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Into the BlackJPL and the American Space Program, 1976-2004$
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Peter J. Westwick

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300110753

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300110753.001.0001

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External Relations and the Internal Environment

External Relations and the Internal Environment

(p.59) Four External Relations and the Internal Environment
Into the Black

Peter J. Westwick

Yale University Press

This chapter shows how the triangular relationship among the lab, Caltech, and NASA—a central characteristic of JPL—was highlighted by Murray's political activity in the early 1980s. Like the previous directors of JPL, Murray came to the job from Caltech, and he took office with the explicit intention of building up relations with campus. As the only NASA center operated by a contractor, JPL maintained a delicate balance between the independence offered by the Caltech association and the accountability demanded of government programs. The maturation of the aerospace industry added a fourth leg to the triangle making it a square and introduced basic questions about JPL's identity. All the while, JPL itself was evolving in its internal organization and culture in response to changing contexts.

Keywords:   triangular relationship, Caltech, NASA, JPL, Murray's political activity, contractor, Caltech association, government programs, aerospace industry

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