Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing

May 1965


May 1

North American and NASA officials conducted an engineering inspection on boilerplate 23A at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The board approved four requests on minor structural changes; a fifth request, involving tolerances on the boost protective cover, was slated for further study.

Memorandum, Joe W. Dodson, MSC, to Distr., "Results of DEI on BP-23A," May 4, 1965, with enclosures.

May 3

Systems Engineering Division did not concur in use of the chamber technician's suit by test subjects in AFRM 008 tests. AFRM 008 represented the only integrated spacecraft test under a simulated thermal- vacuum environment and was therefore considered a significant step in man-rating the overall system. For that reason use of the flight configuration Block I suit was a firm requirement for the AFRM 008 tests.

The same rationale would be applicable to the LEM and Block II vehicle chamber tests. Only flight configured spacecraft hardware and extravehicular mobility unit garments would be used by test subjects.

Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division, "Utilization of a Flight Configured Block I Space Suit with AFRM 008," sgd. Robert W. Williams, May 3, 1965.

May 3

R. Wayne Young was appointed Chief of the LEM Contract Engineering Branch, ASPO, to perform the functions of Project Officer for the LEM, effective May 3. At the same time M. E. Dell was appointed Chief of the G&N/ACE Contract Engineering Branch, ASPO, and would be responsible for all functions of Project Officer for the guidance and navigation, automatic checkout equipment-spacecraft, and Little Joe II systems for the Apollo spacecraft, and for technical management of the General Electric Support Contract.

Memorandum, J. Thomas Markley, MSC, to Distr., "Assignment of Chief, LEM Contract Engineering Branch and Chief, G&N/ACE Contract Engineering Branch, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office," May 4, 1965.

May 4

Technical personnel at MSC became concerned over an RCS oxidizer tank failure that occurred in February 1965, during propellant exposure and creep tests. The failure had previously been explained as stress corrosion caused from a fingerprint on the tank shell before heat treat. NASA requested that the test be repeated under tighter controlled procedures.

TWX, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, May 4, 1965.

May 4

A Panel Review Board (PRB) meeting was held at Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) in Washington and the MSC and MSFC Chairmen of the Flight Mechanics Panel attended.

Prior to the formal meeting, discussions with T. Thompson and B. Kaskey revealed that Bellcomm had recommended to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that the contingency mission for AS 204 be an unmanned orbital flight and that no unmanned contingency mission be planned for 205. The reason for an unmanned contingency for 204 was to give MSFC an additional opportunity to obtain orbital data from the S-IVB stage.

PRB was informed that lack of specific requirements concerning contingency mission capability was hampering Flight Mechanics Panel in completion of interface control documents and associated mission development. Contingency capability was classified into two types: (1) contingency capability to provide for failures during the flight program or schedule adjustments of the hardware; and (2) in-flight contingencies due to malfunction of the launch vehicle.

Memorandum, C. H. Perrine, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Trip Report on Panel Review Board Meeting at OMSF, May 4, 1965," May 7, 1965.

May 4

NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller concurred with a plan of MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to implement a three-station developmental Solar Particle Alert Network. Mueller said he understood that Gilruth would "review the necessity for the Guaymas station, and that you will examine having all data reduction related to this network carried out under contract," and adding that he felt the program would be enhanced if arrangement could be made to involve one or more academic institutions in the analysis of data.

Letter, Mueller to Gilruth, "Solar Particle Alert Network," May 4, 1965.

May 4

A preliminary flight readiness review was held in Houston on boilerplate (BP) 22. Several participants voiced serious doubts about the structural integrity of the boost protective cover, because of its sizable cutouts (required for pressure measurements and its poor fit. Structures and Mechanics Division representatives argued that the article not be modified, however. They stressed that BP-23's cover, which also fit poorly, endured greater dynamic pressures than were anticipated for BP-22. Final inspection of the cover would be made at WSMR. (See May 19, 1965.)

"ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 6-13, 1965."

May 4

Although North American was including real-time digital command equipment in Block II CSMs (as NASA had directed), the firm recommended that such equipment not be placed on Block I vehicles. North American based their contention on two factors:

  1. the anticipated cost and schedule impacts; and
  2. command capability was not essential during earth orbital flights.
Letter, E. E. Sack, NAA, to NASA MSC, Attn: J. B. Alldredge, "Contract NAS 9-150, Contract Change Proposal SID-150-370, Revision 1, Preliminary; Real Time Radio Command Requirements on Block I and Block II CSM's," May 4, 1965, with enclosure.

May 4

MSC directed North American to provide spacecraft 012, 014, 017, and 020 with a system to monitor combustion instability in the service propulsion engine. (On April 8, officials of ASPO, Propulsion and Power Division, and the Flight Operations Directorate had agreed on the desirability of such a system.) Should vibrations become excessive, the device would automatically shut down the engine. Manual controls would enable the astronauts to lock out the automatic system and to restart the engine.

Letter, J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, "Contract Change Authorization No. 347," May 4, 1965; memorandum, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Flight Combustion Stability Monitor (FCSM)," May 13, 1965.

May 5

In response to a query, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller that plans to use VHF communications between the CSM, LEM, and extravehicular astronauts and to use X-band radar for the CSM/LEM tracking were reviewed. Bellcomm reexamined the merits of using the Unified S-Band (USB) type which would be installed in the CSM and LEM for communication with and tracking by the earth.

It was found that no appreciable weight saving or weight penalty would result from an all USB system in the Apollo spacecraft. Also, it was determined there would be no significant advantage or disadvantage in using the system. It was noted, however, that implementation of an all S-band system at that stage of development of the design of the CSM, LEM, and astronaut equipment would incur an obvious cost and schedule penalty.

Memorandum, Phillips to Mueller, "Use of Only Unified S-Band Communication Equipment in Apollo Spacecraft," May 5, 1965.

May 6

After lengthy investigations of cost and schedule impacts, MSC directed North American to incorporate airlocks on CMs 008 and 014, 101 through 112, and 2H-1 and 2TV-1. The device would enable astronauts to conduct experiments in space without having to leave their vehicle. Initially, the standard hatches and those with airlocks were to be interchangeable on Block II spacecraft. During October, however, this concept was changed: the standard outer hatch would be structured to permit incorporation of an airlock through the use of a conversion kit (included as part of the airlock assembly); and when an airlock was installed, an interchangeable inner hatch would replace the standard one.

TWX, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA, to MSC, Attn: J. F. Shea, January 4, 1965; letters, J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division (S&ID), "Contract Change Authorization No. 348," May 6, 1965; Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, S&ID, "Contract Change Authorization No. 348, Revision 1," July 27, 1965; James Stroup, MSC, to NAA, S&ID, "Contract Change Authorization No. 348, Revision 2," August 4, 1965; Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, S&ID, "Contract Change Authorization No. 441," October 11, 1965.

May 6

ASPO overruled a recommendation by the Flight Operations Directorate for an up-data link in the LEM. Although an automated means of inserting data into the spacecraft's computer was deemed "highly desirable," there were prohibitive consequences:

This last effect ASPO termed "flatly unacceptable."

Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Assistant Director for Flight Operations, "LEM Up-Data Link," May 6, 1965.

May 6

As a result of the Critical Design Review at North American during the previous month, Crew Systems Division (CSD) directed Hamilton Standard to fabricate an Apollo space suit with a pressure-sealing zipper. CSD would compare this concept with the current gusset design, which leaked excessively and hindered donning the suit.

TWX, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to R. E. Breeding, Hamilton Standard Division, May 6, 1965; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 3-10, 1965."

May 6

The Apollo earth landing system (ELS) was tested in a drop of boilerplate (BP) 19 at El Centro, Calif. The drop removed constraints on the ELS for BP-22 (see May 19 ; also, it was a "prequalification" trial of the main parachutes before the start of the full qualification test program (see June 3).

"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-37, p. 3.

May 6-13

Both General Electric and Radio Corporation of America studied the feasibility of using the spacecraft- LEM-adapter to dissipate heat from the radioisotope generator during initial phases of the mission. The generator would raise the temperature of the adapter about 30 degrees; radiation back to the spacecraft was not considered serious.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 6-13, 1965."

May 6-13

Structures and Mechanics Division engineers determined that the spacecraft-LEM-adapter would not survive a service propulsion system abort immediately after jettisoning of the launch escape tower. North American planned to strengthen the upper hinges and fasteners and to resize the shock attenuators on spacecraft 009.


May 7

Launch escape system (LES) installation for CSM 009 was completed, marking the first LES completion. "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-37, p. 1.

May 9

The U.S.S.R. launched a 1,476-kg (3,254-lb) scientific probe, called Luna V, on a trajectory to the moon. Western observers, among them England's Sir Bernard Lovell, speculated that the craft's mission was a soft landing. If that was indeed its goal, the attempt failed: Luna V crashed and all transmissions ceased. It was generally thought that the vehicle's retrorockets had malfunctioned.

Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 222; Space Business Daily, May 11, 1965, pp. 49-50; M. K. Tikhonravov, B. V. Raushenbakh, G. A. Skuridin, and O. L. Vaysberg, Ten Years of Space Research in the USSR, NASA Technical Translation F-11, 500 of: "Desyat' let issledovaniya kosmosa v SSSR"; Kosmicheskiye Issledovaniya, Vol. 5, No. 5, pp. 643-679, 1967, p. 17.

May 10

ASPO reviewed Grumman's recommendation for a combination of supercritical and gaseous modes for storing oxygen in the LEM's environmental control system (ECS). MSC engineers determined that such an approach would save only about 14.96 kg (33 lbs) over a high- pressure, all-gaseous design. Mission objectives demanded only four repressurizations of the LEM's cabin. On the basis of this criterion, the weight differential was placed at less than nine pounds.

As a result of this analysis, MSC directed Grumman to design the LEM ECS with an all-gaseous oxygen storage system. (See June 11.)

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Lunar Excursion Module - ECS Oxygen Storage Configuration," May 10, 1965, with enclosures.

May 10

Public Health Service (PHS) officials revealed that the Surgeon General had discussed the PHS/NASA relationships on back-contamination problems with the NASA Administrator. During this discussion, the Surgeon General proposed:

  1. expansion of the space biology and contamination contract program in the PHS;
  2. assignment by the PHS of a liaison officer to NASA; and
  3. development by NASA of an interagency advisory committee on both outbound and inbound contamination problems with PHS participation.
The Administrator and Surgeon General were reported to have agreed that negotiations at staff level were appropriate. As a result, NASA was drafting a proposal to go from the Administrator to the Surgeon General embodying not only the three items listed but also proposing a NASA organizational structure capable of implementing the objectives of the two agencies.

Memorandum, O. E. Reynolds, Director Bioscience Programs, NASA Headquarters, to Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, "Status of the Public Health Service - National Aeronautics and Space Administration negotiations on back contamination," May 10, 1965.

May 10

ASPO Assistant Manager William A. Lee heard a proposal to modify the LEM radar programs to reduce FY 1966 costs by $7 million. It was his understanding that the proposal would be presented to the Configuration Control Board. Lee said he at first thought the change would be "tolerable," but later felt it was a poor idea.

The major points of the proposal were:

Lee opined that the violations of program ground rules inherent in these changes would establish a dangerous precedent and cut back existing margins too early in the program. It would also, he said, "open the door to a series of 'one-of-a-type' LEMs tailored to their specific development missions. . . . It is too early in the LEM program to consider compromising these requirements, and to do so for budgetary reasons almost certainly will prove to be false economy."

Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Proposed reduction in LEM radar expenditures," May 11, 1965.

May 11

Crew Systems Division let a contract to the Zaret Foundation to study effects of radiation on the lens of the human eye. The foundation would develop instruments that, by examining changes in the organ, would determine the precise dose that it had absorbed. Radiation could produce cataracts. Up to this time, however, the amount of radiation that could be absorbed safely was not known, nor could the initial damage be detected. It was generally thought that this damage was cumulative and that it was irreparable. For the crew's safety, the amount of radiation that the eye could sustain had to be known. And, of course, some technique for measuring dosages was essential. (See July 2.)

"ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 3-10, 1965."

May 11

MSC instructed Grumman to negotiate award of a contract to supply batteries for the ascent and descent stages of the LEM with Eagle-Picher Company. Grumman had solicited and received proposals from Eagle-Picher and Yardney Electric Corporation. The bids, including fees, were: Eagle-Picher, $1,945,222; and Yardney, $1,101,673. Grumman evaluated the bids; made presentations to MSC personnel; and proposed on May 6 that they negotiate with Eagle-Picher for ascent and descent batteries; and with Yardney for development of a lighter ascent battery at a cost of approximately $600,000. MSC instructed Grumman not to place the proposed development contract with Yardney, stating that such work could be more appropriately done by MSC work with Yardney or other battery vendors.

Memorandum of Conference, Apollo Program Management Office, "LEM Battery Procurement, MSC Comments on GAEC Recommendation for Contractor Selection," sgd. J. B. Trout, May 11, 1965.

May 12

Developmental testing began on a new landing device for the CM, one using rockets (mounted on the heatshield) that would be ignited immediately before impact. The current method for ensuring the integrity of the spacecraft during a landing in rough water involved strengthening of the aft structure. The new concept, should it prove practicable, would offer a twofold advantage: first, it would lighten the CM considerably; second, it would provide an improved emergency landing capability.

MSC, Space News Roundup, May 28, 1965, p. 8.

May 12

MSFC informed MSC that the thrust of the H-1 engine was being uprated to 1,000 kilonewtons (205,000 lbs), thus increasing the Saturn IB's payload capability.

Letter, Frederick E. Vreuls, MSFC, to O. E. Maynard, MSC, "Uprating the H-1 Engine in the Saturn IB Vehicle," May 12, 1965.

May 12-June 24

Representatives from North American, Grumman, Hamilton Standard, and MSC discussed the problem of stowing the portable life support systems (PLSS).

 Lunar Space Suit

The space suit for the lunar landing mission was the only operational equipment designed to go all the way to the lunar surface and return to earth. Above is a photo of a subject in that suit as designed at that time, with the portable life support system strapped on.

Current specifications called for two PLSSs under the crew couch in the CM at launch, one of which would be brought back to earth. This location presented some serious problems, however. (See April 29-May 6.)

MSC officials laid down several ground rules for the discussions:

The participants explored a number of stowage options (and the complications involved), even exploring the possibilities of staging and of using a Gemini Extravehicular Life Support System. As a result of these talks, Hamilton Standard began studying the feasibility of repackaging the PLSS to fit underneath the side hatch of the CM and to determine whether the reshaped system would be compatible with both spacecraft.

During the next few weeks, MSC concluded that, at earth launch, one PLSS would be stowed in each spacecraft. With the help of Hamilton Standard engineers, North American and Grumman designers worked out a stowage volume acceptable to all concerned. Hamilton Standard agreed to repackage the PLSS accordingly. MSC ordered North American to provide for stowage of one PLSS beneath the side hatch of the CM, again stressing that the system must not interfere with the crew couch during landing impact; also, the Center directed Grumman to plan for PLSS stowage in the LEM and to study ingress and egress with the reshaped backpack. (Studies by the Crew Systems Division had already indicated that, from the standpoints of compatibility and mobility, the new shape probably would be acceptable.)

TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, May 17, 1965; memorandum, Charles R. Haines, MSC, to Owen E. Maynard, "PLSS," May 25, 1965; memorandum, Haines, to Record, "PLSS stowage study," May 25, 1965; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 27-June 3, 1965"; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 10-17, 1965"; memorandum, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to James L. Neal, "PLSS stowage in the LEM," June 21, 1965; letter, J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Portable Life Support System (PLSS) Stowage in the Command Module," June 24, 1965.

May 13

Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, issued the mission directive for Apollo-Saturn 201. The mission would flight-test the Saturn IB and the Apollo CSM.

NASA OMSF, "Apollo Program Flight Mission Directive for Apollo-Saturn 201 Mission," Program Directive M-D MA 2240.061, May 13, 1965.

May 13

AC Spark Plug officials presented to MSC their evaluation of bidders to design an optical rendezvous sensor for the LEM. Because three different approaches were planned, AC gained Guidance and Control Division's approval to let three subcontracts. The firms chosen were Perkin-Elmer, Hughes Aircraft, and the Itek Corporation.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 20-27, 1965."

May 13-20

Crew Systems Division (CSD) representatives contracted with Northrop Space Laboratories to study physiological effects of tailward g forces. (CSD believed these forces might be "very hazardous." Consequently, the lowest impact limits for Apollo missions were in that direction.) Northrop would study bradycardia (slow heart rate) in animals induced by such acceleration, and would apply these findings to humans. CSD hoped thereby to determine whether current limits were "ultraconservative."

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 3-10, 1965."

May 13-20

To broaden communications capabilities during near-earth phases of a mission, the S-band omnidirectional antennas on all Block II CMs were moved to the toroidal (doughnut-shaped) section of the forward heatshield.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 27-June 3, 1965."

May 16-June 15

North American released a preliminary report, "Apollo Reliability Modeling Documentation," in response to an action item assigned to MSC by the President's Scientific Advisory Committee (PSAC) Space Technology Panel at an Apollo program reliability briefing for the panel in January. The expected crew safety reliability was assessed at 0.973 with a confidence level of 60 percent. Functional logic diagrams indicated the amount of redundancy in each CSM function. North American noted that a direct comparison should not be made between mission AS-506 lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) crew safety reliability and the preliminary crew safety number 0.976 for spacecraft 012. The LOR assessment, while preliminary, was developed in greater depth than the assessment for the PSAC briefing. However, a real increase in reliability was indicated from spacecraft 012 to the LOR mission because the reliability values were about equal, and the complexity and number of required functions in the LOR were far greater.

NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-38, July 1, 1965, p. 13.

May 16-June 15

North American conducted the third in a series of water impact tests on boilerplate 1 to measure pressures on forward portions of the spacecraft. Data from the series supported those from tests with one- tenth scale models of the CM. The manufacturer reported, therefore, that it planned no further full-scale testing.

Ibid., p. 3.

May 17

MSC informed Grumman it believed it would be beneficial to the LEM development program for MSC to participate in the manned environmental control system tests to be conducted in Grumman's Internal Environment Simulator. The following individuals were suggested to participate: Astronaut William A. Anders or an alternate to act as a test crewman for one or more manned runs; D. Owen Goons or an alternate to act as a medical monitor for the aforementioned astronaut; and John W. O'Neill or an alternate to monitor voice communications during the test and record astronaut comments.

Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, MSC participation in Grumman manned environmental control system (ECS) tests," May 17, 1965.

May 18-20

Representatives from Motorola, RCA, Grumman, and MSC held the first design review on the S-band transponder for the LEM. Several areas were pointed out in which the equipment was deficient. Motorola was incorporating improved circuitry to ensure that the transponder met specifications.

Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Rendezvous Radar Transponder Assembly Design," May 28, 1965; TWX, Young to Mullaney, "Communication Subsystem Input Voltage Levels," June 1, 1965; TWX, Young to Mullaney, "LEM S-Band Transponder," June 1, 1965.

May 19

Apollo mission A-003, a planned high-altitude abort test, was flown at WSMR. About 25 seconds after launch, and at an altitude of about three miles, the Little Joe II booster disintegrated as a result of violent - and unprogrammed - roll. The launch escape system (LES) functioned perfectly, however, and lifted the spacecraft (boilerplate 22) clear of the vehicle. ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, while acknowledging that A-003's "prime objectives . . . were not met," rightly observed that the LES nonetheless "proved its mettle in an actual emergency," (See mission objectives in Appendix 5.)

NASA News Release 54-145, "NASA to Test Apollo Escape System at High Altitude," May 9, 1965; memorandum, George E. Mueller, NASA, to Administrator, "Apollo Spacecraft Flight Abort Test, Mission A-003, Post Launch Report No. 1," May 24, 1965, with enclosure; MSC, Space News Roundup, May 28, 1965; TWX, NASA, MSC/ WSO, to addressees, "Apollo Mission A-003 one hour report," sgd. J. F. Shea, May 19, 1965; General Dynamics, Convair Division, Little Joe II Test Launch Vehicle, NASA Project Apollo: Final Report, GDC-66-042 (May 1966), Vol. I, p. 1-18.

May 20-27

Engineers from General Electric and MSC's Crew Systems and Systems Engineering Divisions determined that transferring water from the CSM to the LEM involved a 5.4-kg (12-lb) increase in the latter's separation weight. Grumman had placed the penalty at only l.8 kg (4 lbs). Because the LEM's weight was so critical, the water transfer scheme was canceled.

TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, June 3, 1965.

May 20-27

To determine lunar touchdown velocity uncertainties, MIT studied radar-aided powered descent. From MIT's findings, Guidance and Control Division concluded that one or two sensors should provide velocity updates to the guidance system throughout the descent maneuver.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 10-17, 1965."

May 21

Marquardt Corporation completed preliminary flight rating tests on the reaction control engine for the SM.

"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-38, p. 10.

May 22

NASA launched another reentry heating experiment, Project Fire II, from Cape Kennedy, Fla. An Atlas D booster propelled the instrumented probe, called a "flying thermometer," into a ballistic trajectory over 805 km (500 mi) high. After 26 minutes of flight, when the spacecraft began its descent, a solid-fueled Antares rocket accelerated its fall.

The probe entered the atmosphere at a speed of 40,877 km (25,400 mph) and generated temperatures of about 11,206K (20,000 degrees F). Data on heating were transmitted to ground stations throughout the descent. Thirty-two minutes after the launch - and but six minutes after the Antares was fired - the device impacted in the Atlantic about 8,256 km (5,130 mi) southeast of the Cape.

NASA News Release 65-131, "NASA Schedules Project Fire Launch in May," April 28, 1965; NASA News Release 65-179, "NASA Reports Project Fire Performed Well," May 27, 1965.

May 23

The Life Sciences Committee of the National Academy of Sciences' Space Science Board recommended to NASA that American astronauts returning from the moon and planets be kept in quarantine for at least three weeks to prevent possible contamination of the earth by extraterrestrial organisms, Howard Simons reported in the Washington Post. A report entitled "Potential Hazards of Back Contamination from the Planets" presented quarantine and other recommendations: the need to avoid decontamination of returning equipment until it had been subjected to biological study; the possible need for the astronauts to shed their outer garments on the moon and Mars before returning home; the need to conduct immediate research on any samples of extraterrestrial life brought to earth; and trial runs to acquaint astronauts with methods for minimizing chance of contamination.

Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 246.

May 21-24

The Resident ASPO at Grumman approved three vendor selections by the LEM manufacturer:

  1. Mechanical Products, Inc. - circuit breakers. (MSC concurred in the use of hermetically sealed breakers.)
  2. Hartman Electric Co. - relays (also hermetically sealed).
  3. Electronic Products Division of Hughes Aircraft Co. - rectangular connectors.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 20-27, 1965"; memorandum, Ralph S. Sawyer, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Common usage of Circuit Breakers," May 18, 1965.

May 24

MSC concurred in Grumman's selection of the RF tracking mode for the LEM's steerable antenna.

Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM high gain steerable antenna RF tracker," May 24, 1965.

May 24

At Wright-Patterson AFB, North American engineers conducted zero-g tests of crew transfer using mockup 27 A. The two subjects, astronauts Donn F. Eisele and Richard F. Gordon, had difficulty manipulating the forward hatches and the drogue assembly. North American reported that handles might be required on those pieces of hardware.

"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-38, p. 5; memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "CM/LEM Tunnel Hatches and Docking Hardware Zero Gravity Removal and Installation Test," June 18, 1965.

May 24

Donald K. Slayton, Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, described a potential hazard involved in crew procedures inside the LEM. Two sets of umbilicals linked the Block II space suit to the environmental control system (ECS) and to the portable life support system (PLSS). Though slight, the possibility existed that when a hose was disconnected, the valve inside the suit might not seat. In that event, gas would escape from the suit. Should this occur while the LEM was depressurized, the astronaut's life would be in jeopardy. Consequently, Slayton cautioned, it would be unwise to disconnect umbilicals while in a vacuum. This in turn imposed several mission constraints:

Memorandum, Slayton, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Apollo suit procedures inside the LEM," May 24, 1965.

