Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
October 1Ceremonies in Washington marked the sixth anniversary of the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Administrator James E.
Webb reminded those present of NASA's unique contribution to America's mission
and destiny, then read a message from President Johnson: "We must be first in
space and in aeronautics," the President said, "to maintain first place on
earth. . . . Significant as our success has been, it is but indicative of the
far greater advances that mankind can expect from our aeronautical and space
efforts in the coming years. We have reached a new threshold . . . which opens
to us the widest possibilities for the future." Two days later, in an address in
White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., Webb observed that "as the national space program
moves into its seventh year, the United States has reached the half-way point in
the broad-based accelerated program for the present decade." America was halfway
to the moon.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1964: Chronology on Science,
Technology, and Policy (NASA SP-4005, 1965), pp. 335, 338.
October 1-2Representatives from Grumman Aircraft Engineering
Corporation, North American Aviation, Inc., and Massachusetts Institute of
Technology's (MIT) Instrumentation Laboratory, three of the Manned Spacecraft
Center's (MSC) principal contractors, met with radar and guidance and navigation
experts from Houston and Cape Kennedy. They formulated a detailed plan for
testing and checkout of the lunar excursion module (LEM) rendezvous and landing
radar systems both at the factory and at the launch site.
MSC, "Minutes of Implementation Meeting #3, Apollo LEM G&D Systems,
September 29, 1965"; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 1-8, 1964."
October 1-8North American switched to a spring-activated pop-up antenna
for the command module (CM) high-frequency recovery radio.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report," October 1-8, 1964.
October 1-8On the basis of new abort criteria (failure of one fuel
cell), extended operating periods, and additional data on fuel cell performance,
Grumman recommended a 20.4 kg (45-lb), 1,800 watt-hour auxiliary battery for the
LEM. MSC approved the recommendation and Grumman completed the redesign of the
electrical power distribution system and resizing of the battery during late
October and early November.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate
Administrator, Manned Space Flight, September 20-October 17, 1964," p. 54; MSC,
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 17-24, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management
Report, September 24-October 1, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October
1-8, 1964"; "Monthly Progress Report No. 21," LPR-10-37, p. 26.
October 2MSC submitted a Request for Proposals to General Electric
Company (GE) for two additional spacecraft acceptance checkout ground stations.
Eight million dollars was the estimated cost of the added equipment.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate
Administrator, Manned Space Flight, September 20-October 17, 1964," p. 40.
October 2MSC's Apollo Spacecraft Program Office (ASPO) approved a plan
(put forward by the MSC Advanced Spacecraft Technology Division to verify the
CM's radiation shielding. Checkout of the radiation instrumentation would be
made during manned earth orbital flights. The spacecraft would then be subjected
to a radiation environment during the first two unmanned Saturn V flights. These
missions, 501 and 502, with apogees of about 18,520 km (10,000 nm), would verify
the shielding. Gamma probe verification, using spacecraft 008, would be
performed in Houston during 1966. Only Block I CM's would be used in these
ground and flight tests. Radiation shielding would be unaffected by the change
to Block II status.
Memorandum, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Assistant Chief for Space Environment,
"Apollo Radiation Shielding Verification," October 5, 1964.
October 5-8NASA conducted a formal review of the LEM mockup M-5 at the
Grumman factory. This inspection was intended to affirm that the M-5
configuration reflected all design requirements and to definitize the LEM
configuration. Members of the Mockup Review Board were Chairman Owen E. Maynard,
Chief, Systems Engineering Division, ASPO; R. W. Carbee, LEM Subsystem Project
Engineer, Grumman; Maxime A. Faget, Assistant Director for Engineering and
Development, MSC; Thomas J. Kelly, LEM Project Engineer, Grumman; Christopher C.
Kraft, Jr. (represented by Sigurd A. Sjoberg), Assistant Director for Flight
Operations, MSC; Owen G. Morris, Chief, Reliability and Quality Assurance
Division, ASPO; William F. Rector III, LEM Project Officer, ASPO; and Donald K.
Slayton, Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, MSC.
The astronauts' review was held on October 5 and 6. It included
demonstrations of entering and getting out of the LEM, techniques for climbing
and descending the ladder, and crew mobility inside the spacecraft. The general
inspection was held on the 7th and the Review Board met on the 8th. Those
attending the review used request for change (RFC) forms to propose spacecraft
design alterations. Before submission to the Board, these requests were
discussed by contractor personnel and NASA coordinators to assess their effect
upon system design, interfaces, weight, and reliability.
The inspection categories were crew provisions; controls, displays, and
lighting; the stabilization and control system and the guidance and navigation
radar; electrical power; propulsion (ascent, descent, reaction control system,
and pyrotechnics ; power generation cryogenic storage and fuel cell assemblies ;
environmental control; communications and instrumentation; structures and
landing gear; scientific equipment; and reliability and quality' control. A
total of 148 RFCs were submitted. Most were aimed at enhancing the spacecraft's
operational capability; considerable attention also was given to quality and
reliability and to ground checkout of various systems. No major redesigns of the
configuration were suggested.
As a result of this review, the Board recommended that Grumman take immediate
action on those RFC's which it had approved. Further, the LEM contractor and MSC
should promptly investigate those items which the Board had assigned for further
study. On the basis of the revised M-5 configuration, Grumman could proceed with
LEM development and qualification. This updated mockup would be the basis for
tooling and fabrication of the initial hardware as well.
MSC, "Lunar Excursion Module, Project Apollo, Board Report for NASA
Inspection and Review of M-5 Mockup Lunar Excursion Module, October 5-8, 1964,"
pp. 1-7, 10-27.
October 8Radio Corporation of America's (RCA) Aerospace Systems
Division received a 9 million contract from Grumman for the LEM attitude
translation control assembly (ATCA). The ATCA, a device to maintain the
spacecraft's attitude, would fire the reaction control system motors in response
to signals from the primary guidance system.
Space Business Daily, October 9, 1964, p. 210.
October 8-15On the basis of reentry simulations, North American
recommended several CM instrument changes. An additional reaction control system
display was needed, the company reported. Further, the flight attitude and the
stabilization and control system indicators must be modified to warn of a system
failure before it became catastrophic. The entry monitor system for Block I
spacecraft would have to be replaced and the sample g-meter was not wholly
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 8-15, 1964."
October 8-15Analysis by MSC of the performance of the environmental
control system radiators for Block I CM's placed their heat rejection capability
at 4,000 Btus per hr, far below the anticipated mission load of 7,220. Water
boiled at the rate of 1.46 kg (3.22 lbs) per hr would be needed to supplement
the radiators. This, in turn, would limit the mission to 45 hours duration, at
which time all of the spacecraft's water supplies (both that in the water tanks
at launch and that collected as a byproduct from the fuel cells) would be
As MSC saw it, potential solutions were to redesign the radiators themselves,
to increase the size of the tanks to hold another 194 kg (428 lbs) of water, or
to reduce the operating power level.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Operations Planning Division,
"Limited mission duration capability for Block I Command and Service Modules,"
October 21, 1964.
October 8-15MSC established the configuration of the reaction control
system engines for both the service module (SM) and the LEM, and informed North
American and Grumman accordingly. The Center also directed North American to
propose a design for an electric heater that would provide thermal control in
lunar orbit and during contingency operations. The design would be evaluated for
use in Block I spacecraft as well.
MSC, "Minutes, Apollo/E and D Technical Management Meeting No. 8, 10/5 and
10/12, 1964," pp. 4-5; letters, W. F. Rector III, MSC to GAEC, Attn: R. S.
Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Temperature control for the RCS engines in the
Service Module and LEM," October 19, 1964.
October 8-15RCA reduced the weight of the LEM rendezvous radar from
39.9 to 31.98 kg (88 to 70.5 lbs).
Memorandum, Robert C. Duncan and Ralph S. Sawyer, MSC, to Manager, ASPO,
"Apollo Radar Systems Design Review," September 16, 1964, with enclosure:
"Apollo Radar Design Review," undated.
October 8-15North American representatives visited the Grumman plant to
discuss design features and to inspect the electroluminescent lighting on the
LEM. North American intended to adopt this same feature on Block II CMs.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 8-15, 1964."
October 9NASA and Grumman representatives discussed a weight reduction
program for the LEM. Changes approved at the M-5 mockup review portended an
increase in LEM separation weight of from 68 to 453 kg (150 to 1,000 lbs). Both
parties agreed to evaluate the alternatives of either resizing the spacecraft or
finding ways to lighten it about nine percent, thus keeping the improved LEM
within the present control weight.
