The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.|
Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
January 5MSC's Guidance and Control Division conducted a pilot simulation study to determine whether a pilot could take over manual control of the LEM between 4,572 and 3,048 m (15,000 and 10,000 ft) above the lunar surface and satisfactorily land the vehicle. The study also determined what flight information was required for pilot control.
The study investigated deceleration techniques, approach velocity, flare attitude, and the pilot information required for landings within a given footprint. If the site was deemed unsatisfactory for landing, after "eyeballing" it from 305 m (1,000 ft), the pilot would, under normal circumstances, place the coordinates of a new landing site in the computer; then take over manually and fly while making selection of the landing site.
MSC, "MSC Internal Note No. 65-EG-3, Project Apollo, Simulation Study of Pilot Controlled Lunar Landings from the Transition Altitude," Thomas E. Moore and Clarke T. Hackler, January 5, 1965.
January 5At the fourth meeting of the Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel, MSC and MSFC members agreed on a trajectory with a launch azimuth of 108 degrees. Translunar injection would be performed over the Pacific Ocean during the first or second orbits. First-orbit injection would fix the minimum time required before the maneuver. Injection on the second pass would determine consequent penalties. The actions were initiated by Mission Planning and Analysis Division (MPAD) and were required to solidify and minimize analytical studies and operational planning.
Memorandum, Secretaries, Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel Meeting, to Distr., "Meetings of fourth Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel meeting held January 5, 1965," January 11, 1965; memorandum, Carl R. Huss, MSC, to JSC Historical Office, "Comments on Volume III of The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology," June 6, 1973.
January 5North American and Lockheed summarized the qualification program for the launch escape and pitch control motors. While several performance deviations were reported, these were minor and, in general, the presentation was deemed satisfactory. North American followed up on the discrepancies and, on March 22, the motors were declared flight-qualified.
NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-34, March 1, 1965, p. 17.
January 6William A. Lee, chief of ASPO's Operations Planning Division, outlined the space suit design criteria for Apollo missions 204 and 205. Modified Gemini space suits were to be used.
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, "Spacesuit Utilization on Block I CSM Earth Orbital Missions," January 6, 1965. [See memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Chief, Operations Planning Division, "Spacesuit Utilization on Block I CSM Earth Orbital Missions," January 26, 1965.]
January 6ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that he planned to conduct a program review with MIT during January 1965, similar to the North American, AC Spark Plug, and Grumman program reviews, but with certain differences, since MIT was a non- profit organization and the scope of its work much narrower than the prime hardware contractors. Shea pointed out that 1965 would be the most critical year of the MIT effort; during that year all drawings for the Block I, Block II, and LEM guidance navigation and control programs should be released. Consequently, the program review at MIT would examine only that one year.
Shea said he would meet with C. Stark Draper on January 14 and discuss with him "where we stand with respect to the MIT work of the past and our concerns for the future." During the week of January 18, MSC would send 14 teams to MIT to meet with their counterparts, and the following week a review board, chaired by R. C. Duncan of MSC, would go over the work of the individual MIT-NASA teams in depth and agree upon the program for 1965. The 14 teams would be: Reliability and Quality Assurance, Field Operations, Documentation and Configuration Management, Systems Assembly and Test, Guidance and Mission Analysis, Simulation, Ground Support Equipment, Optics, Inertial Systems and Sensors, Computer, Radar, Training; Terms, Conditions, Rates and Factors; and Statement of Work Integration.
Shea felt that the review would give MIT a clearer understanding of their part in the guidance, navigation, and control system development. He recommended that Phillips discuss the general nature of the program review with George E. Mueller and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., so they would both understand ASPO's objectives.
Phillips forwarded the letter to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller along with his comments on the proposal. He said, "I think it is a good plan and that the results will be beneficial to the program. I urge your support should it become necessary."
Letter, Shea to Phillips, January 6, 1965; memorandum, Phillips to Mueller, January 15, 1965.
January 6ASPO's Systems Engineering Division (SED) investigated the possibility of partial donning of the space suit (sans helmet and gloves) and the consequent effects upon operation of the CM environmental control system (ECS). (Current ECS design called for shirtsleeve and full-suited operations.) The systems engineers found that, with vehicle reliability based upon shirtsleeve environments, wearing part of the suit contributed little toward protecting the astronaut against loss of cabin pressure.
Most pressure-seal failures in the spacecraft would still allow the astronaut time to don the complete suit. Catastrophic failures (i.e., loss of windows or hatches) were highly improbable, but if one of this type occurred, depressurization would be so rapid as to preclude the astronaut's donning even a part of the suit. Actually, overall mission reliability was greatest with the shirtsleeve environment; continuous suit wear degraded the garment's reliability for the lunar exploration phase of the flight. Moreover, a number of design changes in the spacecraft would be required by partial suit wear.
SED concluded that, to build confidence in the spacecraft's pressurization system, Block I CM's should be outfitted for partial suit wear. In Block II vehicles the suit should not be worn during translunar mission phases (again because of mission reliability). SED recommended to the ASPO Manager, therefore, that he direct North American to incorporate provisions for partial suit wear in Block I and to retain the shirtsleeve concept for the Block II spacecraft.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, "Evaluation of space suit wear criteria," January 6, 1965.
January 6-8The Preliminary Design Review of the Block II CM was held at North American's Downey, Calif., plant. Ten working groups evaluated the spacecraft design and resolved numerous minor details. They then reported to a review board of NASA and North American officials. This board met in Houston during the middle of the month, reviewed the findings of the working groups, and submitted recommendations to ASPO. Several significant problems required the attention of Apollo managers at Houston and at North American:
January 7William A. Lee, chief of ASPO's Operations Planning Division, announced a revised Apollo launch schedule for 1966 and 1967. In 1968, a week-long earth orbital flight would be a dress rehearsal for the lunar mission. "Then the moon," Lee predicted. "We have a fighting chance to make it by 1970," he said, "and also stay within the 20 billion price tag set . . . by former President Kennedy."
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965: Chronology on Science, Technology, and Policy (NASA SP-4006, 1966), p. 7.
January 7MSC Deputy Director George M. Low issued a memorandum regarding differences in the Apollo schedule as made public in an Associated Press release with a Houston, Texas, dateline. Low cited the following statement by George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and said it "represents our official and only position on Apollo schedules:
AP Release, Houston, Texas, January 7, 1965; memorandum, Low to Distribution, "Apollo schedules," January 7, 1965; memorandum, Alfred P. Alibrando, NASA Headquarters, to Distribution, "Apollo Schedules," April 7, 1965.
January 7-14Changing the CM back-face temperature requirement from 600 degrees F at touchdown to 600 degrees F at parachute deployment threatened to increase the cabin air temperature. Physiologists at MSC had previously declared that the cabin temperature should not exceed 100 degrees F. The proposed change in the back-face requirement, North American reported, would raise the cabin's interior to 125 degrees F. MSC's Crew Systems Division reviewed these factors and decided the increased cabin temperature would not be acceptable.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report" [January 7-14, 1965].
January 8MSC was reviewing the control-display systems of the CSM and LEM to assess operational constraints. North American was requested to study all controls, displays, and systems functions for manned spacecraft to identify and eliminate single-point failures.
Letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Control-display criteria for crew safety and mission success," January 8, 1965.
January 11NASA announced that Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 16, a Titan missile facility, would be converted into static test stands for Apollo spacecraft. This decision eliminated the need for such a facility originally planned on Merritt Island and, it was predicted, would cost little more than a fourth of the $7 million estimated for the new site.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 11-12.
January 11North American selected Dalmo-Victor to supply S-band high-gain antennas for Apollo CSM's. (The deployable antenna would be used beyond 14,816 km [8,000 nm] from the earth.) Dalmo-Victor would complete the antenna design and carry out the development work, and North American would procure production units under a supplemental contract.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, p. 8.
January 12Grumman and Hamilton Standard were exploring various designs for the extravehicular mobility unit. On the basis of some early conclusions, the MSC Crew Systems Division (CSD) recommended that meteoroid and thermal protection be provided by a single garment. Preliminary hypervelocity tests placed the garment's reliability at 0.999. Each would weigh about 7.7 kg (17 lbs), about 2.3 kg (5 lbs) less than the two-garment design. CSD further recommended that the unit be stored either in the LEM's descent stage or in a jettisonable container in the ascent portion. [See November 19-26, 1964.]
Memorandum, John F. Rayfield, MSC, to Record, "Status of Apollo Support Office concept of optimum Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) meteoroid/thermal protection arrangement," January 12, 1965.
January 12MSC evaluated the VHF communications requirements and determined that there was no requirement for the LEM to communicate simultaneously over VHF with:
TWX, C. L. Taylor and W. F. Rector III, to NAA, Attn: J. C. Cozad, and GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, January 12, 1965.
January 12Donald K. Slayton, MSC Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, pointed out to Managers of the ASPO and the Gemini Program Office that a number of units of spacecraft control and display equipment were needed to support the Spacecraft Control Office in the areas of spacecraft crew procedures development, crew station equipment development, flight crew familiarization, training, and spacecraft mission preparation. Such equipment was needed within MSC, at other NASA Centers, and at contractor facilities to support centrifuge programs, research vehicle programs, launch abort simulations, rendezvous and docking simulations, retrofire and reentry simulations, and other mission phase simulations. Slayton emphasized that uncoordinated requests for hardware procurement to support these programs were excessively costly in terms of equipment.
Slayton said that a "satisfactory method to reduce costs and increase equipment utilization and effectiveness is to assign responsibility as custodian to one technically cognizant organization which will ascertain the total requirement for equipment and be responsible for coordinating procurement and allocating and transferring hardware assignment required to meet program requirements." He recommended that the Crew Station Branch of Flight Crew Support Division be given the consolidated responsibilities.
Memorandum, Slayton to Manager, ASPO, and Manager, Gemini Program Office, "Proposed control and display utilization and cost reduction plan," January 12, 1965.
January 13The first meeting of the Configuration Control Board was held at MSC with ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea as chairman. Approval was given to delete 10 Apollo guidance and navigation systems; and W. F. Rector III was directed to look into the use of computers and prototype units for electronic systems integration. In other actions, a decision on changes to CSM specifications to provide for the heavyweight LEM (a proposed increase from 12,705 to 14,515 kg [28,000 to 32,000 lbs]) was deferred until the next meeting; and Owen Maynard was directed to identify all Block II changes that must be implemented regardless of impact and have them ready for Board action by February 18, 1965.
Minutes, Configuration Control Board Meeting No. 1, signed A. L. Brady, Secretary, CCB, January 13, 1965.
January 14-21Development firings of the launch escape system's drogue and pilot parachute mortars were completed, and the units were slated for qualification trials the following month.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 14-21, 1965."
January 14-21OMSF asked MSC to provide NASA Headquarters with a statement of "the minimum definition of meteoroid environment in cislunar space" which would be necessary for confidence that Apollo could withstand the meteoroid flux. The "desirable degree of definition" was also requested. This material was to be used as inputs to the current cislunar Pegasus studies being conducted by OMSF.
January 14-21Significant agreements from the Eleventh MSC-MSFC Flight Mechanics, Dynamics, Guidance and Control Panel meeting were:
January 14During testing, it was found that blast effects of the linear charge for the CM/SM umbilical cutter caused considerable damage to the heatshield. To circumvent this problem, North American designed a vastly improved pyrotechnic-driven, guillotine-type cutter. MSC readily approved the new' device for both Block I and II spacecraft.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, p. 4.
January 14North American completed acceptance tests for the CSM sequential and propulsion systems trainers. On January 15 the equipment was shipped to MSC, where it was installed the following week. This terminated the procurement program for the Apollo systems trainer.
Ibid., p. 20.
January 18The Structures and Mechanics Division approved a low-burst factor for the gaseous helium tanks on the LEM (as recommended by Grumman). This change permitted a substantial lightening of the spacecraft's propulsion systems: descent 45 kg (99 lbs); ascent, 13 kg (29 lbs); reaction control, 2.3 kg (5 lbs).
