Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
NASA announced plans to install Apollo Unified S-Band System equipment
at its Corpus Christi, Tex., tracking station. The Unified S-Band
equipment included a 9-m (30-ft) diameter parabolic antenna and would
enable handling of seven different types of communications with two
different vehicles, the CM and the LEM. The communications would: track
the spacecraft; command its operations and confirm that the command had
been executed; provide two-way voice conversation with three astronauts;
keep a continuous check on the astronauts' health; make continuous
checks on the spacecraft and its functions; supply a continuous flow of
information from the Apollo onboard experiments; and transmit television
of the astronauts and the exploration of the moon.
NASA News Release 65-250, "NASA to Install Apollo Unified S-Band
Tracking at Corpus Christi Station," August 2, 1965; Space
Business Daily, August 3, 1965, p. 156.
NASA's office at Downey, Calif., approved the contract with the
Marquardt Corporation for the procurement of Block II SM reaction
control system engines. Estimated cost of the fixed price contract would
be $6.5 million. Marquardt was supplying the Block I SM engines.
TWX, Henry S. Smith, NASA-Downey, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: Director
of Procurement and Supply Division, August 2, 1965.
Hamilton Standard shipped the first prototype portable life support
system to Houston, where it would undergo testing by the Crew Systems
MSC News Release 65-68, August 2, 1965; Space Business
Daily, August 5, 1965, p. 172.
MSC informed Grumman of package dimensions and weight restrictions for
the scientific equipment and packages to be stored in the LEM.
TWXs, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, August 2,
NASA named three firms, Bendix Systems Division, TRW Systems Group, and
Space-General Corporation to design prototypes of the Apollo Lunar
Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP). Each company received a $500,000,
six-month contract. After delivery of the prototypes, MSC would select
one of the three to develop the ALSEP flight hardware.
NASA Headquarters Release No. 65-260, "Three Firms Selected to
Design Apollo Lunar Surface Package," August 4, 1965; letter,
Samuel C. Phillips, NASA, to Robert O. Piland, MSC, "Selection of
Contractors for Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package,"
September 10, 1965.
Grumman reported the status of its effort to lighten the LEM. Despite
some relief afforded by recent program changes (e.g., revised velocity
budgets and the replacing of fuel cells with batteries), the contractor
admitted that significant increases resulted as the design of the
spacecraft matured. Grumman recommended, and MSC approved, a Super
Weight Improvement Program (SWIP) similar to the one that the company
had used in its F-111 aircraft program. By the end of the month, the
company reported that SWIP had trimmed about 45 kg (100 lbs) from the
ascent and about 25 kg (55 lbs) from the descent stages of the
spacecraft. Grumman assured MSC that the SWIP team's attack on the
complete vehicle, including its equipment, would be completed prior to
the series of LEM design reviews scheduled for late in the year.
ASPO, "Minutes, NASA/GAEC Program Management Meeting, August 3,
1965"; GAEC, "Monthly Progress Report No. 31,"
LPR-10-47, September 10, 1965, p. 1.
During the next 10 months, 200 employees of MSFC would be transferred to
MSC to augment the Houston staff for the operational phase of the Apollo
program. Completion of the first phase of the Saturn program (with the
successful launch of SA-10) made it possible for Marshall to release
qualified personnel to satisfy MSC's needs.
Space Business Daily, August 9, 1965, p. 187; memorandum,
Wernher von Braun, MSFC, to Distr., "Marshall's Changing Role in
the Space Program," August 13, 1965.
During tests of the Apollo earth landing system (ELS) at El Centro,
Calif., boilerplate (BP) 6A sustained considerable damage in a drop
that was to have demonstrated ELS performance during a simulated
apex-forward pad abort. Oscillating severely at the time the auxiliary
brake parachute was opened, the spacecraft severed two of the
electrical lines that were to have released that device. Although the
ELS sequence took place as planned, the still-attached brake prevented
proper operation of the drogues and full inflation of the mains. As a
result, BP-6A landed at a speed of about 50 fps.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 5-12, 1965."
The S-IC stage during static firing at MSFC.
The Saturn V's booster, the S-IC stage, made a "perfect"
full-duration static firing by burning for the programmed 2.5 minutes
at its full 33,360-kilonewton (7.5-million-lbs) thrust in a test
conducted at MSFC. The test model demonstrated its steering capability
on command from the blockhouse after 100 sec had elapsed; the firing
consumed 2.133-million liters (537,000 gallons) of kerosene and liquid
Space Business Daily, August 9, 1965, p. 185.
North American developed a plan to process NASA- and
contractor-initiated design changes through a Change Control Board
(CCB). Indications were that the contractor's Apollo Program Manager
would implement the plan on August 19. Elevating the level of
management on the CCB, together with a standard approach to processing
changes, was expected to improve the technical definition and
documentation of design changes. In addition, program baselines were
being established to permit a more informed control of technical
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 5-12, 1965."
North American and MSC attended a design review at Ling-Temco-Vought on
the environmental control system radiator for the Block II CSM. After
reviewing design and performance analyses, the review team approved
changes in testing and fabrication of test hardware.
Memorandum, Richard J. Gillen, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division,
"Trip to Ling-Temco-Vought, Dallas, Texas, on August 6, 1965,
Block II ECS radiator," August 20, 1965; MSC, "ASPO Weekly
Management Report, August 26-September 2, 1965."
Crew Systems Division (CSD) reported that changing the method for
storing oxygen in the LEM (from cryogenic to gaseous) had complicated
the interface between the spacecraft's environmental control system
(ECS) and the portable life support system (PLSS). Very early, the
maximum temperature for oxygen at the PLSS recharge station had been
placed at 80 degrees. Recent analyses by Grumman disclosed that, in
fact, the gas temperature might be double that figure. Oxygen supplied
at 160 degrees, CSD said, would limit to 2½ hours the PLSS
operating period. Modifying the PLSS, however, would revive the issue
of its storage aboard both spacecraft.
Seeking some answer to this problem, CSD engineers began in-house
studies of temperature changes in the spacecraft's oxygen. There was
some optimism that Grumman's estimates would be proved much too high,
and MSC thus far had made no changes either to the ECS or to the PLSS.
Memorandum, Richard E. Mayo, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering
Division, "ECS thermal control configuration for 'battery'
LEM," August 9, 1965; "ASPO Weekly Management Report, August
Two Saturn milestones occurred on the same day. At Santa Susana,
Calif., North American conducted the first full-duration captive firing
of an S-II, second stage of the Saturn V. And at Sacramento, Douglas
static-tested the first flight-model S-IVB, second stage for the Saturn
IB. This latter marked the first time that a complete static test
(encompassing vehicle checkout, loading, and firing) had been
controlled entirely by computers.
TWX, Wernher von Braun, MSFC, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: George
Mueller, August 11, 1965; Space Business Daily, August 12,
1965, p. 207.
MSC notified North American that, should one of the CM's postlanding
batteries fail, the crew could lower the power requirements of the
spacecraft during recovery and thus stay within the capabilities of the
two remaining batteries.
TWX, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division,
Attn: J. C. Cozad, August 10, 1965.
ASPO forwarded to Grumman the following schedule dates which should be
used for submission of detailed vehicle test plans:
When determination of LEM test articles to be used on Missions 501 and
502 had been finalized, test plan dates would be forwarded. Current
dates for 501 and 502 detailed vehicle test plans were 8-15-65 and
|AS Mission||Vehicle Test Plan||Schedule Date|
TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Vehicle
Test Plan Schedule Dates," August 10, 1965.
Resident ASPO quality assurance officers at North American began
investigating recent failures of titanium tanks at Bell Aerosystems.
Concern about this problem had been expressed by the Apollo Test
Directorate at NASA Hq in July and MSC started an investigation at that
time. The eventual solution (a change in the nitrogen tetroxide
specification) was contributed to by North American, Bell Aero Systems,
the Boeing Company, MSFC, MSC, Langley Research Center, and a committee
chaired by John Scheller of NASA Hq. The penstripe method to find
cracks on the interior of the vessels was used to solve the problem.
The quality assurance people viewed the failures as quite serious since
Bell had already fabricated about 180 such tanks.
