He flew for the military from the post-WW-II era to Vietnam, was a jet test pilot, was an F-100 squadron commander, risked his life many times for many years, and continued to enjoy commanding high-performance machines all of his life, when ironically, it suddenly and unexpectedly ended with him losing a battle of momentum between his Mazda sports car and a Toyota Highlander, on his way to church, a devout Lutheran who spent his life dreaming of the stars, now at final peace with his God. In that regard, he reminds me, sadly, of Pete Conrad, who after commanding a mission to the moon and back, and becoming a leading light of entrepreneurial space, died riding the motorcycle that he loved on a tight curve just outside of Ojai.
Bill Haynes used to tell the story of when he joined the US Army Air Corps in the 1940s, and told them that he wanted to go into space. “Better put down ‘extreme high-altitude flight,’ son,” the recruiter told him, after thinking for a bit. “The army doesn’t have a space program. Yet.” It still doesn’t, of course, because not long after, it spun off the Air Corps into the Air Force.
I first met him in 1981, when we were both working for the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo. He was working the Military Man-In-Space program, which was looking into military applications for humans in space, which would be tested with military astronauts on the Space Shuttle, which was just going into service. After his military career ended in the late sixties, he had worked on both Skylab and Spacelab, and probably knew as much about space station design issues as anyone at the time. He was highly critical of the space station studies occurring at Marshall and JSC at the time, and predicted many of the problems that the program would encounter over the next decade and a half before it finally started actually launching parts into space.
He was also critical of plans to launch a fueled Centaur upper stage in the Space Shuttle (this was the original plan for launching Galileo). NASA was running into abort issues. In the event of a flight abort, they had to be able to dump the propellants before landing, because with full tanks, the stage not only weighed too much to land with, but presented a serious hazard, particularly because there was only a single bulkhead between the LOX and hydrogen tanks. The problem was that, in the event of a Return-To-Launch-Site abort, they couldn’t dump it fast enough. They had (heavy) helium bottles on board to blow the tanks down, but the pressure needed to make it happen fast enough for RTLS just blew through the fluffy liquid hydrogen, leaving it behind in a trail of helium bubbles.
Bill, Jim Ransom and I came up with a scheme to not only solve this problem, but to increase the performance as well (and one that readers of this blog may find familiar). Launch the stage dry. This would not only reduce the stage weight, because it wouldn’t have to take the loads of the propellant through the acceleration of ascent, but also reduce the weight of the cradle that held it, and eliminate the heavy helium bottles needed for abort.
Where would the propellant come from?
Because the Shuttle would launch with a light payload, there would be excess propellant in the External Tank at main-engine cut off condition, which could be transferred through the umbilical into the stage.
We did extensive analysis of it, but could never sell Lewis Research Center (the center responsible for the Shuttle/Centaur) or Rockwell on the idea (later, when I went to work for Rockwell, I worked with Jack Potts, the program manager for the Shuttle/Centaur, but after the program had died). Jerry Pournelle (who I hope is aware of Bill’s passing, and can make the funeral on Saturday and whose son, Rich, I saw in a meeting today, before I heard that Bill had been killed) has written about it.
Eventually, the delays of resolving the abort issue resulted in a shift of Galileo to a Titan, and many think that these delays, with lots of moves of the probe between decisions and the prolonged warehousing time until launch were the cause of the sticking umbrella antenna that reduced the data return when it eventually reached Jupiter, because it lost the graphite lubricant.
But the principle still applies, and was partially the basis for a lot of the recent propellant depot work (Dallas Bienhoff was at Aerospace at the same time as Bill and I, though I’m not sure if he was aware of the work at the time, and then went to work for Rockwell in Downey shortly before I did).
Other stories perhaps still to come, including the reactionless “Jones” drive, and the Crewlock. I hope that others who have Bill stories can chime in (I’m looking at you, Gary Hudson).
[Update a few minutes later]
Jerry Pournelle is apparently aware (you may have to scroll a little). I suspect he’ll have more to say later.
[Update in the afternoon]
As a commenter points out, I got the history a little wrong — Galileo did launch in the Shuttle, but on an IUS. The point remains that it was probably affected by the delays and remanifesting.