SP-4011 Skylab: A Chronology

 

PART II: Apollo Application Program.

a. August 1965 to December 1966.

b. January 1967 to December 1968.

c. January 1969 to February 1970.

 

 

- 1965 -

 

August 6-10

[47] Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller advised the Center Directors at MSC, MSFC, and KSC of the establishment within the Office of Manned Space Flight of the Saturn/Apollo Applications (SAA) Office, which would have responsibility for both the Saturn IB Centaur program and the Apollo Extension System (AES) effort. David M. Jones, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Manned Space Flight (Programs), assumed the additional duties of SAA Acting Director. John H. Disher, formerly Test Director in the Apollo Program Office, was named Deputy Director.

Mueller sent Center Directors planning guidelines for proceeding with the definition phase of the AES program, including schedules, missions, organizational responsibilities, payload integration, and experiment definition and development. (These guidelines envisioned a buildup to four AES missions per year during 1970 and 1971.) Mueller also requested that each manned space flight center prepare a plan for implementing the AES program definition phase based on these guidelines and including planned procurements, facility modifications, staffing requirements, and an assessment of the definition program's impact on the Apollo program.

Letter, George E. Mueller, NASA Hq, to Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, "Saturn/Apollo Applications Program," 10 August 1965; NASA News Release 65-265, 6 August 1965.

 

August 20

As part of MSFC's activities related to the AES program, designers at the Center began serious investigation of the concept of an S-IVB Orbital Workshop (OWS). This concept, which involved "in- orbit" conversion of a spent S-IVB stage to a shelter suitable for extended stay and utilization by man, showed great potential for experiment work during the Earth-orbital phase of the AES program. Accordingly, MSFC officials planned a four-month conceptual design effort, to begin immediately, with help and participation from both MSC and the S-IVB stage builder, Douglas Aircraft Company.

On 25 August, program planners met to initiate the OWS conceptual design study. Participants reviewed previous NASA and industry studies pertaining to [48] rocket stage laboratory ideas (essentially those as presented to the Manned Space Flight Management Council on 20 July 1965). These studies formed the point of departure for the four-month OWS study. Those present agreed that serious consideration must be given to simplified versions of the Workshop to achieve early launch dates and to hold down program costs.

A technical working group was created to oversee the conceptual design study, with J. H. Laue as chairman. Laue divided areas of responsibility among the group members and planned to hold biweekly meetings for the duration of the study.

Memoranda, F. L. Williams, MSFC, to Dist., "S-IVB Orbital Workshop Design Study,' 20 August 1965. J. H. Laue, MSFC, to Dist., "Minutes of August 25, 1965, S-IVB Orbital Workshop Conceptual Design Study Meeting,' 30 August 1965.

 

August 25

At a White House news conference, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced approval for the Department of Defense's development of the $1.5-million Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL). Such a program, the President said, would bring "new knowledge about what man is able to do in space." Further, MOL "will enable us to relate that ability to the defense of America."

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, Book II, 1 June to 31 December 1965, p. 917.

 

August 27

George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, requested MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to identify the requirements for a spacecraft atmosphere selection and validation program to support the longer duration phase II missions of the AES program. (Mueller's request stemmed from a series of discussions and AES planning meetings between him and the Director of Advanced Manned Missions Studies, Edward Z. Gray, during June and July.) Although nominal mission duration for the phase II flights was pegged at 45 days, Mueller affirmed the likelihood that, with the conduct of rendezvous missions, flight times for some crewmen could be as long as 135 days. Accordingly, he asked that MSC evaluate the question of spacecraft atmospheres based upon mission durations of 45, 60, 90, and 135 days. Mueller requested MSC to complete the atmosphere cabin validation program expeditiously so that results could be readily incorporated into the design of the vehicle and integrated into mission planning.

In his reply, Gilruth stated that studies of single, as well as two-gas atmospheres were required. Continued research on a 34-kilonewton-per-sq-m (5-psia), 100-percent oxygen atmosphere was desirable both scientifically and operationally. Such a cabin atmosphere was very attractive because of attendant simplicity of the environmental control system. However, Gilruth said, recent data indicated possible impairment of vital body processes that necessitated additional study to validate the pure oxygen environment for flights of longer than 30 days. MSC researchers had begun investigating various combinations of two-gas atmospheres, [49] chiefly mixtures of 50-percent oxygen and 50-percent nitrogen; 70-percent oxygen and 30-percent nitrogen; and 70-percent oxygen and 30-percent helium. MSC had underway, both in house and under contract, engineering studies of two-gas environmental control systems, and AiResearch Corporation was already developing such a system using as many existing command and service module components as possible. Houston was also working closely with the Air Force's School of Aviation Medicine during that agency's investigations of various cabin atmospheres. Finally, Gilruth stated, Houston planned to hold a Workshop conference with engineering and pulmonary physiology specialists to establish the basis for atmosphere selection and to discuss implementation of experimental programs.

Letters, George E. Mueller to Robert R. Gilruth, 27 August 1965; Robert R. Gilruth to George E. Mueller, "Requirements for a spacecraft atmosphere selection and validation program," 12 November 1965.

 

During the month

During several visits to MSC, NASA Administrator James E. Webb raised a number of technical and policy questions relating to programs and management practices. Webb seemed particularly concerned about the difficulty of getting the program offices at Headquarters and the Centers to take an active interest in NASA's potential influence in the national economy and world affairs. During his second visit (20 August), he again expressed his interest in a spacecraft using true "off-the-shelf" technology as a method of reducing costs and repeated his belief that the time was right to begin serious study of a Saturn V space station.

Early the following month, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth scheduled planning sessions to discuss the part MSC' management might play in helping shape NASA decisionmaking regarding the next major mission to be undertaken in the manned space flight program. Gilruth was particularly interested in the ideas raised by Webb during his recent visits to Houston. Gilruth stated his conviction that any decision on the next major mission must recognize two chief constraints: (1) maximum use of existing hardware and technology and (2) maximum use of existing NASA facilities, particularly the manned field centers. The MSC Director put forth several points for consideration: what the next major mission should be; how Apollo Extension Systems and the Saturn V might best be l incorporated into that mission; and how Houston might divide responsibility for workloads and program with MSFC and KSC without relinquishing any of its traditional responsibilities.

Memorandum, Robert R. Gilruth to Dist., "Discussion on Future Missions," 7 September 1965, with enclosure, memorandum, P. E. Purser, MSC, to Robert R. Gilruth and G. M. Low, MSC, "Notes on Visits of Mr. Webb to MSC During August 1965," 2 September 1965.

 

September 10

At Headquarters, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher formally redesignated Apollo Extension System the Apollo Applications Program. (See 6-10 August 1965 entry.)

[50] Memorandum, John H. Disher to J. P. Field, Jr., and W. Taylor, NASA Hq, 10 September 1965.

 

September 13

Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller officially informed the Directors of MSC, MSFC, and KSC of changed management guidelines for Center roles in AES as informally agreed upon during discussions in Washington (see 6-10 August 1965):

Final decision on the Apollo-type versus contractor approach for payload integration was deferred pending results of phase I mission studies underway at North American and Grumman and of a payload integration definition study to be let by MSFC. These guidelines, said Mueller, should be incorporated into the Centers' planning efforts for AES implementation.

TWX, George E. Mueller to MSC, MSFC, and KSC, 13 September 1965.

 

September 14

NASA selected the Perkin-Elmer and Chrysler corporations to study feasibility of including optical-technology experiments, particularly lasers and large telescopes, in future extended Apollo flights. NASA was also interested in optical communication in deep space, the effects of space environment on optical systems, and related experiments. 'I he program would be directed by MSFC.

MSFC News Release 65-223, 14 September 1965.

 

September 21

William B. Taylor and other Apollo Applications Program planners made a major presentation on AAP plans to James Webb, Hugh L. Dryden, and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of NASA Hq. Webb made a number of comments regarding the direction of AAP planning. He emphasized that AAP planning must remain extremely flexible to meet not only changing mission objectives and goals, but also broader changes in national policy, resources, and manned space flight objectives generally. Webb disapproved of tying any AAP schedules to a date for accomplishment of the Apollo lunar landing objective, since that goal was not inviolate.

Memorandum, S. Ingram to George E. Mueller, "AES (AAP) Presentation to Mr. Webb, September 21, 1965, Afternoon Session," 24 September 1965.

 

During the month

A plan for orbital space station development responsive to the research and development needs of a broad-based space exploration program was presented [51] to the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Rakententechnik und Raumfarht, Munich, Germany. The paper was prepared by Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc., Santa Monica. The main theme of the paper centered on low-Earth-Orbit applications of space stations. It suggested that the space station system would start with limited life laboratories and evolve into extended life, continuously manned space stations.

In the development of the space station, four major subsystems would be required: life support, power, stabilization and control, and communications. Of these, the life support and power subsystems would require significant extensions to current technology.

While touching on lunar-orbital and interplanetary missions, it was indicated that in the evolution of the space station the low-Earth-orbital missions were of primary importance because they could accommodate applications development, capability-engineering development, biomedical behavioral experiments, and scientific experiments. Polar orbits would be required for cartographic, meteorologic, geologic, and natural resources surveys. Synchronous orbits would be useful primarily for communications, allowing continuous communications without the necessity of vast ground or orbital relay networks.

C. J. Dorrenbacher, The Evolution of Manned Space Stations and Their Development Problems, Douglas Aircraft Co., Paper. No. 3633, September 1965.

 

During the month

The Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California, performed a study on a manned orbital research laboratory (MORL) for Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc., Santa Monica. Major conclusions of the study included the following:

[52] Stanford Research Institute. Priority Analysis of Manned Orbital Research Applications, Vol.1, Summary Report, September 1965.

 

October 8

AAP Director William B. Taylor named Joseph G. Lundholm to fill the newly created position of Manager, Apollo Applications Experiments. In his new job, Lundholm represented Taylor in all cases involving definition, development, test, and operation of experiments for AAP missions.

Memorandum, William B. Taylor to, Dist., "Apollo Applications Experiments Manager," 8 October 1965.

 

October 11

In a paper presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' fourth manned space flight meeting in St. Louis, AAP Director William B. Taylor described the focus and importance of the AAP. In contrast to Apollo, with its clear objective of lauding on the Moon, AAP's objectives were much less obvious. Under AAP, Taylor said, NASA planned to exploit the capabilities being developed for Apollo as a technological bridge to more extensive manned space flight missions of the 1970s and 1980s. AAP was not an end in itself, but rather a beginning to build flight experience, technology, and scientific data. Internal studies within NASA had identified the practical limits of the capabilities of Saturn/Apollo systems for extended space missions without fundamental modification of spacecraft and launch vehicles: (1) Earth-orbital missions of up to 45 days and at inclinations of 0 to 90 degrees and altitudes of from 185 km up to synchronous orbits (orbital resupply could extend the duration of such missions to three months or more); (2) lunar orbital missions of up to 28 days (including lunar polar orbits) at altitudes as low as 45 to 55 km; and (3) lunar surface missions of up to 14 days at ants point on the lunar surface. Through these space activities, stated Taylor, AAP would lay the foundation for later, major ventures in space and thus would contribute significantly to the national goal of preeminence in space.

William B. Taylor, Saturn/Apollo Applications, paper presented at the AIAA meeting, St. Louis, 11 October 1965.

 

October 20

MSC and MSFC program officials and engineers held their first coordination meeting on the S-IVB Orbital Workshop and related Apollo Applications Program experiment activities. Among the most significant results of this meeting was a request by Houston for inclusion of an artificial gravity experiment as part of the S-IVB command and service module concept of the Workshop. MSFC officials undertook to define the feasibility of such an experiment, examining several possible technical approaches (including cables a concept that MSC found less shall appealing). MSFC investigators also sought help from LaRC, where considerable work along this line had been done as part of that Center's MORL study program.

Memorandum, J. W. Carter, MSFC, to Dist., "Artificial Gravity Experiment for the S-IVB Workshop," 29 October 1965.

 

October 21

[53] MSC Deputy Director George M. Low advised NASA Hq of Houston's planning schedule for follow-up procurement of Apollo spacecraft for the AAP. Based upon the most recent delivery schedules for the last several command and service modules and lunar excursion modules for Apollo, contract award for those vehicles was scheduled for July and August 1966. In accordance with a 14 July directive from Headquarters, MSC was preparing a procurement plan for the extended CSM and the LEM derivatives covering both the final definition and development and operational phases of AAP. Approval of this plan by Headquarters, Low stated, was anticipated for mid-December, while award of contracts for the program definition phase was set for late January 1966. The contract award date for actual development of the extended CSM was slated for October 1966, while that for the LEM derivatives was postponed until mid- 1967 (in line with revised funding directives from Washington).

TWX, George M Low to J H. Disher, NASA Hq, "Follow-on Procurement of Apollo Hardware,'' 21 October 1965.

 

October 28-29

Saturn Apollo Applications officials reached an understanding on several program issues during discussion at MSFC:

Memorandum, J. H. Disher, NASA Hq, to Files, "AAP Discussions at MSFC on October 28-29, 1965," 4 November 1965.

 

November 1

Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher summarized for the Director of Advanced Manned Missions those tasks of highest priority for supporting development during Fiscal Year 1966. Those tasks, Disher explained, had been examined in great detail because of stringent funding constraints for Apollo Applications during 1966 and 1967. Therefore, he had listed only those tasks mandatory for the program s ''mainstream'' requirements. They included such areas as low-thrust reaction control engines, structural and hatch seals, navigation computer modifications, and study of space rescue systems.

Letter, John H. Disher to Director, Advanced Manned Missions Program, "Apollo Application Program (AAP) Supporting Development," 1 November 1965.

 

November 16

[54] Following MSC's receipt of the technical proposal for phase C of the AAP from North American Aviation, Inc., covering final definition of the AAP CSM, William A. Lee, Assistant Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, asked several of his staff members to assist in evaluation of the proposal. Such help, he said, would be invaluable in bringing to bear on AAP the experience that the Apollo office had obtained during the effort to develop the block II lunar version of the spacecraft. The technical proposal by North American described those tasks that the company believed were required to define the CSM configuration and to formulate hardware specifications for the development and operations phase of the program. Paralleling these efforts by the contractor, MSC had established a baseline AAP CSM configuration and had laid down several configuration guidelines believed fundamental tenets of AAP objectives: no spacecraft modifications to achieve "product improvement" or to obtain it statistical "mission success."

Memorandum, William A. Lee to Chiefs, Systems Engineering and Reliability and Quality Assurance Divisions, " ASPO Assistance on review of North American Aviation AAP Phase C study proposal," 16 November 1965.

 

November 18

Following formal establishment of the Apollo Applications Program at NASA Hq (see 6 August 1965), Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller recommended to Administrator James E. Webb and Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., assignment of basic roles and responsibilities to the field centers for carrying out the program. Although such responsibilities were delineated in the traditional manner, the new program responsibility of experiment and payload integration was split between MSFC and MSC.

On 13 December, following discussions with Webb, Seamans approved Mueller's recommended assignments of experiment management and payload integration.

Memoranda, George E. Mueller to Administrator, ''Recommendations for Apollo Applications Program Field Center Responsibilities," 18 November 1965: Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Associate Administrator for Manned Spaceflight, "Apollo Applications Management," 13 December 1965.

 

November 18

John H. Disher, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director, requested the Manned Space Flight Management Operations Director to officially change the designation of the Saturn IB/Centaur Office to Saturn Applications. This change, Disher said, reflected the change in status of the office and provided for necessary management of potential Saturn Applications such as the Saturn V/Voyager by the Office of Manned Space Flight. However, on the same day, Disher ordered E. F. O'Connor at MSFC to halt all Saturn IB/Centaur efforts (except those already underway that could not be recalled) and disapproved the request for an additional $1.1 million for the program. (Any funds required for definition of a Saturn V/Voyager mission, he said, would be authorized separately.)

Memorandum, John H. Disher to Director, MSF Management Operations, "Renaming of Saturn IB/Centaur Office to Saturn Applications," 18 November 1965; TWX, John H. Disher to E.F. O'Connor, 18 November 1965.

 

November 22

[55] David M. Jones, Acting Saturn/Apollo Applications Director, solicited from the chief executives of the various companies participating in Apollo their views on proposed goals for the Apollo Applications Program. Alternative goals postulated for AAP were (1) to explore and utilize world resources for the benefit of mankind; (2) to define and develop the operational capabilities for the next generation of space vehicles beyond Apollo; (3) to broaden knowledge of near-Earth and lunar environments; (4) to enhance the security of the United States through space operations; and (5) to develop the capability for manned flights of up to one year.

Jones asked the executives to weigh the pros and cons of these alternative goals and to make a qualitative assessment of the benefits which might accrue to the American taxpayer. NASA would include these assessments in congressional hearings early in 1966.

On 16 December, MSFC Director Wernher von Braun (though not specifically called upon to do so) responded to Jones' request for ideas. Of all the alternative goals for AAP, von Braun said, that of exploring world resources for man's benefit was by far the most important. For its manned space program, he said, NASA cannot forever depend upon the thrill of adventure nor upon "sophisticated truths" such as the value of spinoff results or the blessings of more scientific knowledge. To place the idea of space flight firmly in the minds of the taxpaying public, therefore, NASA must produce solid results and material benefits that are readily visible and comprehensible. And AAP goal number one neatly combined both broad popular appeal and true humanitarian needs. In view of the world's population explosion, with all its attendant resulting effects, von Braun stated, America's failure to avail itself of the vitally needed tools for a global resources management system would be a tragic mistake. Viewed in this perspective, the other alternative goals proposed for AAP thus became elements and stepping stones within this broader long-range objective.

Memorandum, David M. Jones, NASA Hq, to Apollo Executives, "Apollo Applications Goals," 22 November 1965, letter, Wernher von Braun to David M. Jones, 16 December 1965.

 

November 29

Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller requested of MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that his Center identify additional Apollo subsystems testing and the best method of conducting such tests on the basic subsystems of the spacecraft beyond the 14-day requirements of the Apollo lunar mission. Mueller explained that planning for the Apollo Applications Program projected that extended missions could be performed using basic Apollo hardware and that significant advantages might be realized by testing subsystems to determine their duration limits, thereby avoiding the burden of additional test units and test facilities.

Letter, George E. Mueller to Robert R. Gilruth, "Basic Apollo/Apollo Applications Spacecraft Subsystem Tests," 29 November 1965.

 

November 29

[56] In response to a telegram from Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight James C. Elms regarding procurement plans for the AAP, MSC Deputy Director George M. Low described a plan being seriously considered by Houston that would permit competitive procurement of follow-on Apollo hardware. The plan called for awarding the phase C contract to North American to define AAP changes to the CSM and letting what Low termed "phase-in" contracts leading to proposals on how the spacecraft could be manufactured by other companies. Upon completion of both the phase C work at North American and the phase-in contracts with other firms, MSC would enter into competitive negotiations with all parties to determine which firm should build the AAP version of the CSM. (According to Low, it was premature to undertake a phase C definition effort with Grumman at this time, but he suggested that a competitive effort similar to that proposed for the CSM could be implemented somewhat later.)

Letter, George M. Low to James C. Elms, 29 November 1965.

 

During the month

The Boeing Company submitted a utilization study report to MSC for the proposed multipurpose mission module. The report was one of 13 volumes prepared by Boeing's Aerospace Group Space Division under an MSC contract.

Guidelines observed in the study were: (1) minimum interference with the Apollo program; (2) use of either Saturn IB or V launch vehicles; (3) laboratory to be sized so that the one module, two modules, or one module on a LEM descent stage could fit into an unmodified LEM adapter; (4) use of a three-man crew; (5) capability to dock to either end of the module and to rendezvous modules; and (6) mission lengths of 14 to 45 days, with growth capacity for longer durations.

The study was made on the presumption of a laboratory module launched in the LEM adapter area which would be aligned with an access hatch in the module. An expandable airlock could also be incorporated when desired. The external envelope would be 465 cm, which would permit three modules to be placed in the S II stage that was 10 m in diameter; the floor to ceiling height would be 213 cm; the total pressurized volume of the module would be 39 cu m; and total floor area 16 sq m.

The module would be designed for an internal pressure of 48 kilonewtons per sq m (7 psia) for a 180-day mission. It would weigh 1313 kg, and its support rack would weigh 413 kg. For lower gross weights expected with Saturn IB launches, the support rack weight could be reduced to 261 kg. The multipurpose mission module, as proposed, would allow much flexibility in missions, including formation of large space stations, and would permit use of an assortment of internal and external equipment without affecting the integrity of the shell and requiring only minor structural additions or changes.

A feature of the Boeing report was the section devoted to volume. It said that . after reserving the requirements for module subsystems, experiment report, [57] and 5.6 cu m (200 cu ft) for each astronaut, about 16.9 cu m (600 cu ft) of pressurized and 62.2 cu m (2200 cu ft) of unpressurized volume would be available for experiment equipment...." The report then listed some of the advantages of providing adequate pressurized volume:

The Boeing Co., Report D2-84010-1, Multipurpose Mission Module-Utilization Study, November 1965.

 

December 1

George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun discussed Marshall's briefing on the S-IVB Workshop concept presented at Headquarters the previous day. Mueller asked that MSFC formulate a program development plan and present it at the next meeting of the Manned Space Flight Management Council. Specifically, Mueller demanded that the plan include experiments to be carried aboard the Workshop; funding arrangements; and where development work should be done (in house, or elsewhere). In addition, he asked that MSFC submit two such plans, one for the unpressurized and another for the pressurized version of the Workshop. In effect, Mueller gave Marshall the "green light" to begin the Orbital Workshop program.

At von Braun's request, the Workshop received the status of a separate project, with William Ferguson as Project Manager.

Memorandum, J. T. Shepherd, MSFC to Dist., "S-IVB Workshop," 1 December 1965.

 

December 2

Harold E. Gartrell, Chairman of MSC's AAP mission planning task force, distributed within the Center extracts from a contractor study report that had been [58] prepared in anticipation of the request for proposals to be issued by MSFC for an AAP payload integration contract. Gartrell voiced concern over what he called a "fundamental question' of MSC's responsibility for mission definition, the requirements for spacecraft systems, mission simulations, and technical direction of flight operations (a result, he said, of the payload responsibility at MSFC's not being limited to development, test, and checkout of the AAP lunar excursion module vehicle). Gartrell stated that MSC was initiating an effort during this phase C of the AAP to define mission-spacecraft-operations requirements, thus establishing a foundation for Houston input into the payload integration function at MSFC.

Memorandum, Harold E. Gartrell to Dist., "MSC Mission Definition Programs for the Apollo Applications Program," 2 December 1965.

 

Mid-December

MSC designers and long-range planners put forth conceptual ideas on the next logical steps to be taken in man s exploration of space. Recognizing the enormous potential benefits to be derived from Earth resources and sensing systems-not only for the United States, but for the entire world-those planners suggested semipermanent manned stations in Earth orbit. The question of how this might be accomplished, they suggested, could be met through suitably modified AAP hardware and systems. Such a space station could be used as an observation platform, with incalculable benefits to be derived; as a scientific laboratory in space; and as an engineering laboratory for the development of systems for planetary explorations through inclusion of commodious living quarters and workshops. Just as significant for the future, the large size of the station and crew complement would afford unprecedented opportunities for international cooperation in space by inclusion of foreign scientists in the crew.

MSC, "Some Considerations of the Future of Manned Space Flight," 14 December 1965.

 

December 23

At the December Manned Space Flight Management Council meeting, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller voiced a desire to have McDonnell examine the feasibility of using Gemini subsystems on an airlock experiment in conjunction with the Apollo Applications Program S-IVB Workshop concept. Accordingly, F. L. Williams of the Advanced Systems Office at MSFC solicited the assistance of MSC s Gemini Program Manager, Charles W. Mathews (since his office had procurement responsibility for Gemini), in getting McDonnell to conduct such an analysis. Williams stated that several designs needed investigation and that, of all Gemini hardware, the environmental control system and perhaps the fuel cells would be incorporated into the airlock design. In order to discuss technical details, he asked whether Mathews might arrange a briefing at Huntsville as soon as possible, since deadlines for presenting final experiment plans to Headquarters were most pressing.

Memorandum, F, L. Williams to Charles W, Mathews, "December 1965 OMSF Management Council Executive Session," 23 December 1965.

 

December 29

[59] In the initial activity report outlining MSC's support to the Air Force on the MOL, Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews summarized activity to date. He cited receipt on 20 November 1965 of authority to transfer surplus Gemini equipment to the MOL project. Since that time, he said, MSC had delivered to the Air Force several boilerplate test vehicles and a variety of support and handling equipment. MOL program officials and astronauts had also visited Houston for technical discussions and briefings.

Memorandum, Mathews, MSC, to Director, "Weekly Activity Report Number I on NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Support to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program (December 13-17, 1965)," 29 December 1965.

 

December 29

Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller advised John H. Disher, Deputy Director of Saturn/Apollo Applications, that, in preparing NASA's AAP budget statement for Fiscal Year 1967 for presentation to Congress, he wanted to lessen emphasis upon AAP s value in working out operational capabilities required for the next major step in manned space flight. The congressional statement, Mueller said, should emphasize the importance of continuity in manned space flight and should explain the lead times involved in such efforts. Mueller asked Disher to prepare an analysis of total costs versus year of completion for the operationally oriented program for inclusion in the budget statement.

Memorandum, John H. Disher to J. P. Field, Jr., "Saturn/Apollo Applications Program FY 67 Budget Statement," 29 December 1965.

 

During the month

The Advanced Missions Division, Manned Space Science Program, in the Office of Space Sciences and Applications, released details of experiment proposals submitted by teams of potential experimenters for the immediate post-Apollo Earth-orbital phase of manned space exploration, as part of the AES program. As well as detailed descriptions of the various scientific experiments themselves, the report examined the justification for AES in relation to other space programs, mission objectives, operational constraints, and long-range plans and goals.

Advanced Missions Division, "Preliminary Mission Definition for Post-Apollo Manned Exploration of Space, Manned Earth Orbital Missions," Part II, Revised Submissions from Potential Experimenters, December 1965.

 

- 1966 -

 

January 1

Homer E. Newell, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, announced opportunities for study grants to competent astronomers for conceptual and preliminary design work leading to instrumentation to be flown in the 1969-1975 period. A description of the Apollo telescope mount was included.

Letter, Homer E. Newell to Dist., 1 January 1966.

 

January 1-6

KSC announced appointment of John P. Claybourne as Chief of the newly created Future Studies Office within the KSC Engineering and Development [60] Directorate. Claybourne's office was assigned responsibility for overall planning and coordination of the Center's studies in this area, which would parallel continuing development of Apollo-Saturn and Apollo Applications programs at MSFC and MSC. John G. Shinkle succeeded Claybourne as Deputy Director for Plans, Programs, and Resources.

Spaceport News, Vol. 5, 6 January 1966, pp. 2-3.

 

January 6

In a letter to the Associate Administrators for Manned Space Flight, Space Science and Applications, and Advanced Research and Technology, NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., queried them on several alternate approaches for experiment payload planning for AAP. His inquiry was prompted by discussions with several individuals from RCA, who suggested a novel approach for NASA to interest the scientific community in NASA's programs through direct participation in the development of scientific equipment. A central problem was the difficulty inherent in incorporating science payloads into such a complex program as AAP, especially in meeting well defined schedules. Because most teams of university-based scientists were not sufficiently experienced in fabrication and testing to assume this "cradle-to-grave" responsibility for experiment development, the RCA spokesmen put forward the concept of mission-optimized space laboratories wherein actual payload integration planning would occur very early in the hardware planning stage, before any actual development was undertaken. In this manner, logical broad-purpose groupings of laboratory equipment would appear. Such an approach, they contended, would afford significant payload weight and volume reductions and cost benefits. Also, standardization of equipment and sensors would simplify greatly the integration task per se.

Mueller replied to Seamans on 12 April. He compared RCA's suggested approach-broad-purpose laboratories that could be adapted to individual missions by addition of special sensors to NASA's present method of experiment planning and development; i.e., Principal Investigators who were individually responsible for all aspects of experiment development, including sensors. The present NASA approach, Mueller contended, generated a technical continuity by competent scientists and engineers, thus paying off in "good" science returns from flight missions. He admitted, however, that the Principal Investigators approach demanded the commitment of scientists to their projects over quite lengthy periods of time. The approach therefore tended to limit the number of experiment proposals received (a trend already encountered in the medical and behavioral fields, Mueller noted). In fact, most experiment proposals in these areas came from "inhouse" sources, while only a few were received from the scientific community. Further, the Principal Investigators approach tended toward duplication of inflight operations and equipment. Mueller admitted that the RCA full-laboratory concept had some merit, especially in producing the maximum number of experiments per mission and in fostering early experiment program planning. However, it tended to remove scientists and engineers from the mainstream of experiment development, which could result in loss of continuity over long developmental periods.

