Encyclopedia Astronautica
1963.03.11 - A series of problems in the Paraglider Development Program culminated in the loss of a second half-scale test vehicle in a deployment flight test.


As early as October 19, 1962, budget pressure had prompted some consideration of dropping a paraglider from the Gemini Program.

Paraglider was retained but the Paraglider Development Plan was reoriented. On March 27-28, 1963, representatives of NASA and North American met to discuss several revised paraglider programs as a basis for potential redirection. At a Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) senior staff meeting on March 29, Andre J Meyer Jr., of Gemini Project Office (GPO) reported that GPO now intended to delay use of paraglider until the tenth Gemini mission, although the consensus of the Gemini Management Panel at a meeting on May 2 was that paraglider might yet be ready for spacecraft No. 7 and GPO's Quarterly Status Report for the period ending May 31, 1963, also projected the use of paraglider from flight No. 7 on. In response to an inquiry from MSC, North American reported on April 9 that funds for Contract NAS 9-167 would be exhausted by April 15, and for Contract NAS 9-539 by April 25. Paraglider was downgraded to a research and development program. All three earlier paraglider contracts where terminated; on May 5 a new letter contract, NAS 9-1484, was issued to North American to cover work on what was now called the Paraglider Landing System Program.

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