Encyclopedia Astronautica
1968.05.28 - Apollo LM ascent engine problem resolved


NASA and Grumman officials met to resolve the issue of the injector for the LM ascent engine.

Chief NASA Apollo spacecraft program officials present included Director Samuel C. Phillips and MSC's ASPO Manager George M. Low and LM Manager C. H. Bolender; Grumman LM directors and engineers included LM Program Director Joseph G. Gavin. Several alternatives seemed feasible: continue the program with the existing Bell Aerosystems Co. engine and injector; furnish Bell Aerosystems Co. engines to Rocketdyne to be mated to the Rocketdyne injector; or ship Rocketdyne injectors to Bell for installation in the engine. After what Low termed "considerable discussion," he dictated the course to be followed:

- The LM ascent engine would comprise Bell's engine with the Rocketdyne injector. Rocketdyne would be responsible for delivery of the complete engine, and would thus become a subcontractor to Grumman. (Bell could either remain as subcontractor to Grumman or become a subcontractor to Rocketdyne.)
- An engine with the Rocketdyne injector would be immediately installed in LM-3, as well as in LM-4 and LM-5, with minimum schedule impact.
- Grumman was to proceed forthwith on contract negotiations with Bell and Rocketdyne to cover these procurements.
- Rocketdyne was to continue qualification on the present injector design, and engine firings at White Sands Test Facility in support of LM-3 were to use the Rocketdyne injector.

Grumman participants at this meeting, as Low almost casually phrased it, "indicated that they would interpose no objections to this set of decisions." After long months of technical effort and almost agonizing hardware and managerial debate, the issue of an ascent engine for the LM was settled.

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