DESTINATION MOON: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program
NASA Preparations for Contract Negotiations
[79] On November 1, 1963, Dr. Homer E. Newell announced the details of an organizational change which merged the Office of Space Sciences and the Office of Applications to form the new Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA). This new organization became the Headquarters base for the Lunar Orbiter Program. The Office of Lunar and Planetary Programs, directed by Oran W. Nicks, was a division of OSSA.6

After the Christmas holidays, preparations for the NASA-Boeing contract talks got under way on January 6. The Office of Space Science and Applications sent Headquarters representatives to Boeing together with Langley contracting officers. The conference there resulted in an agreement on basic task areas which NASA and Boeing would work out before signing a contract. They also drew up a tentative schedule of activities for the following sixty days.

Following the Boeing meeting Langley officials met [80] with officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to establish preliminary agreements on how Langley might best benefit from JPL assistance. JPL people pointed out at this time that problems involving trajectory design for Lunar Orbiter would have to be handled by Langley and Boeing. Trajectory design, with its known strong correlation to the internal design of the spacecraft, could not easily be done by JPL without JPL becoming involved in spacecraft design. This kind of involvement would place a severe burden on the manpower situation at JPL and would constitute the probable germ of inter-laboratory friction.

JPL officials defined the facility limits in tracking time and the probable ways in which the Deep Space Net (DSN) could best serve Lunar Orbiter. The tracking and data-acquisition facilities-at JPL and the DSN were serving the needs of Ranger, Mariner, Surveyor, and Pioneer and Centaur during the period in which the Lunar Orbiter Program was establishing itself. JPL made an additional commitment to serve the needs of Lunar Orbiter when the time came to fly.7

Following the West Coast preparations, NASA-Langley [81] representatives met with officials of the Lewis Research Center and the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, the prime contractor to Lewis for the Agena launch vehicle. At this time an inter-center agreement was established to cover the Agena-Lunar Orbiter interface. Subsequently the Lunar Orbiter Program Office in Washington conducted an information meeting to acquaint representatives of the various government mapping agencies with the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft design and the NASA mapping requirements as they existed at the time. By late January Boeing officials at Langley completed the preliminary tasks required for actual contract negotiations and gave a detailed presentation of all elements of their proposal with tentative cost estimates and funding requirements.8

Lunar Orbiter planning accelerated during February when NASA officials met again with the Air Force personnel stationed at Boeing to discuss the role which they would play in the Lunar Orbiter Program. Following this meeting the Office of Space Science and Applications drafted a document defining the USAF support activity and sent it to Langley and the Air Force for approval.

The Lunar Orbiter Project Office at Langley desired to make as much use of Air Force technical support at [82] Boeing as possible, especially since the Air Force had extensive experience with the Eastman Kodak camera system.

In addition Boeing representatives met at Langley with officials from Lewis to discuss the problems of integrating the Agena and the spacecraft systems and to distribute the responsibilities involved in this task. Boeing and NASA officials agreed that Lewis would handle the shroud which would enclose the Lunar Orbiter atop the Atlas-Agena launch vehicle. Eventually Lewis issued an RFP for the shroud. It awarded the contract to Boeing and supervised production of the shroud. Once Boeing realized that Lockheed, manufacturer of the Agena, would not be able to handle the shroud, Boeing decided to take responsibility for its design and manufacture. Boeing wanted to see that the shroud and the spacecraft were absolutely compatible.

In addition to making the shroud Boeing would take care of the adapter and separation systems which would integrate the spacecraft-shroud combination with the Agena and separate them at the proper time in space.

Other Boeing officials continued to work out cost estimates with Langley contracting officers, and Langley finished drafting an integrated work statement toward the end of February. These preparations enabled NASA/Langley to begin detailed contract negotiations with Boeing, [83] and on March 2 the talks commenced.9