Born: 1926-09-05. Died: 1999-02-14.
Shea was the son of an Irish mechanic for the New York City subway system, who group up in a working-class neighborhood of the Bronx. Enlisting in the navy during World War II, the service found he had a mathematical aptitude that was off the scale. They sent him for an in-depth engineering education at the University of Michigan, with post-graduate duties at Dartmouth, then MIT, before he finally moved to Bell Labs in 1950. By then he had a doctorate in engineering and a reputation for combining technical brilliance with managerial competence.
Shea was an aesthete, a jogger, a near-teetotaler, and a believer in formal system engineering with no aviation background, At the time the aerospace industry was dominated by macho two-fisted hard-drinking, hard-driving ex-pilots. In 1959 General Motors decided to muscle into the new booming missile-and-space business. They hired Shea to head up development of inertial navigation systems, incongruously within their AC Spark Plug division. Shea won the contract for the Titan 2 ICBM guidance system, developed it on schedule and within budget within two years. He was snapped up by TRW in the fall of 1961, but then NASA asked him if he wanted a key role in Kennedy's quest to land an American on the moon. Shea answered the call, despite the tremendous cut in salary. In October 1963 he was put in charge of overseeing, on NASA's behalf, the Apollo spacecraft development program at North American's plant in Downey, California.
Two prior NASA managers had burned out in the constant combat between NASA and its subcontractor. The two teams had very different engineering philosophies, and especially different ideas about liability for costly engineering changes dictated by NASA. Shea also clashed with the North American managers, especially Harrison Storms. But eventually Shea managed to stem the flood of unnecessary change orders on the NASA side, and reached a tense accommodation with Storms on the North American side. He managed to bring the Apollo spacecraft to readiness for its first manned flight only five months late to its original plan, a tremendous accomplishment.
But then the Apollo fire happened. Shea took the event personally, and collapsed mentally. Heads would roll, and after the dust had settled, the leading players selected to take the fall were Shea and Storms, the two men actually most responsible for the program's success.
Shea was bumped up to a do-nothing job at NASA headquarters, and left NASA in 1967 for an executive position at Polaroid. A year later, he moved to Raytheon, where he fulfilled a variety of senior executive positions until 1990. In retirement, he worked as an adjunct professor at MIT until 1995.
D. Brainerd Holmes, Director of the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, announced the formation of the Manned Space Flight Management Council. The Council, which was to meet at least once a month, was to identify and resolve difficulties and to coordinate the interface problems in the manned space flight program. Members of the Council, in addition to Holmes, were: from MSC, Robert R. Gilruth and Walter C. Williams, Director and Associate Director; from Marshall Space Flight Center, Wernher von Braun, Director, and Eberhard F. M. Rees, Deputy Director for Research and Development; from NASA Headquarters, George M. Low, Director of Spacecraft and Flight Missions; Milton W. Rosen, Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion; Charles H. Roadman, Director of Aerospace Medicine; William E. Lilly, Director of Program Review and Resources Management; and Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director for Systems Engineering, Shea, formerly Space Programs Director for Space Technology Laboratories, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., had recently joined NASA.
The appointments of Dr. Joseph F. Shea as Deputy Director for Systems Engineering, Office of Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters, and Dr. Arthur Rudolph as Assistant Director of Systems Engineering was announced. Dr. Rudolph would serve as liaison between vehicle development at Marshall Space Flight Center and the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.
A meeting to review the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) technique as a possible mission mode for Project Apollo was held at NASA Headquarters. Representatives from various NASA offices attended: Joseph F. Shea, Eldon W. Hall, William A. Lee, Douglas R. Lord, James E. O'Neill, James Turnock, Richard J. Hayes, Richard C. Henry, and Melvyn Savage of NASA Headquarters; Friedrich O. Vonbun of Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC); Harris M. Schurmeier of Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Arthur V. Zimmeman of Lewis Research Center; Jack Funk, Charles W. Mathews, Owen E. Maynard, and William F. Rector of MSC; Paul J. DeFries, Ernst D. Geissler, and Helmut J. Horn of Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC); Clinton E. Brown, John C. Houbolt, and William H. Michael, Jr., of Langley Research Center; and Merrill H. Mead of Ames Research Center. Each phase of the LOR mission was discussed separately.
The launch vehicle required was a single Saturn C-5, consisting of the S-IC, S-II, and S-IVB stages. To provide a maximum launch window, a low earth parking orbit was recommended. For greater reliability, the two-stage-to-orbit technique was recommended rather than requiring reignition of the S-IVB to escape from parking orbit.
The current concepts of the Apollo command and service modules would not be altered. The lunar excursion vehicle (LEV), under intensive study in 1961, would be aft of the service module and in front of the S-IVB stage. For crew safety, an escape tower would be used during launch. Access to the LEV would be provided while the entire vehicle was on the launch pad.
Both Apollo and Saturn guidance and control systems would be operating during the launch phase. The Saturn guidance and control system in the S-IVB would be "primary" for injection into the earth parking orbit and from earth orbit to escape. Provisions for takeover of the Saturn guidance and control system should be provided in the command module. Ground tracking was necessary during launch and establishment of the parking orbit, MSFC and GSFC would study the altitude and type of low earth orbit.
The LEV would be moved in front of the command module "early" in the translunar trajectory. After the S-IVB was staged off the spacecraft following injection into the translunar trajectory, the service module would be used for midcourse corrections. Current plans were for five such corrections. If possible, a symmetric configuration along the vertical center line of the vehicle would be considered for the LEV. Ingress to the LEV from the command module should be possible during the translunar phase. The LEV would have a pressurized cabin capability during the translunar phase. A "hard dock" mechanism was considered, possibly using the support structure needed for the launch escape tower. The mechanism for relocation of the LEV to the top of the command module required further study. Two possibilities were discussed: mechanical linkage and rotating the command module by use of the attitude control system. The S-IVB could be used to stabilize the LEV during this maneuver.
The service module propulsion would be used to decelerate the spacecraft into a lunar orbit. Selection of the altitude and type of lunar orbit needed more study, although a 100-nautical-mile orbit seemed desirable for abort considerations.
The LEV would have a "point" landing (±½ mile) capability. The landing site, selected before liftoff, would previously have been examined by unmanned instrumented spacecraft. It was agreed that the LEV would have redundant guidance and control capability for each phase of the lunar maneuvers. Two types of LEV guidance and control systems were recommended for further analysis. These were an automatic system employing an inertial platform plus radio aids and a manually controlled system which could be used if the automatic system failed or as a primary system.
The service module would provide the prime propulsion for establishing the entire spacecraft in lunar orbit and for escape from the lunar orbit to earth trajectory. The LEV propulsion system was discussed and the general consensus was that this area would require further study. It was agreed that the propulsion system should have a hover capability near the lunar surface but that this requirement also needed more study.
It was recommended that two men be in the LEV, which would descend to the lunar surface, and that both men should be able to leave the LEV at the same time. It was agreed that the LEV should have a pressurized cabin which would have the capability for one week's operation, even though a normal LOR mission would be 24 hours. The question of lunar stay time was discussed and it was agreed that Langley should continue to analyze the situation. Requirements for sterilization procedures were discussed and referred for further study. The time for lunar landing was not resolved.
In the discussion of rendezvous requirements, it was agreed that two systems be studied, one automatic and one providing for a degree of manual capability. A line of sight between the LEV and the orbiting spacecraft should exist before lunar takeoff. A question about hard-docking or soft-docking technique brought up the possibility of keeping the LEV attached to the spacecraft during the transearth phase. This procedure would provide some command module subsystem redundancy.
Direct link communications from earth to the LEV and from earth to the spacecraft, except when it was in the shadow of the moon, was recommended. Voice communications should be provided from the earth to the lunar surface and the possibility of television coverage would be considered.
A number of problems associated with the proposed mission plan were outlined for NASA Center investigation. Work on most of the problems was already under way and the needed information was expected to be compiled in about one month.
(This meeting, like the one held February 13-15, was part of a continuing effort to select the lunar mission mode).
Joseph F. Shea, NASA Deputy Director of Manned Space Flight (Systems), presented to the Manned Space Flight Management Council the results of the study on lunar mission mode selection. The study included work by personnel in Shea's office, MSC, and Marshall Space Flight Center. The criteria used in evaluating the direct ascent technique, earth orbit rendezvous connecting and fueling modes, and lunar orbit rendezvous were: the mission itself, weight margins, guidance accuracy, communications and tracking requirements, reliability (abort problems), development complexity, schedules, costs, flexibility, growth potential, and military implications.
Joseph F. Shea, NASA Deputy Director of Manned Space Flight (Systems) , told an American Rocket Society meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, that the first American astronauts to land on the moon would come down in an area within ten degrees on either side of the lunar equator and between longitudes 270 and 260 degrees. Shea said that the actual site would be chosen for its apparent scientific potential and that the Ranger and Surveyor programs would provide badly needed information on the lunar surface. Maps on the scale of two fifths of a mile to the inch would be required, based on photographs which would show lunar features down to five or six feet in size. The smallest objects on the lunar surface yet identified by telescope were about the size of a football field.
Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director for Systems, Office of Manned Space Flight, solicited suggestions from each of the Headquarters' Program Offices and the various NASA Centers on the potential uses and experiments for a manned space station. Such ideas, Shea explained, would help determine whether adequate justification existed for such a space laboratory, either as a research center in space or as a functional satellite. Additional Details: here....
In a reorganization of OMSF, Director D. Brainerd Holmes appointed Joseph F. Shea as Deputy Director for Systems and George M. Low as Deputy Director for Programs. All major OMSF directorates had previously reported directly to Holmes. In the new organizational structure, Director of Systems Studies William A. Lee, Director of Systems Engineering John A. Gautraud, and Director of Integration and Checkout James E. Sloan would report to Shea. Director of Launch Vehicles Milton W. Rosen, Director of Space Medicine Charles H. Roadman, and the Director of Spacecraft and Flight Missions (then vacant) would report to Low. William E. Lilly, Director of Administration, would provide administrative support in both major areas.
As proposed by Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director (Systems), OMSF, about six weeks earlier, the MSF Management Council established the Panel Review Board with broad supervisory and appeal powers over inter-Center panels. Board members were the Deputy Director (Systems), OMSF, and technical experts from MSC, MSFC, and the Launch Operations Center. OMSF's representative was the chairman.
Recommendations of the board were not binding. If a Center Director decided against a board recommendation, he would, however, discuss and clear the proposed action with the Director of OMSF.
When the Panel Review Board assumed its duties, the Space Vehicle Review Board was abolished.
NASA announced the appointment of Joseph F. Shea as ASPO Manager effective October 22. He had been Deputy Director (Systems) in OMSF. George M. Low, OMSF Deputy Director (Programs), would direct the Systems office as well as his own. Robert O. Piland, Acting Manager of ASPO since April 3, resumed his former duties as Deputy Manager.
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.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea asked NASA Headquarters to revise velocity budgets for the Apollo spacecraft. (Studies had indicated that those budgets could be reduced without degrading performance.) He proposed that the 10 percent safety margin applied to the original budget be eliminated in favor of specific allowances for each identifiable uncertainty and contingency; but, to provide for maneuvers which might be desired on later Apollo missions, the LEM's propellant tanks should be oversized.
