Born: 1921-08-26. Died: 2004-10-09. Birth Place: Stann Creek.
Shortly described as an egocentric genius, Napoleonic in stature (5'6") and drive, Faget was the "Chief Designer" of America's manned space program during the race to the moon.
Max was a wrestler while at Louisiana State University. After graduating in 1943, he volunteered for the submarine service. Surviving the war, he joined the staff at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in 1946. He soon became head of the performance aerodynamics branch of the pilotless aircraft research division. There he conducted research on the blunt heat shield concept that would later be applied to the Mercury spacecraft. In 1958 he joined the Space Task Group in NASA (forerunner of the Johnson Space Center), and he became its Assistant Director for Engineering and Development in 1962 and later its Director.
When the country needed a crash program to put a man into space or send a man to the moon, Faget had very definite ideas on the simplified re-entry capsule configuration needed to do the job in the shortest time necessary. He also had very definite ideas on everything else - subsystems, landing techniques, avionics. Faget's concepts were brought to life by Caldwell Johnson, a high school graduate who was Faget's master assistant of design and layout. Although NASA went through a bidding process for Mercury, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle, the contractors that followed Max' vision won; those who thought they had a better idea, lost.
While Faget virtually dictated the design of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, he lost the internal battle for his favored stub-winged, low cross-range design for the Space Shuttle. He retired from NASA in 1981 and became an executive for Eagle Engineering, Inc. In 1982 he was one of the founders of Space Industries, Inc. and became its president and chief executive officer.
Faget's numerous accomplishments include patents on the escape tower concept used on the Mercury, Apollo, and Soyuz spacecraft; the Mercury capsule, and the standard Mach number indicator. He received numerous honors and awards, including the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership, and honorary doctorates of engineering degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Louisiana State University. He was inducted into the National Space Hall of Fame in 1969 and the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003. Faget was the first recipient of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement in 1987.
Faget's wife, Nancy passed away in 1994. At the time of his death he was survived by four children: Ann, Carol, Guy, and Nanette; a daughter in law, two sons in law and 10 grandchildren.
A presentation on manned orbital flight was made by Maxime A. Faget. The concept included the use of existing ballistic missiles for propulsion, solid-fuel retrorockets for reentry initiation, and a nonlifting ballistic shape for the reentering capsule. This concept was considered to be the quickest and safest approach for initial manned flights into orbit.
Paul E. Purser and Maxime A. Faget conceived of a solid-fuel launch vehicle design for the research and development phase of a manned satellite vehicle project. This launch vehicle was later designated Little Joe. When Project Mecury began in October 1958, the purposeof the Little Joe phase was to propel a full-scale, full-weight developmental version of the manned spacecraft to some of the flight conditions that would be encountered during exit from the atmosphere on an orbital mission. Also, Little Joe tests were used to perfect the escape maneuver in the event of an aborted mission.
A conference was held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to review concepts for manned orbital vehicles. The NACA informally presented two concepts then under study at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory: the one proposed by Maxime A. Faget involved a ballistic, high-drag capsule with heat shield on which the pilot lies prone during reentry, with reentry being accomplished by reverse thrust at the apogee of the elliptical orbit involving a deceleration load of about 8g, and proceeding to impact by a parachute landing; the other Langley proposal called for the development of a triangular planform vehicle with a flat bottom having some lift during reentry. At this same meeting there were several Air Force contractor presentations. These were as follows: Northrop, boost-glide buildup to orbital speed; Martin, zero-lift vehicle launched by a Titan with controlled flight estimated to be possible by mid-1961; McDonnell, ballistic vehicle resembling Faget's proposal, weighing 2,400 pounds and launched by an Atlas with a Polaris second stage; Lockheed, a 20 degree semiapex angle cone with a hemispherical tip of 1-foot radius, pilot in sitting position facing rearward, to be launched by an Atlas-Hustler combination; Convair reviewed a previous proposal for a large-scale manned space station, but stated a minimum vehicle - a 1,000-pound sphere - could be launched by an Atlas within a year; Aeronutronics, cone-shaped vehicle with spherical tip of 1-foot radius, with man enclosed in sphere inside vehicle and rotated to line the pilot up with accelerations, and launched by one of several two-stage vehicles; Republic, the Ferri sled vehicle, a 4,000 pound, triangular plan with a two-foot diameter tube running continuous around the leading and trailing edge and serving as a fuel tank for final-stage, solid-propellant rockets located in each wing tip, with a man in small compartment on top side, and with a heat-transfer ring in the front of the nose for a glide reentry of 3,600 miles per hour with pilot ejecting from capsule and parachuting down, and the launch vehicle comprising three stages (also see July 31, 1958 entry); AVCO, a 1,500-pound vehicle sphere launched by a Titan, equipped with a stainless-steel-cloth parachute whose diameter would be controlled by compessed air bellows and which would orient the vehicle in orbit, provide deceleration for reentry, and control drag during reentry; Bell, reviewed proposals for boost-glide vehicles, but considered briefly a minimum vehicle, spherical in shape, weighing about 3,000 pounds; Goodyear, a spherical vehicle with a rearward facing tail cone and ablative surface, with flaps deflected from the cone during reentry for increased drag and control, and launched by an Atlas or a Titan plus a Vanguard second stage; North American, extend the X-15 program by using the X-15 with a three-stage launch vehicle to achieve a single orbit with an apogee of 400,000 feet and a perigee of 250,000, range about 500 to 600 miles and landing in the Gulf of Mexico, and the pilot ejecting and landing by parachute with the aircraft being lost.
