The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.|
Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
November 2Bellcomm, Inc., presented its evaluation of the requirement for a q-ball in the emergency detection system. [The device, enclosed in the nose cone atop the launch escape tower, measured dynamic pressures and thus monitored the vehicle's angle of attack, and was designed to warn the crew of an impending breakup of the vehicle.] Bellcomm's findings confirmed that the q-ball was absolutely essential and that the device was ideally suited to its task.
Letter, P. R. Knaff, Bellcomm, to O. E. Maynard, MSC, November 6, 1964, with enclosure: Memorandum for File, "The Contribution of the Q-Ball to the Emergency Detection System," P. R. Knaff and M. M. Purdy, November 2, 1964.
November 3International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT) Federal Laboratories' Astrionics Center received a $125,000 contract from Collins Radio for the S-band acquisition receivers that position the ground-based dish antennas toward the spacecraft.
Space Business Daily, November 3, 1964, p. 11.
November 3NASA announced the appointment of Brig. Gen. David M. Jones as Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight (effective December 15). Most recently, Jones had been Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems, in the Air Force Systems Command. He would be "primarily concerned with major development problems in the Gemini and Apollo Programs, the planning for Advanced Missions and all Mission Operations." Further, Jones would "work with other NASA program offices to insure optimum use of other elements of NASA to accomplish program objectives."
NASA News Release 64-277, "NASA Names Gen. Jones Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight," November 3, 1964.
November 5MSC authorized Grumman to proceed with procurement of a battery charger for the LEM, to replenish the portable life support system's power source. On the following day, Houston informed North American such a device was no longer needed in the CSM.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, November 5, 1964; letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., "Contract Change Authorization No. 269," November 6, 1964.
November 5The Apollo Space Suit Assembly received a new designation, the Apollo Extravehicular Mobility Unit. The purpose of the change was to make it more descriptive of its function in the Apollo mission.
Memorandum, Maxime A. Faget, MSC, to Distr., "Change in Designation of the Apollo Space Suit Assembly (SSA)," November 5, 1964.
November 5-12Engineers from Grumman and the MSC Instrumentation and Electronics Systems Division (IESD) reviewed the coverage requirements for the LEM's S-band radio and the incompatibility of those requirements with the present location of the steerable antenna. Most observers felt that a deployable boom was the only feasible solution. The two groups therefore recommended that IESD verify with ASPO the S-band coverage requirements and that Grumman analyze the design effects of such a boom. In the meantime, Dalmo-Victor, the antenna vendor, should continue its design effort on the basis of the current location.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 5-12, 1964."
November 5-12During a mechanical loading test (simulating a 20-g reentry) the CM aft heatshield failed at 120 percent of maximum load. Structures and Mechanics Division engineers inspected the structure. They found that the inner skin had buckled, the damage extending three quarters of the way around the bolt circle that secured the heatshield to the spacecraft's inner structure. Their findings would be used along with data from the recent drop of boilerplate 28 to determine what redesign was necessary.
November 5-12MSC informed North American that a flashing light on the CSM, as an aid for visual rendezvous, was not required. [A request for some such device had been generated at the Block II mockup review.] Houston's position was based on the current CSM/LEM configuration, which called for rendezvous radar on both spacecraft and the ability of both vehicles to effect the rendezvous using either its own radar or that in the target vehicle.
November 5-12Engineers from the MSC Crew Systems Division and from North American discussed testing of the breadboard environmental control system. During all flights - both manned and unmanned - North American must monitor the cabin atmosphere by gas chromatography and mass spectrography. The company should also compare the materials for the breadboard with those for Mercury, Gemini, and other applicable space chambers.
Ibid.; memorandum, Frank H. Samonski, Jr., MSC, to R. C. Stults, "Transmission and coordination of Request for Engineering Change Proposal (RECP) to add a gas chromatograph in the North American Aviation environmental control system (ECS) breadboard test facility," November 18, 1964.
November 5-12ASPO officials completed a preliminary evaluation of the design and weight implications of an all-battery electrical power system (EPS) for the LEM. Investigators reviewed those factors that resulted in the decision (in March 1963) to employ fuel cells; also, they surveyed recent technological improvements in silver-zinc batteries.
