PART 2 (C)

Design - Decision - Contract

April 1961 through June 1961

1961 April

1961 May

1961 June


April 6

The Marshall Space Flight Center announced that 1.640 million pounds of thrust was achieved in a static- firing of the F-1 engine thrust chamber at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. This was a record thrust for a single chamber.

Baltimore Sun, April 12, 1961; Rocketdyne Skywriter, April 14, 1961.

April 10

A joint meeting of the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups was held at STG. NASA Headquarters and STG representatives briefed members of the Groups on the status of the Apollo program. The individual Liaison Groups were asked to reexamine the Apollo guidelines in the light of NASA and contractor studies conducted during the past year and to help gather detailed technical information for use as background material in the preparation of the Apollo spacecraft specification.

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Configurations and Aerodynamics, April 10 12, 1961.

April 10-12

At the second meeting of the Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Configurations and Aerodynamics at STG, presentations were made on Apollo-related activities at the NASA Centers: heatshield tests (Ames Research Center); reentry configurations (Marshall Space Flight Center); reentry configurations, especially lenticular (modified) and spherically blunted, paraglider soft-landing system, dynamic stability tests, and heat transfer tests (Langley Research Center); tumbling entries in planetary atmospheres (Mars and Venus) (Jet Propulsion Laboratory); air launch technique for Dyna-Soar (Flight Research Center); and steerable parachute system and reentry spacecraft configuration (STG). Work began on the background material for the Apollo spacecraft specification. Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Configurations and Aerodynamics, April 10-12, 1961.

April 10-12

The Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Heating heard reports at STG by Group members on current studies at the NASA Centers. Recommendations concerning the spacecraft specification included:

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Heating, April 10- 12, 1961.

April 10-12

At STG the Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Human Factors discussed the proposed outline for the spacecraft specification. Its recommendations included:

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Human Factors, April 10, 11, and 12, 1961.

April 10-12

The Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Instrumentation and Communications met at STG and drafted an informal set of guidelines and sent them to the other Technical Liaison Groups:

The Group then discussed the preparation of material for the Apollo spacecraft specification.

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Instrumentation and Communications, April 10, 11, and 12, 1961.

April 10-12

The Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Onboard Propulsion met at STG and considered preparation of background material for the Apollo spacecraft specification. It agreed that there were several problem areas for study before onboard propulsion final specifications could be drafted : cryogenic propellant storage problems, booster explosion hazards and assessment thereof, spacecraft system abort modes, propulsion system temperature control, propellant leakage, ignition in a confined space, zero suction pump proposals for cryogenic liquid bipropellant main engine systems, and propellant utilization and measurement system.

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Onboard Propulsion, April 10-12, 1961.

April 10-12

The Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Structures and Materials discussed at STG the preparation of material for the Apollo spacecraft specification. It decided that most of the items proposed for its study could not be specified at that time and also that many of the items did not fall within the structures and materials area. A number of general areas of concern were added to the work plan: heat protection, meteoroid protection, radiation effects, and vibration and acoustics.

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Structures and Materials, April 10-12, 1961.

April 10-12

The Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Trajectory Analysis met at STG and began preparing material for the Apollo spacecraft specification. It recommended:

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Trajectory Analysis, April 10-12, 1961.

April 10-13

In preparing background material for the Apollo spacecraft specification at STG, the Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Mechanical Systems worked on environmental control systems, reaction control systems, auxiliary power supplies, landing and recovery systems, and space cabin sealing.

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Trajectory Analysis, April 10-13, 1961.

April 10-14

Meeting at STG, the Guidance and Control Group changed its name to the "Apollo Technical Liaison Group for Navigation, Guidance, and Control." Definitions were established for "navigation" (the determination of position and velocity), "guidance" (velocity vector control), and "control" (control of rotational orientation about the center of gravity - i.e., attitude control). Work was started on the preparation of the navigation, guidance, and control specifications for the Apollo spacecraft.

Minutes of meeting of Apollo Technical Liaison Group, Navigation, Guidance, and Control, April 10-14, 1961.