GAEC, "Monthly Progress Report No. 21," LPR-10-37, November 10, 1964, p. 6.
October 9NASA approved Grumman's selection of Airite to supply the LEM
helium tanks, and the two firms started negotiations.
Ibid., pp. 7, 16.
October 11-November 10Grumman completed contract negotiations with Arma
Division, American Bosch Arma Corporation, for the LEM caution and warning
Ibid., p. 22.
October 11-November 10Grumman lighting experts evaluated self-luminous
materials produced by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company and found
them feasible for use in docking lighting.
Ibid., p. 4.
October 12The U.S.S.R. launched the world's first multi-manned
spacecraft, Voskhod I, the first to carry a scientist and a
physician into space. The crew were Col. Vladimir Komarov, pilot; Konstantin
Feoktistov, scientist; and Boris Yegorov, physician. According to Tass, orbital
parameters of the spacecraft were 409 by 177 km (254 by 110 mi) with a 90.1
minute period and a 65 degree plane. Purposes of this flight, according to the
Russian source, were to prove the operational compatibility of the spacecraft
and crew and to conduct scientific and medical investigations during actual
space flight. The mission featured television pictures of the crew from space.
The trio landed after 16 orbits of the earth, 24 hours and 17 min after they had
left it. The flight had a significant worldwide impact. In the United States,
the "space race" was again running under the green flag. NASA Administrator
James E. Webb, commenting on the spectacular, called it a "significant space
accomplishment." It was, he said, "a clear indication that the Russians are
continuing a large space program for the achievement of national power and
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1964, pp. 348, 350.
October 12At a North American-Grumman interface meeting on September
23-24, two possible relative role alignments for CSM-active docking were agreed
upon. The major item blocking final selection was the effect of the SM's
reaction control system engines upon the LEM antennas. ASPO requested Grumman to
investigate the problem, to analyze the design penalties of the two-attitude
docking mode, and to report any other factors that would influence the final
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 12, 1964.
October 12MSC notified Grumman of several additional LEM guidance and
navigation ground rules that were applicable to the coasting phase of the
mission. During this portion of the flight, the LEM abort guidance system must
be capable of giving attitude information and of measuring velocity changes.
Navigational data required to take the LEM out of the coasting phase and to put
it on an intercept course with the CSM would be provided by the CSM's rendezvous
radar and its guidance and navigation system, and through the Manned Space
Flight Network back on earth.
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS
9-1100, Additional Ground Rules for LEM Guidance anti Navigation Operation and
Monitoring," October 12, 1964.
October 13North American and MIT Instrumentation Laboratory
representatives met in Houston to discuss electrical power requirements for the
guidance and control systems in Block II CMs. They had determined the additional
electrical power needed for the guidance and control system 24 volts was
Jerold P. Gilmore, MIT/IL, "MIT GN&C-Saturn Interfaces," prepared for
Implementation Meeting #8, "Apollo CSM Block II Guidance & Control Systems,"
October 13, 1964.
October 14Eagle-Picher Company completed qualification testing on the
25-amperehour reentry batteries for the CM. Shortly thereafter, Eagle-Picher
received authorization from North American to proceed with design and
development of the larger 40-ampere-hour batteries needed for the later Block I
and all Block II spacecraft.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 15-22, 1964"; North American
Aviation, Inc. [hereafter cited as NAA], "Apollo Monthly Progress Report,"
SID-62-300-31, December 1, 1964, pp. 15-16; MSC, "Project Apollo Quarterly
Status Report No. 10 for Period Ending December 31, 1964," p. 12.
October 14In a letter to Apollo Program Director General Samuel C.
Phillips, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea pointed out that Bellcomm, under contract
to NASA, had a subcontract with Space Technology Laboratories (STL) and that MSC
had a contract with STL covering the same basic areas as the Bellcomm-STL
subcontract. Shea told Phillips that STL was not allowed to use the information
on the MSC contract which had been obtained on the Bellcomm contract, and
requested that STL be permitted to use the information on the MSC contract.
Letter, from Manager, ASPO, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: General Phillips,
"Space Technology Laboratories Contract with Bellcomm Corporation," October 14,
October 14In a letter to NASA Administrator James E. Webb, AC Spark
Plug reported that the first Apollo guidance system completed acceptance testing
and was shipped at 11:30 p.m. and arrived at Downey, California, early the
following day. AC reported that in more than 2,000 hours of operation they had
found the system to be "remarkably reliable, accurate and simple to operate."
