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CSM Recovery
Part of Apollo Spacecraft Systems Development Diaries Family
CSM Recovery Development Diary - For some time recovery of the Apollo on land was considered. If you thought only Soyuz used soft landing engines, read here of those planned for Apollo, and how the spacecraft was designed to allow the crew to survive a 'land landing'.

1960 April 1-May 3 - .
  • Advanced manned spacecraft program guidelines for aborted missions and landing - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Faget. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery, CSM Source Selection.

    In discussing the advanced manned spacecraft program at NASA Centers, Maxime A. Faget of STG detailed the guidelines for aborted missions and landing:

    1. The spacecraft must have a capability of safe crew recovery from aborted missions at any speed up to the maximum velocity, this capability to be independent of the launch propulsion system.
    2. A satisfactory landing by the spacecraft on both water and land, avoiding local hazards in the recovery area, was necessary. This requirement was predicated on two considerations: emergency conditions or navigation errors could force a landing on either water or land; and accessibility for recovery and the relative superiority of land versus water landing would depend on local conditions and other factors. The spacecraft should be able to land in a 30-knot wind, be watertight, and be seaworthy under conditions of 10- to 12-foot waves.
    3. Planned landing capability by the spacecraft at one of several previously designated ground surface locations, each approximately 10 square miles in area, would be necessary. Studies were needed to assess the value of impulse maneuvers, guidance quality, and aerodynamic lift over drag during the return from the lunar mission. Faget pointed out that this requirement was far less severe for the earth orbit mission than for the lunar return.
    4. The spacecraft design should provide for crew survival for at least 72 hours after landing. Because of the unpredictability of possible emergency maneuvers, it would be impossible to provide sufficient recovery forces to cover all possible landing locations. The 72-hour requirement would permit mobilization of normally existing facilities and enough time for safe recovery. Locating devices on the spacecraft should perform adequately anywhere in the world.
    5. Auxiliary propulsion should be provided for guidance maneuvers needed to effect a safe return in a launch emergency. Accuracy and capability of the guidance system should be studied to determine auxiliary propulsion requirements. Sufficient reserve propulsion should be included to accommodate corrections for maximum guidance errors. The single system could serve for either guidance maneuvers or escape propulsion requirements.

1960 December 7-9 - .
  • Martin presented the first technical review of its Apollo feasibility study - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery, CSM Source Selection.

    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.

1961 January 12-13 - .
  • Martin progress on the Apollo feasibility study contract - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery, CSM Source Selection.

    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.

1961 November 6 - .
  • An Apollo Egress Working Group was formed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery, CSM Source Selection.

    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.

1962 March 6 - .
  • The staffing for the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office was announced - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Johnson, Caldwell. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    The organizational elements and staffing for the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office was announced:

    Office of Project Manager
    Charles W. Frick, Project Manager

    Robert O. Piland, Deputy Project Manager

    Command and Service Module
    Caldwell C. Johnson, Chief

    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

    Lunar Landing Module
    Robert O. Piland, Acting Chief
    Guidance and Control Development
    David W. Gilbert, Chief

    Jack Barnard, Apollo Office at MIT

    Systems Integration
    Paul F. Weyers, Chief

    (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

    Apollo Office at NAA
    Herbert R. Ash, Acting Manager

    Alan B. Kehlet, Engineering

    Alan B. Kehlet, Acting Manager, Quality Control and Engineering

    Herbert R. Ash, Acting Manager, Business Administration

    Planning and Resources
    Thomas F. Baker, Chief

1962 April 2-3 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Meeting at NASA Headquarters reviews the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) technique for Project Apollo - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Geissler, Horn, Maynard, Shea. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, Apollo Lunar Landing, CSM LES, CSM Recovery, CSM SPS, CSM Television.

    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).

1962 April 24 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Rosen recommends Saturn C-5 design and lunar orbit rendezvous - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Rosen, Milton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, Apollo Lunar Landing, CSM Recovery, LM Mode Debate, LM Source Selection.