April 12

NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., established the permanent Saturn Program Requirements Committee. Members were William A. Fleming, Chairman; John L. Sloop, Deputy Chairman; Richard B. Canright; John H. Disher; Eldon W. Hall; A. M. Mayo; and Addison M. Rothrock, all of NASA Headquarters. The Committee would review on a continuing basis the mission planning for the utilization of the Saturn and correlate such planning with the Saturn development and procurement plans.

Memorandum, Seamans to Program Directors, "Establishment of Saturn Program Requirements Committee," April 12, 1961.

April 12

The Soviet Union launched into orbit the five-ton Vostok I, with Yuri A. Gagarin as pilot, the first man to make a successful orbital space flight. The payload included life-support equipment and radio and television to relay information on the condition of the pilot. The spacecraft apogee was 187.8 miles, the perigee was 109.5 miles, inclination 65.07 degrees, and the orbital period 89.1 minutes. After a 108-minute, one-orbit flight, the capsule and pilot reentered and landed safely in the Soviet Union.

New York Times, April 13, 1961; Instruments and Spacecraft, p. 170.

April 12

President John F. Kennedy, in his regular press conference, stated that "no one is more tired than I am" of seeing the United States second to Russia in space. "They secured large boosters which have led to their being first in Sputnik, and led to their first putting their man in space. We are, I hope, going to be able to carry out our efforts, with due regard to the problem of the life of the men involved, this year. But we are behind . . . the news will be worse before it is better, and it will be some time before we catch up. . . ."

Washington Post, April 13, 1961.

April 14

Under questioning by the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., stated that a landing on the moon in 1967 might be possible through an all-out crash program at a cost of $4 to $5 billion a year instead of the current budget of $1.236 billion.

Washington Post, April 15, 1961.

April 19

A circular, "Manned Lunar Landing via Rendezvous," was prepared by John C. Houbolt from material supplied by himself, John D. Bird, Max C. Kurbjun, and Arthur W. Vogeley, who were members of the Langley Research Center space station subcommittee on rendezvous. Other members of the subcommittee at various times included W. Hewitt Phillips, John M. Eggleston, John A. Dodgen, and William D. Mace.

Bird, "Short History of the Development of the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Plan at Langley Research Center," p. 3.

April 19

John C. Houbolt and members of the Langley Research Center subcommittee on rendezvous outlined the objectives of a rendezvous program that would lead ultimately to a manned lunar landing:

  1. establish manned and unmanned orbital operations,
  2. establish techniques for accomplishing space missions through the orbital assembly of units.
Three key projects were described which would accomplish these objectives. The first was MORAD (Manned Orbital Rendezvous and Docking). which would require the use of the Mercury-Atlas and Scout in the 1961- 1963 period. Rendezvous in space between the Mercury spacecraft and Scout payload would establish confidence in manned rendezvous techniques and lead to simplification of equipment and increased reliability. The second key project was ARP (Apollo Rendezvous Phases), in which the Atlas, Agena, and Saturn boosters would be used in the 1962-1965 period. This program would accomplish rendezvous with space stations, personnel transfer, resupply of space laboratory, execution of space maneuvers after coupling (steps toward lunar landing), and development of specifications for subsequent orbital and moon missions. The third project was called MALLIR (Manned Lunar Landing Involving Rendezvous), in which Saturn and Apollo components would be used during the 1961-1967 period. After qualification of the Saturn components for rendezvous operations, an early manned lunar landing would take place.

Langley Research Center, "Manned Lunar Landing via Rendezvous," April 19, 1961.

April 19

Early LEM model

An early lunar excursion module was proposed by personell of Langley Research Center as the lunar lander for the suggested Project MALLIR.

The booster requirements for Project MALLIR (Manned Lunar Landing Involving Rendezvous) would be satisfied by use of the Saturn C-2 as the basic launch vehicle. The number of boosters needed to achieve a lunar landing would be substantially reduced by using a combination of earth orbit and lunar orbit rendezvous. In a Project MALLIR configuration, two Saturn C-2's would be required. The first would launch the command module, lunar lander, and propulsion unit for lunar braking. The second would launch a booster which would rendezvous in earth orbit with the spacecraft. This booster would be jettisoned after launching the configuration into a lunar trajectory. After reaching lunar orbit, the lunar lander would separate from the command module and descend to the lunar surface. One man would remain behind in the command module orbiting the moon. After a brief lunar stay, the two men would ascend in the lunar lander and rendezvous with the command module. The command module would then boost to return trajectory, leaving behind the lunar lander, and reenter after jettisoning the propulsion unit. The command module was estimated to weigh 11,000 pounds, and the lunar lander 11,000 pounds.

"Manned Lunar Landing via Rendezvous."

April 19

Recommendations on immediate steps to be taken so that the three key projects - MORAD (Manned Orbital Rendezvous and Docking), ARP (Apollo Rendezvous Phases), and MALLIR (Manned Lunar Landing Involving Rendezvous) - could get under way were:

"Manned Lunar Landing via Rendezvous."

April 20

A conference was held at NASA Headquarters on the relationship between the Prospector and Apollo programs. Representatives of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and STG discussed the possible redirection of Prospector planning to support more directly the manned space program. The Prospector spacecraft was intended to soft-land about 2,500 pounds on the lunar surface with an accuracy of +/-1 kilometer anywhere on the visible side of the moon. An essential feature of Prospector was the development of an automatic roving vehicle weighing about 1500 pounds which would permit detailed reconnaissance of the lunar surface over a wide area. STG representatives felt that the most useful feature of the Prospector program lay in its planned ability to soft-land cargo in close proximity to a desired site. Many applications could be foreseen, such as the deposit of landing aids and essential material in support of a manned lunar landing or in continuing support for a manned lunar expedition. However, the Prospector roving vehicle seemed to be a much more complicated and heavier piece of hardware than a manned lunar transport and, for that reason, STG did not support its development. The planning for Prospector involved JPL in-house studies concerning closer integration with manned space flight requirements, definitive decisions on the program within several months, a contractor's study in Fiscal Year 1962, engineering design in Fiscal Year 1963, and a hardware contract at a future date. Future Prospector planning would emphasize its cargo-carrying ability as a prime requirement, JPL representatives stated.

Memorandum, H. Kurt Strass, Apollo Project Office, to Associate Director, STG, "Conference at NASA Headquarters Concerning Relationship Between the Prospector and Apollo Programs, April 20, 1961," May 1, 1961.

April 25

Mercury-Atlas 3 (MA-3) was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range, carrying a "mechanical astronaut" in an intended unmanned orbital flight. Forty seconds after liftoff, MA-3 was destroyed by the range safety officer because the inertial guidance system had failed to pitch the vehicle over toward the horizon. The spacecraft successfully aborted and was recovered a short distance off shore.

Swenson et al., This New Ocean, pp. 335-337.

April 25

A conference was held at Lewis Research Center between STG and Lewis representatives to discuss the research and development contract for the liquid-hydrogen liquid-oxygen fuel cell as the primary spacecraft electrical power source. Lewis had been provided funds approximately $300,000 by NASA Headquarters to negotiate a contract with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division of United Aircraft Corporation for the development of a fuel cell for the Apollo spacecraft. STG and Lewis representatives agreed that the research and development should be directed toward the liquid-hydrogen - liquid-oxygen fuel cell. Guidelines were provided by STG:

Lewis planned to request a pilot model of the fuel cell of about 250 watts capacity, capable of unattended operation. Contract negotiations were expected to be completed by May 2 and the model delivered within 12 months of the contract award.

Memorandum, Preston T. Maxwell, Aeronautical Research Engineer, to Associate Director (Research and Development), STG, "Conference with Lewis Research Center Personnel to Discuss R and D Contract for H2-O2 Fuel Cell," April 27, 1961.

April 28

Little Joe 5B was launched from Wallops Island, carrying a production Mercury spacecraft. In spite of an erroneous trajectory which subjected the capsule to much greater dynamic pressures than planned, the spacecraft and escape system performed successfully.

Swenson et al., This New Ocean, pp. 337-338.

April 29

The first successful flight qualification test of the Saturn SA-1 booster took place in an eight-engine test lasting 30 seconds.

Saturn Illustrated Chronology, p. 24.

During the Month

The Douglas Aircraft Company reported that air transport of the Saturn C-1 second stage (S-IV) was feasible.

Saturn Illustrated Chronology, p. 22.

May 1

Anticipating the expanded scope of manned space flight programs, STG proposed a manned spacecraft development center. The nucleus for a center existed in STG, which was handling the Mercury project. A program of much greater magnitude would require a substantial expansion of staff and facilities and of organization and management controls.

STG Study, "Manned Spacecraft Development Center, Organizational Concepts and Staffing Requirements," May1, 1961.

May 2

NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., established the Ad Hoc Task Group for a Manned Lunar Landing Study, to be chaired by William A. Fleming of NASA Headquarters. The study was expected to produce the following information:

The study began on May 8 and the final report was submitted on June 16. Guidelines served as a starting point for the study:

Memorandum, Seamans to Directors, Office of Space Flight Programs, Office of Launch Vehicle Programs, Office of Advanced Research Programs, and Office of Life Sciences Programs, "Establishment of Ad Hoc Task Group for Manned Lunar Landing Study," May 2, 1961.

C-2 mission possibilities

The engineering sketch drawn by John D. Bird of Langley Research Center on May 3, 1961, indicated the thinking of that period: By launching two Saturn C-2's, the lunar landing mission could be accomplished by using both earth rendezvous and lunar rendezvous at various stages of the mission.

May 5

STG completed the first draft of "Project Apollo, Phase A, General Requirements for a Proposal for a Manned Space Vehicle and System" [Statement of Work], an early step toward the spacecraft specification. A circumlunar mission was the basis for planning.

"Apollo Spacecraft Chronology," p. 8.

May 5

In the first American manned space flight, Freedom 7, piloted by Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr., was launched successfully from the Atlantic Missile Range. The Redstone rocket boosted the Mercury capsule to 116.5 miles and a maximum speed of 5,180 miles per hour. After a flight of 15 minutes and 22 seconds, the landing was made 302 miles downrange from the launch site. Recovery operations were perfect; there was no damage to the spacecraft; and Astronaut Shepard was in excellent condition.

Grimwood, Project Mercury: A Chronology, p. 137.

May 7

Albert C. Hall of The Martin Company proposed to Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA's Associate Administrator, that the Titan II be considered as a launch vehicle in the lunar landing program. Although skeptical, Seamans arranged for a more formal presentation the next day. Abe Silverstein, NASA's Director of Space Flight Programs, was sufficiently impressed to ask Director Robert R. Gilruth and STG to study the possible uses of Titan II. Silverstein shortly informed Seamans of the possibility of using the Titan II to launch a scaled-up Mercury spacecraft.

Interview with Seamans, Washington, D.C., May 26, 1966.

May 8

After study and discussion by STG and Marshal! Space Flight Center officials, STG concluded that the current 154-inch diameter of the second stage (S-IV) adapter for the Apollo spacecraft would be satisfactory for the Apollo missions on Saturn flights SA-7, SA-8, SA-9, and SA-1 0.

Letter, Robert R. Gilruth, Director, STG, to Marshall Space Flight Center, Attn: W. M. von Braun, Director, "S-IV Adapter and C-1 Two-Stage Report," May 8, 1961.

