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[itt) Sandia Nationa\ Laboratories


front cover photo: A 1969 aerial view looking southeast

over Sandia New Mexico's main technical area.

back cover photo: Test drop of a joint test assembly at

Tonopah Test Range.

P. 20, photograph: mechanical assembly had a monorail and hoist to move weapons from the building to trucks
should read mechanical testing had a monorail and hoist to move weapon parts, inert weapons, and prototypes.

P. 56, photograph: Tom Fox is seated at the console and Marty Snyderman is in the left background.

P. 57, line 12: IBM 604, Elecom 125, CDC 3600, and IBM 7090 should read IBM 604, Elecom 125, IBM 704,
CDC 1604, CDC 3600, and IBM 7090.

P. 69, photograph: the individuals in the cold chamber are Wesley Haig and Charles Grassham.

P. 84, photograph: first sentence of caption should read Kingfish launch during Operation Fishbowl of the Dominic
test series.

P. 98, bottom photograph: caption should read Carl Murphy uses a commercial laser to develop nondestructive
testing techniques using holographic interferometry.

P. 111, bottom photograph: the room-size IBM computers should read analog computers. The seated individual
is Lowell Watkins.

P. 163, bottom photograph: image should be rotated 90 degrees to the right.

P. 243, top photograph: the engineers are John Smelser, Carl Curtis, and Hovey Corbin.

P. 295, photograph: caption should read Launch of a two-stage, Sprint-powered, reverse ballistic rocket sled built
for impact testing of the W87/Mk21 mock weapon development unit at Sandia's 10,000-ft. Sled Track." (February
15, 1986)





Leland Johnson

Edited by Carl Mora, John Taylor, and Rebecca Ullrich

Photo editing by Myra O'Canna

Designed by Jan Gaunce

Sandia National Laboratories

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Livermore, California
This study was performed at Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory
operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States
Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

This study was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States
government. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their
employees, nor any of their contractors, subcontractors, or their employees, makes any
warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy,
completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disdosed 1 or
represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any
specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or
otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or
favoring by the United States government, any agency thereof, or any of their contractors or
subcontractors. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect
those of the United States government or any agency thereof or any of their contractors or

In an effort to make this study easy to read, acronyms are generally avoided. When unfamiliar
acronyms must be used, they are explained in the proximate text. Use of professional titles and
distinctions of military rank are eschewed.


Sandia National Laboratories

Albuquerque 1 New Mexico 87185
Livermore, California 94551
1997 by Sandia National Laboratories
All rights reserved. Published 1997

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
Acknowledgments ................................................. xiii
Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

I. From Z to A Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Military Management .............................................. 13
Dawn of the Nuclear Age . ............................................. .16
Atomic Energy Commission Begins .................................... 21
Larsen's Enterprise ................................................. 23
First Generation Weapons: The Mark III, Mark IV, and Mark 6 Bombs ......... 24
The Bradbury Initiative ............................................. 28
Search for Industrial Management .................................... 29
Landry Management ............................................... 31
Emergency Capability Fission Bombs ................................... 33
Putting on the Ritz .................................................. .35
Maintaining a Healthy Workplace ....................................... . 38
Assembly and Storage ............................................. .42
Warheads for Rockets and Guided Missiles ............................. .42
First Reimbursable ................................................ .42
Greenfruit Investigations ................ _.......................... .45
Answering the Question ............................................ .47

II. The Eisenhower Buildup ........................................ 48

The Quarles Reorganization ........................................ .49
The Hub of AECs QA in 1958 .......................................... .51
McRae Leadership .................................... _ ............55
Novel Applications ............................................... .56
Wooden Bombs .................................................. .5 7
Zippers ..........................................................58
One-Shot Components ..............................................59
Building-Block Concept: Sealed-Pit Weapons ............................. 61
Laydown and Wait ................................................ 63
Sandia in Ca1ifomia ............................................... 69
Handling Safety Devices ............................................ 72
The Sputnik Shock ................................................. 73
Educational Programs ............................................. .75
Raising the Technical Level ............................................ .76
Systems Engineering Research ........................................ 78
McRae s Legacy ................................................... 79
Freight~s Their Business ............................................... .81


III. From Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty ............................. 82

Anticipating the Moratorium ......................................... 83
The Moratorium Begins ............................................. 85
Diversification Initiatives ............................................ 91
Plowshare ....................................................... 92
Tonopah Test Range ................................................ 94
Sandia Test Ranges .................................................. .96
Research Initiatives ................................................ 99
" ... From a Wristwatch to a Locomotive 1
' 102
Earth Penetrators ................................................. 103
Pebbles/Halberd .................................................. 104
Reentry Heatshields ............................................... 105
Permissive Action Links ............................................ 107
Technology Spinoffs ............................................... 108
Verification ..................................................... 110
Schwartz and the End of the Moratorium .............................. 113
Kennedy Visits Sandia ............................................ .115
Moratorium Results ............................................... 117

IV. A Diversified Laboratory ...................................... 118

Underground Testing Safeguard ...................................... 119
Safeguarding Laboratory Capabilities ................................. 122
The Readiness Safeguard ........................................... 125
Buying for the Thousands ............................................ .126
Surveillance Safeguard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130
The 861 ........................................................ 131
Warheads for New Weapon Systems .................................. 132
Low-Altitude Delivery ............................................. 134
Support for Vietnam .............................................. 136
Safety of Nuclear Weapons ......................................... 143
Recovering the Lost H-Bomb .......................................... .144
Research and Exploratory Systems Initiatives ........................... 147
Super Lab that Nobody Knows ...................................... .151
End of the Decade ................................................ 152
Sandians Reach Out to Those in Need ................................... .153

V. The Multiprogram Transition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

Tailored Weapons ................................................ 155
Funding and Staff Retrenchments .................................... 161
Safeguards and Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162
The Layoff ...................................................... 165
Getting the News Out ............................................... . 166
Energy Initiatives ................................................. 167
An Energy Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 9
Solar Thermal ................................................... 171
The Eggbeaters ................................................... 175


Photovoltaics .................................................... 176

Geothermal Drilling Initiatives ...................................... 17 8
Turbulent Fire ................................................... 180
Sandia at the Galactic Center ......................................... .182
Fusion and Pulsed Power ........................................... 184
The Multiprogram Laboratory ....................................... 187
Mortgages, Loans, and Sheep ......................................... . 189

VI. The National Laboratories ..................................... 190

Department of Energy Created ....................................... 191
Precise Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 19 2
Forward Look .................................................... 202
Computer Revolution .............................................. 204
Backbone of the Corporation .......................................... .206
New Directions ................................................... 208
Strategic Reserves ................................................. 213
New Nuclear Directions ............................................ 214
Technology Spinoffs ............................................... 218
International Arms Control .........................................221
Energy Crisis .................................................... 224
A National Laboratory ............................................. 225
Hot Off the Press ................................................... .226

VII Strategic Defense ............................................. 228

Reagan and Dacey ................................................ 229
Trouble in Weapon City ............................................ 234
By Jupiter ....................................................... 239
Technological Maypole ............................................242
Blue Ribbon Task Group ...........................................244
Star Wars ....................................................... 247
Directed-Energy Weapons .......................................... 249
Pulsed Power .................................................... 257
Automated Security ............................................... 263
Hiring a Dynamic Workforce .......................................... .266
Dacey Optimism ................................................. 268
Delivering the Goods ................................................ .269

VIII At the Threshold ............................................. 270

Welber 1s Challenges ............................................... 271
A Far Cry from Bob Cratchit .......................................... .274
Straining at the Threshold ............................... - _ ......... 276
Quick Turnaround ................................................ 281
Research Thresholds ...............................................283
More Light ......................................................285
Powerful Materials ....................................... - ........ 288
Not Just Another Think Tank ........................................ 291


Trust but Verify . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 294

From Watchmen to SWAT ............................................ .297
Wisdom of Solomon ...............................................299
A Generational Threshold .......................................... 302

IX. The Competitive Edge ........................................ 304

Competitive Environment .......................................... 305
Independent Investigations ......................................... 308
Tiger Teams ..................................................... 309
Serving Information Needs ............................................ . 311
Desert Storm .................................................... 316
Competitive Energy ............................................... 320
Competitive Fusion ............................................... 324
Competitive Technology ............................................ 326
Promoting Accomplishments .......................................... .328
Competitive Presidential Visits ....................................... 334
Divestiture and Competition ........................................ 336

X. The Agile Laboratories ........................................ 338

Agile Management ............................................... 339
Agile Partnerships ................................................ 343
Nonproliferation ................................................. 345
Modular Weapons ................................................ 347
Agile Production ................................................. 348
Difficult Victory .................................................. 350
Stockpile Stewardship ............................................. . 352
Reliable Weapons .................................................. .354
Cradle to Grave .................................................. 35 7
Waste Isolation .................................................. 358
WIPP: The 10,000-Year Trip ..... ...................................... . 360
An Agile Future .................................................. 365
Providing Classification Guidance ...................................... .366
National Tug of War .............................................. 369
Renaissance Laboratories ........................................... 369

Notes on Sources ................................................... 3 73

Index ............................................................ 395


Although most of my early career was spent at Los Alamos, l often worked with the
men and women of our sister laboratory- Sandia National Laboratories. Early on I
came to value and respect their dedication to the mission of safeguarding our nation's
security, and I was particularly impressed by how focused Sandia 1s people were in
harnessing outstanding science and technology to meet national needs. From the
earliest days of the Cold War to the more diverse threats we face today, after the
collapse of the Soviet Union, Sandia proved superior to all others in the speed at which
technology could be applied to counter the present and emerging threats.

Since I joined Sandia in 1990, and especially when I became Sandia's President in August of
1995 I have come to appreciate at a much deeper level the commitment that ind.iVidual

Sandians give to the phrase "exceptional service in the national interest." I see it as the
driving force for our motivations, our ethics, and our legendary "devotion to duty."

Sandia National Laboratories faces institutional challenges today that closely parallel
the confusion at national levels. As the nation's leaders wrestle with the changes,
particularly defense downsizing, which has been occurring since the end of the Cold
War, Sandia has downsized and reengineered itself as a leaner, more agile laboratory.
But at the same time we are motivated to attempt even higher levels of contributions
to the nation by the realization that there are other threats arising, as well as new
opportunities1 as a result of the global emergence of many other nations.

One thing remains clear: we will continue to be one of the primary providers of the
science, engineering, and technology needs to ensure the security of the United States.
This will include our historic role in creating and designing the major portions of the
nation 1s stockpile of nuclear weapons and our responsibility for system safety, security,
and control for these weapons systems. Our science and technology base, built for the
weapons missions, will continue to provide us the skills to solve important national
problems in many other areas: energy and environment, counterterrorism, arms control,
nonproliferation, and nuclear waste storage. These supporting missions will continue to
make Sandia one of the most interesting research institutions in the free world.

As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Sandia as a separate

laboratory, there are almost no workers who have been with the Laboratory for its
complete history. The torch has indeed been passed to a new generation of engineers,
scientists, and support staff. It is for us here now to carry forward within us the spirit
of that history of great and small accomplishments that have made the Sandia
National Laboratories among the nation 1s greatest treasures. This volume will help us
in that remembrance.

Paul Robinson
On the eve of the 21st century, Sandia National Laboratories is in a great state of tlux.
It, along with the rest of the nuclear deterrent complex, is being buffeted by changes
resulting from the end of the Cold War, the dissolution of the Soviet Union 1 and a
major event in fiscal policy- the imperative to balance the budget.

I look forward to a new and exciting mission in the 21st century for Sandia and the
other national labs. This mission will be science-based stockpile stewardship tied
tightly to their capabilities and the defense needs of the nation. For the next 20 to 30
years they will have responsibility for monitoring, maintaining, and assuring the safety,
reliability, and effectiveness of 4,000 to 5,000 nuclear weapons.

This mission is a continuation of the historic role Sandia assumed right after the
Second World War. The dedication and exceptional service in the national interest of
Sandians past and present was a major factor in the ending of the Cold War.

This history of Sandia Labs comes at a crucial juncture - on the eve of its SOth
anniversary in 1999, which will launch the Labs into the challenges of the 21st
century. In the words of Sandia's history program: lilt's hard to know where you're
going if you don't know where you are and how you got there. 11 It is imperative for
current and future employees as well as the public at large to be aware of Sandia's
history so they can be prepared for a challenging future.

Senator Pete Domenici

_ _ _ _ Foreword

Man is slightly nearer to the atom than to the star ... From his central position man
can survey the grandest works of Nature with the astronomer, or the minutest works
with the physicist.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington

Born with the atomic age, Sandia 1s history is one with the atom and the star; its legacy
is the stuff of quietly spectacular progress. This volume is devoted to the work done
here, and the people who built such an enviable reputation of excellence at this
outstanding national laboratory.

Sandia is poised to move into the next century, prepared to continue its leadership role
in meeting the defense and economic challenges of our nation. This book offers a look
at its valuable past, and a glimpse into its invaluable future.

Senator Jeff Bingaman

Foreword _ __

As a representative of New Mexico's First Congressional District I know what an


important role Sandia National Laboratories plays in our community. 1 am also acutely
aware of Sandia Labs' vital role historically was well as for the present and future/ in

our national defense. It is important to ensure that the history of lab success in its
national security mission is carried forward into the future for the contirmed benefit of
the nation and New Mexico.

So a general history of Sandia is a highly welcome publication. It not only places into
focus the Labs' major role in regional development, but also its unique engineering
support for the other two major nuclear weapons laboratories - Los Alamos and
Lawrence Livermore.

As we approach the end of the millennium, the roles of the national labs are
undergoing close scrutiny, and balancing the federal budget while maintaining such
national treasures as Sandia will not be easy. But I anticipate that this History of Sandia
will contribute to a better understanding of just how crucial our labs have been and
must continue to be. That will, in turn, contribute to a better-informed discussion on
behalf of our national security future and the future of Sandia National Laboratories.

Sandia is to be commended both for the excellent and unique technical expertise it
provides, and for supporting a history program such as this, which will educate both
this generation and the next about the nature of Sandia's work and its continuing
importance as America moves into the 21st century.

Representative Steve Schiff

--- __ Acknowledgments


Where is Sandia and what does it do? This often was the first question asked of
Sandians meeting with industrial and university leaders during the 1990s. A legacy
of its early history when obscurity seemed desirable to protect its highly classified
nuclear weapon designs, this public information gap did not trouble Sandians for
most of the Labs' history. As it matured into the largest multiprogram laboratory in
the Department of Energy pantheon, however, its vague public image sometimes
handicapped Sandians who sought transfer of its technology to private industry
and universities.

This book seeks to redress Sandia's traditional low profile by gathering the
principal events and key people that propelled the Labs' impressive growth
between 1949 and the present. This work would not have been possible without
the dedication, time, and support of hundreds of Sandians - both past and
present. While it is not possible to name them all 1 I do wish to highlight a few
special individuals.

Sandia's History Advisory Panel, chaired by Max Newsom, provided direction

and resources for the study, and I am grateful to its members for their guidance
and encouragement. Serving on the Panel were James Schirber, Glen Kepler, John
Hogan, Glen Otey, Jim Ney, John Taylor, Bill Nickell 1 Ruth David, Tom Edrington,
Jim Wright, Paul Longmire, Dick Lynch, Wendell Weart, Herb Pitts, Nancy Pruett,
Joe Stiegler, Rob Rinne, Tom Sellers, Don Rigali, Virgil Dugan, and Nigel Hey.

Valuable assistance in identifying and locating sources came from Diana

Zepeda, Rick Ray, and Joni Hezlep of the National Atomic Museum and from Liz
Kuehl, Sharon Gorman, Connie Souza, Julie Kesti, Susan Stinchcomb, and Sally
Landenberger of the Technical Library and Documents group, who cordially hosted
the author as well during the formative research phase.

For continuing management, funding, and support of the Sandia History

Program 1 a debt of gratitude is owed to Nancy Pruett, Anna Nusbaum, Myra
O'Canna, Carmen Ward, Dottie Sheppard 1 Linda Cusimano, Dave Gaynon, Sandy
Tonnesen, JoAnn Tamashiro, David Barton, Rebecca Ullrich, Joe Garcia, Milrene
Goodloe, Vicky Kulsic, Kathryn Olson Paul Gallegos, Peg Warner, Cathy

Pasterczyk, Tammy Garcia, and Santiago Gurule of the Recorded Information

Management department. Without their enthusiastic support, this endeavor would
not have been completed. To Carolyn Roberts 1 Denise Sobolik, Karl Lee, Laurie
Cady7 Jim Griego, Edwina Herrera-Ortiz, Kathy Manzanares, Theresa Stuhlmann,
Alan Zaben, and especially Teresa Vigil of Millican & Associates, the author must
express as well his personal appreciation for their friendly contributions.
Acknowledgments _ __

Paul Walker, Chuck Parrish 1 Jim Siburt, and Bill Baldwin of the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers and Danny Schaffer and Don Traugher of Oak Ridge National
Laboratory provided useful documents and information, and Sandians John
Hogan and Clyde Layne supplied instruction in nuclear weapons technology.
Harriet Goodness offered friendship and critical reviews. Dick Craner performed
classification reviews; Gwen Pirtle assisted with the history of Building 828 and
Tech Area II; Ed Rosch and Doug Henson funded study of individual weapons;
Jack Simchock, Jim Wright, and Ray Jones managed outdoor seminars; and Redd
Eakin and Juanita Sanchez of Community Relations provided valuable speaking

Enlightening concepts came from research by Bill Stevens, Jim Knecht, Phil
Owens, Harold Rarrick, Dale Ruth, and especially John Dickinson; and lam much
indebted to Necah Furman, Karen Shane, and the late Ted Alexander for their
pioneering historical studies and archival collection. Dick Jones, Paul Cooper, and
John Dickinson offered guided tours of Coyote Canyon; Barry Schrader Mark 1

Connor, Gary Drummond, and Jim Wright hosted a tour of Livermore; and Wayne
Lathrop and friends demonstrated Sandia 1s activities at Tonopah Test Range. These
were eye-opening experiences for which heartfelt thanks are proffered.

Jan Gaunce provided the artistic layout and design, while Bill Laskar, Randy
Montoya, and other Sandia photographers served as primary sources of
illustrations. Sandia 1s story is better told through their pictures than through our
words. Myra O'Canna collected and organized these graphics for use in this
history and for archival purposes. Inspirational support from Tom and Phyllis
Moody, Harry and Tammy Riser, Paula McAllister, Loreta Crawford/ Joan Cahill,
and Rik and Richard Simari of Mountainside associates proved salutary at critical

Special thanks are owed to Sandia retirees Bob Henderson, Ray Powell, Randy
Maydew, Bob Peurifoy, Leon Smith, Mert Robertson, Fred Vook, Robert Thompson,
Herb Filusch, Alan Ayers 1 and others listed in the bibliography for formal
interviews, informative chats, and kind cooperation. They and other Sandians
made the history which this study outlines.

This brief outline of Sandia National Laboratories' heritage is intended to

provide a better understanding of its present, to be a guidepost to its strengths,
and to lay out a road map for its future. I hope as well that readers perusing these
pages can share some of the joy, excitement, and pride that have accompanied
Sandia's journey of discovery and service.

Leland Johnson

_______ _ _ Acknowledgments

In January of 1995, Leland Johnson left Sandia. The History Program staff took
over the editing and rewriting of the draft he had produced of Sandia National
Laboratories: A History of Exceptional Service in the National Interest. John Taylor of the
policy and analysis research department spearheaded our efforts 1 coordinating
reviews from members of the History Advisory Panel, and doing a great deal of the
rewriting required to accommodate the reviewers recommendations.

The second draft of the book was reviewed by the History Panel and several
individuals chosen for the breadth and depth of their knowledge about Sandia 1s
programs. We would like to thank Ron Andreas, Gary Beeler, Larry Bertholf, John
Bode, John Crawford 1 Glenn Fowler, Roger Hagengruber, Dan Hartley, Bob
Henderson, Jack Howard, Randy Maydew, Bill Myre, George Samara, Heinz Schmitt,
Leon Smith 1 Sam Varnado, Fred Vook1 Luke Vortman, Jack Wiesen, Charlie Winter,
and Gerry Yonas. Next, sections of the draft were sent to 173 subject area experts -
identified by John Taylor and Max Newsom, the History Advisory Panel chair, in
consultation with several other Panel members. Of those 173, 114 responded. Their
names are included in the bibliographic essay in the sections concerning topics they
reviewed. Their cont.Iibutions were invaluable - they confirmed many facts 1
corrected some errors, and helped guide us to the appropriate names of individuals
to mention in each section. We are grateful to them.

We received a great deal of assistance in writing and editing the sidebars. Bob
Henderson provided the text from his experience at Trinity; Kay Sanderville
reviewed the medical sidebar; Harold Jeblick inspired the quality assurance sidebar;
Orval Jones added information to the sidebar on Sandia's educational programs;
Randy Maydew supplied the information for the Palomares sidebar; John Shunny
wrote most of the Lab News sidebar; Alicia Cloer provided research for and reviewed
the sidebar on Sandia's secretaries; Karen Gillings reviewed the human resources
sidebar; Julie Clausen provided text and information for the sidebar on media
relations; Tom Edrington gave extensive information for and reviewed the stockpile
evaluation sidebar; Wendell Weart supplied information and reviewed the WIPP
sidebar; and Dick Craner drafted and reviewed the sidebar on classification.

In addition to those who were asked to review particular sections, we would

also like to thank John Dickinson, Herb Filusch, Bob Henderson, Jack Howard 1
Diana Mares, Tom Martin 1 Randy Maydew1 Dave Northrop 1 Phil Owens, Harold
Rarrick, Bill Stevens, Bonnie Vigil 1 and Jim Wadell for answering questions quickly
and with good humor on a variety of topics ranging across Sandia 1s history.

Because of their familiarity with so much of Sandia's history and the general
agreement that their judgment is reliable 1 Orval Jones and Charlie Winter were
asked to review the final draft of the book. They both put in Jong hours and
provided us with extensive comments. Their efforts have made it a better book and
we thank them.

The vast majority of the photographs in the book were taken by Sandia's
photographers. We would like to acknowledge the fine work of Louis Archuleta, Jim
Bechdel, Ben Benjamin, Walt Dickenman, Louie Ernie, Robert Ezell, Oscar Goodwin,
Linda Hadley, Diana Helgeson, Gerse Martinez, Randy Montoya} Don Papineau, Jim
Pennington, Mark Poulson, Robbie Smith, Russell Smith, Dave Tafoya, and
especially Bill Laskar. Myra O'Canna, Sandia Archives Coordinator, provided the


majority of the photographs, including those donated to the Archives by Glenn

Fowler and Leon Smith. Rodema Ashby, Bob Bickes, Jim Chavez, Julie Clausen,
Irene Dubicka, Herb Filusch 1 Gray Lowrey1 Rita Pitts, Biu So, and Suzanne Stanton
provided photographs that were not available elsewhere and we thank them. We
would also like to thank Rod Geer1 Iris Aboytes, and Nancy Campanozzi in
Employee Communications and Media Relations for providing several crucial

For permission to reprint photographs not created by Sandia, we are grateful to:
AT&T Archives (bottom photograph on page 50); Roger Meade of the Los Alamos
National Laboratory Archives (photographs of Groves, Oppenheimer, and Larsen
on page 14, and the photos on pages 16 17, 18, 19, 21, the bottom of 22, 29, and

the bottom of 70); the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (photograph of

Jerrold Zacharias on page 14); J. ]. Miller (airplane destruction photographs on page
25); and the Solar Electric Light Fund (photograph on page 323).

Our gratitude goes to Jan Gaunce who designed the book and demonstrated

infinite patience with our many changes and opinions about the format. We are
grateful also to Dick Craner and Bruce Green of Sandia's Classification Office for
reviewing and re-reviewing the text to ensure that no dassified information was
released, and to Craner for his insight and editorial assistance. Our thanks also go
to Bob Park of Sandia s Legal Department for his timely review. And we would like
to thank Roger Anders of the Department of Energy for providing comments on an
early draft, and Linda Cusimano of Sandia's Recorded Information Management
Department for reviewing the final draft. Finally, our appreciation to Anna
Nusbaum, Manager of Recorded Information Management for providing ongoing

support and encouragement.

Carl Mora
John Taylor
Rebecca Ullrich

_ Prologue

It i.5 hereby declared to be the policy of the people of the United States that, subject at
all times to the paramount obiective of assuring the common defense and security, the
development and utilization of atomic energy shall, so far as practicable, be directed
toward improving the public welfare, increasing the standard of living, strengthening
free competition in private ente1prise, and promoting world peace.

Atomic Energy Act of 1946

The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 claimed a purposes and different relationships to the
broad mission for the stewards of atomic government. Tuch was shaped b y the
e nergy in America. The Act's demands political and cultural m ilieu o f post-World
created an equally broad complex of War TT American society. Tn particular,
agencies, laboratories, and production although mo~t were born in America's World
facilities to explore and support thjs mission. War H atomic bomb project, they were reared
Focused on the param6unt objective of in the era we know as the Cold War.
national security, this complex was, for the
first fifty years of its existen ce, devoted to the The Cold War is ov~r now and the
design, development, production, historical evaluation of the era and its
stockpiling, and sate&TUarding of nuclear ins ti tulions has begun, even as those
wea pons. The complex HseJf was made up of institutions and their employees begin to
a series o f individual facilities, w ith d istinct

1945 1946 1947 1948 1949


a: U.S.
~ ,...._-........_,II'!' STALIN


0 .
Trinity (first nucl!ar ei:plosion) Soviets' fim atomic device

0 Z-dMs.1 lonoeO Sandia Co oraticn created 0

Manhattan Project ends
0 0
Z-ilivi$lon reloca s to Sandia Bace AT&T assumes ma gement responsibility
Prologue - - - -- - - -

mold themselves to a new era and its culture. ensure that military needs were met
But the Cold War was not a single event, regarding atomic weapons, the AEC had a
monolithtc in its presence and influence. liaison committee of military officials,
Severa.I individual elements in this interplay creating "dual-agency" responsibility for the
be.tween the superpowers shaped the pace weapons and their use. The Act also created
and purpose of the actiVities. within the the Congressional Joint Committee on
defense compleK as a whole_ Atomic Energy QCAE) to act as legislative
overseer of the AEC. The JCAE was a rtanding
The book that follows lays out the work joint committee composed ot equal numbers
of Sandia National Laboratorie~ in its first of members from both political parties.
fifty years and the events and decisions. Throughout its tenure, the JCA, its
behind that work. But all of those decisions membe rs, and its decisions served as
reside in the context of international events powerful forces shaping the context and the
and shifting national priorities. As a result, content of U.S. policy on atomic energy in
with1n the bmad chrnnologica\ sweep of genera\ and nuclear weapons in particular.
Sandia's half century are several turning Finally, the Act created the General Advisory
points that caused the Labs to sh ift its Commjttee, composed of prominent
emphasis and explore: new areas_ The result scientists and engineers serving as advisors to
has. been an ongoing evolution in the nature the AC.
and focus of the projects Sandia has
undertaken, all within the context of servjng Within this administrative arrangement
the national interest by preserving national the ex.lsting World War II institutions for
security. atomic re.-;earch and weapon production were
further defined and joined by a broad array
The Atomic Energy Act placed the {)f additional fadlities. By the early 1950s,
control of atomi.c. t'.nergy in civilian, rather the general structure of what we came to
than military hands, creating three groups to know as the nuclear weapons complex: was in
manage the process. The Atomic Energy place. Beyond the top administrative
Commission (AEC) was given a virtual agencies, most of the operation of sites and
monopoly over atomic energy in America. To facillties was done by civilian contractors, a

1950 1951 1952 1953 1954

~ r-~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~-r~~~~~~~~~~~~~----j


a: ;

in'a fintl atomic devic

nit2d States' first the
Soviet's fi thermonuclear device


@ AEC-DoO Responsi ilities Agreement&:

~ Law ence Livermore establi hed


direct outgrowth of the large defense facilities, component production plants, and
industry of World War If. The AEC weapon assembly plants has produced the
maintained contact and policy implemen- nation's nuclear weapon stockpile. The three
tation with its contractors through field laboratories involved in nuclear weap<:>ns
offices. design are Los Alamos National Laboratory,
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and
The apparent triumphs of the huge and Sandia National Laboratories. Los Alamos and
expensive wartime research and development Lawrence Livermore design the high explo-
effort spent on projects like radar, the sive/nuclear system package, while Sandia
proximity fuze, and the atomic bomb gave designs the rest of the nuclear bomb or war-
rise to a belief that scientific and head, including the arming, fuzing, and
technological resources should be nurtured firing systems along with other essential
and maintained by the federal government, components. In essence, Sand1a "weaponizes"
ready to provide service in an emergency. the nuclear systems designed at its partner
The system of national laboratories that has laboratories. Sandia also serves as the liaison
grown in the post-war era is based firmly on with the integrated contractor complex to see
this belief. The laboratories are unlike most the production phase of the work through to
other research and development facilities in completion. Although this function is cur-
the nation. They are fully owned by the rently dimin.lshing as the production com-
federal government, but they are managed by plex downsizes, Sandia is still the principal
contractors. The management contracts - point of contact with DoD and the military
known as GOCOs (government owned, services.
contractor operated) - varied for each
faci Ji ty and have changed over time as Sandia emerged from World War H's
different operators have been involved. Manhattan Project. During the war, the
design, development, testing, and assembly
In addition to the administrative agencies of Little Boy and Fat Man (the two atomic
and the laboratories scattered across the weapons used during the war) were all done
nation, an integrated complex of contractor- at Los Alamos, high on a hill in north central
operated nuclear materials production New Mexico. Jn late 1945, the Los Alamos

1955 1956 1957 1958 1959


O In ernational Alomic Ener

(/} 0
t- 1958 - 1961 N clear Test Moratorium
ai 0 Sp nik


O Sandia Californ established

Prologue - -- -- - -------~-~-- , ,,, - -

1996 DOE l'ludear weapon l11boralories director~ mel'L left tD right: Bruu Tartl'r of Lawref'\Ce Livermore, Paul RobiMOl'I of
Simdia, 11nd Sig Hecl<er of Los Alamos_

1960 1961 1962 1963 1% 4


9 U2 shot down ver Soviet Union Cuban Missil Crisis Nuclear Actident, e
(/} 0 nicer Hill AFB, Indiana
a; Q France's firsl alomi device G S
fii ie-,
__ -=
-=__"'""_.:=. _,,,., -----""""=~=,,,=
-- -~--"""'
~ """
:= _ . -~M=
= o"" :'_t-i:,..,
..... ~,--==-. . .=*=,.,........,...""""__,,..,,.,,,..,...,_.=:_-=:,..,,. ~---=l
,'_..... -=

-- -- - -- - - -- -- - ,_ Prologue

Laboratory began transferring its field testing within Z-divi.sion was on nuclear weapon
and engineering organization, known as ordnance engineering and production
Z-division, to Sandia Base near Albuquerque. coordination, with a gyowing emphasis on
Staff from the Army Air Corps S09th research and development to improve
Composite Group at Wendover Air Base in weapon designs.
Utah joined the original group to do weapon
assembly. This organization formed the Jn 1949, as the Soviet Union successfully
nucleus of Sandia Laboratory, created in J948 tested its first atomic device, a national
as a separate branch of Los Alamos. The vision emerged of a larger stockpile, mass-
following year, the laboratory formally produced and quickly available. Sandfa1s
separated from Los Alamos when the responsibility for coordinating weapon
University of California, Los Alamos's production among the various AEC
managing contractor, asked to be relieved of contractors expanded even as the number of
the responsibility. American Telephone and weapons in development grew. The on.set of
Telegraph (AT&T), at the request of President the Korean War stimulated several emergency
Truman, agreed to take over management of development programs to ensure that new
the facility and Sandia Corporation, a wholly types o( weapons were avaHable.
owned subsidiary of Western Electric, AT&T's
production arm, was formed to serve as the America tested its first hydrogen bomb in
managing contractor. 1952, with the Soviets following closely in
the next year. That same year, a new nuclear
In the late 1940s, the nuclear stockpile weapon design laboratory was formed in
was small, consisting of a few hand-crafted Livermore, California as a competitor to Los
devices modeled on the Fat Man design used Alamos in response to this perceived Soviet
in World War IL At that time, America had a threat. The arms race between the twa
monopoly on nuclear weapons, but as powers pressed the pace of weapon
tensions between the US and the Soviet development for the next decade and a half,
Union grew and hardened there was an with the stockpiles of the two nations
increasing sense that others would have a growing rapidly in both variety and number
nuclear weapon capability soon. The focus of weapons.

1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

~ r-~-~---~-~------------~~~~-~--~i--~-~~-'-j


0 Soviets invade ~zechoslovakia
Nuclear Accident,
Palomaras. Spain
Nuclear Accident,
0 Thule, Greenland

Prologue _ __

Main technical area of Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1994.

1970 1971 1972 1973 1974

~ SOVll~T

Thre hold Test O

Antlballistic Missile Ban Tr aty signed
Treaty in effecl 0
SALT I in effect 0 India's first atoml device O


By 1952, the weapon production complex "can-do" attitude for Sandia.

was in place and Sandia focused on weapon
development, expanding its engineering staff Recognizing that such flexibility was
to accommodate the expanding number of crucial in responding to rapidly changing
weapon projects underway. rn addition to national defense demands, Sandia also
design and production coordination, Sandia established an advanced development group
also undertook extensive field testing of to anticipate future projects. Simultaneously,
components and supported the atmospheric the Labs took its first steps into areas other
tests sponsored by its partner laboratories. than nuclear weapon development,
Nuclear testing halted temporarily in 1958 becoming involved in work on technologies
when the U.S. and the USSR agreed to a test to monitor nuclear testing in response to the
moratorium, but began again in l 961 when test moratorium and the Limited Test Ban
the Soviet Union resumed testing, Sandia Treaty of 1963, working with National
experienced rapid shifts of engineering Slaff Aeronautics and Space Administration
to accommodate these changes. Further (NASA) to enhance the safety of aerospace
flexibility was required in respDnse to nuclear power systems, and applying some of
concerns about the custody of nuclear its techniques to the development of
weapons deployed to Europe for North conventional weapons and intrusion sensors
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Sandia for use in the Vietnam War.
developed and offered the Permissive Action
Link (PAL) to ensure American control over In the 1960s and early 1970s, the growing
the use of the weapons. Tn addition, in 1960, emphasis on research to strengthen the
the JCAE granted Sandia the flexibility of underpinnings of the engineering effort
Level-of-effort funding - funding the resulted in a concerted effort to hire more
laboratory at a stable level and allowing its scienrLsts and engineers to bolster and expand
internal management to decide where the Sandia's research efforts. Sandians were also
technical effort was to be expended. This expanding the types of projects they worked
meant that employees and resources could be on. National and international events,
moved quickly from one proiect to another as including the energy crisis and the terrorist
the need arose and facilitated a responsive, acts at the Munich Olympics of the early

1975 1976 19n 1978 1979




SAL II signed 0
Three Mile Island Acci ten!O
z Sovi1 ts invade Afghanistan O
> -
w - -

- ---

'--.- .. _...;,._
- -..
..:-~ --..-. . . - .- . . . - .

Sandia becomes a National laboratary 0

Pmlogue - _

1970s, caused S.andia to become involved in nuclear weapons and apply it to

new areas of energy research and in physical international nonproliferation efforts.
security and safeguards for facilities.
The structure of the system that emerged
Throughout this advance into new areas from the Atomic Energy Act proved durable.
Sandia had maintained its responsibilities in Although the AEC and the JCAE were
developing new weapons as well as dissolved in 1974 and 1976, respectively,
maintaining the safety and reliabillty of the their work continued under the auspices of
existing stockpile. As international arms the Energy Research and Development
control efforts increased in the late 1970s Agency (ERDA) and then the Department of
and throughout the 1980s, more emphasis Energy (DOE}. The nature of this complex -
was placed on treaty monitoring, while decentralized, but integrated - has proven
improvements were made in methods of fkxible enough to absorb the changing
ensuring the safety. security, and use control emphasis within the general goal of
of the national stockpile. preserving national security.

With the end of the Cold War jn the late The details of how Sandia went about
1980s and the decision to stop developing fulfilling its mission and responding to
new weapons in the early 1990s, Sandia's role national and international events are related
as stockpile steward has taken on a new in the following chapters. As Sandia's story
importance. The existing stockpile requires unfolds, four essential themes wm become
constant attention to ensure its continued apparent. First, as an engineering laboratory,
safety, security, reliability, and applicability. Sandia has developed a disti.nct culture over
In addition, the emphasis on the years. With a practical emphasis on
nonproliferation has taken on an even getting the work done and the product out,
gre..ater urgency as the nuclear powers the Labs' employees have always prided
dismantle part of their stockpiles and other themselves on a can-do ethos - a
nations look for opportunities to develop willingness to take on new tasks, to work
nuclear capabilities_ Sandia has made a long hours, to focus on details, to reward
concerted effort to take its knowledge of innovation. Reflecting the technologi.c.al

1980 1981 1982 1983 1984




.- Prologue

Sandia Natior.al U!borntorie.s Livermore, Gllifornia. tite i11 t 995.

1985 1986 1987 1988 1989


Berlin Wall opened 0

lnlerme iale-range
Nuc ar Forces. 0
Tre in effect


Prologue _ _ .

enthusiasm identifiable in American science to offer and promote technological solutions

and engineering more broadly, this attitude to problems of .safety, security, and use
thrived on the technological challenges control, often leading the way on these issues
inherent in the arms race of the Cold War w ithin the weapon community.
and, more recently, in the move to a post-
Cold War world. The result has been a The third theme that emerges from
remarkably stable workforce. The last of the Sandia 1s history has already been mentioned -
employees who came to Sandia from the the flexibility in structure and funding that
Manhattan Project o r were hired right after allowed for extensive and quick mobilization
World War II have retired, but only recently. of its research and development capabilities.
Thirty- and forty-year careers have not been Sandia has had both the breadth and depth
unusual at Sandia. This level of loyalty to a ot expercise to support its mission programs.
single employer grew largely out of the Due to its essentially independent internal
challenges in the work, as well as an abiding technicaJ capabilities and management style,
faith in its importance. it also has had the flexibility to allow a
project to draw on relevant capabilities from
Second, Sandia has long realized that across its facilities and among its personnel.
because of the tremendous destructive
potential of nuclear weapons there must be Finally, a fourth theme appears as a
extremely small allowable risks of failure in result of the previous three: Sandia is a
their safety, .s ecurity, and use control. Over national laboratory. It, its partner
the years, the insiste nce on weapons that will laboratories, and the national laboratory
work reliably has been joined by an adamant system at Large, were designed to serve the
demand that they not work when they are national interest in an innovative and
not supposed to - that is, when they are independent manner. This is not a facility
involved in accidents or fall into expected to do onJy what H is told to do. It
unauthorized hands. These two demands is, rather, an institution that has not only
ultimately press in different directions; after been responsive to the requests levied by its
all, the safest weapon would be one that national security customer base, but also has
could never work. This tension led Sandian.s been counted upon to look forward, identify,

1990 1991 199l 1993


tj U.S. (.LINTON

Martin Marietta assumes
management re ponsibility

_ Prologue

and offer creative solutions to problems that

no one else recognized.

This, then, is the story you will find in

the following pages: a single national
laboratory maintaining a distinct style and
mi.\ sion while serving as one of the integral
components of a vast but closely woven
network of federal administration, national
laboratories, and integrated contractor
complex. For Sandians this has been an
opportunity to work on important national
security problems in a challenging and
constantly changing environment. (!)

1995 1996



.. . .
. PE'-A~TMENT OF..~~ERGV. . -' .. ~:,

O lockheedMarti1 merger

Chapter 1 _ _ _

This july 11, 19415, aerial view toward the east indicates the isolation of Sandia 11t the time. In the c.enter foreground is
Kirtland airfield and in the background is Sandia (Oxnard airfield).

_ From Z to A Corporation

You have here an opportunity to render an exceptional service in the national interest.

Hany Truman

How should nuclear weapons be managed? MILITARY MANAGEMENT

This question challenged leaders of the
Manhattan Project and of Z-division of Los
Alamos Laboratory at Sandia Base in 1945, as General Leslie Groves and Colonel
it would the nation throughout the rest of the Kenneth Nichols, leaders of the wartime
20th century. Answers to this question were Manhattan Project, selected the future site of
as varied as the number of agencies and Sandia National Laboratories in 1945 after
people involved. Some thought nuclear Groves and J. Robert Oppenheimer agreed
weapons unique and deserving of strong that engineering for nuclear weapons should
civilian control; others considered them be transferred from Los Alamos. Los Alamos
merely powerful conventional weapons that suffered from shortages of housing and utility
should be in military custody. Army engineers services, and transporting materials and
of the Manhattan Engineer District thought equipment to and from the airfield in
they should remain in charge of weapon Albuquerque or the rail depot in Lamy was
development, while the Navy and Air Force slow and costly.
sought roles in the program, and civilian
scientists opted for university management During June 1945, the Manhattan District
Fundamental answers to the question were sent Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lockridge and
forged during the tumultuous postwar years officers from detachments at Los Alamos and
as the United States put World War II behind Wendover airfield in Utah to examine
it and entered a longer Cold War. potential sites for a field testing and weapon
assembly operation. These officers surveyed
Shifting political responses to the Kirtland Field, an army staging and training
fundamental question of how to manage facility near AJbuquerque. Kirtland 1 formerly
nudear weapons generated turmoil throughout Albuquerque Army Air Base was renamed in

the formative years of the nuclear ordnance 1942 in honor of military aviation pioneer
laboratory at Sandia. First, it was commanded Colonel Roy C. Kirtland. Kirtland Field was
by the Manhattan Engineer District and then much closer to Los Alamos than the
managed by the University of California. headquarters of the 509th Compo.site Group
Finally} after many alternatives were at Wendover, Utah or other airfields used for
considered and rejected "Ma Bell, the
bomb ballistics testing. Isolated on a mesa east

American Telephone and Telegraph Company of the Rio Grande, Kirtland was also several
(AT&T), assumed responsibility for the contract miles from Albuquerque, the nearest town.
with the civilian Atomic Energy Commission
(AEC). These transitions resulted in a Then home to 65 1 000 people, Albuquerque
management pattern that prevailed served as a railroad shipping center for
throughout the Cold War and endowed Sandia ranchers and farmers. Travelers on the Santa Fe
with a corporate culture of enduring value. Railway or TransWorld Airlines knew the town

Chapter 1

General Le5lie <;;rove~, Manhatt.!:!n Project Commander, I. Robert Op~nh(limer, wartime director of I.as Alamos
madf! the 1945 dec($ion to move lhe ordnance engine~ring t.abor;itory, ~pporte<I the 1945 decision to transfer 1\udear
Zdivlsion from Los Alacnos to S;ll'1dia aaie at Albuqverque, ordnaJ)ce engineers to Sand.ia.

Paul Larsen came from the johns Hopkins University Applied jerrold Zacharias Jed t.he Z-division transle.r from Los Alamos to
Physics Laboratory proximity-fuze project in 1947 to lead Albuquerque in 1945. Here, he pours a chemical into a mo~cular
Z-division during its conversion into S;india Laboratory. beam experiment.

From Z lo A Corporation

only as an intNesting stop on the way to or weapons as one of the vital technological
from the we.st coast. East of th.e airfield stood a breakthroughs of World War fl.
cluster of ramshackle buildings, some
remaining from the old municipal Oxnard Sandia Base seemed a logical choice for
aidield and others brought in by the Army Air the Manhattan Project's ordnance assembly
Corps after it acquired the site in 1942 to train and testing center. During the summer of
aircraft mechanics.. Known as Sandia Base 1945, officers and enlisted men from Army
because it was near the Sandia Mountains, the detachments at Los Alamos and Wendover
site had served as a convalescent center for airfield transferred to Sandia Base, bringing
wounded airmen in 1944; and by 1945 it had with them non-nuclear weapon parts that
become a dismantlement center for surplus had not been sent to the Padfic. Shipments
military aircraft. of parts for atomic bombs ordered before
war's end were also rerouted to Sandia Base,
A short distance south of Sandia Base, where they were stored in crates in the open
toward Coyote Canyon, a secret Navy- for lack of warehouses. The Army moved
sponsored project led by L l Workman was prefabricated buildings to Sandia Base, began
winding down in 1945. Workman, a physics construction of three new buildings and a
professor at the University of New Mexico, Quonset hut, fenced the area, and provided a
had joined the Applied Physics Laboratory in security system that included tanks, towers,
Maryland for research on the proximity fuze. and even canine patrols to protect the
Wlth a contract to conduct testing for the embryonic national stockpile of nudear
proximity fuze project, he returned to New weapon parts.
Mexico, suspended model aircraft from cables
between two towers, and fired proximity-tu.zed During the war, the Manhattan Project
shells at them. This testing was successful. had established a. widely dispersed weapon
Durir'g l 94S, prox.imity-fuzed shells proved so production complex . Oak Ridge produced the
effective against German V-1 buzzbombs and enriched uranium used in the gun-type Little
Japanese kamikazes that development of the Boy bomb, and Hanford created the
fuze has been ranked with radar and nudear plutonium used in the implosion-type Fat

E. 1- Wor~n's prc)(imity-fuze teiting contributed to Allied vil.tory in World War IL In an area now part of Sar1dia, artillery
skeHs with proxilT\ity fuzes were fired at moc.kup aircraft 1uspended between the towers visible next to the Man.zaM foothills
in th ii pkotograph.

-, .

. " .. .

. . . ., . .

the. tfme he retired as $andi~;S execUtiVe

. .A.t T~i_n i. tY." . .
. . . ,. Rt_,
vice presld~ntin 1974, Robert w. "Bob'' .
: S~ce. $anclia grew diie~tly o~t of W~ild Henderson was known as "Mr. SanQ.ia," serving
War II's Manhattan Project, several of t~e Labs' .essentially as Sandia's sentor ~gmeer from
. : early employees haq .wor..ked on the:FatMan or i947. Before. the war, Henderson received an
Little Boy designs and.afew 'Were present .to . . Aeademy Award for his special effects work at
~(ness.the Trinity Test. They1 and others, have Paramount Picture$, where Ernest Lawrence
proVi.ded a variety of eloquent accounts of the recn'iited him in 1942 tow-Ork on development
awe and f~r inspired.by the world'~ fi~t . of the electromagnetic process ~d at Oak
. nude~r de~ona.tion. Ainong the~ riu1st be .. . JUdge to separate uranium-235 for use in
' .: . count~d ~he.description by.R9bert Henderson, . .nuclear weapons. At the request 0.f Robert
:. a'_significant figure in'theh,iStory of.the atomic Oppenheimer, Henderson transferred to Los
. "bomb's creaJion-and pest-wai:. evohiti.011,. " .. : . : . Alamos where, among other services, he

' 16..
, .
. ..
This sequence of photographs shows the Trinity fireball beginning to form as clouds gather in the sky above the explosion.

helped select the site for the Trinity test of July Soon the time sign4ls began coming in over the
16, 1945. Two months after the test, he radio. When mim1s 1 minute was called aut, / lay
p enned a personal account of his experience flat on the ground with my head propped on my
for a friend, from which come these extracts: elbows and the dark glass all ready to shove into
place. At minus 5 seconds I caught the "flash ofa 5
On the night ofJuly 15 all was in readiness. lb. charge set offat. the base of the tower and
The assembly of the bomb was c.omp/ete and it instantly slapped the dark glass in place. Then it
rep0sed in its eerie solitude on the top of a 100 1
steel tower shieldedfrom .the elements in a small
corrugated iron shelter. The whole heavens and ground lit up with a
white light many times brighter than the sun - so
At 3 a.m..the morning ofJuly 16th 1 drove in intense that it came thru the welders glass like a
to the tower with the man who had the 60 watt bulb.... Everything was white for an
re.sponsibility ofclosing the safety switches. Frankly instant am/ then complete darkness. After an
if 1 had imagined iii my own mind the terrific instant which seemed interminable my sight
power. ..1 I'm sure I would have been much more gradually returned and I dropped the dark glass tD
nervous than I was as I st.ood at the base of the watch the explosion. Words cannot describe the
tower in the drizzling rain looking up at the top, seething ball of fire which was forming. The tower
which was periodically illuminated by lightning - 19 tons ofsteel - had been instantly
'flashes: vaporized. The ball of fire grew larger and larger
and then started to rise. At this point we dropped
A{ter my companion had satisfied himself that to the ground again, put our fingers in our ears and
everything was it should be, we drove back out started to yeJJ to offset the blast when it hit us. It
of the area to our designated observation point 20 seemed ages for the sound to travel the 20 miles,
miles from tbe tower across the flat waste Jands. but, oh boy! When it hit, jt was a dilly. This was
We then rolled up in GJ. blankets and munched tmly hisf/Jry in the making
. on hastily prePated sandwiches - alt.ogether too
excited t.o catch 40 wink$.
Chapter l

The operation to lift the Trinity devii:.e to the top of the tower. Art Machen, Bill Stew.Jrt, and Hert Lehr unload the skell of the
dt:vice. Among the Ol"llooken: are, for /eh, f>hil Dailey and Captain Wilbur Shaffer, and fourth from left, Norris Bradbury.

Man bomb. High explosives for implosion

bombs were molded into lenses at a Navy
station near Tnyo.kern, California; mi:chanic.al
and electrical bomb parts came from the
Army's Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois; and
other components came from industrial
contractors. At Los Alamos, scientists and
engineers assembled bombs as th.e parts
arrived and fabricated inert devices for test
drnps at Wendo'C"er airfield in Utah and at
Salton Sea and other California bases.

In July 194-5, Los Alamos director

Oppenheimer formed Z-division under Jerrold
Zacharias to manage the engineering design, Norr~ Bradbury beGlme director of Los Alamoi Laboratory
in 1945 when Robert Oppenheimer resigned.
production, assembly, and field te.sting of the
non-nuclear components associated with Alamos, continued moving the engineers to
nuclear bombs. In September, the division's Sandfa for close liais:on with the military
field-testing group, led by Dale Corson and services, thffeby opening more space at Los
Glenn Fowler, moved to Kirtland airfield to Alamos. Not alJ Manhattan Project leaders
undertake continued testing, using a test approved of this transfer. While admitting
range near ws Lunas, thirty miles horn that Sandia had been a logiLl.l choice during
Albuquerque. When Zacharias left Z-division wartime, Commodore William Par.sons
to teturn to academic life, Roger Warner and preferred creating a peacetime engineering
Norris Bradbury, the new director of Los laboratory near Pasadena, California.

- From Z to A Corporation

Progress in forming the ordnance

laboratory at Sandia nearly came to a stop in
early 1946 when Z-division personnel
embarked for the Pacific to support che first
postwar nuclear test series, Operation
Crossroads. Further losses occurred when the
officers and enlisted men at Sandia were
discharged as the armed fo.rces demobilized in

Tn addition to assessing nuclear weapon

effects on military hardware, the 1946
Crossroads tests demonstrated a need for
engineering and development Because of
bomb trajectory inaccuracies, the damage to
the target ve.~sels was lower than predicted;
three years later the Air Force estabJished its
own Special Weapons Center and testing
laboratory at Kirtland Field near Sandia. This
laboratory was a forebear of the present-day
Phillips Laboratory.
R~er Warner directed Zdivision in 1946. Herl\, he ii at his
shipboard c.ornmaod post during Operation Crossroads.
Members ol the Z-division assembly group in the Pacific for Opera.lion Crowoads. Seated in front, frCJm felt: Phil Dailey,
Kenneth 0. Roebuc.k, Arthur Ma.chen, Ira "Tiny'' Hamilton, Bryan Arthur, Back row: Roger $. Wllmer, Major Robert L. Roark,
Colon~! Jack Sutherland ~eoted, Glenn Fowler kneeling, Alvin Van Vessem, William 0. McCDrd, Gene Eyster seotl!d.

Cl-.apter l

Buifding 828 for mechaniail assembly had a moMrail and ha~t to move weapons from the building to trucks. The Heepfe on
ba~e. 8uifding 828 wa~ still used in 1996.
thi;_ left is on the base chapel that was later moved off the

1n 1946, General Groves sent Colonel Arthur Machen had assembled Fat Man at
Gilbert Dorland to command Sandia Base and Tinian in 1945, persuaded Machen to move
to organize a Special Engineering Battalion. to Sandia Base "to train the newly established
Because of a severe homing .'\hortage in special weapons unit in the occult art of
Albuquerque, as in the rest of the nation, atomic weaponeering and prepare a set of
prefab1icated housing c.onsisting in.itially of how-to-do-it manuals" Since his task
239 houses, 136 apartments, and 2 included the assembly of high-explosive
dormitories was brought in. Civilian Z- lenses, Machen hired explosives experts from
division personnel as weJI as the military were the Hercules Powder Company in Tennessee
allowed to rent this housing and use military tor the job_They sometimes impressed
base facilities. By July 1946, a.II of Z-division visitors by pounding explosive castings with
except engineering de.sign had completed its mallets to fit them together into the spherical
transfer to Sandia Base, comprising the entire shape required for implosion bombs.
surveillance, stockpiling, field test, and
assembly groups for nuclear weapons.. Z-division took charge of the stockpile,
collecting assorted bomb parts, assigning
"It is obviously desirable that this entire them identification numbers, and developing
program be under the immediate control of procedures for monitoring their location and
our milltary organization," said Colonel condition. Donald Cotter, who later held a
Austin Betts of the War Department, U.S. variety of important government positions,
Engineer Office, Santa Fe. He explained that began his ca.reer at Sandia cleaning aircraft
the Manhattan Engineer District planned to tail-warning radars for use as fuzes on early
separate Z-division from Los Alamos and nuclear bombs. They were shipped from Air
University of California management, and to Force depots with sand in the boxes, and it
make jt a civil servk:e adjunct to the Special was Cotter's job to remove the sand and
Eng]neer Battalion. That is, during the postwar refurbish them. "We used four C>f them in
years the Army planned to manage the [each] bomb," he recaUed, ''because they were
nuc.lear weapon ordnance program much like fairly unreliable."
one of lts Engineer Districts or englneeri.ng
laboratories - \.villi military leadership Warner moved Sandia's bomb assembly
supported by the federal civil service_ operations into four new buildings,
constructed under supervision of the Army
While the Army made its plans, Z-division post engineer. Z-division's a.ssembly force first
regrouped. Its leader, Roger Warner, who with occupied Building 828, used for mechanical

From Z to A Corporation

as.semb1y. This building housed a machine chairman. When Roger Warner left Sandia to
shop and Sandia's first environmental testing become the new agency's director of
machines - a cold chamber for assessing engineering later that year, Robert Henderson
high-altitude temperature effects and a shake moved to Sandia from Los Alamos with Z-
table to observe effects of severe vibrations. ft d.ivision's 147 engineers and technicians.
had a monorail in its ceiling to hoist heavy During the war, Henderson had been recruited
bombs and move them onto trucks outside by Ernest Lawrence and Oppenheimer at the
for transport to aircra.ft for testing. Systems University of California, Berkeley, and later
development occurred in Building 8.iB, the sent to Los Alamos as an engineer for
d~ign and fabrication of telemetry implosion-bomb design. At Sandia, he acted as
instruments in 824, and the assembly of Z-division director until Norris Bradbury
electrical parts in 839. appointed a permanent director.

Congress and the President settled the

issue of military ver.<.us civilian control of
ATOMIC ENERGY nudea1 weapons through the Atomic Energy
COMMISSION BEGlNS Act of 1946, which transferred nuclear
research and development from the Army
Corps ot Engineers' Manhattan Engineer
Congress created the Atomic Energy District to a five-member civilJan Atomic
Commission (AEC) in 1946 and President Energy Commission (AEC). This decision
Truman appointed David Lilienthal its first terminated Army plans to convert Z-division

Manhat:l:MI Project h~aders accepted the Army/Nal/'f E Award for excellence at the el'\d of World War II. left lo right: Robert.
Oppenheimer, General Le.die Gfl:>Vet, President Gordon Sproul of the University of Califomia, Commodore William Pan;ons.

Chapter l ___.,_ _ _ __

into a military command with civil service

support. In early 1947, the AEC opened a
Santa Fe Operations Office ;:1nd established a
Sandia field office at the Z-di vision facilities.
The military area adjacent to the Z-division
technical area was transferred to the Armed
Forces Special Weapons Project, commanded
initially by General Groves.

While close coordination with the Armed

Forces Special Weapons Project and the
military services remained vital to Sandia's
success, after 1946 the oversight and funding
of Sandia's activities emanated from the
Sandia field office, which reported to the
Santa Fe Operations Office and in tum to AEC
headquarters. The Santa foe Operations Office
moved from Los Alamos to Albuquerque in
1951; in 1956 it was renamed the
Albl)querque Operations Office, often referred
to by the acronyms ALOO, ALO, or just AL. As
required by the Atom.le Energy Act a high,
ranking military officer headed the Division of
Military Applications at AEC headquarters.

The Department of Defense (DoD), created

in 194 71 alertt}d the AEC to its weapon needs
through the DoD-AEC Military Liaison Robert Henderson was acling director ol 1-division in 1947.
Committee. This committee, mandated by a Known as "'Mr. Sandia", he served essentially as Sandia's
senior engineer from 1947 until his retirement in 1974.
provtsion of the Atomic Energy Act, consisted
of two senior officers from each of the armed
services and, after 1948, was chaired by a
civilian. Two Sandians served as Assistant to
the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy,
William "Jack" Howard during the 1960s and
Don Cotter during the 1970s, and chaired the
Military Liaison Committee. The committee
and the military services were charged with
drawing up specifications for the types of
weapons that were needed and how they
should perform. A document, called the
Military Characteristics, set the specifications
and design goals for Los Alamos, Sandia, and
later for Lawrence Livermore.

After Congressio nal confirmation

hearings in late 1946, David Lilienthal,
torm~tly chairman of the Tennessee Valley
Authority, became the first AEC chairman.
After taking o ffice, he and the other new
commissioners embarked on an crtentarion
tour cf the facilities the AEC had inherited
from the Manhattan District. Lilienthal was
David Lilienthal, fi~t chairman of the Atomic Energy
impressed by the eager young engineers and Commisii<ln, fostered indusltial management for ~ndia.

