Status: Operational 1973. First Launch: 1973-05-14. Last Launch: 1973-05-14. Number: 1 . Gross mass: 76,295 kg (168,201 lb). Height: 36.12 m (118.50 ft). Span: 21.00 m (68.00 ft).
Curtailment of the Apollo moon landings meant that surplus Saturn V's were available, so the pre-equipped, five times heavier, and much more capable Skylab resulted.
The external solar/meteoroid shield ripped off during ascent, tearing away one solar panel wing and debris jamming the remaining panel. Without the shield internal temperatures soared to 52 deg C. Launch of the first crew was delayed for 10 days to develop procedures and crew training to make the workshop habitable. Repairs by subsequent crews led to virtually all mission objectives being met. It was intended that the station would be revisited and boosted to a higher orbit on the third flight of the space shuttle. But delays in the shuttle program and higher-than-anticipated atmospheric drag led to the station decaying from orbit well before the first shuttle launch. Skylab re-entered the earth's atmosphere amid worldwide hysteria on 11 July 1979, with chunks of the disintegrating space station crashing over a wide area of Australia.
Skylab's scientific payloads included:
From fore to aft, Skylab was made up of the following modules, each with their own development history and heritage from the earlier Orbital Workshop and Apollo Applications Program: MDA Multiple Docking Adapter: 5.2 m x 3.05 ft diameter / ATM Apollo Telescope Mount: 3.96 m x 3.05 ft diameter / AM Airlock Module: 5.49 m x 3.05 ft diameter / IU Instrument Unit: 0.9 m x 2.04 m diameter / OWS Orbital Workshop: 14.6 m x 6.7 ft diameter.
Crew Size: 3. Orbital Storage: 730 days. Habitable Volume: 361.00 m3. RCS Coarse No x Thrust: Reaction wheels. Electric System: 11.00 average kW.
NASA NSSDC Master Catalog Description
The Skylab (SL) was a manned, orbiting spacecraft composed of five parts, the Apollo telescope mount (ATM), the multiple docking adapter (MDA), the airlock module (AM), the instrument unit (IU), and the orbital workshop (OWS). The Skylab was in the form of a cylinder, with the ATM being positioned 90 deg from the longitudinal axis after insertion into orbit. The ATM was a solar observatory, and it provided attitude control and experiment pointing for the rest of the cluster. It was attached to the MDA and AM at one end of the OWS. The retrieval and installation of film used in the ATM was accomplished by astronauts during extravehicular activity (EVA). The MDA served as a dock for the command and service modules, which served as personnel taxis to the Skylab. The AM provided an airlock between the MDA and the OWS, and contained controls and instrumentation. The IU, which was used only during launch and the initial phases of operation, provided guidance and sequencing functions for the initial deployment of the ATM, solar arrays, etc. The OWS was a modified Saturn 4B stage suitable for long duration manned habitation in orbit. It contained provisions and crew quarters necessary to support three-person crews for periods of up to 84 days each. All parts were also capable of unmanned, in-orbit storage, reactivation, and reuse. The Skylab itself was launched on May 14, 1973. It was first manned during the period May 25 to June 22, 1973, by the crew of the SL-2 mission (73-032A). Next, it was manned during the period July 28 to September 25, 1973, by the crew of the SL-3 mission (73-050A). The final manned period was from November 16, 1973, to February 8, 1974, when it was manned by the crew from the SL-4 mission (73-090A).
The total budget for Skylab was approximately $2,147,100,000.
|Apollo ATM American manned space station. Study 1966. The Apollo Telescope Mount began as a solar telescope built into the spaceframe of an Apollo lunar module.|
|S-IVB IU American manned space station module. One launch, 1973.05.14. Used for guidance during orbital insertion only.|
|Skylab MDA American manned space station module. One launch, 1973.05.14. Docking module for two CSM, one ATM.|
|Skylab AM American manned space station module. One launch, 1973.05.14. Airlock for EVA's, mounting of STS and TNL.|
|Skylab ATM American manned space station module. One launch, 1973.05.14. Solar Telescope module.|
|Skylab OWS American manned space station module. One launch, 1973.05.14. Main laboratory.|
|Orbital Workshop American manned space station. Study 1965. The Orbital Workshop (OWS) was a 1960's NASA program to create an embryonic space station in orbit using the spent S-IVB rocket stage of a Saturn IB.|
|Saturn II Stage Wet Workshop American manned space station. Study 1964. Wernher von Braun made a rough sketch of a space station based on fitting out of an expended Saturn II stage in orbit on 24 November 1964.|
|S-IVB Advanced Station American manned space station. Study 1970. Follow-on to Skylab proposed by Douglas. The station would still use the S-IVB stage as the basis, but would be much more extensively outfitted for larger crews.|
|Skylab Lunar Orbit Station American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1970. McDonnell Douglas (Seal Beach, CA) did a study on modifying the to modify the Skylab as a moon-orbiting observatory and station|
|Skylab 2 Record flight duration. Crew had to conduct major repairs to get damaged station in operation. Astronaut flung into space during release of solar wing. High temperatures in station brought down by deployment of sunshade.|
|Skylab 3 Installed twin pole solar shield on EVA; performed major inflight maintenance; doubled record for length of time in space. Leaks in Apollo CSM thrusters led to preparation of a rescue mission. Decided to make landing with faulty thrusters instead.|
|Skylab Rescue Influenced by the stranded Skylab crew portrayed in the book and movie 'Marooned', NASA provided a crew rescue capability for the only time in its history. Prepared for launch during Skylab 3. Scrubbed, Skylab 3 made landing with faulty thrusters instead.|
|Skylab 4 Record flight duration. Final Skylab mission; included observation and photography of Comet Kohoutek among numerous experiments. Rebellion by crew against NASA Ground Control overtasking led to none of the crew ever flying again.|
|Skylab AMU American space mobility device, tested 1973. One of several extravehicular mobility devices tested by the Skylab astronauts within the spacious station.|
|Skylab 5 After completion of the three programmed Skylab flights, NASA considered using the remaining backup Saturn IB and Apollo CSM to fly a fourth manned mission to Skylab. It would have been a short 20 day mission - the CSM systems would not have powered down.|
|Skylab AME American space mobility device, tested 1974. Another of the EVA maneuvering units tested by the Skylab astronauts within the capacious station.|
|Skylab B After the completion of Apollo, Skylab, and ASTP programs there was still significant Apollo surplus hardware. Plans to use it were cancelled; an opportunity to launch an International Space Station, at a tenth the cost and twenty years earlier, was lost.|
|STS-2A Planned shuttle mission to reboost Skylab space station to higher orbit for use by shuttle. Before the first shuttle flew, Skylab burned up in the atmosphere and crashed into the Australian outback on July 11, 1979.|
|Skylab Reboost Module American logistics spacecraft. Cancelled 1980. Module developed for Shuttle to deliver to Skylab to boost it to a higher orbit for use during the Shuttle program.|
Credit: Manufacturer Image
Artist's concept of Skylab space station cluster in Earth's orbit
Artist's concept illustrating cutaway view of Skylab 1 Orbital Workshop (OWS)
Artist's concept illustrating cutaway view of Skylab 1 Orbital Workshop (OWS)
Artist's concept illustrating cutaway view of Skylab 1 Orbital Workshop (OWS)
Artist's concept illustrating cutaway view of Skylab multiple docking adapter
Artist's concept illustrating cutaway view of Skylab Apollo Telescope Mount
Artist's concept illustrating cutaway view of Skylab Airlock Module
Double exposure to illustrate size difference between Skylab 1 and 2
Cutaway of the Skylab space station.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: © Mark Wade
Apollo CSM with Launch Escape Tower
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Apollo CSM Interior|
Interior of the Apollo Command Service Module on display at Kennedy Space Centre, Florida.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: Manufacturer Image
Credit: Manufacturer Image
Artist's concept illustrating cutaway view of Apollo Telescope Mount
View of Skylab Saturn IB Launch Configuration Complex 39B at KSC
Rendezvous and Fly Around Inspection of Skylab I Orbital Space Station
Rendezvous and Fly Around Inspection of Skylab I Orbital Space Station
Skylab 2 Crewmember During EVA to Repair and Deploy Damaged Solar Panel
Skylab 2 Farewell View from the Departing Skylab Command/Service Module
Skylab 2 Farewell View from the Departing Skylab Command/Service Module
Skylab 2 Farewell View from the Departing Skylab Command/Service Module
View of the Skylab space station cluster photographed against black sky
View of the Skylab space station cluster photographed against black sky
View of the Skylab space station cluster photographed against black sky
View of Arabella, one of two Skylab spiders and her web
Skylab Astronaut participates in EVA to deploy twin pole solar shield
Dummy left behind by Skylab 3 crew for the Skylab 4 crew
Hurricane Ellen over the Atlantic Ocean taken by Skylab 3 crewmen
Launch of the Skylab 4/Saturn 1B space vehicle
Astronaut Edward Gibson stands at Apollo Telescope Mount in Skylab
Skylab 4 crewmen passing trash bags in to the OWS waste disposal tank
View of Skylab 4 Command/Service module in docked configuration
Astronaut Gerald Carr during EVA on Skylab 4
View of a South Pacific storm photographed from Skylab space station
View of portion of Queensland, Australia from Skylab space station
View of Melbourne, Australia as seen from Skylab space station
Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director for Systems, Office of Manned Space Flight, solicited suggestions from each of the Headquarters' Program Offices and the various NASA Centers on the potential uses and experiments for a manned space station. Such ideas, Shea explained, would help determine whether adequate justification existed for such a space laboratory, either as a research center in space or as a functional satellite. Additional Details: here....
MSC researchers compiled a preliminary statement of work for a manned space station study program in anticipation of study contracts to be let to industry for a supportive study. The study requirements outlined the general scope of such investigations and suggested guidelines for research areas such as configurations, onboard spacecraft systems, and operational techniques. Ideally, studies by aerospace companies would help NASA formulate a logical approach for a space station program and how it might be implemented. Throughout the study, an overall objective would be simplicity: no artificial gravity and maximum use of existing launch vehicles and spacecraft systems to achieve the earliest possible launch date.
Addressing an Institute of Aerospace Science meeting in New York, George von Tiesenhausen, Chief of Future Studies at NASA's Launch Operations Center, stated that by 1970 the United States would need an orbiting space station to launch and repair spacecraft. The station could also serve as a manned scientific laboratory. In describing the 91-m-long, 10-m-diameter structure, von Tiesenhausen said that the station could be launched in two sections using Saturn C-5 vehicles. The sections would be joined once in orbit.
In a meeting with a number of people from MSC's Spacecraft Technology and Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Divisions, J. E. Clair from Bendix Eclipse-Pioneer Division gave a progress report on the company's study of stabilization techniques for high-resolution telescopes aboard manned space vehicles (work done under a contract awarded 9 November 1962). In part, MSC's purpose w as to ensure that Bendix's study reflect the Center's current definition of space stations. Clair and the MSC contingent explored a number of technical problems for different vehicle configurations, including pointing accuracy, fields of view, and physical location aboard the vehicle.
A study to recommend, define, and substantiate a logical approach for establishing a rotating manned orbital research laboratory for a Saturn V launch vehicle was made for MSC. The study was performed by the Lockheed-California Company, Burbank, California. It was based on the proposition that a large rotating space station would be one method by which the United States could maintain its position as a leader in space technology. Additional Details: here....
A background briefing for the press regarding astronomy programs was held in Washington. Nancy Roman, who directed the agency's astronomy activities, disclosed that NASA was studying the feasibility of a manned orbiting telescope. Although the telescope would be designed to operate automatically, man would adjust its focus, collect film packets, and make any necessary repairs. The space agency had already invited members of the scientific community to propose astronomical studies suitable for use in space, and several NASA centers were performing related engineering support studies.
LaRC announced award of a 10-month contract to The Boeing Company to study the feasibility of designing and launching a manned orbital telescope and to investigate ways in which such an astronomical observatory might be operated, particularly the role that man might play in scientific observations. The study presumed that the telescope would be operated in conjunction with the proposed Manned Orbital Research Laboratory being investigated by Langley.
As part of MSFC's activities related to the AES program, designers at the Center began serious investigation of the concept of an S-IVB Orbital Workshop (OWS). This concept, which involved 'in- orbit' conversion of a spent S-IVB stage to a shelter suitable for extended stay and utilization by man, showed great potential for experiment work during the Earth-orbital phase of the AES program. Accordingly, MSFC officials planned a four-month conceptual design effort, to begin immediately, with help and participation from both MSC and the S-IVB stage builder, Douglas Aircraft Company. Additional Details: here....
During several visits to MSC, NASA Administrator James E. Webb raised a number of technical and policy questions relating to programs and management practices. Webb seemed particularly concerned about the difficulty of getting the program offices at Headquarters and the Centers to take an active interest in NASA's potential influence in the national economy and world affairs. Additional Details: here....
First coordination meeting on the S-IVB Orbital Workshop and related Apollo Applications Program activities. MSC and MSFC program officials and engineers held their first coordination meeting on the S-IVB Orbital Workshop and related Apollo Applications Program experiment activities. Among the most significant results of this meeting was a request by Houston for inclusion of an artificial gravity experiment as part of the S-IVB command and service module concept of the Workshop. MSFC officials undertook to define the feasibility of such an experiment, examining several possible technical approaches (including cables a concept that MSC found less shall appealing). MSFC investigators also sought help from LaRC, where considerable work along this line had been done as part of that Center's MORL study program.
John H. Disher, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director, requested the Manned Space Flight Management Operations Director to officially change the designation of the Saturn IB/Centaur Office to Saturn Applications. This change, Disher said, reflected the change in status of the office and provided for necessary management of potential Saturn Applications such as the Saturn V/Voyager by the Office of Manned Space Flight. However, on the same day, Disher ordered E. F. O'Connor at MSFC to halt all Saturn IB/Centaur efforts (except those already underway that could not be recalled) and disapproved the request for an additional $1.1 million for the program. (Any funds required for definition of a Saturn V/Voyager mission, he said, would be authorized separately.)
George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun discussed Marshall's briefing on the S-IVB Workshop concept presented at Headquarters the previous day. Mueller asked that MSFC formulate a program development plan and present it at the next meeting of the Manned Space Flight Management Council. Specifically, Mueller demanded that the plan include experiments to be carried aboard the Workshop; funding arrangements; and where development work should be done (in house, or elsewhere). In addition, he asked that MSFC submit two such plans, one for the unpressurized and another for the pressurized version of the Workshop. In effect, Mueller gave Marshall the 'green light' to begin the Orbital Workshop program. At von Braun's request, the Workshop received the status of a separate project, with William Ferguson as Project Manager.
At the December Manned Space Flight Management Council meeting, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller voiced a desire to have McDonnell examine the feasibility of using Gemini subsystems on an airlock experiment in conjunction with the Apollo Applications Program S-IVB Workshop concept. Accordingly, F. L. Williams of the Advanced Systems Office at MSFC solicited the assistance of MSC s Gemini Program Manager, Charles W. Mathews (since his office had procurement responsibility for Gemini), in getting McDonnell to conduct such an analysis. Williams stated that several designs needed investigation and that, of all Gemini hardware, the environmental control system and perhaps the fuel cells would be incorporated into the airlock design. In order to discuss technical details, he asked whether Mathews might arrange a briefing at Huntsville as soon as possible, since deadlines for presenting final experiment plans to Headquarters were most pressing.
Homer E. Newell, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, announced opportunities for study grants to competent astronomers for conceptual and preliminary design work leading to instrumentation to be flown in the 1969-1975 period. A description of the Apollo telescope mount was included.
MSFC issued requests for proposals to the aerospace industry for definition studies of integrating experiment hardware into AAP space vehicles. MSFC issued requests for proposals to the aerospace industry for definition studies of integrating experiment hardware into AAP space vehicles-i.e., payload integration in the Apollo lunar module, the Saturn instrument unit, and the S-IVB stage of the Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles. Following evaluation of the proposals, MSFC would select two or more firms for negotiation of nine-month study contracts to be managed by Huntsville as the Center responsible for payload integration of this portion of AAP. (MSC was responsible for payload integration of the Apollo CSM.)
National Academy of Sciences report outlining research objectives in lunar and planetary exploration for the 1970s and early 1980s. The Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences issued a report outlining research objectives in lunar and planetary exploration for the 1970s and early 1980s. The report affirmed earlier recommendations by the Space Science Board to NASA that unmanned exploration of Mars should have first priority in the post- Apollo space era. Secondary importance was assigned to detailed investigation of the lunar surface and to unmanned Venus probes. Clearly, the report reflected a predominant mood within the scientific community that scientific research in space take predominance over manned programs whose chief objectives, said the report, were 'other than scientific.' Additional Details: here....
In a letter to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, summarized his views of specific AAP objectives within the broader context of future manned space flight and national space goals. AAP, Mueller stated, would provide a foundation for the next major American space effort. Specifically, AAP would provide the experience of extended lunar explorations and long-duration manned operations in Earth orbit through resupply and in-orbit assembly. These objectives he saw as 'logical extensions of the planned Gemini and Apollo accomplishments' that would contribute significantly to the broader goals of United States preeminence in space and of using space for the benefit of mankind. Mueller foresaw that AAP could be shaped to achieve a number of benefits and applications: Improved weather forecasting with attendant benefits for agriculture and industry Improved communications satellites through periodic manned maintenance Improved Earth resources remote sensing and management Solution of air pollution problems Establishment of astronomical observatories in space and on the Moon to explore fundamental questions of the origins on the solar system and of life on Earth Research in the hard vacuum of space on specific materials technology and processes And, finally, Mueller prophesied that AAP could support the international posture of the United States through advances in science and technology and would strengthen America's national security.
MSFC submitted its response to the call from Headquarters for project management proposals for the Apollo telescope mount (ATM). The plan summarized Marshall's developmental work on ATM-type systems so far and contained specific technical and managerial concepts for implementing the ATM project. Of all its inherent strengths and capabilities, the Center emphasized the talents concentrated in the Research Projects Laboratory under Ernst Stuhlinger, the scientific arm of the Center.
Maurice J. Raffensperger, Director of Manned Earth Orbital Mission Studies at NASA Hq, summarized the outcome of discussions and agreements between Washington and the Centers regarding the S-IVB Workshop project: MSFC had overall responsibility for the Workshop system design and integration, with a design objective of a 30-day flight capability. The Gemini office at MSC had contractual and design responsibility for the airlock module, using basic Gemini components where feasible. (It was anticipated that McDonnell Aircraft Corporation would be the logical contractor.) Also, MSC would manage the CSM portion of the Workshop concept. MSFC was responsible for implementing the S- IVB Workshop experiment program and integrating experiments into the Workshop. Raffensperger called for compilation of a Workshop planning document (something like a short version of a preliminary project development plan) so that NASA Hq could proceed with steps for authorization and definitive implementation of the project.
