|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1965 - Quarter 3|
|Previous Quarter||Next Quarter|
Within its Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA organized an Apollo Site Selection Board. As an advisory body to the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, George E. Mueller, the group would recommend landing sites for Apollo. References: 16 .
In 1965 the advanced project of the Mikoyan Spiral aerospace system was approved. The ambitious work plan indicted operation of a regular earth-orbit-earth reusable transportation system by the mid-1970's. With Gherman Titov as its head, a Spiral cosmonaut training group was formed (Titov, Dobrovolskiy, Filipchenko, Kuklin, Matinchenko) to train to fly the spaceplane.
An RCS oxidizer tank failed during a test to demonstrate propellant compatibility with titanium tanks. This was the first of seven tanks to fail from a group of ten tanks put into test to investigate a failure that occurred during February 1965. These results caused an intensive investigation to be undertaken. References: 16 .
NASA Headquarters Gemini Program Office informed Manned Spacecraft Center that it had decided to delete extravehicular activity from Gemini missions 5, 6, and 7.
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. References: 93 .
North American began redesigning the side hatch mechanism in the CM to satisfy the requirement for extravehicular transfer from Block II spacecraft. Two basic modifications to the Block I mechanism were required: (1) enlarging it to overcome thermal warpage; and (2) adding some hinge retention device to secure the hatch once it was opened. References: 16 .
In order to use the LEM as a backup for the service propulsion system (SPS) to abort the mission during the 15-hour period following translunar injection, Grumman informed North American that some redesign of the spacecraft's helium system would likely be required. This information prompted North American designers to undertake their own analysis of the situation. On the basis of their own findings, this latter group disagreed with the LEM manufacturer. Additional Details: Apollo LEM as backup for the service propulsion system. References: 16 .
North American recommended to MSC that, for the time being, the present method for landing the CM (i.e., a passive water landing) be maintained. However, on the basis of a recent feasibility study, the contractor urged that a rocket landing system be developed for possible use later on. North American said that such a system would improve mission reliability through the increase in impact capability on both land and water. References: 16 .
The first launch of the Proton launch vehicle was not without problems. A leak in the oxidiser pipeline resulted in nitrogen tetroxide spilling on electrical wires. The question was: proceed with the launch or abort? Chelomei decided to go ahead, and on 16 July 1965 the first UR-500 successfully launched the Proton 1 satellite. In the first hours after launch specialists from OKB-52 could only receive signals in the first hours that indicated the satellite was ‘alive’. However it later functioned normally and provided physics data on ultra-high-energy cosmic particles for 45 days.
At the first launch the rocket was called ‘Gerkules’ (other sources say ‘Atlantis’), as indicated by the large symbol on the second stage skin. This name was however was not taken up. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 273 , 274 .
Zond 3 was towards the moon and interplanetary space. The spacecraft was equipped with a TV system that provided automatic inflight film processing. On July 20, during lunar flyby, 25 pictures of very good quality were taken of the lunar farside from distances of 11,570 to 9960 km. The photos covered 19,000,000 km square of the lunar surface. Photo transmissions by facsimile were returned to earth from a distance of 2,200,000 km on July 29 and were retransmitted later from a distance of 31,500,000 km, thus proving the ability of the communications system. After the lunar flyby, Zond 3 continued space exploration in a heliocentric orbit. Those pictures showed clearly the heavily cratered nature of the surface. This mission dramatized the advances in space photography that the U.S.S.R. had made since its first far-side effort six years earlier. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 64 , 296 .
NASA Headquarters authorized North American to subcontract the Block II CSM fuel cells to Pratt and Whitney. Estimates placed the cost at $30 million. References: 16 .
NASA was acquiring eight KC-135 aircraft and three ships to help maintain communications during Apollo moon flights. In addition, two ships of the existing DOD instrumentation fleet were being remodeled for support of the Apollo lunar mission's reentry phase. The KC-135 jet transports would be used during reentry to combat the effects of the plasma sheath blackout which had drowned out communications on previous manned launchings. In addition, three primary ground stations were being prepared at Goldstone, Calif.; Canberra, Australia; and Madrid, Spain. References: 16 .
