|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1962 - Quarter 1|
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The RD-270 engine was proposed for Chelomei's UR-700 and Yangel R-56 lunar landing launchers in competition to Korolev N1. The RD-270 was in the same class as the F-1 engine developed for America's Saturn V launch vehicle, but burned storable but toxic propellants. References: 74 .
Research institute NII-695 completed the draft project for a Tsiklon experimental navigation satellite. It was to use the Doppler navigation method and be placed in 800 to 1000 km altitude orbits. Experimental flights began in 1967 in order to develop a system meeting the required tactical and operational characteristics.
The GR-2 was to be a kind of enormous multiple-warhead FOBS (fractional orbit bombing system). Competitors included Korolev's N-11GR; Chelomei's UR-500; and Yangel's R-56
The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation developed a detailed, company-funded study on the lunar orbit rendezvous technique: characteristics of the system (relative cost of direct ascent, earth orbit rendezvous, and lunar orbit rendezvous); developmental problems (communications, propulsion); and elements of the system (tracking facilities, etc.). Joseph M. Gavin was appointed in the spring to head the effort, and Robert E. Mullaney was designated program manager. References: 16 .
A survey was performed at the Manned Spacecraft Center to ascertain the number of personnel who intended to move with the Center from Langley Field to Houston, Texas. Only 84 personnel indicated they would not make the move. References: 483 .
This 'polyblock' design was chosen for the Proton launch vehicle, following studies that indicated improved wind loads and bending moment characteristics compared to the monoblock design.
Sea Dragon was a two-stage design capable of putting 550 tonnes into low Earth orbit. The concept was to achieve minimum launch costs through lower development and production costs. This meant accepting a larger booster with a lower performance propulsion system and higher stage dead weight then traditional NASA and USAF designs.
Chelomei's TsKBM began work on the UR-700. The conclusion was reached that a direct lunar landing would require a payload of 130 to 170 tonnes. Initial LK-700 spacecraft designs were derived from the 'Raketoplan' family of manned modular space vehicles. Korolev's N1-L3 design was selected in 1964 for the manned lunar landing, but the UR-700 would surface again when the N1 encountered delays.
Vostok-Zh studies conducted for multiple dockings of rocket blocks and payloads in orbit for circumlunar missions, using Vostok rocket. Vostok-Zh spacecraft used to for manual dockings only. Manned reentry vehicle from circumlunar distance is Sever/Soyuz design. Korolev's reaction to Chelomei's exclusive assignment by Khrushchev to circumlunar mission. References: 26 .
The N1 draft project of 1962 spoke of 'establishment of a lunar base and regular traffic between the earth and the moon'. Korolev raised the matter informally at tea with Chief Designer of rocket complexes Vladimir Pavlovich Barmin, head of GSKB SpetsMash (State Union Design Bureau of Special Machine-Building). 'You just design the base', Korolev assured him, 'and I'll figure out how to get it there'. Under the DLB studies SpetsMash defined purposes of the base, the principles of its construction, phases of its deployment and composition of its scientific and support equipment. The enthusiasts that worked on the project at Zvezda were naturally known as 'lunatics'.
The name had been suggested by Alex P. Nagy of NASA Headquarters because the twin stars Castor and Pollux in constellation Gemini (the Twins) seemed to him to symbolize the program's two-man crew, its rendezvous mission, and its relation to Mercury. Coincidentally, the astronomical symbol (II) for Gemini, the third constellation of the zodiac, corresponded neatly to the Mark II designation.
NASA made public the drawings of the three-man Apollo spacecraft to be used in the lunar landing development program, On January 9, NASA announced its decision that the Saturn C-5 would be the lunar launch vehicle. References: 16 .
In his State of the Union message to the Congress, President John F . Kennedy said: "With the approval of this Congress, we have undertaken in the past year a great new effort in outer space. Our aim is not simply to be first on the moon, any more than Charles Lindbergh's real aim was to be first to Paris. His aim was to develop the techniques and the authority of this country and other countries in the field of the air and the atmosphere, and our objective in making this effort, which we hope will place one of our citizens on the moon, is to develop in a new frontier of science, commerce and cooperation, the position of the United States and the free world. This nation belongs among the first to explore it. And among the first - if not the first - we shall be." References: 16 .
The Apollo Spacecraft Project Office (ASPO) was established at MSC. Charles W. Frick was selected as Manager of the new Office, to assume his duties in February. Frick had been Chief of Technical Staff for General Dynamics Convair. Robert O. Piland was appointed Deputy Manager of ASPO and would serve as Acting Manager until Frick's arrival. ASPO would be responsible for the technical direction of NAA and other industrial contractors assigned to work on the Apollo spacecraft. Additional Details: Apollo Spacecraft Project Office established. References: 16 .
Director Robert R. Gilruth of Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) appointed James A. Chamberlin, Chief of Engineering Division, as Manager of Gemini Project Office (GPO). The next day MSC advised McDonnell, by amendment No. 1 to letter contract NAS 9-170, that GPO had been established. It was responsible for planning and directing all technical activities and all contractor activities within the scope of the contract.
The 'polyblock' design was chosen as most advantageous, following studies that indicated improved wind loads and bending moment characteristics compared to the conventional 'monoblock' design. References: 273 .
The first Apollo engineering order was issued to fabricate mockups of the Apollo command and service modules. References: 16 .
Lunar impact probe; missed the moon by 36,874 km and went into solar orbit. A malfunction in the booster guidance system resulted in excessive spacecraft speed. Reversed command signals caused the telemetry antenna to lose earth acquisition, and mid-course correction was not possible. Some useful data were obtained from the flight. Of four scientific experiments only one was partially completed: gamma-ray readings of the lunar surface. Attempts to relay television pictures of the moon and to bounce radar signals off the moon at close range were unsuccessful. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 278 , 296 .
The Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) manned orbital flight was postponed at T-minus 29 minutes due to weather conditions. References: 483 .
The Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) mission was postponed because of technical difficulties with the launch vehicle. References: 483 .
NAA engineers began preliminary layouts to define the elements of the command module (CM) configuration. Additional requirements and limitations imposed on the CM included reduction in diameter, paraglider compatibility, 250 pounds of radiation protection water, redundant propellant tankage for the attitude control system, and an increase in system weight and volume. Additional Details: Preliminary layouts of the Apollo command module. References: 16 .
The solid propellant called for in the original NAA proposal on the service module propulsion system was replaced by a storable, hypergolic propellant. Multitank configurations under study appeared to present offloading capabilities for alternative missions. References: 16 .
NASA Headquarters announced that the Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) manned orbital mission would be scheduled no earlier than February 13, 1962, and that repair of the Atlas launch vehicle fuel tank leak would be completed well before that time. References: 483 .
John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center and Charles W. Mathews of MSC made a presentation of lunar orbit rendezvous versus earth orbit rendezvous to the Manned Space Flight Management Council. References: 16 .
At his regular press conference, President John F. Kennedy was asked for his "evaluation of our progress in space at this time" and whether the United States had changed its "timetable for landing a man on the moon." He replied: "As I said from the beginning, we have been behind . . . and we are running into the difficulties which came from starting late, We, however, are going to proceed by making a maximum effort. As you know, the expenditures in our space program are enormous . . . the time schedule, at least our hope, has not been changed by the recent setbacks (Ranger failures)." References: 16 .
On the basis of a study by NAA, a single-engine configuration was chosen as the optimum approach for the service module propulsion subsystem. The results of the study were presented to MSC representatives and NAA was authorized to issue a work statement to begin procurement of an engine for this configuration. Agreement was also reached at this meeting on a vacuum thrust level of 20,000 pounds for the engine. This would maintain a thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.4 and allow a considerable increase in the lunar liftoff weight of the spacecraft. References: 16 .
NASA announced that the General Electric Company had been selected for a major supporting role in the Apollo project, to provide integration analysis of the total space vehicle (including booster-spacecraft interface), ensure reliability of the entire space vehicle, and develop and operate a checkout system. References: 16 .
A contract for the escape rocket of the Apollo spacecraft launch escape system was awarded to the Lockheed Propulsion Company by NAA. The initial requirements were for a 200,000-pound-thrust solid- propellant rocket motor with an active thrust-vector-control subsystem. Additional Details: Contract for Apollo launch escape system rocket. References: 16 .
Unfavorable weather conditions caused the Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) manned orbital mission to be postponed. References: 483 .
Walter C. Williams, Project Mercury Operations Director, announced that because of weather conditions February 20, 1962, would be the earliest date that the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission could be launched. References: 483 .
NASA announced Project Fire, a high-speed reentry heat research program to obtain data on materials, heating rates, and radio signal attenuation on spacecraft reentering the atmosphere at speeds of about 24,500 miles per hour. Information from the program would support technology for manned and unmanned reentry from lunar missions. Under the management of the Langley Research Center, Project Fire would use Atlas D boosters and the reentry package would be powered by an Antares solid-fuel motor (third stage of the Scout). References: 16 .
First US manned orbital mission. John Glenn finally puts America in orbit. False landing bag deploy light led to reentry being started with retropack left in place on heat shield. It turned out that indicator light was false and a spectacular reentry ensued, with glowing chunks of the retropack whizzing by the window. After four hours and 43 minutes the spacecraft reentered the atmosphere and landed at 2:43 pm EST in the planned recovery area NE of the Island of Puerto Rico. All flight objectives were achieved. Glenn was reported to be in excellent condition. Beause of failure of one of the automatic systems, the astronaut took over manual control of the spacecraft during part of the flight. With this flight, the basic objectives of Project Mercury had been achieved. Additional Details: Mercury 6. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 59 , 60 , 278 .
A metal fragment, identified by numbers stamped on it as a part of the Atlas that boosted Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) into orbit, landed on a farm in South Africa after about 8 hours in orbit. References: 483 .
