Under the Apollo Applications Programme NASA began hardware and software procurement, development, and testing for a lunar mapping and survey system. The system would be mounted in an Apollo CSM. The crew would operate the sytem during a one month mission to map the lunar surface. Emphasis would be on identifying the most scientifically interesting areas on the lunar surface for the lunar base phase of AAP. It was planned for the system to be tested in earth orbit in a single launch mission unrelated to the Orbital Workshop. The mission would have the primary objective of conducting manned experiments in space sciences and advanced technology and engineering, including the Earth-orbital simulation of LM&SS lunar operations. The LM&SS would be jettisoned after completing its Earth-orbital test. Planned launch date for the earth orbit mission was 15 September 1968.
At Headquarters, the directors of the program offices presented to Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and members of the Administrator's top staff a joint briefing and summary of NASA's total agency-wide AAP effort. In reviewing their presentation, Seamans emphasized three cardinal tenets regarding AAP planning: (1) The Apollo lunar landing remained the top priority and must not be compromised by any AAP activity. (2) All changes to any Apollo hardware for AAP missions had to be approved personally by either the Administrator or Seamans. Consequently, all mission planning had to be precise and definite and would be referred to Webb or Seamans for action or approval. All procurement actions would be handled in the same fashion. (3) The directors were to devise 'a clear and defensible rationale' for MP missions. Seamans reported to Administrator James E. Webb the basic findings of the 11 March review: Largely because of limited resources, the pacing item in AAP was selection and development of experiments and packages to meet the earliest possible flight dates. (Although many possible experiments were being studied, only two minor AAP experiments so far had actually been committed to development. Also, some alternatives, such as use of Gemini and Apollo experiments and inhouse development of experiment packages, had been examined with an eye toward early experiment availability.) Three leading candidates existed for alternate AAP missions: (1) an extensive lunar mapping program (beyond the needs of Apollo); (2) adaptation of lunar mapping equipment for Earth survey (though 'serious interagency problems' had to be resolved before such a mission could be planned in detail); and (3) the ATM which, because of its scientific value and compatibility with the basic Apollo system, had received top priority for definition and development by the Office of Space Science and Applications (however, serious fiscal problems remained in light of the ATM's estimated total cost of about $69 million).
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).
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.
Required changes in the Apollo Applications Program flight schedules resulted in plans for the Earth-orbital test of the lunar mapping and scientific survey (LM&SS) as part of a single launch mission unrelated to the Orbital Workshop. The mission would have the primary objective of conducting manned experiments in space sciences and advanced technology and engineering, including the Earth-orbital simulation of LM&SS lunar operations. The LM&SS would be jettisoned after completing its Earth-orbital test. Planned launch date for the mission was 15 September 1968.
Following a series of discussions on the requirements for the lunar mapping and survey system (LMSS), the effort was terminated. An immediate stop work order was issued to the Air Force, the Centers, and the contractors in the LMSS effort. The original justification for the LMSS, a backup Apollo site certification capability in the event of Surveyor or Lunar Orbiter inadequacies, was no longer valid, since at least four Apollo sites had been certified and the last Lunar Orbiter would, if successful, increase that to eight.
NASA decided to terminate all activity associated with the hardware and software procurement, development, and testing for the lunar mapping and survey system. The purpose of the system was to provide site certification capability to the most scientifically interesting areas on the lunar surface for the AAP.
A lunar exploration program had been developed which would cover the period from the first lunar landing to the mid-1970s. The program would be divided into four phases: (1) An Apollo phase employing Apollo hardware. (2) A lunar exploration phase untilizing an extended LM with increased landed payload weight and staytime capability. (3) A lunar orbital survey and exploration phase using the AAP-1A carrier or the LM/ATM to mount remote sensors and photographic equipment on a manned polar orbit mission. (4) A lunar surface rendezvous and exploration phase which would use a modified LM in an unmanned landing to provide increased scientific payload and expendables necessary to extend an accompanying manned LM mission to two weeks duration.
NASA Hq. asked that MSC consider a variety of lunar photographic operations from orbit during manned landing missions. Cancellation from Apollo of the lunar mapping and survey system had eliminated any specially designed lunar photographic capability; but photography was still desired for scientific, operational, and contingency purposes. Presence of the CSM in orbit during manned landing missions, Headquarters OMSF said, would be a valuable opportunity, however limited, for photographic operations. MSC was asked to evaluate these operations to define whatever hardware and operational changes in Apollo might be required to capitalize upon this opportunity.