Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
August 2NASA announced plans to install Apollo Unified S-Band System
equipment at its Corpus Christi, Tex., tracking station. The Unified S-Band
equipment included a 9-m (30-ft) diameter parabolic antenna and would enable
handling of seven different types of communications with two different vehicles,
the CM and the LEM. The communications would: track the spacecraft; command its
operations and confirm that the command had been executed; provide two-way voice
conversation with three astronauts; keep a continuous check on the astronauts'
health; make continuous checks on the spacecraft and its functions; supply a
continuous flow of information from the Apollo onboard experiments; and transmit
television of the astronauts and the exploration of the moon.
NASA News Release 65-250, "NASA to Install Apollo Unified S-Band Tracking at
Corpus Christi Station," August 2, 1965; Space Business Daily,
August 3, 1965, p. 156.
August 2NASA's office at Downey, Calif., approved the contract with the
Marquardt Corporation for the procurement of Block II SM reaction control system
engines. Estimated cost of the fixed price contract would be $6.5 million.
Marquardt was supplying the Block I SM engines.
TWX, Henry S. Smith, NASA-Downey, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: Director of
Procurement and Supply Division, August 2, 1965.
August 2Hamilton Standard shipped the first prototype portable life
support system to Houston, where it would undergo testing by the Crew Systems
MSC News Release 65-68, August 2, 1965; Space Business Daily,
August 5, 1965, p. 172.
August 2MSC informed Grumman of package dimensions and weight
restrictions for the scientific equipment and packages to be stored in the LEM.
TWXs, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, August 2, 1965.
August 3NASA named three firms, Bendix Systems Division, TRW Systems
Group, and Space-General Corporation to design prototypes of the Apollo Lunar
Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP). Each company received a $500,000, six-month
contract. After delivery of the prototypes, MSC would select one of the three to
develop the ALSEP flight hardware.
NASA Headquarters Release No. 65-260, "Three Firms Selected to Design Apollo
Lunar Surface Package," August 4, 1965; letter, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA, to
Robert O. Piland, MSC, "Selection of Contractors for Apollo Lunar Surface
Experiments Package," September 10, 1965.
August 3Grumman reported the status of its effort to lighten the LEM.
Despite some relief afforded by recent program changes (e.g., revised velocity
budgets and the replacing of fuel cells with batteries), the contractor admitted
that significant increases resulted as the design of the spacecraft matured.
Grumman recommended, and MSC approved, a Super Weight Improvement Program (SWIP)
similar to the one that the company had used in its F-111 aircraft program. By
the end of the month, the company reported that SWIP had trimmed about 45 kg
(100 lbs) from the ascent and about 25 kg (55 lbs) from the descent stages of
the spacecraft. Grumman assured MSC that the SWIP team's attack on the complete
vehicle, including its equipment, would be completed prior to the series of LEM
design reviews scheduled for late in the year.
ASPO, "Minutes, NASA/GAEC Program Management Meeting, August 3, 1965"; GAEC,
"Monthly Progress Report No. 31," LPR-10-47, September 10, 1965, p. 1.
August 4During the next 10 months, 200 employees of MSFC would be
transferred to MSC to augment the Houston staff for the operational phase of the
Apollo program. Completion of the first phase of the Saturn program (with the
successful launch of SA-10) made it possible for Marshall to release qualified
personnel to satisfy MSC's needs.
Space Business Daily, August 9, 1965, p. 187; memorandum,
Wernher von Braun, MSFC, to Distr., "Marshall's Changing Role in the Space
Program," August 13, 1965.
August 5During tests of the Apollo earth landing system (ELS) at El
Centro, Calif., boilerplate (BP) 6A sustained considerable damage in a drop that
was to have demonstrated ELS performance during a simulated apex-forward pad
abort. Oscillating severely at the time the auxiliary brake parachute was
opened, the spacecraft severed two of the electrical lines that were to have
released that device. Although the ELS sequence took place as planned, the
still-attached brake prevented proper operation of the drogues and full
inflation of the mains. As a result, BP-6A landed at a speed of about 50 fps.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 5-12, 1965."
The S-IC stage during static firing at MSFC.
The Saturn V's booster, the S-IC stage, made a "perfect" full-duration static
firing by burning for the programmed 2.5 minutes at its full 33,360-kilonewton
(7.5-million-lbs) thrust in a test conducted at MSFC. The test model
demonstrated its steering capability on command from the blockhouse after 100
sec had elapsed; the firing consumed 2.133-million liters (537,000 gallons) of
kerosene and liquid oxygen.
Space Business Daily, August 9, 1965, p. 185.
August 5-12 North American developed a plan to process NASA- and
contractor-initiated design changes through a Change Control Board (CCB).
Indications were that the contractor's Apollo Program Manager would implement
the plan on August 19. Elevating the level of management on the CCB, together
with a standard approach to processing changes, was expected to improve the
technical definition and documentation of design changes. In addition, program
baselines were being established to permit a more informed control of technical
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 5-12, 1965."
August 6North American and MSC attended a design review at
Ling-Temco-Vought on the environmental control system radiator for the Block II
CSM. After reviewing design and performance analyses, the review team approved
changes in testing and fabrication of test hardware.
Memorandum, Richard J. Gillen, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division, "Trip to
Ling-Temco-Vought, Dallas, Texas, on August 6, 1965, Block II ECS radiator,"
August 20, 1965; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 26-September 2,
August 6Crew Systems Division (CSD) reported that changing the method
for storing oxygen in the LEM (from cryogenic to gaseous) had complicated the
interface between the spacecraft's environmental control system (ECS) and the
portable life support system (PLSS). Very early, the maximum temperature for
oxygen at the PLSS recharge station had been placed at 80 degrees. Recent
analyses by Grumman disclosed that, in fact, the gas temperature might be double
that figure. Oxygen supplied at 160 degrees, CSD said, would limit to 2½ hours
the PLSS operating period. Modifying the PLSS, however, would revive the issue
of its storage aboard both spacecraft.
Seeking some answer to this problem, CSD engineers began in-house studies of
temperature changes in the spacecraft's oxygen. There was some optimism that
Grumman's estimates would be proved much too high, and MSC thus far had made no
changes either to the ECS or to the PLSS.
Memorandum, Richard E. Mayo, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division,
"ECS thermal control configuration for 'battery' LEM," August 9, 1965; "ASPO
Weekly Management Report, August 5-12, 1965."
August 9Two Saturn milestones occurred on the same day. At Santa
Susana, Calif., North American conducted the first full-duration captive firing
of an S-II, second stage of the Saturn V. And at Sacramento, Douglas
static-tested the first flight-model S-IVB, second stage for the Saturn IB. This
latter marked the first time that a complete static test (encompassing vehicle
checkout, loading, and firing) had been controlled entirely by computers.
TWX, Wernher von Braun, MSFC, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: George Mueller,
August 11, 1965; Space Business Daily, August 12, 1965, p. 207.
August 10MSC notified North American that, should one of the CM's
postlanding batteries fail, the crew could lower the power requirements of the
spacecraft during recovery and thus stay within the capabilities of the two
TWX, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, Attn:
J. C. Cozad, August 10, 1965.
August 10ASPO forwarded to Grumman the following schedule dates which
should be used for submission of detailed vehicle test plans:
When determination of LEM test articles to
be used on Missions 501 and 502 had been finalized, test plan dates would be
forwarded. Current dates for 501 and 502 detailed vehicle test plans were
8-15-65 and 11-1-65, respectively.
||Vehicle Test Plan
TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Vehicle Test Plan
Schedule Dates," August 10, 1965.
August 12Resident ASPO quality assurance officers at North American
began investigating recent failures of titanium tanks at Bell Aerosystems.
Concern about this problem had been expressed by the Apollo Test Directorate at
NASA Hq in July and MSC started an investigation at that time. The eventual
solution (a change in the nitrogen tetroxide specification) was contributed to
by North American, Bell Aero Systems, the Boeing Company, MSFC, MSC, Langley
Research Center, and a committee chaired by John Scheller of NASA Hq. The
penstripe method to find cracks on the interior of the vessels was used to solve
the problem. The quality assurance people viewed the failures as quite serious
since Bell had already fabricated about 180 such tanks.
MSC, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, August 6, 1965," John B. Lee,
Recorder, p. 3; memorandum, L. E. Day, NASA to Melvyn Savage, "Apollo N2O4 Tank
Problems," August 18, 1965; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 5-12, 1965";
memorandum, Director, Apollo Soyuz Test Project Engineering, NASA Hq, to Acting
Director, NASA Historical Office, "Volume III of The Apollo Spacecraft: A
Chronology," sgd. Charles H. King, Jr., May 7, 1973.
August 12Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, listed the six
key checkpoints in the development of Apollo hardware:
NASA OMSF, Apollo Program Directive No. 6,
"Sequence and Flow of Hardware Development and Key Inspection, Review, and
Certification Checkpoints," August 12, 1965.
- Preliminary Design Review (PDR) - a review of the basic design
conducted before or during the detailed design phase.
- Critical Design Review (CDR) - a review of specifications and
engineering drawings preceding, if possible, their release for manufacture.
- Flight Article Configuration Inspection (FACI) - a comparison of
hardware with specifications and drawings and the validation of acceptance
testing. FACIs could be repeated to ensure that deficiencies had been
corrected. Also, this inspection would be conducted on every configuration
that departed significantly from the basic design. Items successfully passing
the FACI were accepted, provided they met requirements in the Apollo
Configuration Management Manual.
- Certification of Flight Worthiness (COFR) - to certify that each
vehicle stage or spacecraft module was a complete and qualified piece of
- Design Certification Review (DCR) - to certify that the entire
space vehicle was airworthy and safe for manned flight. DCRs would formally
review the development and qualification of all stages, modules, and
- Flight Readiness Review (FRR) - a two-part review, scheduled for
each flight, to determine that both hardware and facilities were ready.
Following a satisfactory ERR, and when decided upon by the mission director,
the mission period would begin (which would commit deployment of support
forces around the world).
August 12Grumman received approval from Houston for an all-gaseous
oxygen supply system in the LEM. While not suggesting any design changes, MSC
desired that portable life support systems (PLSS) be recharged with the cabin
pressurized. And because the oxygen pressure in the descent stage tanks might be
insufficient for the final recharge, the PLSSs could be "topped off" with oxygen
from one of the tanks in the vehicle's ascent stage if necessary.
Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS
9-1100, Gaseous Oxygen Supply Configuration," August 12, 1965.
August 12-13MSC rejected North American's second design concept for a
panel retention system in the LEM adapter. (The contractor's first proposal had
drawn an unsatisfactory verdict early in June.) These successive rejections,
largely on the basis of weight and vibration factors, illustrated the company's
continuing difficulties with the system. MSC "suggested" to North American that
it circumvent these problems by attaching the retention cable directly to the
skin of the adapter.
"Critical Design Review for the Block II Spacecraft/LEM Adapter, 12-13 August
August 18At a third status meeting on LEM-1, Grumman put into effect
"Operation Scrape," an effort to lighten that spacecraft by about 57 kg (125
lbs). "Scrape" involved an exchange of parts between LEM-1 and LTA-3. The former
vehicle thus would be heavier than the latter; LTA-3, on the other hand, would
have the same structural weight as LEMs 2 and forthcoming.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 12-19, 1965"; letter, R. Wayne
Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM I Status
Meeting Number Three," August 30, 1965; "Monthly Progress Report No. 31,"
LPR10-47, pp. 28-29.
August 18Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the Systems Engineering Division,
asked that part of the LEM Mission Programmer, the Program Reader Assembly, be
deleted. The assembly was no longer needed, Maynard said, to meet Apollo mission
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Subsystem Manager, LEM SCS, "LEM Mission
Programmer," August 18, 1965.
August 18-24The preliminary Design Engineering Inspection (DEI) for CSM
011, Mission AS-202, was held. This was a major program milestone for the
mission. The review board met on August 24 and the formal DEI was conducted
August 30, 31, and September 1 (see entry for those dates).
Memorandum, Carl R. Huss, JSC, to JSC Historical Office, "Comments on Volume
III of The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology," June 6, 1973.
August 19The Apollo Resident Office at KSC was notified that it was
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea's desire that a Configuration Control Panel be
established and chaired at KSC to consider and process engineering changes to
Apollo spacecraft and associated hardware undergoing checkout and test at KSC.