An 'NACA Conference on High-Speed Aerodynamics' was held at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Moffett Field, California, to acquaint the military services and industrial contractors interested in aerospace projects with the results of recent research conducted by the NACA laboratories on the subject of space flight. The conference was attended by more than 500 representatives from the NACA, industry, the military services, and other appropriate government agencies. Some 46 technical papers were presented by NACA personnel, and included specific proposals for manned space flight vehicle projects. One of these was presented by Maxime A. Faget. Other papers within the category of manned orbital satellites included: 'Preliminary Studies of Manned Satellites, Wingless Configuration, Lifting Body' by Thomas J. Wong and others; 'Preliminary Studies of Manned Satellites, Winged Configurations' by John V. Becker; 'Preliminary Aerodynamic Data Pertinent to Manned Satellite Reentry Configurations' by Jim A. Penland and William O. Armstrong; and 'Structural Design Considerations for Boost-Glide and Orbital Reentry Vehicles' by William A. Brooks and others.
An NACA report was published entitled, 'Preliminary Studies of Manned Satellites, Wingless Configuration, Non-Lifting,' by Maxime A. Faget, Benjamine Garland, and James J. Buglia. Later this document became the basic working paper for the Project Mercury development program, and was reissued as NASA Technical Note D-1254, March 1962.
Maxime A. Faget and associates conceived the idea of using a contour couch to withstand the high g-loads attendant to acceleration and reentry forces of manned space flight. Fabrication of test-model contour couches was started in the Langley shops in May 1958, and the concept was proved feasible on July 30 of that same year.
Preliminary specifications of the first manned satellite vehicle were drafted by Langley Aeronautical Laboratory personnel under the supervision of Maxime Faget and Charles W. Mathews. After a number of revisions and additions, these specifications were used for the Project Mercury spacecraft contract with McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. A working group of representatives from the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory and the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory was formed for the purpose of outlining a manned satellite program.
After serving as a liaison officer of NACA and as a participating member of an Advanced Research Projects Agency panel, Maxime A. Faget reported to Dr. Hugh Dryden on resulting studies and attending recommendations on the subject of manned space flight. He stated that the Advanced Research Projects Agency panel was quite aware that the responsibility for such a program might be placed with the soon-to-be-created civilian space agency, although they recommended program management be placed with the Air Force under executive control of NACA and the Advanced Research Projects Agency. The panel also recommended that the program start immediately even though the specific manager was, as yet, unassigned. Several of the proposals put forth by the panel on the proposed development were rather similar to the subsequent evolvement. The system suggested by the Advanced Research Projects Agency was to be based on the use of the Atlas launch vehicle with the Atlas-Sentry system serving as backup; retrorockets were to be used to initiate the return from orbit; the spacecraft was to be nonlifting, ballistic type, and the crew was to be selected from qualified volunteers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
By using the development model of the Mercury contour couch designed by Maxime A. Faget and associates, Carter C. Collins withstood a 20g load on the centrifuge at Johnsville, Pennsylvania. This test proved that the reentry accelerations of manned space flight could be withstood.
A series of meetings were held in Washington, with Robert R. Gilruth serving as chairman to draft a manned satellite program and provide a basic plan for meeting the objectives of this program. Others attending included S. B. Batdorf, A. J. Eggers, Maxime A. Faget, George Low, Warren North, Walter C. Williams, and Robert C. Youngquist.
Members of the new Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight were nominated by the Ames, Lewis, and Langley Research Centers, the High Speed Flight Station (HSFS) (later Flight Research Center), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Office of Space Flight Development OSFD), and the Office of Aeronautical and Space Research (OASR). They were: Alfred J. Eggers, Jr. (Ames); Bruce T. Lundin (Lewis); Laurence K. Loftin, Jr. (Langley); De E. Beeler (HSFS); Harris M. Schurmeier (JPL); Maxime A. Faget (STG) ; George M. Low of NASA Headquarters OSFD) ; and Milton B. Ames, Jr. (part-time) (OASR).
The first meeting of the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight was held at NASA Headquarters. Members of the Committee attending were: Harry J. Goett, Chairman; Milton B. Ames, Jr. (part-time); De E. Beeler; Alfred J. Eggers, Jr.; Maxime A. Faget; Laurence K. Loftin, Jr.; George M. Low; Bruce T. Lundin; and Harris M. Schurmeier. Observers were John H. Disher, Robert M. Crane, Warren J. North, Milton W. Rosen (part-time), and H. Kurt Strass.
The purpose of the Committee was to take a long-term look at man-in-space problems, leading eventually to recommendations on future missions and on broad aspects of Center research programs to ensure that the Centers were providing proper information. Committee investigations would range beyond Mercury and Dyna-Soar but would not be overly concerned with specific vehicular configurations. The Committee would report directly to the Office of Aeronautical and Space Research.
The national booster program, Dyna-Soar, and Project Mercury were discussed by the Research Steering Committee. Members also presented reviews of Center programs related to manned space flight. Maxime A. Faget of STG endorsed lunar exploration as the present goal of the Committee although recognizing the end objective as manned interplanetary travel. George M. Low of NASA Headquarters recommended that the Committee:
Director Robert R. Gilruth met with members of his STG staff (Paul E. Purser, Charles J. Donlan, James A. Chamberlin, Raymond L. Zavasky, W. Kemble Johnson, Charles W. Mathews, Maxime A. Faget, and Charles H. Zimmeman) and George M. Low from NASA Headquarters to discuss the possibility of an advanced manned spacecraft.
As a result of a discussion between Maxime A. Faget, Space Task Group, and John E. Naugle, Space Science Division, NASA Headquarters, it was concluded that there were several important scientific experiments in the field of energetic particles research that could be performed by placing packets of emulsion within the Mercury spacecraft. Work was started to determine a suitable packet location, along with other details associated with conducting such experiments.
At an STG meeting, it was decided to begin planning of advanced spacecraft systems. Three primary assignments were made:
At a luncheon in Washington, Abe Silverstein, Director of the Office of Space Flight Programs, suggested the name "Apollo" for the manned space flight program that was to follow Mercury. Others at the luncheon were Don R. Ostrander from NASA Headquarters and Robert R. Gilruth, Maxime A. Faget, and Charles J. Donlan from STG.
In discussing the advanced manned spacecraft program at NASA Centers, Maxime A. Faget of STG detailed the guidelines for aborted missions and landing:
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 an organizational change within STG, Maxime A. Faget was appointed Chief of the Flight Systems Division and Robert O. Piland was named Assistant Chief for Advanced Projects. The Apollo Project Office was formed with Piland as Head of the Office; members included John B. Lee, J. Thomas Markley, William W. Petynia,and H. Kurt Strass.
Members were appointed to the Technical Assessment Panels and the Evaluation Board to consider industry proposals for Apollo spacecraft feasibility studies. Members of the Evaluation Board were: Charles J. Donlan (STG), Chairman; Maxime A. Faget (STG) ; Robert O. Piland (STG), Secretary; John H. Disher (NASA Headquarters Office of Space Flight Programs); Alvin Seiff (Ames); John V. Becker (Langley); H. H. Koelle (Marshall); Harry J. Goett (Goddard), ex officio; and Robert R. Gilruth (STG), ex officio.
A joint briefing on the Apollo and Saturn programs was held at Marshall Space Flight Center MSFC, attended by representatives of STG and MSFC. Maxime A. Faget of STG and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun agreed that a joint STG-MSFC program would be developed to accomplish a manned lunar landing. Areas of responsibility were: MSFC launch vehicle and landing on the moon; STG - lunar orbit, landing, and return to earth.
