Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing
North American conducted another in their series of impact tests with
boilerplate 28. This drop tested the toroidal section of the spacecraft
(heatshield and equipment bay structure) in impact at high angle and
maximum horizontal velocity. The spacecraft suffered no visible damage.
Some water leaked into the vehicle, but this was blamed on the
boilerplate structure itself and the apex-down attitude after impact.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-41, p. 1; MSC,
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 2-9, 1965."
A LEM ascent engine exploded during altitude firings at Arnold
Engineering Development Center (AEDC). In subsequent investigations,
Bell Aerosystems researchers concluded that the failure probably
resulted from raw propellants being accidentally forced into the engine
at the end of the second run, thus damaging the injector. The explosion,
which occurred at the start of the third run, in turn followed an
uncontrolled flow of propellants into the engine. As a result of this
accident, Bell made several changes in hardware fabrication. Also, the
company planned additional firings, under conditions similar to those at
AEDC when the explosion occurred, to try to determine exactly the cause.
MSC, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, September 10, 1965,"p.
1; memorandum, A. L. Madyda, MSC, to Chief, Propulsion and Power
Division, "Report on trip to Bell Aerosystems, September 13-14,
1965," September 16, 1965; memorandum, Madyda, to Chief,
Propulsion and Power Division, "Trip to Bell on September 30,
1965," October 4, 1965.
MSC advised officials at North American's Tulsa Division that their
concept for external panel retention cables on the adapter was
unacceptable. While the Tulsa people agreed with Houston's objections,
because of orders from Downey they had no authority to change the
design. Structures and Mechanics Division reported that North
American's "continued apathy . . . to redesign the system"
threatened a schedule delay.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 2-9, 1965."
MSC's Flight Operations Division requested an investigation of the
feasibility of performing an abort from an inoperative S-IVB booster on
the AS-206 unmanned LEM mission.
Ibid.; memorandum, R. W. Lanzkron, MSC, to Chief, Systems
Engineering Division, "AS-206 Preliminary Abort
Requirements," September 10, 1965.
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller
summarized for Administrator James E. Webb the status of the LEM
tracking systems. The LEM rendezvous radar system, which had been under
development since 1963, was expected to be available when needed for
flight missions. Technical studies had shown that an Optical Tracker
System offered weight and reliability advantages with no reduction in
LEM performance. Hughes Aircraft Company was developing an Optical
Tracking System as a back-up to the rendezvous radar.
Memorandum, Mueller to Webb, "LEM Tracking Systems,"
September 3, 1965.
To aid in defining abort limits for the emergency detection system, MSC
authorized North American to determine the ultimate strength of the
spacecraft based on failure trajectories of the Saturn IB and Saturn V
Letter, J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems
Division, "Contract Change Authorization No. 407," September
3, 1965; memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Chief, Flight Control
Division, "Range Safety Destruct Time Delay for Saturn IB &
V," September 27, 1965.
MSC requested Grumman to review the following ascent and descent
pressurization system components in the propulsion subsystem for
materials compatibility with certain propellants:
Recent reports from various programs had shown that propellant vapors
had seeped into mid-portions of their pressurization systems, causing
corrosion and leakage problems. The SM and LEM had recently revised
portions of their programs to incorporate this compatibility
- helium explosive valve;
- pressure regulator;
- latching solenoid valve;
- pressure relief and burst disc; and
- quad check valve.
Letter, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney,
"Contract NAS 9-1100, Internal compatibility of LEM Ascent and
Descent Propulsion Subsystem pressurization system components with fuel
and oxidizer propellant vaporizer, Hydrazine-Unsymmetrical Dimethyl
Hydrazine and Nitrogen Tetroxide, respectively," September 3,
William A. Lee, ASPO, pointed out to the MSC Thermo-Structures Branch
that Grumman was engaged in a strenuous weight reduction effort and
that, when feasible, MSC should accept the proposed changes. In the area
of thermal control, Grumman was investigating the use of etched aluminum
surfaces to replace thermal paint. It was expected that the change was
feasible and that approximately 11 kg (24 lbs) of inert weight would be
saved on each stage of the LEM. In addition, Grumman was investigating
the applicability of this technique to the landing gear components.
Grumman was also studying substitution of an aluminum-mylar nonrigid
outer heatshield with plastic standoffs for current rigid ascent and
descent heatshields. The potential inert weight saving would be about 84
kg (185 lbs). Lee requested that Thermo-Structures Branch stay in close
contact with these developments.
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to Thermo-structures Branch, Attn: J.
A. Smith, Jr., "LEM weight reductions in the area of thermal
control," September 8, 1965.
Assistant ASPO Manager William A. Lee told the General Instrumentation
Branch of the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division Grumman
was preparing a proposal for use of the LEM vehicle as an electrical
ground. The plan was to adopt a single wire system selectively for those
circuits not susceptible to electrical transients. Lee said Grumman
estimated a weight savings of 27 kg (60 lbs) in the ascent stage and 9
kg (20 lbs) in the descent stage. The proposal was expected to be
available to NASA by October 1 and Lee had committed NASA to a decision
within three weeks of receipt of the plan.
Memorandum, William A. Lee, MSC, to General Instrumentation Branch,
Attn: A. H. Campos, "Use of LEM vehicle structure as electrical
ground return," September 8, 1965.
MSC requested Grumman and North American to study the possibility of
taking the guillotine that Grumman had developed for the LEM's
interstage umbilical and using it as well to sever the two umbilicals
linking the LEM to the adapter. In this manner, North American's effort
to develop these cutters might be eliminated; LEM-adapter interface
would be simplified; and a significant monetary savings could be
effected without schedule impact.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 9-16, 1965";
ASPO, "Abstract of Proceedings, Ground Test Requirements Meeting
No. 4, September 9 and 10, 1965," September 16, 1965.
Northrop-Ventura canceled a parachute test because of problems with the
reefing line rings and the main parachute bags. North American was
looking into these problems which, it was anticipated, would affect both
blocks of spacecraft.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 9-16, 1965."
Because of recent changes in the design of the space suit, Motorola,
under its contract for suit communications antennas, began concentrating
on the development of antennas for the back pack rather than on the
Letter, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to R. E. Breeding, Hamilton Standard
Division, "Technical directive on SSC helmet mounted
antenna," September 10, 1965; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management
Report, September 16-23, 1965."
With the continued frustrations of fighting the weight problem on both the CM and LEM it was necessary that both NASA and contracting personnel maintain a sense of humor. The above was used in slide form at a meeting at MSC.
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of Systems Engineering Division, advised ASPO
Manager Joseph F. Shea of the major technical problems currently
plaguing Apollo designers:
Memorandum, Maynard, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Apollo principal
technical problems," September 10, 1965.
- Spacecraft weight growths
- these, Maynard said, exceeded predictions "by a serious
margin." Pessimistically, he added that the performance of many
systems was but "marginally acceptable."
- Lunar landing criteria
- the unknowns involved precluded
conservative thinking on the LEM.
- Integration of scientific
- Maynard blamed the "piece-meal" integration
of experiments for the lack of comprehensive planning and for many late
- Water landing criteria
- because of the range
of variables, present design margins were questionable.
- i.e., development of the landing rockets.
- conflicts existed between temperature control and attitude
constraints for the spacecraft.
- Propulsion performance
- no unit,
Maynard reported, had yet achieved the specific impulse which was
required of it.
- Space suit development
- design of the suit, and
of the thermal-meteoroid garment and the portable life support system,
Maynard said, had "gyrated violently, resulting in spacecraft
design compromises to accommodate questionable space suit
NASA began recruiting additional pilot-astronauts, to begin training the
MSC News Release 65-79, "NASA to Select Additional
Pilot-Astronauts," September 10, 1965.
Hurricane Betsy hit the United States and Apollo Program Director Samuel
C. Phillips presented an interim report to NASA Associate Administrator
Robert C. Seamans, Jr., concerning the effects of the storm on NASA
property and programs:
Memorandum, Phillips to Seamans, "Impact of Hurricane Betsy on
Apollo," September 13, 1965.
- Michoud (La.) Plant
- all of the buildings suffered moderate to severe damage. So far as
could be determined, Saturn hardware in process was not damaged to any
appreciable extent. Damage was estimated at between $2 and $4 million.
Time lost by the storm and due to cleanup and repairs would probably
affect program schedules by two or more weeks.
- the barge Promise tied up at the Michoud dock broke
free and was beached. Externally, no damages were visible. The dock
area was heavily damaged.
- Production of Liquid Hydrogen
- Air Products, Inc., plant under
construction across the canal from Michoud was reported to be under
nine feet of water. Extent of the damage was unknown.
Ships Huntsville and Watertown
vessels were under modification at the Avondale Shipyard, New Orleans.
Both broke loose and were hard aground. The Watertown was
battered but the holds were dry; it looked like it could be salvaged.
The Huntsville had a 9-m (30-ft) gash in the side plus
three other holes. The engine rooms were flooded. Navy salvage crews
did not think the vessel was salvageable.
- Cape Kennedy
from the storm was minor. The storm did cause a shutdown of site
activation activities on Complex 34, costing four critical days.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea announced a new plan for controlling the
weight of Apollo spacecraft. Every week, subsystem managers would report
to a Weight Control Board (WCB), headed by Shea, which would rule on
their proposals for meeting the target weight for their systems. Three
task forces also would report to the WCB on the way to lighten the
Memorandum, Shea, MSC, to Distr., "Apollo Weight Control
Program," September 13, 1965, with enclosure: "Apollo Weight
- weight reduction task force;
- requirements reduction task force; and
- an operations task force.
As a result of discussions with North American and Aerojet-General, MSC
ordered several changes to the service propulsion engine:
These changes applied to all qualification test and all flight
- redesign of the ablation chamber seals and the flange mountings
- modifications to permit ground purging
- redesign of the injection hub
- doubling of the nominal valve opening time (from 0.3 to 0.6 sec).
TWX, J. B. Alldredge, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems
Division, Attn: J. C. Cozad, subject: "SPS Engine Changes and
Checkout," September 14, 1965.
At a status meeting at Grumman on LEM-1, MSC learned that, as a result
of welding problems, the vehicle's ascent stage was about four weeks
Memorandum, R. A. Newlander to W. J. Gaylor, RASPO-Bethpage,
"LEM-1 Status Meeting, 9/14/65," September 17, 1965; letter,
R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "Contract NAS
9-1100, LEM-1 Status Meeting Number Four," September 21, 1965.
Flight Crew Support Division defined the minimum time required to assure
adequate crew training in the Apollo Mission Simulators. Individual part
task training in the simulators required 36 hrs for each of six
astronauts (prime and backup crews), a total of 216 hrs; each of the two
crews would require 40 hrs of crew mission task training, 120 hrs of
crew specific mission training, and nine hrs each of crew integrated
mission (with ground crews) training, a total of 169 hrs per crew or a
total of 338 hrs.
It was estimated that the simulator would be operational on an average
of 30 hours a week, based on experience in other programs. Thus, eight
months of simulator availability would be required prior to the AS-204
launch date - one month of training verification plus 29 weeks for crew
The needed dates for simulators were: Apollo Mission Simulator No. 1,
fully operational January 15, 1966, with spacecraft 012 modification kit
delivery complete on March 18, 1966; Apollo Mission Simulator No. 2
delivery in 012 configuration April 15, 1966, to be fully operational
June 6, 1966.
Memorandum, Warren J. North, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering
Division, "Simulator training requirements to support the Apollo
missions," September 15, 1965.
MSC's Assistant Director for Flight Operations, Christopher C. Kraft,
Jr., told ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that postlanding operational
procedures require that recovery force personnel have the capability of
gaining access into the interior of the CM through the main crew hatch.
This was necessary, he said, so recovery force swimmers could provide
immediate aid to the crew, if required, and for normal postlanding
operations by recovery engineers such as spacecraft shutdown, crew
removal, data retrieval, etc.
