The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.|
Part 2 (D)
Recovery, Spacecraft Redefinition, and First Manned Apollo Flight
July through September 1967
July 3To prevent flight crew incapacitation from possible carbon dioxide buildup in their Block II spacesuits after emergency exit from a spacecraft, development of a small air bottle was proposed. Bottles, to be attached to the suit to provide proper atmosphere in an emergency, would be stowed on the spacecraft access arm until needed.
Ltr., Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to ASPO Manager, "Emergency air supply for a suited flight crew during a spacecraft emergency egress," July 3, 1967.
July 5A board was appointed by MSC White Sands Test Facility Manager Martin L. Raines to determine the cause of a fire that had occurred at Test Stand 403 on July 3. The board was to submit its findings by July 17.
Ltr., Raines to distr., "Appointment to Investigation Board," July 5, 1967.
July 12A CSM shipment schedule, to be used for planning throughout the Apollo program and as a basis for contract negotiations with North American Aviation, was issued by NASA Hq. The schedule covered CSM 101 through CSM 115, CSM 105R, and CSM 020 and the period September 29, 1967, through November 17, 1969.
Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., July 12, 1967; TWX, Phillips to Gilruth and George M. Low, MSC, July 24, 1967.
July 18Kurt H. Debus, KSC Director, appointed John Bailey of MSC Chairman of an ad hoc Safety Group, following discussions with George E. Mueller of NASA OMSF, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun. The Safety Group was to examine the overall operating plans, organizational responsibilities, flight hardware, and ground support equipment and to identify existing and potential personnel hazards associated with the preparation, checkout, and launch of Apollo 4 (AS-501). The group would submit an initial report by August 15.
Ltr., Debus to Bailey, "Establishment of Apollo 4 (AS-501) Ad Hoc Safety Group," July 18, 1967.
July 18Visual display systems of complex optical devices were being used with the lunar module mission simulators. To help solve problems that some of these systems were creating, assistance was requested from J. E. Kupperian, E. S. Chin, and H. D. Vitagliano, all from Goddard Space Flight Center.
Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to John F. Clark, GSFC, July 18, 1967.
July 18CSM flammability mockup testing was discussed at a program review. It was pointed out that boilerplate testing was being conducted at Downey and that an all-up test should not be performed until all individual tests were completed and the final configuration was completely established.
Memo, George M. Low, MSC, to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, "Flammability mockup testing," July 21, 1967.
July 19In a letter to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth requested that the Boeing Company personnel ceiling be increased to 373. This action was taken as a result of a reevaluation of the requirement of basic task statements and a better understanding of the tasks to be performed. During the planning sessions on the new contract with Boeing, a manpower ceiling of 250 had been established.
Ltr., Gilruth to Phillips, July 19, 1967.
July 21The RTG Review Team - established to investigate the relation of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator's fuel-cask subsystem to Apollo mission safety and success - submitted a preliminary report. Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips had established the team after concern was expressed over the design and safety of the subsystem at a June 1 review at NASA Hq. of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP).
The team's preliminary report was based on data received and observations of the LM at Grumman that indicated the interface of the RTG, LM, and spacecraft-LM adapter (SLA) presented a potential problem to the Apollo mission. The most serious hazard was the presence of the 530-640 K (500-700 degrees F) RTG fuel cask in the space between the LM and the SLA, where leaks were possible during fuel unloading or in the mechanical joints of the LM fuel system.
Plans were to fuel the LM four days before launch and to pressurize the LM fuel system at T (time of launch) minus 16 hours. The RTG fuel element was to be loaded into the graphite cask, which was mounted on the LM at T minus 12 hours and the system secured. All work would be completed on the ALSEP by T minus 10 hours. If a condition occurred that required unloading fuel from the LM after installation of the fuel element in the cask, the hot cask would be a partial barrier to reaching one of the fuel unloading points and also would be a potential fire hazard. No mechanism was available to remove the entire cask system rapidly. Other potential problems were:
"Radioisotopic Thermoelectric Generator Review Team Preliminary Report," July 21, 1967
July 22A series of oxygen purge system (OPS) transfer runs were conducted in the Water Immersion Facility at MSC. Preliminary reports indicated the results of the tests were highly satisfactory, but an assessment of pad abort procedures following several runs in the Apollo Mission Simulator were not so promising. Further work and study in this area was in progress.
Memos, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to George M. Low, MSC, "Preliminary evaluation of Pad Abort and Oxygen Purge System (OPS) Transfer Procedures," July 26, 1967; Low to Slayton, "Pad abort procedures and Oxygen Purge System transfers," July 29, 1967.
July 24The ASPO Manager summarized the lunar module oxygen capacity and design requirements for the lunar mission and made an analysis of his decision to leave both portable life support systems (PLSS) on the lunar surface. He recommended that NASA OMSF accept the PLSS discard philosophy as well as the design capacity for lunar module oxygen.
Ltrs., George M. Low, MSC, to Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., July 24, 1967; Phillips to Low, Aug. 10, 1967.
July 24ASPO Manager George M. Low issued instructions that the changes and actions to be carried out by MSC as a result of the AS-204 accident investigation were the responsibility of CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht. The changes and actions were summarized in Apollo Program Directive No. 29, dated July 6, 1967.
Memo, George M. Low to distr., July 24, 1967.
July 25Following a series of discussions on the requirements for the lunar mapping and survey system (LMSS), the effort was terminated. An immediate stop work order was issued to the Air Force, the Centers, and the contractors in the LMSS effort. The original justification for the LMSS, a backup Apollo site certification capability in the event of Surveyor or Lunar Orbiter inadequacies, was no longer valid, since at least four Apollo sites had been certified and the last Lunar Orbiter would, if successful, increase that to eight.
Memos, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Hq., to George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., "Lunar Mapping and Survey System (LMSS)," July 13, 1967; Mueller to Seamans, same subject, July 18, 1967; Seamans to Mueller, "Termination of the Lunar Mapping and Survey System," July 25, 1967.
July 25MSC Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., raised questions about lunar module number 2: Would it be possible for LM-2 to be a combined manned and unmanned vehicle; that is, have the capability to make an unmanned burn first and then be manned for additional activities? Would additional batteries in the LM provide greater flexibility for earth-orbital missions? Mission flexibility would be worthwhile only if it allowed deletion of a subsequent mission, at least on paper.
Memo, G. M. Low, MSC, to O. E. Maynard, MSC, "LM mission flexibility and other points," July 25, 1967.
July 26The Air Force Chief of Staff announced the reassignment of Carroll H. Bolender from Washington to Houston as Program Manager for the lunar module at MSC. He had been Apollo Mission Director at NASA Hq.
TWX, Air Force Chief of Staff to NASA Hq. and MSC, July 26, 1967.
July 26MSC asked continued engineering and inspection support from KSC, although increased activity at KSC was making support and factory operations more difficult. KSC had provided support for LM-1 at Bethpage, Long Island, and had also provided support for previous CSM and some Gemini vehicles. The aid of the KSC inspection personnel was particularly beneficial in ensuring a smooth transition of the vehicle from the factory to the field.
Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to Kurt H. Debus, KSC, July 26, 1967.
July 27MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth wrote MSFC Director Wernher von Braun that MSC had two lunar landing research vehicles (LLRVs) for crew training and three lunar landing training vehicles (LLTVs) were being procured from Bell Aerosystems Go. Gilruth explained that x-ray inspection of welds on the LLTVs at both Bell and MSC had disclosed apparent subsurface defects, such as cracks and lack of fusion. There was, however, question as to the interpretation of the x-rays and the amount of feasible repair. Gilruth mentioned that James Kingsbury of MSFC had previously assisted MSC in interpreting weldment x-rays, stated that further x-rays were being taken, and asked MSFC assistance in interpreting them and in determining the amount and methods of repair needed.
Ltr., Gilruth to von Braun, July 27, 1967.
July 28ASPO announced that a detailed review of the Block II CSM would be held to gain a better understanding of the hardware. ASPO Manager George M. Low pointed out that it had been customary in the Gemini and Apollo Programs to conduct Design Certification Reviews (DCRs) before manned flight of the "first of a kind" vehicle. He added that the detailed review should address itself to design and analysis, test history and evaluation of test results, and the understanding of operational procedures for each element in the CSM. To ensure the most thorough review, MSC divisions would conduct preliminary reviews. The division chiefs would then present their findings to the directorates, the ASPO management, and the MSC Director.
