The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.|
Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
April 1Grumman presented to MSC its recommendations for an all-battery electrical power system for the LEM:
MSC requested that Grumman evaluate the possibility of furnishing power for the pre-separation checkout of the LEM wholly from that module's power supply. This procedure would obviate the CSM's supplying that power during the initial 60 min of the checkout. This would simplify the electrical connections between the two spacecraft and eliminate the possible requirement for an additional battery charger in the CSM. The Center advised North American, however, that such a charger might still be needed on Block II CSMs.
GAEC, "Implementation of LEM All-Battery Configuration," April 1, 1965; letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Implementation of All-Battery LEM Configuration," April 15, 1965.
April 1The first stage of the Saturn IB booster (the S-IB-1) underwent its first static firing at Huntsville, Alabama. The stage's eight uprated H-1 engines produced about 71,168-kilonewtons (1.6 million lbs) thrust. On April 23, Marshall and Rocketdyne announced that the uprated H-1 had passed qualification testing and was ready for flight.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 162; Space Business Daily, April 7, 1965, p. 209.
April 1Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that Bellcomm, Inc., was conducting a systems engineering study of lunar landing dynamics to determine "functional compatibility of the navigation, guidance, control, crew, and landing gear systems involved in Apollo lunar landing." Phillips asked that he be advised of any specific assignments in these areas which would prove useful in support of the ASPO operation.
Shea replied, "We are currently evaluating the LEM lunar landing system with the Apollo contractors and the NASA Centers. We believe that the landing problem is being covered adequately by ourselves and these contractors." Shea added that a meeting would be held at Grumman April 21 and 22 to determine if there were any deficiencies in the program, and that he would be pleased to have Bellcomm attend the meeting and later make comments and recommendations.
Letter, Phillips to Shea, April 1, 1965; letter, Shea to Phillips, April 6, 1965.
April 1-7H. I. Thompson Company's first combustion chamber with a tape-wrapped throat successfully withstood a series of four test firings. If further testing confirmed its performance, reported the resident Apollo office at Bethpage, N.Y., the design would be used in the LEM's ascent engine. (It would replace the current compression-molded throat, which suffered from excessive cracking.)
MSC, "Weekly Activity Report for Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, April 4-10, 1965," p. 2.
April 1-8The thrust mount for the LEM ascent engine cracked during vibration testing. The mount would be strengthened.
During the same period, Bell tested the first one-piece ablative chamber for the ascent engine (designed to replace the molded-throat design, which developed cracks during testing . In firings that totaled over eight minutes, Bell engineers found that the unit suffered only negligible throat erosion and decay of chamber pressure.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 1-8, 1965."
April 1-8The cryoformed steel bottle for the portable life support system, manufactured by Arde-Portland, Inc., passed its first burst and cycling tests, which Crew Systems Division called a "major milestone" in its development.
April 1-8MSC and Grumman reviewed the requirement for a backup mode of entering and leaving the LEM while on the moon. The new rectangular hatch was deemed "inherently highly reliable," and the only failure that was even "remotely possible" was one of the hatch mechanism. The proposal to use the top (or transfer) hatch was impractical, because it would cost 13.6 kg (30 lb) and would impose an undue hazard on both the crew and the spacecraft's thermal shield.
April 1-8North American reviewed nondestructive techniques for testing honeycomb structures. The principal method involved ultrasonic testing, but this approach was highly dependent upon equipment and procedure. At best, ultrasonic testing could do no more than indicate faulty bond areas, and these could be confirmed only through destructive tests. A number of promising nondestructive methods were being investigated, but thus far none was satisfactory. The danger in this situation was that, if design allowables had to be lowered to meet the results of strength distribution tests, the weight advantage of honeycomb construction might be lost.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 1-8, 1965"; memorandum, D. D. Few, RASPO-Downey, to R. H. Ridnour, "Recent Bonding Problems at NAA," May 12, 1965, with enclosures.
