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  Apollo helmets for orbital and landing missions

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Author Topic:   Apollo helmets for orbital and landing missions
JasonB
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posted 07-09-2014 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did the Apollo missions pre-Apollo 11 only use bubble helmets and then start using visored white helmets for the moonwalkers? Is that why the command module pilot had to borrow a helmet for EVAs?

Or did the pre-Apollo 11 missions (and post 11 CMPs) also have a helmet besides the bubble one?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

onesmallstep
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posted 07-09-2014 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as I know, you are correct on both counts in your first paragraph. The 'white helmet' is actually a visor assembly that fits over the crewmembers' regular 'bubble' helmet and has the white thermal covering and gold sun visor.

Most were discarded, along with the PLSS backpacks, after the last lunar EVAs. But one was always retained during the J missions for the deep space EVAs by the CMPs.

JasonB
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posted 07-09-2014 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cool that's exactly what I was wondering. Thanks for the info.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-09-2014 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The visor overlay to the bubble helmet (formally, Pressure Helmet Assembly) was called the Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly (LEVA):
The LEVA is a light-and-heat attenuating assembly which fits over the clamps around the base of the Pressure Helmet Assembly (PHA). It provides additional protection from micrometeoroids and accidental damage to the PHA.

JasonB
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posted 07-09-2014 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Robert. I thought it was a separate, different helmet. I had no idea it was an attachment to the other helmet.

Captain Apollo
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posted 07-10-2014 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What of the red assembly worn on Apollo 9? That is a different set of visors?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-10-2014 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A discussion of the red helmets can be found here.
By mid 1969 (and possibly earlier) the red helmet was referred to as the EVVA helmet (Extravehicular Visor Assembly), to distinguish it from the LEVA (Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly).

...the EVVA comprised five main sub-assemblies; the shell assembly (the red bit), the protective visor, the sun visor, the hinge assemblies and the latching mechanism.

carmelo
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posted 07-10-2014 01:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Most were discarded, along with the PLSS backpacks, after the last lunar EVAs.
Discarded?

And if a contingency EVA for transfer from LEM to CM had been required? They could not performing a contingency EVA only with the "naked" bubble helmets.

Mike Dixon
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posted 07-10-2014 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My thoughts as well. I thought they were retained.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-10-2014 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't see any why the LEVA would be necessary, let alone required, for a contingency EVA to transfer to the command module. By definition, the spacewalk would be brief in duration, and the LEVA was designed to add extended thermal protection.

What am I missing?

As for the LEVA being returned, in addition to Scott's, Young's and Cernan's used for the trans-Earth spacewalks, the Smithsonian lists Armstrong's, Aldrin's, Irwin's and Schmitt's in the National Air and Space Museum collection.

Headshot
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posted 07-10-2014 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would have thought that the LEVA would have been needed for a contingency EVA to protect the LM crew's eyes from solar UV damage. Ed White had a gold visor for his Gemini IV EVA, which was supposed to be only 10 minutes long. Maybe I am missing something as well.

Does anyone know how long a contingency EVA might have lasted?

mikej
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posted 07-10-2014 06:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
Does anyone know how long a contingency EVA might have lasted?
According to the Apollo 9 Press Kit [direct link to 4.7M PDF], the planned extravehicular transfer (EVT) would have been about 20 minutes:
Egress, EVT to CM, and ingress CM -- 20 min.

Headshot
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posted 07-10-2014 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That gets us in the ballpark.

But for an actual lunar contingency EVA there are two astronauts (not one as for Apollo IX) and, big assumption here, two rock boxes. So I am going to guess 30 minutes.

I sure would not want to be out there that long without a LEVA.

JasonB
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posted 07-10-2014 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Were Stafford and Cernan given anything besides the "bubble helmet" for Apollo 10? If not I would assume that they figured an EVA from the LM to the CM was highly unlikely and the need for anything else unnecessary.

LM-12
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posted 07-10-2014 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The LMP also wore a LEVA helmet during the transearth EVA.

Photo S72-37001 shows both Ken Mattingly and Charlie Duke during the Apollo 16 transearth EVA. Both are wearing the LEVA helmets.

Mattingly was wearing Duke's OPS during the transearth EVA. So that means all three crewmembers wore Duke's OPS at some point in the mission:

  • Charlie Duke on EVA-1 and EVA-2
  • John Young on EVA-3
  • Ken Mattingly on the transearth EVA

LM-12
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posted 07-11-2014 01:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JasonB:
Were Stafford and Cernan given anything besides the "bubble helmet" for Apollo 10?
The stowage list for the Apollo 10 LM includes these items:
  • PLSS (1)
  • OPS (2)
  • EVVA (2)

carmelo
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posted 07-11-2014 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that 30 minutes of EVA only with the bubble helmet is not suitable and safe. Crews from Apollo 11 to Apollo 17 had EVVA?

Space Cadet Carl
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posted 07-11-2014 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Cadet Carl   Click Here to Email Space Cadet Carl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim Lovell's unused LEVA from Apollo 13 is on display at the Alder Planetarium in Chicago. Lovell customized it with naval aviator logos before the flight and as far as I know he was the only astronaut to ever customize his LEVA with special graphics.

LM-12
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posted 07-11-2014 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photo AS17-152-23376 was taken during the Apollo 17 transearth EVA. Is that Ron Evans or Jack Schmitt?

The astronaut does not seem to be wearing an OPS in the photo, and he is facing the Sun, so I would say that is Jack Schmitt.

Captain Apollo
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posted 07-11-2014 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One PLSS and an EVVA for Apollo 10... I suppose there is a fantasy in which this happens:

ozspace
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posted 09-07-2014 11:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ozspace   Click Here to Email ozspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
John Young on EVA-3
Why did John wear Charlie's OPS on EVA-3? Did only one have a camera bracket?

David C
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posted 09-07-2014 11:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not aware of any camera bracket on the OPS, do you mean the RCU?

ozspace
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posted 09-07-2014 11:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ozspace   Click Here to Email ozspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I was thinking the RCU was all part of OPS, but they are referred to separately, thanks. Found the answer on Working on the Moon: "The OPSs are identical but, because the antenna on John's broke during post-EVA-2 ingress and his PLSS is the only one with comm electronics for relaying to the LM or LCRU, they will swap OPSs for EVA-3."

LM-12
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posted 09-08-2014 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Young can be seen wearing Duke's OPS in AS16-116-18577 taken on EVA-3.

LM-12
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posted 09-23-2014 01:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In this Skylab 3 EVA photo, it looks like Owen Garriott has his gold sun visor and his protective visor up on his SEVA helmet.

So I would say that he is looking through his pressure helmet assembly only.

Captain Apollo
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posted 09-23-2014 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That photo of John Young is dreadfully damaged.

LM-12
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posted 09-24-2014 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Young changed film magazines on his CDR camera at Station 9. All the EVA photos taken with the CDR camera after that are smudged.

Back to helmets ... this photo of Al Bean is a good shot of the visors.

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/skylab/skylab3/html/sl3-122-2612.html

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