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PSL Alumni History Project -1946 Timeline 

16 April The first launch of a V-2 at WSPG was attempted
30 April NMA&M's first contract with the Army's BRL
10 May Dr. Wilbur Goss sent a memo to the Director of APL which recommended a "Section  T" contract between APL and  NMA&M<
10 May The first successful V-2 flight at WSPG
15 May First contact official start date
17 May BuOrd, through its Bumblebee contract with APL, responded to Aerojet's proposal (see the Early January entry) by ordering 20 sounding rockets, 15 for APL and five for NRL.
29 May The second successful V-2, instrumented by GE, also climbed to 70 miles. Anna Gardiner and her group now had two batches of film to process.
Early Summer BRL requested that the College furnish Civil Engineering students for some surveying work on the new range


"An Askania Cinetholodite.  This one has been extensively modified from the one we saw at Nan Station in 1946, but it is an example" Joe Gold

Early September Since the classroom used for the ballistic reduction work was needed for the fall semester, Anna Gardiner's group moved to a large room in the east end of the Air Mechanics Building on Vaughn Street.
14 September The Board of Regents established a Laboratory of Applied Sciences with Dr. Gardiner as its Director reporting to the President.  Dr. Gardiner was to exercise his duties jointly with those of the   head of the Physics Department. The Laboratory's name was changed to the Physical Science Laboratory some time before the end of 1946.   Although the files do not disclose the date that this actually occurred, such a change supposedly required an action by the Board of Regents.
Fall Semester Faculty joint appointments included Professors Melvin Thomas and Harold Brown of the Electrical Engineering Department and Physics Professor Dr. Albert Burris.
18 October

A two-page letter of intent from the Navy's BuOrd conveyed this message:  "We anticipate placing with you a formal contract calling for studies and experimental investigations in connection with ordnance problems, and for the development, construction, and testing of ordnance devices. You may begin work when ready, but when convenient, send us a proposal. Contract amount is estimated to be $240,000. Contract term will be 1 July 1946 through 31 March 1949. Work will be under the technical direction of APL/JHU. Task Statements will be issued from time to time."

The starting date of this contract was made retroactive to July 1, suggesting that some type of work began around that time. There is no written record found regarding the nature of this preliminary work.

1 December

The Army/BRL contract was expanded to include the following additional tasks:

  • Provide part-time personnel for technical assistance in the maintenance, operation, and development of tracking devices used at WSPG
  • Develop films obtained in the tracking of missiles at WSPG
  • Increase full-time equivalent personnel from 10 to 15