MSC directed Grumman to implement changes in weights of the LEM:
|Total LEM||14,515 kg (32,000 lbs)|
|Ascent stage inert||2,193 kg (4,835 lbs)|
|Descent stage inert||2,166 kg (4,775 lbs)|
Bell Aerosystems Company announced that it had designed a rocket-propelled Lunar Flying Vehicle (LFV) to aid Apollo astronauts in their exploration of the moon. This work was the result of a year-long study that the company had conducted for MSFC. The LFV, nicknamed "Hopper," would be able to travel about 80 km (50 mi) without stopping. Bell announced also that it had received additional funds from NASA (almost a half million dollars) to continue work on another lunar vehicle, the so-called Manned Flying System. This latter craft, also primarily a tool for exploration, would be able to transport an astronaut and about 136 kg (300 lbs) of equipment (or two astronauts) for distances up to 24 km (15 mi) from the original landing site. References: 16 .
Bell Aerosystems Company announced that it had received additional funds from NASA (almost a half million dollars) to continue work on another lunar vehicle, the so-called Manned Flying System. This latter craft, also primarily a tool for exploration, would be able to transport an astronaut and about 136 kg (300 lbs) of equipment (or two astronauts) for distances up to 24 km (15 mi) from the original landing site.
Decree 'On adoption of the R-9A in shaft and surface variants into armaments' was issued. References: 474 .
Several lunar surface vehicles received national attention:
Edward Z. Gray, Director, Advanced Manned Missions Program at NASA Hq, informed the Center Directors at MSC, MSFC, and KSC of significant recent program decisions on the approach to be followed during Fiscal Year 1966 in defining payload integration for the AES to the extent necessary for awarding major project contracts approximately a wear later. In defining AES activity, Gray said, the Centers must follow the phased approach, with definition phase contracts to be awarded competitively to industry about the first of 1966. Additional Details: Apollo AES program decisions..
During a news conference, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Deputy Manager of the Gemini Project Office at MSC, affirmed that, although no firm decisions had yet been made, the concept of a circumlunar flight using a Gemini spacecraft was being seriously studied. The mission would use Titan II and III-C launch vehicles and would require rendezvousing in earth orbit. NASA, Martin-Marietta Corporation (builder of the Titan), and Aerojet-General Corporation (which manufactured upper stages for the III-C) all were studying the feasibility of such a flight. Later in the year, NASA Administrator James E. Webb eliminated the possibility of a Gemini circumlunar mission, ". . . our main reliance for operating at lunar distances . . . is the large Saturn V/Apollo system." References: 16 .
At North American's drop facility, a malfunction in the release mechanism caused boilerplate 1 to impact on land rather than water. After a recurrence of this accident on August 6, a team of investigators began looking into the problem. Drops were suspended pending their findings. These incidents aggravated delays in the test program, which already was seven weeks behind schedule. References: 16 .
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 156 'On the Manufacture of 'Voskhod' Space Ship-Satellites-manufacture of five more Voskhod spacecraft' was issued. References: 474 .
The final report on a modular multipurpose space station was delivered to MSC by the Spacecraft Organization of Lockheed-California Company. The concept provided for a sequential evolution of space vehicles ranging from small Apollo-dependent laboratories, through larger, more versatile laboratories, to a semipermanent space station. Initial objectives of the study were to refine and optimize the design of the large orbital research laboratory. Additional Details: Final report on Lockheed modular multipurpose space station..
NASA launched Pegasus 3, third of the meteoroid detection satellites, as scheduled at 8:00 a.m. EST, from Cape Kennedy. As earlier, an Apollo spacecraft (boilerplate 9) served as the payload's shroud. This flight (SA-10) marked the end of the Saturn I program, which during its seven-year lifetime had achieved 10 straight successful launches and had contributed immeasurably to American rocket technology. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 .
At a meeting between representatives of NASA and Public Health Service representatives, it was agreed:
Crew Systems Division completed evaluation of the three Block II space suits submitted by Hamilton Standard, David Clark, and International Latex. Additional Details: Three competing Apollo Block II space suits evaluated. References: 16 .
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On creation of military Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. References: 474 .
