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  Apollo-Soyuz: Plans for loss of Saturn IB? (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Apollo-Soyuz: Plans for loss of Saturn IB?
Fra Mauro
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posted 10-25-2013 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What would have happened had there been an abort on the Saturn launch for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project? Was there another Saturn 1B available to launch the mission at a later date?

Paul78zephyr
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posted 10-25-2013 08:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Or on the Soyuz? What were the contingency plans for various failures — including launch failures/aborts — for this mission?

Fra Mauro
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posted 10-25-2013 08:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was another Soyuz, launch vehicle and backup crew on the pad on launch day. So the Soviets were ready for that, although I doubt they would have launched if there was a catastrophic failure.

bwhite1976
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posted 10-25-2013 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would assume that with the loss of the Saturn 1B in flight or on the pad the ASTP program would have been over.

Fra Mauro
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posted 10-25-2013 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That was my thought as well---in 1975, our government wouldn't have shelled out the money for another launch.

Headshot
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posted 10-25-2013 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I reviewed the July/August 1975 issues of Aviation Week and Space Technology. After the ASTP mission there was none of the usual "Gee, we should do this again" comments. So I don't believe NASA had a back-up launch vehicle, and maybe not even a flight ready back-up Apollo CSM.

schnappsicle
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posted 10-25-2013 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a complete Saturn V at Johnson Space Center. Could they have used that?

Also, when did that vehicle arrive at JSC? I lived about 2 miles down the road from JSC back in the early 70's, and I seem to remember seeing it then. Was that one of the unused flight ready vehicles, or was that just some sort of empty museum pieces?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-25-2013 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Saturn V stages arrived in Houston in 1977 after its title was transferred to the Smithsonian.

The vehicle was assembled from hardware originally intended for four different missions. The first (S-IC-14) and third (S-IVB-513) stages were scheduled for the Apollo 18 or 19 lunar landings. The second stage (S-II-15) was meant as a backup to launch the first U.S. space station Skylab.

The command module (No. 115) was intended for an unspecified Apollo or Skylab flight.

LM-12
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posted 10-25-2013 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The ASTP Fact Sheet identifies the prime vehicles as Saturn-IB #210 and CSM #111, and the backup vehicles as Saturn-IB #209 and CSM #119.

mikej
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posted 10-25-2013 05:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by schnappsicle:
There is a complete Saturn V at Johnson Space Center... Also, when did that vehicle arrive at JSC? I lived about 2 miles down the road from JSC back in the early 70's, and I seem to remember seeing it then.
This page has some photos of the arrival of the Saturn stages and the construction of the display.

Skylon
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posted 10-26-2013 06:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
The ASTP Fact Sheet identifies the prime vehicles as Saturn-IB #210 and CSM #111, and the backup vehicles as Saturn-IB #209 and CSM #119.

Both of which currently reside at KSC (the Rocket Garden for the Saturn, and the Saturn V display for the CSM).

I file with this what I thought could happen if Skylab had crashed into the Atlantic. There was hardware designated as "backup" - and some funds may have been set aside, but was there the political will? For Skylab I am not sure, but ASTP I would say it is more likely they would fly the backup - provided whatever happened top the prime vehicle wasn't fatal to the crew. There was too much of a political connection to ASTP - the Ford Administration would not want to stand on the world stage as the ones who screwed up, then quit at even this little gesture of detente.

ZANL188
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posted 10-26-2013 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ZANL188   Click Here to Email ZANL188     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seems to me the main limiting factor for flying a second Saturn IB for ASTP would be the availability of a docking module. Was there a second DM readily available?

LM-12
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posted 10-26-2013 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apparently there was. DM-2 was the flown docking module and DM-1 was the backup.

Blackarrow
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posted 10-26-2013 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the days leading up to the ASTP launches the only thing that worried me was the weather. I was in Cocoa Beach several days before the launch, and on four consecutive days there were thunderstorms with lightning and downpours at the very time the Apollo launch was due to take place. Tom Stafford was quoted as being worried about the weather. The first good day was the day before the launch, and launch-day (15th July) was almost as good. It never entered my head that the Soyuz might fail, or that the Apollo might fail. NASA said the launch would take place on 15th July, and I had total faith that would happen (weather permitting!)

I will admit to a momentary concern watching live coverage of the Soyuz launch that morning: just after the Soyuz lifted off the pad the TV picture flared and for a moment I wondered if the launch-vehicle had exploded. Fortunately the rocket quickly emerged from the glare and my heart settled. The rest is history.

LM-12
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posted 10-26-2013 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The ASTP Press Kit mentions the launch windows. A launch on the 19th would have resulted in a docked duration of only 7.5 hours.
Based upon a maximum mission time of six days for the Soyuz spacecraft and a nominal liftoff of Soyuz at 8:20 am Eastern Daylight Time on July 15, 1975, five launch opportunities exist for the Saturn IB/Apollo ...

... The second Soyuz launch is planned primarily in the event the first Soyuz has been launched and Apollo cannot take advantage of its five launch opportunities. In this case, the second Soyuz will be launched whenever the Apollo is ready, the rendezvous will be attempted as in the nominal plan ...

moorouge
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posted 10-26-2013 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A lot of this conjecture is discussed and recorded in 'The Partnership' by Edward and Linda Ezell.

Incidentally, I flew into Orlando from Huntsville sitting next to a NASA computer technician who was flying in to reprogramme the computers and extend the launch window available for the Apollo.

schnappsicle
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posted 10-28-2013 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The Saturn V stages arrived in Houston in 1977 after its title was transferred to the Smithsonian.

Wow, I must be getting old. I have memories of seeing it back in 1972. Perhaps I'm just thinking of the Mercury display next to it.

RISPACE
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posted 10-28-2013 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RISPACE     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
The ASTP Fact Sheet identifies the prime vehicles as Saturn-IB #210 and CSM #111, and the backup vehicles as Saturn-IB #209 and CSM #119.

I am not seeing it anywhere, but do you know if it mentions if the back-up vehicle (SA-209) was in the VAB and what the turnaround time would be to launch?

Ronpur
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posted 10-28-2013 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With only one milkstool, it took a while to stack a new Saturn 1B. I found a reference saying a Skylab Rescue mission needed 48 days to refurbish the pad and rollout to 39B.

And if the abort had been on the pad and the milkstool had been damaged I doubt very highly that there would be a reflight.

LM-12
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posted 10-28-2013 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RISPACE:
do you know if it mentions if the back-up vehicle (SA-209) was in the VAB
Saturn-IB #209 was also the Skylab Rescue Vehicle for Skylab 4, so I would say it was still in the VAB.

moorouge
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posted 10-29-2013 03:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Read 'The Partnership'.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-29-2013 05:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Granted, it has been a while since I have read The Partnership, but as its text is online in its entirety, it allows for a quick search using Google's site-specific tools.

I've quickly gone through this morning with the keywords failure, backup, abort, weather, replace(ment), Saturn IB and a few others and have come up empty on citations relevant to this discussion (other than then tangential subject of the U.S. media's and Senator Proximire's concerns over the Soyuz launch failure preceding ASTP).

Can you help by citing the specific pages or passages, or chapter, where the topic of a Saturn IB backup is discussed?

moorouge
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posted 10-29-2013 06:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert - like you a quick scan didn't come up with a specific answer. However, the solution might be found in documents ASTP 40 300; 40 301; 40 500 that discuss Joint Crew Activities Plan, Prime and Alternate Missions.

This said, the general impression left by the book is that neither the Americsns nor the Soviets expected any launch failures on the day, though of course there were contingency plans for unexpected problems once both craft were in orbit.

328KF
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posted 10-29-2013 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another thing to consider is that in the event of an American launch failure, the Soyuz would have already been in orbit. Therefore, following the significant delay to ready a new Apollo vehicle, the Soviets would have to fly a new ship, presumably with the same crew.

As an aside, I recently looked at the Nova program Astrospies. It's interesting to note that during the entire development of ASTP and for years thereafter, the Soviets had built and flown a series of manned spy platforms - the Almaz program under the cover names Salyut 2, 3 ,and 5. Salyut 2 failed, 3 was manned by Soyuz 14 in July of 1974, and Soyuz 15 failed to dock.

Salyut 5 launched in June of 1976, and was successfully manned twice in three attempts, and a fourth mission was scrubbed after the station ran out of fuel. That crew and spacecraft eventually flew to Salyut 6.

I found it interesting that all of this military activity aimed at spying on the U.S. was happening at the same time we were separately working together with the Soviets on the joint program. One has to wonder if, following a U.S. launch failure, the Soviets could have released a new launch vehicle and spacecraft for the re-flight, given that they continued to have problems getting Soyuz craft to dock with their spying platforms.

More concerning would have been the political will to do so, as the Cold War began heating up again not long after ASTP, and there is little doubt that the American spy agencies themselves were well aware of the covert nature of the "hidden in plain sight" Salyut stations.

Blackarrow
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posted 10-29-2013 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
I found it interesting that all of this military activity aimed at spying on the U.S. was happening at the same time we were separately working together with the Soviets on the joint program....
Nothing changes. Check current news items about which countries are bugging which countries...

moorouge
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posted 10-30-2013 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was it Henry Kissinger who said, "America has neither friends nor enemies, just interests."

moorouge
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posted 10-30-2013 04:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is just off the top of my head and I haven't checked the dates or time scale.

The original Saturn 1B actually used had corrosion problems that necessitated the changing of the fins. Is it logical that if the second vehicle was in better condition they would have swopped, or can one infer that this vehicle wasn't flight worthy?

Blackarrow
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posted 10-30-2013 06:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The third Skylab Saturn 1B had corrosion problems in the fins. There were press pictures at the time (probably late summer 1973) showing fins being replaced. I'm not sure if the ASTP launch vehicle had any traces of corrosion but they certainly must have checked after the Skylab 4 experience.

moorouge
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posted 10-30-2013 07:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Launch vehicle SA-210 was manufactured in 1967 and had cracks caused by stress corrosion. A full account may be found in Appendix F of 'The Partnership'.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 10-30-2013 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Was it Henry Kissinger who said, "America has neither friends nor enemies, just interests."

Maybe my father, who was in gov't service, "borrowed" the quote, but he was fond of saying, "There are no permanent friends, just permanent interests."

Blackarrow
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posted 10-30-2013 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Launch vehicle SA-210 was manufactured in 1967 and had cracks caused by stress corrosion.
Eddie, as we both know, it worked fine on the day!

LM-12
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posted 01-05-2014 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How many Saturn-IB rollouts were there to pad B? Was it six?

Lou Chinal
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posted 01-06-2014 06:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ZANL188:
Was there a second DM readily available?
Yes. It is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum. The U.S. side of the display is flight worthy hardware. The Russian in not.

Fra Mauro
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posted 01-24-2014 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's interesting that while the Apollo-Soyuz CM was the last one to fly it was not the last one produced.

LM-12
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posted 01-24-2014 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a photo of the SA-209 backup launch vehicle in the VAB transfer aisle in September 1973. Skylab 4 was on the pad and launched in November. SA-209 rolled out to pad B as the Rescue Vehicle for Skylab 4 in December.

RISPACE
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posted 01-25-2014 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RISPACE     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
How many Saturn-IB rollouts were there to pad B? Was it six?

Should be just four: Skylab 2, 3 and 4 as well as ASTP.

RISPACE
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posted 01-25-2014 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RISPACE     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
Here is a photo of the SA-209 backup launch vehicle in the VAB transfer aisle in September 1973...
Great picture. Was the meeting of all of these NASA personnel for the Skylab 4 launch?

LM-12
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posted 01-25-2014 08:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was a VAB ceremony for the first Skylab crew when they returned to KSC after their flight.

Regarding the rollouts, I also counted the SA-206/FVV rollout to pad B for fit checks on January 9, and the rollout of the SA-209 Rescue Vehicle for Skylab 4 on December 3. Both were rolled back to the VAB.

Tom
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posted 01-25-2014 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wasn't a Skylab Rescue vehicle rolled out to the pad in August 1973 as well... following the thruster issues on Skylab 3.

LM-12
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posted 01-25-2014 11:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Skylab 4 vehicle would have been used to rescue the Skylab 3 crew. This excerpt is from the "Mission Definition" in the Mission Requirements: Skylab Rescue Mission SL-R document:
The SL-R mission will utilize the next-in-line CSM and the corresponding Saturn IB Launch Vehicle as the rescue vehicle for the SL-1/SL-2 or SL-3 crew. The backup CSM and Saturn IB will be used as the rescue vehicle for the SL-4 crew.

The in-line and backup CSM/Launch Vehicle System shall continue in a normal state of launch readiness preparations for the nominal mission until a decision is made to proceed with SL-R space vehicle preparation; then, total systems preparations for launch readiness shall be conducted according to an accelerated schedule. For the in-line mission vehicle, the rescue field modification kit would be installed upon receipt of the rescue call; for the backup CSM (CSM 119)/Launch Vehicle (LV 209), the kit would be installed during the planned test and checkout flow.


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