HHR-32 NASA Office of Defense Affairs: The First Five Years

 

VII. APOLLO RANGE INSTRUMENTATION SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT

 

[61] Apollo Range Instrumentation Ships - Congressional Action

The NASA FY 1964 budget request contained an item of $90 million for the conversion and equipping of three ships from the Maritime Reserve to perform necessary data acquisition and command functions in support of the Apollo mission. Because of the criticality of the performance of these ships to the Apollo mission, it had been planned that they be obtained, prepared, and operated by NASA The Conferees of the Senate and House Authorization Committees agreed on an authorization of $83.3 million, but stipulated that none of the funds for instrumentation ships could be obligated by NASA until a joint NASA-DOD study had been completed "that would result in a pooling of tracking ship resources (available to the using agencies) and that would determine the most desirable method of meeting their joint ship requirements' and until an agreement on this matter had been reached by NASA and the DOD and approved by the Committees.

The statement accompanying the Conference Report issued in August 1963 contained the following salient points:

 

 

A considerable background of discussions and correspondence between NASA and the DOD preceded the Congressional request for a joint study on instrumentation ships. This dealt mainly with two issues: (1) the question of whether the Air Force should use the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) to operate ships assigned to AMR instead of continuing to use a civilian subcontractor under the Pan American Airways contract for operation of the Range; and (2) the matter of the capability of AMR to support APOLLO with the instrumentation ship fleet it then had and, if not, what augmentation was required.

Studies had been made by MSTS, a Navy staffed agency reporting to the Secretary of Defense (SecDef), which had indicated that advantages in cost and performance would accrue by pooling the AMR and Pacific Missile Range (PMR) ships under MSTS management and operation. PMR ships were already being manned and operated by MSTS. The Air Force had consistently challenged the validity of these studies and had persuaded the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations and Logistics) to render a decision (June 1, 1962) that the AMR ships would continue to be operated by a commercial contractor.

We strongly favored MSTS operation, using Civil Service crews, primarily on the basis of greater reliability. There had been a case wherein an instrumentation ship being operated by a commercial steamship company had been out of service for about two months because of a union jurisdictional dispute, and there had been at least one other case of disruption because of union activity under private contractor operation. We wished to avoid the possibility of a union strike delaying an Apollo mission, or occurring in the middle of one. There were other advantages to be gained through MSTS operation: less cost because of lower manning tables; reduced overhead; the rights of public vessels in foreign ports; elimination of profit layers; higher standards of crew performance; security checks of all crew members; more continuity in crews; added flexibility through pooled operation; shortened administrative lines; better availability of spares and other support through the MSTS worldwide network of logistic support facilities; etc. Early in 1963, we asked DOD to review the case for MSTS operation, but the Air Force adhered to its position, rejecting the MSTS studies showing cost savings, and was backed up by OSD.

Discussions had started early in 1962 as to the ability of DOD to meet the Apollo support requirements with the tracking facilities, including instrumentation ships, then available. In June 1962, the DOD had made a [63] study based on their understanding of NASA needs as then stated. The study had concluded that there would be enough instrumentation ships in the combined AMR and PMR fleets fully to accommodate NASA requirements.

In a letter to Mr. Rubel, dated January 21, 1963, Dr. Seamans, in justifying our request for three additional ships, had explained that the instrumentation ships for APOLLO must be considered as project ground support equipment and that general-purpose Range ships could not be used for this function. The principal reasons for this were: (1) that the ships must have on board an extensive amount of project-peculiar equipment which must be identical to the equipment at other stations of the ground network; (2) that the operation of the ships' instrumentation must be closely integrated into the full network operation and that therefore technical operation should be performed by the contractor who operates other network stations; and (3) that the ships would have to be available to NASA on station for extended periods to conduct simulations and rehearsals and to allow for day-to-day slippages in launches. All this would add up to nearly full time use of the ships by NASA. Dr. Seamans had further stated, however, that while the prime function of the ships would be to support APOLLO, they could be used on an as-available basis to support other NASA and DOD missions.

Mr. Rubel's reply, on February 9, 1963, was to the effect that the Apollo ship requirements had never been submitted to a National Range for review and that therefore DOD was in no position either to comment on whether a general-purpose Range ship capability could be made available to meet Apollo requirements, or to agree that Apollo ships should be operated by NASA as Dr. Seamans had suggested. This allegation of lack of information was denied by Mr. Edmond C. Buckley, head of the Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition (OTDA), who maintained that the Apollo support requirements had been conveyed to the DOD through a series of meetings extending over the previous year.

In March 1963, Brig. Gen. Paul T. Cooper, USAF, assistant to Mr. Rubel, and I had reached an unofficial agreement as to the equipping and operation of the Apollo ships under the terms of which DOD could endorse the NASA item for three Apollo ships in the FY 1964; budget, but Mr. Rubel would not accept our agreed solution.

A detailed statement of NASA's requirements in support of APOLLO) prepared by OTDA, was forwarded to DOD on April 2, 1963. In a letter of the same date, Dr. Seamans inquired of DDR&E whether DOD could provide the three ships required to support the insertion and injection phases of the Apollo missions from the inventory of instrumentation ships either existing or under construction. The reply, signed by Mr. Rubel, stated that three ships could not be committed on a full-time, exclusive basis, but added that certain DOD Range ships probably could be modified to meet the NASA technical requirement; the matter would be taken under study.

An ensuing TWX from Air Force headquarters to AMR ordering the study was, in my opinion, so worded as to appear to dictate the desired outcome of [64] the study. When I called this to General Cooper's attention, he agreed to look into it, and later caused the instructions to AMR to be modified.

In a letter of April 22, 1963, Rubel advised as to the results of the study. AMR concluded that the Apollo requirements could be met by modifying four existing ships and procuring one additional ship, at a total cost of $80 million. NASA found one assumption in this estimate to be in error by $6 million in that the cost of a single additional ship was put at $30 million, one third the cost of three, whereas NASA's estimate was that if only one ship were procured, the cost of the single ship would be $36 million.

On May 7, 1963, Dr. Dryden wrote at length to Mr. Rubel, pointing out a number of defects in the AMR study. Most importantly, the analysis was based on four Apollo launches per year through a misunderstanding. NASA's planning called for six. The on-station times allotted for Apollo ships were too low, and no allowances were made for other factors such as network drills while not on station, non-availability while undergoing modifications, lost time due to postponements, etc. Provision was not made for multiple-ship support for certain other NASA missions; for example, the MARINER planetary exploration missions. The probable need for additional ship support for the reentry phase of Apollo was not taken into account. (The planning for this phase of the mission had not yet been finalized.) In addition to these shortcomings, there was no latitude for meeting unforeseen contingencies such as a major casualty to a ship or loss of a ground station on foreign territory due to political causes. Dr. Dryden's letter ended with a reaffirmation of our firm conclusion that three additional ships were needed and a request for DOD concurrence in our need for the funding for these ships in the FY 1964 budget. Dr. Dryden's letter failed to sway Rubel from his position, however, and at a hearing on May 9, 1963, before the Subcommittee on Applications and Tracking and Data Acquisition, Rubel did not support the three-ship request but instead testified generally along the lines of the faulty AMR study.

NASA continued its efforts to get approval of its Apollo ship request. A copy of the detailed statement of Apollo support requirements was sent to the House Committee. On May 16, 1963, NASA sent a statement to the Committee in further amplification and justification of its position, furnishing a copy to DOD. We arranged to brief the Committee's staff on the subject. Nevertheless, the House Committee's recommendation (about July 1963) was to go along with the solution advocated by Rubel.

The final result of all of the hearings on NASA's FY 1964 budget was, as stated above, an authorization of $83.3 million for NASA to procure and equip three additional ships for the support of APOLLO subject to completion of a joint NASA-DOD study on a pooled operation of all instrumentation ships in the national inventory and a NASA-DOD agreement as to how the pool should be operated.

[65] By this time it was obvious that the calculations of the Apollo trajectory had to be completed without further delay in order that we could prepare a more complete, timely, and better substantiated statement of our requirements levied on the DOD Ranges, more convincingly support our position on instrumentation ships in the FY 1964 budget, and justify additional funding for ships to be included in the FY 1965 budget. Accordingly, on August 6, 1963, Dr. Seamans issued a directive to OMSF to assemble a task group from interested offices and centers to evaluate Apollo trajectory constraints and define a set of requirements for instrumentation ships to support Apollo and to report by September 16, 1963. In lieu of a task group, OMSF turned the job over to Bellcomm, Inc., with instructions to coordinate with the offices and centers involved.

After a preliminary presentation to NASA only, Bellcomm presented the results of its study on September 26, 1963, to a group of senior representatives from DOD, USAF, AFSC, AFMTC, the Navy Bureau of Weapons (BuWeps), and NASA. The study failed to convince General Cooper of the need for three additional ships in the national inventory to meet the Apollo requirement superimposed on the normal Range load.

There followed a series of meeting between Mr. Rosen and General Cooper and between Dr. Albert C. Hall, who had replaced Rubel on this project, and me, in which we explored the issues, areas of agreements, and matters open to negotiation. These discussions led up to the convening of the joint Ad Hoc Committee on Instrumentation Ships, and the agreed guidelines furnished to the Committee. The guidelines, as finally drafted, had the personal concurrence of Dr. Mueller and Mr. Buckley.

The protracted discussions and negotiations with OSD on these issues were carried out for the most part by Defense Affairs with strong back-up support from OTDA and OMSF and, of course, much help and guidance from Dr. Seamans. Letters for signature by NASA management were usually prepared in our Office. Throughout these difficult transactions, Mr. Rosen played a most helpful and effective role in assisting me. His talents for conciliation and accommodation were brought to bear in numerous meetings with General Cooper. Colonel Damon also performed a helpful role in the negotiating process.

Under date of November 20, 1963, the Co-chairman of the AACB issued the precept establishing the NASA-DOD Ad Hoc Committee on Instrumentation Ships to conduct, as a matter of priority, the joint study required by the Congressional conferees. The membership of the Committee was appointed as follows:

 

NASA

Admiral W. F. Boone, Co-chairman
Mr. Walter C. Williams, Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight (Operations)
[66] Mr. G. M. Truszynski, Deputy Associate Administrator for Tracking and Data Acquisition.

 

DOD

Brig. Gen. Paul T. Cooper, USAF, Assistant to DDR&E, Co-chairman
Capt. J. J. Pace, USN, Bureau of Weapons, Navy Department
Col. R. S. Maloney, Jr., USAF, Air Force Missile Test Center.

 

Secretary

Maj. V. W. Hammond, USAF, from DOD, was later appointed as Committee

 

Taking advantage of the preliminary work that had been done, but at the same time recognizing that there remained a number of divergent viewpoints on issues yet to be reconciled by the Ad Hoc Committee in the relatively short period allowed by the Congressional conferees, the Co-chairman, AACB, issued a set of agreed guidelines which served to narrow considerably the areas left for negotiation. The final drafting of the guideline document was done by Defense Affairs in coordination with OTDA, OMSF, and DOD representatives. It was issued on November 22, 1963.

The guideline document stipulated that NASA's responsibility for the total mission planning for Apollo would include the use of instrumentation ships. Integration of the complete Apollo earth-based tracking, telemetry, communications, and command net, consisting of ground stations operated by NASA and ground and ship stations operated by the DOD, would also be a NASA responsibility. NASA would specify its requirements for Apollo support by DOD in terms of: (1) the number of ships required in the Apollo net; (2) the specific capability of the ships' instrumentation; (3) the required on-station locations and the periods of availability of the ships for program support (including tests, calibration, check-out, training, pre-mission exercises, and mission use); and (4) certain operational requirements which were detailed in the document.

DOD would accept as top priority the Apollo support requirements as stated by NASA. This was a key point on which NASA was insistent. At the same time, NASA would state its requirements with due consideration of the provision that the ships would, in the interest of economy, be used in support of other projects when not required for APOLLO. Next to APOLLO DOD would give precedence to NASA support requirements for unmanned space flight programs during the limited launch windows available for such missions.

Combined DOD and NASA support requirements would be the basis for a determination by the joint Committee of the required augmentation of the national instrumentation ship inventory in terms of additional ships and up-grading of existing ships.

We were aware that the Air Force - as the Executive Agent for the operation of AMR, including instrumentation ships, and through the person of General Cooper - would take a very hard position regarding the Apollo [67] ships. Essentially, the Air Force had held that (1) NASA should state its requirements not in terms of the number of ship stations and installed instrumentation needed in the Apollo, net but rather in terms of support in functional categories (tracking coverage and accuracy, telemetry, communications, etc.); (2) the Air Force should be the sole judge of what, if any, augmentation and/or up-grading of the instrumentation fleet would be needed to meet combined NASA-DOD requirements; (3) funds for any additional ships for APOLLO and the ships themselves should be turned over to the Air Force completely; and (4) the Air Force should be the sole authority as to the manner in which support to NASA would be rendered and solely responsible for formulating the necessary plans for equipping, preparing, and operating the ships as Range facilities in the Apollo network.

NASA, on the other hand, felt that it could not relinquish to another agency complete control over an element of the Apollo program essential to the accomplishment of the national goal of landing a man on the moon within the decade, a NASA responsibility.

In light of the known Air Force position, we caused the division of responsibility in providing the tracking, data acquisition, communications, and command support to Apollo to be well spelled out in the guidelines. NASA's leverage in support of its position was the provisions in the statement accompanying the Congressional Conference Report to the effect that the joint NASA-DOD study should establish responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the instrumentation on the Apollo ships; that while the DOD would be responsible for the scheduling, navigation, operation, and maintenance of the ships themselves, this responsibility should be exercised under rules and regulations negotiated by NASA and the DOD; and that failure to reach agreement in the joint Committee on the pooling of NASA and DOD snips should be reported back to the NASA authorization committees of Congress by a deadline late. Unofficially, we were led to understand that, if arrangements satisfactory to NASA could not be agreed upon, responsibility for operation of the Apollo ships would be given to NASA.

Under the sub-head "Management of the National Pool of Instrumentation Ships" in the guidelines, the Co-chairmen of the AACB recognized that NASA would be a major user of instrumentation ships in the pool, that this use would increase, and that therefore NASA should have a substantial voice in the manner in which the ships were to be equipped and operated to furnish services to NASA. It was noted in the guidelines that the DOD organization for management of the ship pool as well as other Range services and facilities afforded NASA essentially three levels of contact:

 

a. NASA Headquarters - DDR&E. An office in DDR&E had cognizance over policy considerations relative to funding levels, priorities, and the broad management aspects of DOD range support activities. This office was available to work with NASA in resolving matters of concern to the Heads of the two Agencies.
 
[68] b. Air Force - OTDA/OMSF. Planning level responsibility was centralized in an office within the Air Force charged with the planning for the provisions and use of DOD instrumentation resources, including ships. This office would receive NASA support requirements, allocate tracking and data acquisition resources to meet combined requirements, and determine any future augmentations needed beyond Apollo. It was agreed that any changes in the capabilities of the instrumentation ship pool which would affect Apollo would be implemented only after coordination with NASA.
 
c. NASA-DOD relations in the field. Day-to-day contacts between NASA and the Air Force and Navy activities at the Range sites to deal with routine operational matters would continue and were encouraged.

 

The guidelines stated that the DOD would plan to centralize responsibility for the operation of instrumentation ships under MSTS.

Special provisions would apply to the instrumentation installed in the Apollo ships since it was to be operated by a contractor other than MSTS. DOD would provide the technical crews for this operation and maintenance of instrumentation. (This was a compromise concession on NASA's part.) These crews would be trained to NASA specifications and operate in accordance with NASA-specified procedures, including those for calibration, check-out, maintenance, failure reporting, and modifications control. Readiness certification would be a NASA responsibility. NASA on-board representatives would have direct access to instrumentation operators to monitor equipment installation, for all mission preparation activities and for flight control measures during a mission. Scheduling of ship maintenance, of instrumentation modifications and maintenance, of new equipment installation, and of test and check-out would be under the control of a joint NASA-DOD Network Control Group chaired by NASA.

As to ship acquisition and modifications, the provision of all additional ships and alterations to existing ships would be DOD's responsibility. For such activity, the Navy would establish an Instrumentation Ship Project Office (ISPO), with a senior naval officer in charge and USAF and NASA deputies. An important element of this office would be a Configuration Control Board consisting of representatives from NASA, USAF, and Navy.

In general, NASA would actively participate in all phases of the Apollo ship procurement, equipping , and alteration program. Final plans and specifications would be subject to NASA approval.

NASA would fund additional ships and Apollo mission-peculiar instrumentation installed in existing ships; however, any general or special purpose capability desired by DOD in these ships would be a DOD funding responsibility. Reimbursement by NASA of its pro rata share of annual O&M costs would be in accordance with the Webb-McNamara agreement regarding ETR support to NASA.

[69] Comprehensive though these agreed guidelines were, the negotiations in the joint Ad Hoc Committee were long and at time contentious. Some nine plenary sessions were held, the first on November 27, 1963, and several supporting studies made, before agreement was reached and a report submitted by the Committee on January 14, 1964. The report was approved by the Co-chairmen, AACB, that same day. The recommendations encompassed in the report were approved by the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator, NASA, on the following day. As recommended, NASA sent copies to the NASA authorization committees of the Senate and House, stating that the Ad Hoc Committee's report, as approved, was considered to constitute the study and agreement called for by the managers on the part of the House and requesting that the restriction on the commitment and obligation of FY 1964 funds for instrumentation ships be lifted. The Congressional Committees accepted the report of agreement and promptly lifted the restriction. The Secretary of Defense furnished copies of the report to the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and House for information.

 

[70] Apollo Ship Negotiation and Procurement

At the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Instrumentation Ships on November 27, 1963, several initial actions were agreed upon. In response to DOD's complaint that support requirements data furnished by NASA had been changing, it was again explained that the mission profile plans and trajectory calculations for Apollo were still undergoing refinement. However, Williams and Truszynski assured the Committee that firm data could be supplied within a few days.

Captain Pace, the Navy representative, made a plea for selecting ship hulls for modification that would be large enough to allow for some growth potential. This latter proved to be wise counsel when an unforeseen requirement arose to add Communications Satellite Corporation (ComSat) terminals to the three Apollo ships.

It was recognized by both sides that a new computer study by AMR was required as a basis for the principal determination before the Committee; namely, the number of additional ships required to handle the aggregate NASA-DOD workload. It was agreed that NASA and AMR representatives would meet at AMR on December 4 to review the computer model and related assumptions in order to avoid any misunderstanding and subsequent controversy over results of the computer run.

General Cooper agreed to furnish amplifying information concerning the functions, authority, and organization of the office in OSD responsible for the broad management aspects of range support activities, as referred to in the guidelines.

I informed the Committee of NASA's request that the "DOD Representative" concept (single point of contact, under the Joint Chiefs of Staff) for all DOD support to NASA, which had been used in Mercury, be applied also to Apollo.

It was agreed that Cooper would arrange for the Navy to prepare a proposed organization and procedural plan for the ISPO.

A schedule of deadlines was drawn up. Altogether, the Committee seemed to get off to a good start.

The revised Apollo support requirements were received at AMR on December 4. NASA and DOD representatives met at the Cape on December 5 and uncovered a few problem areas requiring further study by NASA.

The main item of business at the second meeting on December 6 was a presentation by Captain Pace of the Navy's proposed plan for the organization of the ISPO. The instrumentation ship program would be a "Designated Project" directly under the Chief of Navy Material. Capt. J. H. Thornton, [71] USN, from the Bureau of Ships (BuShips), who had a strong background in ship design and construction, was to be the first Project Officer (Project Manager). He was to make maximum use of the functional organization of BuShips in discharging his responsibilities. The Configuration Control Board, as an element of the ISPO, would have one member each from USN, USAF, and NASA, of co-equal status. Captain Pace considered it imperative that NASA and USAF personnel be assigned full-time to the ISPO and/or the Configuration Control Board.

A functional organization chart, showing the relationships between ISPO and other related activities, is attached (Attachment VII-A).

In order to insure that the needed Apollo support ships would be ready on time, Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) had considered it necessary to establish system design requirements without waiting for a decision as to how the ships would be procured. Accordingly, GSFC had gone out with a Request for Proposal (RFP) on October 1, 1963, to prepare all necessary guidance plans and specifications for configuration of a T2-SE-A2 tanker. Bids had been received, evaluated, and a successful bidder selected, but award of the contract was being held up pending resolution of the instrumentation ship issue. In addition to the need in planning the hull alterations, GSFC needed the information in order to plan the instrumentation to be installed. Captains Pace and Thornton had discussed these matters with GSFC personnel.

After extended discussion in the Committee, it was decided to separate the preliminary work into Phase I, essentially the preparation of design criteria, and Phase II, contract guidance plans and specifications. There was no objection to NASA going ahead with a contract to a private contractor to do the Phase I work. BuShips would do Phase II. As matters turned out, the Phase I work was done by the Ships Division at PMR. Provisions were made to integrate plans for general-purpose instrumentation with those for the Apollo project-peculiar equipment.

At the third meeting held on December 11, two formal presentations were made to the Committee and some fourteen invited observers representing nearly all of the interested NASA and DOD activities.

Col. Vernon F. Creighton, AFMTC, presented the results of the computer study titled "Range Study of National Range Instrumentation Ship Needs, 1964-1968." The study had not taken into account the recent cancellation of Dyna-Soar or initiation of the DOD Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Project. Briefly, the computer run had shown the need for three additional insertion-injection ships using T-2 hulls, plus the modification of two existing (C-2 hull) instrumentation ships to support the reentry phase of Apollo. The Apollo ships would be available to support other missions approximately fifteen percent of the time.

The results of the AMR study and related recommendations were tentatively accepted by the Committee, although General Cooper qualified his acceptance pending further study of the availability of DOD funds and estimates of DOD launch rates.

[72] Mr. John D. Hodge, MSC, presented in detail the rationale behind NASA instrumentation ship requirements in terms of launch criteria and constraints involved in determining a launch window, an injection corridor, and maneuvers included in the mission sequence. He referred to preliminary studies which had indicated a possible need for about nine instrumented aircraft to supplement the tracking ship support during injection.

At the fourth meeting, a draft interim report by the Committee was reviewed, and there was further discussion of reviews by both DOD and NASA of the mission models which were the basis of the AMR computer run. I pointed out that it was necessary to have an early cut-off point of such reviews, noting that historically mission models had undergone constant change.

At its fifth meeting on December 19, the Committee digressed from its assigned function to hear a presentation by OSSA on the need for temporary use of a sea-going launch platform from which to launch about twenty NIKE-APACHE vehicles in the vicinity of the geomagnetic equator. The proposed plan involved placing mobile van-mounted equipment and about seventeen people aboard a CARD class aircraft carrier for approximately sixty days, use of the ship to be on a rental basis. General Cooper agreed, on the basis of data presented, to recommend that OSD authorize MSTS to enter into planning with NASA for this project. The mission was later successfully accomplished.

A lengthy discussion took place at this meeting concerning the organization of the ISPO. It was decided that a senior interagency board was needed, independent of the ISPO, whose function would be to oversee the entire effort of providing instrumentation ships for Apollo. This board would be titled the "Apollo Instrumentation Ship Board" and would be composed of one high ranking representative each from NASA, Navy, and Air Force: the Navy member would chair the Board. The Board would continuously review the actions of the ISPO, would furnish management guidance, and would adjudicate any differences between the interested agencies arising during the normal conduct of business by ISPO. The membership of the Board, as initially constituted, was:

 

Rear Admiral J. A. Brown, USN, Chairman
Mr. E. W. Wasielewski, NASA (GSFC) member
Lt. Gen. Leighton I. Davis, USAF, member.

 

It was further decided that the Configuration Control Board would be an element of the ISPO and would be chaired by the Project Officer, with his Navy, Air Force, and NASA deputies as members. It would be responsible for day-to-day decisions regarding the configuration of the ships.

A copy of the final organization chart of the ISPO is attached (Attachment VII-B).

[73] An announcement was made at the sixth meeting that Capt. A. F. Hancock, USN, would replace Captain Thornton as the fulltime head of ISPO. Captain Hancock was an experienced ship project officer. He had previously been detailed to the Air Force to assist in the procurement and equipping of the two ARIS ships, the latest additions to the DOD range fleet. It was also announced that the Navy was assigning seven people full time to ISPO. Other announced assignments to ISPO were:

 

Mr. R. J. McCaffrey, from GSFC, as NASA Deputy
Mr. Merton Green, GSFC, to Electronics Element
Lt. Col. J. M. Ellzey, from AFMTC, as USAF Deputy.

 

At this, the sixth meeting, General Cooper presented the results of the latest AMR study which had incorporated several new factors not taken into account in the first study presented to the Committee; namely, cancellation of Dyna-Soar, changes in Polaris test rates, changes in the Typhon program, initiation of the MOL program, extension of the ASSET program, and changes in certain NASA programs and in other DOD programs.

Essentially, this study presented two alternative plans:

 

Plan A - Ten metric ships

Acquire one additional Apollo ship, T-2 hull.
Modify four existing ships.
Would result in a total fleet of ten ships.
Total cost in FY's 1964 and 1965 - $104.2 million:
To NASA $97.4 million
To DOD $ 6.8 million
Would provide for meeting approximately 79.5 per cent of the total estimated workload (the remainder to be met by adjusting launch schedules).

 

Plan B - Twelve metric ships

Acquire three additional Apollo ships, T-2 hulls.
Modify two existing ships.
Would result in a total fleet of twelve ships.
Total cost in FY's 1964 and 1965 - $121.7 million
To NASA $104.2 million
To DOD $ 17.5 million
Would provide for meeting approximately 91 per cent of the total estimated workload.

 

I inquired as to whether an eleven-ship fleet had been considered. DOD stated that this would not be workable because of the division of ships between oceans. DOD favored Plan A on the basis of economy, even though the Range Commanders at AMR and PMR had both recommended Plan B. We on the NASA side stated that we were also desirous of effecting economies wherever possible, but we believed that because of the serious deficiency in capability [74] to meet the total range workload under Plan A, any apparent economy would turn out to be a false economy in the long run. We discussed the high cost of schedule delays which would be expected under Plan A. We further pointed out that the computer runs had made no allowances for ships out of use during alterations or as a result of a major casualty, nor for such unscheduled demands as were made on the instrumentation fleet incident to a series of atomic tests in 1962. We believed that because of such uncertainties and with so much at stake, it would be prudent to err on the high side, if any. We concluded by saying that NASA could support only Plan B.

General Cooper then stated that DOD acknowledged the validity of and concurred with the argument advanced in favor of Plan B, except for the high investment and operating costs. He agreed to discuss with his superiors the availability of DOD funds to implement Plan B.

The seventh meeting of the Committee, held on January 3, 1964, was devoted to preparation of the final draft report. Agreement had been reached that a twelve-ship metric fleet was needed; i.e. Plan B. It was estimated that a saving of $30 million could be realized by meeting the total NASA and DOD instrumentation ship requirements through a pooled operation.

At the eighth meeting on January 8, there was further progress toward finalizing the report, with considerable discussion of cost estimates, possible overruns, and the division of funding between NASA and the DOD.

General Cooper, Mr. Truszynski, Mr. Rosen, and I left the meeting to keep an appointment with representatives of BuBud to discuss our report.

The ninth and final meeting took place on January 10. Captain Hancock, who had taken over as Project Manager from Captain Thornton, presented new cost estimates which were substantially higher than those previously given by DOD. I expressed surprise at the wide discrepancy between the figures contained in the AMR study and those now being given by the Project Office. Part of the increase, but not all, was explained by the fact that the Project Office had added contingency allowances for anticipated escalation costs and change order costs. The Committee decided (and BuBud concurred) that since the hull alteration cost figures were still fluid and the instrumentation equipment estimates had not yet been reviewed by Hancock, we would not include total cost estimates in the report.

The draft final report and appendices were again reviewed by the Committee, which then concluded its deliberations with an admonition from General Cooper that NASA view the terms of the agreement as setting a precedent for possible future conditions under which NASA might be supporting the DOD in such programs as the MOL. We agreed to do so.

The agreed report of the Committee, dated January 10, 1964, contained a detailed explanation and justification of the need to augment the instrumentation fleet by the addition of three converted ships and the upgrading of two existing ships. It contained amplified versions of all of the [75] provisions set forth in the guidelines furnished by the Co-chairmen of the AACB. In addition, the following principal provisions were included in the report which, as approved, assumed the status of a NASA-DOD agreement.

 

To digress in order to discuss this provision, it was clearly understood by all of the NASA representatives that agreement was reached in the Committee to man all of the instrumentation ships under MSTS with Civil Service crews as desired by NASA, to achieve greater reliability and economy (MSTS estimated a saving of $2 million a year). This had, in fact, been "the modus operandi at PMR since its inception." However, when the plan was drawn it did net call for the phasing out of the union crews when the AMR ships were transferred to MSTS for operation. General Cooper maintained that the agreement reached in the Committee did not extend to manning existing AMR ships with Civil Service crews. NASA made strong and repeated informal and formal representations to DOD to make the shift when the then current contract with Maritime Transport Lines expired. General Schriever told me at a luncheon meeting which I had with him on March 24, 1964, that he favored MSTS operation on the basis of greater dependability. Nevertheless, the Secretary of Defense elected to continue with the commercial contractor and union crews. (Eventually, the instrumentation fleet did become fully Civil Service manned by virtue of the progressive inactivation of ships manned by commercial contract crews.)

The remaining provisions of the report were:

 

 

A controversy later developed over the funding of overruns in the Apollo ship contracts. Whereas it had been agreed that the cost of change orders of benefit to both DOD and NASA would be prorated on the same basis as the total cost of the ships (about eighty-five per cent NASA and fifteen per cent DOD, the ratio of Apollo use to general-purpose use), DOD tool the position that the entire burden of overruns should be borne by NASA. Eventually, nearly all of the cost of overruns and contingencies were borne by NASA.

The Apollo ship program was carried out with reasonable success. The agreed organization and procedures worked well. Within NASA, the contract was monitored closely by OTDA, with back-up from Defense Affairs in NASA-DOD relationships where needed. There were some problems with cost increases and schedule delays, and some technical difficulties were encountered in the drive mechanisms of the large antennas and in alignment of the tracking instrumentation systems, but when Mr. Webb called these deficiencies to the personal attention of the top management of the prime contractor, General Dynamics, the improvement was prompt and substantial. The ships turned out to be fine vessels, they met their performance specifications, and they were ready in time to provide the mission support required by CMSF. Ship and instrumentation crews performed well during actual Apollo missions.

Following the normal convention for the naming of auxiliary ships, the Secretary of the Navy named the three ships after cities having no connection with the space program. After mulling over this for a while, NASA decided that ships having such a key role in the momentous undertaking of landing the first man on the moon should be more appropriately named. I took a preliminary sounding and found that the Navy would be receptive to a change. Having in mind that the latest and largest Range ships were named after Air Force- Generals Arnold and Vandenberg, I suggested that we name the Apollo ships the James E. Webb, Hugh L. Dryden, and Robert C. Seamans, Jr., the three men most responsible for the Apollo program-but this was promptly vetoed by Mr. Webb. MR. Earl D. Hilburn suggested the names REDSTONE, VANGUARD, and MERCURY, three names prominently associated with the early days of the space program. This suggestion immediately appealed to Webb. The recommendation was conveyed to the Navy and the ships were so renamed.

 

[77] Apollo/Range Instrumentation Aircraft (A/RIA)

The support requirements for Apollo, compiled by OMSF, originally stated a need for twelve heavily instrumented, long-range, high-speed aircraft to supplement the telemetry and communication support to be provided by the Apollo ships. The operational requirements for the aircraft stemmed from several considerations. During the long and critical second burn of the third-stage engine to inject the spacecraft into the trans-lunar trajectory, the spacecraft would travel a distance of about 1,800 miles. It was necessary to station the Apollo injection ship so as to obtain the most accurate tracking data for that part of the flight sequence immediately following the injection burn, as a basis for a go-no-go decision to separate the command and service module (CSM) from the lunar module adapter, reverse the CSM, and dock it with the lunar module, and also as the basis for computing the first mid-course correction burn which needed to be made as early as possible to conserve fuel. In such a position, it would not be possible for the ship also to obtain spacecraft telemetry and have voice communication with the astronauts during that segment of the trajectory immediately preceding and during the first part of the injection burn. Specially instrumented aircraft at high altitude would be required to receive telemetry and function as line-of-sight relay stations for voice communications during that period.

The original request for twelve planes was premised on the desire to provide for two alternative injection points, one over the Pacific and one over the South Atlantic or the Indian Ocean, depending upon the time of year of launch, eight instrumented planes to be available in the Pacific and four in the Indian Ocean area. Later, as the mission planning was refined, it was decided that a single injection area could be accepted. Accordingly, the aircraft requirement was reduced to eight, six to be on station with two standby spares.

As in the case of the Apollo ships, the instrumentation aircraft could be used for general Range support when not required for Apollo.

The Air Force indicated a willingness to make available eight KC-135A's for this purpose at no cost to NASA, provided NASA would pay for the required structural modifications and for the procurement and installation of equipment required for Apollo support.

In December 1964, a three-way agreement was signed by the heads of the National Range Division (NRD) and the Electronic Systems Division (ESD) of the AFSC for the DOD, and OTDA for NASA, to acquire, test, and operate these needed range aircraft. The salient provisions of the agreement were as follows:

 

 

[79] A supplementary DOD-NASA agreement covering the funding arrangement and responsibilities for the A/RIA Project (Definition and Acquisition Phase) was signed into effect on January 4, 1966.

In principle, all project costs would be shared in accordance with an initial "contributing ratio" which would be established based on the proportionate costs of Apollo program instrumentation and the additional DOD general Range support instrumentation within the scope of the original contract specifications. Project costs were defined to include all attributable costs incurred during the Definition and Acquisition Phase of the Project and through Category I and II Test Programs. The contributing ratio would also define the cost-sharing basis between NASA and the DOD for subsequent costs.

In general, the cost of management and technical support incurred by the ESD Project Office would be borne by DOD. Out-of-pocket costs, such as travel, would be shared. Category III test costs were to be shared in accordance with cost-sharing arrangements then under separate negotiation between NASA and DOD.

The cost of mutually agreed upon changes beyond the scope of the original plans and specifications would be shared. Additional items needed by one agency only would be funded by that Agency.

The DOD would fund for airfield improvements to common-purpose (military) facilities where needed to support the A/RIA in their operating areas. Needed improvements to commercial facilities would be provided by NASA.

Reimbursement for operation and maintenance costs would be established by separate agreement.

Custody and accountability for the property were assigned to the DOD.

The arrangements established by these agreements proved to be quite satisfactory. The aircraft were available when needed, and performed their designed functions well during the Apollo missions.

 

[80] Procedures for Funding the Operation and Maintenance of Apollo Ships and Aircraft

A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING governing the sharing of the annual costs of operating and maintaining the Apollo instrumentation ships and aircraft was signed by General Davis, NRD, and Mr. Buckley, OTDA, on December 20, 1965, and shortly thereafter approved by Dr. Foster for DOD and Dr. Seamans for NASA.

This agreement set forth detailed procedures for estimating, budgeting, and reimbursement for the costs of operating and maintaining the Apollo ships and aircraft each year. In essence, the agreement arrangement called for a sharing of annual direct and indirect costs on the basis of the percentage of use, which worked out to be approximately eighty-five per cent for NASA and fifteen per cent for DOD for both ships and aircraft.

In accordance with the terms of the basic Agreement covering -the aircraft, all of the initial costs for aircraft crew training, equipment, calibration, checkout, and simulation in preparation for Apollo support were borne by NASA.

[81] Attachment VII-A.

[82] Attachment VII-B. ISPO Organization.


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