The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.|
Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
October 1Ceremonies in Washington marked the sixth anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Administrator James E. Webb reminded those present of NASA's unique contribution to America's mission and destiny, then read a message from President Johnson: "We must be first in space and in aeronautics," the President said, "to maintain first place on earth. . . . Significant as our success has been, it is but indicative of the far greater advances that mankind can expect from our aeronautical and space efforts in the coming years. We have reached a new threshold . . . which opens to us the widest possibilities for the future." Two days later, in an address in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., Webb observed that "as the national space program moves into its seventh year, the United States has reached the half-way point in the broad-based accelerated program for the present decade." America was halfway to the moon.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1964: Chronology on Science, Technology, and Policy (NASA SP-4005, 1965), pp. 335, 338.
October 1-2Representatives from Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, North American Aviation, Inc., and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Instrumentation Laboratory, three of the Manned Spacecraft Center's (MSC) principal contractors, met with radar and guidance and navigation experts from Houston and Cape Kennedy. They formulated a detailed plan for testing and checkout of the lunar excursion module (LEM) rendezvous and landing radar systems both at the factory and at the launch site.
MSC, "Minutes of Implementation Meeting #3, Apollo LEM G&D Systems, September 29, 1965"; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 1-8, 1964."
October 1-8North American switched to a spring-activated pop-up antenna for the command module (CM) high-frequency recovery radio.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report," October 1-8, 1964.
October 1-8On the basis of new abort criteria (failure of one fuel cell), extended operating periods, and additional data on fuel cell performance, Grumman recommended a 20.4 kg (45-lb), 1,800 watt-hour auxiliary battery for the LEM. MSC approved the recommendation and Grumman completed the redesign of the electrical power distribution system and resizing of the battery during late October and early November.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, September 20-October 17, 1964," p. 54; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 17-24, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 24-October 1, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 1-8, 1964"; "Monthly Progress Report No. 21," LPR-10-37, p. 26.
October 2MSC submitted a Request for Proposals to General Electric Company (GE) for two additional spacecraft acceptance checkout ground stations. Eight million dollars was the estimated cost of the added equipment.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, September 20-October 17, 1964," p. 40.
October 2MSC's Apollo Spacecraft Program Office (ASPO) approved a plan (put forward by the MSC Advanced Spacecraft Technology Division to verify the CM's radiation shielding. Checkout of the radiation instrumentation would be made during manned earth orbital flights. The spacecraft would then be subjected to a radiation environment during the first two unmanned Saturn V flights. These missions, 501 and 502, with apogees of about 18,520 km (10,000 nm), would verify the shielding. Gamma probe verification, using spacecraft 008, would be performed in Houston during 1966. Only Block I CM's would be used in these ground and flight tests. Radiation shielding would be unaffected by the change to Block II status.
Memorandum, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Assistant Chief for Space Environment, "Apollo Radiation Shielding Verification," October 5, 1964.
October 5-8NASA conducted a formal review of the LEM mockup M-5 at the Grumman factory. This inspection was intended to affirm that the M-5 configuration reflected all design requirements and to definitize the LEM configuration. Members of the Mockup Review Board were Chairman Owen E. Maynard, Chief, Systems Engineering Division, ASPO; R. W. Carbee, LEM Subsystem Project Engineer, Grumman; Maxime A. Faget, Assistant Director for Engineering and Development, MSC; Thomas J. Kelly, LEM Project Engineer, Grumman; Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. (represented by Sigurd A. Sjoberg), Assistant Director for Flight Operations, MSC; Owen G. Morris, Chief, Reliability and Quality Assurance Division, ASPO; William F. Rector III, LEM Project Officer, ASPO; and Donald K. Slayton, Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, MSC.
The astronauts' review was held on October 5 and 6. It included demonstrations of entering and getting out of the LEM, techniques for climbing and descending the ladder, and crew mobility inside the spacecraft. The general inspection was held on the 7th and the Review Board met on the 8th. Those attending the review used request for change (RFC) forms to propose spacecraft design alterations. Before submission to the Board, these requests were discussed by contractor personnel and NASA coordinators to assess their effect upon system design, interfaces, weight, and reliability.
The inspection categories were crew provisions; controls, displays, and lighting; the stabilization and control system and the guidance and navigation radar; electrical power; propulsion (ascent, descent, reaction control system, and pyrotechnics ; power generation cryogenic storage and fuel cell assemblies ; environmental control; communications and instrumentation; structures and landing gear; scientific equipment; and reliability and quality' control. A total of 148 RFCs were submitted. Most were aimed at enhancing the spacecraft's operational capability; considerable attention also was given to quality and reliability and to ground checkout of various systems. No major redesigns of the configuration were suggested.
As a result of this review, the Board recommended that Grumman take immediate action on those RFC's which it had approved. Further, the LEM contractor and MSC should promptly investigate those items which the Board had assigned for further study. On the basis of the revised M-5 configuration, Grumman could proceed with LEM development and qualification. This updated mockup would be the basis for tooling and fabrication of the initial hardware as well.
MSC, "Lunar Excursion Module, Project Apollo, Board Report for NASA Inspection and Review of M-5 Mockup Lunar Excursion Module, October 5-8, 1964," pp. 1-7, 10-27.
October 8Radio Corporation of America's (RCA) Aerospace Systems Division received a 9 million contract from Grumman for the LEM attitude translation control assembly (ATCA). The ATCA, a device to maintain the spacecraft's attitude, would fire the reaction control system motors in response to signals from the primary guidance system.
Space Business Daily, October 9, 1964, p. 210.
October 8-15On the basis of reentry simulations, North American recommended several CM instrument changes. An additional reaction control system display was needed, the company reported. Further, the flight attitude and the stabilization and control system indicators must be modified to warn of a system failure before it became catastrophic. The entry monitor system for Block I spacecraft would have to be replaced and the sample g-meter was not wholly satisfactory.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 8-15, 1964."
October 8-15Analysis by MSC of the performance of the environmental control system radiators for Block I CM's placed their heat rejection capability at 4,000 Btus per hr, far below the anticipated mission load of 7,220. Water boiled at the rate of 1.46 kg (3.22 lbs) per hr would be needed to supplement the radiators. This, in turn, would limit the mission to 45 hours duration, at which time all of the spacecraft's water supplies (both that in the water tanks at launch and that collected as a byproduct from the fuel cells) would be exhausted.
As MSC saw it, potential solutions were to redesign the radiators themselves, to increase the size of the tanks to hold another 194 kg (428 lbs) of water, or to reduce the operating power level.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Operations Planning Division, "Limited mission duration capability for Block I Command and Service Modules," October 21, 1964.
October 8-15MSC established the configuration of the reaction control system engines for both the service module (SM) and the LEM, and informed North American and Grumman accordingly. The Center also directed North American to propose a design for an electric heater that would provide thermal control in lunar orbit and during contingency operations. The design would be evaluated for use in Block I spacecraft as well.
MSC, "Minutes, Apollo/E and D Technical Management Meeting No. 8, 10/5 and 10/12, 1964," pp. 4-5; letters, W. F. Rector III, MSC to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Temperature control for the RCS engines in the Service Module and LEM," October 19, 1964.
October 8-15RCA reduced the weight of the LEM rendezvous radar from 39.9 to 31.98 kg (88 to 70.5 lbs).
Memorandum, Robert C. Duncan and Ralph S. Sawyer, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Apollo Radar Systems Design Review," September 16, 1964, with enclosure: "Apollo Radar Design Review," undated.
October 8-15North American representatives visited the Grumman plant to discuss design features and to inspect the electroluminescent lighting on the LEM. North American intended to adopt this same feature on Block II CMs.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 8-15, 1964."
October 9NASA and Grumman representatives discussed a weight reduction program for the LEM. Changes approved at the M-5 mockup review portended an increase in LEM separation weight of from 68 to 453 kg (150 to 1,000 lbs). Both parties agreed to evaluate the alternatives of either resizing the spacecraft or finding ways to lighten it about nine percent, thus keeping the improved LEM within the present control weight.
GAEC, "Monthly Progress Report No. 21," LPR-10-37, November 10, 1964, p. 6.
October 9NASA approved Grumman's selection of Airite to supply the LEM helium tanks, and the two firms started negotiations.