Letter, to NASA Administrator Webb, from B. P. Blasingame, Manager, Milwaukee
Operations, October 19, 1964.
October 15A number of outstanding points were resolved at a joint
MSC-Grumman meeting on LEM communications. Most significant, the VHF key mode
was deleted, and it was decided that, during rendezvous, voice links must have
priority over all other VHF transmissions. Further, the echo feature of the
current configuration (i.e., voice sent to the LEM by the ground operational
support system, then relayed back via the S-band link) was undesirable.
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS
9-1100, Minutes of Lunar Excursion Module Communications Subsystem Review
October 15 and 16, 1964," October 29, 1964, with enclosure: subject minutes, pp.
October 15MSC's Systems Engineering Division reported on the
consequences of eliminating the command and service module (CSM) rendezvous
Memorandum, Aaron Cohen, MSC, to Chief, Operations Planning Div.,
"CSM Rendezvous Radar," October 15, 1964.
- Coasting period:
- During this phase of the mission, the rendezvous radar on the CSM would be
used to track the LEM and the rendezvous radar on the LEM would be used to
track the CSM. With the use of Mission Control through the Manned Space Flight
Network (MSFN), three sources of information could be used as a vote for
guidance system monitoring. Without the CSM rendezvous radar, the monitoring
task would become more difficult; however, this was not to imply that it was
impossible. The conclusion was that CSM rendezvous radar was highly desirable,
but not absolutely necessary.
- Lunar descent and ascent:
- During powered flight, the CSM would be tracking the LEM. This was
desirable because if the LEM guidance computer (LGC) failed, it was very
doubtful that the astronauts could manually acquire radar lock-on with the
CSM. Also, if the LEM rendezvous radar failed, CSM lock-on would be highly
desirable. There were several alternative solutions to this problem. First of
all, Mission Control through the MSFN could relieve the problem. If this did
not satisfy all requirements, it was possible for the LEM rendezvous radar to
track the CSM during powered descent and ascent. If the LGC then failed, the
tracking acquisition would no longer be a problem. In summary, there did
appear to be other ways of fulfilling the functions of the CSM rendezvous
radar during the powered phases.
- Lunar surface:
- While the LEM was on the lunar surface, it would be tracked with the CSM
rendezvous radar in order to update launch conditions. This could be
accomplished by the LEM tracking the CSM and the MSFN.
- This was the most critical phase for the use of the rendezvous radar on
the CSM. If the LEM primary guidance system should fail (i.e., the LGC,
inertial measurement unit [IMU], and LEM rendezvous radar), navigation
information for long-range midcourse corrections would be provided by the
rendezvous radar on the CSM. The MSFN, however, could supply this information.
The terminal rendezvous maneuver would become a problem if the LEM rendezvous
radar failed and there was not a rendezvous radar on the CSM. It had not been
established that the MSFN could supply the required terminal rendezvous
information. If MSFN could, a restricted mission profile would have to be
employed. There were other methods of supplying terminal rendezvous
information such as optical tracking. The scanning telescope or sextant on the
CSM could be used with the IMU and Apollo guidance computer on the CSM to
derive navigation information, meaning that the LEM would require flashing
lights. There was a delta-V penalty associated with using angle-only
information in place of range range rate and angle information, its importance
depending on the accuracy of the angle data and the range/range rate
October 15The Guidance and Control Implementation Sub-Panel of the
MSC-MSFC Flight Mechanics Panel defined the guidance and control interfaces for
Block I and II missions. In Block II missions the CSM's guidance system would
guide the three stages of the Saturn V vehicle; it would control the S- IVB
(third stage) and the CSM while in earth orbit; and it would perform the
injection into a lunar trajectory. In all of this, the CSM guidance backed up
the Saturn ST-124 platform. Actual sequencing was performed by the Saturn V
Memorandum, Aaron Cohen, MSC, to Chief, Flight Technology Branch, "Flight
Mechanics Panel's Activities," October 15, 1964.
October 15Remote operation of the CSM's rendezvous radar transponder
and its stabilization and control system (SCS) was not necessary, ASPO told
North American. Should the CSM pilot be incapacitated, it was assumed that he
could perform several tasks before becoming totally disabled, including turning
on the transponder and the SCS. No maneuvers by the CSM would be required during
this period. However, the vehicle would have to be stabilized during LEM ascent,
rendezvous, and docking.
Letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Attn: E. E. Sack, "Contract NAS 9-150,
Operations Groundrule and Disabled CSM Astronaut," October 15, 1964.
October 15-22The Air Force Eastern Test Command concurred in the
elimination of propellant dispersal systems for the SM and the LEM. Costs,
schedules, and spacecraft designs, NASA felt, would all benefit from this
action. ASPO thus notified the appropriate module contractors.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 15-22, 1964."
October 15-22Because they were unable to find a satisfactory means of
plating the magnesium castings for the CM data storage equipment (to fulfil the
one percent salt spray requirement), Collins Radio Company and the Leach
Corporation were forced to use aluminum as an alternative. This change would
increase the weight of the structure by about 2.3 kg (5 lbs) and, perhaps even
more significant, could produce flutter when the recorder was subjected to
vibration tests. These potential problems would be pursued when a finished
aluminum casting was available.
October 15-22Grumman completed the fuel cell assembly thermal study and
was preparing a specific directive to Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Company which
would incorporate changes recommended by the study. These changes would include
the cooling of electrical components with hydrogen and the shifting of other
components (water shutoff valves, and oxygen purge valve) so that they would
operate at their higher design temperatures.
October 15-22Representatives from the MSC Astronaut Office, and ASPO's
Systems Engineering, Crew Systems, and Mission Planning divisions made several
significant decisions on crew transfer and space suit procedures:
- Crew transfer, both pressurized and unpressurized, would be accomplished
using the environmental control system umbilicals. The CM and LEM umbilicals
would be designed accordingly. Crew Systems would request the necessary
- The requirement for "quick-don" capability for the space suit would be
reevaluated by Systems Engineering people. If the probability of a rapid
decompression of the spacecraft during "noncritical" mission phases was
negligible, "quick-don" capability might be eliminated. This would ease
several design constraints on the suit.
- The question of a crossover valve in the CM, for ventilation during
open-faceplate operation, was postponed pending the decompression study and
ventilation tests at Hamilton Standard.
October 16In a letter on August 25, 1964, the LEM Project Office had
requested Grumman to define the means by which CSM stabilization and rendezvous
radar transponder operation could be provided remotely in the event the CSM
crewman was disabled.
In another letter on October 16, the Project Office notified Grumman that no
requirement existed for remote operation of either the rendezvous radar
transponder or the stabilization and control system. The letter added, however,
that the possibility of an incapacitated CSM astronaut must be considered and
that for design purposes Grumman should assume that the astronaut would perform
certain functions prior to becoming completely disabled. These functions could
include turning on the transponder and the SCS. No CSM maneuvers would be
required during the period in which the CSM astronaut was disabled but the CSM
must remain stabilized during LEM ascent coast and rendezvous and docking
Letter, W. F. Rector III to GAEC, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Operations Groundrule
for Disabled CSM Astronaut," October 16, 1964.
October 16-November 15Three Pratt and Whitney fuel cells were operated
in a simulated space vacuum at North American for 19, 20, and 21 hours. This was
the first time three cells were operated as an electrical power generating
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-31, p. 1.
October 16-November 15North American and Honeywell reviewed the Block
II CSM entry monitor subsystem's compatibility with the stabilization and
control system. The proposed configuration, they found, combined maximum
reliability with minimum size and weight and would provide adequate mission
Ibid., p. 13.
October 17MSC and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
negotiated a $1,500,000 fixed-price contract for the Apollo guidance and
navigation system backup computer.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate
Administrator, Manned Space Flight, October 18-November 30, 1964," p. 39; MSC,
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 15-22, 1964."
October 19MSC ordered Grumman to halt work on the LEM test article
(LTA) 10. The LTA-10's descent stage would be replaced with one cannibalized
from LEM test mockup 5.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 21," LPR-10-37, pp. 12, 18.
October 19On October 19, a supplemental agreement in the amount of
$115,000,000 was issued to North American, bringing the total funded amount of
the CSM contract to $1,136,890,000.
MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate
Administrator, Manned Space Flight, October 18-November 30, 1964," p. 39.
October 22In response to inquiries from General Samuel C. Phillips,
Apollo Program Deputy Director, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea declared that, for
Apollo, no lunar mapping or survey capability was necessary. Shea reported that
the Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Orbiter programs should give ample information
about the moon's surface. For scientific purposes, he said, a simpler
photographic system could be included without requiring any significant design
changes in the spacecraft.
TWX, Shea, MSC, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: Phillips, October 22, 1964;
letter, J. A. Hornbeck, Bellcomm, to S. C. Phillips, NASA, November 5, 1964.
October 22-29Heavy black deposits were discovered on the environmental
control system (ECS) cold plates when they were removed from boilerplate 14.
Several pinholes were found in the cold plate surfaces, and the aluminum lines
were severely pitted. This was, as ASPO admitted, a matter of "extreme concern"
to the ECS design people at North American, because the equipment had been
charged with coolant for only three weeks. This evidence of excessive corrosion
reemphasized the drawbacks of using ethylene glycol as a coolant.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 22-29, 1964."
October 2-29ASPO notified Grumman and North American that it had
canceled requirements for Apollo part task trainers.
October 22-29MSC's Crew Systems Division investigated environmental
control system (ECS) implications of using Gemini suits in Block I missions. The
results indicated that the ECS was capable of maintaining nominal cabin
temperature and carbon dioxide partial pressure levels; however, this mode of
operation always had an adverse effect on cabin dewpoint temperature and water
October 23ASPO deleted the requirement for LEM checkout during the
translunar phase of the mission. Thus the length of time that the CM must be
capable of maintaining pressure in the LEM (for normal leakage in the docked
configuration) was reduced from 10 hours to three.
October 23Jet Propulsion Laboratory proposed a meeting on October 29
between representatives of NASA Headquarters, Bellcomm, MSC, MIT, and JPL to
present the requirements and status of projects underway as they related to the
landing aid problem. The Surveyor Block II study effort was concentrating on
determining needs of obtaining data on the lunar surface and environment for
JPL proposed the following agenda items:
MSC personnel would
present a summary of results to date on the first two items and JPL personnel
would present similar results on items three and four.
- LEM requirements and specifications on a Surveyor deployed transponder.
- MSC planned active and passive landing aids study program.
- Landing aids capabilities under consideration by the Surveyor study:
- Active RE device.
- Passive RF device - corner reflector or other.
- Visual markers - visible during terminal phase and landing only; visible
during terminal phase and landing as well as from lunar orbit; or visible
during terminal phase and landing from lunar orbit as well as
photographically from the unmanned Lunar Orbiter.
- Landing aids lifetime and checkout problems.
- LEM-Surveyor mission interface problems.
TWX from JPL to NASA Hq., MSC, Bellcomm, Inc., and MIT, "Surveyor Employed
Landing Aids for Apollo," signed Lou Divone, October 23, 1964.
October 26The trajectory summary of the Design Reference Mission (DRM)
prepared by the Apollo Mission Planning Task Force was sent to Grumman by the
LEM Project Office with a note that the operational sequence-of-events would be
forwarded in November.
It was acknowledged that a single mission could not serve to "completely
define all the spacecraft functional requirements" but "such a mission has
considerable value as a standard for various purposes on the Apollo Program."
Specifically, the DRM would be used for weight reporting, electrical power
reporting, reliability modeling, engineering simulation, crew task analyses,
mission-related Interface Control Documents, and trade-off studies.
Letter, MSC, W. F. Rector III, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS
9-1100, Transmittal of the Apollo Lunar Landing Design Reference Mission
Trajectory," October 26, 1964.
October 27ASPO requested Grumman to list all single-point failures that
would cause loss of the crew during a lunar orbit rendezvous mission. Grumman
was to consider only the equipment that it was responsible for.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 27, 1964.
October 27NASA announced the appointment of Major General Samuel C.
Phillips as Director of the Apollo Program. Phillips thus assumed part of the
duties of George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator of Manned Space Flight, who
had been serving as Apollo Director as well. Phillips had been Deputy Director
since January 15.
NASA News Release 64-267, "General Phillips Appointed Director of Apollo
Program," October 27, 1964.
October 27MSC ordered North American to halt procurement of a CM
simulator. Instead, the company was to begin a simulator program using the two
existing evaluator-type CMs in conjunction with the digital-analog computer
facility. These evaluators would be used to verify the guidance and navigation
and stabilization and control system software, and to analyze crew tasks and
Letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div.,
"Contract Change Authorization No. 263," October 27, 1964.
October 27Because of the redesign of the portable life support system
that would be required, MSC directed Grumman and North American to drop the
"buddy system" concept for the spacecraft environmental control system (ECS)
umbilicals. The two LEM crewmen would transfer from the CM while attached to
that module's umbilicals. Hookup with the LEM umbilicals, and ventilation from
the LEM ECS, would be achieved before disconnecting the first set of lifelines.
MSC requested North American to cooperate with Grumman and Hamilton Standard on
the design of the fetal end of the umbilicals. Also, the two spacecraft
contractors were directed jointly to determine umbilical lengths and LEM ECS
control locations required for such transfer.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 27, 1964;
TWX, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Attn: E. E. Sack, October 27, 1964; TWX, W. F.
Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 29, 1964; MSC, "ASPO
Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964."
October 28Testing of the first flight-weight 15-cell stack of the LEM
fuel cell assembly began. Although the voltage was three percent below design,
the unit had a 980-watt capability. Earlier, the unit completed 150 hours of
operation, and single cell life had reached 662 hours.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964."
October 28ASPO's Operations Planning Division defined the current
Apollo mission programming as envisioned by MSC. The overall Apollo flight
program was described in terms of its major phases: Little Joe II flights
(unmanned Little Joe II development and launch escape vehicle development);
Saturn IB flights (unmanned Saturn IB and Block I CSM development, Block I CSM
earth orbital operations, unmanned LEM development, and manned Block II CSM/LEM
earth orbital operations); and Saturn V flights (unmanned Saturn V and Block II
CSM development, manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations, and manned
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Distr., "Apollo Spacecraft Flight
Development Mission Program," October 28, 1964.
October 28At Langley Research Center, representatives from Langley,
MSC, Ames Research Center, Avco Corporation, and North American met to discuss
their independent conclusions of the data gathered from the Scout test of the
Apollo heatshield material and to determine whether a second test was advisable.
Langley's report revealed that: the heatshield materials performed as predicted
within the flight condition appropriate to Apollo; the excessive recession rates
occurred during flight conditions which were more severe than those considered
for the design of the heatshield or expected during Apollo reentries.
Each group represented had a different interpretation of the reasons for the
excessively high surface recession. The conclusion was that a second flight of
the heatshield materials on the Scout would not particularly improve the
understanding of the material's performance because of the limited variation in
reentry trajectory and flight conditions obtainable with the Scout vehicle.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Mgr., ASPO, "Significance of Langley
Working Paper on Scout Test of Apollo Heat Shield Material," December 11, 1964.
October 29North American conferred with representatives from Shell
Chemical Company, Narmco, Epoxylite, and Ablestick on the problems of bonding
the secondary structure to the CM. They agreed on improved methods of curing and
clamping to strengthen the bond and prevent peeling.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964"; "ASPO
Weekly Management Report, November 5-12, 1964."
October 29-November 5North American conducted the first operational
deployment of the launch escape system canards. No problems were encountered
with the wiring or the mechanism. Two more operational tests remained to
complete the minimum airworthiness test program, a constraint on boilerplate 23.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964."
October 29-November 5After studying the merits of three flush-mounted
versus two scimitar VHF antennas for the Block II CSM, the MSC Instrumentation
and Electronics Systems Division recommended the flush-mounted type.
October 29-November 5MSC directed North American to halt development of
a portable light assembly for the CM. It was not required, the Center said,
because the spaceship's primary lighting system included extendable floodlights.
Small lights on the fingertips of the space suit and a flashlight in the
survival kit were also available if needed.
October 29-November 5The MSC Meteoroid Technology Branch inspected a
hard shell meteoroid garment built by the Center's Crew Systems Division. It was
only a crude prototype, yet it in no way hampered mobility of the pressurized
suit. The Meteoroid Technology people were satisfied that, should a hard garment
be necessary for protection of the Apollo extravehicular mobility unit, this
concept was adequate. The garment might present stowage problems, however, and
investigations were underway to determine the minimum area in the LEM that would
October 29-November 5An MSC Crew Systems Division (CSD) medical
representative attended a meeting on U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
participation in those NASA Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) and MSC
radiobiology pro grams aimed at delineating the effects of high doses of
whole-body radiation on man. The meeting was attended by NASA's Dr. W. R.
Lovelace, Director, Office of Space Medicine; Dr. Dunham, Medical Director of
the AEC; Dr. Grahn, head of the Argonne National Laboratory, Biology Division;
Dr. Gould Andrews, Chief, Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies, Medicine
Division; and OMSF and NASA Office of Advanced Research and Technology. CSD
requested that the AEC whole-body radiation analysis be extended to include all
future cases throughout the country and that the low dose rates being planned
for a number of clinical conditions particularly be included. The ultimate
objective was a computer, for MSC use, which would accept sequential radiation
flux and type information and predict the occurrence of subsequent acute or
chronic radiation illness or death. The program was agreed by everyone to be
highly desirable. Dr. Dunham said that the AEC would not undertake it unless he
had reasonable assurance of long-term support from NASA. A letter giving such
assurance was being prepared for Dr. George E. Mueller's signature.
October 29-November 5MSC conducted a week-long salt spray test on the
CM television camera's magnesium housing. This was necessitated by similar tests
on the Leach data storage structure, which had disclosed the inadequacy of that
equipment's nickel plating. The television camera, with its protective coating
(AMS 2478, Dow 17 treatment), withstood the ordeal quite well. MSC therefore
decided that the magnesium housing was acceptable.
Ibid.; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, November 5-12, 1964."
October 29-November 5Grumman reported to MSC the results of development
tests on the welding of the LEM cabin's thin-gauge aluminum alloy. The stress
and corrosion resistance of the metal, Grumman found, was not lessened by
environments of pure oxygen, varying temperatures, and high humidity.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964."
October 30North American conducted the first drop test of boilerplate
28 at Downey, Calif. The test simulated the worst conditions that were
anticipated in a three-parachute descent and water landing. The second drop, it
was expected, would likewise simulate a landing on two parachutes. In the week
preceding the drop, the MSC Structures and Mechanics Division had sounded a note
of caution. The aft heatshield, they said, "might not respond to the impact
loading as static loading." In this event, they predicted, pressures imposed on
the heatshield would "greatly exceed" design allowables.
The drop appeared normal, but the spacecraft sank less than four minutes
after hitting the water. Inspection of the vehicle immediately afterward
disclosed that the heatshield had broken open on impact and that the welds of
the stainless-steel honeycomb core had failed. The cabin interior also sustained
considerable damage, especially the aft bulkhead and the cabin floor, which were
forced upward and struck the crew couch. Three instrumented manikins were seated
in the crew positions. The two outboard "crewmen" sustained 25 g's each at
impact. The dummy in the second couch, however, suffered stresses of 50 g's, a
condition that might euphemistically be called "unacceptable." MSC and North
American personnel were investigating further.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 22-29, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly
Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management Report,
November 5-12, 1964"; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-31, pp. 3-4.
October 31Astronaut Theodore C. Freeman died in an aircraft accident at
Ellington Air Force Base, near Houston. Freeman, an Air Force captain and a
member of NASA's third group of spacemen, was preparing to land his T-38
training jet when it struck a goose and lost power. He ejected from his
aircraft, but did not have sufficient altitude for his parachute to open.
Freeman thus became the first American astronaut to lose his life in the quest
for the moon.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1964, pp. 370, 388; The
Houston Chronicle, November 1, 1964; The Houston Post,
November 17, 1964.
During the QuarterMSC spelled out additional details of the LEM
environmental control system (ECS) umbilical arrangements. The hoses were to be
permanently bonded to the ECS; a crossover valve, to permit flow reversal, was
mandatory; and a bypass relief would be added, if necessary, to prevent fan
surge. Grumman was to coordinate with North American to ensure that all
umbilicals were long enough for crew transfer and to determine the optimum
location for the spacecraft's ECS switches.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, October 29-November 5, 1964";
memorandum, Robert E. Smylie, MSC, to Chief, Program Control Div., "Apollo
Spacecraft Program Quarterly Status Report No. 10," January 19, 1965, with
enclosures; memorandum, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to Contracting Officer, LEM,
"Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM Environmental Control System (ECS), Suit Supply
Connector and Flow Control," November 3, 1964.