Part 3 (A)

Developing Software Ground Rules

April 29, 1964 through June 1964

1964 April

1964 May

1964 June


April 29

ASPO defined weight and volume allocations for scientific equipment. Exact location of this equipment could not be specified, but each module had to have the following capacities:

Any additional space gained by jettisoning expendable equipment could also be used for storage. (See June 8.)

Requirements for thermal protection for the scientific equipment were not yet defined, nor was the packaging concept. Electrical outlets on the LEM, furnishing power to the equipment, would of course have to be within the reach of an astronaut while he was standing on the moon's surface outside the spacecraft.

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Scientific Equipment," April 29, 1964.

April 29

MSC established new LEM abort guidance ground rules, which defined the operation and reliability requirements of the stabilization and control system's abort guidance section. Grumman was to continue studies on the abort pitch programmer and on the capability of the LEM to perform rendezvous.

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Abort Guidance Section of the Stabilization and Control Subsystem," April 29, 1964.

April 30

Communications links

Communications links between CM, LEM, and earth stations.

MSC authorized major revisions in the CM communications system to provide better voice and data relay between the CM, the LEM, and ground stations.

Letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., "Contract Change Authorization No. 201," April 30, 1964.

April 30

Following a series of 15 acceptance firings at Rocketdyne's Santa Susana test facility (conducted during March and April), the first hot-firing production J-2 engine was delivered to Douglas Aircraft Company (DAC). The engine then began "battleship" testing (i.e., fitted to a heavyweight stage of the vehicle built especially for static testing) at DAC's Sacramento test site.

Akens, et al., History of Marshall . . . January 1 through June 30, 1964, Vol. I, pp. 148, 224.

During the Month

Grumman awarded Bell Aerosystems Company the contract for the LEM ascent stage reaction control system propellant tanks. The contract was worth about $3.5 million.

Missiles and Rockets, 14 (April 27, 1964), p. 23.

During the Month

Grumman recommended using a self-stabilized trim gimbal system in the descent stage of the LEM, which would save about 34 kilograms (75 pounds) of reaction control system propellant.

"Monthly Progress Report No. 15," LPR-10-31, p. 24.

May 1

MSC Structures and Mechanics Division began vibration tests on SM boilerplate (BP) 22 to determine resonant frequencies, mode shapes, and structural damping characteristics. The results would be used in evaluation of data from the BP-22 flight test of the launch escape system at WSMR, scheduled for 1965.

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, April 19-May 16, 1964," p. 56; MSC News Release 64-86, May 1, 1964.

May 1

ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reported to the Senior Staff that NASA was not imposing any requirement for the crew to get out of the CM quickly should some problem arise with the launch vehicle while on the pad. Given such an occurrence with the crewmen perched almost 122 meters (400 feet) high - and atop a fueled Saturn V - it was believed more rational to make a standard abort (using the launch escape system) or to hold the countdown until the vehicle could be made safe.

MSC, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, May 1, 1964," p. 3.

May 1

MSC Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division personnel visited Jet Propulsion Laboratory to review the Surveyor landing radar test program and to investigate the use of either a reflector or a transponder on the Surveyor to help in the selection of landing sites for the LEM. At that time, the possibility did not appear promising because reflector usage seemed impractical and because power requirements were far above what was available. Additional study on the matter was planned.

MSC, "ASPO Management Report for Period April 23-30, 1964"; "ASPO Management Report for Period April 3-May 7, 1964."

May 1

Grumman completed negotiations with RCA for the attitude and translation control assembly (ATCA) for the LEM. The ATCA imposed thrust demands on the vehicle's stabilization and control system based upon information from the guidance equipment.

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, April 19-May 16, 1964," p. 45.

May 4

The Apollo Mission Planning Task Force presented its Phase I progress report to ASPO. (See November 29, 1963, and January 16, 1964.) ASPO, in assigning this task, had defined its principal objectives: the determination of mission-related, functional requirements for spacecraft subsystems; the examination of current subsystem capabilities to meet these requirements; the evaluation of the capability of the spacecraft to fly missions which met the program objectives; the determination of flexibilities available within established control weights; and the provision of mission plans which would be the basis for other analyses and reporting.

The task force further refined program objectives:

  1. to land two astronauts and scientific equipment on the near-earth-side of the moon and return them safely to earth; and
  2. to perform experiments within the restrictions of 113 kilograms (250 pounds) and 0.3 cubic meter (10 cubic feet) of scientific payload, which would be landed on the lunar surface, and 36 kilograms (80 pounds) and 0.06 cubic meter (two cubic feet), which would be returned to earth.
Mission related spacecraft design rules were studied. Seventeen rules for spacecraft operations and seven for contingencies were selected. Although trajectory ground rules were considered more operational than design in nature, the group included 16 as necessary to define the performance capabilities of the spacecraft design. A reference trajectory, provided by MSC, assumed a launch date of May 8, 1968, and a 41,000- kilogram (90,000-pound spacecraft injected into a 66.4-hour translunar-coast/free-return trajectory.

GAEC, "Apollo Mission Planning Task Force, Phase I Progress Report," LED-540-7, Vols. I, II, III, May 4, 1964.

