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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo-Soyuz: rollout and mast installation

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Author Topic:   Apollo-Soyuz: rollout and mast installation
heng44
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Posts: 2643
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

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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Posts: 1924
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
Member

Posts: 2643
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

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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Posts: 4358
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

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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Posts: 2643
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

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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Posts: 1924
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

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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Posts: 2126
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

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
Member

Posts: 2643
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

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
Member

Posts: 4358
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

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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Posts: 984
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

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
Member

Posts: 984
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

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.

All times are CT (US)

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