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Home >Some Year-by-Year Marshall Highlights > Marshall Highlights for 1967

Marshall Highlights for 1967

(Source Note: The following information is presented here as published in a news release issued in late 1967 by the Marshall Center Public Affairs Office.)

The Marshall Center ended 1967 with a visit December 12 by President Johnson who observed huge space boosters being produced at the Michoud Assembly Facility nearly identical to the one which launched the nation's first Apollo/Saturn V rocket last November.

NASA Administrator James E. Webb left the Presidential tour to drop by the Marshall Center in Huntsville for a three-hour briefing on the Apollo Applications Program (AAP). AAP is the manned flight program that follows the mainstream Apollo lunar landing effort.

Other highlights of 1967 included the naming of new Apollo/Saturn astronaut crews by the Manned Spacecraft Center. They will fly atop both the Uprated Saturn I, which is now rated for manned flight, and the Saturn V, which is expected to become manrated after a few successful research and development flights.

Two of the six Saturn launches scheduled in 1968 are expected to be manned. The astronauts and their flight missions are:

Walter Schirra, Donn F. Eisele and Walter Cunningham, the first manned Uprated Saturn I; James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott and Russell L. Schweickart, first manned Saturn V; Frank Borman, Michael Collins and William A. Anders, second manned Saturn V.

As the year began, MSFC Director Wernher von Braun and three other NASA officials were enroute to Antarctica to look into environmental and logistic factors that might relate to the planning of future space missions, and hardware.

The second stage (S-II) of the Saturn V and the first flight model to be static tested was shipped to the NASA-Kennedy Space Center in Florida from the Mississippi Test Facility January 17. Other first (S-IC) and second stages began flowing into the Mississippi Test Facility during the year and all were successfully tested.

At the year's end, S-IC-6 and S-II-4 are being prepared for tests.

During the year, MSFC was assigned a number of new objectives. It was officially designated to design and build the first multiple docking adapter which will be the central space docking terminal for early Apollo Applications missions. The adapter can accommodate the S-IVB workshop, the Apollo command and service module and the Apollo telescope mount, thus allowing a “clustered” embryonic space station to operate in orbit. Other future payloads could also connect to the adapter.

The Martin Company of Denver was selected as the AAP integration contractor.

Meanwhile, a critical start and restart of the single engine on the third stage of the Saturn V rocket was successfully carried out in March at the Arnold Engineering Development Center's underground test cell at Tullahoma, Tennessee. The chamber simulated high altitude environmental conditions during the test. The engine successfully carried out the feat on the third stage during the first launch of the Saturn V.

The Apollo 204 launch vehicle, originally scheduled to fly astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White II and Roger Chaffee who died in a flash fire January 27, was re-oriented to fly the first unmanned lunar module. That mission is scheduled soon.

Engineers completed a 10-week first phase of Apollo/Saturn V dynamic testing at the Marshall Center in April which helped to pave the way for the first launch of the vehicle.

The Mississippi Test Facility that same month successfully static tested the second S-II flight stage.

Thirteen astronauts visited the Marshall Center at the end of April for a briefing on the Saturn V launch vehicle.

About ten days later, ten more astronauts, outfitted in spacesuits performed tasks in a Saturn S-IVB orbital workshop mockup.

Bracing himself in the blustery weather, Vice President Hubert Humphrey visited the Marshall Center May 22 and 23 for a series of briefings on the space program. He also addressed MSFC and Army employees from the steps of the Headquarters building.

The highlight of the year, from a "hardware" viewpoint came on November 9, when the first Saturn V vehicle was fired from the Kennedy Space Center. The vehicle performed flawlessly, sent an Apollo spacecraft 11,400 miles out from earth.

That flight, the first of 15 planned, came more than five years after the initiation of the Saturn V project at MSFC in early 1962.

And Christmas week, the Marshall Center delivered all stages for the third Saturn V to the Kennedy Space Center launch site the second being at KSC in launch preparations at present.

Severe budget cuts forced Marshall Center's management to announce the reduction of about 700 personnel effective January 13. Travel was as ordered reduced by 10 percent and other administrative costs were to be reduced by 15 percent. Notices to affected personnel were issued December 6.

MSFC ended 1965 with about 7,300 employees earning in excess of $85.1 million during the calendar year. While the number of employees will decrease early next year, the projected 1968 payroll is somewhat greater because of a 4.5 percent pay increase approved by the Congress and the President this month.

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