|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1960 - Quarter 4|
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In reduction of military-industrical complex, Myasishchev and Tsybin design bureaus are closed and work stopped on the three prototype winged manned spacecraft already built. References: 83 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 1057-434 'On transfer of OKB-23 as Branch No. I of OKB-52 and on course of work on IS anti-satellite system' was issued. Chelomei acquired the OKB-23 of Vladimir Mikhailovich Myasishchev, (which had formerly designed heavy bombers), as well as the M K Khrunichev heavy aviation factory. Both of these organisations had a very high level of technical and manufacturing expertise, and assisted Chelomei in quickly moving ahead on his new space projects. References: 474 .
COURIER I-B active communications satellite successfully placed into orbit by Thor-Able-Star launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral. After completing one orbit it received and recorded a transcribed message to the United Nations by President Eisenhower transmitted from Fort Monmouth, N.J., and retransmitted it to another earth station in Puerto Rico. This marked the 100th launch of the Douglas Thor, military and scientific combined, and a Thor record of 60 percent of the U.S. satellites boosted into orbit. References: 17 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Members of STG visited the Marshall Space Flight Center to discuss possible Saturn and Apollo guidance integration and potential utilization of Apollo onboard propulsion to provide a reserve capability. Agreement was reached on tentative Saturn vehicle assignments on abort study and lunar entry simulation; on the use of the Saturn guidance system; and on future preparations of tentative flight plans for Saturns SA-6, 8, 9, and 10. References: 16 .
Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 221 m. References: 439 .
AEC briefing held at the Nevada Test Site at Jackass Flats, Nev., for representatives of 26 companies for proposals to study the requirements for a National Nuclear Rocket Engine Development Facility. Existing test facilities are fully committed to the development of nuclear reactors. References: 17 .
Contractors' proposals on feasibility studies for an advanced manned spacecraft were received by STG. Sixty-four companies expressed interest in the Apollo program, and of these 14 actually submitted proposals: The Boeing Airplane Company; Chance Vought Corporation; Convair/Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation; Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, Inc.; Douglas Aircraft Company; General Electric Company; Goodyear Aircraft Corporation; Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation; Guardite Division of American Marietta Company; Lockheed Aircraft Corporation; The Martin Company; North American Aviation, Inc.; and Republic Aviation Corporation. These 14 companies, later reduced to 12 when Cornell and Guardite withdrew, were subsequently invited to submit prime contractor proposals for the Apollo spacecraft development in 1961. The Technical Assessment Panels began evaluation of contractors' proposals on October 10. References: 16 .
This was the Soviet Union's first attempt at a planetary probe. Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. The possible cause lay in resonance vibrations of upper stages during Stage 2 burning, which led to break of contact in the command potentiometer of the gyrohorizon. As a result a pitch control malfunctioned and the launcher began to veer off the desired ascent profile. On exceeding 7 degrees of veering in pitch, the control system failed. The upper stage with the payload reached an altitude of 120 km before burning up on re-entry into the atmosphere above East Siberia. References: 5 , 64 , 65 , 118 , 296 .
Decree 'On plan to launch the first human in space on Vostok' was issued. References: 474 .
USAF Atlas launched at AMR placed nose cone containing three black mice 650 miles up and 5,000 miles downrange at 17,000 mph. Nose cone was recovered in target area near Ascension Island, the three mice surviving the flight in "good condition." References: 17 , 278 .
Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. This was the Soviet Union's second attempt at a planetary probe. The upper stages and payload broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere. References: 5 , 64 , 65 , 118 , 296 .
Project Mercury weather support group established at NASA's request in the Office of Meteorological Research of the Weather Bureau. References: 17 .
Second Iris rocket rose to 140 miles with a payload of 125 pounds from Wallops Station. References: 17 .
Kiwi-A No. 3 static test of nuclear rocket propulsion was successfully conducted at AEC Nevada test site, resulting in NASA-AEC call for bids for industrial development phase of Project Rover on November 1, 1960. References: 17 .
Jupiter missile Live System Test 217, the first to be fired under simulated tactical conditions using GSE prescribed for the Jupiter deployed to NATO I, was fired from AMR at 1102 hours EST. The missile successfully accomplished all primary and secondary missions. The nose cone impacted 1.1 nm over and 0.2 nm right of the pre-determined target 962.5 nm downrange. References: 439 .
A staff meeting of STG's Flight Systems Division was held to fix additional design constraints for the in- house design study of the Apollo spacecraft.
Fundamental decisions were made as a result of this and a previous meeting on September 20. Additional Details: Design constraints for in-house study of the Apollo spacecraft. References: 16 .
The Technical Assessment Panels presented to the Evaluation Board their findings on the contractors' proposals for feasibility studies of an advanced manned spacecraft. On October 24, the Evaluation Board findings and recommendations were presented to the STG Director. References: 16 .
First attempted launch of R-16 ICBM results in explosion on pad, killing nearly 100 military, engineers, and technicians, including Strategic Rocket Forces Marshal Nedelin. References: 89 .
Titan ICBM fired 6,100 miles / 9800 km, 100 miles longer than any previous shot, with tactical-type nose cone. References: 17 .
From 16 bids, Convair, General Electric, and Martin selected to conduct $250,000 study contracts. Meanwhile Space Task Group Langley undertakes its own studies, settling on Apollo CM configuration as actually built by October 1960. References: 26 , 27 .
NASA selected three contractors to prepare individual feasibility studies of an advanced manned spacecraft as part of Project Apollo. The contractors were Convair/Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation, General Electric Company, and The Martin Company. References: 16 .
Included in the current Saturn flight schedule were: mid-1961, begin first-stage flights with dummy upper stages; early 1963, begin two-stage flights; late 1963, begin three-stage flights; early 1964, conclude ten-vehicle research and development flight test program. References: 16 .
Key staff members of NASA Headquarters and the Commander, U.S. Air Force Research and Development Command, met at the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, Los Angeles, Calif., to attend briefings and discuss matters of mutual concern.
At an executive session, Air Force and NASA programs of orbital rendezvous, refueling, and descent from orbit were discussed. Long-range Air Force studies on a lunar base were in progress as well as research on more immediate missions, such as rendezvous by an unmanned satellite interceptor for inspection purposes, manned maintenance satellites, and reentry methods. NASA plans for the manned lunar landing mission included the possible use of the Saturn booster in an orbital staging operation employing orbital refueling. Reentry studies beyond Mercury were concentrated on reentry at escape speeds and on a spacecraft configuration capable of aerodynamic maneuvering during reentry. References: 16 .
Work began in 1961 at OKB-586 GKOT; in 1962 it was transferred to NII-627. Final development was completed in 1964.
Three such satellites could provide long-distance communications coverage for the entire Soviet Union. Original designed life was 1.5 to 2.0 years. Development was completed in May 1963.
Under arrangements of the AACB (Aeronautics and Astronautics Coordinating Board), NASA will utilize existing NASA tracking stations for initial Centaur development vehicles and switch to the Advent network (which is to be planned, funded, and constructed by DOD) when Centaur is operational, perhaps as early as the fourth of 10 development launchings of Centaur. References: 17 , 278 .
Immediately after cancellation of similar projects at Myasishchev and Tsybin bureaus, Chelomei's new bureau is assigned to build equivalent of US Dynasoar / Saint II. Winged manned spacecraft for interception, inspection, and destruction of US satellites up to 290 km altitude. Two man crew, 24 hour mission duration, large aft drag brakes. References: 83 .
Lunar atlas prepared for USAF by group under technical direction of G. P. Kuiper was released, an "Orthographic Atlas of the Moon" charted 5,000 base points combined with best available photos and grids. References: 17 , 27 .
The Department of the Interior announced that the U.S. Geological Survey would undertake detailed studies of lunar geology as part of a new $205,000 program in astrogeology financed by NASA. Additional Details: US Geological Survey studies of lunar geology. References: 16 .