Ibid., pp. 7, 16.
October 11-November 10Grumman completed contract negotiations with Arma Division, American Bosch Arma Corporation, for the LEM caution and warning electronics assembly.
Ibid., p. 22.
October 11-November 10Grumman lighting experts evaluated self-luminous materials produced by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company and found them feasible for use in docking lighting.
Ibid., p. 4.
October 12The U.S.S.R. launched the world's first multi-manned spacecraft, Voskhod I, the first to carry a scientist and a physician into space. The crew were Col. Vladimir Komarov, pilot; Konstantin Feoktistov, scientist; and Boris Yegorov, physician. According to Tass, orbital parameters of the spacecraft were 409 by 177 km (254 by 110 mi) with a 90.1 minute period and a 65 degree plane. Purposes of this flight, according to the Russian source, were to prove the operational compatibility of the spacecraft and crew and to conduct scientific and medical investigations during actual space flight. The mission featured television pictures of the crew from space. The trio landed after 16 orbits of the earth, 24 hours and 17 min after they had left it. The flight had a significant worldwide impact. In the United States, the "space race" was again running under the green flag. NASA Administrator James E. Webb, commenting on the spectacular, called it a "significant space accomplishment." It was, he said, "a clear indication that the Russians are continuing a large space program for the achievement of national power and prestige."
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1964, pp. 348, 350.
October 12At a North American-Grumman interface meeting on September 23-24, two possible relative role alignments for CSM-active docking were agreed upon. The major item blocking final selection was the effect of the SM's reaction control system engines upon the LEM antennas. ASPO requested Grumman to investigate the problem, to analyze the design penalties of the two-attitude docking mode, and to report any other factors that would influence the final attitude selection.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 12, 1964.
October 12MSC notified Grumman of several additional LEM guidance and navigation ground rules that were applicable to the coasting phase of the mission. During this portion of the flight, the LEM abort guidance system must be capable of giving attitude information and of measuring velocity changes. Navigational data required to take the LEM out of the coasting phase and to put it on an intercept course with the CSM would be provided by the CSM's rendezvous radar and its guidance and navigation system, and through the Manned Space Flight Network back on earth.
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Additional Ground Rules for LEM Guidance anti Navigation Operation and Monitoring," October 12, 1964.
October 13North American and MIT Instrumentation Laboratory representatives met in Houston to discuss electrical power requirements for the guidance and control systems in Block II CMs. They had determined the additional electrical power needed for the guidance and control system 24 volts was available,
Jerold P. Gilmore, MIT/IL, "MIT GN&C-Saturn Interfaces," prepared for Implementation Meeting #8, "Apollo CSM Block II Guidance & Control Systems," October 13, 1964.
October 14Eagle-Picher Company completed qualification testing on the 25-amperehour reentry batteries for the CM. Shortly thereafter, Eagle-Picher received authorization from North American to proceed with design and development of the larger 40-ampere-hour batteries needed for the later Block I and all Block II spacecraft.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 15-22, 1964"; North American Aviation, Inc. [hereafter cited as NAA], "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-31, December 1, 1964, pp. 15-16; MSC, "Project Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 10 for Period Ending December 31, 1964," p. 12.
October 14In a letter to Apollo Program Director General Samuel C. Phillips, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea pointed out that Bellcomm, under contract to NASA, had a subcontract with Space Technology Laboratories (STL) and that MSC had a contract with STL covering the same basic areas as the Bellcomm-STL subcontract. Shea told Phillips that STL was not allowed to use the information on the MSC contract which had been obtained on the Bellcomm contract, and requested that STL be permitted to use the information on the MSC contract.
Letter, from Manager, ASPO, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: General Phillips, "Space Technology Laboratories Contract with Bellcomm Corporation," October 14, 1964.
October 14In a letter to NASA Administrator James E. Webb, AC Spark Plug reported that the first Apollo guidance system completed acceptance testing and was shipped at 11:30 p.m. and arrived at Downey, California, early the following day. AC reported that in more than 2,000 hours of operation they had found the system to be "remarkably reliable, accurate and simple to operate."
Letter, to NASA Administrator Webb, from B. P. Blasingame, Manager, Milwaukee Operations, October 19, 1964.
