|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1968 - Quarter 1|
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20 cosmonauts begin training for lunar landing. Decision after a year of acrimonious argument between Korolev OKB and military. Final slate: Air Force: Bykovsky, Filipchenko, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Kuklin, Leonov, Nikolayev, Shonin, Voloshin, Volonov. OKB: Feoktistov, Grechko, Kubasov, Makarov, Nikitski, Rukavishnikov, Sevastyanov, Volkov, Yazdovski, Yeliseyev. References: 72 .
A lunar exploration program had been developed which would cover the period from the first lunar landing to the mid-1970s. The program would be divided into four phases: (1) An Apollo phase employing Apollo hardware. (2) A lunar exploration phase untilizing an extended LM with increased landed payload weight and staytime capability. (3) A lunar orbital survey and exploration phase using the AAP-1A carrier or the LM/ATM to mount remote sensors and photographic equipment on a manned polar orbit mission. (4) A lunar surface rendezvous and exploration phase which would use a modified LM in an unmanned landing to provide increased scientific payload and expendables necessary to extend an accompanying manned LM mission to two weeks duration.
Bellcomm engineers presented to NASA a proposed plan for lunar exploration during the period from the first lunar landing through the mid-1970s. The proposed program - based upon what the company termed "reasonable" assumptions concerning hardware capabilities, scientific objectives, launch rates, and relationships to other programs - was divided into four distinct phases:
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.
A Parachute Test Vehicle (PTV) test failed at El Centro, Calif. The PTV was released from a B-52 aircraft at 15,240 meters and the drogue chute programmer was actuated by a static line connected to the aircraft. One drogue chute appeared to fail upon deployment, followed by failure of the second drogue seven seconds later. Additional Details: Apollo Parachute Test Vehicle failed. References: 16 .
The geodetic instrumentation systems included (1) four optical beacons, (2) two C-band radar transponders, (3) a passive radar reflector, (4) a sequential collation of range radio range transponder, (5) a Goddard range and range rate transponder, (6) laser reflectors, and (7) Doppler beacons. Non-geodetic systems included a laser detector and a Minitrack interferometer beacon. The objectives of the spacecraft were to optimise optical station visibility periods and to provide complementary data for inclination-dependent terms established by the Explorer 29 (GEOS 1) gravimetric studies. The spacecraft was placed into a retrograde orbit to accomplish these objectives. Operational problems occurred in the main power system, optical beacon flash system, and the spacecraft clock, and adjustments in scheduling resulted in nominal operations. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. Unsuccessful mission. Spacecraft failed to separate from Block I stage. Attempt was made to conduct mission without orientation system. APO self destruct system destroyed spacecraft on 126th revolution over Sea of Okhotsk. First generation, low resolution photo surveillance; recovery probably failed. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 93 .
Final launch of a Thrust-Augmented-Thor/Agena space booster from Vandenberg (first launch on 28 February 1963). References: 88 .
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. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 .
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.'
Failed launch of an E-6LS radio-equipped version of the E-6 used to test tracking and communications networks for the Soviet manned lunar program. Suggestions for the abnormal consumption included the seizing up of a pintle valve for controlling fuel supply into the regulator or the seizing up of the fuel inlet control. The upper stages broke up in the atmosphere. References: 5 , 64 , 65 .
Grumman President L. J. Evans wrote ASPO Manager George M. Low stating his agreement with NASA's decision to forego a second unmanned LM flight using LM-2. (Grumman's new position - the company had earlier strongly urged such a second flight - was reached after discussions with Low and LM Manager G. H. Bolender at the end of January and after flight data was presented at the February 6 meeting of the OMSF Management Council.) Although the decision was not irreversible, being subject to further investigations by both contractor and customer, both sides now were geared for a manned flight on the next LM mission. Additional Details: Decision to forego a second unmanned Apollo LM flight using LM-2. References: 16 .
In discussing the results of a manned test with MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low mentioned that a single 45-degree motion of the abort handle was required to initiate a launch abort in Apollo. Gilruth voiced concern that an abort could be caused by a single motion. Additional Details: Concern of inadvertent Saturn V abort. References: 16 .
Decree 'On Introduction of Hydrogen in Rocket Space Technology' --future of liquid hydrogen stages' was issued. References: 474 .
The Boost Glide Re-entry Vehicle was launched from Vandenberg AFB, California to the area of Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean. It was launched from an Atlas missile booster and served to provide data on hypersonic manoeuvring flight characteristics.
The MOL mockup was completed, static structural test of flight representative assemblies was underway, and major equpment was in qualification test. References: 128 .
Slipped to May. References: 72 .
Spacecraft successfully launched into 330,000 km apogee orbit 180 degrees away from the moon. On reentry, the guidance system failed, and the planned double skip maneuver to bring the descent module to a landing in the Soviet Union was not possible. Ustinov ordered the self-destruct package to be set off and the capsule blew up 12 km above the Gulf of Guinea. Kamanin disagreed strongly with this decision; the spacecraft could have still been recovered in the secondary area by Soviet naval vessels after a 20 G reentry. The decsion was made to recover the spacecraft in the future whenever possible.
Officially: Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Study of remote regions of circumterrestrial space, development of new on-board systems and units of space stations. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 .
OGO 5 carried 25 experiments, 17 of which were particle studies, and two were magnetic field studies. In addition, there was one each of the following types of experiments: radio astronomy, UV spectrum, Lyman-alpha, solar X ray, plasma waves, and electric field. By April 1971, spacecraft perigee had increased to 26,400 km and inclination had increased to 54 deg. The spacecraft attitude control failed on August 6, 1971, after 41 months of normal operation. The spacecraft was placed in a standby status on October 8, 1971. Four experiments (Meyer, Blamont, Thomas, and Simpson) were reactivated for the period from June 1 to July 13, 1972, after which all operational support terminated. Spacecraft orbit parameters changed significantly over the spacecraft life. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 .
Decree 'On formation of the Space Branch of NII-4' was issued. References: 474 .
Decree 'On approval of the training program for lunar cosmonauts' was issued. This incuded the final moon landing plan. References: 474 .
Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 88 'On use of liquid hydrogen in the space program' was issued. References: 474 .
The lunar landing research vehicle was operating and training was being conducted, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth wrote Langley Research Center's Acting Director Charles J. Donlan. MSC intended to conduct a second class for LLRV pilots and one of the first requirements for checkout was a familiarization program on Langley's Lunar Landing Research Facility. He requested that a program be conducted for not less than four nor more than six MSC pilots between April 15 and May 15. References: 16 .
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite; returned film capsule; deployed high energy gamma ray experiment capsule. First flight of modernised Zenit-2 area survey reconnaissance satellite. References: 1 , 2 , 6 .
Apollo drogue chute test 99-5 failed at the El Centro, Calif., parachute facility. The drop was conducted to demonstrate the slight change made in the reefed area and the 10-second reefing cutter at ultimate load conditions. The 5,897-kilogram vehicle was launched from a B-52 aircraft at 10,668 meters and programmer chute operation and timing appeared normal. At drogue deployment following mortar activation, one drogue appeared to separate from the vehicle. Additional Details: Apollo drogue chute test failure 99-5. References: 16 .
Gagarin's death in a MiG-15UTI trainer on a routine mission was deeply demoralizing. References: 72 .
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