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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo A7L LEVA helmet assembly: Gold visors

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Author Topic:   Apollo A7L LEVA helmet assembly: Gold visors
JasonB
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posted 11-19-2013 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could someone please tell me which Apollo crews and astronauts the gold visor helmets were issued to? Was it just the moonwalkers, did the command module pilot get one too and were they issued before Apollo 11?

I seem to recall seeing David Scott wearing one on Apollo 9, too. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

onesmallstep
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From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-19-2013 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I seem to recall on this forum or in a book that only the CDR and LMP on moon landing flights got the helmet/gold visors. In fact, the CMPs on the J missions (15-17) had to 'borrow' one of their crewmates' helmet/visors for the deep-space EVAs to retrieve film from the CM SIM bay.

Apollo 9 was an exception because only Scott and Schweickart were scheduled for an EVA.

JasonB
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posted 11-19-2013 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the info!

Headshot
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From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 11-21-2013 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know if any of the gold visors were flown on second missions, i.e. were any recycled?

space1
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From: Danville, Ohio, USA
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 11-21-2013 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The coating is susceptible to scratching, so I am sure they would not have been flown more than once. Neil Armstrong's visor at the Smithsonian has been scratched from having been opened and closed so many times over the years that curators are determined that it will never be opened again.

JasonB
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posted 01-24-2014 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Apollo 11, Michael Collins didn't have or use a gold visored helmet did he? I assume he was just issued a clear visor one and had no reason to use the gold ones issued to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin but just wanted to make sure. Thanks.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Michael Davis
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From: Houston, Texas
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 01-24-2014 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Davis   Click Here to Email Michael Davis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct. The gold visors went only to the CDR and LMP.

You can actually see this in the individual Apollo 11 crew portraits. Collins has a standard visor and both Armstrong and Aldrin are fitted with the gold visor version.

Jim Behling
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From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 01-24-2014 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Technically Collins didn't have a visor. He only had a clear helmet, which Armstrong and Aldrin also had (see crew walkout on launch day). What Collins didn't have was a LEVA helmet assembly, which Armstrong and Aldrin attached to their helmet on orbit.

JasonB
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posted 01-24-2014 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cool thanks for the info!

davidcwagner
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Posts: 532
From: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 01-24-2014 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for davidcwagner   Click Here to Email davidcwagner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the 1980's, I was a bartender at an Air Force Officer's Club. An SR-71 pilot came in madder than hell because his suit tech had broken a gold visor. The pilot said the gold visor was a "hand me down" from Project Apollo. They were highly prized by SR-71 pilots because they were better than the newer acrylic gold visors. According to the pilot, the Apollo visors were quartz made by a one-man shop in California. Forming a visor out of quartz was this man's trade secret. The man died and took the secret with him according to the SR-71 pilot.

Any others ever here this story? Any data on how these quartz gold visors were made?

Kizzi
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Posts: 14
From: Manchester, England
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 01-28-2014 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kizzi   Click Here to Email Kizzi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is good link discussing the physics of gold as a reflective material for space helmet visors.

Towards the end, it makes a couple of interesting points.

  1. The gold will give a green/blue hue to objects viewed through the visor. Perhaps the moon appeared to be made of Stilton?

  2. Gold is good at reflecting IR wavelengths (heat) but poor at reflecting UV. Fortunately, poly-carbonate is good at absorbing UV. Which made me remember from my physics lab days using a UV lamp. Quartz doesn't absorb UV at all. So it's unlikely the visors would have been made of that.

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