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Reduction of burst safety factor for the gaseous helium bottles," January 18, 1965.
January 18MSC White Sands Missile Operations was renamed MSC White Sands Operations to eliminate the similarity to the Army's White Sands Missile Range.
MSC Release 65-6, January 18, 1965.
January 18After reviewing the requirement for extravehicular transfer (EVT) from the LEM to the CM, MSC reaffirmed its validity. The Center already had approved additional fuel for the CM, to lengthen its rendezvousing range, and modifications of the vehicle's hatch to permit exterior operation. The need for a greater protection for the astronaut during EVT would be determined largely by current thermal tests of the pressure suit being conducted by NASA and Hamilton Standard. While the emergency oxygen system was unnecessary during normal transfer from one vehicle to the other, it was essential during EVT or lunar surface activities.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, January 18, 1965.
LEM ascent stage.
January 18General Motors' Allison Division completed qualification testing of the propellant tanks for the service propulsion system.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-34, p. 8.
January 18The MSC Mission Planning and Analysis Division made a presentation to Joseph F. Shea, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., and Donald K. Slayton on Apollo Missions 201, 202, 204, 206, 207, 501, 503, and 504. It was stated that 204B was to be a repeat of 202; 204C was to be a repeat of 201; and 204D was to be the same as 204A but would be flown unmanned.
Memorandum, Carl R. Huss, JSC, to JSC Historical Office, "Comments on Volume III of The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology," June 6, 1973.
January 18MSC was studying several approaches to the problems of automatic thermal control and automatic reacquisition of the earth by the S-band high-gain antenna while the CSM circled the moon. (The Block II spacecraft, MSC had stated, must have the ability to perform these functions wholly on its own. During an extended stay of the LEM on the lunar surface, when the CSM pilot needed uninterrupted sleep periods, antenna reacquisition was absolutely essential for telemetering data back to earth. And although the requirements for passive thermal control were not yet well defined, the spacecraft's attitude must likewise be automatically controlled.)
Robert C. Duncan, chief of the MSC Guidance and Control Division, presented his section's recommendations for solving these problems, which ultimately won ASPO's concurrence. Precise spacecraft body rates, Duncan said, should be maintained by the stabilization and control system. The position of the S-band antenna should be telemetered to the ground, where the angle required for reacquisition would be computed. The antenna would then be repositioned by commands sent through the updata link.
Memorandum, Robert C. Duncan, MSC, to Distr., "Block II Apollo High-gain antenna pointing in lunar orbit," January 18, 1965.
January 19-20In simulated zero-g conditions aboard KC-135s, technicians evaluated a number of different devices for restraining the LEM crewmen. These trials demonstrated clearly the need for a hip restraint and for a downward force to hold the astronaut securely to the cabin floor. In mid-February a second series of flights tested the combination that seemed most promising: Velcro shoes that would be used together with Velcropile carpeting on the cabin floor of the spacecraft; a harness that enveloped the astronaut's chest and, through an intricate system of cables and pulleys, exerted a constant downward pressure; and a waist strap that secured the harness to the lighting panel immediately facing the crewman. These evaluations permitted Grumman to complete the design of the restraint system.
Memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "LEM Zero Gravity Support and Restraint Evaluation," February I, 1965.
January 20The test altitude for mission A-004 was decreased from 22,860 to 19,507 m (75,000 to 64,000 ft) to ensure the attainment of limit loads on the CM during a tumbling power-on abort.
Memorandum, George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., to Administrator, "Apollo Spacecraft Intermediate Altitude Abort Test Mission A-004, Post Launch Report No. 1," January 26, 1966, with enclosure, "Post Launch Report No. 1."
January 20The new membership of the MSC Manned Spacecraft Criteria and Standards Board, established September 4, 1963, was: F. John Bailey, Jr., Chairman; James W. Donnell, Secretary; James A. Chamberlin, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, W. R. Durrett, William M. Bland, and Norman F. Smith.
