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  Apollo IV/EV gloves, PLSS, OPS and BLSS

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Author Topic:   Apollo IV/EV gloves, PLSS, OPS and BLSS
BrianW
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Posts: 6
From: Bedford, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 09-28-2010 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BrianW     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the Apollo program there were two sorts of gloves — the black pressure gloves for inside the spacecraft and the thick, heavy reinforced EVA gloves with the blue rubber finger tips. Does anyone know for certain that each astronaut took two pairs of pressure gloves to the moon's surface or was the EVA glove pulled over the IVA pressure glove? I believe the answer is that they had two pairs of pressure gloves each, but have never been able to prove it.

If this is the case then I suppose any kind of non-fatal glove failure and they would have had a spare pair of sorts that could have been used, i.e. by fitting the EVA protection layers to an IVA pressure glove.

I know Pete Conrad fiddled with his pressure suit because the legs were too short, so the astronauts were up for modifications!

I also wondered about the wisdom of the Oxygen Purge System which only cooled the suit by the flow of cool oxygen. Why didn't it also have a sublimator? Presumably weight. But then didn't the command module pilot use the OPS as his only source of consumables when he retrieved the film from the SIM bay? How was he cooled?

I was also aware the BLSS (Buddy Life Support System) only allowed astronauts to share cooling water and not oxygen. All a bit surprising — I always thought it made sense to be able to buddy share all consumables — LiOH, power, coolant and oxygen. Any ideas?

jasonelam
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Posts: 658
From: Monticello, KY USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 09-28-2010 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good questions!

You are correct in that there were a set of intravehicular and extravehicular gloves, but the EV gloves also had an extra cover for EVAs.

The BLSS was designed to allow the astronauts to share cooling water in the event of the PLSS failure. However, each astronaut was equipped with an OPS (oxygen purge system) which consisted of two high pressure oxygen bottles that when used with the BLSS could provide one-hour and fifteen minutes of life support, enough to get back to the LM. The OPS could give some cooling, hence the BLSS.

The OPS was also used on Apollo 15 through Apollo 17 as an emergency oxygen pack for the command module pilot during the deep space EVAs to retrieve film from the SIM bay on the return to Earth. In this case cooling was provided through the spacecraft umbilical.

mark plas
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Posts: 385
From: the Netherlands
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-29-2010 02:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The question about the gloves is one I struggled with for a long time. cS member Matt T gave the answer, because he is in the possession of a real EV glove. The pressure glove was cemented to the Chromel-R layer of the EV glove and the astronauts had another set of pressure gloves.

In the HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon," during the suit-up scene of Apollo 17, you see that they pulled the protective cover over there IV gloves, so this is actually wrong.

A followup question: On the last missions the astronauts had two velcro patches on the back of there LEVAs — anybody know what function these patches had?

BrianW
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From: Bedford, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 09-29-2010 04:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BrianW     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the answer on the IVA/EVA gloves. I've wondered about this for years, and as luck would have it I found a reference to this last night when I was browsing Amanda Young's excellent "Spacesuits" book. So it looks like one glove that wouldn't seal would not have prevented EVA, even if the astronaut with the an IVA glove on had to stay in the lunar module.
quote:
Originally posted by mark plas:
...anybody know what function these patches had?
I've been unable to establish what they were for. I remember a similar discussion about the velcro strips on the back of each PLSS that was finally discovered were just anchor points for when they were stowed in the lunar module.

However, this surely can't be the use for the velcro on the LEVAs because in flight they were stowed in an elaborate storage assembly. Perhaps it was for fastening them inside it?

It also can't be any kind on fastening to the OPS since that would interfere with flexing the helmet backwards. I first noticed this flex on the EVA TV footage when one of the astronauts went down the ladder and looked up — clearly showing a surprising amount of flex at the neck ring. Perhaps this was partly to allow viewing through the overhead docking window?

nasamad
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Posts: 2065
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 10-04-2010 04:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are also strips of velcro on the side of each helmet cover as well as the front. My guess is that the ones on the front attached to either the side or the back ones to hold the neck ring cover out of the way while the helmets were being donned and doffed.

BrianW
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From: Bedford, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 10-04-2010 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BrianW     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Adam might be right about the rear Velcro pads, but the sides ones we know were for holding the tool carrier strap.

Both the front and rear of the beta cloth collar have velcro closures and it would make sense to have some way of holding the rear one out of the way neck ring when donning. Perhaps that's all it is — they certainly seem to be in the right position for that hypothesis.

mark plas
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Posts: 385
From: the Netherlands
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-04-2010 07:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That certainly makes sense, I think they were added after Apollo 15.

nasamad
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Posts: 2065
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 10-04-2010 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All these years I have been looking at Apollo images I had never noticed the tool carrier strap on the sides of the LEVAs, lol!

Philip
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Posts: 5659
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 01-14-2018 03:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was there a second pair of (spare) IV gloves during Apollo?

Rick Mulheirn
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Posts: 3743
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 01-14-2018 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've never heard of such. On lunar landings there were complete EVA gloves for the two moonwalkers: unless they were on the surface at the time I'd imagine the command module pilot could don one of those in the event his own IV gloves sprang some kind of leak.

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