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Matching Modules and Missions


During 1962, NASA faced three major tasks: keeping North American moving on the command and service modules, defending its decision to fly the lunar-orbit rendezvous mode, and finding a contractor to develop the separate landing vehicle required by that approach.

North American engineers spent the opening months of the year at desks, at drawing boards, and in conference rooms. Although not all the pieces of the Apollo stack had been defined, the first job was obviously to build a three-man earth-orbital spacecraft. This Phase A or Block I version, already worked out by NASA in considerable depth, still required detailed analyses, precise engineering specifications, and special manufacturing tools. The contractor also had to make scale-model spacecraft for wind-tunnel tests and full-size mockups of wood and metal for study and demonstration uses.1

1. Ralph B. Oakley, "Historical Summary: S & ID Apollo Program," North American Space & Info. Syst. Div., 20 Jan. 1966; North American, "Project Apollo, Pre-Contractural Documentation and Orbital Rendezvous: A Literature Survey," SID 61-470, 29 Dec. 1961.

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