At about the same time, Grumman was analyzing the auxiliary battery requirements of the spacecraft. The contractor found that, under the worst possible conditions (i.e., lunar abort), the LEM would need about 1,700 watt-hours of auxiliary power. Accordingly, Grumman recommended one 1,700 watt-hour or two 850 watt-hour batteries (23 and 29.5 kg [50 and 65 lbs], respectively) in the spacecraft's ascent stage.
MSC would use both Grumman's and ASPO's findings in determining the final design of the LEM's EPS. MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, Nov. 5-12, 1964."
November 6By this date, all major LEM subcontracts had been let.
"NASA Administrator's Apollo Program Review, LEM Program," November 6, 1964, item A-10.
November 6NASA anticipated five significant milestones for the LEM during the forthcoming year:
November 9NASA and AC Spark Plug amended the company's contract for guidance and navigation equipment. The change embodied an incentive clause, based on a cost-schedule-performance scheme, and placed the estimated cost of the contract at $235,000,000.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, October 18-November 30, 1964," p. 39.
November 10MSC's Structures and Mechanics Division and ASPO reviewed the LTA-10 test program to resolve the stop-work imposed upon Grumman. The review resulted in an agreement to have LTA-10 remain in the program with a modified configuration. LTA-10 would be used by North American at Tulsa, Oklahoma, for adapter/LEM modal and separation testing and would consist only of descent stage structure. Subsystems for LTA-10 which were eliminated were the ascent stage, landing gear, ascent propulsion and descent propulsion.
Memorandum, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to LEM Contracting Officer, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Deletion of Stop Work Order on LTA-10," November 10, 1964.
November 10Joseph G. Thibodaux, Jr., MSC Propulsion and Power Division, reported at an Apollo Engineering and Development technical management meeting that the first J-2 firing of the service propulsion system engine was conducted at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). Two fuel cell endurance tests of greater than 400 hours were completed at Pratt and Whitney. MSC would receive a single cell for testing during the month.
MSC, "Minutes, Apollo E and D Technical Management Meeting No. 9, November 10, 1964."
November 12-19There appeared to be some confusion and/or disagreement concerning whether one or two successful Saturn V reentry tests were required to qualify the CM heatshield. A number of documents relating to instrumentation planning for the 501 and 502 flight indicated that two successful reentries would be required. The preliminary mission requirements document indicated that only a single successful reentry trajectory would be necessary. The decision would influence the measurement range capability of some heatshield transducers and the mission planning activity being conducted by the Apollo Trajectory Support Office. The Structures and Mechanics Division had been requested to provide Systems Engineering with its recommendation.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Activity Report, November 12-19, 1964."
November 12-19More careful examination of the boilerplate 28 aft heatshield indicated that the shear failures were in the face sheet splices which were not in the same locations as the core splices.
November 12-19In its search for some method of reducing water impact pressures, North American was considering adding a 15- to 30.5-cm (6- to 12-in) "lump" to the CM's blunt face. The spacecraft manufacturer was also investigating such consequent factors as additional wind tunnel testing, the effect on heatshield design, and impact upon the overall Apollo program.
November 12-19MSC reviewed a number of alternatives to the current design of the space suit helmet. Engineers selected a modified concept, one with the smallest feasible dimensions and began fabricating a thin fiber glass shell. The product would serve as the test article in a series of tests of an immobile, bubble-type helmet. The whole of this effort would support MSC's in-house program to find the best possible helmet design.
November 12-19MSC analyzed Grumman's report on their program to resize the LEM. On the basis of this information, ASPO recommended that the propellant tanks be resized for separation and lunar liftoff weights of 14,742 and 4,908 kg (32,500 and 10,820 lbs), respectively. Studies should investigate the feasibility of an optical rendezvous device and the substitution of batteries for fuel cells. And finally, engineering managers from both Grumman and MSC should examine a selected list of weight reduction changes to determine whether they could immediately be implemented.
Ibid.; letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM Weights Meeting," November 19, 1964; Bob Button, MSC, "Apollo Status," November 20, 1964.
November 12-19Shorting had become a significant problem in the LEM fuel cells, and exemplified the continuing difficulties that plagued the system's development. MSC, "ASPO Weekly Activity Report, November 5-12, 1964."
