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CSM Structural


CSM Structural Development Diary

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CSM Structural Chronology


1961 April 10-12 - .
  • Preparation of material for the Apollo spacecraft specification discussed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection; CSM Structural. 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.

1962 April - .
  • Three major changes made by NAA in the Apollo space-suit circuit - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Three major changes were made by NAA in the Apollo space-suit circuit:

    1. The demand oxygen regulator was moved downstream of the crew to prevent a sudden drop of pressure when a crewman opened his face plate.
    2. The suit manifold would now have a pressure-controlled bypass to prevent variable flow to other crew members if one crewman increased or decreased oxygen flow. The manifold would also include a venturi in each suit-inlet connection to prevent a loss of oxygen flow to other crew members if the suit of one crewman should rupture. In this situation, the venturi would prevent the damaged suit flow out from exceeding the maximum flow of demand regulators.
    3. The circuit water evaporator and coolant loop heat exchanger of the suit were integrated into one by fluid exchange to make it smaller. A coolant-temperature control was also provided for sunlight operation on the moon.
    In addition, a suit inlet-outlet was added to the command module sleeping quarters, and the cabin fan was shifted so that it would operate as an intake fan during the post-landing phase.

1962 August 7 - .
  • Apollo BP- 25 impact test in the Pacific Ocean - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Summary: The first completed boilerplate model of the Apollo command module, BP- 25, was subjected to a one-fourth-scale impact test in the Pacific Ocean near the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor. Three additional tests were conducted on August 9..

1962 August 22 - .
  • Length of the Apollo service module increased - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Summary: The length of the Apollo service module was increased from 11 feet 8 inches to 12 feet 11 inches to provide space for additional fuel..

1962 September - .
  • Structural design of the Apollo command module 65 percent complete - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Summary: Release of the structural design of the Apollo command module was 65 percent complete; 100 percent release was scheduled for January 1 963..

1962 September - .
  • Meteoroid test and ballistic ranges established for Apollo - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1963 February 15 - .
  • North American Apollo impact test facility completed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1963 November 5 - .
  • Apollo vibration test system from LTV accepted - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.


1963 November 28-December 4 - .
  • Active thermal control system for Apollo SM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1964 October 15-22 - .
  • Castings for the Apollo CM data storage equipment to be of aluminum - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1964 October 29 - .
  • Problems of bonding the secondary structure to the Apollo CM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1964 December 10-January 7 - .
  • Tooling concepts for the Apollo Block II spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 January 11 - .
  • LC 16 to be converted to test stands for Apollo - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 January 20 - .
  • Test altitude for Apollo mission A-004 decreased - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Summary: The test altitude for mission A-004 was decreased from 22,860 to 19,507 m (75,000 to 64,000 ft) to ensure the attainment of limit loads on the CM during a tumbling power-on abort..

1965 February 16 - . 14:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I. LV Configuration: Saturn I SA-9.
  • Apollo-Model 3 - . Payload: Apollo CSM Boilerplate 16. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Decay Date: 1985-07-10 . USAF Sat Cat: 1088 . COSPAR: 1965-009B. Apogee: 736 km (457 mi). Perigee: 500 km (310 mi). Inclination: 31.7000 deg. Period: 97.06 min.

1965 March 2 - .
  • Apollo spacecraft's thermal protection could be qualified in a single mission - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 March 11-18 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Apollo boilerplate (BP) 23 failure analysis - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 March 15-17 - .
  • Acoustic tests on Apollo boilerplate 14 interior - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 April 1-8 - .
  • Nondestructive techniques for testing Apollo honeycomb structures - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 April 22 - .
  • Revisions to Apollo Mission 204A mission - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 May 1 - .
  • Engineering inspection of Apollo boilerplate 23A - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 May 4 - .
  • Preliminary flight readiness review for Apollo boilerplate (BP) 22 - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Summary: A preliminary flight readiness review was held in Houston on boilerplate (BP) 22. . Additional Details: here....

1965 May 25 - . 07:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I. LV Configuration: Saturn I SA-8.
  • Apollo-Model 4 - . Payload: Apollo CSM Boilerplate 26. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Decay Date: 1989-07-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 1385 . COSPAR: 1965-039B. Apogee: 739 km (459 mi). Perigee: 511 km (317 mi). Inclination: 31.7000 deg. Period: 97.21 min.

1965 June 5 - .
  • Apollo CSM boilerplate 22 flight would not have to be repeated - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shea. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 July 16-August 15 - .
  • Wind tunnel tests of Apollo CM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Summary: On the basis of wind tunnel tests at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), North American now considered as negligible the effects of structural protuberances on the CM's rolling moment and on propellant consumption..

1965 July 30 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I. LV Configuration: Saturn I SA-10.
  • Apollo-Model 5 - . Payload: Apollo CSM Boilerplate 9A. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Decay Date: 1975-11-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 1468 . COSPAR: 1965-060B. Apogee: 536 km (333 mi). Perigee: 521 km (323 mi). Inclination: 28.8000 deg. Period: 95.21 min.

1965 September 16-23 - .
  • Saturn flights show damage to the Apollo thermal coating - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 December 30-January 6 - .
  • Simulated Apollo CM forward bulkhead completed for magnetic hammer tests - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1965 December 30 - .
  • Apollo earth landing system qualification drop tests incomplete - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1967 January 12 - .
  • Apollo CM assembly accidents at North American plants - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. The NASA Western Support Office, Santa Monica, Calif., reported two accidents at North American plants, with no personal injuries:

    • Apollo CM 2S-1 - being hoisted into a cradled position at North American Aviation's Space and Information Systems Division, Downey, Calif. - was dropped 1.8 meters onto a concrete floor Jan. 12. The first report was that the CM apparently suffered considerable damage.
    • The S-II-5 interstage received possible structural damage when the protective metal roof covering of a handling fixture was struck during the swing opening of the six-story east door of Station 9 at the Seal Beach plant. The structural connections of the handling fixture to the interstage indicated damage. The S-II-5 interstage had been improperly parked within the swing opening of the east door.

1967 November 20 - .
  • Apollo propellant sloshing studied - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Summary: MSC asked MSFC assistance in identifying and understanding any propellant sloshing effects that might create problems in the flight test program. The greatest uncertainty was associated with the techniques for passive thermal control in nonpowered flight..

1968 January 18-19 - .
  • Review of the Apollo LM thermal vacuum test programs - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural; LM Structural. 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.)

1968 January 26 - .
  • Potential stress corrosion problem limited in the Apollo CSM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. 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.

1968 March 11 - .
  • Completion of integrated system testing of Apollo 2TV-1 - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Structural. Summary: North American Rockwell technicians at Downey completed integrated system testing on 2TV-1, the CSM thermal vacuum test vehicle. Shipment of the test article to MSC was scheduled for the end of March..

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