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  Photo of the week 677 (October 14, 2017)

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Author Topic:   Photo of the week 677 (October 14, 2017)
heng44
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posted 10-13-2017 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong prepares for a flight in the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle at Ellington Air Force Base. Over a period of three days June 14-16, 1969, he completed eight flights in the vehicle for a total flight time of 40 min. 14 sec. During these eight flights he made 14 takeoffs and landings, six of which were in the lunar simulation mode.

Delta7
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posted 10-13-2017 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd be curious to know if Jim Lovell made similar flights as Armstrong's backup.

onesmallstep
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posted 10-13-2017 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes he did — this thread from five years back mentions a NASA litho with signatures of the astronauts/test pilots who flew the LLTV, and Lovell is among them.

mmcmurrey
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posted 10-13-2017 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mmcmurrey   Click Here to Email mmcmurrey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm surprised from the old thread no one brought up the 6 May 1968 LLRV mishap where Neil's takeoff and landing didn't come out even (NASA s-68-31662).

LM-12
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posted 10-13-2017 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
...if Jim Lovell made similar flights as Armstrong's backup.
The NASA document (NASA SP-2004-4535) on the other thread mentioned indicates on page 195 that Lovell made no LLRV or LLTV flights as Apollo 11 backup commander. He made 22 LLTV flights as Apollo 13 commander.
With the exception of Anders and Borman - who made LLRV flights before mission assignments were firm - only prime and backup LM commanders flew the LLRVs or LLTVs. However, Lovell, backup commander on Apollo 11, had no LLRV or LLTV training at all before Apollo 11 launched due to the crashes of LLRV No. 1 and LLTV No. 1.

LM-12
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posted 10-14-2017 11:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That would seem to contradict the Apollo 11 crew training summary that has "LLTV-Lovell" on June 30 and July 1, 1969.

Jonnyed
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posted 10-14-2017 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonnyed   Click Here to Email Jonnyed     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope this isn't a dumb question but: Why would the oxygen mask be necessary?

LM-12
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posted 10-14-2017 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is "951" the vehicle that crashed in January 1971?

oly
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posted 10-14-2017 10:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jonnyed:
Why would the oxygen mask be necessary?
The mask would be used for a few reasons, By design the helmet is designed with a chin strap and the mask frame to hold it secure during an ejection, The exhaust from the jet engine and rocket motors produce poisonous fumes and the mask has the microphone inside, the mask helps shield outside noise like jet engine sound.

Jonnyed
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posted 10-16-2017 09:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonnyed   Click Here to Email Jonnyed     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oly, thanks much for the explanations... all good reasons for the mask.

stsmithva
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posted 10-16-2017 09:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jonnyed:
Why would the oxygen mask be necessary?
I've seen that photo a dozen times, and never thought about how the LLTV's low altitude should make it unnecessary. Thanks for asking - I learned some more cool Apollo details.

LM-12
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posted 10-16-2017 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The nasa.gov website mentions these vehicle designations:
After assessing LLRV flight data and recommendations from Dryden and the Manned Spacecraft Center, NASA Headquarters ordered three Lunar Landing Training Vehicles (LLTVs) from Bell in mid-1966. Bearing new names, the LLTVs were nearly identical to the Dryden vehicles except for a few minor improvements to more closely match the LMs. The new vehicles were designated LLTV B1, B2, and B3 and cost $2.5 million each. Manned Spacecraft Center pilots who had already accumulated experience in the LLRVs at Dryden made initial flights with each vehicle ...

At the end of 1966, NASA centralized its lunar landing training program at the Manned Spacecraft Center and LLRV No. 1 was shipped to Texas on Dec. 12.

The first free flight of LLRV No. 2 was made at Dryden in January 1967 with (Jack) Kleuver in the cockpit. It flew at Dryden five more times and then joined its sister ship, LLRV No. 1, in Texas where both received modifications in controls and cockpit configuration to match the three newer LLTVs. At that point, Dryden's two LLRVs were redesignated LLTV A1 and A2 ...

