|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1969 - Quarter 3|
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Planned third and final Russian circumlunar flight. On 24 September 1968 Popovich/Makarov were the prime candidates for the third Soviet circumlunar flight. When the crews were named, Makarov was moved to the first crew and Sevastyanov was named Popovich's flight engineer.
N-1 serial number 5L began to fail at 0.25 second after liftoff when the oxidizer pump of engine number 8 ingested a slag fragment and exploded. A fire ensued as the vehicle climbed past the top of the tower. Engines were shutdown until the acceleration dropped below 1 G; then the vehicle began to fall back to the pad at a 45 degree angle. The escape tower fired at the top of the brief trajectory, taking the L1S dummy descent module away from the pad. Upon impact of the base of the N1 with the pad, the vehicle exploded, destroying launch pad 110 east, which would take over 18 months to repair. References: 5 .
Unmanned soil return mission launched coincident with Apollo 11 mission in last ditch attempt to return lunar soil to earth before United States. After completing 86 communications sessions and 52 orbits of the Moon at various inclinations and altitudes, crashed on the moon on 20 July in an attempted landing. Altitude data used in programming inaccurate or guidance system unable to cope with effect of lunar mascons.
Officially: Testing of on-board systems of the automatic station and further scientific investigation of the moon and circumlunar space. Parameters are for lunar orbit. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 , 296 .
First landing on moon. Apollo 11 (AS-506) - with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., aboard - was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 9:32 a.m. EDT July 16. The activities during earth-orbit checkout, translunar injection, CSM transposition and docking, spacecraft ejection, and translunar coast were similar to those of Apollo 10.
At 4:40 p.m. EDT July 18, the crew began a 96-minute color television transmission of the CSM and LM interiors, CSM exterior, the earth, probe and drogue removal, spacecraft tunnel hatch opening, food preparation, and LM housekeeping. One scheduled and two unscheduled television broadcasts had been made previously by the Apollo 11 crew.
The spacecraft entered lunar orbit at 1:28 p.m. EDT on July 19. During the second lunar orbit a live color telecast of the lunar surface was made. A second service-propulsion-system burn placed the spacecraft in a circularized orbit, after which astronaut Aldrin entered the LM for two hours of housekeeping including a voice and telemetry test and an oxygen-purge-system check.
At 8:50 a.m. July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin reentered the LM and checked out all systems. They performed a maneuver at 1:11 p.m. to separate the LM from the CSM and began the descent to the moon. The LM touched down on the moon at 4:18 p.m. EDT July 20. Armstrong reported to mission control at MSC, "Houston, Tranquillity Base here - the Eagle has landed." (Eagle was the name given to the Apollo 11 LM; the CSM was named Columbia.) Man's first step on the moon was taken by Armstrong at 10:56 p.m. EDT. As he stepped onto the surface of the moon, Armstrong described the feat as "one small step for a man - one giant leap for mankind."
Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface of the moon at 11:15 p.m. July 20. The astronauts unveiled a plaque mounted on a strut of the LM and read to a worldwide TV audience, "Here men from the planet earth first set foot on the moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." After raising the American flag and talking to President Nixon by radiotelephone, the two astronauts deployed the lunar surface experiments assigned to the mission and gathered 22 kilograms of samples of lunar soil and rocks. They then reentered the LM and closed the hatch at 1:11 a.m. July 21. All lunar extravehicular activities were televised in black-and-white. Meanwhile, Collins continued orbiting moon alone in CSM Columbia.
The Eagle lifted off from the moon at 1:54 p.m. EDT July 21, having spent 21 hours 36 minutes on the lunar surface. It docked with the CSM at 5:35 p.m. and the crew, with the lunar samples and film, transferred to the CSM. The LM ascent stage was jettisoned into lunar orbit. The crew then rested and prepared for the return trip to the earth.
The CSM was injected into a trajectory toward the earth at 12:55 a.m. EDT July 22. Following a midcourse correction at 4:01 p.m., an 18-minute color television transmission was made, in which the astronauts demonstrated the weightlessness of food and water and showed shots of the earth and the moon.
At 12:15 p.m. EDT July 24 the Apollo 11's command module Columbia splashed down in the mid-Pacific, about 24 kilometers from the recovery ship U.S.S. Hornet. Following decontamination procedures at the point of splashdown, the astronauts were carried by helicopter to the Hornet where they entered a mobile quarantine facility to begin a period of observation under strict quarantine conditions. The CM was recovered and removed to the quarantine facility. Sample containers and film were flown to Houston.
All primary mission objectives and all detailed test objectives of Apollo 11 were met, and all crew members remained in good health. Additional Details: Apollo 11. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 , 33 , 60 .
NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine approved the shift from a 'wet' to a 'dry' Orbital Workshop concept for AAP following a review presentation by program officials on the potential benefits of such a change. On 22 July, AAP Director William C. Schneider ordered program managers at the three Centers to implement the change, abandoning the idea of using a spent Saturn IB second stage for a Workshop and adopting the concept of a fully equipped 'dry' configuration-with the ATM integrated into the total payload-launched aboard a Saturn V. Additional Details: NASA Administrator Paine approved the shift from a "wet" to a "dry" Orbital Workshop for AAP..
Explored lunar surface near LM and deployed EPISEP unmanned scientific station equipment. References: 66 .
Threw excess equipment out of LM before lift-off. References: 66 .
Operation of a system of long range telephone-telegraph radiocommunication, and transmission of USSR Central Television programmes to the stations of the Orbita network. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 .
NASA announced selection of two aerospace firms--McDonnell Douglas and North American-to conduct phase B planning studies of 12-man orbiting space stations that could be developed by the mid-1970s. The parallel 11-month program definition studies were a prelude to even larger semipermanent space bases during the later 1970s and 1980s.
NASA issued a tentative planning schedule for the Apollo program:
|Flight||Launch Plans||Tentative Landing Area|
|Apollo 12||November 1969||Oceanus Procellarum lunar lowlands|
|Apollo 13||March 1970||Fra Mauro highlands|
|Apollo 14||July 1970||Crater Censorinus highlands|
|Apollo 15||November 1970||Littrow volcanic area|
|Apollo 16||April 1971||Crater Tycho (Surveyor VII impact area)|
|Apollo 17||September 1971||Marius Hills volcanic domes|
|Apollo 18||February 1972||Schroter's Valley, riverlike channel-ways|
|Apollo 19||July 1972||Hyginus Rille region-Linear Rille, crater area|
|Apollo 20||December 1972||Crater Copernicus, large crater impact area|
The Secretary of Defense announced the assignment of Lt. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips (USAF), who had been serving as Apollo Program Director in the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, to be Commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO) in Los Angeles. He would assume his new responsibilities in the Air Force effective September 1. References: 16 .
Mariner 6 encountered Mars on July 31,1969. Together with Mariner 7, which arrived four days later, it returned a combined total of 143 approach pictures of the planet and 55 close-up pictures. These images, from the vehicles' television cameras, included pictures of the northern and southern polar caps as well as Phobos, one of Mars' two moons.
Mariners 6 and 7 were designed to fly over the equator and southern hemisphere of Mars. Mariner 7 encountered Mars on August 4, 1969. The two spacecraft returned a combined total of 143 approach pictures of the planet and 55 close-up pictures. The spacecraft also studied the Martian atmosphere and profiled its chemical composition. Closest approach to Mars for both spacecraft was approximately 3,550 kilometres.
Following the decision to implement the Saturn V dry Workshop, LM-2 was the only flight LM article to remain on Earth. Therefore, NASA Hq requested MSC consideration for early disposition of it to the Smithsonian Institution as an artifact of historical interest. Since it was expected that the Smithsonian would exhibit LM-2 as a replica of LM-5, Headquarters also requested that MSC consider refurbishment to provide a more accurate representation of the LM- 5 configuration before its transfer to the Smithsonian.
MSFC-NASA Hq. correspondence emphasized the need to restrict the lunar roving vehicle to a 181-kilogram weight limit. If necessary, range and speed would be traded off to retain this weight limit. References: 16 .
MSFC definitized the existing contract with McDonnell Douglas for two Orbital Workshops for the Apollo Applications Program, converted S IVB stages to be launched by Saturn V boosters. The contract was slated to run through July 1972, with most of the work to be performed at the company's plant at Huntington Beach, California. The first Workshop was tentatively scheduled for flight in mid-1972, with the second article initially serving as a backup vehicle if needed.
Circumlunar flight; successfully recovered in USSR August 13, 1969. Only completely successful L1 flight that could have returned cosmonauts alive or uninjured to earth. Official mission was further studies of the moon and circumlunar space, to obtain colour photography of the earth and the moon from varying distances, and to flight test the spacecraft systems. Earth photos were obtained on August 9, 1969. On August 11, 1969, the spacecraft flew past the moon at a distance of 1984.6 km and conducted two picture taking sessions. Successfully accomplished double-dip re-entry and landed 50 km from aim point near Kustani in the USSR. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 , 296 .
Applications Technology Satellite; communications tests. Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Spacecraft maneuvered into geostationary orbit at 108 degrees W. Also tested ion engine. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 .
MSC rejected a Grumman proposal to use the LM as a lunar reconnaissance module. MSC pointed out that an MSC special task team had recently studied a number of proposals for lunar reconnaissance. These included use of a command module test vehicle, the AAP multiple docking adapter, the subsystem test bed, the ascent stage of the LM, and the entire LM vehicle. References: 16 .
NASA named Rocco A. Petrone, Director of Launch Operations at KSC, to succeed Samuel C. Phillips as Director of the Apollo Program effective September 1. References: 16 .
Analyses of the radioactive decay of Argon 40 and Neon 21 in two lunar samples indicated that the minimum age of the part of the Sea of Tranquillity from which the samples were obtained was about 3.1 billion years - plus or minus 200 million years. References: 16 .
The objectives, constraints, and guidelines for a second OWS were stated in general terms along the following lines: OWS would reflect the same physical features and capabilities exhibited by the initial Workshop and would use the flight hardware to be procured as backup for the first Workshop missions. Crew complement would consist of three men (at least one scientist astronaut). Operating life would be 12 to 24 months, nominally continuously manned. Orbital altitude would be in the range of 390 to 500 km at an inclination up to 55°. Additional Details: The objectives, constraints, and guidelines for a second Skylab OWS..
Two major directions were identified for manned space flight in the next decade. These were further exploration of the Moon, with possibly the establishment of a lunar surface base, and the continued development of manned flight in Earth orbit, leading to a permanent manned space station supported by a low-cost shuttle system. To maintain direction, the following key milestones were proposed: 1972 - AAP operations using a Saturn V launched Workshop 1973 - Start of post-Apollo lunar exploration 1974 - Start of suborbital flight tests of Earth to orbit shuttle - Launch of a second Saturn V Workshop 1975 - Initial space station operations - Orbital shuttle flights 1976 - Lunar orbit station - Full shuttle operations 1977 - Nuclear stage flight test 1978 - Nuclear shuttle operations-orbit to orbit 1979 - Space station in synchronous orbit By 1990 - Earth orbit space base - Lunar surface base - Possible Mars landing
This was the first new launch vehicle erection activity detected by US reconnsats after the destruction of pad 110 east in the July launch failure. The all-white launch vehicle, with no payload, is believed to be either N1 mockup 1M1 or flight vehicle 6L. References: 96 .
James A. McDivitt was appointed ASPO Manager at MSC. George M. Low, former ASPO Manager was temporarily on special assignment at MSC to plan future MSC programs and work on organizational matters. References: 16 .
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