Memo, George M. Low to distr., July 28, 1967.
Ltrs., Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to George M. Low, MSC, Aug. 16, 1967; George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., to Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, Aug. 17, 1967; NASA News Release 67-207, Aug. 2, 1967.
August 1Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, CSM Manager at MSC, requested that North American organize a team of engineers with broad design backgrounds to make an independent assessment of component design efficiency. The team would identify actions to reduce spacecraft weight and to establish control methods to prevent future weight increases. The team would be placed under the leadership of a North American employee with broad knowledge of Apollo hardware.
To deal with Apollo weight problems, North American replied in October, accurate and timely weight visibility was of paramount importance. To provide this visibility, North American used system design personnel directly in weight prediction and reporting. As part of this plan, all engineering-design-change documentation would contain a delta weight effect that would be reviewed and approved by engineering management; weight trends and status would be reported monthly to North American and NASA management. A list of weight reduction candidates was suggested to NASA.
Ltr., Kleinknecht to Dale D. Myers, North American Aviation, Aug. 1, 1967; ltr., Myers to George M. Low, MSC, Oct. 5, 1967.
August 1-11Lunar Orbiter V was launched from the Eastern Test Range at 6:33 p.m. EDT August 1. The Deep Space Net Tracking Station at Woomera, Australia, acquired the spacecraft about 50 minutes after liftoff. Signals indicated that all systems were performing normally and that temperatures were within acceptable limits. At 12:48 p.m. EDT August 5, Lunar Orbiter V executed a deboost maneuver that placed it in orbit around the moon. The spacecraft took its first photograph of the moon at 7:22 a.m. EDT August 6. Before it landed on the lunar surface on January 31, 1968, Lunar Orbiter V had photographed 23 previously unphotographed areas of the moon's far side, the first photo of the full earth, 36 sites of scientific interest, and 5 Apollo sites for a total of 425 photos.
Lunar Orbiter V Post Launch Reports 1 through 7, Aug. 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 1969; Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1967 (NASA SP-4008, 1968), pp. 229, 235, 417.
August 11Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips was appointed Chairman of a NASA task group, reporting to Administrator James E. Webb, Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller. The group was chartered to review the content of the Apollo program in order to determine alternatives necessary for programming and budget planning decisions. It would inquire into and report on all aspects of the Apollo program necessary to provide a base of accurate data and information to support decisions on FY 1968 expenditure control and FY 1969 budget planning. Specifically, the group was requested to identify planned activities that could be eliminated if the Apollo program were to be terminated with the manned lunar landing. The group was also requested to determine the effect of placing a hold order on production of Saturn V vehicles 512 through 515 and to develop the cost estimates resulting from these actions as well as other tangible alternatives. Memo, Webb to Phillips, "Review of Apollo Program," Aug. 11, 1967.
August 15ASPO wrote Lewis Research Center about studies of ignition sources inside the pressure suits worn by the astronauts. In recent tests, the communications and biomedical circuits inside the suit and connected to the spacecraft panel through the crewman electrical umbilical were evaluated to determine the ignition characteristics. Studies on the flammability of various materials used jn the suit loop had been completed and the data compiled.
Memo, G. M. Low, MSC, to I. I. Pinkel, Lewis Research Center, "Ignition source inside the suit," Aug. 15, 1967.
August 18The NASA task team for CSM Block II redefinition, established on April 27, was phased out. During its duration the task team provided timely response and direction in the areas of detail design, overall quality and reliability, test and checkout, baseline specifications, and schedules. With the phaseout of the team, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office policies and procedures would be carried out by the ASPO resident manager. A single informal point of contact was also established between MSC and North American for engineering and design items.
Memo, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to distr., "Phaseout of the NASA Task Team for Block II Redefinition, Command and Service Modules," Aug. 18, 1967.
August 19ASPO Manager George M. Low, in a letter to Dale D. Myers of North American Aviation, expressed disappointment that both spacecraft 2TV-1 and 101 had slipped approximately six weeks. He also expressed astonishment that managers, who were supposedly using a planning system, did not understand the meaning of the charts they were using. Low suggested more attention to detail by managers, a better tracking system for shortages, assignment of responsible individuals to areas where special efforts were needed; and a mechanized system for tracking such things as work needing to be done and shortages.
