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  Apollo CM crew egress after splashdown (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Apollo CM crew egress after splashdown
LM-12
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posted 01-02-2013 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In what order did the Apollo astronauts egress the CM after splashdown? I don't think it was always CDR last.

  • Apollo 7: ?-?-?
  • Apollo 8: ?-?-?
  • Apollo 9: Scott-Schweickart-McDivitt
  • Apollo 10: ?-?-Cernan
  • Apollo 11: Armstrong-Collins-Aldrin
  • Apollo 12: Conrad-Gordon-Bean
  • Apollo 13: Swigert-Haise-Lovell
  • Apollo 14: Mitchell-Roosa-Shepard
  • Apollo 15: Worden-Irwin-Scott
  • Apollo 16: ?-?-Young
  • Apollo 17: Schmitt-Evans-Cernan
The list is incomplete, so feel free to make any additions and/or corrections.

fredtrav
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posted 01-02-2013 11:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Apollo 16, I believe it was Duke, Mattingly, and then Young. can not find the source for this but I seemed to remeber that was the order. I know Duke opened the hatch and greeted the frogman and I read somewhere he was the first out.

Rusty B
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posted 01-02-2013 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to an old newspaper report, for Apollo 7 it was Eisele, Cunningham, Schirra.

Rusty B
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posted 01-02-2013 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found another old newspaper report for Apollo 8.

New York Times - Dec 28, 1968

"Captain Lovell climbed out and into one of the rafts, followed by Colonel Borman and Major Anders..."

Rusty B
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posted 01-02-2013 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Apollo 16 recovery photo (72-HC-452), shows astronaut Mattingly being helped from the spacecraft, if you look into the lower right side of the hatchway opening, you can see astronaut Duke still in the spacecraft.

LM-12
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posted 01-02-2013 09:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken Mattingly states in the Apollo 16 Flight Journal that he was the one who opened the hatch. So I guess the Apollo 16 order was Mattingly-Duke-Young.

Rusty B
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posted 01-02-2013 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In this picture of the Apollo 10 crew egress (S69-20638), you can see Cernan just exiting the the hatch, Young, standing, being helped into the raft and Stafford already seated. So the exit sequence was probably Stafford, Young, Cernan.

LM-12
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posted 01-02-2013 10:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks that way to me also. So that completes the list. Thanks for doing the research, guys.

  • Apollo 7: Eisele-Cunningham-Schirra
  • Apollo 8: Lovell-Borman-Anders
  • Apollo 10: Stafford-Young-Cernan
  • Apollo 16: Mattingly-Duke-Young

Rusty B
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posted 01-02-2013 11:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Might as well list the remaining Apollo spacecraft missions.

All of the Apollo spacecraft used in Skylab and ASTP were hoisted onto the carrier deck with the crew still in the spacecraft. The egress sequence was:

  • Skylab 2 - Conrad, Weitz, Kerwin
  • Skylab 3 - Lousma, Garriot, Bean
  • Skylab 4 - Gibson, Pouge, Carr
  • ASTP - Stafford, Brand, Slayton
Based on the egress still picture (S73-29141) and video from YouTube the Skylab 2 sequence was Conrad, Weitz, Kerwin. (Egress starts at 7:35 on video).

Based on the egress video from YouTube the Skylab 3 sequence was Lousma, Garriot, Bean. (Egress starts at 7:45 on video) Still photo (S73-36451).

Based on the egress still picture (S74-17744) and video from YouTube the Skylab 4 sequence was Gibson, Pouge, Carr (Egress starts at 25:22 on video).

Based on the egress video from YouTube the ASTP sequence was Stafford, Brand, Slayton. (Egress starts at 9:20 on video).

fredtrav
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posted 01-03-2013 12:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In "Moonwalker," Charlie Duke states that "Then we heard a rap on the door. This was the all clear to open the hatch. I opened it up and staring back at me was a frogman still in his scuba gear." He goes on to say that he shook his hand (pages 225-226).

LM-12
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posted 01-03-2013 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hard to say who opened the hatch since they both claimed to have done so. In either case, I don't think that changes the A16 crew egress order based on photo 72-HC-452. Maybe the hatch was opened twice.

Rusty B
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posted 01-03-2013 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The large interior hatch release handle is closest to the right hand couch where Duke was laying. He may have pulled the release handle and when then shook hands with the diver when the hatch opened. Mattingly may have assisted in working the hatch mechanism, also. So they both probably worked together to open the hatch. Judging by the photo, Duke would have had to be a contortionist to exit ahead of Mattingly, however.

dabolton
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posted 01-03-2013 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What was risk exposure to breathing toxic fumes after an Apollo landing? The shuttle had large fans rolled out to clear any residual fumes.

