Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
September 1North American conducted another in their series of impact
tests with boilerplate 28. This drop tested the toroidal section of the
spacecraft (heatshield and equipment bay structure) in impact at high angle and
maximum horizontal velocity. The spacecraft suffered no visible damage. Some
water leaked into the vehicle, but this was blamed on the boilerplate structure
itself and the apex-down attitude after impact.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-41, p. 1; MSC, "ASPO Weekly
Management Report, September 2-9, 1965."
September 1A LEM ascent engine exploded during altitude firings at
Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC). In subsequent investigations, Bell
Aerosystems researchers concluded that the failure probably resulted from raw
propellants being accidentally forced into the engine at the end of the second
run, thus damaging the injector. The explosion, which occurred at the start of
the third run, in turn followed an uncontrolled flow of propellants into the
engine. As a result of this accident, Bell made several changes in hardware
fabrication. Also, the company planned additional firings, under conditions
similar to those at AEDC when the explosion occurred, to try to determine
exactly the cause.
MSC, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, September 10, 1965,"p. 1; memorandum,
A. L. Madyda, MSC, to Chief, Propulsion and Power Division, "Report on trip to
Bell Aerosystems, September 13-14, 1965," September 16, 1965; memorandum,
Madyda, to Chief, Propulsion and Power Division, "Trip to Bell on September 30,
1965," October 4, 1965.
September 1-8MSC advised officials at North American's Tulsa Division
that their concept for external panel retention cables on the adapter was
unacceptable. While the Tulsa people agreed with Houston's objections, because
of orders from Downey they had no authority to change the design. Structures and
Mechanics Division reported that North American's "continued apathy . . . to
redesign the system" threatened a schedule delay.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 2-9, 1965."
September 2-9MSC's Flight Operations Division requested an
investigation of the feasibility of performing an abort from an inoperative
S-IVB booster on the AS-206 unmanned LEM mission.
Ibid.; memorandum, R. W. Lanzkron, MSC, to Chief, Systems
Engineering Division, "AS-206 Preliminary Abort Requirements," September 10,
September 3NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George
E. Mueller summarized for Administrator James E. Webb the status of the LEM
tracking systems. The LEM rendezvous radar system, which had been under
development since 1963, was expected to be available when needed for flight
missions. Technical studies had shown that an Optical Tracker System offered
weight and reliability advantages with no reduction in LEM performance. Hughes
Aircraft Company was developing an Optical Tracking System as a back-up to the
Memorandum, Mueller to Webb, "LEM Tracking Systems," September 3, 1965.
September 3To aid in defining abort limits for the emergency detection
system, MSC authorized North American to determine the ultimate strength of the
spacecraft based on failure trajectories of the Saturn IB and Saturn V vehicles.
Letter, J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division,
"Contract Change Authorization No. 407," September 3, 1965; memorandum, Owen E.
Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Flight Control Division, "Range Safety Destruct Time
Delay for Saturn IB & V," September 27, 1965.
September 3MSC requested Grumman to review the following ascent and
descent pressurization system components in the propulsion subsystem for
materials compatibility with certain propellants:
Recent reports from various programs had shown
that propellant vapors had seeped into mid-portions of their pressurization
systems, causing corrosion and leakage problems. The SM and LEM had recently
revised portions of their programs to incorporate this compatibility
- helium explosive valve;
- pressure regulator;
- latching solenoid valve;
- pressure relief and burst disc; and
- quad check valve.
Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS
9-1100, Internal compatibility of LEM Ascent and Descent Propulsion Subsystem
pressurization system components with fuel and oxidizer propellant vaporizer,
Hydrazine-Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine and Nitrogen Tetroxide,
respectively," September 3, 1965.
September 8William A. Lee, ASPO, pointed out to the MSC
Thermo-Structures Branch that Grumman was engaged in a strenuous weight
reduction effort and that, when feasible, MSC should accept the proposed
changes. In the area of thermal control, Grumman was investigating the use of
etched aluminum surfaces to replace thermal paint. It was expected that the
change was feasible and that approximately 11 kg (24 lbs) of inert weight would
be saved on each stage of the LEM. In addition, Grumman was investigating the
applicability of this technique to the landing gear components.
