Credit: © Mark Wade
AKA: Command Service Module. Status: Operational 1967. First Launch: 1967-11-09. Last Launch: 1975-07-15. Number: 17 . Thrust: 97.86 kN (22,000 lbf). Gross mass: 30,329 kg (66,863 lb). Unfuelled mass: 11,841 kg (26,104 lb). Specific impulse: 314 s. Height: 11.03 m (36.18 ft).
Block II CSM's were the only version to fly manned, and they successfully ferried crews to the moon, to the Skylab space station, and to a joint docking with the Russian Soyuz. No production was undertaken after the initial run of 13 Block II capsules - Apollo was abandoned in favor of the Shuttle as the ferry for American manned spaceflight. Forty years later, the Shuttle was to be retired, and a design similar to the Apollo, the CEV, was conceived as the Shuttle's 'replacement'.
Unit Cost $: 77.000 million. Crew Size: 3. Habitable Volume: 6.17 m3. RCS total impulse: 3,774 kgf-sec. Spacecraft delta v: 2,804 m/s (9,199 ft/sec). Electric System: 690.00 kWh. Electric System: 6.30 average kW.
|Apollo CM American manned spacecraft module. 22 launches, 1964.05.28 (Saturn 6) to 1975.07.15 (Apollo (ASTP)).|
|Apollo SM American manned spacecraft module. 22 launches, 1964.05.28 (Saturn 6) to 1975.07.15 (Apollo (ASTP)).|
|Apollo A American manned space station. Study 1961. Apollo A was a lighter-weight July 1961 version of the Apollo spacecraft.|
|Apollo X American manned space station. Study 1963.|
|Apollo Martin 410 American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. The Model 410 was Martin's preferred design for the Apollo spacecraft.|
|Apollo Direct CM American manned spacecraft module. Study 1961. Conventional spacecraft structures were employed, following the proven materials and concepts demonstrated in the Mercury and Gemini designs.|
|Apollo Direct RM American manned spacecraft module. Study 1961. The retrograde module supplied the velocity increments required during the translunar portion of the mission up to a staging point approximately 1800 m above the lunar surface.|
|Apollo Direct SM American manned spacecraft module. Study 1961. The Service Module housed the fuel cells, environmental control, and other major equipment items required for the mission.|
|Apollo Direct TLM American manned spacecraft module. Study 1961. Final letdown, translation hover and landing on the lunar surface from 1800 m above the surface was performed by the terminal landing module. Engine thrust could be throttled down to 1546 kgf.|
|Apollo Direct 2-Man American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. A direct lunar lander design of 1961, capable of being launched to the moon in a single Saturn V launch through use of a 75% scale 2-man Apollo command module.|
|Apollo M-1 American manned spacecraft. Study 1962. Convair/Astronautics preferred M-1 Apollo design was a three-module lunar-orbiting spacecraft.|
|Apollo W-1 American manned spacecraft. Study 1962. Martin's W-1 design for the Apollo spacecraft was an alternative to the preferred L-2C configuration. The 2652 kg command module was a blunt cone lifting body re-entry vehicle, 3.45 m in diameter, 3.61 m long.|
|Apollo D-2 American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1962. The General Electric design for Apollo put all systems and space not necessary for re-entry and recovery into a separate jettisonable 'mission module', joined to the re-entry vehicle by a hatch.|
|Apollo R-3 American manned spacecraft. Study 1962. General Electric's Apollo horizontal-landing alternative to the ballistic D-2 capsule was the R-3 lifting body. This modified lenticular shape provided a lift-to-drag ratio of just 0.|
|Apollo L-2C American manned spacecraft. Study 1962. Martin's L-2C design was the basis for the Apollo spacecraft that ultimately emerged. The 2590 kg command module was a flat-bottomed cone, 3. 91 m in diameter, 2.67 m high, with a rounded apex.|
|Apollo Lenticular American manned spacecraft. Study 1962. The Convair/Astronautics alternate Lenticular Apollo was a flying saucer configuration with the highest hypersonic lift to drag ratio (4.4) of any proposed design.|
|Apollo LES American test vehicle. Flight tests from a surface pad of the Apollo Launch Escape System using a boilerplate capsule.|
|Apollo CSM Boilerplate American manned spacecraft. Boilerplate structural Apollo CSM's were used for various systems and booster tests, especially proving of the LES (launch escape system).|
|Apollo CSM Block I American manned spacecraft. The Apollo Command Service Module was the spacecraft developed by NASA in the 1960's as a standard spacecraft for earth and lunar orbit missions.|
|FIRE American re-entry vehicle technology satellite. 2 launches, 1964.04.14 (FIRE 1) and 1965.05.22 (FIRE 2). Suborbital re-entry test program that used a subscale model of the Apollo Command Module to verify the configuration at high reentry speed. Reentry Technology satellite built by Republic Aviation Corporation for NASA.|
|Apollo MSS American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1965. The Apollo Mapping and Survey System was a kit of photographic equipment that was at one time part of the basic Apollo Block II configuration.|
|Apollo Experiments Pallet American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1965. The Apollo Experiments Pallet was a sophisticated instrument payload that would have been installed in the Apollo CSM for dedicated lunar or earth orbital resource assessment missions.|
|Apollo SMLL American lunar logistics spacecraft. Study 1966. North American Aviation (NAA) proposed use of the SM as a lunar logistics vehicle (LLV) in 1966. The configuration, simply stated, put a landing gear on the SM.|
|Apollo CMLS American manned lunar habitat. Study 1966.|
|Apollo RM American logistics spacecraft. Study 1967. In 1967 it was planned that Saturn IB-launched Orbital Workshops would be supplied by Apollo CSM spacecraft and Resupply Modules (RM) with up to three metric tons of supplies and instruments.|
|Apollo 120 in Telescope American manned space station. Study 1968. Concept for use of a Saturn V-launched Apollo CSM with an enormous 10 m diameter space laboratory equipped with a 3 m diameter astronomical telescope.|
|Apollo LMAL American manned space station. Study 1968.|
|Apollo Rescue CSM American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1970. Influenced by the stranded Skylab crew portrayed in the book and movie 'Marooned', NASA provided a crew rescue capability for the first time in its history.|
|Apollo ASTP Docking Module American manned space station module. Docking Module 2. The ASTP docking module was basically an airlock with docking facilities on each end to allow crew transfer between the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft.|
|Apollo CM Escape Concept American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1976. Escape capsule using Apollo command module studied by Rockwell for NASA for use with the shuttle in the 1970's-80's. Mass per crew: 750 kg.|
|Apollo LM&SS 1, 2, 3, 4 (Upward 1, 2, 3, 4) Null|
|Apollo 15 CSM|
Apollo 15 CSM over Lunar Surface
|Apollo CSM / LM|
Apollo Command Service Module and Lunar Module
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Apollo vs N1-L3|
Apollo CSM / LM vs L3 Lunar Complex
Credit: © Mark Wade
Apollo CSM with Launch Escape Tower
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Apollo CSM Interior|
Interior of the Apollo Command Service Module on display at Kennedy Space Centre, Florida.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: Manufacturer Image
Credit: Manufacturer Image
|Apollo with Vanes|
The Rocket and Satellite Research Panel, established in 1946 as the V-2 Upper Atmosphere Research Panel and renamed the Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel in 1948, together with the American Rocket Society proposed a national space flight program and a unified National Space Establishment. The mission of such an Establishment would be nonmilitary in nature, specifically excluding space weapons development and military operations in space. By 1959, this Establishment should have achieved an unmanned instrumented hard lunar landing and, by 1960, an unmanned instrumented lunar satellite and soft lunar landing. Manned circumnavigation of the moon with return to earth should have been accomplished by 1965 with a manned lunar landing mission taking place by 1968. Beginning in 1970, a permanent lunar base should be possible.
The Stever Committee, which had been set up on January 12, submitted its report on the civilian space program to NASA. Among the recommendations:
A Working Group on Lunar Exploration was established by NASA at a meeting at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Members of NASA, JPL, Army Ballistic Missile Agency, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California participated in the meeting. The Working Group was assigned the responsibility of preparing a lunar exploration program, which was outlined: circumlunar vehicles, unmanned and manned; hard lunar impact; close lunar satellites; soft lunar landings (instrumented). Preliminary studies showed that the Saturn booster with an intercontinental ballistic missile as a second stage and a Centaur as a third stage, would be capable of launching manned lunar circumnavigation spacecraft and instrumented packages of about one ton to a soft landing on the moon.
Roy W. Johnson, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), testified before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics that DOD and ARPA had no lunar landing program. Herbert F. York, DOD Director of Defense Research and Engineering, testified that exploration of the moon was a NASA responsibility.
At the second meeting of the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight, held at the Ames Research Center, members presented reports on intermediate steps toward a manned lunar landing and return.
Bruce T. Lundin of the Lewis Research Center reported to members on propulsion requirements for various modes of manned lunar landing missions, assuming a 10,000-pound spacecraft to be returned to earth. Lewis mission studies had shown that a launch into lunar orbit would require less energy than a direct approach and would be more desirable for guidance, landing reliability, etc. From a 500,000 foot orbit around the moon, the spacecraft would descend in free fall, applying a constant-thrust decelerating impulse at the last moment before landing. Research would be needed to develop the variable-thrust rocket engine to be used in the descent. With the use of liquid hydrogen, the launch weight of the lunar rocket and spacecraft would be 10 to 11 million pounds. Additional Details: here....
The STG New Projects Panel (proposed by H. Kurt Strass in June) held its first meeting to discuss NASA's future manned space program. Present were Strass, Chairman, Alan B. Kehlet, William S. Augerson, Jack Funk, and other STG members. Strass summarized the philosophy behind NASA's proposed objective of a manned lunar landing : maximum utilization of existing technology in a series of carefully chosen projects, each of which would provide a firm basis for the next step and be a significant advance in its own right. Additional Details: here....
The New Projects Panel of Space Task Group (STG) met for the first time, with H. Kurt Strass in the chair. The panel was to consider problems related to atmospheric reentry at speeds approaching escape velocity, maneuvers in the atmosphere and space, and parachute recovery for earth landing. Alan B. Kehlet of STG's Flight Systems Division was assigned to initiate a program leading to a second-generation capsule incorporating several advances over the Mercury spacecraft: It would carry three men; it would be able to maneuver in space and in the atmosphere; the primary reentry system would be designed for water landing, but land landing would be a secondary goal. At the next meeting, on August 18, Kehlet offered some suggestions for the new spacecraft. The ensuing discussion led panel members to agree that a specifications list should be prepared as the first step in developing an engineering design requirement.
At its second meeting, STG's New Projects Panel decided that the first major project to be investigated would be the second-generation reentry capsule. The Panel was presented a chart outlining the proposed sequence of events for manned lunar mission system analysis. The target date for a manned lunar landing was 1970.
A House Committee Staff Report stated that lunar flights would originate from space platforms in earth orbit according to current planning. The final decision on the method to be used, "which must be made soon," would take into consideration the difficulty of space rendezvous between a space platform and space vehicles as compared with the difficulty of developing single vehicles large enough to proceed directly from the earth to the moon.
At the third meeting of STG's New Projects Panel, Alan B. Kehlet presented suggestions for the multimanned reentry capsule. A lenticular-shaped vehicle was proposed, to ferry three occupants safely to earth from a lunar mission at a velocity of about 36,000 feet per second.
In a memorandum to the members of the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight, Chairman Harry J. Goett discussed the increased importance of the weight of the "end vehicle" in the lunar landing mission. This was to be an item on the agenda of the third meeting of the Committee, to be held in early December. Abe Silverstein, Director of the NASA Office of Space Flight Development, had recently mentioned to Goett that a decision would be made within the next few weeks on the configuration of successive generations of Saturn, primarily the upper stages, Silverstein and Goett had discussed the Committee's views on a lunar spacecraft. Goett expressed the hope in the memorandum that members of the Committee would have some specific ideas at their forthcoming meeting about the probable weight of the spacecraft.
In addition, Goett informed the Committee that the Vega had been eliminated as a possible booster for use in one of the intermediate steps leading to the lunar mission. The primary possibility for the earth satellite mission was now the first-generation Saturn and for the lunar flight the second-generation Saturn.
In testimony before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, Richard E. Horner, Associate Administrator of NASA, presented NASA's ten-year plan for 1960-1970. The essential elements had been recommended by the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight. NASA's Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, headed by Homer J. Stewart, formalized the ten-year plan.
On February 19, NASA officials again presented the ten-year timetable to the House Committee. A lunar soft landing with a mobile vehicle had been added for 1965. On March 28, NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan described the plan to the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. He estimated the cost of the program to be more than $1 billion in Fiscal Year 1962 and at least $1.5 billion annually over the next five years, for a total cost of $12 to $15 billion. Additional Details: here....
At a luncheon in Washington, Abe Silverstein, Director of the Office of Space Flight Programs, suggested the name "Apollo" for the manned space flight program that was to follow Mercury. Others at the luncheon were Don R. Ostrander from NASA Headquarters and Robert R. Gilruth, Maxime A. Faget, and Charles J. Donlan from STG.
At a NASA staff conference at Monterey, Calif., officials discussed the advanced manned space flight program, the elements of which had been presented to Congress in January. The Goddard Space Flight Center was asked to define the basic assumptions to be used by all groups in the continuing study of the lunar mission. Some problems already raised were: the type of heatshield needed for reentry and tests required to qualify it, the kind of research and development firings, and conditions that would be encountered in cislunar flight. Additional Details: here....
Members of STG presented guidelines for an advanced manned spacecraft program to NASA Centers to enlist research assistance in formulating spacecraft and mission design.
To open these discussions, Director Robert R. Gilruth summarized the guidelines: manned lunar reconnaissance with a lunar mission module, corollary earth orbital missions with a lunar mission module and with a space laboratory, compatibility with the Saturn C-1 or C-2 boosters (weight not to exceed 15,000 pounds for a complete lunar spacecraft and 25,000 pounds for an earth orbiting spacecraft), 14-day flight time, safe recovery from aborts, ground and water landing and avoidance of local hazards, point (ten square-mile) landing, 72-hour postlanding survival period, auxiliary propulsion for maneuvering in space, a "shirtsleeve" environment, a three-man crew, radiation protection, primary command of mission on board, and expanded communications and tracking facilities. In addition, a tentative time schedule was included, projecting multiman earth orbit qualification flights beginning near the end of the first quarter of calendar year 1966.
Command and communications guidelines for the advanced manned spacecraft program were listed by STG's Robert G. Chilton at NASA Centers:
Stanley C. White of STG outlined at NASA Centers the guidelines for human factors in the advanced manned spacecraft program:
In discussing the advanced manned spacecraft program at NASA Centers, Maxime A. Faget of STG detailed the guidelines for aborted missions and landing:
STG members, visiting Moffett Field, Calif., briefed representatives of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Flight Research Center, and Ames Research Center on the advanced manned spacecraft program. Ames representatives then described work at their Center which would be applicable to the program: preliminary design studies of several aerodynamic configurations for reentry from a lunar trajectory, guidance and control requirements studies, potential reentry heating experiments at near-escape velocity, flight simulation, and pilot display and navigation studies. STG asked Ames to investigate heating and aerodynamics on possible lifting capsule configurations. In addition, Ames offered to tailor a payload applicable to the advanced program for a forthcoming Wallops Station launch.
In a memorandum to NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan, Robert L. King, Executive Secretary of the Space Exploration Program Council (SEPC), reported on the status of certain actions taken up at the first meeting of the Council:
Members of STG presented the proposed advanced manned spacecraft program to Wernher von Braun and 25 of his staff at Marshall Space Flight Center. During the ensuing discussion, the merits of a completely automatic circumlunar mission were compared with those of a manually operated mission. Further discussions were scheduled.
STG members presented the proposed advanced manned spacecraft program to the Lewis Research Center staff. Work at the Center applicable to the program included: analysis and preliminary development of the onboard propulsion system, trajectory analysis, and development of small rockets for midcourse and attitude control propulsion.
A discussion on the advanced manned spacecraft program was held at the Langley Research Center with members of STG and Langley Research Center, together with George M. Low and Ernest O. Pearson, Jr., of NASA Headquarters and Harry J. Goett of Goddard Space Flight Center. Floyd L. Thompson, Langley Director, said that Langley would be studying the radiation problem, making configuration tests (including a lifting Mercury) , and studying aerodynamics, heating, materials, and structures.
Robert O. Piland, Head of the STG Advanced Vehicle Team, and Stanley C. White of STG attended a meeting in Washington, D. C., sponsored by the NASA Office of Life Sciences Programs, to discuss radiation and its effect on manned space flight. Their research showed that it would be impracticable to shield against the inner Van Allen belt radiation but possible to shield against the outer belt with a moderate amount of protection. Additional Details: here....
NASA Director of Space Flight Programs Abe Silverstein notified Harry J. Goett, Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, that NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan had approved the name "Apollo" for the advanced manned space flight program. The program would be so designated at the forthcoming NASA-Industry Program Plans Conference.
The first NASA-Industry Program Plans Conference was held in Washington, D.C. The purpose was to give industrial management an overall picture of the NASA program and to establish a basis for subsequent conferences to be held at various NASA Centers. The current status of NASA programs was outlined, including long-range planning, launch vehicles, structures and materials research, manned space flight, and life sciences.
NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden announced that the advanced manned space flight program had been named "Apollo." George M. Low, NASA Chief of Manned Space Flight, stated that circumlunar flight and earth orbit missions would be carried out before 1970. This program would lead eventually to a manned lunar landing and a permanent manned space station. Additional Details: here....
In a memorandum to Abe Silverstein, Director of NASA's Office of Space Flight Programs, Harry J. Goett, Director of Goddard Space Flight Center, outlined the tentative program of the Goddard industry conference to be held on August 30. At this conference, more details of proposed study contracts for an advanced manned spacecraft would be presented. The requirements would follow the guidelines set down by STG and presented to NASA Headquarters during April and May. Three six-month study contracts at $250,000 each would be awarded.
The Goddard Space Flight Center GSFC conducted its industry conference in Washington, D.C., presenting details of GSFC projects, current and future. The objectives of the proposed six-month feasibility contracts for an advanced manned spacecraft were announced. Additional Details: here....
Charles J. Donlan of STG, Chairman of the Evaluation Board which would consider contractors' proposals on feasibility studies for an advanced manned spacecraft, invited the Directors of Ames Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Flight Research Center, Lewis Research Center, Langley Research Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center to name representatives to the Evaluation Board. The first meeting was to be held on October 10 at Langley Field, Va.
Members were appointed to the Technical Assessment Panels and the Evaluation Board to consider industry proposals for Apollo spacecraft feasibility studies. Members of the Evaluation Board were: Charles J. Donlan (STG), Chairman; Maxime A. Faget (STG) ; Robert O. Piland (STG), Secretary; John H. Disher (NASA Headquarters Office of Space Flight Programs); Alvin Seiff (Ames); John V. Becker (Langley); H. H. Koelle (Marshall); Harry J. Goett (Goddard), ex officio; and Robert R. Gilruth (STG), ex officio.
Contractors' proposals on feasibility studies for an advanced manned spacecraft were received by STG. Sixty-four companies expressed interest in the Apollo program, and of these 14 actually submitted proposals: The Boeing Airplane Company; Chance Vought Corporation; Convair/Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation; Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, Inc.; Douglas Aircraft Company; General Electric Company; Goodyear Aircraft Corporation; Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation; Guardite Division of American Marietta Company; Lockheed Aircraft Corporation; The Martin Company; North American Aviation, Inc.; and Republic Aviation Corporation. These 14 companies, later reduced to 12 when Cornell and Guardite withdrew, were subsequently invited to submit prime contractor proposals for the Apollo spacecraft development in 1961. The Technical Assessment Panels began evaluation of contractors' proposals on October 10.
The Technical Assessment Panels presented to the Evaluation Board their findings on the contractors' proposals for feasibility studies of an advanced manned spacecraft. On October 24, the Evaluation Board findings and recommendations were presented to the STG Director.
Fundamental decisions were made as a result of this and a previous meeting on September 20.. Additional Details: here....
NASA selected three contractors to prepare individual feasibility studies of an advanced manned spacecraft as part of Project Apollo. The contractors were Convair/Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation, General Electric Company, and The Martin Company.
Representatives of the General Electric Company, The Martin Company, and Convair/Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation visited STG to conduct negotiations on the Apollo systems study contracts announced on October 25. The discussions clarified or identified areas not completely covered in company proposals. Contracts were awarded on November 15.
STG held a meeting at Goddard Space Flight Center to discuss a proposed contract with MIT Instrumentation Laboratory for navigation and guidance support for Project Apollo. The proposed six-month contract for $100,000 might fund studies through the preliminary design stage but not actual hardware. Milton B. Trageser of the Instrumentation Laboratory presented a draft work statement which divided the effort into three parts: midcourse guidance, reentry guidance, and a satellite experiment feasibility study using the Orbiting Geophysical Observatory. STG decided that the Instrumentation Laboratory should submit a more detailed draft of a work statement to form the basis of a contract. In a discussion the next day, Robert G. Chilton of STG and Trageser clarified three points:
A joint briefing on the Apollo and Saturn programs was held at Marshall Space Flight Center MSFC, attended by representatives of STG and MSFC. Maxime A. Faget of STG and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun agreed that a joint STG-MSFC program would be developed to accomplish a manned lunar landing. Areas of responsibility were: MSFC launch vehicle and landing on the moon; STG - lunar orbit, landing, and return to earth.
Milton B. Trageser of MIT Instrumentation Laboratory transmitted to Charles J. Donlan of STG the outline of a study program on the guidance aspects of Project Apollo. He outlined what might be covered by a formal proposal on the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation contract discussed by STG and Instrumentation Laboratory representatives on November 22.
The first technical review of the General Electric Company Apollo feasibility study was held at the contractor's Missile and Space Vehicle Department. Company representatives presented reports on the study so that STG representatives might review progress, provide General Electric with pertinent information from NASA or other sources, and discuss and advise as to the course of the study.
The Martin Company presented the first technical review of its Apollo feasibility study to STG officials in Baltimore, Md. At the suggestion of STG, Martin agreed to reorient the study in several areas: putting more emphasis on lunar orbits, putting man in the system, and considering landing and recovery in the initial design of the spacecraft.
Convair/Astronautics Division of the General Dynamics Corporation held its first technical review of the Apollo feasibility study in San Diego, Calif. Brief presentations were made by contractor and subcontractor technical specialists to STG representatives. Convair/Astronautics' first approach was oriented toward the modular concept, but STG suggested that the integral spacecraft concept should be investigated.
The Manned Lunar Landing Task Group (Low Committee) set up by the Space Exploration Program Council was instructed to prepare a position paper for the NASA Fiscal Year 1962 budget presentation to Congress. The paper was to be a concise statement of NASA's lunar program for Fiscal Year 1962 and was to present the lunar mission in term of both direct ascent and rendezvous. The rendezvous program would be designed to develop a manned spacecraft capability in near space, regardless of whether such a technique would be needed for manned lunar landing. In addition to answering such questions as the reason for not eliminating one of the two mission approaches, the Group was to estimate the cost of the lunar mission and the date of its accomplishment, though not in specific terms. Although the decision to land a man on the moon had not been approved, it was to be stressed that the development of the scientific and technical capability for a manned lunar landing was a prime NASA goal, though not the only one. The first meeting of the Group was to be held on January 9.
At the first meeting of the Manned Lunar Landing Task Group, Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Director of the Office of Space Flight Programs Abe Silverstein, and Director of the Office of Advanced Research Programs Ira H. Abbott outlined the purpose of the Group to the members. After a discussion of the instructions, the Group considered first the objectives of the total NASA program:
Representatives of STG visited Convair Astronautics Division of the General Dynamics Corporation to monitor the Apollo feasibility study contract. The meeting consisted of several individual informal discussions between the STG and Convair specialists on configurations and aerodynamics, heating, structures and materials, human factors, trajectory analysis, guidance and control, and operation implementation.
J. Thomas Markley of the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office reported to Associate Director of STG Charles J. Donlan that an informal briefing had been given to the Saturn Guidance Committee on the Apollo program. The Committee had been formed by Don R. Ostrander, NASA Director of the Office of Launch Vehicle Programs, to survey the broad guidance and control requirements for Saturn. The Committee was to review Marshall Space Flight Center guidance plans, review plans of mission groups who intended to use Saturn, recommend an adequate guidance system for Saturn, and prepare a report of the evaluation and results during January. Members of STG, including Robert O. Piland, Markley, and Robert G. Chilton, presented summaries of the overall Apollo program and guidance requirements for Apollo.
Three of the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups (Trajectory Analysis, Heating, and Human Factors) held their first meetings at the Ames Research Center.
After reviewing the status of the contractors' Apollo feasibility studies, the Group on Trajectory Analysis discussed studies being made at NASA Centers. An urgent requirement was identified for a standard model of the Van Allen radiation belt which could be used in all trajectory analysis related to the Apollo program,
The Group on Heating, after consideration of NASA and contractor studies currently in progress, recommended experimental investigation of control surface heating and determination of the relative importance of the unknowns in the heating area by relating estimated "ignorance" factors to resulting weight penalties in the spacecraft. The next day, three members of this Group met for further discussions and two areas were identified for more study: radiant heat inputs and their effect on the ablation heatshield, and methods of predicting heating on control surfaces, possibly by wind tunnel tests at high Mach numbers.
The Group on Human Factors considered contractors' studies and investigations being done at NASA Centers. In particular, the Group discussed the STG document, "Project Apollo Life Support Programs," which proposed 41 research projects. These projects were to be carried out by various organizations, including NASA, DOD, industry, and universities. Medical support experience which might be applicable to Apollo was also reviewed.
Representatives of STG visited The Martin Company in Baltimore, Md., to review the progress of the Apollo feasibility study contract. Discussions on preliminary design of the spacecraft, human factors, propulsion, power supplies, guidance and control, structures, and landing and recovery were held with members of the Martin staff.
Three of the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups Structures and Materials, Configurations and Aerodynamics, and Guidance and Control held their first meetings at the Ames Research Center.
The Group on Structures and Materials, after reviewing contractors' progress on the Apollo feasibility studies, considered reports on Apollo-related activities at NASA Centers. Among these activities were work on the radiative properties of material suitable for temperature control of spacecraft (Ames), investigation of low-level cooling systems in the reentry module (Langley), experiments on the landing impact of proposed reentry module shapes (Langley), meteoroid damage studies (Lewis), and the definition of suitable design criteria and safety factors to ensure the structural integrity of the spacecraft STG.
The Group on Configurations and Aerodynamics recommended :
Members of STG met with representatives of the Convair Astronautics Division of the General Dynamics Corporation and Avco Corporation to monitor the progress of the Apollo feasibility study. Configurations and aerodynamics and Apollo heating studies were discussed. Current plans indicated that final selection of their proposed spacecraft configuration would be made by Convair Astronautics within a week. The status of the spacecraft reentry studies was described by Avco specialists.
William W. Petynia of STG visited the Convair Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation to monitor the Apollo feasibility study contract. A selection of the M-1 in preference to the lenticular configuration had been made by Convair. May 17 was set as the date for the final Convair presentation to NASA.
The Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Instrumentation and Communications met at STG and drafted an informal set of guidelines and sent them to the other Technical Liaison Groups:
The Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Structures and Materials discussed at STG the preparation of material for the Apollo spacecraft specification. It decided that most of the items proposed for its study could not be specified at that time and also that many of the items did not fall within the structures and materials area. A number of general areas of concern were added to the work plan: heat protection, meteoroid protection, radiation effects, and vibration and acoustics.
At the second meeting of the Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Configurations and Aerodynamics at STG, presentations were made on Apollo-related activities at the NASA Centers: heatshield tests (Ames Research Center); reentry configurations (Marshall Space Flight Center); reentry configurations, especially lenticular (modified) and spherically blunted, paraglider soft-landing system, dynamic stability tests, and heat transfer tests (Langley Research Center); tumbling entries in planetary atmospheres (Mars and Venus) (Jet Propulsion Laboratory); air launch technique for Dyna-Soar (Flight Research Center); and steerable parachute system and reentry spacecraft configuration (STG). Work began on the background material for the Apollo spacecraft specification.
At STG the Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Human Factors discussed the proposed outline for the spacecraft specification. Its recommendations included:
In preparing background material for the Apollo spacecraft specification at STG, the Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Mechanical Systems worked on environmental control systems, reaction control systems, auxiliary power supplies, landing and recovery systems, and space cabin sealing.
The Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Trajectory Analysis met at STG and began preparing material for the Apollo spacecraft specification. It recommended:
A conference was held at Lewis Research Center between STG and Lewis representatives to discuss the research and development contract for the liquid-hydrogen liquid-oxygen fuel cell as the primary spacecraft electrical power source. Lewis had been provided funds approximately $300,000 by NASA Headquarters to negotiate a contract with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division of United Aircraft Corporation for the development of a fuel cell for the Apollo spacecraft. STG and Lewis representatives agreed that the research and development should be directed toward the liquid-hydrogen - liquid-oxygen fuel cell. Guidelines were provided by STG:
STG completed the first draft of "Project Apollo, Phase A, General Requirements for a Proposal for a Manned Space Vehicle and System" (Statement of Work), an early step toward the spacecraft specification. A circumlunar mission was the basis for planning.
In initial study contracts, Martin proposed vehicle similar to the Apollo configuration that would eventually fly and closest to STG concepts. GE proposed design that would lead directly to Soyuz. Convair proposed a lifting body concept. All bidders were influenced by STG mid-term review that complained that they were not paying enough attention to conical blunt-body CM as envisioned by STG.
The final reports on the feasibility study contracts for the advanced manned spacecraft were submitted to STG at Langley Field, Va., by the General Electric Company, Convair Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation, and The Martin Company. These studies had begun in November 1960.
Space Task Group Director Robert R. Gilruth informed Ames Research Center that current planning for Apollo 'A' called for an adapter between the Saturn second stage and the Apollo spacecraft to include, as an integral part, a section to be used as an orbiting laboratory. Preliminary in-house configuration designs indicated this laboratory would be a cylindrical section about 3.9 m in diameter and 2.4 m in height. Additional Details: here....
The Fleming Committee, which had been appointed on May 2, submitted its report to NASA associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on the feasibility of a manned lunar landing program. The Committee concluded that the lunar mission could be accomplished within the decade. Chief pacing items were the first stage of the launch vehicle and the facilities for testing and launching the booster. It also concluded that information on solar flare radiation and lunar surface characteristics should be obtained as soon as possible, since these factors would influence spacecraft design. Special mention was made of the need for a strong management organization.
STG completed a detailed assessment of the results of the Project Apollo feasibility studies submitted by the three study contractors: the General Electric Company, Convair/Astronautics Division of the General Dynamics Corporation, and The Martin Company. (Their findings were reflected in the Statement of Work sent to prospective bidders on the spacecraft contract on July 28.)
1,000 persons from 300 potential Project Apollo contractors and government agencies attended the conference. STG pushed the conical CM shape, in defiance of Gilruth's preference for the competitive blunt body/lifting body designs. Scientists from NASA, the General Electric Company, The Martin Company, and General Dynamics/Astronautics presented the results of studies on Apollo requirements. Within the next four to six weeks NASA was expected to draw up the final details and specifications for the Apollo spacecraft.
NASA invited 12 companies to submit prime contractor proposals for the Apollo spacecraft by October 9: The Boeing Airplane Company, Chance Vought Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, General Dynamics/Convair, the General Electric Company, Goodyear Aircraft Corporation, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, The Martin Company, North American Aviation, Inc., and Republic Aviation Corporation. Additional Details: here....
NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., appointed members to the Source Evaluation Board to evaluate contractors' proposals for the Apollo spacecraft. Walter C. Williams of STG served as Chairman, and members included Robert O. Piland, Wesley L. Hjornevik, Maxime A. Faget, James A. Chamberlin, Charles W. Mathews, and Dave W. Lang, all of STG; George M. Low, Brooks C. Preacher, and James T. Koppenhaver (nonvoting member) from NASA Headquarters; and Oswald H. Lange from Marshall Space Flight Center. On November 2, Faget became the Chairman, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht was added as a member, and Williams was relieved from his assignment.
Ralph Ragan of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, former director of the Polaris guidance and navigation program, in cooperation with Milton B. Trageser of the Laboratory and with Robert O. Piland, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and Robert G. Chilton, all of NASA, had completed a study of what had been done on the Polaris program in concept and design of a guidance and navigation system and the documentation necessary for putting such a system into production on an extremely tight schedule. Using this study, the group worked out a rough schedule for a similar program on Apollo.
NASA selected MIT's Instrumentation Laboratory to develop the guidance-navigation system for Project Apollo spacecraft. This first major Apollo contract was required since guidance-navigation system is basic to overall Apollo mission. The Instrumentation Laboratory of MIT, a nonprofit organization headed by C. Stark Draper, has been involved in a variety of guidance and navigation systems developments for 20 years. This first major Apollo contract had a long lead-time, was basic to the overall Apollo mission, and would be directed by STG.
STG requested that a program be undertaken by the U.S. Navy Air Crew Equipment Laboratory, Philadelphia, Penna., to validate the atmospheric composition requirement for the Apollo spacecraft. On November 7, the original experimental design was altered by the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). The new objectives were:
STG held a pre-proposal briefing at Langley Field, Va., to answer bidders' questions pertaining to the Request for Proposal for the development of the Apollo spacecraft. 14 companies (Boeing, Vought, Douglas, GD, Goodyear, Grumman, Lockheed, Martin, McDonnell, Radio Corp, Republic, STL) attended. The winning bidder would receive contract for CSM (but not LM, if any) and integrate spacecraft with launch vehicle.
Representatives of STG and NASA Headquarters visited the Instrumentation Laboratory of MIT to discuss the contract awarded to the Laboratory on August 9 and progress in the design and development of the Apollo spacecraft navigation and guidance system. They mutually decided that a draft of the final contract should be completed for review at Instrumentation Laboratory by October 2 and the contract resolved by October 9. Revisions were to be made in the Statement of Work to define more clearly details of the contract. Milton B. Trageser of the Laboratory, in the first month's technical progress report, gave a brief description of the first approach to the navigation and guidance equipment and the arrangement of the equipment within the spacecraft. He also presented the phases of the lunar flight and the navigation and guidance functions or tasks to be performed. Other matters discussed were a space sextant and making visual observations of landmarks through cloud cover.
Richard H. Battin published MIT Instrumentation Laboratory Report R-341, "A Statistical Optimizing Navigation Procedure for Space Flight," describing the concepts by which Apollo navigation equipment could make accurate computations of position and velocity with an onboard computer of reasonable size.
Emanuel Schnitzer of LaRC suggested a possible adaptation for existing Apollo hardware to create a space laboratory, which he termed an 'Apollo X' vehicle. Schnitzer's concept involved using a standard Apollo command and service module in conjunction with an inflatable spheroid structure and transfer tunnel to create a space laboratory with artificial gravity potential. Additional Details: here....
Representatives of STG visited the Instrumentation Laboratory of MIT for the second monthly progress report meeting on the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation contract. A number of technical topics were presented by Laboratory speakers: space sextant visibility and geometry problems, gear train analysis, vacuum environmental approach, midcourse guidance theory, inertial measurement unit, and gyro. The organization of the Apollo effort at the Laboratory was also discussed. A preliminary estimate of the cost for both Laboratory and industrial support for the Apollo navigation and guidance system was presented: $158.4 million through Fiscal Year 1966.
Officials of STG heard oral reports from representatives of five industrial teams bidding on the contract for the Apollo spacecraft: General Dynamics/Astronautics in conjunction with the Avco Corporation; General Electric Company, Missile and Space Vehicle Department, in conjunction with Douglas Aircraft Company, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, and Space Technology Laboratories, Inc.; McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in conjunction with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Hughes Aircraft Company, and Chance Vought Corporation of Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc.; The Martin Company; and North American Aviation, Inc. Additional Details: here....
David G. Hoag, MIT, personal notes, October 1961..
An Apollo Egress Working Group, consisting of personnel from Marshall Space Flight Center, Launch Operations Directorate, and Atlantic Missile Range, was formed on November 2. Meetings on that date and on November 6 resulted in publication of a seven-page document, "Apollo Egress Criteria." The Group established ground rules, operations and control procedures criteria, and space vehicle design criteria and provided requirements for implementation of emergency egress system.
Representatives of MSC and NASA Headquarters visited the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory to discuss clauses in the contract for the Apollo navigation and guidance system, technical questions proposed by MSC, and work in progress. Topics discussed included the trajectories for the SA-7 and SA-8 flights and the estimated propellant requirements for guidance attitude maneuvers and velocity changes for the lunar landing mission. Presentations were made on the following subjects by members of the Laboratory staff: the spacecraft gyro, Apollo guidance computer logic design, computer displays and interfaces, guidance computer programming, horizon sensor experiments, and reentry guidance.
Despite an announcement at Martin on 27 November that they had won the Apollo program, the decision was reversed at the highest levels of the US government. NASA announced instead that the Space and Information Systems Division of North American Aviation, Inc., had been selected to design and build the Apollo spacecraft. The official line: 'the decision by NASA Administrator James E. Webb followed a comprehensive evaluation of five industry proposals by nearly 200 scientists and engineers representing both NASA and DOD. Webb had received the Source Evaluation Board findings on November 24. Although technical evaluations were very close, NAA had been selected on the basis of experience, technical competence, and cost'. NAA would be responsible for the design and development of the command module and service module. NASA expected that a separate contract for the lunar landing system would be awarded within the next six months. The MIT Instrumentation Laboratory had previously been assigned the development of the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation system. Both the NAA and MIT contracts would be under the direction of MSC.
The Project Apollo Statement of Work for development of the Apollo spacecraft was completed. A draft letter based on this Statement of Work was presented to NAA for review. A prenegotiation conference on the development of the Apollo spacecraft was held at Langley Field, Va.
NASA negotiations with NAA on the Apollo spacecraft contract were held at Williamsburg, Va. Nine Technical Panels met on December 11 and 12 to review Part 3, Technical Approach, of the Statement of Work. These Panels reported their recommended changes and unresolved questions to the Technical Subcommittee for action. Later in the negotiations, NASA and NAA representatives agreed on changes intended to clarify the original Statement of Work. Among these was the addition of the boilerplate program. Two distinct types of boilerplates were to be fabricated: those of a simple cold-rolled steel construction for drop impact tests and the more complex models to be used with the Little Joe II and Saturn launch vehicles. The Little Joe II, originally conceived in June 1961, was a solid-fuel rocket booster which would be used to man-rate the launch escape system for the command module.
In addition, the Apollo Project Office, which had been part of the MSC Flight Systems Division, would now report directly to the MSC Director and would be responsible for planning and directing all activities associated with the completion of the Apollo spacecraft project. Primary functions to be performed by the Office would include:
Letter contract No. NAS 9-150, authorizing work on the Apollo development program to begin on January 1, 1962, was signed by NASA and NAA on December 21. Under this contract, NAA was assigned the design and development of the command and service modules, the spacecraft adapter, associated ground support equipment, and spacecraft integration. Formal signing of the contract followed on December 31.
Fred T. Pearce, Jr., of MSC visited the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory to discuss the first design-study space sextant produced at the Laboratory, The instrument was intended to be used with the guidance computer. The working mockup was demonstrated and the problem of the effect of the vehicle motion on the sextant was discussed.
NAA's Space and Information Systems Division selected four companies as subcontractors to design and build four of the major Apollo spacecraft systems. The Collins Radio Company, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the telecommunications systems contract, worth more than $40 million; Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company, Minneapolis, Minn., received the stabilization and control systems contract, $30 million; AiResearch Manufacturing Company, division of The Garrett Corporation, Los Angeles, Calif., was awarded the environmental control system contract, $10 million; and Radioplane Division of Northrop Corporation, Van Nuys, Calif., was selected for the parachute landing system contract, worth more than $1 million. The total cost for the initial phase of the NAA contract was expected to exceed $400 million.
The Requests for Quotation on production contracts for major components of the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation system, comprising seven separate items, were released to industry by the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. (The Source Evaluation Board, appointed on January 31, began its work during the week of March 5 and contractors were selected on May 8.)
The Apollo Spacecraft Project Office (ASPO) was established at MSC. Charles W. Frick was selected as Manager of the new Office, to assume his duties in February. Frick had been Chief of Technical Staff for General Dynamics Convair. Robert O. Piland was appointed Deputy Manager of ASPO and would serve as Acting Manager until Frick's arrival. ASPO would be responsible for the technical direction of NAA and other industrial contractors assigned to work on the Apollo spacecraft. Additional Details: here....
NAA engineers began preliminary layouts to define the elements of the command module (CM) configuration. Additional requirements and limitations imposed on the CM included reduction in diameter, paraglider compatibility, 250 pounds of radiation protection water, redundant propellant tankage for the attitude control system, and an increase in system weight and volume. Additional Details: here....
Command module heatshield requirements, including heating versus time curves, were established by NAA for several design trajectories. A computer program method of analyzing the charring ablation process had been developed. By this means, it was possible to calculate the mass loss, surface char layer temperature, amount of heat conducted through the uncharred ablation material and insulation into the cabin, and temperature profile through the ablator and insulation layers. In February, NAA determined that a new and more refined computer program would be needed.
The solid propellant called for in the original NAA proposal on the service module propulsion system was replaced by a storable, hypergolic propellant. Multitank configurations under study appeared to present offloading capabilities for alternative missions.
On the basis of a study by NAA, a single-engine configuration was chosen as the optimum approach for the service module propulsion subsystem. The results of the study were presented to MSC representatives and NAA was authorized to issue a work statement to begin procurement of an engine for this configuration. Agreement was also reached at this meeting on a vacuum thrust level of 20,000 pounds for the engine. This would maintain a thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.4 and allow a considerable increase in the lunar liftoff weight of the spacecraft.
NASA announced that the General Electric Company had been selected for a major supporting role in the Apollo project, to provide integration analysis of the total space vehicle (including booster-spacecraft interface), ensure reliability of the entire space vehicle, and develop and operate a checkout system.
A contract for the escape rocket of the Apollo spacecraft launch escape system was awarded to the Lockheed Propulsion Company by NAA. The initial requirements were for a 200,000-pound-thrust solid- propellant rocket motor with an active thrust-vector-control subsystem. Additional Details: here....
NASA announced Project Fire, a high-speed reentry heat research program to obtain data on materials, heating rates, and radio signal attenuation on spacecraft reentering the atmosphere at speeds of about 24,500 miles per hour. Information from the program would support technology for manned and unmanned reentry from lunar missions. Under the management of the Langley Research Center, Project Fire would use Atlas D boosters and the reentry package would be powered by an Antares solid-fuel motor (third stage of the Scout).
The command module crew couch was repositioned and redesigned because of numerous problems. In the new design, an adjustable hand controller, similar to that used on the X-15, would be attached to an adjustable arm rest. The head rest could be regulated for an approximate four-inch movement, while the side head support was limited in movement for couch-module clearance. The adjustable leg support included a foot controller which could be folded up.
The center couch, including the crewman parachute and survival kit, could be folded out to a sleep position and stowed under either remaining couch. Allowance was made for the crewman to turn over.
Principal problems remaining were the difficulty of removing the center couch and providing the clearances needed for the couch positions specified for various phases of the lunar mission.
