via the Titan II ICBM Web Page
Credit: (c) Don Boelling
AKA: LGM-25C;Mk. 6;Titan 2;W53. Status: Retired 1976. First Launch: 1962-03-16. Last Launch: 1976-06-28. Number: 81 . Payload: 3,100 kg (6,800 lb). Thrust: 1,893.40 kN (425,653 lbf). Gross mass: 154,000 kg (339,000 lb). Height: 31.40 m (103.00 ft). Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).
The Titan 1 ICBM had been developed by Martin and Aerojet as technical insurance if the Atlas, built by Convair and Rocketdyne, had failed. The Martin team had been instructed to use the liquid oxygen/kerosene propellants used for the Atlas, even though Aerojet's prior experience was primarily with storable propellants. As early as 1957 Martin and Aerojet proposed a number of improvements to the basic Titan design, which would make the follow-on missile a much more useful weapon system. Storable propellants would eliminate the loading, just prior to launch, of the cryogenic liquid oxygen needed by the Atlas and Titan 1. A storable-propellant missile could remain fueled, stored in a silo, ready for launch at a moment's notice. The complicated elevator and fuelling apparatus of the immense Titan 1 complexes could be eliminated. The Aerojet storable propellant engines would be immensely simplified compared to the cryogenic Titan 1 engines. A new AC Spark Plug inertial navigation system would make the missile more accurate and impervious to jamming. With the new propellants, and a constant missile diameter, the improved missile would fit in the same silo and transport envelope, but have 50% greater takeoff mass, and nearly triple the payload.
The Air Force authorized Martin to proceed with the Titan 2 ICBM in June 1960. In January 1961 the Titan 2 was selected to boost the Dynasoar manned spaceplane on suborbital tests, and in July 1961, to orbit the manned Gemini spacecraft. Therefore during development the ICBM had also to be man-rated. This caused some difficulties, as a pogo problem encountered in flight tests was acceptable to the Air Force for a weapon system, but unacceptable to NASA for a manned booster. The problem was solved to NASA's satisfaction, and the Titan went on to a perfect launch record during the Gemini program. Meanwhile Titan 2's were deployed in 54 fixed silos at three bases by the end of 1964. The missile was equipped with the immense W53 nuclear warhead and penetration aids to ensure that it would get through the evolving Soviet anti-ballistic missile systems around Moscow. Throughout the Cold War, the Titan 2 was the main threat to the Soviet leadership in Moscow, even within their subterranean command bunkers. It represented only 5% of America's ICBM's, but over 30% of the deliverable megatonnage.
However solid propellant missiles were more attractive to Defense Secretary McNamara, and the Atlas and Titan 1 ICBM's were all decommissioned by 1966 after short service lives. But the Russians had unveiled their equivalent of the Titan 2, the awesome SS-9 Scarp (R-36) "city buster". It was politically imprudent to decommission the only American equivalent, and so the Titan 2 soldiered on as the only American liquid-propellant ICBM. It was not until 1987 that it was replaced by the solid-propellant Peacekeeper. By then the Cold War had only three more years to run. The Peacekeeper, developed at incredible expense, had a very short service life, being outlawed under missile reduction agreements after a few years service.
The decommissioned Titan 2's were refurbished and used as space launchers until the last was finally expended in 2003. Modifications of the Titan 2 continued in production as the core for the Titan 3, 34, and 4 series of space launchers, until the last was finally launched in 2005.
During its life the storable propellants, which resulted in a simple and extremely reliable vehicle, became prohibitively expensive. This was because they were toxic, and environmental regulations made them, eventually, unprofitable to produce and difficult to handle. Outside of the United States the forces of Environmental Correctness were not as strong. The same propellants continued in use into the 21st Century in the Ariane 4 boosters for France, the GSLV for India, the Proton and Dnepr of Russia, and the CZ series in China.
The only major improvement fitted to the ICBM version of the missile during its service life was installation of the Universal Space Guidance System, developed for the Titan 3 space launcher. Otherwise the missile continued to perform with remarkable reliability in both operational missile tests and as a space booster. Total Titan 2 production and disposition was as follows:
LEO Payload: 3,100 kg (6,800 lb) to a 185 km orbit. Development Cost $: 400.000 million. Recurring Price $: 16.389 million in 1969 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost 1985$: 3.158 million in 1963 dollars. Maximum range: 11,690 km (7,260 mi). Number Standard Warheads: 1. Standard RV: Mk. 6. Standard warhead: W53. Warhead yield: 8,900 KT. CEP: 1.61 km (1.00 mi). Maximum speed: 29,030 kph (18,030 mph). Initial Operational Capability: 1963. Total Number Built: 131. Total Development Built: 23. Total Production Built: 108.
Stage Data - Titan 2
|Titan 2 Gemini|
The Titan 2 ICBM was used for launch of the Gemini manned spacecraft.
|Titan 2 SLV|
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Titan 2 Gemini|
The Titan 2 ICBM was used for launch of the Gemini manned spacecraft.
|Titan 2 Large|
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Titan 2 Small|
Credit: © Mark Wade
The Department of Defense and the Air Force Ballistic Missile Committee approved an in-silo launch capability for Titan missiles beginning with the seventh squadron (October 1962). As a result of changes initiated during 1959, the Titan missiles from the seventh squadron on would have all-inertial guidance systems, storable non-cryogenic propellants, and an in-silo launch capability.
Secretary of the Air Force James H. Douglas, Jr., recommended approval of the Titan II (WS 107C) program that would commence with the seventh squadron to be deployed to SAC. The Titan II would be an advanced system, with all-inertial guidance, non-cryogenic propellants, and in-silo launch capability for vastly improved reaction time and reduced vulnerability through hardened and dispersed (H&D) configurations.
AFBMD awarded contracts for development of first and second stage Titan engines that would use non-cryogenic (storable) pro-pellants. Aerozine 50 (50 per cent UDMH and 50 per cent hydrazine) was the fuel selected to be used with nitrogen tetroxide as the oxidizer.
Two important decisions were made on the Titan II program during the month. AFBMD received program approval to proceed with the development of the Mark 6 reentry vehicle specifically for use on the Titan II. Configuration for the Titan II operational squadrons was set at nine hardened and dispersed underground silo missile launchers (1x9) in strategic missile wings of two squadrons each (18 missile launchers).
The Air Force (AFBMD) placed a production contract with the Martin Company for the Titan II (SM-68B) ICBM. This was designed to use storable, non-cryogenic fuels, an all-inertial guidance system, in-silo launch facilities, and to have greater range and payload capabilities than the Titan I (SM-68).
President John F. Kennedy reduced the FY 1962 budget for the Titan force from 14 to 12 squadrons. Accordingly, the Air Force Ballistic Missile Committee cancelled the two Titan II squadrons planned for Griffiss AFB, New York. In addition, the President deferred the current plans for three mobile Minuteman missile squadrons.
Albert C. Hall of The Martin Company proposed to Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA's Associate Administrator, that the Titan II be considered as a launch vehicle in the lunar landing program. Although skeptical, Seamans arranged for a more formal presentation the next day. Abe Silverstein, NASA's Director of Space Flight Programs, was sufficiently impressed to ask Director Robert R. Gilruth and STG to study the possible uses of Titan II. Silverstein shortly informed Seamans of the possibility of using the Titan II to launch a scaled-up Mercury spacecraft.
Martin Company personnel briefed NASA officials in Washington, D.C., on the Titan II weapon system. Albert C. Hall of Martin had contacted NASA's Associate Administrator, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on April 7 to propose the Titan II as a launch vehicle for a lunar landing program. Although skeptical, Seamans nevertheless arranged for a more formal presentation. Abe Silverstein, NASA Director, Office of Space Flight Programs, was sufficiently impressed by the Martin briefing to ask Director Robert R. Gilruth and Space Task Group to study possible Titan II uses. Silverstein shortly informed Seamans of the possibility of using the Titan II to launch a scaled-up Mercury spacecraft.
James L. Decker of Martin Company submitted a proposal for a Titan-boosted Mercury vehicle. A Mercury-Titan program, expected to span an 18-month flight schedule, would benefit from the Air Force's booster development and test of the ballistic missile system and the considerable design and test that the Air Force had expended in the Dyna-Soar program to adapt the vehicle to manned spaceflight. The Titan, with its sea-level rating of 430,000 pounds of thrust in the first stage and 100,000 pounds in the second stage, was capable of lifting significantly heavier spacecraft payloads than the Mercury-Atlas. Its hypergolic propulsion system, using storable liquid propellants, was a much simpler system than the cryogenic propellant system in Atlas. A highly reliable booster could be provided, employing complete redundancy in the flight control systems in the form of a three-axis reference system, autopilot, servo, electrical, and hydraulic systems. The short time he proposed would depend on the availability of pad 19 at Cape Canaveral, planned for conversion to the Titan II configuration. Pad 19, unlike the other three Titan I pads, had been intended for space applications and was better designed for required prelaunch test programs.
Representatives of Martin Company briefed Director Robert R. Gilruth and some of the senior staff of Space Task Group on Titan II technical characteristics and expected performance. At a senior staff meeting four days later, August 7, Gilruth commented on the Titan II's promise for manned spaceflight, particularly its potential ability to place larger payloads in orbit than could Atlas, which would make it 'a desirable booster for a two-man spacecraft.' Martin had estimated the cost of procuring and launching nine Titan II boosters, with cost of ancillary equipment, at $47.889 million spread over fiscal years 1962 through 1964.
Martin Company received informal indications from the Air Force that Titan II would be selected as the launch vehicle for NASA's advanced Mercury. Martin, Air Force, and NASA studied the feasibility of modifying complex 19 at Cape Canaveral from the Titan weapon system configuration to the Mercury Mark II launch vehicle configuration.
Recommendation that the weapon system of the Titan II, with minimal modifications, be approved for the Mercury Mark II rendezvous mission. On the basis of a report of the Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Associate Administrator, and John H. Rubel, Department of Defense Deputy Director for Defense Research and Engineering, recommended to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara that the weapon system of the Titan II, with minimal modifications, be approved for the Mercury Mark II rendezvous mission. The planning group had first met in August 1961 to survey the Nation's launch vehicle program and was recalled in November to consider Titan II, Titan II-1/2, and Titan III. On November 16, McNamara and NASA Administrator James E. Webb had also begun discussing the use of Titan II.
NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and DOD Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering John H. Rubel recommended to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and NASA Administrator James E. Webb that detailed arrangements for support of the Mercury Mark II spacecraft and the Atlas-Agena vehicle used in rendezvous experiments be planned directly between NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight and the Air Force and other DOD organizations. NASA's primary responsibilities would be the overall management and direction for the Mercury Mark II/ Agena rendezvous development and experiments. The Air Force responsibilities would include acting as NASA contractor for the Titan II launch vehicle and for the Atlas-Agena vehicle to be used in rendezvous experiments. DOD's responsibilities would include assistance in the provision and selection of astronauts and the provision of launch, range, and recovery support, as required by NASA.
Manned Spacecraft Center directed Air Force Space Systems Division to authorize contractors to begin the work necessary to use the Titan II in the Mercury Mark II program. On December 27, Martin-Baltimore received a go-ahead on the launch vehicle from the Air Force. A letter contract for 15 Gemini launch vehicles and associated aerospace ground equipment followed on January 19, 1962.
Development time schedule for Dyna-Soar was reduced when DOD authorized the USAF to move directly from B-52 drop tests to unmanned and then manned orbital flights. This eliminated the previous interim stage of suborbital flights to be powered by the Titan II. This required renegotiation of the development contract held by the Martin Co. and negotiating of a new contract for a larger booster.
Titan II, an advanced ICBM and the booster designated for NASA's two-man orbital flights, was successfully captive-fired for the first time at the Martin Co.'s Denver facilities. The test not only tested the flight vehicle but the checkout and launch equipment intended for operational use.
Manned Spacecraft Center prepared a Statement of Work to be accomplished by Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) in its role as contractor to NASA for the procurement of Titan II launch vehicles for the Gemini program. The launch vehicle would retain the general aerodynamic shape, basic systems, and propulsion concepts of the missile. Modifications, primarily for crew safety, were to be kept to a minimum. The Statement of Work accompanied a purchase request for $27 million, dated January 5, 1962, for 15 Titan launch vehicles. Pending ratification of the Gemini Operational and Management Plan, however, funding was limited to $3 million. To oversee this work, SSD established a Gemini Launch Vehicle Directorate, headed by Colonel Richard C. Dineen, on January 11. Initial budgeting and planning were completed by the end of March, and a final Statement of Work was issued May 14; although amended, it remained in effect throughout the program.
After investigating potential malfunction problems of the modified Titan II/Gemini launch vehicle, Martin-Baltimore prepared a study report with plans to provide the components necessary to ensure flight safety and enhance reliability. Martin defined the malfunction problem quantitatively in terms of the probability of each cause and its characteristic effect on the system and vehicle. Martin intended to keep the launch vehicle as much like the weapon system as possible; thus the data obtained from the Air Force's weapon system development program would be applicable to the launch vehicle. Only minimal modifications to enhance probability of mission success, to increase pilot safety, and to accommodate the Gemini spacecraft as the payload were to be made. These included a malfunction detection system; backup guidance, control, and hydraulic systems; and selective electrical redundancies.
Air Force Space Systems Division issued a Technical Operating Plan to Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California, for support of the Gemini Launch Vehicle Program; a contract followed on March 15. Aerospace was to assume responsibility for general systems engineering and technical direction of the development of the launch vehicle and its associated subsystems. Aerospace had already established a Gemini Launch Vehicle Program Office in January.
Martin-Baltimore submitted its initial proposal for the redundant flight control and hydraulic subsystems for the Gemini launch vehicle; on March 1, Martin was authorized to proceed with study and design work. The major change in the flight control system from Titan II missile to Gemini launch vehicle was substitution of the General Electric Mod IIIG radio guidance system (RGS) and Titan I three-axis reference system for the Titan II inertial guidance system. Air Force Space Systems Division issued a letter contract to General Electric Company, Syracuse, New York, for the RGS on June 27. Technical liaison, computer programs, and ground-based computer operation and maintenance were contracted to Burroughs Corporation, Paoli, Pennsylvania, on July 3.
The 6555th Aerospace Test Wing launched the first Titan II (XLGM-25C) research and development flight test missile (N-2) from Cape Canaveral. The Titan II was the most powerful ICBM yet launched by the U.S., its first stage engines generating 430,000 pounds of thrust and the second stage engine 100,000 pounds. The flight of N-2 also marked the first successful test of the AC Spark Plug inertial guidance system. The Air Force successfully launched a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. This was the first full-scale test of the vehicle; it flew 8000 km out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Air Force Space Systems Division awarded a letter contract to Aerojet-General Corporation, Azusa, California, for the research, development, and procurement of 15 propulsion systems for the Gemini launch vehicle. It also included the design and development of the related aerospace ground equipment. Aerojet had been authorized to go ahead with work on the engines on February 14, 1962, and the final engine was scheduled for delivery by April 1965.
Air Force Space Systems Division published the "Development Plan for the Gemini Launch Vehicle System". From experience in Titan II and Mercury programs, the planners estimated a budget of $164.4 million, including a 50 percent contingency for cost increases and unforeseen changes.
Martin-Baltimore submitted a "Description of the Launch Vehicle for the Gemini Spacecraft" to Air Force Space Systems Division. This document laid the foundation for the design of the Gemini launch vehicle by defining the concept and philosophy of each proposed subsystem.
Gemini Project Office (GPO) and Aerospace had agreed on the need for such a group at a Gemini-Titan coordination meeting on May 11. The main function of the group, composed of Martin and McDonnell personnel with a McDonnell representative as chairman, was to provide mutual exchange of design and physical data on mechanical, electrical, and structural details between the spacecraft contractor and the booster contractor. The group would make no policy decisions; its actions were to be reviewed at regularly scheduled coordination meetings held by GPO.
Amendment No. 6 to the Gemini launch vehicle procurement contract assigned $2.609 million to fund the construction necessary to convert pad 19 at Cape Canaveral for Gemini flights. The Air Force had originally constructed pad 19 for the Titan I development program. Following the final Titan I development flight (January 29) from the Cape, design of the required modifications had begun in February. In April, Gemini Project Office decided that Pad 19 would have an erector rather than a gantry, the upper third of which would be designed as a white room. The final design review of pad 19 modifications took place July 9-10, and the Army Corps of Engineers awarded the construction contract to Consolidated Steel, Cocoa Beach, Florida. Construction began in September. Work was completed and pad 19 was activated on October 17, 1963.
Representatives from Avco Manufacturing Corporation made a presentation to MSC on a proposal for a space station. Prime purpose of the station, company spokesmen said, was to determine the effects of zero-g on the crew's ability to stand reentry and thus fix the limit that man could safely remain in orbit. Avco's proposed station design comprised three separate tubes about 3 m in diameter and 6 m long, launched separately aboard Titan IIs and joined in a triangular shape in orbit. A standard Gemini spacecraft was to serve as ferry vehicle.
In this 3000-square-foot facility, all airborne systems in the Gemini launch vehicle - including flight control, hydraulic, electrical, instrumentation, and malfunction detection - were assembled on tables and benches; actual engines, but simulated propellant tanks and guidance, were used. In addition to individual and combined systems tests, the facility was used to check system design changes and trouble-shoot problems encountered in other test programs.
Martin prepared a plan for flight testing the malfunction detection system (MDS) for the Gemini launch vehicle on development flights of the Titan II weapon system. Gemini Project Office (GPO) had requested Martin to prepare Systems Division and Aerospace approved the plan and won GPO concurrence early in August. This so-call 'piggyback plan' required installing the Gemini MDS in Titan II engines on six Titan II flights to demonstrate its reliability before it was flown on Gemini.
A technical team at Air Force Missile Test Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida - responsible for detailed launch planning, consistency of arrangements with objectives, and coordination - met for the first time with official status and a new name. The group of representatives from all organizations supplying major support to the Gemini-Titan launch operations, formerly called the Gemini Operations Support Committee, was now called the Gemini-Titan Launch Operations Committee.
A reliability review of the Titan II launch vehicle engine system was held in Sacramento, California, at Aerojet-General's Liquid Rocket Plant, the site where the engines were being developed. Gemini engines had to be more reliable than did intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) engines. This requirement meant supplementing the ICBM engine reliability program, a task being performed by Aerojet under Air Force Space Systems Division direction.
The budget was raised to $181.3 million. Cost increases in work on the vertical test facility at Martin's Baltimore plant, on the conversion of pad 19 at Cape Canaveral, and on aerospace ground equipment had already generated a budget increase to $172.6 million during September. The new Development Plan also indicated that the first launch date had slipped to December 1963.
During the first three weeks of the month, Air Force Space Systems Division and Martin-Baltimore negotiated the terms of the contract for Phase I of the Gemini launch vehicle program. The resulting cost-plus-fixed-fee contract included an estimated cost of $52.5 million and a fixed fee of $3.465 million. This contract covered the development and procurement of the first launch vehicle and preparations for manufacturing and procuring the remaining 14 vehicles required by the Gemini program.
Air Force Space Systems Division and Aerojet-General negotiated a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the first phase of the Gemini launch vehicle engine program, February 14, 1962, through June 30, 1963. The contract required delivery of one set of engines, with the remaining 14 sets included for planning purposes. Estimated cost of the contract was $13.9 million, with a fixed fee of $917,400 for a total of $14,817,400.
Titan II flight N-11, the eighth in a series being conducted by the Air Force to develop the weapon system, was launched from Cape Canaveral. It carried a design change intended to reduce the amplitude of longitudinal oscillations which had appeared during first stage operation on all seven previous Titan II flights. This phenomenon, which subsequently became known as POGO, generated g-forces as high as nine in the first stage and over three at the position on the missile corresponding to the location of the spacecraft on the Gemini launch vehicle. Fearing the potentially adverse effect on astronaut performance of such superimposed g-forces, NASA established 0.25g at 11 cycles per second as the maximum level tolerable for Gemini flights. As a first try at solving the POGO problem, Titan II N-11 carried standpipes in each leg of the stage I oxidizer feed lines to interrupt the coupling between the missile's structure and its propulsion system. This coupling was presumed to be the cause of the instability. Postflight analysis, however, revealed that the POGO fix was unsuccessful; longitudinal oscillation had actually been multiplied by a factor of two.
Air Force Space Systems Division established the Gemini Launch Vehicle Configuration Control Board to draw up and put into effect procedures for approving and disapproving specifications and engineering change proposals for the Gemini launch vehicle. It formally convened for the first time on March 5, 1963.
The first operational Titan II (LGM-25C) missile was installed in the lead complex of the 570th Strategic Missile Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. This was a major milestone in the transition of the Titan II from research and development to fully operational status with the Strategic Air Command.
James E Webb, Administrator of NASA, and Robert S McNamara, Secretary of Defense, concluded a major policy agreement defining the roles of NASA and Department of Defense (DOD) in Project Gemini. The agreement provided for the establishment of a joint NASA-DOD Gemini Program Planning Board. The board would plan experiments, conduct flight tests, and analyze and disseminate results. NASA would continue to manage Project Gemini, while DOD would take part in Gemini development, pilot training, preflight checkout, launch, and flight operations, and would be specifically responsible for the Titan II launch vehicle and the Atlas-Agena target vehicle. DOD would also contribute funds toward the attainment of Gemini objectives.
At a launch guidance and control coordination meeting, Aerospace described three Titan II development flight failures that had been caused by problems in the General Electrical Mod III airborne radio guidance system. Although these failures did not appear to be the result of inherent design faults that might react on the Gemini program, Aerospace felt that a tighter quality assurance program was needed: 'GE has a poor MOD III (G) quality control program, basically poor workmanship.'
In a letter transmitting copies of the Gemini Launch Vehicle Pilot Safety Program to Gemini contractors and other organizations engaged in Gemini development and operations, Air Force Space Systems Division explained that pilot safety philosophy and procedures would be carried over from Mercury-Atlas to Gemini-Titan.
The stage II oxidizer tank from Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 2 was airlifted from Martin-Denver to Martin-Baltimore to be used in GLV-1. GLV propellant tank and skirt assemblies were manufactured, pressure-tested, and calibrated at Martin-Denver, then shipped to Baltimore where the GLV was assembled. Additional Details: here....
The Gemini Program Planning Board, meeting in Washington, agreed to the establishment of an ad hoc study group to compare NASA and Department of Defense (DOD) objectives for the Gemini program and to recommend DOD experiments for inclusion in the Gemini flight program. The group met in continuous session March 25 to April 26, presenting its final report to the board on May 6. The board then recommended that a program of inflight military experiments be immediately approved, that the Air Force establish a field office at Manned Spacecraft Center to manage DOD participation in the Gemini program in general and integration of experiments in particular, and that work on preventing longitudinal oscillations in stage I and combustion instability in stage II of the Gemini launch vehicle to be urgently pursued. The board declined to recommend additional flights in the Gemini program, as suggested by the study group, to encompass experiments that would not fit into the framework of the planned Gemini program. The Secretary of Defense and NASA Administrator concurred in the Board's recommendations.
The Titan II-Gemini Coordination Committee was established to direct efforts to reduce longitudinal vibration (POGO) in the Titan II and to improve engine reliability. Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) and Aerospace had presented to NASA and the Air Force a series of briefings on the POGO problem that culminated in a briefing to the Gemini Program Planning Board. The main problem was that POGO level satisfactory in the weapon system was too high to meet NASA standards for the Gemini program, and further reduction in the POGO level required a much more elaborate and extensive analytic and experimental program than had so far been considered necessary. The board approved the SSD/Aerospace proposals and established a committee to oversee work toward a POGO remedy. The high-level committee was composed of officials from Air Force Ballistic Systems Division, SSD, Space Technology Laboratories, and Aerospace.
The Gemini Abort Panel met. Martin-Baltimore's analysis of the last three Titan II flight tests tended to show that successful crew escape would have been possible. McDonnell presented data on spacecraft structural capabilities, but lack of data on what to expect from Titan II catastrophic failure meant that spacecraft structural capabilities remained a problem. Also some questions had existed as to what could happen to the adapter retrosection during and after an abort. A study had been made of this problem, assuming a 70,000 foot altitude condition, and there appeared to be no separation difficulties. This study investigated the period of up to 10 seconds after separation, and there was no evidence that recontact would occur.
Titan II (N-8) was the second research and development missile and the first successful flight test vehicle to be launched from a silo at Vandenberg AFB. This was the first successful Titan II launch and flight after three consecutive failures, one (N-7) at Vandenberg and two (N-18 and N-21) at the Atlantic range. Research and development launch. Mk 6 re-entry vehicle.
The Gemini Program Planning Board approved the Air Force Systems Command development plan for the Gemini/Titan II improvement program. The plan covered the development work required to man-rate the Titan II beyond the requirements of the Titan II weapon system and included three major areas: (1) reducing longitudinal oscillation levels to NASA requirements, (2) reducing the incidence of stage II engine combustion instability, and (3) cleaning up the design of stage I and II engines and augmenting the continuing engine improvement program to enhance engine reliability. The work was to be funded by the Titan Program Office of Air Force Ballistics Systems Division and managed by the Titan II/Gemini Coordination Committee, which had been established April 1. NASA found the plan satisfactory.
Aerojet-General delivered the first flight engines for Gemini launch vehicle No. 1 to Martin-Baltimore. Aerojet-General had provided a set of Type 'E' dummy engines March 18. These were installed and used to lay out tubing and wiring while the launch vehicle was being assembled. Additional Details: here....
The VTF comprised a 165-foot tower and an adjacent three-story blockhouse with ground equipment similar to that used at complex 19. In it, the completely assembled Gemini launch vehicle was tested to provide a basis for comparison with subsequent tests conducted at complex 19. Each subsystem was tested separately, then combined systems tests were performed, concluding with the Combined Systems Acceptance Test, the final step before the launch vehicle was presented for Air Force acceptance.
Titan II flight N-20, the 19th in the series of Air Force research and development flights, was launched from Cape Canaveral. It carried oxidizer standpipes and fuel accumulators to suppress longitudinal oscillations (POGO). During the spring of 1963, static firings of this configuration had been successful enough to confirm the hypothesis that POGO was caused by coupling between the missile structure and its propulsion system, resulting in an unstable closed loop system. Standpipes and accumulators, by interrupting the coupling reduced the source of instability. Flight N-20 failed 55 seconds after launch and yielded no POGO data. Although the failure was not attributed to the installed POGO fix, Air Force Ballistics Systems Division decided officially that no further Titan II development flights would carry the POGO fix because so few test flights remained to qualify the weapon system operationally. This decision did not stand, however, and the POGO fix was flown again on N-25 (November 1), as well as on two later flights.
Manned Spacecraft Center - Atlantic Missile Range Operations Office reported that the malfunction detection system would be flown on Titan II launches N-24, N-25, N-29, N-31, and N-32. The first launch in this so-called 'piggyback program' was scheduled for June 21. All preparations for this flight, including installation and checkout of all malfunction detection system components, were reported complete at a Titan II coordination meeting on June 14.
Gemini Project Office (GPO) completed a test program on the centrifuge at Ames Research Center to evaluate the effects on pilot performance of longitudinal oscillations (POGO) of the Gemini launch vehicle. When subjected to oscillatory g-loads ranging from 0 to ± 3g superimposed on a steady-state load of 3.5g, pilot perception and performance decreased markedly above ± 0.25g. Primary effects were impaired pilot vision, reduced eye scan rate, masked sensory perception and kinesthetic cues, and degraded speech. GPO reconfirmed the need to reduce POGO to a maximum of 0.25g.
Acting Manager Charles W Mathews informed Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) senior staff that Gemini Project Office was exploring the possibility of backing up the first Gemini flight with a payload consisting of a boilerplate reentry module and a production adapter. Additional Details: here....
Titan II development flight N-24 was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range. This was the first of five flight tests in the Gemini malfunction detection system (MDS) piggyback series. All MDS parameters were lost 81 seconds after liftoff because of a short circuit in the MDS. Operation in the second flight (N-25 on November 1) was normal except for two minor instrumentation problems. Three more test flights (N-29 on December 12, 1963; N-31 on January 15, 1964; and N-33 on March 23, 1964) verified the performance of the Gemini MDS under actual conditions of flight environment and engine operation.
A Mission Planning Coordination Group was established at the request of the Gemini Project Office to review monthly activities in operations, network guidance and control, and trajectories and orbits; and to ensure the coordination of various Manned Spacecraft Center elements actively concerned with Gemini mission planning. Additional Details: here....
The formal Combined Systems Acceptance Test (CSAT) of Gemini launch vehicle No. 1 was conducted in the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. Two preliminary CSAT dry runs had been conducted on August 2 and 17, in conjunction with Electronic-Electrical Interference (EEI) Tests. Additional Details: here....
On November 15, Aerojet-General received an Air Force contract to develop and test new engine components to correct weak and potentially dangerous problem areas of engine design. Aerojet-General had already initiated the development effort on September 30. The goal was to enhance engine reliability by a complete redesign rather than resort to piecemeal fixes as problems came up. While the primary goal was not achieved, the program did yield several side benefits, including the correction of several minor design deficiencies, the improvement of welding techniques, and the development of better assembly procedures.
Gemini Project Office reported a delay of about three weeks in the battery qualification program. McDonnell had sent a team to investigate the problem of high porosity welds in titanium battery cases. Another problem had turned up with the batteries in prequalification vibration test. The batteries vibrated excessively, although they did not fail electrically; the vibration's amplification factor was apparently low enough to be remedied by potting.
Manned Spacecraft Center awarded its first incentive-type contract to Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Dallas, Texas for the fabrication of a trainer to be used in the Gemini launch vehicle training program. The fixed-price-incentive-fee contract had a target cost of $90,000, a target profit of $9,000, and a ceiling of $105,000. The incentive was based on cost only and provided for an 80/20 sharing arrangement; that is, the contractor would pay from his profit 20 percent of all savings under the target cost, or, alternatively, would receive 20 percent of all savings under the target cost. This meant that the contractor's profit would be zero after $97,500 was spent, and would be minus if costs exceeded $105,000.
Air Force Space Systems Division contracted with Aerojet-General for a program to develop a backup for the injectors of the second stage engine of the Gemini launch vehicle. Titan II development flights had shown the stage II engine tended toward incipient combustion instability. The Gemini Stability Improvement Program, begun as a backup, became a program aimed at maximum probability of success on December 24, 1963. The 18-month program produced a completely redesigned stage II engine injector.
Personnel from Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD), Air Force Ballistic Systems Division (BSD), and Titan II contractors met in Los Angeles to reconsider flying Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) fixes on Titan II development flights. BSD, which was responsible for the weapon system development program, had halted the installation of GLV fixes on the Titan II flights because of the limited number of flights remaining to qualify the missile. General Bernard A Schriever, Commander of Air Force Systems Command (of which BSD and SSD were subordinate division), intervened in support of an active program to clean up launch vehicle problem areas. The incorporation of GLV fixes on Titan II flights resumed on November 1 with the flight of Titan II N-25.
Stage I was erected in the complete vehicle erector October 28, stage II in the second stage erector October 29. The two stages were cabled together in the side-by-side configuration required for the Sequence Compatibility Firing scheduled for mid-December. A limited Electronic-Electrical Interference Test was completed November 7, and power was applied to the vehicle November 13.
Titan II development flight N-25 was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range. It carried the oxidizer surge chamber and fuel accumulator kit intended to reduce the amplitude of longitudinal vibration which had characterized earlier flights. NASA regarded 0.25g as the maximum level tolerable in manned space flight; this flight achieved a level of 0.22g, the first to fall within acceptable limits. Although the kit had been tested on only one flight, Gemini Project Office had sufficient confidence in it to decide, on November 6, to procure several more such kits for subsequent installation in Gemini launch vehicles. Two later Titan II development flights (N-29 on December 12, 1963, and N-31 on January 15, 1964) and the flight of Gemini-Titan 1 confirmed the validity of this decision. The required kits for the remaining Gemini launch vehicles were then procured.
Flight Crew Support Division reported an agreement with Flight Operations Division on a flight profile and rendezvous evaluation experiment for the Gemini-Titan 4 mission. Objective of the experiment was to stimulate normal Agena/Gemini rendezvous and to repeat part of the maneuver using loss of signal/manual technique. Basically, the mission would use circular phasing and catch-up orbit as proposed by the Flight Crew Support Division. Exact fuel requirements and ground tracking requirement were under study by Flight Operations Division.
The Gemini Program Planning Board issued a memorandum of understanding of the correction of the Titan II deficiencies for the Gemini program. This agreement formalized NASA specifications and Air Force plans to clean up problems related to longitudinal oscillations (POGO), combustion instability, and engine improvement. The program to alleviate the POGO effect included ground proof tests of all subsystems modified to control oscillations. Flight tests of the solutions would be flown on Titan II missiles before application to the Gemini launch vehicle. For the combustion stability program, dynamic stability would be demonstrated through the use of artificially produced disturbances, with the engines being flight tested on unmanned vehicles as final proof of man-rating. Engine improvement was a program to correct all design deficiencies that had cropped up during the Titan II development flights.
Martin-Baltimore received the propellant tanks for Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 3 from Martin-Denver, which had begun fabricating them in June. Splicing the oxidizer and fuel tanks for each stage was completed April 17, 1964. Flight engines arrived from Aerojet-General on May 10, and installation was completed June 6. Final horizontal tests of the assembled launch vehicle began June 1 and were concluded on June 17 with an Air Force inspection of GLV-3 before the vehicle was erected in the vertical test facility.
The two stages of Gemini launch vehicle 1, standing side by side on complex 19, completed the Combined Systems Test (CST) in preparation for Sequence Compatibility Firing (SCF). CST had been scheduled for December 13 but was delayed by late completion of the complex support systems for operational compatibility with the launch vehicle. Additional Details: here....
Objectives of the operations were to evaluate man's capabilities to perform useful tasks in a space environment, to employ extravehicular operations to augment the basic capability of the spacecraft, and to provide the capability to evaluate advanced extravehicular equipment in support of manned space flight and other national space programs. Additional Details: here....
Martin-Baltimore conducted a static test-to-failure of the spacecraft/launch vehicle interface structure. Test results demonstrated a very satisfactory minimum structural margin of 23 percent above ultimate conditions expected to be met in the transonic buffet conditions of launch. Plans were made to hold a structures meeting in Houston on March 17-19, 1964, for final review of all load conditions, stress distribution, and margins, in readiness for the Gemini-Titan 1 mission.
Before GLV and spacecraft were electrically mated, the launch vehicle's status was reverified with a Combined Systems Test (CST) performed on March 10. A special series of Electronic-Electrical Interference (EEI) Tests began March 12 and ended March 25. Evaluation of test results confirmed that the intent of EEI testing had been accomplished, despite some persistent anomalies. A successful post-EEI systems reverification CST was performed March 27.
Martin-Baltimore received the propellant tanks for Gemini launch vehicle 4 from Martin-Denver, which had begun fabricating them in November 1963. Tank splicing was completed July 21. Aerojet-General delivered the stage II flight engine June 26, the stage I engine July 28. Engine installation was completed September 4. Final horizontal tests were completed and reviewed October 26, with Martin authorized to erect the vehicle in the vertical test facility.
The Air Force Systems Command weekly report (inaugurated in September 1963) summarizing actions taken to resolve Titan II development problems would no longer be issued. George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, informed Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., that the launch vehicle 'no longer appears to be the pacing item in the Gemini program.'
Electrical and mechanical modification of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 1 airborne components was completed. GLV-1 had been shipped to the Cape equipped with several items to be used only for ground tests. These were replaced with flight units, beginning January 31. The GLV-1 Wet Mock Simulated Launch, a complete countdown exercise including propellant loading, was successfully completed April 2. Testing concluded on April 5 with a Simulated Flight Test.
The 23d, and last, Titan II research and development missile (N-3A) to be launched down the Atlantic range completed a success ful flight. With the 10 test flights from Vandenberg, a total of 33 Titan II (XLGM-25C) R&D flights had been completed since 16 March 1962 - 27 successes and only six failures. This Air Force conducted test program contributed significantly to the development of the Gemini launch vehicle; the Gemini malfunction detection system was tested on five flights, Gemini guidance components on three, and the longitudinal oscillation fix on four. In addition to flight testing these (and other) critical components, these flights also enhanced confidence in the use of the Titan II as a launch vehicle. Thirty-two Titan II test flights were analyzed to determine whether any characteristic of the flight would have demanded a Gemini abort; 22 were adjudged successful from the standpoint of a Gemini mission, nine would have required Gemini to abort, and one resulted in a prelaunch shutdown.
Electrical-Electronic Interference Tests began on Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 2 in the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. Oscillograph recorders monitored 20 GLV and aerospace ground equipment (AGE) circuits, five of which displayed anomalies. Two hydraulic switchover cicuits showed voltage transients exceeding failure criteria, but a special test fixed this anomaly in the AGE rather than the GLV.
After reviewing the results of Gemini-Titan (GT) 1, the Gemini Management Panel remained optimistic that manned flight could be accomplished in 1964. According to the work schedule, GT-2 could fly on August 24 and GT-3 on November 16, with comfortable allowances for four-week slips for each mission. Some special attention was devoted to GT-2, where the spacecraft had become the pacing item, a position held by the launch vehicle on GT-1. Spacecraft No. 2 systems tests had started one month late but were proceeding well. In addition, the schedule looked tight for starting spacecraft No. 3 systems tests on June 1.
Langley Research Center completed tests on a model of the Gemini launch vehicle to determine the static and dynamic loads imposed on the vehicle and the launch vehicle erector by ground winds. Simulated wind velocities of 5 to 52 miles per hour did not produce loads great enough to be of concern. Tests had begun on April 15.
Group 1 (selected April 1959) and Group 2 (September 1962) astronauts averaged approximately 100 runs each whereas Group 3 (October 1963) astronauts completed 32 runs apiece. The Gemini-Titan 3 launch profile was simulated in detail, including such cues as noise, vibration, pitch and roll programming, and other motion cues which results from various launch anomalies. The training was completed July 30.
Air Force Space Systems Division's cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with Martin for 15 Gemini launch vehicles (GLV) and associated aerospace ground equipment was replaced by a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. Contract negotiations had been conducted between March 15 and April 30, 1964. The final contract contained cost, performance, and schedule incentives. Target cost was $111 million and target fee was $8.88 million. The maximum fee possible under the contract was $16.65 million as against a minimum of $3.33 million. The period of performance under the contract was July 1, 1963, through December 31, 1967, and covered the delivery of 14 GLVs (one GLV had already been delivered) and associated equipment and services, including checkout and launch.
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Assistant Director for Flight Operations, Manned Spacecraft Center, reported that three basic plans were under study for rendezvous missions. Rendezvous at first apogee would probably be rejected because of possible dispersions which might necessitate plane changes. Rendezvous from concentric orbits seemed to be desirable because of the freedom in selection of the geographic position of rendezvous. Major work thus far, however, had been expended on the tangential rendezvous. Subsequently, the concentric orbit plan was chosen for Gemini-Titan 6, the first rendezvous mission.
Air Force Space Systems Division's cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with Aerojet-General for engines and related aerospace ground equipment for the Gemini launch vehicle was replaced by a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. Contract negotiations had been conducted between May 25 and June 17, 1964. The final contract covered the procurement of 14 sets of engines (one set had already been delivered) and associated equipment during the period from July 1, 1963, through December 31, 1967. Cost, performance, and schedule incentives made possible a maximum fee of $5,885,250 versus a minimum fee of $1,177,050. The initial target cost was $39,235,000 with a target fee of $3,138,800.
Martin-Baltimore received the propellant tanks for Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 5 from Martin-Denver, which had begun fabrication in October 1963. Aerojet-General delivered the flight engines for GLV-5 November 5. Tank splicing was completed December 5; engine installation December 9. Final horizontal tests were completed January 7, 1965.
Following the successful mating of its modules, Gemini spacecraft No. 2 began the second phase of Spacecraft Systems Tests (SST) at McDonnell. SST continued through September. During August and September, test operations alternated with the receipt and installation of a number of flight items in the spacecraft. Additional Details: here....
Gemini Program Office reported that tests had been conducted on section I of the fuel cells planned for the long-duration Gemini-Titan 5 mission. These tests had resulted in a failure characterized by output decay. A complete investigation was in process to determine the cause of the failure.
Astronauts James A. McDivitt and Edward H. White II were named as command pilot and pilot, respectively, for the Gemini-Titan (GT) 4 mission scheduled for the first quarter of 1965. The backup crew for the mission would be Frank Borman, command pilot, and James A. Lovell, Jr., pilot. Additional Details: here....
In response to a request from NASA Headquarters, Gemini Program Office (GPO) provided a study for Gemini missions beyond the 12 originally planned. 'The Advanced Gemini Missions Conceptual Study' described 16 further missions, including a space station experiment, a satellite chaser mission, a lifeboat rescue mission, and both a circumlunar and lunar orbiting mission. On February 28, 1965, GPO reported that a preliminary proposal for Gemini follow-on missions to test the land landing system had not been approved. Spare Gemini launch vehicles 13, 14, and 15 were canceled, and there were no current plans for Gemini missions beyond the approved 12-flight program.
Stage II of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 2 was deerected and stored; the erector was lowered to horizontal, and stage I was lashed in its vertical position. Stage II was reerected September 1. Power was applied to the launch vehicle September 2, and Subsystem Functional Verification Tests (SSFVT) began September 3. When forecasts indicated that Hurricane Dora would strike Cape Kennedy, both stages of GLV-2 were deerected on September 8 and secured in the Missile Assembly Building. Hurricane Ethel subsequently threatened the area, and both stages remained in the hanger until September 14, when they were returned to complex 19 and reerected. SSFVT, begun again on September 18, ended successfully October 5.
Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD), supported by launch vehicle contractors, recommended that Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 2 be flown as scheduled. Manned Spacecraft Center had proposed dropping GLV-2 from the Gemini program because of possible ill effects resulting from the electromagnetic incident of August 17 and from Hurricane Cleo. GLV-3 would then be substituted for the second Gemini mission, and the program would be shortened by one flight. After reviewing the incidents, their effects, corrective action, and retesting, SSD, Martin, Aerospace, and Aerojet-General all felt GLV-2 should fly, and NASA accepted their recommendation.
Spacecraft No. 2 arrived at Cape Kennedy and was installed in the Cryogenic Building of the Merritt Island Launch Area Fluid Test Complex. There it was inspected and connected to aerospace ground equipment (AGE), and hypergolic and cryogenic servicing was performed. Additional Details: here....
Fuel cells and batteries were discussed as power sources for the Gemini-Titan (GT) 5 mission (long-duration) at a meeting of the Gemini Management Panel. A study was reviewed that proposed a combination to be used in the following manner: batteries would be used during peak load requirements; the fuel cell would supply the remaining mission power source requirements. The panal accepted the proposal, and McDonnell was directed to proceed with the plan. In addition, the group decided to remove the fuel cell from GT-4 and substitute batteries, pending the concurrence of NASA Headquarters. It also decided to fly older versions of the fuel cell in GT-2 (the redesigned version would be flown in the later manned flights) to gain flight experience with the component. Additional Details: here....
Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews presented the Gemini Management Panel with the new flight schedule resulting from the lightning strike and hurricane conditions. The schedule was as follows: Gemini-Titan (GT) 2, November 17; GT-3, January 30, 1965; and GT-4, April 12. For GT-4 through GT-7, three-month launch intervals were planned; for the remainder of the program, these intervals would be reduced to two and one half months.
The Prespacecraft Mate Combined Systems Test (CST) of Gemini launch vehicle 2 was completed at complex 19. This test, similar to CST performed at the Martin plant, comprised an abbreviated countdown and simulation of flight events, with a simulator representing electrical characteristics of the spacecraft; its purpose was to establish confidence in the launch vehicle. Electrical Electronic Interference Tests were completed October 12. Hurricane Isbell threatened the area on October 14-15, but its path was far enough south of the Cape to make deerection unnecessary, though testing was curtailed.
The vehicle acceptance team for Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 3 met for the second time to review test and manufacturing data at Martin-Baltimore. The meeting concluded on October 9 with the vehicle found acceptable and Martin was authorized to remove it from the vertical test cell. After final checks, weighing, and balancing, GLV-3 passed roll-out inspection on October 27 and was turned over to the Air Force. Air Force Space Systems Division formally accepted GLV-3, following a review of launch vehicle status and correction of discrepancy items.
Flight Crew Support Division reported that the Gemini-Titan (GT) 3 primary crew had completed egress practice in boilerplate No. 201 in the Ellington Air Force Base flotation tank. The backup GT-4 crew was scheduled for such training on October 23. Full-scale egress and recovery training for both the GT-3 and the GT-4 crews was scheduled to begin about January 15, when parachute refresher courses would also be scheduled.
Shipment was delayed, however, because GLV-2 had not yet been launched; and several modifications, scheduled for the Cape, were made at Baltimore instead. All work was completed by January 14, 1965; the vehicle was reinspected and was again available for delivery. Preparations for shipment were completed January 20, and stage II was airlifted to Cape Kennedy January 21, followed by stage I January 23.
The vehicle acceptance team inspected the vehicle and reviewed all test and manufacturing data December 11-13 and authorized Martin to remove GLV-4 from the vertical test cell. During the next three months, while awaiting shipment to Cape Kennedy, GLV-4 had 27 engineering changes installed. Final integrity checks, weighing, and balancing were completed March 8, 1965.
Astronauts James McDivitt and Edward White, command pilot and pilot for the Gemini-Titan 4 mission, began crew training on Gemini mission simulator No. 2 in Houston. The initial week of training was devoted to familiarizing the crew with the interior of the spacecraft.
Gemini-Titan (GT) 2 launch countdown began at 4:00 a.m., e.s.t., and proceeded normally, with minor holds, until about one second after engine ignition. At that point a shutdown signal from the master operations control set (MOCS) terminated the launch attempt. Loss of hydraulic pressure in the primary guidance and control system of stage I of the launch vehicle caused an automatic switchover to the secondary guidance and control system. During the 3.2-second holddown following ignition command, switchover was instrumented as a shutdown command. Accordingly, the MOCS killed the launch attempt. Subsequent investigation disclosed that loss of hydraulic pressure had been caused by failure of the primary servo-valve in one of the four tandem actuators which control movement of the stage I thrust chambers. All four stage I tandem actuators were replaced with redesigned actuators.
The Mission Control Center at Houston was used passively and in parallel with the Mission Control Center at the Cape in the Gemini-Titan 2 launch attempt, primarily to validate the computer launch programs. In addition, considerable use was made of the telemetry processing program and related television display formats. The Houston control center received, processed, and displayed live and simulated Gemini launch vehicle and spacecraft data. Test results were considered very successful.
Phase II provided refresher training for Gemini-Titan 3 and 4 flight crews, who made their runs clad in pressure suits. For astronauts not yet officially assigned to a mission the program provided familiarization training under shirt-sleeve conditions. Phase II had begun early in November.
Cleaning the tanks and purging them with nitrogen was completed February 5, 1965. Aerojet-General delivered the flight engines for GLV-6 February 1. Tank splicing was completed February 23, engine installation, February 25. GLV-6 horizontal testing was completed April 3.
NASA Headquarters provided Flight Operations Division with preliminary data for revising the Gemini-Titan (GT) 3 flight plan to cover the possibility of retrorocket failure. The problem was to ensure the safe reentry of the astronauts even should it become impossible to fire the retrorockets effectively. The Headquarters proposal incorporated three orbit attitude and maneuver system maneuvers to establish a fail-safe orbit from which the spacecraft would reenter the atmosphere whether the retrorockets fired or not. This proposal, as refined by Mission Planning and Analysis Division, became part of the flight plans for GT-3 and GT-4.
Although some retesting began shortly after the Gemini-Titan 2 mission was scrubbed on December 9, 1964, most activity in preparing GLV-2 for another launch attempt was curtailed until the new actuators arrived. Subsystems retesting then began. The final combined systems test - the Simulated Flight Test - was completed January 14, with launch scheduled for January 19.
The mock-up was installed in a KC-135 aircraft to provide astronauts with the opportunity to practice extravehicular activities under weightless conditions. The Gemini-Titan (GT) 3 flight crew participated in the opening exercises, which were duplicated the next day by the GT-4 flight crew.
A $9.5 million contract was awarded to Peter Kiewit Sons Company for Project Yard Fence, Titan II Facilities Update. The project was to utilize improved technology of minimize maintenance activities and to improve Titan II support equipment of the squadrons at Davis-Monthan, Little Rock, McConnell, and Vandenberg.
A task force in the Office of Manned Space Flight finished a two-month study to determine the requirements for reducing the interval between Gemini flights from three to two months. The findings and recommendations were presented to George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, on January 19. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin observes that Gemini 1 was sent with mannequins on a suborbital trajectory, splashing down 3400 km from Cape Canaveral after 20 minutes of flight. He cannot believe this trajectory was intentional; the Soviets only fly mannequins aboard flights with the same duration as the planned manned mission. Kamanin believes this represents the third failure of the Titan 2 booster. Meanwhile, Soviet capability in centrifuges, is improving, albeit slowly. A centrifuge with a 16-m arm is to be completed by 1970, and one of 7 M in 1966.
Modifications to Gemini launch vehicle 5 were completed and stage I was erected in the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. Stage II was erected February 8. Power was applied to the vehicle for the first time on February 15, and Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed March 8. Another modification period followed.
Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., told the Manned Spacecraft Center senior staff that the Gemini-Titan (GT) 3 mission might be flown between March 22 and 25, although it was officially scheduled for the second quarter of 1965. In addition, the Houston control center was being considered for use in the GT-4 mission.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation Test was completed February 19, the Joint Guidance and Control Test on February 22. Gemini-Titan 3 combined systems testing included the Joint Combined Systems Test on February 24 and the Flight Configuration Mode Test on March 3.
Tank fabrication had begun in May 1964. Martin-Baltimore recleaned and purged the tanks with nitrogen by April 20, 1965. In the meantime, flight engines for GLV-7 arrived from Aerojet-General on April 17. Tank splicing was completed May 6 and engine installation May 20. All horizontal testing was completed June 14. A modification period followed.
A full-scale rehearsal of the flight crew countdown for Gemini-Titan 3 was conducted at the launch site. Procedures were carried out for moving the flight crew from their quarters in the Manned Spacecraft Center operations building at Merritt Island to the pilot's ready room at complex 16 at Cape Kennedy. Complete flight crew suiting operation in the ready room, the transfer to complex 19, and crew ingress into the spacecraft were practiced. Practice countdown proceeded smoothly and indicated that equipment and procedures were flight ready.
Office of Manned Space Flight held the Gemini manned space flight design certification review in Washington. Chief executives of all major Gemini contractors certified the readiness of their products for manned space flight. Gemini-Titan 3 was ready for launch as soon as the planned test and checkout procedures at Cape Kennedy were completed.
The possibility of doing more than the previously planned stand-up form of extravehicular activity (EVA) was introduced at an informal meeting in the office of Director Robert R. Gilruth at Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). Present at the meeting, in addition to Gilruth and Deputy Director George M. Low, were Richard S. Johnston of Crew Systems Division (CSD) and Warren J. North of Flight Crew Operations Division. Johnston presented a mock-up of an EVA chestpack, as well as a prototype hand-held maneuvering unit. North expressed his division's confidence that an umbilical EVA could be successfully achieved on the Gemini-Titan 4 mission. Receiving a go-ahead from Gilruth, CSD briefed George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Mannned Space Flight, on April 3 in Washington. He, in turn, briefed the Headquarters Directorates. The relevant MSC divisions were given tentative approval to continue the preparations and training required for the operation. Associate Administrator of NASA, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., visited MSC for further briefing on May 14. The enthusiasm he carried back to Washington regarding flight-readiness soon prompted final Headquarters approval.
After the vehicle had been inspected, umbilicals were connected March 31 and power applied April 2. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests began immediately and were completed April 15. The Prespacecraft Mate Combined Systems Test was conducted the next day (April 16).
Manned Spacecraft Center announced that Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Thomas P. Stafford had been selected as command pilot and pilot for Gemini-Titan 6, the first Gemini rendezvous and docking mission. Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young would be the backup crew.
Tank fabrication had begun September 25, 1964. Aerojet-General delivered the stage I engine on June 16 and the stage II on August 20. In the meantime, tank splicing was completed August 3. Engine installation was completed September 23, and all hoizontal testing ended September 27.
The Combined Systems Acceptance Test (CSAT) of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 5 was conducted in the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. Four earlier CSAT attempts (April 15-20) were marred by numerous minor anomalies. The vehicle acceptance team inspection began April 26 and concluded April 30, with GLV-5 found acceptable. The vehicle was removed from the test cell May 7-8, formally accepted by the Air Force May 15, and shipped to Cape Kennedy. Stage I arrived at the Cape on May 17 and stage II on May 19.
The Abort Panel met to review abort criteria for Gemini-Titan (GT) 4 and decided that GT-3 rules would suffice. Alternate procedures for delayed mode 2 abort would be investigated when the Manned Spacecraft Center abort trainer became available to the GT-5 mission.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test were completed April 26-29. These had been separate tests for earlier vehicles, but from Gemini-Titan 4 on, the tests were combined and performed as one. The spacecraft/GLV Joint Combined Systems Test followed on April 30. The Flight Configuration Mode Test finished systems testing May 7.
The Combined Systems Acceptance Test of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 6 was completed at Martin-Baltimore. The vehicle acceptance team convened July 6 to review GLV-6 and accepted it July 10. The vehicle was demated on July 19 and formally accepted by the Air Force July 31. Stage II was delivered to Cape Kennedy the same day, and stage I on August 2. Both stages were then placed in storage pending the launch of Gemini-Titan 5.
Stage I of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 7 was erected in the east cell of the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. Stage II was erected June 28. GLV-7 was inspected and prepared for testing while GLV-6 was undergoing vertical tests in the west cell. Power was applied to GLV-7 for the first time July 26. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed August 25. Systems modification and retesting followed.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test began immediately and was completed July 9. The spacecraft/GLV Joint Combined Systems Test followed on July 12. The Flight Configuration Mode Test completed systems testing on July 16.
Gemini-Titan (GT) 5 was demated following completion of the Wet Mock Simulated Launch to allow the spacecraft fuel cells to be replaced and the coolant bypass to be modified. Spacecraft and launch vehicle were remated August 5. Modified Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and the Joint Guidance and Control Tests were run on August 6. Spacecraft Final Systems Test on August 9-10 and the Simulated Flight Test on August 13 completed prelaunch testing of GT-5, scheduled for launch August 19.
During a news conference, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Deputy Manager of the Gemini Project Office at MSC, affirmed that, although no firm decisions had yet been made, the concept of a circumlunar flight using a Gemini spacecraft was being seriously studied. The mission would use Titan II and III-C launch vehicles and would require rendezvousing in earth orbit. NASA, Martin-Marietta Corporation (builder of the Titan), and Aerojet-General Corporation (which manufactured upper stages for the III-C) all were studying the feasibility of such a flight. Later in the year, NASA Administrator James E. Webb eliminated the possibility of a Gemini circumlunar mission, ". . . our main reliance for operating at lunar distances . . . is the large Saturn V/Apollo system."
A fire started in the silo during construction work. Two workers survived. The Titan 2 missile was fueled and in the silo but did not explode. The warhead had been removed from the site prior to the start of construction. The complex wass off alert status for the next 13 months during the accident investigation and repairs.
Martin-Baltimore received propellant tanks for Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 9 from Martin-Denver, which had begun fabricating them February 25. These were the first GLV tanks to be carried by rail from Denver to Baltimore. All previous tanks had traveled by air, but shortage of suitable aircraft made the change necessary. The tanks were shipped August 9. Aerojet-General delivered the stage I engine for GLV-9 August 20 and the stage II engine September 22. Tank splicing was completed October 21, engine installation November 10. Horizontal testing concluded November 23.
A spacecraft computer malfunction caused a hold of the countdown 10 minutes before the scheduled launch of Gemini-Titan 5. While the problem was being investigated, thunderstorms approached the Cape Kennedy area. With the computer problem unresolved and the weather deteriorating rapidly, the mission was scrubbed and rescheduled for August 21. Recycling began with unloading propellants.
Stage II was erected the following day. Umbilicals were connected and inspected September 1, and Subsystems Reverification Tests began September 2. These tests were completed September 15. The Prespacecraft Mate Verification Test of GLV-6 was run September 16.
During the rail trip, leaking battery acid corroded the dome of the stage II fuel tank. The tanks arrived at Martin-Baltimore September 21. The stage II fuel tank was rejected and returned to Denver. It was replaced by the stage II fuel tank from GLV-11, which completed final assembly September 25 and arrived in Baltimore November 3 after being inspected and certified. Fabrication of GLV-10 tanks had begun in April.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test was completed September 21. The spacecraft/GLV Joint Combined Systems Test was run September 23. GLV tanking test was performed September 29 and the Flight Configuration Mode Test October 1, completing systems testing for Gemini-Titan 6.
The Combined Systems Acceptance Test of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 7 was completed in the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. Inspection of GLV-7 by the vehicle acceptance team began September 27 and ended October 1, with the vehicle found acceptable. GLV-7 was deerected October 5 and formally accepted by the Air Force October 15. Stage I was airlifted to Cape Kennedy October 16, followed by stage II October 18. Both stages were placed in storage pending the launch of the Gemini VI mission.
Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 8 was erected in the west cell of the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. Power was applied to the vehicle October 13, following the deerection of GLV-7. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests of GLV-8 were completed November 4.
Gemini spacecraft No. 6 and the second stage of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 6 were deerected and removed from complex 19. GLV-6 stage I was deerected the next day. The GLV was placed in storage at the Satellite Checkout Building under guard, in an environment controlled for temperature and humidity. Bonded storage maintained the integrity of previously conducted tests to reduce testing that would have to be repeated. Spacecraft No. 6 was stored in the Pyrotechnics Installation Building at the Merritt Island Launch Area.
Power was applied to GLV-7 on October 31, and Subsystems Reverification Tests (SSRT) began immediately. SSRT ended November 9, and the Prespacecraft Mate Verification Test was performed November 10. This test now included dropping all umbilicals, eliminating the need for a Flight Configuration Mode Test (FCMT). No FCMT was performed on GLV-7 or any subsequent vehicle.
Martin-Baltimore received the propellant tanks for Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 11 from Martin-Denver, which had began fabricating them June 28. They were shipped by rail October 27. The GLV-11 stage II fuel tank was used in GLV-10, and the stage II fuel tank from GLV-12 was reassigned to GLV-11, arriving by air from Martin-Denver January 16, 1966. Aerojet-General delivered the engines for GLV-11 on December 14, 1965. Stage I tank splicing and engine installation was complete by March 31, stage II by April 5. Stage I horizontal tests ended April 12 and stage II, April 25.
The Combined Systems Acceptance Test of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 8 was conducted at Martin-Baltimore. The vehicle acceptance team convened November 16 and completed its inspection November 19, deeming the vehicle excellent. GLV-8 was deerected December 13-14 and was formally accepted by the Air Force on December 23. Stage I was airlifted to Cape Kennedy on January 4, 1966, followed by stage II on January 6. Both stages were placed in storage.
The stage I engine had been delivered August 23. Martin-Baltimore completed splicing stage I January 12, 1966; stage II splicing, using the fuel tank reassigned from GLV-11, was finished February 2. Engine installation was completed February 7, and stage I horizontal tests February 11. Stage II horizontal testing ended March 2.
Both stages of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 6 were removed from storage and arrived at complex 19 two hours after the launch of Gemini VII. Spacecraft No. 6 was returned to complex 19 on December 5. Within 24 hours after the launch of Gemini VII, both stages of GLV-6 were erected, spacecraft and launch vehicle were mated, and power was applied. Subsystems Reverification Tests were completed December 8. The only major problem was a malfunction of the spacecraft computer memory. The computer was replaced and checked out December 7-8. The Simulated Flight Test, December 8-9, completed prelaunch tests. The launch, initially scheduled for December 13, was rescheduled for December 12.
Gemini launch vehicle 9 was erected in the east cell of the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. Power was applied to the launch vehicle for the first time on December 22, and Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed January 20, 1966.
The Titan 2 engines shut down a moment after ignition. The fault that caused the Titan to shut down saved the astronaut's lives; the quick thinking of the astronauts in not pulling the abort handles saved the mission. The scheduled launch of Gemini VI-A was aborted when the Master Operations Control Set automatically shut down the Gemini launch vehicle a second after engine ignition because an electrical umbilical connector separated prematurely. The launch was canceled at 9:54 a.m., e.s.t. Emergency procedures delayed raising the erector until 11:28, so the crew was not removed until 11:33 a.m. Launch was rescheduled for December 15. Routine analysis of the engine data, begun immediately after shutdown, revealed decaying thrust in one first stage engine subassembly before shutdown had been commanded. The problem was diagnosed as a restriction in the gas generator circuit of the subassembly, which would have caused shutdown about 1 second later than it actually occurred as a result of the umbilical disconnect. Source of the restriction proved to be a protective dust cap inadvertently left in place in the gas generator oxidizer injector inlet port. The anomalies were corrected and recycling, based on long-prepared contingency plans, proceeded without incident through launch on December 15.
Martin-Denver delivered propellant tanks for Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 12 to Martin-Baltimore by air. The GLV-12 stage II fuel tank had been reallocated to GLV-11, and GLV-12 used the stage II fuel tank originally assigned to GLV-10, which had been reworked to eliminate the damaged dome that had caused the tank reshuffling. Additional Details: here....
The Combined Systems Acceptance Test of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 9 was successfully conducted in the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. The vehicle acceptance team convened February 14 and concluded its review on February 17 by accepting the vehicle. Deerection of GLV-9 was completed February 25, and the vehicle was formally accepted by the Air Force March 8. Stage I arrived at Cape Kennedy on March 9, stage II on March 10.
While the launch vehicle was being cleaned up after the test, spacecraft No. 8 Final Systems Test was completed February 23. On February 25, GLV and spacecraft were temporarily mated for an erector-cycling test. The extravehicular support package and life support system were checked out and installed in the spacecraft between February 26 and March 5, while GLV systems were modified and revalidated February 28 to March 3.
Stage I of Gemini launch vehicle 10 was erected in the east cell of the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. After completing horizontal testing March 3, stage II was erected March 7. Power was applied to the vehicle for the first time on March 14. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed April 13.
The vehicle was inspected and umbilicals connected by March 28. Power was applied March 29, and the Subsystems Reverification Test (SSRT) began March 30. SSRT concluded April 11. The Prespacecraft Mate Verification Combined Systems Test was completed April 12.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test began after Gemini launch vehicle 9 and spacecraft No. 9 were electrically mated. These activities were completed April 15. The Joint Combined Systems Test was run April 19.
The Combined Systems Acceptance Test (CSAT) of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 10 was conducted at Martin-Baltimore. The CSAT was followed by a performance data review, completed April 19. The vehicle acceptance team convened April 26 and accepted GLV-10 on April 29. The vehicle was deerected May 2-4 and formally accepted by the Air Force May 18. Stage I was flown to Cape Kennedy the same day, with stage II following May 20. Both stages were transferred to Hanger L where they were purged and pressurized with dry nitrogen and placed in controlled access storage.
Stage I of Gemini launch vehicle 11 was erected in the west cell of the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore. After completing horizontal tests April 25, stage II was erected April 29. Power was applied to the vehicle for the first time on May 9, and Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed June 8.
While the GLV was undergoing post-tanking cleanup, the spacecraft computer and extravehicular systems were retested (April 21-22), pyrotechnics were installed in the spacecraft (April 25), spacecraft final systems tests were run (April 27-28), spacecraft crew stowage was reviewed (April 29), and the astronaut maneuvering unit was reverified (April 30-May 2). Additional Details: here....
The vehicle acceptance team convened June 20 and accepted GLV-11 June 24. The vehicle was deerected June 29 and formally accepted by the Air Force on July 11. Stage I was delivered by air to Cape Kennedy the same day and stage II on July 13. Both stages were transferred to Hanger U where the tanks were purged and pressurized. The stages remained in controlled access storage until the launch pad was revalidated after the launch of Gemini X; revalidation was completed July 21.
During the post-tanking cleanup and systems testing of the GLV, spacecraft No. 10 hypergolics were serviced (June 27-28), spacecraft Final Systems Tests were conducted (June 28-July 1), crew stowage was evaluated, and the extravehicular life support system was checked (July 1). Additional Details: here....
The vehicle acceptance team convened August 9 and accepted the vehicle August 12. GLV-12 was deerected August 17 and formally accepted by the Air Force August 30. Stage I was airlifted to Cape Kennedy the same day. Stage II arrived September 3. Both stages were placed in controlled access storage in Hanger T pending the launch of Gemini XI and the revalidation of the launch pad, completed September 16.
While GLV post-tanking operations were being performed, the Final Systems Tests of spacecraft No. 11 were conducted August 22-23. Spacecraft and GLV were mechanically mated August 24 and erector cycling was tested. The electrical interface was revalidated August 25-29. The Simultaneous Launch Demonstration on August 31 and the Simulated Flight Test on September 1 completed prelaunch testing.
While the GLV was being cleaned up after the tanking test, the Final Systems Test of spacecraft No. 12 was conducted October 17-19. Spacecraft and GLV were mechanically mated October 25 and the erector was cycled. The spacecraft guidance system was retested October 26-27, and the spacecraft/GLV electrical interface was revalidated October 28. The Simultaneous Launch Demonstration on November 1 and the Simulated Flight Test on November 2 completed prelaunch testing and checkout.
An Air Force repairman doing routine maintenance in a Titan II ICBM silo dropped a wrench socket, which rolled off a work platform and fell to the bottom of the silo. The socket struck the missile, causing a leak from a pressurized fuel tank. The missile complex and surrounding areas were evacuated. Eight and a half hours later, the fuel vapors ignited, causing an explosion which killed an Air Force specialist and injured 21 others. The explosion also blew off the 670-tonne reinforced concrete-and-steel silo door and catapulted the warhead 200 m into the air. The silo was later filled in with gravel.