The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.|
Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
July 1The Development Engineering Inspection (DEI) for Little Joe II 12-51-3 was satisfactorily conducted at General Dynamics Convair, San Diego, Calif. The vehicle had been assigned for Mission A-004, an abort mission in the power-on tumbling boundary region. The DEI was conducted with emphasis on changes which had been effected as a result of the malfunction encountered during the A-003 mission. The following served on the DEI Board: J. A. Chamberlin, Chairman, S. A. Sjoberg, R. F. Gordon, F. J. Bailey, R. C. Duncan, W. M. Bland, R. A. Gardiner, and L. P. Gallagher, Secretary.
Memorandum, Chief, Checkout and Test Division, MSC, to Distr., "Development Engineering Inspection for LJ II 12-51-3," sgd. James J. Shannon for W. M. Bland, June 25, 1965; "Weekly Activity Report, June 27-July 3, 1965," sgd. Joseph F. Shea.
July 1On the basis of information from the two Apollo spacecraft manufacturers, the Systems Engineering Division (SED) reported a possible thermal problem with the Saturn V during ascent:
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Distr., "Saturn V ascent heating problem," July 1, 1965; memorandum, Aaron Cohen, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Item 2.10, SESAME No. 2 Meeting Minutes, SM and SLA/LEM Potential Boost Heating Problems," July 26, 1965, with enclosure: "MSC/NAA Meeting, SM/SLA/LEM Boost Heating," July 15, 1965.
July 1Within its Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA organized an Apollo Site Selection Board. As an advisory body to the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, the group would recommend landing sites for Apollo.
Instruction, George E. Mueller, NASA, to Distr., "Establishment of Apollo Site Selection Board," July 1, 1965.
July 1NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller told MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth he was establishing an Operations Executive Group. This group would consist of senior executives whose organizations were carrying out the manned space flight operations.
It was Mueller's objective that the group meet on a regular basis and review program status, resource requirements, management, and flight operations to provide executive management with the background needed to make effective policy decisions. A second objective was to ensure that the executives in the operations area knew each other well enough to work directly in the rapid solution of time-critical problems.
Mueller planned that one-day meetings would be held at two to four month intervals at locations that would acquaint members with facilities and equipment.
Letter, Mueller to Gilruth, July 1, 1965.
July 1-8Grumman completed its study of oxygen storage systems for the LEM (see June 11) and reviewed with MSC the company's recommendation (one 20,684-kilonewton per sq m [3,000 psi] tank in the descent stage, two 6,894-kilonewtons per sq m [1,000 psi] tanks in the ascent stage). One drawback to the design, which the Crew Systems Division termed an "apparently unavoidable bad feature," was that, by the time of the final cabin repressurization, the repressurization time would increase to about 12 minutes (though this was admittedly a conservative estimate). Although requesting more data from Grumman on temperatures and cabin pressures, the Center approved the configuration.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 1-8, 1965."
July 2The NASA Director of Bioscience Programs pointed out that the National Academy of Sciences' report on back contamination placed emphasis on the potential hazard from the moon because of the short stay on the moon. From this report, it was evident that NASA had problems which must be solved in the very near future.
It was recommended that NASA accept the operational responsibility for back contamination and that there be a clear-cut assignment soon.
It was felt that failure of NASA to establish adequate authority to handle this problem and thus to satisfy the public, the press, the scientific community, and other regulatory agencies could result in direct control of back contamination by those agencies and cause unnecessary constraints upon the manned lunar and planetary missions.
Memorandum, Director of Bioscience Programs, NASA, to Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, "Responsibility for Space Quarantine," July 2, 1965.
July 2ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea ordered Crew Systems Division to develop some type of protective devices that the astronauts might use to shield their eyes during a solar flare. ASPO regarded the risk of cataracts during these solar events as extraordinarily high. Although not mandatory, it was desirable that the crew could still see while wearing the devices. Should a flare occur while the crew manned the LEM, mission ground rules called for an abort back to the safety of the CSM; therefore, such devices would be needed for the CM alone.
Memorandum, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division, "Incidence of cataracts in Apollo crewmembers," July 2, 1965.
July 4-10The Weekly Activity Report for the period indicated that
July 7-9Langley Research Center completed CSM active docking simulations and lunar orbital docking runs.
Memorandum, Michael K. Lake, MSC, to Chief, Spacecraft Operations Branch, "Apollo Docking Simulation," July 23, 1965, with enclosure.
