Part 2 (G)
Recovery, Spacecraft Redefinition, and First Manned Apollo Flight
Week Ending December 1
A meeting on LM testing was held at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp.,
with Robert R. Gilruth and George M. Low, MSC; George Hage, OMSF;
Hilliard Paige, General Electric Co.; and George Stoner, Boeing Co., in
addition to Grumman personnel. After NASA reviewed the LM vibration
environment and previous acceptance test decisions, Grumman recommended
that complete vehicle vibration testing with externally mounted acoustic
horns should be continued beyond LM-2; that wider use of thermovacuum
testing at the component level be considered; and that the LM designated
for the lunar landing mission be subjected to complete thermovacuum
tests either at MSC or KSC.
MSC concluded that
- for schedule purposes it would plan to continue complete vehicle
acoustic testing after LM-2; however, implementation of this decision
would depend on the results of the LM-2 testing;
- MSC would reexamine the application of more widespread thermal
testing at the component level; and
- the Grumman proposal to subject the LM designated for the lunar
mission to more testing than earlier manned flights was unacceptable.
Past experience had shown that earlier vehicles should always have more
testing than later ones.
MSC, "Weekly Activity Report for Mr. Webb," week ending Dec.
NASA Hq. requested MSC to forward by December 5 the Center's plan for
providing qualified LM ascent engines with dynamically stable injectors
for manned LM flights. The plan was expected to be based on ground rules
established in July when a NASA team went to Bell Aerosystems Co. that
the current BAC engine would be the prime effort with the Rocketdyne
Division (North American Rockwell) injector development as backup.
Headquarters asked that the plan contain the following elements:
TWX, Samuel C. Phillips, OMSF, to MSC, Dec. 1, 1967.
- effectivity of Bell-improved design in LM;
- earliest phaseout of Rocketdyne program, assuming satisfactory
completion of BAC program; and
- effectivity of backup Rocketdyne design in LM if the BAC effort was
NASA Hq. announced that, as concurred in by the Center Apollo Program
Managers, the following decisions, based on the results of the Apollo 4
mission, were firmly established:
TWX, NASA Hq. to MSC, MSFC, and KSC, "Apollo 6 and AS-503 Unmanned
CSM Assignments," Dec. 1, 1967.
- CSM 020 would be flown on the Apollo 6 mission.
- Boilerplate 30 was assigned to the AS-503 unmanned mission.
- If Apollo 6 was successful, AS-503 would be flown as the first
Saturn V manned mission.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb approved the designation "Saturn
IB" as the standard way of referring to that launch vehicle in
public statements, congressional testimony, and similar materials,
rather than "Uprated Saturn I."
Memo, Associate Deputy Administrator Willis H. Shapley to distr.,
"Saturn IB Nomenclature," Dec. 2, 1967.
Walter J. Kapryan of the MSC Resident ASPO at KSC told the KSC Apollo
Program Manager that one of the primary test objectives of the SM-102
static-fire test was to determine system deterioration caused by the
static-fire sequence and exposure to residual hypergolics trapped in the
system during subsequent prelaunch operations. He said it was imperative
that the objective be met before the planned static-firing test of the
SM-101. MSC requested that every effort be made to make the SM-102 test
as soon as possible to ensure a representative time for subsequent
storage and that a contractor tear-down inspection could be made to
assess the advisability of static-firing the flight spacecraft. A firing
date of January 15, 1968, would accomplish those objectives.
Memo, Kapryan to Apollo Program Manager, KSC,"SM-102 Static Fire
Schedule," Dec. 5, 1967.
Astronaut Charles (Pete) Conrad's concern about an anticipated attitude
control problem in the LM was reported. Conrad had said, "The LM
is too sporty when in a light weight configuration." Minimum
impulse was expected to produce about 0.3 degree per second rate, which
was estimated to be about four times too fast. A memo on the problem
possibility was written by Howard W. Tindall, Jr., Deputy Chief of
MSC's Mission Planning and Analysis Division, to stimulate thinking. On
December 9, ASPO Manager George M. Low asked Donald K. Slayton and
Warren J. North if there was any chance of setting up a simulation to
see whether this was a real concern.
