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Viking '75 Mars Lander Construction, Looking for Viking lander design/construction information
PaulH51
post Nov 23 2014, 05:47 AM
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QUOTE (Tom Dahl @ Nov 23 2014, 12:17 PM) *
Update on my project to create a 3D digital model of the Viking lander:


Very impressive, can see the hours that have gone into getting this far. Good luck with the rest of the project. smile.gif


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vikingmars
post Nov 23 2014, 09:22 AM
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QUOTE (Tom Dahl @ Nov 23 2014, 05:17 AM) *
Update on my project to create a 3D digital model of the Viking lander:

AWESOME !!! Thanks a lot Tom ! wheel.gif wheel.gif wheel.gif wheel.gif wheel.gif
(==> PS : Now, we should add a VL footpad as an emoticon !)
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droidtoaster
post Nov 24 2014, 12:35 AM
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Amazing Tom, thanks!

When I was at the CSC I was somewhat puzzled by the odd look of their display unit, so your ideas on how it came to be make sense.

For me just the photos are a tremendous resource for vehicle construction; I was quite time limited the day I spent there (with so much to see) and didn't take nearly enough images (a dozen or so) and not from the angles you were allowed. And the comparison notes between the display and designs are fantastic!
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Tom Dahl
post Dec 21 2014, 09:17 PM
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Here is some additional information on Viking lander hardware which I collected in Hampton Virginia USA in November, at NASA's Langley Research Center (home to the Viking Program Office) and at the Virginia Air and Space Center. Thanks to the generous time and assistance of Mary Gainer, LaRC Historic Preservation Officer, I had the rare privilege to examine a Viking surface sampler's Collector Head and Shroud Unit in the LaRC archives. Thanks to the extremely kind cooperation of Allen Hoilman, Curator and Director of Exhibits at the VASC, I was able to spend an entire day (when the VASC was closed to the public) measuring and photographing the Viking lander on display. I believe this unit was the Science Test Lander while at JPL in the 1970s.

Examining the surface sampler Collector Head Shroud Unit (CHSU) at LaRC was an extreme treat. I have never found high-quality photographs of such a unit, to say nothing of seeing and handling one in person! The LaRC's CHSU is accompanied by a collector head as well (serial number 20). It is a pristine unit, fabulously clean compared to the units mounted on the landers at the VASC and Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (both of which which saw much testing during the '70s and thus are quite grubby), or the collector head on the lander displayed at the California Science Center (which has a thick coat of cracked and peeling yellow paint). I was able to capture nearly 100 measurements and photographs of the CHSU and collector head. Here is a reduced-resolution sample:
Attached Image

My 11-hour day at the VASC measuring their lander was exhausting but very rewarding. I captured nearly 600 individual measurements, and added about 350 detail high-resolution photographs to my album of that lander. Most excitingly this includes a number of images capturing the interior (mostly empty) of this lander, which has an open bottom. (I suspect the mounting area for the Terminal Descent Landing Radar (TDLR) was cut from the lander's bottom cover to facilitate disposal of simulant Mars soil samples which were deposited during testing and mission planning into the Processing and Distribution Assembly (PDA) inlets of the Biology and Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer instruments.) Here is an annotated interior image, and a sample of measurements of the Biology PDA:
Attached Image

Attached Image

Thanks again to Mary Gainer at the LaRC and Allen Hoilman at the VASC for their assistance in allowing me to conduct these examinations.
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Tom Dahl
post Jun 17 2015, 12:47 AM
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My on-going quest to research the Viking '75 missions recently took me to the Pacific Northwest where I had opportunities to measure and photograph some unusual Viking lander hardware. My thanks to Rachel Tillman and Jim Tillman and the Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project for granting me access to a Meteorology Electronics Assembly (MEA), Tape Recorder (TR), and S-Band High Gain Antenna (HGA), as well as some rare original technical documentation, and also special access to the backup Flight Capsule 3 lander body in the Museum of Flight in Seattle. My grateful thanks also to the Museum of Flight staff including Senior Curator Dan Hagedorn and Registrar and Accessions Team Leader Christine Runte for facilitating my after-hours access to the FC3. All of your help was critical in making my 3000 mile trip a very enjoyable success.

Firstly are about 50 photographs and some measurements of lander Tape Recorder serial number 001. The lander tape recorders were unusual in having all-metal recording tape in order to survive the ~240F sterilization temperature to which the complete lander capsules were subjected. This unit lacks its top cover which thus exposes the tape transport and record/playback head mechanisms to view. A marvelous device. For reference here is a photograph of one of the lander tape recorders right after its installation within a Flight lander. Here's a reduced-size image of the TR under study:
Attached Image


Next up was a session photographing a lander Meteorology Sensor Assembly (MSA). For protection of the MSA's delicate thermocouples this unit is kept within a metal and glass frame which somewhat obscures the view, but keeps the unit pristine. Normally the MSA would be installed at the end of the lander's external deployable Meteorology Boom Assembly (MBA).

I then spent a few hours at the Museum of Flight doing further study of the backup lander body exhibited there. I added some 70 photographs to my album of FC3 detail photographs, now containing over 700 images. I was especially pleased to capture about 170 total measurements of the Meteorology Boom Assembly and of a landing leg's internal mechanisms.