    Milton W. Rosen, NASA Office of Manned Space Flight Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, recommended that the S-IVB stage be designed specifically as the third stage of the Saturn C-5 and that the C-5 be designed specifically for the manned lunar landing using the lunar orbit rendezvous technique. The S-IVB stage would inject the spacecraft into a parking orbit and would be restarted in space to place the lunar mission payload into a translunar trajectory. Rosen also recommended that the S- IVB stage be used as a flight test vehicle to exercise the command module (CM), service module (SM), and lunar excursion module (LEM) (previously referred to as the lunar excursion vehicle (LEV)) in earth orbit missions. The Saturn C-1 vehicle, in combination with the CM, SM, LEM, and S-IVB stage, would be used on the most realistic mission simulation possible. This combination would also permit the most nearly complete operational mating of the CM, SM, LEM, and S-IVB prior to actual mission flight.

1962 April - .
  • Changes in the Apollo environmental control system (ECS) - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Fuel Cell, CSM Recovery.

    NAA studies resulted in significant changes in the command module environmental control system (ECS).

    1. Among modifications in the ECS schematic were included:
      1. Reduction in the cooling water capacity
      2. Combining into one command module tank the potable water and cooling water needed during boost
      3. Elimination of the water blanket for radiation protection.
    2. More water would be generated by the fuel cells than necessary and could be dumped to decrease lunar landing and lunar takeoff weight.
    3. Airlock valving requirements would permit two or more crewmen to perform extravehicular operation simultaneously. Area control of the space radiator to prevent coolant freezing was specified.
    4. A new concept to integrate heat rejection from the spacecraft power system and the ECS into one space radiator subsystem was developed. This subsystem would provide full versatility for both lunar night and lunar day conditions and would decrease weight and complexity.
    5. Because of the elimination of the lunar supplemental refrigeration system and deployable radiators, the water-glycol coolant system was modified:
      1. Removal from the service module of the coolant loop regenerative heat exchanger
      2. Replacement by a liquid valving arrangement of the gas-leak check provision at the radiator panels
      3. Changeover to a completely cascaded system involving the suit-circuit heat exchanger, cabin heat exchanger, and electronic component coldplate.
    In addition, a small, regenerative heat exchanger was added in the command module to preheat the water-glycol. A separate coolant branch to the inertial measurement unit section of the electronic system provided for the more critical cooling task required in that area.

1962 May - .
  • Layouts of Apollo command module windows - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. Layouts of three command module observation window configurations were made by NAA. A study disclosed that sufficient direct vision for lunar landing was not feasible and that windows could not be uncovered during reentry..

1962 June 7 - .
  • von Braun recommends lunar orbit rendezvous mode for Apollo - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, Apollo Lunar Landing, CSM Recovery, CSM SPS.

    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.

1962 June 10-11 - .
  • NAA directed to design an earth landing system for an Apollo CM passive touchdown mode - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Heat Shield, CSM LES, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1962 Mid-August - .
  • First Apollo boilerplate command module, BP-25, delivered for water recovery and handling tests - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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."

1962 October - .
  • Study of Apollo reentry temperatures - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1962 October - .
  • Study proposed moving the crew and couches - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1962 October - .
  • Apollo CM blowout emergency escape hatch not needed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Hatch, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1962 October - .
  • Digital computer program for calculating Apollo command module loads - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Heat Shield, CSM Recovery. An NAA digital computer program for calculating command module heatshield and couch system loads and landing stability was successful. Results showed that a five-degree negative-pitch attitude was preferable for land landings..

1962 November - .
  • Changes in the layout of the Apollo CM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Hatch, CSM Heat Shield, CSM Recovery.