__ From Z to A Corporation

Army officers he rnet at Sandia Base. However, LARSEN'S ENTERPRISE

after he reported to President Truman that he
could count the number of ready nuclear
weapons on the fingers of one hand 1 an Aptly described as a man of enterprise,
investigation into ways to multiply that Larsen received full support from the fledgling
number was launched. AEC, which arranged with Los Alamos to
elevate Z-division to laboratory status. Larsen
As part of this investigation, John Manley thus became the director of Sandia Laboratory,
of the AEC General Advisory Committee a branch of Los Alamos still managed under
looked into the delays experienced at Sandia 1s the University of California contract with the
Z-division. "One must reaJize," Manley AEC. Larsen initiated rapid expansion of

reported, "that the wartime development Sandia s work force and facilities. A $25
yielded nothing more than a laboratory million construction effort began in 1948 to
version of everything: weapons 1 test units, field build permanent structures to replace the
kits, drawings} manuals. Any operation was mobilization-type, tar-paper and frame
very strongly dependent on technical buildings erected by the Manhattan District.
knowledge of individuals; there was no time to Larsen wanted the Army post engineer,
write down more than an absolute minimum." Captain Luther Heilman, to manage this
Labeling Z-division a "shoestring operation,}/ building program, but encountered difficulty
he attributed its survival under Army getting Heilman discharged from the service.
management to "the sense of national Larsen often surmounted such challenges by
responsibility on the part of some individuals. 11 going directly to the top, and when General
Manley urged swift reorganization to Omar Bradley toured Sandia, Larsen personally
standardize improved weapons, components, requested Hellman's transfer. Two days later,
and test equipment; to prepare standardized Heilman began a thirty-five year career at
drawings and manuals; to attend closely to Sandia. The first permanent brick structure,
production and procurementi to initiate Building 800, opened at Sandia's main
adequate training programs; and to institute entrance in 1949, and other substantial
long-range development and testing. These 1 he buildings of the Larsen program entered
reported1 could only be accomplished by first service in 1950.
alleviating personnel and facility shortages at
Sandia Base. Larsen and his personnel manager, Ray
Powell initiated vigorous recruiting,

To undertake this reorganization Paul especially from the wartime proximity-fuze


Larsen was appointed Sandia's director in late project. Some came to Sandia from the New
1947. Born in Denmark, Larsen started his Mexico School of Mines fuze-testing program,
career early in the century with the Marconi and Larsen persuaded the AEC to purchase
Wireless Company and went on to the School of Mines buildings after the school
distinguish himself in the proximity fuze moved to Socorro. Located off Gibson
project during the war. Working for the Navy Boulevard two miles west of the Sandia
and the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns technical area 1 the school buildings became
Hopkins University Larsen pressed the West Lab, home to Sandia's first

development of the fuze from research to its contingent of scientists and managed by
production by the miUions before the war's Robert Petersen, a former colleague of Larsen
end. Richard Bice 1 then Sandia 1s director of in proximity-fuze research.
engineering, said Larsen walked into a
difficult situation at Sandia. "We came out of For expedited weapon production Larsen

the R&D end of the game - to go into large- created a "Road department headed by Frank
scale manufacturing that was foreign to us," Longyear. "Road," a code name perhaps

admitted Bice. "It grew rather slowly and emanating from the expression "get the show
people were somewhat upset in the higher on the road1 11 expanded from 20 to a total of
levels with the speed to which it wasn't being 300 personnel within the year, increasing the
done." Larsen s experience was highly
1 rate of production to about two bombs a
relevant to the Sandia situation. month. This rate seemed likely to provide the

Chapter 1

engineering, later recalled that his application

was. rejected several times because he was
overqualified before he explained to his
future supervisor how he had just rebuilt a
Ford Model A. This uhands on" experience
probably was more relevant than his master's
degree for building the Mark IJl, Fat Man type
weapon, that Los Alamos and Sandi.a. had in
production during the 1940s.

The basic division of responsibility for
development of the first generation of nuclear
weapons was for Los Alamos to provide the
high explosive and nuclear subsystem and for
Sandia to provide all of the other parts
necessary to produce a usable weapon_ These
"other parts" clearly differed from the Model
A in George Hildebrandt's job interview. They
represented state-of-the-art electrical and
mechanical technology. During its first
decade, Sandia not only designed and tested
this technology, it also produced prototypes_
for serial production, Sandia contracted in
Albuquerque and elsewhere for most of the
necessary parts.
Sandia's first task was to design the case
and non-nuclear components for the Mark m
1he i1T1plc.tion-type Mari< Hf and Marl< fV nudear bombs bomb, a weapon esse.ntially identical to the
were huge, es~eMially hand-crafted devi<::es based on the original Fat Man. This weapon was so large
Fat lvlan de~ign. that the. largest aircraft of the. 1940s could
only carry one.; yet, compared to modem
nation with all the nuclear weapons it
weapons, it was a low-yield bomb requiring
needed, so long as it had a monopoly on high-altitude delivery and burst 11eighr.
those devices. Tn retrospect, the pace see.ms
leisurely. If the President ordered the AE-C to Toternal batteries provided the power
transfer a nuclear weapon to the military in needed for fuzing the Mark m after it was
some emergency, Larsen was allowed sixty
released from the aircraft. These were lead-
minutes to get Sandians to the storage site acid batteries that had to be charged for as
and two hours to make the transfer.
long as. forty-eight hours before use. - a
feature quite burdensome to the military
While building its engineering w01k force,
services.. The electrical power needed to fire
Sandia emphasized a production orientation
the detonators came from the aircraft into a
and insisted that recruits have at least a B
700-pound firing set, known as the x-unit,
average plus. some pertinent experience. which contained a huge capacitor to store the
George Hildebrandt, who applied to Sandia energy. Once the arming and fuzing sequence
with a master's degree in mechanical

From Z to A Corporacion

Dismantlement of turplm warplane.!. w<u underway around Sandia until 1947. Among the aircrah to be u 1lvaged wa1 this: veterM
o{many bombing mi1Sions in Europe . The swastikas indicate tM number o{ enemy airuaft this bomber's ue.wwat credited with
downing, 11nd the bombs indicate the number of miuloni flown .

A crane drop~ a heavy plate to slic:e up mrplu~ aircraft for salvage at Sandia Base in 1946.

Chapter 1 __

start the radar fuze.s_ This barometric delay

shortened the time radar fuzes would operate
and helped prevent electronic jamming by
enemy defenses.

The Mark Ill fuzing system used

components from the Archie tail-warning
radar system, used on aircraft in World War II
to warn a pilot of an attack from the rear_ [n
the Mark III application they sensed the
distance to the ground and sent a firing signal
to the x-untt at the proper altitude_ Improved
and reduced in size, this fuze was also used in
the Mark IV. Major improvements, first
fielded in the Mark IV bomb, began in 1949.
These changes included upgrading the low-
voltage battery that powered the radar to one
requiring a single day to charge, and
protection against enemy countermeasures -
revealed by intelligence sources - that might
jam Archie radar fuzes.

Sandia's first significant improvement for

the Mark III was to redesign the firing
subsystem that stored energy for release in
the precise form needed to fire the
detonators. The original system used aircraft
electrical power because the low-voltage
batteries in the bomb were marginal in
capacity_ This created a safety problem for the
aircraft crew since the bomb was partially
armed in flight. The solution was to develop a
firing set that could be charged rapidly after
release of the bomb from the aircraft_ This
new system significantly reduced both the
battery charging time and x-unit weight.
Cliff Hiner stands watch over the perimeter. Sandia's security
force ceplac.ed military guard~ on patrol and on the guard The Mark 1II had a heavy steel case to
towers until the towers were removed during the 195 Os. protect it from antiaircraft fire. Its ellipsoidal
shape resembled that of a watermelon, and
was complete, this energy was released as a because Sandia is a Spanish word meaning
high-voltage pulse to the detonators to fire the watermelon, wags referred to Sandia as the
high-explosive lenses, thus compressing the ''watermelon laboratory." Such a watermelon
fissionable material into a supercritical mass. shape released from an aircraft tumbled end
over end, so tail fins were installed to keep its
A spring-wound clock timer started when radar pointed at the target. However, the
the weapon left the plane and operated for bomb wobbled unsteadily during free fall_
fifteen seconds to assure the bomber's escape Notably, both the Nagasaki drop and the
before closing a circuit to enable a radar fuze. 1946 Crossroads drop were off center target.
As a backup system to protect the aircraft and
crew, the Mark llI also had barometric The Mark IV development program was
switches, or baroswitches, to sense altitude authorized by the AE.C concurrently with the
from atmospheric pressure. At a preset Mark III, its goal being ''to engineer the Mark
altitude, the baroswitches closed contacts to III into a device that could be easily
_ _ __ _ - _ _ From Z to A Corporation

project. This episode of essentially immediate

redeployment of technical and administrative
support staff to a new nationally defined
urgent task marked the first in a series of
remarkable events over the years that
characterize one of the precious resources
provided to the country by a national

By 1950, the Mark JV Mod 1 had evolved

into the Mark 6 (as model numbers grew,
arabic numerals were used). This new weapon
featured a jamming-resistant radar fuze that
could be reset for different height-of-burst
options, improved ballistic performance, a
contact fuzing option, and, most importantly,
a mechanical in-flight insertion mechanism.
Now the crew of the aircraft could insert the
capsule in much less time than had been
required by earlier designs. The scientist was
finally out of the bomb bay. The development
for the Marl<. 6 Mod 2 was a brief two years
Weaponeer Leon Smith was part ol the engineering team and production began in early 1952, with
responsible for arming and fuzing the Little Boy and Fat later modifications folloWing quickly.
Man bombs. He joined Sandia's bomb fuzing group in
1947, initiated sy;rems engineering In 1955, and directed In 1946, Sandia's field test group, under
the components, weapons development, and monitoring
systems groups before retiring in 1988. Glenn Fowler, had established two test ranges
for ballistic and related tests of the bombs. A
temporary range with mobile equipment was
assembled by the military and stored in the opened near Los Lunas1 New Mexico for tests
assembled form" and could be produced in flown out of Kirtland fjeld. Sandians helped
the AEC's integrated contractor complex that load the inert test bombs, then motored the
became operational by the late-1940s to thirty miles to Los Lunas while the :S-29s
replace some Los Alamos and Sandia facilities. struggled to raise seve.ral tons of bomb to
Jn fall 1947, about midway in the develop- about 30,000 feet for the drop. Fowler's field
ment program, AEC priority shifted suddenly test unit tracked bomb trajectories with
to the first series of full-scale nuclear tests tor Askania phototheodoHtes, developed by
weapon development purposes, Operation German optical experts to track the V-1 buzz
Sandstone, at Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific bombs. The telemetry group installed
Ocean. instrumentation in the inert bombs to record
performance data.
Sandia's associate director, Robert W.
Henderson, was appointed First Assistant Jn the same year, because the Los Lunas
Scientific Director to assume overall range was nearly a mile in elevation, Fowler
responsibility for technical support of the arranged for the use ot an old Navy test range
operation that would eventually involve over with an elevation of 200 feet below sea level
10,000 people and hundreds of ships, motor at the Salton Sea in .southern California, This
vehicles, and aircraft. Henderson drew many permitted assessing bomb ballistics at all
of his technical staff from Sandia, including elevations, and the Salton Sea base served as
Jack Howard, Glenn Fowler, Don Cotter, Lou Sandia's principal test range until 1960. About
Hopkins, Art Machen, and Leon Smith. Upon 100 Sandjans worked there full time during
completion of the last of the three tests on the 1950s, living in temporary housing and
May 15, 1948, the task group began to using a lodge and restaurant built by the AEC.
disband and Sandians returned to the Mark JV

Chapter 1

Reviewing Larsen's expansion plans for

Sandia in late 1948, Bradbury was disturbed
to learn that Sandia would have 1300
employees at work in 1949. Questioning why
Sandia should have a staff the size of l,os
Alamos, which was "responsible not only for
the basic nuclear development, but for
fundamental research in a variety of fields,"
Bradbury directed Larsen to stop hiring while
he and the university reconsidered the future.
Bradbury concluded that the University of
California's contract responsibilities at Sandia
should be limited to engineering, and the
university's leadership concurred. He
therefore proposed administrative transfer of
Sandia's Road department, the production
engineering arm, to the Bendix Corporation
at Kansas City. Bendix would produce the
Mark JIJ while Sandia designed the Mark JV
and improved future weapons.

Larsen objected strenuously to the Bendix

proposal, citing personal experience. He had
seen management of proximity-fuze
development at the Applied Physics
Laboratory sha.red by johns Hopkins
University for research and an industrial
contractor for production, and he considered
that arrangement a failure. He suggested that
the A.EC centralize responsibility for weapon
quality and performance in the laboratory
that was responsible for their original design
and development. "Close technical
coordination must exist between weapon
Military staff urs line the street outside Building 818, research and development, the ensuing
headquarters for Sandia Base and Z-division until 1949. production engineering phase, and the final
To the left is the base chapel.
acceptance of the end products," averred
Larsen, "to insure that they meet the orlginal
THE BRADBURY INITIATIVE required and planned specifications."

By 1948, the AEC had begun forming an Larsen countered Bradbury's initiative
integrated contractor complex to supplant or with an offer to form a non-profit corporation
supplement the complex created during to be named Sandia Laboratory, Jnc., to
wartime by General Groves and the Army. At manage Sandia as a whole. Sandia would
Kansas City, the AEC contracted with Bendix jncorporate and manage itself under AEC
Aviation to open a plant for the production o( guidance. This plan did not meet with
electrical and electro-mechanical weapon approval from the Air Force, which
parts, replacing the Army's Rock Island recommended that the AEC seek an
Arsenal. This move sparked Los Alamos and engineering (irm as the contract manager for
the University of California to request that Sandia - perhaps General Electric, Norch
they be relieved of responsibility for American Aviation, or Borg-Warner.
production engineering and assembly at
Sandia Laboratory.

From Z to A Corporati<ln

SEARCH FOR INDUSTRIAL 1936 and managed substantial contributions

from Bell to the national defense during
MANAGEMENT World War II. Kelly took Bell Laboratories to
first-rank leadership through his insistence
While the debate over Sandia's future that it sponsor fundamental research in
continued, AEC chairman Lilienthal had addition to empirical, cut-and-try
turned to industrial contractor-operators, not methodology. He made Fisk his assistant for
only for production facilities but also for physical research and employed such
laboratories in some instances. At the end of theoretical physicists as William Shockley and
1947, for example, he selected Union Carbide John Bardeen. Their Nobel prize-winning
to replace the University of Chicago for the success in devising the transistor in 1948
management of Oak Ridge National brought Kelly renown as an industrial research
Laboratory. He was predisposed, therefore, to manager. It is noteworthy that Kelly employed
.search for an industrial manager for Sandia in young researchers in transistor and solid state
November 1948 when the University of sciences such as John Hornbeck, Morgan
California announced its wish to withdraw Sparks, and George Dacey, each of whom
entirely from Sandia and asked that the AEC would, in time, serve as president of Sandia.
select another contractor by July 1949.
ln company with General McCormack,
At this news, Roger Warner, who had left Kelly paid an extended visit to Sandia during
Sandia to become AEC Director of the spring of 1949_ On May 4, he presented
Engineering, joined with General James his report to the AEC and an audience that
McCormack, AEC Director of Military included Paul Larsen. Kelly reported that
Applications, and James Fisk, AEC Director of work at Sandia was hampered by several crash
Research, in a survey of industrial candidates programs forced on it by military
tor Sandia's management. Because Sandia requirements and by the university's
provided "the connection between Los
Alamos and the airplanes," they considered
this the most important management
decision they had made so far in the weapons
business. They were interested in reci:uiting
Bell Laboratories for the job. Fisk had worked
for Beil Laboratories during the war, and
eventually became its president Tn addition,
Oliver Buckley, president of Bell Laboratories
in 1949, also served on the AEC General
Advisory Committee. Fisk and McCormack
approached Buckley, who agreed to allow
time for Mervin Kelly, Bell's director of
research, to study the Los Alamos and Sandia
situation. As an individual, not as a
representative of Bell, Kelly agreed to
undertake an independent study of
conditions at Sandia . He specified that he
would not name any firm to assume charge of
Sandia, nor would he submit a written report.

A former student of famed physicist

Robert Mtllikan at the University of Chicago,
Kelly joined AT&T in 1918 and patented
improvements in vacuum tubes and
Mervin "loe" Kelly, president ol Sell Laboratories, recommend~
transoceanic telephone service. He became the formation ol Sandia Corporation in 1949 and was later
director of research for Bell Laboratories in initrurnenLll in moving Sandia toward eoharxement ot
weapon development engineering capab~ities.

Chapter 1

disinterest in production and purchasing Pointing out that Sandia had 1400
obligations. He urged the AEC to quickly select employees and an annual budget of more
another manager - not another university, than $10 million, Lilienthal told Wilson that
not an independent corporation (as Larsen AT&T would be expected to take the entire
proposed), and not the AEC directly with civil package, including the test range and the
service employees. Sandia should be managed housekeeping work then done by the 160-
by a large industrial firm with considerable member staff of the AEC Santa Fe office. "It is
experience in defense programs. of the highest importance to the atomic
weapons program," Lilienthal stressed, "that
Although Kelly refused to specify a firm, the organization at Sandia be the strongest
by May the AEC had settled on AT&T as its organization that it is possible to obtain. 11
primary candidate. Sensing reluctance from
AT&T, Lilienthal discussed the situation with As a follow-up, McCormack met with
President Truman, and on May 13 the Wilson in June at AT&T headquarters irt New
President dispatched an appeal to the York. Within the Bell system, AT&T and its
patriotism of the president of AT&T, Leroy subsidiary Western Electric shared ownership
Wilson. Sandia 1s work was critical to national of Bell Laboratories. Wilson assigned the
defense, Truman stated, adding, "you have Sandia contract negotiation and management
here an opportunity to render an exceptional to Stanley Bracken, president, and Walter
service in the national interest. 11 "Exceptional Brown, vice president and general counsel, of
service in the national interest" has since Western Electric. A Western Electric team took
become Sandia's mbric. charge of the project and toured Los Alamos
and Sandia during July. After they visited Los
When Wilson replied that he would think Alamos, Norris Bradbury told the University
it over1 Lilienthal and his assistants spent of California regen ts that action would be
Memorial Day of 1949 at Wilson's home, swift. "The boys have had their marching
pressing their case. Wilson protested that orders ... 1 11 Bradbury said, "to take on this
AT&T had more than enough defense project and make a success of it."
contracts underway, notably development of
the Nike missile guidance and control system. Intentionally or not, AT&T had achieved
Moreover1 AT&T was defending itself against a an enviable position. Because the AEC had
federal anti-trust lawsuit 1 and Wilson thought insisted over the corporation 1s objections,
it ironic that one branch of government AT&T could dictate the contract terms and
demanded AT&T's services while another name its price. But AT&T did not press this
branch sought to dismantle its valuable advantage, insisting instead on a no-profit, no-
research and industrial capabilities. loss contract, not even asking for an account
to cover overhead. Although some AEC staff
Lilienthal explained to Wilson that urged that AT&T should be required to accept
"laboratory" inadequately described Sandia, a profit, to give the government leverage in
which performed 11 many tasks beyond those performance assessment, the AEC accepted
normal to a laboratory. 11 Its principal this unique contract arrangement. Over time,
laboratory function included supporting the it saved the taxpayers hundreds of millions of
design and development of weapons and the dollars, and absolved AT&T of the "merchants
equipment for handling and testing them. In of death" accusations that plagued defense
addition, Sandia was responsible for contractors during and after the world wars.
pmchasing and producing weapon parts; for When AEC counsel prepared a detailed
completing drawings and specifications needed contract, Western rejected it and proposed a
for manufacturing the parts; for scheduling brief, single-page contract requiring that
deliveries and assuring product quality; and for Sandia be managed according to good
monitming weapon quality throughout industrial practices. Although longer than one
stockpile life. It also operated the Salton Sea page, the final contract signed in October
test range, wrote maintenance and operations 1949 was indeed brief and essentially required
manuals, and trained the armed forces teams management of Sandia in accordance with
who deployed weapons in the field. AT&T industrial standards.
From Z to A Cotporatio11

For two reasons, Western Electric

incorporated Sandia Corporation, a wholly
owned subsidiary, to manage Sandia. First,
under University of California management,
policies had been established at Sandia that
Western Electric did not want to extend to its
own o perations. Second, the AEC wanted
Sandia to stand on its own as a corporation in
order to facilitate transfer of it as an entity to
another contract operator should AT&T
decide to withdraw. Formed under Delaware
law with stock worth $1,000, all owned by
AT&T and invested in U.S. savings bonds,
Sandia Corporation began managing Sandia
on November I, 1949. Just as the AEC had
planned, when AT&T withdrew from the
contract forty-four years later, the Sandia
Corporation transferred smoothly as an entity
to the new contract operator and continued
to manage the Laboratories.

George Landry, Westem Electric executive, served as

LANDRY MANAGEMENT Sandia's first president from November 1949 until
February 1952,

When the Sandia Corporation board of Accustomed at Western Electric to a sharp

djrectors first convened at AT&T headquarters distinction between management and labor,
in New York, 1t included four members, all Landry was uncomfortable with the first-
from Western Electric and none from Bell nam~ informality he inherited at Sandia from
Laboratories or other elements of the AT&T Los Alamos and its university management..
system. They elected George Landry, one of His efforts to implement Westem's industrial
their number, as Sandia's first president. practices encountered lively opposition,
especially his attempts to reduce the amount
Landry was a New Yorker who h.ad joined of annual vacation that had been allowed
Western EJectric jn 1911 and rose to manage its under university management. Sandia had no
Hawthorne and Kearny manufacturing plants labor unions when Landry arrived, but
and serve during the war on the Federal War organizers used the proposed vacation
Production Board. He had devoted his career to curtailment as a rallying cry and within
increaslng and improving industrial m o nths Landry faced negotiations with three
production. Before Landry came west to unions, eventually conceding.
Sandia, Western's executives assured him that
he had an easy job ahead, because Sandia was Landry found Sandia's physical plant in
an e.x.i.sting operation, rather than one that the throes of new construction, with muddy
Western had to create outright. Landry later or dusty unpaved streets and trenches opened
complained that this proved rather a across the entire area for utility Jines . The new
disadvantage. He landed at Sandia in the midst permanent buildings were intended to replace
o( turmoil, with morale low and employees the temporary frame structures built by the
fearful of the changes new management would Army, but urgent defense needs forced a
bring. To ease the transition, Landry attempted threefold increase in personnel and space
to keep Paul Larsen on , but Larsen left for requirements at Sandia. It proved impossible
Washington to become director of the Office of to ra2e the temporary buildings. They
Civilian Mobilization, the national civil remained in serVice; and o ne, Building 828,
defense program. was still in use almost a half century later.

This re,ruitment po$ter reflects Sandia's r;ipid growth to 4,000 t-mploy~ under wndrys mana9~ment.

From Z to A Corporation

As expected by the AEC, Landry brought a with Albuquerque leaders 1 and Sandians soon
top Western Electric management team with became involved in civic affairs. Sandia vice
him and inserted it atop the existing president and first general manager, Tim
organization. To the surprise of veteran Shea, became chairman of Albuquerque's
Sandianst Landry's executive team of four United Way campaign in 1951.
included only a single Ben Laboratories
representative, Robert Poole, who transferred The University of California had managed
from the Nike missile program to become purchasing for Sandia out of its Los Angeles
Sandia's director of research and business office, and Landry had to create a
development. Earlier, Poole had formed Bell's new purchasing organization at Sandia. Hardy
Whippany laboratory for military electronics. Ross and William Dietrich led the group of
This new management encountered three dozen purchasing officers imported
resentment from some of the employees. from Western Electric to centralize purchasing
at Sandia. This organization soon was placing
Landry met resentment from the greater 3,000 orders monthly with manufacturers
Albuquerque community as well. Sandia was throughout the nation.
largely a "company town." Not everyone had
automobiles for commuting, and the AEC Landry also reorganized and augmented
housing area had waiting lists. Separated the Road department in the Western Electric
geographically from the city1 Sandians used style, with distinct lines of management
military base facilities and flocked to the headed by superintendents. Walter Pagenkopf
Coronado Club, a restaurant and social center and Lyle Biskner were placed in charge of this
opened in 1950. Sandia's personnel director, new production engineering organization.
Ray Powell, observed that some people in This involved fundamental changes for the
Albuquerque considered Sandians to be design engineers, accustomed to working
"intruders on the mesa." As the contract directly with the craftsmen in translating the
specified, Landry and Sandia Corporation designs into production. Before Western took
replaced the AEC as the landlord for this charge, responsibilities had been fuzzy. "In
community, along with the housing at Salton many cases, we had craftsmen who had more
Sea, the motor pool, and the security forces. experience with mechanical or electronic
This freed the AEC from the headaches of design than some of the engineers," said
facilities maintenance such as planting the Corry McDonald. "We had some of the
grounds, repairing utility services, and cleaning engineers actua1ly doing some of the drafting;
dormitories. It was to be another decade before when they finished the initial phase, they'd
Sandians no longer needed the housing area take their drawings to the shop and get it
and amalgamated into greater Albuquerque. built." Landry ended this cooperative
interaction, and not all Sandians approved.
In an effort to ameliorate some of these
difficulties, Landry formed a public relations
department under Ted Sherwin. To better
inform employees, Sherwin began publication EMERGENCY CAPABILITY
of a newsletter, replacing a mimeographed FISSION BOMBS
bulletin distributed in Larsen's days. It
disconcerted Sherwin when Landry personally
reviewed and revised each issue. Landry Volume production often forces breaks
apparently subscribed to the philosophy that with the past} and Landry faced volume
the best public relations year is one in which requirements soon after his arrival. In August
the firm is not mentioned in the newspapers. 1949 the Soviet Union had detonated its first
If so, he must have been pleased in 1950. nuclear device. Its monopoly ended, the
Although the New York Times noted the United States felt vulnerable, and national
existence of Sandia in 1948 and 1949, in 1950 defense interests demanded expedited
it did not mention Sandia at all. For improved production from Sandia and the growing AEC
community relations locally, however, weapons production complex. Then 1 barely
Sherwin and Ray Powell established liaison had Landry settled in his office when the

Chapter 1



- -- -ANO ~-- -


To enhance morale and community relations, Landry established the employee s.ervices and public relations department. left
lo ri9hl: Eugene Peirc.e, department manager; Kenneth Smith, supervisor of employee serv.ices; Ted Sherwin, supeNis.or of
public. relations.

. -.

A view of Vie Coronado Oub's swimming pool and patio Me.a in the 19505.

Coronado Club employees as a pleasant, inexpens.i ve place to

When the Cmonado Club first opened its take their families. The Club has arranged a
doors on June 9, 1950, with a gala dinner multitude of functions aimed at different
dance, it was essentially a unique facility in groups: children's film nights, teenage dances,
Albuquerque, one of very few that could singles nights, Sanado meetings (establisped in
accommodate large groups. At that time, 1958 as a dub for Sandia wives to help them
Sandia Base was an isolated facility six miles acclimate to Albuquerque), bingo nights, and
from Albuquerque and many Sandia and AEC even a dog show. Attendance at the Coronado
employees still lived on base. The new Club's Club has reflected Sandia's cultural changes: At
purpose was to serve as a community its inception, the Club was "the place to be"
recreation center for the use of Sandia and AEC but as the years passed and the nature of the
employees, providing them with facilities work force changed, it ceased to be the
equivalent to those of the military. primary focus of Sandians' social activities.

The original Coronado Club consisted Although Sandians have for the most
of the ballroom and restaurant facilities and a part been law abiding and of exemplary
single swimming pool. The basement held a behavior, there was a famous altercation in
four-Jane bowling alley, game rooms for ping 1958 at the Coronado Club at an event called
pong and pool tables, and a small party room. the Beachcombers Ball. A few male Sandians
In 1956, a second pool was added, and in 1965 went swimming while inebriated, and the Club
the basement was completely rebuilt, management decided to take action. When
eliminating the bowling alley and game some members refused to leave -the pool, the
rooms. These were replaced with a Sandia manager sununoned the MPs. Those members
training facility used for work-related courses, at poolside were incensed and resisted the MPs,
organizational meetings, and other corporate throwing one in the pool. Several celebrants
functions. were arrested and given light fines for
drunkenness. A massive investigation by the
Despite Albuquerque's dramatic growth Provost Marshall andthe Club Board of
beginning in the 1960s and continuing into Directors followed, which end~ up with the
the 1990s, and the attendant expansion of New Mexico Congressional delegation and the
recreational facilities of all kinds, the Coronado AEC. Needless to say, that was the last
Club retained its popularity with Sandia Beachcombers Ball.

Chapter 1

George Landry established Sandia's medical department in 1950, and it had this ambulance for emergency service. Arthur
Chacon was the driver and Bernice Beeson the nurse.

Korean war began. Two weeks later, he Partially to compensate for the loss of 160
received a telegram, /1 Anticipating a military employees who joined the military services in
requirement not yet firm, you are directed to Korea, Sandia went to a six-day work week to
formulate a plan using all facilities at your meet its delivery schedules. Production of the
disposal to deliver to War Reserve at the Mark 5 began in 1951. That same year Sandia
earliest possible date service models of the completed its design of the Mark 6, which
TX-5.'' TX-5 was the Test experimental replaced the steel case used in the Mark JV
version of the Mark 5. It was replaced by with an aluminum case, thereby reducing its
Mark nomenclature when the program was wejght by nearly 2,400 pounds.
formally authorized.
During the Korean war, Sandia accepted
In 1950 the Navy Jacked an aircraft carrier emergency capability programs, representing
with a deck long enough to get a plane the peak of its weapon production efforts.
airborne carrying the Mark III or IV implosion two of these, called the 4N and 7N programs,
bombs. With smaller internal components, involved fabricating and delivering
the Mark 5 bomb weighed less and had a 45- handmade samples of the Mark JV and Mark
inch diameter compared with the Mark III's 7 bombs to the military services for use in a
60 inches. The TX-7, announced by Los national emergency, if such an emergency
Alamos in mid-1950, would be even smaller, occurred before full-scale production had
weighing less than 60% of the TX-5 with a begun. The Mark IV was a strategic bomb, a
diameter 20% Jess. Furthermore, it had an thud-generation Fat Man incorporating
inflight insertion mechanism developed at several improvements in Hs design. "We
Sandia for improved operational readiness. rushed around like crazy," recalled Robert

_ _ __ _ ____ _ _ __ From Z to A Corporation

Completed in 1949, Building 800 was Sandia's firH permanent building and bec;ime one of its ~ymbols. In this 1951
photograph, Building 802 is rising behind 800.

The construction or permanent faclUtles w as well underway by the time George Landry and S.,odia Corporation a_uumed
charge of Sandia's management in 1949. In the center Is the foundation excavation lor building 860.

- -,

-: .
.. , '

- _.

' .-:..

.~ , . : '
. , ' : .

...' .
. S~ndi11: visltlng N~r.se Mild;ed o'.''Nhitten c~l~insr on.an ri1 . . ..

em.P.loyee in 1951 ~ '

Sandia's.medical organization . A welltraineci medical staff has . .

" <ilW~ys been available at each.of Sandia's site~ :,
: -By t_h e middle .fthe tWenti~ili.centuzy; . .to handle em~rgency care for employees. 111
Ameriqri corpora-ttoris had taken .the sti.nd . . addition, i:nedical surVeillance has been seen
:: : . thatarnedkaJ setvke would-reduce:the' .. . -- as ari obl~gation from Sari4fa's early years:. -
. number of accidents a~d illrtesses.~xperie~c~d . Pepartments devoted to industrial hygiene .
, -: :b y employee(_: the argument th~t healthy - : . ._and r.adiation protection' ~re responsible' for . -
.: worksite ~sa productiv~ wotksite hasbtien : . .. :evaluating and monitoring workplace
', . '.con_vti)dngty 'Jllustrateo in many
iridristties . . . environments with, in recent d~cades, $pedfic
.. '
. over th{years anq'
Sandia has.wholeheartedly att-entiori tb potential reproductive haza(ds. .
aqopted this position: :from the beginning,' . . The medical staff, in: conjunction with the_
.~a:ridia's _employees have _had' access' to . ' . .
medical su~~illanc~ progratri m~nager,
m~4ica'l faciUties at work.. The two primary decides at what point personnel require
reasons for offering niedkal service are to mediCal surV'~illance and determines other
..' . '. render emergency care for inj~red or ill : ' .. .- categorieS"as n_e w ~sks or hazards' a"ie .
. '
' '
to provide.
medical sUr:veillance.
. '
. identified . .. '
' ' '
. . .. . .
. ... :
. 38. .: . . ,,
", I

... , ' , .

... ' . . :: .
' -
In addition to Sandia's on-site
facilities, in the early years ill employees often
had medical care come right to their door.
Sandia's first visitiJ1g nurse was Mildred
Whitten, who started the program in 1951
with an extensive background in industrial
and military nursing. The purpose of the
program was to make sure that an employee
who had missed t hree days of work was
receiving adequate medical care, was not
neglected or alone, and that the time was
appropriately charged to sick leave. Whitten
frequently encountered entire families who
had been taken ill and were unable to care tor
themselves, She would provide them with
nursing care, call a doctor if necessary, and
occasionally ended up shopping for groceries.

Beginning in 1949, Sandia made

group health coverage available to all
employees. Employees paid all premiums and
made their payments directly to the carrier.
When Sandia began sharing in the payments
in 1958, the Visiting nurse program was
phased out. ln addition to a concern with
immediate health problems, Sandia's medical
organization has also committed to helping
employees become healthier and maintain
their health in the long term through
lifestyle, diet, and exercise classes. Begun in
1986, the Total Life Concept (TLC), later
called SALUD, was patterned on an AT&T
program designed to teach employees how to
stay healthy, keep fit, and manage stress.

As Sandia's work has changed,

different medical programs have been added.
In 1953, two ol Sandia's five medical doctors were women.
For example, as a result of the end of the Here Dr. Charlotte Beeson and auirtant Mary Murphy time
Cold War, an increased emphasis on an x-ray on a patient in the medical department's new
nooproliferation, and ongoing negotiations radiographic room.
for nuclear weapon treaties, Sandians began
to travel abroad more frequently in the 1990s.
In response, the medical organization
established an International Travel Clinic to
offer appropriate vaccinations for travelers
and to provide information on health
conditions in various parts of the world.

Chapler 1

0 0-. ""'\
""' <:,;,..


The Marl< 7 became the first nuclear bomb chat could be carried by fighter planes. As shown, iu maintenance ar.d teni"g
required considerable equipment.

Stromberg of Sandia's 4N program, "trying to For mechanical engineers, the small

get enough components together for those diameter drove the design of the capsule in-
bombs to be put into the readiness stockpile.'' flight insertion mechanism. The electric
motors for the insertion mechanism required
Donald Cotter served as project e:ngineer better batteries and Sandia electrical engineers
for the Mark 7, the first tactical nuclear devised a longer lifetime battery with nickel-
bomb. Only thirty inches in diameter, it was cadmium electrodes, reducing strike
small enough to be carried externa11y on a. preparation time from one day to one hour.
fighter plane, and, because even it~ shape was Aerodynamici.sts were challenged by the
security classified, it was disguised as an design of the radome nose, fins that could be
external fuel tank. To get it into the rotated to be compatible with the large
emergency stockpile, Sandia had to install an number of tactical jet aircraft that might carry
existing fuze, wh ich meant it had to be the weapon, and by designs tor dive brakes to
dropped from htgh altitudes. Sandla's new prevent the bomb from exceeding Mach 1.
challenge then became development of Most of the arming, tuzing, and firing
tactical flizes and other systems tha.t would components were packaged in a cylindrical
permit fighter planes to deliver nuclear cartridge configuration that could be removed
bombs at low altitudes and still escape the for assembly and electrical testing by the
blast. This. challenged Sandia during the military weapon technicians, then being
1950.s to create contact fuz.es and weapom trained at Sandia Base.
that could be dropped on a target and then
detonated after impact, givtng the aircraft Both the Mark 7 and the later Mark 12
additional esc:ape time. bombs encountered mil-pitch coupling
(aerodynamic resonance) in drop tests. Harold

From l to A Corporation

Vaughn solved this problem by using fin tabs The Army's Mark 9, the first nuclear
or canted fins. These techniques, along with artiIJery sheU, was larger than conventional
spin rockets, were used on many subsequent artillery shells and to fire it, the Army built a
bombs and rocket vehicles_ special 280-millimeter cannon. Although
Sandia shared design responsibilities for this
In addition, Sandia had a small group shell with the Army, it accomplished a
working with the Naval Ordnance Laboratory significant design innovation in the
and the Army's Picatinny Arsenal on the telemetry for this project. Charged with
design of such fission weapons as the Mark 8 designing lnstruments that could fit inside
and 9. These were gun-type weapons, the shell and survive cannon firing to
operating on the principles used in the Little provide data on shell velocity and internal
Boy bomb. The Navy's Mark 8 was designed function.ing, Glenn Fowler's telemetry group
to penetrate and destroy concrete submarine successfully designed a vacuum tube that
pens. A modification that never reached could withstand the explosive shock.
production, the Mark 11, provided a Following the Mark 9 experience, Fowler
streamlined nosetip to allow its external decided to convert Sandia's telemetry systems
carriage on fighter bombers. Because the Mark to transistors to achieve greater ruggedness,
B's functioning resembled that of the Llttle He reasoned that telemetry could become the
Boy (LB), it was ca!Jed the "Elsie" (LC) . proving ground for the use of solid-state
Sandia's principal role in the Mark 8 design, electronics in weapons.
in cooperation with Naval Ordnance,
involved designing handling equipment and
an aircraft saddle to carry the bomb.

In 1953, the 280mm cannon on the left test fired a nudear artillery illell seven miles down ronge. After dHigning testing
telemelfy for the shell, Sandia replaced v.lwum tubes with transistors.

Chapter 1

ASSEMBLY AND STORAGE and guided missiles, including air-breathing

drones with turbojet engines that could
penetrate to targets without endangering
To assemble the high explosives for pilots or crews. By 19501 guided missiles such
implosion-type bombs1 Sandia in 1948 as the Matador and Regulus were being tested
constructed an area south of and some in the United States, artd the military services
distance from its original technical area. With wanted to arm them with nuclear warheads.
buildings com.tructed to confine accidental
blasts1 this part of Sandia became known as Although Sandia had become responsible
Technical Area II, to distinguish it from the for designing the components and casing
original site, now designated Technical Area I. surrounding the physics packages of nuclear
bombs, that was not the case with missiles.
Work on emergency capability weapons Missiles supplanted and supplemented aircraft
gave rise to another challenge, code named as delivery systems, and the military services
Project Water Supply. During the late 1940s, asserted design responsibility for these just as
the Army Corps of Engineers had begun the thev did for aircraft. Los Alamos would
design and construction of underground con"tinue designing the nuclear package for
storage sites for nuclear weapons. For site either bombs or missile warheads, but
design, Richard Bice served as Sandia1s Sandia's responsibilities were not so clear.
project engineer and Jerry Jercinovic as Where did the design for a warhead end and
liaison with the Corps of Engineers. By 1949, the military design f01 the missile begin? A
these sites began to open for service, and the high-level debate of this question continued
AEC assigned weapon surveillance activities until 1953 when the AEC and DoD spelled
at these facilities to Sandia. Until 1960, out the division of their responsibilities.
Sandia stationed staff at the storage sites to
monitor1 maintain, and assemble the While the debate was in progress, Sandia
weapons. To ready a weapon for use1 major created a warhead engineering department
components were tested and assembled with managed initially by Lou Hopkins and
the assistance of military personnel. The undertook to identify a standard warhead
weapons and nuclear cores remained in the design for all guided missiles. It used existing
custody of the AEC until the President of the bomb packages as the warhead, and
United States authorized release of the developed adaption kits to marry the warhead
weapon to the military. As many as two to different kinds of missiles. The warhead
dozen Sandians worked at each of the storage program moved quickly from the study stage
sites opened at military bases across the in 1950 to design engineering in 1951, and
nation. Intense security precautions required by the end of that year it had begun to ri~al
that they not mention where or for whom in size the bomb design programs at Sandia.
they worked, causing them considerable New challenges in weapon design were
difficulty when, for example1 they sought to heralded in November of 1952 by the U.S.
open bank accounts. detonation of Mike, the first large
thermonuclear device, in the Pacific. During
Landry's tenure, Sandia's yearly weapon
design projects increased from two or three to
As if the Korean War pressures were not
enough, Sandia received additional challenges
in 1950. Thanks to interactions with the
German scientists who developed the wartime Sandia initiated its first reimbursable
V-1 buzzbomb technology and were brought program in 1950 when it accepted, with AEC
to White Sands at the end of the war, the permission, funding from the Defense
armed forces had developed their own rockets department for a study of nuclear weapon

f rom Z to A Corporation

Building 904 in Sandia's Technical Area II w.is coru.tructed in 1948 for the i1s~embly ot high explmive~.

The Sandia motor pool was managed by the military until I 950.

Chapter l

managed the explosives tests in Coyote

Can5'on, south 0 Sandia's main area, while
others went to the Pacific to instrument
structures during atmospheric tests and
analyze nuclear blast results.

In 1950, the A.EC established the Nevada

Test Site (NTS) north of Las Vegas to conduct
nuclear tests, and a group of Sandia scientists
led by Everett Cox, James Reed, Byron
Murphey, Gemge Hansche, and Melvin
Merritt forus.ed on blast and other weapon
effects at the new site. These studies
introduced them to curious. sound and shock
wave effects that seemed to skip and return to
the earth at points quite distant from the test
site. A rumrnary of this research appeared
under the byLine of Everett Co'.lc'.1n a 1953
issue of Scientific AmeriLarz. Its publication
brought Sandia its first widespread
recognition for re.search .

Pressures on Llndry to further increase

Sandia's capabilities continued, coming from
such authorities as General ~cCormack, who
recommended that Sandia check any tendencies
toward emphasis on routine and minor
economies. "Nothing at Sandia musl hold back
development and engineering," warned
McCormack, "except the rate of invention. n A
decade later, Frank Neilson would tell Oival
Jones that, "here, money is like oil, you squirt it
on to make things go faster."
To launch Sandia'~ 1951 c.ampaign tor the Albuquerque
Community Chest (Uni~d Way), George Landry and <>dress
Greer G2!non conducted a live radio broadcast at the Sandia Systems aTullysis began in earnest at
base theater. Sandia in 1951 with the formation of a
weapom reliability committee chaired by
effects. Because. nuclear weapons at the time Walter MacNair and assisted by Robert
were low yield in comparison with later designs, Peterson of Sandia, Robert Prim and
it was important to the military services to consultant Hendrick Bode of Bell ldboratories,
understand how to maximiu their effrcts - the the latter a pioneer in systems engineering,
damage they would cause to the enemy. Their report, ~ued :in December 1952,
became a classic, concluding that nuclear
Early nuclear testing indicated that the weapons were special, not conventional,
effects on structures might be understood if having a complexity not subject to
fundamenta1 principles of airblast loading verjfication in peacetime. The report set
could be established. At the request of the standards for weapons reliability that became
Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, Sandia the goals of Sandia's design engineers. Tn
began studies of blast loading on structures, 1951, Sandia created its systems evaluation
using high e~los.ive..s: and small model department, oriented toward mathematical
structures, Research director Robert Peterson and statistical modeling. Within a few years,
employed such speciaHst:s as Harlan ~nander its systems analysis findings signifi~ntly
and 1.uke Vortman for this work. Jack Howard influenced nuclear weapon design.

- - - - - fwm Z lo A Corporation

Posed before Sandia's West Lab fii<:iUty in early 1952 were Sandia's management and fim scientists. front row, from Jeft;
Robert Poole, George Landry, Donald Quarles, Mervin Kelly, and Robert Petersen. Behind and to the right ot Quaile$ is
George Hansche, the lirst scientist to continue at Sandia until his. retirement.

GREENFRUIT one of the task force members. Other studies

considered weapons quality generally, and
INVESTIGATIONS their recommendations resulted in the
formation of an independent quality
Radar fuzes for bombs had continually assurance organization at Sandia. Some critics
been the foremost challenge to Sandia's thought the quality problems so serious that
development groups, both because of their Sandia should be returned to military
complex technology and because of the management. Mervin Kelly of Bell
difficulty of converting laboratory devices Laboratories quickly quashed that notion and
operating at high frequencies to hardware warned that AT&T would withdraw from its
produced by industrial suppliers. By the end contract in that case.
of 1951 serious quality concerns arose.
Richard Bice, director of engineertng, noted A shift in Sandia's management began
there were serious reliability concerns about a when the corporation board of directors
radar fuze for which the manufacturer could added two members from Bell Laboratories,
not meet quality criteria. Nor were the 4N Kelly and Donald Quarles. ln February 1952,
and 7N emergency capability weapons up to George Landry resigned as president of Sandia
standards; they were tool-made prototypes to be replaced by Quarles. Landry returned to
released at urgent military request before the Western Electric, but continued to serve on
designs went into production. Sandia's board until 1954.

lnvesttgations of quality began, and one A team of investigators appointed by the

of them, led by Tom Marker and focusing on AE.C and AT&T subsequently studied Landry's
problems '.v:ith the MC-1 radar, was named management, especially employee morale
the Greenfruit (for "unripe" designs) study by during those years. First, the team reported,

Chapter 1 - - -- - -- - - - - - -- - - - - -- - - -- - -- -- - -

Among the ~ldien from Project W-4 7 at Wendover airfield who later ioined Sandia ;,nd posed for thi! l 9.S6 portrait were,
front row, from feft: Chester Morterud. Al Hall, Manuel ~coo, ja~s tes Rowe, Bryan E. "Jim" Arthur. Bock row: Harley
"Eddie'' Walker, Albert Mandell, lames McGovern, Leoo Smith, G. C. Holtowwa.

the transition from university to corporate Years later, Kelly commented that under
management forced 1J40 employees to Landry's m<magement too much emphasis
adjust to new operating systems. Second, this was placed on preproduction, manufacturing
transition occurred while nuclear weapons control, and contracting aspects. Experience
were hecoming more complex and during showed the necessity for greater organiza.-
crash production schedules. Third, it tiona l emphasis on the development aspects
transpired at a time when Sandia's work force of the job, Kelly concluded, ''which led to
trebled and as production increasingly was the assignment of a Bell Laboratories man to
contracted out. Personnel who formerly had the chief executive position."
mpervised in detail the progress of a
component horn design to the stockpile had
to share their responsibilities with others.
These fundamental changes inevitably
affected morale.

From Z to A Corporation

ANSWERING THE QUESTION referred to it as ''black magic engineering.}}

Although the general public may have
thought there was something mystical about
How should nuclear weapons be atomic weaponeering, that was not what
managed? After six turbulent, formative years Warner and Olson meant. They implied
Sandia had its answer: by creating and nothing mystical, but referred to the
applying innovative but sound engineering to empirical cut-and-try engineering inherited
the major programs of systems development/ from the Manhattan Project.
component development, and field testing. In
addition it was recognized that high
While the development of nuclear
standards of performance for applied research explosives at Los Alamos certainly was science
and the supporting tasks of engineering for based, weapons engineering at Sandia during
production 1 quality assurance, and its formative years generally was not. This was
surveillance were critical. This approach was one reason why the University of California
instrumental in the process of equipping the withdrew from Sandia's management And
military services with nuclear bombs that while the military services and Defense
would provide the degree of effectiveness, department often funded such research
readiness, and flexibility consistent with high projects as the proximity-fuze program, their
levels of reliability and safety. intense interest in advanced engineering
came only on the heels of Sputnik in 19571
At the same time 1 the burdensome tasks when the Advanced Research Projects Agency
of maintenance 1 assembly1 and training began pumping funding into research.
during peacetime were reduced appreciably by
innovative design meamres. Transformed Landry and Western Electric 1s
from a handful of nuclear weapons for a management of Sandia Corporation from
single type of bomber after World War 11, the 1949 to 1952 aimed at organizing and
stockpile offered both strategic and tactical 1
increasing Sandia s production capabilities.
bombs capable of being delivered by a variety But in the rush to meet emergency military
of aircraft, some operating at transonic demands, quality was necessarily secondary
speeds. To do this, the Los Alamos-Sandia to output.
team was able to reduce weapon size and
weight by large fractions, both done at The election of Mervin Kelly of Bell
militarily useful nuclear yields. Laboratories to Sandia's corporate board in
1952 marked a turning point in Sandia's
In this process, Sandia set in motion a history. Although he never served as Sandia's
number of technological specializations that president} he gave the facility personal
over the years would yield payoffs in attention for the remainder of his career. Even
enhanced weapon capabihties 1 as well as later} while serving as president of Bell
contribute significantly to other national Laboratories, he continually commuted from
security programs. The expedient approaches New York to spend one week out of six at
to problem-solving that had characterized the Sandia. His objective at Sandia was to make
weapon program during World War II, such as organizational changes that would allow the
cut-and-try, trial and error, overkill, extreme engineering groups to concentrate on the
redundancy1 small-scale model tests, and weapon development phase. ~
overlapping designs gave way to an
increasingly orderly, measured development
cycle. The process also effectively met a series
of "emergency capability" needs to provide a
small number of prototype weapons that
could fill immediate natiortal defense needs.

Roger Warner described the production

and assembly of the early Mark models as an
occult art." Later, Sandian Del Olsort

Chapter 2 __

We must make sure that the quality and quantity of our military weapons rommand
such respect as to dissuade any other nation from the temptation of aggression. Thus,
we develop weapons, not to wage war, but to prevent war.

Dwight Eisenhower

The pace of nuclear weapon d.evelopment in warheads. Facing a growing Sovtet submarine
the United States peaked during Presi.dent force, the Navy urged-the development of
Eisenhower's administration. During the antisubmarine weapons, and, for threats
1950s, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) against Korea and Eur-ope, the Army required
completed its integrated connactor complex: nuclear-capable battlefield weapons. Ry the
to meet a massive production schedule. Large end of Eisenhower's administration, Sandia
jet aircraft capable of high-speed deli.very had undertaken nearly sixty bomb and
replaced the B-29 and other propeller-driven warhead application t)rograms.
bombers. The military services acquired
missiles tailored to their individual needs and Design parameters for nuclear weapons
requested that they be armed with nuclear evolved rapidly. Since- 1946, Sandia's designs

- - --- - - _ _ Jhe Eisenhower Buildup

- ..._. '
A 1959 view of the Sandia MounUins. shows Sandia's temporary buildings ir. the foreground .

had been for fission weapons. Successful THE QUARLES

testing in 1952 and 1954 resulted in the
addition of fusion, or thermonuclear, REORGANIZATION
weapons, and Soviet tests of fusion weapons
in 1953 and 1955 added to international At his first press conference after replacing
tension and to the sense of urgency at George Landry in March 1952, Donald
Sandia. The 1952 formation of Lawrence Quarles bluntly told reporters of Sandia's
Livermore Laboratory to compete with Los mission: to convert the Los Alamos nuclear
Alamos in the design of nuclear explosives explosive systems into deliverable weapons.
increased Sandia's responsibilities. Sandia He had heard many new concepts concerning
sent staff to California to support the the kinds, sizes, and shapes of these weapons.
Livennore activity, and made available its "Our job,'' Quarles summarized, "is to study
resources in Albuquerque to avoid costly these possibilities very carefully and to lay
duplication of these facilities in California. such information before the (Ato mic Energy]
Commission and the military as will enable
With designs for smaller, lighter-weight them to make wise decisions as to the lines of
warheads, and with the armed forces devising development to be pursued. "
sophisticated new delivery methods, Sandia
confronted complicated design challenges An Arkansas native and Yale graduate,
during the Eisenhower era. Its own initiatives Quarles joined AT&T in 1919 and was
included the "wooden," "building-block,'' supervising the Nike missile electronic-
and "laydown" bomb concepts that exist in guidance projec t for Bell Laboratories when
most of today's nuclear weapons. The he came to Sandia. From the Nike proiect, he
initiation of these concepts was the result of brought Walter MacNair and Stuart Hight to
the leadership begun by Donald Quarles and manage Sandia's research. To free time for his
continued by James McRae. coordination with the AEC and the military

Chapter 2 - - .~--- --- --

In 1952, Quarles elevated research from a

directorate to a vice-presidency headed by
MacNair, not so much to institute
fundamental research as to encourage
specialization in several areas of engineering.
The new organization included four
directorates - Research, field Testing,
Apparatus Engineering, and Electronics. The
organization was named "Systems Research,''
which was defined as ''studies to assure that
each specialized part of any system must not,
in itself, be optimized to the detriment of the
whole." This innovative approach to
problem-solving is attributed in part to Dr.
Daniel Worth of the AEC welcomes Donald Quarles to
Sandia in March 1952, with George Landry, r.:enrer,
Hendrick Bode's pioneering work at Be11
preparing to return to Western Electric. Telephone Laboratories. Bode and MacNair
had collaborated on a 1950 report that
services, he appointed Timothy Shea as
attempted to quantify the military worth of
Sandia's general manager for internal
nuc.lear weapons. This report induded a
administration of facilities, personnel, and
validation of the radar fuze concept, then
business matters. Quarles initiated week1y
involved in a competition wjth barometric
progress meetings with his vice presidents.
fuzing, a concept favored by the military.
For more than forty years, Sandians called
this executive group the "small staff' to
The advent of systems research at Sandia
distinguish it from annual meetings of the
eventually led to the development of a
"large staff" that included directors in
world-class reliability evaluation program.
addition to the vice presidents.
This p10gram developed a methodology for
prcdjcting and assessing the rellabHity ot a
At his first executive staff meeting,
given type of nuclear weapon by u~ing_
Quarles noted that he had learned in
mathematical models from the begmnmg of
Washington that the AEC headquarters had
design, throughout the development, testing,
decided Sandia would no longer perform any
and production process, and extending to
production of war reserve weapons. Th~ AEC feedback from actual stoc.kpile experience.
intended to limit Sandia to the productwn of
test prototypes, or to furnish the military
Quarles created a pre-production group in
with a few custom-made new weapons for use
May 1952 to assist in translating Sandia's.
in national emergencjes, meaning a direct
designs into products that would be used rn
threat to the United States or its allies in the
weapons. The existing production
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
eng1neering group (formerly the Road

Sandlans meet with Bell Laboratories leaders al Murray Hill, N.j. Left to right: James Fisk, George Hansche, Everett ~ox,
Hendrik Bode, Robert Petersen, Walter MacNair, Mervi1) Kelly, Robert Poole, Donald Quarles, R. Brown, Kenneth frn:kson.

lerr_y Curb<;>w (Dale Produ~u Inspector), Gilbert McGuinnes1, and D. C. Lewis (Sandia Field Repreuntatlve5)
review product, plans during a 1958 visit to the Dale Plant in AlbuquerljlU!.

Quality Assurance representatives served as the voice of Sandia

Corporation. They were on the lookout for
Quality Assurance concentrates on material defects and made sure the Quality
attaining high reliability and safety in Assurance Department was advised on. test
products for the nuclear weapons program. results. Jn the words of Harold Jeblick,
Controls are applied to the manufacturing Supervisor of the Field Inspection DiVision, it
process to establish a high degree of was the job of the :field representatives to
conformance between specifications and "establish and maintain good relations
weapon materials. In 1954, Sandia became between a supplier and Sandia Corporation."
the Quality Assurance Agency for the Atomic
Energy Commission's (AEC) Sandia-designed Sandia's quality assurance responsibilities
material. As an outgrowth of the wooden changed significantly in later years. In 1961,
bomb concept (completely assembled nuclear all weapon production work transferred from
weapon in a high state of safe readlness), the Sandia to AEC integrated contractors; Jn 1975,
rudiments of the modern Stockpile Sampllng ERDA took over the product acceptance
Program wt:?re bom four years later in 1958. function for Sandia-designed material; and in
1978 Field Operation was dissolved. Instead,
In 1958, Sandia was the hub of AEC's the Stockpile Sampling Program expanded in
Quality Assurance Operation. Sandia wrote scope and included responsibilities for
rules, issued inspectton procedures, carried developing and executing test and evaluation
out surveys, and staffed the quality assurance programs for nuclear w~apons.
function at thirteen modification centers
across the country. Fifty-nine field Build)ng on its tradition of quality
representatives who traveled in excess of assurance, in 1989 Sandia introduced a Total
1,000,000 miles in a given year ensured that Quality Program to its component
Sandia received high quality products. Their development center. This quality initiative
duties ranged from actual product inspections soon expanded throughout Sandia and
to providing advice on supplier quality reflected a strong customer focus aimed at
control systems, and identifying factors developing reliable products efficiently, cost-
influencing product quality. Field effec tively, and in a timely manner.

Chapter l

Donald Quarles reports on Sandia's growth to New lv1exico Senator CHnton Anderson's s.ati.<;{action.

department) became the manufacturing Communist threats. "There was an

development engineering department under immediacy, an urgency, with regard to doing
Harvey Mehlhouse. Held inspection offices everything possible to be responsive to
opened near AEC contractm production plants national pollcy in growth of the stockpile
to assist with production-line design and and variety of weapon types," Peurifoy
quality testing. Sand!a's production activities recalled. "Cost was of little consequence."
thereafter were limited to newly developed
weapon parts that were not available from Quarles also personally presided over
manufacturers. It pleased Quarles to report in Sandia's negotiations with the military
1952 that Sandia had placed 32,000 orders services on the design and production of
with 3,500 different industrial contractors. arming and fuzing systems for missile
Even for its research and engineering warheads. For the early guided missiles, such
development needs, Sandia contracted for as Matador, Regulus, and Corporal, and tbe
assistance from eighty-eight different short-range ballistic missile, Honest John,
industrial, university, and military laboratories. Sandia provided adaption kits that permitted
use of explosive systems, such as the Mark 7,
Prom Landry, Quarles inherited a young as missile. warheads. This was accomplished
work force numbering about 4,000, with an amidst a top-level AEC and Department of
average age of 32. About 20 percent of this Defense debate over the procedures to be
number in 1952 were female and about 20 used to develop the technical details of
percent had moved to Albuquerque from nuclear weapons. After a lengthy and
outside New Mexico. Sandia employed few sometimes contentious two-year negotiation
scientists and most of its middle managers with significant input from Quarles himself,
were engtneers; in fact, the majority were a document was issued, informally known as.
trained in electrical engineering. When "The 1953 AEC-DoO Agreement," which laid
electrical engineer Robert Peurifoy joined out the process for setting requirements and
Sandia during the Korean War, he found organizational responsibilities. This model,
work proceeding on a six-days-a-week which would serve the system for decades to
schedule under intense, secretive conditions come with only minor modification, defined
in the face of what seemed ominous the six phases in a weapon's life cycle.

__ ____Jhe Eisenhower Buildup

Weapon Life Cycle Phase.,: checked for quality both as they enter the
stockpile and during their stockpile lifetime.
Phase 1: Weapon Conception - the
exchange of preliminary information that Later, Phase 7 was added: Retirement -
may lead to a feasibility study of a weapon weapon removed from the stockpile and
program. Studies done by 1_,0s Alamos, returned to Pantex for disassembly.
Livermore, Sandia, and DoD, independently
or cooperatively. During the final review and issuance of
the 1953 "AEC-DoD agreement,'' the AEC,
Phase 2: Feasibility - joint AEC, DoD, and over the objection of Quarles and Sandia,
contractor investigation of whether concept also agreed to relinquish missile warhead
can be applied and manufactured. lf weapon arming and fuzing systems responsibility to
is seen as feasible, the AEC will issue a Phase the DoD and its contractors. codified as what
3 authorization tor development of the came to be known as the "AEC-DoD Missiles
weapon design. and Rockets Agreement." Sandia's
organiz.ation for designing warhead adaption
Phase 3: Development - desi.gn definition. kits, led by Louis Hopkins, closed abruptly,
Engineering design and production planning with some of its personnel transferring to
lead to full-scale mockup.s for environment.al Lockheed, Boeing, and other missile
and flight testing. contractors. Thereafter, Sandia worked on
missile warhead arming and fuzing systems
Phase 4: Pilot Production - designs are only by request.
translated into production terms. Tool-made
samples are fabricated . Responding to military requirements for
an emergency supply of early fusion bombs,
Phase S; lnitial Production - manufacture Sandia organized a fusion weapon design
and delivery of first unlts. Thi.sis the department under Eaton Draper, with Ray
production engineering phase. Brin, Lee Hollingsworth, and Leon Smith
heading divisions for electrical. mechanical,
Phase 6: Quantity Production and Stockpile - and developmental testing. With an urgency
units are produced in quantity and driven by Soviet detonation of a fusion

Sandiam ai.sembling electrC>nic.s during the 1950s.