The most celebrated ejection was by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong. On May 6, 1968, Armstrong was about 30 feet off the ground in LLTV A1 -- the No. 1 vehicle from Dryden -- when helium pressure in the propellant tanks failed and caused the attitude control system to quit. As the vehicle began pitching up and rolling, Armstrong ejected. The trainer fell to the ground and exploded.

Seven months later, a Manned Spacecraft Center pilot, Joe Algranti, was flying LLTV B1 when gusty winds threw it out of control and he had to eject just seconds before it hit the ground.

The last accident was on Jan. 29, 1971, when LLTV B2 was hit by an electrical system failure that knocked out the attitude control system. Instructor pilot Stu Present ejected while the vehicle crashed to the ground.

LM-12
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posted 10-18-2017 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 8 crew training summary seems to indicate that Buzz Aldrin (the backup LMP for Mission E) also flew the LLTV. In late April 1968, the training summary includes "LLTV (in minutes and seconds)" for:
  • Anders 30:23
  • Aldrin 23:39
  • Armstrong 19:28

heng44
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posted 10-18-2017 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wrote an article on LLRV-LLTV training, which was published in the December 1992 issue of Spaceflight. Here is the portion dealing with training in Houston leading up to Apollo 11:
In the meantime, preparations for the first manned Apollo mission were picking up speed and in November 1967 the prime and backup crew assignments for the second and third flights were announced. It was part of the normal crewing policy that a backup team would skip the next two flights and then be assigned to a prime crew. This made the backup crews for the second and third Apollo flights eligible for assignment to a possible lunar landing mission further down the line. Therefore, the backup commanders of these flights, Pete Conrad and Neil Armstrong, respectively, were the first astronauts to begin training in the LLRV in early 1968.

The ungainly-looking vehicles were by now considered essential to lunar landing training. Plans were made to move two of the LLTVs to the Kennedy Space Center, so astronauts would have access to them until just before launch. They would be operated from the so-called Skid Strip, an old landing strip at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Disaster

By early May 1968, Conrad had made 13 flights in LLRV no. 1, still the only craft being flown at Ellington. On May 6, Neil Armstrong made his 21st flight in the vehicle and it ended in disaster.

Armstrong lifted off and flew to an altitude of about 150 meters, where he began a simulated lunar landing. When he had descended to about 70 meters, the LLRV began to pitch forward while picking up speed. Armstrong tried to halt this forward velocity by using his attitude control thrusters, but they did not respond properly and the vehicle started tilting to the right. When he was flying on his right side, Armstrong realized that he would not be able to stop this motion and he wisely ejected. Seconds later the LLRV crashed in a field and burned. Armstrong landed by parachute and walked away without injuries. The only damage, he said later, was that he bit his tongue...

Initially there was great concern that the accident would have a serious impact on the design of the actual Lunar Module. LM-1 had made an unmanned space flight in January 1968 and it would not be good news if a serious design flaw were to be found this far along in the program. While the LLRV was grounded, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth appointed a five-man board of investigation to track down the cause of the crash. Among its members were pilots Joe Algranti and Don Mallick, as well as astronaut Bill Anders, who was in training as lunar module pilot for the third Apollo mission. On May 16, NASA Headquarters in Washington took the unusual step of forming a second review board to work with the team from Houston.

After a thorough investigation that lasted all summer, both groups reported on October 17, 1968, that the cause of the crash was not related to the design of the LM. It was found that helium in the propellant tanks had been depleted earlier than normal, resulting in insufficient pressure to force the hydrogen peroxide fuel to the attitude control rockets. A number of improvements was recommended and the boards concluded that the accident would have no bad effects on the lunar landing program.

