By R S Ryan; George C. Marshall Space Flight Center
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Additional resources for A history of aerospace problems, their solutions, their lessons
The full-scale assembly of the mated test vehicle was assembled on the MLP in the vertical assembly building. Engineers wearing tennis shoes went to the platform near the Apollo capsule and excited the first bending mode by pushing with their tennis-shoe-clad feet. Modes were obtained with and without the modal suppression damper. This verification was accomplished with very little paper documentation and cost. Wind biasing technology matured and became a viable operational tool for adding flexibility and increasing margins.
Problems a. Meteoroid Debris/Solar Wing Failure. During the launch phase at around 60-s flight time, it was observed that problems had occurred with the micrometeoroid shield as evidenced by the rising temperature; however, the launch continued flawlessly and the Skylab was injected into orbit. In orbit, when the workshop solar wings were being deployed, it was clear that a mooring problem had occurred. Data indicated that one wing was gone and the other only partially deployed. Also, the temperature of the workshop was rising to dangerous levels, threatening medical supplies, etc.
This led to a wind constraint for launch in order to not have vortex shedding during the short time the damper was disconnected. One very innovative technique used to understand the vehicle structural dynamics characteristics while on the mobile launch platform (MLP) was the so-called tennis shoe test. The full-scale assembly of the mated test vehicle was assembled on the MLP in the vertical assembly building. Engineers wearing tennis shoes went to the platform near the Apollo capsule and excited the first bending mode by pushing with their tennis-shoe-clad feet.