The Key Events


November 16: Saturn-Apollo 3 (SA-3) launch marks first full-weight liftoff of Saturn C-1 rocket.

December 4: Contract for Vertical Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral let to a consortium of four New York architectural engineering firms.

During December: Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) prepared the preliminary lunar landing mission design.


January 2: Contract let to Radio Corporation of America for two large vacuum chambers at MSC for space environmental testing.

January 18: Contract let to Bell Aerosystems Company for two lunar landing research vehicles by Flight Research Center.

January 28: Philco Corporation selected as prime contractor for the Mission Control Center (MCC) at MSC.

February 8: Definitive contract let to Raytheon Company for command module (CM) onboard digital computer.

February 13: MSC reorganized Apollo Spacecraft Project Office.

February 18: Definitive contract let to General Dynamics/Convair for the Little Joe II test vehicle.

February 20: NASA reorganized the Office of Manned Space Flight.

March 11: Definitive contract formalized between NASA and Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation for the Lunar Excursion Module.

March 13: First long-duration static test of Saturn SA-5 first stage.

March 28: Saturn SA-4 launched in successful test of engine-out capability.

April 10: Contract let to Link Division, General Precision, Inc., for lunar mission simulators.

May 3: First of series of qualification drop tests for the earth landing system conducted at El Centro, Calif.

May 15-16: Last flight of Mercury: Cooper in Faith 7.

June 14-19: Vostok V and VI tandem flights.

During June: Most CM subsystem designs frozen.

July 12: Definitive contract let to International Business Machines for the realtime computer complex at MSC's MCC.

August 5: First static firing test of Saturn S-IV stage for SA-5 conducted by Douglas Aircraft Company in Sacramento, Calif.

August 14: Definitive contract with North American Aviation, Inc., for command and service modules signed on a cost-plus-fixed-fee basis for $938.4 million.

August 28: First Little Joe II launched at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex.

August 30: Lunar Orbiter program officially approved.

September 16-18: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation (GAEC) held inspection and review of first lunar excursion module (LEM) ascent stage mockup M-1.

October 8: Joseph F. Shea named manager of Apollo Spacecraft Project Office at Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC).

October 18: Third "class" of astronauts introduced.

October 24: George E. Mueller, the new NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, held first meeting of NASA-Industry Apollo Executives.

November 1: Major reorganization of NASA Headquarters and Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) took effect; Mueller directed the revision of Saturn-Apollo flight schedules.

November 7: Apollo Pad Abort Mission 1, using command module (CM) boilerplate 6 was conducted at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex.

November 22: Preliminary ground rules for the Spacecraft Development Test Program and gross lunar landing sites selected.

December 31: Samuel C. Phillips (Brig. Gen., USAF) announced as new NASA Deputy Director for Apollo Program.


January 3: Apollo prime contractors issued joint report on spacecraft development test plan.

January 19: George M. Low assigned to MSC as Deputy Director.

January 21: North American Aviation, Inc. (NAA), presented a design concept for the Block II command and service module (CSM), designed for lunar missions.

January 29: Saturn-Apollo 5 flight marked first mission of Block II Saturn with two live stages.

March 9: MSC assigned funds and responsibility for developing scientific instruments for lunar exploration.

March 23: OMSF outlined Saturn-Apollo mission plans.

March 24-26: GAEC held first complete LEM mockup TM-1 inspection and review.

April 8: First Gemini mission performed.

April 14: Project Fire tested heat transfer concepts for Apollo at 40,230 kilometers (25,000 miles) per hour lunar return velocity.

April 21: Basic rules for Apollo space suit operation established.

April 28-30: NAA held basic mockup inspection and review for Block II CSM.

May 4: Apollo Mission Planning Task Force specified the program's mission objectives and ground rules.

May 13: First flight test of Little Joe II using a command module (CM) boilerplate (BP-12) at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex.

May 28: Apollo Saturn Mission A-101, using CM BP-13 atop SA-6 Saturn I launch vehicle, launched at Cape Kennedy, Fla., to prove spacecraft/launch vehicle compatibility.

June 11: NASA directed North American Aviation, Inc. (NAA), to make certain mandatory changes to both Block I and Block II spacecraft systems.

July 28: Ranger VII mission finally succeeded in televising pictures of lunar surface up to impact.

August 18: Scout launch tested Apollo-type ablator materials at lunar reentry heating levels.

September 14: Ground rules for lunar excursion module guidance and control system firmly defined.

September 18: Apollo Mission A-102, using BP-15 for the command and service modules (CSM) and SA-7 for the launch vehicle, confirmed Saturn Block II and CSM compatibility as well as the launch escape vehicle system.

September 30: NAA conducted formal inspection and review of Block II CSM mockup.

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