Part 2 (D)
Recovery, Spacecraft Redefinition, and First Manned Apollo Flight
July through September 1967
To prevent flight crew incapacitation from possible carbon dioxide
buildup in their Block II spacesuits after emergency exit from a
spacecraft, development of a small air bottle was proposed. Bottles, to
be attached to the suit to provide proper atmosphere in an emergency,
would be stowed on the spacecraft access arm until needed.
Ltr., Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to ASPO Manager, "Emergency air
supply for a suited flight crew during a spacecraft emergency
egress," July 3, 1967.
A board was appointed by MSC White Sands Test Facility Manager Martin L.
Raines to determine the cause of a fire that had occurred at Test Stand
403 on July 3. The board was to submit its findings by July 17.
Ltr., Raines to distr., "Appointment to Investigation Board,"
July 5, 1967.
A CSM shipment schedule, to be used for planning throughout the Apollo
program and as a basis for contract negotiations with North American
Aviation, was issued by NASA Hq. The schedule covered CSM 101 through
CSM 115, CSM 105R, and CSM 020 and the period September 29, 1967,
through November 17, 1969.
Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., July 12,
1967; TWX, Phillips to Gilruth and George M. Low, MSC, July 24,
Kurt H. Debus, KSC Director, appointed John Bailey of MSC Chairman of
an ad hoc Safety Group, following discussions with George E. Mueller of
NASA OMSF, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, and MSFC Director Wernher
von Braun. The Safety Group was to examine the overall operating plans,
organizational responsibilities, flight hardware, and ground support
equipment and to identify existing and potential personnel hazards
associated with the preparation, checkout, and launch of Apollo 4
(AS-501). The group would submit an initial report by August 15.
Ltr., Debus to Bailey, "Establishment of Apollo 4 (AS-501) Ad Hoc
Safety Group," July 18, 1967.
Visual display systems of complex optical devices were being used with
the lunar module mission simulators. To help solve problems that some of
these systems were creating, assistance was requested from J. E.
Kupperian, E. S. Chin, and H. D. Vitagliano, all from Goddard Space
Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to John F. Clark, GSFC, July 18, 1967.
CSM flammability mockup testing was discussed at a program review. It
was pointed out that boilerplate testing was being conducted at Downey
and that an all-up test should not be performed until all individual
tests were completed and the final configuration was completely
Memo, George M. Low, MSC, to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC,
"Flammability mockup testing," July 21, 1967.
In a letter to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, MSC Director
Robert R. Gilruth requested that the Boeing Company personnel ceiling
be increased to 373. This action was taken as a result of a
reevaluation of the requirement of basic task statements and a better
understanding of the tasks to be performed. During the planning
sessions on the new contract with Boeing, a manpower ceiling of 250 had
Ltr., Gilruth to Phillips, July 19, 1967.
The RTG Review Team - established to investigate the relation of the
radioisotope thermoelectric generator's fuel-cask subsystem to Apollo
mission safety and success - submitted a preliminary report. Apollo
Program Director Samuel C. Phillips had established the team after
concern was expressed over the design and safety of the subsystem at a
June 1 review at NASA Hq. of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments
The team's preliminary report was based on data received and
observations of the LM at Grumman that indicated the interface of the
RTG, LM, and spacecraft-LM adapter (SLA) presented a potential problem
to the Apollo mission. The most serious hazard was the presence of the
530-640 K (500-700 degrees F) RTG fuel cask in the space between the LM
and the SLA, where leaks were possible during fuel unloading or in the
mechanical joints of the LM fuel system.
Plans were to fuel the LM four days before launch and to pressurize the
LM fuel system at T (time of launch) minus 16 hours. The RTG fuel
element was to be loaded into the graphite cask, which was mounted on
the LM at T minus 12 hours and the system secured. All work would be
completed on the ALSEP by T minus 10 hours. If a condition occurred
that required unloading fuel from the LM after installation of the fuel
element in the cask, the hot cask would be a partial barrier to
reaching one of the fuel unloading points and also would be a potential
fire hazard. No mechanism was available to remove the entire cask
system rapidly. Other potential problems were:
- a review showed all propellants that could come into contact with
the cask had spontaneous ignition temperatures below the temperature of
the RTG cask, and thus fuel vapors could be a problem;
- after launch no indicators would be available to show the crew the
status of the RTG or the SLA area, and no jettisoning mechanism was
available for the RTG fuel cask; and
- during deployment of the ALSEP on the lunar surface the astronauts
would be required to remove the RTG fuel element and load it into the
RTG assembly. While handling tools were available for this operation, no
means had been demonstrated to protect the spacesuit if accidentally
brushed against the cask.
