|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1966 - Quarter 1|
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Prior to cancellation of the Dynasoar project, the first unmanned flight was planned for the fourth flight test of the Titan 3C booster. References: 152 .
During the next 10 months it was instrumented for the research program and prepared for flight. The HL-10 and the M2-F2 were tested in wind tunnels at Ames Research Center before research flights began.
Homer E. Newell, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, announced opportunities for study grants to competent astronomers for conceptual and preliminary design work leading to instrumentation to be flown in the 1969-1975 period. A description of the Apollo telescope mount was included.
The SHARP (Super High Altitude Research Project) light gas gun was developed by John Hunter at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California. In 1985 Hunter was reviewing data for a 'star wars' anti-ballistic missile electromagnetic rail gun. He realised that a light gas gun would be much more efficient in launching projectiles to a good percentage of orbital speed.
No gun projectile can exceed the velocity of the propellant gases in the barrel. The light gas gun takes advantage of the fact that a lower molecular weight gas, such as hydrogen, has a higher velocity at a given temperature than the heavier molecules of conventional gun propellants. In order to heat the hydrogen up, a two-stage design was developed. A gas pump tube was set at a right angle to the gun barrel itself. Inside the pump tube was a piston. An explosive mixture of methane gas was ignited, pushing the piston down the tube, compressing and heating the hydrogen gas on the other side of the piston. When the pressure reached 4,000 atmospheres, a partition burst, releasing the gas into the gun tube, pushing the projectile down its length. As in the Oberth design, the barrel itself was depressurised and covered with a plastic lid to reduce drag against the projectile as it travelled down the barrel. Using this approach, Hunter felt that muzzle velocities of up to 7 km/sec could be obtained (compared to Bull's 2 km/sec). At this speed, a simple single-stage rocket stage would be sufficient to place a payload into orbit. The payload itself would amount to 66% of the launch mass.
Hunter's research discovered that a small NASA gas gun had achieved a projectile speed of 11 km/sec in 1966. The first hardware built was a single-stage hydrogen gas gun demonstrating a muzzle velocity of 2.5 km/sec. This verified Hunter's gun computer model and lead to funding to build a 3 m long two-stage gas gun with a velocity of 8 km/sec. This demonstrated the principle of SHARP and resulted in funding for construction of the full-scale gun.
SHARP was built at Lawrence Livermore's Site 300 explosives test site in the hills to the east of the laboratory. The L-shaped gun consisted of the 82 m long, 36 cm calibre pump tube and the 47 m long, 10 cm calibre gun barrel. Recoil forces were absorbed by three rail-mounted sleds-two of 100-tonnes and one of 10-tonnes. SHARP began operation in December 1992 and demonstrated velocities of 3 km/sec with 5 kg projectiles. However the $ 1 billion funding to elevate the tube and begin space launch tests of smaller projectiles at speeds of up to 7 km/sec was not forthcoming. By 1996 the gun was relegated to occasional test of sub-scale Mach 9 scramjet models.
Up to 1965 the warheads were still stored separately form Soviet ballistic missiles. This was changed so that the individual nuclear weapons units were made an integrated part of the operational rocket field units.
The Preliminary Design Review for the Block II pressure garment assembly was held at International Latex Corporation. References: 16 .
The 500-second limitation for the Block I service propulsion system SPS engine qualification program was increased to 600 seconds for the last three altitude qualification tests. The spacecraft 020 SPS mission duty cycle required a 310-second burn and a 205-second burn. Discussions with Systems Engineering Division indicated that the long SPS burns were needed to support a full-duration S-IVB mission and there was little likelihood the requirement could be modified. The Block II engine delivery schedules prohibited obtaining a Block II engine in time to support spacecraft 020. References: 16 .
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. Program not completely met. Spacecraft put into incorrect orbit by abnormal function of second and third stages of booster. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 93 .
The first fuel cell system test at White Sands Test Facility was conducted successfully. Primary objectives were: 1 to verify the capability of the ground support equipment and operational checkout procedure to start up, operate, and shut down a single fuel cell power plant; and 2 to evaluate fuel cell operations during cold gimbaling of the service propulsion engine. References: 16 .
A decision made at a Program Management Review eliminated the requirement for a land impact program for the CM to support Block I flights. Post-abort CM land impact for Saturn IB launches had been eliminated from Complex 37 by changes to the sequence timers in the launch escape system abort mode. The Certification Test Specification and related Certification Test Requirements would reflect the new Block II land impact requirements. References: 16 .
Korolyov dies in colon surgery in Moscow. He had known he had cancer for some time but kept it a secret from his colleagues. His death at 59 comes as a surprise and his successor, Mishin, does not have the forceful personality and political connections of the original Chief Designer. References: 26 .
The Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences issued a report outlining research objectives in lunar and planetary exploration for the 1970s and early 1980s. The report affirmed earlier recommendations by the Space Science Board to NASA that unmanned exploration of Mars should have first priority in the post- Apollo space era. Secondary importance was assigned to detailed investigation of the lunar surface and to unmanned Venus probes. Clearly, the report reflected a predominant mood within the scientific community that scientific research in space take predominance over manned programs whose chief objectives, said the report, were 'other than scientific.' Additional Details: National Academy of Sciences report outlining research objectives in lunar and planetary exploration for the 1970s and early 1980s..
Apollo Mission A-004 was successfully accomplished at White Sands Missile Range. This was the first flight test utilizing the Apollo Block I type spacecraft and the sixth and final test of the Apollo CSM development program at WSMR. Additional Details: Little Joe II A-004. References: 16 .
Soft landed on Moon; photographed surface for 3 days. Landed on Moon 3 February 1966 at 18:44:52 GMT, Latitude 7.08 N, Longitude 295.63 E - Oceanus Procellarum. The Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth. Seven radio sessions, totaling 8 hours and 5 minutes, were transmitted as were three series of TV pictures. When assembled, the photographs provided a panoramic view of the nearby lunar surface. The pictures included views of nearby rocks and of the horizon 1.4 Km away from the spacecraft. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
Douglas Aircraft Company submitted a summary report to LaRC covering the activities of three phases of the MORL study. General objectives of the MORL study were to (1) establish the feasibility of a manned research laboratory; (2) determine the required level of technical, logistic, and economic support; and (3) define a realistic space station program responsive to the needs of NASA and other government agencies in particular and the scientific community in general. The three phases of the study were Phase I (June-September 1963)-System Comparison and Selection Study of a MORL Phase IIa (December 1963-November 1964)-Optimization of the MORL System Concept Phase IIb (December 1964-February 1966)-Development of the MORL System Utilization Potential. Additional Details: Douglas summary report covering the activities of three phases of the MORL study..
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Following Korolev's death, Mishin discovered that growth of the mass of the L3 payload had taken the low earth orbit payload requirement to 95 tonnes, beyond the 75 tonne lifting capability of the N1. To achieve the 95 tonne payload, changes in plans and redesign of the N1 would be necessary. The measures taken were: reduction of the orbital inclination for the initial earth orbit from 65 degrees to 52 degrees; reduce the altitude of the lunar orbit from 300 km to 220 km; increase the propellant mass by supercooling the propellants prior to loading in the lunach vehicle (the kerosene to be at -15 to -20 degrees Centigrade, the liquid oxygen to -191 degrees centigrade); add six engines to the first stage; increase thrust of all the engines on the first, second, and third stages by 2%; add a fourth stabilizer. The result of all of these measures would increase the launch mass to 2800 tonnes and the payload to the required 95 tonnes. References: 21 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On Performing in March 1966 the Launch 3KV n6 With Two Cosmonauts for Solving Problems of Extended Space Flight((8-20 Days)--course of Voskhod-3 preparations' was issued. References: 474 .
Apollo-Saturn 201 was launched from Cape Kennedy, with liftoff of an Apollo Block I spacecraft (CSM 009) on a Saturn IB launch vehicle at 11:12:01 EST. Launched from Launch Complex 34, the unmanned suborbital mission was the first flight test of the Saturn IB and an Apollo spacecraft. Total launch weight was 22,000 kilograms.
Spacecraft communications blackout lasted 1 minute 22 seconds. Reentry was initiated with a space-fixed velocity of 29,000 kilometers per hour. CM structure and heatshields performed adequately. The CM was recovered by the USS Boxer from the Atlantic about 72 kilometers uprange from the planned landing point. (8.18 S x 11.15 W). References: 5 , 16 , 26 , 27 .
