Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo

Apollo 17 Lunar Module Challenger’s Descent Stage


Much of the Apollo 17 Lunar Module Challenger’s descent stage is covered with gold Mylar thermal blankets, which were hand-crinkled to minimize the heat transfer between layers. At left, a white blanket protects the Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) pallet, containing lunar surface tools, sample containers, and film and TV cameras. Rover tracks can be seen in this photo, taken on December 11, 1972.

View from the Launch Umbilical Tower

Jacques Tiziou

View from the Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) of the fifty-six-foot-tall payload shroud, during the Skylab 1 rollout on April 16, 1973. The damper arms extending to the shroud mitigated movement caused by winds. The swing arms and umbilical connections to the Orbital Workshop (OWS) and second stage are below. The uppermost swing arm, which had been used to access the Apollo command modules (CM) for manned launches, was removed for this launch.

Xenon Floodlights Illuminate the Skylab 3 Saturn IB

Mark Usciak

Xenon floodlights illuminate the twenty-two-story-tall Skylab 3 Saturn IB and Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) at Pad 39B at dusk on July 27, 1973. This angle looks west. Within hours, the launch vehicle would be fueled for the second time in eight days; the first, on July 20, was part of the combined countdown and countdown demonstration test (CDDT). The Holloway Corporation of Titusville, Florida, built the “milkstool” pedestal.

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