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.
McDonnell had been studying the concept of a maneuverable Mercury spacecraft since 1959. On February 1, Space Task Group (STG) Director Robert R. Gilruth assigned James A. Chamberlin, Chief, STG Engineering Division, who had been working with McDonnell on Mercury for more than a year, to institute studies with McDonnell on improving Mercury for future manned space flight programs. Additional Details: here....
A meeting to discuss Project Apollo plans and programs was held at NASA Headquarters. Abe Silverstein, Warren J. North, John H. Disher, and George M. Low of NASA Headquarters and Robert R. Gilruth, Walter C. Williams, Maxime A. Faget, James A. Chamberlin, and Robert O. Piland of STG participated in the discussions. Six prime contract areas were defined: spacecraft (command center), onboard propulsion, lunar landing propulsion, launch vehicle (probably several prime contracts), tracking and communications network, and launch facilities and equipment. The prime contractor for the spacecraft would be responsible for the design, engineering, and fabrication of the spacecraft; for the integration of the onboard and lunar landing propulsion systems: and for the integration of the entire spacecraft system with the launch vehicle. In connection with the prime contract, STG would:
The Flight Vehicles Integration Branch was organized within STG. Members included H. Kurt Strass, Robert L. O'Neal, and Charles H. Wilson. Maxime A. Faget, Chief, Flight Systems Division, also served as temporary Branch Chief. The Branch was to provide technical aid to STG in solving compatibility requirements for spacecraft and launch vehicles for manned flight missions.
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.
NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., appointed members to the Source Evaluation Board to evaluate contractors' proposals for the Apollo spacecraft. Walter C. Williams of STG served as Chairman, and members included Robert O. Piland, Wesley L. Hjornevik, Maxime A. Faget, James A. Chamberlin, Charles W. Mathews, and Dave W. Lang, all of STG; George M. Low, Brooks C. Preacher, and James T. Koppenhaver (nonvoting member) from NASA Headquarters; and Oswald H. Lange from Marshall Space Flight Center. On November 2, Faget became the Chairman, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht was added as a member, and Williams was relieved from his assignment.
Charles W. Frick, Manager of the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, together with Maxime A. Faget, Charles W. Mathews, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., John B. Lee, Owen E. Maynard, and Alan B. Kehlet of MSC and George M. Low of the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, visited NAA at Downey, Calif. This was the first monthly meeting of the Apollo design and review team to survey NAA's progress in various areas, including the Apollo spacecraft heatshield, fuel cells, and service module.
NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., presented Outstanding Leadership Awards to Maxime A. Faget, Assistant Director for Engineering and Development, Manned Spacecraft Center, and George B. Graves, Jr., Assistant Director for Information and Control Systems. Also, at the NASA annual awards ceremony the Administrator, James E. Webb, presented Group Achievement Awards to four Manned Spacecraft Center activities: Assistant Directorate for Engineering and Development, Preflight Operations Division, Mercury Project Office, and Flight Operations Division.
Information was received from the NASA Inventions and Contributions activity that seven individuals, a majority of whom were still associated with the Manned Spacecraft Center, would receive monetary awards for inventions that were important in the development of Project Mercury. These were: Andre Meyer ($1,000) for the vehicle parachute and equipment jettison equipment; Maxime Faget and Andre Meyer (divided $1,500) for the emergency ejection device; Maxime Faget, William Bland, and Jack Heberlig (divided $2,000) for the survival couch; and Maxime Faget, Andre Meyer, Robert Chilton, Williard Blanchard, Alan Kehlet, Jerome Hammack, and Caldwell Johnson (divided $4,200) for the spacecraft design. Formal presentation of these awards was made on December 10, 1962.
Director Robert R. Gilruth established the MSC Manned Spacecraft Criteria Board to set up engineering, design, and procedural standards for manned spacecraft and associated systems. The board was composed of Maxime A. Faget, Chairman; James A. Chamberlin; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht; F. John Bailey, Jr.; G. Barry Graves; Jacob C. Moser; and Norman F. Smith, Secretary. Board criteria would become MSC policy; and - unless specific waivers were obtained, compliance by project offices was mandatory.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth announced a reorganization of MSC to strengthen the management of the Apollo and Gemini programs. Under Gilruth and Deputy Director James C. Elms, there were now four Assistant Directors, Managers for both the Gemini and Apollo programs, and a Manager for MSC's Florida Operations. Assigned to these positions were:
Maxime A. Faget, Assistant Director for Engineering and Development Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Assistant Director for Flight Operations Donald K. Slayton, Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations Wesley L. Hjornevik, Assistant Director for Administration Joseph F. Shea, Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Charles W. Mathews, Manager, Gemini Program Office and G. Merritt Preston, Manager, MSC Florida Operations.
