The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.

PART 3 (C)

Lunar Orbit Rendezvous: Mode and Module

April 1962 through June 1962

1962 April

1962 May

1962 June


April 1-7

NAA was directed by the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office to begin a study to define the configuration and design criteria of the service module which would make the lunar landing maneuver and touchdown.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, April 1-7, 1962.

April 2-3

A meeting to review the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) technique as a possible mission mode for Project Apollo was held at NASA Headquarters. Representatives from various NASA offices attended: Joseph F. Shea, Eldon W. Hall, William A. Lee, Douglas R. Lord, James E. O'Neill, James Turnock, Richard J. Hayes, Richard C. Henry, and Melvyn Savage of NASA Headquarters; Friedrich O. Vonbun of Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC); Harris M. Schurmeier of Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Arthur V. Zimmeman of Lewis Research Center; Jack Funk, Charles W. Mathews, Owen E. Maynard, and William F. Rector of MSC; Paul J. DeFries, Ernst D. Geissler, and Helmut J. Horn of Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC); Clinton E. Brown, John C. Houbolt, and William H. Michael, Jr., of Langley Research Center; and Merrill H. Mead of Ames Research Center. Each phase of the LOR mission was discussed separately.

The launch vehicle required was a single Saturn C-5, consisting of the S-IC, S-II, and S-IVB stages. To provide a maximum launch window, a low earth parking orbit was recommended. For greater reliability, the two-stage-to-orbit technique was recommended rather than requiring reignition of the S-IVB to escape from parking orbit.

The current concepts of the Apollo command and service modules would not be altered. The lunar excursion vehicle (LEV), under intensive study in 1961, would be aft of the service module and in front of the S-IVB stage. For crew safety, an escape tower would be used during launch. Access to the LEV would be provided while the entire vehicle was on the launch pad.

Both Apollo and Saturn guidance and control systems would be operating during the launch phase. The Saturn guidance and control system in the S-IVB would be "primary" for injection into the earth parking orbit and from earth orbit to escape. Provisions for takeover of the Saturn guidance and control system should be provided in the command module. Ground tracking was necessary during launch and establishment of the parking orbit, MSFC and GSFC would study the altitude and type of low earth orbit.

The LEV would be moved in front of the command module "early" in the translunar trajectory. After the S-IVB was staged off the spacecraft following injection into the translunar trajectory, the service module would be used for midcourse corrections. Current plans were for five such corrections. If possible, a symmetric configuration along the vertical center line of the vehicle would be considered for the LEV. Ingress to the LEV from the command module should be possible during the translunar phase. The LEV would have a pressurized cabin capability during the translunar phase. A "hard dock" mechanism was considered, possibly using the support structure needed for the launch escape tower. The mechanism for relocation of the LEV to the top of the command module required further study. Two possibilities were discussed: mechanical linkage and rotating the command module by use of the attitude control system. The S-IVB could be used to stabilize the LEV during this maneuver.

The service module propulsion would be used to decelerate the spacecraft into a lunar orbit. Selection of the altitude and type of lunar orbit needed more study, although a 100-nautical-mile orbit seemed desirable for abort considerations.

The LEV would have a "point" landing (±½ mile) capability. The landing site, selected before liftoff, would previously have been examined by unmanned instrumented spacecraft. It was agreed that the LEV would have redundant guidance and control capability for each phase of the lunar maneuvers. Two types of LEV guidance and control systems were recommended for further analysis. These were an automatic system employing an inertial platform plus radio aids and a manually controlled system which could be used if the automatic system failed or as a primary system.

The service module would provide the prime propulsion for establishing the entire spacecraft in lunar orbit and for escape from the lunar orbit to earth trajectory. The LEV propulsion system was discussed and the general consensus was that this area would require further study. It was agreed that the propulsion system should have a hover capability near the lunar surface but that this requirement also needed more study.

It was recommended that two men be in the LEV, which would descend to the lunar surface, and that both men should be able to leave the LEV at the same time. It was agreed that the LEV should have a pressurized cabin which would have the capability for one week's operation, even though a normal LOR mission would be 24 hours. The question of lunar stay time was discussed and it was agreed that Langley should continue to analyze the situation. Requirements for sterilization procedures were discussed and referred for further study. The time for lunar landing was not resolved.

In the discussion of rendezvous requirements, it was agreed that two systems be studied, one automatic and one providing for a degree of manual capability. A line of sight between the LEV and the orbiting spacecraft should exist before lunar takeoff. A question about hard-docking or soft-docking technique brought up the possibility of keeping the LEV attached to the spacecraft during the transearth phase. This procedure would provide some command module subsystem redundancy.

Direct link communications from earth to the LEV and from earth to the spacecraft, except when it was in the shadow of the moon, was recommended. Voice communications should be provided from the earth to the lunar surface and the possibility of television coverage would be considered.

A number of problems associated with the proposed mission plan were outlined for NASA Center investigation. Work on most of the problems was already under way and the needed information was expected to be compiled in about one month.

[This meeting, like the one held February 13-15, was part of a continuing effort to select the lunar mission mode.]

Minutes, Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Meeting, April 2-3, 1962.

April 4

Command module mockup 2

Two views of a preliminary mockup command module build by North American's Space and Information Systems Division.

A mockup of the Apollo command module, built by the Space and Information Systems Division of NAA, was made public for the first time during a visit to NAA by news media representatives.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 6.

April 5

The X-15 was flown to a speed of 2,830 miles per hour and to an altitude of 179,000 feet in a test of a new automatic control system to be used in the Dyna-Soar and Apollo spacecraft. NASA's Neil A. Armstrong was the pilot. The previous electronic control system had been automatic only while the X-15 was in the atmosphere; the new system was automatic in space as well.

Baltimore Sun, April 6, 1962.

April 6

The Thiokol Chemical Corporation was selected by NAA to build the solid-fuel rocket motor to be used to jettison the Apollo launch escape tower following a launch abort or during a normal mission.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 6.

April 6

The request for a proposal on the Little Joe II test launch vehicle was submitted to bidders by a letter from MSC, together with a Work Statement. Five launches, which were to test boilerplate models of the Apollo spacecraft command module in abort situations, were called for: three in 1963 and two in 1964. The first two launches in 1963 were to be max q abort tests and the third was to be a high-altitude atmospheric abort. The first launch in 1964 was to be a very-high-altitude abort and the final launch a confirming max q abort [max q - the point in the exit trajectory at which the launch vehicle and spacecraft are subjected to the severest aerodynamic load]. (Evaluation of the proposals took place from April 23 to 27, and the contractor was selected on May 11).

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Monthly Activity Report, April 1-30, 1962, p. 3; Little Joe II Test Launch Vehicle, NASA Project Apollo: Final Report, Vol. I, pp 1-2, 4-1.

April 11

President John F, Kennedy designated the Apollo program including essential spacecraft, launch vehicles, and facilities as being in the highest national priority category (DX) for research and development and for achieving operational capability.

National Security Action Memorandum No. 144, McGeorge Bundy to the Vice President (as Chairman, National Aeronautics and Space Council); The Secretary of Defense; the Secretary of Commerce; Administrator, NASA; Director, Bureau of the Budget; Director, Office of Emergency Planning, "Assignment of Highest National Priority to the APOLLO Manned Lunar Landing Program," April 11, 1962.

April 16

Representatives of MSC made a formal presentation at Marshall Space Flight Center on the lunar orbit rendezvous technique for accomplishing the lunar mission.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, April 15- 21, 1962.

April 19-20

Discussions at the monthly NAA-NASA Apollo spacecraft design review included:

  • Results of an NAA study on environmental control system (ECS) heating capabilities for lunar night operations were presented. The study showed that the system could not provide enough heating and that the integration of ECS and the fuel cell coolant system was the most promising source for supplemental heating.
  • The launch escape system configuration was approved. It embodied a 120inch tower, symmetrical nose cone, jettison motor located forward of the launch escape motor, and an aerodynamic skirt covering the escape motor nozzles. This configuration change in the escape rocket nozzle cant angle was intended to prevent impingement of hot gases on the command module.
  • MSC senior personnel directed NAA to study the technical penalties and scheduling effects of spacecraft design capabilities with direct lunar landing and lunar rendezvous techniques.
NAA, Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-3, April 30, 1962, pp. 19, 59; Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, April 15-21, 1962.

April 23

Ranger IV was launched by an Atlas-Agena B booster from the Atlantic Missile Range, attained a parking orbit, and was fired into the proper lunar trajectory by the restart of the Agena B engine. Failure of a timer in the spacecraft payload caused loss of both internal and ground control over the vehicle. The Goldstone Tracking Station maintained contact with the spacecraft until it passed behind the left edge of the moon on April 26. It impacted at a speed of 5,963 miles per hour, the first American spacecraft to land on the lunar surface. The Agena B second stage passed to the right of the moon and later went into orbit around the sun. Lunar photography objectives were not achieved.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, pp. 59, 61; New York Times, April 24, 1962; Washington Post, April 26, 1962.

April 24

Milton W. Rosen, NASA Office of Manned Space Flight Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, recommended that the S-IVB stage be designed specifically as the third stage of the Saturn C-5 and that the C-5 be designed specifically for the manned lunar landing using the lunar orbit rendezvous technique. The S-IVB stage would inject the spacecraft into a parking orbit and would be restarted in space to place the lunar mission payload into a translunar trajectory. Rosen also recommended that the S- IVB stage be used as a flight test vehicle to exercise the command module (CM), service module (SM), and lunar excursion module (LEM) [previously referred to as the lunar excursion vehicle (LEV)] in earth orbit missions. The Saturn C-1 vehicle, in combination with the CM, SM, LEM, and S-IVB stage, would be used on the most realistic mission simulation possible. This combination would also permit the most nearly complete operational mating of the CM, SM, LEM, and S-IVB prior to actual mission flight.

MSF Management Council Minutes, April 24, 1962, Agenda Item 1.

April 24

MSC Associate Director Walter C. William reported to the Manned Space Flight Management Council that the lack of a decision on the lunar mission mode was causing delays in various areas of the Apollo spacecraft program, especially the requirements for the portions of the spacecraft being furnished by NAA.

MSF Management Council Minutes, April 24, 1962, Agenda Item 2.

April 24

The Manned Space Flight Management Council decided to delay the awarding of a Nova launch vehicle study contract until July 1 at the earliest to allow time for an in-house study of bids submitted and for further examination of the schedule for a manned lunar landing using the direct ascent technique.

MSF Management Council Minutes, April 24, 1962, Agenda Item 4.

April 25

The Saturn SA-2 first stage booster was launched successfully from Cape Canaveral. The rocket was blown up intentionally and on schedule about 2.5 minutes after liftoff at an altitude of 65 miles, dumping the water ballast from the dummy second and third stages into the upper atmosphere. The experiment, Project Highwater, produced a massive ice cloud and lightning-like effects. The eight clustered H-1 engines in the first stage produced 1.3 million pounds of thrust and the maximum speed attained by the booster was 3,750 miles per hour. Modifications to decrease the slight fuel sloshing encountered near the end of the previous flight test were successful.

New York Times, April 26, 1962; Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p.61.

April 30

The contract for the Apollo service module propulsion engine was awarded by NAA to Aerojet-General Corporation. The estimated cost of the contract was $12 million. NAA had given Aerojet-General authority April 9 to begin work.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 19; MSC Space News Roundup, May 2, 1962, p. 8; Aerojet-General Corporation, Apollo Service Module Rocket Engine Monthly Progress Report, October 1962, p. 1.

During the Month

John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center, writing in the April issue of Astronautics, outlined the advantages of lunar orbit rendezvous for a manned lunar landing as opposed to direct flight from earth or earth orbit rendezvous. Under this concept, an Apollo-type spacecraft would fly directly to the moon, go into lunar orbit, detach a small landing craft which would land on the moon and then return to the mother craft, which would then return to earth. The advantages would be the much smaller craft performing the difficult lunar landing and takeoff, the possibility of optimizing the smaller craft for this one function, the safe return of the mother craft in event of a landing accident, and even the possibility of using two of the small craft to provide a rescue capability.

Houbolt, "Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous and Manned Lunar Landing," Astronautics, 7 (April 1962), pp.26-29, 70, 72.

During the Month

The basic design configuration of the command module forward compartment was changed by the relocation of two attitude control engines from the lower to the upper compartment area, where less heat flux would be experienced during reentry.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-3, p. 79.

During the Month

Three major changes were made by NAA in the Apollo space-suit circuit:

  1. The demand oxygen regulator was moved downstream of the crew to prevent a sudden drop of pressure when a crewman opened his face plate.
  2. The suit manifold would now have a pressure-controlled bypass to prevent variable flow to other crew members if one crewman increased or decreased oxygen flow. The manifold would also include a venturi in each suit-inlet connection to prevent a loss of oxygen flow to other crew members if the suit of one crewman should rupture. In this situation, the venturi would prevent the damaged suit flow out from exceeding the maximum flow of demand regulators.
  3. The circuit water evaporator and coolant loop heat exchanger of the suit were integrated into one by fluid exchange to make it smaller. A coolant-temperature control was also provided for sunlight operation on the moon.
In addition, a suit inlet-outlet was added to the command module sleeping quarters, and the cabin fan was shifted so that it would operate as an intake fan during the post-landing phase.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-3, pp. 17-18, 65.

During the Month

NAA developed a concept for shock attenuation along the command module Y-Y axis by the use of aluminum honeycomb material.

CM schematic

CM schematic

Cylinders mounted on the outboard edge of the left and right couches would extend mechanically to bear against the side compartment walls.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-3, p. 68.

During the Month

NAA studies resulted in significant changes in the command module environmental control system (ECS).

  1. Among modifications in the ECS schematic were included:
    1. Reduction in the cooling water capacity
    2. Combining into one command module tank the potable water and cooling water needed during boost
    3. Elimination of the water blanket for radiation protection.
  2. More water would be generated by the fuel cells than necessary and could be dumped to decrease lunar landing and lunar takeoff weight.
  3. Airlock valving requirements would permit two or more crewmen to perform extravehicular operation simultaneously. Area control of the space radiator to prevent coolant freezing was specified.
  4. A new concept to integrate heat rejection from the spacecraft power system and the ECS into one space radiator subsystem was developed. This subsystem would provide full versatility for both lunar night and lunar day conditions and would decrease weight and complexity.
  5. Because of the elimination of the lunar supplemental refrigeration system and deployable radiators, the water-glycol coolant system was modified:
    1. Removal from the service module of the coolant loop regenerative heat exchanger
    2. Replacement by a liquid valving arrangement of the gas-leak check provision at the radiator panels
    3. Changeover to a completely cascaded system involving the suit-circuit heat exchanger, cabin heat exchanger, and electronic component coldplate.
In addition, a small, regenerative heat exchanger was added in the command module to preheat the water-glycol. A separate coolant branch to the inertial measurement unit section of the electronic system provided for the more critical cooling task required in that area.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-3, pp. 15, 17, 21, 64-65.

During the Month

NAA determined that preliminary inflight nuclear radiation instrumentation would consist of an onboard system to detect solar x-ray or ultraviolet radiation and a ground visual system for telemetering solar flare warning signals to the command module. The crew would have eight to ten minutes warning to take protective action before the arrival of solar flare proton radiation.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-3, p. 22.

May 3

A presentation on the lunar orbit rendezvous technique was made to D. Brainerd Holmes, Director, NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, by representatives of the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office. A similar presentation to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., followed on May 31.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Monthly Activity Report, May 1-31, 1962.

May 4

The Source Evaluation Board for selecting Apollo navigation and guidance components subcontractors completed its evaluation of bids and technical proposals and submitted its findings to NASA Headquarters. Preliminary presentation of the Board's findings had been made to NASA Administrator James E. Webb on April 5.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, April 1- 7, 1962; MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, April 29May 5, 1962, p. 12.

May 4-5

At the monthly Apollo spacecraft design review meeting at NAA, MSC representatives recommended that NAA and Avco Corporation prepare a comprehensive test plan for verifying the overall integrity of the heatshield including flight tests deemed necessary, without regard for anticipated hunch vehicle availability.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, June 3-9, 1962.

May 6

A preliminary Statement of Work for a proposed lunar excursion module was completed, although the mission mode had not yet been selected.

MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, April 29-May 5, 1962, p. 12.

May 3

A purchase request was being prepared by NASA for wind tunnel support services from the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center in the amount of approximately $222,000. These wind tunnel tests were to provide design parameter data on static stability, dynamic stability, pressure stability, and heat transfer for the Apollo program. The funds were to cover tests during June and July 1962. Approximately $632,000 would be required in Fiscal Year 1963 to fund the tests scheduled to December 1962.

MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, April 29-May 5, 1962, p. 13.

May 5

MSC processed a purchase request to increase NAA's spacecraft letter contract from $32 million to $55 million to cover NAA's costs to June 30, 1962. [Pending the execution of a definitive contract (signed August 14, 1963), actions of this type were necessary].

MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, April 29-May 5, 1962, p. 13; Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 9.

May 8

NASA announced the selection of three companies for the negotiation of production contracts for major components of the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation system under development by the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. The largest of the contracts, for $16 million, would be negotiated with AC Spark Plug Division of General Motor Corporation for fabrication of the inertial, gyroscope-stabilized platform of the Apollo spacecraft; for development and construction of ground support and checkout equipment; and for assembling and testing all parts of the system. The second contract, for $2 million, would be negotiated with the Raytheon Company to manufacture the digital computer aboard the spacecraft. Under the third contract, for about $2 million, Kollsman Instrument Corporation would build the optical subsystems, including a space sextant, sunfinders, and navigation display equipment.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, May 5-11, 1962; Washington Evening Star, May 9, 1962.

May 11

NASA awarded a letter contract to General Dynamics/Convair to design and manufacture the Little Joe II test launch vehicle which would be used to boost the Apollo spacecraft on unmanned suborbital test flights. The Little Joe II would be powered by clustered solid-fuel engines. At the same time, a separate 30-day contract was awarded to Convair to study the control system requirements. White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex., had been selected for the Little Joe II max q abort and high-altitude abort missions.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, May 13-19, 1962; Little Joe II Test Launch Vehicle, NASA Project Apollo: Final Report, Vol. I, pp. 1-2, 4-1; Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 82.

May 24

The Aurora 7 spacecraft, with Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter as pilot, was launched successfully by an Atlas booster from Atlantic Missile Range. After a three-orbit flight, the spacecraft reentered the atmosphere. Yaw error and late retrofire caused the landing impact point to be over 200 miles beyond the intended area and beyond radio range of the recovery forces. Landing occurred 4 hours and 56 minutes after liftoff. Astronaut Carpenter was later picked up safely by a helicopter.

Grimwood, Project Mercury: A Chronology, pp. 164-165.

May 25

D. Brainerd Holmes, NASA's Director of Manned Space Flight, requested the Directors of Launch Operations Center, Manned Spacecraft Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to prepare supporting component schedules and cost breakdowns through Fiscal Year 1967 for each of the proposed lunar landing modes: earth orbit rendezvous, lunar orbit rendezvous, and direct ascent. For direct ascent, a Saturn C-8 launch vehicle was planned, using a configuration of eight F-1 engines, eight J-2 engines, and one J-2 engine. MSFC was also requested to submit a proposed schedule and summary of costs for the Nova launch vehicle, using the configuration of eight F-1 engines, two M-1 engines, and one J-2 engine. Each Center was asked to make an evaluation of the schedules as to possibilities of achievement, major problem areas, and recommendations for deviations.

Memorandum, Holmes to Director, Launch Operations Center; Director, Manned Spacecraft Center; and Director, Marshall Space Flight Center, "The Manned Lunar Landing Program," May 25, 1962.

May 26

The F-1 engine was first fired at full power more than 1.5 million pounds of thrust) for 2.5 minutes at Edwards Rocket Site, Calif.

Rocketdyne Skywriter, June 1, 1962, p. 1.

May 29

A schedule for the letting of a contract for the development of a lunar excursion module was presented to the Manned Space Flight Management Council by MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth in anticipation of a possible decision to employ the lunar rendezvous technique in the lunar landing mission.

MSF Management Council Minutes, May 29, 1962, Agenda Item 12.

May 29

The Manned Space Flight Management Council approved the mobile launcher concept for the Saturn C-5 at Launch Complex 39, Merritt Island, Fla.

MSF Management Council Minutes, May 29, 1962, Agenda Item 9.

During the Month

NAA completed a preliminary requirement outline for spacecraft docking. The outline specified that the two spacecraft be navigated to within a few feet of each other and held to a relative velocity of less than six inches per second and that they be steered to within a few inches of axial alignment and parallelism. The crewman in the airlock was assumed to be adequately protected against radiation and meteoric bombardment and to be able to grasp the docking spacecraft and maneuver it to the sealing faces for final clamp.

NAA, Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300 4, May 31, 1962, p. 66.

During the Month

A feasibility study was completed by NAA on the ballistic (zero-lift) maneuver as a possible emergency flight mode for lunar mission reentry. Based upon single-pass and 12 g maximum load-factor criteria, the guidance corridor would be nine nautical miles. When atmospheric density deviations were considered (+/- 50 percent from standard), the allowable corridor would be reduced to four nautical miles. Touchdown dispersions within the defined corridor exceeded 2500 nautical miles.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, p. 17.

During the Month

Telescope requirements for the spacecraft were modified after two study programs had been completed by NAA.

A study on the direct vision requirement for lunar landing showed that, to have a simultaneous direct view of the lunar landing point and the landing feet without changing the spacecraft configuration, a periscope with a large field of view integrated with a side window would be needed. A similar requirement on the general-purpose telescope could thus be eliminated, reducing the complexity of the telescope design.

Another study showed that, with an additional weight penalty of from five to ten pounds, an optical drift indicator for use after parachute deployment could easily be incorporated into the general-purpose telescope.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, pp. 29-30.

During the Month

The first reliability prediction study for the Apollo spacecraft was completed by NAA. Assuming all systems as series elements and excluding consideration of alternative modes, redundancies, or inflight maintenance provisions, the study gave a reliability estimate of 0.731. This analysis provided a basis from which means of improving reliability would be evaluated and formulated.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, p. 26.

During the Month

Layouts of three command module observation window configurations were made by NAA. A study disclosed that sufficient direct vision for lunar landing was not feasible and that windows could not be uncovered during reentry.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, p. 66.

During the Month

NAA began compiling a list of command module materials to be classified selectively for potentially toxic properties. These materials would be investigated to determine location (related to possible venting of gases), fire resistance, exposure to excessive temperatures, gases resulting from thermal decomposition, and toxicity of gases released under normal and material-failure conditions. Although a complete examination of every material was not feasible, materials could be grouped according to chemical constituency and quantity of gases released.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, p. 10,

During the Month

The basic spacecraft adapter structure was defined as consisting of six aluminum honeycomb panels, six longerons, and forward and aft bulkheads. The design of the honeycomb panels for the test requirements program was complete.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4. v. 89.

During the Month

NAA decided to retain the inward-opening pull-down concept for the spacecraft crew hatch, which would use plain through bolts for lower sill attachment and a manual jack-screw device to supply the force necessary to seat and unseat the hatch.

Concurrently, a number of NAA latching concepts were in preparation for presentation to NASA, including that of an outward-opening, quick- opening crew door without an outer emergency panel. This design, however, had weight and complexity disadvantages, as well as requiring explosive charges.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, p. 68.

During the Month

The command module reaction control system (RCS) selected by NAA was a dual system without interconnections. Either would be sufficient for the entire mission.

For the service module RCS, a quadruple arrangement was chosen which was basically similar to the command module RCS except that squib valves and burst discs were eliminated.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, p. 84.

During the Month

NAA evaluated the possibility of integrating the fuel cell and environmental control system heat rejection into one system. The integrated system proved to be unsatisfactory, being 300 pounds heavier and considerably more complex than the two separate systems. A preliminary design of separate fuel cell radiators, possibly located on the service module, was started by NAA.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, p. 82.

During the Month

NAA studies on the prototype crew couch included one on the use of the center couch for supporting a crewman at the astrosextant during lunar approach and another on the displacement of outboard couches for access to equipment areas.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, p. 65.

During the Month

Two NAA analyses showed that the urine management system would prevent a rise in the command module humidity load and atmospheric contamination and that freeze-up of the line used for daily evacuation of urine to the vacuum of space could be prevented by proper orificing of the line.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-4, pp. 10-11

June 7

Wernher von Braun, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center, recommended to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight that the lunar orbit rendezvous mode be adopted for the lunar landing mission. He also recommended the development of an unmanned, fully automatic, one-way Saturn C-5 logistics vehicle in support of the lunar expedition; the acceleration of the Saturn C-1B program; the development of high-energy propulsion systems as a backup for the service module and possibly the lunar excursion module; and further development of the F-1 and J-2 engines to increase thrust or specific impulse.

