[Boatanchors] Boatanchor Sighting in James Bond Movie - Dr. No
jfor at QUIK.COM
Sat Nov 8 20:31:05 EST 2008
These sites must have been general purpose Command sites, not just
destruct sites. Launches from VAFB were to the south and south-west...
nowhere near Sunnyvale.
In those days, commands were transmitted in the 215 - 260 MHz band,
later changed to the 2200 - 2290 MHz band. The tri-helix was for the 215
MHz stuff, the dish for the S band SGLS stuff.
There is an interesting, but un known story about a mission, launched in
August 1968. It was an SESP (Space Experiment Support Program) mission
and was an Atlas / Burner II vehicle with roughly a dozen experiments. I
was a payload representative. The vehicle made the cover of Aviation
Anyway, the AIM (Apogee Insertion Motor) was a Boeing Burner II, a
roughly 1700 pound solid fuel rocket. It was fitted with a destruct
charge of RDX, connected via two strands of Primacord to a detonator
box. The connectors looked like standard MS connectors !! Anyway, there
were numerous dry runs of all the systems, including the Destruct
Command hardware. At one point, the squib simulator for the destruct
charge was found to have been set off and there was a giant
investigation. No cause for the trip was found AFAIK. In the last few
minutes before launch, the base commander gave his permission for the
launch to proceed with the destruct charge Primacord disconnected. The
alternative would have been to strip everything down to nuts and bolts
and start from the beginning.... not in the budget.
Different thread.... The spacecraft bus (structure) was very long (30+
feet) for its day because of the multiple payloads. It was made of
something like formed brown Bakelite, split into two halves lengthwise.
There were fasteners along the two seams with an explosive actuator to
pull pins holding the two halves together.
At VAFB, the UASF decided to paint the shroud with ablative (heat
protective) paint. When the paint dried, it shrank, distorting the
halves of the clamshell. It was eventually gotten onto the vehicle using
big carpenter's clamps, but the thing was badly stressed.
Anyway, the vehicle was launched and during ascent, the time came for
the shroud to separate. It did not. The vehicle headed downrange
(towards LA) without destruct capability and with a fully loaded bomb
(the rocket engine) on board. Luckily it went into the Pacific
I'll bet the base commander had to change his underwear in a rush. LoL.
Those were the golden years of the space program.
Jim Wiley wrote:
> Well now, here is something I can really speak about. I was a
> technician at the Vandenberg CDT (Command Destruct Transmitter) site
> during the late 60's and early 70's. There were at least 4 separate
> sites that I knew of at that time, 2 were on or near Vandenberg (one
> was actually at Point Arguello, a naval base next to Vandenberg), one
> was at or near to Sunnyvale, CA (near San Francisco) and one was
> somewhere to the South, but I have forgotten where.
> At our sites, the transmitters were based on a 50-watt class exciter
> followed by a 10 KW klystron amplifier, feeding either a small dish
> (about 24 feet) or a tri-helix array. There were two exciters and two
> amplifiers at each site, which could be used on any combination.
> Coaxial relays were used to switch components in and out as needed.
> More later - I have to run to a meeting.
> - Jim, KL7CC
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