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  Apollo-Soyuz: rollout and mast installation

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Author Topic:   Apollo-Soyuz: rollout and mast installation
heng44
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Posts: 2898
From: Netherlands
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posted 09-22-2010 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are there any old hands here who can solve the following mystery for me: I have a number of photos of the ASTP rollout to the launch pad, which took place on March 24, 1975. The rollout operation usually started early in the morning, with the sun coming up in the east. By the time the stack reached the pad it was late afternoon and the sun was in the west.

If you look at the first photo, you can see the LUT has just left the VAB and the sun is already in the west, thus casting a shadow in the direction of the ocean.

In the second photo the sun can be seen coming from the east (ocean) side, so something is wrong here.

My theory centers around the lightning mast. The LUT didn't fit inside the VAB with that mast, so it must have been put on top of the tower after it had left the VAB. Is it possible that rollout started in the afternoon of March 23, at which time the lightning mast was installed, and continued in the early morning of March 24?

I have a feeling this was discussed here before, but can anyone confirm my theory or shed some light on this mystery?

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

posted 09-22-2010 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I was there that morning on Mar. 24, 1975, when the last Apollo-Saturn rocket was transported to Pad 39B. "First motion" started at 8 a.m. with a "hard-down" on the pad just after 3 p.m.

If I recall, which I am pretty much certain, the lightning mast attached to the top of LUT-1 was installed earlier just after the vehicle had cleared the high bay of the VAB before another "motion" would begin the long 7-hour "rollout" trek.

heng44
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From: Netherlands
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posted 09-23-2010 12:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks very much, Ken. Ed Kyle pointed me to a document stating that the lightning mast was tested on March 23, so it now seems pretty certain that the Saturn was rolled out a day early to install and test the mast.

cspg
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From: Geneva, Switzerland
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posted 09-23-2010 01:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Strangely enough there's a marking above the opened high bay that corresponds to the ligthning mast...

heng44
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posted 09-23-2010 01:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that is the shadow of the contraption the man in the top photo is standing on, which I believe was related to the installation of the mast.

Ken Havekotte
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From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
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posted 09-23-2010 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do recall seeing some pics of the fiberglass mast being installed atop LUT-1, and yes, it was an all-day operation on Mar. 23 as the booster's Launch Escape System had been installed a day earlier on the 22nd. I remember seeing work platforms and support structures housing the lightning rod near the top of the VAB above High Bay-1.

As a matter of fact, I think the first of your posted picture-scans depicts a portion of the mast's installment fixtures from where the photo was snapped from. Perhaps J.L. can locate some other pictures for you?

Blackarrow
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From: Belfast, United Kingdom
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posted 09-23-2010 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That lightning-conductor at the top of the launch gantry was not just for show: the "Orlando Sentinel Star" reported on 11th July, 1975, that the launch stack had been struck twice by lightning, without ill-effect.

heng44
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From: Netherlands
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posted 09-24-2010 05:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is odd that I have never seen any pictures of the lightning mast being installed. I don't think J.L. has any either. You could build a conspiracy theory around that.

cspg
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From: Geneva, Switzerland
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posted 09-24-2010 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by heng44:
You could build a conspiracy theory around that.
That's what I thought when you explained the difference between the two photos!

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 12-29-2013 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This fantastic footage of the ASTP rollout from Mark Gray begins with images of the ASTP stack just outside the VAB doors. The lightning mast is attached. The sun is in the east, so it was early morning.

It looks like the stack was rolled back to the VAB doors from its position in the posted photograph taken the previous afternoon.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 01-01-2014 04:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by heng44:
I think that is the shadow of the contraption the man in the top photo is standing on
Another afternoon photo of the ASTP rollout is S75-24007. The high-res version shows that the "shadow" is actually part of the support structure that extends vertically down the side of the VAB to the level of the mobile launcher crane.

The lightning mast is mentioned in a KSC news release dated March 2, 1975:

The new look will first be apparent shortly after the transporter moves the mobile launcher with the 224-foot-tall space vehicle just outside the floodlighted eastern face of the Vehicle Assembly Building at 2:00 a.m. on the morning of March 24.

There will be a five-hour pause at this point as KSC workmen lower and secure an 80-foot-tall fiberglass lightning mast into a circular slot on a platform above the hammerhead crane at the top of the launcher.

The mast will be lowered from a steel framework structure (dubbed variously "the laundry chute" and "bird cage") overhanging the top of the 456-foot-high door leading to the outside from High Bay 1.

At 7:00 a.m. -- mast firmly in place -- the transporter will begin the move to Pad B, on the rim of the Atlantic Ocean five miles to the northeast.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 08-21-2015 12:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the ASTP launch, the lightning mast had to be removed from ML-1 before the Mobile Launcher could enter the VAB.

Photo KSC-76PC-0351 was taken during the Bicentennial Exposition event at the VAB in 1976. ML-2 is parked outside the VAB. ML-1 is behind the VAB doors in High Bay 1. The lightning mast can be seen outside the VAB in the steel framework structure above the High Bay 1 doors.

The lightning mast affixed to the VAB can also be seen in photo KSC-76P-0124.

Cozmosis22
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From: Texas * Earth
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posted 08-21-2015 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The mast installation gear was still mounted on the VAB in 1981. This photo was taken on April 9th of that year.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 08-22-2015 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The lightning mast can be seen above the HB-1 doors in this 1976 aerial photo of the VAB. ML-3 (on right) is being dismantled. S-IC stage at bottom center.

The black arrow is pointing to the VAB itself.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 08-23-2015 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More details of the steel structure can be seen in this STS-1 rollout photo.

Ken Havekotte
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From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
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posted 08-23-2015 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just came across this topic again, and behold, I finally did locate a NASA photo (#108-KSC-75PC-145) depicting the final step of the lightning mast insertion into its support structure atop MLP-1 on March 23, 1975.

Rohan
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From: Melbourne, Victoria Australia
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posted 08-24-2015 05:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rohan   Click Here to Email Rohan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the lightning mast placed atop the LUT on ML-1 for the ASTP mission is different from the lightning masts on all the other missions. Why did NASA decide to change the lightning mast for this mission, at the very end of the LUT's use?

Robert Pearlman
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Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-24-2015 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA SP-4209, "The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project" describes the then-new lightning mast installed atop the LUT:
One of their major concerns was the possibility of thunderstorms and lightning strikes before and at the time of the launch. July was the worst time of the year for both at Cape Canaveral.

...a lightning strike had long been a worry, one that had been reinforced by the twin bolts that had struck Apollo 12. To combat the effects of such a strike, the KSC team had installed a larger lightning rod atop the launch tower. This 25.6-meter fiberglass mast was designed so that the ground wires would not come any closer than 15 meters to the mobile launcher structure, thus eliminating the arcing of electrical current from the wires to the structure of the spacecraft.

The lightning mast used atop the LUT for ASTP later was installed atop Pad 39B for the space shuttle program.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 08-24-2015 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
The lightning mast affixed to the VAB can also be seen in photo KSC-76P-0124.
Other VAB photos indicate that the lightning mast was removed from that location (above the HB-1 doors) sometime between July 1976 and April 1977.

All times are CT (US)

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