Apollo Lunar Module Lack Of Flame And Exhaust And Other Anomalies

"Not everyone around the world is prepared to take the word of the United States on faith."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, February 13, 2003

This is an image of a Reaction Control System thruster firing on the space shuttle, taken from Joseph P. Allen's book Entering Space.

Another image from Allen's book also shows flame and visible exhaust from the Orbital Maneuvering Subsystem.  Orange-coloured exhaust, from a single 26400 N (6000 lb) OMS firing, is caused by the oxidizer, nitrogen tetroxide.

However, images and video of the lunar ascent and descent modules (LM), allegedly taken from the surface of the moon and from the Apollo Command/Service Module (C/SM), do not show flame or exhaust.

For the Apollo lunar ascent and descent module single main engine and sixteen attitude control thrusters, the fuel and oxidizer were, respectively, hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide.  The space shuttle orbiter also uses hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide in its Orbital Maneuvering Subsystem and Reaction Control System.

In Entering Space, Allen describes the shuttle thrusters: "The forward primary thrusters sound like exploding cannons at thrust onset; and during their firing, jets of flame shoot out from the orbiter's nose. ...The orbiter reacts to the primaries' shove by shaking slightly and moving very noticeably. For the crew on board, a series of attitude changes using primaries resembles a World War I sea battle, with cannons and mortars firing, flashes of flame shooting in all directions, and the ship's shuddering and shaking in reaction to the salvos."

Images from a surface camera pan the lunar ascent module as it lifts off the surface. The background is a pitch black sky.  In this image showing the Apollo 17 lunar ascent module "Challenger" supposedly lifting off from the Taurus-Littrow landing site there is no flame, exhaust, or even engine exhaust shroud visible from the bottom of the lunar ascent module.

The lunar ascent module engine had a 15000 N (3500 lb) thrust.  The attitude control thrusters for the Apollo C/SM and LM (which had four sets of quadruple thrusters) had 490 N (110 lb) of thrust each. In comparison, the 38 thrusters for shuttle orbit control each have a nominal thrust of 3870 N (880 lb), with a range from 3114 N to 5338 N.  Why is the exhaust visible from the 3870 N shuttle thruster but not from the 15000 N lunar ascent module engine?

I have been unable to find any images or video footage of any visible flame or exhaust coming from any of the four quadruple clusters used for attitude control of the lunar module, or from the main engines of the ascent and descent modules.  However, official NASA artists' drawings do show a considerable amount of flame and exhaust emanating from the main engine.

In the films To The Edge And Back covering Apollo 13 and Apollo 13, animation shows the LM main engine emitting a bright flame for the various burns between the earth and the moon.  In Apollo 13, animation shows visible flame from the LM thrusters during SM separation from the CM and LM.

None of the Apollo images and video show any water vapour being emitted from all the heat-exchanging cooling equipment.  Images and reports demonstrate, however, the visibility of clouds of ice crystals, formed from liquid water vented into the vacuum of space from the shuttle.

In addition, of all the photographs I have viewed of the Apollo missions, I have yet to find any photographs taken for the purpose of imaging the star and planet formations.  This would have been a useful, valuable, and interesting scientific study.

In the 30-minute documentary Houston, We've Got A Problem covering Apollo 13, an image of the service module shows the panel blown off. The SM is bright and takes up a good portion of the screen. On the remainder of the screen stars appear to be indistiguishable from debris.  Photographs taken from the surface of the moon do not show stars in the sky.

In For All Mankind by the National Geographic Society, astronauts are shown suiting up. In their launch suits, the astronauts do arm exercises and wave to the crowd.  From these scenes the Apollo suits do not appear to have bearings at the joints like the space shuttle extra vehicular suits, which do have bearings at the elbow, shoulder, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle joints.  How were the Apollo astronauts able to bend their joints, especially their finger joints, on the moon if their suits were pressurized?


Pressurized suits give a rigid balloon-like appearance which the moon astronauts did not appear to have.  This image illustrates the balloon-like appearance of the shuttle EVA spacesuit compared to the Apollo spacesuits.