The organizational elements and staffing for the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office was announced:
Robert O. Piland, Deputy Project Manager
William F. Rector, Special Assistant
Calvin H. Perrine, Flight Technology
Lee N. McMillion, Crew Systems
David L. Winterhalter, Sr., Power Systems
Wallace D. Graves, Mechanical Systems
Milton C. Kingsley, Electrical Systems
(Vacant), Ground Support Equipment
Jack Barnard, Apollo Office at MIT
(Vacant), Reliability and Quality Control
Emory F. Harris, Operations Requirements
Robert P. Smith, Launch Vehicle Integration
Owen G. Morris, Mission Engineering
Marion R. Franklin, Ground Operational Support Systems
Alan B. Kehlet, Engineering
Alan B. Kehlet, Acting Manager, Quality Control and Engineering
Herbert R. Ash, Acting Manager, Business Administration
James E. Webb, NASA Administrator, recommended to President John F. Kennedy that the Apollo program be given DX priority (highest priority in the procurement of critical materials). He also sent a memorandum to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, requesting that the Council consider advising the President to add the Apollo program to the DX priority list.
Charles W. Frick, Manager of the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, together with Maxime A. Faget, Charles W. Mathews, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., John B. Lee, Owen E. Maynard, and Alan B. Kehlet of MSC and George M. Low of the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, visited NAA at Downey, Calif. This was the first monthly meeting of the Apollo design and review team to survey NAA's progress in various areas, including the Apollo spacecraft heatshield, fuel cells, and service module.
NASA announced that a $5 million contract would be awarded to Republic Aviation Corporation for the construction of two experimental reentry spacecraft. Republic was selected from eight companies that submitted bids on March 12. The contract was part of Project Fire, to develop a spacecraft capable of withstanding reentry into the earth's atmosphere from a lunar mission. Plans called for the spacecraft to be tested during the second half of 1963.
The Apollo guidance and navigation system was defined in more detail as more information from NASA MIT studies was received on new requirements for the system. As a result, the scope of the component development tasks given to all the guidance and navigation subcontractors was substantially increased.
A meeting to review the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) technique as a possible mission mode for Project Apollo was held at NASA Headquarters. Representatives from various NASA offices attended: Joseph F. Shea, Eldon W. Hall, William A. Lee, Douglas R. Lord, James E. O'Neill, James Turnock, Richard J. Hayes, Richard C. Henry, and Melvyn Savage of NASA Headquarters; Friedrich O. Vonbun of Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC); Harris M. Schurmeier of Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Arthur V. Zimmeman of Lewis Research Center; Jack Funk, Charles W. Mathews, Owen E. Maynard, and William F. Rector of MSC; Paul J. DeFries, Ernst D. Geissler, and Helmut J. Horn of Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC); Clinton E. Brown, John C. Houbolt, and William H. Michael, Jr., of Langley Research Center; and Merrill H. Mead of Ames Research Center. Each phase of the LOR mission was discussed separately.
The launch vehicle required was a single Saturn C-5, consisting of the S-IC, S-II, and S-IVB stages. To provide a maximum launch window, a low earth parking orbit was recommended. For greater reliability, the two-stage-to-orbit technique was recommended rather than requiring reignition of the S-IVB to escape from parking orbit.
The current concepts of the Apollo command and service modules would not be altered. The lunar excursion vehicle (LEV), under intensive study in 1961, would be aft of the service module and in front of the S-IVB stage. For crew safety, an escape tower would be used during launch. Access to the LEV would be provided while the entire vehicle was on the launch pad.
Both Apollo and Saturn guidance and control systems would be operating during the launch phase. The Saturn guidance and control system in the S-IVB would be "primary" for injection into the earth parking orbit and from earth orbit to escape. Provisions for takeover of the Saturn guidance and control system should be provided in the command module. Ground tracking was necessary during launch and establishment of the parking orbit, MSFC and GSFC would study the altitude and type of low earth orbit.
The LEV would be moved in front of the command module "early" in the translunar trajectory. After the S-IVB was staged off the spacecraft following injection into the translunar trajectory, the service module would be used for midcourse corrections. Current plans were for five such corrections. If possible, a symmetric configuration along the vertical center line of the vehicle would be considered for the LEV. Ingress to the LEV from the command module should be possible during the translunar phase. The LEV would have a pressurized cabin capability during the translunar phase. A "hard dock" mechanism was considered, possibly using the support structure needed for the launch escape tower. The mechanism for relocation of the LEV to the top of the command module required further study. Two possibilities were discussed: mechanical linkage and rotating the command module by use of the attitude control system. The S-IVB could be used to stabilize the LEV during this maneuver.
The service module propulsion would be used to decelerate the spacecraft into a lunar orbit. Selection of the altitude and type of lunar orbit needed more study, although a 100-nautical-mile orbit seemed desirable for abort considerations.
The LEV would have a "point" landing (±½ mile) capability. The landing site, selected before liftoff, would previously have been examined by unmanned instrumented spacecraft. It was agreed that the LEV would have redundant guidance and control capability for each phase of the lunar maneuvers. Two types of LEV guidance and control systems were recommended for further analysis. These were an automatic system employing an inertial platform plus radio aids and a manually controlled system which could be used if the automatic system failed or as a primary system.
The service module would provide the prime propulsion for establishing the entire spacecraft in lunar orbit and for escape from the lunar orbit to earth trajectory. The LEV propulsion system was discussed and the general consensus was that this area would require further study. It was agreed that the propulsion system should have a hover capability near the lunar surface but that this requirement also needed more study.
It was recommended that two men be in the LEV, which would descend to the lunar surface, and that both men should be able to leave the LEV at the same time. It was agreed that the LEV should have a pressurized cabin which would have the capability for one week's operation, even though a normal LOR mission would be 24 hours. The question of lunar stay time was discussed and it was agreed that Langley should continue to analyze the situation. Requirements for sterilization procedures were discussed and referred for further study. The time for lunar landing was not resolved.
In the discussion of rendezvous requirements, it was agreed that two systems be studied, one automatic and one providing for a degree of manual capability. A line of sight between the LEV and the orbiting spacecraft should exist before lunar takeoff. A question about hard-docking or soft-docking technique brought up the possibility of keeping the LEV attached to the spacecraft during the transearth phase. This procedure would provide some command module subsystem redundancy.
Direct link communications from earth to the LEV and from earth to the spacecraft, except when it was in the shadow of the moon, was recommended. Voice communications should be provided from the earth to the lunar surface and the possibility of television coverage would be considered.
A number of problems associated with the proposed mission plan were outlined for NASA Center investigation. Work on most of the problems was already under way and the needed information was expected to be compiled in about one month.
(This meeting, like the one held February 13-15, was part of a continuing effort to select the lunar mission mode).
The request for a proposal on the Little Joe II test launch vehicle was submitted to bidders by a letter from MSC, together with a Work Statement. Five launches, which were to test boilerplate models of the Apollo spacecraft command module in abort situations, were called for: three in 1963 and two in 1964. Additional Details: here....
Discussions at the monthly NAA-NASA Apollo spacecraft design review included:
NAA determined that preliminary inflight nuclear radiation instrumentation would consist of an onboard system to detect solar x-ray or ultraviolet radiation and a ground visual system for telemetering solar flare warning signals to the command module. The crew would have eight to ten minutes warning to take protective action before the arrival of solar flare proton radiation.
NAA studies resulted in significant changes in the command module environmental control system (ECS).
NAA developed a concept for shock attenuation along the command module Y-Y axis by the use of aluminum honeycomb material. Cylinders mounted on the outboard edge of the left and right couches would extend mechanically to bear against the side compartment walls.
Three major changes were made by NAA in the Apollo space-suit circuit:
A purchase request was being prepared by NASA for wind tunnel support services from the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center in the amount of approximately $222,000. These wind tunnel tests were to provide design parameter data on static stability, dynamic stability, pressure stability, and heat transfer for the Apollo program. The funds were to cover tests during June and July 1962. Approximately $632,000 would be required in Fiscal Year 1963 to fund the tests scheduled to December 1962.
At the monthly Apollo spacecraft design review meeting at NAA, MSC representatives recommended that NAA and Avco Corporation prepare a comprehensive test plan for verifying the overall integrity of the heatshield including flight tests deemed necessary, without regard for anticipated hunch vehicle availability.
The Source Evaluation Board for selecting Apollo navigation and guidance components subcontractors completed its evaluation of bids and technical proposals and submitted its findings to NASA Headquarters. Preliminary presentation of the Board's findings had been made to NASA Administrator James E. Webb on April 5.
MSC processed a purchase request to increase NAA's spacecraft letter contract from $32 million to $55 million to cover NAA's costs to June 30, 1962. (Pending the execution of a definitive contract (signed August 14, 1963), actions of this type were necessary).
NASA announced the selection of three companies for the negotiation of production contracts for major components of the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation system under development by the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. The largest of the contracts, for $16 million, would be negotiated with AC Spark Plug Division of General Motor Corporation for fabrication of the inertial, gyroscope-stabilized platform of the Apollo spacecraft; for development and construction of ground support and checkout equipment; and for assembling and testing all parts of the system. The second contract, for $2 million, would be negotiated with the Raytheon Company to manufacture the digital computer aboard the spacecraft. Under the third contract, for about $2 million, Kollsman Instrument Corporation would build the optical subsystems, including a space sextant, sunfinders, and navigation display equipment.
The first reliability prediction study for the Apollo spacecraft was completed by NAA. Assuming all systems as series elements and excluding consideration of alternative modes, redundancies, or inflight maintenance provisions, the study gave a reliability estimate of 0.731. This analysis provided a basis from which means of improving reliability would be evaluated and formulated.
NAA evaluated the possibility of integrating the fuel cell and environmental control system heat rejection into one system. The integrated system proved to be unsatisfactory, being 300 pounds heavier and considerably more complex than the two separate systems. A preliminary design of separate fuel cell radiators, possibly located on the service module, was started by NAA.
Two NAA analyses showed that the urine management system would prevent a rise in the command module humidity load and atmospheric contamination and that freeze-up of the line used for daily evacuation of urine to the vacuum of space could be prevented by proper orificing of the line.
NAA began compiling a list of command module materials to be classified selectively for potentially toxic properties. These materials would be investigated to determine location (related to possible venting of gases), fire resistance, exposure to excessive temperatures, gases resulting from thermal decomposition, and toxicity of gases released under normal and material-failure conditions. Although a complete examination of every material was not feasible, materials could be grouped according to chemical constituency and quantity of gases released.
NAA completed a preliminary requirement outline for spacecraft docking. The outline specified that the two spacecraft be navigated to within a few feet of each other and held to a relative velocity of less than six inches per second and that they be steered to within a few inches of axial alignment and parallelism. The crewman in the airlock was assumed to be adequately protected against radiation and meteoric bombardment and to be able to grasp the docking spacecraft and maneuver it to the sealing faces for final clamp.
A feasibility study was completed by NAA on the ballistic (zero-lift) maneuver as a possible emergency flight mode for lunar mission reentry. Based upon single-pass and 12 g maximum load-factor criteria, the guidance corridor would be nine nautical miles. When atmospheric density deviations were considered (+/- 50 percent from standard), the allowable corridor would be reduced to four nautical miles. Touchdown dispersions within the defined corridor exceeded 2500 nautical miles.
Telescope requirements for the spacecraft were modified after two study programs had been completed by NAA.
A study on the direct vision requirement for lunar landing showed that, to have a simultaneous direct view of the lunar landing point and the landing feet without changing the spacecraft configuration, a periscope with a large field of view integrated with a side window would be needed. A similar requirement on the general-purpose telescope could thus be eliminated, reducing the complexity of the telescope design.
Another study showed that, with an additional weight penalty of from five to ten pounds, an optical drift indicator for use after parachute deployment could easily be incorporated into the general-purpose telescope.
NAA decided to retain the inward-opening pull-down concept for the spacecraft crew hatch, which would use plain through bolts for lower sill attachment and a manual jack-screw device to supply the force necessary to seat and unseat the hatch.
Concurrently, a number of NAA latching concepts were in preparation for presentation to NASA, including that of an outward-opening, quick- opening crew door without an outer emergency panel. This design, however, had weight and complexity disadvantages, as well as requiring explosive charges.
The command module reaction control system (RCS) selected by NAA was a dual system without interconnections. Either would be sufficient for the entire mission.
For the service module RCS, a quadruple arrangement was chosen which was basically similar to the command module RCS except that squib valves and burst discs were eliminated.
Wernher von Braun, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center, recommended to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight that the lunar orbit rendezvous mode be adopted for the lunar landing mission. He also recommended the development of an unmanned, fully automatic, one-way Saturn C-5 logistics vehicle in support of the lunar expedition; the acceleration of the Saturn C-1B program; the development of high-energy propulsion systems as a backup for the service module and possibly the lunar excursion module; and further development of the F-1 and J-2 engines to increase thrust or specific impulse.
NAA was directed by the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office at the monthly design review meeting to design an earth landing system for a passive touchdown mode to include the command module cant angle limited to about five degrees and favoring offset center of gravity, no roll orientation control, no deployable heatshield, and depressurization of the reaction control system propellant prior to impact. At the same meeting, NAA was requested to use a single "kicker" rocket and a passive thrust-vector-control system for the spacecraft launch escape system.
The projection is made that the US will surpass the USSR in space in 1963-1964. Kennedy's 1961 speech announcing the Apollo project to land on the moon was passed to Vershinin for comment, but no reply was ever received. Rudenko, Vershinin, and especially Malinovskiy see no role for piloted space flight, let alone flights to the moon. America, with its superior electronics capability, is still proceeding with development of manned spacecraft that require the active piloting of the astronaut. Why then, Kamanin fumes, is the USSR trying to develop completely automated manned spacecraft? Military space is being run in the USSR by men who know nothing of it, he notes. Rudenko is ill, and not even at the conference.
As the result of considerable joint engineering effort and discussion by NAA and MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, the location of the onboard space sextant in the command module was changed from the main instrument panel to the wall of the lower equipment bay. The instrument would penetrate the hull on the hot side during reentry and the navigator would have to leave his couch to make navigation sightings and to align the inertial measurement unit.
Joseph F. Shea, NASA Deputy Director of Manned Space Flight (Systems), presented to the Manned Space Flight Management Council the results of the study on lunar mission mode selection. The study included work by personnel in Shea's office, MSC, and Marshall Space Flight Center. The criteria used in evaluating the direct ascent technique, earth orbit rendezvous connecting and fueling modes, and lunar orbit rendezvous were: the mission itself, weight margins, guidance accuracy, communications and tracking requirements, reliability (abort problems), development complexity, schedules, costs, flexibility, growth potential, and military implications.
Five NASA scientists, dressed in pressure suits, completed an exploratory study at Rocketdyne Division of the feasibility of repairing, replacing, maintaining, and adjusting components of the J-2 rocket while in space. The scientific team also investigated the design of special maintenance tools and the effectiveness of different pressure suits in performing maintenance work in space.
At the monthly Apollo spacecraft design review meeting with NAA, MSC officials directed NAA to design the spacecraft atmospheric system for 5 psia pure oxygen. From an engineering standpoint, the single-gas atmosphere offered advantages in minimizing weight and leakage, in system simplicity and reliability, and in the extravehicular suit interface. Additional Details: here....
Command module (CM) flotation studies were made by NAA, in which the heatshield was assumed to be upright with no flooding having occurred between the CM inner and outer walls. The spacecraft was found to have two stable attitudes: the desired upright position and an unacceptable on-the-side position 128 degrees from the vertical. Further studies were scheduled to determine how much lower the CM center of gravity would have to be to eliminate the unacceptable stable condition and to measure the overall flotation stability when the CM heatshield was extended.
NAA investigated several docking methods. These included extendable probes to draw the modules together; shock-strut arms on the lunar excursion module with ball locators to position the modules until the spring latch caught, fastening them together; and inflatable Mylar and polyethylene plastic tubing. Also considered was a system in which a crewman, secured by a lanyard, would transfer into the open lunar excursion module. Another crewman in the open command module airlock would then reel in the lanyard to bring the modules together.
A 70-mm pulse camera was selected by NAA for mission photodocumentation. The camera was to be carried in the upper parachute compartment. Because of the lack of space and the need for a constant power supply for a 35-watt heating element, NAA was considering placing the camera behind the main display panel. The advantages of this arrangement were that the camera would require less power, be available for changing magazines, and could be removed for use outside the spacecraft.
One 16-mm camera was also planned for the spacecraft. This camera would be positioned level with the commander's head and directed at the main display panel. It could be secured to the telescope for recording motion events in real time such as rendezvous, docking, launch and recovery of a lunar excursion module, and earth landing; it could be hand-held for extravehicular activity.
A modified method of cooling crew and equipment before launch and during boost was tentatively selected by NAA. Chilled, ground-support-equipment-supplied water-glycol would be pumped through the spacecraft coolant system until 30 seconds before launch, when these lines would be disconnected. After umbilical separation the glycol, as it evaporated at the water boiler, would be chilled by Freon stored in the water tanks.
A study was made by NAA to determine optimum location and configuration of the spacecraft transponder equipment. The study showed that, if a single deep space instrumentation facility transponder and power amplifier were carried in the command module instead of two complete systems in the service module, spacecraft weight would be reduced, the system would be simplified, and command and service module interface problems would be minimized. Spares in excess of normal would be provided to ensure reliability.
The Manned Space Flight Management Council decided that the Apollo spacecraft design criteria should be worked out under the guidance of the Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) Office of Systems. These criteria should be included in the systems specifications to be developed. A monthly exchange of information on spacecraft weight status should take place among the Centers and OMSF. Eldon W. Hall of the Office of Space Systems would be responsible for control of the detailed system weights.
After the determination of the basic design of the spacecraft sequencer schematic, the effect of the deployment of the forward heatshield before tower jettison was studied by NAA. The sequence of events of both the launch escape system and earth landing system would be affected, making necessary the selection of different sequences for normal flights and abort conditions. A schematic was prepared to provide for these sequencing alternatives.
NAA's evaluation of the emergency blow-out hatch study showed that the linear-shaped explosive charge should be installed on the outside of the command module, with a backup structure and an epoxy-foam-filled annulus on the inside of the module to trap fragmentation and gases. Detail drawings of the crew hatch were prepared for fabrication of actual test sections.
The control layout of the command module aft compartment was released by NAA. This revised drawing incorporated the new umbilical locations in the lower heatshield, relocated the pitch-and-yaw engines symmetrically, eliminated the ground support equipment tower umbilical, and showed the resulting repositioning of tanks and equipment.
Air recirculation system components of the command module were rearranged to accommodate a disconnect fitting and lines for the center crewman's suit. To relieve an obstruction, the cabin pressure regulator was relocated and a design study drawing was completed.
The MIT Instrumentation Laboratory ordered a Honeywell 1800 electronic computer from the Minneapolis- Honeywell Regulator Company's Electronic Data Processing Division for work on the Apollo spacecraft navigation system. After installation in 1963, the computer would aid in circuitry design of the Apollo spacecraft computer and would also simulate full operation of a spaceborne computer during ground tests.
A NASA program schedule for the Apollo spacecraft command and service modules through calendar year 1965 was established for financial planning purposes and distributed to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, Marshall Space Flight Center, and MSC. The key dates were: complete service module drawing release, May 1, 1963; complete command module drawing release, June 15, 1963; manufacture complete on the first spacecraft, February 1, 1964; first manned orbital flight, May 15, 1965. This tentative schedule depended on budget appropriations.
The first Apollo boilerplate command module, BP-25, was delivered to MSC for water recovery and handling tests. Flotation, water stability, and towing tests were conducted with good results. J. Thomas Markley of MSC described all spacecraft structural tests thus far as "successful."
The launch escape thrust-vector-control system was replaced by a passive system using a "kicker" rocket as directed by NASA at the June 10-11 design review meeting, The rocket would be mounted at the top of the launch escape system tower and fired tangentially to impart the necessary pitchover motion during the initial phase of abort. The main motor thrust was revised downward from 180, 000 to 155, 000 pounds and aligned 2.8 degrees off the center line. A downrange abort direction was selected; during abort the spacecraft and astronauts would rotate in a heels over head movement.
Layouts of a command module (CM) telescope installation in the unpressurized upper parachute compartment were completed by NAA. The concept was for the telescope to extend ten inches from the left side of the spacecraft. The light path would enter the upper bulkhead through the main display panel to an eyepiece presentation on the commander's side of the spacecraft. A static seal (one-half-inch-thick window) would be used to prevent leakage in the pressurized compartment. The installation was suitable for use in the lunar orbit rendezvous mission and would allow one man in the CM to accomplish docking with full visual control.
Preliminary studies were made by NAA to determine radiation instrument location, feasibility of shadow-shielding, and methods of determining direction of incidence of radiation. Preliminary requirements were established for the number and location of detectors and for information display.
The revised NAA Summary Definitions and Objectives Document was released. This revision incorporated the lunar orbit rendezvous concept, without lunar excursion module integration, and a revised master phasing schedule, reflecting the deletion of the second-stage service module. The NAA Apollo Mission Requirements and Apollo Requirements Specifications were also similarly re-oriented and released.
The command module waste management system analysis, including a new selection valve, revised tubing lengths, odor removal filter, and three check valves, was completed by NAA for a 5 psia pressure. There was only a small change in the flow rates through the separate branches as a result of the change to 5 psia.
NAA completed attitude orientation studies, including one on the control of a tumbling command module (CM) following high-altitude abort above 125,000 feet. The studies indicated that the CM stabilization and control system would be adequate during the reentry phase with the CM in either of the two possible trim configurations.
The establishment of a basic command module (CM) airlock and docking design criteria were discussed by NAA and NASA representatives. While NASA preferred a closed-hatch, one-man airlock system, NAA had based its design on an open-hatch, two-man airlock operation.
Another closed-hatch configuration under consideration would entirely eliminate the CM airlock. Astronauts transferring to and from the lunar excursion module would be in a pressurized environment constantly.
Robert R. Gilruth, Director of MSC, presented details of the Apollo spacecraft at the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences meeting in Seattle, Wash. During launch and reentry, the three-man crew would be seated in adjacent couches; during other phases of flight, the center couch would be stowed to permit more freedom of movement. The Apollo command module cabin would have 365 cubic feet of volume, with 22 cubic feet of free area available to the crew: "The small end of the command module may contain an airlock; when the lunar excursion module is not attached, the airlock would permit a pressure-suited crewman to exit to free space without decompressing the cabin. Crew ingress and egress while on earth will be through a hatch in the side of the command module."
An interim Apollo flight operation plan for Fiscal Year 1963, dated August 28, calling for funding of $489.9 million, was transmitted to NASA Headquarters from MSC. System requirements were under study to determine the feasibility of cost reduction to avoid schedule slippage.
Apollo command module boilerplate model BP-1 was accepted by NASA and delivered to the NAA Engineering Development Laboratory for land and water impact tests. On September 25, BP-1 was drop-tested with good results. Earth-impact attenuation and crew shock absorption data were obtained.
Fire broke out in a simulated space cabin at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, Tex., on the 13th day of a 14-day experiment to determine the effects of breathing pure oxygen in a long-duration space flight. One of the two Air Force officers was seriously injured. The cause of the fire was not immediately determined. The experiment was part of a NASA program to validate the use of a 5 psia pure oxygen atmosphere for the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft.
MSC reported that it had received a completed wooden mockup of the interior arrangement of the Apollo command module (CM). An identical mockup was retained at NAA for design control. Seven additional CM and service module (SM) mockups were planned: a partial SM and partial adapter interface, CM for exterior cabin equipment, complete SM, spacecraft for handling and transportation (two), crew support system, and complete CSM's. A mockup of the navigation and guidance equipment had been completed. A wooden mockup of the lunar excursion module exterior configuration was fabricated by NAA as part of an early study of spacecraft compatibility requirements.
J. Thomas Markley, command and service module Project Officer at MSC, announced details of the space facility to be established by NASA at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). To be used in testing the Apollo spacecraft's propulsion and abort systems, the WSMR site facilities would include two static-test-firing stands, a control center blockhouse, various storage and other utility buildings, and an administrative services area.
Deletion of non-critical equipment and improvement of existing systems reduced the weight of the command and service modules by 1,239 pounds, with a target reduction of 1,500 pounds.
Among the items deleted from the command module (CM) were exercise and recreation equipment, personal parachutes and parachute containers located in the couches, individual survival kits, solar radiation garments, and eight-ball displays. A telescope, cameras and magazines considered scientific equipment, and a television monitor were deleted from the CM instrumentation system.
MSC reported that meteoroid tests and ballistic ranges had been established at the Ames Research Center, Langley Research Center, and NAA. These facilities could achieve only about one half of the expected velocity of 75,000 feet per second for the critical-sized meteoroid. A measured improvement in the capability to predict penetration would come from a test program being negotiated by NAA with General Motors Corporation, whose facility was capable of achieving particle velocities of 75,000 feet per second.
MSC reported that the three liquid-hydrogen-liquid-oxygen fuel cells would supply the main and emergency power through the Apollo mission except for the earth reentry phase. Two of the fuel cells would carry normal electrical loads and one would supply emergency power. Performance predictions had been met and exceeded in single-cell tests. Complete module tests would begin during the next quarter. The liquid-hydrogen liquid-oxygen reactants for the fuel cell power supply were stored in the supercritical state in spherical pressure vessels. A recent decision had been made to provide heat input to the storage vessels with electrical heaters rather than the water-glycol loop. Three zinc-silver oxide batteries would supply power for all the electrical loads during reentry and during the brief periods of peak loads. One of the batteries was reserved exclusively for the postlanding phase. Eagle Picher Company, Joplin, Mo., had been selected in August as subcontractor for the batteries.
MSC reported that the lunar excursion module guidance system was expected to use as many components as possible identical to those in the command and service modules. Studies at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory indicated that the changes required would simplify the computer and continue the use of the same inertial measurement unit and scanning telescope.
The Apollo spacecraft weights had been apportioned within an assumed 90,000 pound limit. This weight was termed a "design allowable." A lower target weight for each module had been assigned. Achievement of the target weight would allow for increased fuel loading and therefore greater operational flexibility and mission reliability. The design allowable for the command module was 9,500 pounds; the target weight was 8,500 pounds. The service module design allowable was 11,500 pounds; the target weight was 11,000 pounds. The S-IVB adapter design allowable and target weight was 3,200 pounds. The amount of service module useful propellant was 40,300 pounds design allowable; the target weight was 37,120 pounds. The lunar excursion module design allowable was 25,500 pounds; the target weight was 24,500 pounds.
The external natural environment of the Apollo spacecraft as defined in the December 18, 1961, Statement of Work had been used in the early Apollo design work. The micrometeoroid, solar proton radiation, and lunar surface characteristics were found to be most critical to the spacecraft design.
MSC reported that Apollo training requirements planning was 40 percent complete. The preparation of specific materials would begin during the first quarter of 1964. The crew training equipment included earth launch and reentry, orbital and rendezvous, and navigation and trajectory control part-task trainers, which were special-purpose simulators. An early delivery would allow extensive practice for the crew in those mission functions where crew activity was time-critical and required development of particular skills. The mission simulators had complete mission capability, providing visual as well as instrument environments. Mission simulators would be located at MSC and at Cape Canaveral.
MSC reported that the reliability goal for design purposes in the spacecraft Statement of Work for the Apollo mission was 0.9. The probability that the crew would not be subjected to conditions in excess of the stated limits was 0.9, and the probability that the crew would not be subjected to emergency limits was 0.999. The initial Work Statement apportionment for the lunar excursion module was 0.984 for mission success and 0.9995 for crew safety. Other major system elements would require reapportionment to reflect the lunar orbit mission.
MSC reported that Arnold Engineering Development Center facilities at Tullahoma, Tenn., were being scheduled for use in the development of the Apollo reaction control and propulsion systems. The use of the Mark I altitude chamber for environmental tests of the command and service modules was also planned.
Incandescent lamps would be used for floodlighting the command module because they weighed less than fluorescent lamps and took up less space while increasing reliability and reducing system complexity. A 28- volt lamp was most desirable because of its compatibility with the spacecraft 28-volt dc power system. Laboratory tests with a 28-volt incandescent lamp showed that heat dissipation would not be a problem in the vacuum environment but that a filament or shock mount would have to be developed to withstand vibration. An incandescent quartz lamp was studied because of its small size and high concentration of light.
Proposed designs for view port covers on the crew-hatch window, docking ports, and earth landing windows were prepared by NAA. Design planning called for these port covers to be removed solely in the space environment. (Crew members would not use such windows during launch and reentry phases.) NAA,
The valves of the command module (CM) environmental control system were modified to meet the 5.0 psia oxygen operating requirements. All oxygen partial pressure controls were deleted from the system and the relief pressure setting of 7 +/- 0.2 psia was changed to 6 +/- 0.2 psia. The CM now could be repressurized from 0 to 5.0 psia in one hour.
An NAA study on the shift of the command module center of gravity during reentry proposed moving the crew and couches about ten inches toward the aft equipment bay and then repositioning them for landing impact.
A review of body angles used for the current couch geometry disclosed that the thigh-to-torso angle could be closed sufficiently for a brief period during reentry to shorten the overall couch length by the required travel along the Z-Z axis. The more acute angle was desirable for high g conditions. This change in the couch adjustment range, as well as a revision in the lower leg angle to gain structure clearance, would necessitate considerable couch redesign.
The technique tentatively selected by NAA for separating the command and service modules from lower stages during an abort consisted of firing four 2000-pound-thrust posigrade rockets mounted on the service module adapter. With this technique, no retrorockets would be needed on the S-IV or S-IVB stages. Normal separation from the S-IVB would be accomplished with the service module reaction control system.
A new launch escape tower configuration with an internal structure that would clear the launch escape motor exhaust plume at 30,000 feet was designed and analyzed by NAA. Exhaust impingement was avoided by slanting the diagonal members in the upper bay toward the interior of the tower and attaching them to a ring.
NAA completed a study of reentry temperatures. Without additional cooling, space suit inlet temperatures were expected to increase from 50 degrees F at 100,000 feet to 90 degrees F at spacecraft parachute deployment. The average heat of the command module inner wall was predicted not to exceed 75 degrees F at parachute deployment and 95 degrees F on landing, but then to rise to nearly 150 degrees F.
The revised NAA recommendation for a personal communications system consisted of a duplex capability with a simplex backup. Simultaneous transmission of voice and biomedical data with a break-in capability would be possible. Two changes in spacecraft VHF equipment would be needed: a dual-channel in place of a single-channel receiver, and a diplexer for use during duplex operation.
Elimination of the requirement for personal parachutes nullified consideration of a command module (CM) blowout emergency escape hatch. A set of quick-acting latches for the inward-opening crew hatch would be needed, however, to provide a means of egress following a forced landing. The latches would be operable from outside as well as inside the pressure vessel. Outside hardware for securing the ablative panel over the crew door would be required as well as a method of releasing the panel from inside the CM.
North American Aviation, Inc., selected the Aerospace Electrical Division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation to build the power conversion units for the command module (CM) electrical system. The units would convert direct current from the fuel cells to alternating current.
The Aerojet-General Corporation reported completion of successful firings of the prototype service propulsion engine. The restartable engine, with an ablative thrust chamber, reached thrusts up to 21,500 pounds. (Normal thrust rating for the service propulsion engine is 20,500.)
Four Navy officers were injured when an electrical spark ignited a fire in an altitude chamber, near the end of a 14-day experiment at the U.S. Navy Air Crew Equipment Laboratory, Philadelphia, Pa. The men were participating in a NASA experiment to determine the effect on humans of breathing pure oxygen for 14 days at simulated altitudes.
NASA awarded a $2.56 million contract to Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc. (LTV), to develop the velocity package for Project Fire, to simulate reentry from a lunar mission. An Atlas D booster would lift an instrumented payload (looking like a miniature Apollo CM) to an altitude of 122,000 meters (400,000 feet). The velocity package would then fire the reentry vehicle into a minus 15 degree trajectory at a velocity of 11,300 meters (37,000 feet) per second. On December 17, Republic Aviation Corporation, developer of the reentry vehicle, reported that design was 95 percent complete and that fabrication had already begun.
Collins Radio Company selected Motorola, Inc., Military Electronics Division, to develop and produce the spacecraft S-band transponder. The transponder would aid in tracking the spacecraft in deep space; also, it would be used to transmit and receive telemetry signals and to communicate between ground stations and the spacecraft by FM voice and television links. The formal contract with Motorola was awarded in mid-February 1963.
Also, Collins awarded a contract to the Leach Corporation for the development of command and service module (CSM) data storage equipment. The tape recorders must have a five-hour capacity for collection and storage of data, draw less than 20 watts of power, and be designed for in-flight reel changes.
AC Spark Plug Division of General Motors Corporation assembled the first CM inertial reference integrating gyro (IRIG) for final tests and calibration. Three IRIGs in the CM navigation and guidance system provided a reference from which velocity and attitude changes could be sensed. Delivery of the unit was scheduled for February 1963.
North American reported several problems involving the CM's aerodynamic characteristics; their analysis of CM dynamics verified that the spacecraft could - and on one occasion did - descend in an apex-forward attitude. The CM's landing speed then exceeded the capacity of the drogue parachutes to reorient the vehicle; also, in this attitude, the apex cover could not be jettisoned under all conditions. During low-altitude aborts, North American went on, the drogue parachutes produced unfavorable conditions for main parachute deployment.
North American made a number of changes in the layout of the CM:
The MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office (ASPO) outlined the photographic equipment needed for Apollo missions. This included two motion picture cameras (16- and 70-mm) and a 35-mm still camera. It was essential that the camera, including film loading, be operable by an astronaut wearing pressurized gloves. On February 25, 1963, NASA informed North American that the cameras would be government furnished equipment.
At a meeting held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Instrumentation Laboratory, representatives of MIT, MSC, Hamilton Standard Division, and International Latex Corporation examined the problem of an astronaut's use of optical navigation equipment while in a pressurized suit with helmet visor down. MSC was studying helmet designs that would allow the astronaut to place his face directly against the helmet visor; this might avoid an increase in the weight of the eyepiece. In February 1963, Hamilton Standard recommended adding corrective devices to the optical system rather than adding corrective devices to the helmet or redesigning the helmet. In the same month, ASPO set 52.32 millimeters 2.06 inches as the distance of the astronaut's eye away from the helmet. MIT began designing a lightweight adapter for the navigation instruments to provide for distances of up to 76.2 millimeters (3 inches).
With NASA's concurrence, North American released the Request For Proposals on the Apollo mission simulator. A simulated CM, an instructor's console, and a computer complex now supplanted the three part- task trainers originally planned. An additional part-task trainer was also approved. A preliminary report describing the device had been submitted to NASA by North American. The trainer was scheduled to be completed by March 1964.
Northrop Corporation's Ventura Division, prime contractor for the development of sea-markers to indicate the location of the spacecraft after a water landing, suggested three possible approaches:
Owen E. Maynard, Head of MSC's Spacecraft Integration Branch, reported on his preliminary investigation of the feasibility of modifying Apollo spacecraft systems to achieve a 100-day Earth- orbital capability. His investigation examined four basic areas: (1) mission, propulsion, and flight time; (2) rendezvous, reentry, and landing; (3) human factors; and (4) spacecraft command and communications. Although modifications to some systems might be extensive- and would involve a considerable weight increase for the vehicle-such a mission using Apollo hardware was indeed feasible.
The first working model of the crew couch was demonstrated during an inspection of CM mockups at North American. As a result, the contractor began redesigning the couch to make it lighter and simpler to adjust. Design investigation was continuing on crew restraint systems in light of the couch changes. An analysis of acceleration forces imposed on crew members during reentry at various couch back and CM angles of attack was nearing completion.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the MSF Management Council that tests by Republic Aviation Corporation, the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine SAM at Brooks Air Force Base, Tex., and the U.S. Navy Air Crew Equipment Laboratory (ACEL) at Philadelphia, Pa., had established that, physiologically, a spacecraft atmosphere of pure oxygen at 3.5 newtons per square centimeter (five pounds per square inch absolute (psia)) was acceptable. During the separate experiments, about 20 people had been exposed to pure oxygen environments for periods of up to two weeks without showing adverse effects. Two fires had occurred, one on September 10 at SAM and the other on November 17 at ACEL. The cause in both cases was faulty test equipment. On July 11, NASA had ordered North American to design the CM for 3.5 newtons per square centimeter (5-psia), pure-oxygen atmosphere.
North American selected Radiation, Inc., to develop the CM pulse code modulation (PCM) telemetry system. The PCM telemetry would encode spacecraft data into digital signals for transmission to ground stations. The $4.3 million contract was officially announced on February 15, 1963.
In the first of a series of reliability-crew safety design reviews on all systems for the CM, North American examined the spacecraft's environmental control system (ECS). The Design Review Board approved the overall ECS concept, but made several recommendations for further refinement. Among these were:
NASA and General Dynamics/Convair (GD/C) began contract negotiations on the Little Joe II launch vehicle, which was used to flight-test the Apollo launch escape system. The negotiated cost was nearly $6 million. GD/C had already completed the basic structural design of the vehicle.
MSC Flight Operations Division examined the operational factors involved in Apollo water and land landings. Analysis of some of the problems leading to a preference for water landing disclosed that:
The contract for the development and production of the CSM C-band transponder was awarded to American Car and Foundry Industries, Inc., by Collins Radio Company. The C-band transponder was used for tracking the spacecraft. Operating in conjunction with conventional, earth-based, radar equipment, it transmitted response pulses to the Manned Space Flight Network,
MSC awarded a $3.69 million contract to the Radio Corporation of America
RCA Service Company to design and build two vacuum chambers at MSC. The facility was used in astronaut training and spacecraft environmental testing. using carbon arc: lamps, the chambers simulated the sun's intensity, permitting observation of the effects of solar heating encountered on a lunar mission. At the end of July, MSC awarded RCA another contract (worth $3,341,750) for these solar simulators.
After studying the present radar coverage provided by ground stations for representative Apollo trajectories, North American recommended that existing C-band radars be modified to increase ranging limits. The current capability for tracking to 920 kilometers (500 nautical miles), while satisfactory for near-earth trajectories, was wholly inadequate for later Apollo missions. Tracking capability should be extended to 59,000 kilometers (32,000 nautical miles), North American said; and to improve tracking accuracy, transmitter power and receiver sensitivity should be increased.
Representatives of North American, Langley Research Center, Ames Research Center, and MSC discussed CM reentry heating rates. They agreed on estimates of heating on the CM blunt face, which absorbed the brunt of reentry, but afterbody heating rates were not as clearly defined. North American was studying Project Mercury flight data and recent Apollo wind tunnel tests to arrive at revised estimates.
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., of MSC's Flight Operations Division (FOD), advised ASPO that the digital up-data link being developed for the Gemini program appeared acceptable for Apollo as well. In late October 1962, representatives of FOD and ASPO had agreed that an independent up-data link a means by which the ground could feed current information to the spacecraft's computer during a mission was essential for manned Apollo flights. Kraft proposed that the Gemini-type link be used for Apollo as well, and on June 13 MSC ordered North American to include the device in the CM.
Two aerodynamic strakes were added to the CM to eliminate the danger of a hypersonic apex-forward trim point on reentry. (During a high-altitude launch escape system (LES) abort, the crew would undergo excessive g forces if the CM were to trim apex forward. During a low-altitude abort, there was the potential problem of the apex cover not clearing the CM. The strakes, located in the yaw plane, had a maximum span of one foot and resulted in significant weight penalties. Additional Details: here....
The first evaluation of crew mobility in the International Latex Corporation (ILC) pressure suit was conducted at North American to identify interface problems. Three test subjects performed simulated flight tasks inside a CM mockup. CM spatial restrictions on mobility were shown. Problems involving suit sizes, crew couch dimensions, and restraint harness attachment, adjustment, and release were appraised. Numerous items that conflicted with Apollo systems were noted and passed along to ILC for correction in the continuing suit development program.
NASA authorized North American to extend until June 10 the CM heatshield development program. This gave the company time to evaluate and recommend one of the three ablative materials still under consideration. The materials were subjected to tests of thermal performance, physical and mechanical properties, and structural compatibility with the existing heatshield substructure. North American sought also to determine the manufacturing feasibility of placing the materials in a Fiberglas honeycomb matrix bonded to a steel substructure.
MSC issued a definitive contract for $15,029,420 to the Raytheon Company, Space and Information Systems Division, to design and develop the CM onboard digital computer. The contract was in support of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which was developing the Apollo guidance and navigation systems. Announcement of the contract was made on February 11.
The North American Apollo impact test facility at Downey, Calif., was completed. This facility consisted mainly of a large pool with overhead framework and mechanisms for hydrodynamic drop tests of the CM. Testing at the facility began with the drop of boilerplate 3 on March 11.
North American selected Bell Aerosystems Company to provide propellant tanks for the CSM reaction control system. These tanks were to be the "positive expulsion" type (i.e., fuel and oxidizer would be contained inside flexible bladder; pressure against one side of the device would force the propellant through the RCS lines).
MSC issued a Request for Proposals (due by March 13) for a radiation altimeter system. Greater accuracy than that provided by available radar would be needed during the descent to the lunar surface, especially in the last moments before touchdown. Preliminary MSC studies had indicated the general feasibility of an altimeter system using a source-detector-electronics package. After final selection and visual observation of the landing site, radioactive material would be released at an altitude of about 30 meters 100 feet and allowed to fall to the surface. The detector would operate in conjunction with electronic circuitry to compute the spacecraft's altitude. Studies were also under way at MSC on the possibility of using laser beams for range determination.
Elgin National Watch Company received a subcontract from North American for the design and development of central timing equipment for the Apollo spacecraft. (This equipment provided time-correlation of all spacecraft time-sensitive events. Originally, Greenwich Mean Time was to be used to record all events, but this was later changed.
As a parallel to the existing Northrop Ventura contract, and upon authorization by NASA, North American awarded a contract for a solid parachute program to the Pioneer Parachute Company. (A solid parachute is one with solid (unbroken) gores; the sole opening in the canopy is a vent at the top. Ringsail parachutes (used on the Northrop Ventura recovery system) have slotted gores. In effect, each panel formed on the gores becomes a "sail.")
MSC awarded a $67,000 contract to The Perkin-Elmer Corporation to develop a carbon dioxide measurement system, a device to measure the partial carbon dioxide pressure within the spacecraft's cabin. Two prototype units were to be delivered to MSC for evaluation. About seven months later, a $249,000 definitive contract for fabrication and testing of the sensor was signed.
The Mission Analysis Branch (MAB) of MSC's Flight Operations Division cited the principal disadvantages of the land recovery mode for Apollo missions. Of primary concern was the possibility of landing in an unplanned area and the concomitant dangers involved. For water recovery, the main disadvantages were the establishment of suitable landing areas in the southern hemisphere and the apex-down flotation problem. MAB believed no insurmountable obstacles existed for either approach.
North American completed construction of Apollo boilerplate (BP) 9, consisting of launch escape tower and CSM. It was delivered to MSC on March 18, where dynamic testing on the vehicle began two days later. On April 8, BP-9 was sent to MSFC for compatibility tests with the Saturn I launch vehicle.
The first Block I Apollo pulsed integrating pendulum accelerometer, produced by the Sperry Gyroscope Company, was delivered to the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. (Three accelerometers were part of the guidance and navigation system. Their function was to sense changes in spacecraft velocity.)
North American moved CM boilerplate (BP) 6 from the manufacturing facilities to the Apollo Test Preparation Interim Area at Downey, Calif. During the next several weeks, BP-6 was fitted with a pad adapter, an inert launch escape system, and a nose cone, interstage structure, and motor skirt.
