Encyclopedia Astronautica
1967.12.09 - Competing Apollo LM ascent engine qualification dates provided


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.

MSC at that time had expressed confidence that the Rocketdyne program could be accelerated to be completed in mid-March and be competitive to the BAC date, permitting a selection to install the best engine on LM-3.

During the interim, program reviews had been conducted at both Bell and Rocketdyne. The Bell program had been accelerated to complete qualification by February 9, 1968, by conducting qualification and design verification testing in parallel. While a greater risk would be incurred, both Grumman and NASA agreed to the procedure to expedite the Bell program. The Rocketdyne program could not be accelerated to complete qualification by February because of an uncertainty as to the performance of its engine, but qualification testing was expected to be completed by March. Anticipating that the only change would be a pattern modification, Rocketdyne was already manufacturing injectors to support an accelerated program.

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