Composition research. Launched at 1152 local time. Reached 81.9 km.
A Thor missile, the eighth tested and the fourth successfully, completed the first fully-guided Thor IRBM flight using an all-inertial guidance system.
The Chairman, AEC, in a letter to the Administrator of NASA, proposed a flight test objective be established for the nuclear rocket program and proposed a technical program and division of agency responsibilities to achieve those objectives. References: 17 .
Mercury-Redstone 1A (MR-1A) was launched from Cape Canaveral in a repeat of the November 21, 1960, mission and was completely successful. This was the third attempt to accomplish the objectives established for this flight. The first attempt on November 7, 1960, was canceled as a result of a helium leak in the spacecraft reaction control system relief valve, and on November 21, 1960, the mission could not be completed because of premature cut-off of the launch vehicle engines. Objectives of the MR-1A flight were to qualify the spacecraft for space flight and to qualify the flight system for a primate flight scheduled shortly thereafter. Close attention was given to the spacecraft-launch vehicle combination as it went through the various flight sequences: powered flight; acceleration and deceleration; performance of the posigrade rockets; performance of the recovery system; performance of the launch, tracking, and recovery phases of the operation; other events of the flight including retrorocket operation in a space environment; and operation of instrumentation. Except that the launch vehicle cut-off velocity was slightly higher than normal, all flight sequences were satisfactory; tower separation, spacecraft separation, spacecraft turnaround, retrofire, retropackage jettison, and landing system operation occurred or were controlled as planned. The spacecraft reached a maximum altitude of 130.68 statute miles, a range of 234.8 statute miles, and a speed of 4,909.1 miles per hour. Fifteen minutes after landing in the Atlantic Ocean, the recovery helicopter picked up the spacecraft to complete the successful flight mission. References: 483 .
Titan II flight N-11, the eighth in a series being conducted by the Air Force to develop the weapon system, was launched from Cape Canaveral. It carried a design change intended to reduce the amplitude of longitudinal oscillations which had appeared during first stage operation on all seven previous Titan II flights. This phenomenon, which subsequently became known as POGO, generated g-forces as high as nine in the first stage and over three at the position on the missile corresponding to the location of the spacecraft on the Gemini launch vehicle. Fearing the potentially adverse effect on astronaut performance of such superimposed g-forces, NASA established 0.25g at 11 cycles per second as the maximum level tolerable for Gemini flights. As a first try at solving the POGO problem, Titan II N-11 carried standpipes in each leg of the stage I oxidizer feed lines to interrupt the coupling between the missile's structure and its propulsion system. This coupling was presumed to be the cause of the instability. Postflight analysis, however, revealed that the POGO fix was unsuccessful; longitudinal oscillation had actually been multiplied by a factor of two.
NASA Hq advised the centers regarding the agency's official position vis-a-vis the Defense Department's Manned Orbiting Laboratory project. Both NASA and DOD viewed MOL as a project designed to fulfill immediate military requirements. The project could not be construed as meeting the much broader objectives and goals of a national space station program being studied by both organizations under post-Apollo research and development program policy agreements between NASA Administrator James E. Webb and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara (dated 14 September 1963).
Pratt and Whitney Aircraft delivered the first three prototype-A fuel cells to North American. References: 16 .
12 foot dia. balloon; identical to Explorer 9; atmospheric density studies. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
NASA Hq. announced establishment of the Lunar Exploration Office within the Office of Manned Space Flight's Apollo Program Office. The new office, headed by Lee R. Scherer, merged program units directing Apollo lunar exploration and planning exploration beyond the first manned lunar landing. OMSF would staff the Systems Development element; the Lunar Science group would be staffed by the Office of Space Science and Applications, which would approve operating plans and scientific objectives, payloads, and principal investigators for specific missions. References: 16 .
Inspected Salyut 6 docking port. References: 66 .
Did not achieve geostationary orbit due to malfunction of Block D. Operation of telephone and telegraph radiocommunications and transmission of television programmes. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 111 , 274 .
Plane 2. Ascending node 197 degrees. Parking orbit.
Plane 2. Ascending node 197.2 degrees. Parking orbit.