Part 3 (D)

Man Circles the Moon, the Eagle Lands, and Manned Lunar Exploration

April through June 1969

1969 April

1969 May

1969 June


April 3

ASPO requested a plan for flight crew tests of sleeping pills and other drugs. The plan was to include number of tests to be performed by each crew member; time of the test with respect to the last sleep period; amount and kind of food and drink taken during a specified time before the test; general physical activity by the crew before taking a drug; and, for comparison purpose, any available statistical information on the effect of these pills after being taken.

Memo, George M. Low, ASPO Manager, to Charles A. Berry, Medical Research and Operations Directorate, MSC, "Use of sleeping pills," April 3, 1969.

April 5

ASPO Manager George Low, commented on control of Apollo spacecraft weight. Following the January 1967 spacecraft fire at Cape Kennedy, there had been substantial initial weight growth in the CSM. This was attributed to such items as the new CSM hatch, the flammability changes, and the additional flight safety changes. In mid-1967 the CSM weight stabilized and from then on showed a downward trend. The LM weight stabilized in mid1968 and since that time had remained fairly constant. Conclusions were that the program redefinition had caused a larger weight increase than expected, but that once the weight control system became fully effective, it was possible to maintain a weight that was essentially constant. Low told Caldwell C. Johnson, Jr., of the MSC Spacecraft Design Division that the weight control was in part due to Johnson's strong inputs in early 1968. Johnson responded, "Your control of Apollo weight growth has destroyed my reputation as a weight forecaster - but I'm rather glad."

Ltrs., Low to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, April 5, 1969; Phillips to Low, May 5, 1969; memos, Low to Johnson, "Apollo weight growth," April 5, 1969; Johnson to Low, "Apollo weight growth," April 8, 1969.

April 7-11

Work on Apollo 10 continued on schedule for a May 18 launch readiness date. The flight readiness test began on April 7 and was completed on April 10. A lunar module mission-simulation run was completed on April 10, and a crew compartment fit and function test on April 11. Mission control simulations were proceeding on schedule without major problems. The Apollo 10 preflight readiness review was held at MSC on April 11.

NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - April 14, 1969."

April 12

ASPO Manager George Low informed MSC Director of Science and Applications Wilmot N. Hess that he had signed paperwork increasing the weight allowance for the Apollo scientific payload from 136 to 156.4 kilograms. Low said he was able to do this for the LM-6 (Apollo 12) mission because of the favorable LM weight picture. He stated, however, "I believe that we should understand that this increase in weight allowance does not alter our basic agreement to provide for a scientific payload of 300 pounds [136 kilograms]. In the event that future difficulties with the Lunar Module require additional weight growth in the basic spacecraft system, we will have to once again reduce the scientific payload to 300 pounds [136 kilograms]. . . . I wanted to be sure that we agreed in advance that the added 45 pounds [20.4 kilograms] of scientific payload allowance would be the first weight to be deleted. . . ." Hess concurred with the memorandum.

Memo, Manager, ASPO, to Hess, "Increased weight allowance for Apollo scientific payload," April 12, 1969.

April 14-21

Twenty-two astronauts trained in the MSC Flight Acceleration Facility during the week, for lunar reentry. Closed-loop simulation permitted the crews to control the centrifuge during the lunar reentry deceleration profiles. Each astronaut flew four different reentry angles, which imposed acceleration loads of from 4.57 to 9.3 g.

NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Activity Report - April 21, 1969."

April 18

ASPO announced changes in launch readiness dates for the Apollo 12 and Apollo 13 missions. Apollo 12 was moved up from September 18 to September 13, 1969; and Apollo 13 was moved up from December 1 to November 10.

Memo, George M. Low to distr., "Apollo launch readiness dates for Apollo 12 and 13 changes," April 18, 1969.

April 21

The Director of Apollo Test in the NASA Hq. Apollo Program Office, LeRoy E. Day, was detailed to head the MSF Space Shuttle Task Group. The group would provide NASA with material for a report on the Space Shuttle to the President's Space Task Group.

Memo, George E. Mueller, NASA OMSF, to distr., "Special Assignment of Mr. LeRoy E. Day, Director of Apollo Test," April 21, 1969.

April 25

Discovery of six new mascons (mass concentrations of dense material) beneath the moon's surface by William L. Sjogren, Paul M. Muller, and Peter Gottlieb of Jet Propulsion Laboratory was announced. The first six mascons had been discovered in 1968 by Sjogren and Muller. Each mascon was found to be centered below a ringed sea, or an ancient, obliterated circular sea on the side of the moon's surface facing the earth. Noticeable acceleration variations were seen as moon-orbiting spacecraft flew over the mascons. Information was not available concerning possible mascons on the far side of the moon, since orbiting spacecraft could not be tracked while the moon blocked them from the view of earth antennas.

NASA News Release 69-61, "New Lunar Mascons Discovered," April 25 1969.

April 25-26

In an exchange of correspondence, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA OMSF, and ASPO Manager George Low, MSC, discussed the possibility of carrying an aseptic sampler and a closeup stereo camera on the Apollo 11 flight. They decided the flight would carry the camera as an additional source of data; Apollo 11 crewmen would use it on targets of opportunity during lunar surface exploration. Because of the unrealistic schedule that would be required to certify the flight worthiness of the aseptic sampler, however, they decided not to fly it on Apollo 11.

TWX, Phillips to Low, "Assignment of Priority for Aseptic Sampler and Close-up Camera for Apollo G-1 Mission," April 25, 1969; ltr., Low to Phillips, April 26, 1969.

April 28

A power outage, required to permit maintenance work at the KSC Launch Control Center, was relayed to the pneumatic controls of the S-IC stage of the Apollo 10 launch vehicle, causing the prevalves to open and allowing 5,280 liters of RP-1 fuel to drain from the vehicle. This, in turn, produced negative pressure in the RP-1 tank, which displaced the upper bulkhead.

After repressurization, the bulkhead apparently returned to its normal shape. An effort was under way to determine the nature of the damage to the bulkhead and the effect on the May 18 Apollo 10 launch readiness date.

NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - April 28, 1969"; "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - May 5, 1969."

April 29

The NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight concurred in a recommendation to carry an erectable antenna on the Apollo 11 mission. However, it would be deployed only if required to obtain satisfactory television, voice, telemetry, and biomedical data simultaneously from the lunar surface.

Ltr., George H. Hage, NASA OMSF, to George M. Low, MSC, "LM Steerable Antenna Versus Erectable Antenna," April 29, 1969.

May 2

A temporary fix to provide for an S-II-stage early center engine cutoff was made for Apollo 10 and 11. Purpose was to eliminate oscillations of the center engine and sympathetic structures. (See March 28, 1969, entry.) Meanwhile, plans were being made to incorporate a permanent fix into Apollo 12 and subsequent vehicles to eliminate the oscillations.

TWX, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA OMSF, to Lee B. James, MSFC, Roderick O. Middleton, KSC, and George M. Low, MSC, "Permanent Fix for S-II Stage Oscillations," May 2, 1969.

May 5

ASPO reported a recent manned-test abort of the portable life support system had been caused by a nonfunctional lithium hydroxide canister. Quality control procedures were in existence and if properly implemented would have precluded the abort incident. To prevent similar incidents from occurring, all manned-test and flight equipment would be accompanied by complete documentation, would be visually inspected, and would be certified by quality assurance personnel before use.

Memo, ASPO Manager to Acting Manager for Flight Safety, MSC, "Incident involving an out-of-configuration LiOH canister in an MSC manned altitude test," May 5, 1969.

May 5

MSC asked North American Rockwell to propose a design modification in the CM to add a cold storage compartment for fresh and frozen foods. If the frozen food study appeared promising, then the addition of a small oven or heater, similar in concept to that used by the Air Force on long flights, would also be required.

Ltr., Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to George W. Jeffs, North American Rockwell, May 5, 1969.

May 7-8

The fifth and final drop test of LM-2 was made on May 7. The first four drop tests had been made to establish the proper functioning of all LM systems after a lunar landing. The fifth test was made to qualify the functioning of the pyrotechnics after landing. On May 8, the final test, physically separating the ascent stage, was conducted.

NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - May 12, 1969."

May 8

Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips suggested to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that a meeting be held at MSC during the period of the Apollo 10 return flight to earth to review the status of experiment support facilities and the overall plans for science support operations during lunar missions and over an extended period of time. Phillips pointed out that the results from the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package, the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Packages, the Lunar Geology Experiment, and the analyses of the returned lunar samples would be of inestimable scientific value. However, NASA in the dissemination of the scientific results would require a science operations and data management plan which would spell out the operational, support, management, data-handling, and science relationships.

Ltr., Phillips to Gilruth, May 8, 1969.

May 8

The Apollo Back Contamination Documentation and Configuration Control Office was established at MSC to provide a documentation program for any possible contamination from the moon. The program was required by June 15, to meet deadlines for the launch of Apollo 11.

Memo, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to distr., "Apollo Back Contamination Documentation Control Office," May 8, 1969.

May 9

NASA Hq. informed MSC that, for planning purposes and Change Control Board action, the following science sequence was being recommended for the Apollo 12 mission:

  1. contingency sample;
  2. ALSEP deployment; and
  3. field geology investigations.
The message said, "It is important that ALSEP be deployed in the first EVA (extravehicular activity). Then the entire second EVA could be devoted to Field Geology Investigations."

TWX, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA OMSF, to George M. Low and Wilmot N. Hess, MSC, "Mission H-1 Recommended Science Sequence," May 9, 1969.

May 9

MSC forwarded a plan for the Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Science Project to NASA Hq. The plan provided for replacement of the ALSEP Array A-2 central station and lunar geological equipment, along with rework of the Passive Seismic Experiment. Total cost of the project was estimated at $6.7 million excluding the cost of surveying instrument and instrument staff. With a May 15 go-ahead, delivery could be made by one year from that date. Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips in a message to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth approved the plan, saying that a June 1, 1970, delivery of the array would be acceptable and requesting procurement action leading to a definitive Bendix contract be submitted by June 20, 1969.

Ltr., Gilruth to George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., "Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Science," May 9, 1969; TWX, Phillips to Gilruth, June 12, 1969.

May 12

Because the first flight of the ALSEP was scheduled on Apollo 12, NASA Hq. asked MSFC to provide for installation at KSC of the prelaunch cooling system for the ALSEP radioisotopic thermoelectric generator (RTG) on instrument units 507 through 510.

TWX, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to MSFC, May 12, 1969.

May 13

NASA policy on release of manned space flight communications was outlined. The policy was to release all air-to-ground conversations in real time. However, if circumstances arose in which crew or mission director requested a private conversation, the public information officer responsible for the mission commentary would be notified and would monitor the conversation with the mission director. A summary would be released at the discretion of the Office of Public Affairs. Tapes of the air-to-ground private conversations would not be released.

Memo, T. O. Paine, NASA Administrator, to S. C. Phillips, NASA OMSF, May 13, 1969; ltr., G. E. Mueller, OMSF, to R. R. Gilruth, MSC, May 15, 1969.

May 18-26

Apollo 10 (AS-505) - with crew members Thomas P. Stafford, Eugene A. Cernan, and John W. Young aboard - lifted off from Pad B, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:49 p.m. EDT on the first lunar orbital mission with complete spacecraft. The Saturn V's S-IVB stage and the spacecraft were inserted into an earth parking orbit of 189.9 by 184.4 kilometers while the onboard systems were checked. The S-IVB engine was then ignited at 3:19 p.m. EDT to place the spacecraft in a trajectory toward the moon. One-half hour later the CSM separated from the S-IVB, transposed, and docked with the lunar module. At 4:29 p.m. the docked spacecraft were ejected, a separation maneuver was performed, and the S-IVB was placed in a solar orbit by venting residual propellants. TV coverage of docking procedures was transmitted to the Goldstone, Calif., tracking station for worldwide, commercial viewing.

On May 19 the crew elected not to make the first of a series of midcourse maneuvers. A second preplanned midcourse correction that adjusted the trajectory to coincide with a July lunar landing trajectory was executed at 3:19 p.m. The maneuver was so accurate that preplanned third and fourth midcourse corrections were canceled. During the translunar coast, five color TV transmissions totaling 72 minutes were made of the spacecraft and the earth.

At 4:49 p.m. EDT on May 21 the spacecraft was inserted into a lunar orbit of 110.4 by 315.5 kilometers. After two revolutions of tracking and ground updates, a maneuver circularized the orbit at 109.1 by 113.9 kilometers. Astronaut Cernan then entered the LM, checked all systems, and returned to the CM for the scheduled sleep period.

On May 22 activation of the lunar module systems began at 11:49 a.m. EDT. At 2:04 p.m. the spacecraft were undocked and at 4:34 p.m. the LM was inserted into a descent orbit. One hour later the LM made a low-level pass at an altitude of 15.4 kilometers over the planned site for the first lunar landing. The test included a test of the landing radar, visual observation of lunar lighting, stereo photography of the moon, and execution of a phasing maneuver using the descent engine. The lunar module returned to dock successfully with the CSM following the eight-hour separation, and the LM crew returned to the CSM.

The LM ascent stage was jettisoned, its batteries were burned to depletion, and it was placed in a solar orbit on May 23. The crew then prepared for the return trip to earth and after 61.5 hours in lunar orbit a service propulsion system TEI burn injected the CSM into a trajectory toward the earth. During the return trip the astronauts made star-lunar landmark sightings, star-earth horizon navigation sightings, and live television transmissions.

Apollo 10 splashed down in the Pacific at 12:52 p.m. EDT on May 26, 5.4 kilometers from the recovery ship. The crew was picked up and reached the recovery ship U.S.S. Princeton at 1:31 p.m. All primary mission objectives of evaluating performance and support and the detailed test objectives were achieved. (Objectives of all the Apollo flights are shown in Appendix 5.)

MSC, "Apollo 10 (AS-505) Flight Summary," undated; MSC, "Apollo 10 Mission Report" (MSC-00126), August 1969; NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Reports," May 9, 26, 1969; memo, R. O. Middleton, KSC, to distr., "Apollo 10 (AS-505) Quick Look Assessment Report," May 22, 1969.

May 19

Recent serious incidents were reported at MSC, involving mercury and affecting ground support equipment or Apollo flight hardware. These incidents reflected the relaxation of safety disciplinary procedures required in handling mercury and mercury-filled instruments. To preclude further such incidents, stringent regulations were imposed governing the acquisition, use, and disposition of mercury at MSC.

Memo, Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to distr., "Mercury Contamination Control," May 19, 1969.

May 19

Vision distortion was found when looking through the pressure garment assembly helmet during Water Immersion Facility training activities at MSC. Curvature of the helmet caused objects to appear distorted, hampering crew training. Studies were being made in an effort to correct the problem. Negotiations were also under way with the Department of the Navy to provide a modified indoctrination course in open-circuit SCUBA for a number of astronauts, to ensure their safety while training in the Water Immersion Facility.

Memo, Director of Flight Crew Operations to Director of Medical Research and Operations, "Vision distortion while training in the Water Immersion Facility (WIF)," May 19, 1969; ltr., D. K. Slayton, MSC, to B. J. Semmes, Jr., Department of the Navy, May 19, 1969.

May 19

In a telephone conference, MSC personnel and members of the Interagency Committee on Back Contamination agreed to eliminate the requirement for a postlanding ventilation filter for Apollo 12, approve a plan for sterilization of the CM in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL), release the spacecraft at the same time as the crew release, and approve the LRL Bioprotocol Summary. The ICBC planned to meet on June 5 to complete planning and documentation for Apollo 11.

Memo, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to distr., "ICBC Telephone Conference Summary and Action Items," May 21, 1969; NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Report - May 26, 1969."

May 27

MSFC was authorized to proceed with development of a manned lunar roving vehicle for use on the Apollo missions beginning in mid-1971. A meeting was scheduled for June 6 in Washington to establish requirements for development of the vehicle.

TWX, Lee R. Scherer, NASA Hq., to Wernher von Braun and William R. Lucas, MSFC; Robert R. Gilruth and John D. Hodge, MSC; and Kurt H. Debus, KSC, May 27, 1969.

May 27

Apollo Program Director Sam C. Phillips wrote to MSC regarding a Flight Readiness Review action item on translunar injection (TLI: insertion into a trajectory toward the moon) dispersions after manual guidance for TLI on Apollo missions. He enclosed a memorandum prepared by W. G. Heffron of Bellcomm, Inc., on the subject. Phillips stated that fuel reserves on Apollo 10 were such that dispersions seemed acceptable and he would have permitted use of manned guidance during TLI if it had been needed. He pointed out that margins would be much less for the Apollo 11 mission, and that it would be necessary either to reduce the dispersions or limit the use of the capability. ASPO Manager George M. Low replied to the letter on June 13 and submitted the following comments for consideration: ". . . I see little advantage to not attempting manual launch vehicle guidance for TLI. . . . If the dispersions are within the 120 feet [37 meters] per second budgeted for translunar midcourse corrections, the mission would be continued as planned. If the dispersions are within 270 feet [82 meters] per second, the mission would be completed utilizing a slower transearth trajectory. If the dispersions are very large, the mission would be limited to a circumlunar flight in which all of the service propulsion system and LM descent stage propellants could be used for midcourse corrections. . . ."

Ltrs., Phillips to Low, "Manual Launch Vehicle Guidance - TLI Dispersion," May 27, 1969; Low to Phillips, "Manual launch vehicle guidance - TLI dispersions," June 13, 1969.

June 3

Apollo Program Office Change Control Board (CCB) Directive No. 140 assigned Experiment S080, Solar Wind Composition, to the first lunar landing mission. CCB Directive No. 156 requested MSC to also include this experiment on the second lunar landing mission.

TWX, S. C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to G. M. Low, MSC, June 4, 1969.

June 3

The early engineering evaluation of the Apollo 10 launch vehicle, Saturn V AS-505, indicated that the major flight objectives were accomplished. Indications were that all detailed test objectives were also accomplished.

The basic performance of the Saturn V was satisfactory, but the following problem areas were identified for more extensive investigation:

  1. The S-IVB stage auxiliary hydraulic pump performance degraded during S-IVB second burn. The hydraulic system cycle after second burn also indicated degraded pump performance.
  2. Astronauts reported low-frequency lateral and longitudinal oscillations throughout the S-IVB first and second burn, with high-frequency vibration superimposed beginning at 4 minutes 40 seconds into second burn and continuing until engine cutoff. While the associated amplitudes of both high and low frequency were well within structural and component vibration qualification levels, a priority effort to identify the source of these vibrations was under way.
Ltr., Lee B. James, MSFC, to Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., June 3, 1969, with encl., "Saturn AS-505 M + 5 Day Report," June 3, 1969.

June 3

In a report to the ASPO Manager, the Chief of MSC's Systems Engineering Division described Apollo Site Selection Board (ASSB) action on proposed landing sites for the Apollo 12 mission. The MSC recommendation was to land at either the Surveyor III or Surveyor I site if Apollo 11 landed in either Apollo site 2 or site 3. Earlier, on January 10, Benjamin Milwitzky, NASA Hq., had said, "There appears to be much merit in landing close to one or more Surveyors." He pointed out that "reexamination of disturbances in the lunar surface created by Surveyor landings, the study of unique lunar features seen by Surveyors, and the return to Earth of objects identified by Surveyors as scientifically important can greatly enhance the scientific and technological value of subsequent Apollo landings. . . ."

MSC informed NASA Hq. on June 1 2 that it had analyzed landing terrain in Hipparchus and Fra Mauro and concluded that these areas were too rough to be given consideration for the Apollo 12 mission. At the same time, MSC recommended that ASSB reconsider the Surveyor III site as a prospective site for that mission. On June 16, Apollo Program Director Sam C. Phillips wrote that Fra Mauro and Hipparchus would not be considered as landing sites for the Apollo 12 mission and that he would entertain consideration of the Surveyor III site following analysis of its scientific desirability in a meeting of the Group for Lunar Exploration Planning at MSC on June 17 and subsequent recommendations by MSC and NASA Hq. OMSF staff members.

Memos, Benjamin Milwitzky, NASA Hq., to Apollo Lunar Exploration Office Director, NASA Hq., "Biasing Apollo Missions to Land Near Surveyor Spacecraft on the Moon," Jan. 10, 1969; Chief, Systems Engineering Div., MSC, to ASPO Manager, "Apollo Site Selection Board trip report - June 3, 1969," dated June 10, 1969; TWXs, G. M. Low, MSC, to S. C. Phillips, NASA Hq., "Lunar Landing Sites for H-1 Mission," June 12, 1969; Phillips to Low, "Lunar Landing Sites for H-1 Mission," June 16, 1969.

June 7

ASPO Manager George Low suggested to MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton that beginning with Apollo 12 Velcro applications should be "in a spacecraft configuration and not vice versa." In the past, Velcro applications had presumably been made in the spacecraft to conform to the configurations used in training.

Memo, Low to Slayton, "Velcro Changes," June 7, 1969.

June 9

The CSM 107 (Apollo 11) Flight Readiness Review Board met at MSC. The board heard reviews of government-furnished equipment problems, a special report on camera equipment, scientific experiments and equipment to be used on Apollo 11, medical requirements, operations and procedures to preclude back contamination from the moon, and a structural assessment of the LM/SLA/CSM. CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht summarized the status of CSM 107 and emphasized that Apollo Operations Handbook changes must be in by June 15. Board Chairman George S. Trimble, MSC, noted that there seemed to be a tendency to bring more items to the board at this review than before, since this mission was the goal toward which everyone had been working.

Trimble, MSC, to distr., "Minutes of Meeting, CSM 107, Flight Readiness Review Board," June 9, 1969.

June 9

Preparation of Apollo 11 was on schedule for a July 16 launch date. Lunar landmark and landing site mosaics were delivered for flight crew training. A flight readiness test, begun on June 4, had been completed June 6 despite an MSC Mission Control Center power outage that delayed the test for several hours.

NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - June 9, 1969;" OMSF, "Apollo Program Weekly Status Report," June 12, 1969.

June 9-13

Studies were being conducted to determine the feasibility of intentionally impacting an S-IVB stage and an empty LM stage on the lunar surface after jettison, to gather geological data and enhance the scientific return of the seismology experiment. Data would be obtained with the ALSEP seismographic equipment placed on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 or Apollo 12 flight. MSFC and Bellcomm were examining the possibility of the S-IVB jettison; MSC, the LM ascent stage jettison. Intentional impacting of the ascent stage for Apollo 11 was later determined not to be desirable.

TWXs, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to George M. Low, MSC, "LM-5 Ascent Stage Disposition after Jettison," June 13, 1969; Phillips to Low, "Impact of the Ascent Stage on Apollo 11," June 25, 1969; Phillips to MSFC and MSC, "This Is APO CCB Directive No. 158," June 30, 1969; NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - June 9, 1969."

June 11

In establishing a task force for hardware development, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips stated: "We have recently been given . . . approval on our plans for continuing the lunar missions through Apollo 20. We have given authority to the field centers to issue CCA's for the design and the procurement of long lead time items for modifications to the LM and CSM. We have also authorized the procurement of a wheeled vehicle for lunar surface transportation. We are in the process of evaluating over 50 proposals for lunar orbital experiments, and have given MSC authority to procure an already approved experiment group. In short, we are becoming very rapidly involved in the definition and management of the lunar exploration missions."

Ltr., Phillips to distr., "Task Force for Hardware Development," June 11, 1969; NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - June 16, 1969."

June 13

Apollo Program Director Phillips wrote MSC ASPO Manager George Low, that "based on the excellent results of the color TV coverage on the Apollo 10 mission . . . I concur with your plan to carry and utilize a color TV camera in the Command Module for Apollo 11 and subsequent missions. . . ."

Ltr., Phillips to Low, "Apollo On-board Color TV," June 13, 1969.

June 13

NASA Hq. authorized MSC to modify its contract with Bendix to include a 60- to 90-day effort to define a modified ALSEP design. Additional cost was not to exceed $300,000.

TWX, Samuel C. Phillips to Robert R. Gilruth, "Design Definition of Modified ALSEP," June 13, 1969.

June 13

The NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, in a message to MSC, said he understood that, subsequent to the MSC Flight Readiness Review (FRR) and the NASA Headquarters Readiness Review of the LLTV, additional modifications had been made to that training vehicle. He requested a return wire indicating the date of the delta Flight Readiness Review and evaluation of the readiness for astronaut LLTV flight. In a reply, several hours later, MSC informed Mueller that a delta FRR had been conducted that date; that the changes in avionics had been extensively ground-checked and demonstrated on two separate test flights on June 9 and June 12; that the MSC board concluded the overall system was ready for astronaut training; and that the plan was to start the Apollo 11 Critical Design Review on the following day.

TWXs, George E. Mueller to Robert R. Gilruth, June 13, 1969; Gilruth to Mueller, June 13, 1969.

June 17

A seven-day simulation was successfully completed in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory at MSC. The test simulated processing of lunar samples, operation of the mobile quarantine facility and crew reception area, and biolab activities. Action was under way to overcome procedural and equipment difficulties encountered in the vacuum laboratory.

NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - June 23, 1969."

June 20

Sigurd A. Sjoberg, MSC Deputy Director of Flight Operations, informed MSC management of a list of records that could be set in the Apollo 11 flight. Plans were made to file claims with the Fdration Aronautique Internationale for:

Class records for lunar missions

  1. Duration of stay on the surface of the moon.
  2. Duration of stay inside the spacecraft on the surface of the moon.
  3. Duration of stay outside the spacecraft on the surface of the moon.
  4. Greatest mass landed on the moon.
  5. Greatest mass lifted to lunar orbit from the surface of the moon.
  6. Duration of stay in lunar orbit (The Apollo 10 record would be broken if the optional sleep period after rendezvous and before transearth injection were included.)
Absolute world record

  1. EVA record-duration of stay outside spacecraft.
Memo, Sigurd A. Sjoberg to distr., "World Space Flight Records for the Apollo 11 Mission," June 30, 1969.

June 20

Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC Director of Flight Operations, recommended that the following fundamental requirements be considered during the lunar roving vehicle (LRV) design approach: "a. A means of continuous voice communication with one crew member, on or off the LRV to the mother station (LM) and from the mother station to earth, must be provided. b. A simple dead reckoning system should be considered for determining the LRV and crew location at all times in order to provide a safe return of the astronauts to the LM. The accuracy should be sufficient to permit the astronauts to rendezvous with the LM from any point on a sortie. c. The vehicle should be designed so that a telemetry system is not required for operation. However, for crew safety and systems operations, instrumentation may be required."

Memo, Kraft to Manager, Advanced Missions Program, "FOD criteria for manned Lunar Roving Vehicle," June 20, 1969.

June 23

Preparations for the first manned lunar landing continued on schedule for a July 16 launch of Apollo 11. Dress rehearsal of the countdown was scheduled to begin on Friday, June 27, and to run for 113 hours, including a 6-hour built-in hold. Spacecraft hypergolic loading started on June 18 and was completed on June 23, despite delays caused by weather conditions. A lunar module landing-radar problem was resolved by repainting the base heatshield to reduce the reflectivity. In flight operations, the crew, the controllers, and the recovery operations team were moving ahead with training sessions on schedule. Two days of discussions were held with senior recovery officials on the U.S.S. Hornet and no major problems were identified. A second mobile quarantine facility was being deployed aboard the Hornet to provide backup support on the bioprotocol. A significant milestone was reached June 18 when the scientific investigators and the Apollo 11 astronauts went through a successful simulation of the EASEP (Early Apollo Surface Experiments Package) activities, ranging from the data plans and procedures to the use of the facilities.

NASA OMSF, "Manned Space Flight Weekly Report - June 23, 1969."

June 27

The status of the Apollo 11 crew training program as of June 15 was reported to NASA Headquarters by MSC. The summary indicated the crew had completed more than 70 percent of the briefing and reviews, had spent a total of 143 hours on procedures against a programmed 100 hours, had spent a total of 71 hours on spacecraft test and checkout procedures against a programmed 68 hours, had spent 167 hours in command module simulators against a requirement for 156, and had accomplished 96 percent of the required 226 hours of training in the LM simulators and about 94 percent of the 180 hours of required special-purpose training. Overall, 92 percent of the training program had been accomplished. The special-purpose training included such items as lunar surface timeline walk-throughs, lunar surface operations preparation and post-walk-throughs, and bench checks. Astronaut Neil Armstrong had successfully completed his LLTV training program by flying a ground run and eight flights on June 14, 15, and 16.

Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., "Flight crew training summaries," June 27, 1969, with encl., "Apollo 11 Crew Training Summary Status as of June 15, 1969."

June 27

How the decision was reached on who would be the first man to step out onto the moon was reported in a letter by ASPO Manager George M. Low: "Some time during the middle of the night, I had a call from Associated Press informing me that they had a story that Neil Armstrong had pulled rank on Buzz Aldrin to be the first man on the surface of the moon. They wanted to know whether it was true and how the decision was reached concerning who would get out of the LM first.

"To the best of my recollection, I gave the following information:

"a. There had been many informal plans developed during the past several years concerning the lunar timeline. These probably included all combinations of one man out versus two men out, who gets out first, etc.

"b. There was only one approved plan and that was established 2 to 4 weeks prior to our public announcement of this planning. I believe that this was in April 1969.

"c. The basic decision was made by my Configuration Control Board. It was based on a recommendation by the Flight Crew Operations Directorate. I am sure that Armstrong had made an input to this recommendation, but he, by no means, had the final say. The CCB decision was final."

Ltr., Low to B. M. Duff, MSC, "Press Inquiry," June 27, 1969.

Previous Next Index