|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1969 - Quarter 4|
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Ionospheric and auroral investigations; lower than planned orbit. Fourth satellite of ESRO. Also registered by the United States in A/AC.105/INF.220 as United States space object 1969-83A, with category B and orbital parameters 90.6 min, 280 x 339 km x 85.1 deg. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Cloud and ice cover imaging; investigated IR, thermal reflection/radiation from Earth's atmosphere. Acquisition of meteorological information needed for use by the weather service. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Major milestones were reached for extending astronauts' staytime on the moon and increasing their mobility for the Apollo 16-20 missions. Modifications in the A7L spacesuit incorporating improved waist mobility were authorized, and letter contract authority for the portable life support system secondary life support system was approved. References: 16 .
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Carried Vulkan welding furnace for vacuum welding experiments in depressurized orbital module. Was to have taken spectacular motion pictures of Soyuz 7 - Soyuz 8 docking but failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to new helium pressurization integrity test prior to mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Recovered October 16, 1969 9:52 GMT. Additional Details: Soyuz 6. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 32 , 33 , 60 .
A portion of the Apollo 12 mission would be devoted to an examination of Surveyor III and recovery of its TV camera and thermal-switch glass mirror fragments, MSC announced. Additional Details: Decision that Apollo 12 mission would examine Surveyor III and recover its TV camera. References: 16 .
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Was to have docked with Soyuz 8 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Recovered October 17, 1969 9:26 GMT. Additional Details: Soyuz 7. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 32 , 33 , 60 .
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Was to have docked with Soyuz 7 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Recovered October 18, 1969 10:19 GMT. Additional Details: Soyuz 8. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 32 , 33 , 60 .
Payload included East European experiments to study solar UV, X-ray effects on upper atmosphere. Investigation of solar radiation and its effect on the atmosphere of the earth. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 99 , 116 .
The Flight Crew Operations Directorate expressed opposition to a major effort to develop a lunar flyer until after the Apollo 16 mission. Plans for Apollo flights 12 through 16 required that the LM be maneuvered to landings at various points of scientific interest on the lunar surface, and experience from Apollo 11 and partial gravity simulators indicated the crews would be able to accomplish their surface EVA tasks for these missions without the aid of a mobility device. References: 16 .
A Czech delegation to Baikonur was shown the Vostok and Proton launch vehicles, Zenit-2, Ye-8, 7K-L1 spacecraft, a Vostok re-entry capsule, and the N1 moon launcher. They were the first non-Russians to see evidence of the Russian manned lunar program.
A lunar roving vehicle (LRV) cost-plus-incentive-fee contract was awarded to the Boeing Co. LRV-1 was scheduled for delivery on April 1, 1971, leaving only 17 months for vehicle development, production, and tests. The LRV project was managed at MSFC by Saverio F. Morea as a project within the Saturn Program Office. The Boeing Company would manage the LRV project in Huntsville, Ala., under Henry Kudish. General Motors Corp. AC Electronics Defense Research Laboratories in Santa Barbara, Calif., would furnish the mobility system (wheels, motors, and suspension). The Boeing Go. in Seattle, Wash., would furnish the electronics and navigation system. Vehicle testing would take place at the Boeing facility in Kent, Wash., and the chassis manufacturing and overall assembly would take place at the Boeing facility in Huntsville, Ala. References: 16 .
German Research Satellite A; examined Van Allen belts, solar particles, aurora. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
At the request of the Apollo 12 crew, the internal primary guidance and navigational control system targeting for descent was being changed so that the automatic guidance would land LM-6 at Surveyor III rather than at a point offset 305 meters east and 153 meters north as originally planned. References: 16 .
NASA announced the resignation of Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller effective December 10. In December Charles W. Mathews was named Acting Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight until a successor for Mueller was appointed. References: 16 .
Apollo 12 (AS-507)-with astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard F. Gordon, Jr., and Alan L. Bean as the crewmen-was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 11:22 a.m. EST November 14. Lightning struck the space vehicle twice, at 36.5 seconds and 52 seconds into the mission. The first strike was visible to spectators at the launch site. No damage was done. Except for special attention given to verifying all spacecraft systems because of the lightning strikes, the activities during earth-orbit checkout, translunar injection, and translunar coast were similar to those of Apollo 10 and Apollo 11.
During the translunar coast astronauts Conrad and Bean transferred to the LM one-half hour earlier than planned in order to obtain full TV coverage through the Goldstone tracking station. The 56-minute TV transmission showed excellent color pictures of the CSM, the intravehicular transfer, the LM interior, the earth, and the moon.
At 10:47 p.m. EST, November 17, the spacecraft entered a lunar orbit of 312.6 x 115.9 kilometers. A second service propulsion system burn circularized the orbit with a 122.5-kilometer apolune and a 100.6-kilometer perilune. Conrad and Bean again transferred to the LM, where they perfomed housekeeping chores, a voice and telemetry test, and an oxygen purge system check. They then returned to the CM.
Conrad and Bean reentered the LM, checked out all systems, and at 10:17 p.m. EST on November 18 fired the reaction control system thrusters to separate the CSM 108 (the Yankee Clipper) from the LM-6 (the Intrepid). At 1:55 a.m. EST November 19, the Intrepid landed on the moon's Ocean of Storms, about 163 meters from the Surveyor III spacecraft that had landed April 19, 1967. Conrad, shorter than Neil Armstrong (first man on the moon, July 20), had a little difficulty negotiating the last step from the LM ladder to the lunar surface. When he touched the surface at 6:44 a.m. EST November 19, he exclaimed, "Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small step for Neil, but that's a long one for me."
Bean joined Conrad on the surface at 7:14 a.m. They collected a 1.9-kilogram contingency sample of lunar material and later a 14.8-kilogram selected sample. They also deployed an S-band antenna, solar wind composition experiment, and the American flag. An Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package with a SNAP-27 atomic generator was deployed about 182 meters from the LM. After 3 hours 56 minutes on the lunar surface, the two astronauts entered the Intrepid to rest and check plans for the next EVA.
The astronauts again left the LM at 10:55 p.m. EST November 19. During the second EVA, Conrad and Bean retrieved the lunar module TV camera for return to earth for a failure analysis, obtained photographic panoramas, core and trench samples, a lunar environment sample, and assorted rock, dirt, bedrock, and molten samples. The crew then examined and retrieved parts of Surveyor III, including the TV camera and soil scoop. After 3 hours 49 minutes on the lunar surface during the second EVA, the two crewmen entered the LM at 2:44 a.m. EST November 20. Meanwhile astronaut Gordon, orbiting the moon in the Yankee Clipper, had completed a lunar multispectral photography experiment and photographed proposed future landing sites.
At 9:26 a.m. EST November 20, after 31 hours 31 minutes on the moon, Intrepid successfully lifted off with 34.4 kilograms of lunar samples. Rendezvous maneuvers went as planned. The LM docked with the CSM at 12:58 p.m. November 20. The last 24 minutes of the rendezvous sequence was televised. After the crew transferred with the samples, equipment, and film to the Yankee Clipper, the Intrepid was jettisoned and intentionally crashed onto the lunar surface at 5:17 p.m. November 20, 72.2 kilometers southeast of Surveyor III. The crash produced reverberations that lasted about 30 minutes and were detected by the seismometer left on the moon.
At 3:49 p.m. EST November 21, the crew fired the service propulsion system engine, injecting the CSM into a transearth trajectory after 89 hours 2 minutes in lunar orbit. During the transearth coast, views of the receding moon and the interior of the spacecraft were televised, and a question and answer session with scientists and the press was conducted.
Parachute deployment and other reentry events occurred as planned. The CM splashed down in mid-Pacific at 3:58 p.m. EST November 24, 7.25 kilometers from the recovery ship, U.S.S. Hornet. The astronauts, wearing flight suits and biological face masks, were airlifted by helicopter from the CM to the recovery ship, where they entered the mobile quarantine facility. They would remain in this facility until arrival at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory, MSC. The Apollo 12 mission objectives were achieved and the experiments successfully accomplished. Additional Details: Apollo 12. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 , 33 , 60 .
NASA discontinued the use of names such "LEO," "ALEM," and "Apollo Lunar Exploration Program" that had been used since Apollo 11 to identify the lunar exploration phase of the Apollo program. Henceforth, the single word title "Apollo" would be used when referring to the program. Additional Details: Changed nomenclature for the lunar exploration phase of the Apollo program. References: 16 .
Explored lunar surface near LM and deployed ALSEP unmanned scientific station equipment. References: 66 .
Moonwalk to Surveyor 3, which had landed two years before. Recovered parts of Surveyor 3 which seemed to show that Earth bacteria could survive for that period in space and be revived. References: 66 .
Threw excess equipment out of LM before lift-off. References: 66 .
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., was appointed Deputy Director of MSC. Kraft, Director of Flight Operations at MSC since November 1963, succeeded George S. Trimble, Jr., who had resigned September 30. References: 16 .
Attempted test flight of Block D upper stage in N1 lunar crasher configuration. Payload was a modified Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar spacecraft, which provided guidance to the Block D and was equipped with television cameras that viewed the behavior of the Block D stage propellants under zero-G conditions. Mission flown successfully over a year later as Cosmos 382. References: 5 , 67 , 274 .
Ten stations 'in advanced stage of completion' by end of year. References: 76 .
The Kontakt system designed for the lunar orbit rendezvous and docking of the LOK lunar orbiter and LK lunar lander was to be mounted on two Soyuz spacecraft and tested in earth orbit. The first Kontakt crews were established in February 1969. By April 1969, two separate docking missions were to be executed after the triple Soyuz-6/7/8 mission. The first crew of what would have been Soyuz 10/11 and Soyuz 12/13 would have piloted the active spacecraft, simulating the LOK. The second launch would have launched a passive spacecraft, simulating the LK. References: 344 .
Would have simulated the passive LK lunar lander in an earth-orbit test of the Kontakt docking system. References: 344 .
Under the code name Have Horn, a sounding rocket launcher and associated equipment was installed at North Truro Air Force Station on Cape Cod. A series of Nike-Hydac sounding rockets were fired to test MIT sensors. Launches continued until early 1970, after which all equipment was air-lifted back to Holloman AFB. Wayne O. Mattson was launch control officer for this exercise.
NASA was considering incorporation of a mobile equipment transporter on LM-8, LM-9, and LM-10, to help with problems such as the Apollo 12 astronauts had in carrying hand tools, sample boxes and bags, a stereo camera, and other equipment on the lunar surface. The MET also could extend lunar surface activities to a greater distance from the lunar module. A prototype MET and training hardware were being fabricated and were expected to be available in late December. References: 16 .
A lunar roving vehicle preliminary requirements review was held at MSFC. MSC was asked to review the requirement for a roll bar which it had requested in the interest of astronaut safety. Navigation system requirements as defined by MSC would require changes in the design presented by Boeing. Full-length fenders and effects of dust on radiators, sealed joints, and vision needed to be considered and appropriate measures taken in the vehicle design, the review found. References: 16 .
MSC announced the appointment of Sigurd A. Sjoberg as Director of Flight Operations, replacing Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., who had been appointed MSC Deputy Director Nov. 26. Sjoberg had been Deputy Director of Flight Operations since 1963. References: 16 .
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