AKA: LEM;Lunar Excursion Module;Lunar Module. Status: Operational 1968. First Launch: 1968-01-22. Last Launch: 1972-12-07. Number: 10 . Thrust: 44.04 kN (9,901 lbf). Gross mass: 14,696 kg (32,399 lb). Unfuelled mass: 4,173 kg (9,199 lb). Specific impulse: 311 s. Height: 6.37 m (20.89 ft). Span: 9.07 m (29.75 ft).
Following the decision to use the lunar orbit rendezvous method to get to the moon, Grumman received the contract to develop the lunar module, which would take the first men to the surface to the moon. If funding had been available, modified lunar modules (dubbed LM Taxi, LM Shelter, and LM Truck) would have been used to set up the first lunar bases.
Unit Cost $: 50.000 million. Crew Size: 2. Habitable Volume: 6.65 m3. Spacecraft delta v: 4,700 m/s (15,400 ft/sec). Electric System: 50.00 kWh.
|Apollo LM DS American manned spacecraft module. 10 launches, 1968.01.22 (Apollo 5) to 1972.12.07 (Apollo 17).|
|Apollo LM AS American manned spacecraft module. 10 launches, 1968.01.22 (Apollo 5) to 1972.12.07 (Apollo 17).|
|LM Langley Lighter American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. This early open-cab Langley design used cryogenic propellants. The cryogenic design was estimated to gross 3,284 kg - to be compared with the 15,000 kg / 2 man LM design that eventually was selected.|
|LM Langley Light American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. This early open-cab single-crew Langley lunar lander design used storable propellants, resulting in an all-up mass of 4,372 kg.|
|LM Langley Lightest American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. Extremely light-weight open-cab lunar module design considered in early Langley studies.|
|Apollo ULS American lunar logistics spacecraft. Study 1962. An Apollo unmanned logistic system to aid astronauts on a lunar landing mission was studied.|
|Apollo LLRV American manned lunar lander test vehicle. Bell Aerosystems initially built two manned lunar landing research vehicles (LLRV) for NASA to assess the handling characteristics of Apollo LM-type vehicles on earth.|
|Apollo LLRF American Lunar Landing Research Facility. The huge structure (76.2 m high and 121.9 m long) was used to explore techniques and to forecast various problems of landing on the moon.|
|Apollo LM Shelter American manned lunar habitat. Cancelled 1968. The LM Shelter was essentially an Apollo LM lunar module with ascent stage engine and fuel tanks removed and replaced with consumables and scientific equipment for 14 days extended lunar exploration.|
|Apollo LM Taxi American manned lunar lander. Cancelled 1968. The LM Taxi was essentially the basic Apollo LM modified for extended lunar surface stays.|
|Apollo LM Truck American lunar logistics spacecraft. Cancelled 1968. The LM Truck was an LM Descent stage adapted for unmanned delivery of payloads of up to 5,000 kg to the lunar surface in support of a lunar base using Apollo technology.|
|Apollo LM Lab American manned space station. Study 1965. Use of the Apollo LM as an earth-orbiting laboratory was proposed for Apollo Applications Program missions.|
|Apollo LM CSD American manned combat spacecraft. Study 1965. The Apollo Lunar Module was considered for military use in the Covert Space Denial role in 1964.|
|Apollo LMSS American manned space station. Cancelled 1967. Under the Apollo Applications Program NASA began hardware and software procurement, development, and testing for a Lunar Mapping and Survey System. The system would be mounted in an Apollo CSM.|
|Apollo LASS S-IVB American lunar logistics spacecraft. Study 1966. The Douglas Company (DAC) proposed the "Lunar Application of a Spent S-IVB Stage (LASS)". The LASS concept required a landing gear on a S-IVB Stage.|
|Apollo LTA American technology satellite. 3 launches, 1967.11.09 (LTA-10R) to 1968.12.21 (LTA-B). Apollo Lunar module Test Articles were simple mass/structural models of the Lunar Module.|
|LM 1 (LEM 1) Null|
|Apollo LPM American lunar logistics spacecraft. Study 1968. The unmanned portion of the Lunar Surface Rendezvous and Exploration Phase of Apollo envisioned in 1969 was the Lunar Payload Module (LPM).|
|Apollo ELS American manned lunar habitat. Cancelled 1968. The capabilities of a lunar shelter not derived from Apollo hardware were surveyed in the Early Lunar Shelter Study (ELS), completed in February 1967 by AiResearch.|
|Apollo LASS American manned lunar habitat. Cancelled 1968. In the LASS (LM Adapter Surface Station) lunar shelter concept, the LM ascent stage was replaced by an SLA 'mini-base' and the position of the Apollo Service Module (SM) was reversed.|
|LM 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 (LEM 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12) Null|
|Apollo ALSEP American lunar lander. 7 launches, 1969.07.16 (EASEP) to 1972.12.07 (ALSEP). ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package) was the array of connected scientific instruments left behind on the lunar surface by each Apollo expedition.|
|Apollo LRM American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1969. Grumman proposed to use the LM as a lunar reconnaissance module. But NASA had already considered this and many other possibilities (Apollo MSS, Apollo LMSS); and there was no budget available for any of them.|
|Apollo MET American lunar hand cart. Flown 1971. NASA designed the MET lunar hand cart to help with problems such as the Apollo 12 astronauts had in carrying hand tools, sample boxes and bags, a stereo camera, and other equipment on the lunar surface.|
|LM on Moon|
LM Evolution. From left: July 1962, LOR decision, 220 inch Saturn IVB; November 1962, Grumman contract award, 260-inch S-IVB; 1963; 1967; as flown.
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Apollo CSM / LM|
Apollo Command Service Module and Lunar Module
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: Manufacturer Image
|Apollo Lunar Module|
Credit: © Mark Wade
|LM Ascent Stage|
|Apollo 16 1/6 G leap|
Apollo astronaut demonstrates low lunar gravity.
|Apollo CSM and LM|
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: © Mark Wade
|LM vs LK|
US Lunar Module compared to Soviet LK lunar lander
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Lunar Module 3 view|
Credit: © Mark Wade
NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan requested $3 million for research into rendezvous techniques as part of the NASA budget for Fiscal Year 1960. In subsequent hearings, DeMarquis D. Wyatt, Assistant to the NASA Director of Space Flight Development, explained that these funds would be used to resolve certain key problems in making space rendezvous practical. Among these were the establishment of referencing methods for fixing the relative positions of two vehicles in space; the development of accurate, lightweight target-acquisition equipment to enable the supply craft to locate the space station; the development of very accurate guidance and control systems to permit precisely determined flight paths; and the development of sources of controlled power.
Several possible configurations for a manned lunar landing by direct ascent being studied at the Lewis Research Center were described to the Research Steering Committee by Seymour C. Himmel. A six-stage launch vehicle would be required, the first three stages to boost the spacecraft to orbital speed, the fourth to attain escape speed, the fifth for lunar landing, and the sixth for lunar escape with a 10,000-pound return vehicle. One representative configuration had an overall height of 320 feet. H. H. Koelle of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency argued that orbital assembly or refueling in orbit (earth orbit rendezvous) was more flexible, more straightforward, and easier than the direct ascent approach. Bruce T. Lundin of the Lewis Research Center felt that refueling in orbit presented formidable problems since handling liquid hydrogen on the ground was still not satisfactory. Lewis was working on handling cryogenic fuels in space.
The Chance Vought Corporation completed a company-funded, independent, classified study on manned lunar landing and return (MALLAR), under the supervision of Thomas E. Dolan. Booster limitations indicated that earth orbit rendezvous would be necessary. A variety of lunar missions were described, including a two-man, 14-day lunar landing and return. This mission called for an entry vehicle of 6,600 pounds, a mission module of 9,000 pounds, and a lunar landing module of 27,000 pounds. It incorporated the idea of lunar orbit rendezvous though not specifically by name.
John C. Houbolt of the Langley Research Center presented a paper at the National Aeronautical Meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers in New York City in which the problems of rendezvous in space with the minimum expenditure of fuel were considered. Additional Details: here....
A study report was issued by the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory on guidance and control design for a variety of space missions. This report, approved by C. Stark Draper, Director of the Laboratory, showed that a vehicle, manned or unmanned, could have significant onboard navigation and guidance capability.
Robcrt R. Gilruth, Paul E. Purser, James A. Chamberlin, Maxime A. Faget, and H. Kurt Strass of STG met with a group from the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation to discuss advanced spacecraft programs. Grumman had been working on guidance requirements for circumlunar flights under the sponsorship of the Navy and presented Strass with a report of this work.
In a memorandum to Abe Silverstein, Director of NASA's Office of Space Flight Programs, George M. Low, Chief of Manned Space Flight, described the formation of a working group on the manned lunar landing program: "It has become increasingly apparent that a preliminary program for manned lunar landings should be formulated. This is necessary in order to provide a proper justification for Apollo, and to place Apollo schedules and technical plans on a firmer foundation.
"In order to prepare such a program, I have formed a small working group, consisting of Eldon Hall, Oran Nicks, John Disher, and myself. This group will endeavor to establish ground rules for manned lunar landing missions; to determine reasonable spacecraft weights; to specify launch vehicle requirements; and to prepare an integrated development plan, including the spacecraft, lunar landing and takeoff system, and launch vehicles. This plan should include a time-phasing and funding picture, and should identify areas requiring early studies by field organizations."
Associate Administrator of NASA Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and his staff were briefed by Langley Research Center personnel on the rendezvous method as it related to the national space program. Clinton E. Brown presented an analysis made by himself and Ralph W. Stone, Jr., describing the general operational concept of lunar orbit rendezvous for the manned lunar landing. The advantages of this plan in contrast with the earth orbit rendezvous method, especially in reducing launch vehicle requirements, were illustrated. Others discussing the rendezvous were John C. Houbolt, John D. Bird, and Max C. Kurbjun.
During a meeting of the Space Exploration Program Council at NASA Headquarters, the subject of a manned lunar landing was discussed. Following presentations on earth orbit rendezvous (Wernher von Braun, Director of Marshall Space Flight Center), lunar orbit rendezvous (John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center), and direct ascent (Melvyn Savage of NASA Headquarters), the Council decided that NASA should not follow any one of these specific approaches, but should proceed on a broad base to afford flexibility. Another outcome of the discussion was an agreement that NASA should have an orbital rendezvous program which could stand alone as well as being a part of the manned lunar program. A task group was named to define the elements of the program insofar as possible. Members of the group were George M. Low, Chairman, Eldon W. Hall, A. M. Mayo, Ernest O. Pearson, Jr., and Oran W. Nicks, all of NASA Headquarters; Maxime A. Faget of STG; and H. H. Koelle of Marshall Space Flight Center. This group became known as the Low Committee.
A conference was held at the Langley Research Center between representatives of STG and Langley to discuss the feasibility of incorporating a lunar orbit rendezvous phase into the Apollo program. Attending the meeting for STG were Robert L. O'Neal, Owen E. Maynard, and H. Kurt Strass, and for the Langley Research Center, John C. Houbolt, Clinton E. Brown, Manuel J. Queijo, and Ralph W. Stone, Jr. The presentation by Houbolt centered on a performance analysis which showed the weight saving to be gained by the lunar rendezvous technique as opposed to the direct ascent mode. According to the analysis, a saving in weight of from 20 to 40 percent could be realized with the lunar orbit rendezvous technique.
At the second meeting of the Manned Lunar Landing Task Group (Low Committee), a draft position paper was presented by George M. Low, Chairman. A series of reports on launch vehicle capabilities, spacecraft, and lunar program support were presented and considered for possible inclusion in the position paper.
The Manned Lunar Landing Task Group (Low Committee) submitted its first draft report to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. A section on detailed costs and schedules still was in preparation and a detailed itemized backup report was expected to be available in mid- February.
A NASA inter-Center meeting on space rendezvous was held in Washington, D.C. Air Force and NASA programs were discussed and the status of current studies was presented by NASA Centers. Members of the Langley Research Center outlined the basic concepts of the lunar orbit rendezvous method of accomplishing the lunar landing mission.
The midterm review of the Apollo feasibility studies was held at STG. Oral status reports were made by officials of Convair Astronautics Division of the General Dynamics Corporation on March 1, The Martin Company on March 2, and the General Electric Company on March 3. The reports described the work accomplished, problems unsolved, and future plans. Representatives of all NASA Centers attended the meetings, including a majority of the members of the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups. Members of these Groups formed the nucleus of the mid-term review groups which met during the three-day period and compiled lists of comments on the presentations for later discussions with the contractors.
A circular, "Manned Lunar Landing via Rendezvous," was prepared by John C. Houbolt from material supplied by himself, John D. Bird, Max C. Kurbjun, and Arthur W. Vogeley, who were members of the Langley Research Center space station subcommittee on rendezvous. Other members of the subcommittee at various times included W. Hewitt Phillips, John M. Eggleston, John A. Dodgen, and William D. Mace.
Recommendations on immediate steps to be taken so that the three key projects - MORAD (Manned Orbital Rendezvous and Docking), ARP (Apollo Rendezvous Phases), and MALLIR (Manned Lunar Landing Involving Rendezvous) - could get under way were:
Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA's Associate Administrator, requested the Directors of the Office of Launch Vehicle Programs and the Office of Advanced Research Programs to bring together members of their staffs with other persons from NASA Headquarters to assess a wide variety of possible ways of accomplishing the lunar landing mission. This study was to supplement the one being done by the Ad Hoc Task Group for Manned Lunar Landing Study (Fleming Committee) but was to be separate from it. Additional Details: here....
Maxime A. Faget, Paul E. Purser, and Charles J. Donlan of STG met with Arthur W. Vogeley, Clinton E. Brown, and Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., of Langley Research Center on a "lunar landing" paper. Faget's outline was to be used, with part of the information to be worked up by Vogeley.
Langley Research Center simulated spacecraft flights at speeds of 8,200 to 8,700 feet per second in approaching the moon's surface. With instruments preset to miss the moon's surface by 40 to 80 miles, pilots with control of thrust and torques about all three axes of the craft learned to establish orbits 10 to 90 miles above the surface, using a graph of vehicle rate of descent and circumferential velocity, an altimeter, and vehicle attitude and rate meters, as reported by Manuel J. Queijo and Donald R. Riley of Langley.
The Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group (Golovin Committee) notified the Marshal! Space Flight Center (MSFC), Langley Research Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that the Group was planning to undertake a comparative evaluation of three types of rendezvous operations and direct flight for manned lunar landing. Rendezvous methods were earth orbit, lunar orbit, and lunar surface. MSFC was requested to study earth orbit rendezvous, Langley to study lunar orbit rendezvous, and JPL to study lunar surface rendezvous. The NASA Office of Launch Vehicle Programs would provide similar information on direct ascent. Additional Details: here....
In a memorandum to the Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group (LLVPG) staff, Harvey Hall of NASA described the studies being done by the Centers on rendezvous modes for accomplishing a manned lunar landing. These studies had been requested from Langley Research Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on August 23. STG was preparing separate documentation on the lunar orbit rendezvous mode. An LLVPG team to undertake a comparative evaluation of rendezvous and direct ascent techniques had been set up. Members of the team included Hall and Norman Rafel of NASA and H. Braham and L. M. Weeks of Aerospace Corporation.
The evaluation would consider:
Under the direction of John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center, a two-volume work entitled "Manned Lunar-Landing through use of Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous" was presented to the Golovin Committee (organized on July 20). The study had been prepared by Houbolt, John D. Bird, Arthur W. Vogeley, Ralph W. Stone, Jr., Manuel J. Queijo, William H. Michael, Jr., Max C. Kurbjun, Roy F. Brissenden, John A. Dodgen, William D. Mace, and others of Langley. The Golovin Committee had requested a mission plan using the lunar orbit rendezvous concept. Bird, Michael, and Robert H. Tolson appeared before the Committee in Washington to explain certain matters of trajectory and lunar stay time not covered in the document.
In a letter to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center presented the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) plan and outlined certain deficiencies in the national booster and manned rendezvous programs. This letter protested exclusion of the LOR plan from serious consideration by committees responsible for the definition of the national program for lunar exploration.
The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation developed a detailed, company-funded study on the lunar orbit rendezvous technique: characteristics of the system (relative cost of direct ascent, earth orbit rendezvous, and lunar orbit rendezvous); developmental problems (communications, propulsion); and elements of the system (tracking facilities, etc.). Joseph M. Gavin was appointed in the spring to head the effort, and Robert E. Mullaney was designated program manager.
Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director, in a letter to NASA Headquarters, described the Ad Hoc Lunar Landing Module Working Group which was to be under the direction of the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office. The Group would determine what constraints on the design of the lunar landing module were applicable to the effort of the Lewis Research Center. Gilruth asked that Eldon W. Hall represent NASA Headquarters in this Working Group. (At this time, the lunar landing module was conceived as being that part of the spacecraft which would actually land on the moon and which would contain the propulsion system necessary for launch from the lunar surface and injection into transearth trajectory. Pending a decision on the lunar mission mode, the actual configuration of the module was not yet clearly defined.)
NASA Headquarters selected the Chance Vought Corporation of Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., as a contractor to study spacecraft rendezvous. A primary part of the contract would be a flight simulation study exploring the capability of an astronaut to control an Apollo-type spacecraft.
Members of Langley Research Center briefed representatives of the Chance Vought Corporation of Ling- Temco-Vought, Inc., on the lunar orbit rendezvous method of accomplishing the lunar landing mission. The briefing was made in connection with the study contract on spacecraft rendezvous awarded by NASA Headquarters to Chance Vought on March 1.
A small group within the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office developed a preliminary program schedule for three approaches to the lunar landing mission: earth orbit rendezvous, direct ascent, and lunar orbit rendezvous. The exercise established a number of ground rules :
Milton W. Rosen, NASA Office of Manned Space Flight Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, recommended that the S-IVB stage be designed specifically as the third stage of the Saturn C-5 and that the C-5 be designed specifically for the manned lunar landing using the lunar orbit rendezvous technique. The S-IVB stage would inject the spacecraft into a parking orbit and would be restarted in space to place the lunar mission payload into a translunar trajectory. Rosen also recommended that the S- IVB stage be used as a flight test vehicle to exercise the command module (CM), service module (SM), and lunar excursion module (LEM) (previously referred to as the lunar excursion vehicle (LEV)) in earth orbit missions. The Saturn C-1 vehicle, in combination with the CM, SM, LEM, and S-IVB stage, would be used on the most realistic mission simulation possible. This combination would also permit the most nearly complete operational mating of the CM, SM, LEM, and S-IVB prior to actual mission flight.
MSC Associate Director Walter C. William reported to the Manned Space Flight Management Council that the lack of a decision on the lunar mission mode was causing delays in various areas of the Apollo spacecraft program, especially the requirements for the portions of the spacecraft being furnished by NAA.
John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center, writing in the April issue of Astronautics, outlined the advantages of lunar orbit rendezvous for a manned lunar landing as opposed to direct flight from earth or earth orbit rendezvous. Under this concept, an Apollo-type spacecraft would fly directly to the moon, go into lunar orbit, detach a small landing craft which would land on the moon and then return to the mother craft, which would then return to earth. The advantages would be the much smaller craft performing the difficult lunar landing and takeoff, the possibility of optimizing the smaller craft for this one function, the safe return of the mother craft in event of a landing accident, and even the possibility of using two of the small craft to provide a rescue capability.
A presentation on the lunar orbit rendezvous technique was made to D. Brainerd Holmes, Director, NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, by representatives of the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office. A similar presentation to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., followed on May 31.
A schedule for the letting of a contract for the development of a lunar excursion module was presented to the Manned Space Flight Management Council by MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth in anticipation of a possible decision to employ the lunar rendezvous technique in the lunar landing mission.
MSC invited 11 firms to submit research and development proposals for the lunar excursion module (LEM) for the manned lunar landing mission. The firms were Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, The Boeing Airplane Company, Northrop Corporation, Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, General Dynamics Corporation, Republic Aviation Corporation, Martin- Marietta Company, North American Aviation, Inc., and McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. Additional Details: here....
The Office of Systems under NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight summarized its conclusions on the selection of a lunar mission mode based on NASA and industry studies conducted in 1961 and 1962:
Of the 11 companies invited to bid on the lunar excursion module on July 25, eight planned to respond. NAA had notified MSC that it would not bid on the contract. No information had been received from the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation and it was questionable whether the Northrop Corporation would respond.
The NAA spacecraft Statement of Work was revised to include the requirements for the lunar excursion module (LEM) as well as other modifications. The LEM requirements were identical with those given in the LEM Development Statement of Work of July 24.
The command module (CM) would now be required to provide the crew with a one-day habitable environment and a survival environment for one week after touching down on land or water. In case of a landing at sea, the CM should be able to recover from any attitude and float upright with egress hatches free of water. Additional Details: here....
Nine industry proposals for the lunar excursion module were received from The Boeing Company, Douglas Aircraft Company, General Dynamics Corporation, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Martin-Marietta Corporation, Northrop Corporation, and Republic Aviation Corporation. NASA evaluation began the next day. Additional Details: here....
Apollo Spacecraft Project Office requested NAA to perform a study of command module-lunar excursion module (CM-LEM) docking and crew transfer operations and recommend a preferred mode, establish docking design criteria, and define the CM-LEM interface. Both translunar and lunar orbital docking maneuvers were to be considered. The docking concept finally selected would satisfy the requirements of minimum weight, design and functional simplicity, maximum docking reliability, minimum docking time, and maximum visibility.
The mission constraints to be used for this study were :
Two three-month studies of an unmanned logistic system to aid astronauts on a lunar landing mission would be negotiated with three companies, NASA announced. Under a $150,000 contract, Space Technology Laboratories, Inc., would look into the feasibility of developing a general-purpose spacecraft into which varieties of payloads could be fitted. Under two $75,000 contracts, Northrop Space laboratories and Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation would study the possible cargoes that such a spacecraft might carry. NASA Centers simultaneously would study lunar logistic: trajectories, launch vehicle adaptation, lunar landing touchdown dynamics, scheduling, and use of roving vehicles on the lunar surface.
NASA contracted with the Armour Research Foundation for an investigation of conditions likely to be found on the lunar surface. Research would concentrate first on evaluating the effects of landing velocity, size of the landing area, and shape of the landing object with regard to properties of the lunar soils. Earlier studies by Armour had indicated that the lunar surface might be composed of very strong material. Amour reported its findings during the first week of November.
The lunar excursion module was defined as consisting of 12 principal systems: guidance and navigation, stabilization and control, propulsion, reaction control, lunar touchdown, structure including landing and docking systems, crew, environmental control, electrical power, communications, instrumentation, and experimental instrumentation. A consideration of prime importance to practically all systems was the possibility of using components from Project Mercury or those under development for Project Gemini.
Faced by opposition of mode selection by Jerome Wiesner, Kennedy's science adviser, NASA let contracts to McDonnell and STL for direct two-man flight modes. Both concluded that it was feasible but would require LH2/LOX stages for descent and ascent from lunar surface, which NASA/STG adamantly opposed. This was also the last stab - for the time being - at 'lunar Gemini'.
The Office of Systems under NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight completed a manned lunar landing mode comparison embodying the most recent studies by contractors and NASA Centers. The report was the outgrowth of the decision announced by NASA on July 11 to continue studies on lunar landing modes while basing planning and procurement primarily on the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) technique. Additional Details: here....
The Amour Research Foundation reported to NASA that the surface of the moon might not be covered with layers of dust. The first Armour studies showed that dust particles become harder and denser in a higher vacuum environment such as that of the moon, but the studies had not proved that particles eventually become bonded together in a rocket substance as the vacuum increases.
NASA announced that the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation had been selected to build the lunar excursion module of the three-man Apollo spacecraft under the direction of MSC. The contract, still to be negotiated, was expected to be worth about $350 million, with estimates as high as $1 billion by the time the project would be completed. Additional Details: here....
About 100 Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and MSC representatives began seven weeks of negotiations on the lunar excursion module (LEM) contract. After agreeing on the scope of work and on operating and coordination procedures, the two sides reached fiscal accord. Negotiations were completed on January 3, 1963. Eleven days later, NASA authorized Grumman to proceed with LEM development.
At a news conference in Cleveland, Ohio, during the 10-day Space Science Fair there, NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden stated that inflight practice at orbital maneuvering was essential for lunar missions. He believed that landings would follow reconnaissance of the moon by circumlunar and near- lunar-surface flights.
North American completed a study of CSM-LEM transposition and docking. During a lunar mission, after the spacecraft was fired into a trajectory toward the moon, the CSM would separate from the adapter section containing the LEM. It would then turn around, dock with the LEM, and pull the second vehicle free from the adapter. The contractor studied three methods of completing this maneuver: free fly-around, tethered fly- around, and mechanical repositioning. Of the three, the company recommended the free fly-around, based on NASA's criteria of minimum weight, simplicity of design, maximum docking reliability, minimum time of operation, and maximum visibility.
Also investigated was crew transfer from the CM to the LEM, to determine the requirements for crew performance and, from this, to define human engineering needs. North American concluded that a separate LEM airlock was not needed but that the CSM oxygen supply system's capacity should be increased to effect LEM pressurization.
On November 29, North American presented the results of docking simulations, which showed that the free flight docking mode was feasible and that the 45-kilogram (100-pound) service module (SM) reaction control system engines were adequate for the terminal phase of docking. The simulations also showed that overall performance of the maneuver was improved by providing the astronaut with an attitude display and some form of alignment aid, such as probe.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb, in a letter to the President, explained the rationale behind the Agency's selection of lunar orbit rendezvous (rather than either direct ascent or earth orbit rendezvous) as the mode for landing Apollo astronauts on the moon. Arguments for and against any of the three modes could have been interminable: "We are dealing with a matter that cannot be conclusively proved before the fact," Webb said. "The decision on the mode . . . had to be made at this time in order to maintain our schedules, which aim at a landing attempt in late 1967."
The MSC Flight Operations Division's Mission Analysis Branch analyzed three operational procedures for the first phase of descent from lunar orbit:
(Apocynthion and pericynthion are the high and low points, respectively, of an object in orbit around the moon (as, for example, a spacecraft sent from earth). Apolune and perilune also refer to these orbital parameters, but these latter two words apply specifically to an object launched from the moon itself.)
NASA's Flight Research Center (FRC) announced the award of a $3.61 million contract to Bell Aerosystems Company of Bell Aerospace Corporation for the design and construction of two manned lunar landing research vehicles. The vehicles would be able to take off and land under their own power, reach an altitude of about 1,220 meters (4,000 feet), hover, and fly horizontally. A fan turbojet engine would supply a constant upward push of five-sixths the weight of the vehicle to simulate the one-sixth gravity of the lunar surface. Tests would be conducted at FRC.
Following a technical conference on the LEM electrical power system (EPS), Grumman began a study to define the EPS configuration. Included was an analysis of EPS requirements and of weight and reliability for fuel cells and batteries. Total energy required for the LEM mission, including the translunar phase, was estimated at 61.3 kilowatt-hours. Upon completion of this and a similar study by MSC, Grumman decided upon a three-cell arrangement with an auxiliary battery. Capacity would be determined when the EPS load analysis was completed.
Grumman and NASA announced the selection of four companies as major LEM subcontractors:
After conceptual planning and meetings with engineers from Bell Aerosystems, Buffalo, NY, a company with experience in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, NASA issued Bell a $50,000 study contract in December 1961. Bell had independently conceived a similar, free-flying simulator, and out of this study came the NASA Headquarters' endorsement of the LLRV concept, resulting in a $3.6 million production contract awarded to Bell for delivery of the first of two vehicles for flight studies at the FRC within 14 months.
In a reorganization of ASPO, MSC announced the appointment of two deputy managers. Robert O. Piland, deputy for the LEM, and James L. Decker, deputy for the CSM, would supervise cost, schedule, technical design, and production. J. Thomas Markley was named Special Assistant to the Apollo Manager, Charles W. Frick. Also appointed to newly created positions were Caldwell C. Johnson, Manager, Spacecraft Systems Office, CSM; Owen E. Maynard, Acting Manager, Spacecraft Systems Office, LEM; and David W. Gilbert, Manager, Spacecraft Systems Office, Guidance and Navigation.
Two aerospace technologists at MSC, James A. Ferrando and Edgar C. Lineberry, Jr., analyzed orbital constraints on the CSM imposed by the abort capability of the LEM during the descent and hover phases of a lunar mission. Their study concerned the feasibility of rendezvous should an emergency demand an immediate return to the CSM.
Ferrando and Lineberry found that, once abort factors are considered, there exist "very few" orbits that are acceptable from which to begin the descent. They reported that the most advantageous orbit for the CSM would be a 147-kilometer (80-nautical-mile) circular one.
Aviation Daily reported an announcement by Frank Canning, Assistant LEM Project Manager at Grumman, that a Request for Proposals would be issued in about two weeks for the development of an alternate descent propulsion system. Because the descent stage presented what he called the LEM's "biggest development problem," Canning said that the parallel program was essential.
The Apollo Mission Planning Panel held its organizational meeting at MSC. The panel's function was to develop the lunar landing mission design, coordinate trajectory analyses for all Saturn missions, and develop contingency plans for all manned Apollo missions.
Membership on the panel included representatives from MSC, MSFC, NASA Headquarters, North American, Grumman, and MIT, with other NASA Centers being called on when necessary. By outlining the most accurate mission plan possible, the panel would ensure that the spacecraft could satisfy Apollo's anticipated mission objectives. Most of the panel's influence on spacecraft design would relate to the LEM, which was at an earlier stage of development than the CSM. The panel was not given responsibility for preparing operational plans to be used on actual Apollo missions, however.
Grumman began fabrication of a one-tenth scale model of the LEM for stage separation tests. In launching from the lunar surface, the LEM's ascent engine fires just after pyrotechnic severance of all connections between the two stages, a maneuver aptly called "fire in the hole."
Also, Grumman advised that, from the standpoint of landing stability, a five-legged LEM was unsatisfactory. Under investigation were a number of landing gear configurations, including retractable legs.
Grumman representatives presented their technical study report on power sources for the LEM. They recommended three fuel cells in the descent stage (one cell to meet emergency requirements), two sets of fluid tanks, and two batteries for peak power loads. For industrial competition to develop the power sources, Grumman suggested Pratt and Whitney Aircraft and GE for the fuel cells, and Eagle-Picher, Electrical Storage Battery, Yardney, Gulton, and Delco-Remy for the batteries.
Grumman presented its first monthly progress report on the LEM. In accordance with NASA's list of high-priority items, principal engineering work was concentrated on spacecraft and subsystem configuration studies, mission plans and test program investigations, common usage equipment surveys, and preparation for implementing subcontractor efforts.
NASA announced signing of the contract with Grumman for development of the LEM. Company officials had signed the document on January 21 and, following legal reviews, NASA Headquarters had formally approved the agreement on March 7. Under the fixed-fee contract (NAS 9-1100) ($362.5 million for costs and $25.4 million in fees) Grumman was authorized to design, fabricate, and deliver nine ground test and 11 flight vehicles. The contractor would also provide mission support for Apollo flights. MSC outlined a developmental approach, incorporated into the contract as "Exhibit B, Technical Approach," that became the "framework within which the initial design and operational modes" of the LEM were developed.
A bidders' conference was held at Grumman for a LEM mechanically throttled descent engine to be developed concurrently with Rocketdyne's helium injection descent engine. Corporations represented were Space Technology Laboratories; United Technology Center, a division of United Aircraft Corporation; Reaction Motors Division, Thiokol Chemical Corporation; and Aerojet-General Corporation. Technical and cost proposals were due at Grumman on April 8.
The Apollo Mission Planning Panel set forth two firm requirements for the lunar landing mission. First, both LEM crewmen must be able to function on the lunar surface simultaneously. MSC contractors were directed to embody this requirement in the design and development of the Apollo spacecraft systems. Second, the panel established duration limits for lunar operations. These limits, based upon the 48-hour LEM operation requirement, were 24 hours on the lunar surface and 24 hours in flight on one extreme, and 45 surface hours and 3 flight hours on the other. Grumman was directed to design the LEM to perform throughout this range of mission profiles.
MSC reported that stowage of crew equipment, some of which would be used in both the CM and the LEM, had been worked out. Two portable life support systems and three pressure suits and thermal garments were to be stowed in the CM. Smaller equipment and consumables would be distributed between modules according to mission phase requirements.
MSC reported that preliminary plans for Apollo scientific instrumentation had been prepared with the cooperation of NASA Headquarters, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Goddard Space Flight Center. The first experiments would not be selected until about December 1963, allowing scientists time to prepare proposals. Prime consideration would be given to experiments that promised the maximum return for the least weight and complexity, and to those that were man-oriented and compatible with spacecraft restraints. Among those already suggested were seismic devices (active and passive), and instruments to measure the surface bearing strength, magnetic field, radiation spectrum, soil density, and gravitational field. MSC planned to procure most of this equipment through the scientific community and through other NASA and government organizations.
MSC sent MIT and Grumman radar configuration requirements for the LEM. The descent equipment would be a three-beam doppler radar with a two-position antenna. Operating independently of the primary guidance and navigation system, it would determine altitude, rate of descent, and horizontal velocity from 7,000 meters (20,000 feet) above the lunar surface. The LEM rendezvous radar, a gimbaled antenna with a two-axis freedom of movement, and the rendezvous transponder mounted on the antenna would provide tracking data, thus aiding the LEM to intercept the orbiting CM. The SM would be equipped with an identical rendezvous radar and transponder.
RCA completed a study on ablative versus regenerative cooling for the thrust chamber of the LEM ascent engine. Because of low cooling margins available with regenerative cooling, Grumman selected the ablative method, which permitted the use of either ablation or radiation cooling for the nozzle extension.
Grumman met with representatives of North American, Collins Radio Company, and Motorola, Inc., to discuss common usage and preliminary design specifications for the LEM communications system. These discussions led to a simpler design for the S-band receiver and to modifications to the S-band transmitter (required because of North American's design approach).
Grumman began "Lunar Hover and Landing Simulation IIIA," a series of tests simulating a LEM landing. Crew station configuration and instrument panel layout were representative of the actual vehicle.
