Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations

Progress in Washington

In response to a March 1962 request from NASA Headquarters, LOD reviewed its entire fiscal 1963 program. In May six projects were identified that required an early release of funds to avoid slippage in construction schedules: modifications to launch complex 34, support facilities in the Cape area, Apollo mission support facilities, launch complex 39, advanced Saturn or Nova support facilities, and utility installations in the Merritt Island area. Two months later NASA Headquarters was to issue allotments from fiscal 1962 construction of facilities funds for the final planning and design of these projects.22

On 23 May the House voted 343-0 to authorize a NASA budget of $3,671 million for FY 1963 and an additional $71 million for FY 1962. In the Senate, William Proxmire of Wisconsin offered several amendments to the authorization bill. One called for competitive bidding practices to the "maximum practicable extent."* The Senate rejected it by a vote of 23 to 72. He then called for the establishment of a Space Manpower Commission to assess the impact of the lunar landing program on the nation's supply of scientific personnel. The Senate defeated this, 12 to 83. In the end, by voice vote, the Senate authorized a NASA budget of $3,750 million. After the differences between the two houses were resolved, Congress passed the NASA Authorization Act; it totaled $3,744 million. The Launch Operations Center was allowed $328,333,000 for construction of facilities in fiscal year 1963, including $173,550,000 for launch complex 39. The total was $3,000,000 less than the center had requested.23

Because the congressional authorization was less than the amount sought by NASA, and because of newly generated requirements, the Office of Manned Space Flight proposed that NASA request a supplemental FY 1963 grant of $70 million for construction of facilities. The supplemental, D. Brainerd Holmes, head of the Office of Manned Space Flight, felt, was the only possible way to hold to existing schedules. To support this proposal, the Launch Operations Center - now an independent field installation with its own budgeting agency - prepared another series of project documents and forwarded them on 8 September 1962 as its FY 1963 CoF Resubmission and Supplemental.24 These documents reflected new or revised requirements that had come to light since the February budget submittal. In October Associate Administrator Seamans decided not to submit the request.

* This would later prove ironic when competitive bidding cost a Wisconsin firm a contract that had seemed to be securely in hand [see chapter 13-1].