April 2North American presented final results of their modification to the electrical power system for spacecraft 011 to solve the power and energy problem. This consisted of the addition of three batteries which would be mounted on the center platform and used to supply instrumentation and mission control programmer loads during flight. These batteries would be paralleled with the entry and landing batteries at impact to provide power for postlanding recovery loads. MSC concurred with this approach.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division, "S/C 011 circuit protection," April 8, 1965; TWX, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., Attn: J. C. Cozad, April 13, 1965.
April 2Following a presentation by North American on the status of the adapter, MSC spelled out specific and detailed design changes required.
Letter, J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., Attn: J. C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Spacecraft LEM Adapter (SLA) change status," April 2, 1965, with enclosure, "Technical Description of Proposed SLA Changes."
April 5-11Rocketdyne completed qualification tests on two CM reaction control engines. These were successful. One of the nozzle extensions failed to seat, however, and was rejected. Its failure was being analyzed.
NAA, "Project Apollo Spacecraft Test Program Weekly Activity Report (Period 5 April 1965 through 11 April 1965)," p. 3.
April 5-16To evaluate the Block 11 CSM's manual thrust vector control, five pilots, among them two astronauts, flew the Apollo simulator at Honeywell. These mock flights demonstrated that the manual control was sufficiently accurate for transearth injection. Also, researchers determined that the optical alignment sight provided the crewmen with attitude references adequate for midcourse maneuvers.
NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-37, June 1, 1965, p. 6.
April 6Quality verification vibration tests were completed on the command module of spacecraft 006.
Ibid., p. 1; memorandum, W. D. Graves, MSC, to Distr., "Quality Vibration Verification Testing (QVVT) Facility Validation," April 27, 1965.
April 7A LEM/CSM interface meeting uncovered a number of design problems and referred them to the Systems Engineering Division (SED) for evaluation: the requirement for ground verification of panel deployment prior to LEM withdrawal; the requirement for panel deployment in earth orbit during the SA-206 flight; the absence of a backup to the command sequencer for jettisoning the CSM (Flight Projects Division [FPD] urged such a backup signal); and Grumman's opposition to a communications link with the LEM during withdrawal of the spacecraft (FPD felt that such a link was needed through verification of reaction control system ignition). SED's recommendations on these issues were anticipated by April 22.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 8-15, 1965"; memorandum, R. W. Lanzkron, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "LEM-1 CSM Interface Meeting," April 19, 1965; memorandum, Lanzkron to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "LEM-1 CSM Interface Meeting," April 15, 1965.
April 8Goddard Space Flight Center awarded a $4.6 million contract to RCA for a deep space tracking and data acquisition system. The equipment, to be installed on Cooper's Island, Bermuda, would support a variety of NASA space missions, including Apollo flights.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 174-l75; Space Business Daily, April 12, 1965, p. 231.
April 8-15The MSC Crew Performance Section evaluated the ability of two pressure-suited astronauts to put on and take off their external thermal garments and portable life support systems (PLSS). The subjects had considerable difficulty positioning the PLSS; also, though these modified thermal garments were much easier to don and doff, the subjects still experienced some trouble inserting the second arm.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 8-15, 1965."
April 8-15Bell Aerosystems tested a pressure transducer for the LEM's ascent propulsion system (the first time such a device was ever used with hypergolic fuels). The transducer proved extremely accurate at sensing pressure differences between the propellant lines.
Ibid.; "Monthly Progress Report No. 27," LPR-10-43, p. 13.
April 9George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, announced the transfer of control over manned space flights from Cape Kennedy, Fla., to Houston, Texas. MSC's Mission Control Center would direct the flights from end of liftoff through recovery.
NASA News Release 65-119, "Mission Control Center at Houston to Handle GT-4, Subsequent Manned Flights," April 9, 1965.
April 9Crew Systems Division (CSD) decided on a single garment for both thermal and micrometeoroid protection for Apollo astronauts. CSD's Richard S. Johnston summarized factors underlying this decision:
Memorandum, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) thermal and meteoroid protection," April 9, 1965.
April 9Systems Engineering Division (SED) reviewed the Flight Operations Directorate's recommendation for an up-data system in the LEM during manned missions. (Currently the LEM's guidance computer received data either from the computer in the CSM or from MSC.) SED concluded that, because the equipment was not essential for mission success, an up-data system did not warrant the cost and weight penalties ($750,000 and 4.54 kg [10 lbs]) that it would entail.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "LEM up-data system," April 9, 1965.
April 12The Apollo Program Director, Samuel C. Phillips, informed the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, that action was underway by Grumman to terminate all Pratt & Whitney LEM fuel cell activity by June 30, 1965. Pratt & Whitney would complete testing of LEM fuel cell hardware already produced and one complete LEM fuel cell module plus spare parts would be sent to MSC for in- house testing.
North American's Space and Information Systems Division would continue development at Pratt & Whitney on the CSM fuel cell for 18 months at a cost not to exceed $2.5 million, to ensure meeting the 400-hour lifetime requirement of the CSM system.
MSC would contract directly with Pratt & Whitney for CSM cell development followed by complete CSM module testing for a 1,000-hour CSM module at a cost of approximately $2.5 million. Grumman was scheduled to propose to ASPO their battery contractor selection on April 29, 1965.
Memorandum, Phillips to Mueller, "Plans for LEM Fuel Cell Termination and Related Effort," sgd. John H. Disher, April 12, 1965.
April 12MSC awarded MIT a new $15,529,000 contract to design guidance and navigation equipment for Apollo spacecraft.
MSC, "Quarterly Activity Report for Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, for Period Ending April 30, 1965," p. 25.
April 13Marshall Space Flight Center finalized a $2,697,546 addition to an existing contract with Douglas Aircraft Company to provide for environmental testing of a full-scale S-IVB forward stage simulator, a full-scale test instrument unit, and an Apollo thermal simulator. Testing would be conducted in Douglas' 11.89-m- (39-ft-) diameter space simulator at Huntington Beach, California, and would simulate a typical Saturn V flight from launch to earth orbit and injection into lunar path.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 182; Space Business Daily, April 27, 1965, p. 317.
April 14Construction workers emplaced the final beam in the structural skeleton of the Vertical Assembly Building at Merritt Island (KSC), Florida. Scheduled for completion in 1966, the cavernous structure (160 m [525 ft] tall and comprising 10,968,476 cu m [129 million cu ft]) would provide a controlled environment for assembling Saturn V launch vehicles and mating them to Apollo spacecraft.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 184.
April 15The first firing of the LEM ascent engine test rig (HA-3) was successfully conducted at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. A second firing on April 23 lasted 14.45 sec instead of 10 sec as planned. A third firing, lasting 30 sec, completed the test series. A helium pressurization system would be installed before additional testing could begin.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 27," LPR-10-43, pp. 1, 13; GAEC, "Monthly Progress Report No. 28," LPR- 10-44, June 10, 1965, p. 1.
April 15ASPO informed North American that a meeting would be held at its Downey, California, plant April 20-23 to negotiate and have signed off all Block I and Block II suit interface control documents (ICDs) and the government furnished equipment ICDs. Hamilton Standard, Grumman, and David Clark were being instructed to have representation present to achieve the signed ICDs. North American was instructed to have the ICDs in final form to be signed or negotiated.
TWX, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Attn: J. C. Cozad, April 15, 1965.
Mid monthOfficials from North American and the three NASA centers most concerned (MSFC, KSC, and MSC) discussed the environmental umbilical arrangement for the CM. The current configuration hampered rapid crew egress and therefore did not meet emergency requirements. This group put forth several alternative designs, including lengthening the umbilical hood and relocating the door or hatch.
Internal Letter, E. P. Smith, NAA, to Distr., "Trip Report - MSFC - Command Module Environmental Umbilical Interface," April 15, 1965.
April 15-22Grumman reviewed the engineering simulation program. The total cost was anticipated at $9 million.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 15-22, 1965."
April 15-22At North American, ultrasonic inspection of the forward portion of airframe 007 disclosed only minor imperfections in the bonding, called "a dramatic demonstration of the improvement in the bonding process." (See April 1-8.)
April 15-22MSC and Grumman reviewed the program for the LEM's reaction control system. The only issue outstanding was Grumman's in-house effort: MSC felt that that effort was "overestimated" and that the manufacturer alone should not handle support from subcontractors.
Ibid.; memorandum, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to Assistant Manager, ASPO, Attn: H. L. Reynolds, "LEM RCS Status," April 22, 1965.
April 15-22North American began full-scale developmental testing on the CM's uprighting system.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 15-22, 1965"; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report;' SID 62-300- 37, p. 3.
April 16MSFC conducted the first clustered firing of the Saturn V's first stage (the S-IC). The booster's five F-1 engines burned for about 6½ seconds and produced 33,360 kilonewtons (7.5 million lbs) thrust. George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, emphasized the significance of this test, calling it "one of the key milestones in the whole lunar landing program."
Eight days later, at its static facility in Santa Susana, California, North American first fired the S-II, intermediate stage of the Saturn V. The event was chronicled as the "second major Saturn V milestone" during April.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 188, 198; Space Business Daily, April 20, 1965, p. 276; Ibid., April 28, 1965, p. 322.
April 16Owen E. Maynard, Chief of MSC's Systems Engineering Division, announced that the ordering of objectives into first, second, and third order had been discontinued and replaced with two classifications: primary and secondary objectives. Primary objectives were defined as those which were mandatory. Malfunctions of spacecraft or launch vehicle systems, ground equipment, or instrumentation which would result in failure to achieve these objectives would be cause to hold or cancel the mission until the malfunction had been eliminated. Secondary objectives were those considered desirable but not mandatory. Malfunctions resulting in failure to achieve these objectives would be cause to hold or cancel the mission as indicated in Mission Rules.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Distr., "Changes to objective classification," April 16, 1965.
April 16-May 15Two CSM fuel cells failed qualification testing, the first failing after 101.75 hrs of the vacuum endurance test. Pratt and Whitney Aircraft determined that the failure was caused by a cleaning fluid which contaminated and plugged the oxygen lines and contaminated the oxygen gas at the electrodes. The fuel cell would be rebuilt for qualification testing and test preparation procedures were to be revised.
An internal short circuit occurred in the second fuel cell 16 hrs before the end of the 400-hour qualification test. In spite of the failure the fuel cell met the current Block I mission specification and did not need to be redesigned.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-37, p. 10.
April 16-May 15North American completed qualification testing on the fuel tanks for the SM's reaction control system.
Ibid., p. 11; NAA, "Project Apollo Spacecraft Test Program Weekly Activity Report (12 April 1965 through 18 April 1965)," p. 3.
April 16-May 15On the basis of current systems reliabilities and the design reference mission, North American estimated at one in a hundred the possibility that returning Apollo crewmen would land on solid ground rather than on water. The contractor used this estimate in formulating test programs for boilerplate 28 and spacecraft 002A and 007.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-37, p. 12.
April 16-May 15North American halted testing on the hydrogen tanks for the CSM, produced by Beech, because of weld failures. Testing on a redesigned tank assembly began on May 8.
Ibid., p. 9; "Project Apollo Spacecraft Test Program Weekly Activity Report (12 April through 18 April 1965)," p. 5.
April 19-26North American, Hamilton Standard, Grumman, David Clark, and MSC representatives, meeting in Downey, California, resolved all interfaces between the space suit and the two blocks of spacecraft. As a result of these agreements, MSC directed North American and Grumman to make some minor changes (suggested by the Crew Systems Division) in the communications cables; to remove the portable life support systems from the CM; and to add a thermal-meteoroid garment - rather than one providing merely thermal protection - to the CM.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 22-29, 1965"; memorandum, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) thermal and meteoroid protection," April 9, 1965; memorandum, Johnston to Asst. Chief, Program Control Division, Attn: G. J. Stoops, "Implementation of RECP's pertaining to Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) thermal and meteoroid protection," April 21, 1965.
