Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Start of the Apollo program: 1960 versus 1961

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Start of the Apollo program: 1960 versus 1961
Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1665
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 06-06-2013 04:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just read in "Arrows to the Moon" that plans for Apollo started in 1960. I apologise for being naive on this point but I always thought that the moon programme was as a result of President Kennedy's 1961 speech?

Just another quick question, was it always intended that a moonwalk would be made or was the original plan just to land and leave?

Kite
Member

Posts: 243
From: Northampton UK
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 06-06-2013 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With reference to John Logsdon's book "John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon" on page 25 it explains that NASA formed a Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight in April 1959 for a programme to follow Mercury. At its first meeting the next month George Low suggested "adopt the lunar landing mission as its present long range objective with proper emphasis on intermediate steps, because this approach will be easier to sell." Although no agreement was reached a month later Low had convinced his colleagues to make this the long term goal.

So NASA planners chose the lunar landing option almost two years before Kennedy made his decision to send Americans to the Moon.

In late July 1960 the post Mercury programme would be named Project Apollo.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1526
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 06-06-2013 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apollo, with its ultimate destination as the Moon had its beginnings much earlier than Kennedy's announcement. At the end of 1958, Wernher von Braun and his staff from ABMA (Army Ballistic Missile Agency) at Huntsville were briefing officials from the newly constituted NASA about the feasibility of a Moon landing. Though von Braun was obviously trying to obtain the necessary funding to develop his rocket designs, he did so by presenting a variety of different ways a Man could be placed upon the lunar surface and returning him to Earth. Perhaps the most ambitious of these was to harness fifteen of his Juno rockets to assemble a 200,000 kilogram craft in Earth orbit. Once built, it would set off on its journey, discarding used rockets on the way. The target date for this mission – 1967.

Interestingly, in these early days the Huntsville team showed themselves to be masters of the art of publicity. Von Braun worked closely with the Walt Disney organisation to produce a series of cartoons showing how spaceflight might be achieved and its possible affects on Man. In one he even proposed a reusable orbital plane weighing in at some 12 tons.

Though the Juno proposal was not taken up by NASA, it did strike a chord in official circles. The feasibility of a flight to the Moon was discussed in a study entitled "The Next Ten Years in Space". This document was presented to Congress as a reflection of current thinking in the aerospace community. Among the many items thought possible at the beginning of 1959 was a circumlunar flight, this building on the experience gained from the Mercury project. The mission, if agreed, was to use one of the four new booster rockets for which funding was required. These were listed as Vega, Centaur, Saturn and Nova.

A few weeks later, in the spring of 1959, the seeds sown by the report to Congress germinated. Keith Glennan, the NASA Administrator, established the Goett Committee. The prime task set this group was to study advanced missions and make firm recommendations. Seventh on its final list of targets, thought to be achievable when a consensus was reached, was a lunar landing. The leading advocates for a Moon mission to be included were George Low, later to be responsible for getting Apollo back on course after the 1967 fire, and Maxine Faget, considered by many to be the Father of Manned Spaceflight in the US. By June of the same year, at a second meeting that discussed the problems involved together with possible solutions, the priority changed. The group agreed to make the Moon mission NASA's long term manned target.

But this did not mean that it was to be NASA's next objective. There was a wide difference between the findings of a research group and official policy. Low discovered this just weeks later. His draft paper, "Space Flight Development, Advanced Technology, Manned Spaceflight: Long Range Plans", was rejected by Abe Silverstein, who recognised that to propose a Moon landing in the days when NASA had still to successfully launch its first rocket was somewhat too ambitious.

The report was not lost though. There was still plenty of talking to do, especially to convince those who favoured a space station. Low was not to be put off. He argued that lunar mission technology could be applied to Earth orbit, but such benefits would be lost if it was done the other way round.

By the end of the year there was in existence a 'Ten Year Plan' drawn up by the Office of Programme Planning and Evaluation. This reflected the persuasive powers of Low and his associates for it was based on the now agreed priority list. The main thrust of the proposals called for manned flights to the vicinity of the Moon by the end of the 1960's. However, to be fair, it did venture to suggest that a lunar landing should take third place behind the construction of a permanent space station. By January 1960, Keith Glennan had endorsed these recommendations. All that was needed was the political will to bring them to fruition.

