Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Space vehicles walkaround vol.4: Apollo/Skylab A7L space suit

Subject: Apollo/Skylab A7L space suit
Location: Museum of science and technology, Chicago, Il, USA 2014.
Comments: The A7L Apollo & Skylab spacesuit is the primary pressure suit worn by NASA astronauts for Project Apollo, the three manned Skylab flights, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project between 1968 and the termination of the Apollo program in 1975. The "A7L" designation is used by NASA as the seventh Apollo spacesuit designed and built by ILC Dover (a Playtex division when the suit was designed). The A7L is a design evolution of ILC's initial design A5L and the A6L, which introduced the integrated thermal and micrometeroid cover layer. After the deadly Apollo 1 fire, the suit was upgraded to be fire-resistant and given the designation A7L.The basic design of the A7L suit was a one piece, five-layer "torso-limb" suit with convoluted joints made of synthetic and natural rubber at the shoulders, elbows, wrist, hips, ankle, and knee joints, "link-net" meshing to prevent the suit from ballooning at the joints, and a shoulder "cable block" assembly to allow the shoulder to be extended and retracted by its wearer. Metal rings at the neck and forearms allowed for the connection of the pressure gloves and the famous Apollo "fishbowl helmet" (adopted by NASA as it allowed an unrestricted view, as well as eliminating the need for a visor seal required in the Mercury and Gemini and Apollo Block I spacesuit helmets). A cover layer, which was designed to be fireproof after the deadly Apollo 1 fire, was attached to the pressure garment assembly and was removable for repairs and inspection. All A7L suits featured a vertical zipper that went from the shoulder assembly of the suit down to the crotch for donning and doffing the suit.The two suits for the astronauts that were expected two participate on the lunar excursion have some differences. Between Apollos 7 and 14, the two lunar module astronauts, the Commander (CDR) and Lunar Module pilot (LMP), had Torso Limb Suit Assemblies (TSLA) with six life supportconnections placed in two parallel columns on the chest. The 4 lower connectors passed oxygen, an electrical headset/biomed connector was on the upper right, and a bidirectional cooling water connector was on the upper left.Covering the Torso Limb Suit Assembly was an Integrated Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment (ITMG). This garment protected the suit from abrasion and protected the astronaut from thermal solar radiation and micrometeoroids which could puncture the suit. The garment was made from thirteen layers of material which were (from inside to outside):rubber coated nylon, 5 layers of aluminized Mylar, 4 layers of nonwoven Dacron, 2 layers of aluminized Kapton film/Beta marquisette laminate, and Teflon coated Beta filament cloth.Additionally, the ITMG also used a patch of 'Chromel-R' woven steel (the familiar silver-colored patch seen especially on the suits worn by the Apollo 11 crew) for abrasion protection from the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) backpack. Chromel-R was also used on the uppers of the lunar boots and on the EVA gloves. Finally, patches of Teflon were used for additional abrasion protection on the knees waist and shoulders of the ITMG.Starting with Apollo 13, a red band of Beta cloth was added to the commander's ITMG on each arm and leg, as well as a red stripe on the newly added EVA central visor assembly. The stripes, initially known as "Public Affairs stripes" but quickly renamed "commander's stripes", made it easy to distinguish the two astronauts on the lunar surface and were added by Brian Duff, head of Public Affairs at the Manned Spacecraft Center, to resolve the problem for the media as well as NASA of identifying astronauts in photographs. Lunar crews also wore a three-layer Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment (LCG) or "union suit" with plastic tubing which circulated water to cool the astronaut down, minimizing sweating and fogging of the suit helmet. Water was supplied to the LCG from the PLSS backpack, where the circulating water was chilled by an ice sublimator (ref: wikipedia)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Space vehicles walkaround vol.1: Apollo-Saturn V Moon vehicles UPDATED

Subject: Apollo-Saturn V moon rocket
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Florida; Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C.; Museum of Science, London, UK; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Il, USA.

Apollo 8 command module

Apollo 8 main hatch.

Apollo 8 commander seat

Apollo 8 control panel

Apollo 8 hatch seen from inside

Apollo 8 command module

Apollo 8 command module

Apollo 8 command module upper hatch and parachute storage area

Apollo 8 command module

Apollo tower jettison system

Apollo 10 Command Module on display at the London Science Museum, U.K, 2013.

Two pictures (top and bellow) showing the top of the command module where the recovery parachutes were stored.

Detail of the burned heat shield.
Attitude controls of the command module
Reinforced windows of the command module (top and bellow)

Th complete command and service module (top and bellow)

The complex hatch of  Apollo 14
The complex main control panel of the command module
The escape system for the command module
The five F1 engines of the SI First Stage of the Saturn V rocket
Side view of the base of the first stage
Two views (top and bellow) of the F1 first Stage engine

The base of the SII second stage of the Saturn V rocket with five J2 rocket engines (top and bellow)

Side view of the second stage showing the fuel tank 
Four pictures (top and three bellow) showing the J2 second and third stage rocket engine

Two pictures (top and bellow) of the base of the third Stage of the Saturn V rocket showing the single J2 engine

One of the two original Lunar Excursion Vehicles not used at the Apollo program due to cancellation of flights, now on display at Kennedy Space Center
Front view of the LEM with detail of hatch and flight controls
Side view of the LEM showing flight controls and the large side bulge for the ascent stage engine fuel tank
Opposite side view of the LEM
Front view of the LEM showing the ladder and antenna.
One of the four main landing pads of the lunar module.
Two pictures (top and bellow) showing the moon rover used from Apollo 15 to 17.

Moon exploration space suit (replica)