|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1966 - Quarter 4|
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Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On renaming OKB-586 as KB Yuzhnoye' was issued. References: 474 .
A dummy 8K82K/Block D rocket was mounted at the launch site. The dummy was loaded with imitation propellants (kerosene as fuel and water/ethyl alcohol as oxidiser). The nitrogen tetroxide oxidiser had to be kept above -11 degrees C, and it was originally planned for a thermostatically-controlled electrical heating of the tank walls to achieve this. It was ultimately decided that the risk of explosion of such a system was too great, and the system was abandoned. References: 273 .
In a memorandum to the NASA Deputy Administrator, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller commented on the AS-202 impact error. Mueller said the trajectory of the August 25 AS-202 mission was essentially as planned except that the command module touched down about 370 kilometers short of the planned impact point. Additional Details: Apollo AS-202 impact error analzyed. References: 16 .
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told Mark E. Bradley, Vice President and Assistant to the President of The Garrett Corp., that "the environment control unit, developed and produced by Garrett's AiResearch Division under subcontract to North American Aviation for the Apollo spacecraft was again in serious trouble and threatened a major delay in the first flight of Apollo." Additional Details: Apollo environment control unit in serious trouble. References: 16 .
MSC Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Manager Joseph F. Shea reported that LM-1 would no longer be capable of both manned and unmanned flight and that it would be configured and checked out for unmanned flight only. In addition, LM-2 would no longer be capable of completely unmanned flight, but would be configured and checked out for partially manned flights, such as the planned AS-278A mission (with unmanned final depletion burn of the ascent stage) and AS-278B (with all main propulsions unmanned). References: 16 .
Lunar Orbiter, further development of artificial lunar satellite systems and conduct of scientific experiments in circumlunar space. Luna 12 was launched towards the Moon from an earth-orbiting platform and achieved a lunar orbit of of 100 km x 1740 km on October 25, 1966. The spacecraft was equipped with a television system that obtained and transmitted photographs of the lunar surface. The photographs contained 1100 scan lines with a maximum resolution of 14.9--19.8 m. Pictures of the lunar surface were returned on October 27, 1966. The number of photographs is not known. Radio transmissions from Luna 12 ceased on January 19, 1967, after 602 lunar orbits and 302 radio transmissions. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
The development plan defined objectives and basic criteria for the project and established a plan for its technical management (chiefly through MSFC's Propulsion and Vehicle Engineering Division). Officially, the Workshop had won approval for the Saturn/Apollo Applications 209 mission, which was a backup for Apollo-Saturn 209. Primary purpose of SAA-209 was activation of the spent S-IVB stage into a habitable space structure for extended Earth-orbit missions. Additional Details: MSFC distributed its research and development plan for the OWS..
DF-2 launched with 20 kt warhead from Shaunchengtzu 800 km to Lop Nor, where warhead successfully explodes. References: 87 .
Decree 'On lag of work on the N1-L3 and UR-500K-L1 programs' was issued. References: 474 .
During the ascent to orbit, the Gemini capsule atop the MOL Cannister was ejected and made a suborbital reentry and splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft was the Gemini 2 reentry module, reused to test reentry with hatch cut into the heat shield. The capsule was successfully recovered and it was found that the reentry actually melted hatch shut, indicating that the design was valid for MOL. References: 22 , 279 .
This modified Titan 2 propellant tank represented the MOL station itself. It allowed study of the aerodynamic loads associated with launching the MOL into orbit and validated the very long length to diameter core represented by the MOL/Titan 3M configuration. It is possible certain prototype MOL equipment was flown as well. References: 22 , 279 .
Lunar Orbiter II was launched at 6:21 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 13 at Cape Kennedy, to photograph possible landing sites on the moon for the Apollo program. The Atlas-Agena D booster placed the spacecraft in an earth-parking orbit and, after a 14-minute coast, injected it into its 94-hour trajectory toward the moon. A midcourse correction maneuver on November 8 increased the velocity from 3,051 to 3,133 kilometers per hour. At that time the spacecraft was 265,485 kilometers from the earth.
The spacecraft executed a deboost maneuver at 3:26 p.m., November 10, while 352,370 kilometers from the earth and 1,260 kilometers from the moon and traveling at a speed of 5,028 kilometers per hour. The maneuver permitted the lunar gravitational field to pull the spacecraft into the planned initial orbit around the moon. On November 15, a micrometeoroid hit was detected by one of the 20 thin-walled pressurized sensors.
The spacecraft was transferred into its final close-in orbit around the moon at 5:58 p.m. November 15 and the photo-acquisition phase of Lunar Orbiter II's mission began November 18. Thirteen selected primary potential landing sites and a number of secondary sites were to be photographed. By the morning of November 25, the spacecraft had taken 208 of the 211 photographs planned and pictures of all 13 selected potential landing sites. It also made 205 attitude change maneuvers and responded to 2,421 commands.
The status report of the Lunar Orbiter II mission as of November 28 indicated that the first phase of the photographic mission was completed when the final photo was taken on the afternoon of November 25. On November 26, the developing web was cut with a hot wire in response to a command from the earth. Failure to achieve the cut would have prevented the final readout of all 211 photos. Readout began immediately after the cut was made. One day early, December 6, the readout terminated when a transmitter failed, and three medium-resolution and two high-resolution photos of primary site 1 were lost. Full low-resolution coverage of the site had been provided, however, and other data continued to be transmitted. Three meteoroid hits had been detected. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 278 .
In accordance with decisions made by Associate Administrator George E. Mueller (see 2 November 1966), Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director John H. Disher notified Robert F. Thompson, Robert C. Hock, and Leland F. Belew, Apollo Applications Program Managers at MSC, KSC, and MSFC, respectively, of the approved mission sequence for missions 209 through 212. SAA-209: manned block II CSM flight of 28-day duration, with the CSM fuel cells providing primary electrical power. SAA-210: launch of the unmanned airlock Orbital Workshop multiple docking adapter combination, with solar cells as the chief source of power. SAA-211: manned CSM flight of 56-day duration. SAA-212: unmanned lunar module-Apollo telescope mount flight. Disher said that mission planning directives were being expedited to implement this mission sequence.
The scheduled launch of Gemini XII was postponed by a malfunctioning power supply in the launch vehicle secondary autopilot, discovered before the countdown for the November 9 launch began. The secondary autopilot package and the secondary stage I rate gyro package were replaced, and the mission was rescheduled for November 10. During tests of the replacement autopilot on November 9, another malfunction occurred, which was resolved by again replacing the secondary autopilot package. The launch was rescheduled for November 11.
Kamanin diary complains of lunar coordination problems. References: 72 .
Two very serious astronauts get it all right to end the program. Docked and redocked with Agena, demonstrating various Apollo scenarios including manual rendezvous and docking without assistance from ground control. Aldrin finally demonstrates ability to accomplish EVA without overloading suit by use of suitable restraints and careful movement.
Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock and to evaluate extravehicular activities (EVA). Among the secondary objectives were tethered vehicle evaluation, experiments, third revolution rendezvous and docking, automatic reentry demonstration, docked maneuvering for a high-apogee excursion, docking practice, systems tests, and Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) parking. The high-apogee excursion was not attempted because an anomaly was noted in the GATV primary propulsion system during insertion, and parking was not attempted because the GATV's attitude control gas was depleted. All other objectives were achieved. Nine spacecraft maneuvers effected rendezvous with the GATV. The onboard radar malfunctioned before the terminal phase initiate maneuver, but the crew used onboard backup procedures to calculate the maneuvers. Rendezvous was achieved at 3 hours 46 minutes ground elapsed time, docking 28 minutes later. Two phasing maneuvers, using the GATV secondary propulsion system, were accomplished, but the primary propulsion system was not used. The first of two periods of standup EVA began at 19 hours 29 minutes into the flight and lasted for 2 hours 29 minutes. During a more than two-hour umbilical EVA which began at 42 hours 48 minutes, Aldrin attached a 100-foot tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar. He spent part of the period at the spacecraft adapter, evaluating various restraint systems and performing various basic tasks. The second standup EVA lasted 55 minutes, ending at 67 hours 1 minute ground elapsed time. The tether evaluation began at 47 hours 23 minutes after liftoff, with the crew undocking from the GATV. The tether tended to remain slack, although the crew believed that the two vehicles did slowly attain gravity-gradient stabilization. The crew jettisoned the docking bar and released the tether at 51 hours 51 minutes. Several spacecraft systems suffered problems during the flight. Two fuel cell stacks failed and had to be shut down, while two others experienced significant loss of power. At 39 hours 30 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew reported that little or no thrust was available from two orbit attitude and maneuver thrusters. Retrofire occurred 94 hours after liftoff. Reentry was automatically controlled. The spacecraft landed less than 5 km from the planned landing point on November 15. The crew was picked up by helicopter and deposited 28 minutes later on the deck of the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. The spacecraft was recovered 67 minutes after landing. Additional Details: Gemini 12. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
Photographed earth and stars. References: 66 .
Tested tools and techniques for extravehicular activity. References: 66 .
Photographed earth limb and stars in ultraviolet. References: 66 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Mishin's draft plan for the Soviet lunar landing was approved by an expert commission headed by Keldysh. The first N-1 launch was set for March 1968. At same meeting, Chelomei made a last ditch attempt to get his revised UR-700/LK-700 direct landing approach approved in its place. Although Chelomei had lined up the support of Glushko, and Mishin was in a weak position after Korolev's death, Keldysh managed to ensure that the N1-L3 continued. However continued design work on the LK-700, the UR-700 booster, and development of the RD-270 engine were authorised. References: 72 .
As requested by Robert C. Seamans, Jr., at the monthly program meeting during October, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller summarized the agency's present plans for including the DOD's astronaut maneuvering unit 'back pack' aboard AAP flights. Additional Details: NASA plans to include the DOD's astronaut maneuvering unit "back pack" aboard AAP flights..
A Martlet 2C launched from the 16 inch L86 gun established the world altitude record for a sub-orbital gun-launched projectile. A Martlet 2C was fired to an altitude of 180 km with a flight time of over 400 seconds.
The first flight rocket (serial number 22701) began assembly on 21 November 1966, with mechanical assembly completed by 29 November. Electrical connections and tests were completed by 4 December 1966. Due to New Year’s holidays work did not resume until 28 January 1967. By 28 February the fully assembled booster / spacecraft unit was completed in the MIK, including the 7K-L1P boilerplate spacecraft. References: 273 .
First test flight of Soyuz 7K-OK earth orbit spacecraft. A planned 'all up' test, with a second Soyuz to be launched the following day and automatically dock with Kosmos 133. This was to be followed by a manned link-up in December 1966. However Kosmos 133's attitude control system malfunctioned, resulting in rapid consumption of orientation fuel, leaving it spinning at 2 rpm. After heroic efforts by ground control and five attempts at retrofire over two days, the craft was finally brought down for a landing on its 33rd revolution. However due to the inaccuracy of the reentry burn, it was determined that the capsule would land in China. The APO self destruct system detected the course deviation and the destruct charge of several dozen kilogrammes of explosive was thought to have destroyed the ship on November 30, 1966 at 10:21 GMT. But stories persisted over the years of the Chinese having a Soyuz capsule in their possession.... References: 1 , 2 , 6 .
NASA had accumulated enough data from the LLRV flight program by mid-1966 to give Bell a contract to deliver three LLTV's at a cost of $2.5 million each. In Dec. 1966 vehicle No. 1 was shipped to Houston, followed by No. 2 in Jan. 1967, within weeks of its first flight. Modifications already made to No. 2 had given the pilot a three-axis side control stick and a more restrictive cockpit view, both features of the real Lunar Module that would later be flown by the astronauts down to the moon's surface.
Planned all-female ten day long-duration flight. Solovyova would have conducted the first female space walk. Cancelled in spring 1966, after death of Korolev, in order to concentrate on Soyuz and Lunar landing programs. References: 94 .
MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton pointed out to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that LM-to-CSM crew rescue was impossible. Slayton said
The number one lunar landing research vehicle (LLRV) test vehicle was received at MSC December 13, 1966. Its first flight at Ellington Air Force Base following facility and vehicle checkout was expected about February 1, 1967, with crew training in the vehicle to start about February 20. Additional Details: Apollo lunar landing research vehicle No 1 received. References: 16 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Reentry into the Earth's atmosphere was not achieved because the retrorocket failed to ignite. The biosatellite was never recovered. Although the scientific objectives of the mission were not accomplished, the Biosatellite I experience provided technical confidence in the program because of excellent performance in most other areas. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 297 .
Second attempted flight of Soyuz 7K-OK (the spacecraft planned for the linkup with Ksomos 133). An analogue to Mercury Redstone's 'day we launched the tower' but with more disastorous consequences. The core stage ignited, but the strap-ons did not. A booster shutdown was commanded. The service towers were brought back around the booster, and ground crew began work to defuel the launch vehicle. At 27 minutes after the original launch attempt, the Soyuz launch escape system, having received the signal that liftoff had occurred, detected that the booster was not on course (either because a tower arm nudged the booster or because the earth's rotation as detected by the gyros had moved the spacecraft out of limits relative to its original inertial position). The launch escape system ignited, pulling the Soyuz away from the booster, igniting the third stage fuel tanks, leading to an explosion that severely damaged the pad and killed at least one person (the Soviet Rocket Forces major supervising the launch team) and injured many others. References: 5 , 42 .
Soft landed on Moon 24 December 1966 at 18:01:00 GMT, Latitude 18.87 N, 297.95 E - Oceanus Procellarum. The petal encasement of the spacecraft was opened, antennas were erected, and radio transmissions to Earth began four minutes after the landing. On December 25 and 26, 1966, the spacecraft television system transmitted panoramas of the nearby lunar landscape at different sun angles. Each panorama required approximately 100 minutes to transmit. The spacecraft was equipped with a mechanical soil-measuring penetrometer, a dynamograph, and a radiation densitometer for obtaining data on the mechanical and physical properties and the cosmic-ray reflectivity of the lunar surface. It is believed that transmissions from the spacecraft ceased before the end of December 1966. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 104 'On changes in the timeline for the Almaz program and suspension of the 7K-TK' was issued. Due to delays in the Almaz all work on further development of the 7K-TK was suspended. References: 474 .
Resolution 'On approval of work on the 7K-VI Zvezda and course of work on Almaz' no. 305 ordered Kozlov's filial 3 of OKB-1 to undertake first flight of the manned military research spacecraft 7K-VI - 11F73 Zvezda by the end of 1967.
Liftoff of a Thrust-Augmented-Thor/Agena D space booster combination marked the 123rd major launch operation from Vandenberg AFB since January. This annual launch record remains unbroken 30 years later. References: 88 .
NASA Hq officially promulgated mission objectives of the AAP-l and AAP-2 flights. They were to conduct a low-altitude, low-inclination Earth-orbital mission with a three-man crew for a maximum of 28 days using a spent S-IVB stage as an OWS; to provide for reactivation and reuse of the OWS for subsequent missions within one year from initial launch; and to perform test operations with the lunar mapping and survey system in Earth orbit.
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