PART 3 (D)

Lunar Orbit Rendezvous: Mode and Module

July 1962 through September 1962

1962 July

1962 August

1962 September


July 1-7

The delta V (rate of incremental change in velocity) requirements for the lunar landing mission were established and coordinated with NAA by the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, July l-7, 1962.

July 2

NASA awarded three contracts totaling an estimated $289 million to NAA's Rocketdyne Division for the further development and production of the F-1 and J-2 rocket engines.

Wall Street Journal, July 3, 1962.

July 6

The document entitled "Charter of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board," adopted on October 3, 1961, was revised to read "Spacecraft Launch Vehicle Coordination Charter for the Apollo Program MSFC-MSC." The reasons for the revision were: to include the recently formed Management Council, to include the Electrical Systems Integration Panel and Instrumentation and Communications Panel responsibilities, and to establish Integration Offices within MSC and Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to manage the Panels.

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

July 6

Employment at NAA's Space and Information Systems Division reached 14,119, an increase of 7,000 in seven months.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 7.

July 10

The first Apollo spacecraft mockup inspection was held at NAA's Space and Information Systems Division. In attendance were Robert R. Gilruth, Director, MSC; Charles W. Frick, Apollo Program Manager, MSC; and Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 7.

July 10-11

At the monthly Apollo spacecraft design review meeting with NAA, MSC officials directed NAA to design the spacecraft atmospheric system for 5 psia pure oxygen. From an engineering standpoint, the single-gas atmosphere offered advantages in minimizing weight and leakage, in system simplicity and reliability, and in the extravehicular suit interface. From the standpoint of physiological considerations, the mixed-gas atmosphere (3.5 psia oxygen, 3.5 psia nitrogen) had the advantages of offering protection against dysbarism and atelectasis, whereas the single-gas atmosphere afforded greater decompression protection. The atmosphere validation program demonstrated the known fire hazard of a pure oxygen atmosphere. Two fires occurred, one at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, Tex., on September 10 and the other at the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Center, Philadelphia, Penna., on November 17. The answer to this problem appeared to be one of diligent effort on the part of spacecraft designers to be aware of the fire hazard and to exercise strict control of potential ignition sources and material selection. The official authorization was issued to NAA by NASA on August 28.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, July 8-14, 1962; Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 13 ; Edward L. Michel, George B. Smith, Jr., and Richard S. Johnston, Gaseous Environment Considerations and Evaluation Programs Leading to Spacecraft Atmosphere Selection, NASA Technical Note TN D-2506 (1965), pp. 1-6; letter, C. D. Sword, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, "Contract Change Authorization No. 1," August 28, 1962.

July 10-11

Charles W. Frick, MSC Apollo Project Office Manager, assigned MIT Instrumentation Laboratory to report on a simulated lunar landing trainer using guidance and navigation equipment and other displays as necessary or proposed.

Ralph Ragan, notes, 4th Apollo Design Review Meeting, NAA, S&ID, Downey, Calif., July 10 and 11, 1962.

July 11

NASA officials announced at a Washington, D.C., press conference that the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) technique had been selected as the primary method of accomplishing the lunar landing mission. The launch vehicle would be the Saturn C-5, with the smaller two-stage Saturn C-1B (S-IVB as second stage) used in early earth orbital spacecraft qualification flights. Requests for industrial proposals would be issued immediately on the lunar excursion module, The reasons for the decision on lunar orbit rendezvous were explained:

In addition, it was announced that:

NASA, "Lunar Orbit Rendezvous: News Conference on Apollo Plans at NASA Headquarters on July 11, 1962," pp. 1, 3, 4.

July 16

Beech Aircraft Corporation was selected by NASA to build the spherical pressure vessels that would be used to store in the supercritical state the hydrogen-oxygen reactants for the spacecraft fuel cell power supply.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 23; Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 6.

July 17

Joseph F. Shea, NASA Deputy Director of Manned Space Flight (Systems) , told an American Rocket Society meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, that the first American astronauts to land on the moon would come down in an area within ten degrees on either side of the lunar equator and between longitudes 270 and 260 degrees. Shea said that the actual site would be chosen for its apparent scientific potential and that the Ranger and Surveyor programs would provide badly needed information on the lunar surface. Maps on the scale of two fifths of a mile to the inch would be required, based on photographs which would show lunar features down to five or six feet in size. The smallest objects on the lunar surface yet identified by telescope were about the size of a football field.

MSC Space News Roundup, August 22, 1962, p. 8.

July 17

In an address to the American Rocket Society lunar missions meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, James A. Van Allen, Chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, State University of Iowa, said that protons of the inner radiation belt could be a serious hazard for extended manned space flight and that nuclear detonations might be able to clean out these inner belt protons, perhaps for a prolonged period, making possible manned orbits about 300 miles above the earth.

New York Times, July 18, 1962.

July 20

NASA Administrator James E. Webb announced that the Mission Control Center for future manned space flights would be located at MSC. The Center would be operational in time for Gemini rendezvous flights in 1964 and later Apollo lunar missions. The overriding factor in the choice of MSC was the existing location of the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, the astronauts, and Flight Operations Division at Houston.

New York Times, July 22, 1962; NASA News Release, 62-172, July 20, 1962; memorandum, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Administrator, "Location of Mission Control Center," July 10, 1962.

July 21

NASA announced plans for an advanced Saturn launch complex to be built on 80,000 acres northwest of Cape Canaveral. The new facility, Launch Complex 39, would include a building large enough for the vertical assembly of a complete Saturn launch vehicle and Apollo spacecraft.

Washington Sunday Star, July 22, 1962.

July 25

MSC invited 11 firms to submit research and development proposals for the lunar excursion module (LEM) for the manned lunar landing mission. The firms were Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, The Boeing Airplane Company, Northrop Corporation, Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, General Dynamics Corporation, Republic Aviation Corporation, Martin- Marietta Company, North American Aviation, Inc., and McDonnell Aircraft Corporation.

The Statement of Work distributed to the prospective bidders described the contractor's responsibilities:

The mockups to be delivered by the contractor would include but not be limited to:

Before the first translunar midcourse correction, the LEM would be transferred from its stowed position in the spacecraft adapter to a docked configuration with the command and service modules (CSM). At a later point in the mission, the two-man LEM crew would enter the LEM from the CSM by means of a hatch without being exposed to the environment of space. Another hatch would allow access to the LEM during countdown and egress into space while docked with the CSM.

The LEM systems were to operate at their normal design performance level for a mission of two days without resupply. Equipment normally operated in the pressurized LEM cabin environment would be designed to function for a minimum of two days in vacuum without failure. The LEM pressurization system would be capable of six complete cabin repressurizations and a continuous leak rate as high as 0.2 pound per hour. Provision would be made for a total of six recharges of the portable life support system which had a normal operating time without resupply of four hours. Under usual conditions in the LEM cabin, the crew would wear unpressurized space suits. Either crewman would be able, alone, to return the LEM to the CSM and successfully perform the rendezvous and docking maneuver. Of the overall crew safety goal of 0.999, the goal apportioned to the LEM was 0.995.

The LEM would be capable of independently performing the separation from the CSM, lunar descent, landing, ascent, rendezvous, and docking with the CSM. It would allow for crew exploration in the vicinity of lunar touchdown but would not be required to have lunar surface mobility.

Lunar landing would be attempted from a lunar orbit of 100 nautical miles. After separation, the LEM would transfer from the circular orbit to an equal-period elliptical orbit which would not intersect the lunar surface. The hovering, final touchdown maneuvers, and landing would be performed by the LEM from the elliptical orbit.

Normally there would not be a requirement to reposition the LEM attitude before lunar launch. To rendezvous and dock with the CSM, the LEM would transfer from an elliptical to a circular orbit after lunar launch.

The LEM would not be recoverable.

Included in the Statement of Work was a description of the major LEM systems:

Guidance and control system
The navigation and guidance system would provide steering and thrust control signals for the stabilization and control system, reaction control system, and the lunar excursion propulsion system. Its basic components were:

The stabilization and control system would meet the attitude stabilization and maneuver control requirements and would include:

Lunar excursion propulsion system
The system would use storable hypergolic bipropellants and a pressurized propellant feed system. Variable thrust would be required from a propulsion system to be designed.
The fuel would be monomethylhydrazine or a mixture of 50 percent hydrazine and 50 percent unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine. Nitrogen tetroxide with nitrous oxide, added to depress the freezing point if necessary, would be used as oxidizer.
Reaction control system
The system comprised two independent, interconnectable, pulse- modulated subsystems, each capable of meeting the total torque and impulse requirements and providing two-directional control about all axes. The same propellant combination would be used as for the LEM propulsion system.
Lunar touchdown system
Attached to the LEM by hard points which would accommodate variations of landing gear geometrics, the system would have load distribution capabilities compatible with anticipated landing gear loads and would include meteoroid protection and radiation protection inherent in its structure, Normally, the system would be deployed from within the spacecraft but could be operated manually by the crew in spacesuits outside the spacecraft.
Crew systems
The flight Crew would consist of the Commander and Systems Engineer. The crew equipment system would include an adjustable seat for each crewman, restraint system for each seat, food and water, first aid equipment, space suits, portable life support systems for each crewman, and personal radiation dosimeters.
Environmental control system
The following conditions would be provided:

Electrical power system
Selection of the source was still to be made and would depend largely on the time contingency allowed for various mission events, especially during rendezvous maneuvers.
Instrumentation system
The operational instrumentation system would consist of a clock, tape recorder system, display and control system, sensors, calibration system, cameras, and telescope.

The flight research and development instrumentation system would be made up of telemetry systems (including transmitters), clock and tape recorder system, sensors and signal conditioning, calibration system, power supply, radar transponder, and antennas.

The scientific instrumentation system would comprise a lunar atmosphere analyzer, gravitometer, magnetometer, radiation spectrometer, specimen return container, rock and soil analysis equipment, seismographic equipment, and soil temperature instrument.

NASA, Project Apollo Lunar Excursion Module Development Statement of Work (MSC, July 24, 1962), pp. 2-5, A-89 to A-108; Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 130.

July 25

Wesley F. Messing was designated as Acting Resident MSC Manager at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex., to coordinate MSC test programs at that site.

MSC Announcement No. 67, Establishment of Resident MSC Manager at White Sands Missile Range, July 25, 1962.

July 29-August 4

As a result of an MSC in-house technical review, NAA was directed to investigate the adaptation of the Gemini-type heatshield to the Apollo spacecraft.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report.

July 30

The Office of Systems under NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight summarized its conclusions on the selection of a lunar mission mode based on NASA and industry studies conducted in 1961 and 1962:

On the basis of these conclusions, the LOR mode was recommended as most suitable for the manned lunar landing mission. [The studies summarized in this document were used by the Manned Space Flight Management Council in their mission mode decision on June 22.]

Office of Systems, Office of Manned Space Flight, "Manned Lunar Landing Program Comparison," July 30, 1962, pp. 145-146.

July 31

The Manned Space Flight Management Council decided that the Apollo spacecraft design criteria should be worked out under the guidance of the Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) Office of Systems. These criteria should be included in the systems specifications to be developed. A monthly exchange of information on spacecraft weight status should take place among the Centers and OMSF. Eldon W. Hall of the Office of Space Systems would be responsible for control of the detailed system weights.

MSF Management Council Minutes, July 31, 1962, Agenda Item 16.

During the Month

The Hamilton Standard Division of United Aircraft Corporation was selected by NASA as the prime contractor for the Apollo space suit assembly. Hamilton's principal subcontractor was International Latex Corporation, which would fabricate the pressure garment. The contract was signed on October 5.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 29.

During the Month

The control layout of the command module aft compartment was released by NAA. This revised drawing incorporated the new umbilical locations in the lower heatshield, relocated the pitch-and-yaw engines symmetrically, eliminated the ground support equipment tower umbilical, and showed the resulting repositioning of tanks and equipment.

NAA, Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, July 31, 1962, p. 96.

During the Month

NAA completed control layouts for all three command module windows, including heatshield windows and sightlines. Structural penalties were investigated, window-panes sized, and a weight-comparison chart prepared.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 98.

During the Month

NAA's evaluation of the emergency blow-out hatch study showed that the linear-shaped explosive charge should be installed on the outside of the command module, with a backup structure and an epoxy-foam-filled annulus on the inside of the module to trap fragmentation and gases. Detail drawings of the crew hatch were prepared for fabrication of actual test sections.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, pp. 97-98.

During the Month

After the determination of the basic design of the spacecraft sequencer schematic, the effect of the deployment of the forward heatshield before tower jettison was studied by NAA. The sequence of events of both the launch escape system and earth landing system would be affected, making necessary the selection of different sequences for normal flights and abort conditions. A schematic was prepared to provide for these sequencing alternatives.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 123.

During the Month

NAA completed the analysis and design of the Fibreglass heatshield. It duplicated the stiffness of the aluminum heatshield and would be used on all boilerplate spacecraft.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 93.

During the Month

Final design of the command module forward heatshield release mechanism was completed by NAA.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 79.

During the Month

Air recirculation system components of the command module were rearranged to accommodate a disconnect fitting and lines for the center crewman's suit. To relieve an obstruction, the cabin pressure regulator was relocated and a design study drawing was completed.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 73.

During the Month

A study was made by NAA to determine optimum location and configuration of the spacecraft transponder equipment. The study showed that, if a single deep space instrumentation facility transponder and power amplifier were carried in the command module instead of two complete systems in the service module, spacecraft weight would be reduced, the system would be simplified, and command and service module interface problems would be minimized. Spares in excess of normal would be provided to ensure reliability.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 84.

During the Month

A modified method of cooling crew and equipment before launch and during boost was tentatively selected by NAA. Chilled, ground-support-equipment-supplied water-glycol would be pumped through the spacecraft coolant system until 30 seconds before launch, when these lines would be disconnected. After umbilical separation the glycol, as it evaporated at the water boiler, would be chilled by Freon stored in the water tanks.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 75.

During the Month

NAA selected the lunar landing radar and completed the block diagram for the spacecraft rendezvous radar. Preliminary design was in progress on both types of radar.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 57.

During the Month

A 70-mm pulse camera was selected by NAA for mission photodocumentation. The camera was to be carried in the upper parachute compartment. Because of the lack of space and the need for a constant power supply for a 35-watt heating element, NAA was considering placing the camera behind the main display panel. The advantages of this arrangement were that the camera would require less power, be available for changing magazines, and could be removed for use outside the spacecraft.

One 16-mm camera was also planned for the spacecraft. This camera would be positioned level with the commander's head and directed at the main display panel. It could be secured to the telescope for recording motion events in real time such as rendezvous, docking, launch and recovery of a lunar excursion module, and earth landing; it could be hand-held for extravehicular activity.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 81.

During the Month

NAA investigated several docking methods. These included extendable probes to draw the modules together; shock-strut arms on the lunar excursion module with ball locators to position the modules until the spring latch caught, fastening them together; and inflatable Mylar and polyethylene plastic tubing. Also considered was a system in which a crewman, secured by a lanyard, would transfer into the open lunar excursion module. Another crewman in the open command module airlock would then reel in the lanyard to bring the modules together.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 99.

During the Month

Command module (CM) flotation studies were made by NAA, in which the heatshield was assumed to be upright with no flooding having occurred between the CM inner and outer walls. The spacecraft was found to have two stable attitudes: the desired upright position and an unacceptable on-the-side position 128 degrees from the vertical. Further studies were scheduled to determine how much lower the CM center of gravity would have to be to eliminate the unacceptable stable condition and to measure the overall flotation stability when the CM heatshield was extended.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, p. 27.

August 1

A recent Russian article discussed various methods which the Soviet Union had been studying for sending a man to the moon during the decade. The earth orbital rendezvous method was reported the most reliable, but consideration also had been given to the direct ascent method, using the "Mastodon" rocket.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 1 36.

August 1

At MSC, J. Thomas Markley was appointed Project Officer for the Apollo spacecraft command and service modules contract, and William F. Rector was named Project Officer for the lunar excursion module contract.

MSC Space News Roundup, August 22, 1962, p. 1.

August 2

NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight issued Requests for Proposals for a study of the lunar "bus" and studies for payloads which could be handled by the C-1B and C-5 launch vehicles. Contract awards were expected by September 1 and completion of the studies by December 1.

MSF Management Council Minutes, July 31, 1962, Agenda Item 7.

August 2

The heatshield for Apollo command module boilerplate model 1 was completed five days ahead of schedule.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 8.

August 6

The MIT Instrumentation Laboratory ordered a Honeywell 1800 electronic computer from the Minneapolis- Honeywell Regulator Company's Electronic Data Processing Division for work on the Apollo spacecraft navigation system. After installation in 1963, the computer would aid in circuitry design of the Apollo spacecraft computer and would also simulate full operation of a spaceborne computer during ground tests.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 141.

August 7

The first completed boilerplate model of the Apollo command module, BP- 25, was subjected to a one- fourth-scale impact test in the Pacific Ocean near the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor. Three additional tests were conducted on August 9.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 8; MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, August 5-11, 1962.

August 8

NASA awarded a $141.1 million contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company for design, development, fabrication, and testing of the S-IVB stage, the third stage of the Saturn C-5 launch vehicle. The contract called for 11 S-IVB units, including three for ground tests, two for inert flight, and six for powered flight.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 144.

August 8

Representatives of the MSC Gemini Project Office and Facilities Division inspected the proposed hangar and office facilities to be refurbished at El Centro Naval Air Facility, Calif., for joint use in the Apollo and Gemini drop-test programs.

MSC, Project Gemini Quarterly Status Report No. 2 for Period Ending August 31, 1962, p. 14.

August 8

At a bidders' conference held at NASA Headquarters, proposals were requested from Centers and industry for two lunar logistic studies: a spacecraft "bus" concept that could be adapted for use first on the Saturn C-1B and later on the Saturn C-5 launch vehicles and a variety of payloads which could be soft-landed near manned Apollo missions. The latter study would determine how a crew's stay on the moon might be extended, how human capability for scientific investigation of the moon might be increased, and how man's mobility on the moon might be facilitated.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 144.

August 10

MSC requested the reprogramming of $100,000 of Fiscal Year 1963 funds for advance design on construction facilities. The funds would be transferred from Launch Operations Center to MSC for use on the Little Joe II program at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex., and would cover Army Corps of Engineers design work on the launch facility.

MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, August 5-11, 1962.

August 10

NASA selected the Aerojet-General Algol solid-propellant motor to power the Little Joe II booster, which would be used to flight-test the command and service modules of the Apollo spacecraft.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 146.

August 11

A NASA program schedule for the Apollo spacecraft command and service modules through calendar year 1965 was established for financial planning purposes and distributed to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, Marshall Space Flight Center, and MSC. The key dates were: complete service module drawing release, May 1, 1963; complete command module drawing release, June 15, 1963; manufacture complete on the first spacecraft, February 1, 1964; first manned orbital flight, May 15, 1965. This tentative schedule depended on budget appropriations.

MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, August 5-11, 1962, pp. 4, 5.

August 11

Of the 11 companies invited to bid on the lunar excursion module on July 25, eight planned to respond. NAA had notified MSC that it would not bid on the contract. No information had been received from the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation and it was questionable whether the Northrop Corporation would respond.

MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, August 5-11, 1962, p. 4.

August 11-12

The Soviet Union launched Vostok III into orbit at 11:30 a.m. Moscow time, the spacecraft piloted by Andrian G. Nikolayev. At 11:02 a.m. Moscow time the next day, the Soviet Union launched the Vostok IV spacecraft into orbit with Pavel R. Popovich as pilot. Within about an hour, Cosmonaut Popovich, traveling in nearly the same orbit as Vostok III, made radio contact with Cosmonaut Nikolayev. Nikolayev reported shortly thereafter that he had sighted Vostok IV. In their official report, Nikolayev and Popovich said their spacecraft had been within a little over three miles of each other at their closest approach. This was the first launching of two manned spacecraft within a 24-hour period. Popovich and Nikolayev landed safely in Kazakhstan, U.S.S.R., on August 15,

New York Times, August 14 and 22, 1962.

August 13

Ten Air Force pilots emerged from a simulated space cabin in which they had spent the previous month participating in a psychological test to determine how long a team of astronauts could work efficiently on a prolonged mission in space. Project Director Earl Alluisi said the experiment had "far exceeded our expectations" and that the men could have stayed in the cabin for 40 days with no difficulty.

New York Herald Tribune, August 14, 1962.

August 13-14

NAA suggested that the pitch, roll, and yaw rates required for the Apollo guidance and navigation system would permit reduction in the reaction control thrust.

MSC-NAA Apollo Spacecraft Design Review No. 5, August 13-14, 1962, Downey, Calif., Item 5-6.

August 14

The NAA spacecraft Statement of Work was revised to include the requirements for the lunar excursion module (LEM) as well as other modifications. The LEM requirements were identical with those given in the LEM Development Statement of Work of July 24.

The command module (CM) would now be required to provide the crew with a one-day habitable environment and a survival environment for one week after touching down on land or water. In case of a landing at sea, the CM should be able to recover from any attitude and float upright with egress hatches free of water.

The service propulsion system would now provide all major velocity increments required for translunar midcourse velocity corrections, for placing the spacecraft into a lunar orbit, for rendezvous of the command and service modules CSM with the LEM on a backup mode, for transfer of the CSM from lunar orbit into the transearth trajectory, and for transearth midcourse velocity corrections for lunar missions.

Three FIST-type drogue parachutes would replace the original two called for in the earth landing system.

The CM camera system was revised to require one for monitoring the crew, displays, and spacecraft interior; the other for lunar photography and stellar studies. The latter camera could be used in conjunction with the telescope or independently at the crew's discretion.

A new communication concept was described in which all voice, telemetry, television, and ranging information for near-earth and lunar distances would be transmitted over a unified frequency system.

All references to the lunar landing module and space laboratory module were dropped. Among other deletions from the previous Statement of Work were:

NASA, Project Apollo Spacecraft Development Statement of Work (MSC, December 18, 1961, Revised August 14, 1962), Part 3, Technical Approach, pp. 3, 7, 12, 61, 84, and 88.


The first Apollo boilerplate command module, BP-25, was delivered to MSC for water recovery and handling tests. Flotation, water stability, and towing tests were conducted with good results. J. Thomas Markley of MSC described all spacecraft structural tests thus far as "successful."

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 41; Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 167; Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, Weekly Activity Report, Period Ending August 18, 1962.

August 16

The second stage (S-IV) of the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle was successfully static-fired for the first time in a ten-second test at the Sacramento, Calif., facility by the Douglas Aircraft Company.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 156.

August 17

Carl Sagan, University of California astronomer, warned scientists at a lunar exploration conference, Blacksburg, Va., of the need for sterilization of lunar spacecraft and decontamination of Apollo crewmen, pointing out that Lunik II and Ranger IV probably had deposited terrestrial microorganisms on the moon. Even more serious, he said, was the possibility that lunar microorganisms might be brought to earth where they could multiply explosively.

Washington Post, August 18, 1962.

August 22

Responsibility for the design and manufacture of the reaction controls for the Apollo command module was shifted from The Marquardt Corporation to the Rocketdyne Division of NAA, with NASA concurrence.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 7.

August 22

The length of the Apollo service module was increased from 11 feet 8 inches to 1 2 feet 11 inches to provide space for additional fuel.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 7.

During the Month

Robert R. Gilruth, Director of MSC, presented details of the Apollo spacecraft at the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences meeting in Seattle, Wash. During launch and reentry, the three-man crew would be seated in adjacent couches; during other phases of flight, the center couch would be stowed to permit more freedom of movement. The Apollo command module cabin would have 365 cubic feet of volume, with 22 cubic feet of free area available to the crew: "The small end of the command module may contain an airlock; when the lunar excursion module is not attached, the airlock would permit a pressure-suited crewman to exit to free space without decompressing the cabin. Crew ingress and egress while on earth will be through a hatch in the side of the command module."

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 167.

During the Month

The first tests incorporating data acquisition in the Apollo test program were conducted at El Centro, Calif. They consisted of monitoring data returned by telemetry during a parachute dummy-load test.

Oakley. Historical Summary, S&lD Apollo Program, p. 7.

During the Month

The revised NAA Summary Definitions and Objectives Document was released. This revision incorporated the lunar orbit rendezvous concept, without lunar excursion module integration, and a revised master phasing schedule, reflecting the deletion of the second-stage service module. The NAA Apollo Mission Requirements and Apollo Requirements Specifications were also similarly re-oriented and released.

NAA, Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, August 31, 1962, p. 24.

During the Month

The establishment of a basic command module (CM) airlock and docking design criteria were discussed by NAA and NASA representatives. While NASA preferred a closed-hatch, one-man airlock system, NAA had based its design on an open-hatch, two-man airlock operation.

Another closed-hatch configuration under consideration would entirely eliminate the CM airlock. Astronauts transferring to and from the lunar excursion module would be in a pressurized environment constantly.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 97.

During the Month

The launch escape thrust-vector-control system was replaced by a passive system using a "kicker" rocket as directed by NASA at the June 10-11 design review meeting, The rocket would be mounted at the top of the launch escape system tower and fired tangentially to impart the necessary pitchover motion during the initial phase of abort. The main motor thrust was revised downward from 180, 000 to 155, 000 pounds and aligned 2.8 degrees off the center line. A downrange abort direction was selected; during abort the spacecraft and astronauts would rotate in a heels over head movement.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 4.

During the Month

A preliminary NAA report was completed on a literature search concerning fire hazards in 100 percent oxygen and oxygen-enriched atmospheres. This report showed that limited testing would be warranted.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 12.

During the Month

A final decision was made by NAA to redesign the command module fuel cell radiator and associated tubing to accommodate a 30-psi maximum pressure drop. Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division agreed to redesign their pump for this level.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 109.

During the Month

Layouts of a command module (CM) telescope installation in the unpressurized upper parachute compartment were completed by NAA. The concept was for the telescope to extend ten inches from the left side of the spacecraft. The light path would enter the upper bulkhead through the main display panel to an eyepiece presentation on the commander's side of the spacecraft. A static seal (one-half-inch-thick window) would be used to prevent leakage in the pressurized compartment. The installation was suitable for use in the lunar orbit rendezvous mission and would allow one man in the CM to accomplish docking with full visual control.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-5, pp. 81, 83; Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, pp. 72-73.

During the Month

NAA established design criteria for materials and processes used in food reconstitution bags. An order was placed for polypropylene material with a contoured mouthpiece. This material would be machined and then heat-fused to a thermoplastic bag.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 56.

During the Month

Preliminary studies were made by NAA to determine radiation instrument location, feasibility of shadow-shielding, and methods of determining direction of incidence of radiation. Preliminary requirements were established for the number and location of detectors and for information display.

Apollo Monthly Program Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 72.

During the Month

An NAA study indicated that the effects of crew motions on spacecraft attitude control would be negligible.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 53.

During the Month

The command module waste management system analysis, including a new selection valve, revised tubing lengths, odor removal filter, and three check valves, was completed by NAA for a 5 psia pressure. There was only a small change in the flow rates through the separate branches as a result of the change to 5 psia.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 12.

During the Month

NAA completed attitude orientation studies, including one on the control of a tumbling command module (CM) following high-altitude abort above 125,000 feet. The studies indicated that the CM stabilization and control system would be adequate during the reentry phase with the CM in either of the two possible trim configurations.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 5.

During the Month

NAA finished structural requirements for a lunar excursion module adapter mating the 154-inch diameter service module to the 260-inch diameter S-IVB stage.

Apollo Monthly Progress Report, SID 62-300-6, p. 107.

September 4

An interim Apollo flight operation plan for Fiscal Year 1963, dated August 28, calling for funding of $489.9 million, was transmitted to NASA Headquarters from MSC. System requirements were under study to determine the feasibility of cost reduction to avoid schedule slippage.

MSC, Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, September 2-8, 1962, p. 4.

September 4

Nine industry proposals for the lunar excursion module were received from The Boeing Company, Douglas Aircraft Company, General Dynamics Corporation, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Martin-Marietta Corporation, Northrop Corporation, and Republic Aviation Corporation. NASA evaluation began the next day. Industry presentations would be held on September 13 and 14 at Ellington Air Force Base, Tex. One-day visits to company sites by evaluation teams would be made September 17-19. After evaluation of the proposals, NASA planned to award the contract within six to eight weeks.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, September 2-8, 1962; Wall Street Journal, September 6, 1962.

September 5

Two three-month studies of an unmanned logistic system to aid astronauts on a lunar landing mission would be negotiated with three companies, NASA announced. Under a $150,000 contract, Space Technology Laboratories, Inc., would look into the feasibility of developing a general-purpose spacecraft into which varieties of payloads could be fitted. Under two $75,000 contracts, Northrop Space laboratories and Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation would study the possible cargoes that such a spacecraft might carry. NASA Centers simultaneously would study lunar logistic: trajectories, launch vehicle adaptation, lunar landing touchdown dynamics, scheduling, and use of roving vehicles on the lunar surface.

Wall Street Journal, September 6, 1962; Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, pp. 173-174.

September 5

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office requested NAA to perform a study of command module-lunar excursion module (CM-LEM) docking and crew transfer operations and recommend a preferred mode, establish docking design criteria, and define the CM-LEM interface. Both translunar and lunar orbital docking maneuvers were to be considered. The docking concept finally selected would satisfy the requirements of minimum weight, design and functional simplicity, maximum docking reliability, minimum docking time, and maximum visibility.

The mission constraints to be used for this study were :

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Weekly Activity Report, September 2-8, 1962; letter, C. D. Sword, MSC, to NAA, "Contract Change Authorization No. 4," September 22, 1962.

September 6

NASA deleted five Apollo mockups, three boilerplate spacecraft, and several ground support equipment items from the NAA contract because of funding limitations.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 7.

September 7

Apollo command module boilerplate model BP-1 was accepted by NASA and delivered to the NAA Engineering Development Laboratory for land and water impact tests. On September 25, BP-1 was drop-tested with good results. Earth-impact attenuation and crew shock absorption data were obtained.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 7; Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 41.

September 10

Apollo command module boilerplate model BP-3, showing the arrangement of the cabin interior, was shipped to MSC.

Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program, p. 7

September 10

Fire broke out in a simulated space cabin at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, Tex., on the 13th day of a 14-day experiment to determine the effects of breathing pure oxygen in a long-duration space flight. One of the two Air Force officers was seriously injured. The cause of the fire was not immediately determined. The experiment was part of a NASA program to validate the use of a 5 psia pure oxygen atmosphere for the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft.

Washington Evening Star, September 10, 1962; Michel et al., Gaseous Environment Considerations and Evaluation Programs Leading to Spacecraft Atmosphere Selection, pp. 5-6.

Early September

MSC reported that it had received a completed wooden mockup of the interior arrangement of the Apollo command module (CM). An identical mockup was retained at NAA for design control. Seven additional CM and service module (SM) mockups were planned: a partial SM and partial adapter interface, CM for exterior cabin equipment, complete SM, spacecraft for handling and transportation (two), crew support system, and complete CSM's. A mockup of the navigation and guidance equipment had been completed. A wooden mockup of the lunar excursion module exterior configuration was fabricated by NAA as part of an early study of spacecraft compatibility requirements.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 41.

September 11

J. Thomas Markley, command and service module Project Officer at MSC, announced details of the space facility to be established by NASA at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). To be used in testing the Apollo spacecraft's propulsion and abort systems, the WSMR site facilities would include two static-test-firing stands, a control center blockhouse, various storage and other utility buildings, and an administrative services area.

MSC Fact Sheet No. 97, Apollo at White Sands, September 1 1, 1962.

September 12

President John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University, Houston, Tex., where he said:

"Man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space. . . .

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

"It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency. . . ."

Senate Staff Report, Documents on International Aspects of the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, 1954-1962, pp. 328-330.

September 17

NASA's nine new astronauts were named in Houston, Tex., by Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director. Chosen from 253 applicants, the former test pilots who would join the original seven Mercury astronauts in training for Projects Gemini and Apollo were: Neil A. Armstrong, NASA civilian test pilot; Maj. Frank Borman, Air Force; Lt. Charles Conrad, Jr., Navy; Lt.Cdr. James A, Lovell, Jr., Navy; Capt. James A. McDivitt, Air Force; Elliot M. See, Jr., civilian test pilot for the General Electric Company; Capt. Thomas P. Stafford, Air Force; Capt. Edward H. White II, Air Force; and Lt. Cdr. John W. Young, Navy.

Washington Daily News, September 18, 1962.

September 21

NASA contracted with the Armour Research Foundation for an investigation of conditions likely to be found on the lunar surface. Research would concentrate first on evaluating the effects of landing velocity, size of the landing area, and shape of the landing object with regard to properties of the lunar soils. Earlier studies by Armour had indicated that the lunar surface might be composed of very strong material. Amour reported its findings during the first week of November.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, p. 196.

September 23-October 6

Deletion of non-critical equipment and improvement of existing systems reduced the weight of the command and service modules by 1,239 pounds, with a target reduction of 1,500 pounds.

Among the items deleted from the command module (CM) were exercise and recreation equipment, personal parachutes and parachute containers located in the couches, individual survival kits, solar radiation garments, and eight-ball displays. A telescope, cameras and magazines considered scientific equipment, and a television monitor were deleted from the CM instrumentation system.

Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, MSC, Activity Report for the Period September 23-October 6, 1962.

September 24

General Dynamics/Convair recommended and obtained NASA's concurrence that the first Little Joe II launch vehicle be used for qualification, employing a dummy payload.

Little Joe II Test Launch Vehicle, NASA Project Apollo: Final Report, Vol. I, p. 1-4.

September 26

NASA announced that it had completed preliminary plans for the development of the $500-million Mississippi Test Facility. The first phase of a three-phase construction program would begin in 1962 and would include four test stands for static-firing the Saturn C-5 S-IC and S-II stages; about 20 support and service buildings would be built in the first phase. A water transportation system had been selected, calling for improvement of about 15 miles of river channel and construction of about 15 miles of canals at the facility. Sverdrup and Parcel Company of St. Louis, Mo., was preparing design criteria; the Army Corps of Engineers was acquiring land for NASA in cooperation with the Lands Division of the Justice Department. The 13,500-acre facility in southwestern Mississippi was 35 miles from NASA Michoud Operations, where Saturn stages were fabricated.

Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, pp. 200-201.

During the Month

MSC reported that the reliability goal for design purposes in the spacecraft Statement of Work for the Apollo mission was 0.9. The probability that the crew would not be subjected to conditions in excess of the stated limits was 0.9, and the probability that the crew would not be subjected to emergency limits was 0.999. The initial Work Statement apportionment for the lunar excursion module was 0.984 for mission success and 0.9995 for crew safety. Other major system elements would require reapportionment to reflect the lunar orbit mission.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 37.

During the Month

Release of the structural design of the Apollo command module was 65 percent complete; 100 percent release was scheduled for January 1 963.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 11.

During the Month

The lunar excursion module was defined as consisting of 12 principal systems: guidance and navigation, stabilization and control, propulsion, reaction control, lunar touchdown, structure including landing and docking systems, crew, environmental control, electrical power, communications, instrumentation, and experimental instrumentation. A consideration of prime importance to practically all systems was the possibility of using components from Project Mercury or those under development for Project Gemini.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 26.

During the Month

MSC reported that renovation of available buildings at the El Centro Joint Service Parachute Facility was required to support the Apollo earth recovery tests. The Air Force's commitment of a C-133A aircraft to support the qualification tests had been obtained.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 52.

During the Month

MSC reported that Arnold Engineering Development Center facilities at Tullahoma, Tenn., were being scheduled for use in the development of the Apollo reaction control and propulsion systems. The use of the Mark I altitude chamber for environmental tests of the command and service modules was also planned.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 52.

During the Month

MIT's Lincoln Laboratory began a study program to define Apollo data processing requirements and to examine the problems associated with the unified telecommunications system. The system would permit the use of the lunar mission transponder during near-earth operations and eliminate the general transmitters required by the current spacecraft concept, thus reducing weight, complexity, and cost of the spacecraft system.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 47.

During the Month

MSC reported that Apollo training requirements planning was 40 percent complete. The preparation of specific materials would begin during the first quarter of 1964. The crew training equipment included earth launch and reentry, orbital and rendezvous, and navigation and trajectory control part-task trainers, which were special-purpose simulators. An early delivery would allow extensive practice for the crew in those mission functions where crew activity was time-critical and required development of particular skills. The mission simulators had complete mission capability, providing visual as well as instrument environments. Mission simulators would be located at MSC and at Cape Canaveral.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 45.

During the Month

The Apollo wind tunnel program was in its eighth month. To date, 2,800 hours of time had been used in 30 government and private facilities.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 35.

During the Month

The external natural environment of the Apollo spacecraft as defined in the December 18, 1961, Statement of Work had been used in the early Apollo design work. The micrometeoroid, solar proton radiation, and lunar surface characteristics were found to be most critical to the spacecraft design.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 32.

During the Month

The freeze-dried food that would be used in the Gemini program would also be provided for the Apollo program. Forty-two pounds of food would be necessary for a 14-day lunar landing mission. Potable water would be supplied by the fuel cells and processed by the environmental control system. A one-day water supply of six pounds per man would be provided at launch as an emergency ration if needed before the fuel cells were fully operative.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 1 3.

During the Month

The Apollo spacecraft weights had been apportioned within an assumed 90,000pound limit. This weight was termed a "design allowable." A lower target weight for each module had been assigned. Achievement of the target weight would allow for increased fuel loading and therefore greater operational flexibility and mission reliability. The design allowable for the command module was 9,500 pounds; the target weight was 8,500 pounds. The service module design allowable was 11,500 pounds; the target weight was 11,000 pounds. The S-IVB adapter design allowable and target weight was 3,200 pounds. The amount of service module useful propellant was 40,300 pounds design allowable; the target weight was 37,120 pounds. The lunar excursion module design allowable was 25,500 pounds; the target weight was 24,500 pounds.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 31.

During the Month

MSC reported that the lunar excursion module guidance system was expected to use as many components as possible identical to those in the command and service modules. Studies at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory indicated that the changes required would simplify the computer and continue the use of the same inertial measurement unit and scanning telescope.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 27.

During the Month

MSC reported that the three liquid-hydrogen-liquid-oxygen fuel cells would supply the main and emergency power through the Apollo mission except for the earth reentry phase. Two of the fuel cells would carry normal electrical loads and one would supply emergency power. Performance predictions had been met and exceeded in single-cell tests. Complete module tests would begin during the next quarter. The liquid-hydrogen liquid-oxygen reactants for the fuel cell power supply were stored in the supercritical state in spherical pressure vessels. A recent decision had been made to provide heat input to the storage vessels with electrical heaters rather than the water-glycol loop. Three zinc-silver oxide batteries would supply power for all the electrical loads during reentry and during the brief periods of peak loads. One of the batteries was reserved exclusively for the postlanding phase. Eagle Picher Company, Joplin, Mo., had been selected in August as subcontractor for the batteries.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 23.

During the Month

MSC reported that meteoroid tests and ballistic ranges had been established at the Ames Research Center, Langley Research Center, and NAA. These facilities could achieve only about one half of the expected velocity of 75,000 feet per second for the critical-sized meteoroid. A measured improvement in the capability to predict penetration would come from a test program being negotiated by NAA with General Motors Corporation, whose facility was capable of achieving particle velocities of 75,000 feet per second.

Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 32.

During the Month

MSC outlined a tentative Apollo flight plan:

Pad abort:
Two tests to simulate an abort on the pad. The purpose of these tests was to qualify the launch escape system and its associated sequencing.
Suborbital (Little Joe II test launch vehicle):
Three suborbital tests with the objective of development and qualification of the launch escape system and qualification of the command module structure. Test conditions would include maximum dynamic pressure for the launch escape system and module structure testing and high atmospheric altitudes for launch escape system testing. The latter test requirement was being reviewed.
Saturn C-1:
Current Apollo requirements for the Saturn developmental flights were to determine launch exit environment on SA-6 with SA-8 as backup. Requirements on launch vehicles SA-7, SA-9, and SA-10 were to flight- test components of or the complete emergency detection system.
Saturn C-1B:
Four launch vehicle development flights prior to the manned flight. Flight test objectives for the unmanned flights were one launch environment flight with a spare and two launch vehicle emergency detection system flights.
Saturn C-5:
Six unmanned Saturn C-5 launch vehicle development flights. Flight test objectives were two launch vehicle emergency detection system flights, one spacecraft launch environment flight, and three reentry qualification flights. Preliminary objectives of manned flights were completion of the lunar excursion module qualification, lunar reconnaissance, and lunar exploration. Although the first C-5 manned flight was scheduled as the seventh C-5, a spacecraft suitable for manned flight would be available for use on the sixth C-5 to take advantage of possible earlier development success.
Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 1, p. 48.

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