Author Topic: Apollo 2TV-1  (Read 18570 times)

Offline Apolloman

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Apollo 2TV-1
« on: 10/29/2008 04:50 PM »
Hello to all ...
Is there a PDF mission report on testing 2TV-1 (Phase 1 and 2) and LTA-8??

Thank for your answer

(sorry for my poor english)
Paul Cultrera
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consacré au programme Apollo.

Le savoir est un trésor à partager avec tout le monde...

Offline Apolloman

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #1 on: 10/30/2008 11:10 AM »
Hello to all ...
Is there a PDF mission report on testing 2TV-1 (Phase 1 and 2) and LTA-8??

Thank for your answer

(sorry for my poor english)

Euuuh... Nobody has an answer
Paul Cultrera
webmaster du site http://www.de-la-terre-a-la-lune.com/
consacré au programme Apollo.

Le savoir est un trésor à partager avec tout le monde...

Offline rdale

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #2 on: 10/30/2008 11:17 AM »

Offline Analyst

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #3 on: 10/30/2008 11:47 AM »
I remember something in Spaceflight magazine ca. 5 - 10 years ago.

Analyst

Offline Apolloman

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #4 on: 10/30/2008 04:58 PM »
« Last Edit: 10/30/2008 05:00 PM by Apolloman »
Paul Cultrera
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consacré au programme Apollo.

Le savoir est un trésor à partager avec tout le monde...

Offline Apolloman

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #5 on: 10/30/2008 05:01 PM »
I remember something in Spaceflight magazine ca. 5 - 10 years ago.

Analyst

Yes... But the question remains, where?
Paul Cultrera
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consacré au programme Apollo.

Le savoir est un trésor à partager avec tout le monde...

Offline rdale

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #6 on: 10/30/2008 05:09 PM »
Once again, Google is something everyone should take a look at when searching. I found it in 3 seconds. Very first link.

http://www.google.com/search?q=spaceflight+magazine+2tv-1

Offline Apolloman

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #7 on: 11/01/2008 10:01 AM »
On some French site we find info about how there was a leak of chemical toilets on board...
But I can not find the information in the documents that I have...
(just a drip of a water pipe, found on Apollo 7)

So true or false?
Paul Cultrera
webmaster du site http://www.de-la-terre-a-la-lune.com/
consacré au programme Apollo.

Le savoir est un trésor à partager avec tout le monde...

Offline TJL

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #8 on: 11/01/2008 01:28 PM »
I understand that the 2TV-1 test lasted a week.
Anyone know how long Irwin and Gibbons remained in LTA-8?
Thanks.

Offline Apolloman

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #9 on: 11/01/2008 05:51 PM »
I understand that the 2TV-1 test lasted a week.
Anyone know how long Irwin and Gibbons remained in LTA-8?
Thanks.


Irwin and Gibson :
First test 27 may 1968 : 12 hours
Second test 29 may 1968 : ...

Glen Kingsley and Joe Galiano :
Third test 31 may 1968 : 10 hours
« Last Edit: 11/01/2008 06:01 PM by Apolloman »
Paul Cultrera
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Le savoir est un trésor à partager avec tout le monde...

Offline heng44

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #10 on: 11/14/2008 09:43 AM »
I wrote two articles for Spaceflight on Apollo 2TV-1 and LTA-8. I can send you the PDFs if you want. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

Ed

Offline heng44

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #11 on: 11/14/2008 09:50 AM »
On some French site we find info about how there was a leak of chemical toilets on board...
But I can not find the information in the documents that I have...
(just a drip of a water pipe, found on Apollo 7)

So true or false?

This is true. Vance Brand told me this when I interviewed him for the article. He said there was stale urine all over the floor. So much for the glamourous astronaut profession...

Ed

Offline heng44

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #12 on: 11/14/2008 02:00 PM »
Unfortunately I no longer have the PDFs of the two articles I wrote on Apollo 2TV-1 and LTA-8. They were in the Spaceflight issues of March 2000 (2TV-1) and April 2000 (LTA-8).

I did have a PDF of a later article (December 2003) with some photos I found after the articles were published.

Ed

Offline heng44

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #13 on: 11/14/2008 02:23 PM »
Following is the combined text of the two articles I no longer have as PDF.



APOLLO VACUUM CHAMBER TESTS:
“All dressed up and no place to go”

by Ed Hengeveld


The first part of the Apollo programme consisted of a series of carefully planned test flights, each mission going one step further than the previous one. To minimize the risks of flying into unknown territory, the basic Apollo spacecraft was first flown unmanned, then manned in earth orbit, then in lunar orbit; after that the Lunar Module was added, flying first in earth orbit, followed by a flight in lunar orbit and finally by the actual landing on the moon in 1969.

Even before the first manned flight of the new and untried Apollo spacecraft in 1968, NASA wanted to simulate here on earth as much of the space environment as was possible, so that by the time of launch the ship had been fully man-rated. Two important tests, with the obscure names of LTA-8 and 2TV-1, contributed a great deal to the success of Apollo. They ensured that when it was time for its maiden flight, the ship had already “flown” with a crew onboard. It just hadn’t been in space yet!

Vacuum chamber
Space could not be duplicated on earth, but many of its characteristics could. One of the places where this could be done was the Space Environment Simulation Laboratory (SESL), located in Building 32 at the Manned Spacecraft Center [1] in Houston. This was a huge chamber capable of simulating the vacuum of space as well as the temperatures and lighting conditions that would be experienced during a spaceflight. The role that the SESL played in the design and testing of spacecraft was similar to that of the wind tunnel for aircraft.

When the air was pumped from the chamber, a spacecraft placed inside it could be subjected to vacuum conditions similar to those at altitudes of up to 240 kilometers. A battery of brilliant carbon-arc lamps could simulate the fierce rays of the sun, heating the skin of the spacecraft to 95 degrees Celsius. Special cryogenic panels in the walls of the chamber could reach temperatures as low as –140 degrees Celsius. The SESL was operated from a control room, where teams of technicians and engineers worked closely together for the duration of the simulation.

Before entering the SESL, astronauts would be outfitted as if they were going on a real space mission. They would undergo a full preflight physical examination and body sensors would be applied to record their vital functions. They would don pressure suits and spend several hours prebreathing pure oxygen to remove the nitrogen from their blood. Only then could they enter the SESL. After completion of their tests they would have to go through an equally elaborate and time-consuming exit procedure. However, if there was an emergency, the chamber could be repressurized to a normal atmosphere in 90 seconds.

CSM-008
The two separate vacuum chambers comprising the SESL were completed in 1965. Chamber A was the largest of the two with an external diameter of 19 meters. The internal dimensions were 17 meters in diameter and 36 meters in height. Chamber B was 14 by 13 meters. The first tests in the SESL took place in January 1966 in chamber B for the qualification of Gemini spacesuits and associated extravehicular life support systems. The initial tests in chamber A occured later in 1966, when Apollo Command and Service Modules (CSM) 008 underwent a series of trials to demonstrate the adequacy of the Block I version of the spacecraft for manned earth-orbital missions.

The contractor for the CSM, North American Aviation (NAA) in Downey, California, had performed an altitude test on a Block I Command Module in the summer of 1966. Company engineers Erman, Abell and Moyles spent two weeks flying a simulated mission in a CM inside NAA’s vacuum chamber – called the “bell jar”. Because the 5-meter chamber was too small to hold the complete Apollo spacecraft, electrical power, oxygen and drinking water were provided by ground support equipment.

Houston’s SESL could accomodate the complete spacecraft, including the Service Module, and so CSM-008 spent 83 days inside chamber A in the second half of 1966, during which time a 92-hour unmanned test and a 163-hour manned test were conducted. During this six-day manned period the spacecraft was “flown” by astronauts Ed Givens and Joe Kerwin, with the third seat occupied by Joe Gagliano, an Air Force captain on assignment to MSC’s Flight Crew Support Division. The test revealed several design flaws and procedural errors that would have to be corrected before the first manned Apollo flight, planned for early 1967.

In August 1966 a review was held of the CSM-008 thermal vacuum tests. Deke Slayton, Director of Flight Crew Operations at MSC, proposed adding a flight surgeon to all future test crews to help define medical requirements and “to ensure adequate knowledge of crew members and test objectives for training and the real-time mission”. The only member of the astronaut corps with a medical background at that time was Joe Kerwin, so he continued his involvement in the SESL-operations and was eventually chosen as a crewmember for the next long-duration test.

Block II
The Block I CSM was essentially a prototype, designed to fly in earth orbit. When development of the Apollo spacecraft had begun in 1961, the method of flying to the moon was not yet decided upon. When the lunar orbit rendezvous method was selected in 1962, the need arose for a more advanced version of the spacecraft, equipped with the means for docking with the Lunar Module (LM). During 1963-64 this evolved into the Block II version, which had a docking tunnel to allow the crew to transfer to the LM in a pressurized environment. The difference between the two spacecraft versions was also illustrated by a change in crew designations that was announced in November 1966. Block I crewmembers would be called Command Pilot, Senior Pilot and Pilot. For the Block II flights the designations would be Commander, Command Module Pilot and Lunar Module Pilot.

Evaluation of a Block II CSM in the SESL in support of lunar missions was scheduled to begin in February 1967, using Apollo spacecraft 2TV-1 (Block II thermal vacuum no. 1). This would be followed in March by a similar test with Lunar Module Test Article (LTA) no. 8, which was a prototype LM. Because the astronaut office would provide crews for these tests, Slayton wanted to evaluate crew equipment, stowage, and system operations procedures planned for Block II flights. He also wanted to perform a demonstration of extravehicular activities (EVA), adding to the complexity of the operation.

However, following the Apollo-1 fire on 27 January 1967, all vacuum chamber runs involving 100% oxygen atmosphere in the spacecraft were put on hold. After extensive flammability tests, NASA decided to use a 60% oxygen and 40% nitrogen atmosphere in the Apollo spacecraft while it was on the launch pad. After launch the 60%-40% mixture would be gradually replaced with an atmosphere of 100% oxygen. In space the risks of a pure-oxygen environment were reduced because of the much lower internal pressure of the spacecraft. Inside their spacesuits the crew would still breathe pure oxygen.

Another important change to the Apollo spacecraft was the installation of a new, quick-opening hatch. As a result of these and other improvements in the wake of the fire, it was decided that all manned flights would be flown in Block II vehicles. The numerous modifications also resulted in a number of changes to the SESL, and in June 1967 a committee was established to review these changes. Joe Kerwin was named a member of that group.

Slipping schedules
When flight schedules were revised after Apollo-1, it was expected that the first manned Apollo mission, a CSM-only flight now named Apollo-7, would be launched sometime during the third quarter of 1968. The crew would be astronauts Schirra, Eisele and Cunningham. Except for some flight-qualified equipment, 2TV-1 would be identical to CSM-101, which would fly on Apollo-7. A firm rule was established that the 2TV-1 thermal vacuum test would be a constraining factor for that mission: it would have to be completed at least one month prior to Apollo-7 and would have to be successful or there would be no launch. Testing of 2TV-1 would go ahead as planned before the fire, except that extravehicular activities were deleted.

Delivery of spacecraft 2TV-1 to MSC was planned for 14 October 1967. However, by August that date had slipped six weeks and it would keep slipping. At NAA the excuse was that NASA kept asking for hardware changes. NASA, however, said that only essential changes had been approved by MSC and that most schedule delays were attributable to NAA. Because schedules over the past year had been based on three-shift, seven-day-per-week operation, there was little or no time available to deal with the setbacks that inevitably cropped up during checkout activities.

One source for concern, for example, was the flammability of the approximately 23 meters of coax cable installed in the CM. The wiring in spacecraft 101 had been completed for several months. All subsystems and protective covers had been installed. Complete replacement or protective wrapping of all coax cables might take as long as three months. After several reviews it was decided that the risk was low and only minor changes would be made to the cables in CM-101. The installation in spacecraft 2TV-1 would not be changed at all. The burning rate of coax cable had been demonstrated as very slow, and it was reasoned that the 2TV-1 crew would have sufficient time to make an emergency exit from the vacuum chamber long before any dangerous situations would be encountered.

2TV-1
On 11 March 1968 NAA completed assembly of CSM 2TV-1 and on 9 April the spacecraft was shipped from Downey to MSC, where it was installed in chamber A of the SESL. During a review of both 2TV-1 and LTA-8 schedules in January, concern had been expressed for the heavy concentration of activities in the SESL during the summer of 1968, the need for simultaneous operation of chambers A and B, and the lack of adequately trained chamber operations support personnel for dual testing. Delays would probably be unavoidable. Although both programs were of major importance, MSC Director Bob Gilruth said that 2TV-1 directly supported - and constrained - the Apollo-7 mission. In the event of any conflict between the two test programs, 2TV-1 had clear priority over LTA-8.

The crew for 2TV-1 had been named several months earlier. Commander would be Joe Kerwin, who had been involved in the vacuum chamber operations since 1966 and had also been a crewmember for the second CSM-008 test. Vance Brand was named Command Module Pilot (CMP), while Joe Engle would be Lunar Module Pilot (LMP). Both had joined the astronaut corps in April 1966. To an outsider it must have seemed a little unusual that Joe Kerwin, who had been selected with the first group of scientist-astronauts in 1965, was named commander. In those days there were some astronauts who felt that their scientist-colleagues didn’t have “the right stuff”. While Brand and Engle did not belong to that group, Kerwin says that “it must have rankled them both to be outranked by a stupid staff officer, but they never showed it”. Actually, Kerwin had more trepidation about it than Brand and Engle did: “Engle, for one, had already flown the X-15 into space and could pilot circles around me”, he says.

The crew had designed their own mission patch, which was worn on their spacesuits during the test. It resembled the NASA “meatball” insignia, adopted by the agency in 1958, and featured a roadrunner as well as the Latin phrase “Arrogans Avis Cauda Gravis”. The roadrunner was a Texan bird, perhaps best know as a cartoon-character that was perpetually chased across the dessert by Wile E. Coyote [2]. It was symbolic for the period 1967-68 during which the pace of work at NASA was very fast. More importantly: it didn’t fly, making it a perfect symbol for 2TV-1. The Latin phrase was a reference to the slogan “The Proud Bird With The Golden Tail”, that Continental Airlines used during those days to describe their fleet of airliners. “Arrogans Avis Cauda Gravis” means “The Proud Bird With The Heavy Tail”, again emphasizing that 2TV-1 wasn’t going anywhere.

During their week-long stay in the vacuum chamber, Kerwin, Brand and Engle would work to qualify the spacecraft for manned orbital flight by evaluating the structural integrity of the hull and inner pressure vessel. Among the other test objectives were: verify the CM’s heat-shield structure under extreme cold conditions; verify the Environmental Control System (ECS) in temperature and vacuum extremes; demonstrate the capability of the spacecraft’s radiators to dispose of the heat generated by the fuel cells; operate integrated spacecraft systems and subsystems in  both pressurized and unpressurized modes. For the first 45 hours the spacecraft would be subjected to temperatures of 55 degrees Celcius. Then the temperature would be lowered to –100 degrees for 15 hours. The rest of the test would be conducted at ambient (room) temperature.

The real thing
After a dry run in early June 1968, the crew was ready for the real thing. On Sunday 16 June they donned their spacesuits, which were also extensively modified after Apollo-1, and entered the test chamber. The closeout crew helped them to board the spacecraft, which was resting upright on a rotating platform. After the hatch was closed, the closeout crew left and the chamber was sealed. The cabin was pressurized with the 60%-40% oxygen-nitrogen mix at 16 psi, with the crew breathing pure oxygen inside their suits. When all the air had been pumped from the chamber, the test began. The only difference with a real spaceflight was that the astronauts had to work in 1-G conditions, because weightlessness could not be simulated on earth.

Over the next week the crew went throught the same sort of timeline that they would follow on a lunar mission. Several hours after entering 2TV-1, when the cabin atmosphere had been replaced by pure oxygen at 5 psi, they took off their spacesuits and dressed in lightweight coveralls. They were in constant communication with the people in the control room, who could monitor crew activities through a television camera inside the cabin. The spacecraft was slowly rotated to simulate the “barbecue-mode”, which would evenly distribute the sun’s heat over the outer hull. While they were not as busy as they would be on a real mission, the crew had a full schedule of tasks to perform. During their off-hours, the astronauts read books and played cards. Kerwin even kept a diary.

On 19 June an unexpected problem caused the pressure in the vacuum chamber to rise to the equivalent of 45 kilometers altitude, threatening to abort the test. A hold was called, during which the astronauts remained inside the spacecraft. The problem was eventually solved and the test continued. Finally, after spending 177 hours inside, the bearded astronauts emerged from the chamber in excellent spirits on 24 June.

Joe Kerwin fondly remembers that after the test the crew strolled into the office of George Low, the Apollo Program Manager, “with our week’s growth of beards and dressed up as hippies” to assure him that the spacecraft was ready for Schirra and company. Kerwin, Brand and Engle briefed the Apollo-7 crew on their findings and wrote a 14-page crew report, dated 2 July 1968, copies of which were sent to all astronauts. Their main source of discomfort had been the 1-G chemical toilet. Instead of the flight article, which would dump liquid waste overboard, a sort of can was used. It had developed a bad leak and there was stale urine all over the floor. As Vance Brand recalls: “We couldn’t open the hatch because we were in a vacuum chamber, so we had to clean up as best we could. The smell was awful, but we finally got used to it”.

Although the ECS kept them comfortable, the CM’s water lines “sweated”, contributing to the puddles forming on the cabin floor. Some minor equipment problems were noted, such as malfunctioning headsets. The astronauts reported sleeping well and the space food they ate was good, although some of the package seams split. They advised not drinking the water for at least two hours after chlorination.

The critrital 2TV-1 test had been a success, clearing the way for the Apollo-7 mission. In October 1968 Schirra’s crew performed a test flight that was later called “101% successful”. They owed a lot to Kerwin, Brand and Engle.

LTA-8
While all this was taking place in chamber A, activity in chamber B focused on LTA-8, the equally important checkout of the Lunar Module Test Article. What 2TV-1 was to the CSM, LTA-8 was to the LM.

The LM contract was awarded to the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation in Bethpage, Long Island (NY), on 14 January 1963. In addition to 15 flight vehicles, the company planned to build several mockups and test models for a variety of support roles. Ten LM Test Articles (LTAs) were originally planned for various structural and dynamic test programmes.

LTA-7 was slated to be the environmental qualification test article. It would be mated to the CSM and together the two spacecraft would be subjected to vacuum tests in the SESL in Houston. The LTA-8 and LTA-9 designations were initially reserved for a pair of free-flying LM trainers, which would enable astronauts to practice their moonlanding skills here on earth. When the Bell Lunar Landing Research Vehicles (LLRVs) and Lunar Landing Training Vehicles (LLTVs) took over that training role, Grumman cancelled test articles 7 and 9. LTA-8 now became the environmental qualification vehicle, while the CSM would be subjected to a similar but separate test regime.

The two LTA-8 crewmen would perform the full range of activities that would be necessary during an LM’s flight to and landing on the moon. They would simulate firing the descent and ascent stage engines. In addition they would practice unhooking their spacesuit umbilicals from the LM’s Environmental Control Subsystem and switching to the Portable Life Support System (PLSS), the backpacks that contained the air supply and cooling to keep the astronauts comfortable while working on the lunar surface. Then they would depressurize the LM cabin, open the hatch, crawl out onto the porch and descend the ladder to simulate activities on the lunar surface.

The LTA-8 programme was scheduled to begin in March 1967, but was delayed as a result of the Apollo-1 fire in January of that year, which killed astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee. Although the fire had taken place in a Command Module, the LM was also subjected to a thorough fire safety review during 1967. Grumman built a full-scale mockup of the cabin interior, designated M-6. It was tested to ensure that no flammable materials remained onboard LTA-8 as well as all flightworthy LMs that would follow. So great was the emphasis on safety that M-6 was essentially a test vehicle of a test vehicle!

While the risk of a fire had been significantly reduced, there were still concerns over other issues, such as the LM’s ability to hold its atmoshpere inside. Max Faget, MSC Director of Engineering and Development, had reviewed the LM insulation status and concluded that the design was “susceptible to degradation from cabin leakage during pressurized conditions”, which was of course unacceptable for manned missions. He told Grumman that several design changes were required and wanted these to be installed and tested on LTA-8.

Construction
Assembly of LTA-8 had begun at Grumman’s plant no. 5 in September 1965. The vehicle closely resembled the final design configuration of LM-3, which would be flown by astronauts McDivitt and Schweickart on its first manned flight in space in late 1968. For the purpose of the vacuum chamber tests, special equipment was installed to simulate the varying conditions the LM would encounter during a lunar mission.

Special heaters were imbedded under the thin skin of the spacecraft and in the engine bells of the ascent and descent stages. These would be turned on and off at the appropriate point in the test to simulate the thermal input that was expected during engine firings in space. No engines would actually be fired during the test, but freon in the fuel tanks serving as propellant would be off-loaded to simulate fuel consumption. One window in the ascent stage was removed and replaced by an access plate, to permit the running of instrumentation, communication and TV lines into the cabin to monitor the astronauts’ activities.

When construction of LTA-8 was completed in the spring of 1967, the vehicle was subjected to a thorough final acceptance test. Then the ascent and descent stages were de-mated for the trip to Houston, where the vehicle arrived by Super Guppy transport aircraft on 24 September 1967. In the following weeks the ascent and descent stages were re-mated and the landing gear was attached, in preparation for installation in chamber B of the SESL.

Crew assignment
In early 1967 astronauts Jim Irwin and John Bull, who had both joined the astronaut corps in April 1966, were named as crew for LTA-8. In addition they would monitor the development by ILC of the A7L Apollo spacesuit, which had also been redesigned after the Apollo-1 fire. They made the first excursions into the vacuum chamber to put the new suits through pressure tests in a space environment. Both intravehiclar and extravehicular versions of the A7L-suit were evaluated. Irwin and Bull were required to enter and exit a LM mockup to evaluate interaction of the suit and PLSS systems with those of the LM. Therefore it was a logical step to integrate evaluation of these spacesuits into the LTA-8 activities.

Just like the 2TV-1 crew, commander Irwin and Lunar Module Pilot Bull wore a mission patch on their spacesuits. It showed the designation LTA-8 and a representation of the LM, as well as the crewmen’s surnames. Below that it said “chamber B”, the place where it would all happen.

With several LMs in various stages of assembly, checkout activities at Grumman increased in intensity in 1966 and 1967. To minimize delays when one of the crewmen was unavailable, Grumman had assigned a group of “consulting pilots” to assist the astronauts. They would man the cockpit during critical checkout procedures that required the presence of crewmember. As astronaut Jim McDivitt said: “We don’t have enough astronauts to cover the vehicles during 24-hour testing, so we have to get help from the consulting pilots. Together, we have the job of doing everything possible to free the spacecraft from defects that might jeopardize the success of the mission”. Two of the consulting pilots, Glenn Kingsley and Gerry Gibbons, were assigned as the backup crew for LTA-8.

Training
One of the most important components of the LM to be tested during LTA-8 was the Environmental Control Subsystem (ECS). It would supply and regulate the pure oxygen atmosphere and temperature in both the cabin and the spacesuits. It would permit the astronauts to decompress the cabin when they wanted to step out into the vacuum on the lunar surface, and to recompress when they came back in. The astronauts spent a lot of time at the Grumman plant to practice operating the ECS, to make sure they would be familiar with all the procedures and to get the feel of living in the artificial environment of the LM.

Before committing to the real tests, Irwin and Bull performed a number of hasty exits from the vacuum chamber in Houston to practice what they would do in an emergency. They would don oxygen masks, crawl out of the LM cabin onto the porch as quickly as possible, climb down the ladder and exit the chamber. During this period Bull developed a medical problem, a sinus condition for which there was no name and no cure, according to NASA doctor Charles Berry. Getting in and out of the vacuum chamber under constantly changing pressure conditions made the symptoms worse, so Bull was removed from the LTA-8 crew. He was replaced by Gerry Gibbons, whose backup duties were taken over by Joe Gagliano, an Air Force major on assignment to MSC’s Flight Crew Support Division. On 16 July 1968 Bull’s resignation from the astronaut corps was announced.

Jim Irwin also came close to being removed from the project. During one of the egress tests he donned his oxygen mask and started to exit the hatch. As he crawled onto the porch he started to feel dizzy, and when he tried to stand up he passed out and fell down the ladder. Fortunately, the rescue crew that was assisting the astronauts was waiting at the bottom of the steps and caught him as he fell. It turned out that Irwin had not rotated the oxygen valve all the way open. It had bounced back into the off position, cutting off his air supply. The incident had no serious consequences.

The LTA-8 test would last for two weeks and would be divided into two phases, each one consisting of two manned periods. The first or cold phase would simulate conditions expected on an earth-orbital flight, with the LM receiving minimal heating from the sun. After that the vacuum chamber would be repressurized to evaluate the initial results and perform any necessary repairs. The second or hot phase would then simulate LM operations on a lunar mission, when the spacecraft would experience maximum solar heating.

Testing begins
On Monday 27 May 1968, Irwin and Gibbons began the first manned test of an Apollo spacecraft in a fully pressurized oxygen atmosphere since the Apollo-1 fire. They entered the vacuum chamber through an airlock and boarded LTA-8 at 1:00 pm, two hours later than planned because of problems with the medical sensors that would record their vital functions. Shortly after commencing their activities the crew’s heartrates jumped to 180 for Irwin and 150 for Gibbons. No reason for these high levels was found, but Irwin later commented that it might have had something to do with the psychological effect of entering the chamber at space equivalent vacuum. It was the only problem during the test.

The simulation was scheduled to last for 12 hours, but Irwin and Gibbons decided to skip a planned rest period within the vacuum chamber at the end of the test and exited at just after midnight. Because the crew was operating at earth gravity, while wearing gear designed for the zero-G of space and the 1/6th gravity of the moon, they rested on Tuesday and performed the second manned period on Wednesday 29 May. Again LTA-8 operated so flawlessly that it was decided to press on into the second phase without returning the vacuum chamber to earth atmosphere.

To give Irwin and Gibbons some extra time to rest, their backups Kingsley and Gagliano performed the third manned period on Friday 31 May, working inside the spacecraft for 10 hours. Afterwards, when they left the cabin, they discovered the only problem of any consequence that ocurred during the test. One of the shear pins in the hinges of the LM’s front hatch had broken. For LTA-8 the hatch had been modified with special hinges, designed to break with minimal force, so that in the event of an emergency the vacuum chamber rescue team could quickly push in the hatch. In order to pressurize the cabin for the final manned period, it was necessary to replace the hinge pins.

The problem was turned around into a space age first: the unscheduled repair of a spacecraft by a suited astronaut in a space environment. Working late on Friday night, Grumman technicians and engineers developed a special tool – a screwdriver-like device with a wire loop on the end. When Irwin and Gibbons entered the vacuum chamber for the last test on Saturday morning, fully suited and wearing heavy gloves, Gibbons removed the remnants of the old hinge pins using the special tool. He and Irwin then aligned the hatch so it could be sealed and the cabin pressurized. Later, while the hatch was held in place by internal pressure, a new set of the break-away type hinge pins was installed.

After this final 12-hour test on 1 June, termal vacuum testing on LTA-8 was completed. The craft had been in a space environment for over 161 consecutive hours and was manned for 48 hours and 25 minutes. All spacecraft systems functioned normally and preliminary results indicated that all significant test objectives had been met. A try-out of the PLSS backpack, a secondary test objective, could not be performed. Irwin had planned to transfer from the LM’s life support system to the PLSS with the cabin depressurized. Because adequate communications and data flow could not be obtained from the unit, it was decided to cancel the test. It was eventually performed by astronaut Ken Mattingly on 24 June.

Success
Despite earlier concerns about the busy testing schedule in the SESL, LTA-8 was actually completed before 2TV-1 began, clearing the way for the first manned LM-flight in December. Because of delays that were not related to the vacuum chamber tests, Apollo missions 8 and 9 were switched in August 1968, pushing LM-3’s maiden flight to March 1969.

The activities in the SESL in the spring of 1968 had been almost invisible to the general public, yet both 2TV-1 and LTA-8 had been essential to the Apollo programme. They helped restore confidence in the Apollo spacecraft after the fire and contributed significantly to the successful first flights of the CSM and the LM. Although the manned activities were unglamourous, they were very challenging for the astronauts involved because they were so important. Jim Irwin even called the LTA-8 test “almost more rewarding” than his trip to the moon in 1971. From that perspective, 2TV-1 and LTA-8 deserve their place in the history of Apollo.

In 1970 the LTA-8 descent stage, together with the ascent stage from the unflown LM-2, spent several months at the Expo ’70 exhibition in Osaka, Japan. Upon return the LTA-8 ascent and descent stages were reunited and put on display at the JSC visitor center, where they can still be seen today.


[1] MSC is now called the Johnson Space Center.

[2] The roadrunner made a second appearance in 1971 in the unofficial emblem of the Apollo-14 backup crew, of which Joe Engle was also a member.


Acknowlegdements
I would like to thank astronauts Joe Kerwin and Vance Brand, as well as NASA Historian Dill Hunley for their assistance in preparing this article. George Hendry of the Northrop Grumman History Center and Jody Russell of JSC’s Media Resource Center were helpful in providing information and photos. J.L. Pickering also was a great help tracking down photos.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2008 03:06 PM by heng44 »

Offline Apolloman

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #14 on: 11/14/2008 03:27 PM »
Yaoooooh
Thank Mr Hengeveld for all this information very interesting
Paul Cultrera
webmaster du site http://www.de-la-terre-a-la-lune.com/
consacré au programme Apollo.

Le savoir est un trésor à partager avec tout le monde...

Offline TJL

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #15 on: 11/16/2008 01:25 AM »
Ed...very interesting...thank you very much!

Offline Hoonte

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #16 on: 11/19/2008 05:59 PM »
What does 2TV-1 mean?
2 Test Vehicles, 1st run?

Offline Proponent

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #17 on: 11/19/2008 09:06 PM »
It means Block II, thermal vacuum test 1.

Offline Hoonte

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #18 on: 11/20/2008 10:38 AM »
jhee.. I got one right :-)

Offline gibbons1969

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #19 on: 02/08/2009 01:13 AM »
I stumbled on this site and saw there were questions needing to answered @ LTA-8.   If you need, feel free to send an e-mail - Gerry Gibbons (one of the astronauts) is my father and is alive and well. 

Thanks

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #20 on: 02/08/2009 01:35 AM »
Dumb question but did the shuttle also undergo tests similar to this during it's development and is Orion also being tested in this manner?
I guess it's no longer necessary for a crew to be involved any more.
« Last Edit: 02/08/2009 01:40 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Jim

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #21 on: 02/08/2009 01:54 AM »
The Orbiter was too big

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #22 on: 02/08/2009 02:02 AM »
I figured it was too big but what about just parts of the shuttle such as just the crew cabin or radiators etc?
Seems crazy to not have vacuum tested major sub sections on the ground before flying the vehicle.
 Though they would have to some how simulate heat inputs etc that the rest of the orbiter would create.
It looks like just the nose of an orbiter might fit in there or an entire Orion CSM minus the solar collectors.
« Last Edit: 02/08/2009 02:06 AM by Patchouli »

Offline CarlosMeat

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #23 on: 02/08/2009 02:28 PM »
Here are a few pics from the last test:





Offline Apolloman

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #24 on: 02/08/2009 06:12 PM »
I stumbled on this site and saw there were questions needing to answered @ LTA-8.   If you need, feel free to send an e-mail - Gerry Gibbons (one of the astronauts) is my father and is alive and well. 

Thanks

Hello gibbons1969, I am "the creator" of the topic, indeed I would be very interested in information on LTA-8 mission and even can be by an interview  (kind, how it spent the mission ... 3 or 4 questions maximum) of your dad for my web site in French on the program Apollo...

http://www.de-la-terre-a-la-lune.com/ or

http://www.de-la-terre-a-la-lune.com/apollo.php?page=essais_lta8

But I do not see your email address anywhere

Sorry for my poor english
« Last Edit: 02/08/2009 09:19 PM by Apolloman »
Paul Cultrera
webmaster du site http://www.de-la-terre-a-la-lune.com/
consacré au programme Apollo.

Le savoir est un trésor à partager avec tout le monde...

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #25 on: 02/08/2009 06:27 PM »
Cool pics nothing like seeing some lost history they don't put in text books or show on TV.
Still the astronauts back then had to be tough to handle being locked inside of what amounted to a station wagon or VW bus for 8 days though it's better then I thought it would be since they can stand up in the middle of the vehicle.
I guess Orion won't be that bad since it's supposed to be twice as big inside maybe comparable to a full sized van or even a small camper.
Gemini on the other hand had to been a serious test of will.

Offline CarlosMeat

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #26 on: 02/08/2009 10:09 PM »
A couple more..




Offline Proponent

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #27 on: 02/09/2009 10:47 AM »
It must have been particularly uncomfortable to live in that confined space in 1 G.

Offline Graham2001

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Re: Apollo 2TV-1
« Reply #28 on: 02/09/2009 09:43 PM »
Is this of any use, it's part of the specifications for the 2TV-1 CSM.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790077003_1979077003.pdf

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