IIRC, the heat shield hatch swung inside the Gemini (between the crew seats), and was connected by a narrow tunnel to the main pressurized compartment.
Quote from: simonbp on 01/19/2011 04:01 pmIIRC, the heat shield hatch swung inside the Gemini (between the crew seats), and was connected by a narrow tunnel to the main pressurized compartment.So how does the tunnel interface with the hatch and account the heatshield. Did the tunnel butt up against the heatshield with a compliant material that could handle the interior air pressure?
You're assuming that the requirement for a Titan IIIM was the long pole in the tent for MOL. I don't think that's the case. MOL was incredibly complex, and had little real justification.
AFAIK, Titan IIIM was a long pole, with flight tests not even started as late as 1969.
It wasn't the Titan IIIM that killed MOL. It was high costs and continued program slips. Yeah, a smaller spacecraft would have required a smaller rocket. But your alternative sounds more complex.
[T]he Russians slavishly copied MOL and executed missions with landing craft featuring hatches in the heat shield, although they never risked a crew landing with this architecture.
A heat-shield hatch sure seems scary, but I wonder whether it's really as risky as it looks.
I would imagine that a redesign of Gemini to allow for transfers through the nose/top would eventually have been cheaper and easier than all these through the heat shield design ideas.
The hatch through the heat shield was the chosen method for the crew to move from the capsule to the lab. This raises a question in my mind. How was the tunnel to the lab connected to the capsule and how did it provide an airtight seal?
I believe that it didn't need to be airtight. The tunnel was merely a passage way to the MOL. The Gemini was depressurized and the floated in their suits through the tunnel to the MOL and sealed and pressurized the MOL..