A team of engineers from Douglas Aircraft Company, headed by Jack Bromberg, presented a technical briefing and cost proposal to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller on the company's design on the airlock for the AAP. Mueller observed that Douglas' idea for a 30-day capability seemed technically sound. He expressed strong interest in the AAP spent-stage experiment because it would establish a solid basis for space station requirements and definition. However, he cautioned that he had not received definite approval from either the Administrator, James E. Webb, or his deputy, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on the spent-stage concept and admitted that he had 'some selling to do.'
MSC planners drew up and submitted to NASA Hq the Center's procurement plan for an S-IVB Workshop experiment support module. The components of such an experiment comprised an Apollo CSM, an S-IVB stage, and a support module interconnect, which MSC proposed to award to McDonnell for development. MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth urged speedy action on the proposal and by the contractor because of the necessity for early definition of hardware interfaces, as well as impending phaseout of the Gemini and subcontractor efforts.
At Headquarters, the directors of the program offices presented to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and members of the Administrator's top staff a joint briefing and summary of NASA's total agency-wide AAP effort. In reviewing their presentation, Seamans emphasized three cardinal tenets regarding AAP planning: (1) The Apollo lunar landing remained the top priority and must not be compromised by any AAP activity. (2) All changes to any Apollo hardware for AAP missions had to be approved personally by either the Administrator or Seamans. Consequently, all mission planning had to be precise and definite and would be referred to Webb or Seamans for action or approval. All procurement actions would be handled in the same fashion. (3) The directors were to devise 'a clear and defensible rationale' for MP missions. Seamans reported to Administrator James E. Webb the basic findings of the 11 March review: Largely because of limited resources, the pacing item in AAP was selection and development of experiments and packages to meet the earliest possible flight dates. (Although many possible experiments were being studied, only two minor AAP experiments so far had actually been committed to development. Also, some alternatives, such as use of Gemini and Apollo experiments and inhouse development of experiment packages, had been examined with an eye toward early experiment availability.) Three leading candidates existed for alternate AAP missions: (1) an extensive lunar mapping program (beyond the needs of Apollo); (2) adaptation of lunar mapping equipment for Earth survey (though 'serious interagency problems' had to be resolved before such a mission could be planned in detail); and (3) the ATM which, because of its scientific value and compatibility with the basic Apollo system, had received top priority for definition and development by the Office of Space Science and Applications (however, serious fiscal problems remained in light of the ATM's estimated total cost of about $69 million).
Homer E. Newell, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, asked for approval of the ATM project from Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The ATM, Newell explained, was based on an engineering and definition study effort completed 1 April by Ball Brothers Research Corporation, as well as evaluation of the concept by four NASA Field Centers-LaRC, Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), MSFC, and MSC. The Ball Brothers Research Corporation study had been let in September 1965, said Newell, to determine means of providing an accurate pointing capability for high-resolution solar- oriented telescopes aboard an Apollo spacecraft. Further impetus to ATM had come from the agency's cancellation of the Advanced Orbiting Solar Observatory at the end of 1965. The ATM, he said, provided the means to obtain high-resolution data about the Sun during periods of maximum solar activity and served as a basis for evaluating ability to operate as an essential element within a complete manned space science system. The need for quick project approval and hardware development had been recognized by all participating parties, Newell explained, and Goddard Space Flight Center, MSFC, and MSC had all expressed 'deep interest and desire' to manage the project. However, after review within his office, he had decided to select Goddard as the most suitable location for development of the ATM. Accordingly, he asked Seamans to approve the project development plan.
Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews urged upon Edward Z. Gray, Director of Advanced Manned Missions, the necessity of proceeding immediately with certain phases of the S IVB spent-stage experiment effort. Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews urged upon Edward Z. Gray, Director of Advanced Manned Missions, the necessity of proceeding immediately with certain phases of the S IVB spent-stage experiment effort, particularly the McDonnell procurement for the spent-stage experiment support module and the North American study of modifications to the CSM. The situation at McDonnell was especially acute, said Mathews, because of impending phaseout of the Gemini program; also, certain information on the CSM was needed to define the efforts of both contractors on interfacing and spacecraft modifications. In view of these factors, Mathews asked Gray for approval to proceed with the definition and study efforts.
Among these would be three 'S-IVB/Spent-Stage Experiment Support Modules' (i.e., 'wet' Workshops), three Saturn V-boosted orbital laboratories, and four Apollo telescope mounts. The initial AAP launch was slated for April 1968. The schedule was predicated upon non-interference with the basic Apollo lunar landing program, minimum modifications to basic Apollo hardware, and compatibility with existing Apollo launch vehicles.
Requests for proposals to Douglas, Grumman, and McDonnell to undertake definition studies on the Saturn S IVB spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM). Acting upon authority granted by Headquarters and approval of MSC's statement of work, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC Gemini Program Deputy Manager, informed officials in Washington and Huntsville that Houston had presented requests for proposals to Douglas, Grumman, and McDonnell to undertake definition studies on the Saturn S IVB spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM). Study contracts were issued 18 April. The contractors were ordered to submit definitive statements of work within 60 days proposing a fixed price for one module (with an option for three additional modules). Under these initial study contracts, spacecraft hardware already flight-qualified would be used wherever practicable.
In response to a request from Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher asked Jerry McCall, MSFC' Deputy Director for Research and Development Operations, to prepare cost and schedule estimates for 'MSFC to integrate the ATM with the LEM. This request stemmed from a desire by the Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) to acquire ATM experiment data during upcoming periods of maximum solar activity. Disher listed guidelines for the MSFC estimates: OSSA-desired flight dates were April 1968, February 1969, and February 1970. Goddard Space Flight Center would be responsible for development of experiments aboard the ATM, as well as for the mounting structure and thermal provisions. MSFC would be responsible for development of modification kits to convert all Apollo lunar-landing-configured LEM to an AAP laboratory configuration (including provisions for reuse after three to six mouths storage in orbit); for development of interface modification kits needed to integrate the ATM and its experiments with the AAP LEM laboratory; and for installation of the modification kits and the ATM system in the LEM at KSC prior to checkout and launch. In addition, Disher told McCall that MSFC should examine two approaches to ATM LEM integration: (1) gimbal mounted and (2) hard mounted with provisions for momentum transfer for fine pointing control.
Evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space. Associate Administrator for Manned Space Fight George E. Mueller informed Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of the Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Office's evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space. The proposal was feasible, Mueller advised, but did not seem a desirable mission for inclusion in the AAP. Additional Details: here....
Development competition for the ATM delayed until the AAP funding picture for the next two fiscal years became clearer. NASA Deputy Director Robert C. Seamans, Jr., told Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell that he had no choice but to delay initiation of development competition on the ATM until the AAP funding picture for the next two fiscal years became clearer. Because he had been unable to identify any source for the funds that would be required for the project during Fiscal Year 1967, Seamans said, 'I am extremely reluctant to start a competition in industry at a time when we cannot see our way clear to proceeding in a timely fashion.' On the other hand, he said he recognized Newell's deep interest in the ATM project and its scientific value and he was ready to proceed with advanced study work. Accordingly, he said he had signed the sole source award to Ball Brothers Research Corporation to study adapting the ATM for automatic observations in orbit beyond the basic 14-day manned mission and to study adapting the ATM to the Apollo lunar module (LM) for extended manned operations. Seamans expressed his own conviction that, to meet the objectives of the AAP mission at the earliest possible time, it would be best to mount the ATM directly on the Apollo command and service modules. If the present fiscal problem precluded such an arrangement, he told Newell, the agency would then be in a better position at a later date to decide whether the ATM should be included as part of the LM or whether some alternate approach should be used.
MSC Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton and several astronauts (notably Joseph P. Kerwin) voiced concern regarding the purposes and proposed work statement for the S-IVB spent-stage experiment support module. As well as pointing out the general lack of experiment planning and hardware, Slayton and Kerwin noted a member of operational and safety concerns surrounding purging the stage's hydrogen tank to create a habitable structure in space.
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller held a major technical planning session on the AAP with principal Headquarters AAP officials and representatives of the three manned spacecraft Centers. The more fundamental programmatic and design decisions included the concept of a 'dependent' spent- stage experiment support module (SSESM) and S-IVB Workshop (i.e., fuel cells in the CSM would support the entire vehicle); a process by which expendables in the SSESM would be fed to the CSM via external umbilicals; and development of extended-duration fuel cell assemblies for long-duration synchronous and lunar orbit AAP missions. Also, Mueller reaffirmed an early 1968 schedule for availability of the first SSESM; that the first flight article would be a simple structure with no 'follow-on goodies' (such as dual docking capabilities); an unmanned SSESM launch; CSM SSESM orbital stay times of 14 days, with the capability to extend the Rights to 28-day missions; and that the current SSESM definition studies at MSC must produce design specifications adequate for a fixed-price phase II contract to build the first flight article.
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller officially named Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Gemini Program Deputy Manager at MSC, to head the Source Evaluation Board (SEB) for the S IVB spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM). Mueller personally charged Kleinknecht with undertaking this task;, since the SEB had been created before formal approval of either the project or the procurement plans. Under these circumstances, Mueller cautioned Kleinknecht and the Board to avoid any commitment that NASA would pursue the phase II part of the effort or even that one of the phase I contractors would be selected if and when the project were approved. Also, Mueller reminded him of the compressed schedule requirements and limited resources immediately available for the SSESM project. Thus, said Mueller, emphasis should be placed Upon costing and firm schedule commitments on the part of the contractor. The SSESM technical concept and design must be adequate to meet mission requirements, but no cost or schedule penalties should be accepted for 'unnecessary design refinements.''
The newly created Source Evaluation Board for the SSESM held its first meeting, and members made tours of the three study contractors' plants. All three study contractors had completed preliminary design work< and were currently examining design details critical to weight and costs. Program officials already had impressed upon the three firms the crucial importance of low cost. Further, they had been told to concentrate on the SSESM configuration and were requested to study use of cryogenics in the SSESM for reactivation of the SSESM/S IVB Workshop during subsequent flights.
Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell renewed his request for approval of ATM development to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. (See 17 March 1966). Newell repeated that detailed studies in house and under contract had established the feasibility of an ATM for conducting high-resolution observations of the Sun. He pointed out that a formal ATM organization had been created at Goddard Space Flight Center with over 30 people working full time on the project, and that they had prepared detailed scientific, technical, and management plans and were ready to begin the project immediately . Newell emphasized the importance of the ATM to the overall NASA solar physics program. Cancellation of the Advanced Orbiting Solar Observatory project, he said, left the Orbiting Solar Observation as the only approved program devoted to solar physics and that spacecraft did not have the technical capability to carry out the high-resolution studies so urgently needed. Newell pleaded for project approval and assignment of necessary funds to his office so that the ATM could be completed in time for a planned launch in 1969, the next period of maximum solar activity.
Evaluation of the proposals for the spent-stage experiment support module expected from Douglas, McDonnell, and Grumman. In preparation for upcoming evaluation of spent-stage experiment support module proposals, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Chairman of the SEB, established Technical and Business Management Committees to conduct actual evaluations. Kleinknecht expected that evaluation of the proposals due 17 June would begin as soon as they were received from the initial study contractors, Douglas, McDonnell, and Grumman.
MSC concern over several crew-safety factors regarding the suitability of the S-IVB hydrogen tank as a habitable structure to support the SSESM program. Reflecting MSC's concern over several crew-safety factors regarding the suitability of the S-IVB hydrogen tank as a habitable structure to support the SSESM program, Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews requested that officials at MSFC determine the compatibility of pressurization oxygen with possible out-gassing hydrogen and the possible effects on electrical cabling. Mathews desired such information as soon as possible, since results of this investigation would affect contractor efforts on the SSESM project. (See entry, 6 May 1966.)
In a memorandum to Headquarters staff members, Advanced Manned Missions Program Director Edward Z. Gray summarized the three separate study efforts underway within NASA directed toward evaluating the S-IVB stage as a manned laboratory: (1) The spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM) study, a joint effort by MSC and MSFC. (2) A spent S-IVB-stage utilization study at MSFC. (3) A Saturn V single-launch space station. Additional Details: here....
NASA leaders make several significant program decisions affecting AAP and post-Apollo development planning. Meeting at Headquarters, Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, and Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell made several significant program decisions affecting AAP and post-Apollo development planning in general: MSFC would be the lead Center for developing the ATM and would be responsible for all astronomy experiments. MSFC would be the lead Center for 'lunar engineering'-i.e., design and development of lunar exploration vehicles (including surface modules, supply trucks, and roving vehicles). MSC would have responsibility for Earth resources and lunar scientific experiments.
Under the agency's 'phased project planning,' any decision to begin ATM hardware development must await preliminary design study and evaluation at Marshall. But as conceived at this stage, the ATM would comprise several high-resolution solar telescopes attached to the Apollo spacecraft, to be operated by scientist-astronauts. Subsequently, ATM experiments contracts also were transferred from Goddard Space Flight Center to Huntsville.
Headquarters management responsibility for development of the S-IVB Orbital Workshop and SSESM assigned to David M. Jones. George E. Mueller, Associate Director for Manned Space Flight, officially assigned Headquarters management responsibility for development of the S-IVB Orbital Workshop and SSESM to David M. Jones, Acting Saturn/Apollo Applications Program (S/AAP) Director. Experiments as a part of the SSESM and Workshop programs, Mueller said, would still be processed through the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board for approval.
Following the decision to assign development responsibility for the ATM project to MSFC the manned space flight organization had concentrated its efforts on selecting the best location for the ATM within the Apollo spacecraft. Following the decision of Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to assign development responsibility for the ATM project to MSFC (see 11 July 1966), the manned space flight organization had concentrated its efforts on selecting the best location for the ATM within the Apollo spacecraft. Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller informed Seamans of their recommendation and requested his approval that the ATM be mounted within the LM. Mueller cited the design tradeoffs that led to this recommendation, the foremost being that the LM-mounted ATM, modified for storage and reuse in orbit, offered the greatest potential for meeting ATM performance requirements and experiment objectives, including the possibility of manned operation while detached from the CSM and thus free from external disturbances during fine pointing operations. (Other possible installation locations considered but rejected were an empty bay of the service module; a specially built rack for the ATM that would be launched inside the adapter section where the LM normally rested; and inside the spent-stage experiment support module.) Mueller stated that the LM-mounted ATM could be accomplished with programmed funds using MSFC in-house effort. Also, the system would include use of the LaRC-developed control moment gyro system for fine pointing control.
George M. Low summarized MSC's thinking regarding proper location of the ATM with the AAP payload configuration. Low affirmed Houston's approval of the recent assignment of total responsibility for the ATM to MSFC (an assignment that MSC had supported from the outset). The most important task now was to 'get on with the ATM in a most expeditious manner so that we can demonstrate once and for all that there is a major place for science and applications in manned space flight.' Further, Low said, getting on with the job meant 'making Marshall's job as simple and as straightforward as possible.' Because of extremely complex technical and managerial interfaces, the benefits of total systems responsibility at MSFC would be lost if the ATM were mounted on an Apollo LM. 'We frankly don't believe that the job can be done in this manner in any reasonable length of time,' he said. For much the same reasons, MSC also withdrew earlier recommendations that the ATM could be located in a sector of the service module or in the spent-stage experiment support module. Rather, he urged that the ATM be integrated into a self-contained rack; fitted into the adapter area and launched aboard a single vehicle along with the CSM. Low cited a number of specific objections to Headquarters' recommendation that the ATM be in the LM, even though the approach was technically feasible and offered several important advantages. Nonetheless, he repeated his view that operational factors, technical and managerial interfaces, and cost and schedule considerations all favored a rack-mounted approach. Crew safety factors alone were ample justification for such an approach, and he urged that Headquarters and MSFC proceed with such a design at the earliest possible date.
Choice of location for the ATM narrowed down either to the LM ascent stage or to a specially designed rack structure completely supplanting the LM. John H. Disher, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director, advised his Systems Engineering Director that, on the basis of studies and review within both the OMSF and the OSSA, the choice of location for the ATM had been narrowed down either to the LM ascent stage (with a 'half rack' in place of the descent stage) or to a specially designed rack structure completely supplanting the LM. Disher requested additional information on both of these approaches to help in making final recommendations: (1) A comparison of command and service modules interfaces for the two concepts. (2) An analysis of interfaces between the LM rack and the ascent stage. (3) Descriptions of the subsystem installations for both the LM ATM and rack ATM.
George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, advised Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of progress toward selecting the proper location of the ATM with the AAP payload cluster and requested his approval of the preliminary project development plan. Mueller. urged proceeding immediately with the project based upon mounting the ATM on a rack structure that would (1) either supplant the descent stage of the LM (thus using the LM ascent stage for mounting experiment consoles and for supporting the crew during periods of observation) or (2) attach directly to the Apollo CSM. Mueller recommended beginning development work on the ATM project immediately, rather than deferring such action until the end of the year, in order to ensure flight readiness during the 1968-1969 period of maximum solar activity. Also, Mueller strongly supported Seamans' suggestion that much in-house effort and manpower at MSFC could be brought to bear on the ATM development program. Indeed, Mueller stated that such a course was essential to successful prosecution of the ATM project within available resources, even though several important industrial contracts for ATM components were still necessary.
S-IVB airlock module (AM) experiment planned as part of the dual-launch Apollo-Saturn 209-210 mission. George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, recommended to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., that NASA proceed with its procurement effort on an S-IVB airlock module (AM) experiment as part of the dual-launch Apollo-Saturn 209-210 mission. The AM, to replace a LM aboard one of the vehicles, was to serve as the module affording a docking adapter at one end to permit CSM docking and at the other end a sealed connection to a hatch in the spent S-IVB stage of the rocket. Additional Details: here....
Based on confirmation during discussion with Melvin Savage of NASA Hq, MSC Gemini Program Deputy Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht advised of changes in hardware nomenclature for the Apollo Applications Program: The S-IVB spent-stage experiment was now the Orbital Workshop. The spent-stage experiment support module was now the airlock module. The spent S IVB was now the Orbital S-IVB.
Selection of McDonnell to manufacture an AM for AAP to permit astronauts to enter the empty hydrogen tank of a spent S-IVB Saturn stage. NASA announced selection of McDonnell to manufacture an AM Airlock Module for AAP to permit astronauts to enter the empty hydrogen tank of a spent S-IVB Saturn stage. The AM would form an interstage between the spent rocket stage and the Apollo CSM and would contain environmental and life support systems to make the structure habitable in space. Though MSFC had project responsibility for the complete Orbital Workshop, technical and management responsibility for the AM rested with the AAP office at MSC. Contract negotiations with McDonnell were completed in mid-September. Because design of the AM would employ existing Gemini technology and hardware where feasible, MSC Gemini Deputy Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht detailed a number of people from his office to support the AM project.
