Oral history of British science
King-Hele, Desmond (Part 13 of 21). An Oral History of British Science.
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King-Hele, Desmond, 1927- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 13: Comments on positive response of Russian scientists to use by DKH of Russian satellites for studies of orbits. Story of 1960 visit to RAE by Professor Alla Massevitch [AM], Vice President, Astronomical Council, USSR Academy of Sciences, organised by JL. Comments on AM’s role in establishing international cooperation in satellite research, including Russian translations of DKH’s books and sharing of satellite observations; attendance at COSPAR meetings, including Florence, 1961. [3:39] Comments on lack of discussion of Cold War at Florence COSPAR meeting, 1961; character of AM. [5:09] Discussion of AM’s1960 visit to RAE. [7:19] Comments on influence on British space research of HM until his death, 1983; HM’s support for DKH’s work, including role in election of DKH as Fellow of Royal Society [FRS], 1966. [11:58] Comments on description of self in ATOO as a ‘Newtonian’ scientist. Story of recognition of DW’s work by Council for National Academic Awards [CNAA]. [18:28] Mentions lack of memory of problem with NORAD data, discussed in ATOO. Story of destroying 57 filing cabinets of satellite data however, 42 boxes of material archived by UOC from 1992; Bernard Lovell [BL] telephoning to ask for prediction allowing him to track rocket of S1 from Jodrell Bank [JB]. Comments on effect on JB finances of successful tracking of S1; possible influence of BL on award to DKH of Eddington Medal of Royal Astronomical Society. [24:31] Comments on beginnings of pre-eminence due to technology and manpower of US satellite orbit analysis, from the late 1980s; accuracy of US laser tracking, satellite altimeters, gravity gradiometers; use of own work as means of verifying US observations. Mentions British head of satellite observing division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, David Smith, formerly of RRS, Slough. [30:30] Comments on relations between orbit analysis and other scientific fields: oceanography, seismology, meteorology.
Life story interview with physicist Dr Desmond King-Hele