First launch of Chinese-built copy of R-2, model 1059 References: 87 .
Little Joe 5 with a Mercury production spacecraft was launched from Wallops Island to test the spacecraft in an abort simulating the most severe launch conditions. At 15.4 seconds after liftoff, the escape rocket motor and tower jettison motor ignited prematurely. Booster, capsule, and tower remained mated through ballistic trajectory until destroyed on impact. References: 16 .
LJ-5, the first of the series with a McDonnell production spacecraft, was launched from Wallops Island to check the spacecraft in an abort simulating the most severe launch conditions. The launch was normal until 15.4 seconds after lift-off, at which time the escape rocket motor was prematurely ignited. The spacecraft did not detach from the launch vehicle until impact and was destroyed. Failure to attain mission objectives was attributed to several possible causes. One of these was failure of the spacecraft-to-adpater clamp-ring limit switches. Another possibility was failure of the escape tower clamp-ring limit switches. And the third was improper rigging of the limit switches in either of those locations so that vibration or deflection could have caused switch closure. Since the test objectives were not met, a repeat of the mission was planned. References: 483 .
Advanced Polaris (A-2) successfully launched on record 1,600-mile flight at AMR. References: 17 .
KH-1; film capsule recovered 2.1 days later. Mission failed. Obtained orbit successfully. Film separated before any camera operation leaving only 1.7 ft of film in capsule. On December 2, the Air Force revealed that exceedingly valuable information had been obtained from human tissues carried by Discoverer 17 (the cover story for the mission). The tissues had been exposed to an unexpectedly heavy dose of radiation for more than 50 hours in flight. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Tsien Hsue-shen starts development of DF-3 10,000 km missile. References: 87 .
This unmanned mission was unsuccessful because premature cut-off of the launch vehicle engines activated the emergency escape system when the vehicle was only about 1 inch off the pad. Engine cut-off was caused by premature loss of electrical ground power to the booster. The launch vehicle settled back on the pad with only slight damage. Since the spacecraft received a cut-off signal, the escape tower and recovery sequence was initiated. The undamaged spacecraft was recovered for reuse. References: 483 .
Suborbital launch attempt. After a four- or five-inch liftoff, MR-1 launched its escape tower but not the capsule. The undamaged spacecraft was recovered for reuse. References: 5 , 126 , 26 , 5 , 1269 .
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. References: 16 .
The Soviet Union launched its third spaceship satellite, Korabl Sputnik III, or Sputnik VI. The spacecraft, similar to those launched on May 15 and August 19, carried the dogs Pcheka and Mushka in addition to other animals, insects, and plants. Deorbited December 2, 1960 7:15 GMT. Burned up on reentry due to steep entry angle (retrofire engine did not shut off on schedule and burned to fuel depletion).
Officially: Medical and biological research under space flight conditions.
Officially: Medical and biological research under space flight conditions. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 175 .
Project SAINT (SAtellite INTerceptor) was a large and still deeply classified US Air Force program begun in the late 1950's covering a wide range of technologies for interception, inspection, and destruction of enemy spacecraft. After studies in the 1950ís, a Phase I development contract was let to Radio Corporation of America at the end of 1960. Saint Phase I would have weighted 1,100 kg and been launched by Atlas D/Agena B.
Polaris A-2 successfully test fired 1,400 nautical miles down AMR. References: 17 .
The first technical review of the General Electric Company Apollo feasibility study was held at the contractor's Missile and Space Vehicle Department. Company representatives presented reports on the study so that STG representatives might review progress, provide General Electric with pertinent information from NASA or other sources, and discuss and advise as to the course of the study. References: 16 .
Series of upper atmosphere sounding rockets from NASA Wallops Station, sodium vapor being ejected at about 212 miles altitude and a lithium flare released near peak altitude of about 450 miles to measure wind velocities and temperatures. References: 17 .
The Martin Company presented the first technical review of its Apollo feasibility study to STG officials in Baltimore, Md. At the suggestion of STG, Martin agreed to reorient the study in several areas: putting more emphasis on lunar orbits, putting man in the system, and considering landing and recovery in the initial design of the spacecraft. References: 16 .
Representatives of the Langley Research Center briefed members of STG on the lunar orbit method of accomplishing the lunar landing mission. References: 16 .
Palaemon, a 180-foot barge built to transport the Saturn launch vehicle from MSFC to Cape Canaveral by water, was formally accepted by MSFC Director from Maj. Gen. Frank S. Besson, Chief of Army Transportation. References: 17 , 27 .
Convair/Astronautics Division of the General Dynamics Corporation held its first technical review of the Apollo feasibility study in San Diego, Calif. Brief presentations were made by contractor and subcontractor technical specialists to STG representatives. Convair/Astronautics' first approach was oriented toward the modular concept, but STG suggested that the integral spacecraft concept should be investigated. References: 16 .
Associate Administrator of NASA Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and his staff were briefed by Langley Research Center personnel on the rendezvous method as it related to the national space program. Clinton E. Brown presented an analysis made by himself and Ralph W. Stone, Jr., describing the general operational concept of lunar orbit rendezvous for the manned lunar landing. The advantages of this plan in contrast with the earth orbit rendezvous method, especially in reducing launch vehicle requirements, were illustrated. Others discussing the rendezvous were John C. Houbolt, John D. Bird, and Max C. Kurbjun. References: 16 .
The final launch in the Pioneer lunar probe program was unsuccessful; the Atlas-Able booster rocket went out of control and exploded at an altitude of 12,200 m off Cape Canaveral. References: 5 , 126 , 278 .
Test of AN-2Sh astronavigation system capability for flight in both daytime and nighttime conditions. The missile flew a range of 6,425 km at Mach 3.1-3.2. The flight was only terminated when the cruise stage used up all of its propellant.
Mercury-Redstone 1A (MR-1A) was launched from Cape Canaveral in a repeat of the November 21, 1960, mission and was completely successful. This was the third attempt to accomplish the objectives established for this flight. The first attempt on November 7, 1960, was canceled as a result of a helium leak in the spacecraft reaction control system relief valve, and on November 21, 1960, the mission could not be completed because of premature cut-off of the launch vehicle engines. Objectives of the MR-1A flight were to qualify the spacecraft for space flight and to qualify the flight system for a primate flight scheduled shortly thereafter. Close attention was given to the spacecraft-launch vehicle combination as it went through the various flight sequences: powered flight; acceleration and deceleration; performance of the posigrade rockets; performance of the recovery system; performance of the launch, tracking, and recovery phases of the operation; other events of the flight including retrorocket operation in a space environment; and operation of instrumentation. Except that the launch vehicle cut-off velocity was slightly higher than normal, all flight sequences were satisfactory; tower separation, spacecraft separation, spacecraft turnaround, retrofire, retropackage jettison, and landing system operation occurred or were controlled as planned. The spacecraft reached a maximum altitude of 130.68 statute miles, a range of 234.8 statute miles, and a speed of 4,909.1 miles per hour. Fifteen minutes after landing in the Atlantic Ocean, the recovery helicopter picked up the spacecraft to complete the successful flight mission. References: 483 .
Unable to reach orbital velocity, the Vostok prototype separated while the third stage was still firing. While the ejection seat failed to operate, the capsule did make a hard landing in severe winter conditons in Siberia. It was recovered after some time, and the dogs Kometa and Shutka were alive. As a result of this flight the ejection seat was developed with a heat shield designed to protect the pilot in the event of a launch vehicle failure up to shut down of the first stage. References: 5 , 175 .
The MIT Instrumentation Laboratory submitted a formal proposal to NASA for a study of a navigation and guidance system for the Apollo spacecraft. References: 16 .
Successful firing of a solid-propellant rocket motor using "building block" method was announced by NASA. References: 17 .
The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation began work on a company- funded lunar orbit rendezvous feasibility study. References: 16 .
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