Encyclopedia Astronautica
1968.06.07 - Apollo LM descent stage heatshield and thermal blanket problems


ASPO Manager George M. Low and others from MSC met with Grumman's LM engineering staff, headed by Thomas J. Kelly, to discuss the descent stage heatshield and thermal blanket problems associated with reduced thrust decay of the descent engine at lunar touchdown.

Several significant decisions were reached:

- The touchdown probe was lengthened to 1.6 meters.
- Effective on LM-5 and later vehicles, Grumman would "beef up" (both structurally and thermally) the base heatshield.
- Grumman was to conduct a series of tests on overpressure of the descent engine.
- Grumman would begin design studies of a jettisonable descent engine skirt.
- Landing stability would be reexamined with the existing thrust tailoff profile (a study to be made either by Grumman or by Boeing; Low asked Maxime A. Faget, Director of Engineering and Development at MSC, to review this proposed test plan and to recommend where it should be conducted, for best cost, schedule, and technical capabilities).

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