Memo, Tindall to distr., "Light weight LM attitude control is too
sporty," Dec. 7, 1967.
An Apollo drop test failed at El Centro, Calif. The two-drogue
verification test had been planned to provide confidence in the drogue
chute design (using a weighted bomb) before repeating the parachute test
vehicle (PTV) test. Preliminary information indicated that in the test
one drogue entangled with the other during deployment and that only one
drogue inflated. The failure appeared to be related to a test deployment
method rather than to drogue design. The test vehicle was successfully
recovered by a USAF recovery parachute-intact and reusable.
TWX, George M. Low, MSC, to Director, Apollo Program Office, NASA Hq.,
Dec. 8, 1967.
MSC ASPO Manager George M. Low reminded NASA Apollo Program Director
Samuel C. Phillips that at a meeting three weeks previous MSC had
presented a Bell Aerospace Corp. qualification completion date for the
LM ascent engine of March 28, and a Rocketdyne Division, North American
Rockwell, completion by May 1, 1968. MSC at that time had expressed
confidence that the Rocketdyne program could be accelerated to be
completed in mid-March and be competitive to the BAC date, permitting a
selection to install the best engine on LM-3.
During the interim, program reviews had been conducted at both Bell and
Rocketdyne. The Bell program had been accelerated to complete
qualification by February 9, 1968, by conducting qualification and
design verification testing in parallel. While a greater risk would be
incurred, both Grumman and NASA agreed to the procedure to expedite the
Bell program. The Rocketdyne program could not be accelerated to
complete qualification by February because of an uncertainty as to the
performance of its engine, but qualification testing was expected to be
completed by March. Anticipating that the only change would be a pattern
modification, Rocketdyne was already manufacturing injectors to support
an accelerated program.
Ltr., Low to Phillips, "Ascent engine program plan," Dec. 9,
NASA Hq. asked further MSFC studies of one of the most critical phases
during an Apollo mission, the period between holddown arm release and
launch umbilical tower clearance. Failures or incompatibilities that
could cause a vehicle collision with ground equipment or a pad fallback
were major elements of potential danger. Problems during that phase
would be difficult to cope with from a crew safety or an abort point of
view and also posed the double jeopardy possibility of losing both the
space vehicle and mobile launcher.
A number of studies had been made at MSFC of certain aspects of the
problem, particularly postliftoff flight dynamics, the effects of winds,
etc. Those studies had brought out the catastrophic potential of near-
pad engine-out and actuator-hardover failures. NASA Hq. now asked MSFC
to investigate further, with assistance of other Centers as required,
the inadvertent system operation and component failures that could
The MSFC task leaders were asked to report findings to a panel made up
of the MSFC, MSC, and KSC Apollo Program Managers and NASA Apollo
Program Director Samuel C. Phillips before the flight readiness reviews
for Apollo 5 and 6, scheduled for January 3 and mid-January 1968.
- a first-stage cutoff between holddown arm release and time of
separation of the last physical connection between the vehicle and
- inadvertent critical operation or inhibition of such space vehicle
systems as the emergency detection subsystem, guidance and control,
electrical, and range safety during the same critical period; and
- a premature or out-of-sequence liftoff.
Ltr., Phillips to MSFC, "Apollo Lift-off Hazards," Dec. 11,
The phase I customer acceptance readiness review (CARR) of CM 101 was
held at North American Rockwell in Downey, Calif. MSC's CSM Manager
Kenneth S. Kleinknecht chaired the meeting, and SC 101 Manager John
Healey represented North American. The review was the first of a
three-phase CARR system initiated by North American. A total of 44
customer acceptance review item dispositions (CARIDs) were presented to
the board and 13 were closed. The spacecraft was accepted for turnover
to Apollo Test Operations pending submission of data to close the
remainder. The majority of open CARIDs were for completing
documentation for engineering orders, operation checkout procedures,
and photography, with both North American and MSC having action item
for closing out CARIDs. Five CARIDs made reference to flammability of
material. The most significant item was the installation of 27.4 meters
of coaxial cable in the spacecraft that did not meet flammability
Memo, W. C. Brubaker, Bellcomm, Inc., to distr., "Trip Report -
Phase I Customer Acceptance Readiness Review of SCM 101 - Case
320," Dec. 29, 1967.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips wrote to the three manned
space flight Centers:
"I am sure that you are keenly aware of the importance of the
forthcoming series of Apollo manned flights and the requirement that all
responsible actions are taken to assure the success of each mission. To
this end the Design Certification Review, established for manned
flights, serves an important role. Shortly our program of progressive
Design Certification Reviews leading to certification for the manned
lunar landing will commence. A significant part of the effort requires a
comprehensive supporting analysis of critical hardware to assure that
all single failure points have been identified and accepted by all
levels of Apollo Program management.
"I believe it necessary, therefore, that the Design Certification
Review program formally record a listing of single failure points
existing in flight and launch critical ground equipment which would
cause crew or mission loss, together with a statement of rationale for
accepting the risk of each of these single failure points. Establishing
such a listing requires particular attention to commonality of ground
rules and categorization such that the overall mission single failure
point listing is an effective Design Certification Review input. While
recognizing the present efforts existing at contractors and Centers in
identifying single failure points, some additional work is required to
obtain a consistent mission single failure point listing.
"It is requested that you initiate action to prepare for each
Design Certification Review a single failure point listing which
includes all considerations supporting the acceptance of each single
failure point. This listing shall be prepared in accordance with ground
rules established and coordinated by the Apollo Program Reliability and
Quality Assurance Office, be approved by the Center, and shall be
required 60 days in advance of the final Design Certification Review
Ltrs., Phillips to MSC, MSFC, and KSC, "Apollo Program Single
Failure Points," Dec. 12, 1967.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips wrote the manned space flight
Centers of Apollo schedule decisions. In a September 20 meeting at MSC
to review the Apollo test flight program, MSC had proposed a primary
test flight plan including
Phillips now wrote that decisions had been made to accommodate MSC's
first two proposals into the mainline Apollo flight mission assignment.
In addition, the proposal for the lunar orbital mission would be
included in the Apollo flight mission assignments as an alternate to a
- the addition of a second unmanned LM flight,
- addition of a third unmanned Saturn V flight, and
- addition of a new' primary mission, a lunar orbital mission.
Ltr., Phillips to Directors, MSC, MSFC, and KSC, "Apollo
Spacecraft Flight Test Program Review/Apollo Mission Assignments,"
Dec. 14, 1967.
The Apollo Site Selection Board met at MSC and discussed landing ellipse
topography, landing approach path topography, and operational
considerations, among other topics. The board heard recommendations on
landing sites for the first and second missions, and approved them
subsequent to the meeting, and Apollo Program Director Samuel C.
Phillips emphasized that three launch opportunities should be provided
for all months of the yew. Board members, in addition to Phillips, were
James H. Turnock, John D. Stevenson, Charles W. Mathews, and Oran W.
Nicks, all of NASA Hq.; Owen E. Maynard and Wilmot N. Hess of MSC; Ernst
Stuhlinger, MSFC; and R. O. Middleton, KSC.
Memo, Apollo Program Director to distr., "Minutes of the Apollo
Site Selection Board Meeting of December 15, 1967," Jan. 29,
Robert O. Piland, Technical Assistant to the MSC Director, reminded
ASPO Manager George M. Low that some time previously Wilmot Hess, MSC,
had requested incorporation of a camera on AS-502 to take photos of the
earth from orbital altitudes. The camera would be the same kind as used
on AS-501 but pictures would be taken from a height of 80 to 160
kilometers rather than from 16,000. Piland said he understood the
mission would allow a strip of photography 160 kilometers wide across
the southern part of the United States and Africa and would make a
significant contribution to the initiation of an earth resources survey
program. Low replied on December 20, "Our plans are to do this,
assuming we can without schedule impact."
Memo, Piland to Low, "Photography on Mission 502," Dec. 15,
1967; note, Low to Piland, Dec. 20, 1967.
Top NASA and North American Rockwell management personnel discussed
flammability problems associated with coax cables installed in CMs. It
was determined that approximately 23 meters of flammable coax cable was
in CM 101 and, when ignited with a nichrome wire, the cable would burn
in oxygen at both 4.3 and 11.4 newtons per square centimeter (6.2 and
16.5 pounds per square inch). Burning rates varied from 30 to 305
centimeters per minute, depending upon the oxygen pressure and the
direction of the flame front propagation. The cable was behind master
display panels, along the top of the right-hand side of the cabin,
vertically in the rear right-hand corner of the cabin, in the cabin
feed-through area, and in the lower equipment bay. The group reviewed
the detailed location of the cable, viewed movies of flammability tests,
examined movies of the results of testing with fire breaks, discussed
possible alternatives, and inspected cable installations in CMs 101 and
The following alternatives were considered:
- Replace all coax cable.
- Wrap all coax cable with aluminum tape.
- Partially wrap the cable to provide fire breaks. Tests at North
American indicated that a 102-millimeter segment of wrapped cable with
four layers of aluminum foil would provide a fire break. MSC tests
indicated such a fire break was not adequate for multiple cables.
- Leave the installation as it was.
The following factors were considered in reaching a decision for
- The wiring in that spacecraft had been completed for several months.
All subsystems had been installed and protective covers had been
installed. Complete replacement or complete wrapping of all coax cables
would be time consuming; it might take as long as three months, when
taking retest into consideration. Additionally, in spite of extreme
care, complete replacement or wrapping might do considerable damage to
the installed wiring, and even partial wrapping might cause damage in
- The coax cable could not self-ignite under any conditions.
- In most installations, the coax cable was a separate bundle and not
part of other wire bundles. An exception was the feed-through area in
the lower right-hand corner of the cabin, where the coax cable was
intertwined with other wires. Although power cables existed in this
area, these were not high-current-carrying cables.
- A minimum number of possible ignition sources existed in the
vicinity of the coax cables, and a complex series of events would be
required to ignite the cable.
In view of these factors, decisions for spacecraft 101 were:
In making these decisions, NASA and North American recognized that they
were contrary to existing criteria and guidelines. Those present agreed
that the decisions were an exception and in no way should be construed
as a change or relaxation of the criteria and guidelines. The basic
reason for the exception was summarized as follows: "As a result
of the clean installation of the coax cables, the lack of external
ignition sources, and the complete job done in cleaning up the
spacecraft from the flammability viewpoint, the risk of igniting the
coax cables is exceedingly small. This risk is believed to be less than
would likely be incurred through possible damage to existing
installations had a decision been made to replace or wrap the
- The cable would be flown essentially as installed. The only
exception was that the vertical cable bundle in the right-hand corner of
the spacecraft would be wrapped with layers of aluminum tape. Each cable
in this bundle would be individually wrapped.
- An analysis by North American would document all other wiring near
the coax cable, including the wire size, functions, maximum currents
carried, and degree of circuit-breaker protection.
- All possible ignition sources near the coax cable would be
- Tests would be made in boilerplate (BP) 1250 to determine the
effects of fire breaks inherent in the installation.
The installation in spacecraft 2TV-1 would not be changed. This
decision was made fully recognizing that more flammable material
remained in 2TV-1 than in 101. However, the burning rate of coax cable
had been demonstrated as very slow, and it was reasoned that the crew
would have sufficient time to make an emergency exit in the vacuum
chamber from 2TV-1 long before any dangerous situations would be
Officials also agreed that coax cable in boilerplate 1224 would not be
ignited until after the results of the BP 1250 tests had been reviewed.
Memo for the Record, Manager, ASPO, "Command Module coax cable
flammability considerations," Dec. 19, 1967.
A LM test failed in the Grumman ascent stage manufacturing plant
December 17. A window in LM-5 shattered during its initial cabin
pressurization test, designed to pressurize the cabin to 3.9 newtons per
square centimeter (5.65 pounds per square inch). Both inner and outer
windows and the plexiglass cover of the right-hand window shattered when
the pressure reached 3.5 newtons per sq cm (5.1 psi). An MSC LM engineer
and Corning Glass Co. engineers were investigating the damage and cause
TWX, ASPO Manager, MSC, to NASA Hq., Attn: Apollo Program Director,
Dec. 19, 1967; "Activity Report - Quality Assurance,"
Bethpage, N.Y., Dec. 13-19, 1967.
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller
informed MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that he intended to establish a
Guidance Software Task Force to determine whether any additional actions
could be taken to improve the software development and verification
process. He requested that MSC make a thorough presentation to the task
force at its first meeting, to include flight software problem areas and
also such matters as crew training, crew procedures development, mission
planning activities, and the abort guidance system software. Mueller
himself would chair the task force and other members would be: Richard
H. Battin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Instrumentation
Laboratory; Leon R. Bush, Aerospace Corp.; Donald R. Hagner, Bellcomm,
Inc.: Dick Hanrahan, IBM: James S. Martin, Jr., LaRC; John P. Mayer,
MSC: Clarence Pitman, TRW; and Ludie G. Richard, MSFC.
Ltr., Mueller to Gilruth, Dec. 18, 1967.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb approved a reorganization of NASA
Headquarters, making changes in OMSF. On January 26, 1968, Associate
Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller spelled out OMSF
Memo, Mueller to OMSF Employees, Jan. 26, 1968.
- The Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight would
continue with "across the board" responsibility and act for
Mueller when he was absent or not available;
- the Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight
(Management) would be responsible for the supervision of all
administrative aspects of management within the manned space flight
- the Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight
(Technical) would be responsible as the technical director and chief
engineer of the manned space flight programs.
NASA Hq. announced establishment of the Lunar Exploration Office within
the Office of Manned Space Flight's Apollo Program Office. The new
office, headed by Lee R. Scherer, merged program units directing Apollo
lunar exploration and planning exploration beyond the first manned lunar
landing. OMSF would staff the Systems Development element; the Lunar
Science group would be staffed by the Office of Space Science and
Applications, which would approve operating plans and scientific
objectives, payloads, and principal investigators for specific missions.
NASA Special Announcement, "Establishment of an Apollo Lunar
Exploration Organization within OMSF," Dec. 19, 1967; NASA News
Release 68-5, Jan. 4, 1968.
As a part of the managers' technical status review, Dale Myers of North
American Rockwell presented his analysis of fixes for the coax cable in
spacecraft 103 and subsequent spacecraft. The North American
According to MSC's CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, the North
American recommendation was justified for the following reasons:
- For spacecraft 103, 104, and 106 - remove all coax and wrap with
aluminum tape using a 75- to 90-percent overlap. Re-install wrapped coax
with additional teflon overwrap in areas where chafing might occur. This
wrapping would increase spacecraft weight by 0.9 kilograms. Schedule
impact was estimated at five days for spacecraft 103 and 104 and one day
for spacecraft 106.
- For spacecraft 107 and subsequent spacecraft - install new coax
cable that would meet nonmetallic-materials guidelines. There would be
no schedule impact.
Kleinknecht decided, with concurrence of Maxime A. Faget and Jerry W.
Craig, to accept the proposal and Myers was authorized to proceed,
subject to concurrence by Program Director Samuel C. Phillips and
Program Manager George M. Low. Kleinknecht received oral concurrence
from Low and Phillips on December 20; then, in confirming the decision
with Myers, he requested that North American develop a schedule recovery
plan to negate the impact of the coax fix on spacecraft 103, 104, and
- All coax would be installed before the inspection process.
- Spacecraft 106 was ready for electrical harness closeout;
fabrication of new cables, with guideline material, would delay closeout
by about three weeks.
- The new cable to be used in spacecraft 107 was already used on the
spacecraft upper deck, but had not been subjected to corrosive
contaminants, oxygen, and humidity qualification. This qualification
would be completed in line and before cable installation.
- Although connectors used with coax on the upper deck were compatible
with black boxes in the spacecraft and were supposedly available, there
were not enough in stock to support the fabrication of new cables for
spacecraft 103, 104, and 106.
- Testing at North American and MSC supported the conclusion that
wrapping with aluminum tape would preclude propagation of burning if
ignition of the coax should occur.
Memo, Kleinknecht to Low, "Command module coax cable decisions
relative to spacecraft 103 and subsequent," Jan. 9, 1968.
ASPO Manager George M. Low pointed out to E. Z. Gray of Grumman that in
October 1964 NASA had sent a letter to Grumman voicing concern over
possible stress corrosion problems. The Grumman reply on October 30 of
that year was unsatisfactory when considered in the light of stress
corrosion cracks recently found in the LM aluminum structural members.
Low asked what Grumman planned to do to make sure that no other
potential stress corrosion problems existed in the LM and asked for a
reply by January 1968 on how the problem would be attacked.
On December 21, Low wrote a similar letter to Dale D. Myers of North
American Rockwell, reminding him of a letter sent by MSC in September
1964. He said that recent stress corrosion problems had been encountered
in the LM and asked that North American make a detailed analysis to
ensure that not a single stress corrosion problem existed in the CSM or
associated equipment. Again, Low asked for a reply by January 15, 1968.
Ltrs., MSC to Grumman, "Contract NAS 9-1100, Stress
Corrosion," Oct. 12, 1964; Grumman to MSC, "Stress
Corrosion," Oct. 30, 1964; Low to Gray, Dec. 20, 1967; MSC to
North American Aviation, "Contract NAS 9-150, Stress
Corrosion," Sept. 17, 1964; Low to Myers, Dec. 21, 1967; TWX,
North American Rockwell to MSC, "NAS 9-150, Stress
Corrosion," Oct. 13, 1967.
A Lunar Mission Planning Board meeting was held at MSC with Julian M.
West as acting chairman. Also present were Wilmot N. Hess, Christopher
C. Kraft, Jr., Paul E. Purser, and Andre J. Meyer, Jr. (secretary); and
invited participants Gus R. Babb, John M. Eggleston, and James J.
Taylor. The meeting agenda involved two main subjects:
Hess, MSC Director of Science and Applications, reviewed the Group for
Lunar Exploration Planning (GLEP) meeting in Washington December 8 and
9, which had examined potential sites for lunar exploration beyond
Apollo based on scientific objectives and not operational
considerations. He pointed out that during the GLEP group study at Santa
Cruz, Calif., in the summer, scientists had strongly recommended a
manned orbital mission be flown before manned landings, to gain
additional photographic information for more effective mission planning
and to make remote-sensing measurements to detect anomalies on the lunar
surface. Hess said this position had changed to some extent.
- review of major meetings recently held involving lunar exploration
and planning; and
- review of the remote sensors for use in lunar orbit and payload
available on the CSM during a manned landing mission for carrying remote
Hess pointed out that lunar exploration was the responsibility of the
new Lunar Exploration Office at NASA Hq. (see December 19). The office
had further been subdivided into the Lunar Science Office, responsible
for science and experiment planning, and the Flight Systems Office,
responsible for modifications in the Apollo spacecraft to increase
capability for developing advanced support systems such as mobility
units and for developing the advanced ALSEP packages. Hess felt that
dual launches, if conducted at all, would be carried out in the far
distant future and therefore directed his group to select sites for nine
single-launch missions, three of which should be planned without the aid
of mobility and be limited to one-and-a-half kilometers; and the other
six sites limited to five-kilometer maximum mobility radius.
Ground rules used in reduction of the proposed 39 lunar exploration
Hess mentioned new criteria which would affect mobility on the lunar
surface. He said that MSC's Director for Flight Crew Operations Donald
K. Slayton stated he would permit a single roving vehicle to go beyond
walk-back distance if the vehicle had two seats so that both astronauts
could simultaneously and if the unit carried two spare back-packs. Hess
said, "This new criteria, however, would result in a roving vehicle
weight of well over 227 kg when the backpacks were induced and thus
could not be carried on a single launch mission."
- landing accuracy would be improved so the LM would land within a
one-kilometer radius circle around the target point;
- Lunar Orbiter high-resolution photography must cover any site
- science payload including mobility devices would be limited to 340
- the lunar staytime would be limited to three days to include four
extravehicular (EVA) periods totaling 24 hours.
MSC, "Minutes of the Lunar Mission Planning Board," Dec. 21,
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told ASPO Manager George M.
Low that a review had begun on the "Apollo Spacecraft Weight and
Mission Performance Definition" report dated December 12 and that
his letter indicated approval of certain changes either requested or
implied by the report. Phillips added that his letter identified a
second group of pending changes for which insufficient information was
available. He stressed his serious concern over the problem of
spacecraft weight growth and said weight must be limited to the basic
45,359-kilogram launch vehicle capability. "According to the
progression established in your report, CM's 116 through 119 could
exceed the parachute hand-weight capability. I would like to establish
a single set of controlled basic weights for the production vehicles.
For product improvement changes a good rule is a pound deleted for
every pound added. For approved changes to the basic configuration, it
is the responsibility of NASA to understand the weight and performance
implication of the change and to establish appropriate new control
values. . . ."
Ltr., Phillips to Low, Dec. 21, 1967.
The first fire-in-the-hole test was successfully completed at the White
Sands Test Facility (WSTF). The vehicle test configuration was that of
LM-2 and the test cell pressure immediately before the test was
equivalent to a 68,850-meter altitude. All test objectives were
satisfied and video tapes of TV monitors were acquired. Test firing
duration was 650 milliseconds with zero stage separation.
TWX, WSTF to MSC, Dec. 22, 1967.
Week Ending December 22
Bethpage RASPO Business Manager Frank X. Battersby met with Grumman
Treasurer Pat Cherry on missing items of government property. The
Government Accounting Office (GAO) had complained of inefficiency in
Grumman property accountability records and had submitted a list of some
550 items of government property to Grumman. After nine weeks of
searching, the company had found about 200 items. The auditors contended
the missing items amounted to $8 million-$9 million. Cherry said he
believed that all the material could be located within one week.
Battersby agreed to the one-week period but emphasized that the real
problem was not in locating the material but rather in establishing
accurate records, since GAO felt that too often the contractor would be
tempted to go out and buy replacement parts rather than look for the
"Weekly Activity Report, Business Manager, RASPO Bethpage,"
week ending Dec. 22, 1967, to Chief, Apollo Procurement Br.,
Procurement and Contracts Div., MSC, Dec. 27, 1967.
CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht asked the Manager of the Resident
Apollo Spacecraft Program Office (RASPO) at Downey to inform North
American Rockwell that MSC had found the suggestion that aluminum
replace teflon for solder joint inserts and outer armor sleeves in
Apollo spacecraft plumbing unacceptable because
Memo, Kleinknecht to Manager, RASPO, Downey, Calif., "NR solder
joint suggestion," Dec. 27, 1967.
- the teflon insert was designed to give an interference fit to
prevent the passage of solder balls into the plumbing;
- an aluminum insert could not be designed with an interference fit
for obvious reasons;
- the aluminum insert was tested at the beginning of the program and
found to be inferior to the teflon insert; and
- the aluminum armor seal could not be used as a replacement for the
outer armor sleeves because it did not eliminate the creep problem of
The LM ascent engine program plan submitted to NASA Hq. on December 9
had been approved, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told ASPO
Manager George M. Low. Phillips was concerned, however, about the
impact of recent unstable injector tests at Bell Aerosystems Co. on
this plan. He said, "Resolution of these failures must be
expedited in order to maintain present schedules. Also of concern, is
the possible underestimation of the contractual and integration
problems that will exist if the Rocketdyne [Division] injector should
be chosen." Phillips asked that those areas receive special
attention and that he be kept informed on the progress of both injector
TWX, Phillips to Low, Dec. 28, 1967.
Confirming a discussion between George Low and Samuel Phillips on
October 27, a decision was made to replace the glass windows in LM-1
with aluminum windows, as a precaution against a failure in flight
similar to the one that occurred on LM-5 in testing.
TWX, J. Vincze, LM-1 Vehicle Management Office, MSC, to NASA Hq., Attn:
S. C. Phillips, "Replacement of windows on LM-1," Dec. 28,