General Dynamics Convair completed structural assembly of the first launcher for the Little Joe II test program. During the next few weeks, electrical equipment installation, vehicle mating, and checkout were completed. The launcher was then disassembled and delivered to WSMR on April 25, 1963.
North American analyzed lighting conditions in the CM and found that glossy or light-colored garments and pressure suits produced unsatisfactory reflections on glass surfaces. A series of tests were planned to define the allowable limits of reflection on windows and display panel faces to preclude interference with crew performance.
MSC announced the beginning of CM environmental control system tests at the AiResearch Manufacturing Company simulating prelaunch, ascent, orbital, and reentry pressure effects. Earlier in the month, analysis had indicated that the CM interior temperature could be maintained between 294 K (70 degrees F) and 300 K (80 degrees F) during all flight operations, although prelaunch temperatures might rise to a maximum of 302 K (84 degrees F).
A meeting was held at North American to define CM-space suit interface problem areas. Demonstrations of pressurized International Latex suits revealed poor crew mobility and task performance inside the CM, caused in part by the crew's unavoidably interfering with one another.
Other items received considerable attention: A six-foot umbilical hose would be adequate for the astronaut in the CM. The location of spacecraft water, oxygen, and electrical fittings was judged satisfactory, as were the new couch assist handholds. The astronaut's ability to operate the environmental control system (ECS) oxygen flow control valve while couched and pressurized was questionable. Therefore, it was decided that the ECS valve would remain open and that the astronaut would use the suit control valve to regulate the flow. It was also found that the hand controller must be moved about nine inches forward.
To provide a more physiologically acceptable load factor orientation during reentry and abort, MSC was considering revised angles for the crew couch in the CM. To reduce the couch's complexity, North American had proposed adjustments which included removable calf pads and a movable head pad.
At a North American design review, NASA representatives expressed a preference for a fixed CM crew couch. This would have the advantages of simplified design, elimination of couch adjustments by the crew, and better placement of the astronauts to withstand reentry loads. NASA authorized North American to adopt the concept following a three-week study by the company to determine whether a favorable center of gravity could be achieved without a movable couch.
Use of the fixed couch required relocation of the main and side display panels and repositioning of the translational and rotational hand controllers. During rendezvous and docking operations, the crew would still have to adjust their normal body position for proper viewing.
North American awarded a $9.5 million letter contract to the Link Division of General Precision, Inc., for the development and installation of two spacecraft simulators, one at MSC and the other at the Launch Operations Center. Except for weightlessness, the trainers would simulate the entire lunar mission, including sound and lighting effects.
North American chose Simmonds Precision Products, Inc., to design and build an electronic measurement and display system to gauge the service propulsion system propellants. Both a primary and a backup system were required by the contract, which was expected to cost about 2 million.
North American simplified the CM water management system by separating it from the freon system. A 4.5- kilogram (10-pound) freon tank was installed in the left-hand equipment bay. Waste water formed during prelaunch and boost, previously ejected overboard, could now be used as an emergency coolant. The storage capacity of the potable water tank was reduced from 29 to 16 kilograms (64 to 36 pounds) and the tank was moved to the lower equipment bay to protect it from potential damage during landing. These and other minor changes caused a reduction in CM weight and an increase in the reliability of the CM's water management system.
At ASPO's request, Wayne E. Koons of the Flight Operations Division visited North American to discuss several features of spacecraft landing and recovery procedures. Koon's objective, in short, was to recommend a solution when ASPO and the contractor disagreed on specific points, and to suggest alternate courses when the two organizations agreed. A question had arisen about a recovery hoisting loop. Neither group wanted one, as its installation added weight and caused design changes. In another area, North American wanted to do an elaborate study of the flotation characteristics of the CM. Koons recommended to ASPO that a full-scale model of the CM be tested in an open-sea environment.
There were a number of other cases wherein North American and ASPO agreed on procedures which simply required formal statements of what would be done. Examples of these were:
At El Centro, Calif., Northrop Ventura conducted the first of a series of qualification tests for the Apollo earth landing system (ELS). The test article, CM boilerplate 3, was dropped from a specially modified Air Force C-133. The test was entirely successful. The ELS's three main parachutes reduced the spacecraft's rate of descent to about 9.1 meters (30 feet) per second at impact, within acceptable limits.
North American demonstrated problems with side-arm controller location and armrest design inside the CM. Major difficulties were found when the subject tried to manipulate controls while wearing a pressurized suit. North American had scheduled further study of these design problems.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the MSF Management Council that the lunar landing mission duration profiles, on which North American would base the reliability design objectives for mission success and crew safety and which assumed a 14-day mission, had been documented and approved. The contractor had also been asked to study two other mission profile extremes, a 14-day mission with 110-hour transearth and translunar transfer times and the fastest practicable lunar landing mission.
The Operational Evaluation and Test Branch of MSC's Flight Operations Division considered three methods of providing a recovery hoisting loop on the CM: loop separate from the spacecraft and attached after landing, use of the existing parachute bridle, and loop installed as part of the CM equipment similar to Mercury and Gemini. Studies showed that the third method was preferable.
NASA and General Dynamics Convair negotiated a major change on the Little Joe II launch vehicle contract. It provided for two additional launch vehicles which would incorporate the attitude control subsystem (as opposed to the early fixed-fin version). On November 1, MSC announced that the contract amendment was being issued. NASA Headquarters' approval followed a week later.
The Operational Evaluation and Test Branch of MSC's Flight Operations Division made the following recommendations on Apollo postlanding water survival equipment:
North American completed a backup testing program (authorized by MSC on November 20, 1962) on a number of ablative materials for the CM heatshield. Only one of the materials (Avcoat 5026-39) performed satisfactorily at low temperatures. During a meeting on June 18 at MSC, company representatives discussed the status of the backup heatshield program. This was followed by an Avco Corporation presentation on the primary heatshield development. As a result, MSC directed North American to terminate its backup program. Shortly thereafter, MSC approved the use of an airgun to fill the honeycomb core of the heatshield with ablative material.
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., of the MSC Flight Operations Division, urged that an up-data link (UDL) be included on the LEM. In general, the UDL would function when a great deal of data had to be transmitted during a time-critical phase. It would also permit utilization of the ground operational support system as a relay station for the transmission of data between the CM and LEM. In case of power failure aboard the LEM, the UDL could start the computer faster and more reliably than a manual voice link, and it could be used to resume synchronization in the computer timing system.
The first full-scale firing of the SM engine was conducted at the Arnold Engineering Development Center. At the start of the shutdown sequence, the engine thrust chamber valve remained open because of an electrical wiring error in the test facility. Consequently the engine ran at a reduced chamber pressure while the propellant in the fuel line was exhausted. During this shutdown transient, the engine's nozzle extension collapsed as a result of excessive pressure differential across the nozzle skin.
North American reported that it had tried several types of restraint systems for the sleeping area in the equipment bay area of the CM. A "net" arrangement worked fairly well and was adaptable to the constant wear garment worn by the crew. However, North American believed that a simpler restraint system was needed, and was pursuing several other concepts.
ASPO reported that a different type of stainless steel would be used for the CM heatshield. The previous type proved too brittle at cryogenic temperatures. Aside from their low temperature properties, the two metals were quite; similar and no fabrication problems were anticipated.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb signed the definitive contract with North American for the development of the Apollo CSM. This followed by almost two years North American's selection as prime contractor, The $938.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee agreement was the most valuable single research and development contract in American history. The contract called for the initial production (i.e., through May 15, 1965) of 11 mockups, 15 boilerplate vehicles, and 11 production articles.
MSC Crew Systems Division conducted mobility tests of the Apollo prototype space suit inside a mockup of the CM. Technicians also tested the suit on a treadmill. The subjects' carbon dioxide buildup did not exceed two percent; their metabolic rates were about 897,000 joules (850 BTU) per hour at vent pressure, 1,688,000 joules at 2.4 newtons per square centimeter (1,600 BTU at 3.5 psi), and 2,320,000 joules at 3.5 newtons per square centimeter (2,200 BTU at 5.0 psi).
John P. Bryant, of the Flight Operations Division's (FOD) Mission Analysis Branch (MAB), reported to FOD that the branch had conducted a rough analysis of the effects of some mission constraints upon the flexibility possible with lunar launch operations. (As a base, MAB used April and May 1968, called "a typical two-month period.") First, Bryant said, MAB used the mission rules demanded for the Apollo lunar landing (e.g., free-return trajectory; predetermined lunar landing sites; and lighting conditions on the moon - "by far the most restrictive of the lot"). Next, MAB included a number of operational constraints, ones "reasonably representative of those expected for a typical flight," but by no means an "exhaustive" list:
"The consequences," Bryant concluded, "of imposing an ever-increasing number of these flight restrictions is obvious - the eventual loss of almost all operational flexibility. The only solution is . . . (a) meticulous examination of every constraint which tends to reduce the number of available launch opportunities," looking toward eliminating "as many as possible."
MSC Flight Operations Division (FOD) recommended a series of water impact tests to establish confidence in the CM's recovery systems under a variety of operating conditions. FOD suggested several air drops with water landings under various test conditions. Among these were release of the main parachutes at impact, deployment of the postlanding antennas, actuation of the mechanical location aids, and activation of the recovery radio equipment.
MSC announced a $7.658 million definitive contract with Kollsman Instrument Corporation for the CM guidance and navigation optical equipment, including a scanning telescope, sextant, map and data viewer, and related ground support equipment. MSC had awarded Kollsman a letter contract on May 28, 1962, and had completed negotiations for the definitive contract on March 29, 1963. "The newly signed contract calls for delivery of all hardware to AC Spark Plug by August 1, 1964."
At El Centro, Calif., CM boilerplate (BP) 3, a parachute test vehicle, was destroyed during tests simulating the new BP-6 configuration (without strakes or apex cover). Drogue parachute descent, disconnect, and pilot mortar fire appeared normal. However, one pilot parachute was cut by contact with the vehicle and its main parachute did not deploy. Because of harness damage, the remaining two main parachutes failed while reefed. Investigation of the BP-3 failure resulting in rigging and design changes on BP-6 and BP-19.
MSC ordered North American to make provisions in the CM to permit charging the 28-volt portable life support system battery from the spacecraft battery charger.
On the following day, the Center informed North American also that a new mechanical clock timer system would be provided in the CM for indicating elapsed time from liftoff and predicting time to and duration of various events during the mission.
The President's Scientific Advisory Committee requested a briefing from the Air Force on possible military space missions, biomedical experiments to be performed in space, and the capability of Gemini, Apollo, and the X-20 vehicles to execute these requirements.
North American incorporated an automatic radiator control into the CM's environmental control system to eliminate the need for crew attention during lunar orbit.
Recent load analysis at North American placed the power required for a 14-day mission at 577 kilowatt-hours, a decrease of about 80 kilowatt-hours from earlier estimates.
MSC made several changes in the CM's landing requirements. Impact attenuation would be passive, except for that afforded by the crew couches and the suspension system. The spacecraft would be suspended from the landing parachutes in a pitch attitude that imposed minimum accelerations on the crew. A crushable structure to absorb landing shock was required in the aft equipment bay area.
MSC advised North American that the television camera in the CM was being modified so that ground personnel could observe the astronauts and flight operations. Television images would be transmitted directly to earth via the Deep Space Instrumentation Facility.
Qualification testing began on fuel tanks for the service propulsion system (SPS). The first article tested developed a small crack below the bottom weld, which was being investigated, but pressurization caused no expansion of the tank. During mid-October, several tanks underwent proof testing. And, on November 1, the first SPS helium tank was burst-tested.
An MSC Spacecraft Technology Division Working Group reexamined Apollo mission requirements and suggested a number of ways to reduce spacecraft weight: eliminate the free-return trajectory; design for slower return times; use the Hohmann descent technique, rather than the equal period orbit method, yet size the tanks for the equal period mode; eliminate the CSM/LEM dual rendezvous capability; reduce the orbital contingency time for the LEM (the period of time during which the LEM could remain in orbit before rendezvousing with the CSM); reduce the LEM lifetime.
The second prototype space suit was received by MSC's Crew Systems Division. Preliminary tests showed little improvement in mobility over the first suit. On October 24-25, a space suit mobility demonstration was held at North American. The results showed that the suit had less shoulder mobility than the earlier version, but more lower limb mobility. Astronaut John W. Young, wearing the pressurized suit and a mockup portable life support system (PLSS), attempted an egress through the CM hatch but encountered considerable difficulty. At the same time, tests of the suit-couch- restraint system interfaces and control display layout were begun at the Navy's Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory centrifuge in Johnsville, Pa. Major problems were restriction of downward vision by the helmet, extension of the suit elbow arm beyond the couch, and awkward reach patterns to the lower part of the control panel. On October 30-November 1, lunar task studies with the suit were carried out at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in a KC-135 aircraft at simulated lunar gravity. Mobility tests were made with the suit pressurized and a PLSS attached.
The NASA-Industry Apollo Executives Group, composed of top managers in OMSF and executives of the major Apollo contractors, met for the first time. The group met with George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, for status briefings and problem discussions. In this manner, NASA sought to make executives personally aware of major problems in the program.
The Marquardt Corporation received a definitive $9,353,200 contract from North American for development and production of reaction control engines for the SM. Marquardt, working under a letter contract since April 1962, had delivered the first engine to North American that November.
MSC Flight Operations Division outlined the advantages inherent in the CSM's capability to use the HF transceiver during earth orbit. The HF transceiver would allow the CSM to communicate with any one tracking station at any time during earth orbit, even when the spacecraft had line-of-sight (LOS) contact with only one or two ground stations in some orbits. It would give the astronauts an additional communications circuit. Most important, this HF capability could alert the network about any trouble in the spacecraft and give the Flight Director more time to make a decision while the spacecraft was out of LOS communication with the ground stations.
North American presented to MSC the results of a three-month study on radiation instrumentation. Three general areas were covered: radio-frequency (RF) warning systems, directional instrumentation, and external environment instrumentation. The company concluded that, with the use of an RE system, astronauts would receive about two hours' notice of any impending solar proton event and could take appropriate action. Proper orientation of the spacecraft could reduce doses by 17 percent, but this could be accomplished only by using a directional detection instrument. There was a 70 percent chance that dosages would exceed safe limits unless such an instrument was used. Consequently North American recommended prompt development.
Despite the contractor's findings, MSC concluded that there was no need for an RE warning system aboard the spacecraft, believing that radiation warning could be handled more effectively by ground systems. But MSC did concur in the recommendation for a combined proton direction and external environment detection system and authorized North American to proceed with its design and development.
MSC accepted the final items of a $237,000 vibration test system from the LTV Electronics Division to be used in testing spacecraft parts.
On this same day, MSC awarded a $183,152 contract to Wyle Laboratories to construct a high-intensity acoustic facility, also for testing spacecraft parts. The facility would generate noise that might be encountered in space flight.
Apollo Pad Abort Mission I (PA-1), the first off-the-pad abort test of the launch escape system (LES), was conducted at WSMR. PA-1 used CM boilerplate 6 and an LES for this test.
All sequencing was normal. The tower-jettison motor sent the escape tower into a proper ballistic trajectory. The drogue parachute deployed as programmed, followed by the pilot parachute and main parachutes. The test lasted 165.1 seconds. The postflight investigation disclosed only one significant problem: exhaust impingement that resulted in soot deposits on the CM.
At El Centro, Calif., a drop test was conducted to evaluate a dual drogue parachute arrangement for the CM. The two drogues functioned satisfactorily. The cargo parachute used for recovery, however, failed to fully inflate, and the vehicle was damaged at impact. This failure was unrelated to the test objectives.
A joint North American-MSC meeting reviewed the tower flap versus canard concept for the earth landing system (ELS). During a low-altitude abort, MSC thought, the ELS could be deployed apex forward with a very high probability of mission success by using the tower flap configuration. The parachute system proposed for this mode would be very reliable, even though this was not the most desirable position for deploying parachutes. Dynamic stability of the tower flap configuration during high- altitude aborts required further wind tunnel testing at Ames Research Center. Two basic unknowns in the canard system were deployment reliability, and the probability of the crew's being able to establish the flight direction and trim the CM within its stability limits for a safe reentry. Design areas to be resolved were a simple deployment scheme and a spacecraft system that would give the crew a direction reference.
MSC directed North American to proceed with the tower flap as its prime effort, and attempt to solve the stability problem at the earliest possible date. MSC's Engineering and Development Directorate resumed its study of both configurations, with an in-depth analysis of the canard system, in case the stability problem on the tower flap could not be solved by the end of the year.
ASPO revised the normal and emergency impact limits (20 and 40 g, respectively) to be used as human tolerance criteria for spacecraft design. (These limits superseded those established in the August 14, 1963, North American contract and subsequent correspondence.)
All production drawings for the CM environmental control system were released. - AiResearch Manufacturing Company reported the most critical pacing items were the suit heat exchanger, cyclic accumulator selector valve, and the potable and waste water tanks.
North American conducted an eight-day trial of the prototype Apollo diet. Three test subjects, who continued their normal activities rather than being confined, were given performance and oxygen consumption tests and lean body mass and body compartment water evaluations. The results showed insignificant changes in weight and physiology.
At a meeting of the Apollo Docking Interface Panel, North American recommended and Grumman concurred that the center probe and drogue docking concept be adopted.MSC emphasized that docking systems must not compromise any other subsystem operations nor increase the complexity of emergency operations. In mid-December, MSC/ASPO notified Grumman and North American of its agreement. At the same time, ASPO laid down docking interface ground rules and performance criteria which must be incorporated into the spacecraft specifications.
There would be two ways for the astronauts to get from one spacecraft to the other. The primary mode involved docking and passage through the transfer tunnel. An emergency method entailed crew and payload transfer through free space. The CSM would take an active part in translunar docking, but both spacecraft must be able to take the primary role in the lunar orbit docking maneuver. A single crewman must be able to carry out the docking maneuver and crew transfer.
North American issued the final report of its study for MSC on extended missions for the Apollo spacecraft. In stressing the supreme importance of man's role in the exploration of space-and the uncertainties surrounding the effects of prolonged exposure to the zero-gravity environment of space-the company suggested that an Earth-orbital laboratory would be an ideal vehicle for such long-term experimental evaluation, with missions exceeding a year's duration. Additional Details: here....
MSC reviewed a North American proposal for adding an active thermal control system to the SM to maintain satisfactory temperatures in the propulsion and reaction control engines. The company's scheme involved two water-glycol heat transport loops with appropriate nuclear heaters and radiators. During December, MSC directed North American to begin preliminary design of a system for earth orbit only. Approval for spacecraft intended for lunar missions was deferred pending a comprehensive review of requirements.
Ames Research Center performed simulated meteoroid impact tests on the Avco Corporation heatshield structure. Four targets of ablator bonded to a stainless steel backup structure were tested. The ablator, in a Fiberglas honeycomb matrix, was 4.369 millimeters (0.172 inch) thick in two targets and 17.424 millimeters (0.686 inch) thick in the other two. Each ablator was tested at 116.48 K (-250 degrees F) and at room temperature, with no apparent difference in damage.
Penetration of the thicker targets was about 13.970 millimeters (0.55 inch). In the thinner targets, the ablator was pierced. Debris tore through the steel honeycomb and produced pinholes on the rear steel sheet. Damage to the ablator was confined to two or three honeycomb cells and there was no cracking or spalling on the surface.
Tests at Ames of thermal performance of the ablation material under high shear stress yielded favorable preliminary results.
MSC directed North American to redesign the CM environmental control system compressor to provide 0.283 cubic meters (10 cubic feet) of air per minute to each space suit at 1.8 newtons per square centimeter (3.5 psi), 16.78 kilograms (37 pounds) per hour total.
MSC and the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Medical Division completed a joint manned environmental experiment at Brooks Air Force Base, Tex. After spending a week in a sea-level atmospheric environment, the test subjects breathed 100 percent oxygen at 3.5 newtons per square centimeter (5 psi) at a simulated altitude of 8,230 meters (27,000 feet) for 30 days. They then reentered the test capsule for observation in a sea-level environment for the next five days. This experiment demonstrated that men could live in a 100 percent oxygen environment under these conditions with no apparent ill effects.
The System Engineering Division (SED) examined the feasibility of performing an unmanned earth orbital mission without the guidance and navigation system. SED concluded that the stabilization and control system could be used as an attitude reference for one to two orbits and would have accuracies at retrofire suitable for recovery. The number of orbits depended upon the number of maneuvers performed by the vehicle, since the gyros tended to drift.
MSC directed North American to assign bioinstrumentation channels to the CM for early manned flights for monitoring the crew's pulse rate, blood pressure, respiration, and temperature. These readings could be obtained simultaneously on any one crew member and by switching from man to man for monitoring the entire crew.
Three U. S. Air Force test pilots began a five-week training period at the Martin Company leading to their participation in a simulated seven- day lunar landing mission. This was part of Martin's year-long study of crew performance during simulated Apollo missions (under a $771,000 contract from NASA).
At an MSC-North American meeting, spacecraft communications problems were reviewed. Testing had indicated that considerable redesign was essential to ensure equipment operation in a high-humidity environment. Also antenna designs had created several problem areas, such as the scimitar antenna's causing the CM to roll during reentry. The amount of propellant consumed in counteracting this roll exceeded reentry allowances. Further, because the CM could float upside down, the recovery antenna might be pointed at the ocean floor. In fact, many at this meeting doubted whether the overall communications concept was satisfactory "without having detailed ground receiver characteristics." The situation derived from "one of the primary problems in the area of communications system design . . . the lack of functional requirements specifications."
ASPO and the Astronaut Office agreed to provide the crew with food that could be eaten in a liquid or semi-liquid form during emergency pressurized operation. This would permit considerable reduction in the diameter of the emergency feeding port in the helmet visor.
MSC and Bellcomm agreed upon a plan for testing the Apollo heatshield under reentry conditions. Following Project Fire and Scout tests, the Saturn IB would be used to launch standard "all-up" spacecraft into an elliptical orbit; the SM engine would boost the spacecraft's velocity to 8,839 meters
(29,000 feet) per second. Additional Details: here....
Following completion of feasibility studies of an extended Apollo system at MSC, Edward Z. Gray, Advanced Manned Missions Program Director at Headquarters, told MSC's Maxime A. Faget, Director of Engineering and Development, to go ahead with phase II follow-on studies. Gray presented guidelines and suggested tasks for such a study, citing his desire for two separate contracts to industry to study the command and service modules and various concepts for laboratory modules.
The first fuel cell module delivered by Pratt and Whitney Aircraft to North American was started and put on load. The module operated normally and all test objectives were accomplished. Total operating time was four hours six minutes, with one hour at each of four loads-20, 30, 40, and 50 amperes. The fuel cell was shut down without incident and approximately 1,500 cubic centimeters (1.6 quarts) of water were collected.
MSC's Systems Engineering Division met with a number of astronauts to get their comments on the feasibility of the manual reorientation maneuver required by the canard abort system concept. The astronauts affirmed that they could accomplish the maneuver and that manual control during high-altitude aborts was an acceptable part of a launch escape system design. They pointed out the need to eliminate any possibility of sooting of the windows during normal and abort flight. Although the current design did not preclude such sooting, a contemplated boost protective cover might satisfy this requirement.
Two astronauts took part in tests conducted by North American to evaluate equipment stowage locations in CM mockup 2. Working as a team, the astronauts simulated the removal and storage of docking mechanisms. Preliminary results indicated this equipment could be stowed in the sleeping station. When his suit was deflated, the subject in the left couch could reach, remove, and install the backup controllers if they were stowed in the bulkhead, couch side, or headrest areas. When his suit was pressurized, he had difficulty with the bulkhead and couch side locations. The subject in the center couch, whose suit was pressurized, was unable to be of assistance.
Grumman was studying problems of transmitting data if the LEM missed rendezvous with the CSM after lunar launch. This meant that the LEM had to orbit the moon and a data transmission blackout would occur while the LEM was on the far side of the moon. There were two possible solutions, an onboard data recorder or dual transmission to the CSM and the earth. This redundancy had not previously been planned upon, however.
A design review of the CM reaction control system (RCS) was held. Included was a discussion of possible exposure of the crew to hazardous fumes from propellants if the RCS ruptured at earth impact. For the time being, the RCS design would not be changed, but no manned flights would be conducted until the matter had been satisfactorily resolved. A detailed study would be made on whether to eliminate, reduce, or accept this crew safety hazard.
NASA and North American discussed visibility requirements on the CM and came to the following conclusions: the contractor would provide four portholes in the protective shroud so the astronauts could see through both side and forward viewing windows, and ensure that all windows were clean after launch escape tower separation. North American proposed the addition to Block II CM of a collimated optical device for orientation and alignment during docking. MSC Flight Crew Operations Directorate recommended that mirrors be added to increase external and internal field of vision.
A design review of crew systems checkout for the CM waste management system was held at North American. As a result, MSC established specific requirements for leakage flow measurement and for checkout at North American and Cape Kennedy. The current capability of the checkout unit restricted it to measuring only gross leakage of segments of the system.
Further analysis of the management system was necessary to determine changes needed in the checkout unit.
Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company reported it had developed an all-attitude display unit for the CM to monitor the guidance and navigation system and provide backup through the stabilization and control system. The Flight Director Attitude Indicator (or "eight-ball") would give enough information for all spacecraft attitude maneuvers during the entire mission to be executed manually, if necessary.
Engineers from ASPO and Engineering and Development Directorate (EDD) discussed the current status of the tower flap versus the canard launch escape vehicle (LEV) configurations. Their aim was to select one of the two LEV configurations for Block I spacecraft. ASPO and EDD concluded that the canard was aerodynamically superior; that arguments against the canard, based on sequencing, mechanical complexity, or schedule effect, were not sufficient to override this aerodynamic advantage; and that this configuration should be adopted for Block I spacecraft. However, further analysis was needed to choose the design for the Block II LEV.
Boilerplate (BP) 13 spacecraft was flown from North American, Downey, Calif., to MSC's Florida Operations facility at Cape Kennedy, where the vehicle was inspected and checked out. On April 2, the spacecraft and launch escape system were moved to the pad and mated to the launch vehicle, SA-6. After exhaustive testing, a Flight Readiness Review on May 19 established that BP-13 was ready for launch.
The Block II CSM configuration was based on three classes of changes: mandatory changes necessary to meet the
MSC completed and forwarded to NASA Headquarters a plan for changing the relationship of the navigation and guidance contractors. AC Spark Plug would become the principal contractor, with the Raytheon Company and Kollsman Instrument Corporation as subcontractors. MIT would still have primary responsibility for system design and analysis.
North American completed its initial phase of crew transfer tests using a mockup of the CM/LEM transfer tunnel. Subjects wearing pressure suits were suspended and counterbalanced in a special torso harness to simulate weightlessness; hatches and docking mechanisms were supported by counterweight devices. The entire tunnel mockup was mounted on an air-bearing, frictionless table. Preliminary results showed that the crew could remove and install the hatches and docking mechanisms fairly easily.
Motorola, Inc., submitted a proposal to NASA for the Apollo Unified S-band Test Program, a series of tests on the unified S-band transponder and premodulation processor. Motorola had already begun test plans, analytical studies, and fabrication of special test equipment.
North American submitted to ASPO a proposal for dynamic testing of the docking subsystem, which called for a full-scale air-supported test vehicle. The contractor estimated the program cost at $2.7 million for facilities, vehicle design, construction, and operation.
George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, summarized recent studies of the dangers of meteoroids and radiation in the Apollo program. Data from the Explorer XVI satellite and ground observations indicated that meteoroids would not be a major hazard. Clouds of protons ejected by solar flares would present a risk to astronauts, but studies of the largest solar flares recorded since 1959 showed that maximum radiation dosages in the CM and the Apollo space suit would have been far below acceptable limits (set in July 1962 by the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences). Cosmic rays would not be a hazard because of their rarity. Radiation in the Van Allen belts was not dangerous because the spacecraft would fly through the belts at high speeds.
At a NASA-North American technical management meeting, the tower flap versus canard configuration for the launch escape vehicle was settled. ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea decided that canards should be the approach for Block I vehicles, with continued study on eliminating this device on Block II vehicles.
At a NASA-North American Technical Management Meeting at Downey, Calif., North American recommended that Apollo earth landings be primarily on water. On the basis of analytical studies and impact tests, the contractor had determined that "land impact problems are so severe that they require abandoning this mode as a primary landing mode." In these landings, North American had advised, it was highly probable that the spacecraft's impact limits would be surpassed. In fact, even in water landings "there may be impact damage which would result in leakage of the capsule." (ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, at this meeting, "stated that MSC concurs that land impact problems have not been solved, and that planning to utilize water impact is satisfactory."
Three days later, Shea reported to the MSC Senior Staff that Apollo landings would be primarily on water. The only exceptions, he said, would be pad aborts and emergency landings. With this question of "wet" versus "dry" landing modes settled, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Assistant Director for Flight Operations, brought up the unpleasant problem of the CM's having two stable attitudes while afloat - and especially the apex-down one. This upside-down attitude, Kraft emphasized, submerged the vehicle's recovery antennas and posed a very real possibility of flooding in rough seas. Shea countered that these problems could be "put to bed" by using some type of inflatable device to upright the spacecraft.
MSC and AC Spark Plug negotiated amendments to AC's contract for a research and development program for inertial reference integrating gyroscopes. The amendments covered cost overruns, an additional 30 pieces of hardware, and conversion of the contract to an incentive-fee type (target price, $3.465 million; ceiling price, $3.65 million).
Boilerplate (BP) 19 was drop tested at El Centro, Calif., simulating flight conditions and recovery of BP-12. A second BP-19 drop, on April 8, removed all constraints on the BP-12 configuration and earth landing system. Another aim, to obtain information on vehicle dynamics, was not accomplished because of the early firing of a backup drogue parachute.
At North American, a mockup of the crew transfer tunnel was reviewed informally. The mockup was configured to the North American-proposed Block II design (in which the tunnel was larger in diameter and shorter in length than on the existing spacecraft). MSC asked the contractor to place an adapter in the tunnel to represent the physical constraints of the current design, which would permit the present design to be thoroughly investigated and to provide a comparison with the Block II proposal.
North American held a design review of the CM heatshield substructure. Use of titanium in place of stainless steel was being evaluated as part of a weight reduction study for the Block II spacecraft. Added reliability and a weight saving of several hundred pounds might be achieved thereby. Three factors would be considered: the brittleness of stainless steel at extremely cold temperatures, the higher cost of titanium, and the verification of diffusion bonding of titanium honeycomb.
NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications began organizing several groups of scientists to assist the agency in defining more specifically the scientific objectives of Project Apollo. In a number of letters to prominent American scientists, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell asked them to propose suitable experiments in such fields as geology, geophysics, geochemistry, biology, and atmospheric science. This broadly based set of proposals, Newell explained, is "for the purpose of assuring that the final Apollo science program is well balanced, as complete as possible, and that all potential investigators have been given an opportunity to propose experiments." The proposals would then be reviewed by subcommittees of NASA's Space Sciences Steering Committee.
To verify a narrower hatch configuration proposed for Block II spacecraft, North American evaluated the capability of an astronaut wearing a pressurized space suit and a portable life support system to pass through the main hatch of the CM for extravehicular activities. Subjects were able to enter and leave the mockup without undue difficulty despite the presence of gravity.
Because of the pure oxygen atmosphere specified for the spacecraft, North American reviewed its requirements for component testing. Recent evaluation of the CM circuit breakers had indicated a high probability that they would cause a fire. The company's reliability office recommended more flammability testing, not only on circuit breakers but on the control and display components as well. The reliability people recommended also that procurement specifications be amended to include such testing.
At the April 7-8 NASA-North American Technical Management Meeting (the first of these meetings to be held at MSC's new home, "NASA Clear Lake Site 1"), ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea summarized his office's recent activities concerning the Block II spacecraft. He spelled out those areas that ASPO was investigating - which included virtually the whole vehicle between escape tower and service engine bell. Shea outlined procedures for "customer and contractor" to work out the definitive Block II design, aiming at a target date of mid-May 1965. These procedures included NASA's giving North American descriptions of its Block II work, estimates of weight reduction, and a set of ground rules for the Block II design. And to ensure that both sides cooperated as closely as possible in this work, Shea named Owen E. Maynard, Chief of MSC's Systems Engineering Division, and his counterpart at Downey, Norman J. Ryker, Jr., to "honcho" the effort.
Firings at the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) and at Aerojet-General Corporation's Sacramento test site completed Phase I development tests of the SM propulsion engine. The last simulated altitude test at AEDC was a sustained burn of 635 seconds, which demonstrated the engine's capability for long-duration firing. Preliminary data indicated that performance was about three percent below specification, but analysis was in progress to see if it could be improved.
North American conducted a preliminary study on removal of one of three fuel cells from the Block II CSM. The contractor predicted a total weight saving of about 168 kilograms (370 pounds), with potential indirect reductions in the cryogenic systems, but this change would require a significant increase in reliability.
Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, in a letter to North American's Apollo Program Manager, summarized MSC's review of the weight status of the Block I and the design changes projected for Block II CSM's.
The Block II design arose from the need to add docking and crew transfer capability to the CM. Reduction of the CM control weight (from 9,500 to 9,100 kilograms (21,000 to 20,000 pounds)) and deficiencies in several major subsystems added to the scope of the redesign. Additional Details: here....
North American completed the first of a series of simulations to evaluate the astronauts' ability to perform attitude change maneuvers under varying rates and angles. Subjects were tested in a shirtsleeve environment and in vented and pressurized International Latex Corporation state-of-the-art pressure suits. The subjects had considerable difficulty making large, multi-axis attitude corrections because the pressurized suit restricted manipulation of the rotational hand controller.
After completing estimates of the heating conditions for a series of MIT guided reentry trajectories, the MSC Engineering and Development Directorate recommended that the heatshield design philosophy be modified from the current "worst possible entry" to the "worst possible entry using either the primary or backup guidance mode." North American had drawn up the requirements early in 1962, with the intent of providing a heatshield that would not be a constraint on reentry. However, it was now deemed extremely unlikely that an entry, employing either the primary or backup guidance mode, would ever experience the heat loads that the contractor had designed for earlier. The ablator weight savings, using the MIT trajectories, could amount to several hundred pounds.
NASA definitized the letter contract with the Philco Corporation Techrep Division for spacecraft flight control support. The definitive contract covered the period from September 16, 1963, through March 31, 1965, and the total cost-plus-fixed-fee was $720,624.
At Downey, Calif., MSC and North American officials conducted a mockup review on the Block I CSM. Major items reviewed were:
For the first time, three representative Apollo space suits were used in the CM couches. Pressurized suit demonstrations, with three suited astronauts lying side by side in the couches, showed that the prototype suit shoulders and elbows overlapped and prevented effective operation of the CM displays and controls. Previous tests, using only one suited subject, had indicated that suit mobility was adequate. Gemini suits, tested under the same conditions, proved much more usable. Moreover, using Gemini suits for Apollo earth orbital missions promised a substantial financial saving. As a result of further tests conducted in May, the decision was made to use the Gemini suits for these missions. The existing Apollo space suit contract effort was redirected to concentrate on later Apollo flights. A redesign of the Apollo suit shoulders and elbows also was begun.
Commenting on Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater's views on the space program, Warren Burkett, science writer for the Houston Chronicle, observed that a great deal of research being conducted as part of NASA's Apollo program could be of direct value to the military services. Burkett contended that an orbital laboratory using Apollo-developed components could be used for such military applications as patrol and orbital interception. He suggested that, with Apollo, NASA was generating an inventory of 'off-the-shelf' space hardware suitable for military use if needed.
Apollo X spacecraft to be used in Earth orbit for extended duration biomedical and scientific flights. MSC's Spacecraft Integration Branch proposed an Apollo 'X' spacecraft to be used in Earth orbit for biomedical and scientific missions of extended duration. The spacecraft would consist of the lunar Apollo spacecraft and its systems, with minimum modifications consisting- of redundancies and spares. The concept provided for a first-phase mission which would consider the Apollo 'X' a two-man Earth-orbiting laboratory for a period of 14 to 45 days. The spacecraft would be boosted into a 370-km orbit by a Saturn IB launch vehicle. Additional Details: here....
MSC's Apollo Spacecraft Program Office (ASPO) approved a plan (put forward by the MSC Advanced Spacecraft Technology Division to verify the CM's radiation shielding. Checkout of the radiation instrumentation would be made during manned earth orbital flights. The spacecraft would then be subjected to a radiation environment during the first two unmanned Saturn V flights. These missions, 501 and 502, with apogees of about 18,520 km (10,000 nm), would verify the shielding. Gamma probe verification, using spacecraft 008, would be performed in Houston during 1966. Only Block I CM's would be used in these ground and flight tests. Radiation shielding would be unaffected by the change to Block II status.
On the basis of reentry simulations, North American recommended several CM instrument changes. An additional reaction control system display was needed, the company reported. Further, the flight attitude and the stabilization and control system indicators must be modified to warn of a system failure before it became catastrophic. The entry monitor system for Block I spacecraft would have to be replaced and the sample g-meter was not wholly satisfactory.
North American and MIT Instrumentation Laboratory representatives met in Houston to discuss electrical power requirements for the guidance and control systems in Block II CMs. They had determined the additional electrical power needed for the guidance and control system 24 volts was available,
In a letter to NASA Administrator James E. Webb, AC Spark Plug reported that the first Apollo guidance system completed acceptance testing and was shipped at 11:30 p.m. and arrived at Downey, California, early the following day. AC reported that in more than 2,000 hours of operation they had found the system to be "remarkably reliable, accurate and simple to operate."
Eagle-Picher Company completed qualification testing on the 25-amperehour reentry batteries for the CM. Shortly thereafter, Eagle-Picher received authorization from North American to proceed with design and development of the larger 40-ampere-hour batteries needed for the later Block I and all Block II spacecraft.
Because they were unable to find a satisfactory means of plating the magnesium castings for the CM data storage equipment (to fulfil the one percent salt spray requirement), Collins Radio Company and the Leach Corporation were forced to use aluminum as an alternative. This change would increase the weight of the structure by about 2.3 kg (5 lbs) and, perhaps even more significant, could produce flutter when the recorder was subjected to vibration tests. These potential problems would be pursued when a finished aluminum casting was available.
The Guidance and Control Implementation Sub-Panel of the MSC-MSFC Flight Mechanics Panel defined the guidance and control interfaces for Block I and II missions. In Block II missions the CSM's guidance system would guide the three stages of the Saturn V vehicle; it would control the S- IVB (third stage) and the CSM while in earth orbit; and it would perform the injection into a lunar trajectory. In all of this, the CSM guidance backed up the Saturn ST-124 platform. Actual sequencing was performed by the Saturn V computer.
North American and Honeywell reviewed the Block II CSM entry monitor subsystem's compatibility with the stabilization and control system. The proposed configuration, they found, combined maximum reliability with minimum size and weight and would provide adequate mission performance.
In response to inquiries from General Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Deputy Director, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea declared that, for Apollo, no lunar mapping or survey capability was necessary. Shea reported that the Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Orbiter programs should give ample information about the moon's surface. For scientific purposes, he said, a simpler photographic system could be included without requiring any significant design changes in the spacecraft.
Heavy black deposits were discovered on the environmental control system (ECS) cold plates when they were removed from boilerplate 14. Several pinholes were found in the cold plate surfaces, and the aluminum lines were severely pitted. This was, as ASPO admitted, a matter of "extreme concern" to the ECS design people at North American, because the equipment had been charged with coolant for only three weeks. This evidence of excessive corrosion reemphasized the drawbacks of using ethylene glycol as a coolant.
In an interview for Missiles and Rockets magazine, Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., stated that NASA planned to initiate program definition studies of an Apollo X spacecraft during Fiscal Year 1965. Seamans emphasized that such a long-duration space station program would not receive funding for actual hardware development until the 1970s. He stressed that NASA's Apollo X would not compete with the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program: 'MOL is important for the military as a method of determining what opportunities there are for men in space. It is not suitable to fulfill NASA requirements to gain scientific knowledge.'
MSC ordered North American to halt procurement of a CM simulator. Instead, the company was to begin a simulator program using the two existing evaluator-type CMs in conjunction with the digital-analog computer facility. These evaluators would be used to verify the guidance and navigation and stabilization and control system software, and to analyze crew tasks and failure effects.
At Langley Research Center, representatives from Langley, MSC, Ames Research Center, Avco Corporation, and North American met to discuss their independent conclusions of the data gathered from the Scout test of the Apollo heatshield material and to determine whether a second test was advisable. Langley's report revealed that: the heatshield materials performed as predicted within the flight condition appropriate to Apollo; the excessive recession rates occurred during flight conditions which were more severe than those considered for the design of the heatshield or expected during Apollo reentries.
Each group represented had a different interpretation of the reasons for the excessively high surface recession. The conclusion was that a second flight of the heatshield materials on the Scout would not particularly improve the understanding of the material's performance because of the limited variation in reentry trajectory and flight conditions obtainable with the Scout vehicle.
ASPO's Operations Planning Division defined the current Apollo mission programming as envisioned by MSC. The overall Apollo flight program was described in terms of its major phases: Little Joe II flights (unmanned Little Joe II development and launch escape vehicle development); Saturn IB flights (unmanned Saturn IB and Block I CSM development, Block I CSM earth orbital operations, unmanned LEM development, and manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations); and Saturn V flights (unmanned Saturn V and Block II CSM development, manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations, and manned lunar missions).
MSC directed North American to halt development of a portable light assembly for the CM. It was not required, the Center said, because the spaceship's primary lighting system included extendable floodlights. Small lights on the fingertips of the space suit and a flashlight in the survival kit were also available if needed.
North American conducted the first operational deployment of the launch escape system canards. No problems were encountered with the wiring or the mechanism. Two more operational tests remained to complete the minimum airworthiness test program, a constraint on boilerplate 23.
North American conferred with representatives from Shell Chemical Company, Narmco, Epoxylite, and Ablestick on the problems of bonding the secondary structure to the CM. They agreed on improved methods of curing and clamping to strengthen the bond and prevent peeling.
MSC conducted a week-long salt spray test on the CM television camera's magnesium housing. This was necessitated by similar tests on the Leach data storage structure, which had disclosed the inadequacy of that equipment's nickel plating. The television camera, with its protective coating (AMS 2478, Dow 17 treatment), withstood the ordeal quite well. MSC therefore decided that the magnesium housing was acceptable.
North American conducted the first drop test of boilerplate 28 at Downey, Calif. The test simulated the worst conditions that were anticipated in a three-parachute descent and water landing. The second drop, it was expected, would likewise simulate a landing on two parachutes. The drop appeared normal, but the spacecraft sank less than four minutes after hitting the water. Additional Details: here....
Bellcomm, Inc., presented its evaluation of the requirement for a q-ball in the emergency detection system. (The device, enclosed in the nose cone atop the launch escape tower, measured dynamic pressures and thus monitored the vehicle's angle of attack, and was designed to warn the crew of an impending breakup of the vehicle.) Bellcomm's findings confirmed that the q-ball was absolutely essential and that the device was ideally suited to its task.
MSC informed North American that a flashing light on the CSM, as an aid for visual rendezvous, was not required. (A request for some such device had been generated at the Block II mockup review.) Houston's position was based on the current CSM/LEM configuration, which called for rendezvous radar on both spacecraft and the ability of both vehicles to effect the rendezvous using either its own radar or that in the target vehicle.
