|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1963 - Quarter 1|
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Chelomei began project work in 1963 on a Space Television Reconnaissance System (TGR). The television apparatus was developed by VNII-380 GKRE (I A Rosselevich) and TsNII Kometa MRP (A I Savin). Savin had developed the original draft project, but Chelomei was given overall control. But the project had no sound scientific research basis at that point - it was not advanced enough for a draft project. Work was abandoned and no such system would be put into operation until the Yantar 4KS1 of the 1980's.
The main body of the vehicle was intended contain coloured chemicals for release during flight to produce a visible trail. This was to allow the wind and atmospheric conditions to be observed along the flight path. (primarily wind shear at altitudes near apogee). Ground observers were to determine the effect of high altitude winds on the chemical trail. The nose was designed to hold a small one watt radio telemetry transmitter and other electronic instruments.
Only four Martlet Ones were manufactured. Two were flown during the initial test series and the remaining two were retired. The first Martlet One was launched on January 21, 1963. It was launched at an elevation of 80 degrees and flew for 145 seconds. During its flight it rose to an altitude of 26 km and landed 11 km down range. The second Martlet One was launched on February 1, 1963 and flew for 146 seconds. It rose to an altitude of 27 km and landed about 11 km down range. These two flights were sufficient to prove the launch concept. The initial test series also included several wooden test slugs.
The Martlet 1 series was retired in favour of the much improved Martlet 2 family of vehicles. Also, the cost of installation of the gun and the ground support infrastructure left precious little funds for an extensive initial test series.
MARTLET ONE SPECIFICATIONS
by Richard K Graf
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 15-5 'On creation of the space and missile cosmodrome at NIIP-51 at Mirniy/Plesetsk' was issued. References: 474 .
Tentative plans were made by NASA to extend the Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA-9) flight from 18 to 22 orbits. References: 483 .
MSC and OMSF agreed that an unmanned Apollo spacecraft must be flown on the Saturn C-1 before a manned flight. SA-10 was scheduled to be the unmanned flight and SA-111, the first manned mission. References: 16 .
In the event Mercury-Atlas 10 (MA-10) were flown, 15B would be the prime spacecraft. Modifications were started immediately with respect to the hand controller rigging procedures, pitch and yaw control valves, and other technical changes. References: 483 .
NASA Administrator James E. Webb and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara signed a new agreement on Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA management responsibilities in the Cape Canaveral area. The Air Force would continue as single manager of the Atlantic Missile Range and host agency at the 15,000-acre Cape Canaveral launch area. NASA's Launch Operations Center would manage and serve as host agency at the Merritt Island Launch Area, north and west of existing DOD installations. DOD and NASA would each be responsible for their own logistics and administration in their respective areas. Specific mission functions - e.g., preparation, checkout, launch, test evaluation - would be performed by each agency in its own behalf, regardless of location. DOD retained certain fundamental range functions, including scheduling, flight safety, search and rescue operations, and downrange airlift and station operation.
Asked by a Congressional committee if NASA planned another Mercury flight after MA-9, Dr Robert C. Seamans stated, in effect, that schedules for the original Mercury program and the 1-day orbital effort were presumed to be completed in fiscal year 1963. If sufficient test data were not accumulated in the MA-9 flight, backup launch vehicles and spacecraft were available to fulfill requirements. References: 483 .
NASA's Flight Research Center (FRC) announced the award of a $3.61 million contract to Bell Aerosystems Company of Bell Aerospace Corporation for the design and construction of two manned lunar landing research vehicles. The vehicles would be able to take off and land under their own power, reach an altitude of about 1,220 meters (4,000 feet), hover, and fly horizontally. A fan turbojet engine would supply a constant upward push of five-sixths the weight of the vehicle to simulate the one-sixth gravity of the lunar surface. Tests would be conducted at FRC. References: 16 .
Two aerodynamic strakes were added to the CM to eliminate the danger of a hypersonic apex-forward trim point on reentry. (During a high-altitude launch escape system (LES) abort, the crew would undergo excessive g forces if the CM were to trim apex forward. During a low-altitude abort, there was the potential problem of the apex cover not clearing the CM. The strakes, located in the yaw plane, had a maximum span of one foot and resulted in significant weight penalties. Additional Details: Two aerodynamic strakes added to Apollo CM. References: 16 .
The gun-launched rocket was shot at an elevation of 80 degrees and flew for 145 seconds. During its flight it rose to an altitude of 26 km and landed 11 km down range.
Addressing an Institute of Aerospace Science meeting in New York, George von Tiesenhausen, Chief of Future Studies at NASA's Launch Operations Center, stated that by 1970 the United States would need an orbiting space station to launch and repair spacecraft. The station could also serve as a manned scientific laboratory. In describing the 91-m-long, 10-m-diameter structure, von Tiesenhausen said that the station could be launched in two sections using Saturn C-5 vehicles. The sections would be joined once in orbit.
MSC announced new assignments for the seven original astronauts: L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., and Alan B. Shepard, Jr., would be responsible for the remaining pilot phases of Project Mercury; Virgil I. Grissom would specialize in Project Gemini; John H. Glenn, Jr., would concentrate on Project Apollo; M. Scott Carpenter would cover lunar excursion training; and Walter M. Schirra, Jr., would be responsible for Gemini and Apollo operations and training. As Coordinator for Astronaut Activities, Donald K. Slayton would maintain overall supervision of astronaut duties.
Specialty areas for the second generation were: trainers and simulators, Neil A. Armstrong; boosters, Frank Borman; cockpit layout and systems integration, Charles Conrad, Jr.; recovery system, James A. Lovell, Jr.; guidance and navigation, James A. McDivitt; electrical, sequential, and mission planning, Elliot M. See, Jr.; communications, instrumentation, and range integration, Thomas P. Stafford; flight control systems, Edward H. White II; and environmental control systems, personal equipment, and survival equipment, John W. Young. References: 16 .
Specialty assignments were announced by the Manned Spacecraft Center for its astronaut team: L. Gordon Cooper, Alan B. Shepard, pilot phases of Project Mercury; Virgil I. Grissom, Project Gemini; John H. Glenn, Project Apollo; M. Scott Carpenter, lunar excursion training; Walter M. Schirra, Gemini and Apollo operations and training; Donald K. Slayton, remained in duties assigned in September 1962 as Coordinator of Astronaut Activities. These assignments superseded those of July 1959. Assignments of the new flight-crew members selected on September 17, 1962, were as follows: Neil A. Armstrong, trainers and simulators; Frank Borman, boosters; Charles Conrad, cockpit layout and systems integration; James A. Lovell, recovery systems; James A. McDivitt, guidance and navigation; Elliott M. See, electrical, sequential, and mission planning; Thomas P. Stafford, communications, instrumentation, and range integration; Edward H. White, flight control systems; John W. Young, environmental control systems, personal and survival equipment. References: 483 .
NASA announced the selection of the Philco Corporation as prime contractor for the Mission Control Center (MCC) at MSC. To be operational in mid-1964, MCC would link the spacecraft with ground controllers at MSC through the worldwide tracking network. References: 16 .
Grumman and NASA announced the selection of four companies as major LEM subcontractors:
After conceptual planning and meetings with engineers from Bell Aerosystems, Buffalo, NY, a company with experience in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, NASA issued Bell a $50,000 study contract in December 1961. Bell had independently conceived a similar, free-flying simulator, and out of this study came the NASA Headquarters' endorsement of the LLRV concept, resulting in a $3.6 million production contract awarded to Bell for delivery of the first of two vehicles for flight studies at the FRC within 14 months.
The second Martlet One flew for 146 seconds. It rose to an altitude of 27 km and landed about 11 km down range. These two flights were sufficient to prove the launch concept. The initial test series also included several wooden test slugs.
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Soyuz 'leaves drafting boards'. References: 26 .
Apparent causes were instabilities in the torque sensor circuit and the pitch-free floating gyro device. The upper stages and payload broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere over the Pacific. References: 5 , 64 , 65 .
