Author Topic: The Absence of Airlocks  (Read 2728 times)

Offline jr Knowing

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The Absence of Airlocks
« on: September 06, 2019, 08:08:00 PM »
Hi everyone,

One of the things that has always bothered me and cast doubt in my mind about the Apollo missions was the absence of airlocks in both the lunar and command modules. NASA goes to great lengths (at least according to them) to insulate the exterior of these crafts to protect the interior from outer space's harsh environment. Yet, on occasion, they allowed the vacuum of space into the interior of these crafts for sometimes hours on end. The two occasions that really stand out in which the interior was exposed to the vacuum of space for long periods of time was the A17 command module space walk and the A11 EVA from the lunar module. In both cases, the hatch is wide open and there is no airlock. In fact, the A11 lunar module hatch door doesn't even have an outside door handle to shut the door. What sort of planning is this? Shutting the door would not have stopped the vacuum of space from entering but it would have stopped any potential harmful dust floating around from entering the cabin.

What is clear with the absence of an airlock, the interior/cabin of these modules would be subjected to the harsh cold temperatures of outer space. Given the interiors are shaded and insulated from the sun's radiation, everything within the interior would fall to an unimaginable cold temperature very quickly. We are talking upwards of 200 Celsius drop or more from depressurization. How did many of the interior components not fail? Some many argue that all these components were designed to operate in extreme cold temperatures. This is simply not true. By NASA's own admission, many components such as batteries, glass, operating boards, water etc would fail even under much much 'warmer' temps. One just has to look at the water gun line to see it is not insulated to withstand extreme cold temperatures. Another simple example was the DAC camera mounted in the window. During the A11 EVA, it filmed perhaps the most iconic footage of all the missions as Neil and Buzz planted the American flag for the first time. See below 17:52 to 21:30 of the video (as an aside, check out the 20:23 mark and shadows of the two astronauts. According to their bios, they are suppose to be same height. Yet the shadow of the right astronaut is 33 percent longer)



The question you have to ask, is how this footage was possible given the cabin was in the shaded vacuum of space? First off, the lens should have probably cracked. Coldness doesn't necessarily break glass, but quick extreme temp swings will. And even if the lens didn't crack, what about the batteries? It used nickel-cadmium batteries (like the Hasselblad). Even today they don't function below -25 C. So how did the DAC function? You can ask the same question regarding the Hasselblad. Even better, how about the Lunar Rover? NASA's own documentation states the battery will not "survive" below -40 C. Yet that battery worked like a champ in all conditions, uncovered to the sun's radiation (heat is actually worse) to being covered (shaded) in the cold of outer space. But for us, 50 years later it is still a coin flip to get a car battery to start in even -35 C weather. (Talk to Telsa and their issues with batteries and cold). In any event, I guess one could argue that the Rover and Hasselblad had exposure to the sun's radiation while on EVA's to moderate temps, the same can't be said about this DAC and its A11 EVA footage. It was filming in the shaded cold vacuum of space. How was that done?

Even if none of the components of the interior failed from the exposure of the vacuum of space, there is a second problem I think is very hard to overcome. After A11 EVA ended, for instance, the astronauts returned to the cabin, jettisoned their PLSS's, re-introduced oxygen into the interior and then were seen in t-shirts/helmet off, glove less  in what appeared to be "room" temperatures. The question is how did they do that? More specifically, how did they 'reheat', for lack of a better term, all the components inside the interior quickly and safely. This had to have been done prior to the introduction of oxygen/air into the interior. Otherwise it would make the situation even worse. So in the vacuum of space, what scientific process will pull the temperature of all these interior 'shaded' components up an incredible 200 Celsius, fast, efficiently and not destroy anything so the astronauts can be helmet less and be able eat and drink at leisure a short time later? Is it radiation? It is conduction? Is it magic? (ok just kidding) Is it convection? And is there schematic NASA documentation on how this would work and how it would not affect the astronauts even if they are suited? Thanks.



Offline Mag40

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2019, 08:35:28 PM »
Hi everyone,

One of the things that has always bothered me and cast doubt in my mind about the Apollo missions was the absence of airlocks in both the lunar and command modules. NASA goes to great lengths (at least according to them) to insulate the exterior of these crafts to protect the interior from outer space's harsh environment. Yet, on occasion, they allowed the vacuum of space into the interior of these crafts for sometimes hours on end. The two occasions that really stand out in which the interior was exposed to the vacuum of space for long periods of time was the A17 command module space walk and the A11 EVA from the lunar module. In both cases, the hatch is wide open and there is no airlock. In fact, the A11 lunar module hatch door doesn't even have an outside door handle to shut the door. What sort of planning is this? Shutting the door would not have stopped the vacuum of space from entering but it would have stopped any potential harmful dust floating around from entering the cabin.

