Getting a Grip on Apollo 11
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 30 May 2022
25 May 2022 – Since my personal investigations into the veracity of the Apollo lunar missions, having concluded that they were in fact a hoax, several of my friends wondered aloud if I were a Holocaust denier (I am not) or a flat-earther (not one of these either), and have strongly urged me to ‘get a grip’.
So I took their advice by trying to get a better grip on the Apollo 11 Command Module’s EVA (Extravehicular Activity) handles and I discovered an interesting discussion about the handles here.
From this forum a picture emerged of the Command Module Columbia post-recovery, aboard the USS Hornet, the rescue ship:
Dr. Phil Kouts has addressed the immense requirements of an appropriate heat shield for re-entry from lunar orbit in his excellent articles here and here, along with the results of NASA’s relatively recent Orion test.
In NASA’s Apollo Operations Handbook one will find a detailed description of the EVA handles from pages 2.12-51 to 2.12-53 and learn that:
“The fixed handles are aluminum, oval-shaped tubes 12 inches long with a support fitting at each end. The handles are used for EVA maneuvering. The hatch has a smaller fixed handle near the hatch mechanism that is used for opening the hatch. All the handle supports are bolted into fiber-glass inserts into the ablative material. They may or may not burn off on entry.”
Here is a helpful view of the EVA handles from the Smithsonian. Please note that the handles currently on display are not the originals, which were shipped off to a radioactive waste dump with the exception of the only remaining handle in the possession of collector Steve Jurvetson, which may be seen here. after it was auctioned off.
As far as I can ascertain, the aluminum alloy used for the EVA handles was 2024-T3510 Aluminum, whose melting point is 1180 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparison’s sake, the melting point of Titanium is 3034 degrees Fahrenheit.
The thermal protection subsystem for the Command Module entries from lunar orbit is discussed in detail by NASA here. In addition there is an excellent video on the construction of the heat shield for the Module, which extended over its entirety.
Re-entry from cis-lunar orbit was one of the principal challenges of the Apollo missions. The Command Module would have struck the earth’s atmosphere at a speed of approximately 40,000 Km/h, and the surface of the Command Module would have risen to 5000 degrees Fahrenheit as it was enveloped by a thermal plasma.
Artist’s Rendering of Apollo Re-Entry
How then, may I ask, would the EVA handles, composed of an aluminum alloy whose melting point was far below this intense heat, have survived intact? It is highly doubtful that even titanium EVAs, with a far greater melting point, would not have been burnt off unless re-entry commenced in reality from Low Earth Orbit, when temperatures would have been much cooler.
Apollo 11 After Splashdown
This is the initial abridged version of a more comprehensive technical article. David Percy, the editor of www.aulis.com, added quite significantly to the longer version. I am also indebted to Mr. James Ward for drawing my attention to the Apollo handles in an email exchange. I have decided that this will be my final ‘word’ on the Apollo missions.
Dr. Emanuel E. Garcia is a Philadelphia-born writer, theatrical director, physician (retired psychiatrist), and a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He has resided in New Zealand since 2006 and his political essays and poetry have appeared widely on various websites and publications including TMS. His most recent novel, published in 2021, is the story of an Italian wayfarer entitled Olympia. Website: www.emanuelegarcia.com. Email: email@example.com.
Tags: Apollo Mission, Hoax, Moonlanding, NASA, Science, Space science, USA
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 30 May 2022.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Getting a Grip on Apollo 11, is included. Thank you.
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