|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1965 - Quarter 4|
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Cosmonauts write letter to Brezhnev complaining of multitude of space projects and de-emphasis of manned efforts. References: 72 .
A plan for orbital space station development responsive to the research and development needs of a broad-based space exploration program was presented to the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Rakententechnik und Raumfarht, Munich, Germany. The paper was prepared by Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc., Santa Monica. The main theme of the paper centered on low-Earth-Orbit applications of space stations. It suggested that the space station system would start with limited life laboratories and evolve into extended life, continuously manned space stations. In the development of the space station, four major subsystems would be required: life support, power, stabilization and control, and communications. Of these, the life support and power subsystems would require significant extensions to current technology. While touching on lunar-orbital and interplanetary missions, it was indicated that in the evolution of the space station the low-Earth-orbital missions were of primary importance because they could accommodate applications development, capability-engineering development, biomedical behavioral experiments, and scientific experiments. Polar orbits would be required for cartographic, meteorologic, geologic, and natural resources surveys. Synchronous orbits would be useful primarily for communications, allowing continuous communications without the necessity of vast ground or orbital relay networks.
At a Customer Acceptance Readiness Review at North American, NASA formally accepted spacecraft 002. The vehicle was then demated and shipped to White Sands. References: 16 .
The Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California, performed a study on a manned orbital research laboratory (MORL) for Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc., Santa Monica. Major conclusions of the study included the following: The MORL mission was highly desirable for the posture of the United States in the international community. The improvement of this position would represent, perhaps, MORL's greatest contribution to our nation. Additional Details: Stanford Research Institute study on Douglas manned orbital research laboratory (MORL)..
The U.S. Geological Survey cooperated with Crew Systems Division (CSD) in testing the extravehicular mobility unit under simulated lunar conditions at Flagstaff, Arizona. As a result, CSD technicians determined a number of deficiencies in the thermal meteoroid garment, and recommended a number of changes to make the garment more functional and more durable, as well as better fitting and more comfortable. References: 16 .
Lunar soft landing attempt. The Luna 7 spacecraft was intended to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. However, due to premature retrofire and cutoff of the retrorockets, the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface in the Sea of Storms. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
A test model of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, designed to simulate lunar landings, was flown by former NASA X-15 pilot Joseph Walker to an altitude of 91 m (300 ft). Built by Bell Aerosystems Company under contract to NASA, the research craft had a jet engine that supported five-sixths of its weight. The pilot manipulated solid-fuel lift rockets that supported the remaining one-sixth, and the craft's attitude was controlled with jets of hydrogen peroxide. References: 16 .
A drop in the boilerplate 6A series, using flight-qualifiable earth landing system (ELS) components, failed because the braking parachute (not a part of the ELS) did not adequately stabilize the vehicle. MSC invited North American and Northrop-Ventura to Houston to explain the failure and to recommend corrective measures. References: 16 .
In a paper presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' fourth manned space flight meeting in St. Louis, AAP Director William B. Taylor described the focus and importance of the AAP. In contrast to Apollo, with its clear objective of lauding on the Moon, AAP's objectives were much less obvious. Under AAP, Taylor said, NASA planned to exploit the capabilities being developed for Apollo as a technological bridge to more extensive manned space flight missions of the 1970s and 1980s. AAP was not an end in itself, but rather a beginning to build flight experience, technology, and scientific data. Additional Details: Apollo AAP objectives described..
On August 26, the attachments for the pilot parachute mortar had failed during static testing on CM 006. The fittings had been redesigned and the test was not repeated. This test, the final one in the limit load series for the earth landing system, certified the structural interface between the CM and the earth landing system for the 009 flight. References: 16 .
France - USSR communications link. Second communications satellite 'Molniya-1'. Television programme transmission and long-range, two-way multi-channel telephone, phototelegraph and telegraph communications. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 .