As late as the following autumn, with the Presidential election campaigns in full swing, the Eisenhower administration was still jibing at the estimated costs of the lunar proposals. The outgoing President's scientific advisors had two main doubts. First came the priority place upon the Moon flights and second came the fears that their own pet projects might be cut to release the required funding. These were the halcyon days of the either/or debates.

Fortunately for Apollo, the science community misread the mind of Congress. A House Space Committee forestalled many of the arguments by agreeing with the NASA proposal of sending a "… manned expedition to the Moon before the end of the decade". One should note the subtle change made to any interpretation by the dropping of the words 'vicinity of'.

Nevertheless, even without Congressional approval, NASA was determined to proceed with the preliminary planning for such a mission. The decision to do so was made on the basis that funds had already been allocated for the development of a new 'super' booster designed by Von Braun's team at Huntsville. Later, this was to become the Saturn family of rockets. In the meantime, the new launchers would require payloads and what could be more in keeping with current thinking than a craft capable of operating in the regions of space occupied by our nearest neighbour.

Early in 1960 another group formed to discuss and research the type of vehicle that might accomplish such a task. A leading member of the team was Abe Silverstein (Head of the Office of Space Flight Programmes). It was he who had named Mercury and it became a logical step for him to think about a name for America's second generation of manned spacecraft. Yes – the second. Although Gemini made its appearance before Apollo, it was conceived as a link between the two programmes after the Moon project had been publicly announced.

Silverstein again turned to ancient mythology for his inspiration. At lunch in a restaurant close to NASA headquarters in Washington he dropped the name Apollo into the discussions about the new spacecraft. Thereafter, he continually referred to it as Apollo and the name stuck. Later, he was to say that he named the craft as he would his own baby, adding that it was a grand name for a grand plan, one that would stick in the memory. So it was that the God of prophecy, light and progress lent his name to the venture to land men on the Moon. Much later it was discovered that he had another attribute to endow upon the scheme. Apollo was an archer of some renown who, it was claimed, could hit targets from a great distance.

If a birthday has to be assigned to Apollo, then it has to be October 1960. In the middle of the month, Low went back to Silverstein more or less on impulse with the same proposals that had been rejected before. The second of the three points contained in the memo told that Low had these formed a group of four people to establish the ground rules for a manned landing on the Moon. At the bottom Silverstein scrawled 'OK'. To many this was Apollo's birth certificate. At this moment the nation gained a project.

Norman.King
Member

Posts: 236
From: Herne Bay, Kent, UK
Registered: Feb 2010

posted 06-07-2013 01:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Norman.King   Click Here to Email Norman.King     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for taking the time to write this detailed answer to the OP's question. It was a very interesting read and I learnt a lot.

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1665
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 06-07-2013 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you. Any ideas about my second question?

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1526
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 06-07-2013 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry Chris. Can't help you with your second question, though it seems quire unreasonable to effect a moon landing without a moonwalk. So, I would assume that an EVA was always an element in any plans.

As a rider to my original post, there were political twists and turns before the Kennedy announcement. However, when it came it was an excellent example of one of Parkinson's Laws. If one believes the history, Kennedy made the decision in a five minute meeting. Parkinson's Law says that the greater the amount of money involved the less time involved in discussing it, especially when political kudos is involved.

carmelo
Member

Posts: 795
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-07-2013 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I not wrong the original plan was the starting of the program in 1965 (Apollo capsule on Saturn I). In 1965 and 1966 the missions were similar to those of Gemini program (EVA, rendezvous, docking with a target vehicle).

In 1968 would be launched the first space laboratory (or the inflatable "wheel" or a Saturn derived workshop MORL style). In 1969-70 the first manned lunar flyby. In 70s a some type (maybe EOR) of moon landing (maybe in 1974-75?).

Obviously in 70s was expected a some type of little spaceplane/lifting body) for carry crew and a little payload to the station.