Kraft said the crew compartment heatshield might char upon reentry in
such a manner as to make it difficult to distinguish the outline of the
main egress hatch. This potential problem and the necessity of applying
a force outward to free the hatch might demand use of a "crow
bar" tool to chip the ablator and apply a prying force on the
Since this would be a special tool, it would have to be distributed to
recovery forces on a worldwide basis or be carried aboard the
spacecraft. Kraft requested that the tool be mounted onboard the
spacecraft in a manner to be readily accessible. He requested that the
design incorporate a method to preclude loss of the tool - either by
designing the tool to float or by attaching it to the spacecraft by a
Memorandum, Kraft to Shea, "Apollo Crew Hatch Tool,"
September 16, 1965.
The Assistant Chief for Electronic Systems notified ASPO that the
proposed Grumman plan to repackage the LEM pulse command modulated and
timing electronic assembly (PCMTEA) had been discussed and investigated
and that the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division (IESD)
concurred with the proposal.
Following is the impact to the PCMTEA as a result of Grumman's proposed
Memorandum, Leonard E. Packham, MSC, to Assistant Manager, ASPO,
"GAEC plan to repackage the LEM PCMTEA," September 16,
- weight of the PCMTEA would be reduced 1.4 kg (3 lbs) and a further
reduction of 4.99 kg (11 lbs) would result from repackaging;
- volume of the PCMTEA would be reduced by approximately 8,123
milliliters (500 cu in);
- there would be no schedule impact to LEM-1, LT A-8, or the PCMTEA
qualification test program because of the proposed changes; and
- no firm cost estimates were available but IESD estimated repackaging
cost would be about $100,000.
North American and its subcontractor, LTV, conducted a design review on
the environmental control system radiator for the Block II CSM. Both
parties agreed upon a backup effort (i.e., a narrower selective
stagnation panel), which would be more responsive to thermal changes in
the spacecraft. Testing of this backup design could follow that of the
prototype and still meet the design release.
Memorandum, Frank H. Samonski, Jr., MSC, to Gary G. Metz,
"Environmental control system (ECS) attitude constraints for
Spacecraft 012," September 14, 1965; "ASPO Weekly Management
Report, September 16-23, 1965."
A design review on the attitude controller for the LEM was held at
Honeywell. Flight Crew Support Division reported that the device
seemed "highly optimized functionally, operationally, and weight
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965"; GAEC,
"Monthly Progress Report No. 32," LPR-10-48, October 10,
1965, p. 14; TWX, R. Wayne Young, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney,
October 14, 1965.
Systems Engineering Division (SED) reported that, on the basis of data
from SA-4, 8, and 9 flights, the thermal coating of the spacecraft
suffered considerable damage. This degradation was caused by the S-IV
retro motor and/or the tower jettison motor. SED advised that a
thorough analysis was scheduled shortly at TRW to look into the entire
area of thermal factors and the performance of ablative coating.
However, North American refused to acknowledge the existence of any
such thermal problem, SED said. The firm's "continued
inactivity" was described as a "major obstacle" to
solving the problem.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965";
memorandum, James A. Smith, MSC, to Project Officer, C and SM, ASPO,
"Technical Evaluation, Justification, and Plan of Action for
Instrumentation to determine effects of TJM Impingement, RECP
461," September 27, 1965.
NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) agreed that AEC would
provide radioisotope thermoelectric generators which would power each
Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package for an operating period of one
year on the lunar surface.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965";
memorandum, Robert E. Vale, MSC, to Chief, Systems Engineering
Division, "Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator," September
Grumman established the final design parameters for the landing gear of
the LEM (both primary and secondary struts). It was anticipated that
this newer design would be between 9 and 14 kg (20 and 30 lbs) lighter
than the earlier gear.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 16-23, 1965";
"Monthly Progress Report No. 32," LPR-10- 48, pp. 10, 12.
September 16-October 15
North American evaluated the compatibility of spacecraft 012 with its
mission, AS-204, the first manned Apollo flight. The manufacturer
determined that, by using roll-stabilized attitude during most of the
flight, the vehicle could remain aloft for about 13½ days. The
only onboard expendables termed marginal were cryogenics and the
propellant supply in the SM's reaction control system (which, for added
safety, would offer a redundant means of braking the vehicle out of
NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-42,
November 1, 1965, p. 3; memorandum, Robert V. Battey, MSC, to Chief,
Apollo Trajectory Support Office, "Spacecraft systems and attitude
constraints for mission AS-204," September 14, 1965.
The basic structure of Apollo CM simulator "A," around which
a full-scale mockup of the CM crew stations would be built, was
delivered to MSC. Flight Crew Support Division would use the mockup for
crew familiarization, procedures training, and equipment evaluation.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September l6-23, 1965."
MSC's Director, Robert R. Gilruth, sent a detailed history of actions
taken in regard to development of the Apollo Extravehicular Mobility
Unit, and recommended three changes not consistent with the overall
procurement plan previously approved by NASA Headquarters:
Basis for the recommendations was
- Amend the existing Hamilton Standard contract to provide for the
development, qualification, and fabrication of the portable life support
system and associated equipment only. This contract would cover delivery
of all flight equipment for the Apollo flight program.
- Award a separate contract to International Latex Corporation for the
development and fabrication of test and flight space suits and
- MSC would assume responsibility for total program management,
systems integration, and space suit qualification.
MSC planned to establish a resident engineer at International Latex to
provide on-contractor-site management of the contractor.
- a comparative suit evaluation of space suits submitted by
International Latex, Hamilton Standard, and David Clark Company in June
- a reassessment of the capabilities of International Latex; and
- previous difficulties of Hamilton Standard in adequate total system
development but recognizing their competence in the portable life
support systems work.
Letter, Gilruth to NASA Headquarters, Attn: George E. Mueller,
"Procurement plan for the Apollo Extravehicular Mobility Unit and
EMU ground support equipment development and fabrication," sgd.
George M. Low, September 20, 1965.
On the basis of studies by both MSC and Grumman on LEM landing criteria,
Engineering and Development Directorate determined that contractor and
customer alike favored reducing landing velocity requirements for the
spacecraft. The two did not see eye to eye on how far these requirements
should be reduced, however, and MSC would study the problem further.
Memorandum, James A. Chamberlin, MSC, to Distr., "Status of LEM
landing studies," September 20, 1965.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea decided that no device to indicate a failure
of the secondary gimbal motor in the service propulsion system (SPS) was
necessary on Block I spacecraft. Two factors shaped Shea's decision:
This decision did not alter the requirement for such devices on Block II
spacecraft, however, and North American was incorporating warning lights
on those vehicles to indicate such gimbal motor failures.
- procedures for inflight checkout of the vehicle called for gimbaling
the service propulsion engine with both primary and secondary drive
motors prior to SPS burns;
- furthermore, all Block I (i.e., earth orbital) spacecraft would be
capable of returning to earth by means of the SM's reaction control
Memorandum, Shea, MSC, to Assistant Director for Flight Operations,
"Service Propulsion System (SPS) Secondary Gimbal Motor Fail
Indication," September 21, 1965.
NASA's Administrator James E. Webb, Deputy Administrator Hugh L.
Dryden, and Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., selected
Ling-Temco-Vought from a total of 17 proposers for contract
negotiations for a one-year cost-plus-award-fee contract with options
to extend for two one-year periods, to provide operational laboratory
support services for the Apollo spacecraft program at the White Sands
(N. Mex.) Test Facility. The selection was based upon the presentation
of a source evaluation board and comments of key officials concerned.
The Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight was asked to issue
appropriate instructions to ensure that the contract negotiating team
follow the negotiation objectives as presented to them.
Memorandum, Deputy Associate Administrator, NASA, to Associate
Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Selection of Contractor to
Provide Operational Laboratory Support Services for the Apollo
Spacecraft Program at the White Sands Test Facility," sgd. Earl D.
Hilburn, September 27, 1965.
North American proposed an additional pane of glass for the windows on
Block II CMs. Currently, both blocks of spacecraft had one pane. Should
meteoroids pit this pane, the window could fail during reentry at lunar
velocities. The meteoroid protection group in Structures and Mechanics
Division were evaluating North American's proposal, which would add
about 10.43 kg (23 lbs) to the vehicle's weight. No such added
protection was required on Block I spacecraft.
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 23-30, 1965";
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-41, p. 5.