Following completion of feasibility studies of an extended Apollo system at MSC, Edward Z. Gray, Advanced Manned Missions Program Director at Headquarters, told MSC's Maxime A. Faget, Director of Engineering and Development, to go ahead with phase II follow-on studies. Gray presented guidelines and suggested tasks for such a study, citing his desire for two separate contracts to industry to study the command and service modules and various concepts for laboratory modules.
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).
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.
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 Assistant Director for Engineering and Development Maxime A. Faget submitted to NASA Hq the Center's plans for Fiscal Year 1966 Apollo Extension System program definition and subsystems development efforts. The information submitted was based on MSC's AES study and supporting development efforts and was broken down into several categories in line with guidelines laid down by the Office of Manned Space Flight: program definition, verification of the capabilities of Apollo subsystems for AES; definition and initial development of experiment payloads and payload support; long leadtime development of primary spacecraft systems critical to achieving minimum AES objectives (i.e., four to six weeks orbital capability and up to two weeks on the lunar surface); and development of improved or alternate subsystems that would extend AES capabilities up to three months in Earth orbit. Tasks in support of these objectives, Faget stated, fell into two priorities: (1) those tasks required to verify an early AES capability; and (2) tasks in support of later AES missions and for system improvement. Those tasks having immediate priority, therefore, demanded the 'hard core' of AES funding essential to meet the early AES flight dates.
Willis B. Foster, NASA's Director of Manned Space Science Programs, informed MSC's Maxime A. Faget that he had asked the following persons to continue to serve as members of an Ad Hoc Committee as an advisory group to Foster with regard to the design and construction of the Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory: E. C. T. Chao (Chairman), Lorin Clark (alternate chairman), James Arnold, Clifford Frondel, Briggs Phillips, P. R. Bell, and alternates Jonathan Klein and Larry Hall.
MCC's Robert R. Gilruth, Maxime A. Faget, and William E. Stoney visited Langley Research Center to discuss the Orbiter program status and plans for distributing photos obtained from Orbiter with Floyd Thompson, Charles Donlan, and other Langley personnel members connected with the Orbiter program. Important aspects of the program were presented, with particular emphasis on the camera system and the kind and quality of photography to be obtained. In the discussion of data handling it was apparent there were no conflicts of purpose or planned activity between LaRC and MSC. It was determined that strong MSC representation at Langley during the photo screening period would be advantageous to MSC and of great benefit in MSC's subsequent lunar landing site evaluation.
MSC announced the establishment of a Flight Experiment Board. The Board would select and recommend to the Director space flight experiments proposed from within the Center and judged by the Board to be in the best interest of the Center and the NASA space flight program. MSC-originated flight experiments were expected normally to be designated as one of two general classifications: Type I - Medical, Space Science, Flight Operations or Engineering that would yield new knowledge or improve the state of the art; Type II - Operational, which would be required in direct support of major manned flight programs such as Apollo.
Members appointed to the Board were George M. Low, chairman; Warren Gillespie, Jr., executive secretary; Maxime A. Faget; Robert O. Piland; Charles A. Berry; Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.; Donald K. Slayton; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht; and Joseph N. Kotanchik. The Board would meet bimonthly on the first Friday of every even month, with called meetings at the direction of the chairman when necessary to expedite experiments.
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low recommended to Maxime A. Faget, MSC, that, in light of Air Force and Aerospace Corp. studies on space rescue, MSC plans for a general study on space rescue be discontinued and a formal request be made to OMSF to cancel the request for proposals, which had not yet been released. As an alternative, Low suggested that MSC should cooperate with the Air Force to maximize gains from the USAF task on space rescue requirements.
George M. Low expressed his reservations about the validity of planning a synchronous-orbit mission for AAP. In a note to Maxime A. Faget, Low commented on the recent interest in such a mission and voiced his own doubt concerning either the need for or the desirability of such a flight. Low stated that such things as synoptic views of terrain or weather phenomena could be done just as well from low Earth orbit using mosaic techniques. Moreover, low orbits afforded simpler operations, much greater payload capabilities, and minimal radiation hazards. Low asked Faget to have his organization prepare an analysis of low Earth-orbit versus synchronous- orbit operations in preparation for upcoming AAP planning discussions in Washington at the end of the month.
Maxime A. Faget, MSC, informed Center Director Robert R. Gilruth there was a continuing effort on lightweight, energy-absorbing, and stowable net couches, and development had been redirected to a nonelastic fabric net couch system attached to existing Apollo attenuation struts. North American Aviation had previously been given the task of investigating the use of net couches on Apollo. Results of that investigation indicated the spacecraft attenuation-strut-vehicle attachments would be overloaded when using net couches. The North American Aviation investigators made their calculations by assuming no-man attenuation in the lateral and longitudinal force directions. Those calculations were recomputed using the design criteria and proper loadings and the results indicated no overloading when using net couches. MSC's Advanced Spacecraft Technology Division had reviewed and approved the efforts, permitting use of the net couches on Apollo and Apollo Applications missions.
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.
Maxime A. Faget, MSC, presented the Apollo 204 Review Board a follow-up report on analysis of the arc indication on the lower-equipment-bay junction-box cover plate. The plate had been delivered to the KSC Material Analysis Laboratory and, in addition to the analysis of the arc indication, molten material found on the bottom of the plate would also be analyzed.
ASPO Manager George M. Low pointed out to MSC Director of Engineering and Development Maxime A. Faget that apparently no single person at MSC was responsible for spacecraft wiring. Low said he would like to discuss naming a subsystem manager to follow this general area, including not only the wiring schematics, circuitry, circuit-breaker protection, etc., but also the detailed design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of wiring harnesses.
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.
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....
An Apollo Entry Performance Review Board was established by the MSC Director to review and validate the analytical tools as well as the Apollo operational corridor. The Board was set up because the performance of the ablation heatshield in the Apollo spacecraft, as then analyzed, imposed a limitation on the entry corridor at lunar return velocity. The following were named to the Board: Maxime A. Faget, MSC, chairman; Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, MSC; Eugene C. Draley and Don D. Davis, Jr., Langley Research Center; Alvin Seiff and Glen Goodwin, Ames Research Center; and Leo T. Chauvin, MSC, secretary.
MSC's Director of Engineering and Development Maxime A. Faget, at the request of the ASPO Manager, established a Configuration Control Panel (CCP) for government furnished equipment (GFE). The panel would integrate control of changes in the GFE items supplied for the Apollo spacecraft. "Authority to bring change recommendations to the GFE Panel will be invested in Division Chiefs. Changes rejected by the Division Chiefs need not be reviewed by the GFE CCP," the memorandum establishing the panel said. Membership on the panel was as follows: Chairman, Maxime A. Faget; Alternate Chairman, James A. Chamberlin; Members, Richard S. Johnston, Robert A. Gardiner, R. W. Sawyer (sic), and William C. Bradford. Secretary would be John B. See.
The Senior Flammability Review Board met at MSC with Chairman Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low, Maxime A. Faget, Aleck C. Bond, Charles A. Berry, Donald K. Slayton, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, all of MSC, and George Jeffs of North American Rockwell participating. The meeting summary reported that a 60-percent-oxygen and 40-percent-nitrogen atmosphere was acceptable from a crew physiological standpoint. The requirement for crew prebreathing before launch was not dependent upon launching with the atmosphere. Operationally, the crew could remove their helmets and gloves following orbital insertion and verification of the integrity of the cabin and its environmental control system; oxygen leakage would be allowed to enrich the crew compartment atmosphere.
On January 25, Berry, MSC Director of Medical Research and Operations, mote Gilruth: "We do not concur in the stated finding of the Board that a 60 per cent oxygen, 40 per cent nitrogen atmosphere is acceptable from a crew physiological standpoint. While it is true that a 60% oxygen, 40% nitrogen atmosphere at 5.6 psi (3.9 newtons per sq cm) should result in a cabin atmosphere physiologically equivalent to sea level conditions, this will not be the case in a spacecraft launched with a 60% oxygen, 40% nitrogen atmosphere to which no oxygen is added except by normal operation of the cabin regulator. Oxygen will be metabolized by the crew at a much greater rate than nitrogen will be leaking from the spacecraft. Assuming a case in which cabin relief valve seats at 6 psi (4.1 newtons per sq cm) and the cabin regulator does not begin adding oxygen until 4.8 psi (3.3 newtons per sq cm), the cabin atmosphere would then consist of approximately 49% oxygen. This is physiologically equivalent to a 12,000-foot (3,700-meter) altitude in air. It would then take approximately 50 hours at the nominal cabin leak rate for the cabin regulator to enrich the mixture to a sea level equivalent."
