|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1964 - Quarter 4|
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NASA and the Mercury managers had to decide whether to undertake another Mercury after Cooper's planned 22 orbit Mercury 9 flight. Walter Williams, Alan Shepard, and others at MSC pushed for a three-day Mercury 10 endurance mission. A capsule was allocated and Shepard had the name 'Freedom 7 II' painted on the side. But the risk and work pending on Gemini persuaded NASA managers not to undertake another mission unless Mercury 9 failed. By May 11, 1963 Julian Scheer, the new NASA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, announced 'It is absolutely beyond question that if this shot (MA-9) is successful there will be no MA-10.' The massive breakdown of nearly all systems aboard Mercury 9 convinced NASA that this was the right decision. Aerospace writer Martin Caidin used the Mercury 10 scenario as the basis for his novel, Marooned. In the book, the capsule's retrorockets fail, stranding astronaut Pruett in orbit. He is saved by the combined efforts of NASA Gemini and Russian maneuverable Voskhod spacecraft. References: 59 .
Philco-Ford Corporation was assigned prime contractor responsibilities to design, develop and assemble both the satellites and the multiple-launch dispensers for the Initial Defense Communications Satellite Program (IDCSP). The IDCSP provided the Pentagon with its first geosynchronous communications system.
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Ministry of Defence Decree 'On formation of TsUKOS in the Strategic Missile Forces' was issued. References: 474 .
Analysis by MSC of the performance of the environmental control system radiators for Block I CM's placed their heat rejection capability at 4,000 Btus per hr, far below the anticipated mission load of 7,220. Additional Details: Block I Apollo CM's heat rejection capability inadequate. References: 16 .
Simulated flight missions were carried out over nine days and invloved Goddard Space Flight Center, Mission Control Center at the Cape, and eight remote sites in the worldwide network to test tracking and communications equipment, as well as flight control procedures and equipment. This completed the updating of the Manned Space Flight Tracking Network to support the Gemini flights. Converting the Mercury network for Gemini had taken two years and cost $50 million.
NASA and Grumman representatives discussed a weight reduction program for the LEM. Changes approved at the M-5 mockup review portended an increase in LEM separation weight of from 68 to 453 kg (150 to 1,000 lbs). Both parties agreed to evaluate the alternatives of either resizing the spacecraft or finding ways to lighten it about nine percent, thus keeping the improved LEM within the present control weight. References: 16 .
The day before the overthrow of his patron, Chelomei obtained permission to begin development of a larger military space station, the Almaz. This 20 tonne station would take three cosmonauts to orbit in a single launch of his UR-500K Proton rocket. Therefore there were now two competing projects for the same mission - Almaz and Soyuz-R. First flight of the Almaz, with a one year operational period, was set for 1968.
The U.S.S.R. launched the world's first multi-manned spacecraft, Voskhod I, the first to carry a scientist and a physician into space. The crew were Col. Vladimir Komarov, pilot; Konstantin Feoktistov, scientist; and Boris Yegorov, physician. Potentially dangerous modification of Vostok to upstage American Gemini flights; no spacesuits, ejection seats, or escape tower. One concession was backup solid retrorocket package mounted on nose of spacecraft. Seats mounted perpendicular to Vostok ejection seat position, so crew had to crane their necks to read instruments, still mounted in their original orientation. Tested the new multi-seat space ship; investigated the in-flight work potential and co-operation of a group of cosmonauts consisting of specialists in different branches of science and technology; conducted scientific physico-technical and medico-biological research. The mission featured television pictures of the crew from space.
Land recovery made possible by rocket package suspended above capsule in parachute lines, which ignited just prior to impact in order to cushion landing. The trio landed after 16 orbits of the earth, 24 hours and 17 min after they had left, on October 13, 1964 7:47 GMT.
Coming before the two-man Gemini flights, Voskhod 1 had a significant worldwide impact. In the United States, the "space race" was again running under the green flag. NASA Administrator James E. Webb, commenting on the spectacular, called it a "significant space accomplishment." It was, he said, "a clear indication that the Russians are continuing a large space program for the achievement of national power and prestige." Additional Details: Voskhod 1. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 16 , 32 , 33 , 60 .
Brezhnev faction assumes control of Politubro. Brezhnev was adverse to all projects Khrushchev had supported. These included those of Chelomei and his OKB-52.
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. Program partially completed. Returned early due to failure of spacecraft thermoregulation system; internal temperature rose to 43 degrees C. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 93 .
In a letter to NASA Administrator James E. Webb, AC Spark Plug reported that the first Apollo guidance system completed acceptance testing and was shipped at 11:30 p.m. and arrived at Downey, California, early the following day. AC reported that in more than 2,000 hours of operation they had found the system to be "remarkably reliable, accurate and simple to operate." References: 16 .
Eagle-Picher Company completed qualification testing on the 25-amperehour reentry batteries for the CM. Shortly thereafter, Eagle-Picher received authorization from North American to proceed with design and development of the larger 40-ampere-hour batteries needed for the later Block I and all Block II spacecraft. References: 16 .
Three Pratt and Whitney fuel cells were operated in a simulated space vacuum at North American for 19, 20, and 21 hours. This was the first time three cells were operated as an electrical power generating subsystem. References: 16 .
MSC and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) negotiated a $1,500,000 fixed-price contract for the Apollo guidance and navigation system backup computer. References: 16 .
MSC ordered Grumman to halt work on the LEM test article (LTA) 10. The LTA-10's descent stage would be replaced with one cannibalized from LEM test mockup 5. References: 16 .
The rocket had already been cancelled after the fall of Khrushchev.
MSC's Crew Systems Division investigated environmental control system (ECS) implications of using Gemini suits in Block I missions. The results indicated that the ECS was capable of maintaining nominal cabin temperature and carbon dioxide partial pressure levels; however, this mode of operation always had an adverse effect on cabin dewpoint temperature and water condensation rate. References: 16 .
Jet Propulsion Laboratory proposed a meeting on October 29 between representatives of NASA Headquarters, Bellcomm, MSC, MIT, and JPL to present the requirements and status of projects underway as they related to the landing aid problem. The Surveyor Block II study effort was concentrating on determining needs of obtaining data on the lunar surface and environment for Apollo. Additional Details: Surveyor Block II study related to the Apollo landing aid problem. References: 16 .
In an interview for Missiles and Rockets magazine, Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., stated that NASA planned to initiate program definition studies of an Apollo X spacecraft during Fiscal Year 1965. Seamans emphasized that such a long-duration space station program would not receive funding for actual hardware development until the 1970s. He stressed that NASA's Apollo X would not compete with the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program: 'MOL is important for the military as a method of determining what opportunities there are for men in space. It is not suitable to fulfill NASA requirements to gain scientific knowledge.'
While in the suit, the astronaut flew several zero-g flight profiles, went through a simulated four-day Gemini mission, and experienced several centrifuge runs.
Suborbital test of subscale model of X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-environmental test vehicle (AEV) to test aerodynamic properties of flexing outer skin with corrugated columbium panel. Reached 4,000 m/s at 50.6 km altitude before being released from launch vehicle. Telemetry received for 900 seconds until spaceplane had reached Mach 2 1200 km downrange. It then became unstable and crashed into the Atlantic. Recovery was not planned. References: 5 .
NASA announced the appointment of Major General Samuel C. Phillips as Director of the Apollo Program. Phillips thus assumed part of the duties of George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator of Manned Space Flight, who had been serving as Apollo Director as well. Phillips had been Deputy Director since January 15. References: 16 .
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). References: 16 .
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On assignment of lunar programs to OKB-52 and OKB-1' was issued. References: 474 .
Testing of the first flight-weight 15-cell stack of the LEM fuel cell assembly began. Although the voltage was three percent below design, the unit had a 980-watt capability. Earlier, the unit completed 150 hours of operation, and single cell life had reached 662 hours. References: 16 .
The MSC Meteoroid Technology Branch inspected a hard shell meteoroid garment built by the Center's Crew Systems Division. It was only a crude prototype, yet it in no way hampered mobility of the pressurized suit. The Meteoroid Technology people were satisfied that, should a hard garment be necessary for protection of the Apollo extravehicular mobility unit, this concept was adequate. The garment might present stowage problems, however, and investigations were underway to determine the minimum area in the LEM that would be required. References: 16 .
North American conducted the first operational deployment of the launch escape system canards. No problems were encountered with the wiring or the mechanism. Two more operational tests remained to complete the minimum airworthiness test program, a constraint on boilerplate 23. References: 16 .
North American conducted the first drop test of boilerplate 28 at Downey, Calif. The test simulated the worst conditions that were anticipated in a three-parachute descent and water landing. The second drop, it was expected, would likewise simulate a landing on two parachutes. The drop appeared normal, but the spacecraft sank less than four minutes after hitting the water. Additional Details: First drop test of boilerplate 28. References: 16 .
