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  Photo of the week 373 (December 24, 2011)

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Author Topic:   Photo of the week 373 (December 24, 2011)
heng44
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Posts: 2582
From: Netherlands
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posted 12-23-2011 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

This is a photo taken during the Gemini 9 flight by command pilot Tom Stafford, as pilot Gene Cernan was performing his EVA on June 5, 1966.

It appears unremarkable, as Cernan is out of frame. But take a good look at the bottom of the picture, just to the right of the umbilical.

We can see the mirror that Cernan installed on the nose of the spacecraft at the start of his EVA. It would enable Stafford to see Cernan as he was working with the AMU at the back of the adapter section. In that mirror we can see Cernan's reflection as he floats above the spacecraft.

An enlarged portion of the photo has been reversed, so that the correct hatch is open. It makes you wish that Stafford could have used a telephoto lens, because then we would have some spectacular photos of Cernan's EVA.

Ed Hengeveld

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 12-23-2011 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a good shot of that mirror in photo S66-38048. Interesting photo of the week. You sure can miss a lot in low-res photos.

Henry Heatherbank
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Posts: 146
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 12-23-2011 11:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed, as a long time admirer of the effort you put into these photos, this is one of the best in my opinion.

The whole mirror set-up on those Gemini EVAs has been a mystery to me, having read it about it often enough. But to see it in one of your weekly photos is quite a thrill.

Well done, Merry Xmas and please keep up this great work in 2012. In fact, I have a challenge for you: not sure if you take requests, but I would love to see a close-up photo (preferably taken from outside on EVA) of the surplus Gemini hatch used as an outer airlock door on Skylab ...

heng44
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Posts: 2582
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 12-24-2011 02:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Henry, a Merry Christmas to you too. And to all the others who visit my Photo of the Week feature regularly.

And, yes: I do take requests. I think I have something on the Skylab/Gemini hatch. Watch this space...

Henry Heatherbank
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From: Adelaide, South Australia
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posted 12-24-2011 04:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By the way, what happened to these mirrors at the end of the EVAs? Presumably detached by the pilot and discarded into orbit? They wouldn't have left them attached, and I can't imagine they'd be retrieved and stowed for return.

heng44
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From: Netherlands
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posted 12-24-2011 05:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At the end of the EVA the mirror was removed and (presumably) discarded.

Henry, I'll do a bonus Photo of the Week tomorrow for the Skylab EVA hatch. I found some interesting photos.

Henry Heatherbank
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Posts: 146
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 12-24-2011 05:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed, you are a dead-set legend. What a great Xmas present for all followers of this site! Thanks very much!

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

posted 12-24-2011 05:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The mirror was attached to the docking bar early in the EVA. I believe it was left in place at the end of the EVA and only "removed" when the docking bar was jettisoned later in the mission. Aren't there post-EVA photos that show the mirror attached to the docking bar?

Nice work, Ed!

heng44
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From: Netherlands
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posted 12-24-2011 07:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Post-EVA photos show the docking bar without the mirror, so it was presumably removed at the end of the EVA, before the bar was jettisoned.

Lou Chinal
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From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 12-24-2011 07:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed, once again - SPECTACULAR! But that's a common compliment for you to hear.

nasamad
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From: Essex, UK
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posted 12-24-2011 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amazing shot Ed, looking forward to the Skylab hatch pic, a great bit of recycling by NASA!

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

posted 12-24-2011 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for checking the post-EVA photos, Ed.

I'm actually remembering the Gemini XI and XII Agena tether experiments, where they attached the Agena tether with a clamp to the Gemini docking bar. They later jettisoned the docking bar with clamp attached.

garymilgrom
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From: Atlanta, GA, USA
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posted 12-24-2011 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great photo and even better research and explanation Ed. Thank you.

mach3valkyrie
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Posts: 210
From: Albany, Oregon USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 12-24-2011 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was this the only Gemini mission that had a mirror attached for the EVA? Gemini 9 certainly had the most ambitious EVA planned in the program. Glad to see more photos from this flight.

Thanks Ed!

mikepf
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From: San Jose, California, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 12-25-2011 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed, thanks for the great Christmas present, a double Photo of the Week! That mirror shot is just fantastic! Happy Holidays to you.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-23-2013 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is some Gemini 9A EVA footage of Gene Cernan at 1:27 into this British Pathe film clip. Also, watch the hatch blow open after splashdown at 2:29 into the clip. It strikes one of the Navy divers and sends him flying.

ozspace
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From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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posted 03-24-2013 07:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ozspace   Click Here to Email ozspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, that is an amazing clip! That driver could have been seriously injured/killed if he was closer to the hatch, e.g. looking through the window, etc. I am sure they tightened the hatch opening procedure after that!

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 03-24-2013 07:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a close-up view of two of the divers.

LM-12
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posted 04-02-2013 08:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The mirror is mentioned in the technical debriefing:

STAFFORD: After Gene installed the docking bar mirror, I could immediately see that it was a wonderful tool. I could see a wonderful view of the spacecraft looking aft. I could see the spacecraft looking aft and I could see the earth below us and the sky above. I could also follow Gene anytime he was in any field of view aft of the docking bar mirror. I followed him all the way back to the rear of the spacecraft, and he went back to don the AMU. I think that the docking bar mirror is a real wonderful device. My only recommendation is the fact that it should possibly be larger. If it was larger it would give you more resolution as far as observing the outside crewmember. Now one disadvantage is sunset. The sun went right on the docking bar mirror and back in my face and nearly blinded me to nearly the same extent as the sun was in my face during the boost phase. I had to turn my head and close one eye to keep the brilliant sunlight from coming off the docking bar mirror into my face. It is imperative that the docking bar mirror be removed during EVA exercise and not remain in position.

LM-12
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posted 06-22-2013 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Gemini 9A EVA timeline shows when the docking bar mirror was attached and removed.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 07-18-2013 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A mirror was to be attached to the docking bar by David Scott during his scheduled EVA on Gemini 8, according to the flight plan.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 08-04-2013 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Gemini 11 press kit description of EVA activities includes this paragraph:
Egressing the spacecraft, he will work his way to the Agena Target Docking Adapter, behind which is stored the 100-foot Dacron tether to link Agena and Gemini 11. He will withdraw the spacecraft end of the tether from the storage bag and loop it over the spacecraft docking bar, tightening the clamp to hold the tether in place. He will install the docking bar mirror, then return to the cabin area to change film in the 16mm camera and remount it so the lens points back toward the Power Tool Evaluation experiment worksite on the adapter. He will move back along the handrail, plug the quick-disconnect fitting on one end of the HHMU umbilical into the nitrogen valve fitting, and will commence the D-16 experiment.
The Gemini 11 umbilical EVA by Richard Gordon was cut short because of fatigue. In the technical crew debriefing, Gordon talks about working at the docking bar during the EVA:
GORDON: Anyhow, I finally got the clamp on to my satisfaction. The tether was in place. There was one test remaining to do up there, and that was to install the mirror. I took one tug at the cover that was over that mirror, and it didn't give an inch. I just gave it up and said forget it. I came back to the hatch.

LM-12
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posted 08-05-2013 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the mission transcripts at 24:17:58 GET:

CC: Gemini 11, Houston. Did you get the docking mirror up? Over.
C: No. We decided to skip that one.
CC: Roger.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 09-03-2013 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were also two rear-view mirrors attached to the hand holds at the back of the adapter section to assist Cernan in donning the AMU.

Cernan seems to be using one of the mirrors during training in this photo.
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/gemini/gemini9/lores/s66-31665.jpg

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