Author Topic: Thomas Kelly (GRUMMAN Chief Engineer) explains lunar module  (Read 1870 times)

Offline catdlr

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"Landing on the Moon" Thomas Kelly (GRUMMAN Chief Engineer) explains how the lunar module works.


Dan Beaumont Space Museum
Published on Sep 9, 2017

This 1966 MIT Science Reporter television program details the development and construction of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), the only vehicle of the three Apollo spacecraft modules that actually lands on the moon. Project engineer Thomas Kelly gives a tour of the LEM at Grumman Aircraft in Long Island, NY, and demonstrates the LEM Automatic Checkout System, while test pilot Robert Smyth demonstrates the lunar landing simulator via an electronic computer-controlled model of the Moon. The program is presented by MIT in association with WGBH-TV Boston, and hosted by MIT reporter John Fitch; it was produced for NASA. MIT Museum Collections.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikYHsXF_k0Q?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

Offline HDTVGuy

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Catdlr How do you find all of these great videos?

Thanks for sharing.

Offline catdlr

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Catdlr How do you find all of these great videos?

Thanks for sharing.

When you're retired, you have plenty of time.  ;)
« Last Edit: 09/13/2017 04:50 AM by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa

Offline mtakala24

I think this video was also included in one of the Spacecraft Films DVD:s. It might have been one of the Aeronautics And Space Report discs.

Offline joncz

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Apropos of nothing, Spider was my favorite episode of From the Earth to the Moon

Offline mtakala24

joncz, mine too. It just fantastic.

Offline ThereIWas3

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Kelly wrote a book about the entire project.  It is amazing the thing worked at all.  When the first one was shipped to KSC (before it was finished), the NASA guy there refused to sign for it because it was in such bad shape.

"Spider" was my favorite episode as well.  "Al Bean is going to the Moon!".  I can't afford his paintings, but I do have Al Bean's book about the mission which has copies of many of them.
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Offline Oersted

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Here is Tom Kelly's great book about L(E)M development:

https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Lander-Developed-Smithsonian-Spaceflight/dp/1588342735

A wonderful read. The development was really high-pressure, with terrible time and weight constraints. It took a hard toll on the people who worked on the spacecraft.

Offline Nibb31

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Interesting that in the video, only one astronaut would perform the surface EVA while the other astronaut "stays inside the LEM to maintain communication with the Earth".

Offline the_other_Doug

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Interesting that in the video, only one astronaut would perform the surface EVA while the other astronaut "stays inside the LEM to maintain communication with the Earth".

Right up to some point in late 1968, the lunar surface procedures being developed were very conservative.  Most called for one-man EVAs -- the second man would stay in the LM, connected to its suit circuit, perhaps with a PLSS sitting back on the ascent engine cover, in case the guy outside needed emergency assistance.  And on the very first landing, an umbilical EVA was discussed -- let the EVA crewman go out to the end of a 100-foot life-support umbilical, and pick up whatever rocks he could from within that leash-distance.  Test the PLSS with the guy who was left back in the LM, maybe, but don't risk the first Moonwalker to an "unproven" backpack.

On later flights, the crew would alternate EVAs, but on the first landing, per these very early checklists, only one guy would get out and walk on the Moon.  And that guy, a la Gemini, was originally identified as the Lunar Module Pilot, although some later checklists called for the CDR to go out on the sole one-man EVA.  And that was just not a satisfactory plan to anyone involved -- how in the world can you ask a man to land on the Moon, stand in his cabin 20 feet above the surface, and not allow him to go outside and walk on it?

To be fair, and to put it in context, these were conservative, straw-man procedures that were created to have a starting point in planning and simulating the surface operations.  And the people developing them only had Gemini as past experience.  So, doing one-man EVAs was in no way unusual, it was SOP at that point.

And to add to this, once they decided that they would fly the ALSEP, Bendix (the company that fabricated much of the package and managed its integration) wanted to know how operator-intensive the deployment had to be.
 Automated deployment mechanisms weren't all that heavy, for what they were deploying, and the crew would be there to correct any hang-ups.

But for some reason, the people in the Crew Systems Division who were looking at the EVA planning decided that putting men on the Moon meant putting men to work on the Moon.  There is some obscure symbolic satisfaction to be able to point to an experiments package that could only have been deployed by men on the scene.  And it silenced the repeated background muttering of "you can send these experiments on unmanned landers, you don't need to spend all this money to send people there to deploy them"... :(

So, NASA told Bendix that the ALSEP needed to be quite user-intensive in its deployment.  Bendix complied, creating a package that was very complicated to deploy and required the crew on the scene to do a lot of manual set-up.

The first deployment training mock-up of ALSEP 1 was assigned, IIRC, to astronauts Don Lind and Jack Schmitt to work with and evaluate.  They evaluated how long it took for a single man to deploy (as there were still one-man EVA plans being considered), and how long it took for both men, working together, to deploy.  Again from (fuzzy) memory, figuring a baseline of four-hour EVAs, the first ALSEP would require almost the entire time spent in two one-man EVAs, or about eight man-hours.  Two men, working together, couldn't quite finish deploying it in one EVA.

Schmitt in particular was just flabbergasted, and -- paraphrasing what I've heard/read that has stuck in my fuzzy memory -- he basically communicated back to NASA "You're spending all this money to send people to the Moon, and you want them to spend all of their surface time setting up five or six simple experiments?  At the expense of geological traverses and sample selection/return?  Are you out of your minds?"  (It was this kind of sensitive, sincere attitude Schmitt took to the program and his superiors that won him so many friends and admirers in the Astronaut Office... :D...)

Bendix was thus told to make the package easier to deploy, and they got it down to where one man, working really hard, could get it done by himself in a five-hour EVA, and two guys could do it in two and half to three hours.  But it was generally felt, by the mission planners, that it was indeed useful to plan for experiments that can be better deployed semi-manually than ones that could be automatically deployed.  So, ALSEP deploy remained a solid three hours of work for each crewman throughout the Apollo landings.

While planners used this final ALSEP deployment configuration as a baseline, starting in late 1968, to adjust their thinking, and started planning two-man PLSS EVAs just so there would be enough time to get the ALSEP deployed, I think it was actually around March of 1969 when the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office finally officially consented to allowing a two-man PLSS EVA on the first landing.  However, the decision was also made at that point not to attempt to deploy the ALSEP on the first landing, and to cut the first landing down from the originally planned two four-hour EVAs to one two-and-a-half hour EVA.  A simplified EASEP was hurriedly designed and packaged, consisting of only two actual experiments, one of which was completely inert, which were designed to be really easy to deploy.

Of course, it was when the planners started looking at two-man PLSS EVAs, that the question of who was going out first came up... but that's another story.  ;)
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

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