Jay Chladek
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posted 01-03-2013 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dabolton:
What was risk exposure to breathing toxic fumes after an Apollo landing? The shuttle had large fans rolled out to clear any residual fumes.

The residual thruster fuel as I recall was dumped overboard according to the checklist during the descent on parachutes (at least up through Apollo 15). When the capsule splashed down and during the time needed to inflate the bags to take it from stable two to stable one position, that likely would give enough time for sea water to scrub any residual propellant out of the thrusters ports. So risk of exposure was likely tiny at best once the hatch was cracked open.

According to Al Worden's book "Falling to Earth", there was very little wind the day Apollo 15 came home and during the propellant dump, a nice big red cloud of hypergolic propellant drifted up into the chutes instead of getting blown sideways away from the ship. It caused one of the main chutes to streamer and was eating holes in a second one when they splashed down (a landing with two chutes was fine, but one chute... not so much). I don't know if the procedure was altered after that.

Now on Apollo's recovery on ASTP, thruster exhaust exposure did cause a problem with the astronauts due to the ELS switches not being actuated properly. During the automatic ELS sequence, the cute apex cover would be jettisoned, the thrusters shut down and the drogue chutes fired. Due to the switch not being set, the apex cover and drogue chutes were deployed manually while the thrusters remained active. When the chutes deployed, the still active thrusters tried to counteract the sway of the capsule under the chutes and thruster exhaust from the roll control thrusters got sucked into the already opened cabin relief pressure valve located near a couple of the ports (the valve was designed to equalize pressure between the inside and outside of the capsule when it descended low enough). So the crew ended up having a few problems due to toxic thruster exhaust exposure and Vance Brand passed out as a result until Stafford was able to get an emergency oxygen mask on him.

I'm not sure if the propellant dump procedure for Skylab and ASTP (or even Apollo 16 and 17) was the same as it was for previous Apollo missions once somebody figured out that a propellant dump might cause a few more pressing issues with the parachutes. I also don't know exactly where the propellant dump port is either on Apollo (presumably far away from the air equalization valve inlet).

The fuel supply for an Apollo CSM is much smaller than it is for shuttle, which has three separate hypergolic fuel tank areas in it. One is the foreward RCS and each OMS pod houses its own hypergolic tankage (for dual redundancy purposes). The shuttle RCS is also a bit bigger and more complicated than Apollo. In addition to that, there are also APU exhaust vents located between the orbiter tail and the OMS pods. The APUs use hydrazine as fuel. Even though much of the shuttle's RCS propellant is dumped overboard during reentry, the thing is still practically a flying toxic waste dump when it touches down and a leak can potentially be a lot nastier (especially with no ocean water to help scrub things down a little bit). Hence, the desire to have a fan there to blow potential fumes away and a sniffer team to go out and check for fumes before anyone else can even get close long before the side hatch gets cracked open.

Rusty B
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posted 01-03-2013 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On this YouTube video about the Apollo 16 mission, you can see what appears to be the RCS fuel dump at 27:30 through 27:35 (when the cloud reaches the right parachute) while the spacecraft is descending. Watch for the faint black cloud that comes from the spacecraft.

LM-12
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posted 01-05-2013 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
I'm not sure if the propellant dump procedure for Skylab and ASTP (or even Apollo 16 and 17) was the same as it was for previous Apollo missions once somebody figured out that a propellant dump might cause a few more pressing issues with the parachutes.
From the Apollo 15 30-Day Failure and Anomaly Listing Report:
The reaction control system is still suspected, but the mechanism has not been established. However, measures are being taken to inhibit the minus pitch engines and possibly one of each pair of opposing roll engines during the reaction control system depletion firing, thus reducing the potential damage to the parachute risers resulting from heat or oxidizer.

moorouge
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posted 01-05-2013 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is wrong to assume that sea water would wash away remaining propellants. Recovery crews were warned to be wary of working near the thruster ports as any residual propellant would turn to nitric acid when in contact with water. The crews had plugs to insert into the thruster ports and these had pipes that led to buckets away from the floating capsule.

Recovery procedures had to be strictly followed particularly as the hazardous area included the hatch through which the astronauts exited the spacecraft.

As a point of interest - the descent rate for Apollo on three parachutes was 32 ft/sec and on two it rose to 36 ft/sec.

MSS
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posted 01-05-2013 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MSS   Click Here to Email MSS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rusty B:
The egress sequence was:
  • Skylab 2 - Conrad, Kerwin, Weitz

The correct sequence was:
  • Skylab 2 - Conrad, Weitz, Kerwin
According to video you mention and NASA MR-13 "Man Still Matters" - The Story of The First Skylab Mission on page 8 the photo with such description:
"Conrad and Weitz receive cheers after stepping from their Apollo command module onto the recovery vessel, Ticonderoga. Kerwin, in back-ground, is emerging from module."
------------------
Astronauts, Cosmonauts & their flights

Rusty B
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posted 01-06-2013 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are correct, it was Conrad, Weitz, Kerwin for Skylab 2. After Conrad exited, the video cut away to a view of spectators before cutting back just as Kerwin exited last. That's what threw me off. I have corrected my posting above.

Rusty B
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posted 01-07-2013 01:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a command module deactivation procedures document for the landing safing team I found on the NASA Technical Reports server:

Apollo S/C deactivation procedures for landing safing team. Mission AS501 (SC017), Publication Date: Sep 15, 1967, Number of pages = 394, PDF Size: 10.8 MB

Here's a later command module postretrieval procedures document for the recovery team:

Apollo postretrieval procedures for NASA recovery team, Publication Date: Aug 5, 1970, Number of pages = 271, PDF Size: 9.1 MB

LM-12
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posted 04-02-2013 08:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the Apollo crew egress list now complete, any interest out there in expanding on this theme?

In what order were the Gemini and Apollo astronauts hoisted up to the recovery helicopter after splashdown?

Here is my list #2 so far. Feel free to make any additions or corrections.

  • Gemini 3 ... Grissom-Young
  • Gemini 4 ... White-McDivitt
  • Gemini 5 ... Conrad-Cooper
  • Gemini 7 ... Lovell-Borman
  • Gemini 6A ... crew stayed in spacecraft
  • Gemini 8 ... crew stayed in spacecraft
  • Gemini 9A ... crew stayed in spacecraft
  • Gemini 10 ... Collins-Young
  • Gemini 11 ... Conrad-Gordon
  • Gemini 12 ... Lovell-Aldrin

  • Apollo 7 ... Eisele-Cunningham-Schirra
  • Apollo 8 ... Anders-?-?
  • Apollo 9 ... ?-?-?
  • Apollo 10 ... Cernan-?-?
  • Apollo 11 ... ?-?-Armstrong
  • Apollo 12 ... Gordon-Bean-Conrad
  • Apollo 13 ... Haise-Swigert-Lovell
  • Apollo 14 ... Roosa-Mitchell-Shepard
  • Apollo 15 ... Scott-Irwin-Worden
  • Apollo 16 ... Duke-Mattingly-Young
  • Apollo 17 ... Schmitt-Evans-Cernan

  • Skylab 2 ... crew stayed in spacecraft
  • Skylab 3 ... crew stayed in spacecraft
  • Skylab 4 ... crew stayed in spacecraft
  • ASTP ... crew stayed in spacecraft

LM-12
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posted 01-09-2014 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How many Apollo command modules were in the stable II apex-down configuration after splashdown? Here is Apollo 16.

jasonelam
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posted 01-09-2014 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here you go!
  • Stable I (upright): Apollo 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, SL 2, 3
  • Stable Ii (inverted): Apollo 7, 8, 11, 12, 16, SL 4, ASTP

LM-12
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posted 01-09-2014 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that, Jason. Wasn't sure about Skylab.

Skylon
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posted 01-11-2014 09:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stable II after Skylab 4 sounds unpleasant. To come back from nearly three months and your first jolt back to Earth's gravity is facing downward, held by only your seat-straps.

I was under the impression there were more "Stable II's" than I's. It is a pretty even split though on the manned flights, with only one more Stable I than II. I wonder how the unmanned Apollo's faired.

Obviousman
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posted 01-12-2014 02:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Obviousman   Click Here to Email Obviousman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An all-Navy crew should have done it by protocol: most senior is last on, first out.
(TIC)

Lewis007
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posted 01-12-2014 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lewis007   Click Here to Email Lewis007     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The list could even be extended with the shuttle missions (although this should then be part of the Space Shuttle/ISS forum).

For instance, (an elated) John Young exited the shuttle first on STS-1, followed a few minutes later by Bob Crippen.

LM-12
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posted 01-13-2014 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Skylab Mission Report indicates on page 10-66 that the SL-3 (Bean-Lousma-Garriott) command module was stable II after splashdown:
Water impact was moderate and the command module immediately went to the stable II attitude. The parachutes were jettisoned and were observed floating nearby. The postlanding checklist was performed and uprighting occurred some 10 minutes later.

dabolton
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posted 01-13-2014 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why so long in stable 2? What if it didnt upright upself; was there a contingency plan to flip it with outside equipment. Thats a long time to hang by seatbelts.

Michael Davis
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posted 01-13-2014 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Davis   Click Here to Email Michael Davis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was a contingency to use a helicopter to pull the Command Module upright. It would use a line attached by the swimmers to the recovery hook.

10 minutes seems about normal for the time to upright the CM based upon the videos I have watched. It took some time for the three balloons to fully inflate.

LM-12
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posted 01-13-2014 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apollo 4 was stable I and Apollo 6 was stable II.

moorouge
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posted 01-13-2014 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Davis:
There was a contingency to use a helicopter to pull the Command Module upright. It would use a line attached by the swimmers to the recovery hook.

That is correct. However, there were a couple of riders to this. No attempt was to be made by the helicopter if the forward hatch had been removed and crew egress was being attempted using the Stable 2 procedures. The second was that there was a fixed procedure to be followed by the helicopter to ensure that all the deployed swimmers were in safe positions before any attempt to upright the capsule could begin.

The uprighting line had a breaking strain of between 1700 and 2000lbs. It usually took a pull of about 900lbs to return the capsule from Stable 2 to Stable 1.

On edit - here is photo of a recovery crew practising a Stable 2 situation -

LM-12
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posted 01-14-2014 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
S70-24016 is an Apollo 13 photo of Ken Mattingly training underwater in crew egress procedures with the CM in the stable II position.

Peter downunder
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posted 01-14-2014 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter downunder   Click Here to Email Peter downunder     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My question may be a little off topic, but did the CMP fly the spacecraft during re-entry from the left seat on all Apollo missions? Did the commander then take the centre seat?

dabolton
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posted 01-15-2014 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rather than use helicopters to pick up the capsules, why didn't they use Navy ships that had submersible rear decks. Just float the capsule onboard. Were these not common in the 60's?

Jim Behling
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posted 01-15-2014 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Only Mercury used helicopters. The later spacecraft were too heavy and were craned aboard the ship.

sev8n
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posted 01-15-2014 06:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Davis:
10 minutes seems about normal for the time to upright the CM based upon the videos I have watched. It took some time for the three balloons to fully inflate.
Recovery attitude and time to upright are documented here.

ea757grrl
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posted 01-15-2014 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dabolton:
Rather than use helicopters to pick up the capsules, why didn't they use Navy ships that had submersible rear decks. Just float the capsule onboard. Were these not common in the 60's?
I think this was considered at one point (and if I recall correctly, is being considered for the next generation of spacecraft), but the use of carriers allowed a lot of operational flexibility. Having the ability to launch E-1 AEW aircraft, for instance, provided additional radar coverage; likewise, being able to operate C-1 cargo planes could expedite flyoff of the crew (as on Apollo 8) or the first shipments of lunar samples (as on Apollo 11). There were several other advantages, as well (ample facilities for just about everything, well-equipped medical facilities, big decks, etc). In several ways, it just made life easier.

On the other hand, in those days there were plenty of smaller carriers (rebuilt veterans of WWII) still in the fleet, so it was easy to detail one for a recovery mission. When they left the fleet in the '60s and '70s (because the ASW role was being folded into the big carriers' air wings, and the old carriers were tired by then), it became more difficult.

That's just my $.02 from years of obsession with recovery ships....

moorouge
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posted 01-16-2014 02:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The recovery data posted by sev8n above is both interesting and comprehensive. Further, as an official NASA document one should have no reason to doubt its accuracy.

However, it is at odds with Ross Smith's excellent website on the recovery ships allocated to the Atlantic forces deployed. For Apollo 13 the document lists 2 as opposed to 3 by Ross; for Apollo 16 it is 1 as opposed to 3; for Apollo 17 it is 1 as opposed to 5.

On edit - righting from Stable 2 to Stable 1 was not just a function of how long it took for the righting balloons to inflate. This, by itself, was about ten minutes. However, in real conditions the actual time was also dependent on sea conditions such as wave height, swell and wind.

Michael Davis
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posted 01-16-2014 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Davis   Click Here to Email Michael Davis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also, the flotation balloons had to be manually activated by the crew. So in addition to the actual sea conditions and the time needed for balloon inflation, the response time of the crew was a factor. I assume that Apollo 7 took the longest time to go from Stable II to Stable I in part because they were the first to test the procedure. It appears that the later crews were quicker to the switch.


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