Encyclopedia Astronautica
1959.06.25 - Study and research areas for manned flight to and from the moon


Members of the Research Steering Committee determined the study and research areas which would require emphasis for manned flight to and from the moon and for intermediate flight steps:

Lunar mission studies:

More work would be required on determining "end" vehicle weight, life-support requirements, scientific payload requirements and objectives, exploring the possibility of using the "end" vehicle configuration in intermediate flight steps, booster requirement analysis, and Mercury stretch-out capabilities.

Direct ascent versus assembly in earth orbit:

Lewis to continue Nova studies and become familiar with Army ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) work on the rendezvous approach, High Speed Flight Station (HSFS) to study operational requirements for assembly in earth orbit, and recommended for ABMA study of assembly in earth orbit.

A reliable, precisely controlled, variable-thrust engine for lunar landing. A storable propellant lunar takeoff rocket. Storage of cryogenics in space (emissivity, absorptivity, etc.).

Structural work:

A study of molybdenum coating life at higher temperatures, a contract for test specimens to expedite NASA research, emphasis on research on ablating materials suitable for low heating rates, and study of combination radiation and ablation techniques. Life support ( short term up to one month : contract study proposed.

Space suit development:

HSFS to study desired specifications.

Guidance system studies focused on the lunar mission:

Development of light but sophisticated onboard computers, data-smoothing techniques and effects on midcourse guidance accuracies, effects of gravity anomalies on initial instrumentation, terminal guidance system including retrothrust programming, and error analysis and energy requirements for the entry corridor on return to earth.

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