Part 1 (D)

Preparation for Flight, the Accident, and Investigation

October through December 1966

1966 October

1966 November

1966 December


October 4

MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth told Langley Research Center Director Floyd Thompson, "Lunar Orbiter I has made significant contributions to the Apollo program and to lunar science in general. Details visible for the first time in Orbiter I photographs will certainly add to our knowledge of the lunar surface and improve our confidence in the success of the Apollo landing.

"Screening teams . . . are studying the photographs as they become available at the Lunar Orbiter Project Office, Langley Research Center. Several promising areas for Apollo landing sites have been studied here in Houston by the screening teams and will be studied in more detail later. This preliminary study has already influenced the selection of sites to be photographed on the next Orbiter mission. . . ."

TWX, Gilruth to Thompson, Oct. 4, 1966.

October 7

NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, at the conclusion of the AS-204 Design Certification Review (DCR), requested each NASA manager to reexamine his stages, modules, systems, and subsystems upon substantial completion of the review's closeout actions and to file an updated certification statement to the Design Certification Board.

On November 16, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips asked ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea to submit the updated certification statements and supporting data to him by December 14 to permit him to submit the statements and his affirmation to the Board before the December 20 Manned Space Flight Review. He pointed out that each certification statement should affirm:

  1. that the reservations previously cited had been dispelled by appropriate action;
  2. that design problems identified subsequent to the review had been resolved;
  3. that actions identified during the review had been completed (except where specifically noted); and
  4. that his previous certification of the design of flight systems for flight worthiness and manned safety, or of the capability of Launch Support to support a manned mission, remained valid.
Any residual contingencies or actions, scheduled for completion at the Flight Readiness Review, should be specifically listed.

Ltr., Phillips to Shea,"AS-204 Design Certification Review," Nov. 16, 1966.

October 7

In a memorandum to the NASA Deputy Administrator, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller commented on the AS-202 impact error. Mueller said the trajectory of the August 25 AS-202 mission was essentially as planned except that the command module touched down about 370 kilometers short of the planned impact point. A detailed study indicated that the command module had a lower than predicted angle of attack and a correspondingly lower lift-to-drag ratio. "In retrospect, it appears that our wind tunnel testing did not provide a complete understanding of . . . hypersonic aerodynamic characteristics of the command module." Plans were being made to fly AS-204 and AS-205 with the lower lift-to-drag ratio.

Memo, Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "205 Nautical Mile Error in AS-202 Impact," Oct. 7, 1966.

October 11

Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips was informed of increasing engineering orders for spacecraft 012. C. H. Bolender, OMSF Mission Operations Deputy Director, reported information received from John G. Shinkle, Kennedy Space Center Apollo Program Manager, on October 10. At the time of spacecraft shipment to Cape Kennedy on August 25, 164 engineering orders were identified as open work, although the data package appeared to identify only 126. These orders were covered by 32 master change records, which reportedly were the documentation approved by the MSC Change Control Board rather than by individual engineering orders. By September 24, engineering orders totaled 377 - 213 more than on August 25 - and the master change records had increased to 77. KSC estimated that some 150 of the 213 additional orders should have been identifiable within North American Aviation at the time of the Customer Acceptance Readiness Review. Bolender said that, if this were true, North American Aviation should be asked to provide better visibility for CSM changes that would be sent to the Cape for installation at the time of the review.

Memo for Record, Shinkle, KSC, "Engineering Orders for Spacecraft 012," Oct. 11, 1966; NASA Routing Slip, Bolender to Phillips, Oct. 11, 1966.

October 11

NASA reiterated its intention of examining the question of tracking ship Vanguard support for the AS-204 mission in the South Pacific as soon as mission plans were resolved. It informed the Department of Defense Manager for Manned Space Flight Support Operations, the Navy Deputy Commander for Ship Acquisitions, and Goddard Space Flight Center that plans could not be completed for the support of AS-205 at the time but, should the services of the Vanguard be required,an Atlantic Ocean location would be acceptable. NASA also expressed concern about the late delivery forecast for the Redstone and the Mercury tracking ships and requested top management attention within government, contractor, and subcontractor organizations be directed to the problems and that a special effort be made to accelerate delivery.

TWX, NASA Hq. to Lt. Gen. Leighton I. Davis, Rear Admiral J. Adair, and Goddard Space Flight Center, Oct. 11, 1966.

