PART 2 (E)
Design - Decision - Contract
The Charter of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board, prepared jointly by
Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and STG, was approved at the first
meeting of the Board at NASA Headquarters. The purpose of the Space
Vehicle Board was to assure complete coordination and cooperation
between all levels of the MSFC and STG management for the NASA manned
space flight programs in which both Centers had responsibilities.
Members of the Board were the Directors of MSFC and STG (Wernher von
Braun and Robert R. Gilruth), the Deputy Director for Research and
Development, MSFC (Eberhard F. M. Rees), and the STG Associate Director
(Walter C. Williams). The Board was responsible for:
A Sub-Board would comprise the Director, Saturn Systems Office, MSFC (H.
H. Koelle), the Apollo Project Manager, STG (Robert O. Piland), the
Board Secretary, and alternate Board Secretary.
- Management of the SFC-STG Apollo-Saturn program.
- Resolution of all space vehicle problems, such as design systems,
research and development tests, planning, schedules, and operations.
- Approval of mission objectives.
- Direction of the respective organizational elements in the conduct
of the MSFC-STG Apollo-Saturn program, including approval of the Sub-
Board and of the Coordination Panels.
- Formation of the Advanced Program Coordination Board consisting of
top personnel from MSFC and STG. This Board would consider policy and
The Sub-Board would :
The Secretariat set up under the Charter was to be responsible for the
orderly conduct of business and meetings.
- Resolve space-vehicle coordination and integration problems and
assign these to the Coordination Panels, if required.
- Prepare briefs in problem areas not resolved by the Board or Sub-
- Act as a technical advisory group to the Board.
- Channel the decisions of the Board through the respective
organizational elements of MSFC or STG for proper action.
- Ensure that the Saturn-Apollo Coordination Panels were working
adequately and within the scope of their charters.
- Recommend to the Board modifications of the Panels.
- Define or resolve systems or integration problems of the Saturn
launch vehicle and the Apollo spacecraft.
- Define mission objectives of the Saturn-Apollo space vehicle.
- Analyze and report progress of the Saturn-Apollo space vehicle.
- Initiate and guide studies for the selection of optimum Saturn-
Apollo space vehicle systems.
- Define and establish reliability criteria.
- Establish and document flight safety philosophy.
Four Saturn-Apollo Coordination Panels were established to make
available the technical competence of MSFC and STG for the solution of
interrelated problems of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft. The four
included the Launch Operations, Mechanical Design, Electrical and
Electronics Design, and Flight Mechanics, Dynamics, and Control
Coordination Panels. Although these Panels were designated as new
Panels, the members selected by STG and MSFC represented key technical
personnel who had been included in the Mercury-Redstone Panels, the
Mercury-Atlas Program Panels, the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups, and
the Saturn working groups. The Charter was signed by von Braun and
Gilruth. Charter of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board, October 3,
The MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board at NASA Headquarters discussed the S-
IVB stage, which would be modified by the Douglas Aircraft Company to
replace the six LR-115 engines with a single J-2 engine. Funds of
$500,000 were allocated for this study to be completed in March 1962.
The status of orbital launch operations studies at Marshall Space Flight
Center (MSFC) were reviewed and the Board agreed that an ad hoc study
group should be formed to consider such operations and the S-IVB as the
orbital launch vehicle. Other matters discussed were the mission plans
for SA-5 through SA-10, a review of the Apollo flight program schedule,
planned MSFC participation in the Dyna-Soar program, the agenda for the
first meeting of the Advanced Program Coordination Board, and joint
MSFC-STG study of post-Apollo programs.
Minutes, Marshall Space Flight Center-Manned Spacecraft Center Space
Vehicle Board Meeting No. 1, November 7, 1961; Senate Staff Report,
Manned Space Flight Program, p. 202.
Representatives of STG visited the Instrumentation Laboratory of MIT for
the second monthly progress report meeting on the Apollo spacecraft
guidance and navigation contract. A number of technical topics were
presented by Laboratory speakers: space sextant visibility and geometry
problems, gear train analysis, vacuum environmental approach, midcourse
guidance theory, inertial measurement unit, and gyro. The organization
of the Apollo effort at the Laboratory was also discussed. A preliminary
estimate of the cost for both Laboratory and industrial support for the
Apollo navigation and guidance system was presented: $158.4 million
through Fiscal Year 1966.
Memorandum, William W. Petynia, Apollo Project Office, to Associate
Director, "Second Apollo Monthly Meeting at MIT, Instrumentation
Laboratory, on October 4, 1961," October 10, 1961.
Officials of STG heard oral reports from representatives of five
industrial teams bidding on the contract for the Apollo spacecraft:
General Dynamics/Astronautics in conjunction with the Avco Corporation;
General Electric Company, Missile and Space Vehicle Department, in
conjunction with Douglas Aircraft Company, Grumman Aircraft Engineering
Corporation, and Space Technology Laboratories, Inc.; McDonnell Aircraft
Corporation in conjunction with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Hughes
Aircraft Company, and Chance Vought Corporation of Ling-Temco-Vought,
Inc.; The Martin Company; and North American Aviation, Inc. Written
proposals had been received from the contractors on October 9. The
presentations were made in the Virginia Room of the Chamberlain Hotel at
Old Point Comfort, Va. Following the reports, 11 panels, under the
direction of the Business and Technical Subcommittees, began studying
the proposals. The Panels established were: Systems Integration;
Propulsion; Flight Mechanics; Structures, Materials, and Heating; Human
Factors; Instrumentation and Communications; Onboard Systems; Ground
Operational Support Systems and Operations; Technical Development Plan;
Reliability; and Manufacturing. The Technical Assessment Panels
completed their evaluation October 20 and made their final report to the
Technical Subcommittee on October 25. The Technical Subcommittee made
its final report to the Source Evaluation Board on November 1.
MSC Space News Roundup, November 1, 1961, p. 8; December
13, 1961, p. 7; "Apollo Spacecraft Chronology," p. 12.
The MSFC-STG Advanced Program Coordination Board met at STG and
discussed the question of the development of an automatic checkout
system which would include the entire launch vehicle program from the
Saturn C-1 through the Nova. It agreed that the Apollo contractor should
be instructed to make the spacecraft electrical subsystems compatible
with the Saturn complex.
In further discussion, Paul J. DeFries of Marshall Space Flight Center
MSFC presented a list of proposed guidelines for use in studying early
manned lunar landing missions:
Some of the points discussed in connection with these suggestions were:
- The crew should draw on its own resources only when absolutely
necessary. Equipment and service personnel external to the spacecraft
should be used as much as possible.
- Early lunar expeditions would receive active external support only
up to the time of the launch from earth orbit.
- The crew would board the spacecraft only after it was checked out
and ready for final countdown and launch.
- The first Apollo crews should have an emergency shelter available on
the moon which could afford several months of lift: support and
- The capability for clocking an orbital launch vehicle with a
propulsion stage - the "connecting mode" - should be possible.
- The capability of fueling an orbital launch vehicle should be made
available - "fueling mode."
- The capability of making repairs, replacements, or adjustments in
orbit should be developed.
- For repairs, replacements, and adjustments on the orbital launch
vehicle in earth orbit, two support vehicles would be necessary. These
would be a Saturn C-1 launch vehicle manned by Apollo technicians and an
unmanned Atlas-Centaur launch vehicle carrying repair kits.
- Development of docking, testing of components, and techniques for
docking and training of man in orbital operations could be carried out
by a space ferry loaded with a Mercury capsule.
After the discussion on orbital launch operations, the Board agreed that
contemporary technology was inadequate to support such operations. Both
STG and MSFC would need to study and develop both refueling and
- Orbital launch operations were just as complex, if not more complex,
than earth-launched operations.
- A question existed as to how complex the orbital launch facility
could be and what its function should be.
- There was a possibility that the crew could do most of the checkout
and launch operations. Studies should be made to define the role of the
crew versus the role of a proposed MSFC auxiliary checkout and
Memorandum, J. Thomas Markley, Acting Secretary, to Distribution Members
of the MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board, "Minutes of MSFC-MSC Advanced
Program Coordination Board," December 11, 1961.
NASA selected the Pearl River site in southwestern Mississippi, about 35
miles from the Michoud plant near New Orleans, La., as a static-test
facility for Saturn- and Nova-class launch vehicles. The completed
facility would operate under the direction of the Marshall Space Flight
Washington Daily News, October 26, 1961; Aeronautical
and Astronautical Events of 1961, p. 58.
The Saturn SA-1 first-stage booster was launched successfully from Cape
Canaveral. The 925,000-pound launch vehicle, the largest known to be
tested up to that time, carried water-filled dummy upper stages to an
altitude of 84.8 miles and 214.7 miles down the Atlantic Missile Range.
The booster's eight clustered H-1 engines developed 1.3 million pounds
Washington Evening Star, October 28, 1961;
Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961, p. 58.
Under the direction of John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center, a
two-volume work entitled "Manned Lunar-Landing through use of
Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous" was presented to the Golovin Committee
(organized on July 20). The study had been prepared by Houbolt, John D.
Bird, Arthur W. Vogeley, Ralph W. Stone, Jr., Manuel J. Queijo, William
H. Michael, Jr., Max C. Kurbjun, Roy F. Brissenden, John A. Dodgen,
William D. Mace, and others of Langley. The Golovin Committee had
requested a mission plan using the lunar orbit rendezvous concept. Bird,
Michael, and Robert H. Tolson appeared before the Committee in
Washington to explain certain matters of trajectory and lunar stay time
not covered in the document.
Bird, "Short History of the Development of the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous
Plan at the Langley Research Center," p. 3.
Robert G. Chilton of STG gave the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory new
information based on NASA in- house studies on the Apollo spacecraft
roll inertia, pitch and yaw inertia, and attitude jets.
David G. Hoag, MIT, personal notes, October 1961.
An artist's concept of a small lunar lander during descent to the lunar surface, as proposed by personnel of Langley Research Center in October 1961.
The Space Task Group was formally redesignated the Manned Spacecraft
Center, Robert R. Gilruth, Director.
Grimwood, Project Mercury: A Chronology, p. 152.
Marshall Space Flight Center directed NAA to redesign the advanced
Saturn second stage (S-II) to incorporate five rather than four J-2
engines, to provide a million pounds of thrust.
Saturn Illustrated Chronology, p. 46.
An Apollo Egress Working Group, consisting of personnel from Marshall
Space Flight Center, Launch Operations Directorate, and Atlantic Missile
Range, was formed on November 2. Meetings on that date and on November 6
resulted in publication of a seven-page document, "Apollo Egress
Criteria." The Group established ground rules, operations and control
procedures criteria, and space vehicle design criteria and provided
requirements for implementation of emergency egress system.
Memorandum, Walter C. Williams, Associate Director, MSC, to Apollo
Office, Attn: Bob Piland; Chief, Flight Operations Division; and Chief,
Preflight Operations Division, "Apollo Emergency Egress
Requirements," December 11, 1961.
In a memorandum to D. Brainerd Holmes, Director, Office of Manned Space
Flight (OMSF), Milton W. Rosen, Director of Launch Vehicles and
Propulsion, OMSF, described the organization of a working group to
recommend to the Director a large launch vehicle program which would
meet the requirements of manned space flight and which would have broad
and continuing national utility for other NASA and DOD programs. The
group would include members from the NASA Office of Launch Vehicles and
Propulsion (Rosen, Chairman, Richard B. Canright, Eldon W. Hall, Elliott
Mitchell, Norman Rafel, Melvyn Savage, and Adelbert O. Tischler); from
the Marshall Space Flight Center (William A. Mrazek, Hans H. Maus, and
James B. Bramlet); and from the NASA Office of Spacecraft and Flight
Missions (John H. Disher). (David M. Hammock of MSC was later added to
the group.) The principal background material to be used by the group
would consist of reports of the Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group
(Golovin Committee), the Fleming Committee, the Lundin Committee, the
Heaton Committee, and the Debus-Davis Committee. Some of the subjects
the group would be considering were:
Rosen set November 20 as a target date for a recommended program.
- an assessment of the problems involved in orbital rendezvous,
- an evaluation of intermediate vehicles (Saturn C-3, C-4, and C-5),
- an evaluation of Nova-class vehicles,
- an assessment of the future course of large solid-fuel rocket motor
- an evaluation of the utility of the Titan III for NASA missions, and
- an evaluation of the realism of the spacecraft development program
(schedules, weights, performances).
Memoranda, Rosen to Holmes, "Large Launch Vehicle Program,"
November 6, 1961; Rosen to Holmes, "Recommendations for NASA Manned
Space Flight Vehicle Program," November 20, 1961.
Representatives of MSC and NASA Headquarters visited the MIT
Instrumentation Laboratory to discuss clauses in the contract for the
Apollo navigation and guidance system, technical questions proposed by
MSC, and work in progress. Topics discussed included the trajectories
for the SA-7 and SA-8 flights and the estimated propellant requirements
for guidance attitude maneuvers and velocity changes for the lunar
landing mission. Presentations were made on the following subjects by
members of the Laboratory staff: the spacecraft gyro, Apollo guidance
computer logic design, computer displays and interfaces, guidance
computer programming, horizon sensor experiments, and reentry guidance.
Memoranda, Jack Barnard, Apollo Project Office, to Associate Director,
MSC, "Visit to MIT Instrumentation Laboratory Concerning the Apollo
Navigation and Guidance System," November 15, 1961; William W.
Petynia, Apollo Project Office, to Associate Director, MSC, "Third
Apollo Monthly Meeting at MIT Instrumentation Laboratory on November
8-9," November 15, 1961.
The four MSC-MSFC Coordination Panels held their first meeting at
Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). A significant event was the
decision to modify the Electrical and Electronics Design Panel by
creating two new Panels: the Electrical Systems Integration Panel and
the Instrumentation and Communications Panel. In succeeding months, the
Panels met at regular intervals.
MSF Management Council Minutes, June 25, 1963, Agenda Item 6.
In a letter to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., John
C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center presented the lunar orbit
rendezvous (LOR) plan and outlined certain deficiencies in the national
booster and manned rendezvous programs. This letter protested exclusion
of the LOR plan from serious consideration by committees responsible for
the definition of the national program for lunar exploration.
Letter, Houbolt to Seamans, November 15, 1961.
NASA announced that the Chrysler Corporation had been chosen to build 20
Saturn first-stage (S-1) boosters similar to the one tested successfully
on October 27 . They would be constructed at the Michoud facility near
New Orleans, La. The contract, worth about $200 million, would run
through 1966, with delivery of the first booster scheduled for early
Washington Post, November 18, 1961.
Ranger II was launched into near-earth orbit from the
Atlantic Missile Range by an Atlas-Agena B booster. The scheduled
deep-space trajectory of the spacecraft was not achieved when the Agena
engine failed to restart in orbit.
Washington Evening Star, November 18, 1961.
Milton W. Rosen, Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, NASA Office
of Manned Space Flight (OMSF), submitted to D. Brainerd Holmes,
Director, OMSF, the report of the working group which had been set up on
November 6. The recommendations of the group were :
Memorandum, Rosen to Holmes, "Recommendations for NASA Manned Space
Flight Vehicle Program," November 20, 1961.
- The United States should undertake a program to develop rendezvous
capability on an urgent basis.
- To exploit the possibilities of accomplishing the first manned lunar
landing by rendezvous, an intermediate vehicle with five F-1 engines in
the first stage, four or five J-2 engines in the second stage, and one
J-2 engine in the third stage should be developed (Saturn C-5). The
vehicle should be so designed that it could be modified to use a three-
engine first stage. The three-engine vehicle provided a better match
with a large number of NASA and DOD requirements and earlier flights in
support of the manned lunar program.
- The United States should place primary emphasis on the direct flight
mode for achieving the first manned lunar landing. This mode gave
greater assurance of accomplishment during this decade. To implement the
direct flight mode, a Nova vehicle consisting of an eight F-1 engine
first stage, a four M-1 engine second stage, and a one J-2 engine third
stage should be developed on a top priority basis.
- Large solid-fuel rockets should not be considered as a requirement
for manned lunar landing. If these rockets were developed for other
purposes, the manned space flight program should support a solid-fuel
first-stage development to provide a backup capability for Nova.
- Development of the S-IVB stage (one J-2) engine should be started,
aiming toward flight tests on a Saturn C-1 in late 1964. It should be
used as the third stage of both Saturn C-5 and Nova and also as the
escape stage in the single earth orbit rendezvous mode.
- NASA had no present requirement for the Titan III vehicle. If the
Titan III were developed by DOD, NASA should maintain continuous liaison
with DOD development to ascertain if the vehicle could be used for
future NASA needs.
The original Apollo spacecraft Statement of Work of July 28 had been
A single-engine service module propulsion system would replace the
earlier vernier and mission propulsion systems.
- The requirements for the spacecraft navigation and guidance system
- Control of translunar injection of the spacecraft and monitoring
capability of injection guidance to the crew both for direct ascent and
for injection from an earth parking orbit.
Data and computation for mission abort capability en route to the moon
and for guidance to a point from which a safe lunar landing could be
Guidance of the command module to a preselected earth landing site after
Guidance for establishing lunar orbit and making lunar landings; mission
abort capability from the lunar landing maneuver.
Control of launch from the lunar surface into transearth trajectory by
both direct ascent and from lunar parking orbit.
Rendezvous in earth orbit between the spacecraft and space laboratory
module or other space vehicle.
- Components of the navigation and guidance system now clearly
- Inertial platform
Controls and displays
Chart and star catalog
Range or velocity measuring equipment for terminal control in rendezvous
and lunar landing
Backup inertial components for emergency operation
- The stabilization and control system requirements were revised:
- Roll control as well as flight path control during the thrusting
period of atmospheric abort and stability augmentation after launch
escape system separation
Stabilization of the spacecraft and the lunar injection configuration
while in earth parking orbit
Rendezvous and docking with the space laboratory module or other space
Attitude control and hovering for lunar landings and launchings and for
entering and leaving lunar orbit
- Basic components of the stabilization and control system were
- Attitude reference
Control electronics assembly
Attitude and rate displays
Earth-storable, hypergolic propellants would be used by the new system,
which would include single- or multiple-thrust chambers with a thrust-
to-weight ratio of at least 0.4 for all chambers operating (based on the
lunar launch configuration) and would have a pressurized propellant feed
- The new system would be capable of:
- Abort propulsion after jettison of the launch escape system
All major velocity increments and midcourse velocity corrections for
missions prior to the lunar landing attempt
Lunar launch propulsion and transearth midcourse velocity correction.
The reaction control systems for the command and service modules would
now each consist of two independent system, both capable of meeting the
total torque and propellant requirements. The fuel would be
monomethylhydrazine and the oxidizer would be a mixture of nitrogen
tetroxide and nitrous oxide.
The parachute system for the earth landing configuration was revised to
include two FIST-type drogue parachutes deployed by mortars.
The command module structure was specified: a ring-reinforced, single-
thickness aluminum shell pressure vessel separated from the outer
support structure of relatively rigid brazed or welded sandwich
construction. The ablative heatshield would be bonded to this outer
Service module structure was also detailed: an aluminum honeycomb
sandwich shell compatible with noise and buffet and with meteoroid
requirements. The structural continuity would have to be maintained with
adjoining modules and be compatible with the overall bending stiffness
requirements of the launch vehicle.
The duties of the three Apollo crewmen were delineated :
During launch, reentry, or similar critical mission phases, the crew
would be seated side by side. At other times, at least one couch would
- Control of the spacecraft in manual or automatic mode in all phases
of the mission
Selection, implementation, and monitoring of the navigation and guidance
Monitoring and control of key areas of all systems during time-critical
Station in the left or center couch
- Second in command of the spacecraft
Support of the pilot as alternative pilot or navigator
Monitoring of certain key parameters of the spacecraft and propulsion
systems during critical mission phases
Station in the left or center couch
- Systems Engineer
- Responsibility for all systems and their operation
Primary monitor of propulsion systems during critical mission phases
Responsibility for systems placed on board primarily for evaluation for
later Apollo spacecraft
Station in the right-hand couch.
One crew member would stand watch during noncritical mission phases at
either of the two primary duty stations. Areas for taking navigation
fixes, performing maintenance, food preparation, and certain scientific
observations could be separate from primary duty stations. Arrangements
of displays and controls would reflect the duties of each crewman. They
would be so arranged that one crewman could return the spacecraft safely
to earth. All crewmen would be cross-trained so that each could assume
the others' duties.
Radiation shielding for the crew would be provided by the mass of the
Pressure suits would be carried for extravehicular activity and for use
in the event of cabin decompression.
- A description of crew equipment was added:
- The couch for each crewman would give full body and head support
during all normal and emergency acceleration conditions. It would be
adjustable to permit changes in body and leg angles and would be so
constructed as to allow crewmen to interchange positions and to
accommodate a crewman wearing a back or seat parachute. A restraint
system would be provided with each couch for adequate restraint during
all flight phases. Each support and restraint system would furnish
vibration attenuation beyond that needed to maintain general spacecraft
integrity. This system would keep crew vibration loads within tolerance
limits and also enable the crew to exercise necessary control and
The spacecraft would be equipped with toilet facilities which would
include means for disinfecting the human waste sufficiently to render it
harmless and unobjectionable to the crew. Personal hygiene needs, such
as shaving, the handling of nonhuman waste, and the control of
infectious germs would be provided for.
Food would be dehydrated, freeze-dried, or of a similar type that could
be reconstituted with water if necessary. Heating and chilling of the
foods would be required. The primary source of potable water would be
the fuel cells. In addition, sufficient water would have to be on board
at launch for use during the 72-hour landing requirement in case of
early abort. Urine would not have to be recycled for potable water.
The crew would be furnished "shirtsleeve" garments,
lightweight cap, and exercise and recreation equipment.
- Emergency equipment would include:
- Personal parachutes
Post-landing survival equipment:
one three-man liferaft, food, location aids, first aid supplies, and
accessories to support the crew outside the spacecraft for three days in
any emergency landing area. In addition, a three-day water supply would
be removed from the spacecraft after landing; provision for purifying a
three-day supply of sea water would be included.
Medical instrumentation would be used to monitor the crew during all
flights, especially during stressful periods of early flights, and for
special experiments to be performed in the space laboratory module and
during extravehicular activity and lunar exploration. Each crewman would
carry a radiation dosimeter.
In addition to the description of the major command and service module
systems, the Statement of Work also included sections on the lunar
landing module, space laboratory module, mission control center and
ground operational support system, and the engineering and development
- The environmental control system would comprise two air loops, a gas
supply system, and a thermal control system.
- One air loop would supply the conditioned atmosphere to the cabin or
pressure suits. The other would remove sensible heat and provide cabin
ventilation during all phases of the mission including postlanding.
The primary gas supply would be stored in the service module as
supercritical cryogenics. The supply would be 50 percent excess capacity
over that required for normal metabolic needs, two complete cabin
repressurization, a minimum of 18 airlock operations, and leakage.
Recharging of self-contained extravehicular suit support systems would
Thermal control would be achieved by absorbing heat with a circulating
coolant and rejecting this heat from a space radiator. During certain
mission modes, other cooling systems would supplement or relieve the
Water collected from the separator and the fuel cells would be stored
separately in positive expulsion tanks. Manual closures, filters, and
relief valves would be used where needed as safety devices.
Metabolic requirements for the environmental control system
Total cabin pressure (oxygen and nitrogen mixture): 7 +/- 0.2 psia
Relative humidity: 40 to 70 percent
Partial pressure carbon dioxide - maximum 7.6 mm Hg
Temperature: 75 degrees F +/- 5 degrees F
- The major components of the electrical power system were described
- Three nonregenerative hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell modules
characterized by low pressure, intermediate temperature, Bacon-type,
utilizing porous nickel, unactivated electrodes, and aqueous potassium
as the electrolyte
Mechanical accessories, including control components, reactant tankage,
Three silver-zinc primary batteries, each having a normal 28-volt output
and a minimum capacity of 3,000 watt-hours (per battery) when discharged
at the ten-hour rate at 80 degrees F
A display and control panel, sufficient to monitor the operation and
status of the system and for distribution of generated power to
electrical loads as required
The fuel cell modules and control, tanks (empty), radiators, heat
exchangers, piping, valves, total reactants plus reserves would be
located in the service module. The silver-zinc batteries anti electrical
power distribution and controls would be placed in the command module.
Under normal operation, the entire electrical power requirements would
be supplied by the three fuel cell modules operating in parallel. The
primary storage batteries would be maintained fully charged under this
condition of operation.
If one fuel cell module failed, the unit involved would automatically be
electrically and mechanically isolated from the system and the entire
electrical load assumed by the two remaining fuel cells. The primary
batteries would remain fully charged.
If two fuel cell modules failed, they would be isolated from the system
and the spacecraft electrical loads would immediately be reduced by the
crew and manually programmed to hold within the generating capacities of
the remaining fuel cell.
At reentry, the fuel cell modules and accessories would be jettisoned.
All subsequent electrical power requirements would be provided by the
primary storage batteries.
Each fuel cell module would have a normal capacity of 1,200 watts at an
output voltage of 28 volts and a current density conservatively assigned
so that 50 percent overloads could be continuously supplied. The normal
fuel cell operating pressure and temperature would be about 60 psia and
425 degrees F to 500 degrees F respectively. Under normal conditions of
operation, the specific fuel (hydrogen and oxygen) consumption should
not exceed a total of 0.9 lb/kw-hr.
Self-sustaining operation within the fuel cell module should begin at a
temperature of about 275 degrees F. A detection system would be provided
with each fuel cell module to prevent contamination of the collected
potable water supply.
The degree of redundancy provided for mechanical and electrical
accessory equipment would be 100 percent.
The distribution portion of the electrical power system would contain
all necessary buses, wiring protective devices, and switching and
Sufficient tankage would be supplied to store all reactants required by
the fuel cell modules and environmental controls for a 14-day mission.
The reactants would be stored supercritically at cryogenic temperatures
and the tankage would consist of two equal volume storage vessels for
each reactant. The main oxygen and nitrogen storage would supply both
the environmental control system and the fuel cells.
- The communication and instrumentation system was further detailed:
- The equipment was to be constructed to facilitate maintenance by
ground personnel and by the crew and to be as nearly self-contained as
possible to facilitate removal from the spacecraft. Flexibility for
incorporation of future additions or modifications would be stressed
throughout the design. A patch and programming panel would be included
which would permit the routing of signal inputs from sensors to any
selected signal conditioner and from this te any desired commutator
channel. Panel design would provide the capability of
"repatching" during a mission. The equipment and system should
be capable of sustained undegraded operation with supply voltage
variation of +15 percent to -20 percent of the normal bus voltage.
A circuit quality analysis for each radiating electrical system would be
required to show exactly how ranging, telemetry, voice, and television
data modulated all transmitters with which they were used.
The equipment and associated documentation would be engineered for
comprehensive and logical fault tracing.
- Components of the communication subsystem would include:
- Voice communication
Radio recovery aids
Radar altimeter (if required by the guidance system)
The instrumentation system would be required to detect, measure, and
display all parameters needed by the crew for monitoring and evaluating
the integrity and environment of the spacecraft and performance of the
Data would be transmitted to ground stations for assessment of
spacecraft performance and for failure analysis. Information needed for
abort decisions and aid in the selection of lunar landing sites would
also be provided. The mission would be documented through photography
Included in the components of the instrumentation system were:
Panel display indicators
The propulsion system for the lunar landing module would now
comprise a composite propulsion system: multiple lunar retrograde
engines for the gross velocity increments required for lunar orbiting
and lunar landing; and a lunar landing engine for velocity vector
control, midcourse velocity control, and the lunar hover and touchdown
maneuver. The lunar retrograde engines would use liquid-oxygen and
liquid-hydrogen propellants. The single lunar landing engine would
require the same type of propellant, would be throttleable over a ratio
of +/- 50 percent about the normal value, and would be capable of
multiple starts within the design operating life of the engine.
No additions or changes had been made in the space laboratory module
Overall control of all Apollo support elements throughout all phases of
a mission would be exercised by the Mission Control Center. Up to the
time of liftoff, mission launch activities would be conducted from the
launch control center at Cape Canaveral. Remote stations would be used
to support near-earth and lunar flights and track the command module
Five major phases of a development and test plan were identified:
- Design information and development tests
- Qualification, reliability, and integration tests
- Major ground tests
- Major development flight tests
- Flight missions.
NASA, Project Apollo Spacecraft Development Statement of
Work (STG, November 27, 1961), Part 3, Technical Approach, pp.
A team and a goal - officials of North American Aviation, Inc., study a replica of the moon shortly after the announcement that the firm had been selected by NASA as the prime contractor for the Apollo command and service modules. From left to right are Harrison A. Storms, president of North American's Space and Information Systems Division; John W. Paup, program manager of Apollo; and Charles H. Feltz, Apollo program engineer. (NAA photo)
NASA announced that the Space and Information Systems Division of North
American Aviation, Inc., had been selected to design and build the
Apollo spacecraft. The decision by NASA Administrator James E. Webb
followed a comprehensive evaluation of five industry proposals by nearly
200 scientists and engineers representing both NASA and DOD. Webb had
received the Source Evaluation Board findings on November 24. Although
technical evaluations were very close, NAA had been selected on the
basis of experience, technical competence, and cost. NAA would be
responsible for the design and development of the command module and
service module. NASA expected that a separate contract for the lunar
landing system would be awarded within the next six months. The MIT
Instrumentation Laboratory had previously been assigned the development
of the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation system. Both the NAA
and MIT contracts would be under the direction of MSC.
NAA Space and Information Systems Division, News Release SP3-0610,
November 28, 1961; Wall Street Journal, November 29, 1961;
U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences,
Apollo Accident, Hearings, 90th Congress, 1st Session
(1967), Part 6, p. 513; TWX, NASA Headquarters to Ames, Langley, Lewis,
and Flight Research Centers, Goddard and Marshall Space Flight Centers,
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Launch Operations Center, Space Task Group,
Wallops Station, and Western Operations Office, November 28, 1961.
The Mercury-Atlas 5 launch from the Atlantic Missile Range
placed a Mercury spacecraft carrying chimpanzee Enos into orbit. After a
two-orbit flight of 3 hours and 21 minutes, the capsule reentered and
was recovered 1 hour and 25 minutes later. Enos was reported in
excellent condition. No additional unmanned or primate flights were
considered necessary before attempting the manned orbital mission
scheduled for early 1962.
MSC Space News Roundup, December 13, 1961, p. 1;
Swenson et al., This New Ocean, pp.
On a visit to Marshall Space Flight Center by MIT Instrumentation
Laboratory representatives, the possibility was discussed of emergency
switchover from Saturn to Apollo guidance systems as backup for launch
David G. Hoag, personal notes, November 29-30, 1961.