Part 2 (C)
Recovery, Spacecraft Redefinition, and First Manned Apollo Flight
MSC's Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., told ASPO
Manager George M. Low that his Directorate was willing to support the
flight test program presented in late May and felt that the computer
programs and operational support he had in development would support the
flights as currently scheduled. He did offer some comments on the
proposed flight test program and asked that the NASA Office of Manned
Space Flight be given an indication that his suggested program was being
considered as a future alternate approach. The comments included:
Memos, Owen E. Maynard, MSC, to Kraft, "Apollo Flight Program
Definition," May 31, 1967 ; Kraft to Low, "Requested comments
on Apollo Flight Program Definition," June 1, 1967.
- "The first manned LM flight appears to be most ambitious. We
believe that when the time comes, a much more conservative approach to
the flight plan will be taken because of the lack of experience with
the LM spacecraft. . . .
- We have the general feeling that there are insufficient flight
tests scheduled in order to prove the worthiness of the LM and that a
lunar landing flight could only follow a successfully completed
schedule of LM flights. . . .
- We believe that a lunar orbit flight with the CSM/LM should be
included in the flight test program, as an alternate to the third
CSM/LM flight you have proposed, or as an additional flight to the
program. . . .
- . . . we believe it feasible that one of the LM development flights
could be conducted as safely in the vicinity of the moon as in earth
orbit, assuming that the CSM has been proven at that time. . . .
- Finally, we believe that the lunar type flight programs we propose
would have great impact on the stature of the nation's space program. .
A meeting at MSC discussed CSM and LM changes, schedules, and related
test and hardware programs. On June 26, NASA Apollo Program Manager
Samuel C. Phillips summarized the discussion in a letter to George Low.
He pointed out that certain problems could result in serious program
impact if not solved expeditiously and specifically mentioned couch
design, the weight problem in the CSM and LM, docking changes, and
Minutes of Apollo Program Meeting, June 2, 1967; ltr., Phillips to Low,
June 26, 1967.
Bendix Corp. demonstrated the operation of a sliding boom concept to
prove that the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) could be
removed from the LM at various attitudes. MSC representatives viewing
the demonstration at Ann Arbor, Mich., were Aaron Cohen, Don Weissman,
Paul Gerke, Don Lind, and Harrison Schmitt. Cohen reported that the
mockup was crude but indicated that the concept was satisfactory to both
Grumman and NASAL Design refinement, qualification, and effect on LM
structure would have to be looked into. It was believed an additional
seven kilograms of weight would be added to the LM descent stage. Two
interface problems were defined at the meeting:
Memo, Cohen to A. L. Liccardi, RASPO, Grumman, "Trip Report to
Bendix, Ann Arbor, Michigan, on June 6, 1967," June 13, 1967.
- Bendix and Grumman required maximum and minimum attitude position
for the LM to complete the design of ALSEP handling equipment.
- Both Grumman and Bendix required temperature criteria for the outer
shield of the cask, which would contain radioactive material.
NASA Office of Manned Space Flight had redefined the Apollo Block II
manned mission flight plan, ASPO informed the MSC Director of Science
and Applications. The first manned flight plan called for
The redefinition resulted in OMSF's indicating that no scientific
experiments would be flown on the mainstream Apollo flights unless they
would contribute to the accomplishment of the lunar mission. ASPO
therefore had told North American Aviation that certain scientific
experiments planned for spacecraft 101 would now be deleted from the
program. The experiments were Simple Navigation (D019), Urine Volume
Measuring System (M005), UV Stellar Photography (S019), and UV/X-ray
Solar Photography (S020).
- an open-ended mission up to 10 days,
- sufficient instrumentation,
- no extravehicular activity,
- a CSM rendezvous with the S-IVB stage, and
- no experiments that required spacecraft integration.
Memo, Manager, MSC ASPO, to MSC Director of Science and Applications,
"Apollo Earth Orbital Experiments," June 7, 1967.
At a NASA and North American Aviation management meeting, North
American was directed to proceed with development of larger drogue
parachutes and staged main chute disreefing, using 5- and 8-second
reefing-line cutters. Later analysis of the system and the proposed
modifications still indicated only a marginal capability to offer
adequate factors of safety, and North American was directed to use 6-
and 10-second reefing-line cutters. In a letter to Headquarters, MSC
Director Robert R. Gilruth mentioned that a review of these
modifications had been covered at the September Manned Space Flight
Management Council and, since no objections were voiced at that time,
MSC assumed concurrence with the changes and would implement
modifications for spacecraft 101 and subsequent Block II spacecraft.
"Minutes of Apollo Program Meeting" (June 2, 1967); ltr.,
Gilruth to NASA Hq., "Command Module Earth Landing System
modification," Sept. 29, 1967.
In a memorandum to the Chief, Systems Engineering Division, MSC, ASPO
Manager George M. Low pointed out the weight problem in the CSM and LM
was critical. Low called for a detailed review of weight effects along
with any proposed design change. The weight estimate was to be submitted
by the affected contractor as a part of his change proposal, and this
would then be verified by the subsystems manager and Systems
To provide timely weight status to the Configuration Control Board,
Systems Engineering Division was given the responsibility of presenting
CSM and LM weight status at each weekly Board meeting as follows:
These figures would be shown for three spacecraft: first manned, second
manned, and lunar configuration. Both launch weight and reentry weight
were to be included.
- control weight,
- current weight, and
- estimated weight at time of launch.
Memo, Low to Chief, Systems Engineering Div., MSC, "Spacecraft
Weight," June 8, 1967.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, in a message to ASPO
Manager George M. Low, spoke of a June 2 agreement to include a CSM
active rendezvous with the Saturn S-IVB stage of the launch vehicle in
the mission profile of the first manned Apollo mission. Phillips said
that it should be recognized that such a rendezvous would not be a
primary objective for the first manned mission and that the decision
should be reviewed if any related problem that would complicate mission
preparations were identified.
TWX, Phillips to Low, "First Manned Apollo Rendezvous," June
Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Deputy Administrator of NASA, prepared a
memorandum to the file concerning the selection of North American
Aviation as the CSM prime contractor. The memorandum, a seven-page
document, chronologically reviewed the steps that led to the selection
of North American and followed by about a month the statement of NASA
Administrator James E. Webb in response to queries from members of the
Memo to the File from Deputy Administrator, NASA, "The Selection
of North American Aviation, Inc., as the prime contractor for the
command and service module," June 9, 1967.
Robert O. Aller, NASA OMSF, told Apollo Program Director Samuel C.
Phillips that considerable analysis, planning, and discussion had taken
place at MSC on the most effective sequence of Apollo missions
following the first manned flight [Apollo 7]. The current official
assignments included three CSM/LM missions for CSM/LM operations, lunar
simulation, and lunar capability. MSC's Flight Operations Directorate
(FOD) had offered an alternate approach of that sequence by proposing
that the third mission be a lunar-orbit mission rather than a high
earth-orbit mission. Aller preferred the FOD proposal, since it would
offer considerable operational advantages by conducting a lunar-orbital
flight before the lunar landing. He recommended Phillips consider that
sequence of missions and that consideration be given to including it as
a prime or alternate mission in the Mission Assignments Document.
"Identifying it in that document," Aller said, "would
initiate the necessary detailed planning."
Memo, Aller to Phillips, "Apollo Flight Program," June 9,
The purpose of spacecraft 105 testing was to establish transition
relations between the primary and secondary structure that supported
systems' interconnecting hardware (wiring, tubing and associated
valves, filters, regulators, etc.) and demonstrate structural integrity
of the Block II CSM when subjected to qualification vibration
environment, with special emphasis on interconnecting hardware. The
test vehicle was being configured with complete basic Block II wiring
harness and fluid systems. The vehicle would be checked out before and
after each phase of testing to verify wiring harness impedance and
continuity and fluid systems pressure integrity. The fluid systems
would be at operating pressure during the testing.
Memo, ASPO Manager to Chief, Flight Safety Office, MSC, "Vibration
testing," June 13, 1967.
Designations and abbreviations for flight crewmen on all manned Apollo
missions were selected:
This terminology was to be used throughout the Apollo spacecraft program
and compliance was required to minimize confusion.
- Commander - CDR
- Command module pilot - CMP
- Lunar module pilot - LMP
Memo, Manager, ASPO, to distr., "Apollo crewmen
designations," June 14, 1967.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth told George E. Mueller, NASA OMSF, that
MSC desired that the vernier engine be fired after the touchdown of
Surveyor IV on the lunar surface. He reminded Mueller that
this experiment was supposed to have been performed on Surveyor
III and was of prime importance to Apollo. The fact that
Surveyor III landed with the vernier engine firing and did
not experience any significant erosion had also been of importance to
the Apollo program. He requested that Surveyor IV be
targeted for the Apollo landing site in the Sinus Medii area. As a
lower priority experiment, Gilruth said MSC would like to get a limited
amount of photography on the first lunar day, which would allow a
limited assessment of viewing conditions in earthshine.
Ltr., Gilruth to Mueller, "Surveyor IV support of Apollo,"
June 15, 1967.
X-ray inspection seeks to ensure that weldments, wires, and spacecraft components are free of cracks and other damage that could jeopardize crew safety and mission success.
Plans were to armor-plate 102 out of 167 solder joints inside the CM of
spacecraft 101, ASPO Manager George M. Low informed Maxime A. Faget,
MSC's Director of Engineering and Development. Of the remaining 65
joints, 53 would be accessible for armor-plating and x-raying, while
the other 12 would not. Low said: "As joints become less
accessible, the excess solder removal process, the joint-cleaning
process, and the application of the armor-plating become more
difficult. Also, in many places, the standard armor-plating sleeve does
not fit, and a shorter or cutaway sleeve is required. I have therefore
reached the conclusion that, at some point, the armor-plating process
may become detrimental. . . . You should know that Mr. [Joseph N.]
Kotanchik disagrees with this position. Joe believes that any joint in
the spacecraft could be under stress and therefore is subject to creep.
The only solution . . . according to Joe, is to armor-plate all joints.
. . ." Low added that joints that are accessible from outside the
CSM would also be armor-plated and that future spacecraft would include
additional armorplating. He said, "My expectation is that all
solder joints will be armor-plated in the lunar configuration. . .
Memo, Low to Faget, "Armor-plating of solder joints," June
H. G. Paul, Chief of Marshal Space Flight Center's Propulsion Division,
said it had come to the attention of his office that spacecraft/S-IVB
rendezvous to within approximately 100 meters was being considered for
the AS-205 mission. The division's position was that, unless the S-IVB
stage were made passive, the division could not guarantee the stage
would be in a safe condition. After the lifetime of a nonpassivated
stage, it was possible that indiscriminant propellant-tank or bottle
venting could cause the stage to tumble, thus permitting liquid to
enter the propellant-tank vent lines. Another area of concern was the
high-pressure bottles on the stage. Should a relief valve fail to
function normally, a bottle rupture could result. The Propulsion
Division therefore recommended that no rendezvous mission be planned
with S-IVB stages of either Saturn IB or Saturn V launch vehicles after
the guaranteed lifetime of the stage, unless that stage had been
Memo, Paul to Cochairman, Guidance and Performance Subpanel,
"AS-205 Spacecraft/S-IVB Rendezvous," June 19, 1967.
Apollo spacecraft 017 was mechanically mated to its Saturn V launch
vehicle at KSC in preparation for the Apollo 4 (AS-501) unmanned
mission, scheduled for the third quarter of 1967.
Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1967 (NASA SP-4008, 1968),
Leonard Reiffel of the NASA Hq. Apollo Program Office suggested to
Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that "we do not schedule the
ALSEP [Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package] for the first lunar
- The duration on the lunar surface for the first mission was likely
to be short and the ALSEP deployment time was likely to take a seriously
disproportionate share of available time. "It is my opinion we will
learn more of immediate consequence to science and to planning of
subsequent missions from careful observations and sample collection as
contrasted to emplacement of an all-up ALSEP."
- With the exception of the lunar atmosphere, manned operations would
not disturb the conditions ALSEP was intended to measure. These,
therefore, could be measured on later flights.
- The magnetometer was in trouble. The interpretability of plasma
experiments on an ALSEP that did not include a magnetometer would be
- The problem of LM weight control would be eased substantially if
only the lunar geological tools and sample boxes, rather than the full
ALSEP, were carried.
- Waiting for the second lunar mission would decrease the risk of
wasting a full ALSEP payload, since the Apollo system already would have
successfully reached the moon once.
He added, "An uncrowded time line on the lunar surface for the
first mission would seem to me more contributory to the advance of
science than trying to do so much on the first mission that we do
nothing well. . . ."
Memo, Reiffel to Phillips, "Flight Schedule for ALSEP and Related
Matters," June 20, 1967.
Officials at the Manned Space Flight Management Review decided that
Apollo 4 and Apollo 5 missions would be flown with no less than a
21-day interval between flights. This period was determined necessary
to provide an adequate turnaround of the ground support systems to
ensure proper reconfiguration, validation, and updating. The Apollo 4
mission would be given priority over Apollo 5 in the checkout and
readiness phase if conflicts in use of facilities and equipment should
Memo, Director, Mission Operations, NASA OMSF, to distr., "Mission
Priority and Turnaround between Apollo 4 and Apollo 5," July 10,
A committee was established to conduct an operational readiness
inspection (ORI) of the MSC Space Environment Simulation Laboratory. The
inspection would supplement the original ORI of the facility. Emphasis
would be placed on reviewing modifications since the previous inspection
and upon readiness to perform the test series on LTA-8 and 2TV-1. The
committee was made up of Martin L. Raines, Chairman; Rexford H. Talbert,
Executive Secretary; Edward L. Hays, Alan Harter, James E. Powell, John
W. Conlon, Armistead Dennett, and Joseph P. Kerwin, all of MSC; Dugald
O. Black, KSC; and E. Barton Geer, LaRC.
Memo, Director, MSC, to distr., "Operational Readiness Inspection
of the MSC Space Environmental Simulation Laboratory," June 22,
Although the LM-1 wiring harness had been accepted by the Customer
Acceptance Readiness Review Board it was not clear that the harness
would also have been accepted for manned flight, ASPO Manager George M.
Low told Apollo Systems Engineering Assistant Chief R. W. Williams. Low
asked Williams to assign someone to prepare a plan of actions needed to
ensure that the harnesses in LM-2 and subsequent vehicles would be
Memo, Low to Williams, "LM spacecraft wiring and splices,"
June 23, 1967.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told ASPO Manager George Low
he believed progress had been made toward Apollo objectives. At the same
time, Phillips believed certain problems, if not solved expeditiously,
could seriously delay the program. He was concerned particularly with
the couch design, weight problem, docking changes, and delivery
schedules. Phillips requested an early response on the problem areas.
Ltr., Phillips to Low, June 26, 1967.
Possible hazards to the crew in the lunar module thermal vacuum test
program (using LTA-8) were pointed up in a memorandum to Manager, ASPO,
and Director of Engineering and Development from the Director of Flight
Crew Operations. Manning procedures required crewmen to make numerous
hard vacuum transfers between the Space Environment Simulation
Laboratory's environmental control system (ECS) umbilicals and the LM
environmental control system hoses. Also, during the manning operations
the crewmen would be on the LM-ECS with the cabin depressurized. In the
configuration in use, if one of the crewmen lost his suit integrity,
there would be no protection for the other man. Because of these
hazardous conditions the following actions were requested:
Memo, Director of Flight Crew Operations to Manager, ASPO, and Director
of Engineering and Development, "Possible hazards to the crew
during the Lunar Module Thermal Vacuum Tests in Chamber B," June
- provide equipment to make vacuum transfers of oxygen hoses
acceptably safe; and
- change the LTA-8 vehicle ECS so that one crewman was protected if
the other lost suit integrity in a vacuum ambient.
The Apollo Program Director requested MSC to assign the following
experiments to AS-205, spacecraft 101: M006 - Bone Demineralization,
M011 - Cytogenic Blood Studies, M023 - Lower Body Negative Pressure,
S005 - Synoptic Terrain Photography, and S006 - Synoptic Weather
Photography. Experiment D008, Radiation in Spacecraft, would be included
in the above list at the option of ASPO. On July 21 ASPO Manager George
M. Low informed CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht that he was approving
reinstatement of Experiments S005 and S006 on AS-205. On the same date
Low informed the Apollo Program Director that S005 and S006 would be
carried on AS-205. He proposed that experiments M006, M011, and M023,
which required pre- and postflight operations with the crew, be
classified not as experiments but as part of the normal pre- and
postflight medical evaluation. Experiment D008 was deleted from AS-205
and all other inflight experiments previously assigned had been deleted
from the spacecraft. MSC's Director of Medical Research and Operations
Charles A. Berry and Director of Space Science and Applications Wilmot
N. Hess concurred with Low's decision.
Ltrs., Apollo Program Director to MSC, Attn: George M. Low, "Earth
Orbital Experiment Assignments," June 28, 1967; Low to NASA Hq.,
Attn: Samuel C. Phillips, "Earth Orbital Experiment
Assignments," July 21, 1967; memo, Manager, ASPO, to K. S.
Kleinknecht, "Experiments S005 and S006," July 21, 1967.
Dale D. Myers, Apollo CSM Manager for North American Aviation, Inc.,
requested a meeting with ASPO Manager George M. Low and ASPO CSM
Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to resolve issues concerning materials
replacement and objectives for boilerplate tests. In reply, on July 6,
Low said that Kleinknecht had conducted a complete review of flammable
materials since receipt of Myers' June 28 letter and that a number of
telephone conversations had been held on the subject. MSC recommended
that the insulation on the environmental control unit be covered with
nickel foil and that silicone-rubber wire-harness clamps could possibly
be covered with a combination of "Laddicote" and nitroso
rubber. Plans were for the boilerplate mockup tests to use an
overloaded wire in a wire bundle as an ignition source. At Myers'
suggestion, MSC was also looking into the use of electric arcs, or
sparks, as a possible ignition source. Low said: "As you know, our
goal in the mockup tests will be to demonstrate that any fire in a 6
psi [4.1 newtons per square centimeter] oxygen atmosphere extinguishes
itself. . . . If we can demonstrate that in the 6 psi oxygen atmosphere
a fire would spread very slowly so that the crew could easily get out
of the spacecraft while on the pad . . . , then I believe that we
should also be satisfied."
Ltrs., Myers to Low, June 28, 1967; Low to Myers, July 6, 1967.