April 20NASA and Boeing negotiated a contract modification. For an additional $3,135,977, Boeing would furnish instrumentation equipment and engineering support for Marshall Space Flight Center's program for dynamic testing of the Saturn V.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 191; Space Business Daily, April 22, 1965, p. 291.
April 20At the initial design engineering inspection (DEI) of Spacecraft 009, held at Downey, California, MSC and North American officials reviewed the compatibility of the vehicle with SA-201 mission requirements. The DEI Review Board approved 11 hardware changes and assigned 26 others for further study.
Memorandum, Daniel A. Nebrig, MSC, to Distr., "Minutes of Houston Board Review for AFRM 009 DEI - Phase I," April 20, 1965; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-37, p. 3.
April 20The ASPO CSM Project Officer, C. L. Taylor, said that immediate action must be taken to reduce the FY 1965 expenditures on the CSM program by $5 million. Toward that end, he directed attention to a cost reduction program, "Project Squeeze," and said that a joint North American/NASA Project Squeeze had been in operation several months and had resulted in significant program reductions. However, the majority of items recommended for investigation were North American-oriented.
Taylor requested items for consideration be submitted no later than April 27, 1965, and pointed out some specifics which might be considered:
April 20MSC requested Grumman to make provisions for storage of two additional portable life support system (PLSS) batteries. This was an increase of two batteries over the previous requirement; requirement now was for two batteries in the PLSS and additional storage for six.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, April 20, 1965.
April 20MSC's Systems Engineering Division requested that Grumman be advised to terminate the RCA systems engineering subcontract as soon as possible. It had been determined that this contract was no longer useful. Based on data presented by Grumman during a program review, an immediate and complete termination would save about $45,000.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Contract Engineering Branch, "LEM Program Review Contract NAS 9-1100, RCA Systems Engineering Sub-Contract," April 20, 1965.
April 21-22Grumman and MSC engineers discussed the effect of landing impacts on the structure of the LEM. Based on analyses of critical loading conditions, Grumman reported that the present configuration was inadequate. Several possible solutions were being studied jointly by Grumman and the Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD):
Also Grumman representatives summarized the company's study on the design of the footpads. They recommended that, rather than adopting a stroking-type design, the current rigid footpad should be modified. The modification, they said, would improve performance as much as would the stroking design, without entailing the latter's increased weight and complexity and lowered reliability. SMD was evaluating Grumman's recommendations.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 22-29, 1965."
April 22MSC completed the program review on the electrical power system for the LEM and approved the cost through completion of the program (about $23.2 million).
April 22The MSC Systems Engineering Division published revisions to Apollo Mission 204A objectives and mission requirements. The principal difference between the revised version and the Initial Mission Directive for Mission 204 was the expansion of the secondary propulsion system performance objective, the radiation survey meter objective, which was deleted, and the don/doff of the Block I pressure garment and thermal blanket objectives which had also been deleted.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Apollo Trajectory Support Office, "Revisions to Apollo Mission 204A objectives and mission requirements," sgd. C. H. Perrine, April 22, 1965.
April 22The LEM Project Officer notified Grumman that the President's Scientific Advisory Committee (PSAC) had established sub-panels to work on specific technical areas, beyond the full PSAC briefings. One of the sub-panels was concerned with the environmental control subsystem, including space suits. This group desired representation from Hamilton Standard to discuss with regard to the LEM-ECS its interpretation of the reliability design requirements, its implementation through development and test phases, its demonstration of reliability, and its frank assessment of confidence in these measures. Briefing material should be available to the sub-panel by May 17, 1965, with a primary discussion meeting to be held at Hamilton Standard on May 24.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, April 22, 1965; TWX, W. L. Conn, MSC, to Hamilton Standard, Attn: E. V. Marshall, April 22, 1965.
April 22Grumman was requested to ship ground support equipment and associated equipment to field test sites as soon as it was available.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, April 22, 1965.
April 22Grumman was requested to attend a meeting at MSC and to present their reasons as to why the LEM reaction control system (RCS) propellant tanks could not be of common technology with the CSM RCS propellant tanks. Grumman was to also say why an additional development program was required for the LEM tanks.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, April 22, 1965.
April 22-23North American conducted the final zero-g trials (part of developmental testing on the CM's waste management system) and reported good results for both urine and feces apparatus.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-37, p. 4.
April 22-29After reviewing the status of the LEM landing simulation program, the Guidance and Control Division reported that "significant data" from the Bell training vehicle were more than a year away.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 22-29, 1965."
April 22-29Allison Division of General Motors Corporation completed an analysis of failures in the LEM descent stage's propellant tanks. Investigators placed the blame on brittle forgings. MSC's Propulsion and Power Division reported that "efforts are continuing to insure [that] future forgings will be satisfactory."
April 22-29Crews Systems Division reported that work on the suit visors was progressing well, and that operational mockups had been sent to North American for the upcoming critical design review. The visor could be attached and detached by a pressurized crewman; also, it afforded thermal protection and allowed a complete range of light attenuation.
April 22-29North American updated the electrical power profile for spacecraft 011:
April 23MSC and Grumman conducted the design engineering inspection on LEM test article 10. Structures and Mechanics Division called it "significant" that there were no requests for design changes. The vehicle was ready for shipment to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for static testing by North American, but, at the latter's request, delivery was delayed until May 28.
Ibid.; letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Minutes of the LTA-10 Development Engineering Inspection," April 29, 1965, with enclosure: "Minutes of LTA-10 Development Engineering Inspection, April 23, 1965."
April 26North American received CM 009 forward and crew compartment heatshields from Avco Corporation. These heatshields were the first CM heatshields received by the contractor with complete ablative application.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-37, p. 1.
April 26Operating on a round-the-clock schedule, researchers at Langley Research Center began simulations of high-altitude aborts and CSM-active dockings. (See July 7-9.)
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 22-29, 1965."
April 26-May 2Using boilerplate 14, North American simulated the mission for spacecraft 009. The test was conducted in two phases, with the vehicle on external and then internal power. All data showed satisfactory performance.
NAA, "Project Apollo Spacecraft Test Program Weekly Activity Report (Period 26 April 1965 through 2 May 1965),"
April 27ASPO announced that a LEM Test Program Requirement Review would be held at Grumman during the first week in June. The purpose of the review would be to reach agreement with Grumman on an overall Test Program Plan and to consider planned allocation of hardware, test schedules, and test logic in relationship to flight missions.
The review would result in publication of a certification document which would define and catalog the program of testing, analysis, and rationalization which would form the basis for certification of flight spacecraft as capable of meeting requirements of flight missions. It would cover all formal qualification testing above the part level being done at subcontractors or vendors, component testing at Grumman, higher level of assembly testing conducted anywhere in support of a portion of test logic, and individual system test requirements to be conducted on integrated test vehicles such as LEM test article 1.
The format for the review would consist of individual subsystem test program reviews by the respective MSC and Grumman Subsystem Managers. MSC Subsystem Managers would be supported by RASPO, ASPO, and GE personnel where appropriate. After their initial meeting, the MSC and Grumman managers would summarize their findings to a MSC Grumman review board, emphasizing deficiencies in the program (to include inadequate tests, hardware availability problems, and schedules which were inconsistent with flight support requirements).
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Distribution, "LEM Test Program Requirements Review," April 27, 1965.
April 27North American summarized its position on the design of the CM for earth impact in a letter to MSC. A number of meetings had taken place since the NASA North American Technical Management Meeting February 25, 1964, at which the decision was made to reorient Apollo impact to water as the primary landing site.
