Author Topic: Service Module Re-entry  (Read 242 times)

Offline mako88sb

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Service Module Re-entry
« on: August 10, 2019, 12:49:49 PM »
I found out recently over on a thread at Collectspace that some of the SM's actually re-entered the atmosphere before the CM's. Not a safety problem with the amount of separation achieved but they never really went into which missions or why it happened(assuming it wasn't planned for). Just curious if anybody knows more about it?

Offline bobdude11

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Re: Service Module Re-entry
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 04:47:33 PM »
I found out recently over on a thread at Collectspace that some of the SM's actually re-entered the atmosphere before the CM's. Not a safety problem with the amount of separation achieved but they never really went into which missions or why it happened(assuming it wasn't planned for). Just curious if anybody knows more about it?

Interesting. I wasn't aware of that. Did they go into any detail about what occurred (i.e.: breaking up, where the debris ended up, concerns about the chemicals and batteries, etc.)?
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Offline bknight

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Re: Service Module Re-entry
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 05:19:29 PM »
I found out recently over on a thread at Collectspace that some of the SM's actually re-entered the atmosphere before the CM's. Not a safety problem with the amount of separation achieved but they never really went into which missions or why it happened(assuming it wasn't planned for). Just curious if anybody knows more about it?

Interesting. I wasn't aware of that. Did they go into any detail about what occurred (i.e.: breaking up, where the debris ended up, concerns about the chemicals and batteries, etc.)?

What equipment that didn't burn(much like Columbia probably splashed down in the Pacific.  I do remember watching a SM re-entry of 8 or 11 in the predawn hours a precursor to Columbia.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
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Offline Kiwi

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Re: Service Module Re-entry
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 07:50:30 AM »
The West Australian didn't have the letters to the editor about the "Coke bottle" that "Una Ronald" imagined it did, but it did indeed carry this interesting piece at about the same date that those letters should/would/could have been rolling in:--

Quote
The West Australian,  Saturday 26 July 1969, page 12
A bird's eye view of the return

Melbourne, Friday
   Passengers on a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Honolulu early today had a bird's eye view of the Apollo 11's re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
   The pilot of the jet, Capt. Frank A. Brown, gave a running commentary on the scene.  It was relayed to radio stations throughout Australia.
   Capt. Brown began his description when the plane was flying at 39,000ft over the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in mid-Pacific.
   "There's a little cloud above us but we are going to get a perfect view of Apollo 11," he told the 82 excited passengers.
   "We have about two minutes to go, the capsule is about 500 miles from earth now.  It has just crossed the east coast of Australia above Mackay, Queensland.
   "The astronauts are travelling at six miles a second.  A staggering speed, isn't it?
   "We expect to see an object behind us in just over a minute and a half.  It will be brighter than a bright star."
   "At that time it will be something like 500 miles away."
Good view
   Capt. Brown asked the passengers to move to the left side of the plane and requested them to share windows to get a good view.
   Then he shouted:  "Here they come on the left, one object brighter than the other.  See the two of them, one above the other.  One is the command module, the other is the service module.  They both weigh six tons.
   "They are picking up heat now.  The bottom one is leaving an incandescent descent trail.  See it flashing.  See the trail behind them — what a spectacle.  You can see the bits flying off.  Notice that the top one is almost unchanged while the bottom one is shattering into pieces.  The part  that is disintegrating is the rocket service module, the top one is the command module.
   "It looks to me like a pretty normal re-entry.  Mathematically that seems perfectly sound and the timing is correct.  It looks real good to me.
   "In my opinion that was the spectacle of a lifetime."
   After the re-entry the passengers celebrated with champagne and Capt Brown presented them with certificates bearing a reproduction of the medallion left on the moon by Armstrong and Aldrin.
—Cable Service

The same article should be in many other newspapers world-wide, but I didn't find it it in my local paper, The Manawatu Evening Standard.

National Geographic of May 1969 also has on pages 624 and 625, a photo, taken from an Air Force plane, of the Apollo 8 service module breaking up, and an article about the re-entry being viewed from Pan American Flight 812 (Captain James Holliday) from Fiji to Honolulu on 27 December 1968, but it only describes one fiery streak and says it is from the command module, but being the first return from the moon, that could possibly be wrong.

National Geographic of December 1969 has on page 780 three photos of the Apollo 11 SM breaking up. Caption:

Quote
Blazing return
   "The fiery object exploded in a brilliant white cloud with a long tail of orange fire... Out of this hurtling ball of fire came a spectacular shower... a mammoth 4th of July display." So an Air Force pilot described the jettisoned service module incinerating itself over the Pacific. His crewmen photographed it with a camera that can record an object as small as a baseball five miles away.
   Meanwhile, a glowing Columbia (right) bearing the moon explorers, streaked toward the successful splashdown.

Apollo By The Numbers
https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4029/SP-4029.htm
doesn't have re-entry times of the service modules but it seems reasonable to expect that they would have been recorded somewhere.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 09:11:52 AM by Kiwi »
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Offline mako88sb

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Re: Service Module Re-entry
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 12:28:00 PM »
I know I read about this at the collectspace forum but I can't seem to find that thread again. I did find this though that I think maybe related to what they were talking about:
https://space.stackexchange.com/questions/37047/how-did-sloshing-prevent-the-apollo-service-module-from-moving-safely-away-from
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 01:51:50 PM by mako88sb »

Offline bknight

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Re: Service Module Re-entry
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 03:42:10 PM »
I've always said that I love this place for the knowledge and research that is contained in these threads.  For anyone wishing the read the anomaly report of the reduce separation on A11.
https://archive.org/details/nasa_techdoc_19710017109
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan