PART 1 (A)
Defining Contractual Relations
November 8, 1962, through December, 1962
November 8"Not one or two men will make the landing on the moon, but,
figuratively, the entire Nation." That is how NASA's Deputy Administrator, Hugh
L. Dryden, described America's commitment to Apollo during a speech in
Washington, D.C. "What we are buying in our national space program," Dryden
said, "is the knowledge, the experience, the skills, the industrial facilities,
and the experimental hardware that will make the United States first in every
field of space exploration. . . . The investment in space progress is big and
will grow, but the potential returns on the investment are even larger. And
because it concerns us all, scientific progress is everyone's responsibility.
Every citizen should understand what the space program really is about and what
it can do."
U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics,
Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962, 88th Cong., 1st
Sess. (June 12, 1963), pp. 235-36.
November 9The Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) and the Raytheon Company
came to terms on the definitive contract for the Apollo spacecraft guidance
computer. (See February 8, 1963.)
Manned Space Flight [MSF] Management Council Meeting, November 27, 1962,
Agenda Item 2, p. 3.
November 13North American Aviation, Inc., selected the Aerospace
Electrical Division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation to build the power
conversion units for the command module (CM) electrical system. The units would
convert direct current from the fuel cells to alternating current.
Aviation Daily, November 13, 1962, p. 71.
November 15The Aerojet-General Corporation reported completion of
successful firings of the prototype service propulsion engine. The restartable
engine, with an ablative thrust chamber, reached thrusts up to 21,500 pounds.
[Normal thrust rating for the service propulsion engine is 20,500.]
Aviation Daily, November 15, 1962, p. 89; Aviation Week
and Space Technology, 77 (November 19, 1962), p. 40.
November 16Saturn-Apollo 3 (Saturn C-1, later called Saturn I) was
launched from the Atlantic Missile Range. Upper stages of the launch vehicle
were filled with 23000 gallons of water to simulate the weight of live stages.
At its peak altitude of 167 kilometers (104 miles), four minutes 53 seconds
after launch, the rocket was detonated by explosives upon command from earth.
The water was released into the ionosphere, forming a massive cloud of ice
particles several miles in diameter. By this experiment, known as "Project
Highwater," scientists had hoped to obtain data on atmospheric physics, but poor
telemetry made the results questionable. The flight was the third straight
success for the Saturn C-1 and the first with maximum fuel on board.
MSFC Historical Office, History of the George C. Marshall Space Flight
Center From July 1 Through December 31, 1962 (MHM-6), Vol. I, p. 193;
MSFC, "Saturn SA-3 Flight Evaluation," MPR-SAT-63-l, January 8, 1963, Vol. I,
pp. 8, 151; The Washington Post, November 17, 1962; The New
York Times, November 17, 1962.
November 17Four Navy officers were injured when an electrical spark
ignited a fire in an altitude chamber, near the end of a 14-day experiment at
the U.S. Navy Air Crew Equipment Laboratory, Philadelphia, Pa. The men were
participating in a NASA experiment to determine the effect on humans of
breathing pure oxygen for 14 days at simulated altitudes.
Edward L. Michel, George B. Smith, Jr., Richard S. Johnston, Gaseous
Environment Considerations and Evaluation Programs Leading to Spacecraft
Atmosphere Selection, NASA Technical Note, TN D-2506 (1965), p. 5.
November 19About 100 Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and MSC
representatives began seven weeks of negotiations on the lunar excursion module
(LEM) contract. After agreeing on the scope of work and on operating and
coordination procedures, the two sides reached fiscal accord. Negotiations were
completed on January 3, 1963. Eleven days later, NASA authorized Grumman to
proceed with LEM development. (See March 11, 1963.)
MSC, "Project Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2 for Period Ending December
31, 1962,"p. 21; "Project Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 3 for Period Ending
March 31, 1963,"p. I; NASA Contract No. NAS 9-1100, "Project Apollo Lunar
Excursion Module Development Program," January 14, 1963; Clyde B. Bothmer,
memorandum for distribution, "Minutes of the Fourteenth Meeting of the
Management Council held on Tuesday, January 29, 1963, at the Launch Operations
Center, Cocoa Beach, Florida," with enclosure: subject as above, p. 3.
November 19North American defined requirements for the command and
service modules (CSM) stabilization and control system.
North American Aviation, Inc. [hereafter cited as NAA], "Apollo Monthly
Progress Report," SID 62-300-8, November 30, 1962, p. 52.
November 20NASA invited ten industrial firms to submit bids by December
7 for a contract to build a control center at MSC and to integrate ground
operational support systems for Apollo and the rendezvous phases of Gemini. On
January 28, 1963, NASA announced that the contract had been awarded to the
Philco Corporation, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company.
NASA News Release 63-14, "Philco to Develop Manned Flight Control Center at
Houston," January 28, 1963; Aviation Daily, November 20, 1962, p.
November 23A Goddard Space Flight Center report summarizing
recommendations for ground instrumentation support for the near-earth phases of
the Apollo missions was forwarded to the Apollo Task Group of the NASA
Headquarters Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition (OTDA). This report
presented a preliminary conception of the Apollo network.
The tracking network would consist of stations equipped with 9-meter (30foot)
antennas for near-earth tracking and communications and of stations having
26-meter (85-foot) antennas for use at lunar distances. A unified S-band system,
capable of receiving and transmitting voice, telemetry, and television on a
single radio-frequency band, was the basis of the network operation.
On March 12, 1963, during testimony before a subcommittee of the House
Committee on Science and Astronautics, Edmond C. Buckley, Director of OTDA,
described additional network facilities that would be required as the Apollo
program progressed. Three Deep Space Instrumentation Facilities with 26-meter
(85- foot) antennas were planned: Goldstone, Calif. (completed); Canberra,
Australia (to be built); and a site in southern Europe (to be selected). Three
new tracking ships and special equipment at several existing network stations
for earth-orbit checkout of the spacecraft would also be needed.
Goddard Space Flight Center, Tracking and Data Systems Directorate, "A Ground
Instrumentation Support Plan for the Near-Earth Phases of Apollo Missions,"
November 23, 1962; U.S. Congress, House, Subcommittee on Applications and
Tracking of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, 1964 NASA
Authorization, Hearings, 88th Cong., 1st Sess. (1963), pp. 2795-2801.
November 26At a news conference in Cleveland, Ohio, during the 10-day
Space Science Fair there, NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden stated that
inflight practice at orbital maneuvering was essential for lunar missions. He
believed that landings would follow reconnaissance of the moon by circumlunar
and near- lunar-surface flights.
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, November 27, 1962.
November 27NASA awarded a $2.56 million contract to Ling-Temco-Vought,
Inc. (LTV), to develop the velocity package for Project Fire, to simulate
reentry from a lunar mission. An Atlas D booster would lift an instrumented
payload (looking like a miniature Apollo CM) to an altitude of 122,000 meters
(400,000 feet). The velocity package would then fire the reentry vehicle into a
minus 15 degree trajectory at a velocity of 11,300 meters (37,000 feet) per
second. On December 17, Republic Aviation Corporation, developer of the reentry
vehicle, reported that design was 95 percent complete and that fabrication had
Wall Street Journal, November 27, 1962; LTV, Chance Vought
Corporation, Astronautics Div., "Fire Velocity Package," (undated), pp. 1-1,
11-4; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 77 (December 17, 1962),
pp. 53, 55, 57.
November 27MSC officials met with representatives of Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) and the NASA Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition (OTDA).
They discussed locating the third Deep Space Instrumentation Facility (DSIF) in
Europe instead of at a previously selected South African site. (See Volume I of
this chronology [NASA SP-4009], September 13, 1960.) JPL had investigated
several European sites and noted the communications gap for each. MSC stated
that a coverage gap of up to two hours was undesirable but not prohibitive. JPL
and OTDA agreed to place the European station where the coverage gap would be
minimal or nonexistent. However, the existence of a communications loss at a
particular location would not be an overriding factor against a site which
promised effective technical and logistic support and political stability. MSC
agreed that this was a reasonable approach.
Memorandum, Gerald M. Truszynski, NASA, for file, "Meeting at MSC on Location
of DSIF Station," December 3, 1964.
November 27MSC released a sketch of the space suit assembly to be worn
on the lunar surface. It included a portable life support system which would
supply oxygen and pressurization and would control temperature, humidity, and
air contaminants. The suit would protect the astronaut against solar radiation
and extreme temperatures. The helmet faceplate would shield him against solar
glare and would be defrosted for good visibility at very low temperatures. An
emergency oxygen supply was also part of the assembly.
Four days earlier, MSC had added specifications for an extravehicular suit
communications and telemetry (EVSCT) system to the space suit contract with
Hamilton Standard Division of United Aircraft Corporation. The EVSCT system
included equipment for three major operations:
[The EVSCT contract was
awarded to International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) Corporation's Kellogg
Division. (See March 26, 1963.)]
- Full two-way voice communication between two astronauts on the lunar
surface, using the transceivers in the LEM and CM as relay stations.
- Redundant one-way voice communication capability between any number of
- Telemetry of physiological and suit environmental data to the LEM or CM
for relay to earth via the S- band link.
Memorandum, Ralph S. Sawyer, MSC, to Crew Systems Div., Attn: James V.
Correale, "Extravehicular Suit Communications and Telemetry System
Specifications," November 23, 1962; MSC News Release, "Project Apollo Space
Suits," November 26, 1962; The Evening Star, Washington, November
28, 1962; The Houston Post, November 27, 1962.
November 27Representatives of Hamilton Standard and International Latex
Corporation (ILC) met to discuss mating the portable life support system to the
ILC space suit configuration. As a result of mockup demonstrations and other
studies, over-the-shoulder straps similar to those in the mockup were
substituted for the rigid "horns."
Hamilton Standard, "Monthly Progress Report through November 30, 1962, for
Apollo Space Suit Assembly," PR-2-11-62, Item 7.2.
November 27MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the Manned Space
Flight (MSF) Management Council that formal negotiations between NASA and North
American on the Apollo spacecraft development contract would begin in January
1963. He further informed the council that the design release for all Apollo
systems, with the exception of the space suit, was scheduled for mid-1963; the
suit was scheduled for January 1964.
MSF Management Council Meeting, November 27, 1962, Agenda Item 2, pp. 2-3
[and supplemental page].
During the MonthAC Spark Plug Division of General Motors Corporation
assembled the first CM inertial reference integrating gyro (IRIG) for final
tests and calibration. Three IRIGs in the CM navigation and guidance system
provided a reference from which velocity and attitude changes could be sensed.
Delivery of the unit was scheduled for February 1963. (See February 11, 1963.)
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 13.
During the MonthNorth American completed a study of CSM-LEM
transposition and docking. During a lunar mission, after the spacecraft was
fired into a trajectory toward the moon, the CSM would separate from the adapter
section containing the LEM. It would then turn around, dock with the LEM, and
pull the second vehicle free from the adapter. The contractor studied three
methods of completing this maneuver: free fly-around, tethered fly- around, and
mechanical repositioning. Of the three, the company recommended the free
fly-around, based on NASA's criteria of minimum weight, simplicity of design,
maximum docking reliability, minimum time of operation, and maximum visibility.
Three phases of activity in the line drawing indicate the techniques of
the free fly-around method of the docking exercise between the CSM and the
Also investigated was crew transfer from the CM to the LEM, to determine the
requirements for crew performance and, from this, to define human engineering
needs. North American concluded that a separate LEM airlock was not needed but
that the CSM oxygen supply system's capacity should be increased to effect LEM
On November 29, North American presented the results of docking simulations,
which showed that the free flight docking mode was feasible and that the
45-kilogram (100-pound) service module (SM) reaction control system engines were
adequate for the terminal phase of docking. The simulations also showed that
overall performance of the maneuver was improved by providing the astronaut with
an attitude display and some form of alignment aid, such as probe.
MSC, "Abstract of Proceedings, Flight Technology Systems Meeting No. 12,
November 27, 1962," November 30, 1962; "Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID
62-300-8, pp. 11-14.
During the MonthNorth American reported several problems involving the
CM's aerodynamic characteristics; their analysis of CM dynamics verified that
the spacecraft could - and on one occasion did - descend in an apex-forward
attitude. The CM's landing speed then exceeded the capacity of the drogue
parachutes to reorient the vehicle; also, in this attitude, the apex cover could
not be jettisoned under all conditions. During low-altitude aborts, North
American went on, the drogue parachutes produced unfavorable conditions for main
parachute deployment. (See January 18, 1963.)
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-8, p. 77.
During the MonthExtensive material and thermal property tests indicated
that a Fiberglas honeycomb matrix bonded to the steel substructure was a
promising approach for a new heatshield design for the CM. See February 1, 1963.
Ibid., pp. 143-144.
During the MonthCollins Radio Company selected Motorola, Inc., Military
Electronics Division, to develop and produce the spacecraft S-band transponder.
The transponder would aid in tracking the spacecraft in deep space; also, it
would be used to transmit and receive telemetry signals and to communicate
between ground stations and the spacecraft by FM voice and television links. The
formal contract with Motorola was awarded in mid-February 1963.
Also, Collins awarded a contract to the Leach Corporation for the development
of command and service module (CSM) data storage equipment. The tape recorders
must have a five-hour capacity for collection and storage of data, draw less
than 20 watts of power, and be designed for in-flight reel changes.
Ibid., p. 89; NAA, "Apollo Facts," RBO070163, (undated), pp.
During the MonthMSC awarded a $222,000 contract to the Air Force
Systems Command for wind tunnel tests of the Apollo spacecraft at its Arnold
Engineering Development Center, Tullahoma, Tenn.
Aviation Week and Space Technology, 77 (November 12, 1962), p.
During the MonthNorth American made a number of changes in the layout
of the CM:
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-8, pp. 36, 71-72,
102, 104, 195.
- Putting the lithium hydroxide canisters in the lower equipment bay and
food stowage compartments in the aft equipment bay.
- Regrouping equipment in the left-hand forward equipment bay to make
pressure suit disconnects easier to reach and to permit a more advanced
packaging concept for the cabin heat exchanger.
- Moving the waste management control panel and urine and chemical tanks to
the right-hand equipment bay.
- Revising the aft compartment control layout to eliminate the landing
impact attenuation system and to add tie rods for retaining the heatshield.
- Preparing a design which would incorporate the quick release of the crew
hatch with operation of the center window (drawings were released, and target
weights and criteria were established).
- Redesigning the crew couch positioning mechanism and folding capabilities.
- Modifying the footrests to prevent the crew's damaging the
The MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office
(ASPO) outlined the photographic equipment needed for Apollo missions. This
included two motion picture cameras (16- and 70-mm) and a 35-mm still camera. It
was essential that the camera, including film loading, be operable by an
astronaut wearing pressurized gloves. On February 25, 1963, NASA informed North
American that the cameras would be government furnished equipment.
Memorandum, Charles W. Frick, MSC, to Office of Asst. Dir. for Information
and Control Systems, Attn: Instrumentation and Electronic Systems Div., "Cameras
for Apollo Spacecraft," December 3, 1962; letter, H. P. Yschek, MSC, to NAA,
Space and Information Systems Div., "Contract Change Authorization No.
Twenty-Six," February 25, 1963.
December 3The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, acting for NASA, awarded a
$3.332 million contract to four New York architectural engineering firms to
design the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) at Cape Canaveral. The massive VAB
became a space-age hangar, capable of housing four complete Saturn V launch
vehicles and Apollo spacecraft where they could be assembled and checked out.
The facility would be 158.5 meters (520 feet high) and would cost about $100
million to build. Subsequently, the Corps of Engineers selected Morrison-Knudson
Company, Perini Corp., and Paul Hardeman, Inc., to construct tile VAB.
Orlando Sentinel, December 5, 1962; MSC, Space News
Roundup, January 9, 1963, p. 6; The Kennedy Space Center
Story (KSC, 1969), pp. 19-20.
December 4The first test of the Apollo main parachute system, conducted
at the Naval Air Facility, El Centro, Calif., foreshadowed lengthy troubles with
the landing apparatus for the spacecraft. One parachute failed to inflate fully,
another disreefed prematurely, and the third disreefed and inflated only after
some delay. No data reduction was possible because of poor telemetry. North
American was investigating.
MSF Management Council Minutes, December 18, 1962, p. 2; NAA, "Apollo Monthly
Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, January 15, 1963, p. 20.
December 5At a meeting held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) Instrumentation Laboratory, representatives of MIT, MSC, Hamilton Standard
Division, and International Latex Corporation examined the problem of an
astronaut's use of optical navigation equipment while in a pressurized suit with
helmet visor down. MSC was studying helmet designs that would allow the
astronaut to place his face directly against the helmet visor; this might avoid
an increase in the weight of the eyepiece. In February 1963, Hamilton Standard
recommended adding corrective devices to the optical system rather than adding
corrective devices to the helmet or redesigning the helmet. In the same month,
ASPO set 52.32 millimeters 2.06 inches as the distance of the astronaut's eye
away from the helmet. MIT began designing a lightweight adapter for the
navigation instruments to provide for distances of up to 76.2 millimeters (3
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 9; Hamilton Standard Div.,
"Minutes of Space Suit Navigation System Optical Interface Meeting," HSER
2582-2, December 5, 1962, pp. 1-2.
December 5The General Electric Policy Review Board, established by the
MSF Management Council, held its first meeting. On February 9, the General
Electric Company (GE) had been selected by NASA to provide integration analysis
(including booster-spacecraft interface), ensure reliability of the entire space
vehicle, and develop and operate a checkout system. The Policy Review Board was
organized to oversee the entire GE Apollo effort.
Memorandum, James E. Sloan, NASA, to Wernher von Braun, Kurt H. Debus, and
Robert R. Gilruth, "General Electric Policy Review Board," December 6, 1962;
draft, "General Electric Policy Review Board Charter," December 4, 1962;
memorandum, Sloan to Gilruth and Walter C. Williams, "Charter of Policy Review
Board for General Electric Manned Lunar Landing Program Effort," January 8, 1963
December 8With NASA's concurrence, North American released the Request
For Proposals on the Apollo mission simulator. A simulated CM, an instructor's
console, and a computer complex now supplanted the three part- task trainers
originally planned. An additional part-task trainer was also approved. A
preliminary report describing the device had been submitted to NASA by North
American. The trainer was scheduled to be completed by March 1964.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 34; NAA, "Apollo Monthly Progress
Report," SID 62-300-12, May 1, 1963, p. 2.
December 10NASA Administrator James E. Webb, in a letter to the
President, explained the rationale behind the Agency's selection of lunar orbit
rendezvous (rather than either direct ascent or earth orbit rendezvous) as the
mode for landing Apollo astronauts on the moon. (See Volume I, July 11, 1962.)
Arguments for and against any of the three modes could have been interminable:
"We are dealing with a matter that cannot be conclusively proved before the
fact," Webb said. "The decision on the mode . . . had to be made at this time in
order to maintain our schedules, which aim at a landing attempt in late 1967."
John M. Logsdon, "NASA's Implementation of the Lunar Landing Decision,"
(HHN-81), August 1969, pp. 85, 87.
December 11NASA authorized North American's Columbus, Ohio, Division to
proceed with a LEM docking study.
TWX, J. F. Leonard, NAA, to NASA, [Attn:] D. B. Cherry, December 14, 1962.
December 11The first static firing of the Apollo tower jettison motor,
under development by Thiokol Chemical Corporation, was successfully performed.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, p. 14; "Apollo Quarterly
Status Report No. 2," p. 6.
December 12Northrop Corporation's Ventura Division, prime contractor
for the development of sea-markers to indicate the location of the spacecraft
after a water landing, suggested three possible approaches:
Northrop Ventura recommended the first method, because it
would produce the strongest color and size contrast and would have the longest
life for its weight.
- A shotgun shell type that would dispense colored smoke.
- A floating, controlled-rate dispenser (described as an improvement on the
current water-soluble binder method).
- A floating panel with relatively permanent fluorescent
Memorandum, W. E. Oller, Northrop Ventura, to MSC, Attn: P. Armitage, "NAS
9-482, Status of Remainder of Program," December 12, 1962.
December 13MSC officials, both in Houston and at the Preflight
Operations Division at Cape Canaveral, agreed on a vacuum chamber at the Florida
location to test spacecraft systems in a simulated space environment during
Memorandum, A. D. Mardel, MSC, to Distribution, "Minutes of meeting on NASA
AMR Vacuum Chamber requirements," December 14, 1962.
December 15The first working model of the crew couch was demonstrated
during an inspection of CM mockups at North American. As a result, the
contractor began redesigning the couch to make it lighter and simpler to adjust.
Design investigation was continuing on crew restraint systems in light of the
couch changes. An analysis of acceleration forces imposed on crew members during
reentry at various couch back and CM angles of attack was nearing completion.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," pp. 9, 10; NASA-Resident Apollo
Spacecraft Project Office (RASPO/NAA), "Consolidated Activity Report . . . ,
December 1, 1962-January 5, 1963," p. 3.
December 18MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the MSF
Management Council that tests by Republic Aviation Corporation, the U.S. Air
Force School of Aerospace Medicine SAM at Brooks Air Force Base, Tex., and the
U.S. Navy Air Crew Equipment Laboratory (ACEL) at Philadelphia, Pa., had
established that, physiologically, a spacecraft atmosphere of pure oxygen at 3.5
newtons per square centimeter (five pounds per square inch absolute [psia]) was
acceptable. During the separate experiments, about 20 people had been exposed to
pure oxygen environments for periods of up to two weeks without showing adverse
effects. Two fires had occurred, one on September 10 at SAM and the other on
November 17 at ACEL. The cause in both cases was faulty test equipment. On July
11, NASA had ordered North American to design the CM for 3.5 newtons per square
centimeter (5-psia), pure-oxygen atmosphere.
MSF Management Council Minutes, December 18, 1962, p. 3; "Apollo Quarterly
Status Report No. 2," p. 11; "Abstract of Proceedings, Crew Systems Meeting No.
13, December 18, 1962," December 20, 1962.
December 19NASA announced that Ranger VI (see Volume I,
August 29, 1961 would be used for intensive reliability tests. Resultant
improvements would be incorporated into subsequent spacecraft (numbers VII-IX),
delaying the launchings of those vehicles by "several months." The revised
schedule was based on recommendations by a Board of Inquiry headed by Cdr.
Albert J. Kelley (USN), Director of Electronics and Control in the NASA Office
of Advanced Research and Technology. (See Volume I, October 18, 1962.) The
Kelley board, appointed by NASA Space Sciences Director Homer E. Newell after
the Ranger V flight, consisted of officials from NASA Headquarters,
five NASA Centers, and Bellcomm, Inc. The board concluded that increased
reliability could be achieved through spacecraft design and construction
modifications and by more rigorous testing and checkout. (See January 30, 1964.)
The Washington Post, December 20, 1962; The Evening
Star, Washington, December 20, 1962; U.S. Congress, House, Subcommittee
on Space Sciences and Advanced Research and Technology of the Committee on
Science and Astronautics, 1964 NASA Authorization, Hearings on H.
R. 5466, 88th Cong., 1st Sess. (1963), pp. 1597-1598.
December 20MSC prognosticated that, during landing, exhaust from the
LEM's descent engine would kick up dust on the moon's surface, creating a dust
storm. Landings should be made where surface dust would be thinnest.
NASA Project Apollo Working Paper No. 1052, "A Preliminary Analysis of the
Effects of Exhaust Impingement on the Lunar Surface During the Terminal Phases
of Lunar Landing," December 20, 1962,
December 21North American delivered CM boilerplate (BP) 3, to Northrop
Ventura, for installation of an earth-landing system. BP-3 was scheduled to
undergo parachute tests at El Centro, Calif., during early 1963.
RASPO/NAA, "Consolidated Activity Report . . . , December 1, 1962-January 5,
December 26The Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company submitted to
North American cost proposal and design specifications on the Apollo
stabilization and control system, based upon the new Statement of Work drawn up
on December 17.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 16.
December 28North American selected Radiation, Inc., to develop the CM
pulse code modulation (PCM) telemetry system. The PCM telemetry would encode
spacecraft data into digital signals for transmission to ground stations. The
$4.3 million contract was officially announced on February 15, 1963.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, p. 20; NAA, "Apollo Facts,"
RBO070163, (undated), pp. 44-45; Space Business Daily, February 26,
1963, p. 243.
December 28Lockheed Propulsion Company successfully static fired four
launch escape system pitch-control motors. In an off-the-pad or low-altitude
abort, the pitch-control motor would fix the trajectory of the CM after its
separation from the launch vehicle.
"Apollo Monthly Progress Report," SID 62-300-9, p. 14; NAA, "Quarterly
Reliability Status Report," SID 62-557-4, January 31, 1964, pp. 242, 246.
December 28North American's Rocketdyne Division completed the first
test firings of the CM reaction control engines.
Ralph B. Oakley, Historical Summary, S&ID Apollo Program
(NAA, Space and Information Systems Div., January 20, 1966), p. 8; "Apollo
Monthly Progress Report," SID 62300-9, p. 13.
During the MonthMSC prepared the Project Apollo lunar landing mission
design. This plan outlined ground rules, trajectory analyses, sequences of
events, crew activities, and contingency operations. It also predicted possible
planning changes in later Apollo flights.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 4.
During the MonthIn the first of a series of reliability-crew safety
design reviews on all systems for the CM, North American examined the
spacecraft's environmental control system (ECS). The Design Review Board
approved the overall ECS concept, but made several recommendations for further
refinement. Among these were:
"Quarterly Reliability Status Report," SID 62-557-4.
- The ECS should be made simpler and the system's controls should be better
marked and located.
- Because of the pure oxygen environment, all flammable materials inside the
cabin should be eliminated.
- Sources of possible atmospheric contamination should be further reviewed,
with emphasis upon detecting and controlling such toxic gases inside the
During the MonthNASA and General Dynamics/Convair (GD/C) began contract
negotiations on the Little Joe II launch vehicle, which was used to flight-test
the Apollo launch escape system. The negotiated cost was nearly $6 million. GD/C
had already completed the basic structural design of the vehicle. (See February
General Dynamics, Convair Div., Little Joe II Test Launch Vehicle, NASA
Project Apollo: Final Report, GDC-66-042 (May 1966), Vol. I, pp. 1-2,
1-4, 4-2, 4-3.
During the MonthNorth American reported three successful static firings
of the launch escape motor. The motor would pull the CM away from the launch
vehicle if there were an abort early in a mission.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 6; "Quarterly Reliability Status
Report," SID 62-557-4, p. 242.
During the MonthMSC reported that the general arrangement of the CM
instrument panel had been designed to permit maximum manual control and flight
observation by the astronauts.
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," pp. 8, 9.
During the MonthMSC Flight Operations Division examined the operational
factors involved in Apollo water and land landings. Analysis of some of the
problems leading to a preference for water landing disclosed that:
Memorandum, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., MSC,
to Mgr., ASPO, "Review of Operational Factors Involved in Water and Land
Landings," undated (ca. December 1962).
- Should certain systems on board the CM fail, the spacecraft could land as
far as 805 kilometers 500 miles from the prime recovery area. This contingency
could be provided for at sea, but serious difficulties might be encountered on
- Because Apollo missions might last as long as two weeks, weather
forecasting for the landing zone probably would be unreliable.
- Hypergolic fuels were to remain on board the spacecraft through landing.
During a landing at sea, the bay containing the tanks would flood and seawater
would neutralize the liquid fuel or fumes from damaged tanks. On land, the
possibility of rupturing the tanks was greater and the danger of toxic fumes
and fire much more serious.
- Should the CM tumble during descent, the likelihood of serious damage to
the spacecraft was less for landings on water.
- On land, obstacles such as rocks and trees might cause serious damage to
- The spacecraft would be hot after reentry. Landing on water would cool the
spacecraft quickly and minimize ventilation problems.
- The requirements for control during reentry were less stringent in a sea
landing, because greater touchdown dispersions could be allowed.
- Since the CM must necessarily be designed for adequate performance in a
water landing all aborts during launch and most contingencies required a
landing at sea , the choice of water as the primary landing surface could
relieve some constraints in spacecraft design. (See February 1 and March 5,
1963; February 25, 1964.)
During the MonthThe contract for the development and production of the
CSM C-band transponder was awarded to American Car and Foundry Industries, Inc.,
by Collins Radio Company. The C-band transponder was used for tracking the
spacecraft. Operating in conjunction with conventional, earth-based, radar
equipment, it transmitted response pulses to the Manned Space Flight Network,
"Apollo Quarterly Status Report No. 2," p. 18; "Apollo Monthly Progress
Report," SID 62-300-9, p. 10.
During the QuarterGrumman agreed to use existing Apollo components and
subsystems, where practicable, in the LEM This promised to simplify checkout and
maintenance of spacecraft systems.
MSC, "Contract Implementation Plan, Lunar Excursion Module, Project Apollo,"
November 11, 1962, p. 5; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 78
(January 14, 1963), p. 39.