During a mechanical loading test (simulating a 20-g reentry) the CM aft heatshield failed at 120 percent of maximum load. Structures and Mechanics Division engineers inspected the structure. They found that the inner skin had buckled, the damage extending three quarters of the way around the bolt circle that secured the heatshield to the spacecraft's inner structure. Their findings would be used along with data from the recent drop of boilerplate 28 to determine what redesign was necessary.
Engineers from the MSC Crew Systems Division and from North American discussed testing of the breadboard environmental control system. During all flights - both manned and unmanned - North American must monitor the cabin atmosphere by gas chromatography and mass spectrography. The company should also compare the materials for the breadboard with those for Mercury, Gemini, and other applicable space chambers.
Joseph G. Thibodaux, Jr., MSC Propulsion and Power Division, reported at an Apollo Engineering and Development technical management meeting that the first J-2 firing of the service propulsion system engine was conducted at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). Two fuel cell endurance tests of greater than 400 hours were completed at Pratt and Whitney. MSC would receive a single cell for testing during the month.
In its search for some method of reducing water impact pressures, North American was considering adding a 15- to 30.5-cm (6- to 12-in) "lump" to the CM's blunt face. The spacecraft manufacturer was also investigating such consequent factors as additional wind tunnel testing, the effect on heatshield design, and impact upon the overall Apollo program.
There appeared to be some confusion and/or disagreement concerning whether one or two successful Saturn V reentry tests were required to qualify the CM heatshield. A number of documents relating to instrumentation planning for the 501 and 502 flight indicated that two successful reentries would be required. The preliminary mission requirements document indicated that only a single successful reentry trajectory would be necessary. The decision would influence the measurement range capability of some heatshield transducers and the mission planning activity being conducted by the Apollo Trajectory Support Office. The Structures and Mechanics Division had been requested to provide Systems Engineering with its recommendation.
MSC defined the requirements for visual docking aids on both of the Apollo spacecraft:
After investigating the maximum radiation levels that were anticipated during Apollo earth orbit missions, North American confirmed the need for some type of nuclear particle detection system (NPDS). Except for periods of extremely high flux rates, the current design of the NPDS was considered adequate. During the same reporting period, North American awarded a contract to Philco to build the system.
The Emergency Detection System (EDS) Design Sub-Panel of the Apollo-Saturn Electrical Systems Integration Panel held its first meeting at North American's Systems and Information Division facility at Downey, Calif. A. Dennett of MSC and W. G. Shields of MSFC co-chaired the meeting.
Personnel from MSC, MSFC, KSC, OMSF, and North American attended the meeting. Included in the discussions were a review of the EDS design for both the launch vehicle and spacecraft along with related ground support equipment; a review of the differences of design and checkout concepts; and a review of EDS status lights in the spacecraft.
To solve the persisting problem of the integrity of the CM's aft heatshield during water impacts, MSC engineers were investigating several approaches: increasing the thickness of the face sheet (but with no change to the core itself); and replacing the stainless-steel honeycomb with a type of gridwork shell. Technicians felt that, of these two possibilities, the first seemed more efficient structurally.
MSC's Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, Donald K. Slayton, told the Apollo Program Manager that the current display and keyboard (DSKY) for the Block II CSM and for the LEM were not compatible with existing display panel design of both vehicles from the standpoint of lighting, nomenclature presentation, and caution warning philosophy. In his memorandum, Slayton pointed out mandatory operational requirements of the DSKY to ensure compatibility and consistency with the existing spacecraft display panel design.
With reference to lighting, he said all numerics should be green, nomenclature and status lights white, and caution lights should be aviation yellow. All panel lighting should be dimmable throughout the entire range of brightness, including off.
In regard to nomenclature, Slayton pointed out that abbreviations on the DSKY should conform to the North American Interface Control Document (ICD). The referenced ICD was being reviewed by Grumman and North American and was scheduled to be signed December 1, 1964.
Referring to the caution and warning system, he pointed out that all caution lights on the DSKY should be gated into the primary navigation and guidance system (PNGS) caution light on the main instrument panel of both vehicles and into the PNGS caution light on the lower equipment bay panel of the CM.
Slayton requested that preliminary designs of the DSKY panel be submitted to the Subsystem Managers for Controls and Displays for review and approval.
MSC determined that the lights on the fingertips of the space suits were adequate to supplement the CM's interior lighting. Thus North American's efforts to develop a portable light in the spacecraft were canceled. The exact requirements for those fingertip lights now had to be defined. The astronauts preferred red bulbs, which would necessitate a redesign of the existing Gemini system. (See October 29-November 5.)
Officials from North American and MSC Crew Systems Division defined the container design and stowage of survival kits in the Block II CM. The equipment would be packed in fabric rucksacks and would be installed in the spacecraft's stowage compartment. (This method eliminated a removable hard container used in the Block I vehicle and would save weight.)
Crew Systems Division (CSD) engineers evaluated the radiator for the environmental control system in Block I CSM's. The division was certain that, because of that item's inadequacy, Block I missions would have to be shortened.
During the same period, however, the Systems Engineering Division (SED) reported "progress" in solving the radiator problem. SED stated that some "disagreement" existed on the radiator's capability. North American predicted a five-day capability; CSD placed the mission's limit at about two days. SED ordered further testing on the equipment to reconcile this difference.
The Configuration Control Panel approved a deployment angle of 45 degrees for the adapter panels on Block I flights. North American anticipated no schedule impact. MSC and North American were jointly evaluating the acceptability of this angle for Block II missions as well. A most important consideration was the necessity to communicate via the CM's high-gain antenna during the transposition and docking phase of the flight.
MSC informed North American that the Center would furnish a VHF transmitter to serve as a telemetry dump for all manned Block I flights. This would permit wide flexibility in testing the CSM S-band's compatibility with the Manned Space Flight Network prior to Block II missions.
Because of heat from the service propulsion engine (especially during insertion into lunar orbit), a serious thermal problem existed for equipment in the rear of the SM. Reviewing the rendezvous radar's installation, the Guidance and Control Division felt that a heatshield might be needed to protect the equipment. Similar problems might also be encountered with the steerable antenna.
General Precision's Link Group received a $7 million contract from NASA, through a subcontract with Grumman, for two LEM simulators, one at Houston and the other at Cape Kennedy. Along with comparable equipment for the CSM (also being developed by Link), the machines would serve as trainers for Apollo astronauts. The devices would duplicate the interior of the spacecraft; and visual displays would realistically simulate every phase of the mission.
North American tested the canard thrusters for the launch escape system, using both single and dual cartridges. These tests were to determine whether the pressure of residual gases was sufficient to maintain the canards in a fully deployed position. Investigators found that residual pressures remained fairly constant; further, the firing of a single cartridge produced ample pressure to keep the canards deployed.
Acceptance testing was completed at Downey, California, on three principal systems trainers for the CSM (the environmental control, stabilization and control, and electrical power systems). The trainers were then shipped to Houston and installed at the site, arriving there December 8. They were constructed under the basic Apollo Spacecraft contract at a cost of $953,024.
In a letter to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips regarding tentative spacecraft development and mission planning schedules, Joseph F. Shea, Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager, touched upon missions following completion of Apollo's prime goal of landing on the Moon. Such missions, Shea said, would in general fall under the heading of a new program (such as Apollo X). Although defining missions a number of years in the future was most complex, Shea advised that MSC was planning to negotiate program package contracts with both North American and Grumman through Fiscal Year 1969, based upon the agency's most recent program planning schedules.
MSC approved plans put forth by North American for mockups of the Block II CSM. For the crew compartment mockup, the company proposed using the metal shell that had originally been planned as a simulator. Except for the transfer tunnel and lighting, it would be complete, including mockups of all crew equipment. Additional Details: here....
Engineering and medical experts of the Crew Systems Division reviewed dumping helium from the CM's gas chromatograph into the cabin during reentry or in a pad abort. Reviewers decided that the resultant atmosphere (9.995 kilonewtons (1.45 psi) helium and 31.349 kilonewtons (4.55 psia) oxygen) posed no hazard for the crew. Systems Engineering Division recommended, however, that dump time be reduced from 15 minutes to three, which could readily be done.
MSC ordered North American to fix the rotation angle of the adapter panels at 45 degrees. (This angle should give ample clearance during an SM abort.) Also, so that each panel would have two attenuators, North American should include such a device at each thruster location.
On the same day, the Center directed North American to put a standard mechanical clock (displaying Greenwich Mean Time) in the lower equipment bay of the CM. (The spacecraft also had an elapsed time device on the main display console.)
A single main parachute was drop-tested at El Centro, Calif., to verify the ultimate strength. The parachute was designed for a disreef load of 11,703 kg (25,800 lbs) and a 1.35 safety factor. The test conditions were to achieve a disreef load of 15,876 kg (35,000 lbs. Preliminary information indicated the parachute deployed normally to the reefed shape (78,017 kg (17,200 lbs) force), disreefed after the programmed three seconds, and achieved an inflated load of 16,193 kg (35,700 lbs), after which the canopy failed. Additional Details: here....
The resident Apollo office at North American discussed the company's tooling concepts for the Block II spacecraft with the chief of Marshall's Planning and Tool Engineering Division and the local Marshall representative. These reviewers agreed on the suitability of North American's basic approach. Though they recognized that the initial tooling cost would be high, they nonetheless felt that the total costs of manufacturing would not be appreciably affected. The substitution of mechanical for optical checking devices, it was agreed, would eliminate much of the "judgment factor" from the inspection process; mechanical checking also would assure uniformity of major components or subsystems.
A mission planning presentation was given to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, Assistant Director for Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., and Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton covering missions AS-201, AS-202, and AS-203. Additional Details: here....
North American and Lockheed summarized the qualification program for the launch escape and pitch control motors. While several performance deviations were reported, these were minor and, in general, the presentation was deemed satisfactory. North American followed up on the discrepancies and, on March 22, the motors were declared flight-qualified.
ASPO's Systems Engineering Division (SED) investigated the possibility of partial donning of the space suit (sans helmet and gloves) and the consequent effects upon operation of the CM environmental control system (ECS). (Current ECS design called for shirtsleeve and full-suited operations.) The systems engineers found that, with vehicle reliability based upon shirtsleeve environments, wearing part of the suit contributed little toward protecting the astronaut against loss of cabin pressure.
Most pressure-seal failures in the spacecraft would still allow the astronaut time to don the complete suit. Catastrophic failures (i.e., loss of windows or hatches) were highly improbable, but if one of this type occurred, depressurization would be so rapid as to preclude the astronaut's donning even a part of the suit. Actually, overall mission reliability was greatest with the shirtsleeve environment; continuous suit wear degraded the garment's reliability for the lunar exploration phase of the flight. Moreover, a number of design changes in the spacecraft would be required by partial suit wear.
SED concluded that, to build confidence in the spacecraft's pressurization system, Block I CM's should be outfitted for partial suit wear. In Block II vehicles the suit should not be worn during translunar mission phases (again because of mission reliability). SED recommended to the ASPO Manager, therefore, that he direct North American to incorporate provisions for partial suit wear in Block I and to retain the shirtsleeve concept for the Block II spacecraft.
Changing the CM back-face temperature requirement from 600 degrees F at touchdown to 600 degrees F at parachute deployment threatened to increase the cabin air temperature. Physiologists at MSC had previously declared that the cabin temperature should not exceed 100 degrees F. The proposed change in the back-face requirement, North American reported, would raise the cabin's interior to 125 degrees F. MSC's Crew Systems Division reviewed these factors and decided the increased cabin temperature would not be acceptable.
William A. Lee, chief of ASPO's Operations Planning Division, announced a revised Apollo launch schedule for 1966 and 1967. In 1968, a week-long earth orbital flight would be a dress rehearsal for the lunar mission. "Then the moon," Lee predicted. "We have a fighting chance to make it by 1970," he said, "and also stay within the 20 billion price tag set . . . by former President Kennedy."
NASA announced that Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 16, a Titan missile facility, would be converted into static test stands for Apollo spacecraft. This decision eliminated the need for such a facility originally planned on Merritt Island and, it was predicted, would cost little more than a fourth of the $7 million estimated for the new site.
North American selected Dalmo-Victor to supply S-band high-gain antennas for Apollo CSM's. (The deployable antenna would be used beyond 14,816 km (8,000 nm) from the earth.) Dalmo-Victor would complete the antenna design and carry out the development work, and North American would procure production units under a supplemental contract.
North American completed acceptance tests for the CSM sequential and propulsion systems trainers. On January 15 the equipment was shipped to MSC, where it was installed the following week. This terminated the procurement program for the Apollo systems trainer.
OMSF asked MSC to provide NASA Headquarters with a statement of "the minimum definition of meteoroid environment in cislunar space" which would be necessary for confidence that Apollo could withstand the meteoroid flux. The "desirable degree of definition" was also requested. This material was to be used as inputs to the current cislunar Pegasus studies being conducted by OMSF.
During testing, it was found that blast effects of the linear charge for the CM/SM umbilical cutter caused considerable damage to the heatshield. To circumvent this problem, North American designed a vastly improved pyrotechnic-driven, guillotine-type cutter. MSC readily approved the new' device for both Block I and II spacecraft.
Northrop-Ventura verified the strength of the dual drogue parachutes in a drop test at El Centro, Calif. This was also the first airborne test of the new mortar by which the drogues were deployed and of the new pilot parachute risers, made of steel cables. All planned objectives were met. Additional Details: here....
MSC negotiated a backup Block II space suit development program with David Clark Company, which paralleled the Hamilton Standard program, at a cost of $176,000. Criteria for selecting the suit for ultimate development for Block II would be taken from the Extravehicular Mobility Unit Design and Performance Specification. A selection test program would be conducted at MSC using the CM mockup, the lunar simulation facility, and the LEM mockup.
To determine flotation characteristics of the spacecraft, the Stevens Institute of Technology began a testing program using one-tenth scale models of the CM. Researchers found that the sequence in which the uprighting bags were deployed was equally critical in both a calm sea and in various wave conditions; improper deployment caused the vehicle to assume an apex-down position. These trials disproved predictions that wave action would upright the spacecraft from this attitude.
Further testing during the following month reinforced these findings. But because sequential deployment would degrade reliability of the system, North American held that the bags must upright the spacecraft irrespective of the order of their inflation. Stevens' investigators would continue their program, examining the CM's characteristics under a variety of weight and center of gravity conditions.
Apollo boilerplate 28 underwent its second water impact test. Despite its strengthened aft structure, in this and a subsequent drop on February 9 the vehicle again suffered damage to the aft heatshield and bulkhead, though far less severe than that experienced in its initial test. The impact problem, it was obvious, was not yet solved.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reiterated the space agency's phasic view of the Apollo program. He was well pleased with the pace of the program and reported that ground testing of all CSM subsystems was "well along." Reflecting on the year just past, Shea observed that it was one in which Apollo objectives were achieved "milestone by milestone?' He was equally optimistic about Apollo's progress during the coming months, predicting that there would be "three Apollo spacecraft in continuous ground testing" by the end of the year.
ASPO established radiation reliability goals for Apollo. These figures would be used to coordinate the radiation program, to define the allowable dosages, and to determine the effect of radiation on mission success. The crew safety goal (defined as the probability of a crewman's not suffering permanent injury or worse, nor his being incapacitated and thus no longer able to perform his duties) was set at 0.99999. The major hazard of a radiation environment, it was felt, was not the chance of fatal doses. It was, rather, the possibility of acute radiation sickness during the mission. The second reliability goal, that for success of the mission (the probability that the mission would not be aborted because of radiation environment), was placed at 0.98.
These values, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea emphasized, were based on the 8.3-day reference mission and on emergency dose limits previously set forth. They were not to be included in overall reliability goals for the spacecraft, nor were they to be met by weight increases or equipment relocations.
MSC questioned the necessity of using highly purified (and expensive) fuel-cell-type oxygen to maintain the cabin atmosphere during manned ground testing of the spacecraft. The Center, therefore, undertook a study of the resultant impurities and effect on crew habitability of using a commercial grade of aviation oxygen.
A drop test at EI Centro, Calif., demonstrated the ability of the drogue parachutes to sustain the ultimate disreefed load that would be imposed upon them during reentry. (For the current CM weight, that maximum load would be 7,711 kg (17,000 lbs) per parachute.) Preliminary data indicated that the two drogues had withstood loads of 8,803 and 8,165 kg (19,600 and 18,000 lbs). One of the drogues emerged unscathed; the other suffered only minor damage near the pocket of the reefing cutter.
MSC relayed to NASA Headquarters North American's cost estimates for airlocks on the Apollo CM:
|Blocks I & II||$1,050,000||$111,000|
During late February and early March, North American completed a conceptual design study of an airlock for the Block I CMs. Designers found that such a device could be incorporated into the side access hatch. A substitute cover for the inner hatch and a panel to replace the window on the outer hatch would have to be developed, but these modifications would not interfere with the basic design of the spacecraft.
In a memorandum to ASPO, Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, inquired about realigning the schedules of contractors to meet revised delivery and launch timetables for Apollo. Phillips tentatively set forth deliveries of six spacecraft (CSM/LEMs) during 1967 and eight during each succeeding year; he outlined eight manned launches per year also, starting in 1969.
Apollo Extension System (AES) to produce space hardware for future missions at a fraction of the original development cost. Testifying before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics during hearings on NASA's Fiscal Year 1966 budget, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller briefly outlined the space agency's immediate post-Apollo objectives: 'Apollo capabilities now under development,' he said, 'will enable us to produce space hardware and fly it for future missions at a small fraction of the original development cost. This is the basic concept in the Apollo Extension System (AES) now under consideration.' Additional Details: here....
Because of the CM's recent weight growth, the launch escape system (LES) was incapable of lifting the spacecraft the "specification" distance away from the booster. The performance required of the LES was being studied further; investigators were especially concerned with the heat and blast effects of an exploding booster, and possible deleterious effects upon the parachutes.
MSC and North American conducted Part 2 of the mockup review of the CM's forward compartment and lower equipment bay. (Part 1 was accomplished January 14-15. This staged procedure was in line with the contractor's proposal for a progressive review program leading up to the Critical Design Review scheduled for July 19-23.) Except for minor changes, the design was acceptable.
NASA awarded a $2,740,000 fixed-price contract to the Collins Radio Company for S-band telemetry equipment. Collins would install the equipment at three antenna facilities that supported Apollo lunar missions (at Goldstone, Calif.; Canberra, Australia; and Madrid, Spain).
Using a mockup Apollo CM, MSC Crew Systems Division tested the time in which an astronaut could don and doff the Block I pressure garment assembly while at various stations inside the spacecraft. The two subjects' average donning times were nine min 33 sec and 10 min; mean doffing times were four min five sec and five min 23 sec.
To determine thermal and vacuum effects on the CM's parachutes, MSC Structures and Mechanics Division tested nylon samples in a vacuum under varying temperature conditions. After two weeks of exposure to this spacelike environment, the samples exhibited only a 16 percent loss of strength (as against a design allowable of 25 percent).
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea named William A. Lee as an assistant program manager. Lee, who previously headed the Operations Planning Division (which had been absorbed into Owen E. Maynard's Systems Engineering Division), now assumed responsibility for Apollo Operations (both the flight-test program and the lunar mission). Lee thus joined Harry L. Reynolds, also an assistant manager, who was assigned to the LEM's development. Deputy Manager Robert O. Piland continued overseeing the CSM's development and, along with Shea, overall program management.
Because of a change in the size of the entry corridor, North American technicians sought to determine whether they might relax the requirements for pointing accuracy of the stabilization and control system at transearth injection. They could not. To ensure a delta-V reserve, the accuracy requirement must remain unchanged.
MSC Structures and Mechanics Division presented their findings on the possibility of qualifying the spacecraft's thermal protection in a single mission. While one flight was adequate to prove the ablator's performance, the division asserted, it would not satisfy the requirements as defined in the specification.
To prevent radiator freezing - and consequent performance degradation - in the Block I environmental control system, MSC ordered North American to supplement the system's coolant. Forty-five kg (100 lbs) of water would be stored in the SMs of airframes 012 and 014.
NASA and General Motors' AC Spark Plug Division signed the definitive contract (cost-plus-incentive-fee type) for primary guidance and navigation systems for the Apollo spacecraft (both CMs and LEMs). The agreement, extending through December 1969, covered manufacturing and testing of the systems.
North American gave boilerplate 28 its third water drop test. Upon impact, the spacecraft again suffered some structural damage to the heatshield and the core, though much less than it had experienced on its initial drop. Conditions in this test were at least as severe as in previous ones, yet the vehicle remained watertight.
Avco found that cracking of the ablator during cure was caused by incomplete filling, leaving small voids in the material. The company ordered several changes in the manufacturing process: a different shape for the tip of the "filling gun" to facilitate filling those cells that were slightly distorted; manual rather than automatic retraction of the gun; and x-raying of the ablator prior to curing. Using these new methods, Avco repaired the aft heatshield and toroidal corner of airframe 006, which was then re-cured. No cracking was visible. The crew compartment heatshield for airframe 009 came through its cure equally well. Voids in the ablator had been reduced to about two percent. "It appears," Structures and Mechanics Division reported, "that the problem of cracking . . . has been solved by better manufacturing."
MSC directed North American to incorporate the capability for storing a kit-type mapping and survey system into the basic Block II configuration. The actual hardware, which would be installed in the equipment bay of certain SMs (designated by MSC), would weigh up to 680 kg (1,500 lbs).
During the flight of boilerplate (BP) 23, the Little Joe II's control system had coupled with the first lateral bending mode of the vehicle. To ensure against any recurrence of this problem on the forthcoming flight of BP-22, MSC asked North American to submit their latest figures on the stiffness of the spacecraft and its escape tower. These data would be used to compute the first bending mode of BP-22 and its launch vehicle.
During a pad abort, propellants from the CM's reaction control system (RCS) would be dumped overboard. Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) therefore established a test program to evaluate possible deleterious effects on the strength of the earth landing system's nylon components. SMD engineers would expose test specimens to RCS fuel (monomethyl hydrazine) and oxidizer (nitrogen tetroxide). This testing series would encompass a number of variables: the length of exposure; the time period between that exposure and the strength test; the concentration of propellant; and the rate and direction of the air flow. Testing was completed near the end of the month. SMD reported that "no significant degradation was produced by any of the test exposure conditions."
North American conducted acoustic tests on the spacecraft's interior, using boilerplate (BP) 14. Noise levels generated by the spacecraft's equipment exceeded specifications. Prime culprits appeared to be the suit compressor and the cabin fans. North American engineers asserted, however, that the test vehicle itself, because of its sheet metal construction, compounded the problem. These tests with BP-14, they affirmed, were not representative of conditions in flight hardware. Data on communications inside the spacecraft were inconclusive and required further analysis, but the warning alarm was sufficiently loud to be heard by the crewmen.
North American dropped boilerplate 1 twice to measure the maximum pressures the CM would generate during a high-angle water impact. These figures agreed quite well with those obtained from similar tests with a one-tenth scale model of the spacecraft, and supported data from the model on side wall and tunnel pressures.
MSC estimated the number of navigational sightings that Apollo crewmen would have to make during a lunar landing mission:
MSC directed North American to include nine scientific experiments on SA 204/Airframe 012: cardiovascular reflex conditioning, bone demineralization, vestibular effects, exercise ergometer, inflight cardiac output, inflight vector cardiogram, measurement of metabolic rate during flight, inflight pulmonary functions, and synoptic terrain photography. On June 25, the last five experiments were deleted and a cytogenic blood studies experiment was added.
MSC eliminated the requirement for relaying, via the LEM/CSM VHF link, transmissions from a moon-exploring astronaut to the earth. This change allowed the 279.0 megacycle (Mc) transmitters in both vehicles to be eliminated; cleared the way for a common VHF configuration; and permitted duplex voice communications between astronaut and spacecraft. For communicating with the LEM, MSC directed North American to provide a 259.7 Mc transmitter in the CSM.
ASPO proposed deletion of a liftoff light in the Block II CM. The Block I design provided a redundant panel light which came ON at liftoff as a part of the emergency detection system (EDS). This light gave a cue to the pilot to verify enabling of the EDS automatic abort, for which manual backup was provided. The Block II CM would incorporate improved EDS circuitry without manual backup. Deletion of the liftoff light in the CM was proposed to save weight, power, space, and reliability, and to eliminate a crew distraction during the boost phase of flight.
After extensive analysis, Crew Systems Division recommended that the "shirtsleeve" environment be kept in the CM. Such a design was simpler and more reliable, and promised much greater personal comfort than wearing the space suit during the entire mission.
Structures and Mechanics Division engineers were studying several schemes for achieving the optimum weight of Block II CMs without compromising landing reliability: reducing velocity by retrorockets or "explosions" in the parachutes; controlling roll attitude to 0 degrees at impact through a "rotatable pot" structure; changing landing medium (i.e., shape hole in water and/or aeration of the water).
ASPO requested the Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) to study the problem of corrosion in the coolant loops of the CM's environmental control system, and to search for effective inhibitors. Current efforts at North American to lessen corrosion included improved hardware and operating procedures, but stopped short of extensive redesigning; and it would be some time before conclusive results could be expected. Early in May, Owen E. Maynard, chief of the Systems Engineering Division, directed SMD immediately to begin its search for inhibitors. If by July 1966 the corrosion problem remained unresolved, SMD could thus recommend stopgap measures for the early spacecraft.
North American began a series of water impact tests with boilerplate 1 to obtain pressure data on the upper portions of the CM. Data on the side walls and tunnel agreed fairly well with those obtained from 1/10 scale model drops; this was not the case with pressures on the top deck, however.
Test Series I on spacecraft 001 was completed at WSTF Propulsion Systems Development Facility. Vehicle and facility updating in progress consisted of activating the gimbal subsystem and installing a baffled injector and pneumatic engine propellant valve. The individual test operations were conducted satisfactorily, and data indicated that all subsystems operated normally. Total engine firing time was 765 seconds.
Beech Aircraft Corporation stopped all end-item acceptance tests of hydrogen and oxygen tanks as a result of interim failure reports issued against three tanks undergoing tests. Failures ranged from exceeding specification tolerances and failure to meet heat leak requirements to weld failure on the H2 tank. Beech would resume testing when corrective action was established and approved by North American.
North American reviewed nondestructive techniques for testing honeycomb structures. The principal method involved ultrasonic testing, but this approach was highly dependent upon equipment and procedure. At best, ultrasonic testing could do no more than indicate faulty bond areas, and these could be confirmed only through destructive tests. A number of promising nondestructive methods were being investigated, but thus far none was satisfactory. The danger in this situation was that, if design allowables had to be lowered to meet the results of strength distribution tests, the weight advantage of honeycomb construction might be lost.
North American presented final results of their modification to the electrical power system for spacecraft 011 to solve the power and energy problem. This consisted of the addition of three batteries which would be mounted on the center platform and used to supply instrumentation and mission control programmer loads during flight. These batteries would be paralleled with the entry and landing batteries at impact to provide power for postlanding recovery loads. MSC concurred with this approach.
To evaluate the Block 11 CSM's manual thrust vector control, five pilots, among them two astronauts, flew the Apollo simulator at Honeywell. These mock flights demonstrated that the manual control was sufficiently accurate for transearth injection. Also, researchers determined that the optical alignment sight provided the crewmen with attitude references adequate for midcourse maneuvers.
ASPO informed North American that a meeting would be held at its Downey, California, plant April 20-23 to negotiate and have signed off all Block I and Block II suit interface control documents (ICDs) and the government furnished equipment ICDs. Hamilton Standard, Grumman, and David Clark were being instructed to have representation present to achieve the signed ICDs. North American was instructed to have the ICDs in final form to be signed or negotiated.
Officials from North American and the three NASA centers most concerned (MSFC, KSC, and MSC) discussed the environmental umbilical arrangement for the CM. The current configuration hampered rapid crew egress and therefore did not meet emergency requirements. This group put forth several alternative designs, including lengthening the umbilical hood and relocating the door or hatch.
On the basis of current systems reliabilities and the design reference mission, North American estimated at one in a hundred the possibility that returning Apollo crewmen would land on solid ground rather than on water. The contractor used this estimate in formulating test programs for boilerplate 28 and spacecraft 002A and 007.
Two CSM fuel cells failed qualification testing, the first failing after 101.75 hrs of the vacuum endurance test. Pratt and Whitney Aircraft determined that the failure was caused by a cleaning fluid which contaminated and plugged the oxygen lines and contaminated the oxygen gas at the electrodes. Additional Details: here....
North American, Hamilton Standard, Grumman, David Clark, and MSC representatives, meeting in Downey, California, resolved all interfaces between the space suit and the two blocks of spacecraft. As a result of these agreements, MSC directed North American and Grumman to make some minor changes (suggested by the Crew Systems Division) in the communications cables; to remove the portable life support systems from the CM; and to add a thermal-meteoroid garment - rather than one providing merely thermal protection - to the CM.
At the initial design engineering inspection (DEI) of Spacecraft 009, held at Downey, California, MSC and North American officials reviewed the compatibility of the vehicle with SA-201 mission requirements. The DEI Review Board approved 11 hardware changes and assigned 26 others for further study.
The ASPO CSM Project Officer, C. L. Taylor, said that immediate action must be taken to reduce the FY 1965 expenditures on the CSM program by $5 million. Toward that end, he directed attention to a cost reduction program, "Project Squeeze," and said that a joint North American/NASA Project Squeeze had been in operation several months and had resulted in significant program reductions. However, the majority of items recommended for investigation were North American-oriented.
Taylor requested items for consideration be submitted no later than April 27, 1965, and pointed out some specifics which might be considered:
The MSC Systems Engineering Division published revisions to Apollo Mission 204A objectives and mission requirements. The principal difference between the revised version and the Initial Mission Directive for Mission 204 was the expansion of the secondary propulsion system performance objective, the radiation survey meter objective, which was deleted, and the don/doff of the Block I pressure garment and thermal blanket objectives which had also been deleted.
North American summarized its position on the design of the CM for earth impact in a letter to MSC. A number of meetings had taken place since the NASA North American Technical Management Meeting February 25, 1964, at which the decision was made to reorient Apollo impact to water as the primary landing site.
The letter reviewed the history of boilerplate 28 drop tests and a series of MSC North American meetings during the last two months of 1964 and the first two of 1965. On February 12, at a meeting at Downey, California, North American had recommended:
At the time of the April 27 letter, North American was implementing the design changes defined in the Apollo CM design changes for water impact. The changes were based on North American's best understanding of agreements between it and MSC regarding criteria, loads, definition of the ultimate land envelope, structural analysis, and the requirement that no-leakage integrity within the ultimate load level be demonstrated by test.
Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, approved Crew Systems Division's recommendation to retain the "shirtsleeve" environment for the CM. The design was simpler and promised greater overall mission reliability; also, it would be more comfortable for the crewmen. Additional Details: here....
The Flight Projects Division (FPD) proposed a change in the checkout procedure at Merritt Island (KSC). The idea, drawn from Gemini, would eliminate checkout at the environmental control system (ECS) facility. Basically, FPD's plan was to transport the mated CSM directly from the Operations and Checkout Building to the altitude chamber, where the ECS would be tested. Officials at North American approved the new procedure, and FPD requested the Checkout and Test Division to study its feasibility.
North American announced an Apollo Engineering Reorganization, designed to improve operational efficiency and to be consistent with existing requirements of the Apollo program. The reorganization would: (1) increase the number of managers, but reduce the individual manager's scope and eliminate one level of management, making for clearer assignments and better communications; (2) incorporate certain checkout and ground support equipment systems engineering functions into Systems Engineering, strengthening the integration capabilities and simplifying operational procedures; and (3) basic functions of analytical engineering within Apollo Engineering were being transferred to the Research and Engineering Division, increasing the effective use of technical and management personnel.
North American and NASA officials conducted an engineering inspection on boilerplate 23A at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The board approved four requests on minor structural changes; a fifth request, involving tolerances on the boost protective cover, was slated for further study.
Although North American was including real-time digital command equipment in Block II CSMs (as NASA had directed), the firm recommended that such equipment not be placed on Block I vehicles. North American based their contention on two factors:
Technical personnel at MSC became concerned over an RCS oxidizer tank failure that occurred in February 1965, during propellant exposure and creep tests. The failure had previously been explained as stress corrosion caused from a fingerprint on the tank shell before heat treat. NASA requested that the test be repeated under tighter controlled procedures.
MSC Assistant Director for Engineering and Development Maxime A. Faget submitted to NASA Hq the Center's plans for Fiscal Year 1966 Apollo Extension System program definition and subsystems development efforts. The information submitted was based on MSC's AES study and supporting development efforts and was broken down into several categories in line with guidelines laid down by the Office of Manned Space Flight: program definition, verification of the capabilities of Apollo subsystems for AES; definition and initial development of experiment payloads and payload support; long leadtime development of primary spacecraft systems critical to achieving minimum AES objectives (i.e., four to six weeks orbital capability and up to two weeks on the lunar surface); and development of improved or alternate subsystems that would extend AES capabilities up to three months in Earth orbit. Tasks in support of these objectives, Faget stated, fell into two priorities: (1) those tasks required to verify an early AES capability; and (2) tasks in support of later AES missions and for system improvement. Those tasks having immediate priority, therefore, demanded the 'hard core' of AES funding essential to meet the early AES flight dates.
MSC directed North American to provide spacecraft 012, 014, 017, and 020 with a system to monitor combustion instability in the service propulsion engine. (On April 8, officials of ASPO, Propulsion and Power Division, and the Flight Operations Directorate had agreed on the desirability of such a system.) Should vibrations become excessive, the device would automatically shut down the engine. Manual controls would enable the astronauts to lock out the automatic system and to restart the engine.
A Panel Review Board (PRB) meeting was held at Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) in Washington and the MSC and MSFC Chairmen of the Flight Mechanics Panel attended.
Prior to the formal meeting, discussions with T. Thompson and B. Kaskey revealed that Bellcomm had recommended to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that the contingency mission for AS 204 be an unmanned orbital flight and that no unmanned contingency mission be planned for 205. The reason for an unmanned contingency for 204 was to give MSFC an additional opportunity to obtain orbital data from the S-IVB stage.
PRB was informed that lack of specific requirements concerning contingency mission capability was hampering Flight Mechanics Panel in completion of interface control documents and associated mission development. Contingency capability was classified into two types: (1) contingency capability to provide for failures during the flight program or schedule adjustments of the hardware; and (2) in-flight contingencies due to malfunction of the launch vehicle.
The Apollo earth landing system (ELS) was tested in a drop of boilerplate (BP) 19 at El Centro, Calif. The drop removed constraints on the ELS for BP-22; also, it was a "prequalification" trial of the main parachutes before the start of the full qualification test program.
Structures and Mechanics Division engineers determined that the spacecraft-LEM-adapter would not survive a service propulsion system abort immediately after jettisoning of the launch escape tower. North American planned to strengthen the upper hinges and fasteners and to resize the shock attenuators on spacecraft 009.
Developmental testing began on a new landing device for the CM, one using rockets (mounted on the heatshield) that would be ignited immediately before impact. The current method for ensuring the integrity of the spacecraft during a landing in rough water involved strengthening of the aft structure. The new concept, should it prove practicable, would offer a twofold advantage: first, it would lighten the CM considerably; second, it would provide an improved emergency landing capability.
Crew Systems Division (CSD) representatives contracted with Northrop Space Laboratories to study physiological effects of tailward g forces. (CSD believed these forces might be "very hazardous." Consequently, the lowest impact limits for Apollo missions were in that direction.) Northrop would study bradycardia (slow heart rate) in animals induced by such acceleration, and would apply these findings to humans. CSD hoped thereby to determine whether current limits were "ultraconservative."
North American conducted the third in a series of water impact tests on boilerplate 1 to measure pressures on forward portions of the spacecraft. Data from the series supported those from tests with one- tenth scale models of the CM. The manufacturer reported, therefore, that it planned no further full-scale testing.
North American released a preliminary report, "Apollo Reliability Modeling Documentation," in response to an action item assigned to MSC by the President's Scientific Advisory Committee (PSAC) Space Technology Panel at an Apollo program reliability briefing for the panel in January. Additional Details: here....
MSC directed North American to install Block II-type, flush-mounted omni-directional S-band antennas on CMs 017 and 020. These antennas would survive reentry and thus would afford telemetry transmissions throughout the flight. On June 25, the Center ordered that they be installed in the toroidal (doughnut shaped) section of the aft heatshield.
To aid reacquisition and tracking of the high-gain antenna, MSC directed North American to study the feasibility of an inertial reference system on Block II spacecraft, one that would use rate signals from the CSM's stabilization and control system. Without this system, the astronauts would have to perform anywhere from 250 to 500 antenna reacquisitions during a single lunar mission. And during sleeping periods, when the CM pilot was alone in the vehicle, it was mandatory that the antenna automatically reacquire the earth.
MSC's Crew Systems Division (CSD) received from Hamilton Standard Division a liquid cooling garment which had been modified to include a comfort liner. Preliminary tests by the contractor showed a substantial increase in comfort with only a small decrement to cooling capacity. CSD scheduled tests to validate the performance.
Thiokol Chemical Company completed qualification testing on the tower jettison motor. An ignition delay on February 22 had necessitated a redesign of the igniter cartridge. Subsequently, Thiokol developed a modified pyrogen seal, which the firm tested during late August and early September.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea replied to a recommendation by the Assistant Director for Flight Operations to incorporate warning lights in Block I and II CMs to indicate failure of the gimbal actuator secondary drive motors. ASPO decided that no failure indication would be provided for the redundant drive motors in Block I spacecraft because:
ASPO advised North American that, at present, no unmanned flights were planned for the Block II CM. After the company concluded its own analysis of Apollo requirements, MSC would determine whether the heatshield must be verified prior to manned missions. But because of the long "lead time" involved, North American should continue securing the requisite instrumentation pending a final decision.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea concluded, after reviewing the boilerplate 22 mission, that all the test objectives would be met satisfactorily either in the flight of spacecraft 002 or in the ground qualification program. For that reason the boilerplate 22 flight would not be repeated.
MSC reviewed a lighting mockup of the crew compartment in the Block II CM. The design concept, though needing further refinement, was deemed acceptable. Engineers from Crew Systems Division found that lights on the fingertips of the suit gloves worked quite well; optimum positioning was as yet undetermined, however. At the same time, MSC reviewed the design of the Block I side hatch (i.e., not modified to meet Block II extravehicular requirements). Reviewers found North American's major problems were warpage and crew ingress from space. Further, the design of both side hatches needed "additional coordination" with that of the umbilical access arm of the launch tower to ensure compatibility.
A list of materials that North American reported using in the CM's habitable area omitted more than 70 items that had appeared in earlier such reports. MSC ordered the company to determine why. This item could affect the course of backup toxicity testing. Materials listed as "used but not tested" were given highest priority in toxicity testing.
NASA hired the U.S. Navy's Air Crew Equipment Laboratory (ACEL) to study several physiological aspects of pure-oxygen environments. Primarily, ACEL's study would try to determine: (1) whether known effects (such as lung collapse) could somehow be reversed; and (2) whether such environments enhanced respiratory infections.
MSC and North American discussed the brittleness of the boost protective cover and the possibility that, during tower jettison or abort, the cover might break up and cause damage to the spacecraft. Having investigated a number of various materials and construction techniques, North American recommended adding a nylon fabric to strengthen the structure. Company engineers believed that, thus reinforced, the cover would be less likely to tear apart in flight. Even though this would increase the weight of the cover by about 27 kg (60 lbs), MSC concurred. The change applied to both Block I and Block II CMs, and was effective for spacecraft 002, 009, and all subsequent vehicles.
Independent studies were made at MSC and North American to determine effects and impact of off-loading certain Block II service propulsion system components for Saturn IB missions. The contractor was requested to determine the weight change involved and schedule and cost impact of removing one oxidizer tank, one fuel tank, one helium tank and all associated hardware (fuel and oxidizer transfer lines, propellant quantity sensors and certain gaging wire harnesses) from CSM 101 and CSM 103. The MSC study was oriented toward determining technical problems associated with such a change and the effects on spacecraft operational requirements. The North American study indicated that removing the equipment would save about 690 000, along with a weight reduction of approximately 454 kg (1,000 lbs). Additional Details: here....
North American reported two service propulsion engine failures at AEDC and a third at WSMR. At the first location, both failures were attributed to separation of the thrust chamber from the injector assembly; in the latter instance, weld deficiencies were the culprit. Analysis of all these failures was continuing.
The net effect of a decision by ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea in May was that the total fuel cell effort at both Pratt and Whitney and North American should be no more than $9.7 million during FY 1966. The decision as to the distribution of the funds was left to the discretion of the fuel cell subsystem manager.
A Development Engineering Inspection (DEI) was held on spacecraft 002 at North American, Downey, California. The NASA Board consisted of W. M. Bland, Jr., Chairman; R. H. Ridnour, J. Chamberlin, S. A. Sjoberg, F. J. Bailey, O. G. Morris, O. E. Maynard, and O. Tarango.
A total of 20 Request for Changes (RFCs) were submitted and reviewed; 12 of them resulted from the design review conducted at MSC prior to the DEI, and eight resulted from the inspection of the vehicle. The final disposition of the RFCs was: seven approved for immediate action; five approved for study; three rejected; and five determined not applicable.
The following definitions were specified for use in evaluating design reliability, for design tradeoff studies, and in appropriate Interface Control Documentation:
The operational requirement for Block I and Block II CSM HE orbital communications capability was investigated. ASPO requested that appropriate contract direction and specification change notices be submitted immediately to eliminate this capability from the Block II CSM and the practicality of eliminating the HE orbital capability from the Block I CSM be investigated.
In a memorandum concerning Configuration Control Panel and Configuration Control Board actions, J. Thomas Markley, Chief of ASPO's Program Control Division, pointed out that many proposals coming before the two groups were not being adequately evaluated for program impact by the responsible subsystem or technical area manager. He said, in part, "We must keep the number of changes to a minimum and incorporate only those that are necessary to meet program objectives. We are beyond the time when we can afford the luxury design improvement changes, unless they can show substantial savings to the overall program. . . ."
ASPO informed Grumman, NAA, AC Spark Plug, and MIT that effective June 21, 1965, General Electric Company, Apollo Support Department, Daytona Beach, Fla., had assumed responsibility for the preparation and conduct of all automatic checkout equipment (ACE) training for NASA and its contractors.
To satisfy conditions of its contract, General Electric would:
MSC approved North American's concept for thermal control of the valves in the CM's reaction control system (essential for long-duration missions). The crew could electrically heat the valves for about ten minutes before CSM separation and before the system was pressurized, thereby forestalling possible freezing of the oxidizer when it contacted the valve.
NASA launched Apollo mission PA-2, a test of the launch escape system (LES) simulating a pad abort at WSMR. All test objectives were met. The escape rocket lifted the spacecraft (boilerplate 23A) more than 1,524 m (5,000 ft) above the pad. The earth landing system functioned normally, lowering the vehicle back to earth. This flight was similar to the first pad abort test on November 7, 1963, except for the addition of canards to the LES (to orient the spacecraft blunt end forward after engine burnout) and a boost protective cover on the CM. PA-2 was the fifth of six scheduled flights to prove out the LES.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea ordered Crew Systems Division to develop some type of protective devices that the astronauts might use to shield their eyes during a solar flare. ASPO regarded the risk of cataracts during these solar events as extraordinarily high. Although not mandatory, it was desirable that the crew could still see while wearing the devices. Should a flare occur while the crew manned the LEM, mission ground rules called for an abort back to the safety of the CSM; therefore, such devices would be needed for the CM alone.