    North American made a number of changes in the layout of the CM:

    • Putting the lithium hydroxide canisters in the lower equipment bay and food stowage compartments in the aft equipment bay.
    • Regrouping equipment in the left-hand forward equipment bay to make pressure suit disconnects easier to reach and to permit a more advanced packaging concept for the cabin heat exchanger.
    • Moving the waste management control panel and urine and chemical tanks to the right-hand equipment bay.
    • Revising the aft compartment control layout to eliminate the landing impact attenuation system and to add tie rods for retaining the heatshield.
    • Preparing a design which would incorporate the quick release of the crew hatch with operation of the center window (drawings were released, and target weights and criteria were established).
    • Redesigning the crew couch positioning mechanism and folding capabilities.
    • Modifying the footrests to prevent the crew's damaging the sextant.

1962 November - .
  • Problems with the Apollo CM's aerodynamic characteristics - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1962 December 12 - .
  • Approaches for sea-markers to indicate the location of the Apollo spacecraft after a water landing - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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:

    1. A shotgun shell type that would dispense colored smoke.
    2. A floating, controlled-rate dispenser (described as an improvement on the current water-soluble binder method).
    3. A floating panel with relatively permanent fluorescent qualities.
    Northrop Ventura recommended the first method, because it would produce the strongest color and size contrast and would have the longest life for its weight.

1962 December 21 - .
  • Apollo CM boilerplate (BP) 3 delivered - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery. North American delivered CM boilerplate (BP) 3, to Northrop Ventura, for installation of an earth-landing system. BP-3 was scheduled to undergo parachute tests at El Centro, Calif., during early 1963..

1962 December - .
  • Operational factors in Apollo water and land landings - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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:

    • Should certain systems on board the CM fail, the spacecraft could land as far as 805 kilometers 500 miles from the prime recovery area. This contingency could be provided for at sea, but serious difficulties might be encountered on land.
    • Because Apollo missions might last as long as two weeks, weather forecasting for the landing zone probably would be unreliable.
    • Hypergolic fuels were to remain on board the spacecraft through landing. During a landing at sea, the bay containing the tanks would flood and seawater would neutralize the liquid fuel or fumes from damaged tanks. On land, the possibility of rupturing the tanks was greater and the danger of toxic fumes and fire much more serious.
    • Should the CM tumble during descent, the likelihood of serious damage to the spacecraft was less for landings on water.
    • On land, obstacles such as rocks and trees might cause serious damage to the spacecraft.
    • The spacecraft would be hot after reentry. Landing on water would cool the spacecraft quickly and minimize ventilation problems.
    • The requirements for control during reentry were less stringent in a sea landing, because greater touchdown dispersions could be allowed.
    • Since the CM must necessarily be designed for adequate performance in a water landing all aborts during launch and most contingencies required a landing at sea , the choice of water as the primary landing surface could relieve some constraints in spacecraft design.

1963 January 16-February 15 - .
  • Airborne Instruments Laboratory contracted for Apollo CM recovery antenna system - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. North American awarded Airborne Instruments Laboratory, a division of Cutler-Hammer, Inc., a contract for the CM recovery antenna system. NAA,.

1963 March 5 - .
  • Disadvantages of the land recovery mode for Apollo missions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1963 April 16-May 15 - .
  • North American simplified the Apollo CM water management system - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1963 April 25-26 - .
  • Apollo spacecraft landing and recovery procedures reviewed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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:

    • Spacecraft reaction control fuel would be dumped before landing (in both normal and abort operations)
    • The "peripheral equipment bay" would be flooded within 10 minutes after landing
    • Location aids would be dye markers and recovery antennas.

1963 May 3 - .
  • Qualification drop test series for the earth landing system - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1963 May 29 - .
  • Three methods of providing a recovery hoisting loop on the Apollo CM considered - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1963 June 12 - .
  • Skip lunar reentry trajectories studied for Apollo - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. The Mission Analysis Branch (MAB) of MSC's Flight Operations Division studied the phenomenon of a spacecraft's "skip" when reentering the earth's atmosphere from lunar trajectories and how that skip relates to landing accuracies.. Additional Details: here....