Through this simulation, Grumman sought primarily to evaluate the astronauts' ability to perform the landing maneuver manually, using semiautomatic as well as degraded attitude control modes. Other items evaluated included the flight control system parameters, the attitude and thrust controller configurations, the pressure suit's constraint during landing maneuvers, the handling qualities and operation of LEM test article 9 as a freeflight vehicle, and manual abort initiation during the terminal landing maneuver.
At a mechanical systems meeting at MSC, customer and contractor achieved a preliminary configuration freeze for the LEM. Several features of the design of the two stages were agreed upon:
Grumman recommended that the LEM reaction control system (RCS) be equipped with dual interconnected tanks, separately pressurized and employing positive expulsion bladders. The design would provide for an emergency supply of propellants from the main ascent propulsion tanks. The RCS oxidizer to fuel ratio would be changed from 2.0:1 to 1.6:1. MSC approved both of these changes.
Grumman reported that it had advised North American's Rocketdyne Division to go ahead with the lunar excursion module descent engine development program. Negotiations were complete and the contract was being prepared for MSC's review and approval. The go-ahead was formally issued on May 2.
NASA, North American, Grumman, and RCA representatives determined the alterations needed to make the CM television camera compatible with that in the LEM: an additional oscillator to provide synchronization, conversion of operating voltage from 115 AC to 28 DC, and reduction of the lines per frame from 400 to 320.
Astronauts M. Scott Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Neil A. Armstrong, James A. McDivitt, Elliot M. See, Jr., Edward H. White II, Charles Conrad, Jr., and John W. Young participated in a study in LTV's Manned Space Flight Simulator at Dallas, Tex. Under an MSC contract, LTV was studying the astronauts' ability to control the LEM manually and to rendezvous with the CM if the primary guidance system failed during descent.
MSC announced a reorganization of ASPO:
The first meeting of the LEM Flight Technology Systems Panel was held at MSC. The panel was formed to coordinate discussions on all problems involving weight control, engineering simulation, and environment. The meeting was devoted to a review of the status of LEM engineering programs.
Grumman, reporting on the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle's (LLRV) application to the LEM development program, stated the LLRV could be used profitably to test LEM hardware. Also included was a development schedule indicating the availability of LEM equipment and the desired testing period.
At a meeting on mechanical systems at MSC, Grumman presented a status report on the LEM landing gear design and LEM stowage height. On May 9, NASA had directed the contractor to consider a more favorable lunar surface than that described in the original Statement of Work. Additional Details: here....
Grumman representatives met with the ASPO Electrical Systems Panel (ESP). From ESP, the contractor learned that the communications link would handle voice only. Transmission of physiological and space suit data from the LEM to the CM was no longer required. VHF reception of this data and S-band transmission to ground stations was still necessary. In addition, Grumman was asked to study the feasibility of a backup voice transmitter for communications with crewmen on the lunar surface should the main VHF transmitter fail.
NASA Headquarters, MSC, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, MSFC, North American, and Grumman agreed that the LEM and CSM would incorporate phase-coherent S-band transponders. (The S-band system provides a variety of communications services. Being phase-coherent meant that it could also provide Mission Control Center with information about the vehicle's velocity and position, and thus was a means of tracking the spacecraft.) Each would have its own allocated frequencies and would be compatible with Deep Space Instrumentation Facilities.
Meeting in Bethpage, N. Y., officials from MSC, Grumman, Hamilton Standard, International Latex, and North American examined LEM-space suit interface problems. This session resulted in several significant decisions:
Grumman presented its LEM engineering and simulation plans to MSC, stating that their existing facilities and contracted facilities at North American in Columbus, Ohio, and at LTV would be used throughout 1963. Two part-task LEM simulators would be operational at Grumman early in 1964, with a complete mission simulator available in 1965. MSC had approved the contractor's procurement of two visual display systems for use in the simulators.
Rocketdyne reported to Grumman on the LEM descent stage engine development program. Revised measurements for the engine were: diameter, 137 centimeters (54 inches); length, 221 centimeters (87 inches) (30.5 centimeters (twelve inches) more than the original constraint that Grumman had imposed on Rocketdyne).
Grumman studied the possibility of using the portable life support system lithium hydroxide cartridges in the LEM environmental control system, and determined that such common usage was feasible. This analysis would be verified by tests at Hamilton Standard.
MSC and Grumman assessed crew visibility requirements for the LEM. The study included a series of helicopter flights in which simulated earthshine lighting conditions and LEM window configurations were combined with helicopter landings along representative LEM trajectories. These flights simulated the LEM's attitude, velocity, range, and dive angle in the final approach trajectory.
MSC reported that crew systems engineers at the Center were assessing feasibility of having the LEM crew stand rather than sit. MSC requested Grumman also to look into having the crew fly the vehicle from a standing position. The concept was formally proposed at the August 27 crew systems meeting and was approved at the NASA-Grumman review of the LEM M-1 mockup on September 16-18.
MSC met with those contractors participating in the development of the LEM guidance and navigation system. Statements of Work for the LEM design concept were agreed upon. (Technical directives covering most of the work had been received earlier by the contractors.)
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the MSF Management Council that the LEM landing gear design freeze was now scheduled for August 31. Grumman had originally proposed a LEM configuration with five fixed legs, but LEM changes had made this concept impractical. The weight and overall height of the LEM had increased, the center of gravity had been moved upward, the LEM stability analysis had expanded to cover a wider range of landing conditions, the cruciform descent stage had been selected, and the interpretation of the lunar model had been revised. These changes necessitated a larger gear diameter than at first proposed. This, in turn, required deployable rather than fixed legs so the larger gear could be stored in the Saturn V adapter. MSC had therefore adopted a four-legged deployable gear, which was lighter and more reliable than the five-legged configuration.
NASA announced its concurrence in Grumman's selection of RCA as subcontractor for the LEM electronics subsystems and for engineering support. Under the $40 million contract, RCA was responsible for five LEM subsystem areas: systems engineering support, communications, radar, inflight testing, and ground support. RCA would also fabricate electronic components of the LEM stabilization and control system. (Engineers and scientists from RCA had been working at Grumman on specific projects since February.)
MSC reported that two portable life support systems would be stowed in the LEM and one in the CM. Resupplying water, oxygen, and lithium hydroxide could be done in a matter of minutes; however, battery recharging took considerably longer, and detailed design of a charger was continuing.
Space Technology Laboratories received Grumman's go-ahead to develop the parallel descent engine for the LEM. At the same time, Grumman ordered Bell Aerosystems Company to proceed with the LEM ascent engine. The contracts were estimated at $18,742,820 and $11,205,415, respectively.
Grumman presented the results of a study on LEM visibility. A front-face configuration with triangular windows was tentatively accepted by MSC for the ascent stage. Further investigation would be directed toward eliminating the "dead spots" to improve the configuration's visibility.
MSC directed North American to concentrate on the extendable boom concept for CSM docking with the LEM. The original impact type of docking had been modified:
North American, Grumman, and Hamilton Standard, meeting at MSC with Crew Systems Division engineers, agreed that the portable life support system (PLSS) would have three attaching points for stowage in the spacecraft. In addition, it was agreed that the PLSS should not be used for shoulder restraint in the LEM.
Grumman selected Pratt and Whitney to develop fuel cells for the LEM. Current LEM design called for three cells, supplemented by a battery for power during peak consumption beyond what the cells could deliver. Grumman and Pratt and Whitney completed contract negotiations on August 27, and MSC issued a letter go-ahead on September 5. Including fees and royalties, the contract was worth $9.411 million.
Grumman authorized Hamilton Standard to begin development of the environmental control system (ECS) for the LEM. The cost-plus-incentive-fee contract was valued at $8,371,465. The parts of the ECS to be supplied by Hamilton Standard were specified by Grumman.
ASPO ordered Grumman to design identical connectors for both ends of the space suit hoses in the LEM. This arrangement, called the "buddy concept," would permit one portable life support system to support two crewmen and thus would eliminate the need for a special suit-to-suit hose.
MIT and Grumman representatives discussed installing the inertial measurement unit and the optical telescope in the LEM. Of several possible locations, the top centerline of the cabin seemed most promising. Grumman agreed to provide a preliminary structural arrangement of the guidance components so that MIT could study problems of installation and integration.
North American, NASA, and Grumman representatives discussed three methods of descent from lunar parking orbit:
North American asked MSC if Grumman was designing the LEM to have a thrusting capability with the CSM attached and, if not, did NASA intend to require the additional effort by Grumman to provide this capability. North American had been proceeding on the assumption that, should the service propulsion system (SPS) fail during translunar flight, the LEM would make any course corrections needed to ensure a safe return trajectory. Additional Details: here....
At a meeting on the LEM electrical power system, Grumman presented its latest load analysis, which placed the LEM's mission energy requirements at 76.53 kilowatt-hours. The control energy level for the complete LEM mission had been set at 54 kilowatt-hours and the target energy level at 47.12 kilowatt-hours. Grumman and MSC were jointly establishing ground rules for an electrical power reduction program.
MSC received proposals for the visual displays for the LEM simulator. Because of the changed shape of that vehicle's windows, however, Grumman had to return those proposals to the original bidders, sending revised proposals to MSC in December. Farrand Optical Company was selected to develop the display, and the Center approved Grumman's choice. Negotiations between Grumman and Farrand were completed during March 1964.
A LEM crew systems meeting was held at Grumman. The standing arrangement proposed for the crew promised to reduce the weight of the LEM by as much as 27.2 kilograms (60 pounds), and would improve crew mobility, visibility, control accessibility, and ingress-egress. Pending more comprehensive analysis, crew systems designers also favored the revised front-face configuration.
Grumman built a full-scale cardboard model of the LEM to aid in studying problems of cockpit geometry, specifically the arrangement of display panels. This mockup was reviewed by MSC astronauts and the layout of the cockpit was revised according to some of their suggestions.
Also Grumman reported that a preliminary analysis showed the reaction control system plume heating of the LEM landing gear was not a severe problem. (This difficulty had been greatly alleviated by the change from five to four landing legs on the vehicle.
At a meeting at MSC, Grumman representatives submitted the cost proposal for LEM test articles LTA-8 and LTA-9, and suggested a testing program for the two vehicles: LTA-8 should be used for restrained integrated systems testing in the altitude propulsion test facilities at the Atlantic Missile Range; LTA-9 should be used for manned atmospheric tethered operation tests. The contractor also recommended an early flight demonstration program to verify the helicopter tether operation potential, which promised greatly increased mission test capability over fixed-base tether facilities. The tether method (helicopter or fixed- base) should be determined after the verification. LTA-8 should be considered as a constraint to LEM-5, and LTA-9 as a constraint to the lunar landing mission.
MSC began a study to define the stability limits of a 457-centimeter (180inch) radius LEM gear configuration. The study, in two phases, sought to examine factors affecting stability (such as lunar slope, touchdown velocity and direction, and the effects of soil mechanics) in direct support of the one-sixth model and full-scale drop test programs and to complete definition of landing capabilities of the LEM.
NASA representatives held a formal review of Grumman's LEM M-1 mockup, a full-scale representation of the LEM's crew compartment. MSC decided that (1) the window shape (triangular) and visibility were satisfactory; (2) a standing position for the crew was approved, although, in general, it was believed that restraints restricted crew mobility; (3) the controllers were positioned too low and lacked suitable arm support for fine control; and (4) crew station arrangement was generally acceptable, although specific details required further study.
LTV presented the preliminary results of a manual rendezvous simulation study. Their studies indicated that a pilot trained in the technique could accomplish lunar launch and rendezvous while using only two to three percent more fuel than the automatic system.
The space suit umbilical disconnects were being redesigned to the "buddy concept" and for interchangeability between the CM and the LEM. MSC was reviewing methods for a crewman to return to the LEM following space suit failure on the lunar surface.
MSC representatives reviewed Grumman's program for thermal testing for the LEM, to be conducted with the test model 2 (TM-2) vehicle. Because the vehicle's configuration had changed so extensively, the Center canceled the currently planned TM-2 ascent stage and ordered another stage to be substituted. TM-2's descent stage needed only small design changes to make it suitable for the program.
OMSF, MSC, and Bellcomm representatives, meeting in Washington, D.C., discussed Apollo mission plans: OMSF introduced a requirement that the first manned flight in the Saturn IB program include a LEM. ASPO had planned this flight as a CSM maximum duration mission only.
MSC representatives visited Grumman for a preliminary evaluation of the Apollo space suit integration into the LEM. A suit failure ended the exercise prematurely. Nonetheless, leg and foot mobility was good, but the upper torso and shoulder needed improvement.
On October 11, MSC Crew Systems Division (CSD) tested the suit's mobility with the portable life support system (PLSS). CSD researchers found that the PLSS did not restrict the wearer's movement because the suit supported the weight of the PLSS. Shifts in the center of gravity appeared insignificant. The PLSS controls, because of their location, were difficult to operate, which demanded further investigation.
At a meeting at MSC, Grumman representatives presented 18 configurations of the LEM electrical power system, recommending a change from three to two fuel cells, still supplemented by an auxiliary battery system, with continued study on tankage design. On December 10, ASPO authorized the contractor to proceed with this configuration.
The interrelationships between all major LEM test vehicles, including all test constraints and documentation requirements, were developed. This logic study, prepared by Grumman and forwarded to MSC, stressed the feasibility of alterations in the LEM test program as needed.
At a LEM Mechanical Systems Meeting in Houston, Grumman and MSC agreed upon a preliminary configuration freeze for the LEM-adapter arrangement. The adapter would be a truncated cone, 876 centimeters (345 inches) long. The LEM would be mounted inside the adapter by means of the outrigger trusses on the spacecraft's landing gear. This configuration provided ample clearance for the spacecraft, both top and bottom (i.e., between the service propulsion engine bell and the instrument unit of the S-IVB).
At this same meeting, Grumman presented a comparison of radially and laterally folded landing gears (both of 457-centimeter (180-inch) radius). The radial-fold configuration, MSC reported, promised a weight savings of 22-2 kilograms (49 pounds). MSC approved the concept, with an 876-centimeter (345-inch) adapter. Further, an adapter of that length would accommodate a larger, lateral fold gear (508 centimeters (200 inches)), if necessary. During the next several weeks, Grumman studied a variety of gear arrangements (sizes, means of deployment, stability, and even a "bending" gear). At a subsequent LEM Mechanical Systems Meeting, on November 10, Grumman presented data (design, performance, and weight) on several other four-legged gear arrangements - a 457-centimeter (180-inch), radial fold "tripod" gear (i.e., attached to the vehicle by three struts), and 406.4-centimeter (160-inch) and 457-centimeter (180-inch) cantilevered gears. As it turned out, the 406.4-centimeter (160-inch) cantilevered gear, while still meeting requirements demanded in the work statement, in several respects was more stable than the larger tripod gear. In addition to being considerably lighter, the cantilevered design offered several added advantages:
Verne C. Fryklund, Jr., of NASA's Office of Space Sciences (OSS), in a memorandum to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, recommended some general guidelines for Apollo scientific investigations of the moon (which OSS already was using). "These guidelines," Fryklund told Gilruth, ". . . should be followed in the preparation of your plans," and thus were "intended to place some specific constraints on studies. . . . The primary scientific objective of the Apollo project," Fryklund said, was, of course, the "acquisition of comprehensive data about the moon." With this as a starting point, he went on, ". . . it follows that the structure of the moon's surface, gross body properties and large-scale measurements of physical and chemical characteristics, and observation of whatever phenomena may occur at the actual surface will be the prime scientific objectives." Basically, OSS's guidelines spelled out what types of activity were and were not part of Apollo's immediate goals. These activities were presumed to be mostly reconnaissance, "to acquire knowledge of as large an area as possible, and by as simple a means as possible, in the limited time available." The three principal scientific activities "listed in order of decreasing importance" were: (1) "comprehensive observation of lunar phenomena," (2) "collection of representative samples," and (3) "emplacement of monitoring equipment."
These guidelines had been arrived at after extensive consultation within NASA as a whole as well as with the scientific community.
At MSC, the Spacecraft Technology Division reported to ASPO the results of a study on tethered docking of the LEM and CSM. The technology people found that a cable did not reduce the impact velocities below those that a pilot could achieve during free flyaround, nor was fuel consumption reduced. In fact, when direct control of the spacecraft was attempted, the tether proved a hindrance and actually increased the amount of fuel required.
LTV announced the results of tests performed by astronauts in the Manned Space Flight Mission Simulator in Dallas, Tex. These indicated that, should the primary guidance and navigation system fail, LEM pilots could rendezvous with the CM by using a circular slide rule to process LEM radar data.
NASA Headquarters announced the selection of five organizations for contract negotiations totaling $60 million for the development, fabrication, and testing of LEM guidance and navigation equipment: (1) MIT, overall direction; (2) Raytheon, LEM guidance computer; (3) AC Spark Plug, inertial measurement unit, gyroscopes, navigation base, power and servo assembly, coupling display unit, and assembly and testing of the complete guidance and navigation system; (4) Kollsman Instrument Corporation, scanning telescope, sextant, and map and data viewer; and (5) Sperry Gyroscope Company, accelerometers. (All five had responsibility for similar equipment for the CSM as well.)
MSC Flight Operations Division defined systems and outlined ground rules for the lunar landing mission. System definitions were: (1) primary, most efficient or economic; (2) alternate, either redundant (identical to but independent of the primary) or backup (not identical but would perform the same function); (3) critical (failure would jeopardize crew safety); (4) repairable (for which tools and spares were carried and which the crew could service in flight); and (5) operational, which must be working to carry out a mission.
Mission rules established crew safety as the major consideration in all mission decisions and detailed actions to be taken in the event of a failure in any system or subsystem.
Because OMSF had requested OSSA to provide lunar surface microrelief and bearing strength data to support LEM landing site selection and to permit LEM landing-gear design validation, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Follow-On Surveyor Instrumentation met at NASA Headquarters. Attending were Chairman Verne C. Fryklund, Clark Goodman, Martin Swetnick, and Paul Brockman of the NASA Office of Space Sciences and Applications; Harry Hess and George Derbyshire of the National Acadamy of Sciences; Dennis James of Bellcomm (for OMSF); and Milton Beilock of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The group proposed "a fresh look at the problem of instrumenting payloads of Surveyor spacecraft that may follow the currently approved developmental and operational flights, so that these spacecraft will be able to determine that a particular lunar site is suitable for an Apollo landing." The study was assigned to JPL.
MSC directed Grumman to schedule manned environmental control system (ECS) development tests, using a welded-shell cabin boilerplate and air lock. At about the same time, the company was also requested to quote cost and delivery schedule for a second boilerplate vessel, complete with prototype ECS. Although this vessel would be used by the MSC Crew Systems Division for in-house investigation and evaluation of ECS development problems, its major purpose was to serve as a tool for trouble-shooting during the operational phase.
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller notified the Directors of MSC, MSFC, and LOC that he intended to plan a flight schedule which would have a good chance of being met or exceeded. To this end, he directed that "all-up" spacecraft and launch vehicle tests be started as soon as possible; all Saturn IB flights would carry CSM and CSM LEM configurations; and two successful unmanned flights would be flown before a manned mission on either the Saturn IB or Saturn V.
On November 18, Mueller further defined the flight schedule planning. Early Saturn IB flights might not be able to include the LEM, but every effort must be made to phase the LEM into the picture as early as possible. Launch vehicle payload capability must be reached as quickly as practicable. Subsystems for the early flights should be the same as those intended for lunar missions. To conserve funds, the first Saturn V vehicle would be used to obtain reentry data early in the Saturn test program.
Grumman issued a go-ahead to RCA to develop the LEM radar. Negotiations on the $23.461 million cost- plus-fixed-fee contract were completed on December 10. Areas yet to be negotiated between the two companies were LEM communications, inflight test, ground support, and parts of the stabilization and control systems.
ASPO reviewed Grumman's evaluation of series and parallel propellant feed systems for the LEM ascent stage. Because of the complications involved in minimizing propellant residuals in a parallel system, a series feed appeared preferable, despite an increase in LEM structural weight. Further study of the vehicle showed the feasibility of a two-tank configuration which would be lighter and have about the same propellant residual as the four-tank series-feed arrangement.
After careful study, Grumman proposed to MSC 15 possible means for reducing the weight of the LEM. These involved eliminating a number of hardware items in the spacecraft; two propellant tanks in the vehicle's ascent stage and consequent changes in the feed system; two rather than three fuel cells; and reducing reaction control system propellants and, consequently, velocity budgets for the spacecraft. If all these proposed changes were made, Grumman advised, the LEM could be lightened significantly, perhaps by as much as 454 kilograms (1000 pounds).
MSC's Space Environment Division (SED) recommended (subject to reconnaissance verification) 10 lunar landing areas for the Apollo program:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea asked NASA Headquarters to revise velocity budgets for the Apollo spacecraft. (Studies had indicated that those budgets could be reduced without degrading performance.) He proposed that the 10 percent safety margin applied to the original budget be eliminated in favor of specific allowances for each identifiable uncertainty and contingency; but, to provide for maneuvers which might be desired on later Apollo missions, the LEM's propellant tanks should be oversized.
The ASPO Manager's proposal resulted from experience that had arisen because of unfortunate terminology used to designate the extra fuel. Originally the fuel budget for various phases of the mission had been analyzed and a 10 percent allowance had been made to cover - at that time, unspecified - contingencies, dispersions, and uncertainties. Mistakenly this fuel addition became known as a "10% reserve"! John P. Mayer and his men in the Mission Planning and Analysis Division worried because engineers at North American, Grumman, and NASA had "been freely 'eating' off the so-called 'reserve'" before studies had been completed to define what some of the contingencies might be and to apportion some fuel for that specific situation. Mayer wanted the item labeled a "10% uncertainty."
Shea recommended also that the capacity of the LEM descent tanks be sufficient to achieve an equiperiod orbit, should this become desirable. However, the spacecraft should carry only enough propellant for a Hohmann transfer. This was believed adequate, because the ascent engine was available for abort maneuvers if the descent engine failed and because a low altitude pass over the landing site was no longer considered necessary. By restricting lunar landing sites to the area between ±5 degrees latitude and by limiting the lunar stay time to less than 48 hours, a one-half-degree, rather than two-degree, plane change was sufficient.
In the meantime, Shea reported, his office was investigating how much weight could be saved by these propellant reductions.
Grumman selected AiResearch Manufacturing Company to supply cryogenic storage tanks for the LEM electrical power system. Final negotiations on the cost-plus-incentive-fee contract were held in June 1964.
On this same date, Grumman concluded negotiations with Allison Division of General Motors Corporation for design and fabrication of the LEM descent engine propellant storage tanks (at a cost of $5,479,560).
As a result of wind tunnel tests, Langley Research Center researchers found the LEM Little Joe II configuration to be aerodynamically unstable. To achieve stability, larger booster fins were needed. However, bigger fins caused more drag, shortening the length of the flight. MSC was investigating the possibility of using more powerful rocket engines to overcome this performance degradation.
ASPO concurred in Grumman's recommendation to delete the redundant gimbal actuation system in the LEM's descent engine. A nonredundant configuration would normally require mission abort in case of actuator failure. Consequently, in making this change, Grumman must ensure that mission abort and the associated staging operation would not compromise crew survival and mission reliability.
Grumman proposed a two-tank ascent stage configuration for the LEM. On January 17, 1964, ASPO formally concurred and authorized Grumman to go ahead with the design. The change was expected to reduce spacecraft weight by about 45 kilograms (100 pounds) and would make for a simpler, more reliable ascent propulsion system. ASPO also concurred in the selection of titanium for the two propellant tanks.
MSC defined the LEM terminal rendezvous maneuvers. That phase of the mission would begin at a range of 9.3 kilometers (five nautical miles) from the CSM and terminate at a range of 152.4 meters (500 feet). Before rendezvous initiation, closing velocity should be reduced to 61 meters (200 feet) per second by use of the ascent engine. The reaction control system should be used exclusively thereafter.
MSC decided to supply television cameras for the LEM as government-furnished items. Grumman was ordered to cease its effort on this component.
Resizing of the LEM propulsion tanks was completed by Grumman. The cylindrical section of the descent tank was extended 34.04 millimeters (1.34 inches), for a total of 36.27 centimeters (14.28 inches) between the spherical end bells. The ascent tanks (two-tank series) were 1240.54 centimeters (48.84 inches) in diameter.
North American, Grumman, and MIT Instrumentation Laboratory summarized results of a six-week study, conducted at ASPO's request, on requirements for a Spacecraft Development Program. Purpose of the study was to define joint contractor recommendations for an overall development test plan within resource constraints set down by NASA. ASPO required that the plan define individual ground test and mission objectives, mission descriptions, hardware requirements (including ground support equipment), test milestones, and individual subsystem test histories.
Intermediate objectives for the Apollo program were outlined: the qualification of a manned CSM capable of earth reentry at parabolic velocities after an extended space mission; qualification of a manned LEM both physically and functionally compatible with the CSM; and demonstration of manned operations in deep space, including lunar orbit. The most significant basic test plan objective formulated during the study was the need for flexibility to capitalize on unusual success or to compensate for unexpected difficulties with minimum impact on the program.
Only one major issue in the test plan remained unresolved - lunar descent radar performance and actual lunar touchdown. Two possible solutions were suggested:
The complete findings of this joint study were contained in a five-volume report issued by North American and submitted to MSC early in February 1964. (This document became known informally as the "Project Christmas Present Report.")
ASPO directed Grumman to implement a number of recommendations on space suit oxygen umbilical hoses discussed at a joint Grumman/North American meeting and forwarded to ASPO on December 4, 1963:
MSC directed Grumman to integrate LEM translation and descent engine thrust controllers. The integrated controller would be lighter and easier to install; also it would permit simultaneous reaction control system translation and descent engine control. Grumman had predicted that such a capability might be required for touchdown.
The Flight Data Systems Branch of the Engineering and Development Directorate provided ASPO's Lunar Mission Planning Branch with information about the LEM extravehicular suit telemetry and communications system. No line of sight (LOS) communications were possible, and there would be no ground wave propagation and no atmospheric reflection. The link between astronaut and LEM would be limited to LOS of the two antennas, and surface activities by an extravehicular astronaut must be planned accordingly.
Based on the LEM mockup review of September 16-18, 1963, MSC established criteria for redundancy of controls and displays in the LEM crew station. Within the framework of apportioned reliability requirements for mission success and crew safety, these guidelines applied:
MSC's Center Medical Office was reevaluating recommendations for LEM bioinstrumentation. The original request was for three high-frequency channels (two electrocardiogram and one respiration) that could be switched to monitor all crew members. Grumman wanted to provide one channel for each astronaut with no switching.
Bendix Products Aerospace Division was awarded a 99973 contract by MSC to study crushable aluminum honeycomb, a lightweight, almost non-elastic, shock-absorbing material for LEM landing gears. Bendix would test the honeycomb structures in a simulated lunar environment.
Representatives of Grumman, MSC's Instrumentation and Electronics Systems Division, ASPO, and Resident Apollo Spacecraft Program Office (RASPO) at Bethpage met at Grumman to plan the LEM's electrical power system. The current configuration was composed of three fuel cell generators with a maximum power output of 900 watts each, spiking stabilizing batteries, one primary general-purpose AC inverter, and a conventional bus arrangement. To establish general design criteria, the primary lunar mission of the LEM-10 vehicle was analyzed. This "critical" mission appeared to be the "worst case" for the electrical power system and established maximum power and usage rate requirements.
Those attending the meeting foresaw a number of problems:
Grumman presented to MSC the first monthly progress report on the Lunar Mission Planning Study. The planning group, designated the Apollo Mission Planning Task Force (AMPTF), established ground rules and constraints to serve as a base line around which mission flexibilities and contingency analyses could be built. Main topics of discussion at the meeting were the reference mission, study ground rules, task assignments, and future plans. The following week, MSC Flight Operations Directorate provided a reference trajectory for the AMPTF's use. Major constraints were daylight launch, translunar injection during the second earth parking orbit, free-return trajectory, daylight landing near the lunar equator, 24-hour lunar surface staytime, and a water landing on earth.
The first full-throttle firing of Space Technology Laboratories' LEM descent engine (being developed as a parallel effort to the Rocketdyne engine) was carried out. The test lasted 214 seconds, with chamber pressures from 66.2 to 6.9 newtons per square centimeter (96 to 10 psi). Engine performance was about five percent below the required level.
North American gave a presentation at MSC on the block change concept with emphasis on Block II CSM changes. These were defined as modifications necessary for compatibility with the LEM, structural changes to reduce weight or improve CSM center of gravity, and critical systems changes. (Block I spacecraft would carry no rendezvous and docking equipment and would be earth-orbital only. Block II spacecraft would be flight-ready vehicles with the final design configuration for the lunar missions.)
MSC authorized AiResearch Manufacturing Company and the Linde Company to manufacture high- pressure insulated tanks. This hardware, to be available about May 15, would be used in a study of the feasibility of a supercritical helium pressurization system for the LEM.
ASPO asked Grumman to study whether attitude control of the docked vehicles was practicable using the LEM's stabilization and control system (RCS). Grumman also was to evaluate the RCS fuel requirements for a five-minute alignment period to permit two star sightings. ASPO further directed the contractor to determine RCS fuel requirements for a second alignment of the LEM's inertial measurement unit during descent coast. This second alignment was needed for the required landing accuracy from a Hohmann descent.
Studies on the LEM's capability to serve as the active vehicle for lunar orbit docking showed the forward docking tunnel to be the best means of accomplishing this. ASPO requested Grumman to investigate the possibility of this docking approach and the effect it might have on the spacecraft's configuration.
MSC and North American representatives discussed preliminary analysis of the probabilities of mission success if the spacecraft were hit by meteoroids. The contractor believed that pressurized tankage in the SM must be penetrated before a failure was assumed. To MSC, this view appeared overly optimistic. MSC held that, as the failure criterion, no debris should result from meteoroid impact of the SM outer structure. (This change in criteria would cost several hundred pounds in meteoroid protection weight in the SM and LEM.) North American thought that penetration of one half the depth of the heatshield on the conical surface of the CM was a failure. Here, MSC thought the contractor too conservative; full penetration could probably be allowed.
Grumman began initial talks with Bell Aerosystems Company looking toward concentrating on the all-ablative concept for the LEM's ascent engine, thus abandoning the hope of using the lighter, radiatively cooled nozzle extension. These talks culminated in July, when Bell submitted to Grumman a revised development and test plan for the engine, now an all-ablative design.
At an Apollo Program Review held at MSC, Maxime A. Faget reported that Crew Systems Division had learned that the metabolic rate of a man walking in an unpressurized suit was twice that of a man in everyday clothes. When the suit was pressurized to 1.8 newtons per square centimeter (3.5 psi), the rate was about four times as much. To counteract this, a watercooled undergarment developed by the British Ministry of Aviation's Royal Aircraft Establishment was being tested at Hamilton Standard. These "space-age long johns" had a network of small tubes through which water circulated and absorbed body heat. Advantages of the system were improved heat transfer, low circulating noise levels, and relatively moderate flow rates required. An MSC study on integration of the suit with the LEM environmental control system showed a possible weight savings of 9 kilograms (20 pounds).
Grumman received MSC's response to the "Project Christmas Present Report", and accordingly reevaluated its testing concept for the LEM. On February 19, the contractor proposed to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea a flight program schedule, which was tentatively approved. ASPO's forthcoming proposal was identical to Grumman's proposal. It called for 11 LEMs (which were now renumbered consecutively) and two flight test articles. All LEMs were to have full mission capability, but numbers one through three had to be capable of either manned or unmanned flight.
ASPO directed Grumman to provide an abort guidance system (AGS) in the LEM using an inertial reference system attached to the structure of the vehicle. Should the spacecraft's navigation and guidance system fail, the crew could use the AGS to effect an abort. Such a device eliminated the need for redundancy in the primary guidance system (and proved to be a lighter and simpler arrangement).
NASA gave credit to two MSC engineers, George C. Franklin and Louie G. Richard, for designing a harness system for the LEM that enabled the crew to fly the vehicle from a standing position. Eliminating the seats reduced the LEM's weight and gave the crew better visibility and closer observation of controls and instruments.
MSC issued Requests for Proposals to more than 50 firms asking for studies and recommendations on how the lunar surface should be explored. Studies should show how lunar surveys could be performed and how points on the lunar surface might be located for future lunar navigation. Maximum use of equipment planned for the LEM and CM was expected. Part of the scientific apparatus aboard the LEM would be selenodetic equipment. The study would not include actual fabrication of hardware but might give estimates of cost and development times.
MSC gave its formal consent to two of Grumman's subcontracts for engines for the LEM: (1) With Bell Aerosystems for the ascent engine ($11,205,416 incentive-fee contract) (2) With Space Technology Laboratories for a descent engine to parallel that being developed by Rocketdyne ($18,742,820 fixed-fee contract).
North American conducted three tests (4, 20, and 88 hours) on the CSM fuel cell. The third ended prematurely because of a sudden drop in output. (Specification life on the modules was 100 hours.)
During this same week, Pratt and Whitney Aircraft tested a LEM-type fuel cell for 400 hours without shutdown and reported no leaks.
ASPO decided upon transfer through free space as the backup mode for the crew's getting from the LEM back to the CM if the two spacecraft could not be pressurized. North American had not designed the CM for extravehicular activity nor for passage through the docking tunnel in a pressurized suit. Thus there was no way for the LEM crew to transfer to the CM unless docking was successfully accomplished. ASPO considered crew transfer in a pressurized suit both through the docking tunnel and through space to be a double redundancy that could not be afforded.
RCA presented results of a weight and power tradeoff study on the LEM's radar systems, which were over Grumman's specification in varying amounts from 100 to 300 percent. RCA proposed that the accuracy requirements be relaxed to cope with this problem. MSC requested Grumman, on the basis of this report, to estimate a slippage in the schedule and the effects of additional weight and power.
A joint Grumman, RCA, Ryan Aeronautical Company, ASPO, and Flight Crew Support Division (FCSD) meeting was held at Bethpage to review capability of the LEM landing radar to meet FCSD's requirements for ascent and for orbit circularization. A preliminary (unfunded) Ryan study (requested by ASPO earlier in the month) indicated some doubt that those accuracy requirements could be met. RCA advised that it would be possible to make these measurements with the rendezvous radar, if necessary. A large weight penalty, about 38 to 56 kilograms (84 to 124 pounds), would be incurred if the landing radar were moved from the descent to the ascent stage to become part of the abort guidance system. Adding this weight to the ascent stage would have to be justified either by improved abort performance or added crew safety. MSC authorized RCA and Ryan to study this problem at greater length. In the meantime, ASPO and FCSD would analyze weights, radar accuracies, and abort guidance performance capability.
The MSC Primary Propulsion Branch (PPB) completed a study on the current LEM ascent engine and performance that might be gained if the chamber pressure and characteristic exhaust velocity efficiency were increased. PPB also evaluated the use of hard versus soft chamber throats. A study by Bell Aerosystems Company had predicted a slightly lower performance than the MSC investigation (which estimated a drop of about six points below specification values if the current design were retained). PPB thought that specifications might be reached by increasing the chamber pressure to 82.7 newtons per square centimeter (120 psia) and the exhaust velocity efficiency to 97.3 percent, and by using a hard, rather than a soft, throat.
MSC received an additional $1.035 million in Fiscal Year 1964 funds to cover development of equipment and operational techniques for scientific exploration of the moon:
Grumman and North American began working out ways for common usage of ground support equipment (GSE). Through informal meetings and telephone discussions, the two prime contractors agreed to a formal procedure for the GSE's use, maintenance, and training procedures.
North American was directed by NASA to study feasibility of using the LEM propulsion system as backup to the SM propulsion system. The most important item in the contractor's analysis was strength of the docking structure and its ability to withstand LEM main-engine and reaction control system thrusting.
Texas Instruments, Inc., presented a progress report on their lunar surface experiments study to the MSC Lunar Surface Experiments Panel. Thus far, the company had been surveying and rating measurements to be made on the lunar surface. Areas covered included soil mechanics, mapping, geophysics, magnetism, electricity, and radiation. Equipment for gathering information, such as hand tools, sample return containers, dosimeters, particle spectrometers, data recording systems, seismometers, gravity meters, cameras, pentrometers, and mass spectrometers had been considered. The next phase of the study involved integrating and defining the measurements and instruments according to implementation problems, mission needs, lunar environment limitations, and relative importance to a particular mission. Texas Instruments would recommend a sequence for performing the experiments.
Grumman reported to MSC the current load status and projected load growth for the LEM's electrical power system, requesting a mission profile of 121 kilowatt-hours total energy. The company also presented its latest recommendation for the LEM power generation subsystem configuration: two 900-watt fuel cells, a descent stage peaking battery, an ascent stage survival battery, and four cryogenic storage tanks. To compensate for voltage drops in the power distribution subsystem, Grumman recommended that two cells be added to the current fuel cell stack; however, on March 23 ASPO directed the contractor to continue development of the 900-watt, three-fuel-cell assembly and a five-tank cryogenic storage system. MSC's position derived from the belief that the load growth would make the two-cell arrangement inadequate. Also the three-cell configuration, through greater redundancy, afforded greater safety and chances of mission success: the mission could continue in spite of a failure in one of the cells; should two cells fail, the mission could be aborted on the final power source. The cryogenic tanks should be sized for a usable total energy of 121 kilowatt-hours to permit immediate tank procurement.
OMSF outlined launch vehicle development, spacecraft development, and crew performance demonstration missions, using the Saturn IB and Saturn V:
The first formal inspection and review of the LEM test mockup TM-1 was held at Grumman. TM-1 allowed early assessment of crew mobility, ingress, and egress. It was a full-size representation of crew stations, support and restraint systems, cabin equipment arrangement, lighting, display panels and instrument locations, and hatches. The TM-1 evaluation became the basis for the final LEM mockup, TM-5, from which actual hardware fabrication would be made. Additional Details: here....
The MSC Operations Planning Division (OPD) reviewed recent revisions by OMSF to Apollo's communications requirements:
ASPO gave Grumman specific instructions on insulating wiring in the LEM: Teflon-insulated wiring was mandatory in a pure oxygen atmosphere. If the standard-thickness Teflon insulation was too heavy, a thin- wall Teflon-insulated wiring with abrasion-resistant coating should be considered. Teflon-insulated wiring should also be used outside the pressurized cabin, wherever that wiring was exposed. Any approved spacecraft insulation could be used within subsystem modules which were hermetically sealed in an inert gas atmosphere or potted within the case.
Grumman completed an environmental control system water management configuration study and concluded that a revised design would significantly improve the probability of mission success and crew safety. This design would combine water tanks for the water management functions into one easily accessible package.
MSC Crew Systems Division representatives attended a demonstration at Grumman of Apollo Phase B and Gemini space suits using the LEM TM-1 mockup and a mockup portable life support system. Tests demonstrated ingress egress capability through the forward and top hatches, operation of controls and displays, and methods of getting out on the lunar surface and returning to the spacecraft. Generally, the A7L Space Suit proved sufficiently mobile for all these tasks, though there was no great difference between its performance and that of the Gemini suit during these trials.
Grumman conducted manned drop tests to determine the LEM crew's ability to land the spacecraft from a standing position. All tests were run with the subject in an unpressurized suit in a "hands off" standing position with no restraint system or arm rests.
Grumman redesigned the LEM environmental control system to incorporate a replaceable lithium hydroxide cartridge with a portable life support system cartridge in parallel for emergency backup. The LEM cartridge would be replaced once during a two-day mission.
Also MSC advised Grumman that estimates of the metabolic rates for astronauts on the lunar surface had been increased. The major effect of this change was an increase in the requirements for oxygen and water for the portable life support system.
Representatives from a number of elements within MSC (including systems and structural engineers, advanced systems and rendezvous experts, and two astronauts, Edward H. White II and Elliot M. See, Jr.) discussed the idea of deleting the LEM's front docking capability (an idea spawned by the recent TM-1 mockup review). Rather than nose-to-nose docking, the LEM crew might be able to perform the rendezvous and docking maneuver, docking at the spacecraft's upper (transfer) hatch, by using a window above the LEM commander's head to enable him to see his target. Additional Details: here....
The recent creation of the Apollo Logistic Support System Office in Washington prompted the formal investigation of a variety of extensions of Apollo hardware to achieve greater scientific and exploratory dividends from Apollo hardware. Director of Special Manned Space Flight Studies William B. Taylor suggested to William E. Stoney and others in Houston that Grumman receive a study contract to investigate possible modifications to the lunar excursion module (LEM) to create a LEM truck (concepts which the company had already investigated preliminarily on an in-house basis). The time was appropriate, Taylor said, for more intensive and formal efforts along these lines.
Representatives from Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, North American Aviation, Inc., and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Instrumentation Laboratory, three of the Manned Spacecraft Center's (MSC) principal contractors, met with radar and guidance and navigation experts from Houston and Cape Kennedy. They formulated a detailed plan for testing and checkout of the lunar excursion module (LEM) rendezvous and landing radar systems both at the factory and at the launch site.
On the basis of new abort criteria (failure of one fuel cell), extended operating periods, and additional data on fuel cell performance, Grumman recommended a 20.4 kg (45-lb), 1,800 watt-hour auxiliary battery for the LEM. MSC approved the recommendation and Grumman completed the redesign of the electrical power distribution system and resizing of the battery during late October and early November.
NASA conducted a formal review of the LEM mockup M-5 at the Grumman factory. This inspection was intended to affirm that the M-5 configuration reflected all design requirements and to definitize the LEM configuration. Members of the Mockup Review Board were Chairman Owen E. Maynard, Chief, Systems Engineering Division, ASPO; R. W. Carbee, LEM Subsystem Project Engineer, Grumman; Maxime A. Faget, Assistant Director for Engineering and Development, MSC; Thomas J. Kelly, LEM Project Engineer, Grumman; Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. (represented by Sigurd A. Sjoberg), Assistant Director for Flight Operations, MSC; Owen G. Morris, Chief, Reliability and Quality Assurance Division, ASPO; William F. Rector III, LEM Project Officer, ASPO; and Donald K. Slayton, Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, MSC.
The astronauts' review was held on October 5 and 6. It included demonstrations of entering and getting out of the LEM, techniques for climbing and descending the ladder, and crew mobility inside the spacecraft. The general inspection was held on the 7th and the Review Board met on the 8th. Those attending the review used request for change (RFC) forms to propose spacecraft design alterations. Before submission to the Board, these requests were discussed by contractor personnel and NASA coordinators to assess their effect upon system design, interfaces, weight, and reliability.
The inspection categories were crew provisions; controls, displays, and lighting; the stabilization and control system and the guidance and navigation radar; electrical power; propulsion (ascent, descent, reaction control system, and pyrotechnics ; power generation cryogenic storage and fuel cell assemblies ; environmental control; communications and instrumentation; structures and landing gear; scientific equipment; and reliability and quality' control. A total of 148 RFCs were submitted. Most were aimed at enhancing the spacecraft's operational capability; considerable attention also was given to quality and reliability and to ground checkout of various systems. No major redesigns of the configuration were suggested.
As a result of this review, the Board recommended that Grumman take immediate action on those RFC's which it had approved. Further, the LEM contractor and MSC should promptly investigate those items which the Board had assigned for further study. On the basis of the revised M-5 configuration, Grumman could proceed with LEM development and qualification. This updated mockup would be the basis for tooling and fabrication of the initial hardware as well.
Radio Corporation of America's (RCA) Aerospace Systems Division received a 9 million contract from Grumman for the LEM attitude translation control assembly (ATCA). The ATCA, a device to maintain the spacecraft's attitude, would fire the reaction control system motors in response to signals from the primary guidance system.
MSC established the configuration of the reaction control system engines for both the service module (SM) and the LEM, and informed North American and Grumman accordingly. The Center also directed North American to propose a design for an electric heater that would provide thermal control in lunar orbit and during contingency operations. The design would be evaluated for use in Block I spacecraft as well.
NASA and Grumman representatives discussed a weight reduction program for the LEM. Changes approved at the M-5 mockup review portended an increase in LEM separation weight of from 68 to 453 kg (150 to 1,000 lbs). Both parties agreed to evaluate the alternatives of either resizing the spacecraft or finding ways to lighten it about nine percent, thus keeping the improved LEM within the present control weight.
At a North American-Grumman interface meeting on September 23-24, two possible relative role alignments for CSM-active docking were agreed upon. The major item blocking final selection was the effect of the SM's reaction control system engines upon the LEM antennas. ASPO requested Grumman to investigate the problem, to analyze the design penalties of the two-attitude docking mode, and to report any other factors that would influence the final attitude selection.
MSC notified Grumman of several additional LEM guidance and navigation ground rules that were applicable to the coasting phase of the mission. During this portion of the flight, the LEM abort guidance system must be capable of giving attitude information and of measuring velocity changes. Navigational data required to take the LEM out of the coasting phase and to put it on an intercept course with the CSM would be provided by the CSM's rendezvous radar and its guidance and navigation system, and through the Manned Space Flight Network back on earth.
The Air Force Eastern Test Command concurred in the elimination of propellant dispersal systems for the SM and the LEM. Costs, schedules, and spacecraft designs, NASA felt, would all benefit from this action. ASPO thus notified the appropriate module contractors.
Grumman completed the fuel cell assembly thermal study and was preparing a specific directive to Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Company which would incorporate changes recommended by the study. These changes would include the cooling of electrical components with hydrogen and the shifting of other components (water shutoff valves, and oxygen purge valve) so that they would operate at their higher design temperatures.
Remote operation of the CSM's rendezvous radar transponder and its stabilization and control system (SCS) was not necessary, ASPO told North American. Should the CSM pilot be incapacitated, it was assumed that he could perform several tasks before becoming totally disabled, including turning on the transponder and the SCS. No maneuvers by the CSM would be required during this period. However, the vehicle would have to be stabilized during LEM ascent, rendezvous, and docking.
MSC's Systems Engineering Division reported on the consequences of eliminating the command and service module (CSM) rendezvous radar:
A number of outstanding points were resolved at a joint MSC-Grumman meeting on LEM communications. Most significant, the VHF key mode was deleted, and it was decided that, during rendezvous, voice links must have priority over all other VHF transmissions. Further, the echo feature of the current configuration (i.e., voice sent to the LEM by the ground operational support system, then relayed back via the S-band link) was undesirable.
Representatives from the MSC Astronaut Office, and ASPO's Systems Engineering, Crew Systems, and Mission Planning divisions made several significant decisions on crew transfer and space suit procedures:
In a letter on August 25, 1964, the LEM Project Office had requested Grumman to define the means by which CSM stabilization and rendezvous radar transponder operation could be provided remotely in the event the CSM crewman was disabled.
In another letter on October 16, the Project Office notified Grumman that no requirement existed for remote operation of either the rendezvous radar transponder or the stabilization and control system. The letter added, however, that the possibility of an incapacitated CSM astronaut must be considered and that for design purposes Grumman should assume that the astronaut would perform certain functions prior to becoming completely disabled. These functions could include turning on the transponder and the SCS. No CSM maneuvers would be required during the period in which the CSM astronaut was disabled but the CSM must remain stabilized during LEM ascent coast and rendezvous and docking phases.
ASPO deleted the requirement for LEM checkout during the translunar phase of the mission. Thus the length of time that the CM must be capable of maintaining pressure in the LEM (for normal leakage in the docked configuration) was reduced from 10 hours to three.
The trajectory summary of the Design Reference Mission (DRM) prepared by the Apollo Mission Planning Task Force was sent to Grumman by the LEM Project Office with a note that the operational sequence-of-events would be forwarded in November.
It was acknowledged that a single mission could not serve to "completely define all the spacecraft functional requirements" but "such a mission has considerable value as a standard for various purposes on the Apollo Program."
Specifically, the DRM would be used for weight reporting, electrical power reporting, reliability modeling, engineering simulation, crew task analyses, mission-related Interface Control Documents, and trade-off studies.
Because of the redesign of the portable life support system that would be required, MSC directed Grumman and North American to drop the "buddy system" concept for the spacecraft environmental control system (ECS) umbilicals. The two LEM crewmen would transfer from the CM while attached to that module's umbilicals. Hookup with the LEM umbilicals, and ventilation from the LEM ECS, would be achieved before disconnecting the first set of lifelines. MSC requested North American to cooperate with Grumman and Hamilton Standard on the design of the fetal end of the umbilicals. Also, the two spacecraft contractors were directed jointly to determine umbilical lengths and LEM ECS control locations required for such transfer.
Testing of the first flight-weight 15-cell stack of the LEM fuel cell assembly began. Although the voltage was three percent below design, the unit had a 980-watt capability. Earlier, the unit completed 150 hours of operation, and single cell life had reached 662 hours.
Grumman reported to MSC the results of development tests on the welding of the LEM cabin's thin-gauge aluminum alloy. The stress and corrosion resistance of the metal, Grumman found, was not lessened by environments of pure oxygen, varying temperatures, and high humidity.
The MSC Meteoroid Technology Branch inspected a hard shell meteoroid garment built by the Center's Crew Systems Division. It was only a crude prototype, yet it in no way hampered mobility of the pressurized suit. The Meteoroid Technology people were satisfied that, should a hard garment be necessary for protection of the Apollo extravehicular mobility unit, this concept was adequate. The garment might present stowage problems, however, and investigations were underway to determine the minimum area in the LEM that would be required.
Initial tests were from the old South Base area of Edwards. Research pilot Joe Walker flew it three times for a total of just under 60 seconds to a peak altitude of ten ft (3 m). Later flights were shared between Walker; another Center pilot, Don Mallick; the Army's Jack Kleuver; and NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, pilots Joseph Algranti and H.E. 'Bud' Ream.
MSC spelled out additional details of the LEM environmental control system (ECS) umbilical arrangements. The hoses were to be permanently bonded to the ECS; a crossover valve, to permit flow reversal, was mandatory; and a bypass relief would be added, if necessary, to prevent fan surge. Grumman was to coordinate with North American to ensure that all umbilicals were long enough for crew transfer and to determine the optimum location for the spacecraft's ECS switches.
Engineers from Grumman and the MSC Instrumentation and Electronics Systems Division (IESD) reviewed the coverage requirements for the LEM's S-band radio and the incompatibility of those requirements with the present location of the steerable antenna. Most observers felt that a deployable boom was the only feasible solution. The two groups therefore recommended that IESD verify with ASPO the S-band coverage requirements and that Grumman analyze the design effects of such a boom. In the meantime, Dalmo-Victor, the antenna vendor, should continue its design effort on the basis of the current location.
ASPO officials completed a preliminary evaluation of the design and weight implications of an all-battery electrical power system (EPS) for the LEM. Investigators reviewed those factors that resulted in the decision (in March 1963) to employ fuel cells; also, they surveyed recent technological improvements in silver-zinc batteries.
At about the same time, Grumman was analyzing the auxiliary battery requirements of the spacecraft. The contractor found that, under the worst possible conditions (i.e., lunar abort), the LEM would need about 1,700 watt-hours of auxiliary power. Accordingly, Grumman recommended one 1,700 watt-hour or two 850 watt-hour batteries (23 and 29.5 kg (50 and 65 lbs), respectively) in the spacecraft's ascent stage.
NASA anticipated five significant milestones for the LEM during the forthcoming year:
MSC's Structures and Mechanics Division and ASPO reviewed the LTA-10 test program to resolve the stop-work imposed upon Grumman. The review resulted in an agreement to have LTA-10 remain in the program with a modified configuration. LTA-10 would be used by North American at Tulsa, Oklahoma, for adapter/LEM modal and separation testing and would consist only of descent stage structure. Subsystems for LTA-10 which were eliminated were the ascent stage, landing gear, ascent propulsion and descent propulsion.
MSC analyzed Grumman's report on their program to resize the LEM. On the basis of this information, ASPO recommended that the propellant tanks be resized for separation and lunar liftoff weights of 14,742 and 4,908 kg (32,500 and 10,820 lbs), respectively. Studies should investigate the feasibility of an optical rendezvous device and the substitution of batteries for fuel cells. And finally, engineering managers from both Grumman and MSC should examine a selected list of weight reduction changes to determine whether they could immediately be implemented.
NASA test pilot Joseph A. Walker flew the LLRV for the second time. The first attempted liftoff, into a 9.26-km (5-nm) breeze, was stopped because of excessive drift to the rear. The vehicle was then turned to head downwind and liftoff was accomplished. While airborne the LLRV drifted with the wind and descent to touchdown was accomplished. Touchdown and resulting rollout (at that time the vehicle was on casters) took the LLRV over an iron-door-covered pit. One door blew off but did not strike the vehicle.
Crew Systems Division (CSD) was proceeding with procurement of an inflight metabolic simulator in response to a request by Systems Engineering Division. The simulator would be used to support the LEM mission for SA-206 and would be compatible for use in the CM. Responsibility for the project had been assigned to the Manager of the LEM Environmental Control System Office. It was projected that the Statement of Work would be completed by January 15, 1965; the proposals evaluated by April 1; the contract awarded by June 1, 1965; the prototype delivered by April 1, 1966, with two qualified simulator deliveries by July 1, 1966.
MSC was giving serious thought to using radioisotope generators to power the Apollo lunar surface experiments packages. If some method could be found to control waste heat, such a device would be the lightest source of power available. Accordingly, the Center asked Grumman to study the feasibility of incorporating it into the LEM's scientific payload. The company should analyze thermal and radiological problems, as well as methods of stowage, together with the possibility of using the generator for power and heat during the flight. To minimize the problem of integration, Grumman was allowed much flexibility in designing the unit. Basically, however, it would measure about 0.07 cu m (2.5 cu ft) and would weigh between 13 and 18 kg (30 and 40 lbs). Its energy source (plutonium 238) would produce about 50 watts of electricity (29 volts, direct current).
To ensure that the redesigned landing gear on the resized LEM would be consistent with earlier criteria, MSC sent to Grumman revisions to those design criteria:
In flights that simulated the moon's gravity, MSC technicians evaluated the astronaut's ability to remove scientific packages from the descent stage of the LEM. They affirmed the relative ease with which large containers (about 0.226 cu m (8 cu ft) and weighing 81.65 kg (180 lbs)) could be extracted and carried about.
The current thrust buildup time for the LEM ascent engine was 0.3 second. To avoid redesigning the engine valve-which was already the pacing item in the ascent engine's development - MSC directed Grumman simply to change the specification value from 0.2 to 0.3 second.
At the same time, engineers at the Center began studying ways to increase the engine's thrust. Because of the LEM's weight gains, the engine must either be uprated or it would have to burn longer. Preliminary studies showed that, by using a phase "B" chamber (designed for a chamber pressure of 689.5 kilonewtons per sq m (100 psia)), thus producing chamber pressure of about 792.9 kilonewtons (115 psia), the thrust could be increased from 1,587 to 1,814 kg (3,500 to 4,000 lbs). Moreover, this could be accomplished with the present pressurization and propellant feed systems.
MSC and Grumman representatives reviewed individual subsystem test logics for the LEM and agreed on test logic and associated hardware requirements for the entire subsystem development. Agreement was also reached on the vehicle ground test program which Grumman proposed to implement with their respective subcontractors during December. Cost and effort associated with the revised program would be jointly reviewed by MSC and Grumman during January and February 1965.
MSC asked Grumman to design and fabricate a prototype for a lunar sample return container. This effort would explore handling procedures and compatibility with both spacecraft. Concurrently, the Center's Advanced Spacecraft Technology Division was studying structural and packaging requirements for such a container.
MSC and Grumman reviewed the ground test program for the LEM guidance and navigation subsystem (including radar). All major milestones for hardware qualification would be met by the revised test logic, and both LEM and CSM radar were expected to be delivered on time. The major problem area was permissible deviations from fully qualified parts for pre-production equipment. Since this was apparently true for all LEM electronics equipment, it was recommended that an overall plan be approved by ASPO.
Grumman and MSC representatives met at Bethpage, New York, to establish requirements for a new hardware delivery schedule for the LEM ground development test program. This program would involve changes in the workload at the subcontractors, WSMR, AEDC, and Grumman. New delivery schedules for flight engines were also finalized at the meeting.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that it was his desire to review the progress of the two subcontractors (Space Technology Laboratory and Rocketdyne) prior to the final evaluation and selection of a subcontractor for the LEM descent engine.
Shea had asked MSC's Maxime A. Faget to be chairman of a committee to accomplish the review, and would also ask the following individuals to serve: C. H. Lambert, W. F. Rector III, and J. G. Thibodaux, all of MSC; L. F. Belew, MSFC; M. Dandridge and J. A. Gavin, Grumman; I. A. Johnsen, Lewis Research Center; C. H. King, OMSF; Maj. W. R. Moe, Edwards Rocket Research Laboratory; and A. O. Tischler, NASA Office of Advanced Research and Technology.
The Committee should
MSC's Flight Operations Directorate accepted KSC's proposal for emergency nitrogen deluge into the SM and spacecraft LEM adapter (SLA) in case of a hydrogen leak on the pad. The proposal was based upon no changes to the spacecraft and insertion to the SM SLA area in about three minutes. However, errors in volume estimation and inlet conditions in the spacecraft required reevaluation of the proposal to assure that insertion could be accomplished in a reasonable length of time without changes in the spacecraft.
Bell Aerosystems Company tested a high-performance injector for the LEM ascent engine. The new design was similar to the current one, except that the mixture ratio of the barrier flow along the chamber wall had been changed from 0.85 to 1.05. Bell reported a performance increase of 0.8 percent (about 2.5 sec of specific impulse). Subsequent testing, however, produced excessive erosion in the ablative wall of the thrust chamber caused by the higher temperature. The MSC Propulsion and Power Division (PPD) felt this method of increasing the ascent engine's performance might not be practicable.
At the same time, PPD reported that Bell had canceled its effort to find a lighter ablative material (part of the weight reduction program). A number of tests had been conducted on such materials; none was successful.
Grumman selected the Leach Corporation to supply data storage electronics assemblies for the LEM. Conclusion of contract negotiations was anticipated about February 1, 1965. The resident Apollo office at Grumman gave its approval to the selection, with only two conditions:
Six flights of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) were made during the month, bringing the total number to seven. The project pilot, Joseph Walker, made all flights and demonstrated a rapid increase in the ease and skill with which he handled the craft as the flights progressed.
Altitudes to between 18 and 21 m (60 and 70 ft) and flight duration up to three minutes were attained. Additional Details: here....
Representatives of MSC's Information and Electronic Systems Division, Flight Operations Division, Flight Crew Operations Division, Guidance and Control Division, Astronaut Office, and ASPO, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Bellcomm, Inc., met to discuss communications during LEM and CSM rendezvous.
Capability of the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN) to provide data for rendezvous was studied. Aaron Cohen of ASPO stated sufficient data could be collected, processed, and transmitted via MSFN to the LEM to achieve rendezvous. Dr. F. O. Vonbun of Goddard showed that MSFN data did little to improve data already available in the LEM before launch. Although five tracking stations would communicate with the LEM during ascent and the first 10 minutes of orbit, there would be only a slight improvement in spacecraft position and motion data over the data already contained in the LEM computer. No decision was made concerning the MSFN's capability.
Alternate rendezvous methods were discussed.
Grumman and LEM Project Office representatives met to discuss the split bus distribution system. They decided there would be two circuit breaker panels similar to those of Mockup 5. All power distribution system controls would be located on the system engineer's center side console with remote controls and valves on the commander's center side console.
Grumman received from Houston criteria for firing times of the SM reaction control system (RCS). These served as a basis for the design of the LEM's steerable antenna. The thermal design proposed by Dalmo-Victor, the vendor, appeared feasible to watchdogs in MSC's Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division. On the other hand, the unbalanced wind torque produced by the RCS engines was still a problem. RCA and Dalmo-Victor's estimates of the amount of torque varied considerably, and Grumman consequently undertook a study of this problem.
By improving filling and preparation procedures and by using nickel foil in the oxygen electrode, Pratt and Whitney eliminated both short- and long-term plugging in the LEM's fuel cell assembly. Since then, Pratt and Whitney had consistently operated single cells for over 400 hours and - as far as the company was concerned - felt this settled the matter.
MSC directed Grummann to provide a LEM abort guidance section (AGS) having
From MSC, Grumman received updated criteria to be used in the design of the LEM's landing gear. The gear must be designed to absorb completely the landing impact; it must also provide adequate stability for the vehicle under varying surface conditions, which were spelled out in precise detail.) Maximum conditions that MSC anticipated at touchdown were:
vertical velocity - 3.05 m (10 ft) per sec
horizontal velocity - 1.22 m (4 ft) per sec
pitch - 3 degrees
roll - 3 degrees
yaw - random
attitude rates - 3 degrees per sec
At touchdown, all engines (descent and reaction control would be off. "It must be recognized," MSC emphasized, "that the vertical and horizontal velocity values . . . are also constraints on the flight control system."
Dalmo-Victor studied thermal-demanded weight increases for the LEM's steerable antenna. Investigators reported to Grumman and RCA that, in the plume of the CSM's reaction control engines, 1.18 kg (2.5 lbs) was necessary merely for the survival of the antenna; another 1.18 kg would be required for tracking during this impingement.
The Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) summarized the thermal status of antennas for the Apollo spacecraft (both CSM and LEM). Generally, most troubles stemmed from plume impingement by the reaction control or radiation from the service propulsion engines. These problems, SMD reported, were being solved by increasing the weight of an antenna either its structural weight or its insulation; by shielding it from the engines' exhaust; by isolating its more critical components; or by a combination of these methods.
In response to MSC's new criteria for the landing gear of the LEM, Grumman representatives met with Center officials in Houston to revise the design. Grumman had formulated a concept for a 419-cm (165-in) radius, cantilever-type configuration, In analyzing its performance, Grumman and Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) engineers, working separately, had reached the same conclusion: namely, that it did not provide sufficient stability nor did it absorb enough of the landing impact. Both parties to this meeting agreed that the gear's performance could be improved by redesigning the foot pads and beefing up the gear struts. Grumman was modifying other parts of the spacecraft's undercarriage accordingly.
At the same time, Grumman advised MSC that it considered impractical a contrivance to simulate lunar gravity in the drop program for test Mockup 5. Grumman put forth another idea: use a full-sized LEM, the company said, but one weighing only one-sixth as much as a flight-ready vehicle. SMD officials were evaluating this latest idea, while they were reviewing the entire TM-5 program.
Grumman ordered its major subcontractors supplying electronic equipment for the LEM to implement revised test programs and hardware schedules (in line with the new design approach). A similar directive went to RCA to modify the attitude and translation and the descent engine control assemblies as required for the new concept of an integrated assembly for guidance, navigation, and control of the spacecraft.
In September 1964, Hamilton Standard, manufacturer of the portable life support system (PLSS), had established a 108-watt-hour capacity for the system's batteries. And on the basis of that figure, Grumman had been authorized to proceed with the development of the LEM's battery charger. (The size of the charger was determined by several factors, but primarily by the size of the battery and time limits for recharging.)
During November, however, Hamilton Standard and Crew Systems Division (CSD) engineers advised the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division (IESD) that the PLSS's power requirements had increased to about 200 watt-hours. (CSD had jurisdiction over the PLSS, including battery requirements; IESD was responsible for the charger.) Hamilton Standard placed most of the blame on the cooling pump motor, which proved far less efficient than anticipated, as well as on the addition of biosensor equipment. ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, reviewing the company's explanation, commented that "this says what happened . . . but is far from a justification - this is the type of thing we should understand well enough to anticipate." "How can this happen," he wondered, ". . . in an area which has been subjected to so much discussion and delay?"
Representatives from Grumman and Hamilton Standard, meeting at MSC on December 17, redefined PLSS battery and charging requirements, and Grumman was directed to proceed with the development of the battery charger. This episode was accompanied by some sense of urgency, since Grumman had to have firm requirements before the end of year to prevent a schedule slippage.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that he planned to conduct a program review with MIT during January 1965, similar to the North American, AC Spark Plug, and Grumman program reviews, but with certain differences, since MIT was a non- profit organization and the scope of its work much narrower than the prime hardware contractors. Shea pointed out that 1965 would be the most critical year of the MIT effort; during that year all drawings for the Block I, Block II, and LEM guidance navigation and control programs should be released. Consequently, the program review at MIT would examine only that one year.
Shea said he would meet with C. Stark Draper on January 14 and discuss with him "where we stand with respect to the MIT work of the past and our concerns for the future." During the week of January 18, MSC would send 14 teams to MIT to meet with their counterparts, and the following week a review board, chaired by R. C. Duncan of MSC, would go over the work of the individual MIT-NASA teams in depth and agree upon the program for 1965. The 14 teams would be: Reliability and Quality Assurance, Field Operations, Documentation and Configuration Management, Systems Assembly and Test, Guidance and Mission Analysis, Simulation, Ground Support Equipment, Optics, Inertial Systems and Sensors, Computer, Radar, Training; Terms, Conditions, Rates and Factors; and Statement of Work Integration.
Shea felt that the review would give MIT a clearer understanding of their part in the guidance, navigation, and control system development. He recommended that Phillips discuss the general nature of the program review with George E. Mueller and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., so they would both understand ASPO's objectives.
Phillips forwarded the letter to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller along with his comments on the proposal. He said, "I think it is a good plan and that the results will be beneficial to the program. I urge your support should it become necessary."
The Preliminary Design Review of the Block II CM was held at North American's Downey, Calif., plant. Ten working groups evaluated the spacecraft design and resolved numerous minor details. They then reported to a review board of NASA and North American officials. Additional Details: here....
Grumman and Hamilton Standard were exploring various designs for the extravehicular mobility unit. On the basis of some early conclusions, the MSC Crew Systems Division (CSD) recommended that meteoroid and thermal protection be provided by a single garment. Preliminary hypervelocity tests placed the garment's reliability at 0.999. Each would weigh about 7.7 kg (17 lbs), about 2.3 kg (5 lbs) less than the two-garment design. CSD further recommended that the unit be stored either in the LEM's descent stage or in a jettisonable container in the ascent portion.
MSC evaluated the VHF communications requirements and determined that there was no requirement for the LEM to communicate simultaneously over VHF with:
The first meeting of the Configuration Control Board was held at MSC with ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea as chairman. Approval was given to delete 10 Apollo guidance and navigation systems; and W. F. Rector III was directed to look into the use of computers and prototype units for electronic systems integration. In other actions, a decision on changes to CSM specifications to provide for the heavyweight LEM (a proposed increase from 12,705 to 14,515 kg (28,000 to 32,000 lbs)) was deferred until the next meeting; and Owen Maynard was directed to identify all Block II changes that must be implemented regardless of impact and have them ready for Board action by February 18, 1965.
MSC was studying several approaches to the problems of automatic thermal control and automatic reacquisition of the earth by the S-band high-gain antenna while the CSM circled the moon. (The Block II spacecraft, MSC had stated, must have the ability to perform these functions wholly on its own. During an extended stay of the LEM on the lunar surface, when the CSM pilot needed uninterrupted sleep periods, antenna reacquisition was absolutely essential for telemetering data back to earth. And although the requirements for passive thermal control were not yet well defined, the spacecraft's attitude must likewise be automatically controlled.)
Robert C. Duncan, chief of the MSC Guidance and Control Division, presented his section's recommendations for solving these problems, which ultimately won ASPO's concurrence. Precise spacecraft body rates, Duncan said, should be maintained by the stabilization and control system. The position of the S-band antenna should be telemetered to the ground, where the angle required for reacquisition would be computed. The antenna would then be repositioned by commands sent through the updata link.
The Structures and Mechanics Division approved a low-burst factor for the gaseous helium tanks on the LEM (as recommended by Grumman). This change permitted a substantial lightening of the spacecraft's propulsion systems: descent 45 kg (99 lbs); ascent, 13 kg (29 lbs); reaction control, 2.3 kg (5 lbs).
After reviewing the requirement for extravehicular transfer (EVT) from the LEM to the CM, MSC reaffirmed its validity. The Center already had approved additional fuel for the CM, to lengthen its rendezvousing range, and modifications of the vehicle's hatch to permit exterior operation. The need for a greater protection for the astronaut during EVT would be determined largely by current thermal tests of the pressure suit being conducted by NASA and Hamilton Standard. While the emergency oxygen system was unnecessary during normal transfer from one vehicle to the other, it was essential during EVT or lunar surface activities.
