Encyclopedia Astronautica
1967.03.15 - Rendezvous with S-IVB stage primary objective of Apollo 7


MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton requested that a rendezvous of the CSM with its launch vehicle S-IVB stage be a primary objective of the Apollo 2 mission.

(i.e., Apollo 7; Slayton apparently wanted to acknowledge only scheduled manned flights in the sequentially numbered Apollo missions). He stated that the exercise could be conducted after the third darkness without interference with normal spacecraft checkout. "We believe a rendezvous with the booster on the first manned Apollo mission would be compatible with developing lunar mission capability at the earliest opportunity and request its incorporation into the primary mission objective." A memorandum from Flight Operations Director Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., on April 18 recognized "the need for CSM active rendezvous early in the Apollo flight program, but recommends that rendezvous not be considered during the first day of the Apollo 7 (the official flight designation for the first manned flight) mission. . . ." and presented four reasons:

- the initial manned flight should concentrate on systems,

- there was a reasonable probability that system problems or other unknowns would cause cancellation of rendezvous activity,

- the early part of a first-of-a-kind mission was open-ended, and

- crew and flight control experience was limited in updating and preparing for contingency deorbit, which would be further complicated by maneuvering effects on the orbit.

The Flight Operations Directorate recommended "that any rendezvous activity be scheduled after a minimum of one day of orbital flight, and that it be limited to a simple equiperiod exercise with a target carried into orbit by the spacecraft."

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