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Young engineers Space program Story Empty

Young engineers Space program Story

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Young engineers Space program Story Empty Young engineers Space program Story

Post  Dick Russ Wed Jun 01, 2022 1:19 pm

Well my friends here it is the first of the month and as promised I will continue my story. For the most part it would be somewhat boring to  go into the details of each launch since we were doing our job to make sure each launch went as planned and as safe as possible. to a degree each launch went as planned. We still were having problems with wire draw of the roughing regulator seal being cut with high pressure helium. it seems there was no way to determine when it would fail if at all. But we all felt that if it did fail it would be at the worst time. For every launce we would begin with CDDT which was the Countdown demonstration test where launch teams (Boeing engineering for the first S1C stage, North American Rockwell for the S11 second stage, Martin Marietta for the Lunar excursion module, Douglas for the S4 stage and North American for the Apollo Space craft). We would perform all the functions for launce and start the countdown until we were at T-7 seconds which at that time the CDDT would be terminated because we had ignition at T-6 seconds which at that time the actual launch would begin. We would then check and verify all system were GO and proceed right into the actual count down which began at t minus 24 hours.

In all our countdown demonstration exercises we had only one set back which was caused by the helium regulator seal failure which occurred during the CDDT for Apollo 10 launch. Following that exercise I was directed to fly to California and see how the tests at VACCO Industries were progressing on the new seal development. That particular trip was exciting. As I was being escorted to the test facility we walked by a open building where I saw a Chevrolet that the engine was running at a high speed. I was told I shouldn't have seen that because it was a secret test for a special carburetor. I ask about it and was told confidentially that they were getting over 40 miles per gallon during the test but that was for my ears only and not to be discussed with anyone.

As  I entered the test facility for my project I was advised that they had developed a new seal made from a special compound called VESPEL which was presently installed in the Roughing regulator and had passed more than 50 cycles with out failing. I ask them to secure the testing and that I wanted to observe them bringing up the pressure to 9000 Psi before opening the supply valve to the regulator and I wanted to inspect the seal after the test which the did. Their technicians then pulled the regulator and we all went to the clean room for disassembly. They removed the new seal and handed it to me which I inspected it and it was perfect so based on that i was satisfied and would recommend to NASA that they approve the new seal. I did ask to keep the seal and show my supervisor at the Cape what I proposed and sent an engineering order to NASA for approval.

Unfortunately NASA was a little slow on the approval so we still had the Kel F90 seal which I just crossed my fingers it wouldn't fail. We were still a month away from our launch window so we continued on with our testing leading up to the  CDDT for the APOLLO 11 Moon Landing Launch.

On April 7th 1969 I was in the Launch Control Center running the the S7-41/A7-71 Operations Set UP and Securing Procedure when I was surprised by a lady sitting at the console in the chair beside me; especially since it was Barbara Eden of the "I Dream Of Jeannie" show. She ask if she could watch what i was doing and I replied ABSOLUTELY. Before she got up she said she really appreciated watching and signed my test procedure front page. She said she was there on tour of the VAB and Control Center in preparation for one of her upcoming TV shows. I will try and scan a copy of the procedure for your perusal. The next story will be the launch of the Saturn V, for the Apollo 11 Moon Landing on July 20, 1969 which I think you will find exciting and shocking to say the least which will also be the ending of my working at the Cape.
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Post  rsv1cox Thu Jun 02, 2022 11:59 am

All that and you get to meet Barbara Eden too!

I happened to catch "Space Cowboys" on TV last week and thought of this thread.

We are contempories,

Bob @ 84 YO.
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