|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1965 - Quarter 1|
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Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On work on space stations at OKB-52' was issued. References: 474 .
Light satellite with propulsion for periodic correction of orbit; never flown.
Decree 'On end of work on the Raketoplan at OKB-52' was issued. This action was in accordance with the Five Year Military Space Plan approved on 18 June 1964. References: 474 .
Decree 'On plan of work on Spiral at OKB-155' was issued. References: 474 .
Yangel had decided that the bitter fight between Chelomei and Korolev over control of manned programs was damaging the Soviet space effort. In any case he could see that the size of the projects had reached such a scale that it was impossible for one design bureau to handle all of the required elements. He proposed a collaborative effort: Yangel would design and build the launch vehicle; Korolev the manned spacecraft; and Chelomei the unmanned spacecraft. However the leadership was loath to change course with funds already invested in development of boosters and spacecraft by Chelomei and Korolev.
MSC's Guidance and Control Division conducted a pilot simulation study to determine whether a pilot could take over manual control of the LEM between 4,572 and 3,048 m (15,000 and 10,000 ft) above the lunar surface and satisfactorily land the vehicle. Additional Details: Study of manual control of the Apollo LEM. References: 16 .
The Preliminary Design Review of the Block II CM was held at North American's Downey, Calif., plant. Ten working groups evaluated the spacecraft design and resolved numerous minor details. They then reported to a review board of NASA and North American officials. Additional Details: Preliminary Design Review of the Apollo Block II CM. References: 16 .
William A. Lee, chief of ASPO's Operations Planning Division, announced a revised Apollo launch schedule for 1966 and 1967. In 1968, a week-long earth orbital flight would be a dress rehearsal for the lunar mission. "Then the moon," Lee predicted. "We have a fighting chance to make it by 1970," he said, "and also stay within the 20 billion price tag set . . . by former President Kennedy." References: 16 .
North American selected Dalmo-Victor to supply S-band high-gain antennas for Apollo CSM's. (The deployable antenna would be used beyond 14,816 km (8,000 nm) from the earth.) Dalmo-Victor would complete the antenna design and carry out the development work, and North American would procure production units under a supplemental contract. References: 16 .
NASA announced that Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 16, a Titan missile facility, would be converted into static test stands for Apollo spacecraft. This decision eliminated the need for such a facility originally planned on Merritt Island and, it was predicted, would cost little more than a fourth of the $7 million estimated for the new site. References: 16 .
State Committee for Defence Technology (GKOT) Decree 'On Detailed Work on Ampulized R-36 and R-36-O Missiles--design work on the R-36 and R-36-O missiles' was issued. References: 474 .
Grumman and Hamilton Standard were exploring various designs for the extravehicular mobility unit. On the basis of some early conclusions, the MSC Crew Systems Division (CSD) recommended that meteoroid and thermal protection be provided by a single garment. Preliminary hypervelocity tests placed the garment's reliability at 0.999. Each would weigh about 7.7 kg (17 lbs), about 2.3 kg (5 lbs) less than the two-garment design. CSD further recommended that the unit be stored either in the LEM's descent stage or in a jettisonable container in the ascent portion. References: 16 .
During testing, it was found that blast effects of the linear charge for the CM/SM umbilical cutter caused considerable damage to the heatshield. To circumvent this problem, North American designed a vastly improved pyrotechnic-driven, guillotine-type cutter. MSC readily approved the new' device for both Block I and II spacecraft. References: 16 .
Development firings of the launch escape system's drogue and pilot parachute mortars were completed, and the units were slated for qualification trials the following month. References: 16 .
General Motors' Allison Division completed qualification testing of the propellant tanks for the service propulsion system. References: 16 .
