The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.|
PrefaceProject Apollo, America's program to land men on the moon, aimed at what surely will be recorded as one of the epochal achievements of mankind. For any insight into the significance of this "giant leap," it is essential to reckon with the technology and to appreciate the hard work - and the sacrifices - that made Apollo 11 possible.
This, the second volume of The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, tells a part of this story. It follows the precedents and format of the first in the series (NASA SP-4009). The third volume, now nearly completed, will chronicle developments within Project Apollo through detailed hardware design and early ground and flight testing. A fourth will cover the development phase, recovery from the Apollo 204 fire, the first lunar landing flight, and the lunar exploration phase of the program.
By this series of documented resource books, the authors have hoped to provide a tool for further historical studies of Project Apollo and for attempts to understand scientific and technological change during the decade of the Sixties. Our immediate aim has been to serve not only the needs of scholarship and management, but also the "average American" who might wish to probe behind the headlines of space news.
Largely because our research has relied most heavily on records held at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) in Houston, Texas, the title of this series indicates its bias toward spacecraft development. Many NASA chronologies and historical monographs - some completed and some in progress - analyze, describe, and interpret various other aspects of American aeronautical and astronautical progress. In manned space flight, for example, This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury (NASA SP-4101) has been written and a history of Project Gemini is nearing completion. Perhaps someday the full complexity of the interrelated technological and scientific activities of Project Apollo may be synthesized more meaningfully. But for now we have presented a skeletal outline of events that affected conceptual design and early engineering work on both hardware and software for the Apollo spacecraft.
Part I, "Defining Contractual Relations," deals mostly with establishing government-industry working arrangements and preliminary hardware design once the prime contractors were selected. Part II, "Developing Hardware Distinctions," characterizes the period of late 1963 and early 1964 as a time of technological transition. And Part III, "Developing Software Ground Rules," tells schematically how, during much of 1964, preliminary mission planning and ground tests led toward the freezing of hardware design and the movement toward flight testing.
As in previous chronologies for Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo's beginnings, the primary sources used here are NASA and industry correspondence and reports. The materials should serve as a foundation for many analytical monographs and, eventually, a narrative history of the whole Apollo program. The available documents are so plentiful and comprehensive that the primary historical problem has been one of selection. The text that follows has been edited downward in size several times, but we trust our critical readers to point out its worst sins of omission and commission. Measurements for the most part were originally in the English system, then converted to metric.
The authors of this volume worked with MSC historians James M. Grimwood and Ivan D. Ertel by virtue of a NASA contract (NAS 9-6331) with the University of Houston's Department of History. Professors James A. Tinsley and Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., provided academic support, while NASA historians Eugene M. Emme, Frank W. Anderson, Jr., and William D. Putnam encouraged the processes of research and revision toward publication. Archivists in Washington, notably Lee D. Saegesser, at other NASA Centers, and in Houston, particularly Billie D. Rowell, have been immensely helpful. Courtney G. Brooks and Sally D. Gates edited the final comment edition, and Corinne L. Morris prepared the manuscript copy. Ertel illustrated the text, while Anderson and Carrie E. Karegeannes shepherded the work through the publication process. To these and many other informants, readers, librarians, and historians the authors and editors of this series are indebted.
December 1, 1971