Home          Your notes are welcome: Editor@UpperWindpower.com             Most recent edit: Thursday October 25, 2012

PARESEV research Wish List
toward NASA hang gliders

Let us know what you are researching, so we may spread the fun   
And tell us of other questions that we are yet to show. Thanks.

There is more fun than can be taken in by just one person. Your part is important!

We will watch postings at Oz Report to see if items are complete.

  • [ ] Fuller biographies of each of the eight hang glider pilots of the Paresev program.
  • [ ] Is Hetzel living?  Does Ken know?
  • [ ] Reporter Amy Shira Teitel states "7"  for the count. Clarifying this matter with her is on the wish list. Or someone else might confirm the count.   The "8" is what is the theme.   Thanks.
  • [ ] Contact with the families of the eight hang glider pilots. What do they recall about the gliding activities?
  • [ ] Archive drawings
  • [ ] Archive memos
  • [ ] Photographers involved
  • [ ] Detail specifications of each glider variation
  • [ ] Technicians and crafts person that did the actual construction of each hang glider variant of the program. Names, etc.
  • [ ] Exact location of the construction and repair. Any photographs of the shops.
  • [ ] Complete bibliography and set of URLs that well handle the PARESEV matters
  • [ ] TIMELINE of the PARESEV project
  • [ ]  Location and access of archives
  • [ ] Ordering documents
  • [ ] How much flight footage is yet in archives, but not yet published?
  • [ ] Accurate bio and spelling for Charles Richards or does the "s" on the end of family name get dropped?
  • [ ] Collage of the eight pilots ... photographs gathered into one art
  • [ ] Trace the tale of the battens in the hang gliders' sails through the variants. We see small and long on different variants; what are the dates, counts, lengths, materials?
  • [ ] Trace the "space frame"
  • [ ] Trace the seat
  • [ ] Trace of the wheels
  • [ ] The crash from 10 ft above ground: exact injury report?
  • [ ] News media references that depicted or told the story of parts of the PARESEV program.
  • [ ] Any letters by the eight pilots to others where they talked about their hang glider flights.
  • [ ] Unofficial observer notes, photos, comments?
  • [ ] Photos of some of the museum-held PARESEV hang glider variants.
  • [ ] For each variant hang glider: mass empty, mass with pilot for flight, distribution of mass.
  • [ ] The Federal Aviation Administration recognized Icarus II as an aircraft and issued a registration number for it; the Rogallo wing hang glider for NASA received FAA registration of N9765C.  What other hang gliders received registration numbers?
  • [ ]     1. Pilot portraits …all 8
    [ ]     2. Collage of the sail variants
    [ ]     3. Collage tracing batten in the various sails from first variant to last
    [ ]     4. Collage to compare the many changes in undercarriage or pilot seat. 
    [ ]     5. Collage to compare the many variants in the upper universal joint region. 
  • [ ] What variant of the PARESEV hang glider is displayed at the Smithsonian Institute?
  • [ ] Moon City flights with wings used in the PARESEV hang glider program:
    In light of that, I can see Neil extended into Moon City doing hang gliding using the same wing that he used for some of his Paresev hang glider flights.
    Steve, would you be interested in running the calculations for the sink rate in Moon City using the wing of 150 sq. ft with a payload of Earth sea level weight of pilot of say 180 lb all up (the weight would be about what... 1/6 at Moon City indoors... so about 30 lbMoonweight for that Rogallo parawing used in some of the Paresev hang glider flights on Earth? Thanks in advance if you run the numbers. I do not see the body mass of Neil at his younger age when he did his first Paresev hang glider flights. [ ]

    [ ]   Maybe someone will find the Earth body weights of all the 8 pilots in focus at the time that they did the gliding flights. Thanks in advance.
  • [ ]  So, maybe in Oz Report there is someone who is a car buff and can supply detail of the 1948 Pontiac part involved in the hang glider's hang-point joint? Thanks for help.
  • [ ] Could someone extract just the Paresev portion of video
    Flexible Paraglider Wing Research and Development       or verify that such extraction is already available.
    The caption needs verifying; "
    1962 Test conducted at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to supplement research being preformed at Langley Research Center's Full Scale Tunnel. Different paragliders were flown or dropped to test its characteristics.
  •  Compare with the shorter:
  • [ ] Study closely frames, as it seems several variants of hang glider are in the one film: NASA Paresev (Paraglider Research Vehicle)  
  • [ ]  http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4203/toc.htm On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini by Barton C. Hacker and James M. Grimwood Published as NASA Special Publication-4203 in the NASA History Series, 1977.

    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4203/ch4-5.htm  The Paraglider Controversy
    [ ] "
    North American having been authorized to begin work on 20 November 1961" The archives of North American on the hang glider (paraglider) challenges would have thing for the hang glider world.

    [ ] This chapter of the book could be carefully studied by someone and then reported for NASA hang gliders
    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4203/ch4-5.htm        (In context at that time: paraglider was mechanically hang glider and came in varieties of stiffness or limpness, solid boomed or inflated boomed, etc.)  Note: The PARESEV, a separate isolated program was for giving pilots hang gliding practice with the airframed paraglider hang glider. The many other hang glider contracts were focusing on deployment challenges and specific variants of the hang glider that would fit the space recovery challenges. Each contracted company seems deserving of hang glider history study; their archives probably would hold drawings and notes of interest to anyone caring about hang glider development in the late 1950s and first couple years of 1960.   Hopefully some fun-loving hang glider students will tackle some part of this large study and report for the world of hang gliding, so we have a firm view of the NASA arena contributions to hang gliding.

    The Paraglider Controversy

    The one real exception to Gemini's smooth progress through its first half year was paraglider. Its development was a step ahead of the rest of Gemini, North American having been authorized to begin work on 20 November 1961, and the headstart may have accounted for the earlier signs of trouble.

    Paraglider was controversial. Although GPO, and Chamberlin in particular, stoutly defended the concept, others in MSC had strong doubts. The Engineering and Development Directorate under Max Faget had been notably cool to the idea from the outset. The key question had been, and still was, "whether the deployment reliability of a single paraglider will equal that of a main and back-up chute system."53 The long-time efforts of Langley's Francis Rogallo, inventor of the paraglider, to sell his concept had been repeatedly countered by the argument that parachutes had proved they could be relied upon to recover spacecraft. Instead of wasting time on an untried concept, Faget's group favored efforts to improve parachute technology to permit land landing. They advocated using a new form of parachute that could be steered, with landing rockets to cushion the final impact as the spacecraft touched down.54

    Another source of opposition to paraglider was the Flight Operations Division under Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. Questions of reliability here took second place to concern for the operational problems posed [92] by paraglider in the Gemini program. For Kraft's division, using paraglider and using ejection seats were two sides of the same coin: one required the other, neither was reliable, and both promised immense practical obstacles to the safe return of the astronauts.55 Kraft himself urged on Chamberlin, and later on MSC Director Gilruth, his objections to both systems.56

    Paraglider critics found plenty of ammunition in North American's slow progress toward a working system. At first, paraglider development aim at landing system for manned spacecraft in general. Early in 1962, however, GPO decided that the program ought to be oriented explicitly to Gemini. North American faced a large new effort and a major delay, and not just because the Gemini spacecraft was much larger than the generalized model first planned for. The half-scale free-flight test vehicle would have to be redesigned to carry a flight control system, just as the full-scale model did. North American had to join with McDonnell to design a compatible landing gear system and check it out in a test program. And, finally, North American now had to develop and qualify emergency parachute systems for both half-scale and full-size test vehicles.57

    This last demand, in particular, delayed North American, and it was mid-March before a subcontract for the emergency parachute system could be placed.58 Norbert F. Witte, North American's project manager for paraglider, planned to begin free-flight tests of the half-scale model toward the end of May. With its wing inflated and deployed before it left the ground, the test vehicle needed no emergency parachute. It would be towed into the air by a helicopter and released to fly under radio control. This series of tests would allow North American engineers to see how well the paraglider flew, how precise flight control could be, and whether the vehicle could flare - raise its nose to increase wing lift and drag and slow its rate of descent - just before landing.59

    These were all questions that needed answers, but the most crucial was still whether or not the wing would deploy in flight. That had to wait for the emergency parachutes, since the test vehicles were too costly to risk without a backup system. Witte expected to have the half-scale emergency system tested by the start of June, when deployment tests could begin. The full-size emergency parachute would take longer but ought to be ready by mid-July. There still seemed to be a reasonable chance to complete this phase of the development program by September 1962.60

    Timing was critical for paraglider development, since its place in the Gemini program depended upon its meeting the very tight launch schedule. Despite snags in the current phase of the program, Chamberlin decided that North American needed to get started on the next phase, [93] a 14-month effort to design, build, and test an advanced two-man paraglider trainer, to start a flight simulation program, and to design and develop a fully man-rated prototype Gemini paraglider landing system.61 That was in March 1962; by May the task was scaled down to require only the design of the prototype system, rather than its complete development. This was expected to reduce the time to five months from the date of the contract award.62

    The project office still expected the paraglider to be ready on time, but warned in a 4 May schedule analysis that the program "will require close monitoring to prevent slippage." Paraglider was scheduled to be installed in the second Gemini spacecraft, which would be the first to carry a crew. The first spacecraft, since it was unmanned, was slated to come down by parachute. A prudent response to delays already incurred dictated that plans be laid for using a parachute system in the second spacecraft as well. By mid-June, GPO conceded that the paraglider would not be ready until the third flight.63

    53 Chamberlin, interview, Houston, 9 June 1966; "Project Gemini Schedule Analysis," GPO, 4 May 1962; memo, Gerard J. Pesman to Engineering Div., "Paraglider Landing System Design Studies: review and evaluation of final report," 27 Sept. 1961.

    54 "Preliminary Project Development Plan for a Controllable Parachute-Retrorocket Landing System," STG, 21 June 1961; memo, Caldwell C. Johnson to Jack C. Heberlig, 28 Aug. 1961.

    55 Memo, William O. Armstrong to Chief, Flight Operations Div. (FOD), "Review of the development effort of the parawing landing system for the Gemini mission," 9 Feb. 1962; memo, Wayne E. Koons to Chief, FOD, "Operational problems associated with the use of ejection seats for Project Gemini," 23 Feb. 1962; memo, James M. Rutland to Chief, FOD, "Recovery system for Gemini," 21 March 1962.

    56 Memo, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., to Mgr., GPO, "Recovery operational study and retrieval evaluation tests," 1 March 1962; memos, Kraft to Dir., "Paraglider and ejection seats for Project Gemini," 26 April and 4 May 1962, with enclosures, "The Operational Implications of Paragliders and Ejection Seats in Project Gemini," n.d.

    57 Memo, Lester A. Stewart to Procurement Officer, "Letter Contract NAS 9-167, Paraglider Development Program, Phase II-A," 22 Jan.1962, with enclosure, "Suggested Revisions to Statement of Work for Letter Contract NAS 9-167"; Crane to North American, Change Notice No. 1, Contract NAS 9- 167, 8 March 1962.

    58 Letter, D. K. Bailey to MSC, Attn: G. F. Bailey and Purser, 62MA2243, 1 March 1962, with enclosure, "Monthly Progress Letter No. 3, Paraglider Development Program Phase IIA, 20 January 1962 to 20 February 1962," p. 1; TWX, G. F. Bailey to NAA, 9 March 1962; memo, Ronald C. Bake to A. E. Hyatt, "Change Notice No. 1 to NAS 9-167," 13 March 1962; letter, Norbert F. Witte to MSC, Attn: G. F. Bailey and Purser, 62MA3530, 29 March 1962, with enclosure, "Monthly Progress Letter No. 4, Paraglider Development Program Phase IIA, 20 February 1962 to 20 March 1962,"p. 1.

    59 "Monthly Progress Letter No. 4, Phase IIA," p. 1; "Final Report of Paraglider Research and Development Program, Contract NAS 9-1484," North American SID65-196, 19 Feb. 1965, p. 184.

    60 "Monthly Progress Letter No. 4, Phase IIA," pp. 1, 3; "Schedule Analysis," 4 May 1962, p. 2, Chart 4.

    61 Memo, Chamberlin to Gemini Procurement Office, Attn: Bake, "Paraglider Development Program, initiation of Phase II, Part B," GPO-00015, 19 March 1962, with enclosure, "Statement of Work for Phase II, Part B, Prototype Development in the Paraglider Development Program," 19 March 1962.

    62 Memo, Chamberlin to Gemini Procurement Office, Attn: Bake, "Paraglider Development Program, Initiation of Phase II, Part B (1)," GPO-00086, 15 May 1962; letter, Witte to MSC, Attn: Bake, "Contract NAS 9-539, Paraglider Development Program, Phase II, Part B (1), Monthly Progress Letter No. 1," 62MA9042, 8 Aug. 1962; letter, R. L. Thomas to MSC, Attn: Bake, 62MA-7227, 5 July 1962, with enclosure, "Monthly Progress Letter No. 7, Paraglider Development Program, Phase IIA, 20 May 1962 to 20 June 1962," p. 1; letter contract, NAS 9-539, for Paraglider Development Program, Phase II, Part B (I), Advanced Trainer and Prototype Wing Design, 25 June 1962; "Abstract of Meeting on Paraglider Landing System, July 19, 1962," 21 July 1962; negotiated contract, NAS 9-539, for Paraglider Development Program, Phase 11, Part B(1), 31 Oct. 1962.

    63 "Schedule Analysis," 4 May 1962, p. 2; letter, Seamans to Rubel, 10 July 1962, with enclosure, "Program Summary for Gemini," 3rd, 10th, and 11th charts.


    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4203/ch5-3.htm   has many notes that apply to paraglider in the Gemini program. Study is requested by someone.   The full archives of Ryan  and archives of Goodyear on paraglider hang gliders (canopy and stiffened wing sorts of hang gliders) would be interesting.


    Some Foreseeable Problems and a Surprise

    As Project Gemini moved from design into testing during the spring and summer of 1962, problems multiplied, although not (with one exception) beyond what might be seen as the normal headaches of a large-scale research and development project. Those areas that demanded the longest step beyond current practice were those where trouble threatened. The paraglider program, with its early start, began running into marked delays in planning and design before the rest of Project Gemini. When actual testing began in May 1962, only two contract months remained to settle on the best design for a paraglider landing system.

    The first task was qualifying an emergency parachute recovery system for the half-scale vehicle. North American began on 24 May with a successful drop test at the Naval Parachute Facility in El Centro, California, near the Mexican border. Two failures followed before a second success, on 20 June. What should have been the final drop to complete qualification failed on 26 June, when the vehicle's electrical system shortcircuited. North American shuttled the vehicle 260 kilometers back to its plant in Downey for a closer look, which revealed a design flaw. The company reworked the test vehicle and returned it to El Centro for another try, on 10 July, with no better luck. This time the drogue designed to pull out the main parachute failed to do so. After another round trip to Downey for changes, everything worked on 4 September. GPO agreed with North American that the half-scale emergency landing system was now qualified. But two and a half months had been lost.

    The full-scale emergency system proved even harder to qualify. First came design problems, then the parachutes were late in arriving. [99] North American could not ship the test capsule to El Centro until 20 July. The Air Force's 6511th Test Group, which ran the El Centro test range, demanded a special test to be certain the vehicle's pyrotechnic devices were safe - that delayed the first qualification flight until 2 August. It was a success, but more delays followed - first bad weather, then the lack of a launch aircraft. The second drop, on 21 August, was marred by one of the three main parachutes breaking loose. Damage was only minor, as it was in the next test, on 7 September, when two parachutes failed. Efforts to correct this problem took over two months. On 15 November, some four months after the full-scale emergency recovery system was supposed to have been qualified, the fourth drop was a disaster. When all three parachutes failed, the test vehicle was destroyed as it hit the ground. Clearly the system could not be relied upon. GPO directed McDonnell to furnish North American with a boilerplate spacecraft for further tests at some later date.13

    These problems, however disheartening, should not have cast any shadow on the concept of a paraglider. The emergency parachute systems were intended only to back up testing; they were not part of the Gemini landing system. Yet the pattern of delays, errors, and malfunctions that marked North American's efforts to qualify the emergency system proved to be symptomatic of a lingering malaise. Paraglider advocates knew that the program would be made or broken, so far as Gemini was concerned, by the success or failure of flight testing, and time was limited. North American had been chosen over Ryan and Goodyear because of its first-rate job in testing the design during the summer of 1961.14 But on 28 November, scarcely a week after North American received word to go ahead with paraglider development, NASA notified the company that it had been selected as prime contractor for the Apollo spacecraft. The impact on paraglider was catastrophic. North American froze the number of engineers assigned to paraglider, then allowed even that group to decline. The quality of work suffered as well, becoming, in the opinion of one NASA engineer assigned to the program, "abysmal."15

    The pattern of trouble sketched in emergency system testing persisted when North American began testing the paraglider itself by flying half-scale models with wings inflated and deployed before they left the ground. Scheduled to begin in May 1962, these trials got under way in mid-August at Edwards Air Force Base, 100 kilometers north of Downey. North American's first try, on 14 August, got nowhere. Because a plug pulled loose inside the capsule, the wing, which was tied down for takeoff, failed to release after a helicopter had towed it to the proper height. The wing released too soon in the second try, three days later, although the capsule did go brief it into a stable glide. North American also achieved a stable glide in the third flight, on 23 August, but an erroneous radio command caused the vehicle [100] to come down too fast and suffer some damage in landing. The fourth flight was postponed twice, each time because someone forgot to charge the battery. Towed aloft on 17 September, the vehicle failed to release on command, voiding the test. Twice in a row, short circuits forced the contractor to call off the fifth flight test, the second time on 21 September.16

    That same day, James Chamberlin, MSC Gemini Project Manager, ordered North American to halt flight tests of the half-scale paraglider. He expressed "growing concern" over "the repeated unsuccessful attempts of S&ID [North American's Space and Information Systems Division] to conduct satisfactory predeployed half-scale paraglider tests." Flights were not to resume until the contractor had reorganized its paraglider project and could spell out just what it intended to do about the test vehicle's electronics and pyrotechnics and the company's own checkout and inspection procedures.17

    North American had already made some moves along the lines Chamberlin demanded. The paraglider effort was raised to the status of a major program, and George W. Jeffs was named Paraglider Program Manager on 1 September 1962. Norbert Witte, the former project manager, stayed on as Jeffs' assistant.18 Jeffs was something of a corporate troubleshooter, and he had the respect of the NASA engineers working on paraglider.19 This augured well for the future, but, in the meantime, a fully successful flight test had yet to be performed.

    North American reworked the half-scale vehicle in its plant, then shipped it back to Edwards Air Force Base on 15 October for another try. A bad ground transmitter stalled matters for a while but, on 23 October, the fifth test flight was a complete success.20Even with all its problems, the series of tests had met its main goal, showing that the paraglider was stable in free flight.21 But predeployed flight testing ended more than two months late, and the crucial deployment flight tests - spreading the paraglider wing in flight - had not even begun.

    In the meantime, other problems were beginning to compete for the attention of the overworked project office. Like the paraglider, ejection seats had been a controversial innovation in manned spacecraft, and their development problems also gave critics an early opening. The reasons were much the same. Both systems were a long step beyond current practice, both presented test problems not clearly related to their final roles, and both were subject to changing requirements that imposed makeshift adjustments, further complicating matters.

    Although ejection seats were widely used in military aircraft, they were designed to give pilots a chance to survive, not to guarantee that survival. Manned spacecraft levied more stringent demands. Most critical was the "off-the-pad abort mode." Before liftoff, the spacecraft perched some 45 meters from the ground atop a shell filled with potentially explosive chemicals, the Titan launch vehicle. [101] However rigorous the precautions, there was always the danger of some mischance setting it off. For a length of time that might stretch into hours before they were airborne, the crew would be aboard with no recourse, should that mishap occur, save their ejection seats. The Gemini seat had to be able to propel itself from a starting point 45 meters in the air in a trajectory stable enough to get clear of an exploding booster and high enough to allow parachutes to open. No existing seat could do that, and developing one that could was the crux of the Gemini effort.22

    McDonnell chose Rocket Power, Inc., of Mesa, Arizona, to supply the rocket catapult (or rocat) for the Gemini escape system.23 For the seat itself, McDonnell turned to Weber Aircraft, of Burbank, California.24 As luck would have it, the Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake in the middle of California's Mojave Desert had earlier constructed a 45-meter tower for Sidewinder missile tests. This tower was admirably suited for simulated off-the-pad ejection (or, acronymically, Sope) tests.25 Kenneth F. Hecht, who left the ordnance test station in January 1962 to take charge of Gemini escape and recovery systems, set up a special working group to oversee seat development and qualification.* He was convinced, and in this he was seconded by those who knew most about ejection seats, that the key problem was finding ways to control the relationship between the rocat's line of thrust and the shifting center of gravity of the seat-man combination while the rocket was burning. Without this control, a trajectory of the proper height and stability could not be achieved. This was one of the reasons why Hecht insisted the tests be conducted with a dummy in the seat, rather than with a solid mass. He also knew that haste was vital, since the seat design could not be settled until the answers were in.26

    The first Sope test came off on schedule 2 July 1962, followed by four more over the next month. All produced their share of problems and mechanical failures, each dealt with as quickly as possible to get on with the next test. None of these mechanical problems much bothered Hecht and his colleagues, because they had their eyes on the dynamic problem of rocket thrust and center of gravity. They were concerned with ejection at this point, not the complete escape sequence through recovery, and thought they were close to solving that key problem.27 From this viewpoint, the first five tests were a success. But if the goal were seen as a complete system with all parts working as they should in the final version, the tests left much to be desired. The seat seemed to be turning into a maze of makeshift fixes, and the personnel recovery parachute system (the crewman's landing device) had failed twice.

    [103] At an extended meeting in Houston on 6 and 7 August, the total system viewpoint prevailed. Sope testing was halted until a complete design of the whole system was ready and the personnel parachute had been fully tested.28

    A month elapsed before McDonnell was able to report on 6 September that seat design and testing were complete, clearing the way for a new round of Sope trials. Tests on 12 and 26 September went well but highlighted a set of problems with the rocket motor. Some were functional and some structural, but all affected, however slightly, the direction of thrust and so made accurate control impossible. Testing stopped again, pending the availability of the rocat in its final form.29 This delay was much prolonged, lasting well into 1963.

    Other major Gemini systems seemed less troublesome. Through the summer and early fall of 1962, such problems as appeared could be, and were, regarded as nothing more than the routine hurdles in a large program. One possible exception was the fuel cell, which, like paraglider and ejection seats, was new to manned spacecraft and had aroused some debate, at least in its General Electric version.

    The basic source of electrical power in the spacecraft was to be batteries. The weight of ordinary batteries, however, became prohibitive as missions increased in length. Something more was needed, and the choice was fuel cells. That choice was resolved in January 1962. After analyzing the merits and defects of competing approaches, Robert Cohen of MSC strongly recommended the General Electric fuel cell as lighter, simpler, and more generally suited to Gemini needs than other designs he had investigated.30

    In a fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen react to produce water and heat. The unique feature of the General Electric design was its use of a solid ion-exchanging membrane in which electrolyte and water were chemically bound; most other cells diffused gases into a liquid electrolyte. A separate stream of coolant condensed the water produced at the cell, then removed it through a series of wicks to keep the reaction going at a constant rate. This used little of the cell's own power, in contrast to the gas-diffusion cells that required a complex self-powered process of flushing with hydrogen, condensation, and centrifuging to remove the water produced. General Electric had devoted intense research to the design since 1959 and had already set up a fuel-cell facility, the Direct Energy Conversion Operation in West Lynn, Massachusetts.31 McDonnell shared Cohen's view and formally recommended General Electric for a subcontract, to which NASA agreed.32

    Nonetheless, in early 1962 the General Electric fuel cell was still no more than a laboratory device, however promising.33 NASA Headquarters was looking into fuel cells for Apollo, which raised some questions about Gemini's choice of General Electric. The Office of Manned Space Flight's survey of General Electric alleged that the company was [104] understaffed, slow in getting started, and unlikely to meet Gemini schedules - all this in addition to what seemed to be an untested and questionable design concept.34Cohen responded to these charges for GPO. He saw no reason to doubt that General Electric would meet its commitments: the company was adding to its staff and improving its effort, which had only begun with an order from McDonnell two and a half weeks earlier. More important, the much tested General Electric design was at least as far along as any other and was inherently simpler to boot.35 That settled the issue.

    As development got under way, General Electric began to run into problems that seemed to suggest that theory had outpaced practice. The most serious in mid-1962 was how to achieve a satisfactory bond between cell membrane and frame. Solving these problems appeared more likely to tighten the schedules than to threaten the program as a whole. In any case, the worst appeared to be over by the end of August.36

    During the last half of 1962, the paraglider's troubles probably posed the greatest threat to an approved Gemini objective, that of land landing, although ejection seats and, to a lesser extent, fuel cells were also worrisome. The paraglider was a major new system that demanded a large-scale effort. Ejection seats and fuel cells, though not so novel, were still major innovations in manned space flight. In all three cases, the novelty of the application and the advance beyond current practice imposed a greater development effort than required for other Gemini systems. Given that fact, the problems should have come as no surprise. A quite unexpected source of trouble loomed in another quarter. The suitability of Titan II as a launch vehicle for manned space flight came into question.

    Responsibility for developing the Titan II missile belonged to the Ballistic Systems Division (BSD), like SSD a part of Air Force Systems Command. Titan II research and development test flights began on 16 March 1962, with a launch from the Atlantic Missile Range in Florida. In its first flight, Titan II displayed a disquieting characteristic. A minute and a half after it lifted off, while the first-stage engine was still firing, the missile began to vibrate lengthwise like an accordion about 11 times a second for roughly 30 seconds. This was not likely to bother a missile too much, but it implied real trouble for a launch vehicle with a manned payload. The steady acceleration of a booster like Titan II pressed a crewman to his couch with about two and a half times the force of gravity at that point in a normal flight. Bouncing at an extra two and a half gravities (+ 2.5g) could badly hamper a pilot's efforts to respond to an emergency, a matter of special concern in Gemini since the crew played so large a role in flying the spacecraft.37

    Titan II's longitudinal oscillations quickly acquired the nickname "pogo stick," soon simply Pogo. Its cause remained unclear, how to get [105] rid of it a matter of guesswork. By July, Pogo was becoming a regular topic at MSC's weekly senior staff meetings, and BSD had formed a special Committee for Investigation of Missile Oscillations.** 38 The problem turned out to be surprisingly easy to solve for the missile: higher pressure in the first-stage fuel tank cut Pogo in half during the fourth test flight, on 25 July, although nobody was quite sure why.39

    There were some ideas, however. Martin engineers thought the culprit might be oscillating pressure in propellant feedlines, analogous to the chugging of water in pipes, or "water hammer." This suggested the use of something like the surge tanks familiar as devices to stabilize pressure in the flow lines of hydroelectric plants and pumping stations. Martin proposed to install a surge-suppression standpipe in the oxidizer line of a later Titan II. MSC endorsed the plan, and BSD agreed. By the end of August, GPO was cautiously optimistic. The lowered Pogo level of plus or minus 1.25g achieved in the fourth Titan II test flight was still too high for manned space flight, but the water hammer analogy at least suggested an answer.40

    GPO was also watching another problem. In two of its first four test flights, Titan II's second-stage engine failed to reach full thrust. The causes appeared to be different in each case and unrelated to one another. Just how serious this might be could not be foreseen. Much depended upon whether or not it recurred, and GPO adopted a wait-and-see stance.41

    Project Gemini's technical problems in the summer and fall of 1962 might have aroused more concern if a far more serious threat had not intruded. The financial structure of the program began to totter. Two circumstances combined to produce a major crisis. On one hand, Gemini contractors were spending money at a much faster rate than the project office had expected. On the other, Congress was slow to approve NASA's appropriation for fiscal year 1963, which restricted the funds available to Gemini. However serious development problems might be, or become, they could always be resolved if there were enough money. But now the question was how to spread limited funds over an ever more costly program.

    * Hecht's group included Edward A. Armstrong, Louis A Bernardi, Frederick T. Burns, Paul R. Penrod, Hilary A. Ray, and Stanley White.

    ** Chairman of the special committee was Abner Rasumoff of Space Technology Laboratories.

    13 Letter, R. L. Thomas to MSC, Attn: Ronald C. Bake, 62MA-7227, 5 July 1962, with enclosure, "Monthly Progress Letter No. 7, Paraglider Development Program, Phase IIA, 20 May 1962 to 20 June 1962"; letter, Thomas to MSC, Attn: Bake, 62MA-7728, 1 Aug. 1962, with enclosure, "Monthly Progress Letter No. 8, Paraglider Development Program, Phase IIA, 20 June 1962 to 20 July 1962"; letter, Norbert F. Witte to MSC, Attn: Bake, "Contract NAS 9-167, Paraglider Development Program, Phase II, Part A, Monthly Progress Letter No. 9," 62MA10200, 1 Sept. 1962; letter, George W. Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Bake, "Contract NAS9-167, Paraglider Development Program, Phase II, Part A, Monthly Progress Letter No. 10 (21 August-21 September 1962)," 62MA13775, 26 Nov. 1962; letter, H. C. Godman to NASA Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF), "C-130 Support of NASA Gemini Program (Paraglider Development)," 18 Sept. 1962; TWX, A. A. Tischler to MSC, Attn: Bake, "Preliminary Test Evaluation Review - Full Scale Dummy Drop No. 2," MA21334, 28 Aug. 1962; Quarterly Status Report No. 2, for period ending 31 Aug. 1962, p. 13; Quarterly Status Report No. 3, for period ending 30 Nov. 1962, p. 13; letter, Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Bake, "Contract NAS 9-167, Paraglider Development Program, Phase II, Part A, Monthly Progress Letter No.12 (21 October-20 November 1962)," 62MA15807, 31 Dec. 1962, p. 6 (with annotation, probably by Bake); memo, Lester A. Stewart to Joe W. Dodson, "Performance by Northrop Ventura in Developing Parachute Systems for Use in Project Gemini," GPO-00493, 13 Dec. 1962.

    14 Letter, Paul F. Bikle to STG, Attn: Rodney G. Rose, "Synopsis of Flight Test Portion of Paraglider Development Study - Phase I," 12 Sept. 1961; memo, Stewart et al. to Dir., STG, "Paraglider Development Program; Evaluation of Design Studies; Contract NAS 9-135, Ryan Aeronautical Company; Contract NAS 9-136, North American Aviation, Inc.; Contract NAS 9-137, Goodyear Aircraft Corporation," 22 Sept. 1961.

    15 NASA News Release 61-263, "Apollo Contractor Selected," 28 Nov.1961; Rose, telephone interview, 13 June 1969. A widely known and influential RAND study first published in 1960 had pointed out the dangers of limiting competition between prospective contractors to the design phase instead of continuing it through early development; Charles J. Hitch and Roland N. McKean, The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age (New York, 1965), p. 251.

    16 Witte letter, 62MA10200, 1 Sept. 1962; Jeffs letter, 62MA13775, 26 Nov. 1962, pp. l-3; letter, Jeffs to MSC. Attn: Bake, "Contract NAS9-167, Paraglider Development Program, Phase II, Part A, Monthly Progress Letter No. 11, 20 September - 20 October 1962," 62 MA 13843, 26 Nov. 1962, p. 1.

    17 TWX, Chamberlin to North American, Attn: Harrison A. Storms, Jr., "One-Half Scale Paraglider Program," GPO-50222, 21 Sept. 1962.

    18 Witte letter, 62MA 10200, 1 Sept. 1962.

    19 Rose interview.

    20 Jeffs letters, 62MA13843, 26 Nov. 1962, pp. 1-2, and 62MA15807, 31 Dec. 1962. n. 2.

    21 "Final Report of Paraglider Research and Development Program, Contract NAS 9-1484," North American, SID65-196, 19 Feb. 1965, p. 188.

    22 Quarterly Status Report No. 1, pp. 20-21; Gordon P. Cress, interview, Burbank, Calif., 5 July 1966.

    23 Memo, Chamberlin to Gemini Procurement Office, Attn: James I. Brownlee, "Contract NAS 9-170, Ejection Seat Rocket Catapult - Recommendation for Authorization for Procurement," GPO-00024, 28 March 1962; Arthur H. Atkinson, "Gemini - Major Subcontracts, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation," 3 July 1962.

    24 Atkinson, "Gemini Major Subcontracts"; memo, Chamberlin to Gemini Procurement Office, Attn: Berg, "Project Gemini Ejection Seat Development Test Program," GPO-00097, 21 May 1962.

    25 Chamberlin, activity report, 28 May 1962, p. 1; Chamberlin memo,, GPO-00097, 21 May 1962; Cress interview.

    26 [Kenneth F. Hecht], "Comments on Chapter 5, Expansion and Crisis," [10 Feb. 1970], p. 1; memo, Hecht to Historical Office, "Comments on Chapter 6: The Nadir," 22 Sept. 1970; Hecht, telephone interview, 14 Nov. 1972; memo, Hecht to Mgr., GPO, "Gemini Escape System Management," 26 March 1962; "Abstract of Meeting on Ejection Seats, March 29, 1962," 3 April 1962.

    27 "Abstract of Meeting on Ejection Seat Developmental Test Program, May 29, 1962," 4 June 1962; memo, Chamberlin to Dir., "Gemini Weekly Status Report (June 18, 1962)," GPO-00145, 18 June 1962; Quarterly Status Report No. 2, p. 17; Richard S. Johnston, "Life Systems Division Weekly Activities Report, 7/16/62 - 7/20/62," p. 3; Raymond L. Zavasky, recorder, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, July 27, 1962," p. 4; memo, Richard P. Parten to Chief, Flight Operations Div., "Project Gemini Coordination Meeting on Mechanical Systems," 30 July 1962; memo, Chamberlin to Dir., "Gemini Weekly Status Report (August 6, 1962)," GPO-00257, 6 Aug. 1962; "Abstract of Meeting on Mechanical Systems, August 1-2, 1962," 7 Aug. 1962; Hecht, "Comments on Chapter 5," p. 1.

    28 "Abstract of Meeting on Ejection Seats, August 3, 1962," 17 Aug. 1962; TWX, R. W. Miller to MSC, Attn: Chamberlin, "Gemini Ejection Seat Tests," 306-450-23281, 10 Aug. 1962; "Abstract of Meeting on Ejection Seats, August 6-7, 1962," 9 Aug. 1962; Weekly Activity Report for Office of the Director, Manned Space Flight, 5-11 Aug. 1962, MSC, p. 2; memo, Chamberlin to Dir., "Gemini Weekly Status Report (August 13, 1962)," GPO-00263, 13 Aug. 1962; Chamberlin, activity report, 27 Aug. 1962, p. 1.

    29 "Abstract of Meeting on Ejection Seats, September 6, 1962," 11 Sept. 1962; TWXs, Miller to MSC, Attn: Chamberlin, "Gemini Ejection Seat Tests," 306-450-23965, 13 Sept. 1962, and 306-450- 24240, 28 Sept. 1962; "Abstract of Meeting on Ejection Seats, September 26, 1962," 3 Oct.1962; Quarterly Status Report No. 3, p. 18.

    30 Robert Cohen, "Summary of analysis for selecting the power source for the Gemini Project," Gemini Project Note of January 23, 1962, 27 Jan. 1962.

    31 Ibid., pp. 3-4; letter, Walter F. Burke to Wilbur H. Gray, "Selection of Equipment, Contract NAS 9-170, Fuel Cell System," 306101-142, 23 Feb. 1962, with enclosures, "Chosen System Advantages, General Electric Fuel Cells" and "Substantiation of Selected Vendor Capability"; R. H. Blackmer and G. A. Phillips, "Ion-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell for Space Vehicle Electric Power," presented at the Society of Automotive Engineers National Aerospace Engineering and Manufacturing Meeting, Los Angeles, 9-13 Oct. 1961; J. L. Schanz and E. K. Bullock, "Gemini Fuel Cell Power Source - First Spacecraft Application," ARS Paper No. 2561-62, presented at the American Rocket Society Space Power Systems Conference, Santa Monica, Calif., 25-28 Sept. 1962; "Fuel Cells for Spacecraft, Including Determination of Fuel Battery Size for Specific Application," brochure by Direct Energy Conversion Operation, General Electric, January 1964, pp. 3-4.

    32 Burke letter, 306-101-142; letter, Gray to Burke, "Selection of Equipment, Contract NAS 9- 170, Fuel Cell System," NAS/170-265, 21 Feb. 1962.

    33 John H. Russell, interview, West Lynn, Mass., 24 April 1968.

    34 Memo, George F. Esenwein to George M. Low, "Informal Visit to General Electric Direct Energy Conversion Operation on March 26, 1962 to discuss possible Apollo Fuel Cell Backup and Polymer A Status," 2 April 1962; James F. Saunders, Jr., telephone interview, 14 Nov. 1972.

    35 Letter, Chamberlin to NASA Hq., Attn: Low, "Fuel Cell for Gemini," GPO-00026, 5 April 1962, with enclosures, memo, Cohen to Mgr., Project Gemini, "Status of General Electric Co. Fuel Cell Development for Gemini," 5 April 1962, and Cohen, "Summary of Analysis."

    36 Memo, Gray to Chamberlin, "Visit to Direct Energy Conversion Operation, General Electric Go., West Lynn, Mass.," NAS/170-706, 5 Sept. 1962; Quarterly Status Report No. 2, pp. 21-22.

    37 R. H. Prause and R. L. Goldman, "Longitudinal Oscillation Instability Study: POGO," Martin ER-13374, December 1964, pp. 1-3; Quarterly Status Report No.6, for period ending 31 Aug. 1963, fig. 4; Jerome B. Hammack, interview, Houston, 19 Aug. 1966.

    38 Zavasky, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting[s], July 13, 1962," pp. 1, 3, "July 20, 1962,"p. 3, and "July 27, 1962," pp. 1, 3; Prause and Goldman, "POGO Study," p. 3.

    39 Zavasky, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting[s], July 27, 1962,"p. 3, and "August 3, 1962," p. 2; Quarterly Status Report No. 6, fig. 4.

    40 Quarterly Status Report No. 2, pp. 24-25; Prause and Goldman, "POGO Study," pp. 3, 20; Zavasky, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, August 10, 1962," p. 4; "Joint Titan II/Gemini Development Plan on Missile Oscillation Reduction and Engine Reliability and Improvement," [Air Force Systems Command], 5 April 1963 (revised 7 May 1963), enclosure 3, "Missile Configuration/Oscillation Summary."

    41 Quarterly Status Report No. 2, p. 25.





    [ ]   has a note for closer study, please:

    Despite some talk about dropping paraglider from Gemini to meet fiscal constraints, paraglider development came through largely unscathed. While other major systems suffered more or less drastic cutback paraglider's budget expanded. By the end of 1962, contract changes and overruns had raised the price of the current phase of paraglider development from four and a half to over seven million dollars.22

    North American Aviation, the paraglider contractor, was still having problems with flight testing. The success of 23 October 1962, which concluded the test series of a half-scale model launched with its wing already deployed, proved only a respite. The next step was trying to deploy the wing in flight. North American refitted the half-scale test vehicle at its plant in Downey, California, and shipped it back to Edwards Air Force Base for its first flight test, scheduled for 27 November. The all-too-familiar pattern of minor problems, mostly electrical, delayed the flight day by day until 10 December, and then the results were disappointing. The capsule tumbled from the helicopter, fouling the drogue parachute intended to pull the can in which the wing was stored away from the paraglider. Wing inflation intensified the tumbling and the emergency drogue parachute ejected too soon. When the capsule spun down past 1600 meters, the minimum recovery altitude, radio command detached the wing and allowed the capsule to descend on its emergency parachute.23

    The next attempt, on 8 January 1963, after its share of delays, produced even worse results. There was no tumbling, but the storage can was late in separating; so the capsule was falling too fast when the wing started to inflate and its membrane tore. As the capsule fell below 1,600 meters, its wing not yet fully deployed, emergency recovery was ordered to no avail. The main parachute remained packaged, and the capsule crashed. Picking through the wreckage, North American [125] inspectors found that a squib switch in the emergency parachute's electrical system had misfired. That was not the only problem, but it was the most discouraging--the switch was a standard item, much used in the space program and not known to have failed in 30,000 successive firings. GPO warned North American to be sure everything that had gone wrong was corrected before trying again.24

    A month later, North American reported to the paraglider coordination panel that five distinct failures had been spotted, studied, and fixed. The panel was convinced, but Chamberlin was not. After an extended meeting with George Jeffs, manager of the paraglider program for North American, Chamberlin decided to give the trouble plagued half-scale flight-test program another chance.25 Once again, the current crop of troubles had little impact on plans for the next phase of development, which covered the rest of flight testing, pilot training, and paraglider production. Part of Phase III, gearing up for production, was worked out and under way by 22 January. North American's proposals for the rest of the program were ready by the end of the month. GPO approved and, with the concurrence of NASA Headquarters, readied a new contract.26 But the Office of Manned Space Flight had second thoughts and stopped the procurement action "for the time being."27 The halt proved to be permanent.

    The Gemini paraglider program foundered on North American's third attempt to deploy a half-scale wing in flight. Although the first two flights had been at least partial successes, the third, on 11 March, offered no comfort at all, The storage can failed to separate, so the wing could neither eject nor inflate. When the radioed command to deploy the emergency parachute produced no response, the second half-scale test vehicle joined the first as wreckage.28 Paraglider testing came to an abrupt halt.  


    Deployment challenges, not the hang glider wing itself, was heart of the halt.  Unfortunately text on Internet blame the hang glider wing itself, but that was not the case. The mechanics of deploying from stored-in-spacecraft mode was the problem; the breakout process was not solved.  NOTE AGAIN: these North American matters are NOT THE PARESEV where pilot hang gliding testing was the focus.
    Further into early 1963 for Gemini paraglider  (recall, this is not Paresev hang gliding practice):

    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4203/ch6-5.htm   where the paraglider deployment-challenge history continues:

    [ Partial page clip for study:]

    Attacking Paraglider and Titan II Problems

    The most pressing worry when Mathews took charge of the project in mid-March 1963 was what to do about the trouble-plagued paraglider development program. Back-to-back failures, as North American tried to deploy the wing in flight, had destroyed both half-scale test vehicles. GPO had been funding paraglider on an interim basis since February, little money was left, and North American was ready to quit unless it got new directions. With neither time nor money enough to replace the two lost test vehicles, GPO had to work out a new test program with North American, using the hardware still on hand or almost ready - the two full-scale test vehicles slated for deployment tests, [133] the half-scale boilerplate left over from emergency parachute system qualification, and the paraglider trainer that North American was building.55

    Spokesmen for North American and MSC met in Houston 27-28 March to discuss the options. Telephones in GPO, in the Gemini Procurement Office, and in North American were busy over the next two weeks as the main features of a revised test program were argued, talked out, and settled. The key decision was to divide the flight sequence in half and work through the problems of each phase separately before trying to demonstrate a complete flight from deployment through landing.56

    Spreading the wing in flight was still the crucial problem, and it was to be tackled with the two full-scale test vehicles. The new test plan, however, was simpler than the old. As the vehicle dropped from a high-flying aircraft, its wing would inflate and deploy to convert its fall into a glide down to 3,000 meters. That ended the test sequence. Explosive charges would sever the cables that suspended the test vehicle from the wing, and the now wingless vehicle would descend to Earth beneath a large parachute. The rest of the flight sequence, gliding from 3,000 meters to a landing, was to be studied with two tow-test vehicles, modified versions of the paraglider trainer. Towed by a helicopter to the proper altitude and then released, this vehicle would be flown by a pilot down to the California desert. In the final stage of the program, Gemini static articles would be fitted with standard paraglider gear and flown through the complete flight sequence from deployment to landing.57

    If everything went according to plan, the paraglider landing system could be ready for the seventh Gemini spacecraft. By the time McDonnell started building the tenth spacecraft, paraglider gear could be installed at the proper place on the production line.58

    On 12 April 1963, Mathews outlined for North American what had to be done at once to put the new program into effect. The company was to stop all work on landing gear for the full-scale test vehicle, since it would now land via parachute, and to forget about trying to convert the half-scale boilerplate into a half-scale test vehicle. Instead, the boilerplate would be used as a tow-test vehicle to work out takeoff techniques needed later for manned flights. North American also had to qualify the new full-scale parachute system, which differed substantially from the emergency system - using three Mercury-type parachutes - that North American had tried hard to qualify, without much success, during the summer and fall of 1962. By the end of April 1963, North American had shifted gears and was working along the lines laid out earlier that month.59

    The reoriented paraglider program was formalized in a new contract between North American and NASA on 5 May 1963 that also [134] closed out the earlier contracts. MSC and the contractor agreed on a year-long program (to May 1964) more tightly focused on the basic design of a workable paraglider system than the old had been, with such matters as flight training and production postponed until the design had been proved.60 NASA settled the earlier contracts with North American for $7.8 million and negotiated a $20-million price for the new effort that was intended to save paraglider landing for Gemini.61

    Although doing something about paraglider was the most pressing problem Mathews faced when he took over Gemini, Titan II was the greater concern for the program as a whole. ...

    Further in the book, but recall that PARESEV is a distinct separate program than the North American paraglider situation. Notice whereas Gemini deployment explorations via North American involved the two types of hang glider paraglider: 1. Just canopy gliding parachute type hang glider   AND  2. The inflated boom stiffened sail parawing type hang glider wing.    DIFFERENTLY AND SEPARATELY was the 1961 intiated PARESEV program for actual pilot hang gliding practice in the mostly metal-tube-boomed hang glider paraglider. 

    Paraglider on the Wane  http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4203/ch7-3.htm  SEE FULL PAGE THERE. VOLUNTEER STUDY IS INVITED for the aspects pertinent to the hang gliding involved.   We clip for study here that chapter:

    Work on the reoriented paraglider program of May 1963 got off to a quick start. Before the end of the month, North American Aviation was working out techniques for launching a tow-test vehicle from the ground. This preliminary effort, which involved first a car-towed half-scale vehicle and then one towed by helicopter, was designed to show what the paraglider would do during towing and liftoff and to work out proper towing techniques, all this to prepare for that part of the new test program in which a pilot would fly the test vehicle from an altitude of 3,000 meters to a landing. NASA's Flight Research Center also conducted a series of tow tests, the whole effort being completed in mid-October 1963.21

    Gemini Parachute Landing Sequence

    If Gemini were forced to use parachutes instead of the trouble-plagued paraglider for landing the spacecraft, the landing sites would shift from land to sea.

    May 1963 also saw North American begin work on the other phase of the new test program, testing the deployment sequence with the full-scale test vehicle. Since this phase of testing called for the test vehicle to land by parachute, the first step was to qualify a parachute recovery system, one standard Gemini parachute backed up by a second. North American got off to a smooth start. Two drops of a small bomblike test vehicle on 22 May and 3 June showed that the system's two small stabilization parachutes worked. The contractor quickly began testing the full system on a boilerplate test vehicle. A minor malfunction marred the first drop on 24 June, but three good tests followed in July, with only one more needed to prove the system. What was to have been the final drop, on 30 July, brought a crucial setback. Both main and backup parachutes failed, and the boilerplate crashed.22

    The company wanted to get on to the next phase of testing and argued that the failure could be safely ignored, partly because North American believed it knew how to correct the problem partly because further tests would require a new boilerplate and mean a delay in the program. The logic was sound enough, but GPO feared that, although the immediate problem might be easily corrected, its root cause - the instability of the vehicle - might produce other, and worse, problems. [146] GPO and North American agreed on two further drop tests. McDonnell furnished the new boilerplate, which North American, on the basis of spin-tunnel tests, modified to provide a more stable suspension system. That took time; over three months elapsed before the next drop, on 12 November 1963. Everything worked, and another test three weeks later confirmed the result; the parachute recovery system was at last qualified for full-scale vehicle deployment tests.23

    Proving the parachute system was not the only source of delay. Design engineering inspections of the full-scale test vehicle on 1 August and the tow-test vehicle on 27 September produced the normal share of required changes. Wind tunnel tests of North American's first full-scale prototype wing at Ames Research Center in October yielded too little data and had to be repeated in early December. So it was late November before the contractor could deliver the first tow-test vehicle to Edwards Air Force Base to begin its manned program and mid-December before the two full-scale vehicles arrived.24 With almost two thirds of the time available under the new contract exhausted, North American had yet to begin the major flight-testing portion of the program.

    By the fall of 1963, the status of paraglider in Gemini was once more in jeopardy only partly because of North American's troubles. The inflated frame used in the paraglider design was being challenged by advocates of what seemed to be a viable alternative - an all-flexible gliding parachute, the so-called parasail. This device offered a lift-to-drag ratio ranging from 0.9 to 1.2, lower than paraglider's but still enough to provide worthwhile range and control. It was further handicapped by its relatively high rate of descent, which required landing rockets to cushion impact with the ground. But, overall, parasails matched conventional parachutes closely enough to promise a reasonably quick and relative cheap development of a reliable device for land landing.

    The gliding parachute had, in fact, competed with the inflated-frame paraglider design back in 1961, when the choice of a land-landing technique for what was then the Mercury Mark II project was being made. Although rejected for Mark II, the concept persisted as the subject of a modest research and development program at MSC.25 As paraglider faltered, parasail seemed more attractive. Project Gemini's new manager, Charles Mathews, was more receptive to parasail - or less committed to paraglider - than James Chamberlin had been. Supported by MSC Director Gilruth, Mathews called on GPO for another look at parasail. In April 1963, after the second half-scale test vehicle had crashed but before the future of the paraglider program was decided, he asked McDonnell to study changing Gemini's landing system from paraglider to parasail.26

    While McDonnell pursued its study, MSC's Flight Operations Division [147] and Systems Evaluation Division continued testing a parasail system and pressing for its adoption. Paraglider still had highly vocal backers, however, who denied that its problems involved anything more than sequential details that would have to be ironed out for any recovery device, even conventional parachutes. Claiming that paraglider development had been known from the first to be a hard task, they objected to dropping it after so much of the work had already been done.27 The lines were drawn here they had been in 1961: Flight Operations Division and the Engineering and Development Directorate still opposed paraglider; most of the project office and the prospective pilots, supported by Flight Crew Operations, favored it.

    When McDonnell finished its study early in September 1963, the issue was carried to NASA Headquarters. The company's informed guess at the cost of a parasail and landing-rocket system for the Gemini spacecraft was $15.7 million, with a good chance to be ready for Spacecraft 7. When the parasail proposal was informally presented to NASA Headquarters on 6 September, it was rejected. Dropping paraglider on the verge of flight testing, leaving nothing to show for all the time, money, and effort already spent, was out of the question. The alternative, going ahead with parasail development as something to fall back on if paraglider failed, was ruled out for lack of funds to support both tasks at once.28

    Although reprieved, the paraglider program did not come through unscathed. High-level talks between MSC and NASA Headquarters produced still another reorientation of the program.* The paraglider landing system program was stripped of all other objectives, leaving as its only goal proving paraglider's technical feasibility - which meant primarily showing that the wing could be inflated and deployed in flight to achieve a stable glide - with the accent on staying within the $16.1 million budgeted for fiscal year 1964. Until that goal had been met, there was to be no further work on a prototype system for Gemini, much less on production. Gilruth insisted on a clear understanding that paraglider might still fly on Gemini if the flight tests succeeded, that paraglider's future in Gemini had not been foreclosed.29 The implication of foreclosure was nonetheless there.

    Under orders from MSC, North American ceased its efforts to keep the full-scale test vehicle fitted with the latest Gemini equipment. MSC also directed McDonnell to stop all testing related to installing the paraglider, to design parachute versions of all Gemini spacecraft, and to plan on putting paraglider in the last three, the last two, or [148] only the last spacecraft. Nothing of paraglider was to remain in the spacecraft except the option to put everything back if the flight testing succeeded. Parachutes had, by late 1963, displaced paragliders as the planned means of recovery through the ninth mission. Paraglider landing was still listed for the last three Gemini flights, but some planners, SSD Commander Ben Funk among them, assumed paraglider would not be included in the tenth mission, either, "and probably will not be carried on any of the twelve flights."30 The very fact of paraglider's doubtful status had already begun to close off any real chance to fly in Gemini, whether it proved itself or not.

    A common feature of spacecraft development, and always a matter of concern, seems to be an innate tendency toward weight growth. Gemini was no exception. A complete paraglider landing system weighed almost 360 kilograms more than a conventional parachute recovery system. Once paraglider's place had been questioned, that difference was seen as a bonus and was simply used up. Experiments, for instance, began to encroach on as yet unfilled space allotted to paraglider, especially after January 1964, when the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board was formed. Gemini's planners were beginning to look on paraglider as an extra demand on the payload budget, already pushing the limits set by the booster. If paraglider were to be restored, some other mission objectives would have to give way.31 In other words, even if North American succeeded in showing that paraglider worked, that could no longer guarantee an attempt to fly the system in Gemini. Everything rested on the outcome of North American's upcoming effort to deploy the wing on the full-scale test vehicle in flight; although success could not ensure a place for paraglider, failure would surely bar it.

    * Major participants were MSC Director Gilruth, NASA Associate Administrator Seamans, George E. Mueller (who had recently replaced Brainerd Holmes as Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight), and George Low (Mueller's Deputy Director for Programs).

    21 Letter, George M. Low to James C. Elms, 13 April 1963; letter, Gilruth to Dir., Flight Research Center, "Participation of Flight Research Center in Paraglider Flight Test Program," GPO 00851, 6 May 1963; letter, Paul F. Bikle to MSC, Attn: Gemini-Paraglider Program Manager, "Paraglider Program status report, June 15, 1963, to July 15, 1963," 18 July 1963; Quarterly Status Report No. 7, p. 33; letter, Harrison A. Storms, Jr., to MSC, Attn: Stephen D. Armstrong, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Research and Development Program, Transmittal of the Final Fee Settlement Proposal," 65MA3479, 18 March 1965, with enclosure, "A Final Fee Settlement Proposal for Contract NAS 9- 1484," 18 March 1965, p. V-111; letter, George W. Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Kline, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Program, Monthly Progress Report No. 5 (September 1963)," 63MA 14952, 16 Oct. 1963, p. 4; letter, Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Kline, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Program, Monthly Progress Report No. 6 (October 1963)," 63MA16325, 15 Nov. 1963, p. 3; memo, Kenneth F. Hecht to MSC Historical Office, "Comments on Chapter 6: The Nadir," 22 Sept. 1970.


    22 See chapter V, pp. 98-99; letter, Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Kline, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Program, Monthly Progress Report No. 1 (May 1963)," 63MA8801, 15 June 1963, p. 2; Weekly Activity Report, 2-8 June 1963, p. 2; letter, Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Kline, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Program, Monthly Progress Report No. 2 (June 1963)." 63 MA10508, 19 July 1963, pp. 2-4; Weekly Activity Report, 23-29 June 1963, pp. 1-2; Consolidated Activity Report, 16 June - 20 July 1963, pp. 87-88; letter, Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Kline, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Program, Monthly Progress Report No. 3 (July 1963)," 63MA12060, 15 Aug. 1963, p. 1; Mathews, activity report, 28 July-3 Aug. 1963, p. 1; "GPO Information for Management Council Meeting," prepared for meeting of 24 Sept. 1963; Hecht memo, 22 Sept. 1970.

    23 TWX, R. S. Maynard to MSC for Kline, MA24858, 30 Aug. 1963; letter, Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Kline, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Program, Monthly Progress Report No. 4 (August 1963)," 63MA12926, 13 Sept. 1963, p. 1; Consolidated Activity Report, 18 Aug. - 21 Sept. 1963, p. 79; Jeffs letter, 63MA16325, 15 Nov. 1963, p. 1; "Consolidated Activity Report, 20 Oct. - 16 Nov. 1963," pp. 20-21; Quarterly Status Report No. 7, p. 32; letter, Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Kline, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Program, Monthly Progress Report No.7 (November 1963)," 63MA16756, 13 Dec. 1963, pp. 1-2; Weekly Activity Report, 1-7 Dec. 1963, p. 1; letter, Jeffs to MSC, Attn: Kline, "Contract NAS 9-1484, Paraglider Landing System Program, Monthly Progress Report No.8 (December 1963)," 64MA632, 13 Jan. 1964, p. 2; Quarterly Status Report No. 8, p. 25; Hecht memo, 22 Sept. 1970.

    24 Jeffs letter, 63MA12926, 13 Sept. 1963, p. 1; Weekly Activity Report, 28 July-3 Aug. 1963, p. 3; Jeffs letter, 63MA14952, 16 Oct. 1963, p. 1; Quarterly Status Report No. 7, p. 33; Weekly Activity Report, 27 Oct. - 2 Nov. 1963, p. 1; Jeffs letter, 63MA16756, 13 Dec. 1963, p. 6; Jeffs letter, 64MA632, 13 Jan. 1964, p. 1.

    25 "Preliminary Project Development Plan for a Controllable Parachute-Retrorocket Landing System," STG, 21 June 1961; U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Science and Astronautics, Astronautical and Aeronautical Events of 1962: Report, 88th Cong., 1st sess., 12 June 1963, p. 256; Zavasky, "Minutes of Senior Staff Meeting, March 22, 1963," p. 2; Consolidated Monthly Activity Report, 24 Feb. - 23 March 1963, p. 39.

    26 André J. Meyer, Jr., notes on GPO staff meeting, 9 May 1963, p. 2; TWX, John Y. Brown to MSC, Attn: Mathews, "Contract NAS 9-170, Gemini, Study of Incorporation of Parasail," 16-DAH-2582, 26 May 1963; memo, Mathews to Wilbur H. Gray, "Information and Equipment Needed for Parasail Program," GPO-03044-A, 8 Aug. 1963.

    27 Memo, Maxime A. Faget to dist., "Parasail - Landing Rocket Program," 4 March 1963, with enclosure, "Parasail - Landing Rocket Program Description"; Consolidated Activity Report, 19 May - 15 June 1963, p. 47; memo, Kraft to Chief, Systems Evaluation and Development Div., Attn: John W. Kiker, "Status of Pilot Visualization Program as of June 1, 1963," 17 June 1963; Consolidated Activity Report, 18 Aug. - 21 Sept. 1963, p. 59; Quarterly Status Report No. 6, pp. 21-22; memo, Kiker to GPO, Attn: Mathews, "Development status of the Para-sail - landing rocket," 21 Oct. 1963, with enclosures; memo, Warren J. North and Donald K. Slayton to Dir., "Continuation of paraglider effort," 3 Sept. 1963.


    28 TWX, Brown to MSC, Attn: Mathews, "Contract NAS 9-170, Gemini, Budgetary Estimate for Production Incorporation of Parasail," 16-DAH-3393, 5 Sept. 1963; Zavasky, "Senior Staff Meeting, September 13, 1963," p. 6; Quarterly Status Report No. 6, p. 22.

    29 Memo, Low to MSC, Attn: Elms, "Paraglider development program," M-C S 1312-503, 3 Oct. 1963; letter, Gilruth to NASA Hq., Attn: Low, "Realinement [sic] of Gemini Paraglider Program," GPO-01076-M, 16 Oct. 1963; letter, Low to MSC, Attn: Gilruth, "Gemini Paraglider Program," M-C S 1312-701, 30 Oct. 1963.

    30 "A Final Fee Settlement Proposal," pp. III-1, V-36; memo, Wilburne F. Hoyler et al. to Actg. Mgr., GPO, "Paraglider Reorientation with the Gemini Program," 14 Oct. 1963; Low memo, M-C S 1312-503, 3 Oct.1963; Quarterly Status Report No. 8, p. 58; letter, Funk to Gilruth, "Evaluation of the Paraglider," 29 Nov. 1963.

    31 Purser, "Management Panel Meeting, November 13, 1963," p. 5; "Abstract of Meetings of Gemini Launch Vehicle Panels and Coordination Committee, January 9-10, 1964," 20 Jan. 1964; memo, John A. Edwards to Dep. Dir., Gemini Program, "Gemini Water Landings," 18 Feb.1964; Purser, "Minutes of Project Gemini Management Panel Meeting. . . , February 7, 1964," pp. 6, 7; letter, Holmes to Gilruth, 23 Aug.1963; memo, Verne C. Fryklund to Dir., Office of Space Sciences, "Manned Space Flight Experiments Board," 28 Oct. 1963; memo, Willis B. Foster to Chief, Lunar and Planetary Br., "Establishment of Manned Space Flight Experiments Board," 9 Jan. 1964; NASA Management Instruction M 9000.002, "Establishment of a Manned Space Flight Experiments Board," Coordination Draft #6, 14 Jan. 1964; letter, Schneider to Mathews, 24 Jan. 1964; Hecht, telephone interview, 23 Jan. 1973.




    Haig mentioned that book in a post:
    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4203/ch2-5.htm   which has things to study related to NASA hang gliders of the canopy and stiffened-canopy sort. See the notes regarding the Apollo program, Rogallo, the work in 1959, etc.    The document can be studied for its hang glider (paraglider) works.  The archive files for the "three" contractors mentioned in this study clip would be something that could be placed on the hang glider table.      Space Task Group (STG)  early 1959
     Study clip from the book:  
    STG had not displayed much active interest in Francis Rogallo's flexible wing concept after the initial flurry in early 1959.76 Rogallo and his co-workers at Langley had pushed ahead with their studies in the meantime."  The details of that "flurry" is important for the hang:

    STG had not displayed much active interest in Francis Rogallo's flexible wing concept after the initial flurry in early 1959.76 Rogallo and his co-workers at Langley had pushed ahead with their studies in the meantime. By mid-1960, they had convinced themselves that a controllable, flexible wing could carry a returning spacecraft safely to land, thus providing "a lightweight controllable paraglider for manned space vehicles."77 STG rediscovered the paraglider at the start of 1961 as a by-product of work on Apollo. A technical liaison group on Apollo configuration and aerodynamics met at Langley on 12 January.** In the course of describing his center's work for Apollo, the Langley representative mentioned the paraglider landing system: "The feeling at Langley is that if the paraglider shows the same type of reliability in large-scale tests . . . that it has achieved in small-scale tests, the potential advantages of this system outweigh other systems." Engineering design of large paragliders appeared to be no problem and would be demonstrated in manned and unmanned drop tests.78

    Space Task Group engineers met informally with Rogallo and his colleagues in February, March, and April to explore the use of a paraglider in the Apollo program.*** The STG team was less than enthusiastic. They believed much work was yet to be done before the device [44] could be seriously considered as a landing system for Apollo. The biggest unknown was the deployment characteristics of an inflatable wing; no inflatable structure had ever been successfully deployed in flight. Other questions - how the paraglider was to be packaged, whether the pilot's view from the capsule would be good enough for flying and landing with it - were nearly as important and also largely unanswered. The STG team advised gathering at least six months of data before awarding any paraglider development contract.79 At the same time, however, McDonnell engineers were looking at a paraglider for the modified Mercury, and Marshall Space Flight Center had already let two contracts to study paraglider as a booster recovery system. The idea clearly had promise, and in May 1961 Gilruth decided to contract for further study.

    Three contractors each got $100,000 for two and a half months to design a paraglider landing system and define potential problem areas.**** The best design was expected later to become the basis for a development contract to "provide the modified [Mercury] spacecraft with the capability of achieving a controlled energy landing through the use of aerodynamic lift."80 In fact, the design studies soon received a new name - Phase I of the Paraglider Development Program.81 Observed by a small technical monitoring group from STG, the paraglider design studies were under way before May ended.# 82 McDonnell engineers also maintained close liaison with paraglider work, independent though it was of the Mercury Mark II study contract.83 The redesigned Mercury, as presented by Chamberlin and Blatz to the Capsule Review Board in June, could he adapted to a paraglider landing system, once it was developed.84

     [*** The STG engineers were John W. Kiker, Richard C. Kennedy, Fred J. Pearce, Jr., and Gerard J. Pesman. Rogallo's team consisted of Delwin R. Croom, Robert T. Taylor, Donald E. Hewes, Lloyd J. Fisher, Jr., and Lou S. Young]

     gliding matters. 

  • [ ] Space Task Group engineers    (STG)   
  • [ ] ?
  • [ ] ?
  • [ ] ?
  • [ ] ?


Some dones:
  • The N number trace is in file; we will be getting that out as we find the papers again! We have some purchased trace documents concerning the N number for the PARESEV series of hang gliders.   N9765C
Distinctions. Off-this-topic items each deserving their own topic discussion threads:

Off this topic generally would be, please, thanks:
== the TTV (Gemini Test Tow Vehicle) which may deserve a topic thread for its own hang gliding sphere. Gemini Ordeal Tow Vehicle or TTV
== John Worth and his many hang glider crafts at the very start of things. He has passed recently.
== Ryan Aeronautical flex-wing hang gliders (when power off or tested as gliders)
== Early Tony Prentice 1960 hang glider

== The 1960 NASA hang glider of the canopy sort that Haig shows in an historic film.
== Barry Hill Palmer 7 or 8 hang gliders
== And the later Burns story and the later yet JD story
== Early 1800s flexible wing hang gliders
== Early flexible-wing hang gliders
== Patents on hang gliders
== History of hang gliding from early centuries forward
== Harangues about personal definitions of "What is a hang glider? to this person or that person.

== ???? 
All are invited to send a PM to me about some question that you are working on relative to this hang gliding history legacy PARESEV topic. 
I will note your intent on a working page; spread the fun without duplication; 
there is enough for anyone interested. The Wish List is HERE.


Important items to be handled in other threads, not Paresev, but other NASA hang gliders:

  • [ ]  There seems to be a mixup about "2.00" note by Haig, as the canopy hang glider video linked does not show what he mentioned.
  • [ ] NASA had many varietiews of fhang gliders in and out of the PARESEV variants.   They had also the Rogallo inspired canopy hang gliders, which Haig shows in the 1960 film.
  • Tow Test of a Paraglider Air Cargo Delivery System  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmc_jASzqCM
  • http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/historic/643#Films
  • Flutter Investigation of Parawing Models in the Langley Transonic Dynamics Tunnel  "The parawing models were studied at NASA Langley Research Center in the 1960s. This video is a flutter investigation conducted in the 16-Foot Transonic Dynamics Tunnel. Film #L-663 "
  • Gemini TTV-1 Paraglider Capsule http://youtu.be/jub8y6WSI8M  Curator Michael Neufeld describes a paraglider landing system, considered by NASA at the beginning of the Gemini program, that would have the two-man Gemini capsule land on a runway after its return from space, rather than parachute into the ocean. Tested but never used to return a spacecraft from space, the Paraglider Landing System Program did prove useful in developing alternate landing techniques. The first of two full-scale, manned Test Tow Vehicles (TTV) built to train Gemini astronauts for flight and flown to perfect maneuvering, control, and landing techniques is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Also on display is a Rogallo Wing used in tests with TTV-1 and TTV-2.   
Other hang glider topics in the NASA history could be featured in new topic threads beyond the PARESEV 8 pilots topic discussion-study thread.     For example, a focus on the North American paraglider hang gliders would suffice for a topic thread on its own.  Same for focus on the Ryan power-off hang glider archives.  And for the Goodyear paraglider hang glider inputs... a dedicated topic discussion thread.

A topic thread just on the Gemini TTV-1 Paraglider Capsule  would be part of hang glider history. The deployment of the wing for use in the hang gliding return had problems. But this is part of hang gliding history; the canopy paraglider hang glider wing involved. This was separate from the pilot-trainings in the PARESEV.      http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?id=A19750833000     

And some minor contractors of the time.

Paraglider hang gliders of NASA and her sub contractors Ryan, North American, and Goodyear and others: , partial study HERE.    NASA hang gliders came in a vast variety from  1. Fully limp Rogallo wing, parasail, gliding parachute (type of hang glider)  2. Inflated boom Rogallo paraglider hang glider   3. Metal-boomed and sailed hang gliders in the PARESEV program    4. and power-off gliders that were with power on option    Etc.  NASA paraglider hang gliders in the PARESEV program were hang glide piloted by eight test pilots including hang glider test pilot Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the Moon. The NASA did not choose the hang simplicity of the A-frame that was already evident in hang gliding in at least 1908 in Breslau .... the undercarriage control triangle control frame cable-stayed as is used much in contemporary hang gliders; instead they protected the astronaut pilots in the Paresev program while they kited and released sail loading at a high level to more fit their program aims, even while fully knowing about Francis Rogallo's late 1950s pointing for recreational use of the involved hang glider wing that was winging the Paresev variants of hang glider.   Recall: Have an unpowered system: wing with hung mass for unpowered gliding to get hang glider.       Hence, canopy paragliders of any size form a subset of hang gliders; gliding parachutes form a subset of hang gliders; various stiffening of the wing and tension hang members still brings hang glider mechanically. Hang gliders may be tiny 1 gram items or be massed at 500 tons; hang gliders may be uninhabited by live animals or humans or inhabited by animals or humans; indeed it is difficult to clean off all living microbes from materials touched by humans.
A particular video of importance spoke some important errors and neglected some important historical facts.  Francis Rogallo even spoke errors, but he is forgiven, as he was not an historian on that matter, but an inventor and aeronautical engineer, pioneer  I added comment which might get posted, if the moderator is still active:


> NASA at 50 -- 1961: Flexible Wing Design Used for Hang Gliders →
Duration: 4 minutes 54 seconds

The Paresev hang gliders with eight hang glider test pilots include Moon walker astronaut Neil Armstrong; he flew the PARESEV hang glider in 1962c. The video did not include this fact. Also, hang gliding WAS already sport for 70 years; so, the "birth" of the sport of hang gliding was much before the NASA hang gliders or following hang gliders. But we are so happy about the impact of NASA and Francis Rogallo. The simple control A-frame was evident in 1908 Breslau hang glider. Thanks for video.

The large false claim of giving birth to hang gliding is important.  Hang gliding was already birthed. And already before Rogallo people could fly hang gliders with full three-axis control and with a great variety of hang glider wings. And hang glider sport meets were already held in the world prior to the NASA paraglider hang gliders (gliding kites).  Others also would make the same big error, trying to found hang gliding when hang gliding was already founded and birthed!    However, it is key to birth hang gliding in oneself, the essence of the first international association for hang gliding: Self-Soar Association that featured "Otto" memberships in honor of the role Otto Lilienthal played in the sport and activity of hang gliding.

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