Updating LC-39 Requirements

As a separate action, LOC submitted to NASA Headquarters the same project document for LC-39 that had been prepared for the "resubmission and supplemental," since it reflected updated requirements and priorities that demanded prompt accommodation. Based on a reevaluation of the scheduled launch rate, the project document provided for a redistribution of funds among line items, but no additional funds, and asked for an early allotment.25 The updated LC-39 document reduced the number of high bays in the VAB from six to four (but with provisions for subsequent expansion) and changed the arming tower from a stationary to a movable structure. It substituted two crawler-transporters for the two rail-mounted launcher-transporters and introduced requirements for the special roadways needed by the crawlers. Because of the larger size of the Saturn, LOC increased the elevation of the launch pads to 12 meters and the pad diameter from 610 to 915 meters.

Trimming the VAB, after reevaluating the scheduled launch rate, lowered the FY 1963 incremental estimate from $92,882,000 to $75,590,000. The adoption of the crawlerway system reduced the transfer estimate by $3 million; however, making the arming tower movable increased the cost of its prime mover, the crawler-transporter. The figure for each of the three proposed pads almost tripled, going from $5,588,000 to $15,930,000, largely because of higher elevation and increased diameter. The largest addition, $22.8 million, would go for two launcher-umbilical towers, plus steel for a third. The changeover from the rail-mounted integral units to the dual unit (mobile launcher and crawler) accounted for most of the addition.

In submitting this updated project document for LC-39, LOC pointed out, as it had in its budgetary submission, that the FY 1963 funding covered only those facilities required to meet the initial phase of the launch schedule, and that it would request funds to complete LC-39 in subsequent fiscal years. Only the VAB remained from the earlier list. The new list included the crawler roadway, the crawler-transporters, and the launcher-umbilical towers. LC-39 was to provide the necessary capability to launch the Saturn C-5 vehicle and other advanced configurations such as the C-1B.

In summation, then, the updated project document for LC-39 requested FY 1963 funding for portions of the VAB, one launch pad, the crawler roadway from the VAB to one launch pad, two crawler-transporters, two umbilical towers and steel for a third, and a number of minor items. It also included study, design, and initial procurement of checkout and control equipment, flame deflectors, firing accessories, instrumentation and connecting cabling, general support equipment, and design of the arming tower. It did not list a separate figure for the launch control center since designers still planned to place it within the VAB.26 LOC communicated its plan for the funding of LC-39 facilities with FY 1963 construction of facilities money to NASA Headquarters on 18 September 1962.27

A week later, both Houses of Congress approved the NASA appropriation. Public Law 87-741 appropriated $3.67 billion for FY-63. NASA's actual expenditures during fiscal 1963 were to total $2.55 billion, less than half what the government spent on agriculture, and $200 million less than spent on public assistance programs. The NASA figure represented 2.75% of the total national budget expenditures of $92.6 billion.28

Even though the appropriations bill became law on 3 October 1962, the Launch Operations Center could not begin to award contracts until NASA Headquarters allotted the funds. In late October, Debus addressed a rather sharply worded letter to D. Brainerd Holmes, the Director of OMSF, about the delay in the receipt of fiscal 1963 construction of facilities funds at the Launch Operations Center. Debus pointed out that nearly $10 million in construction had proceeded through design, advertising, bidding, and the selection of contractors, but that contracts could not be awarded until Headquarters released the funds. There appeared to be "insufficient effort at the Washington level," Debus felt, "for the prompt forwarding of funds to LOC after Headquarters received them from the Bureau of the Budget."29

The letter had the desired effect. On 6 November, Associate Administrator Seamans officially approved initial funding for construction of facilities at launch complex 39 to the amount of $22,080,000. On the same day, Frederick L. Dunlap, Chief of Budget Execution at Headquarters, formally transferred funds to the Launch Operations Center. All was not yet well, however. Seamans had approved $4,780,000 for site development and utility installations; $11,000,000 for equipment, instrumentation, and support systems (specifically for two transporters); and $6,300,000 (plus $500,000 previously allocated from fiscal 1962) for design and engineering services. The document approved no funds for facility construction and modifications.30 Finally, on 27 December, a teletype message from Headquarters notified Lewis Melton, Chief of the Launch Operations Center's Financial Management Office, that fiscal 1963 funds allotted for launch complex 39 now totaled $167,850,000.31

Thus, as calendar 1962 came to an end, the Launch Operations Center had the money to start construction on launch complex 39. It had already put some of the money to use. A NASA-DoD intragovernmental purchase order on 13 November had provided funds to the Corps of Engineers for site preparation and design and engineering services, including the design of the vertical assembly building.32

Changing requirements and priorities for LC-39 made further adjustments necessary in the distribution of money for particular items. Since LOC could carry forward construction of facilities funds to subsequent fiscal years, it continued to update its FY 1963 CoF program, often reprogramming some construction for later fiscal years. Actually, the FY 1963 CoF account was to remain active through calendar 1968. Both the redistribution and reprogramming actions required congressional notification, a much simpler procedure than the lengthy budgetary process. LOC's financial planners worked simultaneously on several fiscal year CoF programs. Between September 1962 and January 1963, LOC transmitted to NASA Headquarters the aborted FY 1963 supplemental, the FY l964 CoF budget, and preliminary estimates for FY 1965. It was in 1962, in fact, that LOC did most of its budgetary homework to obtain the appropriations needed for the later construction of lunar launch facilities. The shift in emphasis from design to construction would not be apparent until mid-1963.

During this period of intensive budgetary preparation, the Office of Manned Space Flight took a major step toward determining the launch lineup. On 15 October 1962, after two years of considering various proposals, NASA announced its first "official flight schedule" for the Saturn vehicles. The first Saturn C-1B would go up in August 1965, and the first Saturn C-5 in March 1966; the first manned Saturn C-1B in May 1966, and the first manned Saturn C-5 in June 1967. Compared to earlier assumptions, this set back both initial manned launches by about six months. It also set the 1966 launch rate at five Saturn C-1B vehicles (three of them manned) and four developmental launches of the Saturn C-5. For 1967 the launch rate was four Saturn C-1Bs (all manned) and six Saturn C-5s (four manned).33 "Until further notice," Holmes announced, "these schedules were to be used by OMSF and the Centers for scheduling and financial planning." Meanwhile, LOC was getting ready to submit its project documents for the FY 1964 budget.

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