General Dynamics News, Volume 20, Number 20, Wednesday, October 4, 1967 Page: 1 of 2
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Wednesday, October 4, 1967
GENERAL DYNAMICS NEWS
MOON WALK—Bernard Newsom, PhD, of Convair life sciences Dept. 592-0, is suspended from
water tower monorail trolley by cable and nylon ropes as he simulates walking and running on
moon. Plastic “moon rocks" add realism.
Cable Suspended 'Moon Walkers'
Test Limits of Oxygen Supply
Life scientists at Convair have
been walking and running “on
the moon” under simulated 1/6
earth gravity with body weight
suspended by cable from a 148-
foot-high water tower.
Tests may help determine
how rapidly America’s first
Apollo astronauts will use up
their oxygen supply as they
explore the lunar surface.
Convair’s unique “lurain simu-
lator” enables the scientists to
walk or run with only 1/6 their
normal weight being exerted on
a 296-foot circular plywood track
around the base of the tower. The
track was designed to slope 9.5
degrees or more from vertical
and test subjects are suspended
perpendicular to it.
A 90-foot suspension cable is
attached to a trolley that runs
on a monorail around the tower
about 130 feet above ground
level. Adjustable nylon lines at-
tached to various points on the
test subject’s body and support
equipment are run through a
“spreader bar” and attached to a
ring at the end of the cable.
The division-funded research
program has been under the di-
rection of John P. McCann, MD,
chief of Dept. 592-0 aerospace
medical group, and has been con-
ducted by Bernard Newsom, PhD,
a senior staff scientist.
After initial tests, the circular
track was altered to form dips
and bulges, simulating lunar
craters, and plastic “boulders” of
various sizes were attached for
more realistic simulation of ter-
Photos from the Convair-
launched Surveyor and Lunar Or-
biter spacecraft have given a
good indication of the “dimpled”
surface and rock distribution of
proposed astronaut landing areas.
The first astronauts are ex-
pected to have three to four hours
exploration time away from their
Lunar Excursion Module. Dis-
tance covered from the LEM will
be determined by oxygen required.
“The easy way would be for
the astronauts to proceed until
about half their oxygen has been
used and then retrace their steps
—but this would be inefficient
from an exploration viewpoint,”
“Making a circle will be pref-
erable so no portion of the sur-
face is covered twice. This can
be accomplished safely if an ac-
curate estimate of oxygen re-
quired can be made in advance.”
Newsom said walking over a
rocky area in a pressurized space
suit can be compared to walking
over a newly-disced field. “Even
small rocks may cause one to
stumble,” he commented.
Life sciences personnel say the
Convair simulator appears to be
the most realistic developed to
date for evaluating “lifetimes”
of life support systems by meas-
uring metabolic requirements of
“The simulator provides an un-
limited distance for walking and
running and can be used to study
pressure suits with different
characteristics,” Newsom said.
Walking over varying grades
can be achieved by moving por-
tions of the inclined walkway to-
ward or away from the center
Researchers from government
agencies involved in lunar simu-
lation studies have visited Con-
vair to evaluate use of the sys-
Test Pilot Session
Sixteen General Dynamics rep-
resentatives attended the 11th
annual symposium and awards
banquet of the Society of Experi-
mental Test Pilots last week
(Sept. 28-30) in Beverly Hills,
Attendees included Edward J.
LeFevre, vice president and gen-
eral manager of the GD Washing-
ton Office; Frank W. Davis, Fort
Worth division president; and
Jack L. Bowers, Convair division
Also, H. T. Dillon, E. R. Peter-
son, R. L. Johnson, G. Tate, H.
C. Tafe, R. J. Lutz, W. H. Harse,
W. A. Shyrock, W. L. Van Horn,
J. M. Fitzpatrick, G. I. Davis, W.
W. Withee and V. E. Prahl.
Sessions were held on air trans-
port, international technology,
special topics and supersonic
flight. Johnson, director of flight
and quality assurance for Fort
Worth division, was a member
of a supersonic flight discussion
Appointments and Transfers
(Following are recent personnel transfers within General Dy-
namics. In parentheses are dates when individuals joined the
ALLAN C. GLASER (1960) from chief of industrial controls
project at Electric Boat to Corporate Headquarters, reporting to
Robert A. Wohl.
J. C. ABELS (1941) from Convair to Pomona as project adminis-
trator for Redeye; T. F. McALEER (1947) from Convair to produc-
tion control, Pomona.
ARNOLD E. ABRAMS (1965) from Convair (Cape Kennedy) to
quality assurance, Fort Worth division; DONALD W. ST. PIERRE
(1956) from Convair to Fort Worth in 111 logistics; FREDERICK
B. PRESLEY (1947) from Convair to Fort Worth; JACK D. REIL-
EY (1957) from Pomona to aerosystems laboratories, Fort Worth;
CLIFFORD B. OHMAN (1947) from Convair to Stromberg-Carlson
Data Products as a standards engineer; ROBERT L. COOLEY SR.