A few days later I was in Portland OR to study some additional materials. Here are some photographs I was able to capture of technical drawings of the Viking Meteorology Instrument System (VMIS) components. The images suffer from various distortions due to non-flat document pages, a hand-held camera, etc. but they nevertheless record fascinating information such as MBA measurements and internal details of the MBA hinge mechanism.

I captured photographs of a unit I had never seen in person previously, a Meteorology Electronics Assembly (MEA) which would be located within the lander body near leg 2. Rachel Tillman and the Viking Preservation Project own serial number 001. Seeing an MEA in person was very nice. For those unfamiliar, here is the MEA:
Attached Image


Lastly I spent a couple of hours capturing about 170 measurements and nearly 90 detail photographs of an S-Band High Gain Antenna (HGA), serial number 21. Because this unit is not mounted on a lander, close-up views from all sides (including the top, normally hard to see) were possible. Here is a taste of the resulting measurements (depicting the dish mount and elevation pivot mechanisms):
Attached Image


My thanks again to Rachel Tillman, Jim Tillman, Dan Hagedorn, and Christine Runte for allowing me such a treat to examine authentic Viking artifacts.
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pospa
post Jun 17 2015, 12:30 PM
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QUOTE (Tom Dahl @ Dec 21 2014, 11:17 PM) *
(I suspect the mounting area for the Terminal Descent Landing Radar (TDLR) was cut from the lander's bottom cover to facilitate disposal of simulant Mars soil samples which were deposited during testing and mission planning into the Processing and Distribution Assembly (PDA) inlets of the Biology and Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer instruments.) Here is an annotated interior image, and a sample of measurements of the Biology PDA

Hi Tom, regarding PDA or better SSPDA (soil sample processing and distribution assembly) you might be willing to contact Steve Jurvetson as he in now the owner of flight qualified Biological instrument unit SN 104 including SSPDA as a newest item of his space artefacts collection. Maybe he could support your effort and let you measure this unit in detail for your 3D modelling purposes.
https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/jurvetson/185...57623704246792/
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Mr Valiant
post Jun 18 2015, 12:17 AM
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Tom,
Your in depth examination of the Viking Lander is exemplary. Viking was my first interplanetary experience.
It was well covered by Australian media at the time, and I cut out from the newspapers every clipping related
to the mission and pasted them in a scrap book. Sadly, that book slowly fell to pieces over the years.
After getting home from primary school, I couldn't wait for Dad to come home from work with the daily
papers, which I would scan, page for page for any scrap of information on Viking.
Just like Apollo, we wonder how so much was achieved with what today is regarded as ancient technology.
It was robust, it was tested inside out, then tested again. It was the best of its day - as we all were.
Many thanks,
Gary Fearon


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Tom Dahl
post Aug 31 2015, 02:12 AM
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Today's update on my digital 3D SketchUp model of the Viking lander (which is freely available at the preceding link): the core lander body is essentially complete, including over 300 unique pieces. To celebrate I created a new fly-around HD video, about three and a half minutes long, presenting various aspects of the model.
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monty python
post Aug 31 2015, 03:46 AM
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Wow Tom. Thanks much for the video. It gives me insight into one of my favorite missions and all your hard work.
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vikingmars
post Aug 31 2015, 07:57 AM
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QUOTE (Tom Dahl @ Aug 31 2015, 04:12 AM) *
Today's update on my digital 3D SketchUp model of the Viking lander (which is freely available at the preceding link): the core lander body is essentially complete, including over 300 unique pieces. To celebrate I created a new fly-around HD video, about three and a half minutes long, presenting various aspects of the model.

WOW ! WOW ! WOW ! Incredible Tom... what a NICE work.
If Conway Snyder was still among us, he would have been so happy to see the Viking landers re-born thanks to you !
wheel.gif wheel.gif wheel.gif
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bear10829
post Sep 4 2015, 09:27 AM
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In case you don't know about this particular treasure trove of high resolution Viking hardware images, have a look at

Viking Archives Collection.

I was unable to leave that archive before I downloaded every single one of them.
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Tom Dahl
post Sep 4 2015, 02:17 PM
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Hi bear10829, that is indeed a wonderful archive. In fact I've met Mary Gainer, NASA Langley Research Center's Historic Preservation Officer who is driving the on-going enlargement of that site. With Mary's generous permission I visited Langley in November 2014 to examine and measure a Viking lander surface sampler Collector Head Shroud Unit and Collector Head that is in the Langley archives. Every few weeks Mary and her team add new images to that archive site.
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RachelVL3
post Nov 1 2015, 04:09 PM
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Tom,

Your progress is astounding and it is a pleasure to support your work!
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Tom Dahl
post Nov 1 2015, 04:30 PM
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Thank you Rachel, I appreciate the compliment and I look forward to our future Viking collaborations. You and the Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project have an incredibly valuable collection.
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Tom Dahl
post Jan 16 2016, 02:15 PM
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I just completed a new video animation of my work-in-progress digital 3D SketchUp model of the Viking lander (which is freely available at the preceding link). This video is nearly six minutes long and shows detailed operation of the lander leg mechanisms, with cut-away sections revealing internal latches, springs, the honeycomb attenuator, pin-puller, etc.
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