Illustrative of continuing design and managerial problems, MSC and North American representatives attempted to resolve thermal problems with the Block II environmental control system (ECS), primarily the ECS radiator. The week-long talks were fruitless. MSC's arguments and supportive evidence notwithstanding, the contractor steadfastly opposed the water-glycol approach, favoring a nonfreezing liquid (Freon). MSC, similarly, was hardly satisfied with North American's intransigence and less so with the company's effort and performance. "A pertinent observation," reported Crew Systems Division, "is that . . . it will be extremely difficult to complete any other development in support of Block II schedules unless their (North American's) attitude is changed."
An RCS oxidizer tank failed during a test to demonstrate propellant compatibility with titanium tanks. This was the first of seven tanks to fail from a group of ten tanks put into test to investigate a failure that occurred during February 1965. These results caused an intensive investigation to be undertaken.
North American began redesigning the side hatch mechanism in the CM to satisfy the requirement for extravehicular transfer from Block II spacecraft. Two basic modifications to the Block I mechanism were required: (1) enlarging it to overcome thermal warpage; and (2) adding some hinge retention device to secure the hatch once it was opened.
North American recommended to MSC that, for the time being, the present method for landing the CM (i.e., a passive water landing) be maintained. However, on the basis of a recent feasibility study, the contractor urged that a rocket landing system be developed for possible use later on. North American said that such a system would improve mission reliability through the increase in impact capability on both land and water.
Edward Z. Gray, Director, Advanced Manned Missions Program at NASA Hq, informed the Center Directors at MSC, MSFC, and KSC of significant recent program decisions on the approach to be followed during Fiscal Year 1966 in defining payload integration for the AES to the extent necessary for awarding major project contracts approximately a wear later. In defining AES activity, Gray said, the Centers must follow the phased approach, with definition phase contracts to be awarded competitively to industry about the first of 1966. Additional Details: here....
At North American's drop facility, a malfunction in the release mechanism caused boilerplate 1 to impact on land rather than water. After a recurrence of this accident on August 6, a team of investigators began looking into the problem. Drops were suspended pending their findings. These incidents aggravated delays in the test program, which already was seven weeks behind schedule.
General Electric (GE) received a supplement to its ACE-S/C (Acceptance Checkout Equipment-Spacecraft) contract. Total cost and fee for the amendment, which covered a reliability program for Apollo parts and materials, was $1,382,600. This brought the total value of GE's contract to $85.6 million.
NASA's office at Downey, Calif., approved the contract with the Marquardt Corporation for the procurement of Block II SM reaction control system engines. Estimated cost of the fixed price contract would be $6.5 million. Marquardt was supplying the Block I SM engines.
During tests of the Apollo earth landing system (ELS) at El Centro, Calif., boilerplate (BP) 6A sustained considerable damage in a drop that was to have demonstrated ELS performance during a simulated apex-forward pad abort. Oscillating severely at the time the auxiliary brake parachute was opened, the spacecraft severed two of the electrical lines that were to have released that device. Although the ELS sequence took place as planned, the still-attached brake prevented proper operation of the drogues and full inflation of the mains. As a result, BP-6A landed at a speed of about 50 fps.
North American developed a plan to process NASA- and contractor-initiated design changes through a Change Control Board (CCB). Indications were that the contractor's Apollo Program Manager would implement the plan on August 19. Elevating the level of management on the CCB, together with a standard approach to processing changes, was expected to improve the technical definition and documentation of design changes. In addition, program baselines were being established to permit a more informed control of technical requirements.
North American and MSC attended a design review at Ling-Temco-Vought on the environmental control system radiator for the Block II CSM. After reviewing design and performance analyses, the review team approved changes in testing and fabrication of test hardware.
Resident ASPO quality assurance officers at North American began investigating recent failures of titanium tanks at Bell Aerosystems. Concern about this problem had been expressed by the Apollo Test Directorate at NASA Hq in July and MSC started an investigation at that time. The eventual solution (a change in the nitrogen tetroxide specification) was contributed to by North American, Bell Aero Systems, the Boeing Company, MSFC, MSC, Langley Research Center, and a committee chaired by John Scheller of NASA Hq. The penstripe method to find cracks on the interior of the vessels was used to solve the problem. The quality assurance people viewed the failures as quite serious since Bell had already fabricated about 180 such tanks.
Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, listed the six key checkpoints in the development of Apollo hardware:
North American reported that ground testing of the service propulsion engine had been concluded. Also, changing the propellant ratio of the service propulsion system had improved the engine's performance and gimbal angles and had reduced the weight of the Block II SM.
George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, requested MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to identify the requirements for a spacecraft atmosphere selection and validation program to support the longer duration phase II missions of the AES program. (Mueller's request stemmed from a series of discussions and AES planning meetings between him and the Director of Advanced Manned Missions Studies, Edward Z. Gray, during June and July.) Although nominal mission duration for the phase II flights was pegged at 45 days, Mueller affirmed the likelihood that, with the conduct of rendezvous missions, flight times for some crewmen could be as long as 135 days. Accordingly, he asked that MSC evaluate the question of spacecraft atmospheres based upon mission durations of 45, 60, 90, and 135 days. Mueller requested MSC to complete the atmosphere cabin validation program expeditiously so that results could be readily incorporated into the design of the vehicle and integrated into mission planning. In his reply, Gilruth stated that studies of single, as well as two-gas atmospheres were required. Continued research on a 34-kilonewton-per-sq-m (5-psia), 100-percent oxygen atmosphere was desirable both scientifically and operationally. Such a cabin atmosphere was very attractive because of attendant simplicity of the environmental control system. However, Gilruth said, recent data indicated possible impairment of vital body processes that necessitated additional study to validate the pure oxygen environment for flights of longer than 30 days. MSC researchers had begun investigating various combinations of two-gas atmospheres, chiefly mixtures of 50-percent oxygen and 50-percent nitrogen; 70-percent oxygen and 30-percent nitrogen; and 70-percent oxygen and 30-percent helium. MSC had underway, both in house and under contract, engineering studies of two-gas environmental control systems, and AiResearch Corporation was already developing such a system using as many existing command and service module components as possible. Houston was also working closely with the Air Force's School of Aviation Medicine during that agency's investigations of various cabin atmospheres. Finally, Gilruth stated, Houston planned to hold a Workshop conference with engineering and pulmonary physiology specialists to establish the basis for atmosphere selection and to discuss implementation of experimental programs.
North American conducted another in their series of impact tests with boilerplate 28. This drop tested the toroidal section of the spacecraft (heatshield and equipment bay structure) in impact at high angle and maximum horizontal velocity. The spacecraft suffered no visible damage. Some water leaked into the vehicle, but this was blamed on the boilerplate structure itself and the apex-down attitude after impact.
MSC advised officials at North American's Tulsa Division that their concept for external panel retention cables on the adapter was unacceptable. While the Tulsa people agreed with Houston's objections, because of orders from Downey they had no authority to change the design. Structures and Mechanics Division reported that North American's "continued apathy . . . to redesign the system" threatened a schedule delay.
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller officially informed the Directors of MSC, MSFC, and KSC of changed management guidelines for Center roles in AES as informally agreed upon during discussions in Washington. Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller officially informed the Directors of MSC, MSFC, and KSC of changed management guidelines for Center roles in AES as informally agreed upon during discussions in Washington (see 6-10 August 1965): MSC responsible for spacecraft development, flight crew activities, mission control and flight operations, and command and service modules payload integration. MSFC-responsible for launch vehicle development and payload integration for all lunar excursion module AES-modified vehicles (termed 'derivatives'). KSC responsible for prelaunch assembly, checkout, and launch of all AES vehicles. Final decision on the Apollo-type versus contractor approach for payload integration was deferred pending results of phase I mission studies underway at North American and Grumman and of a payload integration definition study to be let by MSFC. These guidelines, said Mueller, should be incorporated into the Centers' planning efforts for AES implementation.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea announced a new plan for controlling the weight of Apollo spacecraft. Every week, subsystem managers would report to a Weight Control Board (WCB), headed by Shea, which would rule on their proposals for meeting the target weight for their systems. Three task forces also would report to the WCB on the way to lighten the spacecraft:
NASA selected the Perkin-Elmer and Chrysler corporations to study feasibility of including optical-technology experiments, particularly lasers and large telescopes, in future extended Apollo flights. NASA was also interested in optical communication in deep space, the effects of space environment on optical systems, and related experiments. The program would be directed by MSFC.
As a result of discussions with North American and Aerojet-General, MSC ordered several changes to the service propulsion engine:
North American and its subcontractor, LTV, conducted a design review on the environmental control system radiator for the Block II CSM. Both parties agreed upon a backup effort (i.e., a narrower selective stagnation panel), which would be more responsive to thermal changes in the spacecraft. Testing of this backup design could follow that of the prototype and still meet the design release.
MSC's Assistant Director for Flight Operations, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., told ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that postlanding operational procedures require that recovery force personnel have the capability of gaining access into the interior of the CM through the main crew hatch. This was necessary, he said, so recovery force swimmers could provide immediate aid to the crew, if required, and for normal postlanding operations by recovery engineers such as spacecraft shutdown, crew removal, data retrieval, etc.
Kraft said the crew compartment heatshield might char upon reentry in such a manner as to make it difficult to distinguish the outline of the main egress hatch. This potential problem and the necessity of applying a force outward to free the hatch might demand use of a "crow bar" tool to chip the ablator and apply a prying force on the hatch.
Since this would be a special tool, it would have to be distributed to recovery forces on a worldwide basis or be carried aboard the spacecraft. Kraft requested that the tool be mounted onboard the spacecraft in a manner to be readily accessible. He requested that the design incorporate a method to preclude loss of the tool - either by designing the tool to float or by attaching it to the spacecraft by a lanyard.
Systems Engineering Division (SED) reported that, on the basis of data from SA-4, 8, and 9 flights, the thermal coating of the spacecraft suffered considerable damage. This degradation was caused by the S-IV retro motor and/or the tower jettison motor. SED advised that a thorough analysis was scheduled shortly at TRW to look into the entire area of thermal factors and the performance of ablative coating. However, North American refused to acknowledge the existence of any such thermal problem, SED said. The firm's "continued inactivity" was described as a "major obstacle" to solving the problem.
The basic structure of Apollo CM simulator "A," around which a full-scale mockup of the CM crew stations would be built, was delivered to MSC. Flight Crew Support Division would use the mockup for crew familiarization, procedures training, and equipment evaluation.
Webb disapproved of tying any AAP schedules to a date for accomplishment of the Apollo lunar landing objective. William B. Taylor and other Apollo Applications Program planners made a major presentation on AAP plans to James Webb, Hugh L. Dryden, and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of NASA Hq. Webb made a number of comments regarding the direction of AAP planning. He emphasized that AAP planning must remain extremely flexible to meet not only changing mission objectives and goals, but also broader changes in national policy, resources, and manned space flight objectives generally. Webb disapproved of tying any AAP schedules to a date for accomplishment of the Apollo lunar landing objective, since that goal was not inviolate.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea decided that no device to indicate a failure of the secondary gimbal motor in the service propulsion system (SPS) was necessary on Block I spacecraft. Two factors shaped Shea's decision:
North American proposed an additional pane of glass for the windows on Block II CMs. Currently, both blocks of spacecraft had one pane. Should meteoroids pit this pane, the window could fail during reentry at lunar velocities. The meteoroid protection group in Structures and Mechanics Division were evaluating North American's proposal, which would add about 10.43 kg (23 lbs) to the vehicle's weight. No such added protection was required on Block I spacecraft.
The Critical Design Review (CDR) of the Block II CSM was scheduled to be conducted in November and December 1965, with the first phase being held November 15-18, and the second phase December 13-17.
The first phase activity would be a review of drawings, schematics, procurement specifications, weight status, interface control drawings, failure analysis, proposed specification change notices, and specification waivers and deviations. The second phase of the review would be a physical inspection of the mockup of the Block II CSM.
The review would be conducted by review teams organized in the several areas and headed by team captains, as follows: Structures and Propulsion, O. Ohlsson; Communications, Instrumentation, and Electrical Power, W. Speier; Stabilization and Control, Guidance and Navigation, A. Cohen; Crew Systems, J. Loftus; and Mission Compatibility and Operations, R. Battey.
Ralph S. Sawyer, Chief of the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division, advised ASPO Manager Shea of current problems with antennas for the Apollo spacecraft:
Pressure loading and thermal tests were completed on the types of windows in the Block I CM. The pressure tests demonstrated their ability to withstand the ultimate stresses (both inward and outward) that the CM might encounter during an atmospheric abort. The thermal simulations qualified the windows for maximum temperatures anticipated during reentry at lunar velocities.
In the absence of a firm requirement, and because of limited utility, reported Robert C. Duncan, Chief of the Guidance and Control Division, the horizon photometer and star tracker were being deleted from the primary guidance system in Block I CSMs. (Block II guidance systems would still contain the devices.)
MSC's Reliability and Quality Assurance Division reported in August that, because beryllium would corrode in the humid environment of the spacecraft's cabin, the metal thus posed a toxicological hazard to the crew of the CM. During subsequent meetings with the Health and Physics Group, and Guidance and Control and Structures and Mechanics Divisions, it was agreed that, because of crew safety, beryllium surfaces in the guidance and control system must be coated to protect the metal from the humid atmosphere inside the cabin of the spacecraft.
A drop in the boilerplate 6A series, using flight-qualifiable earth landing system (ELS) components, failed because the braking parachute (not a part of the ELS) did not adequately stabilize the vehicle. MSC invited North American and Northrop-Ventura to Houston to explain the failure and to recommend corrective measures.
In a paper presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' fourth manned space flight meeting in St. Louis, AAP Director William B. Taylor described the focus and importance of the AAP. In contrast to Apollo, with its clear objective of lauding on the Moon, AAP's objectives were much less obvious. Under AAP, Taylor said, NASA planned to exploit the capabilities being developed for Apollo as a technological bridge to more extensive manned space flight missions of the 1970s and 1980s. AAP was not an end in itself, but rather a beginning to build flight experience, technology, and scientific data. Additional Details: here....
On August 26, the attachments for the pilot parachute mortar had failed during static testing on CM 006. The fittings had been redesigned and the test was not repeated. This test, the final one in the limit load series for the earth landing system, certified the structural interface between the CM and the earth landing system for the 009 flight.
Owen E. Maynard, Systems Engineering Division chief, summarized for ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea the recovery requirements for Apollo spacecraft. The CM must float in a stable, apex-up attitude, and all of the vehicle's recovery aids (uprighting system, communications, etc.) must be operable for 48 hrs after landing. In any water landing within 40 degrees north or south latitude, the Landing and Recovery Division had determined, the crew either would be rescued or recovery personnel would be in the water with the CM within this 48-hr period. Thereafter, Maynard said, the spacecraft had but to remain afloat until a recovery ship arrived - at most, five days.
Apollo spacecraft 009, first of the type that would carry three astronauts to the moon and back, was accepted by NASA during informal ceremonies at North American. Spacecraft 009 included a CM, SM, launch escape system, and adapter. It went to Cape Canaveral for integration with the first Saturn IB (Saturn IB and SIVB stages received August 1965). The spacecraft was stacked on the launch vehicle on 26 December.
The MSC Mission Constraints Control Panel (MCCP) held its initial meeting. The panel's function was to resolve all conflicts between launch vehicle, spacecraft, and operational constraints. Also, once the preliminary reference trajectory was issued, the MCCP must approve all constraint changes. These would then be included in the mission requirements.
Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, notified the Center directors and Apollo program managers in Houston, Huntsville, and Cape Kennedy that OMSF's launch schedule for Apollo-Saturn IB flights had been revised, based on delivery of CSMs 009 and 011:
North American completed static structural tests on the forward heatshield for the Block I CM (part of the certification test network for airframes 009, 011, and 012), thus demonstrating the heatshield's structural integrity when jettisoned (at the start of the earth landing system sequence).
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low advised NASA Hq of Houston's planning schedule for follow-up procurement of Apollo spacecraft for the AAP. Based upon the most recent delivery schedules for the last several command and service modules and lunar excursion modules for Apollo, contract award for those vehicles was scheduled for July and August 1966. In accordance with a 14 July directive from Headquarters, MSC was preparing a procurement plan for the extended CSM and the LEM derivatives covering both the final definition and development and operational phases of AAP. Approval of this plan by Headquarters, Low stated, was anticipated for mid-December, while award of contracts for the program definition phase was set for late January 1966. The contract award date for actual development of the extended CSM was slated for October 1966, while that for the LEM derivatives was postponed until mid- 1967 (in line with revised funding directives from Washington).
While delivering Apollo SM 009, the Pregnant Guppy aircraft was delayed at Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, for three-and-a-half days while waiting for an engine change. In view of the delay of the SM, the incident was reviewed during the succeeding weeks, and Aero Spacelines was requested to place spare engines not only at Houston, but also at other strategic locations on the normal air route from Long Beach, Calif., to KSC.
Saturn Apollo Applications officials reached an understanding on several program issues during discussion at MSFC. Saturn Apollo Applications officials reached an understanding on several program issues during discussion at MSFC: MSFC's responsibility for payload integration included coordination of interleaving of CSM and LEM experiment requirements when both modules carried experiments on the same mission. (Assignment of missions and experiments to the respective Centers w as to be made by the program office at Headquarters.) The astronauts would use tethers during all extravehicular activities except where not feasible. MSFC was to proceed with work on a procurement plan and a request for proposals for two or three phase C integration contractors, with the idea that one of the definition contractors would receive the final phase D development contract (though no firm commitment to this course was yet made); also, concurrently with the phase C definition effort, MSFC would conduct parallel inhouse studies to better evaluate the contractors' phase C work.
Owen E. Maynard, Systems Engineering Division chief, advised his branch managers of the U.S. Public Health Service's (PHS) growing concern that Apollo spacecraft and crews might bring organisms back from the moon. PHS feared that such organisms would be "capable of multiplying in the earth environment and (that) precautionary measures must be undertaken to prevent global exposure." Therefore, Maynard told his group, PHS believed that the CM, its environment, and its crew must not be allowed to contact the earth's environment. Maynard further advised that efforts were already underway to define the design of an isolation facility, and isolation facilities for the recovery ships were being contemplated.
As a result of this strong stand by PHS, Maynard said, "It appears that ASPO will soon be requested to show what spacecraft measures are being taken to assure that the CM environment will not be exposed to the earth atmosphere. The spacecraft," Maynard told his group - who already knew as much - "has not been designed to preclude CM environment exposure." Actually, much the opposite had long been assumed to be part of normal operating procedures. Maynard therefore ordered subsystem managers to review their individual systems to determine:
Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher summarized for the Director of Advanced Manned Missions those tasks of highest priority for supporting development during Fiscal Year 1966. Those tasks, Disher explained, had been examined in great detail because of stringent funding constraints for Apollo Applications during 1966 and 1967. Therefore, he had listed only those tasks mandatory for the program s ''mainstream'' requirements. They included such areas as low-thrust reaction control engines, structural and hatch seals, navigation computer modifications, and study of space rescue systems.
A North American layout of the volume swept by the CM couch and crewmen during landing impact attenuation showed several areas where the couch and or crewmen struck the CM structure or stowed equipment. One area of such interference was that the center crewman's helmet could overlap about four inches into the volume occupied by the portable life support system (PLSS) stowed beneath the side access hatch. The PLSS stowage was recently changed to this position at North American's recommendation because the original stowage position on the aft bulkhead interfered with the couch attenuation envelope. The contractor was directed by MSC to explain this situation.
Technical proposal for phase C of the AAP from North American Aviation, Inc., covering final definition of the AAP CSM. Following MSC's receipt of the technical proposal for phase C of the AAP from North American Aviation, Inc., covering final definition of the AAP CSM, William A. Lee, Assistant Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, asked several of his staff members to assist in evaluation of the proposal. Such help, he said, would be invaluable in bringing to bear on AAP the experience that the Apollo office had obtained during the effort to develop the block II lunar version of the spacecraft. The technical proposal by North American described those tasks that the company believed were required to define the CSM configuration and to formulate hardware specifications for the development and operations phase of the program. Paralleling these efforts by the contractor, MSC had established a baseline AAP CSM configuration and had laid down several configuration guidelines believed fundamental tenets of AAP objectives: no spacecraft modifications to achieve 'product improvement' or to obtain it statistical 'mission success.'
North American informed MSC of a fire in the reaction control system (RCS) test cell during a CM RCS test for spacecraft 009. The fire was suspected to have been caused by overheating the test cell when the 10 engines were activated, approximately 30 sec prior to test completion. An estimated test delay of two to three weeks, due to shutdown of the test cell for refurbishment, was forecast. MSC informed the Apollo Program Director that an investigation was underway.
Ordnance separation tests on the first three spacecraft-LEM-adapters (SLA) in a series of four were completed at North American's Tulsa facility. The tests successfully demonstrated the deployment of the SLA's forward panels in preparation for the first spacecraft orbital flight.
Additional Apollo subsystems testing to qualify the spacecraft beyond the 14-day requirements of the Apollo lunar mission. Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller requested of MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that his Center identify additional Apollo subsystems testing and the best method of conducting such tests on the basic subsystems of the spacecraft beyond the 14-day requirements of the Apollo lunar mission. Mueller explained that planning for the Apollo Applications Program projected that extended missions could be performed using basic Apollo hardware and that significant advantages might be realized by testing subsystems to determine their duration limits, thereby avoiding the burden of additional test units and test facilities.
A series of tests were run to determine the cause of stress corrosion of the reaction control system titanium tanks. Results showed that tanks exposed to chemically pure nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) oxidizer suffered stress corrosion cracking, but tanks exposed to N2O4 containing small amounts of nitric oxide did not fail. The qualification testing program would soon resume.
Experiment proposals for the immediate post-Apollo Earth-orbital phase of manned space exploration, as part of the AES program. The Advanced Missions Division, Manned Space Science Program, in the Office of Space Sciences and Applications, released details of experiment proposals submitted by teams of potential experimenters for the immediate post-Apollo Earth-orbital phase of manned space exploration, as part of the AES program. As well as detailed descriptions of the various scientific experiments themselves, the report examined the justification for AES in relation to other space programs, mission objectives, operational constraints, and long-range plans and goals.
NASA had essentially completed negotiations with North American on the incentive contract. Based on agreements reached with the contractor during negotiations, Master Development Schedule 9 was published, which included Block I and Block II spacecraft schedules, SLA schedules, SM Block II primary structure schedules, and a tabulated list of milestones containing former and new schedule dates.
The Flight Readiness Review for Mission A-004 was conducted at White Sands Test Facility. The board concurred in proceeding with launch preparations. Subsequent to the review, the failure analysis of the autopilot subsystem revealed loose solder connections, and the launch was rescheduled for December 15, from the original December 8 planned launch. The launch was later scheduled for December 18; then, because of continued problems with the autopilot, was scrubbed until January.
The Block II CSM Critical Design Review (CDR) was held at North American, Downey, Calif. The specifications and drawings were reviewed and the CSM mockup inspected. Review Item Dispositions were written against the design where it failed to meet the requirements.
As a result of the CDR North American would update the configuration of mockup 27A for use in zero-g flights at Wright-Patterson AFB. The flights could not be rescheduled until MSC approved the refurbished mockup as being representative of the spacecraft configuration.
George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, notified MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that NASA Administrator James E. Webb and Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., had selected Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, The Martin Company, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, and Northrop Corporation for Phase I of the Apollo Experiments Pallet Procurement. The contracts would be for four months and each would be valued at about $375,000.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed North American, Grumman, and Bell Aerosystems Company that NASA's Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, had requested a presentation on the incompatibility of titanium alloys and nitrogen tetroxide and its impact on the Apollo Program, this to be done at the NASA Senior Management Council meeting on December 21.
In light of recent failures of almost all titanium tanks planned for use in the Apollo Program when exposed to nitrogen tetroxide under conditions which might be encountered in flight, the matter was deemed to be of utmost urgency.
A preliminary meeting was scheduled at NASA Headquarters on December 16 and one responsible representative from each of the prime contractors and subcontractors was requested to be present. Prior to the December 16 meeting, it would be necessary for each organization to complete the following tasks:
The Block II Apollo food stowage problems were explored at North American. Methods of restraint were resolved to allow accessibility of the man-meal assemblies. The contractor, Melpar, Inc., would rework and reposition mockup man-meal assemblies to conform with suggestions by the Crew Provisions Office of the MSC Apollo Support Office and North American representatives.
Nine review item dispositions were submitted at the Block II critical design review concerning the earth landing system and shock attenuation system (struts). Six were on specifications, one on installation drawings, and two on capability. The two most significant were:
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips said the Apollo Weight and Performance management system, jointly developed by the Apollo Program Office and the Centers had proved itself as a useful management tool. He considered that the system had matured to the point that changes in organizational responsibility were needed. He set a target date of December 31, 1965, to complete the following actions:
Phillips told ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that if he wished to continue to use GE's service in this area, he would support his request with the stipulation that GE's prediction analysis operation be supervised by MSC personnel.
Robert C. Duncan, Chief of MSC's Guidance and Control Division, revealed that recent discussions between himself, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, and ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea had resulted in a decision to continue both radar and optical tracking systems into the hardware development phase. It was also agreed that some specific analytical and hardware homework must be done. The hardware action items were being assigned to Robert A. Gardiner and the analytical action items to Donald C. Cheatham.
The primary objective was to design, develop, and produce rendezvous sensor hardware that was on time and would work, Duncan said; second, that "we must have a rendezvous strategy which takes best advantage of the capability of the rendezvous sensor (whichever type it might be)."
The greatest difficulty in reducing operating laboratory equipment into operating spacecraft hardware occurred in the process of packaging and testing for flight. This milestone had not been reached in either the radar or the optical tracker programs.
Duncan said, "We want to set up a 'rendezvous sensor olympics' at some appropriate stage . . . when we have flight-weight equipment available from both the radar contractor and the optical tracker contractor. This olympics should consist of exposing the hardware to critical environmental tests, particularly vibration and thermal-cycling, and to operate the equipment after such exposure." If one or the other equipment failed to survive the test, it would be clear which program would be continued and which would be canceled. "If both successfully pass the olympics, the system which will be chosen will be based largely upon the results of the analytical effort. . . . If both systems fail the olympics, it is clear we have lots of work to do," Duncan said.
Because earth landing system qualification drop tests on boilerplate 6A and boilerplate 19 had failed to demonstrate that Block I recovery aids would not be damaged during landing, MSC notified North American that certain existing interim configuration recovery aid mockups must be replaced by actual hardware capable of fulfilling test requirements. The hardware included: two VHF antennas; one flashing light; one RF antenna, nondeployable; sea marker, swimmer umbilical, nondeployable. In addition, existing launch escape system tower leg bolts should be replaced by redesigned Block I tower bolts, including protective covers, to demonstrate that the redesigned bolts and covers did not degrade the performance of the earth landing system. North American was to reply with a total change plan by January 5, 1966.
NASA Headquarters had directed that crew water intake be recorded on all Apollo flights. To meet this requirement the Government-furnished water gun would have to be modified to include a metering capability. A gun with this capability was successfully flown on the Gemini VI and Gemini VII flights and could be used without change in the CM and LEM if it could withstand the higher water pressure. Incorporation of the gun could require bracket changes in the CM and the LEM.
As a result of joint efforts by the Resident ASPO and MSFC Resident Manufacturing Representative, a simulated forward bulkhead for the CM inner-crew compartment was fabricated by North American and sent to MSFC for use in developing a head for the magnetic hammer which would be compatible to the extremely thin skins used on the compartment. The need for the magnetic hammer arose from the "canning" and "wrinkles" found after welding on the forward bulkhead. A tryout for the magnetic hammer on the simulated bulkhead was scheduled the first week in January.
The first fuel cell system test at White Sands Test Facility was conducted successfully. Primary objectives were: 1 to verify the capability of the ground support equipment and operational checkout procedure to start up, operate, and shut down a single fuel cell power plant; and 2 to evaluate fuel cell operations during cold gimbaling of the service propulsion engine.
A decision made at a Program Management Review eliminated the requirement for a land impact program for the CM to support Block I flights. Post-abort CM land impact for Saturn IB launches had been eliminated from Complex 37 by changes to the sequence timers in the launch escape system abort mode. The Certification Test Specification and related Certification Test Requirements would reflect the new Block II land impact requirements.
NASA converted one of its major contracts from a cost-plus-fixed-fee to a cost-plus-incentive-fee agreement. The contract was with North American Aviation's Space and Information Systems Division, Downey, Calif., for development of the Apollo spacecraft command and service modules (CSM) and spacecraft-lunar excursion module adapter (SLA).
The Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) Checkout and Test Division was informed by the Flight Crew Operations Director that in reference to a request for "...our desires for altitude chamber runs on Apollo spacecraft, we definitely feel three runs are mandatory on CSMs 012 and 014". Additional Details: here....
NASA Hq. requested the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office at Manned Spacecraft Center to evaluate the impact, including the effect on ground support equipment and mission control, of a dual AS-207/208 flight as early as AS-207 was currently scheduled. ASPO was to assume that launch vehicle 207 would carry the Block II CSM, launch vehicle 208 would carry the lunar excursion module (LEM), and the two launches would be nearly simultaneous. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) were asked to make similar studies for their systems. Response was requested by February 7, 1966.
MSC awarded $70,000 contract to Rodana Research Corp. to develop emergency medical kits that would "satisfy all inflight and training requirements for the Apollo Command Module and the Lunar Excursion Module." Under terms of contract, two training units would be delivered for each flight, in addition to one mockup and six prototype models. The small kits would contain loaded injectors, tablets, capsules, ointments, inhalers, adhesives, and compressed dressings.
The first test of the cryogenic gas storage system was successfully conducted from 12:30p.m. February 6 through 8:50 p.m. February 8 at the White Sands Test Facility (WSTF), N. Mex. Primary objectives were to demonstrate the compatibility between the ground support equipment and cryogenic subsystem with respect to mechanical, thermodynamic, and electrical interfaces during checkout, servicing, monitoring, and ground control. All objectives were attained.
Testifying before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics Subcommittee on Manned Space Flight, Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., described three basic elements in NASA's AAP effort: Extension of orbital staytimes to 45 days or more through minor modifications to the present Apollo system. Procurement of additional spacecraft and launch vehicles for follow-on flights beyond the present Apollo schedule. Utilization of Apollo vehicles during the 1968-1970 time frame if the agency's most optimistic Apollo schedules were realized. 'We cannot today look toward a permanent manned space station, or a lunar base, or projects for manned planetary exploration,' Seamans stated, 'until our operational, scientific and technological experience with major manned systems already in hand has further matured.'
In an informal note on AAP planning to James C. Elms, Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher suggested a number of operational objectives that he believed should be essential elements within the program: manned operations in synchronous and high-inclination Earth orbit; manned orbital assembly and resupply; crew transfer in orbit; extended Earth-orbit mission duration capability; extended lunar exploration; and conduct of a broad range of operational, scientific, and technological experiments in space.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, in response to a January 28 TWX from Phillips, that MSC had evaluated the capability to support a dual launch of AS-207 208 provided an immediate go-ahead could be given to the contractors. Shea said the evaluation had covered mission planning, ground support equipment (GSE), flight hardware, and operations support. Modifications and additional GSE would be required to update Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy to support a Block II CSM. The total cost of supporting the AS-207/208 dual launch was estimated at $10.2 million for the GSE and additional boiler plate CSM configuration, but Shea added that these costs could be absorbed within the FY 1966 budget. Shea recommended that the dual mission be incorporated into the program.
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller acknowledged receipt from Joseph F. Shea, the Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager at MSC, of a detailed technical description of MSC's plans and development progress toward developing a landing rocket system for Apollo. (MSC had undertaken this effort some months earlier at Mueller's specific request.) Mueller advised Shea that he had asked AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher to work closely with Shea's people to devise a land landing system for AAP built on Houston's effort for Apollo.
NASA Hq. told MSC that delivery changes should be reflected in manned space flight schedules as controlled milestone changes and referred specifically to CSM 008 - April 1966; CSM 011 - April 15, 1966; and CSM 007 - March 31, 1966. Headquarters noted that the "NAA (North American Aviation Inc.) contract delivery date remains 28 February 1966" for each and that "every effort should be made to deliver these articles as early as possible, since completion of each is constraining a launch or other major activity."
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips discussed cost problems of the contract with General Motors' AC Electronics Division, in a memo to NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller. One of the problems was late design releases from Massachusetts Institute of Technology to AC Electronics, resulting in an increase of $2.7 million. Phillips also pointed out that computer problems at Raytheon Corp. had increased the program cost by $6.7 million, added that many of these problems had their origins in the MIT design, and listed seven of the most significant technical problems. Phillips stated that MSC in conjunction with AC Electronics had taken several positive steps:
In response to the March 30 memo from NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., regarding potential uses of TV on Apollo, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller replied that ". . . we have been making a progressive review of the Apollo electronic systems. Performance and application of the Apollo TV system are being looked at as part of the review." He added that he expected to be in position by mid-May to discuss plans with Seamans in some detail.
Spacecraft 007 and 011 were delivered to NASA by North American Aviation. Spacecraft 007 was delivered to Houston to be used for water impact and flotation tests in the Gulf of Mexico and in an environmental tank at Ellington AFB. It contained all recovery systems required during actual flight and the total configuration was that of a flight CM.
The CM of spacecraft 011 was similar to those in which astronauts would ride in later flights and the SM contained support systems including environmental control and fuel cell systems and the main service propulsion system. Spacecraft 011 was scheduled to be launched during the third quarter of 1966.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth wrote George E. Mueller, NASA OMSF, that plans were being completed for MSC in-house, full-scale parachute tests at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), N. Mex. The tests would be part of the effort to develop a gliding parachute system suitable for land landing with manned spacecraft. Tests were expected to begin in July 1966, with about six tests a year for two or three years. Gilruth pointed out that although full-scale tests were planned for WSMR it would not be possible to find suitable terrain at that site, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., or at El Centro, Calif., to determine operational and system requirements for land landing in unplanned areas. Unplanned-area landing tests were cited as not a major part of the program but a necessary part. He pointed out that the U.S. Army Reservation at Fort Hood, Tex., was the only area which had the required variety of landing obstacle sizes and concentrations suitable for the unplanned-area tests. Scale-model tests had been made and would be continued at Fort Hood without interference to training, and MSC had completed a local agreement that would permit occasional use of the reservation but required no fiscal reimbursement or administrative responsibility by MSC. This action was in response to a letter from Mueller July 8, 1965, directing that MSC give careful consideration to transfer of parachute test activities to WSMR.
Engine testing at the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) had been the subject of discussions during recent months with representatives from MSC, Apollo Program Quality and Test groups, AEDC, Air Force Systems Command and ARO, Inc., participating. While AEDC had not been able to implement formal NASA requirements, the situation had improved and MSC was receiving acceptable data.
In a letter to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips said, ". . . I do not think further pressure is in order. However, in a separate letter to Lee Gossick, I have asked that he give his personal attention to the strict adherence to test procedures, up-to-date certification of instrumentation, and care and cleanliness in handling of test hardware."
Replying to a suggestion by MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that AAP capitalize on Apollo hardware to an even greater extent by using refurbished CSMs, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller deferred any action toward implementing a competitive effort for such work. This was necessary, he said, because of the present unsettled nature of AAP planning. Additional Details: here....
As a result of a fire in the environmental control system (ECS) unit at AiResearch Co., a concerted effort was under way to identify nonmetallic materials as well as other potential fire problems. MSC told North American Aviation it appeared that at least some modifications would be required in Block I spacecraft and that modifications could be considered only as temporary expedients to correct conditions that could be more readily resolved in the original design. MSC requested that North American eliminate or restrict as far as possible combustible materials in the following categories in the Block II spacecraft:
E. E. Christensen, NASA OMSF Director of Mission Operations, in a letter to Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, said he was certain the problem of potential mission abort was receiving considerable attention within the Flight Operations Directorate. The resulting early development of related mission rules should provide other mission activities with adequate planning information for design, engineering, procedural, and training decisions. Christensen requested that development of medical mission rules be given emphasis in planning, to minimize the necessity for late modification of spacecraft telemetry systems, on-board instrumentation, ground-based data-processing schemes, and training schedules.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Rocco A. Petrone, KSC, that structural problems in the CSM fuel and oxidizer tanks required standpipe modifications and that they were mandatory for Block I and Block II spacecraft. Retrofit was to be effective on CSM 011 at KSC and other vehicles at North American's plant in Downey, Calif.
George M. Low advised Headquarters that MSC was reducing its funding request for Fiscal Year 1967 in support of research on a land-landing capability for the AAP. Specifically, this program reduction involved halting all work dealing with braking rockets and attenuation systems and concentrating all effort on prototype development of several types of lifting parachute and parawing designs. These program changes were mandatory, Low stated, because of limited AAP development funds and because a land-landing capability was still not a firm objective (even though MSC had previously presented such a program leading to a land- landing capability for AAP by the end of 1969).
A memorandum for the file, prepared by J. S. Dudek of Bellcomm, Inc., proposed a two-burn deboost technique that required establishing an initial lunar parking orbit and, after a coast phase, performing an added plane change to attain the final lunar parking orbit. The two-burn deboost technique would make a much larger lunar area accessible than that provided by the existing Apollo mission profile, which used a single burn to place the CSM and LM directly in a circular lunar parking orbit over the landing site and would permit accessibility to only a bow-tie shaped area approximately centered about the lunar equator. On August 1, the memo was forwarded to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, stating that the trajectory modification would increase the accessible lunar area about threefold. The note to Phillips from R. L. Wagner stated that discussions had been held with MSC and it appeared that the flight programs as planned at the time could handle the modified mission.
North American Aviation informed Grumman that it was closing out its office at Grumman's Bethpage, N.Y., plant at the close of business on July 8. If study found that reestablishment of a Space and Information Division resident representative at Bethpage was in the best interest of the program, North American Aviation would comply.
George M. Low expressed his reservations about the validity of planning a synchronous-orbit mission for AAP. In a note to Maxime A. Faget, Low commented on the recent interest in such a mission and voiced his own doubt concerning either the need for or the desirability of such a flight. Low stated that such things as synoptic views of terrain or weather phenomena could be done just as well from low Earth orbit using mosaic techniques. Moreover, low orbits afforded simpler operations, much greater payload capabilities, and minimal radiation hazards. Low asked Faget to have his organization prepare an analysis of low Earth-orbit versus synchronous- orbit operations in preparation for upcoming AAP planning discussions in Washington at the end of the month.
In response to a request from Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, Bellcomm, Inc., prepared a memorandum on the major concerns resulting from its review of the AC Electronics report on the Apollo Computer Design Review. In a transmittal note to Phillips, I. M. Ross said, "We have discussed these items with MSC. It is possible, however, that (Robert) Duncan and (Joseph) Shea have not been made aware of these problems." The Bellcomm memorandum for file, prepared by J. J. Rocchio, reported that in late February 1966 MSC had authorized AC Electronics Division (ACED) to initiate a complete design review of the Apollo guidance computer to ensure adequate performance during the lunar landing mission. A June 8 ACED report presented findings and included Massachusetts Institute of Technology comments on the findings. In addition to recommending a number of specific design changes, the report identified a number of areas which warranted further review. MSC authorized ACED to perform necessary additional reviews to eliminate all indeterminate design analyses and to resolve any discrepancies between the ACED and MIT positions. At the time Bellcomm prepared the memo many of the problem areas had been or were in process of being satisfactorily resolved. However, several still remained:
In a letter to Robert R. Gilruth, George E. Mueller acknowledged MSC's expeditious completion of the phase C definition phase of the Apollo experiments pallet effort. However, he noted several fundamental changes since the pallet effort was started. With experiment funding severely limited, NASA had now placed greater emphasis on a few major experiments (such as the Apollo telescope mount) in contrast to the wide variety of experiments originally envisioned for AAP missions. Also, Mueller observed that because of recent reshaping of AAP objectives toward long-duration missions program planners now believed that, in general, experiments should be carried in the adapter area of the launch vehicle rather than in the vacant bay of the service module (which thus could be used for expendables to support the longer duration flights). In light of these program changes, Mueller concluded it was no longer wise to proceed with phase D of the pallet program-actual hardware development.
Maxime A. Faget, MSC, informed Center Director Robert R. Gilruth there was a continuing effort on lightweight, energy-absorbing, and stowable net couches, and development had been redirected to a nonelastic fabric net couch system attached to existing Apollo attenuation struts. North American Aviation had previously been given the task of investigating the use of net couches on Apollo. Results of that investigation indicated the spacecraft attenuation-strut-vehicle attachments would be overloaded when using net couches. The North American Aviation investigators made their calculations by assuming no-man attenuation in the lateral and longitudinal force directions. Those calculations were recomputed using the design criteria and proper loadings and the results indicated no overloading when using net couches. MSC's Advanced Spacecraft Technology Division had reviewed and approved the efforts, permitting use of the net couches on Apollo and Apollo Applications missions.
NASA informed four firms that had completed design studies on the Apollo experiment pallet that there would be no hardware development and fabrication of the pallet. The four firms had been selected in November 1965 to make four-month studies of a pallet to carry experiments in the spacecraft SM during the Apollo manned lunar landings. The firms were Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Sunnyvale, Calif.; The Martin Co., Denver, Colo.; McDonnell Aircraft Corp., St. Louis, Mo.; and Northrop Space Laboratories, Hawthorne, Calif.
Because the Apollo Mission Simulator (AMS) was one of the pacing items in the Apollo Block II flight program, a critical constraint upon operational readiness was the availability of Government-furnished equipment (GFE) to the AMS contractor, General Precision's Link Group. For that reason MSC ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea asked A. L. Brady, Chief of the Apollo Mission Simulator Office, to establish controls to ensure that GFE items were provided to Link in time to support the program. He requested that an individual be appointed to be responsible for each item and that a weekly report on the status be submitted on each item.
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low submitted information to NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller on manpower requirements and operating costs for testing in MSC's large thermal vacuum chamber. Spacecraft 008 testing reflected a manpower cost (civil service and contractor) of $7,034,000, chamber operating cost of $321,000, and material costs of $277,000. The spacecraft had been in the chamber 83 days, during which time a 92-hour unmanned test and a 163-hour manned test had been conducted.
In a memorandum to the NASA Deputy Administrator, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller commented on the AS-202 impact error. Mueller said the trajectory of the August 25 AS-202 mission was essentially as planned except that the command module touched down about 370 kilometers short of the planned impact point. Additional Details: here....
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips was informed of increasing engineering orders for spacecraft 012. C. H. Bolender, OMSF Mission Operations Deputy Director, reported information received from John G. Shinkle, Kennedy Space Center Apollo Program Manager, on October 10. Additional Details: here....
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told Mark E. Bradley, Vice President and Assistant to the President of The Garrett Corp., that "the environment control unit, developed and produced by Garrett's AiResearch Division under subcontract to North American Aviation for the Apollo spacecraft was again in serious trouble and threatened a major delay in the first flight of Apollo." Additional Details: here....
Marshall Space Flight Center Director Wernher von Braun wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that MSFC had spent a considerable effort in planning the transfer of study and development tasks in the lunar exploration program to MSC. Von Braun said, "We feel it is in the spirit of the MSF Hideaway Management Council Meeting held on August 13-15, 1966, to consider the majority of our Lunar Exploration Work Program for transfer to MSC in consonance with Bob Seamans' directive which designates MSC as the Lead Center for lunar science." He added that MSFC had formulated a proposal which it felt was in agreement with the directives and at the same time provided for management interfaces between the two Centers without difficulty.