Approval to proceed with development and procurement actions to conduct one AAP ATM flight on missions 211/212. NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., notified George E. Mueller of approval to proceed with development and procurement actions to conduct one AAP ATM flight on missions 211/212 (as an alternate to the basic Apollo mission assigned to those two vehicles). Since only one ATM flight was thus far approved, Seamans emphasized the importance of focusing all project effort on meeting the existing SA 211/212 schedule. Seamans asked that he be kept fully informed of all major decisions during the system definition phase of the ATM project. He cited a number of points of particular interest: the design concept for the ATM and its rationale; experiments planned for the mission (especially on the assumption of a single ATM flight); operational concepts; procurement phasing with the option for a follow-on ATM if resources permitted; organizational, procurement, and management approaches for the mission; and schedule options available if SA 211 and 212 became available for an alternate ATM mission.
Mission requirements for the Saturn/Apollo Applications 209 mission, a 28-day, manned, Earth-orbital flight. NASA Hq Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Office defined mission requirements and Center responsibilities to successfully carry out a Saturn/Apollo Applications 209 mission, a 28-day, manned, Earth-orbital flight. Candidate experiments for the mission included 13 engineering, 7 medical, and 6 technology- related experiments.
Gemini extravehicular activity difficulties cause redesigned forward dome hatch in the S-IVB hydrogen tank. Prompted by recent operational difficulties involving extravehicular activity during Gemini flights IXA, X, and XI, Deputy Project Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht recommended to Saturn/Apollo Applications Program officials in Washington a redesigned forward dome hatch in the S-IVB hydrogen tank; i.e., one that could be more readily removed. He urged installing a flexible type of airlock seal prior to launch of the stage. These changes, Kleinknecht said, would go far toward minimizing astronaut workload for activating the spent stage once in orbit.
Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Deputy Director John H. Disher, in response to a letter from MSC AAP Assistant Manager Robert F. Thompson regarding the difficult workload imposed on the crewmen during the SAA-209 mission (i.e., opening the S-IVB tank dome cover and installing the airlock boot might be enough to jeopardize the mission), asked both Thompson and Leland F. Belew, S/AAP Manager at MSFC, to explore various alternatives to this method of activating the Workshop. Also, Disher asked that Belew undertake a simulation effort to evaluate definitively the workload involved in activating the present Workshop configuration.
Robert F. Thompson, Assistant Apollo Applications Program Manager at MSC, wrote AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher criticizing reductions by Headquarters in Houston's AAP Project Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 1967 for both experiments and the Orbital Workshop mission ($8.6 million for each). Thompson claimed that the current requirement for the Workshop mission was $17 million ($14 million for hardware and mission support and $3 million for currently assigned experiments). He then broke down specific funding requirements for the airlock module, command and service modules modifications, guidance and navigation hardware and software, crew systems, and training requirements. Houston was going ahead with the Workshop mission as speedily as possible, Thompson said. However, 'prompt and adequate funding . . . is required if current schedules are to be met.'
The development plan defined objectives and basic criteria for the project and established a plan for its technical management (chiefly through MSFC's Propulsion and Vehicle Engineering Division). Officially, the Workshop had won approval for the Saturn/Apollo Applications 209 mission, which was a backup for Apollo-Saturn 209. Primary purpose of SAA-209 was activation of the spent S-IVB stage into a habitable space structure for extended Earth-orbit missions. Additional Details: here....
After intensive effort by AAP groups at MSFC and MSC on the ATM and AAP mission planning for Flights 209 through 212, George E. Mueller told the two Center Directors that he now had ample information for a 'reasonable plan' to proceed with AAP. First, Mueller stated that the Orbital Workshop mission could best achieve AAP objectives by launching the complete airlock, Workshop, and multiple docking adapter unmanned into a one-year orbit, with activation to be accomplished by a separately launched crew. The first two AAP missions, said Mueller, would thus provide a three-man, 28-day flight and, at the same time, would establish a large clustered space configuration for use during subsequent missions. Secondly, Mueller posited that the ATM to be developed by MSFC could readily be integrated into an LM ascent stage and could reasonably be scheduled for launch during 1968. He cited the possibility that, by eliminating some equipment from the LM, the complete CSM-LM-ATM vehicle could be launched by a single booster. However, Mueller stated his belief that the correct approach should retain those LM subsystems required to operate the vehicle in a tethered mode, even though normal operation might call for the LM/ATM to be docked to either the Workshop or the CSM. Further, Mueller expressed real concern regarding the likelihood of significant weight growths in the ATM systems. For this reason he favored separate launch of the LM/ATM combination. Mueller planned to present AAP planning along these lines during discussions over the next several days with Administrator James E. Webb and the Director of the Budget regarding NASA's planning for manned space flight in the post-Apollo era.
Lunar module ascent stage/half-rack Apollo telescope mount (LM/ATM) the baseline configuration for the ATM. George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, recommended to Robert C. Seamans, Jr., the lunar module ascent stage/half-rack Apollo telescope mount (LM/ATM) as the baseline configuration for development of the ATM. Mueller explained that a number of 'desirable characteristics' had been examined in comparing the LM ATM with its chief rival, a CSM rack/ ATM: (1) achievement of maximum solar data (through ease of operation, ability to repair, maintain, and reuse, and the capability of adding new instruments on subsequent missions); (2) maximum employment of man's capabilities for orbital astronomy (including pointing, film retrieval, repair and maintenance, and inflight analysis of solar data); (3) modes of manned operations (docked with the Orbital Workshop and separated from the cluster via a tether); (4) minimum cost consistent with accomplishing mission objectives; and (5) highest assurance of achieving program schedules. Comparison studies had shown that both the rack ATM and the LM/ATM should use the Langley-developed control moment gyro system for fine pointing control and that both configurations required a sizable volume to allow crew access to instruments and controls. The rack/ATM concept, Mueller told Seamans, was attractive primarily because of its simplicity. However, the vehicle could not be operated at a distance from the CSM to minimize contamination or motion disturbances (items of particular concern to ATM experimenters). On the other hand, the LM/ATM offered the greatest flexibility for meeting ATM requirements without any impact on the CSM. It could normally be operated while docked to either the CSM or the Workshop or, if experiment requirements so dictated, be either tethered or in free flight. This latter capability was especially valuable, Mueller explained, because it afforded a method of evaluating the range of modes for operating future manned orbiting telescopes and would permit early determination of the most desirable approach. (Mueller had recommended to Seamans approval of the ATM project some three months earlier and Seamans had given his okay shortly thereafter .)
In accordance with decisions made by Associate Administrator George E. Mueller, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher notified Robert F. Thompson, Robert C. Hock, and Leland F. Belew, Apollo Applications Program Managers at MSC, KSC, and MSFC, respectively, of the approved mission sequence for missions 209 through 212. SAA-209: manned block II CSM flight of 28-day duration, with the CSM fuel cells providing primary electrical power. SAA-210: launch of the unmanned airlock Orbital Workshop multiple docking adapter combination, with solar cells as the chief source of power. SAA-211: manned CSM flight of 56-day duration. SAA-212: unmanned lunar module-Apollo telescope mount flight. Disher said that mission planning directives were being expedited to implement this mission sequence.
Maurice J. Raffensperger, Earth Orbital Mission Studies Director in NASA Hq, spelled out revised criteria for design of a one-year Workshop in space (criteria to be incorporated by MSFC and MSC planners into their proposed configurations). Maurice J. Raffensperger, Earth Orbital Mission Studies Director in NASA Hq, spelled out revised criteria for design of a one-year Workshop in space (criteria to be incorporated by MSFC and MSC planners into their proposed configurations): This 'interim space station' should be ready for launch in January 1971. The design had to be a minimum-cost structure capable of a two-year survival in low Earth orbit. (Raffensperger speculated that a 'dry-launched' S-IVB stage could be employed without major structural changes.) Initial vehicle subsystems were to consist of flight-qualified Apollo and Manned Orbiting Laboratory hardware capable of one-year operation. Operation of the station during the second year was to be accomplished by means of a long- duration 'developmental systems' module that would be attached to the original space station structure (and would be developed separately as part of the long-duration space station program). Initial launch of the station would be with a Saturn V (and include CSM). This interim space station must be suited for operation in either zero-g or with artificial gravity (using the 'simplest, least expensive' approach). Cost of the hardware must not exceed $200 million (excluding launch vehicle and the long-duration subsystems module). Cargo resupply and crew changes were to be carried out using Apollo Applications- modified CSMs (limited to three Saturn IBs per year).
As requested by Robert C. Seamans, Jr., at the monthly program meeting during October, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller summarized the agency's present plans for including the DOD's astronaut maneuvering unit 'back pack' aboard AAP flights. Additional Details: here....
J. Pemble Field, Jr., Director, Saturn/Apollo Applications Control, notified program officials in Headquarters of Acting Director David M. Jones' decision to designate AAP missions in numerical sequence, starting with AAP-1 (rather than the former designation of S/AA-209). However, program planning documents would still include tentative hardware assignments pending firm vehicle allocations.
NASA announced selection of Bendix Corporation's Eclipse Pioneer Division to negotiate a contract for development and production of a pointing control system for the ATM. The work, covering three flight units at an estimated cost of $6.9 million, was directed by MSFC. The pointing system, one of several flight systems to be developed for the ATM program, was based on design of a control moment gyro that Bendix was already developing for Langley.
NASA Hq issued a schedule which introduced the cluster concept into the AAP design. The cluster concept consisted of a Workshop launch following a manned CSM launch. Six months later, a LM/ATM launch would follow a second manned flight. The LM/ATM would rendezvous and dock to the cluster. The first Workshop launch was scheduled for June 1968. As opposed to the habitable OWS and cluster concept which projected a much more complex program, the S-IVB SSESM had been a comparatively simple mission requiring no rendezvous and docking and no habitation equipment. A major similarity between the old S-IVB/SSESM concept and the cluster concept was use of the S-IVB stage to put the payload into orbit before passivation and pressurization of the stage's hydrogen tanks. The new cluster concept embodied the major step of making the Saturn IVB habitable in orbit, incorporating a two-gas atmosphere (oxygen and nitrogen) and a 'shirt- sleeve' environment. The OWS would contain crew quarters in the S IVB hydrogen tank (two floors and walls installed on the ground), which would be modified by Douglas Aircraft Company under MSFC management; an airlock module (previously called the SSESM) attached to the OWS, which would be built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation under MSC management; and a multiple docking adapter (MDA), which would contain five docking ports permitting up to five modules to be docked to the Workshop at any one time. The MDA would also house most OWS astronaut habitability equipment and many experiments. The schedule called for 22 Saturn IB and 15 Saturn V launches. Two of the Saturn IBs would be launched a day apart-one manned, the other unmanned. Flights utilizing two Saturn V Workshops and four LM ATM missions were also scheduled.
George E. Mueller wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun advising them of a joint MSC-Hq medical position regarding selection of a gaseous atmosphere for the Apollo Applications S-IVB Workshop. This medical position, based upon retention of the existing 100-percent oxygen environment in the command module, called for a 'shirt-sleeve' atmosphere in the Workshop of 69-percent oxygen and 31-percent nitrogen at 35 kilonewtons per sq m (5 psia). (One-hundred-percent oxygen was still required for spacesuited emergency operation and during extravehicular activities.) Mueller solicited from the Center Directors comments on the engineering design and operational techniques of the Workshop Mission.
NASA Hq officially promulgated mission objectives of the AAP-l and AAP-2 flights. They were to conduct a low-altitude, low-inclination Earth-orbital mission with a three-man crew for a maximum of 28 days using a spent S-IVB stage as an OWS; to provide for reactivation and reuse of the OWS for subsequent missions within one year from initial launch; and to perform test operations with the lunar mapping and survey system in Earth orbit.
At a NASA Hq briefing, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller stated that NASA planned to form an 'embryonic space station' in 1968-69 by clustering four AAP payloads launched at different times. The first mission would be the launch of a manned spacecraft followed several days later by a spent S-IVB stage converted into an OWS. After the two spacecraft had docked, the crew would enter the Workshop through an airlock. Twenty-eight days later they would passivate the OWS and return to Earth in their spacecraft. In three to six months, a second manned spacecraft would be launched on a 56-day mission to deliver a resupply module to the OWS and to rendezvous with an unmanned ATM, the fourth and last launch of the series. The cluster would be joined together using the multiple docking adapter. Emphasizing the importance of manning the ATM, Mueller said that 'if there is one thing the scientific community is agreed on it is that when you want to have a major telescope instrument in space it needs to be manned.'
Scientist astronauts participating in the ATM program to be given an opportunity to visit a number of leading astronomical observatories in the country. Despite the fact that crew assignments for the ATM flight had not yet been made, Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Director Charles W. Mathews recommended to MSC AAP Manager Robert F. Thompson that scientist astronauts who had been participating in the ATM program at Huntsville be given an opportunity to visit a number of leading astronomical observatories in the country. In this manner, Mathews said, potential crew members could derive a better understanding of the equipment being employed, operation techniques being used, and the nature and types of observations being made.
The Naval Research Laboratory awarded a subcontract to Ball Brothers Research Corporation for the production of the Apollo telescope mount NRL experiments. Prior subcontracts had been let with Ball for production of the High Altitude Observatory experiment on 11 January 1965, and for the Harvard College Observatory experiment on 27 December 1966. Development responsibility was transferred from Goddard Space Flight Center to MSFC.
Donald K. Slayton, MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations, expressed concern over the excessive number of experiments assigned to the first AAP mission. Experimenters had requested 672 man- hours for inflight accomplishment of experiments, where only 429 man-hours were available, creating a deficit of 243 inflight man-hours. The same problem was applicable to premission experiment training. Experimenters were requesting 485 hours per man for premission experiment training, where only 200 hours per man were available, creating a deficit of 285 hours per man.
MSFC awarded Bendix Corporation a contract for development and production of the ATM pointing control system. The control system would enable astronauts to point a telescope at selected regions of the Sun during periods of maximum solar flare activity. MSFC had earlier awarded American Optical Company a contract to build a dynamic simulator for use in developing the pointing control system.
In accordance with design discussions and decisions reached during discussions several days earlier, AAP Director Charles W. Mathews directed Center AAP Managers to implement a modified OWS electrical power system. Because of increased electrical power requirements resulting from making the OWS a habitable laboratory, solar cell arrays were added to each side of the S IVB stage to provide most of the electrical power used during AAP cluster operation. (Before this design shift, the CSM's fuel cells had been considered the primary source of power.) In addition, the ATM would still have its own solar array panels and power system.
NASA stated that the purposes of Apollo Applications missions 3 and 4 were to Increase man's knowledge of the characteristics of the Sun by conducting solar astronomy observations in space during a time of maximum solar activity. Conduct an operational evaluation of the performance characteristics of a manned solar astronomy system to provide engineering and scientific data essential to the development of advanced orbital solar and stellar observation systems. Demonstrate feasibility of (1) Reactivating an OWS that has been left unattended in Earth orbit for several months. (2) Reusing the OWS as a base of operations for the conduct of experiments in solar astronomy, science, applications, technology, engineering, and medicine. Qualify man, evaluate his support requirements, and determine human task performance capabilities on long-duration manned space flight missions.
Donald K. Slayton, MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations, requested that the proposed T-020 "Jet Shoes" experiment be removed from all AAP flights. The 'Jet Shoes' experiment was an astronaut maneuvering system consisting of two small thrusters mounted one beneath each foot and oriented so that the thrust vectors passed close to the center of body mass with legs and feet in a comfortable position. During January, an engineering development model of the 'Jet Shoes' was tested by several astronauts on the MSC air bearing facility in cooperation with the Principal Investigator. Although the tests by the astronauts were shirt-sleeve runs, an LaRC test pilot made several runs in an inflated pressure suit. The results were unsatisfactory. In his objections to the experiment, Slayton suggested that its attempted use by an astronaut wearing a life support unit would provide extremely poor visibility.
Both MSFC and MSC recognized the existence of a potential interference of contaminant materials in the vicinity of manned spacecraft with the optical equipment on the ATM. It was also recognized that certain building materials that might create contaminate problems needed to be avoided in the ATM structure. A considerable activity concerning this contamination problem had already developed at MSFC, MSC, NASA OSSA, some contractor plants, and the ATM Principal Investigators.
A preliminary design review was conducted at MSFC during 2-10 May 1967 to evaluate the basic design approach of the MSFC/MSC/McDonnell Douglas team relative to the spent-stage aspects of the Orbital Workshop project. Purpose of the review was to define a baseline design on as many subsystems as possible and to define steps leading to a baseline on the remaining subsystems.
Revised Apollo and AAP-integrated program plan shows CSM would be available to support the first four AAP launches. Some significant features of a revised Apollo and AAP-integrated program plan were: CSM would be available to support the first four AAP launches; AAP-1/ AAP-2 in early 1969 were to accomplish OWS objectives; AAP-3/AAP-4 in mid-1969 were to accomplish the 56-day ATM objectives in conjunction with reuse of the OWS. Two additional AAP flights were planned for 1969 to revisit the OWS and the ATM using refurbished command modules flown initially on Earth-orbit Apollo flights in 1968. AAP missions planned for low Earth orbit during 1970 would utilize two dual launches (one manned CSM and one unmanned experiment module per dual launch) and two single-launch, long-duration CSM to establish and maintain near- continuous operation of the OWS cluster and a second ATM.
Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation presented to the MSC AAP Office a preliminary statement of work and cost proposal for developing the LM as an ATM for the AAP-4 mission. The AAP staff then began reviewing the proposal which described the work necessary to develop the final LM-ATM spacecraft configuration.
Release of a staff paper by J. Bollerud and C. Berry recommending a 35-kilonewtons-per-sq- m 69-percent-oxygen, 31-percent-nitrogen, shirt-sleeve atmosphere in the OWS. Release of a staff paper by J. Bollerud and C. Berry recommending a 35-kilonewtons-per-sq- m 69-percent-oxygen, 31-percent-nitrogen, shirt-sleeve atmosphere in the OWS initiated a discussion as to its impact on engineering design and operational plans, as well as the physiological response of test subjects to a one-gas (pure oxygen) system over extended periods of time. The consensus was that the 35-kilonewton (5 psia) oxygen-nitrogen for the OWS would best serve the needs of the OWS Earth-orbiting program.
The ATM would offer a unique combination of several important advantages over previous manned orbital astronomical experiments, ground-based observatories, and unmanned orbital observatories. It would be the first U.S. manned mission with a primary goal of recovering scientific data. The ability to observe the Sun in previously inaccessible but important regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, to observe the details on the solar disk and in the corona for nearly two solar rotations, and to react rapidly to unpredictable and unexpected occurrences with instruments of high data acquisition capabilities would be an unprecedented combination of opportunities available only to the crewman operating the ATM. However, it was essential to recognize that the crewman's ability to observe, exercise judgment, and efficiently conduct the routine experiment tasks, as well as to rapidly respond to unpredictable phenomena would be contingent upon the existence of displays in the proper wavelength regions with sufficient resolution to observe the important features on the solar disk. Also necessary would be controls which would combine simplicity and versatility to facilitate equipment setup for data acquisition.
Because of the Apollo 204 accident in January and the resulting program delays, NASA realigned its Apollo and AAP launch schedules. The new AAP schedule called for 25 Saturn IB and 14 Saturn V launches. Major hardware for these launches would be two Workshops flown on Saturn IB vehicles, two Saturn V Workshops, and three ATMs. Under this new schedule, the first Workshop launch would come in January 1969.
The purposes of the AAP 1/AAP-2 mission were (1) to conduct a low-altitude, low-inclination, Earth- orbital mission with a crew of three men, open ended to 28 days' duration, using a spent S-IVB stage as an OWS; (2) to provide for reactivation and reuse of the OWS during subsequent missions occurring up to 1 year later; (3) to conduct inflight experiments in the areas of science, applications, technology, engineering, and medicine; and (4) to qualify man, evaluate his support requirements, and determine human task performance capability on long-duration manned space flight missions. Additional Details: here....
Donald K. Slayton and Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., of MSC stated that it was mandatory, in their opinion, to launch the unmanned vehicle first in the AAP-1/AAP 2 mission. Reasons cited were the following: If the unmanned vehicle failed to achieve orbit or could not be made to function once in orbit, the CSM would not be launched as planned. This would eliminate subjecting the flight crew to the potentially hazardous conditions of booster- powered flight, service propulsion system circularization burn, retrofire, reentry, landing, and recovery. It would also save costs, since the CSM could be used for another mission. Operationally, it would be more feasible to ascertain that an unknown configuration could withstand a launch phase than to commit a proven space vehicle without this knowledge.
MSFC and MSC personnel met at MSC to resolve action items from a Headquarters test meeting held on 30 March. The action items involved the LM/ATM thermal vacuum test program. General agreement was reached on test configuration, with MSC supporting the MSFC position that a thermal vacuum test was necessary on the ATM flight unit. MSC agreed to conduct a chamber contamination test with jointly agreed upon procedures. MSC, 'AAPO Weekly Activity Report,' 5 July 1967.
Increased activity and interest in the ATM project created the necessity for conducting ATM monthly project reviews in the Office of Manned Space Flight. MSFC provided the principal inputs on such aspects as schedules, funding, and technical performance. Material covered progress achieved during the month, current problems, and actions taken.
NASA selected the Martin Marietta Corporation, Denver Division, for negotiation of a 27-month contract for payload integration of experiments and experiments support equipment in space vehicles for the AAP. Initial work of the contractor involved the OWS and ATM at MSFC; meteorological and Earth resources payloads at MSC; and test integration planning and support for launch operations at KSC.
NASA Administrator Webb refuses to make choice between substantial cuts in either the Apollo Applications or Voyager programs. NASA Administrator James E. Webb testified on the NASA FY 1968 authorization bill before the Senate Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Independent Offices. Asked by Sen. Spessard Holland (D Fla.) to make a choice between a substantial cut in funding for the Apollo Applications Program and the Voyager program, Webb replied that both were vital to the U.S. space effort. Additional Details: here....
At a design meeting in Huntsville, designers decided to incorporate the Orbital Workshop's two floors into one common grated floor in the crew quarters to save weight. This concept called for the crew quarters to be on one side of the floor and a large open area on the opposite side permitting intravehicular activity in the hydrogen tank dome.
The ATM required a closely controlled environment during manufacture, quality checkout, and flight checkout activities. To ensure the required control of cleanliness, temperature, and humidity, two buildings were required at MSFC-one for the manufacturing process, the other for quality checkout. An environmentally controlled area was also required at KSC for flight checkout of the ATM.
In a letter to Saturn Apollo Applications Director Charles W. Mathews, MSC's AAP Assistant Manager Robert F. Thompson presented Houston's philosophy regarding major AAP reprogramming. Two factors, Thompson said, underlay the necessity for planning alterations: (1) the likelihood of funding cutbacks during 1968 and 1969 and (2) a clearer picture of how much Apollo hardware AAP might inherit, as Apollo reprogramming matured after the 204 accident. Thompson then set forth MSC's recommendations for the next phase of AAP planning: a manned Earth-orbital mission during 1969; two manned flights of 28 and 56 days using the OWS during 1970; a manned AAP/ATM flight during 1971; long-duration (two months to one year) manned flights during late 1971 and 1972; and manned lunar missions (including surface operations) in the post-Apollo period. In defining the AAP missions, however, Thompson stressed that until the Apollo goal of landing on the Moon had been achieved, AAP must be looked on as an 'alternate to' rather than an 'addition to' the main thrust of Apollo. It must be clear throughout the NASA manned space flight establishment that Apollo and AAP would not be overlapping programs and that AAP must not compete with or detract from the main Apollo design.
MSFC returned a McDonnell Douglas-built S-IVB Orbital Workshop mockup to the contractor's Space Systems Center in Huntington Beach, California, for incorporation of a number of design changes. Following modification, the mockup would represent the S IVB stage as a manned space laboratory designed for use in the AAP. The design changes included relocation of a floor separating two sections of the stage's liquid hydrogen tank, addition of a ceiling and other fixtures, and relocation of some of the experiment stations.
Martin Marietta's Denver Division completed a 60-day study on AAP Mission 1A. The study defined hardware configuration and developed an approach for integrating NASA-designated experiments into AAP-1A. Objectives of the experiments and mission operations were to (1) perform an early evaluation of the operational feasibility of selected Earth resources, bioscientific, meteorology, and astronomy experiments; (2) verify the enhancement of experiments by the presence of man for monitoring, controlling, and interpreting data obtained on orbit; (3) obtain operating experience with available hardware; and (4) extend experiment and mission coverage to 50° latitude. The study showed how the mission objectives could be met.
Budgetary cutbacks reduced AAP lunar activity to four missions and Saturn V Workshops to 17 Saturn IB and 7 Saturn V launches. NASA Hq issued a revised AAP schedule incorporating recent budgetary cutbacks. The schedule reflected the reduction of AAP lunar activity to four missions and of Saturn V Workshop activity to 17 Saturn IB and 7 Saturn V launches. There would be two Workshops launched on Saturn IBs, one Saturn V Workshop, and three ATMs. Launch of the first Workshop was scheduled for March 1970.
An active cooling system (fluid circulation) was incorporated into the ATM thermal system to meet temperature control requirements. An active cooling system (fluid circulation) was incorporated into the ATM thermal system to meet temperature control requirements
Considerable interest was shown by the Board regarding crew participation in the ATM mission. The Board recommended an early crew assignment for ATM, so that adequate training in solar physics could be provided, and also recommended that scientist astronauts be assigned as members of the ATM flight crew.
Representatives of NASA and the aerospace industry participated in a four-day meeting on the Orbital Workshop design requirements at MSFC. During the first day, discussions covered structures, mechanical systems, and propulsion. On the second day, instrumentation and communications documentation was reviewed. The third day focused on crew station reviews. On the final day, results were summarized.
Apollo Applications Program Director Charles W. Mathews directed the AAP Managers at the three manned space Centers to halt all activity pertaining to the AAP-IA missions. Apollo Applications Program Director Charles W. Mathews directed the AAP Managers at the three manned space Centers to halt all activity pertaining to the AAP-IA missions The purpose of the AAP IA mission would be to perform experiments in space sciences and advanced applications in a low- altitude Earth orbit for up to 14 days.
NASA lunar exploration program developed for the period from the first lunar landing to the mid-1970s. A lunar exploration program had been developed which would cover the period from the first lunar landing to the mid-1970s. The program would be divided into four phases: (1) An Apollo phase employing Apollo hardware. (2) A lunar exploration phase untilizing an extended LM with increased landed payload weight and staytime capability. (3) A lunar orbital survey and exploration phase using the AAP-1A carrier or the LM/ATM to mount remote sensors and photographic equipment on a manned polar orbit mission. (4) A lunar surface rendezvous and exploration phase which would use a modified LM in an unmanned landing to provide increased scientific payload and expendables necessary to extend an accompanying manned LM mission to two weeks duration.
NASA budgetary restraints required an additional cut in AAP launches. The reduced program called for three Saturn IB and three Saturn V launches, including one Workshop launched on a Saturn IB, one Saturn V Workshop, and one ATM. Two lunar missions were planned. Launch of the first Workshop would be in April 1970.
As originally conceived, the AM consisted of a simple tunnel and truss structure that provided access to the S-IVB OWS from the CSM. The AM subsystems provided distribution of power from the CSM to the OWS, a temperature regulated, clean atmosphere for the Workshop, and limited instrumentation. After a year of program evolution, the AM, although similar in appearance and utilizing more than 60 percent of the effort expended on the original AM, had become physically different, with a considerably more complex role to play. The AM had become the hub and central 'engine room' of the cluster by incorporating the electric power conditioning, storage, and distribution system. It was designed to receive and store power from the solar arrays, the CSM, and LM and to make distribution of power to the OWS, AM, MDA, CSM, and, in emergencies, the LM. The AM was designed to provide the central environmental control system for distributing a dehumidified, cleansed, odor free, temperature conditioned, oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere to the OWS, AM, MDA, CSM, and LM and to provide coolant loops for its equipment and that in the MDA. In addition, it contained the central command and instrumentation center for the OWS, as well as an overall caution and warning system. The AM was being developed by McDonnell Douglas, St. Louis.
Nomenclature for the OWS included in the AAP presented in the FY 1969 budget was confirmed by NASA. The ground-outfitted OWS to be launched with Saturn V would be designated the 'Saturn V Workshop.' (This had sometimes been called the 'dry Workshop.') The OWS that would be launched by a Saturn IB would be referred to as the 'Saturn I Workshop.' (Colloquially it had been referred to as the 'wet workshop.') Terminology 'Uprated Saturn I' would not be used officially. This launch vehicle would be referred to as the 'Saturn IB.'
An S-IVB residual-propellant dump test was conducted in orbit during the Apollo 5 mission. Test results were applicable to the AAP OWS passivation requirements. The test was performed on the S-IVB after separation of the lunar module. First the liquid oxygen was dumped, then the liquid hydrogen. This was followed by the release of helium in the stage pneumatic system. Preliminary indications were that propellant settling was satisfactory.
An MDA preliminary design review was held at MSFC on 16-17 January and resulted in action to integrate the resupply and reuse requirements for AAP-3A and AAP-3/4 experiments. On 26 January an AAP (Mission 2) MDA preliminary design review, Phase II, Technical Review Board convened at MSFC. As a result of discussions of this Board meeting, a joint MSFC MSC study group was proposed to define AAP cluster attitude control pointing capabilities. The study group would define the capabilities of the presently baselined S IVB attitude control system, the Apollo service module reaction control system, and the Apollo telescope mount control moment gyro system to determine if incompatibilities existed with the operations requirements and the proposed experiments and sensors.
Saturn V OWS study teams were examining a range of concepts in two distinct categories, OWS B and OWS C. OWS B would be a relatively simple, generic evolution from the Saturn I OWS being developed for the first AAP missions. It would retain the basic elements of the Saturn I OWS but would incorporate the ATM solar astronomy payload as an integral part of the OWS. Other modifications to improve overall effectiveness would be incorporated where this could be achieved with small increments of funds or time. OWS C would be a more advanced concept in the evolution toward a flexible operational system for sustained operations in Earth orbit. It would provide living and working quarters for a crew of nine and would be operable for two or more years.
Objectives of the AAP-3/AAP-4 mission were to Obtain scientific data on the physical characteristics of the Sun through observations of various portions of the electromagnetic spectrum made with ATM experiments.. Obtain engineering data from the operation of the ATM attached to a LM ascent stage to support development of an advanced manned orbital observatory. Demonstrate hard dock of the LM/ATM to the MDA of the Saturn I OWS left in orbit from the AAP 1 /AAP-2 mission. Determine feasibility of reactivating and operating a Saturn I OWS as a habitable space structure for a period of up to 56 days from the AAP-3 launch date through evaluation of the CSM/S- IVB/AM/MDA.
A management review of the pointing system for the ATM was held with Perkin Elmer Corporation. Conceptual design was completed and approved by MSFC. In addition, the preliminary requirements review for the H-Alpha telescope and pointing system was satisfactorily completed by MSC.
AAP was first presented as a separate Research and Development program in NASA's FY 1968 budget request, which was submitted to Congress in January 1967. As originally conceived, AAP was designed to take full advantage of the Nation's investment in Apollo-developed hardware, facilities, and manpower. However, in making adjustments to considerably lower funding, the program was pared down to the minimum level for maintaining a reasonable manned space flight program in the early part of the next decade and preserving any basic capability for future U.S. manned operations in space.
An evaluation and selection committee was formed to review the suitability of candidate chambers for ATM thermal vacuum testing. The committee, composed of members from the OMSF Apollo Applications Program Office, MSFC, MSC, Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, would evaluate chambers located at MSC, Arnold Engineering Development Center, The Boeing Company, and General Electric Company, in terms of availability, schedules, capability, modification requirements, contamination control, cost, and logistics.
The ATM Principal Investigators presented the status of their experiments at Ball Brothers Research Corporation in Boulder, Colorado. They reported good progress in the development of their instruments and presented material to support their assessment that delivery would be on schedule. They also stressed the importance of flying a mission as early as possible during a period of high solar activity.
A task team was established to review the requirements and establish a new baseline for the LM and the ATM with the objective of reducing costs and operational complexity. The team was composed of senior members from the OMSF, MSC, MSFC, The Martin Company, and Grumman.
During the OWS preliminary design review, it was suggested that the AAP vehicles contain a library of material of an operational, technical, and recreational nature for use by the flight crews. Loewy and Snaith, Inc., had made a similar suggestion. A survey of AAP crew members was being conducted to determine the type and quantity of such materials the crews might desire so that design engineers could arrive at a preliminary systems approach to an inflight library and evaluate the impact.
MSC adopted the position that only mixed gas atmospheres should be considered for missions longer than 30 days in duration. Conceding that studies of the physiologic effects of mixed gas atmospheres, other than air, were new in number and controversial in nature, MSC suggested that such evidence as did exist indicated that nitrogen was a superior choice as a second atmospheric constituent from an overall medical standpoint.
Following discussions at the Manned Space Flight Management Council meeting at KSC on 21- 24 March, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller and MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth concluded that, with the stringent funding restraints facing the AAP, the most practical near-term program was a Saturn IB OWS designed to simplify operational modes and techniques in Earth orbit. It was agreed that a special task force would be set up to define and implement any changes necessary to the MDA, incorporate new experiments into the program, and plan and program the critical series of medical experiments required for AAP in order to collect vital data regarding crew performance during the early phases of AAP long-duration flights. The MDA task force held an initial meeting at MSC on 10-11 April. Requirements for the critical medical experiments were identified, and potential Earth Applications experiments were reviewed. MSFC was requested to make a preliminary design analysis of the impact of incorporating critical medical experiments and to determine which Earth applications experiments could be accommodated.
NASA Hq described the purposes of the AAP-3A mission: (1) qualify man, evaluate his support requirements, and determine human task performance capabilities on long-duration manned space night missions; (2) demonstrate the feasibility of reactivating a Saturn I OWS that has been left unattended in Earth orbit for several months and reusing a Saturn I OWS as a base of operations for the conduct of experiments in astronomy, science, applications, technology, engineering, and medicine.
A LM/ATM Evaluation Board, established to make an in-depth review of the planned LM/ATM module configuration and mission, issued its final report. The Board review concentrated on the operational and programmatic aspects related to use of the LM with the ATM. At a meeting held on 9 March, the ATM experiment status was the subject of discussion. Principal Investigators and the MSFC ATM Program Office representatives summarized progress on each experiment and on the total ATM package. At meetings held on 15 16 March, presentations were made by MSC and MSFC. MSC stressed the operational complexities of the dual-rendezvous, dualdocking capability of the LM, extravehicular activity, crew training, and mission critical sequencing. MSFC stressed the desirability of the cluster mission and, while recognizing the problems of dual rendezvous, suggested that the system and mission as configured was the best possible choice.
NASA released a new AAP launch readiness and delivery schedule. The schedule decreased the number of Saturn flights to 11 Saturn IB flights and one Saturn V flight. It called for three Workshops. One of the Workshops would be launched by a Saturn IB, and another would serve as a backup. The third Workshop would be launched by a Saturn V. The schedule also included one ATM. Launch of the first Workshop would be in November 1970. Lunar missions were no longer planned in the AAP.
An MDA task force, established in March to examine the ability of the MDA to support the operation of critical medical experiments within 24 hours of rendezvous and docking and to examine the feasibility of conducting selected Earth resources and meteorological experiments, made recommendations which resulted in baseline configuration changes to the MDA. Docking ports 2 and 3 of the MDA would be deleted; four windows in the conical section of the MDA would be deleted; and a viewport would be provided to support unmanned rendezvous and docking.
Martin Marietta, Denver Division, completed an Earth resources experiment compatibility analysis and an experiment conceptual analysis. The analyses were conducted in compliance with an MSC AAP payload integration task during the period 16 January 30 June 1968. Results of the study indicated that a selected group of Earth resources experiments could be integrated into the AAP-1 /AAP-2 Orbital Workshop with only minimum design impact.
At NASA Hq, movements were underway to select a new name for post-Apollo manned space flight (AAP)-one that would be more descriptive of the agency's real goals and objectives. At the Planning Study Group meeting, Douglas R. Lord, Chairman of the Working Group on Extension of Manned Space Flight, was asked to recommend a new name for NASA's Earth- orbital flight program of the mid-1970s. However, AAP Director Charles W. Mathews urged that the name AAP be retained because NASA had a good deal invested in it. On 26 July, Julian M. West wrote Lord recommending that NASA choose some other name to cover both AAP and an interim space base of the mid-1970s (dubbed the 'IOWS' program, for Interim Orbital Workshop). West urged that all such names as 'AAP,' 'Workshop,' and 'Extension of Manned Space Flight,' be dropped because they did not accurately describe what he saw as 'the major goal-manned space flight itself.' West voted for a name put forward by George Trimble of MSC, 'Space Base Program,' which he believed covered NASA's mid-1970s missions. 'We are establishing a foothold for man in space.'
ATM experiments would be designed to observe and record solar features or regions of interest by using a variety of scientific instruments and recording devices. Observations would be made over a wide range of energy wavelengths in the form of both solar images and solar spectra. They would be preserved for future study by recording them on photographic film or magnetic tape. These experiments would provide new knowledge of the Sun, solar features, solar phenomena, and the solar processes of energy release.
MSFC Director Wernher von Braun performed a full-pressure suit test in the Saturn I Workshop immersed in the Neutral Buoyancy Tank. He reported that the upgraded seals used in the aft dome penetration sealing study were 'very good,' but recommended additional handholds and tether points.
Working groups composed of scientists, engineers, and astronauts covered specific areas such as pointing control, electrical and electronic support equipment, mission operations requirements, mechanical and thermal considerations, instrumentation, communications, control and display equipment, crew station, experiments, and quality and reliability during testing and manufacture.