Grumman submitted to NASA its final report on a study of AES for Earth-orbit missions (conducted under the firm's contract for a LEM utilization study). The five-volume report comprised general engineering studies, mission and configuration descriptions for different groups of experiments (both NASA's and those for the Air Force's Manned Orbiting- Laboratory), and a cost and schedule analysis. Additional Details: Grumman final report on a study of LEM utilization for AES Earth-orbit missions..
Proposed Vostok flight to conduct extra-vehicular activity tests. The Vostok would be modified by having the ejection seat removed and an airlock built into the spacecraft. All follow-on Vostok missions cancelled in Spring 1964. References: 283 , 294 .
Hamilton Standard shipped the first prototype portable life support system to Houston, where it would undergo testing by the Crew Systems Division. References: 16 .
NASA's office at Downey, Calif., approved the contract with the Marquardt Corporation for the procurement of Block II SM reaction control system engines. Estimated cost of the fixed price contract would be $6.5 million. Marquardt was supplying the Block I SM engines. References: 16 .
NASA named three firms, Bendix Systems Division, TRW Systems Group, and Space-General Corporation to design prototypes of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP). Each company received a $500,000, six-month contract. After delivery of the prototypes, MSC would select one of the three to develop the ALSEP flight hardware. References: 16 .
During tests of the Apollo earth landing system (ELS) at El Centro, Calif., boilerplate (BP) 6A sustained considerable damage in a drop that was to have demonstrated ELS performance during a simulated apex-forward pad abort. Oscillating severely at the time the auxiliary brake parachute was opened, the spacecraft severed two of the electrical lines that were to have released that device. Although the ELS sequence took place as planned, the still-attached brake prevented proper operation of the drogues and full inflation of the mains. As a result, BP-6A landed at a speed of about 50 fps. References: 16 .
The Saturn V's booster, the S-IC stage, made a "perfect" full-duration static firing by burning for the programmed 2.5 minutes at its full 33,360-kilonewton (7.5-million-lbs) thrust in a test conducted at MSFC. The test model demonstrated its steering capability on command from the blockhouse after 100 sec had elapsed; the firing consumed 2.133-million liters (537,000 gallons) of kerosene and liquid oxygen. References: 16 .
Two Saturn milestones occurred on the same day. At Santa Susana, Calif., North American conducted the first full-duration captive firing of an S-II, second stage of the Saturn V. And at Sacramento, Douglas static-tested the first flight-model S-IVB, second stage for the Saturn IB. This latter marked the first time that a complete static test (encompassing vehicle checkout, loading, and firing) had been controlled entirely by computers. References: 16 .
Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, listed the six key checkpoints in the development of Apollo hardware:
Last launch of Thor/Able-Star from Vandenberg AFB. (first launch on 28 September 1963). References: 88 .
First launch of a Minuteman II from Vandenberg AFB. References: 88 .
At a third status meeting on LEM-1, Grumman put into effect "Operation Scrape," an effort to lighten that spacecraft by about 57 kg (125 lbs). "Scrape" involved an exchange of parts between LEM-1 and LTA-3. The former vehicle thus would be heavier than the latter; LTA-3, on the other hand, would have the same structural weight as LEMs 2 and forthcoming. References: 16 .
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 180 'On the Order of Work on the Soyuz Complex--approval of the schedule of work for Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. References: 474 .
MSC assigned two LEM test articles (numbers 10 and 2, respectively) to the SA-501 and SA-502 missions. Prior to flight, the spacecraft would be refurbished by Grumman, which would require four to five months' work on each vehicle. References: 16 .
Douglas Aircraft Company static-fired the S-IVB in a test at Sacramento, Calif., simulating the workload of a lunar mission. The stage was run for three minutes, shut down for half an hour, then reignited for almost six minutes. References: 16 .
As part of MSFC's activities related to the AES program, designers at the Center began serious investigation of the concept of an S-IVB Orbital Workshop (OWS). This concept, which involved 'in- orbit' conversion of a spent S-IVB stage to a shelter suitable for extended stay and utilization by man, showed great potential for experiment work during the Earth-orbital phase of the AES program. Accordingly, MSFC officials planned a four-month conceptual design effort, to begin immediately, with help and participation from both MSC and the S-IVB stage builder, Douglas Aircraft Company. Additional Details: NASA MSFC began serious investigation of the concept of an S-IVB Orbital Workshop (OWS)..
Major objectives of the eight-day mission were evaluating the performance of the rendezvous guidance and navigation system, using a rendezvous evaluation pod (REP), and evaluating the effects of prolonged exposure to the space environment on the flight crew. Secondary objectives included demonstrating controlled reentry guidance, evaluating fuel cell performance, demonstrating all phases of guidance and control system operation needed for a rendezvous mission, evaluating the capability of either pilot to maneuver the spacecraft in orbit to rendezvous, evaluating the performance of rendezvous radar, and executing 17 experiments. The mission proceeded without incident through the first two orbits and the ejection of the REP. About 36 minutes after beginning evaluation of the rendezvous guidance and navigation system, the crew noted that the pressure in the oxygen supply tank of the fuel cell system was falling. Pressure dropped from 850 pounds per square inch absolute (psia) at 26 minutes into the flight until it stabilized at 70 psia at 4 hours 22 minutes, and gradually increased through the remainder of the mission. The spacecraft was powered down and the REP exercise was abandoned. By the seventh revolution, experts on the ground had analyzed the problem and a powering-up procedure was started. During the remainder of the mission the flight plan was continuously scheduled in real time. Four rendezvous radar tests were conducted during the mission, the first in revolution 14 on the second day; the spacecraft rendezvous radar successfully tracked a transponder on the ground at Cape Kennedy. During the third day, a simulated Agena rendezvous was conducted at full electrical load. The simulation comprised four maneuvers - apogee adjust, phase adjust, plane change, and coelliptical maneuver - using the orbit attitude and maneuver system (OAMS). Main activities through the fourth day of the mission concerned operations and experiments. During the fifth day, OAMS operation became sluggish and thruster No. 7 inoperative. Thruster No. 8 went out the next day, and the rest of the system was gradually becoming more erratic. Limited experimental and operational activities continued through the remainder of the mission. Retrofire was initiated in the 121st revolution during the eighth day of the mission, one revolution early because of threatening weather in the planned recovery area. Reentry and landing were satisfactory, but the landing point was 145 km short, the result of incorrect navigation coordinates transmitted to the spacecraft computer from the ground network. Landing occurred August 29, 190 hours 55 minutes after the mission had begun. The astronauts arrived on board the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain, at 9:25. The spacecraft was recovered at 11:51 a.m.
With this flight, the US finally took the manned spaceflight endurance record from Russia, while demonstrating that the crew could survive in zero gravity for the length of time required for a lunar mission. However the mission was incredibly boring, the spacecraft just drifting to conserve fuel most of the time, and was 'just about the hardest thing I've ever done' according to a hyperactive Pete Conrad. An accident with freeze dried shrimp resulted in the cabin being filled with little pink subsatellites. Additional Details: Gemini 5. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
Decree 'On Creation of an R-36 Based Carrier Rocket for Launching the IS and US KA--start of work on an R-36-based launch vehicle for the IS and US programs' was issued. After Khrushchev was ousted from power, Chelomei's projects were examined by an expert commission under M V Keldysh. It was found that Yangel’s R-36 rocket was superior to Chelomei’s UR-200. The UR-200 was cancelled; the IS and US satellites would be launched by the R-36 11K67. The Tsyklon 2 definitive operational version replaced the 11K67 launch vehicle from 1969. References: 474 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On expansion of military space research and on 7K-VI Zvezda' was issued. In June 1965 Gemini 4 began the first American experiments in military space. At the same time the large military Manned Orbital Laboratory space station was on the verge of being given its final go-ahead. These events caused a bit of a panic among the Soviet military, where the Soyuz-R and Almaz projects were in the very earliest stages of design and would not fly until 1968 at the earliest. VPK head Leonid Smirnov ordered that urgent measures be taken to test manned military techniques in orbit at the earliest possible date. Modifications were to be made to the Voskhod and Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft to assess the military utility of manned visual and photographic reconnaissance; of inspection of enemy satellites from orbit; attacking enemy spacecraft; and obtaining early warning of nuclear attack. The decree instructed Kozlov to fly by 1967 a military research variant of the Soyuz 7K-OK 11F615. References: 474 .
DoD revealed that newly-authorized Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program (announced by President Lyndon Johnson the same day) would be launched from both the Air Force Eastern and Western Test Ranges. References: 88 .
At a White House news conference, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced approval for the Department of Defense's development of the $1.5-billion Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL). Such a program, the President said, would bring 'new knowledge about what man is able to do in space.' Further, MOL 'will enable us to relate that ability to the defense of America.'
An explosion damaged a LEM reaction control system thruster being fired in an up attitude in altitude tests at MSC. References: 16 .
Grumman completed an analysis of radiation levels that would be encountered by the LEM-3 crew during their earth orbital mission. Grumman advised that doses would not be harmful. To lessen these levels even further, the contractor recommended that during some parts of the mission the two astronauts climb back into the CM; also, the planned orbit for the LEM (556 by 2,500 km (300 by 1,350 nm)) could be changed to avoid the worst part of the Van Allen Belt. References: 16 .
A total of 13 flights were made in the LLRV, including one in which the lunar simulation mode was flown for the first time. References: 16 .
A LEM ascent engine exploded during altitude firings at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC). In subsequent investigations, Bell Aerosystems researchers concluded that the failure probably resulted from raw propellants being accidentally forced into the engine at the end of the second run, thus damaging the injector. Additional Details: Apollo LEM ascent engine exploded during firings. References: 16 .
Grumman advised MSC of major troubles plaguing development of the LEM's descent engine. These included problems of weight, chamber erosion, mixtures, valves, combustion instability, and throttle mechanisms (which Grumman said could delay delivery of LEM 1 and the start of qualification testing). References: 16 .
North American conducted another in their series of impact tests with boilerplate 28. This drop tested the toroidal section of the spacecraft (heatshield and equipment bay structure) in impact at high angle and maximum horizontal velocity. The spacecraft suffered no visible damage. Some water leaked into the vehicle, but this was blamed on the boilerplate structure itself and the apex-down attitude after impact. References: 16 .
During several visits to MSC, NASA Administrator James E. Webb raised a number of technical and policy questions relating to programs and management practices. Webb seemed particularly concerned about the difficulty of getting the program offices at Headquarters and the Centers to take an active interest in NASA's potential influence in the national economy and world affairs. Additional Details: Webb sees time as right to begin serious study of a Saturn V space station..
The was team now consisted of Titov, Beregovoy, Filipchenko, Kuklin, and Shatalov.
The launch was delayed due to malfunction of the RKS system of the Stages 1/2's control system during pre-launch service. References: 64 .
Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On delays in work on piloted lunar programs' was issued. References: 474 .
The design was proposed by Korolev as an alternate to Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar mission. It combined the Proton 8K82K booster for the LK-1 with the N1 lunar Block D stage to boost a stripped-down Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft around the moon.
NASA selected the Perkin-Elmer and Chrysler corporations to study feasibility of including optical-technology experiments, particularly lasers and large telescopes, in future extended Apollo flights. NASA was also interested in optical communication in deep space, the effects of space environment on optical systems, and related experiments. The program would be directed by MSFC.
North American evaluated the compatibility of spacecraft 012 with its mission, AS-204, the first manned Apollo flight. The manufacturer determined that, by using roll-stabilized attitude during most of the flight, the vehicle could remain aloft for about 13½ days. The only onboard expendables termed marginal were cryogenics and the propellant supply in the SM's reaction control system (which, for added safety, would offer a redundant means of braking the vehicle out of orbit). References: 16 .
NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) agreed that AEC would provide radioisotope thermoelectric generators which would power each Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package for an operating period of one year on the lunar surface. References: 16 .
Thirteen flights were made with the lunar landing research vehicle. Two of those flights were devoted to mulling the lunar simulation system; the remaining 11 flights were devoted to research with the attitude control system in the rate command mode. Nine landings were made in the lunar simulation mode.
On flight 1-34-94F the lunar simulation mode worked perfectly and no drift was encountered during more than one minute of hovering flight. The landing was made in the simulation mode for the first time on this flight. References: 16 .
|Previous Quarter||Next Quarter|