A-002

Last updated
A-002

Apollo- Little Joe II Liftoff (December 8, 1964) - cropped.jpg

Little Joe II A-002
Mission type Abort test
Operator NASA
Mission duration 7 minutes, 23.4 seconds
Distance travelled 9.99 kilometers (6.21 mi)
Apogee 15.35 kilometers (9.54 mi)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Apollo BP-23
Start of mission
Launch date December 8, 1964, 15:00:00 (1964-12-08UTC15Z) UTC
Rocket Little Joe II
Launch site White Sands LC-36
End of mission
Landing date December 8, 1964, 15:07:23 (1964-12-08UTC15:07:24Z) UTC

Apollo program.svg

Project Apollo
Abort Tests
  A-001
A-003  
Little Joe II, LC 36, White Sands, NM (NASA) Little Joe II launch pad.jpg
Little Joe II, LC 36, White Sands, NM (NASA)

A-002 was the third abort test of the Apollo spacecraft.

Apollo program Manned U.S. lunar missions from 1966–1972

The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was the third United States human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which succeeded in landing the first humans on the Moon from 1969 to 1972. First conceived during Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration as a three-man spacecraft to follow the one-man Project Mercury which put the first Americans in space, Apollo was later dedicated to President John F. Kennedy's national goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the 1960s, which he proposed in an address to Congress on May 25, 1961. It was the third US human spaceflight program to fly, preceded by the two-man Project Gemini conceived in 1961 to extend spaceflight capability in support of Apollo.

Contents

Objectives

Mission A-002 was the third in the series of abort tests to demonstrate that the launch system would perform satisfactorily under selected critical abort conditions. The main objective of this mission was to demonstrate the abort capability of the launch escape vehicle in the maximum dynamic pressure region of the Saturn trajectory with conditions approximating the altitude limit at which the Saturn emergency detection system would signal an abort.

Launch escape system system to get the crew to safety if a rocket launch fails

A launch escape system (LES) or launch abort system (LAS) is a crew safety system connected to a space capsule, used to quickly separate the capsule from its launch vehicle rocket in case of a launch abort emergency, such as an impending explosion. Such systems are usually of two types:

The launch vehicle was the third in the Little Joe II series. This vehicle differed from the previous two in that flight controls and instrumentation were incorporated, and the vehicle was powered by two Algol and four Recruit rocket motors. The launch escape system was also changed from previous configurations in that canards (forward control surfaces used to orient and stabilize the escape vehicle in the entry attitude) and a command module boost protective cover were incorporated. The Apollo spacecraft was simulated by a boilerplate command and service module (BP-23). The earth landing system was modified from the previous configuration by the installation of modified dual-drogue parachutes instead of a single-drogue parachute.

Little Joe II American rocket type

Little Joe II was an American rocket used from 1963–1966 for five unmanned tests of the Apollo spacecraft launch escape system (LES), and to verify the performance of the command module parachute recovery system in abort mode. It was named after a similar rocket designed for the same function in Project Mercury. Launched from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, it was the smallest of four launch rockets used in the Apollo program.

Boilerplate (spaceflight) spacecraft; nonfunctional craft or payload

A boilerplate spacecraft, also known as a mass simulator, is a nonfunctional craft or payload that is used to test various configurations and basic size, load, and handling characteristics of rocket launch vehicles. It is far less expensive to build multiple, full-scale, non-functional boilerplate spacecraft than it is to develop the full system. In this way, boilerplate spacecraft allow components and aspects of cutting-edge aerospace projects to be tested while detailed contracts for the final project are being negotiated. These tests may be used to develop procedures for mating a spacecraft to its launch vehicle, emergency access and egress, maintenance support activities, and various transportation processes.

Flight

The A-002 vehicle was launched on December 8, 1964, at 08:00:00 a.m. M.S.T. (15:00:00 UTC) by igniting all launch vehicle motors simultaneously. Conditions at abort initiation were selected from Saturn boost trajectories, and a nominal test point was used for the maximum dynamic pressure region. A pitch up maneuver and the abort were initiated by using a real-time plot of the dynamic pressure versus Mach number. However, an improper constant was used in the meteorological data input to the real-time data system, resulting in the pitch up maneuver being initiated 2.4 seconds early. Although the planned test point was not achieved, the early pitch up caused a higher maximum dynamic pressure than the design value.

Canard deployment took place as expected 11.1 seconds after abort initiation. The launch escape vehicle tumbled four times before stabilizing with the aft heat shield forward. During the first turnaround, the soft portion of the boost protective cover was torn away from the command module. Maximum altitude attained by the launch escape vehicle was 50,360 feet (15,350 m) above mean sea level.

Baro-switches initiated the earth landing sequence at an altitude of approximately 23,500 feet (7,163 m) above mean sea level. All parachutes deployed properly and the command module, supported by the three main parachutes, descended at the planned rate of about 24 ft/s (7 m/s) to an earth landing 32,800 feet (10 km) down range.

The abort conditions obtained were more than adequate in verifying the abort capability in the maximum dynamic pressure region. Only one test objective was not achieved: the boost protective cover was structurally inadequate for the environment experienced during the mission.

Boilerplate location

BP-23 was refurbished as BP-23A and used for Launch Pad Abort Test 2. BP-23A is on display as part of the SA-500D Saturn V exhibit at the US Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama.

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from websites or documents ofthe National Aeronautics and Space Administration .

NASA space-related agency of the United States government

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

Related Research Articles

Apollo 6 final unmanned Apollo test mission of the United States Apollo program

Apollo 6, launched on April 4, 1968, was the second A-type mission of the United States Apollo program, an unmanned test of the Saturn V launch vehicle. It was also the final unmanned Apollo test mission.

AS-201

AS-201, flown February 26, 1966, was the first unmanned test flight of an entire production Block I Apollo command and service module and the Saturn IB launch vehicle. The spacecraft consisted of the second Block I command module and the first Block I service module. The suborbital flight was a partially successful demonstration of the service propulsion system and the reaction control systems of both modules, and successfully demonstrated the capability of the command module's heat shield to survive re-entry from low Earth orbit.

Pad Abort Test 1

Pad Abort Test 1 was the first abort test of the Apollo spacecraft on November 7, 1963.

Apollo (spacecraft) American spacecraft

The Apollo spacecraft was composed of three parts designed to accomplish the American Apollo program's goal of landing astronauts on the Moon by the end of the 1960s and returning them safely to Earth. The expendable (single-use) spacecraft consisted of a combined command and service module (CSM) and a lunar module (LM). Two additional components complemented the spacecraft stack for space vehicle assembly: a spacecraft–LM adapter (SLA) designed to shield the LM from the aerodynamic stress of launch and to connect the CSM to the Saturn launch vehicle; and a launch escape system (LES) to carry the crew in the command module safely away from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch emergency.

Apollo command and service module spacecraft

The Apollo command and service module (CSM) was one of two principal components of the United States Apollo spacecraft, used for the Apollo program, which landed astronauts on the Moon between 1969 and 1972. The CSM functioned as a mother ship, which carried a crew of three astronauts and the second Apollo spacecraft, the lunar module, to lunar orbit, and brought the astronauts back to Earth. It consisted of two parts: the conical command module, a cabin that housed the crew and carried equipment needed for atmospheric reentry and splashdown; and the cylindrical service module which provided propulsion, electrical power and storage for various consumables required during a mission. An umbilical connection transferred power and consumables between the two modules. Just before reentry of the command module on the return home, the umbilical connection was severed and the service module was cast off and allowed to burn up in the atmosphere.

AS-103 test mission

AS-103 was the third orbital flight test of a boilerplate Apollo spacecraft, and the first flight of a Pegasus micrometeroid detection satellite. Also known as SA-9, it was the third operational launch of a two-stage Saturn I launch vehicle.

Pad Abort Test 2

Pad Abort Test 2 was the follow-on second abort test to Pad Abort Test 1 of the Apollo spacecraft.

A-001

A-001 was the second abort test of the Apollo spacecraft.

A-003

A-003 was the fourth abort test of the Apollo spacecraft. This particular flight was notable because during the abort test flight, an actual abort situation occurred, and further proved the Apollo launch escape system (LES). The CM was successfully pulled away from the malfunctioning Little Joe booster and it landed safely under parachutes.

A-004

A-004 was the sixth and final test of the Apollo launch escape vehicle and the first flight of a Block I production-type Apollo Command/Service Module.

During the launch of an Apollo spacecraft by the Saturn IB or Saturn V rocket, the flight could be aborted to rescue the crew if the rocket failed catastrophically. Depending on how far the flight had progressed, they would use different procedures or modes. None of these launch abort modes was ever used on any of the fifteen manned Apollo spacecraft flights.

Orion abort modes

NASA's Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle (MPCV) was planned as the first American spacecraft since Project Apollo to use an escape system in the event of a launch abort, something its predecessor, the Space Shuttle, had for only its first four orbital test flights in 1981–1982. Like the Apollo command and service module (CSM), the Orion CEV would use the launch escape system (LES), a solid-fueled tractor rocket that would be able to pull the Orion crew module away from a malfunctioning Space Launch System (SLS) rocket during the initial launch phase. Based on the launch escape system found on the Soviet/Russian Soyuz spacecraft, the LAS, designed and manufactured by ATK for the Orion CEV, would be larger than the Soyuz version and will have more thrust than the Atlas 109-D booster that carried astronaut John Glenn into orbit in 1962.

Saturn V Dynamic Test Vehicle

Saturn V Dynamic Test Vehicle, designated SA-500D, is a prototype Saturn V rocket used by NASA to test the performance of the rocket when vibrated to simulate the shaking which subsequent rockets would experience during launch. It was the first full-scale Saturn V completed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Though SA-500D never flew, it was instrumental in the development of the Saturn V rocket which propelled the first men to the Moon as part of the Apollo program. Built under the direction of Dr. Wernher von Braun, it served as the test vehicle for all of the Saturn support facilities at MSFC.

Transposition, docking, and extraction

Transposition, docking, and extraction was a maneuver performed during manned Apollo program missions from 1969 to 1972, and the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission in 1975. It involved an astronaut separating the Apollo command and service module (CSM) spacecraft from the adapter which fastened it to its launch vehicle upper stage, turning it around, and docking its nose to the lunar module (LM), then pulling the combined spacecraft away from the upper stage. On the Apollo lunar missions, it was performed shortly after the trans-lunar injection maneuver that placed the Apollo spacecraft on a trajectory towards the Moon, about three days before arrival there.

Orion (spacecraft) beyond-low-Earth-orbit manned spacecraft

The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is an American-European interplanetary spacecraft intended to carry a crew of four astronauts to destinations at or beyond low Earth orbit (LEO). Currently under development by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) for launch on the Space Launch System, Orion is intended to facilitate human exploration of the Moon, asteroids and of Mars and to retrieve crew or supplies from the International Space Station if needed.

Soyuz abort modes

In the event of catastrophic failure, the Soyuz spacecraft has a series of automated and semi-automated abort modes to rescue the crew. The abort systems have been refined since the first manned flights and all abort scenarios for the Soyuz MS are expected to be survivable for the crew.