|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1962 - Quarter 4|
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Project SAINT satellite interceptor project was cut back, leading to its eventually cancellation. The spacecraft would have rendezvoused with hostile satellites, inspected them with television cameras, and then disabled them.
Tropical storm 'Daisy' was studied by Mercury operations activities for its possible effects on the Mercury-Atlas 8 (MA-8) mission, but flight preparations continued. References: 483 .
The Sigma 7 spacecraft with Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., as pilot was launched into orbit by a Mercury-Atlas vehicle from Atlantic Missile Range. In the most successful American manned space flight to date, Schirra traveled nearly six orbits, returning to earth at a predetermined point in the Pacific Ocean 9 hours, 13 minutes after liftoff. Within 40 minutes after landing, he and his spacecraft were safely aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kearsarge. Schirra attempted and achieved a nearly perfect mission by sticking rigorously to mission plan. Additional Details: Mercury 8. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 33 , 59 , 60 , 278 .
Rocketdyne Division successfully completed the first full-duration (250-seconds) static firing of the J-2 engine. References: 16 .
A U.S. Air Force spokesman, Lt. Colonel Albert C. Trakowski, announced that special instruments on unidentified military test satellites had confirmed the danger that astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., could have been killed if his MA-8 space flight had taken him above a 400-mile altitude. The artificial radiation belt, created by the U.S. high altitude nuclear test in July, sharply increases in density above 400-miles altitude at the geomagnetic equator and reaches peak intensities of 100 to 1,000 times normal levels at altitudes above 1,000 miles. References: 483 .
KH-5; film capsule recovered 4.1 days later. 50% of stellar terrain film was blank due to shutter malfunction. Officially: Spacecraft Engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
State Committee for Defence Technology (GKOT) Decree 640/06 'On start of work on the GR-1' was issued. References: 474 .
The third attempt to launch a nuclear warhead using a Thor IRBM. At 86 seconds after launch a booster failure occurred and the missile began tumbling. Range safety destroyed the errant booster at 156 seconds after launch. Some radioactive fallout from the warhead was detected on Johnston Atoll.
NASA announced that five additional Ranger spacecraft would be added to the lunar exploration program, raising the total to 14 to be launched through 1964. References: 16 .
The analysis of scientific measurements made by the Ranger III lunar probe showed that gamma-ray intensity in interplanetary space was ten times greater than expected, NASA reported. Measurements were taken by gamma-ray spectrometers on Ranger III after it was launched on January 26. NASA scientists, however, did not believe that gamma-ray intensity was "great enough to require any changes in the design of radiation shielding for manned spacecraft." References: 16 .
The Ranger V lunar probe was launched from Atlantic Missile Range by an Atlas-Agena B launch vehicle. The Agena B stage attained parking orbit and 25 minutes later reignited to send Ranger V toward the moon. A malfunction in the Agena B guidance system resulted in excessive spacecraft velocity. The spacecraft's solar cells did not provide power and reversed command signals caused the telemetry antenna to lose earth acquisition. This made reception of the flight-path correction signal impossible and rendering its television cameras useless. Reversed command signals caused the telemetry antenna to lose earth acquisition, and mid-course correction was not possible. The spacecraft missed the Moon by 725 km and went into solar orbit. Gamma-ray data were collected for 4 hours prior to the loss of power. Ranger V was to have relayed television pictures of the lunar surface and rough-landed an instrumented capsule containing a seismometer. The spacecraft was tracked for 8 hours, 44 minutes, before its small reserve battery went dead. Additional Details: Ranger 5. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 278 , 296 .
Test of the Los Alamos XW-50X1 60 kiloton nuclear warhead. Launch vehicle was a solid propellant XM-33 Strypi rocket with a Recruit booster stage. The warhead detonated at an altitude of 147 km, 66 km from Johnston Island. Observers on the island saw a green and blue circular region surrounded by a red ring. This faded in less than a minute. Blue-green streamers and pink striations developed that lasted half an hour. At this yield, even with the high altitude, extensive disruption of communications were not reported.
At the request of NASA, about 300 pieces of Gemini ground support equipment were examined by NAA engineers. It appeared that about 190 items would be usable on the Apollo program. References: 16 .
Faced by opposition of mode selection by Jerome Wiesner, Kennedy's science adviser, NASA let contracts to McDonnell and STL for direct two-man flight modes. Both concluded that it was feasible but would require LH2/LOX stages for descent and ascent from lunar surface, which NASA/STG adamantly opposed. This was also the last stab - for the time being - at 'lunar Gemini'.
The Office of Systems under NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight completed a manned lunar landing mode comparison embodying the most recent studies by contractors and NASA Centers. The report was the outgrowth of the decision announced by NASA on July 11 to continue studies on lunar landing modes while basing planning and procurement primarily on the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) technique. Additional Details: Final manned lunar landing mode report. References: 16 .
Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. The spacecraft broke into many pieces, some of which apparently remained in Earth orbit for a few days. This occurred during the Cuban missile crisis and was picked up by U.S. military radar installations, who originally feared it might by the start of a Soviet nuclear attack. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 65 , 118 , 296 .
On the fourth attempt, a Thor IRBM was used to launch a Mk 4 Re-entry Vehicle containing a 186 kg W-50 nuclear warhead of either 200 or 400 kilotons yield. The detonation occurred at an altitude of 50 km, 31 km SSW of Johnston Atoll. A fireball formed, the colourful afterglow continuing for 30 minutes of the explosion. At this altitude the extensive disruption of the ionosphere seen in later explosions did not occur.
Flight missions of the Apollo spacecraft were to be numerically identified in the future according to the following scheme :
Pad aborts: PA-1, PA-2, etc.
Missions using Little Joe II launch vehicles: A-001, A-002, etc. Missions using Saturn C-1 launch vehicles: A-101, A-102, etc. Missions using Saturn C-1B launch vehicles: A-201, A-202, etc. Missions using Saturn C-5 launch vehicles: A-501, A-502, etc.
The 'A' denoted Apollo, the first digit stood for launch vehicle type or series, and the last two digits designated the order of Apollo spacecraft flights within a vehicle series. References: 16 .
NASA announced the signing of a contract with the Space and Information Systems Division of NAA for the development and production of the second stage (S-II) of the Saturn C-5 launch vehicle. The $319.9-million contract, under the direction of Marshall Space Flight Center, covered the production of nine live flight stages, one inert flight stage, and several ground-test units for the advanced Saturn launch vehicle. NAA had been selected on September 11, 1961, to develop the S-II. References: 16 .
Elimination of the requirement for personal parachutes nullified consideration of a command module (CM) blowout emergency escape hatch. A set of quick-acting latches for the inward-opening crew hatch would be needed, however, to provide a means of egress following a forced landing. The latches would be operable from outside as well as inside the pressure vessel. Outside hardware for securing the ablative panel over the crew door would be required as well as a method of releasing the panel from inside the CM. References: 16 .
NASA announced that the Douglas Aircraft Company had been awarded a $2.25million contract to modify the S-IVB stage for use in the Saturn C- 1B program. References: 16 .
The feasibility of using the Gemini fuel cell for the lunar excursion module was studied by NAA. However, because of modifications to meet Apollo control and auxiliary requirements, the much lighter Gemini system would ultimately weigh about as much as the Apollo fuel cell. In addition, the Gemini fuel cell schedule would slip if the system had to be adapted to the Apollo mission. References: 16 .
NAA completed the firm-cost proposal for the definitive Apollo program and submitted it to NASA. MSC had reviewed the contract package and negotiated a program plan position with NAA. References: 16 .
At Khrushchev's decision Chelomei takes over Lavochkin's OKB-301 and Myasishchev's OKB-23. Lavochkin had built objects 205, 207, 400 (SA-1,2,5); Chelomei UR-96 ABM-1. References: 70 .
A Thor IRBM was used to launch a Mk 4 Reentry Vehicle containing a 186 kg W-50 nuclear warhead of either 200 or 400 kilotons yield. The detonation occurred at an altitude of 98 km, 69 km SSW of Johnston Atoll, and resulted in dramatic aurora-like effects visible as far away as Hawaii. More notably, the explosion had a massive effect on the ionosphere which disrupted radio communications over the entire central Pacific for three hours.
Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Sixty-one radio transmissions were held in which a large amount of data was collected. On March 21, 1963, when the spacecraft was at a distance of 106 million km communications ceased, possibly due to a malfunction in the spacecraft orientation system. Mars 1 closest approach to Mars occurred on June 19, 1963 at a distance of approximately 193,000 km, after which the spacecraft entered a heliocentric orbit. Announced mission: Prolonged exploration of outer space during flight to the planet Mars; establishment of inter-planetary radio communications; photgraphing of the planet Mars and subsquent radio-transmission to Earth of the photographs of the surface of Mars thus obtained. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 118 , 296 .
Nuclear Explosion in Semipalatinsk. References: 98 .
Enos, the 6-year-old chimpanzee who made a two-orbit flight around the earth aboard the Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5) spacecraft (November 29, 1961, entry) died at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The chimpanzee had been under night and day observation and treatment for 2 months before his death. He was afflicted with shigella dysentary, a type resistant to antibiotics, and this caused his death. Officials at the Air Medical Research Laboratory stated that his illness and death were in no way related to his orbital flight the year before. References: 483 .
Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. Although the escape stage and payload reached orbit, the strong third stage vibrations shook a fuse loose from its mount in the main nozzle of the escape stage Block L's engine. The engine could not be ignited and remained in Earth orbit. It decayed about two months after insertion. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 65 , 118 , 296 .
This was a DOD sponsored live test of the Nike Hercules air defense missile system. The low-kiloton range W-31 warhead detonated at 21 km altitude 3 km SSW of Johnston Atoll. This was the last U.S. atmospheric test. On Johnston Island an intense white flash was accompanied by a strong heat pulse. A yellow-orange disc formed, slowly changing to a purple toroid which faded from view after several minutes.
NASA announced that the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation had been selected to build the lunar excursion module of the three-man Apollo spacecraft under the direction of MSC. The contract, still to be negotiated, was expected to be worth about $350 million, with estimates as high as $1 billion by the time the project would be completed. Additional Details: Selection of Grumman to build the Apollo lunar excursion module. References: 16 .
The Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) and the Raytheon Company came to terms on the definitive contract for the Apollo spacecraft guidance computer. References: 16 .
Engine only produced 35% power. Emergency landing at Mud Lake. Aircraft seriously damaged when gear failed. McKay injured. Maximum Speed - 1640 kph. Maximum Altitude - 16450 m. References: 38 , 49 , 97 .
The 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.) References: 16 .
Third suborbital test of Saturn I. Saturn-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. References: 5 , 16 .
Four 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. References: 16 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
The extended range Nike Zeus was first tested in ASAT mode from White Sands against a point in space. After several tests with good results, McNamara authorised the Army to complete the ASAT facility at Kwajalein Atoll, including storage of the system's nuclear warheads.
The draft project for a versatile manned spacecraft included the Soyuz-A circumlunar spacecraft, the military Soyuz-P fighter and Soyuz-R reconn bird.
The 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. References: 16 .
The 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. References: 16 .
NASA 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. 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." References: 16 .
The first static firing of the Apollo tower jettison motor, under development by Thiokol Chemical Corporation, was successfully performed. References: 16 .
Owen E. Maynard, Head of MSC's Spacecraft Integration Branch, reported on his preliminary investigation of the feasibility of modifying Apollo spacecraft systems to achieve a 100-day Earth- orbital capability. His investigation examined four basic areas: (1) mission, propulsion, and flight time; (2) rendezvous, reentry, and landing; (3) human factors; and (4) spacecraft command and communications. Although modifications to some systems might be extensive- and would involve a considerable weight increase for the vehicle-such a mission using Apollo hardware was indeed feasible.
MSC researchers compiled a preliminary statement of work for a manned space station study program in anticipation of study contracts to be let to industry for a supportive study. The study requirements outlined the general scope of such investigations and suggested guidelines for research areas such as configurations, onboard spacecraft systems, and operational techniques. Ideally, studies by aerospace companies would help NASA formulate a logical approach for a space station program and how it might be implemented. Throughout the study, an overall objective would be simplicity: no artificial gravity and maximum use of existing launch vehicles and spacecraft systems to achieve the earliest possible launch date.
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Titan II flight N-11, the eighth in a series being conducted by the Air Force to develop the weapon system, was launched from Cape Canaveral. It carried a design change intended to reduce the amplitude of longitudinal oscillations which had appeared during first stage operation on all seven previous Titan II flights. This phenomenon, which subsequently became known as POGO, generated g-forces as high as nine in the first stage and over three at the position on the missile corresponding to the location of the spacecraft on the Gemini launch vehicle. Fearing the potentially adverse effect on astronaut performance of such superimposed g-forces, NASA established 0.25g at 11 cycles per second as the maximum level tolerable for Gemini flights. As a first try at solving the POGO problem, Titan II N-11 carried standpipes in each leg of the stage I oxidizer feed lines to interrupt the coupling between the missile's structure and its propulsion system. This coupling was presumed to be the cause of the instability. Postflight analysis, however, revealed that the POGO fix was unsuccessful; longitudinal oscillation had actually been multiplied by a factor of two.
North 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. References: 16 .
North American's Rocketdyne Division completed the first test firings of the CM reaction control engines. References: 16 .
North 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. References: 16 .
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