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  Suiting-up inside the Apollo LM and CM

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Author Topic:   Suiting-up inside the Apollo LM and CM
LM-12
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posted 08-16-2012 06:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This short in-flight film clip shows Young and Duke as they practice suiting-up inside the Lunar Module (LM) on Apollo 16.

The LM looks pretty cramped even without the PLSS backpacks on. Which would have been more difficult — two astronauts suiting-up in the LM for the moonwalks, or three astronauts suiting-up in the Command Module for the transearth EVA?

The clip is dated April 30, but that can't be right. Any idea when the footage was taken? Maybe it wasn't a practice.

328.5KF
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posted 08-16-2012 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328.5KF   Click Here to Email 328.5KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe that film is actual in-flight footage taken prior to the LM's descent to the surface. I recall seeing that same clip on a DVD set that I have at home about the mission. If you look closely, it's clear that several items are weightless as well.

LM-12
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posted 08-16-2012 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did notice the weightlessness that you mentioned. I just wondered if the footage shows Young and Duke practicing a suit-up on the translunar coast, or suiting-up for the actual lunar landing.

328.5KF
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posted 08-16-2012 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328.5KF   Click Here to Email 328.5KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just read your post again. Sorry... I misunderstood. I think I have a mission report from the flight. I'll try to look into whether they practiced the suit-up or not.

Dietrich
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posted 08-17-2012 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dietrich   Click Here to Email Dietrich     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328.5KF:
I believe that film is actual in-flight footage taken prior to the LM's descent to the surface.
The clip is contained on magazine HH from the 16 mm DAC camera, thus t was taken during the flight. That magazine used very high speed black and white film with 6000 ASA. This is obviously the reason for the grainy picture.

The Apollo 16 Photo-index (MSC-07252) states that the magazine was used for photography of the sunrise solar corona during orbits 38 and 47/48, those clips follow the LM internal clip.

ehartwell
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posted 08-17-2012 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ehartwell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The PLSS was only used during a moonwalk; inside the CM and LM they used a short umbilical while suited up during launch and landing. The spacewalker used a longer umbilical, not a full PLSS. As you say, the LM was terribly cramped, even without the PLSS. With it there was barely room to turn around.

With the middle seat stowed, the CM was relatively spacious. Even so the astronauts preferred to take turns suiting up in the lower equipment bay.

LM-12
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posted 08-17-2012 06:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The CMP did have to wear the OPS (Oxygen Purge System) behind his helmet during the transearth EVA. That must have been a bit awkward inside the CM.

NASA photo S72-31047 shows the Apollo 16 crew inside the CM training for EVA. Duke is behind Mattingly in the lower equipment bay.

mode1charlie
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posted 08-17-2012 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ehartwell:
With the middle seat stowed, the CM was relatively spacious.
I have always wondered about this. Did the middle CM seat retract/fold or not? I have not been able to locate pictures of this, inflight or otherwise.

LM-12
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posted 08-18-2012 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA photo S72-31046 is a similar view from a different angle. Interesting shot.

LM-12
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posted 12-24-2012 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 15 crew discussed PGA donning in the post-flight debriefing:

SCOTT: We set up a plan on the LOI day to try out our sequence of suiting for PDI day. As a result, we changed our minds on PDI day to make it a little more efficient.
WORDEN: You two put your suits on and then went into the LM to zip them up.
SCOTT: Because it's a lot easier zipping up the 7LB suits in the LM and it gave us a chance to do the tunnel work shirtsleeve. We helped you (CMP) get your suit on. It is worth while to run through suit donning because the first day we did it we had you (CMP) put your suit on. Then we put our (CDR & LMP) suits on in the command module, and it is hard to zip them up in the command module. That was sort of chore. Jim suggested we suit up and go to the LM before zipping them up. That made it a lot easier. We recommend cleaning the tunnel out or putting the suits on unzipped, cleaning the tunnel out, and then the CDR and LMP transferring to the LM to do their suit zip. It would be a good idea to have a little trial run one of the days on the way out.
WORDEN: As to the time line, that works out much better, too, because while you were over there putting suits on and zipping them up, that gave me a chance to put my suit on which is done in parallel rather than sequentially.

mark plas
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posted 12-29-2012 06:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like Young is wearing an A7L suit instead of an A7L/B. Look at the gloves and no NASA patch on his shoulder.

LM-12
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posted 01-06-2013 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by arjuna:
Did the middle CM seat retract/fold or not? I have not been able to locate pictures of this, inflight or otherwise.
There is this photo that shows astronauts Kerwin, Brand and Engle inside the CM with the center seat either stowed or removed. They are suited up for the 7-day 2TV-1 vacuum chamber test back in 1968.

BBlatcher
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posted 01-06-2013 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
They are suited up for the 7-day 2TV-1 vacuum chamber test back in 1968.
I'm curious what that test entailed. Did those astronauts really stay in CM for 7 days?

LM-12
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posted 01-12-2013 10:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the Apollo 8 Mission Report prepared by the Mission Evaluation Team:

To provide more free space for intravehicular activity, all three couches in the Apollo 8 command module could be folded, whereas no couches were foldable for Apollo 7.

Apolloman
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posted 01-13-2013 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apolloman   Click Here to Email Apolloman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...no couches were foldable for Apollo 7.
Indeed, the CM Apollo 7 was equipped with couches block I.

LM-12
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posted 01-25-2013 10:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a suit wearing schedule on page 2-1 of the Apollo 17 Flight Plan.
hard suit = suit/helmet/gloves pressurized
soft suit = suit/helmet/gloves unpressurized
partial suit = suit without helmet and gloves
shirtsleeves = ICG (inflight coverall garment)

launch:
- soft suit (all)

Earth orbit thru S-4B evasive maneuver:
- partial suit (all)

translunar coast:
- shirtsleeves (all)

PGA test:
- partial suit (all)

LM activation:
- partial suit (all)

undocking:
- soft suit (CDR/LMP)
- soft suit (CMP) for docking latches release
- partial suit (CMP) otherwise

undock +5 min thru circ:
- partial suit (all)

PDI thru touchdown:
- soft suit (CDR/LMP)
- partial suit (CMP)

lunar stay except EVA:
- shirtsleeves (all)

lunar surface EVA and equipment jettison:
- hard suit (CDR/LMP)
- shirtsleeves (CMP)

liftoff prep:
- partial suit (all)

liftoff thru docking:
- soft suit (CDR/LMP)
- partial suit (CMP)

docking to LM jettison:
- partial suit (all)

LM jettison:
- soft suit (all)

post LM jettison thru TEI:
- shirtsleeves (all)

transearth coast:
- hard suit (all) for TEC EVA
- shirtsleeves otherwise (all)

entry:
- shirtsleeves (all)

LM-12
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posted 01-27-2013 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 7 crew re-entered wearing partial suits as indicated in the Apollo 7 Mission Report:

It was elected to make the entry with helmets and gloves removed primarily to provide a means of clearing the sinus and inner ear cavities. The crew would have preferred to remove the suits as well for entry, but no other means of restraining leg motion was available. The head area was padded to provide support and bring the spine approximately straight during entry deceleration. Based on Apollo 7, suits-off entry or even an entire unsuited mission is recommended for future flights from the standard of crew comfort and reduction in crew fatigue. There should be no compromise to safety from a rapid decompression since the cabin structural integrity is well checked out before flight.

LM-12
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posted 04-29-2014 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 15 crew was suited up for the SIM door jettison just prior to lunar orbit insertion. They were also suited up for the LM jettison in lunar orbit after the moonwalk. The Apollo 14 crew was not suited up for their LM jettison.

From the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) news release dated July 19, 1971:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, following an evaluation of operational procedures for Apollo 15, has decided that the astronauts will wear their pressure suits during jettison of the lunar module.

This maneuver is scheduled for 6:55 p.m., EDT, August 2, shortly after the lunar landing crew has returned to the command module following their expedition to the surface of the moon.

The decision to have astronauts David R. Scott, Alfred M. Worden, and James B. Irwin fully suited at that time was based on a reevaluation of the requirements for crew members to wear pressure suits during different phases of the Apollo 15 mission.

The evaluation was conducted following the Soyuz 11 spacecraft accident which resulted in the deaths of three Soviet cosmonauts.

The Apollo 15 flight plan had called for the crew to be in "shirtsleeves" (wearing the inflight cover garments) during jettisoning of the lunar module ascent stage from the command module ...

No change would be made in plans for the crew to be unsuited during reentry and splashdown. Although wearing suits would increase safety during reentry down to approximately 50,000 feet, the time from that altitude to the water is insufficient for removal of suits before splashdown. Since the more probable malfunction would occur at water impact, when wearing suits would decrease crew safety, the overall level of crew risk is lower on a normal mission, by conducting reentry with the crew unsuited.

The reentry event, except for the splashdown phase, is fairly predictable, and stress loads are well within the safety factor of the hardware. The stress loads imposed by the water impact are not so predictable and vary, for example, with wind velocity and direction, wave heights, wave velocity, wave rising or falling and direction.

Therefore, although the probability of a malfunction occurring at splashdown is still low, it is higher than a malfunction occurring during reentry into the earth's atmosphere. In the event such a malfunction did occur on splashdown and emergency egress were necessary, a suited crew would be handicapped.

Furthermore, should the command module remain upside down, egress through the upper hatch under water would be required. It would be difficult and time consuming to attempt to remove suits in this condition, and if an emergency condition should exist, the crew would be severely handicapped.

LM-12
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posted 04-30-2014 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The change in suiting up procedures for Apollo 15 is also explained in comments by Jim McDivitt at 173:58:43 in the Apollo 15 Flight Journal.

LM-12
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posted 05-03-2014 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are some additional post-flight debrief comments by crewmembers about donning and doffing the suits:

  • Apollo 8
    BORMAN: We should re-examine our position on requiring pressure suits for flights that do not include EVA. I would not have hesitated to launch on Apollo 8 without pressure suits. I think that we should. We wore them for about 3 hours and stowed them for 141 hours. I see no reason to include the pressure suits on a spacecraft that's been through an altitude chamber, and we have confidence in its pressure integrity.

  • Apollo 13
    LOVELL: We had no problems with the pressure garments and connecting equipment, but, of course, the suits came off right after TD&E and we stowed them.

    SWIGERT: I tried my suit on once to make sure that I could get it on by myself.

    LOVELL: There were certain things that Jack wanted to make sure that he knew how to do. One was to put the suit on by himself. During the quiet period before the accident, he put the suit on by himself. We also mounted all the cameras to make sure that Jack was checked out.

  • Apollo 14
    SHEPARD: Did you have any trouble donning your PGA?

    MITCHELL: No. I would like to make a couple of comments on the way the two of us went about doing that. Getting into the PGA in zero g is reasonably a "no sweat" operation. We utilized the tunnel as the donning station and one at time positioned the PGA in the tunnel, and then just slid into it, with the other crewman helping to pull up the zipper. It worked out very smoothly. The tunnel makes a very nice donning station in this case, with the second crewman helping maneuver the zipper. I guess Stu might have some comments since he did do his by himself.

    SHEPARD: It was originally planned that I was going to try to help Stu but, by the time he got to putting his PGA on, it was time for me to go into the LM. We don't have any notes here as to where that happened.

    ROOSA: I don't think there was anything that was holding us up. I cleared the tunnel before I put on my suit. I cleared the tunnel early and that was what it was. So, we had the tunnel open and everything ready to go. Then I got the suit on and that was it.

    SHEPARD: Well, did you have any problem getting your suit on?

    ROOSA: No, not at all.

    SHEPARD: I guess the point is that it is preferable to have one of the other two crewmen help the CMP, but in the event that the time line does not permit it, then he ought to be donning himself.

    ROOSA: I don't think you need to plan on helpers because the CMP's suit is lighter and easier to handle than the other two. During all the suit donning that I did in preflight, I always donned it myself using the lanyard, so I was well trained. The suit goes on easily. It's a 2- or 3-minute operation after you remove the suit from the bag so there is no reason at all for anybody to wait around to help the CMP.

  • Apollo 16
    YOUNG: ... We set a new world record for suit donning and doffing in zero gravity and 1/6-gravity seven times ...

  • Apollo 17
    CERNAN: Our PGA donning practice was a worthwhile exercise. It takes a lot of work to get the suits unstowed and stowed, because putting the suit on in zero-g is just a little bit different. Unlike the previous flight or two, none of the three crewmen had any problem in donning or doffing their suits. I'd say donning is easier in zero-g than doffing. The CDR and the LMP helped each other with the zipping on every donning and doffing, as we've done in training. We had no problems at all. I'm glad that we were aware of the problems that Apollo 16 had. I think we were more conscious of the potential problem that existed when zipping the restraint zipper. We were conscious of it and had sort of trained in a direction to cover all bets on being able to zip up. I would say that in zero-g the zipper was a little bit more difficult to zip, but certainly I can't really say it was a problem for either one of us.

LM-12
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posted 05-04-2014 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The black and white film clip mentioned in the first post showing Young and Duke suiting up in the LM was apparently taken on Flight Day 3 during the translunar coast. From the mission transcripts:

02 05 58 06 CMP Tony, I'm gonna try to get some pictures of selected portions of the suit donning on 16 millimeter. And I just checked here on the spotmeter, and it looks like the CIN is going to be marginal for this, and I'm looking at the - the BW that's available. And I wonder if anyone would object if I put it on magazine Hotel Hotel.

LM-12
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posted 05-06-2014 10:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The problems that the Apollo 16 crew had with pressure garment donning, doffing and storage are mentioned in their Mission Report:
Approximately 1 hour was required for the Commander and Lunar Module Pilot to doff and stow their A7LB pressure garment assemblies. The actual donning and doffing was accomplished most easily in the lower equipment bay with a second crewman assisting, as needed, from the couch position. Zipper closure is probably the most difficult part of the donning operation. During the second scheduled (third actual) lunar module manning, the Commander and Lunar Module Pilot used the lunar module cockpit for donning to obtain more room for zipping the suits. This seemed to speed up the donning activity and was a more convenient place to work.

The Command Module Pilot required approximately 10 minutes to don or doff his pressure garment assembly in the lower equipment bay by himself. Having another crewman to assist in zipping saves approximately 3 minutes.

The most time-consuming part of doffing the suits is the actual stowage of the suits in their bag. Although stowage of three pressure garment assemblies (two A7LB's and one A7LB-CMP) in the bag had been accomplished several times during training, it proved to be impractical in flight. Several factors may be involved in the difference. First, in flight, there is no gravity to help fold the pressure garment assemblies and keep them in place. Second, the accessory pockets were more prominent on the flight suits than on the training suits. A third possible factor is that the best possible care is taken of the pressure garment assemblies in flight, which means there is a minimum of pulling and bending on the zipper. Another possible factor is that the simulator and mockup training bags have become stretched with use.

To alleviate the stowage problem, the Command Module Pilot's suit was stowed under the left couch. In order to provide access to stowage containers A1 and A2, it was not tied in place.

Following the transearth extravehicular activity, all three suits were stowed in the pressure garment assembly bag through the generous use of kick-and-shove techniques. The center couch had to be removed at the marmon clamp in order to accomplish this. The size of the pressure garment assembly bag should be enlarged and some extra volume made available in the area between the center couch and the rotation hand controller junction box.

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