Part 1 (D)
Preparation for Flight, the Accident, and Investigation
October through December 1966
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth told Langley Research Center Director
Floyd Thompson, "Lunar Orbiter I has made significant
contributions to the Apollo program and to lunar science in general.
Details visible for the first time in Orbiter I photographs will
certainly add to our knowledge of the lunar surface and improve our
confidence in the success of the Apollo landing.
"Screening teams . . . are studying the photographs as they become
available at the Lunar Orbiter Project Office, Langley Research Center.
Several promising areas for Apollo landing sites have been studied here
in Houston by the screening teams and will be studied in more detail
later. This preliminary study has already influenced the selection of
sites to be photographed on the next Orbiter mission. . . ."
TWX, Gilruth to Thompson, Oct. 4, 1966.
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller,
at the conclusion of the AS-204 Design Certification Review (DCR),
requested each NASA manager to reexamine his stages, modules, systems,
and subsystems upon substantial completion of the review's closeout
actions and to file an updated certification statement to the Design
On November 16, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips asked ASPO
Manager Joseph F. Shea to submit the updated certification statements
and supporting data to him by December 14 to permit him to submit the
statements and his affirmation to the Board before the December 20
Manned Space Flight Review. He pointed out that each certification
statement should affirm:
Any residual contingencies or actions, scheduled for completion at the
Flight Readiness Review, should be specifically listed.
- that the reservations previously cited had been dispelled by
- that design problems identified subsequent to the review had been
- that actions identified during the review had been completed (except
where specifically noted); and
- that his previous certification of the design of flight systems for
flight worthiness and manned safety, or of the capability of Launch
Support to support a manned mission, remained valid.
Ltr., Phillips to Shea,"AS-204 Design Certification Review,"
Nov. 16, 1966.
In a memorandum to the NASA Deputy Administrator, Associate
Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller commented on
the AS-202 impact error. Mueller said the trajectory of the August 25
AS-202 mission was essentially as planned except that the command
module touched down about 370 kilometers short of the planned impact
point. A detailed study indicated that the command module had a lower
than predicted angle of attack and a correspondingly lower lift-to-drag
ratio. "In retrospect, it appears that our wind tunnel testing did
not provide a complete understanding of . . . hypersonic aerodynamic
characteristics of the command module." Plans were being made to
fly AS-204 and AS-205 with the lower lift-to-drag ratio.
Memo, Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "205 Nautical Mile Error in
AS-202 Impact," Oct. 7, 1966.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips was informed of increasing
engineering orders for spacecraft 012. C. H. Bolender, OMSF Mission
Operations Deputy Director, reported information received from John G.
Shinkle, Kennedy Space Center Apollo Program Manager, on October 10. At
the time of spacecraft shipment to Cape Kennedy on August 25, 164
engineering orders were identified as open work, although the data
package appeared to identify only 126. These orders were covered by 32
master change records, which reportedly were the documentation approved
by the MSC Change Control Board rather than by individual engineering
orders. By September 24, engineering orders totaled 377 - 213 more than
on August 25 - and the master change records had increased to 77. KSC
estimated that some 150 of the 213 additional orders should have been
identifiable within North American Aviation at the time of the Customer
Acceptance Readiness Review. Bolender said that, if this were true,
North American Aviation should be asked to provide better visibility for
CSM changes that would be sent to the Cape for installation at the time
of the review.
Memo for Record, Shinkle, KSC, "Engineering Orders for Spacecraft
012," Oct. 11, 1966; NASA Routing Slip, Bolender to Phillips, Oct.
NASA reiterated its intention of examining the question of tracking
ship Vanguard support for the AS-204 mission in the South
Pacific as soon as mission plans were resolved. It informed the
Department of Defense Manager for Manned Space Flight Support
Operations, the Navy Deputy Commander for Ship Acquisitions, and
Goddard Space Flight Center that plans could not be completed for the
support of AS-205 at the time but, should the services of the
Vanguard be required,an Atlantic Ocean location would be
acceptable. NASA also expressed concern about the late delivery
forecast for the Redstone and the Mercury
tracking ships and requested top management attention within
government, contractor, and subcontractor organizations be directed to
the problems and that a special effort be made to accelerate
TWX, NASA Hq. to Lt. Gen. Leighton I. Davis, Rear Admiral J. Adair, and
Goddard Space Flight Center, Oct. 11, 1966.
MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Manager Joseph F. Shea reported
that LM-1 would no longer be capable of both manned and unmanned flight
and that it would be configured and checked out for unmanned flight
only. In addition, LM-2 would no longer be capable of completely
unmanned flight, but would be configured and checked out for partially
manned flights, such as the planned AS-278A mission (with unmanned final
depletion burn of the ascent stage) and AS-278B (with all main
Memo, Shea to distr., "Change in policies for LM-1 and LM-2,"
Oct. 12, 1966.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told Mark E. Bradley, Vice
President and Assistant to the President of The Garrett Corp., that
"the environment control unit, developed and produced by Garrett's
AiResearch Division under subcontract to North American Aviation for
the Apollo spacecraft was again in serious trouble and threatened a
major delay in the first flight of Apollo." He pointed out,
"This current difficulty is the latest in a long string of
failures and problems associated with the AiResearch equipment."
Phillips told Bradley that he was about three levels removed from the
subcontract project details and thus could not give him a point by
point discussion of the problems or their causes. Phillips felt,
however, "they seem to lie in two categories - those arising from
inadequate development testing, and those related to poor
workmanship." Phillips hoped that Bradley could find what was
needed to get the project on the right track.
Ltr., Phillips to Bradley, Oct. 12, 1966.
KSC proposed to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that the two General
Electric Co. efforts at KSC supporting automatic checkout equipment
(ACE) for spacecraft operations be consolidated. KSC pointed out there
was a supplemental agreement with MSC for General Electric to provide
system engineering support to ACE/spacecraft operations. Both the KSC
Apollo Program Manager and the Director of Launch Operations considered
that merging the two GE efforts into a single task order under KSC
administrative control would have advantages. The proposal listed two:
Gilruth replied Nov. 1 to KSC Director Kurt H. Debus that MSC had
evaluated advantages of transferring certain ACE/spacecraft
responsibilities to KSC and had also considered advantages of
continuing the existing system. These advantages were:
- A single interface would exist between KSC and all local GE
- Through more efficient use of personnel, the contractor should be
able to reduce the manpower level and still be responsive to the demands
of the Apollo program.
Gilruth said that it was the MSC intent to support system engineering
requirements in ACE/spacecraft areas and that further support in these
areas was normally supplied by the spacecraft contractor.
"Actually it has been our impression that GE/MSC ACE/spacecraft
support at KSC and all other locations was sufficient to meet all
requirements. . . . It is our opinion that the existing ACE/spacecraft
management organization is required to assure optimum fulfilment of the
- "To maximize manpower utilization, the current ACE management
philosophy provides only optimum manpower for each operational site. A
central support group, located at Houston, supplies the required
support to any site experiencing special peak activity. This philosophy
has created maximum management flexibility."
- "The original intent in establishing ACE-S/C checkout
philosophy was to assure standardization in checkout procedures and/or
program unity from factory checkout through launch activities. By
continuing to have all GE ACE-S/C site personnel responsible to the
central design/engineering group located in Houston, this continuity is
- "Logistics support to KSC ground stations is unified under the
present management control. Personnel responsible for providing
logistics support to KSC ground stations are administratively linked to
the personnel at KSC requiring the support."
- "MSC currently provides reliability support, configuration
management support, engineering support, management support and
logistics support to all ACE-S/C ground stations. By continuing the
present contractual arrangement we avoid the possibility of costly
duplication in these areas."
Ltrs., Debus to Gilruth, Oct. 13, 1966; Gilruth to Debus, Nov. 1,
Marshall Space Flight Center Director Wernher von Braun wrote MSC
Director Robert R. Gilruth that MSFC had spent a considerable effort in
planning the transfer of study and development tasks in the lunar
exploration program to MSC. Von Braun said, "We feel it is in the
spirit of the MSF Hideaway Management Council Meeting held on August
13-15, 1966, to consider the majority of our Lunar Exploration Work
Program for transfer to MSC in consonance with Bob Seamans' directive
which designates MSC as the Lead Center for lunar science." He
added that MSFC had formulated a proposal which it felt was in
agreement with the directives and at the same time provided for
management interfaces between the two Centers without difficulty.
Briefly MSFC proposed to transfer to MSC:
MSFC proposed to retain
- planning for Apollo Applications lunar traverses;
- lunar surface geological, geophysical, geochemical, biological, and
biomedical experiments; and
- emplaced scientific station experiments.
He added that MSFC had been working in specific areas of scientific
technology that promised to furnish experiments that could be used on
the lunar surface or from lunar orbit as well as from a planetary
vehicle for planetary observations. Among these were radar and laser
altimetry and infrared spectroscopy.
- the local scientific survey module and related mobility efforts,
- Apollo Applications program lunar drill,
- lunar surveying system, and
- lunar flying device (one man flying machine).
Von Braun said that Ernst Stuhlinger of the Research Projects
Laboratory had discussed the proposed actions for transfer of functions
to MSC, and MSC Experiments Program Manager Robert O. Piland had
indicated his general agreement, pending further consideration. He
asked that Gilruth give his reaction to the proposal and said, "It
would be very helpful if our two Centers could present a proposal to
George Mueller [OMSF] on which we both agree."
Ltr., von Braun to Gilruth, Oct. 19, 1966.
Apollo-Saturn 204 was to be the first manned Apollo mission, NASA
announced through the manned space flight Centers. The news release,
prepared at NASA Hq., said the decision had been made following a
Design Certification Review Board meeting held the previous week at
OMSF. The launch date had not been determined. Crewmen for the flight
would be Virgil I. Grissom, command pilot; Edward H. White II, senior
pilot; and Roger B. Chaffee, pilot. The backup crew would be James A.
McDivitt, command pilot; David R. Scott, senior pilot; and Russell L.
Schweickart, pilot. The AS-204 spacecraft would be launched by an
uprated Saturn I launch vehicle on its earth-orbital mission "to
demonstrate spacecraft and crew operations and evaluate spacecraft
hardware performance in earth orbit."
TWX, NASA Hq. M-N-311 to KSC, MSC, MSFC, Oct. 19, 1966.
MSC's ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea proposed to KSC Apollo Program
Manager John G. Shinkle that - because the program was moving into the
flight phase and close monitoring of the hardware configuration was
important - they should plan work methods in more detail. He reminded
Shinkle that he had named Walter Kapryan Assistant Program Manager
"to provide the technical focal point . . . to maintain the
discipline for the total spacecraft"; therefore Shea would like to
transfer the chairman of the Apollo Configuration Control Panel from
Shinkle's organization to Kapryan effective Nov. 1, 1966.
Ltr., Shea to Shinkle, Oct. 21, 1966.
Langley Research Center informed MSC that the Apollo Visibility Study
requested by MSC would be conducted. Langley mockups could be used along
with an SLA panel to be provided by MSC from Tulsa North American. The
proposed study would be semistatic, with the astronaut seated in the
existing CM mockup and viewing the S-IVB/SLA mockup. The positions of
the mockups would be varied manually by repositioning the mockup
dollies, and the astronaut would judge the separation distance and
alignment attitude. The study was expected to start at the end of
October or early November and last two or three weeks.
Ltr., Director, LaRC, to MSC, Attn: Robert R. Gilruth "Apollo
Visibility Study," Oct.21, 1966.
MSC established a committee to investigate several nearly catastrophic
malfunctions in the steam generation system at the White Sands Test
Facility. The system was used to pump down altitude cells in LM
propulsion system development. Committee members were Joseph G.
Thibodaux, chairman; Hugh D. White, secretary; Harry Byington, Henry O.
Pohl, Robert W. Polifka, and Allen H. Watkins, all of MSC.
Memo, MSC Director to distr., "Committee for investigation of
malfunctioning steam generation system at White Sands Test Facility,
New Mexico," Oct. 24, 1966.
Propellant tanks of service module 017 failed during a pressure test at
North American Aviation, Downey, Calif. The planned test included
several pressure cycles followed by a 48-hour test of the tanks at the
maximum operating pressure of 165 newtons per square centimeter (240
pounds per square inch). Normal operating pressure was 120 newtons per
square centimeter (175 pounds per square inch). After 1 hour 40 minutes
at 165 newtons the failure occurred.
SM 017 (designed for SA-501) had been pulled for this test after cracks
had been detected in the tanks of SM 101. SM 017 had been previously
proof-tested a short time (a matter of minutes) at 220 newtons per
square centimeter (320 pounds per square inch).
A team was set up at North American Aviation to look into the failure
and its possible impact on the Saturn IB and Saturn V Apollo missions.
MSC had two observers on the team, which was to make its findings and
recommendations available by November 4.
North American Aviation identified the problem as stress-corrosion
cracking resulting from use of methanol as a test liquid at pressures
causing above threshold stresses. No tanks subjected to methanol at high
stress levels would be used. Freon and isopropyl alcohol, respectively,
were recommended for test fluids in the oxidizer and fuel systems, with
the stipulation that the equipment had not previously seen propellant
and would receive a hot gaseous nitrogen purge after completion of the
cold flow operation.
Note, Frank Magliato, NASA Hq., to NASA Administrator and Deputy
Administrator, "Test Failure of Service Module 017," Oct. 26,
1966; TWX, Dale D. Myers, NA, to J. F. Shea, MSC, Nov. 11, 1966.
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the MSC Missions Operations Division, said the
flight operations plan had proposed communication constraints be
resolved by reducing the accessible landing area on the lunar surface to
a region permitting continuous communication with no restriction on
vehicle attitude during descent and ascent. Maynard said, "Such a
proposal is not acceptable." Contending interests were the desire to
maintain communications in the early part of the descent powered flight
and to avoid the definition of attitude restrictions in this region.
Acknowledging that both of these were desirable objectives, Maynard said
that mission planning should be based on access to previously defined
Apollo zones of interest and to designated sites within those zones with
vehicle attitude maneuvers to provide communications when required.
Memo, Maynard to distr., "LM communication capability during lunar
descent and ascent," Oct. 27, 1966.
NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips indicated his concern to
MSC over the extensive damage to a number of fuel cell modules from
operational errors during integrated system testing. Phillips pointed
out that in addition to the added cost there was a possible impact on
the success of the flight program. He emphasized the importance of
standardizing the procedures for fuel cell activation and shutdown at
North American Aviation, MSC, and KSC to maximize learning
TWX, MAT-91, NASA Hq., to MSC, Attn: Joseph F. Shea, "Fuel Cell
Operation Failures," Nov. 4, 1966.
November 6 - December 6
Lunar Orbiter II was launched at 6:21 p.m. EST from Launch
Complex 13 at Cape Kennedy, to photograph possible landing sites on the
moon for the Apollo program. The Atlas-Agena D booster placed the
spacecraft in an earth-parking orbit and, after a 14-minute coast,
injected it into its 94-hour trajectory toward the moon. A midcourse
correction maneuver on November 8 increased the velocity from 3,051 to
3,133 kilometers per hour. At that time the spacecraft was 265,485
kilometers from the earth.
The spacecraft executed a deboost maneuver at 3:26 p.m., November 10,
while 352,370 kilometers from the earth and 1,260 kilometers from the
moon and traveling at a speed of 5,028 kilometers per hour. The maneuver
permitted the lunar gravitational field to pull the spacecraft into the
planned initial orbit around the moon. On November 15, a micrometeoroid
hit was detected by one of the 20 thin-walled pressurized sensors.
The spacecraft was transferred into its final close-in orbit around the
moon at 5:58 p.m. November 15 and the photo-acquisition phase of
Lunar Orbiter II's mission began November 18. Thirteen
selected primary potential landing sites and a number of secondary
sites were to be photographed. By the morning of November 25, the
spacecraft had taken 208 of the 211 photographs planned and pictures of
all 13 selected potential landing sites. It also made 205 attitude
change maneuvers and responded to 2,421 commands.
The status report of the Lunar Orbiter II mission as of
November 28 indicated that the first phase of the photographic mission
was completed when the final photo was taken on the afternoon of
November 25. On November 26, the developing web was cut with a hot wire
in response to a command from the earth. Failure to achieve the cut
would have prevented the final readout of all 211 photos. Readout began
immediately after the cut was made. One day early, December 6, the
readout terminated when a transmitter failed, and three
medium-resolution and two high-resolution photos of primary site 1 were
lost. Full low-resolution coverage of the site had been provided,
however, and other data continued to be transmitted. Three meteoroid
hits had been detected.
Memos, Lunar Orbiter Program Manager to NASA Administrator, "Lunar
Orbiter II Post Launch Report #1" through "#15," Nov. 7,
8, 14, 16, 17, 21, 25, and Dec. 9, 1966 (Mission Operation Reports
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller
reported on technical feasibility and cost tradeoffs of real-time
television coverage of Apollo missions. Deputy Administrator Robert C.
Seamans, Jr., had requested an evaluation during a July 8 program
review. Highlights of the report were:
Seamans approved the proposal on November 17, with the following
condition, which was later transmitted to MSC Director Robert R.
Gilruth: "Before NASA commitments of any sort are made to the
networks for Apollo capsule TV coverage, the plans and procedures must
be approved by the Administrator."
- Lunar missions would be the most complex attempted in manned space
flight. Even with optimum training, astronaut capabilities would be
heavily taxed and availability of real-time TV coverage could provide an
opportunity in trouble-shooting spacecraft anomalies or in performing
- To transmit TV video to Mission Control Center in Houston, scan
conversion from the Apollo format to the standard commercial format
would be required as well as a communications capability. For the lunar
mission, implementation at Goldstone and Madrid would provide 62- to
91-percent TV coverage with an estimated initial investment of $500,000
and an operating cost of $1,200,000 per year, based on four seven-day
missions per year with 8 to 14 hours a day possible coverage for each
- The most optimistic minimum procurement and installation time for
the first unit would be 10 months and, to provide real-time TV for the
first lunar mission, the system should be exercised at least one mission
before AS-504. Mueller recommended approval for additional equipment and
communication services necessary for live TV coverage from the
Goldstone, Calif., and Madrid, Spain, stations.
Ltr., NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight to Deputy
Administrator, "Real Time TV Coverage of Apollo Missions,"
Nov. 9, 1966; approval, with condition, by Seamans, Nov. 17, 1966; NASA
Routing Slip to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth from Jack T. McClanahan,
Chief, Apollo Mission Requirements, OMSF, received at MSC Dec. 12,
Perkin-Elmer Corp., Norwalk, Conn., and Chrysler Corp., Detroit, Mich.,
were authorized about $250,000 each to continue studies of optical
technology for NASA. The nine-month extension of research by the two
companies was to evaluate optical experiments for possible future
extended Apollo flights. The proposed experiments included control of
optical telescope primary mirrors, telescope temperature control,
telescope pointing, and laser propagation studies.
NASA News Release 66-300, Nov. 22, 1966.
MSC was requested by NASA Hq. to take the following actions:
TWX, NASA Hq. to MSC (APO-CCB Directive No. 80), Nov. 25, 1966.
- Delete all experiments assigned to AS-205.
- Assign experiment M005 (Bioassays Body Fluid, modified version) to
- Assign experiment M006 (Bone Demineralization) to AS-205/208.
- Assign experiment M011 (Cytogenic Blood Studies) to AS-205/208.
- Assign experiment M023 (Lower-Body Negative Pressure) to AS-205/208.
- Redesignate experiments assigned to AS-207/208 to AS-205/208.
MSC's Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton said that the
Block I flight crew nomenclature was suitable for the AS-204 mission,
but that a more descriptive designation was desirable for Block II
flights. Block I crewmen had been called command pilot, senior pilot,
and pilot. Slayton proposed that for the Block II missions the following
designations and positions be used: commander, left seat at launch with
center seat optional for the remainder of the CSM mission, and left seat
in the LM; CSM pilot, center seat at launch with left seat optional for
remainder of mission; and LM pilot in the right seat of both the CSM and
Memo, Slayton to distr., "Block II Apollo flight crew
designation," Nov. 29, 1966.
In response to a request from Apollo Program Director Samuel C.
Phillips on November 21, MSC reported its evaluation of Atlantic versus
Pacific Ocean prime recovery areas for all Saturn V Apollo missions.
MSC said that a change of recovery area to the Atlantic for AS-501 and
AS-502 would cause some schedule slip and compromise of mission
objectives and would not necessarily save recovery ship effort. For
AS-503 and similar nonlunar missions, adjustments could be made to the
mission profile to result in a prime recovery in the Atlantic area.
Secondary support would be necessary in the Pacific, however. The
report stressed that confining recovery to the Atlantic area for lunar
missions would severely curtail the number of launch windows
In a December 30 letter to MSC, KSC, and MSFC, the Apollo Program
Director referred to the study and said it had been determined that
plans for Pacific recovery for the AS-501 and AS-502 missions were
Ltrs., Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC Director of Flight Operations,
and Joseph F. Shea, Manager, ASPO, to NASA Hq., Attn: S. C. Phillips,
"Atlantic Recovery," Dec. 5, 1966; Apollo Program Director,
Office of Manned Space Flight, to MSC, KSC, and MSFC, "Atlantic
Versus Pacific Recovery for Saturn V/Apollo Missions," Dec. 30,
During reassembly of LM Simulator (LMS) 1 at Houston, MSC personnel
discovered that the digital-to-analog conversion equipment was not the
unit used during the preship tests at Binghamton, N.Y.; it was apparent
the unit had never been checked out, because at least five power-buss
bars were missing. The unit had not checked out in the preship tests,
and at the simulator readiness review test on October 14 Grumman had
been authorized to replace the defective digital-to-analog core memory
after the unit arrived at Houston. MSC questioned whether the delivery
requirement of LMS-1 had been met and asked Grumman to explain why the
switch was made without MSC knowledge and what steps Grumman expected to
take to correct the situation.
TWX, MSC LM Project Officer to Grumman LM Program Manager, Dec. 5,
MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton pointed out to
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that LM-to-CSM crew rescue was impossible.
Slayton added that several spacecraft changes, additional training
hardware for valid thermal testing, zero-g simulator demonstration, and
crew training effort would be required to permit extravehicular crew
rescue from LM to CSM. Until this total rescue capability was
implemented, manned LM to CSM operations would constitute an unnecessary
risk for the flight crew.
- there was no way for the portable life support system and crewman to
traverse from the LM front hatch to the CSM side hatch in zero-g docked
operations, because there was no restraint system or tether attach
points in the vicinity of the CSM hatch to permit the crewman to
stabilize himself and work to open the hatch; and
- there was no way to control the Apollo inner hatch (35-43 kilograms)
to ensure that it would not inadvertently damage its seals, the
spacecraft wiring, or the pressure bulkhead.
Memo, Slayton to Shea, "Apollo EVA," Dec. 6, 1966.
Langley Research Center reported on its November study of visibility
from the CSM during extraction of the LM from the S-IVB stage. The study
had been made in support of the AS-207/208A mission, with assistance of
MSC and North American Aviation personnel, to
Results indicated that
- determine if the CSM pilot could detect the signal indicating that
the CSM had detached from the S-IVB,
- determine if he could recognize a misalignment between the CSM/LM
combination and the S-IVB during withdrawal, and
- investigate simple aid techniques to make the pilot's task easier.
The configuration of the model used prevented studying pitch, roll, or
vertical translation misalignments.
- LM docking did not provide adequate indication of detachment of the
LM from the S-IVB, but
- in misalignment tests subjects could recognize errors as small as
two to three degrees in yaw and five to seven centimeters in lateral
translation except when the CSM/LM was yawed right and translated left
relative to the S-IVB.
Jack E. Pennington, "Results of Apollo Transposition Withdrawal
Study," Langley Working Paper No. 335, Dec. 6, 1966.
In a memo to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, Associate
Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller approved
assignment of experiment S068, Lunar Meteoroid Detection, to the Apollo
Program Office for implementation, provided adequate funding could be
identified in the light of relative priority in the total science
program. The experiment had been recommended by the Manned Space Flight
Experiment Board (MSFEB) for a lunar mission. Also, as recommended by
the MSFEB, the following experiments would be placed on the earliest
possible manned space flight: S015 (Zero g, Single Human Cells); S017
(Trapped Particles Asymmetry); S018 (Micrometeorite Collection); and
T004 (Frog Otolith Function).
Memo, Mueller to Phillips, "Experiment Assignments," Dec. 7,
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller
requested Leonard Reiffel, NASA Hq., "to be thinking about an
appropriate name for the Lunar Receiving Laboratory - a descriptive kind
of name rather than one that doesn't signify exactly what it is."
Note, Mueller to Reiffel (telecon), "Lunar Receiving
Laboratory," Dec. 7, 1966.
The number one lunar landing research vehicle (LLRV) test vehicle was
received at MSC December 13, 1966. Its first flight at Ellington Air
Force Base following facility and vehicle checkout was expected about
February 1, 1967, with crew training in the vehicle to start about
February 20. A design review was held at Buffalo, N.Y., during the week
of January 2, 1967, in connection with Bell Aerospace Company's contract
for three lunar landing training vehicles (LLTVs) and associated
equipment. No major design changes in the vehicle baseline configuration
were requested. Crew training in helicopters and in the Lunar Landing
Research Facility at Langley Research Center and the LLRV fixed base
simulator was continuing.
Memo, Director of Flight Crew Operations, MSC, to Deputy Director, MSC,
"LLRV/TV Monthly Progress Report," Jan. 19, 1967.
MSC Director of Administration Wesley L. Hjornevik informed NASA Hq.
that Frank Smith had told him on December 14 of his meeting with NASA
management on Lunar Receiving Laboratory plans. Smith advised that MSC
should take necessary actions immediately to begin operation of the LRL.
MSC advised Headquarters that it planned to expand one of the two
facility operation contracts at MSC to include the LRL and designate an
LRL organization, staffed with qualified civil service personnel for
immediate full-time operation.
TWX, Hjornevik to NASA Hq., "Lunar Receiving Laboratory Operations
Plans," Dec. 15, 1966.
A meeting at NASA Hq. discussed plans for the Lunar Receiving
laboratory, noting that some problems were time-critical and needed
immediate attention. Attending were Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Willis B.
Shapley, George E. Mueller, Homer E. Newell, and Francis B. Smith, all
of NASA Hq.; and Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low, and Wesley L.
Hjornevik of MSC.
The group agreed on the following interim actions:
On December 21, Shapley informed Mueller and Newell that NASA
Administrator James E. Webb and Deputy Administrator Seamans had
approved the proposed actions.
- Continued efforts to develop clearer definition of tasks that should
be initiated to ensure the LRL would be ready for operation in time to
handle returned lunar samples.
- Creation of a task group at MSC to prepare for initial operation of
the LRL. The task group would consist of MSC personnel plus a few new
hires in critical skill areas.
- Extension of the existing MSC support contract to provide minimum
LRL technical and engineering support needed during the next few months.
- Development of a clearer definition of the role and method of
operation of the U.S. Public Health Officer to provide for more
effective use of his recommendations for quarantine requirements.
Memos, Smith to Webb and Seamans, "December 19th meeting to
discuss plans for the Lunar Receiving Laboratory," Dec. 19, 1966;
Shapley to Mueller and Newell, "Lunar Receiving Laboratory,"
Dec. 21, 1966.
Lewis L. McNair, MSFC Chairman of the Flight Mechanics Panel, told
Calvin H. Perrine, Jr., MSC, that the Guidance and Performance Sub-Panel
had been unable to reach an agreement on venting the liquid-oxygen (LOX)
tank of the Saturn V S-IVB stage during earth parking orbit. McNair
pointed out that MSFC did not want a programmed LOX vent and that MSC
did. He added that the issue must be resolved in order to finalize the
AS-501 attitude maneuver and venting timeline.
Ltr., McNair to Perrine, Dec. 22, 1966.
In a memo to Donald K. Slayton, MSC Deputy Director George M. Low
indicated that he understood George E. Mueller had stated in executive
session of the Management Council on December 21 that he had decided a
third lunar module simulator would not be required. Low said, "This
implies that either the launch schedule will be relieved or missions
will be so identical that trainer change-over time will be substantially
Memo, Low to Slayton, "Third LM Mission Simulator," Dec. 22,
NASA announced crew selection for the second and third manned Apollo
missions. Prime crew for AS-205/208 would be James A. McDivitt,
commander; David R. Scott, CM pilot; and Russell L. Schweickart, LM
pilot. The backup crew would be Thomas P. Stafford, commander; John W .
Young, CM pilot; and Eugene A. Cernan, LM pilot. The crew for AS-503,
the first manned mission to be launched by a Saturn V, would be Frank
Borman, commander; Michael Collins, CM pilot; and William A. Anders, LM
pilot. The backup crew would be Charles Conrad, Jr., commander; Richard
F. Gordon, Jr., CM pilot; and Clifton C. Williams, Jr., LM pilot.
NASA News Release 66-326, "NASA Names Crews for Apollo
Flights," Dec. 22, 1966.
Handling and installation responsibilities for the LM descent stage
scientific equipment (SEQ) were defined in a letter from MSC to Grumman
Aircraft Engineering Corp. The descent stage SEQ was composed of three
The following definition of responsibility for handling and installation
had been derived:
- the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) compartment 1,
which included the ALSEP central station and associated lunar surface
- ALSEP compartment 2, composed of the radioisotope thermoelectric
generator (RTG) and Apollo lunar surface drill (ALSD); and
- the RTG fuel cask, thermal shield, mount and RTG fuel element.
Ltr., MSC to Grumman, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Handling and
installation responsibilities for the LM descent stage Scientific
Equipment (SEQ)," Dec. 23, 1966.
- The SEQ would be installed in the LM descent stage while the LM was
in the LM landing gear installation stand before LM-SLA mating, with the
exception of the RTG fuel cask, thermal shield, mount and fuel element,
and the ALSD.
- The RTG fuel cask, thermal shield, mount and fuel element and the
ALSD would be installed in the LM descent stage during prelaunch
activities at the launch site.
- Grumman would be responsible for SEQ installation with the exception
of the RTG fuel element. The ALSEP contractor, Bendix Aerospace Systems
Division, would provide the installation procedure and associated
equipment. Bendix would also observe the installation operation and NASA
would both observe and inspect it.
- The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) would be responsible for handling
and installing the RTG fuel element. Bendix would provide procedures and
associated equipment. Grumman and NASA would observe and inspect this
operation. If for any reason the RTG fuel element was required to be
removed during prelaunch operations, the AEC would be responsible for
the activity. Removal procedures would be provided by Bendix. MSC
requested that Grumman's planned LM activities at Kennedy Space Center
reflect these points of definition.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb approved establishment of a Science
and Applications Directorate at MSC. The new directorate would plan and
implement MSC programs in space science and its applications, act as a
focal point for all MSC elements in these programs, and serve as the
Center's point of contact with the scientific community. In addition to
the Director's office, the new directorate would encompass an Advanced
Systems Office, Lunar Surface Project Office, Space Physics Division,
Applications Plans and Analysis Office, Applications Project Office,
Lunar and Earth Sciences Division, and Test and Operations Office. In a
letter on January 17, 1967, NASA Associate Administrator George E.
Mueller told MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth the new Directorate was
"another significant milestone in your effort to support the
Agency and the scientific community in the exploration of space. . .
Organization Chart, MSC, Dec. 23, 1967; ltr., Mueller to Gilruth, Jan.
Donald K. Slayton said there was some question about including
extravehicular activity on the AS-503 mission, but he felt that, to
make a maximum contribution to the lunar mission, one period of EVA
should be included. Slayton pointed out that during the coast period
(simulating lunar orbit) in the current flight plan the EVA opportunity
appeared best between hour 90 and hour 100. Two primary propulsion
system firings would have been accomplished and the descent stage of
the LM would still be attached.
Slayton specified that EVA should consist of a crewman exiting through
the LM forward hatch and making a thorough orbital check of the LM
before reentering through the same hatch. He said EVA on AS-503 would
Memo, Slayton to Technical Assistant for Apollo,"AS-503
Mission," Dec. 26, 1966.
- flight experience and confidence in LM environmental-control-system
performance during cabin depressurization;
- flight confidence in the Block II International Latex Corp. pressure
- orbital time-line approximation of cabin depressurization times,
forward hatch operation, flight crew egress procedures, and LM entry
following a simulated lunar EVA;
- visual inspection and photography of LM landing gear for possible
damage during withdrawal from the S-IVB stage;
- external inspection and photography of the LM to record window and
antenna contamination caused by SLA panel pyrotechnic deployment;
- inspection and photography of descent engine skirt and adjacent
areas for evidence of damage from two descent propulsion system firings;
- inspection and photography of possible damage to the upper LM caused
by the SM reaction control system during withdrawal;
- possible additional data regarding EVA metabolic rates, etc., as
applied to the Block II pressure garment assembly; and
- additional orbital confidence in the portable life support system
Homer E. Newell, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and
Applications, pointed out to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that during
a program review he was made aware of difficulties in the development
of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. The problems cited
were with the lunar surface magnetometer, suprathermal ion detector,
passive seismometer, and the central station transmitter receiver.
Newell, who had been briefed on the problems by NASA Hq. ALSEP Program
Manager, W. T. O'Bryant, said: "I felt they were serious enough to
warrant giving you my views in regard to the importance of having the
ALSEP with its planned complement of instruments aboard the first
Apollo lunar landing mission. It is essential that basic magnetic
measurements be made on the lunar surface, not only for their very
important planetological implications, but also for the knowledge which
will be gained of the lunar magnetosphere and atmosphere as the result
of the combined measurements from the magnetometer, solar wind
spectrometer, and suprathermal ion detector."
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low, in a January 10 letter to Newell,
thanked him and said he would discuss the problems with Newell more
fully after receiving a complete review of the ALSEP program from
Robert O. Piland.
Low wrote Newell on April 10, 1967, that there had been schedule slips
in the program plan devised in March 1966 - primarily slips associated
with the lunar surface magnetometer, the suprathermal ion detector, and
the central station receiver and transmitter. "In each case, we have
effected a programmatic workaround plan, the elements of which were
presented to Leonard Reiffel of OMSF and William O'Bryant of your staff
on December 5, 1966, and in subsequent reviews of the subject with them
as the planning and implementation progressed. . . ."
Ltrs., Newell to Robert R. Gilruth, Dec. 30, 1966; Low to Newell, Jan.
10, 1967; and Low to Newell, Apr. 10, 1967.