November 13Robert E. Smylie, of the MSC Crew Systems Division, cited Hamilton Standard's reliability figures for the Apollo space suit assembly, including the suit per se and the portable life support system (PLSS):
November 13MSC defined the requirements for visual docking aids on both of the Apollo spacecraft:
November 16NASA test pilot Joseph A. Walker flew the LLRV for the second time. The first attempted liftoff, into a 9.26-km (5-nm) breeze, was stopped because of excessive drift to the rear. The vehicle was then turned to head downwind and liftoff was accomplished. While airborne the LLRV drifted with the wind and descent to touchdown was accomplished. Touchdown and resulting rollout (at that time the vehicle was on casters) took the LLRV over an iron-door-covered pit. One door blew off but did not strike the vehicle.
Pilot Report, Joseph A. Walker, November 16, 1964.
November 16Crew Systems Division (CSD) was proceeding with procurement of an inflight metabolic simulator in response to a request by Systems Engineering Division. The simulator would be used to support the LEM mission for SA-206 and would be compatible for use in the CM. Responsibility for the project had been assigned to the Manager of the LEM Environmental Control System Office. It was projected that the Statement of Work would be completed by January 15, 1965; the proposals evaluated by April 1; the contract awarded by June 1, 1965; the prototype delivered by April 1, 1966, with two qualified simulator deliveries by July 1, 1966.
Letter, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to Chief, Engineering Systems Division, "Inflight metabolic simulator," November 16, 1964.
November 16-December 15After investigating the maximum radiation levels that were anticipated during Apollo earth orbit missions, North American confirmed the need for some type of nuclear particle detection system (NPDS). Except for periods of extremely high flux rates, the current design of the NPDS was considered adequate. During the same reporting period, North American awarded a contract to Philco to build the system.
NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-32, January 1, 1965, p. 18.
November 17-18The Emergency Detection System (EDS) Design Sub-Panel of the Apollo-Saturn Electrical Systems Integration Panel held its first meeting at North American's Systems and Information Division facility at Downey, Calif. A. Dennett of MSC and W. G. Shields of MSFC co-chaired the meeting.
Personnel from MSC, MSFC, KSC, OMSF, and North American attended the meeting. Included in the discussions were a review of the EDS design for both the launch vehicle and spacecraft along with related ground support equipment; a review of the differences of design and checkout concepts; and a review of EDS status lights in the spacecraft.
Proceedings, Emergency Detection System Design Sub-Panel of the Apollo-Saturn Electrical Systems Integration Panel, sgd. A. Dennett and W. G. Shields, December 2, 1964.
November 17-18The Apollo Mission Planning Task Force met in Bethpage, New York, to define prelaunch handling procedures at the launch complex during lunar missions. At the meeting were representatives of those groups most intimately concerned with pad operations ASPO and the MSC Flight Operations Directorate, Grumman, North American, GE, and the Kennedy launch center. The task force agreed on several fundamental items:
November 18Ling-Temco-Vought received a contract from MSC, valued at $365,000, for unmanned testing of Gemini and Apollo space suits in the firm's space environment simulator.
Space Business Daily, November 18, 1964, p. 84.
November 19MSC's Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, Donald K. Slayton, told the Apollo Program Manager that the current display and keyboard (DSKY) for the Block II CSM and for the LEM were not compatible with existing display panel design of both vehicles from the standpoint of lighting, nomenclature presentation, and caution warning philosophy. In his memorandum, Slayton pointed out mandatory operational requirements of the DSKY to ensure compatibility and consistency with the existing spacecraft display panel design.
With reference to lighting, he said all numerics should be green, nomenclature and status lights white, and caution lights should be aviation yellow. All panel lighting should be dimmable throughout the entire range of brightness, including off.
In regard to nomenclature, Slayton pointed out that abbreviations on the DSKY should conform to the North American Interface Control Document (ICD). The referenced ICD was being reviewed by Grumman and North American and was scheduled to be signed December 1, 1964.
Referring to the caution and warning system, he pointed out that all caution lights on the DSKY should be gated into the primary navigation and guidance system (PNGS) caution light on the main instrument panel of both vehicles and into the PNGS caution light on the lower equipment bay panel of the CM.
Slayton requested that preliminary designs of the DSKY panel be submitted to the Subsystem Managers for Controls and Displays for review and approval.
Memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Apollo Program Manager, "Incompatibility of DSKY with LEM and CM Controls and Displays," November 19, 1964.
November 19MSC was giving serious thought to using radioisotope generators to power the Apollo lunar surface experiments packages. If some method could be found to control waste heat, such a device would be the lightest source of power available. Accordingly, the Center asked Grumman to study the feasibility of incorporating it into the LEM's scientific payload. The company should analyze thermal and radiological problems, as well as methods of stowage, together with the possibility of using the generator for power and heat during the flight. To minimize the problem of integration, Grumman was allowed much flexibility in designing the unit. Basically, however, it would measure about 0.07 cu m (2.5 cu ft) and would weigh between 13 and 18 kg (30 and 40 lbs). Its energy source (plutonium 238) would produce about 50 watts of electricity (29 volts, direct current).
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Radioisotope power supply for lunar scientific experiments," November 19, 1964; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 19-26, 1964."
November 19-26The MSC-Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Guidance and Control Implementation Sub-Panel set forth several procedural rules for translunar injection (TLI):
November 19-26To solve the persisting problem of the integrity of the CM's aft heatshield during water impacts, MSC engineers were investigating several approaches: increasing the thickness of the face sheet (but with no change to the core itself); and replacing the stainless-steel honeycomb with a type of gridwork shell. Technicians felt that, of these two possibilities, the first seemed more efficient structurally.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November l9-26, 1964."
November 19-26North American and Grumman agreed on the alignment of the two spacecraft during docking maneuvers: the LEM's overhead window would be aligned with right-hand docking window of the CM.
November 19-26MSC determined that the lights on the fingertips of the space suits were adequate to supplement the CM's interior lighting. Thus North American's efforts to develop a portable light in the spacecraft were canceled. The exact requirements for those fingertip lights now had to be defined. The astronauts preferred red bulbs, which would necessitate a redesign of the existing Gemini system. [See October 29-November 5.]
Ibid.; letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Attn: J. C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Crewman portable light," November 4, 1964.
November 19-26The MSC Crew Systems Division reviewed the extravehicular mobility unit micrometeoroid protection garment. It was estimated a total weight of 13 to 18 kg (30 to 40 lbs) would be required for the two micrometeoroid protection garments which had a crew safety reliability goal of 0.9999 for the meteoroid hazard. Ground rules for their design were being defined.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 19-26, 1964"; memorandum, Robert E. Smylie, MSC, to Paige B. Burbank, "Investigation of meteoroid protection for Apollo space suit," December 9, 1964.
November 19-26MSC conducted studies to determine problems in donning and doffing the Apollo external thermal garment (ETG) and portable life support system (PLSS) by a subject in a full-pressure suit. The subject donned and doffed the ETG and PLSS unassisted with the suit in a vented condition and with assistance while the suit was pressurized to 25.5 kilonewtons per sq m (3.7 psig). Tests showed the necessity of redesigning the ETG in the neck and chest area to prevent a gathering of excess material which restricted downward visibility.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 19-26, 1964"; memorandum, Francis J. Devos, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Div., "Trip Report - Contract NAS 9-2820," November 19, 1964.
November 19-26Officials from North American and MSC Crew Systems Division defined the container design and stowage of survival kits in the Block II CM. The equipment would be packed in fabric rucksacks and would be installed in the spacecraft's stowage compartment. [This method eliminated a removable hard container used in the Block I vehicle and would save weight.]
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 19-26, 1964"; letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Attn: J. C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Block II mockup - request for change disposition," December 1, 1964.
November 19-26To ensure that the redesigned landing gear on the resized LEM would be consistent with earlier criteria, MSC sent to Grumman revisions to those design criteria:
November 19-26In flights that simulated the moon's gravity, MSC technicians evaluated the astronaut's ability to remove scientific packages from the descent stage of the LEM. They affirmed the relative ease with which large containers (about 0.226 cu m [8 cu ft] and weighing 81.65 kg [180 lbs]) could be extracted and carried about.
November 19-26The current thrust buildup time for the LEM ascent engine was 0.3 second. To avoid redesigning the engine valve-which was already the pacing item in the ascent engine's development - MSC directed Grumman simply to change the specification value from 0.2 to 0.3 second.
At the same time, engineers at the Center began studying ways to increase the engine's thrust. Because of the LEM's weight gains, the engine must either be uprated or it would have to burn longer. Preliminary studies showed that, by using a phase "B" chamber (designed for a chamber pressure of 689.5 kilonewtons per sq m (100 psia)), thus producing chamber pressure of about 792.9 kilonewtons (115 psia), the thrust could be increased from 1,587 to 1,814 kg (3,500 to 4,000 lbs). Moreover, this could be accomplished with the present pressurization and propellant feed systems.
Ibid.; TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, November 27, 1964.
November 19-26MSC and Grumman representatives reviewed individual subsystem test logics for the LEM and agreed on test logic and associated hardware requirements for the entire subsystem development. Agreement was also reached on the vehicle ground test program which Grumman proposed to implement with their respective subcontractors during December. Cost and effort associated with the revised program would be jointly reviewed by MSC and Grumman during January and February 1965.
Memorandum, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to LEM Subsystem Managers, "Subsystem Test Logic and Hardware Review at GAEC," November 18, 1964; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November l9-26, 1964"; memorandum, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to Chief, Program Control Div., "Staff Meeting Actions," November 20, 1964, with enclosures.
November 19-26MSC asked Grumman to design and fabricate a prototype for a lunar sample return container. This effort would explore handling procedures and compatibility with both spacecraft. Concurrently, the Center's Advanced Spacecraft Technology Division was studying structural and packaging requirements for such a container.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 19-26, 1964."
November 23NASA concluded contract negotiations with AC Spark Plug for Apollo guidance and navigation equipment.
Apollo Command Module, Block II.
North American received NASA's formal go-ahead on manufacture of the Block II spacecraft.
November 23The CSM Configuration Control Panel, at its first meeting, approved several engineering changes. Perhaps the most significant was the substitution of an elapsed time display for the clock on the main display console.
November 23A "pre-FRR" laid some preliminaries for the formal Flight Readiness Review (ERR) of boilerplate 23 (held at WSMR on December 4, 1964). Because the boost protective cover had not been designed to sustain the dynamic pressures that would follow deployment of the canards and vehicle "turn-around," North American was asked to analyze the possibility of its failing.
Several other problems were aired - fluttering of the canards and the likelihood of damage to the parachute compartment during jettisoning of the launch escape tower and the boost cover. Joseph N. Kotanchik, chief of the Structures and Mechanics Division, confidently reported to ASPO that "these items will also be resolved prior to the ERR."
MSC, "Minutes, Mission A-002 (BP 23/LJ II 12-51-1), Preliminary Flight Readiness Review, November 23, 1964"; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 26-December 3, 1964."
November 23Grumman and MSC representatives met at Bethpage, New York, to establish requirements for a new hardware delivery schedule for the LEM ground development test program. This program would involve changes in the workload at the subcontractors, WSMR, AEDC, and Grumman. New delivery schedules for flight engines were also finalized at the meeting.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 26-December 3, 1964."
November 23-25MSC and Grumman reviewed the ground test program for the LEM guidance and navigation subsystem (including radar). All major milestones for hardware qualification would be met by the revised test logic, and both LEM and CSM radar were expected to be delivered on time. The major problem area was permissible deviations from fully qualified parts for pre-production equipment. Since this was apparently true for all LEM electronics equipment, it was recommended that an overall plan be approved by ASPO.
November 25ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that it was his desire to review the progress of the two subcontractors (Space Technology Laboratory and Rocketdyne) prior to the final evaluation and selection of a subcontractor for the LEM descent engine.
Shea had asked MSC's Maxime A. Faget to be chairman of a committee to accomplish the review, and would also ask the following individuals to serve: C. H. Lambert, W. F. Rector III, and J. G. Thibodaux, all of MSC; L. F. Belew, MSFC; M. Dandridge and J. A. Gavin, Grumman; I. A. Johnsen, Lewis Research Center; C. H. King, OMSF; Maj. W. R. Moe, Edwards Rocket Research Laboratory; and A. O. Tischler, NASA Office of Advanced Research and Technology.
The Committee should
Letter, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, November 25, 1964.
November 26-December 3The Configuration Control Panel approved a deployment angle of 45 degrees for the adapter panels on Block I flights. North American anticipated no schedule impact. MSC and North American were jointly evaluating the acceptability of this angle for Block II missions as well. A most important consideration was the necessity to communicate via the CM's high-gain antenna during the transposition and docking phase of the flight.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 26-December 3, 1964."
November 26-December 3MSC's Flight Operations Directorate accepted KSC's proposal for emergency nitrogen deluge into the SM and spacecraft LEM adapter (SLA) in case of a hydrogen leak on the pad. The proposal was based upon no changes to the spacecraft and insertion to the SM SLA area in about three minutes. However, errors in volume estimation and inlet conditions in the spacecraft required reevaluation of the proposal to assure that insertion could be accomplished in a reasonable length of time without changes in the spacecraft.
November 26-December 3Because of heat from the service propulsion engine (especially during insertion into lunar orbit), a serious thermal problem existed for equipment in the rear of the SM. Reviewing the rendezvous radar's installation, the Guidance and Control Division felt that a heatshield might be needed to protect the equipment. Similar problems might also be encountered with the steerable antenna.
November 26-December 3MSC informed North American that the Center would furnish a VHF transmitter to serve as a telemetry dump for all manned Block I flights. This would permit wide flexibility in testing the CSM S-band's compatibility with the Manned Space Flight Network prior to Block II missions.
November 26-December 3Crew Systems Division (CSD) engineers evaluated the radiator for the environmental control system in Block I CSM's. The division was certain that, because of that item's inadequacy, Block I missions would have to be shortened.
During the same period, however, the Systems Engineering Division (SED) reported "progress" in solving the radiator problem. SED stated that some "disagreement" existed on the radiator's capability. North American predicted a five-day capability; CSD placed the mission's limit at about two days. SED ordered further testing on the equipment to reconcile this difference.
November 26-December 3Crew Systems Division gave space suit manufacturers the responsibility of providing personal communications equipment in their products.
November 26-December 3Bell Aerosystems Company tested a high-performance injector for the LEM ascent engine. The new design was similar to the current one, except that the mixture ratio of the barrier flow along the chamber wall had been changed from 0.85 to 1.05. Bell reported a performance increase of 0.8 percent (about 2.5 sec of specific impulse). Subsequent testing, however, produced excessive erosion in the ablative wall of the thrust chamber caused by the higher temperature. The MSC Propulsion and Power Division (PPD) felt this method of increasing the ascent engine's performance might not be practicable.
At the same time, PPD reported that Bell had canceled its effort to find a lighter ablative material (part of the weight reduction program). A number of tests had been conducted on such materials; none was successful.
Ibid.; "ASPO Weekly Management Report" [December 10, 1964-January 7, 1965]; TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, November 27, 1964.
November 26-December 3Grumman selected the Leach Corporation to supply data storage electronics assemblies for the LEM. Conclusion of contract negotiations was anticipated about February 1, 1965. The resident Apollo office at Grumman gave its approval to the selection, with only two conditions:
November 27General Precision's Link Group received a $7 million contract from NASA, through a subcontract with Grumman, for two LEM simulators, one at Houston and the other at Cape Kennedy. Along with comparable equipment for the CSM (also being developed by Link), the machines would serve as trainers for Apollo astronauts. The devices would duplicate the interior of the spacecraft; and visual displays would realistically simulate every phase of the mission.
Space Business Daily, November 27, 1964, p. 124.
November 30North American tested the canard thrusters for the launch escape system, using both single and dual cartridges. These tests were to determine whether the pressure of residual gases was sufficient to maintain the canards in a fully deployed position. Investigators found that residual pressures remained fairly constant; further, the firing of a single cartridge produced ample pressure to keep the canards deployed. "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-64-300-32, pp. 1,3, 31; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 26-December 3, 1964."
November 30Acceptance testing was completed at Downey, California, on three principal systems trainers for the CSM (the environmental control, stabilization and control, and electrical power systems). The trainers were then shipped to Houston and installed at the site, arriving there December 8. They were constructed under the basic Apollo Spacecraft contract at a cost of $953,024.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-31, p. 24; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, December 3-10, 1964"; MSC News Release 64-191, December 8, 1964.
During the MonthSix flights of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) were made during the month, bringing the total number to seven. The project pilot, Joseph Walker, made all flights and demonstrated a rapid increase in the ease and skill with which he handled the craft as the flights progressed.
Altitudes to between 18 and 21 m (60 and 70 ft) and flight duration up to three minutes were attained. With the jet engine remaining vertical, attitude angles in excess of 20 degrees were demonstrated in both pitch and roll. Lift rockets were used on the last four flights. Six knots (6 n mi per hr) had been tentatively set as the maximum permissible wind velocity for flying.
Letter, Office of Director, Flight Research Center, to NASA Headquarters, "Lunar Landing Research Vehicle progress report No. 17 for period ending November 30, 1964," sgd. De E. Beeler for Paul F. Bikle, December 8, 1964.