The historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission climaxes a decade during which McDonnell Douglas products have played a major role in America's manned space flight program.
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Background: The historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission climaxes a decade during which McDonnell Douglas products have played a major role in America's manned space flight program.
The Mercury and Gemini spacecraft demonstrated man's ability to fly, live and work in a space environment up to two weeks and to rendezvous and dock with another spacecraft. And the Saturn S-IV and S-IVB stages have performed faithfully while helping to boost the Apollo astronauts into orbit and later refiring to propel them on their way to the moon.
NASA's Mercury, Gemini and Apollo advances into the unknown have encompassed many dimensions, but from the beginning, the McDonnell Douglas Corporation has contributed to their success.
Manned spaceflight in the Free World had its beginning in 1959 when NASA selected McDonnell as the prime contractor for the design, development and construction of Project Mercury spacecraft. The successful testing and orbiting of Mercury provided NASA and McDonnell with the basic knowledge on which America's manned space programs to follow were built. In Project Mercury, six manned flight were successfully completed for a total flight time of 51 hours and 40 minutes.
Project Gemini was the second chapter in the Free World's history of space exploration. Gemini was a 20-month program that provided the building blocks for man's landing on the moon. In Project Gemini, 10 flights, each with a two-man crew, were successfully completed for a total space flight time of 969 hours and 56 minutes. Project Gemini achieved the following objectives:
. Orbital flights of up to 14 days duration.
. Rendezvous and docking in earth orbit using various rendezvous techniques.
. Development of spacecraft countdown techniques and operational procedures.
. Demonstration of controlled reentry and landing to a predetermined touchdown area.
McDonnell Douglas Corporation has made additional, substantial contributions to the United States space program with the design and production of the powerful S-IVB rocket, which serves as the top stage of both the Saturn IB and Saturn V launch vehicles used in Project Apollo. As the third stage of the Saturn V, the S-IVB provides the final thrust to insert the Apollo spacecraft and its astronaut crew into earth orbit and then restarts and speeds the spacecraft from its parking orbit toward the moon's surface. Performance of the S-IVB on all Apollo flights has been near perfect.
This wide spectrum of expertise in all phases of space research and development has strengthened the position of the United States in its long-range program of manned space exploration.
The following chronologies identify some milestones along the way:
21 October 1958 - NASA announced a competition for a manned spacecraft, to be launched by an Atlas, placed in orbit around the earth and returned safely. A McDonnell study team, which had been funding, was assigned to prepare the proposal.
12 January 1959 - NASA announced selection of McDonnell to build the Mercury spacecraft.
13 February 1959 - Contract was signed with McDonnell for the design and construction of 12 Mercury spacecraft. As the program expanded, subsequent orders were received for eight additional spacecraft, two procedural trainers, an environmental trainer, seven check-out trailers and much of the prelaunch operation at Cape Canaveral, including the mating of the spacecraft to the launch vehicle, check-out and countdown.
4 October 1959 - First of four Little Joe firings from Wallops Station, Virginia. Little Joe, a 48-foot high, solid fuel launch vehicle, was used in the development phase of Project Mercury to provide an early evaluation of spacecraft performance at low altitudes.
25 January 1960 - McDonnell delivered first production spacecraft (#4) less than year after signing of contract.
2 April 1960 - First instrumented spacecraft (#1), with escape tower, delivered by McDonnell.
9 May 1960 - Spacecraft #1 fired in on off-the pad abort escape rocket test at Wallops Station, Virginia.
29 July 1960 - Mercury-Atlas 1. Objective of the first Atlas-launched flight was to qualify the production spacecraft under maximum airloads and after body heating rate during re-entry conditions.
Spacecraft (#4) carried no escape system or test subject. Test objectives were not achieved due to launch system malfunction.
21 November 1960 - Mercury-Redstone 1 was the first unmanned Redstone flight. Premature engine cutoff at launch terminated the test. The emergency escape system was jettisoned. Spacecraft (#2) was not damaged and test was rescheduled.
19 December 1960 - Mercury-Redstone 1A was a repeat of November attempt. Successful flight reached an altitude of 135 statute miles and a horizontal distance of 236 statute miles. Spacecraft (#2) was recovered.
31 January 1961 - "Ham", the 37-pound astro-chimp, was rocketed into space aboard Mercury-Redstone 2. "Ham" and spacecraft (#5) were recovered after reaching an altitude of 155 miles and landing 420 miles downrange. Flight demonstrated ability to primate to react normally in weightless flight. "Ham" was recovered safe and well.
21 February 1961 - Mercury-Atlas 2 reached an altitude of 108 miles and speed of 13,000 m.p.h. Flight checked maximum heating during worst possible re-entry conditions. Spacecraft (#6) was recovered 1425 miles downrange.
5 May 1961 - Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. rode Mercury-Redstone 3 into history with his 15-minute, 22-second ballistic flight which reached an altitude of 116 statute miles and was recovered 302 miles downrange.
21 July 1961 - Mercury-Redstone 4 was a successful downrange flight lasting 15 minutes, 37 seconds by Astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom. This was the first flight with an enlarged window, greatly improving the astronaut's observation capability. Premature loss of the escape hatch caused spacecraft (#11) to take on water and sink. Grissom was recovered by helicopter.
13 September 1961 - Mercury-Atlas 4 placed the McDonnell Mercury spacecraft in orbit for the first time. The spacecraft (#8) carried a McDonnell-developed "mechanical man" designed to use oxygen and add moisture to the cabin at the same rate as a man. The spacecraft was recovered after one orbit 160 miles east of Bermuda.
29 November 1961 - A chimp called Enos twice orbited the earth in Mercury-Atlas 5. Spacecraft (#9) was recovered about 260 miles south of Bermuda.
20 February 1962 - Three years and 39 days after the contract was awarded to McDonnell, Mercury spacecraft (#13), with John Glenn aboard, was boosted into orbit from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas launch vehicle. After more than three revolutions of the earth in a 4-hour, 55-minute flight, spacecraft and astronaut returned safely to the earth and were recovered. Viewed by millions on television, this third manned Mercury flight and the Free World's first orbital mission demonstrated American proficiency in manned space flight to the whole world. The initial assignment of Project Mercury was completed with this flight. The spacecraft was demonstrated.
24 May 1962 - Astronaut M. Scott carpenter aboard Mercury-Atlas 7 completed more than three revolutions in a 4-hour, 56-minute flight which added knowledge about man's visual perception with balloon experiments. Carpenter in his spacecraft #18 photographed the launch vehicle and the sun from his atmosphere-free vantage point and drifted for long periods in free flight.
3 October 1962 - Walter M. Schirra Jr., in his Sigma 7 spacecraft (16), completed a near-perfect flight of more than five revolutions by landing on target in the Pacific Ocean off Midway Island. Much of the 9-hour, 13-minute mission was accomplished in drifting flight
The mission contributed additional knowledge about spacecraft control and space vision.
15-16 May 1963 - Four years, four months and four days after the announcement of the McDonnell to build the Mercury spacecraft, L. Gordon Cooper flew his Faith 7 spacecraft (#20) through more than 21 revolutions to a touchdown 4.4 miles from the recovery carrier U.S.S. Kearsarge. The mission began 34 hours, 19 minutes earlier, lifting off from Cape Canaveral only four minutes from the earliest possible launch time. Following a "textbook" insertion into orbit, the astronaut began a series of experiments involving eating, exercising and sleeping during weightlessness; took photographs of the earth and space; allowed his spacecraft to drift without attitude control through most of the flight without difficulty and experimented with space vision with reference to flashing lights in space and on the ground. He passed over an area of the globe which included parts of five continents and more than 100 countries, islands and possessions. Cooper manually controlled the spacecraft throughout the entire reentry and landing sequence to splash down 70 miles southeast of Midway Island in the Pacific.
12 June 1963 - NASA announced the completion of the Project Mercury program. McDonnell and NASA manned spacecraft engineers already were devoting their full energies to Project Gemini, the two-man orbital rendezvous spacecraft being designed and built as the second step in America's program of space exploration.
7 December 1961 - Plans for the development of a two-man spacecraft were announced by Robert R. Gilruth, director of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center. The spacecraft, to be built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, would be similar in shape to the Mercury capsule but larger and two to three times heavier.
3 January 1962 - NASA announced that the two-man spacecraft would be named "Gemini", after the third constellation of the zodial featuring the twin stars Castor and Pollux. Gemini would be used in a development of the rendezvous technique and launched into orbit by a Titan II launch vehicle.
29 March 1962 - McDonnell displays Gemini mockup at St. Louis plant.
2 April 1963 - NASA announced the signing of a $456.6 million contract for Project Gemini with McDonnell. Development of the spacecraft began in December 1961 under a preliminary letter contract, which called for 13 flight-rated spacecraft, 12 to be used for space flight and one for ground testing. McDonnell would provide other services and equipment under the contract, including two mission simulator trainers, a docking simulator trainer; five boilerplate spacecraft and three "static articles" -- spacecraft for ground test evaluation in vibration and impact tests.
4 October 1963 - The first flight-rated Gemini spacecraft was delivered to Cape Canaveral to be used for the first Gemini mission. It structurally simulated weight, center of gravity and the aerodynamic form of the manned Gemini spacecraft.
13 December 1963 - McDonnell shipped the first of two Gemini mission simulators to Cape Kennedy to provide astronauts and ground crews with realistic training before launching of the manned spacecraft.
8 April 1964 - The first mission of the Gemini program was successfully conducted at Cape Kennedy, Florida. This unmanned mission used the first production Gemini spacecraft and Gemini launch vehicle. Spacecraft separation from the second stage of the GLV was not planned; both were inserted into orbit. The mission was concluded approximately four hours and 50 minutes after liftoff -- at the end of the third orbital pass over Cape Kennedy.
19 January 1965 - Unmanned suborbital flight, successfully tested the effect of maximum reentry heat and stress conditions on the spacecraft and its systems.
23 March 1965 - First manned flight (Gemini 3) with Virgil L. Grissom and John W. Young. This successful three-orbital flight demonstrated the operation of all major systems and the maneuverability of the spacecraft. It was the first space flight in history during which the astronauts changed both their orbital plane and the size of the orbit.
3-7 June 1965 - Gemini 4, the first mission controlled from the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas, with astronauts James A. Mcdivitt and Edward H. White. During this mission, White became the first astronaut to maneuver in space through the use of a hand-held maneuvering unit.
21-29 August 1965 - Gemini 5, with L. Gordon Cooper Jr. and Charles P. Conrad Jr. made an eight-day, 120-revolution mission that marked that first space flight application of electrical power produced by fuel cell.
4-18 December 1965 - Gemini 7, flown by Frank Borman and James A. Lovell made a 206-revolution flight during which their spacecraft served as a rendezvous target vehicle for Gemini 6, manned by Walter M. Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford, in the world's first spacecraft rendezvous on Wednesday, 15 December.
16 March 1966 - Gemini 8, piloted by Neil A. Armstrong and David R. Scott, rendezvoused with an Agena vehicle and performed the world's first successful docking of two orbiting spacecraft.
3-6 June 1966 - Gemini 9, flown by Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan, rendezvoused three times with a McDonnell Augmented Target Docking Adapter.
18-21 July 1966 - In Gemini 10, John W. Young and Michael Collins completed a dual rendezvous with two different Agena vehicles and docked with one.
12-15 September 1966 - In Gemini 11, Charles Conrad Jr. and Richard F. Gordon Jr. established an altitude record of 850 statute miles, docked and redocked with an Agena target and accomplished the first Gemini-Agena tethered flight.
11-15 November 1966 - Gemini 12, the final mission in the program, during which James A. Lovell Jr. and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. successfully rendezvoused and docked with an Agena target.
July 1960 - NASA selected Douglas from among 11 competing manufacturers to build the S-IV, the second stage of the Saturn I, the first in a line of Saturn launch vehicles which would increase in power until they proved capable of landing a man on the moon. The S-IV stages were produced at the company's Santa Monica facility, under the direction of S-IV was static fired at the company's Sacramento Center prior to delivery to Cape Kennedy.
August 1962 - Douglas signed a contract with NASA to developed the S-IVB, the upper Saturn V. The Saturn V moon rocket would also use the S-IVB as the top boost stage.
January 24, 1964 - The Saturn I was launched with an active S-IV second stage. In this flawless first flight, the S-IV placed a record payload of 38,000 pounds in earth orbit.
May 22, 1964 - July 30, 1965 - During the series of Saturn I launches, the S-IV vehicles were used as second stages in five space missions, including three launches which placed giant Pegasus micro-meteoroid satellites in orbit. Saturn I was the first totally successful large launch vehicle ever built.
August 31, 1965 - The first S-IVB flight stage was turned over to NASA.
February 26, 1966 - Apollo Saturn IB was launched with an S-IVB stage for the first time in an unmanned suborbital test. Command and service module subsystems were tested, and the space vehicle reentered safely.
July 25, 1966 - Saturn IB placed in earth orbit an S-IVB stage containing about 10 tons of liquid hydrogen as "payload" to test the S-IVB propulsion system in the zero gravity of space.
August 25, 1966 - Saturn IB launch tested the integrity of the entire space vehicle. The command module successfully reentered the earth's atmosphere at a speed of 28,500 feet per second.
November 9, 1967 - The Apollo 4 flight was the first to employ the Saturn V launch vehicle. This unmanned launch marked the first restart of the S-IVB propulsion system in space. Again the S-IVB performed with complete reliability and precision.
January 22, 1968 - Unmanned Apollo 5 utilized the S-IVB in an earth orbital flight to test the operation of the Apollo Lunar Module and to verify the propellant venting system of the S-IVB.
April 4, 1968 - Apollo 6, an unmanned shot, achieved partial success when the command and service module was lofted 12,000 miles from earth followed by entry at 32,800 feet per second.
October 11, 1968 - Apollo 7, the first manned launch by a Saturn IB and an S-IVB, was a complete success. The S-IVB fired exactly on schedule to propel Apollo 7 and its three astronauts into earth orbit. After 10.8 days in orbit, Apollo 7 splashed down in the Pacific. During the flight, the S-IVB also served as a rendezvous target.
December 21, 1968 - Apollo 8 was launched as the first manned mission for a Saturn V. The historic Apollo 8 flight carried three astronauts on man's first lunar trip. The S-IVB performed flawlessly, firing for about two minutes during the launch from Cape Kennedy and inserting Apollo 8 into earth orbit. After a two-orbit coast period, the S-IVB restarted and burned for more than five minutes, propelling the spacecraft to a speed of 24,610 miles per hour toward its rendezvous with the moon. After 10 moon orbits, Apollo 8 returned safely to earth on December 27, 1968, completing roundtrip of over 500,000 miles.
March 3, 1969 - Apollo 9 was launched into 151 earth orbits for checkout of the command and service modules and the lunar excursion module. The S-IVB continued its record of excellent performance throughout the flight.
May 18, 1969 - The historic Apollo 10 mission captured the world's imagination with a successful trip to within 50,000 feet of the moon's surface, culminating in a safe return of the three-man crew to earth. The S-IVB stage operated perfectly to place the spacecraft in earth orbit and then to boost it into the translunar trajectory.