In simulated zero-g conditions aboard KC-135s, technicians evaluated a number of different devices for restraining the LEM crewmen. These trials demonstrated clearly the need for a hip restraint and for a downward force to hold the astronaut securely to the cabin floor. In mid-February a second series of flights tested the combination that seemed most promising: Velcro shoes that would be used together with Velcropile carpeting on the cabin floor of the spacecraft; a harness that enveloped the astronaut's chest and, through an intricate system of cables and pulleys, exerted a constant downward pressure; and a waist strap that secured the harness to the lighting panel immediately facing the crewman. These evaluations permitted Grumman to complete the design of the restraint system.
The persistent problem of combustion instability in the LEM ascent engine, unyielding to several major injector redesigns, was still present during test firings at Bell Aerosystems. Following reviews by MSC and Grumman, the "mainstream effort" in the injector program was "reoriented" to a design that included baffles on the face of the injector. Largely because of this troublesome factor, it now appeared that the ascent engine's development cost, which only four months earlier Bell and Grumman had estimated at $20 million, would probably approach $34 million. Bell also forecast a 15.4-kg (34-lb) weight increase for the engine because of a longer burn design and a strengthened nozzle extension.
Parallel development of the LEM descent engine was halted. Space Technology Laboratories was named the sole contractor; the Rocketdyne contract was canceled. Grumman estimated that the cost of Rocketdyne's program would be about $25 million at termination.
The MSC-MSFC Mechanical Integration Panel discussed the possibility that, when deployed, the LEM adapter panels might interfere with radio communications via the S-band high-gain antenna. On earth-orbital missions, the panel found, the S-band antenna would be rendere useless. They recommended that MSC's Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division investigate alternative modes for communications during the transposition and docking phase of the flight. During lunar missions, on the other hand, the panel found that, with panels deployed at a 45 degree angle, the high-gain antenna could be used as early as 15 minutes after translunar injection. Spacecraft-to-ground communications during transposition and docking could thus be available and manual tracking would not be needed. North American was informed that the high-gain antenna would be used during this maneuver, and was directed to fix the panel deployment angle for all Block II spacecraft at 45 degrees.
ASPO approved the technique for LEM S-IVB separation during manned missions, a method recommended jointly by North American and Grumman. After the CSM docked with the LEM, the necessary electrical circuit between the two spacecraft would be closed manually. Explosive charges would then free the LEM from the adapter on the S-IVB.
Warren J. North, Chairman of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) Coordination Panel, reported to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that the LLRV had been flown 10 times by Flight Research Center pilots - eight times by Joe Walker and twice by Don Mallick. Maximum altitude achieved was 91 m (300 ft) and maximum forward velocity was 12 m (40 ft) per sec. Additional Details: here....
MSC canceled plans (originally proposed by North American) for a device to detect failures in the reaction control system (RCS) for Block I CSMs. This was done partly because of impending weight, cost, and schedule penalties, but also because, given an RCS failure during earth orbit, the crew could detect it in time to return to earth safely even without the proposed device. This action in no way affected the effort to devise such a detection system for the Block II CSM or the LEM, however.
Initial development testing of LEM restraint systems was completed. Under zero-g conditions, investigators found, positive restraints for the crew were essential. While the system must be further refined, it consisted essentially of a harness that secured the astronaut's hips (thus providing a pivot point) and held him firmly on the cabin floor.
Nine areas of scientific experiments for the first manned Apollo lunar landing mission had been summarized and experimenters were defining them for NASA. Space sciences project group expected to publish the complete report by March 1, to be followed by requests for proposals from industry on designing and producing instrument packages. A major effort was under way by a NASA task force making a time-motion study of how best to use the limited lunar stay-time of two hours' minimum for the first flight.
To make it easier to get in and out of the spacecraft, Grumman modified the LEM's forward hatch. During mobility tests on the company's mockup, a hinged, trapezoidal-shaped door had proved superior to the original circular hatch, so the earlier design was dropped.
A device to maintain the spacecraft in a constant attitude was added to the LEM's primary attitude control system (ACS). The feature brought with it some undesirable handling characteristics, however: it would cause the vehicle to land long. Although this overshoot could be corrected by the pilot, and therefore was not dangerous operationally, it would require closer attention during final approach. The attitude hold, therefore, hardly eased the pilot's control task, which was, after all, its primary function. Instead of moving the device to the backup ACS (the abort section), the Engineering Simulation Branch of MSC's Guidance and Control Division recommended that the system be modified so that, if desired, the pilot could disengage the hold mechanism.
MSC, North American, and Grumman reviewed the results of Langley Research Center's LEM-active docking simulation. While the overhead mode of docking had been found to be acceptable, two items still caused some concern: (1) propellant consumption could exceed supply; and (2) angular rates at contact had occasionally exceeded specifications. Phase B (Grumman's portion) of the docking simulations, scheduled to begin in about two weeks, would further investigate these problems. Langley researchers also had evaluated several sighting aids for the LEM and recommended a projected image collimated (parallel in lines of direction) reticle as most practicable. Accordingly, on March 9, MSC directed Grumman to incorporate this type of sighting device into the design of their spacecraft.
ASPO and the MSC Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division (IESD) formulated a program for electromagnetic compatibility testing of hardware aboard the CSM and LEM. The equipment would be mounted in spacecraft mockups, which would then be placed in the Center's anechoic chamber. In these tests, scheduled to begin about the first of September, IESD was to evaluate the compatibility of the spacecraft in docked and near-docked configurations, and of Block I spacecraft with the launch vehicle. The division was also to recommend testing procedures for the launch complex.
ASPO evaluated Grumman's proposal for an "all battery" system for the LEM descent stage. ASPO was aiming at a 35-hour lunar stay for the least weight; savings were realized by lessening battery capacities, by making the water tanks smaller, and by reducing some of the spacecraft's structural requirements.
Evaluations of the three-foot probes on the LEM landing gear showed that the task of shutting off the engine prior to actual touchdown was even more difficult than controlling the vehicle's rate of descent. During simulated landings, about 70 percent of the time the spacecraft was less than 0.3 m (1 ft) high when shutdown came; on 20 percent of the runs, the engine was still burning at touchdown. Some change, either in switch location or in procedure, thus appeared necessary to shorten the delay between contact light and engine cutoff (an average of 0.7 sec).
To make room for a rendezvous study, MSC was forced to end, prematurely, its simulations of employing the LEM as a backup for the service propulsion system. Nonetheless, the LEM was evaluated in both manual and automatic operation. Although some sizable attitude changes were required, investigators found no serious problems with either steering accuracy or dynamic stability.
MSC's Systems Engineering Division (SED) requested support from the Structures and Mechanics Division in determining the existence or extent of corrosion in the coolant loops of the SM electrical power subsystem (EPS) and the CM and LEM environmental control subsystems (ECS), resulting from the use of water glycol as coolant fluid. Informal contact had been made with W. R. Downs of the Structures and Mechanics Division and he had been given copies of contractor reports and correspondence between MSC, North American, and MIT pertaining to the problem. The contractors had conflicting positions regarding the extent and seriousness of glycol corrosion.
SED requested that a study be initiated to:
MSC announced a realignment of specialty areas for the 13 astronauts not assigned to forthcoming Gemini missions (GT 3 through 5) or to strictly administrative positions:
Charles A. Bassett - operations handbooks, training, and simulators
Alan L. Bean - recovery systems
Michael Collins - pressure suits and extravehicular activity
David R. Scott - mission planning and guidance and navigation
Clifton C. Williams - range operations, deep space instrumentation, and crew safety.
Donn F. Eisele - CSM and LEM
William A. Anders - environmental control system and radiation and thermal systems
Eugene A. Cernan - boosters, spacecraft propulsion, and the Agena stage
Roger B. Chaffee - communications, flight controls, and docking
R. Walter Cunningham - electrical and sequential systems and non-flight experiments
Russell L. Schweickart - in-flight experiments and future programs.
In the first of a series of manufacturing review meetings at Bethpage, N.Y., it was learned that Grumman's tooling program was behind schedule (caused primarily by engineering changes). Tool manufacturing might recoup much of the lost time, but this process was highly vulnerable to further design changes. Completion of tooling for the ascent stage of LTA-3 was now set for late April, a production delay of about two months.
MSC directed North American to delete the rendezvous radar from Block II CSMs. On those spacecraft North American instead would install LEM rendezvous radar transponders. Grumman, in turn, was ordered to halt its work on the CSM rendezvous radar (both in-house and at RCA) as well as all support efforts. At the same time, however, the company was directed to incorporate a tracking light on the LEM (compatible with the CSM telescope sextant) and to modify the spacecraft's VHF equipment to permit range extraction in the CSM.
MSC's Crew Systems Division decreed that the extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) would employ a single garment for both thermal and meteoroid protection. By an earlier decision, the penetration probability requirement had been lowered from 0.9999 to 0.999. This change, along with the use of newer, more efficient materials, promised a substantial lightening of the garment (hopefully down to about 7.7 kg (17 lbs), excluding visors, gloves, and boots). The division also deleted the requirement for a separate meteoroid visor, because the thermal and glare visors provided ample protection against meteoroids as well. Tests by Ling-Temco-Vought confirmed the need for thermal protection over the pressure suit during extravehicular transfer by the LEM crewmen.
NASA selected Philco's Aeronutronic Division to design a penetrometer for possible use in the Apollo program. Impacting on the moon, the device would measure the firmness and bearing strength of the surface. Used in conjunction with an orbiting spacecraft, the system could provide scientific information about areas of the moon that were inaccessible by any other means. Langley Research Center would negotiate and manage the contract, estimated to be worth $1 million.
To eliminate interference between the S-IVB stage and the instrument unit, MSC directed North American to modify the deployment angle of the adapter panels. Originally designed to rotate 170 degrees, the panels should open but 45 degrees (60 degrees during abort), where they were to be secured while the CSM docked with and extracted the LEM.
But at this smaller angle, the panels now blocked the CM's four flush- mounted omnidirectional antennas, used during near-earth phases of the mission. While turning around and docking, the astronauts thus had to communicate with the ground via the steerable high gain antenna. For Block II spacecraft, therefore, MSC concurrently ordered North American to broaden the S-band equipment's capability to permit it to operate within 4,630 km (2,500 nm) of earth.
William F. Rector III, MSC's LEM Project Officer, reported at an ASPO Manager's Staff Meeting that the expected firing date for the heavyweight ascent (HA) rig #3 at WSTF had been slipped from March 18, 1965, until April 13. Grumman personnel at White Sands said the slip was necessary because
On the basis of in-house tests, Grumman recommended a scheme for exterior lighting on the LEM. The design copied standard aeronautical practice (i.e., red, port; green, starboard; and amber, underside). White lights marked the spacecraft, both fore and aft; to distinguish between the two white lights, the aft one contained a flasher.
Louis Walter, Goddard Space Flight Center geochemist, reported that his research with tektites indicated the lunar surface may be sandlike. Waiter had discovered the presence of coesite in tektites, believed to be particles of the moon sent into space when meteorites impact the lunar surface. Coesite, also found at known meteorite craters, is a form of silicon dioxide - a major constituent of sand - produced under high pressure. "If we accept the lunar origin of tektites," Walter said, "this would prove or indicate that the parent material on the moon is something like the welded tuft that we find in Yellowstone Park, Iceland, New Zealand, and elsewhere." Welded tuft was said to have some of the qualities of beach sand.
Grumman reported three major problems with the LEM:
MSC decided in favor of an "all-battery" LEM (i.e., batteries rather than fuel cells in both stages of the vehicle) and notified Grumman accordingly. Pratt and Whitney's subcontract for fuel cells would be terminated on April 1; also, Grumman would assume parenthood of GE's contract (originally let by Pratt and Whitney) for the electrical control assembly. Additional Details: here....
Preliminary investigation by Grumman indicated that, with an all-battery LEM, passive thermal control of the spacecraft was doubtful. (And this analysis did not include the scientific experiments package, which, with its radioisotope generator, only increased the problem. Grumman and MSC Structures and Mechanics Division engineers were investigating alternate locations for the batteries and modifications to the surface coatings of the spacecraft as possible solutions.
Missiles and Rockets reported a statement by Joseph F. Shea, ASPO manager, that MSC had no serious weight problems with the Apollo spacecraft. The current weight, he said, was 454 kg (1,000 lbs) under the 40,823 kg (90,000 lb) goal. Moreover, the increased payload of the Saturn V to 43,091 kg (95,000 lbs) permitted further increases. Shea admitted, however, that the LEM was growing; recent decisions in favor of safety and redundancy could raise the module's weight from 13,381 kg to 14,575 kg (29,500 lbs to 32,000 lbs).
MSC notified Grumman that a device to recharge the portable life support system's (PLSS) batteries was no longer required in the LEM. Instead, three additional batteries would be stored in the spacecraft (bringing the total number of PLSS batteries to six).
MSC's Structures and Mechanics Division was conducting studies of lunar landing conditions. In one study, mathematical data concerning the lunar surface, LEM descent velocity, and physical properties of LEM landing gear and engine skirt were compiled. A computer was programmed with these data, producing images on a video screen, allowing engineers to review hypothetical landings in slow motion.
In another study, a one-sixth scale model of the LEM landing gear was dropped from several feet to a platform which could be adjusted to different slopes. Impact data, gross stability, acceleration, and stroke of the landing gear were recorded. Although the platform landing surface could not duplicate the lunar surface as well as the computer, the drop could verify data developed in the computer program. The results of these studies would aid in establishing ground rules for lunar landings.
An evaluation was made of the feasibility of utilizing a probe-actuated descent engine cutoff light during the LEM lunar touchdown maneuver. The purpose of the light, to be actuated by a probe extending 0.9 m (3 ft) beyond the landing gear pads, was to provide an engine cutoff signal for display to the pilot. Results of the study indicated at least 20 percent of the pilots failed to have the descent engine cut off at the time of lunar touchdown. The high percentage of engine-on landings was attributed to
MSC defined the functional and design requirements for the tracking light on the LEM:
In November 1964, MSC asked Grumman to conduct a study on the feasibility of carrying a radioisotope power supply as part of the LEM's scientific equipment. The subsequent decision to use batteries in the LEM power system caused an additional heat load in the descent stage. Therefore, MSC requested the contractor to continue the study using the following ground rules: consider the radioisotope power supply a requirement for the purpose of preliminary design efforts on descent stage configuration; determine impact of the radioisotope power supply - in particular its effect on passive thermal control of the descent stage; and specify which characteristics would be acceptable if any existing characteristics of the radioisotope power supply had an adverse effect. The radioisotope power was used only to supply power for the descent stage.
Because the adapter panels, when deployed to 45 degrees, would block the command link with the LEM, a command antenna system on the adapter was mandatory. MSC therefore directed North American to provide such a device on the adapters for spacecraft 014, 101, and 102. This would permit command acquisition of the LEM in the interval between panel deployment and the spacecraft's clearing the adapter.
Grumman officials presented their findings on supercritical versus gaseous oxygen storage systems for the LEM (supercritical: state of homogeneous mixture at a certain pressure and temperature, being neither gas nor liquid). After studying factors of weight, reliability, and thermal control, as well as cost and schedule impacts, they recommended gaseous tanks in the ascent stage and a supercritical tank in the descent stage. They stressed that this configuration would be about 35.66 kg (117 lbs) lighter than an all-gaseous one. Though these spokesmen denied any schedule impact, they estimated that this approach would cost about 2 million more than the all-gaseous mode. MSC was reviewing Grumman's proposal.
During the latter part of the month, Crew Systems Division (CSD) engineers also looked into the several approaches. In contrast to Grumman, CSD calculated that, at most, an all-gaseous system would be but 4.08 kg (9 lbs) heavier than a supercritical one. CSD nonetheless recommended the former. It was felt that the heightened reliability, improved schedules, and "substantial" cost savings that accompanied the all-gaseous approach offset its slim weight disadvantage.
During late April, MSC ordered Grumman to adopt CSD's approach (gaseous systems in both stages of the vehicle). (Another factor involved in this decision was the lessened oxygen requirement that followed substitution of batteries for fuel cells in the LEM.)
Bell Aerosystems Company reported that a study had been made to determine if it were practical to significantly increase simulation time without major changes to the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV). This study had been made after MSC personnel had expressed an interest in increased simulation time for a trainer version of the LLRV. The current LLRV was capable of about 10 minutes of flight time and two minutes of lunar simulation with the lift rockets providing one-sixth of the lift. It was concluded that lunar simulation time approaching seven minutes could be obtained by doubling the 272-kg (600-lb) peroxide load and employing the jet engine to simulate one-half of the rocket lift needed for simulation.
A major limiting factor, however, was the normal weather conditions at Houston, where such a training vehicle would be located. A study showed that in order to use a maximum peroxide load of 544 kg (1,200 lbs), the temperature could not exceed 313K (40 degrees F); and at 332K (59 degrees F) the maximum load must be limited to 465 kg (1,025 lbs) of peroxide. On the basis of existing weather records it was determined there would be enough days on which flights could be made in Houston on the basis of 544 kg (1,200 lbs) peroxide at 313K (40 degrees F), 465 kg (1,025 lbs) at 332K (59 degrees F), and 354 kg (775 lbs) at 353K (80 degrees F) to make provisions for such loads.
The change from LEM fuel cells to batteries eliminated the need for a hard-line interstage umbilical for that system and the effort on a cryogenic umbilical disconnect was canceled. The entire LEM pyrotechnic effort was redefined during the program review and levels of effort and purchased parts cost were agreed upon.
MSC ordered Grumman to halt development of linear-shaped charge cutters for the LEM's interstage umbilical separation system, and to concentrate instead on redundant explosive-driven guillotines. By eliminating this parallel approach, and by capitalizing on technology already worked out by North American on the CSM umbilical cutter, this decision promised to simplify hardware development and testing. Further, it promised to effect significant schedule improvements and reductions in cost.
MSC contacted Grumman with reference to the LEM ascent engine environmental tests at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), scheduled for cell occupancy there from May 1, 1965, until September 1, 1965. It was MSC's understanding that the tests might begin without a baffled injector. It was pointed out, however, that the first test was expected to begin July 1, and since the recent baffle injector design selection had been made, time remained for the fabrication of the injector, checkout of the unit, and shipment to AEDC for use in the first test.
Since the baffled injector represented the final hardware configuration, it was highly desirable to use the design for these tests. MSC requested that availability of the injector constrain the tests and that Grumman take necessary action to ensure compliance.
After further design studies following the M-5 mockup review (October 5-8, 1964), Grumman reconfigured the boarding ladder on the forward gear leg of the LEM. The structure was flattened, to fit closer to the strut. Two stirrup-type steps were being added to ease stepping from the top rung to the platform or "porch" in front of the hatch.
MSC decided upon a grid-type landing point designator for the LEM. Grumman would cooperate in the final design and would manufacture the device; MIT would ensure that the spacecraft's guidance equipment could accept data from the designator and thus change the landing point.
William F. Rector, the LEM Project Officer in ASPO, replied to Grumman's weight reduction study (submitted to MSC on December 15, 1964). Rector approved a number of the manufacturer's suggestions:
Three flights were made with the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) for the purpose of checking the automatic systems that control the attitude of the jet engine and adjusting the throttle so the jet engine would support five-sixths of the vehicle weight.
On March 11 representatives of Flight Research Center (FRC) visited MSC to discuss future programs with Warren North and Dean Grimm of Flight Crew Support Division. A budget for operating the LLRV at FRC through fiscal year 1966 was presented. Consideration was being given to terminating the work at FRC on June 30, 1966, and moving the vehicles and equipment to MSC. Additional Details: here....
Bell Aerosystems Company received Grumman's go-ahead to resume work on the thrust chamber of the LEM ascent engine. Bell conducted a dozen stability tests using an injector fitted with a 31.75 mm (1.25 in), Y-shaped baffle. Thus far, the design had recovered from every induced disturbance (including widely varied fuel-to-oxygen ratios). Also, to ease the thermal soakback problem, Bell planned to thicken the chamber wall.
MSC requested that Grumman incorporate in the command list for LEMs 1, 2, and 3 the capability for turning the LEM transponder off and on by real-time radio command from the Manned Space Flight Network. Necessity for capability of radio command for turning the LEM transponder on after LEM separation resulted from ASPO's decision that the LEM and Saturn instrument unit S-band transponders would use the same transmission and reception frequencies.
Grumman presented to MSC its recommendations for an all-battery electrical power system for the LEM:
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that Bellcomm, Inc., was conducting a systems engineering study of lunar landing dynamics to determine "functional compatibility of the navigation, guidance, control, crew, and landing gear systems involved in Apollo lunar landing." Phillips asked that he be advised of any specific assignments in these areas which would prove useful in support of the ASPO operation.
Shea replied, "We are currently evaluating the LEM lunar landing system with the Apollo contractors and the NASA Centers. We believe that the landing problem is being covered adequately by ourselves and these contractors." Shea added that a meeting would be held at Grumman April 21 and 22 to determine if there were any deficiencies in the program, and that he would be pleased to have Bellcomm attend the meeting and later make comments and recommendations.
H. I. Thompson Company's first combustion chamber with a tape-wrapped throat successfully withstood a series of four test firings. If further testing confirmed its performance, reported the resident Apollo office at Bethpage, N.Y., the design would be used in the LEM's ascent engine. (It would replace the current compression-molded throat, which suffered from excessive cracking.)
The thrust mount for the LEM ascent engine cracked during vibration testing. The mount would be strengthened.
During the same period, Bell tested the first one-piece ablative chamber for the ascent engine (designed to replace the molded-throat design, which developed cracks during testing . In firings that totaled over eight minutes, Bell engineers found that the unit suffered only negligible throat erosion and decay of chamber pressure.
MSC and Grumman reviewed the requirement for a backup mode of entering and leaving the LEM while on the moon. The new rectangular hatch was deemed "inherently highly reliable," and the only failure that was even "remotely possible" was one of the hatch mechanism. The proposal to use the top (or transfer) hatch was impractical, because it would cost 13.6 kg (30 lb) and would impose an undue hazard on both the crew and the spacecraft's thermal shield.
A LEM/CSM interface meeting uncovered a number of design problems and referred them to the Systems Engineering Division (SED) for evaluation: the requirement for ground verification of panel deployment prior to LEM withdrawal; the requirement for panel deployment in earth orbit during the SA-206 flight; the absence of a backup to the command sequencer for jettisoning the CSM (Flight Projects Division (FPD) urged such a backup signal); and Grumman's opposition to a communications link with the LEM during withdrawal of the spacecraft (FPD felt that such a link was needed through verification of reaction control system ignition). SED's recommendations on these issues were anticipated by April 22.
Crew Systems Division (CSD) decided on a single garment for both thermal and micrometeoroid protection for Apollo astronauts. CSD's Richard S. Johnston summarized factors underlying this decision:
Systems Engineering Division (SED) reviewed the Flight Operations Directorate's recommendation for an up-data system in the LEM during manned missions. (Currently the LEM's guidance computer received data either from the computer in the CSM or from MSC.) SED concluded that, because the equipment was not essential for mission success, an up-data system did not warrant the cost and weight penalties ($750,000 and 4.54 kg (10 lbs)) that it would entail.
The Apollo Program Director, Samuel C. Phillips, informed the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, that action was underway by Grumman to terminate all Pratt & Whitney LEM fuel cell activity by June 30, 1965. Pratt & Whitney would complete testing of LEM fuel cell hardware already produced and one complete LEM fuel cell module plus spare parts would be sent to MSC for in- house testing.
North American's Space and Information Systems Division would continue development at Pratt & Whitney on the CSM fuel cell for 18 months at a cost not to exceed $2.5 million, to ensure meeting the 400-hour lifetime requirement of the CSM system.
MSC would contract directly with Pratt & Whitney for CSM cell development followed by complete CSM module testing for a 1,000-hour CSM module at a cost of approximately $2.5 million. Grumman was scheduled to propose to ASPO their battery contractor selection on April 29, 1965.
The first firing of the LEM ascent engine test rig (HA-3) was successfully conducted at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. A second firing on April 23 lasted 14.45 sec instead of 10 sec as planned. A third firing, lasting 30 sec, completed the test series. A helium pressurization system would be installed before additional testing could begin.
MSC and Grumman reviewed the program for the LEM's reaction control system. The only issue outstanding was Grumman's in-house effort: MSC felt that that effort was "overestimated" and that the manufacturer alone should not handle support from subcontractors.
MSC's Systems Engineering Division requested that Grumman be advised to terminate the RCA systems engineering subcontract as soon as possible. It had been determined that this contract was no longer useful. Based on data presented by Grumman during a program review, an immediate and complete termination would save about $45,000.
Grumman and MSC engineers discussed the effect of landing impacts on the structure of the LEM. Based on analyses of critical loading conditions, Grumman reported that the present configuration was inadequate. Several possible solutions were being studied jointly by Grumman and the Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD):
Also Grumman representatives summarized the company's study on the design of the footpads. They recommended that, rather than adopting a stroking-type design, the current rigid footpad should be modified. The modification, they said, would improve performance as much as would the stroking design, without entailing the latter's increased weight and complexity and lowered reliability. SMD was evaluating Grumman's recommendations.
The LEM Project Officer notified Grumman that the President's Scientific Advisory Committee (PSAC) had established sub-panels to work on specific technical areas, beyond the full PSAC briefings. One of the sub-panels was concerned with the environmental control subsystem, including space suits. This group desired representation from Hamilton Standard to discuss with regard to the LEM-ECS its interpretation of the reliability design requirements, its implementation through development and test phases, its demonstration of reliability, and its frank assessment of confidence in these measures. Briefing material should be available to the sub-panel by May 17, 1965, with a primary discussion meeting to be held at Hamilton Standard on May 24.
Grumman was requested to attend a meeting at MSC and to present their reasons as to why the LEM reaction control system (RCS) propellant tanks could not be of common technology with the CSM RCS propellant tanks. Grumman was to also say why an additional development program was required for the LEM tanks.
Allison Division of General Motors Corporation completed an analysis of failures in the LEM descent stage's propellant tanks. Investigators placed the blame on brittle forgings. MSC's Propulsion and Power Division reported that "efforts are continuing to insure (that) future forgings will be satisfactory."
MSC and Grumman conducted the design engineering inspection on LEM test article 10. Structures and Mechanics Division called it "significant" that there were no requests for design changes. The vehicle was ready for shipment to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for static testing by North American, but, at the latter's request, delivery was delayed until May 28.
ASPO announced that a LEM Test Program Requirement Review would be held at Grumman during the first week in June. The purpose of the review would be to reach agreement with Grumman on an overall Test Program Plan and to consider planned allocation of hardware, test schedules, and test logic in relationship to flight missions.
The review would result in publication of a certification document which would define and catalog the program of testing, analysis, and rationalization which would form the basis for certification of flight spacecraft as capable of meeting requirements of flight missions. It would cover all formal qualification testing above the part level being done at subcontractors or vendors, component testing at Grumman, higher level of assembly testing conducted anywhere in support of a portion of test logic, and individual system test requirements to be conducted on integrated test vehicles such as LEM test article 1.
The format for the review would consist of individual subsystem test program reviews by the respective MSC and Grumman Subsystem Managers. MSC Subsystem Managers would be supported by RASPO, ASPO, and GE personnel where appropriate. After their initial meeting, the MSC and Grumman managers would summarize their findings to a MSC Grumman review board, emphasizing deficiencies in the program (to include inadequate tests, hardware availability problems, and schedules which were inconsistent with flight support requirements).
Portable life support systems (PLSS) stowed against the aft bulkhead in the CM would prevent the crew couch from stroking fully. This condition would be aggravated if, at impact, the bulkhead was forced inward. North American spokesmen maintained that, in a water landing, the bulkhead would give only slightly and that the couch struts would not compress to their limits. They argued, therefore, that this condition would be of concern only in a land landing. On the contrary, said MSC. Center officials were adamant that any interference was absolutely unacceptable: it would lessen the attenuation capability of the couch (thereby jeopardizing crew safety); possibly, the bulkhead might even be ruptured (with obviously disastrous results). Because of this problem - and because the capability for extravehicular transfer from the CM to the LEM was required - MSC invited representatives from the three contractors involved to meet in Houston to deal with the question of PLSS stowage.
Grumman advised MSC that it had selected the Eagle-Picher Company as vendor for batteries in both stages of the LEM. At the same time, because a proposal by Yardney Electric Company promised a sizable weight saving, this latter firm would produce "pre-production" models for the ascent stage.
A tentative agreement was reached between Grumman and MSC propulsion personnel concerning the Propulsion System Development Facility's test scheduling at White Sands operations in regard to stand occupancy times relating to the ascent and descent development rigs. The tentative schedule showed that the ascent LEM Test Article (LTA)-5 vehicle would not start testing until April 1967. The PA-1 rig prototype ascent propulsion rig) would therefore be required to prove the final design and support early LEMs.
The PA-1 rig was designed and was being fabricated to accommodate small propellant tanks, and there were no plans to update it with larger ones. Therefore, advantages of flexibility, running tests of longer sustained durations, and with the final tank outlet configurations would not be realized. Grumman was requested to take immediate action to have the rig accommodate the larger tanks and install the smaller tanks by use of adapters or other methods.
As a result of the decision for an all-battery LEM, MSC advised Grumman that power for the entire pre- separation checkout of the spacecraft would be drawn from that module's batteries (instead of only during the 30 minutes prior to separation). This change simplified the electrical mating between the two spacecraft and obviated an additional battery charger in the CSM. From docking until the start of the checkout, however, the CSM would still furnish power to the LEM.
TWX, James L. Neal, MSC, to GAEC, Attn: R. S. Mullaney. April 30, 1965.
During the Month
Grumman reported two major problems with the LEM's descent engine:
Systems Engineering Division did not concur in use of the chamber technician's suit by test subjects in AFRM 008 tests. AFRM 008 represented the only integrated spacecraft test under a simulated thermal- vacuum environment and was therefore considered a significant step in man-rating the overall system. For that reason use of the flight configuration Block I suit was a firm requirement for the AFRM 008 tests.
The same rationale would be applicable to the LEM and Block II vehicle chamber tests. Only flight configured spacecraft hardware and extravehicular mobility unit garments would be used by test subjects.
R. Wayne Young was appointed Chief of the LEM Contract Engineering Branch, ASPO, to perform the functions of Project Officer for the LEM, effective May 3. At the same time M. E. Dell was appointed Chief of the G&N/ACE Contract Engineering Branch, ASPO, and would be responsible for all functions of Project Officer for the guidance and navigation, automatic checkout equipment-spacecraft, and Little Joe II systems for the Apollo spacecraft, and for technical management of the General Electric Support Contract.
In response to a query, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller that plans to use VHF communications between the CSM, LEM, and extravehicular astronauts and to use X-band radar for the CSM/LEM tracking were reviewed. Bellcomm reexamined the merits of using the Unified S-Band (USB) type which would be installed in the CSM and LEM for communication with and tracking by the earth.
It was found that no appreciable weight saving or weight penalty would result from an all USB system in the Apollo spacecraft. Also, it was determined there would be no significant advantage or disadvantage in using the system. It was noted, however, that implementation of an all S-band system at that stage of development of the design of the CSM, LEM, and astronaut equipment would incur an obvious cost and schedule penalty.
Memorandum, Phillips to Mueller, "Use of Only Unified S-Band Communication Equipment in Apollo Spacecraft," May 5, 1965.
After lengthy investigations of cost and schedule impacts, MSC directed North American to incorporate airlocks on CMs 008 and 014, 101 through 112, and 2H-1 and 2TV-1. The device would enable astronauts to conduct experiments in space without having to leave their vehicle. Initially, the standard hatches and those with airlocks were to be interchangeable on Block II spacecraft. During October, however, this concept was changed: the standard outer hatch would be structured to permit incorporation of an airlock through the use of a conversion kit (included as part of the airlock assembly); and when an airlock was installed, an interchangeable inner hatch would replace the standard one.
ASPO overruled a recommendation by the Flight Operations Directorate for an up-data link in the LEM. Although an automated means of inserting data into the spacecraft's computer was deemed "highly desirable," there were prohibitive consequences:
Both General Electric and Radio Corporation of America studied the feasibility of using the spacecraft- LEM-adapter to dissipate heat from the radioisotope generator during initial phases of the mission. The generator would raise the temperature of the adapter about 30 degrees; radiation back to the spacecraft was not considered serious.
ASPO reviewed Grumman's recommendation for a combination of supercritical and gaseous modes for storing oxygen in the LEM's environmental control system (ECS). MSC engineers determined that such an approach would save only about 14.96 kg (33 lbs) over a high- pressure, all-gaseous design. Mission objectives demanded only four repressurizations of the LEM's cabin. On the basis of this criterion, the weight differential was placed at less than nine pounds.
As a result of this analysis, MSC directed Grumman to design the LEM ECS with an all-gaseous oxygen storage system.
MSC instructed Grumman to negotiate award of a contract to supply batteries for the ascent and descent stages of the LEM with Eagle-Picher Company. Grumman had solicited and received proposals from Eagle-Picher and Yardney Electric Corporation. The bids, including fees, were: Eagle-Picher, $1,945,222; and Yardney, $1,101,673. Grumman evaluated the bids; made presentations to MSC personnel; and proposed on May 6 that they negotiate with Eagle-Picher for ascent and descent batteries; and with Yardney for development of a lighter ascent battery at a cost of approximately $600,000. MSC instructed Grumman not to place the proposed development contract with Yardney, stating that such work could be more appropriately done by MSC work with Yardney or other battery vendors.
Representatives from North American, Grumman, Hamilton Standard, and MSC discussed the problem of stowing the portable life support systems (PLSS).
Current specifications called for two PLSSs under the crew couch in the CM at launch, one of which would be brought back to earth. This location presented some serious problems, however.
