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  Apollo LM decent stage consumables

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Author Topic:   Apollo LM decent stage consumables
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posted 06-02-2008 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for compass   Click Here to Email compass     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What ever happened to residual LM decent stage consumables. I guess propellant still remains in tanks, could this leak and contaminate the surface over time? I understand man made contamination of the surface was once a concern of NASA's. Was the decent water supply drained or not, I guess not...would it still remain there and would it just go through a freeze thaw cycle for eternity?

Jay Chladek

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-02-2008 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The one main event that happens in the descent stage after landing is the rupturing of a burst disk in the supercritical helium line and the helium vents into space (it happened on Apollo 13 during its long drifting flight back to Earth). So the fuel system would no longer be pressurized (helium is used to pressurize the fuel system in spacecraft, sort of like CO2 gas in a shaken up soda can).

I imagine eventually after a few freeze and thaw cycles, frozen fuel and water (if there is any water left) would eventually cause a line to rupture somewhere and any residual consumeables would boil off in the next heating cycle due to lack of pressure.

Fra Mauro

Posts: 1017
From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 06-06-2008 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would also assume that decades of being bathed in sunlight has bleached most of the outside of the descent stage


Posts: 1890
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 06-06-2008 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 11 Passive Seismic Experiment is believed to have picked up vibrations from the LM descent stage after the mission was over. It was believed the vibrations were due to venting of gases, circulation of gases/fluids and deformation of the LM structure due to thermal stresses.


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