|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1964 - Quarter 1|
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In the wake of the Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory project and the likelihood of NASA's undertaking some type of manned orbiting research laboratory, Director of Advanced Manned Missions Studies Edward Z. Gray sought to achieve within NASA a better understanding of the utility of such projects as a base for experiments in space. Accordingly, he created three separate working groups to deal with possible experiments in three separate categories: (l) big-medical, (2) scientific, and (3) engineering.
KB Kozlov began active development of the military applied versions of the Soyuz. A new version of the R-7 launch vehicle, the 11A514, was put into development to support launch of the Soyuz-P, now designated the 7K-PPK (pilotiruemovo korablya-perekhvatchika, manned interceptor spacecraft). The Soyuz-R would include the small orbital station 11F71 with photo-reconnaissance and ELINT equipment. To dock with the 11F71 station Kuibishev developed the transport spacecraft 11F72 7K-TK. This version of the Soyuz was equipped with rendezvous, docking, and transition equipment, including an airlock, that allowed the two cosmonauts to enter the station without using EVA. The launch vehicle for the 7K-TK would be the 11A511, known today as the Soyuz.
British Aircraft Corporation study of 1964-1965 for winged reuseable space shuttle using the 'triamese' concept - reduced costs by use of two boosters nearly identical to the orbiter vehicle. The components were lifting bodies with a configuration similar to the US HL-10 vehicle.
In an interview for Space Business Daily, Edward Z. Gray, Director of Advanced Studies in NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight, predicted that NASA's manned space station would be more sophisticated than the Defense Department's Manned Orbiting Laboratory. NASA had more than a dozen study projects under way, Gray said, that when completed would enable the agency to appraise requirements and pursue the best approach to developing such a space station.
Decree 'On adoption of the R-12U and R-14U shaft versions into armaments' was issued. References: 474 .
James J. Haggerty, Jr., Space Editor for the Army-Navy-Air Force Journal and Register, called the assignment of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory to the Department of Defense 'an ominous harbinger of a reversal in trend, an indication that the military services may play a more prominent role in future space exploration at NASA's expense.... Whether you label it development platform, satellite platform, satellite or laboratory, it is clearly intended as a beginning for space station technology. It is also clearly the intent of this administration that, at least in the initial stages, space station development shall be under military rather than civil cognizance....'
Three U. S. Air Force test pilots began a five-week training period at the Martin Company leading to their participation in a simulated seven- day lunar landing mission. This was part of Martin's year-long study of crew performance during simulated Apollo missions (under a $771,000 contract from NASA). References: 16 .
The first fuel cell module delivered by Pratt and Whitney Aircraft to North American was started and put on load. The module operated normally and all test objectives were accomplished. Total operating time was four hours six minutes, with one hour at each of four loads-20, 30, 40, and 50 amperes. The fuel cell was shut down without incident and approximately 1,500 cubic centimeters (1.6 quarts) of water were collected. References: 16 .
Following completion of feasibility studies of an extended Apollo system at MSC, Edward Z. Gray, Advanced Manned Missions Program Director at Headquarters, told MSC's Maxime A. Faget, Director of Engineering and Development, to go ahead with phase II follow-on studies. Gray presented guidelines and suggested tasks for such a study, citing his desire for two separate contracts to industry to study the command and service modules and various concepts for laboratory modules.
MSC and Bellcomm agreed upon a plan for testing the Apollo heatshield under reentry conditions. Following Project Fire and Scout tests, the Saturn IB would be used to launch standard "all-up" spacecraft into an elliptical orbit; the SM engine would boost the spacecraft's velocity to 8,839 meters
(29,000 feet) per second. Additional Details: Plans for testing the Apollo heatshield under reentry conditions. References: 16 .
The first full-throttle firing of Space Technology Laboratories' LEM descent engine (being developed as a parallel effort to the Rocketdyne engine) was carried out. The test lasted 214 seconds, with chamber pressures from 66.2 to 6.9 newtons per square centimeter (96 to 10 psi). Engine performance was about five percent below the required level. References: 16 .
NASA assigned George M. Low to the position of Deputy Director of MSC. He would replace James C. Elms, who had resigned on January 17 to return to private industry. Although Low continued as Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters until May 1, he assumed his new duties at MSC the first part of February. References: 16 .
MSC announced two space station study contracts to compare concepts for a 24-man orbital laboratory: one with the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation and another with Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc., Missiles and Space Systems Division. The stations were to be designed for a useful orbital lifetime of about five years, with periodic resupply and crew rotations.
North American gave a presentation at MSC on the block change concept with emphasis on Block II CSM changes. These were defined as modifications necessary for compatibility with the LEM, structural changes to reduce weight or improve CSM center of gravity, and critical systems changes. (Block I spacecraft would carry no rendezvous and docking equipment and would be earth-orbital only. Block II spacecraft would be flight-ready vehicles with the final design configuration for the lunar missions.) References: 16 .
The contract called for 20 tests to demonstrate deployment of the full-scale wing from the rendezvous and recovery can, followed by glide and radio-controlled maneuvering; each test was to be terminated by release of the wing and recovery by the emergency parachute system (which had been qualified on December 3, 1963). Additional Details: North American began deployment flights of the full-scale test vehicle for the Paraglider Landing System Program..
Passive commsat; balloon; 1st joint US/USSR space mission. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
The United States and Spain agreed to the construction and operation of a $1.5 million space tracking and data acquisition station about 48 kilometers (30 miles) west of Madrid, Spain. Linked with the NASA Deep Space Instrumentation Facility, the station included a 26-meter (85-foot)-diameter parabolic antenna and equipment for transmitting, receiving, recording, data handling, and communications with the spacecraft. Additional Details: Agreement on space tracking station west of Madrid, Spain. References: 16 .
NASA announced the award of a $1.356 million contract to the Blaw-Knox Company for design and construction of three parabolic antennas, each 26 meters (85 feet) in diameter, for the Manned Space Flight Network stations at Goldstone, Calif.; Canberra, Australia; and near Madrid, Spain. References: 16 .
First first mission of Block II Saturn with two live stages. SA-5, a vehicle development flight, was launched from Cape Kennedy Complex 37B at 11:25:01.41, e.s.t. This was the first flight of the Saturn I Block II configuration (i.e., lengthened fuel tanks in the S-1 and stabilizing tail fins), as well as the first flight of a live (powered) S-IV upper stage. The S-1, powered by eight H-1 engines, reached a full thrust of over 680,400 kilograms (1.5 million pounds) the first time in flight. The S-IV's 41,000 kilogram (90,000-pound-thrust cluster of six liquid-hydrogen RL-10 engines performed as expected. The Block II SA-5 was also the first flight test of the Saturn I guidance system. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 .
Studied inner Van Allen belt. Electron I and II launched by a single carrier rocket. Electron I: simultaneous study of the Earth's inner and outer radiation belts, cosmic rays and upper atmosphere. Electron II: simultaneous study of the Earth's inner and outer radiation belts, cosmic rays and outer space. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 175 .
Studied outer Van Allen belt. Electron I and II launched by a single carrier rocket. Electron I: simultaneous study of the Earth's inner and outer radiation belts, cosmic rays and upper atmosphere. Electron II: simultaneous study of the Earth's inner and outer radiation belts, cosmic rays and outer space. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 175 .
Impacted Moon but TV camera malfunctioned. A midcourse trajectory correction was accomplished early in the flight by ground control. On February 2, 1964, 65.5 hours after launch, Ranger 6 impacted the Moon on the eastern edge of Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility). No camera data were obtained, probably because of failure due to an arc-over in the TV power system when it inadvertently turned on during the period of booster-engine separation. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 , 296 .
This was the first of several hundred launches from Green River, Utah, to impact points in the US Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The Athena was designed to simulate the re-entry environment of an intercontinental ballistic missile and was one of the few examples of sustained interstate missile tests within the United States.
Program 437 was America's second operational anti-satellite system. It was launched on sub-orbital trajectories by Thor LV-2Dís operated by the U.S. Air Force from Johnson Atoll. The Program 437 Thor could hit satellites up to 700 km altitude using a Mk. 49 nuclear warhead with an 8 km kill radius.
The X-15A-2, modified from the number two aircraft, included among other new features, a 28-in. fuselage extension to carry liquid hydrogen for a supersonic combustion ramjet that was flown (as a dummy) but never tested. It also had external tanks for liquid ammonia and liquid oxygen. These tanks provided roughly 60 seconds of additional engine burn and were used on the aircraft's Mach 6.7 flight.
MSC directed Grumman to stop all work on the LEM Little Joe II program. This action followed the ASPO Manager's decision against a testing program for the LEM comparable to that for the CSM. References: 16 .
ASPO directed Grumman to provide an abort guidance system (AGS) in the LEM using an inertial reference system attached to the structure of the vehicle. Should the spacecraft's navigation and guidance system fail, the crew could use the AGS to effect an abort. Such a device eliminated the need for redundancy in the primary guidance system (and proved to be a lighter and simpler arrangement). References: 16 .
MSC issued Requests for Proposals to more than 50 firms asking for studies and recommendations on how the lunar surface should be explored. Studies should show how lunar surveys could be performed and how points on the lunar surface might be located for future lunar navigation. Maximum use of equipment planned for the LEM and CM was expected. Part of the scientific apparatus aboard the LEM would be selenodetic equipment. The study would not include actual fabrication of hardware but might give estimates of cost and development times. References: 16 .
MSC ordered North American to design the SM's reaction control system with the capability for emergency retrograde from earth orbit. References: 16 .
MSC gave its formal consent to two of Grumman's subcontracts for engines for the LEM: (1) With Bell Aerosystems for the ascent engine ($11,205,416 incentive-fee contract) (2) With Space Technology Laboratories for a descent engine to parallel that being developed by Rocketdyne ($18,742,820 fixed-fee contract). References: 16 .
MSC officials conducted acceptance testing of the 024 prototype space suit at the International Latex Corporation. (Reviewers identified several faults, but they were minor and the suit was accepted.) References: 16 .
George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, informed the staff of the Gemini Project Office (GPO) that all 12 Gemini flights would end in water landings, although Project Gemini Quarterly Report No. 8 for the period ending February 29, 1964, still listed the paraglider for the last three Gemini missions. Additional Details: All 12 Gemini flights to end in water landings..
The Lockheed-California Company released details of its recommendations to MSC on a scientific space station program. The study concluded that a manned station with a crew of 24 could be orbiting the Earth in 1968. Total cost of the program including logistics spacecraft and ground support was estimated at $2.6 billion for five years' operation. Lockheed's study recommended the use of a Saturn V to launch the unmanned laboratory into orbit and then launching a manned logistics vehicle to rendezvous and dock at the station.
Boilerplate (BP) 19 was drop tested at El Centro, Calif., simulating flight conditions and recovery of BP-12. A second BP-19 drop, on April 8, removed all constraints on the BP-12 configuration and earth landing system. Another aim, to obtain information on vehicle dynamics, was not accomplished because of the early firing of a backup drogue parachute. References: 16 .
Defence Ministry of the USSR decree 0045 'On adopting the Zenit-2 satellite launched on the 8A92 into armaments' was issued.
North American was directed by NASA to study feasibility of using the LEM propulsion system as backup to the SM propulsion system. The most important item in the contractor's analysis was strength of the docking structure and its ability to withstand LEM main-engine and reaction control system thrusting. References: 16 .
Edward Z. Gray, Advanced Manned Missions Director in the Office of Manned Space Flight, asked LaRC Director Charles J. Donlan to prepare a Project Development Plan for the Manned Orbital Research Laboratory, studies for which were already underway at the Center and under contract. This plan was needed as documentation for any possible decision to initiate an orbital research laboratory project. (Gray had also asked MSC to submit similar plans for an Apollo X, an Apollo Orbital Research Laboratory, and a Large Orbital Research Laboratory.) In addition to the Project Development Plan, Gray asked for system specifications for each candidate orbital laboratory system; both of these would form the basis for a project proposal with little delay 'should a climate exist in which a new project can be started.'
First flight test of Little Joe II using a command module (CM) boilerplate (BP-12) at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex. References: 16 .
Failure. Suborbital. References: 5 .
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 59 'On approval of work to convert Vostok to Voskhod and use it for three-person space missions' was issued. References: 474 .
The first prototype of the CM battery for use during reentry was delivered to North American by Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc. References: 16 .
OMSF outlined launch vehicle development, spacecraft development, and crew performance demonstration missions, using the Saturn IB and Saturn V:
The first formal inspection and review of the LEM test mockup TM-1 was held at Grumman. TM-1 allowed early assessment of crew mobility, ingress, and egress. It was a full-size representation of crew stations, support and restraint systems, cabin equipment arrangement, lighting, display panels and instrument locations, and hatches. The TM-1 evaluation became the basis for the final LEM mockup, TM-5, from which actual hardware fabrication would be made. Additional Details: Apollo LEM mockup TM-1 inspection and review. References: 16 .
Suborbital test of subscale model of X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-thermodynamic structural test vehicle (ASV) for heat shield tests. Good first stage burn, but the second stage fired, then shut down, repeating the sequence several times. The spacecraft separated, and began to maneuver in a 60 degree bank to recover course, when the self-destruct package blew it apart. The debris impacted the Atlantic 800 km downrange near San Salvador Island. References: 5 , 126 .
The Boeing Company received NASA's go-ahead to develop the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft. Two significant changes were made in the original Statement of Work:
The boilerplate achieved a horizontal velocity of 60 feet per second and a vertical velocity of about 40 feet per second at the time of impact with the water. The test was conducted to obtain data on landing accelerations for various speeds and attitudes of the spacecraft.
MSFC awarded Rocketdyne a definitive contract (valued at $158.4 million) for the production of 76 F-1 engines for the first stage of the Saturn V launch vehicle and for delivery of ground support equipment. References: 16 .
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