The ASPO Manager's proposal resulted from experience that had arisen because of unfortunate terminology used to designate the extra fuel. Originally the fuel budget for various phases of the mission had been analyzed and a 10 percent allowance had been made to cover - at that time, unspecified - contingencies, dispersions, and uncertainties. Mistakenly this fuel addition became known as a "10% reserve"! John P. Mayer and his men in the Mission Planning and Analysis Division worried because engineers at North American, Grumman, and NASA had "been freely 'eating' off the so-called 'reserve'" before studies had been completed to define what some of the contingencies might be and to apportion some fuel for that specific situation. Mayer wanted the item labeled a "10% uncertainty."
Shea recommended also that the capacity of the LEM descent tanks be sufficient to achieve an equiperiod orbit, should this become desirable. However, the spacecraft should carry only enough propellant for a Hohmann transfer. This was believed adequate, because the ascent engine was available for abort maneuvers if the descent engine failed and because a low altitude pass over the landing site was no longer considered necessary. By restricting lunar landing sites to the area between ±5 degrees latitude and by limiting the lunar stay time to less than 48 hours, a one-half-degree, rather than two-degree, plane change was sufficient.
In the meantime, Shea reported, his office was investigating how much weight could be saved by these propellant reductions.
MSFC Director Wernher von Braun described to Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager Joseph F. Shea a possible extension of Apollo systems to permit more extensive exploration of the lunar surface. Huntsville's concept, called the Integrated Lunar Exploration System, involved a dual Saturn V mission (with rendezvous in lunar orbit) to deliver an integrated lunar taxi/shelter spacecraft to the Moon's surface. Additional Details: here....
At a NASA-North American technical management meeting, the tower flap versus canard configuration for the launch escape vehicle was settled. ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea decided that canards should be the approach for Block I vehicles, with continued study on eliminating this device on Block II vehicles.
At the April 7-8 NASA-North American Technical Management Meeting (the first of these meetings to be held at MSC's new home, "NASA Clear Lake Site 1"), ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea summarized his office's recent activities concerning the Block II spacecraft. He spelled out those areas that ASPO was investigating - which included virtually the whole vehicle between escape tower and service engine bell. Shea outlined procedures for "customer and contractor" to work out the definitive Block II design, aiming at a target date of mid-May 1965. These procedures included NASA's giving North American descriptions of its Block II work, estimates of weight reduction, and a set of ground rules for the Block II design. And to ensure that both sides cooperated as closely as possible in this work, Shea named Owen E. Maynard, Chief of MSC's Systems Engineering Division, and his counterpart at Downey, Norman J. Ryker, Jr., to "honcho" the effort.
Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, in a letter to North American's Apollo Program Manager, summarized MSC's review of the weight status of the Block I and the design changes projected for Block II CSM's.
The Block II design arose from the need to add docking and crew transfer capability to the CM. Reduction of the CM control weight (from 9,500 to 9,100 kilograms (21,000 to 20,000 pounds)) and deficiencies in several major subsystems added to the scope of the redesign. Additional Details: here....
In a letter to Apollo Program Director General Samuel C. Phillips, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea pointed out that Bellcomm, under contract to NASA, had a subcontract with Space Technology Laboratories (STL) and that MSC had a contract with STL covering the same basic areas as the Bellcomm-STL subcontract. Shea told Phillips that STL was not allowed to use the information on the MSC contract which had been obtained on the Bellcomm contract, and requested that STL be permitted to use the information on the MSC contract.
In response to inquiries from General Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Deputy Director, ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea declared that, for Apollo, no lunar mapping or survey capability was necessary. Shea reported that the Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Orbiter programs should give ample information about the moon's surface. For scientific purposes, he said, a simpler photographic system could be included without requiring any significant design changes in the spacecraft.
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
In a letter to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips regarding tentative spacecraft development and mission planning schedules, Joseph F. Shea, Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager, touched upon missions following completion of Apollo's prime goal of landing on the Moon. Such missions, Shea said, would in general fall under the heading of a new program (such as Apollo X). Although defining missions a number of years in the future was most complex, Shea advised that MSC was planning to negotiate program package contracts with both North American and Grumman through Fiscal Year 1969, based upon the agency's most recent program planning schedules.
