Part 1 (C)
Preparation for Flight, the Accident, and Investigation
July through September 1966
Melvyn Savage, Apollo Test Director in NASA Hq., was named to head the
Apollo Applications Program Test Directorate. LeRoy E. Day was named to
replace Savage in Apollo.
Note, John H. Disher, NASA OMSF, to Monte Wright, NASA History Office,
"Comments on Volume IV - The Apollo Spacecraft, Draft Copy,"
May 21, 1975.
Week Ending July 1
The Quarterly Program Review was held at Grumman by NASA Associate
Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller and Apollo
Program Director Samuel C. Phillips. Attendees included MSC's Robert R.
Gilruth, Joseph F. Shea, and William A. Lee. The meeting focused on
excessive costs experienced by Grumman and Grumman President L. J.
Evans's announcement of the immediate establishment of a Program Control
Office with a subcontract manager reporting directly to Vice President
Joseph Gavin. Hugh McCullough was appointed to head the Program Control
The next week Evans made the following appointments: Robert Mullaney was
relieved as Program Manager and appointed Assistant to Senior Vice
President George F. Titterton; William Rathke was relieved as
Engineering Manager and named Program Manager; Thomas Kelly was promoted
from Assistant Engineering Manager to Engineering Manager; and Brian
Evans was relieved as corporate Director of Quality Assurance and
appointed LEM Subcontract Manager, reporting to Gavin.
Memos, Frank X. Battersby to Chief, Apollo Procurement Br., Procurement
and Contracts Div., MSC, "Weekly Activity Report, BMR Bethpage,
Week Ending July 1, 1966," July 6, 1966; and "Weekly Activity
Report, BMR Bethpage, Week Ending July 8, 1966," July 12, 1966.
Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., said that MSC
had been directed by NASA OMSF to outline technical problems and both
cost and schedule impact of adding three backup Apollo missions to the
planned flight schedule. The missions to be evaluated would be
AS-207/208 or AS-206/207; AS-503D; and AS-503F. Each of these missions
would provide alternate means of obtaining primary program objectives
in the event of flight contingencies during tests or of major schedule
adjustments. They had been constructed using as much of the primary
mission characteristics as possible. The goal was to be able to switch
from a primary to a backup mission within three or four months before a
launch without any schedule slip. Kraft pointed out that it was
unlikely that additional funds would be available to cover the
additional work and that it was important to determine areas in the
primary mission plan that would suffer from either dilution or deletion
should a decision be made to make these missions a part of the test
development program. Recognizing that a number of man-weeks of effort
would be required for adequate evaluation, Kraft requested that any
impact determined from inclusion of the flights in the test program be
made available at MSC for coordination and presentation to Apollo
Program Director by July 15.
Memo, Kraft to distr., "Evaluation of the technical problems, cost
and schedule impact of adding Apollo backup missions to the flight test
programs," July 1, 1966.
AS-203 lifted off from Launch Complex 37, Eastern Test Range, at 10:53
a.m. EDT in the second of three Apollo-Saturn missions scheduled before
manned flight in the Apollo program. All objectives - to acquire flight
data on the S-IVB stage and instrument unit - were achieved.
The uprated Saturn I - consisting of an S-IB stage, S-IVB stage, and an
instrument unit - boosted an unmanned payload into an original orbit of
185 by 189 kilometers. The inboard engine cutoff of the first stage
occurred after 2 minutes 18 seconds of flight and the outboard engine
cutoff was 4 seconds later. The S-IVB engine burned 4 minutes 50
seconds. No recovery was planned and the payload was expected to enter
the earth's atmosphere after about four days.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1966, (NASA SP-4007, 1967),
p. 233; memos, Mission Director for Apollo-Saturn 203, "AS-203
Mission Director's Post Mission Report," undated; Associate
Administrator for Manned Space Flight to Administrator,
"Apollo-Saturn Flight Mission AS-203, Post Launch Report No.
1" (Mission Operation Report M-932-66-02), July 15, 1966.
NASA requested assignment of three additional sanitary engineers from
the Public Health Service. Pointing out that one sanitary engineer had
been on detail to NASA since 1964 and that his effort had been directed
primarily to the control of outbound contamination, NASA said this
problem and that of back contamination had reached proportions that
required a more intensified effort. NASA would reimburse the Public
Health Service under contract.
Ltr., Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to William Stewart,
Public Health Service, July 5, 1966.
North American Aviation informed Grumman that it was closing out its
office at Grumman's Bethpage, N.Y., plant at the close of business on
July 8. If study found that reestablishment of a Space and Information
Division resident representative at Bethpage was in the best interest of
the program, North American Aviation would comply.
TWX, North American Aviation, Space and Information Systems Div.,
Downey, Calif., to Grumman, Bethpage, N.Y., July 6, 1966.
Homer E. Newell, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and
Applications, told George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for
Manned Space Flight, that "the highest scientific priority for the
Apollo mission is for return to earth of lunar surface material." He
added that the material would have a higher scientific value for
geologists if the location and attitude of each sample were carefully
noted and for the biologists if collected in an aseptic manner. He
suggested the following sequence:
Ltr., Newell to Mueller, "Apollo Lunar Surface Scientific
Operational Procedure," July 6, 1966.
- Collect an assortment of easily obtainable samples of any surface
material at the landing site. The grab samples would be placed in the LM
for easy packaging preparatory to return to earth for analysis if the
planned stay time on the lunar surface was cut short.
- Deploy the ALSEP.
- Perform the lunar geological equipment experiment, which was a
detailed geological and biological traverse by an astronaut. During this
traverse both representative and unusual rocks or formations should be
photographed and sampled.
In reply to a letter from Grumman, MSC concurred with the
recommendation that a 135-centimeter lunar surface probe be provided on
each landing-leg footpad and that the engine cutoff logic retain its
basic manual mode. MSC did not concur with the Grumman recommendation
to incorporate the automatic engine cutoff logic in the LM design. MSC
believed that the planned descent-stage engine's manual cutoff landing
mode was adequate to accomplish lunar touchdown and had decided that
the probe-actuated cutoff capability should not be included in the LM
TWX, James L. Neal, MSC, to Grumman, Attn: R. S. Mullaney, "LM
Lunar Touchdown, Logic," July 11, 1966.
MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton and Director
of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., told ASPO Manager
Joseph F. Shea: "A comprehensive examination of the Apollo
missions leading to the lunar landing indicates that there is a
considerable discontinuity between missions AS-205 and AS-207/208. Both
missions AS-204 and AS-205 are essentially long duration system
validation flights. AS-207/208 is the first of a series of very
complicated missions. A valid operational requirement exists to include
an optical equal-period rendezvous on AS-205. The rendezvous would be
similar to the one initially planned for the Gemini VII
flight using, in this case, the S-IVB as the target vehicle." The
maneuver would give the crew an opportunity to examine the control
dynamics, visibility, and piloting techniques required to perform the
basic AS-207/208 mission.
Memo, Slayton and Kraft to Shea, "Equal-Period Rendezvous for
AS-205," July 13, 1966.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth informed MSFC Director Wernher von Braun
that for the past two years MSC had studied the use of the mapping and
survey system (M&SS) in conjunction with the Apollo program. The
system objective would be lunar mapping and landing site certification,
and management responsibility was assigned to the MSC Experiments
Program Office. System parameters had been established and a decision
made to configure the M&SS hardware and supporting systems in a
cylindrical container. The container - a "payload module" -
would be carried in the spacecraft-LM adapter in place of the LM during
the boost phase of flight. The payload module would have docking
capability with the CSM like the LM's and, in the docked mode, would
map and survey the moon in a programmed lunar orbit.
The M&SS experiment had already been funded by NASA OMSF and would
support five possible flights beginning with AS-504. Gilruth forwarded a
statement of work and requested MSFC to study it and furnish MSC a cost
estimate, technical proposal, and management plan by July 29.
Ltr., Gilruth to von Braun, July 20, 1966.
NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., told the Associate
Administrators that it was NASA's fundamental policy that projects and
programs were best planned and executed when responsibilities were
clearly assigned to a management group. He then assigned full
responsibility for Apollo and Apollo Applications missions to the Office
of Manned Space Flight. OMSF would fund approved integral experiment
hardware, provide the required Apollo and Saturn systems, integrate the
experiments with those systems, and plan and execute the missions.
Specific responsibility for developing and testing individual
experiments would be assigned on the basis of experiment complexity,
integration requirements, and relation to the prime mission objectives,
by the Office of Administrator after receiving recommendations from
The Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) would be responsible
for selecting scientific experiments for manned missions and the
experimenter teams for data reduction, data analysis, and dissemination.
OSSA would provide to OMSF complete scientific requirements for each
experiment selected for flight.
The Office of Advanced Research and Technology (OART) was assigned the
overall responsibility for the technology content of the NASA space
flight program and for selecting technology experiments for manned
missions. OART would provide OMSF complete technology requirements for
each experiment selected for flight. When appropriate, scientific and
technical personnel would be located in OMSF to provide a working
interface with experimenters. The office responsible for each experiment
would determine the tracking and acquisition requirements for each
experiment; then OMSF would integrate the requirements for all
experiments and forward the total requirements to the Office of Tracking
and Data Acquisition.
Seamans also spelled out Center responsibilities for manned space flight
missions: MSFC, Apollo telescope mount; MSC, Apollo lunar surface
experiment package (ALSEP), lunar science experiments, earth resources
experiments, and life support systems; and Goddard Space Flight Center,
atmospheric science, meteorology, and astronomical science experiments.
Memo, Seamans to distr., "Management Responsibilities for Future
Manned Flight Activities," July 26, 1966.
NASA Hq. authorized MSC to proceed with opening bids on August 1 for
Phase I construction of the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. MSC was
requested to announce the name of the contractor selected for final
negotiations for Phase II construction, before opening bids for Phase I
TWX, NASA Hq. to MSC, "Lunar Receiving Laboratory," July 28,
In response to a request from Apollo Program Director Samuel C.
Phillips, Bellcomm, Inc., prepared a memorandum on the major concerns
resulting from its review of the AC Electronics report on the Apollo
Computer Design Review. In a transmittal note to Phillips, I. M. Ross
said, "We have discussed these items with MSC. It is possible,
however, that [Robert] Duncan and [Joseph] Shea have not been made
aware of these problems." The Bellcomm memorandum for file,
prepared by J. J. Rocchio, reported that in late February 1966 MSC had
authorized AC Electronics Division (ACED) to initiate a complete design
review of the Apollo guidance computer to ensure adequate performance
during the lunar landing mission. A June 8 ACED report presented
findings and included Massachusetts Institute of Technology comments on
the findings. In addition to recommending a number of specific design
changes, the report identified a number of areas which warranted
further review. MSC authorized ACED to perform necessary additional
reviews to eliminate all indeterminate design analyses and to resolve
any discrepancies between the ACED and MIT positions. At the time
Bellcomm prepared the memo many of the problem areas had been or were
in process of being satisfactorily resolved. However, several still
Bellcomm, Inc., Memo for File, "Apollo Block II/LM Guidance
Computer - Case 330," sgd. J. J. Rocchio, July 29, 1966, note,
Ross to Phillips, July 29, 1966.
- MSC had not had the opportunity to review an approved version of the
final test method for the Block II/LM computer and as a result there was
no official acceptance test for computers at that point, although the
first of the flight-worthy computers had left the factory and the second
was in final test at the factory.
- The Design Review Report classified the timing margin of the Block
II computer as indeterminate, since the team was unable to make a
detailed timing analysis in the allotted time.
- Both Block I and Block II Apollo guidance computer programs had
experienced serious problems with parts qualification and with obtaining
semiconductor devices which could pass the flight processing
- The lack of adequate documentation to support the Block II computer
and its design was cited "as perhaps the most significant fault
uncovered" by the design review team.
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller
informed MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that the MSC Procurement Plan
for procurement of three lunar landing training vehicles and the
proposed flight test program was approved.
Ltr., Mueller to Gilruth, Aug. 1, 1966.
NASA signed a supplemental agreement with Chrysler Corp.'s Space
Division at New Orleans, La., converting the uprated Saturn I
first-stage production contract from cost-plus-fixed-fee to
cost-plus-incentive-fee. Under the agreement, valued at $339 million,
the amount of the contractor's fee would be based on ability to perform
assigned tasks satisfactorily and meet prescribed costs and schedules.
The contract called for Chrysler to manufacture, assemble and test 12
uprated Saturn I first stages and provide system engineering,
integration support, ground support equipment, and launch services.
NASA News Release 66-201, "Agreement with Chrysler Converts Saturn
I Contract to Incentive-Type," Aug. 1, 1966.
The architect-engineer of the Lunar Receiving Laboratory, Smith,
Hinchman & Grylls, proposed using a much darker tint in the exterior
windows of the LRL than used in other buildings at MSC. J. G. Griffith,
Chief of the Engineering Office, inspected samples of the glass and
Memo, Program Manager, LRL, to Deputy Director, MSC, "Exterior
windows of the Lunar Receiving Laboratory," Aug. 3, 1966.
- when the building is viewed from the exterior, the windows might
seem slightly darker than others at MSC.
- the ability of personnel inside to see through the glass was not
restricted but brightness was considerably reduced.
- c. heat transfer through the glass would be reduced by about 40
percent from glass used in other windows at MSC.
MSC requested LaRC to study the visibility of the S-IVB/SLA combination
from the left-hand couch in the command module with the couch in the
docked position. (Two positions could be attained, one of them a docking
and rendezvous position that moved the seat into a better viewing area
from the left-hand window.) LM and CM mockups were already at Langley
from the CM-active moving-base docking simulation conducted May-July
The request was initiated because the flight crew had to rely on an out-
the-window reference of the S-IVB/SLA to verify separation of the LM/CSM
combination from the S-IVB/SLA. The question arose as to whether the
out-the-window reference was sufficient or whether an electromechanical
device with a panel readout in the CM was required to verify separation.
Ltr., Director, MSC, to LaRC, Attn: Floyd L. Thompson, Director,
"Apollo visibility study," Aug. 3, 1966.
NASA modified its contract with IBM to provide for work to be performed
under a multiple-incentive arrangement covering cost, performance,
schedule and equipment management. It also ordered the Real Time
Computer Complex (RTCC) at MSC to be converted to IBM System computers,
which would increase the operational capability for Apollo. The contract
with IBM's Federal Systems Division, Gaithersburg, Md., provided the
computing capability required for mission monitoring, inflight mission
planning and simulation activities.
NASA News Release 66-205, "Apollo Complex to Be Converted in IBM
Contract," Aug. 3, 1966.
Maxime A. Faget, MSC, informed Center Director Robert R. Gilruth there
was a continuing effort on lightweight, energy-absorbing, and stowable
net couches, and development had been redirected to a nonelastic fabric
net couch system attached to existing Apollo attenuation struts. North
American Aviation had previously been given the task of investigating
the use of net couches on Apollo. Results of that investigation
indicated the spacecraft attenuation-strut-vehicle attachments would be
overloaded when using net couches. The North American Aviation
investigators made their calculations by assuming no-man attenuation in
the lateral and longitudinal force directions. Those calculations were
recomputed using the design criteria and proper loadings and the results
indicated no overloading when using net couches. MSC's Advanced
Spacecraft Technology Division had reviewed and approved the efforts,
permitting use of the net couches on Apollo and Apollo Applications
Memo, Faget to Gilruth, "Net couches for Apollo or Apollo
Applications Missions," Aug. 5, 1966.
MSC requested Ames Research Center to conduct a manual control
simulation of the Saturn V upper stages with displays identical to those
planned in the spacecraft. On August 5, Brent Creer and Gordon Hardy of
Ames had met with representatives from ASPO, Guidance and Control
Division, and Flight Crew Operations Directorate to discuss
implementation of a modified Ames simulation which would determine
feasibility of manual control from first stage burnout, using existing
spacecraft displays and control interfaces. Simulations at Ames in 1965
had indicated that the Saturn V could be manually flown into orbit
within dispersions of 914 meters in altitude, and 0.1 degree in flight
Ames responded on August 24 that setting up the flight simulator had
been initiated and that the project was proceeding according to a
schedule arranged by Warren J. North of MSC and Creer.
Memo, Chief, Flight Crew Support Div., "Saturn V. Manual
Control," Aug. 8, 1966; ltrs., Robert R. Gilruth, Director MSC, to
H. Julian Allen, Director, Ames Research Center, Aug. 8, 1966; Allen to
Gilruth, Aug. 24, 1966.
MSC worked out a program with LaRC for use of the Lunar Landing
Research Facility (LLRF) for preflight transition for LM flight crews
before free-flight training in the lunar landing training vehicle. LM
hardware sent to Langley to be used as training aids included two
flight director attitude indicators, an attitude controller assembly, a
thrust-translation controller assembly, and an altitude-rate meter.
Memo, George C. Franklin, MSC, to W. A. Lee, MSC, "Status of Lunar
Module hardware for Langley Research Center Lunar Landing Research
Facility (LaRC LLRF)," Aug. 9, 1966.
August 10 - September 14
Lunar Orbiter I was launched from Cape Kennedy Launch
Complex 13 at 3:26 p.m. EDT August 10 to photograph possible Apollo
landing sites from lunar orbit. The Atlas-Agena D launch vehicle
injected the spacecraft into its planned 90-hour trajectory to the
moon. A midcourse correction maneuver was made at 8 p.m. the next day;
a planned second midcourse maneuver was not necessary. A faultless
deboost maneuver on August 14 achieved the desired initial elliptic
orbit around the moon, and one week later the spacecraft was commanded
to make a transfer maneuver to place it in a final close-in elliptic
orbit of the moon.
During the spacecraft's stay in the final close-in orbit, the
gravitational fields of the earth and the moon were expected to
influence the orbital elements. The influence was verified by spacecraft
tracking data, which showed that the perilune altitude varied with time.
From an initial perilune altitude of 58 kilometers, the perilune
decreased to 49 kilometers. At this time an orbit adjustment maneuver
began an increase in the altitude, which was expected to reach a maximum
after three months and then begin to decrease again. The spacecraft was
expected to impact on the lunar surface about six months after the orbit
During the photo-acquisition phase of the flight, August 18 to 29,
Lunar Orbiter I photographed the 9 selected primary
potential Apollo landing sites, including the one in which
Surveyor I landed; 7 other potential Apollo landing sites;
the east limb of the moon; and 11 areas on the far side of the moon.
Lunar Orbiter I also took photos of the earth, giving man
the first view of the earth from the vicinity of the moon (this
particular view has been widely publicized). A total of 207 frames
(sets of medium- and high-resolution pictures) were taken, 38 while the
spacecraft was in initial orbit, the remainder while it was in the
final close-in orbit. Lunar Orbiter I achieved its mission
objectives, and, with the exception of the high-resolution camera, the
performance of the photo subsystem and other spacecraft subsystems was
outstanding. At the completion of the photo readouts, the spacecraft
had responded to about 5,000 discrete commands from the earth and had
made about 700 maneuvers.
Photographs obtained during the mission were assessed and screened by
representatives of the Lunar Orbiter Project Office, U.S. Geological
Survey, DOD mapping agencies, MSC, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Memo, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications
to Administrator, "Lunar Orbiter I Post Launch Report," Oct.
20, 1966 (Mission Operation Report S-814-66-01, Oct. 19, 1966).
MSC suggested that Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. redesign the
injector for the Bell Aerospace Go. ascent engine as a backup
immediately. The Center was aware of costs, but the seriousness of the
injector fabrication problem and the impact resulting from not having a
backup was felt to be justification for the decision.
TWX, MSC to Grumman, Aug. 11, 1966.
The mockup of LM test model No. 3 (TM-3) was shipped by Super
Guppy aircraft to Cape Kennedy, on the first trip of the
Super Guppy from Grumman, Bethpage, N.Y.
Memo, Frank X. Battersby to Chief, Apollo Procurement Br., Procurement
and Contracts Div., MSC, "Weekly Activity Report, BMR Bethpage,
Week Ending August 19, 1966," Aug. 24, 1966.
In a letter to the President of Westinghouse Electric Corp., George M.
Low, Acting Director of MSC, expressed his concern about the lunar
television camera program. Low pointed out that Westinghouse had been
awarded the contract by MSC in October 1964, that delivery of the
cameras was to be made over a 15-month period, and that the total value
of the original cost-plus-fixed-fee contract was $2,296,249 including a
fee of $150,300. The cost reports required by the contract (at the time
of Low's letter) showed that Westinghouse estimated the cost to
complete at $7,927,000 and estimated the hardware delivery date as
January 31, 1967. Low pointed out that the proposal letter from
Westinghouse in May 1964 stated that "the Aerospace Division
considers the Lunar Television Camera to represent a goal culminating
years of concentrated effort directed toward definition, design, and
verification of critical elements of this most important program.
Accordingly, the management assures NASA Manned Spacecraft Center that
the program will be executed with nothing less than top priority
application of all personnel, facilities, and management
resources." Low said that despite these assurances the overrun and
schedule slippages indicated a lack of adequate program management at
all levels and a general lack of initiative in taking corrective
actions to solve problems encountered.
Westinghouse replied to Low on September 1 that it, too, was
disappointed "when technology will not permit a research and
development program such as this to be completed within its original
cost and schedule objectives." The reply stated "Our people
have taken every precaution - gone to the extreme, perhaps, in its
impact on cost and schedule - to achieve the required mission
reliability. . . ." The letter concluded by expressing pleasure in
the harmony that had existed between Westinghouse and MSC personnel and
by praising the performance of the Gemini rendezvous radar, holding it
up as an objective for excellence of performance for the lunar
Ltrs., Low to D. C. Burnham, President, Westinghouse Electric Corp.,
Aug. 22, 1966; Charles H. Weaver, Group Vice President, Atomic, Defense
& Space Group, Westinghouse Electric Corp., to Low, Sept. 1,
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth requested of Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Director William H. Pickering that JPL fire the Surveyor spacecraft's
vernier engine after the Surveyor landed on moon, to give insight into
how much erosion could be expected from an LM landing. The LM descent
engine was to operate until it was about one nozzle diameter from
landing on the lunar surface; after the Surveyor landed, its engine
would be about the same distance from the surface. Gilruth told
Pickering that LaRC was testing a reaction control engine to establish
surface shear pressure forces, surface pressures, and back pressure
sources, and offered JPL that data when obtained.
Ltr., Gilruth to Pickering, "Surveyor spacecraft
experiments," Aug. 22, 1966.
NASA informed four firms that had completed design studies on the Apollo
experiment pallet that there would be no hardware development and
fabrication of the pallet. The four firms had been selected in November
1965 to make four-month studies of a pallet to carry experiments in the
spacecraft SM during the Apollo manned lunar landings. The firms were
Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Sunnyvale, Calif.; The Martin Co.,
Denver, Colo.; McDonnell Aircraft Corp., St. Louis, Mo.; and Northrop
Space Laboratories, Hawthorne, Calif. (See April 15.)
NASA News Release 66-224, "Apollo Pallet Development Phase
Vetoed," Aug. 22, 1966.
The unmanned suborbital Apollo-Saturn 202 mission was successfully
flown - the third Saturn IB flight test and the second CM heatshield
flight test. The 202 included an uprated Saturn I (Saturn IB) launch
vehicle (S-IB stage, S-IVB stage, and instrument unit) and the Apollo
011 spacecraft (spacecraft-lunar module adapter, service module,
command module, and launch escape system). Liftoff was from Launch
Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy at 1:15 p.m. EDT. The command module landed
safely in the southwest Pacific Ocean, near Wake Island 1 hour 33
minutes after liftoff. It was recovered by the U.S.S.
Hornet about 370 kilometers uprange from the recovery
Spacecraft 011 was essentially a Block I spacecraft with the following
exceptions: couches, crew equipment, and the cabin postlanding
ventilation were omitted; and three auxiliary batteries, a mission
control programmer, four cameras, and flight qualification
instrumentation were added.
Of six primary test objectives assigned to the mission (see Appendix 5),
the objectives for the environmental control, electrical power, and
communications subsystems were not completely satisfied. All other
spacecraft test objectives were successfully accomplished.
"MSC-A-R-66-5, Postlaunch Report for Mission AS-202 (Apollo
Spacecraft 011)," MSC, Oct. 12, 1966, pp. 1-1, 2-1, 3-1; memo,
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight to Administrator,
"Apollo Saturn Flight Mission AS-202, Post Launch Report No.
1" (Mission Operations Report M-932-66-03), Sept. 1, 1966.
Week Ending August 26
The Bethpage RASPO Business Manager and Grumman representatives met to
choose a vendor to produce the orbital rate drive electronics for Apollo
and LM (ORDEAL). Three proposals were received: Arma Division of
American Bosch Arma Corp., $275,000; Kearfott Products Division of
General Precision, Inc., $295,000; and Bendix Corp., $715,000.
Kearfott's proposal was evaluated as offering a more desirable weight,
more certain delivery, and smaller size within the power budget and
consequently was selected although it was not the low bid. Evaluators
believed that Arma's approach would not be easy to implement, that its
delivery schedule was unrealistic, and that its proposal lacked a
definite work statement in the areas of testing, quality control,
reliability, and documentation.
Memo, Frank X. Battersby to Chief, Apollo Procurement Br., Procurement
and Contracts Div., MSC, "Weekly Activity Report, BMR Bethpage,
Week Ending August 26, 1966," Aug. 31, 1966.
Because of the reported NASA OMSF rejection of funding responsibility
for prototyping and equipping the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL) and
the strong NASA Office of Space Science and Applications concern over
the quarantine facilities and techniques, Craig K. Peper of OSSA
Memo, Peper, NASA Hq., to Director, Manned Flight Experiments, OSSA,
"Lunar Receiving Laboratory," Aug. 26, 1966.
- each concerned program office make a scientific review of OMSF's
proposal for facility construction to determine its adequacy to meet the
scientific requirements and
- from those reviews the Director of Manned Space Flight Experiments,
OSSA, would submit to the Associate Administrator, OSSA, a consolidated
recommendation on additional requirements to satisfy the scientific
standards the LRL facilities must meet.
MSC's Flight Crew Support Division prepared an operations plan
describing division support of flight experiments. Activities planned
would give operational support to both flight crew and experimenters.
Crew training, procedures development, and integration, mission-time
support, and postmission debriefings were discussed in detail.
Memo, Warren J. North, MSC, to Technical Assistant for Apollo,
"Flight Experiments Operations Plan of the Flight Crew Support
Division," Aug. 22, 1966.
Because the Apollo Mission Simulator (AMS) was one of the pacing items
in the Apollo Block II flight program, a critical constraint upon
operational readiness was the availability of Government-furnished
equipment (GFE) to the AMS contractor, General Precision's Link Group.
