We came in peace for all mankind. The steel plate is deceptively simple. Futura, the typeface for all the text, was a design appropriate to the moment. How did Futura end up on the moon? Just a year earlier, had wowed audiences with its special effects, cosmic vision of the future, and advertising campaign conducted almost exclusively in Futura.
It quickly became a worldwide sensation, as perhaps the smallest, and most easily consumable, contribution to Bauhaus-inspired Modernism. Futura began as high art, new and dangerous in its design and underlying egalitarian ideology, but it quickly became mainstream in the U. It signaled factual information in headings, footnotes, and fine print across thousands of textbooks, newspapers, encyclopedias, and magazines. The U. Army had been using Futura as the basis for its detailed global mapping project since World War II, and the US Air Force had started using Futura on labels for its missiles by the late s.
By the time of the Apollo program in the s, Futura was a generic choice for military operations. As with many large-scale operations, NASA operated by contracting out the design and manufacturing of the items it needed, from rocket boosters to waste bags. For example, the medium-format camera that the Apollo 11 astronauts used to take pictures of the moon was the commercially available Swedish Hasselblad EL camera, modified with special lubricants and coatings for use in space. Before sending the camera into space, NASA placed a sticker with simplified instructions on the top of each camera, set in Futura.
This ensured that the astronauts could successfully operate the camera, and also lent an official look that the astronauts would quickly, even subconsciously, recognize as the authoritative voice of mission control. Mission charts and maps set in Futura directed John Glenn as he first orbited the earth. After oxygen tanks exploded on Apollo 13, Jack Swigert watched plunging oxygen levels on indicator dials set in Futura.
And after every successful mission, Futura-lettered labels on doors, levers, and knobs guided astronauts as they opened the hatches back on Earth, triumphant in their accomplishments. Black Futura type on silver adhesive labels marked daily food rations, tool bags, and even human-waste containers. Training and operating manuals primarily featured Futura.
McDonnell, prior to being awarded the Mercury prime development contract in February , spent 11 months under a company research budget working on a manned orbital spacecraft concept. Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of In a memorandum to Dr. James R. Killian, Jr. Hugh L. For years NACA groups had been involved in research on such items as stabilization of ultra-high speed vehicles, provision of suitable controls, high temperature structural designs, and all the problems of reentry.
In fact, a part of this work had been directed specifically toward the problem of designing a manned satellite. Also, the X program had provided much experience in human factors applicable to the orbital flight of man. Therefore, Dr. Dryden concluded, in consonance with the intent of the Space Act of , the assignment of the program to the NACA would be consistent. Launch Vehicle : Thor. Pentagon briefings on USAF manned space program. Air Force Ballistic Missile Division representatives again presented a series of Washington briefings.
These were to Lt General S. The latter presentation, in addition to reporting detailed man in space planning, requested prompt program approval and emphasized the urgency of firm funds commitment if further delay was to be avoided. After these two days of briefings it was clear that quick approval of a military man in space program was not forthcoming.
MFR, Col J. Air Force continued to press for a manned space program. Despite mounting evidence that the Air Force would not be assigned management of any national lunar program, it continued to press for a manned space program. On this date there was a meeting of Dr. Johnson, Advanced Research Projects Agency; and Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy but future management of a manned space program was not resolved and it appeared that resolution would only bp attained at the Presidential level.
President signed law creating NASA -. The new agency would have custody of all space programs except those clearly oriented toward military objectives. Brigadier General H. Boushey was appointed director of the new office and its primary function, although the words "space" and "astronautics" were conspicuously absent from its mission description, was to serve as the control point for all Air Force space projects.
Bowen, The Threshold of Space, p. The military services and particularly the Air Force found their space prospects disheartening. Obviously the military services no longer controlled development of space vehicles and programs. Through fiscal all space programs had been managed by the Department of Defense through the Advanced Research Projects Agency. The new fiscal year offered little hope for change and, on 29 July, the President ordered transfer to National Aeronautics and Space Administration of nonmilitary space programs such as lunar probes, scientific satellites, and the Vanguard project.
Test subject withstood a 20g load on the centrifuge using Langley contour couch. By using the development model of the Mercury contour couch designed by Maxime A.
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Faget and associates, Carter C. Collins withstood a 20g load on the centrifuge at Johnsville, Pennsylvania. This test proved that the reentry accelerations of manned space flight could be withstood. Republic Aviation man-in-space studies. Republic Aviation representatives briefed NACA Headquarters personnel on the man-in-space studies in which the company had been engaged since the first of the year. They envisioned a four-stage solid launch vehicle system and a lifting reentry vehicle, which was termed a sled.
The vehicle was to be of triangular shape with a 75 degree leading-edge sweep. Aerodynamic and reaction controls would be available to the pilot. For the launch vehicle, Republic proposed a Minuteman first stage, a Polaris first stage, a Minuteman upper stage, and a Jumbo rocket fourth stage. Other details relative to reentry and recovery were included in the briefing. NACA program on the technology of manned space flight vehicles. Eisenhower assigns the manned space flight program to NASA. President Eisenhower assigned the responsibility for the development and execution of a manned space flight program to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Project Adam -. Spacecraft : Adam , Mercury. A memorandum from the Secretary of the Army to the Secretary of Defense recommended Project Adam for a manned space flight program. This plan proposed a ballistic suborbital flight using existing Redstone hardware as a national political-psychological demonstration. Additional Details : here It appeared probable that final over-all space program would be adopted until the large area of overlapping jurisdiction between the two agencies was sorted out. Thus it appeared that of the various proposed programs already within National Aeronautics and Space Administration's legitimate area of interest it might well take over the man in space program primarily because it had the money to undertake its development.
