|Saturn 1B - Saturn 1B - COSPAR 1966-059|
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Improved Saturn I, with uprated first stage and Saturn IVB stage (common with Saturn V) replacing Saturn IV. Used for earth orbit flight tests of Apollo CSM and LM.
Launches: 9. Failures: 0. Success Rate: 100.00% pct. First Launch Date: 26 February 1966. Last Launch Date: 15 July 1975. LEO Payload: 18,600 kg. to: 185 km Orbit. at: 28.0 degrees. Liftoff Thrust: 743,890 kgf. Total Mass: 589,770 kg. Core Diameter: 6.6 m. Total Length: 51.0 m. Development Cost $: 1,002.20 million. in 1965 average dollars. Launch Price $: 107.00 million. in 1967 price dollars. Cost comments: J-2 engine development cost included with Saturn V.
NASA selected Rocketdyne Division of NAA to develop the J-2, a 200,000-pound-thrust rocket engine, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. (A decision was later made to use the J-2 in the upper stages of the Saturn C-5.)
NASA selected Mason-Rust as the contractor to provide support services at NASA's Michoud plant near New Orleans, providing housekeeping services through June 30, 1962 for the three contractors who would produce the Saturn S-I and S-IB boosters and the Rift nuclear upper-stage vehicle.
A small group within the MSC Apollo Spacecraft Project Office developed a preliminary program schedule for three approaches to the lunar landing mission: earth orbit rendezvous, direct ascent, and lunar orbit rendezvous. The exercise established a number of ground rules :
Wernher von Braun, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center, recommended to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight that the lunar orbit rendezvous mode be adopted for the lunar landing mission. He also recommended the development of an unmanned, fully automatic, one-way Saturn C-5 logistics vehicle in support of the lunar expedition; the acceleration of the Saturn C-1B program; the development of high-energy propulsion systems as a backup for the service module and possibly the lunar excursion module; and further development of the F-1 and J-2 engines to increase thrust or specific impulse.
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth reported to the Manned Space Flight Management Council that the selection of the ablative material for the Apollo spacecraft heatshield would be made by September 1. The leading contender for the forebody ablative material was an epoxy resin with silica fibers for improving char strength and phenolic microballoons for reducing density.
In addition, Gilruth noted that a reevaluation of the Saturn C-1 and C-1B launch capabilities appeared to indicate that neither vehicle would be able to test the complete Apollo spacecraft configuration, including the lunar excursion module. Complete spacecraft qualification would require the use of the Saturn C-5.
After an extended discussion, the Manned Space Flight Management Council unanimously decided:
Following a long controversy NASA selected Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR) as the fastest, cheapest, and safest mode to accomplish the Apollo mission. LOR solved the engineering problem of how to land. The EOR or Direct Landing approaches required the Apollo crew to be on their backs during the landing and having to use television or mirrors to see the lunar surface. A lunar crasher stage approach had finally emerged as lesser of evils but raised other issues. LOR allowed a purpose-built lander with a logical helicopter-like crew station layout. Studies indicated LOR would allow landing 6-8 months earlier and cost $9.2 billion vs $ 10.6 billion for EOR or direct. Direct flight by this time would not involve Nova, but a scaled-down two-man spacecraft that could be launched by the Saturn C-5. Additional Details: Selection of LOR as Apollo Mission Mode.
NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight issued Requests for Proposals for a study of the lunar "bus" and studies for payloads which could be handled by the C-1B and C-5 launch vehicles. Contract awards were expected by September 1 and completion of the studies by December 1.
At a bidders' conference held at NASA Headquarters, proposals were requested from Centers and industry for two lunar logistic studies: a spacecraft "bus" concept that could be adapted for use first on the Saturn C-1B and later on the Saturn C-5 launch vehicles and a variety of payloads which could be soft-landed near manned Apollo missions. The latter study would determine how a crew's stay on the moon might be extended, how human capability for scientific investigation of the moon might be increased, and how man's mobility on the moon might be facilitated.
MSC outlined a tentative Apollo flight plan:
Flight missions of the Apollo spacecraft were to be numerically identified in the future according to the following scheme :
Pad aborts: PA-1, PA-2, etc.
Missions using Little Joe II launch vehicles: A-001, A-002, etc. Missions using Saturn C-1 launch vehicles: A-101, A-102, etc. Missions using Saturn C-1B launch vehicles: A-201, A-202, etc. Missions using Saturn C-5 launch vehicles: A-501, A-502, etc.
The 'A' denoted Apollo, the first digit stood for launch vehicle type or series, and the last two digits designated the order of Apollo spacecraft flights within a vehicle series.
NASA announced a simplified terminology for the Saturn booster series: Saturn C-1 became "Saturn I," Saturn C-1B became "Saturn IB," and Saturn C-5 became "Saturn V."
OMSF, MSC, and Bellcomm representatives, meeting in Washington, D.C., discussed Apollo mission plans: OMSF introduced a requirement that the first manned flight in the Saturn IB program include a LEM. ASPO had planned this flight as a CSM maximum duration mission only.
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NASA canceled four manned earth orbital flights with the Saturn I launch vehicle. Six of a series of 10 unmanned Saturn I development flights were still scheduled. Development of the Saturn IB for manned flight would be accelerated and "all-up" testing would be started. This action followed Bellcomm's recommendation of a number of changes in the Apollo spacecraft flight test program. The program should be transferred from Saturn I to Saturn IB launch vehicles; the Saturn I program should end with flight SA-10. All Saturn IB flights, beginning with SA-201, should carry operational spacecraft, including equipment for extensive testing of the spacecraft systems in earth orbit.
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller had recommended the changeover from the Saturn I to the Saturn IB to NASA Administrator James E. Webb on October 26. Webb's concurrence came two days later.
NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller notified the Directors of MSC, MSFC, and LOC that he intended to plan a flight schedule which would have a good chance of being met or exceeded. To this end, he directed that "all-up" spacecraft and launch vehicle tests be started as soon as possible; all Saturn IB flights would carry CSM and CSM LEM configurations; and two successful unmanned flights would be flown before a manned mission on either the Saturn IB or Saturn V.
On November 18, Mueller further defined the flight schedule planning. Early Saturn IB flights might not be able to include the LEM, but every effort must be made to phase the LEM into the picture as early as possible. Launch vehicle payload capability must be reached as quickly as practicable. Subsystems for the early flights should be the same as those intended for lunar missions. To conserve funds, the first Saturn V vehicle would be used to obtain reentry data early in the Saturn test program.
MSFC directed Rocketdyne to develop an uprated H-1 engine to be used in the first stage of the Saturn IB. In August, Rocketdyne had proposed that the H-1 be uprated from 85,275 to 90,718 kilograms (188,000 to 200,000 pounds) of thrust. The uprated engine promised a 907-kilogram (2,000 pound) increase in the Saturn IB's orbital payload, yet required no major systems changes and only minor structural modifications.
NASA Headquarters approved a $48,064,658 supplement to the Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc., contract for 10 additional S-IVB stages, four for the Saturn IB and six for the Saturn V missions.
MSC and MSFC officials discussed development flight tests for Apollo heatshield qualification. Engineers from the Houston group outlined desired mission profiles and the number of missions needed to qualify the component. MSFC needed this information to judge its launch vehicle development test requirements against those of MSC to qualify the heatshield. By the middle of the month, Richard D. Nelson of the Mission Planning and Analysis Division (MPAD) had summarized the profiles to be flown with the Saturn V that satisfied MSC's needs. Nelson compiled data for three trajectories that could provide reentry speeds of around 11,000 meters (36,000 feet) per second, simulating lunar return. As an example, "Trajectory 1" would use two of the booster's stages to fire into a suborbital ballistic path, and then use a third stage to accelerate to the desired reentry speed.
Flight profiles for Saturn IB missions for heatshield qualification purposes proved to be a little more difficult because "nobody would or could define the requirements or constraints, or test objectives." In other words, MSFC requirements for booster development test objectives and those of MSC for the spacecraft heatshield conflicted. So compromises had to be forged. Finally Ted H. Skopinski and other members of MPAD bundled up all of ASPO's correspondence on the subject generated from the various pertinent sources: MSFC, MSC, and contractors. From this, the Skopinski group drafted "broad term test objectives and constraints" for the first two Saturn IB flights (missions 201 and 202). Generally, these were to man-rate the launch vehicle and the CSM and to "conduct entry tests at superorbital entry velocities" (8,500 to 8,800 meters per second) (28,000 to 29,000 feet per second). Skopinski also enumerated specific test objectives covering the whole spacecraft-launch vehicle development test program. These were first distributed on March 27, and adjustments were made several times later in the year.
OMSF outlined launch vehicle development, spacecraft development, and crew performance demonstration missions, using the Saturn IB and Saturn V:
NASA selected IBM, Federal Systems Division, to develop and build the instrument units (IU) for the Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles. (IBM had been chosen by NASA in October 1963 to design and build the IU data adapters and digital guidance computers and to integrate and check out the IUs.) Under this new contract, expected to be worth over $175 million, IBM would supply the structure and the environmental control system. NASA would furnish the telemetry system and the stabilized platform (ST-124M) of the guidance system. MSFC would manage the contract.
ASPO's Operations Planning Division defined the current Apollo mission programming as envisioned by MSC. The overall Apollo flight program was described in terms of its major phases: Little Joe II flights (unmanned Little Joe II development and launch escape vehicle development); Saturn IB flights (unmanned Saturn IB and Block I CSM development, Block I CSM earth orbital operations, unmanned LEM development, and manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations); and Saturn V flights (unmanned Saturn V and Block II CSM development, manned Block II CSM/LEM earth orbital operations, and manned lunar missions).
MSC Deputy Director George M. Low issued a memorandum regarding differences in the Apollo schedule as made public in an Associated Press release with a Houston, Texas, dateline. Low cited the following statement by George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, and said it "represents our official and only position on Apollo schedules:
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At the request of Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, ASPO reexamined the performance requirements for spacecraft slated for launch with Saturn IBs. MSC currently assessed that the launch vehicle was able to put 16,102 kg (35,500 lbs) into a circular orbit 105 nm above the earth. Based on the spacecraft control weights, however, it appeared that the total injected weight of the modules would exceed this amount by some 395 kg (870 lbs). Additional Details: Requirements for Apollo spacecraft launched by Saturn IB assessed.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips forecast "heavy ground testing" for Apollo during 1965. The coming months, he said, should see the completion of testing on the first Apollo spacecraft intended for manned space flight, as well as flight qualification of the Saturn IB and initial testing of the Saturn V launch vehicles.
Pacific Crane and Rigging Company received a NASA contract, worth $8.3 million, to install ground equipment at Kennedy Space Center's Saturn V facility, Launch Complex 39. On the following day, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $2,179,000 contract to R. E. Carlson Corporation, St. Petersburg, Fla., to modify Launch Complex 34 to handle the Saturn IB.
The Apollo-Saturn Crew Safety Panel decided on a number of emergency detection system (EDS) and abort procedures for the early Apollo flights:
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea clarified the manned unmanned capabilities required of Block I CSM spacecraft to ensure that end-item specifications appropriately reflect those capabilities.
CSMs 017 and 020 would fly unmanned entry tests on the Saturn V and need not be capable of manned missions. CSMs 012 and 014 were to be delivered to KSC for manned orbital missions on the Saturn IB but must be capable of being modified to fly unmanned missions.
The planning for CSM 012 should be such that the mission type could be selected 5½ months prior to the scheduled launch of the 204 mission, yet not delay the launch.
The first stage of the Saturn IB booster (the S-IB-1) underwent its first static firing at Huntsville, Alabama. The stage's eight uprated H-1 engines produced about 71,168-kilonewtons (1.6 million lbs) thrust. On April 23, Marshall and Rocketdyne announced that the uprated H-1 had passed qualification testing and was ready for flight.
MSFC informed MSC that the thrust of the H-1 engine was being uprated to 1,000 kilonewtons (205,000 lbs), thus increasing the Saturn IB's payload capability.
Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, issued the mission directive for Apollo-Saturn 201. The mission would flight-test the Saturn IB and the Apollo CSM.
The question of whether a data tape recorder would be installed on LEM-1 had been discussed at several Apollo 206 Mission Operations Plan meetings and there was a strong possibility it would not be installed.