[61] Mueller put forth a third approach that lay between NASA's present program and the RCA proposal. It was similar to the RCA scheme except that NASA could accept experiments on an individual basis as presently done. The Principal Investigator, while fully responsible for experiment procedure and for data analysis and publication, would also serve as consultant to NASA during development of experiment equipment and crew training. But the NASA experiment payload integration center would oversee the effort to integrate experiments into the configured inflight laboratory. Mueller observed that NASA was in fact moving toward this middle road in the manned space flight program. The medical and behavioral experiments were already being planned for configuration into space laboratories, he noted. Nor were the three approaches mutually exclusive. Through "judicious" integration of experiments and mission objectives, Mueller prophesied that NASA could evolve from its current approach to the full-laboratory concept in harmony with the agency's space flight capabilities.

Memoranda, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Associate Administrators, "Alternative Approach to Experiment Payload Planning on Apollo Applications Program," 6 January 1966, With attachment, [RCA] "An Alternative Approach to Experiment Payload Planning on Apollo Applications Program"; George E Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "Alternative Approaches to Experiment Payload Planning on Apollo Applications Program," 12 April 1966.

 

January 14

MSFC issued requests for proposals to the aerospace industry for definition studies of integrating experiment hardware into AAP space vehicles-i.e., payload integration in the Apollo lunar module, the Saturn instrument unit, and the S-IVB stage of the Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles. Following evaluation of the proposals, MSFC would select two or more firms for negotiation of nine-month study contracts to be managed by Huntsville as the Center responsible for payload integration of this portion of AAP. (MSC was responsible for payload integration of the Apollo CSM.)

NASA News Release 66-14, "Definition Studies Sought for Apollo Applications Missions," 14 January 1966.

 

January 14

In a note to Apollo Director Samuel C. Phillips, Staff Assistant Leonard Reiffel pointed to a number of weaknesses in the organizational structure of the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board and suggested several ways in which the Board might be made less cumbersome and more effective. Reiffel suggested beefing up the board's influence in decisionmaking on experiments; improving the quality of briefings and technical support to the board; and improving communications and coordination between the board and the NASA program offices, as well as the Department of Defense. (See entry 21 March 1966.)

Memorandum, Leonard Reiffel to Samuel C. Phillips, "Comments on Functions and Operation of the MSFEB," 14 January 1966.

 

January 16

The Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences issued a report outlining research objectives in lunar and planetary exploration for the 1970s and [62] early 1980s. (The report, first of a series entitled Space Research: Directions for the Future, had been prepared by a group of scientists and engineers led by Gordon J. F. MacDonald of the University of California, Los Angeles.) The report affirmed earlier recommendations by the Space Science Board to NASA that unmanned exploration of Mars should have first priority in the post- Apollo space era. Secondary importance was assigned to detailed investigation of the lunar surface and to unmanned Venus probes. Clearly, the report reflected a predominant mood within the scientific community that scientific research in space take predominance over manned programs whose chief objectives, said the report, were "other than scientific."

National Academy of Sciences news release, "Space Scientists Recommend Post-Apollo Research Goals," 16 January 1966.

 

January 27

For planning information and as a challenge to the space agency, Senator Clinton P Anderson, Chairman of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, outlined his views and those of other members of the Committee regarding NASA's space goals in the post-Apollo period. In a letter to Administrator James E. Webb, Anderson conceded the significant national import of space exploration and research, particularly as it strengthened the nation's scientific and technical competence and contributed to America's position of world leadership. Although new space projects inevitably hinged on the results of existing programs, he told Webb, NASA must be prepared to move on to other programs without interruption once the Apollo program was completed. While the exploitation of Apollo hardware in AAP had real validity, "NASA should not continue such exploitation so long into the future that it prevents the development of new systems."

Letter, Clinton P. Anderson to James E. Webb, 27 January 1966.

 

January 28

Jesse L. Mitchell, Acting Director of Physics and Astronomy Programs, solicited proposals from MSFC, MSC, LaRC, and Goddard Space Flight Center regarding the creation at their Centers of a project office for the Apollo telescope mount. (Mitchell's action followed visits by several staff members from his office to each of the candidate locations during which stress was placed on a "sound and efficient, yet, imaginative project management team . . . in view of the short development time available to meet the expected launch opportunities.") Mitchell called for statements that included technical and management plans, procurement arrangements, schedules, and resource requirements.

TWX, Jesse L. Mitchell to MSFC, LaRC, Goddard Space Flight Center, and MSC, 27 January 1966.

 

January 28

In a letter to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, summarized his views of specific AAP objectives within the broader context of future manned space flight and national space goals. AAP, Mueller stated, would provide a foundation for the next...

 


[
63]

design drawing of a spacecraft and space station in linked together in orbit

This concept, indicating extravehicular activity accommodations for either the Gemini spacecraft or Apollo command and service modules, was submitted to NASA in January 1966 by Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc. It was part of a report on the orbital S-IVB spent-stage experiment support module feasibility study.

 

 

....major American space effort. Specifically, AAP would provide the experience of extended lunar explorations and long-duration manned operations in Earth orbit through resupply and in-orbit assembly. These objectives he saw as "logical extensions of the planned Gemini and Apollo accomplishments" that would contribute significantly to the broader goals of United States preeminence in space and of using space for the benefit of mankind. Mueller foresaw that AAP could be shaped to achieve a number of benefits and applications:

And, finally, Mueller prophesied that AAP could support the international posture of the United States through advances in science and technology and would strengthen America's national security.

Letter, George E. Mueller to Robert R. Gilruth, 28 January 1966.

 

During the month

Douglas Aircraft Company submitted a summary report to LaRC covering the activities of three phases of the MORL study. General objectives of the MORL [64] study were to (1) establish the feasibility of a manned research laboratory; (2) determine the required level of technical, logistic, and economic support; and (3) define a realistic space station program responsive to the needs of NASA and other government agencies in particular and the scientific community in general.

The three phases of the study were

The feasibility of launching, operating, and maintaining a manned research laboratory was demonstrated in the Phase I study, and NASA selected one of the concepts investigated for further study.

During the Phase IIa effort, the MORL concept was optimized to satisfy the requirements of a single, low-altitude, low-inclination orbital mission. This part of the study resulted in definition of an MORL concept that became the "baseline" system for the Phase IIb study. The major system elements of the baseline included: (1) a 660-cm-diameter laboratory launched by the Saturn IB into a 370-km orbit inclined at 28.72 degrees to the equator; (2) a Saturn IB- launched Apollo logistics vehicle, consisting of a modified Apollo command module, a service pack for rendezvous and reentry propulsion, and a multimission module for cargo, experiments, laboratory facility modification, or a spacecraft excursion propulsion system; and (3) supporting ground systems.

The prime objective of the MORL Phase IIb study was to examine the utilization of the MORL system concept for accomplishing an expanded spectrum of space-related objectives typifying research programs of the 1970s. During this phase, Douglas was associated with several subcontractors whose areas of effort were as follows: Eclipse-Pioneer Division of Bendix, stabilization and control; Federal Systems Division of IBM, communications, data management, and ground support systems; Hamilton Standard Division of the United Aircraft Corporation, environmental control/life support; Stanford Research Institute, priority analysis of space- related objectives; Bissett-Berman, oceanography; Marine Advisors, oceanography; Aero Services, cartography and photogrammetry; Marquardt, propulsion; and TRW, propulsion.

A thorough review of the MORL system was conducted to identify potentially critical research and technology requirements. These requirements were contained in the NASA-defined research and technology categories:

The activities were further divided into the following technological categories. (1) Astronautics dealt with the problems of space flight, including aerothermodynamics, flight mechanics, vehicle dynamics, and navigation, as well as design criteria of a general nature. (2) Biotechnology considered the relationship of man to the vehicle, the environment, and the mission, including the environmental control and life support subsystem, crew environment criteria, crew systems, and crew training. (3) Flight Technology included communications, telemetry, and data processing subsystems. (4) Control Systems consisted of the technologies associated with direction and orientation of the laboratory such as guidance, stabilization and control, and reaction control. (5) Structures dealt with items pertaining to the mechanical design of the spacecraft, including materials technology, mechanical systems, and manufacturing and assembly techniques. (6) Power included the production, conditioning, and distribution of electrical power.

The summary listed a number of tasks that had been identified within the aforementioned 10 categories, including some considered as applicable for the Apollo Applications Program. (For a list of these tasks, see Appendix 7.) Analysis of development problems in the program suggested that the critical functional subsystems were stabilization and control, environmental control and life support, and electric power.

Douglas Aircraft Co., Summary Report SM 48822, Report on the Development of The Manned Orbital Research Laboratory (MORL) System Utilization Potential, January 1966.

 

February 11

MSFC submitted its response to the call from Headquarters for project management proposals for the Apollo telescope mount (ATM). The plan summarized Marshall's developmental work on ATM-type systems so far and contained specific technical and managerial concepts for implementing the ATM project. Of all its inherent strengths and capabilities, the Center emphasized the talents concentrated in the Research Projects Laboratory under Ernst Stuhlinger, the scientific arm of the Center.

MSFC, "Apollo Telescope Mount Project Proposal," 11 February 1966.

 

February 17

Edgar M. Cortright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, testifying before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics' Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications, stressed selectivity in planning [66] the space science program: "We have been looking at Apollo applications for some time to identify those areas of scientific activity where the man can be a real asset to the experiment, and the areas that interest us most are astronomy; natural resources, which is looking down at the earth with various detectors; biology which is concerned with long-duration weightless flight, from both a fundamental biological point of view and in preparation for longer flights; and of course continued lunar exploration."

U.S. Congress, House, Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, 1967 NASA Authorization: Hearings on H.R. 12718 (Superseded by H.R. 14324), 89th Cong., 2d sess., 1966, pp. 57-59.

 

February 18

Testifying before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics Subcommittee on Manned Space Flight, Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., described three basic elements in NASA's AAP effort:

"We cannot today look toward a permanent manned space station, or a lunar base, or projects for manned planetary exploration," Seamans stated, "until our operational, scientific and technological experience with major manned systems already in hand has further matured."

Ibid., pp. 5-6.

 

February 25

Maurice J. Raffensperger, Director of Manned Earth Orbital Mission Studies at NASA Hq, summarized the outcome of discussions and agreements between Washington and the Centers regarding the S-IVB Workshop project:

Raffensperger called for compilation of a Workshop planning document (something like a short version of a preliminary project development plan) so that NASA Hq could proceed with steps for authorization and definitive implementation of the project.

[67] TWX, Raffensperger to MSFC and MSC, "Saturn S-IVB Workshop Experiment," 25 February 1966.

 

March 1

In an informal note on AAP planning to James C. Elms, Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher suggested a number of operational objectives that he believed should be essential elements within the program: manned operations in synchronous and high-inclination Earth orbit; manned orbital assembly and resupply; crew transfer in orbit; extended Earth-orbit mission duration capability; extended lunar exploration; and conduct of a broad range of operational, scientific, and technological experiments in space.

Memorandum, John H. Disher to James C. Elms, 1 March 1966.

 

March 3

Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller acknowledged receipt from Joseph F. Shea, the Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager at MSC, of a detailed technical description of MSC's plans and development progress toward developing a landing rocket system for Apollo. (MSC had undertaken this effort some months earlier at Mueller's specific request.) Mueller advised Shea that he had asked AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher to work closely with Shea's people to devise a land landing system for AAP built on Houston's effort for Apollo.

Letters, George E. Mueller to Joseph F. Shea, 3 March 1966; Joseph F. Shea to George E. Mueller, [late January or early February 1966].

 

March 9

A team of engineers from Douglas Aircraft Company, headed by Jack Bromberg, presented a technical briefing and cost proposal to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller on the company's design on the airlock for the AAP. Mueller observed that Douglas' idea for a 30-day capability seemed technically sound. He expressed strong interest in the AAP spent-stage experiment because it would establish a solid basis for space station requirements and definition. However, he cautioned that he had not received definite approval from either the Administrator, James E. Webb, or his deputy, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on the spent-stage concept and admitted that he had "some selling to do."

Memorandum for record, H. E. Pitcher, Douglas, "Airlock Presentation to Geo. Mueller," 11 March 1966.

 

March 11

MSC planners drew up and submitted to NASA Hq the Center's procurement plan for an S-IVB Workshop experiment support module. The components of such an experiment comprised an Apollo CSM, an S-IVB stage, and a support module interconnect, which MSC proposed to award to McDonnell for development. MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth urged speedy action on the proposal and by the contractor because of the necessity for early definition of hardware interfaces, as well as impending phaseout of the Gemini and subcontractor efforts.

[68] Letter. Robert R`. Gilruth. to S. A. Cariski, "Procurement Plan, S IVB Workshop Experiment Support Module," 11 March 1966.

 

March 11

At Headquarters, the directors of the program offices presented to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and members of the Administrator's top staff a joint briefing and summary of NASA's total agency-wide AAP effort. In reviewing their presentation, Seamans emphasized three cardinal tenets regarding AAP planning:

(1) The Apollo lunar landing remained the top priority and must not be compromised by any AAP activity.

(2) All changes to any Apollo hardware for AAP missions had to be approved personally by either the Administrator or Seamans. Consequently, all mission planning had to be precise and definite and would be referred to Webb or Seamans for action or approval. All procurement actions would be handled in the same fashion.

(3) The directors were to devise "a clear and defensible rationale" for MP missions.

Seamans reported to Administrator James E. Webb the basic findings of the 11 March review:

Memorandum, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Dist., "Apollo Applications Program," 30 March 1966.

 

March 12

MSC submitted to NASA Hq for approval the procurement plan for a multimission fuel cell assembly for the Apollo spacecraft. Such an advanced electrical power plant was necessary, explained Center Director Robert R. Gilruth, in order to support long-duration missions. The Center proposed to negotiate with three known fuel cell contractors, General Electric Company, Pratt and Whitney Division of United Aircraft Corporation, and Allis- Chalmers Manufacturing [69] Company, for the effort. Four days later, Gilruth wrote Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller setting forth in detail MSC's plans for fuel cell development and production, including the recent decision to furnish the fuel cells to AAP contractors as government furnished equipment.

Letters, Robert R. Gilruth to S. A. Cariski, NASA Hq, "Procurement Plan, NASA Multimission Fuel Cell Assembly (FCA),' 12 March 1966; Robert R. Gilruth to George E. Mueller, 16 March 1966.

 

March 14

Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher requested that his staff study payload capabilities of the Saturn IB to place AAP spacecraft and modules into low-altitude orbits of various inclinations. This part of the AAP definition effort, Disher said, would be used for evaluating the operational tradeoffs in the general goal of achieving a high-inclination orbit operational capability in AAP.

Letter, John H. Disher to G. M. Anderson, NASA Hq, "High-Inclination Orbit Performance Studies for SAA," 14 March 1966.

