THE HISTORY OF SPACEFLIGHT Volume 21, Number 3 2014 Q

Volume 21, Number 3
Volume 21 • Number 3 2014
Book Reviews
The Promise and the Threats of Satellite
Capabilities: IGY Scientific Communities and
the Prehistory of TIROS
Book by Bernard Schwartz
Review by Scott Sacknoff
By Angelina Long Callahan
An Interview with James Webb
American Intelligence on Soviet Missile
Programs, 1945-1954
By Christopher Gainor
The I n t e r n a t i o n a l A t l a s o f M a r s E x p l o r a t i o n :
The First Five Decades
Making History: The RAMOS Program
Book by Philip Stooke
Review by Maria Lane
By Doran J. Baker, A.T. Stair Jr., Bartell C. Jensen,
Book Reviews
Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence
Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to
Lucky Planet: Why Earth Is Exceptional—and
What That Means for Life in the Universe
Circa 1957, the artwork was used by Convair Astronautics (San
Diego, California), a division of General Dynamics, in an advertisement celebrating the successful test flight of the Atlas
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The first successful test launch
of an SM-65 Atlas missile took place on 17 December 1957.
Though the artwork is unsigned, Convair's resident artist at that
time was John Sentovic. In 1994, General Dynamics sold its
Space Systems Division to Martin Marietta (now Lockheed
Martin). Permission to use the image has been granted by
Lockheed Martin and the original ad can be found in the personal archives of Paul Carsola, a researcher who has contributed to
Quest in the past.
Sally Ride:
America’s First Woman in Space
Book by Lynn Sherr
Review by Valerie Neal
Book by David Waltham
Review by Linda Billings
Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and
Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction
Book by Charles L. Adler
Review by Jonathan T. Malay
Book by Annie Jacobsen
Review by Michael J. Neufeld
A Brief History of Rocketry in ISRO
Book by P.V. Manoranjan Rao and P. Radhakrishwan
Review by Asif A. Siddiqi
By T. H. Baker
Just Say Yes: What I’ve Learned about
Life, Luck, and the Pursuit of Opportunity
A Single Sky: How an International
Community Forged the Science of Radio
Book by David P.D. Munns
Review by Roger D. Launius
Exploring Science through Science Fiction
Book by Barry Luokkala
Review by Emily Margolis
Beyond the God Particle
Book by Leon Lederman and Christopher Hill
Review by Roger D. Launius
Wheels Stop: The Tragedies and Triumphs of
the Space Shuttle Program, 1986-2011
Book by Rick Houston
Review by Stephen Waring
by Bernard L. Schwartz
Greenleaf Book Group, 2014
ISBN: 978-162634079
Pages: 375
Price: $25.95, hardcover
When it comes to the top business
executives of the 20th century, among the first names that comes
to mind is Jack Welch the former CEO of General Electric. His
successes make him a legend in the business community and his
book, Winning, is one of the top selling management books of all
time. Another executive who gets much less credit or notice is
Bernard Schwartz. The former Chairman and CEO of Loral rescued the firm from inevitable bankruptcy in the early 1970s and
was able to produce 96 consecutive quarters of growth until the
firm was sold to Lockheed Martin in 1996, a track record topped
only by Jack Welch. Schwartz was an expert at identifying good
companies, determining a fair value for them, and then buying and
integrating them. He used these skills to grow the firm from just
over $32 million to more than $5.5 billion in sales from continuing
operations. At the latter stages of his career, he was an advocate of
satellite communications and a key player in the commercial space
business of the mid- to late-1990s.
The early chapters of Just Say Yes are a personal portrait of
mid-century America: growing up in Brooklyn, NY, during the
depression, enlisting as a pilot during WWII, and coming back to
post-WWII America to start a career and a family. It is truly engaging, perhaps because I could connect with stories told by my own
family, but more so as a snapshot of the America most of us only
read about or see in old movies. Ultimately, it provided him a background and life lessons that set the stage for the business philosophies he utilized throughout his career and set the stage for an
American success story. The middle third of the book covers his
taking the helm of Loral, a failing defense contractor during the
Vietnam War, that he turned into one of the sector’s largest firms.
His career can be defined as a measure of luck, good timing,
the right people, and the skill to execute. Although a tough negotiator, he believed in the need for honesty, ethics, and integrity and
his reputation as someone you could negotiate with just a handshake, got him through several situations.
Overall, the book is a well-written memoir, filled with stories and his management and negotiating insights. Among these
are concepts such as recognizing the limits of your own knowledge
[82], determining a clear vision of what you want to accomplish
[xiii], “listen, ask questions, and choose a course of action…no
committees, no focus groups, no management by consensus” [xiii],
and not every deal is meant to happen.