Briefly MSFC proposed to transfer to MSC:
Von Braun said that Ernst Stuhlinger of the Research Projects Laboratory had discussed the proposed actions for transfer of functions to MSC, and MSC Experiments Program Manager Robert O. Piland had indicated his general agreement, pending further consideration. He asked that Gilruth give his reaction to the proposal and said, "It would be very helpful if our two Centers could present a proposal to George Mueller (OMSF) on which we both agree."
Langley Research Center informed MSC that the Apollo Visibility Study requested by MSC would be conducted. Langley mockups could be used along with an SLA panel to be provided by MSC from Tulsa North American. The proposed study would be semistatic, with the astronaut seated in the existing CM mockup and viewing the S-IVB/SLA mockup. The positions of the mockups would be varied manually by repositioning the mockup dollies, and the astronaut would judge the separation distance and alignment attitude. The study was expected to start at the end of October or early November and last two or three weeks.
MSC's ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea proposed to KSC Apollo Program Manager John G. Shinkle that - because the program was moving into the flight phase and close monitoring of the hardware configuration was important - they should plan work methods in more detail. He reminded Shinkle that he had named Walter Kapryan Assistant Program Manager "to provide the technical focal point . . . to maintain the discipline for the total spacecraft"; therefore Shea would like to transfer the chairman of the Apollo Configuration Control Panel from Shinkle's organization to Kapryan effective Nov. 1, 1966.
Saturn/Apollo Applications officials at Headquarters sounded out Houston officials on the status of MSC's land-landing development plan. MCC technicians had 'reevaluated' their original cloverleaf-retrorocket configuration and now were pushing for development of a sailwing as the reentry descent system, believing that the sailwing had greater potential for Apollo-class vehicles (especially in range and maneuverability). Also, MSC spokesmen proposed that Houston take over testing of the 'parawing' (a limp paraglider) being developed by Langley. They stated that the research and testing effort required to develop the sailwing and parawing would delay until 1971 or 1972 NASA's achieving a land-landing capability. (Previous work on the cloverleaf-retrorocket concept had promised such a capability by about mid-1970.)
NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips indicated his concern to MSC over the extensive damage to a number of fuel cell modules from operational errors during integrated system testing. Phillips pointed out that in addition to the added cost there was a possible impact on the success of the flight program. He emphasized the importance of standardizing the procedures for fuel cell activation and shutdown at North American Aviation, MSC, and KSC to maximize learning opportunities.
Perkin-Elmer Corp., Norwalk, Conn., and Chrysler Corp., Detroit, Mich., were authorized about $250,000 each to continue studies of optical technology for NASA. The nine-month extension of research by the two companies was to evaluate optical experiments for possible future extended Apollo flights. The proposed experiments included control of optical telescope primary mirrors, telescope temperature control, telescope pointing, and laser propagation studies.
Charles A. Berry, MSC Director of Medical Research and Operations, proposed establishment of an MSC management program for control of hazardous spacecraft materials, to provide confidence for upcoming long- duration Apollo missions while simultaneously saving overall costs. Berry pointed out that no unified program for control of potentially toxic or flammable spacecraft materials existed and, in the past, individual Program Offices had established their own acceptance criteria for toxological safety and fire hazards.
The NASA Western Support Office, Santa Monica, Calif., reported two accidents at North American plants, with no personal injuries:
The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM, the Apollo C category mission, was planned for the last quarter of 1966. Numerous problems with the Apollo Block I spacecraft resulted in a flight delay to February 1967. The crew of Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee, was killed in a fire while testing their capsule on the pad on 27 January 1967, still weeks away from launch. The designation AS-204 was used by NASA for the flight at the time; the designation Apollo 1 was applied retroactively at the request of Grissom's widow.
A TWX from NASA Headquarters to MSC, MSFC, and KSC ordered checkout and launch preparation of AS-501 to proceed as planned, except that the CM would not be pressurized in an oxygen environment pending further direction. If AS-501 support, facility, or work force should conflict with the activities of the AS-204 Review Board, the Board would be given priority.
William W. Petynia, MSC, was given ASPO responsibility for use of the spacecraft 012 service module in nonflight support of the Apollo program when the Apollo 204 Review Board released the SM from - further investigation. It was to be used in subsystem tests or tests of the complete module.
MSC ASPO reported to NASA Hq. that, because of many wiring discrepancies found in Apollo spacecraft 017, a more thorough inspection was required, with 12 main display control panels to be removed and wiring visually inspected for cuts, chafing, improper crimping, etc. Additional Details: here....
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips appointed a team to make a special audit of quality control and inspection. The audit would encompass Apollo spacecraft operations at Downey, Calif., KSC, and elsewhere as required and would consider both contractor and government activities to determine if problems or deficiencies existed and recommend corrective action. The team was to use to the maximum extent the results of quality and inspection audit activities already under way at MSC and KSC.
Specifically, the team was to
MSC informed Kennedy Space Center that, on release of the 012 service module from further investigation, the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office would use it for program support. ASPO was establishing tests and test locations and asked KSC to deactivate SM systems and store the SM in a remote area for up to four weeks.
A meeting at MSC considered fire detection systems and fire extinguishers. Participants were G. M. Low, K. S. Kleinknecht, A. C. Bond, J. N. Kotanchik, J. W. Craig, M. W. Lippitt, and G. W. S. Abbey. Craig and Lippitt had visited Wright Field, Ohio, and from their findings the following conclusions were reached:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea requested that the White Sands Test Facility be authorized to conduct the descent propulsion system series tests starting April 3 and ending about May 1. The maximum expected test pressure would be 174 newtons per sq cm (253 psia), normal maximum operating pressure. The pressure could go as high as 179 newtons per sq cm (260 psia) according to the test to be conducted.
Required leak check operations were also requested at a maximum pressure of 142 newtons per sq cm (206 psia), with a design limit of 186 newtons per sq cm (270 psia). The test fluids would be compatible with the titanium alloy at the test pressures. The test would be conducted in the Altitude Test Stand, where adequate protection existed for isolating and containing a failure. MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth approved the request the same day.
It was originally planned to make a second solo flight test of the Block I Apollo CSM on a Saturn IB. The flight was finally seen as unnecessary; the decision to cancel it came on November 16, 1966. After the Apollo 1 fire on January 27, 1967, the Schirra crew was assigned to Apollo 7, the first manned flight test of the new Block II Apollo CSM-101.
Technicians from MSC's Landing and Recovery Division conducted demonstrations of land- landing at Ft. Hood, Texas, on 6, 11, and 12 April. The demonstrations were part of MSC's effort to develop an advanced system to provide a land-landing capability for the Apollo Applications Program, an improved launch abort situation, and reduced horizontal velocities for water landings.
George Low requested William M. Bland, MSC, to take action on two recommendations made by MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth:
CM mockup tests by the Structures and Mechanics Division at the MSC Thermochemical Test Area had shown that significant burning occurred in oxygen environments at a pressure of 11.4 newtons per square centimeter (16.5 psia). The tests, in which most of the major crew bay materials had been replaced by Teflon or Beta cloth, consisted of deliberately igniting crew bay materials sequentially in two places. The Division recommended that operation with oxygen at 11.4 newtons in the crew compartment be eliminated and that either air or oxygen at 3.5 newtons per sq cm (5 psia) be used. In reply, the ASPO Manager pointed out that "Dr. Gilruth has indicated a strong desire to avoid the use of air on the pad which requires subsequent spacecraft purges. Accordingly, we should maintain the option of launching with a pure oxygen cabin environment until such time as additional tests indicate it would not be feasible."
ASPO Manager George M. Low pointed out to MSC Director of Engineering and Development Maxime A. Faget that apparently no single person at MSC was responsible for spacecraft wiring. Low said he would like to discuss naming a subsystem manager to follow this general area, including not only the wiring schematics, circuitry, circuit-breaker protection, etc., but also the detailed design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of wiring harnesses.
Because of the amount of flammable material in spacecraft 017 and 020, MSC decided to purge these two spacecraft on the pad with gaseous nitrogen. The total amount of oxygen in the spacecraft at time of reentry would not exceed 14 percent. No tests would be conducted on these spacecraft with hatches closed when men were in the spacecraft.
NASA Task Team - Block II Redefinition, CSM, was established by ASPO. The team - to be in residence at North American Aviation during the redefinition period - was to provide timely response to questions and inputs on detail design, overall quality and reliability, test and checkout, baseline conditions, configuration control, and schedules.
Astronaut Frank Borman was named Task Team Manager and group leaders were: Design, Aaron Cohen; Quality and Reliability and Test and Checkout Procedures, Scott H. Simpkinson; Materials, Jerry W. Craig; Specifications and Configuration Control, Richard E. Lindeman; and Scheduling, Douglas R. Broome.
George C. White, Jr., NASA OMSF Director of Apollo Reliability and Quality, told Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that an MSC presentation on April 29 had restored confidence in Apollo's future, but three areas caused him concern as possible compromises with crew safety and mission success in the interest of near-term schedule and cost considerations. They were:
After review of operational considerations for a minimum restart capability in the Saturn launch vehicle's S IVB stage, MSC's Director of Flight Operations reported to NASA Hq. that an 80-minute restart capability was believed the best compromise for the early lunar missions, "for the primary reason of providing sufficient time for ground support in verifying navigation, and flight crew checkout of CSM and S-IVB systems prior to TLI (translunar injection), while providing for two injection opportunities in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (second and third revolutions). For later missions, consideration should be given to the hardware implications of providing a restart capability with minimum (zero) restrictions, so that advantage may be taken of confidence in onboard systems to gain additional payload."
NASA Administrator James E. Webb issued a statement on selection of the Apollo spacecraft contractor: "In the 1961 NASA decision to negotiate with North American Aviation for the Apollo command and service modules, there were no better qualified experts in or out of NASA on whom I could rely than Dr. Robert Gilruth, Dr. Robert C. Seamans, and Dr. Hugh L. Dryden. These three were unanimous in their judgment that of the five companies submitting proposals, and of the two companies that were rated highest by the Source Evaluation Board, North American Aviation offered the greatest experience in developing high-performance manned flight systems and the lowest cost. Additional Details: here....
The NASA Block II CSM Redefinition Task Team was augmented by the assignment of Gordon J. Stoops as Group Leader-Program Control, with the following functions:
A Block II spacecraft vibration program was begun to provide confidence in CSM integrity and qualify the hardware interconnecting the subsystems within the spacecraft. A test at MSC was to simulate the vibration environment of max-q flight conditions. The test article was to be a Block II CSM. A spacecraft-LM adapter, an instrumentation unit, and an S-IVB stage forward area simulation would also be used.
MSC notified NASA Hq. that - with the changes defined for the Block II spacecraft following the January 27 Apollo 204 fire and with CSM delivery schedules now reestablished - it was necessary to complete a contract for three additional CSMs requested in 1966. North American Aviation had responded September 15, 1966, to MSC's February 28 request for a proposal, but action on a contract had been suspended because of the AS-204 accident. NASA Hq. on June 27, 1967, authorized MSC to proceed.
ASPO Manager George Low told Charles A. Berry, MSC Director of Medical Research and Operations, that it had been determined there was no suitable substitute for water glycol as a coolant and it would continue to be used in the Apollo spacecraft. Low recognized that it was "essential that the effects of any possible glycol spill be well defined and that procedures be established to avoid any hazardous conditions." He asked Berry's office to define the limits of exposure for glycol spills of varying quantities and for recommendations concerning cabin purge in the event of a spill. Low also wondered, assuming development of a smelling agent, if it would be possible to determine the concentration of water glycol by the strength of the smell in the spacecraft. Berry's office replied June 22 that it was working with Crew Systems Division to identify an odor additive for leak detection. They would begin a program to establish a safe upper limit for human exposure to ethylene glycol and had asked the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Toxicity for information. Animal exposure tests probably would be necessary; if they were needed, a test plan would be submitted before July 1.
Northrop Ventura to conduct a research program on a flexible parawing for potential use in manned spacecraft landing systems. NASA announced that LaRC had selected Northrop Ventura Company to negotiate a contract to conduct a research program (including flight tests) of a flexible parawing for potential use in manned spacecraft landing systems. Northrop Ventura would evaluate the suitability of using a parawing (instead of conventional parachutes) to allow controlled descent in a shallow glide and thus offer wide flexibility in choosing a touchdown point, as well as provide a soft landing impact. The parawing would be evaluated for possible use on the Apollo Applications Program during the early 1970s to achieve a true land-landing mission capability.
George M. Low told Joseph N. Kotanchik, Chief of MSC's Structures and Mechanics Division, that actions were pending on Pratt & Whitney pressure vessel failures. The pressure vessels were used in the Apollo fuel cell system. Kotanchik had spelled out a list of problem areas in connection with both the vessels and management interface between MSC and principal contractor North American Aviation, and between North American and its subcontractor Pratt & Whitney.
NASA Office of Manned Space Flight had redefined the Apollo Block II manned mission flight plan, ASPO informed the MSC Director of Science and Applications. The first manned flight plan called for
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, in a message to ASPO Manager George M. Low, spoke of a June 2 agreement to include a CSM active rendezvous with the Saturn S-IVB stage of the launch vehicle in the mission profile of the first manned Apollo mission. Phillips said that it should be recognized that such a rendezvous would not be a primary objective for the first manned mission and that the decision should be reviewed if any related problem that would complicate mission preparations were identified.
Robert O. Aller, NASA OMSF, told Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that considerable analysis, planning, and discussion had taken place at MSC on the most effective sequence of Apollo missions following the first manned flight (Apollo 7). The current official assignments included three CSM/LM missions for CSM/LM operations, lunar simulation, and lunar capability. MSC's Flight Operations Directorate (FOD) had offered an alternate approach of that sequence by proposing that the third mission be a lunar-orbit mission rather than a high earth-orbit mission. Aller preferred the FOD proposal, since it would offer considerable operational advantages by conducting a lunar-orbital flight before the lunar landing. He recommended Phillips consider that sequence of missions and that consideration be given to including it as a prime or alternate mission in the Mission Assignments Document. "Identifying it in that document," Aller said, "would initiate the necessary detailed planning."
Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Deputy Administrator of NASA, prepared a memorandum to the file concerning the selection of North American Aviation as the CSM prime contractor. The memorandum, a seven-page document, chronologically reviewed the steps that led to the selection of North American and followed by about a month the statement of NASA Administrator James E. Webb in response to queries from members of the Congress.
The purpose of spacecraft 105 testing was to establish transition relations between the primary and secondary structure that supported systems' interconnecting hardware (wiring, tubing and associated valves, filters, regulators, etc.) and demonstrate structural integrity of the Block II CSM when subjected to qualification vibration environment, with special emphasis on interconnecting hardware. The test vehicle was being configured with complete basic Block II wiring harness and fluid systems. The vehicle would be checked out before and after each phase of testing to verify wiring harness impedance and continuity and fluid systems pressure integrity. The fluid systems would be at operating pressure during the testing.
The Apollo Program Director requested MSC to assign the following experiments to AS-205, spacecraft 101: M006 - Bone Demineralization, M011 - Cytogenic Blood Studies, M023 - Lower Body Negative Pressure, S005 - Synoptic Terrain Photography, and S006 - Synoptic Weather Photography. Additional Details: here....
Dale D. Myers, Apollo CSM Manager for North American Aviation, Inc., requested a meeting with ASPO Manager George M. Low and ASPO CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to resolve issues concerning materials replacement and objectives for boilerplate tests. In reply, on July 6, Low said that Kleinknecht had conducted a complete review of flammable materials since receipt of Myers' June 28 letter and that a number of telephone conversations had been held on the subject. MSC recommended that the insulation on the environmental control unit be covered with nickel foil and that silicone-rubber wire-harness clamps could possibly be covered with a combination of "Laddicote" and nitroso rubber. Plans were for the boilerplate mockup tests to use an overloaded wire in a wire bundle as an ignition source. At Myers' suggestion, MSC was also looking into the use of electric arcs, or sparks, as a possible ignition source. Low said: "As you know, our goal in the mockup tests will be to demonstrate that any fire in a 6 psi (4.1 newtons per square centimeter) oxygen atmosphere extinguishes itself. . . . If we can demonstrate that in the 6 psi oxygen atmosphere a fire would spread very slowly so that the crew could easily get out of the spacecraft while on the pad . . . , then I believe that we should also be satisfied."
A CSM shipment schedule, to be used for planning throughout the Apollo program and as a basis for contract negotiations with North American Aviation, was issued by NASA Hq. The schedule covered CSM 101 through CSM 115, CSM 105R, and CSM 020 and the period September 29, 1967, through November 17, 1969.
CSM flammability mockup testing was discussed at a program review. It was pointed out that boilerplate testing was being conducted at Downey and that an all-up test should not be performed until all individual tests were completed and the final configuration was completely established.
A series of oxygen purge system (OPS) transfer runs were conducted in the Water Immersion Facility at MSC. Preliminary reports indicated the results of the tests were highly satisfactory, but an assessment of pad abort procedures following several runs in the Apollo Mission Simulator were not so promising. Further work and study in this area was in progress.
ASPO Manager George M. Low issued instructions that the changes and actions to be carried out by MSC as a result of the AS-204 accident investigation were the responsibility of CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht. The changes and actions were summarized in Apollo Program Directive No. 29, dated July 6, 1967.
ASPO announced that a detailed review of the Block II CSM would be held to gain a better understanding of the hardware. ASPO Manager George M. Low pointed out that it had been customary in the Gemini and Apollo Programs to conduct Design Certification Reviews (DCRs) before manned flight of the "first of a kind" vehicle. He added that the detailed review should address itself to design and analysis, test history and evaluation of test results, and the understanding of operational procedures for each element in the CSM. To ensure the most thorough review, MSC divisions would conduct preliminary reviews. The division chiefs would then present their findings to the directorates, the ASPO management, and the MSC Director.
Before the Apollo 1 fire, it was planned that McDivitt's crew would conduct the Apollo D mission - a first manned test in earth orbit of the Lunar Module. Separate Saturn IB launches would put Apollo Block II CSM 101 / AS-207 and Lunar Module LM-2 / AS-208 into earth orbit. The crew would then rendezvous and dock with the lunar module and put it through its paces. After the fire, it was decided to launch the mission on a single Saturn V as Apollo 9.
Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, CSM Manager at MSC, requested that North American organize a team of engineers with broad design backgrounds to make an independent assessment of component design efficiency. The team would identify actions to reduce spacecraft weight and to establish control methods to prevent future weight increases. The team would be placed under the leadership of a North American employee with broad knowledge of Apollo hardware.
To deal with Apollo weight problems, North American replied in October, accurate and timely weight visibility was of paramount importance. To provide this visibility, North American used system design personnel directly in weight prediction and reporting. As part of this plan, all engineering-design-change documentation would contain a delta weight effect that would be reviewed and approved by engineering management; weight trends and status would be reported monthly to North American and NASA management. A list of weight reduction candidates was suggested to NASA.
The NASA task team for CSM Block II redefinition, established on April 27, was phased out. During its duration the task team provided timely response and direction in the areas of detail design, overall quality and reliability, test and checkout, baseline specifications, and schedules. With the phaseout of the team, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office policies and procedures would be carried out by the ASPO resident manager. A single informal point of contact was also established between MSC and North American for engineering and design items.
A senior design review group was established to review the command module stowed equipment and the stowage provisions, to ensure the timely resolution and implementation of changes necessary because of new materials criteria and guidelines. Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director, would head the group.
"Reuse of failed equipment" was the subject of a memorandum to W. M. Bland in the MSC Reliability and Quality Assurance Office from ASPO Manager George M. Low. He said: "I have recently heard of several instances of reuse of apparently failed equipment without any fixes applied to that equipment. I understand that, if a component or subsystem is removed from the spacecraft because it has apparently failed but a subsequent failure analysis does not show anything to be wrong with the equipment, the equipment is then put back into stock for reinstallation. It appears to me that, if a component is once suspected or known to have caused a failure or to have failed, it should not be allowed back in the program unless a fix has been made or unless it has been proved conclusively that the failure was not caused by that component. If we do not now have a program directive that states such a policy, I think we should impose one as quickly as possible and set up adequate procedures to control it."
During operational checkout procedures on CSM 017, which included running the erasable memory program before running the low-altitude aborts, the guidance and navigation computer accidentally received a liftoff signal and locked up. Investigation was initiated to determine the reason for the liftoff signal and the computer lockup (switch to internal control). No damage was suspected.
The merger of North American Aviation, Inc., and Rockwell-Standard Corp. became effective and was announced. The company was organized into two major groups, the Commercial Products Group and the Aerospace and Systems Group. The new company would be known as North American Rockwell and use the acronym NR.
In spite of efforts to eliminate all flammable materials from the interior of the spacecraft cabin during flight, it was apparent that this could not be completely accomplished. For example, silicone rubber hoses, flight logs, food, tissues, and other materials would be exposed with in the cabin during portions of the mission. However, flammable materials would be outside their containers only when actually needed. Special fire extinguishers would be carried during flight.
An Apollo Entry Performance Review Board was established by the MSC Director to review and validate the analytical tools as well as the Apollo operational corridor. The Board was set up because the performance of the ablation heatshield in the Apollo spacecraft, as then analyzed, imposed a limitation on the entry corridor at lunar return velocity. The following were named to the Board: Maxime A. Faget, MSC, chairman; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC; Eugene C. Draley and Don D. Davis, Jr., Langley Research Center; Alvin Seiff and Glen Goodwin, Ames Research Center; and Leo T. Chauvin, MSC, secretary.
ASPO Manager George M. Low, in a letter to Richard E. Horner, Senior Vice President of Northrop Corp., following a phone call to Horner on Sept. 28, reiterated NASA's "continuing and serious concern with the quality control at Northrop Ventura on the Apollo spacecraft parachute system. In recent weeks, I have had many reports of poor workmanship and poor quality, both in the plant at Northrop Ventura and in the field at El Centro."
On October 20 Horner told Low he had taken time to assure himself of the best possible information available before replying and offered background on the situation: "The design effort goes back to 1961 and testing began at the El Centro facility in 1962. There was continuous operation of the test group at El Centro until 1966 when the completion of the Block II testing program dictated the closeout of our operation there. In our total activity, we have had a peak of 350 personnel assigned to the Apollo, with 20 of that number located at El Centro during the most active portion of the test program. When it was finally determined that the increased weight capability redesign was necessary for mission success, the program nucleus had been reduced to 30 personnel and the established schedule for the system re-design, test and fabrication requires a build-up to 250. . . . The schedule has also dictated the adoption of such procedures as concurrent inspection by the inspectors of Northrop, North American and NASA, a procedure which, I am sure, is efficient from a program point of view but is inherently risky in terms of the wide dissemination of knowledge concerning every human mistake. This is significant only from the point of view of the natural human failing to be more willing to share the responsibility for error than for success. . . . We do not intend in any way to share responsibility for these errors and expect to eliminate the potential for their recurrence. We have established standards of quality for this program that are stringent and uncompromising. . . . Even though the technical and schedule challenge is substantial, we are confident that by the time qualification testing is scheduled to start during the first week of December 1967 we will have a flawless operation. . . ."
Key dates in the spacecraft 101 schedule were agreed to during a meeting of Samuel C. Phillips, Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low, and Kenneth S. Kleinknecht with North American management: inspection of wiring, October 7, 1967; completion of manufacturing, December 15, 1967; delivery, March 15, 1968. In addition, several decisions were reached concerning certain systems of spacecraft 101. Among these, it was agreed that the entry monitor system would not be checked out on spacecraft 101.
An exchange of correspondence between MSC and North American Rockwell emphasized the seriousness of the spacecraft weight problem. Accurate and timely weight visibility was of paramount importance for weight control and resulted from proper implementation and control of weight prediction, weight control from design initiation, and weight status reporting. To ensure visibility, North American Rockwell was instituting a program that would use system design personnel in weight prediction and reporting. Preliminary design personnel in the Design Requirements Group were designated to integrate the effort.
MSC established an Apollo Spacecraft Incident Investigation and Reporting Panel, with Scott H. Simpkinson as chairman. Panel members would be selected from ASPO, the Flight Safety Office, and the Engineering and Development Directorate. In addition, members would be assigned from the RASPO offices at Downey, Bethpage, and KSC when incidents occurred at their locations. All incidents suspected of directly affecting the safety of the spacecraft or its ground support equipment and all incidents that represented a hazard to personnel working in the area were to be investigated and reported. Incidents having a cost impact of over $5,000 or a schedule impact of 24 hours would also be reported to the panel chairman and considered for investigation. Panel membership was announced October 16. The following day, a letter from Simpkinson to panel members established procedures for investigating and reporting incidents.
A proposal to use a Ballute system rather than drogue parachutes to deploy the main chutes on the Apollo spacecraft was rejected. It was conceded that the Ballute system would slightly reduce dynamic pressure and command module oscillations at main parachute deployment. However, these advantages would be offset by the development risks of incorporating a new and untried system into the Apollo spacecraft at such a late date.
NASA Hq. informed MSC that NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., had approved the project approval document authorizing four additional CSMs beyond No. 115A. MSC was requested to proceed with all necessary procurement actions required to maintain production capability in support of projected schedules for these items.
Plans were to use 100-percent oxygen in the CSM cabin during prelaunch operations for manned flights but, since flammability tests of the CSM were not finished, the possibility existed that air might be used instead of pure oxygen. Therefore, contingency plans would be developed to use air in the cabin during the prelaunch operations so that a change would not delay the program.
A parachute test (Apollo Drop Test 84-1) failed at EI Centro, Calif. The parachute test vehicle (PTV) was dropped from a C-133A aircraft at an altitude of 9,144 meters to test a new 5-meter drogue chute and to investigate late deployment of one of the three main chutes. Additional Details: here....
In an exchange of correspondence, KSC Director Kurt H. Debus and MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth agreed that close coordination was required between the two Centers regarding launch site recovery and rescue in the event of malfunction leading to an unsuccessful abort before or just after ignition during a launch phase. Coordinated recovery and rescue plans were being formulated for such an emergency. Plans would also include the Department of Defense Eastern Test Range and required coordination with DOD. On December 19 Debus was informed by NASA Hq. that his proposal for a slide wire emergency system had been reviewed and approved.
The MSC Director of Engineering and Development pointed out that a fullscale CSM would soon be tested to evaluate the hazard of fire propagation both in orbit (cabin atmosphere of oxygen at pressure of 3.8 newtons per square centimeter - 5.5 pounds per square inch absolute) and on the pad (oxygen at 11.4 newtons per sq cm-16.5 psia). There was a reasonable probability that the CSM might qualify in the first but not the second case. In such event, it was proposed that the prelaunch cabin atmosphere be changed from 100-percent oxygen to a mixture of 60-percent oxygen and 40percent helium or to a mixture of 60-percent oxygen and 40-percent nitrogen. This proposal was made on the assumption that those mixtures at 11.4 newtons per sq cm would not offer more of a fire hazard than 100percent oxygen at 3.8 newtons. It was also assumed that these mixtures would be physiologically suitable after being bled down to orbital pressure without subsequent purging or being enriched with additional oxygen. Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) was requested to make flammability tests to determine the relative merit of the two mixtures and to outline a minimum test program to provide confidence that the mixed gas atmosphere might be considered equivalent to oxygen at 3.8 newtons.
Apollo 4 (AS-501) was launched in the first all-up test of the Saturn V launch vehicle and also in a test of the CM heatshield. The Saturn V, used for the first time, carried a lunar module test article (LTA-10R) and a Block I command and service module (CSM 017) into orbit from KSC Launch Complex 39, Pad A, lifting off at 7:00:01 a.m. EST - one second later than planned. The launch was also the first use of Complex 39. The spacecraft landed 8 hours 37 minutes later in the primary recovery area in the Pacific Ocean, near Hawaii, about 14 kilometers from the planned point (30.06 N 172.32 W). CM, apex heatshield, and one main parachute were recovered by the carrier U.S.S. Bennington
Main objectives of the mission were to demonstrate the structural and thermal integrity of the space vehicle and to verify adequacy of the Block II heatshield design for entry at lunar return conditions. These objectives were accomplished.
The S-IC stage cutoff occurred 2 minutes 30 seconds into the flight at an altitude of about 63 kilometers. The S-II stage ignition occurred at 2 minutes 32 seconds and the burn lasted 6 minutes 7 seconds, followed by the S-IVB stage ignition and burn of 2 minutes 25 seconds. This series of launch vehicle operations placed the S-IVB and spacecraft combination in an earth parking orbit with an apogee of about 187 kilometers and a perigee of 182 kilometers. After two orbits, which required about three hours, the S-IVB stage was reignited to place the spacecraft in a simulated lunar trajectory. This burn lasted five minutes. Some 10 minutes after completion of the S-IVB burn, the spacecraft and S-IVB stage were separated, and less than 2 minutes later the service propulsion subsystem was fired to raise the apogee. The spacecraft was placed in an attitude with the thickest side of the CM heatshield away from the solar vector. During this four-and-one-half-hour cold-soak period, the spacecraft coasted to its highest apogee - 18,256.3 kilometers. A 70 mm still camera photographed the earth's surface every 10.6 seconds, taking 715 good-quality, high-resolution pictures.
About 8 hours 11 minutes after liftoff the service propulsion system was again ignited to increase the spacecraft inertial velocity and to simulate entry from a translunar mission. This burn lasted four and one half minutes. The planned entry velocity was 10.61 kilometers per second, while the actual velocity achieved was 10.70.
Recovery time of 2 hours 28 minutes was longer than anticipated, with the cause listed as sea conditions - 2.4-meter swells.
ASPO Manager George Low, in a memorandum to CSM Manager Kenneth Kleinknecht, remarked that he had "just read Dale Myers' letter to you . . . on the subject of Northrop Ventura performance. In addition I have . . . read a letter from Dick Horner to me in response to my letter . . . of September 29, 1967. Additional Details: here....
In a letter to North American Rockwell and Grumman management, ASPO Manager George Low pointed out that he had taken a number of steps to strengthen the Configuration Control Board (CCB) activities and said he felt it was "very desirable to have senior management from NAR and GAEC present for our Board meetings." The meetings were held each Friday North American Apollo CSM Manager Dale D. Myers replied on November 17 that he, Charles Feltz, or George Jeffs would attend the meetings on an alternate schedule. Myers informed Low that North American was implementing new requirements designed to strengthen its own CCB. MSC's Kenneth S. Kleinknecht had been invited to attend North American's weekly Tuesday meetings when possible and RASPO Manager Wilbur Gray was invited to attend routinely.
The third Apollo flight announced on December 22, 1966, was the Apollo E mission - a test of the Apollo lunar module in high earth orbit. In order to beat the Russians around the moon, it was decided that the E mission would be cancelled and instead Borman's crew would fly an Apollo CSM into lunar orbit. This became Apollo 8.
Walter J. Kapryan of the MSC Resident ASPO at KSC told the KSC Apollo Program Manager that one of the primary test objectives of the SM-102 static-fire test was to determine system deterioration caused by the static-fire sequence and exposure to residual hypergolics trapped in the system during subsequent prelaunch operations. Additional Details: here....
An Apollo drop test failed at El Centro, Calif. The two-drogue verification test had been planned to provide confidence in the drogue chute design (using a weighted bomb) before repeating the parachute test vehicle (PTV) test. Preliminary information indicated that in the test one drogue entangled with the other during deployment and that only one drogue inflated. The failure appeared to be related to a test deployment method rather than to drogue design. The test vehicle was successfully recovered by a USAF recovery parachute-intact and reusable.
Top NASA and North American Rockwell management personnel discussed flammability problems associated with coax cables installed in CMs. It was determined that approximately 23 meters of flammable coax cable was in CM 101 and, when ignited with a nichrome wire, the cable would burn in oxygen at both 4.3 and 11.4 newtons per square centimeter (6.2 and 16.5 pounds per square inch). Burning rates varied from 30 to 305 centimeters per minute, depending upon the oxygen pressure and the direction of the flame front propagation. The cable was behind master display panels, along the top of the right-hand side of the cabin, vertically in the rear right-hand corner of the cabin, in the cabin feed-through area, and in the lower equipment bay. The group reviewed the detailed location of the cable, viewed movies of flammability tests, examined movies of the results of testing with fire breaks, discussed possible alternatives, and inspected cable installations in CMs 101 and 104.
The following alternatives were considered:
The following factors were considered in reaching a decision for spacecraft 101:
In view of these factors, decisions for spacecraft 101 were:
The installation in spacecraft 2TV-1 would not be changed. This decision was made fully recognizing that more flammable material remained in 2TV-1 than in 101. However, the burning rate of coax cable had been demonstrated as very slow, and it was reasoned that the crew would have sufficient time to make an emergency exit in the vacuum chamber from 2TV-1 long before any dangerous situations would be encountered.
Officials also agreed that coax cable in boilerplate 1224 would not be ignited until after the results of the BP 1250 tests had been reviewed.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told ASPO Manager George M. Low that a review had begun on the "Apollo Spacecraft Weight and Mission Performance Definition" report dated December 12 and that his letter indicated approval of certain changes either requested or implied by the report. Phillips added that his letter identified a second group of pending changes for which insufficient information was available. He stressed his serious concern over the problem of spacecraft weight growth and said weight must be limited to the basic 45,359-kilogram launch vehicle capability. "According to the progression established in your report, CM's 116 through 119 could exceed the parachute hand-weight capability. I would like to establish a single set of controlled basic weights for the production vehicles. For product improvement changes a good rule is a pound deleted for every pound added. For approved changes to the basic configuration, it is the responsibility of NASA to understand the weight and performance implication of the change and to establish appropriate new control values. . . ."
CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht asked the Manager of the Resident Apollo Spacecraft Program Office (RASPO) at Downey to inform North American Rockwell that MSC had found the suggestion that aluminum replace teflon for solder joint inserts and outer armor sleeves in Apollo spacecraft plumbing unacceptable because
MSC called to the attention of North American Rockwell the number of discrepancies found at KSC that could have been found at Downey before hardware shipment. In an effort to reduce the discrepancies North American was requested to obtain and use the KSC receiving inspection criteria as a guide for shipping inspections. It was also suggested that the possibility of sending a few key inspectors to KSC for periods of three to six months to gain additional experience might be investigated.
A Parachute Test Vehicle (PTV) test failed at El Centro, Calif. The PTV was released from a B-52 aircraft at 15,240 meters and the drogue chute programmer was actuated by a static line connected to the aircraft. One drogue chute appeared to fail upon deployment, followed by failure of the second drogue seven seconds later. Additional Details: here....
Eberhard Rees, Director of the Apollo Special Task Team at North American Rockwell's Downey plant, wrote ASPO Manager George Low outlining what he termed "serious quality and reliability resources deficiencies" and proposed several steps to bolster NASA's manpower in these areas. Specifically, Rees cited the immediate need for additional manpower (primarily through General Electric) to make vendor surveys, test failure assessments, and specification review and analysis and establish minimum inspection points. In addition, Rees said, many areas were almost totally lacking in coverage by the government, such as monitoring qualification tests, receiving inspections, pre-installation test, and many manufacturing operations. He urged Low to reassess his requirements in Houston to determine how many persons MSC might contribute (along with those from MSFC and GE) to plug these vital areas.
Eberhard Rees, Apollo Special Task Team chief at North American Rockwell, participated in a failure review at Northrop-Ventura of the recent parachute test failure and in development of a revised test plan. Others at the review included Dale Myers and Norman Ryker from North American and W. Gasich and W. Steyer, General Manager and Apollo Program Manager at Northrop-Ventura. Those at the review put together a revised drop test program that resulted in only a two-week schedule delay because of the failure. Repair of the parachute test vehicle was under way. Meantime, tests would continue, employing bomb and boilerplate devices. Also, Rees decided to establish a Flight Readiness Review Board (headed by Joseph Kotanchik of MSC) to approve each drop test, and Northrop officials had established an internal review board to review test engineering and planning and were tightening their inspection and quality control areas.
Rolf Lanzkron and Owen Morris, Chiefs of MSC's CSM and LM Project Engineering Divisions, led a review of the 2TV-1 and LTA-8 (thermal vacuum test article and lunar module test article) thermal vacuum test programs at MSC. Chief concerns expressed during the review centered on the heavy concentration of testing during the summer of 1968, the need for simultaneous operation of test chambers A and B, and the lack of adequately trained chamber operations support personnel for dual testing. The review disclosed that maintenance of testing schedules for LTA-8 was most unlikely, even with a seven-day-a-week work schedule. (The central problem was the large number of open items that had to be cleared before start of the tests.)
Eberhard F. M. Rees, head of the Apollo Special Task Team at North American Rockwell, met with Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, and Martin L. Raines, Manager of the White Sands Test Facility, to review the team's recent operations and the responses of North American and its numerous subcontractors to the team's recommendations. Kleinknecht listed what he thought were the chief problems facing the CSM program: the S-band highgain antenna (which he said should be turned over entirely to the task team for resolution); the parachute program; the environmental control system; and contamination inside the spacecraft. He urged that the team take the lead in developing solutions to these problems.
In a letter to officials of the three manned space flight Centers, NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips called attention to the fact that as the time for the first manned Apollo flight was approaching constant concern for crew safety was becoming more pronounced. Phillips pointed out that the Crew Safety Panel, Flight Mechanics Panel, Launch Operations Panel, Hazardous Emergency Egress Working Group, and other Intercenter Coordination Panels had each dealt with specific aspects of Apollo crew safety. Individual Centers and contractors had exercised their crew safety responsibilities through system design, quality control, and test channels. Single-point failure analyses, dealing with specific hardware areas, had been made.
He said that these efforts had resulted in current provisions for rapid crew egress on the pad, for spacecraft abort during early phases of the launch, and for contingency flight modes. Phillips added, ". . . to insure that all of the many parts of the problem are properly integrated we should at this time step back and take another look at the overall crew safety picture from ingress to mission completion. The questions to be addressed are:
In response to a letter from ASPO Manager George M. Low in late December 1967, seeking assurances that no potential stress corrosion problems existed in the CSM, Dale D. Myers, CSM Program Manager at North American Rockwell, reviewed the three instances where problems had been encountered during the CSM project and iterated the extensive efforts to ensure against such potential problems. Echoing much the same words as his counterpart at Grumman, Myers stated that "it is not possible to guarantee that no single instance of stress corrosion will ever occur" and that circumstances "could create a problem not anticipated." He concluded that his company's efforts in this direction had been "entirely adequate and beyond the requirements of the contract and good practice in this industry," and he seated his belief that additional efforts in this area would not produce measurable results.
MSC CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, in a letter to North American Rockwell's Dale D. Myers, protested lack of North American reponse to written MSC direction concerning parachute test vehicles. Kleinknecht pointed out that MSC had "considerably modified our usual requirements in supporting the boilerplate 19 task being performed for you by Western Ways, Inc. These efforts seem to be completely negated by delayed go-ahead to Northrop Ventura for their portion of the task. I understand that neither Western Ways nor Northrop Ventura was given a go-ahead until January 19, 1968. The original written direction to NR (North American) was on November 9, 1967, to provide another parachute test vehicle (PTV) and give us an estimate of cost and schedule for another boilerplate PTV." If the effort on the PTV had started at that time, "we would now be able to use that vehicle rather than the bomb-type vehicles after losing PTV No. 2. The cost and schedule for boilerplate 19 was not submitted to MSC until later, on December 22, asking for a reply by January 2, 1968. Because of the holiday period, this written reply was furnished on January 5, after an investigation of the cost and schedule. The Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) stated a completion date of May 5; however, after a request by my people to see what could be done to improve this date, the improvement moved the Northrop Ventura schedule from June 14 to May 24 (a Friday). This date is three weeks later than the date cited in the ECP and is completely unacceptable. . . ."
On February 29, Myers assured Kleinknecht that North American had proceeded with the BP-19A task in advance of NASA full coverage. Initial partial coverage was issued to North American on January 5, 1968. On March 14, in a letter of commendation, Kleinknecht thanked Myers for the attention given the BP-19A effort that made a March 15 completion by Western Ways possible. On May 27, W. H. Gray, RASPO Manager, wrote another letter of commendation thanking North American for completing BP-19A in time for a drop test in May 1968.
Eberhard F. M. Rees, Apollo Special Task Team Director at North American Rockwell, reported to ASPO Manager George M. Low on the need for audits of equipment supplied from vendors to the spacecraft contractor. Significant hardware failures and nonconformances had been discovered after delivery of equipment from the vendors to Downey, Rees stated, and NASA must take strong steps to upgrade the quality of workmanship at the vendors' locations.
ASPO Manager George M. Low advised Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that, in accordance with an action item resulting from the spacecraft environmental testing review at MSFC on January 10, he was reexamining the design, fabrication, and inspection of all interconnecting systems of the spacecraft to determine what further steps might be taken to ensure the integrity of those systems. Low had requested William Mrazek of MSFC to direct this effort, using a small task team to review the design of all spacecraft wiring and plumbing systems, their fabrication, and quality assurance and inspection techniques.
A Senior Flammability Review Board meeting at MSC reached a number of decisions on the CSM. Attending were Robert R. Gilruth, chairman; George M. Low, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Aleck C. Bond, Maxime A. Faget, Donald K. Slayton, Charles A. Berry, and Rodney G. Rose, all of MSC; Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq.; William B. Bergen and Dale D. Myers, North American Rockwell; and George Stoner, Boeing (nonvoting observer).
Several previous action assignments were reviewed:
The Board concluded that the material changes made in the CM had resulted in a safe configuration in both the tested atmospheres. The Board agreed "that there will always be a degree of risk associated with manned space flight," but the risk of fire "was now substantially less than the basic risks inherent in manned space flight."
Among decisions reached were:
NASA Hq. asked MSC's support for the effort under way by the Software Review Board (created at Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips' request several weeks earlier) to reexamine software requirements for the lunar mission. A specific concern of the Board (which included representatives from the major support contractors, IBM, TRW, and Bellcomm) was the level of sophistication and complexity inherent in the present MIT computer programs. To understand better the possibilities of carrying out the lunar mission using the present computer system but with much simpler programming, Mueller asked the Board to examine the feasibility, cost, and schedule implications of carrying out the mission using about half the fixed and erasable memory of the computer and otherwise trading off program simplicity for minor increases in propellant requirements.
James P. Nolan, Jr., Chief of Plans, NASA OMSF, wrote Mission Operations Director John D. Stevenson describing a potential post-reentry fire hazard in the command module. A hazard might result from incomplete mixing of pure oxygen in the cockpit with normal air after landing, which could produce pockets of almost pure oxygen in closed cabinets, equipment bays, wire bundles, and interstices of the spacecraft. (Two test chamber explosions and fires had occurred at Douglas Aircraft Co. under similar conditions during the early 1950s, he advised.) Nolan suggested that the potential fire hazard be critically reviewed, including possible additional chamber flammability testing. Several weeks later, Stevenson informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that he had discussed Nolan's ideas with MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, ensuring attention by the Flammability Review Board. He reported that MSC was planning an additional series of chamber tests to determine whether such a fire hazard actually existed.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips wrote ASPO Manager George M. Low setting forth a strategy for announcing selection of a prelaunch atmosphere for the spacecraft. Because the decision undoubtedly would draw much public attention, Phillips said, it was important that the decision be based on comprehensive study and be fully documented to explain the rationale for the decision both to NASA's management and to the general public. Foremost, he said, that rationale must include a clear statement of physiological requirements for the mission and for aborts. Secondly, it must also cover flammability factors in cabin atmosphere selection. Finally, the decision rationale must explain engineering factors related to hardware capability and crew procedures, as well as operational factors and how they affected the choice of atmosphere during prelaunch and launch phases of the mission.
