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  Apollo 14 covers: Exposed to vaccum of space?

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Author Topic:   Apollo 14 covers: Exposed to vaccum of space?
cosmos-walter
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Posts: 646
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 11-05-2017 06:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Without official Apollo 11 and 15 covers for Smithsonian Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. 986 covers were flown to the Moon; 481 of those landed on the Moon:
  • 389 Sieger and Scott covers were vacuum packed and sealed in fireproof Teflon-coated fiberglass during Apollo 15.

  • As Charlie Duke explained in certificates, his 25 Al Bishop covers with Apollo 16 patch were exposed to the vacuum of space during three lunar EVAs.

    Initially he wanted to take three covers illustrated by William R. Hanson from New York just around the moon. However, two letters Charlie and Dottie Duke wrote son after the flight in 1972 prove, these three covers made it down to Descartes Highlands. I assume, they were exposed to the vacuum of space, too.

What about the 55 covers which landed on lunar surface with Apollo 14? Were they exposed to the vacuum of space?

NAAmodel#240
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Posts: 237
From: Boston, Mass.
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 12-28-2017 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NAAmodel#240   Click Here to Email NAAmodel#240     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If a lunar PPK is considered exposed to the vacuum of space when the LM is depressurized for egress/ingress then I would say, "Yes."

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 2531
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 12-28-2017 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Walter, as explained in the above posting, it depends on what you mean by being "exposed to the vacuum of space."

When the LM Antares was depressurized for egress and ingress, just about everything in LM-8's ascent stage cabin would qualify as having a direct space vacuum exposure during that time period.

From my understanding, Mitchell's flown 55 lunar envelope covers were not in one of his pressure suit outer pockets, but were retained or kept inside his personal PPK for LM Antares throughout the entire flight voyage with a lunar surface stay time of more than 33 hours.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-28-2017 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then I suppose the question becomes how were the covers packaged for flight? Were they loose inside the PPK or were they packaged in some way?

If they were sealed in a plastic pouch, like other items we know flew in the PPK, then they were technically never exposed to vacuum.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2531
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 12-28-2017 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think the Apollo 14 lunar covers were packaged in the same way that the Apollo 15 Sieger covers were. All of the flown Sieger covers were vacuum packed and placed inside a tightly sealed Teflon fireproof container that Scott had placed inside one of his spacesuit leg pockets.

Scott had indicated though, to the best of his memory, that the 5-cm. cover bundle was later removed from his suit pocket during the flight to the moon and transferred over to his LM-Falcon PPK or to another LM storage bag for the actual lunar landing.

From my understanding of the flown Mitchell covers on Apollo 14, they had not been vacuum packed as the subsequent Apollo lunar landing covers had been in 1971.

Therefore, even though Mitchell's 55 moon covers were kept together and perhaps loosely "packaged" up in some way for the flight, I don't think they were necessarily retained in a tightly sealed container for their PPK lunar voyage.

I don't think they had been completely PPK-sealed from a space vacuum environment when the landing craft had been depressurized while on the surface.

But this is only an opinion of mine with nothing more to add in helping to provide additional new information or facts in shedding new light on some of the more finer details of the cover stories. I wish we had better solid provenance on such details.

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 646
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 12-29-2017 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you very much for your help, Ken and Robert. That is similar to what I imagined. I hoped, Ken had discussed this with Ed Mitchell.

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