The book pulls no punches at times and specifically sensitive
topics such as the firing of a senior staff member, negotiations that
went sour, and public “scandals” associated with a colleague bribing defense officials to receive contracts and the release of sensitive technology information to the China without approvals.
[Readers should note that although he was investigated, Mr.
Schwartz was personally cleared of any involvement and one can
sense while reading these stories his frustration with being “railroaded” by the U.S. government].
The final part of the book addresses his interest in space and
satellites. Although he sold the defense business to Lockheed
Martin in 1996 (returning a substantial special dividend to
investors), Mr. Schwartz decided to keep activities that formed
what became Space Systems/Loral, the Loral Skynet satellite telecom business, and the Globalstar mobile satellite communications
Wall Street and the investor community considered Bernard
Schwartz, CEO of Loral and Globalstar, a visionary at the forefront
of an emerging space communications revolution. With his long
history of financing deals at Loral, Mr. Schwartz was able to raise
several billion in financing to execute his plans. Unfortunately,
although he saw the potential of satellite communications services
and the manufacture of satellites as a slow but steady cash flow
business, a number of outside factors eventually caused the bankruptcies of the various space endeavors. The manufacturer, Space
Systems Loral, after multi-year stability in sales from its customers, saw its business [for a time] significantly diminish in rapid
fashion as the telecom/Nasdaq bubble collapsed the market and
planned orders disappeared. With delays in the launch of the
Globalstar mobile communications venture and with cellular services advancing faster than anticipated, financing from investors
likewise dried up. In the end, Mr. Schwartz was left to fight off an
investor who saw financial gains associated with bankrupting the
firm instead of saving it, and who actively encouraged that it happen. Ultimately, the investor succeeded and you can tell from reading the story that it took a lot of energy out of Mr. Schwartz.
Having been an analyst in the late 1990s-2000s focused on
commercial space, I was hoping for more discussion on this part of
his career, but perhaps there wasn’t much more he wanted to contribute. To his credit, he states that the money lost by investors in
Globalstar and Loral were something he was truly disappointed in.
The strength of the book is in the non-space chapters and it
excels when he talks about growing up mid-century, his first jobs,
and taking the helm of Loral from its founders, saving the firm
from a likely bankruptcy and creating a multi-billion defense powerhouse. Scattered throughout are business and negotiating lessons. It is part memoir, part Loral corporate history, and part business book. One that I can say I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Q U E S T 21:3 2014
Scott Sacknoff, Publisher
Quest: The History of Spacefilght Quarterly
From the Archives
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Wernher von Braun in front
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Saturn V at the Space and
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Credit: NASA
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The Spirit of St. Louis
In October of 1968 I finished my
work on the Support Crew of Apollo 10 and
then was assigned to the Support Crew of
Apollo 11. At that time, Apollo 8, 9, 10, and
11 were “queued” up to challenge the Moon.
In December I flew to Patrick Air Force
Base and awaited the launch of Apollo 8, the
first launch to the Moon. I was invited to
the pre-launch party for Apollo 8 but had to
miss it because of an unwise social commitment. However on launch morning I and all
the other observing astronauts viewed a picture-perfect launch of Apollo 8 and 2 1/2
days later were all in the Observing room at
Mission Control to “witness” Apollo 8’s
entry into lunar orbit based on observations
of data and conversations of the flight controller in the Control Center.
Everything went well and hours later
we were treated to on-board video and verbal descriptions of their view of Earth and
areas near the United States. Jim Lovell
was captivated by the clarity of the view he
had of the Bahama Islands. The crew read
from the first chapter of Genesis and sent
heart-felt greetings to those of us who
Q U E S T 21:3 2014
looked-on and listened in awe-struck
The return trip was made without incident and the crew was welcomed home by
many grateful loved ones. The crew was
feted at the White House and then sent on a
goodwill tour of their home planet which
went off without a hitch.
Two spectators at the pre-launch
party, launch, and the return to Earth were
Eddie Richenbacker and Charles Lindbergh
both of whom were highly grateful for the
recognition. In January 1969 a large box
arrived at the Astronaut Office. The staff
opened the box and discovered copies of
The Spirit of St. Louis addressed to all the
astronauts and NASA VIPs.
In reading Lindbergh’s account of his
navigation across the Atlantic, I was amazed
by the similarity of his description of the
“dead reckoning” navigation technique he
described and the method we were taught 25
years later in flying school. I really felt a
kinship with a man I had always admired
Bill Pogue, Pilot, Skylab 4
courtesy: Heritage Auctions lot 40525
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programs, and politics that made the journey into space possible. Written by
professional and amateur historians along with people who worked in the
programs, Quest is designed to bring you the stories and behind-the-scenes
insight that will fascinate and captivate.
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