ASPO Manager George Low appointed Douglas R. Broome to head a special task team to resolve the problem of water requirements aboard the Apollo spacecraft. For some six months, Low noted, numerous discussions had surrounded the question of water purity requirements and loading procedures. Several meetings and reviews, including one at MSC on January 16 and another at KSC on February 13, had failed to resolve the problem, and Low thus instructed Broome's team to reach a "final and definite agreement" on acceptable water specifications and loading procedures. Much unnecessary time and effort had been expended on this problem, Low said, and he expected the team "to put this problem to rest once and for all."
Meetings of the Software Task Force had brought out the lack of a formal requirement that the Change Control Board (CCB) consider how hardware and software changes might affect each other, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Flight Mueller told Apollo Director Phillips. Mueller asked Phillips if he would consider a program directive requiring such assessments before changes could be approved. On March 2, ASPO Manager George Low wrote a note to Flight Operations Director Chris Kraft concerning the same problem. Low believed "our CCB Manual required that any changes requiring or affecting more than one panel (e.g., your software panel and Kleinknecht's CSM panel) should come to the Apollo spacecraft CCB." Kraft replied April 12 that he concurred. Kraft said that "various MSC organizations are represented on my Software Control Board (SCB). These representatives identify related impacts on other functional elements of the program during the discussion of change actions in the . . . meeting. Also, we have taken action to assure integrated assessment of software and spacecraft changes prior to presentation to the SCB. . . . T. F. Gibson, Jr., Flight Operations Directorate, and J. F. Goree, Jr., ASPO, have resolved working arrangements to assure . . . the disciplines called for by the Configuration Management Manual are carried out. I understand that the Change Integration Group in ASPO will critique proposed change actions to either software or spacecraft hardware and identify associated impacts. . . . Changes involving interfaces between the software and spacecraft hardware, or other functional elements of the program, would then be brought to your CCB for disposition of the . . . change as prescribed by the Configuration Control Manual. . . . I feel . . . this formal change integration function is appropriate as a check and balance. . . ."
In response to action required by the CSM 2TV-2 and CSM 101 Wire Board in October 1967, Dale D. Myers, CSM Program Manager at North American Rockwell, submitted to MSC results of a wire improvement study for the umbilical feedthrough area for the lower equipment bay. Additional Details: here....
The MSC Flammability Review Board met to assess results of the CSM flammability tests conducted on boilerplate 1224. The Board unanimously recommended using a 60-percent-oxygen and 40-percent-nitrogen atmosphere in the spacecraft cabin during launch, but continued use of a pure oxygen atmosphere at pressure of 4.1 newtons per square centimeter (6 pounds per square inch) during flight. Members concluded that this mixed-gas environment offered the best protection for the crew on the pad and during launch operations, while still meeting physiological and operational requirements. During the final stages of the flammability test program, tests had indicated that combustion characteristics for the 11-newtons-per-sq-cm (16-psi), 60-40 atmosphere and for the 4.1-newton pure oxygen atmosphere were remarkably similar. Also, full-scale trials had demonstrated that in an emergency the crew could get out of the spacecraft quickly and safely.
Apollo Special Task Team Director Eberhard F. M. Rees wrote Dale D. Myers, Apollo CSM Program Manager at North American Rockwell, to convey the concern of ASPO Manager George M. Low and others over the status of the S-band high-gain-antenna system. (Of all the subsystems in the spacecraft, that antenna seemed to face perhaps the toughest technical and schedule problems.) On December 14, 1967, Rees had visited the subcontractor's plant (Dalmo Victor) at Belmont, Calif., and had heard optimistic status reports on the entire system, including quality control and delivery schedules. Shortly thereafter, when Dalmo Victor began quality testing, the company encountered serious technical difficulties and the delivery schedule, as Rees put it, "collapsed completely." He then recounted several efforts by analytical teams to pinpoint the technical problems and to put the program back into shape (including reviews in mid-February and again on March 1, when very little progress could be seen). This record of inability to remedy technical problems, said Rees, indicated a serious weakness among Apollo contractors regarding visibility of their programs as well as their analytical engineering capability.
Edgar M. Cortright, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, reported on the results of a thorough review of Apollo subcontractors made during January and February at the request of George E. Mueller. Cortright's review, coordinated with Apollo Program Directors in Washington and Houston, included detailed analysis of subsystem programs and on-site assessment of technical problems, schedule patterns, and testing programs. While favorably impressed with what he had found in general, he cited a number of what he termed "disturbing" conditions: most subsystems were facing hardware delivery schedule problems; many open failures existed; most qualification tests obviously would run beyond flight hardware delivery dates, requiring change-outs at KSC; several of the major subcontractors' difficulties had been compounded by lack of visibility of the overall spacecraft program (those "subs," he said, could have benefited from more attention by the "primes" and from allowing them a role in decision-making affecting their subsystems). Also, Cortright concluded that NASA itself could make more efficient use of subsystem managers and get them more deeply involved in the life of their respective programs. As a remedy to improve the total subsystem picture, Cortright recommended additional subsystem testing (and closer scrutiny by NASA of those tests); a reexamination of the entire Apollo system to determine any procedural errors in operating the subsystems that could result in failure of a subsystem; more contractor involvement in decision-making by both NASA and the primes; and greater emphasis on the manned space flight awareness program.
In an effort to resolve the continuing technical and schedule problems with the high-gain antenna system at Dalmo Victor, Apollo CSM Program Manager Dale D. Myers named a Resident Subsystem Project Manager at the vendor's plant. This change provided a single management interface with Dalmo Victor. The representative had been given authority to call on whatever North American Rockwell resources he might need to accomplish program objectives.
Eberhard F. M. Rees, Director of the Apollo Special Task Team at North American Rockwell, wrote to the company's CSM Program Manager Dale D. Myers to express his concern over persistent problems with leaks in the ball valves for the service propulsion system. Rees doubted that any real progress was being made, stating that the problem persisted despite relaxations in leakage criteria and that qualification failures continued to occur. Rees described a review of the program on March 18 at Aerojet-General Corp. as lacking in factual depth. Also, the company did not appear to be pursuing developmental testing of configurational changes with any degree of vigor. Rees suggested to Myers that his people were on the right track and with management attention the vendor's efforts could be channeled to get some genuine results.
Apollo drogue chute test 99-5 failed at the El Centro, Calif., parachute facility. The drop was conducted to demonstrate the slight change made in the reefed area and the 10-second reefing cutter at ultimate load conditions. The 5,897-kilogram vehicle was launched from a B-52 aircraft at 10,668 meters and programmer chute operation and timing appeared normal. At drogue deployment following mortar activation, one drogue appeared to separate from the vehicle. Additional Details: here....
ASPO documented its reasons for using nitrogen rather than helium (as the Air Force had done) as the diluent in the Apollo spacecraft's cabin atmosphere, in response to a suggestion from Julian M. West of NASA Hq. Aaron Cohen, Assistant Chief of the MSC Systems Engineering Division, recounted that the Atmosphere Selection Task Team had addressed the question of nitrogen versus helium (regardless of percentage) and had rejected helium because of uncertainty of the compatibility of spacecraft equipment with helium. Further, helium presented the same physiological problems as did nitrogen, and whatever flammabilities advantages helium possessed were extremely small. For all these reasons, Cohen explained, the team had early elected to concentrate on nitrogen- mixed atmospheres.
NASA Hq. asked that MSC consider a variety of lunar photographic operations from orbit during manned landing missions. Cancellation from Apollo of the lunar mapping and survey system had eliminated any specially designed lunar photographic capability; but photography was still desired for scientific, operational, and contingency purposes. Presence of the CSM in orbit during manned landing missions, Headquarters OMSF said, would be a valuable opportunity, however limited, for photographic operations. MSC was asked to evaluate these operations to define whatever hardware and operational changes in Apollo might be required to capitalize upon this opportunity.
NASA Hq. confirmed oral instructions to MSC and KSC to use 60 percent oxygen and 40 percent nitrogen to pressurize the Apollo CM cabin in prelaunch checkout operations and during manned chamber testing, as recommended by the Design Certification Review Board on March 7 and confirmed by the NASA Administrator on March 12. This instruction was applicable to flight and test articles at all locations.
Eberhard F. M. Rees, Director of the Special Task Team at North American Rockwell, spearheaded a design review of the CM water sterilization system at Downey, Calif. (The review had resulted as an action item from the March 21 Configuration Control Board meeting in Downey.) Rees and a team of North American engineers reviewed the design of the system and test results and problems to date. Chief among performance concerns seemed to be compatibility of the chlorine solution with several materials in the system, maximum allowable concentration of chlorine in the water supply from the medical aspect, and contamination of the system during storage, handling, and filling. Assuming North American's successful completion of qualification testing and attention to the foregoing action items, said Rees, the system design was judged satisfactory.
Apollo 6 (AS-502) was launched from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The space vehicle consisted of a Saturn V launch vehicle with an unmanned, modified Block I command and service module (CSM 020) and a lunar module test article (LTA-2R).
Liftoff at 7:00 a.m. EST was normal but, during the first-stage (S-IC) boost phase, oscillations and abrupt measurement changes were observed. During the second-stage (S-II) boost phase, two of the J-2 engines shut down early and the remaining three were extended approximately one minute to compensate. The third stage (S-IVB) firing was also longer than planned and at termination of thrust the orbit was 177.7 x 362.9 kilometers rather than the 160.9-kilometer near-circular orbit planned. The attempt to reignite the S-IVB engine for the translunar injection was unsuccessful. Reentry speed was 10 kilometers per second rather than the planned 11.1, and the spacecraft landed 90.7 kilometers uprange of the targeted landing point.
The most significant spacecraft anomaly occurred at about 2 minutes 13 seconds after liftoff, when abrupt changes were indicated by strain, vibration, and acceleration measurements in the S-IVB, instrument unit, adapter, lunar module test article, and CSM. Apparently oscillations induced by the launch vehicle exceeded the spacecraft design criteria.
The second-stage (S-II) burn was normal until about 4 minutes 38 seconds after liftoff; then difficulties were recorded. Engine 2 cutoff was recorded about 6 minutes 53 seconds into the flight and engine 3 cutoff less than 3 seconds later. The remaining second-stage engines shut down at 9 minutes 36 seconds - 58 seconds later than planned.
The S-IVB engine during its first burn, which was normal, operated 29 seconds longer than programmed. After two revolutions in a parking orbit, during which the systems were checked, operational tests performed, and several attitude maneuvers made, preparations were completed for the S-IVB engine restart. The firing was scheduled to occur on the Cape Kennedy pass at the end of the second revolution, but could not be accomplished. A ground command was sent to the CSM to carry out a planned alternate mission, and the CSM separated from the S-IVB stage.
A service propulsion system (SPS) engine firing sequence resulted in a 442-second burn and an accompanying free-return orbit of 22,259.1 x 33.3 kilometers. Since the SPS was used to attain the desired high apogee, there was insufficient propellant left to gain the high-velocity increase desired for the entry. For this reason, a complete firing sequence was performed except that the thrust was inhibited.
Parachute deployment was normal and the spacecraft landed about 9 hours 50 minutes after liftoff, in the mid-Pacific, 90.7 kilometers uprange from the predicted landing area (27.40 N 157.59 W). A normal retrieval was made by the U.S.S. Okinawa, with waves of 2.1 to 2.4 meters.
The spacecraft was in good condition, including the unified crew hatch, flown for the first time. Charring of the thermal protection was about the same as that experienced on the Apollo 4 spacecraft (CM 017).
Of the five primary objectives, three - demonstrating separation of launch vehicle stages, performance of the emergency detection system (EDS) in a close-loop mode, and mission support facilities and operations - were achieved. Only partially achieved were the objectives of confirming structure and thermal integrity, compatibility of launch vehicle and spacecraft, and launch loads and dynamic characteristics; and of verifying operation of launch vehicle propulsion, guidance and control, and electrical systems. Apollo 6, therefore, was officially judged in December as "not a success in accordance with . . . NASA mission objectives."
A meeting at MSC with Irving Pinkel of Lewis Research Center and Robert Van Dolah of the Bureau of Mines reviewed results of boilerplate 1224 tests at 11.4 newtons per square centimeter (16.5 pounds per square inch) in a 60-percent-oxygen and 40-percent-nitrogen atmosphere. Additional Details: here....
MSC Engineering and Development Director Maxime Faget reported to George Low that his directorate had investigated numerous radiation detectors, ionization particle detectors, and chemical reactive detectors. The directorate had also obtained information from outside sources such as the National Bureau of Standards, Mine Safety Appliances, Parmalee Plastics, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory organization. None of the methods investigated could meet the stated requirements for a spacecraft fire detection system.
ASPO Manager George M. Low explained to the Apollo Program Director the underlying causes of slips in CSM and LM delivery dates since establishment of contract dates during the fall of 1967. The general excuse, Low said, was that slips were the result of NASA-directed hardware changes. "This excuse is not valid." He recounted how NASA-imposed changes had been under strict control and only essential changes had been approved by the MSC Level II Configuration Control Board (CCB). Additional Details: here....
Following up on an earlier request to examine the potential for lunar photography of the moon from the CSM during Apollo lunar missions, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips asked MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to expand MSC's effort to include the potential for a range of scientific investigations. Specifically, he asked that MSC study the overall potential of the CSM for lunar science and the modification needed to support increasingly complex experiment payloads. Among experiments that might be carried out from the CSM Phillips cited infrared spectrometer radiometer, ultraviolet absorption spectrometer, passive microwave, radar-laser altimetry, and subsatellites.
NASA's North American Management Performance Award Board sent a summary of its findings for the first interim period, from September 1967 through March 1968, to North American Rockwell's Space Division. The review board had been charged with assessing the company's performance under spacecraft contract NAS 9-150 and determining an award fee under the contract's incentive agreements. Board Chairman B. L. Dorman wrote Space Division President William B. Bergen that the Board had been impressed by the attention of North American's top management to the CSM program. Moreover, a cooperative attitude from top to bottom had afforded NASA an excellent view into problem areas, while the company's assessment of problems had helped to produce high-quality hardware. On the other hand, several activities needed improvement: cost control; tighter management control over change traffic; stronger management of subcontractors; and better planning and implementation of test and checkout functions.
ASPO Manager George M. Low met with Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., and Donald K. Slayton, Directors of MSC Flight and Flight Crew Operations, and several members of their staffs (including astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr.) to discuss using the flight combustion stability monitor (FCSM) on the Apollo 7 flight. Additional Details: here....
Dale D. Myers, Apollo CSM Program Manager at North American Rockwell, advised MSC officials of his company's investigation of two pilot-chute riser failures during recent drop tests of the Block II earth-landing system. Should there be any imperfections in either hardware or assembly techniques, Myers explained, the Block II pilot chute and riser system could be a marginal-strength item. Investigations had determined that early manufacturing processes had allowed a differential length between the two plies of nylon webbing in the pilot-chute riser which caused unequal load distribution between the two plies and low total riser strength. Because of the earlier test failures, Myers said, the pilot chute riser had been redesigned. The two-ply nylon webbing had been replaced by continuous suspension lines (i.e., 12 nylon cords) and the 5.5-millimeter-diameter cable was changed to 6.3-millimeter cable. He then cited a series of recent tests that verified the redesigned pilot-chute riser's strength to meet deployment under worst-case operational conditions.
NASA and contractor technicians successfully conducted the final parachute drop test to qualify the Apollo CSM earth-landing system. The Block II ELS thus was considered ready for manned flight after 12 Block I, 4 Block II, and 7 increased-capability Block II Qualification Tests - that had followed 77 Block I, 6 Block II, and 25 increased-capability Block II Development Drop Tests.
In the continuing effort to reduce costs while still maintaining a balanced and viable program, ASPO Manager George M. Low recommended to NASA Hq. that CSM 102 be deleted from the manned flight program. He estimated total savings at $25.5 million (excluding cost of refurbishment after the current ground test program). In addition, he said, during the static structural test program at North American Rockwell, CSM 102 would be subjected to loads that would compromise structural integrity of the vehicle for manned flight.
On August 7, Low asked MSC's Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., to look into the feasibility of a lunar orbit mission for Apollo 8 without carrying the LM. A mission with the LM looked as if it might slip until February or March 1969. The following day Low traveled to KSC for an AS-503 review, and from the work schedule it looked like a January 1969 launch. Additional Details: here....
Capping off a considerable exchange of views between MSC and NASA Headquarters, ASPO Manager George Low advised Apollo Program Director Sam Phillips that Houston was going ahead with mission planning that employed a two-burn orbit insertion maneuver. He forwarded to Phillips a lengthy memorandum from one of his staff, Howard W. Tindall, Jr., that explained in detail MSC's rationale for this two-stage orbital maneuver, the most important of which derived from crew safety and simplified orbital mission procedures. The overriding factor, Tindall explained, was a "concern for the consequences of the many things we will not have thought about but will encounter on the first lunar flight. Anything that can be done to keep the dispersions small and the procedures simple provides that much more tolerance for the unexpected. . . . The cost of the two-stage LOI is a small price to pay for these intangible but important benefits."
On August 12 Kraft informed Low that December 20 was the day if they wanted to launch in daylight. With everyone agreeing to a daylight launch, the launch was planned for December 1 with a "built-in hold" until the 20th, which would have the effect of giving assurance of meeting the schedule. LTA (LM test article)-B was considered as a substitute; it had been through a dynamic test vehicle program, and all except Kotanchik agreed this would be a good substitute. Grumman suggested LTA-4 but Low decided on LTA-B.
Kleinknecht had concluded his CSM 103-106 configuration study by August 13 and determined the high-gain antenna was the most critical item. Kraft was still "GO" and said December 20-26 (except December 25) offered best launch times; he had also looked at January launch possibilities. Slayton had decided to assign the 104 crew to the mission. He had talked to crew commander Frank Borman and Borman was interested.
During a key meeting of Apollo senior figures - top NASA management first approached regarding an Apollo 8 lunar mission in December - reaction: negative. Participants in the August 14 meeting in Washington were Low, Gilruth, Kraft, and Slayton from MSC; von Braun, James, and Richard from MSFC; Debus and Petrone from KSC; and Deputy Administrator Thomas Paine, William Schneider, Julian Bowman, Phillips, and Hage from NASA Hq. Low reviewed the spacecraft aspects; Kraft, flight operations; and Slayton, flight crew support. MSFC had agreed on the LTA-B as the substitute and were still ready to go; and KSC said they would be ready by December 6. Additional Details: here....
Phillips and Paine discussed the plan with Webb in Vienna. Webb wanted to think about it, and requested further information by diplomatic carrier. That same day Phillips called Low and informed him that Mueller had agreed to the plan with the provisions that no full announcement would be made until after the Apollo 7 flight; that it could be announced that 503 would be manned and possible missions were being studied; and that an internal document could be prepared for a planned lunar orbit for December.
Webb approves Apollo 8 lunar orbit mission for December - but no public announcement until after a successful Apollo 7 flight. Phillips and Hage visited MSC, bringing the news that Webb had given clear-cut authority to prepare for a December 6 launch, but that they could not proceed with clearance for lunar orbit until after the Apollo 7 flight, which would be an earth-orbital mission with basic objectives of proving the CSM and Saturn V systems. Phillips said that Webb had been "shocked and fairly negative" when he talked to him about the plan on August 15. Subsequently, Paine and Phillips sent Webb a lengthy discourse on why the mission should be changed, and it was felt he would change his mind with a successful Apollo 7 mission.
ASPO officials headed by Manager George M. Low met with spacecraft managers from North American Rockwell and Grumman to discuss configuration management for the remainder of the Apollo program and to set forth clear ground rules regarding kinds of changes (described as Class I and Class II) and the requisite level of authority for such changes. The outcome of this meeting, as Low told Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, was that MSC would pass judgment on all Class I changes and that "nearly every change (would) fall in this category." Minor design changes might still be approved at the contractor or subcontractor levels, said Low, but MSC would judge whether those changes were indeed Class II changes. The overall result of this policy, he told Phillips, would be a better awareness by NASA of all changes made by spacecraft subcontractors and a firm understanding that only NASA could approve Class I design modifications.
Dale D. Myers, Apollo CSM Program Manager at North American Rockwell, wrote to CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht at MSC to apprise him of the company's response to an earlier review of the CSM subsystems development program. During February a small task team from MSFC, headed by William A. Mrazek, had surveyed the design, manufacture, and checkout of several of the spacecraft's subsystems. Findings of the team had been reviewed with Eberhard F. M. Rees, then at Downey as head of the Apollo Special Task Team. Myers sent Kleinknecht briefing notes of a presentation to Rees and others of the special team describing North American's responses to specific issues raised by Mrazek's group. These issues, Myers reported, had been resolved to the satisfaction of both contractor and customer.
The Apollo Guidance Software Task Force, which NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller had convened in December 1967, submitted its final report. Purpose of the task force, as Mueller had stated at the time, was to determine whether "additional actions . . . could be taken to improve the software development and verification process and control of it." Between December and July 1968, the group met 14 times at NASA and contractor locations to review the historical evolution of software programs within the Apollo project. Because of the great complexity of this entire field, the task force members recommended that it continue to receive attention by top management levels at both MSC and MSFC. And drawing upon experience learned in the Apollo program, the task force recommended that software not be slighted during any advanced manned programs and that adequate resources and experienced personnel be assigned early in the program to this vital and easily underestimated area.
NASA Resident ASPO Manager Wilbur H. Gray at Downey told Dale D. Myers, North American Rockwell CSM Manager, that NR quality coverage of spacecraft testing no longer provided NASA with confidence in test results and that NASA Quality Control would return to monitoring test activities in and from the ACE (acceptance checkout equipment) control room. Gray charged that North American had progressively backed away from contractually agreed steps of the November 30, 1967, Quality Program Plan, and that these actions had affected test readiness, testing, and trouble shooting to the point that test acceptance could not be accepted with any reasonable assurance. Gray said that - unless North American responded by immediate reinstatement of the procedures which, as a minimum, were those that worked satisfactorily on CSMs 103 and 104 - NASA formal acceptance of operational checkout procedures would be discontinued and contractual action initiated. An annotation to George Low from Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC's CSM Manager, indicated the letter had been written with the concurrence and at the suggestion of Kleinknecht.
Myers replied: "I regret that NASA feels any lack of confidence in current test results. . . . For the past year, there has been a constant improvement program carried out in Test Quality Assurance to (1) perform quality evaluation and acceptance of test results in real time and (2) upgrade the test discipline to be consistent with good quality practice. I believe that this improvement program has been effective and is evidenced by the current efficiency of test and expedient manner in which test paper work is being closed out. While there is naturally some cost benefit experienced from the successful improvements, cost never has been placed as a criteria above quality. . . .
"Again, I want to emphasize that the CSM Program has not nor will not intentionally place cost ahead of quality. . . . The procedures which worked satisfactorily on CSM 103 and 104 are being improved to provide better test discipline and more effective Quality Assurance coverage. Test progress on CSM 106 to date indicates a greater test effectiveness and a greater confidence in test results than any previous CSM's." Additional Details: here....
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth sent Eberhard F. M. Rees, MSFC Deputy Director, his "personal commendation" and appreciation for Rees's leadership of the Apollo Special Task Team and its efforts to bring the CSM program out of the difficult period early in 1967. The work of Rees and his group, said Gilruth, had made an outstanding contribution to the Apollo program and had given NASA management "a significantly higher level of technical confidence" that the Block II spacecraft could safely perform its mission. In addition, Gilruth noted, Rees's "diplomacy in interfacing with North American management also created a much better NASA-contractor relationship and mutual understanding of program technical requirements."
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips asked ASPO Manager George M. Low to investigate the feasibility of using data from the D and G missions to increase NASA's knowledge of and confidence in the operational capabilities of the extravehicular mobility unit (EMU). Phillips included in his request specific recommendations for additional instrumentation to obtain the necessary data. His action stemmed from a general concern about the extent and complexity of surface operations on the first lunar landing flight (which might substantially reduce chances for successful completion). For this reason, he and other program officials had stringently limited the number of objectives and the extent of those surface activities. But to plan confidently for surface EVA during follow-on Apollo landing missions, Phillips said, as much information as possible had to be gathered about the operational capability of the crew and the EMU.
In preparation for the flight of Apollo 8, NASA and industry technicians at KSC placed CSM 103 atop the Saturn V launch vehicle. The launch escape system was installed the following day; and on October 9 the complete AS-503 space vehicle was rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building and moved to the launch pad, where launch preparations were resumed.
In compliance with Apollo Program Directive 29 of July 6, 1967, ASPO Manager George M. Low informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that "the private umbilical connection between the astro- communicator and the astronauts, the private administrative telephone connection via the umbilical cable to the astronauts, and the private aeromed communications in the MSOB (Manned Spacecraft Operations Building) will be recorded during all hazardous spacecraft tests. The recording will be placed in the hands of the Director of Flight Crew Operations, who will keep this recording for a period of 30 days following mission completion. After that time the recording may be destroyed."
Apollo 7 (AS-205), the first manned Apollo flight, lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy Oct. 11, carrying Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham. The countdown had proceeded smoothly, with only a slight delay because of additional time required to chill the hydrogen system in the S-IVB stage of the Saturn launch vehicle. Liftoff came at 11:03 a.m. EDT. Shortly after insertion into orbit, the S-IVB stage separated from the CSM, and Schirra and his crew performed a simulated docking with the S-IVB stage, maneuvering to within 1.2 meters of the rocket. Although spacecraft separation was normal, the crew reported that one adapter panel had not fully deployed. Two burns using the reaction control system separated the spacecraft and launch stage and set the stage for an orbital rendezvous maneuver, which the crew made on the second day of the flight, using the service propulsion engine.
Crew and spacecraft performed well throughout the mission. During eight burns of the service propulsion system during the flight, the engine functioned normally. October 14, third day of the mission, witnessed the first live television broadcast from a manned American spacecraft.
Dale D. Myers, Apollo CSM Manager at North American Rockwell, wrote ASPO Manager George Low on the policy question of contractor and subcontractor support of the current Apollo flight program and potential follow-on activities. Support for such activities, Myers said, "can be seriously jeopardized if we permit . . . experienced, specialized personnel and unique facilities to become irretrievably lost to the program." He emphasized in particular the case of Aeronca, Inc., of Middletown, Ohio, manufacturer of stainless steel honeycomb panels that formed the structure of the CSM heatshield. Without some sort of sustaining activity, manufacturing skills and capabilities at Aeronca - and numerous other subcontractors and vendors - would rapidly wither. Myers earnestly solicited Low's views on the subject of subcontractor capability retention. In Low's response, he indicated that immediate action was being initiated to establish capability retention for the three most critical sources, Aeronca, Beech, and Pratt and Whitney, and a plan of action was being prepared for others.
David B. Pendley, Technical Assistant for Flight Safety at MSC, recommended to ASPO Manager George M. Low an official policy position for landings on land. Pendley stated that despite all efforts by the Center's Engineering and Development Directorate to develop a safe land-landing capability with the CSM, the goal could not be attained. The best course, he told Low, was to accept the risk inherent in the fact that a land landing could not be avoided in an early launch abort-accept the risk openly and frankly and to plan rescue operations on the premise of major structural damage to the spacecraft. "If we do not officially recognize the land landing hazard," Pendley said, "this will place us in an untenable position should an accident occur, and will further prejudice the safety of the crew by continuing a false feeling of security on the subject."
While the flight of Apollo 7 was still in progress, ASPO Manager George M. Low ordered that CSM 101 be returned to Downey as quickly as possible at the end of the mission to begin postflight testing as quickly as possible. Therefore, no public affairs showing of the spacecraft could be permitted.
Apollo 7 - flown October 11-22 - far exceeded Low's expectations in results and left no doubts that they should go for lunar orbit on Apollo 8. At the November 10 Apollo Executive meeting Phillips presented a summary of the activities; James gave the launch vehicle status; Low reported on the spacecraft status and said he was impressed with the way KSC had handled its tight checkout schedule; Slayton reported on the flight plan; and Petrone on checkout readiness. Petrone said KSC could launch as early as December 10 or 12. Phillips said he would recommend to the Management Council the next day for Apollo 8 to go lunar orbit. Additional Details: here....
The Apollo Crew Safety Review Board met to assess land landing of the CSM in the area of the launch site if a flight were aborted just before launch or during the initial phase of a flight. In general the Board was satisfied with overall planned recovery and medical operations. The only specific item to be acted on was some means of purging the interior of the spacecraft to expel any coolant or propellant fumes that might be trapped inside the cabin. The Board was also concerned about the likelihood of residual propellants trapped inside the vehicle even after abort sequence purging, a problem that MSC secured assistance from both the Ames and Lewis Research Centers to solve. At the Board's suggestion, MSC's Crew Systems Division also investigated the use of a helmet liner for the astronauts to prevent head injury upon impact. Finally, the Board recommended continued egress training with fully suited crews, including some night training.
Apollo Program Director Phillips asked ASPO Manager Low to hasten work on the study at North American to define reusability of systems aboard the CM. He asked Low for a review of the area in mid-February 1969 if sufficient data were available by then. Also, Phillips asked Low's recommendations for an effectivity date on any recovery operations to increase reusability of either spacecraft systems or of the complete vehicle. (North American submitted Space Division Report No. 69-463, dated August 29, 1969, recommending preflight preservation treatment and postflight refurbishment that could be accomplished on CMs and its components to enhance reusability. Removal of heatshield access ports and flushing with fresh water on the recovery ship was the only recommendation implemented, because the others were not judged cost effective.)
The lunar closeup stereo camera on Apollo missions was not a separate scientific experiment, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight wrote MSC Deputy Director George S. Trimble. An adjunct to the field geology experiment, the camera's stereoscopic photographs of fine details on the lunar surface would document individual material samples. Additional photography where no samples were taken would provide information on the range of surface textures near the landing site. Following deployment by the crew of emplaced experiments, the field geology investigation - and thus the stereo camera - had priority. Mueller stated that inclusion of the camera on all early Apollo landing missions was desirable, including the first. However, it was doubtful that the contractor could deliver the first flight article in time for that mission, although the camera could be ready for the second landing if granted waivers in documentation, reliability, and quality controls. Mueller affirmed his desire to grant these relaxations in the normally rigid Apollo hardware demands - to the extent that such waivers could be granted without jeopardizing crew safety or overall mission success. As an added benefit, the Associate Administrator said, "the experiment of giving a qualified contractor a relatively free hand in managing a development project within his particular field of competence should be instructive in the planning of future procurements of this type."
Apollo 8 (AS-503) was launched from KSC Launch Complex 39, Pad A, at 7:51 a.m. EST Dec. 21 on a Saturn V booster. The spacecraft crew was made up of Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr., and William A. Anders. Apollo 8 was the first spacecraft to be launched by a Saturn V with a crew on board, and that crew became the first men to fly around the moon.
All launch and boost phases were normal and the spacecraft with the S-IVB stage was inserted into an earth-parking orbit of 190.6 by 183.2 kilometers above the earth. After post-insertion checkout of spacecraft systems, the S-IVB stage was reignited and burned 5 minutes 9 seconds to place the spacecraft and stage in a trajectory toward the moon - and the Apollo 8 crew became the first men to leave the earth's gravitational field.
The spacecraft separated from the S-IVB 3 hours 20 minutes after launch and made two separation maneuvers using the SM's reaction control system. Eleven hours after liftoff, the first midcourse correction increased velocity by 26.4 kilometers per hour. The coast phase was devoted to navigation sightings, two television transmissions, and system checks. The second midcourse correction, about 61 hours into the flight, changed velocity by 1.5 kilometers per hour.
The 4-minute 15-second lunar-orbit-insertion maneuver was made 69 hours after launch, placing the spacecraft in an initial lunar orbit of 310.6 by 111.2 kilometers from the moon's surface - later circularized to 112.4 by 110.6 kilometers. During the lunar coast phase the crew made numerous landing-site and landmark sightings, took lunar photos, and prepared for the later maneuver to enter the trajectory back to the earth.
On the fourth day, Christmas Eve, communications were interrupted as Apollo 8 passed behind the moon, and the astronauts became the first men to see the moon's far side. Later that day , during the evening hours in the United States, the crew read the first 10 verses of Genesis on television to earth and wished viewers "goodnight, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you - all of you on the good earth."
Subsequently, TV Guide for May 10-16, 1969, claimed that one out of every four persons on earth - nearly 1 billion people in 64 countries - heard the astronauts' reading and greeting, either on radio or on TV; and delayed broadcasts that same day reached 30 additional countries.
On Christmas Day, while the spacecraft was completing its 10th revolution of the moon, the service propulsion system engine was fired for three minutes 24 seconds, increasing the velocity by 3,875 km per hr and propelling Apollo 8 back toward the earth, after 20 hours 11 minutes in lunar orbit. More television was sent to earth on the way back.
Contract to North American Rockwell for modifications to the Apollo CSM for long- duration AAP missions. MSC awarded a contract to North American Rockwell, Downey, California, for preliminary design of modifications to the Apollo block II command and service modules for use in long- duration AAP missions.
The CSM Flight Readiness Review Board convened at MSC. Martin L. Raines presented the Reliability and Quality Assurance assessment and pointed out the improvement in discrepancy reports between spacecraft 101, 103, and 104 and concluded that 104 was better than 103 and ready to fly. George M. Low noted that the CSM Review had been outstanding.
MSC and North American Rockwell reached agreement on certification reviews for parachute packers in the Apollo program. The certification was effective for all parachute packers not previously certified, with upgrading of packers and recertification of present Apollo packers when required.
George M. Low, MSC, told Maxime A. Faget, MSC, that he had recently learned the Apollo Operations Handbook (AOH) was prepared for the Flight Crew Operations Directorate by prime contractors without any formalized review by engineering elements of MSC. On several occasions, when the Engineering and Development (E&D) subsystems managers looked at a section of the handbook in connection with problem areas they found the handbook in error. Low proposed that E&D should
Flammability tests of the Sony tape/voice recorder were made to determine if the recorder met crew-cabin use requirements. Testing was by electrical overloads of nichrome wire ignitors in an atmosphere of 100 percent oxygen at 4.3 newtons per square centimeter (6.2 psia). Post-test evaluations indicated that flammability requirements had been met, since ignitions were self-extinguishing and only localized internal damage occurred.
Apollo 9 (AS-504), the first manned flight with the lunar module (LM-3), was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, on a Saturn V launch vehicle at 11:00 a.m. EST March 3. Originally scheduled for a February 28 liftoff, the launch had been delayed to allow crew members James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott, and Russell L. Schweickart to recover from a mild virus respiratory illness. Following a normal launch phase, the S-IVB stage inserted the spacecraft into an orbit of 192.3 by 189.3 kilometers. After post-insertion checkout, CSM 104 separated from the S-IVB, was transposed, and docked with the LM. At 3:08 p.m. EST, the docked spacecraft were separated from the S-IVB, which was then placed on an earth-escape trajectory. On March 4 the crew tracked landmarks, conducted pitch and roll yaw maneuvers, and increased the apogee by service propulsion system burns.
On March 5 McDivitt and Schweickart entered the LM through the docking tunnel, evaluated the LM systems, transmitted the first of two series of telecasts, and fired the LM descent propulsion system. They then returned to the CM.
McDivitt and Schweickart reentered the LM on March 6. After transmitting a second telecast, Schweickart performed a 37-minute extravehicular activity (EVA), walking between the LM and CSM hatches, maneuvering on handrails, taking photographs, and describing rain squalls over KSC.
On March 7, with McDivitt and Schweickart once more in the LM, Scott separated the CSM from the LM and fired the reaction control system thrusters to obtain a distance of 5.5 kilometers between the two spacecraft. McDivitt and Schweickart then performed a lunar-module active rendezvous. The LM successfully docked with the CSM after being up to 183.5 kilometers away from it during the six-and-one-half-hour separation. After McDivitt and Schweickart returned to the CSM, the LM ascent stage was jettisoned.
During the remainder of the mission, the crew tracked Pegasus III, NASA's meteoroid detection satellite that had been launched July 30, 1965; took multispectral photos of the earth; exercised the spacecraft systems; and prepared for reentry.
A radiation survey of CSM 107 was planned to determine if the radiation produced by onboard sources would be of a sufficient level to impair the effectiveness of proposed experiments to measure the natural radiation emitted from the lunar surface. The survey would be conducted at KSC by personnel from the Goddard Space Flight Center.
George M. Low discussed the status of a fire detection system for Apollo in a memorandum to Martin L. Raines, reminding him that such a system had been under consideration since the accident in January 1967. Low said: "Yesterday, Dr. (Maxime A.) Faget, you, and I participated in a meeting to review the current status of a flight fire detection system. It became quite clear that our state of knowledge about the physics and chemistry of fire in zero gravity is insufficient to permit the design and development of a flightworthy fire detection system at this time. For this reason, we agreed that we would not be able to incorporate a fire detection system in any of the Apollo spacecraft. We also agreed that it would be most worthwhile to continue the development of a detection system for future spacecraft."
ASPO Manager George Low wrote NASA Hq. - referring to a briefing of George Low at Downey on October 25, 1968 - that "MSC has reviewed the possibility of deleting the CSM boost protective cover. We have concluded that deletion . . . would require the following spacecraft modifications: a. A new thermal coating would have to be developed to withstand the boost environment. b. Protective covers would have to be developed for the windows, EVA handholds, vent lines, etc. . . . We have further concluded that a resulting overall weight reduction is questionable, and . . . have therefore decided that the cost of this change could not be justified and that the boost protective cover should be retained."
ASPO requested a plan for flight crew tests of sleeping pills and other drugs. The plan was to include number of tests to be performed by each crew member; time of the test with respect to the last sleep period; amount and kind of food and drink taken during a specified time before the test; general physical activity by the crew before taking a drug; and, for comparison purpose, any available statistical information on the effect of these pills after being taken.
Twenty-two astronauts trained in the MSC Flight Acceleration Facility during the week, for lunar reentry. Closed-loop simulation permitted the crews to control the centrifuge during the lunar reentry deceleration profiles. Each astronaut flew four different reentry angles, which imposed acceleration loads of from 4.57 to 9.3 g.
MSC asked North American Rockwell to propose a design modification in the CM to add a cold storage compartment for fresh and frozen foods. If the frozen food study appeared promising, then the addition of a small oven or heater, similar in concept to that used by the Air Force on long flights, would also be required.
Final dress rehearsal in lunar orbit for landing on moon. LM separated and descended to 10 km from surface of moon but did not land. Apollo 10 (AS-505) - with crew members Thomas P. Stafford, Eugene A. Cernan, and John W. Young aboard - lifted off from Pad B, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:49 p.m. EDT on the first lunar orbital mission with complete spacecraft. The Saturn V's S-IVB stage and the spacecraft were inserted into an earth parking orbit of 189.9 by 184.4 kilometers while the onboard systems were checked. The S-IVB engine was then ignited at 3:19 p.m. EDT to place the spacecraft in a trajectory toward the moon. One-half hour later the CSM separated from the S-IVB, transposed, and docked with the lunar module. At 4:29 p.m. the docked spacecraft were ejected, a separation maneuver was performed, and the S-IVB was placed in a solar orbit by venting residual propellants. TV coverage of docking procedures was transmitted to the Goldstone, Calif., tracking station for worldwide, commercial viewing.
On May 19 the crew elected not to make the first of a series of midcourse maneuvers. A second preplanned midcourse correction that adjusted the trajectory to coincide with a July lunar landing trajectory was executed at 3:19 p.m. The maneuver was so accurate that preplanned third and fourth midcourse corrections were canceled. During the translunar coast, five color TV transmissions totaling 72 minutes were made of the spacecraft and the earth.
At 4:49 p.m. EDT on May 21 the spacecraft was inserted into a lunar orbit of 110.4 by 315.5 kilometers. After two revolutions of tracking and ground updates, a maneuver circularized the orbit at 109.1 by 113.9 kilometers. Astronaut Cernan then entered the LM, checked all systems, and returned to the CM for the scheduled sleep period.
On May 22 activation of the lunar module systems began at 11:49 a.m. EDT. At 2:04 p.m. the spacecraft were undocked and at 4:34 p.m. the LM was inserted into a descent orbit. One hour later the LM made a low-level pass at an altitude of 15.4 kilometers over the planned site for the first lunar landing. The test included a test of the landing radar, visual observation of lunar lighting, stereo photography of the moon, and execution of a phasing maneuver using the descent engine. The lunar module returned to dock successfully with the CSM following the eight-hour separation, and the LM crew returned to the CSM.
The LM ascent stage was jettisoned, its batteries were burned to depletion, and it was placed in a solar orbit on May 23. The crew then prepared for the return trip to earth and after 61.5 hours in lunar orbit a service propulsion system TEI burn injected the CSM into a trajectory toward the earth. During the return trip the astronauts made star-lunar landmark sightings, star-earth horizon navigation sightings, and live television transmissions.
In a telephone conference, MSC personnel and members of the Interagency Committee on Back Contamination agreed to eliminate the requirement for a postlanding ventilation filter for Apollo 12, approve a plan for sterilization of the CM in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL), release the spacecraft at the same time as the crew release, and approve the LRL Bioprotocol Summary. The ICBC planned to meet on June 5 to complete planning and documentation for Apollo 11.
Apollo Program Director Phillips wrote MSC ASPO Manager George Low, that "based on the excellent results of the color TV coverage on the Apollo 10 mission . . . I concur with your plan to carry and utilize a color TV camera in the Command Module for Apollo 11 and subsequent missions. . . ."
In response to a TWX from NASA Hq (see 20 June entry) Kenneth S. Kleinknecht and Robert F. Thompson of MSC talked to John H. Disher (NASA Hq) at the suggestion of Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager George M. Low. Also listening to the conversation were Robert V. Battey and Harold E. Gartrell of MSC. (Low had suggested the call be made to William C. Schneider of NASA Hq, but he was not available.) Kleinknecht reiterated to Disher that from the beginning of both the AAP and the Apollo Lunar Exploration Mission (ALEM) consideration had always been given to maintaining the maximum degree of commonality between the basic CSM and those required for both programs without creating severe constraints on the objectives of either mission. Kleinknecht pointed out different requirements of the program and how they clearly indicated some major configuration differences between AAP and ALEM: Long duration of the AAP mission. Backup reaction control system deorbit capability of AAP. Thermal characteristics of AAP missions because of long attitude holds. Use of batteries in lieu of fuel cells in the CSM (if the Saturn V Workshop became a reality the CSM would be quiescent for long periods of time). Kleinknecht added that 'inasmuch as ALEM is still required to do lunar-landing missions as well as collect orbital scientific data, we cannot tolerate any weight penalties that may be associated with scar weights ...weights incurred by using a resulting from commonality with the AAP vehicle....' He also recognized that there would be more commonality between the AAP and ALEM should the Workshop become official because expendables could then be supplied to the CSM from the Workshop rather than carried in the CSM. He added that about three and one- half months had been spent in studying and defining the ALEM CSM, and a major change to provide commonality with the AAP CSM would result in that time being lost and at least three and one-half months delay in the launch readiness of the first ALEM mission. Kleinknecht concluded that MSC agreed in principle with Headquarters in providing as much commonality as possible, but recommended that the 20 June TWX from Headquarters be rescinded and that MSC not pursue a commonality study with North American. Four days later, MSC received another TWX from George E. Mueller (NASA Hq) saying, '. . . it is our understanding that you will continue your in-house evaluation of the differences in requirements and the impact of these differences on the configuration of CSM's to support lunar exploration, AAP Saturn V Workshop, and early space station missions. This further assessment should be available for discussion by July 7 and will likely be presented to the Management Council in executive session on July 8 or 9.'
In an effort to stem the increasing number of human errors found in flight hardware, the ASPO Manager appointed a spacecraft walk-down team to take a first-hand look at spacecraft as late as possible before delivery to KSC. Team members selected were highly experienced in their respective fields and thoroughly familiar with the spacecraft. While ASPO recognized that the team could not possibly discover all the possible discrepancies, it hoped that the inspections might help avoid some of the problems experienced in the past.
The ASPO Manager for the command and service modules expressed belief that costs could be reduced and others avoided by the effective use of agency resources in many areas. However, he pointed out that the very nature of the program - that is, one operating in a research and development atmosphere - would result in higher costs than would a mass-production program.
First landing on moon. Apollo 11 (AS-506) - with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., aboard - was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 9:32 a.m. EDT July 16. The activities during earth-orbit checkout, translunar injection, CSM transposition and docking, spacecraft ejection, and translunar coast were similar to those of Apollo 10.
At 4:40 p.m. EDT July 18, the crew began a 96-minute color television transmission of the CSM and LM interiors, CSM exterior, the earth, probe and drogue removal, spacecraft tunnel hatch opening, food preparation, and LM housekeeping. One scheduled and two unscheduled television broadcasts had been made previously by the Apollo 11 crew.
The spacecraft entered lunar orbit at 1:28 p.m. EDT on July 19. During the second lunar orbit a live color telecast of the lunar surface was made. A second service-propulsion-system burn placed the spacecraft in a circularized orbit, after which astronaut Aldrin entered the LM for two hours of housekeeping including a voice and telemetry test and an oxygen-purge-system check.
At 8:50 a.m. July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin reentered the LM and checked out all systems. They performed a maneuver at 1:11 p.m. to separate the LM from the CSM and began the descent to the moon. The LM touched down on the moon at 4:18 p.m. EDT July 20. Armstrong reported to mission control at MSC, "Houston, Tranquillity Base here - the Eagle has landed." (Eagle was the name given to the Apollo 11 LM; the CSM was named Columbia.) Man's first step on the moon was taken by Armstrong at 10:56 p.m. EDT. As he stepped onto the surface of the moon, Armstrong described the feat as "one small step for man - one giant leap for mankind."
Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface of the moon at 11:15 p.m. July 20. The astronauts unveiled a plaque mounted on a strut of the LM and read to a worldwide TV audience, "Here men from the planet earth first set foot on the moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." After raising the American flag and talking to President Nixon by radiotelephone, the two astronauts deployed the lunar surface experiments assigned to the mission and gathered 22 kilograms of samples of lunar soil and rocks. They then reentered the LM and closed the hatch at 1:11 a.m. July 21. All lunar extravehicular activities were televised in black-and-white. Meanwhile, Collins continued orbiting moon alone in CSM Columbia.
The Eagle lifted off from the moon at 1:54 p.m. EDT July 21, having spent 21 hours 36 minutes on the lunar surface. It docked with the CSM at 5:35 p.m. and the crew, with the lunar samples and film, transferred to the CSM. The LM ascent stage was jettisoned into lunar orbit. The crew then rested and prepared for the return trip to the earth.
The CSM was injected into a trajectory toward the earth at 12:55 a.m. EDT July 22. Following a midcourse correction at 4:01 p.m., an 18-minute color television transmission was made, in which the astronauts demonstrated the weightlessness of food and water and showed shots of the earth and the moon.
S. C. Phillips, NASA Hq., suggested that for communications on the lunar surface a long, deployable antenna might work. He suggested that an antenna about 30 meters long could be used. The antenna would be rolled up like a tape measure and would curl into a cylinder when deployed, somewhat like an antenna that had been used on the CSM.
The Interagency Committee on Back Contamination recommended changes in Apollo mission recovery procedures, including:
The Interagency Committee on Back Contamination made the following decisions regarding Apollo 12. The biological isolation garment would not be used. A biological mask and flight suit would be used instead. Sterilization of flight film was eliminated. Data tapes would be sterilized if required before the release of samples. The command module would not be decontaminated unless access for postflight testing was required before the sample release date of January 7, 1970.
The spacecraft walk-down team, established by ASPO in July in an effort to stem the increased number of human errors found in flight hardware, made a walkaround inspection of CSM-110 (Apollo 14 hardware). Cooperation of North American Rockwell and the Resident Apollo Spacecraft Program Office was excellent during the preparation and implementation of the inspection. No significant discrepancies were found by the inspection team during the several hours of inspection.
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC Director of Flight Operations, suggested that an in-house review reevaluate the Apollo secondary life support system, because of its complexity and cost of development, and at the same time reexamine the possibilities of an expanded oxygen purge system using identical concepts.
Major configuration items which resulted from the review were reindexing the CSM by 180 degrees, based on a crew requirement to be able to realign the astronaut maneuvering unit before undocking from the cluster, and installation provisions for two reentry control system propellant tank farms. Both recommendations would be subjected to further review.
Apollo 12 (AS-507)-with astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard F. Gordon, Jr., and Alan L. Bean as the crewmen-was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 11:22 a.m. EST November 14. Lightning struck the space vehicle twice, at 36.5 seconds and 52 seconds into the mission. The first strike was visible to spectators at the launch site. No damage was done. Except for special attention given to verifying all spacecraft systems because of the lightning strikes, the activities during earth-orbit checkout, translunar injection, and translunar coast were similar to those of Apollo 10 and Apollo 11.
During the translunar coast astronauts Conrad and Bean transferred to the LM one-half hour earlier than planned in order to obtain full TV coverage through the Goldstone tracking station. The 56-minute TV transmission showed excellent color pictures of the CSM, the intravehicular transfer, the LM interior, the earth, and the moon.
At 10:47 p.m. EST, November 17, the spacecraft entered a lunar orbit of 312.6 x 115.9 kilometers. A second service propulsion system burn circularized the orbit with a 122.5-kilometer apolune and a 100.6-kilometer perilune. Conrad and Bean again transferred to the LM, where they perfomed housekeeping chores, a voice and telemetry test, and an oxygen purge system check. They then returned to the CM.
Conrad and Bean reentered the LM, checked out all systems, and at 10:17 p.m. EST on November 18 fired the reaction control system thrusters to separate the CSM 108 (the Yankee Clipper) from the LM-6 (the Intrepid). At 1:55 a.m. EST November 19, the Intrepid landed on the moon's Ocean of Storms, about 163 meters from the Surveyor III spacecraft that had landed April 19, 1967. Conrad, shorter than Neil Armstrong (first man on the moon, July 20), had a little difficulty negotiating the last step from the LM ladder to the lunar surface. When he touched the surface at 6:44 a.m. EST November 19, he exclaimed, "Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small step for Neil, but that's a long one for me."
Bean joined Conrad on the surface at 7:14 a.m. They collected a 1.9-kilogram contingency sample of lunar material and later a 14.8-kilogram selected sample. They also deployed an S-band antenna, solar wind composition experiment, and the American flag. An Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package with a SNAP-27 atomic generator was deployed about 182 meters from the LM. After 3 hours 56 minutes on the lunar surface, the two astronauts entered the Intrepid to rest and check plans for the next EVA.
The astronauts again left the LM at 10:55 p.m. EST November 19. During the second EVA, Conrad and Bean retrieved the lunar module TV camera for return to earth for a failure analysis, obtained photographic panoramas, core and trench samples, a lunar environment sample, and assorted rock, dirt, bedrock, and molten samples. The crew then examined and retrieved parts of Surveyor III, including the TV camera and soil scoop. After 3 hours 49 minutes on the lunar surface during the second EVA, the two crewmen entered the LM at 2:44 a.m. EST November 20. Meanwhile astronaut Gordon, orbiting the moon in the Yankee Clipper, had completed a lunar multispectral photography experiment and photographed proposed future landing sites.
At 9:26 a.m. EST November 20, after 31 hours 31 minutes on the moon, Intrepid successfully lifted off with 34.4 kilograms of lunar samples. Rendezvous maneuvers went as planned. The LM docked with the CSM at 12:58 p.m. November 20. The last 24 minutes of the rendezvous sequence was televised. After the crew transferred with the samples, equipment, and film to the Yankee Clipper, the Intrepid was jettisoned and intentionally crashed onto the lunar surface at 5:17 p.m. November 20, 72.2 kilometers southeast of Surveyor III. The crash produced reverberations that lasted about 30 minutes and were detected by the seismometer left on the moon.
At 3:49 p.m. EST November 21, the crew fired the service propulsion system engine, injecting the CSM into a transearth trajectory after 89 hours 2 minutes in lunar orbit. During the transearth coast, views of the receding moon and the interior of the spacecraft were televised, and a question and answer session with scientists and the press was conducted.
A review of North American Rockwell Space Division's in subcontract management indicated that its subcontractor schedule and cost performance had been excellent. The quality had been achieved, for the most part, by effective North American Rockwell subcontract management planning and execution of these plans.
NASA selected an Apollo Orbital Science Photographic Team to provide scientific guidance in design, operation, and data use of photographic systems for the Apollo lunar orbital science program. Chairman was Frederick Doyle of the U.S. Geological Survey. The 14-man team comprised experts from industry, universities, and government.
North American Rockwell declined to become a member of the Coordinated Aerospace Supplier Evaluation (CASE) organization. North American Rockwell stated that its Certified Special Processors system provided greater effectiveness, that there was no real assurance that a supplier listed in the CASE Register was capable of performing to all the requirements of the indicated specifications, and that participants in CASE were prohibited from any exchange of information concerning supplier inadequacies. Several processors discontinued by North American Rockwell because of poor performance were still enjoying the full benefit of listing in the CASE Register, with the implication of system acceptability and certified-processor status that the listing provided.
Ground rules for service module design and integration, established during recent changes in the lunar orbital science program, were reported. The Apollo LM experiment hardware would be installed and tested at KSC. A single scientific instrument module configuration was being proposed for Apollo 16-19 with modification kits developed, as required, to install Apollo 18 and Apollo 19 experiments. An expanded Apollo LM data system would be available for Apollo 16 (spacecraft 112).
Astronaut John L. Swigert, Jr., Apollo 13 backup command module pilot, began intensive training as a replacement for Thomas K. Mattingly II. The Apollo 13 prime crew had undergone a comprehensive medical examination after German measles had been contracted by Charles M. Duke, Jr., a member of the Apollo 13 backup crew. Mattingly had not shown immunity to the rubella virus and it was feared that he might become ill during the Apollo 13 flight.
Apollo 13 (AS-508) was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 2:13 p.m. EST April 11, with astronauts James A. Lovell, Jr., John L. Swigert, Jr., and Fred W. Haise, Jr., aboard. The spacecraft and S-IVB stage entered a parking orbit with a 185.5-kilometer apogee and a 181.5-kilometer perigee. At 3:48 p.m., onboard TV was begun for five and one-half minutes. At 4:54 p.m., an S-IVB burn placed the spacecraft on a translunar trajectory, after which the CSM separated from the S-IVB and LM Aquarius. (The crew had named lunar module 7 Aquarius and CSM 109 Odyssey.) The CSM then hard-docked with the LM. The S-IVB auxiliary propulsion system made an evasive maneuver after CSM/LM ejection from the S-IVB at 6:14 p.m. The docking and ejection maneuvers were televised during a 72-minute period in which interior and exterior views of the spacecraft were also shown.
At 8:13 p.m. EST a 217-second S-IVB auxiliary propulsion system burn aimed the S-IVB for a lunar target point so accurately that another burn was not required. The S-IVB/IU impacted the lunar surface at 8:10 p.m. EST on April 14 at a speed of 259 meters per second. Impact was 137.1 kilometers from the Apollo 12 seismometer. The seismic signal generated by the impact lasted 3 hours 20 minutes and was so strong that a ground command was necessary to reduce seismometer gain and keep the recording on the scale. The suprathermal ion detector experiment, also deployed by the Apollo 12 crew, recorded a jump in the number of ions from zero at the time of impact up to 2,500 shortly thereafter and then back to a zero count. Scientists theorized that ionization had been produced by 6,300 K to 10,300 K (6,000 degrees C to 10,000 degrees C) temperature generated by the impact or that particles had reached an altitude of 60 kilometers from the lunar surface and had been ionized by sunlight.
Meanwhile back in the CSM/LM, the crew had been performing the routine housekeeping duties associated with the period of the translunar coast. At 30:40 ground elapsed time a midcourse correction maneuver took the spacecraft off a free-return trajectory in order to control the arrival time at the moon. Ensuring proper lighting conditions at the landing site. The maneuver placed the spacecraft on the desired trajectory, on which the closest approach to the moon would be 114.9 kilometers.
At 10:08 p.m. EST April 13, the crew reported an undervoltage alarm on the CSM main bus B, rapid loss of pressure in SM oxygen tank No. 2, and dropping current in fuel cells 1 and 3 to a zero reading. The loss of oxygen and primary power in the service module required an immediate abort of the mission. The astronauts powered up the LM, powered down the CSM, and used the LM systems for power and life support. The first maneuver following the abort decision was made with the descent propulsion system to place the spacecraft back in a free-return trajectory around the moon. After the spacecraft swung around the moon, another maneuver reduced the coast time back to earth and moved the landing point from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific.
"Hey, we've got a problem here." The message from the Apollo 13 spacecraft to Houston ground controllers at 10:08 p.m. EDT on April 13, initiated an investigation to determine the cause of an oxygen tank failure that aborted the Apollo 13 mission. Additional Details: here....
North American Rockwell completed a verification evaluation of the CSM hardware for a 120-day capability and transmitted the certification matrices to NASA. If there were no changes in CSM mission performance requirements, verification for a 120-day mission would not present a problem.
North American Rockwell announced that William B. Bergen, who had been serving as president of North American's Space Division, would become a corporate vice president with the title Group Vice President - Aerospace and Systems. This was one of a number of key organizational steps taken since January to improve and strengthen the North American management structure in response to significant changes that had occurred in the aerospace environment.
An assessment of the feasibility of providing a crew rescue capability for Skylab was conducted by KSC, MSC, and MSFC during 1970. The study culminated in a NASA Hq decision to provide a limited rescue capability should return capability fail while the CSM were docked to the OWS. The rescue vehicle for the first two manned Skylab missions would be the next CSM in flow at KSC. Should a rescue call occur, the CSM next in flow would be modified so as to permit a five- man carrying capacity. It would be launched with a two-man crew and return with the additional three astronauts.
The Apollo 14 (AS-509) mission - manned by astronauts Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Stuart A. Roosa, and Edgar D. Mitchell - was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 4:03 p.m. EST January 31 on a Saturn V launch vehicle. A 40-minute hold had been ordered 8 minutes before scheduled launch time because of unsatisfactory weather conditions, the first such delay in the Apollo program. Activities during earth orbit and translunar injection were similar to those of the previous lunar landing missions. However, during transposition and docking, CSM 110 Kitty Hawk had difficulty docking with LM-8 Antares. A hard dock was achieved on the sixth attempt at 9:00 p.m. EST, 1 hour 54 minutes later than planned. Other aspects of the translunar journey were normal and proceeded according to flight plan. A crew inspection of the probe and docking mechanism was televised during the coast toward the moon. The crew and ground personnel were unable to determine why the CSM and LM had failed to dock properly, but there was no indication that the systems would not work when used later in the flight.
Apollo 14 entered lunar orbit at 1:55 a.m. EST on February 4. At 2:41 a.m. the separated S-IVB stage and instrument unit struck the lunar surface 174 kilometers southeast of the planned impact point. The Apollo 12 seismometer, left on the moon in November 1969, registered the impact and continued to record vibrations for two hours.
After rechecking the systems in the LM, astronauts Shepard and Mitchell separated the LM from the CSM and descended to the lunar surface. The Antares landed on Fra Mauro at 4:17 a.m. EST February 5, 9 to 18 meters short of the planned landing point. The first EVA began at 9:53 a.m., after intermittent communications problems in the portable life support system had caused a 49-minute delay. The two astronauts collected a 19.5-kilogram contingency sample; deployed the TV, S-band antenna, American flag, and Solar Wind Composition experiment; photographed the LM, lunar surface, and experiments; deployed the Apollo lunar surface experiments package 152 meters west of the LM and the laser-ranging retroreflector 30 meters west of the ALSEP; and conducted an active seismic experiment, firing 13 thumper shots into the lunar surface.
A second EVA period began at 3:11 a.m. EST February 6. The two astronauts loaded the mobile equipment transporter (MET) - used for the first time - with photographic equipment, tools, and a lunar portable magnetometer. They made a geology traverse toward the rim of Cone Crater, collecting samples on the way. On their return, they adjusted the alignment of the ALSEP central station antenna in an effort to strengthen the signal received by the Manned Space Flight Network ground stations back on earth.
Just before reentering the LM, astronaut Shepard dropped a golf ball onto the lunar surface and on the third swing drove the ball 366 meters. The second EVA had lasted 4 hours 35 minutes, making a total EVA time for the mission of 9 hours 24 minutes. The Antares lifted off the moon with 43 kilograms of lunar samples at 1:48 p.m. EST February 6.
Meanwhile astronaut Roosa, orbiting the moon in the CSM, took astronomy and lunar photos, including photos of the proposed Descartes landing site for Apollo 16.
Ascent of the LM from the lunar surface, rendezvous, and docking with the CSM in orbit were performed as planned, with docking at 3:36 p.m. EST February 6. TV coverage of the rendezvous and docking maneuver was excellent. The two astronauts transferred from the LM to the CSM with samples, equipment, and film. The LM ascent stage was then jettisoned and intentionally crashed on the moon's surface at 7:46 p.m. The impact was recorded by the Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 ALSEPs.
The spacecraft was placed on its trajectory toward earth during the 34th lunar revolution. During transearth coast, four inflight technical demonstrations of equipment and processes in zero gravity were performed.
The CM and SM separated, the parachutes deployed, and other reentry events went as planned, and the Kitty Hawk splashed down in mid-Pacific at 4:05 p.m. EST February 9 about 7 kilometers from the recovery ship U.S.S. New Orleans. The Apollo 14 crew returned to Houston on February 12, where they remained in quarantine until February 26.
All primary mission objectives had been met. The mission had lasted 216 hours 40 minutes and was marked by the following achievements:
A plan was devised to provide a rescue capability for SkyIab in the event the crew became stranded in the OWS because of failed CSM. The rescue capability was based on the assumption that the stranded crew would be able to wait in the Skylab cluster with its ample supply of food, water, and breathing gases until a modified CSM capable of carrying five crewmen could he launched. If a failure occurred which stranded the crewmen in their CSM, this rescue capability would not be possible.
Action was initiated to determine the feasibility of providing photographic coverage of a lunar eclipse from the lunar surface or the CSM during the Apollo 15 mission. The eclipse would occur on August 6, three or four days after the scheduled Apollo 15 mission lunar surface liftoff.
Proposed Skylab rescue mission profile requirements were: The trajectory planning for a rescue mission would be the same as the nominal Skylab mission. Nominal mission duration from launch to recovery would be limited to five days. The orbital assembly would maneuver to provide acquisition light support for the rescue CSM. The rescue CSM would be capable of rendezvous without very-high frequency ranging. Landing and recovery would be planned for the primary landing area; transfer of the crew from the MDA to the CSM would be in shirt sleeves with no extravehicular activity. The KSC rescue launch response time would vary from 10 to 45 1/2 days, depending on the transpired time into the normal checkout flow.
It was determined that the rescue kit could be installed in one shift, that suits would be worn for reentry, and that the center couch would be ballasted for launch. Studies were being conducted to determine the feasibility of jettisoning disabled CSM from the axial port.
Apollo 15 (AS-510) with astronauts David R. Scott, Alfred M. Worden, and James B. Irwin aboard was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 9:34 a.m. EDT July 26. The spacecraft and S-IVB combination was placed in an earth parking orbit 11 minutes 44 seconds after liftoff. Activities during earth orbit and translunar injection (insertion into the trajectory for the moon) were similar to those of previous lunar landing missions. Translunar injection was at about 12:30 p.m., with separation of the CSM from the LM/S-IVB/IU at 12:56 p.m. At 1:08 p.m., onboard color TV showed the docking of the CSM with the LM.
S-IVB auxiliary propulsion system burns sent the S-IVB/IU stages toward the moon, where they impacted the lunar surface at 4:59 p.m. EDT July 29. The point of impact was 188 kilometers northeast of the Apollo 14 landing site and 355 kilometers northeast of the Apollo 12 site. The impact was detected by both the Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 seismometers, left on the moon in November 1969 and February 1971.
After the translunar coast, during which TV pictures of the CSM and LM interiors were shown and the LM communications and other systems were checked, Apollo 15 entered lunar orbit at 4:06 p.m. EDT July 29.
The LM-10 Falcon, with astronauts Scott and Irwin aboard, undocked and separated from the Endeavor (CSM 112) with astronaut Worden aboard. At 6:16 p.m. EDT July 30, the Falcon landed in the Hadley-Apennine region of the moon 600 meters north-northwest of the proposed target. About two hours later, following cabin depressurization, Scott performed a 33-minute standup EVA in the upper hatch of the LM, during which he described and photographed the landing site.
The first crew EVA on the lunar surface began at 9:04 a.m. July 31. The crew collected and stowed a contingency sample, unpacked the ALSEP and other experiments, and prepared the lunar roving vehicle (LRV) for operations. Some problems were encountered in the deployment and checkout of the LRV, used for the first time, but they were quickly resolved. The first EVA traverse was to the Apennine mountain front, after which the ALSEP was deployed and activated, and one probe of a Heat Flow experiment was emplaced. A second probe was not emplaced until EVA-2 because of drilling difficulties. The first EVA lasted 6 hours 33 minutes.
At 7:49 a.m. EDT August 1, the second EVA began. The astronauts made a maintenance check on the LRV and then began the second planned traverse of the mission. On completion of the traverse, Scott and Irwin completed the placement of heat flow experiment probes, collected a core sample, and deployed the American flag. They then stowed the sample container and the film in the LM, completing a second EVA of 7 hours 12 minutes.
The third EVA began at 4:52 a.m. August 2, included another traverse, and ended 4 hours 50 minutes later, for a total Apollo 15 lunar surface EVA time of 18 hours 35 minutes.
While the lunar module was on the moon, astronaut Worden completed 34 lunar orbits in the CSM operating scientific instrument module experiments and cameras to obtain data concerning the lunar surface and environment. X-ray spectrometer data indicated richer abundance of aluminum in the highlands, especially on the far side, but greater concentrations of magnesium in the maria.
Liftoff of the ascent stage of the LM, the first one to be televised, occurred at 1:11 p.m. EDT August 2. About two hours later the LM and CSM rendezvoused and docked, and film, equipment, and 77 kilograms of lunar samples were transferred from the LM to the CSM. The ascent stage was jettisoned and hit the lunar surface at 11:04 p.m. EDT August 2. Its impact was recorded by the Apollo 12, Apollo 14, and Apollo 15 seismometers, left on the moon during those missions. Before leaving the lunar orbit, the spacecraft deployed a subsatellite, at 4:13 p.m. August 4, in an orbit of 141.3 by 102 kilometers. The satellite would measure interplanetary and earth magnetic fields near the moon. It also carried charged-particle sensors and equipment to detect variations in lunar gravity caused by mascons (mass concentrations).
A transearth injection maneuver at 5:23 p.m. August 4 put the CSM on an earth trajectory. During the transearth coast, astronaut Worden performed an inflight EVA beginning at 11:32 a.m. August 5 and lasting for 38 minutes 12 seconds. He made three trips to the scientific instrument module (SIM) bay of the SM, twice to retrieve cassettes and once to observe the condition of the instruments in the SIM bay.
The anticipated reentry mode for the rescue vehicle would be with the crewmen suited, thus providing additional return stowage volume for program-critical items. North American would define the return volume and loading available, while MSC would identify the returnable program-critical items. The rescue command and service modules would be designed for both suited and unsuited reentry and for axial and radial docking. The rescue kit would include provisions for the return of five men.
The Skylab rescue mission was a definite NASA commitment. The hardware, procedures, documentation, and training would need to be available immediately after the launch of Skylab 2 for a potential rescue mission. To accomplish this requirement, the rescue mission would be treated as a separate mission in the Skylab Program. The rescue mission would be established as a standing agenda item for major boards and panels, and its status would be reviewed on a regular basis with other missions.
The Apollo 16 (AS-511) space vehicle was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:54 p.m. EST April 16, with a crew of astronauts John W. Young, Thomas K. Mattingly II, and Charles M. Duke, Jr. After insertion into an earth parking orbit for spacecraft system checks, the spacecraft and the S-IVB stage were placed on a trajectory to the moon at 3:28 p.m. CSM transposition and docking with the LM were achieved, although a number of minor anomalies were noted.
One anomaly, an auxiliary propulsion system leak on the S-IVB stage, produced an unpredictable thrust and prevented a final S-IVB targeting maneuver after separation from the CSM. Tracking of the S-IVB ended at 4:04 p.m. EST April 17, when the instrument unit's signal was lost. The stage hit the lunar surface at 4:02 p.m. April 19, 260 kilometers northeast of the target point. The impact was detected by the seismometers left on the moon by the Apollo 12, 14, and 15 missions.
Spacecraft operations were near normal during the coast to the moon. Unexplained light-colored particles from the LM were investigated and identified as shredded thermal paint. Other activities during the translunar coast included a cislunar navigation exercise, ultraviolet photography of the earth and moon, an electrophoresis demonstration, and an investigation of the visual light-flash phenomenon noted on previous flights. Astronaut Duke counted 70 white, instantaneous light flashes that left no after-glow.
Apollo 16 entered a lunar orbit of 314 by 107.7 kilometers at 3:22 p.m. April 19. After separation of LM-11 Orion from CSM 112 Casper, a CSM active rendezvous kept the two vehicles close together while an anomaly discovered on the service propulsion system was evaluated. Tests and analyses showed the redundant system to be still safe and usable if required. The vehicles were again separated and the mission continued on a revised timeline because of the 5 3/4-hour delay.
The lunar module landed with Duke and Young in the moon's Descartes region, about 230 meters northwest of the planned target area at 9:23 p.m. EST April 20. A sleep period was scheduled before EVA.
The first extravehicular activity began at 11:59 a.m. April 21, after the eight-hour rest period. Television coverage of surface activity was delayed until the lunar roving vehicle systems were activated, because the steerable antenna on the lunar module could not be used. The lunar surface experiments packages were deployed, but accidental breaking of the electronics cable rendered the heat flow experiment inoperable. After completing activities at the experiments site, the crew drove the lunar roving vehicle west to Flag Crater, where they performed the planned tasks. The inbound traverse route was just slightly south of the outbound route, and the next stop was Spook Crater. The crew then returned via the experiment station to the lunar module and deployed the solar wind composition experiment. The duration of the extravehicular activity was 7 hours 11 minutes. The distance traveled by the lunar roving vehicle was 4.2 kilometers. The crew collected 20 kilograms of samples.
The second extravehicular traverse, which began at 11:33 a.m. April 22, was south-southeast to a mare-sampling area near the Cinco Craters on Stone Mountain. The crew then drove in a northwesterly direction, making stops near Stubby and Wreck Craters. The last leg of the traverse was north to the experiments station and the lunar module. The second extravehicular activity lasted 7 hours 23 minutes. The distance traveled by the lunar roving vehicle was 11.1 kilometers.
Four stations were deleted from the third extravehicular traverse, which began 30 minutes early at 10:27 a.m. April 23 to allow extra time. The first stop was North Ray Crater, where "House Rock" on the rim of the crater was sampled. The crew then drove southeast to "Shadow Rock." The return route to the LM retraced the outbound route. The third extravehicular activity lasted 5 hours 40 minutes, and the lunar roving vehicle traveled 11.4 kilometers.
Lunar surface activities outside the LM totaled 20 hours 15 minutes for the mission. The total distance traveled in the lunar roving vehicle was 26.7 kilometers. The crew remained on the lunar surface 71 hours 14 minutes and collected 96.6 kilograms of lunar samples.
While the lunar module crew was on the surface, Mattingly, orbiting the moon in the CSM, was obtaining photographs, measuring physical properties of the moon and deep space, and making visual observations. Essentially the same complement of instruments was used to gather data as was used on the Apollo 15 mission, but different areas of the lunar surface were flown over and more comprehensive deep space measurements were made, providing scientific data that could be used to validate findings from Apollo 15 as well as add to the total store of knowledge of the moon and its atmosphere, the solar system, and galactic space.
The LM lifted off from the moon at 8:26 p.m. EST April 23, rendezvoused with the CSM, and docked with it in orbit. Young and Duke transferred to the CSM with samples, film, and equipment, and the LM was jettisoned the next day. LM attitude control was lost at jettison; therefore a deorbit maneuver was not possible and the LM remained in lunar orbit, with an estimated orbital lifetime of about one year.
The particles and fields subsatellite was launched into lunar orbit and normal system operation was noted. However, the spacecraft orbital shaping maneuver was not performed before ejection and the subsatellite was placed in a non-optimum orbit that resulted in a much shorter lifetime than the planned year. Loss of all subsatellite tracking and telemetry data on the 425th revolution (May 29) indicated that the subsatellite had hit the lunar surface.
The mass spectrometer deployment boom stalled during a retract cycle and was jettisoned before transearth injection. The second plane-change maneuver and some orbital science photography were deleted so that transearth injection could be performed about 24 hours earlier than originally planned.
Activities during the transearth coast phase of the mission included photography for a contamination study for the Skylab program and completion of the visual light-flash-phenomenon investigation that had been partially accomplished during translunar coast. A 1-hour 24-minute transearth extravehicular activity was conducted by command module pilot Mattingly to retrieve the film cassettes from the scientific instrument module cameras, inspect the equipment, and expose a microbial-response experiment to the space environment. Two midcourse corrections were made on the return flight to achieve the desired entry interface conditions.
NASA Deputy Administrator George M. Low and Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight Dale D. Myers met and decided there was no foreseeable mission for CSMs 115 and 115a; funds would not be authorized for any work on these spacecraft; and skills would not be retained specifically to work on them.
An MSC team was conducting tests with the rescue mission configured Skylab command module at KSC. Purpose of the test was to evaluate the equipment, techniques, and procedures involved in the egress required by a five-man command module loading. Navy and Air Force helicopters were participating in the test.
Apollo 17 (AS-512), the final Apollo manned lunar landing mission, was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:33 a.m. EST December 7. Crew members were astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Ronald E. Evans, and Harrison H. Schmitt. The launch had been delayed 2 hours 40 minutes by a countdown sequencer failure, the only such delay in the Apollo program caused by a hardware failure.
All launch vehicle systems performed normally in achieving an earth parking orbit of 170 by 168 kilometers. After checkout, insertion into a lunar trajectory was begun at 3:46 a.m.; translunar coast time was shortened to compensate for the launch delay. CSM 114 transposition, docking with LM-12, and LM ejection from the launch vehicle stage were normal. The S-IVB stage was maneuvered for lunar impact, striking the surface about 13.5 kilometers from the preplanned point at 3:27 p.m. EST December 10. The impact was recorded by the passive seismometers left on the moon by Apollo 12, 14, 15, and 16.
The crew performed a heat flow and convection demonstration and an Apollo light-flash experiment during the translunar coast. The scientific instrument module door on the SM was jettisoned at 10:17 a.m. EST December 10. The lunar orbit insertion maneuver was begun at 2:47 p.m. and the Apollo 17 spacecraft entered a lunar orbit of 315 by 97 kilometers. After separation of the LM Challenger from the CSM America and a readjustment of orbits, the LM began its powered descent and landed on the lunar surface in the Taurus-Littrow region at 2:55 p.m. EST on December 11, with Cernan and Schmitt.
The first EVA began about 4 hours later (6:55 p.m.). Offloading of the lunar roving vehicle and equipment proceeded as scheduled. The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package was deployed approximately 185 meters west northwest of the Challenger. Astronaut Cernan drove the lunar roving vehicle to the experiments deployment site, drilled the heat flow and deep core holes, and emplaced the neutron probe experiment. Two geological units were sampled, two explosive packages deployed, and seven traverse gravimeter measurements were taken. During the 7-hour 12-minute EVA, 14 kilograms of samples were collected.
The second extravehicular activity began at 6:28 p.m. EST December 12. Because of geological interest, station stop times were modified. Orange soil was discovered and became the subject of considerable geological discussion. Five surface samples and a double core sample were taken in the area of the orange soil. Three explosive packages were deployed, seven traverse gravimeter measurements were taken, and observations were photographed. Samples collected totaled 34 kilograms during the 7 hours and 37 minutes of the second EVA.
The third and final EVA began at 5:26 p.m. EST December 13. Specific sampling objectives were accomplished. Samples - including blue-gray breccias, fine-grained vesicular basalts, crushed anorthositic rocks, and soils - weighed 66 kilograms. Nine traverse gravimeter measurements were made. The surface electrical properties experiment was terminated. Before reentering the LM, the crew selected a breccia rock to dedicate to the nations represented by students visiting the Mission Control Center. A plaque on the landing gear of the lunar module, commemorating all of the Apollo lunar landings, was then unveiled. After 7 hours 15 minutes, the last Apollo EVA on the lunar surface ended. Total time of the three EVAs was approximately 22 hours; the lunar roving vehicle was driven 35 kilometers, and about 115 kilograms of lunar sample material was acquired.
While Cernan and Schmitt were exploring the lunar surface, Evans was conducting numerous scientific activities in the CSM in lunar orbit. In addition to the panoramic camera, the mapping camera, and the laser altimeter, three new scientific instrument module experiments were included in the Apollo 17 orbital science equipment. An ultraviolet spectrometer measured lunar atmospheric density and composition; an infrared radiometer mapped the thermal characteristics of the moon; and a lunar sounder acquired data on the subsurface structure.
Challenger lifted off the moon at 5:55 p.m. EST December 14. Rendezvous with the orbiting CSM and docking were normal. The two astronauts transferred to the CM with samples and equipment and the LM ascent stage was jettisoned at 1:31 a.m. December 15. Its impact on the lunar surface about 1.6 kilometers from the planned target was recorded by four Apollo 17 geophones and the Apollo 12, 14, 15, and 16 seismometers emplaced on the surface. The seismic experiment explosive packages that had been deployed on the moon were detonated as planned and recorded on the geophones.
During the coast back to earth, Evans left the CSM at 3:27 p.m. EST December 17 for a 1-hour 7-minute inflight EVA and retrieved lunar sounder film and panoramic and mapping camera cassettes from the scientific instrument module bay. The crew conducted the Apollo light- flash experiment and operated the infrared radiometer and ultraviolet spectrometer.
Reentry, landing, and recovery were normal. The command module parachuted into the mid-Pacific at 2:25 p.m. EST December 19, 6.4 kilometers from the prime recovery ship, U.S.S. Ticonderoga. The crew was picked up by helicopter and was on board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga 52 minutes after the CM landed. All primary mission objectives had been achieved.
"Apollo, of course, was an absolutely unprecedented event in human history, one whose ultimate importance is impossible to fully comprehend at such close range," NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight Dale D. Myers wrote the Administrator. "In addition, its scientific contributions have far exceeded the expectations not only of the skeptics, but even of its proponents. It has virtually created a new branch of science as well as added a brilliant new chapter in the annals of exploration."
Epic repair mission which brought Skylab into working order. Included such great moments as Conrad being flung through space by the whiplash after heaving on the solar wing just as the debris constraining it gave way; deployment of a lightweight solar shield, developed in Houston in one week, which brought the temperatures down to tolerable levels. With this flight US again took manned spaceflight duration record.
Skylab 2 , consisting of a modified Apollo CSM payload and a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into Earth orbit approximately 10 minutes after liftoff. The orbit achieved was 357 by 156 km and, during a six-hour period following insertion, four maneuvers placed the CSM into a 424 by 415 km orbit for rendezvous with the Orbital Workshop. Normal rendezvous sequencing led to stationkeeping during the fifth revolution followed by a flyaround inspection of the damage to the OWS. The crew provided a verbal description of the damage in conjunction with 15 minutes of television coverage. The solar array system wing (beam) 2 was completely missing. The solar array system wing (beam) 1 was slightly deployed and was restrained by a fragment of the meteoroid shield. Large sections of the meteoroid shield were missing. Following the flyaround inspection, the CSM soft-docked with the OWS at 5:56 p.m. EDT to plan the next activities. At 6:45 p.m. EDT the CSM undocked and extravehicular activity was initiated to deploy the beam 1 solar array. The attempt failed. Frustration of the crew was compounded when eight attempts were required to achieve hard docking with the OWS. The hard dock was made at 11:50 p.m. EDT, terminating a Skylab 2 first-day crew work period of 22 hours.
The most likely landing site was the crater Gassendi. Before the cancellation, astronaut-geologist Schmitt was pressing for a more ambitious landing in Tycho or the lunar farside. NASA cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 on 2 September 1970 because of congressional cuts in FY 1971 NASA appropriations. Pressure from the scientific community resulted in geologist Schmitt flying on Apollo 17, the last lunar mission, bumping Joe Engle from the lunar module pilot slot.
Continued maintenance of the Skylab space station and extensive scientific and medical experiments. Installed twinpole solar shield on EVA; performed major inflight maintenance; doubled record for length of time in space. Completed 858 Earth orbits and 1,081 hours of solar and Earth experiments; three EVAs totalled 13 hours, 43 minutes.
The space vehicle, consisting of a modified Apollo command and service module payload on a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into a 231.3 by 154.7 km orbit. Rendezvous maneuvers were performed during the first five orbits as planned. During the rendezvous, the CSM reaction control system forward firing engine oxidizer valve leaked. The quad was isolated. Station-keeping with the Saturn Workshop began approximately 8 hours after liftoff, with docking being performed about 30 minutes later.
Apollo Soyuz Test Project Program Director Chester M. Lee, Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA Hq., was assigned as the management official to take actions necessary for the final phaseout of the Apollo program. All Apollo program inquiries, activities, and actions not covered by specific delegations of authority would be referred to Lee for appropriate decision and disposition.
Influenced by the stranded Skylab crew portrayed in the book and movie 'Marooned', NASA provided a crew rescue capability for the only time in its history. A kit was developed to fit out an Apollo command module with a total of five crew couches. In the event a Skylab crew developed trouble with its Apollo CSM return craft, a rescue CSM would be prepared and launched to rendezvous with the station. It would dock with the spare second side docking port of the Skylab docking module. During Skylab 3, one of the thruster quads of the Apollo service module developed leaks. When the same problem developed with a second quad, the possibility existed that the spacecraft would not be maneuverable. Preparation work began to fit out a rescue CSM, and astronauts Vance Brand and Don Lind began preparations to rescue astronauts Bean, Garriott, and Lousma aboard the station. However the problem was localized, work arounds were developed, and the first space rescue mission was not necessary. The Skylab 3 crew returned successfully in their own Apollo CSM at the end of their 59 day mission.
A launch readiness review was held at KSC. From the review and closeout of action items, the Skylab 4 vehicle was determined to be ready for launch on 16 November 1973. Other reviews included the KSC flight readiness review, 18 October; the JSC Director's flight readiness review and the JSC command and service module flight readiness review, 11 October; the MSFC review of the Skylab Workshop systems capabilities, 17 September; and the KSC SL-4 launch readiness review, 15 October 1973.
Final Skylab mission; included observation and photography of Comet Kohoutek among numerous experiments. Completed 1,214 Earth orbits and four EVAs totalling 22 hours, 13 minutes. Increased manned space flight time record by 50%. Rebellion by crew against NASA Ground Control overtasking led to none of the crew ever flying again. Biological experiments included two Mummichog fish (Fundulus heteroclitus).
The space vehicle consisted of a modified Apollo CSM and a Saturn IB launch vehicle. All launch phase events were normal, and the CSM was inserted into a 150.1- by 227.08-km orbit. The rendezvous sequence was performed according to the anticipated timeline. Stationkeeping was initiated about seven and one-half hours after liftoff, and hard docking was achieved about 30 minutes later following two unsuccessful docking attempts. Planned duration of the mission was 56 days, with the option of extending it to a maximum of 84 days.
KSC was directed to discontinue plans for the Skylab rescue capability and to move the rescue vehicle (SA-209 and CSM-119) back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Upon completion of this action, Headquarters responsibility for the SA-209 and CSM-119 would be transferred to the Program Director of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program.
After completion of the three programmed Skylab flights, NASA considered using the remaining backup Saturn IB and Apollo CSM to fly a fourth manned mission to Skylab. It would have been a short 20 day mission to conduct some new scientific experiments and boost Skylab into a higher orbit for later use by the shuttle. But NASA was confident that Skylab would stay in orbit until shuttle flights began in 1978 - 1979. But the shuttle was delayed, and Skylab crashed to earth before the first shuttle mission was flown.
The preferred landing site was the Marius Hills, or, if the operational constraints were relaxed, the bright crater Tycho. The flight was cancelled on January 4, 1970, before any crew assignments were made. The most likely crew would have been Roosa (Commander); Lind (Lunar Module Pilot); and Lousma (Command Module Pilot).
This flight marked the culmination of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a post-moon race 'goodwill' flight to test a common docking system for space rescue. 15 July 1975 began with the flawless launch of Soyuz 19. Apollo followed right on schedule. Despite a stowaway - a 'super Florida mosquito' - the crew accomplished a series of rendezvous manoeuvres over the next day resulting in rendezvous with Soyuz 19. At 11:10 on 17 July the two spacecraft docked. The crew members rotated between the two spacecraft and conducted various mainly ceremonial activities. Stafford spent 7 hours, 10 minutes aboard Soyuz, Brand 6:30, and Slayton 1:35. Leonov was on the American side for 5 hours, 43 minutes, while Kubasov spent 4:57 in the command and docking modules.
After being docked for nearly 44 hours, Apollo and Soyuz parted for the first time and were station-keeping at a range of 50 meters. The Apollo crew placed its craft between Soyuz and the sun so that the diameter of the service module formed a disk which blocked out the sun. This artificial solar eclipse, as viewed from Soyuz, permitted photography of the solar corona. After this experiment Apollo moved towards Soyuz for the second docking.
Three hours later Apollo and Soyuz undocked for the second and final time. The spacecraft moved to a 40 m station-keeping distance so that the ultraviolet absorption (UVA MA-059) experiment could be performed. This was an effort to more precisely determine the quantities of atomic oxygen and atomic nitrogen existing at such altitudes. Apollo, flying out of plane around Soyuz, projected monochromatic laser-like beams of light to retro-reflectors mounted on Soyuz. On the 150-meter phase of the experiment, light from a Soyuz port led to a misalignment of the spectrometer, but on the 500-meter pass excellent data were received; on the 1,000-meter pass satisfactory results were also obtained.
With all the joint flight activities completed, the ships went on their separate ways. On 20 July the Apollo crew conducted earth observation, experiments in the multipurpose furnace (MA-010), extreme ultraviolet surveying (MA-083), crystal growth (MA-085), and helium glow (MA-088). On 21 July Soyuz 19 landed safely in Kazakhstan. Apollo continued in orbit on 22-23 July to conduct 23 independent experiments - including a doppler tracking experiment (MA-089) and geodynamics experiment (MA-128) designed to verify which of two techniques would be best suited for studying plate tectonics from earth orbit.
After donning their space suits, the crew vented the command module tunnel and jettisoned the docking module. The docking module would continue on its way until it re-entered the earth's atmosphere and burned up in August 1975.