May 25

Pegasus II

Pegasus "finds" a meteoroid.

NASA launched Pegasus II, a meteoroid detection satellite, from Cape Kennedy. (See February 16, 1965.) The Saturn I launch vehicle (SA-8) placed the spacecraft, protected by a boilerplate CSM (BP-26), into a 740-by-509-km (460-by-316-mi) orbit. Once in orbit, the dummy CSM was jettisoned. Pegasus II, still attached to the second stage of the launch vehicle, then deployed its 29-m (96-ft) winglike panels. Within several hours, the device began registering meteoroid hits.

NASA News Release 65-151, "NASA to Launch Second Pegasus Meteoroid Satellite," May 17, 1965; NAA, "Project Apollo Spacecraft Test Program Weekly Activity Report (Period 24 May 1965 through 30 May 1965)," pp. 1-2; MSFC Historical Office, History of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center from January 1 through December 31, 1965 (MHM-11), Vol. I, p. 53.

May 25

MSC directed North American to install Block II-type, flush-mounted omni-directional S-band antennas on CMs 017 and 020. These antennas would survive reentry and thus would afford telemetry transmissions throughout the flight. On June 25, the Center ordered that they be installed in the toroidal (doughnut shaped) section of the aft heatshield.

Letters, James Stroup, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division (S&ID), "Contract Change Authorization No. 357," May 25, 1965; J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, S&ID, "Contract Change Authorization No. 357, Revision 1," June 25, 1965.

May 25

ASPO pointed out to the Systems Engineering Division that planning of the manned Apollo missions had been constrained to maximize the Manned Space Flight Network support available for guidance and navigation (G&N) functions. While this was a desirable technique to maximize mission success probabilities, it led to a tendency to neglect onboard G&N capabilities.

"It is ASPO policy that, wherever feasible, both onboard and ground systems will be exercised fully during manned developmental missions. Spacecraft maneuvers should be computed both on the ground and in the flight vehicle, and the results of these computations recorded and compared. . . . It is requested that Apollo mission planning conform to this policy and that any tendency to omit full exercise of the onboard G&N capability be corrected."

Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Utilization of onboard G&N capability during Apollo Manned Development Missions," May 25, 1965.

May 25

MSC completed contract negotiations with Westinghouse Electric Company on gear for the LEM's television camera (cables and connectors, stowage containers, and camera mockups). Because of technical requirements, the idea of using the same cable in both spacecraft was abandoned.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 27-June 3, 1965."

May 26

To aid reacquisition and tracking of the high-gain antenna, MSC directed North American to study the feasibility of an inertial reference system on Block II spacecraft, one that would use rate signals from the CSM's stabilization and control system. Without this system, the astronauts would have to perform anywhere from 250 to 500 antenna reacquisitions during a single lunar mission. And during sleeping periods, when the CM pilot was alone in the vehicle, it was mandatory that the antenna automatically reacquire the earth.

Letters, James Stroup, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division (S&ID), "Contract Change Authorization No. 358," May 26, 1965; J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, S&ID, "Contract Change Authorization No. 358, Revision 1," July 23, 1965.

May 26

ASPO requested the Apollo Program Director to revise the LEM control weight at translunar injection as follows:

The increase would be made possible by reductions of service propulsion system propellant requirements associated with the revised delta-V budget. ASPO pointed out that existing CSM and adapter control weight propellant requirements allowed a maximum LEM injected weight of 14,877 kg (32,800 lbs) with no increase in the launch vehicle payload requirement.

Letter, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: Director Apollo Program, "Revised LEM Control Weights," May 26, 1965.

May 26

William A. Lee, ASPO Assistant Manager, asked Systems Engineering Division to study the feasibility of an abbreviated mission, especially during the initial Apollo flights. Because of the uncertainties involved in landing, Lee emphasized, the first LEMs should have the greatest possible reserves. This could be accomplished, he suggested, by shortening stay time; removing surplus batteries and consumables; and reducing the scientific equipment. Theoretically, this would enable the LEM pilot to hover over the landing site for an additional minute; also, it would increase the velocity budgets both of the LEM's ascent stage and of the CSM. He asked that the spacecraft's specifications be changed to fly a shorter mission:

Lee said that this modification would produce a spacecraft that could be adapted to short and long missions.

Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Spacecraft capability for short-duration lunar landing missions," May 26, 1965.

May 27

Because correspondence from Grumman and the Resident ASPO there hinted at deleting some equipment from the first LEM, MSC reaffirmed that LEM-1 would be an "all-up" spacecraft, as specified in the SA-206A mission requirements.

MSC Internal Note No. 65-PL-1 (Revision A), "Project Apollo Mission Requirements for Apollo Spacecraft Development Mission 206A (LEM 1)," May 11, 1965; TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Mission Requirements for Apollo Spacecraft Development Mission 206A (LEM I) MSC Internal Note No. 65-PL-I (Rev. A) dated May 11, 1965," June 2, 1965.

May 27-June 3

MSC's Crew Systems Division (CSD) received from Hamilton Standard Division a liquid cooling garment which had been modified to include a comfort liner. Preliminary tests by the contractor showed a substantial increase in comfort with only a small decrement to cooling capacity. CSD scheduled tests to validate the performance.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 27-June 3, 1965."

May 28

ASPO approved the use of common communications equipment in Block I and II space suits. The hardware would be procured from North American (under their contract with Pacific Plantronics), then furnished to the suit contractors (David Clark and Hamilton Standard).

TWX, James Stroup, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, June 7, 1965.

May 30-June 5

ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reported the accomplishment of a number of important items:

Specification were incorporated into the Grumman contract on June 1, 1965. "Weekly Activity Report, May 30-June 5," sgd. Joseph F. Shea.

During the Month

Thiokol Chemical Company completed qualification testing on the tower jettison motor. An ignition delay on February 22 had necessitated a redesign of the igniter cartridge. Subsequently, Thiokol developed a modified pyrogen seal, which the firm tested during late August and early September.

"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-38, pp. 2, 8, 11.

During the Month

Using one-third scale models, Grumman tested the LEM's antenna field at the extremes of the frequency range. Data evaluation showed that the range was adequate; errors were well within expected values.

"Monthly Progress Report No. 28," LPR-10-44, p. 16.

During the Month

Using improved restraint hardware, Grumman resumed tests simulating the shock of landing on the moon. Investigators reported better lateral stability - and they no longer bounced off the floor. Astronaut Donn F. Eisele, who took part, judged the system superior to those used in earlier trials.

Ibid., p. 14.

During the Month

Bell Aerosystems Company successfully cycled a LEM ascent engine propellant valve 500 times (double the specification requirement). Also, the company conducted a full-duration altitude firing with an ablative nozzle extension to verify heating characteristics.

Ibid., p. 1.

During the Month

MSC postponed the formal LEM program review (wherein spacecraft requirements would be redefined and Grumman's contract converted to an incentive type). The Center directed the company to submit firm proposals for all contract change authorizations (CCA), which were promised by July 11. Grumman was preparing a revised estimate of total program cost. In the meantime, both parties were negotiating on all outstanding CCAs.

Also, Grumman described its continuing cost reduction effort. To keep expenditures within limits "suggested" by MSC, the firm was preparing detailed budgets both for itself and its subcontractors. The company had made a number of changes to strengthen its administrative structure and, with Houston's support, was reviewing possible schedule changes with an eye toward eliminating some test vehicles.

Ibid., p. 1.

During the Month

Three flights were made with the lunar landing research vehicle (LLRV) by FRC pilot Don Mallick for the purpose of checking the initial weighing, the thrust-to-weight, and the automatic throttle systems.

General Electric would update the LLRV CF-700 jet engines at their Edwards AFB facility rather than at Lynn, Mass. The change in work location would mean an earlier delivery date and a significant cost reduction. The updating would make the engines comparable to the production engines and would add an additional 890 newtons (200 lbs) of thrust.

Letter, Paul F. Bikle, FRC, to NASA Headquarters, "Lunar Landing Research Vehicle progress report No. 23 for the period ending May 31, 1965."

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