In respect to the lunar probe program, the Air Force had to wait for further direction before proceeding further. The large booster one million pound thrust authorized for Air Force development was transferred to the civilian. Memo, Col C. Mercury tracking network study begun -. Study was started on the tracking and ground instrumentation networks for the manned satellite project..
Little chance for approval of Project Adam. This panel, with the aid of technical studies prepared by the Langley and Lewis Research Centers and assistance from the military services, drafted specific plans for a program of research leading to manned space flight. Joint Manned Satellite Panel -. Basic plan for a manned satellite program. Related Persons : Faget , Gilruth. A series of meetings were held in Washington, with Robert R.
Gilruth serving as chairman to draft a manned satellite program and provide a basic plan for meeting the objectives of this program. Others attending included S. Batdorf, A. Eggers, Maxime A. Williams, and Robert C. The studies of both contractors were considered excellent. The contract winner, however, was not announced because the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was taking over the manned space program. The mockup of the manned capsule developed I by North American Aviation, together with associated technical data was, subsequently, delivered to the civilian agency's Space Task Group at Langley Re"-search Center.
Drop tests of full-scale Mercury capsules started -. Spacecraft : Mercury , Mercury Parachute. Drop tests of full-scale capsules from a C airplane were started to check parachute deployment and spacecraft stability. These drops involved the use of a concrete-filled drum attached to an operating canister system.
The purpose of this phase was to demonstrate the adequacy of the mechanical system of deploying the parachutes. Subsequently, the drops were made by the C's at Pope Field, North Carolina, from low levels to perfect a means of extracting the spacecraft from the aircraft.
Full-scale spacecraft and operating parachutes were used in these drops, and all operational features of the drop-test program were worked out. The next phase was the research and development drops offshore of Wallops Island, Virginia, and the objectives here were as follows: to study the stability of the spacecraft during free fall and with parachute support; to study the shock input to the spacecraft by parachute deployment; and to study and develop retrieving operations.
NASA created -. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA was formally organized and began operation as the government agency in charge of the national civilian space program. Related Persons : Glennan. Studies and plans of the manned satellite project were presented to Advanced Research Projects Agency on October 3 and to Dr. On October 7, , Dr. Glennan approved the project by saying, in effect, 'Let's get on with it. Negotiations for Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicles for Mercury project.
Related Persons : von Braun. Personnel from the Langley Research Center visited the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to open negotiations for procuring Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicles for manned satellite projects.. Study of Mercury reentry methods. Spacecraft : Mercury , Mercury Heat Shield. Along with individuals from the center and the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, the group then met at the Chicago Midway Laboratories, Chicago, Illinois, to investigate various ablation methods of reentry. Concurrently, these same methods were being investigated at high-temperature test facilities at Langley.
Project Mercury organized. NASA formally organized Project Mercury to: 1 place manned space capsule in orbital flight around the earth; 2 investigate man's reactions to and capabilities in this environment; and 3 recover capsule and pilot safely. Space Task Group for Project Mercury. Mercury air drop program for full-scale parachute and landing system development. In behalf of the manned satellite project, an air drop program for full-scale parachute and landing system development was started at Langley..
The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Supply and Logistics invited the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to submit nominations for materiel procurement urgency commonly known as the DX priority rating.. Launch Vehicle : Atlas D. Negotiations for Mercury Atlas launch vehicles -. Langley Research Center personnel visited the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, Inglewood, California, to open negotiations for procuring Atlas launch vehicles for the manned satellite project..
Launch Vehicle : Little Joe. Bidders' briefing for the Mercury Little Joe launch vehicle. A bidders' briefing for the Little Joe launch vehicle was held. As earlier mentioned, this launch vehicle was to be used in the development phase of the manned satellite project.
The Little Joe launch vehicle was 48 feet in height, weighed at maximum 41, pounds, was 6. Preliminary specifications for Mercury manned spacecraft -. Preliminary specifications for a manned spacecraft were established with industry. These specifications outlined the program and suggested methods of analysis and construction.. USAF support for the Mercury program. The first of a series of meetings between the Space Task Group and Air Force Ballistic Missile Division was held to define support required by the civilian space agency.
The scope of the manned space effort, its booster requirements, procurement procedures, launch schedules and facilities, were defined. The missile division also needed to define the extent of its own role in the. Mercury program. The first meeting was exploratory in nature; the missile division indicated its complete support of the Mercury program insofar as it did not interfere with the missile development effort; the space agency indicated its desire to procure boosters through, and use as much of Air Force Ballistic Missile Division's resources and capabilities as possible.
Committee to determine Mercury astronaut qualifications. A special Committee on Life Sciences was established at Langley to determine qualifications and attributes required of personnel to be selected for America's first manned space flight and to give advice on other human aspects of the manned satellite program.
The space agency offered a tentative launch and test program and the missile division assisted in preparing a development plan. Schedules, operating procedures, funding and general allocation of responsibilities were discussed but the meeting was not marked by any major agreements. Study on spacecraft recovery operations. Study was started on spacecraft recovery operations. During this study period, it was learned that the retrieving operation could be very difficult; but with properly designed equipment, helicopter pickup could be used and appeared to be the most favorable method.
Mercury scale model transonic tests. A scale model of the Mercury spacecraft without escape tower , oriented for the reentry phase, was tested at transonic Mach numbers in a 1-foot transonic test tunnel at the Arnold Engineering Development Center, Tullahoma, Tennessee..
Mercury astronaut training plans. The initial contingent of military service aeromedical personnel reported for duty and began working on human factors, crew selection, and crew training plans for the manned spacecraft program.. Related Persons : Gilruth , Glennan. Program : Apollo. Keith Glennan had approved the formation of the Group, which had been working together for some months, on October 7. Its members were designated on November 3 by Robert R. Gilruth, Project Manager, and authorization was given by Floyd L.
Contractor briefing on the Mercury manned spacecraft -. A contractor briefing, attended by some 40 prospective bidders on the manned spacecraft, was held at the Langley Research Center. More detailed specifications were then prepared and distributed to about 20 manufacturers who had stated an intention to bid on the project.
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Specifications for Mercury issued. Specifications for the manned spacecraft Specification Number S-6 were issued, and final copies were mailed on November 17, , to 20 firms which had indicated a desire to be considered as bidders.. Twenty firms to bid on Mercury spacecraft. Twenty firms notified the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of their intention to prepare proposals for the development of the manned spacecraft.
NASA set the deadline for proposal submission as December 11, DX priority requested for Mercury project. The highest national procurement priority rating DX was requested for the manned spacecraft project.. I November 24 -. Space Task Group orders first Mercury Atlas missile. The Space Task Group placed an order for one Atlas launch vehicle with the Air Force Missile Division, Inglewood, California, as part of a preliminary research program leading to manned space flight.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters requested that the Air Force construct and launch one Atlas C launch vehicle to check the aerodynamics of the spacecraft. It was the intention to launch this missile about May in a ballistic trajectory. This was to be the launch vehicle for the Big Joe reentry test shot, but plans were later changed and an Atlas Model D launch vehicle was used instead.
Air Force Ballistic Missile Division received its first specific request from the civilian space agency to support a "preliminary research program leading to manned space flight. This request was a forerunner of a support effort for a program "requiring approximately thirteen 13 ballistic missile boosters of the Thor and Atlas class. The missile division was to furnish detailed plans, subject to the approval of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for the design, construction and launching of this vehicle.
One million dollars was immediately transferred to the Air Force with more money to be supplied as it was requested. Project Mercury named. Project Mercury, U. Design of the Mercury Big Joe spacecraft completed. Design of the Big Joe spacecraft for the Project Mercury reentry test the spacecraft would be boosted by an Atlas launch vehicle over a ballistic trajectory was accomplished by the Space Task Group. Construction of the spacecraft was assigned as a joint task of the Langley and Lewis Research Centers under the direction of the Space Task Group.
Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicle use on Mercury discussed. Space Task Group officials visited the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to determine the feasibility of using the Jupiter launch vehicle for the intermediate phase of Project Mercury, to discuss the Redstone program, and to discuss the cost for Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicles. Space Technology Laboratories briefing on its space capsule efforts.
Nine Atlas launch vehicles ordered for Project Mercury -. The Space Task Group indicated that nine Atlas launch vehicles were required in support of the Project Mercury manned and unmanned flights and these were ordered from the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division.. Mercury astronaut selection procedure. An aeromedical selection team composed of Major Stanley C. White, Air Force; Lt.
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Robert B. According to the plan, representatives from the services and industry would nominate men by January 21, ; 36 of these would be selected for further testing which would reduce the group to 12; and in a 9-month training period, a hard core of 6 men would remain. At the end of December , this plan was rejected. Eleven firms submitted proposals for the development of Mercury manned spacecraft. In addition, Winzen Research Laboratories submitted an incomplete proposal.. Mercury technical proposal assessment -. Space Task Group personnel began technical assessment of manned spacecraft development proposals submitted by industry.
Charles Zimmermann headed the technical assessment team.. Project Mercury named -. Keith Glennan announced that the manned satellite program would be called "Project Mercury. One of the most important Project Mercury meetings between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the missile division took place. A series of agreements was approved controlling administrative arrangements and procedural channels essential to coordinated, efficient management of the joint phases of the program.
Mercury Little Joe air frame contract. A contract was awarded to North American Aviation for design and construction of the Little Joe air frame.. Space Task Group evaluation of industry proposals for Mercury. Space Task Group's technical assessment teams completed the evaluation of industry proposals for design and construction of a manned spacecraft and forwarded their findings to the Source Selection Board, NASA Headquarters..
Letter-of-intent placed for Mercury Little Joe Test air frames. The letter-of-intent was placed with North American Aviation for the fabrication of the Little Joe Test vehicle air frame. Delivery of the air frames for flight testing was scheduled to occur every three weeks beginning in June Space Task Group had ordered all the major rocket motors, which were scheduled for delivery well ahead of the Little Joe flight test schedule. The spacecraft for this phase of the program was being designed and construction would start shortly.