Cutaway of proposed D-2 spacecraft

A cross-section drawing of the vehicle (D-2) recommended by General Electric's Missile and Space Vehicle Department for the Apollo program during the Apollo feasibility study, completed in May 1961. (G.E. illustration)

A mission sequence

A mission sequence to earth landing, developed by G.E. during its Project Apollo feasibility study, including the planned configuration through the lunar-earth trajectory, reentry, and landing. (G.E. illustration)

C-1 mission possibilities

"TO THE MOON WITH C-1's OR BUST" was the theme of the day at Langley Research Center May 22, 1961. The sketch by John D. Bird on that day portrays the means of completing the lunar mission by launching ten C-1's.

May 15-17

The final reports on the feasibility study contracts for the advanced manned spacecraft were submitted to STG at Langley Field, Va., by the General Electric Company, Convair Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation, and The Martin Company. These studies had begun in November 1960.

Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961, pp. 20, 23; "Apollo Spacecraft Chronology," p. 9.

May 22

The second draft of a Statement of Work for the development of an advanced manned spacecraft was completed, incorporating results from NASA in-house and contractor feasibility studies.

"Apollo Spacecraft Chronology," p. 9.

May 25

In a special message to Congress on urgent national needs, President John F. Kennedy called for new, long- range goals for the space program: "Now it is time to take longer strides - time for a great new American enterprise time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth. . . . I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish . . . in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there." The President also called for the early development of the Rover nuclear rocket, the acceleration of the use of space satellites for worldwide communications, and the development of a weather satellite system. For these and associated projects in space technology, the President requested additional appropriations totaling $611 million for NASA and DOD for Fiscal Year 1962.

U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Documents on International Aspects of the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, 1954-1962, Staff Report, 88th Congress, 1st Session (1963), pp. 202, 203.

Lunar lander comparison

Lunar lander sizes under study in May 1962 as various groups were making determinations on the best way to achieve the lunar landing goal.

May 25

Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA's Associate Administrator, requested the Directors of the Office of Launch Vehicle Programs and the Office of Advanced Research Programs to bring together members of their staffs with other persons from NASA Headquarters to assess a wide variety of possible ways of accomplishing the lunar landing mission. This study was to supplement the one being done by the Ad Hoc Task Group for Manned Lunar Landing Study (Fleming Committee) but was to be separate from it. Bruce T. Lundin was appointed Chairman of the study group (Lundin Committee). The following guidelines were suggested :

The Lundin Committee report was submitted June 10.

Memorandum, Associate Administrator to Directors, Launch Vehicle Programs and Advanced Research Programs, "Broad Study of Feasible Ways for Accomplishing Manned Lunar Landing Mission," May 25, 1961; Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 1958-1963, p. 213.

May 31

STG submitted to NASA Headquarters recommendations on crew selection and training:

Letter, Robert R. Gilruth, Director, STG, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: Abe Silverstein, "Apollo Crew Selection and Training," May 31, 1961.

During the Month

The Marshall Space Flight Center began reevaluation of the Saturn C-2 configuration capability to support circumlunar missions. Results showed that a Saturn vehicle of even greater performance would be desirable.

Saturn Illustrated Chronology, p. 26.

During the Month

Basic concepts of the lunar orbit rendezvous plan were presented to the Lundin Committee by John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center.

Bird, "Short History of the Development of the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous Plan at the Langley Research Center," p. 3.

June 1

NASA announced a change in the Saturn C-1 vehicle configuration. The first ten research and development flights would have two stages, instead of three, because of the changed second stage (S-IV) and, starting with the seventh flight vehicle, increased propellant capacity in the first stage (S-1) booster.

Senate Staff Report, Manned Space Flight Program, p. 199.

June 2

A meeting to discuss Project Apollo plans and programs was held at NASA Headquarters. Abe Silverstein, Warren J. North, John H. Disher, and George M. Low of NASA Headquarters and Robert R. Gilruth, Walter C. Williams, Maxime A. Faget, James A. Chamberlin, and Robert O. Piland of STG participated in the discussions. Six prime contract areas were defined: spacecraft (command center), onboard propulsion, lunar landing propulsion, launch vehicle (probably several prime contracts), tracking and communications network, and launch facilities and equipment. The prime contractor for the spacecraft would be responsible for the design, engineering, and fabrication of the spacecraft; for the integration of the onboard and lunar landing propulsion systems: and for the integration of the entire spacecraft system with the launch vehicle. In connection with the prime contract, STG would:

In connection with other projects directly relating to the Apollo program, STG was to:

The Office of Space Flight Programs would arrange a meeting with the Office of Advanced Research Programs, STG, and Langley Research Center on the Atlas-Agena reentry tests and with the Office of Advanced Research Programs, Office of Life Sciences Programs, STG, and Ames Research Center on the biomedical flight program.

