SLV-3 Atlas/Agena D
SLV-3 Atlas / Agena D - COSPAR 1966-012
AKA: Atlas Agena D SLV-3;SLV-3. Status: Retired 1967. First Launch: 1964-08-14. Last Launch: 1967-11-05. Number: 48 . Payload: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Thrust: 1,629.00 kN (366,213 lbf). Gross mass: 140,000 kg (300,000 lb). Height: 32.10 m (105.30 ft). Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Apogee: 180 km (110 mi).
LEO Payload: 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). Payload: 700 kg (1,540 lb) to a GEO.
Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) suballotted $5.2 million to Marshall Space Flight Center for procuring Atlas-Agena vehicles for Project Gemini. Marshall was to spend no more than $2 million, however, until a Statement of Work had been made definite. Regularly scheduled meetings were planned to resolve technical and management problems between MSC and Marshall. The first Atlas-Agena launch under this program was expected to take place on or about March 15, 1964.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Baltimore, Maryland, received a $6.8 million subcontract from McDonnell to provide the rendezvous radar and transponder system for the Gemini spacecraft. Purpose of the rendezvous radar, sited in the recovery section of the spacecraft, was to locate and track the target vehicle during rendezvous maneuvers. The transponder, a combined receiver and transmitter designed to transmit signals automatically when triggered by an interrogating signal, was located in the Agena target vehicle.
Marshall Space Flight Center delivered an Agena procurement schedule (dated March 8) to Gemini Project Office. Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) was to contract with Lockheed for 11 target vehicles. SSD assigned the Gemini Agena target vehicle program to its Ranger Launch Directorate, which was responsible for programs using Agena vehicles. Marshall also reported the expected delivery of a qualified multiple-restart main engine in 50 weeks, an improvement that removed this development requirement as the pacing item in Agena scheduling.
Unlike the first, it considered launch vehicles as well as the spacecraft. Procurement of the Agena target vehicle had been initiated so recently that scope for analysis in that area was limited. A key feature of engineering development for the Gemini program was the use of a number of test articles, the lack of which had sometimes delayed the Mercury program; although constructing these test articles might cause some initial delay in Gemini spacecraft construction, the data they would provide would more than compensate for any delay. No problems beset launch vehicle development, but the schedule allowed little contingency time for unexpected problems. The first unmanned qualification flight was still scheduled for late July or early August 1963, but the second (manned) flight was now planned for late October or early November 1963 and the first Agena flight for late April or early Many 1964, with remaining flights to follow at two-month intervals, ending in mid-1965. Flight missions remained unchanged from the January analysis.
At an Atlas-Agena coordination meeting, Lockheed presented a comprehensive description of its proposed propulsion development plans for the Gemini-Agena. Lockheed's planned program included: propulsion system optimization studies, a multiple-restart development program for the primary propulsion system, and a development program for the secondary propulsion system.
Small working group to discuss the feasibility of making the Gemini telemetry system a full PCM system. Following a Lockheed briefing on pulse-code-modulation (PCM) instrumentation systems, representatives of Goddard Space Flight Center and Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) formed a small working group to discuss the feasibility of making the Gemini telemetry system a full PCM system. PCM was a digital telemetry system which could provide more channels of information, faster data rates, improved accuracy, and less weight of equipment per data channel. Goddard had already reviewed several PCM ground station proposals and had concluded that such a system could handle future NASA programs. All who attended the meeting agreed that a full PCM telemetry system, airborne and ground, could be implemented in time to support the Gemini program. Gemini Project Office approved the formation of an MSC-Gemini PCM Instrumentation Working Group to be responsible for the implementation and compatibility of the airborne and ground PCM system for Gemini. On June 27, Walter C. Williams, MSC Associated Director, notified Goddard of NASA's decision 'to utilize a PCM telemetry system for Gemini and Agena real time data.' Ten sites were selected for the installation of PCM equipment; each of these also received dual acquisition equipment, dual digital command system, and pulse coders for distinguishing between the manned Gemini spacecraft and the Agena target when both were in orbit.
Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) awarded a letter contract to Lockheed Missiles and Space Company for eight Agena vehicles to be modified as Gemini Agena target vehicles (GATV). Mission requirements were to (1) establish a circular orbit within specified limits, (2) provide a stable target with which the spacecraft could rendezvous and dock, (3) respond to commands from either ground stations or the spacecraft, (4) perform a complex series of orbital maneuvers by means of either real-time or stored commands if less than optimum launch of Agena or spacecraft occurred, and (5) provide an active orbit life of five days. Lockheed's analysis of these mission requirements provided the design criteria for the major modifications required to adapt the Agena to the Gemini mission: (1) modification of the primary propulsion system; (2) addition of a secondary propulsion system (two 16-pound and two 200-pound thrusters) to provide ullage orientation and minor orbit adjustments; (3) design of a digital command and communications subsystem including a programmer, controller, pulse-code-modulated telemetry system, and onboard tape recorder; (4) design of changes to provide the guidance and control functions peculiar to the GATV; and (5) addition of an auxiliary forward equipment rack with an interface capable of supporting the target docking adapter. On direction from Air Force Systems Command Headquarters, SSD authorized Lockheed to proceed with the Gemini-Agena program on March 19.
Representatives of Gemini Project Office (GPO), Flight Operations Division, Air Force Space System Division, Marshall Space Flight Center, and Lockheed attended an Atlas-Agena coordination meeting in Houston. GPO presented a list of minimum basic maneuvers of the Agena to be commanded from both the Gemini spacecraft and ground command stations. GPO also distributed a statement of preliminary Atlas-Agena basic mission objectives and requirements. A total of 10 months would be required to complete construction and electrical equipment checkout to modify pad 14 for the Atlas-Agena, beginning immediately after the last Mercury flight.
Lockheed presented study findings and design recommendations on the Agena D propulsion systems to representatives of Marshall, Manned Spacecraft Center, and Air Force Space Systems Division in a meeting at Houston. During July, NASA and the Air Force had tentatively decided to substitute the Agena D for the Agena B in the Gemini program. Lockheed's presentation at Houston was the final report on the analysis phase of the Gemini-Agena effort. It included Lockheed's evaluation of the designs of both the primary and secondary propulsion systems and its analysis of tests on the start system of the multiple-restart main engine recently completed by Bell Aerosystems Company, Buffalo, New York, the engine subcontractor. A pressurize-start tank system was selected in September.
At a meeting in Los Angeles, the Air Force described to Gemini Project Office its plans for converting complex 14 at Atlantic Missile Range, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Complex 14, the site of Mercury launches, would be modified for Project Gemini operations as the target vehicle launch site. The Air Force accepted the responsibility for funding, designing, modifying, and equipping the complex to an Atlas-Agena configuration. This action was scheduled as follows: preliminary design criteria by September 1 and final design criteria by October 1, 1962. Mercury Project Office reported that complex 14 would be available for Gemini on September 1, 1963.