The For All Mankind video shows the ground when the lunar module is landing.  As dust is being kicked up from the main engine, a dark shadow of the module appears.  The ground in the lunar module shadow does not show any reflection or brightness from any main engine exhaust flame.

Why were there were no emergencies or problems from the temperature extremes of -100 to -150 degrees Fahrenheit to +215F?  A study paper for a proposed moonbase uses a noon-time worst case of 375 K (102 C, or 215 F) for a lunar surface temperature.

When the sun is low in the moon's sky, vertical objects on the moon's surface, such as alleged standing astronauts and LM spacecraft walls, would have been nearly perpendicular to the sun's rays and would have been receiving nearly the full brunt of these rays. The altitude of the sun above the local lunar horizon at landing for the Apollo program varied between about 5 degrees and 24 degrees, with the sun between 12 and 15 degrees above the horizon for most of the flights. After one earth day of sunrise on the moon, the sun is at an altitude of 13 degrees above the lunar horizon.  So, with a fourteen-earth-day-long moon day, even when the sun is low in the moon sky, the sun would have already had considerable time to heat moon surface objects up to very high unbearable temperatures.  For the longer missions, such as Apollo 17, by the time the LM would have ascended from the moon's surface, several days of nearly perpendicular constant sunlight bombardment to moon surface equipment would have already occurred.

In For All Mankind, ground control announced that the temperature in the shade was -100 to -150 degrees Fahrenheit.  Were the batteries of the lunar rover in the shade, and if so, how were they protected against these temperature extremes?

At temperatures less than -40F (-40C) a lot of materials start becoming very brittle. Electrical items do not work as well.  Batteries produce less current.  The extreme temperature variations from shadow to sunlight would cause significant material contraction and expansion and would make equipment breakdown and failure very likely.

Why did the one-sixth gravity cause the astronauts to alternate between hopping and walking?  I saw one sequence where an astronaut looked like he was flexing his knees pretty good to jump but he did not travel any higher than a couple of feet.  Why?  The astronauts were not hopping any farther than what the typical person could hop here on Earth.

There a number of times in Apollo footage when the astronauts were landing pretty hard on their knees.  Were they not running a huge risk of puncturing their pressurized suits? According to an article in the Dec. 1, 1969 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology, Apollo mission planners were worried about suit puncture and cutting.

Why was video quality so poor for Apollo 11, when more people were watching, compared to later Apollo missions, when less people would have been watching and would have been less skeptical? In the NASA film The Eagle Has Landed, why can you see the Apollo 11 LM and flag through the astronaut walking on the surface of the moon?

After an Apollo 14 astronaut sets up and lets go of the flag, the flag flutters, is still, and then flutters again.  This may be viewed on the Apollo Interactive CD-ROM by Simitar Entertainment.

After watching these films, I have decided to study the lunar ascent and descent modules more closely. One of the areas that I am looking at is the stability of the lunar module in flight.  Only a single engine is provided, for both the ascent and descent phases, right in the centre with the potential for a rapidly shifting centre of gravity to be off considerably from the thrust vector due to the design.  Shifting centre of gravity due to fuel consumption and astronaut movement, and eccentric loading due to weight of rover or moon rocks, would result in an unstable and unbalanced craft.  The ascent and descent modules have a significantly different centre of gravity yet they both use the same four sets of quadruple thrusters, giving different flight characteristics and handling.  How can the quadruple thrusters fire quickly enough and sufficiently enough to counteract a quickly changing and significantly changing thrust vector?  How can the system remain stable and not loop uncontrollably?  The ascent stage engine was not gimballed, and the inherently off-center, large torquing thrust would have to have been constantly and very immediately counteracted by the small, low-thrust, quadruple thrusters.  The craft has good potential to fly like a balloon you let go of and let deflate.  I am currently attempting to obtain actual engineering drawings to perform detailed calculations.

Apollo Oxygen and Two-Gas Environment Problems

Apollo Internet Images and Videos with Anomalies and Inconsistencies

Various Other Apollo Image Anomalies

Deadly Radiation At and Beyond the Van Allen Shields

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