Thus the Little Joe program should meet its intended flight test schedule. Study contracts for tracking instrumentation for Project Mercury. Study contracts were awarded to Aeronutronics, Space Electronics, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory for assistance in developing plans for tracking and ground instrumentation for Project Mercury.. Models of the Mercury spacecraft were tested at speeds of Mach 8, 16, and 20 to investigate stability, heat transfer, and pressure distribution of Mercury components.
Balloon flights planned for Mercury. Balloon flights were planned for high-altitude qualification tests of the complete spacecraft, including all instrumentation, retrorockets, drogue parachute system, and recovery. Later balloon flights would be manned to provide as much as 24 hours of training followed by recovery at sea. The Space Task Group made surveys of organizations experienced in the balloon field and recommended that the Air Force Cambridge Research Center be given responsibilities for designing, contracting, and conducting the balloon program.
Honeywell named subcontractor for the Mercury stabilization system. McDonnell, as prime contractor, selected Minneapolis-Honeywell as subcontractor for the Mercury stabilization system. At that time, other subcontractors were under consideration for the fabrication of various components: Bell Aircraft Rockets Division, reaction control system; and General Electric, Barnes Instruments, and Detroit Controls were being considered for fabrication of the horizon scanner.
Later Bell and Barnes were awarded contracts for respective components. Mercury pilot selection qualifications -. These qualifications were as follows: age, less than 40; height, less than 5 feet 11 inches; excellent physical condition; bachelor's degree or equivalent; graduate of test pilot school; 1, hours flight time; and a qualified jet pilot. Mercury spacecraft heat protection. A meeting was held at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters to discuss the method for spacecraft heat protection.
Two plans were considered: beryllium heat sink and ablation. Based on this meeting a decision was made to modify the spacecraft structure in order to accomodate interchangeably ablation heat shields and beryllium heat sinks , and orders were placed for 12 and 6, respectively. The material chosen for the ablation heat was Fiberglas bonded with a modified phenolic resin. This material was found to have good structural properties even after being subjected to reentry heating. LV Family : Redstone. Redstones ordered for Mercury suborbital launches. McDonnell selected to produce the Mercury spacecraft.
Related Persons : Glennan , Silverstein. Keith Glennan, the Administrator. McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was selected as the prime contractor to develop and produce the Mercury spacecraft. McDonnell awarded contract for Mercury project -. Other leading contender was Grumman. Original schedule was for manned flights from January - August Preliminary negotiations with McDonnell on the Mercury spacecraft -. Preliminary negotiations were started with McDonnell on the technical and legal aspects of the Mercury spacecraft research and development program..
Eight Redstone and two Jupiter launch vehicles for Mercury -. Mercury design details negotiated. During a meeting of the Space Task Group, it was decided to negotiate with McDonnell for design of spacecraft that could be fitted with either a beryllium heat sink or an ablation heat shield. Gilruth, the project director, considered that for safety purposes, both should be used. He also felt that the recovery landing bag should be replaced by a honeycombed crushable structure. At this same meeting, a tentative decision was also made that design, development, and contract responsibilities for the Mercury tracking network would be assigned to the Langley Research Center.
The screening of records for prospective Mercury astronauts began. Mercury pilot egress trainer received. The pilot egress trainer was received from McDonnell and rough water evaluation of the equipment was started immediately by Space Task Group personnel..
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At that time, McDonnell estimated that the first 3 spacecraft could be delivered in 10 months. Spacecraft refinements slipped this estimated goal by only 2 months. The Little Joe flight test program was drafted. This plan was updated on April 14, Primary objectives of the test were to investigate flight dynamics, check drogue parachute operations, determine physiological effects of acceleration on a small primate, and, to some extent, check the spacecraft aerodynamic characteristics.
Navy candidates for Project Mercury. Keith Glennan that Navy candidates for Project Mercury had started in the first selection process.. During a meeting between personnel of the Space Task Group and the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, the responsibilities of the two organizations were outlined for the first two Atlas firings. Space Technology Laboratories, under Air Force Ballistic Missile Division direction, would select the design trajectories according to the specifications set forth by the Space Task Group.
These specifications were to match a point in the trajectory at about , feet, corresponding to a normal reentry condition for the manned spacecraft after firing of the retrorockets at an altitude of nautical miles. Space Technology Laboratories would also provide impact dispersion data, data for range safety purposes, and the necessary reprograming of the guidance computers. The spacecraft for the suborbital Atlas flights would be manufactured under the deriction of the Lewis Research Center, based on Space Task Group designs.
Space Task Group was developing the spacecraft instrumentation, with a contingent of personnel at the Lewis Research Center. The attitude control system was being developed by Lewis. Some records were reviewed for prospective pilot candidates of which about appeared to qualify. The special committee on Life Sciences decided to divide these into two groups and 69 prospective pilot candidates were briefed and interviewed in Washington. Out of this number, 53 volunteered for the Mercury program, and 32 of the 53 were selected for further testing. The committee agreed there was no further need to brief other individuals, because of the high qualities exhibited in the existing pool of candidates.