MSC officials laid down several ground rules for the discussions:
During the next few weeks, MSC concluded that, at earth launch, one PLSS would be stowed in each spacecraft. With the help of Hamilton Standard engineers, North American and Grumman designers worked out a stowage volume acceptable to all concerned. Hamilton Standard agreed to repackage the PLSS accordingly. MSC ordered North American to provide for stowage of one PLSS beneath the side hatch of the CM, again stressing that the system must not interfere with the crew couch during landing impact; also, the Center directed Grumman to plan for PLSS stowage in the LEM and to study ingress and egress with the reshaped backpack. (Studies by the Crew Systems Division had already indicated that, from the standpoints of compatibility and mobility, the new shape probably would be acceptable.)
AC Spark Plug officials presented to MSC their evaluation of bidders to design an optical rendezvous sensor for the LEM. Because three different approaches were planned, AC gained Guidance and Control Division's approval to let three subcontracts. The firms chosen were Perkin-Elmer, Hughes Aircraft, and the Itek Corporation.
MSC informed Grumman it believed it would be beneficial to the LEM development program for MSC to participate in the manned environmental control system tests to be conducted in Grumman's Internal Environment Simulator. The following individuals were suggested to participate: Astronaut William A. Anders or an alternate to act as a test crewman for one or more manned runs; D. Owen Goons or an alternate to act as a medical monitor for the aforementioned astronaut; and John W. O'Neill or an alternate to monitor voice communications during the test and record astronaut comments.
Representatives from Motorola, RCA, Grumman, and MSC held the first design review on the S-band transponder for the LEM. Several areas were pointed out in which the equipment was deficient. Motorola was incorporating improved circuitry to ensure that the transponder met specifications.
Engineers from General Electric and MSC's Crew Systems and Systems Engineering Divisions determined that transferring water from the CSM to the LEM involved a 5.4-kg (12-lb) increase in the latter's separation weight. Grumman had placed the penalty at only l.8 kg (4 lbs). Because the LEM's weight was so critical, the water transfer scheme was canceled.
To determine lunar touchdown velocity uncertainties, MIT studied radar-aided powered descent. From MIT's findings, Guidance and Control Division concluded that one or two sensors should provide velocity updates to the guidance system throughout the descent maneuver.
The Resident ASPO at Grumman approved three vendor selections by the LEM manufacturer:
Donald K. Slayton, Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations, described a potential hazard involved in crew procedures inside the LEM. Two sets of umbilicals linked the Block II space suit to the environmental control system (ECS) and to the portable life support system (PLSS). Though slight, the possibility existed that when a hose was disconnected, the valve inside the suit might not seat. In that event, gas would escape from the suit. Should this occur while the LEM was depressurized, the astronaut's life would be in jeopardy. Consequently, Slayton cautioned, it would be unwise to disconnect umbilicals while in a vacuum. This in turn imposed several mission constraints:
MSC completed contract negotiations with Westinghouse Electric Company on gear for the LEM's television camera (cables and connectors, stowage containers, and camera mockups). Because of technical requirements, the idea of using the same cable in both spacecraft was abandoned.
ASPO requested the Apollo Program Director to revise the LEM control weight at translunar injection as follows:
William A. Lee, ASPO Assistant Manager, asked Systems Engineering Division to study the feasibility of an abbreviated mission, especially during the initial Apollo flights. Because of the uncertainties involved in landing, Lee emphasized, the first LEMs should have the greatest possible reserves. This could be accomplished, he suggested, by shortening stay time; removing surplus batteries and consumables; and reducing the scientific equipment. Theoretically, this would enable the LEM pilot to hover over the landing site for an additional minute; also, it would increase the velocity budgets both of the LEM's ascent stage and of the CSM. He asked that the spacecraft's specifications be changed to fly a shorter mission:
Bell Aerosystems Company successfully cycled a LEM ascent engine propellant valve 500 times (double the specification requirement). Also, the company conducted a full-duration altitude firing with an ablative nozzle extension to verify heating characteristics.
MSC postponed the formal LEM program review (wherein spacecraft requirements would be redefined and Grumman's contract converted to an incentive type). The Center directed the company to submit firm proposals for all contract change authorizations (CCA), which were promised by July 11. Grumman was preparing a revised estimate of total program cost. In the meantime, both parties were negotiating on all outstanding CCAs.
Also, Grumman described its continuing cost reduction effort. To keep expenditures within limits "suggested" by MSC, the firm was preparing detailed budgets both for itself and its subcontractors. The company had made a number of changes to strengthen its administrative structure and, with Houston's support, was reviewing possible schedule changes with an eye toward eliminating some test vehicles.
Three flights were made with the lunar landing research vehicle (LLRV) by FRC pilot Don Mallick for the purpose of checking the initial weighing, the thrust-to-weight, and the automatic throttle systems.
General Electric would update the LLRV CF-700 jet engines at their Edwards AFB facility rather than at Lynn, Mass. The change in work location would mean an earlier delivery date and a significant cost reduction. The updating would make the engines comparable to the production engines and would add an additional 890 newtons (200 lbs) of thrust.
In an attempt to reduce the overall preflight time in connection with lunar landing research vehicle (LLRV) activities, a meeting was held at Flight Research Center. Principal participants were Ray White, Leroy Frost, Leonard Ferrier, Joe Walker, Don Mallick, Cal Jarvis, Jim Adkins, Zeon Zwink, Wayne Ottinger, and Gene Matranga.
The session commenced with an estimate of time required to perform each of the functions on the preflight checklist. Review indicated that preflight might be shortened in several ways:
ASPO reported a number of significant activities in its Weekly Activity Report.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips approved MSC's request for revised velocity budgets for the two spacecraft. It was understood that these new values would:
George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, approved procurement of the lunar surface experiments package (LSEP). The package, to be deployed on the moon by each LEM crew that landed there, would transmit geophysical and other scientific data back to earth. NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications would make the final selection of experiments. Mueller emphasized that the LSEP must be ready in time for the first lunar landing mission. Management responsibility for the project was assigned to MSC's Experiments Program Office.
Crew Systems Division reported that, as currently designed, the environmental control system (ECS) in the LEM would not afford adequate thermal control for an all-battery spacecraft. Grumman was investigating several methods for improving the ECS's thermal capability, and was to recommend a modified configuration for the coolant loop.
MSC ordered Grumman to propose a gaseous oxygen storage configuration for the LEM's environmental control system (ECS), including all oxygen requirements and system weights. Because no decision was yet made on simultaneous surface excursions by the crew, Grumman should design the LEM's ECS for either one-or two-man operations. And the Center further defined requirements for cabin repressurizations and replenishment of the portable life support systems. Oxygen quantities and pressures would be worked out on the basis of these ground rules.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips listed the RE communications systems envisioned by NASA Headquarters on the first three R&D LEMs and requested ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea's comments.
The first three LEMs (LEM-1, LEM-2, and LEM-3) would be equipped with communications equipment in addition to that required in the LEM for lunar missions to provide:
Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, noted MSC request for support from Goddard Space Flight Center on LEM battery development as well as Goddard's agreement to furnish limited support.
Phillips suggested to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that since MSFC had much experience in the design, development, and operational aspects of battery systems, it was important to use their experience and recommended MSFC be contacted if such action had not already occurred.
Using a LEM mockup at Grumman, and with the assistance of astronauts Roger B. Chaffee and Donn F. Eisele, engineers from Hamilton Standard performed mobility tests of the reconfigured portable life support system (PLSS). Crew Systems Division (CSD) reported that the reshaped back pack did not hinder entering or leaving the spacecraft; and while some interference problems were inescapable when the PLSSs were worn inside the spacecraft for any period of time, CSD believed that damage could be prevented through training and by limiting movement by the crew. Grumman, however, contended that the newer PLSSs had "serious implications" for mobility inside the LEM.
In a series of meetings at Downey, Calif., MSC, Grumman, and North American worked out most of the interface between the two spacecraft. Among the most significant items yet unresolved were: the thermal environment of the LEM during boost; and the structural loads and bending modes between the docked spacecraft.
Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) reported that Grumman had found two thermal problems with the LEM:
MSC directed Grumman to modify the LEM's pulse code modulation and timing electronics assembly to enable it to telemeter data from the abort electronics assembly (AEA). Thus, if data from the AEA disagreed with those from the spacecraft's guidance computer, the two sets could be reconciled on the ground (using inputs from the Manned Space Flight Network), relieving the astronauts of this chore.
Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, established as a firm mission requirement the capability to connect the space suit to the LEM's environmental system and to the portable life support system while in a vacuum. This capability was essential for operational flexibility on the moon's surface.
Crew Systems Division (CSD) conducted a series of flight tests to determine whether the cabin layout of the LEM was suitable for crew performance in zero and one-sixth g environments. Together with its report of satisfactory results, the division made several observations that it thought "appropriate":
MSC advised Grumman of additional functions for the computer in the LEM's abort guidance section (to be added only if a part of its memory was left over after the basic requirements were digested). These functions, in order of priority, MSC listed as:
MSC completed a cursory analysis of LEM landing gear load-stroke requirements at touchdown velocities of 2.43 m (8 ft) per sec vertical and 1.22 m (4 ft) per sec horizontal. This study was conducted to determine the lowest crush loads at 8-4 velocity to which the gear could be designed and still meet its landing performance requirements.
Harry L. Reynolds, Assistant Manager of ASPO, said it was "becoming increasingly clear that we are going to have a difficult job keeping the LEM weight below the control weight." He said the Grumman effort was not adequate and suggested that R. Bullard of MSC be given LEM weight control as a full-time responsibility.
MSC approved North American's proposed location of the antenna for the radar transponder in the CSM, as well as the transponder's coverage. This action followed a detailed review of the relative positions of the two spacecraft during those mission phases when radar tracking of the LEM was required.
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the Systems Engineering Division, vetoed a demand by the Flight Control Division for redundancy in the LEM's pulse code modulation telemetry system. Two factors determined Maynard's action:
Systems Engineering Division chief, Owen E. Maynard, reported to the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division (IESD) the results of a study on a LEM communications problem (undertaken by his own group at IESD's request). During phases of powered descent to certain landing sites (those in excess of 20 degrees east or west longitude), the structure of the spacecraft would block the steerable antenna's line of sight with the earth. Communications with the ground would therefore be lost. Maynard concurred with IESD that the problem could best be solved by rotating the LEM about its thrust axis.
Langley Research Center put into operation its 3.5 million Lunar Landing Research Facility. The huge structure (76.2 m (250 ft) high and 121.9 m (400 ft) long) would be used to explore techniques and to forecast various problems of landing on the moon. The facility would enable a test vehicle to be operated under one-sixth g conditions.
In a memorandum to T. Tarbox, John Ryken, Bell Aerosystems Company LLRV Project Manager, said he understood that Dean Grimm of MSC believed that the LLRV was not configured to have the jet engine provide simulation of a constant-lift rocket thrust in addition to providing the 5/6th g lift. Ryken forwarded to Tarbox a copy of a report, "LLRV Automatic Control System Service and Maintenance Manual," plus notes on the system in the hope that these would help him and NASA personnel better understand the system. He also included suggestions about reducing aerodynamic moments which Grimm felt might interfere with LEM simulation.
Grumman completed its study of oxygen storage systems for the LEM and reviewed with MSC the company's recommendation (one 20,684-kilonewton per sq m (3,000 psi) tank in the descent stage, two 6,894-kilonewtons per sq m (1,000 psi) tanks in the ascent stage). One drawback to the design, which the Crew Systems Division termed an "apparently unavoidable bad feature," was that, by the time of the final cabin repressurization, the repressurization time would increase to about 12 minutes (though this was admittedly a conservative estimate). Although requesting more data from Grumman on temperatures and cabin pressures, the Center approved the configuration.
At a design review on the VHF radio equipment for the LEM, conducted by RCA, Grumman refused to vote its approval. Grumman's most serious objection centered on thermal loads, which under extreme conditions could far exceed specification limits. RCA thereupon began exploring several approaches, including new materials, relocation of components, and redesigned heat sinks. Grumman was asked to keep MSC well informed on problems, corrective actions, and anticipated impacts.
Crew Systems Division (CSD) completed its study on the feasibility of controlling the amount of bacteria vented from the LEM. Division researchers found that, by placing special filters in the environmental control system (ECS) of the spacecraft, emission levels could be greatly lowered. This reduction would be meaningless, however, in view of effluents from the extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) - the moon would still be contaminated by the space travelers. Because of weight penalties - and because of their dubious value - CSD recommended that bacteria filters not be added to the LEM's ECS. The Division further advised that, at present, neither the amount of bacteria emitted from the EMU nor a means of controlling this effluence was yet known.
Structures and Mechanics Division (SMD) presented meteoroid protection figures for the Apollo CSM. (During April, General Electric (GE) had developed reliability estimates for the LEM, based on revised design criteria, for the 8.3-day reference mission. The probability for mission success, GE had found, was 0.9969.) SMD'S figures were:
|Block I (14-day earth orbital flight)||Block II (8.3-day lunar mission)|
All of the above figures, both GE's and SMD's, were derived from the inherent protection afforded by the spacecraft's structure. Thus no additional meteoroid shielding was needed. (Meteoroid protection would still be required, of course, during extravehicular operations.)
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Grumman that a proposal they had made during the LEM Program Review on July 6 regarding broader qualification scheduling and parts deviations had been reviewed by NASA and it was considered "not in the best interests of the program to relax the requirements to the extent proposed by GAEC. Additional Details: here....
In order to use the LEM as a backup for the service propulsion system (SPS) to abort the mission during the 15-hour period following translunar injection, Grumman informed North American that some redesign of the spacecraft's helium system would likely be required. This information prompted North American designers to undertake their own analysis of the situation. On the basis of their own findings, this latter group disagreed with the LEM manufacturer. Additional Details: here....
MSC directed Grumman to implement changes in weights of the LEM:
|Total LEM||14,515 kg (32,000 lbs)|
|Ascent stage inert||2,193 kg (4,835 lbs)|
|Descent stage inert||2,166 kg (4,775 lbs)|
MSC officially notified Grumman that, as part of the Apollo scientific program, an experiments package would be left on the moon by the crewmen of the LEM. The Center outlined weight and storage requirements for the package, which would be stored in the descent stage of the vehicle along with the lunar geological equipment. And MSC emphasized the need for dissipating waste heat given off by the system's radioisotope generator. (The radioisotope generator was a firm requirement, despite the fear voiced by many scientists that the radiation it gave off would disrupt the experiments.)
Agreements and decisions reached at the MSC briefing on the LEM optical tracker were:
MSC defined for Grumman the functions that the LEM's abort guidance section (AGS) must perform during earth orbital flights:
Several astronauts participated in landing touchdown studies conducted in the LEM landing simulator to verify data collected in previous studies and to determine changes in controls and displays to improve the touchdown envelope. Studies involved landing runs from an altitude of 305 m (1,000 ft) with manual takeover at 213 m (700 ft), at which time the pilot could select a precise landing site.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed LEM Subsystems Managers that recent LEM schedule changes and program review activities had led to some confusion with regard to schedule requirements and policies. Shea pointed out that in some instances subsystem delivery schedules had been established which were inconsistent with the overall program. Where this had occurred, prompt action by the Subsystems Managers was required to recover lost ground. Shea then laid down specific ground rules to be followed, and requested that waivers of these ground rules be submitted no later than August 15, along with a demonstration that reasonable alternatives had been investigated. Only the ASPO Manager would approve any waivers.
NASA announced plans to install Apollo Unified S-Band System equipment at its Corpus Christi, Tex., tracking station. The Unified S-Band equipment included a 9-m (30-ft) diameter parabolic antenna and would enable handling of seven different types of communications with two different vehicles, the CM and the LEM. The communications would: track the spacecraft; command its operations and confirm that the command had been executed; provide two-way voice conversation with three astronauts; keep a continuous check on the astronauts' health; make continuous checks on the spacecraft and its functions; supply a continuous flow of information from the Apollo onboard experiments; and transmit television of the astronauts and the exploration of the moon.
NASA named three firms, Bendix Systems Division, TRW Systems Group, and Space-General Corporation to design prototypes of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP). Each company received a $500,000, six-month contract. After delivery of the prototypes, MSC would select one of the three to develop the ALSEP flight hardware.
Grumman reported the status of its effort to lighten the LEM. Despite some relief afforded by recent program changes (e.g., revised velocity budgets and the replacing of fuel cells with batteries), the contractor admitted that significant increases resulted as the design of the spacecraft matured. Grumman recommended, and MSC approved, a Super Weight Improvement Program (SWIP) similar to the one that the company had used in its F-111 aircraft program. By the end of the month, the company reported that SWIP had trimmed about 45 kg (100 lbs) from the ascent and about 25 kg (55 lbs) from the descent stages of the spacecraft. Grumman assured MSC that the SWIP team's attack on the complete vehicle, including its equipment, would be completed prior to the series of LEM design reviews scheduled for late in the year.
Crew Systems Division (CSD) reported that changing the method for storing oxygen in the LEM (from cryogenic to gaseous) had complicated the interface between the spacecraft's environmental control system (ECS) and the portable life support system (PLSS). Very early, the maximum temperature for oxygen at the PLSS recharge station had been placed at 80 degrees. Recent analyses by Grumman disclosed that, in fact, the gas temperature might be double that figure. Oxygen supplied at 160 degrees, CSD said, would limit to 2½ hours the PLSS operating period. Modifying the PLSS, however, would revive the issue of its storage aboard both spacecraft.
Seeking some answer to this problem, CSD engineers began in-house studies of temperature changes in the spacecraft's oxygen. There was some optimism that Grumman's estimates would be proved much too high, and MSC thus far had made no changes either to the ECS or to the PLSS.
MSC rejected North American's second design concept for a panel retention system in the LEM adapter. (The contractor's first proposal had drawn an unsatisfactory verdict early in June.) These successive rejections, largely on the basis of weight and vibration factors, illustrated the company's continuing difficulties with the system. MSC "suggested" to North American that it circumvent these problems by attaching the retention cable directly to the skin of the adapter.
Grumman received approval from Houston for an all-gaseous oxygen supply system in the LEM. While not suggesting any design changes, MSC desired that portable life support systems (PLSS) be recharged with the cabin pressurized. And because the oxygen pressure in the descent stage tanks might be insufficient for the final recharge, the PLSSs could be "topped off" with oxygen from one of the tanks in the vehicle's ascent stage if necessary.
At a third status meeting on LEM-1, Grumman put into effect "Operation Scrape," an effort to lighten that spacecraft by about 57 kg (125 lbs). "Scrape" involved an exchange of parts between LEM-1 and LTA-3. The former vehicle thus would be heavier than the latter; LTA-3, on the other hand, would have the same structural weight as LEMs 2 and forthcoming.
MSC and Apollo spacecraft contractors were in process of planning and implementing an extensive ground- based test program to certify the spacecraft for flight. All possible efforts were being made to benefit from the experience of related spacecraft programs in planning the Apollo test program. In view of the similarities of the Surveyor mission and the LEM mission, Jet Propulsion Laboratory was asked to cooperate by providing: (1) background information concerning the manner in which their qualification test program had been performed, (2) the major complete vehicle and partial vehicles used in the ground test programs, and (3) significant results obtained from such programs.
MSC requested that Grumman review the current LEM landing and docking dynamic environments to assure: (1) no loss of the abort guidance system attitude reference due to angular motion exceeding its design limit of 25 degrees per second during indicated mission phases; and (2) a mission angular acceleration environment, exceeding the gyro structural tolerances, would not be realized.
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the Systems Engineering Division (SED), drafted a set of guidelines for Apollo developmental missions. While these guidelines pertained mostly to Block II development, and were so labeled, to some extent they dealt with Block I flights as well. These Development Mission Guidelines covered the overall mission, as well as specific phases, with one section devoted solely to the LEM. (Maynard was careful to distinguish these guidelines from "ground rules" in that, rather than being mandatory requirements, their intent was "to afford test planning a guide and somewhat of an envelope . . . and not hard and fast rules.")
SED was considering including these guidelines in the Apollo Spacecraft Master Test Plan when that document was next revised.
Several important activities were noted during the reporting period: (1) Qualification of the new reefing line cutters was progressing satisfactorily and scheduled for completion in October 1965. (The cutter had been used successfully on the last two earth landing system tests conducted at El Centro); (2) the helium storage tank for the LEM reaction control subsystem successfully passed qualification tests; and (3) the Aero Spacelines' new aircraft, "Super Guppy," made its maiden flight from Van Nuys, Calif., to Mojave Airfield, Calif. The new aircraft had the capability of airlifting the spacecraft-LEM-adapter as well as providing vital backup for the "Pregnant Guppy" aircraft.
At an implementation meeting at MSC on the LEM's guidance and control system, Grumman again made a pitch for its concept for the landing point designator (i.e., scale markings on the vehicle's window). On September 13, the company received MSC's go-ahead. Grumman was told to coordinate closely with both MSC and MIT on the designator's design to ensure that the scale markings would be compatible with the spacecraft's computer.
Grumman completed an analysis of radiation levels that would be encountered by the LEM-3 crew during their earth orbital mission. Grumman advised that doses would not be harmful. To lessen these levels even further, the contractor recommended that during some parts of the mission the two astronauts climb back into the CM; also, the planned orbit for the LEM (556 by 2,500 km (300 by 1,350 nm)) could be changed to avoid the worst part of the Van Allen Belt.
Grumman advised MSC of major troubles plaguing development of the LEM's descent engine. These included problems of weight, chamber erosion, mixtures, valves, combustion instability, and throttle mechanisms (which Grumman said could delay delivery of LEM 1 and the start of qualification testing).
A LEM ascent engine exploded during altitude firings at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC). In subsequent investigations, Bell Aerosystems researchers concluded that the failure probably resulted from raw propellants being accidentally forced into the engine at the end of the second run, thus damaging the injector. Additional Details: here....
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller summarized for Administrator James E. Webb the status of the LEM tracking systems. The LEM rendezvous radar system, which had been under development since 1963, was expected to be available when needed for flight missions. Technical studies had shown that an Optical Tracker System offered weight and reliability advantages with no reduction in LEM performance. Hughes Aircraft Company was developing an Optical Tracking System as a back-up to the rendezvous radar.
MSC requested Grumman to review the following ascent and descent pressurization system components in the propulsion subsystem for materials compatibility with certain propellants:
Assistant ASPO Manager William A. Lee told the General Instrumentation Branch of the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division Grumman was preparing a proposal for use of the LEM vehicle as an electrical ground. The plan was to adopt a single wire system selectively for those circuits not susceptible to electrical transients. Lee said Grumman estimated a weight savings of 27 kg (60 lbs) in the ascent stage and 9 kg (20 lbs) in the descent stage. The proposal was expected to be available to NASA by October 1 and Lee had committed NASA to a decision within three weeks of receipt of the plan.
William A. Lee, ASPO, pointed out to the MSC Thermo-Structures Branch that Grumman was engaged in a strenuous weight reduction effort and that, when feasible, MSC should accept the proposed changes. In the area of thermal control, Grumman was investigating the use of etched aluminum surfaces to replace thermal paint. It was expected that the change was feasible and that approximately 11 kg (24 lbs) of inert weight would be saved on each stage of the LEM. In addition, Grumman was investigating the applicability of this technique to the landing gear components.
Grumman was also studying substitution of an aluminum-mylar nonrigid outer heatshield with plastic standoffs for current rigid ascent and descent heatshields. The potential inert weight saving would be about 84 kg (185 lbs). Lee requested that Thermo-Structures Branch stay in close contact with these developments.
MSC requested Grumman and North American to study the possibility of taking the guillotine that Grumman had developed for the LEM's interstage umbilical and using it as well to sever the two umbilicals linking the LEM to the adapter. In this manner, North American's effort to develop these cutters might be eliminated; LEM-adapter interface would be simplified; and a significant monetary savings could be effected without schedule impact.
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of Systems Engineering Division, advised ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea of the major technical problems currently plaguing Apollo designers:
The Assistant Chief for Electronic Systems notified ASPO that the proposed Grumman plan to repackage the LEM pulse command modulated and timing electronic assembly (PCMTEA) had been discussed and investigated and that the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division (IESD) concurred with the proposal. Additional Details: here....
On the basis of studies by both MSC and Grumman on LEM landing criteria, Engineering and Development Directorate determined that contractor and customer alike favored reducing landing velocity requirements for the spacecraft. The two did not see eye to eye on how far these requirements should be reduced, however, and MSC would study the problem further.
The Critical Design Review (CDR) of the LEM, tentatively planned during the week of September 27, 1965, at Grumman, was rescheduled as a series of reviews beginning in November 1965 and ending in January 1966. The schedule was to apply with five teams participating as follows: Structures and Propulsion, November 8-11, Team Captain: H. Byington; Communications, Instrumentation, and Electrical Power, December 6-9, Team Captain: W. Speier; Stabilization and Control, Navigation and Guidance, and Radar, January 10-13, Team Captain: A. Cohen; Crew Systems, January 10-13, Team Captain: J. Loftus; and Mission Compatibility and Operations, January 24-27, Team Captain: R. Battey.
Officials from the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and the Department of Agriculture met at MSC to discuss informally the problem of back contamination. They listened to briefings on the mission profile for Apollo; reentry heating rates; present thinking at the Center on the design of the Lunar Sample Receiving Station (LSRS); and MSC's plans (none) for quarantining the astronauts.
James Goddard, Assistant Surgeon General in PHS, presented three broad areas of concern:
On October 15, Lawrence B. Hall, Planetary Quarantine Officer in NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications, summarized for Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden the September 27 meeting, and recommended that such informal discussions continue. "I believe," he told Dryden, "that . . . the Manned Spacecraft Center is more fully aware of the point of view of the regulatory agencies on this matter. Unfortunately, the regulatory agencies still do not understand the reasons for the Manned Spacecraft Center's reluctance to face this problem."
Thirteen flights were made with the lunar landing research vehicle. Two of those flights were devoted to mulling the lunar simulation system; the remaining 11 flights were devoted to research with the attitude control system in the rate command mode. Nine landings were made in the lunar simulation mode.
On flight 1-34-94F the lunar simulation mode worked perfectly and no drift was encountered during more than one minute of hovering flight. The landing was made in the simulation mode for the first time on this flight.
Bell Aerosystems reported on stability and ablative compatibility testing of the first bipropellant-cooled injector baffle for the ascent engine of the LEM. Combustion was stable; however, streaking on the injector face forced Bell to halt ablative testing after only 60 seconds of operation.
Homer E. Newell, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, notified Houston of the first two experiments selected for early Apollo landing flights:
MSC informed Grumman that the Center had awarded a contract to AC Electronics for the development of an optical tracking system for the LEM (as a possible alternative to the rendezvous radar). Until MSC reached a final decision on which mode to use, Grumman should continue building the LEM to accept either of these navigational devices. Flight Crew Operations Directorate requested the decision be deferred pending evaluation of an operational paper.
MSC requested that Grumman study the feasibility of a "fire-till- touchdown" landing procedure for the LEM. Grumman was to investigate especially performance factors surrounding crushing of the descent engine skirt, or possibly jettisoning the skirt, and was to recommend hardware modifications required for this landing mode.
The Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division (IESD) proposed that the LEM's inflight VHF antenna might be used as a link to astronauts on the surface of the moon as well. (LEM communications had to provide VHF contact with the crew outside the spacecraft at ranges up to three nautical miles. The VHF antenna, however, had been designed only for the flight portions of the mission, and to meet this communications requirement another antenna was being added to the LEM at a cost of between 1.36 and 2.26 kg (3 and 5 lbs).) IESD offered to study the coverage and range of the inflight antenna while on the lunar surface, and suggested that the three-mile range requirement might be relaxed. The additional VHF antenna might thereby be obviated.
Also, IESD attended a preliminary design review at Autonetics on the signal conditioning equipment (SCE) for the Block II CSM. IESD concurred in several modifications to the Block I design (adding a redundant power supply; hermetic sealing of equipment; and repackaging to fit the equipment bay in Block II CMs). These changes reduced the SCE's weight from 22 to 19 kg (47.5 to 41 lbs) and, because of more efficient power supply, lowered its power consumption from 65 to 35 watts. North American was studying ways of perhaps lightening the SCE even further.
A test model of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, designed to simulate lunar landings, was flown by former NASA X-15 pilot Joseph Walker to an altitude of 91 m (300 ft). Built by Bell Aerosystems Company under contract to NASA, the research craft had a jet engine that supported five-sixths of its weight. The pilot manipulated solid-fuel lift rockets that supported the remaining one-sixth, and the craft's attitude was controlled with jets of hydrogen peroxide.
To ensure compatibility with the spacecraft, MSC specified weight and storage details for the extravehicular visors. The devices, two of which would be carried on each mission and transferred from the CM to the LEM, would afford impact, thermal, and ultraviolet protection for the crew during operations in space or on the lunar surface.
NASA was negotiating with General Electric Company to provide 56-watt isotopic power generators for the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Packages. The Atomic Energy Commission would manage detailed design and development of the unit based on MSC studies of prototypes.
To solve the problem of controlling bacteria in the LEM's waste management system (WMS), Crew Systems Division (CSD) recommended some type of passive control rather than periodically adding a germicide to the system. CSD described two such passive techniques, both of which relied on chemicals upstream from the WMS (i.e., in the urine collection device in the space suit). MSC began studying the feasibility of this approach, and ordered Grumman also to evaluate passive control in the contractor's own investigation of the bacteriological problem.
A meeting was held at Flight Research Center to discuss several items relating to the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) and Lunar Landing Training Vehicle (LLTV). Attending were Dean Grimm, Robert Hutchins, Warren North, and Joseph Algranti of MSC; Robert Brown, John Ryken, and Ron Decrevel of Bell Aerosystems Company; and Gene Matranga, Wayne Ottinger, and Arlene Johnson of Flight Research Center.
The discussions centered around MSC's needs for two LLRVs and two LLTVs and the critical nature of the proposed schedules; alternatives of assembling a second LLRV ; clarifying the elements of the work statement; and preliminary talks about writing specifications for the LLTV.
From a schedule standpoint, it was decided that both LLRVs would be delivered to MSC on September 1, 1966. MSC planned to check out and fly the second LLRV (which needed additional systems checkout) with their crew and pilot on a noninterference basis with LLRV No. 1, the primary training vehicle.
At a meeting with Grumman, MSC agreed with the contractor's basic design of the LEM's descent-stage base heatshield and its installation and access. MSC asked Grumman to demonstrate accessibility, installation, and removal of the heatshield on the M-4 mockup.
Seven flights were made with the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle at Flight Research Center during October. The first three were in support of X-15 conference activities, and the last four were for attitude control research. Five of the landings were made in the lunar simulation mode.
Bell Aerosystems Company reported that the LEM ascent engine bipropellant cooled injector baffle met all basic specification requirements, including those for combustion efficiency, ablative compatibility, and stability. Bell conducted a successful firing with an engine that had previously been vibrated to simulate launch boost and lunar descent. The contractor also completed a duty cycle firing at AEDC with hardware conditions set to the maximum temperatures believed attainable during a lunar mission.
In a letter to the Director of Flight Research Center, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth said that recent Lunar Landing Research Vehicle LLRV flight results and problems with the handling qualities of the LEM had focused high interest on the LLRV activities at FRC.
Gilruth concurred with the recent decision to assemble the second LLRV and said MSC planned to support the assembly and checkout of the second vehicle with engineering and contractor personnel assigned to the Flight Crew Operations Directorate.
Gilruth expressed appreciation for the effort expended by FRC in initiating a three-month study contract with Bell Aerosystems to provide drawings for a follow-on vehicle and indicated MSC planned to contract for Lunar Landing Training Vehicles in June 1966.
A manned lunar mission metabolic profile test was run in the Hamilton Standard Division altitude chamber using the development liquid-cooled portable life support system (PLSS). The system was started at a chamber altitude of over 60,906 m (200,000 ft), and the subject adjusted the liquid bypass valve to accommodate the programmed metabolic rates which were achieved by use of a treadmill. Oxygen was supplied from an external source through the PLSS bottle and oxygen regulation system. This procedure was used because bottle qualification was not complete, so pressure was limited to 2,068 kilonewtons per sq m (300 psig). An external battery was used for power because the new batteries that were required by the change to the all-battery LEM were not yet available. The thermal transport system including the porous plate sublimator was completely self-contained in the PLSS. All systems operated within specification requirements and the test was considered an unqualified success.
MSC and Grumman representatives reviewed Grumman's timeline analysis for the intravehicular LEM crew activities subsequent to lunar landing. This timeline was being rewritten for a test program to be conducted to determine what crew mobility problems existed within the LEM so that they could be better evaluated at the Certification Design Review.
MSC instructed North American to:
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC's Assistant Director for Flight Operations, outlined results of recent studies of the problems associated with lunar landing. The programs studied were Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, deployment of probes on a simulated manned lunar landing mission, deployment of probes during lunar orbit on an unmanned mission, and deployment of landing aids during the manned lunar landing mission.
The studies supported the conclusion that it was still desirable to have an earth launch window of several days to give launch opportunity flexibility. For this purpose, it would be necessary to have a group of longitudinally spaced landing areas available. However, if there were a particular advantage, such as site certification, in being limited to one area and, consequently, one launch opportunity per month, this was considered to be acceptable. At least one launch opportunity per month would be required. Therefore, the certified area would have to be within the area available from performance consideration. This might mean a night launch, which was confirmed as feasible.
Although the manned lunar landing mission ought not to depend upon a successful Surveyor program, information for Apollo as well as general scientific information should be expected from the program. The concept was not supported that probes were a necessary prerequisite to a lunar landing nor was the idea of a separate probe mission approved. If the Surveyor program failed to provide evidence of the suitability of at least one area and if the consensus favored gathering additional information from probes, the feasibility of carrying probes on the actual lunar landing mission should be fully considered, together with the development of aids to real-time assessment.
MSC notified Grumman that all electrically actuated explosive devices on the LEM would be fired by the Apollo standard initiator. This would be a common usage item with the CSM and would be the single wire configuration developed by NASA and provided as Government-furnished equipment.
Grumman was directed by MSC to provide for the disposition and bacteriological control of the LEM urine containers by off-loading all containers to the lunar surface immediately prior to LEM ascent, locating them so their physical integrity would be assured during ascent stage launch. Incorporation of an appropriate germicide in all LEM urine containers would effectively sterilize the internal part of the container and the contained urine.
