|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1962 - Quarter 3|
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Hamilton Standard Division of United Aircraft Corporation selected by NASA to develop the Apollo space suit. References: 16 .
Trial flights of the ICBM version ran from 4 November 1963 to 20 October 1964. Versions of the Kosmoplan would fly as the reactor-powered US-A and solar-powered US-P ELINT satellites and the I2P ASAT.
Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 390 m. References: 439 .
The Molniya 8K78L was designed by Korolev's design bureau for launching a manned spacecraft on a flyby of the Moon and return to earth. To achieve this it would have used Lox/LH2 engines in the third and fourth stages. Such technology was years away in the Soviet Union and the project was not pursued further.
Controversial Operation Dominic succeeded, after two previous attempts in June, in exploding a megaton-plus hydrogen device at more than 200-mile altitude over Johnston Island in the Pacific. Carried aloft by a Thor rocket and synchronized with the approach of a TRAAC satellite, this highest thermonuclear blast ever achieved was designed to test the influence of such an explosion on the Van Allen radiation belts. The sky above the Pacific Ocean from Wake Island to New Zealand was illuminated by the blast. Later observations by probes and satellites showed another artificial radiation belt to have been created by this series of nuclear tests. References: 483 .
Successful high-altitude test of a Thor IRBM with a live nuclear warhead. The payload included test instrumentation and a W-49 warhead/Mk-4 re-entry vehicle. The 1.45 megaton bomb exploded at an altitude of 400 km. The explosion was visible 2,600 km away, at Kwajalein Atoll; an artificial aurora lasted seven minutes. The unforeseen and most militarily significant effect was the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by the test. This caused power mains surges in Oahu, knocking out street lights, blowing fuses and circuit breakers, and triggering burglar alarms (and this in the days before microelectronics). The explosion supercharged the Van Allen radiation belts, resulting in several satellites malfunctioning.
Attempted test of the Thor IRBM with a live W-49 nuclear warhead / Mk. 4 Re-entry vehicle. The rocket's engines shut down 59 seconds after launch. Range safety destroyed the vehicle six seconds later at an altitude of 10 km. The warhead's one-point safe high explosive detonated as designed without producing nuclear yield. Large pieces of the missile fell back on Johnston Island. Other wreckage was found on Sand Island, which was also contaminated by plutonium from the warhead.
At the monthly Apollo spacecraft design review meeting with NAA, MSC officials directed NAA to design the spacecraft atmospheric system for 5 psia pure oxygen. From an engineering standpoint, the single-gas atmosphere offered advantages in minimizing weight and leakage, in system simplicity and reliability, and in the extravehicular suit interface. Additional Details: Apollo atmosphere to be pure oxygen. References: 16 .
The first Apollo spacecraft mockup inspection was held at NAA's Space and Information Systems Division. In attendance were Robert R. Gilruth, Director, MSC; Charles W. Frick, Apollo Program Manager, MSC; and Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom. References: 16 .
NASA officials announced the basic decision for the manned lunar exploration program that Project Apollo shall proceed using the lunar orbit rendezvous as the prime mission mode. Based on more than a year of intensive study, this decision for the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR), rather than for the alternative direct ascent or earth orbit rendezvous modes, enables immediate planning, research and development, procurement, and testing programs for the next phase of space exploration to proceed on a firm basis. References: 483 .
Following a long controversy NASA selected Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR) as the fastest, cheapest, and safest mode to accomplish the Apollo mission. LOR solved the engineering problem of how to land. The EOR or Direct Landing approaches required the Apollo crew to be on their backs during the landing and having to use television or mirrors to see the lunar surface. A lunar crasher stage approach had finally emerged as lesser of evils but raised other issues. LOR allowed a purpose-built lander with a logical helicopter-like crew station layout. Studies indicated LOR would allow landing 6-8 months earlier and cost $9.2 billion vs $ 10.6 billion for EOR or direct. Direct flight by this time would not involve Nova, but a scaled-down two-man spacecraft that could be launched by the Saturn C-5. Additional Details: Selection of LOR as Apollo Mission Mode. References: 26 , 27 .
In an address to the American Rocket Society lunar missions meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, James A. Van Allen, Chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, State University of Iowa, said that protons of the inner radiation belt could be a serious hazard for extended manned space flight and that nuclear detonations might be able to clean out these inner belt protons, perhaps for a prolonged period, making possible manned orbits about 300 miles above the earth. References: 16 .
NASA Administrator James E. Webb announced that the Mission Control Center for future manned space flights would be located at MSC. The Center would be operational in time for Gemini rendezvous flights in 1964 and later Apollo lunar missions. The overriding factor in the choice of MSC was the existing location of the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, the astronauts, and Flight Operations Division at Houston. References: 16 .
NASA announced plans for an advanced Saturn launch complex to be built on 80,000 acres northwest of Cape Canaveral. The new facility, Launch Complex 39, would include a building large enough for the vertical assembly of a complete Saturn launch vehicle and Apollo spacecraft. References: 16 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Second attempt to launch a nuclear weapon using the Thor IRBM. The payload consisted of two re-entry vehicles, one with an instrument pod, the other with the warhead. The missile engine malfunctioned immediately on ignition,. Range safety fired the destruct system whille the missile was still on the launch pad. The Johnston Island launch complex was heavily damaged and contaminated with plutonium. Three months of repairs and decontamination were necessary before tests could resume.
MSC invited 11 firms to submit research and development proposals for the lunar excursion module (LEM) for the manned lunar landing mission. The firms were Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, The Boeing Airplane Company, Northrop Corporation, Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, General Dynamics Corporation, Republic Aviation Corporation, Martin- Marietta Company, North American Aviation, Inc., and McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. Additional Details: Invitation to bid for the Apollo lunar excursion module. References: 16 .
NAA completed the analysis and design of the Fibreglass heatshield. It duplicated the stiffness of the aluminum heatshield and would be used on all boilerplate spacecraft. References: 16 .
Cuban missile crisis - U.S.S.R. to build missile bases in Cuba; Kennedy orders Cuban blockade, lifts blockade after Russians back down
Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 167 m. References: 439 .
Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 3,191 m. References: 439 .
A recent Russian article discussed various methods which the Soviet Union had been studying for sending a man to the moon during the decade. The earth orbital rendezvous method was reported the most reliable, but consideration also had been given to the direct ascent method, using the "Mastodon" rocket. References: 16 .
NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight issued Requests for Proposals for a study of the lunar "bus" and studies for payloads which could be handled by the C-1B and C-5 launch vehicles. Contract awards were expected by September 1 and completion of the studies by December 1. References: 16 .
The first completed boilerplate model of the Apollo command module, BP- 25, was subjected to a one-fourth-scale impact test in the Pacific Ocean near the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor. Three additional tests were conducted on August 9. References: 16 .
At a bidders' conference held at NASA Headquarters, proposals were requested from Centers and industry for two lunar logistic studies: a spacecraft "bus" concept that could be adapted for use first on the Saturn C-1B and later on the Saturn C-5 launch vehicles and a variety of payloads which could be soft-landed near manned Apollo missions. The latter study would determine how a crew's stay on the moon might be extended, how human capability for scientific investigation of the moon might be increased, and how man's mobility on the moon might be facilitated. References: 16 .
Of the 11 companies invited to bid on the lunar excursion module on July 25, eight planned to respond. NAA had notified MSC that it would not bid on the contract. No information had been received from the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation and it was questionable whether the Northrop Corporation would respond. References: 16 .
A NASA program schedule for the Apollo spacecraft command and service modules through calendar year 1965 was established for financial planning purposes and distributed to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, Marshall Space Flight Center, and MSC. The key dates were: complete service module drawing release, May 1, 1963; complete command module drawing release, June 15, 1963; manufacture complete on the first spacecraft, February 1, 1964; first manned orbital flight, May 15, 1965. This tentative schedule depended on budget appropriations. References: 16 .
Joint flight with Vostok 4. The first such flight, where Vostok capsules were launched one day apart, coming within a few kilometers of each other at the orbital insertion of the second spacecraft. The flight was supposed to occur in March, but following various delays, one of the two Vostok pads was damaged in the explosion of the booster of the third Zenit-2 reconnsat in May. Repairs were not completed until August. Vostok 3 studied man's ability to function under conditions of weightlessness; conducted scientific observations; furthered improvement of space ship systems, communications, guidance and landing. Immediately at orbital insertion of Vostok 4, the spacecraft were less than 5 km apart. Popovich made radio contact with Cosmonaut Nikolayev. Nikolayev reported shortly thereafter that he had sighted Vostok 4. Since the Vostok had no maneuvering capability, they could not rendezvous or dock, and quickly drifted apart. The launches did allow Korolev to offer something new and different, and gave the launch and ground control crews practice in launching and handling more than one manned spacecraft at a time. The cosmonaut took colour motion pictures of the earth and the cabin interior. Recovered August 15, 1962 6:52 GMT. Landed 48:02N 75:45 E. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 32 , 33 , 60 , 175 .
Joint flight with Vostok 3. Acquisition of experimental data on the possibility of establishing a direct link between two space ships; coordination of astronauts' operations; study of the effects of identical spaceflight conditions on the human organism. Popovich had problems with his life support system, resulting in the cabin temperature dropping to 10 degrees Centigrade and the humidity to 35%. The cosmonaut still managed to conduct experiments, including taking colour motion pictures of the terminator between night and day and the cabin interior.
Despite the conditions, Popovich felt able to go for the full four days scheduled. But before the mission, Popovich had been briefed to tell ground control that he was 'observing thunderstorms' if he felt the motion sickness that had plagued Titov and needed to return on the next opportunity. Unfortunately he actually did report seeing thunderstorms over the Gulf of Mexico, and ground control took this as a request for an early return. He was ordered down a day early, landing within a few mintutes of Nikolayev. Only on the ground was it discovered that he was willing to go the full duration, and that ground control had thought he had given the code. Recovered August 15, 1962 6:59 GMT. Landed 48:09 N 71:51 E. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 32 , 33 , 60 , 175 .
Ten Air Force pilots emerged from a simulated space cabin in which they had spent the previous month participating in a psychological test to determine how long a team of astronauts could work efficiently on a prolonged mission in space. Project Director Earl Alluisi said the experiment had "far exceeded our expectations" and that the men could have stayed in the cabin for 40 days with no difficulty. References: 16 .
North American began flight tests of the half-scale vehicle (HSTV) in Phase II-A of the Paraglider Development Program two months behind schedule. The instrumented HSTV with the paraglider predeployed was towed aloft by helicopter. Objectives of the predeployed flights were to evaluate flight performance, longitudinal and lateral control characteristics, effectiveness of control, and the flare maneuver capability of the paraglider. Despite various minor malfunctions in all five test flights (August 14, 17, 23, September 17, and October 23, 1962), test results verified the stability of the wing/vehicle combination in free flight and the adequacy of control effectiveness.
The NAA spacecraft Statement of Work was revised to include the requirements for the lunar excursion module (LEM) as well as other modifications. The LEM requirements were identical with those given in the LEM Development Statement of Work of July 24.
The command module (CM) would now be required to provide the crew with a one-day habitable environment and a survival environment for one week after touching down on land or water. In case of a landing at sea, the CM should be able to recover from any attitude and float upright with egress hatches free of water. Additional Details: LEM added to Apollo CSM Statement of Work. References: 16 .
Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) formally reviewed McDonnell's engineering mock-up of the Gemini spacecraft in St Louis. The company had begun building the mock-up in January, shortly after receiving the spacecraft contract. Mock-up review had originally been scheduled for mid-July, but informal examinations by MSC representatives, including James A Chamberlin and several astronauts, had produced some suggested changes. The review itself resulted in McDonnell's receiving 167 requests for alterations. MSC inspected the revised mock-up in November.
The second stage (S-IV) of the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle was successfully static-fired for the first time in a ten-second test at the Sacramento, Calif., facility by the Douglas Aircraft Company. References: 16 .
Carl Sagan, University of California astronomer, warned scientists at a lunar exploration conference, Blacksburg, Va., of the need for sterilization of lunar spacecraft and decontamination of Apollo crewmen, pointing out that Lunik II and Ranger IV probably had deposited terrestrial microorganisms on the moon. Even more serious, he said, was the possibility that lunar microorganisms might be brought to earth where they could multiply explosively. References: 16 .
The Department of Defense announced plans to develop a Titan III launch vehicle powered by both solid and liquid fuel rocket motors with a total thrust of over 11 million newtons (2.5 million Ibs). .Scheduled to become operational in 1965, the Titan III would be used to launch the Air Force's X-20 (Dyna Soar) manned spacecraft, as well as heavy unmanned military satellites. Martin Marietta Corporation had been selected as prime contractor for the project, at an estimated cost of between $500 million and $1 billion. At a news conference the following day, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara cited the Titan III as a major step toward overtaking the Soviet Union in various phases of military space development.
Responsibility for the design and manufacture of the reaction controls for the Apollo command module was shifted from The Marquardt Corporation to the Rocketdyne Division of NAA, with NASA concurrence. References: 16 .
The length of the Apollo service module was increased from 11 feet 8 inches to 12 feet 11 inches to provide space for additional fuel. References: 16 .
Mariner 2 was the first spacecraft to successfully flyby another planet. It was a backup for the Mariner 1 mission which failed shortly after launch to Venus. After launch and termination of the Agena first burn, the Agena-Mariner was in a 118 km altitude Earth parking orbit. The Agena second burn injected the Mariner 2 spacecraft into a geocentric escape hyperbola at 26 minutes 3 seconds after lift-off. Solar panel extension was completed about 44 minutes after launch. On 29 August 1962 cruise science experiments were turned on. A midcourse maneuver was initiated at 22:49:00 GMT on 4 September and completed at 2:45:25 GMT 5 September. On 8 September at 17:50 GMT the spacecraft suddenly lost its attitude control, which was restored by the gyroscopes 3 minutes later. The cause was unknown but may have been a collision with a small object. On October 31 the output from one solar panel deteriorated abruptly, and the science cruise instruments were turned off. A week later the panel resumed normal function and instruments were turned back on. The panel permanently failed on 15 November, but Mariner 2 was close enough to the Sun that one panel could supply adequate power. On December 14 the radiometers were turned on. Mariner 2 approached Venus from 30 degrees above the dark side of the planet, and passed below the planet at its closest distance of 34,773 km at 19:59:28 GMT 14 December 1962. After encounter, cruise mode resumed. Spacecraft perihelion occurred on 27 December at a distance of 105,464,560 km. The last transmission from Mariner 2 was received on 3 January 1963 at 07:00 GMT. Mariner 2 remains in heliocentric orbit. Scientific discoveries made by Mariner 2 included a slow retrograde rotation rate for Venus, hot surface temperatures and high surface pressures, a predominantly carbon dioxide atmosphere, continuous cloud cover with a top altitude of about 60 km, and no detectable magnetic field. It was also shown that in interplanetary space the solar wind streams continuously and the cosmic dust density is much lower than the near-Earth region. Improved estimates of Venus' mass and the value of the astronomical unit were made. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 , 296 .
A preliminary NAA report was completed on a literature search concerning fire hazards in 100 percent oxygen and oxygen-enriched atmospheres. This report showed that limited testing would be warranted. References: 16 .
KH-5. Mission failed. Parachute shrouds parted during air catch, capsule sank. Officially: Spacecraft Engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
The lifting body concept was first tested at Dryden with a plywood prototype designated the M2-F1 built in late 1962. It featured a plywood shell built by Gus Briegleb, a sailplane builder from Mirage Dry Lake, Calif., placed over a tubular frame built at Dryden. The M2-F1 was towed aloft, first behind an auto and then a C-47 more than 100 times, to validate basic lifting body stability and control characteristics. This led to establishment of the formal program which resulted in the HL-10, M2-F2, M2-F3, X-24A, and X-24B lifting bodies.
Nine industry proposals for the lunar excursion module were received from The Boeing Company, Douglas Aircraft Company, General Dynamics Corporation, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Martin-Marietta Corporation, Northrop Corporation, and Republic Aviation Corporation. NASA evaluation began the next day. Additional Details: Nine industry proposals for the Apollo lunar excursion module received. References: 16 .
Two three-month studies of an unmanned logistic system to aid astronauts on a lunar landing mission would be negotiated with three companies, NASA announced. Under a $150,000 contract, Space Technology Laboratories, Inc., would look into the feasibility of developing a general-purpose spacecraft into which varieties of payloads could be fitted. Under two $75,000 contracts, Northrop Space laboratories and Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation would study the possible cargoes that such a spacecraft might carry. NASA Centers simultaneously would study lunar logistic: trajectories, launch vehicle adaptation, lunar landing touchdown dynamics, scheduling, and use of roving vehicles on the lunar surface. References: 16 .
NASA deleted five Apollo mockups, three boilerplate spacecraft, and several ground support equipment items from the NAA contract because of funding limitations. References: 16 .
Apollo command module boilerplate model BP-1 was accepted by NASA and delivered to the NAA Engineering Development Laboratory for land and water impact tests. On September 25, BP-1 was drop-tested with good results. Earth-impact attenuation and crew shock absorption data were obtained. References: 16 .
Apollo command module boilerplate model BP-3, showing the arrangement of the cabin interior, was shipped to MSC. References: 16 .
Fire broke out in a simulated space cabin at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, Tex., on the 13th day of a 14-day experiment to determine the effects of breathing pure oxygen in a long-duration space flight. One of the two Air Force officers was seriously injured. The cause of the fire was not immediately determined. The experiment was part of a NASA program to validate the use of a 5 psia pure oxygen atmosphere for the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. References: 16 .
The Mercury-Atlas 8 (MA-8) manned orbital mission was postponed and rescheduled for September 28, 1962, to allow additional time for flight preparation. References: 483 .
NASA announced it would launch a special satellite before the end of the year 'to obtain information on possible effects of radiation on future satellites and to give the world's scientific community additional data on the artificial environment created by the radiation belt.' The 100-pound satellite would be launched from Cape Canaveral into an elliptical orbit ranging from about 170-mile perigee to 10,350-mile apogee. First 'mystery' satellite in history of space exploration was launched, according to British magazine Flight International. The magazine said the satellite orbited at a height of 113 miles and reentered the earth's atmosphere 12 days later. The satellite was listed as belonging to the U.S. Air Force, but spokesman said this was a 'scientific guess based on our assessment of previous satellite launchings.' Launching was not confirmed, and no official U.S. listing included such a satellite. References: 483 .
President John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University, Houston, Tex., where he said:
"Man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space. . . .
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
"It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency. . . ." References: 16 .
President John F. Kennedy visited the Manned Spacecraft Center and was shown exhibits including Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft hardware. References: 483 .
Donald Slayton, one of the seven chosen for the astronaut training program, was designated Coordinator of Astronaut Activities at the Manned Spacecraft Center. References: 483 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 1021-436 'On start of work on the N1 and GR-1' was issued. Following a review of the N1 project by an Academy of Sciences expert commission headed by Keldysh in July, this decree provided a detailed plan leading to a first launch by the end of 1965. Planning and drawing release for the GR-1 were completed by this date and the decree ordered test flights to begin in the third quarter of 1963. However development problems with the NK-9 engine resulted in continual delays. Finally in 1964 Korolev's GR-1 was cancelled and Yangel’s R-36 was selected for the mission. This would deprive Korolev of a vital test-bed for flight test of the N1 engines. References: 474 .
Work on the OS-1 began following a meeting between Khrushchev and chief designers at Pitsunda. Korolev was authorized to proceed immediately to upgrade the three stage N vehicle to a maximum 75 tonne payload in order to launch the station. By 1965 the mockup of the huge station had been completed. References: 84 .
NASA announced that it had completed preliminary plans for the development of the $500-million Mississippi Test Facility. The first phase of a three-phase construction program would begin in 1962 and would include four test stands for static-firing the Saturn C-5 S-IC and S-II stages; about 20 support and service buildings would be built in the first phase. A water transportation system had been selected, calling for improvement of about 15 miles of river channel and construction of about 15 miles of canals at the facility. Additional Details: Plans for Apollo Mississippi Test Facility. References: 16 .
The Apollo spacecraft weights had been apportioned within an assumed 90,000 pound limit. This weight was termed a "design allowable." A lower target weight for each module had been assigned. Achievement of the target weight would allow for increased fuel loading and therefore greater operational flexibility and mission reliability. The design allowable for the command module was 9,500 pounds; the target weight was 8,500 pounds. The service module design allowable was 11,500 pounds; the target weight was 11,000 pounds. The S-IVB adapter design allowable and target weight was 3,200 pounds. The amount of service module useful propellant was 40,300 pounds design allowable; the target weight was 37,120 pounds. The lunar excursion module design allowable was 25,500 pounds; the target weight was 24,500 pounds. References: 16 .
Release of the structural design of the Apollo command module was 65 percent complete; 100 percent release was scheduled for January 1 963. References: 16 .
MSC outlined a tentative Apollo flight plan:
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