Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
January 5MSC's Guidance and Control Division conducted a pilot
simulation study to determine whether a pilot could take over manual control of
the LEM between 4,572 and 3,048 m (15,000 and 10,000 ft) above the lunar surface
and satisfactorily land the vehicle. The study also determined what flight
information was required for pilot control.
The study investigated deceleration techniques, approach velocity, flare
attitude, and the pilot information required for landings within a given
footprint. If the site was deemed unsatisfactory for landing, after "eyeballing"
it from 305 m (1,000 ft), the pilot would, under normal circumstances, place the
coordinates of a new landing site in the computer; then take over manually and
fly while making selection of the landing site.
MSC, "MSC Internal Note No. 65-EG-3, Project Apollo, Simulation Study of
Pilot Controlled Lunar Landings from the Transition Altitude," Thomas E. Moore
and Clarke T. Hackler, January 5, 1965.
January 5At the fourth meeting of the Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel,
MSC and MSFC members agreed on a trajectory with a launch azimuth of 108
degrees. Translunar injection would be performed over the Pacific Ocean during
the first or second orbits. First-orbit injection would fix the minimum time
required before the maneuver. Injection on the second pass would determine
consequent penalties. The actions were initiated by Mission Planning and
Analysis Division (MPAD) and were required to solidify and minimize analytical
studies and operational planning.
Memorandum, Secretaries, Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel Meeting, to Distr.,
"Meetings of fourth Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel meeting held January 5,
1965," January 11, 1965; memorandum, Carl R. Huss, MSC, to JSC Historical
Office, "Comments on Volume III of The Apollo Spacecraft: A
Chronology," June 6, 1973.
January 5North American and Lockheed summarized the qualification
program for the launch escape and pitch control motors. While several
performance deviations were reported, these were minor and, in general, the
presentation was deemed satisfactory. North American followed up on the
discrepancies and, on March 22, the motors were declared flight-qualified.
NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-34, March 1, 1965, p. 17.
January 6William A. Lee, chief of ASPO's Operations Planning Division,
outlined the space suit design criteria for Apollo missions 204 and 205.
Modified Gemini space suits were to be used.
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Assistant Director for Flight Crew
Operations, "Spacesuit Utilization on Block I CSM Earth Orbital Missions,"
January 6, 1965. [See memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Chief, Operations
Planning Division, "Spacesuit Utilization on Block I CSM Earth Orbital
Missions," January 26, 1965.]
January 6ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director
Samuel C. Phillips that he planned to conduct a program review with MIT during
January 1965, similar to the North American, AC Spark Plug, and Grumman program
reviews, but with certain differences, since MIT was a non- profit organization
and the scope of its work much narrower than the prime hardware contractors.
Shea pointed out that 1965 would be the most critical year of the MIT effort;
during that year all drawings for the Block I, Block II, and LEM guidance
navigation and control programs should be released. Consequently, the program
review at MIT would examine only that one year.
Shea said he would meet with C. Stark Draper on January 14 and discuss with
him "where we stand with respect to the MIT work of the past and our concerns
for the future." During the week of January 18, MSC would send 14 teams to MIT
to meet with their counterparts, and the following week a review board, chaired
by R. C. Duncan of MSC, would go over the work of the individual MIT-NASA teams
in depth and agree upon the program for 1965. The 14 teams would be: Reliability
and Quality Assurance, Field Operations, Documentation and Configuration
Management, Systems Assembly and Test, Guidance and Mission Analysis,
Simulation, Ground Support Equipment, Optics, Inertial Systems and Sensors,
Computer, Radar, Training; Terms, Conditions, Rates and Factors; and Statement
of Work Integration.
Shea felt that the review would give MIT a clearer understanding of their
part in the guidance, navigation, and control system development. He recommended
that Phillips discuss the general nature of the program review with George E.
Mueller and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., so they would both understand ASPO's
Phillips forwarded the letter to Associate Administrator for Manned Space
Flight George E. Mueller along with his comments on the proposal. He said, "I
think it is a good plan and that the results will be beneficial to the program.