First LLTV Flight

Two weeks earlier, on October 3, 1968, the first LLTV had made its maiden flight at Ellington AFB. Joe Algranti made a four-minute checkout, during which he reached a maximum altitude of about 15 meters. The three LLTVs incorporated changes that were the result of the initial LLRV test program at FRC and their systems were more like that of the real LM. Each one had cost about $2.5 million.

During October and November, Algranti and Ream made 14 flights in the no. 1 vehicle. Astronaut training in the LLRV and LLTV had been suspended after the crash and it was important that it be resumed as soon as possible. Apollo-7 had flown in October and now Apollo-8 was about to be launched. If all went well, men would try to land on the moon in seven months.

On December 8, Algranti took off in LLTV no. 1 for a final checkout of the vehicle before it would be released for astronaut training. It was the 15th flight for this particular craft. About four minutes into his planned six-minute flight, when he had descended from 160 to about 65 meters, Algranti suddenly experienced stability problems. He ended the simulated lunar landing to regain control of his craft. That caused severe lateral oscillations, after which the LLTV began to fall like a brick. Algranti wasted no time and ejected, one second before the vehicle crashed and exploded. He landed safely nearby, his only injury being thigh bruises from the force of ejection.

The implications of this second crash were potentially serious. Had something vital been overlooked? Was the vehicle unsafe? If it was, there was not enough time to redesign it. Astronaut Wally Schirra, who had just commanded the Apollo-7 mission, was named head of the investigating team in Houston. On January 8, 1969, NASA Administrator Tom Paine asked the review board from NASA Headquarters that had studied Armstrong's accident to review its findings and determine if there was any connection between the two crashes. Next day, the crew for the Apollo-11 mission was named. If Apollos 9 and 10 were successful, astronauts Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin would be launched in July on the first lunar landing mission. Time was beginning to run out.

With the LLTV grounded, NASA began preparations to shift the important lunar landing training to Langley's tethered LLRF, in case findings of the Schirra commission would point to a serious problem with the LLTVs. A number of astronauts had made familiarization flights in the LLRF, but only Armstrong and Aldrin were qualified to fly it in the lunar simulation mode. It was not comparable to the LLTV when it came to giving the pilot a realistic "feel" of flying the LM, but there was no alternative.

Training Resumes

In the meantime, preparations at Ellington AFB continued for resumption of qualification flights in LLTV no. 2. Wally Schirra's investigation had soon focused on wind conditions during the December 8 accident. Since Joe Walker's first flight in 1964 there had been strict flight rules for LLTV operations. Winds were not to exceed 7m/s during takeoff or 9m/s at maximum altitude. Surface winds had been calm when Algranti took off, but later wind velocities of up to 15m/s had been measured at altitude. It was possible that this had caused the LLTV to become unstable.

No immediate connection between the two accidents was found and on April 7, 1969, Bud Ream successfully completed a six-minute flight in LLTV no. 2. For safety reasons the thrust level of the attitude control thrusters had been increased. About a dozen flights were planned before astronauts would be allowed to fly the vehicle again. Plans to use the LLTVs at the Kennedy Space Center just before Apollo-11 had been abandoned because of the fast-approaching launch date.

On June 5, Schirra's team presented its findings. They concluded that "the primary cause of the accident was that the vehicle entered a region of flight where aerodynamic moments overpowered the control system in use, such that attitude control was lost". In other words, a gust of wind had probably thrown the LLTV out of control. No systems malfunctions were found. As a result of the investigation the cabin roofs on the other LLTVs were removed to provide an outlet for trapped air.

These findings cleared the way for astronaut training to resume and on June 14, with about a month left before the Apollo-11 launch, Neil Armstrong made his first flight in the LLTV since his crash more than a year before. Over a period of three days he completed eight flights in the vehicle, for a total flight time of 40 min. 14 sec. During these eight flights he made 14 takeoffs and landings, six of which were in the lunar simulation mode.

Armstrong stressed the importance of the LLTV when he talked to news media after the flights. "We are very pleased with the way it flies", he said. "It's a sifgnificant improvement over the LLRV, which we were flying here a year ago. I think it does an excellent job of actually capturing the handling characteristics of the Lunar Module in the landing maneuver".

He added that "it's really a great deal different than any other kind of aircraft that I've flown. The simulation of lunar gravity has some aspects that make this type of flight sufficiently different from anything else we've done to make this vehicle very worthwhile, and I'm very pleased that I've had the opportunity to get some flights in it here just before the Apollo-11 flight."

heng44
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posted 10-18-2017 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
In late April 1968, the training summary includes LLTV (in minutes and seconds...
I think these numbers refer to general training on the subject, which could also have been classroom instruction or simulations. I don't think Aldrin flew the LLRV-LLTV.

LM-12
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posted 10-18-2017 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All the other training times shown in the summary seem to be in hours and minutes. Minutes and seconds sounds like flight time.

LM-12
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posted 10-20-2017 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More confusion: Armstrong prepares to fly NASA 951 in the first photo. Is that vehicle LLTV-2?

The LLRV-2 vehicle on display at Dryden is identified as NASA 951, but wasn't LLRV-2 only flown six times with pilot Jack Kluever? I don't think Armstrong flew LLRV-2. So LLRV-2 cannot be NASA 951. Is that correct?

LLRV-1 and LLTV-1 both crashed in 1968. LLTV-3 (at JSC Houston) is NASA 952. So that leaves only LLTV-2. NASA 951 must be LLTV-2.

Jonnyed
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posted 10-20-2017 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonnyed   Click Here to Email Jonnyed     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One additional thought on the use of the oxygen mask at very low altitude LLTV ops:

I am not a medical professional, but I wonder if an additional side benefit of the oxygen is that cognitive function and physical reaction would be improved.

In training missions where the difference between survival and death when flight disaster strikes is measured in split seconds, perhaps the oxygen provides better pilot acuity?

LM-12
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posted 10-21-2017 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
LLTV-1 was NASA 950. So the sequence would seem to make sense:
  • LLTV-1 / NASA 950 (crashed 1968)
  • LLTV-2 / NASA 951 (crashed 1971)
  • LLTV-3 / NASA 952

oly
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posted 10-22-2017 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jonnyed:
...perhaps the oxygen provides better pilot acuity?
Without knowing the details of the trainer's oxygen system my answer is only a guess. Military breathing oxygen systems usually have the ability to mix oxygen with atmospheric air or provide 100% oxygen at either normal or emergency pressure. I am assuming that the procedures for flight of the trainer include selecting 100% oxygen.

I believe it would be counter intuitive to rely on any possible pilot performance improvement that a fit and healthy pilot with a healthy respiratory system may gain from breathing 100% oxygen at low level altitudes. It seems that many military aircraft including training aircraft have oxygen systems and aircrew wear helmets and many times also masks during flight. I also believe that it is a requirement for aircraft equipped with ejection seats to wear helmets and masks. Many pilots have been chastised for going Hollywood and removing the mask during flight because it is a safety risk if you need to use the ejection seat with a face mask hanging loose on the side of the helmet.

History tells that Armstrong had a requirement to wear a helmet during training flights and it served him well during his ejection.

LM-12
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posted 10-31-2017 12:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Langley photo of Neil Armstrong at the LLRF is dated 1/28/1970.

heng44
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posted 11-01-2017 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
...dated 1/28/1970.
When I first noticed that date years ago, I assumed that Armstrong evaluated the trainer after his moon landing to compare it to the real thing. Eric Jones of the ALSJ asked Armstrong, who could not remember. However, he checked his logbook and confirmed that he was at Langley on that date. So my theory still stands...

LM-12
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posted 11-01-2017 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very interesting, Ed.

LM-12
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posted 11-02-2017 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the photo caption for Langley photo EL-1996-00203:
Armstrong returned to Langley following his historic flight and piloted the lunar module once more. He verified that it was a very valid simulation of the actual experience...

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