COMMITMENT TO SPACE
One of several thousand small factories performing specialized tasks for Project Apollo is located in an Arkansas valley ~far from any city. The workers in this unpretentious structure are highly skilled in the production of precision tools needed to build the spacecraft.
of a small Arkansas factory is rural-trees, grass, and wandering sheep-but inside the shed-like structure highlyskilled workers are turning out precision tools for America's space venture. Across the country, in a big plant in California, a soldered joint undergoes meticulous inspection. In a Pennsylvania steel mill, ferro-alloys prepared in West Virginia are reheated and made into bars. A scientist in a Minnesota laboratory sets THE SETTING
fire to various materials, then judges them for burning qualities. Vastly different in size and widely scattered in location, these factories are among some 20,000 American companies participating in Project Apollo, the U.S. programme to land men on the moon. Since the start of the project, more than 350,000 people have been involved in what has been called "a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower."
President Kennedy's proposal set into motion the vast, complicated machinery of democratic government. After the initial announcement, plans for the moon programme were laid before the American people and the U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, a legion of scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), from industry and the universities started work on feasibility studies and cost estimates for the programme. On January 18, 1962, in his Budget Message to Congress, the President made a request for funds. This in turn underwent a long legislative process-debate in Congress, and deliberation by such bodies as the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee of the Senate and the Science and Astronautics Committee of the House of Representatives. After Congressional approval had been obtained, responsibility for Project Apollo rested with NASA, the U.S. agency in charge of space activities. The programme was based on the realization that "there is no single contractor, no government agency, that has all the capabilities necessary to handle a major space project of this type." As a NASA official observed at that time, "We are a nation of specialists who will overcome the problems and complexities ... by working together and pooling and applying our skills in concert to accomplish the space mission." In effect, what this meant for Project Apollo, was an intricate skein of contracts and sub-contracts to design and build the spaceship for NASA. Within weeks of President Kennedy's proposal, NASA had entered into several contracts: with North American Rockwell Corporation (formerly North American Aviation, Inc.) for the spacecraft's Command and Service Modules; with Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation for the Lunar Module; with International Latex Company for spacesuits; with United Aircraft Corporation for lunar surface life support equipment; and with hundreds of other private sector firms. The development of the Saturn V rocket-which has the power to place in earth orbit all U.S. manned spacecraft previously launched-involved contracts with several companies, including Boeing, Douglas Aircraft, North American Rockwell, and International Business Machines. These companies are NASA's prime contractors and for the most plrt they are gigantic industrial firms employing thousands of workers. These again entered into sub-contracts with other companies for the development of specific systems or equipment. Thus, the flight control and stabilization system for the Apollo Command Module was developed by the Minneapalis-Honeywell Regulator Company under contract to North American. Sub-contractors in turn entered into other contracts, and this resulted in tier upon tier of small firms supplying items from radio gear and cameras, to certain types of wire or insulation material, right down to nuts and bolts. With generally lower overhead costs and a keen desire to qualify as suppliers, U.S. small business firms offered competitive rates that resulted in lower unit costs. Surveying the vast number of firms participating in Project Apollo, an American
industrialist remarked: "Small business has taken on the challenge of the Space Age." Once a contract was awarded, there was continuing technical co-ordination between NASA, the contractor and the sub-contractors in creating a system or piece of equipment. The working relationship was close, and in many cases NASA personnel worked side by side with their colleagues in private industry. NASA scientists watched for unforeseen problems or unexpected delays, and often the firm's original plans had to be modified according to their advice. For instance, the length of the Apollo Service Module was increased from 11 feet 8 inches to 12 feet 11 inches to provide space for additional fuel. While most ofthe actual hardware for Project Apollo has been supplied by American industry, this would not have been possible without the contribution of American universities, which have shouldered the major burden of space research. Because the space environment is so foreign to previous human experience, the questions as well as the answers were new. And the needs were great: better sensors; better computers; better sources of power; better knowledge of extreme heat, cold, vacuum and pressure; better knowledge of man's physiology; and better metal alloys. The honeycomb aluminium eventually used in Apollo's inner crew compartment, for example, is forty per cent stronger and forty per cent lighter than ordinary aluminium. In the early years of Project Apollo, one sub-contractor noted: "Producing the equipment is the final step .... More difficult is knowing what should be produced. There is, for instance, the fact that human astronauts are an integral part of the control system. We need to find out how far he can reach, how much endurance he has, and what jobs he can do better with machinery." Much of this vital information was supplied by American universities. Project Apollo work at the universities was conducted under a series of research grants from NASA. These were awarded to individual institutions in such fields as: the investigation of the properties of gaseous plasmas; studies of the fundamental chemistry properties and behaviour of fuel cells; theoretical studies of the solar wind; and studies of closed ecological systems. Most NASA flight projects required the synthesis of all the physical sciences into an engineering system, with the addition of the biological sciences in some. And the universities provided the research capability. best available sources for a multi-disciplinary "Without the help of the universities," said a NASA official, "our programme would be severely handicapped. From the universities come most of the ideas for the experiments to be conducted in space. And many of the instruments were developed in university laboratories." The success thus far of the Apollo Project-and its likely completion months ahead of schedule-is accounted for by the unique collaboration between government, industry and the universities. America's finest minds in these three spheres have joined forces to meet the greatest exploratory challenge in the history of mankind. END
Astronauts practise essential manoeuvres for the moon landing. In the Command Module, above, two of the suited-up crew lie on couches while the third stands below the opened tunnel through which they will crawl to the Lunar Module for descent to the moon.
With its outer casing removed, the Lunar Module, right, is thoroughly checked by technicians at Cape Kennedy Space Centre. As the vehicle which will take first astronauts to the lunar surface, reliability of its life system, supporting devices, is vital.
The first group of American astronauts, the Original Seven, named in April 1959; frollt row from left: Walter M. Schirm Jr., Donald K. Slayton, John H. Glenn, and M. Scott Carpenter; back row: Alan B. Shepard, Virgil I. Grissom, andL. Gordon Cooper. Jr. Schirra has made three spaceflights.
Gemini In 12 Gemini missions, 16 astronauts were in space for some 1,940 hours, set up 20 records for manned flights, and showed that man can function in weightlessness for 14 days. They perfected techniques of space walking, rendezvousing and docking.
THE GEMINIproject linked the Mercury and the Apollo programmes. In a series of twelve flights from April 1964 to November 1966, the two-man vehicle advanced the technology pioneered by the Mercury flights to the sophistication required for the success of Project Apollo. The new Gemini capsule, below, standing 11.5 feet tall and weighing 3.5 tons, brought in the era of steerable craft. With the ability to manoeuvre their craft almost at will, Gemini astronauts were able to move into close formation rendezvous flights and to link their own craft to other orbiting craft, a procedure known as "docking." Ten rendezvous and nine dockings were achieved during the last six Gemini flights. Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 set up a record for the longest formation flight in orbit when they were together for twenty hours and twenty-two minutes, reaching as close to each other as one foot on December 15, 1965. Astronaut Edward White made history on June 3, 1965, during the Gemini 4 mission when he walked and worked in space. Manoeuvring himself with a gun, he demonstrated
that man could work outside his craft. In later missions four more astronauts totalled some twelve hours of activities outside their vehicles. Gemini 7 Astronauts Frank Borman and James A. Lovell set up the still-unbroken record for a long-duration manned flight with their fourteen-day, 206-orbit mission. It confirmed that man was physically capable of carrying out the Apollo lunar landing mission which would take only about eight days. Gemini proved that man could not only survive in the weightlessness of space but could also operate efficiently as a pilot-engineer-experimenter for at least as long as 330 hours. Also, he could respond to the unexpected and execute alternate plans when needed. By the time the Gemini programme ended in November 1966, American astronauts had extended the fifty-five manhours of Project Mercury to nearly 2,000 man-hours in space. The stage was now set for the third and final "step"-Project Apollo.
Apollo The Apollo craft, left, will carry three astronauts on a moon-landing mission probably in mid-July. While orbiting the moon, the Lunar-landing Module, at top in diagram, will separate from Apollo ship and descend to the moon's surface. The two astronauts inside the Lunar Module will step out and explore the moon. This epochal event will be televised "live" to the earth.
of Project Mercury was to innovate and of Gemini to improve and perfect operational techniques, that of Apollo is to achieve the goal of putting men on the moon and returning them safely to earth. In July 1960, Project Apollo was outlined to the American aerospace industry. The project called for the development of an eighty-four-foot tall, three-module craft, weighing fortyfive tons, to carry three astronauts to the moon. For launching this craft, the Saturn V rocket has been developed. The most powerful rocket known, it develops 7.5 million pounds of thrust, can place a payload of 140 tons into earth orbit and hurl a 47.S-ton craft out of the earth's pull into outer space. It stands thirty-six storeys high (363 feet) and burns fuel at the rate of about fifteen tons per second. At launch, it weighs over 3,000 tons; a naval destroyer is only some 2,200 tons. Sixteen unmanned Saturn launch vehicle flights confirmed Apollo engineering concepts and qualified all systems for manned missions. But a flash fire in the Apollo craft under test on the launching pad in January 1967 which killed three astronauts-Virgil I. Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee-delayed further manned missions for almost two years. It resulted, however, in a vastly improved and much safer spacecraft. The Apollo-Saturn V rocket assembly was successfully tested in November 1967. The following year in October, the Apollo 7 flight with three astronauts on board proved the Apollo assembly spaceworthy. In December 1968, Apollo 8 achieved the first manned orbiting of the moo,n. Three months later, Apollo 9 tested the four-legged spider-like moon-landing craft and demonstrated the feasibility of the entire American strategy and hardware for the moon voyage. The Apollo 10 mission expected this month is a full-scale rehearsal-short of actual landing-for the historic Apollo 11 to-the-moon journey scheduled for next July. The moon landing mission is not the end, but only the beginning of the space exploration programme. The moon is likely to become the gateway to the solar system, and in time to come, it may well become a "spaceport" to serve interplanetary "traffic." WHILE THE OBJECTIVE
ever." But to Shakespeare's Juliet the moon is not an object of adoration or emulation. When Romeo would pledge his troth by the moon, she says: 0, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circled orb, Lestthat thy love prove likewise variable. Many writers have nurtured the ancient belief that the moon may sometimes affect men's reason and drive them to foolish or desperate deeds; the term "lunacy" is derived from the Latin word "luna," for moon. Byron expresses perhaps an unusual view when he says: "The devil's in the moon for mischief." But even such an optimist as Mark Twain cannot help commenting that every man, like the moon, has a dark side which he never shows to anyone. There are many other superstitions connected with the moon and particularly with eclipses. In some countries farmers still believe that the best time to sow crops which grow above ground is when the moon is bright. According to an ancient English belief, the waxing or waning of the moon is supposed to affect the growth of hair. Pointing at the moon or looking at it over someone's shoulder may bring trouble. In India it is considered unlucky to see the moon in the month of 13hadon on Ganesh Chaturthi. If one does so he may be implicated in a false charge of theft, as was the god Krishna who was accused of stealing a necklace. A couplet in Tulsidas's Ramayana says that seeing the moon on this night can be as fraught with mischief as looking at the shining forehead of a strange woman. In Greece, Egypt and some other countries it is believed that sleeping in the moonlight weakens the eyes. On the other hand, in some parts of India the belief is that a child conceived in moonlight during a full moon will be a male. The full moon of Sharad Purnima in winter is regarded by Indians as particularly auspicious. On that night when, according to legend, Krishna first danced with the gopis, the sky is supposed to rain nectar. Vessels containing milk or a milk preparation are kept in the open throughout the night to catch the nectar, credited with health-giving properties. The "invigorated" milk is sometimes used as an ingredient in medicines. Sharad Purnima is also associated with another belief-a mixture of romance and faith. It is believed that if a childless woman visits that night the Taj Mahal in Agra-the world's greatest monument to Âˇmarital
love-and sees the reflection of the full moon ina vessel containing milk, she will soon become pregnant. Ancient Indian treatises on sex contain elaborate references about the moon and its influence on sexual relations. Some even give detailed instructions about how a husband should act to get the best response from his spouse on each night of the moon. Support for the view that the moon plays an important role in sexual behaviour has also come in recent times from the well-known British psychologist and sexologist, Havelock Ellis. The term "honeymoon" is, of course, derived from the moon. J t meant originally not a period of holiday spent together by a newly married couple but a gradual waning of mutual affection like the waning of the moon. . The moon is personified as a god or goddess in many religious faiths. The ancient Egyptians worshipped Thoth, god of the moon. The Greek goddesses Selene, Artemis and Hecate are all identified with the moon. Diana, the Roman hunting goddess, is supposed to have used the crescent moon as her bow and moonbeams as arrows. In Indian mythology the moon has a prominent place and there are many legends linked with the moon's origin, its phases and its dark spots. One well-known Indian tradition says that the moon was born when the gods and demons churned the ocean together, extracting from it both nectar and poison, as also some gods and goddesses. Among the latter, besides the moon, were Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, and Dhanwantari, brother of the moon, who is credited as the author of Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine. As a child, the god Rama was so fascinated by the moon's beauty that he cried for it and was only consoled when he saw its reflection in a vessel filled with water. Hindu mythology has a romantic explanation of the waxing and waning of the moon. The moon, it seems, had twentyseven wives, all daughters of god Daksha, but his affections were centred in only one of them, named Rohini. When the twenty-six neglected wives complained of this to their father, the enraged Daksha cursed the moon and would have made him extinct. But the wives interceded and asked for a less severe punishment, whereupon Daksha decreed that the moon would continually languish to the point of vanishing but would revive and grow again. It is doubtful if this punishment had
the desired corrective effect on the errant moon as, according to another story, he kidnapped Tara, wife ofBrahspati (Jupiter) which led to a war. The child born of the illicit union was Budh, god of wisdom, after whom is named a day of the week -Budhvar or Wednesday, a day considered auspicious for new undertakings. And what about the dark spots on the moon? One delightful legend ascribes them to an act of Brahma, the Lord of Creation. When Brahma wanted to make a wife for Kamdeva, the god of love and passion, he looked for the most lovely and luminous substance from which to fashion her and scooped it out of the face of the moon. Hence the many craters and spots on the moon's surface. Eclipses of the moon, or its other aspects when the atmosphere makes the moon's face seem red, have always been regarded as portents of evil or misfortune. The moon is believed to have been bloodred at the time of the Crucifixion. When the Romans were at war with Macedon in 168 B.C., an eclipse of the moon was interpreted as portending the eclipse of a king and discouraged the MacedonianÂˇs. During his last voyage when Columbus and his men were stranded and on the verge of starvation, he exploited the primitive fear of the -lunar eclipse to tide over the crisis. Warning the natives against divine wrath for failing to bring him provisions, he asked them to watch the rising moon that night for a token. The strategem worked: on seeing the inflamed, red moon the Red Indians were frighttened and, laden with provisions, came running to the ships from all directions. Orthodox Hindus continue to be apprehensive about eclipses, both solar and lunar. The duration of an eclipse is a time for fasting, bathing, prayers and almsgiving to ward off its evil influence. Pregnant women are especially warned against looking at an eclipse as this might affect the child and make him deformed: These many beliefs, legends and superstitions endow the moon with a beauty and mystery which will linger for countless years even after man has landed on its surface and, perhaps, made it part of his habitation. To children in India, as elsewhere, the moon will still be Chanda Mama or Uncle Moon. And for millions of others, "touching the soul, directly, through the eyes and, indirectly, along the dark channels of the blood," the moon will remain a divinity. . END
In Caribbean viewfrom Apollo 8, cloud swirl covers much of the North Atlantic. Light blue of shallow Bahama Banks contrasts with deeper ocean. Left, South America fills centre of this picture, with the United States at upper left, and small portion of the bulge of West Africa at upper right.
"the earth as it truly is.... " Down through the ages, poets have sung of the earth's beauty-of its trees and green fields, of its seas, lakes and running water. In recent years, space photography has added a new dimension to this beauty by placing the earth in its cosmic context: a small, blue globe floating in the limitlessness of the universe. For the first time man has been permitted-in the words of poet Archibald MacLeish-"to see the earth as it truly is .... " But the new pictures will do more than inspire poets to higher flights of fancy. Already they are proving of inestimable value in several more practical fields. In geology, meteorology, astronomy, hydrology and oceanography, these photocontinued
Published on Mar 8, 2018