|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1960 - Quarter 2|
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Presentation by STG members of the guidelines for an advanced manned spacecraft program to NASA Centers. References: 16 .
It was clear that many technical problems had to be cleared incrementally before an operational vehicle could be fielded. Myasishchev’s team went ‘back to the drawing board’, the result being two alternative single-crew orbital spaceplanes (VKA-23 Design 1 and VKA-23 Design 2).
Seven Mercury astronauts completed training session at the Navy Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory, Johnsville, Pa. References: 17 .
The first McDonnell production spacecraft was delivered to NASA at Wallops Island for the beach-abort test. References: 483 .
TV and Infrared Observation Satellite; returned 22952 cloud cover photos. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
John C. Houbolt of the Langley Research Center presented a paper at the National Aeronautical Meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers in New York City in which the problems of rendezvous in space with the minimum expenditure of fuel were considered. Additional Details: Houbolt paper on rendezvous in space with minimum expenditure of fuel. References: 16 .
Preliminary specifications were issued by Space Task Group (STG) to modify the Mercury capsule by adding a reentry control navigation system. The modified capsule would obtain a small lifting capability (lift-over-drag ratio would equal approximately 0.26). The self-contained capsule navigation system would consist of a stable platform, a digital computer, a possible star tracker, and the necessary associated electronic equipment. Dispersion from the predicted impact point would be less than 10 miles. The prospective development called for a prototype to be delivered to NASA for testing in February 1961; and first qualified system, or Modification I, to be delivered by August 1961; and the final qualified system, or Modification II, to be delivered by January 1962. STG anticipated that four navigational systems (not including prototype or qualification units) would be required.
Detailed lunar charts, consisting of 230 photographic sheets, were published by the Air Force and the University of Chicago Press. The atlas, in preparation under Air Force contract since April 1958, was assembled by Gerard P. Kuiper of the Yerkes Observatory. References: 16 .
First production model of McDonnell-built Mercury capsule was delivered to NASA. References: 17 .
Navy TRANSIT I-B launched into orbit by Thor-Able-Star with navigation payload experiment at Cape Canaveral. Flight demonstrated the first engine restart in space and the feasibility of using satellites as navigational aids. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 17 m. References: 439 .
This dramatic failure resulted in a loss of thrust, and the lateral strap-on units separated and flew over the tracking stations and living areas. The core continued on its trajectory. References: 5 , 175 , 445 .
The Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, NASA, and the RAND Corporation sponsored a Manned Space Stations Symposium featuring leading aeronautical and aerospace scientists and engineers from across the country. They examined the entire subject from present planning and future steps through engineering feasibility, operational techniques, designs, costs, and utilitarian considerations. This conference marked one of the focal points in American space station thinking up to that time.
NASA fired first of five Aerobee-Hi sounding rockets from Wallops Station in program to measure ultraviolet radiation. References: 17 .
NASA announced the selection of the Douglas Aircraft Company to build the second stage (S-IV) of the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle. References: 16 .
Completion of technical review of Dyna-Soar program announced by the Air Force. References: 17 .
Various gamma ray detectors were carried aboard Explorer XI on its orbital flight. These detectors found a directional flux of gamma radiation in space and thereby provided serious evidence against one formulation of the 'steady state' cosmological theory. References: 483 .
Construction was proceeding on schedule at Cape Canaveral, Bermuda, Grand Canary Islands, the Woomera and Muchea Australian sites, and at the demonstration site on Wallops Island, Virginia. The survey of Guaymas in Western Mexico completed that phase of the program, but the construction was yet to be accomplished. References: 483 .
At Redstone Arsenal, all eight H-1 engines of the first stage of the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle were static-fired simultaneously for the first time and achieved 1.3 million pounds of thrust. References: 16 .
Milestone achieved in completion of interim or formal agreements concluded for all oversea Mercury tracking stations. References: 17 .
A study report was issued by the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory on guidance and control design for a variety of space missions. This report, approved by C. Stark Draper, Director of the Laboratory, showed that a vehicle, manned or unmanned, could have significant onboard navigation and guidance capability. References: 16 .
The astronauts and medical personnel who had tested the developmental suits received in November 1959 recommended a number of changes to increase the physical mobility of the astronaut before the production effort began. Evaluation of the test suits with the suggested modifications indicated that the mobility and suit-spacecraft compatibility had been greatly enhanced. The stretching which once had been a problem area had been significantly decreased. References: 483 .
Members of STG presented the proposed advanced manned spacecraft program to Wernher von Braun and 25 of his staff at Marshall Space Flight Center. During the ensuing discussion, the merits of a completely automatic circumlunar mission were compared with those of a manually operated mission. Further discussions were scheduled. References: 16 .
STG members presented the proposed advanced manned spacecraft program to the Lewis Research Center staff. Work at the Center applicable to the program included: analysis and preliminary development of the onboard propulsion system, trajectory analysis, and development of small rockets for midcourse and attitude control propulsion. References: 16 .
Clifford I. Cummings, Jet Propulsion Laboratory spacecraft program director, announced at a meeting of the Aviation Writers Association in Los Angeles, Calif., that the spacecraft which would carry television and a detachable instrumented capsule to be crash-landed on the moon would be called "Ranger." References: 16 .
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. References: 16 .
First production model of Project Mercury spacecraft was successfully launched from NASA Wallops Station to test escape, landing, and recovery systems. Known as the "beach abort" shot, the Mercury capsule reached 775 m before parachute landing and pickup by Marine helicopter returned it to Wallops' hangar 17 minutes after launch. References: 17 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On approval of work on the Elektron scientific satellite' was issued. The two spacecraft were designed to be deployed in a single launch of a Vostok booster. The spacecraft had the specific task of mapping the Van Alen radiation belts at higher inclinations than that achieved by US satellites of the time (60 degrees vs 30 degrees latitude). Design work began in July 1960. References: 474 .
McDonnell's first production spacecraft, with its escape rocket serving as the propulsion force, was launched from Wallops Island. Designated the beach-abort test, the objectives were a performance evaluation of the escape system, the parachute and landing system, and recovery operations in an off-the-pad abort situation. The test was successful. References: 483 .
The original design was intended for launch of unmanned probes toward Mars, but it had universal uses.
The Soviet Union launched a Vostok 1KP prototype manned spacecraft (without heat shield; not recoverable) into near-earth orbit. Called Sputnik IV by the Western press. On May 19, at 15:52 Moscow time, the spacecraft was commanded to retrofire. However the guidance system had oriented the spacecraft incorrectly and the TDU engine instead put the spacecraft into a higher orbit. Soviet scientists said that conditions in the cabin, which had separated from the remainder of the spacecraft, were normal.
Officially: Development and checking of the main systems of the space ship satellite, which ensure its safe flight and control in flight, return to Earth and conditions needed for a man in flight. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 175 .
The consensus of the meeting was that the rendezvous technique would be essential in the foreseeable future and that experiments should be made to establish feasibility and develop the technique. There was as yet no funding for my rendezvous flight test program. Additional Details: Meeting on space rendezvous at Langley. References: 16 .
STG formed the Advanced Vehicle Team, reporting directly to Robert R. Gilruth, Director of the Mercury program. The Team would conduct research and make preliminary design studies for an advanced multiman spacecraft. Additional Details: Advanced Vehicle Team to make preliminary design for advanced multiman spacecraft. References: 16 .
Assembly of the first Saturn flight booster, SA-1, began at Marshall Space Flight Center. References: 16 .
Eight H-1 engines of the first stage of the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle were static-fired for 35.16 seconds, producing 1.3 million pounds of thrust. This first public demonstration of the H-1 took place at Marshall Space Flight Center. References: 16 .
Korolev revised his earlier, disapproved plan with one that now included participation of his rivals, Chelomei and Yangel.
100-foot inflatable sphere launched from NASA Wallops Station to an altitude of 210 miles to test payload configuration carrying two beacon transmitters, a development flight of Project Echo. References: 17 .
NASA selected Rocketdyne Division of NAA to develop the J-2, a 200,000-pound-thrust rocket engine, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. (A decision was later made to use the J-2 in the upper stages of the Saturn C-5.) References: 16 .
Central Committee and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 587-238 'On the Realisation of the Plan to Master Cosmic Space in 1960 and the First Half of 1961 -creation of a four-stage launcher for interplanetary missions and schedule for the Korabl-Sputniks' References: 474 .
Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 336 m. References: 439 .
State Committee for Defence Technology (GKOT) Decree 'On creation of shaft units (silos) for the R-12, R-14, R-16, and R-9 missiles' was issued. References: 474 .
H. Kurt Strass of STG and John H. Disher of NASA Headquarters proposed that boilerplate Apollo spacecraft be used in some of the forthcoming Saturn C-1 hunches. (Boilerplates are research and development vehicles which simulate production spacecraft in size, shape, structure, mass, and center of gravity.) These flight tests would provide needed experience with Apollo systems and utilize the Saturn boosters effectively. Four or five such tests were projected. On October 5, agreement was reached between members of Marshall Space Flight Center and STG on tentative Saturn vehicle assignments and flight plans. References: 16 .
Robert O. Piland, Head of the STG Advanced Vehicle Team, and Stanley C. White of STG attended a meeting in Washington, D. C., sponsored by the NASA Office of Life Sciences Programs, to discuss radiation and its effect on manned space flight. Their research showed that it would be impracticable to shield against the inner Van Allen belt radiation but possible to shield against the outer belt with a moderate amount of protection. Additional Details: Radiation and its effect on manned space flight. References: 16 .
Decree 715-295 'On approval of preliminary work on the Raketoplan, UR-200 ICBM, and IS anti-satellite system' was issued. References: 474 .
Korolev wrote to the Ministry of Defence, trying to obtain support for a military orbital station (OS). The station would have a crew of 3 to 5, orbited at 350 to 400 km altitude. The station would conduct military reconnaissance, control other spacecraft in orbit, and undertake basic space research. The N-I version of the station would have a mass of 25 to 30 tonnes and the N-II version 60 to 70 tonnes. Korolev pointed out that his design bureau had already completed a draft project, in which 14 work brigades had participated.
Decree 715-296 'On the Production of Various Launch Vehicles, Satellites, Spacecraft for the Military Space Forces in 1960-1967' authorised design of a range of spacecraft and launch vehicles by Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei. The decree included the N1 (development of launch vehicles of up to 2,000 tonnes liftoff mass and 80 tonne payload, using conventional chemical propellants) and nuclear reactors for space power and propulsion.
As a complement to the Mercury spacecraft reliability program, a decision was made that one production spacecraft would be withdrawn from the operational program for extensive testing. The test environment would involve vacuum, heat, and vibration conditions. This test series was later designated 'Project Orbit.' References: 483 .
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