October 15A number of outstanding points were resolved at a joint MSC-Grumman meeting on LEM communications. Most significant, the VHF key mode was deleted, and it was decided that, during rendezvous, voice links must have priority over all other VHF transmissions. Further, the echo feature of the current configuration (i.e., voice sent to the LEM by the ground operational support system, then relayed back via the S-band link) was undesirable.
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Minutes of Lunar Excursion Module Communications Subsystem Review October 15 and 16, 1964," October 29, 1964, with enclosure: subject minutes, pp. 2-3.
October 15MSC's Systems Engineering Division reported on the consequences of eliminating the command and service module (CSM) rendezvous radar:
October 15The Guidance and Control Implementation Sub-Panel of the MSC-MSFC Flight Mechanics Panel defined the guidance and control interfaces for Block I and II missions. In Block II missions the CSM's guidance system would guide the three stages of the Saturn V vehicle; it would control the S- IVB (third stage) and the CSM while in earth orbit; and it would perform the injection into a lunar trajectory. In all of this, the CSM guidance backed up the Saturn ST-124 platform. Actual sequencing was performed by the Saturn V computer.
Memorandum, Aaron Cohen, MSC, to Chief, Flight Technology Branch, "Flight Mechanics Panel's Activities," October 15, 1964.
October 15Remote operation of the CSM's rendezvous radar transponder and its stabilization and control system (SCS) was not necessary, ASPO told North American. Should the CSM pilot be incapacitated, it was assumed that he could perform several tasks before becoming totally disabled, including turning on the transponder and the SCS. No maneuvers by the CSM would be required during this period. However, the vehicle would have to be stabilized during LEM ascent, rendezvous, and docking.
Letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Attn: E. E. Sack, "Contract NAS 9-150, Operations Groundrule and Disabled CSM Astronaut," October 15, 1964.
October 15-22The Air Force Eastern Test Command concurred in the elimination of propellant dispersal systems for the SM and the LEM. Costs, schedules, and spacecraft designs, NASA felt, would all benefit from this action. ASPO thus notified the appropriate module contractors.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 15-22, 1964."
October 15-22Because they were unable to find a satisfactory means of plating the magnesium castings for the CM data storage equipment (to fulfil the one percent salt spray requirement), Collins Radio Company and the Leach Corporation were forced to use aluminum as an alternative. This change would increase the weight of the structure by about 2.3 kg (5 lbs) and, perhaps even more significant, could produce flutter when the recorder was subjected to vibration tests. These potential problems would be pursued when a finished aluminum casting was available.
October 15-22Grumman completed the fuel cell assembly thermal study and was preparing a specific directive to Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Company which would incorporate changes recommended by the study. These changes would include the cooling of electrical components with hydrogen and the shifting of other components (water shutoff valves, and oxygen purge valve) so that they would operate at their higher design temperatures.
October 15-22Representatives from the MSC Astronaut Office, and ASPO's Systems Engineering, Crew Systems, and Mission Planning divisions made several significant decisions on crew transfer and space suit procedures:
October 16In a letter on August 25, 1964, the LEM Project Office had requested Grumman to define the means by which CSM stabilization and rendezvous radar transponder operation could be provided remotely in the event the CSM crewman was disabled.
In another letter on October 16, the Project Office notified Grumman that no requirement existed for remote operation of either the rendezvous radar transponder or the stabilization and control system. The letter added, however, that the possibility of an incapacitated CSM astronaut must be considered and that for design purposes Grumman should assume that the astronaut would perform certain functions prior to becoming completely disabled. These functions could include turning on the transponder and the SCS. No CSM maneuvers would be required during the period in which the CSM astronaut was disabled but the CSM must remain stabilized during LEM ascent coast and rendezvous and docking phases.
Letter, W. F. Rector III to GAEC, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Operations Groundrule for Disabled CSM Astronaut," October 16, 1964.
October 16-November 15Three Pratt and Whitney fuel cells were operated in a simulated space vacuum at North American for 19, 20, and 21 hours. This was the first time three cells were operated as an electrical power generating subsystem.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-31, p. 1.
October 16-November 15North American and Honeywell reviewed the Block II CSM entry monitor subsystem's compatibility with the stabilization and control system. The proposed configuration, they found, combined maximum reliability with minimum size and weight and would provide adequate mission performance.
Ibid., p. 13.
October 17MSC and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) negotiated a $1,500,000 fixed-price contract for the Apollo guidance and navigation system backup computer.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, October 18-November 30, 1964," p. 39; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 15-22, 1964."
October 19MSC ordered Grumman to halt work on the LEM test article (LTA) 10. The LTA-10's descent stage would be replaced with one cannibalized from LEM test mockup 5.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 21," LPR-10-37, pp. 12, 18.
October 19On October 19, a supplemental agreement in the amount of $115,000,000 was issued to North American, bringing the total funded amount of the CSM contract to $1,136,890,000.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, October 18-November 30, 1964," p. 39.
October 22In response to inquiries from General Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Deputy Director, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea declared that, for Apollo, no lunar mapping or survey capability was necessary. Shea reported that the Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Orbiter programs should give ample information about the moon's surface. For scientific purposes, he said, a simpler photographic system could be included without requiring any significant design changes in the spacecraft.
TWX, Shea, MSC, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: Phillips, October 22, 1964; letter, J. A. Hornbeck, Bellcomm, to S. C. Phillips, NASA, November 5, 1964.
October 22-29Heavy black deposits were discovered on the environmental control system (ECS) cold plates when they were removed from boilerplate 14. Several pinholes were found in the cold plate surfaces, and the aluminum lines were severely pitted. This was, as ASPO admitted, a matter of "extreme concern" to the ECS design people at North American, because the equipment had been charged with coolant for only three weeks. This evidence of excessive corrosion reemphasized the drawbacks of using ethylene glycol as a coolant.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 22-29, 1964."
October 2-29ASPO notified Grumman and North American that it had canceled requirements for Apollo part task trainers.
October 22-29MSC's Crew Systems Division investigated environmental control system (ECS) implications of using Gemini suits in Block I missions. The results indicated that the ECS was capable of maintaining nominal cabin temperature and carbon dioxide partial pressure levels; however, this mode of operation always had an adverse effect on cabin dewpoint temperature and water condensation rate.
October 23ASPO deleted the requirement for LEM checkout during the translunar phase of the mission. Thus the length of time that the CM must be capable of maintaining pressure in the LEM (for normal leakage in the docked configuration) was reduced from 10 hours to three.
October 23Jet Propulsion Laboratory proposed a meeting on October 29 between representatives of NASA Headquarters, Bellcomm, MSC, MIT, and JPL to present the requirements and status of projects underway as they related to the landing aid problem. The Surveyor Block II study effort was concentrating on determining needs of obtaining data on the lunar surface and environment for Apollo.
JPL proposed the following agenda items:
TWX from JPL to NASA Hq., MSC, Bellcomm, Inc., and MIT, "Surveyor Employed Landing Aids for Apollo," signed Lou Divone, October 23, 1964.
October 26The trajectory summary of the Design Reference Mission (DRM) prepared by the Apollo Mission Planning Task Force was sent to Grumman by the LEM Project Office with a note that the operational sequence-of-events would be forwarded in November.
It was acknowledged that a single mission could not serve to "completely define all the spacecraft functional requirements" but "such a mission has considerable value as a standard for various purposes on the Apollo Program."
Specifically, the DRM would be used for weight reporting, electrical power reporting, reliability modeling, engineering simulation, crew task analyses, mission-related Interface Control Documents, and trade-off studies.
Letter, MSC, W. F. Rector III, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Transmittal of the Apollo Lunar Landing Design Reference Mission Trajectory," October 26, 1964.
October 27ASPO requested Grumman to list all single-point failures that would cause loss of the crew during a lunar orbit rendezvous mission. Grumman was to consider only the equipment that it was responsible for.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 27, 1964.
October 27NASA announced the appointment of Major General Samuel C. Phillips as Director of the Apollo Program. Phillips thus assumed part of the duties of George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator of Manned Space Flight, who had been serving as Apollo Director as well. Phillips had been Deputy Director since January 15.
NASA News Release 64-267, "General Phillips Appointed Director of Apollo Program," October 27, 1964.
October 27MSC ordered North American to halt procurement of a CM simulator. Instead, the company was to begin a simulator program using the two existing evaluator-type CMs in conjunction with the digital-analog computer facility. These evaluators would be used to verify the guidance and navigation and stabilization and control system software, and to analyze crew tasks and failure effects.
Letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., "Contract Change Authorization No. 263," October 27, 1964.
October 27Because of the redesign of the portable life support system that would be required, MSC directed Grumman and North American to drop the "buddy system" concept for the spacecraft environmental control system (ECS) umbilicals. The two LEM crewmen would transfer from the CM while attached to that module's umbilicals. Hookup with the LEM umbilicals, and ventilation from the LEM ECS, would be achieved before disconnecting the first set of lifelines. MSC requested North American to cooperate with Grumman and Hamilton Standard on the design of the fetal end of the umbilicals. Also, the two spacecraft contractors were directed jointly to determine umbilical lengths and LEM ECS control locations required for such transfer.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 27, 1964; TWX, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Attn: E. E. Sack, October 27, 1964; TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 29, 1964; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964."
October 28Testing of the first flight-weight 15-cell stack of the LEM fuel cell assembly began. Although the voltage was three percent below design, the unit had a 980-watt capability. Earlier, the unit completed 150 hours of operation, and single cell life had reached 662 hours.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964."
October 28ASPO's Operations Planning Division defined the current Apollo mission programming as envisioned by MSC. The overall Apollo flight program was described in terms of its major phases: Little Joe II flights (unmanned Little Joe II development and launch escape vehicle development); Saturn IB flights (unmanned Saturn IB and Block I CSM development, Block I CSM earth orbital operations, unmanned LEM development, and manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations); and Saturn V flights (unmanned Saturn V and Block II CSM development, manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations, and manned lunar missions).
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Distr., "Apollo Spacecraft Flight Development Mission Program," October 28, 1964.
October 28At Langley Research Center, representatives from Langley, MSC, Ames Research Center, Avco Corporation, and North American met to discuss their independent conclusions of the data gathered from the Scout test of the Apollo heatshield material and to determine whether a second test was advisable. Langley's report revealed that: the heatshield materials performed as predicted within the flight condition appropriate to Apollo; the excessive recession rates occurred during flight conditions which were more severe than those considered for the design of the heatshield or expected during Apollo reentries.
Each group represented had a different interpretation of the reasons for the excessively high surface recession. The conclusion was that a second flight of the heatshield materials on the Scout would not particularly improve the understanding of the material's performance because of the limited variation in reentry trajectory and flight conditions obtainable with the Scout vehicle.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Mgr., ASPO, "Significance of Langley Working Paper on Scout Test of Apollo Heat Shield Material," December 11, 1964.
October 29North American conferred with representatives from Shell Chemical Company, Narmco, Epoxylite, and Ablestick on the problems of bonding the secondary structure to the CM. They agreed on improved methods of curing and clamping to strengthen the bond and prevent peeling.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 5-12, 1964."
October 29-November 5North American conducted the first operational deployment of the launch escape system canards. No problems were encountered with the wiring or the mechanism. Two more operational tests remained to complete the minimum airworthiness test program, a constraint on boilerplate 23.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964."
October 29-November 5After studying the merits of three flush-mounted versus two scimitar VHF antennas for the Block II CSM, the MSC Instrumentation and Electronics Systems Division recommended the flush-mounted type.
October 29-November 5MSC directed North American to halt development of a portable light assembly for the CM. It was not required, the Center said, because the spaceship's primary lighting system included extendable floodlights. Small lights on the fingertips of the space suit and a flashlight in the survival kit were also available if needed.
October 29-November 5The MSC Meteoroid Technology Branch inspected a hard shell meteoroid garment built by the Center's Crew Systems Division. It was only a crude prototype, yet it in no way hampered mobility of the pressurized suit. The Meteoroid Technology people were satisfied that, should a hard garment be necessary for protection of the Apollo extravehicular mobility unit, this concept was adequate. The garment might present stowage problems, however, and investigations were underway to determine the minimum area in the LEM that would be required.
