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 Manned Spacecraft Center has issued its final Statement of Work for the Air Force Space Systems Division. Space Systems Division is, in this context, contractor to NASA procuring Titan II launch vehicles, as modified for the manned program’s needs. The statement, itemizing the tasks Space Systems Division is expected to do or provide, and on what schedule, and how acceptable performance will be measured, and so on, began being prepared by the Manned Spacecraft Center on January 3. The initial budgeting and planning were completed by the end of March. Though final the plan is subject to amendment.
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”
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 $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.
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 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.
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.