MSFC and KSC officials agreed upon procedures for maintaining the capability to check out and launch the remaining Saturn IB vehicle inventory. Their joint recommendations included a phasedown on contractor activity following the AS 205 launch; deactivation of Launch Complexes 34 and 37 to allow maximum storage of equipment and minimum maintenance on items remaining in place; and continuance of KSC analysis of manpower required to support the AAP dual launch requirement, with contractor participation at the earliest date.
Contract to North American Rockwell for modifications to the Apollo CSM for long- duration AAP missions. MSC awarded a contract to North American Rockwell, Downey, California, for preliminary design of modifications to the Apollo block II command and service modules for use in long- duration AAP missions.
Management of the Saturn IB project and AAP-assigned spacecraft was transferred from the Apollo program to AAP. This transfer of management responsibility included Saturn IB launch vehicles SA-206 through SA-212 and Saturn IB unique spares and unique facilities. The Apollo program would continue to fund the Saturn IB effort through FY 1969, except for that effort unique to AAP. Beginning in FY 1970, the Saturn IB funding would be an AAP responsibility. This transfer of responsibilities placed management of the Saturn IB project under control of the program that would use it and relieved Apollo management of some responsibilities, allowing more time for concentration on the mainline Apollo program.
Development tests to verify the design concept of the chain drive mechanisms of the ATM solar array system were completed. Preliminary data and operation were very promising. This hardware would be utilized in assembly of a complete solar array to be used for deployment testing.
Orbital Workshop solar array system preliminary requirements review presentations were made 4 February. On 5 February problem areas were discussed; no major problems were identified. Primary areas of concern were time of deployment, from power and thermal considerations, and contamination of solar cells after deployment. On 13 February the board convened to dispose of the accepted requests for change. The only request for change of programmatic importance was the need for a checkout of the solar array pointing system at the Sacramento Test Operations Facility.
A preliminary design review for the AAP CSM mockup was held at Downey, 10-14 February. It followed an astronaut review of the mockup 4-6 February. A total of 404 review item discrepancies, consisting mainly of detailed changes to documentation and design, were identified. General satisfaction with the mockup was expressed by the astronauts.
A meeting of the ATM Contamination Working Group was held at KSC. Representatives present were from NASA Hq, KSC, MSC, and MSFC. Experiment Principal Investigators also attended. Items covered included real-time contamination monitoring during thermal vacuum testing, thermal vacuum test plans, optical degradation from vacuum chamber operations, and cluster effluent studies. Several of the Principal Investigators expressed a desire for real- time contamination monitoring during thermal vacuum tests of the ATM. The Naval Research Laboratory was trying to develop a monitor for the ultraviolet region and was planning to submit an engineering change proposal to provide an ultraviolet source for the tests. This would allow them to operate their instruments and obtain data on their efficiency during such tests.
An early test model of the ATM control computer was delivered by Bendix Corporation to MSFC where it was undergoing performance tests. This was a preproduction unit and did not include all the functions that would be in the flight version. The first flight unit was scheduled for delivery in September 1969.
A series of ATM extravehicular activity neutral buoyancy tests were performed at MSFC. Astronauts participated in both scuba gear and pressurized space suits. Purpose of the tests was to evaluate the performance and procedures for moving film cassettes to the two ATM work stations and to perform some of the tasks required at these stations. Recommendations were made for the improvement of most of the features evaluated. As a result of the tests, equipment and procedures modifications were made.
The major changes were: a high-performance installation on the forward dome that increased weight because of purge requirements producing structural adjustments; thermal extensions to the meteoroid shield to minimize heat leaks; solar array system modification requirements; and updating of the intercommunication system weight.
The ATM would be a manned solar observatory making measurements of the Sun by telescopes and instruments above the Earth's atmosphere. The instruments would obtain data on the transitions occurring in elements ionized in the vicinity of the Sun's surface data contained in the ultraviolet and x-ray spectrum absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere. Orbiting telescopes would also observe flares and regions of the corona hidden to Earth-bound telescopes or covered by scattered light.
A small film canister, designed and fabricated at MSFC, was delivered to KSC for flight test on Apollo 10. The canister, packed with a variety of photographic film, would obtain information on the sensitivity of film to the thermal, pressure, and radiation environment of space, in part equivalent to those which would be experienced by the ATM in flight. The test would also complement ground testing and theoretical analyses that were conducted to evaluate potential film fogging in a space environment.
A meeting was held at MSFC with representatives of the camera manufacturers, North American, Grumman, and MSFC to review ATM camera stowage and handling and the CSM and LM stowage. The following areas were discussed and assigned for further study: environment (thermal, shock, and vibration); interface control documents for the cameras and carriers; LM and CM stowage volume and weight limitations and their effect on camera configuration; and camera extravehicular activities.
MSFC issued requests for proposals for manufacture of solar arrays to convert solar energy into electrical power to operate the OWS. The OWS would have two wings covered with solar cells a total area of 111 sq m. Each of the wings would be composed of 120 sections. Together the wings would produce 12 000 watts to power the OWS. A preproposal conference on the requests was scheduled for 1 May at MSFC.
In reviewing the last three years of AAP-its changing objectives, late decisions, experiment priority shifts-and in looking forward to the uncertainties of NASA space flight after AAP, MSFC officials found it difficult to visualize that the Office of Manned Space Flight and the manned space flight Centers would be able to carry out a program defined for an integrated OWS/ATM in 1972. A major difficulty would be in keeping AAP from being continually impacted as the leading edge of space station activity.
MSC and MSFC presented a status report on weight of flight modules, measurement lists by modules, plans for controlling the lists, and criteria for measurement selection. KSC gave a report on the status of LC 34/37 equipment and facilities and plans for getting them ready for AAP. MSFC presented the status of a joint MSC/ MSFC study of stowage on AAP-2, a status report on the caution and warning system, and the current plan for LM/ATM extravehicular activity film exchange. MSC reviewed plans for the development of mission operations documentation and presented the results of a joint MSFC/MSC study on the use of the CSM to rescue a malfunctioned LM/ATM.
The critical design review of the ATM control computer was held at MSFC. All submodules of the flight module control computer, with one exception, were reported as designed. An engineering model control computer was available for examination at the review.
A study was conducted to determine the feasibility of providing an artificial gravity operating mode for a second OWS. Study results indicated there were several areas of the OWS that would require unique configuration characteristics. Among the areas of concern were antenna location and coverage; CSM/MDA docking interface strength; reaction control system characteristics, propellant consumption, and attitude control logic to maintain solar orientation in the face of gravity gradient torques; ATM mounting and deployment provisions; and the ATM solar array structure.
MSC terminated the development of the A9L space suit. The AL7 space suit, used in the Apollo program, would continue in use until replaced by a flight-qualified, constant-volume suit. During the Mercury program a modified version of the Goodrich Navy Mark IV suit was used. In the Gemini program a modified version of a suit developed by David Clark Company for the USAF was used. Hamilton Standard had overall development responsibility for the Apollo suit and associated portable life support system. A subcontract was awarded to International Latex Corporation for development of this suit. After suit development was completed, the production contract was awarded to International Latex, and the initial suit was designated A5L. The A6L design incorporated a thermal/ meteoroid garment. Following the Apollo fire, the suit was redesigned to eliminate flammable materials and was designated A7L (designation A8L was never used). Two hard-shell, constant-volume suits were under development, an extravehicular suit was being developed by Litton Industries, and an intravehicular suit was being developed by AiResearch Corporation. Both of the latter would be used in the Apollo Applications Program.
A number of organizations were studying the possibility of zero-g showers for use in manned space flight. In a letter J. Hall (LaRC), C. C. Johnson (MSC) related the following: 'MSC has some excellent films of Jack Slight showering in the KC-135 at zerogravity. 'The motion pictures of Jack showering are quite revealing-not of Jack, of the action of water at zero-gravity.... The interesting point is that the water strikes Jack, bounces off in droplets, but then recollects as jelly-like globs on various parts of his body. He can brush the water away but it will soon reattach elsewhere.'
NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine approved the shift from a 'wet' to a 'dry' Orbital Workshop concept for AAP following a review presentation by program officials on the potential benefits of such a change. On 22 July, AAP Director William C. Schneider ordered program managers at the three Centers to implement the change, abandoning the idea of using a spent Saturn IB second stage for a Workshop and adopting the concept of a fully equipped 'dry' configuration-with the ATM integrated into the total payload-launched aboard a Saturn V. Additional Details: here....
NASA formally announced the AAP project reorientation to the "dry" Workshop configuration-both the fully outfitted workshop and integrated ATM launched aboard a single Saturn V. Program objectives for AAP remained unchanged, however. The schedule called for first launch in 1972. The Workshop would be placed in a circular orbit first. About a day later, the three-man crew would ride aboard a Saturn IB into orbit to link up with the Workshop-ATM cluster, thus beginning the manned portion of the mission.
A critical design review was held on the two H-Alpha telescopes being provided for the ATM by Perkin-Elmer Corporation. Representatives from NASA Hq, KSC, MSC, MSFC, Harvard College Observatory, and Naval Research Laboratory attended. Except for the mechanical reticle subsystem, a requirement recently added to the telescope system, the Perkin-Elmer design appeared sound. Only minor discrepancies were noted.
Option one was basically the same ATM pointing control system as previously configured, with an additional digital computer; option two was an all-digital computer system; and option three was primarily digital, but retained portions of the analog computer for ATM experiment pointing control.
Following the decision to implement the Saturn V dry Workshop, LM-2 was the only flight LM article to remain on Earth. Therefore, NASA Hq requested MSC consideration for early disposition of it to the Smithsonian Institution as an artifact of historical interest. Since it was expected that the Smithsonian would exhibit LM-2 as a replica of LM-5, Headquarters also requested that MSC consider refurbishment to provide a more accurate representation of the LM- 5 configuration before its transfer to the Smithsonian.
The purpose was to examine some extravehicular activity concepts under development to determine their validity for incorporation into the dry OWS configuration. Crewmen were somewhat constrained and uncomfortable because, while the suits were neutrally buoyant, crewmen inside the suits were not. The neutral buoyancy exercise was followed by an ATM extravehicular activity crew station engineering review. It consisted of a suited and unsuited walk through evaluation of the ATM film replacement work stations. Several modifications were recommended.
MSFC awarded a contract to Martin Marietta for the fabrication, testing, and delivery of 15 Saturn V OWS rate gyro processors, a module test set, and the retrofit of 22 ATM rate gyro processors. The rate gyro packages would fly on the OWS and would provide precise attitude control of the OWS cluster, including the ATM.
Definitized contract with McDonnell Douglas for two Orbital Workshops for the Apollo Applications Program. MSFC definitized the existing contract with McDonnell Douglas for two Orbital Workshops for the Apollo Applications Program, converted S IVB stages to be launched by Saturn V boosters. The contract was slated to run through July 1972, with most of the work to be performed at the company's plant at Huntington Beach, California. The first Workshop was tentatively scheduled for flight in mid-1972, with the second article initially serving as a backup vehicle if needed.
NASA Hq revised AAP delivery and launch schedules, further altering the program in light of both changing resources and fiscal climate, as well as a maturing of program plans per se. The new schedule called for seven Saturn IB and two Saturn V launches, with flight of the first Workshop slated for July 1972.
Functional and environmental development tests were performed on the ATM H-Alpha telescope zoom lens, temperature control, and optical subsystems. The zoom lens subsystem failed during vacuum testing and was being reworked. At a later date, the camera electronics subsystem would be subjected to temperature tests, and the mechanical reticle subsystem to thermal-vacuum and vibration tests.
KSC officials and AAP managers recommended to the Manned Space Flight Management Council that the Saturn IB AAP launches take place from LC-37 rather than LC-34. They were incorporating the recommendation into the latest program operating plan proposals. If the recommendation were accepted, LC-34 would be partially deactivated and placed in a 'down- mode' condition.
MSFC requested McDonnell Douglas and Martin Marietta to develop preliminary design and cost data on a number of OWS system elements that were previously planned for in-house development. Among these were fixed payload shroud, oxygen, and nitrogen bottle installation; cooling of the ATM control and display; deletion of the scientific airlock; design and fabrication of the solar array system; installation of experiments; and MDA integration and checkout.
A meeting was held at MSFC that provided the ATM Principal Investigators an opportunity to express their desires regarding experiment operation during unmanned periods of the ATM OWS mission. AAP personnel from NASA Hq, MSC, and MSFC, as well as ATM Principal Investigators, attended. The investigators felt strongly that their early participation in program decisions that affected experiments would permit a much more effective experiment program without significant budget or schedule changes.
The objectives, constraints, and guidelines for a second OWS were stated in general terms along the following lines: OWS would reflect the same physical features and capabilities exhibited by the initial Workshop and would use the flight hardware to be procured as backup for the first Workshop missions. Crew complement would consist of three men (at least one scientist astronaut). Operating life would be 12 to 24 months, nominally continuously manned. Orbital altitude would be in the range of 390 to 500 km at an inclination up to 55°. Additional Details: here....
Two major directions were identified for manned space flight in the next decade. These were further exploration of the Moon, with possibly the establishment of a lunar surface base, and the continued development of manned flight in Earth orbit, leading to a permanent manned space station supported by a low-cost shuttle system. To maintain direction, the following key milestones were proposed: 1972 - AAP operations using a Saturn V launched Workshop 1973 - Start of post-Apollo lunar exploration 1974 - Start of suborbital flight tests of Earth to orbit shuttle - Launch of a second Saturn V Workshop 1975 - Initial space station operations - Orbital shuttle flights 1976 - Lunar orbit station - Full shuttle operations 1977 - Nuclear stage flight test 1978 - Nuclear shuttle operations-orbit to orbit 1979 - Space station in synchronous orbit By 1990 - Earth orbit space base - Lunar surface base - Possible Mars landing
The change in AAP from the wet to the dry OWS substantially improved the probability of mission success and crew safety. Some of the hardware and operational improvements contributing to crew safety were increased payload capability, which would reduce risks from submarginal booster performance, launching the ATM as an integral part of the OWS, thus eliminating an extra launch that involved a complex and operationally difficult unmanned rendezvous and docking; standardizing the three manned launches, using proven software and training techniques, thereby reducing some of the risks associated with new operational phases and missions; and the powering down of the CSM to a quiescent state during the orbital period of operation, with a consequent reduction in wearout or limited-life failures.
An ATM control moment gyro was subjected to thermal-vacuum, vibration, and electromagnetic interference development environmental testing. Tests indicated that, with proper insulation, no major problems existed in the thermal-vacuum area. However, with the extended requirements for the OWS, command moment gyro actuator lifetime was a concern. In addition to converting to a wet lubricant system, Bendix Corporation and Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, were asked to study other steps that might be taken to ensure a 300-day lifetime for the control moment gyro actuators.
An AAP test planning meeting was held at KSC. Representatives from KSC, MSC, MSFC, and NASA Hq attended. Purpose of the meeting was to review the status of factory acceptance test planning for all modules, the preliminary CSM interface test requirements at KSC, and the KSC planning pertinent to conducting AAP integrated module tests. Open issues that would require resolution included flight experiment delivery dates, flight ATM control and display availability for integration into the MDA and compatibility for integration into the MDA, and compatibility of flight and prototype ATM delivery dates to support KSC checkout and integrated module test need dates.
An ATM program review was held at MSFC. ATM Principal Investigators and representatives from NASA Hq, MSC, and MSFC attended. Among the areas discussed were unmanned operations, thermal control, operating lifetime, and availability of acceptance checkout equipment. A study was being conducted to identify the amount of thermal control required during inflight storage periods. In addition, life testing was being performed to determine capability for extending the operating lifetime of the ATM.
A major study was performed by KSC, The Boeing Company, and Chrysler Corporation to determine the feasibility of launching S-IB vehicles from LC-39. Major facilities and equipment needed to convert LC-39 to an elevated pedestal configuration were studied, as well as estimated cost figures, program schedules, and interrelationships with other NASA programs. The study indicated that use of the elevated pedestal concept in LC-39 appeared technically and operationally feasible. However, because of the close operational coupling of the Apollo and AAP if this concept were implemented, it was decided to defer further consideration of this concept.
Major configuration items which resulted from the review were reindexing the CSM by 180 degrees, based on a crew requirement to be able to realign the astronaut maneuvering unit before undocking from the cluster, and installation provisions for two reentry control system propellant tank farms. Both recommendations would be subjected to further review.
Space rescue and emergency coordination said to offer opportunities to bring the space-faring nations of the world closer together. Olin E. Teague, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Astronautics Subcommittee on Manned Space Flight, suggested that space rescue and emergency coordination would offer opportunities to bring the space-faring nations of the world closer together. In an initial response to the letter, NASA Hq appointed a Space Station Safety Advisor and established a Shuttle Safety Advisory Panel.
A review team representing NASA Hq, the three manned space flight Centers, the several prime contractors involved, and many of the Principal Investigators for experiments conducted the AAP cluster systems review at MSFC. Cluster hardware subjected to scrutiny included attitude control, thermal, instrumentation and communications, structural, electrical, and crew systems, as well as mission requirements and the overall system-level capability of the AAP cluster to meet those objectives. In one significant design decision, program officials decided to parallel the electrical power system of the ATM with the rest of the cluster through the airlock to increase overall reliability of the cluster's electrical power system.
Because of stringent budget restrictions MSFC was requested to carefully scrutinize the ATM experiment and supporting systems requirements. Because of stringent budget restrictions MSFC was requested to carefully scrutinize the ATM experiment and supporting systems requirements and eliminate any existing or proposed modifications that were not mandatory to the successful accomplishment of the scientific experiment objectives. Modifications which were not yet implemented would be carefully examined to determine: If the requirements matched the approved experiment objectives. If the requirements could be met without the change. If funding or development schedules would be impacted in an unfavorable. manner if changes were authorized. If alternate approaches could be taken to meet objectives of required changes with a less unfavorable impact on funding and schedules.
KSC Director Kurt H. Debus announced that LC-34 would be used for Saturn IB-related AAP manned launches (scheduled to begin in mid-1972), while LC-37 would be placed in a semi- deactivated 'minimum maintenance' condition. Thomas W. Morgan, AAP Manager of the Florida Center, said that design of modifications to LC-34 to meet the needs of AAP would begin on 1 January 1970, while the modifications to the pad itself would begin around the end of the summer. The current estimate for the cost of modifying the complex and bringing it to a state of readiness was about $3.7 million.
MSFC shipped a test version of the Saturn V third (S-IVB) stage to McDonnell Douglas to be converted into a Workshop test article for use in AAP dynamics and acoustics testing. The stage had earlier been used as a Saturn V facilities vehicle to check out manufacturing, testing, and launching facilities during the Apollo/Saturn V program.
Kamanin notes that interest of the leadership in manned spaceflight has collapsed with the end of the moon race. Brezhnev has declared that his primary interest is in earth orbital space stations. Both Mishin and Chelomei have stations in development, but the work is progressing slowly. There will be no launch of either of their projects until 1972 - which means the Soviets will be beaten by the US Skylab. Kamanin believes the Americans can never be beaten in space unless all space projects are guided firmly by a single Ministry of Defence and Civilian Space office. Meanwhile the Hong Kong flu epidemic is hitting many at the cosmodrome - Moroz, Popovich, and Bykovsky are all seriously ill.
The recommendation was made that serious consideration be given to providing training in solar physics to the Skylab astronauts in the immediate future. Purpose of the training would be to obtain maximum benefit from the ATM experiments by equipping the astronauts with a well-rounded knowledge of solar physics and the training required for them to become experienced solar observers.
With the termination of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, the Air Force provided MSFC with three environment conditioning units capable of delivering fresh air into a small enclosed space at a desired temperature and humidity. The units would be used during bench checks and troubleshooting on the ATM experiments and the related ground support equipment during storage and the preinstallation period.
A ground support equipment meeting was held at MSFC with representatives from NASA Hq, MSC, MSFC, McDonnell Douglas, and General Electric Company participating. Purpose of the meeting was to establish lines of communication and to discuss test and checkout philosophies and responsibilities, ground support equipment status, and problems of common interest. On 18 February a similar meeting was held to discuss ground support equipment associated with the ATM project.
NASA announced that the Apollo Applications Program had been redesignated the Skylab Program. The name Skylab, a contraction connoting a laboratory in the sky, was proposed by Donald L. Steelman, USAF, while assigned to NASA. The name was proposed following an announcement by NASA in 1968 that they were seeking a new name for AAP. Then NASA decided to postpone renaming the program because of budgetary restrictions. Skylab was later referred to the NASA Project Designation Committee and was approved 17 February 1970.
Definition studies for a second Orbital Workshop (Skylab II) were under study. Mission objectives would respond to the following major objectives: continued development and expansion of the ability to live, work, and operate effectively in space; exploitation of space for practical benefits through the observation of Earth and its environment; and the use of space for scientific research.
Issues discussed were whether there should be a Skylab II, and, if so, what its fundamental mission and configuration should be, how long it should stay in orbit, what its experiment payload should be, and how many manned launches should be planned for it. MSC recommended that artificial gravity and expanded Earth-survey experiments be included as major objectives of a second Skylab Program.
Results of the review included the following: MSFC would investigate ATM timing sources to satisfy the 16-mm Maurer control and display sequence camera timing and sequencing requirements. An improved layout of control and display circuit breaker panel was suggested by the crew. The impact of providing a display designed to show the crew that the ATM digital computer had accepted a console-initiated keyboard command was being assessed by MSFC.
A contract was awarded to Itek Corporation by MSC for the design, development, and delivery of multispectral photographic equipment (S190A) for the Skylab Program. The contract called for delivery by July 1971 of a six-lens camera unit which would become part of the Earth resources experiment package in the Skylab missions.
NASA might scrap two of its six scheduled Moon flights, the Washington Daily News said. Apollo 18 and 19 might be scrapped because some NASA planners wanted to use the boosters and spaceships already being built to speed the space base and space station programs. Additional Details: here....
A system flexibility study was being conducted of systems and subsystems within the Skylab cluster in order to achieve the best possible flexibility in case of a malfunction. The focus was on those actions available to ensure the rapid return of command and service modules in the event of a malfunction forcing an abort and possible actions that would permit completion of OWS onboard functions to ensure acquisition of maximum experiment data.
North American Rockwell completed a verification evaluation of the CSM hardware for a 120-day capability and transmitted the certification matrices to NASA. If there were no changes in CSM mission performance requirements, verification for a 120-day mission would not present a problem.
The feasibility of docking a second Orbital Workshop to Skylab 1 had been under consideration. However, the practical problems that would be engendered by such an operation were formidable. They included such items as docking loads, docking control, flight attitude of tandem Skylabs, consumables, and in-orbit storage of Skylab 1.
NASA Hq announced that both the manned and unmanned (Saturn IB and Saturn V) launches of the Skylab Program would be from KSC LC-39. Previous plans were to conduct the Saturn IB launches from LC-34, a part of the U.S. Air Force Eastern Test Range used by NASA, a tenant at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. However, program studies showed the feasibility of the pedestal concept of launching the Saturn IB from LC-39 and indicated a cost savings of $13.5 million. The pedestal would be of standard steel structural design; however, there were unique conditions considered. One of these was the requirement to withstand engine exhaust temperatures of 3000 K (5000°F). Another dealt with winds. The pedestal was designed to launch an S-IB at maximum vehicle allowed winds (59.4 km) and to withstand a 200-km per hr hurricane without the launch vehicle. Launch Complex 34, which became operational in 1961, was placed in a standby condition after the Apollo 7 flight in October 1968. It would have required extensive updating of equipment and repairs to ready it for the Skylab Program.
NASA announced selection of Honeywell, Inc., of Boston for award of a contract for the design, development, and delivery of a 10-band multispectral scanner instrument for use in the Skylab Program. The multispectral scanner would be flown as part of Skylab's Earth resources experiment package. Purpose of the scanner would be to detect and measure radiated and reflected solar energy from materials on Earth.
General Electric Company, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, was awarded a contract for the design, development, and delivery of a microwave radiometer-scatterometer/altimeter instrument for the Skylab Program. The instrument would be part of the Earth-resources experiment package, which also included a multispectral photographic facility, an infrared scanner, and a 10-band multispectral scanner. Objectives of the microwave radiometer- scatterometer/altimeter experiment would be to determine the usefulness of active and passive microwave systems in providing information on land and sea conditions.
KSC awarded contracts to AC Electronics Division, General Motors Corporation, and General Electric Company. The AC Electronics contract would provide Apollo CSM and LM guidance and navigation systems test and mission support at KSC for the Apollo and Skylab Programs. The General Electric contract would provide personnel and equipment for maintenance and operation of acceptance checkout equipment and quick look data systems which were designed and built by General Electric.
A meeting was held at NASA Hq to discuss unmanned ATM operations. ATM Principal Investigators and personnel from MSC, MSFC, KSC, and NASA Hq attended. Following presentations by MSC and MSFC and statements by the investigators, a daily eight-hour unmanned operation of the ATM was baselined.
The AM was a 1.6-m-diameter tunnel attached to the top of the Workshop. It provided the major work area and support equipment required to activate and operate the Workshop and also formed a passageway for the astronauts to move from the Apollo CM and MDA into the Workshop. The airlock could also be depressurized and sealed off for exit into space outside the vehicle.
Inter-Center agreement on the use and control of acceptance checkout equipment-spacecraft (ACE-S/C) for the checkout of the ATM. Skylab Program Managers Thomas W. Morgan, KSC, Leland F. Belew, MSFC, and Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, approved an inter-Center agreement on the use and control of acceptance checkout equipment-spacecraft (ACE-S/C) for the checkout of the ATM at all locations and the AM downlink at KSC.
KSC awarded a contract to Reynolds, Smith, and Hills of Jacksonville, Florida, for architectural and engineering services in modification plans for adapting existing Saturn V facilities at Launch Complex 39 to launch Saturn IB space vehicles. A launcher-umbilical tower would require a major modification, and minor modification would be required in the service platforms of the Vehicle Assembly Building, where space vehicles were assembled and checked out before being moved to the launch pad. The firm, fixed-price contract had a performance period of 200 days, with work to be performed at the Center and in Jacksonville.
A critical design review for the AM was held at McDonnell Douglas. Personnel from NASA Hq, MSC, KSC, MSFC, and McDonnell Douglas participated. The review was a detailed technical examination of the total AM, including the environmental control systems, electrical and power management, data and communications, structural and mechanical, and other miscellaneous and experiment-support systems.
A group of MSFC engineers successfully completed a week-long testing of Skylab Program hardware in simulated weightlessness aboard a USAF KC-135 four-engine jet research aircraft. Tests included operation of flight-configuration doors for film cassette compartments, retrieval and replacement of film cassettes, and evaluation of handrails and food restraints. The KC-135 was flown in parabolas, with 30 seconds of weightlessness achieved on each parabola in a technique that closely duplicated zero-g.
MSFC issued a modification to an existing contract with McDonnell Douglas for Skylab Program work. The modification would pay for the conversion of the original OWS to be launched by a Saturn IB booster to a completely outfitted Workshop to be launched by a Saturn V. Originally the plan was to launch the second stage (S IVB) of a Saturn IB into Earth orbit. The S-IVB would be filled with fuel so that it could propel itself into orbit. Astronauts launched by a second Saturn IB would then rendezvous with the empty stage and convert it into living and working quarters. A decision was made 21 May 1969 to outfit an S-IVB on the ground and launch it ready for use on a Saturn V.
NASA published a new Skylab launch readiness and delivery schedule which called for a Skylab 1 launch on 1 November 1972. The change was initiated as a result of the implementation of an interim operating plan which deleted two Apollo missions and called for completion of all Apollo missions by June 1972.
A study, which was initiated in April concerning a second Skylab Program, had generated sufficient data for planning purposes. The study indicated that a second set of Skylab missions would provide a useful and worthwhile continuation of manned space flight in the mid 1970s, even if the hardware were unchanged. It would also offer an economically feasible program option if future funding for the Space Shuttle Program fell behind the anticipated growth rate.
An inquiry as to the feasibility of having a crew from another country visit the Skylab in orbit showed that, while there was nothing to indicate such a mission could not be accomplished, a considerable amount of joint planning and design would be required.
An Orbital Workshop critical design review was conducted at McDonnell Douglas, Huntington Beach. Personnel from NASA Hq, MSC, KSC, MSFC, and McDonnell Douglas participated. The review was conducted by panels representing six different technological disciplines. Areas of potential major impact included the urine system, microbiological contamination, the water storage system, and the OWS window vibration test.
Singer-General Precision, Inc., Link Division, Houston, was selected for the award of a contract to design, develop, install, and support a Skylab simulator to provide astronaut and ground crew training at MSC. The simulator would serve as a ground-based trainer with controls and displays similar to those used during manned operations. It would also be operated in conjunction with the command module simulator and the Mission Control Center to provide complete mission training.
An EVA critical design review was held at the Skylab mockup area and the neutral buoyancy simulator, MSFC. The week-long EVA review included astronaut performance under normal Earth gravity in the Saturn Workshop mockup and simulated weightlessness in the neutral buoyancy simulator. Ten astronauts from MSC took part in the review activities.
The Skylab MDA flight unit was flown from MSFC to Martin Marietta's Denver division where it was to be outfitted with controls and display panels for solar astronomy and Earth resources experiments, storage vaults for experiment film, and a thruster attitude control system.
A ground-test version of the Saturn Workshop was shipped from the McDonnell Douglas facility at Huntington Beach, to the Michoud, Louisiana, Assembly Facility. It would undergo testing there until 30 December and then would be shipped to MSC for extensive ground tests. This Workshop was a version of one that would be used in the Skylab Program to accommodate teams of three astronauts for stays of up to 56 days in Earth orbit. NASA planned to launch the Skylab cluster with a Saturn V vehicle in 1972. Called a 'dynamic test article,' the Workshop model would be tested at MSC to verify its bending and vibration characteristics. The Workshop was scheduled to arrive at Michoud 17 December and at MSC 5 January.
An assessment of the feasibility of providing a crew rescue capability for Skylab was conducted by KSC, MSC, and MSFC during 1970. The study culminated in a NASA Hq decision to provide a limited rescue capability should return capability fail while the CSM were docked to the OWS. The rescue vehicle for the first two manned Skylab missions would be the next CSM in flow at KSC. Should a rescue call occur, the CSM next in flow would be modified so as to permit a five- man carrying capacity. It would be launched with a two-man crew and return with the additional three astronauts.
The Orbital Workshop dynamic test article arrived at the Clear Lake Creek Basin adjacent to MSC aboard the barge Orion. It was offloaded on 7 January and moved to the MSC acoustic test facility where it was set up for vibroacoustic testing scheduled to start on 20 January. The acoustic test facility had been checked out previously, and the acoustic environments generated met simulated conditions surrounding the Skylab during Skylab I liftoff and Skylab 1 maximum gravity.
It was designed to ensure total agreement on experiment objectives, development, operations, and data analysis, as well as to ensure that crew and mission operations requirements would be met. Representatives of MSFC, MSC, and Martin Marietta attended the meeting. The scientists who proposed the six solar astronomy experiments also attended the meeting. An update of the proposed Martin Marietta facilities designed to support Skylab was presented The solar data from ground observatories needed to support mission operations were described by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration personnel, and their recommendations were agreed to, with the stipulation that additional data were needed. The ATM film study identified some problem areas to be resolved, such as temperature control and radiation protection for film.
An Orbital Workshop management review was conducted at McDonnell Douglas. Representatives from McDonnell Douglas, NASA Hq, KSC, MSFC, and MSC attended. Significant agenda items included the program schedule, engineering changes, design status, component tests, and procurement status. The OWS flight module was about three months behind schedule. The component development and qualification testing was also behind schedule. McDonnell Douglas reorganized the procurement activity and was making a significant effort to improve this area since it directly impacted the schedule slip.
KSC awarded a contract to the Holloway Corporation of Titusville, Florida, to construct a launcher-pedestal for the Skylab Program. The 38.7-m-tall pedestal adapted to an existing launcher-umbilical tower so that manned Saturn IB space vehicles could be launched from facilities supporting the larger Saturn V rockets. Holloway contracted to construct the launcher- pedestal in 180 days after receiving notice to proceed.
During the final testing, the dynamic test article was exposed to the full intensity of the aerodynamic acoustic environment to qualify the Workshop structural design. No major problems were encountered. However, vibration levels in some areas exceeded the established criteria. The new vibration levels were given to McDonnell Douglas, and adjustments in the qualification test criteria were made as appropriate.
MSFC granted International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) a contract modification for the manufacture of instrument units (IU) for Saturn launch vehicles. The modification would extend IBM's delivery schedule for IUs through 31 December 1973, to be compatible with the extended Apollo and Skylab Program launch schedules. IBM was under NASA contract to build 27 IUs for Saturn vehicles: 12 Saturn IBs and 15 Saturn Vs. Ten of the Saturn IB units and 12 Saturn V units had been completed. All work was being done at the company's facilities in Huntsville. The original IU contract had been granted to IBM in March 1965 for the fabrication, assembly, checkout, and delivery of the 27 units and related support functions.
Dale D. Myers, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, testified before the House Committee 011 Science and astronautics during hearings on NASA's FY 1972 authorization bill. During the past year, design and essentially all phases of development testing had been completed for Skylab, and flight hardware was in fabrication. Definition of Space Shuttle was nearing completion. To develop a limited capability to rescue Skylab astronauts from space, NASA had initiated design action on a modification kit to give Skylab the capacity to carry two men up to orbit and five men back to Earth. Stranded astronauts could use the SkyIab cluster as shelter while the modification kit was installed and the Apollo-Saturn IB launch vehicle assigned to next revisit was made ready for launch.
A plan was devised to provide a rescue capability for SkyIab in the event the crew became stranded in the OWS because of failed CSM. The rescue capability was based on the assumption that the stranded crew would be able to wait in the Skylab cluster with its ample supply of food, water, and breathing gases until a modified CSM capable of carrying five crewmen could he launched. If a failure occurred which stranded the crewmen in their CSM, this rescue capability would not be possible.
With the issuance of the Launch Complex 34/37 Phaseout Plan, Skylab Program management responsibility- for these two launch complexes was terminated. Although use of Launch Complex 37 for Space Shuttle engine testing had been considered, other options were chosen, and the complexes were to be removed from NASA operational facilities inventory.
MSFC modified a contract with Chrysler Corporation to authorize additional work in the Saturn IB program. Chrysler was the prime contractor for the first stage of the Saturn IB, which was assembled at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Under the current modification, the company would maintain nine Saturn IB boosters in storage. Three of the nine vehicles were for the Skylab Program and would be launched in 1973. Those three, plus a fourth that would serve as a backup, would be maintained and modified as necessary under terms of this contract. Prelaunch checkout of the Skylab vehicles would also be accomplished under this modification. The period of performance was from 1 January 1971 to 15 August 1973. Six of the vehicles were located at the Michoud Facility; the other three were at MSFC in Huntsville.
Orbital Workshop vibration test objectives, test article status, test facility preparation status, and test schedules were reviewed by MSFC and MSC during a test readiness review prior to a Skylab OWS vibration test at MSC. The review board concluded, upon resolution of one test constraint, that the initial run could proceed on schedule on 19 March.
A Skylab trainer meeting with representatives from MSC and MSFC reviewed the delivery schedule for the major Skylab trainer modules and experiment trainers, the schedule for initial acceptance, and the training hardware acceptance data package requirements. Delivery dates were reviewed, and a delivery schedule established. It was agreed that MSC would develop a list of trainer hardware, identify trainer systems, and develop the trainer acceptance checkout procedures. The following Skylab training modules would be delivered to MSC: OWS one-g trainer; airlock one-g trainer; airlock zero-g trainer; airlock neutral buoyancy trainer; airlock; one-g support stand; neutral buoyancy deployment assembly; MDA trainer; ATM one-g trainer; ATM zero-g trainer; and ATM neutral buoyancy trainer.
The study was limited to low-Earth-orbit manned missions to be down prior to the start of Space Shuttle operations in the late 1970s. Based on various considerations, the study recommended three missions: two Earth resources surveys and the Apollo-Soyuz mission. A further study would be made to determine a specific mission for the fourth available spacecraft.
Dale D. Myers, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, testifying before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, said that in the Skylab Program three separate three-man Skylab; flight crews would be selected during the coming year. Scientist astronauts would he included and would perform about 50 experiments in various disciplines. Twenty of these would be in the life sciences, to determine how human beings adjust and perform under conditions of prolonged space flight, up to two months' duration. The scientist astronauts would also operate the Skylab Earth resources experiment package in the second space flight phase of NASA's Earth resources program. These observations would be in conjunction with and complementary to those of the automated Earth Resources Test Satellite (ERTS) to be launched in 1972.
Proposed Skylab rescue mission profile requirements were: The trajectory planning for a rescue mission would be the same as the nominal Skylab mission. Nominal mission duration from launch to recovery would be limited to five days. The orbital assembly would maneuver to provide acquisition light support for the rescue CSM. The rescue CSM would be capable of rendezvous without very-high frequency ranging. Landing and recovery would be planned for the primary landing area; transfer of the crew from the MDA to the CSM would be in shirt sleeves with no extravehicular activity. The KSC rescue launch response time would vary from 10 to 45 1/2 days, depending on the transpired time into the normal checkout flow.
It was determined that the rescue kit could be installed in one shift, that suits would be worn for reentry, and that the center couch would be ballasted for launch. Studies were being conducted to determine the feasibility of jettisoning disabled CSM from the axial port.
After a simulated 144-day Skylab mission, the reaction control system engines were fired at the White Sands Test Facility, to deplete the propellant supply module in a backup deorbit propulsive mode. The firing was made without problems. Depletion of both oxidizer and fuel occurred at about the same time.
