PART 2 (E)

Design - Decision - Contract

October/November 1961

1961 October

1961 November


October 3

The Charter of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board, prepared jointly by Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and STG, was approved at the first meeting of the Board at NASA Headquarters. The purpose of the Space Vehicle Board was to assure complete coordination and cooperation between all levels of the MSFC and STG management for the NASA manned space flight programs in which both Centers had responsibilities. Members of the Board were the Directors of MSFC and STG (Wernher von Braun and Robert R. Gilruth), the Deputy Director for Research and Development, MSFC (Eberhard F. M. Rees), and the STG Associate Director (Walter C. Williams). The Board was responsible for:

A Sub-Board would comprise the Director, Saturn Systems Office, MSFC (H. H. Koelle), the Apollo Project Manager, STG (Robert O. Piland), the Board Secretary, and alternate Board Secretary.

The Sub-Board would :

The Secretariat set up under the Charter was to be responsible for the orderly conduct of business and meetings.

Four Saturn-Apollo Coordination Panels were established to make available the technical competence of MSFC and STG for the solution of interrelated problems of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft. The four included the Launch Operations, Mechanical Design, Electrical and Electronics Design, and Flight Mechanics, Dynamics, and Control Coordination Panels. Although these Panels were designated as new Panels, the members selected by STG and MSFC represented key technical personnel who had been included in the Mercury-Redstone Panels, the Mercury-Atlas Program Panels, the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups, and the Saturn working groups. The Charter was signed by von Braun and Gilruth. Charter of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board, October 3, 1961.

October 3

The MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board at NASA Headquarters discussed the S- IVB stage, which would be modified by the Douglas Aircraft Company to replace the six LR-115 engines with a single J-2 engine. Funds of $500,000 were allocated for this study to be completed in March 1962. The status of orbital launch operations studies at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) were reviewed and the Board agreed that an ad hoc study group should be formed to consider such operations and the S-IVB as the orbital launch vehicle. Other matters discussed were the mission plans for SA-5 through SA-10, a review of the Apollo flight program schedule, planned MSFC participation in the Dyna-Soar program, the agenda for the first meeting of the Advanced Program Coordination Board, and joint MSFC-STG study of post-Apollo programs.

Minutes, Marshall Space Flight Center-Manned Spacecraft Center Space Vehicle Board Meeting No. 1, November 7, 1961; Senate Staff Report, Manned Space Flight Program, p. 202.

October 4

Representatives of STG visited the Instrumentation Laboratory of MIT for the second monthly progress report meeting on the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation contract. A number of technical topics were presented by Laboratory speakers: space sextant visibility and geometry problems, gear train analysis, vacuum environmental approach, midcourse guidance theory, inertial measurement unit, and gyro. The organization of the Apollo effort at the Laboratory was also discussed. A preliminary estimate of the cost for both Laboratory and industrial support for the Apollo navigation and guidance system was presented: $158.4 million through Fiscal Year 1966.

Memorandum, William W. Petynia, Apollo Project Office, to Associate Director, "Second Apollo Monthly Meeting at MIT, Instrumentation Laboratory, on October 4, 1961," October 10, 1961.

October 11

Officials of STG heard oral reports from representatives of five industrial teams bidding on the contract for the Apollo spacecraft: General Dynamics/Astronautics in conjunction with the Avco Corporation; General Electric Company, Missile and Space Vehicle Department, in conjunction with Douglas Aircraft Company, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, and Space Technology Laboratories, Inc.; McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in conjunction with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Hughes Aircraft Company, and Chance Vought Corporation of Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc.; The Martin Company; and North American Aviation, Inc. Written proposals had been received from the contractors on October 9. The presentations were made in the Virginia Room of the Chamberlain Hotel at Old Point Comfort, Va. Following the reports, 11 panels, under the direction of the Business and Technical Subcommittees, began studying the proposals. The Panels established were: Systems Integration; Propulsion; Flight Mechanics; Structures, Materials, and Heating; Human Factors; Instrumentation and Communications; Onboard Systems; Ground Operational Support Systems and Operations; Technical Development Plan; Reliability; and Manufacturing. The Technical Assessment Panels completed their evaluation October 20 and made their final report to the Technical Subcommittee on October 25. The Technical Subcommittee made its final report to the Source Evaluation Board on November 1.

MSC Space News Roundup, November 1, 1961, p. 8; December 13, 1961, p. 7; "Apollo Spacecraft Chronology," p. 12.

October 20

The MSFC-STG Advanced Program Coordination Board met at STG and discussed the question of the development of an automatic checkout system which would include the entire launch vehicle program from the Saturn C-1 through the Nova. It agreed that the Apollo contractor should be instructed to make the spacecraft electrical subsystems compatible with the Saturn complex.

In further discussion, Paul J. DeFries of Marshall Space Flight Center MSFC presented a list of proposed guidelines for use in studying early manned lunar landing missions:

Some of the points discussed in connection with these suggestions were:

After the discussion on orbital launch operations, the Board agreed that contemporary technology was inadequate to support such operations. Both STG and MSFC would need to study and develop both refueling and connector techniques.

Memorandum, J. Thomas Markley, Acting Secretary, to Distribution Members of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board, "Minutes of MSFC-MSC Advanced Program Coordination Board," December 11, 1961.

October 25

NASA selected the Pearl River site in southwestern Mississippi, about 35 miles from the Michoud plant near New Orleans, La., as a static-test facility for Saturn- and Nova-class launch vehicles. The completed facility would operate under the direction of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Washington Daily News, October 26, 1961; Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961, p. 58.

October 27

The Saturn SA-1 first-stage booster was launched successfully from Cape Canaveral. The 925,000-pound launch vehicle, the largest known to be tested up to that time, carried water-filled dummy upper stages to an altitude of 84.8 miles and 214.7 miles down the Atlantic Missile Range. The booster's eight clustered H-1 engines developed 1.3 million pounds of thrust.

Washington Evening Star, October 28, 1961; Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961, p. 58.

October 31

Under the direction of John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center, a two-volume work entitled "Manned Lunar-Landing through use of Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous" was presented to the Golovin Committee (organized on July 20). The study had been prepared by Houbolt, John D. Bird, Arthur W. Vogeley, Ralph W. Stone, Jr., Manuel J. Queijo, William H. Michael, Jr., Max C. Kurbjun, Roy F. Brissenden, John A. Dodgen, William D. Mace, and others of Langley. The Golovin Committee had requested a mission plan using the lunar orbit rendezvous concept. Bird, Michael, and Robert H. Tolson appeared before the Committee in Washington to explain certain matters of trajectory and lunar stay time not covered in the document.

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

October 31

Robert G. Chilton of STG gave the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory new information based on NASA in- house studies on the Apollo spacecraft roll inertia, pitch and yaw inertia, and attitude jets.

David G. Hoag, MIT, personal notes, October 1961.

A lunar lander

An artist's concept of a small lunar lander during descent to the lunar surface, as proposed by personnel of Langley Research Center in October 1961.

November 1

The Space Task Group was formally redesignated the Manned Spacecraft Center, Robert R. Gilruth, Director.

Grimwood, Project Mercury: A Chronology, p. 152.

November 6

Marshall Space Flight Center directed NAA to redesign the advanced Saturn second stage (S-II) to incorporate five rather than four J-2 engines, to provide a million pounds of thrust.

Saturn Illustrated Chronology, p. 46.

November 6

An Apollo Egress Working Group, consisting of personnel from Marshall Space Flight Center, Launch Operations Directorate, and Atlantic Missile Range, was formed on November 2. Meetings on that date and on November 6 resulted in publication of a seven-page document, "Apollo Egress Criteria." The Group established ground rules, operations and control procedures criteria, and space vehicle design criteria and provided requirements for implementation of emergency egress system.

Memorandum, Walter C. Williams, Associate Director, MSC, to Apollo Office, Attn: Bob Piland; Chief, Flight Operations Division; and Chief, Preflight Operations Division, "Apollo Emergency Egress Requirements," December 11, 1961.

November 6

In a memorandum to D. Brainerd Holmes, Director, Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF), Milton W. Rosen, Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, OMSF, described the organization of a working group to recommend to the Director a large launch vehicle program which would meet the requirements of manned space flight and which would have broad and continuing national utility for other NASA and DOD programs. The group would include members from the NASA Office of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion (Rosen, Chairman, Richard B. Canright, Eldon W. Hall, Elliott Mitchell, Norman Rafel, Melvyn Savage, and Adelbert O. Tischler); from the Marshall Space Flight Center (William A. Mrazek, Hans H. Maus, and James B. Bramlet); and from the NASA Office of Spacecraft and Flight Missions (John H. Disher). (David M. Hammock of MSC was later added to the group.) The principal background material to be used by the group would consist of reports of the Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group (Golovin Committee), the Fleming Committee, the Lundin Committee, the Heaton Committee, and the Debus-Davis Committee. Some of the subjects the group would be considering were:

  1. an assessment of the problems involved in orbital rendezvous,
  2. an evaluation of intermediate vehicles (Saturn C-3, C-4, and C-5),
  3. an evaluation of Nova-class vehicles,
  4. an assessment of the future course of large solid-fuel rocket motor development,
  5. an evaluation of the utility of the Titan III for NASA missions, and
  6. an evaluation of the realism of the spacecraft development program (schedules, weights, performances).
Rosen set November 20 as a target date for a recommended program.

