|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1966 - Quarter 3|
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At the time the Dynasoar project was cancelled, the first manned single-orbit flight was planned for July 1966, atop the sixth Titan 3C. Jim Wood would have flown the first manned Dyna-Soar -- he was the senior test pilot on the project, and Hank Gordon told Michael Cassutt years ago that there was no question he was going to get the first flight. (The Dyna-Soar office was structured like a typical Edwards flight test program, where there really was a lead or senior project pilot). The other five X-20 pilots in active training at the end of the program were Crews, Gordon, Knight, Rogers, and Thompson. References: 26 , 152 .
Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., said that MSC had been directed by NASA OMSF to outline technical problems and both cost and schedule impact of adding three backup Apollo missions to the planned flight schedule. The missions to be evaluated would be AS-207/208 or AS-206/207; AS-503D; and AS-503F. Each of these missions would provide alternate means of obtaining primary program objectives in the event of flight contingencies during tests or of major schedule adjustments. Additional Details: Three additional backup Apollo missions studied. References: 16 .
First orbital test Saturn IB; no spacecraft. AS-203 lifted off from Launch Complex 37, Eastern Test Range, at 10:53 a.m. EDT in the second of three Apollo-Saturn missions scheduled before manned flight in the Apollo program. All objectives - to acquire flight data on the S-IVB stage and instrument unit - were achieved.
The uprated Saturn I - consisting of an S-IB stage, S-IVB stage, and an instrument unit - boosted an unmanned payload into an original orbit of 185 by 189 kilometers. The inboard engine cutoff of the first stage occurred after 2 minutes 18 seconds of flight and the outboard engine cutoff was 4 seconds later. The S-IVB engine burned 4 minutes 50 seconds. No recovery was planned and the payload was expected to enter the earth's atmosphere after about four days. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 .
In a memorandum to Headquarters staff members, Advanced Manned Missions Program Director Edward Z. Gray summarized the three separate study efforts underway within NASA directed toward evaluating the S-IVB stage as a manned laboratory: (1) The spent-stage experiment support module (SSESM) study, a joint effort by MSC and MSFC. (2) A spent S-IVB-stage utilization study at MSFC. (3) A Saturn V single-launch space station. Additional Details: Three separate study efforts within NASA evaluating the S-IVB stage as a manned laboratory..
George M. Low expressed his reservations about the validity of planning a synchronous-orbit mission for AAP. In a note to Maxime A. Faget, Low commented on the recent interest in such a mission and voiced his own doubt concerning either the need for or the desirability of such a flight. Low stated that such things as synoptic views of terrain or weather phenomena could be done just as well from low Earth orbit using mosaic techniques. Moreover, low orbits afforded simpler operations, much greater payload capabilities, and minimal radiation hazards. Low asked Faget to have his organization prepare an analysis of low Earth-orbit versus synchronous- orbit operations in preparation for upcoming AAP planning discussions in Washington at the end of the month.
Komarov announces in Japan that USSR would beat the US to moonlanding by one year. References: 72 .
Exciting mission with successful docking with Agena, flight up to parking orbit where Gemini 8 Agena is stored. Collins space walks from Gemini to Agena to retrieve micrometeorite package left in space all those months. Loses grip first time, and tumbles head over heels at end of umbilical around Gemini. Package retrieved on second try.
The Gemini X mission began with the launch of the Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle from complex 14. The Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) attained a near-circular, 162- by 157-nautical-mile orbit. Spacecraft No. 10 was inserted into a 145- by 86-nautical-mile elliptical orbit. Slant range between the two vehicles was very close to the nominal 1000 miles. Major objective of the mission was achieved during the fourth revolution when the spacecraft rendezvoused with the GATV at 5 hours 23 minutes ground elapsed time and docked with it about 30 minutes later. More spacecraft propellant was used to achieve rendezvous than had been predicted, imposing constraints on the remainder of the mission and requiring the development of an alternate flight plan. As a result, several experiments were not completed, and another secondary objective - docking practice - was not attempted. To conserve fuel and permit remaining objectives to be met, the spacecraft remained docked with the GATV for about 39 hours. During this period, a bending mode test was conducted to determine the dynamics of the docked vehicles, standup extravehicular activties (EVA) were conducted, and several experiments were performed. The GATV primary and secondary propulsion systems were used for six maneuvers to put the docked spacecraft into position for rendezvous with the Gemini VIII GATV as a passive target. The spacecraft undocked at 44 hours 40 minutes ground elapsed time, separated from the GATV, and used its own thrusters to complete the second rendezvous some three hours later. At 48 hours and 42 minutes into the flight, a 39-minute period of umbilical EVA began, which included the retrieval of a micrometorite collection package from the Gemini VIII Agena. The hatch was opened a third time about an hour later to jettison extraneous equipment before reentry. After about three hours of stationkeeping, the spacecraft separated from the GATV. At 51 hours 39 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew performed a true anomaly-adjust maneuver to minimize reentry dispersions resulting from the retrofire maneuver. The retrofire maneuver was initiated at 70 hours 10 minutes after liftoff, during the 43rd revolution. The spacecraft landed within sight of the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Guadalcanal, some 5 km from the planned landing point on July 21. Additional Details: Gemini 10. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
Photographed earth and stars. References: 66 .