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 553
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 06-07-2013 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
If a birthday has to be assigned to Apollo, then it has to be October 1960.
Quite an impressive timeline you wrote on Apollo's 'birth'. I recognize some details from NASA publications and other histories, but what were your primary/secondary sources? Thanks in advance.

robsouth
Member

Posts: 609
From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 07-11-2013 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the real date for the birth of Apollo was the day that the American Government agreed the budget for the moon landing, until then it was just a dream. As recent years have shown, all the planning in the world and even Presidential declarations count for little without the money. So until the signature was on the cheque, there was no moon landing program.

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 553
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 07-11-2013 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like they said in 'The Right Stuff', "No bucks, no Buck Rogers!"

YankeeClipper
Member

Posts: 236
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-12-2013 05:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
Was it always intended that a moonwalk would be made or was the original plan just to land and leave?
The Apollo 11 CDR provides some useful insight in CPA Australia Armstrong Interview 2011. He discusses the fact that any lunar landing attempt on Apollo 11 was heavily predicated on the success of Apollos 8-10. His estimation of the success of the Apollo 11 lunar landing was at best 50% based on unknown potential problems, and that lunar surface temperatures may have forced an abort shortly after any landing. Significantly, he states the following at 34:30 - 35:15 :
"Course, the first statement we made was 'The Eagle has landed ... Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed'. And that was the signature line for achieving the presidential goal that we had been working for a decade on. And in our view that was a very important statement. Getting down on ... that was less important in our view, but it was significant to actually touch your boot into the sand and recognise that it's ok to stand there."
The original goal as announced by President Kennedy on May 25, 1961, before a joint session of Congress was:
"First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon - if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there."

So to rephrase the OP question slightly, the original overarching goal was always to achieve the technological leap of landing a manned spacecraft on the Moon and returning to the Earth, safely. Kennedy doesn't specify actual boots on the surface as, in 1961, it was a very ambitious technical goal just to successfully land on the surface let alone walk and survive on it. No one knew for certain in 1961 if an EVA was survivable, whether long duration flight (10-14 days) was possible, whether solar radiation was survivable on a lunar mission, what the exact lunar regolith composition was etc.

The tantalising implied expectation is there that man would actually walk on the surface having gone all that distance. Certainly the televised Apollo 11 CDR and LMP lunar EVAs, rock collection, surface experiments, flag raising, and presidential phone-call were the icing on the cake and the mission had been planned to facilitate all that if circumstances allowed.

But as Armstrong has stated in the past, the job of landing "was very tricky business". There were many unknowns (as was proved during the Apollo 11 powered descent), no guarantee of success, and many rapid STAY/NO-STAY decisions to be executed as Gene Kranz has indicated.

A successfully executed lunar landing and safe terrestrial return fufilled the US presidential goal. But taking a broader overview of Project Apollo, having spent US$20+ billion on a national strategic objective and advancement of global civilisation "for all mankind", there was never any prospect of it finishing with just a landing. A mere flag-raising would reduce the endeavour to the status of a stunt and Kennedy stated in his 1961 speech that "this is not merely a race". Apollo 12 LMP Alan Bean has said that he originally thought that he and Pete Conrad would raise the flag and pose for photos and that he quickly got disabused of that notion when he realised how much surface experimentation and selenological sample collection had been planned for Apollo 12. The J missions of Apollo 15-17 took the pinpoint lunar landing capability demonstrated on Apollo 12 to a new level with the addition of the lunar rover and more scientifically rewarding landing sites.

So moonwalking was always aspired to, but first you have to land safely, and even if you do land you might find yourself leaving in a hurry causing "a bunch of guys ... to turn blue" again! NASA state today that the primary objective of Apollo 11 was a manned lunar landing and return. Lunar surface EVA was a secondary Apollo 11 mission objective as indicated Apollo 11 History and Apollo 11 Objectives.

(As an aside, Neil Armstrong is reported by a cS member as having indicated in Dublin in 2003 that he valued his Apollo 11 landing over the EVA on the grounds that a pilot doesn't take pride in stepping down from his vehicle! Original cS thread is here.)

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1665
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 07-12-2013 05:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very interesting, thank you.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1610
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-12-2013 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With all respect to Yankee Clipper I find it hard to believe lunar exploration was a secondary objective to a lunar landing.

Comparing this to other explorations, what would we think of Columbus' boat touching America then turning back without coming ashore? Felix Baumgartner riding his balloon to altitude then riding it back down without stepping outside? It seems the final steps of the journey are the most important part - and without which the journey is considered unfinished.

Taking this to a personal level, surely the goal of any air flight is to arrive at your destination safely. But how many would feel a successful trip would be to touch down in another city then take off for home? Given these thoughts, I think the lunar EVA was at least an equal primary goal to the landing itself.

A further thought - I can't remember the source but I do recall von Braun saying to an early group of astronauts "you won't just land on the moon, we will give you a car to explore it with." This indicates the senior management of Apollo also saw exploration as a primary goal.

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 553
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 07-12-2013 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that, however early in the planning, the goal was to not only land but walk on and explore the moon. It seems counterintuitive to land on the moon (or drive up to Yosemite, let's say) and just take pictures from behind closed windows-simply ridiculous! Imagine any red-blooded astronaut training years and years for this one event-and he isn't planning to open the hatch and walk around.

Of course, the best evidence for the astronaut leaving the LM can be found in the ways Grumman and the other contractors proposed the crew leaving the cabin: a vertical wire/pulley system by the side of the descent stage was one. Thankfully, the eventual porch/ladder combination was designed and adopted. They also threw out the round hatch design in favor of a square one that could accommodate the PLSS backpacks.

As far as long-range exploration of the moon; that was certainly a gleam in von Braun's eye. He wanted a multi-tracked vehicle to take astronauts on weeks-long excursions around the moon. Many prototypes were built, including MOLAB, now on display at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island. They even conducted a long-duration simulation on earth to see if two men could live in this sealed vehicle for weeks at a time.

Alas, budget cuts and cancellation of three Apollo missions required the building of the much simpler LRV for use on the last 'J' missions, to excellent results. In fact, just recently the Opportunity rover on Mars exceeded the record for 'off-earth' miles traveled by a wheeled vehicle set by the Apollo 17 lunar rover. What records might have a MOLAB-type vehicle set, still to be broken even today?

YankeeClipper
Member

Posts: 236
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-13-2013 12:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The OP question was in reference to the start of the Apollo program and what was originally intended or planned.

In June 1959, the Goett Research Steering Committee on Manned Spaceflight had called for lunar landing and return as the principal long-term goal of NASA's manned space program. Harry Goett later remarked as documented here:

"A primary reason for this choice was the fact that it represented a truly end objective which was self-justifying and did not have to be supported on the basis that it led to a subsequent more useful end."
When Kennedy committed the US to land on the Moon, NASA's Space Task Group had 15 minutes of sub-orbital manned spaceflight experience. Zero orbital experience, zero rendezvous experience, zero EVA experience, very little knowledge of the lunar regolith and spaceflight survivability. NASA STG Leader Bob Gilruth was aghast at the sheer audacity and ambitious schedule of this goal.

This was at a time when Dr. John Houbolt was struggling to get support for the LOR (Lunar Orbit Rendezvous) concept and his MALLIR (Manned Lunar Landing Involving Rendezvous) project. Wernher Von Braun and many skeptics had expressed their doubts. In December 1960, Max Faget even went so far as to openly accuse Houbolt in front of NASA leadership of not knowing what he was talking about. In June 1961, Abe Silverstein addressed the Lundin Committee and summarily dismissed "any kind of rendezvous, as a way of going to the Moon." The Lundin Committee rated the ridiculous and incredible Lunar Surface Rendezvous marginally below Lunar Orbit Rendezvous which was essentially rejected. The Heaton Committee also overlooked LOR. The Golovin Committee in August 1961 marked a change in sentiment toward acceptance of LOR, and on 31 October 1961, NASA Langley published Houbolt's two-volume report "Manned Lunar Landing Through Use Of Lunar Orbit Rendezvous". On 15 November 1961, Houbolt appealed directly to the NASA Associate Administrator Bob Seamans. In 1962 von Braun lent his support to LOR against the wishes of his engineers, and on 11 July 1962 NASA Administrator James Webb announced LOR as the mission mode for Apollo despite the opposition of Kennedy's science adviser Dr. Jerome Wiesner. The full story of LOR can be read here.

The difficult birth, evolution and acceptance of LOR - possibly the single most critical decision that resulted in the success of Apollo - underlines the conflicted state of NASA's early manned space program. Spaceflight was in its infancy, there were so many unknown factors and problems and disparate views - NASA were according to Gene Kranz "learning to drink from a firehose".

In 1960, Dr. Eugene Shoemaker founded the US Geological Survey (USGS) Branch of Astrogeology & Surface Planetary Exploration in Menlo Park CA, and moved its HQ to Flagstaff AZ in 1962. In January 1963, he guided and briefed NASA's Group 2 astronauts (New Nine) on a geologic field trip to Meteor Crater AZ which was the very first field training for the new group destined for the Apollo missions. Shoemaker was subsequently instrumental in convincing NASA to allow the astronauts to do some actual science while on the lunar surface. Formal classroom geologic training of the astronauts began at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston TX in 1964 under Dale Jackson, Don Wilhelms and Gordon Swann and the first field test using actual spacesuits took place in June 1964 at Sunset Crater and Bonita Lava Flow AZ.

Safely landing a manned spacecraft in a 1/6 g environment on the unknown surface of a celestial body - a body which is itself orbiting in the vacuum of space ~238,855 miles from Earth at a speed faster than a M-16 rifle bullet - was a surreal prospect in May 1961. Clearly, it was a completely different challenge than any previous terrestrial human exploration in history.

Only after Gemini and much later in Apollo would an actual lunar surface EVA become a truly viable proposition. The 1967 Apollo 1 CM fire showed there were many more fundamental challenges to be met, and as late as December 1968 NASA was boldly gambling with Apollo 8's circumlunar mission as Grumman wrestled with LM production. In July 1969, President Nixon had his eulogy prepared in case Apollo 11 ended in disaster. The idea of John Young kicking up lunar dust aboard a Boeing LRV was the stuff of pipedreams in May 1961.

Initially manned lunar landing and return was the primary technological supremacy objective. Only later, as capabilities became clear and technology evolved, did lunar surface EVA and scientific exploration move beyond aspiration to being realisable objectives. Apollo 15 CDR Dave Scott considered the scientific exploration to be the whole purpose of Apollo but recognised that you first had to get the engineering right to actually get to the Moon and back.

Wernher von Braun thought mankind would have landed on the surface of Mars and returned by now. That was a nice aspiration but sadly the technology to safely accomplish that goal isn't sufficiently mature yet and won't be for some time. Manned spaceflight has always been costly and fraught with risk and manned planetary surface exploration is fraught with even more risk. That's why a lot of people are quite content to let robotic rovers, probes and satellites conduct the scientific exploration of Mars for the foreseeable future.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1526
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 07-13-2013 01:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by YankeeClipper:
Wernher von Braun thought mankind would have landed on the surface of Mars and returned by now. That was a nice aspiration but sadly the technology to safely accomplish that goal isn't sufficiently mature yet and won't be for some time.
Thank heavens the early Polynesians, Irish monks, the Vikings and Columbus didn't think to wait for the technology to make their voyages safe.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1610
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-13-2013 03:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YankeeClipper (I'm sorry I don't know your actual name): I agree with what you have written but I think you're making too fine a distinction between landing and exploring. Your points about EVA being practical only after experience gained in other programs, and a Lunar Roving Vehicle being a pipe dream in 1961 are true, but they're also applicable to the idea of landing itself. To paraphrase "surely the idea of a powered descent to the lunar surface using a throttle-able rocket engine was a pipe dream in 1961."

My point is simple - I doubt any of the initial planners thought going to the moon AND THEN STOPPING was what they planned on doing. They all, from the start, planned to explore. They may not have known how that would be accomplished (yet) but neither did they know how to accomplish a landing (yet).

However they understood that once they figured out how to get there they would also be leaving the lander and walking around.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1610
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-13-2013 03:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Thank heavens the early Polynesians, Irish monks, the Vikings and Columbus didn't think to wait for the technology to make their voyages safe.
Off topic but I don't understand this comment. All these people thought their voyages would be safe. They built or acquired what they thought they needed to safely accomplish their goals. Do you think Columbus would have donned a pair of swimming trunks to cross the Atlantic if there were no boats for his voyage?

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1526
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 07-13-2013 04:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Quite. Surely, if it is decided to go to Mars using present technology, those doing so will consider it safe to do so. My point was that Mankind (or to be PC correct - Personkind) won't get anywhere without taking what are considered to be acceptable risks using whatever methods are available at the time. Sitting on one's backside until it's 100% safe is not the way forward.

YankeeClipper
Member

Posts: 236
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-13-2013 05:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My point goes like this:

Astronaut: "I want to walk on the Moon!"
Engineer : "Try flying to the Moon and back safely first!"

The way the OP second question is phrased, it really has two clauses which are both correct in their own way.

Sure, everyone in NASA in the early 1960s thought walking on the Moon would be amazing. But they also candidly acknowledged they knew very little about spaceflight, had no spacecraft that could do the job, didn't have the navigation computer to get there, hadn't gone once around the world in orbit and therefore would consider it a huge advancement just landing on the Moon.

Before that "one small step for a man", there was going to have to be "one giant leap for mankind". A truly bizarre scenario where man had to learn how to fly (in space) before he could walk (in space or on the Moon)!

YankeeClipper
Member

Posts: 236
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-13-2013 05:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
My point was that Mankind (or to be PC correct - Personkind) won't get anywhere without taking what are considered to be acceptable risks using whatever methods are available at the time. Sitting on one's backside until it's 100% safe is not the way forward.
I asked Gene Cernan about the LLTV (Lunar Landing Training Vehicle) and his view of its importance to a successful lunar landing. He said it was invaluable and fitted in the training spectrum somewhere between a simulator and reality. He also said that the risk-averse culture in NASA today is such that it would be considered too dangerous to fly it now.

The thought crossed my mind that there may come a sad day when the idea of surface exploration walks is considered too hazardous by the Health & Safety thought police. It might be deemed too risky to have astronauts going EVA on the Martian surface and the mission might be designed for manned enclosed vehicle surface exploration only. I don't see it coming to pass for publicity/political/emotional reasons - people still want to see boots on the ground, but you never know!

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1665
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 07-13-2013 06:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the psychological aspect of long-duration spaceflight is just as important and perhaps difficult as suitable technology.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 574
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 07-13-2013 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by YankeeClipper:
Wernher von Braun thought mankind would have landed on the surface of Mars and returned by now. That was a nice aspiration but sadly the technology to safely accomplish that goal isn't sufficiently mature yet and won't be for some time.
It isn't the technology. It is the cost. And along with the cost, it is the why?

There isn't a good reason for a government to expend money for a manned Mars landing. A Mars landing does provide a sufficient enough return for a gov't to fund it. Space settlement or colonization is not a goal of terrestrial governments. Unless it gets really bad on earth, colonization isn't going to be a mandate of the citizens of the various governments. If space is going to be settled, it is going to be done by NGO's.

YankeeClipper
Member

Posts: 236
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-13-2013 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
I believe the psychological aspect of long-duration spaceflight is just as important and perhaps difficult as suitable technology.
I can deal with my own neurons.

It is those damn high-energy x-ray & gamma ray photons and high-energy cosmic ray protons & particles that I really worry about!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27638
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-13-2013 09:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
It isn't the technology.
There are still technological hurdles to overcome. We don't have a life support system that is robust enough for an extended trip to Mars, and at present we have no tried and tested way of landing a crewed spacecraft. Nor do we have a compact enough food packaging system to accommodate the needed rations for such a long journey and while current propulsion systems could do the job, more advanced engines are preferable.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1610
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-13-2013 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by YankeeClipper:
Before that "one small step for a man", there was going to have to be "one giant leap for mankind". A truly bizarre scenario where man had to learn how to fly (in space) before he could walk (in space or on the Moon)!

I like that. Very insightful. Bravo!

YankeeClipper
Member

Posts: 236
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-13-2013 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks!

YankeeClipper
Member

Posts: 236
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-29-2013 08:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Project Apollo Name Approval: July 9, 1960

In NASA SP-4223 Chapter 13, George Low is quoted in Interview #1 [313]-[315]:

"This effort culminated in a briefing to NASA Administrator (T. Keith) Glennan on July 9, 1960. At that time we gave Dr. Glennan, Dr. Dryden, and Mr. Horner, who was then associate administrator of NASA, a description of the advanced manned space flight program as we then saw it, its scheduling implications, and its costs.

Now at that time, the program we had planned was one not leading to a lunar landing but one that would stop after the circumlunar flight.

...

Industry studies did not come until later. I have here copies of some of the slides that were used in this briefing to the centers. This effort culminated in the presentation I mentioned earlier, to Dr. Glennan, Dr. Dryden, and Mr. Horner on July 9, 1960. At that time Dr. Glennan gave preliminary approval to the program. The briefing was also conducted in the context of a forthcoming NASA-Industry Conference and the material which I was to present.

The general subject of the NASA-Industry Conference was to describe industry studies we would soon request for a circumlunar flight program, but at the same time to inform industry that we had no approval for the program beyond these studies; that we were, at this time, only talking about a study effort...

At the meeting on July 9, the name Apollo was approved for the program. I had already prepared my paper for the NASA-Industry Conference before the meeting on the 9th, and later added a comment, "and we will call this program 'Apollo'".

Now remember, at this time we still were talking about only circumlunar flight.In fact, we said Apollo was a program with two avenues of approach - one of them, the main stream, being the circumlunar flight program. We had planned a program that, within this decade, would lead to a circumlunar flight; beyond this decade, Apollo would eventually lead to a lunar landing and to planetary exploration. We also proposed that, within this decade, Apollo could lead to, or could be part of, the space station program."

Project Apollo Manned Lunar Landing Preliminary Program: October 17, 1960

In SP-4223 Chapter 13, George Low is quoted in Interview #1 [315]-[317]:

"While the studies for the circumlunar flight were going on, we became concerned again as to whether we were going far enough with the circumlunar flight or whether we should really focus our attention on a lunar landing.

I had forgotten about a memo which my secretary (Mrs. Lillian Stutz) dug out for me this morning, which I will read to you. This is a memo dated October 17, 1960, for the director of Space Flight Programs, Dr. Abe Silverstein, on the subject of the manned lunar landing program.

Paragraph 1 states, "It has become increasingly apparent that a preliminary program for manned lunar landings should be formulated. This is necessary in order to provide a proper justification for Apollo, and to place Apollo schedules and technical plans on a firmer foundation."

The memo went on to say in paragraph 2, "In order to prepare such a program, I have formed a small working group consisting of Eldon Hall, Oran Nicks, John Disher, and myself. This group will endeavor to establish ground rules for manned lunar landing missions, to determine reasonable spacecraft weights, to specify launch vehicle requirements, and to prepare an integrated development plan including the spacecraft, lunar landing and take-off systems, and launch vehicles. This plan should include a time phasing and funding picture and should identify areas requiring early studies by field organizations.

Paragraph 3 ... "At the completion of this work we plan to brief you and General Ostrander on the results. No action on your part is required at this time. Hall will inform General Ostrander that he is participating in the study." Signed by George M. Low, Program Chief, Manned Space Flight. And there is a notation under it in pencil, "Low, O.K.," signed "Abe".

This was the time, of course, that we were beginning to discuss with industry what the Apollo program was. We were also quite concerned, of course, that in the subsequent year's budget, which was being prepared at that time, there were insufficient funds for any major lunar program. And we felt it would be most important to have something in the files, to be prepared to move out with a bigger program should there be a sudden change of heart within Government, within the administration, as to what should happen. This memo (I was just looking at the date) was written during the Eisenhower administration and before Election Day."

Low Committee: January 5, 1961 - February 7, 1961

In SP-4223 Chapter 13, George Low is quoted in Interview #1 [318]-[322]:

"The next major step in the planning within NASA was essentially an outgrowth of the Space Task Group that I formed on October 17, 1960. We put together a preliminary story during November and December, 1960, and on January 5, 1961, presented the program for manned lunar landing to the Space Exploration Council of NASA. This Council, I believe, consisted of the directors of the major centers and Dr. Glennan and his immediate staff in Headquarters.

...

In the January 5 meeting, the title of the presentation was, "A Program for Manned Lunar Landing" so it was an effort on January 5 to show top NASA management what could be done to extend the then-existing Apollo program to a manned lunar landing program.

It (the then-existing Apollo program) was a series of studies proposed to industry. I believe we were supposed to spend no more than a million dollars, and the goal of these studies was circumlunar flight. This is a point I can't emphasize too strongly, that the studies ended with circumlunar flight and not with a lunar landing.

...

As a result of this meeting, Dr. Seamans established the Manned Lunar Program Planning Group. This planning group met for the first time on January 9, 1961. Again I was chairman of that group. Members were Oran Nicks, E.O. Pearson, Al Mayo, Max Faget, Herman Koelle, and Eldon Hall. The purpose of this group was to prepare a position paper which would answer the question, "What is NASA's Manned Lunar Landing Program?" This group met almost full-time for a week or two and prepared a report which was presented in final form to Dr. Seamans on, I believe, February 7.

...

I think we were fortunate in a number of areas to have people in the agency with the foresight to start hardware in critical areas. The F-1 engine, the Saturn I booster, and the hydrogen decision were the three things that allowed us to jump in with both feet in May 1961. Without those we couldn't have done it."

Project Apollo National Commitment: April 12, 1961 - May 25, 1961

In SP-4223 Chapter 13, George Low is quoted in Interview #1 [322]-[330]:

"Gagarin's flight was on April 12, 1961. On April 12 there was sudden interest again, in this country, in manned space flight. On April 11, the day before Gagarin's flight, I was in the middle of a presentation to the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, which was chaired by Congressman Overton Brooks [Democrat from Louisiana] at the time, on the manned space flight picture and defense of the budget for manned space flight.

...

That night Gagarin flew. The next day I did not go back to complete my testimony. Mr. Webb, Dr. Dryden, and Dr. Seamans (I'm not sure whether Dr. Seamans was there as a witness or not) presented an overall picture of where we stood in manned space flight, what the Russians had done and what they could be expected to do, and what we had done.

...

During the hearings, Representative [David S.] King of Utah noted that the Soviets were being quoted as saying they would land on the moon in 1967 (the 50th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution). He asked whether we could do it. The only background that Seamans really had at that time was the February 7 report, and under pressure he said the goal might well be achievable. This is where the 1967 date first appeared. Incidentally, I'm just checking the February 7 report. it showed manned flights to the moon in the 1968-1970 time period.

The Fleming Committee was organized in about this time period. The purpose of the Fleming Committee was to get better schedule information, better cost information, following up on the February 7 report with a much larger effort to come up with more specific details of what the program should cost, how it should be done, and where it should be done.

One way of looking at it is that it went from the small Space Task Group, which I formed on October 17 1960, to the Low Committee of January 7 1961, to the Fleming Committee formed in April - one flowing into the other and each one giving more specific details.

We still had not flown Shepard's flight. Of course, it was immediately after Shepard's flight that these things were available. The Fleming Report was by no means complete.

But at the same time, NASA management went forward and presented the plan to the administration. This was between Shepard's May 5 flight, as I recall, and President Kennedy's speech on May 25, which gave the country, and all of us who were working on the program, the go-ahead and boost we needed.

...

I was tremendously elated the day after Shepard's flight. I remember coming back to town that evening. I got into the office just before quitting time (you know, it was a short flight then), and I invited everybody and anybody that I could find to a party at my home that evening. And my wife didn't know I was in town yet. Then I stopped at the liquor store on my way home. It was probably one of the best parties we ever had-in Washington, at least, following any flight.

And I recall also that John Disher and Warren North and I went almost directly from the party to my office, the next morning, and we decided, "Let's put some more finishing touches on what we can do on the lunar landing program." Now what I did not know at the time was that Abe Silverstein was meeting with Webb, Dryden, and Seamans, and others, and actually spent part of that day with McNamara, being about ten steps ahead of what I was trying to do in my office. So this is the kind of impact that this made on everybody.

The culmination of this effort, of course, was President Kennedy's address to Congress on May 25, 1961, committing this nation to the goal of a manned lunar landing."

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 965
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 09-02-2013 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thinking along these lines, Did JFK meet with any science advisory committee BEFORE the election? or the nomination?

I realize that I'm splitting hairs but isn't this forum is all about?

Thanks for the insight Gary.

carmelo
Member

Posts: 795
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 09-05-2013 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Project Olympus (1962):

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 965
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 09-05-2013 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After all my reading, you could even make an argument for 1959.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement