Author Topic: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower  (Read 1723 times)

Offline hygoex

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Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« on: 05/18/2013 07:46 PM »
If you have watched the Right Stuff, you know that there are inconsistancies with the Pad 14umbilical tower appearance in the movie, particularly during the John Glenn and Gordo Cooper launch sequences.   Does anyone know why they had to redesign the umblical tower so many times at Pad 14?   Also, are there drawings of the various Pad 14 configurations available?

Offline Jim

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #1 on: 05/18/2013 08:36 PM »
There are some sections on pads.

 Look in Old School - Pics of AFMTC and AMR
« Last Edit: 05/18/2013 08:36 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #2 on: 05/18/2013 08:39 PM »
The reason for the multiple umbilical towers was the multiple vehicle configurations that flew off of the pad

Atlas A
Atlas B
Atlas D
Atlas D (LV-3B)
Atlas D-Able
Atlas D-Agena A
Atlas-Agena D
« Last Edit: 05/18/2013 08:39 PM by Jim »

Offline Prober

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #3 on: 05/31/2013 02:30 AM »
this might not help your question but enjoy watching this:
 
gotta love that Stainless Steel Atlas.
 
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Offline catdlr

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #4 on: 01/30/2018 03:03 AM »
bump. 

HACL film 01133 A13-7 test # 6793 10/13/1963 AMR Atlas


sdasmarchives
Published on Jan 29, 2018


Film from the Atlas-Centaur Heritage Film Collection which was donated to the San Diego Air and Space Museum by Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance.

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

Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #5 on: 01/30/2018 03:04 AM »
HACL film 01134 Atlas # 6793 10/13/1963 AMR


sdasmarchives
Published on Jan 29, 2018

Film from the Atlas-Centaur Heritage Film Collection which was donated to the San Diego Air and Space Museum by Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI_YgfNcfD8?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

Offline WallE

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #6 on: 01/30/2018 05:17 AM »
LC-14 was the first Atlas pad in use and in its original Atlas A configuration, it had no umbilical towers, just the launcher mechanism. When B-series testing began, they added those small towers with the "whip" umbilicals to supply power to the R/V.

LC-12 was 14's sister pad and it also hosted Atlas A tests in the original configuration with no umbilical towers. Both pads later got large umbilical towers to support space launches and RVX-2 reentry vehicles. This was done during late 1958 for 12 and early 59 for 14. LC-12 was then used as the exclusive Atlas C pad until being destroyed by the explosion of 9C. The big service tower was totally leveled and not rebuilt afterwards, the pad only got a small umbilical tower to replace it. Once ICBM tests were done, 12 was rebuilt as an Atlas-Agena pad for NASA planetary probes, and later Project FIRE before being retired from use. 14 was exclusively under NASA control after 1960 and hosted Mercury, then later Atlas-Agena GATV before being retired.

LC-11 and 13 came online during the B-series tests and were later converted for the Atlas D, E, and F. They had the same configuration with the whip umbilical. E and F-series tests necessitated a different launcher mechanism and adding a second turbine exhaust duct to accommodate the MA-3 engines. LC-13 was rebuilt as an Atlas-Agena pad in 1963 (which meant erecting a large umbilical tower and reverting to the D-series launcher and flame bucket), mostly for DoD launches and occasionally NASA, and was used all the way up to 1978. LC-11 was shut down after the end of ICBM testing and not re-converted for space launches (SCORE was flown from 11 so technically it did host one space launch).

So to summarize, LC-14's history went as follows:

*Atlas A tests June 1957-April 1958
*Atlas B tests September 1958-January 1959
*Atlas D tests May 1959-September 1960
*MIDAS launches February 1960-May 1960
*Mercury launches September 1959-May 1963
*Atlas-Able November 1959
*GATV October 1965-November 1966

It was also the only of the four pads that a vehicle never exploded on. Perhaps they were lucky this didn't happen as it could have meant significant delays for Mercury.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2018 04:43 PM by WallE »

Offline WallE

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #7 on: 01/30/2018 08:52 PM »
Regarding specific pad configurations on LC-14, these probably would have changed a couple of times for the different stuff flying from it.

Now, the first Atlas-Able was flown from 14 owing to LC-12 being out of commission. They would have had to add extra electrical and plumbing apparatus to support the upper stages and payload, presumably this would include additional storage tanks and fill lines for the Able second stage's nitric acid/UDMH propellants. Modifications to the pad must have been done quickly because it was just slightly over two months between the explosion of Atlas 9C and the launch of 20D/Able 1.

Then there were the two Midas launches in early 1960 using an Atlas-Agena A. This would have required more configuration changes to LC-14, although probably mostly electrical since the Agena had the same propellants as the Able and they wouldn't have to change out the fuel storage equipment.

After Midas 2, Mercury-Atlas 1 would be the next flight from 14. This would again have required more modifications and I imagine they probably ripped out the nitric acid/UDMH infrastructure since it wasn't needed anymore. During the down-time while NASA were trying to correct the problems that destroyed MA-1, LC-14 saw one more ICBM test, Missile 79D on September 19, and after that, it was used exclusively for Mercury through 1963.

Mercury flights also had the famous "white room" in the gantry used for loading astronauts into the capsule. I don't know when this was added to LC-14, although I imagine it probably wasn't present on the early unmanned tests (especially given that the pad still had to be shared with non-Mercury programs until 1961).

After that, the last thing the pad was used for was GATV, which would require redoing the electrical/plumbing hardware and re-installing infrastructure for nitric acid/UDMH.

Offline Jim

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #8 on: 01/30/2018 09:07 PM »
The infrastructure for nitric acid/UDMH wouldn't have to be removed for Mercury

Offline WallE

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #9 on: 01/30/2018 11:30 PM »
Technically no, but after Midas 2, nothing else launched from LC-14 would have needed the nitric acid storage/fill equipment until GATV which was years later. If the tanks were just left there unused, they would have rusted from exposure to the sea breeze at the Cape by the time GATV was flying (in fact the umbilical tower on LC-14 itself also severely rusted after the pad closed in 1967 and had to be demolished for safety reasons in the early '70s).

On the other hand, the rebuilt LC-12 would have presumably kept its nitric acid equipment after the two Atlas-Able flights in late 1960 because it was converted to an Atlas-Agena pad shortly afterwards.

Also as a little side note, for a time in 1960, the pads had additional cameras mounted on the launcher heads to peer down into the Atlas nacelles at liftoff. This was done as a safety measure following the twin pad explosions of 51D and 48D and they definitely had the cameras present on Midas 2's launch as well as 56D. I have no idea if the cameras were still present at Mercury-Atlas 1's launch, although I imagine they presumably would have been satisfied by this point that nothing strange was going on inside the nacelles at engine start.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2018 11:51 PM by WallE »

Offline Jim

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Re: Pad 14 Mercury Atlas umblical tower
« Reply #10 on: 01/30/2018 11:33 PM »
Technically no, but after Midas 2, nothing else launched from LC-14 would have needed the nitric acid storage/fill equipment until GATV which was years later.


Still no reason to remove, it would just need to be passivated.

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