MSC was considering the use of both water and air bacteria filters in the LEM to reduce contamination of the lunar surface. Crew Systems Division (CSD) would attempt to determine by tests what percentage concentration of micro-organisms would be trapped by the filters. CSD hoped to begin limited testing in January 1966.
At an MSC meeting attended by ASPO, CSD, and Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory representatives, it was decided that the following directions would be sent to Grumman:
Grumman was invited to provide NASA with a cost-plus-incentive-fee proposal to provide four LEMs subsequent to LEM-11, with the proposal due at MSC by the close of business on the following day. The proposal should be based on a vehicular configuration similar to LEM-11 in all respects, including supporting activities, contractual provisions, and specifications applicable to LEM-11. The required shipment dates for the four vehicles would be December 13, 1968, February 11, 1969, April 11, 1969, and June 10, 1969, respectively.
NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell informed MSC that an experiment proposed by Ames Research Center had been selected as a space science investigation for, if possible, the first manned lunar landing as a part of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. Principal investigator of the proposed experiment, the magnetometer, was C. P. Sonett of Ames with Jerry Modisette of MSC as associate.
The Apollo Program Director was being requested by Newell to authorize the funding of flight hardware for this experiment.
The following responsibilities were transferred from MIT to AC Electronics:
A working group was formed at MSC to determine the effects of lunar soil properties on LEM landing performance. Various potential sources of lunar surface information, including Surveyor spacecraft, would be investigated in an effort to evaluate LEM landing performance in a lunar soil. The effect of footpad size and shape on landing performance in soil would also be studied.
Grumman and MSC reached agreement to continue with Freon for prelaunch cooling of LEM-1. By changing to a different Freon the additional heat sink capability was obtained with minor changes to flight hardware. The ground support equipment for supplying Freon had to be modified to increase the flow capability, but this was not expected to be difficult. Plans were to use the same prelaunch cooling capability for LEM-2 and LEM-3.
A potential problem still existed with the boost environment for the LEM and the associated spacecraft-LEM-adapter (SLA) thermal coating. Systems Engineering Division authorized North American to proceed with implementation of an SLA thermal coating to meet the currently understood SLA requirements. Grumman would review the North American study in detail for possible adverse impact on the LEM and would negotiate with MSC.
During the month 16 flights were made in the LLRV. Of these, 11 were devoted to concluding the handling qualities evaluation of the rate- command vehicle attitude control system. The other five flights were required to check out a new pilot, Lt. Col. E. E. Kluever of the Army, who would participate in the remaining research flight testing performed on the LLRV at Flight Research Center. On December 15 the craft was grounded for cockpit modifications which would make the pilot display and controllers more like those of the LEM.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reported to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips on changes in spacecraft weights:
MSC and Grumman completed negotiations to convert the LEM contract from cost-plus-fixed-fee to cost- plus-incentive fee. In addition to schedule and performance incentives, bonus points would be awarded for cost control during FY 66 and FY 67. Four LEMs were also added to the program. LEM mockup-3 would be used as the KSC verification vehicle; LEM test article-2 and LEM test article-10 (refurbished vehicles) would be used in the first two flights of the Saturn V launch vehicle.
A total of 167 contract change authorizations (CCAs) to the Grumman contract had been issued by December 31. Negotiation of the proposal for the conversion to a cost-plus-incentive-fee included all CCAs through No. 162, and CCA amendments dated before December 9. Proposals for CCAs 163167 were in process and would be submitted according to contract change procedures.
Contractor personnel began an exercise to identify problem areas associated with activity within the LEM. Subjects using pressurized suits and portable life support systems ran through various cockpit procedures in the LEM mockup. Evaluations would continue during the week of January 10, using astronauts. The purpose of the exercise was to identify and gather data on problem areas in support of the Critical Design Review scheduled to be held at Grumman in late January.
The LEM landing gear subsystem was reviewed during the LEM Critical Design Review at MSC and Grumman. The review disclosed no major design inadequacies of the landing gear. The review included: lunar landing performance, structural and mechanical design, structural and thermal analysis, overall subsystem test program including results of tests to date, and conformance of landing gear design to LEM specifications.
Apparently the only available spacecraft-LEM-adapter SLA thermal coating material which would meet the emissivity requirements for LEM flights was 24-carat gold. North American Tulsa, Oklahoma was predicting 18-week and 10-week schedule slips, respectively, for the first two Block 11 SLAs and a $10-12 million cost impact. A meeting would be held at Tulsa January 17 between North American, Grumman, and MSC to determine the course of the action to be taken.
Mission requirements for AS-503 were reviewed to determine if the LEM test objectives which caused the crew to be in the LEM at high altitudes (3,704 to 12,964 km (2,000 to 7,000 nm)) could be deleted. The reason for keeping the crew out of the LEM at those altitudes was the possibility they might be exposed to a total radiation dose which might prevent them from flying a later lunar mission.
The LEM electrical power system use of the primary structure as the electrical ground return was approved after Grumman presentations were made to ASPO and Engineering and Development personnel. The descent-stage batteries would not use a descent-stage structure ground to preclude current flow through the pyrotechnic interstage nut and bolt assemblies. The ascent and descent stage batteries would be grounded to primary structure in the near vicinity of the ascent-stage batteries. In addition, several selected manually operated solenoids would ground. All other subsystems would remain grounded to the "single-point" vehicle ground. This change would be implemented by Grumman with no cost or schedule impact and would effect a weight savings of approximately 7.7 kg (17 lbs).
Hamilton Standard Division was directed by Crew Systems Division to use a 2.27-kg (5-lbs) battery for all flight hardware if the power inputs indicated that it would meet the four-hr mission. The battery on order currently weighed 2.44 kg (5.4 lbs). This resulted in an inert weight saving of l.45 kg (3.2 lbs) and a total saving on the LEM and CSM of 5.44 kg (12 lbs).
NASA negotiated a contract with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a program of radar and radiometric measurements on the surface of the moon. The program, which would be active until March 31, 1967, would have Paul B. Sebring of MIT's Lincoln Laboratory as principal investigator. Results would be used to select areas for intensive study to support investigations related to manned landing sites.
Arthur T. Strickland of NASA's Lunar and Planetary Programs Office would be the technical monitor. Andrew Patteson of the MSC Lunar Surface Technology Branch was requested as alternate technical monitor.
MSC Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton said he did not think that current testing or proposed evaluation would do anything to resolve the basic debate between optics versus radar as a primary LEM rendezvous aid. Slayton said, "The question is not which system can be manufactured, packaged, and qualified as flight hardware at the earliest date; it is which design is most operationally suited to accomplishing the lunar mission. The 'Olympics' contribute nothing to solving this problem." He proposed that an MSC management design review of both systems at the earliest reasonable date was the only way to reach a conclusion, adding, "This requires only existing paperwork and knowledge - no hardware."
Alfred Cohen, head of the ground support equipment (GSE) office of the Resident Apollo Spacecraft Office (RASPO) at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., objected to the unrealistic production schedule set up by Grumman Manufacturing for LEM GSE. Cohen pointed out that Grumman had been notified many times that NASA did not believe that GSE could be produced in the short time spans formulated by Grumman. Cohen added that Grumman had been informed that this disbelief was based on actual experience with North American Aviation and McDonnell Aircraft Corp. Tracking of the manufacture of such items showed that Grumman was unable to produce in accordance with schedules. Cohen cited that Grumman had planned to complete 99 GSE items in December 1965 and had completed 27; in January it had scheduled 146 items for completion and had completed 43. Cohen requested that the RASPO Manager confront Grumman management with the facts and suggest that they
NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell advised MSC that he had selected space science investigations to be carried to the moon on Apollo missions, emplaced on the lunar surface by Apollo astronauts, and left behind to collect and transmit data to the earth on lunar environmental characteristics following those missions. Newell assigned the experiments to specific missions and indicated their priority. Any changes in the assignments would require Newell's approval. The experiments, institutions responsible, and principal investigators and coinvestigators were:
NASA announced conversion of its contract with Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. for development of the LEM to a cost-plus-incentive agreement. Under the terms of the new four-year contract Grumman was to deliver 15 flight articles, 10 test articles, and 2 mission simulators. The change added 4 flight articles to the program. The contract provided incentive for outstanding performance, cost control, and timely delivery as well as potential profit reductions if performance, cost, and schedule requirements were not met.
The LEM Configuration Control Panel approved Grumman's request for government-furnished-equipment (North American Aviation-manufactured) optical alignment sights (OAS) for installation in the LEM. A total of 21 OAS units would be required (including 2 spares). Detailed interface requirements between the OAS and LEM would be negotiated between North American and Grumman and delivery dates would be specified during negotiations.
Recent discussion between Axel Mattson of LaRC and Donald K. Slayton of MSC concerning the possibility of astronauts' using the Lunar Landing Research Facility (LLRF) at Langley led to agreement that astronauts should fly the LLRF for a week before flying the MSC lunar landing training vehicle. An evaluation of the proposal at MSC resulted in a letter from Director Robert R. Gilruth to LaRC Director Floyd L. Thompson indicating the desirability of using the LLRF and also the desirability of some equipment modifications that would improve the vehicle with a minimum effort. These included such items as LEM flight instruments, hand controllers, panel modifications, and software changes. Also discussed was the training benefit that could be realized if the facility were updated to use a vehicle like the LEM so the pilots could become familiar with problems of a standup restraint system, pressure suit and helmet interface with the cockpit structure and window during landing operations, and sensing and reacting to the dynamic cues of motion while standing up.
MSC analysis of Grumman ground support equipment (GSE) showed that a serious problem in manufacturing and delivery of GSE would have a significant program impact if not corrected immediately. Information submitted to NASA indicated a completion rate of 35 percent of that planned. Grumman was requested to initiate action to identify causes of the problem and take immediate remedial action. A formal recovery plan was to be submitted to NASA, considering the following guidelines:
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips informed MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth of specific NASA Hq. management assignments that had been implemented in connection with the ALSEP program. He told Gilruth he had asked Len Reiffel to serve as the primary focus of Headquarters on ALSEP and that he would be assisted by three members of the Lunar and Planetary Program Office of the Office of Space Science and Applications: W. T. O'Bryant, E. Davin, and R. Green.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb and Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., selected Bendix Systems Division, Bendix Corp., from among three contractors for design, manufacture, test, and operational support of four deliverable packages of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), with first delivery scheduled for July 1967. The estimated cost of the cost-plus-incentive-fee contract negotiated with Bendix before the presentation by the Source Evaluation Board to Webb and Seamans was $17.3 million.
John D. Hodge, Chief of MSC's Flight Control Division, proposed that time-critical aborts in the event of a service propulsion system failure after translunar injection (TLI; i.e., insertion on a trajectory toward the moon) be investigated. Time-critical abort was defined as an abort occurring within 12 hours after TLI and requiring reentry in less than two days after the abort.
He suggested that if an SPS failed the service module be jettisoned for a time-critical abort and both LEM propulsion systems be used for earth return, reducing the total time to return by approximately 60 hours. As an example, if the time of abort was 10 hours after translunar injection, he said, this method would require about 36 hours; if the SM were retained the return time would require about 96 hours.
He added that the LEM/CM-only configuration should be studied for any constraints that would preclude initiating this kind of time-critical abort. Some of the factors to be considered should be:
MSC requested use of Langley Research Center's Lunar Orbit and Landing Approach (LOLA) Simulator in connection with two technical contracts in progress with Geonautics, Inc., Washington, D.C. One was for pilotage techniques for use in the descent and ascent phases of the LEM profile, while the other specified construction of a binocular viewing device for simplified pilotage monitoring. Langley concurred with the request and suggested that MSC personnel work with Manuel J. Queijo in setting up the program, in making working arrangements between the parties concerned, and in defining the trajectories of interest.
In response to an April 1 query from George E. Mueller, NASA OMSF, asking, "Could GE or Boeing help on GAEC (Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp.) GSE?" Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips replied that on several occasions in the recent past he had made known to both Center and industry representatives that a highly capable, quick-response ground support equipment (GSE) organization had been built by and through General Electric, which the Centers and other companies should take advantage of whenever it could help with schedules or costs. He also recalled that "in one of our last two meetings with Grumman" he had reminded them of this capability and had suggested they consider it.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth told Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller he felt it was necessary either to proceed with the Apollo Experiment Pallet program or to cancel the program, reaching a decision not later than April 22. Gilruth pointed out that four contracts had been initiated in December 1965 for Phase C of the program, that the contracts were completed on April 6, that full-scale mockups had been delivered, and that documentation with cost proposals were due April 22. The four contractors were McDonnell Aircraft, Martin-Denver, Northrop, and Lockheed Aircraft-Sunnyvale. Gilruth said it was apparent that all contractors had done an exceptionally good job during the Phase C effort. Low cost had been emphasized in every phase of the program, with contractors responding with a very economical device and at the same time a straightforward design that offered every chance of early availability and successful operation.
Of equal significance, he said, "the Pallet offers the opportunity to minimize the interface with both North American and the Apollo program. It provides a single interface to Apollo and NAA, allowing the multiple-experiment interfaces to be handled by a contractor whose specific interest is in experiments. If experiments are to be carried in the Service Module, the Pallet both by concept and experience offers the most economical approach." Gilruth said the following plan had been developed:
NASA Hq. requested the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office to reassess the spacecraft control weights and delta-V budget and prepare recommendations for the first lunar landing mission weight and performance budgets. The ASPO spacecraft Weight Report for April indicated that the Block II CSM, when loaded for an 8.3-day mission, would exceed its control weights by more than 180 kilograms and the projected value would exceed the control weight by more than 630 kilograms. At the same time the LEM was reported at 495 kilograms under its control weight. Credit for LEM weight reduction had been attributed to Grumman's Super Weight Improvement Program.
The Grumman-directed Apollo Mission Planning Task Force reported on studies of abort sequences for translunar coast situations and the LEM capability to support an abort if the SM had to be jettisoned. The LEM could be powered down in drifting flight except for five one-hour periods, and a three-man crew could be supported for 57 hours 30 minutes. It was assumed that all crewmen would be unsuited in the LEM or tunnel area and that the LEM cabin air, circulated by cabin fans, would provide adequate environment.
A memo to KSC, MSC, and MSFC from the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight reported that the NASA Project Designation Committee had concurred in changes in Saturn/Apollo nomenclature recommended by Robert C. Seamans, Jr., George E. Mueller, and Julian Scheer:
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips asked NASA Procurement Director George J. Vecchietti to help ensure there would be no gap in the Philco Corp. Aeronutronic Division's development of penetrometers to assess the lunar surface. Originally the penetrometers were to be deployed from a lunar survey probe, but the Apollo Program Office had concluded that they should be further developed on an urgent basis for possible deployment from the LEM just before the first lunar landing. Phillips sought to prevent development gaps that could critically delay the landing program.
MSC top management had agreed with Headquarters on early Center participation in discussions of scientific experiments for manned flights, Deputy Director George M. Low informed MSC Experiments Program Manager Robert O. Piland. NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell had asked, during a recent OSSA Senior Council meeting at MSC, that the Center and astronauts comment on technical and operational feasibility of experiments before OSSA divisions and subcommittees acted on proposals. Low and Director Robert R. Gilruth had agreed. Because of manpower requirements MSC refused a request to be represented on all the subcommittees, but MSC would send representatives to all meetings devoted primarily to manned flight experiments and would contribute to other meetings by phone.
In response to a query on needs for or objections to an Apollo spacecraft TV system, MSC Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton informed the Flight Control Division that FCOD had no operational requirements for a TV capability in either the Block I or the Block II CSM or LM. He added that his Directorate would object to interference caused by checkout, crew training, and inflight time requirements.
A series of actions on the LM rendezvous sensor was summarized in a memo to the MSC Apollo Procurement Branch. A competition between LM rendezvous radar and the optical tracker had been initiated in January 1966 after discussion by ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, and MSC Guidance and Control Division Chief Robert C. Duncan. On May 13, RCA and Hughes Aircraft Go. made presentations on the rendezvous radar optical tracker. The NASA board that heard the presentations met for two days to evaluate the two programs and presented the following conclusions:
Grumman LM thermodynamics studies showed the LM thermal shield would have to be modified because fire-in-the-hole pressures and temperatures had increased. Portions of the LM descent stage would be redesigned, but modification of the descent stage blast deflector was unlikely.
The Quarterly Program Review was held at Grumman by NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller and Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips. Attendees included MSC's Robert R. Gilruth, Joseph F. Shea, and William A. Lee. The meeting focused on excessive costs experienced by Grumman and Grumman President L. J. Evans's announcement of the immediate establishment of a Program Control Office with a subcontract manager reporting directly to Vice President Joseph Gavin. Hugh McCullough was appointed to head the Program Control Office.
The next week Evans made the following appointments: Robert Mullaney was relieved as Program Manager and appointed Assistant to Senior Vice President George F. Titterton; William Rathke was relieved as Engineering Manager and named Program Manager; Thomas Kelly was promoted from Assistant Engineering Manager to Engineering Manager; and Brian Evans was relieved as corporate Director of Quality Assurance and appointed LEM Subcontract Manager, reporting to Gavin.
Homer E. Newell, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, told George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, that "the highest scientific priority for the Apollo mission is for return to earth of lunar surface material." He added that the material would have a higher scientific value for geologists if the location and attitude of each sample were carefully noted and for the biologists if collected in an aseptic manner. He suggested the following sequence:
In reply to a letter from Grumman, MSC concurred with the recommendation that a 135-centimeter lunar surface probe be provided on each landing-leg footpad and that the engine cutoff logic retain its basic manual mode. MSC did not concur with the Grumman recommendation to incorporate the automatic engine cutoff logic in the LM design. MSC believed that the planned descent-stage engine's manual cutoff landing mode was adequate to accomplish lunar touchdown and had decided that the probe-actuated cutoff capability should not be included in the LM design.
NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., told the Associate Administrators that it was NASA's fundamental policy that projects and programs were best planned and executed when responsibilities were clearly assigned to a management group. He then assigned full responsibility for Apollo and Apollo Applications missions to the Office of Manned Space Flight. OMSF would fund approved integral experiment hardware, provide the required Apollo and Saturn systems, integrate the experiments with those systems, and plan and execute the missions. Specific responsibility for developing and testing individual experiments would be assigned on the basis of experiment complexity, integration requirements, and relation to the prime mission objectives, by the Office of Administrator after receiving recommendations from Associate Administrators.
The Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) would be responsible for selecting scientific experiments for manned missions and the experimenter teams for data reduction, data analysis, and dissemination. OSSA would provide to OMSF complete scientific requirements for each experiment selected for flight.
The Office of Advanced Research and Technology (OART) was assigned the overall responsibility for the technology content of the NASA space flight program and for selecting technology experiments for manned missions. OART would provide OMSF complete technology requirements for each experiment selected for flight. When appropriate, scientific and technical personnel would be located in OMSF to provide a working interface with experimenters. The office responsible for each experiment would determine the tracking and acquisition requirements for each experiment; then OMSF would integrate the requirements for all experiments and forward the total requirements to the Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition.
Seamans also spelled out Center responsibilities for manned space flight missions: MSFC, Apollo telescope mount; MSC, Apollo lunar surface experiment package (ALSEP), lunar science experiments, earth resources experiments, and life support systems; and Goddard Space Flight Center, atmospheric science, meteorology, and astronomical science experiments.
MSC requested LaRC to study the visibility of the S-IVB/SLA combination from the left-hand couch in the command module with the couch in the docked position. (Two positions could be attained, one of them a docking and rendezvous position that moved the seat into a better viewing area from the left-hand window.) LM and CM mockups were already at Langley from the CM-active moving-base docking simulation conducted May-July 1965.
The request was initiated because the flight crew had to rely on an out- the-window reference of the S-IVB/SLA to verify separation of the LM/CSM combination from the S-IVB/SLA. The question arose as to whether the out-the-window reference was sufficient or whether an electromechanical device with a panel readout in the CM was required to verify separation.
MSC worked out a program with LaRC for use of the Lunar Landing Research Facility (LLRF) for preflight transition for LM flight crews before free-flight training in the lunar landing training vehicle. LM hardware sent to Langley to be used as training aids included two flight director attitude indicators, an attitude controller assembly, a thrust-translation controller assembly, and an altitude-rate meter.
MSC suggested that Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. redesign the injector for the Bell Aerospace Go. ascent engine as a backup immediately. The Center was aware of costs, but the seriousness of the injector fabrication problem and the impact resulting from not having a backup was felt to be justification for the decision.
The Bethpage RASPO Business Manager and Grumman representatives met to choose a vendor to produce the orbital rate drive electronics for Apollo and LM (ORDEAL). Three proposals were received: Arma Division of American Bosch Arma Corp., $275,000; Kearfott Products Division of General Precision, Inc., $295,000; and Bendix Corp., $715,000. Kearfott's proposal was evaluated as offering a more desirable weight, more certain delivery, and smaller size within the power budget and consequently was selected although it was not the low bid. Evaluators believed that Arma's approach would not be easy to implement, that its delivery schedule was unrealistic, and that its proposal lacked a definite work statement in the areas of testing, quality control, reliability, and documentation.
MSC's Flight Crew Support Division prepared an operations plan describing division support of flight experiments. Activities planned would give operational support to both flight crew and experimenters. Crew training, procedures development, and integration, mission-time support, and postmission debriefings were discussed in detail.
NASA awarded a $4.2-million contract to Honeywell, Inc., Computer Control Division, Framingham, Mass., to provide digital computer systems for Apollo command and lunar module simulators. Under the fixed-price contract, Honeywell would provide six separate computer complexes to support the Apollo simulators at MSC and Cape Kennedy. The complexes would be delivered, installed, and checked out by Honeywell by the end of March 1967.
A Planning Coordination Steering Group at NASA Hq. received program options from working groups established to coordinate long-range planning in life sciences, earth-oriented applications, astronomy, lunar exploration, and planetary exploration. The Steering Group recommended serious consideration be given a four-phase exploration program using unmanned Lunar Orbiters, Surveyors, and manned lunar surface exploration. Additional Details: here....
MSC ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea wrote Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. Senior Vice President George F. Titterton that he was encouraged by the good start Grumman had made on work packages for the LM program, which he hoped had set the stage for effective action to curtail the creeping cost escalation that had characterized the program during the past year. He said: "To me, the most striking point noted in engineering activities projected a relatively high change rate from vehicle to vehicle, even though the program logic calls for identical vehicles from LM 4 on, and minimum change from LM 3 to LM 4. This, too, was apparent in the engineering related activities. The only changes which should be planned for are those rising from hardware deficiencies found in ground or flight test, or those resulting from NASA directed changes."
Shea had written to Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., Grumman Vice President and LEM Program Manager, in April concerning cost escalation. He had said "A significant amount of the planning for your contract is based upon management commitments made to us by Grumman . . . (and) your estimates have helped significantly (and indeed are still changing) and currently significantly exceed the amounts upon which our budget has been based." In another letter, in September, to Grumman President L. J. Evans, Shea remarked: "The result of our fiscal review with your people last week was somewhat encouraging. It reconfirmed my conviction that Grumman can do the program without the cost increases which you have been recently indicating, and, depending on how much difficulty we have with the qualification of our flight systems, perhaps even with some additional cost reduction."
In a November letter to Titterton, Shea again referred to work packages and reaffirmed that permission to exceed approved monthly levels should be granted only by the LM Program Office. He said, "Unless this discipline is enforced throughout the Grumman in-house and subcontract structure, the work packages could turn out to be interesting pieces of paper which contain the information as to what might have been done, rather than the basis for program management."
LM test model TM-6 and test article LTA-10 were shipped from Grumman on the Pregnant Guppy aircraft. When the Guppy carrying the LTA-10 stopped at Dover, Del., for refueling, a fire broke out inside the aircraft, but it was discovered in time to prevent damage to the LM test article.
MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Manager Joseph F. Shea reported that LM-1 would no longer be capable of both manned and unmanned flight and that it would be configured and checked out for unmanned flight only. In addition, LM-2 would no longer be capable of completely unmanned flight, but would be configured and checked out for partially manned flights, such as the planned AS-278A mission (with unmanned final depletion burn of the ascent stage) and AS-278B (with all main propulsions unmanned).
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.
MSC established a committee to investigate several nearly catastrophic malfunctions in the steam generation system at the White Sands Test Facility. The system was used to pump down altitude cells in LM propulsion system development. Committee members were Joseph G. Thibodaux, chairman; Hugh D. White, secretary; Harry Byington, Henry O. Pohl, Robert W. Polifka, and Allen H. Watkins, all of MSC.
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of the MSC Missions Operations Division, said the flight operations plan had proposed communication constraints be resolved by reducing the accessible landing area on the lunar surface to a region permitting continuous communication with no restriction on vehicle attitude during descent and ascent. Maynard said, "Such a proposal is not acceptable." Contending interests were the desire to maintain communications in the early part of the descent powered flight and to avoid the definition of attitude restrictions in this region.
Acknowledging that both of these were desirable objectives, Maynard said that mission planning should be based on access to previously defined Apollo zones of interest and to designated sites within those zones with vehicle attitude maneuvers to provide communications when required.
NASA had accumulated enough data from the LLRV flight program by mid-1966 to give Bell a contract to deliver three LLTV's at a cost of $2.5 million each. In Dec. 1966 vehicle No. 1 was shipped to Houston, followed by No. 2 in Jan. 1967, within weeks of its first flight. Modifications already made to No. 2 had given the pilot a three-axis side control stick and a more restrictive cockpit view, both features of the real Lunar Module that would later be flown by the astronauts down to the moon's surface.
During reassembly of LM Simulator (LMS) 1 at Houston, MSC personnel discovered that the digital-to-analog conversion equipment was not the unit used during the preship tests at Binghamton, N.Y.; it was apparent the unit had never been checked out, because at least five power-buss bars were missing. The unit had not checked out in the preship tests, and at the simulator readiness review test on October 14 Grumman had been authorized to replace the defective digital-to-analog core memory after the unit arrived at Houston. MSC questioned whether the delivery requirement of LMS-1 had been met and asked Grumman to explain why the switch was made without MSC knowledge and what steps Grumman expected to take to correct the situation.
Langley Research Center reported on its November study of visibility from the CSM during extraction of the LM from the S-IVB stage. The study had been made in support of the AS-207/208A mission, with assistance of MSC and North American Aviation personnel, to
MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton pointed out to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that LM-to-CSM crew rescue was impossible. Slayton said
In a memo to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller approved assignment of experiment S068, Lunar Meteoroid Detection, to the Apollo Program Office for implementation, provided adequate funding could be identified in the light of relative priority in the total science program. The experiment had been recommended by the Manned Space Flight Experiment Board (MSFEB) for a lunar mission. Also, as recommended by the MSFEB, the following experiments would be placed on the earliest possible manned space flight: S015 (Zero g, Single Human Cells); S017 (Trapped Particles Asymmetry); S018 (Micrometeorite Collection); and T004 (Frog Otolith Function).
The number one lunar landing research vehicle (LLRV) test vehicle was received at MSC December 13, 1966. Its first flight at Ellington Air Force Base following facility and vehicle checkout was expected about February 1, 1967, with crew training in the vehicle to start about February 20. Additional Details: here....
In a memo to Donald K. Slayton, MSC Deputy Director George M. Low indicated that he understood George E. Mueller had stated in executive session of the Management Council on December 21 that he had decided a third lunar module simulator would not be required. Low said, "This implies that either the launch schedule will be relieved or missions will be so identical that trainer change-over time will be substantially reduced."
Handling and installation responsibilities for the LM descent stage scientific equipment (SEQ) were defined in a letter from MSC to Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. The descent stage SEQ was composed of three basic packages:
Donald K. Slayton said there was some question about including extravehicular activity on the AS-503 mission, but he felt that, to make a maximum contribution to the lunar mission, one period of EVA should be included. Slayton pointed out that during the coast period (simulating lunar orbit) in the current flight plan the EVA opportunity appeared best between hour 90 and hour 100. Additional Details: here....
Homer E. Newell, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, pointed out to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that during a program review he was made aware of difficulties in the development of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. The problems cited were with the lunar surface magnetometer, suprathermal ion detector, passive seismometer, and the central station transmitter receiver. Newell, who had been briefed on the problems by NASA Hq. ALSEP Program Manager, W. T. O'Bryant, said: "I felt they were serious enough to warrant giving you my views in regard to the importance of having the ALSEP with its planned complement of instruments aboard the first Apollo lunar landing mission. It is essential that basic magnetic measurements be made on the lunar surface, not only for their very important planetological implications, but also for the knowledge which will be gained of the lunar magnetosphere and atmosphere as the result of the combined measurements from the magnetometer, solar wind spectrometer, and suprathermal ion detector."
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low, in a January 10 letter to Newell, thanked him and said he would discuss the problems with Newell more fully after receiving a complete review of the ALSEP program from Robert O. Piland.
Low wrote Newell on April 10, 1967, that there had been schedule slips in the program plan devised in March 1966 - primarily slips associated with the lunar surface magnetometer, the suprathermal ion detector, and the central station receiver and transmitter. "In each case, we have effected a programmatic workaround plan, the elements of which were presented to Leonard Reiffel of OMSF and William O'Bryant of your staff on December 5, 1966, and in subsequent reviews of the subject with them as the planning and implementation progressed. . . ."
An MSC meeting selected a Flight Operations Directorate position on basic factors of the first lunar landing mission phase and initiated a plan by which the Directorate would inform other organizations of the factors and the operational capabilities of combining them into alternate lunar surface mission plans.
Flight Operations Director Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., conducted the discussion, with Rodney G. Rose, Carl Kovitz, Morris V. Jenkins, William E. Platt, James E. Hannigan, Bruce H. Walton, and William L. Davidson participating.
The major factors (philosophy) identified at the meeting were:
The Lunar Mission Planning Board held its first meeting at MSC. Present, in addition to Chairman Robert R. Gilruth, were Charles A. Berry, Maxime A. Faget, George M. Low, Robert O. Piland, Wesley L. Hjornevik, and acting secretary William E. Stoney, Jr., all of MSC. Principal subject of discussion was the photography obtained by Lunar Orbiter I and Lunar Orbiter II and application of this photography to Apollo site selection. The material was presented by John Eggleston and Owen Maynard, both of MSC. Orbiter I had obtained medium-resolution photography of sites on the southern half of the Apollo area of interest; Orbiter II had obtained both medium- and high-resolution photographs of sites toward the northern half of the area. Several action items were assigned, with progress to be reported at the next meeting, including a definition of requirements for a TV landing aid for the lunar module and a report on landing-site-selection restraints based on data available from Lunar Orbiter I and II only, and another on data from Lunar Orbiter I, II, and III.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth asked LaRC Director Floyd Thompson to conduct a study at Langley to familiarize flight crews with CM active docking and to explore problems in CM recontact with the LM and also LM withdrawal. MSC would provide astronaut and pilot-engineer support for the study. Apollo Block II missions called for CM active docking with the LM and withdrawal of the LM from the S-IVB stage, requiring development of optimum techniques and procedures to ensure crew safety and to minimize propellant utilization. LM withdrawal was a critical area because of clearances, marginal flight crew visibility, and mission constraints. Previous simulations at LaRC indicated the possibility of using the Rendezvous Docking Simulator.
William A. Lee was redesignated from Assistant Program Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, to Manager for the LM, ASPO, at MSC. Lee would be responsible for the management of the lunar module program, including MSC relations with Grumman and other supporting industrial concerns. Lee would report to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea and would assist him in the following areas:
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller stated that the February completion of MSFC studies of the Saturn V launch vehicle's payload and structural capability would permit an official revision of the payload from 43,100 kilograms to 44,500 kilograms; the CM weight would be revised from 5,000 to 5,400 kilograms; and the LM from 13,600 to 14,500.
The Service Module Disposition Panel (No. 21) report accepted by the Apollo 204 Review Board said test results had failed to show any SM anomalies due to SM systems and there was no indication that SM systems were responsible for initiating the January 27 fire. Additional Details: here....
NASA announced it would use the Apollo-Saturn 204 launch vehicle to launch the first lunar module on its unmanned test flight. Since the 204 vehicle was prepared and was not damaged in the Apollo 204 fire in January, it would be used instead of the originally planned AS-206.
At the request of the Manager of the MSC Lunar Surface Programs Office, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell considered alternate Array B configurations of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package to alleviate a weight problem. Instead of a single array, he selected two configurations for ALSEP III and ALSEP IV:
An investigation at Grumman compared flammability characteristics of blankets representative of the external LM vehicle insulation with those of unshielded mylar blankets. When subjected to identical ignition sources, the mylar specimens burned during all phases of testing. Localized charring and perforation were the only visible signs of degradation in specimens simulating the LM shielding. The conclusion was that the protection of mylar blankets by H-Film in the LM configuration effectively decreased the likelihood of ignition from open flame or electrical arcing.
A fire broke out in the Bell Aerosystems Test Facility, Wheatfield, N.Y., at 2:30 a.m. April 20. Early analysis indicated the fire was started by overpressurization of the ascent engine's propellant- conditioning system, which caused the system relief valve to dump propellant into an overflow bucket. The bucket in turn overflowed and propellant spilled onto the floor, coming into contact with a highly oxidized steel grating. Contact was believed to have initiated combustion and subsequently an intense, short-duration fire. Additional Details: here....
NASA's Space Science Steering Committee approved establishment of a facility on the moon consisting of arrays of solid corner reflectors. The first array was to be established by the earliest possible lunar landing mission, with other arrays to be carried on subsequent missions. Until the Committee and Manned Space Flight Experiment Board agreed on assignment of priorities among the various lunar science experiments, this experiment was to be considered a contingency experiment to be carried on a "space available" basis. The facility on the moon would be available to the principal investigator - C. O. Alley, University of Maryland - as well as to other scientists.
