|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1962 - Quarter 2|
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NAA was directed by the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office to begin a study to define the configuration and design criteria of the service module which would make the lunar landing maneuver and touchdown. References: 16 .
A mockup of the Apollo command module, built by the Space and Information Systems Division of NAA, was made public for the first time during a visit to NAA by news media representatives. References: 16 .
Maximum Speed - 4586 kph. Maximum Altitude - 54860 m. The X-15 was flown in a test of a new automatic control system to be used in the Dyna-Soar and Apollo spacecraft. The previous electronic control system had been automatic only while the X-15 was in the atmosphere; the new system was automatic in space as well. References: 16 , 38 , 49 , 97 .
The request for a proposal on the Little Joe II test launch vehicle was submitted to bidders by a letter from MSC, together with a Work Statement. Five launches, which were to test boilerplate models of the Apollo spacecraft command module in abort situations, were called for: three in 1963 and two in 1964. Additional Details: Request for proposal for the Little Joe II launch vehicle. References: 16 .
The Thiokol Chemical Corporation was selected by NAA to build the solid-fuel rocket motor to be used to jettison the Apollo launch escape tower following a launch abort or during a normal mission. References: 16 .
President John F, Kennedy designated the Apollo program including essential spacecraft, launch vehicles, and facilities as being in the highest national priority category (DX) for research and development and for achieving operational capability. References: 16 .
First Soviet public announcement of manned lunar goals. References: 72 .
Decree 'On restriction of work on the N1' was issued. References: 474 .
Decree 'On Important Development of Intercontinental Ballistic and Global Missiles and Carriers-Rockets for Space Objects--work on the N1, R-36, R-36-O, and R-56' was issued. References: 474 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Development of the 'Soyuz' Complex for Piloted flight to the Moon--approving the Soyuz program for circumlunar flight' was issued. The Soyuz was to be capable of the following:
Combat Training Launch fired from AMR at 1317 hours and 54.1 seconds EST to a predicted impact point of 1,514 nm from the firing site. All functions of the flight were normal up to 153 seconds, at which time fuel depletion was reached and normal guidance cut-off was not achieved. The missile impacted approximately 230 miles short of the intended target. All missions assigned to the NATO training launch crew were accomplished. References: 439 .
Korolev’s fantastic ‘Orbitalniy Poyas’ (OP -Orbital Belt) scheme anticipated Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative by 25 years. Two to three large N-I launched military manned stations would control a constellation of strategic assets. Geosynchronous nuclear-powered satellites would provide secure communications. Piloted reconnaissance spacecraft would surprise the enemy, observing military preparations without warning. The orbital stations would provide continuous observations of the territory of the imperialist block.
Ranger IV was launched by an Atlas-Agena B booster from the Atlantic Missile Range, attained a parking orbit, and was fired into the proper lunar trajectory by the restart of the Agena B engine. Failure of a timer in the spacecraft payload caused loss of both internal and ground control over the vehicle. The Goldstone Tracking Station maintained contact with the spacecraft until it passed behind the left edge of the moon on April 26. It impacted at a speed of 9,617 km per hour, the first American spacecraft to land on the lunar surface. The Agena B second stage passed to the right of the moon and later went into orbit around the sun. Lunar photography objectives were not achieved. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 , 296 .
Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 'On start of work on the UR-500 missile and carrier-rocket' was issued. The rocket was to be built initially for the GR-2 requirement - a heavy rocket that could be used to launch large military payloads into space as well as act as a ballistic missile for multiple nuclear warheads up to 100 MT in yield. The decree ordered development of this powerful new rocket to be completed within three years. This was a difficult task, considering the factory and launch facilities that would have to be built to allow testing of the rocket to begin. The draft project UR-500 was completed in 1963.
The Manned Space Flight Management Council decided to delay the awarding of a Nova launch vehicle study contract until July 1 at the earliest to allow time for an in-house study of bids submitted and for further examination of the schedule for a manned lunar landing using the direct ascent technique. References: 16 .
MSC Associate Director Walter C. William reported to the Manned Space Flight Management Council that the lack of a decision on the lunar mission mode was causing delays in various areas of the Apollo spacecraft program, especially the requirements for the portions of the spacecraft being furnished by NAA. References: 16 .
Second suborbital test of Saturn I. The Saturn SA-2 first stage booster was launched successfully from Cape Canaveral. The rocket was blown up intentionally and on schedule about 2.5 minutes after liftoff at an altitude of 65 miles, dumping the water ballast from the dummy second and third stages into the upper atmosphere. The experiment, Project Highwater, produced a massive ice cloud and lightning-like effects. The eight clustered H-1 engines in the first stage produced 1.3 million pounds of thrust and the maximum speed attained by the booster was 3,750 miles per hour. Modifications to decrease the slight fuel sloshing encountered near the end of the previous flight test were successful. References: 5 , 16 .
The initial design featured four ungimballed Glushko engines mounted below the core, with four steerable Kosberg engines on the lateral tanks. The second stage of the UR-500 was a larger-diameter variant of the first stage of the UR-200, with the engines gimballed for directional control. The third stage used the UR-200’s fixed engine with a four-nozzled steering engine. In order to meet the constant diameter requirement the third stage used toroidal propellant tanks.
US Secretary of Defence McNamara approved the US Army request to proceed with development, under the code-name Mudflap. America's first ASAT system was later known as Program 505, which used prototype Nike Zeus DM-15S anti-ballistic missiles, operated from Kwajalein Atoll by the U.S. Army.
The only US test of an operational ballistic missile with a live 600 kiloton warhead. A Polaris A2 missile was launched from the ballistic missile submarine Ethan Allen (SSBN-608) 2800 km east-northeast of Christmas Island. The re-entry vehicle reached the target zone 1890 km away and detonated at 3,300 m. The resulting mushroom cloud was observed by the submarines Carbonero (SS-337) and Medregal (SS-480), both stationed within 25 km of the predicted impact point.
A preliminary Statement of Work for a proposed lunar excursion module was completed, although the mission mode had not yet been selected. References: 16 .
NASA announced that the Mercury-Atlas 7 (MA-7) manned orbital flight would be delayed several days due to checkout problems with the Atlas launch vehicle. References: 483 .
NASA awarded a letter contract to General Dynamics/Convair to design and manufacture the Little Joe II test launch vehicle which would be used to boost the Apollo spacecraft on unmanned suborbital test flights. The Little Joe II would be powered by clustered solid-fuel engines. At the same time, a separate 30-day contract was awarded to Convair to study the control system requirements. White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex., had been selected for the Little Joe II max q abort and high-altitude abort missions. References: 16 .
James E. Webb, NASA's new Administrator, reviewed the Gemini program. Project Gemini cost estimates at this point ($744.3 million) had increased substantially over the original estimate of $250 million. Estimated spacecraft cost had risen from $240.5 to $391.6 million; Titan II cost, from $113.0 to $161.8 million; Atlas-Agena, from $88.0 to $106.3 million; and supporting development (including the paraglider program), from $29.0 to $36.8 million. Estimated operations costs had declined from $59.0 to $47.8 million.
KH-5; film capsule recovered 4.1 days later. First successful KH-5 mission. Officially: Spacecraft Engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
The Mercury-Atlas 7 (MA-7) manned orbital mission was postponed a second time because of necessary modifications to the altitude-sensing instrumentation in the parachute-deployment system. References: 483 .
A third postponement was made for the Mercury-Atlas 7 (MA-7) flight mission due to irregularities detected in the temperature control device on a heater in the Atlas flight control system. References: 483 .
Representatives from Avco Manufacturing Corporation made a presentation to MSC on a proposal for a space station. Prime purpose of the station, company spokesmen said, was to determine the effects of zero-g on the crew's ability to stand reentry and thus fix the limit that man could safely remain in orbit. Avco's proposed station design comprised three separate tubes about 3 m in diameter and 6 m long, launched separately aboard Titan IIs and joined in a triangular shape in orbit. A standard Gemini spacecraft was to serve as ferry vehicle.
Scott Carpenter in Aurora 7 is enthralled by his environment but uses too much orientation fuel. Yaw error and late retrofire caused the landing impact point to be over 300 km beyond the intended area and beyond radio range of the recovery forces. Landing occurred 4 hours and 56 minutes after liftoff. Astronaut Carpenter was later picked up safely by a helicopter after a long wait in the ocean and fears for his safety. NASA was not impressed and Carpenter left the agency soon thereafter to become an aquanaut. Additional Details: Mercury 7. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 59 , 60 , 278 .
Astronaut Deke Slayton was to have been the second American in orbit. When Slayton was selected as an astronaut in 1959, it was known he had a minor heart fibrillation. This however did not prevent him from being an Air Force test pilot or being selected as an astronaut. But on January 23, 1962 John Glenn's wife refused to do a television appearance with Vice President Lyndon Johnson after a launch scrub of Glenn's mission. Soon thereafter rumours began in McNamara's Pentagon that Glenn had a secret heart condition. It was not Glenn, and his flight went as planned, but in the process Slayton's heart fibrillation came up. After a series of quick developments, Slayton was told he couldn't fly, and was forced to appear at a press conference making that announcement on March 16. The action was seen by many as a warning to the astronauts who was really in charge, although Slayton didn't think there was a direct cause and effect. Slayton's three orbit flight would have been called Delta 7. Instead Carpenter was selected for the mission, and Schirra, Slayton's backup, was moved to the Mercury 8 flight. References: 366 .
The F-1 engine was first fired at full power more than 1.5 million pounds of thrust) for 2.5 minutes at Edwards Rocket Site, Calif. References: 16 .
The Manned Space Flight Management Council approved the mobile launcher concept for the Saturn C-5 at Launch Complex 39, Merritt Island, Fla. References: 16 .
This was the first generation test vehicle for the HARP project.
Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 378 m. References: 439 .
OSCAR II was launched piggyback with a United States Air Force satellite. OSCAR II was very similar to OSCAR I. Differences included (1) changing the surface thermal coatings to achieve a cooler internal spacecraft environment, (2) modifying the sensing system so the satellite temperature could be measured accurately as the batteries decayed, and (3) lowering the transmitter power output to 100 mW to extend the life of the onboard battery. OSCAR II lasted 18 days ceasing operation on June 20, 1962 and re-entered June 21, 1962. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Initial attempt to launch a live nuclear weapon using the Thor IRBM from Johnston Atoll. The range safety radar had been unreliable before launch,. Five minutes after launch, after shutdown of the booster, the Johnston missile tracking system failed. Unable to monitor the warhead's flight path, the range safety officer destroyed it 10 minutes later, prior to warhead detonation.
Decree 'On course of work on the US reconnaissance satellite system launched on the UR-2OO' was issued. References: 474 .
Wernher von Braun, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center, recommended to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight that the lunar orbit rendezvous mode be adopted for the lunar landing mission. He also recommended the development of an unmanned, fully automatic, one-way Saturn C-5 logistics vehicle in support of the lunar expedition; the acceleration of the Saturn C-1B program; the development of high-energy propulsion systems as a backup for the service module and possibly the lunar excursion module; and further development of the F-1 and J-2 engines to increase thrust or specific impulse. References: 16 .
Last launch of a Thor IRBM from Vandenberg. (First launch and first missile fired from Vandenberg AFB on 16 December 1958.) References: 88 .
Results of a preliminary investigation by NAA showed that a 100 percent oxygen atmosphere for the command module would save about 30 pounds in weight and reduce control complexity. References: 16 .
NASA and MIT agreed that the Instrumentation Laboratory would use the microcircuit for the prototype Apollo onboard computer. The Fairchild Controls Corporation microcircuit was the only one available in the United States. References: 16 .
First launch of an Army Nike-Zeus from Kwajalein against an Atlas from Vandenberg AFB. References: 88 .
Ministry of Defence Decree 'On formation of the Scientific-Technical Council of the Strategic Missile Forces' was issued. References: 474 .
Five NASA scientists, dressed in pressure suits, completed an exploratory study at Rocketdyne Division of the feasibility of repairing, replacing, maintaining, and adjusting components of the J-2 rocket while in space. The scientific team also investigated the design of special maintenance tools and the effectiveness of different pressure suits in performing maintenance work in space. References: 16 .
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