MSC, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, August 6, 1965," John
B. Lee, Recorder, p. 3; memorandum, L. E. Day, NASA to Melvyn Savage,
"Apollo N2O4 Tank Problems," August 18, 1965; "ASPO
Weekly Management Report, August 5-12, 1965"; memorandum,
Director, Apollo Soyuz Test Project Engineering, NASA Hq, to Acting
Director, NASA Historical Office, "Volume III of The Apollo
Spacecraft: A Chronology," sgd. Charles H. King, Jr., May
Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, listed the six key
checkpoints in the development of Apollo hardware:
NASA OMSF, Apollo Program Directive No. 6, "Sequence and Flow of
Hardware Development and Key Inspection, Review, and Certification
Checkpoints," August 12, 1965.
- Preliminary Design Review (PDR) - a review of the basic design
conducted before or during the detailed design phase.
- Critical Design Review (CDR) - a review of specifications and
engineering drawings preceding, if possible, their release for
- Flight Article Configuration Inspection (FACI) - a comparison of
hardware with specifications and drawings and the validation of
acceptance testing. FACIs could be repeated to ensure that deficiencies
had been corrected. Also, this inspection would be conducted on every
configuration that departed significantly from the basic design. Items
successfully passing the FACI were accepted, provided they met
requirements in the Apollo Configuration Management Manual.
- Certification of Flight Worthiness (COFR) - to certify that each
vehicle stage or spacecraft module was a complete and qualified piece of
- Design Certification Review (DCR) - to certify that the
entire space vehicle was airworthy and safe for manned flight. DCRs
would formally review the development and qualification of all stages,
modules, and subsystems.
- Flight Readiness Review (FRR) - a two-part review, scheduled for
each flight, to determine that both hardware and facilities were ready.
Following a satisfactory ERR, and when decided upon by the mission
director, the mission period would begin (which would commit deployment
of support forces around the world).
Grumman received approval from Houston for an all-gaseous oxygen supply
system in the LEM. While not suggesting any design changes, MSC desired
that portable life support systems (PLSS) be recharged with the cabin
pressurized. And because the oxygen pressure in the descent stage tanks
might be insufficient for the final recharge, the PLSSs could be
"topped off" with oxygen from one of the tanks in the
vehicle's ascent stage if necessary.
Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney,
"Contract NAS 9-1100, Gaseous Oxygen Supply Configuration,"
August 12, 1965.
MSC rejected North American's second design concept for a panel
retention system in the LEM adapter. (The contractor's first proposal
had drawn an unsatisfactory verdict early in June.) These successive
rejections, largely on the basis of weight and vibration factors,
illustrated the company's continuing difficulties with the system. MSC
"suggested" to North American that it circumvent these
problems by attaching the retention cable directly to the skin of the
"Critical Design Review for the Block II Spacecraft/LEM Adapter,
12-13 August 1965."
At a third status meeting on LEM-1, Grumman put into effect
"Operation Scrape," an effort to lighten that spacecraft by
about 57 kg (125 lbs). "Scrape" involved an exchange of parts
between LEM-1 and LTA-3. The former vehicle thus would be heavier than
the latter; LTA-3, on the other hand, would have the same structural
weight as LEMs 2 and forthcoming.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 12-19, 1965";
letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney,
"Contract NAS 9-1100, LEM I Status Meeting Number Three,"
August 30, 1965; "Monthly Progress Report No. 31," LPR10-47,
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the Systems Engineering Division, asked that
part of the LEM Mission Programmer, the Program Reader Assembly, be
deleted. The assembly was no longer needed, Maynard said, to meet
Apollo mission requirements.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Subsystem Manager, LEM SCS,
"LEM Mission Programmer," August 18, 1965.
The preliminary Design Engineering Inspection (DEI) for CSM 011,
Mission AS-202, was held. This was a major program milestone for the
mission. The review board met on August 24 and the formal DEI was
conducted August 30, 31, and September 1 (see entry for those
Memorandum, Carl R. Huss, JSC, to JSC Historical Office, "Comments
on Volume III of The Apollo Spacecraft: A
Chronology," June 6, 1973.
The Apollo Resident Office at KSC was notified that it was ASPO Manager
Joseph F. Shea's desire that a Configuration Control Panel be
established and chaired at KSC to consider and process engineering
changes to Apollo spacecraft and associated hardware undergoing checkout
and test at KSC.