1963 September 4 - .
  • Series of water impact tests recommended for the Apollo CM's recovery systems - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1963 September 19 - .
  • Changes in the Apollo CM's landing requirements - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1963 October 14 - .
  • Combustion stability in the Apollo service propulsion engine - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. ASPO established criteria for combustion stability in the service propulsion engine. The engine had to recover from any instability, whether induced or spontaneous, within 20 milliseconds during qualification testing..

1963 November 12 - .
  • Meeting reviewed the tower flap versus canard concept for the Apollo earth landing system (ELS) - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1963 December 18-January 14 - .
  • Feasibility of unmanned Apollo earth orbit mission without a guidance system - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1964 February 25 - .
  • Apollo earth landings to be primarily on water - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1964 March 20 - .
  • Breaking the Apollo CM windows for postlanding ventilation - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Hatch, CSM Recovery. Tests at North American demonstrated the possibility of using onboard tools to break the CM hatch windows for postlanding ventilation of the spacecraft..

1964 March 29-April 4 - .
  • Apollo CM might not withstand water impact - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. Impact tests indicated that, because of oscillations and consequent high angles of attack, the CM might not withstand water impact and could sink. North American planned a series of water impact tests using boilerplate 28 to study the problem..

1964 December 21-22 - .
  • New criteria for the landing gear of the Apollo LEM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery, LM Landing Gear.

    In response to MSC's new criteria for the landing gear of the LEM, Grumman representatives met with Center officials in Houston to revise the design. Grumman had formulated a concept for a 419-cm (165-in) radius, cantilever-type configuration, In analyzing its performance, Grumman and Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) engineers, working separately, had reached the same conclusion: namely, that it did not provide sufficient stability nor did it absorb enough of the landing impact. Both parties to this meeting agreed that the gear's performance could be improved by redesigning the foot pads and beefing up the gear struts. Grumman was modifying other parts of the spacecraft's undercarriage accordingly.

    At the same time, Grumman advised MSC that it considered impractical a contrivance to simulate lunar gravity in the drop program for test Mockup 5. Grumman put forth another idea: use a full-sized LEM, the company said, but one weighing only one-sixth as much as a flight-ready vehicle. SMD officials were evaluating this latest idea, while they were reviewing the entire TM-5 program.

1965 January 25 - .
  • Flotation characteristics of the Apollo CM studied - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1965 February 17 - .
  • Increase in the Apollo CM's land landing capability - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. North American proposed an idea for increasing the CM's land landing capability. This could be done, the company asserted, by raising the water impact limits (thus exceeding normal tolerances) and stiffening the shock struts.. Additional Details: here....

1965 February 25-March 4 - .
  • Deployment tests of the Apollo CM's pop-up recovery antenna - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. DeHavilland completed deployment tests of the CM's pop-up recovery antenna..

1965 March 8 - .
  • Qualification testing of the Apollo CM's earth landing sequence controller - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. Northrop-Ventura began qualification testing of the CM's earth landing sequence controller..

1965 March 12 - .
  • During a pad abort, propellants from the Apollo CM's RCS to be dumped overboard - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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."

1965 April 15-22 - .
  • Testing on the Apollo CM's uprighting system - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. North American began full-scale developmental testing on the CM's uprighting system..

1965 April 16-May 15 - .
  • One in a hundred that Apollo crewmen would land on solid ground - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1965 April 29-May 6 - .
  • Problem of stowing portable life support systems in the Apollo CM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: A7L, Apollo LM, CSM Recovery.

    Portable life support systems (PLSS) stowed against the aft bulkhead in the CM would prevent the crew couch from stroking fully. This condition would be aggravated if, at impact, the bulkhead was forced inward. North American spokesmen maintained that, in a water landing, the bulkhead would give only slightly and that the couch struts would not compress to their limits. They argued, therefore, that this condition would be of concern only in a land landing. On the contrary, said MSC. Center officials were adamant that any interference was absolutely unacceptable: it would lessen the attenuation capability of the couch (thereby jeopardizing crew safety); possibly, the bulkhead might even be ruptured (with obviously disastrous results). Because of this problem - and because the capability for extravehicular transfer from the CM to the LEM was required - MSC invited representatives from the three contractors involved to meet in Houston to deal with the question of PLSS stowage.

1965 May 12 - .
  • Testing begins on rockets that would allow soft landing for Apollo CM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Heat Shield, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1965 May 26 - .
  • Feasibility of abbreviated Apollo missions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery, LM Ascent Propulsion, LM Electrical.

    William A. Lee, ASPO Assistant Manager, asked Systems Engineering Division to study the feasibility of an abbreviated mission, especially during the initial Apollo flights. Because of the uncertainties involved in landing, Lee emphasized, the first LEMs should have the greatest possible reserves. This could be accomplished, he suggested, by shortening stay time; removing surplus batteries and consumables; and reducing the scientific equipment. Theoretically, this would enable the LEM pilot to hover over the landing site for an additional minute; also, it would increase the velocity budgets both of the LEM's ascent stage and of the CSM. He asked that the spacecraft's specifications be changed to fly a shorter mission:

    • Stay time - 10 hours
    • Exploration time - six man-hours
    • Scientific payload - 32 kg (70 lbs)
    • Lunar samples returned - 36 kg (80 lbs)
    Lee said that this modification would produce a spacecraft that could be adapted to short and long missions.

1965 June 21 - .
  • Apollo technical definitions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    The following definitions were specified for use in evaluating design reliability, for design tradeoff studies, and in appropriate Interface Control Documentation:

    Mission success
    all primary mission objectives must have been accomplished and both the crew and command module safely recovered.
    Alternate mission
    if a contingency prevented completion of all primary mission objectives, but did not require immediate termination of the mission, an alternate mission plan would be followed but alternate missions would not be included in design reliability calculations.
    the only objective after an abort decision was the safest recovery of the crew considering the contingency which caused the abort.

1965 June 29 - .
  • Apollo PA-2 launch escape system test - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM LES, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1965 July 16 - .
  • Passive water landing for Apollo - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1965 July 31 - .
  • Apollo LEM schedule changes cause confusion - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shea. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery.

    ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed LEM Subsystems Managers that recent LEM schedule changes and program review activities had led to some confusion with regard to schedule requirements and policies. Shea pointed out that in some instances subsystem delivery schedules had been established which were inconsistent with the overall program. Where this had occurred, prompt action by the Subsystems Managers was required to recover lost ground. Shea then laid down specific ground rules to be followed, and requested that waivers of these ground rules be submitted no later than August 15, along with a demonstration that reasonable alternatives had been investigated. Only the ASPO Manager would approve any waivers.

1965 August 10 - .
  • Apollo CM's postlanding battery failure procedure - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. MSC notified North American that, should one of the CM's postlanding batteries fail, the crew could lower the power requirements of the spacecraft during recovery and thus stay within the capabilities of the two remaining batteries..

1965 September 16 - .
  • Recovery personnel to be able to enter the Apollo CM through the main hatch - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kraft. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Hatch, CSM Heat Shield, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1965 October 15 - .
  • Recovery requirements for the Apollo spacecraft were specified by ASPO - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Maynard. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1965 October 29 - .
  • US Public Health Service's concern - Apollo spacecraft might bring organisms back from the moon - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Maynard. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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:

    • If their system was potentially a carrier of moon germs
    • What could be done to confine such organisms
    • If a "strict no contamination edict" would affect the life and operation of systems
    • How postlanding procedures could be changed to prevent release of organisms from the spacecraft
    Maynard cautioned systems managers to "assume that ASPO is morally obligated to prevent any possible contamination of the earth," and not to reply with "the standard answer that no changes can be made within present weight, cost, and schedule limitations. Admittedly," he said, "our first look may prove to be insurmountable." Nonetheless, review must be performed so that recommendations can be made concerning all such systems.

