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  Skylab 2, Skylab 3 (CM 116/117) main parachutes (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Skylab 2, Skylab 3 (CM 116/117) main parachutes
SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-21-2009 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some preliminary images of the 83.5 foot main parachute until I establish an entry on my website (now photo-documented on my website. The size of the chute and desire to keep it out of the sun resulted in displacement of a couple of our SIGINT birds out of one of the hangers.

As noted on a previous thread, this chute was aboard CM 116 117 and is in remarkable shape.

Conducted a comprehensive inspection and all shroud lines are intact (these were frequently cut if entangled during recovery operations). The main canopy is essentially pristine, again with no rips, tears, discoloration. Pilot chute, reefing hardware (minus the pyro-technically operated guillotine's which would have been removed for safing), and even the main parachute deployment pack (the pack seen covering the parachute at its installed location in the Command Module's forward compartment) are all intact.

Only significant condition issues are with the 7.2 foot diameter pilot chute which has some brown staining (not mildew but still of indeterminate origin) which I will need to work on resolving.

By the conclusion of the inspection/photography session, all riser/shroud lines had been de-tangled and are now bundled/re-stowed in a configuration which will make for much easier future deployment (it took the better part of four hours just to fully unravel the 140 pound parachute).

As quite a few of these main parachutes met their demise at sea (being abandoned), were damaged during recovery or subsequently disposed of, it is gratifying to see time has been kind to this artifact.

Unraveling ops in progress, the bag in the foreground  was dropped by helo hoist to the frogmen to extricate the chute from the recovery site.

Macro-organism included for scale.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-21-2009 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Riser attachment point. This was interconnected via a steel cable interface to the "Flowerpot". The cable was guillotined upon spashdown to release the chute.

Pilot Parachute and umbilical (routed through the deployment pack to the Main chute).

Main parachute deployment bag. All of the hardware displayed here was compressed and packed into this small bag via a special ram. When the pilot chute is mortar deployed, it extracts the main chute. The deployment bag was inverted as a result (I re-inverted to its predeployed configuration for this image).

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 04-21-2009 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Main parachute deployment bag data.

Reefing system guillotine pouch. The Apollo main parachute had a two stage reefing system to incrementally open the main canopy

Repacking

Lunar rock nut
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From: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma U.S.A.
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posted 04-21-2009 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is awesome Scott, thanks for posting the pictures and describing the process. Very interesting!

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 04-22-2009 07:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bedded down in the collection room (stowed in the recovery lift bag):

------------------
Scott Schneeweis
http://www.SPACEAHOLIC.com/

liebeek
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From: the netherlands
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 04-22-2009 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for liebeek   Click Here to Email liebeek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great show Scott! I am very grateful for being able to see this great flown chute. Thanks for sharing and explaining. It is much appreciated.

Jurg Bolli
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From: Albuquerque, NM
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posted 04-22-2009 12:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In short: fabulous!

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 04-22-2009 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, it was clear you were destined to take custody of this awesome artifact as how many of us would have the authority to clear out a hangar to use for its proper, if only temporary, display?

What did others there think of the chute? Did you draw a crowd?

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 04-22-2009 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There wasn't an overt attempt to publicize the hanger session but word got out to some of the other organizations on the base and towards the end there were quite a few spectators who wanted a photo taken with the chute (and to touch it) when they found out it had actually flown in space. Many were unfamiliar with Project Apollo in general (including several of the pilots).

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-22-2009 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is an image I missed yesterday but think its instructive as it pretty well conveys the condition of the canopy and its design complexity (a "must click" for the high res photo):

stsmithva
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From: Fairfax, VA, USA
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posted 04-22-2009 08:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's obvious from the photos and more importantly the detailed write-up that this item is lucky to now be owned by someone who truly appreciates it, will learn from it, and is happy to teach others about it.

ejectr
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From: Brimfield, MA
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posted 04-22-2009 08:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fantastic photos. Thanks for sharing.

Rick Mulheirn
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From: England
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posted 04-23-2009 02:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting the images Scott. A superb bit of kit!

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-23-2009 11:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott--A fabulous flown-used relic from an Apollo Command Module that brought back the crew from America's first space station. I'll certainly agree with Robert and others as I'm glad to see it in your hands.

mikepf
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Posts: 370
From: San Jose, California, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 04-23-2009 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congrats. Thanks for sharing the photos, and for the laugh I got from your "Macro-organism" comment. Is that you? It's nice to put a face to the names around here once in a while.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-25-2009 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yep... that's my mug.

Here's a backlit image of the chute... clicking on the picture will bring up a high res image showing the riser line and the main chute deployment bag (inverted - the dark color is from the bags internal liner)... note the length of the riser line between the Main (extending down from the top center of the canopy) and the Pilot chute.

space1
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From: Danville, Ohio, USA
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 04-25-2009 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, this one was made for you. Thanks for the photo "tour." You have given us all a chance to see a unique artifact up close. I'm especially glad that you got not only the parachute, but the parts that enabled it to function. Congratulations again.

------------------
John Fongheiser
President, Historic Space Systems

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1533
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 04-26-2009 05:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, check out this eBay item. It is a "1968 Apollo Capsule Parachute North American Rockwell Ad". If you ever display the parachute it might be a nice information addition.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-26-2009 07:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the heads-up Fred... went ahead and purchased, though Northrop's Ventura Division actually manufactured these chute's under sub to NAR. I cant make out the content but may just be a generic advert about the Command Module (neat ad in any case)!

Here is actual stamped production/manufacture info (this one from the 7.2 foot diameter Pilot parachute) - click for larger:

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-26-2009 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
I cant make out the content but may just be a generic advert about the Command Module
The ad congratulates Wally Schirra, Walt Cunningham and Donn Eisele, as well as NASA on a successful flight, and then goes on to mention that NAA supplied the Command and Service module, and that its Rocketdyne division built the engines and control thrusters. Still, a very nice vintage illustration, that could be matted to compliment the parachute.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-30-2009 08:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is (1) the JSC Packing sheet which was generated for transfer of this Command Module main parachute as well as 8 others to NASM and (2) the original NASM asset tag (received the docs in the mail today along with the legal decision establishing Rogine's legal right to the parachute). Many of the parachutes on the packing sheet were ultimately designated for destruction.

On review of the packing sheet and comparison with the data on the Deployment Pack/Retention assembly (shown in an earlier posted image on this thread) it appears the original spacecraft/mission affiliation was incorrect. The actual serial number is 012 which indicated the chute was flown almost 60 days onboard SC/117 Skylab 3 (vice Skylab 2).

So if true, Rob may need to update the thread title... click for larger:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2009 08:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
The actual serial number is 012 which indicated the chute was flown almost 60 days onboard SC/117 Skylab 3 (vice Skylab 2).
Ah, it is still Skylab II, but SL-3, hence the confusion.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 04-30-2009 09:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shouldn't it be Skylab 3 / SLM-2? I hate the mission designation system NASA enacted for Skylab.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2009 09:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bean, Lousma and Garriott flew on Command Module 117, who were the Skylab II (SL-3) crew (as for the nomenclature, I defer to Bill Pogue).

Lou Chinal
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From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 05-01-2009 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are the lower panels made from 1.1 oz. ripstop nylon (personnel parachute) cloth? Are the upper panels made from a heaver fabric? Any idea of the type of lines used? (550 cord)

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-01-2009 09:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
1.6 oz per square yard ripstop on the crown, 1.1 oz per square yard ripstop on the lower gores (the difference is discernible if you look at the high res view posted above of the backlit main canopy)

550-650 cord for the suspension lines...

SBIV-B
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From: Buford, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2008

posted 05-01-2009 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SBIV-B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, you are a steely-eyed missle-collector man! Congrats on the acquisition!

Lou Chinal
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From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 05-01-2009 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, CONGRATULATIONS!

Truly a great find. I hope to see it (and you) someday. Be sure to keep it out of the sun (I've put some 28' out for the garbage). If you like I can send you the specs on parachute fabric and UV light.

Lou Chinal
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From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 05-02-2009 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for your info. the webbing that is on the deployment bag (red lines) is type XII.

benguttery
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From: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 05-25-2009 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for benguttery   Click Here to Email benguttery     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent and interesting post.

Can you determine if NASA or NASM did any preservation on this? NASA or the Navy may have rinsed it with freshwater after getting out of the sea.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-25-2009 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Its almost certain a fresh water washdown was conducted (perhaps on the recovery ship) though that’s one of a number of open questions which require definitive answer. The only evidence of salt water contamination are in the vicinity of the drain holes at the bottom of the recovery/lift bag. The parachute has a number of ferrite components including a lengthy steel riser between the main and pilot chute and there is no corrosion, canopies are clean. NASM had intended to destroy this chute shortly after receiving in inventory, so it seems unlikely they would have initiated any significant conservatory actions.

Other unanswered questions:

What criteria determined if a chute was recovered, the order of recovery (in sequence with crew extrication and Command Module safeing).

Method and route of transport (did it parallel the CSM’s return to North American, JSC?)

How many intact chutes were actually recovered (and subsequently destroyed). Shroud line entanglement which required cutaway of the main canopy, and sinking must have accounted for the loss of at least several.

Philip
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posted 05-27-2009 03:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed, I've visited a lot of musea and spaceflight related places but don't recall seeing an Apollo chute on display. Where are all the Apollo era chutes?

GACspaceguy
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From: Guyton, GA
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posted 05-27-2009 05:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a chute displayed above the Apollo 16 CM newly relocated to the Davidson Center with the Saturn V in Huntsville.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-27-2009 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That artifact from Casper is the only Block II CSM parachute I could find captured in NASM's online Collections Database. While I understand the database may not be fully populated, it probably reflects the only such chute on public display. The database in many other instances lists multiples of artifacts which are either on exhibit at various institutions, are in storage at NASM so I do find it odd that only Casper's main canopy is listed.

mikej
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From: Germantown, WI USA
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posted 05-28-2009 07:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apollo 9 was displayed with a main 'chute when it resided at the old Michigan Space & Science Center in Jackson, MI.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 05-28-2009 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The parachute formally on display with Gumdrop never flew on Apollo 9 (or any of the Block II missions) - if you look carefully at the image taken in the Science Center you will notice the canopy is an early design. The chute is also accounted for within NASM's database as a developmental prototype.

nasamad
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From: Essex, UK
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posted 05-28-2009 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure I remember a chute hanging on the wall of the space gallery in the London Science Museum about 20-25 years ago. Can't vouch for it being flown though.

Rick Mulheirn
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From: England
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posted 05-28-2009 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the chute you refer to was flown on Apollo 10.

4allmankind
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From: NJ
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posted 05-28-2009 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a chute on display at the Cradle of Aviation in Long Island labeled as flown on Apollo 17. I have some close-up photos of it if anyone would like them.

nasamad
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Posts: 1911
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 05-28-2009 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Rick, I guessed it might have been considering the long term residency of Charlie Brown but wasn't sure.


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