Ltr, Low to Myers, Aug. 19, 1967.
August 22A senior design review group was established to review the command module stowed equipment and the stowage provisions, to ensure the timely resolution and implementation of changes necessary because of new materials criteria and guidelines. Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director, would head the group.
Memo, George M. Low, MSC, to distr., "Design Review of Command Module storage provisions," Aug. 22, 1967.
August 24An interagency agreement on protecting the earth's biosphere from lunar sources of contamination was signed by James E. Webb, NASA; John W. Gardiner, HEW; Orville L. Freeman, Department of Agriculture; Stewart L. Udall, Department of Interior; and Frederick Seitz, National Academy of Sciences. The agreement established a committee to advise the NASA Administrator on back contamination and the protection of the biological and chemical integrity of lunar samples, on when and how astronauts and lunar samples might be released from quarantine, and on policy matters.
Interagency Agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the Department of Interior, and the National Academy of Sciences on the Protection of the Earth's Biosphere from Lunar Sources of Contamination, Aug. 24, 1967.
Week Ending August 25Grumman proposed a procurement for a study of the mission effects projector, to assist Grumman with an item that had been designed and built by Farrand but did not meet the established specifications. Grumman solicited assistance of qualified firms in the optomechanical field. Of 15 firms approached 7 were interested: Itek Corp., Kollmorgen Corp., Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Kollsman Instrument Corp., Biorad, General Precision Link Group, and Conductron. Technical proposals were received from Itek, Biorad, Link, and Conductron. Grumman considered the Itek proposal most technically acceptable and proposed a letter contract in which NASA concurred.
MSC, BMR Bethpage, "Weekly Activities Report, Week Ending August 25, 1967," Aug. 30, 1967.
August 26"Reuse of failed equipment" was the subject of a memorandum to W. M. Bland in the MSC Reliability and Quality Assurance Office from ASPO Manager George M. Low. He said: "I have recently heard of several instances of reuse of apparently failed equipment without any fixes applied to that equipment. I understand that, if a component or subsystem is removed from the spacecraft because it has apparently failed but a subsequent failure analysis does not show anything to be wrong with the equipment, the equipment is then put back into stock for reinstallation. It appears to me that, if a component is once suspected or known to have caused a failure or to have failed, it should not be allowed back in the program unless a fix has been made or unless it has been proved conclusively that the failure was not caused by that component. If we do not now have a program directive that states such a policy, I think we should impose one as quickly as possible and set up adequate procedures to control it."
Memo, Low to Bland, Aug. 26, 1967.
August 30A review team's findings on the lunar surface magnetometer program were reported to the NASA Administrator. The magnetometer program still suffered from the schedule delays and high costs that had prompted the review, but recent management changes and technical progress were halting the trends. With the team recommendation and the endorsement of the Office of Space Science and Applications, Philco Corp. was directed to continue its effort to develop a lunar surface magnetometer.
Memos, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to NASA Administrator, "Lunar Surface Magnetometer," Aug. 30, 1967; W. H. Close, NASA Hq., to Deputy Administrator, "ALSEP Lunar Surface Magnetometer," Oct. 13, 1967.
Memo, R. O. Middleton, KSC, to G. M. Low, MSC, "Apollo Test Flow Study Group," Sept. 1, 1967.
September 6Apollo Program Directive No. 31 established and implemented the Apollo System Safety program and defined program requirements in consonance with NASA Management Instruction 1138.12, August 29, 1967. The directive was applicable to all Apollo Headquarters and Center System Safety activities and it spelled out Headquarters and Center Apollo responsibilities. Among Center requirements were:
Apollo Program Directive No. 31, "Apollo System Safety Program Requirements," Sept. 6, 1967; informal note, Low to Bond, Sept. 20, 1967; memo, Bond to Low, "Apollo Program Directive No. 31 - Apollo System Safety Program Requirements," Sept. 25, 1967; ltr., Low to, Phillips, "APD No. 31 - Apollo System Safety Program Requirements," Oct. 16, 1967.
LM-1, fitted inside spacecraft - lunar module adapter 7, is raised to position at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the Apollo 5 mission.
LM-1 (Apollo 5) continued to have serious schedule difficulties. However, all known problems were resolved with the exception of the propulsion system leaks. Leak checks of the ascent stage indicated excessive leaking in the incline oxidizer orifice flange. The spacecraft was approximately 39 days behind the July 18, LM-1 KSC Operations Flow Plan.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Project Status Report," Sept. 7, 1967.
September 8A revised spacecraft delivery schedule with a maximum delivery rate of six spacecraft per year as opposed to a delivery rate of one spacecraft every six weeks for the Apollo program was proposed by MSC and approved by NASA Hq.
Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., Sept. 8, 1967; TWX, Phillips to Gilruth, "CSM Delivery Schedules," Sept. 22, 1967.
September 6ASPO Manager George Low in a letter to Dale Myers of North American Aviation, emphasized that the spacecraft weight situation was the single most serious problem in the entire Apollo program. An example of the weight estimating problem was the spacecraft hatch. When the decision was made in March 1967 to incorporate a new hatch, the net weight increase was estimated at 185 kilograms, but calculations indicated that this increase was actually 558 kilograms. Neither of these numbers included the additional ballast, which doubled the required weight. Clearly weight estimates were inadequate, making a workable weight control program impossible. North American was requested to take immediate action to bring the weight problem under control. A letter in a similar vein was sent by C. H. Bolender, ASPO LM Manager, to J. G. Gavin, Jr., Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp.
Ltr., Low to Myers, Sept. 9, 1967; Bolender to Gavin, Sept. 22, 1967.
September 15A short circuit occurred during checkout of CSM 020 at North American, Downey, Calif. External power batteries in parallel with the reentry batteries had indicated low power and were replaced. During preparations to continue the test, arcing was reported and emergency shutdown procedures were applied. Investigation was under way to determine the cause of the arcing. Initial indications were that at least 100 amps were imposed on a small portion of the spacecraft wiring, causing some damage to the spacecraft batteries.
TWX, ASPO Manager to Director, Apollo Spacecraft Program, Sept. 18, 1967.
September 16During operational checkout procedures on CSM 017, which included running the erasable memory program before running the low-altitude aborts, the guidance and navigation computer accidentally received a liftoff signal and locked up. Investigation was initiated to determine the reason for the liftoff signal and the computer lockup (switch to internal control). No damage was suspected.
TWX, ASPO Manager to Director, Apollo Program Office, Sept. 18, 1967.
September 18The Systems Engineering Division of ASPO presented a briefing to the ASPO Manager and other MSC officials on the logic of the lunar surface activity for the first lunar landing mission. Several potential missions were presented in terms of interactions between timelines, consumables, weight, and performance characteristics. Purpose of the demonstration was to elicit policy decisions on the number of extravehicular excursions to be planned for the first mission as well as the activities for each excursion. The following ground rules were established:
September 18Garrett Corp. Vice President Mark E. Bradley sent recommendations of the Garrett-AiResearch Safety Audit Review Board to Dale D. Myers, Vice President and Project Manager, Apollo Program, North American Aviation. Bradley said the Board had been appointed in May 1967 to make "an independent review of ECS [environmental control system] systems and components from a crew safety standpoint" and that the recommendations were "based on the considered professional judgment of the Board members without bias or prejudice with regard to cost or schedule."
In a reply to Bradley on October 21, Myers said: "Your letter has been reviewed in detail and it has been determined in some cases the recommendations are of a design improvement nature. . . . Because of the seriousness of your conclusions and recommendations, I believe it necessary and pertinent the following comments be made. . . . The magnitude and complexity of the Apollo program precludes any single system subcontractor the capability of full and knowledgeable assessment of the effects his system has on the whole. . . . This is not a criticism of your Safety Board function, rather a criticism of the charter and ground rules on which the Board's recommendations are based. . . . It is disturbing to me to find your letter is being used as a vehicle to attempt reconsideration of Engineering Design Change Proposals (EDCP's) already given careful consideration and a subsequent disposition made. . . . I must insist that future Board comments be channeled through your Apollo project group for processing by the established EDCP procedures. If the EDCP affects Crew Safety or Mission success, it should be so indicated in the EDCP and will be given proper consideration by the management of NAR and NASA. . . . Because of the seriousness of your conclusions and recommendations, I am asking the NASA ASPO to form a Board with me to review your recommendations with you for disposition. . . ."
