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  Apollo 9: Spacewalkers' red EVA helmets

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Author Topic:   Apollo 9: Spacewalkers' red EVA helmets
Yanksman2001
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Posts: 24
From: Long Island City, NY, USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 09-30-2004 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Yanksman2001   Click Here to Email Yanksman2001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Something I have always wondered about was the space helmets worn by David Scott and Rusty Schweickart during the Apollo 9 EVA. During launch they worn the regular clear bubble helmets, but during the EVA they had red, Gemini style helmets. Was an additional helmet carried for each or did they have pieces that fit over the clear bubble ones?

carmelo
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Posts: 836
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 09-30-2004 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those are the original Apollo helmet for the A6-L spacesuit. In the movie "Marooned" (early 1969) based on real NASA's equipments the "red helmet" are shown too. After the Apollo 9 flight those helmet were reject for little resistence.

Matt T
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Posts: 1356
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 09-30-2004 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Lunar Extravehicular Visor (LEVA) fitted over the pressure (or 'bubble') helmet. All the A6L and A7L LEVA helmets were red, the big difference is that the bulk of the flown A7L LEVAs were covered with an ITMG layer composed of a single layer of white beta and numerous layers of aluminized mylar and marquisette. Thus the white appearance of the helmet is the more familiar.

The Apollo 9 helmets were actually early A7L rather than A6L helmets but the differences are minimal. The internal 'shell' of the LEVA helmet remained pretty well unchanged between A6L and A7L suits. Close up shots of an A7L EVA helmet can be seen here.

A number of the shots show up the internal red shell very clearly. If you peruse the Apollo Archive you'll find numerous training and mission photos that afford tiny glimpses of the red part of the helmet.

Just to confuse things even further I have a photo of Jack Schmitt wearing a blue A6L LEVA during training, but that's a whole other discussion...

Tom
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Posts: 1355
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 01-08-2005 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you go to this website and scan down to photo #S-68-31889, you will see those same red helmets were worn by astronaut Irwin and (Grumman Pilot) Gibbons, during the LTA-8 tests, back in June 1968.

Matt T
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Posts: 1356
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 01-08-2005 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since we last discussed this topic a few months back I've unearthed a few more facts about the Apollo 9 red visor assembly and other later configurations.

By mid 1969 (and possibly earlier) the red helmet was referred to as the EVVA helmet (Extravehicular Visor Assembly), to distinguish it from the LEVA (Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly). These were later followed by the SEVA (Skylab Extravehicular Visor Assembly).

The EVVA comprised five main sub-assemblies; the shell assembly (the red bit), the protective visor, the sun visor, the hinge assemblies and the latching mechanism.

The LEVA added two more sub-assemblies, the shell cover assembly (the white cloth layer) and the eyeshade assemblies. The eyeshades were initially just pull down shutters that covered the left and right side of the visor.

Following comments from the crew of Apollo 12 a central eyeshade with a flip-up element was also added.

For Skylab the shell cover and the flip-up shade were removed. The housing for the eyeshades was a white Lexan so the helmets still appeared white, although the underlying red shell can still be seen in places.

So despite the varying appearance every single Apollo and Skylab EVA astronaut was wearing basically the same type of EVA visor.

tetrox
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Posts: 112
From: London England
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-04-2011 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tetrox   Click Here to Email tetrox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could anyone provide information regarding the distinctive red helmets worn during the Apollo 9 EVA exercises shown here.

I had wondered whether it was a standard A7L helmet (if there is such a thing) without covering but to me it looks quite different. I have the Amanda Young book "Spacesuits" but cannot find mention.

If it is indeed a different helmet I would like to locate further information.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1770
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 01-04-2011 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought the red helmet was a gotcha for Rusty Schweickart but here is a photo of Dave Scott wearing one during his EVA.

Apollo 9 Scott EVA

Editor's note: Threads merged.

nasamad
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Posts: 1928
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 01-04-2011 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can see Armstrong's equipment in these images from the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Scroll down to the LEVA section.

Captain Apollo
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Posts: 192
From: UK
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 07-10-2014 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any reason why the designers choose red? Isn't it unprecedented in previous helmet designs? I guess I just assumed that white was always the go to color for EVA equipment.

p51
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Posts: 1057
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 07-10-2014 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You'd have thought someone would have considered having either the CDR of LMP wear one of these red covers on the surface in the early missions before using the red stripes to denote the CDR...

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29962
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-10-2014 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Part of the purpose for the Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly (LEVA) was to lessen the heat impact to the Pressure Helmet Assembly (PHA, or bubble helmet). It wouldn't make much sense to design the LEVA in any color but white for that reason.

As for realizing the need for a stripe — on Apollo 9, discerning the astronauts apart was never an issue because the choreography of the spacewalk served to distinguish Schweickart from Scott. It wasn't until Apollo 11 was back on Earth did anyone realize there was going to be a problem trying to identify Armstrong from Aldrin in their photos.

Mike Dixon
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From: Kew, Victoria, Australia
Registered: May 2003

posted 07-10-2014 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
... and yet they didn't add the stripes until Apollo 13. I thought they encountered more difficulties discerning the Apollo 12 moonwalkers from one another than they did with Apollo 11.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29962
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-10-2014 08:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given there were only a few months between Apollo 11 and Apollo 12, perhaps the stripes weren't devised or available in time for the second lunar landing mission.

Mike Dixon
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Posts: 824
From: Kew, Victoria, Australia
Registered: May 2003

posted 07-10-2014 09:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I understood they weren't even considered until after Apollo 12 returned. It may have also been due to the fact that the outer helmet shells with the additional sun guards (developed as a result of the glare experienced on the first two flights) were introduced for Apollo 13 and just happened to include the commander stripes?

mark plas
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Posts: 372
From: the Netherlands
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-11-2014 02:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are there any pictures of astronauts using the center eyeshade on Skylab?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29962
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-11-2014 05:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As noted above:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt T:
For Skylab the shell cover and the flip-up shade were removed.

mark plas
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Posts: 372
From: the Netherlands
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-11-2014 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking at pictures of the Skylab LEVA I clearly see a center shade they can pull down.

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