1965 November 10 - .
  • Apollo CM couch might strike the Apollo CM structure or stowed equipment on landing - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: A7L, Apollo CSM, CSM Hatch, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1965 December 10 - .
  • Apollo at-sea operational qualification tests completed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery. At-sea operational qualification tests, using boilerplate 29 to simulate spacecraft 009, were completed. All mechanical system components performed satisfactorily, except for the recovery flashing light.. Additional Details: here....

1966 March 16 - .
  • MSC analysis of Grumman Apollo ground support equipment (GSE) showed serious problems - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery.

    MSC analysis of Grumman ground support equipment (GSE) showed that a serious problem in manufacturing and delivery of GSE would have a significant program impact if not corrected immediately. Information submitted to NASA indicated a completion rate of 35 percent of that planned. Grumman was requested to initiate action to identify causes of the problem and take immediate remedial action. A formal recovery plan was to be submitted to NASA, considering the following guidelines:

    1. the plan would take into account the interrelations of the LEM vehicle, site activation, vehicle checkout, and GSE end-item manufacturing schedules;
    2. a priority system should be established by which "critical" equipment would be identified, with all other equipment identified in either "preferred" or "not essential" categories ("critical" was defined as that mission-essential or mission-support equipment without which the successful completion of the vehicle test or launch would be impossible); and
    3. manufacturing schedules should be revised to emphasize completion of all critical category equipment, including such means as two- or three-shift operation or additional subcontracting, or both.
    Grumman was required to initiate the recovery plan as soon as possible but not later than 30 days from receipt of the instructions, and progress reports were to be submitted to NASA biweekly, starting two weeks from receipt of the TWX.

1966 June 23 - .
  • Two-burn Apollo lunar orbit deboost technique proposed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Guidance, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1966 July 20 - .
  • Apollo mapping and survey system (M&SS) - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth, von Braun. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 9. Spacecraft: Apollo LMSS, CSM Recovery. MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth informed MSFC Director Wernher von Braun that for the past two years MSC had studied the use of the mapping and survey system (M&SS) in conjunction with the Apollo program.. Additional Details: here....

1967 June 9 - .
  • Sequence of Apollo missions following the first manned flight - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Phillips, Samuel. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 7. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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."

1967 November 3-December 19 - .
  • Apollo launch site recovery and rescue - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Debus. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1967 November 4 - .
  • Apollo mission schedule for six flights in 1968 and five in 1969 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mueller. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 10, Apollo 14. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery.

    NASA announced an Apollo mission schedule calling for six flights in 1968 and five in 1969. NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller said the schedule and alternative plans provided a schedule under which a limited number of Apollo command and service modules and lunar landing modules, configured for lunar landing might be launched on test flights toward the moon by the end of the decade. Apollo/uprated Saturn I flights were identified with a 200 series number; Saturn V flights were identified with a 500 series number. Additional Details: here....

1968 January 24 - .
  • Apollo CSM chief problems listed - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Rees. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1968 February 14 - .
  • Potential post-reentry fire hazard in Apollo - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1968 March 29 - .
  • Lunar photography from orbit during Apollo missions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, Apollo LMSS, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1968 April 4 - .
  • Apollo LM activities immediately after touchdown on the lunar surface considered - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery.

    Howard W. Tindall, Jr., Chief of Apollo Data Priority Coordination, reported that several meetings devoted to the question of the LM's status immediately after touching down on the lunar surface, had reached agreement on several operational techniques for a "go/no go" decision. Basically, the period immediately after landing constituted a system evaluation phase (in which both crew and ground controllers assessed the spacecraft's status) - a period of about two minutes, during which immediate abort and ascent was possible. Given a decision at that point not to abort, the crew would then remove the guidance system from the descent mode and proceed with the normal ascent-powered flight program (and an immediate abort was no longer possible). Assuming permission to stay beyond this initial "make ready" phase, the crew would then carry out most of the normal procedures required to launch when the CM next passed over the landing site (some two hours later).

1968 October 18 - .
  • Apollo official policy position for landings on land - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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."