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth informed MSFC Director Wernher von Braun that for the past two years MSC had studied the use of the mapping and survey system (M&SS) in conjunction with the Apollo program. Additional Details: Apollo mapping and survey system (M&SS). References: 16 .
Prototype RORSAT hardware using chemical batteries in place of nuclear reactor. Lost on the 52nd revolution as a result of a possible failure in the chemical power units placed on board instead of the nuclear BES-5. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 290 .
Retrieved micrometeoroid collector from Agena. References: 66 .
Threw excess equipment out of spacecraft. References: 66 .
George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, recommended to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., that NASA proceed with its procurement effort on an S-IVB airlock module (AM) experiment as part of the dual-launch Apollo-Saturn 209-210 mission. The AM, to replace a LM aboard one of the vehicles, was to serve as the module affording a docking adapter at one end to permit CSM docking and at the other end a sealed connection to a hatch in the spent S-IVB stage of the rocket. Additional Details: S-IVB airlock module (AM) experiment planned as part of the dual-launch Apollo-Saturn 209-210 mission..
MSC requested Ames Research Center to conduct a manual control simulation of the Saturn V upper stages with displays identical to those planned in the spacecraft. On August 5, Brent Creer and Gordon Hardy of Ames had met with representatives from ASPO, Guidance and Control Division, and Flight Crew Operations Directorate to discuss implementation of a modified Ames simulation which would determine feasibility of manual control from first stage burnout, using existing spacecraft displays and control interfaces. Simulations at Ames in 1965 had indicated that the Saturn V could be manually flown into orbit within dispersions of 914 meters in altitude, and 0.1 degree in flight path angle. Additional Details: Manual control simulation of the Saturn V upper stages with Apollo. References: 16 .
Initial launch of a Long Tank Thor/Agena D (Thorad/Agena D) space booster. References: 88 .
MSC worked out a program with LaRC for use of the Lunar Landing Research Facility (LLRF) for preflight transition for LM flight crews before free-flight training in the lunar landing training vehicle. LM hardware sent to Langley to be used as training aids included two flight director attitude indicators, an attitude controller assembly, a thrust-translation controller assembly, and an altitude-rate meter. References: 16 .
Based on confirmation during discussion with Melvin Savage of NASA Hq, MSC Gemini Program Deputy Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht advised of changes in hardware nomenclature for the Apollo Applications Program: The S-IVB spent-stage experiment was now the Orbital Workshop. The spent-stage experiment support module was now the airlock module. The spent S IVB was now the Orbital S-IVB.
Lunar Orbiter I was launched from Cape Kennedy Launch Complex 13 at 3:26 p.m. EDT August 10 to photograph possible Apollo landing sites from lunar orbit. The Atlas-Agena D launch vehicle injected the spacecraft into its planned 90-hour trajectory to the moon. A midcourse correction maneuver was made at 8 p.m. the next day; a planned second midcourse maneuver was not necessary. A faultless deboost maneuver on August 14 achieved the desired initial elliptic orbit around the moon, and one week later the spacecraft was commanded to make a transfer maneuver to place it in a final close-in elliptic orbit of the moon.
During the spacecraft's stay in the final close-in orbit, the gravitational fields of the earth and the moon were expected to influence the orbital elements. The influence was verified by spacecraft tracking data, which showed that the perilune altitude varied with time. From an initial perilune altitude of 58 kilometers, the perilune decreased to 49 kilometers. At this time an orbit adjustment maneuver began an increase in the altitude, which was expected to reach a maximum after three months and then begin to decrease again. The spacecraft was expected to impact on the lunar surface about six months after the orbit adjustment.
During the photo-acquisition phase of the flight, August 18 to 29, Lunar Orbiter I photographed the 9 selected primary potential Apollo landing sites, including the one in which Surveyor I landed; 7 other potential Apollo landing sites; the east limb of the moon; and 11 areas on the far side of the moon. Lunar Orbiter I also took photos of the earth, giving man the first view of the earth from the vicinity of the moon (this particular view has been widely publicized). A total of 207 frames (sets of medium- and high-resolution pictures) were taken, 38 while the spacecraft was in initial orbit, the remainder while it was in the final close-in orbit. Lunar Orbiter I achieved its mission objectives, and, with the exception of the high-resolution camera, the performance of the photo subsystem and other spacecraft subsystems was outstanding. At the completion of the photo readouts, the spacecraft had responded to about 5,000 discrete commands from the earth and had made about 700 maneuvers.