The second Gemini mission, an unmanned suborbital flight designated Gemini-Titan 2 (GT-2), was successfully launched from complex 19 at Cape Kennedy at 9:04 a.m., e.s.t. Major objectives of this mission were to demonstrate the adequacy of the spacecraft reentry module's heat protection during a maximum-heating-rate reentry, the structural integrity of the spacecraft from liftoff through reentry, and the satisfactory performance of spacecraft systems. Secondary objectives included obtaining test results on communications, cryogenics, fuel cell and reactant supply system, and further qualification of the launch vehicle. All objectives were achieved, with one exception: no fuel cell test results were obtained because the system malfunctioned before liftoff and was deactivated. GT-2 was a suborbital ballistic flight which reached a maximum altitude of 92.4 nautical miles. Retrorockets fired 6 minutes 54 seconds after launch, and the spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean 11 minutes 22 seconds later - 1848 nautical miles southeast of the launch site. Full duration of the mission was 18 minutes 16 seconds. The primary recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain, picked up the spacecraft at 10:52 a.m., e.s.t. Additional Details: Gemini 2. References: 26 , 42 .
Northrop-Ventura verified the strength of the dual drogue parachutes in a drop test at El Centro, Calif. This was also the first airborne test of the new mortar by which the drogues were deployed and of the new pilot parachute risers, made of steel cables. All planned objectives were met. Additional Details: Apollo dual drogue parachutes in drop test. References: 16 .
At the request of Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, ASPO reexamined the performance requirements for spacecraft slated for launch with Saturn IBs. MSC currently assessed that the launch vehicle was able to put 16,102 kg (35,500 lbs) into a circular orbit 105 nm above the earth. Based on the spacecraft control weights, however, it appeared that the total injected weight of the modules would exceed this amount by some 395 kg (870 lbs). Additional Details: Requirements for Apollo spacecraft launched by Saturn IB assessed. References: 16 .
Parallel development of the LEM descent engine was halted. Space Technology Laboratories was named the sole contractor; the Rocketdyne contract was canceled. Grumman estimated that the cost of Rocketdyne's program would be about $25 million at termination. References: 16 .
Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara announced that the Department of Defense was requesting proposals from the aerospace industry for design studies to support development of the MOL (especially cost and technical data). Three contractors would be chosen to conduct the studies, a step preliminary to any DOD decision to proceed with full-scale development of the space laboratory.
MSC negotiated a backup Block II space suit development program with David Clark Company, which paralleled the Hamilton Standard program, at a cost of $176,000. Criteria for selecting the suit for ultimate development for Block II would be taken from the Extravehicular Mobility Unit Design and Performance Specification. A selection test program would be conducted at MSC using the CM mockup, the lunar simulation facility, and the LEM mockup. References: 16 .
The optimism that permeated the Apollo program was reflected in statements by NASA's Associate Administrator, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., during budget briefings for the forthcoming year. He was "greatly encouraged" by recent design freezes and "very reassured" by testing of propulsion systems and launch vehicle stages. "We really feel," Seamans said, ". . . that we can get off the (lunar landing) flight on an earlier mission than I would have said a year ago?' Certainly it was "conceivable" that the moon landing could come "in early 1970." References: 16 .
Warren J. North, Chairman of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) Coordination Panel, reported to MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that the LLRV had been flown 10 times by Flight Research Center pilots - eight times by Joe Walker and twice by Don Mallick. Maximum altitude achieved was 91 m (300 ft) and maximum forward velocity was 12 m (40 ft) per sec. Additional Details: Apollo Lunar Landing Research Vehicle results. References: 16 .
The first major Saturn V flight component, a 10-m (33-ft) diameter, 27,215 kg (60,000 lb corrugated tail section which would support the booster's 6,672 kilonewtons (1.5-million-lb) thrust engines, arrived at MSFC from NASA's Michoud Operations near New Orleans. The section was one of five major structural units comprising Saturn V's first stage. References: 16 .
Apollo boilerplate 28 underwent its second water impact test. Despite its strengthened aft structure, in this and a subsequent drop on February 9 the vehicle again suffered damage to the aft heatshield and bulkhead, though far less severe than that experienced in its initial test. The impact problem, it was obvious, was not yet solved. References: 16 .
ASPO concurred with the requirement to provide an emergency defecation capability aboard the LEM as established by MSC's Center Medical Programs Office. The addition of a Gemini-type defecation glove appeared to present a satisfactory solution. Crew Systems Division was directed to proceed with their recommendation and add the Gemini gloves to the LEM crew provisions. References: 16 .