Grumman was also studying substitution of an aluminum-mylar nonrigid outer
heatshield with plastic standoffs for current rigid ascent and descent
heatshields. The potential inert weight saving would be about 84 kg (185 lbs).
Lee requested that Thermo-Structures Branch stay in close contact with these
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Thermo-structures Branch, Attn: J. A.
Smith, Jr., "LEM weight reductions in the area of thermal control," September 8,
September 8Assistant ASPO Manager William A. Lee told the General
Instrumentation Branch of the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division
Grumman was preparing a proposal for use of the LEM vehicle as an electrical
ground. The plan was to adopt a single wire system selectively for those
circuits not susceptible to electrical transients. Lee said Grumman estimated a
weight savings of 27 kg (60 lbs) in the ascent stage and 9 kg (20 lbs) in the
descent stage. The proposal was expected to be available to NASA by October 1
and Lee had committed NASA to a decision within three weeks of receipt of the
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to General Instrumentation Branch, Attn: A.
H. Campos, "Use of LEM vehicle structure as electrical ground return," September
September 9-10MSC requested Grumman and North American to study the
possibility of taking the guillotine that Grumman had developed for the LEM's
interstage umbilical and using it as well to sever the two umbilicals linking
the LEM to the adapter. In this manner, North American's effort to develop these
cutters might be eliminated; LEM-adapter interface would be simplified; and a
significant monetary savings could be effected without schedule impact.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 9-16, 1965"; ASPO, "Abstract
of Proceedings, Ground Test Requirements Meeting No. 4, September 9 and 10,
1965," September 16, 1965.
September 9-16Northrop-Ventura canceled a parachute test because of
problems with the reefing line rings and the main parachute bags. North American
was looking into these problems which, it was anticipated, would affect both
blocks of spacecraft.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 9-16, 1965."
September 10Because of recent changes in the design of the space suit,
Motorola, under its contract for suit communications antennas, began
concentrating on the development of antennas for the back pack rather than on
Letter, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to R. E. Breeding, Hamilton Standard
Division, "Technical directive on SSC helmet mounted antenna," September 10,
1965; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965."
With the continued frustrations of fighting the weight problem on both
the CM and LEM it was necessary that both NASA and contracting personnel
maintain a sense of humor. The above was used in slide form at a meeting at
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of Systems Engineering Division, advised ASPO Manager
Joseph F. Shea of the major technical problems currently plaguing Apollo
Memorandum, Maynard, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Apollo
principal technical problems," September 10, 1965.
- Spacecraft weight growths
- these, Maynard said, exceeded predictions "by a serious margin."
Pessimistically, he added that the performance of many systems was but
- Lunar landing criteria
- the unknowns involved precluded conservative thinking on the LEM.
- Integration of scientific experiments
- Maynard blamed the "piece-meal" integration of experiments for the lack of
comprehensive planning and for many late hardware changes.
- Water landing criteria
- because of the range of variables, present design margins were
- Land landing
- i.e., development of the landing rockets.
- Thermal design
- conflicts existed between temperature control and attitude constraints for
- Propulsion performance
- no unit, Maynard reported, had yet achieved the specific impulse which was
required of it.
- Space suit development
- design of the suit, and of the thermal-meteoroid garment and the portable
life support system, Maynard said, had "gyrated violently, resulting in
spacecraft design compromises to accommodate questionable space suit
September 10NASA began recruiting additional pilot-astronauts, to begin
training the following summer.
MSC News Release 65-79, "NASA to Select Additional Pilot-Astronauts,"
September 10, 1965.
September 12Hurricane Betsy hit the United States and Apollo Program
Director Samuel C. Phillips presented an interim report to NASA Associate
Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., concerning the effects of the storm on
NASA property and programs:
Memorandum, Phillips to Seamans, "Impact of Hurricane Betsy on
Apollo," September 13, 1965.
- Michoud (La.) Plant
- all of the buildings suffered moderate to severe damage. So far as could
be determined, Saturn hardware in process was not damaged to any appreciable
extent. Damage was estimated at between $2 and $4 million. Time lost by the
storm and due to cleanup and repairs would probably affect program schedules
by two or more weeks.