A mission planning presentation was given to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, Assistant Director for Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., and Assistant Director for Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton covering missions AS-201, AS-202, and AS-203. Additional Details: here....
In September 1964, Hamilton Standard, manufacturer of the portable life support system (PLSS), had established a 108-watt-hour capacity for the system's batteries. And on the basis of that figure, Grumman had been authorized to proceed with the development of the LEM's battery charger. (The size of the charger was determined by several factors, but primarily by the size of the battery and time limits for recharging.)
During November, however, Hamilton Standard and Crew Systems Division (CSD) engineers advised the Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Division (IESD) that the PLSS's power requirements had increased to about 200 watt-hours. (CSD had jurisdiction over the PLSS, including battery requirements; IESD was responsible for the charger.) Hamilton Standard placed most of the blame on the cooling pump motor, which proved far less efficient than anticipated, as well as on the addition of biosensor equipment. ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, reviewing the company's explanation, commented that "this says what happened . . . but is far from a justification - this is the type of thing we should understand well enough to anticipate." "How can this happen," he wondered, ". . . in an area which has been subjected to so much discussion and delay?"
Representatives from Grumman and Hamilton Standard, meeting at MSC on December 17, redefined PLSS battery and charging requirements, and Grumman was directed to proceed with the development of the battery charger. This episode was accompanied by some sense of urgency, since Grumman had to have firm requirements before the end of year to prevent a schedule slippage.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that he planned to conduct a program review with MIT during January 1965, similar to the North American, AC Spark Plug, and Grumman program reviews, but with certain differences, since MIT was a non- profit organization and the scope of its work much narrower than the prime hardware contractors. Shea pointed out that 1965 would be the most critical year of the MIT effort; during that year all drawings for the Block I, Block II, and LEM guidance navigation and control programs should be released. Consequently, the program review at MIT would examine only that one year.
Shea said he would meet with C. Stark Draper on January 14 and discuss with him "where we stand with respect to the MIT work of the past and our concerns for the future." During the week of January 18, MSC would send 14 teams to MIT to meet with their counterparts, and the following week a review board, chaired by R. C. Duncan of MSC, would go over the work of the individual MIT-NASA teams in depth and agree upon the program for 1965. The 14 teams would be: Reliability and Quality Assurance, Field Operations, Documentation and Configuration Management, Systems Assembly and Test, Guidance and Mission Analysis, Simulation, Ground Support Equipment, Optics, Inertial Systems and Sensors, Computer, Radar, Training; Terms, Conditions, Rates and Factors; and Statement of Work Integration.
Shea felt that the review would give MIT a clearer understanding of their part in the guidance, navigation, and control system development. He recommended that Phillips discuss the general nature of the program review with George E. Mueller and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., so they would both understand ASPO's objectives.
Phillips forwarded the letter to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller along with his comments on the proposal. He said, "I think it is a good plan and that the results will be beneficial to the program. I urge your support should it become necessary."
The MSC Mission Planning and Analysis Division made a presentation to Joseph F. Shea, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., and Donald K. Slayton on Apollo Missions 201, 202, 204, 206, 207, 501, 503, and 504. It was stated that 204B was to be a repeat of 202; 204C was to be a repeat of 201; and 204D was to be the same as 204A but would be flown unmanned.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reiterated the space agency's phasic view of the Apollo program. He was well pleased with the pace of the program and reported that ground testing of all CSM subsystems was "well along." Reflecting on the year just past, Shea observed that it was one in which Apollo objectives were achieved "milestone by milestone?' He was equally optimistic about Apollo's progress during the coming months, predicting that there would be "three Apollo spacecraft in continuous ground testing" by the end of the year.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea named William A. Lee as an assistant program manager. Lee, who previously headed the Operations Planning Division (which had been absorbed into Owen E. Maynard's Systems Engineering Division), now assumed responsibility for Apollo Operations (both the flight-test program and the lunar mission). Lee thus joined Harry L. Reynolds, also an assistant manager, who was assigned to the LEM's development. Deputy Manager Robert O. Piland continued overseeing the CSM's development and, along with Shea, overall program management.
Missiles and Rockets reported a statement by Joseph F. Shea, ASPO manager, that MSC had no serious weight problems with the Apollo spacecraft. The current weight, he said, was 454 kg (1,000 lbs) under the 40,823 kg (90,000 lb) goal. Moreover, the increased payload of the Saturn V to 43,091 kg (95,000 lbs) permitted further increases. Shea admitted, however, that the LEM was growing; recent decisions in favor of safety and redundancy could raise the module's weight from 13,381 kg to 14,575 kg (29,500 lbs to 32,000 lbs).
Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, approved Crew Systems Division's recommendation to retain the "shirtsleeve" environment for the CM. The design was simpler and promised greater overall mission reliability; also, it would be more comfortable for the crewmen. Additional Details: here....
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea replied to a recommendation by the Assistant Director for Flight Operations to incorporate warning lights in Block I and II CMs to indicate failure of the gimbal actuator secondary drive motors. ASPO decided that no failure indication would be provided for the redundant drive motors in Block I spacecraft because:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea concluded, after reviewing the boilerplate 22 mission, that all the test objectives would be met satisfactorily either in the flight of spacecraft 002 or in the ground qualification program. For that reason the boilerplate 22 flight would not be repeated.
The net effect of a decision by ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea in May was that the total fuel cell effort at both Pratt and Whitney and North American should be no more than $9.7 million during FY 1966. The decision as to the distribution of the funds was left to the discretion of the fuel cell subsystem manager.
Joseph F. Shea, ASPO Manager, established as a firm mission requirement the capability to connect the space suit to the LEM's environmental system and to the portable life support system while in a vacuum. This capability was essential for operational flexibility on the moon's surface.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea ordered Crew Systems Division to develop some type of protective devices that the astronauts might use to shield their eyes during a solar flare. ASPO regarded the risk of cataracts during these solar events as extraordinarily high. Although not mandatory, it was desirable that the crew could still see while wearing the devices. Should a flare occur while the crew manned the LEM, mission ground rules called for an abort back to the safety of the CSM; therefore, such devices would be needed for the CM alone.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Grumman that a proposal they had made during the LEM Program Review on July 6 regarding broader qualification scheduling and parts deviations had been reviewed by NASA and it was considered "not in the best interests of the program to relax the requirements to the extent proposed by GAEC. Additional Details: here....
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed LEM Subsystems Managers that recent LEM schedule changes and program review activities had led to some confusion with regard to schedule requirements and policies. Shea pointed out that in some instances subsystem delivery schedules had been established which were inconsistent with the overall program. Where this had occurred, prompt action by the Subsystems Managers was required to recover lost ground. Shea then laid down specific ground rules to be followed, and requested that waivers of these ground rules be submitted no later than August 15, along with a demonstration that reasonable alternatives had been investigated. Only the ASPO Manager would approve any waivers.
The Apollo Resident Office at KSC was notified that it was ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea's desire that a Configuration Control Panel be established and chaired at KSC to consider and process engineering changes to Apollo spacecraft and associated hardware undergoing checkout and test at KSC.
The ASPO Configuration Management Plan was being revised to reflect the action. The newly formed CCP's authority would be restricted to review of end item hardware (including ground support equipment configuration changes) to determine if the change was mandatory in the conduct of tests at KSC, and the approval of the contractor's plan for making the mandatory change to specific Apollo hardware end items at KSC.
Owen E. Maynard, Chief of Systems Engineering Division, advised ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea of the major technical problems currently plaguing Apollo designers:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea announced a new plan for controlling the weight of Apollo spacecraft. Every week, subsystem managers would report to a Weight Control Board (WCB), headed by Shea, which would rule on their proposals for meeting the target weight for their systems. Three task forces also would report to the WCB on the way to lighten the spacecraft:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea decided that no device to indicate a failure of the secondary gimbal motor in the service propulsion system (SPS) was necessary on Block I spacecraft. Two factors shaped Shea's decision:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea recommended to Apollo Program Manager Samuel C. Phillips that experiment M-5A (Bioassays Body Fluids) not be incorporated on mission AS-204, based on schedule impact resulting from structural modifications necessary to support the Urine Volume Measuring System. Redesign and rework of existing spacecraft hardware would have a schedule impact of two to four weeks.
Little Joe II Program Manager Milton A. Silveira suggested to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that if the next Little Joe II flight test was successful there would be no further requirement for the Little Joe II to support the Apollo program. Silveira said planning had been made with General Dynamics Convair to store the remaining three vehicles, parts, and tooling for one year in case a new requirement from ASPO or NASA should develop. The additional cost of one-year storage compared to normal program closeout was estimated to be small. ASPO concurred with the suggestion on December 1.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed North American, Grumman, and Bell Aerosystems Company that NASA's Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, had requested a presentation on the incompatibility of titanium alloys and nitrogen tetroxide and its impact on the Apollo Program, this to be done at the NASA Senior Management Council meeting on December 21.
In light of recent failures of almost all titanium tanks planned for use in the Apollo Program when exposed to nitrogen tetroxide under conditions which might be encountered in flight, the matter was deemed to be of utmost urgency.
A preliminary meeting was scheduled at NASA Headquarters on December 16 and one responsible representative from each of the prime contractors and subcontractors was requested to be present. Prior to the December 16 meeting, it would be necessary for each organization to complete the following tasks:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea reported to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips on changes in spacecraft weights:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, in response to a January 28 TWX from Phillips, that MSC had evaluated the capability to support a dual launch of AS-207 208 provided an immediate go-ahead could be given to the contractors. Shea said the evaluation had covered mission planning, ground support equipment (GSE), flight hardware, and operations support. Modifications and additional GSE would be required to update Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy to support a Block II CSM. The total cost of supporting the AS-207/208 dual launch was estimated at $10.2 million for the GSE and additional boiler plate CSM configuration, but Shea added that these costs could be absorbed within the FY 1966 budget. Shea recommended that the dual mission be incorporated into the program.
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller acknowledged receipt from Joseph F. Shea, the Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager at MSC, of a detailed technical description of MSC's plans and development progress toward developing a landing rocket system for Apollo. (MSC had undertaken this effort some months earlier at Mueller's specific request.) Mueller advised Shea that he had asked AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher to work closely with Shea's people to devise a land landing system for AAP built on Houston's effort for Apollo.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea and members of his organization were invited to attend the formal presentation by the Aeronutronic Division of Philco Corp. on a "Study of Lunar Worm Planetary Roving Vehicle Concept," at LaRC on May 3. The exploratory study to determine the feasibility of a bellows-concept mobile vehicle included a mobility and traction analysis for several kinds of bellows motion and several soil surfaces; analysis of both metallic and nonmetallic construction to provide the bellows structure; brief design studies of the concept as applied to a small unmanned vehicle, a supply vehicle, a small lunar shelter, a large lunar shelter; and an overall evaluation of the suitability of the concept for carrying out various missions as compared with other vehicles.
Engine testing at the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) had been the subject of discussions during recent months with representatives from MSC, Apollo Program Quality and Test groups, AEDC, Air Force Systems Command and ARO, Inc., participating. While AEDC had not been able to implement formal NASA requirements, the situation had improved and MSC was receiving acceptable data.
In a letter to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips said, ". . . I do not think further pressure is in order. However, in a separate letter to Lee Gossick, I have asked that he give his personal attention to the strict adherence to test procedures, up-to-date certification of instrumentation, and care and cleanliness in handling of test hardware."
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea informed Rocco A. Petrone, KSC, that structural problems in the CSM fuel and oxidizer tanks required standpipe modifications and that they were mandatory for Block I and Block II spacecraft. Retrofit was to be effective on CSM 011 at KSC and other vehicles at North American's plant in Downey, Calif.
MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton and Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., told ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea: "A comprehensive examination of the Apollo missions leading to the lunar landing indicates that there is a considerable discontinuity between missions AS-205 and AS-207/208". Additional Details: here....
MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton informed ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that total management during thermal vacuum testing of spacecraft 008 was inadequate, resulting in misunderstandings between personnel and organizational groups concerned with the test. Slayton offered a number of suggestions for future, similar tests:
MSC ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea wrote Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. Senior Vice President George F. Titterton that he was encouraged by the good start Grumman had made on work packages for the LM program, which he hoped had set the stage for effective action to curtail the creeping cost escalation that had characterized the program during the past year. He said: "To me, the most striking point noted in engineering activities projected a relatively high change rate from vehicle to vehicle, even though the program logic calls for identical vehicles from LM 4 on, and minimum change from LM 3 to LM 4. This, too, was apparent in the engineering related activities. The only changes which should be planned for are those rising from hardware deficiencies found in ground or flight test, or those resulting from NASA directed changes."
Shea had written to Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., Grumman Vice President and LEM Program Manager, in April concerning cost escalation. He had said "A significant amount of the planning for your contract is based upon management commitments made to us by Grumman . . . (and) your estimates have helped significantly (and indeed are still changing) and currently significantly exceed the amounts upon which our budget has been based." In another letter, in September, to Grumman President L. J. Evans, Shea remarked: "The result of our fiscal review with your people last week was somewhat encouraging. It reconfirmed my conviction that Grumman can do the program without the cost increases which you have been recently indicating, and, depending on how much difficulty we have with the qualification of our flight systems, perhaps even with some additional cost reduction."
In a November letter to Titterton, Shea again referred to work packages and reaffirmed that permission to exceed approved monthly levels should be granted only by the LM Program Office. He said, "Unless this discipline is enforced throughout the Grumman in-house and subcontract structure, the work packages could turn out to be interesting pieces of paper which contain the information as to what might have been done, rather than the basis for program management."
MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Manager Joseph F. Shea reported that LM-1 would no longer be capable of both manned and unmanned flight and that it would be configured and checked out for unmanned flight only. In addition, LM-2 would no longer be capable of completely unmanned flight, but would be configured and checked out for partially manned flights, such as the planned AS-278A mission (with unmanned final depletion burn of the ascent stage) and AS-278B (with all main propulsions unmanned).
MSC's ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea proposed to KSC Apollo Program Manager John G. Shinkle that - because the program was moving into the flight phase and close monitoring of the hardware configuration was important - they should plan work methods in more detail. He reminded Shinkle that he had named Walter Kapryan Assistant Program Manager "to provide the technical focal point . . . to maintain the discipline for the total spacecraft"; therefore Shea would like to transfer the chairman of the Apollo Configuration Control Panel from Shinkle's organization to Kapryan effective Nov. 1, 1966.
MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton pointed out to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that LM-to-CSM crew rescue was impossible. Slayton said
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea requested that the White Sands Test Facility be authorized to conduct the descent propulsion system series tests starting April 3 and ending about May 1. The maximum expected test pressure would be 174 newtons per sq cm (253 psia), normal maximum operating pressure. The pressure could go as high as 179 newtons per sq cm (260 psia) according to the test to be conducted.
Required leak check operations were also requested at a maximum pressure of 142 newtons per sq cm (206 psia), with a design limit of 186 newtons per sq cm (270 psia). The test fluids would be compatible with the titanium alloy at the test pressures. The test would be conducted in the Altitude Test Stand, where adequate protection existed for isolating and containing a failure. MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth approved the request the same day.
Joseph F. Shea, MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Manager, was appointed NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, with responsibility for technical aspects of the program.
George M. Low, MSC Deputy Director, would succeed Shea as ASPO Manager. Changes were to be effective April 10.