A full-scale flight hardware meteoroid shield deployment test was performed on the Workshop flight article. The shield did not deploy fully and took longer than nominal for the deployment. However, it was concluded that the deployment would have been successful if performed in orbit. All components of the shield had previously passed development tests.
John L. Disher, Deputy Director of the NASA Skylab Program, approved a configuration control board change which would provide the capability to switch control of the Skylab vehicle back to the instrument unit. John L. Disher, Deputy Director of the NASA Skylab Program, approved a configuration control board change which would provide the capability to switch control of the Skylab vehicle back to the instrument unit after the initial transfer to the Apollo telescope mount digital computer control. The current configuration would preclude a switchboard and prevent the use of the IU control system should problems arise during the first critical hours of active ATM DC control. Concern over the inability to make the switchback was constantly expressed by MSC because unexpected previously unidentifiable failures occurred during actual flight in every computing system used-e.g., lunar module guidance computer, command computer IU, real- time computer complex, and the Gemini computer.
An optical efficiency problem was reported in the Naval Research Laboratory ATM flight instrument at Ball Brothers Research Corporation. A failure analysis review attended by experts from Bausch & Lomb, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, Goddard Space Flight Center, Naval Research Laboratory, and MSC concluded that failure was due to the 'Purple Plague,' an aluminum coating overcoating on gold. An alert would be released by Goddard for dissemination throughout NASA and the Air Force to preclude further use of this particular method of coating optics.
A study indicated that if the Skylab airlock could not be used for a normal extravehicular activity, contingency modes were possible. One would be a two-man EVA to the ATM using oxygen, water, and electrical umbilical connections in the structural transition section of the airlock. Another possibility would be a one-man EVA from the CM. Selection of a contingency EVA mode would depend on the failure that prevented the nominal operation.
Authority to proceed on the calibration rocket program was given by NASA to determine the amount of degradation of Harvard College Observatory and Naval Research Laboratory experiment data to be expected during the Skylab mission. Degradation due to decrease in mirror reflectivity, changes in photographic film sensitivity, gamma and background fogging, and aging of filters and gratings could cause misinterpretation of the solar data. To improve data evaluation, sounding rocket launchings during the mission were proposed, to carry instruments similar to those in the ATM and calibrated to a known light source. These instruments would be pointed to some of the same solar areas as were the ATM and the returned data would be compared to the ATM data.
NASA approved the award to The Boeing Company of a contract modification for systems engineering and integration work on the Saturn V launch vehicle. The modification would extend Boeing's integration work through 31 December 1972. The basic contract began in September 1964. Included in the modification was work on requirements for Saturn V vehicles that would launch the remaining Apollo lunar exploration missions (Apollo 15, 16, and 17) and the Skylab Program's Saturn Workshop. Boeing's systems engineering and integration work at the time of this modification award included requirements and documentation for presettings for onboard computers that determined launch events, propellant loadings for all three vehicle stages, vehicle structural integrity, expected heating environments, range safety, tracking and communication data, and postflight reconstruction of launch data. Boeing was also MSFC's contractor for manufacture and testing of the first (S IC) stage of the Saturn V.
Missions still under consideration for the immediate post-Skylab period included the following: An independent CSM mission for Earth observations. An independent CSM mission for rendezvous and docking with the U.S.S.R. Salyut spacecraft. A combination of the above. Use of the Skylab backup CSM to conduct a cooperative docking with the Salyut vehicle and thereafter carry out a fourth visit to Skylab. This mission would occur approximately 18 months after the launch of Skylab. A second Skylab supported by two 90-day CSMs and a rescue vehicle.
A study was conducted at MSFC on the effects of various pitch attitudes at the time of the Skylab payload shroud jettison on the possibility that the shroud would collide with the Skylab at a later date. Based on the study, a 10-degree attitude error constraint on a 90-degree-pitch (nose down) shroud separation attitude was recommended to preclude such a collision.
Skylab crewmen would wear soft suits on reentry for both regular and rescue missions in order to provide stowage space for maximum data return. All available stowage space in the command module would be needed for film, experiment samples and specimens, flight data files, life support equipment, and supplies.
An Apollo telescope mount final acceptance review for the ATM one-g and zero-g trainers was held at MSFC. Representatives from MSC, MSFC, Martin Marietta, and Brown Engineering Company attended. The trainers were scheduled for shipment, with an arrival date at MSC of 12 October.
Corrective measures were being incorporated into the Apollo telescope mount as a result of the prototype thermal/vacuum test being performed in the MSC Space Environmental Simulation Laboratory September-December 1971. A number of anomalies unidentified in previous component system or subsystem tests were identified. Unlocated, the anomalies could have had serious impacts on ATM orbital operations.
Training mockups of several components of the Skylab spacecraft arrived at MSC. The Orbital Workshop and the Apollo telescope mount arrived aboard the NASA barge Orion. The shipment also included the multiple docking adapter exterior shell and a portion of the airlock module mockup. The AM one-g trainer had arrived previously at MSC on a contingent of six trucks. The trainers and hardware were scheduled for use by MSC in training prospective Skylab crewmen for missions.
K. Pounds (United Kingdom), M. Oda (Japan), and Pande (India) were endorsed as ground-based observers in connection with the ATM. Proposals for participation in Earth resources were anticipated from Canada, Argentina, Chile, India, Iran, Japan, Thailand, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Numerous small articles of equipment such as zippers and lenses were obtained from England, Switzerland, Germany, and Monaco. Cameras were obtained from Sweden and Japan. Glass for the multispectral photography window came from Japan. Rockets used for ATM calibration flights were obtained from Canada.
The anticipated reentry mode for the rescue vehicle would be with the crewmen suited, thus providing additional return stowage volume for program-critical items. North American would define the return volume and loading available, while MSC would identify the returnable program-critical items. The rescue command and service modules would be designed for both suited and unsuited reentry and for axial and radial docking. The rescue kit would include provisions for the return of five men.
An acceptance review of the ATM experiment training hardware was held at MSFC. MSC representatives participated in the review. Following the review, the hardware was shipped to MSC for crew familiarization in preparation for a multiple docking adapter crew compartment fit and function review.
MSFC awarded Chrysler's Space Division a contract modification for additional work on Saturn IB launch vehicle booster stages. The contract extension would run through 31 January 1974. The additional work was to refurbish four S-IB booster stages that would be used in the Skylab Program in 1973. The fourth vehicle (SA-209) would be assigned as a backup. All four stages had been in storage for several years. The major portion of the work would be removing the stages from storage, preparing them for delivery to KSC, and providing launch support to them throughout the Skylab launch readiness period, which would end in early 1974. Most of the work would be done at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, but some work would be done at MSFC.
Apollo experience was utilized in the design and development of the Skylab water system which consisted of Ten 272-kg storage tanks A chiller and three water dispensers for drinking water A heater and two water dispensers for food reconstitution A heater and water dispenser for personal hygiene A portable water container and fixed and flexible plumbing with disconnect fittings
At MSFC, the ATM was placed in a clean room in the Quality and Reliability Assurance Laboratory for a system checkout. It would next undergo vibration testing in the Astronautics Laboratory and then would be refurbished to serve as a backup for the flight model. While at MSC, the ATM prototype, which was assembled at MSFC, had been subjected to space conditions in a large chamber used for testing the Apollo spacecraft.
MSC proposed that SL-1 should be flown at an altitude of 435 km and that the orbit should be controlled by removing any insertion dispersions and drag effects with burns of the SL 2 CSM reaction control system after that spacecraft had rendezvoused and docked with SL-1. Additional Details: here....
The AM had been moved from the test area on 10 January to begin the mating operation with the ATM deployment assembly and the fixed airlock shroud. The multiple docking adapter had completed shell leakage tests and was undergoing radiator leakage tests. Special illumination tests and TV camera/video recorder tests began 10 January at McDonnell Douglas. Personnel from MSC, MSFC, and NASA Hq were observing the testing.
A Skylab crew news conference, with prime and backup crewmen, was held at MSC. Astronaut Charles Conrad, Jr., said preparations were on schedule for an April 1973 launch. Contractor checkouts and tests of hardware were expected to be completed for delivery to KSC in July. Skylab would carry some 20 000 pieces of stowed equipment on board to provide life support for nine men for 140 days. 'So it all goes up at one time, and we've got a great deal of work to do, not only to learn how to operate this vehicle but also all the experiments in it. It became apparent that we could not be 100-percent cross-trained as we had been in Apollo, so we've . . . defined some areas for each guy to become expert in. That allowed us to balance out the training hours. Additional Details: here....
MSFC and MSC completed a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for support contracts for Skylab. The contract would include both ATM and crew radiation monitoring support in the areas concerning the solar network and Mission Control Center Operations. ATM support performed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as required by MSFC and MSC would be contracted for by MSC, with that Center providing the technical monitor for the contract and technical direction during the mission simulation and inflight operations phases. Requirements would include a variety of solar data on current solar conditions and predicted solar conditions. These data would ensure effective scheduling of ATM experiments and ATM data for Principal Investigators in the form of photographs, line drawings, etc., to support their detailed analyses of solar activity. The crew radiation monitoring support would be contracted by MSC, with all technical direction provided by the MSC technical monitor. These activities would include management and operation of facilities for acquisition and transmission of solar data for crew radiation monitoring during simulations and inflight operations; a 24-hour solar watch and photographic record; and monitoring of current and future radiation environments to provide an assessment of the biological effect on the flight crew.
The Apollo telescope mount flight unit was being readied for a three-month, post-manufacturing checkout at MSFC. The ATM would be moved in May from the Quality and Reliability Assurance Laboratory to the Astronautics Laboratory for vibration tests and would be delivered to MSC I June for thermal and vacuum tests. The ATM would be launched on the first Skylab mission in 1973.
The Skylab rescue mission was a definite NASA commitment. The hardware, procedures, documentation, and training would need to be available immediately after the launch of Skylab 2 for a potential rescue mission. To accomplish this requirement, the rescue mission would be treated as a separate mission in the Skylab Program. The rescue mission would be established as a standing agenda item for major boards and panels, and its status would be reviewed on a regular basis with other missions.
During an Orbital Workshop meteoroid shield test at MSFC, it was discovered that in one hinge section of the foldout panel, nine of the 15 torsion springs were installed in such a manner that they were only 50-percent effective in action to assist shield deployment. Action was initiated to ensure proper spring action.
MSFC, KSC, and MSC performed studies which identified the cost and reliability tradeoffs on planned one- and two-week slips between the launches of SL-1 and SL-2. An analysis of the studies identified significant cost and reliability penalties that would be incurred if the SL-2 mission were slipped, reconfirmed the desirability of getting the CSM docked to the Orbital Workshop as soon as possible after launch of SL-1, and recommended against extending the launch interval between SL-1 and SL-2. Launch plans called for a 1-day interval between the two launches.
A compact shower assembly for use on Skylab Earth-orbital missions was designed and built at MSFC. The shower remained stored on the floor when not in use. Astronauts would step inside a ring on the floor and raise a fireproof beta cloth curtain on a hoop and attach it to the ceiling. A flexible hose with push-button shower nozzle could spray 2.8 liters of water from the personal hygiene tank during each bath. Used water would be vacuumed from the shower enclosure into a disposable bag and deposited in the waste tank.
An Orbital Workshop crew compartment fit and function test was conducted with representatives from MSC, MSFC, and McDonnell Douglas participating. Ninety percent of the crew compartment fit and function hardware items were satisfactorily reviewed. Problems identified by the crew included numerous mechanical problems in the urine collection system, tools breaking, snaps debonding, and velcro debonding.
NASA announced completion of major preflight verification test of Skylab Workshop at the McDonnell Douglas Huntington Beach plant. Two teams of six astronauts performed checkout activities in two, six-hour shifts daily for three days, activating the Workshop to demonstrate that it could support all activities planned for missions. The test was one of the last two major tests for the Workshop, which was 14.6 m long, 6.7 m in diameter, and scheduled for launch in early 1973. A flight demonstration would be conducted before the spacecraft was shipped to KSC during the summer.
Rising costs for the ATM experiments were attributed to a number of factors. Principal among these was the delay in launch time of over four and one-half years. The ATM development began in 1965 and was scheduled for launch in 1968. The long delay in launch time meant that the Principal Investigators, their in-house staffs, and their contractors had to be supported for the additional four years. Other factors which contributed to the cost increase were new state-of-the art developments for which NASA or the Principal Investigators had no previous experience.
A Skylab vibration and acoustics test program which began at MSC in January 1971 was completed. The 18-month test program was characterized by extreme complexity requiring highly innovative testing techniques. It was the first time that an extensive test operation was conducted with a computer-controlled system. All components of the Skylab payload assembly were involved in the test program. The complete assembly, as it would be at launch, underwent vibration and acoustic tests. Then the cone and shroud were removed, the ATM deployed, and the CSM joined to the MDA for tests with the assembly positioned as it would be in Earth orbit.
An Orbital Workshop all-systems test began on 17 July 1972 and was completed on 7 August 1972 at McDonnell Douglas' Huntington Beach Vehicle Checkout Laboratory. Following the test, which lasted 309 hours, a meeting was held to verify that the OWS all-systems test had been successfully completed. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that pending closeout of the test anomalies, all test requirements had been satisfied.
The first command and service modules designed for the Skylab Program were delivered by North American Rockwell. The CSM arrived at KSC via the Super Guppy aircraft. Upon arrival, the CSM, which would be launched on SL-2, was installed in the Operations and Checkout Building to begin its checkout procedure.
The Saturn IB first stage for the Skylab 2 launch arrived at KSC aboard the NASA barge Orion and was immediately offloaded for processing in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Following preliminary checkout in the VAB transfer aisle, the S-IB 206 first stage would be erected atop the 39- m-tall pedestal on Mobile Launcher 1 on 31 August.
An MSC team was conducting tests with the rescue mission configured Skylab command module at KSC. Purpose of the test was to evaluate the equipment, techniques, and procedures involved in the egress required by a five-man command module loading. Navy and Air Force helicopters were participating in the test.
A special ceremony at McDonnell Douglas, Huntington Beach, marked completion of the OWS, the main section of the Skylab space station. The OWS, with a volume equivalent to that of a five-room house, was being readied for shipment to Cape Kennedy aboard the USNS Point Barrow. The trip would take 13 days.
The ATM, which had been at MSC since mid-July, was immediately moved to the Operations and Checkout Building in KSC's industrial area and placed in the cleanroom for intensive checkout. The ATM was scheduled to be moved in January 1973 to the Vehicle Assembly Building for mating with the OWS atop the two-stage Saturn V launch vehicle. The Skylab orbital assembly- consisting of the OWS, the ATM, and the AM/MDA-was scheduled to be launched from Pad A of Launch Complex 39 in late April 1973.
The Skylab 1 Orbital Workshop was offloaded from a NASA barge and moved into the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at KSC. The OWS had arrived the preceding day (22 September) aboard the Point Barrow at Port Canaveral, where it was transferred to a smaller barge for the journey through the locks, up the Banana River, and through the access canal to the barge unloading area at the VAB. Following preliminary checkout, the OWS, with its 361.4 cu m of living and working area, was scheduled to be mated to the twostage Saturn V launch vehicle on 28 September.
Representatives from NASA Hq, MSC, MSFC, KSC, Ames Research Center, LaRC, Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, various NASA contractors, and Principal Investigators attended. Purpose of the review was to assess and certify that the design of the OWS, MDA, payload shroud, AM, and ATM met Skylab requirements for performance, reliability, and safety.
Problems were encountered with improperly torqued deployment torsion bars and latch failure in the open position. One torsion bar was replaced and the others retorqued. The meteoroid shield was successfully deployed on 22 October when three out of four latches worked, and it was judged acceptable for flight. By 29 October all work had been completed, and the meteoroid shield was placed in flight configuration.
A cluster communications compatibility meeting was held at MSC. Representatives from MSFC, Goddard Space Flight Center, and MSC attended. Purpose was to review the status of testing AM and ATM communications systems. AM audio and television systems were nearly complete. ATM telemetry and command systems were complete.
In a number of instances in the Skylab Program, cost savings were obtained by accepting greater payload weights. Examples cited were The payload shroud, where a conservative estimate of savings at the expense of 5900 kg of payload was approximately $35 million. The gas storage system where a 2700-kg heavier payload resulted in an estimated savings of $5 million. Other structural elements, in addition to the payload shroud, accommodated 2200 kg of added payload weight for an additional savings of $35 million.
Objection was voiced to a proposal that the Saturn V backup launch capability and all activities associated with it be terminated immediately following the first manned mission of Skylab. Reasons for the objection were NASA would be placed in the position of retaining a backup capability for the most reliable portions of Skylab and disposing of that capability for the most immature elements such as the Workshop and solar arrays. Additional Details: here....
At a Manned Space Flight Management Council meeting, William C. Schneider (NASA Hq) emphasized the mounting pressures from open work at KSC and the demanding schedule for integrated systems testing during February and March. As examples he cited the following areas: February ATM system verification AM/MDA/OWS end-to-end system test SL-2 (first manned Skylab launch) vehicle roll March Stowage and crew compartment fit and function review SL-1 and SL-2 flight readiness test
MSFC began implementation of a plan for preparation and storage of unassigned Saturn hardware, phaseout of the Saturn V production capability, and amendment of the facility operations contract at the Michoud Assembly Facility for minimum surveillance of stored hardware.
An evaluation to determine the impact of changing the Skylab 1 and 2 launch dates indicated that the greatest impact was on the crew training activities. The evaluation indicated that the star charts aboard the Orbital Workshop were launch-date dependent. Changeout packages were being prepared for the star charts which would be carried in the command module. Changeout packages were also being prepared for the rendezvous book, the ATM systems checklist and data book, the flight plan, and the flight plan sequence for the activation and deactivation checklist.
The Skylab 2 spacecraft, mated to its launch vehicle, was transferred 27 February from the KSC Vehicle Assembly- Building to Launch Complex 39B in preparation for launch. The SL-2 space vehicle consisted of the following major components: an S-IB (the first stage); an S-IVB (the second stage, which comprised the propulsion stages); an IU; a CSM; and an SLA. Additional Details: here....
Second Skylab-B program between considered to fill late 1970's gap between the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and the Space Shuttle. Consideration was being given to the feasibility of a second set of Skylab missions (designated Skylab-B) during the interval between the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975 and the start of Space Shuttle operations late in 1979. The inherent worth of a Skylab-B was recognized, but officials were reluctant to recommend it, on the premise that it would be unwise to allow it to delay or displace the development of the Space Shuttle and other programs already included in the FY 1974 budget.
The Skylab flight hardware successfully completed the first total mission operations sequence during the mission simulation and flight readiness test at KSC. The test included the SL 2 astronaut crew participation in the simulated launches of SL-1 and SL-2, mission activation and operation, deactivation, data dump, and powerdown.
The USNS Vanguard, a part of NASA's Space Flight Tracking and Data Network, departed Port Canaveral, Florida, for temporary duty at Mar del Plata, Argentina. The ship would provide a two- way flow of information and communication between Skylab and Mission Control Center in Houston via Goddard Space Flight Center. Upon completion of the Skylab Program, it would return to Port Canaveral. The Vanguard was originally designed to provide tracking and data acquisition for the Apollo flights. It played an important role in the Apollo Program.
An ATM Naval Research Laboratory rocket calibration launch was unsuccessful due to two major discrepancies. l he guidance system failed to work properly and the recovery system failed. The launch was a qualification test flight of the rocket vehicle, science package, and support equipment which would he flown during the manned Skylab mission to calibrate the Naval Research Laboratory instrument in the ATM. This calibration would establish the amount of misalignment or degradation of the optics, if any, in the ATM instrument due to the launch environment or contamination. Investigations were initiated to determine the causes of the failures.
Studies were conducted to determine the feasibility of conducting a controlled deorbit of the Orbital Workshop. Three methods were considered: (l) using the CSM service propulsion system; (2) using the CSM reaction control system; and (3) implementing an S-II (Saturn V second stage) deorbit. The service propulsion system deorbit was assessed as not feasible; the reaction control system deorbit was considered technically feasible but, like the service propulsion system, it had an inherent program and crew safety risk associated with it. Implementation of an S-II deorbit would have serious time and cost impacts on the program. A 1970 study, which indicated that the probability of damage from the deorbiting Skylab was so small that changes which caused major impact in cost and schedule were not worth pursuing, was confirmed.
Loading of the Apollo spacecraft's hypergolic propellants for a scheduled 15 May launch was completed at KSC. The next major milestone in preparing the Saturn IB/Apollo for launch would occur 23 April when the kerosene to fuel the Saturn IB booster's eight engines would be pumped aboard the first stage.
The Skylab 1 spacecraft on its launch vehicle was moved to Launch Complex 39, Pad A, on 16 April. The SL-1 space vehicle consisted of two launch vehicle stages, an instrument unit, and the three major payload modules of the Saturn Workshop (SWS). The two launch vehicle stages and IU (S-IC, S-II, and S-IU) were identical to the first and second launch vehicle stages of the Apollo Saturn V space vehicle. The SL-1 payload consisted of the Orbital Workshop (a converted S-IVB stage), airlock module/multiple docking adapter, Apollo telescope mount, payload shroud, nose cone, and experiments. Additional Details: here....
The final NASA top management review and approval of the launch and mission readiness was completed in a flight readiness review at KSC. Items covered in the review ranged from modules and launch vehicles readiness to missions and operations support. Following the review, NASA Skylab Program Director William C. Schneider said, 'We still have a few things to be closed out, but we have assured ourselves that the systems are all working with one or two minor open items and we're still ready to go for a 14 May launch of Skylab 1 and a 15 May launch of Skylab 2.'
First and only US space station to date. Project began life as Apollo Orbital Workshop - outfitting of an S-IVB stage with docking adapter with equipment launched by several subsequent S-1B launches. Curtailment of the Apollo moon landings meant that surplus Saturn V's were available, so the pre-equipped, five times heavier, and much more capable Skylab resulted.
An unexpected telemetry indication of meteoroid shield deployment and solar array wing 2 beam fairing separation was received 1 minute and 3 seconds after liftoff. However, all other systems of the OWS appeared normal, and the OWS was inserted into a near-circular Earth orbit of approximately 435 km altitude. The payload shroud was jettisoned, and the ATM with its solar array was deployed as planned during the first orbit. Deployment of the Workshop solar array and the meteoroid shield was not successful. In fact the xternal solar/meteoroid shield had ripped off 63 seconds into ascent, tearing away one solar panel wing and debris jamming the remaining panel. Without shield temperatures soared in station. Repairs by crews led to virtually all mission objectives being met.
Following the final manned phase of the Skylab mission, ground controllers performed some engineering tests of certain Skylab systems--tests that ground personnel were reluctant to do while men were aboard. Results from these tests helped to determine causes of failures during the mission and to obtain data on long term degradation of space systems.
Upon completion of the engineering tests, Skylab was positioned into a stable attitude and systems were shut down. It was expected that Skylab would remain in orbit eight to ten years. It was to have been visited by an early shuttle mission, reboosted into a higher orbit, and used by space shuttle crews. But delays in the first flight of the shuttle made this impossible.
On July 11, 1979, Skylab disintegrated when it re-entered the earth's atmosphere after a worldwide scare over its pending crash. The debris stretched from the south-east Indian Ocean into Western Australia. Additional Details: here....
The review board determined that a 'Skylab parasol,' with a strengthened ultraviolet resistant material, deployed through the scientific airlock would be the prime method for the deployment of a thermal shield on the Orbital Workshop. A 'twin pole' thermal shield and a standup extravehicular thermal sail would be flown as backup methods. Following final assessment of mission readiness with favorable recommendations, a certification of flight worthiness for the new hardware was executed.
Epic repair mission which brought Skylab into working order. Included such great moments as Conrad being flung through space by the whiplash after heaving on the solar wing just as the debris constraining it gave way; deployment of a lightweight solar shield, developed in Houston in one week, which brought the temperatures down to tolerable levels. With this flight US again took manned spaceflight duration record.
Skylab 2 , consisting of a modified Apollo CSM payload and a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into Earth orbit approximately 10 minutes after liftoff. The orbit achieved was 357 by 156 km and, during a six-hour period following insertion, four maneuvers placed the CSM into a 424 by 415 km orbit for rendezvous with the Orbital Workshop. Normal rendezvous sequencing led to stationkeeping during the fifth revolution followed by a flyaround inspection of the damage to the OWS. The crew provided a verbal description of the damage in conjunction with 15 minutes of television coverage. The solar array system wing (beam) 2 was completely missing. The solar array system wing (beam) 1 was slightly deployed and was restrained by a fragment of the meteoroid shield. Large sections of the meteoroid shield were missing. Following the flyaround inspection, the CSM soft-docked with the OWS at 5:56 p.m. EDT to plan the next activities. At 6:45 p.m. EDT the CSM undocked and extravehicular activity was initiated to deploy the beam 1 solar array. The attempt failed. Frustration of the crew was compounded when eight attempts were required to achieve hard docking with the OWS. The hard dock was made at 11:50 p.m. EDT, terminating a Skylab 2 first-day crew work period of 22 hours.
A Skylab Program Director's meeting was held to identify further actions required for the SL 2 mission and actions required for the SL-3 mission. The following agreements were reached: The parasol installed on the OWS would not be jettisoned until a replacement thermal shield was on board, if a twin-boom thermal shield had not been deployed during the SL-2 mission. The twin-boom sunshade and the JSC sail would be retained in the OWS at the end of the SL-2 mission.
The Skylab 3 space vehicle was moved to KSC Launch Complex 39, Pad B, on 11 June in preparation for launch. The space vehicle consisted of a Saturn IB launch vehicle S-IB-207 first stage, S-IVB-207 second stage, and a S-IU-208 instrument unit; a CSM; and a spacecraft lunar module adapter. Additional Details: here....
A review was conducted at NASA Hq to determine whether the astronaut maneuvering unit and foot controller maneuvering unit could be safely used within the confines of the OWS. It was concluded that the units could be safely operated, and approval was given for scheduling their use. Additional Details: here....
A recommendation to jettison the docking ring and probe assembly on SL-2 while the crew was unsuited was reaffirmed. Major considerations in arriving at the recommendations were that a suited landing was unacceptable, the additional risk of performing the operation unsuited was extremely low, and the crew had trained premission and in flight using the proposed timeline for an unsuited jettison of the docking ring and probe assembly.
At 9:49 a.m. EDT, Skylab 2 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 9.6 km from the recovery ship, U.S.S. Ticonderoga , and 1320 km southwest of San Diego. At 10:28 a.m., the crew and spacecraft were aboard the Ticonderoga. The objectives of the SL-1/SL-2 mission were to establish the Orbital Workshop in Earth orbit, obtain medical data on the crew for use in extending the duration of manned space flight, and perform inflight experiments. A summary assessment of the mission objectives indicated a very high degree of completion, particularly when the reduction in experiment time due to parasol deployment, solar array wing deployment, and OWS system anomalies were considered. Additional Details: here....
Premature deployment of the meteoroid shield during the Skylab 1 launch interjected additional factors in the consideration of the OWS deorbit. Because of the additional uncertainties and complications deriving from these factors and the inherent crew and mission risks involved in the OWS deorbit even under expected conditions, the decision was taken to terminate all OWS deorbit efforts.
Twice-weekly experiment planning meetings were being instituted for the 59-day Skylab 3 mission. The purpose of the meetings was to formulate a balanced set of experiment requirements for each upcoming week based on a consideration of plans for the remainder of the mission.
Continued maintenance of the Skylab space station and extensive scientific and medical experiments. Installed twinpole solar shield on EVA; performed major inflight maintenance; doubled record for length of time in space. Completed 858 Earth orbits and 1,081 hours of solar and Earth experiments; three EVAs totalled 13 hours, 43 minutes.
The space vehicle, consisting of a modified Apollo command and service module payload on a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into a 231.3 by 154.7 km orbit. Rendezvous maneuvers were performed during the first five orbits as planned. During the rendezvous, the CSM reaction control system forward firing engine oxidizer valve leaked. The quad was isolated. Station-keeping with the Saturn Workshop began approximately 8 hours after liftoff, with docking being performed about 30 minutes later.
The Skylab 3 crewmen experienced motion sickness during the first three visit days. Consequently, the Orbital Workshop activation and experiment implementation activities were curtailed. By adjusting the crew's diet and maintaining a low workload, the crew was able to complete the adjustment to space flight in five days, after which flight activities returned to normal. On 25 September, the command module was reactivated and the crew performed the final OWS closeout. Following undocking and separation, the command module entered the atmosphere and landed in the Pacific Ocean approximately 300 km southwest of San Diego. Splashdown was at 6:20 p.m. EDT. The recovery ship, U.S.S. New Orleans, retrieved the command module and crew 42 minutes after landing. The total flight time was 1427 hours 9 minutes 4 seconds. Additional Details: here....
Skylab 2 postflight medical debriefings indicated the desirability of minimizing crew exposure to recovery ship motions for both crew reconditioning and postrecovery medical evaluations. In order to provide the Skylab 3 crew with this minimum exposure, mission duration was extended to 59 days. This allowed for a splashdown closer than 550 km of San Diego, and a crew stay time aboard the recovery ship of only 17 hours.
Representatives from NASA Hq, MSFC, GSFC, and JSC attended. Results of a feasibility study for viewing the comet were presented to the NASA Administrator on 15 August. It was agreed that observations of Kohoutek would he made at appropriate times during the SL-4 mission.
Installed second sunshade. Replaced solar camera film cartridges. During EVA by crew members of Skylab 3, a twin-boom sunshade, developed by MSFC, was deployed over the parasol of the OWS. A redesigned and refined thermal parasol had been launched with Skylab 3. However, its use would have required jettisoning the parasol deployed by crew members of Skylab 2, with the possibility of creating the same thermal problems that existed on the OWS prior to the parasol deployment. Following erection of the twin-pole sunshade, the cabin temperature stayed at a comfortable 293-297 K (67.7°F-74.9°F).
NASA decided to delete the Skylab backup Saturn V Orbital Workshop launch capability effective 15 August. All work associated with the completion, checkout, and support of Skylab backup hardware, experiments, software, facilities, and ground support equipment would be canceled immediately, except for the work that would directly support SL-3, SL-4, and rescue missions.
Influenced by the stranded Skylab crew portrayed in the book and movie 'Marooned', NASA provided a crew rescue capability for the only time in its history. A kit was developed to fit out an Apollo command module with a total of five crew couches. In the event a Skylab crew developed trouble with its Apollo CSM return craft, a rescue CSM would be prepared and launched to rendezvous with the station. It would dock with the spare second side docking port of the Skylab docking module. During Skylab 3, one of the thruster quads of the Apollo service module developed leaks. When the same problem developed with a second quad, the possibility existed that the spacecraft would not be maneuverable. Preparation work began to fit out a rescue CSM, and astronauts Vance Brand and Don Lind began preparations to rescue astronauts Bean, Garriott, and Lousma aboard the station. However the problem was localized, work arounds were developed, and the first space rescue mission was not necessary. The Skylab 3 crew returned successfully in their own Apollo CSM at the end of their 59 day mission.
At a Kohoutek status meeting, JSC w as requested to determine if additional ultraviolet eye protection would be required by the Skylab 4 astronaut while performing Kohoutek operations. A study indicated that no additional eye protective devices would be required for either intra- or extravehicular viewing of the comet. The use of the existing space suit sun visors would be required during extravehicular viewing.
Discussions confirmed that there was reasonable assurance that an Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) revisit to Skylab in mid-1975 was feasible. However, such a dual mission would create a significant planning problem for the operations team and would introduce many new considerations to the inflight planning and execution because of uncertainties in the orbital mechanics.
An ad hoc committee to analyze the vestibular problems which occurred in previous manned space flights. An ad hoc committee was established to analyze the vestibular problems which occurred in previous manned space flights and to make recommendations concerning prevention and control on future flights. Particular emphasis was placed on the experiences of the Skylab 3 crew. As a result of the committee meeting, it was recommended that the crewmen of SL-4 take anti-motion-sickness medication immediately upon orbital insertion and follow this with periodic doses for the first three days of flight.
Among the items covered were a plan for measuring both the pre- and postflight cardiac outputs of the SL-4 crew; elimination of all activities in the deactivation sequence not absolutely required; and a plan for accommodation of the circadian shift necessary for missions of various durations.
Two vials, each containing 500 gypsy moth eggs, were hand carried to JSC from the Department of Agriculture. After being loaded in flight containers, they were hand carried to KSC. The eggs would be launched on Skylab 4 and then transferred to the OWS sleep compartment area where they would be monitored during the course of the SL-4 mission. The eggs were being carried at the request of the Secretary of Agriculture.
A shift in the Skylab 4 launch schedule was required in order to replace eight cracked fins on the S-IB. The hairline cracks were discovered during a postcountdown demonstration test inspection. Initial indications were that the 14 cracks were caused by load stress or salt air, or possibly a combination of both.
A launch readiness review was held at KSC. From the review and closeout of action items, the Skylab 4 vehicle was determined to be ready for launch on 16 November 1973. Other reviews included the KSC flight readiness review, 18 October; the JSC Director's flight readiness review and the JSC command and service module flight readiness review, 11 October; the MSFC review of the Skylab Workshop systems capabilities, 17 September; and the KSC SL-4 launch readiness review, 15 October 1973.
Final Skylab mission; included observation and photography of Comet Kohoutek among numerous experiments. Completed 1,214 Earth orbits and four EVAs totalling 22 hours, 13 minutes. Increased manned space flight time record by 50%. Rebellion by crew against NASA Ground Control overtasking led to none of the crew ever flying again. Biological experiments included two Mummichog fish (Fundulus heteroclitus).
The space vehicle consisted of a modified Apollo CSM and a Saturn IB launch vehicle. All launch phase events were normal, and the CSM was inserted into a 150.1- by 227.08-km orbit. The rendezvous sequence was performed according to the anticipated timeline. Stationkeeping was initiated about seven and one-half hours after liftoff, and hard docking was achieved about 30 minutes later following two unsuccessful docking attempts. Planned duration of the mission was 56 days, with the option of extending it to a maximum of 84 days.
The reactivation included the reservicing of the airlock module primary coolant loop. The commander and pilot experienced symptoms resembling motion sickness during the initial three days of the visit, and flight plan activities were adjusted accordingly. Crew health was good thereafter. Additional Details: here....
Flexibility to conduct a second Skylab mission would be retained until such time as NASA planning for the FY 1976 budget was complete. To accomplish this, NASA issued the following guidelines. Launch umbilical tower 2 would be retained in its present status for possible Skylab usage until a decision was made to prepare for a Skylab launch or to begin modifications for the Shuttle Program. Action would be continued to place in storage existing hardware (including appropriate backups and spares) required for conduct of a Skylab mission. The Skylab Program would fund the activities required to place the hardware in minimum cost storage and the storage costs through June 1974.
Studies had been conducted to determine an end-of-mission configuration for the Orbital Workshop and for maintaining the option of an OWS revisit at some future date. MSFC assessed the special deactivation requirements for the AM, MDA, and the Workshop required to establish a satisfactory, economical configuration. JSC made an evaluation of ground support monitoring and control options. The OWS would be left in a configuration that would permit a revisit at some future date without reactivation.
Series of engineering tests on the Orbital Workshop authorized following completion of the Skylab 4 mission. A series of engineering tests on the Orbital Workshop was authorized following completion of the Skylab 4 mission provided that only tests which would result in significant engineering knowledge would be performed. Additional Details: here....
KSC was directed to discontinue plans for the Skylab rescue capability and to move the rescue vehicle (SA-209 and CSM-119) back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Upon completion of this action, Headquarters responsibility for the SA-209 and CSM-119 would be transferred to the Program Director of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program.
After completion of the three programmed Skylab flights, NASA considered using the remaining backup Saturn IB and Apollo CSM to fly a fourth manned mission to Skylab. It would have been a short 20 day mission to conduct some new scientific experiments and boost Skylab into a higher orbit for later use by the shuttle. But NASA was confident that Skylab would stay in orbit until shuttle flights began in 1978 - 1979. But the shuttle was delayed, and Skylab crashed to earth before the first shuttle mission was flown.
A JSC report summarized Comet Kohoutek's relationship to Skylab operations: Comet Kohoutek was discovered on 7 March 1973, three months before the launch of Skylab. Preliminary feasibility studies indicated that there was insufficient time to send a suitably instrumented spacecraft to observe and study the comet at close range. However, other manned and unmanned observations were planned, with the most significant to occur during the third visit to the orbiting Skylab. Unique scientific data were obtained by the third-visit crew, helping to make Kohoutek the most comprehensively studied comet in history. Additional Details: here....
NASA considered use of surplus Apollo/Saturn assets for a second Skylab station in May 1973. Instead the decision was taken to mothball surplus hardware in August 1973. In December 1976, the boosters and spacecraft were handed over to museums. The opportunity to launch an International Space Station, at a tenth of the cost and twenty years earlier, was lost.
NASA had planned to use Skylab with the space shuttle. Plans for an additional Apollo mission to boost Skylab into a higher orbit for later use by the shuttle were not acted on, since NASA was confident that Skylab would stay in orbit until shuttle flights began in 1978 - 1979. But the shuttle was delayed, and faster atmospheric decay than expected resulted in Skylab crashing to earth before the first shuttle mission was flown. The media went into a frenzy over the event, and debris rained over a large swath of Australia. There was no damage and no injuries, but the publicity made NASA hyper-sensitive in ensuring that future heavy spacecraft were deorbited in a controlled manner.