Author Topic: AS-503A Spacecraft Reference Trajectory (27/01/1967) - The Unflown 'E' Mission  (Read 2850 times)

Offline Graham2001

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Amongst the other documents that seem to have been removed from the NTRS are a pair of documents that comprise the first two volumes of a 'Reference Trajectory' for the unflown 'High Earth Orbit' LM test mission that was cancelled due to LM production delays.

This report which dates from the start of 1967 covers a version of the mission where two high Earth orbits are followed by two low Earth Orbits, the 'mission profile evaluation' section of volume one (attached) notes that this scheme had been superceded with a profile featuring four high Earth Orbits due to crew workload issues. Research is continuing to see if information on this later version can be located.

https://app.box.com/s/3wsod1of7jj1wku711ddyghrw27sgv5d

Offline JoeFromRIUSA

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Note the date on part 1 of this report: January 27th 1967. Does that date ring a bell?

Offline Proponent

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I'm having no luck downloading those files. Could someone please post the two PDFs themselves?

Offline leovinus

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I'm having no luck downloading those files. Could someone please post the two PDFs themselves?
Here you go.

Offline JoeFromRIUSA

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Somewhere out there are similar reports for AS-204  (Grissom  White and Chafee ) and AS 207-208(McDivitt Scott and  Rusty )


The second manned Apollo mission would feature a Block 2 CSM launched with a Saturn 1B, and a LM launched on another Saturn 1B

Offline Proponent

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This is hardly a comprehensive trajectory analysis of the kind Graham2001 posted for AS-503A, but it goes into some aspects for the proposed AS-258 mission.

Online Emmettvonbrown

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What was AS-258 ? can't remember...

Offline JoeFromRIUSA

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At the time of the AS-204 fire, the next scheduled manned Apollo launch was planned for the summer of 1967.  After Grissom White and Chaffee successfully flew Apollo 1, LM-1 was scheduled to fly on Saturn 206.  The Apollo 258 mission was scheduled to be flown by the eventual Apollo 9 crew.  On day 1, LM-2 would be launched on Saturn 208 and then the next day, the first Block 2 Apollo CSM would be launched to rendezvous and dock with LM-2 The first Block 2 would be launched on Saturn 205. THe flown mission would be similar to Apollo 9 but since the mission involved dual launches of Saturn 1Bs a reduced propellant load would be carried on the Block 2 CSM. I'm pretty sure a Saturn 1B could launch a fully fueled LM, but I'm not sure if that was the plan for this mission. Apollo 258 was a convenient abbreviation for an Apollo flight that included dual Saturn 1B launchers (205, 208)

Offline Blackstar

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FYI, David Portree has written at least one, probably several, articles about NASA planning before the Apollo 1 fire. Here is one:

https://www.wired.com/2012/08/before-the-fire/


Online wbianco

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From the report, 258 would be flown the other way around - first launch the CSM, then the LM. 

They don't say so explicitly, but it appears the issue was the orbital lifetime of the S-IVB (7 hours), so the LM couldn't wait around for the CSM to get into orbit, but the CSM (being crewed) could wait for the LM.  The constraint also narrowed the set of acceptable LM launch windows so that the CSM could rendezvous in time. 

Which partly explains why a Saturn V was an attractive option.  Also, you could fully load the CSM with prop, making possible test multiple burns with the SPS.  Remember, the McDivitt flight was initialy scheduled before Borman's, so exercising the SPS was a priority.

Offline Steve G

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I've often wondered how things would have played out if they decided against the Apollo C-Prime mission to the moon in December 1968, and waited until March for McDivitt's D flight. With Borman's E mission now planned for May, Stafford's F mission in July, that would push Armstrong's G mission to September, leaving only on more launch window in 1969 to land on the moon before the decade was out.

Would they have cancelled the E mission outright, then fly the F mission (as flown) so that they could attempt the G mission landing in July?

Or, would they change the E mission to a D mission in lunar orbit? Or, keep the the original E mission and push everything back two months?

Offline Jorge

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At the time of the AS-204 fire, the next scheduled manned Apollo launch was planned for the summer of 1967.  After Grissom White and Chaffee successfully flew Apollo 1, LM-1 was scheduled to fly on Saturn 206.  The Apollo 258 mission was scheduled to be flown by the eventual Apollo 9 crew.  On day 1, LM-2 would be launched on Saturn 208 and then the next day, the first Block 2 Apollo CSM would be launched to rendezvous and dock with LM-2 The first Block 2 would be launched on Saturn 205. THe flown mission would be similar to Apollo 9 but since the mission involved dual launches of Saturn 1Bs a reduced propellant load would be carried on the Block 2 CSM. I'm pretty sure a Saturn 1B could launch a fully fueled LM, but I'm not sure if that was the plan for this mission. Apollo 258 was a convenient abbreviation for an Apollo flight that included dual Saturn 1B launchers (205, 208)

There don't seem to be many surviving documents for AS-258. AS-278 (207/208 docking mission) appears more common.

Example:
https://www.ibiblio.org/apollo/links2.html
JRF

Offline Proponent

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The whole idea of of a dual-Saturn IB D mission seems to have been a bit impromptu.

In late 1965, the plan was for two manned Block I flights (AS-204 & -205), then an unmanned LM (-206), and then what later became known as the D mission on a single Saturn IB (SA-207).

According to Chariots for Apollo, by 1966 it was realized that even with largely empty propellant tanks, the combined CSM and LM were too heavy to fly on a Saturn IB. The contemporaneous success of Gemini-Agena rendezvous got people thinking about dual IB missions, initially utilizing boosters SA-207 for the CM and -208 for the LM but later, after AS-205 was cancelled, SA-205 and -208.  Apparently there are some Tindalgrams about SA-2n8, which I would love to see, if anyone comes across them (I've looked but had no luck).

I would also be curious as to documentation regarding the realization that a single IB version of the D mission was impossible.

After the problems with SA-502 in April 1968, it was not obvious when the Saturn 5 would be available again, and the previously shelved plans for AS-258 were dusted off.


Offline leovinus

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Amongst the other documents that seem to have been removed from the NTRS are a pair of documents that comprise the first two volumes of a 'Reference Trajectory' for the unflown 'High Earth Orbit' LM test mission that was cancelled due to LM production delays.

This report which dates from the start of 1967 covers a version of the mission where two high Earth orbits are followed by two low Earth Orbits, the 'mission profile evaluation' section of volume one (attached) notes that this scheme had been superceded with a profile featuring four high Earth Orbits due to crew workload issues. Research is continuing to see if information on this later version can be located.

https://app.box.com/s/3wsod1of7jj1wku711ddyghrw27sgv5d
PS: Have you looked at
https://history.nasa.gov/rg-11_spaceflight.html
the Excel spreadsheet at "Exports from Document Management System (DMS) with available electronic material" on that page? A quick search in this RG-11 on  AS-503A or something like "Apollo AND alternate" gives some related hits. Good luck.

Tags: Apollo Program 
 

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