I urge your support should it become necessary."
Letter, Shea to Phillips, January 6, 1965; memorandum, Phillips to Mueller,
January 15, 1965.
January 6ASPO's Systems Engineering Division (SED) investigated the
possibility of partial donning of the space suit (sans helmet and gloves) and
the consequent effects upon operation of the CM environmental control system
(ECS). (Current ECS design called for shirtsleeve and full-suited operations.)
The systems engineers found that, with vehicle reliability based upon
shirtsleeve environments, wearing part of the suit contributed little toward
protecting the astronaut against loss of cabin pressure.
Most pressure-seal failures in the spacecraft would still allow the astronaut
time to don the complete suit. Catastrophic failures (i.e., loss of windows or
hatches) were highly improbable, but if one of this type occurred,
depressurization would be so rapid as to preclude the astronaut's donning even a
part of the suit. Actually, overall mission reliability was greatest with the
shirtsleeve environment; continuous suit wear degraded the garment's reliability
for the lunar exploration phase of the flight. Moreover, a number of design
changes in the spacecraft would be required by partial suit wear.
SED concluded that, to build confidence in the spacecraft's pressurization
system, Block I CM's should be outfitted for partial suit wear. In Block II
vehicles the suit should not be worn during translunar mission phases (again
because of mission reliability). SED recommended to the ASPO Manager, therefore,
that he direct North American to incorporate provisions for partial suit wear in
Block I and to retain the shirtsleeve concept for the Block II spacecraft.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program
Office, "Evaluation of space suit wear criteria," January 6, 1965.
January 6-8The Preliminary Design Review of the Block II CM was held at
North American's Downey, Calif., plant. Ten working groups evaluated the
spacecraft design and resolved numerous minor details. They then reported to a
review board of NASA and North American officials. This board met in Houston
during the middle of the month, reviewed the findings of the working groups, and
submitted recommendations to ASPO. Several significant problems required the
attention of Apollo managers at Houston and at North American:
"Apollo CSM-Block II Preliminary Design Review (PDR),
NASA-MSC-ASPO, NAA-S&ID, 6-8 January 1965," pp. 4-40.
- The effect of heavyweight LEM (up 1,361 kg [3,000 lbs]) on the spacecraft
lunar adapter and on the CM's docking system. North American was studying this
- Wearing cycles and requirements for donning and stowage of the space suits
must be resolved and incorporated into the CSM specifications. North
American's interpretation of those specifications conflicted with the MSC Crew
System Division's current plan that, during the first several missions, all
three crewmen should be able to wear their suits without the
January 7William A. Lee, chief of ASPO's Operations Planning Division,
announced a revised Apollo launch schedule for 1966 and 1967. In 1968, a
week-long earth orbital flight would be a dress rehearsal for the lunar mission.
"Then the moon," Lee predicted. "We have a fighting chance to make it by 1970,"
he said, "and also stay within the 20 billion price tag set . . . by former
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965: Chronology on Science, Technology,
and Policy (NASA SP-4006, 1966), p. 7.
January 7MSC Deputy Director George M. Low issued a memorandum
regarding differences in the Apollo schedule as made public in an Associated
Press release with a Houston, Texas, dateline. Low cited the following statement
by George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and said
it "represents our official and only position on Apollo schedules:
believe these major milestones will be met and our goal of a manned lunar
landing in this decade can be accomplished."
- "The Apollo schedule for accomplishment of major milestones leading to the
first manned lunar landing has not changed.
- The first Saturn IB flight is scheduled in 1966.
- Apollo manned flights on Saturn IB are scheduled for 1967.
- Unmanned Saturn V flights are scheduled for 1967.
- Manned Apollo earth orbital flights are scheduled for 1968.
AP Release, Houston, Texas, January 7, 1965; memorandum, Low to Distribution,
"Apollo schedules," January 7, 1965; memorandum, Alfred P. Alibrando, NASA
Headquarters, to Distribution, "Apollo Schedules," April 7, 1965.