Gemini IX Astronauts Elliot M. See, Jr., and Charles A. Bassett II were killed when their T-38 jet training plane crashed in rain and fog short of the St. Louis Municipal Airport. The jet, which had been cleared for an instrument landing, was left of center in its approach to the runway when it turned toward the McDonnell complex, 1000 feet from the landing strip. It hit the roof of the building where spacecraft nos. 9 and 10 were being housed, bounced into an adjacent courtyard, and exploded. Several McDonnell employees were slightly injured. Minutes later the Gemini IX backup crew, Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan, landed safely. The four astronauts were en route to McDonnell for two weeks' training in the simulator. NASA Headquarters announced that Stafford and Cernan would fly the Gemini IX mission on schedule and appointed Alan B. Shepard, Jr., to head a seven-man investigating team.
NASA originally planned to fly four early manned Apollo spacecraft on Saturn I boosters. The decision was made to conduct all Apollo CSM tests on the more powerful Saturn IB booster. These flights were cancelled in October 1963, before crews were selected. This series of four partial-system lightweight Apollos would have run from fall 1965 to the end of 1966, concurrent with the Gemini program.
Vandenberg, adding approximately 14,890 acres to the base and increasing its size to its present 98,400 acres. References: 88 .
The mission of this spacecraft 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 but, the communications systems failed before planetary data could be returned.
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller acknowledged receipt from Joseph F. Shea, the Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager at MSC, of a detailed technical description of MSC's plans and development progress toward developing a landing rocket system for Apollo. (MSC had undertaken this effort some months earlier at Mueller's specific request.) Mueller advised Shea that he had asked AAP Deputy Director John H. Disher to work closely with Shea's people to devise a land landing system for AAP built on Houston's effort for Apollo.
Decree 'On renaming OKB-1 as TsKBEM and OKB-52 as TsKBM' was issued. References: 474 .
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips notified the three manned space flight Centers that they were requested to plan for a dual AS-207/208 mission, assuming that launch would occur one month later than the 207 launch now scheduled. References: 16 .
A team of engineers from Douglas Aircraft Company, headed by Jack Bromberg, presented a technical briefing and cost proposal to Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller on the company's design on the airlock for the AAP. Mueller observed that Douglas' idea for a 30-day capability seemed technically sound. He expressed strong interest in the AAP spent-stage experiment because it would establish a solid basis for space station requirements and definition. However, he cautioned that he had not received definite approval from either the Administrator, James E. Webb, or his deputy, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on the spent-stage concept and admitted that he had 'some selling to do.'
The first integrated test of the service propulsion system, electrical power system, and cryogenic gas storage system was successfully conducted at the White Sands Test Facility. References: 16 .
Start of construction (site preparation) for Space Launch Complex 6 facilities at former Sudden Ranch property. References: 88 .
The Atlas-Agena target vehicle for the Gemini VIII mission was successfully launched from KSC Launch Complex 14 at 10 a.m. EST March 16. The Gemini VIII spacecraft followed from Launch Complex 19 at 11:41 a.m., with command pilot Neil A. Armstrong and pilot David R. Scott aboard. The spacecraft and its target vehicle rendezvoused and docked, with docking confirmed 6 hours 33 minutes after the spacecraft was launched. This first successful docking with an Agena target vehicle was followed by a major space emergency. About 27 minutes later the spacecraft-Agena combination encountered unexpected roll and yaw motion. A stuck thruster on Gemini put the docked assembly into a wild high speed gyration. Near structural limits and blackout, Armstrong undocked, figuring the problem was in the Agena, which only made it worse. The problem arose again and when the yaw and roll rates became too high the crew shut the main Gemini reaction control system down and activated and used both rings of the reentry control system to reduce the spacecraft rates to zero. This used 75% of that system's fuel. Although the crew wanted to press on with the mission and Scott's planned space walk, ground control ordered an emergency splashdown in the western Pacific during the seventh revolution. The spacecraft landed at 10:23 p.m. EST March 16 and Armstrong and Scott were picked up by the destroyer U.S.S. Mason at 1:37 a.m. EST March 17. Although the flight was cut short by the incident, one of the primary objectives - rendezvous and docking (the first rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbital flight) - was accomplished.