In a memorandum to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea, Assistant Director for Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., pointed out that his Directorate had responsibility to ASPO of insuring "that all possible test objectives are accomplished. This is done not only by real-time conduct of the mission, but also through considerable premission planning which integrates the desired profile with the Manned Space Flight Network. The underlying purpose of all these operations activities is the accumulation of data, which for unmanned, nonrecoverable spacecraft such as LEM-1 can only be provided through the use of RE telemetry. The FOD (Flight Operations Directorate) does not believe the Apollo 206A Mission Objectives can be assured of being accomplished without the addition of a data tape recorder and associated playback transmitter. . . ."
Kraft said the tradeoff of weight and cost of a data recorder and dump transmitter versus possible loss of data for primary mission objectives, considering the cost of a Saturn IB launch vehicle, a fully functional LEM spacecraft, and the ground support required, seemed inequitable. He recommended that a data tape recorder and associated playback transmitter be installed on LEM-1 (and 2) to ensure that test objectives were achieved.
Independent studies were made at MSC and North American to determine effects and impact of off-loading certain Block II service propulsion system components for Saturn IB missions. The contractor was requested to determine the weight change involved and schedule and cost impact of removing one oxidizer tank, one fuel tank, one helium tank and all associated hardware (fuel and oxidizer transfer lines, propellant quantity sensors and certain gaging wire harnesses) from CSM 101 and CSM 103. The MSC study was oriented toward determining technical problems associated with such a change and the effects on spacecraft operational requirements. The North American study indicated that removing the equipment would save about 690 000, along with a weight reduction of approximately 454 kg (1,000 lbs). Additional Details: Reduced Apollo Block II service propulsion system for Saturn IB missions.
Officials from Bellcomm, MSFC, and the Apollo offices in Houston and in Washington planned primary and alternate missions for the Saturn IB (applicable to SA-201 through SA-208). On July 16, the Office of Manned Space Flight specified launch vehicles (both Saturn IB and V hardware) for Apollo missions.
|Saturn 1B rad|
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North American reported to MSC that no structural changes to the spacecraft would be required for uprating the thrust of the Saturn IB's H-1 engine from 90,718 to 92,986 kg (200,000 to 205,000 lbs). Effects on the performance of the launch escape vehicle would be negligible.
During the preceding six months, officials in ASPO and the Engineering and Development Directorate evaluated the performance of the launch escape vehicle (LEV) during aborts on and near the launch pad. That performance, they had determined, was inadequate. To solve this problem, MSC ordered North American to incorporate a number of design changes in both the LEV and the spacecraft:
Two Saturn milestones occurred on the same day. At Santa Susana, Calif., North American conducted the first full-duration captive firing of an S-II, second stage of the Saturn V. And at Sacramento, Douglas static-tested the first flight-model S-IVB, second stage for the Saturn IB. This latter marked the first time that a complete static test (encompassing vehicle checkout, loading, and firing) had been controlled entirely by computers.
To aid in defining abort limits for the emergency detection system, MSC authorized North American to determine the ultimate strength of the spacecraft based on failure trajectories of the Saturn IB and Saturn V vehicles.
Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, notified the Center directors and Apollo program managers in Houston, Huntsville, and Cape Kennedy that OMSF's launch schedule for Apollo-Saturn IB flights had been revised, based on delivery of CSMs 009 and 011:
John H. Disher, Saturn/Apollo Applications Deputy Director, requested the Manned Space Flight Management Operations Director to officially change the designation of the Saturn IB/Centaur Office to Saturn Applications. This change, Disher said, reflected the change in status of the office and provided for necessary management of potential Saturn Applications such as the Saturn V/Voyager by the Office of Manned Space Flight. However, on the same day, Disher ordered E. F. O'Connor at MSFC to halt all Saturn IB/Centaur efforts (except those already underway that could not be recalled) and disapproved the request for an additional $1.1 million for the program. (Any funds required for definition of a Saturn V/Voyager mission, he said, would be authorized separately.)
A decision made at a Program Management Review eliminated the requirement for a land impact program for the CM to support Block I flights. Post-abort CM land impact for Saturn IB launches had been eliminated from Complex 37 by changes to the sequence timers in the launch escape system abort mode. The Certification Test Specification and related Certification Test Requirements would reflect the new Block II land impact requirements.
MSFC issued requests for proposals to the aerospace industry for definition studies of integrating experiment hardware into AAP space vehicles-i.e., payload integration in the Apollo lunar module, the Saturn instrument unit, and the S-IVB stage of the Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles. Following evaluation of the proposals, MSFC would select two or more firms for negotiation of nine-month study contracts to be managed by Huntsville as the Center responsible for payload integration of this portion of AAP. (MSC was responsible for payload integration of the Apollo CSM.)
Apollo-Saturn 201 was launched from Cape Kennedy, with liftoff of an Apollo Block I spacecraft (CSM 009) on a Saturn IB launch vehicle at 11:12:01 EST. Launched from Launch Complex 34, the unmanned suborbital mission was the first flight test of the Saturn IB and an Apollo spacecraft. Total launch weight was 22,000 kilograms.
Spacecraft communications blackout lasted 1 minute 22 seconds. Reentry was initiated with a space-fixed velocity of 29,000 kilometers per hour. CM structure and heatshields performed adequately. The CM was recovered by the USS Boxer from the Atlantic about 72 kilometers uprange from the planned landing point. (8.18 S x 11.15 W).
A memo to KSC, MSC, and MSFC from the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight reported that the NASA Project Designation Committee had concurred in changes in Saturn/Apollo nomenclature recommended by Robert C. Seamans, Jr., George E. Mueller, and Julian Scheer:
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.
|Saturn 1B LC34|
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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.
Propellant tanks of service module 017 failed during a pressure test at North American Aviation, Downey, Calif. The planned test included several pressure cycles followed by a 48-hour test of the tanks at the maximum operating pressure of 165 newtons per square centimeter (240 pounds per square inch). Normal operating pressure was 120 newtons per square centimeter (175 pounds per square inch). After 1 hour 40 minutes at 165 newtons the failure occurred.
SM 017 (designed for SA-501) had been pulled for this test after cracks had been detected in the tanks of SM 101. SM 017 had been previously proof-tested a short time (a matter of minutes) at 220 newtons per square centimeter (320 pounds per square inch).
A team was set up at North American Aviation to look into the failure and its possible impact on the Saturn IB and Saturn V Apollo missions. MSC had two observers on the team, which was to make its findings and recommendations available by November 4.
North American Aviation identified the problem as stress-corrosion cracking resulting from use of methanol as a test liquid at pressures causing above threshold stresses. No tanks subjected to methanol at high stress levels would be used. Freon and isopropyl alcohol, respectively, were recommended for test fluids in the oxidizer and fuel systems, with the stipulation that the equipment had not previously seen propellant and would receive a hot gaseous nitrogen purge after completion of the cold flow operation.
Maurice J. Raffensperger, Earth Orbital Mission Studies Director in NASA Hq, spelled out revised criteria for design of a one-year Workshop in space (criteria to be incorporated by MSFC and MSC planners into their proposed configurations). Maurice J. Raffensperger, Earth Orbital Mission Studies Director in NASA Hq, spelled out revised criteria for design of a one-year Workshop in space (criteria to be incorporated by MSFC and MSC planners into their proposed configurations): This 'interim space station' should be ready for launch in January 1971. The design had to be a minimum-cost structure capable of a two-year survival in low Earth orbit. (Raffensperger speculated that a 'dry-launched' S-IVB stage could be employed without major structural changes.) Initial vehicle subsystems were to consist of flight-qualified Apollo and Manned Orbiting Laboratory hardware capable of one-year operation. Operation of the station during the second year was to be accomplished by means of a long- duration 'developmental systems' module that would be attached to the original space station structure (and would be developed separately as part of the long-duration space station program). Initial launch of the station would be with a Saturn V (and include CSM). This interim space station must be suited for operation in either zero-g or with artificial gravity (using the 'simplest, least expensive' approach). Cost of the hardware must not exceed $200 million (excluding launch vehicle and the long-duration subsystems module). Cargo resupply and crew changes were to be carried out using Apollo Applications- modified CSMs (limited to three Saturn IBs per year).
Six months later, a LM/ATM launch would follow a second manned flight. The LM/ATM would rendezvous and dock to the cluster. The first Workshop launch was scheduled for June 1968. As opposed to the habitable OWS and cluster concept which projected a much more complex program, the S-IVB SSESM had been a comparatively simple mission requiring no rendezvous and docking and no habitation equipment. A major similarity between the old S-IVB/SSESM concept and the cluster concept was use of the S-IVB stage to put the payload into orbit before passivation and pressurization of the stage's hydrogen tanks. The new cluster concept embodied the major step of making the Saturn IVB habitable in orbit, incorporating a two-gas atmosphere (oxygen and nitrogen) and a 'shirt- sleeve' environment. The OWS would contain crew quarters in the S IVB hydrogen tank (two floors and walls installed on the ground), which would be modified by Douglas Aircraft Company under MSFC management; an airlock module (previously called the SSESM) attached to the OWS, which would be built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation under MSC management; and a multiple docking adapter (MDA), which would contain five docking ports permitting up to five modules to be docked to the Workshop at any one time. The MDA would also house most OWS astronaut habitability equipment and many experiments. The schedule called for 22 Saturn IB and 15 Saturn V launches. Two of the Saturn IBs would be launched a day apart-one manned, the other unmanned. Flights utilizing two Saturn V Workshops and four LM ATM missions were also scheduled.
The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM, the Apollo C category mission, was planned for the last quarter of 1966. Numerous problems with the Apollo Block I spacecraft resulted in a flight delay to February 1967. The crew of Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee, was killed in a fire while testing their capsule on the pad on 27 January 1967, still weeks away from launch. The designation AS-204 was used by NASA for the flight at the time; the designation Apollo 1 was applied retroactively at the request of Grissom's widow. Additional Details: Apollo 204.
Fire sweeping through command module 012 atop its Saturn IB launch vehicle at Launch Complex 34, KSC, took the lives of the three-man crew scheduled for the first manned Apollo space flight.
ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea sent a flash report to NASA Hq.: "During a simulated countdown for mission AS-204 on January 27, 1967, an accident occurred in CM 012. This was a manned test with the prime astronaut crew on board. A fire occurred inside the command module resulting in the death of the three astronauts and as yet undetermined damage to the command and service modules." The launch had been scheduled for February 21.
The Director, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, was alerted during late evening and informed that the accident had taken the lives of astronauts Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee.
Later that evening a request for autopsy support was received and three pathologists and a medical photographer were sent to Cape Kennedy on an Air Force aircraft. Team members were Col. Edward H. Johnston, USA; Cdr. Charles J. Stahl, USN; Capt. Latimer E. Dunn, USAF; and T/Sgt Larry N. Hale, USAF.
The postmortem examinations began at 11 a.m. January 28 at the USAF Bioastronautic Operational Support Unit and were completed at 1 a.m. the following day.
|Saturn 1B LC39|
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NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., reported to Administrator James E. Webb on progress of the Apollo 204 Review Board investigation of the January 27 spacecraft fire. Specific cause of the fire had not been determined from the preliminary review. Official death certificates for the three crew members listed cause of death as "asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation due to the fire." Webb released the report to Congress and the press.
Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller announced that the unmanned flights AS-206 (on uprated Saturn I) an AS-501 and AS-502 (first and second Saturn V launches) would proceed as scheduled in 1967. Manned flights were postponed indefinitely.
NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., informed Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller that, in view of the interim nature of schedule outlook for manned uprated Saturn I and Saturn V missions, he had decided to show these missions as "Under Study" in the Official NASA Flight Schedule for February 1967. As soon as firm approved dates for the missions were available the schedule would be updated. He said that all participants in the Apollo program should be advised that - except for unmanned missions 206, 501, and 502 - official agency schedule commitments had not been made and certainly could not be quoted until management assessments of the program had been completed and schedules approved by the Office of the Administrator.
NASA Hq. Office of Manned Space Flight informed KSC, MSFC, and MSC of approved designations for Apollo and Apollo Applications missions:
Spacecraft delivery date and ground rule discussions were summarized by MSC ASPO Manager George M. Low in a letter to North American Aviation's Apollo Program Manager Dale D. Myers. Low referred to an April 23 letter from Myers and April 25 talks at Downey, Calif.
Basic was "an MSC ground rule that the first manned flight should be an open-ended mission; and that 2TV-1 (a test spacecraft) would be a constraint on that mission. I also stated that I would like to achieve a delivery date for Spacecraft 101 that is no later than November, 1967, and that all constraining tests on 2TV-1 should be completed one month before the flight of 101. I further stated that the proposed delivery dates for Spacecraft 103 and subsequent spacecraft were not good enough and that we should strive to achieve earlier dates.
"In summary, we did not agree with the basic ground rules stated in your April 23, 1967, letter. These ground rules essentially implied that 101 was to be limited to a six-orbit mission, and to be delivered as early as possible at the expense of all other spacecraft. Instead, we stated that it is NASA's position to achieve a balanced program involving the earliest possible deliveries when all spacecraft are considered and not just the first one."
A further exchange of letters May 8 and 16 reached agreement on target delivery dates and ground rules. Testing of thermal vacuum test vehicle 2TV-1 would be as originally planned except that extravehicular activities would not be included in tests constraining CSM 101. Delivery date was to be October 14. CSM 101 was to be delivered December 8 and would be launched on a Saturn IB to verify system performance. The mission was to be open-ended, up to 10 days, with no LM and no docking or EVA provisions included. New delivery date for CSM 103 was March 23, 1968.
Because of the Apollo 204 accident in January and the resulting program delays, NASA realigned its Apollo and AAP launch schedules. The new AAP schedule called for 25 Saturn IB and 14 Saturn V launches. Major hardware for these launches would be two Workshops flown on Saturn IB vehicles, two Saturn V Workshops, and three ATMs. Under this new schedule, the first Workshop launch would come in January 1969.
H. G. Paul, Chief of Marshal Space Flight Center's Propulsion Division, said it had come to the attention of his office that spacecraft/S-IVB rendezvous to within approximately 100 meters was being considered for the AS-205 mission. The division's position was that, unless the S-IVB stage were made passive, the division could not guarantee the stage would be in a safe condition. After the lifetime of a nonpassivated stage, it was possible that indiscriminant propellant-tank or bottle venting could cause the stage to tumble, thus permitting liquid to enter the propellant-tank vent lines. Another area of concern was the high-pressure bottles on the stage. Should a relief valve fail to function normally, a bottle rupture could result. The Propulsion Division therefore recommended that no rendezvous mission be planned with S-IVB stages of either Saturn IB or Saturn V launch vehicles after the guaranteed lifetime of the stage, unless that stage had been passivated.
Before the Apollo 1 fire, it was planned that McDivitt's crew would conduct the Apollo D mission - a first manned test in earth orbit of the Lunar Module. Separate Saturn IB launches would put Apollo Block II CSM 101 / AS-207 and Lunar Module LM-2 / AS-208 into earth orbit. The crew would then rendezvous and dock with the lunar module and put it through its paces. After the fire, it was decided to launch the mission on a single Saturn V as Apollo 9. CSM-101 instead would be used to accomplish the Apollo C mission that Grissom's crew was to have flown.
When Schirra's Apollo 2 / AS-205 mission was cancelled in November 1966, the booster went to McDivitt's mission, and it was called AS (or Apollo) 205/208, or AS-258 (before Schirra's cancellation, McDivitt's was AS-278, because it used Saturn IB boosters 207 and 208).
Before fire, planned in-orbit test of LM. CSM-101 would dock with and crew would maneuver together.
MSC proposed to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight a sequence of missions leading to a lunar landing mission. The sequence included the following basic missions:
|Saturn 1B with LM - Saturn 1B with LM Payload|
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NASA Hq issued a revised AAP schedule incorporating recent budgetary cutbacks. The schedule reflected the reduction of AAP lunar activity to four missions and of Saturn V Workshop activity to 17 Saturn IB and 7 Saturn V launches. There would be two Workshops launched on Saturn IBs, one Saturn V Workshop, and three ATMs. Launch of the first Workshop was scheduled for March 1970.
NASA announced an Apollo mission schedule calling for six flights in 1968 and five in 1969. NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller said the schedule and alternative plans provided a schedule under which a limited number of Apollo command and service modules and lunar landing modules, configured for lunar landing might be launched on test flights toward the moon by the end of the decade. Apollo/uprated Saturn I flights were identified with a 200 series number; Saturn V flights were identified with a 500 series number. Additional Details: Apollo mission schedule for six flights in 1968 and five in 1969.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb approved the designation "Saturn IB" as the standard way of referring to that launch vehicle in public statements, congressional testimony, and similar materials, rather than "Uprated Saturn I."
NASA budgetary restraints required an additional cut in AAP launches. The reduced program called for three Saturn IB and three Saturn V launches, including one Workshop launched on a Saturn IB, one Saturn V Workshop, and one ATM. Two lunar missions were planned. Launch of the first Workshop would be in April 1970.
NASA launched Apollo 5 - the first, unmanned LM flight - on a Saturn IB from KSC Launch Complex 37B at 5:48:08 p.m. EST. Mission objectives included verifying operation of the LM structure itself and its two primary propulsion systems, to evaluate LM staging, and to evaluate orbital performances of the S-IVB stage and instrument unit. Flight of the AS-204 launch vehicle went as planned, with nosecone (replacing the CSM) jettisoned and LM separating. Flight of LM-1 also went as planned up to the first descent propulsion engine firing. Because velocity increase did not build up as quickly as predicted, the LM guidance system shut the engine down after only four seconds of operation, boosting the LM only to a 171 x 222 km orbit. Mission control personnel in Houston and supporting groups quickly analyzed the problem. They determined that the difficulty was one of guidance software only (and not a fault in hardware design) and pursued an alternate mission plan that ensured meeting the minimum requirements necessary to achieve the primary objectives of the mission. The ascent stage separated and boosted itself into a 172 x 961 km orbit. After mission completion at 2:45 a.m. EST January 23, LM stages were left in orbit to reenter the atmosphere later and disintegrate. Apollo program directors attributed success of the mission to careful preplanning of alternate ways to accomplish flight objectives in the face of unforeseen events.
Ascent stage; decayed 1/24/68.
Nomenclature for the OWS included in the AAP presented in the FY 1969 budget was confirmed by NASA. The ground-outfitted OWS to be launched with Saturn V would be designated the 'Saturn V Workshop.' (This had sometimes been called the 'dry Workshop.') The OWS that would be launched by a Saturn IB would be referred to as the 'Saturn I Workshop.' (Colloquially it had been referred to as the 'wet workshop.') Terminology 'Uprated Saturn I' would not be used officially. This launch vehicle would be referred to as the 'Saturn IB.'
NASA released a new AAP launch readiness and delivery schedule. The schedule decreased the number of Saturn flights to 11 Saturn IB flights and one Saturn V flight. It called for three Workshops. One of the Workshops would be launched by a Saturn IB, and another would serve as a backup. The third Workshop would be launched by a Saturn V. The schedule also included one ATM. Launch of the first Workshop would be in November 1970. Lunar missions were no longer planned in the AAP.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips wrote to his two principal counterparts at MSFC and MSC, Lee B. James and George M. Low, to express his concern that the launch-release wind constraint for the Saturn IB, currently 45 kilometers, was perhaps the most restrictive of all such constraints. Phillips emphasized his need for a complete understanding of all tradeoffs associated with this figure, to allow a real-time estimate of the requirement to hold. He asked James and Low to summarize for him several such tradeoffs before the Apollo 7 flight readiness review: wind versus safety, velocity versus direction, and conservative assumption versus technical accuracy. Also, he asked for criticality and failure mode for each of the above tradeoffs to allow a technical evaluation of increasing the 45-kilometer constraint. At the same time, he asked that a similar effort be initiated for the Saturn V.
Their joint recommendations included a phasedown on contractor activity following the AS 205 launch; deactivation of Launch Complexes 34 and 37 to allow maximum storage of equipment and minimum maintenance on items remaining in place; and continuance of KSC analysis of manpower required to support the AAP dual launch requirement, with contractor participation at the earliest date.
NASA Apollo Mission Director William C. Schneider reported completion of all action items pertinent to Apollo 7 assigned by Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips as a result of recommendations by the Apollo Crew Safety Review Board on May 27, 1968. Additional Details: All changes to Apollo 7 as a result of Apollo 1 fire completed.
Apollo 7 (AS-205), the first manned Apollo flight, lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy Oct. 11, carrying Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham. The countdown had proceeded smoothly, with only a slight delay because of additional time required to chill the hydrogen system in the S-IVB stage of the Saturn launch vehicle. Liftoff came at 11:03 a.m. EDT. Shortly after insertion into orbit, the S-IVB stage separated from the CSM, and Schirra and his crew performed a simulated docking with the S-IVB stage, maneuvering to within 1.2 meters of the rocket. Although spacecraft separation was normal, the crew reported that one adapter panel had not fully deployed. Two burns using the reaction control system separated the spacecraft and launch stage and set the stage for an orbital rendezvous maneuver, which the crew made on the second day of the flight, using the service propulsion engine.
Crew and spacecraft performed well throughout the mission. During eight burns of the service propulsion system during the flight, the engine functioned normally. October 14, third day of the mission, witnessed the first live television broadcast from a manned American spacecraft. The SPS engine was used to deorbit after 259 hours 39 minutes of flight. CM-SM separation and operation of the earth landing system were normal, and the spacecraft splashed down about 13 kilometers from the recovery ship (27.32 N 64.04 W), the U.S.S. Essex, at 7:11 a.m. EDT October 22. Although the vehicle initially settled in an apex-down ("stable 2") attitude, upright bags functioned normally and returned the CSM to an upright position in the water. Schirra, Eisele, and Cunningham were quickly picked up by a recovery helicopter and were safe aboard the recovery vessel less than an hour after splashdown.
All primary Apollo 7 mission objectives were met, as well as every detailed test objective (and three test objectives not originally planned). Engineering firsts from Apollo 7, aside from live television from space, included drinking water for the crew produced as a by-product of the fuel cells. Piloting and navigation accomplishments included an optical rendezvous, daylight platform realignment, and orbital determination via sextant tracking of another vehicle. All spacecraft systems performed satisfactorily. Minor anomalies were countered by backup systems or changes in procedures. With successful completion of the Apollo 7 mission, which proved out the design of the Block II CSM (CSM 101), NASA and the nation had taken the first step on the pathway to the moon.
Although the systems worked, the crew became grumpy with head colds and talked back to the ground. As a result, NASA management determined that none of them would fly again. Additional Details: Apollo 7.
Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips ordered that the Saturn IB program be placed in a standby status pending any future requirements for Apollo or the Apollo Applications program. Phillips' action signaled the shift in Apollo to the Saturn V vehicle, effective with AS-503.
This transfer of management responsibility included Saturn IB launch vehicles SA-206 through SA-212 and Saturn IB unique spares and unique facilities. The Apollo program would continue to fund the Saturn IB effort through FY 1969, except for that effort unique to AAP. Beginning in FY 1970, the Saturn IB funding would be an AAP responsibility. This transfer of responsibilities placed management of the Saturn IB project under control of the program that would use it and relieved Apollo management of some responsibilities, allowing more time for concentration on the mainline Apollo program.
Gilruth and Von Braun support decision to fly a complete integrated solution on a single Saturn V launch. Additional Details: Saturn V "dry" Workshop decision..
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..
The new schedule called for seven Saturn IB and two Saturn V launches, with flight of the first Workshop slated for July 1972.
They were incorporating the recommendation into the latest program operating plan proposals. If the recommendation were accepted, LC-34 would be partially deactivated and placed in a 'down- mode' condition.
Program responsibility for the Saturn launch vehicles was divided, at the Headquarters level, between the Apollo Program Office and the Apollo Applications Program. Overall responsibility for the Saturn V remained with the Apollo Program Office, while overall responsibility for the Saturn IB vehicle was assigned to Apollo Applications.
Major facilities and equipment needed to convert LC-39 to an elevated pedestal configuration were studied, as well as estimated cost figures, program schedules, and interrelationships with other NASA programs. The study indicated that use of the elevated pedestal concept in LC-39 appeared technically and operationally feasible. However, because of the close operational coupling of the Apollo and AAP if this concept were implemented, it was decided to defer further consideration of this concept.
KSC Director Kurt H. Debus announced that LC-34 would be used for Saturn IB-related AAP manned launches (scheduled to begin in mid-1972), while LC-37 would be placed in a semi- deactivated 'minimum maintenance' condition. Thomas W. Morgan, AAP Manager of the Florida Center, said that design of modifications to LC-34 to meet the needs of AAP would begin on 1 January 1970, while the modifications to the pad itself would begin around the end of the summer. The current estimate for the cost of modifying the complex and bringing it to a state of readiness was about $3.7 million.
Previous plans were to conduct the Saturn IB launches from LC-34, a part of the U.S. Air Force Eastern Test Range used by NASA, a tenant at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. However, program studies showed the feasibility of the pedestal concept of launching the Saturn IB from LC-39 and indicated a cost savings of $13.5 million. The pedestal would be of standard steel structural design; however, there were unique conditions considered. One of these was the requirement to withstand engine exhaust temperatures of 3000 K (5000°F). Another dealt with winds. The pedestal was designed to launch an S-IB at maximum vehicle allowed winds (59.4 km) and to withstand a 200-km per hr hurricane without the launch vehicle. Launch Complex 34, which became operational in 1961, was placed in a standby condition after the Apollo 7 flight in October 1968. It would have required extensive updating of equipment and repairs to ready it for the Skylab Program.
KSC awarded a contract to Reynolds, Smith, and Hills of Jacksonville, Florida, for architectural and engineering services in modification plans for adapting existing Saturn V facilities at Launch Complex 39 to launch Saturn IB space vehicles. A launcher-umbilical tower would require a major modification, and minor modification would be required in the service platforms of the Vehicle Assembly Building, where space vehicles were assembled and checked out before being moved to the launch pad. The firm, fixed-price contract had a performance period of 200 days, with work to be performed at the Center and in Jacksonville.
MSFC issued a modification to an existing contract with McDonnell Douglas for Skylab Program work. The modification would pay for the conversion of the original OWS to be launched by a Saturn IB booster to a completely outfitted Workshop to be launched by a Saturn V. Originally the plan was to launch the second stage (S IVB) of a Saturn IB into Earth orbit. The S-IVB would be filled with fuel so that it could propel itself into orbit. Astronauts launched by a second Saturn IB would then rendezvous with the empty stage and convert it into living and working quarters. A decision was made 21 May 1969 to outfit an S-IVB on the ground and launch it ready for use on a Saturn V.
The 38.7-m-tall pedestal adapted to an existing launcher-umbilical tower so that manned Saturn IB space vehicles could be launched from facilities supporting the larger Saturn V rockets. Holloway contracted to construct the launcher- pedestal in 180 days after receiving notice to proceed.
The modification would extend IBM's delivery schedule for IUs through 31 December 1973, to be compatible with the extended Apollo and Skylab Program launch schedules. IBM was under NASA contract to build 27 IUs for Saturn vehicles: 12 Saturn IBs and 15 Saturn Vs. Ten of the Saturn IB units and 12 Saturn V units had been completed. All work was being done at the company's facilities in Huntsville. The original IU contract had been granted to IBM in March 1965 for the fabrication, assembly, checkout, and delivery of the 27 units and related support functions.
Although use of Launch Complex 37 for Space Shuttle engine testing had been considered, other options were chosen, and the complexes were to be removed from NASA operational facilities inventory.
Chrysler was the prime contractor for the first stage of the Saturn IB, which was assembled at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Under the current modification, the company would maintain nine Saturn IB boosters in storage. Three of the nine vehicles were for the Skylab Program and would be launched in 1973. Those three, plus a fourth that would serve as a backup, would be maintained and modified as necessary under terms of this contract. Prelaunch checkout of the Skylab vehicles would also be accomplished under this modification. The period of performance was from 1 January 1971 to 15 August 1973. Six of the vehicles were located at the Michoud Facility; the other three were at MSFC in Huntsville.
The contract extension would run through 31 January 1974. The additional work was to refurbish four S-IB booster stages that would be used in the Skylab Program in 1973. The fourth vehicle (SA-209) would be assigned as a backup. All four stages had been in storage for several years. The major portion of the work would be removing the stages from storage, preparing them for delivery to KSC, and providing launch support to them throughout the Skylab launch readiness period, which would end in early 1974. Most of the work would be done at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, but some work would be done at MSFC.
The SL-2 space vehicle consisted of the following major components: an S-IB (the first stage); an S-IVB (the second stage, which comprised the propulsion stages); an IU; a CSM; and an SLA. Additional Details: The Skylab 2 spacecraft, mated to its launch vehicle, was transferred 27 February from the KSC Vehicle Assembly- Building to Launch Complex 39B in preparation for launch..
Epic repair mission which brought Skylab into working order. Included such great moments as Conrad being flung through space by the whiplash after heaving on the solar wing just as the debris constraining it gave way; deployment of a lightweight solar shield, developed in Houston in one week, which brought the temperatures down to tolerable levels. With this flight US again took manned spaceflight duration record.
Skylab 2 , consisting of a modified Apollo CSM payload and a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into Earth orbit approximately 10 minutes after liftoff. The orbit achieved was 357 by 156 km and, during a six-hour period following insertion, four maneuvers placed the CSM into a 424 by 415 km orbit for rendezvous with the Orbital Workshop. Normal rendezvous sequencing led to stationkeeping during the fifth revolution followed by a flyaround inspection of the damage to the OWS. The crew provided a verbal description of the damage in conjunction with 15 minutes of television coverage. The solar array system wing (beam) 2 was completely missing. The solar array system wing (beam) 1 was slightly deployed and was restrained by a fragment of the meteoroid shield. Large sections of the meteoroid shield were missing. Following the flyaround inspection, the CSM soft-docked with the OWS at 5:56 p.m. EDT to plan the next activities. At 6:45 p.m. EDT the CSM undocked and extravehicular activity was initiated to deploy the beam 1 solar array. The attempt failed. Frustration of the crew was compounded when eight attempts were required to achieve hard docking with the OWS. The hard dock was made at 11:50 p.m. EDT, terminating a Skylab 2 first-day crew work period of 22 hours. Additional Details: Skylab 2.
The Skylab 3 space vehicle was moved to KSC Launch Complex 39, Pad B, on 11 June in preparation for launch. The space vehicle consisted of a Saturn IB launch vehicle S-IB-207 first stage, S-IVB-207 second stage, and a S-IU-208 instrument unit; a CSM; and a spacecraft lunar module adapter. Additional Details: Skylab 3 space vehicle was moved to pad..
Continued maintenance of the Skylab space station and extensive scientific and medical experiments. Installed twinpole solar shield on EVA; performed major inflight maintenance; doubled record for length of time in space. Completed 858 Earth orbits and 1,081 hours of solar and Earth experiments; three EVAs totalled 13 hours, 43 minutes.
The space vehicle, consisting of a modified Apollo command and service module payload on a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into a 231.3 by 154.7 km orbit. Rendezvous maneuvers were performed during the first five orbits as planned. During the rendezvous, the CSM reaction control system forward firing engine oxidizer valve leaked. The quad was isolated. Station-keeping with the Saturn Workshop began approximately 8 hours after liftoff, with docking being performed about 30 minutes later. Additional Details: Skylab 3.
Guidelines were issued by NASA Hq for release, disposition, and storage of all unneeded Skylab Program equipment. Two Saturn Vs, two Saturn IBs, three command and service modules, the backup Skylab cluster, and appropriate spares would be placed in minimum cost storage as soon as program requirements permitted.
Final Skylab mission; included observation and photography of Comet Kohoutek among numerous experiments. Completed 1,214 Earth orbits and four EVAs totalling 22 hours, 13 minutes. Increased manned space flight time record by 50%. Rebellion by crew against NASA Ground Control overtasking led to none of the crew ever flying again. Biological experiments included two Mummichog fish (Fundulus heteroclitus).
The space vehicle consisted of a modified Apollo CSM and a Saturn IB launch vehicle. All launch phase events were normal, and the CSM was inserted into a 150.1- by 227.08-km orbit. The rendezvous sequence was performed according to the anticipated timeline. Stationkeeping was initiated about seven and one-half hours after liftoff, and hard docking was achieved about 30 minutes later following two unsuccessful docking attempts. Planned duration of the mission was 56 days, with the option of extending it to a maximum of 84 days. Additional Details: Skylab 4.
Upon completion of this action, Headquarters responsibility for the SA-209 and CSM-119 would be transferred to the Program Director of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program.
MSFC published a summary of Skylab operations. Additional Details: Summary of Skylab operations..
NASA realized that after the completion of the Apollo, Skylab, and ASTP programs there would still be significant Apollo surplus hardware. This amounted to two Saturn V and three Saturn IB boosters; one Skylab space station, three Apollo CSM's and two Lunar Modules. After many iterations NASA considered use of these assets for a second Skylab station in May 1973. A range of options were considered. Saturn V SA-515 would boost the backup Skylab station into orbit somewhere between January 1975 and April 1976. It would serve as a space station for Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft in the context of the Apollo ASTP mission. The Advanced or International Skylab variants proposed use of Saturn V SA-514 to launch a second workshop module and international payloads. This station would be serviced first by Apollo and Soyuz, then by the space shuttle. Using the existing hardware, these options would cost anywhere from $ 220 to $ 650 million. But funds were not forthcoming. The decision was taken to mothball surplus hardware in August 1973. In December 1976, the boosters and spacecraft were handed over to museums. The opportunity to launch an International Space Station, at a tenth of the cost and twenty years earlier, was lost.
This flight marked the culmination of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a post-moon race 'goodwill' flight to test a common docking system for space rescue. 15 July 1975 began with the flawless launch of Soyuz 19. Apollo followed right on schedule. Despite a stowaway - a 'super Florida mosquito' - the crew accomplished a series of rendezvous manoeuvres over the next day resulting in rendezvous with Soyuz 19. At 11:10 on 17 July the two spacecraft docked. The crew members rotated between the two spacecraft and conducted various mainly ceremonial activities. Stafford spent 7 hours, 10 minutes aboard Soyuz, Brand 6:30, and Slayton 1:35. Leonov was on the American side for 5 hours, 43 minutes, while Kubasov spent 4:57 in the command and docking modules.
After being docked for nearly 44 hours, Apollo and Soyuz parted for the first time and were station-keeping at a range of 50 meters. The Apollo crew placed its craft between Soyuz and the sun so that the diameter of the service module formed a disk which blocked out the sun. This artificial solar eclipse, as viewed from Soyuz, permitted photography of the solar corona. After this experiment Apollo moved towards Soyuz for the second docking.
Three hours later Apollo and Soyuz undocked for the second and final time. The spacecraft moved to a 40 m station-keeping distance so that the ultraviolet absorption (UVA MA-059) experiment could be performed. This was an effort to more precisely determine the quantities of atomic oxygen and atomic nitrogen existing at such altitudes. Apollo, flying out of plane around Soyuz, projected monochromatic laser-like beams of light to retro-reflectors mounted on Soyuz. On the 150-meter phase of the experiment, light from a Soyuz port led to a misalignment of the spectrometer, but on the 500-meter pass excellent data were received; on the 1,000-meter pass satisfactory results were also obtained.
With all the joint flight activities completed, the ships went on their separate ways. On 20 July the Apollo crew conducted earth observation, experiments in the multipurpose furnace (MA-010), extreme ultraviolet surveying (MA-083), crystal growth (MA-085), and helium glow (MA-088). On 21 July Soyuz 19 landed safely in Kazakhstan. Apollo continued in orbit on 22-23 July to conduct 23 independent experiments - including a doppler tracking experiment (MA-089) and geodynamics experiment (MA-128) designed to verify which of two techniques would be best suited for studying plate tectonics from earth orbit.
After donning their space suits, the crew vented the command module tunnel and jettisoned the docking module. The docking module would continue on its way until it re-entered the earth's atmosphere and burned up in August 1975. Apollo splashed down about 7,300 meters from the recovery ship New Orleans. However the flight of the last Apollo spacecraft was marred by the fact that the crew almost perished while the capsule was descending under its parachute.
A failure in switchology led the automatic landing sequence to be not armed at the same time the reaction control system was still active. When the Apollo hadn't begun the parachute deployment sequence by 7,000 metres altitude, Brand hit the manual switches for the apex cover and the drogues. The manual deployment of the drogue chutes caused the CM to sway, and the reaction control system thrusters worked vigorously to counteract that motion. When the crew finally armed the automatic ELS 30 seconds later, the thruster action terminated.
During that 30 seconds, the cabin was flooded with a mixture of toxic unignited propellants from the thrusters. Prior to drogue deployment, the cabin pressure relief valve had opened automatically, and in addition to drawing in fresh air it also brought in unwanted gases being expelled from the roll thrusters located about 0.6 meter from the relief valve. Brand manually deployed the main parachutes at about 2,700 meters despite the gas fumes in the cabin.
By the time of splashdown, the crew was nearly unconscious from the fumes, Stafford managed to get an oxygen mask over Brand's face. He then began to come around. When the command module was upright in the water, Stafford opened the vent valve, and with the in-rush of air the remaining fumes disappeared. The crew ended up with a two-week hospital stay in Honolulu. For Slayton, it also meant the discovery of a small lesion on his left lung and an exploratory operation that indicated it was a non-malignant tumour. Additional Details: Apollo (ASTP).