Myers also wrote ASPO Manager George Low on October 21, enclosing the AiResearch recommendations. He said: "I found that AiResearch had used different criteria for evaluation than we use, but I felt we have a situation that requires immediate and joint top-level review by us. . . . The Board made significant recommendations that could constrain a manned flight with the current configuration of the ECS. I hope that this is not the case and that the recommendations were meant to be in the area of design improvement rather than constraints of Crew Safety or Mission Success nature. . . . If you agree with the need for this NASA NAR joint ECS Safety Review Board, I will arrange such a meeting with the AiResearch Review Board."
Low replied to Myers on October 30, saying, "I agree with you that we should give serious consideration to each of the AiResearch recommendations and that a joint NASA/NAR Safety Review Board would be the best means of accomplishing this. I would be pleased to serve on such a board with you. . . ." Low asked Myers to set up the meeting following the Apollo 4 mission.
In a November 7 meeting at MSC the AiResearch Safety Board recommendations were discussed and initial dispositions made, with AiResearch being asked to provide a written acceptance or rejection of each.
Ltrs., Bradley to Myers, "Recommendation of Garrett-AiResearch Safety Audit Review Board," Sept. 18, 1967; Myers to Bradley, Oct. 21, 1967; Myers to Low, Oct. 21, 1967; Low to Myers, Oct. 30, 1967; Myers to Low, Dec. 13, 1967; Low to Myers, Mar. 19, 1968.
September 20MSC proposed to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight a sequence of missions leading to a lunar landing mission. The sequence included the following basic missions:
Memos, George M. Low, ASPO Manager, to distr., "Mission development and planning," Sept. 25, 1967; Low to Director, MSC, "Meetings with General Phillips and Dr. Mueller," Sept. 9, 1967; ltr, Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., Sept. 19, 1967; telecon, Ivan D. Ertel to John Sevier, Feb. 26, 1975.
September 21At the request of Congress NASA was preparing a formal document on all the action items resulting from the January 27 AS-204 accident. The document would be used as a report to the entire Congress by the responsible Senate and House subcommittees and was expected to include two volumes. The first would cover Apollo 204 Review Board findings; the second would cover panel findings, results of Congressional testimony, and Apollo program direction. The report was forwarded to Congress in December 1967 (House) and January 1968 (Senate).
Ltr., Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to George M. Low, MSC, "AS-204 Accident Closeout Report," Sept. 21, 1967. House Committee on Science and Astronautics, Subcommittee on NASA Oversight, Status of Actions Taken on Recommendations of the Apollo 204 Accident Review Board, 90th Cong, 2nd sess., Committee Print, Serial L, 1968; Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Apollo Accident: Hearings, 90th Cong., 2nd sess., pt. 8, January 1968.
September 22C. H. Bolender, ASPO Manager for the lunar module, wrote Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., Grumman LM Program Director, that recent LM weights and weight growth trends during the past several months established the need to identify actions that would reduce weight and preclude future weight growth. He pointed out that the Configuration Control Board (CCB) at MSC had emphasized such actions, while recognizing the specific weight increases associated with design change actions resulting from the AS-204 accident. Several other design corrections or improvements had been implemented, such as increased plume protection, ascent engine reflection protection, descent stage upper-deck structural repair, and landing gear shielding. Bolender told Gavin, "We cannot afford to exercise ultraconservatism as an expedient to problem solving. The modification of the descent stage skin panels may be a case in point. . . . We have already asked that in consideration of minimum weight design, you reassess your recommendation to change to a uniform panel thickness." He requested that the objectives of the recent Super Weight Improvement program (a weight saving "tool" employed by Grumman) be reiterated in design activity and that weight reduction suggestions be solicited and evaluated for implementation. Bolender requested a biweekly review of weight reduction candidate changes and told Gavin he was asking Systems Engineering Division to maintain close coordination with Grumman and to report progress of the weight reduction and control activity at the regular CCB meetings.
Ltr., Bolender to Gavin, Sept. 22, 1967.
September 22The merger of North American Aviation, Inc., and Rockwell-Standard Corp. became effective and was announced. The company was organized into two major groups, the Commercial Products Group and the Aerospace and Systems Group. The new company would be known as North American Rockwell and use the acronym NR.
North American Rockwell Corp., "A First Look," Sept. 22, 1967,
September 25Associate Administrator for Advanced Research and Technology Mac C. Adams requested concurrence of MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to naming the following as members of Research Advisory Committees for Fiscal Year 1968: Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Committee on Space Vehicles; Joseph G. Thibodaux, Jr., Committee on Chemical Rocket Propulsion; Charles A. Berry and Richard S. Johnston, Committee on Biotechnology; and Robert E. Johnson, Subcommittee on Materials. Gilruth concurred on September 28.
Ltrs., Adams to Gilruth, Sept. 25, 1967; Gilruth to Adams, Sept. 28, 1967.
September 26The Flammability Test Review Board met at MSC to determine if the M-6 vehicle (a full-scale mockup of the LM cabin interior) was ready for test and that the ignition points, configuration, instrumentation, and test facility were acceptable for verifying the fire safety of LTA-8 and LM-2 vehicles. The Board agreed that the M-6 did accurately and adequately simulate the LTA-8 and the LM-2 and established that the M-6 mockup was ready for testing. The Board was composed of Robert R. Gilruth, Chairman; Carroll H. Bolender; Aleck C. Bond; Maxime A. Faget; Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.; Donald K. Slayton; A. Duane Catterson, all of MSC; E. Z. Gray of Grumman; and G. H. Stoner of Boeing, a nonvoting observer.
Ltr., Gilruth to distr., "Minutes of the Flammability Test Review Board Meeting No. 1," Oct. 23, 1967; memo, Joseph N. Kotanchik, Chief, Structures and Mechanics Div. to distr., "Progress Report on Lunar Module M-6 flammability mockup," Sept. 28, 1967.
September 28In spite of efforts to eliminate all flammable materials from the interior of the spacecraft cabin during flight, it was apparent that this could not be completely accomplished. For example, silicone rubber hoses, flight logs, food, tissues, and other materials would be exposed with in the cabin during portions of the mission. However, flammable materials would be outside their containers only when actually needed. Special fire extinguishers would be carried during flight.
Memos, George M. Low, MSC, to Donald K. Slayton, MSC, "Procedures for use of flammable material in spacecraft," Sept. 28, 1967; Low to Slayton, "Training in use of fire extinguishers," Sept. 28, 1967.
September 28ASPO Manager George M. Low informed the MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations that effective November 1 configuration management of the Apollo mission simulators and LM mission simulators would be transferred from ASPO to the Flight Crew Operations Directorate, with the understanding that Director Donald K. Slayton would personally chair the Configuration Control Panel.
Memo, Low to D. K. Slayton, "Configuration Control Panel for simulators," Sept. 10, 1967.
September 28MSC's Engineering and Development (E&D) Directorate recommended that the Apollo CM be provided with a foam fire extinguisher. E&D also recommended that the LM be provided with a water nozzle for extinguishing open fires and that cabin decompression be used to combat fires behind panels. An aqueous gel (foam) composition fire extinguisher was considered most appropriate for use in the CM because hydrogen in the available water supply could intensify the fire, water spray could not reach fires behind panels, and a shirt-sleeve environment was preferred. E&D further recommended that development of a condensation nuclei indicator be pursued as a flight fire detection system, but that it not be made a constraint on the Apollo program. ASPO Manager George M. Low concurred with the recommendations September 28 and MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth concurred October 7.
On October 26, the Director of Flight Crew Operations stated that his Directorate was formulating and implementing a training program for flight crews to give them experience in coping with fire in and around the spacecraft. "In total, the crew training for cockpit fires will consist of: Review of BP 1224 and M-6 'burn test' film; demonstration briefings on the fire extinguishers and their most effective use; procedural practice simulating cockpit fire situations in conjunction with one 'g' spacecraft/mockup/Apollo Mission Simulator walkthroughs and in the egress trainer placed in the altitude chamber; and as a part of the overall launch pad emergency and evacuation procedures training at the fire service training area at KSC."
