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  Gemini: Crew suit-up trailer near Pad 16 (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Gemini: Crew suit-up trailer near Pad 16
Brock
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posted 12-15-2005 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brock   Click Here to Email Brock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mercury crews donned their spacesuits in a suiting room next to their suite in Hangar S. Apollo, Skylab and Shuttle astronauts suited up in their crew quarters.

Does anyone know why the Gemini crews would leave crew quarters in shirt sleeves and drive over to a suiting trailer adjacent to Pad 16 to get dressed for their missions? Why did the Gemini crews not get dressed out in their quarters?

Not a major topic of course but a simply a "would be interested" to know if anyone has insights.

Rick Boos
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posted 12-15-2005 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have often wondered that myself. I saw the Suit-up Trailer there at age 16 during my many visits and then on one of my visits it was gone. I am wondering what NASA did with it, and also the different transfer vans that took the guys to the pad?

Brock
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posted 12-15-2005 07:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brock   Click Here to Email Brock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I imagine the Shepard/Grissom express AKA NASA Transfer Van 1 is lost to history. It is interesting to note the Mercury Transfer Van looks like a semi truck and eventually evolves into the Gemini "milk truck" van. The Gemini van was still used up till the day of the fire as the footage shows the crew exiting from that van with the Apollo van being used first for Apollo 7.

I find the suit trailer question interesting because NASA wanted to create sterile clean rooms for suiting operations and a house trailer seems like an odd place for a clean room area. If I understand correctly NASA abandoned crew quarters at Hangar S (what ever became of crew quarters there after Mercury?) after Faith 7 and the new quarters were first used for Gemini III and yet with those brand new state of the art facilities they use a trailer.

J.L
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posted 12-12-2011 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brock:
Does anyone know why the Gemini crews would leave crew quarters in shirt sleeves and drive over to a suiting trailer adjacent to Pad 16 to get dressed for their missions?
I spoke with veteran suit tech Alan Rochford yesterday. Alan is helping with suit photo details in the book John Bisney and I are working on.

The basic answer to the suiting trailer is one that you would probably expect... the Crew Quarters over at the O&C Building was not finished yet. I think it is also safe to assume that the O&C suiting area was being set up for Apollo crew operations. The Apollo 1 crew utilized this area in the second half of 1966 for suiting, and that was before the Gemini missions had concluded.

LM-12
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posted 12-12-2011 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why did the Gemini astronauts suit-up at Pad 16 instead of Pad 19?

NASA photo S64-22412 shows vehicles, trailers and what looks like a suiting-up Ready Room parked near the Pad 19 blockhouse during the unmanned Gemini 1 launch on April 8, 1964.

mjanovec
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posted 12-12-2011 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
Why did the Gemini astronauts suit-up at Pad 16 instead of Pad 19?
I'm guessing it was an issue of safety, to keep the astronauts away from the fueled rocket. Plus, the trailer would be less "in the way" if parked at another pad.

LM-12
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posted 12-13-2011 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a diagram of Launch Complex 19 that shows the location of the Gemini Ready Room west of the pad blockhouse. You can see that trailer in S64-22412. The layout of Launch Complex 16 was probably identical.

J.L
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posted 12-14-2011 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a shot of the Gemini suiting trailer from October of 1964.

mjanovec
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posted 12-14-2011 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a pretty large trailer. I can see why they'd want to keep it at another pad (safety issues aside).

LM-12
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posted 12-14-2011 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a pretty rare photo - I have never seen a full shot of the suiting-up trailer / Ready Room before. Right beside the blockhouse, just like in the diagram.

Good photo. Thanks for posting it.

The suiting-up trailer is mentioned briefly in NASA SP-4002 Project Gemini: A Chronology on November 24, 1964:

Gemini-Titan (GT) 2 successfully completed the Wet Mock Simulated Launch, a full-scale countdown exercise which included propellant loading. Procedures for flight crew suiting and spacecraft ingress were practiced during simulated launch. The primary Gemini-Titan 3 flight crew donned the training suits and full biomedical instrumentation, assisted by the space suit bioinstrumentation and aeromedical personnel who would participate in the GT-3 launch operation. As a result of this practice operation, it was established that all physical examinations, bioinstrumentation sensor attachment, and suit donning would be done in the pilot ready room at complex 16.

mach3valkyrie
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posted 12-16-2011 12:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a huge double wide trailer for that time. Never saw it from that perspective and always thought it was small.

LM-12
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posted 12-16-2011 04:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were no launches at Pad 16 during Gemini. Maybe that is why the suit-up trailer was parked there.

carmelo
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posted 12-16-2011 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And what about the iconic modernist chair that is in all Gemini suit-up pictures?

LM-12
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posted 12-16-2011 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like they placed a NASA logo on the suiting-up trailer after the above photo was taken. The NASA logo can be seen behind the transfer van in Gemini 4 photo S65-27488 taken in May 1965.

J.L
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posted 12-16-2011 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
That's a pretty large trailer. I can see why they'd want to keep it at another pad (safety issues aside).
Here is a photo I took of the Gemini suiting trailer in January of 1974. It was parked outside the Crew Training Building at KSC. I doubt anyone had a clue what it had been. I recognized the signs on the door and quickly realized what I was looking at.

LM-12
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posted 12-16-2011 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Gemini suiting-up trailer restored to its 1966 condition would have been an interesting exhibit in the KSCVC Rocket Garden.

Tom
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posted 12-16-2011 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In all the photos I've seen of the Gemini crews walking out the suit-up trailer, the stairs were positioned straight out... as opposed to alongside the trailer.

LM-12
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posted 12-16-2011 07:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Grissom and Young can be seen using the older side-facing steps in the 1964 training photo 64-H-2877. Those steps look like the ones in the 1974 photo above. The newer forward-facing steps were in place for the Gemini 3 walkout on launch day in 1965.

Those Gemini walkout photos are really great shots. I don't recall seeing that particular Gemini 11 photo before. Gemini 12 is a good one.

J.L
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posted 12-16-2011 11:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
In all the photos I've seen of the Gemini crews walking out the suit-up trailer, the stairs were positioned straight out... as opposed to alongside the trailer.
For the most part. that is true. The Gemini 3 crew did train with the original style stairway in 1964. By the time they launched, the straight stair was in use.

Regardless of the stairs, I have researched images of the trailer photo from 1972 to be convinced that it is the suiting trailer used at Pad 16.

Below is a shot of Grissom and Young in 1964.

LM-12
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posted 12-17-2011 12:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could there have been two suiting-up trailers, one at Pad 16 and another at Pad 19? The forward-facing steps were at Pad 16, so maybe the side-facing steps were at Pad 19.

J.L
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posted 12-17-2011 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
Could there have been two suiting-up trailers, one at Pad 16 and another at Pad 19?
I seriously doubt it. I am still trying to figure out what the "Ready Room" is in the Pad 19 map. Any chance that is where the fuel handlers got suited up? I seem to recall some Gemini era photos that show the suits all lined up on racks in an outdoor setting.

Below is another shot from 1964 showing the inside of the trailer. I wonder why one crewman got the recliner and the other a more basic chair?

LM-12
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posted 12-17-2011 12:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the suiting-up trailer is the Ready Room. The NASA SP-4002 quote in my earlier post states that "suit donning would be done in the pilot ready room at complex 16". I recall that some of the Gemini pre-launch PAO commentary also mentions that the astronauts would be suiting-up in the Ready Room.

I think the Ready Room in the Pad 19 diagram is the suiting-up trailer, and that trailer was moved from Pad 19 to Pad 16, perhaps because there were no launches at Pad 16 during Gemini. That is my theory anyways.

Regarding the chairs, it is a 1964 photo, so maybe they were trying to determine which chair was more comfortable for suit-testing.

Jim Behling
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posted 12-17-2011 07:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
I think the suiting-up trailer is the Ready Room.

No, every Titan pad had a ready room, it is where the pad techs had their offices. If you look, there is a foundation for building in the same spot on LC-20, 18, 16 and 15.

LM-12
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posted 12-17-2011 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The confusion does not surprise me if the ready room and the suiting-up trailer were both located just west of the blockhouse, and the suiting-up trailer was sometimes referred to as a ready room.

J.L
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posted 12-17-2011 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
No, every Titan pad had a ready room, it is where the pad techs had their offices.
Thanks for clearing that up Jim.

LM-12
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posted 12-18-2011 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It doesn't look like this Gemini 6 pre-flight photo was taken in the suiting-up trailer. It is NASA photo S65-56190 dated October 1965.

J.L
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posted 12-18-2011 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a whole series of images from this session. They appear to have been taken on October 20, 1965, and I believe the crew is being suited-up for what would turn out to be their "official" crew portrait. These were taken over at the Crew Training Building at KSC.

LM-12
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posted 12-18-2011 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do you have photo 65-H-1764 in your files? It looks like that photo was also taken in the Flight Crew Training Building and shows a rack of Gemini spacesuits in the background. It is a Gemini 6 photo dated October 7 and the caption seems to indicate that Gemini crews suited-up for pre-flight tests in the FCTB also.

Tom
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posted 12-18-2011 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe it was mentioned earlier in this thread that the Apollo 1 crew also used this trailer for suiting up. If so, was it still located at LC-16 or was it moved closer to LC-34?

Are there any photos of Grissom, White or Chaffee exiting the suit up trailer while training for the first Apollo flight?

J.L
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posted 12-18-2011 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 1 crew (and all subsequent Apollo crews) suited up at the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building in the KSC Industrial Area. The Gemini crews were the only ones to use the suiting trailer.

J.L
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posted 12-18-2011 11:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
Do you have photo 65-H-1764 in your files?
Let me start by saying dates on early NASA images are never a sure thing. Ed Hengeveld and I go over these on a regular basis. Photos issued from KSC or MSC on a particular date will be given a date seven to 14 days later when issued on a NASA Headquarters print. It can be confusing unless you have a good idea of what you are actually looking at.

As for Gemini crew suiting... I am confident that all Gemini mission flight crews suited up for countdown tests and launch dates from the suit trailer located at Pad 16. The Gemini mission simulator at the Cape was located in the old Mission Control Building. Based on the photos I have seen, the crews would suit up there when participating in suited runs in the simulator.

The photos showing the Gemini 6 crew (next to the suit rack) are the only photos I have seen of a Gemini crew "suiting" in the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building.

LM-12
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posted 12-19-2011 04:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some of the captions can be misleading too. Thanks for posting the rare photos.

LM-12
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posted 12-24-2011 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can see the Gemini suiting-up trailer behind the Flight Crew Training Building in this 1971 Apollo 15 LRV training video clip number FTV-0009139 from footagevault. Looks like the same location seen in the earlier-posted colour photograph.

The Gemini suiting-up trailer can also be seen behind the FCTB in the Apollo 15 NASA photo KSC-71P-325.

LM-12
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posted 12-29-2011 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This British newsreel footage of the Gemini 9A launch shows the location of the Gemini suiting-up trailer relative to Pad 19. You can see the suiting-up trailer and Pad 19 in the same shot as the camera pans. It also shows the crew entering the transfer van and heading for the launch pad on the dirt road seen in S66-41235.

The other black and white videos show the Gemini 6A, 8, 9A, 10 and 11 crews leaving the suiting-up trailer and entering the transfer van. There is more great footage to see on the website.

lenzman
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posted 01-01-2012 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lenzman   Click Here to Email lenzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brock:
I find the suit trailer question interesting because NASA wanted to create sterile clean rooms for suiting operations and a house trailer seems like an odd place for a clean room area.
I agree.

On a visit to KSC in 2004 we took both bus tours including the one that went to the space station assembly building. Whilst looking through the glass up stairs into the assembly room, I noticed on the right hand side of the floor, hair nets were being worn along with the blue paper type suits, etc.

I am aware of what a clean room is having worked in several and hence was puzzled at how it all looked. The only thing separating the assembly area from the rest of the left hand side of the floor/room were several of those foam spongy type partition panels about 6x6 foot square. On the other side were other staff walking about with no suits or hair nets.

I queried this with a security staff member and he looked embarrassed and mumbled something about asking our guide as he attempted to "help me" out the door. Surely hair and dust can float over the partitions? It did not look sterile to me by a long shot. No wonder insects have been found in various shuttles and rockets in space.

It left me wondering if this room was just for tourists and not actually making anything at all. I have seen cleaner rooms in the UK and was suprised to say the least at NASA.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-01-2012 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are different classes of clean rooms. The Space Station Processing Facility was rated as a class 100,000 clean room, meaning there were no more than 100,000 particles of potential contaminants bigger than 0.5 microns in any single cubic foot of air.

By comparison, the facility constructed at Goddard Space Flight Center to build the Hubble Space Telescope was class 10,000 and the Lunar Receiving Lab, where the moon rocks are kept and studied at Johnson Space Center, is a class 10.

Jim Behling
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posted 01-01-2012 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
  1. The suit up room was never to provide a "sterile" environment nor a certified clean room. It was just a clean environment (low traffic).

  2. As far as the SSPF, the smocks and hair nets are used on when in and around the hardware. Manned spacecraft do not need strict clean room environments. (I have been in an orbiter in street clothes for landing.)

  3. When spacecraft processing facilities have doors the size of aircraft hangars, there are some intrusions.

  4. The airflow prevents debris from floating over.

LM-12
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posted 01-02-2012 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At 2:36 this Gemini video shows a "Kennedy Space Center" sign over the door of the suiting-up trailer during the Gemini 5 crew walkout. The sign does not appear in any walkout photos that I have seen for the other Gemini flights - only Gemini 5.

At 3:15 into the video the Gemini 5 transfer van drives by a sign that is difficult to read due to sun glare. Could that possibly be a "Barton FREEway" sign?

LM-12
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posted 02-16-2012 06:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Three future moonwalkers can be seen in NASA photo KSC-66P-122. Great shot.

mgspacecadet
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posted 06-07-2012 06:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mgspacecadet   Click Here to Email mgspacecadet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The following is from Bob Sieck, a NASA biomedical systems engineer all during Gemini. I asked Bob if he was in the second photo JL posted on December 17, 2011, at 12:28 am, and Bob responded with:
I believe the guy in the photo is Jerry Ellzey, one of the new (like me) Gemini biomed systems engineers at that time. Gene Thomas was our leader as he had the job during Mercury.

A couple of comments on the info in the collectSPACE thread:

  1. The suiting trailer at Pad 16 was used during the manned Gemini missions because we left Hanger S at the end of Mercury and the O&C building (called Manned Spacecraft Operations Buliding back then) crew facilities were not yet completed/certified.

  2. The trailer was not a "ready room", but it was a facility where the crew could hang out. In addition to the suit, biomed and comm checkout equipment, it had bedrooms, bath and small kitchen.


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