October 12

MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Manager Joseph F. Shea reported that LM-1 would no longer be capable of both manned and unmanned flight and that it would be configured and checked out for unmanned flight only. In addition, LM-2 would no longer be capable of completely unmanned flight, but would be configured and checked out for partially manned flights, such as the planned AS-278A mission (with unmanned final depletion burn of the ascent stage) and AS-278B (with all main propulsions unmanned).

Memo, Shea to distr., "Change in policies for LM-1 and LM-2," Oct. 12, 1966.

October 12

Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told Mark E. Bradley, Vice President and Assistant to the President of The Garrett Corp., that "the environment control unit, developed and produced by Garrett's AiResearch Division under subcontract to North American Aviation for the Apollo spacecraft was again in serious trouble and threatened a major delay in the first flight of Apollo." He pointed out, "This current difficulty is the latest in a long string of failures and problems associated with the AiResearch equipment." Phillips told Bradley that he was about three levels removed from the subcontract project details and thus could not give him a point by point discussion of the problems or their causes. Phillips felt, however, "they seem to lie in two categories - those arising from inadequate development testing, and those related to poor workmanship." Phillips hoped that Bradley could find what was needed to get the project on the right track.

Ltr., Phillips to Bradley, Oct. 12, 1966.

October 13

KSC proposed to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that the two General Electric Co. efforts at KSC supporting automatic checkout equipment (ACE) for spacecraft operations be consolidated. KSC pointed out there was a supplemental agreement with MSC for General Electric to provide system engineering support to ACE/spacecraft operations. Both the KSC Apollo Program Manager and the Director of Launch Operations considered that merging the two GE efforts into a single task order under KSC administrative control would have advantages. The proposal listed two:

  1. A single interface would exist between KSC and all local GE AEC/spacecraft operations.
  2. Through more efficient use of personnel, the contractor should be able to reduce the manpower level and still be responsive to the demands of the Apollo program.
Gilruth replied Nov. 1 to KSC Director Kurt H. Debus that MSC had evaluated advantages of transferring certain ACE/spacecraft responsibilities to KSC and had also considered advantages of continuing the existing system. These advantages were:

  1. "To maximize manpower utilization, the current ACE management philosophy provides only optimum manpower for each operational site. A central support group, located at Houston, supplies the required support to any site experiencing special peak activity. This philosophy has created maximum management flexibility."
  2. "The original intent in establishing ACE-S/C checkout philosophy was to assure standardization in checkout procedures and/or program unity from factory checkout through launch activities. By continuing to have all GE ACE-S/C site personnel responsible to the central design/engineering group located in Houston, this continuity is assured."
  3. "Logistics support to KSC ground stations is unified under the present management control. Personnel responsible for providing logistics support to KSC ground stations are administratively linked to the personnel at KSC requiring the support."
  4. "MSC currently provides reliability support, configuration management support, engineering support, management support and logistics support to all ACE-S/C ground stations. By continuing the present contractual arrangement we avoid the possibility of costly duplication in these areas."
Gilruth said that it was the MSC intent to support system engineering requirements in ACE/spacecraft areas and that further support in these areas was normally supplied by the spacecraft contractor. "Actually it has been our impression that GE/MSC ACE/spacecraft support at KSC and all other locations was sufficient to meet all requirements. . . . It is our opinion that the existing ACE/spacecraft management organization is required to assure optimum fulfilment of the Apollo program."

Ltrs., Debus to Gilruth, Oct. 13, 1966; Gilruth to Debus, Nov. 1, 1966.

October 19

Marshall Space Flight Center Director Wernher von Braun wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that MSFC had spent a considerable effort in planning the transfer of study and development tasks in the lunar exploration program to MSC. Von Braun said, "We feel it is in the spirit of the MSF Hideaway Management Council Meeting held on August 13-15, 1966, to consider the majority of our Lunar Exploration Work Program for transfer to MSC in consonance with Bob Seamans' directive which designates MSC as the Lead Center for lunar science." He added that MSFC had formulated a proposal which it felt was in agreement with the directives and at the same time provided for management interfaces between the two Centers without difficulty.

Briefly MSFC proposed to transfer to MSC:

  1. planning for Apollo Applications lunar traverses;
  2. lunar surface geological, geophysical, geochemical, biological, and biomedical experiments; and
  3. emplaced scientific station experiments.
MSFC proposed to retain

  1. the local scientific survey module and related mobility efforts,
  2. Apollo Applications program lunar drill,
  3. lunar surveying system, and
  4. lunar flying device (one man flying machine).
He added that MSFC had been working in specific areas of scientific technology that promised to furnish experiments that could be used on the lunar surface or from lunar orbit as well as from a planetary vehicle for planetary observations. Among these were radar and laser altimetry and infrared spectroscopy.

Von Braun said that Ernst Stuhlinger of the Research Projects Laboratory had discussed the proposed actions for transfer of functions to MSC, and MSC Experiments Program Manager Robert O. Piland had indicated his general agreement, pending further consideration. He asked that Gilruth give his reaction to the proposal and said, "It would be very helpful if our two Centers could present a proposal to George Mueller [OMSF] on which we both agree."

Ltr., von Braun to Gilruth, Oct. 19, 1966.

October 19

Apollo-Saturn 204 was to be the first manned Apollo mission, NASA announced through the manned space flight Centers. The news release, prepared at NASA Hq., said the decision had been made following a Design Certification Review Board meeting held the previous week at OMSF. The launch date had not been determined. Crewmen for the flight would be Virgil I. Grissom, command pilot; Edward H. White II, senior pilot; and Roger B. Chaffee, pilot. The backup crew would be James A. McDivitt, command pilot; David R. Scott, senior pilot; and Russell L. Schweickart, pilot. The AS-204 spacecraft would be launched by an uprated Saturn I launch vehicle on its earth-orbital mission "to demonstrate spacecraft and crew operations and evaluate spacecraft hardware performance in earth orbit."

TWX, NASA Hq. M-N-311 to KSC, MSC, MSFC, Oct. 19, 1966.

October 21

MSC's ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea proposed to KSC Apollo Program Manager John G. Shinkle that - because the program was moving into the flight phase and close monitoring of the hardware configuration was important - they should plan work methods in more detail. He reminded Shinkle that he had named Walter Kapryan Assistant Program Manager "to provide the technical focal point . . . to maintain the discipline for the total spacecraft"; therefore Shea would like to transfer the chairman of the Apollo Configuration Control Panel from Shinkle's organization to Kapryan effective Nov. 1, 1966.

Ltr., Shea to Shinkle, Oct. 21, 1966.

October 21

Langley Research Center informed MSC that the Apollo Visibility Study requested by MSC would be conducted. Langley mockups could be used along with an SLA panel to be provided by MSC from Tulsa North American. The proposed study would be semistatic, with the astronaut seated in the existing CM mockup and viewing the S-IVB/SLA mockup. The positions of the mockups would be varied manually by repositioning the mockup dollies, and the astronaut would judge the separation distance and alignment attitude. The study was expected to start at the end of October or early November and last two or three weeks.

Ltr., Director, LaRC, to MSC, Attn: Robert R. Gilruth "Apollo Visibility Study," Oct.21, 1966.

October 24

MSC established a committee to investigate several nearly catastrophic malfunctions in the steam generation system at the White Sands Test Facility. The system was used to pump down altitude cells in LM propulsion system development. Committee members were Joseph G. Thibodaux, chairman; Hugh D. White, secretary; Harry Byington, Henry O. Pohl, Robert W. Polifka, and Allen H. Watkins, all of MSC.

Memo, MSC Director to distr., "Committee for investigation of malfunctioning steam generation system at White Sands Test Facility, New Mexico," Oct. 24, 1966.

October 25

Propellant tanks of service module 017 failed during a pressure test at North American Aviation, Downey, Calif. The planned test included several pressure cycles followed by a 48-hour test of the tanks at the maximum operating pressure of 165 newtons per square centimeter (240 pounds per square inch). Normal operating pressure was 120 newtons per square centimeter (175 pounds per square inch). After 1 hour 40 minutes at 165 newtons the failure occurred.

SM 017 (designed for SA-501) had been pulled for this test after cracks had been detected in the tanks of SM 101. SM 017 had been previously proof-tested a short time (a matter of minutes) at 220 newtons per square centimeter (320 pounds per square inch).

A team was set up at North American Aviation to look into the failure and its possible impact on the Saturn IB and Saturn V Apollo missions. MSC had two observers on the team, which was to make its findings and recommendations available by November 4.

North American Aviation identified the problem as stress-corrosion cracking resulting from use of methanol as a test liquid at pressures causing above threshold stresses. No tanks subjected to methanol at high stress levels would be used. Freon and isopropyl alcohol, respectively, were recommended for test fluids in the oxidizer and fuel systems, with the stipulation that the equipment had not previously seen propellant and would receive a hot gaseous nitrogen purge after completion of the cold flow operation.

Note, Frank Magliato, NASA Hq., to NASA Administrator and Deputy Administrator, "Test Failure of Service Module 017," Oct. 26, 1966; TWX, Dale D. Myers, NA, to J. F. Shea, MSC, Nov. 11, 1966.

October 27

Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the MSC Missions Operations Division, said the flight operations plan had proposed communication constraints be resolved by reducing the accessible landing area on the lunar surface to a region permitting continuous communication with no restriction on vehicle attitude during descent and ascent. Maynard said, "Such a proposal is not acceptable." Contending interests were the desire to maintain communications in the early part of the descent powered flight and to avoid the definition of attitude restrictions in this region.

Acknowledging that both of these were desirable objectives, Maynard said that mission planning should be based on access to previously defined Apollo zones of interest and to designated sites within those zones with vehicle attitude maneuvers to provide communications when required.

Memo, Maynard to distr., "LM communication capability during lunar descent and ascent," Oct. 27, 1966.

November 4

NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips indicated his concern to MSC over the extensive damage to a number of fuel cell modules from operational errors during integrated system testing. Phillips pointed out that in addition to the added cost there was a possible impact on the success of the flight program. He emphasized the importance of standardizing the procedures for fuel cell activation and shutdown at North American Aviation, MSC, and KSC to maximize learning opportunities.

TWX, MAT-91, NASA Hq., to MSC, Attn: Joseph F. Shea, "Fuel Cell Operation Failures," Nov. 4, 1966.

November 6 - December 6

Lunar Orbiter II was launched at 6:21 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 13 at Cape Kennedy, to photograph possible landing sites on the moon for the Apollo program. The Atlas-Agena D booster placed the spacecraft in an earth-parking orbit and, after a 14-minute coast, injected it into its 94-hour trajectory toward the moon. A midcourse correction maneuver on November 8 increased the velocity from 3,051 to 3,133 kilometers per hour. At that time the spacecraft was 265,485 kilometers from the earth.

The spacecraft executed a deboost maneuver at 3:26 p.m., November 10, while 352,370 kilometers from the earth and 1,260 kilometers from the moon and traveling at a speed of 5,028 kilometers per hour. The maneuver permitted the lunar gravitational field to pull the spacecraft into the planned initial orbit around the moon. On November 15, a micrometeoroid hit was detected by one of the 20 thin-walled pressurized sensors.

The spacecraft was transferred into its final close-in orbit around the moon at 5:58 p.m. November 15 and the photo-acquisition phase of Lunar Orbiter II's mission began November 18. Thirteen selected primary potential landing sites and a number of secondary sites were to be photographed. By the morning of November 25, the spacecraft had taken 208 of the 211 photographs planned and pictures of all 13 selected potential landing sites. It also made 205 attitude change maneuvers and responded to 2,421 commands.

The status report of the Lunar Orbiter II mission as of November 28 indicated that the first phase of the photographic mission was completed when the final photo was taken on the afternoon of November 25. On November 26, the developing web was cut with a hot wire in response to a command from the earth. Failure to achieve the cut would have prevented the final readout of all 211 photos. Readout began immediately after the cut was made. One day early, December 6, the readout terminated when a transmitter failed, and three medium-resolution and two high-resolution photos of primary site 1 were lost. Full low-resolution coverage of the site had been provided, however, and other data continued to be transmitted. Three meteoroid hits had been detected.

Memos, Lunar Orbiter Program Manager to NASA Administrator, "Lunar Orbiter II Post Launch Report #1" through "#15," Nov. 7, 8, 14, 16, 17, 21, 25, and Dec. 9, 1966 (Mission Operation Reports S-814-66-02).

November 9

NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller reported on technical feasibility and cost tradeoffs of real-time television coverage of Apollo missions. Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., had requested an evaluation during a July 8 program review. Highlights of the report were:

Seamans approved the proposal on November 17, with the following condition, which was later transmitted to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth: "Before NASA commitments of any sort are made to the networks for Apollo capsule TV coverage, the plans and procedures must be approved by the Administrator."

Ltr., NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight to Deputy Administrator, "Real Time TV Coverage of Apollo Missions," Nov. 9, 1966; approval, with condition, by Seamans, Nov. 17, 1966; NASA Routing Slip to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth from Jack T. McClanahan, Chief, Apollo Mission Requirements, OMSF, received at MSC Dec. 12, 1966.

November 22

Perkin-Elmer Corp., Norwalk, Conn., and Chrysler Corp., Detroit, Mich., were authorized about $250,000 each to continue studies of optical technology for NASA. The nine-month extension of research by the two companies was to evaluate optical experiments for possible future extended Apollo flights. The proposed experiments included control of optical telescope primary mirrors, telescope temperature control, telescope pointing, and laser propagation studies.

NASA News Release 66-300, Nov. 22, 1966.

November 25

MSC was requested by NASA Hq. to take the following actions:

  1. Delete all experiments assigned to AS-205.
  2. Assign experiment M005 (Bioassays Body Fluid, modified version) to AS-205/208.
  3. Assign experiment M006 (Bone Demineralization) to AS-205/208.
  4. Assign experiment M011 (Cytogenic Blood Studies) to AS-205/208.
  5. Assign experiment M023 (Lower-Body Negative Pressure) to AS-205/208.
  6. Redesignate experiments assigned to AS-207/208 to AS-205/208.
TWX, NASA Hq. to MSC (APO-CCB Directive No. 80), Nov. 25, 1966.

November 29

MSC's Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton said that the Block I flight crew nomenclature was suitable for the AS-204 mission, but that a more descriptive designation was desirable for Block II flights. Block I crewmen had been called command pilot, senior pilot, and pilot. Slayton proposed that for the Block II missions the following designations and positions be used: commander, left seat at launch with center seat optional for the remainder of the CSM mission, and left seat in the LM; CSM pilot, center seat at launch with left seat optional for remainder of mission; and LM pilot in the right seat of both the CSM and LM.

Memo, Slayton to distr., "Block II Apollo flight crew designation," Nov. 29, 1966.

December 5

In response to a request from Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips on November 21, MSC reported its evaluation of Atlantic versus Pacific Ocean prime recovery areas for all Saturn V Apollo missions. MSC said that a change of recovery area to the Atlantic for AS-501 and AS-502 would cause some schedule slip and compromise of mission objectives and would not necessarily save recovery ship effort. For AS-503 and similar nonlunar missions, adjustments could be made to the mission profile to result in a prime recovery in the Atlantic area. Secondary support would be necessary in the Pacific, however. The report stressed that confining recovery to the Atlantic area for lunar missions would severely curtail the number of launch windows available.

In a December 30 letter to MSC, KSC, and MSFC, the Apollo Program Director referred to the study and said it had been determined that plans for Pacific recovery for the AS-501 and AS-502 missions were justified.

Ltrs., Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC Director of Flight Operations, and Joseph F. Shea, Manager, ASPO, to NASA Hq., Attn: S. C. Phillips, "Atlantic Recovery," Dec. 5, 1966; Apollo Program Director, Office of Manned Space Flight, to MSC, KSC, and MSFC, "Atlantic Versus Pacific Recovery for Saturn V/Apollo Missions," Dec. 30, 1966.

December 5

During reassembly of LM Simulator (LMS) 1 at Houston, MSC personnel discovered that the digital-to-analog conversion equipment was not the unit used during the preship tests at Binghamton, N.Y.; it was apparent the unit had never been checked out, because at least five power-buss bars were missing. The unit had not checked out in the preship tests, and at the simulator readiness review test on October 14 Grumman had been authorized to replace the defective digital-to-analog core memory after the unit arrived at Houston. MSC questioned whether the delivery requirement of LMS-1 had been met and asked Grumman to explain why the switch was made without MSC knowledge and what steps Grumman expected to take to correct the situation.

TWX, MSC LM Project Officer to Grumman LM Program Manager, Dec. 5, 1966.

December 6

MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton pointed out to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that LM-to-CSM crew rescue was impossible. Slayton said

  1. there was no way for the portable life support system and crewman to traverse from the LM front hatch to the CSM side hatch in zero-g docked operations, because there was no restraint system or tether attach points in the vicinity of the CSM hatch to permit the crewman to stabilize himself and work to open the hatch; and
  2. there was no way to control the Apollo inner hatch (35-43 kilograms) to ensure that it would not inadvertently damage its seals, the spacecraft wiring, or the pressure bulkhead.
Slayton added that several spacecraft changes, additional training hardware for valid thermal testing, zero-g simulator demonstration, and crew training effort would be required to permit extravehicular crew rescue from LM to CSM. Until this total rescue capability was implemented, manned LM to CSM operations would constitute an unnecessary risk for the flight crew.

Memo, Slayton to Shea, "Apollo EVA," Dec. 6, 1966.

December 6

Langley Research Center reported on its November study of visibility from the CSM during extraction of the LM from the S-IVB stage. The study had been made in support of the AS-207/208A mission, with assistance of MSC and North American Aviation personnel, to

  1. determine if the CSM pilot could detect the signal indicating that the CSM had detached from the S-IVB,
  2. determine if he could recognize a misalignment between the CSM/LM combination and the S-IVB during withdrawal, and
  3. investigate simple aid techniques to make the pilot's task easier.
Results indicated that

  1. LM docking did not provide adequate indication of detachment of the LM from the S-IVB, but
  2. in misalignment tests subjects could recognize errors as small as two to three degrees in yaw and five to seven centimeters in lateral translation except when the CSM/LM was yawed right and translated left relative to the S-IVB.
The configuration of the model used prevented studying pitch, roll, or vertical translation misalignments.

Jack E. Pennington, "Results of Apollo Transposition Withdrawal Study," Langley Working Paper No. 335, Dec. 6, 1966.

December 7

In a memo to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller approved assignment of experiment S068, Lunar Meteoroid Detection, to the Apollo Program Office for implementation, provided adequate funding could be identified in the light of relative priority in the total science program. The experiment had been recommended by the Manned Space Flight Experiment Board (MSFEB) for a lunar mission. Also, as recommended by the MSFEB, the following experiments would be placed on the earliest possible manned space flight: S015 (Zero g, Single Human Cells); S017 (Trapped Particles Asymmetry); S018 (Micrometeorite Collection); and T004 (Frog Otolith Function).

Memo, Mueller to Phillips, "Experiment Assignments," Dec. 7, 1966.

December 7

Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller requested Leonard Reiffel, NASA Hq., "to be thinking about an appropriate name for the Lunar Receiving Laboratory - a descriptive kind of name rather than one that doesn't signify exactly what it is."

Note, Mueller to Reiffel (telecon), "Lunar Receiving Laboratory," Dec. 7, 1966.

December 13

The number one lunar landing research vehicle (LLRV) test vehicle was received at MSC December 13, 1966. Its first flight at Ellington Air Force Base following facility and vehicle checkout was expected about February 1, 1967, with crew training in the vehicle to start about February 20. A design review was held at Buffalo, N.Y., during the week of January 2, 1967, in connection with Bell Aerospace Company's contract for three lunar landing training vehicles (LLTVs) and associated equipment. No major design changes in the vehicle baseline configuration were requested. Crew training in helicopters and in the Lunar Landing Research Facility at Langley Research Center and the LLRV fixed base simulator was continuing.

Memo, Director of Flight Crew Operations, MSC, to Deputy Director, MSC, "LLRV/TV Monthly Progress Report," Jan. 19, 1967.

December 15

MSC Director of Administration Wesley L. Hjornevik informed NASA Hq. that Frank Smith had told him on December 14 of his meeting with NASA management on Lunar Receiving Laboratory plans. Smith advised that MSC should take necessary actions immediately to begin operation of the LRL. MSC advised Headquarters that it planned to expand one of the two facility operation contracts at MSC to include the LRL and designate an LRL organization, staffed with qualified civil service personnel for immediate full-time operation.

TWX, Hjornevik to NASA Hq., "Lunar Receiving Laboratory Operations Plans," Dec. 15, 1966.

December 19

A meeting at NASA Hq. discussed plans for the Lunar Receiving laboratory, noting that some problems were time-critical and needed immediate attention. Attending were Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Willis B. Shapley, George E. Mueller, Homer E. Newell, and Francis B. Smith, all of NASA Hq.; and Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low, and Wesley L. Hjornevik of MSC.

The group agreed on the following interim actions:

  1. Continued efforts to develop clearer definition of tasks that should be initiated to ensure the LRL would be ready for operation in time to handle returned lunar samples.
  2. Creation of a task group at MSC to prepare for initial operation of the LRL. The task group would consist of MSC personnel plus a few new hires in critical skill areas.
  3. Extension of the existing MSC support contract to provide minimum LRL technical and engineering support needed during the next few months.
  4. Development of a clearer definition of the role and method of operation of the U.S. Public Health Officer to provide for more effective use of his recommendations for quarantine requirements.
On December 21, Shapley informed Mueller and Newell that NASA Administrator James E. Webb and Deputy Administrator Seamans had approved the proposed actions.

Memos, Smith to Webb and Seamans, "December 19th meeting to discuss plans for the Lunar Receiving Laboratory," Dec. 19, 1966; Shapley to Mueller and Newell, "Lunar Receiving Laboratory," Dec. 21, 1966.

December 22

Lewis L. McNair, MSFC Chairman of the Flight Mechanics Panel, told Calvin H. Perrine, Jr., MSC, that the Guidance and Performance Sub-Panel had been unable to reach an agreement on venting the liquid-oxygen (LOX) tank of the Saturn V S-IVB stage during earth parking orbit. McNair pointed out that MSFC did not want a programmed LOX vent and that MSC did. He added that the issue must be resolved in order to finalize the AS-501 attitude maneuver and venting timeline.

Ltr., McNair to Perrine, Dec. 22, 1966.

December 22

In a memo to Donald K. Slayton, MSC Deputy Director George M. Low indicated that he understood George E. Mueller had stated in executive session of the Management Council on December 21 that he had decided a third lunar module simulator would not be required. Low said, "This implies that either the launch schedule will be relieved or missions will be so identical that trainer change-over time will be substantially reduced."

Memo, Low to Slayton, "Third LM Mission Simulator," Dec. 22, 1966.

December 22

NASA announced crew selection for the second and third manned Apollo missions. Prime crew for AS-205/208 would be James A. McDivitt, commander; David R. Scott, CM pilot; and Russell L. Schweickart, LM pilot. The backup crew would be Thomas P. Stafford, commander; John W . Young, CM pilot; and Eugene A. Cernan, LM pilot. The crew for AS-503, the first manned mission to be launched by a Saturn V, would be Frank Borman, commander; Michael Collins, CM pilot; and William A. Anders, LM pilot. The backup crew would be Charles Conrad, Jr., commander; Richard F. Gordon, Jr., CM pilot; and Clifton C. Williams, Jr., LM pilot.

NASA News Release 66-326, "NASA Names Crews for Apollo Flights," Dec. 22, 1966.

December 23

Handling and installation responsibilities for the LM descent stage scientific equipment (SEQ) were defined in a letter from MSC to Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. The descent stage SEQ was composed of three basic packages:

  1. the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) compartment 1, which included the ALSEP central station and associated lunar surface experiments;
  2. ALSEP compartment 2, composed of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) and Apollo lunar surface drill (ALSD); and
  3. the RTG fuel cask, thermal shield, mount and RTG fuel element.
The following definition of responsibility for handling and installation had been derived:

  1. The SEQ would be installed in the LM descent stage while the LM was in the LM landing gear installation stand before LM-SLA mating, with the exception of the RTG fuel cask, thermal shield, mount and fuel element, and the ALSD.
  2. The RTG fuel cask, thermal shield, mount and fuel element and the ALSD would be installed in the LM descent stage during prelaunch activities at the launch site.
  3. Grumman would be responsible for SEQ installation with the exception of the RTG fuel element. The ALSEP contractor, Bendix Aerospace Systems Division, would provide the installation procedure and associated equipment. Bendix would also observe the installation operation and NASA would both observe and inspect it.
  4. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) would be responsible for handling and installing the RTG fuel element. Bendix would provide procedures and associated equipment. Grumman and NASA would observe and inspect this operation. If for any reason the RTG fuel element was required to be removed during prelaunch operations, the AEC would be responsible for the activity. Removal procedures would be provided by Bendix. MSC requested that Grumman's planned LM activities at Kennedy Space Center reflect these points of definition.
Ltr., MSC to Grumman, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Handling and installation responsibilities for the LM descent stage Scientific Equipment (SEQ)," Dec. 23, 1966.