Primary objectives of the scheduled three-day mission were to rendezvous and dock with the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) and to conduct extravehicular activities. Secondary objectives included rendezvous and docking during the fourth revolution, performing docked maneuvers using the GATV primary propulsion system, executing 10 experiments, conducting docking practice, performing a rerendezvous, evaluating the auxiliary tape memory unit, demonstrating controlled reentry, and parking the GATV in a 220-nautical mile circular orbit. The GATV was inserted into a nominal 161-nautical mile circular orbit, the spacecraft into a nominal 86 by 147-nautical mile elliptical orbit. During the six hours following insertion, the spacecraft completed nine maneuvers to rendezvous with the GATV. Rendezvous phase ended at 5 hours 58 minutes ground elapsed time, with the spacecraft 150 feet from the GATV and no relative motion between the two vehicles. Stationkeeping maneuvers preceded docking, which was accomplished at 6 hours 33 minutes ground elapsed time. A major problem developed 27 minutes after docking, when a spacecraft orbit attitude and maneuver system (OAMS) thruster malfunctioned. The crew undocked from the GATV and managed to bring the spacecraft under control by deactivating the OAMS and using the reentry control system (RCS) to reduce the spacecraft's rapid rotation. Premature use of the RCS, however, required the mission to be terminated early. The retrofire sequence was initiated in the seventh revolution, followed by nominal reentry and landing in a secondary recovery area in the western Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft touched down less than 10 km from the planned landing point. The recovery ship, the destroyer Leonard Mason, picked up both crew and spacecraft some three hours later. Early termination of the mission precluded achieving all mission objectives, but one primary objective - rendezvous and docking - was accomplished. Several secondary objectives were also achieved: rendezvous and docking during the fourth revolution, evaluating the auxiliary tape memory unit, demonstrating controlled reentry, and parking the GATV. Two experiments were partially performed. Additional Details: Gemini 8. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
A report by the Military Operations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Operations recommended combining NASA's Apollo Applications Program with the Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory. 'Inasmuch as both programs are still research and development projects without definitive operational missions,' stated the Committee's report, 'there is reason to expect that with earnest efforts both agencies could get together on a joint program incorporating both unique and similar experiments of each agency.'
Among these would be three 'S-IVB/Spent-Stage Experiment Support Modules' (i.e., 'wet' Workshops), three Saturn V-boosted orbital laboratories, and four Apollo telescope mounts. The initial AAP launch was slated for April 1968. The schedule was predicated upon non-interference with the basic Apollo lunar landing program, minimum modifications to basic Apollo hardware, and compatibility with existing Apollo launch vehicles.
Korolev was always interested in application of artificial gravity for large space stations and interplanetary craft. After Korolevís death, the project was closed by Mishin and not pursued further.
Final mission of the Thor/Altair from Vandenberg AFB (first launch on 18 January 1965). References: 88 .
Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 145ss 'On approval of the 7K-TK as transport for the Almaz station' was issued. It was decided that the 11F71 Soyuz-R space station would be cancelled and the Almaz would be developed in its place. Almaz was assigned the index number previously allocated to the Soyuz-R station, and Kozlov was ordered to hand over to Chelomei all of the work completed in relation to the station. However Kozlov's Soyuz 7K-TK ferry was to continue in development to transport crew to the Almaz. References: 474 .
Lunar Orbit (Selenocentric). Development of system to permit the creation of an artificial lunar satellite for the investigation of circumlunar space; development of onboard systems for putting a station into a selenocentric (circumlunar) orbit. Orbit: Lunar Orbiter. The Luna 10 spacecraft was launched towards the Moon from an Earth orbiting platform. The spacecraft entered lunar orbit 3 50 x 1017 km, inclination 71.9 deg to plane of the lunar equator. on April 4, 1966. Scientific instruments included a gamma-ray spectrometer for energies between 0.3--3 MeV, a triaxial magnetometer, a meteorite detector, instruments for solar-plasma studies, and devices for measuring infrared emissions from the Moon and radiation conditions of the lunar environment. Gravitational studies were also conducted. The spacecraft played back to Earth the `Internationale' during the Twenty-third Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Luna 10 was battery powered and operated for 460 lunar orbits and 219 active data transmissions before radio signals were discontinued on May 30, 1966. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
NASA OMSF prepared a position paper on NASA's estimated total cost of the manned lunar landing program. Administrator James E. Webb furnished the paper for the record of the FY 1967 Senate authorization hearings and the same statement was given to the House Committee. The paper was approved by Webb and George E. Mueller and placed the run-out costs for the program at $22.718 billion. References: 16 .
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