May 4-11

MSC ordered Grumman to halt all work on a radiatively cooled nozzle for the LEM's ascent engine. (See January; also see September 19-October 16, 1963.) The Center took this action largely to avoid schedule slippage (because the work was drawing valuable people away from the "mainstream" effort, an ablative nozzle). Also involved in the cancellation were such factors as high risk and cost; the lack of previous experience with this type; and the minor saving in weight at best.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 7-14, 1964."

May 5

MSC Operations Planning Division (OPD) reviewed power usage aboard the LEM if the fuel cell assembly (FCA) failed. OPD concluded that Grumman's requirements were too stringent (i.e., turning off all equipment not needed for lunar landing should one FCA fail and turning off everything not needed for crew safety following an abort should two FCA's fail). OPD planned to review all subsystems to determine their duty cycles after an FCA-dictated abort.

MSC,"ASPO Management Report for Period April 30-May 7, 1964."

May 6

NASA selected RCA for negotiation of a contract for C-band radar equipment to be used on tracking ships by NASA and the Department of Defense, under the U.S. Navy Instrumentation Ships Project Office, during lunar missions.

NASA News Release 64-107, "NASA Selects RCA Radar for Tracking Ships," May 6, 1964.

May 7

ASPO notified Grumman that a number of components must remain as common- use items, because they were used in conjunction with government furnished equipment that was interchangeable between the two spacecraft: oxygen and water disconnects on the portable life support system and quick-disconnects for the suit umbilicals. ASPO added suit umbilicals and carbon dioxide sensors to the common-use list.

ASPO decided that the Gemini pressure suit would be used in Apollo Block I earth orbital flights and, on May 19, notified North American accordingly. This decision grew out of continuing mobility problems with Apollo prototype suit, especially restrictive inside the spacecraft. (See April 28-30.)

MSC, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, May 8, 1964," p. 4; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 14-21, 1964."

May 7-14

At MSC's request, Grumman studied the use of the LEM stabilization and control system in aligning that vehicle's inertial measurement unit before spacecraft separation. The company found that the maneuver would consume 5.33 kilograms (11.74 pounds) of fuel from the vehicle's stabilization and control system (SCS), compared with 2.83 kilograms (6.24 pounds) for the same alignment with a free LEM. Grumman advised that the best procedure would be to use the CSM to position the LEM telescope field of view. The LEM could then begin the necessary drift for sighting, using less than 0.23 kilogram (0.5 pound) of SCS fuel.

Also, Grumman studied the feasibility of an overhead window at the command pilot's station in the LEM. The contractor was pursuing the question of the optimum window size and location and the type of reticle required. (See April 24 and May 22.)

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 7-14, 1964."

May 7-14

North American completed the environmental requirements for the CM television camera. The camera must be able to function under conditions of 100 percent humidity, including unhooking and reconnecting the cable. Also, because of the humidity requirement and the "outgassing" properties of commercial lenses (that is, the gases which they could possibly give off inside the spacecraft's cabin), North American decided that a special zoom lens would have to be developed, which would cost around $110,000.


May 8

NASA and The Boeing Company signed a contract for five Lunar Orbiter spacecraft. Under the incentive provisions, Boeing could receive up to $5.3 million more than the basic $80 million cost if all Lunar Orbiter missions were successful. (See December 20, 1963.)

NASA News Release 64-109, "NASA Signs Contract with Boeing for Lunar Orbiter," May 8, 1964.

May 8

ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea told the Center's Senior Staff that it was imperative to decide whether to use the gas-cooled space suit or the liquid-cooled undergarment. (See February 1.) Studies had shown that the current gas-cooled suit would not meet the heat load requirements and improvement would be difficult. Shea felt that parallel developments should not be carried out. A more conservative approach might be to adopt the liquid-cooled garment, which could readily handle the heat load, although it entailed some increase in weight and cost, if it could be developed and qualified within the next four years. On May 22, Robert O. Piland, Shea's Deputy, reported to the Staff that liquid-cooled undergarments had been selected for the Block II spacecraft. (See July.)

In line with selection of the liquid-cooled undergarment, Hamilton Standard was directed to stop work on the gas-cooled and begin work on a watercooled portable life support system (PLSS). On June 3, Grumman was officially notified that the PLSS was being redesigned to include a liquid transport loop for removal of heat from inside the space suit. This would be done by the liquid-cooled garment and incorporation of flexible tubing through which a coolant would be circulated. Current PLSS interfaces would be used to the greatest practical extent. It was expected that the new undergarments would first be used in manned flight about mid-1967.

MSC, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, May 8, 1964," p. 4; "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, May 22, 1964," p. 4; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 14-21, 1964"; letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Portable life support system changes," June 3, 1964.

May 11-18

After a 444-second firing, Rocketdyne's first LEM descent engine prototype thrust chamber developed a hot gas leak at the injector flange. Studies were under way by the contractor to determine the cause of the leak.

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, May 17-June 20, 1964," p. 24; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 14-21, 1964."

May 12

Verne C. Fryklund, Jr., Chief of the Lunar and Planetary Branch in NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications, reported that the Lunar Orbiter program was being coordinated with Apollo's requirements for moon maps. This agreement was reached through a series of meetings of Fryklund with William B. Taylor, of OMSF's Advanced Manned Missions Program Directorate; and Lee R. Scherer, Lunar Orbiter Program Manager. Fryklund set forth general requirements for maps for the Apollo program. Because most Lunar Orbiter data were intended for Apollo's use, Fryklund said, these requirements must be borne in mind when Lunar Orbiter's information was analyzed and distributed. MSC was interested primarily in the equatorial area of the moon (10 degrees above and below the equator), and established rather stringent demands for accuracy around selected landmarks. These requirements were dictated by Apollo's need for selenodetic and topographic information, essential for lunar navigation and landing site selection and for scientific activities by the astronauts on the lunar surface. Although each mission might ultimately require special maps, Fryklund advised, major requirements could be met by a common series of charts and photomosaics.

Memorandum, Fryklund, NASA, to Distr., "The Lunar Orbiter Program and the lunar mapping requirements of Project Apollo," May 12, 1964.

May 13

Apollo's first flight test using the Little Joe II launch vehicle, Mission A-001, using CSM boilerplate (BP) 12, was launched from WSMR. The test was conducted to determine aerodynamic characteristics of the launch escape system (LES) and its capability to pull the spacecraft away from the launch vehicle during an abort at transonic speeds and high dynamic pressure. Thrust termination subjected the spacecraft to an environment more severe than expected, above the qualification test level of many of the CM's components.

BP-12 planned sequence

he planned sequence of events for the BP-12 sub-orbital flight is shown above.

Except for a parachute failure, spacecraft and LES functioned flawlessly. All but one test objective was met: because of excessive spacecraft oscillation at the time the main parachutes were deployed, one riser was dragged across the spacecraft structure and severed. The shroud lines of the now-freed parachute burned a gore in one of the two remaining parachutes. Although the damaged gore failed, these two main parachutes deployed normally. BP-12 landed 3,530 meters (11,600 feet) downrange about five minutes and 50 seconds after liftoff. At impact, its rate of descent was 7.9 meters (26 feet) per second, 0.06 meters (two feet) per second faster than planned but still within human tolerances.

"Postlaunch Report for Apollo Mission A-001 (BP-12)," pp. 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, 6-1.

May 14-21

MSC decided to provide equipment in the LEM for recording the astronauts' voices, and was studying ways to achieve a capability for time correlation with a minimum increase in power and weight.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 14-21, 1964."

May 18-25

The first test of a fully ablative thrust chamber for the LEM descent engine was held at Space Technology Laboratories. The chamber, with a wall thickness of 22.4 millimeters (0.88 inch), was fired for 488 seconds. Although some charring occurred, there was no streaking or gouging. Data showed good performance at low thrust.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 21-28, 1964"; MSC, "Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, May 24-30, 1964."

May 21

General Electric (GE) issued a report on postlanding tilt angles for the LEM (the result of a study ordered by ASPO). The Apollo Systems Specification, put out by OMSF, called for the LEM's ability to lift off from the moon from an angle of 30 degrees; MSC's LEM Technical Approach stated that "the Lunar Touchdown System [i.e., the landing gear] will be required to land the LEM in a near vertical position satisfactory for lunar launch and normal egress." GE's study was an attempt to reconcile this difference. There was some concern that, for a variety of reasons, a 30-degree tilt might be undesirable: the spacecraft could tip over; once stage separation occurred, the vehicle's ascent portion could shift slightly; and the crew's visibility and mobility - including their ability to get in and out of the craft - might be impaired. Added to this were possible constraints imposed by the performance of many of the LEM's operational systems (e.g., communications, ascent propulsion, stabilization and control). In sum, GE reported that it had found no constraints that negated the 30-degree figure, and recommended that MSC's Technical Approach be revised to correspond with OMSF's specification.

General Electric Company, Apollo Support Department, "Study of the Postlanding Tilt Angle of the LEM," TIR 545-S64-03-006, May 21, 1964, passim, but especially pp. 1-4, 32-34; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 21-28, 1964"; interview, telephone, Richard H. Kohrs, Houston, March 9, 1970.

May 21

NASA completed negotiations with General Dynamics/Convair (GD/C) for two additional Little Joe II test vehicles and associated ground equipment. (See February 18, 1963.) The amendment (worth $1,352,050) increased the contract's total estimated cost and fee to $12,478,205, and brought to eight the total number of Little Joes (excluding the qualification vehicle) that NASA bought from GD/C.

MSC,"Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, May 17-June 20, 1964,"p. 42; Little Joe II Test Launch Vehicle, NASA Project Apollo: Final Report, Vol. I, pp. 1-7, 4-4.

May 21-28

North American completed zero-g egress tests, using the proposed small configuration CM side entry hatch with a crewman wearing a pressurized Gemini space suit and an operational portable life support system. Weightless tests were also conducted on the crew couch zero-g restraint harness. The subjects had considerable difficulty attaching the harness; additional development and testing were necessary.

NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-26, July 1, 1964, p. 7; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 28-June 4, 1964."

May 22

ASPO directed Grumman to provide an overhead window in the LEM to permit the pilot to dock at the upper docking hatch. The forward access hatch was retained for lunar surface ingress and egress and on-the- pad access capabilities. The contractor would remove the forward docking interface and tunnel.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 21-28, 1964"; MSC, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, May 22, 1964," p. 4.

May 22

MSC received results of RCA and Ryan Aeronautical Company studies on modifying either the LEM landing or rendezvous radar to achieve the high accuracies needed to circularize the LEM's lunar orbit. The contractors concluded that, as currently designed, radar performance would be marginal. Attempts to obtain this degree of accuracy could cause schedules to slip, because of the lack of knowledge of lunar reflectivity. As a means of reducing the effects of surface variations, RCA and Ryan recommended lessening the spectrum of the radar. (See February 27-March 4 and March 16.)

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 21-28, 1964"; MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, May !7-June 20, 1964," p. 58.

May 22

MSC informed Grumman of two major revisions to the ground rules for crew transfer between the two spacecraft:

  1. Definite tasks were replaced with a general requirement that a "pressurized crew,' should be able to prepare the docked spacecraft for translunar operations.
  2. The requirement for a crewman to pressurize his space suit and, with the aid of a second crewman, move through the transfer tunnel without damage to the suit was changed: the crew must be able to transfer through the tunnel in a pressurized suit as a degraded mode of operation.
Transfer in an unpressurized suit continued to be the primary and extravehicular transfer the emergency mode. Crew transfer tests at North American indicated that no significant hardware changes were necessary to implement these revisions.

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Revision of the Apollo-Docking Interface and Ground Rules," May 22, 1964.

May 26

At Hamilton Standard, MSC representatives reviewed status of the Apollo space suit (A3H-024). Tests showed that a suited astronaut could not put on the thermal coverall while wearing a portable life support system.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 28-June 4, 1964."

May 26

ASPO notified Grumman that the carbon dioxide sensor was a crew safety item. Since failure of this component could cause loss of the crew, it must be designed to meet crew safety reliability. NASA's contract with The Perkin-Elmer Corporation, manufacturer of the; sensor, had been amended to include testing required for crew safety items.

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, carbon dioxide (CO2) sensor requirement," May 26, 1964.

May 26

ASPO directed North American to provide a station in the CM where the astronauts could put on and remove the portable life support systems.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 21-28, 1964."

May 27

Meetings at Grumman (on May 21-22) had disclosed that the contractor had changed from an all-welded LEM cabin to one that was partially riveted. Although this change had not been coordinated with MSC, the Center nonetheless agreed to it, provided the structural integrity of a cabin thus fabricated could be demonstrated under all load, temperature, and vacuum conditions. MSC recommended that representatives from Grumman visit MSFC to review welding and sealant techniques developed for Saturn launch vehicles.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 28-June 4, 1964."

May 28

Apollo Mission A-101, the first flight of an Apollo spacecraft with a Saturn launch vehicle, was launched from Cape Kennedy. The purpose of the flight was to demonstrate the compatibility of the spacecraft with the launch vehicle for earth orbital flights. A-101 also was the first Apollo flight test conducted at Cape Kennedy, and consisted of CSM boilerplate (BP) 13 and the Saturn SA-6 vehicle.

Launch azimuth was 105 degrees. S-I's first stage number eight engine shut down prematurely at T+1 16.9 seconds, delaying S-I cutoff and separation, which occurred at T+148.8 seconds (2.7 seconds late). The S-IV second stage ignited at T+150.9 seconds, and the LES was jettisoned 10.3 seconds later and was propelled safely from the flight path. S-IV cutoff took place at T+624.5 seconds (l.26 seconds earlier than predicted). Orbit insertion was completed at T+629.5 seconds, with a 31.78 degree equatorial plane. The payload weight at orbit insertion was 7,622 kilograms (17,023 pounds). Deviations from planned flight path angle and velocity were minus 0.05 degrees and plus 3.6 meters (11 feet) per second, respectively. Orbital parameters were 182 and 227 kilometers (98.4 and 122.5 nautical miles); the orbital period was 88.62 minutes.

Although there were a few cases of excessive delay in transmission, data coverage and availability were, in general, quite good. Electromagnetic interference was minor and did not degrade or invalidate the data. The instrumentation and communications systems performed satisfactorily; battery performances exceeded expectations. LES separation caused no detectable disturbance of the flight vehicle. The sequencer system, explosive bolts, and tower jettison all functioned properly. Aerodynamic, thermodynamic, acoustic, and vibration data contained no surprises. As expected, stresses on the LES were considerably less than those imposed during abort; loads on other spacecraft structures all were within design limits.

BP-13 and the spent S-IV stage circled the earth 54 times before reentering the atmosphere east of Canton Island in the Pacific Ocean on June 1. No spacecraft recovery was planned.

NAA, "Project Apollo Flight-Test Report, Boilerplate 13," SID 63-1416-3, August 1964, pp. 2-1, 2-2; "Postlaunch Report for Apollo Mission A-101 (BP-13)," pp. 2-1, 3-2 through 3-5, 4-l through 4-3, 7-1.

May 28

MSC issued a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to Bissett-Berman Corporation of Santa Monica, Calif., for studies of Apollo mission planning, guidance and navigation system analysis, and related tasks. The contract was valued at $915,357.

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, May 17-June 20, 1964," p. 42.

May 28

MSC instructed North American to continue the Apollo food studies (being done under subcontract by the Stanford Research Center) on diet selection, nutritional value, packaging design and materials, and rehydration. North American was asked to furnish a final report documenting the project and to provide MSC Crew Systems Division with one set (i.e., food supply for three crewmen for a two-week Apollo mission) for evaluation of both the food itself and of packaging concepts. The contractor also was asked to report its findings on studies of snacks for the crewmen.

Letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., "Contract Change Authorization No. 174, Revision 1," May 28, 1964,

May 28-June 4

MSC reported that Grumman was studying how much restraint the LEM crew needed during lunar landing, and was conducting manned drop tests to help define requirements. The program was divided into two phases, one on vertical and the other on off-axis landing. In the first part, already completed, the subject had needed no restraints. The second phase, however, was much more severe, and it was believed that restraint would probably be essential.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 28-June 4, 1964"; "Quarterly Status Report No. 8," p. 35.

During the Month

At the CSM mockup review at North American on April 28-30, MSC officials were concerned about the complexity of the couch restraint system. Because of the decision that primary landing would be on water (see February 28), the system was reviewed. Based upon load analyses, supplemented by manned tests at Holloman Air Force Base, a simpler system (principally a combination lap belt and shoulder harness) was found acceptable.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, May 14-21, 1964"; "Quarterly Status Report No. 8," pp. 12-13.

June 1-5

MSC notified Grumman that primary LEM ingress and egress was through the forward hatch. To aid the LEM crew in getting down to the lunar surface and in climbing back into their vehicle, the Center said, a narrow platform must be provided from the hatch to the landing gear knuckle (which became the "front porch"), and a handrail and ladder down the strut to the foot pad.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 4-11, 1964."

June 1-5

Technicians of MSC's Landing and Recovery Division began initial testing with a prototype flotation collar (similar to those used with both Mercury and Gemini spacecraft). Boilerplate 25 served as the test vehicle.

MSC, Space News Roundup, June 24, 1964, p. 3.

June 2

NASA signed a production contract worth $1.82 million with Sperry Gyroscope for accelerometers for the CSM's navigation and guidance system. (See Volume I, May 8, 1962.) [Sperry Gyroscope had been chosen during the first half of 1962 to develop these devices, and a developmental contract had been signed on June 1 of that year.]

NASA Contract NAS 9-2847, June 2, 1964.

June 3

ASPO confirmed for Grumman that no conclusive requirement for a LEM emergency detection system (EDS) had been established. The LEM should be designed to preclude any potential failure which could cause a time- critical emergency. Malfunctions which were not time-critical would be monitored by the caution and warning system while the LEM was manned. Equipment which operated during unmanned periods should be designed to present minimum hazard and to shut down or discharge in a safe condition in cases of malfunction.

ASPO therefore directed Grumman to take no further action on an EDS for the LEM; to analyze possible failures continuously to ensure that safety requirements were met; and to advise ASPO if, at any time, those analyses indicated increased criticality which might warrant reconsideration of an EDS.

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Lunar Excursion Module Recommendation Concerning LEM Emergency Detection," June 3, 1964.

June 4

After studying several configurations for the probe and drogue docking concept, North American recommended one particular design: three radial attenuators attached to three pitch arms, a probe head, a sliding center probe, a stored gas retracting mechanism, and three probe-to-tunnel mounting arms. This configuration would be about 15 percent lighter than the single, center probe, attenuator configuration.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 4-11, 1964."

June 4-11

North American assessed the ultraviolet energy emitted from the shock layer surrounding a spacecraft during reentry. The contractor sought to determine how much that energy added to the radiative heat load imposed on the vehicle, and what effect it would have on the amount of ablative material on the CM. North American's first estimates placed the figure at about 20 percent for lunar return velocities (a figure that thermodynamics experts at MSC called "very conservative"), which would cause about a 4.5-kilogram (10- pound) increase in ablator weight. Because ultraviolet emissions were insignificant at orbital speeds, MSC's Structures and Mechanics Division recommended that their effect be considered only for the design of the Block II CM's heatshield.


June 8

ASPO redefined the allowances for scientific equipment in the LEM ascent stage. Major changes were the increase of storage space from 0.06 to 0.09 cubic meter (two to three cubic feet) and of weight from 36 to 45 kilograms (80 to 100 pounds). (See April 29.)

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Scientific Equipment," June 8, 1964.

June 8

A test of the landing impact and stability test program was conducted at North American's drop facility. CM boilerplate 2 was tested with the centerline perpendicular to the water at a vertical speed of 10.4 meters (34 feet) per second. For the first time, a self-contained instrumentation package was installed in the dummy in the center couch. The other two dummies were not instrumented. Onboard cameras documented the general motions and responses during impact. No motion of the dummies in couches or restraint harnesses was observed, indicating that support and restraint were excellent. The simulated heatshield ruptured, as expected.

NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-27, August 1, 1964, pp. 5-7, 17; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 4-11, 1964"; interview, telephone, Glenn W. Briggs, RASPO/NAA, January 12, 1970.

June 9

In response to a Grumman request, ASPO provided information on LEM crew provision requirements. Caloric requirements, management, packaging, and reconstitution of food supplies were spelled out in detail.

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM crew provisions," June 9, 1964.

June 9

MSC announced the letting of a $67,261 contract to Geonautics, Inc., for a study of LEM navigation using lunar landmarks for reference. Geonautics would evaluate crew techniques and procedures for choosing safe landing sites, navigational devices and displays in the LEM, navigational data on the spacecraft's position and trajectory, errors to be expected using various methods of navigation, and the value of available lunar maps.

MSC News Release 64-109, June 9, 1964.

June 9

Micro Systems, a subsidiary of Electro-Optical Systems, received two North American contracts valued at $1.85 million to provide temperature and pressure transducer instrumentation for the CM.

Space Business Daily, June 9, 1964, p. 212.

June 9

Intending to rely on redundant and backup systems to ensure the spacecraft's reliability, MSC ordered North American to discontinue all effort on the inflight test and maintenance concept for the CM, including spare parts.

Letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., "Contract Change Authorization No. 213," June 9, 1964.

June 9

MSC clarified design criteria for the launch escape vehicle (LEV). During initial portions of the first-stage flight, when range safety considerations precluded thrust termination (estimated to be 40 seconds), the LEV must be capable of aborting safely. Also, the LEV structure must be designed to withstand loads arising from tumbling or oscillating.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 4-11, 1964."

Early June

MSC geologist Ted H. Foss described a simulated lunar surface (modeled after the Kepler crater in the Oceanus Procellarum) to be constructed at MSC. It would be used for geological training of astronauts and for studying their mobility in space suits. The 100-meter (328-foot)-diameter area would be covered mainly with slag. Plans for several craters about 15 meters (50 feet) in diameter and 4.6 meters (15 feet) deep were later altered to include a large crater 19.5 meters (64 feet) in diameter and 4.9 meters (16 feet) deep and a smaller crater 12.2 meters (40 feet) in diameter and 3 meters (10 feet) deep. There would be a major ridge, 102.4 meters (336 feet) long and 3.7 meters (12 feet) high, and about 75 small craters less than 1.2 meters (4 feet) in diameter. [The mock lunar surface was completed in December.]

MSC, Space News Roundup, June 10, 1964, p. 7; MSC News Release 64-194, December 21, 1964.

Early June

NASA notified Grumman, MIT, and North American that RCA would furnish the CSM rendezvous radar to be used with the radar equipment on the LEM. A purchase order for the additional units was issued.

"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 8," p. 46.

June 11

MSC directed North American to make a number of changes to the Block II CSM configuration, some of which were mandatory for Block I vehicles as well. This action followed reviews of the contractor's CSM Block II Technical Report at Houston and at NASA Headquarters (by Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips and OMSF chief George E. Mueller) during May. (See April 16.)

Basically, these changes (including a number to the spacecraft's subsystems) were imposed by the requirements of a lunar mission. Most pertained to the CM per se: provisions for docking (including visual aids) and redesign of the transfer tunnel; capability for extravehicular transfer; and adding portable life support systems and scientific equipment. Micrometeoroid protection had to be added to the SM. (See September 30.)

Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Addressees, "CSM Block II changes transmitted to NAA for implementation," June 19, 1964, with enclosure: letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., Attn: E. E. Sack, "Block II changes," June 11, 1964, with enclosures.

June 11-18

North American canceled its contract with Avien, Inc., for the CSM S- band high-gain antenna system. (See June 21-27, 1963.) Between July 16 and August 15, North American awarded 90-day study contracts to Hughes Aircraft Company and GE to determine the best approach for developing these antennas for Block II spacecraft. The studies were scheduled for completion in October.

MSC, "Apollo/E and D Technical Management Meeting No. 5," June 3, 1964, p. 1; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 11-18, 1964"; NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-28, September 1, 1964, p. 8.

June 12

MSC and Space Technology Laboratories (STL) completed negotiations (begun May 12) on a $4.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a Mission Trajectory Control Program, a continuing project begun in September 1963 to analyze Gemini missions. STL would develop computer programs for flight control trajectories, orbital maneuvers, and analyses of guidance systems, range safety, and mission error. NASA Headquarters approved the contract on August 18 and announced the contract award on August 20.

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, July 19-August 22, 1964," p. 42; "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, May 17-June 20, 1964," p. 43; NASA News Release 64-206, "STL to Compute Gemini, Apollo Missions Simulations," August 20, 1964.

June 12

MSC approved Grumman's subcontract (valued at $9,411,144) with Pratt and Whitney Aircraft for the LEM fuel cell assembly.

On this same day, the Center awarded a letter contract with a total estimated cost and fee of $3.315 million to AC Spark Plug for the LEM guidance and navigation and coupling display unit. (See October 18, 1963.)

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, June 21-July 18, 1964," p. 37.

June 15

Space Business Daily reported that MSC was developing a packaging system for bringing back uncontaminated lunar specimens for study. First, the Center would explore methods for collecting, storing, and shipping geological, chemical, and biological specimens in their original conditions to earth laboratories. MSC then would award a contract for production of the system.

Space Business Daily, June 15, 1964, p. 239.

June 16

ASPO notified Grumman that the use of reclaimed high explosives was undesirable, since this might reduce the reliability and quality of pyrotechnic systems. To trace any lot of reclaimed material to its point of origin was virtually impossible, nor could adulterants such as TNT, which might have been added for original military use, be easily removed. MSC therefore directed North American to use only virgin, newly manufactured high explosives in Apollo pyrotechnic devices and systems.

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, High explosives in the Apollo Spacecraft," June 16, 1964.

June 16

A realignment of CSM guidance and navigation subsystems functions was mandatory for Block II spacecraft. MSC therefore directed North American and MIT to conduct a program definition study of these systems. MSC outlined Block II responsibilities, systems changes (both required and desired), and implementation requirements and assigned responsibilities in these areas to the appropriate contractors.

Letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., "Contract Change Authorization No. 216," June 16, 1964, with enclosure: "Notes for CSM Block II, Definition Discussions," June 4, 1964.

June 17

NASA selected Collins Radio Company for an estimated $20 million fixed-price-plus-incentive-fee contract to fabricate, install, integrate, and test unified S-band tracking, data acquisition, and communications equipment for Manned Space Flight Network stations. Chosen from 14 competing firms, Collins would provide NASA with nine systems, each with a 9-meter (30-foot)-diameter parabolic antenna. Six of these would be integrated into facilities being prepared for Gemini flights and three would be installed at new Apollo stations. About 30 partial systems would also be integrated into existing ground stations for tracking Apollo flights.

NASA News Release 64-116, "NASA Negotiating Apollo Communications Systems Contracts," May 14, 1964; NASA News Release 64-146, "NASA Selects Collins Radio to Provide Apollo Tracking Systems," June 17, 1964.

June 18-25

At MSC, tests were completed on the modified space suit with the new prototype helmet. Tests in the CM mockup indicated that the new helmet gave better visibility than previous helmets. The range of nodding provided by the neck joint, however, was not considered adequate. Both the suit and helmet were shipped back to Hamilton Standard for additional work.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 11-18, 1964"; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 18-25, 1964."

June 18-25

Beech Aircraft Corporation completed qualification testing of the hydrogen pressure vessel for the CSM electrical power system cryogenic storage. All four vessels exceeded burst pressure specification requirements. Two Inconel oxygen tanks also were burst tested, with satisfactory results.

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, June 21-July 18, 1964," p. 19; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 18-25, 1964."

June 18-25

MSC and Honeywell studied feasibility of the astronauts' exercising manual control of the spacecraft during SM propulsion engine firing to eject from earth orbit. Investigators found that, although the task became increasingly difficult as the maneuver progressed from attitude to position changes, manual control nonetheless was entirely feasible. North American had studied six possible methods of providing electronic redundancy in the stabilization and control system (SCS) to perform just this function, but in the end recommended manual rate command. Based upon this recommendation and the earlier study, on August 19 MSC decided to incorporate this manual rate control capability in Block I SCS systems.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 18-25, 1964"; MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, July 19-August 22, 1964," pp. 20, 47; NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-29, October I, 1964, p. 11; interview, telephone, Kenneth J. Cox, Houston, March 10, 1970.

June 19

Qualification testing on the launch escape motor began with a successful static firing by the Lockheed Propulsion Company. Twenty motors were tested during July and August; all performed satisfactorily. (See August 30.)

Lockheed Propulsion Company, "Apollo Launch Escape and Pitch Control Motors, Monthly Progress Report No. 28," LPC No. 588-P-28, September 30, 1964, p. 5; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-27, p. 15.

June 20

NASA announced a realignment of CSM guidance and navigation system contractors, effective July 25. (See February 16-March 21.) Two of the prime contractors, Kollsman Instrument Corporation (supplier of the scanning telescope, sextant, and map and data viewer) and Raytheon Company (manufacturer of the onboard computer), became subcontractors to AC Spark Plug, prime contractor for the inertial measuring unit and for assembly and test of the complete system. Under separate contracts, MIT continued to direct overall design, development, and integration of the system, while Sperry Gyroscope provided accelerometers. All contracts for the guidance and navigation system were managed by MSC.

NASA News Release 64-148, "AC Spark Plug Becomes Prime Contractor for Production of Apollo Guidance and Navigation System," June 20, 1964; MSC, "Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, July 19-25, 1964," p. 3,

June 21-July 18

Two amendments to the LEM contract were forwarded to Grumman for signature. One, for $1.257 million, was for additional flight engineering support at MSC; the other, for $4.252 million, was for a data acquisition system to be installed in the Apollo Propulsion System Development Facility at WSMR.

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, June 21-July 18, 1964," p.37; MSC News Release 64-151, September 11, 1964,

June 24

J-2 engine assembly line

The hydrogen-fueled J-2 rocket engines for the upper stages of the Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles were completed on the assembly line at the Canoga Park, Calif., plant of Rocketdyne Division of NAA. The J-2 developed a thrust of 1,000 kilonewtons (225,000 pounds) at altitude. It operated in a cluster of five engines in the S-II stage and singly in the S-IVB stage of the Apollo launch vehicle. (Rocketdyne photo)

NASA Headquarters approved the definitive contract with Rocketdyne for the production of 55 J-2 engines (used in the S-IVB stage of the Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles). Negotiations had taken place from April 13 to May 15. Initial value of the contract was $89.5 million.

Akens et al., History of Marshall . . . January 1 through June 30, 1964, Vol. I, pp. 145, 226; David S. Akens, Leo L. Jones, and A. Ruth Jarrell, History of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center from July 1 through December 31, 1964 (MHM-10, undated), Vol. I, p. 132.

June 24

The Army Map Service reported the completion for NASA of the first complete topographic map of the visible face of the moon.

The San Diego Union, June 25, 1964.

June 24

North American conducted the first hot fire tests of the SM reaction control system, with steady and pulsed firings. Only one engine was fired. The only problem encountered was with the oxidizer shutoff valve, which would have to be completely redesigned.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 25-July 2, 1964."

June 25

Grumman engineers, meeting with ASPO officials in Houston, outlined the contractor's philosophy about onboard checkout of the LEM and equipment required to do the job. Scheduled at times when the astronauts were not heavily pressed with other activities, company engineers said there should be three major checkouts of the LEM to come:

  1. after lunar orbit injection,
  2. immediately after lunar landing, and
  3. just before lunar launch. Of course, the astronauts would monitor the various systems during activity with the LEM to manage and operate its subsystems.
The contractor did not visualize any need for "centralized onboard checkout equipment" - caution and warning lights, controls and displays, help from the ground network, among others, should satisfy the needs. Grumman asked MSC for authority to delete the requirement for centralized checkout equipment, and ASPO concurred with their recommendations on July 27.

Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM on-board checkout equipment," July 14, 1964, with enclosure: "Minutes of Meeting At MSC Discussing LEM On-Board Checkout Equipment, June 25, 1964"; letter, Rector to Mullaney, "Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM On-Board Checkout Equipment," July 27, 1964.

June 25

LTV was awarded a $1,125,040 contract for a dynamic crew procedures simulator to study task assignments in simulated space flight. The trainer was capable of yaw, pitch, and roll movements and duplicated vibrations and noise incurred during liftoff, powered flight, and reentry. Visual displays simulated views of starfields, earth or moon horizons, rendezvous target vehicles, and landscapes.

MSC News Release 64-122, July 1, 1964; MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, June 21-July 18, 1964," p. 38.

June 25-July 1

Zero g tests of the CM/LEM crew transfer tunnel were performed in KC-135 aircraft at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, verifying data obtained during crew-transfer zero-g simulations conducted at North American in February and March. The task of controlling equipment proved difficult. For example, the docking probe was temporarily lost during removal.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 2-9, 1964."

June 26

MSC awarded a letter contract (with a total cost and fee estimated at $1.234 million) to Kollsman Instrument Corporation for optical components for the LEM guidance and navigation system. (See October 18, 1963.) Negotiations for a definitive contract began July 10.

MSC, "Consolidated Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, June 21-July 18, 1964," p. 37.

June 26

ASPO, Bellcomm, Inc., and MSC's Mission Planning and Analysis Division completed a study on reentry range requirements. Because of the deceleration limit of 10 g's, the minimum reentry range was 2,200 kilometers (1,200 nautical miles [n.m.]). A range flexibility of about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 n.m.) was essential to allow for weather conditions. An additional 1,600 kilometers (1,000 n.m.) was required by the emergency reentry monitoring system. Therefore, the heatshield must be designed to withstand reentry heating over a 5,920-kilometer (3,200-nm.) range.

During mid-July, ASPO learned from the Landing and Recovery Division that the minimum acceptable CM maneuverability during reentry was 1,600 kilometers (1,000 n.m.) for water landings. "This requirement was based on storm size, weather predictability, and reliability of storm location and direction of movement." Landing errors associated with reentry on backup guidance demanded that the spacecraft be capable of a 6,500-kilometer (3,500-n.m.) reentry.

Memorandum, Aaron Cohen, MSC, to Owen E, Maynard, "Reentry Range Requirement," June 26, 1964; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 16-23, 1964"; memorandum, Claude A. Graves, MSC, to Chief, Mission Planning and Analysis Div., "Operational entry range requirement," June 18, 1964; memorandum, Carl R. Huss, MSC, to BE4/Historical Office, "Comments on Volume II of The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology," March 30, 1970.

June 28-July 4

MSC authorized Grumman to procure a "voice only" tape recorder with time correlation for use in the LEM data storage electronic assembly. The unit would be voice operated and have a capacity of 10 hours recording time.

MSC, "Weekly Activity Report for the Office of the Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, June 28-July 4, 1964," p. 3.

June 30

After acceptance testing, AiResearch Manufacturing Company delivered the first production CM environmental control system to North American.

The Garrett Corporation, AiResearch Manufacturing Division, "Monthly Progress Report, Environmental Control System, NAA/S&lD, Project Apollo, 16 June 1964-15 July 1964," SS-1013-R(26), July 31, 1964, pp. 1, 15.

June 30

MSC directed North American to make whatever changes were necessary in the Block I design to make the spacecraft compatible with the Gemini space suit. (See May 7.)

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, June 25-July 2, 1964."

During the Month

MSC's Operations Planning Division requested OMSF to revise its spacecraft specifications to

  1. delete the requirement for data storage in the LEM (this function would be performed by the CSM data recording equipment via an RE link); and
  2. drop the requirement for one portable life support system (PLSS) for each crewman (a third PLSS would only allow the CM pilot to enter the LEM without benefit of a hard dock, and studies had shown that this situation probably would never arise).
Early in July, MSC requested OMSF to change two other requirements from tentative to firm:

  1. LEM tilt angle at lunar liftoff should not exceed 30 degrees (MSC had accepted this value and Grumman had been asked to design systems to conform [see May 21]);
  2. the service propulsion system should include a propellant control so that unused propellants (resulting from mixture ratio shift) would not exceed 0.5 percent of the initial propellant supply. (Studies showed that the North American design already met this requirement.)
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 8," p. 63; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, July 2-9, 1964."

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