MSC Circular No. 146 (Ref. 2-4-11), "MSC Manned Spacecraft Criteria and Standards Board," January 20, 1965.
January 21-28The persistent problem of combustion instability in the LEM ascent engine, unyielding to several major injector redesigns, was still present during test firings at Bell Aerosystems. Following reviews by MSC and Grumman, the "mainstream effort" in the injector program was "reoriented" to a design that included baffles on the face of the injector. Largely because of this troublesome factor, it now appeared that the ascent engine's development cost, which only four months earlier Bell and Grumman had estimated at $20 million, would probably approach $34 million. Bell also forecast a 15.4-kg (34-lb) weight increase for the engine because of a longer burn design and a strengthened nozzle extension.
GAEC, "Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, February 10, 1965, p. 20; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 21Northrop-Ventura verified the strength of the dual drogue parachutes in a drop test at El Centro, Calif. This was also the first airborne test of the new mortar by which the drogues were deployed and of the new pilot parachute risers, made of steel cables. All planned objectives were met. The deployment sequence was perfect, and there was no apparent kinking of the risers.
In the course of this drop, six of the 12 cutters, which sever the reefing lines on the main parachutes, failed. This failure, together with another cutter malfunction during the previous month, signaled an intensive investigation at Ordco, the cutter manufacturer. Qualification of the severing device was thereby delayed.
On January 22, Northrop, North American, and MSC conducted a design review for the drogue system and found no discrepancies.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-33, pp.3-4; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 21At the request of Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, ASPO reexamined the performance requirements for spacecraft slated for launch with Saturn IBs. MSC currently assessed that the launch vehicle was able to put 16,102 kg (35,500 lbs) into a circular orbit 105 nm above the earth. Based on the spacecraft control weights, however, it appeared that the total injected weight of the modules would exceed this amount by some 395 kg (870 lbs).
A 454-kg (1,000-lb) increase in the Saturn IB's payload was the most desirable solution, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea wrote Phillips. However, by removing one set of propellant tanks and a helium tank from SM and slightly reducing the propellant supply, the spacecraft could still be kept within the launch vehicle's capability without affecting mission objectives or crew safety. While several other alternative approaches appeared feasible, they would seriously impair spacecraft performance.
On February 23, Phillips informed Shea that he foresaw the requisite payload boost. While the control payload for the Saturn IB would remain unchanged, Phillips said, a new design goal of 16,556 kg (36,500 lbs) would be set. At the end of July it would be decided whether or not to make this last figure a new control capability.
Letter, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, January 21, 1965; memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Distr., "Mission assignments for Block II CSM's," February 12, 1965; letter, Phillips, NASA, to Shea, February 23, 1965; memorandum, Lee, MSC, to Mission Planning and Analysis Division, Attn: J. P, Bryant, "Modified mission profile for CSM-LEM flight on Saturn I-B," March 3, 1965.
January 21-28Space Ordnance Systems was selected to develop the explosive bolts that held the LEM's two stages together.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 21-28Two underwater firings verified the design concept of the main parachute disconnects.
January 21-28Parallel development of the LEM descent engine was halted. Space Technology Laboratories was named the sole contractor; the Rocketdyne contract was canceled. Grumman estimated that the cost of Rocketdyne's program would be about $25 million at termination.
Ibid.; "Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, pp. 1, 30, 35.
January 22The MSC-MSFC Mechanical Integration Panel discussed the possibility that, when deployed, the LEM adapter panels might interfere with radio communications via the S-band high-gain antenna. On earth-orbital missions, the panel found, the S-band antenna would be rendere useless. They recommended that MSC's Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division investigate alternative modes for communications during the transposition and docking phase of the flight. During lunar missions, on the other hand, the panel found that, with panels deployed at a 45 degree angle, the high-gain antenna could be used as early as 15 minutes after translunar injection. Spacecraft-to-ground communications during transposition and docking could thus be available and manual tracking would not be needed. North American was informed that the high-gain antenna would be used during this maneuver, and was directed to fix the panel deployment angle for all Block II spacecraft at 45 degrees.
Memorandum, Lyle M. Jenkins, MSC, to Distr., "Abstract of MSC meeting on solutions to the interference of the deployed SLA panels with communications," January 25, 1965; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 22Two construction companies, Blount Brothers Corporation, Montgomery, Ala., and Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, Oak Park, Ill., received a joint contract (worth $5,178,000) for construction of a vacuum chamber at the Lewis Research Center's Plum Brook Station. The facility, which would be used for spacecraft and propulsion system testing, would be one of the largest such simulators in the world.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 26.
January 22Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips forecast "heavy ground testing" for Apollo during 1965. The coming months, he said, should see the completion of testing on the first Apollo spacecraft intended for manned space flight, as well as flight qualification of the Saturn IB and initial testing of the Saturn V launch vehicles.
Ibid., p. 27.
January 23ASPO approved the technique for LEM S-IVB separation during manned missions, a method recommended jointly by North American and Grumman. After the CSM docked with the LEM, the necessary electrical circuit between the two spacecraft would be closed manually. Explosive charges would then free the LEM from the adapter on the S-IVB.
Memorandum, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Distr., "Lunar Excursion Module (LEM)/Saturn S-IVB Stage Separation Technique," January 23, 1965.
January 25Dalmo-Victor, vendor of the LEM S-band antenna, was given firm requirements for tracking and coverage, thus enabling the company to freeze the antenna design.
"MSC Weekly Management Report, January 28-February 4, 1965."
January 25The optimism that permeated the Apollo program was reflected in statements by NASA's Associate Administrator, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., during budget briefings for the forthcoming year. He was "greatly encouraged" by recent design freezes and "very reassured" by testing of propulsion systems and launch vehicle stages. "We really feel," Seamans said, ". . . that we can get off the [lunar landing] flight on an earlier mission than I would have said a year ago?' Certainly it was "conceivable" that the moon landing could come "in early 1970."
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 29-30.
January 25To determine flotation characteristics of the spacecraft, the Stevens Institute of Technology began a testing program using one-tenth scale models of the CM. Researchers found that the sequence in which the uprighting bags were deployed was equally critical in both a calm sea and in various wave conditions; improper deployment caused the vehicle to assume an apex-down position. These trials disproved predictions that wave action would upright the spacecraft from this attitude.
Further testing during the following month reinforced these findings. But because sequential deployment would degrade reliability of the system, North American held that the bags must upright the spacecraft irrespective of the order of their inflation. Stevens' investigators would continue their program, examining the CM's characteristics under a variety of weight and center of gravity conditions.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-34, p. 7; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300- 35, April 1, 1965, pp. 7-8.
January 25MSC negotiated a backup Block II space suit development program with David Clark Company, which paralleled the Hamilton Standard program, at a cost of $176,000. Criteria for selecting the suit for ultimate development for Block II would be taken from the Extravehicular Mobility Unit Design and Performance Specification. A selection test program would be conducted at MSC using the CM mockup, the lunar simulation facility, and the LEM mockup.
Memorandum, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to Joseph Shea, "Block II Apollo suit program," January 25, 1965.
January 25ASPO established an operational requirement for propellant gauges in the LEM descent stage, the exact details to be worked out by Grumman. The gauges must be accurate to within one-half of one percent when less than one-fourth of the propellants remained.
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Status of LEM descent Delta-V budget," January 25, 1965; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 26Warren J. North, Chairman of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) Coordination Panel, reported to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that the LLRV had been flown 10 times by Flight Research Center pilots - eight times by Joe Walker and twice by Don Mallick. Maximum altitude achieved was 91 m (300 ft) and maximum forward velocity was 12 m (40 ft) per sec. Subsequent to December 14, 1964, the vehicle had been undergoing detailed x-ray inspection, lunar simulation control system checkout, and minor changes prior to extending the flight envelope in February.
North said discussions with the pilots indicated that checkout prerequisites for future LLRV pilots should include helicopter proficiency plus at least two weeks of intensive simulator and vehicle test stand activity. Prototypes of the basic LEM controls and displays were being procured by MSC and would be phased into the LLRV simulator and flight vehicles during the spring and summer.
Memorandum, North to Gilruth, "Status of Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) Program," January 26, 1965.
January 26At a meeting held at Grumman, RCA presented its study on thermal effects for a fixed rendezvous radar antenna assembly which would be protected from the CSM service propulsion system by a thermal shield.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, p. 17; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 27MSC evaluated Grumman's proposal to stage components of the extravehicular mobility unit to achieve a substantial weight reduction.
"Minutes of the Lunar Excursion Module Crew Integration Systems Meeting No. 3, January 27, 1965," pp. 2-4.
January 28The first major Saturn V flight component, a 10-m (33-ft) diameter, 27,215 kg (60,000 lb corrugated tail section which would support the booster's 6,672 kilonewtons (1.5-million-lb) thrust engines, arrived at MSFC from NASA's Michoud Operations near New Orleans. The section was one of five major structural units comprising Saturn V's first stage.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 39.
January 28After examining the CM's potable water system, engineers in the MSC Crew Systems Division found that the Gemini pistol-type water dispenser could not be used in the Apollo spacecraft without some changes in the dispenser design.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 14-21, 1965" [see memorandum, G. Merritt Preston, MSC- Florida Operations, to Chief, Crew Systems Division, "Flight Water Program," January 28, 1965].
January 28-February 4Initial development testing of LEM restraint systems was completed. Under zero-g conditions, investigators found, positive restraints for the crew were essential. While the system must be further refined, it consisted essentially of a harness that secured the astronaut's hips (thus providing a pivot point) and held him firmly on the cabin floor.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 28-February 4, 1965."
January 28-February 4MSC canceled plans (originally proposed by North American) for a device to detect failures in the reaction control system (RCS) for Block I CSMs. This was done partly because of impending weight, cost, and schedule penalties, but also because, given an RCS failure during earth orbit, the crew could detect it in time to return to earth safely even without the proposed device. This action in no way affected the effort to devise such a detection system for the Block II CSM or the LEM, however.
January 29ASPO concurred with the requirement to provide an emergency defecation capability aboard the LEM as established by MSC's Center Medical Programs Office. The addition of a Gemini-type defecation glove appeared to present a satisfactory solution. Crew Systems Division was directed to proceed with their recommendation and add the Gemini gloves to the LEM crew provisions.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division, "Waste management provisions aboard the LEM," January 29, 1965.
January 29Apollo boilerplate 28 underwent its second water impact test. Despite its strengthened aft structure, in this and a subsequent drop on February 9 the vehicle again suffered damage to the aft heatshield and bulkhead, though far less severe than that experienced in its initial test. The impact problem, it was obvious, was not yet solved.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, pp. 1, 8, 16.
During the MonthASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reiterated the space agency's phasic view of the Apollo program. He was well pleased with the pace of the program and reported that ground testing of all CSM subsystems was "well along." Reflecting on the year just past, Shea observed that it was one in which Apollo objectives were achieved "milestone by milestone?' He was equally optimistic about Apollo's progress during the coming months, predicting that there would be "three Apollo spacecraft in continuous ground testing" by the end of the year.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 43.
During the MonthDr. William H. Pickering, Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, commented on the importance of Ranger VII in locating possible lunar landing sites.
Ibid., pp. 43-44.
During the MonthNine areas of scientific experiments for the first manned Apollo lunar landing mission had been summarized and experimenters were defining them for NASA. Space sciences project group expected to publish the complete report by March 1, to be followed by requests for proposals from industry on designing and producing instrument packages. A major effort was under way by a NASA task force making a time-motion study of how best to use the limited lunar stay-time of two hours' minimum for the first flight.
Ibid., p. 45.
During the MonthTo make it easier to get in and out of the spacecraft, Grumman modified the LEM's forward hatch. During mobility tests on the company's mockup, a hinged, trapezoidal-shaped door had proved superior to the original circular hatch, so the earlier design was dropped.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, p. 13.