- the barge Promise tied up at the Michoud dock broke free and
was beached. Externally, no damages were visible. The dock area was heavily
- Production of Liquid Hydrogen
- Air Products, Inc., plant under construction across the canal from Michoud
was reported to be under nine feet of water. Extent of the damage was unknown.
- Reentry Ships Huntsville and Watertown
- these vessels were under modification at the Avondale Shipyard, New
Orleans. Both broke loose and were hard aground. The Watertown
was battered but the holds were dry; it looked like it could be salvaged. The
Huntsville had a 9-m (30-ft) gash in the side plus three other
holes. The engine rooms were flooded. Navy salvage crews did not think the
vessel was salvageable.
- Cape Kennedy
- damage from the storm was minor. The storm did cause a shutdown of site
activation activities on Complex 34, costing four critical
September 13ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea announced a new plan for
controlling the weight of Apollo spacecraft. Every week, subsystem managers
would report to a Weight Control Board (WCB), headed by Shea, which would rule
on their proposals for meeting the target weight for their systems. Three task
forces also would report to the WCB on the way to lighten the spacecraft:
Memorandum, Shea, MSC, to Distr., "Apollo
Weight Control Program," September 13, 1965, with enclosure: "Apollo Weight
- weight reduction task force;
- requirements reduction task force; and
- an operations task force.
September 14As a result of discussions with North American and
Aerojet-General, MSC ordered several changes to the service propulsion engine:
These changes applied to all qualification test and all flight
- redesign of the ablation chamber seals and the flange mountings
- modifications to permit ground purging
- redesign of the injection hub
- doubling of the nominal valve opening time (from 0.3 to 0.6
TWX, J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division,
Attn: J. C. Cozad, subject: "SPS Engine Changes and Checkout," September 14,
September 14At a status meeting at Grumman on LEM-1, MSC learned that,
as a result of welding problems, the vehicle's ascent stage was about four weeks
Memorandum, R. A. Newlander to W. J. Gaylor, RASPO-Bethpage, "LEM-1 Status
Meeting, 9/14/65," September 17, 1965; letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC,
Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM-1 Status Meeting Number Four,"
September 21, 1965.
September 15Flight Crew Support Division defined the minimum time
required to assure adequate crew training in the Apollo Mission Simulators.
Individual part task training in the simulators required 36 hrs for each of six
astronauts (prime and backup crews), a total of 216 hrs; each of the two crews
would require 40 hrs of crew mission task training, 120 hrs of crew specific
mission training, and nine hrs each of crew integrated mission (with ground
crews) training, a total of 169 hrs per crew or a total of 338 hrs.
It was estimated that the simulator would be operational on an average of 30
hours a week, based on experience in other programs. Thus, eight months of
simulator availability would be required prior to the AS-204 launch date - one
month of training verification plus 29 weeks for crew training.
The needed dates for simulators were: Apollo Mission Simulator No. 1, fully
operational January 15, 1966, with spacecraft 012 modification kit delivery
complete on March 18, 1966; Apollo Mission Simulator No. 2 delivery in 012
configuration April 15, 1966, to be fully operational June 6, 1966.
Memorandum, Warren J. North, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division,
"Simulator training requirements to support the Apollo missions," September 15,
September 16MSC's Assistant Director for Flight Operations, Christopher
C. Kraft, Jr., told ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that postlanding operational
procedures require that recovery force personnel have the capability of gaining
access into the interior of the CM through the main crew hatch. This was
necessary, he said, so recovery force swimmers could provide immediate aid to
the crew, if required, and for normal postlanding operations by recovery
engineers such as spacecraft shutdown, crew removal, data retrieval, etc.
Kraft said the crew compartment heatshield might char upon reentry in such a
manner as to make it difficult to distinguish the outline of the main egress
hatch. This potential problem and the necessity of applying a force outward to
free the hatch might demand use of a "crow bar" tool to chip the ablator and
apply a prying force on the hatch.
Since this would be a special tool, it would have to be distributed to
recovery forces on a worldwide basis or be carried aboard the spacecraft. Kraft
requested that the tool be mounted onboard the spacecraft in a manner to be
readily accessible. He requested that the design incorporate a method to
preclude loss of the tool - either by designing the tool to float or by
attaching it to the spacecraft by a lanyard.
Memorandum, Kraft to Shea, "Apollo Crew Hatch Tool," September 16, 1965.
September 16The Assistant Chief for Electronic Systems notified ASPO
that the proposed Grumman plan to repackage the LEM pulse command modulated and
timing electronic assembly (PCMTEA) had been discussed and investigated and that
the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division (IESD) concurred with the
Following is the impact to the PCMTEA as a result of Grumman's proposed
Memorandum, Leonard E. Packham, MSC, to
Assistant Manager, ASPO, "GAEC plan to repackage the LEM PCMTEA," September 16,
- weight of the PCMTEA would be reduced 1.4 kg (3 lbs) and a further
reduction of 4.99 kg (11 lbs) would result from repackaging;
- volume of the PCMTEA would be reduced by approximately 8,123 milliliters
(500 cu in);
- there would be no schedule impact to LEM-1, LT A-8, or the PCMTEA
qualification test program because of the proposed changes; and
- no firm cost estimates were available but IESD estimated repackaging cost
would be about $100,000.
September 16-17North American and its subcontractor, LTV, conducted a
design review on the environmental control system radiator for the Block II CSM.
Both parties agreed upon a backup effort (i.e., a narrower selective stagnation
panel), which would be more responsive to thermal changes in the spacecraft.
Testing of this backup design could follow that of the prototype and still meet
the design release.
Memorandum, Frank H. Samonski, Jr., MSC, to Gary G. Metz, "Environmental
control system (ECS) attitude constraints for Spacecraft 012," September 14,
1965; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965."
September 16-17 A design review on the attitude controller for the LEM
was held at Honeywell. Flight Crew Support Division reported that the device
seemed "highly optimized functionally, operationally, and weight wise."
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965"; GAEC, "Monthly
Progress Report No. 32," LPR-10-48, October 10, 1965, p. 14; TWX, R. Wayne
Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, October 14, 1965.
September 16-23Systems Engineering Division (SED) reported that, on the
basis of data from SA-4, 8, and 9 flights, the thermal coating of the spacecraft
suffered considerable damage. This degradation was caused by the S-IV retro
motor and/or the tower jettison motor. SED advised that a thorough analysis was
scheduled shortly at TRW to look into the entire area of thermal factors and the
performance of ablative coating. However, North American refused to acknowledge
the existence of any such thermal problem, SED said. The firm's "continued
inactivity" was described as a "major obstacle" to solving the problem.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965"; memorandum, James A.
Smith, MSC, to Project Officer, C and SM, ASPO, "Technical Evaluation,
Justification, and Plan of Action for Instrumentation to determine effects of
TJM Impingement, RECP 461," September 27, 1965.
September 16-23NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) agreed that
AEC would provide radioisotope thermoelectric generators which would power each
Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package for an operating period of one year on
the lunar surface.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965"; memorandum, Robert E.
Vale, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering Division, "Radioisotope Thermoelectric
Generator," September 27, 1965.
September 16-23Grumman established the final design parameters for the
landing gear of the LEM (both primary and secondary struts). It was anticipated
that this newer design would be between 9 and 14 kg (20 and 30 lbs) lighter than
the earlier gear.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965"; "Monthly Progress
Report No. 32," LPR-10- 48, pp. 10, 12.
September 16-October 15North American evaluated the compatibility of
spacecraft 012 with its mission, AS-204, the first manned Apollo flight. The
manufacturer determined that, by using roll-stabilized attitude during most of
the flight, the vehicle could remain aloft for about 13½ days. The only onboard
expendables termed marginal were cryogenics and the propellant supply in the
SM's reaction control system (which, for added safety, would offer a redundant
means of braking the vehicle out of orbit).
NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-42, November 1, 1965, p. 3;
memorandum, Robert V. Battey, MSC, to Chief, Apollo Trajectory Support Office,
"Spacecraft systems and attitude constraints for mission AS-204," September 14,
September 17The basic structure of Apollo CM simulator "A," around
which a full-scale mockup of the CM crew stations would be built, was delivered
to MSC. Flight Crew Support Division would use the mockup for crew
familiarization, procedures training, and equipment evaluation.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September l6-23, 1965."
September 20MSC's Director, Robert R. Gilruth, sent a detailed history
of actions taken in regard to development of the Apollo Extravehicular Mobility
Unit, and recommended three changes not consistent with the overall procurement
plan previously approved by NASA Headquarters:
Basis for the
- Amend the existing Hamilton Standard contract to provide for the
development, qualification, and fabrication of the portable life support
system and associated equipment only. This contract would cover delivery of
all flight equipment for the Apollo flight program.
- Award a separate contract to International Latex Corporation for the
development and fabrication of test and flight space suits and associated
- MSC would assume responsibility for total program management, systems
integration, and space suit qualification.
MSC planned to establish a resident engineer at
International Latex to provide on-contractor-site management of the contractor.
- a comparative suit evaluation of space suits submitted by International
Latex, Hamilton Standard, and David Clark Company in June 1965;
- a reassessment of the capabilities of International Latex; and
- previous difficulties of Hamilton Standard in adequate total system
development but recognizing their competence in the portable life support
Letter, Gilruth to NASA Headquarters, Attn: George E. Mueller, "Procurement
plan for the Apollo Extravehicular Mobility Unit and EMU ground support
equipment development and fabrication," sgd. George M. Low, September 20, 1965.
September 20On the basis of studies by both MSC and Grumman on LEM
landing criteria, Engineering and Development Directorate determined that
contractor and customer alike favored reducing landing velocity requirements for
the spacecraft. The two did not see eye to eye on how far these requirements
should be reduced, however, and MSC would study the problem further.
Memorandum, James A. Chamberlin, MSC, to Distr., "Status of LEM landing
studies," September 20, 1965.
September 21ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea decided that no device to
indicate a failure of the secondary gimbal motor in the service propulsion
system (SPS) was necessary on Block I spacecraft. Two factors shaped Shea's
This decision did not alter the requirement for such devices on
Block II spacecraft, however, and North American was incorporating warning
lights on those vehicles to indicate such gimbal motor failures.
- procedures for inflight checkout of the vehicle called for gimbaling the
service propulsion engine with both primary and secondary drive motors prior
to SPS burns;
- furthermore, all Block I (i.e., earth orbital) spacecraft would be capable
of returning to earth by means of the SM's reaction control
Memorandum, Shea, MSC, to Assistant Director for Flight Operations, "Service
Propulsion System (SPS) Secondary Gimbal Motor Fail Indication," September 21,
September 27NASA's Administrator James E. Webb, Deputy Administrator
Hugh L. Dryden, and Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., selected
Ling-Temco-Vought from a total of 17 proposers for contract negotiations for a
one-year cost-plus-award-fee contract with options to extend for two one-year
periods, to provide operational laboratory support services for the Apollo
spacecraft program at the White Sands (N. Mex.) Test Facility. The selection was
based upon the presentation of a source evaluation board and comments of key
officials concerned. The Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight was
asked to issue appropriate instructions to ensure that the contract negotiating
team follow the negotiation objectives as presented to them.
Memorandum, Deputy Associate Administrator, NASA, to Associate Administrator
for Manned Space Flight, "Selection of Contractor to Provide Operational
Laboratory Support Services for the Apollo Spacecraft Program at the White Sands
Test Facility," sgd. Earl D. Hilburn, September 27, 1965.
September 22-29North American proposed an additional pane of glass for
the windows on Block II CMs. Currently, both blocks of spacecraft had one pane.
Should meteoroids pit this pane, the window could fail during reentry at lunar
velocities. The meteoroid protection group in Structures and Mechanics Division
were evaluating North American's proposal, which would add about 10.43 kg (23
lbs) to the vehicle's weight. No such added protection was required on Block I
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 23-30, 1965"; "Apollo Monthly
Progress Report," SID 62-300-41, p. 5.
September 24The Critical Design Review (CDR) of the LEM, tentatively
planned during the week of September 27, 1965, at Grumman, was rescheduled as a
series of reviews beginning in November 1965 and ending in January 1966. The
schedule was to apply with five teams participating as follows: Structures and
Propulsion, November 8-11, Team Captain: H. Byington; Communications,
Instrumentation, and Electrical Power, December 6-9, Team Captain: W. Speier;
Stabilization and Control, Navigation and Guidance, and Radar, January 10-13,
Team Captain: A. Cohen; Crew Systems, January 10-13, Team Captain: J. Loftus;
and Mission Compatibility and Operations, January 24-27, Team Captain: R.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Distr., "Critical Design Review of LEM,"
September 24, 1965.
MSFC marked completion of its first Saturn V S-IC booster September
26,1965, with a brief ceremony in front of the assembly shop. A wide-angle
camera caught this view as the ceremony was about to start with MSFC Director
Wernher von Braun at the microphone (left).
September 27MSC directed Grumman to draw up a complete list of all
nonmetallic materials used in the habitable area of the LEM, including type,
use, location, weight, and source of all such materials.
Letter, James L. Neal, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: John C. Snedeker, "Contract NAS
9-1100, Contract Change Authorization No. 136, Exhibit E, Nonmetallic Materials
in Habitable Area," September 27, 1965.
September 27Officials from the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and the
Department of Agriculture met at MSC to discuss informally the problem of back
contamination. They listened to briefings on the mission profile for Apollo;
reentry heating rates; present thinking at the Center on the design of the Lunar
Sample Receiving Station (LSRS); and MSC's plans (none) for quarantining the
James Goddard, Assistant Surgeon General in PHS, presented three broad areas
These matters were discussed in
some detail. MSC's failure to plan for the astronauts' return, and Goddard's
ideas on what procedures were needed, provoked "very extended and somewhat
heated" discussions. It was generally agreed that Apollo astronauts could not
entirely avoid lunar contaminants: the level of contamination inside the
spacecraft's cabin, although low, nonetheless would be "significant." MSC then
asked, hypothetically, what PHS's reaction would be if Apollo astronauts were
recovered and returned in much the same manner that Gemini crews were. The
representative from PHS's Foreign Quarantine Division replied "emphatically"
that, in such a case, those crews would not be allowed back in the country.
- quarantine procedures and accommodations inside the LSRS for both
astronauts and technicians;
- quarantine facilities aboard the recovery ships; and
- the need to gather samples before the moon's surface was contaminated by
the astronauts or the LEM's atmosphere.
On October 15, Lawrence B. Hall, Planetary Quarantine Officer in NASA's
Office of Space Science and Applications, summarized for Deputy Administrator
Hugh L. Dryden the September 27 meeting, and recommended that such informal
discussions continue. "I believe," he told Dryden, "that . . . the Manned
Spacecraft Center is more fully aware of the point of view of the regulatory
agencies on this matter. Unfortunately, the regulatory agencies still do not
understand the reasons for the Manned Spacecraft Center's reluctance to face
this problem." [To appreciate MSC's "reluctance," see October 29, 1965.]
Memorandum, Hall, NASA, to Deputy Administrator, "Informal conference on back
contamination problems," October 15, 1965, with enclosure: "Summary, Informal
Conference on Back Contamination Problems," undated.
September 27North American evaluated the CSM's communications
capability with the unified S-band system using attitude data published with the
AS-501 (spacecraft 017) preliminary reference trajectory. The trajectory
selected to achieve the desired entry conditions had a maximum altitude at
apogee of about 16,668 km (9,000 nm). At this altitude, the maximum range to a
Manned Spacecraft Flight Network (MSFN) station was about 20,372 km (11,000
nmi). Since a high-gain antenna was not installed on spacecraft 017,
communications depended on the S-band omnidirectional antennas. In order to
verify their adequacy, directions to the MSFN stations were computed and system
circuit margins were derived. North American concluded that the margins were
inadequate to support high-bit-rate telemetry for about three hours of the
mission. Modification of the planned CSM attitude produced significant
improvement (about 17 decibels) in communications. The contractor also proposed
a relocation of range ships to improve performance.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-42, p. 3; TWX, C. L. Taylor,
MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, subject:
"Mission 501/Spacecraft 017 Compatibility Evaluation," September 27, 1965.
September 28-30Representatives from MSC, David Clark, Hamilton
Standard, and Westinghouse met at North American, where they negotiated and
signed most of the interface control documents (ICD) for the space suit and
associated equipment. Of the ICD's yet unresolved, only two involved problems
that could have a significant effect on hardware design:
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 30-October 7,
1965"; letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems
Division, Attn: J, C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Portable life support system
(PLSS) water recharge (functional) ICD No. MH01-06153-416," October 12, 1965.
- The current design of the CM environmental control system, because it
could not accept waste water from the portable life support system (PLSS), was
therefore incapable of recharging the PLSS. ASPO must decide if the recharge
requirement was to be kept or eliminated.
- The CM's waste management system was not compatible with the capacity of
the urine bag in the space suit. This problem was assigned to Crew Systems
September 29Ralph S. Sawyer, Chief of the Instrumentation and
Electronic Systems Division, advised ASPO Manager Shea of current problems with
antennas for the Apollo spacecraft:
Memorandum, Sawyer, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Apollo antenna
problem areas," September 29, 1965.
- CSM high gain antenna
- the infrared (IR) earth tracker originally proposed would not satisfy
mission requirements. On September 23, Sawyer reported, North American had
ordered Dalmo-Victor to halt development of IR systems and to proceed with
work on an RE tracker.
- CSM S-band omnidirectional antennas
- release of specifications was delaying subcontract award. North American
might be unable to meet delivery for CSMs 017 and 020.
- North American's in-house development program
- because of a lack of qualified personnel in California, North American
proposed to develop VHF scimitar, S-band flush mounted, and C-band antennas at
its Columbus, Ohio, facility.
- LEM S-band high-gain antenna
- Dalmo-Victor predicted that preproduction models would weigh 11 kg (25.33
lbs), 3 kg (6.83 lbs) more than the specification weight. Grumman already had
ordered Dalmo-Victor to study ways of lightening the
September 29Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips issued the
flight directive for the AS-202 mission, which spelled out the general flight
plan, objectives, and configuration of both spacecraft and launch vehicle.
OMSF Directive M-D MA 1400.011, "Apollo Program Flight Mission Directive for
Apollo-Saturn 202 Mission," September 29, 1965.
September 29The Critical Design Review (CDR) of the Block II CSM was
scheduled to be conducted in November and December 1965, with the first phase
being held November 15-18, and the second phase December 13-17.
The first phase activity would be a review of drawings, schematics,
procurement specifications, weight status, interface control drawings, failure
analysis, proposed specification change notices, and specification waivers and
deviations. The second phase of the review would be a physical inspection of the
mockup of the Block II CSM.
The review would be conducted by review teams organized in the several areas
and headed by team captains, as follows: Structures and Propulsion, O. Ohlsson;
Communications, Instrumentation, and Electrical Power, W. Speier; Stabilization
and Control, Guidance and Navigation, A. Cohen; Crew Systems, J. Loftus; and
Mission Compatibility and Operations, R. Battey.
Memorandum, Chief, Systems Engineering Division, MSC, to Distr., "Critical
Design Review of Block II CSM," sgd. Harry W. Byington, September 29, 1965.
September 29-30The Mission Operations Organization had been under
continued review and discussion and on September 29 and 30 in New Orleans, La.,
a meeting was held between George E. Mueller, James C. Elms, Robert R. Gilruth,
and George M. Low. General agreement was reached on a method of operation: The
Mission Operations Director would represent the Associate Administrator for
Manned Space Flight in all operational areas and would be responsible to the
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight for the execution of all NASA
manned spaceflight missions.
The people responsive to the Missions Operations Director (in the same sense
as Center Program Managers are responsible to Headquarters Program Directors)
It was pointed out that
there were multiple and sometimes divergent inputs from the Program Offices and
the Mission Operations organization in OMSF to various elements at the Manned
- The Director of Launch Operations of the Kennedy Space Center,
- who is responsible for the preparation, checkout, countdown and launch of
the space vehicle. In two of these areas, preparation and checkout, he is
responsive to the Program Managers and Program Directors; whereas in the other
two areas, countdown and launch, he is responsive to the Mission Operations
- The Assistant Director for Flight Operations at the Manned Spacecraft
- who represents the Director of MSC in all operational areas. These areas
include flight operations and the flight operational aspects of flight crew
and medical operations.
- The DOD Representative for Manned Space Flight,
- who is responsible for the National Ranges and the recovery forces.
- The Program Directors,
- who are responsive to the Mission Operations Director insofar as the
readiness of flight hardware is concerned.
It was agreed that a better definition of responsibility between Program
Office and Mission Operations Directorate in OMSF was required. It was also
agreed that for all flight operational areas MSC would prefer to have the
Assistant Director for Flight Operations act as its single point of contact. The
Assistant Director for Flight Operations would represent Flight Crew Operations
and Medical Operations in the mission operations area.
Memorandum, George M. Low, "Mission Operations Discussions," October 4, 1965;
Informal Memorandum, George M. Low to Distr., October 15, 1965, with enclosure.
September 30-October 7Pressure loading and thermal tests were completed
on the types of windows in the Block I CM. The pressure tests demonstrated their
ability to withstand the ultimate stresses (both inward and outward) that the CM
might encounter during an atmospheric abort. The thermal simulations qualified
the windows for maximum temperatures anticipated during reentry at lunar
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 30-October 7, 1965."
September 30-October 7Flight Projects Division advised that, on the
basis of current weight studies, the aft heatshield on Block I CMs must be
thinned. North American had said that this change would not affect schedules,
but felt some concern about the heat sensors. Accordingly, Structures and
Mechanics Division (SMD) ordered North American to proceed with this weight
reduction on the hardware for spacecraft 011, 012, and 014 (but ensuring that
the orbital decay required for Block I manned missions would still be met). The
sensors on 011's heatshield would be adapted to the new thickness. SMD
anticipated that these changes would cost about $500,000 and would probably
delay by about four weeks delivery of the 011 heatshield from Avco.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 23-30, 1965"; "ASPO Weekly
Management Report, September 30-October 7, 1965"; memorandum, R. W. Lanzkron and
O. E. Maynard, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Weight Reduction for Block I Aft Heat
Shield," October 8, 1965; memorandum, Joseph N. Kotanchik, MSC, to Manager,
ASPO, "Flight Configuration of SC 011," October 18, 1965.
September 30Crew Systems Division defined the survival equipment that
MSC would procure for Apollo spacecraft. Fifteen survival sets would be needed
for Block I and 30 for Block II CMs.
Memorandum, R. E. Smylie, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division, "Apollo Block
I and Block II survival equipment procurement," September 30, 1965.
During the MonthBell Aerosystems reported on stability and ablative
compatibility testing of the first bipropellant-cooled injector baffle for the
ascent engine of the LEM. Combustion was stable; however, streaking on the
injector face forced Bell to halt ablative testing after only 60 seconds of
"Monthly Progress Report No. 32," LPR-10-48, pp. 1, 11.
During the MonthThirteen flights were made with the lunar landing
research vehicle. Two of those flights were devoted to mulling the lunar
simulation system; the remaining 11 flights were devoted to research with the
attitude control system in the rate command mode. Nine landings were made in the
lunar simulation mode.
On flight 1-34-94F the lunar simulation mode worked perfectly and no drift
was encountered during more than one minute of hovering flight. The landing was
made in the simulation mode for the first time on this flight.
Letter, Office of Director, Flight Research Center, to NASA Headquarters,
"Lunar Landing Research Vehicle progress report No.27 for the period ending
September 30, 1965," sgd. Paul F. Bikle, October 14, 1965.
September-OctoberGrumman advised MSC of major troubles plaguing
development of the LEM's descent engine. These included problems of weight,
chamber erosion, mixtures, valves, combustion instability, and throttle
mechanisms (which Grumman said could delay delivery of LEM 1 and the start of
"Monthly Progress Report No. 32," LPR-10-48, pp. 3, 11; GAEC, "Monthly
Progress Report No. 33," LPR- 10-49, November 10, 1965, p. 3.