First all SAC launch
Titan II development flight N-16 was launched from Cape Canaveral. This was the eleventh Titan II flight and the third to use increased pressure in the propellant tanks of stage I to reduce longitudinal oscillations (POGO). This was successful in reducing POGO levels to about 0.5 g, more than satisfactory from the standpoint of the weapon system. The Air Force was reluctant to expend weapon system funds in an effort to reduce POGO still further to the 0.25-g level NASA regarded as the maximum acceptable for manned flight.
NASA announced a simplified terminology for the Saturn booster series: Saturn C-1 became "Saturn I," Saturn C-1B became "Saturn IB," and Saturn C-5 became "Saturn V." References: 16 .
Colonel Kenneth W Schultz of Headquarters, Air Force Office of Development Planning, outlined Department of Defense objectives in the Gemini program at the first meeting of the Gemini Program Planning Board. He defined three general objectives: conducting orbital experiments related to such possible future missions as the inspection and interception of both cooperative and passive or noncooperative objects in space under a variety of conditions, logistic support of a manned orbiting laboratory, and photo reconnaissance from orbit; gaining military experience and training in all aspects of manned space flight; and assessing the relationship between man and machine in the areas of potential military missions.
Decree 24 'On the Manufacture of 'Vostok' Objects --manufacture of Vostok spacecraft in 1963' was issued. References: 474 .
NASA selected the Marion Power Shovel Company to design and build the crawler-transport, a device to haul the Apollo space vehicle (Saturn V, complete with spacecraft and associated launch equipment) from the Vertical Assembly Building to the Merritt Island, Fla., launch pad, a distance of about 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles). The crawler would be 39.6 meters (130 feet) long, 35 meters (115 feet) wide, and 6 meters (20 feet) high, and would weight 2.5 million kilograms (5.5 million pounds). NASA planned to buy two crawlers at a cost of $4 to 5 million each. Formal negotiations began on February 20 and the contract was signed on March 29. References: 16 .
Experimental commsat; lost contact following orbital injection. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
First West Coast launch of a Titan 2 ICBM from an underground silo. References: 88 .
At a meeting of the MSC-MSFC Flight Mechanics Panel, it was agreed that Marshall would investigate "engine-out" capability (i.e., the vehicle's performance should one of its engines fail) for use in abort studies or alternative missions. Not all Saturn I, IB, and V missions included this engine-out capability. Also, the panel decided that the launch escape system would be jettisoned ten seconds after S-IV ignition on Saturn I launch vehicles. References: 16 .
The Smithsonian Institution received the Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft (MA-6 Glenn flight) in a formal presentation ceremony from Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, the NASA Deputy Administrator. Astronaut John Glenn presented his flight suit, boots, gloves, and a small American flag that he carried on the mission. References: 483 .
The MSC Lunar Surface Experiments Panel held its first meeting. This group was formed to study and evaluate lunar surface experiments and the adaptability of Surveyor and other unmanned probes for use with manned missions. References: 16 .
First use of a Thrust-Augmented-Thor/Agena space booster at Vandenberg. References: 88 .
MSC proposed building a manned space station using hardware already under development for the Apollo program. MSC's plan called for an orbiting station with a capacity for 18 crewmen. Manning would be accomplished through successive flights of six-man, modified Apollo-type spacecraft that would rendezvous with the station in orbit.
Mercury spacecraft 9A, configured for manned 1-day mission requirements, completed Project Orbit Run 110. For this test, only the reaction control system was exercised; as a result of the run, several modifications were made involving pressurization and fuel systems. References: 483 .
Korolev completed the draft project in March 1963. The modular design had three stages, each with three nozzles.
NASA announced an American agreement with Australia, signed on February 26, that permitted the space agency to build and operate several new tracking stations "down under." A key link in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's network of Deep Space Instrumentation Facilities would be constructed in Tidbinbilla Valley, 18 kilometers (11 miles) southwest of Canberra. Equipment at this site included a 26-meter (85-foot) parabolic dish antenna and electronic equipment for transmitting, receiving, and processing radio signals from spacecraft. Tracking stations would be built also at Carnarvon and Darwin. References: 16 .
North American completed construction of Apollo boilerplate (BP) 9, consisting of launch escape tower and CSM. It was delivered to MSC on March 18, where dynamic testing on the vehicle began two days later. On April 8, BP-9 was sent to MSFC for compatibility tests with the Saturn I launch vehicle. References: 16 .
Final design approval for Soyuz A spacecraft for earth orbit and circumlunar flight using orbital rendezvous, docking, and refuelling technques. Except for change of orbital module from cylindrical to spherical design, and changes to rendezvous radar tower arrangement, this design was essentially identical to the Soyuz 7K-OK that flew three years later. Additional Details: Korolev approves draft plan for 'Soyuz Complex'. References: 23 .
Grumman completed its first "fire-in-the-hole" model test. Even though preliminary data agreed with predicted values, they nonetheless planned to have a support contractor, the Martin Company, verify the findings. References: 16 .
The first stage of the Saturn SA-5 launch vehicle was static fired at MSFC for 144.44 seconds in the first long-duration test for a Block II S-1. The cluster of eight H-1 engines produced 680 thousand kilograms (1.5 million pounds) of thrust. An analysis disclosed anomalies in the propulsion system. In a final qualification test two weeks later, when the engines were fired for 143.47 seconds, the propulsion problems had been corrected. References: 16 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Homer E. Newell, Director of NASA's Office of Space Sciences, summarized results of studies by Langley Research Center and Space Technology Laboratories on an unmanned lunar orbiter spacecraft. These studies had been prompted by questions of the reliability and photographic capabilities of such spacecraft. Both studies indicated that, on a five-shot program, the probability was 0.93 for one and 0.81 for two successful missions; they also confirmed that the spacecraft would be capable of photographing a landed Surveyor to assist in Apollo site verification. References: 16 .
James A Chamberlin was reassigned from Manager of Project Gemini to Senior Engineering Advisor to Robert R Gilruth, Director of Manned Spacecraft Center. Charles W Mathews was reassigned from Chief, Spacecraft Technology Division, to Acting Manager of Project Gemini.
Aside from the baseline Soyuz-B circumlunar mission, the draft project also proposed the Soyuz-P space interceptor and the Soyuz-R command-reconnaissance spacecraft. The military projects Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R were ‘subcontracted’ to OKB-1 Filial Number 3, based in Samara. The Soyuz B circumlunar version did not receive the same level of financial support.
First flight of Raketoplan Chelomei, launched at 16:40 Moscow Time. The reentry vehicle is destroyed during reentry. Maximum Altitude - 400 km. Maximum Speed - 14,400 kph. Distance of free flight - 1900 km. References: 98 , 290 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On approval of work on the Soyuz complex' was issued. References: 474 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On preparation of proposals on launches of Vostok spacecraft' was issued. References: 474 .
MSC announced the beginning of CM environmental control system tests at the AiResearch Manufacturing Company simulating prelaunch, ascent, orbital, and reentry pressure effects. Earlier in the month, analysis had indicated that the CM interior temperature could be maintained between 294 K (70 degrees F) and 300 K (80 degrees F) during all flight operations, although prelaunch temperatures might rise to a maximum of 302 K (84 degrees F). References: 16 .
Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., asked Abraham Hyatt of Headquarters to organize a task team to study the concept of a Manned Earth Orbiting Laboratory. Seamans pointed out that such a laboratory was under consideration by several government agencies and that NASA and the Department of Defense were at that time supporting a number of advanced feasibility studies. He said that such a laboratory bore a very heavy interrelationship between manned space flight, space sciences, and advanced research and technology and that NASA's top management was faced with the decision whether to initiate hardware development. Hyatt's aft's team thus must examine broadly the needs of an orbiting laboratory from NASA's viewpoint, as well as that of outside agencies, and the operational and scientific factors impinging on any possible decision to undertake hardware development.
Fourth suborbital test of Saturn I. The S-I Saturn stage reached an altitude of 129 kilometers (80 statute miles) and a peak velocity of 5,906 kilometers (3,660 miles) per hour. This was the last of four successful tests for the first stage of the Saturn I vehicle. After 100 seconds of flight, No. 5 of the booster's eight engines was cut off by a preset timer. That engine's propellants were rerouted to the remaining seven, which continued to burn. This experiment confirmed the "engine-out" capability that MSFC engineers had designed into the Saturn I. References: 5 , 16 .
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