July 7-13Illustrative of continuing design and managerial problems, MSC and North American representatives attempted to resolve thermal problems with the Block II environmental control system (ECS), primarily the ECS radiator. The week-long talks were fruitless. MSC's arguments and supportive evidence notwithstanding, the contractor steadfastly opposed the water-glycol approach, favoring a nonfreezing liquid (Freon). MSC, similarly, was hardly satisfied with North American's intransigence and less so with the company's effort and performance. "A pertinent observation," reported Crew Systems Division, "is that . . . it will be extremely difficult to complete any other development in support of Block II schedules unless their [North American's] attitude is changed."
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 8-15, 1965"; memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division, "Design criteria for backup ECS radiator development program," July 6, 1965; memorandum, Frank H. Samonski, Jr., MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Viscosity data of RS-89A (water-glycol)," July 23, 1965.
July 8-9At a design review on the VHF radio equipment for the LEM, conducted by RCA, Grumman refused to vote its approval. Grumman's most serious objection centered on thermal loads, which under extreme conditions could far exceed specification limits. RCA thereupon began exploring several approaches, including new materials, relocation of components, and redesigned heat sinks. Grumman was asked to keep MSC well informed on problems, corrective actions, and anticipated impacts.
TWXs, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, July 12, 16, 19, and 22, 1965.
July 11An RCS oxidizer tank failed during a test to demonstrate propellant compatibility with titanium tanks. This was the first of seven tanks to fail from a group of ten tanks put into test to investigate a failure that occurred during February 1965. These results caused an intensive investigation to be undertaken.
Memorandum, Darrell Kendrick, MSC, to Chief, Propulsion and Power Division, "Trip to Bell Aerosystems Company (BAC) on July 14 and 15, 1965 regarding S/M F (S/N 26) RCS Tank Shell Failure," July 26, 1965.
July 11-17During the period the NASA/Department of the Army agreement for use of Army helicopters to airlift LEM adapters was signed by both parties; the Apollo Block II space suit preliminary design review was successfully held by David Clark Company; and evaluation testing of the Apollo Block II space suits submitted by David Clark Company, Hamilton Standard Division and International Latex was completed, with data being reduced.
"Weekly Activity Report, July 11-17, 1965," sgd. J. Thomas Markley for Joseph F. Shea.
July 12Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, informed Flight Crew Operations that the capability had been firmly established for connecting and disconnecting the suit oxygen umbilicals in a vacuum. Crew Systems Division was modifying the connector (using a two-position release) to satisfy this requirement. This change would ensure safe umbilical operation while in an unpressurized spacecraft.
Memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Lunar Surface Operations," June 11, 1965; memorandum, Shea, MSC, to Asst. Dir. for Flight Crew Operations, "Lunar Surface Operations," July 12, 1965.
July 13Crew Systems Division (CSD) completed its study on the feasibility of controlling the amount of bacteria vented from the LEM. Division researchers found that, by placing special filters in the environmental control system (ECS) of the spacecraft, emission levels could be greatly lowered. This reduction would be meaningless, however, in view of effluents from the extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) - the moon would still be contaminated by the space travelers. Because of weight penalties - and because of their dubious value - CSD recommended that bacteria filters not be added to the LEM's ECS. The Division further advised that, at present, neither the amount of bacteria emitted from the EMU nor a means of controlling this effluence was yet known.
Memorandum, Robert E. Smylie, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Feasibility of controlling effluent bacteria from the LEM cabin and environmental control subsystem," July 13, 1965, with enclosure: "Control of Effluent Micro-Organisms from the LEM Cabin and Environmental Control System"
July 13A Little Joe II failure investigation presentation was made at MSC July 13 in which General Dynamics/ Convair (GD/C) and MSC's Engineering and Development (E&D) Directorate presented results of independent failure investigations of the mishap which occurred during Apollo Mission A-003 (Boilerplate 22) on June 22, 1965, at WSMR.
The GD/C investigation results were presented by J. B. Hurt, Little Joe II Program Manager, in the form of flight movies and a slide talk. The data made the following points:
Memorandum for Record, Bill J. McCarty, MSC, "Little Joe II Failure Investigation Presentation," July 20, 1965.
July 14Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) presented meteoroid protection figures for the Apollo CSM. (During April, General Electric [GE] had developed reliability estimates for the LEM, based on revised design criteria, for the 8.3-day reference mission. The probability for mission success, GE had found, was 0.9969.) SMD'S figures were:
All of the above figures, both GE's and SMD's, were derived from the inherent protection afforded by the spacecraft's structure. Thus no additional meteoroid shielding was needed. (Meteoroid protection would still be required, of course, during extravehicular operations.)
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 8-15, 1965."
July 14Willis B. Foster, NASA's Director of Manned Space Science Programs, informed MSC's Maxime A. Faget that he had asked the following persons to continue to serve as members of an Ad Hoc Committee as an advisory group to Foster with regard to the design and construction of the Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory: E. C. T. Chao (Chairman), Lorin Clark (alternate chairman), James Arnold, Clifford Frondel, Briggs Phillips, P. R. Bell, and alternates Jonathan Klein and Larry Hall.
Letter, Foster to Faget, "Membership of the Headquarters Advisory Committee on Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory," July 14, 1965.
July 15North American began redesigning the side hatch mechanism in the CM to satisfy the requirement for extravehicular transfer from Block II spacecraft. Two basic modifications to the Block I mechanism were required: (1) enlarging it to overcome thermal warpage; and (2) adding some hinge retention device to secure the hatch once it was opened.
Memorandum, R. D. Langley, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Side Access Ablative Hatch," July 6, 1965; letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Shipment of S/C 006 Side Access Ablative Hatch to MSC," July 15, 1965; memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Side access ablative hatch," July 23, 1965.
July 15ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Grumman that a proposal they had made during the LEM Program Review on July 6 regarding broader qualification scheduling and parts deviations had been reviewed by NASA and it was considered "not in the best interests of the program to relax the requirements to the extent proposed by GAEC."
Shea cited a paragraph of the Contract Technical Specification which specified: "Qualification tests supporting a particular flight vehicle shall be completed prior to that vehicle being delivered from the Contractor."
It was NASA's desire that LEM program scheduling be such that all ground test logic constraints required in support of launch dates would be completed at least six weeks prior to scheduled launch dates. Shea pointed out that the LEM program schedules as presented by Grumman at the July 6 Review were not in complete accord with dates previously provided June 7 in a datafax signed by Shea.
Shea required the following delivery dates from Grumman: LEM-1, November 15, 1966; LEM-2, February 15, 1967; LEM-3, April 15, 1967; LEM-4, July 15, 1967; LEM-5, October 15, 1967; LEM-6, December 15, 1967; LEM-7, February 15, 1968; LEM-8, April 15, 1968; LEM-9, June 15, 1968; LEM-10, August 15, 1968; and LEM-11, October 15, 1968.
Grumman was requested to provide NASA, no later than August 2, 1965, their plan for support of a LEM program development schedule which would incorporate these requirements.
Letter, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM Development Program Requirements," July 15, 1965.
July 16North American recommended to MSC that, for the time being, the present method for landing the CM (i.e., a passive water landing) be maintained. However, on the basis of a recent feasibility study, the contractor urged that a rocket landing system be developed for possible use later on. North American said that such a system would improve mission reliability through the increase in impact capability on both land and water.
TWX, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, July 9, 1965; NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-40, September 1, 1965, pp. 12-13.
July 16MSC directed Grumman to provide stowage within the LEM for those tools needed for transfer between the two spacecraft (either intra- or extravehicular). The tool kit, similar to that in the CM, would be stored in the LEM at earth launch.
Letters, James L. Neal, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: John C. Snedeker, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Contract Change Authorization No. 122, Extravehicular Crew Transfer Provisions," and "Contract NAS 9-1100, Contract Change Authorization No. 123, Stowage of Inflight Tools in the LEM," July 16, 1965.
July 16-August 15On the basis of wind tunnel tests at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), North American now considered as negligible the effects of structural protuberances on the CM's rolling moment and on propellant consumption.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-40, pp. 6-7.
July 16-August 15In order to use the LEM as a backup for the service propulsion system (SPS) to abort the mission during the 15-hour period following translunar injection, Grumman informed North American that some redesign of the spacecraft's helium system would likely be required. This information prompted North American designers to undertake their own analysis of the situation. On the basis of their own findings, this latter group disagreed with the LEM manufacturer:
Ibid., pp. 12-13.
July 18Russia launched Zond III, but neither its objectives nor its achievements were announced until some time later. About 36 hours after launch, the spacecraft began photographing the far side of the moon (at a range of between 11,600 and 10,000 km [7,217 and 6,217 mi]). After passing the moon, it entered a heliocentric orbit and thus became an artificial planet. On July 29, Zond III transmitted its pictures back to earth, as planned. Those pictures showed clearly the heavily cratered nature of the surface. This mission dramatized the advances in space photography that the U.S.S.R. had made since its first far-side effort six years earlier.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 337, 378-379, 392-393; Tikhonravov et al., Ten Years of Space Research in the USSR, pp. 20-21.
July 19NASA was acquiring eight KC-135 aircraft and three ships to help maintain communications during Apollo moon flights. In addition, two ships of the existing DOD instrumentation fleet were being remodeled for support of the Apollo lunar mission's reentry phase. The KC-135 jet transports would be used during reentry to combat the effects of the plasma sheath blackout which had drowned out communications on previous manned launchings. In addition, three primary ground stations were being prepared at Goldstone, Calif.; Canberra, Australia; and Madrid, Spain.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 340; memorandum, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA, to Assoc. Admin. for Manned Space Flight, "Apollo Instrumentation Ship Schedules," July 23, 1965, with enclosures; memorandum, Arnold W. Frutkin, NASA, to Julian Scheer, "Designation of Spanish tracking station," July 23, 1965.
July 19MSC directed Grumman to implement changes in weights of the LEM:
"Contract NAS 9-1100, Contract Change Authorization No. 124, Addition of Control Weights to Specification," July 19, 1965.
July 19-20North American conducted zero-g tests at Wright-Patterson AFB to evaluate the design of the CM's unitized crew couch and restraint hardware.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-40, p. 4.
July 19NASA Headquarters authorized North American to subcontract the Block II CSM fuel cells to Pratt and Whitney. Estimates placed the cost at $30 million.
TWX, George J. Vecchietti, NASA, to NASA Office, Downey, Calif., Attn: George A. Abbott, July 19, 1965.
July 21At a LEM-1 review held at Bethpage, N.Y., Grumman briefed MSC officials on the status of design drawings and hardware procurement. Also, the company prepared a detailed schedule for manufacturing and installation of various systems on the spacecraft.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 15-22, 1965"; letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM I Status Meeting Number Two," August 6, 1965.
July 21North American reported that qualification testing had been completed on two items of electrical hardware, the CSM battery charger and the pyrotechnic battery.
NAA, "Project Apollo Spacecraft Test Program Weekly Activity Report (Period 19 July 1965 through 25 July 1965)," p. 3.
July 21MSC officially notified Grumman that, as part of the Apollo scientific program, an experiments package would be left on the moon by the crewmen of the LEM. The Center outlined weight and storage requirements for the package, which would be stored in the descent stage of the vehicle along with the lunar geological equipment. And MSC emphasized the need for dissipating waste heat given off by the system's radioisotope generator. (The radioisotope generator was a firm requirement, despite the fear voiced by many scientists that the radiation it gave off would disrupt the experiments.)
Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Request for Preparation of Interface Control Documents for the Lunar Surface Experiments Package (LSEP), and the Lunar Geological Equipment," July 21, 1965; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 29-August 5, 1965."
July 21Several lunar surface vehicles received national attention:
July 22MSC and Grumman discussed the LEM landing gear design and determined the landing velocity touchdown envelope.
TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, subject: "Structural Design for Lunar Landing Dynamic Magnification Factor," July 22, 1965; TWXs, Young to Mullaney, July 30 and August 18, 1965; GAEC, "Monthly Progress Report No. 30," LPR-10-46, August 10, 1965, p. 8.
July 22Agreements and decisions reached at the MSC briefing on the LEM optical tracker were:
July 23MSC authorized North American to make a number of significant hardware changes:
July 23MSC defined for Grumman the functions that the LEM's abort guidance section (AGS) must perform during earth orbital flights:
Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Abort Guidance Section operational requirements during earth orbital missions," July 23, 1965.
July 26During a news conference, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Deputy Manager of the Gemini Project Office at MSC, affirmed that, although no firm decisions had yet been made, the concept of a circumlunar flight using a Gemini spacecraft was being seriously studied. The mission would use Titan II and III-C launch vehicles and would require rendezvousing in earth orbit. NASA, Martin-Marietta Corporation (builder of the Titan), and Aerojet-General Corporation (which manufactured upper stages for the III-C) all were studying the feasibility of such a flight. Later in the year, NASA Administrator James E. Webb eliminated the possibility of a Gemini circumlunar mission, ". . . our main reliance for operating at lunar distances . . . is the large Saturn V/Apollo system."
Howard Benedict, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, July 26, 1965; letter, U.S. Representative Olin E. Teague to James E. Webb, August 18, 1965; letter, Webb to Teague, September 10, 1965.