January 7-14Changing the CM back-face temperature requirement from 600
degrees F at touchdown to 600 degrees F at parachute deployment threatened to
increase the cabin air temperature. Physiologists at MSC had previously declared
that the cabin temperature should not exceed 100 degrees F. The proposed change
in the back-face requirement, North American reported, would raise the cabin's
interior to 125 degrees F. MSC's Crew Systems Division reviewed these factors
and decided the increased cabin temperature would not be acceptable.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report" [January 7-14, 1965].
January 8MSC was reviewing the control-display systems of the CSM and
LEM to assess operational constraints. North American was requested to study all
controls, displays, and systems functions for manned spacecraft to identify and
eliminate single-point failures.
Letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division,
Attn: J. C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Control-display criteria for crew safety
and mission success," January 8, 1965.
January 11NASA announced that Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 16,
a Titan missile facility, would be converted into static test stands for Apollo
spacecraft. This decision eliminated the need for such a facility originally
planned on Merritt Island and, it was predicted, would cost little more than a
fourth of the $7 million estimated for the new site.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 11-12.
January 11North American selected Dalmo-Victor to supply S-band
high-gain antennas for Apollo CSM's. (The deployable antenna would be used
beyond 14,816 km [8,000 nm] from the earth.) Dalmo-Victor would complete the
antenna design and carry out the development work, and North American would
procure production units under a supplemental contract.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, p. 8.
January 12Grumman and Hamilton Standard were exploring various designs
for the extravehicular mobility unit. On the basis of some early conclusions,
the MSC Crew Systems Division (CSD) recommended that meteoroid and thermal
protection be provided by a single garment. Preliminary hypervelocity tests
placed the garment's reliability at 0.999. Each would weigh about 7.7 kg (17
lbs), about 2.3 kg (5 lbs) less than the two-garment design. CSD further
recommended that the unit be stored either in the LEM's descent stage or in a
jettisonable container in the ascent portion. [See November 19-26, 1964.]
Memorandum, John F. Rayfield, MSC, to Record, "Status of Apollo Support
Office concept of optimum Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) meteoroid/thermal
protection arrangement," January 12, 1965.
January 12MSC evaluated the VHF communications requirements and
determined that there was no requirement for the LEM to communicate
simultaneously over VHF with:
There also was no
requirement for the CSM to communicate simultaneously over VHF with:
- the CSM in lunar orbit
- an extravehicular astronaut on the lunar surface.
Grumman and North American were advised
that voice communications during this mission phase would be maintained by the
unified S-band equipment via the Manned Space Flight Network relay.
- an extravehicular astronaut
- an astronaut in the LEM.
TWX, C. L. Taylor and W. F. Rector III, to NAA, Attn: J. C. Cozad, and GAEC,
Attn: R. S. Mullaney, January 12, 1965.
January 12Donald K. Slayton, MSC Assistant Director for Flight Crew
Operations, pointed out to Managers of the ASPO and the Gemini Program Office
that a number of units of spacecraft control and display equipment were needed
to support the Spacecraft Control Office in the areas of spacecraft crew
procedures development, crew station equipment development, flight crew
familiarization, training, and spacecraft mission preparation. Such equipment
was needed within MSC, at other NASA Centers, and at contractor facilities to
support centrifuge programs, research vehicle programs, launch abort
simulations, rendezvous and docking simulations, retrofire and reentry
simulations, and other mission phase simulations. Slayton emphasized that
uncoordinated requests for hardware procurement to support these programs were
excessively costly in terms of equipment.
Slayton said that a "satisfactory method to reduce costs and increase
equipment utilization and effectiveness is to assign responsibility as custodian
to one technically cognizant organization which will ascertain the total
requirement for equipment and be responsible for coordinating procurement and
allocating and transferring hardware assignment required to meet program
requirements." He recommended that the Crew Station Branch of Flight Crew
Support Division be given the consolidated responsibilities.
