The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology.|
Part 3 (G)
Man Circles the Moon, the Eagle Lands, and Manned Lunar Exploration
NASA had canceled the Apollo 20 mission and stretched out the remaining
seven missions to six-month intervals, Deputy Administrator George M.
Low told the press in an interview after dedication of the Lunar Science
Institute (next to MSC in Houston). Budget restrictions had brought the
decision to suspend Saturn V launch vehicle production after vehicle 515
and to use the Apollo 20 Saturn V to launch the first U.S. space station
in 1972. (See also Jan. 7.)
UPI, "Apollo Missions Extended to '74," New York
Times, Jan. 5, 1970, p. 10; NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine
in NASA News Release, "NASA Future Plans," press conference
transcript, Jan. 13, 1970.
Detailed reports on the Apollo 11 sample analyses were
presented at the Lunar Science Conference at MSC. Principal
investigators covered the fields of geology, mineralogy, petrology,
radiogenic isotopes, inorganic and organic chemistry, solar wind and
cosmic ray spallation products, magnetic and electrical properties,
physical properties, impact metamorphism, and micropaleontology. The
results added up to the greatest single advance in the understanding of
a planetary-size body attained to date.
Abstract, N. W. Hinners, Bellcomm, Case 340, "Significant Results
Reported at the Apollo 11 Lunar Science Conference," Jan. 30, 1970.
An MSC Experiments Review Group was established to consider new or late
experiments for the Apollo flights. The group would recommend MSC policy
on changes in experiments and would serve as a management clearing
Memo, James A. McDivitt, MSC, to distr., "Apollo Experiments
Review Group," Jan. 6, 1970.
North American Rockwell announced a reorganization to strengthen its
operating divisions, streamline channels of communication, and place
more direct responsibility for performance with top division management.
Ltr., J. Leland Atwood, North American Rockwell Corp., to Robert R.
Gilruth, MSC, Jan. 6, 1970.
North American Rockwell declined to become a member of the Coordinated
Aerospace Supplier Evaluation (CASE) organization. North American
Rockwell stated that its Certified Special Processors system provided
greater effectiveness, that there was no real assurance that a supplier
listed in the CASE Register was capable of performing to all the
requirements of the indicated specifications, and that participants in
CASE were prohibited from any exchange of information concerning
supplier inadequacies. Several processors discontinued by North American
Rockwell because of poor performance were still enjoying the full
benefit of listing in the CASE Register, with the implication of system
acceptability and certified-processor status that the listing provided.
Ltr., George W. Jeffs, North American Rockwell Corp., to Kenneth S.
Kleinknecht, MSC, Jan. 6, 1970.
NASA issued instructions for deletion of the Apollo 20 mission from the
program (see January 4). MSC was directed to take immediate action to:
TWX, Rocco A. Petrone, NASA Hq., to MSC, "Apollo 20
Deletion," Jan. 7, 1970.
- Stop work on LM-14 and determine its disposition.
- Delete requirements for the Apollo 20 spacesuits and portable and
secondary life support systems.
- Determine disposition of CSM 115A pending a final decision as to its
possible use in a second workshop mission.
- Reevaluate orbital science experiments and assignments and prepare
Dale D. Myers' appointment as NASA Associate Administrator for Manned
Space Flight was announced effective January 12, to succeed Dr. George
E. Mueller, who had joined General Dynamics Corp. in New York City as a
Vice President. Before this appointment, Myers was Vice President and
General Manager of the Space Shuttle Program, North American Rockwell
NASA News Release 70-4, Jan. 8, 1970.
The scientific debriefing of the Apollo 12 astronauts
indicated there were areas of strong interest for which there was no
data and that the data could have been provided by an Apollo lunar
surface closeup stereo camera. These included three distinct kinds of
soil noticed by the astronauts, strangely patterned surface in certain
areas, glazings in craters, and fillets around certain rocks. To assist
the Apollo 13 astronauts in making scientific judgment of targets to be
documented, the following photography list was established: unexpected
features, glassy features, rock-soil junction, undisturbed surface,
surface patterns, rock surface, and craters.