 

March 17

Homer E. Newell, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, asked for approval of the ATM project from Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The ATM, Newell explained, was based on an engineering and definition study effort completed 1 April by Ball Brothers Research Corporation, as well as evaluation of the concept by four NASA Field Centers-LaRC, Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), MSFC, and MSC.

The Ball Brothers Research Corporation study had been let in September 1965, said Newell, to determine means of providing an accurate pointing capability for high-resolution solar- oriented telescopes aboard an Apollo spacecraft. Further impetus to ATM had come from the agency's cancellation of the Advanced Orbiting Solar Observatory at the end of 1965. The ATM, he said, provided the means to obtain high-resolution data about the Sun during periods of maximum solar activity and served as a basis for evaluating ability to operate as an essential element within a complete manned space science system.

The need for quick project approval and hardware development had been recognized by all participating parties, Newell explained, and Goddard Space Flight Center, MSFC, and MSC had all expressed "deep interest and desire" to manage the project. However, after review within his office, he had decided to select Goddard as the most suitable location for development of the ATM. Accordingly, he asked Seamans to approve the project development plan.

Letter, Homer E. Newell to Deputy Administrator, "Establishment of the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) Project," 17 March 1966, with enclosure, "ATM Project Approval Document" [n.d.].

 

March 18

Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews urged upon Edward Z. Gray, Director of Advanced Manned Missions, the necessity of proceeding immediately [70] with certain phases of the S IVB spent-stage experiment effort, particularly the McDonnell procurement for the spent-stage experiment support module and the North American study of modifications to the CSM. The situation at McDonnell was especially acute, said Mathews, because of impending phaseout of the Gemini program; also, certain information on the CSM was needed to define the efforts of both contractors on interfacing and spacecraft modifications. In view of these factors, Mathews asked Gray for approval to proceed with the definition and study efforts.

Memorandum, Charles W. Mathews to Edward Z. Gray, "Need for decision to proceed on S-IVB Spent-Stage Experiment,' 18 March 1966.

 

 


cutaway drawings of the Apollo Workshop and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory

The figures above present two comparisons of the total amount of space available for crewmen to work in the Apollo/SLA Workshop (to the left in each illustration) and the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory. The MOL space could be expanded downward, using more of the empty propellant tank space in the launch vehicle.

 

March 21

A report by the Military Operations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Operations recommended combining NASA's Apollo Applications Program with the Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory. "Inasmuch as both programs are still research and development projects without definitive operational missions," stated the Committee's report, "there is reason to expect that with earnest efforts both agencies could get together on a joint program incorporating both unique and similar experiments of each agency."

U.S. Congress, House, Missile and Space Ground Support Operations: Twenty-third Report by the Committee on Government Operations, 89th Cong., 2d sess., 21 March 1966, H. Rept. 1340, p. 46.

 

March 21

[71] By an agreement NASA and DOD created the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board as a means of coordinating experiment programs on NASA and DOD space flights. The MSFEB, headed by the NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, had responsibility for recommending approval or disapproval of candidate experiments; assigning experiments to specific flight programs; recommending relative priorities to experiments to be implemented; and reviewing the status of approved experiments.

NASA Management Instruction NMI 11 54.4A, "Manned Space Flight Experiments Board," 21 March 1966.

 

March 23

NASA released the first AAP schedule. It envisioned 26 Saturn IB and 19 Saturn V AAP launches. Among these would be three "S-IVB/Spent-Stage Experiment Support Modules" (i.e., "wet" Workshops), three Saturn V-boosted orbital laboratories, and four Apollo telescope mounts. The initial AAP launch was slated for April 1968. The schedule was predicated upon non-interference with the basic Apollo lunar landing program, minimum modifications to basic Apollo hardware, and compatibility with existing Apollo launch vehicles.

Apollo Applications Program Schedule ML 4, NASA Hq, 23 March 1966.

 

March 24

MSFC Director Wernher von Braun appointed Leland F. Belew as Manager of the MSFC Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Office and Stanley M. Reinartz as Deputy Manager. Establishment of the Saturn/AAP Office at MSFC was officially approved by the NASA Administrator on 27 June.

Letter, G. E. Mueller, NASA Hq, to Wernher von Braun, 1 July 1966.

 

March 25

In a lengthy letter to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth expressed misgivings concerning certain aspects of AAP planning. Gilruth questioned whether the existing AAP represented the best approach to the future of manned space flight. Regarding AAP per se, he noted the desirability of continued use of Apollo hardware and facilities. Gilruth's areas of concern were the lack of a definite goal for the future of manned space flight; programming around a launch rate exceeding that for Apollo; and the use of Apollo hardware for purposes significantly different from the originally intended use, thus forcing unsound engineering changes. Also, the MSC Director expressed his concern over the many changes in AAP plans (caused largely by the steadily contracting AAP budget), which, he said, "have caused diversion of management attention and effort . . . from the mainline programs." Gilruth then mapped out what he believed presented a more realistic AAP structure and direction, emphasizing foremost the use of Apollo hardware with only minimal modifications (especially for the two Apollo spacecraft), and called for early definition of the next manned space flight program. Finally, he pointed again to what he believed was a mismatch between present AAP planning, the various opportunities for manned space flight, and resources available for the program.

[72] As presently structured, Gilruth stated, AAP would merely maintain the rate of production and flights of Apollo. Merely doing this," he concluded, "without planning for a new major program, and without significant research and development as part of AAP, will not maintain the momentum we have achieved in the manned spaceflight program." (See 15 April 1966.)

Letter, Robert R. Gilruth to George E. Mueller, 25 March 1966.

 

April 5

Acting upon authority granted by Headquarters and approval of MSC's statement of work, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC Gemini Program Deputy Manager, informed officials in Washington and Huntsville that Houston had presented requests for proposals to Douglas, Grumman, and McDonnell to undertake definition studies on the Saturn S IVB spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM). Study contracts were issued 18 April. The contractors were ordered to submit definitive statements of work within 60 days proposing a fixed price for one module (with an option for three additional modules). Under these initial study contracts, spacecraft hardware already flight-qualified would be used wherever practicable.

Letter, R. R. Gilruth, MSC, to G. E. Mueller, NASA Hq, "Saturn IVB spent stage experiment support module," 1 April 1966.

 

April 9

In response to a request from Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher asked Jerry McCall, MSFC' Deputy Director for Research and Development Operations, to prepare cost and schedule estimates for 'MSFC to integrate the ATM with the LEM. This request stemmed from a desire by the Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) to acquire ATM experiment data during upcoming periods of maximum solar activity. Disher listed guidelines for the MSFC estimates:

In addition, Disher told McCall that MSFC should examine two approaches to ATM LEM integration: (1) gimbal mounted and (2) hard mounted with provisions for momentum transfer for fine pointing control.

Letter, John H. Disher to Jerry McCall, 9 April 1966.

 

April 13

[73] MSC awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company to develop and test several fuel cell systems for possible use on AAP spacecraft. Allis- Chalmers completed the project at the end of September 1966, but MSC issued a request for proposal for continuing the research effort to adapt the fuel cell to changing AAP requirements.

Memorandum, D. W. Lang, MSC, to W. L. Hjornevik, MSC, 6 December 1966.

 

April 14

At a news conference in Colorado, NASA Administrator James E. Webb stated that the AAP would be hampered by a lack of payloads unless Congress granted additional funds in the Fiscal Year 1968 budget. Efforts to obtain appropriations for post-Apollo projects were hindered by rising costs of the Vietnamese conflict and congressional discontent with NASA's increasing administrative costs. Asked about the House Government Operations Committee's suggestion that NASA abandon AAP and participate in the Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory program, Webb denied that ''complete common use" of facilities was possible. He noted that many countries in which the United States had tracking facilities would not cooperate if those installations were used for military projects.

Denver Post, 15 April 1966.

 

April 15

MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth summarized Houston's position expressed during discussions with Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller two days earlier. Gilruth cited NASA s need for a manned space flight goal other than "using Apollo hardware" (and suggested a Mars flyby or landing mission as an in-house focus for planning.) Also, he repeated his concern over the imbalance between AAP goals and resources, as well as the extent of engineering redesign and hardware modification that had been forced upon the project. Though expressing his and MSC's desire to contribute to and be a part of AAP, Gilruth voiced concern that "the future of manned space flight . . . is in jeopardy because we do not have firm goals, and because the present approach appears to us to be technically unsound."

Letter, Robert R. Gilruth o George E. Mueller, 15 April 1966.

 

April 15

Associate Administrator for Manned Space Fight George E. Mueller informed Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of the Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Office's evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space. The proposal was feasible, Mueller advised, but did not seem a desirable mission for inclusion in the AAP. Lockheed's proposal estimated a 1800-kg payload to Mars, a performance capability not sufficient to justify the proposal solely on a mission basis. (In contrast, the Saturn IB Centaur offered a 4500-kg capability.) The other aspect of Lockheed's proposal concerned the development of techniques for launching vehicles from orbit. In this area, the chief contributions anticipated from AAP were assembly of large vehicles in orbit, fuel transfer, and preparation [74] for orbital launch. Final checkout, which Lockheed proposed should be done by the astronauts, Mueller said could be accomplished more effectively by ground engineering groups through telemetry displays. Therefore, he recommended to Seamans that the proposal not be considered for inclusion in Saturn/AAP.

Letter, George E. Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "Lockheed Proposal to Launch Space Probes Using Agenas Flown from AAP Vehicles," 15 April 1966.

 

April 21

MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth designated Deputy Director George M. Low as the principal focus and point of contact for all matters pertaining to AAP. This action, Gilruth told George E. Mueller, NASA Hq, was only a short-range measure. He stated that he planned to create an AAP office as soon as practical, but that such action would take a number of weeks because it would involve a number of people throughout the Houston organization.

Letter, Robert R. Gilruth to George E. Mueller, 21 April 1966.

 

April 22

NASA Deputy Director Robert C. Seamans, Jr., told Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell that he had no choice but to delay initiation of development competition on the ATM until the AAP funding picture for the next two fiscal years became clearer. Because he had been unable to identify any source for the funds that would be required for the project during Fiscal Year 1967, Seamans said, "I am extremely reluctant to start a competition in industry at a time when we cannot see our way clear to proceeding in a timely fashion."

On the other hand, he said he recognized Newell's deep interest in the ATM project and its scientific value and he was ready to proceed with advanced study work. Accordingly, he said he had signed the sole source award to Ball Brothers Research Corporation to study adapting the ATM for automatic observations in orbit beyond the basic 14-day manned mission and to study adapting the ATM to the Apollo lunar module (LM) for extended manned operations. Seamans expressed his own conviction that, to meet the objectives of the AAP mission at the earliest possible time, it would be best to mount the ATM directly on the Apollo command and service modules. If the present fiscal problem precluded such an arrangement, he told Newell, the agency would then be in a better position at a later date to decide whether the ATM should be included as part of the LM or whether some alternate approach should be used.

Memorandum, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Homer E. Newell, "ATM," 22 April 1966.

 

April 22

MSC Deputy Director George M. Low proposed that Gemini Program Deputy Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht head the Source Evaluation Board, comprising members from Headquarters, MSFC, and MSC, for the Saturn S-IVB spentstage experiment support module. Pending formal approval, Low said, MSC planned to go ahead with sundry preevaluation activities so as not to impede formal contractual efforts.

[75] TWX, George M. Low to E. Z. Gray, NASA Hq, 22 April 1966.

 

May 6

MSC Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton and several astronauts (notably Joseph P. Kerwin) voiced concern regarding the purposes and proposed work; statement for the S-IVB spent-stage experiment support module. As well as pointing out the general lack of experiment planning and hardware, Slayton and Kerwin noted a member of operational and safety concerns surrounding purging the stage's hydrogen tank to create a habitable structure in space.

Memorandum, Donald K. Slayton to Office of Program Control, Attn: L. A. Stewart, "S-IVB experiment module work statement," 6 May 1966, with enclosure, memorandum, Joseph P. Kerwin to Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, "Comments on Saturn IVB Spent- Stage Statement of Work," 6 May 1966.

 

May 11

Replying to a suggestion by MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that AAP capitalize on Apollo hardware to an even greater extent by using refurbished CSMs, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller deferred any action toward implementing a competitive effort for such work. This was necessary, he said, because of the present unsettled nature of AAP planning. Because of revisions in AAP mission planning as a result of joint Center-Headquarters discussions in mid-April, however, Mueller told Gilruth that he was ordering MSFC to undertake a parallel study to evaluate a refurbished CSM versus a LEM laboratory for the AAP experiments program. Results of both studies would help program planners determine whether and in what configuration a refurbished CSM might best fit into AAP mission planning. That same day, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher wrote to Leland F. Belew, Saturn/AAP Manager at MSFC, asking that he order the AAP payload integration contractors to evaluate the refurbished command module concept compared with the LEM lab and the S IVB support module.

Letters, George E. Mueller to Robert R. Gilruth, 11 May 1966; John H. Disher to Leland F. Belew, 11 May 1966.

 

May 18

H. Julian Allen, Director of Ames Research Center, requested from MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth technical design information and details of AAP study contracts. Allen requested this information so that, in line with a directive several months earlier to investigate the feasibility of including bioscience experiments on AAP Earth-orbital missions, Ames could establish conceptual approaches and define feasible methods for satisfying experiment hardware requirements. Charles Wilson, Biosatellite Manager at Ames, was heading up the experiment definition task, said Allen.

Letter, H. Julian Allen to Robert R. Gilruth, 18 May 1966.

 

May 18

Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller held a major technical planning session on the AAP with principal Headquarters AAP [76] officials and representatives of the three manned spacecraft Centers. The more fundamental programmatic and design decisions included the concept of a "dependent" spent- stage experiment support module (SSESM) and S-IVB Workshop (i.e., fuel cells in the CSM would support the entire vehicle); a process by which expendables in the SSESM would be fed to the CSM via external umbilicals; and development of extended-duration fuel cell assemblies for long-duration synchronous and lunar orbit AAP missions. Also, Mueller reaffirmed an early 1968 schedule for availability of the first SSESM; that the first flight article would be a simple structure with no "follow-on goodies" (such as dual docking capabilities); an unmanned SSESM launch; CSM SSESM orbital stay times of 14 days, with the capability to extend the Rights to 28-day missions; and that the current SSESM definition studies at MSC must produce design specifications adequate for a fixed-price phase II contract to build the first flight article.

Memorandum for record, W. B. Taylor, "SAA Review with Dr. Mueller, May 18, 1966," 20 May 1966.

