Encyclopedia Astronautica
Apollo ASTP Docking Module

Apollo ASTP / DM
Credit: NASA
Apollo ASTP DM
Credit: NASA
American manned space station module. One launch, 1975.07.15, Docking Module 2. The ASTP docking module was basically an airlock with docking facilities on each end to allow crew transfer between the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft.

The docking module was 3.15 m long, 1.4 m maximum diameter, and weighed 2,012 kg. Apollo's cabin atmosphere was 100 percent oxygen at 0.34 atmosphere pressure, while that of Soyuz was nitrogen/oxygen at 1.0 atmosphere. Transfer between these two atmospheres would require pre-breathing of pure oxygen to purge the blood of suspended nitrogen. This was avoided by lowering the Soyuz pressure to 0.68 atmospheres pressure. The docking module served mainly as an airlock to raise or lower the pressure between 0.34 and 0.68 atmospheres when moving from one spacecraft to the other. This was done through the use of pressure equalization valves with both hatches closed.

The docking module pressure vessel was formed from a welded cylinder of 1.58 cm thick aluminum, with a tapered bulkhead and tunnel section on the command module and a machined base assembly and bulkhead on the Soyuz end.

A systems module inside the docking module contained control and display panels, VHF/FM transceiver, environmental control system, and storage compartments. Other equipment included oxygen masks, fire extinguisher, floodlights and handholds, a junction box for linking Soyuz communications circuits to Apollo, the MA-010 Multipurpose Furnace and two removal stowage lockers containing TV equipment and spare equipment.

The docking module pressure vessel and external gas tanks were covered with an external insulation cover made of thin Inconel over a multi-layer insulation blanket separated from the vessel by a framework.

Gaseous oxygen and nitrogen were stored in four identical spherical tanks external to the pressure vessel an two pairs shielded by insulated covers. A total of 18.9 kg of nitrogen and 21.7 kg of oxygen were stored in the tanks.

The universal docking system was a Soviet design. It consisted of an extendible guide ring with three petal-shaped guide plate, three capture latches, and six hydraulic attenuators for soft dock. Hard dock was achieved by retracting the guide ring with a cable-drive system, which compressed the seals between the Apollo and Soyuz, followed by engagement of eight structural latches.

All docking module electrical power was supplied by umbilical from the Apollo CSM. There were no provisions for carbon dioxide removal; this was done by the exiting Apollo CSM or Soyuz environmental control systems.

The docking module was built by Rockwell International Division, Downey, California (prime contractor for the Apollo spacecraft itself).

Gross mass: 2,012 kg (4,435 lb).
Height: 3.15 m (10.33 ft).
Span: 1.40 m (4.50 ft).
First Launch: 1975.07.15.
Number: 1 .

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Saturn I Von Braun launch vehicle known as 'Cluster's Last Stand' - 8 Redstone tanks around a Jupiter tank core,powered by eight Jupiter engines. Originally intended as the launch vehicle for Apollo manned circumlunar flights. However it was developed so early, no payloads were available for it. More...
  • US Space Stations Wernher von Braun brought Noordung's rotating station design with him from Europe. This he popularized in the early 1950's in selling manned space flight to the American public. By the late 1950's von Braun's team favoured the spent-stage concept - which eventually flew as Skylab. By the mid-1960's, NASA was concentrating on modular, purpose-built, zero-G stations. These eventually flew as the International Space Station. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Saturn I American orbital launch vehicle. Von Braun launch vehicle known as 'Cluster's Last Stand' - 8 Redstone tanks around a Jupiter tank core,powered by eight Jupiter engines. Originally intended as the launch vehicle for Apollo manned circumlunar flights. However it was developed so early, no payloads were available for it. More...
  • Saturn IB American orbital launch vehicle. Improved Saturn I, with uprated first stage and Saturn IVB second stage (common with Saturn V) replacing Saturn IV. Used for earth orbit flight tests of Apollo CSM and LM. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • North American American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. North American, Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA, USA More...

Associated Programs
  • ASTP Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Meetings began in 1969 between Russian and American representatives on a joint manned space mission. Ambitious plans for use of Skylab or Salyut space stations were not approved. Instead it was decided to develop a universal docking system for space rescue. A working group was set up in October 1970 and in May 1972 the USA/USSR Agreement was signed with launch to take place in 1975. D Bushuev and G Lanin were the technical directors of the Soviet-designed EPAS docking system program. 1600 experiments were conducted in developing the system. More...

  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39B Shuttle, Saturn V, Saturn I launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program in 1963-1966. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. More...

Apollo ASTP Docking Module Chronology

1975 July 15 - . 19:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB. LV Configuration: Saturn IB SA-210.
  • Docking Module 2 - . Payload: Apollo DM-2. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: ASTP. Spacecraft: Apollo ASTP Docking Module. Decay Date: 1975-08-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 8042 . COSPAR: 1975-066C. Apogee: 222 km (137 mi). Perigee: 201 km (124 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 88.73 min.

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