October 29-November 5An MSC Crew Systems Division (CSD) medical representative attended a meeting on U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) participation in those NASA Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) and MSC radiobiology pro grams aimed at delineating the effects of high doses of whole-body radiation on man. The meeting was attended by NASA's Dr. W. R. Lovelace, Director, Office of Space Medicine; Dr. Dunham, Medical Director of the AEC; Dr. Grahn, head of the Argonne National Laboratory, Biology Division; Dr. Gould Andrews, Chief, Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies, Medicine Division; and OMSF and NASA Office of Advanced Research and Technology. CSD requested that the AEC whole-body radiation analysis be extended to include all future cases throughout the country and that the low dose rates being planned for a number of clinical conditions particularly be included. The ultimate objective was a computer, for MSC use, which would accept sequential radiation flux and type information and predict the occurrence of subsequent acute or chronic radiation illness or death. The program was agreed by everyone to be highly desirable. Dr. Dunham said that the AEC would not undertake it unless he had reasonable assurance of long-term support from NASA. A letter giving such assurance was being prepared for Dr. George E. Mueller's signature.
October 29-November 5MSC conducted a week-long salt spray test on the CM television camera's magnesium housing. This was necessitated by similar tests on the Leach data storage structure, which had disclosed the inadequacy of that equipment's nickel plating. The television camera, with its protective coating (AMS 2478, Dow 17 treatment), withstood the ordeal quite well. MSC therefore decided that the magnesium housing was acceptable.
Ibid.; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 5-12, 1964."
October 29-November 5Grumman reported to MSC the results of development tests on the welding of the LEM cabin's thin-gauge aluminum alloy. The stress and corrosion resistance of the metal, Grumman found, was not lessened by environments of pure oxygen, varying temperatures, and high humidity.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964."
October 30North American conducted the first drop test of boilerplate 28 at Downey, Calif. The test simulated the worst conditions that were anticipated in a three-parachute descent and water landing. The second drop, it was expected, would likewise simulate a landing on two parachutes. In the week preceding the drop, the MSC Structures and Mechanics Division had sounded a note of caution. The aft heatshield, they said, "might not respond to the impact loading as static loading." In this event, they predicted, pressures imposed on the heatshield would "greatly exceed" design allowables.
The drop appeared normal, but the spacecraft sank less than four minutes after hitting the water. Inspection of the vehicle immediately afterward disclosed that the heatshield had broken open on impact and that the welds of the stainless-steel honeycomb core had failed. The cabin interior also sustained considerable damage, especially the aft bulkhead and the cabin floor, which were forced upward and struck the crew couch. Three instrumented manikins were seated in the crew positions. The two outboard "crewmen" sustained 25 g's each at impact. The dummy in the second couch, however, suffered stresses of 50 g's, a condition that might euphemistically be called "unacceptable." MSC and North American personnel were investigating further.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 22-29, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 5-12, 1964"; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-31, pp. 3-4.
October 31Astronaut Theodore C. Freeman died in an aircraft accident at Ellington Air Force Base, near Houston. Freeman, an Air Force captain and a member of NASA's third group of spacemen, was preparing to land his T-38 training jet when it struck a goose and lost power. He ejected from his aircraft, but did not have sufficient altitude for his parachute to open. Freeman thus became the first American astronaut to lose his life in the quest for the moon.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1964, pp. 370, 388; The Houston Chronicle, November 1, 1964; The Houston Post, November 17, 1964.
During the QuarterMSC spelled out additional details of the LEM environmental control system (ECS) umbilical arrangements. The hoses were to be permanently bonded to the ECS; a crossover valve, to permit flow reversal, was mandatory; and a bypass relief would be added, if necessary, to prevent fan surge. Grumman was to coordinate with North American to ensure that all umbilicals were long enough for crew transfer and to determine the optimum location for the spacecraft's ECS switches.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964"; memorandum, Robert E. Smylie, MSC, to Chief, Program Control Div., "Apollo Spacecraft Program Quarterly Status Report No. 10," January 19, 1965, with enclosures; memorandum, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to Contracting Officer, LEM, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM Environmental Control System (ECS), Suit Supply Connector and Flow Control," November 3, 1964.