The letter reviewed the history of boilerplate 28 drop tests and a series of MSC North American meetings during the last two months of 1964 and the first two of 1965. On February 12, at a meeting at Downey, California, North American had recommended:
At the time of the April 27 letter, North American was implementing the design changes defined in the Apollo CM design changes for water impact. The changes were based on North American's best understanding of agreements between it and MSC regarding criteria, loads, definition of the ultimate land envelope, structural analysis, and the requirement that no-leakage integrity within the ultimate load level be demonstrated by test.
Letter, J. G. Cozad, North American, to NASA MSC, Attn: J. B. Alldredge, "Contract NAS 9-150, R&D for Project Apollo Spacecraft Design of Apollo Command Module for Earth Impact," April 27, 1965.
April 27LEM Project Officer W. F. Rector III, in a letter to Grumman, established the minimum acceptable NASA requirements for accomplishing the inspection, acceptance, and delivery operations at Bethpage, N.Y., on flight and major ground test vehicles.
Following manufacture, and prior to NASA acceptance, the spacecraft must undergo a thorough checkout by the contractor with MSC participating as an active member of a checkout team. Through experience in Projects Mercury and the CSM portion of Apollo, a team concept of operations had evolved for the aforementioned activities. The concept had proved highly successful in providing a balance of MSC and contractor personnel which assured that the evaluation of problems received proper attention and resulted in solutions acceptable to both NASA and the contractors. In addition, this "cross pollination" of skills provided a more complete evaluation of the spacecraft performance and systems anomalies.
Prior to starting acceptance testing, all systems should have completed a pre-installation acceptance check, been installed in the spacecraft, and the configuration verified. Acceptance checkout would begin following complete installation of all subsystems and hook-up to the Acceptance Checkout Equipment (ACE). After ACE was installed, individual subsystems tests were to be performed. The hook-up of ACE to the spacecraft would constitute the point at which the checkout team would assume responsibility for the vehicle. At that time a documentation system must provide a means for authorizing and permanently recording all work and testing to be performed on the spacecraft.
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, NASA Requirements for Inspection, Acceptance and Delivery Operations at Bethpage," April 27, 1965.
April 27-30Part II of the Critical Design Review of the crew compartment and docking system for the Block II CM was held at Downey, California, using mockups 28 and 27 A. (Part I had been held on March 23-24.)
April 28NASA Administrator James E. Webb, Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden, and Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., decided that the announcement of any Apollo crew should be delayed as long as feasible without jeopardizing training schedules. They reasoned that as long as the entire astronaut group was undergoing generalized Apollo training, and until individual mission planning was complete, there should be no need to make even tentative crew selections.
Memorandum, Seamans to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, "Apollo Crew Selection," April 28, 1965.
April 28Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, approved Crew Systems Division's recommendation to retain the "shirtsleeve" environment for the CM. The design was simpler and promised greater overall mission reliability; also, it would be more comfortable for the crewmen. Wearing part of the space suit would compound problems with humidity and condensation inside the cabin. Accordingly, the crew would be clad only in their constant-wear garments or would be fully suited. (MSC and North American had explored the feasibility of putting a water separator in the cabin heat exchanger for airframe 012. It was hoped that, through partially suited operations, the crew could gain confidence in the spacecraft's pressurization system. North American advised, however, that considerable cost and schedule impacts could be expected. Moreover, such a device would be only partly successful -condensation would still be a major problem, Shea therefore vetoed the water separator and the idea of partially suited operations during the first manned Apollo flight.)
Memorandum, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Distr., "Wear of space suits in C/M," April 28, 1965.
April 28-May 3Under NASA contract, proton irradiation of primates tests were conducted on the Oak Ridge cyclotron by a team from Brooks AFB and Crew Systems Division. During this period, 136 monkeys and 900 mice were irradiated.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 6-13, 1965."
April 29-May 6Portable life support systems (PLSS) stowed against the aft bulkhead in the CM would prevent the crew couch from stroking fully. This condition would be aggravated if, at impact, the bulkhead was forced inward. North American spokesmen maintained that, in a water landing, the bulkhead would give only slightly and that the couch struts would not compress to their limits. They argued, therefore, that this condition would be of concern only in a land landing. On the contrary, said MSC. Center officials were adamant that any interference was absolutely unacceptable: it would lessen the attenuation capability of the couch (thereby jeopardizing crew safety); possibly, the bulkhead might even be ruptured (with obviously disastrous results). Because of this problem - and because the capability for extravehicular transfer from the CM to the LEM was required - MSC invited representatives from the three contractors involved to meet in Houston to deal with the question of PLSS stowage. (See May 12.)
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 29-May 6, 1965"; memorandum, Charles R. Haines, MSC, to Owen E. Maynard, "PLSS," May 25, 1965.
April 29-May 6Grumman recommended redundant pyrotechnic or solenoid valves in the propellant system of the LEM's ascent stage. Thus the firm could meet NASA's ground rule that no single failure would cause the mission to be aborted.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, April 29-May 6, 1965."
April 29-May 6The Flight Projects Division (FPD) proposed a change in the checkout procedure at Merritt Island (KSC). The idea, drawn from Gemini, would eliminate checkout at the environmental control system (ECS) facility. Basically, FPD's plan was to transport the mated CSM directly from the Operations and Checkout Building to the altitude chamber, where the ECS would be tested. Officials at North American approved the new procedure, and FPD requested the Checkout and Test Division to study its feasibility.
April 30Grumman advised MSC that it had selected the Eagle-Picher Company as vendor for batteries in both stages of the LEM. At the same time, because a proposal by Yardney Electric Company promised a sizable weight saving, this latter firm would produce "pre-production" models for the ascent stage.
April 30North American announced an Apollo Engineering Reorganization, designed to improve operational efficiency and to be consistent with existing requirements of the Apollo program. The reorganization would: (1) increase the number of managers, but reduce the individual manager's scope and eliminate one level of management, making for clearer assignments and better communications; (2) incorporate certain checkout and ground support equipment systems engineering functions into Systems Engineering, strengthening the integration capabilities and simplifying operational procedures; and (3) basic functions of analytical engineering within Apollo Engineering were being transferred to the Research and Engineering Division, increasing the effective use of technical and management personnel.
NAA, Organization Announcement, Dale D. Myers, Apollo Program Manager, and H. G. Osbon, Chief Engineer, Apollo Engineering, to Apollo Engineering Supervision, "Apollo Engineering Reorganization," April 30, 1965.
April 30A tentative agreement was reached between Grumman and MSC propulsion personnel concerning the Propulsion System Development Facility's test scheduling at White Sands operations in regard to stand occupancy times relating to the ascent and descent development rigs. The tentative schedule showed that the ascent LEM Test Article (LTA)-5 vehicle would not start testing until April 1967. The PA-1 rig prototype ascent propulsion rig) would therefore be required to prove the final design and support early LEMs.
The PA-1 rig was designed and was being fabricated to accommodate small propellant tanks, and there were no plans to update it with larger ones. Therefore, advantages of flexibility, running tests of longer sustained durations, and with the final tank outlet configurations would not be realized. Grumman was requested to take immediate action to have the rig accommodate the larger tanks and install the smaller tanks by use of adapters or other methods.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, April 30, 1965.
April 30As a result of the decision for an all-battery LEM, MSC advised Grumman that power for the entire pre- separation checkout of the spacecraft would be drawn from that module's batteries (instead of only during the 30 minutes prior to separation). This change simplified the electrical mating between the two spacecraft and obviated an additional battery charger in the CSM. From docking until the start of the checkout, however, the CSM would still furnish power to the LEM.
TWX, James L. Neal, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney. April 30, 1965.
During the Month
Grumman reported two major problems with the LEM's descent engine: