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  SL-1: AS-513/Skylab launch tracking

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Author Topic:   SL-1: AS-513/Skylab launch tracking

Posts: 344
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 05-08-2012 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did NASA use tracking cameras on AS-513, the Skylab workshop launch, that could have seen the meteoroid shield failure?

Jay Chladek

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

posted 05-08-2012 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cloud deck was pretty thick for AS-513 both around the pad and to the north and south where the tracking cameras are typically placed. So I don't think a tracking camera would have had a clear view of the Saturn once it punched through the clouds. The weather constraints for the workshop launch were likely not as strict as for a manned flight since there were no people riding the Saturn, plus it was the final launch of a Saturn V and its behaviors were well understood at that point.

Of course, the micrometeoroid shield pulling away was unexpected, but that was down to poor design of that element and insufficient testing to catch the potential for a problem.


Posts: 183
From: Albany, Oregon USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-15-2012 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure the standard number of tracking cameras were in place that day, but only a few got usable images because of the cloud cover.

On Spacecraft Films' Mighty Saturns: The Saturn V set, there is some footage of the workshop launch at about the 85-90 sec. point showing the exhaust plume widening out after going through Max-Q; after the meteoroid shield had torn off at roughly 60 secs.

I had never seen any shots of the rocket after it disappeared into the clouds at about the 33 second point, including watching the launch live on TV 39 years ago.
If the Skylab set ever gets done at Spacecraft Films, maybe we will see more long range tracking shots that have been buried in some vault all these years. I certainly hope that will be the case.

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