Memorandum, Low, Assistant Director for Manned Space Flight Programs, to Director of Space Flight Programs, "Report of Meeting with Space Task Group on June 2, 1961," June 6, 1961.

June 5

The Flight Vehicles Integration Branch was organized within STG. Members included H. Kurt Strass, Robert L. O'Neal, and Charles H. Wilson. Maxime A. Faget, Chief, Flight Systems Division, also served as temporary Branch Chief. The Branch was to provide technical aid to STG in solving compatibility requirements for spacecraft and launch vehicles for manned flight missions.

Memorandum, Faget to Staff, STG, "Change in Organization of Flight Systems Division," June 5, 1961.

June 5

Saturn Launch Complex 34 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., was dedicated in a brief ceremony by NASA. The giant gantry, 310 feet high and weighing 2,800 tons, was the largest movable land structure in North America.

Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961, p. 25.

June 7

A preliminary study of a fin-stabilized solid-fuel rocket booster, the Little Joe Senior, was completed by members of STG. The booster would be capable of propelling a full-size Apollo reentry spacecraft to velocities sufficient to match critical portions of the Saturn trajectory. The purpose was to provide a simple and fairly inexpensive means of determining, from flight tests, full-scale configuration concepts, systems hardware performance, and vehicle structural integrity. Of particular importance would be the flight testing of the Apollo spacecraft escape system under simulated maximum conditions. (On April 6, 1962, NASA submitted a Request for Proposal to bidders on the Little Joe Senior, by that time renamed Little Joe II.)

NASA Project Apollo Working Paper No. 1020, "A Preliminary Study of a Fin-Stabilized Solid-Fuel Rocket Booster for Use with the Apollo Spacecraft," June 7, 1961.

June 10

'The Lundin Committee completed its study of various vehicle systems for the manned lunar landing mission, as requested on May 25 by NASA associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The Committee had considered alternative methods of rendezvous: earth orbit, lunar orbit, a combination of earth and lunar orbit, and lunar surface. Launch vehicles studied were the Saturn C-2 and C-3. The concept of a low- altitude earth orbit rendezvous using two or three C-3's was clearly preferred by the Committee. Reasons for this preference were the small number of launches and orbital operations required and the fact that the Saturn C- 3 was considered to be an efficient launch vehicle of great utility and future growth.

Lundin Committee, "A Survey of Various Vehicle Systems for the Manned Lunar Landing Mission," June 10, 1961.

June 16

The Fleming Committee, which had been appointed on May 2, submitted its report to NASA associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on the feasibility of a manned lunar landing program. The Committee concluded that the lunar mission could be accomplished within the decade. Chief pacing items were the first stage of the launch vehicle and the facilities for testing and launching the booster. It also concluded that information on solar flare radiation and lunar surface characteristics should be obtained as soon as possible, since these factors would influence spacecraft design. Special mention was made of the need for a strong management organization.

Ad Hoc Task Group, A Feasible Approach for an Early Manned Lunar Landing, Part I, "Summary Report of Ad Hoc Task Group Study," June 16, 1961, pp. 95-96.

June 20

Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Associate Administrator, notified the Directors of Launch Vehicle Program, Space Flight Programs, Advanced Research Programs, and Life Sciences Programs that Donald H. Heaton had been appointed Chairman of an Ad Hoc Task Group. It would establish program plans and supporting resources necessary to accomplish the manned lunar landing mission by the use of rendezvous techniques, using the Saturn C-3 launch vehicle, with a target date of 1967. Guidelines and operating methods were similar to those of the Fleming Committee. Members of the Task Group would be appointed from the Offices of Launch Vehicle Programs, Space Flight Program, Advanced Research Programs, and Life Sciences Programs. The work of the Group (Heaton Committee) would be reviewed weekly. The study was completed during August.