Memos, Anthony J. Calio, MSC, to James A. McDivitt, MSC,
"Experiment S184 on Apollo 13, Apollo Lunar Surface Close-up
Photography," Jan. 14, 1970; Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to Lee R.
Scherer, NASA Hq., "Close-up stereo camera utilization on Apollo
13," Jan. 27, 1970.
An MSC meeting to realign the Apollo 16-19 lunar orbital science
experiments recommended that the Sounding Radar Experiment, S-167, be
deleted and the Lunar Electromagnetic Sounder, S-168, should be
developed and flown. Scientific-value for the experiments was ranked in
the following descending priorities for the various scientific
disciplines: geochemistry, particles and fields, imagery and geodesy,
surface and subsurface profiles, and atmospheres.
Minutes, Lunar Orbital Experiments Review, Jan. 16, 1970; memo, James
A. McDivitt, MSC, to Rocco A. Petrone, NASA Hq., "Lunar orbital
science experiments," Jan. 21, 1970.
Ground rules for service module design and integration, established
during recent changes in the lunar orbital science program (see January
16), were reported. The Apollo LM experiment hardware would be installed
and tested at KSC. A single scientific instrument module configuration
was being proposed for Apollo 16-19 with modification kits developed, as
required, to install Apollo 18 and Apollo 19 experiments. An expanded
Apollo LM data system would be available for Apollo 16 (spacecraft 112).
Memo, James A. McDivitt, MSC, to Rocco A. Petrone, NASA Hq.,
"Apollo lunar orbital science program," Jan. 29, 1970.
North American Rockwell completed an investigation, requested by NASA,
of the Apollo 12 flight anomalies associated with apparent
vehicle electrostatic discharges at 36.5 and 52 seconds into the
flight. The investigation indicated the most logical recommendation
consistent with cost and schedule considerations to minimize or
eliminate similar occurrences was for more restrictive launch rules.
When atmospheric conditions exhibited electrostatic gradients in excess
of several thousand volts with severe fluctuations or when heavy cloud
conditions associated with frontal passages existed even in the absence
of precipitation or reported spherics activities, delay of launch
should be considered.
Ltr., George W. Jeffs, North American Rockwell Corp., to James A.
McDivitt, MSC, Feb. 5, 1970.
A statement of agreements was reached between NASA Hq. and the Centers
covering the requirements for a lunar roving vehicle (LRV). Appropriate
portions of the agreements were being incorporated in a revised Apollo
Program Specification and in Apollo Program Directive No. 4.
Memo, Rocco A. Petrone, NASA Hq., to MSFC, MSC, and KSC, "Lunar
Roving Vehicle Requirements," Feb. 6, 1970.
MSC appointed a panel to investigate a February 13 accident at the
Aerojet-General plant in Fullerton, Calif., that had damaged a lunar
module descent tank beyond repair. Panel findings were reported to a
review board later in the month, which recommended needed safety
Ltr., O. G. Morris, MSC, to R. H. Tripp, Grumman, Feb. 17, 1970; memo
for record, S. H. Simpkinson, MSC, "LM descent tank incident at
Aerojet-General Corporation, California, on February 13, 1970,"
March 6, 1970.
In a White House release, President Nixon listed six specific objectives
for the space program: continued exploration of the moon, exploration of
the planets and the universe, substantial reductions in the cost of
space operations, extension of man's capability to live and work in
space, rapid expansion of the practical applications of space
technology, and greater international cooperation in space.
Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service,
Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, March 9,
1970, pp. 328-31.
Wernher von Braun was sworn in as NASA Deputy Associate Administrator
for Planning. He left MSFC on March 1 and was succeeded as MSFC Director
by Eberhard F. M. Rees.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1970 (NASA SP-4015, 1972),
Astronaut John L. Swigert, Jr., Apollo 13 backup command module pilot,
began intensive training as a replacement for Thomas K. Mattingly II.
The Apollo 13 prime crew had undergone a comprehensive medical
examination after German measles had been contracted by Charles M. Duke,
Jr., a member of the Apollo 13 backup crew. Mattingly had not shown
immunity to the rubella virus and it was feared that he might become ill
during the Apollo 13 flight.
MSC Apollo 13 Mission Report (MSC-02680), September 1970.
Apollo 13 (AS-508) was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex
39, KSC, at 2:13 p.m. EST April 11, with astronauts James A. Lovell,
Jr., John L. Swigert, Jr., and Fred W. Haise, Jr., aboard. The
spacecraft and S-IVB stage entered a parking orbit with a
185.5-kilometer apogee and a 181.5-kilometer perigee. At 3:48 p.m.,
onboard TV was begun for five and one-half minutes. At 4:54 p.m., an
S-IVB burn placed the spacecraft on a translunar trajectory, after
which the CSM separated from the S-IVB and LM Aquarius.
(The crew had named lunar module 7 Aquarius and CSM 109
Odyssey.) The CSM then hard-docked with the LM. The S-IVB
auxiliary propulsion system made an evasive maneuver after CSM/LM
ejection from the S-IVB at 6:14 p.m. The docking and ejection maneuvers
were televised during a 72-minute period in which interior and exterior
views of the spacecraft were also shown.
At 8:13 p.m. EST a 217-second S-IVB auxiliary propulsion system burn
aimed the S-IVB for a lunar target point so accurately that another
burn was not required. The S-IVB/IU impacted the lunar surface at 8:10
p.m. EST on April 14 at a speed of 259 meters per second. Impact was
137.1 kilometers from the Apollo 12 seismometer. The
seismic signal generated by the impact lasted 3 hours 20 minutes and
was so strong that a ground command was necessary to reduce seismometer
gain and keep the recording on the scale. The suprathermal ion detector
experiment, also deployed by the Apollo 12 crew, recorded
a jump in the number of ions from zero at the time of impact up to
2,500 shortly thereafter and then back to a zero count. Scientists
theorized that ionization had been produced by 6,300 K to 10,300 K
(6,000 degrees C to 10,000 degrees C) temperature generated by the
impact or that particles had reached an altitude of 60 kilometers from
the lunar surface and had been ionized by sunlight.
Meanwhile back in the CSM/LM, the crew had been performing the routine
housekeeping duties associated with the period of the translunar coast.
At 30:40 ground elapsed time a midcourse correction maneuver took the
spacecraft off a free-return trajectory in order to control the arrival
time at the moon. Ensuring proper lighting conditions at the landing
site. The maneuver placed the spacecraft on the desired trajectory, on
which the closest approach to the moon would be 114.9 kilometers.
At 10:08 p.m. EST April 13, the crew reported an undervoltage alarm on
the CSM main bus B, rapid loss of pressure in SM oxygen tank No. 2, and
dropping current in fuel cells 1 and 3 to a zero reading. The loss of
oxygen and primary power in the service module required an immediate
abort of the mission. The astronauts powered up the LM, powered down the
CSM, and used the LM systems for power and life support. The first
maneuver following the abort decision was made with the descent
propulsion system to place the spacecraft back in a free-return
trajectory around the moon. After the spacecraft swung around the moon,
another maneuver reduced the coast time back to earth and moved the
landing point from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific.
About four hours before reentry on April 17, the service module was
jettisoned and the crew took photographs and made visual observations
of the damaged area. About one hour before splashdown the command
module was powered up and the lunar module was jettisoned. Parachutes
were deployed as planned, and the Odyssey landed in the
mid-Pacific 6.4 kilometers from the recovery ship U.S.S. Iwo
Jima at 1:07 p.m. EST April 17. The astronauts were picked up by
helicopter and transported to the recovery ship less than an hour after
MSC "Apollo 13 Mission Report" (MSC-02680), Sept. 1970; MSC
"Apollo 13 (AS-508) Flight Summary," undated; memos, C. M.
Lee, NASA Hq., to distr., "Mission Director's Summary Report,
Apollo 13," April 17, 1970; E. R. Mathews, KSC, "Apollo 13
(AS-508) Post-Launch Report," April 24, 1970.
MSC informed NASA Hq. that the Apollo 12 ALSEP left on the
moon in November 1969 was continuing to transmit satisfactory data.
Status of experiments feeding data into the station was as follows:
The operation of the solar wind experiment was satisfactory. During the
lunar days, useful data were being received from the lunar surface
magnetometer. However, during the lunar-night cycle data were not
Useful data were being received from the three long-period sensors of
the passive seismometer experiment. The short period sensor was
The cold cathode ion gauge power had failed.
Satisfactory data were being received from the suprathermal ion
Ltr., James A. McDivitt, MSC, to Rocco A. Petrone, NASA Hq.,
"Operational Status of Apollo 12 ALSEP," April 13, 1970.
April 13-June 15
"Hey, we've got a problem here." The message from the
Apollo 13 spacecraft to Houston ground controllers at
10:08 p.m. EDT on April 13, initiated an investigation to determine the
cause of an oxygen tank failure that aborted the Apollo 13
mission. The investigation terminated on June 15, when the Review Board
accident report was released by NASA at a Headquarters press
The Apollo 13 Review Board was established April 17 by George M. Low,
NASA Deputy Administrator, and Thomas O. Paine, NASA Administrator, who
appointed the Director of Langley Research Center, Edgar M. Cortright,
as Review Board Chairman. On April 21 the members of the Board were
named. In addition, by separate memos of April 20, the Aerospace Safety
Advisory Panel was requested to review the procedures and findings of
the Board and the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight was
directed to provide records, data, and technical support as requested by
the Board. The investigation indicated the accident was caused by a
combination of mistakes and a somewhat deficient design. The following
sequence of events led to the accident:
Based on the findings of the Board, a number of recommendations were
made to preclude similar accidents in future space flights:
- After assembly and acceptance testing, the oxygen tank no. 2 that
flew on Apollo 13 was shipped from Beech Aircraft Corp. to
North American Rockwell (NR) in apparently satisfactory condition.
- However, the tank contained two inadequate protective thermostatic
switches on the heater assembly, and they subsequently failed during
ground test operations at Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
- In addition, the tank probably contained a loosely fitting fill tube
assembly. This assembly was probably displaced during subsequent
handling, which included an incident at the prime contractor's plant in
which the tank was jarred.
- In itself, the displaced fill tube assembly was not particularly
serious, but it led to improvised detanking procedures at KSC, which
"almost certainly set the stage for the accident."
- Although Beech had not met any problem in detanking during
acceptance tests, it was not possible to detank oxygen tank no. 2 using
normal procedures at KSC. Tests and analyses indicate that the problem
was gas leakage through the displaced fill tube assembly.
- The special detanking procedures at KSC subjected the tank to an
extended period of heater operation and pressure cycling. "These
procedures had not been used before, and the tank had not been qualified
by test for the conditions experienced. However, the procedures did not
violate the specifications which governed the operation of the heaters
- In reviewing these procedures before the flight, officials of NASA,
NR, and Beech did not recognize the possibility of damage from
overheating. Many were not aware of the extended heater operation. In
any event, adequate thermostatic switches might have been expected to
protect the tank.
- A number of factors contributed to the presence of inadequate
thermostatic switches in the heater assembly. The original 1962
specifications from NR to Beech Aircraft Corp. for the tank and heater
assembly specified the use of 28-volt, direct-current power, which was
used in the spacecraft. In 1965, NR issued a revised specification that
stated the heaters should use a 65-volt dc power supply for tank
pressurization; this was the power supply used at KSC to reduce
pressurization time. Beech ordered switches for the Block II tanks but
did not change the switch specifications to be compatible with 65-volt
- The thermostatic switch discrepancy was not detected by NASA, NR, or
Beech in their review of documentation, nor did tests identify the
incompatibility of the switches with the ground support equipment (GSE)
at KSC, "since neither qualification nor acceptance testing required
switch cycling under load as should have been done. It was a serious
oversight in which all parties shared."
- The thermostatic switches could accommodate the 65-volt dc during
tank pressurization because they normally remained cool and closed.
However, they could not open without damage with 65 volt dc power
applied. They were not required to open until the special detanking.
During this procedure, as the switches started to open when they reached
their upper temperature limit, they were welded permanently closed by
the resulting arc and were rendered inoperative as protective
- Failure of the thermostatic switches to open could have been
detected at KSC if switch operation had been checked by observing heater
current readings on the oxygen tank heater control panel. Although not
recognized at the time, the tank temperature readings indicated that the
heaters had reached their temperature limit "and switch opening should have been expected."
- Subsequent tests showed that failure of the thermostatic switches
probably permitted the temperature of the heater tube assembly to reach
about 1,000 degrees F [810 K] in spots during the continuous eight-hour
period of heater operation. Such heating had been shown by tests to
damage severely the Teflon insulation on the fan motor wires near the
heater assembly. "From that time on, including pad occupancy , the
oxygen tank no. 2 was in a hazardous condition when filled with oxygen
and electrically powered."
- Nearly 56 hours into the mission, the fan motor wiring, possibly
moved by the fan stirring, short-circuited and ignited its insulation.
Combustion in the oxygen tank "probably overheated and failed the
wiring conduit where it entered the tank, and possibly a portion of the
- The rapid expulsion of high-pressure oxygen which followed,
"possibly augmented by combustion of insulation in the space
surrounding the tank, blew off the outer panel to bay 4 of the SM,
caused a leak in the high-pressure system of oxygen tank no. 1, damaged
the high-gain antenna, caused other miscellaneous damage, and aborted
Memos, Low and Paine to Cortright, "Establishment of Apollo 13
Review Board," April 17, 1970; Low and Paine to Cortright,
"Membership of Apollo 13 Review Board," April 21, 1970; Low
and Paine to Chairman, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Charles D.
Harrington, "Review of Procedures and Findings of Apollo 13 Review
Board," April 20, 1970; Low and Paine to Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq.,
"Apollo 13 Review," April 20, 1970; ltr., Cortright to Paine,
June 15, 1970; House Committee on Science and Astronautics, The
Apollo 13 Accident: Hearings, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., June 16,
1970, pp. 234-36, 273-74.
- The cryogenic oxygen storage system in the service module should be
- Remove from contact with the oxygen all wiring and unsealed
motors that could potentially short-circuit and ignite adjacent
materials; or otherwise ensure against an electrically induced fire in
- Minimize the use of Teflon, aluminum, and other relatively
combustible materials in the presence of the oxygen and potential
- The modified cryogenic oxygen storage system should be subjected to
a rigorous requalification program, including careful attention to
potential operational problems.
- The warning systems on the Apollo spacecraft and in the Mission
Control Center should be carefully reviewed and modified where
appropriate, with specific attention to:
- Increasing the differential between master alarm trip levels and
expected normal operating ranges to avoid unnecessary alarms.
- Changing the caution and warning system logic to prevent an
out-of-limits alarm from blocking another alarm if a second quantity in
the same subsystem went out of limits.
- Establishing a second level of limit sensing in Mission Control on
critical quantities, with a visual or audible alarm that could not be
- Providing independent talk-back indicators for each of the six
fuel cell reactant valves plus a master alarm when any valve closed.
- Consumables and emergency equipment in the LM and the CM should be
reviewed to determine whether steps should be taken to enhance their
potential for use in a 'lifeboat' mode.
- MSC should complete the special tests and analyses under way to
understand more completely the details of the Apollo 13
accident. In addition, the lunar module power system anomalies should
receive careful attention. Other NASA Centers should continue support
to MSC in the areas of analysis and test.
- Whenever significant anomalies occurred in critical subsystems
during final preparation for launch, standard procedures should require
a presentation of all prior anomalies on that particular piece of
equipment, including those which have previously been corrected or
explained. Critical decisions on flightworthiness should require the
full participation of an expert "intimately familiar with the
details of that subsystem."
- NASA should thoroughly reexamine all its spacecraft, launch
vehicle, and ground systems containing high-density oxygen or other
strong oxidizers, to identify and evaluate potential combustion
hazards in the light of information developed in this investigation.
- NASA should conduct additional research on materials compatibility
, ignition, and combustion in strong oxidizers at various gravity
levels and on the characteristics of supercritical fluids. Where
appropriate, new NASA design standards should be developed.
- MSC should reassess all Apollo spacecraft subsystems, and the
engineering organizations responsible for them at MSC and at its prime
contractors, to ensure adequate understanding and control of the
engineering and manufacturing details at the subcontractor and vendor
level. "Where necessary, organizational elements should be strengthened
and in-depth reviews conducted on selected subsystems with emphasis on
soundness of design, quality of manufacturing, adequacy of test, and
To support the Apollo 13 Review Board, an MSC Apollo 13 Investigation
Team, headed by Scott H. Simpkinson, was established with the following
panels: spacecraft incident investigation, flight crew observations,
flight operations and network ; photograph handling, processing, and
cataloging ; corrective action study and implementation for the CSM, LM,
and government-furnished equipment; related system evaluation; reaction
processes in high-pressure fluid systems; high-pressure oxygen system
survey; public affairs; and administration, communications, and
Memos, James A. McDivitt, MSC, to Apollo 13 Investigation Team,
"Apollo 13 Investigation Team organization," April 19, 1970;
Owen G. Morris, MSC, to Scott H. Simpkinson, "Apollo 13
Investigation Team organization," April 20, 1970.
NASA Hq. and Center actions were initiated on recommendations of the
Apollo 13 Review Board. The Associate Administrator for Space Science
and Applications would take specific action on recommendations 6, 7, and
9 of the report as they applied to spacecraft, launch vehicles,
aircraft, ground systems and laboratories under OSSA jurisdiction. Lewis
Research Center was directed to conduct a comprehensive review of
oxygen-handling practices in NASA programs. The Aerospace Safety
Research and Data Institute was already conducting studies on oxygen
handling in aerospace programs. Other Centers were taking action on
Board recommendations as applicable. (See July 16 entry.)
Memos, George M. Low, NASA Hq., to Associate Administrator for Space
Science and Applications, "Recommendations of the Apollo 13 Review
Board," June 26, 1970; Low to Director, Lewis Research Center,
"Expansion of ASRDI Oxygen Systems Review," June 26, 1970; T.
O. Paine, NASA Hq., to Director, Lewis Research Center, "Review of
Oxygen Handling in Aerospace Programs to be Conducted by the Aerospace
Safety Research and Data Institute (ASRDI)," May 19, 1970; Bruce
T. Lundin, Lewis Research Center to Deputy Administrator,
"Proposed oxygen handling program," July 14, 1970; Deputy
Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications
(Engineering) to distr., "Recommendations of the Apollo 13 Review
Board," Aug. 5, 1970.
Efforts of MSC personnel that had been redirected to support the
Apollo 13 investigation would again be concentrated on the
Apollo-experience-reporting project in an effort to attain a
publication date of November 1, 1970.
Memo, Scott H. Simpkinson, MSC, to distr., "Apollo experience
reporting," July 14, 1970.
MSC moved to reassess all Apollo spacecraft subsystems and the
engineering organizations responsible for them at MSC and its prime
contractors, in response to Apollo 13 Review Board recommendation 9 (see
April 13-June 15).
Memo, James A. McDivitt, MSC, to distr., "Apollo 13 Review Board
Report - Recommendation #9," July 16, 1970; extract from
recommendation 9 of the Apollo 13 Review Board Report.
During the anniversary of Apollo 11, NASA Administrator
Thomas O. Paine said: "The success of Apollo 11 marked the
beginning of a new and important phase of mankind - not just the
triumphant end of a mission. The mission was a voyage of discovery, and
an important part of the discovery was the revelation of the infinite
human potential for achievement as an endless new frontier was opened
for future generations.
"Our remarkable progress in the first dozen years of the space age
demonstrates that no dreams are impossible of realization, that the
prospects for progress and human betterment here on earth as well as in
space are limitless. And you may be sure that despite changing program
directions, NASA will continue to play an exciting and vigorous role in
the avant-garde of human progress."
Paine, Message to NASA coworkers, July 17, 1970.
North American Rockwell announced that William B. Bergen, who had been
serving as president of North American's Space Division, would become a
corporate vice president with the title Group Vice President - Aerospace
and Systems. This was one of a number of key organizational steps taken
since January to improve and strengthen the North American management
structure in response to significant changes that had occurred in the
Ltr., Robert Anderson, North American Rockwell Corp., to Robert R.
Gilruth, MSC, Aug. 11, 1970.
NASA was canceling Apollo missions 15 and 19 because of congressional
cuts in FY 1971 NASA appropriations, Administrator Thomas O. Paine
announced in a Washington news conference. Remaining missions would be
designated Apollo 14 through 17. The Apollo budget would be reduced by
$42.1 million, to $914.4 million - within total NASA $3.27 billion.
"Statement by Dr. Thomas O. Paine," Sept. 2, 1970;
Astronauts and Aeronautics, 1970 (NASA SP-4015, 1972), pp.
248, 257, 284-85.
Modifications were made in MSFC's lunar roving vehicle simulator and the
static mockup to eliminate extreme arm and hand fatigue felt by a flight
crew member and other test subjects after driving 10 to 15 minutes in
LRV simulator evaluation tests. A T-shaped handle was added to the
pistol grip; a parking-brake release and a reduced brake-travel distance
were incorporated; and a mechanical reverse lockout was added.
Memo, James A. McDivitt, MSC, to Richard G. Smith, MSFC, "Lunar
roving vehicle hand controller," Sept. 11, 1970.
Apollo 13's service module oxygen tank.
Redesigned oxygen tank.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported MSC actions on the Apollo 13
Review Board recommendations (see April 13-June 15), including:
Ltr., Gilruth to Edgar M. Cortright, LaRC, Nov. 24, 1970.
- Fan motors had been removed from oxygen storage tanks in the service
modules; the electrical leads had been encased in stainless steel
sheaths with hermetically sealed headers and had been shielded from
contact with the remaining Teflon parts.
- The modified cryogenic oxygen storage system had been subjected to a
comprehensive recertification program developed in close coordination by
North American Rockwell, Beech Aircraft Corp., and NASA. Requirements
were founded on environmental as well as operational factors necessary
to prove design capability.
- No major changes had been made in the caution and warning system.
- The LM and CSM consumables and emergency equipment had been reviewed
to determine any design changes required to provide a safe return from
lunar orbit in the event of a service module cryogenic-oxygen-supply
loss. Three design changes were made in the CSM related to the oxygen
tanks, an LM descent battery, and a water storage system in the CM.
- MSC had made special tests and analyses to understand the
Apollo 13 accident better. The testing had reaffirmed the
conclusions reached by the Apollo 13 Review Board.
- Significant anomalies in critical subsystems during final
preparation for launch would be analyzed and resolved with authorized
and documented corrective action in much the same manner as employed
during the missions. An Apollo Program Directive for identification and
resolution of significant failures and anomalies had been issued.
- A thorough reexamination of all spacecraft, launch vehicle, and
ground systems containing high-density oxygen and other strong oxidizers
was being made to identify and evaluate potential combustion hazards.
- Additional research was being conducted on materials compatibility,
ignition, and combustion in strong oxidizers at various gravity levels
and on the characteristics of supercritical fluids. Arc-ignition tests
of the Apollo 14 oxygen-storage-system materials in both normal and
overstressed modes indicated a positive margin of safety.
- MSC had organized a system-by-system task team effort and made
comprehensive reassessments of each subsystem. Design and qualification
of each subsystem was reaffirmed as adequate for current ground test and
mission requirements with the exception of a heatshield blowout plug for
dumping reaction-control-subsystem propellant for launch aborts.
George M. Low, Acting NASA Administrator, discussed the significance of
unmanned lunar probes Luna XVI and XVII
launched by the U.S.S.R. September 12 and November 10. Luna
XVI had brought lunar samples back to earth and Luna
XVII had landed an unmanned Lunokhod roving vehicle on the
moon's surface. Low stated in a letter to Chairman Clinton P. Anderson
of the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences that while
the two launches were impressive their contributions to science and
technology were relatively minor. Low suggested that the main lesson to
be learned from the two launches specifically and the U.S. and U.S.S.R.
space programs in general was that while the Soviet launch rate was
increasing that of the United States was decreasing. These trends in
the two countries' space programs should be a cause of concern if the
United States was interested in maintaining a position of leadership in
Ltr., Dale D. Myers, NASA Hq., to Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, Dec. 16,
1970; Congressional Record-Senate, Nov. 30, 1970, pp.