July 26At North American's drop facility, a malfunction in the release mechanism caused boilerplate 1 to impact on land rather than water. After a recurrence of this accident on August 6, a team of investigators began looking into the problem. Drops were suspended pending their findings. These incidents aggravated delays in the test program, which already was seven weeks behind schedule.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 5-12, 1965."
July 29Failure of the Little Joe II launch vehicle on Mission A-003 and subsequent lack of positive failure cause identification and corrective action led to a lower than desirable confidence level in the capability of the controlled version of Little Joe II to accomplish the planned A-004 mission. The test objectives for A-004 were set forth (see Appendix 5).
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to ASPO Manager, "WSMR test requirements and their relations to the AFRM-002 Mission," sgd. R. W. Williams, July 29, 1965.
July 29General Electric (GE) received a supplement to its ACE-S/C (Acceptance Checkout Equipment-Spacecraft) contract. Total cost and fee for the amendment, which covered a reliability program for Apollo parts and materials, was $1,382,600. This brought the total value of GE's contract to $85.6 million.
MSC, "Quarterly Activity Report for Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, for Period Ending July 31, 1965," pp. 25-26.
July 30MSC advised Grumman that the altitude at which the LEM crewmen would switch from automatic to manual control of the spacecraft during Phase II of the landing approach would be 213 m (700 ft).
TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, July 30, 1965.
July 30NASA launched Pegasus III, third of the meteoroid detection satellites, as scheduled at 8:00 a.m. EST, from Cape Kennedy. (See February 16 and May 25.) As earlier, an Apollo spacecraft (boilerplate 9) served as the payload's shroud. This flight (SA-10) marked the end of the Saturn I program, which during its seven-year lifetime had achieved 10 straight successful launches and had contributed immeasurably to American rocket technology.
NASA News Release 65-232, "Pegasus C," July 21, 1965; NASA News Release 65-253, "Pegasus III Launch Caps NASA's Saturn I Program," July 30, 1965; memorandum, George E. Mueller, NASA, to Administrator, "Pegasus III/SA-10 Saturn I Flight Mission Post Launch Report No. 1," August 16, 1965, with enclosure: Mission Operation Report No. R-725-65-03 M-931-65-10; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-40, p. 1; TWX, KSC, to Distr., "SA-10 Apollo Flash Report No. 1," sgd. E. R. Mathews, July 30, 1965.
July 30During the preceding six months, officials in ASPO and the Engineering and Development Directorate evaluated the performance of the launch escape vehicle (LEV) during aborts on and near the launch pad. That performance, they had determined, was inadequate. To solve this problem, MSC ordered North American to incorporate a number of design changes in both the LEV and the spacecraft:
July 31ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed LEM Subsystems Managers that recent LEM schedule changes and program review activities had led to some confusion with regard to schedule requirements and policies. Shea pointed out that in some instances subsystem delivery schedules had been established which were inconsistent with the overall program. Where this had occurred, prompt action by the Subsystems Managers was required to recover lost ground. Shea then laid down specific ground rules to be followed, and requested that waivers of these ground rules be submitted no later than August 15, along with a demonstration that reasonable alternatives had been investigated. Only the ASPO Manager would approve any waivers.
Memorandum, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to LEM Subsystems Managers, "Subsystem Qualification and Delivery Schedules," July 31, 1965.
July 31At a meeting between representatives of NASA and Public Health Service representatives, it was agreed:
Memorandum for the Record, Orr E. Reynolds, NASA Headquarters, August 17, 1965.
During the MonthTwo change orders were issued to Grumman under the LEM contract, which brought the total estimated cost and fixed fee to $573,246,377.
"Quarterly Activity Report for Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, for Period Ending July 31, 1965," p. 25.
During the MonthSeveral astronauts participated in landing touchdown studies conducted in the LEM landing simulator to verify data collected in previous studies and to determine changes in controls and displays to improve the touchdown envelope. Studies involved landing runs from an altitude of 305 m (1,000 ft) with manual takeover at 213 m (700 ft), at which time the pilot could select a precise landing site.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 30," LPR-10-46, p. 4.
During the MonthCrew Systems Division completed evaluation of the three Block II space suits submitted by Hamilton Standard, David Clark, and International Latex. Also, the contractor presented to MSC the results of drop tests with the LEM's support and restraint system.
North American technicians began installing a CM mockup aboard a KC-135 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The structure would be used in a zero-g flight test program (scheduled to begin within a week) to evaluate the Block I space suit re mobility, crew performance, and interfaces with the couch and restraints and with the guidance and navigation station. (See July 19.) Ibid., p. 5; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 8-15, 1965."