 

May 20

Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller officially named Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Gemini Program Deputy Manager at MSC, to head the Source Evaluation Board (SEB) for the S IVB spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM). Mueller personally charged Kleinknecht with undertaking this task;, since the SEB had been created before formal approval of either the project or the procurement plans. Under these circumstances, Mueller cautioned Kleinknecht and the Board to avoid any commitment that NASA would pursue the phase II part of the effort or even that one of the phase I contractors would be selected if and when the project were approved. Also, Mueller reminded him of the compressed schedule requirements and limited resources immediately available for the SSESM project. Thus, said Mueller, emphasis should be placed Upon costing and firm schedule commitments on the part of the contractor. The SSESM technical concept and design must be adequate to meet mission requirements, but no cost or schedule penalties should be accepted for "unnecessary design refinements.''

Letter, George E. Mueller to Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, 20 May 1966, with enclosure, letter, George E. Mueller to Director, MSC, "Source Evaluation for an S-IVB Spent Stage Experiment Support Module (SSESM), 20 May 1966.

 

May 20-21

Representatives of the Air Force and NASA met at Brooks AFB, Texas, to exchange information on medical experiments planned for the Air Force's MOL project and NASA's AAP. Stanley White, who headed the USAF group of aerospace medical experts, expressed strong interest in exploiting NASA's AAP project to study the effects of long-duration space flight on human life processes. White stated the Air Force's desire that MOL thus be relieved of this experiment burden so program planners could direct the program more closely toward evaluating man's utility for military space operations. The meeting furnished the basis for closer ties between the two organizations on their biomedical activities, observed NASA's Acting Director of Space Medicine, Jack Bollerud.

[77] Letter, Jack Bollerud to Dist., "USAF (MOL)/NASA Biomedical Experiment Discussion," 1 August 1966, with enclosure, memorandum for record, "USAF (MOL)/ NASA Biomedical Experiment Discussions, 20-21 May 1966," 16 June 1966.

 

June 1

L. W. Vogel, Executive Secretary to the Administrator, notified Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller that Administrator James E. Webb and Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., had selected Martin and Lockheed to perform the final definition studies (phase C) for the payload integration aspect of the Apollo Applications Program. (These selections were based upon presentation by the Source Evaluation Board and comments of senior project officials involved.) l he fixed-price contracts, expected to be worth about $1.2 million, each, were to run for one year.

Letter, L. W. Vogel to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Selection of Contractors to Accomplish Apollo Applications Program Payload Integration Definition," 1 June 1966.

 

Week ending June 2

The newly created Source Evaluation Board for the SSESM held its first meeting, and members made tours of the three study contractors' plants. All three study contractors had completed preliminary design work< and were currently examining design details critical to weight and costs. Program officials already had impressed upon the three firms the crucial importance of low cost. Further, they had been told to concentrate on the SSESM configuration and were requested to study use of cryogenics in the SSESM for reactivation of the SSESM/S IVB Workshop during subsequent flights.

Memorandum, John H. Disher, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "SAA Weekly Status Report for Week Ending, Noon, June 2, 1966," 7 June 1966.

 

June 9

George M. Low advised Headquarters that MSC was reducing its funding request for Fiscal Year 1967 in support of research on a land-landing capability for the AAP. Specifically, this program reduction involved halting all work dealing with braking rockets and attenuation systems and concentrating all effort on prototype development of several types of lifting parachute and parawing designs. These program changes were mandatory, Low stated, because of limited AAP development funds and because a land-landing capability was still not a firm objective (even though MSC had previously presented such a program leading to a land- landing capability for AAP by the end of 1969).

Letter, George M. Low, MSC, to NASA Hq, Attn: John H. Disher, "Revision of 1966-67 funding request for AAP landing program,'' 9 June 1966.

 

June 9

George M. Low, in a letter to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, proposed a general test plan for evaluation of Apollo vehicles and subsystems to cover the requirements of AAP. Subsequently, the Engineering and Development Directorate at Houston drew up specific test plans covering individual items in the general plan. On 18 July, Low submitted to AAP Deputy [78] Director John H. Disher for approval the first of these specific AAP test plans, covering extension of the Apollo Block II fuel cell from 400 to 1000 hours. Disher approved the plan several days later, and MSC officials began working out contractual details with the fuel cell contractor, Pratt and Whitney.

Letters, George M. Low, MSC, to NASA Hq, Attn: John H. Disher, "AAP Test Program- Block II Fuel Cell Test Plan Approval," 18 July 1966, with enclosure, letter, J. G. Thibodaux, Jr., to Director of Engineering and Development, "Combined Apollo/AAP testing- plans for implementation," 30 June 1966; John H. Disher to George M. Low, "Extended Block II Fuel Cell Testing for AAP," 21 July 1966.

 

June 9

Robert R. Gilruth advised George E. Mueller of Houston s work to define testing requirements on basic Apollo vehicles and subsystems to cover requirements for the AAP. (Mueller had requested such a study by MSC at the end of November 1965.) Objectives of the MSC' study, said Gilruth, were to (1) specify a test program for defining the limitations of Apollo hardware for AAP missions; (2) explore the feasibility of combining Apollo and AAP testing to reduce costs and eliminate duplication; and (3) minimize impact on Apollo per se. Houston's study drew upon support of AAP groups at both North American and Grumman, and results of their work were screened by appropriate elements within MSC's Engineering and Development Directorate. Only a small number of tests would be required to assure extension of the command and service modules' capabilities to fulfill AAP's 45-day goal, Gilruth reported. Also, although some hardware problems existed, these appeared to be not solely AAP-related, but Apollo-related as well. And, although some testing objectives already were evident, most had to await better definition of mission objectives , as well as configuration of the overall vehicle (especially for the lunar excursion module). Moreover, through better definition of the overall AAP test program and requirements vis-a-vis Apollo, Gilruth estimated that the program might be carried out at a cost several million dollars less than previously estimated.

Letter, Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, to George E. Mueller, NASA Hq, 9 June 1966.

 

June 10

Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell renewed his request for approval of ATM development to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. (See 17 March 1966). Newell repeated that detailed studies in house and under contract had established the feasibility of an ATM for conducting high-resolution observations of the Sun. He pointed out that a formal ATM organization had been created at Goddard Space Flight Center with over 30 people working full time on the project, and that they had prepared detailed scientific, technical, and management plans and were ready to begin the project immediately .

Newell emphasized the importance of the ATM to the overall NASA solar physics program. Cancellation of the Advanced Orbiting Solar Observatory project, he said, left the Orbiting Solar Observation as the only approved program devoted to solar physics and that spacecraft did not have the technical capability to carry [79] out the high-resolution studies so urgently needed. Newell pleaded for project approval and assignment of necessary funds to his office so that the ATM could be completed in time for a planned launch in 1969, the next period of maximum solar activity.

Letter, Homer E. Newell to Deputy Administrator, "Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM)," 10 June 1966.

 

June 10

In preparation for upcoming evaluation of spent-stage experiment support module proposals, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Chairman of the SEB, established Technical and Business Management Committees to conduct actual evaluations. Kleinknecht expected that evaluation of the proposals due 17 June would begin as soon as they were received from the initial study contractors, Douglas, McDonnell, and Grumman.

Letter, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC, to Dist., "Appointment of Source Evaluation Committees for Saturn IVB Spent-Stage Experiment Support Module Part II Proposals," 10 June 1966.

 

June 16

Reflecting MSC's concern over several crew-safety factors regarding the suitability of the S-IVB hydrogen tank as a habitable structure to support the SSESM program, Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews requested that officials at MSFC determine the compatibility of pressurization oxygen with possible out-gassing hydrogen and the possible effects on electrical cabling. Mathews desired such information as soon as possible, since results of this investigation would affect contractor efforts on the SSESM project. (See entry, 6 May 1966.)

TWX, Charles W. Mathews to MSFC, Attn: W. A. Ferguson, 16 June 1966.

 

June 20

E. E. Christensen, Mission Operations Director in NASA Hq, recommended to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller that the Office of Manned Space Flight change its flight crew organizational setup from a decentralized, program-oriented type to a consolidated responsibility in one office (within mission operations). Previously, when emphasis was on hardware design and development, Christensen said, such a fragmentation of responsibility had helped preserve the integrity of a given program. Centralized authority now seemed more appropriate, with major hardware systems largely defined and OMSF rapidly changing to an operations-oriented phase. Mueller approved Christensen's suggestion on 2 July.

Memorandum, E. E. Christensen to George E. Mueller, "Proposal to Consolidate OMSF Flight Crew Operations Functions in Mission Operations (MO)," 20 June 1966.

 

June 22

Gerald M. Truszynski, Deputy Associate Administrator for Tracking and Data Acquisition, advised Mission Operations Director E. E. Christensen that a central problem foreseen for upcoming multiple-launch AAP missions was the limited [80] capability of the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN) unified S-band stations simultaneously to support two separate spacecraft. Unlike the facilities that had permitted support of the dual Gemini-Titan VI and VII missions, the Apollo network; had only one antenna at each station. Performance limitations of the system might prove unacceptable, Truszynski said, particularly when considering abort possibilities and other contingencies. He suggested two possible solutions: (1) support one of the spacecraft via the S-band system and the second by C-band radar, VHF telemetry, UHF command, and VHF; voice when necessary (although this approach would require modifications to the block II CSM; (2) add a second 9-m antenna system at each MSFN station to provide full S-band to both spacecraft at the same time. (This latter approach, he noted, might cost some $2 million per station and take about two years to complete.) Truszynski requested that Christensen include these MSFN support limitations in all mission planning for multiple-launch flights prior to mid-1969 and keep him advised as to what approach he wanted to pursue to support such multiple-launch missions.

Memorandum, Gerald M. Truszynski to Director, Mission Operations, "MSFN Support of Apollo and SAA Multiple Launch Missions," 22 June 1966.

 

June 28

Edward Z. Gray, Advanced Manned Missions Program Director in NASA Hq, criticized both MSFC and MSC for failing to present a realistic and viable experiment program for the AAP S-IVB Workshop. From the outset, Gray said, all recognized that AAP experiments had to be relatively simple and economical because of the requirement for early delivery of flight- qualified hardware (i.e., the fall of 1967) and fiscal limitations during Fiscal Years 1966 and 1967. The responses from MSFC and MSC so far, he stated, "do not constitute a reasonable program." Gray noted that experiments to assess the habitability of a spent stage (and also to develop design criteria for space stations] were almost totally absent. Several experiments were wholly unrelated to the Workshop and required little or no participation of the crewmen. "In my estimation we have not faced up to the problem of defining a useful set of experiments," Gray concluded. Unless great effort and imagination were brought to bear on this problem, he warned, "we will be hard pressed to defend the phase D effort on the Workshop which should constitute a key element of our Saturn Apollo Applications Program."

TWX, Edward Z. Gray to MSFC and MSC, "S-IVB Workshop Experiments Program,'' 28 June 1966.

 

July 3

MSFC announced a number of appointments to fill out the Saturn/Apollo Program Office staff: Stanley R. Reinartz, Deputy Manager; Hilmar W. Haenisch, Assistant Manager; Jack C. Swearingen, Manager, Program Control Office; Rein Ise, Manager, Apollo Telescope Mount Project; and Jack H. Waite, Manager, Mission Planning and Experiments Project (later redesignated Experiment Development and Payload Evaluation Project).

MSFC, Skylab Illustrated Chronology, 1962-1973, 1 May 1973, p. 8.

 

July 6

[81] At Houston, MSC Deputy Director George M. Low was appointed Acting Manager of the newly established Apollo Applications Program Office. Robert F. Thompson was named Assistant Manager. At MSFC, Leland F. Belew was designated Manager of the new office. The two new offices were made responsible for all "activities concerned with projects using Apollo hardware for purposes in addition to the manned lunar landing." A new Experiments Office headed by William G. Johnson was also established at MSFC.

MSC Announcement 66-92, "Establishment of the Apollo Applications Program Office and Designation of the Acting Manager and the Assistant Manager," 6 July 1966.

 

July 7

In a memorandum to Headquarters staff members, Advanced Manned Missions Program Director Edward Z. Gray summarized the three separate study efforts underway within NASA directed toward evaluating the S-IVB stage as a manned laboratory:

(1) The spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM) study, a joint effort by MSC and MSFC.

(2) A spent S-IVB-stage utilization study at MSFC.

(3) A Saturn V single-launch space station.

Gray noted that the SSESM study had as its chief objective an airlock and attendant subsystems to support an early spent-stag-e laboratory to conduct 30-day, three-man flights. The second study, to be initiated following competition, sought to examine concepts for an advanced spent- stage laboratory dependent upon regular resupply. The last approach, approval for which had yet to be gained, Gray called the ''brute force" approach to a space station. In this concept, to achieve a one-year space station, the S-IVB stage was to be launched by a Saturn V and would not be required to perform as a propulsive stage. No resupply would be necessary except for experiments and crew rotation, and existing subsystems could be employed. Gray emphasized how crucial it was that ongoing and planned study efforts compare the advantages and disadvantages of simple spent-stage concepts, more sophisticated spent stages, and brute-force stations to accomplish the experiments under development. In this manner, when budgetary decisions must be made during forthcoming years, the agency would not be faced with, as Gray said, "a succession of pallet/LEM-lab/workshop-type problems with insufficient information to make sound choices."

Memorandum, Edward Z. Gray to Director, Program Review Division, "S-IVB Stage Space Station Concepts," 7 July 1966.

 

July 9

George M. Low expressed his reservations about the validity of planning a synchronous-orbit mission for AAP. In a note to Maxime A. Faget, Low commented on the recent interest in such a mission and voiced his own doubt concerning either the need for or the desirability of such a flight. Low stated that such things as synoptic views of terrain or weather phenomena could be done just [82] as well from low Earth orbit using mosaic techniques. Moreover, low orbits afforded simpler operations, much greater payload capabilities, and minimal radiation hazards. Low asked Faget to have his organization prepare an analysis of low Earth-orbit versus synchronous- orbit operations in preparation for upcoming AAP planning discussions in Washington at the end of the month.

Memorandum, George M. Low, MSC, to Maxime A. Faget, MSC, "Synchronous orbit missions for AAP," 9 July 1966.

 

July 11

Meeting at Headquarters, Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, and Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell made several significant program decisions affecting AAP and post-Apollo development planning in general:

MSFC would be the lead Center for developing the ATM and would be responsible for all astronomy experiments.

Memorandum for record, E. J. Brazill, NASA Hq, "Meeting Held on Monday, July 11, 1966 by Dr. Seamans, Dr. Mueller and Dr. Newell," 15 July 1966.

 

July 12

During informal discussions in Washington, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell was asked his views regarding the agency's options for post- Apollo space projects. Newell's reply, reflecting to a great extent the thinking of scientists within the agency, cited three chief factors: Earth-orbit missions, solar exploration, and orbiting astronomical observatories. Also, Newell played down the importance of the search for extraterrestrial life in connection with solar exploration in the post-Apollo period.

Memorandum for record, J. C. Satterthwaite, NASA Hq, "Post-Apollo," 12 July 1966.

 

July 13

Apollo Applications Program Deputy Director John H. Disher created the Saturn/Apollo Applications Mission Planning Task Force to oversee and coordinate mission definition for proposed AAP missions. The group, headed by William D. Green, Jr., of the AAP office in Washington, included members from the three manned Centers as well as Headquarters. Disher charged the group with a number of specific responsibilities:

In all of these areas, the task; force acted as an advisory body to the program director.

Letter, John H. Disher to Dist., "Saturn/Apollo Applications Mission Planning Task Force," 13 July 1966, with enclosure, Saturn/AAP Program Directive No. 1, "Saturn/ Apollo Applications Mission Planning Task Force," 13 July 1966.

 

July 13

NASA announced that project management responsibility for the ATM had been assigned to MSFC. Under the agency's "phased project planning," any decision to begin ATM hardware development must await preliminary design study and evaluation at Marshall. But as conceived at this stage, the ATM would comprise several high-resolution solar telescopes attached to the Apollo spacecraft, to be operated by scientist-astronauts. Subsequently, ATM experiments contracts also were transferred from Goddard Space Flight Center to Huntsville.

NASA News Release 66 185, "Telescope Mount for Apollo Flight Assigned by NASA," 13 July 1966; letter, Homer E. Newell, NASA Hq, to George E. Mueller, NASA Hq, 1 September 1966.

 

July 14

Through a formal memorandum of understanding between NASA and the Department of Defense, the two agencies established the Joint Manned Space Flight Policy Committee to coordinate, at the policy level, manned space flight programs of the respective organizations. The committee was presided over by Cochairmen John C. Foster, Jr., Director, Defense Research and Engineering, and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Deputy Administrator. Functions of the committee were to resolve matters of mutual interest between the two agencies; to agree on decisions involving top policy determinations; and to facilitate exchange of information and views regarding coordinated planning of manned space flight programs within NASA and the Defense Department. (This agreement superseded a similar earlier coordination group established in mid-January 1963, the Gemini Program Planning Board.)

NASA Management Instruction NMI 1154.2, "Manned Space Flight Policy Committee," 14 January 1966; memorandum, John C. Foster, Jr., and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Secretary of Defense and NASA Administrator, "Manned Space Flight Policy Committee," 9-13 January 1966, with enclosure, "Memorandum of Understanding Between The Department Of Defense And The National Aeronautics And Space Administration Concerning The Manned Space Flight Programs Of The Two Agencies," 11 - 14 January 1966.

 

July 18

George E. Mueller, Associate Director for Manned Space Flight, officially assigned Headquarters management responsibility for development of the S-IVB Orbital Workshop and SSESM to David M. Jones, Acting Saturn/Apollo Applications Program (S/AAP) Director. Experiments as a part of the SSESM and Workshop [84] programs, Mueller said, would still be processed through the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board for approval.

Memorandum, George E. Mueller to Acting Director, S/AAP, "S-IVB Workshop and SSESM Development," 18 July 1966.

 

July 19

NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., ordered the heads of program offices at Headquarters to conduct a 60-day study to update planning for a permanent manned space station in light of current thinking and recent program developments. The study, a joint Headquarters-Field Center undertaking, was conducted under the auspices of the Planning Coordination Steering Group and comprised two separate subject areas: (1) a study of requirements and constraints for a permanent station to meet a broad range of scientific objectives; and (2) a similar study of hardware configurations, mission operations, costs and schedules, and development plans. (The two separate study groups were headed by Charles J. Donlan and Edward Z. Gray, respectively.) Also, as Seamans phrased it, since it was "still a question whether a permanent space station is the best approach to achieving the envisioned mission objectives," the study group's report should assess its advantages and disadvantages. He emphasized that the study m no way implied that NASA had, in fact, decided to develop or even propose such a permanent manned station in space. It would, however, "help us to decide if such a course is desirable and when."

Seamans also described the interrelationship between the space station and NASA's current manned programs, particularly the AAP. The studies, he said, should recognize AAP planning already underway and should assist in defining AAP activities that should form precursors to an actual space station (including experiments and operational capabilities, as well as supporting research and development). The study must, above all, "consider the logical growth pattern which should evolve from the AAP program to a space station."

Memorandum, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Dist., "Preliminary Study of a NASA Manned Space Station," 19 July 1966.

 

July 19

Following the decision of Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to assign development responsibility for the ATM project to MSFC (see 11 July 1966), the manned space flight organization had concentrated its efforts on selecting the best location for the ATM within the Apollo spacecraft. Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller informed Seamans of their recommendation and requested his approval that the ATM be mounted within the LM. Mueller cited the design tradeoffs that led to this recommendation, the foremost being that the LM-mounted ATM, modified for storage and reuse in orbit, offered the greatest potential for meeting ATM performance requirements and experiment objectives, including the possibility of manned operation while detached from the CSM and thus free from external disturbances during fine pointing operations. (Other possible installation locations considered but rejected were an empty bay of the service module; a specially built rack for the ATM that [85] would be launched inside the adapter section where the LM normally rested; and inside the spent-stage experiment support module.) Mueller stated that the LM-mounted ATM could be accomplished with programmed funds using MSFC in-house effort. Also, the system would include use of the LaRC-developed control moment gyro system for fine pointing control.

Memorandum, George E. Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "Apollo Telescope Mount Installation," 19 July 1966.

 

July 19

Harold Glaser, Deputy Chief of Solar Physics at Headquarters, presented to Advanced Manned Missions Director Edward Z. Gray detailed arguments justifying sole-source award of a contract to North American to study engineering problems associated with incorporating large telescopes and other scientific equipment into the Apollo spacecraft. (Glaser also argued for a similar contract to Harvard University for technical and scientific assistance to North American.) This effort, a coordinated effort between the Advanced Mission Planning Groups in the OMSF and the Physics and Astronomy Programs in the OSSA, he told Gray, was essential to make maximum use of the Apollo Extension System as an orbital platform for a variety of scientific experiments.

Letter, Harold Glaser to Edward Z. Gray, "Sole Source Justification for Noncompetitive Procurement. . .," 19 July 1966.

 

July 21

KSC announced creation of an Advanced Programs Office within the Apollo Program Office. The new group, headed by Robert C. Hock, was given responsibility for overall Center planning in the advanced programs area, including Saturn/Apollo Applications.

Spaceport News, 21 July 1966, p. 5.

 

July 22

George M. Low summarized MSC's thinking regarding proper location of the ATM with the AAP payload configuration. Low affirmed Houston's approval of the recent assignment of total responsibility for the ATM to MSFC (an assignment that MSC had supported from the outset). The most important task now was to "get on with the ATM in a most expeditious manner so that we can demonstrate once and for all that there is a major place for science and applications in manned space flight." Further, Low said, getting on with the job meant "making Marshall's job as simple and as straightforward as possible." Because of extremely complex technical and managerial interfaces, the benefits of total systems responsibility at MSFC would be lost if the ATM were mounted on an Apollo LM. "We frankly don't believe that the job can be done in this manner in any reasonable length of time," he said. For much the same reasons, MSC also withdrew earlier recommendations that the ATM could be located in a sector of the service module or in the spent-stage experiment support module. Rather, he urged that the ATM be integrated into a self-contained rack; fitted into the adapter area and launched aboard a single vehicle along with the CSM. Low cited a number of specific objections to Headquarters' recommendation that the [86] ATM be in the LM, even though the approach was technically feasible and offered several important advantages. Nonetheless, he repeated his view that operational factors, technical and managerial interfaces, and cost and schedule considerations all favored a rack-mounted approach. Crew safety factors alone were ample justification for such an approach, and he urged that Headquarters and MSFC proceed with such a design at the earliest possible date.

Letter, George M. Low, MSC, to John H. Disher, NASA Hq, 22 July 1966.

 

July 25

William A. Ferguson, MSFC Orbital Workshop Project Manager, made a presentation on the OWS as an experiment to the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board (MSFEB). Associate Administrator George E. Mueller approved the experiment for flight on AS-209.

Manned Space Flight Experiments Board, "Minutes," 25 July 1966.

 

July 25

John H. Disher, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director, advised his Systems Engineering Director that, on the basis of studies and review within both the OMSF and the OSSA, the choice of location for the ATM had been narrowed down either to the LM ascent stage (with a "half rack" in place of the descent stage) or to a specially designed rack structure completely supplanting the LM. Disher requested additional information on both of these approaches to help in making final recommendations:

(1) A comparison of command and service modules interfaces for the two concepts.

(2) An analysis of interfaces between the LM rack and the ascent stage.

(3) Descriptions of the subsystem installations for both the LM ATM and rack ATM.

Memorandum, John H. Disher to Director, Systems Engineering, "ATM LM vs. Rack Installation," 25 July 1966.

 

July 26

Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., formally notified Associate Administrators Mac C. Adams, Edmond C. Buckley, George E. Mueller, and Homer E. Newell that he had assigned full responsibility for Apollo and AAP missions to Mueller's Office of Manned Space Flight. This decision, he said, was in line with the "fundamental policy of NASA that projects and programs are best planned and executed when these responsibilities are clearly assigned to a single management group." Thus, OMSF had full responsibility for AAP hardware systems, integration of experiments, and conduct of the missions. At the same time, Newell's Office of Space Science and Applications, the office with overall responsibility for the scientific content of NASA's space flight programs, had the task of selecting experiments to be flown aboard AAP missions, as well as for analysis and dissemination of data collected. Likewise, Adams' Office of Advanced Research and Technology was responsible for technology experiments aboard [87] manned space flights, while Buckley's Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition was charged with satisfying the communications requirements for experiments as specified by the other offices involved.

Memorandum, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Dist., "Management Responsibilities for Future Manned Flight Activities," 26 July 1966.

 

August 2

George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, advised Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of progress toward selecting the proper location of the ATM with the AAP payload cluster and requested his approval of the preliminary project development plan. Mueller. urged proceeding immediately with the project based upon mounting the ATM on a rack structure that would (1) either supplant the descent stage of the LM (thus using the LM ascent stage for mounting experiment consoles and for supporting the crew during periods of observation) or (2) attach directly to the Apollo CSM. Mueller recommended beginning development work on the ATM project immediately, rather than deferring such action until the end of the year, in order to ensure flight readiness during the 1968-1969 period of maximum solar activity. Also, Mueller strongly supported Seamans' suggestion that much in-house effort and manpower at MSFC could be brought to bear on the ATM development program. Indeed, Mueller stated that such a course was essential to successful prosecution of the ATM project within available resources, even though several important industrial contracts for ATM components were still necessary.

Memorandum, George E. Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "Apollo Telescope Mount Project," 2 August 1966.

 

August 2

George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, recommended to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., that NASA proceed with its procurement effort on an S-IVB airlock module (AM) experiment as part of the dual-launch Apollo-Saturn 209-210 mission. The AM, to replace a LM aboard one of the vehicles, was to serve as the module affording a docking adapter at one end to permit CSM docking and at the other end a sealed connection to a hatch in the spent S-IVB stage of the rocket. The AM, a tubular structure about 4.5 m long and 3 m in diameter, would thus provide a pressurized passageway for the crew from the spacecraft to the empty interior of the S-IVB hydrogen tank. Oxygen tanks in the module would pressurize the AM and interior of the S-IVB to create a "shirt-sleeve" environment for the crew. Objectives of the AM, Mueller explained, were to investigate the feasibility of using a spent rocket stage as a large habitable structure in space and to develop the capability for long-duration manned missions. If successful, he told Seamans, the AM would give NASA an early capability for manned experimentations and operations in space. Definition and design of the AM had already been completed, and the experiment already had approval of the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board. Moreover, procurement bids had been received from industrial firms and results of the competition presented to Administrator James E. Webb in mid-July. Thus, because the AM presented "a unique opportunity to [88] investigate a major new manned space flight capability at a reasonable cost," Mueller urged Seamans to approve its early procurement.

On 2 August, Seamans presented Mueller's arguments to Webb, recommending approval of the AM experiment. Seamans reasoned that the experiment, if feasible, would provide the United States with a major new capability for long-duration manned space operations without interfering with the basic Saturn IB launch vehicle program or the mainline Apollo lunar landing goal. Webb approved Seamans' arguments the following day, with an added comment: "particularly as it [the AM] would open up additional areas of knowledge we might need if Russian programs accelerate to the degree that we wish to add to our manned operations with least lead time and maximum use of Apollo equipment."

Memoranda, George E. Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "S-IVB Airlock Experiment," 2 August 1966; Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to James E. Webb, same subject and date, with Webb's hand- written comments, 3 August 1966.

 

August 2

In a letter to Robert R. Gilruth, George E. Mueller acknowledged MSC's expeditious completion of the phase C definition phase of the Apollo experiments pallet effort. However, he noted several fundamental changes since the pallet effort was started. With experiment funding severely limited, NASA had now placed greater emphasis on a few major experiments (such as the Apollo telescope mount) in contrast to the wide variety of experiments originally envisioned for AAP missions. Also, Mueller observed that because of recent reshaping of AAP objectives toward long-duration missions program planners now believed that, in general, experiments should be carried in the adapter area of the launch vehicle rather than in the vacant bay of the service module (which thus could be used for expendables to support the longer duration flights). In light of these program changes, Mueller concluded it was no longer wise to proceed with phase D of the pallet program-actual hardware development.

Letter, George E. Mueller, NASA Hq, to Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, 2 August 1966.

 

August 9

Based on confirmation during discussion with Melvin Savage of NASA Hq, MSC Gemini Program Deputy Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht advised of changes in hardware nomenclature for the Apollo Applications Program:

Memorandum, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to Dist., "Change in nomenclature from 'SIVB Spent Stage Experiment' to 'Orbital Workshop,'" 9 August 1966.

 

August 10

MSC Flight Operations Director Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., expressed to George M. Low, Acting MSC Apollo Applications Program Manager, grave doubts [89] regarding the wisdom and validity of present AAP planning for program integration. Citing specifically the Saturn/AAP Development Plan of 20 June 1966 and MSFC's Phase C AAP Integration Contract dated 12 June 1966, Kraft pointed out the absence of any specific method of providing "integration" of the complete AAP vehicle and identified several potential problem areas.

Kraft expressed concern about the necessity for clear assignment of responsibility for vehicle integration (i.e., comprehensively covering configuration, payload, trajectories, data acquisition, operations, and objectives). Existing plans, he said, made MSC responsible for integration of the command and service modules; MSFC the S-IVB, instrument unit, and lunar module; and, by implication, Headquarters the job of total payload integration. Kraft called illogical any scheme of having two independent and parallel efforts for the spacecraft payload integration. Also, it was inconceivable that Headquarters could take on such a detailed and complex role. In short, Kraft made out a case for MSC ensuring to itself its traditional responsibilities in the areas of spacecraft design and integration in the face of assignment of some measure of overall payload responsibility to MSFC. Above all, he called for clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Memorandum, Christopher C. Kraft to Acting Manager, AAP Office, "Payload Integration and AAP," 10 August 1966.

 

August 13-15

At a meeting of the Manned Space Flight Management Council at Lake Logan, North Carolina, Headquarters and Center representatives worked out a general agreement regarding the respective roles of MSC and MSFC in the development and operations of future manned space flight hardware. The conceptual basis for this agreement, a space station, reflected an intermediate step between early AAP missions and later more complex planetary missions. In fact, much the same jurisdictional arrangement characterized AAP's OWS and the ATM. The underlying rationale and capability for this division of program roles and responsibilities lay in the idea-one dating from the early planning stages of Apollo-of modularization. Thus, provided interfaces were not extremely complex, parts of a total space vehicle could be farmed out to separate field centers for development. In line with the traditional roles of MSC and MSFC, Huntsville would oversee launch vehicles, a "mission module'' of the living quarters, and the laboratory part of a large space station. MSC would be responsible for a "command post" or flight deck, where all piloting functions were located, as well as logistics vehicles, rescue craft, other specialized vehicles, and crew training and mission operations. This, in effect, similarly portrayed the division of responsibilities between the two Centers for AAP.

The combination of CSM and AM comprised the "command post" of AAP, and therefore was MSC's responsibility. The OWS similarly belonged to MSFC. Experiments were divided between the two organizations. These working premises represented perhaps the most fundamental statement of intra-NASA jurisdictional [90] responsibilities since MSFC first became a part of the agency and MSC emerged as a separate field element.

Letter, Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, and Wernher von Braun, MSFC, to George E. Mueller, NASA Hq, 24 August 1966, with enclosure, "Post Apollo Manned Spacecraft Center and Marshall Space Flight Center Roles and Missions in Manned Space Flight," 24 August 1966.

 

August 19

NASA announced selection of McDonnell to manufacture an AM for AAP to permit astronauts to enter the empty hydrogen tank of a spent S-IVB Saturn stage. The AM would form an interstage between the spent rocket stage and the Apollo CSM and would contain environmental and life support systems to make the structure habitable in space. Though MSFC had project responsibility for the complete Orbital Workshop, technical and management responsibility for the AM rested with the AAP office at MSC. Contract negotiations with McDonnell were completed in mid-September. Because design of the AM would employ existing Gemini technology and hardware where feasible, MSC Gemini Deputy Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht detailed a number of people from his office to support the AM project.

NASA News Release 66-223, "Select Contractor for Spent Saturn Airlock Experiment," 19 August 1966; memorandum, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to Deputy Director, "Changes to Contract NAS 9-6555, Airlock" 23 September 1966.

 

August 29

NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., notified George E. Mueller of approval to proceed with development and procurement actions to conduct one AAP ATM flight on missions 211/212 (as an alternate to the basic Apollo mission assigned to those two vehicles). Since only one ATM flight was thus far approved, Seamans emphasized the importance of focusing all project effort on meeting the existing SA 211/212 schedule.

Seamans asked that he be kept fully informed of all major decisions during the system definition phase of the ATM project. He cited a number of points of particular interest: the design concept for the ATM and its rationale; experiments planned for the mission (especially on the assumption of a single ATM flight); operational concepts; procurement phasing with the option for a follow-on ATM if resources permitted; organizational, procurement, and management approaches for the mission; and schedule options available if SA 211 and 212 became available for an alternate ATM mission.

Memorandum, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM)," 29 August 1966, with attachment, "Project Approval Document, Research and Development [AAP ATM]," 25 August 1966.

 

September 13

NASA Hq Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Office defined mission requirements and Center responsibilities to successfully carry out a Saturn/Apollo Applications 209 mission, a 28-day, manned, Earth-orbital flight. Candidate...

 


[
91]

a rough sketch of the configuration of the S-IVB Workshop

A reproduction of a rough sketch by NASA's Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, which indicates his thinking on the configuration of the S-IVB Workshop as of August 1966

a cross-sectional drawing of the advanced airlock design for the space lab

An advanced airlock concept prepared by P.M. Chapman, Douglas Aircraft Company, on 20 August 1966. The 9705-kilogram weight included 5675 kilograms for the airlock and 4030 kilograms for government-furnished equipment, experiments, and margin.

 

[92] ...experiments for the mission included 13 engineering, 7 medical, and 6 technology- related experiments.

S/AAP Directive No. 3, "Flight Mission Directive for SAA 209 Mission," 13 September 1966.

 

September 21

Prompted by recent operational difficulties involving extravehicular activity during Gemini flights IX A, X, and XI, Deputy Project Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht recommended to Saturn/Apollo Applications Program officials in Washington a redesigned forward dome hatch in the S-IVB hydrogen tank; i.e., one that could be more readily removed. He urged installing a flexible type of airlock seal prior to launch of the stage. These changes, Kleinknecht said, would go far toward minimizing astronaut workload for activating the spent stage once in orbit.

Memorandum, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to John H. Disher, NASA Hq, "Recommendation for reduction in Orbital Workshop activation workload," 21 September 1966.

 

October 7

In light of agreements on Center roles and responsibilities reached during the Lake Logan Management Council meeting (see 13-15 August 1966), recent Gemini flight experience, and review of assigned advanced study activities related to extravehicular activity (EVA), Advanced Manned Missions Director Edward Z. Gray revised the division of effort between MSFC and MSC on EVA studies and responsibilities. (Gemini had proved the need for careful assessment of EVA requirements dictated by mission objectives, the laying down of specific EVA hardware and procedures, and the verifying of astronaut capability to perform various EVA tasks.) Gray stipulated that MSC would be responsible for study, test, and development of EVA equipment and procedures (including astronaut participation); MSFC had responsibility for development and test of large structures in space that might require astronaut EVA for assembly, activation, maintenance, or repair. As a whole, these study efforts at the Centers, said Gray, were aimed at formulating a thorough analysis of EVA potential and astronaut capabilities and at devising a long-range program for developing and using EVA hardware and procedures to further man's usefulness in space.

Letter, Edward Z. Gray to Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, 7 October 1966.

 

October 7

Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Deputy Director John H. Disher, in response to a letter from MSC AAP Assistant Manager Robert F. Thompson regarding the difficult workload imposed on the crewmen during the SAA-209 mission (i.e., opening the S-IVB tank dome cover and installing the airlock boot might be enough to jeopardize the mission), asked both Thompson and Leland F. Belew, S/AAP Manager at MSFC, to explore various alternatives to this method of activating the Workshop. Also, Disher asked that Belew undertake a simulation effort to evaluate definitively the workload involved in activating the present Workshop configuration.

[93] Letter, John H. Disher to Leland F. Belew and Robert F. Thompson, "Reduction in Orbital Workshop Activation Workload," 7 October 1966.

 

October 19

MSFC Director Wernher von Braun described to his MSC counterpart Robert R. Gilruth his ideas for transferring to Houston the bulk of MSFC's lunar exploration studies and development contracts. (As a result of the 13-15 August Lake Logan meeting, Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., had designated MSC the lead Center for lunar science.) von Braun proposed that planning for AAP-type lunar traverses and a wide variety of lunar scientific experiments (including a scientific package of experiments to he emplaced near landing sites) be transferred to Houston. On the other hand, he believed that lunar roving and flying devices, the AAP lunar drill, and the lunar surveying system should be retained at Huntsville, saying that these projects were of an engineering rather than a scientific nature and that, with MSFC's in-house capability for engineering work of this type, his Center could make substantial-and cost- effective-contributions to lunar exploration.

Letter, Wernher von Braun to Robert R. Gilruth, 19 October 1966.

 

October 19

Robert F. Thompson, Assistant Apollo Applications Program Manager at MSC, wrote AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher criticizing reductions by Headquarters in Houston's AAP Project Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 1967 for both experiments and the Orbital Workshop mission ($8.6 million for each). Thompson claimed that the current requirement for the Workshop mission was $17 million ($14 million for hardware and mission support and $3 million for currently assigned experiments). He then broke down specific funding requirements for the airlock module, command and service modules modifications, guidance and navigation hardware and software, crew systems, and training requirements. Houston was going ahead with the Workshop mission as speedily as possible, Thompson said. However, "prompt and adequate funding . . . is required if current schedules are to be met."

Letter, Robert F. Thompson to John H. Disher, "FY 1967 funding requirements for the Orbital Workshop Mission," 19 October 1966.

 

October 21

MSC officials conducted a preliminary design review on the AM at the McDonnell plant in St. Louis. Participants found two major problem areas that could severely affect the probability of mission success. The most critical was the design concept of total reliance on passive thermal control for the S-IVB. The second was the lack of definition on extravehicular and intravehicular equipment (which affected AM systems and hardware design). In addition, NASA reviewers made a number of specific suggestions for improved system design, notably provisions for revisitation and rehabitation of the AM on successive flights.

Memorandum, Donald K. Slayton, MSC, to Airlock Manager, Gemini Program Office, and Assistant Manager, Apollo Applications Program, "Comments Concerning the Air Lock Preliminary Design Review," 25 October 1966.

 

October 25

[94] Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Gemini Program Deputy Manager at MSC, requested from W. A. Ferguson at MSFC that Huntsville furnish MSC two S-IVB trainers for use in crew training and crew evaluation of hardware for the airlock program. MSC wanted a full-scale S-IVB neutral buoyancy trainer for evaluation of extravehicular operations, crew transfer, and equipment retrieval and stowage. Kleinknecht also asked for a full-scale, high-fidelity, one-g trainer for similar application. He requested that these trainers be updated as changes were made to the design of the S-IVB flight article.

Letter, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht to W. A. Ferguson, "S-IVB Trainers for Manned Spacecraft Center," 25 October 1966.

 

October 25

MSFC distributed its research and development plan for the OWS. The development plan defined objectives and basic criteria for the project and established a plan for its technical management (chiefly through MSFC's Propulsion and Vehicle Engineering Division). Officially, the Workshop had won approval for the Saturn/Apollo Applications 209 mission, which was a backup for Apollo-Saturn 209. Primary purpose of SAA-209 was activation of the spent S-IVB stage into a habitable space structure for extended Earth-orbit missions. In addition, a number of objectives for the OWS were considered essential to man's abilities in space:

Most importantly, the OWS would advance space science and technology and thus "sustain the tempo of the national space program, and aid in assuring U.S. primacy in space."

MSFC, "Orbital Workshop Research and Development Plan," 25 October 1966.

 

Week ending October 27

Saturn/Apollo Applications officials at Headquarters sounded out Houston officials on the status of MSC's land-landing development plan. MSC technicians had "reevaluated" their original cloverleaf-retrorocket configuration and now were pushing for development of a sailwing as the reentry descent system, believing that the sailwing had greater potential for Apollo-class vehicles (especially in range and maneuverability). Also, MSC spokesmen proposed that Houston take over testing of the "parawing" (a limp paraglider) being developed by Langley. They stated that the research and testing effort required to develop the sailwing and parawing would delay until 1971 or 1972 NASA's achieving a [95] land-landing capability. (Previous work on the cloverleaf-retrorocket concept had promised such a capability by about mid-1970.)

Memorandum, John H. Disher, NASA Hq, to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, "Weekly Status Report for Week Ending October 27, 1966," 3 November 1966, with attachment, "Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Summary."

 

November 2

After intensive effort by AAP groups at MSFC and MSC on the ATM and AAP mission planning for Flights 209 through 212, George E. Mueller told the two Center Directors that he now had ample information for a "reasonable plan" to proceed with AAP. First, Mueller stated that the Orbital Workshop mission could best achieve AAP objectives by launching the complete airlock, Workshop, and multiple docking adapter unmanned into a one-year orbit, with activation to be accomplished by a separately launched crew. The first two AAP missions, said Mueller, would thus provide a three-man, 28-day flight and, at the same time, would establish a large clustered space configuration for use during subsequent missions. Secondly, Mueller posited that the ATM to be developed by MSFC could readily be integrated into an LM ascent stage and could reasonably be scheduled for launch during 1968. He cited the possibility that, by eliminating some equipment from the LM, the complete CSM-LM-ATM vehicle could be launched by a single booster. However, Mueller stated his belief that the correct approach should retain those LM subsystems required to operate the vehicle in a tethered mode, even though normal operation might call for the LM/ATM to be docked to either the Workshop or the CSM. Further, Mueller expressed real concern regarding the likelihood of significant weight growths in the ATM systems. For this reason he favored separate launch of the LM/ATM combination. Mueller planned to present AAP planning along these lines during discussions over the next several days with Administrator James E. Webb and the Director of the Budget regarding NASA's planning for manned space flight in the post-Apollo era.

Letters, George E. Mueller, NASA Hq, to Wernher von Braun, MSFC, and Robert R. Gilruth, MSC, 2 November 1966.

 

November 5

George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, recommended to Robert C. Seamans, Jr., the lunar module ascent stage/half-rack Apollo telescope mount (LM/ATM) as the baseline configuration for development of the ATM. Mueller explained that a number of "desirable characteristics" had been examined in comparing the LM ATM with its chief rival, a CSM rack/ ATM: (1) achievement of maximum solar data (through ease of operation, ability to repair, maintain, and reuse, and the capability of adding new instruments on subsequent missions); (2) maximum employment of man's capabilities for orbital astronomy (including pointing, film retrieval, repair and maintenance, and inflight analysis of solar data); (3) modes of manned operations (docked with the Orbital Workshop and separated from the cluster via a tether); (4) minimum cost consistent with accomplishing mission objectives; and (5) highest assurance of achieving program schedules.

[96] Comparison studies had shown that both the rack ATM and the LM/ATM should use the Langley-developed control moment gyro system for fine pointing control and that both configurations required a sizable volume to allow crew access to instruments and controls. The rack/ATM concept, Mueller told Seamans, was attractive primarily because of its simplicity. However, the vehicle could not be operated at a distance from the CSM to minimize contamination or motion disturbances (items of particular concern to ATM experimenters). On the other hand, the LM/ATM offered the greatest flexibility for meeting ATM requirements without any impact on the CSM. It could normally be operated while docked to either the CSM or the Workshop or, if experiment requirements so dictated, be either tethered or in free flight. This latter capability was especially valuable, Mueller explained, because it afforded a method of evaluating the range of modes for operating future manned orbiting telescopes and would permit early determination of the most desirable approach. (Mueller had recommended to Seamans approval of the ATM project some three months earlier [see 2 August 1966] and Seamans had given his okay shortly thereafter [see 29 August 1966].)

Memorandum, George E. Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM)-Spacecraft Configurations and Operating Modes," 5 November 1966.

 

November 8

In accordance with decisions made by Associate Administrator George E. Mueller (see 2 November 1966), Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher notified Robert F. Thompson, Robert C. Hock, and Leland F. Belew, Apollo Applications Program Managers at MSC, KSC, and MSFC, respectively, of the approved mission sequence for missions 209 through 212.

Disher said that mission planning directives were being expedited to implement this mission sequence.

TWX, John H. Disher to MSC, KSC, and MSFC, 8 November 1966

 

November 16

In a major AAP mission planning session at Houston, Texas, George M. Low and Eberhard F. M. Rees, Deputy Center Directors at MSC and MSFC, respectively, and Robert F. Thompson and Leland F. Belew, the respective AAP Managers at those Centers, established a joint approach for implementing missions identified with the first four AAP flights. (Although tentative, current plans called for using Saturn IB vehicles 2()9 through 212.) In effect, their planning saw two separate AAP missions, each comprising two Saturn IB dual launches: (1) S/AA 209 210, primarily a manned Workshop operation; (2) S/AA 211-[97] 212, a flight consisting of solar astronomy and orbital assembly operations and lasting up to 56 days.

Clearly, during their talks, the manned 56-day mission stood as the more difficult. The four men agreed to the creation of a small MSC MSFC team to establish a baseline by which each Center could focus its effort more effectively. The team, under MSFC's lead, examined the 211 212 mission in several specific areas: mission objectives, ground rules, spacecraft configurations, and hardware systems. Also, the team drew assistance from the principal AAP contractors.

In summarizing their talks, Belew noted that the meeting produced "a basis on which to proceed," with no apparent divisive issues and with affirmations by both Centers "to proceed in getting the job done together."

Memorandum for record, Leland F. Belew, "Notes on Meeting at MSC November 16, 1966, Apollo, Applications Program," 17 November 1966.

 

November 16

Maurice J. Raffensperger, Earth Orbital Mission Studies Director in NASA Hq, spelled out revised criteria for design of a one-year Workshop in space (criteria to be incorporated by MSFC and MSC planners into their proposed configurations):

TWX, Maurice J. Raffensperger to MSFC, 16 November 1966.

 

November 18

As requested by Robert C. Seamans, Jr., at the monthly program meeting during October, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller summarized the agency's present plans for including the DOD's astronaut maneuvering unit "back pack" aboard AAP flights. The unit was first flown aboard the Gemini IX mission, but EVA problems forced an early termination of the [98] experiment. At the end of September 1966, NASA had eliminated the unit from the Gemini XII mission in order to concentrate efforts on investigating the basic fundamentals of EVA.

Mueller told Seamans that the astronaut maneuvering unit could be incorporated into AAP flights without compromising primary objectives of the Orbital Workshop mission. At the request of the Air Force, Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., the unit contractor, was working with both North American and McDonnell to identify modifications needed to integrate the back pack into the Apollo CSM and AM. Although the Air Force had not yet asked that the astronaut maneuvering unit be assigned to AAP, officials were studying the desirability of committing the estimated cost of $2.5 million to $3 million to do so. If indeed the military service made this commitment, Mueller told Seamans, NASA planned to carry one unit aboard the SAA-210 and the SAA-211 and 212 missions.

Memorandum, George E. Mueller to Deputy Administrator, "DOD Back Pack (AMU) Experiment for Orbital Workshop Mission," 18 November 1966.

 

November 18

J. Pemble Field, Jr., Director, Saturn/Apollo Applications Control, notified program officials in Headquarters of Acting Director David M. Jones' decision to designate AAP missions in numerical sequence, starting with AAP-1 (rather than the former designation of S/AA-209). However, program planning documents would still include tentative hardware assignments pending firm vehicle allocations.

Memorandum, J. Pemble Field to Dist., "AAP Mission Designation," 18 November 1966.

 

November 21

A LM/ATM review team led by John M. Eggleston (MSC) met at MSC to determine the nature and state of design of the LM/ATM; to evaluate the feasibility of approach in each system area; and to identify interface areas between MSC and determine areas needing MSC support. The review group recommended tasks that MSC should or must do to assist MSFC; to fulfill MSC responsibility in ensuring that the LM remained a safe and useful manned spacecraft; and to provide MSC management sufficient data to negotiate with MSFC on roles and mission.

ATM presentation, 21 November 1966.

 

November 28

AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher advised the AAP Managers at MSC and MSFC (Robert F. Thompson and Leland F. Belew, respectively) of a number of requirements that were to be included in a program-level interim specification on the AAP cluster. These requirements included solar cells with rechargeable batteries, a two-gas environmental control system, the capability for multiple dockings, windows, and the capability for long-term storage and reuse of the basic hardware cluster. Disher emphasized that the AAP OWS assembly must be produced at a minimum cost and that no element of the system should incur [99] additional costs to provide capabilities beyond those of the basic program requirements. Also, he pointed out, he did not demand that the OWS system be guaranteed to last a year in space without some maintenance by successive crews. The 28- and 56-day flights were goals rather than guaranteed requirements.

Letter, John H. Disher to Leland F. Belew and Robert F. Thompson, "Orbital Workshop Configuration for 1968-1969 AAP Missions," 28 November 1966.

 

November 28

NASA announced selection of Bendix Corporation's Eclipse Pioneer Division to negotiate a contract for development and production of a pointing control system for the ATM. The work, covering three flight units at an estimated cost of $6.9 million, was directed by MSFC. The pointing system, one of several flight systems to be developed for the ATM program, was based on design of a control moment gyro that Bendix was already developing for Langley.

NASA News Release 66-309, "Aiming System Contract Let for Scope Mount," 28 November 1966.

 

November 30

NASA Hq announced the appointment of Charles W. Mathews, Gemini Program Manager at MSC, to the post of Director of Saturn/Apollo Applications. (Mathews replaced David M. Jones, who had been Acting Director in addition to his regular job as Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight [Programs].) Mathews assumed direction of the agency's effort to use Apollo vehicles to extend scientific and technical exploration of space.

NASA News Release 66-310, "Mathews Named to Headquarters Post-Apollo Job," 30 November 1966.

 

December 1

John H. Disher released the report by a study group at Headquarters on various modified lunar modules suitable for a lunar exploration program as part of AAP. These modified craft took the form of a LM taxi, ferry and logistics craft, a LM shelter, and an "augmented" LM. Disher authorized MSC to extend its engineering studies contract with Grumman to further define such modified LM configurations. He also asked MSFC to try to increase the Saturn V's translunar injection capability to 46 720 kg. These actions, he explained, afforded an opportunity to pursue any of several alternatives once future landing levels were known.

Memorandum, John H. Disher, NASA Hq, to Dist., "SAA Lunar Surface Exploration Program," 1 December 1966.

 

December 5

NASA Hq issued a schedule which introduced the cluster concept into the AAP design. The cluster concept consisted of a Workshop launch following a manned CSM launch. Six months later, a LM/ATM launch would follow a second manned flight. The LM/ATM would rendezvous and dock to the cluster. The first Workshop launch was scheduled for June 1968. As opposed to the habitable OWS and cluster concept which projected a much more complex program, [100] the S-IVB SSESM had been a comparatively simple mission requiring no rendezvous and docking and no habitation equipment.

A major similarity between the old S-IVB/SSESM concept and the cluster concept was use of the S-IVB stage to put the payload into orbit before passivation and pressurization of the stage's hydrogen tanks. The new cluster concept embodied the major step of making the Saturn IVB habitable in orbit, incorporating a two-gas atmosphere (oxygen and nitrogen) and a "shirt- sleeve" environment.

The OWS would contain crew quarters in the S IVB hydrogen tank (two floors and walls installed on the ground), which would be modified by Douglas Aircraft Company under MSFC management; an airlock module (previously called the SSESM) attached to the OWS, which would be built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation under MSC management; and a multiple docking adapter (MDA), which would contain five docking ports permitting up to five modules to be docked to the Workshop at any one time. The MDA would also house most OWS astronaut habitability equipment and many experiments.

The schedule called for 22 Saturn IB and 15 Saturn V launches. Two of the Saturn IBs would be launched a day apart-one manned, the other unmanned. Flights utilizing two Saturn V Workshops and four LM ATM missions were also scheduled.

NASA Hq Schedule, 5 December 1966.

 

December 5

John H. Disher distributed to elements of his Headquarters organization and to the Apollo Applications Managers at the field centers a list of action items and required completion dates that resulted from a major AAP management and planning review meeting at KSC on 9 10 November 1966. Disher listed 27 specific priority items, encompassing cost and schedule impacts of configuration changes, reusable Workshop designs, solar panels versus fuel cells, two-gas atmospheric selection, emergency procedures, extravehicular activity requirements, experiment definition, Apollo-vehicle design modifications required for AAP, a definite plan for follow-on hardware procurement, testing requirements, reliability and quality assurance, and organizational and manpower requirements. These sundry actions, he said, constituted a roll call of the fundamental items that had to be accomplished to establish a viable and ongoing AAP.

Memorandum, John H. Disher to Dist., "Action Items from Apollo Applications Meeting at KSC, November 9-10, 1966," 5 December 1966, with attachment, "Apollo Applications Program Meeting, November 9-10, 1966, KSC: Action Items."

 

December 6

NASA Hq approved MSC's contract with McDonnell for the airlock portion of the OWS experiment. The contract provided for delivery of one flight unit, with options for three additional modules if the agency so desired.

TWX, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC to John H. Disher, NASA Hq, 16 December 1966.

 

December 16

[101] MSFC awarded a contract to Bendix Corporation to design and develop control moment gyros to stabilize the attitude of the ATM in orbit.

NASA Contract NAS 8-20661, 16 December 1966.

 

December 19

During presentations on manned space station studies to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and Associate Deputy Administrator Willis H. Shapley, discussions turned to the contributory role of the AAP to any NASA future space station. Much had to be learned from AAP before agency officials and program planners could lay down any firm program objectives for such a station (including in the area of astronomy, which Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller had said was a major justification for AAP). Seamans affirmed that the agency would probably ultimately need such a large Earth-oriented capability, but that AAP would provide sufficient information on which to base future policy decisions. Much would depend upon man's capabilities for long-duration missions (another element that AAP was to prove out). Despite some criticism from scientific elements both within the agency and in the country at large, Seamans contended a great deal of interest existed in manned astronomical work and that future space astronomy missions had a real need for man in space, especially to perform inflight maintenance.

Memorandum for record, T. E. Jenkins, NASA Hq, "Action Items and Significant Discussion, Manned Space Station Study Presentation to Dr. Seamans and Mr. Shapley on December 19, 1966," 22 December 1966.

 

 


an illustration of two proposed advanced airlock mission
configuration designs by Wade W. Wilkerson

Two proposed advanced airlock mission configuration design sketches prepared by Wade W. Wilkerson of McDonnell Aircraft Corporation on 22 December 1966.

 

 

December 22

George E. Mueller wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun advising them of a joint MSC-Hq medical position regarding selection of a gaseous atmosphere for the Apollo Applications S-IVB Workshop. This medical position, based upon retention of the existing 100-percent oxygen environment in the command module, called for a "shirt-sleeve" atmosphere in the Workshop of 69-percent oxygen and 31-percent nitrogen at 35 kilonewtons per sq m (5 psia). (One-hundred-percent oxygen was still required for [102] spacesuited emergency operation and during extravehicular activities.) Mueller solicited from the Center Directors comments on the engineering design and operational techniques of the Workshop Mission.

Letter, George E. Mueller, NASA Hq, to Robert R. Gilruth and Wernher von Braun, 22 December 1966.

 

December 22

MSC announced a reorganization of the Apollo Applications Program Office at Houston. Key assignments were R. F. Thompson, Assistant Manager; K. F. Hecht, Orbital Workshop Project Office Manager; H. E. Gartrell, Future Missions Project Office Manager; W. D. Wolhart, Program Control Office Deputy Manager; H. W. Dotts, Systems Engineering Office Manager; W. H. Douglas, Test Operations Office Manager; and W. B. Evans, Mission Operations Office Manager.

MSC Announcement 66-184, "Organization and Personnel Assignments of the Apollo Applications Program Office," 22 December 1966.

 

December 23

In a memorandum to the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher posed a number of AAP issues needing resolution:

(1) Should AAP be portrayed as an "open-ended" program or should the agency identify a certain goal or activity as marking its completion?

(2) Should AAP include space rescue activities?

(3) The Office of Manned Space Flight (i.e., Mueller) must agree upon the feasibility of including in AAP's objectives retrieval of panels from one of the Pegasus-series of meteoroid detection satellites (an experiment given high priority by the Office of Advanced Research and Technology).

(4) Regarding the Mission Planning Task Force's effort to define the AAP Earth-orbital missions for 1969, a fundamental conflict in objectives existed between reuse of modules from previous missions (in a 28 1/2-degree-inclination orbit) versus the goal of conducting "AAP- A" meteorology experiments at their required higher orbital inclination (at least 50 degrees). The priorities of orbital inclination versus reuse of modules must be determined, Disher told Mueller.

(5) In light of evident program funding constraints, what should really be done about the lunar exploration part of AAP (shelter-taxi vs. augmented lunar module, etc.)?

A few days later, Disher posed some additional questions for Mueller to consider:

(1) Should Headquarters urge the Centers to make stronger efforts in the area of competitive procurement of follow-on hardware?

(2) What should the long-term policy be regarding the systems engineering role of Bellcomm, Inc., in AAP and advanced missions?

Memorandum, John H. Disher to George E. Mueller, "AAP Problems," 23 December 1966; note, John H. Disher to George E. Mueller, "Additional AAP Questions for Dr. Mueller's Consideration," 28 December 1966.

 

December 30

[103] NASA Hq officially promulgated mission objectives of the AAP-l and AAP-2 flights. They were to conduct a low-altitude, low-inclination Earth-orbital mission with a three-man crew for a maximum of 28 days using a spent S-IVB stage as an OWS; to provide for reactivation and reuse of the OWS for subsequent missions within one year from initial launch; and to perform test operations with the lunar mapping and survey system in Earth orbit.

NASA Hq, SAA Directive No. 3A, 30 December 1966.

 

(page 103 continues in the next section)


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