Memoranda, Rosen to Holmes, "Large Launch Vehicle Program," November 6, 1961; Rosen to Holmes, "Recommendations for NASA Manned Space Flight Vehicle Program," November 20, 1961.

November 7-9

Representatives of MSC and NASA Headquarters visited the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory to discuss clauses in the contract for the Apollo navigation and guidance system, technical questions proposed by MSC, and work in progress. Topics discussed included the trajectories for the SA-7 and SA-8 flights and the estimated propellant requirements for guidance attitude maneuvers and velocity changes for the lunar landing mission. Presentations were made on the following subjects by members of the Laboratory staff: the spacecraft gyro, Apollo guidance computer logic design, computer displays and interfaces, guidance computer programming, horizon sensor experiments, and reentry guidance.

Memoranda, Jack Barnard, Apollo Project Office, to Associate Director, MSC, "Visit to MIT Instrumentation Laboratory Concerning the Apollo Navigation and Guidance System," November 15, 1961; William W. Petynia, Apollo Project Office, to Associate Director, MSC, "Third Apollo Monthly Meeting at MIT Instrumentation Laboratory on November 8-9," November 15, 1961.

November 8

The four MSC-MSFC Coordination Panels held their first meeting at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). A significant event was the decision to modify the Electrical and Electronics Design Panel by creating two new Panels: the Electrical Systems Integration Panel and the Instrumentation and Communications Panel. In succeeding months, the Panels met at regular intervals.

MSF Management Council Minutes, June 25, 1963, Agenda Item 6.

November 15

In a letter to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center presented the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) plan and outlined certain deficiencies in the national booster and manned rendezvous programs. This letter protested exclusion of the LOR plan from serious consideration by committees responsible for the definition of the national program for lunar exploration.

Letter, Houbolt to Seamans, November 15, 1961.

November 17

NASA announced that the Chrysler Corporation had been chosen to build 20 Saturn first-stage (S-1) boosters similar to the one tested successfully on October 27 . They would be constructed at the Michoud facility near New Orleans, La. The contract, worth about $200 million, would run through 1966, with delivery of the first booster scheduled for early 1964.

Washington Post, November 18, 1961.

November 18

Ranger II was launched into near-earth orbit from the Atlantic Missile Range by an Atlas-Agena B booster. The scheduled deep-space trajectory of the spacecraft was not achieved when the Agena engine failed to restart in orbit.

Washington Evening Star, November 18, 1961.

November 20

Milton W. Rosen, Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, NASA Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF), submitted to D. Brainerd Holmes, Director, OMSF, the report of the working group which had been set up on November 6. The recommendations of the group were :

Memorandum, Rosen to Holmes, "Recommendations for NASA Manned Space Flight Vehicle Program," November 20, 1961.

November 27

The original Apollo spacecraft Statement of Work of July 28 had been substantially expanded.

The requirements for the spacecraft navigation and guidance system were defined:
Control of translunar injection of the spacecraft and monitoring capability of injection guidance to the crew both for direct ascent and for injection from an earth parking orbit.

Data and computation for mission abort capability en route to the moon and for guidance to a point from which a safe lunar landing could be attempted.

Guidance of the command module to a preselected earth landing site after safe reentry.

Guidance for establishing lunar orbit and making lunar landings; mission abort capability from the lunar landing maneuver.

Control of launch from the lunar surface into transearth trajectory by both direct ascent and from lunar parking orbit.

Rendezvous in earth orbit between the spacecraft and space laboratory module or other space vehicle.

Components of the navigation and guidance system now clearly identified were:
Inertial platform

Space sextant


Controls and displays

Electronics assembly

Chart and star catalog

Range or velocity measuring equipment for terminal control in rendezvous and lunar landing

Backup inertial components for emergency operation

The stabilization and control system requirements were revised:
Roll control as well as flight path control during the thrusting period of atmospheric abort and stability augmentation after launch escape system separation

Stabilization of the spacecraft and the lunar injection configuration while in earth parking orbit

Rendezvous and docking with the space laboratory module or other space vehicle

Attitude control and hovering for lunar landings and launchings and for entering and leaving lunar orbit

Basic components of the stabilization and control system were defined:
Attitude reference

Rate sensors

Control electronics assembly

Manual controls

Attitude and rate displays

Power supplies

A single-engine service module propulsion system would replace the earlier vernier and mission propulsion systems.

The new system would be capable of:
Abort propulsion after jettison of the launch escape system

All major velocity increments and midcourse velocity corrections for missions prior to the lunar landing attempt

Lunar launch propulsion and transearth midcourse velocity correction.

Earth-storable, hypergolic propellants would be used by the new system, which would include single- or multiple-thrust chambers with a thrust- to-weight ratio of at least 0.4 for all chambers operating (based on the lunar launch configuration) and would have a pressurized propellant feed system.

The reaction control systems for the command and service modules would now each consist of two independent system, both capable of meeting the total torque and propellant requirements. The fuel would be monomethylhydrazine and the oxidizer would be a mixture of nitrogen tetroxide and nitrous oxide.

The parachute system for the earth landing configuration was revised to include two FIST-type drogue parachutes deployed by mortars.

The command module structure was specified: a ring-reinforced, single- thickness aluminum shell pressure vessel separated from the outer support structure of relatively rigid brazed or welded sandwich construction. The ablative heatshield would be bonded to this outer structure.

Service module structure was also detailed: an aluminum honeycomb sandwich shell compatible with noise and buffet and with meteoroid requirements. The structural continuity would have to be maintained with adjoining modules and be compatible with the overall bending stiffness requirements of the launch vehicle.

The duties of the three Apollo crewmen were delineated :

Control of the spacecraft in manual or automatic mode in all phases of the mission

Selection, implementation, and monitoring of the navigation and guidance modes

Monitoring and control of key areas of all systems during time-critical periods

Station in the left or center couch

Second in command of the spacecraft

Support of the pilot as alternative pilot or navigator

Monitoring of certain key parameters of the spacecraft and propulsion systems during critical mission phases

Station in the left or center couch

Systems Engineer
Responsibility for all systems and their operation

Primary monitor of propulsion systems during critical mission phases

Responsibility for systems placed on board primarily for evaluation for later Apollo spacecraft

Station in the right-hand couch.

During launch, reentry, or similar critical mission phases, the crew would be seated side by side. At other times, at least one couch would be stowed.

One crew member would stand watch during noncritical mission phases at either of the two primary duty stations. Areas for taking navigation fixes, performing maintenance, food preparation, and certain scientific observations could be separate from primary duty stations. Arrangements of displays and controls would reflect the duties of each crewman. They would be so arranged that one crewman could return the spacecraft safely to earth. All crewmen would be cross-trained so that each could assume the others' duties.

Radiation shielding for the crew would be provided by the mass of the spacecraft modules.

A description of crew equipment was added:
The couch for each crewman would give full body and head support during all normal and emergency acceleration conditions. It would be adjustable to permit changes in body and leg angles and would be so constructed as to allow crewmen to interchange positions and to accommodate a crewman wearing a back or seat parachute. A restraint system would be provided with each couch for adequate restraint during all flight phases. Each support and restraint system would furnish vibration attenuation beyond that needed to maintain general spacecraft integrity. This system would keep crew vibration loads within tolerance limits and also enable the crew to exercise necessary control and monitoring functions.
Pressure suits would be carried for extravehicular activity and for use in the event of cabin decompression.

The spacecraft would be equipped with toilet facilities which would include means for disinfecting the human waste sufficiently to render it harmless and unobjectionable to the crew. Personal hygiene needs, such as shaving, the handling of nonhuman waste, and the control of infectious germs would be provided for.

Food would be dehydrated, freeze-dried, or of a similar type that could be reconstituted with water if necessary. Heating and chilling of the foods would be required. The primary source of potable water would be the fuel cells. In addition, sufficient water would have to be on board at launch for use during the 72-hour landing requirement in case of early abort. Urine would not have to be recycled for potable water.

Emergency equipment would include:
Personal parachutes

Post-landing survival equipment:

one three-man liferaft, food, location aids, first aid supplies, and accessories to support the crew outside the spacecraft for three days in any emergency landing area. In addition, a three-day water supply would be removed from the spacecraft after landing; provision for purifying a three-day supply of sea water would be included.

The crew would be furnished "shirtsleeve" garments, lightweight cap, and exercise and recreation equipment.

Medical instrumentation would be used to monitor the crew during all flights, especially during stressful periods of early flights, and for special experiments to be performed in the space laboratory module and during extravehicular activity and lunar exploration. Each crewman would carry a radiation dosimeter.

The environmental control system would comprise two air loops, a gas supply system, and a thermal control system.
One air loop would supply the conditioned atmosphere to the cabin or pressure suits. The other would remove sensible heat and provide cabin ventilation during all phases of the mission including postlanding.

The primary gas supply would be stored in the service module as supercritical cryogenics. The supply would be 50 percent excess capacity over that required for normal metabolic needs, two complete cabin repressurization, a minimum of 18 airlock operations, and leakage. Recharging of self-contained extravehicular suit support systems would be possible.

Thermal control would be achieved by absorbing heat with a circulating coolant and rejecting this heat from a space radiator. During certain mission modes, other cooling systems would supplement or relieve the primary system.

Water collected from the separator and the fuel cells would be stored separately in positive expulsion tanks. Manual closures, filters, and relief valves would be used where needed as safety devices.

Metabolic requirements for the environmental control system were:

Total cabin pressure (oxygen and nitrogen mixture): 7 +/- 0.2 psia

Relative humidity: 40 to 70 percent

Partial pressure carbon dioxide - maximum 7.6 mm Hg

Temperature: 75 degrees F +/- 5 degrees F

The major components of the electrical power system were described more fully:
Three nonregenerative hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell modules characterized by low pressure, intermediate temperature, Bacon-type, utilizing porous nickel, unactivated electrodes, and aqueous potassium as the electrolyte

Mechanical accessories, including control components, reactant tankage, piping, etc.

Three silver-zinc primary batteries, each having a normal 28-volt output and a minimum capacity of 3,000 watt-hours (per battery) when discharged at the ten-hour rate at 80 degrees F

A display and control panel, sufficient to monitor the operation and status of the system and for distribution of generated power to electrical loads as required

The fuel cell modules and control, tanks (empty), radiators, heat exchangers, piping, valves, total reactants plus reserves would be located in the service module. The silver-zinc batteries anti electrical power distribution and controls would be placed in the command module.

Under normal operation, the entire electrical power requirements would be supplied by the three fuel cell modules operating in parallel. The primary storage batteries would be maintained fully charged under this condition of operation.

If one fuel cell module failed, the unit involved would automatically be electrically and mechanically isolated from the system and the entire electrical load assumed by the two remaining fuel cells. The primary batteries would remain fully charged.

If two fuel cell modules failed, they would be isolated from the system and the spacecraft electrical loads would immediately be reduced by the crew and manually programmed to hold within the generating capacities of the remaining fuel cell.

At reentry, the fuel cell modules and accessories would be jettisoned. All subsequent electrical power requirements would be provided by the primary storage batteries.

Each fuel cell module would have a normal capacity of 1,200 watts at an output voltage of 28 volts and a current density conservatively assigned so that 50 percent overloads could be continuously supplied. The normal fuel cell operating pressure and temperature would be about 60 psia and 425 degrees F to 500 degrees F respectively. Under normal conditions of operation, the specific fuel (hydrogen and oxygen) consumption should not exceed a total of 0.9 lb/kw-hr.

Self-sustaining operation within the fuel cell module should begin at a temperature of about 275 degrees F. A detection system would be provided with each fuel cell module to prevent contamination of the collected potable water supply.

The degree of redundancy provided for mechanical and electrical accessory equipment would be 100 percent.

The distribution portion of the electrical power system would contain all necessary buses, wiring protective devices, and switching and regulating equipment.

Sufficient tankage would be supplied to store all reactants required by the fuel cell modules and environmental controls for a 14-day mission. The reactants would be stored supercritically at cryogenic temperatures and the tankage would consist of two equal volume storage vessels for each reactant. The main oxygen and nitrogen storage would supply both the environmental control system and the fuel cells.

The communication and instrumentation system was further detailed:
The equipment was to be constructed to facilitate maintenance by ground personnel and by the crew and to be as nearly self-contained as possible to facilitate removal from the spacecraft. Flexibility for incorporation of future additions or modifications would be stressed throughout the design. A patch and programming panel would be included which would permit the routing of signal inputs from sensors to any selected signal conditioner and from this te any desired commutator channel. Panel design would provide the capability of "repatching" during a mission. The equipment and system should be capable of sustained undegraded operation with supply voltage variation of +15 percent to -20 percent of the normal bus voltage.

A circuit quality analysis for each radiating electrical system would be required to show exactly how ranging, telemetry, voice, and television data modulated all transmitters with which they were used.

The equipment and associated documentation would be engineered for comprehensive and logical fault tracing.

Components of the communication subsystem would include:
Voice communication


Tracking transponders


Radio recovery aids

Antenna subsystems

Radar altimeter (if required by the guidance system)

The instrumentation system would be required to detect, measure, and display all parameters needed by the crew for monitoring and evaluating the integrity and environment of the spacecraft and performance of the spacecraft systems.

Data would be transmitted to ground stations for assessment of spacecraft performance and for failure analysis. Information needed for abort decisions and aid in the selection of lunar landing sites would also be provided. The mission would be documented through photography and recording.

Included in the components of the instrumentation system were:


Data disposition

Tape recorders

Panel display indicators





In addition to the description of the major command and service module systems, the Statement of Work also included sections on the lunar landing module, space laboratory module, mission control center and ground operational support system, and the engineering and development test plan.

The propulsion system for the lunar landing module would now comprise a composite propulsion system: multiple lunar retrograde engines for the gross velocity increments required for lunar orbiting and lunar landing; and a lunar landing engine for velocity vector control, midcourse velocity control, and the lunar hover and touchdown maneuver. The lunar retrograde engines would use liquid-oxygen and liquid-hydrogen propellants. The single lunar landing engine would require the same type of propellant, would be throttleable over a ratio of +/- 50 percent about the normal value, and would be capable of multiple starts within the design operating life of the engine.

No additions or changes had been made in the space laboratory module systems description.

Overall control of all Apollo support elements throughout all phases of a mission would be exercised by the Mission Control Center. Up to the time of liftoff, mission launch activities would be conducted from the launch control center at Cape Canaveral. Remote stations would be used to support near-earth and lunar flights and track the command module during reentry.

Five major phases of a development and test plan were identified:

  1. Design information and development tests
  2. Qualification, reliability, and integration tests
  3. Major ground tests
  4. Major development flight tests
  5. Flight missions.

NASA, Project Apollo Spacecraft Development Statement of Work (STG, November 27, 1961), Part 3, Technical Approach, pp. 35-96.

November 28

A team and a goal

A team and a goal - officials of North American Aviation, Inc., study a replica of the moon shortly after the announcement that the firm had been selected by NASA as the prime contractor for the Apollo command and service modules. From left to right are Harrison A. Storms, president of North American's Space and Information Systems Division; John W. Paup, program manager of Apollo; and Charles H. Feltz, Apollo program engineer. (NAA photo)

NASA announced that the Space and Information Systems Division of North American Aviation, Inc., had been selected to design and build the Apollo spacecraft. The decision by NASA Administrator James E. Webb followed a comprehensive evaluation of five industry proposals by nearly 200 scientists and engineers representing both NASA and DOD. Webb had received the Source Evaluation Board findings on November 24. Although technical evaluations were very close, NAA had been selected on the basis of experience, technical competence, and cost. NAA would be responsible for the design and development of the command module and service module. NASA expected that a separate contract for the lunar landing system would be awarded within the next six months. The MIT Instrumentation Laboratory had previously been assigned the development of the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation system. Both the NAA and MIT contracts would be under the direction of MSC.

NAA Space and Information Systems Division, News Release SP3-0610, November 28, 1961; Wall Street Journal, November 29, 1961; U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Apollo Accident, Hearings, 90th Congress, 1st Session (1967), Part 6, p. 513; TWX, NASA Headquarters to Ames, Langley, Lewis, and Flight Research Centers, Goddard and Marshall Space Flight Centers, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Launch Operations Center, Space Task Group, Wallops Station, and Western Operations Office, November 28, 1961.

November 29

The Mercury-Atlas 5 launch from the Atlantic Missile Range placed a Mercury spacecraft carrying chimpanzee Enos into orbit. After a two-orbit flight of 3 hours and 21 minutes, the capsule reentered and was recovered 1 hour and 25 minutes later. Enos was reported in excellent condition. No additional unmanned or primate flights were considered necessary before attempting the manned orbital mission scheduled for early 1962.

MSC Space News Roundup, December 13, 1961, p. 1; Swenson et al., This New Ocean, pp. 402-407.

November 29-30

On a visit to Marshall Space Flight Center by MIT Instrumentation Laboratory representatives, the possibility was discussed of emergency switchover from Saturn to Apollo guidance systems as backup for launch vehicle guidance.

David G. Hoag, personal notes, November 29-30, 1961.

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