"Radioisotopic Thermoelectric Generator Review Team Preliminary
Report," July 21, 1967
A series of oxygen purge system (OPS) transfer runs were conducted in
the Water Immersion Facility at MSC. Preliminary reports indicated the
results of the tests were highly satisfactory, but an assessment of pad
abort procedures following several runs in the Apollo Mission Simulator
were not so promising. Further work and study in this area was in
Memos, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to George M. Low, MSC, "Preliminary
evaluation of Pad Abort and Oxygen Purge System (OPS) Transfer
Procedures," July 26, 1967; Low to Slayton, "Pad abort
procedures and Oxygen Purge System transfers," July 29, 1967.
The ASPO Manager summarized the lunar module oxygen capacity and design
requirements for the lunar mission and made an analysis of his decision
to leave both portable life support systems (PLSS) on the lunar surface.
He recommended that NASA OMSF accept the PLSS discard philosophy as well
as the design capacity for lunar module oxygen.
Ltrs., George M. Low, MSC, to Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., July 24,
1967; Phillips to Low, Aug. 10, 1967.
ASPO Manager George M. Low issued instructions that the changes and
actions to be carried out by MSC as a result of the AS-204 accident
investigation were the responsibility of CSM Manager Kenneth S.
Kleinknecht. The changes and actions were summarized in Apollo Program
Directive No. 29, dated July 6, 1967.
Memo, George M. Low to distr., July 24, 1967.
Following a series of discussions on the requirements for the lunar
mapping and survey system (LMSS), the effort was terminated. An
immediate stop work order was issued to the Air Force, the Centers, and
the contractors in the LMSS effort. The original justification for the
LMSS, a backup Apollo site certification capability in the event of
Surveyor or Lunar Orbiter inadequacies, was no longer valid, since at
least four Apollo sites had been certified and the last Lunar Orbiter
would, if successful, increase that to eight.
Memos, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Hq., to George E. Mueller, NASA
Hq., "Lunar Mapping and Survey System (LMSS)," July 13, 1967;
Mueller to Seamans, same subject, July 18, 1967; Seamans to Mueller,
"Termination of the Lunar Mapping and Survey System," July
MSC Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., raised
questions about lunar module number 2: Would it be possible for LM-2 to
be a combined manned and unmanned vehicle; that is, have the capability
to make an unmanned burn first and then be manned for additional
activities? Would additional batteries in the LM provide greater
flexibility for earth-orbital missions? Mission flexibility would be
worthwhile only if it allowed deletion of a subsequent mission, at least
Memo, G. M. Low, MSC, to O. E. Maynard, MSC, "LM mission
flexibility and other points," July 25, 1967.
The Air Force Chief of Staff announced the reassignment of Carroll H.
Bolender from Washington to Houston as Program Manager for the lunar
module at MSC. He had been Apollo Mission Director at NASA Hq.
TWX, Air Force Chief of Staff to NASA Hq. and MSC, July 26, 1967.
MSC asked continued engineering and inspection support from KSC,
although increased activity at KSC was making support and factory
operations more difficult. KSC had provided support for LM-1 at
Bethpage, Long Island, and had also provided support for previous CSM
and some Gemini vehicles. The aid of the KSC inspection personnel was
particularly beneficial in ensuring a smooth transition of the vehicle
from the factory to the field.
Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to Kurt H. Debus, KSC, July 26, 1967.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth wrote MSFC Director Wernher von Braun
that MSC had two lunar landing research vehicles (LLRVs) for crew
training and three lunar landing training vehicles (LLTVs) were being
procured from Bell Aerosystems Go. Gilruth explained that x-ray
inspection of welds on the LLTVs at both Bell and MSC had disclosed
apparent subsurface defects, such as cracks and lack of fusion. There
was, however, question as to the interpretation of the x-rays and the
amount of feasible repair. Gilruth mentioned that James Kingsbury of
MSFC had previously assisted MSC in interpreting weldment x-rays, stated
that further x-rays were being taken, and asked MSFC assistance in
interpreting them and in determining the amount and methods of repair
Ltr., Gilruth to von Braun, July 27, 1967.
ASPO announced that a detailed review of the Block II CSM would be held
to gain a better understanding of the hardware. ASPO Manager George M.
Low pointed out that it had been customary in the Gemini and Apollo
Programs to conduct Design Certification Reviews (DCRs) before manned
flight of the "first of a kind" vehicle. He added that the
detailed review should address itself to design and analysis, test
history and evaluation of test results, and the understanding of
operational procedures for each element in the CSM. To ensure the most
thorough review, MSC divisions would conduct preliminary reviews. The
division chiefs would then present their findings to the directorates,
the ASPO management, and the MSC Director.
Memo, George M. Low to distr., July 28, 1967.
Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation was selected for
negotiation of a contract for the design, development, qualification,
and delivery of four production models of an injector for the lunar
module ascent engine. The project would serve as a backup to the
injector program already being conducted by Bell Aerospace Corp. under
subcontract to Grumman. The ascent engine was considered to be the most
critical engine in the Apollo-Saturn vehicle. No backup mode of
operation remained if the ascent engine failed.
Ltrs., Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to George M. Low, MSC, Aug. 16,
1967; George E. Mueller, NASA Hq., to Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, Aug. 17,
1967; NASA News Release 67-207, Aug. 2, 1967.
Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, CSM Manager at MSC, requested that North
American organize a team of engineers with broad design backgrounds to
make an independent assessment of component design efficiency. The team
would identify actions to reduce spacecraft weight and to establish
control methods to prevent future weight increases. The team would be
placed under the leadership of a North American employee with broad
knowledge of Apollo hardware.
To deal with Apollo weight problems, North American replied in October,
accurate and timely weight visibility was of paramount importance. To
provide this visibility, North American used system design personnel
directly in weight prediction and reporting. As part of this plan, all
engineering-design-change documentation would contain a delta weight
effect that would be reviewed and approved by engineering management;
weight trends and status would be reported monthly to North American and
NASA management. A list of weight reduction candidates was suggested to
Ltr., Kleinknecht to Dale D. Myers, North American Aviation, Aug. 1,
1967; ltr., Myers to George M. Low, MSC, Oct. 5, 1967.
Lunar Orbiter V was launched from the Eastern Test Range
at 6:33 p.m. EDT August 1. The Deep Space Net Tracking Station at
Woomera, Australia, acquired the spacecraft about 50 minutes after
liftoff. Signals indicated that all systems were performing normally
and that temperatures were within acceptable limits. At 12:48 p.m. EDT
August 5, Lunar Orbiter V executed a deboost maneuver that
placed it in orbit around the moon. The spacecraft took its first
photograph of the moon at 7:22 a.m. EDT August 6. Before it landed on
the lunar surface on January 31, 1968, Lunar Orbiter V had
photographed 23 previously unphotographed areas of the moon's far side,
the first photo of the full earth, 36 sites of scientific interest, and
5 Apollo sites for a total of 425 photos.
Lunar Orbiter V Post Launch Reports 1 through 7, Aug. 2, 3, 7, 9, 11,
1969; Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1967 (NASA SP-4008, 1968), pp. 229,
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips was appointed Chairman of a
NASA task group, reporting to Administrator James E. Webb, Deputy
Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and Associate Administrator for
Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller. The group was chartered to
review the content of the Apollo program in order to determine
alternatives necessary for programming and budget planning decisions.
It would inquire into and report on all aspects of the Apollo program
necessary to provide a base of accurate data and information to support
decisions on FY 1968 expenditure control and FY 1969 budget planning.
Specifically, the group was requested to identify planned activities
that could be eliminated if the Apollo program were to be terminated
with the manned lunar landing. The group was also requested to
determine the effect of placing a hold order on production of Saturn V
vehicles 512 through 515 and to develop the cost estimates resulting
from these actions as well as other tangible alternatives. Memo, Webb
to Phillips, "Review of Apollo Program," Aug. 11, 1967.
ASPO wrote Lewis Research Center about studies of ignition sources
inside the pressure suits worn by the astronauts. In recent tests, the
communications and biomedical circuits inside the suit and connected to
the spacecraft panel through the crewman electrical umbilical were
evaluated to determine the ignition characteristics. Studies on the
flammability of various materials used jn the suit loop had been
completed and the data compiled.
Memo, G. M. Low, MSC, to I. I. Pinkel, Lewis Research Center,
"Ignition source inside the suit," Aug. 15, 1967.
The NASA task team for CSM Block II redefinition, established on April
27, was phased out. During its duration the task team provided timely
response and direction in the areas of detail design, overall quality
and reliability, test and checkout, baseline specifications, and
schedules. With the phaseout of the team, Apollo Spacecraft Program
Office policies and procedures would be carried out by the ASPO resident
manager. A single informal point of contact was also established between
MSC and North American for engineering and design items.
Memo, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to distr., "Phaseout of the
NASA Task Team for Block II Redefinition, Command and Service
Modules," Aug. 18, 1967.
ASPO Manager George M. Low, in a letter to Dale D. Myers of North
American Aviation, expressed disappointment that both spacecraft 2TV-1
and 101 had slipped approximately six weeks. He also expressed
astonishment that managers, who were supposedly using a planning system,
did not understand the meaning of the charts they were using. Low
suggested more attention to detail by managers, a better tracking system
for shortages, assignment of responsible individuals to areas where
special efforts were needed; and a mechanized system for tracking such
things as work needing to be done and shortages.
Ltr, Low to Myers, Aug. 19, 1967.
A senior design review group was established to review the command
module stowed equipment and the stowage provisions, to ensure the
timely resolution and implementation of changes necessary because of
new materials criteria and guidelines. Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director,
would head the group.
Memo, George M. Low, MSC, to distr., "Design Review of Command
Module storage provisions," Aug. 22, 1967.
An interagency agreement on protecting the earth's biosphere from lunar
sources of contamination was signed by James E. Webb, NASA; John W.