The ASPO Configuration Management Plan was being revised to reflect the
action. The newly formed CCP's authority would be restricted to review
of end item hardware (including ground support equipment configuration
changes) to determine if the change was mandatory in the conduct of
tests at KSC, and the approval of the contractor's plan for making the
mandatory change to specific Apollo hardware end items at KSC.
Memorandum, William M. Bland, Jr., MSC, to Assistant Head of MSC Apollo
Resident Office, KSC, "Apollo Spacecraft Configuration Control
Panel at KSC," August 19, 1965.
MSC assigned two LEM test articles (numbers 10 and 2, respectively) to
the SA-501 and SA-502 missions. Prior to flight, the spacecraft would be
refurbished by Grumman, which would require four to five months' work on
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 19-26, 1965";
"Monthly Progress Report No. 31," LPR- 10-47, p. 38;
memorandum, C. H. Perrine, MSC, to H. Davis, "Use of LTA-10 for
Facilities Verification Vehicle," August 31, 1965.
Douglas Aircraft Company static-fired the S-IVB in a test at Sacramento,
Calif., simulating the workload of a lunar mission. The stage was run
for three minutes, shut down for half an hour, then reignited for almost
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, p. 386.
Gemini V, piloted by L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., and Charles
Conrad, Jr., roared into space from Cape Kennedy. During their
eight-day flight the astronauts performed a number of orbital and
simulated rendezvous maneuvers to evaluate the spacecraft's rendezvous
guidance and navigation equipment. A second principal objective of the
mission was to evaluate the effects on the crew of prolonged exposure
in space. Gemini V was significant as well for another
reason: although the hardware experienced some troubles during the
early part of the flight (which threatened to terminate the mission
prematurely), Gemini V was the first spacecraft to use
fuel cells as its primary source of electrical power. The operational
feasibility of fuel cells would be essential for the success of
long-distance (i.e., lunar) manned space flight.
Grimwood, et al., Project Gemini: A Chronology, pp.
MSC and Apollo spacecraft contractors were in process of planning and
implementing an extensive ground- based test program to certify the
spacecraft for flight. All possible efforts were being made to benefit
from the experience of related spacecraft programs in planning the
Apollo test program. In view of the similarities of the Surveyor mission
and the LEM mission, Jet Propulsion Laboratory was asked to cooperate by
providing: (1) background information concerning the manner in which
their qualification test program had been performed, (2) the major
complete vehicle and partial vehicles used in the ground test programs,
and (3) significant results obtained from such programs.
Letter, Joseph F. Shea, MSC, to NASA Resident Office, JPL,
"Surveyor ground test programs," August 23, 1965.
Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, summarized ground rules on the schedules
for qualifying and delivering equipment for Block II spacecraft:
Shea alone had authority to waive these schedule rules.
- All components installed on the Block II test vehicle (2TV-1) and on
Block II flight vehicles must be production hardware. (Prototype units
- Any changes from the configuration of CSM 103 in 2TV-1, 101, or 102
must be essential to the specific mission requirements of those
- Delivery schedules must be compatible with North American's needs.
(North American was allowed some leeway in installing components,
provided that such reordering was feasible and did not affect overall checkout and delivery schedules for the vehicle.)
- Qualification testing must be scheduled so that all equipment was
qualified before February 15, 1967.
- Launch-constraining ground tests must be scheduled for completion at
least six weeks before that launch.
Memorandum, Shea, MSC, to Distr., "Subsystem qualification and
delivery schedules for Block II," August 23, 1965.
MSC requested that Grumman review the current LEM landing and docking
dynamic environments to assure: (1) no loss of the abort guidance system
attitude reference due to angular motion exceeding its design limit of
25 degrees per second during indicated mission phases; and (2) a mission
angular acceleration environment, exceeding the gyro structural
tolerances, would not be realized.
TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, August 24,
August 26-September 2
Grumman advised that prelaunch heat loads on LEM-1 exceeded the
capability of the spacecraft's prelaunch Freon boiler. That boiler had
originally been designed for loads anticipated from fuel-celled LEMs.
When batteries replaced fuel cells, MSC had recommended deleting the
boiler; Grumman had urged that the item be retained on LEM-1, however,
because that spacecraft would have optional equipment onboard at
launch. "It appears," Crew Systems Division (CSD) reported,
"that the number of items of equipment required to be on [LEM-1]
at earth launch has snowballed": the boiler's maximum capability
was about 900 Btus per hour; the spacecraft's heat load was estimated
at something like 6,000. "GAEC is presently investigating what can
be done to reduce these loads," CSD said.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, August 26-September 2, 1965."
August 26-September 2
Qualification testing was completed on the LEM's helium storage tank.
Ibid.; memorandum, Joseph G. Thibodaux, Jr., "Quantity
gaging for the Descent Propulsion Supercritical Helium Pressurization
System," August 19, 1965, with enclosure.
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the Systems Engineering Division (SED),
drafted a set of guidelines for Apollo developmental missions. While
these guidelines pertained mostly to Block II development, and were so
labeled, to some extent they dealt with Block I flights as well. These
Development Mission Guidelines covered the overall mission, as well as
specific phases, with one section devoted solely to the LEM. (Maynard
was careful to distinguish these guidelines from "ground
rules" in that, rather than being mandatory requirements, their
intent was "to afford test planning a guide and somewhat of an
envelope . . . and not hard and fast rules.")
SED was considering including these guidelines in the Apollo Spacecraft
Master Test Plan when that document was next revised.
Memorandum, Maynard, MSC, to Distr., "Block II Development Mission
Guidelines," August 27, 1965.
North American reported that ground testing of the service propulsion
engine had been concluded. Also, changing the propellant ratio of the
service propulsion system had improved the engine's performance and
gimbal angles and had reduced the weight of the Block II SM. (See July
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Asst. Manager, ASPO, "SPS
engine gimballing in stack," August 25, 1965; TWX, M. L. Raines,
WSTF, to MSC, Attn: R. R. Gilruth and others, August 30, 1965; NAA,
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-41, October 1,
1965, pp. 8, 10.
August 29-September 4
Several important activities were noted during the reporting period:
(1) Qualification of the new reefing line cutters was progressing
satisfactorily and scheduled for completion in October 1965. (The
cutter had been used successfully on the last two earth landing system
tests conducted at El Centro); (2) the helium storage tank for the LEM
reaction control subsystem successfully passed qualification tests; and
(3) the Aero Spacelines' new aircraft, "Super Guppy," made
its maiden flight from Van Nuys, Calif., to Mojave Airfield, Calif. The
new aircraft had the capability of airlifting the
spacecraft-LEM-adapter as well as providing vital backup for the
"Pregnant Guppy" aircraft.
"Weekly Activity Report, August 29-September 4, 1965," Joseph
NASA's Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E.
Mueller, informed MSC's Director Robert R. Gilruth that an official
emblem had been adopted for the Apollo Program, a composite based on the
best proposals submitted by NASA and contractor personnel.
Letter, Mueller to Gilruth, August 30, 1965.
August 30-September 1
Spacecraft 011's design engineering inspection was held at North
American. The review combined structures, mission (SA-202), and ground
support. The Review Board approved 55 changes (53 of which were assigned
to North American).
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-41, p. 4;
memorandum, C. H. Bolender, NASA, to E. E. Christensen and S. C.
Phillips, "Trip Report on Visit to NAA Downey," September 7,
August 31-September 1
At an implementation meeting at MSC on the LEM's guidance and control
system, Grumman again made a pitch for its concept for the landing point
designator (i.e., scale markings on the vehicle's window). On September
13, the company received MSC's go-ahead. Grumman was told to coordinate
closely with both MSC and MIT on the designator's design to ensure that
the scale markings would be compatible with the spacecraft's computer.
TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, subject:
"Action Item L52, Requirements for Landing Point Designator
(LPD)," September 13, 1965.
During the Month
An explosion damaged a LEM reaction control system thruster being fired
in an up attitude in altitude tests at MSC.
"Monthly Progress Report No. 31," LPR-10-47, p. 1.
During the Month
Grumman completed an analysis of radiation levels that would be
encountered by the LEM-3 crew during their earth orbital mission.
Grumman advised that doses would not be harmful. To lessen these levels
even further, the contractor recommended that during some parts of the
mission the two astronauts climb back into the CM; also, the planned
orbit for the LEM (556 by 2,500 km [300 by 1,350 nm]) could be changed
to avoid the worst part of the Van Allen Belt.
Ibid., p. 40.