|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1963 - Quarter 3|
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North American shipped Apollo CM boilerplate 6 and its ground support equipment to WSMR. References: 16 .
Aero Spacelines' "Pregnant Guppy," a modified Boeing Stratocruiser, won airworthiness certification by the Federal Aviation Agency. The aircraft would be used to transport major Apollo spacecraft and launch vehicle components. References: 16 .
Space Technology Laboratories received Grumman's go-ahead to develop the parallel descent engine for the LEM. At the same time, Grumman ordered Bell Aerosystems Company to proceed with the LEM ascent engine. The contracts were estimated at $18,742,820 and $11,205,415, respectively. References: 16 .
The Marquardt Corporation began testing the prototype engine for the SM reaction control system. Preliminary data showed a specific impulse slightly less than 300 seconds. References: 16 .
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. References: 93 .
MSC had received 271 applications for the astronaut program. Seventy-one were military pilots (one from the Army, 34 from the Navy, 26 from the Air Force, and 10 from the Marines). Of the 200 civilians applying, three were women. References: 16 .
The Little Joe II qualification test vehicle was shipped from the General Dynamics Convair plant to WSMR, where the test launch was scheduled for August. References: 16 .
Decree 'On adoption into armaments of the R-12U, R-14U, and R-16U shaft versions' was issued. References: 474 .
At Seattle, five men began a 30-day engineering test of life support systems for a manned space station in The Boeing Company space chamber. The system, designed and built for NASA's Office of Advanced Research and Technology, was the nation's first to include all life-support equipment for a multimanned, long-duration space mission (including environmental control, waste disposal, and crew hygiene and food techniques). In addition to the life support equipment, a number of crew tests simulated specific problems of space flight. Five days later, however, the simulated mission was halted because of a faulty reactor tank.
North American reported that Lockheed Propulsion Company had successfully completed development testing of the launch escape system pitch control motor. References: 16 .
Grumman selected Pratt and Whitney to develop fuel cells for the LEM. Current LEM design called for three cells, supplemented by a battery for power during peak consumption beyond what the cells could deliver. Grumman and Pratt and Whitney completed contract negotiations on August 27, and MSC issued a letter go-ahead on September 5. Including fees and royalties, the contract was worth $9.411 million. References: 16 .
Grumman directed the Marquardt Corporation to begin development of the LEM reaction control system thrusters. Negotiations had begun on March 11 on the definitive subcontract, a cost-plus-incentive-fee type with a total estimated cost of $10,871,186. References: 16 .
Maximum Speed - 5969 kph. Maximum Altitude - 106010 m. Astronaut wings flight. 80 cm diameter balloon dragged on 30 m line to measure air density. First X-15 astronaut flight (FAI definition); fourth astronaut wings flight (USAF definition). References: 33 , 38 , 49 , 97 .
NASA launched a Scout rocket with a nose cone of experimental heatshield material from Wallops Island, Va. The rocket was intentionally destroyed when it deviated from its course a few seconds after liftoff. The nose cone had been expected to reenter the atmosphere at 27,934 kilometers (18,600 miles) per hour to test the material's thermal performance under heating loads near those of a lunar reentry. References: 5 , 16 , 126 .
George E. Mueller, Vice President for Research and Development of Space Technology Laboratories, was named NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight to succeed D. Brainerd Holmes, effective September 1. References: 16 .
Grumman authorized Hamilton Standard to begin development of the environmental control system (ECS) for the LEM. The cost-plus-incentive-fee contract was valued at $8,371,465. The parts of the ECS to be supplied by Hamilton Standard were specified by Grumman. References: 16 .
At the request of NASA Hq, MSC contracted with North American to determine what engineering modifications to the basic Apollo spacecraft would be required to extend that vehicle's mission capabilities to a 100-day orbital lifetime. Additional Details: Modifications to the basic Apollo spacecraft to extend capabilities to a 100-day orbital lifetime..
Suborbital. References: 5 .
KH-6. Third and final KH-6 mission (LANYARD). Mission was successful but image quality was poor. Officially: Spacecraft Engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
North American asked MSC if Grumman was designing the LEM to have a thrusting capability with the CSM attached and, if not, did NASA intend to require the additional effort by Grumman to provide this capability. North American had been proceeding on the assumption that, should the service propulsion system (SPS) fail during translunar flight, the LEM would make any course corrections needed to ensure a safe return trajectory. Additional Details: Grumman to design the LEM to have a thrusting capability with the Apollo CSM attached. References: 16 .
In what was to have been an acceptance test, the Douglas Aircraft Company static fired the first Saturn S-IV flight stage at Sacramento, Calif. An indication of fire in the engine area forced technicians to shut down the stage after little more than one minute's firing. A week later the acceptance test was repeated, this time without incident, when the vehicle was fired for over seven minutes. (The stage became part of the SA-5 launch vehicle, the first complete Saturn I to fly.) References: 16 .
Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 216 m. References: 439 .
NASA and the DOD concluded a joint agreement to coordinate all advanced space exploration studies and any actual programs undertaken in the area of a manned orbital research station. The two agencies agreed that, to the greatest extent possible, future requirements in this area should be encompassed in a single project.
Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 267 m. References: 439 .
Titan II development flight N-24 was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range. This was the first of five flight tests in the Gemini malfunction detection system (MDS) piggyback series. All MDS parameters were lost 81 seconds after liftoff because of a short circuit in the MDS. Operation in the second flight (N-25 on November 1) was normal except for two minor instrumentation problems. Three more test flights (N-29 on December 12, 1963; N-31 on January 15, 1964; and N-33 on March 23, 1964) verified the performance of the Gemini MDS under actual conditions of flight environment and engine operation.
Unofficial world altitude record. Maximum Speed - 6105 kph. Maximum Altitude - 107960 m. Second X-15 astronaut flight (FAI definition); fifth astronaut wings flight (USAF definition). References: 33 , 38 , 49 , 97 .
The Little Joe II qualification test vehicle was launched from White Sands Missile Range, N Mexico. Its objectives were to prove the Little Joe's capability as an Apollo spacecraft test vehicle and to determine base pressures and heating on the missile. These aims were achieved. The lone failure was a malfunction in the destruct system. References: 16 .
Decree 'On formation of NIIP-53 at Angara' was issued. References: 474 .
NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., approved the Lunar Orbiter program. Objectives of the program were reconnaissance of the moon's topography, investigation of its environment, and collection of selenodetic information.
The document called for five flight and three test articles. The Lunar Orbiter spacecraft would be capable of photographing the moon from a distance of 22 miles above the surface. Overall cost of the program was estimated at between $150 and $200 million. References: 16 .
Washington-to-Moscow hot line communications link opens, designed to reduce risk of accidental war
Grumman built a full-scale cardboard model of the LEM to aid in studying problems of cockpit geometry, specifically the arrangement of display panels. This mockup was reviewed by MSC astronauts and the layout of the cockpit was revised according to some of their suggestions.
Also Grumman reported that a preliminary analysis showed the reaction control system plume heating of the LEM landing gear was not a severe problem. (This difficulty had been greatly alleviated by the change from five to four landing legs on the vehicle. References: 16 .
Gemini Project Office (GPO) reported that it was investigating the use of a parasail and landing rocket system to enable the Gemini spacecraft to make land landings. Major system components were the parasail, drogue parachute, retrorocket, control system, and landing rocket. Unlike the conventional parachute, the parasail was capable of controlled gliding and turning. Landing rockets, fired just before touchdown, reduced the spacecraft terminate rate of descent to between 8 and 11 feet per second. Research and development testing was being conducted by the Landing and Impact System Section of Systems Evaluation and Development Division at Manned Spacecraft Center, while McDonnell had just completed a limited study of the advantages and disadvantages, including time required, of incorporating the new landing system on the spacecraft. GPO briefed NASA Headquarters on the system September 6, when it was decided that no further action would be taken on the parasail.
MSC reported that design of the control and displays panel for the CM was about 90 percent complete. North American was expected to release the design by September 20. Qualification testing of the panels would begin around December 1. References: 16 .
This L3 design was a 200 tonne direct-lander requiring three launches of his giant N1 rocket and assembled in low earth orbit.
The Martlet 3A gun-launched rocket program began in the spring of 1963 with test flights beginning in September. Early Martlet 3A test flights were less then successful. At launch loads of 5000-6000 g’s the rocket motor fuel grain would fail.The Martlet 3A set a world record as the largest rocket launched from a gun.
At El Centro, Calif., CM boilerplate (BP) 3, a parachute test vehicle, was destroyed during tests simulating the new BP-6 configuration (without strakes or apex cover). Drogue parachute descent, disconnect, and pilot mortar fire appeared normal. However, one pilot parachute was cut by contact with the vehicle and its main parachute did not deploy. Because of harness damage, the remaining two main parachutes failed while reefed. Investigation of the BP-3 failure resulting in rigging and design changes on BP-6 and BP-19. References: 16 .
Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 4,393 m. References: 439 .
NASA announced that, in the future, unmanned lunar landing spacecraft e.g., Rangers and Surveyors) will be assembled in "clean rooms" and treated with germ-killing substances to reduce the number of microbes on exposed surfaces. These sterilization procedures, less stringent than earlier methods, were intended to prevent contamination of the lunar surface and, at the same time, avoid damage to sensitive electronic components. Heat sterilization was suspected as one of the reasons for the failure of Ranger spacecraft. References: 16 .
Decree 999-347 'On creation or the space and missile cosmodrome at NIIP-53 at Mirniy/Plesetsk' was issued. References: 474 .
NASA representatives held a formal review of Grumman's LEM M-1 mockup, a full-scale representation of the LEM's crew compartment. MSC decided that (1) the window shape (triangular) and visibility were satisfactory; (2) a standing position for the crew was approved, although, in general, it was believed that restraints restricted crew mobility; (3) the controllers were positioned too low and lacked suitable arm support for fine control; and (4) crew station arrangement was generally acceptable, although specific details required further study. References: 16 .
The AiResearch Manufacturing Company announced that it had been awarded a $20 million definitive contract for the CM environmental system. (AiResearch had been developing the system under a letter contract since 1961. References: 16 .
Suborbital test of subscale model of X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-thermodynamic structural test vehicle (ASV) for heat shield tests. Booster flew to peak altitude of 62 km, then pitched down, driving the spacecraft to separation at 59 km and 4,906 m/s. The spacecraft was sited under its parachute in the recovery zone at Ascension Island, but the flotation bag broke and it sank into the Atlantic. References: 5 .
President John F. Kennedy, during an address before the United Nations General Assembly, suggested the possibility of Russian-American "cooperation" in space. Though not proposing any specific program, Kennedy stated that, "in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity - the field of space - there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space. I include among these possibilities," he said, "a joint expedition to the moon. . . . Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries - indeed, of all the world - cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending some day in this decade to the moon, not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all humanity." Additional Details: President Kennedy suggested Russian-American cooperation in space. References: 16 .
The plan included a series of lunar exploration vehicles: the L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5.
Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 63 m. References: 439 .
OMSF, MSC, and Bellcomm representatives, meeting in Washington, D.C., discussed Apollo mission plans: OMSF introduced a requirement that the first manned flight in the Saturn IB program include a LEM. ASPO had planned this flight as a CSM maximum duration mission only.
The missions of Satellite 1963-038C were to measure omnidirectional flux of protons and electrons at various energy levels, radiation effects on transistors, and the effectiveness of thermal coatings. The satellite was launched together with a classified Department of Defense spacecraft on September 28, 1963. Its planned orbit was apogee 1120 kilometres, perigee 1070 kilometres, inclination 88.9 degrees. The satellite weighed 62 kg; its body was in the shape of an 0.46 m x 0.25 m octagonal prism. It was powered by four solar blades and transmited on 136, 162, and 324 mcs. The spacecraft was built for the Bureau of Naval Weapons. In 1967 it was still sending usable data from all systems. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
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