Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
MSC's Guidance and Control Division conducted a pilot simulation study
to determine whether a pilot could take over manual control of the LEM
between 4,572 and 3,048 m (15,000 and 10,000 ft) above the lunar surface
and satisfactorily land the vehicle. The study also determined what
flight information was required for pilot control.
The study investigated deceleration techniques, approach velocity,
flare attitude, and the pilot information required for landings within
a given footprint. If the site was deemed unsatisfactory for landing,
after "eyeballing" it from 305 m (1,000 ft), the pilot would,
under normal circumstances, place the coordinates of a new landing site
in the computer; then take over manually and fly while making selection
of the landing site.
MSC, "MSC Internal Note No. 65-EG-3, Project Apollo, Simulation
Study of Pilot Controlled Lunar Landings from the Transition
Altitude," Thomas E. Moore and Clarke T. Hackler, January 5,
At the fourth meeting of the Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel, MSC and
MSFC members agreed on a trajectory with a launch azimuth of 108
degrees. Translunar injection would be performed over the Pacific Ocean
during the first or second orbits. First-orbit injection would fix the
minimum time required before the maneuver. Injection on the second pass
would determine consequent penalties. The actions were initiated by
Mission Planning and Analysis Division (MPAD) and were required to
solidify and minimize analytical studies and operational planning.
Memorandum, Secretaries, Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel Meeting, to
Distr., "Meetings of fourth Reference Trajectory Sub-Panel meeting
held January 5, 1965," January 11, 1965; memorandum, Carl R. Huss,
MSC, to JSC Historical Office, "Comments on Volume III of
The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology," June 6,
North American and Lockheed summarized the qualification program for
the launch escape and pitch control motors. While several performance
deviations were reported, these were minor and, in general, the
presentation was deemed satisfactory. North American followed up on the
discrepancies and, on March 22, the motors were declared
NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-34, March
1, 1965, p. 17.
William A. Lee, chief of ASPO's Operations Planning Division, outlined
the space suit design criteria for Apollo missions 204 and 205. Modified
Gemini space suits were to be used.
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Assistant Director for Flight Crew
Operations, "Spacesuit Utilization on Block I CSM Earth Orbital
Missions," January 6, 1965. [See memorandum, Donald K. Slayton,
MSC, to Chief, Operations Planning Division, "Spacesuit
Utilization on Block I CSM Earth Orbital Missions," January 26,
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C.
Phillips that he planned to conduct a program review with MIT during
January 1965, similar to the North American, AC Spark Plug, and Grumman
program reviews, but with certain differences, since MIT was a non-
profit organization and the scope of its work much narrower than the
prime hardware contractors. Shea pointed out that 1965 would be the most
critical year of the MIT effort; during that year all drawings for the
Block I, Block II, and LEM guidance navigation and control programs
should be released. Consequently, the program review at MIT would
examine only that one year.
Shea said he would meet with C. Stark Draper on January 14 and discuss
with him "where we stand with respect to the MIT work of the past
and our concerns for the future." During the week of January 18,
MSC would send 14 teams to MIT to meet with their counterparts, and the
following week a review board, chaired by R. C. Duncan of MSC, would go
over the work of the individual MIT-NASA teams in depth and agree upon
the program for 1965. The 14 teams would be: Reliability and Quality
Assurance, Field Operations, Documentation and Configuration
Management, Systems Assembly and Test, Guidance and Mission Analysis,
Simulation, Ground Support Equipment, Optics, Inertial Systems and
Sensors, Computer, Radar, Training; Terms, Conditions, Rates and
Factors; and Statement of Work Integration.
Shea felt that the review would give MIT a clearer understanding of
their part in the guidance, navigation, and control system development.
He recommended that Phillips discuss the general nature of the program
review with George E. Mueller and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., so they would
both understand ASPO's objectives.
Phillips forwarded the letter to Associate Administrator for Manned
Space Flight George E. Mueller along with his comments on the proposal.
He said, "I think it is a good plan and that the results will be
beneficial to the program. I urge your support should it become
Letter, Shea to Phillips, January 6, 1965; memorandum, Phillips to
Mueller, January 15, 1965.
ASPO's Systems Engineering Division (SED) investigated the possibility
of partial donning of the space suit (sans helmet and gloves) and the
consequent effects upon operation of the CM environmental control system
(ECS). (Current ECS design called for shirtsleeve and full-suited
operations.) The systems engineers found that, with vehicle reliability
based upon shirtsleeve environments, wearing part of the suit
contributed little toward protecting the astronaut against loss of cabin
Most pressure-seal failures in the spacecraft would still allow the
astronaut time to don the complete suit. Catastrophic failures (i.e.,
loss of windows or hatches) were highly improbable, but if one of this
type occurred, depressurization would be so rapid as to preclude the
astronaut's donning even a part of the suit. Actually, overall mission
reliability was greatest with the shirtsleeve environment; continuous
suit wear degraded the garment's reliability for the lunar exploration
phase of the flight. Moreover, a number of design changes in the
spacecraft would be required by partial suit wear.
SED concluded that, to build confidence in the spacecraft's
pressurization system, Block I CM's should be outfitted for partial suit
wear. In Block II vehicles the suit should not be worn during translunar
mission phases (again because of mission reliability). SED recommended
to the ASPO Manager, therefore, that he direct North American to
incorporate provisions for partial suit wear in Block I and to retain
the shirtsleeve concept for the Block II spacecraft.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program
Office, "Evaluation of space suit wear criteria," January 6,
The Preliminary Design Review of the Block II CM was held at North
American's Downey, Calif., plant. Ten working groups evaluated the
spacecraft design and resolved numerous minor details. They then
reported to a review board of NASA and North American officials. This
board met in Houston during the middle of the month, reviewed the
findings of the working groups, and submitted recommendations to ASPO.
Several significant problems required the attention of Apollo managers
at Houston and at North American:
"Apollo CSM-Block II Preliminary Design Review (PDR),
NASA-MSC-ASPO, NAA-S&ID, 6-8 January 1965," pp. 4-40.
- The effect of heavyweight LEM (up 1,361 kg [3,000 lbs]) on the
spacecraft lunar adapter and on the CM's docking system. North American
was studying this problem already.
- Wearing cycles and requirements for donning and stowage of the space
suits must be resolved and incorporated into the CSM specifications.
North American's interpretation of those specifications conflicted with
the MSC Crew System Division's current plan that, during the first
several missions, all three crewmen should be able to wear their suits
without the helmets.
William A. Lee, chief of ASPO's Operations Planning Division, announced
a revised Apollo launch schedule for 1966 and 1967. In 1968, a
week-long earth orbital flight would be a dress rehearsal for the lunar
mission. "Then the moon," Lee predicted. "We have a
fighting chance to make it by 1970," he said, "and also stay
within the 20 billion price tag set . . . by former President
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965: Chronology on Science,
Technology, and Policy (NASA SP-4006, 1966), p. 7.
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low issued a memorandum regarding
differences in the Apollo schedule as made public in an Associated
Press release with a Houston, Texas, dateline. Low cited the following
statement by George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned
Space Flight, and said it "represents our official and only
position on Apollo schedules:
"We believe these major milestones will be met and our goal of a
manned lunar landing in this decade can be accomplished."
- "The Apollo schedule for accomplishment of major milestones leading
to the first manned lunar landing has not changed.
- The first Saturn IB flight is scheduled in 1966.
- Apollo manned flights on Saturn IB are scheduled for 1967.
- Unmanned Saturn V flights are scheduled for 1967.
- Manned Apollo earth orbital flights are scheduled for 1968.
AP Release, Houston, Texas, January 7, 1965; memorandum, Low to
Distribution, "Apollo schedules," January 7, 1965;
memorandum, Alfred P. Alibrando, NASA Headquarters, to Distribution,
"Apollo Schedules," April 7, 1965.
Changing the CM back-face temperature requirement from 600 degrees F at
touchdown to 600 degrees F at parachute deployment threatened to
increase the cabin air temperature. Physiologists at MSC had previously
declared that the cabin temperature should not exceed 100 degrees F. The
proposed change in the back-face requirement, North American reported,
would raise the cabin's interior to 125 degrees F. MSC's Crew Systems
Division reviewed these factors and decided the increased cabin
temperature would not be acceptable.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report" [January 7-14, 1965].
MSC was reviewing the control-display systems of the CSM and LEM to
assess operational constraints. North American was requested to study
all controls, displays, and systems functions for manned spacecraft to
identify and eliminate single-point failures.
Letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems
Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Control-display
criteria for crew safety and mission success," January 8, 1965.
NASA announced that Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 16, a Titan
missile facility, would be converted into static test stands for Apollo
spacecraft. This decision eliminated the need for such a facility
originally planned on Merritt Island and, it was predicted, would cost
little more than a fourth of the $7 million estimated for the new site.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 11-12.
North American selected Dalmo-Victor to supply S-band high-gain antennas
for Apollo CSM's. (The deployable antenna would be used beyond 14,816 km
[8,000 nm] from the earth.) Dalmo-Victor would complete the antenna
design and carry out the development work, and North American would
procure production units under a supplemental contract.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, p. 8.
Grumman and Hamilton Standard were exploring various designs for the
extravehicular mobility unit. On the basis of some early conclusions,
the MSC Crew Systems Division (CSD) recommended that meteoroid and
thermal protection be provided by a single garment. Preliminary
hypervelocity tests placed the garment's reliability at 0.999. Each
would weigh about 7.7 kg (17 lbs), about 2.3 kg (5 lbs) less than the
two-garment design. CSD further recommended that the unit be stored
either in the LEM's descent stage or in a jettisonable container in the
ascent portion. [See November 19-26, 1964.]
Memorandum, John F. Rayfield, MSC, to Record, "Status of Apollo
Support Office concept of optimum Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU)
meteoroid/thermal protection arrangement," January 12, 1965.
MSC evaluated the VHF communications requirements and determined that
there was no requirement for the LEM to communicate simultaneously over
There also was no requirement for the CSM to communicate simultaneously
over VHF with:
- the CSM in lunar orbit
- an extravehicular astronaut on the lunar surface.
Grumman and North American were advised that voice communications during
this mission phase would be maintained by the unified S-band equipment
via the Manned Space Flight Network relay.
- an extravehicular astronaut
- an astronaut in the LEM.
TWX, C. L. Taylor and W. F. Rector III, to NAA, Attn: J. C. Cozad, and
GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, January 12, 1965.
Donald K. Slayton, MSC Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations,
pointed out to Managers of the ASPO and the Gemini Program Office that a
number of units of spacecraft control and display equipment were needed
to support the Spacecraft Control Office in the areas of spacecraft crew
procedures development, crew station equipment development, flight crew
familiarization, training, and spacecraft mission preparation. Such
equipment was needed within MSC, at other NASA Centers, and at
contractor facilities to support centrifuge programs, research vehicle
programs, launch abort simulations, rendezvous and docking simulations,
retrofire and reentry simulations, and other mission phase simulations.
Slayton emphasized that uncoordinated requests for hardware procurement
to support these programs were excessively costly in terms of equipment.
Slayton said that a "satisfactory method to reduce costs and
increase equipment utilization and effectiveness is to assign
responsibility as custodian to one technically cognizant organization
which will ascertain the total requirement for equipment and be
responsible for coordinating procurement and allocating and
transferring hardware assignment required to meet program
requirements." He recommended that the Crew Station Branch of
Flight Crew Support Division be given the consolidated
Memorandum, Slayton to Manager, ASPO, and Manager, Gemini Program
Office, "Proposed control and display utilization and cost
reduction plan," January 12, 1965.
The first meeting of the Configuration Control Board was held at MSC
with ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea as chairman. Approval was given to
delete 10 Apollo guidance and navigation systems; and W. F. Rector III
was directed to look into the use of computers and prototype units for
electronic systems integration. In other actions, a decision on changes
to CSM specifications to provide for the heavyweight LEM (a proposed
increase from 12,705 to 14,515 kg [28,000 to 32,000 lbs]) was deferred
until the next meeting; and Owen Maynard was directed to identify all
Block II changes that must be implemented regardless of impact and have
them ready for Board action by February 18, 1965.
Minutes, Configuration Control Board Meeting No. 1, signed A. L. Brady,
Secretary, CCB, January 13, 1965.
Development firings of the launch escape system's drogue and pilot
parachute mortars were completed, and the units were slated for
qualification trials the following month.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 14-21, 1965."
OMSF asked MSC to provide NASA Headquarters with a statement of
"the minimum definition of meteoroid environment in cislunar
space" which would be necessary for confidence that Apollo could
withstand the meteoroid flux. The "desirable degree of
definition" was also requested. This material was to be used as
inputs to the current cislunar Pegasus studies being conducted by
Significant agreements from the Eleventh MSC-MSFC Flight Mechanics,
Dynamics, Guidance and Control Panel meeting were:
- There was no requirement to inhibit the S-IVB attitude and attitude
rate hold modes during the transposition and docking phase.
- The S-IVB auxiliary propulsion system had sufficient propellant to
perform 21 roll maneuvers in earth orbit at 0.5 deg/sec for inertial
measurement unit alignment and earth landmark sightings, one yaw
maneuver at 0.3 deg/sec for sun avoidance before transposition and
docking, and one pitch and or yaw maneuver at 0.3 deg/sec before the
final CSM/LEM separation maneuver from the S-IVB.
During testing, it was found that blast effects of the linear charge for
the CM/SM umbilical cutter caused considerable damage to the heatshield.
To circumvent this problem, North American designed a vastly improved
pyrotechnic-driven, guillotine-type cutter. MSC readily approved the
new' device for both Block I and II spacecraft.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, p. 4.
North American completed acceptance tests for the CSM sequential and
propulsion systems trainers. On January 15 the equipment was shipped to
MSC, where it was installed the following week. This terminated the
procurement program for the Apollo systems trainer.
Ibid., p. 20.
The Structures and Mechanics Division approved a low-burst factor for
the gaseous helium tanks on the LEM (as recommended by Grumman). This
change permitted a substantial lightening of the spacecraft's propulsion
systems: descent 45 kg (99 lbs); ascent, 13 kg (29 lbs); reaction
control, 2.3 kg (5 lbs).
Letter, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney,
"Contract NAS 9-1100, Reduction of burst safety factor for the
gaseous helium bottles," January 18, 1965.
MSC White Sands Missile Operations was renamed MSC White Sands
Operations to eliminate the similarity to the Army's White Sands
MSC Release 65-6, January 18, 1965.
After reviewing the requirement for extravehicular transfer (EVT) from
the LEM to the CM, MSC reaffirmed its validity. The Center already had
approved additional fuel for the CM, to lengthen its rendezvousing
range, and modifications of the vehicle's hatch to permit exterior
operation. The need for a greater protection for the astronaut during
EVT would be determined largely by current thermal tests of the pressure
suit being conducted by NASA and Hamilton Standard. While the emergency
oxygen system was unnecessary during normal transfer from one vehicle to
the other, it was essential during EVT or lunar surface activities.
TWX, W. F. Rector III, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, January 18,
LEM ascent stage.
General Motors' Allison Division completed qualification testing of the
propellant tanks for the service propulsion system.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-34, p. 8.
The MSC Mission Planning and Analysis Division made a presentation to
Joseph F. Shea, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., and Donald K. Slayton on
Apollo Missions 201, 202, 204, 206, 207, 501, 503, and 504. It was
stated that 204B was to be a repeat of 202; 204C was to be a repeat of
201; and 204D was to be the same as 204A but would be flown unmanned.
Memorandum, Carl R. Huss, JSC, to JSC Historical Office, "Comments
on Volume III of The Apollo Spacecraft: A
Chronology," June 6, 1973.
MSC was studying several approaches to the problems of automatic thermal
control and automatic reacquisition of the earth by the S-band high-gain
antenna while the CSM circled the moon. (The Block II spacecraft, MSC
had stated, must have the ability to perform these functions wholly on
its own. During an extended stay of the LEM on the lunar surface, when
the CSM pilot needed uninterrupted sleep periods, antenna reacquisition
was absolutely essential for telemetering data back to earth. And
although the requirements for passive thermal control were not yet well
defined, the spacecraft's attitude must likewise be automatically
Robert C. Duncan, chief of the MSC Guidance and Control Division,
presented his section's recommendations for solving these problems,
which ultimately won ASPO's concurrence. Precise spacecraft body rates,
Duncan said, should be maintained by the stabilization and control
system. The position of the S-band antenna should be telemetered to the
ground, where the angle required for reacquisition would be computed.
The antenna would then be repositioned by commands sent through the
Memorandum, Robert C. Duncan, MSC, to Distr., "Block II Apollo
High-gain antenna pointing in lunar orbit," January 18, 1965.
In simulated zero-g conditions aboard KC-135s, technicians evaluated a
number of different devices for restraining the LEM crewmen. These
trials demonstrated clearly the need for a hip restraint and for a
downward force to hold the astronaut securely to the cabin floor. In
mid-February a second series of flights tested the combination that
seemed most promising: Velcro shoes that would be used together with
Velcropile carpeting on the cabin floor of the spacecraft; a harness
that enveloped the astronaut's chest and, through an intricate system of
cables and pulleys, exerted a constant downward pressure; and a waist
strap that secured the harness to the lighting panel immediately facing
the crewman. These evaluations permitted Grumman to complete the design
of the restraint system.
Memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "LEM Zero
Gravity Support and Restraint Evaluation," February I, 1965.
The test altitude for mission A-004 was decreased from 22,860 to 19,507
m (75,000 to 64,000 ft) to ensure the attainment of limit loads on the
CM during a tumbling power-on abort.
Memorandum, George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., to Administrator, "Apollo
Spacecraft Intermediate Altitude Abort Test Mission A-004, Post Launch
Report No. 1," January 26, 1966, with enclosure, "Post Launch
Report No. 1."
The new membership of the MSC Manned Spacecraft Criteria and Standards
Board, established September 4, 1963, was: F. John Bailey, Jr.,
Chairman; James W. Donnell, Secretary; James A. Chamberlin, Kenneth S.
Kleinknecht, W. R. Durrett, William M. Bland, and Norman F. Smith.
MSC Circular No. 146 (Ref. 2-4-11), "MSC Manned Spacecraft
Criteria and Standards Board," January 20, 1965.
The persistent problem of combustion instability in the LEM ascent
engine, unyielding to several major injector redesigns, was still
present during test firings at Bell Aerosystems. Following reviews by
MSC and Grumman, the "mainstream effort" in the injector
program was "reoriented" to a design that included baffles on
the face of the injector. Largely because of this troublesome factor,
it now appeared that the ascent engine's development cost, which only
four months earlier Bell and Grumman had estimated at $20 million,
would probably approach $34 million. Bell also forecast a 15.4-kg
(34-lb) weight increase for the engine because of a longer burn design
and a strengthened nozzle extension.
GAEC, "Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, February
10, 1965, p. 20; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January
Northrop-Ventura verified the strength of the dual drogue parachutes in
a drop test at El Centro, Calif. This was also the first airborne test
of the new mortar by which the drogues were deployed and of the new
pilot parachute risers, made of steel cables. All planned objectives
were met. The deployment sequence was perfect, and there was no
apparent kinking of the risers.
In the course of this drop, six of the 12 cutters, which sever the
reefing lines on the main parachutes, failed. This failure, together
with another cutter malfunction during the previous month, signaled an
intensive investigation at Ordco, the cutter manufacturer.
Qualification of the severing device was thereby delayed.
On January 22, Northrop, North American, and MSC conducted a design
review for the drogue system and found no discrepancies.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID-62-300-33, pp.3-4;
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
At the request of Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director,
ASPO reexamined the performance requirements for spacecraft slated for
launch with Saturn IBs. MSC currently assessed that the launch vehicle
was able to put 16,102 kg (35,500 lbs) into a circular orbit 105 nm
above the earth. Based on the spacecraft control weights, however, it
appeared that the total injected weight of the modules would exceed this
amount by some 395 kg (870 lbs).
A 454-kg (1,000-lb) increase in the Saturn IB's payload was the most
desirable solution, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea wrote Phillips. However,
by removing one set of propellant tanks and a helium tank from SM and
slightly reducing the propellant supply, the spacecraft could still be
kept within the launch vehicle's capability without affecting mission
objectives or crew safety. While several other alternative approaches
appeared feasible, they would seriously impair spacecraft performance.
On February 23, Phillips informed Shea that he foresaw the requisite
payload boost. While the control payload for the Saturn IB would remain
unchanged, Phillips said, a new design goal of 16,556 kg (36,500 lbs)
would be set. At the end of July it would be decided whether or not to
make this last figure a new control capability.
Letter, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, January
21, 1965; memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Distr., "Mission
assignments for Block II CSM's," February 12, 1965; letter,
Phillips, NASA, to Shea, February 23, 1965; memorandum, Lee, MSC, to
Mission Planning and Analysis Division, Attn: J. P, Bryant,
"Modified mission profile for CSM-LEM flight on Saturn I-B,"
March 3, 1965.
Space Ordnance Systems was selected to develop the explosive bolts that
held the LEM's two stages together.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
Two underwater firings verified the design concept of the main parachute
Parallel development of the LEM descent engine was halted. Space
Technology Laboratories was named the sole contractor; the Rocketdyne
contract was canceled. Grumman estimated that the cost of Rocketdyne's
program would be about $25 million at termination.
Ibid.; "Monthly Progress Report No. 24,"
LPR-10-40, pp. 1, 30, 35.
The MSC-MSFC Mechanical Integration Panel discussed the possibility
that, when deployed, the LEM adapter panels might interfere with radio
communications via the S-band high-gain antenna. On earth-orbital
missions, the panel found, the S-band antenna would be rendere useless.
They recommended that MSC's Instrumentation and Electronic Systems
Division investigate alternative modes for communications during the
transposition and docking phase of the flight. During lunar missions,
on the other hand, the panel found that, with panels deployed at a 45
degree angle, the high-gain antenna could be used as early as 15
minutes after translunar injection. Spacecraft-to-ground communications
during transposition and docking could thus be available and manual
tracking would not be needed. North American was informed that the
high-gain antenna would be used during this maneuver, and was directed
to fix the panel deployment angle for all Block II spacecraft at 45
Memorandum, Lyle M. Jenkins, MSC, to Distr., "Abstract of MSC
meeting on solutions to the interference of the deployed SLA panels
with communications," January 25, 1965; "ASPO Weekly
Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
Two construction companies, Blount Brothers Corporation, Montgomery,
Ala., and Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, Oak Park, Ill., received a
joint contract (worth $5,178,000) for construction of a vacuum chamber
at the Lewis Research Center's Plum Brook Station. The facility, which
would be used for spacecraft and propulsion system testing, would be
one of the largest such simulators in the world.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 26.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips forecast "heavy ground
testing" for Apollo during 1965. The coming months, he said,
should see the completion of testing on the first Apollo spacecraft
intended for manned space flight, as well as flight qualification of
the Saturn IB and initial testing of the Saturn V launch vehicles.
Ibid., p. 27.
ASPO approved the technique for LEM S-IVB separation during manned
missions, a method recommended jointly by North American and Grumman.
After the CSM docked with the LEM, the necessary electrical circuit
between the two spacecraft would be closed manually. Explosive charges
would then free the LEM from the adapter on the S-IVB.
Memorandum, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to Distr., "Lunar Excursion
Module (LEM)/Saturn S-IVB Stage Separation Technique," January 23,
Dalmo-Victor, vendor of the LEM S-band antenna, was given firm
requirements for tracking and coverage, thus enabling the company to
freeze the antenna design.
"MSC Weekly Management Report, January 28-February 4,
The optimism that permeated the Apollo program was reflected in
statements by NASA's Associate Administrator, Robert C. Seamans, Jr.,
during budget briefings for the forthcoming year. He was "greatly
encouraged" by recent design freezes and "very
reassured" by testing of propulsion systems and launch vehicle
stages. "We really feel," Seamans said, ". . . that we
can get off the [lunar landing] flight on an earlier mission than I
would have said a year ago?' Certainly it was "conceivable"
that the moon landing could come "in early 1970."
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, pp. 29-30.
To determine flotation characteristics of the spacecraft, the Stevens
Institute of Technology began a testing program using one-tenth scale
models of the CM. Researchers found that the sequence in which the
uprighting bags were deployed was equally critical in both a calm sea
and in various wave conditions; improper deployment caused the vehicle
to assume an apex-down position. These trials disproved predictions
that wave action would upright the spacecraft from this attitude.
Further testing during the following month reinforced these findings.
But because sequential deployment would degrade reliability of the
system, North American held that the bags must upright the spacecraft
irrespective of the order of their inflation. Stevens' investigators
would continue their program, examining the CM's characteristics under
a variety of weight and center of gravity conditions.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-34, p. 7;
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300- 35, April 1,
1965, pp. 7-8.
MSC negotiated a backup Block II space suit development program with
David Clark Company, which paralleled the Hamilton Standard program, at
a cost of $176,000. Criteria for selecting the suit for ultimate
development for Block II would be taken from the Extravehicular
Mobility Unit Design and Performance Specification. A selection test
program would be conducted at MSC using the CM mockup, the lunar
simulation facility, and the LEM mockup.
Memorandum, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to Joseph Shea, "Block II
Apollo suit program," January 25, 1965.
ASPO established an operational requirement for propellant gauges in the
LEM descent stage, the exact details to be worked out by Grumman. The
gauges must be accurate to within one-half of one percent when less than
one-fourth of the propellants remained.
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Status of LEM
descent Delta-V budget," January 25, 1965; "ASPO Weekly
Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
Warren J. North, Chairman of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV)
Coordination Panel, reported to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that the
LLRV had been flown 10 times by Flight Research Center pilots - eight
times by Joe Walker and twice by Don Mallick. Maximum altitude achieved
was 91 m (300 ft) and maximum forward velocity was 12 m (40 ft) per
sec. Subsequent to December 14, 1964, the vehicle had been undergoing
detailed x-ray inspection, lunar simulation control system checkout,
and minor changes prior to extending the flight envelope in
North said discussions with the pilots indicated that checkout
prerequisites for future LLRV pilots should include helicopter
proficiency plus at least two weeks of intensive simulator and vehicle
test stand activity. Prototypes of the basic LEM controls and displays
were being procured by MSC and would be phased into the LLRV simulator
and flight vehicles during the spring and summer.
Memorandum, North to Gilruth, "Status of Lunar Landing Research
Vehicle (LLRV) Program," January 26, 1965.
At a meeting held at Grumman, RCA presented its study on thermal
effects for a fixed rendezvous radar antenna assembly which would be
protected from the CSM service propulsion system by a thermal
"Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, p. 17;
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 21-28, 1965."
MSC evaluated Grumman's proposal to stage components of the
extravehicular mobility unit to achieve a substantial weight
"Minutes of the Lunar Excursion Module Crew Integration Systems
Meeting No. 3, January 27, 1965," pp. 2-4.
The first major Saturn V flight component, a 10-m (33-ft) diameter,
27,215 kg (60,000 lb corrugated tail section which would support the
booster's 6,672 kilonewtons (1.5-million-lb) thrust engines, arrived at
MSFC from NASA's Michoud Operations near New Orleans. The section was
one of five major structural units comprising Saturn V's first
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 39.
After examining the CM's potable water system, engineers in the MSC
Crew Systems Division found that the Gemini pistol-type water dispenser
could not be used in the Apollo spacecraft without some changes in the
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 14-21, 1965" [see
memorandum, G. Merritt Preston, MSC- Florida Operations, to Chief, Crew
Systems Division, "Flight Water Program," January 28,
January 28-February 4
Initial development testing of LEM restraint systems was completed.
Under zero-g conditions, investigators found, positive restraints for
the crew were essential. While the system must be further refined, it
consisted essentially of a harness that secured the astronaut's hips
(thus providing a pivot point) and held him firmly on the cabin floor.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 28-February 4,
January 28-February 4
MSC canceled plans (originally proposed by North American) for a device
to detect failures in the reaction control system (RCS) for Block I
CSMs. This was done partly because of impending weight, cost, and
schedule penalties, but also because, given an RCS failure during earth
orbit, the crew could detect it in time to return to earth safely even
without the proposed device. This action in no way affected the effort
to devise such a detection system for the Block II CSM or the LEM,
ASPO concurred with the requirement to provide an emergency defecation
capability aboard the LEM as established by MSC's Center Medical
Programs Office. The addition of a Gemini-type defecation glove
appeared to present a satisfactory solution. Crew Systems Division was
directed to proceed with their recommendation and add the Gemini gloves
to the LEM crew provisions.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division,
"Waste management provisions aboard the LEM," January 29,
Apollo boilerplate 28 underwent its second water impact test. Despite
its strengthened aft structure, in this and a subsequent drop on
February 9 the vehicle again suffered damage to the aft heatshield and
bulkhead, though far less severe than that experienced in its initial
test. The impact problem, it was obvious, was not yet solved.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-33, pp. 1, 8,
During the Month
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reiterated the space agency's phasic view
of the Apollo program. He was well pleased with the pace of the program
and reported that ground testing of all CSM subsystems was "well
along." Reflecting on the year just past, Shea observed that it
was one in which Apollo objectives were achieved "milestone by
milestone?' He was equally optimistic about Apollo's progress during
the coming months, predicting that there would be "three Apollo
spacecraft in continuous ground testing" by the end of the
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 43.
During the Month
Dr. William H. Pickering, Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
commented on the importance of Ranger VII in locating
possible lunar landing sites.
Ibid., pp. 43-44.
During the Month
Nine areas of scientific experiments for the first manned Apollo lunar
landing mission had been summarized and experimenters were defining them
for NASA. Space sciences project group expected to publish the complete
report by March 1, to be followed by requests for proposals from
industry on designing and producing instrument packages. A major effort
was under way by a NASA task force making a time-motion study of how
best to use the limited lunar stay-time of two hours' minimum for the
Ibid., p. 45.
During the Month
To make it easier to get in and out of the spacecraft, Grumman modified
the LEM's forward hatch. During mobility tests on the company's mockup,
a hinged, trapezoidal-shaped door had proved superior to the original
circular hatch, so the earlier design was dropped.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 24," LPR-10-40, p. 13.