PDA

View Full Version : Apollo disaster procedures



SpitfireIX
2017-Oct-29, 04:59 PM
Does anyone know if the Apollo Mission Control disaster procedures (vehicle explodes during launch; LM can't take off; heat shield fails during reentry, crew marooned in space, etc.) are available online anywhere? I've tried googling, but every hit I get is for the contingency Presidential speech written by William Safire.

Noisy Rhysling
2017-Oct-29, 06:06 PM
Don't add "Apollo" to your searches. Canaveral would be better.

schlaugh
2017-Oct-29, 06:40 PM
Try including “abort mode” in your search terms. Wikipedia has a entry just for that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_abort_modes?wprov=sfti1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_abort_modes?wprov=sfti1

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

slang
2017-Oct-29, 10:15 PM
NASA's technical report server (ntrs.nasa.gov) is always a good resource for this kind of stuff.

SpitfireIX
2017-Nov-19, 01:43 PM
NASA's technical report server (http://ntrs.nasa.gov) is always a good resource for this kind of stuff.

Sorry I didn't get around to responding sooner. Thanks so much; if what I'm looking for is on the Web, it might well be there. I tried a few searches, but there are lots of results for my keywords, so it may take some digging.

swampyankee
2017-Nov-19, 01:57 PM
Sorry I didn't get around to responding sooner. Thanks so much; if what I'm looking for is on the Web, it might well be there. I tried a few searches, but there are lots of results for my keywords, so it may take some digging.

It will take a lot of digging, even at the NASA technical report server (ntrs.nasa.gov), but start there (thank you, slang). One caution is that most of the NASA documents from that era are not text; they are scanned images in the form of PDFs. I'm sure that the world would be grateful if some large group of volunteers would convert them into searchable text documents.

All the procedures would have been written between the start of the Apollo program, probably about 1963, and the final mission using Apollo and Saturn hardware, in the early 1970s. A lot of procedures would have been re-written or amended after 27 Jan 1967, then ignored by the generation of program managers active 19 years later.

schlaugh
2017-Nov-19, 03:59 PM
Are you looking for something specific? For example, there was a pretty good discussion on CQ earlier in the year (and of course I can't find it now) about the various options for Apollo 13 at different stages of the mission. There's also a good article about the 13 Things That Saved Apollo 13 (https://www.universetoday.com/62339/13-things-that-saved-apollo-13/)over in Universe Today. Example: the explosion occurred at an "optimal" time (other than in LEO). If the tank had blown after discarding the LEM for example, the crew probably would not have survived.

Some of the items in your list have almost no options.

Unable to lift off from the moon: eventual death of the crew on the surface. There was no rescue mode (although some interesting ideas were considered and discarded. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Escape_Systems))
Heat shield failure: almost certainly loss of vehicle and crew if it failed much before drogue deployment. Also depends on how much failure (partial burn through, total burn through, etc.). The Apollo heat shields, unlike those on the Mercury craft, were integrated into the Apollo CM frame so outright detachment wasn't likely; anything violent enough to detach the heat shield would probably destroy the CM too. The Mercury heat shield was designed to be detached a few minutes before splashdown and, with a skirt, serve as a kind of airbag. (https://i.stack.imgur.com/DENRZ.jpg)
Vehicle explosion during launch: These are covered in the Wikipedia article mentioned above. It also depends if the abort systems could detect the failure quickly enough and ignite the escape tower.

Eclogite
2017-Nov-19, 04:26 PM
Encylopedia Astronautica (http://astronautix.com/)may have something. It is a useful resource.

slang
2017-Nov-19, 08:36 PM
Sorry I didn't get around to responding sooner. Thanks so much; if what I'm looking for is on the Web, it might well be there. I tried a few searches, but there are lots of results for my keywords, so it may take some digging.

You're welcome. The search results page allows you to narrow down the search with extra search words or other constraints, I usually find the search cloud of related search terms very helpful. But even sorting to oldest or newest first can help. The interface takes a bit of getting used to but it works quite well.


One caution is that most of the NASA documents from that era are not text; they are scanned images in the form of PDFs. I'm sure that the world would be grateful if some large group of volunteers would convert them into searchable text documents.

I think the server is down at the moment, so I can't verify, but I think many (maybe all) of the scanned documents have been run through some kind of OCR software. I've been able to copy/paste text from quite old scanned documents right into the forum here. (ETA: or do modern PDF readers do that on-the-fly these days?)


Some of the items in your list have almost no options.

Your mentioning of a list made me re-read the first post... SpitfireIX did ask for "disaster procedures", not "disaster recovery procedures" as I understood it first too. Presumably what had been prepared in case any of those terrible fatal things happened. On thinking it over again, perhaps NTRS isn't the most likely place to find it. Maybe archives of NASA directors, if those are available for research?

schlaugh
2017-Nov-19, 08:41 PM
If you mean things such as Nixon’s prepared statements for Apollo 11 and 13 then there may not be much in the NASA flight and operations records which are largely technical. Maybe in some NASA history records?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro