Die Rakete zu den Planetenräume (The Rocket Into Interpanetary Space) by Hermann Oberth was published in Germany, and was the genesis for considerable discussion of rocket propulsion. The book would have a huge and life-changing impact on ten year old Wernher Von Braun. References: 17 .
Eugen Sänger of Germany published his classic Rakatenflugtechnic, which dealt with rocket motor design and high-speed flight in the atmosphere. References: 17 .
Solar radiation, pressure, temperature, photography research. Launched at 1010 local time. Reached 0.3 km.
Solar and cosmic radiation; photography research. Ran out of fuel. Launched at 1438 local time. Reached 219 km.
The US Navy revealed that it had launched rockets from balloons in the geomagnetic North Pole area for cosmic ray research. References: 17 .
Von Braun briefs NASA on plans for booster development at Huntsville with objective of manned lunar landing. Initally proposed using 15 Juno V (Saturn I) boosters to assemble 200,000 kg payload in earth orbit for direct landing on moon. References: 26 , 27 .
The final launch in the Pioneer lunar probe program was unsuccessful; the Atlas-Able booster rocket went out of control and exploded at an altitude of 12,200 m off Cape Canaveral. References: 5 , 126 , 278 .
NASA announced that The Boeing Company had been selected for negotiations as a possible prime contractor for the first stage (S-IC) of the advanced Saturn hunch vehicle. The S-IC stage, powered by five F-1 engines, would be 35 feet in diameter and about 140 feet high. The $300-million contract, to run through 1966, called for the development, construction, and testing of 24 flight stages and one ground test stage. The booster would be assembled at the NASA Michoud Operations Plant near New Orleans, La., under the direction of the Marshall Space Flight Center. References: 16 .
McDonnell given letter contract for development of Gemini. References: 26 .
MSC researchers compiled a preliminary statement of work for a manned space station study program in anticipation of study contracts to be let to industry for a supportive study. The study requirements outlined the general scope of such investigations and suggested guidelines for research areas such as configurations, onboard spacecraft systems, and operational techniques. Ideally, studies by aerospace companies would help NASA formulate a logical approach for a space station program and how it might be implemented. Throughout the study, an overall objective would be simplicity: no artificial gravity and maximum use of existing launch vehicles and spacecraft systems to achieve the earliest possible launch date.
Grumman was invited to provide NASA with a cost-plus-incentive-fee proposal to provide four LEMs subsequent to LEM-11, with the proposal due at MSC by the close of business on the following day. The proposal should be based on a vehicular configuration similar to LEM-11 in all respects, including supporting activities, contractual provisions, and specifications applicable to LEM-11. The required shipment dates for the four vehicles would be December 13, 1968, February 11, 1969, April 11, 1969, and June 10, 1969, respectively. References: 16 .
CSM ultimate static testing began. A failure occurred at 140 percent of the limit load test which simulated the end of the first-stage Saturn V boost. Additional Details: Apollo CSM ultimate static testing began. References: 16 .
NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell informed MSC that an experiment proposed by Ames Research Center had been selected as a space science investigation for, if possible, the first manned lunar landing as a part of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. Principal investigator of the proposed experiment, the magnetometer, was C. P. Sonett of Ames with Jerry Modisette of MSC as associate.
The Apollo Program Director was being requested by Newell to authorize the funding of flight hardware for this experiment. References: 16 .
The primary objective of the mission, crewed by command pilot Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and pilot Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, was to rendezvous with spacecraft No. 7. Among the secondary objectives were stationkeeping with spacecraft No. 7, evaluating spacecraft reentry guidance capability, testing the visibility of spacecraft No. 7 as a rendezvous target, and conducting three experiments. After the launch vehicle inserted the spacecraft into an 87 by 140 nautical mile orbit, the crew prepared for the maneuvers necessary to achieve rendezvous. Four maneuvers preceded the first radar contact between the two spacecraft. The first maneuver, a height adjustment, came an hour and a half after insertion, at first perigee; a phase adjustment at second apogee, a plane change, and another height adjustment at second perigee followed. The onboard radar was turned on 3 hours into the mission. The first radar lock-on indicated 246 miles between the two spacecraft. The coelliptic maneuver was performed at third apogee, 3 hours 47 minutes after launch. The terminal phase initiation maneuver was performed an hour and a half later. Two midcourse corrections preceded final braking maneuvers at 5 hours 50 minutes into the flight. Rendezvous was technically accomplished and stationkeeping began some 6 minutes later when the two spacecraft were about 120 feet apart and their relative motion had stopped. Stationkeeping maneuvers continued for three and a half orbits at distances from 1 to 300 feet. Spacecraft No. 6 then initiated a separation maneuver and withdrew to a range of about 30 miles. The only major malfunction in spacecraft No. 6 during the mission was the failure of the delayed-time telemetry tape recorder at 20 hours 55 minutes ground elapsed time, which resulted in the loss of all delayed-time telemetry data for the remainder of the mission, some 4 hours and 20 minutes. The flight ended with a nominal reentry and landing in the West Atlantic, just 10 km from the planned landing point, on December 16. The crew remained in the spacecraft, which was recovered an hour later by the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp.
Gemini 6 was to have been the first flight involving docking with an Agena target/propulsion stage. However the Agena blew up on the way to orbit, and the spacecraft was replaced by Gemini 7 in the launch order.
For lack of a target, NASA decided to have Gemini 6 rendezvous with Gemini 7. This would require a quick one week turnaround of the pad after launch, no problem with Russian equipment but a big accomplishment for the Americans. The first launch attempt was aborted; the Titan II ignited for a moment, then shut down and settled back down on its launch attachments. Schirra waited it out, did not pull the abort handles that would send the man catapulting out of the capsule on their notoriously unreliable ejection seats. The booster was safed; Schirra had saved the mission and the launch three days later went perfectly. The flight went on to achieve the first manned space rendezvous controlled entirely by the self-contained, on-board guidance, control, and navigation system. This system provided the crew of Gemini 6 with attitude, thrusting, and time information needed for them to control the spacecraft during the rendezvous. Under Schirra's typically precise command, the operation was so successful that the rendezvous was complete with fuel consumption only 5% above the planned value to reach 16 m separation from Gemini 7. Additional Details: Gemini 6. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
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 .
Double reentry test of TKS-VA capsule of TKS orbital shuttle. Spacecraft each weighed 9,090 kg. One was placed into a lower 189 X 213 km orbit, the other at the higher orbit indicated. After one orbit, both recovered at 44 deg N, 73 deg E, on December 15, 1976 3:00 GMT. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 , 439 .
Medium-capacity Communications Satellite for Experimental Purposes . Launch vehicle Delta 2914-137. Launch time 0047 UT. Geographical longitude on geostationary orbit: 135 deg E. CS is a spin stabilized geostationary communications satellite. Characteris tics of satellite: Weight approx 340 kg at an early stage in orbit, configuration: cylindrical, height 3.48 m, diameter 2.18m, Expected life more than three years. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Investigations of the planet Venus and Halley's Comet. The APV-V plasma antenna did not deploy until the first mid-course correction burn. Deployed lander and balloon at Venus on June 19 1985. Rendezvoused with comet Halley on March 6, 1986. Fitted with scientific apparatus and equipment built in the USSR, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, German Democratic Republic, Poland, France, Federal Republic of Germany and C zechoslovakia. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 , 428 .
Stationed at 95 deg W; 24 C-band, 24 Ku-band transponders; TV for Caribbean and Central America. Launch vehicle put payload into subsynchronous earth orbit with MRS trajectory option. References: 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 .
High resolution photo reconnaissance; returned film in two small SpK capsules during the mission and with the main capsule at completion of the mission. Landed 14 April 1998. References: 4 , 179 , 276 .