Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. was a long-standing official with NASA throughout the Apollo program. He received as B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic University in 1944 and joined the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) the next year. In 1958, still at Langley, he became a member of the Space Task Group developing Project Mercury and moved with the Group to Houston in 1962. He was flight director for all of the Mercury and many of the Gemini missions and directed the design of Mission Control at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), redesignated the Johnson Space Center in 1973. He was named the MSC deputy director in 1970 and its director two years later, a position he held until his retirement in 1982. Since then he has remained active as an aerospace consultant.
Maxime A. Faget, Assistant Director for Engineering and Development Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Assistant Director for Flight Operations Donald K. Slayton, Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations Wesley L. Hjornevik, Assistant Director for Administration Joseph F. Shea, Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Charles W. Mathews, Manager, Gemini Program Office and G. Merritt Preston, Manager, MSC Florida Operations.
The astronauts' review was held on October 5 and 6. It included demonstrations of entering and getting out of the LEM, techniques for climbing and descending the ladder, and crew mobility inside the spacecraft. The general inspection was held on the 7th and the Review Board met on the 8th. Those attending the review used request for change (RFC) forms to propose spacecraft design alterations. Before submission to the Board, these requests were discussed by contractor personnel and NASA coordinators to assess their effect upon system design, interfaces, weight, and reliability.
The inspection categories were crew provisions; controls, displays, and lighting; the stabilization and control system and the guidance and navigation radar; electrical power; propulsion (ascent, descent, reaction control system, and pyrotechnics ; power generation cryogenic storage and fuel cell assemblies ; environmental control; communications and instrumentation; structures and landing gear; scientific equipment; and reliability and quality' control. A total of 148 RFCs were submitted. Most were aimed at enhancing the spacecraft's operational capability; considerable attention also was given to quality and reliability and to ground checkout of various systems. No major redesigns of the configuration were suggested.
As a result of this review, the Board recommended that Grumman take immediate action on those RFC's which it had approved. Further, the LEM contractor and MSC should promptly investigate those items which the Board had assigned for further study. On the basis of the revised M-5 configuration, Grumman could proceed with LEM development and qualification. This updated mockup would be the basis for tooling and fabrication of the initial hardware as well.
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.
Members appointed to the Board were George M. Low, chairman; Warren Gillespie, Jr., executive secretary; Maxime A. Faget; Robert O. Piland; Charles A. Berry; Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.; Donald K. Slayton; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht; and Joseph N. Kotanchik. The Board would meet bimonthly on the first Friday of every even month, with called meetings at the direction of the chairman when necessary to expedite experiments.
Flight Operations Director Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., conducted the discussion, with Rodney G. Rose, Carl Kovitz, Morris V. Jenkins, William E. Platt, James E. Hannigan, Bruce H. Walton, and William L. Davidson participating.
The major factors (philosophy) identified at the meeting were:
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC Deputy Director, was named Director of MSC. Both Kraft and Gilruth were original members of the NASA Space Task Group established in 1958 to manage Project Mercury.