Chapter l _ _

)ames Mc.Rae came from Bell Ulbor;itorie$ to manage

Sandia ir1 1953, wnen 0on:31d QuarJ~~ went to the Defense

President Dwight Eisenhower ~nd hi$ rmiH~l'\t, Fr~nk

Sanderson, muster Donald Quarl~s into the OeJen$e

device in 1953, Sandia's team sent ctes\gns to

manufacturers at a swlft pace. -

The weaponization projects that began

during Quarles's tenure included four
Emergency Capability fusion bombs - TX14,
TX16, TX17, and TX24; and the W7 (BOAR
and BETTY for the Navy as well as an atomic
demolition munition version), the WIS, and
the W23. Already under development were
some nine warhead applications projects, as
well as the B12, B18, and B20 implosion
bombs and the Bll gun-type bomb.
James McRae meeu with AEC oHic:ials in 19.S?. Clockwiu
from bottom kit: General Allred Dodd Starbird, Mc.Rae, Max
In 1954, when the AEC completed the Howarth, retired General Kenner Hertford, Gene1al Kenneth
conversion of an Army ordnance plant at fieldi.
Amarillo, Texas into the Pantex nuclear
weapons assembly facility, some experienced make war reserve thermonuclear bombs for
weapon assemblers from Sandia transferred to the national stockpile meant continued
the new facility. Sandia later opened a growth. lmptementation of these new
weapon evaluation office at Pantex, managed concepts had scarcely begun before President
successively by Dennis Murphy, Wilbert Eisenhower ca11ed Quarles to Washington in
Sherman, Leonard Parsons, James Martin, and August 1953 to serve as Assistant Secretary of
Oscar Hernandez. This suboffice of about two Defense for Research and Development. From
dozen Saodians had heavy responsibilities for 1955-1957 he served as Secretary of the Air
evaluating the continuing quality of the Force, and from 1957-1959 was Deputy
national stockpile. Secretary of Defense. He died of a hea1t
attack in 1959 on the day President
During the Quarles administration, new Eisenhower intended to appoint him
weapon design concepts and the net!d to Secretary of Defense.

_ _ The Eisenhower Buildup

MCRAE LEADERSHIP before a congressional committee, Senator

Anderson greeted him with the observation
James McRae, a native of Vancouver that someone taking charge of several
British Columbia, succeeded Quarles in ' thousand employees in the hometown of a
Septembe( 1953. In 193 7, after earning member of the Joint Committee on Atomic
graduate degrees at the California Institute of Energy should at least drop by to say, "How
Technology, McRae joined Bell Laboratories do you do." Anderson was very influential
and during World War II became a colonel in and McRae soon mended this fence.
the Army Signal Corps. He received medals
for leadership in the development of McRae continued the management
electronic countermeasures to iam enemy pattern begun by Quarles, with a Bell
radar for the protection of Allied aircraft. He Laboratorie.c; engineer at Sandia's helm and a
had charge of systems development at Bell Western Electric leader as its general manager.
Laboratories in 1953 when he was reassigned McRae's first general manager was Max
to Sandia. With his people-oriented Howarth, followed in 195 7 by Siegmund
management style, McRae provided "Monk" Schwartz. This informal custom
leadership during Sandia's implementation of extended to other co.rporate positions: Bell
new concepts in nuclear weapons design. Laboratories scientists served as directors of
research, Western Electric executives as
McRae's career at Sandia had an directors of purchasing, and so forth . Because
inauspicious beginning. Arriving in a hurry these executives usually served only a few
to replace Quarles, he neglected paying a years before returning to their home
courtesy call on New Mexico Senator CJin ton corporations, Jess transient Sandians
Anderson . Later, when McRae first testified described them as "visitors from the East."

h andia's _first ventu_re into solar energy came in 1956 w hen it c.onverted a surplus army searchlight into a solar furnace tO<
eat-testing materials.

Chapter 2

NOVEL APPLICATIONS acquired microwave ovens, then a novelty.

After using them, Payne and his associates
predicted that microwave ovens would
Sandia's engineers were alert to the eventually find applications in every home
potentials of many advances made outside kitchen, predicting that they could "bake a
the Laboratory. For example, the plastics, cake in a minute." The use of microwave
microwaves, and digital computers that technologies in radar and communications
fa~inated Americans during the 1950s
became the applications of greater
interested Sandia engineers and scientists as significance at Sandia.
Computing was in its infancy during the
Hoping to use plastics to reduce weapon 1950s, and Sandia had none of the huge
weight, Sandia opened a laboratory during mainframe computers de.signed for weapon
the early 1950s under the leadership of devel.opment during World War TL At first,
Leland SangsJer, better known outside Sandia Sandia rented card-programmed calculators
as a magi.c ian. He had worked vaudeville from International Busjness Machines {IBM),
with jack Benny and gained fame by driving and by 1954 it had three of these vacuurn-
automobiles while blindfolded . His plastics tube machines, more than any other
laboratory experimented with encasing laboratory in the nation . Henry Schutzberger
electrical and electronic weapon parts in headed the division that operated them,
plastic resins to protect them againrt impact, using stacks of keypunch cards to perfo1m
shocks, and moisture. basic arithmetic functions. Schutzberger
asserted that these machines could do in a
Jn 1956 Sandia went on to open a minute calculations, such as bomb trajectory
plastics shop under Harold Payne to explore tables, that took a mathematician with a
substituting high-strength and lightweight calculator eight hours to perform.
plastic composites for metal parts. To heat-
weld various plastics together, this shop

fl"I 1959, th~ IBM 705 mainframe computer with ics magnetic: tape recorders filled an entire room in Sandia'~ building 88<).

- ------ . The Eill!!nhower Buildup

Jn addition to card machines, during the

1950s Sandiaru used smaller analog
computers for many applicatiom, sometimes
designing such computers to fit specific
needs. Howard "Jim" Durham, for example,
builr a computer he named Raypac (ray path
analog computer) to support weapon effects

In 1954, Sandia acquired its first digital

compu ter, a CRC 102, soon followed by an
IBM 604, Elecom 125, CDC 3600, and lBM
7090, It opened computer centers operating
around the clock, seven days a week, to keep
up with demand for calculations. ''One
suspects that the present methods of defining
a technical design by drawings and
specifications probably are obsolete, " Glenn
Fowler predicted. "The day is not far off
when information stored in written form on
p ieces of paper will be considered essentially
useless compared to information stored in
some form amenable to automatic handling
by electronic methods." Fowler's prediction Ena1psu!.ating, or "potti"9,'' telemetry and weapon
proved generally accurate, and Sandia components in pl.aitic resiru p<ot~M tnem against shock
.and moi.tture.
continued to advance its computational
capabilities into the 1990s, when it became a WOODEN BOMBS
world leader by achieving massively parallel
computer speed records.
Weapons designed by Sandia and Los
Sandia's location in the Sourhwest Alamos and produced for the military in the
inspired some early experimentation with late 1940s and early 1950s incorporated
solar energy. Taking advantage of abundant many commercial components adapted for
sunshine, in 1956 john Eckhart and Carroll use in arming, fuzi ng, and firing systems.
Coonce converted an Army surplus Liquid electrolyte batteries and
searchlight into a solar furnace for heat- electromagnetic relays are examples. To
testing materials. lnstalled on a tracker check on the operational status of these
~inting it toward the sun, the searchlight
weapons, military organizations had to use
muror focused sunlight to generate large amounts of monitoring equipment and
temperatures capable of melting materials of many highly trained personnel Batteries
interest. It served so well compared to other also had to be periodically recharged . The
energy sources that Sandia installed a military services wanted to reduce the n eed
permanent solar furnace. for continually testing and monitoring the
weapon components and circuits and, at the
Plastics, microwave circuits, computei:s, same time, they wanted new weapons to be
and solar energy applications all grew from smaller, lighter, more versatile (e.g., with a
Sandia's sole function during the 1950s: full-fu zing option including strategic
nuclear weapon engineering. Of the many airburst, laydown delay burst, and contact
advances made in weapon design during the burst upon hitting a target), more rugged
decade, Sandfans later took great pride in (e.g., bomb "laydown" capability), more
three particular con cepts: "wooden, " reliable, and able to stay in dormant
" building-block, " and ''laydown" bombs. stockpile for a longer time .

Chapter 2 _ _ __

In early designs 1 nuclear weapon ZIPPERS

maintenance resembled that for aircraft on
standby - planes were regularly taken out of
storage} tested, and the engines started. In the early nuclear weapon designs 1 an
Arthur Machen and his liaison office trained initiator inside the pit released a neutron
servicemen to perform maintenance testing burst to initiate the chain reaction. Weapon

and Sandia assigned personnel to assist each maintenance included frequent replacement
weapons storage site. In addition to sending of these limited-life internal initiators, which
personnel, Sandia designed the sophisticated required extensive disassemb1y. As an
and expensive testing equipment needed at alternative to initiators, Los Alamos in the
each site. Moreover, experience revealed that early 1950s conceived of using a miniature
the testing process could itself produce betatron to accelerate electrons into a
defects in components. In brief, maintenance bery11ium target as a neutron generator that
proved costly in equipment, personnel, could be installed outside the pit 1 easing the
reliability, and readiness. The military regular replacement maintenance. Almost in
services were anxious to reduce these parallel, a small electronic device, using

especially the time needed to ready a tritium ions accelerated onto deuterium to
weapon, and Sandia shared their concerns. produce neutrons, was conceived at the
University of California at Berkeley. At the
Recognizing all of these desires, Sheldon request of Los Alamos, Sandia undertook the
Dike and Walter Wood of Sandia's systems engineering development of both devices
analysis group articulated the "wooden and contracted with the General Electric
bomb" concept. The goal was not only to Research Laboratory at Schenectady for a
design and produce weapons that minimized program of development that resulted in
the necessity for military personnel to test selecting the electronic neutron source for
and monitor weapons during stockpile first application.
storage, but a1so to meet the new array of
stringent military characteristics. The Zipper was selected as a code name for
wooden bomb would be a nuclear weapon the classified device by the Zipper Steering
that would lie in storage for twenty or more Committee after it was allocated the letter Z
years without major maintenance, yet could following the use of x-unit for weapon firing
be pulled from the stockpile and used at a sets. The Zipper Steering Committee was
moment's notice. Bob Peurifoy noted the composed of representatives from Los
concept was "scary, like parking your car in a Alamos, Sandia, the University of California
garage for years and expecting it to start at Berkeley, and later from Lawrence
when you first turn the key.11 Livermore Laboratory. Glenn Fowler, director
of electronics, somewhat facetiously
A further impetus came from a report by indicated that the word Zipper referred to
George Edwards of Bell Laboratories their ease of replacement: their location
employed by James McRae as a quallty external to the pit and high explosive
control consultant. Edwards visited storage assembly made it possible to open the side of
sites in early 1954 and told McRae that, a weapon, replace the neutron source, and
Ii zip it back up. No longer was it necessary
before weapons could be used, the detonators
and cables had to be installed and correctly to return the nuclear systems to their
connected, various components had to be production site for disassembly and initiator
installed, the batteries charged, and the fins replacement.
bolted on. "One doesn't expect his
automobile to be delivered to him,'' Edwards Sandia's Zipper investigations began in
said, "with the fenders separate to be bolted Building 802 1 upstairs from James McRae's
on when he gets ready to drive it." Clearly, office, and he often stopped in to see the
Edwards reported, Sandia should strive for work of Wesley Carnahan, Ted Church, and
improved readiness capabilities. the team testing a 235-pound betatron and
later the 20-pound experimental neutron
source. McRae took a personal interest in the

- -The Eisenhower Buildup

safety of their work with high voltage and

encouraged them to seek ruggedness and ease
of manufacture in their designs. In 1955 he
approved the arrangements for neutron
generator development support by the
General Electric x-ray department.

The AEC handed Sandia the task of

getting these neutron generators into
production. Sandian.s went to Florida in 1956
to assist With the design of production
facilities at the new Pinellas Peninsula Plant
built by General Electric for Sandia. After the
building was finished, the AEC decided that
it should own it and manage production
contracts directly. Sandia managed the plant
during its first months of operation until the
AEC completed negotiations on its contract
with General Electric, making Pinellas part of
the AEC produc tion complex.

Development of an external neutron

source aided the AEC laboratories in their
quest for weapons that were rnaintenance-
free, requiring no disassembly. And while
pursuing this goal, Sandians achieved
advances in the designs for fuzes, batteries,
and "one-shot" transducers.

Wor1cing with the electronic:s in a field test trailer at Nevada

ONE-SHOT COMPONENTS Test Site in 1953 are Norman Bolinger, foreground, Bob
Witthauer, and d Ames.

The nuclear physic.' package in each

weapon is a one-shot device: once it has Early weapons used lead-acid batteries.
exploded, its job is done, Arming, fuzing, Some follow-on weapons used nickel-
and firing components that didn't have to be cadmium batteries. Both types o f batteries
tested by military personnel could be one- required frequent charging and contained
shot devices, too. To stretch an analogy, liquid electrolytes that were corrosive. To
safety airbags in modem automobiles are develop batteries for wooden bombs, James
essentially one-shot devices, are not reusable, McRae in 1953 formed a power supply
and estimates of their reliability must be division to initiate research in battery
accomplished statistically rather than technology. Chuck Burrell, Charlie Bild, and
individually. Thus, active research and Bob Wehrle found a solution in the one-shot
development work concentrated on replacing thermal batteries originally developed in
many of the reusable components in arming, Germany. Their wmk was supported by
fuzing, and firing systems with one-shot fundamental investigations by Sandia's first
devices. By containing small explosive physical chemist, Frank Hudson. Containing
charges and solid chemicals, the components no liquid, these solid, rugged batteries would
could meet the new needs for smaller size not deteriorate for many years and neve r
increased ruggedness, increased reliability,
' required charging. An electrical or
and longer stockpile life. mechanical input to a thermal battery
ignited a dry chemical inside, and its heat
melted the other powdered chemicals within,

Chapter 2

forming an electrolyte and generating either the Edisonian cut-and-try method. Sandian
a high or low voltage to power a weapon Del Olson observed that production of the
firing set for a limited time. Because thermal explosive actuators initially was more art than
batteries could not be tested individually science, "you need a pinch of this and a stir of
before use, several taken at random from that and it worked, and you built thousands
each production lot were ignited in and tested hundreds and if the hundreds
simulated use-environments to statistically worked you put the others in the stockpile.
estimate the reliability of the rest of the We don't like doing that, but it works."
batteries in that production lot. More than
ninety-nine percent of all the batteries tested As supervisor of experimental research 1
performed as designed. Thus began Sandia's Richard Claassen employed many
power supply research that steadily improved professionals who made their marks at
thermal and other type batteries, eventually Sandia. Among them were George Anderson
earning Sandia nationa1 recognition as a and Frank Neilson who were assigned to

leader in battery research and development. analyze firing sets and detonator circuits. Out
of their studies came design improvements,
EJectromagnetic relays used in arming, notably Neilson's exploration of explosive-to-
fuzing, and firing systems in early weapons electric transducers, both ferroelectric and
were adapted from telephone-type relays. ferromagnetic types. Polarized ceramics used
Although these relays met the requirements in these devices, when shocked by a small
at the time, they did not meet the more explosive or some other mechanical stress,
stringent requirements for use in wooden released the remnant polarization in the
bombs having full-fuzing options 1 form of a high-voltage discharge. Sandia used
particularly the need for increased reliability, the discharges from these one-shot devices to
smaller size, and ruggedness. Sandia 1s relay initiate weapon components, and it took a
and switch development group initiated the leadership role in ferroelectric and
adaptation of a small and rugged one-shot ferromagnetic sciences that has continued to
explosive switch developed by the Naval the present. Neilson's ferromagnetic
Ordnance Laboratory. When triggered by a breakthrough came "because Frank really
small pulse of electrical energy, a tiny understood what was going on/ Claassen
explosive charge produced a gas, which later asserted. "Other people had failed
quickly pushed a piston carrying a cylindrical because they hadn 1t understood the physics
contact that opened one pair of electrical involved."
contacts and closed another pair. Universal
Match Corporation set up a manufacturing Claassen also initiated fundamental
plant to produce the switch in la1ge investigations on piezoelectric crystals that
quantities and their chemists helped when crushed or mechanically stressed
Sandians characterize the explosives. With discharged an electric current, and identified
Sandia guidance Universal Match also
1 one that could serve as a contact fuze. Placed
established a quality control program to help in the nose of a nuclear bomb 1 a contact fuze
produce this high-reliability one-shot using piezoelectric crystals can operate in two
component. Jay Grear observed that to help modes to produce an e1ectrical output: either
assure that the high reliability requirements by being crushed from one end (potentially
were met, many thousands of switches were unreliable because the electrical wiring may
produced in a pre-production run; most of be destroyed first) or1 preferably1 by
these were test fired in a wide range of responding to ultrasonic energy that travels
simulated normal-use environments with no rapidly along the weapon case from the point
failures encountered. of weapon impact to the contact fuze before
either the contact fuze or the wiring is
In addition to switches, many other one- damaged. The electrical output closes a
shot components incorporated explosives: switch to initiate the detonation of the
valves, mechanical pistons, and firing sets are nuclear physics package. These one-shot
examples. For some of the early one-shot contact fuzes, destroyed during their
explosive devices, development proceeded by function, helped Sandia to design nuclear
__The Eisenhower Buildup

The first !ealed-pit weapon, !he W25, wa1 used with the Genie roc.kec and could be carried bB1eath aircraft, as shown in this
testing picture.

bombs with contact burst as one of their full - Mark numbering system to identify design
fuzing options. models and to use instead the B designation
for bombs and the W for warheads. The W25
In summary, developing one-shot and B28 marked another watershed in the
components for arming, fuzing, and firing history of nuclear weapons. The W25
systems proved a key to designing wooden warhead was designed for use with the air-to-
bombs that not only eliminated much of the air rocket called Gwie. It was a pioneer -
need for military personnel to monitor and the first warhead to b e completely designed
test the weapons on a frequent basis but also and to enter the stockpile as a sealed
provided them with smaller, lighter, full- pit/wooden bomb system . The entrance of
fuzing options and more rugged, more the B28 to the stockpile marked. the
reliable, and longer-lived weapons. flowerlng of the building-block concept.
These, plus the W54 Davy Crockett and the
854 Special Atom ic Demolition Munition,
merit special atten tio n .
SEALED-PIT WEAPONS Sandians, led by John Cody, Samuel
Moore, and Bill Hoagland, d esigned the
building-block 'B28 system initially as a
In itially, the capsule containing the fissile fillion-type tactical bomb to replace the Mark
material of a nuclear weapon had been kep t 7 for external carriage on fighter-bombers .
separate from the rest of the weapon system . The bomb project evolved into a basic sealed-
to be inserted only when the weapon was pit warhead provided by Los Alamos with
used. The first sealed-pit weapons, in which both bomb and missile applications . When
the capsule is sealed h ermetically and fitted with kits of vartous shapes and arming,
contained permanently within the pit at the fuzing, and firing capabilities, bombs capable
center of the weapon, were introduced in of both internal a nd external carriage by a
1957 by Los Alamos. The sealed pit allowed variety of aircraft could be assembled. Tbe
th e physic.s package to be utilized as an 'B 28 therefore becam e the Air Force's primary
interchangeable building-block componen t bomb for delivery by both tactic.al and
that could be readily used in different strategic. aircraa throughout the 1960s. The
weapon systems. Navy also adopted it for aJrcratt delivery, and
the basic B28 warhead fou nd application as
By the late 1%0s, Sandia, with AEC the W28 for the Mace tacticaJ missile and the
concurrence, had begun to abandon the old Ho und Dog strategic missile. Hence, the

Chapter 2 _ _ __

Left to right Robert Poole, lames McRae, fm~t Lawrence,

and Edward Teller inspect the launcher for a Davy Crockett
weapon in 1958.

William Denison and James Kane in1Pect three weapon

designs. Top to bottom: the B57; 843; and Davy Crockett
(W54), the small weapon standing on Its nose.

828 became the multipurpose building block ol banks of testers and a platoon of
for seven weapon systems, resulting in personnel at storage sites, the W25 required
significant savings in design effort and only two testers: one to check the warhead
funding. seal and another to test the continuity of the
flring circuits. Thus, wjth the addition of
Walter Treibel, William Wells, and John sealed-pit weapons to the stockpile in 195 7,
Piper, together with their Los Alamos Sandia began transferring lts field
counterparts, designed the W2S for use with engineering personnel from the storage sites
an air-to-air tocket first called the Ding Deng to other assignments.
and later the Genie. Tt was designed to give
Air Force fighters the ability to destroy The small size of the W54 Davy Crockett
enemy bomber squadrons. Because of its and the B54 Special Atomic DemoJition
hermetically sealed pit, maintenance was Munition marl< another important trend in
simple compared to earlier weapons. instead weapon ordnance design during the 1950s

___The Eisenhower Buildup

and early 1960s: miniaturization. Starting

with huge bombs weighing as much as
twenty ton.s early in the decade, by the end
of the 1950s some nuclear weapons weighed
less than 100 pounds, small enough for a
single soldier to carry. As work proceeded on
the WS4 warhead, a Sandia California team
managed by Leo Gutierrez conceived the
Davy Crockett weapon and designed its
propellant and launcher as well. With a
recoilless rifle launcher, two soldiers could
launch the Davy Crockett nuclear warhead.

Multiple uses were envisioned for this

portable weapon system. lts integrated
designed included a cover with a
combination Jock to prevent unauthorized
access, a removable section of the firing set,
and fuzing components consisting of a dual
channel mechanical timer as well as a remote
control capability. Weighing about 65
pounds, it could be delivered by one man.
Based on it, Treibel managed a team that
developed the Special Atomic D~olition
Munition, desjgnated B54. These portable
demolition weapons would allow Army
engineers to blast mountainsides down into Sandia vice pr~idenu Eaton Draper and Glenn Fowler, and
passes to stop an enemy advance or to Alan Pope, director of aerodynamic projects, examine a
parachute used in a te5t drop.
destroy bridges and structures to deny thei r
use to the enemy. Laboratories, for example, played a major
rote in developing radar defenses and
!n 1958 the Secretary of the Army participated in design of the Distant Early
declared that this weapon "dwarfs in Warning radar line across North America.
firepower anything we have ever known in Increasingly, radar, antiaircraft OTdnance, and
the immediate area of the battle line." James nuc1ear-tipped missiles threatened the high-
McRae and the Sandia design team received a ltitude delivery mode for nuclear weapons,
awards from the Army for their contributions and defense planners exp lored alternabve
to development of the Davy Ctockett, but delivery methods.
the weapon's stockpile life was brief. "People
said we can't have a couple of guys start a After analysis of this delivery-mode
nuclear war, so it was removed quickly from challenge, members of Sandia 's experimental
the stockpile," Gutierrez later philosophized, weapons research group, notably Kenneth
concluding, "they were probably right." Erickson and Dick Claassen, developed the
laydown concept. A jet aircraft flying near th e
speed of sound (Mach 1) just a few hundred
feet off the ground might well elude radar
LAYDOWN AND WAIT detection until it was too late for enemy air
defenses to respond. If it delivered a nuclear
By 1954, both the United States and the bomb at low altitude, however, the blast
Soviet Union had jet aircraft capable of h igh- would destroy the aircraft and crew before
speed delivery at low altitudes, and both they could escape. What the Air Force and
were building elaborate radar systems for Navy seemed to need was a bomb that could
early detection of air attacks. Bell fall to the ground and await the escape of the
aircraft b efore exploding. In late 1955, based

Chapter 2 _

Serial photographs of a TX-43 laydown bomb test drop. Note the nose cone comin9 off to expose the spike on the bomb's nose.

upon Sandia's exploratory studies, the target, while the pilot looped the plane over
Department of Defense specifically proposed and back toward safety. This maneuver would
a joint AEC-DoD study and the Tableleg require considerable pilot fortitude in 1950s-
Committee was formed. vintage aircraft traveling at or above the
speed of sound. Second, parachutes,
In its teasibility report, the Tablel.eg rotochutes, or retro-rockets on a bomb might
Committee suggested two possible delivery retard its descent to the ground, slowing it to
methods. First, an elaborate aircraft prevent its destruction at impact, thereby
maneuver might provide escape time: as it allowing a timer to delay detonation. The
approached, a low-flying aircraft could pull second option seemed preferable. But where
up and lob its bomb in an arc toward the were bomb designers going to find a

__Jhe Eisenhower Buildup

parachute capable of retarding a bomb brought to America after the war. The
weighing sevecal tons released from a plane Sandians soon recognized that oft-the-shelf
at 700 miles per hour at very low altitude? parachutes would not serve. Their problem
demanded substantial research and testing_
The parachute problem constituted just
one part of the laydown design challenge. Aewdynamic research required wind
Even if Sandia could find a parachute that tunnel testing to assess bomb, shell, rocket,
would reduce bomb descent velocity to less missile, and reentry vehicle aerodynamics,
than a hundred feet per second, .some means and weapon barnstks. Tnitially, Sandia rented
of mitigating the impact shock still had to be military and industrial wind tunnels, but in
found. Moreover, all parts of the weapon had 1956 the Lab built its own wind tunnel to
to be "ruggedized" to withstand a hard test scale models at transonic speeds. Later,
landing, perhaps on the concrete of an Maydew, Carl Peterson, and Don McBride
airfield runway. The problem resembled upgraded the transonic wind tunnel to
smashing an automobile traveling at fifty supersonic and built a hypersonic tunnel
miles per hour into a concrete wall and with an 18-inch-diameter test section for
expecting the dock, radio, and starting rocket and missile testing.
system to function normally.
For field testing, Sandia built a test vehicle
Solving the parachute problem fell .resembling a bomb, and optical expert Ben
initially to George Hansche, who had been .Benjamin mounted cameras on it~ afterbody
studying bomb ballistics at Sandfa with the to photograph the deployment of various
assistance oi military officers. Hansche parachute designs. Using these cameras,
recruited aerodynamics experts for the task, photographs of high-speed parachute
including Alan Pope and Randy Maydew, deployment became possible, revealing the
who together formed the nucleus of Sandia's rips, line entanglement, and other
aerodynamics department. These Sandians compllcatioru that interfered with ope.rations,
consulted Air Force parachute experts, Maydew, in cooperation with the Air Force
notably German pioneers in parachute design Parachute Branch at Wright-Patterson Ail'

At a Sandia hypersonic wind tunnel for aerodynamk research, a Sandi;i specialist peers through a window to observe
the performance of a model.

Chapter 2: _ _ _

Force Base in Ohio, designed new ribbon seemed so p romising that it was tested.
parachutes and conducted thirty-three low- Another idea, called the "Loncstar project,"
altitude drop tests at Mach numbers from 0.6 involved pladng the bomb, surrounded by
to 1 .0 from October 1955 to July 1956. These crushable metal honeycomb in a scow-shaped
te.sts conclusively demonstrated that a container resembling a Lonestar fishing boat
laydown bomb was feasible and Maydew and dropping it to land fl.at on a target. Metal
served as a parachute technical consultant on honeycomb, as the name implies, had the
the TabJeleg Committee. hexagonal shape and strength of natmaJ bee
honeycomb and had been used in aircraft
With photography, win.d tunnels, designs to absorb impact shoe.ks.
computt:r modeling, and other technology,
S:mdia's aerodynamic experts and parachute After reviewing many concepts, Sandia's
laboratory developed nt:w parachute engineers settled on three shock-abi;orbent
designs. T'heyr also identified new m aterials, systems: a spike, a cookie-cutter, and the
nylon and kevlar, that were sufficiently honeycomb, each of which they used in
strong to slow bomb descent to achieve the various weapons. Don Cotter, who headed a
laydown goal of less than 100-feet-per- group studying shock mitigation, said, "The
second at impact. ln a. e.w years, unde r the problem is, the thing doesn't come down
direction of Maydew and Peterson, Sandia's nicely. If there's a wind blowing, it's
parachute technology was second to none, dropping and traveling and you worry about
and the Air Force and National Aeronautics tumbling." A spike on the weapon's nose
and Space Administration began requesting allowed it to impale itself in the target to
Sandia's assistance with specific parachute keep it from slapping down. Tn the cookie
designs - for the recovery of space shuttle cutter design, the nose cone blew off the
boosters, for example. weapon before impact, exposing a crenellated
design that offered a shock-absorbing surface
Even after parachute braking, the that also dug into the ground to prevent t he
laydown bomb would hit its target at about weapon from tumbling. The aluminum
fifty miles per hour and obviously needed a crushable honeycomb was a material placed
shock mitigator. Sandia's engineers reviewed in the bomb's nose to absorb the shock of a
many concepts. AI Bridges thought of using vertical impact.
corn flakes in a bomb\ nme to ab~rb the
landing impact, and someone else suggested for acceleration and impact testing in
using old c.oruputer paper, an idea that connection 'VJi.th the laydown bombs and

S.mdians irupecr an experimental bomb iha~ (TX-43) with a spilce on ii.!. n ose for shock mitigation.

The Eisenhower Buildup

Allen G. Siegler, director of photography for Lookout Mountain laboratories, led the crew filming the installation of Sandia's
first large centrifuge built during the 1950s for acceleration spin testing.

other weapon designs, Sandia in 1954 The first shock-absorbing device adopted
opened environm~tal testing facilities in was the cookie cutter wi.th a simple blunt
Technical Area Ill. Here, Sandia built rocket spike on the nose of tile W34/Ml< 105
sled tracks to smash weapons into waLis at Hotpoint. GTowing out of the W34 designed
high speeds, centrifuges to spin weapon parts for the Navy's Lulu depth bomb and as the
at great acceleration, and compressed air warhead for the Astor nuclear torpedo,
guns for impact testing. [n 1956, it added a Hotpoint was envisioned as a lightweight
300-foot tower to drop-test bombs and other bomb to fill the Navy's need for a weapon
items. With facilities added to check the with laydown capabilities.
effects of temperature variations, vibrations,
and essentially all environmental stresses The first weapon to use the long nose
that might affect a weapon, Technical Area spike was the B4.3. If parachutes held the B43
HJ became one of the nation's largest and near enough to a vertical landing, its nose
most versatile test sites. Glenn Fowler said, spike impaled the target, holding the bomb
"We must provide a vehicle which is as upright to prevent slapdown or tumbling. As
simple and reliable as possible under the Cotter observed after seeing the spike system
wide range of environmental conditions to tested, the spike went ''chung" right through
which the vehlcle may be subjected in the several inches of concrete and held the bomb
course of its military handling and use." there without tumbling until its timer
finished ticking. The 84:3 entered full

Chapter 2 - ----- - - - - - - - - --

At Sandia's new 1led track in 1954, preparations are made tor a rocket-propelled sled impact test The Sandians at work are,
left to right, Walter Drake, Donald McCoy, Fred Brown, and Sid Cook.

. - - - -- - -- __The Eisenhower Buildup

Sandia tested its component designs for all environmental stresses including sub.zero temperatures in c::old chamberi.

engineering development in 1958, and University of California Radiation Laboratory.

thereafter the design of every large bomb in Herbert York, one of Lawrence's postdoctoral
the stockpile allowed laydown delivery by students at Berkeley, was the Livermore Jab's
parachute if tactics made that desirable. The first director. After Lawrence's death in 1958,
B43 remained the sole bomb with the nose the facility was renamed Lawrence Livermore
spike, however. later designs used crushable Laboratory.
honeycomb and shock absorbers.
Located in the rolling hills midway
between the coast and the San Joaquin
Valley, and about fifty miles east of San
SANDIA IN CALIFORNIA Francisco, the Livermore community had
served as a railroad center for a vineyard
ln 1952, the AEC created a second region before it became home to a Naval alr
nuclear explosive design laboratory at station during World War JI. Surplus facilities
Livermore, California, to compete with Los left from the air station provided housing for
Alamos in physics package design. Not all of the new AEC facilities before more
the AEC commissioners wanted it there. permanent structures were completed.
Commissioner Thomas Murray, for example,
wanted it built at Sandia in Albuquerque, Jn 1952, Bob Henderson, Richard Blee,
while Willard Libby preferred Reno, Nevada. and Ralph Wilson met with York to negotiate
Ernest Lawrence, Nobel laureate at the Sandia's role. Even before constructing a
University of California, was enormously separate facility of its own in California in
persuasive, however, and the new laboratory 1956, Sandia provided Lawrence Livermore
was built in Livermore as an extension of his with vital support, especially with full-scale

Ch..:iptu i -~---

- .--
...__ . ..
,,.,_,,_~. ~
- 1
......._ ---

Sandians working in the drafting room at Livermore in 19.SB before permanent building! were completed.

nuclear tests in the Pacific a.nd at the Nevada that Sandia send more than the 250
Test Site. Edward Teller, Mervin Kelly, and employees planned for California
General Alfred Dodd Starbird visited Sandia a&s:ignrnents:. The AEC considered assigning
in the summer of 1955 to discuss how Sandi.a rhe engineering at Livermore to such firms as
should provide continuing support to Westinghouse and Precision Engineering, but
L:iwrence Livermore. Jn August, Sandia vice in e.:i.rly 1956 directed Sandia Corporation to
president Robert Poole proposed the establish a laboratory at Livermore under the
formation of a laboratory consisting of existing contract. Sandia executive jack
perhaps 250 employees a.t Livermore 1 and Howard later attributed the formation of
McRae broached the idea with the AEC and Sandia California to strong personal support
the Sandia corporate board. With their from York, who wanted a separate
approval, during the fall of 1955 a few engineering organiz.ition.
Sandians went to California on temporary
assignment to work. directly with Lawrence
Livermore on its early nuclear weapons -
the B27 and its counterpart for the Regulus
guided missile, the W27.

Near the end of 1955, AEC Chairman

Lewis Snauss told KeUy that Sandia must
provide the ordnance engineering support for
Lawrence Livermore, and it should not be
overly conservative in the personnel and
facilities assjgned to the task York also urged
left lo right: Edward Teller, &nest Lawrence, Dol"la!d
Cooksey, Robert Poole, Herbert York.

_ __Jhe Eisenhower Buildup

These were among the Sandiaru sent to Livermore in 1955-56. (1) Charles 8.arncord, (2) Char1es Gump, {3) Clifford Erickson,
(4) Benjamin f'istw, (S) Robert Siglod(, (6) Gayle Cain, (7) Vernon Field, (8) Char1es Winter, (9) Wayne Crim shaw, (10) Frank
Thomas, (11) Orv.;11 Wallen, (12) James McMinn, (13) Mary Van Brocldin, (14) WiHlam Marsh, (15) Nora Byrd.

Jn early 1956 Sandjans from Albuquerque Sandia California also aimed for technical
transferred to Livermore, where they first excellence . Before transferring to Livermore,
occupied the abandoned naval air station for example, Howard had never seen a firing
barracks. Howard became the first manager of set smaller than 134 pounds. At an early
Sandia's engineering department at meeting, York told Howard that his
Livermore, With Ray Brin and Charles laboratory planned to design a 50-pound
Barncord managing the two project divisions. warhead and asked how much the fireset
These and a bout two dozen personnel would weigh. Although thinking it might be
officially opened Sandia California at 100 pounds, Howard said that Sandia would
Livermore on March 8, 1956. Two months reduce the weight to J 0 pounds. On this and
later, Sandia's manufacturing engineering related challenges, Sandia delivered .
group opened a west coast division In Beverly
Hills to interpret specifications and assist with Sand ians occupied building 911, their
quality control for suppliers working under first permanent building, at Livermore in
new contracts with Sandia. By the end o{ October 195 7; and in November, Robert
1956, Sandla had completed plans to increase Poole, vice president of development,
its staff at Livermore to about 1,000 personnel transferred to Livermore to manage Sandia's
and to invest $5 million 1n the construction work there . Poole had just <:ompleted a tour
of permanent buildings and support fac:Uities. with Teller and Lawrence to the Sixth Fleet in
the Mediterranean to assess Navy operational
Called "Cactus Jack" by his friends, Jack requirements. At the time, the Navy,
Howard thought the key motivation at the Lawrence Livermore, and .Sandia had the
new Sandia facility should be competition . Regulus missile with its W27 warhead under
Located across the street from Lawrence development. The Navy also had initiated
Livermore, which sought to make its the Polaris submarine missile program, the
reputation w[th bold and innovative designs, third leg of the national defense triad:

Chapter 2 ---

Califom1a, Lawrence Llvennore's managers

expressed concern that the needs of Los Alamos
received greater attention, and they pressed for
Sand.ia's expansion in California. Yet, one
Lawrence Livermore manager admitted,
"Sandia gave the impression they were always
looking for more work They would come up
with plenty of manpower to work on these
problems, and seemed to enjoy them.'' .
Responding to its growing missions, Sandia
more than doubled it's California site area,
added environmental and explosives testing
areas and substantially increased its structural
facilities, but the number of Sandians at the site
remained fixed at near 1,000. Sandia New
Mexico -,;;vas tasked to provide major
component and other support to Sandia
California in order to balance out the Los
Alamos and Lawrence Livermore support,
Vi<:e-president Robert E. Poole consults with departm~o,t
managers jack Howard and Charlie Campbell at Sandia s
California site.
strategic aircraft, intercontinental missiles,
and submarine-based missiles.
When Donald Quarles, as Secretary of the
Air Force, was briefed on the W,25/Genie
Among the early projects at Sandia
rocket system design, he had concerns about
California were contributions to all three
the level of nuclear weapon safety. In earlier
pillars of the defense triad. Among these were
weapons, the capsule of fissionable materia!
the W38 for Titan missiles, the B41 bomb for
had been stored separately from the explosive
the Strategic Air Command, and the W47 for
system, presenting no danger of accidental
the Polaris submarine. Key technologies
nuclear detonation until the capsule was
devised during the early years at Sandia
inserted after takeoff. Now that the W25 pit
California included ferromagnetic firing sets,
was sealed inside the weapon, Quarles asked
miniature gas valves, and new
what had been done to guarantee safety.
instrumentation for weapons testing. Sandia
California teams developed small
A DoD group, led by Navy Captain William
ferromagnetic firing sets for warheads,
Klee and known as the Klee Committee, was
enabling Sandia to achieve the 10-pound
established to examine the safety is.rues Quarles
goal. Harvey Pouliot led a group devising
and others had raised about sealed-pit weapons.
tiny gas valves, and he patented an
Sandia's response to the concern was to
explosively actuated valve. During testing of
redesign and retrofit the electrical subsystems
the W47 for Polaris missiles., Lee
for the warheads intended for use in fowteen
Hollingsworth directed a Livermore team
we.Jpon systems. The modifications
that designed telemetry instrumentation to
incorporated new safety features, including a
record and assess warhead performance
crew-activated ready-safe switch.
during realistic flight tests. These and related
efforts brought Sandians at Livermore
As the implications of the sealed pit
commendations trom Admiral Raborn of the
innovation were examined further, concern
Polaris program and an enviable reputation
was also raised about inadverte nt application
for innovative design.
of power to the weapon while it was being
handled on the ground. Sandia's solution was
Because Sandia's operations in Albuquerque
a family of handling safety devices, d esigned
remained several times larger than in

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ The Eisenhower Buildup

to prevent electrical signals from reaching the production task force to join with the
warhead connector unintentionally. For production contractor's engineers in
bombs and warheads, devices were developed advancing the technology. Sandia tested the
that would block power until they sensed switches in centrifuges spun with rockets to
differential altitude, velocity, and/or launch achieve acceleration. Robert Stromberg took
acceleration. Since none of these one to Cape Canaveral for testing and
environments applied to atomic demolition installed it on the NASA rocket system that
munitions like the B54 that had no trajectory propelled monkeys into orbit in preparation
or environment to sense, specialized locking for John Glenn 1s Mercury flight. Douglas
devices were developed and advanced Ballard, known to the public as an artist
development was initiated on pulse-train rather than as an engineer, headed the Sandia
switches} early precursors to modern use- task force that successfully produced an
control devices. inertial switch that achieved ninety-nine
percent reliability over a production run of
The first trajectory sensors, commonly several thousand units.
referred to as environmental sensing devices
(ESDs) were relatively large originally
1 1

designed to detect parachute deployment in

bombs. These were adapted for use in the W49 THE SPUTNIK SHOCK
warhead used in Atlas, Thor, and Jupiter
missiles. However, because it was preferred Coupled with Soviet development of
that the stockpile have a single device fusion weapons, the steady electronic
compatible with all the warhead programs and transmission from the Soviet Sputnik orbiting
because these devices were relatively large, an the earth in 1957 shocked the United States,
inertial switch jokingly referred to by some as
especially its scientists and military leaders.
the first "goofproofer," was developed. This Apparently, the Soviets had achieved the
switch consisted of a tiny piston enclosed so capability to launch ballistic missiles. James
tightly in a cylinder that it could not move far McRae pointed out that prior to 1957 the
enough until the rocket or missile carrying it United States, with strategic bombers and
attained high acceleration and/or deceleration "those watermelons that the Watermelon
and sustained it. Just as a jackrabbit start in an Corporation helps to design," had a massive
automobile forces its passengers back against retaliation capability the Soviets lacked. With
their seats, the rocket acceleration forced the its Sputnik success 1 the Soviet Union was on
piston down its cylinder to close electrical its way toward a similar capability.
contacts and arm the warhead.
In response to the chill of Sputnik, the
Reflecting the tension inherent in trying Strategic Air Command dispersed its bombers
to meet the requirements of both weapon and maintained a status of "quick reaction
safety and operational readiness 1 the military alert. 1' Schedules for deployment of the Atlas
services at first objected to the addition of the and Titan intercontinental-range ballistic
ESDs because they considered them contrary missiles, the Jupiter and Thor intermediate-
to the division of labor specified in the 1953 range missiles, and the submarine-launched
AEC-DoD agreement regarding missiles and Polaris missiles moved ahead on a crash basis.
rockets. However, safety concerns prevailed
and the devices were installed. For Sandia, the most immediate
technological challenge was development of
Inertial switch design required extremely the W 49 thermonuclear warhead for the
close machining tolerances to allow proper missiles on a 10-month time-scale. This
metering of the airi that is 1 the piston could svstem which remained in the stockpile for
not slide through its cylinder until it sensed {7 yea;s with a zero failure record, was
the specified acceleration. The millionths-of- developed under the full set of
an-inch clearance between the piston and its weaponization criteria with no Limits placed
cylinder pushed the envelope of the on its operational capabilities. Because of
machining art, and Sandia formed its first
Chapter 2 - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - --

Dan Parson~, Dalt: Fastle, and Ben Benjamin photograph ipace sotellites passing over Sandia.

uncertainties as to the possibility of Soviet and reorganized Defense agencies. to place

countermeasures, particularly nuclear added emphasti on research. Herbert York left
radiation, Sandia designers developed a. Lawrence live.rm.ore Laboratory and became
warhead electrical system that used no the new Director of Defense Research and
components known to be sensitive to credible Engineering, while Roy Johnson headed
levels of nuclear radiation. ln addition, to DoD's new Advanced Res.earch Projects
enhance nuclear safety a new type of fireset, Agency in charge of military satellites and
known as a chopper-converter, replaced the high-ri.sk research. Because these agencies had
high voltage thermal battery system used in no laboratories of their own, they were to
earlier wooden bomb designs. fund research and development at existing
laboratories, Sandia among them, on a
The W47 for the Polaris submarine- reimbursable basis.
launched ballistic missile system had been
authortzed for development just before the During the winter of 1957, Sandians
Sputnik "wake-up call" and this program, too, could tune their radios to Sputnik's band and
was accelerated. This system was to be listen to its pulsing signals. Ben Benjamin,
developed by a four-organization team: the Dan Pa1sons, and a Sandia optical team
Navy was responsible for the arming and fuzing tracked and photographed Sputnik's passage
subsystem; Lockheed de.signed the reentry over Albuquerque. Wtth renewed urgency,
body; Lawrence Live:nnore designed the physi~ Sandia's engineers struggled to meet new
package; and Sandia California was responsible deadlines for weapon production, notably
for the warhead structure, the boost system, the the three-year advance in schedule for the
neutron generator, and the firing subsystem_ Polaris warhead. And, thanh to funding
from Defense agencies, Sandi.a entered
Pre..<.ident Eisenhower and Congress military sate.llite. p10grams and other
created the National Aeronautics and Space advanced research initiatives.
Administration to futly engage in a space race

----- -- -- ~ . - ~-
.---- ---~ he Eisenhower Buildup

These were some of Sandia's women supervisors in 1958. Seated from left: Oleta Morris, \Mnifred Fellows, Evelyn Garman,
INynne Cox, Claudine Sproul. Standing: lreoe Palme<, llva Baldwin, Lila Neil, Beulah Sutherland, Kathleen Sadler, Martha
TuHs, Bertha Allen, Fran<:es Hale, Patri<:ia Farley.

Summarizing the impact of the Soviet From the employee perspective, the most
Sputnik success on the United States, McRae important educational initiative of the late
thought it salutary. "Tt woke us up, 1950s emanated from a proposal by Glenn
established the feeling that we are in a Fowler, chairman of the education
serious race, that we have to win every committee. Modeled on programs available
contest and so we have gone back to work elsewhere, including Bell Laboratories, the
again," he said . "We are now serious about it, Technical Development Program (TDP)
and r personally am glad the Russians beat us funded postgraduate education for many
out with their first Sputnik." Sandians. New recruits to Sandia with
bachelor's degrees in engineering would take
courses at the University of New Mexico
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS while working part-time. Nearly all
participants earned master's degrees in the
process. The program induded courses designed
Sandia shared in a national program to to help the student employees gain specialized
enhance science, mathematics, and knowledge appropriate to Sandia's work.
engineering education that began in response
to apparent Soviet advances in those fields. Sandia's educational programs produced
As early as 1945, Sandia's management had numerous success stories. Ray Powell pointed
cooperated with the University of New to Gilbert Cordova as an example. At Sandia,
Mexico in arranging after-hours education for Cordova began work as a custodian, obtained
employees, and during the 1950s had his education, went to the AC in
sponsored educational programs for Washington and then managed the AEC
secondary school faculty and students every Sandia Office before becoming president of
February 11, Thomas Edison's birthday. In the University of Albuquerque. Art Arenholz
Sputnik's aftermath, Sandia's cooperative listed Dennis Hayes as another example.
educational programs expanded at the Hayes, who began his career as a mail clerk,
un]versity level to include al1 New Mexico
earned a doctorate in physics, and rose to top
schools plus colleges in Texas and management at Sandia.
surrounding states. lt increased contracting
for research at universities as well.

Early Technical Development Program participants Mike Heck, David PlJtnam, and Tom Feltz at the
University of New Mexico. .

T~e TDP and USE.Programs

. Sandia requires t~t the member~ of its oriented tasks in order to create' more
technical staff be well-tramed and cotnple_tdy technically sophisticated systems,
up:-to-rurte on develbpinent~ tn their chosen.
specialties. A variety of educational Jn 1959, the Technital Development
. opportunities have bttn.offe:red to-emplo-yees Ptogiam (IDP) was piloted With -a smali test
over the years, allowing individuals to hone grop_ The Sandia Education c:ommittee
their skillS and broaden theh minds. , crea~d a c.urrirulmn focusing on anaiyti~l
.. - . . ' . - .. . .
' . - -
engineering methods, nuclear physicS,
- In the i9SOs, the ecjl}cational startdaid in advanced mathematics, and statistical analysis.
the engineering comm..nity was a 1>3.chelor's ~ts with bachelor's degrees in electrical or
degree. Very ~w eri~s t:hb~tO st~y in mechanical engineeringWQUld enterthe TDP;
sc4ool beyond that-point and they h~d. li~ ta.king comsei at the University of New Mmro
incentive to do so, since mi!stjobs dt4 not (UNM) for two yens while working part time .
require advanced d~grees. sandia tritii ~a hi~ . at ~di.a. In 1960; the COW'S.I? was offered to
enginoors With advan(Zed degt~es in_ the--early , new recruits. for Aibuquerque. Livermore
. 19SOs, b~t they were simply -t iot avauable. implemented a similar program: in 1961.
But in the late 1950s, Sandia dedled that the
. spcijalized l).ature oflts engineering work Seventy-five newly minted bachelor's-level
requited-more detailed instruction ii} -ronie graduates in clecttieal engineering and
a.re~s. Upper management saw a need for . mechanical engineering joined the first IDP
individuils capable of taking on res~rch- . d~s at l)NM in the summer Of 1960. Two
, _76 .
Thirty-~even members of the first TD!> class were ~till at Sandia 25 years later. Gathered here are, front row from left: Roger
Roberts, Bill Sullivan, Je1Se Allen, Jim McDowell, Heinz Sdlmitt. !!.econd r<YN: Al Giddin~, A:ay Krieg, Norn Siska, Ario Ncird,
Dennis Mangal). Third row: Ralph Wardla~ Jim ung, Leo Kl.ameru~, Jon Bamette, John Kane. Bad row: Cliff Jacobs, Tony
Russo, Tom Worlcrnan, Dick Braasch, Bob ~.

years later 68 of them finished the course - and administered by Orval Jones and Duane
37 of whom were still at S~dia in 1985. Jn Hughes of the Research and Personnel
all, the program trained 406 employees in the organizations, respectively, covered modem
nine years it existed. Many of them were later developments in mathematics, science, and
to be found in Sandia management. TDP was engineering, and required full-time
phased out as the demand for master's-level participation of 25-30 supervisors for six
degrees became the standard in hiring new weeks in a dedicated facility in the Coronado
engineers - both at Sandia and in American Club. It included 117 lectures by 25 Sandia
industry in general. Sandia followed the TDP subject-matter experts. Al Narath, future
with a seri.e s of educational program.~, such as president of Sandia, gave the solid-state
the Doctoral Study Program., leading to higher physics lectures. A reference library of 23
degrees for staff members. technical books was given to each participant

Jn 1966, then-president Siegmund

"Monk" Schwartz recognized that while
Sandia was providing many opportunities for
staff to maintain its .technical vitality, little
was available that was appropriate for
engineering division supervisors and
department managers. To meet this need for
continuing eduGltion, the Unified Science
and Engineering (USE) course was developed
and attended by all first- and second-level
technical supervisors, about 300 in all, over a
period of several years. The course, developed

Chapter l ._ _ _ __

SYSTEMS ENGINEERING people have followed that line and variations

of it ever sin ce. It was the start of our plasma
RESEARCH physics work ... BiU Cowan developed
compressed magnetic field generators, which
At the ti.me of the Sputnik launch, the still play a role in pulsed power sciences."
approach to weapons ordnance design at
Sandia was in transition. During the early Sandia's first gun facilities for shock-
years, each weapon project typically was compression research were also built in the
undertaken by a project group of twelve to early 1960s. This work was complemented by
twenty people under a project manager with the establishment of the static high-pressure
lead electrical and mechanical engineers. laboratory in 1962. Research in these facilities
Noting this system had resulted in design by Bob Gt:aham, Orval Jones, George Samara,
proliferation, Leon Smith joined with other Rick Wayne, and others was crucial to the
division supervisors in 1955 to coordinate understanding of the shock response of
electrical systems designs among the various ferroelectric, piezoelectric, and ferromagnetic
project teams. This proved productive, and in materials and to the development of a large
1956 Bob Henderson approved the formation family of shock-actuated weapon components
of a department headed by Smith to and diagnostic tools.
coordinate electrical systems designs,
including firesets, fuzing, critical safety, and, Concerned about the effects of h igh-
later, command and control - systems al titude m issile deployment and possible
engineering as contrasted to project enemy countermeasure explosions, Sandia
engineering. "We essentially forced some acquired its first nuclear reactors and
commonality of approach among the various accelerators to begin the analysis of radiation
project groups," Smith recalJ.ed. effects on weapon designs. Furthermore,
during the 1950s the AEC sponsored the
ln 1957, then-vice president of research development of nuclear-powered aircraft and
Glenn Fowler took a personal interest in the spacecraft at its laboratories, together with
coordination of advanced research and studies of radiation from such nuclear
engineering development and in the engines and the alterations it caused in
establishing of basic research programs to materials and components. Nuclear reactors
support Sandia's engineering design effort. and accelerators thus served multiple
Frank Hudson and Dick Claassen were research functions.
campaigning to expand Sandia's fundamental
research, and Fowler joined that campaign,
securing a hearing on the subject before
Mervin Kelly, chairman of Sandia's corporate
board. Claassen told Kelly of the need tor
expanded research. ,,Don't tell me that; you
told me that a year ago," Kelly interrupted.
At the end, however, Kelly approved
Claassen's proposal, and Claassen ultimately
found himself the director of a new research

''Lots went on," said Claassen, recalling

early research, ''Frank Neilson came up with
the quartz gauge for measuring shock
pressures in solids ... and others provided
some n ew understanding of stress wave
propagation in solids. Fred Vook was
interested in radiation effects, so we got the Dick daassen and frank Hudson discuss plans for the
Van de Graaff accelerator, and Fred and his fundamental research prog1am at Sandia.

___ _ _ _ Jhe Eisenhower Buildup

The research group acquired a 2-million- <

electron-volt Van de Graaff accelerator in .,....
1958 to test the responses of materials to
radiation and conduct research in radiation
physics and chemistry. This high-energy
particle accelerator permitted study of
changes in materials produced by single
types of charged particles at controlled
intensities. With Elmo Hirni operating the
new accelerator, Claassen's team used it to
examine the effects of electrons and electron-
produced gamma rays on semiconductors
and plastics, materials that became
increasingly significant to Sandia's quest for
sma1Jer and lighter weapons.

A nuclear reactor producing radiation

from several different particles over wide
energy ranges could simulate nuclear
weapons effects more dosely than Van de
Graaff or other particle accelerators then
available, and Sandia in 195 7 planned a A il!fety specialist prepares Glenn fowler ;iod James M~R."le
nuclear reactor to foster research into for entry into a contaminated area after a nudear test in the
weapons effects and physics. Claassen'!> Pacific.
research group, the weapon effects group led The nuclear testing moratorium came in
by Tom Cook and Carter Broyles, and response to worldwide concern about the
radiation effects teams led by John Colp and fallout of radionudides from clouds blown
Dill Snyder united behind the acquisition of a around the world after atmospheric tests.
nuclear reactor, and the AEC approved FalJout and an end to atmospheric testing
construction of the Sandia ngineering became an issue in the 1956 presidential
Reactor Facility- for research, not power election, and in late 1958 the Soviet Union and
production. Snyder managed the design of its the United States suspended nuclear testing.
pressurized-water-cooled reactor core and AJthough both nations reserved the right to
associated systems, while Colp investigated resume testing, a temporary thaw in the Cold
the remote handling ot materials to protect War ensued. A month after the testing
Sandians against radiation exposure. One moratorium began, Sandia finaUy installed a
solution, a remote-controlled mobile robot, prominent corporate identification sign in front
promptly dubbed Sandy Mobot, became of its main public entrance at Building 800.
Sandia's first venture into robotics, although
years would pass before Sandia initiated its
major robotics research program.
The radiation protection required by this
new research equipment and reactors proved
James McRae 1eft Sandia in September of
a challenge to Sandia's health physics
1958 to return east as vice president of AT&T
section. The section was established in 195 7
and, until his death in 1960, as member of
under the supervision of Harold Rarrick to
the AEC General Advisory Committee.
perform radiation safety for Sandians
Presiding over Sandia at che peal< of weapon
participating in atmospheric testing. R.arrlck,
development and during the transition from
George Tucker, Bill Burnett, andJim Metcalf
fission to fusion designs when it participated
managed the radiation safety for all Sandia
in the development of nearly sixty weapon
and DoD nuclear tests from 1962 on.
systeros, McRae achieved an enviable
management record.

Chapter 2 _

Sandy Mobot (Sandia Mobile Robot), designed in 195! to work in radioactive environn,ents, became Sandia's first venture
into robotics.

Arriving when morale problems still a reputation for design speed and quality. For
affected Sandia, McRae's appointment of example, the general in command of Anny
Z-division veterans such as Glenn fowler, Bob Ordnance called McRae to say, ''I want to talk
Henderson, and Dick Bice to corporate vice to you in Washington because it takes LL<;
presidencies ameliorated early conflicts. This longer to develop a rifle bullet than H does for
morale improvement came during a time you to develop and get into production a
when Sandia recruited more than 3,000 new complete new [nuclear) weapon."
employees, bringing the number of Sandians
to 7,700 by the end of 1958. For these, McRae In 1956J Sandia opened a new laboratory
and his staff developed visionary educational in California, staffing it with a thousand
and apprentice programs. highly resourceful personnel, and in the
same year helped to open the Pinellas plant
Under Quarles and McRae - with for neutron generator production. In 1957, it
support from Mervin Kelly - Sandia applied initiated an expanded research program and
enhanced engineering capabilities to the acquired its first accelerators and nuclear
resolution of numerous design challenges, reactors to support this research. Thanks to
Among its notable achievements were the leadership of Glenn Fowler as vice
thermal batteries, Zippers, environmental president ot research, Sandia during the mid-
sensing devices, and other innovations in the fifties launched its first ventures into
quest to develop wooden, buildjng-block, computer modeling and solid-state
and laydown weapons. electronics. In addition, it began exploration
of plastics, microwaves, metallurgy, and
Plagued initially by complaints about materials sciences. @!)
quality, Quarles, McRae, and Sandia established

These 1952 $Cenes reflect lhe daily huslle and bustle of the Shipping

Shipping and Receiving loading docks, freight cars switching onto

sidings, fork lifts carrying ponderous weight
With an eye to safety, the men and women about the warehouse floor, and little hand
of the Shipping and Receiving Division kept cars scurrying from stack to stack. The pace
freight moving and the wheels of Sandia's did not slacken as the years passed - by
progress turn;ing. During October 1952, Bob J 995 materials shipped had increased to
Copeland's Shipping and Receiving Dlvision about 288,000 items. Although the workload
handled an average of 81 1/2 tons of inbormd grew, the department's commitment - to
and outbound shipments every day. They were package and deltver materials cost effectively,
problem solvers and when a challenge came efficiently, and safely - remained the same.
along that was a little bigger than usual, they
just spit in their palms, hitched up their pants, Accidents were a looming threat in Shipping
and dug in. For example, when a 28-ton lathe and Receiving - the constant movement of
ordered by one of the shops in the Laboratory men and heavy objects meant that one careless
arrived, the employees pitched in to get the move could result in a serious .injm:y. However,
equipment unloaded and delivered ail in one day. from 1947through1952, there was only one
lost time accident. The Division's Safety
By 1952, 50,000 individual shipments Committee was responsible, to a large extent, for
passed through Shipping and Receiving each the excellent safety record. Personnel joined
year. To handle and process quantities like with the Safety Committee to discuss ways of
these, a lot of manpower was required as well solving safety problems. These exceptional safety
as a flexible, efficient reoording system to track practices allowed Shipping and Receiving to
shipments. A typical day's operation at the safely make "freight their business.''
warehouse saw huge trailer trucks backing up to

Chapter l _

Siegmund "Monie" SdT.vartz was Sandia president from 1960 to 1966.

------- From Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

Weapons and striking power will never settle anything, but a recognized superiority in
this area will give our statesmen the maximum amount of time to achieve a lasting
peace. The long term future is completely in their hands; we can only buy them time.

Robert Henderson

Responding to worldwide concerns about When the Soviet Union resumed nuclear
radionuclide fallout from atmospheric testing in 1961, the United States found itself
testing, the United States and the Soviet unprepared to start testing again immediately.
Union agreed in the summer of 1958 to In response, Congress demanded safeguards
suspend nuclear testing by November 1, to maintain the readiness of the U.S. nuclear
reserving the right to resume when other weapon research and development program
nations did. Both accelerated their testing in all of its facets.
schedules during 1958 to obtain as much
weapon data as possible before the
moratorium. Then, in 1961, both began to
consider a resumption of testing. ANTICIPATING THE
Once the testing moratorium began, the
AEC recommended maintaining its three
weapons laboratories as "vigorous and broad Before the test moratorium began in
research and development institutions/' but November 1958, the United States rushed to
dismantled the testing task force in the complete weapon development, weapon
Pacific and reduced Nevada Test Site (NTS) effects, and safety tests conducted in the
activities to a minimum. As the moratorium atmosphere, at high altitudes, and
extended into the 1960s, Sandia's rapid underground. These included the Hardtack I
expansion of the 1950s ceased; by 1961 it atmospheric and high-altitude test series in
faced its first reduction-in-force. the Pacific from May into August of 1958,
the Argus tests in the South Atlantic in
Efforts by Sandia's senior management to August and September of 1958, and the
keep its work force challenged and busy Hardtack II tests at NTS in September and
during the moratorium bore fruit far October of 1958. Out of these tests came
exceeding expectations beginning with several new Sandia capabilities.

participation in a significant non-weapons

project - the VELA program for nuclear burst Don Shuster, a native New Mexican,
detection. Its research expanded into new became commander of the scientific task
fields, its exploratory programs produced group for the 1958 Hardtack I task force,
revolutionary weapons designs, and some of including 150 Sandians, that conducted the
its technology began to spin off from weapon thirty-five nuclear tests in the Pacific. The
development into the private sector. scientific deputy to the task force
commander was William Ogle of Los Alamos.
After Hardtack, Shuster managed Sandia's full

Chapter 3 __

scale test unit until I 961 when he became

director of field test. (n 1962, he served as
associate scientific deputy for the Dominic
Fishbowl high-altitude test series. He later
directed aerospace programs, exploratory
development, advanced systems
development, and energy initiatives.
Considered a genius by his contemporarJes, it
hecame a truism that wise managers at
Sandia should "hire people like Shuster and
lea"Ve them a lone.''

For the high-altitude Hardtack I tests,

Shuster and Glenn Fowler initiated an
expanded rocket testing program to
supplement the aircraft carrying diagnostic
instruments that flew near the mushroom
clouds. Sandia had designed its first rockets in
1957 to test warhead fuz.es and formed a rocket
aerodynamics group led by Harold Vaughn. To
collect data on weapon radiation, blast, radio
frequency, and electromagnetic effects during
Hardtack's high-altitude tests, Sandia designed
more rockets to carry instrumented telemetry
aloft from Johnston Island. Launched at the Launch of Swlish Prime during Hardtack I in the Pacific. This
same time as mis~iles carrying the warheads, photograph shows the Thor's track co the right and the
rocket-borne instruments provided data on instn.imenUtlon rod<et paths to the left.
device performance and output and on the
interaction of these with the natural firing systems to be mated with warheads on
environment. the Lockheed-built missiles. The schedule
allowed six weeks to design equipment,
After launching 130 rockets in fabricate test units, adapt devices to the
connection with Hardtack l, Sandia missiles, create the telemetry, assemble and
continued experimenting with diagnostic ship the test units, and perform preflight
rockets, in time becoming a leader in small, checks ashore and at sea. According to Ford,
unguided rocket design and testing under the after "great strain and many frustrations"
leadership of Morgan Kramm, John Eckhart, Sandia met its schedule.
and Dick Eno. ft used rockets for exploratory
weapon development in testing the designs Oscar Fligner and other Sandtans
of parachutes, reentry vehicles, and earth accompanied a Navy task force to the South
penetrators. lncluding experiments it Atlantic for the Argus tests. These tests
performed for Los Alamos, Lawrence explored a theory that charged particles
Livermore, the Air Force, NASA, and other emitted by fission fragments generated by a
agencies, Sandia eventually conducted high-altitude detonation would be trapped
approximately 1,500 rocket launches at sites by the earth's magnetic field and form
around the world, although most were done artificial aurorae. Th.e concern was that this
at its own launch facilities at the Tonopah, shell might be intense enough to cause
Nevada and Kauai, Hawaii test ranges. severe damage or even destroy a missile
passing through it. In the first and last ship-
When Sandia ~upporte<l the Navy for the launched rocket-borne nuclear tests by the
Argus tests scheduled for September 1958, United States, Argus indicated that nuclear
John Ford, Bill Myre, James Leonard, and bursts did release electrons into the earth's
Don Cotter headed the Sandia teams magnetic field, but not enough to damage
designing and testing arming, fu2ing, and incoming missiles. They also caused radar

- - - -- -- . ~- From Moratorium co Test Bon Treaty

system as a vice president of AT&T "The

future of our civiliZ<Jtion depends on
advancing science and technology," McRae
predicted before leaving, admonishing that
"we must no longer regard our scientists and
engineers as merely unimportant squares or

Julius Molnar of Bell Laboratories

succeeded McRae at Sandia. After earning his
doctorate from the Massachusetts Tnstitute of
Technology, Molnar worked for the National
Defense Re.search Committee during World
War II and joined Bel I Laboratories in 1945 for
electronics and microwave research, becoming
vice president for milit,)ry programs.

Molnar kept Monk S<:hwartz as his

general manager and employed more
administrative staff. Jn December 19.58, he
also approved changes in Sandia's name.
Sandia Corporation remained the legal name
During the 1950.s, $.dl"ldia developed balloon ~ capable of for the organization, but since "laboratory"
carryir.g Lest inscrumentbtion and even nuclear devices ai<)ft. seemed more descriptive of an increasingly
Here, H. Gera.ld l.aUl'sen stands beneath an instrumentation research and development oriented
organization, the New Mexico and CaJifornja
blind spots, an important consideration for sites were referred to as Sandia Laboratory
mis.sile defense. and Livermore Laboratory, respectively.

During the Hardtack II series in Nevada, At the moratorium's onset, General Alfred
Sandia suspended nuclear devices from Dodd Starbird, AEC Director of Military
tethered balloons designed initially for the Applications, planned reductions in the
195 7 Plumbbob tests as a substitute for more weapon development budget and sought to
expensive towers. Reducing test costs. and
radioactive fallout, balloons became a new
Sandia specialty. During Hardtack II's
underground test<;, Sandia also initiated a
geologiG:Jl research group that included Bill
Perret, Jim Shreve, and Hymn Murphey, which
investigated ground motion and seismic
shock. This research later became an
important aspect of treaty verification
evaluations and proved useful for s.ubsudace
studies of proposed nuclear-waste storage sites .


As the Hardtack H t~t series ended and

the moratorium began, Mervin Kelly retired
and James McRae returned east to become Sa,,dia pre~ident Julim Molnar and general manager
coordinator of defeme activities for the Bell Siegmund "Monk" SchwartL Schwartz wcceeded MolMr
:i1 president in 1960.

Chapter 3

A 1961 aerial view o( Sal'\dia's California 'ite. Acrou.

the ttreet is part of l..awrel'l<:e livermOfe Laboratory
visible in the lower left comer.

The entrance to Sondia's California facility in 1958.

_ __ _ from Moratorium to Te~t Ban Treaty

impose personnel ceilings on Sandia and its Ten weapons projects rooved through
partner laboratories. Sandia resisted staff design into production during the three-year
ceilings, insisting it should manage its own moratorium. John McKiernan led Sandia's
personnel in accordance with the "good engineering design team for the W50
industrial practice" mandated in its contrac.'t warhead for Nike-Zeus and Pershing I. Alfred
while carefully staying within tht budget V. "Vic" Engel and Sam Moore headed teams
allocated by the AEC. Starbird's proposed that in 1962 completed the W52 warhead
ceiling of 7,900 personnel prevailed , however, design for the Sergeant missile. Alter
and Sandia's decade-long growth ceased. In problems with an electromechanical timer
1959 and 1960, the number of Sandians were solved, the small 854 Special Atomic
leveJed off at 7,860; and in 1961, for the first Demolition Munition became the subject of
time in its history, Sandia laid off personnel, several exploratory studies. Bob Grover, Jim
reducing the number to 7,800. lt was, Cocke, and Jim Jacobs, for example, studied
however, spared the prectpitou~ dedines use of the munition in atomic projectiles for
experienced elsewhere during the moratorium. Army artillery and Navy guns.

Before the moratorium began, the Sandia For the Navy, Sandia participated with
and Los Alamos design team developed a Lawrence Livermore in design of the WS5
warhead for the Atlas, Jupiter, and Thor warhead for the SUBROC antisubmarine
ballistic missiles. Using several major missile and the W58 warhead for the Polaris
subsystems from the W28, they put the W49 A3 missile. For the Air force, Sandia
warhead, complete with the first partjcipated in designs of the W38 for Titan T,
environmental sensing device, into the the WS9 and W56 for the Minuteman family
stockpile in 1959. of intercontinental ballistic missiles, plus two
bombs, the 853 and B57.

Navy Commander Alexander Julian pre~ented the Polari~ flag to Sand1a.M wl'lo worked on this project. Left. !o right: Lee
Davie~, Ed Caugs, Gene Aas, William ~er (Navy liaison), tulian, Bob Dougherty. loe Sladky, Hillan De.Seim, john Larned
(AEC), Ray Brin, Vem Field.

ChapW3 _ __

A 1958 Operation Hardtack test pointed

the way to the BS3 high-yield thermonuclear
bomb, which the Strategic Air Command
would carry on its B-47 and B-52 bombers as
well as the proposed B-70 aircraft. Charles
Carpenter and Ed Bruce successively managed
the Sandia project teams that designed this
full-fuzing option bomb with a laydown
capability. It entered production in 1962. ln
1960, Sandia began adapting the warhead part
of the B53 for service aboard Titan II missiles.

Bill Denison and a group including Stan Sandia began development of the B57 ~ctical bomb during
Spray, Herb Filusch, and Emil Kadlec the moratorium.

completed the BS7 bomb project that began A B53 )TA (Joint Te$t Af5embly) is shown on the hard target
in 1959. This lightweight, multipurpose bomb at Tonopah Tl!lt Range.
met Air Force needs for a tactical, fuU-fuzing
option weapon and the Navy's needs for a
small nuclear depth charge. Modifications to
the RS7 bomb design continued at Sandia
until the late 1960s, and the weapon
remained in the stockpile until 1992.

In late 1961 and throughout 1962, three

weapon programs faced delays if large
quantities of reliable electromechanical
selectable-interval timers were not available.
Serious production difficulties at the
manufacturer's plant Jed Bob Henderson to
form a special task force operation tbat was
given the highest priority within Sandia .
Overall director of the task force was Lou
Hopkins, with Doug Ballard heading a
seventeen-member Sandia design and manu-
facturing development group assigned to the
supplier's plant and Carmen Gabriel handling
the supporting operations t.-vithin Sandia.

During the ten-month tenure of the task

force, e:xtensive design and manufacturing
improvements sol'ved the reliability problems
and more than five thousand timers were
ultimately produced to meet the urgent
needs of the weapo n systems. Despite the
moratorium, enhancing the safety of
deployed nuclear weapon systems continued
to be a major issue. This process reached a
major watershed in June 1960 with the
issuance of a DoD directive that had been
developed jointly with the AEC. This
document defined four qualitative .standards
designed to "assure that atomic weapon
systems incorporate the maximum safety
consistent with operational requirements." Parad,ute test drop of a frA.
__ _ from Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

The four standards became the charter for

the Nuclear Weapon System Safety Group,
originally fotmed by the Air Force in 1958
and followed shortly thereafter by the Army
and Navy. These organizations, which
included members from the military services,
the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project,
and the AEC, with Sandia as a technical
consultant, were charged with performing an
independent evaluation of the nuclear safety
of all nuclear weapon system operations.

In order to focus the Laboratory more

clearly on technical work, Starbird relieved it
of the responsibilities for maintaining the
AEC housing at Kirtland along with the
motor pool, offic~ equipment service, and
security support it provided the AEC's
Albuquerque office. ln 1960, the AEC
San~a launched these two-srage rot:kets to measure bl~it,
transferred its housing adjacent to Sandia to
r;idiation, and elearoma9netic effects during 1958's high- the military services, ending the separation
altitude tests in the Pacific for Operation Hardt;Kk. of Sandians in a "company town'' outside the
greater Albuquerque community.
The four standards were:
Additional staff flexibility came from
1. There shall be positive measures to Sandia's exit from the nation's weapon
prevent weapons involved in accJdents or storage sites as a result of the introduction of
incidents or jettlsoned weapons from sealed-pit weapons. For continuing
producing a nuclear yield. evaluation of the .stockpile, Sandia designed
quality evaluation stockpile testers (QfSTs)
2. There shall be positive measures to capable of assessing the performance of the
prevent deliberate arming, launching, entire arming and fuzing system of a weapon
firing or releasing of nuclear weapons in one laboratory located at the Pantex
except upon execution of emergency war assembly complex in Amarillo, Texas. With
orders or when directed by competent the cooperation ot the Defense Atomic
authority. Support Agency, created in i 959 to replace
the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project,
3. There shall be positive measures to Sandia withdrew its personnel from the
prevent inadvertent arming, launching, storage sites by 1960.
firing or releasing of nuclear weapons in
all normal and credible abnormal AEC security requirements loosened
environments. slightly during the moratorium. As a result,
Molnar approved plans by public relations
4. There shall be positive measures to manager Ted Sherwin for a Family Day in
ensure adequate security of nuclear 1959. That April, Sandia opened unclassiiied
weapons. areas to its employees' families, and many
children learned for the first time something
Remarkably, these standards survived almost of their parent's work.
unchanged for nearly thirty-five years and
continue to form the foundation of nuclear
weapon .~ystem sa.fety. In addition, they
became strong forcing functions in Sandi2.1s
warhead electrical system designs.

Chapter 3 _

Visitors view '\Mn1;i '\ m.3rhinr ' hnp ir; bLJilding 840 at the lir>t f'am ily D~y in 19~9

_ _ From Moratorium to Test San Treaty

Among other marks of the moratorium's Sandia's first opportunities to diversify

reduced tension were a corporate came via requests from its partner
identification sign erected outside Sandia's laboratories for engineering support of their
main entrance on Wyoming Boulevard, peacetime projects. At the request of Nonis
recruiting advertisements Sandia placed in Bradbury of Los Alamos, Robert Henderson
such magazines as The New Yorker and sent Sandians to NTS, where they
Newsweek, and increased emphasis on coordinated engineering tor the Rover
publication and participation by S.andians in project, the design of a nuclear reactor to
professional conferences. Managed by power space rockets for NASA. Other
Richard Claassen, Craig Hudson, and George Sandians provided engineering support for
Anderson, the Sandia colloquium program, Los Alamos in James Tuck's Sherwood
established in 1954 to promote scientific project, involving experimental machines for
exchange, broadened its invitations to magnetic confinement of a hydrogen plasma,
include such policy makers as George with the long-term goal of generating energy
Kistiakowsky, Edward Teller, Arthur through fusion. Sandia also joined in
Compton, Hans Bethe, and Henry Kissinger. Bradbury's venture into an experiment.al
Turret nuclear reactor for power production.
Indeed, Bradbury wanted Sandia to build the
pilot reactor, but Starbird vetoed that on the
DIVERSIFICATION grounds that other AEC laboratories should
INITIATIVES handle reactor design for power prod.uction.

ln June 1961, Molnar's successor, Monk

In the face of changing national Schwartz, set up a small directorate led by
priorities, New Mexico Senator Clinton Don Cotter to think about work for others.
Anderson of the Joint Committee on Atomic
Energy asserted that Sandia represented a Don Cotter became dire,tor of
valuable federal investment in facilities and advan,ed systems research in
human talents. He suggested that, if demand 1961 .
for weapons waned, Sandia should be shifted
to other research, perhaps in the AEC's
nuclear energy and space programs. Julius
Molnar speculated that Sandia might in time
become one of the Bell Laboratories, perhaps
specializing in defense communications in
addition to weapons. "It is my strong
c:onviction," he concluded, "that the only
University ol New Mexi'o
wise and prudent thing to do is to maintain president Tom Popejoy, unrer,
Sandia's capabilities by having it work in meeu in 1959 with Glenn Fowler
other areas. '1 and Julius Molnar o{ .Sandia.

Molnar discussed diversification of

Sandia's programs with General Starbird,
declaring it "imperative for Sandia to branch
out into new fields of endeavor." He hoped
that by 1962 Sandia could have as much as a
quarter of its efforts devoted to non-weapon
projects. Starbird replied that during the
moratorium Sandia should concentrate on
three tasks; rnaintajning adequate staff for
component and systems development,
performing applied research for weapons,
and undertaking other activities as needed to
keep experienced staff from departing.

Chapter 3 -

As will be discussed in the next chapter, this

group examined a variety of areas of
potential work for Sandia, including solar
and wind energy, medical electronics, nuclear
power safety, and many others.

-~ ...
Another significant area of Sandia

" the'ntdanaal
for " - - - lhe free
., IOCUOlty


- - ...--
diversification came with Project Plowshare. wllntho-Elt0r9Y~
The concept of Plowshare, from the scriptural to tM ~ftnd oh1Uitn91.nct
'*" ..........._.,
exhortation to beat swords into plowsh<ires, ...
. , -. .d~ectl-
has been credited to Edward Teller. Plowshare - lho-nllyforpn>!ea-
._,, _ lndMdull-.-
1n sdmullUne ,,... n.td.
began in 1957 under the technical direction
of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory to consider
using nudear explosives for peacetime
excavatlon projects and for recovering oll
_na1. . ....In--.
. . . . . . andtdendt0tour


from deposits that drilling and pumping

systems alone could not tap. They might be
used as well to generate underground steam
to drive electric power turbines, or to produce
Recruiting advertisement by Sandia Corporation that
radioisotopes needed for medical diagnosis
appeared in The New Yorker and Newsweek in l 9SB.
and other purposes.

Sandia's background in ordnance

engineering and field testing yielded
Plowshare assignments. rn 1959, Glenn
fowler met with the AEC and the Governor
of the Panama Canal Zone to discuss "a
second Panama ditch," the use o( nuclear
explosives to quickly open a sea-level canal
across the isthmu~ . Richard Bice
accompanied Teller to Alaska to study
nuclear excavation of a harbor. After
discussions with Teller, Molnar: agreed that
Sandia would cond uct explosives field
experiments and provide fuzing and firing
e ngineering for the nuclear devices. Canal
and harbor engineer1ng would be done by
the Army engineers and oil and mineral
recovery designs by the Bureau of Mines.
Luke Vortman led Sandi.l's Plow.mare cratering experiments.
As Plowshare proceeded, Sandia using a million pounds of TNT in the largest
investigated the necessary yields of the nuclear conventional high-explo~ive detonation in
devices, how deeply they should be buried, theUnited States. Through these cratering
how to arm and fire them, and how to as~ure experiments in Nevada and New Mexico,
blast safety. Luke Vortman led the team Vortman and his associates learned that the
devoted to cratering engineering, using high sm0othest trenches could be excavated by
explosives to learn how best to place nuclear simultaneous detonation of explosives with a
explosives to perform excavation. Among uniform spa<.il"lg about equal to the optimum
these was the 1960 ~cooter test in Nevada, deprh at which the charges were buried.

From Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

Aeria( view of Sedan <:rater at Nevada Test Site. This underground nuclear teit in the Plowshare series was sponsored by
Lawrence Livermore ~boratory.

Tn 1964, Congress authorized a feasibility Jn addition to investigating canal possibilities,

study of a new sea-level canal across the the cratering studies explored the possjbility of
Panamanian isthmus. President Johnson building harbors and overburden removal in
appointed an Atlantic-Paciflc Tnteroceanic mining using nuclear explosives.
Canal Study Commission to oversee a number
of working groups horn the Corps o{ As the canal studies proceeded, an
Engineers and the AEC focusing on different experimental program was added to investigate
aspects of using nuclear devices. Vortman's the re.suits of using adjacent simultaneous
analysis indicated a sea-level canal across underground explosions for cratering. Bill
Panama could he opened with nuclear Perret led Sandia's participation in this aspect
explosives in half the construction time and at of the research, working with the New Mexico
a quarter the cost of conventional explosives. Institute of Mining and Technology.

Chapter 3 ~---

While Vortman and Perret studied Although early Plowshare test results
cratering, Sandia meteorologist Jack Reed led a appeared promising, public concerns about
group conducting air blast studies. Concerned the environmental effects both of nuclear
with blast safety prediction, the group excavation and of the potential transfer of
designed experiments to examine and flora and fauna through a sea level canal
determine the potential long-range air blast increased, and funding for the program
damage from a nuclear explosion. Propagation slowly declined. Sandia's role in this peaceful
mechanisms were studied in a long series of research remained sma1l as did its role in

upper air meteorology observations conducted non-weapons research for Los Alamos.
at Battery McKenzie near the Atlantic entrance Together, these projects involved fewer than
to the Panama Canal. one hundred Sandians, and Molnar was not
satisfied. "We need forward-looking
The Plowshare program involved several peacetime activities if we are to maintain a
tests of nuclear explosives. Dean vigorous staff/1 he said. 11 Such activities will
Thornbrough and Wendell Weart led the also enable us to care for peak loads in
Sandia team at the 1961 Gnome shot in an weapons programs. 11
underground salt dome near Carlsbad 1 New
Mexico. This multipurpose experiment
examined the use of heat left in the
explosion s cavity to power turboelectric TONOPAH TEST RANGE
generators, the recovery of radioisotopes
from the cavity for medical and industrial The 1958 testing moratorium did not
applications, determination of neutron cross extend to the testing of non-nuclear
sections for heavy metals, and the effects of ordnance, and Sandia continued its
nuclear blasts on salt formations. engineering design tests by opening a
permanent test range in 1960 near Tonopah,
In 1962, the second Plowshare test, Nevada. Because encroaching commercial air
named Sedan, explored the feasibility of traffic and limited land-target area
nuclear excavation with an underground constrained use of the Salton Sea range,
device that moved about twelve million tons Sandia tested bomb contact fuzes during the
of earth, leaving an impressive crater at NTS. mid-1950s at Yucca Flats in the Nevada Test
Similar excavation experiments with both Site. Full-scale nuclear testing there, however,
high explosives and nuclear devices had interfered with Sandia's tests. Needing a
continued throughout the 1960s with concrete target to test laydown bombs, it
Vortman and Reed as advisors. Project Buggy, used an abandoned aircraft runway near
for example, involved the simultaneous Dalhart, Texas, for the purpose. At the same
detonation of a row of five nuclear devices at time, Sandia joined the Air Force and Navy
NTS that produced a 900-foot long by 80-foot in efforts to find a site for a joint ba11istics
deep trench resembling a canal section. testing range and identified a promising
location near Winslow1 Arizona, but this site
Project Buggy should not be confused included part of the Navajo reservation and
with Project Gasbuggy, a 1967 test east of would have required relocation of some of
Farmington, New Mexico. A government- the population.
industry partnership including the AEC, the
Bureau of Mines, and the El Paso Natural Gas While working at Yucca Flats 1 Howard
Company sponsored the Gasbuggy study of Austin, Bobby G. "B. G. 11 Edwards, Ben
how nuclear explosives might be used to Benjamin, and Don Beatson found a
stimulate the recovery of natural gas from promising test range site in the northwestern
sandstone formations. Similar tests of corner of the Las Vegas bombing range.
recovery from gas-bearing sandstone, Projects Known as Cactus Flats, this high, barren
Rulison and Rio Blanco, occurred in 1969 desert valley afforded easy approaches for
near Grand Junction Colorado. Perret
low-level aircraft test drops and also had
directed Sandia 1s ground motion studies on several dry Jakebeds that could serve
all of these tests.
From Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

toshua trees of the high desert trame Sandia's radai- and tracking sLltio1u al Tonopah Test Range, Nevada,

admirably as targets. It had been used as a targets. At Glenn Fowler's recommendation,

bombing range during World War II by Sandia made Tonopah a permanent test
aircraft from a base thirty miles north near range, finally closing its Salton Sea base in
the mining town of Tonopah, Nevada. No 196 L With the construction of a concrete
relocation of people was needed because the target and operations buildings and the
Air Force had acquired the valley earlier, and installation of radar, tracking cameras, and
the site was remote from commercial airlines other instrumentation, Tonopah became four
and even from radio signals that might test ranges rolled into one_ It provided a
interfere with telemetry. Wild horses and high-level bombing range over dry lakes, a
antelope did live in the area, but none were low-level bombing range with its concrete
ever injured during Sandia 's testing. and land targets, a rocket launching range,
and facilities for test firing artillery shells .
With permission from the Air Force, The uniform texture of sediments in its dry
Sandia installed temporary buildings and Jakebeds proved excellent media for cratering
instrumentation at the Tonopah site in 1957 experiments in connection with Plowshare
and began using it for inert bomb tests. and for testing earth-penetrating weapons as
During the late 1950s, field test units welL As Sandia's permanent test range,
stationed at Sa1ton Sea commuted to Tonopah served its purposes well throughout
Tonopah regularly for testing over land the remainder of the Cold War.

Tonopah Test Range control point in 1960.

Los Lunas, Salton Sea, Yucca at Los Lunas focused on bomb ballistics and
mating bombs with aircraft delivery systems.
Flats, Tonopah, and Kauai Sandia used the Los Lunas range intermittently
until 1959.
Sandia provided technical support for on-
going nuclear.testing in the Pacific and at the Because Los Lunas was at a high elevation,
Nevada Test Site from 1946 to 1992, as we11 as Sandia sought a range that would pennit
participating in spectali.Zed nuclear tests at . testing bombs neater to sea level. Jn 1946 it
other sites. The Labs also conducted exten~1ve acquired a Navy test range in California at the
testing of non-nuclear weapon components in Salton Sea - 200 feet below sea level. At the
a variety of different enviromnents both at Salton Sea Test Base, Sandia built permanent
home and around the world, creating instrumentation stations and an operations
temporary test sites or using the existing test -. center, and provided temporary housing for
facilities of other agencies. For example, in the: more than 100 employees. Used chiefly to test
cold. early months of 1951, Sandia d~opped strategic bombs dropped from htgh altitudes.
non-nuclear Mark IV's into Upper Red Lake~ this base dosed in 1961, replaced by the
Minnesota to evaluate baroswitch performance Tonopah Test Range.
in low temperatures. Sandia also use~ a site in
Edgewood, New Mexico for about a decade As commercial air traffic and atmospheric
~ginning in 1968 to conduct Davis gun and haze from California cities interfered with
terradynamic studies. However, most of testing at Salton Sea, Sandia sought another
Sandia's testing was done at the test range range. Yucca Flats at the Nevada Test Site
facilities it operated in Los Lunas, Salton Sea, provided a level land tatget to test bomb
Yucca Flat, Tonopah, and Kauai. . impact fuz.ing from 1954 until 1958. Buildi?-g
no permanent facilities at Yucca Flats, Sandia
h1late1945, Sandia began testing its bomb used temporary buildings and trailers for
designs at the Los Lunas Range a few miles mobile test instrumentation. At this time also,
southwest of Albuquerque. Other than target Sandia tested laydown bomb designs on
and camera-station markers, Sandia built no abandoned airfield runways near Dalhart,
facilities at this range, instead trucking Texas, and Chincoteagu~, Virginia.
instruments to the r~e for each test. Testing

While searching tot a permanent range, s A
Sandia found a site at Cactus Flats on the Las - . ~A~R-
. . ~.A~K- .....,__
: .. 'J: SAi~~N:
,Vo_.,. . . ' r. "H:ST BASE

.. . . ; \.> .
~- ~9trt_.:
Vegas bombing range (Nellis Air Force Base)
and leased it as a temporary test site in 1956. 't
Until 1960, Sandia's field test crew commuted
between Salton Sea and this site, named
Tonopah Test Range after nearby Tonopah,
Nevada. Sandia made Tonopah its permanent
test range in 1960 and closed Salton Sea. The
range operating crew first lived at Tonopah,
but moved .in 1968 to Las Vegas, commuting
to the range and back by aircraft. In the
foUoWing decades, the Tonopah range became
multipurpose: supporting aircraft drops, rocket
launches, artillery firing, parachute
development, and a variety of other tests.

During the last U.S. atmospheric nuclear

tests in 1962, Sandia established a rocket-
Jaunchlng facility on Kauai in the Hawaiian
l>lands. First known as Barking Sands,_ it
became the Kal.lai Testing Facility, Located on
the Navy's Pacific Missile Range, ~auai was
where Sandia tested designs for high~altitude
rockets. Both raiHaunch and vertital-launch
facilities at Kauai supported the testing of
hundreds of rockets over the years, and San,dia
upgraded the I<auai facilities during the l 980s Salton ~a Test ease in 19i7.
to test Strategic Defense Initiative equipment.
Kauai Test Facility in 1991 .

Chapter 3 .

Ed Litzaw at Sandia California in 1961 delT\j)nstrated

Sandia's first fiber-optics probe for viewing internal
Bob Graham and Frank Neilson impe(t a quartz gauge tor
components without disassembly. He noted these p<obes
sho<k stieiles developed in 1962 oo the basis of their research might be used to examine the interi~ of combustion
O/'I piezoelectric crystak
engines and even the human body.

A !db-built laser produces. a thin beam of coherent fight Charles Sates used this laser to check <I theory about infrared

_ _ From Moratorium to Test San Treaty

Witb the addition of these new test
facilities, Sandia increased its capabilities for
both basic and applied weapons research.
The Laboratory recruited nationwide to add a
second generation of engineer.~ and scientists
to contribute to the science and technology
base undergirding engineering at Sandia.
From Bell Laboratories came managers to
direct Sandia's research; and Sandia opened
Laboratory facilities during the moratorium
for materials, standards, ceramics, metallurgy,
electronics, integrated cjrcuits, radiation
effects, and solid state physics. "Our
responsibility as scientists," observed Frank
Hudson, "is to study the broad scientific
territory which provides a foundatio n for
Sandia's engineering activities," Beltil Guest conducted high potential t~ on multiple contM.t
connedions in 1964 in Sandia'~ performance laboratory.
Under Robert Townsend and Burnard
Biggs during the 1950s, Sandia's materia.l s
laboratory engineered existing materials to
meet the severe requirements of weapon
design. Completing a materials laboratory
building in 1960, Sandia brought additional
specialists into materials research, specifically
to design new materials at the molecular
level. Among these were Nick DeLollis, a
national adhesives expert called "Sticky Nick"
by his frlends 1 and Glen Kepler, who
specialized in the use of organic polymers in
ferroelectric and semiconductor deVices,

The research initiative had early results.

Among these was a controlled process for
producing crystals for use as contact fu zes. Jn Gene Haertling inspects a furnace in Sandia's ce<amics
addition, Frank Neilson, Bill Benedick, and
Bob Graham developed a high-resolution using focused light from ruby lasers to
quartz gauge tor shock-stress measurements detonate explosives. At the same time. Ed
that proved especially useful for studies of Litzaw at Sandia's California site began using
ferroelectric ceramics and shock-activated fiber-optic probes to examine the insides of
mate rials, and for measuring nuclear weapons witho ut disassembling them. Sandia
explosion-induced stresses in materials tested also established an opto-electronics
underground at NTS. Laboratory to investigate potential
applications of p hotonics - the optical
During the moratorium Sandia first equivalent of electronics - to weapons.
explored the uses of lasers and fiber optics.
Geocge Dacey, involved at Bell Labo ratories A new research field needing exploration
in the development of masers, lasers. and became apparent jn 1959 when Tom Cool<
photonic technologies, became Sandia's chaired an Ai'r Force Science Ad visory Board
research vice president a.t the time of the study group that expressed concerns about
moratorium, and by 1962 Sandia.ns were the vulnerability of weapo ns to x-rays and

Chapter ~ _ _ __

Elmo Hirni al work on the Van de Graaff aaclcrator, one of

the early particle acceleraton. u~ed at Saodi.a Lo ~tudy
rlldi.l tion ettecu.

gamma rays. "When you put any electronics

in space," Cook dec:lared, "you are going to
have to pay a lot of attention to keep them
from. being disrupted at very long distances
from nuclear weapons, or for that matter
even from natural radiation environments in
space." Thls concern w.21s echoed by Bel\
Laboratories, then considering the use of
transistors in space-based communication
systems., which sent several senior scientists
to Sandia in the early 1960s to study
radiation vulnerability problems.

Since full-sc;ile nuclear testing to study

x-ray effects could not be conducted during
the moratorium, the AEC's weapon
laboratories found other means of simulating
weapon effects. Sandia acquired partide
acceJerators and completed its Engineering
Research Reactor and its Pulsed Reactor in
1961. Th~e permhted study of radiation
damage to materials resulting from neutrons,
electrons, gamma rays, and x-rays . PJanning
began a.s well for the Hermes accelerator th.at
produced x-ray.s by bombarding m etal targets Katneiyn l..2lwson invMtigated the infrared spectra of
wJth an electron beam . When completed in inorganic compounds in 1962 .

From Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

1965, Hermes became the world's largest nash partner laboratories and even private
x-ray machine in terms of output, providing corporations until the 1980s.
Sandia its first role in pulsed-power sciences.
Computer models of the effects of x-rays on
The Sandia Engineering Reactor Facility weapons became a major Sandia concern
began operation in 1962, but construction during the moratorium. Earlier missiles, such as
delays prevented it from becoming Sandia's the Nike series, had relied on neutron and blast
first operational reactor. The Sandia Pulsed damage to destroy incoming aircraft and
Reactor, a fast-burst reactor similar to the missiles, but during the late 1950s the national
"unclad" Godiva reactor at Los Alamos, began defense community was concerned that above
producing neutron and gamma-ray pulses in the atmosphere, x-rays from nuclear
1961 for studies of radiation effects on detonations in space might damage both
materials ranging from transistors to entire missiles and space satellites. A program was
missiles. D. Maxwell Ellett provided conceptual started to measure and analyze x-ray effects and
design and Vernon Kerr served as project devise methods for protecting, or hardening,
engineer for the pulsed reactor, which, except weapons especially their electronics, against

for its nuclear core, was built in Sandia's radiation damage. Carter Broyles, supervisor of
development shops and installed in a domed the weapons effects department, received a
igloo near the engineering research reactor. personal citation from the White House for his
radiation effects research.
The Sandia Engineering Reactor Facility
was dismantled in 1969 when it was
1 In 1964, Walt Herrmann of MIT, formerly
supplanted by the Annular Core Research a consultant to Don Lundergan's shock
Reactor that operated more economically in dynamics group, was hired to start a new
either a steady-state or pulsed mode. Sandia division to develop computer programs to aid
Pulsed Reactor II, followed by Ill 1 replaced in this analysis. He adapted his Wondy
the first pulsed reactor, and saw heavy use in (!Dimensional) and Toody (2Dimensional)
studies of weapon vulnerability to neutron software programs into standard tools for
damage. In addition to Sandia 1s research, analyzing radiation effects and developing
these reactors served Defense agencies and hardening schemes.
missile component contractors. Sandia's
expertise in reactor safety brought new The opportunity to conduct field
customers when the AEC space power and experiments wherein a nuclear device was
reactor groups requested assistance. detonated to produce the desired nuclear
radiation and blast environments to simulate
The significance of radiation effects on enemy countermeasures was restored in 1962,
solid-state systems was reemphasized to both following the 1961 Soviet break-out from the
Bell Laboratories and Sandia in 1962 when testing moratorium. Sandia's scientists and
the Telstar I satellite was disabled by the effect engineers became major players in full-scale
of the newly discovered Van Allen radiation atmospheric nuclear tests. Thus, weaponization
belts on its power system and transistors. engineers such as Vic Roh suddenly faced new,
Although a major engineering effort managed compelling testing challenges with essentially
to restore Telstar's operational capability, the no warning or preparatory projects, and field
lessons of radiation vulnerability were clear. test engineers became the critical coordinators
of field operations for nuclear tests. Engineers
The ability of computers to model in the weaponization project and systems
weapon effects interested Sandia as well. Don groups designed! fabricated, and deployed a
Morrison and the computer mathematics multitude of experiments at NTS that would
group pressed for greater computing expose weapon structures, components, and
capabilities, and by 1962 Sandia used its first subsystems. Sensors coupled to the hardware
computer simulation model for analyzing being tested provided electrical signals to the
VELA satellite components. Although Sandia telemetry instrumentation recording systems
multiplied its computer capacity a hundred designed and installed by Sandia's field test
fold during the 1960s1 it lagged behind its engineers.
that same year, when Sandia Corporation was
formed to operate the installation for the
AEC, Production Engineering was beginning
to come into its own as a telling force, but it
was woefully understaffed and swamped with
a huge increase in its duties.

By 1951 it was a well-rounded

organization of four divisions and fourteen
sections with 137 employees, most of them
experts in their fields. The Development
Fabrication group, which had its origin in
Manhattan Project days when the Army
operated a small fabrication shop at Sandia
base, boasted that it was equipped and
manned to produce anything "from a
wristwatch to a locomotive." Supremely
confident of their unique abilities, these
skilled craftsmen could make virtua1Iy any
piece of machinery, tool, or electrical .
equipment upon request by any Sandia .
organization. Many of the tools, gages, testing
and handling equipment, and even weapon
In 1961, Ron Snidow, a glail shop supeivisor, applies fina!
touches to a glass vacuum manifold fabricated for a Sandia components with which Sandia worked were
research and development organization. Typical of the first prototyped by Fabrication, and many
laboratory apparatus created by the glas.s shop, this piece designs were later turned over to other
demonstrates the skill required of the Sandia glassblowers.
manufacturers for production in quantity.

Sandia's Shops While new weapons were being designed

and added to the stockpile, Sandia's
When Sandia began operations in earnest
specialized fabrication shops thrived and
in the late 1940s, its engineers literally had to
grew. However, by the 1970s, with fewer new
invent new tools, components, and
weapons being designed, more off-the-she~f
production test equipment. Nuclear weapons
components available, and the concentration
were a brand-new technology and every new
of Sandia's resources on research, the Lab.~'
development was a voyage of discovery -
production engineering activities were greatly
and innovation. In addition, each new and
reduced. Much. of the work was transferred to
unique component or tool designed by a
contractors. From then until the
nuclear engineer had to perform to the
restructuring of the weapon complex in th.e
highest degree of perfection.
mid 1990s, Sandia's production role consisted
of small lots of items such as ferroelectric
In part because this work was highly
ceramics or microelectronics where new
classified and in part because few machine
concepts and h igh reliability demanded d~se
shops around the country had the expertise
coordination between design and production.
to produce work to Sandia's exacting
Jn the 1990s, the shops became known as the
requirements, the Production Engineering
Manufacturing Technologies Center, a broad
group was created in May 1949, organized
base of fourteen technologies which
along Western Electric management lines. It
emphasized process development and
was staffed during that first month by 12
focused on reducing the product realization
men. A we11-knit, efficient organization soon
cycle time.
grew from the tiny nucleus. By November of

from Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

Monk Schwartz encouraged Jack Howard,
Don Cotter, and Leon Smith to explore new
weapon concepts. Perhaps the most important
of these moratorium-inspired explorations were
the earth penetrator advanced development,
the small multiple reentry vehicle
(Pebbles/Halberd), advanced nosecone
shielding, and permissive action link efforts.

Alan Pope, an aerodynamics expert at

Sandia, and others originated the earth
penetrator concept in 1960, when they
considered streamlining a projectlle so it
WO\lld penetrate through the earth much as a
missile plunges through the air. "Such
projectiles could play havoc with undergro\lnd
missile silos," Pope predicted. When they
initiated studies of penetrating weapons, Pope Workmen hobl a Sandia e.art.h penetrator from the ground.
and Bill Caudle advanced a new science they Analysis ol the pass119e of these penetrators through soils
and ro'k is a science developed at Sandia known ilS
named tenadynamics, the study of the te<radynamic.~
passage of shapes through geologic strata, just
as aerodynamics involves study of the passage
of shapes through the atmosphere. Through
terradynamic investigations, they soon
learned that the best grou11d penetration
could be accomplished with projectiles shaped
like a sharpened pencil, with plastic fins at the
rear that sheared off when the projectiles
entered the ground.

The original thought behind development

of these earth penetrators was that they could
put at risk missiles in silos or buried concrete
command bunkers. Moreover, with a firing set
Uut could survive the impact and then delay
detonation until the weapon was beneath the
ground surface, the weapon would be
invulnerable to countermeasures after impact
and nuclear fallout from the detonation would
be reduced. Pope and his colleagues contended
their penetrators, with shock-resistant
telemetry transmitting through a trailing During the 1960s, Sandia designed ice penetrators lor the
U.S. Coast Guard to test the depth and density of ice in
antenna, might also be used for quickly the shipping lanes. Here, Jack Kiker assembles a penetrator
reconnoitering soil conditions for airfields, or for testing.
for investigating subsurface geology in remote
areas, even on Mars or Venus. After test The Air Force thought the earth
impacts into granite, desert alluvium, clay, ice, penetrator concept had merit, and in 1962 it
limestone, concrete, and other materials, it agreed to jointly fund and cooperate in
became possible to chart profiles of the strata further development, especially of the use of
through which a penetrator passed by research earth borers as d)ve bombs. However,
recording how the strata slowed a projectile. the first use of Sandia's earth penetrator

Ch.11pter 3

technology came during the Vietnam war

when small penetrators dropped from aircraft
were used to implant seismic sensors for
detecting enemy activities. Several versions of
nuclear and conventionally armed earth
penetrators later were designed at Sandia, and
conventional penetrators were deployed,
some wtth striking effects, during the 1991
Persian Gulf Wac

The earth surfaces studi.ed for penetration

were expanded over time to include ice and
water in addition to rock and soil. Tn 1970,
Wayne Young he.Jded a Sandia team in
A)aska adapting the penetrometers to study
Arctic ice in the hope of providing a cheap
and fast method of mapping routes through
the frozen seas near the North Pole .. Dropped
from an airplane or helicopter, the
penetmmeter would provide information on
the depth, hardness, and salinity of ice in an
area before a ship was sent through .

Marlyn Sterk and Ron John~n abs.eNe while Don Rigali,
/meeling, descri~s an advanled nos:etip test an multi!*
In May 1960 the Soviet Un ion reerotry vehicle~ .
demonstrated major advances in its surface-
to-air missile capabiJitie..<. by downing Francis a committee to plan development of a
Gary Powers' high-flying U-2. Jn addition to reentry vehicle weighing perhaps a hundred
the serious foreign policy repercussions, this pounds. The exploratory program was
event heightened U.S. interest rn developing managed in a fashion resembling a .standard
missiles that could penetrate defensive wea{X>n design phase 3 , witb competitive
systems. One such concept calkd for Sandia design teams in Livermore and
overwhelming defenses using decoys Albuquerque and with Lawrence Livermore
alongside real warheads atop missiles. As the and Los Alamos each designing separate high
inevitable measure-countermeasure explosive/nuclear: sy.stems. '' Our goal," said
discussions ensued, some analysts asked Smith, "was to come up with an
whether it m ight be possible to design actual indep~ndently tar~eted warhead, small
warheads of size and weight comparable to enough that it could be carri.ed in multiples,
decoys. The defense would then have to with a yield that could not be ignored-"
confront several small warheads rather than
decoys that might be detected and ignored. During the mid-1960s, Sandia teams
Because this concept resembled throwing a achieved the goal of a light-weight,
handful of pebbles, rather than a s\ngle. hardened, arming. fuzing, and firing system
stone, it was code named Pebbles. Sometime integrated with the reentry vehicle structure,
later the code name was changed to Halberd, and demonstrated this capability with a
the name of a medieval battle ax. rocket test flight in 1966. Because such
multiple reentry vehi.des could substantially
A conceptual study of small reentry systems increase the effectivene&.s of each missile, the
managed by CharHe Winter and Don Cotter concept was presented to defense planners in
was initiated in 1962 and Leon Smith chaired both the Air Force and Navy

_ From MoratOl'ium to Test Ban Treaty

The fully integcated warhead and reentry de.signing their first complete missile
vehicle concept raised a number of issues. warhead arming, fuzing, and firing package
There was opposition based on the 1953 since 1953, were led by Bob Peurifoy and
Missiles and Rockets Agreement and some Gene Tves. Near the end of phase 3
reentry vehicle contractors saw an integrated development, because so many new concepts
warhead as a significant cost issue. On the and advances had been introduced into the
other hand, Secretary of Defense Robert overall system design, Tom Cook tool< the
McNamara recognized that deployment of unusual step of appointing Al Narath to lead
multiple reentry vehicles could significantly a committee from the research organization
reduce the requirement for silos for the land- to review critically every aspect of the des;gn.
based intercontinental Minuteman ballistic Manufactured within the AEC integrated
missile system . In addition, the fact that contractor complex, the system was an
Sandia had already developed prototype enormous operational success for the Nary,
hardware suggested to AEC management that initiating a long-term relation.ship that Bob
new production work could quickly be Clem described as the "largest reimbursable
funneled to its struggling Bendix facility in activity in the weapons area at Sandia ."
Kansas City. Finally, the Navy accepted the
concept for its submartne-Jaunched mis.siles,
noting the promise of a substantial weight
and volume savings. Also, the Nary's prime REENTRY HEATSHIELDS
contractor, Lockheed, had responsibility for
both the reentry vehicle and the missile Sandia's interest in designs for missile
system and so had far Jess to lose if an reentry vehicles, or reentry bodies by Navy
integrated warhead was chosen. definition, generated anothe1 re.search
initiative during the moratori um . Early
After an intense design compdition, intermediate-range mis1;iles used metal heat
Sandia was selected by the Navy to design sinks on reentry vehicles to absorb the heat
the arming, fuz.ing, and firing system for the generated during reentry into the
Mark 3 reentry body to be carried on the atmosphere . By 1958, Sandia had begun its
submarine-launched Poseidon missile. high-altitude research rocket design effort,
During the negotiations, however, Leon
Smith recalls a critical moment when the
Nary and Lockheed. requested control of the
project's technical direction. Smith told them
he was confident that Sandia could provide
the arming, fuzing, and firing package Hit
was permitted to work within the AEC
performance requirements with which it was
familiar. However, if it were required to work
within the unfamiliar Navy/Lockheed
system, Sandia would, reluctantly, feel
compelled to withdraw from the project.
After a few tense days of consultation and
discussion, it was agreed that Sandia could
operate wit hin che AEC framewo rk.

Overall, Sandia program management

was provided by Glen Brandvold and his
team at Sandia California, in coUaboration
with Lawrence Livermore, which was
responsible for developing the physics
package. Remarkable advances were
tohn Mc.Kiert'lan stands beside a recovered mis.silc ree ntry
incorporated in radiation hardening and gas vehicle. The heat o( reencry into the atmosphere c.aused the
transfer systems. Sandtam in Albuquerque, vi~ible ablation.

Ch.apter 3.

while also reducing x-ray induced stress loads

resulting from enemy intercepts. They could
also serve well tor reentry heat shielding.

The materials work involved extensive

teaming across Sandia. Northrop and Frye's
divisions worked with the non-destructive
testing and analysis groups, the thermal
properties measurements group, as well as the
shop, which pioneered methods of machining
carbon, including full-sized heatshi.elds.

Heinz Schmitt took charge of an

exploratory systems development group to
design a reentry body with a carbon-carbon
reentry protection system, fabricating a few
carbon heat shields and using Strypi rockets
for the early flight tests in the Pacific. The Air
Force joined in funding Sandia's nosecone
In 1966, Adolfo Martinez inspec:ts a rocket nosecone
package designed at Sandia.
research and the necessary proof flights,
which continued into the L970s. Harold
Vaughn, Sam McAlees, and Dave McVey
and these had nosecones carrying diagnostics
developed aerothermodynamic computer
packages aloft. Sandia began investigations of
codes and conducted arc jet tests to predict
heatshield materials that could provide the
the aerodynamics, aerodynamic heating, and
ablative protection needed for
ablation of these and later Sandia reentry
intercontinental missiles, while also
vehicle heat shield designs. Ken Cole
hardening the vehicles against intercepts and
developed a three-stage rocket system TATER
reducing their image on defensive radar.
(Talos-Terrier-Recruit) to measure rain erosion
of carbon-carbon and carbon-phenolic nose
Dave Northrop led the carbon-carbon
materials division, with Mort Lieberman
studying the basic chemistry associated with
the chemical vapor deposition of carbon,
Barry Butler examining the micro and
macromechanics of carbon-n1atrix carbon-
fi:be1 composites, Barry Butcher testing
samples in the shock wave physics group,
and Barry Granoff overseeing the
manufacture and qualification of full-scale
heatshields actually used in reentry tests.

The materials were made in Sandia's

materials laboratory, in a carbon processes
group headed by Eugene Frye, formed to
investigate the use of carbon-carbon
composites as ablative overcoats. Carbon,
ranging from the sUck graphite used as a
lubricant and in pencils to hard di21monds,
has unique properties, and Frye's team
identified ways to use these in heatshields.
They showed that wrapped carbon filaments S<india during the 1960s developed prototype rocket
in a carbon matrix became stronger at high nosecones of carbon. Chuck Thac:ker inspec:ts one of these
temperatures and had inherent toughness, lones inside a furnac:e for dlemical vapor deposition.

_ From Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

tips for the Air force. TATER, which was

faster than the Sprint missile, accelerated a
70-lb recoverable nosetip to 11 ,000 feet per
second in 11 seconds. Don Shuster and Bob
Peurifoy pointed to this program as pivotal
in Sandia's history. Involving one of the first
attempts to build maneuvering reentry
vehicles, the nosecone program initiated the
guidance and control development activities
of Ron Andreas and Don Rigali that extended
into the 1990s.


Sandia's concern for weapon safety
Sandia in 1960 developed the permi11ive action Jinlc (.PAL)
resulted in further development of
to prevent unauthariud U\e of weapons. Tf\i.i coding
environmental sensing and h andling devices e.quipment is plugged info the PAL on a warhead.
to prevent accidental detonation. later,
Sandia developed permissive action .links to command and control by the UnHed States,
prevent unauthorized detonation, thereby Agnew was famlliar with Sandia"s advanced
improving nuclear weapon system command component development projects and
and control. In response to concerns that suggested that one of them, the pulse-train
nudear weapons in Europe, particularly those environmental sensing device b~ing
with very small U.S. forces, might be used considered for atomic demolicion munitions,
without approval from the President, Sandia could be used to enhance use control. The
and its partner laboratories studied ways to Committee recommended co Presjdent John
prevent the unauthorized use of weapons. Kennedy that such devices, later called
permissive action links (PALs), be installed on
In late 1960, the Joint Committee on weapons deployed to Europe.
Atomic Energy, accompanied by Harold
Agnew of Los Alamos, inspected installations Presentations of the permi.s.sive action
in Europe and was disturbed by the state of link concept by Jack Howard, Leon Smith,

left to right: Air Force General Harold Donnelly; George Dacey; General Bernard Schriever, Kenner Hertford o( AEC; Eaton
Draper; and General John W. While, Commander AfSWC, meet in 1962 to discuss Sandia's weapon development programs.

Chapter 3 _

Del Olson, and other Sandians to the military During the following decades, Sandia
services initially were not well received. The improved its PAL designs in several
military services considered the links another categories, changing from electromechanical
complication that might reduce readiness. to solid-state electronics and undertaking
Again, dual agency responsibility for nuclear cryptographic research in conjunction with
weapons was essential because, despite these the National Security Agency for verifying
setbacks, Sandia pressed ahead with code authenticity. "These have guaranteed
development of an electromechanical link. It that U.S. weapons could only be used under
focused on the concept of a switch that could proper authority," declared component
be installed inside a weapon and remote1y developer John Ford, proudly adding that the
operated from a controller, making bypassing PAL became one of Sandia's "major
it difficult. This concept had its origin in the contributions to worldwide security."
environmental sensing device (ESD) effort,
where it was recognized that atomic
demolition munitions encountered no unique
or sensib1e environment. Thus, a "unique TECHNOLOGY SPINOFFS
environment" was artificially created by the
unique train of pulses that would activate the From technology developments such as
switch. With this design, a nudear weapon the environmental sensing device program
could not be detonated until the President's came two of Sandia's best known early efforts
order passed through command channels to to extend the benefits of its technology to
an officer controlling the weapon system, private industry. One, the laminar airflow
who then ordered the code entered. clean room, became an immediate and
enduring success. The other, the rolamite,
A Sandia task force under Leon Smith proved less useful to the private sector
undertook expedited design and production initially, although it found civilian
of the first electromechanical PAL 1 a motor- applications years later.
driven device with wheels aligning in
response to electrical signals from its "We had no idea of its significance at the
controller. When the wheels aligned, beginning," said Willis Whitfield, speaking of
electrical contacts were dosed to allow the the laminar airflow clean room he invented
transmission of an arming signal. Charlie in 1960. At the time, he worked in Sandia's
Winter described this design as equivalent advanced manufacturing group, which
electrically to that of a dial telephone: if the included Claude Marsh, James Mashburn, Bill
right numbers were not dialed in, it would Neitzel, Longinos Trujillo, and others who
not ring the weapon's arming system. The sought means of removing dust from the air
first PAL hardware was delivered to the Air that might contaminate the close-tolerance
Force in 1961 for installation in the parts required for the early piston-activated
W49/Jupiter system after a seven-month ESDs. An improvement on clean rooms then
"crash" development program. in use, Whitfield's clean room used a uniform
flow of filtered air from the ceiling to the
The Kennedy administration issued a floor grates 1 or wall to wall, to remove dust
memorandum in June 1962 mandating PALs from the air. Filters in the air stream not only
for land-based nuclear weapons in Europe stopped dust, they removed bacteria and
and authorizing continued research at fungi as well.
Sandia. Working with the manufacturer, U.S.
Gauge, Sandia delivered its first PALs to When Whitfield revealed his ultra-clean
Europe in September 1962. In the meantime, room development at a 1962 professional
Sandia created an organization to study ways meeting, he was inundated by requests for
to "hotwire 1' around, or defeat, the PAL. Gus information from industry and from Randy
Simmons became part of this first "blackhat'1 Lovelace, who adopted the clean room at his
division at Sandia, which picked designs Albuquerque medical center for the
apart to find weak points, then shipped them protection of surgical patients. "It was a
back for redesign.

from Moratorium to Teit San Treaty

Willis Whitfield of Sandia examines the ultra-dean room he

irwented in 1962. ~use they could remove dust Md
baccetia from the air, clean roorru had many applications
in the medic.al and microelectronics industries.

Top ond ri9hc: Inside a Sandia c:\ear1 room In

1965, Ed Powe1s of NASA ar1d Vernon Arnold
Inspect the sterili211tion of an interpl11netary

Chapte< ! _ _

revolutionary development," said Doug solution for engineering applications such as

Ballard, supervisor of Whitfield's research relays, pumps, shock absorbers, bearings, and
group. "It was an improvement by thousands sensing devices. Jt had little friction, required
of times and there has been no basic no lubrication, and could be quite small and
improvernen t since then." Building laminar still serve its function. Rolamite excited the
airflo w clean rooms became a billion-dollar media and was even used by cartoonist Bill
private industry, which has been credited Mauldin to satirize two competing politicians
with making the modern microelectronics revo!ving in opposite directions while
industry possible. Applications were also moving the same way. Wilkes and several
found in pharmaceutical, food processing, colleagues left Sandia to commercialize and
and other industries where dean market rolamite, with indifferent success. By
environments are important to quality. the 1990s, however, the rolamite inertial
switch found commercial application in the
One of the engineers involved in design deployment of automobile safety airbags,
of PALs and ESDs, Don Wilkes, Invented among other purposes.
ro!amite, using rollers and a flexible band to
serve as an inertial switch for weapons safing,
and later incorporated in a variety of
stockpiled nuclear weapons. Hailed as a new VERIFICATION
mechanism as basic as t he lever, spring, or
hinge, rolamlte appeared to ofter a simple Jn addition to its rocket research, Sandia's
role iTI space began in the VELA programs of
the 1960s, Because of the desire to detect
Soviet viol<1tions of the moratorium, the
.Advanced Research Projects Agency funded
research in 1959 to verify Soviet compliance.
Under the code name VE.LA, this first
verification program took three tacks: the
detection of secret testing in space, in the
atmosphere, and underground. Los Alamos
handled research on swface-based detection
of atmospheric tests; Lawrence Livermore
investigated subsurface testing; and Glenn
Fowler and Don Shuster negotiated a role for
Sand\a both in the seismic detection of
underground testing and, in a joint program
with Los Alamos, to develop and install
atmospheric and space nuclear-burst
detectors and logic .systems on Air Force
space satellites.

Sandia entered seismic detection, the

VELA Uniform program, on two levels. It
performed research on interpreting seismic
signals to djstinguish between earthquakes
and underground explosion s, and planned a
network o f seismic stations to collect data. Jn
1960, Sandia's nest seismic station near
Albuquerque began recording earthquakes as
far away as Japan, and a set of stations ringing
the Nevada Test Site were soon opened. These
Donald Wilkes points to a large model of the rolamite switch stations documented the earth motion
he invented. The rolamite >wiUh could be manufactured so resulting from explosions at the test site,
sm311 that magnifk.ation was needed to examine its workings.

from Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

l.EEOS. lll.

Stations in the leo Brady Seismic S.ystern monitored

underground testi~ from Nevada Test Site

Robert House and Simon Steely tesllng the payload <or the
first VELA ~atellite.
nuclear bursts in space. Sandia rocket systems
with telemetry were used to assist Los Alamos
information useful when settling damage scientists. in measuring exo-atmos.pheric
claims., and also created a data base for background data for neutrons and gamma
analyzing the differences between eart)1quakes rays to fac1litate calculation of set-ranges for
and underground explosions. Sandian Leo the detei::tors. Twenty-three flights were made
Rrady managed the NTS system for many from DR and the Navy's Point Arguello
years and, in tribute to his se{'Vice, it became faci Ii ty. Instru rnen tation pad ages were also
known as the Leo Brt1dy Seismic System. flown on Air Force and NASA rockets (Blue
Scout Jr. and Ranger l} to acquire background
The VF.LA satellite technical management soft x-ray dat;i, but were unsuccessful due to
nearly duplicated that for weapons. Los launch vehicle failures. The Air Force.
AlamDs designed detectors for detection of provided launch vehicles and the satellite bus

Using the roorn,si2e IBM <.omputers available during the early 1960i, Sandians developed computer simulation model1 for
testing VELA 1atellite 1y>tems and radiation effects,

Chapter 3 -- _ _ _ -- --- - -

for launching the first VELA satellites just

eighteen months after the program started,
adding great urgency to Sandia's research and
development efforts. Later, James Scott of
Sandia laconically observed," A launch
schedule is a great motivator."

To meet the VELA launch .schedule, Scott

and his c.ol\eagues marshaled all of Sandia's
expertise in telemetry, power supplies, signal
conditioning, radiation hardening, and
materials sciences for this complex system:
the original Sandia Jogics system for VELA
contained 4.000 transistors, 10,000 diodes,
and 34,000 resistors or capacitors. In a solar-
powered, 50-pound package, Sandia had to
design a logic system comparable to a room-
Solid-stale electronic~ used in the VELA satellites held b~ore sized lBM 704 computer that could perform
an artist's sketi;h ol the satellite1 in space. in harsh launch and space environments,
d1stingui\hing natural radiation from nuclear
including power supplies, thermal analysis bursts, collecting data and reducing it for
and control, and communications systems; transmission back to earth. For increased
and Sandia designed the rest of the system. reliability and miniaturization, Sandia turned
Later VELA satellites were launched with from vacuum tubes and wiring to solid-state
Sandia-designed optical sensor systems called semiconductor electronics and printed circuit
bhangmeters, to detect nuclear bursts in the boards. To check these components, Sandia,
atmosphere. Management of this joint for the first time, used computers in a real
program with Los Alamos fell initially to a time mode to perform thousands of tests of
working group called the Buzzer committee the detection and logic systems over a wide
chaired by Richard Taschek of Los Alamo.) range of simulated space environments.
and including Gus Simmons, Francis E.
"Tommi' Thompson, Herbert M. "Brick" Out of this effort came another Sandia
Dumas, and other Sandians. technology sp1noff, developed by Travis
"T. A." AJlen and Robert Sylvester, that soon
"Transistors were still a relatively new transferred to the printed drcuit-board
thing," said Simmons, reflecting on the VELA industry. To complete circuits on printed
design challenges. ''And we were planning to boards, Industry used unreliable soldering
fly .something like an lBM computer in methods. To meet the high-qu4lity standat:ds
complexity. We had to do signal analysis in for the VELA satellites, Allen and Sylvester
space." Simmons and the Sandia team invented hot-air solder leveling, pushing flux
shuttled back and forth to Washington, .across circuit boards with hot atr to prevent
attempting to convince VE.LA planners that ox\dation of the sold~r. Applied by industry,
the logic system was feasible. "lt was a hard hot-ai! leveling in time became a billion-
battle,'' he recalled, "because no one had ever dollar-a-year business.
built a micro-miniature computer, which is
what we were proposing to <lo, much less ihe first VELA tandem launch came in
launch it in to orbit." 1963, and by 1970 twelve of the satellites
circled the globe. For thi~ achievement, AEC
When the Vt::LA plans received full chairman Glenn Seaborg issued his personal
approval in early 1961, Sandia became commendation to Monk Schwaru and the
responsible for logic and data storage systems, Sandia design teams headed by Bill Myre and
ground checkout equipment, and computer Hubert "Pat" Patterson . Although designed
analysis of data coming from the detectors only for six months of service, the satel\ites
designed at Los Alamos. The schedule called performed for years. The last of the twelve
- _ From Moratorium to Te5t Ban Treaty

service in many parts of the nation, including

what he considered his most challenging job:
wiring the Pentagon in 1942.

A detail-oriented manager, Schwartz

personally conducted regular design reviews,
calling project managers together to assess
program status and budget. He therefore
served as both president and his own general
manager, calling on Robert Henderson, the
vke president for weapon programs, to serve
as executive in his absence.

As the 1958 testing moratorium extended

into the 1960s, Henderson alerted Schwartz
that members of Congress had begun to cast
aspersions on the potential performance of
the nuclear stockpile, because new weapons
Robert Sylvester and T. A. Allen examine the hot-air solder entering the stockpile had not undergone
leveler they invented that revolutionized the printed circuit full-scale testing. John Kennedy's presidency
board induitry.
brought even tighter controls on nuclear
was shut off in 1984, replaced by more weapon programs.
advanced satellite detection technology. Not
only monitoring for nuclear bursts, during ln September 1961, the Soviet Union
their service they advanced science by resumed nuclear testing, conducting an
detecting rare lightning 11 superbolts" and astonishing forty-five tests in two months. Of
observing gamma-ray bursts from objects in these, fourteen exceeded a one-megaton yield
deep space; indeed, the origin of the science and one, tested on October 30, 1961,
of gamma-ray burst astronomy has been amounted to 58 megatons, the largest
credited to the VELA project. At its end, nuclear device ever detonated. The United
Sandians labeled the VELA program a major States was not nearly so well prepared to
success1 because it took them further into resume testing. As Torn Cook later recalled:
high technology and brought .~imilar "We scrambJed around in this country to
assignments later that eventually helped bring the teams back together, start from
reassure the United States and the Soviet scratch, and carry out the important nude;a r
Union that restrictions on nuclear testing tests the country needed. Caught flatfooted.
could be adequately monitored. That was a very busy year."

After thirty-four months of moratorium,

in September 1961 Sandia prepared tethered
SCHWARTZ AND THE END OF balloons to serve as test platforms and to
THE MORATORIUM provide its traditional firing and diagnostic
services at NTS. Thanks to Plow~hare, seismic
detection testing, and other programs, NTS
When Julius Molnar returned to Be11 had retained a viable organization for the
Laboratories in fall of 1960, his general resumption of testing in late 1961. For the
manager, Siegmund P. Schwartz, took charge atmospheric and high-altitude tests in the
of Sandia. An electrical engineer from T.ehigh Pacific, however, a new task force had to be
University, Schwartz started his career as a recruited and equipped for the Dominic test
lineman and exhibited such agility climbing ~eries of l 962.
poles that he earned the nickname 11 Monk"
that followed him throughout his years with Under General Starbird, co.mmanding
Western Electric and Sandia. At Western Joint Task Force 8, Don Shuster and his
Electric, he supervised installation of phone deputy, James Scott, managed the Dominic
Chapter 3 _ _ __

Sandia launches one of its Strypj-rockets developed originally during tht 19,62 ~minic tests.
. .
~ - _,
.... ,. .' . .

From Moratorium to Test Ban Treaty

program, while Cook and Clarence Mehl urgent. Fowler said the schedule was "nearly
served as program scientists. Johnston Island impossible" and required working eighteen-
became the Dominic operations base with hour days to meet; but, he pointed out with
Barber's Point on Oahu as an airdrop staging pride, his team designed, built, tested, and
area. Sandia acquired part of the Barking successfully fired the new rocket in less than
Sands site on Kauai Island for launching two months. It carried a Los Alamos device
diagnostic rockets. to the required high altitude for detonation
on schedule. The Strypi rocket proved so
Two of Sandia's main tasks in support of robust and reliable that it became a
the air-drop portion of Operation Dominic workhorse in Sandia's rocket research
were to provide instrumentation and data program, although it never again carried a
recording for the 29 missions and to provide nuclear warhead into space.
the bomb-shaped vehicles containing the
nuclear test devices 1 provided by either Los
Alamos or Lawrence Livermore, to be
delivered to the target by the specially KENNEDY VISITS SANDIA
configured B-52 aircraft. Because Sandia was
involved in three major bomb design projects As the Dominic tests progressed, the
- the B43, the B53 and the B57 - it could
1 Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 brought
draw on these programs to fill the needs of the world frighteningly close to a nuclear
Operation Dominic. Assembly, test, and exchange. Sandia went on alert, coding its
loading operations for the twenty-four air outgoing messages and overloading the
drops at Christmas Island and the five air coding facilities it then had. That month,
drops at Johnston Island were staged from Monk Schwartz visited Washington to report
Barber's Point Naval Air Station near to Presidential science advisor Jerome Wiesner
Honolulu, and began a mere six months after and the White House staff on the status of
planning for Dominic was initiated. After air- PAL development and overseas deployment.
drop testing was completed, a practical
concern drove Sandia 1s efforts during Two months later, after tours of Strategic
Dominic's high-altitude tests - testing the Air Command headquarters and Los Alarnosi
effectiveness of antiballistic missiles by President Kennedy, accompanied by Wiesner,
obtaining data on weapon outputs and AEC chairman Glenn Seaborg} and a large
effects at different burst heights. official party, came to Albuquerque to visit
Sandia. Arriving just after the end of the work
The high-altitude Dominic tests, called the day, the President received a rousing welcome
Fishbowl series, proved frustrating. When from Sandians lining the motorcade route.
malfunctions forced the destruction of DoD While Schwartz gave the President a forty-five
missiles in flight and one on its launch pad, minute briefing on Sandia's weapons, PAL,
Starbird asked Shuster and Glenn Fowler to and satellite verification projects 1 Robert
rush Sandia's development of a new rocket to Henderson and Glenn Fowler described
carry warheads to the required height. Since Sandia's programs to others in the official
Sandia had developed rockets powerful enough party and the press. The most impressive
to lift heavy diagnostic packages, and had event of the briefing, in Robert Strombergis
designed the warhead hardware for the earlier opinion, was the President holding and
test launches, it accepted Starbird s challenge.
intently examining a PAL device, because
"there stood the man who had the authority
According to George Dacey, then vice to unlock that coded switch. 11

president of research, Sandia named its new

rocket the Strypi, referring to the striped tail In 1963 the United States and the Soviet
of a tiger and implying that in accepting Union completed negotiations for a limited
Starbird's challenge, Sandia had taken "a tiger test ban treaty suspending nuclear testing in
by the tail. With thousands of personnel in the atmosphere, in space, and in the seas,
the Pacific awaiting the next test launch, thereby restricting fallout by confining
Sandia's development of the Strypi became
Chapter 3

President )oho Kennedy and Seria tor Clinton Ande!"lon eritered Sandia in a motorc;ade on an evening in December 1962.

President Kennedy inspects the VELA satellite package designed al Sandia for the detection ol atmospheric testing. Visible
behind the satellite are national security advisor McGeorge Bundy, A.E.C chairman Glenn Seaborg and Sandia president
Si<igmund S<:hwartz.

_ from Moratorium to Te~t Q.vi Treaty

Siegmund Schwartz, right, briefs President Kennedy, Senator AndersM, and AEC chairman Glenn Seaborg during the 1962
visit to Sandia.

testing to deep underground sites. ln work force, and establishing fruitful liaisons
response to congressional concerns about with the Air Force, Navy, and Advanced
Soviet abrogation of the treaty,. the President Research Pcoject.s Agency.
enunciated four safeguards for the nation,
which had been recommended by the Joint These initiatives later paid dividends in
Chiefs of Staff to provide for: readiness to the form of reimbursable projects from the
resume testing quickly in the forbidden defense agencies for surveillance technology,
environments i.f the treaty were violated, earth penetrators, and reentry vehicle
development of systems capable of detecting engineering. Supplementing traditional
secret testing, aggyessive underground nuclear weapons del">ign projects for the AEC,
testing, and maintaining the laboratory these reimbursable projects brought new
facilities and research programs necessary to programmatic stability. By the time of the
"insure the continued application of our signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in
hum.an scientific resources." J 963, Sandia was no longer simply one of
three AEC laboratories engaged in nucl~r
weapons design~ it had joined in programs for
enhi\nced use control, for arms control treaty
MORATORIUM RESULTS verification, and for non-weapons projects.

Rather than the stagnation, reductions- "lf there .should be another moratorium,
in-force, and perhaps even closure feared in what would happen to Sandia?" research
1958, Sandia's initiatives assured its director George Dacey asked rhetodcally in
continued contributions to national security 1962. "Sandia represent~ a unique strength in
during the moratorium and afterwards. the nation's armory, " he aruwered, ''and is one
Sandia advanced on several fronts, adding of the best of the laboratories which provide
accelerators, reactors, and new research the nation ,.v;th sound scientific judgment: to
laboratories to jts facilities, improving both disband Sandia would be ridirulous." ~
the capabilities and the opportunHies for its

Chapter 4 _ . _ _ __ _ _____ ___ _

This 1969 aerie! ...+ew of Sandia, looklng toWt1rd the southeast, shows the wooden structures buit In the 19-iOs behind the tree
line, with the bride structures of the 1950s and later in the background. just behind the flag i$ Buildng 818, the first
administration building.

A Diversified Laboratory


Remember three things. We are spending hard-earned tax dollars that come not out of
an inexhaustible tax treasury but out of the pockets of the American people; the fate of
a nation may depend upon the excellence of the work of our team; the effectiveness of
our team depends on our outside reputation.

Siegmund "Monk 11 Schwartz

The nuclear test moratorium of 1958 and aggressive underground testing of nuclear
increasing involvement in Southeast Asia led weapons; maintaining "laboratory facilities
to new national security concerns for Sandia and programs in theoretical and exploratory
and the nation. Advanced development nuclear technology which will attract, retain,
weapon programs generated capabilities that and insure the continued application of our
would pace weapon development and human scientific resourcesn; readiness to
provide diversified program work through resume atmospheric testing on short notice;
the 1970s. and developing surveillance systems to detect
nuclear testing anywhere in the world. This
President Kennedy and Secretary of effort was assisted, in part 1 by the AEC's
Defense Robert McNamara tightly controlled continuation of level-of-effort funding at its
new weapon delivery systems development. laboratories.
As Andy Lieber of Sandia later reflected "Tt 1

was an era of cost-effectiveness studies in the Sandia's programs fulfilling these

Pentagon, and the most cost-effective buy safeguards and its efforts to assure the safety
often was determined to be zero." As the of nuclear weapons and of power sources for
number of phase 3 engineering development space exploration brought it new expertise
programs fell in concert with national and increased public attention. By the end of
security policies 1 Monk Schwartz and Sandia the 1960s it became officially known as

initiated efforts to acquire challenging Sandia Laboratories, although still labeled by

assignments in special and reimbursable Popular Mechanics as the "Super Lab that
programs outside of nuclear weapons. With Nobody Knows.
approval from the AEC, Sandia acquired new
assignments in support of the NASA space
mission and in conventional weapons
technology. In support of the troops in UNDERGROUND TESTING
Vietnam for example} Sandia designed
sensors for a proposed electronic fence
between North and South Vietnam called
"McNamara's Wall." The first LTBT safeguard called for
"comprehensive aggressive, and continuing

In a larger sense the statutory safeguards underground nuclear test programs designed

attendant to the 1963 Limited Test Ban to add to our knowledge and improve our
Treaty (LTBT) guided Sandia's activities weapons in all areas of significance to our
during the 1960s. These safeguards were: military posture for the future." Responding

Chapter 4

to this mandate, Sandia's permanent staff at

the Nevada Test Site (NTS) conducted
technical studies; planned Sandia's role in
device arming, firing, and diagnostics data
collection; and supported the personnel
coming from Albuquerque and Livermore for
specific events. Bob Statler and B. G. Edwards
were long-time leaders of Sandia 1s contingent
at NTS, where they worked with the AEC
Nevada offi.ce and its contractors.

Since the early days of nuclear testing,

Sandia nad provided arming and firing for
test devices, both in the Pacific and in
Nevada. Ed Jenkins and Bob Burton managed
the arming and firing tasks from the 1950s
until 1964, and Burton garnered media
attention fn l 95 7 when a devic~ misfired and
he and Forrest Fairbrother of Lawrence
Livermore climbed a 500-foot tower to
disarm it Andy Max and Dick Petersen
supervised Sandla 1s arming and firing
division during the late 1960s, and Allen
Church managed the team from 1970 until
his retirement In 1994. (Church and his
brothers, Ted and Hugh, sons of the Los $<}ndians prepare for the 1963 ~hoa\ undergroul)() test. Left
Alamos Ranch School headmaster, lived on to right: W~ndelJ Wem, Wifliam Perr/it, John Eckhart, P<}u)
Kinuinger, Ben 6~njilmin.
"The Hill'' until forced out by the Manhattan
Project in 1943. All three became Sand!ans.) the suspension of underground nuclear
testing in the 1990s.
Sandia developed a strong interest in the
containment of underground blasts, With the advent of renewed nuclear
providing advisors to investigate this weapon testing after the moratorium, Sandia
challenge, and installing sensors to measure was called upon to provide ground motion
the motion of ground shocks in the vicinity measurements on a large number of
of the nuclear detonation. After one cavity underground tests, both at NTS and at off-
collapsed as personnel were preparing to site locations ranging from New Mexico,
return to ground zero, the Sandia testing Mississippi, and Colorado, to Amchitka
group improvised a monitor for ground Island in the Aleutians. These field
Vibrations by hooking a tube-type car radio to experiments were designed and analyzed by
a Brush recorder. Sandians also participated in Bi II Perret and Wendell Weart and fielded by
nuclear yield measurements, using for this the ne\d test division,
purpose the amplitude of seismic waves
detected by the Leo Brady Seismic System and Sandia's experience with ground motion
a Los Alamos system called SLIFER (Shorted measurements resulted in a new role when
Location Indicating Frequency by Electrical test yields became large enough to raise
Resonance) . This technique was improved by concerns for safety and structural response in
Sandians John Brouillard 1 Dale Breding1 the b1gh-rise buildings in Las Vegas. Weart
Stewart Lyon, James Greenwell, and Robert served on the Nevada Operations Office
Bass to measure the advance of shock fronts (NVO) Ground Motion and Seismic Evaluation
emanating from nuclear blasts. With Subcommittee from the early 1960s until
computers added for data analysis during the undergtound testing was terminated in the
1970s, both the SLIFER system and seismic early 1990s. During the 1960s, Las Vegas
yield measurements continued in use until resident Howard Hug.hes raised strong
A Diversified Laboratory

obiections to the AEC's high-yield testing During the quarter century following
and Weart found himself representing the 1963, Sandia participated in more than
AEC's position in public hearings. John seventy radiation-effects tests, and when
Banister directed the seismic motion seismic and ground motion tests are added,
contractors for NVO in the 1970s and 1980s the number climbs into the hundreds. Its
during a period of extensive high-rise testing activities differed, depending upon
building response measurements. the purpose of each test and whether Los
Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, or the Defense
Jack Reed and colleagues provided blast Nuclear Agency sponsored the test. Sandia
and related predictions for the AEC Nevada itself was the AEC sponsor on three tests,
office and monitored the recording Derringer, Cypress, and Camphor, conducted
instruments placed atop towers around the during the period from 1966 to 1971 to
test s.ite. Other Sandians were involved with determine whether, for example, nuclear
the advanced drilling and logging systems for detonations caused x-ray and
device emplacement bore holes at Yucca electromagnetic pulses that could damage
Bats, providing techniques for boring vertical warhead electronics.
shafts and tunnels for underground tests, and
for cable transmission of data from the Noteworthy among the technical
devices to tratlers housing diagnostic and advances that occurred during underground
recording equipment. This experience proved testing were the giant doors Bob Stinebaugh,
usefuJ during the 19 70s when Sandia John Weydert, and other Sandiaru designed
initiated its own drilling and logging research to slam closed in milliseconds to contain
for its energy programs . nudear blasts and prevent damage to the
instrumentation packages. After neutrons,
Herme.i 11, a fl:as.h x-ray madiine built al Sandia in 1968, perlormed more than 30,000 tests on materials and components
before its operation ceased in 1990.

Chapter 4

For underground te~ting at the Nevada Test Site, Sar.dia joined in the development of fut-ac.t ion doors that ck:Hed pipes in
milliseconds to protea e><perimer.tal pack.19~ against nuclear blast wave1.

gamma rays, and x-rays from a nuclear

detonation pa~sed through a line-of-sight
pipe to the diagnostic packages, the doors
were activated. These doors., later replaced by
even quicker fast-acting closures, slammed
across the pipe to prevent blast waves and
high velocity debris from destroying the
packages and their experimental data . These
and related Sandia efforts in support of
underground testing continued until the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty negotiations
began again in 1994.

With the number of new nuclear weapon
projects declining, the question arose: how
could Sandia implement the mandated
safeguard for maintaining a vibrant
laboratory capable of applying "human
S;,ndia pre~ident Schwartz brief~ Vice President Hubert
scientific resources?" Monk Schwartz Humphrey during his April T966 visit to the Labs..

A Diveriified Laboratory

responded during the early 1960s by

exploring the application of existing Sandia
competencies to other programs in additio n
to nuclear weapon engineering. This
initiative was conducted within the AEC
guidelines that any proposed reimbur.)4ble
work for. o thers should not tequire personnel
or facilities increases, should not be
subcontracted, and should not compete wHh
the private sector.

During the space and m.is.s.ile rilc.e, the

AEC collaborated wtth NASA and defense
agencies in developing Systems for Nuclear
Auxiliary Power (SNAP) . This incl u ded
research on nuclear reactors to power space
Jim Jacobs, Arnold Bentz. Arthur Clark, and Sill Everhc}rt
exploration and on radioisotopic generators eamine a SNAP reentry vehicle.
to provide lightweight and long-lasting
po wer sources for ~tellites and deep-space
probes. Los Alamos managed the Rover
project for developing nuclear reactors to
power spacecraft; Sandia provided
engineering for the Rover experiments and in
1965 tested to destruction a full-scale
mockup of a Los Alamos space reactor.

Tn addition , the AEC asked Schwartz

whether Sandia would assess the safety of the
iadioisotopic thermoelectric genera tors and
fuel capsules designed by Martin Marietta and
other contractors tor use as power sources irl
space satelllte.s., navigation buoys, and at
remote sites. Schwartz discussed it with Glenn In 1966 Glenn fowle r briefed Af:C. c:hairma n Gluin ~eaborg
Fowler, Bob Henderson, Dick Claassen, and on S.;;ndia '~ SNAP and reentry vehicle teuing program~ .
staff, who thought the mission complemented
Sandia's weapon research and VELA satellite
programs. Schwartz then appointed Jim Scott,
Tom Cook, Jim Shreve, Hubert "Pat''
Patterson, and Hans "Ed" Hans.en to draft the
scope of work proposal to the AEC. "Because
ot their competence in obtaining an unusually
high degree of reliability and safety in nuclear
weaponry," announced AEC chairman Glenn
Seaborg, "we have ass1gned the Sandia
Corporation the task of making in.dependent
assessments of the safety of all our nuclear
aerospace systems."

Sandia's early mission in the SNAP

program involved testing and analysis to
assure that plutonium or othe1 radioisoto pes
fueling the thermoelectric generators would 11'1 1965, as part o( the SNAI> program, Dave McVey and
survive the launch environment or accidents. Ken Toutyc}fl in the pl.astn<l jet laboratory study ho w the
~at of reentJy could be c:onverted into power.
To accomplish this, Sandia formed an

Chapter 4

A highlight of SNAP safety work came in

1963 and 1964 when Sandians conducted
two reentry flight demonstrations Carried
aboard NASA rockets from Wallops Island,
Vjrginia, mockups of SNAP models traveled
800 miles downrange before reentering the
atmosphere near Bermuda. William Everhart
served as the Sandia operations manager at
Wallops Island, while field test project
engine.er Don Beatson and a large team of
other $andiaru on Bermuda monitored the
fiery reentry with telescopes, tracking
dlmeras, and telemetry to collect data on the
perfo1mance and safety of the vehicles and
moc.kup capsules.

In addition to furthering Sandia's

developing capability for reentry vehide
aerodynamics de.sign and testing, the SNAP
program produced advances useful for
military missiles and environmental research.
Murphy Landry and Sandia's irutrumentation
division, tor ex.ample, developed a sensitive
la.~er radar to detect particles eroding from
the SNAP and nosecone during teentry. They
reported that this system also might be used
to monitor particles polluting the air over
Albuquerque and urban areas.

Sandia's safety assessments for SNAP were

After an impact test Rebert L.uikeru and Vll"lcent RedmMd so well received that in early 1966, when the
CX'amine. a SNAP 19 designed by Martin Marie.I ta Corporation. AOC transferred SNAP program management
from its New York to its Albuquerque office,
aerospace nuclear safety group managed Sandia became responsible for technical
initially by Alan Pope, Vern "Gene" Blake, Ed administration of the entire program. This
Hansen, Arthur Clark, Edward Harley, and included not only safety assessment, but also
Amold Bentz.. In Sandi.a's envircnm~tal test technical design revkw, environmental field
are.1, they burned, smashed, heated, fToze, testing, and quality evaluation of contractor
and drove capsule prototypes into water, production, plus Le.search on advanced
as.sessing capsule strength and advising js6topic generators. Arthur Clark and John
contractors of any weaknesses detected. McKieman managed Sandia's d~ign and
Aerodynamjcists Randy Maydew and Harold quality reviews of the work of seventeen SNAP
Vaughn modified a wind tunnel to simulate contractors, while Bob Stromberg and Read
high-altitude conditions for reentry vehicles, Holland investigated advanced isotopic
and Sandia added a high-enthalpy arc tunnel systems. The latter included investigations of
to subject power supplies to supersonic winds 1adioisotopic thermoelectric generators, which
and high temperatures at the same time. Sam com:rerted the he.at from radioisotopic decay
McAlee.s developed aerothermodynamic codes into electridty. These eatly thermoelectric
to predict burn up of the SNAP systems on studies proved useful years later, both in
reentry. Meanwhile, Shreve, John Banister, nuclear weapon work and as interest grew in
and others investigated and m ode.led the space voyages to Mars and beyond_
dispersion and fallout of radioisotopes
reentering the upper atmosphere. A spectacular event in Sandia's SNAP
program came in 1969, when Apollo astronauts

___ A Diversified Laboratory

became the first humans to walk on the moon. medical products, cosmetics, and foods, and
The astronauts deployed SNAP units on the a decade later they received funding from the
moon with Sandia-designed seismic detectors Environmental Protection Agency for studies
to monitor moonquakes, adding substantially applying thermoradiation to sewage sludge.
to knowledge of lunar geology.
The laboratory capability safeguard was
Schwartz also created an advanced further supported by a 19 60 AEC decision to
systems studies directorate led by Don Cotter fund the laboratories on a level-of-effort,
to perform initial studies of promising future rather than a program-by-program, basis. The
areas of research and development. This commission noted that udiscontinuities
directorate was administered differently from [caused by] sudden elimination or the drastic
the rest of the line organizations at Sandia so curtailment of a single activity can have
that its mission of creativity and innovation serious effects on apparently remote programs
would be supported. The director reported since frequently the value of a staff group is
directly to Schwartz and the directorate, not confined to the activity which provides
purposely kept small and select consisted of
1 its principal support." The decision to
staff members, section supervisors1 division implement level-of-effort funding introduced
supervisors, and other managers, each person a stability into the program that facilitated
reporting directly to Cotter himself. This orderly movement from one program to
organization was successful at initiating new another. At the same time, the laboratory
programs in small, hardened reentry vehicles; maintained its ability to quickly shift
advanced use control hardware; and code sufficient resources to high-profile "quick
management concepts. In addition, it was starts," such as test resumption in Operation
instrumental in the acquisition of the Mk 3 Dominic. The Lab's budget usually was not
reentry body/Poseidon arming and fuzing increased when a new program was added.
system design and the planetary quarantine
and Joint Task Force-2 projects.

The Planetary Quarantine Program had THE READINESS SAFEGUARD

been suggested by the National Academy of
Sciences in 1958 as a way to assure the Drawing a concrete historical lesson from
ecological preservation of planets and natural the 1958-1961 moratorium, Congress in 1963
satellites other than earth during the mandated that the nation should stand ready
exploration of space. Sandia's clean room to promptly resume testing in the prohibited
expertise was applied by Cotter s group to
environments when national security
gain an assignment from the Planetary required. Responding to this specific
Quarantine Department of NASA safeguard, the Air Force formed a special unit
Headquarters in 1966. The resulting Sandia at Kirtland with aircraft ready for nuclear
study set the pattern by which international testing at any time. Part of Sandia's readiness
standards of planetary quarantine were role involved modifying three aircraft to
established. Willis Whitfield, along with Jacek serve as diagnostic platforms, designing test
"Jack" Sivinski, Virgil Dugan, Marcel vehicles to carry the devices and telemetry
Reynolds, Charles Trauth and other Sandians,
1 for nuclear tests 1 and participating in
took part in this planetary quarantine study readiness practice missions often in
aimed at sterilizing spacecraft before their connection with scientific research projects.
launch and again upon their return from
space. Dugan developed a vacuum probe Working with its partner laboratories and
sampler that could assay microbiological the Air Force, Sandia enlisted the aid of
surface contamination, and the team learned several contractors and prepared
that sterilization of space vehicles could be instrumentation to be installed in three C-135
best accompHshed through a combination of aircraft, thereafter designated as NC-135s.
dry heat and irradiation. Thermoradiation, Each of the aircraft was devoted to one of the
they observed, might be effective as well for three weapons laboratories. Los Alamos was
the sterile production of pharmaceuticals,
. !

.Jeanne Jolly expl~lns purch~se order tem)s to c16ria Conzai~s while Betty Sh~red tapulates Information at the next desk: The
three.were part. of the \rwolce processing assembly line that guaranteed prory\pt payment of Sandia'~ commercial suppliers in
1962. . . . ... ' ' . .
. . . .
: : .
, ', . Purchasing
: '

. . It takes a lot of material; ranging from tf!,e' When Sandia was still Z-division of Los : .
. . ordinary fo the astonishirigiy extraordinary to . .Alamos, most of its pt.uchasfug was .haridled
keep ah operation as la.rge as Saildia runniri'g by the University of California. Henry
. . .'
'' from day to 4ay~ Over the years, Saru:tia's :. . MOeding was Z~division's procurement
. ' .workers have used the .usual of(ke supplies of.. . representative beginning in 1946 when there
reams :of paper, piles of pap,erdtps;:and stacks : "were only about 100 people employed by th~
pfdiskett.ci, as .wellas a variety 6f.$pecialize.d. . University of California at Sandia Base. Until .
' . .
...' '.technical equipment. Most of these itenis . .. 1'949, when Sandia Corporation was formed,.
were bought ort the ~pen market frpm ,. ..:. .. : Moeding sent all purchase r~quisitions to the
. established suppliers:ofgoods.and services. . University of California Purchasmg Office in
.' . : , ,' .. Some purchases weres'traightforivatd, pf '. :. Los Angeles and the buying was done .there. :
col,lrse, but much of Sandia's speciali,zed : . After the management contract changed,
' ,' .. . equipment and parts have been desJgned by however, Sandia handled Us own purchasing,
the Labs' technical staffancJ. manufactured albeit under the guidance of a manager
specifically for it.: Ar:tanging for the supply o f . "transferred from Western Elec.tric.
.. "
' .; .
all. ~f Sandia~s n~eds is the responsibibty of
the Purchasing organi2atioil. '. :
.. ' ' '

" ', , .

.. . ' ' , ,'

. ' '
Purchasing has been responsible for of non-stock items purchased for particular
meeting some tight deadlines on crucial jobs. This system worked very well over the
projects in addition to supplying the day-to- years, but eventually began to show the
day operations of the Labs. For example, strains of maintaining a centralized system for
when the Soviet Union began nuclear testing a large, diversified workforce. The inventory
again in 1961 after a 3-year moratorium, was large and often out of date, orders for
Sandia was plunged back into active field new and specialized items were slow to be
testing. Like everyone else at the Labs, delivered, and there were complaints about
Purchasing was stretched to the limit. Ed product quality.
Herrity, who was the Division Supervisor of
the group buying for full-scale testing, depicts In 1983 1 Purchasing division supervisor
a hectic, but successful scramble to get Katherine Danforth chaired a committee to
everything done: analyze the overall procurement situation. The
committee concluded that efficiency and
And we went all out and did get all the customer satisfaction could be increased by
equipment on time ... I devised a system of moving to systems contracting, in which
rewards and penalties. If you delivered early you Sandia would agree to buy a line of items
[the supplier] got more money. If you delivered exclusively from one vendor in exchange for
late, you were penalized so much a day and the vendor's guarantee that the items would be
during that period people were in airplanes stocked and delivered as needed. Authorized in
putting the things together flying into Sandia to 1984 and known as Just-in-Time, this
deliver on time. But it was very hectic, lots of fun. purchasing system allows procurement to
We worked 60, 70, 7 5 hours a week with 8 hours focus on the needs of the individual
overtime paid. organizations, going beyond an exclusive
concern with the lowest price to an emphasis
After the success of the first full-scale test, on finding the best product for the job.
Purchasing 1s effort was recognized in letters of
commendation from Vice President of Field
Test Glenn Fowler and Sandia President Monk

The mass of paperwork required to sustain

a successful Purchasing operation was done
manually until the late 1960s. At that point, a
new typing pool was formed under the
supervision of Oleta Morris to centralize the
paperwork effort. The women worked with
Western Electric teletype machines that
allowed them to use templates for the
different types of supplies ordered. This
increase in efficiency was further bolstered in
the early 1970s when Purchasing shifted to a
computerized operation.

Different approaches have been taken to

ordering and providing supplies to Sandians
over the years. One of the biggest changes in
this area occurred in the mid-1980s when
Sandia completely altered its purchasing
philosophy, moving from commodity to
organizational buying. In 1949, Sandia had
set up an in-house storage facility known as
General Stores to carry an inventory of
stocked items in addition to a large number
Chapter 4

In 1969, Herb f'ilusch stands next to a big test vehicle (BTV) banded to an S212 bols.ter and loaded onto an 5289 dolly.

assigned Tail Number 369, Sandia 370, and Sandia regularly joined teams in test
Lawrence Livermore 371. Lee Hollingsworth, exercises, usually at the Pacific range,
William T. Smith, and John Eckhart managed throughout the 1960s. Their purpose was to
the readiness effort, which included the validate and verify that air drop hardware,
aircraft modifications and participation in procedures, and personnel had achieved
the early test exercises, while Arthur Cole and/or were maintaining the required state of
directed the design of universal and specific development and readiness to test. When
test vehicles (ballistic shapes with arming such an exercise began, Al Huters and a crew
and fuzing systems) that could be tailored to flew with the Sandia NC-135 to the site, and
house test devices of various sizes and shapes Joe Stiegler provided engineering
to facilitate their release from B-52s for coordination for other Sandians who
detonation at the required test altitudes. operated ground tracking telemetry. Under
Among these were a tamarin test vehicle joint task force command, the readiness
(TTV) for testing contact bursts at water exercises became massive operations. One
impact, an electromagnetic pulse test vehicle hundred and ten Sandians went to the
(EMPTV), the big test vehicle (BTV) for the Pacific, for example, during a 1964 test
largest devices, and a universal test vehicle exercise, and 170 participated in a 1967
(UTV) for a variety of devices. Sandia tested exercise. As part of its readiness posture,
this equipment, minus any nuclear explmive Sandia continued to operate the Barking
devices, during training exercises. Sands rocket-launching facility on. the island
of Kauai in the Hawaiian chain as well as

A Diversified Laboratory

Sandia's crew examines a map while preparing for a 1967 scientific expedition in the readinei.s airuaft shown in the
background. Leh to right: Robert Martin, Sanford " Sandy" Mark6wiU, R.aymo11d Caster, Merton Roberts6n, Roland Hewitt.

retaining the capability to launch diagnostic Jn addition to readiness to resume air-drop

rockets to obtain high-altitude test data. tests, Sandia also began a concentrated effort
Barber's Point Naval Air Station was used for to develop the capabilities and tools for: the
final assembly of test devices and as a staging conduct of high-altitude tests and instrumenta-
area foe B-52 drop ai rcraft. tion, which had been meager, at best, in the
1962 series. A family of instrument-carrier
To multiply benefits from the readiness rocket con figurations based on a new upper-
program, Sandia's diagnostic aircraft and stage rocket motor was designed and qualified.
crew frequently joined in scientific research. The new motor provided greater payload
During solar eclipses in 1965 and 1966, for volume and weight capabilities tor loft to
example, they followed the eclipse shadow to much higher altitudes. Associated efforts
points around the world, carrying produced reliable water recovery systems with
instruments to examine the sun's corona and location aids to enhance probability of
the interactions of solar gases with the earth's location. Radiation-hardened instrumentation,
atmosphere. In 1970, with Merton Robertson airborne tape recorders, and telemetry
as scientific director, they flew to the Nor:th subsystems were also developed.
Pole with spectroscopic jnstrurnents to study
the aurora borealis, identifyi ng the energy A new family of Strypi variants was
sources and the subatomic particles providing developed and flight qualified to lift
the energy transfer. Scientists considered this candidate devices to the required test
research especially useful because the altitudes and positions. Two single-stage and
diagnostic aircraft could fly above the dust on.e two-stage configuration were qualtfied.
and atmospheric disturbances that hampered Adequate quantities were produced and
ground-based observatories. placed in storage for use in any resumption
of test activities. The ground preparation,
Chapter4 _

checkout, and operational capabilities at

Kauai and Johnston Island were expanded
and upgraded. Test launches of the
instrumentation and device carrier rockets
were regularly conducted at Johnston Island 1

while instrumentation rockets were launched

from Kauai. Eventually, coordinated efforts
were conducted at both sites to incorporate
Joint Task Force command control, and

communications activities and to validate

other AEC laboratories' involvement.

As development of these capabilities

matured 1 new missions were sought to
challenge and exercise the assigned
personnel. Solar x-ray experiments were
flown for Los Alamos and stellar x-ray
experiments for Lawrence Livermore. The
Strypi rocket family was expanded to include
three-stage versions for test of reentry vehicle
systems and subsystems 1 and was
instrumental in Sandia's ability to develop
and demonstrate maneuvering reentry
vehicles and the recovery of high beta
reentry vehicle nose tips and heat shields.

These readiness projects continued for

nearly a decade. Staunch weapon program
advocates in Congress eventually turned to
more pressing matters however and
1 1

readiness lost most of its funding. In 1975,

Sandia's 1963 plan for unmanned seismic observatories,
the readiness program was redefined to a used for verification of underground nuclear testing.
narrower scope and further reduced in size.
In addition to VELA Hotel, the satellite
program, the Advanced Research Projects
Agency (ARPA) also sponsored VELA
SURVEILLANCE SAFEGUARD Uniform, a program to detect underground
nuclear detonations by identifying their
In order to meet the mandate for seismic signals. The electronic techniques
"developing surveillance systems to detect initially developed for the VELA satelJite
nuclear testing anywhere in the world/1 work program were also adapted for use in the
on the satellite-based and seismic monitoring Unmanned Seismic Observatory (USO). In
systems, discussed in the previous chapter1 1964 ARPA authorized Sandia to begin a

was continued and expanded. Work on the program to design construct, test, and

VELA satel1ites was devoted to improving the evaluate a prototype USO. The USO was
components. The satellites were launched in designed as an aid in detecting, locating, and
pairs and separated once they were in space. identifying seismic events. Capable of
In all, six pairs were launched. For the last operating unattended for up to 120 days, the
three pairs, Sandia developed optical sensors USO continually recorded seismic data to be
to enable VELA to detect nuclear detonations retrieved and studied later.
within the atmosphere as well as in space.
The last pair of satellites was launched in Under the supervision of Charles Scott
1970 and finally turned off in 1984. and then Brick Dumas, Sandia's seismic

- - - - --- -- A Diversified Laboratory

USO proved a lightweight, rugged, reliable

device that was relatively ea.sy to ship and
install. As will be discussed later, it eventually
was replaced by n ewer designs, but the goal
of seismic detection of underground nuclear
bursts remained unchanged.

From the end of the moratorium until
1970, Sandia had far fewer weapon.\ to design
than during the 1950s. Indeed, it and its
partner laboratories had but one new bomb
design - the B6L It was on a Saturday
morning in November 1962 that Charles
Carpenler announced to members o( the
Sandia team that they had a new program to
design a Jightweight tactical thermonuclear
bomb. Authority to proceed with phase 3
development engineering came fo rmally in
March 1963, and a project division was
formed, consisting of thirty people and soon
increasing to eighty. Carpenter managed the
B6 l project, with John Tenbrink as lead
electrical engineer and John Postlethwaite as
lead mec hanical engineer.

Design of tbis full-fuzing option,

multipurpose bomb provided for laydown
delivery at lo w altitudes by high -speed Air
Force and Navy aircraft, and multiple carriage
by Strategic Air Command bombers . The
design team tested both alumjnum and steel
casings for the bomb, settlin g on aluminum
after they learned that the steel ca.~ing
resonated at impact, severely sha king the
bomb's inner components. . Like tbe B57, its.
Dean Gladow lowen Sandia's seism<>meler package into an ribbon parach ute (designed by Bill Pepper)
unmanned seismic observate>ry, use.d to monitor under- wa$ deployed aft by a telescoping tube.
gmund nucle~r ~~ting. However, because the 85 7 tube sometimes
tore tbe parachute during its e jection, it was
systems section had a design ready for
redesigned for the 86 I with a device
prototype production in 1965. The first of
patented by Bob Grover to arrest the tube
th.e units was. in.Stalled in Alaska in 1966.
before it ripped the parachute. To further
Later that sam~ year, a unit was placed in
mitigate the shocks attendant to laydown on
Utah and one in the Manzano Moun tains
hard .m rfaces, Sandia added. cushioning in
near Coyote Canyo n in Albuquerque. A t est
the form of plastic foam.
period extended tluough 196 7, 1hi.th project
leader R. Stanton Reynold.<. and his team
Electrical connectors on ear Lier born bs
evaluating the USO's operation in the climatic
had been a common source of difficulty,
exb:emes provided by the chosen sites. The
especially when their pins became misaligned

Chapter 4

A B61 modification ready tor testing ot1 Sandia'~ rocket sled track.

and caused electrical shorts. Jim Cocke and extended range bomb. According to Burks,
Ray Reynolds were responsible for the rationale was tbat the use of existing
redesigning these connectors and supporting designs would minimize development costs
the electrical system of the 861, while George and time, preclude the necessity for testing
Duke designed a transistorized converter new nuclear packages, and reduce the impact
firing set. on the AEC production complex.

The B61 design required extensive field

testing to assure compatibility with twenty-
two different kinds of aircraft, and these tests WARHEADS FOR NEW
revealed an unstable trajectory upon release WEAPON SYSTEMS
at high altitude. To overcome this, the
engineers added a spin rocket to rotate the
bomb and provide the required stability as it Tn 1962, a Nike-Zeus missile brought
fell to target. down a target reentry vehicle, introducing
the possibility of intercepting a single
As the original B61 design neared the intercontinental ballistic missile. In 1964
production phase, pressures on the design Secretary of Defense McNamara approved
team increased, and Carpenter suffered a deploying multiple independently targeted
fatal heart attack. Oscar Fligner then took reentry vehicles. Ballistic and antibalUstic
charge ot the B61 project and completed its missiles received top priority throughout the
original design. In later years, Charlie Burks 1960s, as reflected in Sandia's weapon
managed the modifications made to the hasic engineering programs. Sandia performed
B61 design to add new safety and use control engineering development with both Los
features along with other capabilities. Alamos and Lawrence Livermore for
warheads carried by the Minuteman and
Many of Sandia's later advanced system Titan intercontinental ballistic missiles and
development projects used the B61 as a the Navy's submarine-launched ballistic
building block in n ovel configurations as a missiles, moving on during the late 1960s to
depth bomb, as a missile warhead, or as an the Sptint and Spartan missile warheads for

A Diversified Laboratory

the antiballistic missile weapon system In 1965, to test missile warhead system
known as Safeguard. components for their -uulnerability to bla~ts
from enemy antim.Ksile systems, Sandia
Minuteman ballistic. missj]es were opened Thunder Range in Coyote Canyon,
deployed during the 1960s. Sandia's portion south of its main technical areas _It had
of the joint Sandia/Los Alamos Minuteman relliable steel shock tubes named
warhead (V.)'59) came under the management Thunderpipes, one-shot plywood structures
of John McKieman, Oscar Fligner, and called Thundertubes, and steel-lined
Reynolds Moon~:, .and lead engineers Louis bnrehoJes in the ground dubbed
Hansche, Tom Edrington, and James Leonard, Thunderwells. High explos)ves detonated at
who also worked on a WS9 adaptation, the one e:nd of these sent blast shoi::.ks through
short-lived Skybolt missile warhead that the pipes or tubes to strike the components
President Kennedy canceled in 1963. Elwood under test at the far end . .Explosions rolled
lngledue and a project grnup including Dlck like thunder across this range as Sandia tested
Craner, Arnie Rivenes, and othe.rs designed components for both the Bagpipe advanced
the WS6 warhead systems that were deployed development project and the Sentinel and
on Minuteman and, later, on Minuteman TI. Safeguard an.ti ballistic mi~ile sys,tems.
Jn 1964, "Roger Baroody and Ralph Cozine
managed the project team for Sandia Jn l 967, Pre.sident Lyndon Johnson's
Livermore's Minuteman ill (W62) warhead approval of the deployment of the Sentinel
design. antiballlitic. missile defense system called for
repladng the Nike-Ajax m)ssiles ringing some

Sandiam re.ady one. of the 1hr>dc. tube..1. at Thundl'r Range. for a bl<1st test.
Chapter 4 . .....-----..- .. - - - -- --~-

of the nation's largest urban-industrial

centers. The Nixon administration modified
this system i.n 1969, renaming it the
Safeguard system_ Rather than defending all
large cities, Safeguard was intended to protect
only the seat of government and Minuteman
and Titan missile sites against preemptive
surprise attacks.

Both the Sentinel and Safoguard ~ystems.

relied on the Sprint and Spartan antiballistk
missiles. With phased-array radars capable of
detecting incoming targets thousands of miles
away, the larger Spartan missile could
intercept and destroy them before they A. Navy A-6 completei a low-level teit drop at Tonopah Tt>!St
reentered the atmosphere. To protect radar Range.
and missile silos against missiles that eluded
the Spartans., th~ quick-reaction Sprint missile
could hit them during atmosphere reentry,

Phase 3 development for the W66/Sprint

missile warhead began in 1968. Milt Madsen
managed Sandia's share. This included design
of the warhead firing set, inertial switch, self-
destruct device, mounting hardware, and
lightning arrestor connectors. Design ot the
W71 for the la1ger Spartan missile by a
Sandia/Lawrence Livermore team began the
same year, and Gunner Scholer, Glen Otey,
and Ray Sheppard managed that project with
a staff including Don Bohrer, Gary Beeler,
and other engineers. Sandians load an instrumentation pl'ld for low-level leiting
on an A-4C in 1967.
The functional life of the Safeguard
system proved brief. The 1972 Antiballi.stic
Missile treaty with the Soviet Union limited
the Safeguard deployment to a single site.
Then, shortly after it was deployed, Congress
terminated its operational funding.

1n 1964, the Defense department defined
a need to determine the ability of aircraft to
invade enemy airspace and evade radar
detection, togetheJ wjth evaluations of U.S.
radar and antiaircraft defenses. The former
resulted from the new Soviet missile
capability to down high-flying stTategic
bombers, as demonstrated by the intercept of
Gary Powers' U-2 aircraft. The new1y Low-level flight tescing for Joint Task Force Two bega" in
1965 at Sandia'i; Tonopah Test Ra"9e-

A Diversified Laboratory

developed delta-wing B-58 Hustler high-

altitude strategic bomber had its servlce Hfe
severely truncated for this reason. The Joint
Chiefs of Staff organized Joint Task Force 1'wo
QTF-2), commanded initially by General
George Brown . The task force sought to
obtain quantitative information on low-level
flight performance for use in future war
games, simulator development, and policy
decisions on aircraft and weapons
procurement. The tests could also furnish
excellent training for aircraft pilots and crews
bound for Vietnam, where thefr safety
depended on evading Soviet-made surface-to-
air missiles.

In late 1964 Don Cotter led a systems

study that explored the match between JTF-
2's needs and Sandia's technical capabilities .
.Because Sandia had the knowledge,
experience, and hardware immediately
available, GeneraJ Brown requested its
assistance. Wlth AEC approval, Sandia agreed
to provide the testing instrumentation
needed to assess the performance of Air
Force, Army, Navy, and Marine aircraft and
crews, in addition to the systems needed to
Applic.ations of Sandia's electrooplk. ceramics included these collect and analyze the data. Don Shuster
/lash goggles to protect the eyes of pilots during a nuclear headed the Sandia effort centered in John
Eckhart's systems evaluation group. Tom
For Joint Task Force Two in 1966, Sandia built a flight simu SeJlers supervised development of
lator by projecting film of test flights on a 160-degree instrumentation pods and monitoring
screen. From the mock cockpit in the center, pilots reacted equipment; Jim DeMontmollin managed test
to situations presented on the screen.

Chapter 4

planning; and John Miller handled site Arkansas, Louisiana, California, and
engineering and maintenance. Oklahoma, with Sandians maintaining and
operating the instrumentation. The original
Less than three months after accepting task force plans called for continuing testing
this mission, Sandia's team had fielded the into the 1970s, but Vietnam provided a more
instrumentation pods to be carried by the realistic testing ground.
test aircraft, the tracking and data collection
equipment for aircraft monitoring the
telemetry, and the computer programs for SUPPORT FOR VIETNAM
data reduction and analysis. By May 1965,
low-level sorties had begun at the Tonopah
Test Range. "We were trying to duplicate the As early as 1962, Air Force scientific
Vietnam war in real time/' recalled OrviJle advisors told Monk Schwartz that, in addition
Howard of the low-1evel flight test program, to nuclear weapon engineering, Sandia should
"and trying to understand from a scientific be prepared to initiate research on the tools
standpoint what was going on and how you needed in limited wars such as that beginning
could deal with certain problems. 11 in Vietnam. Schwartz received no specific
requests for assistance, however, before
Ray Brin and the Tonopah range crew President Johnson committed ground troops
laid out a zigzag course for the aircraft to to Vietnam in 1965. In that same year, Sandia
follow over terrain ranging from flat to received its first assignments for technological
mountainous, marking it plainly with orange support of the troops in Vietnam.
barrels. By July, crews of eight different
aircraft types from all the services had flown When testing a prototype of Sandia's
450 sorties, some flying so low that they unmanned seismic observatory for detecting
clipped the barrels. Using 70-millimeter film, underground nuclear detonations Pat1

Sandia built a flight simulator for pilot Patterson found that it also registered the
training projecting film taken during test vibrations from passing trucks and even the

flights onto a 160-degree screen. Pilots footsteps of a passerby, an annoying clutter

trained in a mock cockpit in the middle of interfering with seismic analysis. But when
the screen) with their reactions to changing Richard Sproull of ARPA visited Sandia to
terrain recorded for evaluation. check on the progress of the unmanned
seismic observatory and, in passing,
Each aircraft flying the course carried an described some of the problems faced by the
instrument pod that transmitted signals for military services in Vietnam, Patterson and
tracking. Aircraft overhead and ground his colleagues recognized that the seismic
equipment received the signals, and the annoyances might be used to detect the
recorded data went into computers to create passage of convoys or troops along the Ho
a complete profile of each test run. At the Chi Minh Trail and they obtained seed
end of each day these reports were sent to
money from Sproull in 1965 for expanded
the task force headquarters at Sandia. research on seismic sensors. "Now it was
'''Interestingly enough, u Glenn Fowler later necessary/ said Patterson, to define more
1 11

commented 1 "we found that success subtle seismic waves, ranging, perhaps, from
depended less on which delivery system was those caused by an elephant stamping
used than on the training and skill of the through the underbrush to a coconut falling
delivery crew. 1' off a tree in a high wind."

Sandia's subsequent development and When General Starbird became

fielding of mobile instrumentation freed the commander of the Defense Communications
low-level test program from the test ranges, Planning Group charged with producing
allowing more realistic testing over varied innovative technology for use in Southeast
terrains. The tests moved in 1966 to rugged Asia in 1966 he called on Sandia for

terrain in the Ozarks. In 1967 and 1968 / assistance. Tom Sellers, Tom McConnell, and
hundreds of test flights continued over other Sandians transferred to Washington to

A Diversified laboratory

38.8 LBS.
53.14 INCHES

81 MM
9.6 LBS.

Sa.ndia developed a large family ol terradynamic, air-dropped semors for use in Vietnam.

assist with Starbird's programs. "Starbird was submarine detection, Starbird told Glenn
very insistent on our involvement," Fowler, "I really need something I can drop out
McConnell noted, 1'and we had major of aircraft that will detect people.''
responsibilities for sensor design."
Defense contractors in l 966 already had
Starbird's major assignment involved seismic sensors under development, but these
crearing an electronic fence between North and had to be planted by hand and connected by
South Vietnam to reveal the passage of .supply wire to earphones at listening p osts. Starbird
convoys and reinforcements to the south. wankd sensors that could be dropped from
Because Robert McNamara had announced this aircraft and that could transmit by radio their
program in 1966, it became known as detection of passing troops and vehicles.
''McNamara's Wall." Although initial plans Moreover, he wanted these deployed to
considered using acoustic buoys developed for Vietnam within a year.

Chapter 4 - - -- --

ground like Sandja's ea.rth-penetJating

bombs. Tnside 1hese small penetrators were
miniature selsrnometers, and trailing behind
were antennas camouflaged to resemble
plants. At impact with the ground, rolamites
activated the sensors and radio transmitters
that then relayed seisrn1c data to receivers in
aircraft overhead or elsewhere. Harvey Hawk,
Gordon Hawley, John Portlock, and James
Scheibner later patented the basic seismic
sensor system.

Sandia designed additional sensor~ and

tested them in varied terrain jncluding the
triple-canopy jungles of Panama. Portlock
and Richard Gossett took prototypes to
Thailand for testing along trails like those in
Vietnam, while Lyle Wetherholt .and Tom
Banks demonstrated prototype sensors in
Vietnam to the First Cavalry and other
combat units.

When sensor designs were completed,

Starbird urged Sandia to arrange swift
production and deployment, promising that
he would provide production funding within a
Ed V,Hella holds an earth penetrator of the type deployed in few months. ''We went ahead and started
Vietnam and poinu to a terradynamic! testing device.
working," Fowler said, "because we had
A combination of laboratory capabilities confidence in him." Altho\1gh Schwartz
made it possible for Sandia to meet Starbird's strongJy supported this production in advance
goals, as Patterson explalned. "Tenadynamics of formal funding, an AEC reVi.ew board
is one. The ability to stick something in the questioned it. Leonard Jacobvitz, long-time
ground and predict what kind of shock it's counsel for the AEC Albuquerque office, told
going to encounter and predict how deep it's the board he had heard the son of an AEC
going to go. The ability to make electronic official credit his surnval in combat to
circuits withstand that shock was there. warnings from the sensors, and he pointed out
Knowing about aerodynamics and having our that they might save more servicemen's lives.
own wind tunnels so we could say right away "Don't be a jerk, approve it," he admonished
that it's going to be stable and it's going to the board, "how many Jjves is it worth?"
separate from airplanes and fly in a
predictable manner - all of those things. It Bob Hepplewhite headed Sandia's
was a combination of abilities in past production task force that managed prototype
developments that combined to make the first production, contracted for industrial
intrusion detector a very satisfactory thing." production, and arranged deliveries to Vietnam,
More than 36,000 ADSJDs and smaller numbers
Sandia's experience with weapons and of other models went to Vietnam.
VELA program designs made possible quick
development of the air-deliverable seismic Although McNamara's Wall was never
intrusion detector (ADSID). Bill Caudle completed, Sandia's sensors passed the
coordinated the terr.a.dynamic and combat test at the siege of Khe Sanh in 1968.
aerodynamic design (including flight tests) of General W11liam Westmoreland ordered the
the family of sensors used in Vietnam. Seventh Ah Force, commanded by General
Dropped from aircraft, these penetrated the George Brown, who earlier had headed Joint

A Diversified Labor.llory

Task force Two at Sandia, to seed the improved sensors tailored to monitor
approaches to Khe Sanh with seismic and activities at amphibious landing sites, a task
acoustic sensors. After the siege was hroken, managed by McConnell and a Sandia team.
the Marine commander of the bastion This program later led to the tactical remote
estimated that warnings from the sensors of sensor system and miniature intrusion
imminent attacks had reduced casualties detectic>n system (MIDS), as well as sensor
among the defenders by as much as fifty programs that use acoustics and video to
percent, while allowing them to inflict greater identify vehicles for intelligence applications.
damage on the assaulting forces. Many other Because of their extremely low cost, MIDS
forward fire bases soon had Sandia's senrors sensors have become very popular with
planted around their perimeters. various civilian law enforcement agencie5 as
well as the military. Patterson described the
Sandia continued improving its sensors sensors for Vietnam as "one of Sandia's first
and ]n 1969 turned its attention to the advanced miJ.i.tary concepts outside the
development of an operational Battlefield nuclear weapons area and a forerunner of
Area Surveillance System (BASS), This system much of the sensor technology that
furnished sensor data to field commanders, continues at Sandia even today."
who c.ould detonate land mines planted near
the sensors to destroy targets without waiting Among other efforts by Sandia in support
for air strikes. For their protection, friendly of the troops in Vietnam were new types of
troops carried LORAN (long-range aid to conventional weapons. Jn December 1968,
navigation) monitors relaying their positions the Air Force asked Sandia to develop a fuel-
at all times to the field commanders. air explosive bomb that could be delivered by
A-1 aircraft and later F-4 aircraft. Sandia
Although Sandia's production of seismic organizations managed by Max Newsom and
sensors. for Vietnam t:nded in 1971, use of Bill Hoagland responded with the design and
improved versions of the sensors continued testing of two fuel-air bomb design.s code-
into the 1990s. The Army deployed suc.h named Pave Pat and Garlic.
semors in Korea and Europe. Sellers, Dusty
Cravens, and other Sandians also worked While conventional explosives chemically
with the Border Patrol to develop miniature integrate the explosive and oxidizing
BASS systems to monitor intrusions at critical components, fuel-air explosives carry fuel,
border sectors. During the 1980s, the Marine perhaps propane or butane, as a pressurized
Corps funded Sandia's development of liquid and use the oxygen tn the atmosphere

During the 19601, Sandia developed fuel-air exploi;ive .wch a1 this Pave Pat bomb for uSl! againtt blan-s.ensitive targd:s.

Chapter 4 ~-

as an oxidizer. As a rule of thumb, 1,000 charge propelled spinning rods at sufficient

pounds of fuel can create a lethal overpressure velocity to clear an area of jungle. Another
equivalent to 10,000 pounds of TNT, sufficient example, Rumpler, blocked vehicular traffic
to destroy people and materials even if they by firing earth penetrators into roadways
are hidden in underground tunnels. where underground detonations could
produce craters. Detonation of a demolition
An explosive cutter in the Pave Pat bomb explosive near ground surface would produce
split it open at impact, releasing the fuel to merely a shallow crater; burial below the
mix with air and form an explosive cloud, surface beforehand could open deep barriers
which a small explosive trigger detonated. to traffic.
The major design challenge involved delaying
trigger detonation until the cloud had The Rumpler studies entailed a joint
expanded sufficiently to mix with the air. If effort by Sandia and the Army's Picatinny
ignited prematurely, the cloud burned with Arsenal. Max Newsom, Wayne Young, Larry
little or no blast overpressures. When Sandia Seamons, and other Sandians employed a
air-dropped early Pave Pat prototypes at Davis gun - a large recoilless rifle open at
Tonopah Test Range, for example, they both muzzle and breech - for firing earth-
burned rather than exploded due to improper penetrator weapons into various soils and
cloud formation and mixing. To create a rock formations. By sandwiching propellant
controlled test environment, Dave Bickel and between the penetrator and a reaction mass,
Sandia's testing team in 1968 stretched cables the Davis gun could fire projectiles weighing
between two peaks in the Manzano hills. up to 400 pounds at up to 3,000 feet per
Rockets were added to pull prototypes of a second (compared to only 1,400 feet per
smaller, free-fall version named Garlic down second for aircraft drops), providing the high
the cables at the velocities required for velocities needed to duplicate the impacts
realistic testing. Using an ingenious technique and penetrations of supersonic weapons into
employed previously by other military geologic media.
branches, the test crew placed empty beverage
cans around the drop area. If the bomb To use both the Davis gun and aircraft
created a blast, it crushed the cans; if it only drops for terradynamics studies, Sandia opened
burned, the cans remained intact. Testing of a temporary test range twenty miles east of
the smaller, free-fall version named Garlic Albuquerque at Edgewood in 1968. In the
achieved descent velocities of 800 feet per spacious Estancia valley, Sandia leased range
second before Sandia delivered the device to land, installed utility lines and an airstrip, and
the Air Force for further development. added an irrigation system to saturate the soils
into rice-paddy-like consistencies. Most test
The first prototypes of Pave Pat were sent drops at Edgewood came from an old
to Vietnam in 1968 accompanied by observation aircraft modified by Sandia with
Hoagland, Richard Beasley, John Weber, and bomb-release racks and electronics as a
Rex Steele as technical representatives to substitute for more expensive military aircraft
orient servicemen in their use. In 1971 Beasley and helicopters. Sandia's use of the Edgewood
and Paul Langdon, among other Sandians, range for terradynamics research continued for
made the trip with the second group of Pave a decade.
Pats. Later that year, Beasley and Langdon
received shrapnel injuries, and, since these Another conventional weapons program
were not critical, the two were returned to involved the development of the Murine
Albuquerque in time for Christmas. radar, so named because it was tested on a
Redeye missile. f'ield experience indicated
Sandia conducted other interesting that the Soviet-made, heat-seeking/ surface-
exploratory programs during the Vietnam to-air missiles used by North Vietnam could
era. Handaxe, as the code name implied, bring down helicopters and small aircraft.
involved designing a weapon that could Studies also showed that high-intensity flares
chop down vegetation to open a helicopter could decoy the infrared-guided missiles
landing zone. In this case, an explosive away from the helicopters, if early detection
A Diversified Laboratory

of the approaching missiles were possible. In

1970, Charles Blajne led a Sandia team
conducting research on Murine, a missile
warning radar that could detect incoming
missiles and deploy the flares as decoys. After
a competition in 1971, the Army selected
Sandia's design for development.

The Murine design presented two major

technical challenges: distinguishing missiles
from ground clutter and preventing false
alarms from helicopter rotor blades, which
had a velocity similar to approaching
misslles. jacl< Webb and Roger Gray invented
a discrimination circuit that picked missiles
out from background clutter on the basis of
their velocity. Because helicopter rotor blades
created repetitive, short signals, the Webb
and Gray discriminator circuit reacted only
to signals longer and steadier than those of
the rotor blades. Sandia transferred this
technology to a defense contractOT for
production, and the system entered service
during the 1980s.