The Critical Design Review (CDR) of the LEM, tentatively planned during
the week of September 27, 1965, at Grumman, was rescheduled as a series
of reviews beginning in November 1965 and ending in January 1966. The
schedule was to apply with five teams participating as follows:
Structures and Propulsion, November 8-11, Team Captain: H. Byington;
Communications, Instrumentation, and Electrical Power, December 6-9,
Team Captain: W. Speier; Stabilization and Control, Navigation and
Guidance, and Radar, January 10-13, Team Captain: A. Cohen; Crew
Systems, January 10-13, Team Captain: J. Loftus; and Mission
Compatibility and Operations, January 24-27, Team Captain: R. Battey.
Memorandum, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Distr., "Critical Design
Review of LEM," September 24, 1965.
MSFC marked completion of its first Saturn V S-IC booster September 26,1965, with a brief ceremony in front of the assembly shop. A wide-angle camera caught this view as the ceremony was about to start with MSFC Director Wernher von Braun at the microphone (left).
MSC directed Grumman to draw up a complete list of all nonmetallic
materials used in the habitable area of the LEM, including type, use,
location, weight, and source of all such materials.
Letter, James L. Neal, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: John C. Snedeker,
"Contract NAS 9-1100, Contract Change Authorization No. 136,
Exhibit E, Nonmetallic Materials in Habitable Area," September 27,
Officials from the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and the Department
of Agriculture met at MSC to discuss informally the problem of back
contamination. They listened to briefings on the mission profile for
Apollo; reentry heating rates; present thinking at the Center on the
design of the Lunar Sample Receiving Station (LSRS); and MSC's plans
(none) for quarantining the astronauts.
James Goddard, Assistant Surgeon General in PHS, presented three broad
areas of concern:
These matters were discussed in some detail. MSC's failure to plan for
the astronauts' return, and Goddard's ideas on what procedures were
needed, provoked "very extended and somewhat heated"
discussions. It was generally agreed that Apollo astronauts could not
entirely avoid lunar contaminants: the level of contamination inside
the spacecraft's cabin, although low, nonetheless would be
"significant." MSC then asked, hypothetically, what PHS's
reaction would be if Apollo astronauts were recovered and returned in
much the same manner that Gemini crews were. The representative from
PHS's Foreign Quarantine Division replied "emphatically"
that, in such a case, those crews would not be allowed back in the
- quarantine procedures and accommodations inside the LSRS for both
astronauts and technicians;
- quarantine facilities aboard the recovery ships; and
- the need to gather samples before the moon's surface was
contaminated by the astronauts or the LEM's atmosphere.
On October 15, Lawrence B. Hall, Planetary Quarantine Officer in NASA's
Office of Space Science and Applications, summarized for Deputy
Administrator Hugh L. Dryden the September 27 meeting, and recommended
that such informal discussions continue. "I believe," he told
Dryden, "that . . . the Manned Spacecraft Center is more fully
aware of the point of view of the regulatory agencies on this matter.
Unfortunately, the regulatory agencies still do not understand the
reasons for the Manned Spacecraft Center's reluctance to face this
problem." [To appreciate MSC's "reluctance," see October
Memorandum, Hall, NASA, to Deputy Administrator, "Informal
conference on back contamination problems," October 15, 1965, with
enclosure: "Summary, Informal Conference on Back Contamination
North American evaluated the CSM's communications capability with the
unified S-band system using attitude data published with the AS-501
(spacecraft 017) preliminary reference trajectory. The trajectory
selected to achieve the desired entry conditions had a maximum altitude
at apogee of about 16,668 km (9,000 nm). At this altitude, the maximum
range to a Manned Spacecraft Flight Network (MSFN) station was about
20,372 km (11,000 nmi). Since a high-gain antenna was not installed on
spacecraft 017, communications depended on the S-band omnidirectional
antennas. In order to verify their adequacy, directions to the MSFN
stations were computed and system circuit margins were derived. North
American concluded that the margins were inadequate to support
high-bit-rate telemetry for about three hours of the mission.
Modification of the planned CSM attitude produced significant
improvement (about 17 decibels) in communications. The contractor also
proposed a relocation of range ships to improve performance.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-42, p. 3; TWX,
C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information Systems Division,
Attn: J. C. Cozad, subject: "Mission 501/Spacecraft 017
Compatibility Evaluation," September 27, 1965.
