Advanced Design, Fabrication, and Testing

January 3 to January 20, 1966


January 3

An OMSF memorandum spelled out operational constraints for Apollo experimenters to prevent experiment-generated operational problems. The author, E. E. Christensen, investigated the area at the request of NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller and developed some general conclusions, based on experience gained in the Gemini experiments program.

Christensen said the following items should be considered:

  1. The experimenter should be required to produce all hardware and paperwork on schedule or resign himself to the fact that the experiment would be deferred to a later flight.
  2. Training hardware should be identical to flight hardware except for flight certification documentation.
  3. The experimenter should be informed that control fuel and power resources are limited aboard the spacecraft and his requirements should specify minimum usage.
  4. The experimenter should be informed that recording and telemetry facilities are definitely limited and he should provide for alternate modes of data collection.
  5. The experimenter should be requested to submit, as early as possible, detailed operational requirements, including timeline data, to MSC for inclusion in the flight plan and to allow a maximum time for solution of operational problems.
  6. The experimenter should indicate both minimum and optimum experiment data requirements to allow mission planners some latitude in mission design.
  7. The experimenter should be informed that every effort would be made to fly assigned experiments, but that certain prime mission requirements might be generated in flight and take precedence. In this event NASA would make every effort to reassign a deleted experiment to a later mission.
  8. The experimenter should be informed that flight crew prime mission time demands can be exacting and that experiments requiring conscious efforts on the part of the crew may have to be compromised so as not to interfere with primary mission objectives.
Christensen suggested that NASA Headquarters could assist by providing guidance to MSC regarding the assignment of experiment priorities on each mission and the extent of allowable degradation of experimentation. He indicated that he felt the following experiments appeared to contain potential operational problems: S5, Synoptic Terrain Photography; M9A, Human Otolith Function; S14, Frog Otolith Function; S16, Trapped Particles Asymmetry; S17, X-ray Astronomy; and S18, Micrometeorite Collection.

Memorandum, Christensen to Director, Apollo Program, "Operational constraints for Apollo experiments/ experimenters," January 3, 1966.

January 3

MSC directed International Latex Corporation to use the following cross section of materials in fabricating the A6L thermal meteoroid garment, outside to inside: One layer of six-ounce Nomex cloth; seven layers of H.R.C. super-insulation, starting with one-fourth mil aluminized mylar and alternating with 1.5-mil unwoven dacron spacers; two layers of seven-ounce neoprene rip stop nylon (one side coated with neoprene).

TWX, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to International Latex Corporation, January 3, 1966; TWX, Richard S. Johnston, MSC, to International Latex Corporation, January 20, 1966.

January 3

Contractor personnel began an exercise to identify problem areas associated with activity within the LEM. Subjects using pressurized suits and portable life support systems ran through various cockpit procedures in the LEM mockup. Evaluations would continue during the week of January 10, using astronauts. The purpose of the exercise was to identify and gather data on problem areas in support of the Critical Design Review scheduled to be held at Grumman in late January.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, December 30, 1965-January 6, 1966."

January 3-7

The Preliminary Design Review for the Block II pressure garment assembly was held at International Latex Corporation.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 6-13, 1966."

January 3-14

The LEM landing gear subsystem was reviewed during the LEM Critical Design Review at MSC and Grumman. The review disclosed no major design inadequacies of the landing gear. The review included: lunar landing performance, structural and mechanical design, structural and thermal analysis, overall subsystem test program including results of tests to date, and conformance of landing gear design to LEM specifications.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 20-27, 1965."

January 5

The Apollo Joint Operations Group (JOG) was disestablished by its cochairmen. JOG had been established in February 1964 to exchange up-to- date status information on operational problems and to provide a means for their solution.

Subsequent to the establishment of JOG, responsibility for the Panel Review Board was transferred to the Apollo Program Director, and the Operations Management Group and Operations Executive Group were established. Those activities satisfied the requirements of both the Apollo Program Director and Mission Operations Director and provided the operational problem status and solution capability.

Letter, from Chairmen, Apollo Joint Operations Group, to Permanent Membership, Apollo Joint Operations Group, "Disestablishment of the Apollo Joint Operations Group," sgd. Samuel C. Phillips and E. E. Christensen, January 5, 1966.

January 6-13

The 500-second limitation for the Block I service propulsion system SPS engine qualification program was increased to 600 seconds for the last three altitude qualification tests. The spacecraft 020 SPS mission duty cycle required a 310-second burn and a 205-second burn. Discussions with Systems Engineering Division indicated that the long SPS burns were needed to support a full-duration S-IVB mission and there was little likelihood the requirement could be modified. The Block II engine delivery schedules prohibited obtaining a Block II engine in time to support spacecraft 020.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 6-13, 1966."

January 6-13

Apparently the only available spacecraft-LEM-adapter SLA thermal coating material which would meet the emissivity requirements for LEM flights was 24-carat gold. North American Tulsa, Oklahoma was predicting 18-week and 10-week schedule slips, respectively, for the first two Block 11 SLAs and a $10-12 million cost impact. A meeting would be held at Tulsa January 17 between North American, Grumman, and MSC to determine the course of the action to be taken.


January 7

George M. Low, Deputy Director of MSC, outlined the general purpose and plans for the Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory during a telephone conversation with Oran W. Nicks, NASA Director of Lunar and Planetary Programs:

Memorandum, Director, Lunar and Planetary Programs, to Distr., "Telephone Conversation with Mr. George Low on January 7, 1966, re Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory," January 10, 1966.

January 8-11

The first fuel cell system test at White Sands Test Facility was conducted successfully. Primary objectives were: 1 to verify the capability of the ground support equipment and operational checkout procedure to start up, operate, and shut down a single fuel cell power plant; and 2 to evaluate fuel cell operations during cold gimbaling of the service propulsion engine.

TWX, Martin L. Raines, Manager MSC WSTF, to MSC, "Preliminary Report, First Fuel Cell System Test at WSTF," January 11, 1966.

January 10

Soviet life-support systems used in Vostok and Voskhod spacecraft appeared to use a sodium superoxide compound as a source of oxygen, A. W. Petrocelli, General Dynamics Corporation, told Missiles and Rockets. Petrocelli estimated the Russians had published three times more basic research papers than U.S. scientists on these materials and were continuing efforts to improve life-support systems by studying compounds such as new superoxides, peroxides, and ozonides. He also said they were searching for better carbon dioxide absorbers.

Missiles and Rockets, p. 33, January 10, 1966.

January 13

A decision made at a Program Management Review eliminated the requirement for a land impact program for the CM to support Block I flights. Post-abort CM land impact for Saturn IB launches had been eliminated from Complex 37 by changes to the sequence timers in the launch escape system abort mode. The Certification Test Specification and related Certification Test Requirements would reflect the new Block II land impact requirements.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 20-27, 1965."

January 13-20

Mission requirements for AS-503 were reviewed to determine if the LEM test objectives which caused the crew to be in the LEM at high altitudes (3,704 to 12,964 km [2,000 to 7,000 nm]) could be deleted. The reason for keeping the crew out of the LEM at those altitudes was the possibility they might be exposed to a total radiation dose which might prevent them from flying a later lunar mission.

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 13-20, 1965."

January 13-20

The service propulsion subsystem (SPS) maximum total burn time was set at 515 sec for Mission AS-502, instead of 385 sec. The higher limit was expected to be attained due to the Block I testing burn time being extended to 600 sec. An SPS propellant loading of 16,783 kg (37,000 lbs) and the 515-sec burn limit had been included in the Apollo Mission Data Specifications, which was in the publication cycle for support of the AS-502 Reference Trajectory.


January 13-20

The LEM electrical power system use of the primary structure as the electrical ground return was approved after Grumman presentations were made to ASPO and Engineering and Development personnel. The descent-stage batteries would not use a descent-stage structure ground to preclude current flow through the pyrotechnic interstage nut and bolt assemblies. The ascent and descent stage batteries would be grounded to primary structure in the near vicinity of the ascent-stage batteries. In addition, several selected manually operated solenoids would ground. All other subsystems would remain grounded to the "single-point" vehicle ground. This change would be implemented by Grumman with no cost or schedule impact and would effect a weight savings of approximately 7.7 kg (17 lbs).


January 13-27

Hamilton Standard Division was directed by Crew Systems Division to use a 2.27-kg (5-lbs) battery for all flight hardware if the power inputs indicated that it would meet the four-hr mission. The battery on order currently weighed 2.44 kg (5.4 lbs). This resulted in an inert weight saving of l.45 kg (3.2 lbs) and a total saving on the LEM and CSM of 5.44 kg (12 lbs).

MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 20-27, 1965."

January 14

The Grumman contract revision, converting the contract to cost-plus-incentive-fee, was signed. The period of the contract was extended through December 1969.

"Quarterly Progress Report No. 1," LPR-10-52, p. 2.

January 20

Apollo Mission A-004 was successfully accomplished at White Sands Missile Range. This was the first flight test utilizing the Apollo Block I type spacecraft and the sixth and final test of the Apollo CSM development program at WSMR. Primary test objectives were:

  1. to demonstrate satisfactory launch escape vehicle performance for an abort in the power-on, tumbling boundary region; and
  2. to demonstrate the structural integrity of the launch escape vehicle airframe for an abort in the power-on, tumbling boundary region. The Little Joe II launch vehicle boosted the 4,536-kg 5-ton unmanned spacecraft to a 24-km (15-mi) altitude.
The only significant anomaly recorded was loss of RE telemetry about two seconds after abort.

TWX, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, to Distr., "MSC Apollo Mission A-004 (LJ II/SC 002) flight status," sgd. John Lobb for Joseph F. Shea, January 22, 1966; MSC, "ASPO Weekly Management Report, January 20-27, 1965."

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