These displays comprised seven green lights which, when on, indicated that various functions of the Agena were satisfactory. The eighth, a red light, would go on to indicate main engine malfunction. Gemini Project Office also approved the list of commands required to control certain Agena functions during rendezvous and docking maneuvers by the Gemini spacecraft. The primary mode of command transmittal was expected to be by radio. The Gemini commands to Agena were reviewed on September 13-14, resulting in a list of 34 minimum commands to be initiated from the spacecraft during the Gemini rendezvous maneuver.
The Air Force and NASA agreed to use a standard Atlas space booster for the Gemini program, sharing the development cost equally. Ground rules for the standard Atlas space booster (which was then being developed by the Air Force) were (1) no new development program, (2) rearranging equipment in the pad for standardization, (3) eliminating splices, (4) combining electrical installations, (5) minimizing differences between programs, and (6) incorporating ballistic missile to the Atlas space booster would require (1) a fully-qualified engine up-rated from 150,000 to 165,000 pounds of thrust, (2) elimination vernier rockets to lower use of propellants (3) standard tank pressures, (4) standard pneumatic pressures, (5) elimination of retrorockets, and (6) standard range safety package. The first standard vehicle was expected to be available in September 1963.
A preliminary design criteria review conference for complex 14, held in Los Angeles, resulted in ground rules for all contractors. Target dates established were (1) stand availability, July 1, 1963; (2) estimated beneficial occupancy date, November 1, 1963; and (3) vehicle on-stand date, February 1, 1964. Complex 14 would be used for launching the Gemini-Agena target vehicle and Mariner spacecraft, but basic modifications would be primarily for the Gemini program. On November 15, 1962, Air Force Space Systems Division reviewed the criteria summary report for complex 14 modifications and suggested only minor engineering changes.
NASA Headquarters' recent decision to cut the MSC budget for fiscal year 1963 from $687 million to $660 million. Wesley L. Hjornevik, Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) Assistant Director for Administration, described to members of MSC's senior staff the implications of NASA Headquarters' recent decision to cut the MSC budget for fiscal year 1963 from $687 million to $660 million, the entire reduction to be borne by the Gemini program. Hjornevik feared that the Gemini budget, already tight, could absorb so large a cut only by dropping the paraglider, Agena, and all rendezvous equipment from the program. Gemini Project Office (GPO) reported that funding limitations had already forced Martin and McDonnell to reduce their level of activity. The first Gemini flight (unmanned) was rescheduled for December 1963, with the second (manned) to follow three months later, and subsequent flights at two-month intervals, with the first Agena (fifth mission) in August or September 1964. This four-month delay imposed by budget limitations required a large-scale reprogramming of Gemini development work, reflected chiefly in drastic reduction in the scale of planned test programs. Details of the necessary reprogramming had been worked out by December 20, when GPO Manager James A. Chamberlin reported that December 1963 was a realistic date for the first Gemini flight. Gemini funding for fiscal year 1963 totaled $232.8 million.
Manned Spacecraft Center informed Lockheed that Gemini program budget readjustments required reprogramming the Gemini-Agena program. Subsequent meetings on November 2 and November 20 worked out the changes necessary to implement the Agena program at minimum cost. The overall test program for the Agena and its propulsion systems was significantly reduced, but in general neither the scope nor the requirements of the Agena program were altered. The major result of the reprogramming was a four-month slip in the scheduled launch date of the first Agena (to September 1964); this delay was about a month and a half less than had been anticipated when reprogramming began. In addition, Lockheed was to continue its program at a reduced level through the rest of 1962, a period of about six weeks, and to resume its normal level of activity on January 1, 1963.
Andre J. Meyer, Jr., of Gemini Project Office reported that Space Technology Laboratories was conducting a study for NASA Headquarters on a 'T-back' pod to be used in the spacecraft adapter as the rendezvous target instead of the Agena. The pod would be stabilized but would have no translation capabilities. Although it would be almost as expensive as the Agena, it would avoid separate launch problems.
Flight Operations Division outlined detailed requirements for the remote stations of the worldwide tracking network. Each station would need five consoles: Gemini system, Agena system, command, aeromedical, and maintenance and operations. The Gemini and Agena consoles would have 42 analog display meters and 40 on/off indicators.
Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) assumed complete responsibility for the Gemini target vehicle program from Marshall Space Flight Center following a meeting between MSC and Marshall on January 11 establishing procedures for the transfer. Marshall was to continue to participate actively in an advisory capacity until March 1 and thereafter as technical consultant to MSC upon request. All other NASA Atlas-Agena programs were transferred to Lewis Research Center in a move aimed at freeing Marshall to concentrate on Saturn launch vehicle development and consolidating Atlas launch vehicle technology at Lewis. NASA Headquarters had decided to effect the transfer on October 12, 1962.
James E Webb, Administrator of NASA, and Robert S McNamara, Secretary of Defense, concluded a major policy agreement defining the roles of NASA and Department of Defense (DOD) in Project Gemini. The agreement provided for the establishment of a joint NASA-DOD Gemini Program Planning Board. The board would plan experiments, conduct flight tests, and analyze and disseminate results. NASA would continue to manage Project Gemini, while DOD would take part in Gemini development, pilot training, preflight checkout, launch, and flight operations, and would be specifically responsible for the Titan II launch vehicle and the Atlas-Agena target vehicle. DOD would also contribute funds toward the attainment of Gemini objectives.
Upon receipt at Cape Canaveral, the target vehicle would be inspected and certified. After this action, mechanical mate and interface checks with the target docking adapter would be accomplished. Agena-Gemini spacecraft compatibilty tests would then be conducted, and the Agena would undergo validation and weight checks. Subsequently, a joint checkout of the spacecraft and Agena would be conducted with tests on the Merritt Island radar tower.
Gemini Project Office discussed with contractors the establishment of a philosophy for the final phase of the rendezvous mission. They agreed on the following general rules: (1) when the launch was on time, the terminal maneuver would be initiated when the Agena came within range of the spacecraft's sensors, which would occur between spacecraft insertion and first apogee; (2) automatic and optical terminal guidance techniques would always back each other up, one method being selected as an objective for each mission and the other serving as a standby; (3) during early rendezvous missions, the terminal phase would be initiated by the third spacecraft apogee or delayed until the twelfth because of range radar tracking limitations; (4) for the same reason, no midcourse corrections should be made during orbits 4 through 11; (5) in case of extreme plane or phase errors, the Agena would be maneuvered to bring it within the spacecraft's maneuver capability; and (6) after such gross Agena maneuvers, the Agena orbit would be recircularized and two orbits of spacecraft catchup would precede the initiation of terminal rendezvous plan.
Bell Aerosystems successfully completed initial firing of the Gemini Agena Model 8247 engine at its Buffalo plant early in the month. The Model 8247 engine for the Gemini Agena's primary propulsion system was developed from the Model 8096 currently being flown in satellite and probe programs for NASA and the Air Force. Unlike the operational engine, the new engine was capable of being restarted several times in orbit, a Gemini program requirement. The principle change in the new engine was the substitution of liquid propellants for solid pyrotechnic 'starter cans' to start the gas generator. The unit tested was the development engine that had been assembled in March. In mid-April, the test engine was shipped to Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), Tullahoma, Tennessee, for further development tests. At AEDC, test cell arrangements were completed April 12, with testing scheduled to begin in May.
