The development testing plans for the Gemini spacecraft ejection seat were settled in a meeting between representatives of McDonnell, Weber Aircraft, the Gemini Procurement Office, Life Systems Division, Gemini Project Office, and the US Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake, California.
Continue reading “Tuesday, May 29, 1962 – Ejection Seat Plans”
The pulse code modulation method is to be used for transmitting Project Gemini telemetry. McDonnell has awarded an $8 million subcontract to Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc, of Sarasota, Florida, for this digital transmission system. The system will use a pulse code modulation subsystem, an onboard tape recorder, and a pair of VHF transmitters, and be capable of transmitting data in real or delayed time.
Continue reading “Monday, May 21, 1962 – Launch Pad 19 For Gemini; Pulse Code Modulation for Telemetry”
The meeting about the retrograde rocket motors has concluded the design should be changed to provide about three times the thrust level. This will allow retrorocket aborts at altitudes as low as between 72,000 and 75,000 feet. The meeting was between representatives of McDonnell and the Gemini Project Office.
Continue reading “Thursday, May 17, 1962 – Retrorocket and Parachute Decisions”
Representatives of the Gemini Project Office and of McDonnell are meeting to discuss retrograde rockets for the Gemini spacecraft. These rockets are currently to be provided by Thiokol.
Continue reading “Wednesday, May 16, 1962 – Retrorockets, Parachutes, and Interface Group”
The first ejection seat design review has been completed. The two-day conference at McDonnell in Saint Louis was attended by representatives of McDonnell, Northrop Ventura (formerly Radioplane), Weber Aircraft, and the Manned Spacecraft Center. This is the first of a series of ejection seat design meetings planned from March 29.
Continue reading “Tuesday, May 15, 1962 – Ejection seat in review; rocket catapult contract; new liaison”
A two-day meeting on Gemini crew support systems has identified seven parameters to be measured for determining crew conditions during the Gemini flights. The instruments needed for the highest priority items — blood pressure, electrocardiogram, phonocardiogram, electroencephalogram, respiration, galvanic skin response, and body temperature — would require about three and a half pounds per pilot, require two watt-hours of power, and demand the shared use of six telemetry channels. Approved for development, then, are measurements of the electrocardiogram, respiration rate and depth, oral temperature, blood pressure, phonocardiogram, and nuclear radiation dose.
Continue reading “Friday, May 11, 1962 – Survival kit, biological measurements, spacewalk requirements”
A working group made of representatives from Goddard Space Flight Center and the Manned Spacecraft Center has formed to study making Project Gemini telemetry be transmitted fully by Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) systems. This follows a briefing from Lockheed on the system. Pulse Code Modulation is a method of numerical representations of samplings of an original analog signal. Human speech has been transmitted on such systems in experimental equipment as long ago as 1926, and was used — in conjunction with a vocoder, developed by Bell Labs, and with randomized thermal noise recorded by the Muzak Corporation — to provide secure high-level Allied communications during the Second World War.
Continue reading “Tuesday, May 1, 1962 – Digital coding, Gemini rendezvous and radar schemes”
A report is being presented today to the Gemini Project Office regarding the abort criteria for the malfunction detection system. The report is presented by Martin-Baltimore and the Air Force Space Systems Division.
The Gemini Project Office has received the “Gemini Manufacturing Plan” prepared by McDonnell. The plan calls for the construction of four static articles to be used in ground testing. According to the plan, dated April 6, and presented by Earl Whitlock of McDonnell, production spacecraft Number 1 is to be followed by static article Number 1.
Continue reading “Monday, April 9, 1962”
McDonnell awards an $18 million subcontract to the Saint Petersburg, Florida, Aeronautical Division of Minneapolis-Honeywell. This subcontract is to provide the Inertial Maneuvering Unit of the Gemini spacecraft.
Continue reading “Thursday, March 29, 1962”
The Air Force Space Systems Division contracted today with the Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, California, for general systems engineering and technical direction of the development of the Titan II booster used for Project Gemini. Aerospace itself had established a Gemini Launch Vehicle Program in January, and Space Systems Division issued a Technical Operating Plan for this support on February 18.
The Gemini Project Office reiterated its intention that Project Mercury hardware and subcontractors are to be used for Gemini. Using different equipment or subcontractors requires justification for each item.
The Gemini Project Office made a major decision about seat ejection. It is to be initiated manually, with both seats ejected simultaneously in case either ejection system is energized. The seat ejection is to be useful as a way to escape an emergency while on the launchpad, during the initial phase of powered flight (to an altitude of about 60,000 feet), or on reentry following a failure of the paraglider landing system.
The escape system is to include a hatch actuation system, opening the hatches before ejection; a rocket catapult to shoot both seats away from the spacecraft; and parachutes for the astronauts following their separation from the seat. The system is also to provide for survival equipment for the astronauts to use after landing.
The design is to allow for an automatic initiator in case this later becomes a requirement.
In other news the Manned Spacecraft Center issued its second analysis of the Gemini program schedule. This is the first to consider launch vehicles as well as the spacecraft. (The earlier analysis, of just Gemini operations, was published January 5.) Analysis of the Agena vehicles is limited, as their procurement began only with a request the Manned Spacecraft Center sent to Marshall Space Flight Center on January 31 for the eleven Atlas-Agena rendezvous targets believed needed.
The Gemini program is projected to use a number of test articles for engineering development, correcting a problem which had delayed the Mercury Program at times. The first, unmanned, qualification test is projected for late July or early August 1963. The second, manned, flight is now planned for late October or early November 1963. The first Agena flight is projected for late April or early May 1964. The remaining flights in the program are to be at roughly two-month intervals from then until the middle of 1965.
Marshall Space Flight Center delivers to the Gemini Project Office a procurement schedule for Agena target vehicles. The Air Force Space Systems Division is to contract with Lockheed for 11 target vehicles. Space Systems Division is to put the Gemini Agena target vehicle program under the Ranger Launch Directorate.
Marshall expects that the delivery of a main engine qualified for multiple restarts will be in 50 weeks. This is an improvement in development time: the main engine is no longer considered the pacing item in the schedule for Agena development.
The Manned Spacecraft Center directed North American to design and develop an emergency parachute system for flight test vehicles. These vehicles, both half-size and full-size, are required for Phase II-A of the Paraglider Development Program. The Manned Spacecraft Center authorized North American to subcontract the emergency recovery system to the Radioplane Division of the Northrop Corporation.
The Marshall Space Flight Center composed a procurement schedule for the Agena target vehicles, to be delivered to the Gemini Project Office.
The Gemini Project Office accepted McDonnell’s preliminary design for the Gemini main undercarriage for use in land landings. It authorized McDonnell to proceed with the detail design. Dynamic model testing of the undercarriage should begin around April 1.
McDonnell subcontracted to the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company of Minneapolis to provide the attitude control and maneuvering electronics system. This is to provide the circuitry linking astronaut controls to the attitude and maneuvering controls and the reaction control system. The contract is for $6.5 million.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation of Baltimore received a $6.8 million subcontract from McDonnell. Westinghouse will provide the rendezvous radar and transponder system for the Gemini craft. The transponder is to be located in the Agena target vehicle.
Harold I Johnson, head of the Spacecraft Operations Branch (Flight Crew Operations Division of the Manned Spacecraft Center), circulated a memorandum on proposed training devices. The mission simulator should be capable of replicating a complete mission profile including sight, sound, and vibration cues, and be initially identical to the spacecraft, mission control, and remote site displays.
Training for launch and re-entry is to be provided by the centrifuge at the Naval Air Development Center (Johnsville, Pennsylvania), with a gondola set up to replicate the Gemini spacecraft interior. A static article is to serve as egress trainer. A boilerplate spacecraft with paraglider wing, used in a program including helicopter drops, will provide experience in landing on dry land. A docking trainer, fitted with actual hardware, capable of motion in six degrees of freedom, is to be used for docking operations training. And other trainers would be used for prepare for specific tasks.
The first regular business meeting between the Gemini Project Office and McDonnell occurred. Subsequent meetings are scheduled for the Monday, Tuesday, and Friday of each week. The initial coordination meetings had been held February 19, and introduction meetings were held the 19th, 21st, 23rd, 27th, and 28th. The objective of these meetings is to discuss and settle differences in decision-making about the project.