Formal contract for 12 Mercury spacecraft with McDonnell. Following industry-wide competition, a formal contract for research and development of the Mercury spacecraft was negotiated with the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. The contract called for design and construction of 12 Mercury spacecraft, but it did not include details on changes and ground support equipment which were to be negotiated as the project developed.
Later, orders were placed with the company for eight additional spacecraft, two procedural trainers, an environmental trainer, and seven checkout trainers. McDonnell had been engaged in studying the development of a manned spacecraft since the NACA presentation in mid-March of Medical tests for the Mercury astronaut selection started.
Wiind tunnel tests of Project Mercury configuration models were started. Redstone and Jupiter flight phases of Project Mercury. During the course of the meeting the following points became firm: 1 Space Task Group was the overall manager and technical director of this phase of the program, 2 ABMA was responsible for the launch vehicle until spacecraft separation, 3 ABMA was responsible for the Redstone launch vehicle recovery this phase of the program was later eliminated since benefits from recovering the launch vehicle would have been insignificant , 4 Space Task Group was responsible for the spacecraft flight after separation, 5 McDonnell was responsible for the adapters for the Mercury-Redstone configuration, and 6 ABMA would build adapters for the Mercury-Jupiter configuration.
Because many points could only be settled by detailed design studies, it was decided to establish several working panels for later meetings. Atlas launch vehicles in Project Mercury. Specifically discussed were technical details of the first Atlas test flight Big Joe , the abort sensing capability for later flights, and overall program objectives.
Final medical examinations of the Mercury astronauts started. The medical examinations at the Wright Air Development Center for the final selection of the Mercury astronauts were started.. They decided that joint recovery exercises would be initiated as soon as possible. The committee members determined that the Navy, particularly the Atlantic fleet, could support operations from Wallops Island; could perform search and recovery operations along the Atlantic Missile Range, using of the selected Project Mercury vehicles; and that naval units could support operations in the escape area between Cape Canaveral and Bermuda.
Program for wind tunnel and free-flight tests in support of Project Mercury. In a speech, Dr. The cost, he said in effect, was high because a new area of technology was being explored for the first time and there were no precedents or experience factors from which to draw, and because the world-wide tracking network construction was a tremendous undertaking. Langley responsible for Project Mercury tracking facilities. Responsibility for planning and contracting for Project Mercury tracking facilities was formally assigned to the Langley Research Center.. Mercury-Redstone-Jupiter trajectory, aerodynamics, and flight loads -.
Subjects studied included pilot safety, simulation of entry from orbit, length of zero-g time, missile stability and aerodynamics, ascent accelerations, and range. This group reconvened on March 13, Integration of the Mercury spacecraft with the Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicles. Panel Number I Design Subcommittee met at Redstone Arsenal for the first time to discuss integration requirements for the Mercury spacecraft with the Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicles..
AEDC facilities to perform tests on scale models of the Mercury spacecraft. Mercury Big Joe design trajectory -. Space Task Group personnel established the design trajectory for the Big Joe flight test. Convair Astronautics and Space Technology Laboratories personnel provided consultation and advice on ways in which these trajectory requirements could be met.. Heatshield test of Mercury at lunar reentry speeds -.
Kurt Strass and Leo T. Chauvin of STG proposed a heatshield test of a fullscale Mercury spacecraft at lunar reentry speeds. This test, in which the capsule would penetrate the earth's radiation belt, was called Project Boomerang. An advanced version of the Titan missile was to be the launch vehicle. The project was postponed and ultimately dropped because of cost.
Spare part and ground support equipment requirements for Project Mercury. Louis, Missouri, to discuss spare part and ground support equipment requirements for Project Mercury. Mercury abort test conducted at Wallops Island -. An abort test was conducted at Wallops Island on a full-scale model of the spacecraft with the escape tower, using a Recruit escape rocket.
The configuration did not perform as expected erratic motion , and as a result, the Langley Research Center was requested to test small-scale flight models of the abort system to determine its motion in flight. Tests on several ablating materials for Mercury heat shield. Tests were in progress at Langley and Wallops Island on several types of ablating materials under environmental conditions that would be experienced by a spacecraft reentering from orbit.. Lack of a DX priority delaying Project Mercury. The Space Task Group was notified by McDonnell that several of its subcontractors were experiencing difficulties in procuring material necessary to fabricate Project Mercury components.
This delay was being caused by the lack of a DX priority procurement rating. Missile division booster development plan for the man in space effort. The civilian space agency acknowledged receipt of the missile division development plan for the first booster scheduled to start the man in space effort. Except for two revisions, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration declared the plan to be "satisfactory.
First full-scale test simulating a Mercury pad-abort situation. Langley's Pilotless Aircraft Research Division conducted, at Wallops Island, the first full-scale test simulating a pad-abort situation. A full weight and size spacecraft was used. For the first 50 feet the flight was essentially straight, indicating the successful functioning of the abort rocket. Thereafter, the spacecraft pitched through several turns and impacted a short distance from the shore.
The malfunction was traced to the loss of a graphite insert from one of the three abort rocket nozzles, which caused a misalignment of thrust. NASA Atlas plan -. Spacecraft : Mercury ,. Funds were requested to purchase 6 main parachute and 12 drogue parachute canisters from the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation in support of the Little Joe and Big Joe phases of Project Mercury.. Mercury mock-up inspection.
As a result of this meeting, the contractor was directed to restudy provisions made for pilot egress; rearrange crew space to make handles, actuators, and other instruments more accessible to the pilot; and modify the clock, sequence lights, and other displays. This same type of meeting was held on many subsequent occasions to review production spacecraft. Mercury-Redstone and Mercury-Jupiter test objectives. At that time it was decided that the first flights of both the Redstone and Jupiter would be unmanned. The second flights would be 'manned' with primates, and the Jupiter phase would end at that point.
The six remaining Redstones would be used in manned flights for astronaut training. DX priority procurement rating in support of Project Mercury. Hypersonic flight tests for the Mercury spacecraft. The Langley Research Center received approval for funds to conduct hypersonic flight tests for the Mercury spacecraft. Langley's Pilotless Aircraft Research Division would conduct tests on heat transfer rates at a velocity of mach 17, and dynamic behavior tests from a velocity of mach 10 to a subsonic speed. Bio-pack experiments for Mercury Little Joe flights.
Instructions for the marking of vehicles launched for the NASA. Mercury escape system changes -. Space Task Group officials were involved in an investigation as to whether the escape system should be changed. In the original proposal, McDonnell's plan was to use eight small rockets housed in a fin adapter, but this plan was set aside for a NASA developed plan in which a single-motor tripod would be used. Later, during a test of the escape system, the escape rockets appeared to fire properly but the spacecraft began to tumble after launch.
This tumbling action caused concern, and Space Task Group engineers felt that the tower-escape system might have to be discarded, and a 'second look' was taken at the McDonnell proposal. The engineers concluded, however, that there were too many problems involved and the single-motor tripod concept was retained and has been proven to be quite effective. Studies on Mercury - Little Joe separation -. Studies were in progress to determine the optimum altitude for separation of the Little Joe spacecraft from its launch vehicle..
LV Family : Jupiter. Space Task Group personnel observe Jupiter launch vehicle firing. Space Task Group personnel visited the Atlantic Missile Range at the invitation of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to observe a Jupiter launch vehicle firing and the procedures followed on the day preceding the firing. The group toured the blockhouse and received briefings on various recorders that might be used in the centralized control facility for Mercury-Redstone and Mercury-Jupiter flights.
Mercury abort methods. Range Safety personnel at the Atlantic Missile Range were briefed by Space Task Group personnel on the description of the Mercury spacecraft, how it would function during a normal flight on an Atlas launch vehicle, and suggest methods for initiation of an abort during different powered phases of a flight. Atlantic Missile Range personnel discussed their past experience, and work was started to draft a Project Mercury range safety plan. Mercury parachute design unsafe for operation.
In the recovery landing system, the extended-skirt main parachute was found to be unsafe for operation at altitudes of 10, feet and was replaced by a 'ring-sail' parachute of similar size. This decision was made after a drop when the main parachute failed to open and assumed a 'squidding' condition. Although little damage was sustained by the spacecraft on water impact, parachute experts decided that the ring-sail configuration should be adopted, and the air drop spacecraft were fitted.
Advanced manned space program to follow Project Mercury -. Three reasons for such a program were suggested: Preliminary step to development of spacecraft for manned interplanetary exploration. Extended duration work in the space environment. Support of the military space mission. Among areas requiring study were the cost of an equatorial launch site, adequacy of tracking stations and DOD-NASA coordination of tracking systems, and the need for NASA's own propulsion test stands and facilities.
Bidders briefing for Project Mercury worldwide tracking range -. A preliminary briefing was conducted for prospective bidders on construction of the worldwide tracking range for Project Mercury. This meeting was attended by representatives from 20 companies. At this time the preliminary plan called for an orbital mission tracking network of 14 sites.
Contacts had not been made with the governments of any of the proposed locations with the exception of Bermuda. It was planned that all the sites would have facilities for telemetry, voice communications with the pilot, and teletype wire or radio communications with centers in the United States for primary tracking. The tracking sites would provide the control center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, with trajectory predictions; landing-area predictions; and vehicle, systems, and pilot conditions.
Project Mercury animal payload program. NASA and the military services conducted meetings to draft final plans for the Project Mercury animal payload program. The animal program was planned to cover nine flights, involving Little Joe, Redstone, Jupiter, and Atlas launch vehicles.. Project Mercury worldwide tracking range study contracts. After responsibility for the worldwide tracking range construction of Project Mercury had been assumed by the Langley Research Center, the following study contracts were placed: 1 Aeronutronics to study radar coverage and trajectory computation requirements, 2 RCA Service Corporation for specification writing, 3 Lincoln Laboratories for consultant services and proposal evaluations, and 4 Space Electronics for the design of the control center at Cape Canaveral.
Seven astronauts selected for Mercury project. Seven astronauts were selected for Project Mercury after a series of the most rigorous physical and mental tests ever given to U. Chosen from a field of candidates, the finalists were all qualified test pilots: Capts. Leroy G. Cooper, Jr. Grissom, and Donald K. Malcolm S. Carpenter, Lt.
Alan B. Shepard, Jr. Watler M. Schirra, Jr. USN ; and Lt. John H. Glenn USMC. Escape configurations for Mercury spacecraft -. Investigations of two escape configurations for Mercury spacecraft were conducted in a foot transonic circuit at the Arnold Engineering Development Center, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for determination of static stability and drag characteristics of the configurations. First group of US astronauts announced -. At a press conference in Washington, D. Keith Glennan announced the seven pilots had been selected for the Mercury program..
Mercury escape-motor canting-angle tests completed at Wallops Island. Escape-motor canting-angle tests were completed at Wallops Island. Tests were conducted in 5 degree increments between 10 degrees to 30 degrees, and visually it appeared stability was better at the larger angle.. A deliberate thrust misalignment of 1 inch was programed into the escape combination. Lift-off was effected cleanly, and a slow pitch started during the burning of the escape rocket motor.
The tower separated as scheduled and the drogue and main parachutes deployed as planned. The test was fully successful. Mercury impact tests -. Tests were in progress at Langley in which an aluminium honeycomb structure was used partially to absorb the spacecraft impact load. Gilruth, Project Mercury Director, had stated his belief of this requirement on January 16, Mercury small-scale escape-tower combinations launched -.
Two small-scale spacecraft escape-tower combinations were launched successfully at Wallops Island. On the next day a full-scale spacecraft escape system was launched. The complete sequence of events - escape system firing, escape tower jettisoning, parachute deployment, landing, and helicopter recovery - was satisfactory. Ground-instrumentation requirements for Mercury Little Joe -. Ground-instrumentation requirements for firing Little Joe test vehicles at Wallops Island were drafted.
These requirements involved pulse radars, camera, Doppler radar, wind-monitoring instruments, telemetry equipment, and a ground destruct system.. Search and recovery aspects of Project Mercury. NASA and the military services held a meeting to discuss the search and recovery aspects of Project Mercury. Admiral Gannon, the service spokesman, stated that the meeting was exploratory but that the Navy and other services would support the project.. One of the requirements in the astronaut training program was to maintain proficiency in high performance aircraft..
Plans for Mercury Big Joe I reentry spacecraft test vehicle. During the course of this meeting, milestone objectives of the work to be accomplished were drafted. Tower configuration best escape system for the Mercury spacecraft. In a meeting at Langley, NASA officials concluded that the tower configuration was the best escape system for the Mercury spacecraft and development would proceed using this concept. However, limited studies of alternate configurations would continue..
Project Mercury astronauts reported for duty -. The seven Project Mercury astronauts reported for duty. A tentative schedule of Mercury astronaut activities for the first months of training was issued. Actual training began the next day. Within 3 months the astronauts were acquainted with the various facets of the Mercury program.
The first training week was as follows: Monday, April 27, check in; April 28, general briefing; April 29, spacecraft configuration and escape methods; April 30, support and restraint; May 1, operational concepts and procedures. These lectures were presented by specialists in the particular field of study. Besides the above, unscheduled activities involved 3 hours flying time and 4 hours of athletics.
Project Mercury was accorded the DX priority procurement rating. Mercury search and rescue procedures developed. Meeting of DOD working group on Project Mercury search and recovery operations was held at Patrick Air Force Base, with major emphasis placed on the first two ballistic Atlas shots, and command relationships.. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the status of various developmental phases and whether or not proper coordination was being effected with other related projects in the Mercury program Big Joe, Mercury-Atlas, Mercury-Redstone, and Mercury-Jupiter.
The important factor with regard to the latter item was whether or not a reasonable launch schedule could be established and maintained. Mercury recovery test program. Space Task Group personnel held a meeting to discuss the complete recovery test program. Items of consideration included the availability of model spacecraft for the test, deciding the areas in which the tests would be held Phase I - Wallops Island drops, and Phase II - Atlantic drops , and establishing the time schedule for the test program.
Pigs not to fly in space in Project Mercury -. Pigs were eliminated as Little Joe flight test subjects when studies disclosed that they could not survive long periods of time on their backs. However, McDonnell did use a pig, 'Gentle Bess,' to test the impact crushable support, and the test was successful. An informal meeting of the Mock-Up Inspection Board.
An informal meeting of the Mock-Up Inspection Board was held at McDonnell to review changes to the spacecraft development program resulting from the March mock-up meeting. Besides the review, a number of suggestions were made for changes in the crew space layout to permit more effective use of the controls, particularly when the astronaut was in the pressure suit in a full-pressurized condition.
Among suggested changes were the shoulder harness release, the spacecraft compression and decompression handles, the ready switch, and the spacecraft squib switch. Test subjects also found that when in the fully pressurized suit none of the circuit breakers could be reached. McDonnell was directed to act on these problem areas. NASA combines Atlas booster orders -. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration instructed the missile division to combine its first order for an Atlas booster HS with a later order for nine Atlas boosters.
Scale model of Mercury for launch from Wallops Island to mach The Langley Research Center was in the process of preparing a one-fourteenth scale model of the Mercury spacecraft for launch from Wallops Island on a five-stage rocket to a speed of mach Proposals were received from seven contractor teams by June 22, , and technical evaluations were started.. The Project Mercury balloon flight test program was canceled. The Space Task Group oficials determined that the spacecraft could be tested environmentally in the Lewis Research Center's altitude wind tunnel.
This included correct temperature and altitude simulations to 80, feet. The pilot could exercise the attitude control system and retrorockets could be fired in the tunnel. Because an active contract did exist with the Air Force, it was decided the two balloon drop tests with unmanned boiler-plate spacecraft would be accomplished. Negotiations on the cost of Redstone and Jupiter boosters for Project Mercury.
Mercury astronaut centrifuge training programs -. A meeting was held at Johnsville, Pennsylvania, to consider astronaut training programs on the centrifuge. During this meeting, Space Task Group personnel reviewed a draft memorandum prepared by the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory concerning the methods they felt should be used. Also, possible centrifuge training periods for the astronauts were discussed, and tentative dates were set for August and January Members of the Committee attending were: Harry J. Goett, Chairman; Milton B. Ames, Jr.
Beeler; Alfred J. Eggers, Jr. Faget; Laurence K. Loftin, Jr. Low; Bruce T. Lundin; and Harris M. Observers were John H. Disher, Robert M. Crane, Warren J. North, Milton W. Rosen part-time , and H. Kurt Strass. The purpose of the Committee was to take a long-term look at man-in-space problems, leading eventually to recommendations on future missions and on broad aspects of Center research programs to ensure that the Centers were providing proper information.
Committee investigations would range beyond Mercury and Dyna-Soar but would not be overly concerned with specific vehicular configurations. LV Family : Saturn I. Launch Vehicle : Saturn C National booster program, Dyna-Soar, and Mercury discussed -. Related Persons : Faget , Low, George. Members also presented reviews of Center programs related to manned space flight.
Faget of STG endorsed lunar exploration as the present goal of the Committee although recognizing the end objective as manned interplanetary travel. George M. Investigate vehicle staging so that Saturn could be used for manned lunar landings without complete reliance on Nova. Make a study of whether parachute or airport landing techniques should be emphasized. Consider nuclear rocket propulsion possibilities for space flight. Attach importance to research on auxiliary power plants such as hydrogen-oxygen systems. Tentative manned space flight priorities -.
Tentative manned space flight priorities were established by the Research Steering Committee: Project Mercury, ballistic probes, environmental satellite, maneuverable manned satellite, manned space flight laboratory, lunar reconnaissance satellite, lunar landing, Mars Venus reconnaissance, and Mars-Venus landing.
The Committee agreed that each NASA Center should study a manned lunar landing and return mission, the study to include the type of propulsion, vehicle configuration, structure, anti guidance requirements. Such a mission was an end objective; it did not have to be supported on the basis that it would lead to a more useful end. It would also focus attention at the Centers on the problems of true space flight.
First two Mercury Little Joe booster airframes delivered -. North American Aviation delivered the first two Little Joe booster airframes, and noted that the four remaining were on fabrication schedule. The planned program was moving smoothly, for rocket motors to be used in the first flight were available at Wallops Station, Virginia, the test flight launching site. In addition, procurement of the test spacecraft incorporating Mercury flight items was on schedule, and the first spacecraft had been instrumented by Space Task Group personnel.
Work was also in progress on other test spacecraft. A quick-release, side exit hatch was designed for the Mercury spacecraft. The design consisted of a continuous double explosive train to assure that all bolts were actually broken upon activation of the device.. Northrop to fabricate the landing system for Mercury. McDonnell selected Northrop as the subcontractor to design and fabricate the landing system for Project Mercury. Northrop technology for landing and recovery systems dated back to when that company developed the first parachute recovery system for pilotless aircraft.
For Project Mercury, Northrop developed the foot ring-sail main parachute. Personnel strength in support of Project Mercury included at the Space Task Group, 98 at the Langley Research Center, 44 at the Lewis Research Center, and 21 on the Mercury tracking network, for a grand total of Boilerplate Mercury spacecraft to develop recovery techniques. The Space Task Group furnished several boilerplate spacecraft to DesFlotFour naval unit involved in Project Mercury recovery plans for use in developing detailed recovery techniques..
Post-Mercury program using maneuverable Mercury spacecraft -. Gilruth suggested that study should be made of a post-Mercury program in which maneuverable Mercury spacecraft would make land landings in limited areas.. Mercury follow-on program using maneuverable Mercury capsules. Spacecraft : Mercury Mark I. Gilruth suggested studying a Mercury follow-on program using maneuverable Mercury capsules for land landings in predetermined areas. Flight instrumentation for Mercury-Atlas program. Space Technology Laboratories and Convair completed an analysis of flight instrumentation necessary to support the Mercury-Atlas program.
The primary objective of the study was to select a light-weight telemetry system. A system weighing pounds was recommended, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration concurred with the proposal. Mercury drogue parachute changed. The drogue parachute configuration was changed from Mercury-Redstone inflight abort sensing system.
This system would monitor performance of the control system attitude and angular velocity , electrical power supply, and launch vehicle propulsion. If operational limits were exceeded, the spacecraft would be ejected from the launch vehicle and recovered by parachute. Mercury Big Joe spacecraft for the reentry test was delivered to Cape Canaveral. The packs were to be furnished by the school.