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LM Hatch


LM Hatch Development Diary

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LM Hatch Chronology


1962 August 14 - .
  • LEM added to Apollo CSM Statement of Work - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Communications; LM ECS; LM Guidance; LM Hatch; LM Source Selection. The NAA spacecraft Statement of Work was revised to include the requirements for the lunar excursion module (LEM) as well as other modifications. The LEM requirements were identical with those given in the LEM Development Statement of Work of July 24.

    The command module (CM) would now be required to provide the crew with a one-day habitable environment and a survival environment for one week after touching down on land or water. In case of a landing at sea, the CM should be able to recover from any attitude and float upright with egress hatches free of water. Additional Details: here....


1962 September 5 - .
  • Study of Apollo docking and crew transfer - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Hatch; LM Communications; LM ECS; LM Hatch; LM Source Selection. Apollo Spacecraft Project Office requested NAA to perform a study of command module-lunar excursion module (CM-LEM) docking and crew transfer operations and recommend a preferred mode, establish docking design criteria, and define the CM-LEM interface. Both translunar and lunar orbital docking maneuvers were to be considered. The docking concept finally selected would satisfy the requirements of minimum weight, design and functional simplicity, maximum docking reliability, minimum docking time, and maximum visibility.

    The mission constraints to be used for this study were :

    • The first docking maneuver would take place as soon after S-IVB burnout as possible and hard docking would be within 30 minutes after burnout.
    • The docking methods to be investigated would include but not be limited to free fly-around, tethered fly-around, and mechanical repositioning.
    • The S-IVB would be stabilized for four hours after injection.
    • There would be no CM airlock. Extravehicular access techniques through the LEM would be evaluated to determine the usefulness of a LEM airlock.
    • A crewman would not be stationed in the tunnel during docking unless it could be shown that his field of vision, maneuverability, and communication capability would substantially contribute to the ease and reliability of the docking maneuver.
    • An open-hatch, unpressurized CM docking approach would not be considered.
    • The relative merit of using the CM environmental control system to provide initial pressurization of the LEM instead of the LEM environmental control system would be investigated.

1964 March 24-26 - .
  • Apollo LEM mockup TM-1 inspection and review - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Hatch. The first formal inspection and review of the LEM test mockup TM-1 was held at Grumman. TM-1 allowed early assessment of crew mobility, ingress, and egress. It was a full-size representation of crew stations, support and restraint systems, cabin equipment arrangement, lighting, display panels and instrument locations, and hatches. The TM-1 evaluation became the basis for the final LEM mockup, TM-5, from which actual hardware fabrication would be made. Additional Details: here....

1964 April 15-16 - .
  • Demonstration of space suits using the LEM TM-1 mockup - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; A7L; LM Hatch. MSC Crew Systems Division representatives attended a demonstration at Grumman of Apollo Phase B and Gemini space suits using the LEM TM-1 mockup and a mockup portable life support system. Tests demonstrated ingress egress capability through the forward and top hatches, operation of controls and displays, and methods of getting out on the lunar surface and returning to the spacecraft. Generally, the A7L Space Suit proved sufficiently mobile for all these tasks, though there was no great difference between its performance and that of the Gemini suit during these trials.

1964 April 24 - .
  • Deletion of the Apollo LEM's front docking capability - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: See; White. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Ascent Propulsion; LM Descent Propulsion; LM ECS; LM Hatch. Representatives from a number of elements within MSC (including systems and structural engineers, advanced systems and rendezvous experts, and two astronauts, Edward H. White II and Elliot M. See, Jr.) discussed the idea of deleting the LEM's front docking capability (an idea spawned by the recent TM-1 mockup review). Rather than nose-to-nose docking, the LEM crew might be able to perform the rendezvous and docking maneuver, docking at the spacecraft's upper (transfer) hatch, by using a window above the LEM commander's head to enable him to see his target. Additional Details: here....

1965 January 18 - .
  • Requirement for extravehicular transfer from the Apollo LEM to the CM - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Hatch; LM Hatch. After reviewing the requirement for extravehicular transfer (EVT) from the LEM to the CM, MSC reaffirmed its validity. The Center already had approved additional fuel for the CM, to lengthen its rendezvousing range, and modifications of the vehicle's hatch to permit exterior operation. The need for a greater protection for the astronaut during EVT would be determined largely by current thermal tests of the pressure suit being conducted by NASA and Hamilton Standard. While the emergency oxygen system was unnecessary during normal transfer from one vehicle to the other, it was essential during EVT or lunar surface activities.

1965 January - .
  • Grumman modified the Apollo LEM's forward hatch - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Hatch. To make it easier to get in and out of the spacecraft, Grumman modified the LEM's forward hatch. During mobility tests on the company's mockup, a hinged, trapezoidal-shaped door had proved superior to the original circular hatch, so the earlier design was dropped.

1965 March 25-April 1 - .
  • Boarding ladder on Apollo LEM reconfigured - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Hatch; LM Landing Gear. After further design studies following the M-5 mockup review (October 5-8, 1964), Grumman reconfigured the boarding ladder on the forward gear leg of the LEM. The structure was flattened, to fit closer to the strut. Two stirrup-type steps were being added to ease stepping from the top rung to the platform or "porch" in front of the hatch.

1965 April 1-8 - .
  • Backup mode of entering and leaving the Apollo LEM while on the moon - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Hatch. MSC and Grumman reviewed the requirement for a backup mode of entering and leaving the LEM while on the moon. The new rectangular hatch was deemed "inherently highly reliable," and the only failure that was even "remotely possible" was one of the hatch mechanism. The proposal to use the top (or transfer) hatch was impractical, because it would cost 13.6 kg (30 lb) and would impose an undue hazard on both the crew and the spacecraft's thermal shield.

1965 May 5 - .
  • Communications between the Apollo CSM, LEM, and extravehicular astronauts were reviewed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Block II; LM Communications; LM Guidance; LM Hatch. In response to a query, Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips told NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller that plans to use VHF communications between the CSM, LEM, and extravehicular astronauts and to use X-band radar for the CSM/LEM tracking were reviewed. Bellcomm reexamined the merits of using the Unified S-Band (USB) type which would be installed in the CSM and LEM for communication with and tracking by the earth.

    It was found that no appreciable weight saving or weight penalty would result from an all USB system in the Apollo spacecraft. Also, it was determined there would be no significant advantage or disadvantage in using the system. It was noted, however, that implementation of an all S-band system at that stage of development of the design of the CSM, LEM, and astronaut equipment would incur an obvious cost and schedule penalty.

    Memorandum, Phillips to Mueller, "Use of Only Unified S-Band Communication Equipment in Apollo Spacecraft," May 5, 1965.

    May 6

    After lengthy investigations of cost and schedule impacts, MSC directed North American to incorporate airlocks on CMs 008 and 014, 101 through 112, and 2H-1 and 2TV-1. The device would enable astronauts to conduct experiments in space without having to leave their vehicle. Initially, the standard hatches and those with airlocks were to be interchangeable on Block II spacecraft. During October, however, this concept was changed: the standard outer hatch would be structured to permit incorporation of an airlock through the use of a conversion kit (included as part of the airlock assembly); and when an airlock was installed, an interchangeable inner hatch would replace the standard one.


1965 May 12-June 24 - .
  • Stowing Apollo portable life support systems (PLSS) discussed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; A7L; LM Hatch. Representatives from North American, Grumman, Hamilton Standard, and MSC discussed the problem of stowing the portable life support systems (PLSS).

    Current specifications called for two PLSSs under the crew couch in the CM at launch, one of which would be brought back to earth. This location presented some serious problems, however.

    MSC officials laid down several ground rules for the discussions:

    • The capability for extravehicular transfer must be maintained.
    • During translunar flight, the capability must exist for general extravehicular activity from the CM.
    • And upon landing, the PLSS must not interfere with the sweep of the crew couch.
    The participants explored a number of stowage options (and the complications involved), even exploring the possibilities of staging and of using a Gemini Extravehicular Life Support System. As a result of these talks, Hamilton Standard began studying the feasibility of repackaging the PLSS to fit underneath the side hatch of the CM and to determine whether the reshaped system would be compatible with both spacecraft.

    During the next few weeks, MSC concluded that, at earth launch, one PLSS would be stowed in each spacecraft. With the help of Hamilton Standard engineers, North American and Grumman designers worked out a stowage volume acceptable to all concerned. Hamilton Standard agreed to repackage the PLSS accordingly. MSC ordered North American to provide for stowage of one PLSS beneath the side hatch of the CM, again stressing that the system must not interfere with the crew couch during landing impact; also, the Center directed Grumman to plan for PLSS stowage in the LEM and to study ingress and egress with the reshaped backpack. (Studies by the Crew Systems Division had already indicated that, from the standpoints of compatibility and mobility, the new shape probably would be acceptable.)


1966 December 6 - .
  • Apollo LM-to-CSM crew rescue said to be impossible - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shea; Slayton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Hatch; LM Hatch. MSC Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. Slayton pointed out to ASPO Manager Joseph F. Shea that LM-to-CSM crew rescue was impossible. Slayton said

    1. there was no way for the portable life support system and crewman to traverse from the LM front hatch to the CSM side hatch in zero-g docked operations, because there was no restraint system or tether attach points in the vicinity of the CSM hatch to permit the crewman to stabilize himself and work to open the hatch; and
    2. there was no way to control the Apollo inner hatch (35-43 kilograms) to ensure that it would not inadvertently damage its seals, the spacecraft wiring, or the pressure bulkhead.
    Additional Details: here....

1966 December 26 - .
  • Extravehicular activity on the Apollo AS-503 mission - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 8. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Descent Propulsion; LM ECS; LM Hatch; LM Landing Gear; LM RCS. Donald K. Slayton said there was some question about including extravehicular activity on the AS-503 mission, but he felt that, to make a maximum contribution to the lunar mission, one period of EVA should be included. Slayton pointed out that during the coast period (simulating lunar orbit) in the current flight plan the EVA opportunity appeared best between hour 90 and hour 100. Additional Details: here....

1967 May 25 - .
  • Requirements that TV cameras inside the Apollo LM and CM monitor manned hazardous tests - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Hatch; LM Hatch. MSC submitted requirements to KSC that TV signals from cameras inside the LM and CM be monitored and recorded during manned hazardous tests, with hatch open or closed, and tests in the Vehicle Assembly Building, launch pads, and altitude chambers. A facility camera was to monitor the propellant-utilization gauging system during propellant loading. MSC specified that the field of view of the TV camera should encompass the shoulder and torso and portions of the legs of personnel at the normal flight stations in both the CM and the LM.

1967 September 6 - .
  • Apollo spacecraft weight situation serious - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Hatch. Summary: ASPO Manager George Low in a letter to Dale Myers of North American Aviation, emphasized that the spacecraft weight situation was the single most serious problem in the entire Apollo program.. Additional Details: here....

1967 September 29 - .
  • Apollo spacecraft weight changes - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Communications; LM ECS; LM Guidance; LM Hatch. Because of many questions asked about spacecraft weight changes in the spacecraft redefinition, ASPO Manager George M. Low prepared a memo for the record, indicating weights as follows:

    Lunar Module Significant Weight Changes Lunar module injected weight status March 1, 1967 (ascent and descent less propellant) - 4039.6 kg

    • Material substitution +23.1;
    • decrease clamps and potting, -4.5;
    • government furnished equipment changes (pressure garment assembly, portable life support system, oxygen purge system), +68;
    • plume heating and "fire-in-the-hole" protection, +59.8;
    • redesign umbilical hoses, +2.2;
    • revised oxygen and water requirements, +19.5;
    • provision for ALSEP removal, +11.3;
    • increasing crack resistance of webs, +13.6;
    • additional wiring to provide redundant circuits, +4.9;
    • fuel cask and support increase, +14.9;
    • guidance and navigation equipment, +3.1;
    • instrumentation, +9.9;
    • communications, +1.8;
    • miscellaneous changes, +2.2.
    Net change from March to September was +230.4 kg.

    Lunar module injected weight status September 22, 1967 - 4270.0 kg

    Command Module Significant Weight Changes Command module injected weight status March 1, 1967 - 5246.7 kg

    • New hatch, +114.7;
    • environmental control system and weight management system changes, +103.4;
    • instrumentation and electrical power, +48;
    • wiring and tubing protection, +44.4;
    • crew compartment materials and crew equipment, +101.6;
    • forward heatshield separation, +13.6;
    • earth landing system (larger drogues), +21.7;
    • miscellaneous structural changes, +26.7;
    • ballast for lift-over-drag ratio of 0.35, +175;
    • other, +19.5.
    • Reductions - transfer of portable life support system to LM,-31.2;
    • reduced ballast for lift-over-drag ratio of 0.28, -142.8;
    • other MSC weight reductions, -61.6.
    Net change from March to September was +433.1 kg.

    Command module injected weight status September 22, 1967 - 5679.8 kg


1969 April 5 - .
  • ASPO Manager George Low, commented on control of Apollo spacecraft weight - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Johnson, Caldwell. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Hatch; LM Hatch. ASPO Manager George Low, commented on control of Apollo spacecraft weight. Following the January 1967 spacecraft fire at Cape Kennedy, there had been substantial initial weight growth in the CSM. This was attributed to such items as the new CSM hatch, the flammability changes, and the additional flight safety changes. In mid-1967 the CSM weight stabilized and from then on showed a downward trend. The LM weight stabilized in mid1968 and since that time had remained fairly constant. Conclusions were that the program redefinition had caused a larger weight increase than expected, but that once the weight control system became fully effective, it was possible to maintain a weight that was essentially constant. Low told Caldwell C. Johnson, Jr., of the MSC Spacecraft Design Division that the weight control was in part due to Johnson's strong inputs in early 1968. Johnson responded, "Your control of Apollo weight growth has destroyed my reputation as a weight forecaster - but I'm rather glad."

1969 July 9 - .
  • Apollo astronaut itching due to insulation in the command module - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 10. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Hatch; LM Hatch. Microscopic examination of dust particles collected from the spacecraft after the Apollo 10 mission and of samples collected from the inside of nine garments worn by the Apollo 10 astronauts confirmed preliminary findings that the itching experienced by the astronauts was due to the insulation in the tunnel hatch of the command module. Additional Details: here....

1969 August 1 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Apollo 11 debriefing indicates a number of items requiring investigation - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 11. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Hatch; LM Hatch. Summary: During the Apollo 11 management debriefing, the ASPO Manager noted a number of items requiring investigation. . Additional Details: here....

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