The Manned Spacecraft Center has awarded to the Whirlpool Corporation Research Laboratories of Saint Joseph, Michigan, a contract to provide the food and waste management systems for Project Gemini. Whirlpool is to provide the water dispenser, food storage, and waste storage devices. The food and the zero-gravity feeding devices, however, are to be provided by the United States Army Quartermaster Corps Food and Container Institute, of Chicago. The Life Systems Division of the Manned Spacecraft Center is responsible for directing the program.
Continue reading “Wednesday, June 6, 1962 – Food Contract, Boilerplate Purchase”
The Ames Research Center has begun the first wind tunnel test of the inflatable paraglider wing, using a half-scale model of the wing intended to bring Gemini flights (after the first one) to a touchdown on the ground. This is the first large-scale paraglider wing in the full-scale test facility. The objective of the test program, to run over two months, are to understand the basic aerodynamic and loads data for the wing and spacecraft system, and to identify potential aerodynamic and design problems.
Continue reading “Wednesday, May 23, 1962 – Paraglider Wing Wind Tunnel Test”
A current estimate of Project Gemini costs shows considerable increases from the projections of December 1961. The spacecraft cost, estimated at $240.5 million, is now projected at $391.6 million. Titan II costs, expected five months ago to be about $113.0 million, have risen to $161.8 million. The Atlas-Agena budget has risen from $88.0 million to $106.3 million, despite this part of the program’s slowing down. Support development, including the paraglider program, has increased from $29.0 to $36.8 million. There is a bright spot on the budgetary front: the estimate of operations cost has declined from $59.0 to $47.8 million.
Continue reading “Saturday, May 12, 1962 – Project Gemini Cost Estimates Growing”
The Manned Spacecraft Center has issued its third analysis of the schedule of the Gemini program. The new plan calls for two additional boilerplate spacecraft, in order to help ground testing. Test hardware has begun construction, and plans for the spacecraft ground tests are formed.
Continue reading “Friday, May 4, 1962 – Threats to First Gemini Spacecraft Schedules Identified”
Following a review of the design and testing philosophy for the Half-Scale Test Vehicle, part of Phase II-A of the Paraglider Development Program, the Half Scale Test Vehicle Design Review Board has recommended to North American 21 changes in the test vehicle design and the test procedures.
Continue reading “Friday, April 27, 1962 – Paraglider Meeting Produces 21 Changes”
Lockheed today presents its proposed propulsion development plans for the Gemini-Agena target vehicle. The description includes studies on propulsion system optimization, a program to develop multiple-restart capabilities for the primary propulsion system, and the development program for the secondary propulsion system.
Continue reading “Thursday, April 26, 1962 – Agena Launch Vehicle, Paraglider Plans”
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.
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.