Tn addition to Vietnam, other

international events influenced Sandia's
exploratory programs. During the 1967 Six-
Day War in the Middle East, Egyptian forces
sank an Jsraeli ship with a guided missile.
This revjved interest in guidance and control
systems for missiles jn the United States and
elsewhere. Jn addition, the 1973 Yorn Kippur
War in the Middle East reinforced
assessments of the value of defensive
electronics, of electronic countermeasures,
and of guided or "smart" bombs - another
aspect of the electronic battlefield.

At Sandia, Newsom, Sellers, Tom

Edrington, Don rugali, and others focused
attention on the engineering of precision
delivery systems and on applkations of
sensors and data collection technologies to

Top: A recoilles~ Davis gun, de$igned at Sandia, lire~ an

earth penetrator into the ground near Edgewood, New
Mexico in 1974. Davis gun; have barrels o~n .at both
breech and muz.zle. At SandL'l, they were u;ed tot analysis
o'f the passage ol projectiles through soils.

Bottom: Sandia's field test group .a t the Edgewood test

range loads a Davis gun for testing earth penetrators. The
two speciali~t.s at right are c.entering the p1opellant between
the projl!clile and the reaction mass.

Chapter 4

Offering a classified environment for

research, Sandia had the expertise required
for identifying weapons components and
characteristics. Its traditional emphasis on
rugged and reliable engineering applied to
equipment for remote intelligence
acquisition as well as nuclear weapons.

Andy lieber initially managed Sandia's

systems research for intelligence agencies
during the 1960s, forming an organization
including several dozen Sandians. According
to Roger Hagengruber, Sandia's intelligence
program suffered budget cuts during the
retrenchments of the early 1970s, but later in
the decade Bob Clem secured funding to
revive the program and by the 1980s Sandia's
research had diversified sponsors among the
intelligence community. Perhaps Sandia's
foremost contributions emanated from its
lvlax Newsom and Tom Anderson check a tester for weapon assumed role as a "red team," analyzing U.S.
firing systems.
weapons technology fJom foreign
perspectives to detect weaknesses.
inteIHgence analysis, to national safeguards
and security programs, and to instrumentation
for the energy programs of the 1970s. Jn time,
the confidence in Sandia's capabilities acguired
by the armed services brought it reimbursable
non-nuclear weapons projects including
antiarmor warheads, b<lttlefield robotics,
propellants, explosives, fuzing components,
and guidance and control systems.

Sandia's expertise also brought it

assignments from the U.S. intelligence
community. During the early 1960s,
intelligence agencies occasionally requested
Sandia's technical assistance, and in 1966
this became a continuing relationship.
Legend says that AEC Commissioner James
Ramey, while enjoying a game of golf with
intelligence officials, offered them the
technical assistance of the AEC laboratories.
Leon Smith, Andy Lieber, Jack Howard, and
Howard Stump negotiated agreements on
Sandia's behalf, explaining that Sandia's In 1968, John S. Foster, Ir., Director, Defense Research and
background in telemetry, aerodynamics, Engineering (DOR&E), awards the Secretary of Defeme
armjng and tuzing, and general engineering Meritorious Civilian Servic.e Medal to Don Cotter for his
technology could serve several intelligence ser..rice as Special Assistant to Deputy Director, DDREIE
(Southe<ist Asia Matters). Cotter held this post while on
needs. A maior interest of the 1960s, for leave-of-absence from Sandia from 1966 to 1968.
example, involved examining data collected Ob1erving the ceremony are the Cotter children, Elaine,
through indirect means from foreign nuclear leff, and Doug (who later came to work at Sandia), and
or reentry vehicle tests to hypothesize the Mrs. Cotter.

designs and capabilities of the weapons.

A Dive.rsifled Laboratory

SAFETY OF NUCLEAR and the plane caught fire, heating the upper
bomb casing. This was a unique and
WEAPONS previously unevaluated situation since no
one had ever considered that a bomb might
When the Strategic Air Command went experience extreme cold, crushing impact,
on quick reaction alert in 1958, with nuclear- and intense heat simultaneously.
armed aircraft constantly in the air and on
standby, the chances for aircraft accidents Among other aircraft mishaps, accidents
with nuclear bombs aboard multiplied. When over Spain and Greenland in 1966 and 1968
accidents occurred during tbe 1960s, they garnered international attention. The tragic
had far-reaching effects on Sandia's collision of a B-52 aircraft and refueling
approaches to nuclear weapon safety design . tan.ker over Palomares, Spain, in 1966, killed
all but four crew members and released four
A 1964 nuclear weapon incident at nuclear bombs to plummet more than five
Bunker Hill Air Force Base in Indiana mil e.s to earth. Although the high explosives
provided an early indication of the need for a of two bombs detonated when they struck,
more extensive abnormal environment there was no nuclear yield. Because
testing program at Sandia . When a B-58 parachutes partially deployed on the other
Hustler slid off a runway in winter, a 843 two, one landed safely aground and the other
bomb under its wing landed in a snow bank. drifted out to sea_ To help the Navy recover
The plane's wing crushed down on the bomb the bomb from the sea, Stuart Asselin, Randy

A IH3 i~ half buried in the frozen earth and half exposed to fire in the a.uh of;; 858 Hustler at Bunker HiR. After the fire, the.
plane's wing fell and crushed the bomb. left of the phatogroph cMter, the w~pon noioe i!. exposed.

The fisherman, Fr;i.nclsco Simo y Orts, helped the Ni'vy locate the sun.ken bomb.

Palomares However, after days of searching, the fourth

bomb <;01,1ld not be located. General Delmar
On January 22, 1966, a B~S2 carrying four WiJwn, commanding the 16th Air Force..
thermonuclear B28 bombs collided with a formed a team from Sandia and the Air Force .
KC-135 refueling tanker above Paloma~es, to conduct trajectory calculations at
Spain, on the Mediterranean Coast. The Palomares and to predict the bomb's
accident occurred at 30,500 feet altitude ' location. Uncertainty about the winds and
about two miles inland, with the wind whether or when the 64-foot parachute had
blowing out to sea. The tanker's crew and deployed resulted In a large sea area to
a. .
' . three of the' s2's crew were kiJled, but four search. Francisco Simo y Orts, who was -
of the B-5~ crew parachuted to safety. fishing five miles offshore at the time of the
accident, sajd he saw a ."dead man" attached
The B28s, equipped with both 16-foot to a parachute, which took 6 to 8 mjnutes to
dia~eter and 64-foot diameter paracJ1utes, descend before hittjng the water about 75
were torn from th.e bomb rack when the :S-52 yards seaward of his boat. Randy Maydew
. broke up. Three bombs landed on .the shore. sketched the 64-foot general-purpose
The 16~toot .parachut~ deployed on the firs't parachute and the 16-foot ribbon parachute,
bomb, and it strucl< the ground with minimal and Orts sketched the parachute and dead
damage. The second bom:b tumbled fre~ tall, man he had seen near his boat. This
impacting at about 325 feet per second, . convinced Maydew that Orts had seen the ,
causing its high explosive to detonate and fourth bomb go into the sea with its 64-foot
scatter plutonium.. 'J'be third bomb's parach1:1te attached.
damaged 16-foot parachute deployed, but it ,
hit the ground at about 225 feet per secondi The team briefed General Wilson and
also exploding and scAttering plutonium over. AdmiraJ WHHam Guest, commanding the
. hundred acres. ' . ' . '
Navy task force for the recovery, and
,. recommended the search be centered where
Within hours the :U.S. Afr Force had . the fisherman had seen the bomb. On March
located tne three B28s' on the shore.. 15~ the small submarine Alvin located the

144 ...
- '
, --
t ;: ".;
. ~~lY
. ..
..I ...
,, .

The last bomb W,1$ holsted onto the Navy $hip Petrel'$ deck on APJil 7, 1966, ao days after the accident. Sandi11n Stuart
Asselin was on-bo'1rd at the time. .

bomb near that site at a depth of 2,250 feet.

Attempts to attach lines to the parachute
resulted in the bomb sliding down a steep
underground slope. Alvin relocated the bomb,
but a nylon tow line failed when a second
re<;overy was attempted.on March 24. The
cable-controlled underwater_vehicle, CURV,
finally brought the bomb up to the deck of
the USS Petrel on _April 7. The recovered bomb
casing is now displayed .at the National
Atomic Museum in Albuquerque.

The recovery required eighty days and

cost more than $50 million. The 4,000
participating serVicemen and civilians
determined t)le limits of plutonium scattering
from alpha radiation measurements1 plowed
up 386 acres _o f fields, shipped the
contaminated soil to an AEC site in South
Carolina, ano settled d~mage claims. That the
crash did not result in a nuclear.detonation
was .reassuring, but costs the accident were
high. International repercussions followed,
and overflying Spain withnuclear bombs
ceased at Spanish request. The -accident had
. one positive outcome: major improvements Randy Maydew ln 1966 displays sketches used by Spanish
fisherman Francisco Simo y Orts to describe th~ parachutes
in safety designs for the U.S. nuclear stockpile he saw from his boat Maydew's black beret was high tash
followed as a resuit of lessons learned during
this accident and other mishaps.
Chapter 4

of detonation of a nuclear weapon in a fire,

impact, or other abnormal environment
should not exceed one 1n one million per
accident and that the probability of
detonation of a nuclear weapon in normal
environments such as storage and
transportation should not exceed one in one
billion per weapon lifetime. In add1tion, the
new standards mandated that "In the event
of a detonation initiated at one point in the
high explosive system, the probability of
achieving a nuclear yield greater than four
pounds TNT equivalent shall not exceed one
in one million." These quantitative criteria,
Sandia achieved remarkable miniaturization of weapon
componenu. Back next to the penny is a thermal battery,
combined with the earlier DoD qualitative
and 1n t_he foreground from left to right are an impact tuze, standards of 1960, have worked to assure
a rolam1te switch, and an inertial switch used as an erwiron- that nuclear weapons would not have a
mental sensing device. significant nuclear yield in accidents or when
Maydew, Bill Barton, Sam Moore, Blll jettisoned from afrcraft.
Hoagland, and Bob Reed went to Palomares,
analyzed the bomb's trajectory and related Re~ponding to these intemified safety

factors, and provided the Navy with a concerns, Sandia sought to design an "accident-
predicted location. Using this prediction, the proof" bomb for Air Force use during qujck-
Navy found the bomb underwater and reactioo alerts. Max Newsom managed this
eventually recovered lt, although not until effort, called Project Crescent, at Albuquerque
~~ international furor ensued to protest the
and Tom Brumleve, Arlyn Blackwell, and Don
fhghts over Spaln, Gregson participated at Livermore.

ln 1968, a B-52 caught tire over Sandia had continuously participated in

Greenland, the crew bailed out, and the nuclear weapon system safety reviews for the
plane crashed on the lee near Thule. DoD and AEC since the late 1950s; however,
Although high explosives in the four bombs Jack Howard decided to concentrate
detonated, the nuclear packages did not. attention on design safety, independent of
Again, Sandians went to the accident site to the pressures accompanying project
assist the Air Force Team with the search and schedules, by establishing an independent
monitor the removal of ice contaminated by safety gwup at Sandia in 1969. The new
the accident. Perry Lovell and Ron Hoffman department, created by Bill Stevens, included
of Sandia California's environmental health the existing systems safety review division
div~sion provided environmental monitoring,
supervised by Parker Jones and a new safety
while Roy Lambert and Jack Hickman served division under Stan Spray. In l 974, a safety
as members of a response team involved ln assessment technology division, Initially
search and recovery operations. managed by Jack Hickman and later by Dick
Smith, was added to develop techniques such
These and other incidents fostered closer as risk and fault tree analysis for evaluating
scrutiny of nuclear weapon safety at both the evolvlng safety concepts.
DoD and the AEC. In 1968, Carl Walske,
chairman of the Military Liaison Committee, One major outcome from Stan Spray's
promulgated a set of quantitative design group was the development of a novel
safety criteria whose objective was to define nuclear detonation safety concept. Jn this
specific numerical goals for the likelihood of concept a "strong link" in conjunction with
an unintentional nuclear detonation. Tn an exclusion region barrier isolated a
particular, Walske specified that measures weapon's detonators and firing sets from
must be taken to insu.re that the probability electrical signals. Only when activated by
unique signals would the "strong link" allow
A Diversified Laboratory

en~nced nuclear safety components in older

weapons. Tbe5e efforts continued until the
Cold War end~d and the dismantlement of
older weapons began .

In response to the 1963 LTBT s.afeguard
requlring maintenance of vigorom weapons
de.sign laboratories, Monk $c.h.wartz and hls
colleagues had sought to diversify Sandia's
efforts into programs outside. jt.s traditional
nuclear weapons responsibilities. The.y achieved
notable success. By 1966, the JTF-2, Vre:tnam
support1 VELA, space power s.afety, and n~lated
missions supplied nearly fifteen percent of
Sandia's total budget, open]ng chaJJenging new
In 196?., math~maticians Craig fone5 and Harvey Ivy partici- field.t to Sandia's techniLll staff.
pated in Sandia'~ itudies for NASA of high-altitude winds
and devised a rnethcd for uiing photographs to determine When Schwartz was about to retire in
wind data.
October 1966, his staff asked his. though ts on
firing signals to pas.s through the exclusion Sandia's future. He replied that it always
banter to the firing s~t and detonators. irritated him when Sandians questioned him
on this .subject. "The future of Sandia is not
Also incorporated was a "weak link," in going to be determined at the management
which components vital to arming a weapon level," he asserted, "it's goj ng to depend on
we.re deliberately designed to fail durtng you and the rest of the people like you. Jf
ac.ddents and fires befme the strong links you can come up with enough sound ideas,
were destroyed. "The beauty oi this management will see to it that they get
simplifying concept," Leon Smith observed, somewhere-"
"is that it gives us an appropriate balance
between operational readiness and safety." That .autumn, John Hornbeck succeeded
Schwartz as pre.side.nt. L\ke Juhus Molnar,
By 1972, the aggressive and independent Horn.beck had earned degrees from Oberlin
design safety effort, which inc.luded College and the Massachusetts Institute of
evaluation of a number of novel safety Technology, and, like Molnar, he had joined
designs, allowed Sandia to develop systems the 'Bell Laboratories' team that launched the
that met the stringent Wal.~ke criteria. In age of semiconductor.s and microelectronics.
1977 the fifth modification to the .reliable When AT&T ueated the subsjdiary Belkomm
B61 bomb was fielded. lt was the first company in 1962 to provide systems
weapon to incorporate. the weak-link/strong- engineering for the NAS.A Apollo program,
Hnk/exclusion-region/unique.-firing-signal Hornbeck became Bellcomm's president,
design, a concept that would come to be leaving that position in 1966 to join Sandia.
called enhanced nuclear detonation .c;afety He once remarked that ''bright people tend to
(ENDS). Sandia applied these improvements be brash," and ffi()Sf a5sociates thought he fit
as appropriate to its designs and during the that model, always moving, often brusque,
1970s initiated a stod:pile improvement and with a definite flair.
prngram Jed by Dk.k Brodie, seeking to in.stall

Chapter 4 .

One important weapon development

project at Sandia California during the 1960s
focused on tritium, a hydrogen isotope used in
neutron generators and gas reservoirs for
initiating weapon detonations and boosting
ykld.s. ln 1960, Lawrence Livermore, in
contrast to Los Alamos, had assigned the
responsibility for gas reservoir design to Sandia.
Because half the tritium decays into a helium
isotope in about twelve years, the maintenance
of nuclear weapons required regular
replenishment of tritium supplies, and Sandia
sought ways to use tritium more efficiently
and to extend the maintenance cycle.
Supporting this research, a tritium laboratory
opened at Livermore in 1968. As Cook
explained, ''The decision was made that it
would pay off to put applied research effort
into how to handle tritium, to sto.re it, and to
inject it into weapons at the proper time."

john Hornbeck directed systems engineering for the NASA One of the research payoffs grew out of
Apollo program before serving as pre5ident of Sandia from investigations by Mark Davis and Jim
1966 to 1972. Schirbet, who combined the results of helium
In addition to diversification, Hornbeck implantation studies by Walter Bauer and
sought to sustain a vibrant laboratory by low-temperature tritide. studies of Harry
enhancing its research capabilities. "We need Weave.rand Bill Camp to explore tritium's
more technical depth and capability at effects on metals. Because tritium decays into
[Sandia] Livermore to solve our everyday a larger helium molecule, Davis and Schirber
problems," Hornbeck decided, and in 1968 predicted the larger atom would cause
he sent Tom Cook to Livermore with a embrittlement and subsequent cracking of
charter to build an applied research the metals. F:xamination of metal vessels in
organi zation. which trjtium had been stored proved that
the po~tulated mechanism outlined by Davis
and Schirber existed, and Sandia began
Intense research to identify alloys that could
resfat embrittlement.

Hornbeck instHuted other management

initiatives. "We reorganized laboratory
functions in 1968 and have set up a new cost
control system," he announced. To improve
budgetary control, Sandia adopted a budget
control system modeled after the system used
at Bell Laboratories. Th is n ew approach,
called the case system, moved budget
responsibility from administrative support
organizations directly to the line managers
who were responsible for the wo rk.

To further bolster research, Sol

Gayle Cain, right, explains Sandia California's materials Buchsbaum became Sandia's vice president
impulse testing to Tom Cook, Leo Gutierrez, and GMeral for research and AJ Narath became director of
Edward Giller of the AEC. solid-state sciences. Walt Herrmann, Sam
A Div~nitied Lllboratory

Thompson, and associates use.d com pute.r effects to research on implantation of ions in
modeling in conjunction with the results of semiconductors and alloys, and the use of
shock wave experiments and field tests of ion beams for precise near-surface analysis of
Lynn Barker, Barry Butcher, Darrell Munson, materials such as neutron tube films. For this
Jim Asay, Lee l)avtson. Bob Graham. Bill research, they converted a Van de Graaf
Benedick, Robert Bass, and many others to accelerator from electron to ion beams, a
bring to Sandia a leadership role in shock conversion made possible when Sandia
wave mechanics and physics. Whereas Los completed a relativistic electron beam
Alamos and Lawrence Livermore worked to ac.celerator in 1969 to provide fast electron
magnify pressures in their implosion systems, pulses for materiali> research. Much of this
the Sandia emphasis was to mitigate stresses research focused on using ion implantation
In order to enable system and structural as a substitute for surface doping of
survival. "You cao operate much more semiconductors.
efficiently and productively." explained
Herrmann, "if you don't have to rely Jn addition, the value of a Sandia
exclusively on cut-and-try engineering - technjque for plating metal alloys with iom
bomb drops for example - to find out how caught the attention of AEC chairman Glenn
systems will behave when subjected to Seaborg. Sandia's research indicated that ion
impacts or explosions." bombardment could dean and plate metals
at the same time, providing improved
ln 1969, Fred Vook, Tom Picraux, corrosion protection compared with
Herman Stein, Keith Brower, Jim Borders, and commercial electroplating. Seaborg promoted
colleagues moved from studies of radiation this proa..ss as a significant technology spin-

Tom Piuawc, !=red Voci<, and Paul l>eercy, le~der~ of ion-implanbtior'l and ~lid ttate research, it.and in lronr of an ion accelerator.

Chapter 4 _

nosetips for reentry vehicles. Frank Neilson

and Tom Edrington managed groups that
developed non-destructive testing methods
useful in studies of weapons and their
components as well as energy resources and
non-weapon materials.

To concentrate Sandia's resources on

research, Hornbeck and his staff essentially
ended Sandia's production engineering
function. The manufacturing development
organization, which had its roots in the
1940s Road department, closed, with its
remaining functions transferred to other
divisions, and the AEC and Sandia
transferred production engineering to
contractors. From then until the

Don Mattox Lhec.ks the ion-plating apparatus that interest-

ed AEC chairman Glenn Seaborg in 1967. Bnl Mottern ot the Non-Destructive Testing Laboratory used an
x-ray of a motDrcyde for test demonstrations.

off from AEC-sponsored research. He

announced that Sandia's method produced
stronger bonds and superior plating of such
incompatible combinations as aluminum on
steel, or copper on aluminum, and suggested
that it might well find many civilian

In 1969, Sandia established a non-

destructive testing laboratory, managed
initially by Bill Mottern and Bob Baker, to
use gamma and x-rays along with ultrasound,
infrared, magnetic flux, and other
technologies tor internal inspection of
materials and components without
disassembling or destroying them. Doug
Ballard and O'Neill Burchett directed the
initial non-destructive research program,
Sandia's direa:or of solid state physics, Al Narath, observes
analyzing the internal parameters of carbon an experiment by David Barham during the late 1960s.

A Diversified Laboratory

restructuring of the weapon complex in the

mid-1990s, Sandia's production role consisted
of small lots of items such as fenoclectric
cerami.cs or microelectronics in which new
concepts and high reliability demanded close
coordination between design and production.

Reflecting the end of its production

responsibilities and its advance into the
research vanguard, Hornbeck coined the
name "Sandia Laboratories" to replace Sandia
Corporation as the proper organizational
name in December 1969. Schwartz had
earlier considered a change to "Laboratory,"
but bad hesitated bee.a.use all contracts and In 1968, John Hornbeck, Se.Mtor Clinton Anders.on, Senaror
Joseph Montoya, ar.d Ray Powell Cltomine a VELA sat~lite
legal documents bore the name. Sandia mode.I.
Corporation . Hornbeck decided to leave the
name Sandia Corporation on legal Others ended because Hornbeck objected
documents as the operating entity, but to to micromanagement by the sponsoring
change the name by internal fiat to Sandia agencies; he thought sponsors should specify
Laboratories. Sandia's team in California what they wanted , but not dictate exactly
became Sandia Labmatories, Livermore, and how the re., earch should be performed. In
the team in New Mexico became Sandia 1970 he ended Sandia's participation in all
Laboratories, Albuquerque. aspects of the SNAP program except quality
asmrance. "The AEC Division of Space
Nuclear Systems had a view o f Sandia's role
in the program that was different from ours,"
SUPER LAB THAT NOBODY Hornbeck explained, concluding, "the
KNOWS difference of opinion led to our decision to
ask ALC to handle the whole thing."
When Hornbeck became .Sandia's presi.dent,
it had nine non-weapon prognms underv:ay, Nor did Hornbeck much approve of
constituting about fifteen percent of its total soliciting new opportunit1es to replace those
budget, These were special or reimbursable ending during the late 1960s. "We prefer not
programs funded by Defense agencies and to seek reimbursabl e work actively," he said,
NASA, or by AEC offices other than Military "but rather to have our work sell itself." New
Applicatioru. Hornbeck favored continuing customers did not line up at Sandia 's door,
these non-weapon programs, pro-.;.ided they however, and it' re imbursable workload
used Sandia's special talents, identified by decreased. Outside of the weapon. program
Hornbeck as "sophisticated technology, an agencies, Sandja was still, as Pf>pular
ability to rea.ct fast, and a wilUngness to take Mechcmfr.5 reported ln 1969, "The Super Lab
experimental or untried routes/' That Nobody Knows."

By 1970 most of Sandia's special and Tn some cases, Sandia's traditional low
reimbursable programs were ending. Some pmfile offered advantages. During the anti-
ended simply ~~use Sandia completed its war protests on university campuses during
work. For example, the planetary quarantine the late 1960.>, for example, Sandia recruiters
program for NASA, assuring that Herb Pitts andJjm Schirber escaped the abuse
microorganisms did not hitchhike to or from heaped on representatives of othex
space aboard lunar and interplanetary laboratories and d efense contractors, largely
spacecraft, closed because Sandia's team had because Sandia remained a. m ystery to most
completed the essential research and students . .But low visibility did not attract
development. new customers. When Sandia's development
of the integrated warhead reentry body for

Chapter 4

the Navy's Poseidon missiles was completed END OF THE DECADE

in 1970, a hiatus ensued before the Navy
requested similar engineering for the Trident
fleet ballistic missile. The sole diversified Sandia ended the 1960s with solid
program of any size remaining at Sandia after accomplishments marking its history during
1970 was the VELA satellite detection system, the decade. lt established programs
neither a special nor a reimbursable program implementing the four LTBT safeguards
but sponsored by the AEC Division of demanded by Congress in 1963. 1t
Military Applications. participated in design and testing ot weapons
ranging from the B61 to the warheads for
"Like every federally funded agency in Minuteman and Poseidon missile systems
the country," Hornbeck said in 1970, "we are and the Safeguard antiballistic missiles, and
feeling the effects of the tight money initiated exploratory programs for
situation." Jn April 1970, Sandia experienced miniaturization and new weapons
its first personnel layoff and substantial development. lt focused attention on
budget flattening since 1961. enhanced nuclear safety as well, meeting the
stringent requirements set in 1968 within a
"I was surprised at Nixon and Kissinger, few years.
who you would think would be more
hawkish, since Henry Kissinger was a To comply with the safeguard requiting
consultant to the laboratories," said Sandian the maintenance of vigorous laboratories,
Leo Gutierrez, reflecting on the budgetary Sandia diversified, providing support for
shortfall, "but we saw the biggest slowdown conventional warfare in Vietnam, for space
ever, possibly because of the maturity of the power safety, and for intelligence activities. It
weapons program at that time." Yet the built these reimbursable and special projects
decline in funding was general, affecting not into a program providing a significant part of
only Sandia but .also AEC laboratories its budget.
engaged in commercial power reactor
research, Defe nse agencies, and NASA as well. The advent of computer modeling further
Indeed, the decline represented systemic reduced the need for empirical engineering,
changes in the American economy that and Sandia's research produced new
reduced funding for research and technology understandings of tritium, ferroelectric
in both the private and public sectors. ceramics, shock wave physics, ion
implantation, radiation damage, and blast
effects. Out ot Sandia's exploratory weapons
programs came the new science of
terradyoamics and from its participation in
the VELA program developed new
understandings ot gamma-ray astronomy.
Truly, by 1969 it had earned the title Sandia
Laboratories. ~

President Hornbeck explains requirements to an affirmative

action commrttee.


ECP spon~ored proje<.ts large and small. New windows for this Albuquerque ~ys Club bus were pur-
chMed with a portion of the l 964 Employee Contribution Plan reseNe fund.

ECP and LEAP years to get it started. J began waging a memo-

writing campaign in 1953 to get formal approval
Sandians have always generously for major changes in the way our employees could
supported community service organizations, be solidted by charitable organizations and how
both in Albuquerque and Livermore. In the they could make contribution.s to these groups ...
1950s contributions were solicited through Back then, empll>J1ee giving was base.d on parent-
annual drives and the first one netted some company practice. First, it was limited to United
$10,000. Sandia's Employee Contribution Way, which was called the Community Chest,
Plan (ECP), which- introduced payroll and to the Red Cross. We were getting a lot of
deductions, began operating in the fall of pressure from ... mostly the national health
1957. Employee contributions dramatically agencies, that weren't supported by United Way.
increased 15 percent over the preyious year. They wanted, and justifiably so, t.o solidt Sandia
That giving represented about 20 percent of employees ... Year-round giving by payroll
the total pledged to the United Way in deductiDn would be the key. That was new in those
Albuquerque that year - a level of support days. Also, we didn't want fl> second-guess the
that has condnued through the years. community 011 how to distribute ECP funds. We'd
rely on existing community-giving patterns . There
. Sandia California began its own campaign were lot~ of meetings, lots of extra hours, .. but we
in 1969 called LE.AP (Livermore Employees fi.na/ly got the program through ... Even after all
Assistance Plan). Agencies that shared in the these years, I've never heard anyone say we made
$160,000 collected in 1995 were located all the the wrong decision with ECP. I remain very proud
way from the Livermore Valley to the Bay Area. of our work, especially in the fall, when I read how
much Sarulians are pledging- to their community,
Ted SherWin, manager of the Public both in money and time.
Relations Department until he retired in
1981, reminisced about ECP: In 1995, Sandia employees pledged
over $ L4 million, wi.th 99 percent of that
ECP - or the pmgram. that became EtP - amount earmarked for the United Way.
did not happen overnight. It tOOk four or five

Chapter 5 _ _ - -- -- - - -- - -- -

A Sandia testing group In l 976 next to a patriotically painted 861 te~t unit Left to right: Sob Martin, Leland Stone, Dale
Buchanan, jim Lohkamp1 Dale Massey, Pete Hernande2, Phil Young, Larry Johnson.

The Multiprogram Transition

The weapons laboratories represent a combination of trained manpower and physical
resources that is available nowhere else in the West. The laboratories also make a
major contribution to U.S. energy programs and to basic scientific research in
general. It would be extremely difficult if not impossible to reassemble this complex
in a crisis situation.

Edward Giller

Although it worked in such related fields as stockpile abated. /(From high-yield weapons/'
satellite and seismic detection of nuclear observed Bill Spencer "we went to weapons

testing, Sandia had remained essentially a tailored to a particular job or to weapons

single-mission laboratory since it was suitable for use in a variety of operational
established in 1949. This situation ended situations. Moreover, this new phase

during the early 1970s1 when it experienced coincided with the end of the antiballistic
three personnel reductions 1 shrinking its staff missile program. When the basic Safeguard
by twenty-two percent from more than 8,000 antiballistic missile system was completed in
to 6,500. At this critical juncture, Sandia's 1974, Congress terminated its production
management led mission expansion into new and operation.
research and development arenas where it
enjoyed considerable success. "Miniaturization and flexibility - in the
nuclear weapons business, the two go
While navigating this period of profound together," observed Glen Otey commenting

change, Sandia undertook major nuclear on the new approaches to nuclear weapon
weapon design projects and continued design. For example, the arming 1 fuzing 1 and
exploring advanced weapons. In addition to firing package completed in 1970 for the
traditional weapon programs the national
1 Navy's Mark 3 reentry body set new
interest turned to needs for improved nuclear standards for miniaturization. Using
reactor safety assessment and greater physical microelectronics and clever packaging, the
security. And when national priorities Sandia design team produced small radars 1

emphasized energy during the 1973 oil neutron generators power supplies, and

embargo, Sandia stepped up its explorations firing systems with all the capabilities of
of energy technology. As a result, by the time larger systems and with far greater protection
of the national bicentennial in 1976 Sandia
1 - hardening - against defensive
had become a multiprogram laboratory of countermeasures. So small was Sandia's
the Energy Research and Development package for the Poseidon warhead that it fit
Administration (ERDA). into the nosetip of the reentry body, moving
the center of gravity forward and improving
the reentry body s stability.

TAILORED WEAPONS Successful completion of designs for the

Poseidon (W68) and Safeguard (W66 and
As Sandia's weapon development entered W71) warheads brought those programs to
the 1970s1 the earlier emphasis on quickly an end, and in 1973 Sandia also ended
increasing the size or yield of the nuclear development of two artillery-fired atomic

Chapter S

projectiles for battlefield deployment. The on oppos1ng forces in Europe: facing nuclear
Army planned to use these nuclear shells, weapons, Warsaw Pact troop concentrations
de.c;ignated W74 and W75, in its 155- declined substantially. Concerned about the
millimeter cannon and &-inch howitzer for costs of these nuclear shell'\, however>
theater defense. Congress .'\lashed them from the budget in
1973, although it later approved programs for
Harold Vaughn, an applied the design of other nuclear artillery shells .
mathematician, developed the theo1y of
ballistic matching between a conventional In the face of shrinking nuclear weapons
high explosive and a nuclear .shell. When budgets, Sandia considered ways to use
Harold Agnew of Los Alamos was briefed on existing weapons or their components in
this theory he became very enthusiastic about new configurations. Studies began, for
a W74 (155 mm) phase 3. John Hornbeck was example, on using subsystems of the B6 I
so impressed with this theory that he bomb in warheads for cruise missiles, in
borrowed Vaughn's viewgraphs and regularly Pershing II missiles. in depth bombs, and in
briefed his VIP visitors on ballistic matching. an extended ra.nge bomb. Using the B61 as a
Department of Defense official and ex-Sandian building bloc.I< for new systems could bypass
Don Cotter's observations indicated the very the need for testing new nuclear systems
threat of atomic projectiles and other theater while also reducing development time and
nuclear weapons had salutary thinning effects cost. For the W7Z nuclear warhead to be used

. ' .
.. .

Dil'&tor ot Military Appfw:alions

General Emel.I Gra~ and
~si~tant SeaetMy ot Army
Norm Augustine in 1974
examine the arming, fuzing.
.and firing Prueidon module
held by Morgan Sparks.

Chris Dalton and Harold Smith

work at an extended range
bomb with a propulsion iyi!t'.m
that could L1ke it to a target after
release from an aircraft.

The Multiprogram Transition

The Ll\nce (yV?O) tactical missile, seen here with its erecting launcher, was deployed to Europe.

on the optically guided Walleye missile, for

example, Sandia adapted the arming and
firing ~ystems of the B61 that were already in
production, thereby meeting tight schedules
and minimizing costs.

After winning a design competition on

nuclear payloads for the Army's Pershing II
theater missile, Ray Reynolds, Bill Alzheimer,
Bill Hoagland, and Sam Jeffers led Sandia
teams thar de.'iigned two warheads, the W85
for air-bursts and the W86 for earth
penetration. For the W85, Sandia's team
adapted design features of the B61, shortened
its c.ase, and replaced its arming and fuzing
system with components supplied by the
Army. Although Congress ended the W86
earth penetrator program for budgetary
reasons, Sandia completed development of the
W8S air-burst/surface-burst version, a11d the
Army deployed it on the Pershing II in 1983.

To tailor weapons for tactical use during

the 1970s, Sandia adopted computer graphics
to better simulate battlefield situations.
Don Shuster displays a model ol lhe extended range bomb
Sandia's systems studies group also applied
under study d1.1ring the 19705.
' computer wargaming to assist in analyses of

Chapter 5

the maneuvering capability needed to get

past improved surface-to-air missile defenses ..
This "bolt-on" capabiHty would add to
reentry vehicles a guidance system, motors
for pitch and roll control, plu~ pitd1 flap and
roll-control thrusters that would allow them
to take evasive actions during their
approaches to targets. After concluding that
A11spice could permit penetration by reentry
vehicJes pas t even multiple S\lrface-to-air
missiles, the Sandia team delivered its
systems study in J972, but the Air Force did
not pursue the concept.

Sandia's Jigsaw studies and flight

demonstrations of the 1970s sought to
advance electronic battlefield concepts
through added preclsion in tactical battlefield
weapons. If electronic guidance systems
lohn Hornbeck, Air force Lieutenant General Sam Phillips, could prov1de higher delivery accuracy,
and Robert Kraay in 1971 examine one of the advanced warheads with lower yield could destroy
nosetips developed by Sandia for reentry vehicles. targets and reduce collateral damage as weH.

the potential deployment and uses of nuclear Tom Edrington explained that the Jigsaw
weapons. '1Wargaming is a tool for program considered several concepts, each
investigating how a tactical confllct may named for a coin: Baht, Kopeck, Threepence,
unfold, asserted Garry Brown. ''It can
and so forth. Baht involved planting a
illustrate battlefield situations that call for beacon on such targets as bridges and then
special measures - for example the firing a tactical mj:ssile to home accurately on
employment of nuclear weapons to the beacon. Because the Baht concept
neutralize heavy armor yet not destroy the required that special forces plant the beacons
countryside in the process." on heavily defended targets, Kopeck
concentrated on developing an offset beacon ,
The U.S. Space and Missile Systems Office actually a small tracking radar with a
sponsored several Sandia exploratory transmitter that could issue comse~correction
programs such as the development of carbon- guidance to missiles. Placed in th e vicinity
carbon nosetips. Glen Otey, Virgil Dugan, of, rather than on, a target, Kopeck could
and Curtis Hines managed the Allspice study track a missile and adjust its course for a
of retrofitting missile reentry vehicles with precise strike; Don Shuster called it a " magic
wand" that could wave missiles precisely to
the targets. Threepence utilized three less-
complicated beacons to provide similar
delivery accuracy.

Sandia initiated its Tactical Inertially

Guided and Extended Range (TIGER) bomb
program in 1972. DeHvering free.fall or
parachute-retarded bombs required that
a1rcraft fiy over targets and encounter the

A system1 itudies team of Norm Brea.zeal and Carry Brown

observes .Di<:k Basinger at a computer graphics sc.reen used
in J 976 lor evaluation of weapon opti.ons and delivery

The Mu\tip1"09ram Transition

In 1976, Sandians deploy an experimental parachute developed tor the 861 . Left to right: Alvin "Oley" Oleson, Bruce Ercole,
Bill Pepper, Harold Widdows, E.rnie Hall, Dennii Cronin.

threat of hostile defenses. "If you can't fly to Sandia designed a conversion kit, adding
the target on the deck the probability of nose canards and tail surfaces, a rocket
completing the mission is fairly low," said motor, flight computer, inertial navigation
designer Chris Dalton, explaining that an system, radar altimeter, and related
extended range bomb "would greatly increase equipment as a retrofit for existing bombs,
the probability of a successful mission by particularly the Bel, to provide a relatively
allowing the aircraft to release the weapon inexpensive means of providing an extended
some distance from the target and at a very range capability. Sandia successfully tested its
low altitude." extended-range bomb at the Tonopah range
during the late 1970s; although pilots
Thi~ required a rocket-boosted system foT strongly approved of them , they did not
low-level delivery. To maintain delivery receive full development authorization . "To
accuracy comparable to that of laydown me," reflected Heinz Schmitt, "i t still is one
bombs, Sandia also incorporated a radar of the more unique capab ilities that we
altimeter to measure terrain profiles and should have built. "
continuously update the inertial navigator to
minimize error rates. The resulting extended- The TIGER concept was a very complicated
ran.ge bomb could be launched at greater design and challenged the capabilities of the
ranges, providing less exposure to hostile aerodynamics department. Harold Vaughn and
defenses; moreover, if the aircraft passed over. Jerry Wilson mathematically modeled
a mobile target, the crew could release the trajectories and conduct ed wind tunnel tests.
extended range bomb to return to the target. The guidance system was tested in real time on
"He can fly next to the target and deliver the the aerodynamics department's flight
weapon to it," explained Charlie Winter, "or simulator, which consisted of analog/digital
after he's flown over the target, he can have computers connected to a 3-axis motion
the weapon circle around and detonate over simulator platform.
the target so he doesn't have to come back."

Chapter 5

Left; Jlh.iitration of the

Jigsaw-Kopeck concept of
planting a portable
guidante iystem near a
target (bridge 011er river
below) to guide missiles
directly to the tar9eL

Below: This d1awing

illustrated the return-to--
target bomb c:or1cept.
Mer palsing the target,
the aircrait could release
me bomb and it would

The Multiprogram Transition

Interest in achieving improved delivery programs at Sandia and its partner

accuracy for exploratory projects such as laboratories and further reductions 11 could
TIGER encouraged further research on jeopardize the safeguards. 11
guidance systems at Sandia. During the 1960s,
defense contractors had adopted a terrain- From 1970 to 1974, national budgets for
scanning radar for use in cruise missiles. This research and development declined by
system stored the terrain contours - a map nearly a third. These reductions were passed
- of a flight path, then periodically located on to the national laboratories. However,
itself by comparing radar profiles of terrain during this same period, Sandia s 1

along its path with the stored map to correct engineering development projects remained
its course. Between checks against the map it 1 virtually constant, and many of its budget
navigated inertially. Studies of better guidance reductions therefore fell on its exploratory
systems proceeded in systems groups and advanced development programs. After
managed by Tom Edrington and Ron Andreas the 1970 layoff and another significant
during the 1970s, culminating with the personnel reduction in 19 71, Sandia leaders
development in 1975 by Larry Hostetler and became increasingly concerned about the
associates of the Sandia Inertial Terrain-Aided future and became interested in pursuing
Navigator (SITAN). opportunities outside the nuclear weapons
program. Two events in 1972 gave urgency
Rather than providing periodic position to such work: the commercial nuclear
checks as in earlier systems 1 SITAN operated reactor emergency core cooling systems
continuously, guiding a weapon all the way hearings and the massacre of Israeli athletes
to its target. Using Hostetler's computer at the Olympics in Munich.
algorithms, it continuously combined inertial
and altimeter data to obtain the vehicle's In response to public criticism of interim
position along with its velocity and altitude safety standards for commercial nuclear
to determine course corrections. Sandia reactors 1 AEC Chairman James Schlesinger
successfully tested SITAN at the Edgewood convened hearings on these standards in 1972.
test range in 1975, and continued its research These hearings continued throughout the year.
with Air Force cooperation} finding As they progressed, Schlesinger and his
applications for the system on aircraft, deputies concluded that increased knowledge
helicopters, and land vehicles. of reactor design safety was needed.

Although Sandia had designed and built

nuclear reactors for its own materials and
FUNDING AND STAFF weapon effects testing1 it had not
RETRENCHMENTS participated in the design or promotion of
commercial power reactors. It had broad
experience in weapon safety design and
When President Richard Nixon evaluation 1 nevertheless, and had performed
orchestrated a national belt-tightening in safety assessments for the SNAP space power
1970, budgetary restrictions for the AEC systems. AEC officials and consultants such
forced Sandia to implement its first as Norman Rasmussen visited Sandia in 1972
significant reduction in force in a decade. to examine facilities and capabilities that
Although described merely as a "trimming," it might be used for an independent
worried the Albuquerque community, which examination of nuclear reactor safety issues.
had grown accustomed to expansion or
stability at Sandia. '1 If it continues for two or Bob Peurifoy agreed on the importance of
three years, it will have significant impact 1
" 11
such a mission because the possibility of a
Sandia vice president Ray Powell admitted to serious accident with a nuclear power reactor
reporters. New Mexico Senator Clinton was perhaps almost as catastrophic as an
Anderson, of the Joint Committee on Atomic accidental nuclear detonation." A group 1
Energy1 responded with a warning that the including Peurifoy, Bill Nickell, Don
1963 LTBT safeguards mandated vigorous Lundergan and others, reported favorably on

Chapter .S

Sandia accepting a nuckar reactor safety equally interesting were Sandia's materials
mission and prepared proposals for the AEC and processes investigations. As early as
reactor safety division. 1974, Dick Lyn.ch and Dick Schwoebel
reported progress in using ion exchangers to
Sandia received its first funding for separate radioactive solids, which then could
reactor safety investigations in early 1974 and be heated and pressed to form stable
formed a nuclear fuel cycle directorate headed ceramics. Patented by Robert Dosch, this
by Bill Snyder. One of its first mis.sioru was to solidification process. could separate cesium,
conduct a study to complement the newly .strontium, and transuranic elements from.
published reactor safety study (referred to as low-Jevel wastes for easier disposal. ReseMch
the Rasmussen Report), The Sandja study on the nucle.ar fue1 cycle expanded further
investigated the pot~tial of malevolent during the late 1970s, especially the technial
attacks (overt and covert) for release of suppmt for effmts to identify and
radiation to the environment. characterize th!'. nuclear warte disposal site.s
that are described in later chapte.rs.
Perhaps the most spectacular aspects of
this new research were the environmental
tests managed by Bob Jefferson and Bob
Luna. The media devoted great attenti.on to SAFEGUARDS AND SECURITY
the te~ts of accident-resistant cash tor
transporting nuclear wastes, whkh involved Sandlan Andy Lieber declared that the
ramming locomotives into trucks, oc 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the
smashing trucks canying the casks into walls Munich Olympics "marked the beginning of
at eighty miles an hour. Le.ss spectacular but

During the. 1970s, Sandia l..l"ite.d shipping casks for spent nuclear fuel by ramming tkem and tkeir truck trar1sport1 at high
1peeds into concrete. waJls. Tkis cask survived the impact.

The Multiprogram Transition

modern concerns and approaches to nuclear

weapons security" by emphasizing the fact
that security forces might be confronted by
bands of h eavily-armed terrorists. Orval Jones
noted that intervtews with nuclear weapon
designer Ted Taylor, published in 1973,
implied that terrorists might make a crude
nuclear explosive or radioactive dispersal
device if they were able to steal special
nuclear materials. This "caused the nation to
undertake a thorough reanalysis of
vulnerabilities and upgrading of its nuclear
safeguards both for weapons and materials. 1'

Sandia's initial int@rest in physical

safeguards and serurity, however, may be
traced to a 1967 panel report to the AEC on
safeguarding nuclear materials and to the
work o f a review committee that followed. In
1968, Dill Stevens represented Sandia on a
joint AEC-DoD committee that recommended
enhanced safeguards, including measures Roberc Reed, Loren 8i5t)op, and Jame~ Taggart point with
pride to S andia'~ s.a1c .l.nd $tcure transport (SS'T) for tho
during transport, for combating terrorist rnovemenf of nuclear m;1t~rials.
threats that might divert nuclear materials. In
J970, Richard Petersen, with assistance from
Ed Roth and others, designed a Safe Secure
Trailer (SST) for transporting nudeal' weapons.
To replace the commercial highway transport
then used, the design called for the use of
these special highway trailers with thick walls,
further protected by devices to deter
unauthorized entrance. Moreover, Sandia's
studies recommended use of the ABC
emergency radio network to maintain
constant communications With the truck-
trailers in transit.

In 197J, Sandia advised General H. C.

Donnelly, manager of the AEC Albuquerque
office, of its capabilities to build a prototype
SST. After Sandia completed the prototype
Donnelly ordered further production . A full-
scale development and production program,
managed by Gene Blake, provided a number
of operational vehicles that were used by the
AEC. Tom Sellers and Jim DeMontmollin
then planned a system to maintain constant
radio contact between dispatchers and the
SSTs anywhere in the United States. This
system, which used computerized data
handling and multi-channel radio
transmission s, was d eveloped and tested for In 1974 Sandia tests an a<:cident resistant container model
the AEC division of nuclear materials in Building 840. Such containers were designed to protect
nuclear malerials during transport.

Ckapter 5

Sandiaru in Cafifomia brief General jo,eph Bratton, Division of Mifilary Applications, and Gener~! Alfred Dodd Starbird, ERDA
Administrator fer National Sec.urity, in 1976. Lefl to right: Byron Murphey, Walter Bauer, Dan Hartley, lkalton, Tom Cook,

security. Later, as SECOM (secure systems for better protection of the storage
communications), lt was placed into sites in addition to implementing the secure
operation by the Albuquerque Operations transportation system .
Office for monitoring shipments of nuclear
materials, weapons, and components. Although totally preventing entry to a
site by a well-equipped and determined force
ln 1974, largely as a result of the four- was impractical, analysis showed that entry
year-long Sandia study known as the Nuc:Jear could be slowed enough by multilayered
Weapon System Safety Hazard Evaluation security to permit guard forces to respond.
Group, the AEC decided to move all Site defenses began with fences and sen.scns
completed weapons and nuclear materials in to alert guard forces to a penetration attempt
SSTs. Gene Blake and Jim Jacobs Jed the crash Within the fences would be earth berms or
effort to provide the required equipment and obstructions to force the abandonment of
syscem tools. Later, Sandia d~~igned new SST vehicles and the hand-carriage of equipment
models, arid during the 1980s Jim Baremore to the next obstacle - reinforced-concrete
and Neil Hartwigsen worked with Randy walls. If the invaders penetrated the concrete
Sabre of DOE's J\fbuquerque office to design walls, then they confronted obstructions to
an improved safeguards transporter to further delay their operation. "The goal," [ra
implement modern safety featur~ . The SST White explained, "is to slow down the
supplanted air and rail as the preferred adversary, to escalate the problems, to keep
transport mode for nuclear weapons and the clock ticking ... ticking ... ticking."
materials within the United States.
"We can look at the complete problem -
Concern about potential acts of nuclear from paper des.ign through hardware
terrorism also focused attention at both AEC development to proof testing," said Bill Myre,
and Defense agencies on the security of who succeeded Jones as safeguards mari.ager.
weapon .storage sites and other installations. "It's. the same approach that has proved rn
Receiving assignments from the AEC, Sandia successful in the development of weapons."
formed a nuclear security systems directotate For example, Ted Gold and Rob Rinne of the
under Orval Jones and began developing systems studies group applied their
el.ectronic detection and access denial experience with war games to evaluate

. The Multiprogram Tramition

truck convoy security, devising "Ambush"

and "Skirmish " games as teaching tools. "We
can be tter understand combat among small
forces and some of the human factors,'' said
Rinne, explaining how the games assisted
convoy defense teams seeking better
understanding of their missions. Bob Wilde
led the development of the mi!itary-
intcgrated laser engagement system for
realistic field training using actual security
guards and simulated attackers.

Both the safeguards and the reactor safety

assessment programs at Sandia grew
throughout the 1970s. Safeguards funding,
for exatnpJe, increased from $8.9 million in
1975 to $24.5 million in 1977. Yet neither
assignment had progressed sufficiently to
ameliorate the 1973 reduction in force.

When John Hornbeck returned to Bell
Laboratories in September 1972, Morgan
Sparks became Sandia's president. After
joining .Bell in 1943, Sparks had been a
member of the research group that launched
the age of semiconductors and made the first
junction transistor, a device that spawned
industries worth billions. While "the Morgan Sparks made the first junction tran! istor zl Bell
industtial revolution was an extension of Laboratories .md bec;;me Sandia pre$ident in 1972.

Cl .

Morgan Spark$ in March \ 973 answers questions lrom newimen about 5..lndia'5 major reduction-in-force.

. ....
continued. Under this reg}men, the Lab News
was long on news of employees' actMties in;..
the community, hobby stories, and Coronado .
Club activities, but short on "hard". news o f .
weapon programs.
. .

By the late 1960s, AEC was relaxing its .

restrictions. John Shunny (editor, 1968~1982)

We could actually reftJ:r in print to, say, Jhe :

- ... Mark 28 and identify e-ngiheers workirj.g.on ~ .
program. Later, phows revealing the ex,temal
appearance of various weapo.ns were j>ermitted; .
. .. - .-
The beginning of the modem and more open.
Lab News can be dated to December 1970, when
President John Hornbeck coruented to a state-of.
the-Labs interview, w be published in Janw.iry
(and a tradition ever since). Short of informat.Wn
. . . actually classified, Hornbeck went along with the
no-holds-barred format, a sta.rtling (at the time) -.
demarchewhen mmpared to his predecessors. ... .
During the 1970s, articles on weapons and
components, field tests, materials research, and .
other weapon-related activities became
commonplace in the Lab New~. this op'ermess..
...continues today and inclildes as well a remarkpble . .
. candor.on how the business is being run~ ..
. t;ab Ne~ ~taf(g_~ther wit.ti new editor, J~_hn Sticinny, in ..
.. . . : 1969 tO revie-N tlie.frui~ of theirlabor. TOP..row: JOhn .
: : : . : _: : Shunny, Don Graflam, Ger$e Majtinei. Second- r6w: 8ifl:
~skar~ N9(rna Taylor, Chery LOu. Bums. Fron_t: Dori Wolfe. .

. ..
. Cttculated in.'"house ~very other:Piid~y ' .
sine~ 1951, t~e +,alt ,News _ has gained a tiiche
iP. employees'. affectipns._As a company
.. . . riewspi!-per, it."deals wit~ a u_riique .Cha~lehge: .
. . . how :do you talk aboutJhe (;ori).pany':product
. . . .when that product 1$.a highly c;fassifted . :
. _'; --~."......:....riudear w:eapori?-~ . . . -"--
. . ' .

. .
.. i;:ar1y.-e'd:itor~ .~~ob.Gillespie, B()b. Coigan; : . _: ..
.Tom Heaphy _:_:_ avoided the: i$sue: ~y fiat So . . . : .
. sensitive was the subjedin t}1e i95{)S-tllat
. eacb.di:attwas rid.aloud:by .Superintendent
HaroldSharp to Piesjdent Landry, cover to . .
cover,bowling ~cores and all, "Stril<:ethat!"
Landry would .eXdaitri; an4 the r~d~ng .: ...
.. . . . - - - . . :- . , , ' :, . . . : ' . :

. : 166 . .
.... . :.. '

The Multiprogram Transition

muscle, through a controlled use of energy," program, Los Alamos had accepted that work,
Sparks explained, "the electronics revolution creating seventy new jobs there. He offered
is an extension of the mind - new means of support for diversifying Sandia's missions,
communications, and computers that aid in but warned that the military applications
calculations, thought processes, decisions, division would not help Sandia when
automatic controls, etc." funding from other AEC divisions declined.

Sparks arrived at Sandia a few months In January 1973, Sparks announced a ten-
before the largest cutback in its history. percent staffing reduction that would be
Meeting with James Schlesinger and Edward accomplished by the end of June. John
Giller at AEC headquarters for a briefing on Shunny, editor of the Lab News, termed this a
the reductions mandated by the Office of "soul-searing experience" for those remaining
Management and Budget in 1973, Sparks as well as those who left. "lt was a very
asked Giller if Sandia should pursue traumatic experience followed by lawsuits,"
reimbursable projects to challenge its weapon commented Arlyn Blad.'Well later, "and the
engineers during lean times. Giller pointed memory of that agony .i;till remajns."
out the irony that after Sandia backed out of Although Sandia's management thought it
technical administration of the space power made the layoff selections with an even
hand, successful litigation against Sandia by
farmer employees and the Department of
Labor, charging age discrimination, followed
the reduction and continued for more than a

When reporters asked how Sandia should

regroup for the future, New Mexie<:l Senator
Joseph Montoya responded that it should tell
its story "to the American people, not just to
a congressional committee.'' Administrative
vice president Charles Campbell repUed that
Sandia should not rest on its laurels, "We've
got to let the world know we're here and can
do good technical work." Morgan Spar.ks
explained that Sandia planned to seek new
programs "to add stability to our future
worl<Joad and to provide djversity in our
technical programs."

When ameJlding the Atomic Energy Act
in l 971, Congress authorlzed AEC research
on ''the preservation and enhancement of a
viable envjronment by developing more
efficient methods to meet the Nation's
energy needs." To meet this mandate, Dixy
Lee Ray, the last AEC chairperson,
encouraged the AEC laboratories to devote
resources to energy research and appointed a
The last AE.C chairperson, Dixy Lee Ray, and her pets pose
committee to plan future national energy
with General Harold Donnelly of the AE.C Albuquerque policies. Don Shuster represented Sandia on
oHlce and John Hornbeck of Sandia.

Chapter 5

New Mexico Senat.or Joseph Montoya visi~ Sandia in 1973. Left to fight: Newsmiln john Shtmny, Morg;m Spa, Mon\oy~,
R<1y Powell.

Ray's policy study committee, and informally heating water with solar collectors, storing
began to explore how energy research might the water underground in insulated tanks;
match the capabilities developed in Sandia's and using heat from the water to drive
weapons programs. Jim Scott1 Orval Jones, and turboelectr.ic generators and provide power
other Sandia leaders met in Shuster1s office for air conditioning, heating, and hot water.
daily during lat~ 1972 and 1973 and solicited Senator Joseph Montoya broke ground for
ideas and proposals for energy research from the project, which produced Hs first
throughout the Laboratories. electricity in 1976. Managed by James
Leonard, the solar total energy facility
Sandia's sunny southwestern location became a test bed for the solar collectors and
sparked interest In solar energy, and in photovoltaic technology designed by private
October 1972 the Shuster team sent a industry and by Sandia.
proposal dravm up by Bob Stromberg to the
National Science Foundation, then in charge "The proposals run the gamut from an
of federal solar energy research. It called for ingenious technique for coal excavation to
experimental development of a "solar the use of wind as an energy source," said
community)} engineered to obtain essentially Shuster, Sandia's energy coordinator, of the
all its energy from the sun. Because this twenty-one project proposals he forwarded to
proposal would have taken more than half of the AEC in 1973. "It is important to note
the funding then available nationally for that Sandia didn 1t jump onto every
solar research, the Foundation rejected the bandwagon labeled 'energy','' he pointed out 1
proposal but approved a .$100,000 feasibility adding that the energy project proposals had
study - the first funding for energy research to meet three criteria: Did the project exploit
at Sandia. the technologies and talents Sandia had
amassed in weapon programs? Was the
Additional funding for the solar total project innovative and ahead of the pack?
energy experiment came in 1974, and Sandia Would it reaJJy decrease the nation's
constructed a pilot project to investigate dependence on foreign oil?

_ The Multiprogram Transition

Observing that energy then was a Petroleum Exporting Countries slapped an

"hungry market," Shuster asserted that embargo on oil shipments to the United
Sandia could provide the concentrated effort States, and higher bills for electricity, home
and proven systems approach that had heating, and gasoline followed. This
served national weapons programs so well. immediately generated public interest in
''The country needs both nuclear and non- alternative energy sources. "In no time flat,
nuclear work," he said, "and we're going to we learned a valuable lesson," recalled Bob
help meet that need.'' Peurifoy, "over-dependence on foreign fuel
supplies was a crisis in the making."

As disgruntled Americans lined up at

AN ENERGY CRISIS filling stations to purchase gasoline, President
Richard Nixon directed federal agencies to
The 1973 energy crisis focused national curtail energy use by at lea.st seven percent
attention on energy resources. Subsequent annually. Energy coordinator Don Shuster
formation of the Energy Research and and a task force led by Harry Pastorius
Development Administration (ERDA), uniting reduced heating and lighting throughout the
national nuclear energy programs together Laboratories and trimmed vehide usage. In
with other federal energy initiatives, brought November 1973, Sandia joined the AEC
top level support for Sandia's energy research . Albuquerque office and the Air Force at
Kirtland in shortening their employee
On the heels of the 1973 Yorn Kippur lunchtjme from an hour to a half-hour,
War in the Mtddle East, the Organization of thereby preserving a synchronized schedule,

Sandia energy coordinator Don Shuster in 1973 examine5 an early $Ola1 energy collector design.

Chaplet 5

~ ...

-~ I


I "
.. .
. .
During a 1975 visit to Sandia, ERDA Administrator Robert Seamans listened to Jirn Leonard describe experimental solar

shortening daily utility use by thirty minutes, Ford to the Presidency and Ford signed the
and conserving gasoline by reducing noon- bill creating the new agencies later that year.
hour driving. Shuster estimated that the The NRC assumed the AEC regulatocy
shortened lunchtime resulted in saving responsibilities for commetcial nuclear reactor
261,000 gallons of gasoline yearly. To further safety, thereby becoming the funding agency
reduce energy consumption, Sandia named tor Sandia's reactor safety assessments. AEC
the Friday after Thanksgiving as an energy responsibilities for weapon and energy
conservation holiday, and closed the research went to ERDA, which also acquired
Laboratories, except for security and essential fossil fuel research from the Department of
staff1 during the week between Christmas and Interior, solar and geothermal research from
New Year's Day. By these and similar measures, the National Science Foundation, and
Sandia reduced its total energy consumption automotive propulsion research from the
by twelve percent during 1974, achieving Environmental Protection Agency.
additional reductions during later years.
The first ERDA Administrator, Robert
The 1973 oil embargo and energy crisis, as Seamans, had visited Sandia earlier while
well as growing public critkism that the AEC serving as Secretary of the Air Force; he
had a conflict-of-interest in both promoting understood the Labs' capabilities, and he
nuclear reactors and assuring their sa(ety, returned twice during 1975. A provision of
encouraged the enactment in I 974 of the law creating ERDA directed Seamans and
legislation abolishing the AEC and the Secretary of Defense to study transferring
transferring its functions to two new agencies, the weapon programs that cRDA had
the ERDA and the Nuclear Regulatory acquired from the AEC to the Department of
Commission (NRC). Although this was a Defense_ Seamans assigned this study to his
Nixon administration iniOative, Nixon's Assistant Administrator for National Security,
resignation in August 1974 elevated Gerald General Alfred Dodd Starbird, with Gordon

The Multiprogram Transition

Moe, a former Sandia systems studies expert,

serving as action officer. When Seamans and
the Secretary of Defense reported i n 1976 that
nuclear weapon programs should remain an
ERDA responsibility, President Ford agreed and
recomm ended that E.RDA's defense programs
be reviewed again in a few years. The second
review occurred ln 1979, and similar reviews
by various committees continued thereafter at
about five-year intervals.

The transition from the AEC to ERDA,

with its expanded energy responsibilities,
opened new opportunities for Sandia.
Approval came during 1974 and 1975 for
investigations of tapping the energy of
magma, of wind energy, of driJling
technology, of recovering solar energy by
diverse means, of coal gasification and oil
shale retorting, and of other potential energy
sources. To staff these new programs, Sandia
tran s(erred weapon systems analysis staff
ufl 10 right: HermM Ros.er, manager ol the EADA Albuquei-que
such as Virgil Dugan and Sam Varnado and office, al"ld Robert Seamans, ERDA AdminiWator, are escorted
exploratory weapon staff such as Max by Morgan Spar1<s during their 1975 visit lo Sandia.
Newsom into energy research. Morgan Sparks
relied on Don Stu.1ster in Albuquerque and The central receiver concept involved
Arlyn Blackwell at Llvermore for the broad mounting a receiver or boiler on top of a
review of Sandia's energy initiatives. He tower, heating it with concentrated sunlight
depended on Hap Stoller in fossil energy, Bill reflected from a field of sun-tracking mirrors
Snyder in environment and reactor safety, (heliostats), and using the steam to generate
and Al Narath tor solar, geothermal, and electricity for public utility service. Sandians
advanced energy research. In 1975, Narath's in California, where a ten-megawatt central
vice presidential responsibilities were receiver named Solar One was planned at
enlarged to include an energy projects Daggett, near Barstow, took leadership in this
directorate headed by Jim Scott, with Glen technology, while Sandia's Central Receiver
Brandvold managing advanced energy, Stoller Test Facility for experimentation was
in charge of geoenergy, and Dugan presiding constructed south of Sandia in Albuquerque.
over sys tems analysis. Selected in 1975 as ERDA's technical
administrator for central receivers, Sandla
began building its experimental :five-megawatt
"power tower" te.st facility under the
SOLAR THERMAL leadership of John Otts and Billy Marshall.
The power tower began operating in 1977.
Collecting the sun's rays and focusing
them to produce useful high-temperature, Al Skinrood and colleagues at Sandia
thermal energy became a high-profile activity managed multi-million dollar contracts for the
at Sandia during the 1970s. Tom Brumleve in competitive design and construction of Solar
Livermore and Jim Banas and Bob Stromberg One from 1975 to 1982. Solar One, the fust
in Albuquerque initiated Sandia's research on commercial solar-electrical generation plant in
two solar thermal technologies: central and the nation, operated reliably from 1982 to
distributed receivers. 1989, when planning began for the advanced
Solar Two facility that openM in 1996.

Chapter 5

John Holme..< concluded that much was

learned from Solar One, which med a simple
water boiler as its receiv~r to produce steam
to drive a tmbine-generatot. Thrnugh research
and experimentation, Sandia identified
improvements in receivers and heliostats that
lowered their costs while increasing their
effidency, and methods for storage of energy
to be used at night Redudng the costs of
solar ihermal energy into the range of costs
associated with fossil and nuclear energy
pJants became. a primary goal for this
program, and Holmes asserted that "the
technology for the n~t plant promises to
produce electricity competitively."
Schematic of Cascaded System
The distributed rea.tver concept evolved
A 19 74 schematk itluurate~ the early "sol<ir total er1ergy" out of Sandia's work on the solar total energy
concept for u1ing tke wn'~ keat lo provide commur.lties concept. Solar total energy re.search began in
witk electricity, heatir1g, and cooling. 1972 with funding from the National Science
Foundation. In 1977, Sandia was named
technical project manager of the national
Solar Total Energy Program. The concept

A variety of distinct test fac:ilitiei make up the National !.ol<ir Thermal Teit Falitity at Sandia Nev; Mexico. Identifiable here in
1993 are, for left background, the l'araboliL Trough Mea; behind the trough oreo, the Engine T~t Facility; left background, the
Distributed Receiver Te~t Fa<.ility; right background, the Adrnini~trat1on Building with c:ontrDI tDWer, white building M for righl,
the 161lW Solar Furnace; foreground, the Cenual T~L Rec:eiver Fadliry, kl'lown as the Power Tow~.

The Multiprogram Transicion

A field of 2 20 helio~cats at the Central Receiver Test Facility focusei sur.light onto the trMter. Tests can be conducted at
different levels, induding the base of the tower.

Chapt~r 5

behind solar total energy was to use solar Linked directly to a heat engine, or the heat
systems to fill a range of energy needs, wasting produced at several receivers could be
as little energy as possible. Sandia's approach transported to a single heat engine or to a user
was to use high temperature working fluid to of thermal energy. Stromberg, Bob Alvis, Jim
generate electricity and then use the low Leonard, and associates provided project
temperature waste heat from electricity research and management for early
generation for space heating, process heating, applications of distributed receivers to power
air conditioning, or other applications. This pumps for agrkulturaJ irrigation. Test projects
effort resulted in many technical successes, using solar-powered pumps were completed
including a major installation of parabolic near Willard, New Mexico, and Coolidge,
dish technologies in a total energy system at a Arizona, during the late 1970s, but Leonard
knitwear factory in Shenandoah, Georgia. concluded that "marketplace economics
Good total energy applications were scarce, weren't yet there" to support the widespread
however, and the program evolved into the application of solar irrigation systems.
distributed receiver project Industrial process heat was a more attractive
early market.
In contrast to central receivers, the
distributed receiver concept provided a receiver As 1n the central receiver programs, costs
for each reflecting surface, either a reflecting became a primary concern in the
dish or a reflecting trough that concentrated development of distributed receivers. As Tom
sunlight on the receiver. A receiver could be Mancini observed, "We're not trying to build

Sandia's test bed concentrators are used tor performance testing of Stirling engine and receiver components.

The Multiprogram Traniition

a Ferrari, we want to build a reliable

workhorse that is more plain vanilla -
maybe a Chevy or VW Bug." As distributed
receiver technology matured, Sandia shifted
research from parabolic-trough systems to
emphasize the dish-Stirling concept. This
approach, spearheaded by Rich Diver, linked
parabolic-dish reflectors with simple Stirling
heat engines to produce stand-alone power at
any plant capacity, large or smaJJ, with the
potential to serve remote geographic areas.
According to Leonard, the dish-Stirling

~ystem approached an efficiency level rivaling
that of diesel-generated power.

Solar interactions with the atmosphere
produce winds, an energy source used since
ancient times for propulsi.on, milling, and
pumping, and more recently to produce
electricity. Responding to the 1973 requests for
energy research propo.si.lJS, Randy Maydew, Ben
Bl~d<well, Lou Feltz, and Jack Reed constdered
how Sandia's aerodynamics experts might
Ben Blackwell, Randy Maydew, and Lou FelU in 1975 ltand
contribute to the need for alternative energy before one of the prototype vertical a.xis wind turbines
somces and hit upon "the eggbeaters" concept. ("eggbeaters").
Canadians had begun studies of a device
patented in France in 192$ that resembled an achieved fundamental understanding of the
eggbeater1 rather than the typical propeller- loads and turbine responses. "This took a
type windmill used to pump water. Properly dedicated analytical effort by several Labs
named the vertical-axis wind turbine (VAvVT), organizations." observed Emll l<adlec, project
it had airfoil blades that provided lift like an manager of the research team, but "if you can
aircraft wing and rotated into the wind, predict these, then you obviously know the
regardless of the wind direction. variables that control fatigue life and you can
alter those variables to enhance fatigue life."
With initial funding from the National
Science Foundation, Maydew and his 'The Holy Grail of the moment,'' Paul

associates built desktop models, then a larger Klimas declared, "is to reduce the cost of
prototype atop Sandia's Building 802, generating energy with wind turblnes."
followed by stiJJ larger prototypes. Richard Interested in the design of a highly reliable
Braasch 1 Henry Dodd, and colleagues and low-cost wind turbine, industry used
continued this research on improving the Sandia's research to build commercial wind
aerodynamic efficiency. "We emphasized farms in California consistlng Df over 500
structural dynamics and how to use units at Altamont Pass east of Livermore and
aerodynamics to make an inexpensive in the Tehachapi Mountains north of Barstow.
machine," Braasch reported, adding that Dodd des<.i:ibcd th.is as "technology trans/er,
controlling the vibration levels of the derived from systems-engineering expertise,
machine during operation proved a followed by successful commercialization in
challenge. Using analytical techniques the late 70s." VAWT proved cost-effective so
developed in the weapon programs> Sandians Jong as oil prices were high, and research

Chapter S ___ _ _ _

continued in later years at a large Photovoltaics was a good match to

experimental vertical-axis wind turbine built Sandia's expertise in semiconductor science
on the windy Texas plains. and technology. Working with ERDA staff at
flrst, and later DOE, George Samara
developed plans for a major Sandia
involvement in the national photovoltaics

Developed by Bell Laboratories in 1954, To pursue thi.s technology, Sandia formed

photovoltaic cells - solar cells that convert a photovoltaic group managed by Don
sunlight directly into electricity - we.re first .S.Chueler. " It really wasn't a question of
used to provide power for satellites, including whether solar c.eils would work - the space
the VELA satellites of the early 1960s. Made program bad already proved they would
of semiconductor material~ that use absorbed work," Schuelet observed, "but solar cells were
light particles (photons) to generate charged incredibly expensive." Photovoltaic power in
particles carrying electTic current in the l 975 cost $3 per kilowatt-hour, compared to
semiconductor, photovoltaics promised a about a dime pe.r kilowatt-hour for foss.iJ fuels,
convenient and relatively clean energy source and the long-term research goal of ERDA and
if their efficiency could be increased and Sandia was to bring photovoltaic costs within
their costs reduced. range of fossil fuel costs.

In 1976, S.:.ndian~ inst.a" fre~nel ~nses lo foa.J:i sunlight on experimental photovolt.oic cells. l~ft. to right: Gene Hammons
Don Marchi, Ed Burgeu. '

_ The Multiprogram Traliiition

Don Shuster, Congrernnan Harold Runnels, and Max Newsnm in 1974 discuss one of Sandia's drilling tools.

During the first year, Schueler's team that were eleven-percent efficient, compared
designed a photovoltaic concentrating array, to the three-percent efficiency of commercial
using plastic Fresnel lenses to focus .c;unlight solar cells then available.
on the cells and a surplus Army searchlight
mount to keep the array pointed toward the Sandia continued research to improve
sun. Several utility companies later copied solar cell efficiency into the 1990s, achieving
the design in early attempts to build and thirty-one percent efficiency and creating a
operate photovoltaic power systems. design assistance center to provide
information on photovoltaics advances to
In 19751 ERDA selected Sandia to manage the prit>ate sector. In addition, there was
the Systems Definition portion of the considerable work on supporting systems
National Photovoltaic Conversion program. such as tracking and control, DC/AC
Responsible for systems definition and inverters, and flat-plate reliability. Dan Arvizu
analysis as well as developing tracking and of Sandia's photovoltajc research division
concentrator subsystems, Sandia e.xplored a asserted that the efficiencies achieved at
variety of total energy systems. ln 1976, Sandia and elsewhere put photovoltaic power
Sandia opened a Semiconductor in reach of market entry and made it useful
Development Laboratory managed by Bob for providing electric power to geographic
Gregory that produced experimental solar areas remote from utility power grids,
cells, although its principal function focused especially to villages needing ekctricity to
on very large integrated circuits. Within pump water or refrigerate vaccines.
months, this laboratory produced solar cells

Chapter 5 _

Dic.k Aihmore displays a rn6def of the continuous chain drill

bit developed at Sandia.
Wayne Young, jOl)n Colp, and Glen Brandvold in 1974
examine their air-dropped penetrator with instrumentation
tor locating magma energy sources. As part of ih geother-
mal energy investigations, Sandia tested these penetrators
in Hawaii and Alaska.

"George and I were considered to be
people who thought about the unusual, the
strange," said Tony Zuppero, recalling his
work With George Barr when brainstorming
energy research for Don Shuster. After
considering alternatives from tidal power to
oil shale, Barr and Zupper6 recommended that
Sandia study tapping into the subsurface heat
of volcanic magma. The geothermal energy of
subsurface magma had already been tapped in
seismically active parts of the world, notably
in Iceland, and Sandia had designed weapons
to function in hostile enVironments, so why Sam Varnado i01pe.:1:1 one of the diamond-~tudded drill bits
not design tools to operate in volcanoes? designed by Sandia 1or u:se In the petroleum and energy
Modestly funded hy the AEC physical
Mark Davis examined the corrosive effects of
research division, Sandia began its
molten magma on metal alloys that might be
investigations of extracting geothermal
used as heat exchangers. Terry Gerlach and
energy from magma in 1974 when Harry
Bill Luth studied volcanic gases and magma
Hardee reported it was feasible to drill holes
to understand the underground environment
several miles deep to reach volcanic magma
that might be encountered . John Colp
and to devise the means of applying
worked with the U.S. Geological Survey,
geothermal heat to steam boilers, thereby
which was evaluating energy resources
spinning turbines to produce electric power.

The Multiprogram Transition

including magma, and assembled an advisory by designing bits that could drill faster} last
group of government, industry, and university longer, and stay down in the boreholes. 11We
participants to guide the research. Early are the unquestioned leader in fireset
experiments included the use of terradynamics technology," Newsom declared. "We have built
and weapon detonators to assess geothermal reliable hardware that functioned in more
potential in Alaska. This research led to extreme environments than the bottom of an
successful drilling of well bores into subsurface oil well. We have the people and the
molten rock at 1000 Cat Kilauea Iki 1 Hawaii 1 experience to analyze shock interaction for
followed by successful heat extraction optimum rock fracturing. 11
experiments designed by Hardee. Subsequent
review of all the program results by a Securing funding from the ERDA
geoscience panel concluded that the tapping geothermal division Sandia's investigations

of magma bodies was scientifically feasible. focused initially on innovative drill bit
The emphasis of the program was then shifted designs. Taking their cue from Sandia's
from determining scientific feasibility to terradynamics research, Newsom and Bob
evaluating engineering feasibility. Alvis invented a "terradrill," in which bullet-
like projectiles were fired down through the
Directly tapping into magma for energy bit to break the rock ahead of the drill. Bob
recovery would require drilling miles of Fox and Neil Botsford conceived of a chain
boreholes through hard rock, and Don bit, which could rotate new cutting surfaces
Shuster asked Max Newsom to investigate onto a bit face without puJling the bit from its
drilling technology. "I headed an exploratory borehole. Sandia also investigated the Russian
development group working on theater spark drill that used high-voltage electric
nuclear weapons," Newsom remernbered, sparks at the drill head, which created shock
"Don Shuster, who foresaw the energy crunch waves in the drilling fluid to break the rock.
long before it happened in 1973, introduced
us to drilling; he considered it a key Working closely with drilling companies,
technology for a number of energy areas." Newsom learned that in the end, economics

drives the drill, and the cost of adopting


Having no expertise in drilling, Newsom Sandia 1s more innovative drilling concepts

went directly to the oil industry for help proved too high for the industry. Greater
"since we knew if we did anything worthwhile success came from Sandia's improvements to
related to drilling, it had to be picked up by a drag bit with cutters made of synthetic
industry to have any value. n Newsom received diamond originally developed by General
excellent cooperation from industry, and he Electric in 1955. "It was clear they had a lot
formed an industrial committee for technical of potential1 " said Newsom 1 but the cutters
review of Sandia's research. "One thing often broke loose from the bits, and Sandia
became clear early on," he said 1 u all our set to identifying the causes and remedies for
geothermal advances - especially in drilling this defect. Using ultrasonic testing 1 Ed
mechanics - had to have applications in oi1 Hoover and Charles Huff found that the
and gas activities; otherwise, private industry bond between the diamond cutters and the
wouldn 1t pay much attention. 11 drill head needed improvement, and Jim
Jellison proposed diffusion bonding to lock
Drilling constituted a major cost for oil and the cutters to the drill head.
gas explorations, and Newsom learned that the
oil and gas drilling industries still relied on a Sam Varnado and James Kelsey followed
rotary rock-cutting drill bit invented in 1908 by Newsom as leaders of Sandia's drilling
Howard Hughes, Sr. Because these bits became research with David Glowka managing

dull and had to be changed frequently, the continued research on the synthetic diamond
drillers had to pull the entire drill stem from cutters. As Sandia improved the diamond-
the borehole to switch the bit, a slow and tipped cutters, private firms marketed them
costly process in deep drilling. Newsom saw for wide application in the petroleum
that Sandia could advance drilling technology industry; within a few years, these bits were

ChaptN 5 - -- -- - - -- - -- -- - - -- -- -

used for about a third oi all oil and gas systems useful in missile guidance, and
exploration. As part of its drilling research, aqueous foams that could help prntect
Sandia also deve!Dped high-temperature storage .'iites, Both the industrial and weapon
drilJjng fluiru and well-logging equipment applicahons of drilling technDlogy made it a
along with a. host of additional innovations shining example for tech no Logy transfer
that were soon commercialized. Varnado advocates, perhaps second historically at
passed along comments from private industry Sandia in immediate applications only to the
that "without Sandia's technical contributions Wh ltfield clean room.
these bits and their impact on reducing
drilling c:osts would never have ~en realized."

A survey by Vll:gH Dugan and Dick TURBULENT FIRE

Traeger indicated that more than forty of
Sandia's drilling technology advances were Another area of sign]ficant technology
adopted by ln.dust.ry, and the Sandia drilling transfer at Sandia was combustion research -
group had became a recruiting source for the fundarot=ntal investigations of combustion
petroleum industry. The mrvey noted as well engines and furnaces based on the gas-
that the technology trarufer to industry had dynamic diagnostic and computational
been acrnmpanied by technology transfer c.apabi.l ities developed for weapon gas
back to Sandia's weapon programs. Out of transfer systems, Tts origins trace to research
drilling technology research came quartz by Dan Hartley and Ron Hill during the early
tuning forks for use as timeE, high- J 970s on using lasers to investigate turbulent
temperature diodes for service ln radiation- ga.s flow - information useful in the design
hardened circuits, borehole navigation of boost gas r~ervoirs. With mirrors, they

Roo Hill and Da" Ha.rtley ir. 1973 di~play Lheir light-rrai:.ping iyitem tor intens:ifying la~ beam~.

The Multiprogram Transition

Morgan Sparks, Sandia president, meeu President Gerald Ford in 1975.

bounced laser light back and forth through a Tn 1975, when Tom Cook suggested that
gas sample, then analyzed the light by Sandia propose a national center for
Raman spectroscopy, a technique used to combustion research, Hartley and Blackwell
identify the chemical species within a gas. Ry drew up a proposal for a combustion research
examining the color of laser light after it facility (CRF) at Sandia California. Don
passed through a flame, Hartley and Hill Hardesty and Peter Witze were soon joined
could determine what kind of molecules by Bill McLean, Jim Miller, Reginald Mitchell,
constituted the flame and thereby gain Larry Rahn, and other experts on combustion
insights into combustion processes. processes. This team contributed design
innovations for diesel engines, pulse
Because combustion in engines and combustors for furnaces, and pollution
furnaces is the principal power-generating reduction methods. "Since the days of the
mechanism for most industrial, commercial, energy crisis, '' Hartley declared, "the CRF
and transportation processes, and is a major team has helped to convert science and
pollution source, Arlyn Blackwell and Dan technology into energy security."
Hartley in 1973 examined the potential
contributions of laser combustion diagnostics The solar power tower and related
to national energy research needs. They research facilities at Albuquerque and the
prepared a proposal, sent it to Washington, CRF in California became Sandia's first "user
and in 1974 received modest funding to facilities." Located outside fenced and
initiate combustion research. A Princeton classified weapon development areas, these
summer study that year reviewed the ways facilities welcomed research partidpation by
physics, meaning measurement, diagnostics, representatives from industry and
and rational analysis, might contribute to an universities. The CRF, for example, often
understanding of combustion and concluded conducted work in tandem with corporate
that a much larger program would be required. researchers from General Motors, Ford,

Gamma Ray Astronomy
The nature of the center of our galaxy is emitting gamma rays when it annihilated
a prime mystery in astronomy. Located in the electrons.
constellation Sagittarius, it cannot be seen by
ordinary telescopes because dust clouds in In 1979, a Jet Propulsion Laboratories'
the Milky Way block light from the galaxy's satellite equipped with a gamma-ray detector
core. Developing detectors for gamma-rays, confirmed what Sandia's balloon flight had
or high energy photons, in 1975, Sandia and observed, but tn 1980 the satellite could not
Bell Laboratories opened a new window into find the gamma-ray spike again. Sandia
the galaxy's center. launched another balloon package in
Australia in 1981 and learned also that the
Seldom can the origin of a sdence be so gamma-ray emissions had ceased. This ruled
closely pinpointed as that of gamma-ray out several speculations on the source of the
astronomy. It began near dawn on May 10, gamma rays, and MacCallum said, "The only
1976, near Alamogordo, New Mex1co, when a thing that could tum off that quickly is a
Sandia balloon hoisted skyward a gamma-ray black hole.H
detector package designed by Sandia and Bell
Laboratories. Marvin Leventhal of Bell Sandia joined Bell Laboratories and the
conceived of using large germanium crystals Goddard Space Flight Center in seeking
to measure gamma-ray energies and sending funding for the design of more sensitive
these crystal detectors aboard balloons aoove gamma-ray telescopes and for satellites to
the atmosphere to reduce gamma-ray carry them into space. In 1988 they sent their
attenuation. Crawford Maccallum, Al Watts, new Gamma Ray 1maging Spectrometer (GRIS)
Paul Stang, and a Sandia team designed a up via balloon to examine a new supernova,
gamma-ray telescope to aim the crystals at and, to their surprise, they learned that the
the stars, collect the data, and return it to gamma-ray energy spike from the galaxy's .
earth, along w1th huge polyethylene balloons center had returned. A 1989 University of
to carry the package 25 miles above ground. califomia balloon observation, however, saw
They hoped to obtain data on nucleo- that the spike had turned off. Astrophysicists
synthesls, the creation of heavy elements in asserted the erratic waxing and waning of the
the stars, and thereby learn something of the gamma rays perhaps resulted from changes in
formation of the universe. the rate at which matter was drawn into a
black hole. When matter entered a black hole
The 1976 flight focused on the Crab and its electrons were annihilated, it emitted
Nebula and other supernovas, beginning the gamma rays; a hiatus in the flow of matter
systematic analysis of gamma radiation from ended the gamma-ray emissions until more
space. Also observed was a gamma-ray spike matter arrived.
coming from the v1cinity of the galactic
center, and in 1977 Sandia and Bell Although the nature of the galactic
Laboratories launched another balloon center is far from resolved, Sandians and
package at Alice Springs, Australia, gamma-ray astronomers have continuing
specifically to measure gamma-ray energies interest in this mystery. Even after retiring,
from the galactic source. Crawtord Sandia's uastronomer by appointment,"
MacCallum was amazed by the intense Crawford Maccallum, maintained a
gamma,rays coming at a specific energy from professional role in the investigations.
the galactic core. These data suggested the
existence of some exotic object. Others
speculated on the nature of this object,
postulating that it might be a "black hole"

Retired Sanqia ph~id~t Crawf01d Mac~Uum -oormally-studies the univerS:e from the .other direction, looking out in~~ of
in. In 1_9% he a~I~d NASA's GOddard Space-Flight Cente:r with the launch of a balioon-bo~ gamma ray-obser\iatory"

Chapter 5

Cummins Engine, and Lennox Industries and W~pons Research Establishment The
provided opportunHies for university post- machines used banks of large capacitors
graduate research. charged in parallel to release a short
duration, high-voltage pulse of power that
tested the. ability of weapons c.omponents to
withstand gamma radiation.
Jack Walker and his staff began to adapt
More directly than its other energy these machines to explore extracting the
programs, fusion TeSe.'ITCh emanated fTom electron beam directly from the RE.BA and
Sandia's weapcm programs. For simulation of HYDRA machines, and focusing it on materials
weapon effects on materials and to simulate the x-ray effects, This initiated
components, the AEC military applications. Sandia re.search on beam-plasma inte.ractions.
division during the 1960s. funded the
development of large machines Jike SPASTIC When Gerold Yonas joined Sandia in
and He.rmf'.5. Bill Snyder initiated the Sandia 1972, he. and Prestwich conducted intense
effort in the development of a large machine beam-pinching ~periments. on the Sandia
to generate pulses of gamma rays. and low-imped.:ince mylar-insulated accelerator.
electrons. Ken Haynes, Torn Martin, and Ken Yonas recognized that directing such a self-
Presffiich managed and des-igned these e21rly pinched, focused electron beam onto a pellet
machines with the able assistance of Charlie of drnterium-tritlut.n could be a compditor
Martin and Ian Smith of the British Atomic to pulsed laser beams for initjating a

5..andia'1 pulled power research began with i imularioM of effec.tJ. o n weapont. In this 19 79 photograph, Sandians prepare lo
teH the effects of gamma rays on an armored vehicle by uJ.ing the Hermes II accelerator (b.arref-lil<e structure in tke upper
left-hand t:('){ner).

_ _ __ The Multiprogram Transition

controlled thermonuclear (fusion) reaction In 1973 1 the AEC fusion research division
through inertial confinement. first funded Sandia 1s efforts to overcome the
formidable challenges required for fusion
Efforts to achieve a reaction releasing energy. Yonas noted that Sandia's proposal
fusion energy began in the United States in received a boost from the 1973
1951 as Project Sherwood. Under AEC announcement by the Soviet Kurchatov
management it became a large and well-
1 Institute that it intended to pursue fusion
funded program because it promised an through use of electron beams. Over the
abundant and relatively clean energy source. following years experiments and
Deuterium, a hydrogen isotope, is found collaborations with the Soviets continued to
naturally in seawater, while tritium, another be important.
hydrogen isotope, can be made in a nuclear
fission or fusion reactor from plentiful Initially, Sandia's research emphasized the
lithium. If these isotopes could be fused, the physics of electron beam focusing and energy
oceans could become an almost absorption in solids. "A major problem, 11
inexhaustible energy source. /(If we can do Yonas said, "is that of coordination - to
it," one official proclaimed, "that's the combine the scientific, engineering, and
foundation for a civilization.'' systems approaches optimally." Leading the
studies were John Freeman 1s plasma theory
Early fusion research at Los Alamos, Oak group, Al Toepfer 1s electron beam staff1 and
Ridgel and other laboratories concentrated Torn Martin's pulsed power group. Early work
on magnetic fusion by using huge magnets also included a four-beam laser developed by
to confine cloud-like plasmas of deuterium Eric Jones and Jim Gerardo for both weapons
within metal containers that often had the effects simulation and fusion research - the
toroidal shape of a doughnut. The main first U.S. system that could focus more than
problem was to maintain the plasma in a two beams on a target pellet. In 1975 1 Robert
stable configuration long enough for fusion Gerber Edward Patterson, and associates

to occur. Since inertial confinement fusion designed a new hydrogen-fluoride laser, the
requires a considerably shorter confinement most energetic pulse laser then existing.
time, Yonas proposed in 1973 that Sandia However, Yonas shifted the emphasis from
join in studies of this new approach using lasers to electron beams to take advantage of
electron beams. Sandia's unique capabilities in pulsed power.

Inertial confinement fusion relies on the The first Sandia accelerators designed
fuel 1s inertia (the tendency of matter to resist specifically for fusion research were Proto I
changes in its motion) to maintain a (Prototype), which began operation in 1974,
compr~ssed state long enough for a fusion and Proto II (1977). However, when Sandia
reaction to occur. When fired at fuel pellets proposed the Electron Beam Fusion
the sizE~ of a BB 1 electron or photon beams Accelerator (EBFA), obtaining the funding
drive or compress the pellet inward, creating proved difficult until in 1976 the Soviet
an extremely hot and dense core where a scientist Leonid I. Rudakov revealed that the
fusion reaction might occur. Kurchatov Institute had used electron beams
to create fusion neutrons. Yonas credits
To achieve a controlled reaction Senator Joseph Montoya with pushing the
producing fusion energy, several conditions EBFA funding through Congress with strong
must be met. The nuclei of the fuel support from Al Narath and Morgan Sparks.
(deuterium and tritium) must speed toward
each other fast enough to overcome the While EBFA was under construction, it
repulsive electrostatic forces. Thus, the fuel 1s became apparent that ions 1 rather than
temperature must reach about 100 million electrons, would be more effective in
degrees, and the fuel must hold together long coupling energy into targets 1 and Martin
enough for the nuclei to collide and fuse. managed the conversion of the EBFA into the
Particle Beam Fusion Accelerator (PBFA).
Despite this change 1 Martin pointed out
Chapter .5 __

View of Proto I, a po~d power machine built at Sandia during the 1970s for research into inertial confinement fusion.

The Multiprogram Transition

Morgan Sparks, Sandia's prl'sident, 1972-1981, stands on the roof of Building B03 with Sandia Cren in the background.
Building 800, /efr, is Sandia New MeJ<ico's main public entrance.

that Sandia, by project fast tracking, thanks THE MULTIPROGRAM

mainly to project leader Gerald Barr and
assembly chief Johann Seamen, completed the LABORATORY
first PBFA on budget and on time - two days
a})ead of schedule on a four-year long project. By 1976, energy and reimbursable
programs had grown to approximately a
By the late 1970s, it appeared that Soviet quarter of Sandia's annual budget. Its budget
scientists were developing beam weapons, for 1976 totaled $280 million: S209 million
and Sandia joined the Air force Weapons for ERDA defense programs, $21 million for
Laboratory in studies of a particle beam ERDA energy programs, and $50 million for
machine named RADLAC, implemented by reimbursable.s funded by other agencies,
Ken Prestwich, which might become the chiefly the NucJear Regulato ry Commission
basis of a beam weapon. Therefore, directed and Defense agencies.
energy was added to simulation and fusion as
a component of the pulsed power program. Staffing for these non-weapon programs
This was one of Sandia's entries into a field came largely from the explora tory and
that later became the Strategic Defense advanced technology fields hit hardest by the
Initiative, or Star Wars, during the 1980s. declining weapons budget. Jn many cases, the
new energy and reimbursable p rograms
By the l<lte 1970s, Sandia had achieved allowed Sandia to keep a nucleus of experts
recognition as a world pulsed power leader, active in critical technologies that would not
and its program proceeded on three research have been possible 'With weapon funding
fronts: weapons effects simulation, particle alone. "New initiatives in n on-weapons work
beam weapons, and fusion energy. are exciting, and I believe they are vital to the
"Some time in the next century," Yonas future of Sandia, but in focusing attention and
predicted, "we may have pulsed power publicity in these new areas we should not
playing an important role as the energy lose our perspective," Morgan Sparks warned.
source of the future . " "Most of our people still support our historical
functions - functions that the nation will
continue to need in the years to come."

Chapter 5 _

Sandia's accomplishments in its historical with older technology. 11 It has become clear
functions during the early 1970s included that the fundamental consideration in the
completion of a revolutionary integrated, energy field is economic, Sparks
miniaturized, and radiation-hardened arming1 summarized. Qur principal job is to so
fuzing, and firing design for the Poseidon design these systems that the energy
missile warhead and radiation-hardened produced is less - or at least no more -
designs for the Sprint and Spartan warheads expensive than that available from
of the Safeguard system. In view of the conventional sources."
constrained budgets 1 Sandia tailored weapons
for specific operational scenarios by using the Giving primary consideration to
B61 bomb design as the building block for economics marked a significant transition in
depth bombs, Pershing missiles, and for such the thinking of Sandia's engineers. In 1952 at
exploratory programs as the TIGER extended- Sandia, during the urgent weapons
range bomb. Through studies such as Allspice development era, Bob Peurifoy observed that
and Jigsaw, Sandia emphasized ''cost was of little consequence." During the
maneuverability and precision with leaner 1960s, Monk Schwartz and John
increasingly accurate guidance and control. Hornbeck devoted close attention to cost
control and case system management; but
With the end of the Vietnam war and during the retrenchment of the early 1970s
growing concern about Soviet weapons Sparks and his staff lived with the tightest
expansion, Congress augmented ERDA constraints. Cost became a significant
defense programs funding. Announcing consideration in weapon development, but
Sandia's first significant hiring program in reliability and safety always had higher
years, Sparks declared in 1976: "We all know priority. It was in the early energy programs,
that money is much tighter than in the '60s, however, that Sandians faced up to the
but then we ve learned these last few years informal professional definition: "An engineer
how to manage under this constraint. I think is a person who can build for one dollar what
we 1ve come a long way since the dark days of anyone can build for ten."
the layoffs - just consider the diversity of
our efforts. And while weapons are the An important lesson drawn from Sandia's
mainstream activity, Sandia has succeeded in energy initiatives - early involvement of
staking out a significant portion of the industry in development processes - became
energy business. 11 important to research and design and to
technology transfer. Sandians
There were Sandians, however, who institutionalized this lesson in their energy
thought the distinction drawn between programs, and ERDA further encouraged
defense and energy programs too sharp. close contacts with industries by naming
Virgil Dugan, for example argued that
1 Sandia as the center for technical
energy programs enhanced "the nation's administration of industrial research
security by making it more self-sufficient and contracts in such fields as solar thermal and
less dependent on foreign energy sources." photovoltaic energy.
No nation could long survive without
adequate energy sources, he pointed out, nor Adding energy research and safety
could motorized armed forces function assessment to Sandia's traditional defense
without energy supplies. "An army marches programs, ERDA in 1975 named Sandia as
on its stomach," said Napoleon, but modern one of eight "multiprogram laboratories. 1 '~
armies must have gasoline and oil.

In its new solar wind, photovoltaic,


geothermal, combustion, and drilling

technology ventures, Sandia learned that its
reputation rested not entirely on innovative
technology, but on technology that industry
could apply quickly at prices competitive

Kirtland Air Force Base branch of the Sandia Laboratoiy Federal Credit Union as it ap~ared in l 996.

The Sandia Credit Union recoverable property in the focm of sheep

located on the East Mesa.) The difficulty was
Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union transitory, however, and delinquencies were
was federally chartered in October 1948 when greatly reduced over the next two years
15 employees of what was then Sandia
Laborafory, a separate branch of Los Alamos By the mid-1950s, the Credit Union had
Laboratory, saw the need for a credit union in grown sufficiently to support hiring an
postwar Albuquerque. Housing and financial outside professional manager. David Tarbox,
~ervices were in short supply near the base, the Credit Union's elected pres.ident, recalled
which was growing in relative isolation miles being asked by one of the candidates: "How
to the east of the city's business district. The much do you expect the Credit Union to
. Credit Union's name still reflects the early grow?" Assets were at almost $1 million in
Lab's title, with the singular "Laboratory" and 1955, and Tarbox predicted that $10 million
lacking the later adjective "National." in assets was probably not unreasonable at
.' some time in the future. That mark was
The Credit Union was,. and still is, a passed in August 1967. The booksdosed on
cooperative.- member-owned and operated. 1995 with $388.4 million in assets, making
The charter members and the directors they the Credit Union Albuquerque's largest locally
elected were very close to the day-to-day owned financial institution. Members
running of the Credit Union, approving new originated 7, 125 loans totaling $263.4 million
members andindivi.d tial loans - functions in 1995 - the delinquency rate was a
now largely handled by a professional staff. minuscule 0.3%.
But today's Credit Union is still overseen by
an active, involved Board of Directors made On October 31, 1969, ground-breaking
up of elected members who volunteer their was held for the current facility at Wyoming
time and talept without pay. Boulevard and J Street on Kirtland AFB. An
office at Sandia/California in Livermore
The charter members began that first opened in 1975 and was seIVing some 4,500
month with $535.75 in total assets, operating members in 1995. In 1988 a Credit Union
the Cre4it Union from a cash drawer in a Center opened in the far Northeast Heights of
wooden barracks building on Sandia Base. Jri Albuquerque because over 700Ai of Credit
winter, wind-driven snow infiltrated the Union members lived within two miles of
walls.By the Credit Union's first anniversary, that facility. Plans were being formulated to
assets had dimbed to .$11,765.87 with open a West Side Albuquerque branch (on the
$9,445.35 out in loans and a serious west bank of the Rio Grande) in early 1997.
delinquency rate of almost 12%. (A collection
note from the early 1950s. rejerred to
Chapter 6 ________ _

The le~t launch of a Minuteman missile, seen left of the cloud, from its circular silo produced :a >moke ring visible above
the doud.

The National Laboratories


Since World Warn while we have not had peace, neither have we had the prophesied
nuclear war. And some people think the reason the large nations, the world powersf
haven't gone to war, is because of the reality of the great destructive threat posed by
nuclear weapons.

Morgan Sparks

Sandia's weapon programs entered a new As the 1970s closed, Sandia's involve-
phase during the late 1970s! dominated by ment in international arms control and test
safety and use control improvements as well ban negotiations increased because its
as schedule and performance. Sandia advancing sensor technology contributed
designed warhead subsystems for toward assurance that treaty violations would
Minuteman, Poseidon, and Pershing missiles, not go undetected. Although the Soviet
for new types of cruise missiles, for nuclear invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian
arti1lery shells, and for strategic bombs. The revolution and oil embargo disrupted
demands of these projects returned Sandia's international affairs and test-ban
staffing to pre-1970 levels. negotiations in 1979, Sandia's verification
research suffered no hiatus. During the
As proposed by Presidents Gerald Ford disruptions of that year, Congress designated
and Jimmy Carter, Congress created the Sandia and its partners, Los Alamos and
Department of Energy (DOE) in 1977, Lawrence Livermore laboratories, as
consolidating the Energy Research and Department of Energy National Laboratories,
Development Administration, the Federal responsible for many programs in addition to
Energy Administration, and the Federal their traditional weapons tasks.
Power Commission in a single cabinet-level
agency. This top-leve1 transition had few
immediate effects on Sandia's programs,
although its energy and environment DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
programs moved in new directions. In CREATED
addition to continuing its weapon,
verification, and energy programs, Sandia
expanded into new areas of technical In January 1977, during one of the
research. It explored subsurface coal coldest winters of the century1 President
gasification and oil shale energy resources; it Carter declared the energy emergency to be
advanced deep drilling and downhole steam the "moral equivalent of war." On his desk in
technology; it searched beneath the seas and the Oval Office, Carter found President
the earth's crust for suitable sites to isolate Gerald Ford's recommendation for the
nuclear wastes and store petroleum reserves; creation of a Cabinet-level Department of
and it continued studies of penetrator Energy. Carter accepted this proposal and
weapons that could get at deeply buried and Congress approved it in August 1977,
hardened targets. establishing a Department of Energy (DOE)
that inherited the Energy Research and

Chapter 6 _

Robert Peurifoy, General Robert Dixon, and Bob Wehrle in 1977 ob.1e1Ved the work of Geronimo fragua in Sandia's thermal
battery laboratory.

Development Administration's facilities, predecessors in the face of disinterest

including Sandia. Congress dispensed with its elsewhere. "A few such advances that come
Joint Committee on Atomic Energy as well, to mind," Ives recalled, "are the submarine-
transferring its role in authorizing nuclear launched ballistic missUe program and the
weapons programs to the House and Senate MJRV program in general; the PAL program
Armed Services committees. President Carter in particular and the improved
named James Schlesinger, the former AEC security/command and control program in
chairman and Secretary of Defense, the first general; and the improved safety design for
Secretary of Energy. abnormal environments as spawned by our
independent safety conscience."
Some Sandians worried about this change.
Reassuring them, Morgan Sparks said, "We are
a proven, mission-oriented engineering lab -
really a scarce resource that is much needed PRECISE INSTRUMENTS
for national purposes.'' Tom Cook observed
that even the accounting and budgeting "Emphasis today is not on weapons with
systems remained intact, and the transition bigger effect<;, but rather on safer ones that
from ERDA to DOE proved easier than the are even less likely to experience an
earlier swi.tch from AEC to ERDA. unintended detonation," said Sparks,
reflecting on the nuclear weapon programs of
After the formation of DOE, another the late 1970s. "Most of today's weapons are
study of transferring nuclear weapon less powerful but more precise instruments
programs to the Department of Defense designed for use against military targets."
began, managed by General Starbird.
Completed in 1980, the Starbird study During the 1970s, nuclear weapon
recommended continuing the dual agency programs experienced a resurgence.
program, with DOE and DoD having shared According to General &iward Giller of ERDA,
and joint responsibilities. Gene Ives of Sandia this came in response to aggressive Soviet
contended that this dual agency policy had weapon programs that erased most of the
resulted in advances by DOE and its

._ The National Laboratories

Sandia engineers Jim Lindell, Howard "Tom" Lehman, and

Charlie Burks pose in 1978 with one of their modification$
of the multipurpose 861 bomb.

U.S. quantitative lead in strategic weaponry

between 1965 and 1975. Giller declared that
the determinati.on of the U.S. to maintain
technological superiority was reflected in its
1977 defense budget, whicb included real
increases in spending for the first time in
years. At Sandia, Sparks announced this
increase as a reversal of "the long erosion of
our capabilities." By 1976, five nuclear
weapons had entered phase 3 development:
an improved warhead for the Trident missile
(W76), an eight-inch nuclear-tipped artillery
shell (W79), a warhead for the Minuteman III
missile (W78) 1 and two bombs, the B77 and
an enhanced version of the older B61.

During the 1970s, Sandia received a

reimbursable assignment from the Navy t o
design an integrated arming, fuzing, and
firing system for Trident I, the follow-on to
the Poseidon mlsMle. (The mythical god
Poseidon ca.r ried a three-tined spear called a
Trident, and the Navy used this image to
represent its new submarine, missile, and
refitting facilities). Bob Christopher, Sam
Jeffers, and Ren Bader coordinated design of
Sandia's arming, fuzing, and firing assembly
for the Mark 4 reentry body (with its W76
warhead), the payload for the Trident missile,
with the Navy and wl th Lockheed, the
missile contractor. According to Herman
Mauney of Sandia's team, working with
Lockheed and the Navy on this project
proved to be a "real pleasure.''

Sandia's design for the Mark 4 arming

and fuzing system included a radar fu2e and
an electronic timer. The radar was the result
of an advanced development program
headed by Charlie Blaine of the radar
advanced development division. The goal of
this program was to develop a fuze of
superior perforrnance1 weighing less than one
and one-half pounds, and occupying about
25 cubic inches, less than half that of the
Poseidon radar. Blaine named the n ew fuze
"lazo , " which in Spanish means shoestring.

A Tddenl U missile breaks the water after a submarine


Chapter 6

Above: Sherry White was OOl! of the ceramists who

formulated the c.omposition of high-field vatiHor> in 1978
lhal could control voltage> ten rime.s higher than low fidd
varistors. The ne:w type she hol d~ in her left hand could do Above: Bill Clement displays Sandia'1 PAL controller designed
the s.ame job as the longer type in her right hand. in 1976. In his right t11ind is a custom-made large Sc.lie
integrated c:ircuit, and in h i1 left hand are si:r: of the circui~
R.11y Alls in 1978 dist:usses the Marie 4 ''lazo" radar fuLt? with mounted on a thick-film in tercon"ect board. These
Geor~ Rodger1. components were first used in the PAL controller.


__ _ The National Laboratories

A W/9 is shown in flight .at .an Army te~t ground near Yuma, Arizona in 1980.

The name, he felt, was in keeping with his General Accounting Office. Sandia completed
development budget. The radar design the design for the Trident 1 at costs slightly
induded radiation-hardened, beam-leaded, less than forecast in 1973, and Bader
small-scale integrated circuits, and thin-film announced Sandia's pride, "because we
hybrid microcircuits, technologies adapted in believe we've succeeded in holding to ou1
part from previous work at Bell Laboratories. basic philosophy - to develop a weapo n
with an acceptable level of reliability at a
The phase 3 development program on the reason.able cost." First production of the
Mark 4 radar was directed by George Rodgers weapon came in 1978, and the Navy
and Ray Alls, with major contributions from deployed it on Trident submarine missiles
Charles Williams, BDb O'Nan, and Don during the 1980s.
Arquette. Prototype and production units
were supplied by Bendix l<ansas City in an Design of an eight-inch nuclear artillery
effort headed by Don Peterson and Tom shell, designated the W79, for Army theater
Wiley. The program resulted in the smallest, defense began in Tate 1975, with Don Rohrer
lightest, best-performing, and most reliable managing Sandia's project group and G. A.
radar that Sandia or anyone efse ever "Ben" Benedetti and Mel CaJlabresi
designed. Rodgers liked to say, "It has never analyzing the structural design. As the first
failed and it never will." nuclear shell designed to be similar
ballistically to the conventional shell (to
Among its other distinctions, the Trident ensure maximum accuracy), the W79
reentry body design became the first Sandia presented severe design challenges.
weapon project to enjoy regular audits by the

Chapter 6

I/\ 1976, Clareoce Loveless and Max Schell designed .a telemetty package ttiat could withstand the shock of firing from .an
.artillecy piece.

For structural analysis of the W79,

Benedetti and Callabresi developed
computerized models to aid the design
process. "Designing is an iterative process,"
explained Callabresi. "It's cut and try. In the
old days, rut and try meant committing a
design at a certain stage to hardware, then
testing it and going back to the drawing
board. With our model, it's possible to test a
given design on paper, saving a lot of dollars."

Although use of computer modeling

reduced the number of developmental tests
needed, field tests remained necessary to
validate the computer models, and testing an
artillery shell subject to as much as 12,000
times the earth's gravitational acceleration
durjng firing presented stiff challenges,
When testing earlier artillery shells, Sandia
had mounted data recorders outside the gun
barrel and run a wire down the barrel to the
shell; they collected data until the shell left
the barrel and broke the wire. But under a
12,000 G stress, such wires broke
immediately. Given the task of designing
telemetry fot the shell, Clarence Loveless and
Max Schell adopted a frequency-stabiJized
transistor for the t~lemetry that would stay
on frequency even during the shocks of
firing, and, moreover, they developed a
reusable package, "It all hangs together in
that gun barrel," noted Loveless, declaring
that the telemetry packages were used in
thirty or more firing tests. With this and Shipb<>ard test launch ol a Tomahawk auise mis.site.

The Nalionaf uboratorie~

other advances, Sandia completed its de.signs that offers significant challenge," Sparks
and the W79 ente.red production in 1981. admitted, adding, "This is major work to
which we will devote our best efforts."
By 1976, cruise missile technology had
advanced far beyond that used in the earlier Paul Longmire managed Sandia's
Matador and ReguTus missiJes, Lightweight development of the W80, with Dick
and efficient propuhion engines with on- Jorgensen leading the electrical design and
board computers for navigation guidance and Curt Moses and Don Spatz sharing
terrain-following radar for target recognition mechanical design 1esponsibilities. John
and altitude controJ allowed the new class oi Duncan initially managed the W80 tests with
cruise missiles to follow convoluted low- cruise missiles that could drcie for hours
altitude courses and approach targets from before hitting targets, presenting interesting
almost any direction. To reduce the costs of test requirements. A test of an inert
arming cruise missiles, DOE reported that Tomahawk mis.sile, for example, involved a
one warhead rnuJd be developed to fit .several launch off the coast of California, a flight
ronfigu1atioru of the new mi~sile.s. inland to Sandia's Tonopah Test Range in
Nevada, then loitering above the range for
Morgan Sparks announced in 1976 that hours before slamming into the target.
Sandia would design systems fm a single
warhead, the 'VVBO, foT application to three A s.imilar program begun in 1979
cruise missiles - the ~avy Tomahawk, the involved design for the W84 warhead to be
Air Force subsonic missile to be launched used in Tomahawk cruise missiles modified
fi:om B-52 aircraft, and the Air Force for tactical use by the Air Force. Amk
supersonic miss.ile, named Short Range Rivenes managed Sandia's design of the W84
Attack Missile (SRANf.-B), launched from the anning and firing components, structural
~-1 bomber (this missile program was later parts, <'.lnd permissive ac.tion link, with Bill
canceled when. the B-lA bomber was Pontsler and Carl Fumberg serving as lead
canceled). "The W80 is a complex system engineers. ln addition to the Trident and

In 1977, Bob Gatti~ of Lo~ Alamoi. ob1e!Vl!i ai: Gene Ives shOW! the Trident arming, fu zing, and firing ~yJ.tem co Air Force
Secretary Thom.a~ Reed and Morgan Sparks,

Chapter 6 .

Tomahawk missile programs, Sandia also

worked closely with the Navy in designing
systems for the W81 warhead. This was to
arm the Aegis missile for defending ships
against missiles that could sink carriers even
with a near miss. For this de~ign, Garry
Rrown and Sandia's systems studies group
developed computer models to evaluate
warhead design requirements. "Out close
working arrangement with the Navy on this
tactical weapon," Brown observed, "should
lead to a better understanding of their
requirements for tactical nuclear weapons."

When engineering development for the

W81 began in 1977, Ben Bader became the In 1979, fim Barham, Don Bohrer, and Joe Vieira inspect tke
eight-inch artillery shell dcsig~ with a nudear punch.
project engineer with Gene lves as program
manager. Because the WS J was for ship
defense against missiles, Sandia selected the During the late 1970s under a strict
older Sprint antiballistic missile warhead hudgec Imposed by Congress, Sandia began
(W65) as the basis for the WB1 design . developing the W82 design for artillery shell~
Concerns about the arms control implications that could be fired by the 155-millimeter.
of this missile suspended the prnject in l 9 78, howitzer by the Army and NATO forces . Don
but the Navy resumed the studies in J 979. Bohrer and Bi.11 Wilson managed this project
lves and Bill Nickell led Sandia's team during for Sandia with Dennis Beyer and Jack
the redesign, developing a new kind of fireset Martinell as the lead e ngineers for the design
and an integral strong link. As requirements of the structural case as well as the arming
changed, this project extended into the 1980s. and firing components . "The biggest
under Heinz Schmitt's management before challenges are to pack a sophisticated
new defense priorities resulted in its weapon imide a round only about six inches
cancellation. across and to protect it from the severe gun
loads ... as the round is fired from a

Four memberi of the Sandia proj~t team di1play p;uU. of the 883 in front of a teu ca~ing . lefr Ct> right: Mike Neuman, Rex
Eastin, Rodger Page, lim Dremala~.

. - The tJational Laboratories

howitze1Js rifled barrel,'' declared Bohrer. any sav1ng5 from modifying the existing B43
"And it has to have the same ballistic. were iILus,ory, and it refused to fund the
characteristics as a conventional round. modifications. Sandia contin ued the studies
Hnally, it has to meet strict budgetary of the 877, found ways to reduce
requireme nts.'' Sandia's earlier experiences in develo pment costs, and in 1979 received
the design of the W79 eigh t-inch round approval to resume strategic borob
proved useful in design ing the W82 and develo pment on the system, which had been
helped to contain development costs. redesignated 88~-

Summing up Sandia's weapon programs Jim Wright, Cliff Potthoff, Gary Deeler,
of the 1970s, weapons development director Duncan Tanner, and Arnie Ri venes fed
Bill Spencer explained: "We proceed on three proiect teams that added several novel d esign
assumption s. First, nuclear weapon s re.main improvements to the B83. They used custoro:-
the keysto ne to national defense. Second, made, large-scale integrated circuits the size
because resources to develop them are of postage stamps to make the Il83 a
limited, th ere is a need placed on us for the ''thinking" bomb. It had a compute r-
highest order of engineering skill. And th ird, controlled parachute system and a ro1J-
to be a credible deterrent our nuclear control system to impart spin for balli sti c
weapons must be modern yet cost-effective." stability. It was specifically designed to be
laid down on hard and irregular targets such
Cost concerns i.n 1977 caused DOE t o as rail road yards, and it had a unique sh.oc.k-
suspend Sandia's development of the rnitigating nose that reduced impact stress o n
strategic, high-yield B77, which incorporated the bomb's jnternal parts. Together with a
new safety features and several design new solid-state fuze, new trajectory sen .~ors,
innovatiom. On the advice of the Office of and new thermal batteries, the 883 design
Management and Budget, President Carter represented a technical achievement of the
scrubbed the expensive 877 proj&t in late first orde-r.
19 77 in favor of modifying the existing B43
bomb d evelo ped in 1957-58. After reviewing With the B83 design, Sandia entered a
the economic.s of this dec.ision, the House new weapon program phase, dominated not
Armed Services Committee concluded th at only by schedule and performance but also

A rod<et-propelled tt;S! ot a a83 test unit o n the Sandia sled track. The first -scage Zuni rock.et.s fired fir.tt, a s seen in this
p icture, followed by che larger Nike rockets beneath lhc unit.

Chapter 6

for Pershing ll missile development, and

Martin Marietta, Orlando, the Army missile
system prime contractor. Fired from a mobile
launcher, the three-stage missile. and
associated reentry vehicle carr]ed the earth
penetrator to an impact point on, or above,
the target. At target impact, the earth
penetrator separated from the reentry vehicle
and penetrated deep into the target before
detonating, The resulting underground
detonation was de.signed to produce larger
craters and target kill radii with smaller yield
on targets such as aircraft runways and
underground structures.

Ray Reynolds, Heinz. Schmitt, Bill

Alzheimer, Don McCoy, Bill Patters{)n, and
Sam Jeffers were. among the Sandians
managing the engineering challenges posed
by the W86 Pershing H penetrator warhead
program. One challenge invo1ved ensuring
survival of the. penetrator case and
BSl program mariagers lz.ck Wirth, Gaiy Bt:elet, and Jim .functioning of the arming, fuzing, warhead
Wright visited the Bendix plant in 1979 ta check electrical system and nuclear devke during
component manufacture. the severe shocks and high deceleration
by cost-effectiveness, by improved command
and control, and by improved safety and use
control. To achieve cost reductions, Sandia
used components and technologies
developed for the B61 and B77. "We're
constantly scrubbing material costs with Don
Shuster and Did. Claassen, component costs
with Don Gregson, Charles Tapp and Gene
Reed's 2000 organ.iz..ation, test costs with
Roger Baroody and Bill Gardner," noted Jack
Wirth of the B83 team, /(and we're concerned
with the costs of the who!e bomb system,
from its inception tl1rough production and
stockpile sampling." Development of the B83
continued into the 1980s, and it entered the
stockpile 1n 1983.

On the other hand, Congress in I 981

canceled development of the W86 nuclear
penetrator weapon for the Pershing II mis..,ik
system . Sandia had been selected by the
Army in 1975 to develop the e:arth penetrator
arming an.d. fuzing and penetrator case along
\.'.rlth Sandia's traditional area of responsibility
for the warhead e1ect1ical system and iJight
test telemetry. This project was conducted in
close coordination with the Army office at In 19BO, Heinz Schmitt displays three different view~ of the
Redstone .AI."enaJ, which had respon.sibllity PeHhing JJ penetratDr tested by Sandia. He i~ holdin9 a
telemetfy battery pack.

. The National ~b0<atoriei.

forces associated with earth penetration . The

firing command, which resulted in the firing
set initiating the nuclear device detonators
and initiating the neutron generators, was
generated during penetration by a depth-of-
burial fuze.

Another challenge involved the test and

evaluation program: characreriU!tion of
penetrator case, internal structures, and
internal functiona.I hardware; and the
recovery of penetrators deeply buried below
the surface of the ground. Pershing JI
penetration tests included sled track tests
Davis gun tests at the Tonopah Test and '
White Sands Missile Ranges, and full missile
system flights into White Sands Missile
Range. Davis gun tests were fired into soil
and rock targets while the missile tests went
into soil targets layered with rock. Afte.r each
penetration test, large-scale mining and
excavation operations were conducted to
locate and recover the penetrators in order to
retrieve on-board telemetry data and to
postmortem the hardware. The program
successfully demonstrated that technology
would support providing a nuclear earth
penetrator for delivery by a missile system;
however, the Pershing II penetrator warhead
was never produced for stockpile use.
Gene Harty displays a prototype Pershing II earth penetrator
Sandia also continued modification~ to unil recovered from B meters beneath t he turf ace .at White
the versatile Il6 l tactical bomb. During the Sands Missile Range.
1970s, modificatiom 3, 4, and S were
des igned nearly simultaneously, adding might not be sufficient during o perational
nuclear safety features such as lightning- mis sions. In November 1974 Glenn Fowler
arrestor connectors, insensitive high had recommended to General Ernest Graves
explosive, weak-link/strong-link exclusion of ERDA's Office of Military Applicatio ns
region .safety systems, together \-\Tith improved that a ten -year joint ERDA-DoD program to
thermal batteries, parachutes, neutron improve the nuclear safety associated with
generators, p ermissive action links, and other air-delivered weapons be initiated .
components. Heinz Schmitt, and later Tom Specifically, it wa.s recommend ed that seven
Workman, managed design ot additional weapon types either be retired or retro fitted
modifications to the B6 J, and C harlie Burks with a weak-lin k/ stron g-link/exclusion
and Don McCoy subsequently managed the region safety subsystem and that fo ur
seventh m odification, retTofitting earlier weapon types be replaced by n ew ones
modificatio ns with improved design safety already scheduled for production that
and operational fle'l.'.ibiLity. co ntained the improved salety features.
Until these o r simj)ar actions could be taken
Sandia's modifications of the B61 came Sandia recommended t hat ERDA recom mend
largely as a result of the stockpile to the Secretary of Defense that quick-
modernization program. As Sandia developed reaction-aJert operations be restricted to
enhanced nuclear safety features, it became m issions "absolutely required for national
appare nt that the safety of older weapons security reasons."

Chapter 6

Seated at left, Dick P.rodie taught nuclear weapons c\aiies, such as this one, for more than a decade al Sandia.

Fowler's letter, known in some DoD phenomenology of plutonium dispersal in a

circles as the "Halloween letter," led to the variety of weapon accident scenarios. In
most comprehensive review of nuclear time, the DOE would add a new safety
weapon safety to date in a multi-year study standard, which mandated positive measures
chartered in May of 1975. In 1977 Richard to minimize the risk of plutonjum dispersal
Brodie, who had recently retired from the Air in accidents, to the four extant standards
Force to become Bob Peurifoy's executive promulgated by the DoD in 1960.
staff assistant, reviewed the 1975 ERDA-DoD
safety study as well as other DoD safety and As funding permitted, the stockpile
use control evaluations and developed a plan modernization program continued into the
for a Stockpile Improvement Program to 1990s. Sandia added such features as
address the identified safety and use control enhanced electrical safety systems, advanced
issues with a time-phased series of permissive action links, and command
retirements, retrofits, and replacements. disablement capabilities together with the
insensitive high explosives designed at its
An additional nuclear weapon safety partner laboratories, to the national
concern arose in the early 1970s around the stockpile.
issue of plutonium dispersal in weapon
accidents. Although this concern had been
acknowledged and studied since the
Plumbbob and Roller Coaster tests of the late FORWARD LOOK
1950s and early 1960s, attention was
refocused on the issue in the wake of the Among Sandia's pivotal studies of the late
debate over U.S. deployment of pluronium- 1970s was Forward Look, an examination of
bearing antiballistic missile systems around the safety, security, and survivability of
major cities. Bob Luna led an effort by John nuclear weapons deployed in NATO
Taylor and Norm Grandjean under Bill countries. This study was managed by Andy
Stevens' sponsorship to evaluate Lieber of Sandia's exploratory systems group.
quantitatively the consequences of The Department of Defense, through Oon
plutonium dispersal from potential weapon Cotter of the Military Liaison Committee,
accidents, which eventually led to a requested this study and, with important
substantially improved understanding of the

The National uboratories

support from General Joseph Bratton of the

ERDA military applications division, Sandia
began the work. Don Shuster explained:
"We've been asked to look at nuclear
weapons deployments for the next 10 years.
To do that, we're studying the opposition,
matching their plans and capabilities against
our own strengths and weaknesses. And we're
cranking in other potential problems -
terrorists, dissident groups and potential
political changes and their implications in
foreign governments."

forward Look concentrated on

safeguarding deployed weapons. From these
studi~s came shipping containers to protect
artillery shells against fices and flexible
armoreo blankets to protect weapons against
small-arms fire. The Defense Nudear Agency
(l)nded full dt:v~lopment of the armored
blankets, and durin g the 1990s several
thousand were produced and given to Russia
Andy Utber displays copie> of the 1979 forward Look
to protect the weapons it sent to r~port,
di.smantlement centers.