"Concluding Remarks by Dr. Wernher von Braun about Mode Selection for the Lunar Landing Program Given to Dr. Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director (Systems), Office of Manned Space Flight, June 7, 1962," undated.

June 10-11

NAA was directed by the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office at the monthly design review meeting to design an earth landing system for a passive touchdown mode to include the command module cant angle limited to about five degrees and favoring offset center of gravity, no roll orientation control, no deployable heatshield, and depressurization of the reaction control system propellant prior to impact. At the same meeting, NAA was requested to use a single "kicker" rocket and a passive thrust-vector-control system for the spacecraft launch escape system.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, June 8-1 4, 1 962.

June 16

NASA announced that the Apollo service module propulsion system would be tested at a new facility at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 7.

June 16-22

Results of a preliminary investigation by NAA showed that a 100 percent oxygen atmosphere for the command module would save about 30 pounds in weight and reduce control complexity.

NASA-Resident Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, NAA, Weekly Activity Report for Week Ending June 22, 1962, p. 3.

June 18

As the result of considerable joint engineering effort and discussion by NAA and MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, the location of the onboard space sextant in the command module was changed from the main instrument panel to the wall of the lower equipment bay. The instrument would penetrate the hull on the hot side during reentry and the navigator would have to leave his couch to make navigation sightings and to align the inertial measurement unit.

David G. Hoag, personal notes, June 18, 1962.

June 22

MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the Manned Space Flight Management Council that the selection of the ablative material for the Apollo spacecraft heatshield would be made by September 1. The leading contender for the forebody ablative material was an epoxy resin with silica fibers for improving char strength and phenolic microballoons for reducing density.

In addition, Gilruth noted that a reevaluation of the Saturn C-1 and C-1B launch capabilities appeared to indicate that neither vehicle would be able to test the complete Apollo spacecraft configuration, including the lunar excursion module. Complete spacecraft qualification would require the use of the Saturn C-5.

MSF Management Council Minutes, June 22, 1962, Agenda Item 2.

June 22

Joseph F. Shea, NASA Deputy Director of Manned Space Flight (Systems), presented to the Manned Space Flight Management Council the results of the study on lunar mission mode selection. The study included work by personnel in Shea's office, MSC, and Marshall Space Flight Center. The criteria used in evaluating the direct ascent technique, earth orbit rendezvous connecting and fueling modes, and lunar orbit rendezvous were: the mission itself, weight margins, guidance accuracy, communications and tracking requirements, reliability (abort problems), development complexity, schedules, costs, flexibility, growth potential, and military implications.

MSF Management Council Minutes, June 22, 1962, Agenda Item 12.

June 22

After an extended discussion, the Manned Space Flight Management Council unanimously decided:

  • Lunar orbit rendezvous, using the Saturn C-5 launch vehicle, should be the mission mode for lunar exploration.
  • The development of a lunar logistics vehicle, using the Saturn C-1B or the C-5 launch vehicle, should be started and a six-month study of this development should begin immediately.
  • Time was too short and the expense too great to develop a parallel backup mode.
  • Study of the Nova vehicle should continue with the expectation that its development would follow the C-5 by two or three years.
  • The C-1B launch vehicle should be started immediately, looking toward the first two-stage flight in mid- 1965.
  • Development of a lunar excursion module should begin at once.
These decisions were to be presented to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden, and NASA Administrator James E. Webb for approval.

MSF Management Council Minutes, June 22, 1962, Agenda Item 12.

June 30

A thermal coverall for use in extravehicular space suit design was completed in-house and would be shipped to Vought Astronautics for use in the MSC evaluation contract.

MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, June 24-30, 1962.

During the Month

Five NASA scientists, dressed in pressure suits, completed an exploratory study at Rocketdyne Division of the feasibility of repairing, replacing, maintaining, and adjusting components of the J-2 rocket while in space. The scientific team also investigated the design of special maintenance tools and the effectiveness of different pressure suits in performing maintenance work in space.

Rocketdyne Skywriter, July 13, 1962.


NASA and MIT agreed that the Instrumentation Laboratory would use the microcircuit for the prototype Apollo onboard computer. The Fairchild Controls Corporation microcircuit was the only one available in the United States.

Interview with Ralph Ragan, Instrumentation Laboratory, MIT, April 27, 1966.