McDonnell has awarded a $1 million subcontract to the ACF Electronics Division of ACF Industries (Riverdale, California). The subcontract is to provide C-band and S-band radar beacons for the Gemini craft. The beacons are to be part of the tracking system for the spacecraft.
The C-band radar would transmit at 5765 MHz and receive at 5690. The S-band radar would transmit at 2910 MHz and receive at 2840.
The Defense Products Division of B F Goodrich Company of Akron, Ohio, has been awarded a cost-plus-fixed-free contract by the Manned Spacecraft Center. The contract, for $209,701, is to design, develop, and fabricate prototype pressure suits. Goodrich has been at work on contract-related materials since the 10th of January.
Continue reading “Wednesday, April 4, 1962”
NASA’s Ames Research Center looks to have a place in the development of Project Gemini. Representatives of Ames, and the Manned Spacecraft Center, and Martin, and McDonnell meet today to discuss the Gemini wind tunnel program and the role Ames will have in it.
Continue reading “Tuesday, April 3, 1962”
The configuration of the Gemini spacecraft is formally frozen. McDonnell has been defining the spacecraft since the basic configuration was firmed up on December 22, 1961. Since then McDonnell has been writing detailed specifications for the entire vehicle, its major subsystems, and its performance.
Martin-Baltimore has submitted to the Air Force Space Systems Division the document Description of the Launch Vehicle for the Gemini Spacecraft. This defines the concept and the philosophy for each proposed subsystem as well as laid out the design for the Gemini launch vehicle.
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”
McDonnell awards a subcontract worth $2.5 million to the Collins Radio Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The subcontract is to provide the voice communications system for the Gemini spacecraft.
Continue reading “Wednesday, March 28, 1962”
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.
McDonnell awards a $4.475 million subcontract to the Western Military Division of Motorola, Inc, of Scottsdale, Arizona. Western Military Division is to design and build the Digital Command System for the Gemini spacecraft. This is to receive in digital format commands from ground stations, to decode them, and to send the commands to the appropriate spacecraft systems. Two types of commands are anticipated: real-time commands for spacecraft functions, and stored program commands to update data on the spacecraft’s digital computer. The Digital Command System is to consist of a receiver/decoder package and three relay packages.
Air Force Space Systems Division awards a letter contract to the Aerojet-General Corporation of Azusa, California. This is to research, develop, and procure fifteen propulsion systems for the Gemini launch vehicle, and also for the design and development of related ground equipment. Aerojet was authorized to work on the engines on February 14th. Final engine delivery is scheduled by April 1965.
McDonnell issues a $9 million subcontract to General Electric to design and develop fuel cells for the Gemini spacecraft. The General Electric design, selected by the Manned Spacecraft Center after an analysis completed January 23, appeared to offer advantages over the competing solar cells or other fuel cells in terms of simplicity, weight, and compatibility with other Project Gemini requirements. Much of this advantage is credited to the use of ion-exchange membranes rather than gas-diffusion electrodes within the fuel cells.
McDonnell awards a $3.2 million subcontract to Advanced Technology Laboratories, Inc, of Mountain View, California. The subcontract is for the horizon sensor system for the Gemini spacecraft. One primary and one secondary horizon sensor are to be part of the guidance and control system. The sensors are to detect and track the gradient of infrared radiation between the Earth and outer space.
McDonnell also awards a $400,000 subcontract to the Thiokol Chemical Corporation of Elkton, Maryland, for retrograde rockets. The solid-propellant retrorockets, four of which are designed to be put in the adapter section, are to start reentry or, in the event of a high-altitude suborbital abort, separate the spacecraft from the Titan II booster. It is believed that only slight modifications of a motor already in use are necessary, and that the qualification program will not need to be elaborate.
McDonnell awarded a $5.5 million subcontract to AiResearch. AiResearch is to provide the reactant supply for Gemini spacecraft fuel cells.
The fuel cells, which are designed to provide power and water, are to store hydrogen and oxygen in two double-walled, vacuum-insulated, spherical containers in the Gemini spacecraft’s adaptor section, jettisoned at the start of the reentry procedure.
The Air Force successfully launched a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile at 18:09 Greenwich Time. This suborbital flight, the first full-scale test of the vehicle to also be Project Gemini’s booster, from Launch Complex 16, flew five thousand miles out over the Atlantic Ocean and reached an apogee of about eight hundred miles. This vehicle was serial number N-2.
Launch Complex 16 has since its inauguration on December 12, 1959, been used for six launches of the Titan I, three of them successful.
North American awarded a $225,000 subcontract to the Radioplane Division of Northrop Corporation today, as part of North American’s contract to design and develop emergency parachute recovery systems and test vehicles for the Paraglider Development Program.
McDonnell contracted with Vidya, Inc, of Palo Alto, California, today to test new ablation materials for the Gemini heat shields.
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.
In a ceremony at the Pentagon, John Glenn was presented Astronaut Wings. He is the third person so honored.
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.
Mercury Astronauts Scott Carpenter and Walter Schirra went through water-egress exercises, including practice with helicopter pickups.
The Mercury 7 astronauts, who may be expected to continue on to Project Gemini, were today the guests of the United Nations, following yesterday’s “John Glenn Day” in New York City. Glenn himself was spokesman during an informal reception given by Acting Secretary General U Thant.
Martin-Baltimore was authorized today to proceed with study and design work for the Gemini launch vehicle’s redundant flight control and hydraulic subsystems.
The major change in the flight control system, compared to those of the standard Titan II missile, is the substitution of the General Electric Mod IIIG radio guidance system, and the replacement of the Titan I three-axis reference system for the Titan II inertial guidance system.
The Manned Spacecraft Center allotts $5.2 million to the Marshall Space Flight Center, so that it could procure Atlas-Agena vehicles to be used for Project Gemini.
Marshall is not to spend more than $2 million until a Statement of Work is made definite.
Regularly scheduled meetings are planned to resolve technical and management problems between the Manned Spacecraft Center and Marshall.