Encyclopedia Astronautica
1968.02.26 - Stress corrosion and window problems in the Apollo LM resolved


Stress corrosion and window problems in the LM had been resolved, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller advised the Administrator in his weekly progress report.

By a thorough analysis of the entire structure of the spacecraft, a team of engineers at Grumman had determined that widespread stress corrosion on the vehicle was highly unlikely. Also, inspection of more than 1,400 individual parts on exposed surfaces of lunar module test article LTA-3 and LMs 3 through 8 had failed to discover a single instance of stress corrosion cracking, and thus no major changes would be made to the structure of the spacecraft.

Regarding the window problem (a window had blown out during a routine pressure test of LM-5 on December 17, 1967), Mueller stated that the windows on the LM were made from the strongest glass ever used on manned spacecraft. The most important factor, he said, was to avoid scratches on the window surface. Accordingly, Grumman and MSC had instituted a new acceptance test procedure to be conducted at Bethpage immediately before installation, after which the windows would remain fully protected. The LM-5 window failure had been caused by a defect in the body of the glass. Grumman subsequently planned to pressure-test all LM windows at 17.2 newtons per square centimeter (25 pounds per square inch). Normal operating pressure was 4.0 newtons per sq cm (5.8 psia).

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