What is clear with the absence of an airlock, the interior/cabin of these modules would be subjected to the harsh cold temperatures of outer space. Given the interiors are shaded and insulated from the sun's radiation, everything within the interior would fall to an unimaginable cold temperature very quickly. We are talking upwards of 200 Celsius drop or more from depressurization. How did many of the interior components not fail? Some many argue that all these components were designed to operate in extreme cold temperatures. This is simply not true. By NASA's own admission, many components such as batteries, glass, operating boards, water etc would fail even under much much 'warmer' temps. One just has to look at the water gun line to see it is not insulated to withstand extreme cold temperatures. Another simple example was the DAC camera mounted in the window. During the A11 EVA, it filmed perhaps the most iconic footage of all the missions as Neil and Buzz planted the American flag for the first time. See below 17:52 to 21:30 of the video (as an aside, check out the 20:23 mark and shadows of the two astronauts. According to their bios, they are suppose to be same height. Yet the shadow of the right astronaut is 33 percent longer)

The question you have to ask, is how this footage was possible given the cabin was in the shaded vacuum of space? First off, the lens should have probably cracked. Coldness doesn't necessarily break glass, but quick extreme temp swings will. And even if the lens didn't crack, what about the batteries? It used nickel-cadmium batteries (like the Hasselblad). Even today they don't function below -25 C. So how did the DAC function? You can ask the same question regarding the Hasselblad. Even better, how about the Lunar Rover? NASA's own documentation states the battery will not "survive" below -40 C. Yet that battery worked like a champ in all conditions, uncovered to the sun's radiation (heat is actually worse) to being covered (shaded) in the cold of outer space. But for us, 50 years later it is still a coin flip to get a car battery to start in even -35 C weather. (Talk to Telsa and their issues with batteries and cold). In any event, I guess one could argue that the Rover and Hasselblad had exposure to the sun's radiation while on EVA's to moderate temps, the same can't be said about this DAC and its A11 EVA footage. It was filming in the shaded cold vacuum of space. How was that done?

Even if none of the components of the interior failed from the exposure of the vacuum of space, there is a second problem I think is very hard to overcome. After A11 EVA ended, for instance, the astronauts returned to the cabin, jettisoned their PLSS's, re-introduced oxygen into the interior and then were seen in t-shirts/helmet off, glove less  in what appeared to be "room" temperatures. The question is how did they do that? More specifically, how did they 'reheat', for lack of a better term, all the components inside the interior quickly and safely. This had to have been done prior to the introduction of oxygen/air into the interior. Otherwise it would make the situation even worse. So in the vacuum of space, what scientific process will pull the temperature of all these interior 'shaded' components up an incredible 200 Celsius, fast, efficiently and not destroy anything so the astronauts can be helmet less and be able eat and drink at leisure a short time later? Is it radiation? It is conduction? Is it magic? (ok just kidding) Is it convection? And is there schematic NASA documentation on how this would work and how it would not affect the astronauts even if they are suited? Thanks.

Did you ever consider that your understanding of science is woeful?

Offline AtomicDog

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2019, 09:57:28 PM »
Gemini didn't have airlocks, either.
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Offline Von_Smith

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2019, 10:11:51 PM »
Atomic Dog beat me to the point about Gemini. 

Also, you need to get your understanding of thermodynamics from something other than Hollywood.  Things in space don't instantly freeze as if they were dipped in liquid nitrogen.  In a vacuum, the only method of heat loss is radiation, which can take some time. 

Finally, why do you assume the equipment inside the cabin would fail?  Did you know that there are satellites and space probes that work just fine for years in the marauding vacuum of space?  If NASA knew ahead of time that the mission would call for periodic depressurization of the cabin (which of course they did), don't you think they would ensure the machines onboard would work in that environment?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 10:18:10 PM by Von_Smith »

Offline AtomicDog

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2019, 10:17:52 PM »
If only NASA had giant vacuum chambers to test their spacecraft in...if only...
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Offline Von_Smith

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2019, 10:18:58 PM »
If only NASA had giant vacuum chambers to test their spacecraft in...if only...

They had to use those to fake the moon landings, though.  They were too booked to test their equipment.

Offline jr Knowing

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2019, 11:02:27 PM »
Hi Von Smith,

You do realize one of the EVA's for A17 was about 8 hours long. Are you saying the interior components of the Module would not be -150- 200 Celsius or greater after 8 hours? And if we use your logic regarding temperature transfer in a vacuum can take time, then how did all these components revert back in a vacuum to a 'livable' temp for the astronauts sans gear so quickly after reentering the cabin?

Offline AtomicDog

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2019, 11:09:52 PM »
Hi Von Smith,

You do realize one of the EVA's for A17 was about 8 hours long. Are you saying the interior components of the Module would not be -150- 200 Celsius or greater after 8 hours? And if we use your logic regarding temperature transfer in a vacuum can take time, then how did all these components revert back in a vacuum to a 'livable' temp for the astronauts sans gear so quickly after reentering the cabin?


Electronic components generate heat. That's why the Apollo 13 CM got so cold - forced to cut power to a minimum, the electronics couldn't maintain cabin temperature.
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Offline jr Knowing

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2019, 11:25:30 PM »
Hi Atomic Dog,

Correct me if I am wrong, but the thermo vacuum testing of the modules you allude to was to ensure the cabin maintained the proper environment for the crew and equipment against the vacuum space and extremes of temperatures. I have never seen any documentation of them testing the interior components against the harshness of the vacuum of space. Like I pointed out originally, NASA insulated the exterior to protect the interior because of their concerns for that equipment. Just show me one of the batteries in the cabin that could withstand the cold vacuum of space?

To put things in perspective, only this year have they got a battery to work to -70 C. See link below, it even talks about outer space and how difficult an environment it is for batteries. Yet astronauts 50 years ago were walking around the moon with Hasselblads taking pictures and driving rovers no problem.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180228131132.htm

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2019, 11:55:12 PM »
Since you've been wrong about all the engineering to date, what steps did you take to make sure you weren't wrong about this one?  Do you have any qualifications in the thermal design of spacecraft?
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Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2019, 11:58:18 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong...

You're wrong.

Quote
Like I pointed out originally, NASA insulated the exterior to protect the interior because of their concerns for that equipment.

No.

Quote
Just show me one of the batteries in the cabin that could withstand the cold vacuum of space?

What makes you think the batteries were in the cabin?

Quote
To put things in perspective, only this year have they got a battery to work to -70 C. See link below, it even talks about outer space and how difficult an environment it is for batteries. Yet astronauts 50 years ago were walking around the moon with Hasselblads taking pictures and driving rovers no problem.

Do you have the numbers yourself?  Or are you just ignorantly trying to stir up trouble as before?
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Von_Smith

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2019, 12:02:02 AM »
Hi Von Smith,

You do realize one of the EVA's for A17 was about 8 hours long. Are you saying the interior components of the Module would not be -150- 200 Celsius or greater after 8 hours?

Yes, I am saying that.  The cabin's equilibrium temperature is pretty much the same with or without air in it, and that temperature isn't -200 Celsius unless the LM is completely in darkness and powered down.  The only thing air in the cabin does is slow heat loss down somewhat.

Quote
And if we use your logic regarding temperature transfer in a vacuum can take time, then how did all these components revert back in a vacuum to a 'livable' temp for the astronauts sans gear so quickly after reentering the cabin?

Again, the temperature wouldn't have changed as much as you think. 
« Last Edit: September 07, 2019, 12:04:23 AM by Von_Smith »

Offline Von_Smith

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2019, 12:07:05 AM »
Hi Atomic Dog,

Correct me if I am wrong, but the thermo vacuum testing of the modules you allude to was to ensure the cabin maintained the proper environment for the crew and equipment against the vacuum space and extremes of temperatures. I have never seen any documentation of them testing the interior components against the harshness of the vacuum of space. Like I pointed out originally, NASA insulated the exterior to protect the interior because of their concerns for that equipment. Just show me one of the batteries in the cabin that could withstand the cold vacuum of space?

To put things in perspective, only this year have they got a battery to work to -70 C. See link below, it even talks about outer space and how difficult an environment it is for batteries. Yet astronauts 50 years ago were walking around the moon with Hasselblads taking pictures and driving rovers no problem.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180228131132.htm

Are you saying that batteries don't work in space?  Or that machines do not work in space?  Because if so, that would commit you to the position that not only the moon landings, but *all* space flight must be fake.  Or are you not aware that lots of spacecraft (including the Hubble Telescope) use batteries?

Offline Allan F

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2019, 12:41:14 AM »
I have never seen any documentation of them testing the interior components against the harshness of the vacuum of space.

Where did you search for that documentation?
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Offline Obviousman

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Re: The Absence of Airlocks
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2019, 01:42:07 AM »
Do you have the numbers yourself?  Or are you just ignorantly trying to stir up trouble as before?

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