Circuit breakers being used in both CSM and LM were flammable, MSC ASPO Manager George Low told Engineering and Development Director Maxime A. Faget. Low said that although Structures and Mechanics Division was developing a coating to be applied to the circuit breakers, such a solution was not the best for the long run. He requested that the Instrumentation and Electronics Systems Division find replacement circuit breakers for Apollo - ideally, circuit breakers that would not bum and that would fit within the same volume as the existing ones, permitting replacement in panels already built. On July 12 Low wrote Faget again: "In light of the work that has gone on since my May 5, 1967, memo, are you now prepared to propose the use of metal-jacketed circuit breakers for Apollo spacecraft? If the answer is affirmative, then we should get specific direction to our contractors immediately. Also, have you surveyed the industry to see whether a replacement circuit breaker is available or will be available in the future?" Low requested an early reply.
Required changes in the Apollo Applications Program flight schedules resulted in plans for the Earth-orbital test of the lunar mapping and scientific survey (LM&SS) as part of a single launch mission unrelated to the Orbital Workshop. The mission would have the primary objective of conducting manned experiments in space sciences and advanced technology and engineering, including the Earth-orbital simulation of LM&SS lunar operations. The LM&SS would be jettisoned after completing its Earth-orbital test. Planned launch date for the mission was 15 September 1968.
MSC responded to a March 29 letter from NASA Hq. concerning two arrays of Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) experiments. MSC said it had reviewed schedules, cost, and integration aspects of the requested configurations and that four areas of the project apparently should be modified to allow proper inclusion of the configurations:
George M. Low, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program, notified NASA Hq. that Grumman was committed to a June 28 delivery for lunar module 1 (LM-1). This date included provisions for replacement of the development flight instrumentation harness with a new one. Low's assessment was that the date would be difficult to meet.
Prime and backup crews for Apollo 7 (spacecraft 101) were named, with the assignments effective immediately. The prime crew for the engineering-test-flight mission was to consist of Walter M. Schirra, Jr., commander; Donn F. Eisele, CM pilot; and R. Walter Cunningham, LM pilot. The backup crew was Thomas P. Stafford, commander; John W. Young, CM pilot; and Eugene A. Cernan, LM pilot. Names had been reported to the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences on 9 May.
MSC ASPO Manager George Low informed Grumman Senior Vice President George Titterton that he had asked North American Aviation assistance in improving access to the LM when placed inside the spacecraft-lunar module adapter (SLA). He also ordered a change request, in response to Grumman's April 18 request that MSC consider an SLA design change. Low had visited the pad at KSC Launch Complex 37, agreed action was necessary, and on May 19 asked North American's Apollo Program Manager Dale D. Myers for recommendations. Low said improved access to the LM was needed "both for rapid emergency egress and for normal servicing."
An emergency method of cutting through the SLA structure in premarked locations with a "cookie cutter" portable handsaw device was adopted - primarily for exit in an emergency occurring after hypergolics were loaded into the LM.
MSC submitted requirements to KSC that TV signals from cameras inside the LM and CM be monitored and recorded during manned hazardous tests, with hatch open or closed, and tests in the Vehicle Assembly Building, launch pads, and altitude chambers. A facility camera was to monitor the propellant-utilization gauging system during propellant loading. MSC specified that the field of view of the TV camera should encompass the shoulder and torso and portions of the legs of personnel at the normal flight stations in both the CM and the LM.
W. R. Downs, Special Assistant for Advanced Systems, MSC Structures and Mechanics Division, discovered that bare or defectively insulated silver-covered copper wires exposed to glycol/water solutions would ignite spontaneously and burn in oxygen. Copper wire or nickel-covered copper wire under identical conditions did not ignite. The laboratory results were confirmed in work at the Illinois Institute of Technology. In a June 13 memorandum, the Chief of the Structures and Mechanics Division recommended that if additional testing verified that nickel-coated wires were free of the hazard, consideration should be given to an in-line substitution of nickel-coated wires for silver-coated wires in the LM. It was understood that the Block II CSM already had nickel-coated wires. In a June 20 memo to the ASPO Manager, the Director of Engineering and Development pointed out that silver-plated pins and sockets in connectors would offer the same hazards. He added that Downs had also identified a chelating agent that would capture the silver ion and apparently prevent the reaction chain. In a July 24 memorandum, ASPO Manager George Low said that, in view of recent spills of ethylene glycol and water mixtures, spacecraft contractors North American Aviation and Grumman Aircraft Engineering had been directed to begin actions immediately to ensure that a fire hazard did not exist for the next manned spacecraft. Actions were to include identification of the location of silver or silver-covered wires and pins and of glycol spills.
Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp.'s method of building wiring harness for the lunar module was acceptable, George Low, MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Manager, wrote Apollo Program Manager Samuel C. Phillips at NASA Hq. Low had noted on a visit to Grumman on May 9 that many of the harnesses were being built on two-dimensional boards. In view of recent discussions of the command module wiring, Low requested Grumman to reexamine their practice and to reaffirm their position on two-versus three-dimensional wiring harnesses.
In his May 31 letter to Phillips, Low enclosed Grumman's reply and said that, in his opinion, Grumman's practice was acceptable because
MSC's Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., told ASPO Manager George M. Low that his Directorate was willing to support the flight test program presented in late May and felt that the computer programs and operational support he had in development would support the flights as currently scheduled. He did offer some comments on the proposed flight test program and asked that the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight be given an indication that his suggested program was being considered as a future alternate approach. The comments included:
A meeting at MSC discussed CSM and LM changes, schedules, and related test and hardware programs. On June 26, NASA Apollo Program Manager Samuel C. Phillips summarized the discussion in a letter to George Low. He pointed out that certain problems could result in serious program impact if not solved expeditiously and specifically mentioned couch design, the weight problem in the CSM and LM, docking changes, and delivery schedules.
Bendix Corp. demonstrated the operation of a sliding boom concept to prove that the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) could be removed from the LM at various attitudes. MSC representatives viewing the demonstration at Ann Arbor, Mich., were Aaron Cohen, Don Weissman, Paul Gerke, Don Lind, and Harrison Schmitt. Cohen reported that the mockup was crude but indicated that the concept was satisfactory to both Grumman and NASAL Design refinement, qualification, and effect on LM structure would have to be looked into. It was believed an additional seven kilograms of weight would be added to the LM descent stage. Two interface problems were defined at the meeting:
In a memorandum to the Chief, Systems Engineering Division, MSC, ASPO Manager George M. Low pointed out the weight problem in the CSM and LM was critical. Low called for a detailed review of weight effects along with any proposed design change. The weight estimate was to be submitted by the affected contractor as a part of his change proposal, and this would then be verified by the subsystems manager and Systems Engineering.
To provide timely weight status to the Configuration Control Board, Systems Engineering Division was given the responsibility of presenting CSM and LM weight status at each weekly Board meeting as follows:
Designations and abbreviations for flight crewmen on all manned Apollo missions were selected:
Leonard Reiffel of the NASA Hq. Apollo Program Office suggested to Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that "we do not schedule the ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package) for the first lunar landing," because:
He added, "An uncrowded time line on the lunar surface for the first mission would seem to me more contributory to the advance of science than trying to do so much on the first mission that we do nothing well. . . ."
Although the LM-1 wiring harness had been accepted by the Customer Acceptance Readiness Review Board it was not clear that the harness would also have been accepted for manned flight, ASPO Manager George M. Low told Apollo Systems Engineering Assistant Chief R. W. Williams. Low asked Williams to assign someone to prepare a plan of actions needed to ensure that the harnesses in LM-2 and subsequent vehicles would be acceptable.
Possible hazards to the crew in the lunar module thermal vacuum test program (using LTA-8) were pointed up in a memorandum to Manager, ASPO, and Director of Engineering and Development from the Director of Flight Crew Operations. Manning procedures required crewmen to make numerous hard vacuum transfers between the Space Environment Simulation Laboratory's environmental control system (ECS) umbilicals and the LM environmental control system hoses. Also, during the manning operations the crewmen would be on the LM-ECS with the cabin depressurized. In the configuration in use, if one of the crewmen lost his suit integrity, there would be no protection for the other man. Because of these hazardous conditions the following actions were requested:
Visual display systems of complex optical devices were being used with the lunar module mission simulators. To help solve problems that some of these systems were creating, assistance was requested from J. E. Kupperian, E. S. Chin, and H. D. Vitagliano, all from Goddard Space Flight Center.
The RTG Review Team - established to investigate the relation of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator's fuel-cask subsystem to Apollo mission safety and success - submitted a preliminary report. Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips had established the team after concern was expressed over the design and safety of the subsystem at a June 1 review at NASA Hq. of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP).
The team's preliminary report was based on data received and observations of the LM at Grumman that indicated the interface of the RTG, LM, and spacecraft-LM adapter (SLA) presented a potential problem to the Apollo mission. The most serious hazard was the presence of the 530-640 K (500-700 degrees F) RTG fuel cask in the space between the LM and the SLA, where leaks were possible during fuel unloading or in the mechanical joints of the LM fuel system.
Plans were to fuel the LM four days before launch and to pressurize the LM fuel system at T (time of launch) minus 16 hours. The RTG fuel element was to be loaded into the graphite cask, which was mounted on the LM at T minus 12 hours and the system secured. All work would be completed on the ALSEP by T minus 10 hours. If a condition occurred that required unloading fuel from the LM after installation of the fuel element in the cask, the hot cask would be a partial barrier to reaching one of the fuel unloading points and also would be a potential fire hazard. No mechanism was available to remove the entire cask system rapidly. Other potential problems were:
The ASPO Manager summarized the lunar module oxygen capacity and design requirements for the lunar mission and made an analysis of his decision to leave both portable life support systems (PLSS) on the lunar surface. He recommended that NASA OMSF accept the PLSS discard philosophy as well as the design capacity for lunar module oxygen.
MSC Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., raised questions about lunar module number 2: Would it be possible for LM-2 to be a combined manned and unmanned vehicle; that is, have the capability to make an unmanned burn first and then be manned for additional activities? Would additional batteries in the LM provide greater flexibility for earth-orbital missions? Mission flexibility would be worthwhile only if it allowed deletion of a subsequent mission, at least on paper.
Following a series of discussions on the requirements for the lunar mapping and survey system (LMSS), the effort was terminated. An immediate stop work order was issued to the Air Force, the Centers, and the contractors in the LMSS effort. The original justification for the LMSS, a backup Apollo site certification capability in the event of Surveyor or Lunar Orbiter inadequacies, was no longer valid, since at least four Apollo sites had been certified and the last Lunar Orbiter would, if successful, increase that to eight.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth wrote MSFC Director Wernher von Braun that MSC had two lunar landing research vehicles (LLRVs) for crew training and three lunar landing training vehicles (LLTVs) were being procured from Bell Aerosystems Go. Gilruth explained that x-ray inspection of welds on the LLTVs at both Bell and MSC had disclosed apparent subsurface defects, such as cracks and lack of fusion. There was, however, question as to the interpretation of the x-rays and the amount of feasible repair. Gilruth mentioned that James Kingsbury of MSFC had previously assisted MSC in interpreting weldment x-rays, stated that further x-rays were being taken, and asked MSFC assistance in interpreting them and in determining the amount and methods of repair needed.
Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation was selected for negotiation of a contract for the design, development, qualification, and delivery of four production models of an injector for the lunar module ascent engine. The project would serve as a backup to the injector program already being conducted by Bell Aerospace Corp. under subcontract to Grumman. The ascent engine was considered to be the most critical engine in the Apollo-Saturn vehicle. No backup mode of operation remained if the ascent engine failed.
NASA decided to terminate all activity associated with the hardware and software procurement, development, and testing for the lunar mapping and survey system. The purpose of the system was to provide site certification capability to the most scientifically interesting areas on the lunar surface for the AAP.
Grumman proposed a procurement for a study of the mission effects projector, to assist Grumman with an item that had been designed and built by Farrand but did not meet the established specifications. Grumman solicited assistance of qualified firms in the optomechanical field. Of 15 firms approached 7 were interested: Itek Corp., Kollmorgen Corp., Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Kollsman Instrument Corp., Biorad, General Precision Link Group, and Conductron. Technical proposals were received from Itek, Biorad, Link, and Conductron. Grumman considered the Itek proposal most technically acceptable and proposed a letter contract in which NASA concurred.
A review team's findings on the lunar surface magnetometer program were reported to the NASA Administrator. The magnetometer program still suffered from the schedule delays and high costs that had prompted the review, but recent management changes and technical progress were halting the trends. With the team recommendation and the endorsement of the Office of Space Science and Applications, Philco Corp. was directed to continue its effort to develop a lunar surface magnetometer.
LM-1 (Apollo 5) continued to have serious schedule difficulties. However, all known problems were resolved with the exception of the propulsion system leaks. Leak checks of the ascent stage indicated excessive leaking in the incline oxidizer orifice flange. The spacecraft was approximately 39 days behind the July 18, LM-1 KSC Operations Flow Plan.
The Systems Engineering Division of ASPO presented a briefing to the ASPO Manager and other MSC officials on the logic of the lunar surface activity for the first lunar landing mission. Several potential missions were presented in terms of interactions between timelines, consumables, weight, and performance characteristics. Purpose of the demonstration was to elicit policy decisions on the number of extravehicular excursions to be planned for the first mission as well as the activities for each excursion. The following ground rules were established:
MSC proposed to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight a sequence of missions leading to a lunar landing mission. The sequence included the following basic missions:
C. H. Bolender, ASPO Manager for the lunar module, wrote Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., Grumman LM Program Director, that recent LM weights and weight growth trends during the past several months established the need to identify actions that would reduce weight and preclude future weight growth. Additional Details: here....
The Flammability Test Review Board met at MSC to determine if the M-6 vehicle (a full-scale mockup of the LM cabin interior) was ready for test and that the ignition points, configuration, instrumentation, and test facility were acceptable for verifying the fire safety of LTA-8 and LM-2 vehicles. Additional Details: here....
MSC's Engineering and Development (E&D) Directorate recommended that the Apollo CM be provided with a foam fire extinguisher. E&D also recommended that the LM be provided with a water nozzle for extinguishing open fires and that cabin decompression be used to combat fires behind panels. An aqueous gel (foam) composition fire extinguisher was considered most appropriate for use in the CM because hydrogen in the available water supply could intensify the fire, water spray could not reach fires behind panels, and a shirt-sleeve environment was preferred. E&D further recommended that development of a condensation nuclei indicator be pursued as a flight fire detection system, but that it not be made a constraint on the Apollo program. ASPO Manager George M. Low concurred with the recommendations September 28 and MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth concurred October 7.
On October 26, the Director of Flight Crew Operations stated that his Directorate was formulating and implementing a training program for flight crews to give them experience in coping with fire in and around the spacecraft. "In total, the crew training for cockpit fires will consist of: Review of BP 1224 and M-6 'burn test' film; demonstration briefings on the fire extinguishers and their most effective use; procedural practice simulating cockpit fire situations in conjunction with one 'g' spacecraft/mockup/Apollo Mission Simulator walkthroughs and in the egress trainer placed in the altitude chamber; and as a part of the overall launch pad emergency and evacuation procedures training at the fire service training area at KSC."
ASPO Manager George M. Low informed the MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations that effective November 1 configuration management of the Apollo mission simulators and LM mission simulators would be transferred from ASPO to the Flight Crew Operations Directorate, with the understanding that Director Donald K. Slayton would personally chair the Configuration Control Panel.
Because of many questions asked about spacecraft weight changes in the spacecraft redefinition, ASPO Manager George M. Low prepared a memo for the record, indicating weights as follows:
Lunar Module Significant Weight Changes Lunar module injected weight status March 1, 1967 (ascent and descent less propellant) - 4039.6 kg
Lunar module injected weight status September 22, 1967 - 4270.0 kg
Command Module Significant Weight Changes Command module injected weight status March 1, 1967 - 5246.7 kg
Command module injected weight status September 22, 1967 - 5679.8 kg
In an effort to meet a mid-April 1968 delivery date for LM-3, Grumman made a number of organizational changes. Top level direction was strengthened by adding experienced managers in strategic positions and by reinforcing the Grumman LM organization with more management talent and additional test personnel. A spacecraft director for each vehicle was brought into the program for LM-2, -3, -4, and -5, with responsibility for overall Grumman support of individual vehicles from cradle to grave.
Confirming an October 27 telephone conversation, ASPO Manager George M. Low recommended to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that the following LM delivery schedule be incorporated into official documentation: LM-2, February 5, 1968; LM-3, April 6, 1968; LM-4, June 6, 1968. Subsequent vehicles would be delivered on two-month centers. The dates had been provided by Grumman during the last Program Management Review.
A cooling design to keep heating effects of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) below 450 kelvins (350 degrees F) was being sought for the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. Studies had shown that the RTG could be a fire hazard when the ALSEP was carried in the lunar module, heating temperatures up to 590 kelvins (600 degrees F) unless cooling was provided. Temperatures from 460 to 465 kelvins (370 degrees F to 380 degrees F) were hazardous with the fuels in the LM.
A series of lunar surface operations planning meetings was scheduled to establish and coordinate operational requirements and constraints, review analysis and simulation data for lunar surface operations, review hardware status and requirements, review test and simulation planning, identify and resolve operational problems, obtain agreement on mission guidelines and recommended flight activities, and collect comments on the surface operations plans.
NASA announced an Apollo mission schedule calling for six flights in 1968 and five in 1969. NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller said the schedule and alternative plans provided a schedule under which a limited number of Apollo command and service modules and lunar landing modules, configured for lunar landing might be launched on test flights toward the moon by the end of the decade. Apollo/uprated Saturn I flights were identified with a 200 series number; Saturn V flights were identified with a 500 series number. Additional Details: here....
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, wrote Warren B. Hayes, President of Fansteel Metallurgical Corp., that planned schedules for the lunar landing training vehicle (LLTV) could not be maintained because of the need for refabrication of the hydrogen peroxide tanks. The tanks had been manufactured by Airtek Division of Fansteel under contract to Bell Aerosystems Co. Airtek's estimates were that the first of the new tanks would not be available until January 1 968, two months later than required to meet the LLTV program schedule. Gilruth said: "The LLTV is a major and very necessary part of the crew training program for the lunar landing maneuver. It is my hope that Airtek will take every action to assure that the manufacturing cycle time for these tanks is held to an absolute minimum." In preparing background information for Gilruth, Flight Crew Operations Director Donald K. Slayton had pointed out that the first set of tanks (total of eight) had been scrapped because of below-minimum wall thickness. Qualification testing of a tank from the second set revealed out-of-tolerance mismatch of welded tank fittings, and this set was also scrapped.
A full-time lunar landing training vehicle (LLRV) operating capability was essential to lunar landing training. Optimum proficiency for the critical lunar landing maneuver would be required at launch. Crew participation in the three months or more of concentrated checkout and training at KSC before each lunar mission, coupled with routine launch delays, would make KSC the preferred location for LLRV operating capability.
MSC informed MSFC that it would provide the following payload flight hardware for the AS-503/BP-30 flight test: boilerplate 30 (BP-30, already at MSFC); spacecraft-LM adapter 101 and launch escape system (SLA-101/LES) jettisonable mass simulation; and lunar module test article B (LTA-B, already at MSFC). MSC had no mission requirements but recommended that any restart test requirements for the Saturn S-IVB stage be carried out on this mission to simplify requirements for the first manned Saturn V mission.
An MSC meeting discussed environmental acceptance testing of Apollo spacecraft at the vehicle level. The meeting was attended by representatives of OMSF, MSC, and General Electric. Lad Warzecha presented results of a GE analysis of ground- and flight-test failures in a number of spacecraft programs. GE had concluded that a significant number of failures could be eliminated through complete vehicle environmental (vibration and thermal vacuum) acceptance testing and recommended such testing be included in the CSM and LM programs. James A. Chamberlin, MSC, presented a critique of the GE recommendations and found fault with the statistical approach to the GE analysis, indicating that each flight failure would have to be considered individually to reach valid conclusions. After considerable discussion ASPO Manager George M. Low said that he had reached the following conclusions:
NASA Hq. requested MSC to forward by December 5 the Center's plan for providing qualified LM ascent engines with dynamically stable injectors for manned LM flights. The plan was expected to be based on ground rules established in July when a NASA team went to Bell Aerosystems Co. that the current BAC engine would be the prime effort with the Rocketdyne Division (North American Rockwell) injector development as backup. Headquarters asked that the plan contain the following elements:
Astronaut Charles (Pete) Conrad's concern about an anticipated attitude control problem in the LM was reported. Conrad had said, "The LM is too sporty when in a light weight configuration." Minimum impulse was expected to produce about 0.3 degree per second rate, which was estimated to be about four times too fast. A memo on the problem possibility was written by Howard W. Tindall, Jr., Deputy Chief of MSC's Mission Planning and Analysis Division, to stimulate thinking. On December 9, ASPO Manager George M. Low asked Donald K. Slayton and Warren J. North if there was any chance of setting up a simulation to see whether this was a real concern.
MSC ASPO Manager George M. Low reminded NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that at a meeting three weeks previous MSC had presented a Bell Aerospace Corp. qualification completion date for the LM ascent engine of March 28, and a Rocketdyne Division, North American Rockwell, completion by May 1, 1968. Additional Details: here....
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips wrote the manned space flight Centers of Apollo schedule decisions. In a September 20 meeting at MSC to review the Apollo test flight program, MSC had proposed a primary test flight plan including
A LM test failed in the Grumman ascent stage manufacturing plant December 17. A window in LM-5 shattered during its initial cabin pressurization test, designed to pressurize the cabin to 3.9 newtons per square centimeter (5.65 pounds per square inch). Both inner and outer windows and the plexiglass cover of the right-hand window shattered when the pressure reached 3.5 newtons per sq cm (5.1 psi). An MSC LM engineer and Corning Glass Co. engineers were investigating the damage and cause of failure.
ASPO Manager George M. Low pointed out to E. Z. Gray of Grumman that in October 1964 NASA had sent a letter to Grumman voicing concern over possible stress corrosion problems. The Grumman reply on October 30 of that year was unsatisfactory when considered in the light of stress corrosion cracks recently found in the LM aluminum structural members. Low asked what Grumman planned to do to make sure that no other potential stress corrosion problems existed in the LM and asked for a reply by January 1968 on how the problem would be attacked.
On December 21, Low wrote a similar letter to Dale D. Myers of North American Rockwell, reminding him of a letter sent by MSC in September 1964. He said that recent stress corrosion problems had been encountered in the LM and asked that North American make a detailed analysis to ensure that not a single stress corrosion problem existed in the CSM or associated equipment. Again, Low asked for a reply by January 15, 1968.
A Lunar Mission Planning Board meeting was held at MSC with Julian M. West as acting chairman. Also present were Wilmot N. Hess, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Paul E. Purser, and Andre J. Meyer, Jr. (secretary); and invited participants Gus R. Babb, John M. Eggleston, and James J. Taylor. The meeting agenda involved two main subjects:
Bethpage RASPO Business Manager Frank X. Battersby met with Grumman Treasurer Pat Cherry on missing items of government property. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) had complained of inefficiency in Grumman property accountability records and had submitted a list of some 550 items of government property to Grumman. After nine weeks of searching, the company had found about 200 items. The auditors contended the missing items amounted to $8 million-$9 million. Cherry said he believed that all the material could be located within one week. Battersby agreed to the one-week period but emphasized that the real problem was not in locating the material but rather in establishing accurate records, since GAO felt that too often the contractor would be tempted to go out and buy replacement parts rather than look for the missing ones.
The first fire-in-the-hole test was successfully completed at the White Sands Test Facility (WSTF). The vehicle test configuration was that of LM-2 and the test cell pressure immediately before the test was equivalent to a 68,850-meter altitude. All test objectives were satisfied and video tapes of TV monitors were acquired. Test firing duration was 650 milliseconds with zero stage separation.
The LM ascent engine program plan submitted to NASA Hq. on December 9 had been approved, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told ASPO Manager George M. Low. Phillips was concerned, however, about the impact of recent unstable injector tests at Bell Aerosystems Co. on this plan. He said, "Resolution of these failures must be expedited in order to maintain present schedules. Also of concern, is the possible underestimation of the contractual and integration problems that will exist if the Rocketdyne (Division) injector should be chosen." Phillips asked that those areas receive special attention and that he be kept informed on the progress of both injector programs.
Bellcomm engineers presented to NASA a proposed plan for lunar exploration during the period from the first lunar landing through the mid-1970s. The proposed program - based upon what the company termed "reasonable" assumptions concerning hardware capabilities, scientific objectives, launch rates, and relationships to other programs - was divided into four distinct phases:
ASPO Manager George M. Low discussed with Rocco Petrone of KSC the problem of high humidity levels within the spacecraft-lunar module adapter. Petrone advised that several changes had been made to alleviate the problem: air conditioning in the SLA and the instrument unit would remain on during propellant loading; and the rate of air flow into the SLA was increased. Also, technicians at the Cape had designed a tygon tube to be installed to bring dry air into the LM descent engine bell, should this added precaution prove necessary. With these changes, Low felt confident that the humidity problem had been resolved.
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller directed MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to establish a task team to investigate why, in light of extreme precautions taken early in the program, the problem of stress corrosion in the LM was being encountered at such a late stage in Apollo. The problem, Mueller stressed, had been discovered at a most critical point in the program - the launch of the first LM was imminent and two subsequent vehicles were already well along in factory checkout. Any resultant slips in the LM program would seriously impact overall Apollo schedules. Gilruth replied he believed that such a team was not required. He affirmed that the reviews undertaken with the contractors in 1964 to guard against just these problems had proved inadequate when judged against present program demands. "The answer simply is that the job was not handled properly on the last go-round."
George E. Mueller, NASA OMSF, in a letter to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, summarized a number of key Apollo program decisions required in order to emphasize the urgency of priority action in preparations necessary to certify the Apollo system design for manned flight. Additional Details: here....
Apollo Data Coordination Chief Howard W. Tindall, Jr., summarized mission planning for the first two hours on the lunar surface. That period, he said, would be devoted to checking out spacecraft systems and preparing for launch (in effect simulating the final two hours before liftoff). This procedure embodied several important benefits. As a pre-ascent simulation, it would afford an early indication of any problems in the checkout routine. More importantly, the initial checkout procedure would prepare the LM for takeoff at the end of the CSM's first revolution should some emergency situation require such an immediate flight abort.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips wrote ASPO Manager George M. Low requesting that he establish and maintain a detailed comparison of configuration differences between the CSM and LM. This comparison, Phillips said, should include major interface differences, subsystems and components, weight, performance, and crew safety. Phillips ordered this comparison chiefly because the Apollo spacecraft was entering an extremely important phase to certify the vehicles for manned flight.
Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., LM Program Director at Grumman, advised ASPO Manager George M. Low of steps under way to attack the problem of stress corrosion in the LM. (Low had expressed MSC's concern over this potential danger on December 20, 1967.) While stating that he shared Low's concern, Gavin believed that stress corrosion would not prove to be of significance to the LM mission. However, his organization was prepared to reevaluate the LM's design and fabrication to determine to what extent the problem could be ameliorated. (Gavin denied that such metal corrosion could be absolutely eliminated using present materials as dictated by weight constraints on the LM design.) Gavin stated that he had created a special team of experienced designers and stress analysts to review engineering design of every LM part sensitive to stress corrosion, to review processes employed in fabrication of the LM structure, and to review the adequacy of the company's quality control procedures to ensure corrosion-free parts and assemblies.
NASA launched Apollo 5 - the first, unmanned LM flight - on a Saturn IB from KSC Launch Complex 37B at 5:48:08 p.m. EST. Mission objectives included verifying operation of the LM structure itself and its two primary propulsion systems, to evaluate LM staging, and to evaluate orbital performances of the S-IVB stage and instrument unit. Flight of the AS-204 launch vehicle went as planned, with nosecone (replacing the CSM) jettisoned and LM separating. Flight of LM-1 also went as planned up to the first descent propulsion engine firing. Because velocity increase did not build up as quickly as predicted, the LM guidance system shut the engine down after only four seconds of operation, boosting the LM only to a 171 x 222 km orbit. Mission control personnel in Houston and supporting groups quickly analyzed the problem. They determined that the difficulty was one of guidance software only (and not a fault in hardware design) and pursued an alternate mission plan that ensured meeting the minimum requirements necessary to achieve the primary objectives of the mission. The ascent stage separated and boosted itself into a 172 x 961 km orbit. After mission completion at 2:45 a.m. EST January 23, LM stages were left in orbit to reenter the atmosphere later and disintegrate. Apollo program directors attributed success of the mission to careful preplanning of alternate ways to accomplish flight objectives in the face of unforeseen events.
Homer E. Newell, NASA Associate Administrator, told MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that at the last meeting of the Lunar and Planetary Missions Board the subject of astronaut activity on the lunar surface had been taken into consideration. The following motion had been generally endorsed by all members of the Board but tabled for formal action with the request that comments of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate be made on the motion and returned to the Board for further consideration: "It is proposed that during lunar EVA it be regarded as general practice and a requirement on the astronauts to utilize fully the voice channel from them to each other and to earth. What is intended is almost incessant talking, describing all actions and thoughts as they occur, but without devoting much additional concentration or interrupting any actions for that purpose. Such talk will have the advantage of increasing the information available should any hazardous situation arise, and therefore increase crew safety; secondly, it will be a major source of information of scientific importance, and the record of such talk will be most helpful to the astronauts themselves as well as others to re-enact the activities later and so better understand the record and the observations obtained."
The MSC Director of Flight Operations prepared an information staff paper for Gilruth that said the proposal had been evaluated by the Directorate, and the "marginal utility to be gained by such a practice is questionable" because "constant talking would involve a real time process of separating significant data from trivia." The Flight Operations Directorate "does not believe that crew safety will be enhanced by constant talking. . . . In summary . . . our present astronaut talking requirements are sufficient to satisfy the scientific world and provide sound operational support. . . ."
Grumman President L. J. Evans wrote ASPO Manager George M. Low stating his agreement with NASA's decision to forego a second unmanned LM flight using LM-2. (Grumman's new position - the company had earlier strongly urged such a second flight - was reached after discussions with Low and LM Manager G. H. Bolender at the end of January and after flight data was presented at the February 6 meeting of the OMSF Management Council.) Although the decision was not irreversible, being subject to further investigations by both contractor and customer, both sides now were geared for a manned flight on the next LM mission. Additional Details: here....
MSC informed NASA Hq. that a reaction control system (RCS) engine ruptured at Marquardt Corp. the previous night during a heater integration test within a normal duty cycle run. This was a development test; the cause of the rupture was unknown at the time of the report. A second RCS failure occurred at Marquardt March 6 during a rerun of the LM heater integration tests. The rerun series started March 2. No facility damage or personnel injuries were reported from either incident. Investigation was under way at Marquardt by both NASA and Marquardt engineers to determine the cause of the failures and the effect on the program.
Reflecting the climate of scientific thinking at his Center, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth responded to inquiries from Homer E. Newell, NASA Associate Administrator, concerning vocal communications during exploration of the lunar surface. While he termed continuous talking undesirable, Gilruth stated an astronaut's running comment would in effect form a set of field notes that a geologist might ordinarily keep during a field exercise. This normal vocal narrative, he told Newell, would keep ground control informed of mission progress and would ensure a maximum scientific return from the flight.
The LM Descent Engine Program Review was held at TRW Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., reviewing the overall program status, technical and manufacturing problems, and program costs. Program status reports showed that 28 engines had been delivered in the LM descent engine program to date, including all White Sands Test Facility engines and engine rebuilds and all qualification test and flight engines; 9 WSTF engines and 12 flight engines remained to be delivered. Grumman indicated all engine delivery dates coincided with the vehicle need dates.
Design Certification Reviews of CSM 101 and LM-3 were held at MSC. Significant program-level agreements reached included validation of a 60-percent-oxygen and 40-percent-nitrogen cabin atmosphere during launch; reaffirmation of the February 6 Management Council decision that a second unmanned LM flight was not required; and the conclusion that, in light of successful static firing of the 102 service propulsion system and subsequent analysis, a static-firing of the 101 system was not required.
MSC asked Grumman to make a thorough review of the amount of nominal, off-nominal, and extended-life subsystem testing of LM production hardware and recommend any additional testing that should be done. The review of performance data was needed, Neal said, to ensure that program officials had sufficient test data to support flight planners and flight controllers during the manned missions.
The lunar landing research vehicle was operating and training was being conducted, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth wrote Langley Research Center's Acting Director Charles J. Donlan. MSC intended to conduct a second class for LLRV pilots and one of the first requirements for checkout was a familiarization program on Langley's Lunar Landing Research Facility. He requested that a program be conducted for not less than four nor more than six MSC pilots between April 15 and May 15.
A LM prelaunch atmosphere selection and repressurization meeting was held at MSC, attended by representatives of MSC, MSFC, KSC, North American Rockwell, and Grumman. The rationale for MSC selection of 100 percent oxygen as the LM cabin launch atmosphere was based on three factors: use of other than 100 percent oxygen in the LM cabin would entail additional crew procedural workloads at transposition and docking; excessive risk to crew due to depletion of the CM emergency oxygen consumables would be added; and it would require use of 2.7 kilograms of onboard CM oxygen. Two problems were identified with use of 100 percent oxygen in the LM cabin at launch: LM cabin flammability on the pad and LM venting oxygen into the SLA during boost. If air were used in the LM cabin at launch and the LM vent valve opened during boost, the full CM stored-oxygen capacity would be required to pressurize the LM and LM tunnel for umbilical mating. For a lunar mission, this situation would be similar to that before lunar orbital insertion, but would subject the crew to a condition of no stored oxygen for an emergency. For an earth-orbital mission this situation would be objectionable because CM stored oxygen would be lacking for an emergency entry into the atmosphere.
Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Apollo Program Director, wrote ASPO Manager George M. Low to express concern about two particular technical problems in the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package:
Howard W. Tindall, Jr., Chief of Apollo Data Priority Coordination, reported that several meetings devoted to the question of the LM's status immediately after touching down on the lunar surface, had reached agreement on several operational techniques for a "go/no go" decision. Basically, the period immediately after landing constituted a system evaluation phase (in which both crew and ground controllers assessed the spacecraft's status) - a period of about two minutes, during which immediate abort and ascent was possible. Given a decision at that point not to abort, the crew would then remove the guidance system from the descent mode and proceed with the normal ascent-powered flight program (and an immediate abort was no longer possible). Assuming permission to stay beyond this initial "make ready" phase, the crew would then carry out most of the normal procedures required to launch when the CM next passed over the landing site (some two hours later).
The Apollo spacecraft Configuration Control Board (CCB) had endorsed changes in lunar orbit insertion and LM extraction on the lunar mission flight profile, the MSC Director notified the Apollo Program Director. ASPO had reviewed the changes with William Schneider of NASA OMSF the same day and Schneider was to present the changes to George E. Mueller and Samuel C. Phillips for approval.
The two-burn lunar orbit insertion (LOI) was an operational procedure to desensitize the maneuver to system uncertainties and would allow for optimization of a lunar orbit trim burn. The procedure would be used for lunar orbit and lunar landing missions. The spacecraft lunar-adapter spring-ejection system was required to ensure adequate clearance during separation of the LM/CSM from the S-IVB/instrument unit and would be used on the first manned CSM/LM mission.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth observed that the Engineering and Development Directorate would be conducting two thermal-vacuum test programs during the next several months, following the April 9 shipment of the Block II thermal vacuum test article 2TV-1 to MSC from Downey. (The second test article was the LM counterpart, LTA-8.) Both programs were of major importance, Gilruth told his organization. However, because the 2TV-1 test program directly supported - and constrained - the first manned Apollo mission, he said that, in the event of any conflict between the two test programs, 2TV-1 had clear priority.
ASPO Manager George M. Low advised top officials in Headquarters, MSFC, and KSC that he was recommending the use of 100 percent oxygen in the cabin of the LM at launch. MSC had reached this decision, Low said, after thorough evaluation of system capabilities, requirements, safety, and crew procedures. The selection of pure oxygen was based on several important factors: reduced demand on the CSM's oxygen supply by some 2.7 kilograms; simplified crew procedures; the capability for immediate return to earth during earth-orbital missions in which docking was performed; and safe physiological characteristics. All of these factors, the ASPO Chief stated, outweighed the flammability question. Because the LM was unmanned on the pad, there was little electrical power in the vehicle at launch and therefore few ignition sources. Further, the adapter was filled with inert nitrogen and the danger of a hazardous condition was therefore minimal. Also, temperature and pressure sensors inside the LM could be used for fire detection, and fire could be fought while the mobile service structure was in place. As a result, Low stated, use of oxygen in the LM on the pad posed no more of a hazard than did hypergolics and liquid hydrogen and oxygen.
ASPO Manager George M. Low requested Joseph N. Kotanchik to establish a task team to pull together all participants in the dynamic analysis of the Saturn V and boost environment. He suggested that Donald C. Wade should lead the effort and that he should work with George Jeffs of North American Rockwell, Tom Kelly of Grumman and Wayne Klopfenstein of Boeing, and that Lee James of MSFC could be contacted for any desired support or coordination. The team would define the allowable oscillations at the interface of the spacecraft-LM adapter with the instrument unit for the existing Block II configuration, possible changes in the hardware to detune the CSM and the LM, and the combined effects of pogo and the S-IC single-engine-out case. Low also said he was establishing a task team under Richard Colonna to define a test program related to the same problem area and felt that Wade and Colonna would want to work together.
ASPO Manager George M. Low ordered LM Manager C. H. Bolender to establish a firm baseline configuration for the LM ascent engine to use during the entire series of qualification tests (including any penalty runs that might be required). Low's memo followed a telephone conversation the previous day with Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips. Low cited to Bolender the need for a rigid design control on the engine. During a recent technical review, he explained, NASA officials learned that most qualification tests had been performed on one model (the E2CA injector), while all of the bomb stability tests had used another (the E2C injector). Ostensibly, the only difference between the two injectors was in the welding techniques. However, the first E2CA injector that was bomb-tested showed a combustion instability. Low emphasized that he was not charging that the different welding technique had caused the instability. Nevertheless, "this supposedly minor change (has) again served to emphasize the importance of making no changes, no matter how small, in the configuration of this engine." Once Bolender had set up the requested baseline configuration, Low stated, no change either in design or process should be made without approval by the Configuration Control Board.
Phillips followed up his conversation with Low a week later to express a deep concern regarding the ascent engine program, particularly small improvements in the engine, which could very likely delay the entire Apollo program beyond the present goal. The sensitivity of the engine to even minor design, fabrication, and testing changes dictated absolute control over all such changes. The ascent engine, Phillips told Low, was one of a very few Apollo hardware items in which even the most insignificant change must be elevated to top-level management review before implementation.
Lunar landing research vehicle (LLRV) No. 1 crashed at Ellington Air Force Base, Tex. The pilot, astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, ejected after losing control of the vehicle, landing by parachute with minor injury. Estimated altitude of the LLRV at the time of ejection was 60 meters. LLRV No. 1, which had been on a standard training mission, was a total loss - estimated at $1.5 million. LLRV No. 2 would not begin flight status until the accident investigation had been completed and the cause determined. Additional Details: here....
During an Apollo flight test program review at MSC, the question was left unresolved whether or not to perform a "fire-in-the-hole" test of the LM ascent engine (i.e., start the engine at the same instant the two stages of the spacecraft were disjoined - as the engine would have to be fired upon takeoff from the lunar surface) on either the D or E mission. Additional Details: here....
NASA Headquarters established the LLRV-1 Review Board to investigate the May 6 accidental crash of Lunar Landing Research Vehicle No. 1 at Ellington Air Force Base. The Board would consist of: Bruce T. Lundin, Lewis Research Center, chairman; John Stevenson, OMSF; Miles Ross, KSC; James Whitten, Langley Research Center; and Lt. Col. Jeptha D. Oliver (USAF), Norton Air Force Base. J. Wallace Ould, MSC Chief Counsel, would serve as counsel to the group. The board would
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC Director of Flight Operations, expressed concern to ASPO Manager George M. Low over the escalation of E-mission objectives; the flight now loomed as an extremely complex and ambitious mission. The probability of accomplishing all the objectives set forth for the mission, said Kraft, was very low. He did not propose changing the mission plan, however. "If we are fortunate," he said, "then certainly the quickest way to the moon will be achieved." Kraft did suggest caution in setting mission priorities and in "apply(ing) adjectives to the objectives." Additional Details: here....
Twist-and-solder wire splices were evaluated for ASPO Manager Low by Systems Engineering Division. The evaluation stated that twist-and-solder wire splices with shrink sleeve tubing had been used for many years and when properly done were adequate. It then listed three advantages and six disadvantages of this kind of splice. In summary, it stated that the splice could be phased into the LM program but was not recommended by the division because:
ASPO Manager George Low advised Apollo program officials at KSC that, to collect adequate data for evaluating any potential toxicological hazard inside the spacecraft, collection of gas samples of the cabin atmosphere must be made for 12 hours during the unmanned altitude chamber test with all systems operating. Low asked that this requirement be included in the spacecraft test procedures. Additional Details: here....
George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth to express his personal interest in lunar extravehicular activity (EVA) training for the Apollo crews of the F and G missions (i.e., the initial lunar landing and subsequent flights). Because of the complexity of the EVA tasks that the astronauts must perform, Mueller said, crews for those missions should be selected as early as possible. Also, realistic training - including a realistic run-through of many of the lunar surface tasks, especially development of the S-band antenna and the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package and sampling operations - must be conducted to ensure that the crews competently carried out the various scientific experiments and other tasks during their brief stays on the moon.
ASPO Manager George M. Low and others from MSC met with Grumman's LM engineering staff, headed by Thomas J. Kelly, to discuss the descent stage heatshield and thermal blanket problems associated with reduced thrust decay of the descent engine at lunar touchdown. Additional Details: here....
Apollo Program Director Phillips wrote MSC Director Gilruth concerning the April 10 proposal for a two-burn lunar orbit insertion (LOI) maneuver and a spring ejection of the LM from the spacecraft-lunar module adapter. Phillips agreed to the two-burn LOI in place of the originally planned one burn if results of an analysis should prove the requirement. He specified that an analysis be made of the tradeoffs and that the analysis include the risk of crash, the assumed risks due to lengthening the lunar orbit time (about four hours), and risks due to an additional spacecraft propulsion system burn, as well as the effect of the lunar gravitational potential on the ability to target the LOI maneuver to achieve the desired vector at the time of LM descent. The proposal for spring ejection of the LM from the SLA was approved with the provision that a failure analysis be made in order to understand the risks in the change.
NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips laid down Headquarters and MSC interfaces with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) regarding the SNAP-27 radioisotope thermoelectric generator for the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP). The Lunar Surface Program Office at MSC was the field project office responsible for developing the ALSEP system, and the radioisotope generator - as part of the ALSEP - had been assigned to that office for system integration. Thus, the Lunar Surface Program Office served as the AEC's primary contact on the SNAP-27 both for ALSEP program matters and for data pertaining to flight safety and documentation for flight approval. Phillips stressed that all data be fully coordinated with Headquarters before being submitted to the AEC. (Approval for the flight of any nuclear device rested ultimately with the President, but formal documentation had to be concurred in by the NASA Administrator, the AEC Commissioners, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Aeronautics and Space Council.)
NASA Associate Administrator George E. Mueller, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, and other high-ranking manned space flight officials from Headquarters visited Bethpage for an overall review of the LM program. Greatest emphasis during their review was on schedules, technical problems, and qualification of the spacecraft's principal subsystems. Mueller and Phillips cited several areas that most concerned NASA:
Howard W. Tindall, Jr., Deputy Division Chief, MSC Mission Planning and Analysis, wrote ASPO Manager George M. Low: "A rather unbelievable proposal has been bouncing around lately. Because it is seriously ascribed to a high ranking official, MSC and Grumman are both on the verge of initiating activities - feasibility studies, procedures development, etc. - in accord with it. . . . The matter to which I refer is the possibility of deleting the rendezvous radar from the LM. The first thing that comes to mind, although not perhaps the most important, is that the uproar from the astronaut office will be fantastic - and I'll join in with my small voice too. Without rendezvous radar there is absolutely no observational data going into the LM to support rendezvous maneuvers. . . . Please see if you can stop this if it's real and save both MSC and GAEC a lot of trouble." On August 9 Low wrote NASA Apollo Program Manager Samuel Phillips that, shortly after Associate Administrator for Manned Space George Mueller had visited Grumman, Low had calls from both C. H. Bolender, MSC, and Joseph Gavin, Grumman, indicating that Mueller had made a suggestion "that we should eliminate the LM rendezvous radar as a weight saving device." He forwarded Tindall's memorandum as the basis for "why we should not consider deleting the radar and why we shouldn't spend any more effort on this work." Low added that MSC was discontinuing "any work that we may have started as a result of George's comments." In a reply on August 28, Phillips told Low, "I am in complete agreement . . . that all work toward deleting the LM rendezvous radar should be discouraged and I have written to George Mueller to that effect."
The Apollo Design Certification Review (DCR) Board convened at MSC to examine LM-3 further for proof of design and development maturity and to assess and certify the design of the LM-3 as flightworthy and safe for manned flight. This Delta review was identified as a requirement at the March 6 LM-3 DCR. The Board concluded at the close of the Delta DCR that LM-3 was safe to fly manned with the completion of open work and action items identified during the review.
On August 7, Low asked MSC's Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., to look into the feasibility of a lunar orbit mission for Apollo 8 without carrying the LM. A mission with the LM looked as if it might slip until February or March 1969. The following day Low traveled to KSC for an AS-503 review, and from the work schedule it looked like a January 1969 launch. Additional Details: here....
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller reported to his superiors that launch preparations for the Apollo 7 mission were running ahead of schedule. Spacecraft 101 had been erected and mated with the launch vehicle on August 9. Additional Details: here....
In a Mission Preparation Directive sent to the three manned space flight Centers, NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips stated that the following changes would be effected in planning and preparation for Apollo flights:
ASPO Manager George M. Low asked Joseph N. Kotanchik, head of the Structures and Mechanics Division, to verify that all spacecraft load analyses and safety factors were compatible with the recently agreed-on payload weight of 39,780 kilograms for the AS-503 mission. Additional Details: here....
In response to a letter from Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips concerning proposed revisions of the first lunar landing mission plan, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth presented MSC's position on the three major topics:
At a meeting of the MSF Management Council, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips put forth a number of recommendations regarding planning for extravehicular and scientific activities during the first lunar landing missions:
The Allison descent-stage propellant tank, being redesigned at Airite Division of Sargent Industries to a "lidless" configuration, blew up during qualification test at Airite. The crew noticed loss of pressure and therefore tightened fittings and repressurized. As the pressure went up, the tank blew into several pieces. Grumman dispatched a team to Airite to determine the cause and the necessary corrective action.
MSC spacecraft and mission planning experts met to discuss mission techniques for the D mission, specifically the rendezvous exercise. Because of the slow progress in reviewing a draft of the D Rendezvous Mission Techniques document, Apollo Data Priority Coordinator Howard W. Tindall reported that the Center's effort in this area needed to be strengthened. Participants did identify exactly what spacecraft equipment had to be working at the start of each segment of the rendezvous exercise. A general principle was that the CSM must at all times be prepared to rescue the LM. Participants therefore insisted on having a redundant capability in the CSM for all crucial operations. This rescue capability by the CSM provided an adequate backup for each possible LM system failure except braking. This general philosophy, stated Tindall, "seemed to provide the best tradeoff between crew safety and assurance of meeting mission objectives."
Ralph H. Tripp, LM Program Manager at Grumman, forwarded his company's plan for control of configuration changes on the LM. The need for such a formal statement had been discussed at a meeting in Bethpage on September 25 between ASPO Manager George M. Low; his deputy for the LM, C. H. Bolender; other Apollo engineers from Houston; and Tripp, LM Program Director Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., and others from Grumman. Grumman's ground rules set forth explicit guidelines governing change approval levels, specifically those changes which the contractor might make without obtaining prior specific approval from NASA (defined as "compatibility changes" that did not have significant cost, weight, performance, schedule, or safety effects) - although Grumman must continue to inform MSC of these changes as they occurred.
Members of the MSF Management Council considered scientific experiments and surface extravehicular activities (EVA) for the first Apollo lunar landing mission. They decided to go ahead with development of three proposed experiments, the passive seismometer, laser reflector, and solar wind collector. They made no commitment to fly any of the three, however, pending development schedules and a clear understanding of timelines required for their deployment during the EVA portion of the mission. Other issues examined by the Council still were unresolved: one versus two-man EVA, use of television, and timeline allocations for EVA trials and development by the crew. During the discussions, ASPO Manager George M. Low recommended attempting television transmission via the Goldstone antenna (although the operational procedures would further burden an already heavily constrained mission). The erectable antenna would also be carried and used if the landing site and EVA period precluded sight of the Goldstone antenna. Charles W. Mathews and others from Washington voiced concern that the EVA timeline did not allow sufficient time for learning about EVA per se in the one-sixth-gravity environment of the moon. The astronaut must perform some special tasks, but must also have some time for personal movements and evaluation of EVA capabilities in order to build confidence toward a fairly complex EVA exercise during the second landing mission. Low asked his chief system engineering assistant, Owen E. Maynard, to incorporate these operational decisions into the Apollo mission planning and to define mounting of the television camera and its early use in the mission.
NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips apprised Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller of recent program decisions and planning for extravehicular activities (EVA) on the first Apollo lunar landing mission. Primary objective on that first flight, Phillips said, had from the inception of the program been a safe manned landing and return. However, in light of current schedules, mission planning, and crew training activities, the agency must now commit itself to a definite scope for EVA activities on the first flight. After thorough review of the mission, a tentative EVA outline had been drawn up at the end of August and distributed to the Centers and Headquarters offices for comment. On September 11 the Manned Space Flight Management Council reviewed the proposed EVA scheme and criticisms and approved a formal EVA mission plan:
Howard W. Tindall, Jr., Chief of Apollo Data Priority Coordination within ASPO, reported an operational system problem aboard the LM. To give a returning Apollo crew an indication of time remaining to perform a landing maneuver or to abort, a light on the LM instrument panel would come on when about two minutes worth of propellants remained in the descent propellant system tanks with the descent engine running at 25-percent thrust. The present LM weight and descent trajectory were such that the light would always come on before touchdown. The only hitch, said Tindall, was that the signal was connected to the spacecraft master alarm. "Just at the most critical time in the most critical operation of a perfectly nominal lunar landing mission, the master alarm with all its lights, bells, and whistles will go off." Tindall related that some four or five years earlier, astronaut Pete Conrad had called the arrangement "completely unacceptable . . . but he was probably just an Ensign at the time and apparently no one paid any attention." If this "is not fixed," Tindall said, "I predict the first words uttered by the first astronaut to land on the moon will be 'Gee whiz, that master alarm certainly startled me.'" Tindall recommended either rerouting the signal wiring to bypass the alarm or cutting the signal wire and relying solely on the propellant gauges to assess flight time remaining.
The LM-11 midsection assembly collapsed in the assembly jig during the bulkhead prefitting stage of construction at Grumman. The structure buckled when the bulkheads, which had just been prefitted and drilled, were removed to permit deburring the drilled holes. Jig gates that were supposed to hold up the assembly were not in position, nor was the safety line properly installed. The structure was supported by hand. Damage to the skin of the structure was not severe, although a small radius bend was put in one of the upper skins.
The need to flight-test manual control of the light LM ascent configuration had been discussed at the October 15 MSC Flight Program Review, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth informed NASA Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips. There was an implication that a control problem could exist for this configuration. Gilruth said he had stated that MSC should be able to establish manual control handling qualities of the LM through proper simulation and be confident about the adequacy of the control system.
Subsequently, Gilruth had reviewed the operating characteristics of the LM control system and the status of the simulation program related to manual control of the light ascent stage during docking. He said that the most demanding requirement for precision manual attitude control was the docking maneuver. Docking control had been simulated extensively at MSC, Grumman, and LaRC using functional representation of the control system and these simulations established the capability of docking the LM well within the specified docking criteria. In addition, other LM control tasks had been simulated at MSC and Grumman, and the LM was found to have satisfactory handling qualities for all manual control tasks.
Several scientific experiments had been deferred from the first to the second lunar landing mission, Apollo Program Director Phillips informed the ASPO Manager at MSC: S-031, Lunar Passive Seismology; S-034, Lunar Tri-axis Magnetometer; S-035, Medium Energy Solar Wind; S-036, Suprathermal Ion Detection; S-058, Cold Cathode Ionization Gauge; and S-059, Lunar Geology Investigation. Substituted was a more conservative group that included Lunar Passive Seismology (S-031); a Laser Ranging Retroreflector (S-078); and Solar Wind Composition (S-080). Also assigned to the first landing mission, included among operational tasks, were sampling activities and observations of lunar soil mechanics.
During a routine flight of lunar landing training vehicle (LLTV) No. 1, MSC test pilot Joseph S. Algranti was forced to eject from the craft when it became unstable and he could no longer control the vehicle. The LLTV crashed and burned. A flight readiness review at MSC on November 26 had found the LLTV ready for use in astronaut training, and 10 flight tests had been made before the accident. Additional Details: here....
Articles appear in the Soviet newspapers explaining the risky nature of the Apollo 8 flight. Meanwhile an LLRV lunar landing trainer has crashed in America - Kamanin notes this is the second loss of an American 'lunar module'. The Apollo 8 flight has been delayed from 18 to 21 December due to engine problems.
Kamanin reviews the organisational structure of the NII-TsPK Gagarin Centre. There is a commander, three deputies, 700 staff, and 12 MiG-21's for flight training (8 single-seat combat aircraft and four two-seat trainers). There are three training tracks for the cosmonauts: Orbital, Lunar, and Military.
ASPO Manager George M. Low apprised Program Director Samuel C. Phillips of MSC's plans for television cameras aboard remaining Apollo missions. With the exception of spacecraft 104 (scheduled for flight as Apollo 9), television cameras were to be flown in all CMs. Also, cameras would be included in all manned LMs (LM-3 through LM-14).
C. H. Bolender, ASPO LM Manager at MSC, wrote Ralph H. Tripp, LM Program Manager at Grumman, regarding open spacecraft failure items. Although he acknowledged Grumman's recent progress in reducing the number of open failures, Bolender said that the approaching manned phase of the LM program dictated a fundamental change in the method of handling those open problems. Apollo required "zero open problems." Moreover, all failures must receive NASA approval of closeout before launch. Bolender called on Tripp to revamp his failure closeout procedures with several objectives: all closeout packages must contain sufficient documentation to permit NASA approval of the action; each package should be available as a reference for any future review of problem definition, analysis, and correction; and the contractor should further improve the discipline applied to technical resolution of open items and to the preparation of closeout packages. Bolender anticipated that Grumman's actions to meet these objectives would greatly reduce the number of open failure closeout disapprovals by NASA. But when a disagreement did exist, both parties must act quickly to resolve the issue. "Prompt attention to NASA disapprovals has been a problem," noted the LM Program Manager.
During integrated testing of the Apollo spacecraft, a well-qualified test pilot accidentally threw two guarded switches marked "CM/SM Separation" instead of the intended adjacent switches marked "CSM/LM Final Sep" to separate the lunar module from the command and service modules. Had the error occurred in a lunar flight, the CM would have separated from the SM, with a high probability of leaving the crew stranded in lunar orbit. Studies of methods to preclude such an accident in actual flight led later to provisions for visual differences in switch covers.
NASA Hq. asked Center directors for ideas for symbolic activities on the moon during the first landing to dramatize international agreements regarding exploration of the moon. Possible ideas were flying a U.N. flag with the U.S. flag on the moon; placing decal flags of the U.N. member nations on the LM descent stage; and leaving an appropriate information capsule at the landing site.
NASA Hq. released a 12-month forecast of manned space flight missions, reflecting an assessment of launch schedules for planning purposes. Five flights were scheduled for the remainder of 1969:
The MSF Management Council, meeting at KSC, agreed that MSC would take the following actions for augmenting the capability of the Apollo system to accomplish a successful lunar landing mission and for planning further lunar exploration:
The possibility of an unmanned LM landing was discussed at NASA Hq. The consensus was that such a landing would be a risky venture. Proposals had been made which included an unmanned LM landing as a prerequisite to a manned landing on the moon. However, the capability to land the LM unmanned did not exist and development of the capability would seriously delay the program.
MSC was urged to reconstitute the Crew Safety Review Board to determine if the following questions could be affirmatively answered concerning the LM, extravehicular activity, portable life support system, and emergency procedures. Were all likely failure modes or anomalies that could jeopardize the crew from entrance to mission systematically analyzed? Were proper and timely cues coupled with a safe egress, abort, or contingency capability prepared for use in each of these? Was there a plan for the timely solution of the known crew safety-related problems?
The Apollo 9 countdown to launch began, with launch scheduled for liftoff February 28. The 10-day flight would mark the first manned earth orbital flight of the lunar module, the first Apollo spacewalk, and the first manned checkout, rendezvous, and docking operations of the complete Apollo spacecraft. The Apollo 9 mission would be open-ended, allowing the mission plan to progress from one step to the next on the basis of real-time success.
Maxime A. Faget, MSC Director of Engineering and Development, said he believed the Preliminary Lunar Landing Phase Photographic Operations Plan was seriously deficient in meeting its stated objectives. "From the standpoint of public information and historical documentation, I'm terribly disappointed to find that although 560 feet (170 meters) of movie film has been set aside for lunar surface use none will be exposed with the intent of providing first-class visual appreciation of the astronaut's activity on the moon during this singularly historical event. Everyone's impression of this occasion will be marred and distorted by the fact that the greatest frame rate is 12 frames per second. One can argue that 'suitable' (although jerky) motion rendition is produced by 'double-framing.' Nevertheless, it is almost unbelievable that the culmination of a 20 billion dollar program is to be recorded in such a stingy manner and the low-quality public information and historical material is in keeping with an otherwise high-quality program." Faget also noted he felt that, from a historical standpoint, both the lunar module pilot and the commander should be photographed with the Hasselblad camera while on the surface.
In a report to the Administrator, the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight summed up the feeling of accomplishment as well as the problem of the space program: "The phenomenal precision and practically flawless performance of the Apollo 9 lunar module descent and ascent engines on March 7 were major milestones in the progress toward our first manned landing on the moon, and tributes to the intensive contractor and government effort that brought these two complex systems to the point of safe and reliable manned space flight. Additional Details: here....
A Flight Readiness Review Board convened at MSC to determine the readiness of Lunar Landing Training Vehicle No. 2 and the Flight Crew Operation Directorate for resuming flight test operations. During the briefing and discussion the board agreed that the operation test team was operationally ready. However, a release for resuming flight test operations was withheld until certain open items were resolved. The board reconvened on March 31 and after examination of the open items, agreed that flight testing of LLRV No. 2 should be resumed as soon as possible.
The additional direct cost to the Apollo research and development program from the January 27, 1967, Apollo 204 fire was estimated at $410 million, principally for spacecraft modifications, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller testified in congressional hearings. The accident delayed the first manned flight of the spacecraft by about 18 months. "During this period, however, there occurred a successful unmanned test of the Lunar Module and two unmanned tests of the Saturn V vehicle."
MSC requested that Apollo Program Directive No. 41 delivery dates for the LM be changed as follows: LM-6 from March 1 to March 26, LM-7 from April 16 to May 15, LM-8 from May 31 to July 15,and LMs 9 through 14 two months apart. The rescheduling was to permit incorporation of the redesigned ascent-stage fuel-tank torus ring, installation and testing of the liquid-cooled suit loop, replacement of the descent-stage tanks, and incorporation of structural fitting changes to prevent stress corrosion.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth forwarded plans for the MSC Lunar Gravity Simulation device to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips. He informed Phillips that "we have moved out on the design and fabrication of the inclined plane 1/6 g simulator and our schedule shows that it will be completed and ready for checkout by May 1, 1969 (see February 5). The vertical system approach is somewhat more sophisticated and our scheduled completion is February 1, 1970." Phillips replied March 28 that he was pleased to read that the simulator program was progressing so rapidly and "I feel very strongly that this device will greatly contribute to our capability to create useful lunar exploration missions."
ASPO Manager George Low, commented on control of Apollo spacecraft weight. Following the January 1967 spacecraft fire at Cape Kennedy, there had been substantial initial weight growth in the CSM. This was attributed to such items as the new CSM hatch, the flammability changes, and the additional flight safety changes. In mid-1967 the CSM weight stabilized and from then on showed a downward trend. The LM weight stabilized in mid1968 and since that time had remained fairly constant. Conclusions were that the program redefinition had caused a larger weight increase than expected, but that once the weight control system became fully effective, it was possible to maintain a weight that was essentially constant. Low told Caldwell C. Johnson, Jr., of the MSC Spacecraft Design Division that the weight control was in part due to Johnson's strong inputs in early 1968. Johnson responded, "Your control of Apollo weight growth has destroyed my reputation as a weight forecaster - but I'm rather glad."
Work on Apollo 10 continued on schedule for a May 18 launch readiness date. The flight readiness test began on April 7 and was completed on April 10. A lunar module mission-simulation run was completed on April 10, and a crew compartment fit and function test on April 11. Mission control simulations were proceeding on schedule without major problems. The Apollo 10 preflight readiness review was held at MSC on April 11.
Discovery of six new mascons (mass concentrations of dense material) beneath the moon's surface by William L. Sjogren, Paul M. Muller, and Peter Gottlieb of Jet Propulsion Laboratory was announced. The first six mascons had been discovered in 1968 by Sjogren and Muller. Each mascon was found to be centered below a ringed sea, or an ancient, obliterated circular sea on the side of the moon's surface facing the earth. Noticeable acceleration variations were seen as moon-orbiting spacecraft flew over the mascons. Information was not available concerning possible mascons on the far side of the moon, since orbiting spacecraft could not be tracked while the moon blocked them from the view of earth antennas.
The fifth and final drop test of LM-2 was made on May 7. The first four drop tests had been made to establish the proper functioning of all LM systems after a lunar landing. The fifth test was made to qualify the functioning of the pyrotechnics after landing. On May 8, the final test, physically separating the ascent stage, was conducted.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips suggested to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that a meeting be held at MSC during the period of the Apollo 10 return flight to earth to review the status of experiment support facilities and the overall plans for science support operations during lunar missions and over an extended period of time. Additional Details: here....
NASA Hq. informed MSC that, for planning purposes and Change Control Board action, the following science sequence was being recommended for the Apollo 12 mission:
Apollo Program Office Change Control Board (CCB) Directive No. 140 assigned Experiment S080, Solar Wind Composition, to the first lunar landing mission. CCB Directive No. 156 requested MSC to also include this experiment on the second lunar landing mission.
Studies were being conducted to determine the feasibility of intentionally impacting an S-IVB stage and an empty LM stage on the lunar surface after jettison, to gather geological data and enhance the scientific return of the seismology experiment. Data would be obtained with the ALSEP seismographic equipment placed on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 or Apollo 12 flight. MSFC and Bellcomm were examining the possibility of the S-IVB jettison; MSC, the LM ascent stage jettison. Intentional impacting of the ascent stage for Apollo 11 was later determined not to be desirable.
The NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, in a message to MSC, said he understood that, subsequent to the MSC Flight Readiness Review (FRR) and the NASA Headquarters Readiness Review of the LLTV, additional modifications had been made to that training vehicle. Additional Details: here....
How the decision was reached on who would be the first man to step out onto the moon was reported in a letter by ASPO Manager George M. Low: "Some time during the middle of the night, I had a call from Associated Press informing me that they had a story that Neil Armstrong had pulled rank on Buzz Aldrin to be the first man on the surface of the moon. They wanted to know whether it was true and how the decision was reached concerning who would get out of the LM first.
"To the best of my recollection, I gave the following information:
"a. There had been many informal plans developed during the past several years concerning the lunar timeline. These probably included all combinations of one man out versus two men out, who gets out first, etc.
"b. There was only one approved plan and that was established 2 to 4 weeks prior to our public announcement of this planning. I believe that this was in April 1969.
"c. The basic decision was made by my Configuration Control Board. It was based on a recommendation by the Flight Crew Operations Directorate. I am sure that Armstrong had made an input to this recommendation, but he, by no means, had the final say. The CCB decision was final."
Microscopic examination of dust particles collected from the spacecraft after the Apollo 10 mission and of samples collected from the inside of nine garments worn by the Apollo 10 astronauts confirmed preliminary findings that the itching experienced by the astronauts was due to the insulation in the tunnel hatch of the command module. Additional Details: here....
Following the decision to implement the Saturn V dry Workshop, LM-2 was the only flight LM article to remain on Earth. Therefore, NASA Hq requested MSC consideration for early disposition of it to the Smithsonian Institution as an artifact of historical interest. Since it was expected that the Smithsonian would exhibit LM-2 as a replica of LM-5, Headquarters also requested that MSC consider refurbishment to provide a more accurate representation of the LM- 5 configuration before its transfer to the Smithsonian.
MSC rejected a Grumman proposal to use the LM as a lunar reconnaissance module. MSC pointed out that an MSC special task team had recently studied a number of proposals for lunar reconnaissance. These included use of a command module test vehicle, the AAP multiple docking adapter, the subsystem test bed, the ascent stage of the LM, and the entire LM vehicle.
NASA was considering incorporation of a mobile equipment transporter on LM-8, LM-9, and LM-10, to help with problems such as the Apollo 12 astronauts had in carrying hand tools, sample boxes and bags, a stereo camera, and other equipment on the lunar surface. The MET also could extend lunar surface activities to a greater distance from the lunar module. A prototype MET and training hardware were being fabricated and were expected to be available in late December.
NASA issued instructions for deletion of the Apollo 20 mission from the program. MSC was directed to take immediate action to:
MSC appointed a panel to investigate a February 13 accident at the Aerojet-General plant in Fullerton, Calif., that had damaged a lunar module descent tank beyond repair. Panel findings were reported to a review board later in the month, which recommended needed safety measures.
Donald 'Deke' Slayton, then NASA's astronaut chief, said there was no other way to simulate a moon landing except by flying the LLTV. LLRV No. 2, the sole survivor, was eventually returned to Dryden, where it is on display as a silent artifact of the Center's contribution to the Apollo program.
NASA was considering several methods for providing real-time television coverage of lunar surface activities with scientific commentary to the news media during future Apollo flights. A recommended approach would place scientific personnel from within NASA, including Apollo Program principal investigators, in the MSC news center briefing room with a panel representing the news media. The scientific personnel would supplement the normal air-to-ground communications, public affairs commentary, and TV transmissions from the moon with spontaneous commentary on surface activities in progress.
Some members of the Lunar Sample Review Board expressed concern that, unless provisions were made to retain vital parts of the Apollo science program for a number of years after the lunar landings were completed, tangible returns from the lunar landings would be greatly diminished. Three main areas of concern were the lunar sample analysis program, the curatorial staff and facilities for care of the sample collection, and the lunar geophysical stations and Apollo orbital science.
A meeting was held at NASA Hq. to formulate a plan to provide the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) with the material required to serve the scientific community. As a result of the meeting, MSC was requested to:
Owen G. Morris was appointed Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, at MSC. Morris, who had been Manager for the Lunar Module, succeeded James A. McDivitt, who was appointed Special Assistant to the Center Director for Organizational Affairs. Both appointments were effective immediately.
The Lunar Science Institute's summer study on post-Apollo lunar science arrived at a number of conclusions and recommendations. Some conclusions were: Lunar science would evolve through three rather distinct phases. For two years immediately following Apollo 17, high priority would be given to collection, organization, and preliminary analysis of the wealth of information acquired from the exploration of the moon. In the next two years (1975 and 1976), emphasis would shift to a careful first look at all the data. In the next years, investigations would be concentrated on key problems. Additional Details: here....
A Lunar Programs Office, under which the Lunar Data Analysis and Synthesis Program would be conducted, was established in the Office of Space Science, NASA Hq. The office was responsible for continued operation and collection of data from the Apollo lunar surface experiment packages and the Apollo 15 subsatellite; Apollo surface and orbital science data analysis by principal investigators; development of selenodetic, cartographic, and photographic products; continued lunar laser ranging experiment; continued lunar sample analysis; lunar supporting research and technology; and advanced program studies.