Representatives from MSC, David Clark, Hamilton Standard, and
Westinghouse met at North American, where they negotiated and signed
most of the interface control documents (ICD) for the space suit and
associated equipment. Of the ICD's yet unresolved, only two involved
problems that could have a significant effect on hardware design:
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 30-October 7,
1965"; letter, C. L. Taylor, MSC, to NAA, Space and Information
Systems Division, Attn: J, C. Cozad, "Contract NAS 9-150, Portable
life support system (PLSS) water recharge (functional) ICD No.
MH01-06153-416," October 12, 1965.
- The current design of the CM environmental control system, because
it could not accept waste water from the portable life support system
(PLSS), was therefore incapable of recharging the PLSS. ASPO must decide
if the recharge requirement was to be kept or eliminated.
- The CM's waste management system was not compatible with the
capacity of the urine bag in the space suit. This problem was assigned
to Crew Systems Division.
Ralph S. Sawyer, Chief of the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems
Division, advised ASPO Manager Shea of current problems with antennas
for the Apollo spacecraft:
Memorandum, Sawyer, MSC, to Manager, ASPO, "Apollo antenna problem
areas," September 29, 1965.
- CSM high gain antenna
- the infrared (IR) earth tracker originally proposed would not
satisfy mission requirements. On September 23, Sawyer reported, North
American had ordered Dalmo-Victor to halt development of IR systems and
to proceed with work on an RE tracker.
- CSM S-band omnidirectional antennas
- release of specifications was delaying subcontract award. North
American might be unable to meet delivery for CSMs 017 and 020.
- North American's in-house development program
- because of a lack of qualified personnel in California, North
American proposed to develop VHF scimitar, S-band flush mounted, and
C-band antennas at its Columbus, Ohio, facility.
- LEM S-band high-gain antenna
- Dalmo-Victor predicted that preproduction models would weigh 11 kg
(25.33 lbs), 3 kg (6.83 lbs) more than the specification weight.
Grumman already had ordered Dalmo-Victor to study ways of lightening
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips issued the flight directive
for the AS-202 mission, which spelled out the general flight plan,
objectives, and configuration of both spacecraft and launch vehicle.
OMSF Directive M-D MA 1400.011, "Apollo Program Flight Mission
Directive for Apollo-Saturn 202 Mission," September 29, 1965.
The Critical Design Review (CDR) of the Block II CSM was scheduled to be
conducted in November and December 1965, with the first phase being held
November 15-18, and the second phase December 13-17.
The first phase activity would be a review of drawings, schematics,
procurement specifications, weight status, interface control drawings,
failure analysis, proposed specification change notices, and
specification waivers and deviations. The second phase of the review
would be a physical inspection of the mockup of the Block II CSM.
The review would be conducted by review teams organized in the several
areas and headed by team captains, as follows: Structures and
Propulsion, O. Ohlsson; Communications, Instrumentation, and Electrical
Power, W. Speier; Stabilization and Control, Guidance and Navigation, A.
Cohen; Crew Systems, J. Loftus; and Mission Compatibility and
Operations, R. Battey.
Memorandum, Chief, Systems Engineering Division, MSC, to Distr.,
"Critical Design Review of Block II CSM," sgd. Harry W.
Byington, September 29, 1965.
The Mission Operations Organization had been under continued review and
discussion and on September 29 and 30 in New Orleans, La., a meeting was
held between George E. Mueller, James C. Elms, Robert R. Gilruth, and
George M. Low. General agreement was reached on a method of operation:
The Mission Operations Director would represent the Associate
Administrator for Manned Space Flight in all operational areas and would
be responsible to the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight
for the execution of all NASA manned spaceflight missions.
The people responsive to the Missions Operations Director (in the same
sense as Center Program Managers are responsible to Headquarters Program
It was pointed out that there were multiple and sometimes divergent
inputs from the Program Offices and the Mission Operations organization
in OMSF to various elements at the Manned Spacecraft Center.
- The Director of Launch Operations of the Kennedy Space Center,
- who is responsible for the preparation, checkout, countdown and
launch of the space vehicle. In two of these areas, preparation and
checkout, he is responsive to the Program Managers and Program
Directors; whereas in the other two areas, countdown and launch, he is
responsive to the Mission Operations Director.
