PART 1 (A)
Defining Contractual Relations
November 8, 1962, through December, 1962
"Not one or two men will make the landing on the moon, but,
figuratively, the entire Nation." That is how NASA's Deputy
Administrator, Hugh L. Dryden, described America's commitment to Apollo
during a speech in Washington, D.C. "What we are buying in our
national space program," Dryden said, "is the knowledge, the
experience, the skills, the industrial facilities, and the experimental
hardware that will make the United States first in every field of space
exploration. . . . The investment in space progress is big and will
grow, but the potential returns on the investment are even larger. And
because it concerns us all, scientific progress is everyone's
responsibility. Every citizen should understand what the space program
really is about and what it can do."
U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics,
Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, 88th Cong.,
1st Sess. (June 12, 1963), pp. 235-36.
The Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) and the Raytheon Company came to
terms on the definitive contract for the Apollo spacecraft guidance
computer. (See February 8, 1963.)
Manned Space Flight [MSF] Management Council Meeting, November 27, 1962,
Agenda Item 2, p. 3.
North American Aviation, Inc., selected the Aerospace Electrical
Division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation to build the power
conversion units for the command module (CM) electrical system. The
units would convert direct current from the fuel cells to alternating
Aviation Daily, November 13, 1962, p. 71.
The Aerojet-General Corporation reported completion of successful
firings of the prototype service propulsion engine. The restartable
engine, with an ablative thrust chamber, reached thrusts up to 21,500
pounds. [Normal thrust rating for the service propulsion engine is
Aviation Daily, November 15, 1962, p. 89; Aviation Week and
Space Technology, 77 (November 19, 1962), p. 40.
Saturn-Apollo 3 (Saturn C-1, later called Saturn I) was launched from
the Atlantic Missile Range. Upper stages of the launch vehicle were
filled with 23000 gallons of water to simulate the weight of live
stages. At its peak altitude of 167 kilometers (104 miles), four minutes
53 seconds after launch, the rocket was detonated by explosives upon
command from earth. The water was released into the ionosphere, forming
a massive cloud of ice particles several miles in diameter. By this
experiment, known as "Project Highwater," scientists had hoped
to obtain data on atmospheric physics, but poor telemetry made the
results questionable. The flight was the third straight success for the
Saturn C-1 and the first with maximum fuel on board.
MSFC Historical Office, History of the George C. Marshall Space
Flight Center From July 1 Through December 31, 1962 (MHM-6), Vol.
I, p. 193; MSFC, "Saturn SA-3 Flight Evaluation,"
MPR-SAT-63-l, January 8, 1963, Vol. I, pp. 8, 151; The Washington
Post, November 17, 1962; The New York Times,
November 17, 1962.
Four Navy officers were injured when an electrical spark ignited a fire
in an altitude chamber, near the end of a 14-day experiment at the U.S.
Navy Air Crew Equipment Laboratory, Philadelphia, Pa. The men were
participating in a NASA experiment to determine the effect on humans of
breathing pure oxygen for 14 days at simulated altitudes.
Edward L. Michel, George B. Smith, Jr., Richard S. Johnston,
Gaseous Environment Considerations and Evaluation Programs Leading
to Spacecraft Atmosphere Selection, NASA Technical Note, TN
D-2506 (1965), p. 5.
About 100 Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and MSC
representatives began seven weeks of negotiations on the lunar excursion
module (LEM) contract. After agreeing on the scope of work and on
operating and coordination procedures, the two sides reached fiscal
accord. Negotiations were completed on January 3, 1963. Eleven days
later, NASA authorized Grumman to proceed with LEM development. (See
March 11, 1963.)
MSC, "Project Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2 for Period
Ending December 31, 1962,"p. 21; "Project Apollo Quarterly
Status Report No. 3 for Period Ending March 31, 1963,"p. I; NASA
Contract No. NAS 9-1100, "Project Apollo Lunar Excursion Module
Development Program," January 14, 1963; Clyde B. Bothmer,
memorandum for distribution, "Minutes of the Fourteenth Meeting of
the Management Council held on Tuesday, January 29, 1963, at the Launch
Operations Center, Cocoa Beach, Florida," with enclosure: subject
as above, p. 3.
North American defined requirements for the command and service modules
(CSM) stabilization and control system.
North American Aviation, Inc. [hereafter cited as NAA], "Apollo
Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-8, November 30, 1962, p.
NASA invited ten industrial firms to submit bids by December 7 for a
contract to build a control center at MSC and to integrate ground
operational support systems for Apollo and the rendezvous phases of
Gemini. On January 28, 1963, NASA announced that the contract had been
awarded to the Philco Corporation, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor
NASA News Release 63-14, "Philco to Develop Manned Flight Control
Center at Houston," January 28, 1963; Aviation Daily,
November 20, 1962, p. 111.
A Goddard Space Flight Center report summarizing recommendations for
ground instrumentation support for the near-earth phases of the Apollo
missions was forwarded to the Apollo Task Group of the NASA Headquarters
Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition (OTDA). This report presented a
preliminary conception of the Apollo network.
The tracking network would consist of stations equipped with 9-meter
(30foot) antennas for near-earth tracking and communications and of
stations having 26-meter (85-foot) antennas for use at lunar distances.
A unified S-band system, capable of receiving and transmitting voice,
telemetry, and television on a single radio-frequency band, was the
basis of the network operation.
On March 12, 1963, during testimony before a subcommittee of the House
Committee on Science and Astronautics, Edmond C. Buckley, Director of
OTDA, described additional network facilities that would be required as
the Apollo program progressed. Three Deep Space Instrumentation
Facilities with 26-meter (85- foot) antennas were planned: Goldstone,
Calif. (completed); Canberra, Australia (to be built); and a site in
southern Europe (to be selected). Three new tracking ships and special
equipment at several existing network stations for earth-orbit checkout
of the spacecraft would also be needed.
Goddard Space Flight Center, Tracking and Data Systems Directorate,
"A Ground Instrumentation Support Plan for the Near-Earth Phases of
Apollo Missions," November 23, 1962; U.S. Congress, House,
Subcommittee on Applications and Tracking of the Committee on Science
and Astronautics, 1964 NASA Authorization, Hearings, 88th
Cong., 1st Sess. (1963), pp. 2795-2801.
At a news conference in Cleveland, Ohio, during the 10-day Space Science
Fair there, NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden stated that
inflight practice at orbital maneuvering was essential for lunar
missions. He believed that landings would follow reconnaissance of the
moon by circumlunar and near- lunar-surface flights.
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, November 27, 1962.
NASA awarded a $2.56 million contract to Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc. (LTV),
to develop the velocity package for Project Fire, to simulate reentry
from a lunar mission. An Atlas D booster would lift an instrumented
payload (looking like a miniature Apollo CM) to an altitude of 122,000
meters (400,000 feet). The velocity package would then fire the reentry
vehicle into a minus 15 degree trajectory at a velocity of 11,300 meters
(37,000 feet) per second. On December 17, Republic Aviation Corporation,
developer of the reentry vehicle, reported that design was 95 percent
complete and that fabrication had already begun.
Wall Street Journal, November 27, 1962; LTV, Chance Vought
Corporation, Astronautics Div., "Fire Velocity Package,"
(undated), pp. 1-1, 11-4; Aviation Week and Space
Technology, 77 (December 17, 1962), pp. 53, 55, 57.
MSC officials met with representatives of Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(JPL) and the NASA Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition (OTDA). They
discussed locating the third Deep Space Instrumentation Facility (DSIF)
in Europe instead of at a previously selected South African site. (See
Volume I of this chronology [NASA SP-4009], September 13, 1960.) JPL had
investigated several European sites and noted the communications gap for
each. MSC stated that a coverage gap of up to two hours was undesirable
but not prohibitive. JPL and OTDA agreed to place the European station
where the coverage gap would be minimal or nonexistent. However, the
existence of a communications loss at a particular location would not be
an overriding factor against a site which promised effective technical
and logistic support and political stability. MSC agreed that this was a
Memorandum, Gerald M. Truszynski, NASA, for file, "Meeting at MSC
on Location of DSIF Station," December 3, 1964.
MSC released a sketch of the space suit assembly to be worn on the lunar
surface. It included a portable life support system which would supply
oxygen and pressurization and would control temperature, humidity, and
air contaminants. The suit would protect the astronaut against solar
radiation and extreme temperatures. The helmet faceplate would shield
him against solar glare and would be defrosted for good visibility at
very low temperatures. An emergency oxygen supply was also part of the
Four days earlier, MSC had added specifications for an extravehicular
suit communications and telemetry (EVSCT) system to the space suit
contract with Hamilton Standard Division of United Aircraft Corporation.
The EVSCT system included equipment for three major operations:
[The EVSCT contract was awarded to International Telephone and Telegraph
(ITT) Corporation's Kellogg Division. (See March 26, 1963.)]
- Full two-way voice communication between two astronauts on the lunar
surface, using the transceivers in the LEM and CM as relay stations.
- Redundant one-way voice communication capability between any number
of suited astronauts.
- Telemetry of physiological and suit environmental data to the LEM or
CM for relay to earth via the S- band link.
Memorandum, Ralph S. Sawyer, MSC, to Crew Systems Div., Attn: James V.
Correale, "Extravehicular Suit Communications and Telemetry System
Specifications," November 23, 1962; MSC News Release, "Project
Apollo Space Suits," November 26, 1962; The Evening
Star, Washington, November 28, 1962; The Houston
Post, November 27, 1962.
Representatives of Hamilton Standard and International Latex Corporation
(ILC) met to discuss mating the portable life support system to the ILC
space suit configuration. As a result of mockup demonstrations and other
studies, over-the-shoulder straps similar to those in the mockup were
substituted for the rigid "horns."
Hamilton Standard, "Monthly Progress Report through November 30,
1962, for Apollo Space Suit Assembly," PR-2-11-62, Item 7.2.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the Manned Space Flight (MSF)
Management Council that formal negotiations between NASA and North
American on the Apollo spacecraft development contract would begin in
January 1963. He further informed the council that the design release
for all Apollo systems, with the exception of the space suit, was
scheduled for mid-1963; the suit was scheduled for January 1964.
MSF Management Council Meeting, November 27, 1962, Agenda Item 2, pp.
2-3 [and supplemental page].
During the Month
AC Spark Plug Division of General Motors Corporation assembled the first
CM inertial reference integrating gyro (IRIG) for final tests and
calibration. Three IRIGs in the CM navigation and guidance system
provided a reference from which velocity and attitude changes could be
sensed. Delivery of the unit was scheduled for February 1963. (See
February 11, 1963.)
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 13.
During the Month
North American completed a study of CSM-LEM transposition and docking.
During a lunar mission, after the spacecraft was fired into a trajectory
toward the moon, the CSM would separate from the adapter section
containing the LEM. It would then turn around, dock with the LEM, and
pull the second vehicle free from the adapter. The contractor studied
three methods of completing this maneuver: free fly-around, tethered
fly- around, and mechanical repositioning. Of the three, the company
recommended the free fly-around, based on NASA's criteria of minimum
weight, simplicity of design, maximum docking reliability, minimum time
of operation, and maximum visibility.
Three phases of activity in the line drawing indicate the techniques of the free fly-around method of the docking exercise between the CSM and the LEM.
Also investigated was crew transfer from the CM to the LEM, to determine
the requirements for crew performance and, from this, to define human
engineering needs. North American concluded that a separate LEM airlock
was not needed but that the CSM oxygen supply system's capacity should
be increased to effect LEM pressurization.
On November 29, North American presented the results of docking
simulations, which showed that the free flight docking mode was feasible
and that the 45-kilogram (100-pound) service module (SM) reaction
control system engines were adequate for the terminal phase of docking.
The simulations also showed that overall performance of the maneuver was
improved by providing the astronaut with an attitude display and some
form of alignment aid, such as probe.
MSC, "Abstract of Proceedings, Flight Technology Systems Meeting
No. 12, November 27, 1962," November 30, 1962; "Apollo Monthly
Progress Report," SID 62-300-8, pp. 11-14.
During the Month
North American reported several problems involving the CM's aerodynamic
characteristics; their analysis of CM dynamics verified that the
spacecraft could - and on one occasion did - descend in an apex-forward
attitude. The CM's landing speed then exceeded the capacity of the
drogue parachutes to reorient the vehicle; also, in this attitude, the
apex cover could not be jettisoned under all conditions. During
low-altitude aborts, North American went on, the drogue parachutes
produced unfavorable conditions for main parachute deployment. (See
January 18, 1963.)
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-8, p. 77.
During the Month
Extensive material and thermal property tests indicated that a Fiberglas
honeycomb matrix bonded to the steel substructure was a promising
approach for a new heatshield design for the CM. See February 1, 1963.
Ibid., pp. 143-144.
During the Month
Collins Radio Company selected Motorola, Inc., Military Electronics
Division, to develop and produce the spacecraft S-band transponder. The
transponder would aid in tracking the spacecraft in deep space; also, it
would be used to transmit and receive telemetry signals and to
communicate between ground stations and the spacecraft by FM voice and
television links. The formal contract with Motorola was awarded in
Also, Collins awarded a contract to the Leach Corporation for the
development of command and service module (CSM) data storage equipment.
The tape recorders must have a five-hour capacity for collection and
storage of data, draw less than 20 watts of power, and be designed for
in-flight reel changes.
Ibid., p. 89; NAA, "Apollo Facts," RBO070163,
(undated), pp. 43-44.
During the Month
MSC awarded a $222,000 contract to the Air Force Systems Command for
wind tunnel tests of the Apollo spacecraft at its Arnold Engineering
Development Center, Tullahoma, Tenn.
Aviation Week and Space Technology, 77 (November 12, 1962),
During the Month
North American made a number of changes in the layout of the CM:
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-8, pp. 36, 71-72,
102, 104, 195.
- Putting the lithium hydroxide canisters in the lower equipment bay
and food stowage compartments in the aft equipment bay.
- Regrouping equipment in the left-hand forward equipment bay to make
pressure suit disconnects easier to reach and to permit a more advanced
packaging concept for the cabin heat exchanger.
- Moving the waste management control panel and urine and chemical
tanks to the right-hand equipment bay.
- Revising the aft compartment control layout to eliminate the landing
impact attenuation system and to add tie rods for retaining the
- Preparing a design which would incorporate the quick release of the
crew hatch with operation of the center window (drawings were released,
and target weights and criteria were established).
- Redesigning the crew couch positioning mechanism and folding
- Modifying the footrests to prevent the crew's damaging the
The MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office (ASPO) outlined the
photographic equipment needed for Apollo missions. This included two
motion picture cameras (16- and 70-mm) and a 35-mm still camera. It was
essential that the camera, including film loading, be operable by an
astronaut wearing pressurized gloves. On February 25, 1963, NASA
informed North American that the cameras would be government furnished
Memorandum, Charles W. Frick, MSC, to Office of Asst. Dir. for
Information and Control Systems, Attn: Instrumentation and Electronic
Systems Div., "Cameras for Apollo Spacecraft," December 3,
1962; letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems
Div., "Contract Change Authorization No. Twenty-Six," February
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, acting for NASA, awarded a $3.332
million contract to four New York architectural engineering firms to
design the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) at Cape Canaveral. The
massive VAB became a space-age hangar, capable of housing four complete
Saturn V launch vehicles and Apollo spacecraft where they could be
assembled and checked out. The facility would be 158.5 meters (520 feet
high) and would cost about $100 million to build. Subsequently, the
Corps of Engineers selected Morrison-Knudson Company, Perini Corp., and
Paul Hardeman, Inc., to construct tile VAB.
Orlando Sentinel, December 5, 1962; MSC, Space News
Roundup, January 9, 1963, p. 6; The Kennedy Space Center
Story (KSC, 1969), pp. 19-20.
The first test of the Apollo main parachute system, conducted at the
Naval Air Facility, El Centro, Calif., foreshadowed lengthy troubles
with the landing apparatus for the spacecraft. One parachute failed to
inflate fully, another disreefed prematurely, and the third disreefed
and inflated only after some delay. No data reduction was possible
because of poor telemetry. North American was investigating.
MSF Management Council Minutes, December 18, 1962, p. 2; NAA,
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, January 15,
1963, p. 20.
At a meeting held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Instrumentation Laboratory, representatives of MIT, MSC, Hamilton
Standard Division, and International Latex Corporation examined the
problem of an astronaut's use of optical navigation equipment while in a
pressurized suit with helmet visor down. MSC was studying helmet designs
that would allow the astronaut to place his face directly against the
helmet visor; this might avoid an increase in the weight of the
eyepiece. In February 1963, Hamilton Standard recommended adding
corrective devices to the optical system rather than adding corrective
devices to the helmet or redesigning the helmet. In the same month, ASPO
set 52.32 millimeters 2.06 inches as the distance of the astronaut's eye
away from the helmet. MIT began designing a lightweight adapter for the
navigation instruments to provide for distances of up to 76.2
millimeters (3 inches).
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 9; Hamilton
Standard Div., "Minutes of Space Suit Navigation System Optical
Interface Meeting," HSER 2582-2, December 5, 1962, pp. 1-2.
The General Electric Policy Review Board, established by the MSF
Management Council, held its first meeting. On February 9, the General
Electric Company (GE) had been selected by NASA to provide integration
analysis (including booster-spacecraft interface), ensure reliability of
the entire space vehicle, and develop and operate a checkout system. The
Policy Review Board was organized to oversee the entire GE Apollo
Memorandum, James E. Sloan, NASA, to Wernher von Braun, Kurt H. Debus,
and Robert R. Gilruth, "General Electric Policy Review Board,"
December 6, 1962; draft, "General Electric Policy Review Board
Charter," December 4, 1962; memorandum, Sloan to Gilruth and Walter
C. Williams, "Charter of Policy Review Board for General Electric
Manned Lunar Landing Program Effort," January 8, 1963 (charter
With NASA's concurrence, North American released the Request For
Proposals on the Apollo mission simulator. A simulated CM, an
instructor's console, and a computer complex now supplanted the three
part- task trainers originally planned. An additional part-task trainer
was also approved. A preliminary report describing the device had been
submitted to NASA by North American. The trainer was scheduled to be
completed by March 1964.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 34; NAA,
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-12, May 1, 1963,
NASA Administrator James E. Webb, in a letter to the President,
explained the rationale behind the Agency's selection of lunar orbit
rendezvous (rather than either direct ascent or earth orbit rendezvous)
as the mode for landing Apollo astronauts on the moon. (See Volume I,
July 11, 1962.) Arguments for and against any of the three modes could
have been interminable: "We are dealing with a matter that cannot
be conclusively proved before the fact," Webb said. "The
decision on the mode . . . had to be made at this time in order to
maintain our schedules, which aim at a landing attempt in late
John M. Logsdon, "NASA's Implementation of the Lunar Landing
Decision," (HHN-81), August 1969, pp. 85, 87.
NASA authorized North American's Columbus, Ohio, Division to proceed
with a LEM docking study.
TWX, J. F. Leonard, NAA, to NASA, [Attn:] D. B. Cherry, December 14,
The first static firing of the Apollo tower jettison motor, under
development by Thiokol Chemical Corporation, was successfully
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, p. 14;
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 6.
Northrop Corporation's Ventura Division, prime contractor for the
development of sea-markers to indicate the location of the spacecraft
after a water landing, suggested three possible approaches:
Northrop Ventura recommended the first method, because it would produce
the strongest color and size contrast and would have the longest life
for its weight.
- A shotgun shell type that would dispense colored smoke.
- A floating, controlled-rate dispenser (described as an improvement
on the current water-soluble binder method).
- A floating panel with relatively permanent fluorescent qualities.
Memorandum, W. E. Oller, Northrop Ventura, to MSC, Attn: P. Armitage,
"NAS 9-482, Status of Remainder of Program," December 12,
MSC officials, both in Houston and at the Preflight Operations Division
at Cape Canaveral, agreed on a vacuum chamber at the Florida location to
test spacecraft systems in a simulated space environment during
Memorandum, A. D. Mardel, MSC, to Distribution, "Minutes of meeting
on NASA AMR Vacuum Chamber requirements," December 14, 1962.
The first working model of the crew couch was demonstrated during an
inspection of CM mockups at North American. As a result, the contractor
began redesigning the couch to make it lighter and simpler to adjust.
Design investigation was continuing on crew restraint systems in light
of the couch changes. An analysis of acceleration forces imposed on crew
members during reentry at various couch back and CM angles of attack was
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," pp. 9, 10;
NASA-Resident Apollo Spacecraft Project Office (RASPO/NAA),
"Consolidated Activity Report . . . , December 1, 1962-January 5,
1963," p. 3.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the MSF Management Council
that tests by Republic Aviation Corporation, the U.S. Air Force School
of Aerospace Medicine SAM at Brooks Air Force Base, Tex., and the U.S.
Navy Air Crew Equipment Laboratory (ACEL) at Philadelphia, Pa., had
established that, physiologically, a spacecraft atmosphere of pure
oxygen at 3.5 newtons per square centimeter (five pounds per square inch
absolute [psia]) was acceptable. During the separate experiments, about
20 people had been exposed to pure oxygen environments for periods of up
to two weeks without showing adverse effects. Two fires had occurred,
one on September 10 at SAM and the other on November 17 at ACEL. The
cause in both cases was faulty test equipment. On July 11, NASA had
ordered North American to design the CM for 3.5 newtons per square
centimeter (5-psia), pure-oxygen atmosphere.
MSF Management Council Minutes, December 18, 1962, p. 3; "Apollo
Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 11; "Abstract of
Proceedings, Crew Systems Meeting No. 13, December 18, 1962,"
December 20, 1962.
NASA announced that Ranger VI (see Volume I, August 29,
1961 would be used for intensive reliability tests. Resultant
improvements would be incorporated into subsequent spacecraft (numbers
VII-IX), delaying the launchings of those vehicles by "several
months." The revised schedule was based on recommendations by a
Board of Inquiry headed by Cdr. Albert J. Kelley (USN), Director of
Electronics and Control in the NASA Office of Advanced Research and
Technology. (See Volume I, October 18, 1962.) The Kelley board,
appointed by NASA Space Sciences Director Homer E. Newell after the
Ranger V flight, consisted of officials from NASA
Headquarters, five NASA Centers, and Bellcomm, Inc. The board concluded
that increased reliability could be achieved through spacecraft design
and construction modifications and by more rigorous testing and
checkout. (See January 30, 1964.)
The Washington Post, December 20, 1962; The Evening
Star, Washington, December 20, 1962; U.S. Congress, House,
Subcommittee on Space Sciences and Advanced Research and Technology of
the Committee on Science and Astronautics, 1964 NASA
Authorization, Hearings on H. R. 5466, 88th Cong., 1st Sess.
(1963), pp. 1597-1598.
MSC prognosticated that, during landing, exhaust from the LEM's descent
engine would kick up dust on the moon's surface, creating a dust storm.
Landings should be made where surface dust would be thinnest.
NASA Project Apollo Working Paper No. 1052, "A Preliminary Analysis
of the Effects of Exhaust Impingement on the Lunar Surface During the
Terminal Phases of Lunar Landing," December 20, 1962,
North American delivered CM boilerplate (BP) 3, to Northrop Ventura, for
installation of an earth-landing system. BP-3 was scheduled to undergo
parachute tests at El Centro, Calif., during early 1963.
RASPO/NAA, "Consolidated Activity Report . . . , December 1,
1962-January 5, 1963,"
The Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company submitted to North American
cost proposal and design specifications on the Apollo stabilization and
control system, based upon the new Statement of Work drawn up on
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 16.
North American selected Radiation, Inc., to develop the CM pulse code
modulation (PCM) telemetry system. The PCM telemetry would encode
spacecraft data into digital signals for transmission to ground
stations. The $4.3 million contract was officially announced on February
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, p. 20; NAA,
"Apollo Facts," RBO070163, (undated), pp. 44-45; Space
Business Daily, February 26, 1963, p. 243.
Lockheed Propulsion Company successfully static fired four launch escape
system pitch-control motors. In an off-the-pad or low-altitude abort,
the pitch-control motor would fix the trajectory of the CM after its
separation from the launch vehicle.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, p. 14; NAA,
"Quarterly Reliability Status Report," SID 62-557-4, January
31, 1964, pp. 242, 246.
North American's Rocketdyne Division completed the first test firings of
the CM reaction control engines.
Ralph B. Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo
Program (NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., January 20,
1966), p. 8; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62300-9, p.
During the Month
MSC prepared the Project Apollo lunar landing mission design. This plan
outlined ground rules, trajectory analyses, sequences of events, crew
activities, and contingency operations. It also predicted possible
planning changes in later Apollo flights.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 4.
During the Month
In the first of a series of reliability-crew safety design reviews on
all systems for the CM, North American examined the spacecraft's
environmental control system (ECS). The Design Review Board approved the
overall ECS concept, but made several recommendations for further
refinement. Among these were:
"Quarterly Reliability Status Report," SID 62-557-4.
- The ECS should be made simpler and the system's controls should be
better marked and located.
- Because of the pure oxygen environment, all flammable materials
inside the cabin should be eliminated.
- Sources of possible atmospheric contamination should be further
reviewed, with emphasis upon detecting and controlling such toxic gases
inside the spacecraft.
During the Month
NASA and General Dynamics/Convair (GD/C) began contract negotiations on
the Little Joe II launch vehicle, which was used to flight-test the
Apollo launch escape system. The negotiated cost was nearly $6 million.
GD/C had already completed the basic structural design of the vehicle.
(See February 18, 1963.)
General Dynamics, Convair Div., Little Joe II Test Launch Vehicle,
NASA Project Apollo: Final Report, GDC-66-042 (May 1966), Vol. I,
pp. 1-2, 1-4, 4-2, 4-3.
During the Month
North American reported three successful static firings of the launch
escape motor. The motor would pull the CM away from the launch vehicle
if there were an abort early in a mission.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 6; "Quarterly
Reliability Status Report," SID 62-557-4, p. 242.
During the Month
MSC reported that the general arrangement of the CM instrument panel had
been designed to permit maximum manual control and flight observation by
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," pp. 8, 9.
During the Month
MSC Flight Operations Division examined the operational factors involved
in Apollo water and land landings. Analysis of some of the problems
leading to a preference for water landing disclosed that:
Memorandum, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC, to Mgr., ASPO, "Review
of Operational Factors Involved in Water and Land Landings,"
undated (ca. December 1962).
- Should certain systems on board the CM fail, the spacecraft could
land as far as 805 kilometers 500 miles from the prime recovery area.
This contingency could be provided for at sea, but serious difficulties
might be encountered on land.
- Because Apollo missions might last as long as two weeks, weather
forecasting for the landing zone probably would be unreliable.
- Hypergolic fuels were to remain on board the spacecraft through
landing. During a landing at sea, the bay containing the tanks would
flood and seawater would neutralize the liquid fuel or fumes from
damaged tanks. On land, the possibility of rupturing the tanks was
greater and the danger of toxic fumes and fire much more serious.
- Should the CM tumble during descent, the likelihood of serious
damage to the spacecraft was less for landings on water.
- On land, obstacles such as rocks and trees might cause serious
damage to the spacecraft.
- The spacecraft would be hot after reentry. Landing on water would
cool the spacecraft quickly and minimize ventilation problems.
- The requirements for control during reentry were less stringent in a
sea landing, because greater touchdown dispersions could be allowed.
- Since the CM must necessarily be designed for adequate performance
in a water landing all aborts during launch and most contingencies
required a landing at sea , the choice of water as the primary landing
surface could relieve some constraints in spacecraft design. (See
February 1 and March 5, 1963; February 25, 1964.)
During the Month
The contract for the development and production of the CSM C-band
transponder was awarded to American Car and Foundry Industries, Inc., by
Collins Radio Company. The C-band transponder was used for tracking the
spacecraft. Operating in conjunction with conventional, earth-based,
radar equipment, it transmitted response pulses to the Manned Space
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 18; "Apollo
Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, p. 10.
During the Quarter
Grumman agreed to use existing Apollo components and subsystems, where
practicable, in the LEM This promised to simplify checkout and
maintenance of spacecraft systems.
MSC, "Contract Implementation Plan, Lunar Excursion Module, Project
Apollo," November 11, 1962, p. 5; Aviation Week and Space
Technology, 78 (January 14, 1963), p. 39.