December 23

NASA Administrator James E. Webb approved establishment of a Science and Applications Directorate at MSC. The new directorate would plan and implement MSC programs in space science and its applications, act as a focal point for all MSC elements in these programs, and serve as the Center's point of contact with the scientific community. In addition to the Director's office, the new directorate would encompass an Advanced Systems Office, Lunar Surface Project Office, Space Physics Division, Applications Plans and Analysis Office, Applications Project Office, Lunar and Earth Sciences Division, and Test and Operations Office. In a letter on January 17, 1967, NASA Associate Administrator George E. Mueller told MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth the new Directorate was "another significant milestone in your effort to support the Agency and the scientific community in the exploration of space. . . ."

Organization Chart, MSC, Dec. 23, 1967; ltr., Mueller to Gilruth, Jan. 17, 1967.

December 26

Donald K. Slayton said there was some question about including extravehicular activity on the AS-503 mission, but he felt that, to make a maximum contribution to the lunar mission, one period of EVA should be included. Slayton pointed out that during the coast period (simulating lunar orbit) in the current flight plan the EVA opportunity appeared best between hour 90 and hour 100. Two primary propulsion system firings would have been accomplished and the descent stage of the LM would still be attached.

Slayton specified that EVA should consist of a crewman exiting through the LM forward hatch and making a thorough orbital check of the LM before reentering through the same hatch. He said EVA on AS-503 would provide:

  1. flight experience and confidence in LM environmental-control-system performance during cabin depressurization;
  2. flight confidence in the Block II International Latex Corp. pressure garment assemblies;
  3. orbital time-line approximation of cabin depressurization times, forward hatch operation, flight crew egress procedures, and LM entry following a simulated lunar EVA;
  4. visual inspection and photography of LM landing gear for possible damage during withdrawal from the S-IVB stage;
  5. external inspection and photography of the LM to record window and antenna contamination caused by SLA panel pyrotechnic deployment;
  6. inspection and photography of descent engine skirt and adjacent areas for evidence of damage from two descent propulsion system firings;
  7. inspection and photography of possible damage to the upper LM caused by the SM reaction control system during withdrawal;
  8. possible additional data regarding EVA metabolic rates, etc., as applied to the Block II pressure garment assembly; and
  9. additional orbital confidence in the portable life support system operational procedures.
Memo, Slayton to Technical Assistant for Apollo,"AS-503 Mission," Dec. 26, 1966.

December 30

Homer E. Newell, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, pointed out to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that during a program review he was made aware of difficulties in the development of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. The problems cited were with the lunar surface magnetometer, suprathermal ion detector, passive seismometer, and the central station transmitter receiver. Newell, who had been briefed on the problems by NASA Hq. ALSEP Program Manager, W. T. O'Bryant, said: "I felt they were serious enough to warrant giving you my views in regard to the importance of having the ALSEP with its planned complement of instruments aboard the first Apollo lunar landing mission. It is essential that basic magnetic measurements be made on the lunar surface, not only for their very important planetological implications, but also for the knowledge which will be gained of the lunar magnetosphere and atmosphere as the result of the combined measurements from the magnetometer, solar wind spectrometer, and suprathermal ion detector."

MSC Deputy Director George M. Low, in a January 10 letter to Newell, thanked him and said he would discuss the problems with Newell more fully after receiving a complete review of the ALSEP program from Robert O. Piland.

Low wrote Newell on April 10, 1967, that there had been schedule slips in the program plan devised in March 1966 - primarily slips associated with the lunar surface magnetometer, the suprathermal ion detector, and the central station receiver and transmitter. "In each case, we have effected a programmatic workaround plan, the elements of which were presented to Leonard Reiffel of OMSF and William O'Bryant of your staff on December 5, 1966, and in subsequent reviews of the subject with them as the planning and implementation progressed. . . ."

Ltrs., Newell to Robert R. Gilruth, Dec. 30, 1966; Low to Newell, Jan. 10, 1967; and Low to Newell, Apr. 10, 1967.

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