Memorandum, Seamans to Director, Launch Vehicle Programs, Director, Space Flight Programs, Director, Advanced Research Programs, and Acting Director, Life Sciences Programs, "Establishment of Ad Hoc Task Group for Manned Lunar Landing by Rendezvous Technique." June 20. 1961.

Lunar landing techniques

Two methods of landing techniques proposed for the direct ascent mose for the lunar landing mission.

C-3 mission possibilities

Another John D. Bird engineering sketch shows the potential of the Saturn C-3 for a Lunar mission as visualised in June 1961.

June 23

NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., requested Kurt H. Debus, Director of the NASA Launch Operations Directorate, and Maj. Gen. Leighton I. Davis, Commander of the Air Force Missile Test Center, to make a joint analysis of all major factors regarding the launch requirements, methods, and procedures needed in support of an early manned lunar landing. The schedules and early requirements were to be considered in two phases:

  1. in line with the Fleming Report, a direct flight to the moon would be assumed, using the Saturn C-1 and C-3 launch vehicles in early support phases and liquid- or solid-fueled Nova launch vehicles for the lunar landing;
  2. as a possible alternative or parallel program, orbital rendezvous operations using Saturn C-3 and liquid- fueled Nova.
The analysis should include recommendations on mutual NASA-DOD range responsibilities, authority, management structures, and other allied subjects. On June 30, Seamans notified Debus and Davis that the evaluation of tracking and command stations should not be included in the study. He stressed that the factors of immediate concern with regard to launch operations were those of launch site locations, land acquisition requirements, spacecraft and launch vehicle preparation facilities, vehicle launch facilities, and other facilities and requirements at the launch site. (Phase I of the Report was submitted on July 31.)

Memorandum, Seamans to Commander, AFMTC, and Director, LOD, MSFC, "National Space Program Range Facilities and Resources Planning," June 23, 1961; letter, Seamans to Gen. Davis and Dr. Debus, "National Space Program Range Facilities and Resources Planning," June 30, 1961.

June 23

NASA announced that the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle, which could place ten-ton payloads in earth orbit, would be operational in 1964.

Senate Staff Report, Manned Space Flight Program, p. 200.

June 23

NASA announced that further engineering design work on the Saturn C-2 configuration would be discontinued and that effort instead would be redirected toward clarification of the Saturn C-3 and Nova concepts. Investigations were specifically directed toward determining capabilities of the proposed C-3 configuration in supporting the Apollo mission.

Saturn Illustrated Chronology, pp. 31-32.

June 26

Maxime A. Faget, Paul E. Purser, and Charles J. Donlan of STG met with Arthur W. Vogeley, Clinton E. Brown, and Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., of Langley Research Center on a "lunar landing" paper. Faget's outline was to be used, with part of the information to be worked up by Vogeley.

Memorandum, Purser to Robert R. Gilruth, "Log for the Week of June 26, 1961."

During the Month

STG completed a detailed assessment of the results of the Project Apollo feasibility studies submitted by the three study contractors: the General Electric Company, Convair/Astronautics Division of the General Dynamics Corporation, and The Martin Company. (Their findings were reflected in the Statement of Work sent to prospective bidders on the spacecraft contract on July 28.)

"Apollo Spacecraft Chronology," p. 9.

During the Month

Members of Langley Research Center briefed the Heaton Committee on the lunar orbit rendezvous method of accomplishing the manned lunar landing mission.

Manned Lunar-Landing through use of Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous, p. 5.


Construction began at Langley Research Center of facilities specifically oriented toward the Apollo program, including a lunar landing simulator. Interview with Charles J. Donlan, Langley Research Center, June 20, 1966.

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