OGO 2 was a large observatory instrumented with 20 experiments designed to make simultaneous, correlative observations of aurora and airglow emissions, energetic particles, magnetic field variations, ionospheric properties, etc., especially over the polar areas. Soon after achieving orbit, difficulties in maintaining earth lock with horizon scanners caused exhaustion of attitude control gas by October 23, 1965, 10 days after launch. At this time, the spacecraft entered a spin mode (about 0.11 rpm) with a large coning angle about the previously vertical axis. Five experiments became useless when the satellite went into this spin mode. Six additional experiments were degraded by this loss of attitude control. By April 1966, both batteries had failed, so subsequent observations were limited to sunlit portions of the orbit. By December 1966, only eight experiments were operational, five of which were not degraded by the spin mode operation. By April 1967, the tape recorders had malfunctioned and only one third of the recorded data could be processed. Spacecraft power and periods of operational scheduling conflicts created six large data gaps so that data were observed on a total of about 306 days of the 2-yr, 18-day total span of observed satellite data to November 1, 1967. The spacecraft was shut down on November 1, 1967, with eight experiments still operational. It was reactivated for 2 weeks in February 1968 to operate the rubidium vapor magnetometer experiment. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On approval of work on the draft project of the UR-700/LK-700 lunar complex' was issued. References: 474 .
MSC and MSFC program officials and engineers held their first coordination meeting on the S-IVB Orbital Workshop and related Apollo Applications Program experiment activities. Among the most significant results of this meeting was a request by Houston for inclusion of an artificial gravity experiment as part of the S-IVB command and service module concept of the Workshop. MSFC officials undertook to define the feasibility of such an experiment, examining several possible technical approaches (including cables a concept that MSC found less shall appealing). MSFC investigators also sought help from LaRC, where considerable work along this line had been done as part of that Center's MORL study program.
Apollo spacecraft 009, first of the type that would carry three astronauts to the moon and back, was accepted by NASA during informal ceremonies at North American. Spacecraft 009 included a CM, SM, launch escape system, and adapter. It went to Cape Canaveral for integration with the first Saturn IB (Saturn IB and SIVB stages received August 1965). The spacecraft was stacked on the launch vehicle on 26 December. References: 16 .
MSC announced that the bubble-type helmet, designed by Crew Systems Division (CSD) engineers Robert L. Jones and James O'Kane, had been adopted for use in the Apollo extravehicular mobility unit. The new helmet was smaller and lighter than earlier types; extensive studies by CSD had demonstrated its superior comfort, visibility, and don/doff characteristics. References: 16 .
Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, notified the Center directors and Apollo program managers in Houston, Huntsville, and Cape Kennedy that OMSF's launch schedule for Apollo-Saturn IB flights had been revised, based on delivery of CSMs 009 and 011:
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low advised NASA Hq of Houston's planning schedule for follow-up procurement of Apollo spacecraft for the AAP. Based upon the most recent delivery schedules for the last several command and service modules and lunar excursion modules for Apollo, contract award for those vehicles was scheduled for July and August 1966. In accordance with a 14 July directive from Headquarters, MSC was preparing a procurement plan for the extended CSM and the LEM derivatives covering both the final definition and development and operational phases of AAP. Approval of this plan by Headquarters, Low stated, was anticipated for mid-December, while award of contracts for the program definition phase was set for late January 1966. The contract award date for actual development of the extended CSM was slated for October 1966, while that for the LEM derivatives was postponed until mid- 1967 (in line with revised funding directives from Washington).
NASA announced that it had selected 10 areas on the moon as subjects for Lunar Orbiter's cameras during 1966. These areas encompassed most major types of lunar terrain. Most were suitable - and potential - landing sites for Surveyor and Apollo spacecraft. References: 16 .
The Gemini VI mission was canceled when Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5002 suffered what appeared to be a catastrophic failure shortly after separating from the Atlas launch vehicle. The Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle was launched from complex 14 at 10:00 a.m., e.s.t. When the two vehicles separated at 10:05, all signals were normal. But approximately 375 seconds after liftoff, vehicle telemetry was lost and attempts to reestablish contact failed. The Gemini VI countdown was held and then canceled at 10:54 a.m., because the target vehicle had failed to achieve orbit. In accordance with Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) procedures and NASA management instructions - both of which specified investigation in the event of such a failure - Major General Ben I. Funk, SSD Commander, reconvened the Agena Flight Safety Review Board, and NASA established a GATV Review Board.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Concentration of Forces of Industrial Design Organisations for the Creation of Rocket-Space Complex Means for Circling the Moon--work on the UR-500K-L1 program' was issued. As a result of a presentation to the Military Industrial Commission, Afanasyev backed Korolev in wresting control of the manned circumlunar project from Chelomei. The Chelomei LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft was cancelled. In its place, Korolev would use a derivative of the Soyuz 7K-OK, the 7K-L1, launched by Chelomeiís UR-500K, but with a Block D translunar injection stage from the N1. He envisioned launch of the unmanned 7K-L1 into low earth orbit, followed by launch and docking of a 7K-OK with the 7K-L1. The crew would then transfer to the L1, which would then be boosted toward the moon. This was the original reason for the development of the 7K-OK. References: 474 .
The original Gemini VI mission had been canceled when its target vehicle failed catastrophically on October 25. In a memorandum to the President, NASA Administrator James E. Webb indicated the possibility that Gemini VI spacecraft and launch vehicle could be reerected shortly after the launch of Gemini VII. Since much of the prelaunch checkout of Gemini VI would not need repeating, it could be launched in time to rendezvous with Gemini VII (a mission scheduled for 14 days) if launching Gemini VII did not excessively damage the launch pad. NASA officials, spurred by suggestions from Walter F. Burke and John F. Yardley of McDonnell, began discussing the possibility of a dual mission immediately after the failure October 25, drawing on some six months of discussion and preliminary planning by NASA, Air Force, Martin, and McDonnell personnel for a rapid manned flight launch demonstration.
Seven flights were made with the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle at Flight Research Center during October. The first three were in support of X-15 conference activities, and the last four were for attitude control research. Five of the landings were made in the lunar simulation mode. References: 16 .
NASA announced that it would negotiate with International Latex Corporation for an estimated $10 million contract to fabricate the Apollo space suit consisting of the liquid-cooled undergarment, constant wear garment, pressure garment assembly, and thermo-micrometeoroid protective overgarment. At the same time an estimated $20 million contract was negotiated with Hamilton Standard Division of United Aircraft Corporation for continued development and manufacture of the portable life support system with a four-hour main power supply subjected to a maximum stowage soak temperature of 328K (130 degrees F). References: 16 .
The primary objective of GEOS-A was to provide global geodetic measurements for determining the positions of fiducial control points on the Earth to an accuracy of 10 meters in an Earth centre of mass co-ordinate system, and to determine the structure of the Earth's gravity field to 5 parts in 10 million. Instrumentation included (1) four optical beacons, (2) laser reflectors, (3) a radio range transponder, (4) Doppler beacons, and (5) a range and range rate transponder. These were designed to operate simultaneously to fulfil the objectives of locating observation points (geodetic control stations) in a three dimensional earth centre-of-mass co-ordinate system within 10 m of accuracy, of defining the structure of the earth's irregular gravitational field and refining the locations and magnitudes of the large gravity anomalies, and of comparing results of the various systems onboard the spacecraft to determine the most accurate and reliable system. In January 1967, a failure in the satellite's command system rendered several geodetic systems inoperable. Radio doppler measurements and the passive laser reflector experiment could continue indefinitely, however. Additional Details: Explorer 29. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 405 .
The Block I service propulsion system engine successfully completed the first altitude qualification tests at AEDC. References: 16 .
The portable life support system Preliminary Design Review was completed. The design was essentially complete and no major discrepancies were noted during the review. References: 16 .
Venera 2 was launched towards the planet Venus and carried a TV system and scientific instruments. On February 27, 1966, the spacecraft passed Venus at a distance of 24,000 km and entered a heliocentric orbit. The spacecraft system had ceased to operate before the planet was reached and returned no data. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On work on the UR-500K-L1 program' was issued. References: 474 .
Venera 3 was launched towards the planet Venus. The mission was to land on the Venusian surface. The entry vehicle contained a radio communication system, scientific instruments, electrical power sources, and medallions bearing the coat of arms of the U.S.S.R. The station impacted Venus on March 1, 1966. However, the communications systems had failed before planetary data could be returned. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
North American informed MSC of a fire in the reaction control system (RCS) test cell during a CM RCS test for spacecraft 009. The fire was suspected to have been caused by overheating the test cell when the 10 engines were activated, approximately 30 sec prior to test completion. An estimated test delay of two to three weeks, due to shutdown of the test cell for refurbishment, was forecast. MSC informed the Apollo Program Director that an investigation was underway. References: 16 .
Last Thor/Agena launch from Vandenberg AFB (first mission on 28 February 1959). References: 88 .
Ionospheric research; data correlated with Explorer 31. The double-launch project, known as ISIS-X was the first in a new co-operative NASA-Canadian Defense Research Board program for International Satellites for Ionospheric Studies. Alouette was in orbit with an apogee just over a kilometre lower than Explorer 31's and with a perigee of just more than a kilometre higher. The orbits were some 3000 km at apogee and 500 km at perigee. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Ionospheric research; data correlated with Alouette 2. The Explorer 31, Direct Measurement Explorer, was launched with a Canadian Alouette II on November 28, 1965, on a Thor-Agena rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The double-launch project, known as ISIS-X was the first in a new co-operative NASA-Canadian Defense Research Board program for International Satellites for Ionospheric Studies. Explorer 31 was in orbit with an apogee just over a kilometre more than Alouette's and with a perigee of just more than a kilometre lower. The orbits were some 3000 km at apogee and 500 km at perigee. Eight ionospheric measurement experiments sampled the environment both forward and after the satellite's path. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Redstone launched as ballistic missile target and was successfully intercepted by a US Navy Terrier surface-to-air missile launched from Point Mugu, California.
Apollo Mission Simulator No. 1 was shipped from Link Group, General Precision, Binghamton, New York, to MSC. References: 16 .
Ten flights were made with the lunar landing research vehicle. All flights were for attitude control and handling qualities research. Landings on all flights were made in the lunar landing mode. References: 16 .
From September 1962 NASA planned to fly four early manned Apollo spacecraft on Saturn I boosters. A key prerequisite for these flights was complete wringing out of the launch escape system. Additional Details: Apollo SA-11.
The Boeing Company submitted a utilization study report to MSC for the proposed multipurpose mission module. The report was one of 13 volumes prepared by Boeing's Aerospace Group Space Division under an MSC contract. Additional Details: Boeing report for the proposed multipurpose mission module..
The Advanced Missions Division, Manned Space Science Program, in the Office of Space Sciences and Applications, released details of experiment proposals submitted by teams of potential experimenters for the immediate post-Apollo Earth-orbital phase of manned space exploration, as part of the AES program. As well as detailed descriptions of the various scientific experiments themselves, the report examined the justification for AES in relation to other space programs, mission objectives, operational constraints, and long-range plans and goals.
George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and MSFC Director Wernher von Braun discussed Marshall's briefing on the S-IVB Workshop concept presented at Headquarters the previous day. Mueller asked that MSFC formulate a program development plan and present it at the next meeting of the Manned Space Flight Management Council. Specifically, Mueller demanded that the plan include experiments to be carried aboard the Workshop; funding arrangements; and where development work should be done (in house, or elsewhere). In addition, he asked that MSFC submit two such plans, one for the unpressurized and another for the pressurized version of the Workshop. In effect, Mueller gave Marshall the 'green light' to begin the Orbital Workshop program. At von Braun's request, the Workshop received the status of a separate project, with William Ferguson as Project Manager.
The tests on this missile proved concepts and hardware for the RT-2 operational solid propellant ICBM
Lunar soft landing attempt failed. Luna 8's objectives were to test a soft lunar landing system and scientific research. Weighing 1,552 kg (3,422 lbs), the spacecraft was following a trajectory close to the calculated one and the equipment was functioning normally. However, the retrofire was late, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface in the Sea of Storms. Tass reported that "the systems were functioning normally at all stages of the landing except the final touchdown." The mission did complete the experimental development of the star-orientation system and ground control of radio equipment, flight trajectory, and other instrumentation. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 64 , 296 .
Spacecraft No. 6 was returned to complex 19 on December 5. Within 24 hours after the launch of Gemini VII, both stages of GLV-6 were erected, spacecraft and launch vehicle were mated, and power was applied. Subsystems Reverification Tests were completed December 8. The only major problem was a malfunction of the spacecraft computer memory. The computer was replaced and checked out December 7-8. The Simulated Flight Test, December 8-9, completed prelaunch tests. The launch, initially scheduled for December 13, was rescheduled for December 12.
Primary objectives of the mission were demonstrating manned orbital flight for approximately 14 days and evaluating the physiological effects of a long-duration flight on the crew. Among the secondary objectives were providing a rendezvous target for the Gemini VI-A spacecraft, stationkeeping with the second stage of the launch vehicle and with spacecraft No. 6, conducting 20 experiments, using lightweight pressure suits, and evaluating the spacecraft reentry guidance capability. All objectives were successfully achieved with the exception of two experiments lost because of equipment failure. Shortly after separation from the launch vehicle, the crew maneuvered the spacecraft to within 60 feet of the second stage and stationkept for about 15 minutes. The exercise was terminated by a separation maneuver, and the spacecraft was powered down in preparation for the 14-day mission. The crew performed five maneuvers during the course of the mission to increase orbital lifetime and place the spacecraft in proper orbit for rendezvous with spacecraft No. 6. Rendezvous was successfully accomplished during the 11th day in orbit, with spacecraft No. 7 serving as a passive target for spacecraft No. 6. About 45 hours into the mission, Lovell removed his pressure suit. He again donned his suit at 148 hours, while Borman removed his. Some 20 hours later Lovell again removed his suit, and both crewmen flew the remainder of the mission without suits, except for the rendezvous and reentry phases. With three exceptions, the spacecraft and its systems performed nominally throughout the entire mission. The delayed-time telemetry playback tape recorder malfunctioned about 201hours after liftoff, resulting in the loss of all delayed-time telemetry data for the remainder of the mission. Two fuel cell stacks showed excessive degradation late in the flight and were taken off the line; the remaining four stacks furnished adequate electrical power until reentry. Two attitude thrusters performed poorly after 283 hours in the mission. Retrofire occurred exactly on time, and reentry and landing were nominal. The spacecraft missed the planned landing point by only 10.3 km miles, touching down on December 18. The crew arrived at the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp, half an hour later. The spacecraft was recovered half an hour after the crew.
Far surpassing the Gemini 5 flight, Gemini 7 set a manned spaceflight endurance record that would endure for years. The incredibly boring mission, was made more uncomfortable by the extensive biosensors. This was somewhat offset by the soft spacesuits (used only once) and permission to spend most of the time in long johns. The monotony was broken just near the end by the rendezvous with Gemini 6. Additional Details: Gemini 7. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
The Block II CSM Critical Design Review (CDR) was held at North American, Downey, Calif. The specifications and drawings were reviewed and the CSM mockup inspected. Review Item Dispositions were written against the design where it failed to meet the requirements.
As a result of the CDR North American would update the configuration of mockup 27A for use in zero-g flights at Wright-Patterson AFB. The flights could not be rescheduled until MSC approved the refurbished mockup as being representative of the spacecraft configuration. References: 16 .
VLF wave propagation studies. Investigation of the properties of the ionized layers of the atmosphere by observation of the propagation of the properties of very low frequency waves in the ionosphere. First registered by the United States in A/AC.105/INF.125. Orbit given there was 99 .9 min, 749 x 753 km x 75.9 deg, with note: France provided the payload for 1965-101A. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
An 889-kilonewton (200,000-lb) thrust J-2 engine was captive-fired for 388 sec on a new test stand at MSFC. The J-2 engine would be used to power the Saturn S-IVB stage for the Saturn V. Ten tests of the liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen powered rocket engine had been conducted at MSFC since the J-2 engine test facility was put into use in August 1965. References: 16 .
Nine review item dispositions were submitted at the Block II critical design review concerning the earth landing system and shock attenuation system (struts). Six were on specifications, one on installation drawings, and two on capability. The two most significant were:
Preliminary results of the "fire-till-touchdown" study by Grumman indicated that this maneuver was not feasible. The engine might be exploded by driving the shock wave into the nozzles. Additional Details: Fire-till-touchdown not feasible for the Apollo LEM. References: 16 .
At-sea operational qualification tests, using boilerplate 29 to simulate spacecraft 009, were completed. All mechanical system components performed satisfactorily, except for the recovery flashing light. Additional Details: Apollo at-sea operational qualification tests completed. References: 16 .
The scheduled launch of Gemini VI-A was aborted when the Master Operations Control Set automatically shut down the Gemini launch vehicle a second after engine ignition because an electrical umbilical connector separated prematurely. The launch was canceled at 9:54 a.m., e.s.t. Emergency procedures delayed raising the erector until 11:28, so the crew was not removed until 11:33 a.m. Launch was rescheduled for December 15. Routine analysis of the engine data, begun immediately after shutdown, revealed decaying thrust in one first stage engine subassembly before shutdown had been commanded. The problem was diagnosed as a restriction in the gas generator circuit of the subassembly, which would have caused shutdown about 1 second later than it actually occurred as a result of the umbilical disconnect. Source of the restriction proved to be a protective dust cap inadvertently left in place in the gas generator oxidizer injector inlet port. The anomalies were corrected and recycling, based on long-prepared contingency plans, proceeded without incident through launch on December 15.
Redstone launched as ballistic missile target for a US Navy Terrier surface-to-air missile launched from Point Mugu, California. It was reported that there were two Redstone launches as part of Project Defender from November 30 to December 13, 1965, but details of the second launch are not known.
CSM ultimate static testing began. A failure occurred at 140 percent of the limit load test which simulated the end of the first-stage Saturn V boost. Additional Details: Apollo CSM ultimate static testing began. References: 16 .
NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell informed MSC that an experiment proposed by Ames Research Center had been selected as a space science investigation for, if possible, the first manned lunar landing as a part of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. Principal investigator of the proposed experiment, the magnetometer, was C. P. Sonett of Ames with Jerry Modisette of MSC as associate.
The Apollo Program Director was being requested by Newell to authorize the funding of flight hardware for this experiment. References: 16 .
The primary objective of the mission, crewed by command pilot Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and pilot Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, was to rendezvous with spacecraft No. 7. Among the secondary objectives were stationkeeping with spacecraft No. 7, evaluating spacecraft reentry guidance capability, testing the visibility of spacecraft No. 7 as a rendezvous target, and conducting three experiments. After the launch vehicle inserted the spacecraft into an 87 by 140 nautical mile orbit, the crew prepared for the maneuvers necessary to achieve rendezvous. Four maneuvers preceded the first radar contact between the two spacecraft. The first maneuver, a height adjustment, came an hour and a half after insertion, at first perigee; a phase adjustment at second apogee, a plane change, and another height adjustment at second perigee followed. The onboard radar was turned on 3 hours into the mission. The first radar lock-on indicated 246 miles between the two spacecraft. The coelliptic maneuver was performed at third apogee, 3 hours 47 minutes after launch. The terminal phase initiation maneuver was performed an hour and a half later. Two midcourse corrections preceded final braking maneuvers at 5 hours 50 minutes into the flight. Rendezvous was technically accomplished and stationkeeping began some 6 minutes later when the two spacecraft were about 120 feet apart and their relative motion had stopped. Stationkeeping maneuvers continued for three and a half orbits at distances from 1 to 300 feet. Spacecraft No. 6 then initiated a separation maneuver and withdrew to a range of about 30 miles. The only major malfunction in spacecraft No. 6 during the mission was the failure of the delayed-time telemetry tape recorder at 20 hours 55 minutes ground elapsed time, which resulted in the loss of all delayed-time telemetry data for the remainder of the mission, some 4 hours and 20 minutes. The flight ended with a nominal reentry and landing in the West Atlantic, just 10 km from the planned landing point, on December 16. The crew remained in the spacecraft, which was recovered an hour later by the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp.
Gemini 6 was to have been the first flight involving docking with an Agena target/propulsion stage. However the Agena blew up on the way to orbit, and the spacecraft was replaced by Gemini 7 in the launch order.
For lack of a target, NASA decided to have Gemini 6 rendezvous with Gemini 7. This would require a quick one week turnaround of the pad after launch, no problem with Russian equipment but a big accomplishment for the Americans. The first launch attempt was aborted; the Titan II ignited for a moment, then shut down and settled back down on its launch attachments. Schirra waited it out, did not pull the abort handles that would send the man catapulting out of the capsule on their notoriously unreliable ejection seats. The booster was safed; Schirra had saved the mission and the launch three days later went perfectly. The flight went on to achieve the first manned space rendezvous controlled entirely by the self-contained, on-board guidance, control, and navigation system. This system provided the crew of Gemini 6 with attitude, thrusting, and time information needed for them to control the spacecraft during the rendezvous. Under Schirra's typically precise command, the operation was so successful that the rendezvous was complete with fuel consumption only 5% above the planned value to reach 16 m separation from Gemini 7. Additional Details: Gemini 6. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
Grumman was invited to provide NASA with a cost-plus-incentive-fee proposal to provide four LEMs subsequent to LEM-11, with the proposal due at MSC by the close of business on the following day. The proposal should be based on a vehicular configuration similar to LEM-11 in all respects, including supporting activities, contractual provisions, and specifications applicable to LEM-11. The required shipment dates for the four vehicles would be December 13, 1968, February 11, 1969, April 11, 1969, and June 10, 1969, respectively. References: 16 .
OSCAR IV was launched piggyback with three United States Air Force satellites. The launch vehicle had a partial failure and placed the spacecraft in a low orbit preventing widespread amateur use. Orbit 29120 x 168 km. Inclination 26.8 degrees. Period 587.5 minutes. Weight 18.1 kg. Four monopole antennas. OSCAR IV was built by the TRW Radio Club of Redondo Beach, California. It had a 3 Watt 10 kHz wide linear transponder (144 MHz uplink and 432 MHz downlink). In operation until March 16, 1966. Re-entry April 12, 1976. Total operation 85 days. OSCAR IV provided the first US-Soviet amateur link. References: 2 , 5 , 6 .
Robert C. Seamans, Jr., was sworn in as Deputy Administrator of NASA, succeeding Hugh L. Dryden who died December 2. Seamans would also retain his present position as Associate Administrator for an indefinite period of time.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb administered the oath of office. He had announced in Austin, Tex., on December 10, that President Lyndon B. Johnson had accepted his recommendation that Seamans be named to the number two NASA post. References: 16 .
In the initial activity report outlining MSC's support to the Air Force on the MOL, Gemini Program Manager Charles W. Mathews summarized activity to date. He cited receipt on 20 November 1965 of authority to transfer surplus Gemini equipment to the MOL project. Since that time, he said, MSC had delivered to the Air Force several boilerplate test vehicles and a variety of support and handling equipment. MOL program officials and astronauts had also visited Houston for technical discussions and briefings.
During the month 16 flights were made in the LLRV. Of these, 11 were devoted to concluding the handling qualities evaluation of the rate- command vehicle attitude control system. The other five flights were required to check out a new pilot, Lt. Col. E. E. Kluever of the Army, who would participate in the remaining research flight testing performed on the LLRV at Flight Research Center. On December 15 the craft was grounded for cockpit modifications which would make the pilot display and controllers more like those of the LEM. References: 16 .
The SM reaction control system engine qualification was completed with no apparent failures. References: 16 .
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