Representatives of Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD), Manned Spacecraft Center, and Lockheed met in Sunnyvale for the first management review of the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV). Patterned after similar meetings regularly held between SSD, Lewis Research Center, and Lockheed on medium space vehicle satellite and probe programs, the Gemini Target Management Review Meetings encompassed a comprehensive monthly review of the status of the GATV program.
NASA Headquarters approved rescheduling of the Gemini flight program as proposed by Gemini Project Office (GPO). Late delivery of the spacecraft systems coupled with the unexpectedly small number of Mercury systems incorporated in the Gemini spacecraft had forced GPO to review the flight program critically. In the revised program, the first flight was still set for December 1963 and was still to be unmanned, but it was now to be orbital rather than suborbital to flight-qualify launch vehicle subsystems and demonstrate the compatibility of the launch vehicle and spacecraft; no separation or recovery was planned. The second mission, originally a manned orbital flight, now became an unmanned suborbital ballistic flight schedule for July 1964. Its primary objection was to test spacecraft reentry under maximum heating-rate reentry conditions; it would also qualify the launch vehicle and all spacecraft systems required for manned orbital flight. The third flight, formerly planned as a manned orbital rendezvous mission, became the first manned flight, a short-duration (probably three-orbit) systems evaluation flight scheduled for October 1964. Subsequent flights were to follow at three-month intervals, ending in January 1967. Rendezvous terminal maneuvers were planned for missions 3 (if flight duration permitted) and 4, a seven-day mission using a rendezvous pod. The sixth flight was to be a 14-day long-duration mission identical to 4 except that no rendezvous maneuver missions with the Atlas-launched Agena D target vehicle. Water landing by parachute was planned for the first six flights and land landing by paraglider from flight 7 on.
Development testing of the Gemini Agena Model 8247 main engine at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) began with an instrumentation run. After oxidizer contamination resulted in a scrubbed test on May 7, test firing began on May 13. The major objective of AEDC testing was to verify the engine's ability to start at least five times. The AEDC rocket test facility permitted firing of the engine in an environment simulating orbital temperature and pressure. During the course of the tests, two major problems emerged: turbine overspeed and gas generator valve high temperature operations. At the Atlas/Agena coordination meeting of July 2, Air Force Space Systems Division reported that a turbine overspeed sensing and shutdown circuit had been proposed to resolve the first problem and that solutions to the gas generator problem were being intensively investigated.
As part of the general revision of the Gemini flight program that NASA Headquarters had approved April 29, representatives of NASA, Air Force Space Systems Division, and Lockheed met to establish basic ground rules for revising Agena development and delivery schedules. The first rendezvous mission using the Agena target vehicle was now planned for April 1965, some seven and one half months later than had been anticipated in October 1962. Six months would separate the second Agena launch from the first, and subsequent flights would be at three-month, rather than two-month, intervals. The revised schedule was agreed on at the Atlas/Agena coordination meeting on June 6-7, 1963. Among the major features of the new schedule: Agena communications and control subsystem development was to be completed by December 1963 (back six weeks); other Lockheed development work was to be completed by January 1964 (back three and one-half months); assembly and modification of the first target vehicle was to start April 2, 1964, with the vehicle to be accepted and delivered in January 1965; the first Atlas target launch vehicle was to be delivered in December 1964; the schedule for component manufacturing and deliveries was to be so arranged that the second target vehicle could back up the first, given about nine months' notice.
The Cape Gemini/Agena Test Integration Working Group met to define "Plan X" test procedures and responsibilities. The purpose of Plan X was to verify the Gemini spacecraft's ability to command the Agena target vehicle both by radio and hardline; to exercise all command, data, and communication links between the spacecraft, target vehicle, and mission control in all practical combinations, first with the two vehicles about six feet apart, then with the vehicles docked and latched but not rigidized; and to familiarize the astronauts with operating the spacecraft/target vehicle combination in a simulated rendezvous mission. Site of the test was to be the Merritt Island Launch Area Radar Range Boresight Tower ('Timber Tower'), a 65 x 25 x 50-foot wooden structure.
Development tests of the Agena Model 8247 main engine at Arnold Engineering Development Center ended when the latch-type gas generator valve failed in testing, making an emergency shutdown of the engine necessary. The wrong choice of emergency shutdown procedures caused turbine overspeed and total failure of the engine's turbine pump assembly. As a result of this failure, the valve was redesigned. Because success of the new design was doubtful, a parallel program was initiated to design and develop an alternative valve configuration, solenoid-operated rather than latch-type. Intensive development testing followed; and in a meeting at Bell Aerosystems on November 15, the solenoid type was selected for use in the first flight system of the Agena target vehicle. The new valve allowed significant reductions in engine complexity and increased reliability, but the development effort imposed a serious delay in Preliminary Flight Rating Tests, which had been scheduled to begin in September 1963.
Manned Spacecraft Center released a work statement for the procurement of eight Atlas launch vehicles for the Gemini program. A defense purchase request followed on August 28 with an initial obligation of $1.4 million and an estimated final cost of $40 million. The Atlas, like the other launch vehicles used in the Gemini program, was procured through Air Force Space Systems Division.
As a result of the seven-and-one-half-month relaxation of the required launch date for the first GATV, Lockheed was directed to use the improved version of the standard Agena, the AD-62 block of vehicles, instead of AD-13. The AD-62 block originally included the multistart engine, subsequently slipped to the AD-71 block. Lockheed accordingly was directed in January 1964 to substitute the AD-71 for AD-62. The combined effect of these changes was to use up much of the seven-and-one-half-month leeway. The change to AD-62 caused a two-month slip, and changing to AD-71 added a five-week slip. With much of the contingency time gone, the Agena schedule was now tight, and further slippage threatened to cause launch delays.
Electro-Mechanical Research successfully tested the compatibility of airborne and ground station PCM (pulse code modulated) telemetry equipment. The tests demonstrated that Gemini spacecraft and Agena telemeter and recorder formats were compatible with NASA ground stations.
Lockheed included a milestone schedule for the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) in its monthly progress report for the first time since January 1963. The new schedule reflected the revised Gemini flight program of April 29 and the corresponding revision of the Agena program which followed. It displayed key events in the progress of the first GATV taking place between five and six months later than the January schedule. Engineering development was now scheduled to be completed by May 15, 1964, rather than by December 11, 1963. Completion of modification and final assembly was now planned for June 12 rather than January 10, 1964; preliminary vehicle systems testing was rescheduled from April 10 to September 11, 1964. Special tests, including a Radio frequency Interference Test in the later schedule in addition to the hot-firing scheduled earlier, were to end November 20 instead of May 22, 1964. Final Vehicle Systems Tests were to be completed December 18 instead of June 19, 1964, with shipment to follow on January 6, 1965, rather than June 30, 1964. Launch was now expected on April 15, 1965, seven and one-half months later than the September 1, 1964, date that had been planned in January 1963.
Douglas Aircraft Corporation, Tulsa, Oklahoma, began a series of tests to demonstrate the structural integrity of the Gemini target docking adapter (TDA) during shroud separation. The shroud, which protected the TDA during the launch and ascent of the Agena target vehicle, was tested under simulated altitude conditions to show proper operation of pyrotechnic devices and adequate clearance between shroud and TDA during separation. Successfully concluded on November 21, and tests demonstrated the compatibility of the TDA with the shroud system during operational performance, with no indication of damage or failure of the TDA structure.
Bell Aerosystems began Preliminary Flight Rating Tests (PFRT) of the Agena primary propulsion system (PPS). Tests were expected to be completed April 24 but were not actually concluded until late June. Testing proceeded with only minor problems through the first week of April. But in the following week PPS testing encountered what proved to be a six-week delay when the test unit's fuel and oxidizer start tanks failed. The two start tanks, stainless steel canisters with an internal bellows arrangement, supplied the propellants required to initiate the main engine start sequence. Visible longitudinal cracks in the outer shell allowed the gas which forced the propellants out of the tank to escape. Investigation revealed that the cracks had resulted from intergranular corrosion of the stainless steel tanks. The defective tanks were replaced by start tanks with a new heat-treated shell (delivered April 24), and PFRT resumed early in May.
This engine was installed in the propulsion test vehicle assembly (PTVA), a unit to be used for a series of tests on the Agena primary and secondary propulsion systems at Lockheed's Santa Cruz Test Base. Bell delivered the two secondary propulsion system modules for the PTVA on March 6 and 14. Installation was completed and the PTVA delivered to Santa Cruz Test Base on March 26.
Bell Aerosystems began Preliminary Flight Rating Tests (PFRT) of the Agena secondary propulsion system (SPS). After proceeding through the acceleration and vibration test phases of PFRT without incident, the SPS began calibration firings early in April. The failure of a propellant valve in Unit I (the 16-pound thrust chamber fired prior to starting the main engine in order to orient propellant) of the SPS imposed a minor delay, but a more serious problem emerged late in April during high-temperature firings. The wall of the Unit II 200-pound thrust chamber burned through near the injector face after an accumulated PFRT firing time of 354 seconds, below the specification limit of 400 seconds although well in excess of the maximum orbital useful time of 200 seconds. The thrust chamber was replaced and testing continued, but PFRT, originally scheduled to end June 19, was first slipped to July 8, and finally completed in mid-August. To resolve the burn-through problem, Bell began a test program in September to determine the cause of failure.
Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) approved Air Force Space Systems Division's (SSD) recommendations for a test program to increase confidence in 16 critical electronic and electrical components of the Gemini Agena target vehicle. The program included complete electromagnetic interference (EMI) testing of all components peculiar to the Gemini mission, as well as elevated stress tests and extended life tests. SSD had also recommended subsystem-level, as well as component-level, EMI testing, but this part of the program MSC disapproved. SSD directed Lockheed to proceed with the program on March 23. EMI tests were scheduled to be completed by July 1, stress and life tests by September 1, 1964.
At a meeting of the Gemini Project Office's Trajectories and Orbits Panel, members of Flight Operations Division described two mission plans currently under consideration for the first Agena rendezvous flight. One was based on the concept of tangential Agena and spacecraft orbits, as proposed by Howard W. Tindall, Jr., and James T. Rose when they were members of Space Task Group. The second plan, based on a proposal by Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., then of Air Force Space Systems Division, involved orbits which were concentric rather than tangential. The most significant advantage of the second plan was that it provided the greatest utilization of onboard backup techniques; that is, it was specifically designed to make optimum use of remaining onboard systems in the event of failure in the inertial guidance system platform, computer, or radar.
It consisted of a basic Agena structure with propellant pressurization, feed-and-load system, the primary propulsion system (PPS), and two secondary propulsion system (SPS) modules attached to the aft rack. The test program called for loading operations and hot firings of both propulsion systems to establish the adequacy of PPS and SPS propellant loading systems and associated ground equipment, to demonstrate proper overall system operation, and to provide engineering data on systems operation and the resulting environment. Start of testing was delayed by the PPS start tank problems which showed up during Preliminary Flight Rating Tests at Bell Aerosystems during April. Lockheed returned the PTVA main engine start tanks to Bell, where they were inspected and found to be defective. New tanks were ready by mid-May, but additional minor problems delayed the initiation of hot-firing until June 16.
Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) recommended a Gemini Agena launch on a nonrendezvous mission to improve confidence in target vehicle performance before undertaking a rendezvous mission. Gemini Project Office (GPO) rejected this plan, regarding it as impractical within current schedule, launch sequence, and cost restraints. Additional Details: here....
Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) accepted the first Agena D (AD-71) for the Gemini program. The Agena D was a production-line vehicle procured from Lockheed by SSD for NASA through routine procedures. Following minor retrofit operations, the vehicle, now designated Gemini Agena target vehicle 5001, entered the manufacturing final assembly area at the Lockheed plant on May 14. There began the conversion of the Agena D into a target vehicle for Gemini rendezvous missions. Major modifications were installation of a target docking adapter (supplied by McDonnell), an auxiliary equipment rack, external status displays, a secondary propulsion system, and an L-band tracking radar.
Sea trials of the tracking ship, Rose Knot, were begun on Chesapeake Bay to study the effects of shock vibrations on Gemini equipment. A few vibration problems with the pulse-code-modulation system were reported. Gemini-Agena systems were simulated by an instrumented Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft.
Flight Operations Division presented the Gemini Program Office's proposed mission plan No. 3 for the first Agena rendezvous flight to the Trajectories and Orbits Panel. Plan No. 3, as yet incomplete, provided for rendezvous at first apogee on a perfectly nominal mission.
Lockheed inaugurated the Gemini Extra Care Program to reduce the incidence of equipment failures and discrepancies. In cooperation with Air Force and NASA, Lockheed inaugurated the Gemini Extra Care Program to reduce the incidence of equipment failures and discrepancies resulting from poor or careless workmanship during the modification and assembly of the Agena target vehicle. The program included increased inspection, exhortation, morale boosters, special awards, and other activities aimed at fostering and maintaining a strong team spirit at all levels. Results of the program were evidenced in a drastic decline in the number of FEDRs (Failed Equipment and Discrepancy Reports) recorded in the Gemini final manufacturing area on successive vehicles.
Lockheed began test-firing the propulsion test vehicle assembly at its Santa Cruz Test Base, after a delay caused primarily by problems with the Agena main engine start tanks. The program, undertaken because of extensive changes in the propulsion system required to adapt the standard Agena D for use in Gemini missions, comprised three series of static-firing tests. The first series, in addition to providing base line performance for both primary and secondary propulsion systems (PPS and SPS), also subjected one SPS module to the dynamic and acoustic environment created by 55 seconds of PPS firing. The second series, successfully completed July 16, simulated a possible Gemini mission profile, including multiple firings and various coast and burn times on both PPS and SPS units. The third series, which concluded the test program on August 7, involved a maximum number of starts and minimum-impulse firings on both PPS and SPS. All firings were successful, and review of test data revealed only minor anomalies. The entire test program comprised 27 PPS firings for a run time totaling 545 seconds, 30 SPS Unit I firings totaling 286 seconds, and 11 SPS Unit II firings totaling 268 seconds. Post-test disassembly revealed no physical damage to any equipment.
The first Atlas/Agena D standard launch vehicle (SLV-3, 7100 Series) was successfully launched from Vandenberg AFB. This vehicle, Number 7101, was the first Atlas booster to be designed and produced to fully standardized specifications. KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A).
Lockheed completed the modification and final assembly of Gemini Agena target vehicle 5001 and transferred it to systems test complex C-10 at the Lockheed plant. Lockheed began the task of hooking the vehicle up for systems testing the next day, September 25.
Bell Aerosystems successfully fired the Agena secondary propulsion system (SPS) in a test of the system's ability to survive a launch hold. The SPS had first gone through a 20-day dry (unloaded) period, followed by a 20-day wet (loaded) period. The system reverted to hold condition and was successfully refired November 2.
Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 competed a simulated flight (ascent and orbit) at Lockheed test complex C-10. Minor anomalies required portions of the test to be rerun. This concluded GATV 5001 systems tests in preparation for captive-firing tests to be conducted at Lockheed's Santa Cruz Test Base. The vehicle was shipped November 30.
Lockheed shipped Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 to its Santa Cruz Test Base for captive-firing tests. Primary test objective was verifying the operational capabilities of the GATV during actual firing of the primary and secondary propulsion systems. Additional Details: here....
Roll-out inspection and delivery of the first Atlas standard launch vehicle (SLV-3) for the Gemini program was completed at the General Dynamics/Convair plant in San Diego. Originally scheduled for November 23, inspection had been delayed by the discovery of scored fuel and oxidizer lines. After being accepted by the Air Force, the vehicle was shipped by truck to Eastern Test Range, where it arrived on December 7.
This was not only the Gemini program's first Atlas, but also the first SLV-3 on a new complex. Tests began to validate the pad and its associated aerospace ground equipment (AGE). AGE validation was completed December 30, propellant loading tests in mid-January 1965. Testing ended on February 11 with a flight readiness demonstration.
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5001 underwent a successful hot-firing test at Lockheed's Santa Cruz Test Base. The test simulated a full 20,000-second mission, including multiple firings of both the primary and secondary propulsion systems and transmission of operational data in real time to two PCM (pulse-code-modulated) telemetry ground stations, one at the test site and one in Sunnyvale. Major test anomaly was a series of command programmer time-accumulator jumps, seven of which totaled 77,899 seconds. The vehicle was removed from the test stand on February 1 and returned to Sunnyvale.
Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 was removed from the test stand at Santa Cruz Test Base and returned to Sunnyvale. After a brief stopover in systems test complex C-10, the vehicle was transferred to the anechoic chamber for elecromagnetic interference and radio-frequency-interference tests. Additional Details: here....
The Agena command and communication (C and C) system comprised the electronic systems for tracking the vehicle, for monitoring the performance of its various subsystems, and for verifying operating commands for orbital operations. Because of the unique requirements of the Gemini mission, in particular rendezvous and docking, Lockheed had had to design and develop a new C and C system for the Gemini target vehicle. Numerous failures and problems calling for rework during the initial manufacturing stages of the C and C system suggested the existence of mechanical and electronic design deficiencies. Aerospace, which had assumed technical surveillance functions for the Gemini Agena in the fall of 1964, was instrumental in bringing these problems to the attention of Air Force and Lockheed top management. Among the results of the 10-point plan were several redesigned programmer circuits and packaging changes, closer monitoring of vendor work, expedited failure analysis, and improved quality control.
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5001 completed electromagnetic compatibility tests in the anechoic chamber at Sunnyvale. It remained in the chamber, however, until March 17 while Lockheed verified the corrective action that had been taken to eliminate programmer time-accumulator jumps and telemetry synchronization problems. The vehicle was then transferred to systems test complex C-10 for final Vehicle Systems Tests on March 18.
At a meeting of the Gemini Trajectory and Orbits Panel, Air Force Space Systems Division repeated its position that on Gemini-Titan 6 the nominal plan should not call for use in orbit of the Agena primary propulsion system, since it would not be qualified in actual flight before this mission. Additional Details: here....
The 6595th Aerospace Test Wing launched an Atlas/Agena which boosted the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Snapshot spacecraft into orbit carrying the SNAP-10A satellite nuclear power supply experiment. The onboard nuclear reactor was used to provide electric power for an ion engine, marking the first attempt to test a reactor-ion system in orbit. Only nuclear reactor ever orbited by the United States. The SNAP-10A reactor provided electrical power for an 8.5 mN ion engine using cesium propellant. The engine was shut off after one hour of operation when high-voltage spikes created electromagnetic interference with the satellite's attitude control system sensors. The reactor continued in operation, generating 39 kWt and more than 500 watts of electrical power for 43 days before the spacecraft telemetry failed.
Manned Spacecraft Center delivered the 'Gemini Atlas Agena Target Vehicle Systems Management and Responsibilities Agreement' to Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) with signatures of Director Robert R. Gilruth and Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews (dated April 9). Major General Ben I. Funk, SSD Commander, and Colonel John B. Hudson, SSD Deputy for Launch Vehicles, had signed for SSD on March 31 and 29 respectively. The agreement, dated March 1965, followed months of negotiation and coordination on management relationships and fundamental responsibilities for the Gemini Agena target vehicle program. It clarified and supplemented the 'Operational and Management Plan for the Gemini Program' (December 29, 1961) with respect to the target vehicle program.
Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 completed vehicle systems testing with a final simulated flight. The vehicle was disconnected from the test complex on May 14, and data analysis was completed May 19. Meanwhile, the First Article Configuration Inspection on GATV 5001 began on May 10.
First Article Configuration Inspection (FACI) of Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 at Sunnyvale. A team of representatives from NASA, Air Force Space Systems Division, Aerospace, and Lockheed began the First Article Configuration Inspection (FACI) of Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 at Sunnyvale. Additional Details: here....
Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5002 completed final assembly and was transferred to systems test complex C-10 at Sunnyvale to begin Vehicle Systems Tests. The transfer had been scheduled for May 5 but was delayed by parts shortages, engineering problems, and considerable work backlog. The major source of delay was correcting a gap between the forward auxiliary rack and the vehicle; machining and aligning the rack and refinishing the scraped surfaces proved time-consuming. GATV 5002 was still short several items of command equipment. Systems testing began May 21.
Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD), following standard Air Force acceptance procedure using DD Form 250, found Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 not acceptable. This was because First Article Configuration Inspection (completed May 26) showed the vehicle not to be flightworthy as required by the contract. Additional Details: here....
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5001 arrived at Cape Kennedy following its conditional acceptance by the Air Force on May 27. It was moved to the Missile Assembly Building (Hanger E) for testing. The target vehicle was mated with target docking adapter No. 1 on June 18, and Combined Interface Tests began June 19. Testing was completed July 8 with secondary propulsion system (SPS) functional and static leak checks, SPS installation and postinstallation checks, and thermal control surface preparation. Target vehicle 5001 was then transferred to complex 14 to be mated to target launch vehicle 5301.
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5002 completed Vehicle Systems Tests at Sunnyvale, and the final acceptance test was conducted. The vehicle was disconnected from the test complex on July 13, after NASA, Air Force Space Systems Division, Aerospace, and Lockheed representatives agreed that all data discrepancies from the final systems tests had been resolved.
Air Force Space Systems Division formally accepted delivery of Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5002 after the vehicle acceptance team inspection had been completed. The vehicle was then shipped by air to Eastern Test Range on July 24, arriving July 25. Although GATV 5002 was accepted, several items of equipment remained in 'not qualified' status, including the shroud, secondary and primary propulsion systems, and components of both the electrical power and command systems.
Standard Agena D (AD-108), which had been completed in June and held in storage, was transferred to Building 104 at Sunnyvale for modifications and final assembly as Gemini Agena target vehicle 5003. While in storage, several pieces of AD-108 equipment had been removed for modification to the Gemini configuration. Final assembly began August 8.
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5002 completed preliminary systems testing at Hanger E and was transferred to Merritt Island Launch Area, where it was joined by spacecraft No. 6 for Plan X testing. After ground equipment checks, Plan X tests proceeded on August 25. No significant interference problems were found, and testing ended on August 31.
Final troubleshooting on Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5002 after Plan X testing at Merritt Island Launch Area (MILA) was completed. The next day GATV 5002 was returned to Hanger E from MILA, where it began a series of tests to verify the operational readiness of all vehicle systems prior to erection and mating with the launch vehicle.
Representatives of Air Force Space Systems Division, Aerospace, and Lockheed attended a technical review of the flight verification test program for the oxidizer gas generator solenoid valve. This was the last remaining component of the Agena primary propulsion system needing test qualification. Testing had been completed August 26; disassembly, inspection, and evaluation were concluded September 3. The consensus of those attending was that the successful test program had demonstrated flightworthiness of this configuration. This concluded qualification of all propulsion system components.
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5002 was transported to complex 14 and mated to target launch vehicle 5301. Preliminary checks were followed, on October 4, by the Joint Flight Acceptance Composite Test (J-FACT). J-FACT was a combined check of all contractors, the range, the vehicles, and aerospace ground equipment in a simulated countdown and flight; propellants and high pressure gases were not loaded, nor was the gantry removed. Simultaneous Launch Demonstration was successfully completed October 7.
The Wet Mock Simulated Launch (WMSL) of Gemini-Titan (GT) 6 and the Simultaneous Launch Demonstration with GT-6 and the Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle were conducted. Following WMSL, the spacecraft and launch vehicle were demated to allow the spacecraft battery to be replaced. They were remated October 8-13. Spacecraft Systems Test was completed October 15. Prelaunch testing concluded October 20 with the Simulated Flight Test.
The Gemini VI mission was canceled when Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5002 suffered what appeared to be a catastrophic failure shortly after separating from the Atlas launch vehicle. The Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle was launched from complex 14 at 10:00 a.m., e.s.t. When the two vehicles separated at 10:05, all signals were normal. But approximately 375 seconds after liftoff, vehicle telemetry was lost and attempts to reestablish contact failed. The Gemini VI countdown was held and then canceled at 10:54 a.m., because the target vehicle had failed to achieve orbit. In accordance with Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) procedures and NASA management instructions - both of which specified investigation in the event of such a failure - Major General Ben I. Funk, SSD Commander, reconvened the Agena Flight Safety Review Board, and NASA established a GATV Review Board.
Catastrophic anomaly of Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5002 on October 25 defined as a mission failure. NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., informed George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, that the catastrophic anomaly of Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5002 on October 25 had been defined as a mission failure. Additional Details: here....
The major portion of 819 discrepancies remaining from the First Article Configuration Inspection (FACI) of Gemini Agena target vehicle 5001 in June were cleared; 128 that had not been applied against the acceptance document (DD-250) remained. All subsystem FACI discrepancies were also closed out during October.
The Agena Flight Safety Review Board met at Lockheed to continue its investigation of the failure of Gemini Agena target vehicle 5002 on October 25. The board, chaired by George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator of Manned Space Flight, reviewed the findings of the subpanel for Gemini VI and reached the same conclusion: the failure resulted from a hard start probably caused by the fuel lead. Additional Details: here....
Because too little diagnostic information had been obtained from the flight of Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5002 to determine the exact nature of the probable hard start, it was not certain that the proposed modification - a return to oxidizer lead - would definitely prevent a recurrence of the malfunctions. Additional Details: here....
Lockheed presented its proposed Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) engine modification and test program to Colonel A. J. Gardner, Gemini Target Vehicle Program Director, Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD). The proposal was immediately turned over to a three-man team comprising B. A. Hohmann (Aerospace), Colonel J. B. Hudson (Deputy Commander for Launch Vehicles, SSD), and L. E. Root (Lockheed) for consideration. On November 18, the group decided on a final version of the proposal that called for: (1) modifying the Agena engine to provide oxidizer lead during the start sequence, (2) demonstrating sea-level engine flightworthiness in tests at Bell Aerosystems, and (3) conducting an altitude test program at Arnold Engineering Development Center. The final proposal was presented to the GATV Review Board at Manned Spacecraft Center on November 20.
Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) directed Lockheed to return Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 to Sunnyvale. The GATV was still being stored in Hanger E, Eastern Test Range, minus its main engine which SSD had directed Lockheed to ship to Bell Aerosystems on November 9 for modification. Additional Details: here....
Lockheed submitted an engineering change proposal to Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) for Project Surefire. Surefire was the code name for the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) Modification and Test Program designed to correct the malfunction which had caused the failure of GATV 5002 on October 25. Additional Details: here....
The augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) would serve as an alternative to the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) if efforts to remedy the GATV problem responsible for the October 25 mission abort did not meet the date scheduled for launching Gemini VIII. Additional Details: here....
Air Force Space Systems Division authorized Lockheed to begin the disassembly and inspection of Gemini Agena target vehicle 5001 to determine the extent of refurbishment needed. The vehicle was stripped down to its major structural components to expose all areas of possible contamination.
The Air Force accepted the main rocket engine for Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5003 after Bell Aerosystems had completed Project Surefire modifications. The engine was shipped immediately and arrived at Lockheed December 18. Lockheed completed reinstalling the engine on December 20. GATV 5003 systems retesting began December 27 after other equipment modifications had been installed.
Atlas 5302, target launch vehicle for Gemini VIII, was erected at complex 14. Air Force Space Systems Division and General Dynamics/Convair had begun intensive efforts to ensure the vehicle's flight readiness immediately after the Agena failure on October 25, 1965. Additional Details: here....
Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5003 completed its final acceptance tests at Sunnyvale, after an elusive command system problem had made it necessary to rerun the final systems test (January 4). No vehicle discrepancy marred the rerun. Air Force Space Systems Division formally accepted GATV 5003 on January 18, after the vehicle acceptance team inspection. It was shipped to Eastern Test Range the same day, but bad weather delayed delivery until January 21. GATV 5003 was to be the target vehicle for Gemini VIII.
Bell's part in the test program was to demonstrate the sea-level flightworthiness of the modified Agena main engine. Bell completed testing on March 4 with a full 180-second mission simulation firing. The successful completion of this phase of the test program gave the green light for the launch of Gemini Agena target vehicle 5003, scheduled for March 15.
At a NASA-McDonnell Management Panel meeting, W. B. Evans of Gemini Program Office reviewed possible future mission activities. Gemini VIII would have three periods of extravehicular activity (EVA) - two in daylight, one in darkness - and would undock during EVA with the right hatch snubbed against the umbilical guide and the astronaut strapped into the adapter section. Additional Details: here....
McDonnell had delivered TDA-3 to Cape Kennedy on January 8. The GATV/TDA interface functional test was completed January 24, and the vehicle was transferred to Merritt Island Launch Area for integrated tests with spacecraft No. 8 and extravehicular equipment, which were completed January 28.
Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5004 was transferred to the vehicle systems test area at Sunnyvale. Its modified main engine had been received on schedule from Bell Aerosystems January 12 and installed by January 20. Because of GATV 5003 priority, however, several main electronic assemblies, including the command system, had been removed from GATV 5004 and used in GATV 5003 final acceptance tests. As a result, GATV 5004 had fallen eight days behind its scheduled transfer date, January 18.
Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5003 was returned to Hanger E after completing Plan X tests at Merritt Island Launch Area. Systems Verification and Combined Interface Tests were conducted through February 18, followed by functional checks of the primary and secondary propulsion systems. Hanger E testing ended February 28, and the GATV was transferred to complex 14.
A mission planning meeting for Gemini flights IX through XII, held at McDonnell, was attended by members of the Gemini Program Office and Flight Operations Division. The last item on the agenda was a reminder from McDonnell that the Gemini spacecraft was capable of flying to a relatively high elliptic orbit from which it could safely reenter under certain circumstances. The type of orbit McDonnell suggested had an apogee of 500-700 nautical miles. This would involve using the Agena primary propulsion system both to get into this orbit and to return to a 161-mile circular orbit for nominal reentry.
The augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) arrived at Cape Kennedy. Modifications, testing, and troubleshooting were completed March 4. The ATDA, which was intended to back up the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV), was then placed in storage (March 8) where it remained until May 17, when the failure of target launch vehicle 5303 prevented GATV 5004 from achieving orbit. The ATDA became the target for Gemini IX-A.
After ground equipment compatibility tests, the Joint Flight Acceptance Composite Test was successfully performed on March 7. Simultaneous Launch Demonstration March 8-9 completed Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle systems testing in preparation for launch on March 15 as part of the Gemini VIII mission.
Following the early termination of Gemini VIII, Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5003 remained in orbit, where its various systems were extensively exercised. The main engine was fired nine times, four more than required by contract, and 5000 commands were received and executed by the command and communications system, as against a contractural requirement of 1000. Additional Details: here....
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5004 began the Combined Interface Test (CIT) at Hanger E, Eastern Test Range, after completing Plan X tests March 24. CIT ended April 22 and engine functional tests of both the primary and secondary propulsion systems followed. Hanger E testing was completed May 1.
Evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space. Associate Administrator for Manned Space Fight George E. Mueller informed Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., of the Saturn/Apollo Applications Program Office's evaluation of a Lockheed proposal to launch space probes from orbit using Agena rockets launched from AAP stations in space. The proposal was feasible, Mueller advised, but did not seem a desirable mission for inclusion in the AAP. Additional Details: here....
Lockheed established a task force to handle the refurbishing of Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 and announced a GATV 5001 Reassembly Plan. The task force's function was to see that GATV 5001 reached a flightworthy condition on time and as economically as possible. The reassembly plan provided an operational base line as well as guidelines for reassembling the vehicle, which was completely disassembled down to the level of riveted or welded parts. GATV 5001 was scheduled for acceptance on September 20 and would be the target vehicle for Gemini XII.
The scheduled launch of Gemini IX was postponed when target launch vehicle 5303 malfunctioned and, as a result, Gemini Agena target vehicle 5004 failed to achieve orbit. Launch and flight were normal until about 120 seconds after liftoff, 10 seconds before booster engine cutoff. Additional Details: here....
The Gemini 9 mission was scrubbed when the Atlas booster launched from Cape Canaveral failed to place the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) in its planned circular orbit. A malfunction of the number 2 booster engine of the Atlas caused both the Atlas and Agena to fall into the ocean. The Gemini 9-Atlas/Agena mission was later rescheduled to 1 June using the Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA).
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5005 was mated to the target docking adapter (TDA) in Hanger E at Cape Kennedy. McDonnell had delivered the TDA on May 4. After mating, interface functional tests were performed, May 25-27. Preparations then began for Plan X testing with spacecraft No. 10 at Merritt Island Launch Area.
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5005 completed preliminary testing at Hanger E, Eastern Test Range, and was moved to Merritt Island Launch Area for Plan X tests with spacecraft No. 10. Plan X tests had first been scheduled for May 23 but were rescheduled for June 2-3. Additional Details: here....
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5006 completed modification and final assembly and was transferred to Vehicle Systems Test (VST) at Sunnyvale. Although the vehicle lacked the flight control electronics package and guidance module, testing began immediately. The guidance module was received June 7 and the flight control electronics package June 9. Preliminary VST was completed June 17. The Air Force Plant Representative Office at Sunnyvale authorized final acceptance test to begin on June 20.
NASA announced that the Gemini X mission had been scheduled for no earlier than July 18, with John W. Young, command pilot, and Michael Collins, pilot, as the prime crew. Alan L. Bean, command pilot, and Clifton C. Williams, pilot, would be the backup crew. Mission plans would include rendezvous, docking, and extravehicular activity. The spacecraft was scheduled to rendezvous and dock with an Agena target vehicle which was to be launched the same day. If possible, Gemini X would also rendezvous with the Agena launched in the March 16 Gemini VIII mission.
The vehicle was disconnected from the test complex July 6 and formally accepted by the Air Force on July 13, two days ahead of schedule. Shipment of the vehicle to Eastern Test Range (ETR), planned for July 13, was delayed until July 14 by wind conditions. It arrived at ETR in the early morning of July 15.
Gemini Agena target vehicle 5005 was transferred to complex 14 and mated to target launch vehicle 5305. Joint Flight Acceptance Composite Test was completed July 8. Complex 14 systems tests were completed July 12 with the Simultaneous Launch Demonstration.
An Air Force Titan Gemini Launch Vehicle placed the Gemini 10 (GT-10) spacecraft into orbit for the three-day mission of Astronauts John Young and Michael Collins. Rendezvous and docking were accomplished with the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) that had been launched from Cape Kennedy aboard an Atlas Booster just ahead of GT-10. Using the GATV-10 Primary Propulsion System (PPS), the docked vehicles achieved a manned-flight altitude record of 476 miles. Reentry was accomplished on 21 July and recovery was made 544 miles east of Cape Canaveral. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A).
Following the reentry of spacecraft No. 10, Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5005 made three orbital maneuvers under ground control. Its primary propulsion system (PPS) fired to put the vehicle in a 750.5 by 208.6 nautical mile orbit in order to determine the temperature effects of such an orbit on the vehicle. Additional Details: here....
After completing Plan X tests at Merritt Island Launch Area, Gemini target vehicle (GATV) 5006 returned to Hanger E to begin systems verification tests. Combined Interface Tests began August 4 and ended August 12. Primary and secondary propulsion system (PPS and SPS) functional tests began August 13. SPS functionals were completed August 18, and the SPS modules were installed August 19. PPS functionals were completed August 21. GATV 5006 was then transferred to complex 14 for mating with the Atlas.
Electrical power was applied the following day. The dual propellant loading (DPL) was run August 18, after a number of liquid oxygen leaks had been eliminated. A discrepancy noted in the vernier engine liquid oxygen bleed system during the first loading required a second DPL, successfully completed on August 22. The Booster Flight Acceptance Composite Test was successfully completed on August 19, and the TLV and Gemini Agena target vehicle were mated on August 22.
Lunar Orbiter I was launched from Cape Kennedy Launch Complex 13 at 3:26 p.m. EDT August 10 to photograph possible Apollo landing sites from lunar orbit. The Atlas-Agena D launch vehicle injected the spacecraft into its planned 90-hour trajectory to the moon. A midcourse correction maneuver was made at 8 p.m. the next day; a planned second midcourse maneuver was not necessary. A faultless deboost maneuver on August 14 achieved the desired initial elliptic orbit around the moon, and one week later the spacecraft was commanded to make a transfer maneuver to place it in a final close-in elliptic orbit of the moon.
During the spacecraft's stay in the final close-in orbit, the gravitational fields of the earth and the moon were expected to influence the orbital elements. The influence was verified by spacecraft tracking data, which showed that the perilune altitude varied with time. From an initial perilune altitude of 58 kilometers, the perilune decreased to 49 kilometers. At this time an orbit adjustment maneuver began an increase in the altitude, which was expected to reach a maximum after three months and then begin to decrease again. The spacecraft was expected to impact on the lunar surface about six months after the orbit adjustment.
During the photo-acquisition phase of the flight, August 18 to 29, Lunar Orbiter I photographed the 9 selected primary potential Apollo landing sites, including the one in which Surveyor I landed; 7 other potential Apollo landing sites; the east limb of the moon; and 11 areas on the far side of the moon. Lunar Orbiter I also took photos of the earth, giving man the first view of the earth from the vicinity of the moon (this particular view has been widely publicized). A total of 207 frames (sets of medium- and high-resolution pictures) were taken, 38 while the spacecraft was in initial orbit, the remainder while it was in the final close-in orbit. Lunar Orbiter I achieved its mission objectives, and, with the exception of the high-resolution camera, the performance of the photo subsystem and other spacecraft subsystems was outstanding. At the completion of the photo readouts, the spacecraft had responded to about 5,000 discrete commands from the earth and had made about 700 maneuvers.
Photographs obtained during the mission were assessed and screened by representatives of the Lunar Orbiter Project Office, U.S. Geological Survey, DOD mapping agencies, MSC, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The spacecraft was deliberately crashed into moon after the mission was completed.
Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5001 was returned to Hanger E and began systems test after completing Plan X tests at the Merritt Island Launch Area. Systems testing was completed September 29. The Combined Interface Test (September 29-October 13) was followed by functional tests of the primary and secondary propulsion systems, completed October 22. GATV 5001 was then moved to complex 14.
Lunar Orbiter II was launched at 6:21 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 13 at Cape Kennedy, to photograph possible landing sites on the moon for the Apollo program. The Atlas-Agena D booster placed the spacecraft in an earth-parking orbit and, after a 14-minute coast, injected it into its 94-hour trajectory toward the moon. A midcourse correction maneuver on November 8 increased the velocity from 3,051 to 3,133 kilometers per hour. At that time the spacecraft was 265,485 kilometers from the earth.
The spacecraft executed a deboost maneuver at 3:26 p.m., November 10, while 352,370 kilometers from the earth and 1,260 kilometers from the moon and traveling at a speed of 5,028 kilometers per hour. The maneuver permitted the lunar gravitational field to pull the spacecraft into the planned initial orbit around the moon. On November 15, a micrometeoroid hit was detected by one of the 20 thin-walled pressurized sensors.
The spacecraft was transferred into its final close-in orbit around the moon at 5:58 p.m. November 15 and the photo-acquisition phase of Lunar Orbiter II's mission began November 18. Thirteen selected primary potential landing sites and a number of secondary sites were to be photographed. By the morning of November 25, the spacecraft had taken 208 of the 211 photographs planned and pictures of all 13 selected potential landing sites. It also made 205 attitude change maneuvers and responded to 2,421 commands.
The status report of the Lunar Orbiter II mission as of November 28 indicated that the first phase of the photographic mission was completed when the final photo was taken on the afternoon of November 25. On November 26, the developing web was cut with a hot wire in response to a command from the earth. Failure to achieve the cut would have prevented the final readout of all 211 photos. Readout began immediately after the cut was made. One day early, December 6, the readout terminated when a transmitter failed, and three medium-resolution and two high-resolution photos of primary site 1 were lost. Full low-resolution coverage of the site had been provided, however, and other data continued to be transmitted. Three meteoroid hits had been detected.
Applications Technology Satellite; communications and meteorological experiments. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Americas at 151 deg W in 1966-1968?; over the Americas at 149 deg W in 1968-1982; over the Pacific Ocean 170 deg E in 1982-1985 As of 3 September 2001 located at 167.30 deg E drifting at 0.065 deg E per day. As of 2007 Mar 9 located at 59.28W drifting at 0.332E degrees per day.
Mariner 5 flew by Venus on October 19, 1967 at an altitude of 3,990 kilometres. With more sensitive instruments than its predecessor Mariner 2, Mariner 5 was able to shed new light on the hot, cloud-covered planet and on conditions in interplanetary space. Operations of Mariner 5 ended in November 1967. The spacecraft instruments measured both interplanetary and Venusian magnetic fields, charged particles, and plasmas, as well as the radio refractivity and UV emissions of the Venusian atmosphere.
Lunar Orbiter V was launched from the Eastern Test Range at 6:33 p.m. EDT August 1. The Deep Space Net Tracking Station at Woomera, Australia, acquired the spacecraft about 50 minutes after liftoff. Signals indicated that all systems were performing normally and that temperatures were within acceptable limits. At 12:48 p.m. EDT August 5, Lunar Orbiter V executed a deboost maneuver that placed it in orbit around the moon. The spacecraft took its first photograph of the moon at 7:22 a.m. EDT August 6. Before it landed on the lunar surface on January 31, 1968, Lunar Orbiter V had photographed 23 previously unphotographed areas of the moon's far side, the first photo of the full earth, 36 sites of scientific interest, and 5 Apollo sites for a total of 425 photos.
Communications tests. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Atlantic Ocean at 45 deg W in-100 deg W in 1968-1970; over the Americas at 69 deg W in 1971-1976; over the Americas at 105 deg W in 1977-1998 As of 4 September 2001 located at 105.90 deg W drifting at 0.003 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 105.23W drifting at 0.006W degrees per day.