For that reason MSC ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea asked A. L. Brady, Chief
of the Apollo Mission Simulator Office, to establish controls to ensure
that GFE items were provided to Link in time to support the program. He
requested that an individual be appointed to be responsible for each
item and that a weekly report on the status be submitted on each item.
Memo, Shea to Manager, Apollo Mission Simulator Program, "GFE
Support to AMS Block II Modifications," Aug. 30, 1966.
MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton informed ASPO
Manager Joseph F. Shea that total management during thermal vacuum
testing of spacecraft 008 was inadequate, resulting in misunderstandings
between personnel and organizational groups concerned with the test.
Slayton offered a number of suggestions for future, similar tests:
Memo, Slayton to Shea, "Management improvement of follow-on
thermal vacuum testing," Aug. 31, 1966.
- Overall planning policies and practices should be reviewed and
further defined before commitment of future test crews.
- Timeline testing philosophy was not realistic or practical in a one-
g environment. It was mandatory that test plans be developed with
maximum data gain and minimum crew and hardware risks consistent with
overall program objectives. For example, long thermal responses during
- A crew systems operations office should be established within the
Space Environmental Simulation Laboratory to tie down the interface
between crew, hardware, and management. Its scope of operation should
include representation, training, and scheduling.
- The Environmental Medicine Office should define all crew and test
medical requirements before crew selection. To help in this area, a
flight surgeon should be assigned to each vehicle's prime and backup
crews, to ensure adequate knowledge of crew members and test objectives
for training and the real-time mission.
- It must be recognized that test crew participation in thermal vacuum
testing was completely voluntary and that each member volunteering must
weigh the hazards of such testing against the benefits to the program in
general and his welfare in particular.
In response to a query from NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans,
Jr., Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E.
Newell said that no laboratories had been selected for receiving lunar
materials but proposals had been solicited and were in process of
review. Newell said the lunar samples fell under the planetary and
planetary biology disciplines primarily. The Planetary Biology
Subcommittee of the Space Science Steering Committee had four working
groups evaluating the proposals geophysics, geochemistry, geology, and
Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL). The working groups were expected to
complete their evaluations in September and, following review by the
program office, recommendations would be prepared for the Space Science
Steering Committee. Following appropriate review by that Committee,
Newell would select the Principal Investigators for approved
Funding for the analyses could be determined only after selections had
been made, but budget estimates for that purpose had been made for $2
million in FY 1968 and $6 million in FY 1969, exclusive of laboratory
upgrading and funding of the LRL. As a part of the continuing research
effort, 33 laboratories had received support during 1966 for upgrading
their ability to handle and examine lunar material. Newell added that
125 proposals for handling lunar material had been received and were
Memo, Newell to Seamans, "Lunar Sample Analysis Program,"
Sept. 7, 1966.
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low submitted information to NASA
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller on
manpower requirements and operating costs for testing in MSC's large
thermal vacuum chamber. Spacecraft 008 testing reflected a manpower
cost (civil service and contractor) of $7,034,000, chamber operating
cost of $321,000, and material costs of $277,000. The spacecraft had
been in the chamber 83 days, during which time a 92-hour unmanned test
and a 163-hour manned test had been conducted.
Ltr., Low to Mueller, Sept. 14, 1966.
Surveyor II was launched from Cape Kennedy at 8:32 a.m.
EDT. The Atlas-Centaur launch vehicle placed the spacecraft on a nearly
perfect lunar intercept trajectory that would have missed the aim point
by about 130 kilometers. Following injection, the spacecraft
successfully accomplished all required sequences up to the midcourse
thrust phase. This phase was not successful because of the failure of
one of the three vernier engines to ignite, causing eventual loss of
the mission. Contact with the spacecraft was lost at 5:35 a.m. EDT,
September 22, and impact on the lunar surface was predicted at 11:18
p.m. on that day.
Memo, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications to
Administrator. "Surveyor II Lunar Flight Project, Post Launch
Report No. 1," Oct. 7, 1966 (Mission Operation Report
NASA awarded a $4.2-million contract to Honeywell, Inc., Computer
Control Division, Framingham, Mass., to provide digital computer
systems for Apollo command and lunar module simulators. Under the
fixed-price contract, Honeywell would provide six separate computer
complexes to support the Apollo simulators at MSC and Cape Kennedy. The
complexes would be delivered, installed, and checked out by Honeywell
by the end of March 1967.
NASA News Release 66-254, Sept. 21, 1966.
A Planning Coordination Steering Group at NASA Hq. received program
options from working groups established to coordinate long-range
planning in life sciences, earth-oriented applications, astronomy,
lunar exploration, and planetary exploration. The Steering Group
recommended serious consideration be given a four-phase exploration
program using unmanned Lunar Orbiters, Surveyors, and manned lunar
surface exploration. The first phase, consisting of Ranger, Surveyor,
Orbiter, and the initial Apollo landing was under way. The second phase
would match the Apollo Applications program and would extend surface
sampling and geologic mapping beyond the walking capability of a suited
astronaut. The group recommended this phase launch one 14-day two-man
mission per year beginning in 1970, with one or two Surveyors, and one
unmanned Orbiter per year. The third phase would consist of one
three-man 90-day mission per year. The final phase would consist of
semipermanent manned stations.
Memo, Edgar M. Cortright, Alfred J. Eggers, Jr., James C. Elms, and
Gerald M. Truszynski, Cochairmen, Planning Coordination Steering Group,
to Associate Deputy Administrator, "Preliminary Reports of Working
Groups," Sept. 23, 1966.
NASA Hq. informed MSC that the second phase of the vacuum system in the
Lunar Receiving Laboratory ($480,200) was to be deferred because of the
austerity of the NASA FY 1967 program. MSC was instructed, however, that
sufficient redundancy in the central vacuum pumping systems should be
provided to ensure the highest degree of reliability.
TWX, NASA Hq., to MSC, "Lunar Receiving Laboratory," Sept.
MSC ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea wrote Grumman Aircraft Engineering
Corp. Senior Vice President George F. Titterton that he was encouraged
by the good start Grumman had made on work packages for the LM program,
which he hoped had set the stage for effective action to curtail the
creeping cost escalation that had characterized the program during the
past year. He said: "To me, the most striking point noted in
engineering activities projected a relatively high change rate from
vehicle to vehicle, even though the program logic calls for identical
vehicles from LM 4 on, and minimum change from LM 3 to LM 4. This, too,
was apparent in the engineering related activities. The only changes
which should be planned for are those rising from hardware deficiencies
found in ground or flight test, or those resulting from NASA directed
Shea had written to Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., Grumman Vice President and
LEM Program Manager, in April concerning cost escalation. He had said
"A significant amount of the planning for your contract is based
upon management commitments made to us by Grumman . . . [and] your
estimates have helped significantly (and indeed are still changing) and
currently significantly exceed the amounts upon which our budget has
been based." In another letter, in September, to Grumman President
L. J. Evans, Shea remarked: "The result of our fiscal review with
your people last week was somewhat encouraging. It reconfirmed my
conviction that Grumman can do the program without the cost increases
which you have been recently indicating, and, depending on how much
difficulty we have with the qualification of our flight systems,
perhaps even with some additional cost reduction."
In a November letter to Titterton, Shea again referred to work packages
and reaffirmed that permission to exceed approved monthly levels should
be granted only by the LM Program Office. He said, "Unless this
discipline is enforced throughout the Grumman in-house and subcontract
structure, the work packages could turn out to be interesting pieces of
paper which contain the information as to what might have been done,
rather than the basis for program management."
Ltrs., Shea to Gavin, Apr. 14, 1966; Shea to Evans, Sept. 19, 1966;
Shea to Titterton, Sept. 28, 1966; Nov. 18, 1966.
The second planned manned Apollo flight crew was named by NASA. Prime
crew members were Walter M. Schirra, Jr., command pilot; Donn F. Eisele,
senior pilot; and R. Walter Cunningham, pilot. Backup crewmen were Frank
Borman, command pilot; Thomas P. Stafford, senior pilot; and Michael
Collins, pilot. The flight was scheduled for 1967. It would be the first
space mission for Eisele and Cunningham.
The second manned Apollo mission was planned as an open-ended earth
orbital mission up to 14 days. Increased emphasis on scientific
experiments as well as repeating some activities from the first planned
manned flight would characterize the mission. [The first planned manned
Apollo mission was ended by a tragic accident during a test January 27,
NASA News Release 66-260, Sept. 29, 1966.
Week Ending September 30
LM test model TM-6 and test article LTA-10 were shipped from Grumman on
the Pregnant Guppy aircraft. When the Guppy
carrying the LTA-10 stopped at Dover, Del., for refueling, a fire broke
out inside the aircraft, but it was discovered in time to prevent
damage to the LM test article.
Memo, Frank W. Battersby to Chief, Apollo Procurement Br., Procurement
and Contracts Div., MSC, "Weekly Activities Report, BMR Bethpage,
Week Ending September 30, 1966," Oct. 4, 1966.