Memos, Low to Donald K. Slayton, "Training in use of fire extinguishers," Sept. 28, 1967; Slayton to Low, "Crew training in use of fire extinguishers," Oct. 26, 1967; Maxime A. Faget to Gilruth, "Information Staff Paper No. 41 - Spacecraft fire extinguishing systems and onboard spacecraft fire detection instrumentation for the Apollo program," Sept. 28, 1967.
September 29ASPO Manager George M. Low, in a letter to Richard E. Horner, Senior Vice President of Northrop Corp., following a phone call to Horner on Sept. 28, reiterated NASA's "continuing and serious concern with the quality control at Northrop Ventura on the Apollo spacecraft parachute system. In recent weeks, I have had many reports of poor workmanship and poor quality, both in the plant at Northrop Ventura and in the field at El Centro."
On October 20 Horner told Low he had taken time to assure himself of the best possible information available before replying and offered background on the situation: "The design effort goes back to 1961 and testing began at the El Centro facility in 1962. There was continuous operation of the test group at El Centro until 1966 when the completion of the Block II testing program dictated the closeout of our operation there. In our total activity, we have had a peak of 350 personnel assigned to the Apollo, with 20 of that number located at El Centro during the most active portion of the test program. When it was finally determined that the increased weight capability redesign was necessary for mission success, the program nucleus had been reduced to 30 personnel and the established schedule for the system re-design, test and fabrication requires a build-up to 250. . . . The schedule has also dictated the adoption of such procedures as concurrent inspection by the inspectors of Northrop, North American and NASA, a procedure which, I am sure, is efficient from a program point of view but is inherently risky in terms of the wide dissemination of knowledge concerning every human mistake. This is significant only from the point of view of the natural human failing to be more willing to share the responsibility for error than for success. . . . We do not intend in any way to share responsibility for these errors and expect to eliminate the potential for their recurrence. We have established standards of quality for this program that are stringent and uncompromising. . . . Even though the technical and schedule challenge is substantial, we are confident that by the time qualification testing is scheduled to start during the first week of December 1967 we will have a flawless operation. . . ."
Ltrs., Low to Horner, Sept. 29, 1967; Horner to Low, Oct. 20, 1967; memos, Low to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, "Parachute packing," Sept. 1, 1967; Low to Donald K. Slayton, "Apollo parachutes," Sept. 23, 1967.
September 29An Apollo Entry Performance Review Board was established by the MSC Director to review and validate the analytical tools as well as the Apollo operational corridor. The Board was set up because the performance of the ablation heatshield in the Apollo spacecraft, as then analyzed, imposed a limitation on the entry corridor at lunar return velocity. The following were named to the Board: Maxime A. Faget, MSC, chairman; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC; Eugene C. Draley and Don D. Davis, Jr., Langley Research Center; Alvin Seiff and Glen Goodwin, Ames Research Center; and Leo T. Chauvin, MSC, secretary.
Ltrs., MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to Directors of Ames Research Center and Langley Research Center, Sept. 29, 1967.
September 29Key dates in the spacecraft 101 schedule were agreed to during a meeting of Samuel C. Phillips, Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low, and Kenneth S. Kleinknecht with North American management: inspection of wiring, October 7, 1967; completion of manufacturing, December 15, 1967; delivery, March 15, 1968. In addition, several decisions were reached concerning certain systems of spacecraft 101. Among these, it was agreed that the entry monitor system would not be checked out on spacecraft 101 (see October 12).
Memo for the Record, George M. Low, Manager, ASPO, "North American activities," Oct. 2, 1967.
September 29Because of many questions asked about spacecraft weight changes in the spacecraft redefinition, ASPO Manager George M. Low prepared a memo for the record, indicating weights as follows:
Lunar Module Significant Weight ChangesLunar module injected weight status March 1, 1967 (ascent and descent less propellant) - 4039.6 kg
Lunar module injected weight status September 22, 1967 - 4270.0 kg
Command Module Significant Weight ChangesCommand module injected weight status March 1, 1967 - 5246.7 kg
Command module injected weight status September 22, 1967 - 5679.8 kg
Memo for the Record, George M. Low, Manager, ASPO, "Apollo weight changes," Sept. 29, 1967.