Working in the Shadow Space Program

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By the late 1950s, GE was working on human spaceflight studies, mostly funded with company money. “I had a group under me, a manned [spaceflight] group, and we worked very closely with both NASA and the Air Force,” he remembered. “We generated our own studies so we’d have some results to show to the various agencies about it.” But Passman said it was not clear that any of the advanced human spaceflight plans were really going anywhere. “You always felt that they weren’t going to get to do this.” He said that to some extent the company’s human spaceflight proposals got bounced back and forth between NASA and the Air Force, because it was not clear which government organization was going to be responsible for human spaceflight in the future.

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