The CTL Division of the Studebaker Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio, has received a subcontract form McDonnell to provide a pair of backup heatshields for the Gemini spacecraft. The contract is for $457,875.
Continue reading “Wednesday, April 25, 1962 – Studebaker to build heat shields”
NASA is accepting applications for additional astronauts and will be doing so through June 1, 1962. The plan is to select between five and ten new astronauts to augment the existing corps of seven. The new astronauts will support Project Mercury operations, and go on to join the Mercury astronauts in piloting the Gemini spacecraft.
Continue reading “Wednesday, April 18, 1962 – Astronaut Applications Open”
Air Force Space Systems Division has published the Development Plan for the Gemini Launch Vehicle System. Using experience drawn from the Titan II and the Mercury development programs it is estimated the development of the launch vehicle will require a budget of $164.4 million. This includes a contingency fund of 50 percent to cover cost increases and unforeseen changes.
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.