To make it easier to get in and out of the spacecraft, Grumman modified the LEM's forward hatch. During mobility tests on the company's mockup, a hinged, trapezoidal-shaped door had proved superior to the original circular hatch, so the earlier design was dropped. References: 16 .
Five months ahead of the original schedule, Air Force Western Test Range (AFWTR) assumed responsibilities for intercontinental ballistic missile and space vehicle support functions from the Navy's Pacific Missile Range. References: 88 .
SM 001's service propulsion engine was static-fired for 10 sec at White Sands. The firing was the first in a program to verify the mission profiles for later flight tests of the module. (SM 001 was the first major piece of flight-weight Apollo hardware.) References: 16 .
MSC deleted the requirement for a rendezvous radar in the CSM. References: 16 .
NASA invited 113 scientists and 23 national space organizations to a conference at MSC to brief them on the Gemini and Apollo missions. As a result of the conference, NASA hoped to receive proposals for biomedical experiments to be performed in Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. References: 16 .
North American completed the first ground test model of the S-II stage of the Saturn V. References: 16 .
Interdepartmental Scientific-Technical Council on Space Research (MNTS-KI) Decree 'On approval of the L3 draft project' was issued. The decree followed a review by a Keldysh-led Academy of Sciences state commission the previous December. The decree moved the first flight of the N1 to the end of 1966. References: 474 .
Government decree, following review by Keldysh-led state commission from the Academy of Sciences the previous December, approves design of the L3 lunar complex. First flight of N1 now moved to end of 1966. References: 21 .
A drop test at EI Centro, Calif., demonstrated the ability of the drogue parachutes to sustain the ultimate disreefed load that would be imposed upon them during reentry. (For the current CM weight, that maximum load would be 7,711 kg (17,000 lbs) per parachute.) Preliminary data indicated that the two drogues had withstood loads of 8,803 and 8,165 kg (19,600 and 18,000 lbs). One of the drogues emerged unscathed; the other suffered only minor damage near the pocket of the reefing cutter. References: 16 .
Evaluations of the three-foot probes on the LEM landing gear showed that the task of shutting off the engine prior to actual touchdown was even more difficult than controlling the vehicle's rate of descent. During simulated landings, about 70 percent of the time the spacecraft was less than 0.3 m (1 ft) high when shutdown came; on 20 percent of the runs, the engine was still burning at touchdown. Some change, either in switch location or in procedure, thus appeared necessary to shorten the delay between contact light and engine cutoff (an average of 0.7 sec). References: 16 .
To make room for a rendezvous study, MSC was forced to end, prematurely, its simulations of employing the LEM as a backup for the service propulsion system. Nonetheless, the LEM was evaluated in both manual and automatic operation. Although some sizable attitude changes were required, investigators found no serious problems with either steering accuracy or dynamic stability. References: 16 .
In a memorandum to ASPO, Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, inquired about realigning the schedules of contractors to meet revised delivery and launch timetables for Apollo. Phillips tentatively set forth deliveries of six spacecraft (CSM/LEMs) during 1967 and eight during each succeeding year; he outlined eight manned launches per year also, starting in 1969. References: 16 .
A Saturn I vehicle SA-9 launched a multiple payload into a high 744 by 496 km (462 by 308 mi) earth orbit. The rocket carried a boilerplate (BP) CSM (BP-16) and, fitted inside the SM, the Pegasus I meteoroid detection satellite. This was the eighth successful Saturn flight in a row, and the first to carry an active payload. BP-16's launch escape tower was jettisoned following second-stage S-IV ignition. After attaining orbit, the spacecraft were separated from the S-IV. Thereupon the Pegasus I's panels were deployed and were ready to perform their task, i.e., registering meteoroid impact and relaying the information to the ground. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 .
MSC announced a realignment of specialty areas for the 13 astronauts not assigned to forthcoming Gemini missions (GT 3 through 5) or to strictly administrative positions:
Charles A. Bassett - operations handbooks, training, and simulators
Alan L. Bean - recovery systems
Michael Collins - pressure suits and extravehicular activity
David R. Scott - mission planning and guidance and navigation
Clifton C. Williams - range operations, deep space instrumentation, and crew safety.
