DESTINATION MOON: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program
Spacecraft Compatibility with Launch and Tracking Facilities
[214] On April 20, 1965, representatives from Boeing., Lockheed, Langley, JPL, and Goddard Launch Operations had met at Kennedy Space Center for a major status review of the spacecraft and the preliminary mission plans. Boeing had presented its plans for using the Eastern Test Range facilities to conduct compatibility tests with a ground spacecraft. At this time it had also requested that it be allowed to evaluate checkout and operating procedures at ETR with the spacecraft's compliance to range requirements. This request necessitated the use of a launch vehicle which the Lewis Research Center was to supply through Lockheed.66 NASA approved Boeing's request.
As part of the evaluation, Boeing and Lockheed coordinated their efforts with the Goddard Launch Operations facility, Greenbelt, Maryland, to develop spacecraft flow data for Launch Complex 13 at Cape Kennedy. They completed this activity by May 10. NASA and Boeing further evaluated the requirements of the Deep Space Instrumentation Facility and [215] the Space Flight Operations Facility, whose stations around the world would be used in Lunar Orbiter flight operations. On June 16 Boeing and Eastman Kodak officials met with personnel of the DSN to establish the interface between Eastman Kodak equipment and the DSN. Once this was completed Boeing assisted the DSIF in the development of an activation plan for flight operations. The Deep Space Network was to concur on the plan before it could be implemented.67
During the remainder of 1965 and the first half of 1966 major reviews took place in all areas of the Lunar Orbiter Program: spacecraft subsystems, testing and integration with launch facilities. and compatibility with Apollo and Surveyor requirements. The Deep Space Network, meanwhile, had committed the Goldstone Echo site (DSIF 12) to the Lunar Orbiter Performance Demonstration Test throughout 1965. During this time Spacecraft C was given basic compatibility tests to check its systems design with the DSN.68
One thorny problem was left to threaten the completion of Lunar Orbiter testing at Goldstone. The Pioneer Mission A had placed a claim on Goldstone facilities that [216] required that the DSN station provide "coverage of one pass per day for each of the first 30 days after launch."69 Moreover, Goldstone would track the Pioneer space probe on one pass per day for three days a week for the time of launch plus thirty days to six months-a substantial amount of time, impinging on the Lunar Orbiter Performance Demonstration Test still in progress.
The period from December 13, 1965 to February 3, 19662 had been designated by Boeing for the final test phase. Once Spacecraft C had. finished the Goldstone tests, it would be shipped to Cape Kennedy for further tests in the Hangar S facility. As things stood the Pioneer launch threatened to delay Spacecraft C In the Goldstone tests, and this was something over which Boeing had no control. Thus a delay here would be charged to NASA's account in the final evaluation of whether the contractor met the incentive requirements of the contract.
Kosofsky made the Flight Operations Working Group aware of the potential conflict and requested that it strive to minimize any delays in the Performance Demonstration Test. Some testing of the Lunar Orbiter could be conducted at Hangar S with Spacecraft 32 but it would lack the photographic subsystem.
[217] The situation at the Deep Space Network was the result of scheduling within the Office of Space Science and Application4 which held the responsibility for Lunar Orbiter, Surveyor, Mariner, and Pioneer and their use of the DSN facilities. The DSN did not over-commit its available time or facilities; instead it had to play the juggler, compensating for the schedule slippages in the various programs which relied on DSN. Marshall Johnson., DSN Manager for Lunar Orbiter, attempted successfully to rectify the time-sharing, computer-sharing needs of each program and thus avoided an impact on Lunar Orbiter's schedules.70
While Johnson took action at the DSN with the Surveyor, Mariner, and Pioneer projects to compensate for real and anticipated schedule slippages, Scherer continued to prod Eastman Kodak and its subcontractor Bolsey to meet their schedule delivery dates. In a brief memorandum to Oran W. Nicks he explained that he, Clifford H. Nelson, and Eugene Draley at Langley had conferred on the status of the EK/Bolsey situation. They had recommended to Floyd L. Thompson, Langley Director, that Thompson talk to Eastman Kodak management officials by telephone about the schedule situation instead of paying them a top-level visit.71
[218] In addition to Scherer's recommendation, Newell, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, notified NASA Deputy Administrator Seamans early in March of the Lunar Orbiter Program's schedule difficulties.
Newell asked Dr. Seamans to release a telegram to the Boeing Company in an effort to bring the continual series of small schedule slips under control before they escalated into a costly launch delay. The telegram. released by Seamans on March 10, was addressed to Vice President Lysle Wood at Boeing. Showing top-level concern at NASA Headquarters over the threatened status of the Lunar Orbiter schedules, it read:
The schedule of lunar orbiter is one of the highest priority to NASA. Both unmanned and manned lunar landing missions need the data to be obtained from successful lunar orbiter missions in order that our lunar exploration program can proceed as planned. Scheduled launch dates are requiring firm commitments for world wide network operations. Severe conflicts and delays may occur unless these launch dates can be adhered to.
In view of these facts I have become very concerned about the pattern of delays in deliveries of certain items for the orbiter, such as the photographic system and the Inertial reference unit.
I want to emphasize the national importance of this program, the necessity for firm schedule adherence, and to inform you of my personal interest and concern in this matter.72
[219] Seamans indicated in his telegram to Boeing the kind of collision between various programs dependent upon the same facilities which delays could cause. Early in April 1966 further minor delays in deliveries of the photographic subsystem occurred. There had been film alignment problems on the first flight-configured photo subsystem, delaying delivery by one week. The V/H sensor in the first flight-unit photo subsystem had developed troubles which threatened to delay the delivery of this vital component until June 15. To compensate for this Boeing recommended that the V/H sensor from Spacecraft 2 be substituted on Spacecraft 4. This change would ensure delivery of the first flight spacecraft by June 1, but it would reduce the time for the mission simulation testing of the photo subsystem on Spacecraft 2. Yet under the existing constraint of a July launch it was the best alternative.73
Flight Spacecraft 41 the first Orbiter destined for the Moon, was undergoing match-mate with the adapter and the shroud at Boeing by April 7. Boeing would subject it to vibration and thermal vacuum tests which it would complete on April 19. Then, if all went well, Boeing would ship it to NASA facilities at Cape Kennedy by May 10. Complementing these tests were two other items that had reached successful completion: the software demonstration tests (i.e.,computer [220] programming for flight trajectory analysis and tracking) and inter-station compatibility tests. These activities led to the next major item on the schedule: formal mission simulation tests, which were due to begin on April 11.74