A Senior Flammability Review Board meeting at MSC reached a number of decisions on the CSM. Attending were Robert R. Gilruth, chairman; George M. Low, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Aleck C. Bond, Maxime A. Faget, Donald K. Slayton, Charles A. Berry, and Rodney G. Rose, all of MSC; Samuel C. Phillips, NASA Hq.; William B. Bergen and Dale D. Myers, North American Rockwell; and George Stoner, Boeing (nonvoting observer).
Several previous action assignments were reviewed:
The Board concluded that the material changes made in the CM had resulted in a safe configuration in both the tested atmospheres. The Board agreed "that there will always be a degree of risk associated with manned space flight," but the risk of fire "was now substantially less than the basic risks inherent in manned space flight."
Among decisions reached were:
MSC Engineering and Development Director Maxime Faget reported to George Low that his directorate had investigated numerous radiation detectors, ionization particle detectors, and chemical reactive detectors. The directorate had also obtained information from outside sources such as the National Bureau of Standards, Mine Safety Appliances, Parmalee Plastics, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory organization. None of the methods investigated could meet the stated requirements for a spacecraft fire detection system.
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....
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....
ASPO Manager George M. Low met with Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., and Donald K. Slayton, Directors of MSC Flight and Flight Crew Operations, and several members of their staffs (including astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr.) to discuss using the flight combustion stability monitor (FCSM) on the Apollo 7 flight. Additional Details: here....
George M. Low, MSC, told Maxime A. Faget, MSC, that he had recently learned the Apollo Operations Handbook (AOH) was prepared for the Flight Crew Operations Directorate by prime contractors without any formalized review by engineering elements of MSC. On several occasions, when the Engineering and Development (E&D) subsystems managers looked at a section of the handbook in connection with problem areas they found the handbook in error. Low proposed that E&D should
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.
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, wrote MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth of his concern about Apollo software. "Software as I mean it to be understood in this letter includes computer programs, mission profiles and procedures (training). As I recall, the Apollo project started with a legacy of warnings from other programs about the rigors and pitfalls of software development. . . . I believe we are giving far more management attention to hardware changes than to software changes of similar impact." He questioned "whether some of these changes make the system better or safer when the disruptive effects of change are also considered. . . . We are making too many discretionary software changes. These are costing money and effort which could better be used elsewhere. . . ."
Gilruth replied March 11: "I cannot agree with your contention that we are now controlling software with the same rigor and management attention that we are devoting to hardware changes. Our Apollo Spacecraft Program Office has organized a number of Configuration Control Boards at MSC. These include George Low's Apollo Spacecraft Configuration Control Board, Max Faget's Board for Government Furnished Equipment, Chris Kraft's Software Configuration Control Board, and Deke Slayton's Procedures Change Control Board. . . . Hardware changes . . . are directly under George Low's control. All computer program changes, both on board and on the ground, are controlled by Chris Kraft's Board. Changes to the Apollo Operations Handbook, flight crew procedures, crew checklists, trainers and simulators are controlled by Slayton. Changes in software or crew procedures that involve changes in schedule must additionally be approved by George Low's Board. The system I described is working well and, according to Sam Phillips, has resulted in a more disciplined change control than anywhere else in the Apollo Program. . . . We are not making discretionary software changes. We are only making those changes which our managers deem to be necessary in their effort to carry out the Apollo Program in the most effective manner."
George M. Low discussed the status of a fire detection system for Apollo in a memorandum to Martin L. Raines, reminding him that such a system had been under consideration since the accident in January 1967. Low said: "Yesterday, Dr. (Maxime A.) Faget, you, and I participated in a meeting to review the current status of a flight fire detection system. It became quite clear that our state of knowledge about the physics and chemistry of fire in zero gravity is insufficient to permit the design and development of a flightworthy fire detection system at this time. For this reason, we agreed that we would not be able to incorporate a fire detection system in any of the Apollo spacecraft. We also agreed that it would be most worthwhile to continue the development of a detection system for future spacecraft."