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unfortunately become involved in, how a subcommittee of this kind can do its job without being thoroughly familiar with all of the reports and all of the studies that have been made, whether they have been made in-house or out-of-house, under NASA supervision or under JPL supervision, or whatever other acting group might be involved. in making a review or investigation.
As I stated in my opening remarks, this is one of the responsibilities of the Congress. The fact of the matter is that over the years, the Congress has changed quite considerably. Congress at one time, in my opinion, was a branch of the Government that not only conducted oversight reviews of administration actions but also initiated legislation through their own efforts. This is no longer the case in my opinion.
The executive branch of the Government, almost without exception, now initiates legislation, and the Congress either acts or doesn't act on it. The difference is that the Congress no longer, or to a much lesser degree, initiates the legislative action that it takes, but rather acts on legislative proposals that have been submitted to it by the executive branch of the Government. Therefore, in my opinion, the legislative oversight function of the Congress becomes more important today than it ever was, and probably is its primary function as a branch of the Government.
I would hope that the executive branch of the Government would appreciate the responsibilities of Congress, not only with respect to the general welfare of the country, but also to the taxpayers of this
Dr. NEWELL. Mr. Chairman, it is the hope of the Office of Space Science and Applications that the review we will provide for you will give you all the details of both the Kelley and Hilburn reports and of the other reports that have been drawn up, and that when we are finished here, you will feel you have received all the material that you do need in order to consider the Ranger situation in proper and true perspective.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, Project Ranger constitutes the first real attempt by this country to gather information about the lunar surface by means of automated spacecraft. As such, this project has received considerable attention and has been closely followed by Congress, the public, and the press.
However, in view of the nature of these hearings and the fact that some of you have not had the opportunity to be briefed on Project Ranger, my opening statement will attempt to summarize the objectives, history, current status, and future of this important project.
Project Ranger originated in December 1959, and project management was assigned by NASA to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which operates under the overall management of the California Institute of Technology. The headquarters office having cognizance over the lunar and planetary program effort, and hence the Ranger program, was initially the Office of Space Flight Program headed by Dr. Abe Silverstein. This Office was reconstituted in 1961 as the Office of Space Science under my direction. Dr. William Pickering has been the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory throughout the entire course of the project. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports to me.
The primary objective of the Ranger program has been to make direct observations of the moon. From the scientific point of view, these measurements have great value in understanding the nature and origin of the moon and of the solar system. In addition, Ranger will play an important role in the support of Project Apollo. The responsibility of locating a safe landing site for the Apollo spacecraft is a grave one. It is necessary to determine the nature of the lunar surface and its environment. This includes knowing the degree of roughness, surface slopes, bearing strengths, the presence and depth of any dust layer, the action of the dust layer under disturbing forces, and other physical properties of the surface.
In addition, we must determine whether the moon is subject to seismic tremors which could disturb the spacecraft. The radiation environment and possible presence of micrometeoroids must also be investigated.
The specific role of the Ranger in this total scientific and technological task of exploration in advance of manned landings is to spot check the widely divergent theories on the nature of the lunar surface and thus narrow down the possibilities which we must be prepared to encounter. This will permit us to concentrate our ground-based studies, our design developments, and our flight program on investigating the most likely conditions and sites to be encountered on the moon. I cannot overemphasize the extent of our ignorance as to the true nature of the lunar surface. Our earth-based telescopes cannot resolve objects smaller than about 1,000 feet in size, which is a stark illustration of this point.
A secondary but nevertheless very important objective of the Ranger program is to develop the technology of lunar spacecraft and operations with such spacecraft. This involved the development of adequate guidance and control techniques to permit precise flight to the moon as was accomplished with Ranger VI. It further required development of attitude stabilization, advanced telecommunications and antenna pointing, celestial reference systems, terminal maneuver capability, and advanced scientific instrumentation. In addition, sophisticated techniques of real time tracking, data acquisition, and command under circumstances of rigid time constraints were required. All of these areas bear importantly on more advanced missions to follow Ranger.
The scope of Project Ranger can be understood by referring to
This presents the schedule for the unmanned lunar projects— Ranger, Surveyor, and Orbiter. Ranger was initially approved within NASA as a five-flight program with plans for additional flights as the systems were definitized.
The first two of these five are now referred to as block I. These flights were designated as developmental test flights and were designed to exercise both the new Atlas-Agena in its parking orbit and dual burn mode, and the spacecraft bus in its cruise mode. The trajectories were intended to be highly eccentric earth orbits extending to lunar distances but not approaching the moon itself. Because of the long stay times in cislunar space the spacecraft carried a number of scientific instruments to study the space environment. In both of these flights, the Agena stage of the launch vehicle failed to execute the second burn which left the Ranger spacecraft in low earth orbit for which it was not designed. As best we could determine, both spacecraft performed properly under these conditions, although they were not subjected to a true test.
The next three Ranger flights, now referred to as block II, were the first operational missions with the Ranger. These flights were designed to land seismometer capsules on the lunar surface where they would survive and telemeter information to earth for up to a month. In addition, the spacecraft were equipped with gamma ray spectrometers to measure natural radioactivity of the lunar surface and with approach television systems to obtain lunar photographs at least 10 times better than those obtainable from earth. In these three flights, there was one launch vehicle failure and three spacecraft malfunctions. In 1962 a total of 14 Ranger flights had been approved. As many as 10 additional Ranger flights were considered at one stage of the planning process although subsequent funding problems did not permit execution of such an ambitious program. Prior to cancellation of blocks IV and V the Ranger plans were as follows:
(1) Block III, the current block-four flights of the basic spacecraft carrying a high-resolution television payload;
(2) Block IV-three additional flights of the basic spacecraft including improved high-resolution television payloads;
(3) Block V-five flights of the same basic spacecraft, carrying advanced landing capsules.
It should be emphasized that all of the Rangers were designed to operate with the same basic spacecraft "bus." This is illustrated in figure 2, p. 8 which was presented to the Congress in 1962 hearings as
illustrating the multipurpose nature of the Ranger bus. The actual flight configurations of the block III Ranger differed from the picture (Ranger C) in that rectangular rather than tapered solar panels were finally used to meet increased power requirements. The final block III configuration is shown in figure 3.
The payload on block III missions consists entirely of the highresolution television package containing six television cameras. This is a highly redundant system with two television channels; one containing two cameras, the other containing four. As described more completely in earlier testimony, the cameras are designed to be energized approximately 1,000 miles from the lunar surface and to take photographs at a rate of 3 per second until impact, thus resulting in about 3,000 pictures. The first of these pictures will have a resolution equivalent to that obtainable from earth and, depending on the particular trajectory and mode of operation, the last full frame could resolve objects several feet in diameter.
Block IV Rangers would have been very similar to the block III Ranger except for some system modifications and the addition of some scientific experiments. This block of spacecraft was canceled by NASA in July 1963 because the time, manpower, and money required to properly do block III precluded the block IV flights in their originally planned time period. Shortly thereafter, the block V series was reduced to five flights for budgetary reasons.
Mr. KARTH. Dr. Newell, I wonder if I could ask you a question. relative to your statement that appeared on page 6. You said that in these flights, there was one launch vehicle failure and three spacecraft malfunctions.
Dr. NEWELL. Yes.
Mr. KARTH. After these three spacecraft malfunctions, I assume, on the basis of what you said prior to your prepared statement relative to an in-house investigation of all failures, that there were such investigations after each one of these three spacecraft malfunctions. Is that correct?
Dr. NEWELL. That is correct; there were investigations after each
Mr. KARTH. Are these classified in-house documents, as the Hilburn report, for example, is a classified in-house document?
Dr. NEWELL. No, they are not.
Mr. KARTH. Would you make them available for the committee?
(This material is included as app. B, pp. 459–667.)
Dr. NEWELL. In addition, as you know, after Ranger V there was a nonstandard investigation covered by the so-called Kelley report which is a classified in-house document.
The block V landing capsules were designed to be of two varieties: first, a repeat of the original seismometer mission, and second, a photographic system which would return one high-quality picture from the landed capsule. In addition, the door was being kept open for more block III photographic missions should experience with block III indicate these to be desirable.
Mr. KARTH. May I ask at this point, Dr. Newell, whether or not this possibility is still open, or has the door been closed completely? Dr. NEWELL. Are you referring to the block V mission, or the block III?
Mr. KARTH. Block III.
Dr. NEWELL. As far as budget is concerned, we are in no position to continue with additional block III missions. However, technically and schedulewise, we would be if funds were available.