Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations

The Fiscal 1964 Program

Preparation of the FY 1964 budget, like that for FY 1963, had begun before the Launch Operations Directorate became an independent installation. During March 1962, NASA Headquarters called for the FY 1964 preliminary budget and in August began issuing guidelines for detailed estimates. In November 1962, two months after forwarding its FY 1963 supplemental request, LOC submitted its CoF project documents for the FY 1964 budget, salvaging some of the requirements stated in the FY 1963 supplemental. The Office of Manned Space Flight programs included 20 individual project documents, some for new requirements. The FY 1964 submittal was based on the 15 October flight schedules.34

As in FY 1963, most of the money LOC requested for its FY 1964 CoF programs ($333,130,600) was for the manned lunar landing program. LC-39 alone accounted for $225,967,000, or about two-thirds of the total request, with other Apollo requirements, such as support facilities, LC-34, and LC-37, making up a substantial portion of the remainder. Combined with the previous fiscal year CoF request, the FY 1964 program brought the total request for LC-39 to $339,517,000.

The months of intensive study of the lunar program requirements enabled LOC to state its requirements in considerable detail and, for the first time in an LC-39 project document, to include a description of the mobile concept. Of the eight major facilities for LC-39, FY 1963 construction funds had provided for the basic VAB structure (including an area set aside for the launch control center). In FY 1964 funding, LOC requested funds for outfitting the VAB (including the launch control center), two additional launch pads with associated facilities on complex 39, extension of the crawlerway to the additional pads, three additional launch umbilical towers (less steel for one funded in FY 1963), propellant services, and the mobile arming tower, as well as minor modifications and additions at launch complexes 34 and 37.35

Many projected buildings in the Merritt Island industrial area, such as the headquarters building, budgeted for $9,309,000, were simpler to design than the facilities of LC-39. There were exceptions: the central instrumentation facility, which consisted of two buildings - a large structure in the industrial area and an auxiliary structure located about a mile north to avoid radio interference from equipment operating in the primary structure. LOC asked $31,508,000 for these facilities. Almost three-fourths of this would go for equipment, principally for telemetry and tracking.36

Another complex of major importance, the technical and support facilities needed by the Manned Space Center for preflight operations with the Apollo spacecraft, presented two big questions: funding and siting. The Manned Spacecraft Center of Houston wanted to include the complex in its budget, but LOC demurred. Originally planned for the Cape area, the two centers agreed on 28 August 1962 to site the facilities in the Merritt Island industrial area. This complex, initially called "Apollo Mission Support Facilities," consisted primarily of six structures: one for operations and checkout, the others for various support systems.37

LOC had requested $22,510,000 for them in FY 1963. Plans at that time restricted them to the Apollo spacecraft. During August and September 1962, changes in the Apollo and Gemini schedules and in the choice of spacecraft fuels led to a reevaluation of the need for separate Gemini spacecraft facilities. This resulted in the combining of some Apollo and Gemini requirements.38 On 15 October 1962 the Manned Spacecraft Center submitted to LOC an estimate of $23,273,983 for these buildings. LOC forwarded the proposal to Headquarters on the same day.39

With the submission of its FY 1964 budget on 1 November 1962, the Launch Operations Center had accomplished the basic budgetary tasks for the construction that would be required by the manned lunar landing program.40