Ascent and Rendezvous
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LTV Ingress Procedure

  1. Ascent Stage completes rendezvous with LTV

    At this point, all 3 crew are strapped into couches on the Ascent Stage and tethered to the Ascent Stage.

  2. Pilot maneuvers Ascent Stage to a simple capture latch; or alternatively one of the crew members reaches out and grabs a handrail. (The alternative is rather sporting, but I don't think it'll work due to the geometry of the two spacecraft. There also might be an issue with closure rates and human performance.)

  3. Fasten tethers to tether loops on LTV handrails.

    Now they're tethered to both vehicles. On Shuttle suits, there are two loops on the waist ring for this purpose.

  4. Engage hard latches to affix the Ascent Stage rigidly to LTV. (We'll reuse the Ascent Stage on the next flight, so we want to keep it.)

  5. Break tethers to Ascent Stage.

  6. Translate along handrails to LTV hatch.

    The hatch is the berthing port where the LTV was previously attached to the airlock. (The airlock is now on the moon.) Now it's just a door in the end of the module.

  7. Depressurize LTV, if it's not already depressurized.

    I haven't put any thought at all into whether we'd want to depressurize the LTV when the crew heads for the moon and leave it that way, or leave it pressurized until they get back.

    For this flight we'll depress the LTV by simply venting the atmosphere to space. That saves the weight and cost of a pump and another storage tank, at the expense of wasting some oxygen.

  8. Open hatch

  9. Tether to interior of LTV

  10. Break exterior tether

  11. Ingress LTV

  12. Close hatch

  13. Repress LTV


That might sound like a lot of complicated tether operations. Tethers are certainly a nusiance, but they're a whole lot better than becoming disconnected from the spacecraft.

Ascent and Rendezvous

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