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
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
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
The Martin Company of Denver was selected as the AAP integration
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
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
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
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
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