Donn F. Eisele - CSM and LEM
William A. Anders - environmental control system and radiation and thermal systems
Eugene A. Cernan - boosters, spacecraft propulsion, and the Agena stage
Roger B. Chaffee - communications, flight controls, and docking
R. Walter Cunningham - electrical and sequential systems and non-flight experiments
Russell L. Schweickart - in-flight experiments and future programs.
North American proposed an idea for increasing the CM's land landing capability. This could be done, the company asserted, by raising the water impact limits (thus exceeding normal tolerances) and stiffening the shock struts. Additional Details: Increase in the Apollo CM's land landing capability. References: 16 .
Returned 7137 photos before lunar impact. The Atlas- Agena B booster injected the Agena and Ranger 8 into an Earth parking orbit at 185 km altitude 7 minutes after launch. Fourteen minutes later a 90 second burn of the Agena put the spacecraft into lunar transfer trajectory, and several minutes later the Ranger and Agena separated. The Ranger solar panels were deployed, attitude control activated, and spacecraft transmissions switched from the omni-directional antenna to the high-gain antenna by 21:30 GMT. On 18 February at a distance of 160,000 km from Earth the planned mid-course manoeuvre took place, involving reorientation and a 59 second rocket burn. During the 27 minute manoeuvre, spacecraft transmitter power dropped severely, so that lock was lost on all telemetry channels. This continued intermittently until the rocket burn, at which time power returned to normal. The telemetry dropout had no serious effects on the mission. A planned terminal sequence to point the cameras more in the direction of flight just before reaching the Moon was cancelled to allow the cameras to cover a greater area of the Moon's surface.
Ranger 8 reached the Moon on 20 February 1965. The first image was taken at 9:34:32 GMT at an altitude of 2510 km. Transmission of 7,137 photographs of good quality occurred over the final 23 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 1.5 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface in a direct hyperbolic trajectory, with incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -13.6 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 16.5 degrees to the lunar equator. After 64.9 hours of flight, impact occurred at 09:57:36.756 GMT on 20 February 1965 in Mare Tranquillitatis at approximately 2.67 degrees N, 24.65 degrees E. Impact velocity was slightly less than 2.68 km/s. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 , 296 .
Testifying before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics during hearings on NASA's Fiscal Year 1966 budget, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller briefly outlined the space agency's immediate post-Apollo objectives: 'Apollo capabilities now under development,' he said, 'will enable us to produce space hardware and fly it for future missions at a small fraction of the original development cost. This is the basic concept in the Apollo Extension System (AES) now under consideration.' Additional Details: Apollo Extension System (AES) to produce space hardware for future missions at a fraction of the original development cost..
LEM Test Article 2 was shipped to Marshall Space Flight Center to undergo a series of Saturn booster vibration tests. References: 16 .
Unsuccessful mission. Voskhod 2 test. Immediately after orbital insertion airlock and spacesuit inflated normally. Then ground controllers sent commands to spacecraft simultaneously instead of sequentially as planned. Signal accidentally set off self destruct mechanism (designed to prevent falling into enemy hands). Blew up past Kamchatka on first orbit. No other test or backup spacecraft built with EVA port. Decision made to go ahead with Voskhod 2 anyway, due to one year leadtime to construct replacement. Planned follow-on Voskhod missions cancelled, including Air Force version, long endurance one man flight, flights by reporters, poets, and scientists.
Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space. References: 1 , 2 , 6 .
Suborbital test of subscale model of X-20 Dynasoar. Reached 6,000 m/s and 4,350 km range. Tested twelve different kinds of refractory metals and covered with 2000 dots of heat-sensitive paint to characterize thermal profile on reentry. Telemetry indicated that the spacecraft survived reentry, but it evidently sank upon impacting the ocean and could not be recovered as planned. References: 48 .
MSC and the David Clark Company reached an agreement on a contract for Apollo Block I space suits. The first suits, expected by July 1, would go to North American for testing. References: 16 .
It was not until 1964, when agreements between the Canadian and the US governments permitted stable funding over the following three years, that HARP was able to seriously consider an orbital program. The Martlet 4 program began in the spring of 1965 with extensive parametric studies which showed that meaningful payloads could be launched into low Earth orbit from the 16 inch L86 HARP gun on the Barbados flight range using a full bore, 3 stage rocket vehicle.
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Based on successful test flights of Chelomei's unmanned interceptor-sputnik prototypes (Polyot 1 and 2), the Soyuz 7K-PPK manned interceptor version is cancelled.
The Advanced series added atmospheric nuclear detonation detection to its capabilities. Additionally, it monitored solar activity, terrestrial lightning, and celestial X/gamma-ray radiation.
MSC decided in favor of an "all-battery" LEM (i.e., batteries rather than fuel cells in both stages of the vehicle) and notified Grumman accordingly. Pratt and Whitney's subcontract for fuel cells would be terminated on April 1; also, Grumman would assume parenthood of GE's contract (originally let by Pratt and Whitney) for the electrical control assembly. Additional Details: All-battery Apollo LEM decision - replaces fuel cells. References: 16 .
Former Lavochkin bureau, part of Chelomei, regained status of a separate design bureau with former Korolev deputy GN Babakin as its head. By the end of 1965 all materials on the E-6, Ye-8, and planetary probes were passed by Korolev to the Lavochkin Bureau, who took over responsibility for all future lunar and planetary unmanned probes. References: 70 .
Soviet Decree 126-47 'On Improved Leadership of Defence Branch Industry--creation of ministries for aviation, defence, ship building. radio-technology, electronics, and general machine building for managing the Soviet defence industry'. References: 474 .
North American gave boilerplate 28 its third water drop test. Upon impact, the spacecraft again suffered some structural damage to the heatshield and the core, though much less than it had experienced on its initial drop. Conditions in this test were at least as severe as in previous ones, yet the vehicle remained watertight. References: 16 .
Last launch of a Titan I from Vandenberg AFB (first launch on 3 May 1961). References: 88 .
Missiles and Rockets reported a statement by Joseph F. Shea, ASPO manager, that MSC had no serious weight problems with the Apollo spacecraft. The current weight, he said, was 454 kg (1,000 lbs) under the 40,823 kg (90,000 lb) goal. Moreover, the increased payload of the Saturn V to 43,091 kg (95,000 lbs) permitted further increases. Shea admitted, however, that the LEM was growing; recent decisions in favor of safety and redundancy could raise the module's weight from 13,381 kg to 14,575 kg (29,500 lbs to 32,000 lbs). References: 16 .
OSCAR III was launched piggyback with seven United States Air Force satellites. Weight 16.3 kg. It was the first amateur satellite to operate from solar power and relay signals from Earth. OSCAR III was the first true amateur satellite relaying voice contacts in the VHF 2 meter band through a 1 W 50 kHz wide linear transponder (146 MHz uplink and 144 MHz downlink). OSCAR III's transponder lasted 18 days. More than 1000 amateurs in 22 countries communicated through the linear transponder. The two beacon transmitters continued operating for several months.
Note: Designed, built, and tested, a predecssor, OSCAR* was never launched. Similar in design to OSCAR I and II, OSCAR* contained a 250 mW beacon with phase-coherent keying. OSCAR* was never launched as the workers decided to focus their efforts on the first relay satellite -- OSCAR III. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
During the flight of boilerplate (BP) 23, the Little Joe II's control system had coupled with the first lateral bending mode of the vehicle. To ensure against any recurrence of this problem on the forthcoming flight of BP-22, MSC asked North American to submit their latest figures on the stiffness of the spacecraft and its escape tower. These data would be used to compute the first bending mode of BP-22 and its launch vehicle. References: 16 .
MSC directed North American to incorporate the capability for storing a kit-type mapping and survey system into the basic Block II configuration. The actual hardware, which would be installed in the equipment bay of certain SMs (designated by MSC), would weigh up to 680 kg (1,500 lbs). References: 16 .
North American dropped boilerplate 1 twice to measure the maximum pressures the CM would generate during a high-angle water impact. These figures agreed quite well with those obtained from similar tests with a one-tenth scale model of the spacecraft, and supported data from the model on side wall and tunnel pressures. References: 16 .
First walk in space. References: 66 .
The Atomic Energy Commission evaluated proposals by Radio Corporation of America and General Electric (GE) for an isotope generator for the Surveyor lunar roving vehicle, and assigned follow-on work to the latter firm. GE's concept, it was felt, was compatible with the possible requirement that the fuel source might have to be carried separately aboard the LEM. MSC's Propulsion and Power Division reported that the generator's "prospects . . . look(ed) very promising." References: 16 .
First spacewalk, with a two man crew of Colonel Pavel Belyayev and Lt. Colonel Aleksey Leonov. During Voskhod 2's second orbit, Leonov stepped from the vehicle and performed mankind's first "walk in space." After 10 min of extravehicular activity, he returned safely to the spacecraft through an inflatable airlock.
This mission was the original raison d'etre of the Voskhod series, with the original name 'Advance'. It almost ended in disaster when Leonov was unable to reenter the airlock due to stiffness of the inflated spacesuit. He had to bleed air from the suit in order to get into the airlock. After Leonov finally managed to get back into the spacecraft cabin, the primary hatch would not seal completely. The environmental control system compensated by flooding the cabin with oxygen, creating a serious fire hazard in a craft only qualified for sea level nitrogen-oxygen gas mixes (Cosmonaut Bondarenko had burned to death in a ground accident in such circumstances, preceding the Apollo 204 disaster by many years). On re-entry the primary retrorockets failed. A manually controlled retrofire was accomplished one orbit later (perhaps with the backup solid rocket retropack on the nose of spacecraft - which did not exist on Vostok). The service module failed to separate completely, leading to wild gyrations of the joined reentry sphere - service module before connecting wires burned through. Vostok 2 finally landed near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest at 59:34 N 55:28 E on March 19, 1965 9:02 GMT. The crew spent the night in the woods, surrounded by wolves, before being located. Recovery crew had to chop down trees to clear a landing zone for helicopter recovery of the crew, who had to ski to the clearing from the spacecraft. Only some days later could the capsule itself be removed. Additional Details: Voskhod 2. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 16 , 32 , 33 , 60 .
Ranger 9, last of the series, returned 5814 images before lunar impact. The target was Alphonsus, a large crater about 12 degrees south of the lunar equator. The probe was timed to arrive when lighting conditions would be at their best. The Atlas- Agena B booster injected the Agena and Ranger 9 into an Earth parking orbit at 185 km altitude. A 90 second Agena 2nd burn put the spacecraft into lunar transfer trajectory. This was followed by the separation of the Agena and Ranger. The initial trajectory was highly accurate; uncorrected, the craft would have landed only 650 km north of Alphonsus. 70 minutes after launch the command was given to deploy solar panels, activate attitude control, and switch from the omni-directional antenna to the high-gain antenna. The accuracy of the initial trajectory enabled delay of the planned mid-course correction from 22 March to 23 March when the manoeuvre was initiated at 12:03 GMT. After orientation, a 31 second rocket burn at 12:30 GMT, and reorientation, the manoeuvre was completed at 13:30 GMT. Ranger 9 reached the Moon on 24 March 1965. At 13:31 GMT a terminal manoeuvre was executed to orient the spacecraft so the cameras were more in line with the flight direction to improve the resolution of the pictures. Twenty minutes before impact the one-minute camera system warm-up began. The first image was taken at 13:49:41 at an altitude of 2363 km. Transmission of 5,814 good contrast photographs was made during the final 19 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 0.3 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface with an incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -5.6 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 15.6 degrees to the lunar equator. After 64.5 hours of flight, impact occurred at 14:08:19.994 GMT at approximately 12.83 S latitude, 357.63 E longitude in the crater Alphonsus. Impact velocity was 2.67 km/s. Millions of Americans followed the spacecraft's descent via real time television coverage provided to the three networks of many of the F-channel images (primarily camera B but also some camera A pictures) were provided for this flight.
The pictures showed the rim and floor of the crater in fine detail: in those just prior to impact, objects less than a foot in size were discernible.
A panel of scientists presented some preliminary conclusions from Ranger IX at a press conference that same afternoon. Crater rims and ridges inside the walls, they believed, were harder and smoother than the moon's dusty plains, and therefore were considered likely sites for future manned landings. Generally, the panel was dubious about landing on crater floors however. Apparently, the floors were solidified volcanic material incapable of supporting a spacecraft. Investigators believed several types of craters were seen that were of nonmeteoric origin. These findings reinforced arguments that the moon at one time had experienced volcanic activity. Later the images were shown to the press as a continuous-motion movie, leading astronaut Wally Schirra to yell ‘bail out you fool!’ just before the final frame. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 278 , 296 .
Part I of the Critical Design Review of the crew compartment and the docking system in the Block II CM was held at North American. Systems Engineering (SED) and Structures and Mechanics (SMD) divisions, respectively, evaluated the two areas. Additional Details: Critical Design Review of the Apollo CM Block II. References: 16 .
First manned test flight of Gemini. Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young entered an elliptical orbit about the earth. After three orbits, the pair manually landed their spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean, thus performing the first controlled reentry. Unfortunately, they landed much farther from the landing zone than anticipated, about 97 km (60 miles) from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid. But otherwise the mission was highly successful. Gemini III, America's first two-manned space mission, also was the first manned vehicle that was maneuverable. Grissom used the vehicle's maneuvering rockets to effect orbital and plane changes. Grissom wanted to name the spacecraft 'Molly Brown' (as in the Unsinkable, a Debbie Reynolds/Howard Keel screen musical). NASA was not amused and stopped allowing the astronauts to name their spacecraft (until forced to when having two spacecraft aloft at once during the Apollo missions). The flight by Young was the first of an astronaut outside of the original seven. Young, who created a media flap by taking a corned beef sandwich aboard as a prank, would go on to fly to the moon on Apollo and the Space Shuttle on its first flight sixteen years later. Additional Details: Gemini 3. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
After further design studies following the M-5 mockup review (October 5-8, 1964), Grumman reconfigured the boarding ladder on the forward gear leg of the LEM. The structure was flattened, to fit closer to the strut. Two stirrup-type steps were being added to ease stepping from the top rung to the platform or "porch" in front of the hatch. References: 16 .
North American began a series of water impact tests with boilerplate 1 to obtain pressure data on the upper portions of the CM. Data on the side walls and tunnel agreed fairly well with those obtained from 1/10 scale model drops; this was not the case with pressures on the top deck, however. References: 16 .
Test Series I on spacecraft 001 was completed at WSTF Propulsion Systems Development Facility. Vehicle and facility updating in progress consisted of activating the gimbal subsystem and installing a baffled injector and pneumatic engine propellant valve. The individual test operations were conducted satisfactorily, and data indicated that all subsystems operated normally. Total engine firing time was 765 seconds. References: 16 .
The possibility of doing more than the previously planned stand-up form of extravehicular activity (EVA) was introduced at an informal meeting in the office of Director Robert R. Gilruth at Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). Present at the meeting, in addition to Gilruth and Deputy Director George M. Low, were Richard S. Johnston of Crew Systems Division (CSD) and Warren J. North of Flight Crew Operations Division. Johnston presented a mock-up of an EVA chestpack, as well as a prototype hand-held maneuvering unit. North expressed his division's confidence that an umbilical EVA could be successfully achieved on the Gemini-Titan 4 mission. Receiving a go-ahead from Gilruth, CSD briefed George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Mannned Space Flight, on April 3 in Washington. He, in turn, briefed the Headquarters Directorates. The relevant MSC divisions were given tentative approval to continue the preparations and training required for the operation. Associate Administrator of NASA, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., visited MSC for further briefing on May 14. The enthusiasm he carried back to Washington regarding flight-readiness soon prompted final Headquarters approval.
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Space Technology Laboratories' major problems with the LEM descent engine, Grumman reported, were attaining high performance and good erosion characteristics over the entire throttling range. References: 16 .
Three flights were made with the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) for the purpose of checking the automatic systems that control the attitude of the jet engine and adjusting the throttle so the jet engine would support five-sixths of the vehicle weight.
On March 11 representatives of Flight Research Center (FRC) visited MSC to discuss future programs with Warren North and Dean Grimm of Flight Crew Support Division. A budget for operating the LLRV at FRC through fiscal year 1966 was presented. Consideration was being given to terminating the work at FRC on June 30, 1966, and moving the vehicles and equipment to MSC. Additional Details: Three flights with the Apollo Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV). References: 16 .
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