The ASPO Configuration Management Plan was being revised to reflect the
action. The newly formed CCP's authority would be restricted to review of end
item hardware (including ground support equipment configuration changes) to
determine if the change was mandatory in the conduct of tests at KSC, and the
approval of the contractor's plan for making the mandatory change to specific
Apollo hardware end items at KSC.
Memorandum, William M. Bland, Jr., MSC, to Assistant Head of MSC Apollo
Resident Office, KSC, "Apollo Spacecraft Configuration Control Panel at KSC,"
August 19, 1965.
August 19-26MSC assigned two LEM test articles (numbers 10 and 2,
respectively) to the SA-501 and SA-502 missions. Prior to flight, the spacecraft
would be refurbished by Grumman, which would require four to five months' work
on each vehicle.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 19-26, 1965"; "Monthly Progress
Report No. 31," LPR- 10-47, p. 38; memorandum, C. H. Perrine, MSC, to H. Davis,
"Use of LTA-10 for Facilities Verification Vehicle," August 31, 1965.
August 20Douglas Aircraft Company static-fired the S-IVB in a test at
Sacramento, Calif., simulating the workload of a lunar mission. The stage was
run for three minutes, shut down for half an hour, then reignited for almost six
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 386.
August 21Gemini V, piloted by L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., and
Charles Conrad, Jr., roared into space from Cape Kennedy. During their eight-day
flight the astronauts performed a number of orbital and simulated rendezvous
maneuvers to evaluate the spacecraft's rendezvous guidance and navigation
equipment. A second principal objective of the mission was to evaluate the
effects on the crew of prolonged exposure in space. Gemini V was
significant as well for another reason: although the hardware experienced some
troubles during the early part of the flight (which threatened to terminate the
mission prematurely), Gemini V was the first spacecraft to use fuel
cells as its primary source of electrical power. The operational feasibility of
fuel cells would be essential for the success of long-distance (i.e., lunar)
manned space flight.
Grimwood, et al., Project Gemini: A Chronology, pp.
August 23MSC and Apollo spacecraft contractors were in process of
planning and implementing an extensive ground- based test program to certify the
spacecraft for flight. All possible efforts were being made to benefit from the
experience of related spacecraft programs in planning the Apollo test program.
In view of the similarities of the Surveyor mission and the LEM mission, Jet
Propulsion Laboratory was asked to cooperate by providing: (1) background
information concerning the manner in which their qualification test program had
been performed, (2) the major complete vehicle and partial vehicles used in the
ground test programs, and (3) significant results obtained from such programs.
Letter, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to NASA Resident Office, JPL, "Surveyor ground
test programs," August 23, 1965.
August 23Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, summarized ground rules on the
schedules for qualifying and delivering equipment for Block II spacecraft:
Shea alone had authority to waive these
- All components installed on the Block II test vehicle (2TV-1) and on Block
II flight vehicles must be production hardware. (Prototype units were
- Any changes from the configuration of CSM 103 in 2TV-1, 101, or 102 must
be essential to the specific mission requirements of those vehicles.
- Delivery schedules must be compatible with North American's needs. (North
American was allowed some leeway in installing components, provided that such
reordering was feasible and did not affect overall checkout and delivery
schedules for the vehicle.)
- Qualification testing must be scheduled so that all equipment was
qualified before February 15, 1967.
- Launch-constraining ground tests must be scheduled for completion at least
six weeks before that launch.
Memorandum, Shea, MSC, to Distr., "Subsystem qualification and delivery
schedules for Block II," August 23, 1965.
August 24MSC requested that Grumman review the current LEM landing and
docking dynamic environments to assure: (1) no loss of the abort guidance system
attitude reference due to angular motion exceeding its design limit of 25
degrees per second during indicated mission phases; and (2) a mission angular
acceleration environment, exceeding the gyro structural tolerances, would not be
TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, August 24, 1965.
August 26-September 2Grumman advised that prelaunch heat loads on LEM-1
exceeded the capability of the spacecraft's prelaunch Freon boiler. That boiler
had originally been designed for loads anticipated from fuel-celled LEMs. When
batteries replaced fuel cells, MSC had recommended deleting the boiler; Grumman
had urged that the item be retained on LEM-1, however, because that spacecraft
would have optional equipment onboard at launch. "It appears," Crew Systems
Division (CSD) reported, "that the number of items of equipment required to be
on [LEM-1] at earth launch has snowballed": the boiler's maximum capability was
about 900 Btus per hour; the spacecraft's heat load was estimated at something
like 6,000. "GAEC is presently investigating what can be done to reduce these
loads," CSD said.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 26-September 2, 1965."
August 26-September 2Qualification testing was completed on the LEM's
helium storage tank.
Ibid.; memorandum, Joseph G. Thibodaux, Jr., "Quantity gaging for the
Descent Propulsion Supercritical Helium Pressurization System," August 19, 1965,
August 27Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the Systems Engineering Division
(SED), drafted a set of guidelines for Apollo developmental missions. While
these guidelines pertained mostly to Block II development, and were so labeled,
to some extent they dealt with Block I flights as well. These Development
Mission Guidelines covered the overall mission, as well as specific phases, with
one section devoted solely to the LEM. (Maynard was careful to distinguish these
guidelines from "ground rules" in that, rather than being mandatory
requirements, their intent was "to afford test planning a guide and somewhat of
an envelope . . . and not hard and fast rules.")
SED was considering including these guidelines in the Apollo Spacecraft
Master Test Plan when that document was next revised.
Memorandum, Maynard, MSC, to Distr., "Block II Development Mission
Guidelines," August 27, 1965.
August 27North American reported that ground testing of the service
propulsion engine had been concluded. Also, changing the propellant ratio of the
service propulsion system had improved the engine's performance and gimbal
angles and had reduced the weight of the Block II SM. (See July 23.)
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Asst. Manager, ASPO, "SPS engine
gimballing in stack," August 25, 1965; TWX, M. L. Raines, WSTF, to MSC, Attn: R.
R. Gilruth and others, August 30, 1965; NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report,"
SID 62-300-41, October 1, 1965, pp. 8, 10.
August 29-September 4Several important activities were noted during the
reporting period: (1) Qualification of the new reefing line cutters was
progressing satisfactorily and scheduled for completion in October 1965. (The
cutter had been used successfully on the last two earth landing system tests
conducted at El Centro); (2) the helium storage tank for the LEM reaction
control subsystem successfully passed qualification tests; and (3) the Aero
Spacelines' new aircraft, "Super Guppy," made its maiden flight from Van Nuys,
Calif., to Mojave Airfield, Calif. The new aircraft had the capability of
airlifting the spacecraft-LEM-adapter as well as providing vital backup for the
"Pregnant Guppy" aircraft.
"Weekly Activity Report, August 29-September 4, 1965," Joseph F. Shea.
August 30NASA's Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George
E. Mueller, informed MSC's Director Robert R. Gilruth that an official emblem
had been adopted for the Apollo Program, a composite based on the best proposals
submitted by NASA and contractor personnel.
Letter, Mueller to Gilruth, August 30, 1965.
August 30-September 1Spacecraft 011's design engineering inspection was
held at North American. The review combined structures, mission (SA-202), and
ground support. The Review Board approved 55 changes (53 of which were assigned
to North American).
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-41, p. 4; memorandum, C. H.
Bolender, NASA, to E. E. Christensen and S. C. Phillips, "Trip Report on Visit
to NAA Downey," September 7, 1965.
August 31-September 1At an implementation meeting at MSC on the LEM's
guidance and control system, Grumman again made a pitch for its concept for the
landing point designator (i.e., scale markings on the vehicle's window). On
September 13, the company received MSC's go-ahead. Grumman was told to
coordinate closely with both MSC and MIT on the designator's design to ensure
that the scale markings would be compatible with the spacecraft's computer.
TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, subject: "Action
Item L52, Requirements for Landing Point Designator (LPD)," September 13, 1965.
During the MonthAn explosion damaged a LEM reaction control system
thruster being fired in an up attitude in altitude tests at MSC.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 31," LPR-10-47, p. 1.
During the MonthGrumman completed an analysis of radiation levels that
would be encountered by the LEM-3 crew during their earth orbital mission.
Grumman advised that doses would not be harmful. To lessen these levels even
further, the contractor recommended that during some parts of the mission the
two astronauts climb back into the CM; also, the planned orbit for the LEM (556
by 2,500 km [300 by 1,350 nm]) could be changed to avoid the worst part of the
Van Allen Belt.
Ibid., p. 40.