Recruiting "blackhat" teams to find ways

to d!feat security and steal weapons, a
Forward Look group led by John Kane and
Jim Dossey concentrated on access delay and
denial techniques at weapon storage sites. It
devised an igloo access denial system for
improved weapon storage in above-ground
bunl<ers that the armed services renamed the
Weapon Access Denial System when they
adopted it.

From the Forward Look initiative, the Air

Force adopted as well the weapons storage
vaults developed and promoted by Kane,
Dossey, and Lieber to permit loading
weapons inside aircraft shelters. Before
Sandia designed this vault, weapons taken
from storage igloos were convoyed to the
airfields for loading, an operation detectable
from a distance, even by satellites. With
weapon vaults installed in the floors of
hardened aircraft shelters, the weapons could
be raised from the vaults and loaded aboard
aircraft inside the shelters quickly, making
them sate from detection and/or attack by
opposing forces .
Charlie Daniel and Bill Benedick examine an explo$ive
capsule designed to permit a field commander to destroy
Lieber, assisted by Bill Roherty, Jim a nuclear weap()(l when in danger of losing it to terrorisu
Dossey, and their staff, completed the o r assaulOng forces.

Chapter 6 ~---- ----

Forward Look Study in 1979. ln addition to vulnerabilities, such as armored blankets and
the fielded hardware items such as storage storage vaults, early prototypes were designed
vaults, shipping containers, and armored and tested as a concluding phase of the
blankets that were analyzed and Forward Look study.
recommended by Forward Look, the twenty-
nine volume study provided a number of
firsts in terms of a comprehensive assessment
ot safety, security, and survivability. Forward COMPUTER REVOLUTION
Look provided the first comprehensive
assessment of the vulnerability of NATO The Forward Look study, many volumes
peacetime storage sites to surprise attack by in length, took advantage of Sandia's new
Warsaw Pact forces. lt also included the first word-processing capability adopted, as it was
comprehensive surveys of weapon storage throughout government, during the 1970s.
sites worldwide, covering a wide variety of Although seemingly mundane, the switch
site types within the Army, Navy, and Air from typewriters and carbon paper to
Force. A number of volumes were dedicated computers, printers, and copiers marked a
to a comprehensive safety and security study major departure .in Sandia's routine. "Before,
of DoD nuclear weapon transportation we had to type and retype to correct mistakes
worldwide. The first assessment of the or make changes," said Rosalie Crawford,
vulnerability of nuclear weapon high secretary to Sandia's presidents for thirty-
explosives to small arms fire was included. seven years, "whereas now we can just put it
For all the vulnerabilities identified in the on the machine and change it just like that."
site surveys, survivability assessments, and
transportation analysis, prioritized potential Marie Syroe, Robert Vokes, Don Emrick,
improvements were identified with cost and colleagues studied word processing
estimates. For those items that promised the applications for Sandia in 1976, and, because
most potential for addressing critical

Sandia's s.cientific computing center in 1979 filled with magnetic tapes. Lee Hollingsworth and Kelly Montoya watch Ruth
Jones at the console debug a program. Jn the background are computer operators Fil Tenorio and Mary Couch.

The National L.aborat oriei:

In the w ord precessing center in 1978, D'li Spctu and le Chavez Ui.e the new terminals and equipment that revolutionized
routine papeiwork at Sandia.

word processing systems then cost up to

$20,000 per station, adopted a clustered text-
prncessing center to handle Sandia's word
proct>.'i:.~ing. Within a frw years, howeve1 1

low-cost systems were ubiquitous

throughout Sandia.

ln addition to computer word processing,

Jack Howard, Heinz Schmitt, Gino Carli, and
a!>.sociates promoted computer-aided design
(CAD) and compute1-aided manufacturing
(CAM) for producing engineering design
drawings. The~e systems gradually
supplanted drafting boards and pen and ink,
just as pocket calculators had replaced
sliderules. Moreover, once Sandia and the
integ1ated contractors adopted c.ommon
computer and software systems, design
drawings and specifications could be s~t
eJectronically from Sandia directly to Kansas
City and elsewhere.

"Sandia's product is primarily paper," Bob

Henderson once remarked, "in that we
produce. the dra\'...'ings, specifications, and
other manufacturing information used in
getting the weapons built, impected,
accepted and stockpiled. The switch to word
processing and computer-ajded design
therd01e marked a significant transition in
Ros.alie Crawford wa1 ieuerary tc nine. Sandia Corporation Sandia's routine.
pre~idenl<i, beginning with George L11ndry in l 949 . She
retired in 1986.

The 1976 Committee ol Secretaries meets with Bob Edelman, Dir~tor of Perronnel. !.eft.to right: .Alice HOdyke; J~ n ,
O~lt, Helen Walsh, Esther Perea, tan Robe~on, June Rugh. The Committee started with six members in 1974 arid g~,; to
.1 8 by 1993; . . . . . . : -~ .

Secretaries sd~ntific s"ymb~ls, P:andling clasSi{ied- ..

material, arid basic secretadal.~uirements
Like most organizations, Sandia is like typing and shorthand. As the job ha_s
dependent on capable, efficient secretaries for changed, so have. the skiJls required _.:..
its smooth operation. Over the years, Sandia shorthand, for example~ is no longer a :
and its secretaries have tried a variety of required skill. Marcte Sarri:uelson, who Startec(
programs to ensure adequate professi.onal at_Sandia in 1949, noted the change. "When .
. . development for secretaries and consistent, I first carrie to Sandia, I b;rought iny principal .
proficient support for the engineering and tool with me - an .Easterbrook fountain.'pen..
scientific activiti~s.:o.f the Labs, Sandia provided the rest: a manual typewriter
and a b_ottle of Skiip ink." Iri 1988; she .was. .
.Sandia's secr~tarial staff.is ~anaged by . . tl~ing: ai:i IBM PC and a taserjet ptinte;r. ..
. ' . ' . . . .

Se<;retaxial Services, ratherthan the Illanag~rs

of the departments to which the s~cr.etaries :computer
ski)k~ now a n~cessity,. while
are assigned. Initially, this arrangement stenography has fallen out of usej
the training
allowed for consistency in. training and. $tritt .offered over the years reflects these changes.
oversight of performance, as .well as the . . Other skills seem constarit. Courses iri the
tiexibility to move secretaries into particular 1950~ apd eai:iy l960S fudud~d' sections ~n
departments during sudden increases in wo~k .getting cooperation from others.Trus ele.merit.'.
load. Section supervisors were responsible for appears in ~ore recent years.as.part of social.
groups of secretaries, checking on everything s:tyles training, but the ~mphasis is still ori
(rom the_ir performance to theit:appearance. beirig able to work with a vari~ty of .
Over the, years, this close management has personality.types and wor~ styles: lri addition .
. eased, with Se.c:retarial SerVice_s. ser.ving as the .to .courses offered ancj re.q_uited by $andia;
initial traiQing point for newly P:ird . set.:.ret:a~es also took advai:itage of courses in
secieta~ies and as mediator shol.dd the . the <;ommtinity. In 1965, Jot example, the .
secretary en.counter problems in the . . . UI).iversity of New .Mexico offered -a business. .
.department to. which she pr he -iS assigned. : administr. a tion semin~r for professjonal . . .
secretarie.s' that was adveii:is~ in the .Lab .
From the beginning, classes have been. . News. Local chapters o.(the N.ationai . .
offered. tO update skills in mathematical Secretaries Association (~SA) also organized.
. ' . ' and .
. , ,
., ' , ..
. :.
In 1989, secretarial ~upervisors Carol Kaemper, left, and Shirley Dan, right, plan recrulting strategi~ with employment
coordinator Soila Brewer.

workshops and conferences. Sandia secretaries management app10val for secretaries to

were encouraged to attend and often took an attend workshops, conferences, and seminars.
active role in the leadership of the NSA.
The Committee quickly outgrew its
One of the avenues of professional original assignment of advising the Personnel
development open to secretaries is the study Director, attaining an independence that
and testing to become a Certified allowed it to address .a wider range of needs
Professional Secretary (CPS). Administered by through effective communication with
the Jnstltute for Certifying Secretaries, a Sandia's management. It expanded its
department of Professional Secreta.r\es membetship and became involved in
International, the CPS exam covers a vast recruiting, sending representatives to area
array of material in subject areas ranging high schools and inviting high school
from behavioral science in business, through business teachers into the L.ibs to learn what
economics and management, to business law is required of a Sandia secretary. Str~ing the
and office technology. Sandia has at times importance of education, the C'..ommittee
offered tuition reimbursement for secretaries encouraged secretaries to take out-of-hours
studying for the CPS. classes and established an annual seminar,
which, by 1987, was large enough to be
Jn 1972, Robert Edelman, Director of moved to an off-site hotel. Because of the
Personnel, formed the Committee of essential role secretaries play) the annual
Secretarie.s to advise him on matters seminar's sessions have to be repeated
con.cerning secretaries without union because not all secretaries are allowed to
representation. Made up of Director's attend at the same time since their absence
secreta1ies, the Committee served a.s a would be too disruptive to Labs operations.
sounding board for secretaries, focusing both
on issues directly related to the work In 1993, the Committee changed its name
environment - from testing different to the Secretarl31 Quality Process Council
typewriter ribbons to suggesting chat (SQPC) to reflect an increased focus on
secretaries be assigned directly to the including secretaries in decisions that affect
organization where they worked rather than their jobs. The Council has since gotten more
to a secretarial supe1visor - and al lowing for Jnvolved in Labs-level decision-making,
professional advancement by .arranging maintaining strong conne<:t\ons with process
managem ent teams and commlttees.
20 7
Chapter o

More significant was Sandia's advance might well be reversed to studies of using
toward the forefront of scientific computing caibons such as coal to create gases. They
during the late 1970s. "The requirements put vi.sited the Bureau of Mjnes laboratory at
on us by new weapon systems got beyond Laramie, Wyoming, then investigating in situ
our ability to simply cut metal and try it,'' coal gasification - burning coal underground
explained Ron Detry. The classical methods to create fuel gases. Laramie's management
of attacking design challenges became too took an interest in Sandia's various sensors, like
difficult or took too long, and the solution the seismic sensors used in Vietnam, to achieve
was "computer simulations to obtain a better understanding of what happened
fundamental understanding of the physics of underground when coal deposits were burned.
the process, the mechanics of the process, Wendell Weart and Lynn Tyler prepared a
and also to cut down the time." proposal, and in early 1975, Samtia received its
first fossil energy funding for developing
Although Sandia had historically used the instruments and controls for the in situ
highest-performance computers available, by processing of coal deposits and oil shales.
the mid-1970s it lagged behind the physics
laboratories in computing capabilities, Sandia's work began with evaluation of
occasionally using second-hand computers sensors and measurement techniques at a
from those laboratories. This gap closed as coal gasification experiment at Hanna,
Sandia acquired Crays and other Wyoming. The team of field instrumentation
supercomputers to handle increasingly
complex scientific and engineering design


Investigating better ways to obtain fossil

fuels, Sandia examined the gasification of
underground coal deposits, the extraction of
oil from oil shale, and exploration for oil
under the s~as . It provided technical support
for proposed undergrnund reposi tortes for
nuclear waste, notably the Waste Isolation
Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico and the
Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada. As a
hedge against future oJl embargoes, it
investigated underground storage of oil
reserves. While its earlier weapon,
verification, and solar energy projects looked
up at the skies and into deep space, these
new geologic projects looked down into the
earth's inte1ior.

Formation of ERDA in 1974, adminis-

tratively merging the AEC laboratories with
the Bureau of Mines laboratories, opened
new opportunities for Sandia. HaVing lost Air
Force funding for their carbon-carbon
materials research, Hap Stoller and Dave
Northrop reasoned that their experience in Dave Hawn and Jim Lyons in 1977 load 'oal slurry into
using methane to create carbon composites Sandia's coal liquefaction test module.

The NatiOl\al uboratorie!

In 1974, Dave Northrop, Wendell Weart, and Hap Stoller examine plans for Sandia's oil shale research.

personnel1 led by Northrop, installed .sensors

on the surface and in wells to pinpoint the
location of the underground burn front,
allowing the injection of air at the proper
place and time to enhance gas production.
Studies also began of the combustion
chemistry and mechanisms. In later years,
the re.search expanded to include coal-mine
subsidence, coal conversion to liquid fuels
(synthoil), and related catalytic and
geotechnical issues.

A similar initiative involved development

of immense oil shale deposits in Colorado,
Wyoming, aod Utah. Rather than mine this
shale, which releases oil (kerogen) when
heated, Sandia investigated heating it
underground, thereby avoiding the cost and.
environmental consequences of mining it.
Under this pJan 1 explosives turned the shale
to rubble and a fire set atop the rubble heated
the rock, which then released the oil for
pumping to the surface. This was a parlially
mined, vertical retort method in which
Sandia worked with Occidental Petroleum
near Parachute, Colorado. Sandia studied how
best to fracture the shale and how to control Dick Traeger holds a jar of liquid fuel produced from coal in
the fire to heat the rock and maximize the. oil 1977 al part ol Sandia calaly1t research.

Chapter 6




Sandia during the (ate 1970s designed a downhole steam generator that 'ould be used to enhance oil recovery as shown in
this diagram.

relea.c;ed. Virgil Dugan analyzed the Vernal, Utah. Sandians led by Al Stevens
economics of this process, Jim Dossey provided the diagnostic instruments, rock
reviewed shale fracturing techniques, and mechanics expertise, and analysis of
Northrop studied the process chemistry, while explosive fracturing and subsequent retorting
Weart coordinated the field experiments. of shallow oil shale strata. The Laramie
Center and Sandia conducted combustion
The oil shale investigations began in experiments. Private companies involved
cooperation with the Laramie Energy included Talley Frac of Greenriver, Wyoming
Research Center at oil shale formations, and Geokinetics of Vernal, Utah.
notably at Rock Springs, Wyoming and near

.. _ _ _ The National Laborator~~

Sandia built oil retort models in the As designed and tested in the Pacific, the
laboratory, and during the secon.d phase, urry seafloor earthquake measurement .system
Teufel, Thomas Bickel, Paul Hornmert, and stored information about sejsmic activity,
associates developed means of recovering as then transmitted it on command to a surface
much as ninety percent of the oil from the buoy for relay by radio to ceceiving stations
shale. Homrncrt predicted that thjs technology aboard ships. Preliminary findings indicated
would become attractive "when the price of oil that the shaking from earthquakes was less
rises again - as it almost .f,urely wiJL" beneath the sea than on Land and that
earthquake movements in the seaflnor
Other Sandia ventures into fossi.I fuel tended to be horizontal compared to the
research aimed at providing indmtry with vertical movement<. seen ashore. This
direct means of recovering oil. Richard information proved useful to engjneers
Traeger in 1978 managed an enhanced oil designing offs.hare drilling platforms.
recovery effort, for example, involving the
design of a downhole steam generator, Meanwhile, Max Newsom and colleagues
dubbed Deep Steam. Through a process modified the Davjs gun de.sign for underwater
called steam. flooding, the oil industry explorations, driving a penetrator into the
thinned heavy oi l with steam injected into seafloor with instruments to measure and
wells to permit pumping the oil to the transmit information on the shear strength ,
surface, but the steam cooled as it traveled composition, and dynamic properti e~ ot the
dowr1 well!. thousands of feet deep. Ttaege.r 's .sedjment in which it was embedded . Thi.s
team developed a steam boiler small enough
to fit inside a borehole and operate at the
bottom of wells. Fuel was pumped down to a
combustion chamber where it was mixed
with air, then ignited by a sparkplug-like
device. Jnjected water mixed with the
combustion gases and flashed into steam,
thinning the oil for pumping. Ron Fox and
Burl Donaldson successfully tested a
prototype downhole steam generator near
Bakersfield, California, in 1979, and in 1982
Bill Marshall announced that eight
companies had begun marketing downhole
steam generators commercially to enhance
the recovery of existing petroleum resources.

Offshore oil exploration received Sandia's

assistance through application of its
terradynamics and ~ensor capabilities.
Exploratory drilling for underwater oil
requ ired dealing with storms, icebergs, and
seafloor earthquakes, but "if the decline in
dom estic production of oil and gas is to be
halted, " said E.ric Reece, "increased attention
must be given to locating new sources." Reece
becam e respon~ihle in 1977 for devising
acoustic instruments that could relay data
about conditions at the bottom of the seas to
acoustic. buoys at the .m rface. Sponsoring this
and related research was the U.S_ Geological
Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Test of ;a Sandia ~eafloor penetrator in the Gulf of Me><ko.
Administration, and a consortium of This eight-foot long penetrator could drive 150 feet into the
sediment~ underwater.
petroleum exploration companies.

Chapter 6

system provided the first sonic-velocity

measurements in gas-bearing ocean sediments
to the seismic-exploration industry.

Another new direction undertal<:en by

Sandia was work with hydraulic fractures. J3y
1974, Carl Schuster's division s work on
seismic and acoustic sensors for use in
Vietnam was coming to an end and the
group was moved intact into Jim Scott 1s
newly formed energy directorate. With
funding from RDA's Unconventional Gas
Recovery program, they applled the
technology to mapping massive hydraulic
fractures - a developing method to improve
production from natural gas reservoirs. The
first efforts were done with Amoco in the
Wattenberg Field, northeast Colorado, but
tests later took the group to field sites all over
the U.S. and Alaska. This remained an
enduring technical challenge, with work .stili
continuing 20 years later, by then under
funding from the Gas Research Institute,

In the late l 960s and early 1970s, Sandia

Bill Vollendorl, geologist and gvru of G-Tunnel at the
conducted underground nuclear effects tests Nevada TeH Site, measures a mir.ed-out hydraulic frac.ture.

Three workover rigs ori the three dose-spaced wells at the Multiwetl Experiment site near Riffe, Colorado. In the ba<k9round
are the oil shale cliffs of !he Green River formatiOl"I, site of many Sandia oil sha~ projects.

___ __ The National Laboratories

in G-Tunnel at the Nevada Test Site. To assure STRATEGIC RESERVES

containment of these tests) Lynn Tyler
conducted small-scale fracture tests to obtain
stress and related data. At the same time, As a hedge against future shortages,
Halliburton and other oil field service Congress after the 1973 oil embargo
companies developed hydraulic fracturing approved plans to establish a strategic
technology to stimulate the flow of oil and petroleum reserve, using cavities in salt
gas from deep wells. Northrop recognized domes along the Texas and Louisiana coast as
that G-Tunnel offered a unique opportunity huge storage chambers. Although not
- the chance to create fractures under initially involved, Sandia received an
realistic geologic conditions and then mine assignment in the program after an accident
back through them to directly observe their and fire at one of the storage caverns in
behavior. Even though Halliburton engineers 1978. On receiving a request for an
had created tens of thousands of fractures in independent technical assessment of the
the oil patch, they actually saw their first program Jack Howard and Jim Scott over a

hydraulic fracture at G-Tunnel. weekend formed a team led by Jim Ney that
went to Louisiana immediately and began a
Several years of experiments conducted by three-month investigation. When DOE
Norm Warpinski uncovered many accepted Sandia's recommendations and
phenomena associated with deep wells, a requested continuing studies, Sandia formed
notable achievement being the a group under Ney's management to
demonstration that earth stresses control undertake studies of the geological,
hydraulic fracture behavior. Rich Schmidt I geographical, and hydrological features of
Jerry Cuderman, and Warpinski also showed salt domes, perform analysis of dome
the feasibility of multiple radial fracturing interiors, develop models to assess cavern
from a well by controlled pressurization of stability, and consider improved excavation
the wellbore. These were unique experiments. techniques for the storage reservoirs. "The
As Northrop told hundreds of industry
visitors between 1976 and 1988, "a picture is
worth ten thousand words, but a visit to G- RAW WATER IN
Tunnel is worth ten thousand pictures.I!

The diagnostic and mineback efforts

came together in 1980-1988 when Sandia
managed DOE's Multiwell Experiment - an
eight-year, $35 million field laboratory for
recovery of gas from low-permeability
reservoirs typical of the Rocky Mountain DEPTH
3200 Ft
states. Northrop, Warpinski, John Lorenz,
and Allan Sattler were the core of a Sandia
effort that worked together with CER
Corporation and a host of other contractors.
They performed studies between 4,500 and
8,500 feet depth in three close-spaced wells
in the Mesa Verde formation. Key findings STORAGE
included the importance of natural fractures,
earth stresses, reservoir geometry, and
stimulation methods for gas production from DEPTH
these reservoirs. The wealth of results and 5200 Fl

insights have been transferred to many

companies that are economically exploiting
this resource today. In 1979, Sandia participated in the design of oil storage
cavities in salt domes, as shown in this diagram, for the
Strategic Petroleum Reserve program.

Chapter 6 - - --- - - - -- - - - -

facque Hohlfelde;-, Jim Johmon, and Ray Villeg.u in 1979 conduct a laboratory experiment t.e~ting the effects of heat on brine
migration in salt, information important for WIPP and the Strategic Petrole.um Re!oeNe.

reservoirs are large engineering projects continued the geological site investigations
involving unusual underground structures," of existing and potential new sites. These
Morgan Sparks observed, noting that the oil team.~ developed new leaching codes,
exporting nations strongly objected to the conducted cavern testing and cavern
program, because '' they consider it a threat to monitoring, and improved salt creep
their cartel operation ." modeling capabilities. By 1991, about 660
million barrels were stored and the mere
The original oil storage used exi.S,ting threat of using the re.serve, coupled with a
commercially leached caverns and one salt sample sale, was sufficient to help s.tabiHze
mine in the salt domes. Ney's team explored world oil prices during the Persian Gulf War.
additional .site.~ to expand storage capadty.
"Our game plan," Ney said in 1980, "is to
have up to 7SO million hands." The new
cavities were opened through leaching with NEW NUCLEAR DIRECTIONS
water (water dissolves s.alt; oil does. not). After
drilling wells deep into the saltbeds, water Sandia'<> principal environmental studies
pumped down the wells dissolved the salt were in support of nuclear power. These
into brine that was pumped out, leaving included three programs begun in the mid-70s:
space tor oil stmage, Following the early .sewage sludge irradiation , the Waste Isolation
1980s, Sandia teams led by Jim Linn Pilot Plant, .and the Yucca Mountain project.

.. The National Laboratoriei

The sludge irradiation project sprang to decontaminate sewage sludge. The

from the planetary quarantine dccont,aminated material could then be used
thermoradiation research of the late 1960s, as fertilizer or as an animal feed supplement.
which emanated from Sandia's preoccupation
with cleanliness when close-tolerance parts Tn an effort to obtain cleaner water,
and electronics were manufactured for Congress had enacted environmental
weapon components. lndeed, Willis legislation during the early 1970s requiring
Whitfield, inventor of the dean room, the secondary and tertiary treatment of
provided leadership in all three programs. sewage hefore it entered rivers and lakes. An
environmental consequence was rapid growth
Sludge irradiation <;ought to solve two of the amount of sludge produced at e.lch
environmental problems: disposal of sewage treatment plant; by 1979, for example,
sludge and of radioactive wastes. As Jack Albuquerque generated fifteen tons of sludge
Sivinski put it, "We are taking what have been daily. While the Massachusetts Tnstitute of
two national liabilities and turning them into Technology investigated the use of electron
national assets." The concept involved using beams to treat sludge, Sandia explored the use
cesium-137, a byproduct of reactor operation, of gamma rays from encapsulated ce.~ium-

Clod<wiu from lefr: jim Pierce. Wiflii; 'Mlitfield, Matvin Morrii at the Sandia lrradiatOI' for Dried Sewage Solid~ (SIDSS) in 1977.
It wa~ a pifot plant t~ting the ute of gamma rayi; to treat municipal sewage.

Chapter 6

Willis Whitfield and (acek ''(ac:k" S.ivir.ski in 1976 insp~cl a ctop fertili::zed with thermoradiated sludge.

The National Laooratorie~

137 to destroy viruses and bacteria, making it drilled through the saltbed.s in Kansas,
more us;able . With DOE funding, the Sivinski- however, 1)0 began searching for other
Whitfield team built a prototype sludge suitable sites.
irradiation facility that passed buckets of
sludge on a conveyer through a field of Ry l 975, the. search had focused o n
cesiurn-137 radiation . After the cesium killed saltbeds that were about two thousand feet
the microorganisms, the sludge could serve as deep in New Mexic.o near Carlsbad, and
soil conditioner, or even be pres.~ed into Sandia rec.eived the assignment to investigate
pellets as feed supplement for cattle. This did
not make the sludge radioactive, any more
than having a chest x-ray makes a person

Senator Harrison Schmitt of New Mexico,

whe n dedicating Sandia's sludge plant
prototype in 1978, declared that sludge and
nuclear waste should in the future be
considered resources in disguise. Although.
Albuquerque sought funding to construct a
similar o perational plant, sludge treatment
with cesium radiation remained a neglected
technology. Sandia then converted its
prototype sludge-treatment plant to studies
of using irradiation to destroy pests in fruit
for the Department of Agriculture.

Evaluation of nuclear waste disposition

alternatives from both the defense and the
energy sectors. began during the late 1950s.
Among the alternatives considered were
rocketing waste into deep space and burying it
at the ocean 's bottom. Sandia had a major ro le
in investigating the seafloor disposal concepts,
incl uding using its penetrators to explore
s.eafloor geology. Richa rd "Rip" Anderson
supecvised the seabed programs division,
investigating techniques for placing,
moni toring, and retTiev1ng the canisters. The
ocean floor was studied extensively in a search
for geologically stable and biologically inactive
deep ocean sediments. However, envfronmental
concern!> and the dec ision to investigate one
site at a time, focusing first on Yucca Mount.a.in,
halted lhe program in 1987.

About 1970, Oak Ridge Natio nal

Laboratory recommended that the
radioactive wastes be stored in saltbeds in
Kansas.. 'Because it is imperative that nuclear
wastes have n o contact with ground water,
saltbeds, which by their very existence impl y
no circ.ulating ground water, see.med a logical Eng;neert and tc:c:hnil.ians at WIPP lower a c.anisw
choice for the buri.al site. When it became conta ining <1n electric: heater into the underground saltbed
to explo re the ~alt'~ reaction to h eat.
evident that numerous boreholes had been

Chapter 6

this site. Wendell Weart of Sandia's about nuclear waste management. "It is a
underground physics division took charge of difficult problem, requiring a lot of work and
the WIPP project, initiating drilling and quite a bit of money," he admitted, "but it is
geologic investigations near Carlsbad. When not insoluble, and I think it can be done in a
full-scale studies of the Waste Isolation Pilot safe way.n
Plant were approved in 1977, Sandia made
Orval Jones manager of a group responsible
for technical support of DOE planning for
underground depositories. Among these were TECHNOLOGY SPINOFFS
both WIPP and the proposed Yucca
Mountain project in Nevada. "WIPP is like a In addition to applications of its weapon-
new phase 3/' Jones remarked, explaining, based expertise to energy and environmental
"This is a technical project of major waste management solutions, Sandia
proportions which wil1 fully exercise our undertook renewed efforts aimed at making
systems engineering capabiJities. 11
this technology available commercially. Corry
McDonald managed Sandia's industrial
Sandia continued its geological studies at cooperation and technology utilization
the site and began testing transportation and program during the 1970s with assistance
storage equipment in Albuquerque. In 1980 from Patrick Quigley, Gene Emerson, and
Congress enacted legislation authorizing others. Although these early efforts at
construction funds for WIPP as a defense technology transfer were hampered by a lack
project. President Carter signed the bill, then of funding, they had a few successes. The
declared that he would not support media took great interest, for example, in the
construction at the WIPP site until at least application of weapon technology to
two other sites were examined. Morgan biomedical engineering.
Sparks lamented: "We're in the middle of a
controversy between the Congress and the Although Sandia had never specialized in
President and will have to ride it out until a life sciences, university medical schools during
single position is achieved. It makes for the late 1970s requested its assistance in
difficult planning and working." As anyone developing equipment that might be used in
who tracked the serpentine course of WIPP cancer and diabetes therapy. Request for
through Congress} the courts, and regulatory assistance with cancer research came, for
agencies could attest, it proved to be example, from a Texas A&M executive who had
"difficult planning and working/' indeed. used a Sandia-furnished neutron generator in
experiments and said, "That first neutron
No less controversial was the Yucca generator was the only piece of equipment I
Mountain project, although this controversy ever bought that worked exactly the way it was
lagged a decade behind that at WIPP. The supposed to the first time I turned it on.'1 On
search for sites suitable for isolating high-level his recommendation, the National Cancer
nuclear waste began in 1976, and Sandia 1s early Institute in 197 6 sought Sandia's help with the
research under Dick Lynch examined argillite, development of a portable, intense neutron
volcanic tuft, and other rocks characteristic of source. Frank Bacon and a Sandia team sought
the Nevada Test Site. Al Lappin and colleagues to redesign neutron generators, Zippers, from
in Sandia s geological group sought to weapons as portable sources for neutron
determine whether the thermal and therapy. These generators, used to initiate
mechanical properties of these rocks made nuclear reactions, were tiny particle
them suitable as a disposal medium. Not until accelerators. They accelerated a beam of
Congress enacted the Nudear Waste Policy Act deuterium and tritium ions against a metal
in 1982 and the number of potential storage target loaded with deuterium or tritium, and
sites was reduced to nine 1 then three, and the resulting collisions caused atoms of these
finally to the tuft of Yucca Mountain did the isotopes to fuse, generating neutrons that could
controversy grow to WIPP proportions. In the be used for cancer therapy or other purposes.
1970s, however, Sparks expressed optimism

-- - - - -- - The Nation.ii l<iboratories

Philip Eaton. Spencer and Eaton obtained

funding from the Kroc Foundation, the
National Institutes of Health, and the
Department of Energy to develop a miniature
p1.Jmp for implantation in diabetic patients,
just as pacemakers were implanted in cardiac
patients_ As Eaton explained, "We needed a
pump that could release a low flow of insulin,
that was tiny enough to be implantable, and
that was totally dependable."

Spencer and a microelectronics team

including Jerry Love, Wayne Corbett, and
associates first designed a pump using a
highly reliable rotary solenoid motor
deve1oped at Sandia for weapon use. When
this pump proved successful in animals,
Sandia's drive to miniaturize the pump
began, using programmable computer chips
and related components on a ceramic thick-
film circuit to reduce it to a size suitable for
human implantation. When Sandia
Don Cowgill and Frank Bacon in l 979 inspect the target of
a neutron generator designed for use in cancer research.

After extensive study, the Sandia team

reported it feasible to develop a sealed-tube
neutron generator that could be incorporated
into a compact rotatable-beam machine for
clinical applications. Although interest in
neutron therapy for cancer dwindled, this
research had other dividends and
applications. Ron Hill, for example, solved
the problem of focusing the neutrons in a
beam useful for patient dosages by devising a
variable aperture collimator. Sandia later
redesigned these portable neutron generators
for non-weapon uses: for logging the
boreholes driven in search of uranium and
iater for use in portal monitors safeguarding
nuclear materials.

Another biomedical application was the

bionic pancreas developed by Sandia at the
request of the University of New Mexico in
1978 to replace the tnsulin shots typically
administered to diabetics. University of New
Mexico School of Medicine experiments
produced a pump that could release
preprogrammed doses of insulin feny Love di.splays an insulin pump developed in 1979 by
incravenously. Bill Spencer of Sandia, whose S.andia and the Univers.ity of Nt'N Mexico. When made
daughter suffered from diabetes, became small en~h for implantation in diabetic patients, the
pumps became a commerci~I spinoff from Sandia's
interested in this research by endocrinologist wE:apon~ 1ese.irc:h.

Chapter 6 - - - - - - - -

Da Vinci If preparations in 1976. In the gor.dola are the researcher!> who were on the flight: Otis Imboden, National
Geographic Society photogrtipher; Vera SimoM, pilot and proje't conrnltar.t; Jimmie Craig, pilot, Naval WeapoM Center; and
R. 1- Engelmann, NOAA project 1cientiH. Standi"9 in front ii the Sandia team: Bernie Zak, i;,icncific director; Pretton
Herrington, project engineer; lack Armbrusl safety; Keith Smith, project director; Tex Windham, mechanical le.mt; Ed
Marsh, launch director; Lloyd Kelton, crane operator; and Wayne Hancoclc, documentary photographer.

completed its pump design in 1981, physicians experiments for unmanned balloon studies of
implanted it in a diabetic to maintain normal the stratosphere in conjunction. with research
insulin levels. Subsequently, Sandia modified initiated by the Am1y's Atmospheric Sciences
the pump - dubbed an artificial pancreas - Laboratory at White Sands Missile R21nge.
for manufacturing design and a Also in the 1970s, in response to growing
pharmaceutical firm marketed it commercially, pubhc and government concern about the
easing th.e lives of hundreds of diabetics. state of the environment, ERDA undertook
se.veral major projects chronicling air
Although not a commercial spin-off, pollution. One of these was Project Da Vind,
another Sandia area of ex:pertise was applied a serie~ of manned-balloon flights to track
to non-weapom. work in the 1970s. Building pockets of pollution and determine whether
on its experknce in meteorological and they changed, dissipated, or remained intact
altitude research, in 1972 Sandia had as they traveled away from their sources. A
engineered scientific packages and designed balloon offers advantages over other methods

The l\Jational Laboratories

of tracking pollution because it can drift with stations that Sandia deployed during the
the air without disturbing it or adding any 1960s recorded data on magnetic tape that
pollution of its own. had to be retrieved every four months.
Sandia's goal during the second phase was to
The project was proposed by Vera design seismic observatories that could
Simons, an artist and balloonist who took transmit data to satellites in orbit. In 1978,
her idea to Rudolf Engelmann at the AEC in the satellite design group installed a
the early 1970s. Da Vinci became a joint prototype seismic station in Tennessee to
project of ERDA, the Environmental collect ground motion data and transmit it
Protection Agency (EPA) the National
1 via satellite to receivers in Albuquerque.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Further development of these seismic
and the National Geographic Society. Sandia detectors continued into the 1990s.
engineered the scientific payload for Da Vinci I,
a short flight in the relatively pollution-free The Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1974,
air of New Mexico in November of 197 4. For limiting the yield of underground tests to
Da Vinci II and III, Sandia agreed to direct 150 kilotons and the adjunct Peaceful

the project, with Keith Smith and Bernard Nuclear Explosion Treaty of 1976 added
Zak serving as project director and project impetus to Sandia's verification research.
scientist, respectively. These flights were Because the terms of the latter treaty allowed
launched in 1976 from Arrowhead Airfield, on-site monitoring of peaceful nuclear
just outside of St. Louis. St. Louis was chosen explosions to ensure treaty compliance,
because it already was the site of the EPA's Sandia, Los Alamos 1 and Lawrence Livermore
Regional Air Pollution Study, allowing worked with ERDA's Nevada Operations
scientists to compare information obtained Office to develop yield measurement and
by the balloons with that from the existing seismic systems. The laboratories developed
monitoring stations. In the end, the flights portable seismic sensors and versions of the
indicated that smog does not dissipate as it SLIFER diagnostic system; prepared recording
floats away from its source. Instead 1 it stays trailers and field instrumentation; and
together and often gets more toxic as it certified the equipment's capabilities during
travels. Although the Da Vinci Project ended the REDMUD event at NTS. Although not
after three flights, Sandia remained involved deployed to the Soviet Union, this
in using unmanned balloons for pollution equipment was used on other NTS events to
studies under Zak's guidance. maintain operational readiness.

Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Treaty1 the UN 1s International Atomic Energy
INTERNATIONAL ARMS Agency (IAEA) headquartered at Vienna,

CONTROL Austria became responsible for detecting

nuclear capabilities that were in violation of
Since the early days of the VELA the treaty, and the IAEA asked for Sandia 1s
program Sandia had designed sensors to
assistance. Among the tasks assigned to Sandia
support verification of international arms were the design of special seals that could
control agreements. Paul Stokes and a Sandia reveal tampering with nuclear containers,
task force acted as technical consultants to devices to detect the movement of nuclear fuel
the U.S. delegation to the arms control bundles 1 and sophisticated tamper-resistant
negotiations leading to the 1972 strategic surveillance equipment. Jim Ney} who
arms limitation treaty (SALT I). In 1973 the managed this effort, explained that it

U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency monitored activities by using unattended
funded Sandia's development of unmanned instruments which continuously collect
seismic observatories a technology
operational data and monitor areas of
important in reassuring treaty signatories infrequent activity or hard-to-get-to locations."
that nuclear test restrictions could not be
violated without detection. The first seismic Responsibility for international
safeguards was added to Bill Myre's security
Chapter 6 - - -- -- ,_ , -

Paul Stokes and lieger Hagengruber ~rved as ted'mical advisors il'I 1978 to arms ccl'ltrcl negotiator~ in Geneva, Swit.zerland,

systems directorate, already tasked with the VELA satellites of the 1960s. Sandia's
designjng security systems for protecting atmospheric nuclear burst detection package
nuclear weapons and materials from terrorist was oriented earthward, while Los Alamos's
attacks . "With the growing concern over sensors monitored surrounding space for
proliferation of nuclear weapons abroad, nuclear detonations.
we'Te developing highly reliable, long-lived
surveillance and containment instrumenta- For the GJ>S satellites, Sandia also
tion for the JAE.A,'' said Myre. "While the de.signed radiation-hardened, Iarge-scale
equipment is often diffe rent from that used integrated circuits that could replace 100
to thwart te.rrorists, the objective is still standard integrated circuits in logic systems
deterrence." for data processing and command and
control. Although the first of these satellites
A major thrust of the early Carter was not launched until 1983, Roger
administration was negotiation of a treaty Hagengruber and Paul Stokes were in Geneva
banning all nuclear weapon testing. To assist providing technical support for arms control
in monitoring such a treaty, Sandia joined negotiations, and their reports convinced
with Los Alamos during the late 1970s in Morgan Sparks and other Sandians by 1978
designing sensors to be flown on the Global that a comprehensive test ban would
Positiorung System (GPS) and Defense eventually be signed. When public concern
Support Program (DSP) satellites to replace arose about how this might affect Sandia,

The National uboraloriet

.-.:. ~-~:-"' ' -:.: ...:-...;_-:-:,...~.... -.- :

- ~- ~ _. .. ...._.

A monitoring trailer prepared in response to the Peaceful Nuclear Ex:plos.ioni Treaty i.s; teit-loaded on a stretch C-130 al the
Nevada Tesl Site.

Sc.ientists from Germany in 1978 examine a mNeillance camera developed at Sandia with Sill Myre:, ldt, and lim Ney, right,
hi:Mding the camera.

Chapter 6 _ _

Torn Cook pointed out that less than five gasoline and electricity at federal facilities,
percent of Sandia's activities involved nuclear including Sandia; and Ward Hunnicutt,
testing. "Decreases in testing activities," Cook Sandia's plant engineer, instituted extensive
correctly predicted, "might well be offset by energy conservation efforts.
increases in simulation and verification
efforts." Sandia's energy research received boosted
funding, thanks to an ambitious initiative by
the Carter administration to increase the use
of solar energy and other alternatives to
ENERGY CRISIS petroleum, When Vice President Walter
Mondale visited Sandia in 1978, he took time
When Iranians seized the American to highlight its solar and alternative energy
embassy in Tehran, took hostages, and projects . The Energy Security Act of 1980
stopped oil exports to the United States, went farther, creating a corporation to
higher energy prices and a second energy subsidize synthetic fuel production from coal
crisis followed. Dur;ng this crisis, President and oil shale, encouraging the development
Carter and Secretary of E.nergy Schlesinger of alcohol and methane substitutes for
mandated additional reductions in the use of petroleum, and providing tax credits for solar

Vice President Walter Mondale visited Sandia's solar research facilities in 1978. Foreground fmm left: Morgan Sparks, Mondale,
Herman Roser, Governar lerry Apodaca, Senator Pete Dornenici.

_ The National Laboratories

and energy conservation installations. Finally1 national asset - they do not belong to a
the legislation authmized the President to university1 a state, or a region," Jackson
begin filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. declared, arguing that they were the
These energy conservation and related cornerstone on which national security rested.
measures had some impact: in 1980 U.S.
1 "Since the early 1950s, Los Alamos, Lawrence
petroleum use decreased and its total energy Livermore, and Sandia Laboratories have kept
consumption actually declined by four this country well out in front of its potential
percent compared with 1979. adversaries/' Jackson asserted.

When bills in the House and Senate were

drawn to confer national laboratory status on
A NATIONAL LABORATORY Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore,
Leonard Jacobvitz and James Stout from the
During the coldest days of the 1979 DOE AJbuquerque office insisted that Sandia
energy crisis, Sandia acquired national also be designated a national laboratory.
laboratory status. Quietly included in When Congress enacted the bill naming the
legislation Congress enacted during the three as national laboratories at the end of
December 1979 holiday season, the name December 1979, the change proceeded with
change to Sandia National Laboratories little fanfare at Sandia. Morgan Sparks
surprised most Sandians. pointed out, however, that Sandia had
become not only a national laboratory, but
The Atomic Energy Commission in 1946 with 7, 700 employees on the last day of the
and 1947 had established the first national 1970s it became the largest national
laboratories at Argonne, Brookhaven 1 and laboratory as well.
Oak Ridge. These were managed by
universities or associations of universities Asked how Sandia National Laboratories
and national laboratory status indicated {hat could best serve the nation during the coming
they engaged in broad, multiprogram decade Sparks responded: "The nation is
research in close association with the entering the 80s with much apprehension.
universities. Congress subsequently added Beyond the state of the economy the two

the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, biggest problems we face are the adequacy of
the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, our national defense and our energy supply.
and others to the list. Although Los Alamos We at Sandia have a marvelous opportunity to
and Lawrence Livermore laboratories were contribute to both of these challenges. What
managed by the University of California, more could we ask forr @
they did not officially become national
laboratories until 1979 when they received

that status in the same legislation as Sandia.

Considerable political pressure in early

1979 urged the University of California to end
its management of the two nuclear weapon
laboratories, and Governor Edmund "Jerry"
Brown called for the University to divest itself
of Los Alamos management entirely while
diverting Lawrence Livermore into non-
weapon programs. John Deutch, the
Undersecretary of Energy, expressed concern
about Brown's proposal, and Senator Henry
uscoop" Jackson was so disturbed that he
supported legislation directing DOE to consider
hiring new contractors for laboratories'
management. 11 These laboratories are a

The Sandia Print Shop as it appeared in 1952. Workers took care of pri1\ting, collating, binding,
and mimeographing under the supetVision of Art Perry, standing at right.

Graphic Design, Tech Art, Tech of the draft for editing. The technical writing,
photo and reproduction, and technical art
Writing, and the Print Shop divisions tried to work closely together to
keep the publication on track. J. J. "Mike"
The production of manuals, technical Michnovicz, Photo and Reproduction
reports,exhibits, brochures, and the glossy Supervisor in 1957, stressed the need for
magazines detailing technical achievements cooperation to meet constantly looming
over the years rests with Sandia's in-house deadlines at a time when the size and
graphic designers, technical artists, writers, number of copies of manuals was on the rise.
compositors, and printers. The majority of 'Technical manuals in the past have averaged
the work has focused on technical reports 80 to 120 pages with 800 to 1000 copies
and weapon manuals. The careful required. Currently, the trend is toward 150
presentation of Sandia's work to the military to 200 pages with the print order running
and others in the nuclear weapons business between 2000-3000 copies."
required well-trained and speedy writers, as
well as talented artists and photographers. Once the rough draft was approved,
complete with art work and photographs,
In 1957 it took about 15 days to produce masters were created and sent to the print
a technical manual once a rough draft was shop. Working two fully staffed shifts, the
prepared. While the technical writer finished print shop churned out completed manuals
the draft of the manual, a technical artist almost daily. Although most of Sandia's color
would begin making the drawings, and the printing bas been done by outside suppliers,
reproduction workers would prepare copies

the presses in the basement of building 802
were never idle. Technical reports and
weapon manuals remained the bulk of the
print shop's work over the years. In 1973, for
example, an average of 450,000 pages a week
was produced. The end of the Cold War
reduced the need for new weapon manuals,
but writers and artists were needed to
support the variety of other programs
undertaken by the Labs.

Right: Sandia's technical artists ha\le won a variety of local

and national awards ow!r the years. Here Leo Ortiz is Ylown
with the detailed futltone color illustration of a Sandia-
designed instrument that garnered him first place in the
cutaway and color renderings category of the 1963
National lllustr<ttors Management Association exhibit in Los

Below: Fred Pena operating a Harris press in th_e print shop

in 1973. At the time, the shop operated two Harris and two
DaYidson presses lor large jobs in addition to three Multilith
presses for rapid service.

Chapter 7 _ ____ _ __ __ __ _

Sandia CAiifornia tadlitles at Uvermore in 1984, looking south~t. Aaoss lhe s.lreet in the left invnediate foreground is part
of lawren<:e Lillennore National Laboratof}I.

__ _ Strategic Defense


Peace in this world, e.')pecially in the nuclear age1 is beyond price and must be

George Dacey

Policy changes implemented by President At first SDI concentrated on


Ronald Reagan in 1981 affected Sandia development of directed~energy weapons,

significantly. Funding cuts for energy and this program, coupled with existing
research forced program curtailments, while weapon effects and fusion research efforts,
expanded defense funding bolstered Sandia's stimulated major advances in Sandia s
weapon programs. The President's 1983 pulsed-power research. With additional
strategic defense initiative (SDI) and the 1984 funding, Sandia designed and built huge
decision to apply Sandia's nuclear weapon particle accelerators for the generation of
design expertise to the improvement of x-rays as well as electron and ion beams.
conventional weapons, added additional
funding sources for Sandia. In both nuclear and conventional
designs, Sandia sought to create "smarf'
During the 1980s} the nation and world weapons able to find and identify targets and
moved into a new era of mobile missiles) strike them with precision. Dacey described
stealth bombers1 and smart weapons. this initiative as a campaign to give weapons
National defense policies shifted from an "artificial intelligence/' using sensors and
offensive to defensive strategies. from nuclear
1 computers that added decision-making
to advanced conventional weapons, and capabilities to the weapons. This concept also
these shifts were mirrored in Sandia's found applications in improved weapon use
activities. With increasing demands for its control, in treaty verification technology, and
expertise and services, Sandia prospered, even in commercial manufacturjng.
developing its own programmatic triad:
nuclear weapons, energy and environment~
and reimbursable work-for-others.
When George Dacey became Sandia's
president in 1981, it was rushing to meet the Declaring that the Department of Energy
Defense department's schedules for the des1gn had never produced a quart of oil or a lump
and production of three new nuclear weapons: of coal, Ronald Reagan advocated abolishing
the B83 strategic bomb and the warheads for it. A week after taking office in 1981,
both cruise and tactical missiles. This presented insisting that energy shortages resulted from
strenuous challenges, and success in meeting federal interference in the marketplace, he
the requirements brought credit not only to lifted fuel-price controls and rescinded the
Sandia, but contributed as well to international building temperature restrictions imposeq in
progress in arms control negotiations. 1979. Reagan's energy plan emphasized the

Chapter 7

release of federal energy reserves to production

and the funding only of long-range energy
research with potentially high payoffs. More
important for Sandia, Heagan supported
greatly augmented defense programs. In his
first year, he reduced the Carter
administration energy budget while lm:reasing
the defense budget, and he proposed
transferring Energy department functions to
the Commerce and Interior departments.

At th is critical juncture, George Dacey

became Sandia's president when Morgan
Sparks retired after nine years at the helm .
Dacey and Sparks were old friend!i; indeed,
Sparks had been best man at Dacey's
wedding. Dacey had designed radar jammers
at Westinghouse Laboratories during World
War II, and later, while a graduate student at
the California Institute of Technology, he
accepted William Shocl<ley's invitation to
work at Bell Laboratories. He joined the
transistor research team that included Sparks
and John Hornbeck, acquiring nine patents
and becoming an early expert on lasers
before t(ansferring to Sandla as research
Sandia Pfe~ident George Dacey, lop, meets some of his
predecelsors. Leh lo righr: John Hornbeck, Monk Schwartz,
Morgan Sparks welcomes Georg~ Dacey to Sandia in 1981 .
Morgan Sparks.
They stand atop Building 802.

Strategi<:. Defense

George Dacey reorganized Sandia's executive management in 1982. left 10 righl, executive vice presidents Af Narath and
Tom Cook with Dacey.

director in 1961. Back at Bell Laboratories in several years, however, adjustments became
1963, he became its vice president of necessary at Sandia. Sandia centralized its
operations an<l planning before succeeding management of solar central receiver
Sparks at Sandia. programs at Albuquerque, for example, and
transferred staff from fossil energy programs
Dacey was a forthright optimist, whose to other programs such as the Yucca
personality meshed well with the optimistic Mountain high-level waste repository studies.
character of the Reagan administration. According to vice president John Galt, Sandia
Indeed, his friends described Dacey as shrank its energy programs and expanded
another "great communicator," able to spea k defense programs in ways that reduced the
extemporaneously while clearly pain: "We had reached the place where we
communicating the gist of complex had a fair number of retirements, so that the
technology. When asked how Sandia in 1981 problem of having people who were rendered
compared with the Sandia of 1961, Dacey obsolete by the change was minimized, and
observed that in 1961 only a quatter of its the upshot of the whole thing was a very
technical staff had advanced degrees, but this smooth adjustment."
percentage had increased to about three-
quarters by 1981. Moreover, Sandia had To further compensate for the
many more computers and modern diminishing energy workload, Dacey urged
instruments than it had in 1961. "If you look that Sandia accept reimbursable work from
at the degree to which analysis rather than agencies outside of the Department of
empirical methods inspires our work, we are Energy. In time, reimbursables could serve an
much further ahead," Dacey noted, "In inertial role, he reasoned, dampi11.g budgetary
almost every technical sense, we are both a oscillations resulting from transitions in
broader and deeper technical laboratory than 1)ational energy and defense polides. "It
we were then." takes decades to build a laboratory like this
one where the skills complement one
Dacey personally deplored the Reagan another, where compJicated jobs can be done
administration's cut in funding foe energy on a multidisciplinary basis, and wheie
research. "It seems obvious to many of us," people have learned how to work effectively
he said, "that unless the nation wants to together," Dacey observed. "That kind of an
depend increasingly and indefinitely on institution represents a national resource that
foreign sources of oil, then there is an energy deserves to be preserved; it's not easy to
problem.'' When the decline continued for rebuild such a place if you d ismantle it."

Chapter 7

O~or9e Dacey and his executive staN (small $taff) in 1953 listen to Sob Reuter, ilanding, s~ak !)() Sl!ndla's rec.ruiling
program, ~eoted at the lob/~ from /eh ta right: Gcme Reed, Bob Peurifoy, Charl~y Ro~s, Al Narath, O;i, ey, Tom Cook, ver-et
~ec.~Mr, Orval Jon~s, l')ick ClaaHen. 8ot;lt9ro1,md, !eh co right: Sandia recruiters Marv Tomeby, Howard ~luer, Dan Arvizu.

It was D~cey's conviction as well, that

regular institutional reorganization was
desirable because "it stirs things and people up
to put them into new patterns; it revitalizes
thinking." He preferred a crisp hierarchical
matrix at Sandia With two separate command
chains, one supervising current actiVities and
the other focusing on future opportunities.
When Jack Howard retired as executive vice
president in 1982, Dacey named nAJo executive
vice presidents, Tom Cook and Al Narath. He
made Cook responsible for scheduled weapon
development, energy, and test programs and
Narath for long-term research, advanced
weapon and component designs, and

Sandia made its capabilities clear to

potential customers. Than.ks to SDI and the
Advanced Conventional Weapons program
advocated in the U.S. Senate in 1984, Sandia
had more reimbursable work offered than it
could accept. As Dacey remarked, Sandia was in
the "catbird sear," enjoying greater demand for
its services than at any other time in its history.

Sandia designed 'omponents of che W80 warhead for

Tomahawk submarinelaun(hed "uise missiles, such as this
one seen in a tc?st laun'h off the California coast.

. ~-- St.rategk Defense

A 1986 drop teit of a 883 at Tonopah Tut Range. Released

from the B-1 B bomber, the three pilot chutes pull out the Dick Jorgensen displays the W85 warhead designed for the
bomb's main parachute for a laydown delivery. r>ershing II missile.

In 1~8/ jim Nelsen, Joe Archuleta, Dan Luna, Harold Wrddow!., and Phil Oweru dii;pfay their a53 packed parachute
system, a duster of three 4.S-foot diameter parachutes in a tingle container.

Chapter 7

In 1982, test Hrghts of the Air-Laur.eked Crur~e Missile

(ALCM) checked Sandia'~ designs for the WS0-1 warhead.


When Dacey returned to Sandia in 1981,

weaponization on three major projects was
nearing completion: the B83 snategic bomb,
the W84 for the ground- launcht>d cruise
missile, and the W8S for the Army's Pershing
Ir missile, and all t hree of these complex
warhead systems moved into production by
1983. "We had not put weapons into
production for a long time," said Tom Cook,
adding, "Anytime you really get down to
where the rubber meets the road like that,
where your designs have to be produced,
there is a learning curve and both we and the
production complex had really forgotten the
way we u~d to do thi.ngs and we had to
relearn those."

As Sandia raced to get its n.ew weapon

designs into production, problems developed,
so serious that department manage.rs,
paraphrasing a popular Broadway musical,
complained of "trouble in weapon city. "
Analyzing this situation, Dacey noted that
during its early history Sandia had some
re.spomibility for production control in the
integrated contractor complex, but the
A test stand for the Navy's Tride1'1t II mruife.

_ _ __ Strategic Defense

Sandia conlributed to warhead design for the MX Peacekeeper missiles deployed in the 1980s. Here, the multiple reentry
vehicles #tom a Peacekeeper missile create st<iking palterns as they return from space during :a te~l in the Pac.ilic.

historic trend had moved Sandia increasingly properly belonged to the production
toward the early design research and contractors, unless they specifically requested
development phases while transferring Sandia's heJp,
manufacturing engineering, process control,
and qualtty control to the production Two related developments supported
contractors. "So the hisloric view - cradk- Dacey's analysis. First, many of the Sandians
to-grave respo nsibility for weapons, even who led the early weapon projects had
inch1ding their manufacture - is no longer transferre d to other design areas or were
viable;" Dacey asserted. Tn his view, Sandtans retired, taking with them their many years of
were overly concerned with problems that hard-earne d knowledge and skills. To retain

Ch4pter 7 -._

some of their knowledge, Dacey approved

the inauguration of the oral interview and
historical programs suggested by Jack
Howard. He hoped also to preserve some of
their knowledge in the form of computer
programs - artificial intelligence, Dacey
called it - but the technology needed to do
that was still developing.

Second, Dacey reacted to the fact that

Sandia's staffing had remained relatively
constant for years, while the number of
people assigned to weapons development
had declined by twenty percent_ Sandia
therefore bolstered weapon programs staffing
through transfers from the declining energy
programs and from the W82 program for the
155-millimeter artillery shell, which Congress
canceled in 1983 only to restart it in 1985
before ending it completely in 1990.

Although Sandia's managers were initially

uncertain that the production schedules tor the
three major weapDns, pfus the versatile W80 for
cruise missiles, could be met, strenuous efforts
brought success. At the end of 1983, Dacey
proudly announced on-time completion of all
schedules, an extraordinary achievement with
significant poJitical implicatioru. "A major
factor in arn1s control negotiation," Dacey
commented, "was our ability to demonstrate
that NATO meant business."

Even as these weapons entered

production, tbe Reagan administration's
defense emphasis brought impetus to new
warhead development projects1 notably one
for the Air Force MX or Peace.keeper missile
(W87) and another for the Navy's Trident II
missile (W88).

Wanting a mobile intercontinental

ballistic missile to thwart the threat of a
Soviet preemptive first strike against the
existing Minuteman missile silos, the Air
Force initiated studies of advanced ballistic
reentry vehicles, later renamed the MX, and
finally, Peacekeeper, during the 1970s.
"Smart" fu:z.ing systems studies were initiated
in the mid-1970s in Dan Hardin's advanced

A l 987 test of a Peacekeeper mi~!lle at Vandenberg Air

Force Base, California. A gas generator ejected the m issile
from the silo before its rocket ignited.

_ St,ategi<: Defense

During the 1980i, George Dacey and General Ken Wtthen ot DOE presented Weapons Rec.ognition of b:cellence Awards to
Sar\dians. This was the 1985 ceremony at Albuquetque. lefl to right: Dacey, Withers, Bill Stevens, Bob Luna, Paul Longmire,
Steve Burchett, Gordon Boettcher.

fuzing division for th is system and the Tn 1.982, Bob Peurifoy's directorate
Trident IL New concepts included a radar- drafted a proposal to the Air Force for Sandia
updated path length fuze based on an development of the complete reentry arming,
accurate radiation-hardened crystal clock and fuzing, and firing system, and Sandia staffed
a stabilized forc.e balance integrating a fui.e development department headed by
acceleronieter. These studies were supported Hardin for this large potential .reimbursable
by both DoD and DOE funding. program. Under this arrangement, Sandia
staff at Livermore under jay G il.son would
Amidst a national debate over survivable provide W87 warhead design, including the
basing modes, Sandia developed subsystems electrical system, neutron generators,
for the W78 warhead designed both to replace structural design , and a new gas transfer
the three W62s carried by Minuteman missiles system while the fuzing development
and for the Peacekeeper missiles as welL Roy department in Albuquerque would provide
Fitzgerald and Heinz Schmitt, followed by Bill the reimbursable aJming and fuzing design.
Ulrich, managed Sandia's electrical and
mechanical designs for the W78. Proceeding with Sandia's customary
weaponization at Livermore, Sandia's W87
Aftet production of the W7B began in design program had project divisions headed
1979, Sandia proposed design modifications by Cliff Yokomizo, Paul Heppner, and Hank
of the W78 hardware to fit requirements for Witek, with Dave Dean and Doug Henson as
the Pe.1cekeeper missile. These proposals lead engineers, and under the overall
initially included integrated arming, fuzing, program leadership of Gilson . Use of
and firing systems, incoqXlrating the computer design analysis marked the work
"advanced smart fuzing" concepts being on the W87 . By )980, Sandia had acquired
explored by Hardin's group for both the Air roughly SSO miJJion worth of centralized
Force (Peacekeeper) and Navy (Trident II) computers, including its first Cray
missiles. Io 1982, however, the Air Force. supercomputer, twenty times faster than
elected to develop an entirely new warhead, earlier computers, which allowed the solutjon
the W8 7, specifically for the ten-warhead of previously intractable analytic problems
Peacekeeper missile. To ensure hardness against countermeasures
and predict component shock response in the

Chapter 7

W8 7, the project team developed

computational techniques and formulated
analytical models with aid of the Cray and
then verified the models through field tests.

On a close schedule, Sandia deployed a

prototype system tor the fir.st Peacekeeper
flight test in 1983 and maintained a schedule
to permit deployment of the first Peacekeeper
missiles in late 1986. rn retrospect, it was,
said George Dacey, a very ''solid program."

However, Sandia suffered a

disappointment in its proposal for developing
the Peacekeeper's arming and fuzing system.
Jn 1983, nine months into a phase 3 design, In 1986 Gordon Boettcher holds two rugged, radiation-
the Air Force elected to use its traditional harden~d S~ytrons he invented as switches tor use in
aerospace fuzing contractor for the W87 fuze. we.apom.

provide a powerful anchor for the national

Sandia fuzing efforts were then
deterrent triad.
concentrated on the Navy's Trident H (Mk 5)
reentry body. Tn 1983, Sandia signed its third
For the Trident Tl (Mark 5 reentry body),
reimbursable agreement with th~ Navy's
the Trident development department
Strategic Systems Programs office for an
coordinated studies with the Lockheed