- The Assistant Director for Flight Operations at the Manned
- who represents the Director of MSC in all operational areas. These
areas include flight operations and the flight operational aspects of
flight crew and medical operations.
- The DOD Representative for Manned Space Flight,
- who is responsible for the National Ranges and the recovery forces.
- The Program Directors,
- who are responsive to the Mission Operations Director insofar as the
readiness of flight hardware is concerned.
It was agreed that a better definition of responsibility between Program
Office and Mission Operations Directorate in OMSF was required. It was
also agreed that for all flight operational areas MSC would prefer to
have the Assistant Director for Flight Operations act as its single
point of contact. The Assistant Director for Flight Operations would
represent Flight Crew Operations and Medical Operations in the mission
Memorandum, George M. Low, "Mission Operations Discussions,"
October 4, 1965; Informal Memorandum, George M. Low to Distr., October
15, 1965, with enclosure.
September 30-October 7
Pressure loading and thermal tests were completed on the types of
windows in the Block I CM. The pressure tests demonstrated their ability
to withstand the ultimate stresses (both inward and outward) that the CM
might encounter during an atmospheric abort. The thermal simulations
qualified the windows for maximum temperatures anticipated during
reentry at lunar velocities.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 30-October 7, 1965."
September 30-October 7
Flight Projects Division advised that, on the basis of current weight
studies, the aft heatshield on Block I CMs must be thinned. North
American had said that this change would not affect schedules, but felt
some concern about the heat sensors. Accordingly, Structures and
Mechanics Division (SMD) ordered North American to proceed with this
weight reduction on the hardware for spacecraft 011, 012, and 014 (but
ensuring that the orbital decay required for Block I manned missions
would still be met). The sensors on 011's heatshield would be adapted to
the new thickness. SMD anticipated that these changes would cost about
$500,000 and would probably delay by about four weeks delivery of the
011 heatshield from Avco.
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 23-30, 1965";
"ASPO Weekly Management Report, September 30-October 7,
1965"; memorandum, R. W. Lanzkron and O. E. Maynard, MSC, to
Manager, ASPO, "Weight Reduction for Block I Aft Heat
Shield," October 8, 1965; memorandum, Joseph N. Kotanchik, MSC, to
Manager, ASPO, "Flight Configuration of SC 011," October 18,
Crew Systems Division defined the survival equipment that MSC would
procure for Apollo spacecraft. Fifteen survival sets would be needed for
Block I and 30 for Block II CMs.
Memorandum, R. E. Smylie, MSC, to Chief, Crew Systems Division,
"Apollo Block I and Block II survival equipment procurement,"
September 30, 1965.
During the Month
Bell Aerosystems reported on stability and ablative compatibility
testing of the first bipropellant-cooled injector baffle for the ascent
engine of the LEM. Combustion was stable; however, streaking on the
injector face forced Bell to halt ablative testing after only 60 seconds
"Monthly Progress Report No. 32," LPR-10-48, pp. 1, 11.
During the Month
Thirteen flights were made with the lunar landing research vehicle. Two
of those flights were devoted to mulling the lunar simulation system;
the remaining 11 flights were devoted to research with the attitude
control system in the rate command mode. Nine landings were made in the
lunar simulation mode.
On flight 1-34-94F the lunar simulation mode worked perfectly and no
drift was encountered during more than one minute of hovering flight.
The landing was made in the simulation mode for the first time on this
Letter, Office of Director, Flight Research Center, to NASA
Headquarters, "Lunar Landing Research Vehicle progress report
No.27 for the period ending September 30, 1965," sgd. Paul F.
Bikle, October 14, 1965.
Grumman advised MSC of major troubles plaguing development of the LEM's
descent engine. These included problems of weight, chamber erosion,
mixtures, valves, combustion instability, and throttle mechanisms
(which Grumman said could delay delivery of LEM 1 and the start of
"Monthly Progress Report No. 32," LPR-10-48, pp. 3, 11; GAEC,
"Monthly Progress Report No. 33," LPR- 10-49, November 10,
1965, p. 3.