Memorandum, Slayton to Manager, ASPO, and Manager, Gemini Program Office,
"Proposed control and display utilization and cost reduction plan," January 12,
January 13The first meeting of the Configuration Control Board was held
at MSC with ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea as chairman. Approval was given to
delete 10 Apollo guidance and navigation systems; and W. F. Rector III was
directed to look into the use of computers and prototype units for electronic
systems integration. In other actions, a decision on changes to CSM
specifications to provide for the heavyweight LEM (a proposed increase from
12,705 to 14,515 kg [28,000 to 32,000 lbs]) was deferred until the next meeting;
and Owen Maynard was directed to identify all Block II changes that must be
implemented regardless of impact and have them ready for Board action by
February 18, 1965.
Minutes, Configuration Control Board Meeting No. 1, signed A. L. Brady,
Secretary, CCB, January 13, 1965.
January 14-21Development firings of the launch escape system's drogue
and pilot parachute mortars were completed, and the units were slated for
qualification trials the following month.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 14-21, 1965."
January 14-21OMSF asked MSC to provide NASA Headquarters with a
statement of "the minimum definition of meteoroid environment in cislunar space"
which would be necessary for confidence that Apollo could withstand the
meteoroid flux. The "desirable degree of definition" was also requested. This
material was to be used as inputs to the current cislunar Pegasus studies being
conducted by OMSF.
January 14-21Significant agreements from the Eleventh MSC-MSFC Flight
Mechanics, Dynamics, Guidance and Control Panel meeting were:
- There was no requirement to inhibit the S-IVB attitude and attitude rate
hold modes during the transposition and docking phase.
- The S-IVB auxiliary propulsion system had sufficient propellant to perform
21 roll maneuvers in earth orbit at 0.5 deg/sec for inertial measurement unit
alignment and earth landmark sightings, one yaw maneuver at 0.3 deg/sec for
sun avoidance before transposition and docking, and one pitch and or yaw
maneuver at 0.3 deg/sec before the final CSM/LEM separation maneuver from the
January 14During testing, it was found that blast effects of the linear
charge for the CM/SM umbilical cutter caused considerable damage to the
heatshield. To circumvent this problem, North American designed a vastly
improved pyrotechnic-driven, guillotine-type cutter. MSC readily approved the
new' device for both Block I and II spacecraft.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, p. 4.
January 14North American completed acceptance tests for the CSM
sequential and propulsion systems trainers. On January 15 the equipment was
shipped to MSC, where it was installed the following week. This terminated the
procurement program for the Apollo systems trainer.
Ibid., p. 20.
January 18The Structures and Mechanics Division approved a low-burst
factor for the gaseous helium tanks on the LEM (as recommended by Grumman). This
change permitted a substantial lightening of the spacecraft's propulsion
systems: descent 45 kg (99 lbs); ascent, 13 kg (29 lbs); reaction control, 2.3
kg (5 lbs).
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS
9-1100, Reduction of burst safety factor for the gaseous helium bottles,"
January 18, 1965.
January 18MSC White Sands Missile Operations was renamed MSC White
Sands Operations to eliminate the similarity to the Army's White Sands Missile
MSC Release 65-6, January 18, 1965.
January 18After reviewing the requirement for extravehicular transfer
(EVT) from the LEM to the CM, MSC reaffirmed its validity. The Center already
had approved additional fuel for the CM, to lengthen its rendezvousing range,
and modifications of the vehicle's hatch to permit exterior operation. The need
for a greater protection for the astronaut during EVT would be determined
largely by current thermal tests of the pressure suit being conducted by NASA
and Hamilton Standard. While the emergency oxygen system was unnecessary during
normal transfer from one vehicle to the other, it was essential during EVT or
lunar surface activities.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, January 18, 1965.
LEM ascent stage.
January 18General Motors' Allison Division completed qualification
testing of the propellant tanks for the service propulsion system.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-34, p. 8.
January 18The MSC Mission Planning and Analysis Division made a
presentation to Joseph F. Shea, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., and Donald K. Slayton
on Apollo Missions 201, 202, 204, 206, 207, 501, 503, and 504. It was stated
that 204B was to be a repeat of 202; 204C was to be a repeat of 201; and 204D
was to be the same as 204A but would be flown unmanned.
Memorandum, Carl R. Huss, JSC, to JSC Historical Office, "Comments on Volume
III of The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology," June 6, 1973.
January 18MSC was studying several approaches to the problems of
automatic thermal control and automatic reacquisition of the earth by the S-band
high-gain antenna while the CSM circled the moon. (The Block II spacecraft, MSC
had stated, must have the ability to perform these functions wholly on its own.
During an extended stay of the LEM on the lunar surface, when the CSM pilot
needed uninterrupted sleep periods, antenna reacquisition was absolutely
essential for telemetering data back to earth. And although the requirements for
passive thermal control were not yet well defined, the spacecraft's attitude
must likewise be automatically controlled.)
Robert C. Duncan, chief of the MSC Guidance and Control Division, presented
his section's recommendations for solving these problems, which ultimately won
ASPO's concurrence. Precise spacecraft body rates, Duncan said, should be
maintained by the stabilization and control system. The position of the S-band
antenna should be telemetered to the ground, where the angle required for
reacquisition would be computed. The antenna would then be repositioned by
commands sent through the updata link.
Memorandum, Robert C. Duncan, MSC, to Distr., "Block II Apollo High-gain
antenna pointing in lunar orbit," January 18, 1965.
January 19-20In simulated zero-g conditions aboard KC-135s, technicians
evaluated a number of different devices for restraining the LEM crewmen. These
trials demonstrated clearly the need for a hip restraint and for a downward
force to hold the astronaut securely to the cabin floor. In mid-February a
second series of flights tested the combination that seemed most promising:
Velcro shoes that would be used together with Velcropile carpeting on the cabin
floor of the spacecraft; a harness that enveloped the astronaut's chest and,
through an intricate system of cables and pulleys, exerted a constant downward
pressure; and a waist strap that secured the harness to the lighting panel
immediately facing the crewman. These evaluations permitted Grumman to complete
the design of the restraint system.
Memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "LEM Zero Gravity
Support and Restraint Evaluation," February I, 1965.
January 20The test altitude for mission A-004 was decreased from 22,860
to 19,507 m (75,000 to 64,000 ft) to ensure the attainment of limit loads on the
CM during a tumbling power-on abort.
Memorandum, George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., to Administrator, "Apollo Spacecraft
Intermediate Altitude Abort Test Mission A-004, Post Launch Report No. 1,"
January 26, 1966, with enclosure, "Post Launch Report No. 1."
January 20The new membership of the MSC Manned Spacecraft Criteria and
Standards Board, established September 4, 1963, was: F. John Bailey, Jr.,
Chairman; James W. Donnell, Secretary; James A. Chamberlin, Kenneth S.
Kleinknecht, W. R. Durrett, William M. Bland, and Norman F. Smith.
MSC Circular No. 146 (Ref. 2-4-11), "MSC Manned Spacecraft Criteria and
Standards Board," January 20, 1965.
January 21-28The persistent problem of combustion instability in the
LEM ascent engine, unyielding to several major injector redesigns, was still
present during test firings at Bell Aerosystems. Following reviews by MSC and
Grumman, the "mainstream effort" in the injector program was "reoriented" to a
design that included baffles on the face of the injector. Largely because of
this troublesome factor, it now appeared that the ascent engine's development
cost, which only four months earlier Bell and Grumman had estimated at $20
million, would probably approach $34 million. Bell also forecast a 15.4-kg
(34-lb) weight increase for the engine because of a longer burn design and a
strengthened nozzle extension.
GAEC, "Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, February 10, 1965, p. 20;
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 21Northrop-Ventura verified the strength of the dual drogue
parachutes in a drop test at El Centro, Calif. This was also the first airborne
test of the new mortar by which the drogues were deployed and of the new pilot
parachute risers, made of steel cables. All planned objectives were met. The
deployment sequence was perfect, and there was no apparent kinking of the
In the course of this drop, six of the 12 cutters, which sever the reefing
lines on the main parachutes, failed. This failure, together with another cutter
malfunction during the previous month, signaled an intensive investigation at
Ordco, the cutter manufacturer. Qualification of the severing device was thereby
On January 22, Northrop, North American, and MSC conducted a design review
for the drogue system and found no discrepancies.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-33, pp.3-4; "ASPO Weekly
Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 21At the request of Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo
Program Director, ASPO reexamined the performance requirements for spacecraft
slated for launch with Saturn IBs. MSC currently assessed that the launch
vehicle was able to put 16,102 kg (35,500 lbs) into a circular orbit 105 nm
above the earth. Based on the spacecraft control weights, however, it appeared
that the total injected weight of the modules would exceed this amount by some
395 kg (870 lbs).
A 454-kg (1,000-lb) increase in the Saturn IB's payload was the most
desirable solution, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea wrote Phillips. However, by
removing one set of propellant tanks and a helium tank from SM and slightly
reducing the propellant supply, the spacecraft could still be kept within the
launch vehicle's capability without affecting mission objectives or crew safety.
While several other alternative approaches appeared feasible, they would
seriously impair spacecraft performance.
On February 23, Phillips informed Shea that he foresaw the requisite payload
boost. While the control payload for the Saturn IB would remain unchanged,
Phillips said, a new design goal of 16,556 kg (36,500 lbs) would be set. At the
end of July it would be decided whether or not to make this last figure a new
Letter, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, January 21,
1965; memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Distr., "Mission assignments for Block
II CSM's," February 12, 1965; letter, Phillips, NASA, to Shea, February 23,
1965; memorandum, Lee, MSC, to Mission Planning and Analysis Division, Attn: J.
P, Bryant, "Modified mission profile for CSM-LEM flight on Saturn I-B," March 3,
January 21-28Space Ordnance Systems was selected to develop the
explosive bolts that held the LEM's two stages together.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 21-28Two underwater firings verified the design concept of the
main parachute disconnects.
January 21-28Parallel development of the LEM descent engine was halted.
Space Technology Laboratories was named the sole contractor; the Rocketdyne
contract was canceled. Grumman estimated that the cost of Rocketdyne's program
would be about $25 million at termination.
Ibid.; "Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, pp. 1, 30,
January 22The MSC-MSFC Mechanical Integration Panel discussed the
possibility that, when deployed, the LEM adapter panels might interfere with
radio communications via the S-band high-gain antenna. On earth-orbital
missions, the panel found, the S-band antenna would be rendere useless. They
recommended that MSC's Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division
investigate alternative modes for communications during the transposition and
docking phase of the flight. During lunar missions, on the other hand, the panel
found that, with panels deployed at a 45 degree angle, the high-gain antenna
could be used as early as 15 minutes after translunar injection.
Spacecraft-to-ground communications during transposition and docking could thus
be available and manual tracking would not be needed. North American was
informed that the high-gain antenna would be used during this maneuver, and was
directed to fix the panel deployment angle for all Block II spacecraft at 45
Memorandum, Lyle M. Jenkins, MSC, to Distr., "Abstract of MSC meeting on
solutions to the interference of the deployed SLA panels with communications,"
January 25, 1965; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 22Two construction companies, Blount Brothers Corporation,
Montgomery, Ala., and Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, Oak Park, Ill., received
a joint contract (worth $5,178,000) for construction of a vacuum chamber at the
Lewis Research Center's Plum Brook Station. The facility, which would be used
for spacecraft and propulsion system testing, would be one of the largest such
simulators in the world.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 26.
January 22Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips forecast "heavy
ground testing" for Apollo during 1965. The coming months, he said, should see
the completion of testing on the first Apollo spacecraft intended for manned
space flight, as well as flight qualification of the Saturn IB and initial
testing of the Saturn V launch vehicles.
Ibid., p. 27.
January 23ASPO approved the technique for LEM S-IVB separation during
manned missions, a method recommended jointly by North American and Grumman.
After the CSM docked with the LEM, the necessary electrical circuit between the
two spacecraft would be closed manually. Explosive charges would then free the
LEM from the adapter on the S-IVB.
Memorandum, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Distr., "Lunar Excursion Module
(LEM)/Saturn S-IVB Stage Separation Technique," January 23, 1965.
January 25Dalmo-Victor, vendor of the LEM S-band antenna, was given
firm requirements for tracking and coverage, thus enabling the company to freeze
the antenna design.
"MSC Weekly Management Report, January 28-February 4, 1965."
January 25The optimism that permeated the Apollo program was reflected
in statements by NASA's Associate Administrator, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., during
budget briefings for the forthcoming year. He was "greatly encouraged" by recent
design freezes and "very reassured" by testing of propulsion systems and launch
vehicle stages. "We really feel," Seamans said, ". . . that we can get off the
[lunar landing] flight on an earlier mission than I would have said a year ago?'
Certainly it was "conceivable" that the moon landing could come "in early 1970."
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 29-30.
January 25To determine flotation characteristics of the spacecraft, the
Stevens Institute of Technology began a testing program using one-tenth scale
models of the CM. Researchers found that the sequence in which the uprighting
bags were deployed was equally critical in both a calm sea and in various wave
conditions; improper deployment caused the vehicle to assume an apex-down
position. These trials disproved predictions that wave action would upright the
spacecraft from this attitude.
Further testing during the following month reinforced these findings. But
because sequential deployment would degrade reliability of the system, North
American held that the bags must upright the spacecraft irrespective of the
order of their inflation. Stevens' investigators would continue their program,
examining the CM's characteristics under a variety of weight and center of
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-34, p. 7; "Apollo Monthly
Progress Report," SID 62-300- 35, April 1, 1965, pp. 7-8.
January 25MSC negotiated a backup Block II space suit development
program with David Clark Company, which paralleled the Hamilton Standard
program, at a cost of $176,000. Criteria for selecting the suit for ultimate
development for Block II would be taken from the Extravehicular Mobility Unit
Design and Performance Specification. A selection test program would be
conducted at MSC using the CM mockup, the lunar simulation facility, and the LEM
Memorandum, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to Joseph Shea, "Block II Apollo suit
program," January 25, 1965.
January 25ASPO established an operational requirement for propellant
gauges in the LEM descent stage, the exact details to be worked out by Grumman.
The gauges must be accurate to within one-half of one percent when less than
one-fourth of the propellants remained.
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Status of LEM descent
Delta-V budget," January 25, 1965; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January
January 26Warren J. North, Chairman of the Lunar Landing Research
Vehicle (LLRV) Coordination Panel, reported to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth
that the LLRV had been flown 10 times by Flight Research Center pilots - eight
times by Joe Walker and twice by Don Mallick. Maximum altitude achieved was 91 m
(300 ft) and maximum forward velocity was 12 m (40 ft) per sec. Subsequent to
December 14, 1964, the vehicle had been undergoing detailed x-ray inspection,
lunar simulation control system checkout, and minor changes prior to extending
the flight envelope in February.
North said discussions with the pilots indicated that checkout prerequisites
for future LLRV pilots should include helicopter proficiency plus at least two
weeks of intensive simulator and vehicle test stand activity. Prototypes of the
basic LEM controls and displays were being procured by MSC and would be phased
into the LLRV simulator and flight vehicles during the spring and summer.
Memorandum, North to Gilruth, "Status of Lunar Landing Research Vehicle
(LLRV) Program," January 26, 1965.
January 26At a meeting held at Grumman, RCA presented its study on
thermal effects for a fixed rendezvous radar antenna assembly which would be
protected from the CSM service propulsion system by a thermal shield.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, p. 17; "ASPO Weekly Management
Report, January 21-28, 1965."
January 27MSC evaluated Grumman's proposal to stage components of the
extravehicular mobility unit to achieve a substantial weight reduction.
"Minutes of the Lunar Excursion Module Crew Integration Systems Meeting No.
3, January 27, 1965," pp. 2-4.
January 28The first major Saturn V flight component, a 10-m (33-ft)
diameter, 27,215 kg (60,000 lb corrugated tail section which would support the
booster's 6,672 kilonewtons (1.5-million-lb) thrust engines, arrived at MSFC
from NASA's Michoud Operations near New Orleans. The section was one of five
major structural units comprising Saturn V's first stage.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 39.
January 28After examining the CM's potable water system, engineers in
the MSC Crew Systems Division found that the Gemini pistol-type water dispenser
could not be used in the Apollo spacecraft without some changes in the dispenser
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 14-21, 1965" [see memorandum, G.
Merritt Preston, MSC- Florida Operations, to Chief, Crew Systems Division,
"Flight Water Program," January 28, 1965].
January 28-February 4Initial development testing of LEM restraint
systems was completed. Under zero-g conditions, investigators found, positive
restraints for the crew were essential. While the system must be further
refined, it consisted essentially of a harness that secured the astronaut's hips
(thus providing a pivot point) and held him firmly on the cabin floor.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 28-February 4, 1965."
January 28-February 4MSC canceled plans (originally proposed by North
American) for a device to detect failures in the reaction control system (RCS)
for Block I CSMs. This was done partly because of impending weight, cost, and
schedule penalties, but also because, given an RCS failure during earth orbit,
the crew could detect it in time to return to earth safely even without the
proposed device. This action in no way affected the effort to devise such a
detection system for the Block II CSM or the LEM, however.
January 29ASPO concurred with the requirement to provide an emergency
defecation capability aboard the LEM as established by MSC's Center Medical
Programs Office. The addition of a Gemini-type defecation glove appeared to
present a satisfactory solution. Crew Systems Division was directed to proceed
with their recommendation and add the Gemini gloves to the LEM crew provisions.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division, "Waste
management provisions aboard the LEM," January 29, 1965.
January 29Apollo boilerplate 28 underwent its second water impact test.
Despite its strengthened aft structure, in this and a subsequent drop on
February 9 the vehicle again suffered damage to the aft heatshield and bulkhead,
though far less severe than that experienced in its initial test. The impact
problem, it was obvious, was not yet solved.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, pp. 1, 8, 16.
During the MonthASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reiterated the space
agency's phasic view of the Apollo program. He was well pleased with the pace of
the program and reported that ground testing of all CSM subsystems was "well
along." Reflecting on the year just past, Shea observed that it was one in which
Apollo objectives were achieved "milestone by milestone?' He was equally
optimistic about Apollo's progress during the coming months, predicting that
there would be "three Apollo spacecraft in continuous ground testing" by the end
of the year.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 43.
During the MonthDr. William H. Pickering, Director of Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, commented on the importance of Ranger VII in locating
possible lunar landing sites.
Ibid., pp. 43-44.
During the MonthNine areas of scientific experiments for the first
manned Apollo lunar landing mission had been summarized and experimenters were
defining them for NASA. Space sciences project group expected to publish the
complete report by March 1, to be followed by requests for proposals from
industry on designing and producing instrument packages. A major effort was
under way by a NASA task force making a time-motion study of how best to use the
limited lunar stay-time of two hours' minimum for the first flight.
Ibid., p. 45.
During the MonthTo make it easier to get in and out of the spacecraft,
Grumman modified the LEM's forward hatch. During mobility tests on the company's
mockup, a hinged, trapezoidal-shaped door had proved superior to the original
circular hatch, so the earlier design was dropped.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, p. 13.