Photographs obtained during the mission were assessed and screened by representatives of the Lunar Orbiter Project Office, U.S. Geological Survey, DOD mapping agencies, MSC, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The spacecraft was deliberately crashed into moon after the mission was completed. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 278 .
The mockup of LM test model No. 3 (TM-3) was shipped by Super Guppy aircraft to Cape Kennedy, on the first trip of the Super Guppy from Grumman, Bethpage, N.Y. References: 16 .
NASA announced selection of McDonnell to manufacture an AM Airlock Module for AAP to permit astronauts to enter the empty hydrogen tank of a spent S-IVB Saturn stage. The AM would form an interstage between the spent rocket stage and the Apollo CSM and would contain environmental and life support systems to make the structure habitable in space. Though MSFC had project responsibility for the complete Orbital Workshop, technical and management responsibility for the AM rested with the AAP office at MSC. Contract negotiations with McDonnell were completed in mid-September. Because design of the AM would employ existing Gemini technology and hardware where feasible, MSC Gemini Deputy Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht detailed a number of people from his office to support the AM project.
NASA informed four firms that had completed design studies on the Apollo experiment pallet that there would be no hardware development and fabrication of the pallet. The four firms had been selected in November 1965 to make four-month studies of a pallet to carry experiments in the spacecraft SM during the Apollo manned lunar landings. The firms were Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Sunnyvale, Calif.; The Martin Co., Denver, Colo.; McDonnell Aircraft Corp., St. Louis, Mo.; and Northrop Space Laboratories, Hawthorne, Calif. References: 16 .
Automatic station Luna 11. Further development of artificial lunar satellite systems and conduct of scientific experiments in circumlunar space. Lunar orbit 160 km x 1200 km x 27 degrees. Luna 11 was launched towards the Moon from an earth-orbiting platform and entered lunar orbit on August 28, 1966. The objectives of the mission included the study of: (1) lunar gamma- and X-ray emissions in order to determine the Moon's chemical composition; (2) lunar gravitational anomalies; (3) the concentration of meteorite streams near the Moon; and, (4) the intensity of hard corpuscular radiation near the Moon. A total of 137 radio transmissions and 277 orbits of the Moon were completed before the batteries failed on October 1, 1966. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
The unmanned suborbital Apollo-Saturn 202 mission was successfully flown - the third Saturn IB flight test and the second CM heatshield flight test. The 202 included an uprated Saturn I (Saturn IB) launch vehicle (S-IB stage, S-IVB stage, and instrument unit) and the Apollo 011 spacecraft (spacecraft-lunar module adapter, service module, command module, and launch escape system). Liftoff was from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy at 1:15 p.m. EDT. The command module landed safely in the southwest Pacific Ocean, near Wake Island 1 hour 33 minutes after liftoff. It was recovered by the U.S.S. Hornet about 370 kilometers uprange from the recovery ship (16.07 N 168.54 E). Additional Details: Apollo 202. References: 5 , 16 , 26 , 27 .
AFWTR supported the Navy's first launch of a Bomarc A target missile from Vandenberg AFB. References: 88 .
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.
Development trials for the Martlet 4A began in the fall of 1966 with tests proceeding into early 1967. The majority of the early work was conducted on the Highwater, Quebec test range where the structural integrity of the Martlet 4A motor during gun-launching was proven. Prior to the abrupt end of the HARP project in July 1967, soft recovery trials and flight testing had been planned for the winter of 1967/1968. At nearly one ton the Martlet 4A holds the worlds record for being the largest rocket motor ever fired from a gun.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On approval of the N1-L3 mission profile' was issued. References: 474 .
Planned second long-duration 20 day Voskhod flight. Cancelled in spring 1966 after near-disaster with Voskhod 2 and death of Korolev. A follow-on Voskhod 3V s/n 7 mission was also planned that would have conducted an artificial gravity experiment, unreeling a tether between the Voskhod spacecraft and the Block I final rocket stage. References: 94 .
In the period 1966 to 1968 there were five simultaneous Soviet manned space projects (Soyuz 7K-OK orbital; Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar; Soyuz VI military; L3 manned lunar landing; Almaz space station). Cosmonaut assignments were in constant flux, resulting in many claims in later years that 'I was being trained for the first moon flight'. Additional Details: Lunar flight cosmonauts assignments.. References: 23 .
More highjinks with Conrad. First orbit docking with Agena, followed by boost up to record 800 km orbit, providing first manned views of earth as sphere. Tether attached by Gordon to Agena in spacewalk and after a lot of effort tethered spacecraft put into slow rotation, creating first artificial microgravity.
The primary objective of the Gemini XI mission was to rendezvous with the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) during the first revolution and dock. Five maneuvers completed the spacecraft/GATV rendezvous at 1 hour 25 minutes ground elapsed time, and the two vehicles docked nine minutes later. Secondary objectives included docking practice, extravehicular activity (EVA), 11 experiments, docked maneuvers, a tethered vehicle test, demonstrating automatic reentry, and parking the GATV. All objectives were achieved except one experiment - evaluation of the minimum reaction power tool - which was not performed because umbilical EVA was terminated prematurely. Umbilical EVA began at 24 hours 2 minutes ground elapsed time and ended 33 minutes later. Gordon became fatigued while attaching the tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar. An hour later the hatch was opened to jettison equipment no longer required. At 40 hours 30 minutes after liftoff, the GATV primary propulsion system (PPS) was fired to raise the apogee of the docked vehicles to 741 nautical miles for two revolutions. The PPS was fired again, 3 hours 23 minutes later, to reduce apogee to 164 nautical miles. The crew then prepared for standup EVA, which began at 47 hours 7 minutes into the flight and lasted 2 hours 8 minutes. The spacecraft was then undocked to begin the tether evaluation. At 50 hours 13 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew initiated rotation. Initial oscillations damped out and the combination became very stable after about 20 minutes; the rotational rate was then increased. Again, initial oscillations gradually damped out and the combination stabilized. At about 53 hours into the mission, the crew released the tether, separated from the GATV, and maneuvered the spacecraft to an identical orbit with the target vehicle. A fuel cell stack failed at 54 hours 31 minutes, but the remaining five stacks shared the load and operated satisfactorily. A rerendezvous was accomplished at 66 hours 40 minutes ground elapsed time, and the crew then prepared for reentry. The spacecraft landed less than 5 km from the planned landing point at 71 hours 17 minutes after liftoff. The crew was retrieved by helicopter, and the spacecraft was brought aboard the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Guam, about an hour after landing. Additional Details: Gemini 11. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
Retrieved micrometeoroid collector from Agena. References: 66 .
Threw excess equipment out of spacecraft. References: 66 .
Photographed earth and stars. References: 66 .
Academy of Sciences Decree 'On course of work on the N1-L3' was issued. References: 474 .
Maximum Speed - 5770 kph. Maximum Altitude - 22980 m. JPL spectrometer measured solar flux; radiometer characterized exhaust plume in UV for reconnsat sensors; collected micrometeorites. References: 38 , 49 , 97 .
Communist Party delegates from Interkosmos states visited Baikonur for two days. They were shown the N1 launch complex and viewed a Molniya-1 launch. They were the first non-Russians to see the N1 complex.
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On creation of a commission to compare the UR-700-LK-700 and the N1-L3' was issued. References: 474 .
Soft lunar landing attempt failed. Surveyor II was launched from Cape Kennedy at 8:32 a.m. EDT. The Atlas-Centaur launch vehicle placed the spacecraft on a nearly perfect lunar intercept trajectory that would have missed the aim point by about 130 kilometers. Following injection, the spacecraft successfully accomplished all required sequences up to the midcourse thrust phase. This phase was not successful because of the failure of one of the three vernier engines to ignite, causing eventual loss of the mission. Contact with the spacecraft was lost at 5:35 a.m. EDT, September 22, and impact on the lunar surface was predicted at 11:18 p.m. on that day. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 278 .
Prompted by recent operational difficulties involving extravehicular activity during Gemini flights IXA, X, and XI, Deputy Project Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht recommended to Saturn/Apollo Applications Program officials in Washington a redesigned forward dome hatch in the S-IVB hydrogen tank; i.e., one that could be more readily removed. He urged installing a flexible type of airlock seal prior to launch of the stage. These changes, Kleinknecht said, would go far toward minimizing astronaut workload for activating the spent stage once in orbit.
A Planning Coordination Steering Group at NASA Hq. received program options from working groups established to coordinate long-range planning in life sciences, earth-oriented applications, astronomy, lunar exploration, and planetary exploration. The Steering Group recommended serious consideration be given a four-phase exploration program using unmanned Lunar Orbiters, Surveyors, and manned lunar surface exploration. Additional Details: NASA long-range planning. References: 16 .
LM test model TM-6 and test article LTA-10 were shipped from Grumman on the Pregnant Guppy aircraft. When the Guppy carrying the LTA-10 stopped at Dover, Del., for refueling, a fire broke out inside the aircraft, but it was discovered in time to prevent damage to the LM test article. References: 16 .
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