ahead.


Furthermore, in November same year the same magazine says (my boldface):

Quote
★SUZANO  (ARPA)

No  contract  announced

Space  platform  to  be  used  as  base
for  staging  and  other  missions

Feasibility,  studies;  no  funding

Missiles  and  rockets,  November  9,  1959
« Last Edit: 10/08/2022 05:28 am by LittleBird »

Online Blackstar

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I posted a number of ARPA reports from 1959-1960 on this forum. Here they are again.

Online leovinus

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More hints. When I was reminded about the MOL compendium in the MOL thread, I was surprised to find SUZANO mentioned in "Chapter II: A National Space Station", page 21. Fascinating, also to reread Chapters 1 and 2 for early Air Force spaceflight history.

In addition, I have a lead on more primary ARPA reports about projects like SUZANO, DEFENDER, NOTUS, PRINCIPIA et al. It was confirmed they exist and it is clear there are many more documents waiting in the archives.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2022 05:48 pm by leovinus »

Offline LittleBird

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More hints. When I was reminded about the MOL compendium in the MOL thread, I was surprised to find SUZANO mentioned in "Chapter II: A National Space Station", page 21. Fascinating, also to reread Chapters 1 and 2 for early Air Force spaceflight history.

In addition, I have a lead on more primary ARPA reports about projects like SUZANO, DEFENDER, NOTUS, PRINCIPIA et al. It was confirmed they exist and it is clear there are many more documents waiting in the archives.

I'm delighted that as well as Kepler's SOMNIUM we have Newton's PRINCIPIA. I wonder if there were any other similarly named projects ?

Principia seems to have been  an energetic propellant synthesis progarmme, and to have been ended in in 1965. It's mentioned in the history of what is now the Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force (JANNAF)  Interagency Propulsion Committee, which seems to very much still exist https://www.jannaf.org/about/history
Quote
... an ad hoc group, chaired by Dr. Abe Silverstein of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Lewis Laboratory, was established by the Research and Engineering Advisory Panel on Aeronautics to review the DoD liquid propellant rocket programs. This committee noted the success and effectiveness of the SPIA operation and recommended that a similar information agency be initiated to handle the rapidly increasing quantity of technical matter in this field. As a result, the Liquid Propellant Information Agency (LPIA) was started at the JHU/APL, also under contract with the Navy Bureau of Ordnance. A Tri-Service Steering Committee (Army-Navy-NACA) was formed to foster exchange of information in the liquid rocket field and to monitor the LPIA operations. In 1959, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) appointed representatives from its extensive research program on propellant chemistry to the Tri-Service Working Groups. 
 
Finally, in 1961, individuals directly involved in information exchange activities in the solid and liquid and related propulsion fields agreed that there was a necessity and desirability for official recognition. They believed that reorganization of the information groups would improve the effectiveness of information exchange activities. The charter was drafted, then authenticated by the five agencies – Army, Navy, Air Force, ARPA, NASA – and approved by DoD and NASA. With this action, the Interagency Chemical Rocket Propulsion Group (ICRPG), predecessor of the current JANNAF Interagency Propulsion Committee, was formally activated on November 28, 1962. One of the first actions of the ICRPG was to consolidate the propellant information centers (SPIA and LPIA) into the Chemical Propulsion Information Agency (CPIA).
 
As stipulated in its charter, the ICRPG consisted of a Steering Group, a Solid Propulsion Subgroup, a Liquid Propulsion Subgroup, and such Working Groups as required to achieve the purpose of the ICRPG. The Steering Group was the governing body of the ICRPG composed of one member from each participating agency. Working Groups, for which each Subgroup was responsible, consisted of not more than two members from each agency. Working groups were directly responsible to promote the exchange of technical information in specialized areas of solid, liquid, and related rocket propulsion where technical problems existed or standardized procedures were lacking.
 
In 1964, CPIA became a DoD Information Analysis Center, still operated by the JHU/APL, but now under contract with the Naval Sea Systems Command.
 
In 1965, with cancellation of the energetic propellant synthesis program, Project Principia, ARPA withdrew its support. The name of the ICRPG was changed to the Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force (JANNAF) Interagency Propulsion Committee (IPC) in November 1969


This set of thermochemical tables is one fruit of Project PRINCIPIA: https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/JANAF_Thermochemical_Tables_Sponsored_by/FgngjwEACAAJ?hl=en

« Last Edit: 12/28/2022 10:03 am by LittleBird »

Offline LittleBird

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More hints. When I was reminded about the MOL compendium in the MOL thread, I was surprised to find SUZANO mentioned in "Chapter II: A National Space Station", page 21. Fascinating, also to reread Chapters 1 and 2 for early Air Force spaceflight history.

In addition, I have a lead on more primary ARPA reports about projects like SUZANO, DEFENDER, NOTUS, PRINCIPIA et al. It was confirmed they exist and it is clear there are many more documents waiting in the archives.

Any detail on the NOTUS military comsat will be interesting as I think most of what we currently know is mentioned in Blackstar's thread about ADVENT.

As far as I can see DEFENDER would have a large historical footprint somewhere as it was multiyear and well funded. I think one of the multivolume ARPA histories has quite a lot about it.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2022 10:04 am by LittleBird »

Offline Airlocks

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More hints. When I was reminded about the MOL compendium in the MOL thread, I was surprised to find SUZANO mentioned in "Chapter II: A National Space Station", page 21. Fascinating, also to reread Chapters 1 and 2 for early Air Force spaceflight history.

In addition, I have a lead on more primary ARPA reports about projects like SUZANO, DEFENDER, NOTUS, PRINCIPIA et al. It was confirmed they exist and it is clear there are many more documents waiting in the archives.

Any detail on the NOTUS military comsat will be interesting as I think most of what we currently know is mentioned in Blackstar's thread about ADVENT.

As far as I can see DEFENDER would have a large historical footprint somewhere as it was multiyear and well funded. I think one of the multivolume ARPA histories has quite a lot about it.

Yes. I have to look for that, but I confirm. GLIPAR, HELMET, BAMBI... lots of pretty wild concepts.

Online leovinus

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More hints. When I was reminded about the MOL compendium in the MOL thread, I was surprised to find SUZANO mentioned in "Chapter II: A National Space Station", page 21. Fascinating, also to reread Chapters 1 and 2 for early Air Force spaceflight history.

In addition, I have a lead on more primary ARPA reports about projects like SUZANO, DEFENDER, NOTUS, PRINCIPIA et al. It was confirmed they exist and it is clear there are many more documents waiting in the archives.

Any detail on the NOTUS military comsat will be interesting as I think most of what we currently know is mentioned in Blackstar's thread about ADVENT.

As far as I can see DEFENDER would have a large historical footprint somewhere as it was multiyear and well funded. I think one of the multivolume ARPA histories has quite a lot about it.
DEFENDER e.g. in "DARPA TECHNICAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS - AN HISTORICAL REVIEW OF SELECTED DARPA PROJECTS", Volume I, Reed et al, Feb 1990, https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA239925.pdf

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