1968 November 12 - .
  • Land landing of the Apollo CSM in the area of the launch site after an abort assessed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1969 February 3 - .
  • 12-month plan for Apollo missions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 10, Apollo 11, Apollo 12, Apollo 13, Apollo 9. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery.

    NASA Hq. released a 12-month forecast of manned space flight missions, reflecting an assessment of launch schedules for planning purposes. Five flights were scheduled for the remainder of 1969:

    • Apollo 9 - February 28, SA-504, CSM 104, LM-3; manned orbital; up to 10 days' duration; Atlantic recovery.
    • Apollo 10 - May 17, SA-505, CSM 106, LM-4; manned lunar mission, Pacific recovery.
    • Apollo 11 - SA-506, CSM 107, LM-5; manned lunar mission; up to 11 days' duration; Pacific recovery.
    • Apollo 12 - SA-507, CSM 108, LM-6; manned lunar mission; up to 11 days; Pacific recovery.
    • Apollo 13 - SA-508, CSM 109, LM-7; manned lunar mission; up to 11 days' duration; Pacific recovery.

1969 February 5 - .
  • Actions to augment Apollo successful lunar landing - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery, LM Descent Propulsion.

    The MSF Management Council, meeting at KSC, agreed that MSC would take the following actions for augmenting the capability of the Apollo system to accomplish a successful lunar landing mission and for planning further lunar exploration:

    Capability Augmentation:
    • Submit for Apollo Level I approval a plan for developing and procuring the A9L spacesuit.

    • Submit a plan to the Apollo program Director describing how the portable life support system's improvement program procurement would be done.

    • Proceed with the 1/6-g special test equipment. The plan - including scope, schedule, and cost estimates for this simulator - would be submitted to Apollo Program Director by 1 March.

    • Proceed with the engineering definition of software and hardware required to precision-land the LM at sites anywhere on the front surface of the moon.
    Lunar Exploration:
    • Submit a plan for the buildup of the cannibalized ALSEP, listing experiments to be included, the estimated cost, and delivery schedule.

    • Submit a plan for the procurement of additional ALSEPs including proposed quantities, estimated costs, and experiments.

    • Proceed to define further a CSM lunar orbital science package and a lunar polar orbit mission science package, including instruments, costs, delivery schedule, and approach to CSM integration. Costs would include instruments and spacecraft integration.

    • Proceed with the definition to increase the size of LM descent stage tanks and to improve the propellant pressurization system.

    • Submit a plan for the procurement of a constant volume suit, including a description of any further development not under contract that MSC planned to add to any present contract by change order.

    • Proceed with engineering change analysis of performance (including habitability) improvements to the CSM and LM.

1969 March 7 - .
  • Accomplishments of the space program summarized - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 9. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery, LM Ascent Propulsion, LM Descent Propulsion.

    In a report to the Administrator, the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight summed up the feeling of accomplishment as well as the problem of the space program: "The phenomenal precision and practically flawless performance of the Apollo 9 lunar module descent and ascent engines on March 7 were major milestones in the progress toward our first manned landing on the moon, and tributes to the intensive contractor and government effort that brought these two complex systems to the point of safe and reliable manned space flight. Additional Details: here....

1969 March 24 - .
  • Apollo 10 would be a lunar orbit mission - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 10, Apollo 9. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, CSM Recovery. NASA announced that Apollo 10, scheduled for launch May 18, would be a lunar orbit mission during which two astronauts would descend to within 15,240 meters of the moon's surface. . Additional Details: here....

1969 May 19 - .
  • Postlanding ventilation filter eliminated for Apollo 12 - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 11, Apollo 12. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    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.

1969 August 10 - .
1969 September 17 - .
  • Changes in Apollo mission recovery procedures recommended - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Recovery.

    The Interagency Committee on Back Contamination recommended changes in Apollo mission recovery procedures, including:

    • Elimination of the biological isolation garment and, instead, use of a mask and clean room garment for astronauts returning from lunar missions.
    • Design changes to improve the spacecraft and mobile quarantine facility tunnel operation.

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