DESTINATION MOON: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program
A Change in Delivery Incentive
[222] Other areas of major concern existed. One was in the NASA-Boeing contract and the funding relationship. During March and April 1966, the Lunar Orbiter Project Office at Langley negotiated a new delivery incentive with the Boeing [223] Company because of the necessity of moving the first launch date from early June to mid-July. The new delivery date was June 20, and the change relieved some of the pressure that schedule delays, especially on the photographic subsystem had caused in the timetable. In addition NASA officials had taken the opportunity to correct previous weaknesses in the incentive clause of the contract.79
Scherer reported to Nicks on April 7 that the Lunar Orbiter Program was close to meeting its obligations according to plan., but that accrued costs were about $10 million behind the plan. The completion costs for RCA were expected to end up one half to one million dollars below the level planned. In addition the Machinists' Union at Boeing had not reached a new contract settlement with the company by the April 7 deadline, and a strike appeared likely. If the union struck before April 30, negotiations would move to Washington, D.C. A strike would affect Lunar Orbiter operations at Cape Kennedy.80
Langley had reported to Headquarters at the end of March that the program was proceeding toward a launch readiness [224] date of July 11, 1966, despite several technical problems that continued to hold up testing. The major problems were in the photographic subsystem. The shutter mechanism for the 610 mm lens and the V/H sensor had not yet been perfected, and their absence was delaying vital tests of the subsystem at the flight spacecraft level.81 The problem continued to persist almost to the actual launch date. Indeed, the July launch date had to be canceled because the photographic subsystem was not available and it was not until the second week in August that the program was able to launch a spacecraft.82