This featured the reception of the astronaut at the White House, a parade, and his address to joint session of Congress. References: 483 .
NASA wind tunnel data on the adaptation of the Project Mercury Little Joe booster to the Apollo launch escape system were analyzed. The booster fins were ineffective in maintaining the stability of the configuration and the project was canceled. The later Little Joe II depended on the inherent stability of the total vehicle to attain a successful ballistic trajectory to test altitude. References: 16 .
An estimated 4 million people lined the streets of New York City for John Glenn Day. Mayor Robert Wagner presented Glenn and Robert R. Gilruth the city's Medal of Honor. References: 483 .
NASA Headquarters selected the Chance Vought Corporation of Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., as a contractor to study spacecraft rendezvous. A primary part of the contract would be a flight simulation study exploring the capability of an astronaut to control an Apollo-type spacecraft. References: 16 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
The Marquardt Corporation was selected by NAA's Space and Information Systems Division to design and build the reaction control rocket engines for the Apollo spacecraft. The contract was signed during April. References: 16 .
The Aerojet-General Corporation was named by NAA as a subcontractor for the Apollo service module propulsion system. References: 16 .
The first Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) performed remarkably well in conducting the thirteen different experiments for which it was programmed. Especially relevant to manned space flight were its measurements of solar radiation in high frequency ranges, of cosmic dust effects, and of the thermal properties of spacecraft surface materials. References: 483 .
First generation photo surveillance; return of camera and film by capsule; SAMOS type satellite. Failed to return camera and film. Samos film return project cancelled; remaining 4 cameras placed in warehouse and later used on KH-6 Lanyard. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 .
NAA awarded a development contract for the Apollo spacecraft fuel cell to Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division of United Aircraft Corporation. References: 16 .
Korolev approved the technical project 'Complex docking of spacecraft in earth orbit - Soyuz'. The Soyuz would first be tested using multiple launches of an R-7 derived rocket. In this concept a large spacecraft was assembled in earth orbit by a Vostok-Zh (or Vostok-7) manoeuvrable manned satellite, piloted by a 'cosmonaut assemblyman'. Following completion of assembly, the Vostok would return to earth. The assembled circumlunar craft would put the L1, with a crew of one to three, on a circumlunar trajectory. The Vostok-Zh could be used on another mission to assemble a 15 tonne OS orbital station with the mission of observing the earth.
Primary MSC activities for the Apollo program were relocated from Langley Field, Va., to the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Tex. References: 16 .
NASA Headquarters publicly announced that Scott Carpenter would pilot the Mercury-Atlas 7 (MA-7) manned orbital mission replacing Donald Slayton. The latter, formerly scheduled for the flight, was disqualified because of a minor erratic heart rate. References: 483 .
First successful launch of Kosmos 63S1 launch vehicle. Decay date suspect Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space; development of elements in the design of space craft. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 99 .
The Air Force successfully launched a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. This was the first full-scale test of the vehicle; it flew 8000 km out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Marshall Space Flight Center's latest schedule on the Saturn C-5 called for the first launch in the last quarter of 1965 and the first manned launch in the last quarter of 1967. If the C-5 could be man-rated on the eighth research and development flight in the second quarter of 1967, the spacecraft lead time would be substantially reduced. References: 16 .
First DF-2 launch. A failure. Redesigned for reduced thrust. References: 87 .
President John F. Kennedy visited Vandenberg AFB and witnessed the launch of Atlas 134D. References: 88 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On Luna spacecraft for soft-landing on the Moon' was issued. References: 474 .
NASA Headquarters approved plans for the development of the Little Joe II test launch vehicle. Prospective bidders were notified of a briefing to be held at MSC on April 6, at which time Requests for Proposals would be distributed. References: 16 .
Members of Langley Research Center briefed representatives of the Chance Vought Corporation of Ling- Temco-Vought, Inc., on the lunar orbit rendezvous method of accomplishing the lunar landing mission. The briefing was made in connection with the study contract on spacecraft rendezvous awarded by NASA Headquarters to Chance Vought on March 1. References: 16 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
NASA announced that a $5 million contract would be awarded to Republic Aviation Corporation for the construction of two experimental reentry spacecraft. Republic was selected from eight companies that submitted bids on March 12. The contract was part of Project Fire, to develop a spacecraft capable of withstanding reentry into the earth's atmosphere from a lunar mission. Plans called for the spacecraft to be tested during the second half of 1963. References: 16 .
Following receipt of the program go-ahead on December 22, 1961, McDonnell began defining the Gemini spacecraft. At that time, the basic configuration was already firm. During the three-month period, McDonnell wrote a series of detailed specifications to define the overall vehicle, its performance, and each of the major subsystems. These were submitted to NASA and approved. During the same period, the major subsystems specification control drawings - the specifications against which equipment was procured - were written, negotiated with NASA, and distributed to potential subcontractors for bid.
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