Gardiner, HEW; Orville L. Freeman, Department of Agriculture; Stewart
L. Udall, Department of Interior; and Frederick Seitz, National Academy
of Sciences. The agreement established a committee to advise the NASA
Administrator on back contamination and the protection of the
biological and chemical integrity of lunar samples, on when and how
astronauts and lunar samples might be released from quarantine, and on
Interagency Agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare, the Department of Interior, and the
National Academy of Sciences on the Protection of the Earth's Biosphere
from Lunar Sources of Contamination, Aug. 24, 1967.
Week Ending August 25
Grumman proposed a procurement for a study of the mission effects
projector, to assist Grumman with an item that had been designed and
built by Farrand but did not meet the established specifications.
Grumman solicited assistance of qualified firms in the optomechanical
field. Of 15 firms approached 7 were interested: Itek Corp., Kollmorgen
Corp., Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Kollsman Instrument Corp., Biorad,
General Precision Link Group, and Conductron. Technical proposals were
received from Itek, Biorad, Link, and Conductron. Grumman considered
the Itek proposal most technically acceptable and proposed a letter
contract in which NASA concurred.
MSC, BMR Bethpage, "Weekly Activities Report, Week Ending August
25, 1967," Aug. 30, 1967.
"Reuse of failed equipment" was the subject of a memorandum
to W. M. Bland in the MSC Reliability and Quality Assurance Office from
ASPO Manager George M. Low. He said: "I have recently heard of
several instances of reuse of apparently failed equipment without any
fixes applied to that equipment. I understand that, if a component or
subsystem is removed from the spacecraft because it has apparently
failed but a subsequent failure analysis does not show anything to be
wrong with the equipment, the equipment is then put back into stock for
reinstallation. It appears to me that, if a component is once suspected
or known to have caused a failure or to have failed, it should not be
allowed back in the program unless a fix has been made or unless it has
been proved conclusively that the failure was not caused by that
component. If we do not now have a program directive that states such a
policy, I think we should impose one as quickly as possible and set up
adequate procedures to control it."
Memo, Low to Bland, Aug. 26, 1967.
A review team's findings on the lunar surface magnetometer program were
reported to the NASA Administrator. The magnetometer program still
suffered from the schedule delays and high costs that had prompted the
review, but recent management changes and technical progress were
halting the trends. With the team recommendation and the endorsement of
the Office of Space Science and Applications, Philco Corp. was directed
to continue its effort to develop a lunar surface magnetometer.
Memos, Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to NASA Administrator, "Lunar
Surface Magnetometer," Aug. 30, 1967; W. H. Close, NASA Hq., to
Deputy Administrator, "ALSEP Lunar Surface Magnetometer,"
Oct. 13, 1967.
An Apollo test flow study group was formed to make a detailed evaluation
of spacecraft, launch vehicle, and space vehicle testing at KSC. The
group was composed of aerospace industry and NASA personnel.
Memo, R. O. Middleton, KSC, to G. M. Low, MSC, "Apollo Test Flow
Study Group," Sept. 1, 1967.
Apollo Program Directive No. 31 established and implemented the Apollo
System Safety program and defined program requirements in consonance
with NASA Management Instruction 1138.12, August 29, 1967. The directive
was applicable to all Apollo Headquarters and Center System Safety
activities and it spelled out Headquarters and Center Apollo
responsibilities. Among Center requirements were:
On September 20, ASPO Manager George Low asked Aleck Bond of the MSC
Engineering and Development Office if he was taking action. Bond replied
that the Flight Safety Office was preparing an overall safety plan for
the Center that would meet the requirements of the directive. In an
October 16 letter to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, Low
pointed out that "The . . . directive stipulates that an office
responsible for Apollo System Safety shall be established. . . . In
reviewing this Management Instruction we can find no mention of such a
Center office. . . ." Low added that ASPO had appointed an Assistant
Program Manager for Flight Safety who would work with the MSC Flight
Safety Office and ensure that the Center's flight safety policies and
procedures were carried out throughout the Apollo spacecraft program.
- "An office responsible for Apollo System Safety shall be
established in accordance with the requirements set forth in NASA
Management Instruction #1138.12."
- "Each Center office for Apollo System Safety shall prepare a
plan that describes the safety tasks to be performed and the method to
be used for the accomplishment of these tasks. . . ."
Apollo Program Directive No. 31, "Apollo System Safety Program
Requirements," Sept. 6, 1967; informal note, Low to Bond, Sept.
20, 1967; memo, Bond to Low, "Apollo Program Directive No. 31 -
Apollo System Safety Program Requirements," Sept. 25, 1967; ltr.,
Low to, Phillips, "APD No. 31 - Apollo System Safety Program
Requirements," Oct. 16, 1967.
LM-1, fitted inside spacecraft - lunar module adapter 7, is raised to position at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the Apollo 5 mission.
LM-1 (Apollo 5) continued to have serious schedule difficulties.
However, all known problems were resolved with the exception of the
propulsion system leaks. Leak checks of the ascent stage indicated
excessive leaking in the incline oxidizer orifice flange. The spacecraft
was approximately 39 days behind the July 18, LM-1 KSC Operations Flow
MSC, "ASPO Weekly Project Status Report," Sept. 7, 1967.
A revised spacecraft delivery schedule with a maximum delivery rate of
six spacecraft per year as opposed to a delivery rate of one spacecraft
every six weeks for the Apollo program was proposed by MSC and approved
by NASA Hq.
Ltr., Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., Sept. 8,
1967; TWX, Phillips to Gilruth, "CSM Delivery Schedules,"
Sept. 22, 1967.
ASPO Manager George Low in a letter to Dale Myers of North American
Aviation, emphasized that the spacecraft weight situation was the single
most serious problem in the entire Apollo program. An example of the
weight estimating problem was the spacecraft hatch. When the decision
was made in March 1967 to incorporate a new hatch, the net weight
increase was estimated at 185 kilograms, but calculations indicated that
this increase was actually 558 kilograms. Neither of these numbers
included the additional ballast, which doubled the required weight.
Clearly weight estimates were inadequate, making a workable weight
control program impossible. North American was requested to take
immediate action to bring the weight problem under control. A letter in
a similar vein was sent by C. H. Bolender, ASPO LM Manager, to J. G.
Gavin, Jr., Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp.
Ltr., Low to Myers, Sept. 9, 1967; Bolender to Gavin, Sept. 22, 1967.
A short circuit occurred during checkout of CSM 020 at North American,
Downey, Calif. External power batteries in parallel with the reentry
batteries had indicated low power and were replaced. During preparations
to continue the test, arcing was reported and emergency shutdown
procedures were applied. Investigation was under way to determine the
cause of the arcing. Initial indications were that at least 100 amps
were imposed on a small portion of the spacecraft wiring, causing some
damage to the spacecraft batteries.
TWX, ASPO Manager to Director, Apollo Spacecraft Program, Sept. 18,
During operational checkout procedures on CSM 017, which included
running the erasable memory program before running the low-altitude
aborts, the guidance and navigation computer accidentally received a
liftoff signal and locked up. Investigation was initiated to determine
the reason for the liftoff signal and the computer lockup (switch to
internal control). No damage was suspected.
TWX, ASPO Manager to Director, Apollo Program Office, Sept. 18, 1967.
The Systems Engineering Division of ASPO presented a briefing to the
ASPO Manager and other MSC officials on the logic of the lunar surface
activity for the first lunar landing mission. Several potential
missions were presented in terms of interactions between timelines,
consumables, weight, and performance characteristics. Purpose of the
demonstration was to elicit policy decisions on the number of
extravehicular excursions to be planned for the first mission as well
as the activities for each excursion. The following ground rules were
Memo, George M. Low, MSC, to distr., "Surface activity during
first lunar landing mission," Sept. 18, 1967.
- Priority of scientific objectives would be, in order, minimum lunar
sample, ALSEP, and lunar geologic survey including sample collection.
- The first EVA on the lunar surface during the first lunar mission
would consist of a set of simplified, mutually independent activities
and the timeline would permit rest periods between each activity. The
minimum lunar sample would be collected during the first EVA but the
ALSEP would not be deployed.
- A second EVA would be included for planning purposes and would
include ALSEP deployment. The second EVA would not be considered a
primary mission objective.
- For mission planning purposes the 22 1/2-hour lunar surface staytime
would be pursued as the prime candidate for the first lunar landing
Garrett Corp. Vice President Mark E. Bradley sent recommendations of
the Garrett-AiResearch Safety Audit Review Board to Dale D. Myers, Vice
President and Project Manager, Apollo Program, North American Aviation.
Bradley said the Board had been appointed in May 1967 to make "an
independent review of ECS [environmental control system] systems and
components from a crew safety standpoint" and that the
recommendations were "based on the considered professional
judgment of the Board members without bias or prejudice with regard to
cost or schedule."
In a reply to Bradley on October 21, Myers said: "Your letter has
been reviewed in detail and it has been determined in some cases the
recommendations are of a design improvement nature. . . . Because of
the seriousness of your conclusions and recommendations, I believe it
necessary and pertinent the following comments be made. . . . The
magnitude and complexity of the Apollo program precludes any single
system subcontractor the capability of full and knowledgeable
assessment of the effects his system has on the whole. . . . This is
not a criticism of your Safety Board function, rather a criticism of
the charter and ground rules on which the Board's recommendations are
based. . . . It is disturbing to me to find your letter is being used
as a vehicle to attempt reconsideration of Engineering Design Change
Proposals (EDCP's) already given careful consideration and a subsequent
disposition made. . . . I must insist that future Board comments be
channeled through your Apollo project group for processing by the
established EDCP procedures. If the EDCP affects Crew Safety or Mission
success, it should be so indicated in the EDCP and will be given proper
consideration by the management of NAR and NASA. . . . Because of the
seriousness of your conclusions and recommendations, I am asking the
NASA ASPO to form a Board with me to review your recommendations with
you for disposition. . . ."
Myers also wrote ASPO Manager George Low on October 21, enclosing the
AiResearch recommendations. He said: "I found that AiResearch had
used different criteria for evaluation than we use, but I felt we have
a situation that requires immediate and joint top-level review by us. .
. . The Board made significant recommendations that could constrain a
manned flight with the current configuration of the ECS. I hope that
this is not the case and that the recommendations were meant to be in
the area of design improvement rather than constraints of Crew Safety
or Mission Success nature. . . . If you agree with the need for this
NASA NAR joint ECS Safety Review Board, I will arrange such a meeting
with the AiResearch Review Board."
Low replied to Myers on October 30, saying, "I agree with you that
we should give serious consideration to each of the AiResearch
recommendations and that a joint NASA/NAR Safety Review Board would be
the best means of accomplishing this. I would be pleased to serve on
such a board with you. . . ." Low asked Myers to set up the
meeting following the Apollo 4 mission.
In a November 7 meeting at MSC the AiResearch Safety Board
recommendations were discussed and initial dispositions made, with
AiResearch being asked to provide a written acceptance or rejection of
Ltrs., Bradley to Myers, "Recommendation of Garrett-AiResearch
Safety Audit Review Board," Sept. 18, 1967; Myers to Bradley, Oct.
21, 1967; Myers to Low, Oct. 21, 1967; Low to Myers, Oct. 30, 1967;
Myers to Low, Dec. 13, 1967; Low to Myers, Mar. 19, 1968.
MSC proposed to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight a sequence of
missions leading to a lunar landing mission. The sequence included the
following basic missions:
- A - Saturn V/unmanned CSM development
- B - Saturn IB/unmanned LM development
- C - Saturn IB/manned CSM evaluation
- D - Saturn V/manned CSM and LM development (A dual Saturn IB mission
would be an alternative to the Saturn V for mission D)
- E - CSM/LM operations in high earth orbit
- F - Lunar orbit mission
- G - Lunar landing mission (like Apollo 11)
- H - Lunar landing mission (Apollo 12, 13, and 14)
- I - Reserved for lunar survey missions (not used)
- J - Lunar landing missions, upgraded hardware (Apollo 15, 16, and
Memos, George M. Low, ASPO Manager, to distr., "Mission
development and planning," Sept. 25, 1967; Low to Director, MSC,
"Meetings with General Phillips and Dr. Mueller," Sept. 9,
1967; ltr, Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to George E. Mueller, NASA Hq.,
Sept. 19, 1967; telecon, Ivan D. Ertel to John Sevier, Feb. 26,
At the request of Congress NASA was preparing a formal document on all
the action items resulting from the January 27 AS-204 accident. The
document would be used as a report to the entire Congress by the
responsible Senate and House subcommittees and was expected to include
two volumes. The first would cover Apollo 204 Review Board findings; the
second would cover panel findings, results of Congressional testimony,
and Apollo program direction. The report was forwarded to Congress in
December 1967 (House) and January 1968 (Senate).
Ltr., Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq., to George M. Low, MSC, "AS-204
Accident Closeout Report," Sept. 21, 1967. House Committee on
Science and Astronautics, Subcommittee on NASA Oversight, Status
of Actions Taken on Recommendations of the Apollo 204 Accident Review
Board, 90th Cong, 2nd sess., Committee Print, Serial L, 1968;
Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Apollo
Accident: Hearings, 90th Cong., 2nd sess., pt. 8, January
C. H. Bolender, ASPO Manager for the lunar module, wrote Joseph G.
Gavin, Jr., Grumman LM Program Director, that recent LM weights and
weight growth trends during the past several months established the
need to identify actions that would reduce weight and preclude future
weight growth. He pointed out that the Configuration Control Board
(CCB) at MSC had emphasized such actions, while recognizing the
specific weight increases associated with design change actions
resulting from the AS-204 accident. Several other design corrections or
improvements had been implemented, such as increased plume protection,
ascent engine reflection protection, descent stage upper-deck
structural repair, and landing gear shielding. Bolender told Gavin,
"We cannot afford to exercise ultraconservatism as an expedient to
problem solving. The modification of the descent stage skin panels may
be a case in point. . . . We have already asked that in consideration
of minimum weight design, you reassess your recommendation to change to
a uniform panel thickness." He requested that the objectives of
the recent Super Weight Improvement program (a weight saving
"tool" employed by Grumman) be reiterated in design activity
and that weight reduction suggestions be solicited and evaluated for
implementation. Bolender requested a biweekly review of weight
reduction candidate changes and told Gavin he was asking Systems
Engineering Division to maintain close coordination with Grumman and to
report progress of the weight reduction and control activity at the
regular CCB meetings.
Ltr., Bolender to Gavin, Sept. 22, 1967.
The merger of North American Aviation, Inc., and Rockwell-Standard
Corp. became effective and was announced. The company was organized
into two major groups, the Commercial Products Group and the Aerospace
and Systems Group. The new company would be known as North American
Rockwell and use the acronym NR.
North American Rockwell Corp., "A First Look," Sept. 22,
Associate Administrator for Advanced Research and Technology Mac C.
Adams requested concurrence of MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to naming
the following as members of Research Advisory Committees for Fiscal Year
1968: Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Committee on Space Vehicles; Joseph G.
Thibodaux, Jr., Committee on Chemical Rocket Propulsion; Charles A.
Berry and Richard S. Johnston, Committee on Biotechnology; and Robert E.
Johnson, Subcommittee on Materials. Gilruth concurred on September 28.
Ltrs., Adams to Gilruth, Sept. 25, 1967; Gilruth to Adams, Sept. 28,
The Flammability Test Review Board met at MSC to determine if the M-6
vehicle (a full-scale mockup of the LM cabin interior) was ready for
test and that the ignition points, configuration, instrumentation, and
test facility were acceptable for verifying the fire safety of LTA-8
and LM-2 vehicles. The Board agreed that the M-6 did accurately and
adequately simulate the LTA-8 and the LM-2 and established that the M-6
mockup was ready for testing. The Board was composed of Robert R.
Gilruth, Chairman; Carroll H. Bolender; Aleck C. Bond; Maxime A. Faget;
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.; Donald K. Slayton; A. Duane Catterson, all
of MSC; E. Z. Gray of Grumman; and G. H. Stoner of Boeing, a nonvoting
Ltr., Gilruth to distr., "Minutes of the Flammability Test Review
Board Meeting No. 1," Oct. 23, 1967; memo, Joseph N. Kotanchik,
Chief, Structures and Mechanics Div. to distr., "Progress Report
on Lunar Module M-6 flammability mockup," Sept. 28, 1967.
In spite of efforts to eliminate all flammable materials from the
interior of the spacecraft cabin during flight, it was apparent that
this could not be completely accomplished. For example, silicone rubber
hoses, flight logs, food, tissues, and other materials would be exposed
with in the cabin during portions of the mission. However, flammable
materials would be outside their containers only when actually needed.
Special fire extinguishers would be carried during flight.
Memos, George M. Low, MSC, to Donald K. Slayton, MSC, "Procedures
for use of flammable material in spacecraft," Sept. 28, 1967; Low
to Slayton, "Training in use of fire extinguishers," Sept.
ASPO Manager George M. Low informed the MSC Director of Flight Crew
Operations that effective November 1 configuration management of the
Apollo mission simulators and LM mission simulators would be transferred
from ASPO to the Flight Crew Operations Directorate, with the
understanding that Director Donald K. Slayton would personally chair the
Configuration Control Panel.
Memo, Low to D. K. Slayton, "Configuration Control Panel for
simulators," Sept. 10, 1967.
MSC's Engineering and Development (E&D) Directorate recommended that the
Apollo CM be provided with a foam fire extinguisher. E&D also
recommended that the LM be provided with a water nozzle for
extinguishing open fires and that cabin decompression be used to combat
fires behind panels. An aqueous gel (foam) composition fire extinguisher
was considered most appropriate for use in the CM because hydrogen in
the available water supply could intensify the fire, water spray could
not reach fires behind panels, and a shirt-sleeve environment was
preferred. E&D further recommended that development of a condensation
nuclei indicator be pursued as a flight fire detection system, but that
it not be made a constraint on the Apollo program. ASPO Manager George
M. Low concurred with the recommendations September 28 and MSC Director
Robert R. Gilruth concurred October 7.
On October 26, the Director of Flight Crew Operations stated that his
Directorate was formulating and implementing a training program for
flight crews to give them experience in coping with fire in and around
the spacecraft. "In total, the crew training for cockpit fires
will consist of: Review of BP 1224 and M-6 'burn test' film;
demonstration briefings on the fire extinguishers and their most
effective use; procedural practice simulating cockpit fire situations
in conjunction with one 'g' spacecraft/mockup/Apollo Mission Simulator
walkthroughs and in the egress trainer placed in the altitude chamber;
and as a part of the overall launch pad emergency and evacuation
procedures training at the fire service training area at KSC."
Memos, Low to Donald K. Slayton, "Training in use of fire
extinguishers," Sept. 28, 1967; Slayton to Low, "Crew
training in use of fire extinguishers," Oct. 26, 1967; Maxime A.
Faget to Gilruth, "Information Staff Paper No. 41 - Spacecraft
fire extinguishing systems and onboard spacecraft fire detection
instrumentation for the Apollo program," Sept. 28, 1967.
ASPO Manager George M. Low, in a letter to Richard E. Horner, Senior
Vice President of Northrop Corp., following a phone call to Horner on
Sept. 28, reiterated NASA's "continuing and serious concern with
the quality control at Northrop Ventura on the Apollo spacecraft
parachute system. In recent weeks, I have had many reports of poor
workmanship and poor quality, both in the plant at Northrop Ventura and
in the field at El Centro."
On October 20 Horner told Low he had taken time to assure himself of
the best possible information available before replying and offered
background on the situation: "The design effort goes back to 1961
and testing began at the El Centro facility in 1962. There was
continuous operation of the test group at El Centro until 1966 when the
completion of the Block II testing program dictated the closeout of our
operation there. In our total activity, we have had a peak of 350
personnel assigned to the Apollo, with 20 of that number located at El
Centro during the most active portion of the test program. When it was
finally determined that the increased weight capability redesign was
necessary for mission success, the program nucleus had been reduced to
30 personnel and the established schedule for the system re-design,
test and fabrication requires a build-up to 250. . . . The schedule has
also dictated the adoption of such procedures as concurrent inspection
by the inspectors of Northrop, North American and NASA, a procedure
which, I am sure, is efficient from a program point of view but is
inherently risky in terms of the wide dissemination of knowledge
concerning every human mistake. This is significant only from the point
of view of the natural human failing to be more willing to share the
responsibility for error than for success. . . . We do not intend in
any way to share responsibility for these errors and expect to
eliminate the potential for their recurrence. We have established
standards of quality for this program that are stringent and
uncompromising. . . . Even though the technical and schedule challenge
is substantial, we are confident that by the time qualification testing
is scheduled to start during the first week of December 1967 we will
have a flawless operation. . . ."
Ltrs., Low to Horner, Sept. 29, 1967; Horner to Low, Oct. 20, 1967;
memos, Low to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, "Parachute packing,"
Sept. 1, 1967; Low to Donald K. Slayton, "Apollo parachutes,"
Sept. 23, 1967.
An Apollo Entry Performance Review Board was established by the MSC
Director to review and validate the analytical tools as well as the
Apollo operational corridor. The Board was set up because the
performance of the ablation heatshield in the Apollo spacecraft, as then
analyzed, imposed a limitation on the entry corridor at lunar return
velocity. The following were named to the Board: Maxime A. Faget, MSC,
chairman; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC; Eugene C. Draley and Don D.
Davis, Jr., Langley Research Center; Alvin Seiff and Glen Goodwin, Ames
Research Center; and Leo T. Chauvin, MSC, secretary.
Ltrs., MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to Directors of Ames Research
Center and Langley Research Center, Sept. 29, 1967.
Key dates in the spacecraft 101 schedule were agreed to during a meeting
of Samuel C. Phillips, Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low, and Kenneth S.
Kleinknecht with North American management: inspection of wiring,
October 7, 1967; completion of manufacturing, December 15, 1967;
delivery, March 15, 1968. In addition, several decisions were reached
concerning certain systems of spacecraft 101. Among these, it was agreed
that the entry monitor system would not be checked out on spacecraft 101
(see October 12).
Memo for the Record, George M. Low, Manager, ASPO, "North American
activities," Oct. 2, 1967.
Because of many questions asked about spacecraft weight changes in the
spacecraft redefinition, ASPO Manager George M. Low prepared a memo for
the record, indicating weights as follows:
Lunar Module Significant Weight Changes
Lunar module injected weight status March 1, 1967 (ascent and descent
less propellant) - 4039.6 kg
Net change from March to September was +230.4 kg.
- Material substitution +23.1;
- decrease clamps and potting, -4.5;
- government furnished equipment changes (pressure garment assembly,
portable life support system, oxygen purge system), +68;
- plume heating and "fire-in-the-hole" protection, +59.8;
- redesign umbilical hoses, +2.2;
- revised oxygen and water requirements, +19.5;
- provision for ALSEP removal, +11.3;
- increasing crack resistance of webs, +13.6;
- additional wiring to provide redundant circuits, +4.9;
- fuel cask and support increase, +14.9;
- guidance and navigation equipment, +3.1;
- instrumentation, +9.9;
- communications, +1.8;
- miscellaneous changes, +2.2.
Lunar module injected weight status September 22, 1967 - 4270.0 kg
Command Module Significant Weight Changes
Command module injected weight status March 1, 1967 - 5246.7 kg
Net change from March to September was +433.1 kg.
- New hatch, +114.7;
- environmental control system and weight management system changes,
- instrumentation and electrical power, +48;
- wiring and tubing protection, +44.4;
- crew compartment materials and crew equipment, +101.6;
- forward heatshield separation, +13.6;
- earth landing system (larger drogues), +21.7;
- miscellaneous structural changes, +26.7;
- ballast for lift-over-drag ratio of 0.35, +175;
- other, +19.5.
- Reductions - transfer of portable life support system to LM,-31.2;
- reduced ballast for lift-over-drag ratio of 0.28, -142.8;
- other MSC weight reductions, -61.6.
Command module injected weight status September 22, 1967 - 5679.8 kg
Memo for the Record, George M. Low, Manager, ASPO, "Apollo weight
changes," Sept. 29, 1967.