Initial tests were from the old South Base area of Edwards. Research pilot Joe Walker flew it three times for a total of just under 60 seconds to a peak altitude of ten ft (3 m). Later flights were shared between Walker; another Center pilot, Don Mallick; the Army's Jack Kleuver; and NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, pilots Joseph Algranti and H.E. 'Bud' Ream.
In a ceremony on the parade field at Redstone Arsenal, the Redstone missile was ceremonially retired.
Astronaut Theodore C. Freeman died in an aircraft accident at Ellington Air Force Base, near Houston. Freeman, an Air Force captain and a member of NASA's third group of spacemen, was preparing to land his T-38 training jet when it struck a goose and lost power. He ejected from his aircraft, but did not have sufficient altitude for his parachute to open. Freeman thus became the first American astronaut to lose his life in the quest for the moon. References: 16 .
Following the August decree that gave the circumlunar project to Chelomei and the lunar landing project to Korolev, further work on development of the UR-700 by Chelomei was cancelled. However development of the RD-270 engine was continued and Chelomei continued to do UR-700 design studies. References: 26 .
KH-4A. Program anomaly occurred immediately after launch when both cameras operated for 417 frames. Main cameras ceased operation on rev 52D of first portion of mission negating second portion. About 65% of aft camera film is out of focus. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Decision to proceed with DF-2A extended range version of DF-2 References: 87 .
The Apollo Space Suit Assembly received a new designation, the Apollo Extravehicular Mobility Unit. The purpose of the change was to make it more descriptive of its function in the Apollo mission. References: 16 .
During a mechanical loading test (simulating a 20-g reentry) the CM aft heatshield failed at 120 percent of maximum load. Structures and Mechanics Division engineers inspected the structure. They found that the inner skin had buckled, the damage extending three quarters of the way around the bolt circle that secured the heatshield to the spacecraft's inner structure. Their findings would be used along with data from the recent drop of boilerplate 28 to determine what redesign was necessary. References: 16 .
Mars probe; launch fairing failure prevented Mars flyby. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 .
NASA anticipated five significant milestones for the LEM during the forthcoming year:
Joseph G. Thibodaux, Jr., MSC Propulsion and Power Division, reported at an Apollo Engineering and Development technical management meeting that the first J-2 firing of the service propulsion system engine was conducted at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). Two fuel cell endurance tests of greater than 400 hours were completed at Pratt and Whitney. MSC would receive a single cell for testing during the month. References: 16 .
In its search for some method of reducing water impact pressures, North American was considering adding a 15- to 30.5-cm (6- to 12-in) "lump" to the CM's blunt face. The spacecraft manufacturer was also investigating such consequent factors as additional wind tunnel testing, the effect on heatshield design, and impact upon the overall Apollo program. References: 16 .
MSC analyzed Grumman's report on their program to resize the LEM. On the basis of this information, ASPO recommended that the propellant tanks be resized for separation and lunar liftoff weights of 14,742 and 4,908 kg (32,500 and 10,820 lbs), respectively. Studies should investigate the feasibility of an optical rendezvous device and the substitution of batteries for fuel cells. And finally, engineering managers from both Grumman and MSC should examine a selected list of weight reduction changes to determine whether they could immediately be implemented. References: 16 .
NASA test pilot Joseph A. Walker flew the LLRV for the second time. The first attempted liftoff, into a 9.26-km (5-nm) breeze, was stopped because of excessive drift to the rear. The vehicle was then turned to head downwind and liftoff was accomplished. While airborne the LLRV drifted with the wind and descent to touchdown was accomplished. Touchdown and resulting rollout (at that time the vehicle was on casters) took the LLRV over an iron-door-covered pit. One door blew off but did not strike the vehicle. References: 16 .
North American received NASA's formal go-ahead on manufacture of the Block II spacecraft. References: 16 .
Mariner 4 provided the first up close pictures of Mars. The protective shroud covering Mariner 4 was jettisoned and the Agena D/Mariner 4 combination separated from the Atlas D booster at 14:27:23 GMT on 28 November 1964. The Agena D first burn from 14:28:14 to 14:30:38 put the spacecraft into an Earth parking orbit and the second burn from 15:02:53 to 15:04:28 injected the craft into a Mars transfer orbit. Mariner 4 separated from the Agena D at 15:07:09 and began cruise mode operations. The solar panels deployed and the scan platform was unlatched at 15:15:00 and Sun acquisition occurred 16 minutes later. A midcourse maneuver made on 5 December 1964.
After a 228 day cruise, the spacecraft flew by Mars on July 14 and 15, 1965. Planetary science mode was turned on at 15:41:49 GMT on 14 July. The camera sequence started at 00:18:36 GMT on July 15 and 21 pictures plus 21 lines of a 22nd picture were taken. The images covered a discontinuous swath of Mars starting near 40 N, 170 E, down to about 35 S, 200 E, and then across to the terminator at 50 S, 255 E, representing about 1% of the planet's surface. The closest approach was 9,846 km from the Martian surface at 01:00:57 GMT 15 July 1965. The images taken during the flyby were stored in the onboard tape recorder. At 02:19:11 GMT Mariner 4 passed behind Mars as seen from Earth and the radio signal ceased. The signal was reacquired at 03:13:04 GMT when the spacecraft reappeared. Cruise mode was then re-established. Transmission of the taped images to Earth began about 8.5 hours after signal reacquisition and continued until 3 August. All images were transmitted twice to insure no data was missing or corrupt.
The spacecraft performed all programmed activities successfully and returned useful data from launch until 22:05:07 GMT on 1 October 1965, when the distance from Earth (309.2 million km) and the antenna orientation temporarily halted signal acquisition. In 1967 Mariner 4 returned to the vicinity of Earth again and engineers decided to use the ageing craft for a series of operational and telemetry tests to improve their knowledge of the technologies that would be needed for future interplanetary spacecraft. The cosmic dust detector registered 17 hits in a 15 minute span on 15 September, part of an apparent micrometeoroid shower which temporarily changed the spacecraft attitude and probably slightly damaged the thermal shield. On 7 December the gas supply in the attitude control system was exhausted, and on December 10 and 11 a total of 83 micrometeoroid hits were recorded which caused perturbation of the attitude and degradation of the signal strength. On 21 December 1967 communications with Mariner 4 were terminated.
The total data returned by the mission was 5.2 million bits. All experiments operated successfully with the exception of the ionization chamber/Geiger counter which failed in February, 1965 and the plasma probe, which had its performance degraded by a resistor failure on 6 December 1964. The images returned showed a Moon-like cratered terrain (which later missions showed was not typical for Mars, but only for the more ancient region imaged by Mariner 4). A surface atmospheric pressure of 4.1 to 7.0 mb was estimated and no magnetic field was detected. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 , 296 .
Six flights of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) were made during the month, bringing the total number to seven. The project pilot, Joseph Walker, made all flights and demonstrated a rapid increase in the ease and skill with which he handled the craft as the flights progressed.
Altitudes to between 18 and 21 m (60 and 70 ft) and flight duration up to three minutes were attained. Additional Details: Six flights of the Apollo Lunar Landing Research Vehicle. References: 16 .
Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Zond 2 was launched from an earth parking orbit towards Mars to test space-borne systems and to carry out scientific investigations. Zond 2 carried six electric rocket engines of plasma type that served as actuators of the attitude control system. The communications system failed during April 1965. The spacecraft flew by Mars on August 6, 1965, at a distance of 1500 km. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 118 , 296 .
In a letter to Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips regarding tentative spacecraft development and mission planning schedules, Joseph F. Shea, Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager, touched upon missions following completion of Apollo's prime goal of landing on the Moon. Such missions, Shea said, would in general fall under the heading of a new program (such as Apollo X). Although defining missions a number of years in the future was most complex, Shea advised that MSC was planning to negotiate program package contracts with both North American and Grumman through Fiscal Year 1969, based upon the agency's most recent program planning schedules.
The initial Redstone production contract awarded to Chrysler in October 1952 was closed out.
MSC approved plans put forth by North American for mockups of the Block II CSM. For the crew compartment mockup, the company proposed using the metal shell that had originally been planned as a simulator. Except for the transfer tunnel and lighting, it would be complete, including mockups of all crew equipment. Additional Details: Plans for mockups of the Block II Apollo CSM. References: 16 .
At its Sacramento test site, Douglas Aircraft Company static-fired a "battleship" S-IVB second stage of the Saturn IB vehicle, for 10 sec. (A battleship rocket stage was roughly the vehicle's equivalent to a boilerplate spacecraft.) On January 4, 1965, after further testing of the stage's J-2 engine, the stage underwent its first full-duration firing, 480 sec. References: 16 .
Douglas Aircraft Company delivered the first S-IVB stage to Marshall Space Flight Center for extensive vibration, bending, and torsional testing. The stage was not an actual flight stage and contained mockups of the engine and other components, but it duplicated the flight article in weight, mass, center of gravity, and stiffness. References: 16 .
In a letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Senator Clinton P. Anderson, Chairman of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, recommended that the Air Force's MOL and NASA's Apollo X programs be merged. Senator Anderson argued that a jointly operated national space station program would most effectively use the nation's available resources. He claimed that $1 billion could be saved during the next five years if the MOL were canceled and those funds applied to NASA's Apollo-based space station program. Additional Details: Recommendation that the Air Force's MOL and NASA's Apollo X programs be merged..
A single main parachute was drop-tested at El Centro, Calif., to verify the ultimate strength. The parachute was designed for a disreef load of 11,703 kg (25,800 lbs) and a 1.35 safety factor. The test conditions were to achieve a disreef load of 15,876 kg (35,000 lbs. Preliminary information indicated the parachute deployed normally to the reefed shape (78,017 kg (17,200 lbs) force), disreefed after the programmed three seconds, and achieved an inflated load of 16,193 kg (35,700 lbs), after which the canopy failed. Additional Details: Apollo main parachute drop-tested. References: 16 .
Suborbital test of subscale model of X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-environmental test vehicle (AEV) to test aerodynamic properties of flexing outer skin with corrugated columbium panel. Reached 4,000 m/s at 53.2 km altitude before being released from launch vehicle. Telemetry received for 900 seconds until spaceplane had reached Mach 2 1200 km downrange. It then became unstable and crashed into the Atlantic. Recovery was not planned. References: 48 .
Boilerplate 23, Mission A-002, was successfully launched from WSMR by a Little Joe II launch vehicle. The test was to demonstrate satisfactory launch escape vehicle performance utilizing the canard subsystem and boost protective cover, and to verify the abort capability in the maximum dynamic pressure region with conditions approximating emergency detection subsystem limits. References: 16 .
Gemini-Titan (GT) 2 launch countdown began at 4:00 a.m., e.s.t., and proceeded normally, with minor holds, until about one second after engine ignition. At that point a shutdown signal from the master operations control set (MOCS) terminated the launch attempt. Loss of hydraulic pressure in the primary guidance and control system of stage I of the launch vehicle caused an automatic switchover to the secondary guidance and control system. During the 3.2-second holddown following ignition command, switchover was instrumented as a shutdown command. Accordingly, the MOCS killed the launch attempt. Subsequent investigation disclosed that loss of hydraulic pressure had been caused by failure of the primary servo-valve in one of the four tandem actuators which control movement of the stage I thrust chambers. All four stage I tandem actuators were replaced with redesigned actuators.
MSC directed Grummann to provide a LEM abort guidance section (AGS) having
LaRC announced award of a 10-month contract to The Boeing Company to study the feasibility of designing and launching a manned orbital telescope and to investigate ways in which such an astronomical observatory might be operated, particularly the role that man might play in scientific observations. The study presumed that the telescope would be operated in conjunction with the proposed Manned Orbital Research Laboratory being investigated by Langley.
Aboard a KC-135 from Wright-Patterson AFB, the fecal canister and urine relief tube were first tested under zero-g conditions. Similar manned tests of a complete unit were scheduled for February 1965. References: 16 .
Phase II service propulsion system engine tests at Arnold Engineering Development Center were begun under simulated high altitude conditions with a successful first firing of 30 seconds. A total of nine firings were completed. References: 16 .
North American delivered spacecraft 001's CM to White Sands. The SM was shipped several days later, and would be used for propulsion engine development. Aerojet-General shipped the service propulsion engine to the facility on January 6, 1965. References: 16 .
USAF Suborbital test of ion engine. References: 5 .
The Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory, currently being planned for construction at MSC, would support - in addition to its vital role as a quarantine area - two important activities:
Ling-Temco-Vought began large-scale developmental testing of the radiator for the Block II CSM environmental control system. One problem immediately apparent was the radiator's performance under extreme conditions. References: 16 .
Crew Systems Division approved the use of modified Gemini space suits in Block I Apollo spacecraft. MSC and David Clark Company amended their Gemini suit contract to cover design and fabrication of a prototype Block I suit. References: 16 .
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