(1961) from Convair to senior design assurance engineer, Electron-
ics-SD; DON R. COWART (1967) from Convair to process control,
Fort Worth; WALLACE B. CALLAWAY (1963) from Convair to
General Dynamics’ Marine Technology Center; DWIGHT H. STONE
(1952) from Convair to Fort Worth (Edwards AFB); DONALD A.
HUNTER (1950) from Convair to configuration control, Fort
Worth; ARTHUR H. MULLER (1955) from Convair to Fort Worth
(Edwards AFB); VERNON R. SPENCE (1963) from Convair to
Fort Worth in quality engineering; JAMES P. MATHIS (1957)
from Convair to logistics, Fort Worth; DONALD E. THOMPSON
(1957) from Convair to Fort Worth in field support and mainten-
ance engineering; MORGAN S. MALOY (1959) from Convair to
systems technology, Fort Worth; A. VERNON MACE (1964) from
Convair to Fort Worth in general accounting; GEORGE T. Mc-
GAVERN (1956) from Convair to Fort Worth; STANISLAW M.
BREJNAK (1967) from Convair to Fort Worth (Edwards AFB);
JOHN W. ENSLEY (1958) from Convair to Fort Worth in config-
uration control; JAMES A. NUGENT (1963) from Convair (Cape
Kennedy) to 111 quality assurance, Fort Worth; CLYDE M. FOX
(1956) from Convair to Fort Worth; SALVATORE SPECIAL
(1942) from Fort Worth to Convair as subcontract representative;
WADE M. BENDER (1940) from Electric Boat to factory special
assignments man, Convair.
In Use of Beryllium
Convair division recently has
achieved new “state-of-the-art”
breakthroughs in the forming of
beryllium, the most efficient
structural material so far known
for many space applications.
Beryllium, a steel-gray metal,
is as light as magnesium, more
rigid than steel and maintains
strength at extremely high tem-
End fittings for experimental
structures are being machined
from beryllium by Convair Dept.
756 technicians under the direc-
tion of Joseph E. Carlin, manu-
facturing research and develop-
ment Dept. 491-0 beryllium pro-
Joining of beryllium parts and
of beryllium to aluminum also is
being accomplished through braz-
In another phase, Convair has
successfully formed compound
curves in beryllium sheet mater-
ial and stiffener sections.
“It’s a challenging material to
fabricate by stretching or bend-
ing because of its extreme brit-
tleness,” Carlin said.
The Nuclear Metals division of
the Whittaker Corp., working un-
der Convair specifications, now
produces beryllium tubing with
very thin walls through a “direct
J. David Forest, a senior de-
sign engineer for Convair’s re-
search and development structur-
al design Dept. 512-2, said the
new method for tube forming
eliminates material wastage of up
to 75 per cent.
“It is now possible to use beryl-
lium tubing and end fittings in-
stead of those made of aluminum
for truss structures for use in
space. Weight reduction ap-
proaches 60 per cent,” he said.
“Such trusses for antennas,
solar cell arrays, etc., will be
more rigid and less sensitive to
thermal and dynamic distortions.
“We can now fabricate complex
stiffened structures such as box
beams from beryllium sheet ma-
terial—even if hemispherical end
‘domes’ are required,” Forest
Convair’s beryllium program is
being conducted as a joint effort
by Depts. 512-2 and 491-0. Re-
search activity next year is to in-
clude design, fabrication, and
testing of a large beryllium solar
power array “edge beam.”
C. E. Roye, supervisor of
said the Convair facility is now
available on a limited basis for
production forming, machining
and fabrication of beryllium for
other General Dynamics divi-
Although beryllium costs up to
100 per cent more per pound than
gold in thin sheets or extruded
sections, its cost can be more
than offset by its weight saving
and other advantages for space
Beryllium re-entry heat shields
for Project Mercury capsules
weighed 350 pounds while ap-
proximately 1,350 pounds of steel
or 1,750 pounds of copper would
have been required for an equal
amount of heat absorption.
Since beryllium is toxic in chip,
dust, or vapor form, extensive
safety precautions are used in the
“beryllium white room” at Kear-
ny Mesa for protection of em-
A central suction system keeps
the room under a slight negative
pressure (vacuum) and suction
outlets at each machine pull the
toxic vapors and chips through
special filters for safe disposal.
Employes working in the facility
wear protective clothing and face
masks to meet safety require-
BREAKTHROUGH—Fittings for simulated space antenna are
machined from beryllium in special Convair facility.
CONTOURED—Convair’s J. D. Forest, Dept. 512-2, left, and J.
E. Carlin, Dept. 491-0, discuss contoured angles in beryllium part.
In foreground are thin-wall beryllium tubing and end fittings and
at right are four aluminum fittings.
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General Dynamics Corporation. Convair Division. General Dynamics News, Volume 20, Number 20, Wednesday, October 4, 1967, periodical, October 4, 1967; Fort Worth, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth777401/m1/1/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth.